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Comment Re:It's IBM's fault. Everyone copied the PC. (Score 4, Informative) 698

That's just not true!

The IBM PC-AT keyboard, circa 1984, has control as a large key above shift and to the left of the 'A' key, in its proper place. Alt is below shift. There are no right-hand alt or control keys and caps-lock is off on the right side below shift where the right control key is now. There was a large gap between the spaceback and caps-lock, since there was no right alt or windows key.

The PC-XT keyboard, circa 1981, had the same layout of control-shift-alt in the proper order on the left. The caps-lock key was on the far upper-right corner, above the numeric keypad.

It wasn't until the 101 key model M that IBM messed up and placed the caps lock key in the incorrect location above shift and next to 'A'.

Is there really no one else here who remebers typing away on the original PC keyboard, with the control key in the proper location, the giant plus key, break on the scroll lock key and printscreen on the dedicated '*' key?

Comment Re:Flashable? (Score 1) 123

If enough people want to hack it you can. There is nothing designed to help you flash it, but not a lot was done to actively stop it. The built in reflash system using a USB mass storage device is protected. Uses openssl. I didn't write that part so I don't know the details that well but I have this feeling it could be hacked with only a moderate level of 1337 skillz.

If you open it up, there is nothing stopping you from reprogramming the flash chips.

Comment It's not Debian based (Score 5, Informative) 123

It's custom. I should know, as it's largely designed by me. I worked for Delphi who was the OEM that made the radios for GM. They didn't have any Linux experience, so I was hired for this project. They had lots of talented engineers who experience with VxWorks, QNX, uITRON, etc., but not POSIX/Linux. So I got them up to speed on Linux, helped designed the base OS, and made the Linux system work. I was told the Linux based software generated around $2 billion in sales. Then I got laid off.

It's based on Freescale's LTIB, which I also worked on when I worked for them. But, it's highly customized. Freescale hasn't really maintained LTIB for some time, despite continuing to use it as the base for their BSPs. Something like Debian is much too bloated for what the radios are expected to work it. The same system is used for the simpler non-touch radios in other GM vehicles. It's an ARM9 based iMX25, running at I think 380 MHz, with 32 MB of RAM. The framebuffer comes out of the RAM too. I managed to get it to boot from power on (or rather CAN bus wakeup pulse) through u-boot, through the kernel startup, to system startup and daemons running and have userspace application code start in around 250 ms. Getting the backup camera working in <1 second is an important requirement. The ARM9 as a VIVT cache, which forces a cache flush on each context switch, making it quite slow. If one used udev like a normal Linux distro, it takes something like 3 seconds just for udev to populate /dev on system startup. So obviously udev is out.

The radios are not designed to let you easily root or put different software on. However, stopping someone who has physical access to the radio from hacking it wasn't a very high priority. By default LTIB gives you a blank password root account and a telnet daemon configured to allow root logins! I got rid of that and made it ssh only. I don't know if the final production firmware still has ssh running or not. The iMX53 processor used in the CUE system doesn't have secure boot like some other iMX processors. Freescale's iMX line is actually composed of multiple utterly different families of ARM based SoCs based on different IP. So you can easily hack it with a flash programmer.

I don't know of any easter eggs.... GM isn't the kind of company that would look kindly on that. However, unless someone managed to fix it, you can lockup the DVD player with the "Justice League: Starcrossed" DVD a few minutes in. After the alien ship shoots at some jets. It's not the DVD player, but the video overlay on the iMX53 that has locked up.

Comment Re:Tracphone (Score 1) 246

I'm using tracfone too, since it's the cheapest I could find for minimal usage. The minutes are pretty cheap ( 10 cents), they don't expire, and the minimum monthly average you need to spend to keep you phone active is really low. But the SIMs and phones are locked. You can't use a normal SIM in a tracfone or a tracfone SIM in a normal phone. You can't even move tracfone SIMs between tracfones. The phone locks itself to the SIM it's first paired with.

Comment Re:How long does it take to boot? (Score 1) 181

I'm a developer of Linux based car radios for a major OEM, so I'm getting a kick of of these replies. Linux can boot fast. A lot has to do with the hardware itself. Managed NAND can take a long time to initialize, SPI NOR flash has a low bandwidth, etc. The manufacturers are asking for things like 1 second boot time. A major concern is how it takes to get the back-up-camera working. I've managed to get a radio booting from POR to userspace in about 220 ms, and getting to done with Linux system startup by 500 ms. The leaves 500 ms for the application software to startup which was enough to meet the customer's requirements.
Cellphones

Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours 154

An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac, and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."

Comment Re:What year is it for Voyager 1 & 2? (Score 1) 260

You've taken into account special relativity, but there is also general relativity to take into account. Gravity slows time. Near the Earth's gravity time is slowed. For GPS satellites, their 3.9 km/sec speed slows their clocks by 7 us/day, but the reduced gravity at 20,000 km speeds their clocks relative the earthbound clocks by 45 us/day. So in that case the effect of gravity is greater than that of speed, and they gain time relative to us. Voyager 2 is going about 139 us/day slower than us due to it's speed. Once gravity is taken into account, I'd guess the result is somewhere around 82 us/day slower. Of course it's speed and the gravity it's experienced hasn't remained constant.
Television

Submission + - HBO aquires rites to 'Song of Ice and Fire'

jimfinity writes: HBO has picked up the rites to start a series based on George R. R. Martin's popular fantasy series 'Song of Ice and Fire.' From the article ( http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957532.html?c ategoryid=14&cs=1 ):

"The series will begin with the 1996 first book, "A Game of Thrones," and the intention is for each novel (they average 1,000 pages each) to fuel a season's worth of episodes. Martin has nearly finished the fifth installment, but won't complete the seven-book cycle until 2011."

Martin's journal (http://grrm.livejournal.com/11326.html) also has some comments about the series.

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