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Comment: Re:im happy google took this on (Score 1) 41

by tlhIngan (#47574515) Attached to: Google, Linaro Develop Custom Android Edition For Project Ara

This concept isn't anything new in PC tech, with so many busses/drivers/external devices, it's known what's needed. This is a uber low power/hopefully incredibly flexible, driverless (to a point) something new.

Yeah, and the support costs would be oh-so-fun.

Desktop PCs already have enough incompatibility issues where updating the BIOS can break your Ethernet or the USB driver installed by default conflicts with your graphics card.

Or even odder ones, like I have a PC (built in 2013, Intel Haswell 4770K, etc) that just refuses to accept the AMD video cards I buy for it. I have a pile of 7xx0 video cards that just cause the BIOS to beep out the "video error" code. Onboard video, fine. Hell, even using an older card I have works. (And this is even BEFORE the driver is installed).

Sure it's a highly flexible platform. But we can't even get well-structured PCs with well known and limited interfaces working properly. (Heck, anyone know the fun that was a Creative SoundBlaster card and non-Intel chipsets back in the day? Lockup galore!).

Comment: Re:im happy google took this on (Score 1) 41

by tlhIngan (#47572311) Attached to: Google, Linaro Develop Custom Android Edition For Project Ara

Just think different a little bit. Integrate the secure enclave into the button/sensor module.

So you're going to basically give the yes/no decision to the module? Well know, I'm going to make a fake module that breaks the fingerprint security by always saying "Yes, valid fingerprint!"

Oh, now you're going to have to add tons of security to it - perhaps when I plug in, I need to negotiate a set of keys with the main processor? Yes, I hope your Ara modules have figured that out, because if they haven't, well now you've got incompatibilities galore.

Project Ara looks interseting. But do you remember what happened in the PC world? Incompatibilities, unsupported configurations, buggy drivers, etc. Hell, we still deal with it today. If I make a Project Ara phone, I'll test it with my parts. Now if the customer changes the camera, what's going to happen?

Or if I buy a new processor module, all of a sudden I need to buy a new set of peripherals (like how upgrading your CPU can require a new motherboard, RAM, etc. And the move from ISA to PCI to PCIe obsoleted components, etc).

Comment: Re:Um, what does the publisher do? (Score 3, Informative) 225

by tlhIngan (#47570691) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Maybe the agreement should be 70% (seems low anyway, BT is free!) for the Author and Publisher and 30% for Amazon (so when it's inevitably decided publishers aren't vital in Ebooks we don't have to go through this again!).

That was the agreement - 30% to Amazon, and right now, 35%-35% split for authors/publishers.

And no, publishers do a lot - the author's main job is to deliver a manuscript. Just a block of text.

it's the publishers job to take that block of text, add the necessary front and back matter (Tables of Contents, Indices, cover art, author bio, etc), then also format that block of text for print and electronic publishing (not as easy as it seems - authors can often have their own interpretations of how to format text), and also link in images and such. Oh yeah, and market it - because otherwise your book is just one amongst the thousands appearing daily. And maybe do a bit of editing on the side.

It's very rare that a self-published book is actually any good - most are just crap (because the author kept getting rejected), and spelling mistakes galore. You really wonder if the author is even literate at all.

Sure there are a few good examples and there are publishers that do get out of the way and let you do it all (and some very good examples), but those are the exception, not the rule.

Hell, you could even consider a publisher's job to help wade through the millions of crap manuscripts submitted daily to find the good works and reduce it down to thousands that have a chance of making money.

Comment: Re:It's not a marketplace.. (Score 2) 213

by tlhIngan (#47570641) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

Or, more correctly - you can't just develop an app. You must market your app too.

Too many of the big guys got there because they got in early. Then everyone assumes "if you build it, they will come", but no, you have to advertise it, market it, or like obscure FOSS projects, no one knows about it.

It's just like everything else - doesn't matter if it's Apple's App Store, Google Play, Steam, Xbox Live Market, Playstation Network, etc. Just putting it on there isn't enough - you have to get word out there.

Perhaps the worst part is, developers really do NOT know how to market. Or they think they're above it - "I hate advertising, and everyone blocks ads, so it's pointless". Well, if people don't know, they can't find it.

For iOS, there's a neat service called Appshopper.com, and it pulls new apps from the app store. There's easily over 100 pages of NEW apps every day. Relying on "stumble upon" traffic isn't going to happen.

Comment: Re:Perfect (Score 2) 151

by tlhIngan (#47569019) Attached to: Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

You need to move air through it. Otherwise you know what you get? An insulator!

Tiny pockets of air are very good insulators - it's why you use stuff like spray foam, fiberglass, etc., in your house - the material itself doesn't matter. The fact that the material traps air in tiny pockets makes it very insulating. Aerogel is one of the best insulators around - and it consists of basically air and a tiny silica weave to trap it in little pockets.

This thing does have copper so it will transmit heat, but the air pockets in the middle, unless you force circulation will just keep the heat trapped there as you'll have lots of little pockets of air, turning it into a poorer conductor of heat than a solid block.

Without air flowing through the weave, it'll overheat. So your fan better not die.

Comment: Re:A cautionary tale? (Score 2) 160

by tlhIngan (#47566741) Attached to: An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax

This is a cautionary tale about the fundamental unreliability of human knowledge.

Which is why we need to not treat history as a series of absolutes, but to realize that the saying "To the victor goes the spoils" and "history only remembers the winners" are truths.

The "truth" is written by the winners - it was us "freedom fighters" versus the "imperialist overlords", or it was "capitalist democracy" versus "terrorists".

There's three sides to every story - our side, their side, and the truth. And rarely is the intersection more than just a tiny speck.

Comment: Re:"unrealistic expectations of the Air Force" ? (Score 2) 120

by tlhIngan (#47566657) Attached to: Nuclear Missile Command Drops Grades From Tests To Discourage Cheating

I get that, I'm not commenting on that fact. I'm commenting on the 90% or better is an unrealistic expectation in the summary.

Now, as to 95 vs 93% affecting promotion speed? I don't see the problem there either. The person who studied harder (or better) than his rival should definitely have their higher score have more weight when considered for promotion.

Did both pass the test? Yes, but candidate x passed better than y. If all other things are equal, then X should get the promotion.

Except well, a 2% difference on an exam score really means you got one question wrong on a multiple-choice test. Unless the test is hundreds of questions long, 2% isn't that many questions and scores can vary even amongst the same person because of the questions asked. I mean, assuming the tests are generated uniquely for each person from a question pool, it can be expected that they may get 43 questions right on one exam, 42 on another. Luck of the draw, and yet has extreme career implications.

Hell, if you want to take this to the extreme, visit Asia. Where the exam you take right out of high school literally determines your future. Get 95% or higher and you'll get scholarships to study at the world's finest universities - US, UK, wherever you want. Get 90% and you'll go to an in-country university. Below that - you're a tradesperson and a shame on your family. Go kill yourself.

Yes, you'll actually find the rate of teen suicides disproportionally high - many succumb to the pressure before the exam, many immediately after (they didn't think they did well, might as well end it before shame of receiving the marks), and many after getting their marks rather than face their families. Yes, they'd rather commit suicide than explain to their parents that they got an 89%.

Oh yeah, pressure to cheat is high too, for obvious reasons.

Basically unless the exam is hundreds to say, a thousand questions long, the difference between a 93 and 95% is well within statistical error. But if you get lucky and get a test that had one easier question than another, that means you'll get promotions way quicker, well, there's a lot of incentives to cheat.

Move to pass/fail is the correct thing to do. The only way to make a 2% difference matter is to make sure each question counts for just a tiny bit so it averages out. If it's a 1000 question test, 93% means one person answered 930 questions correctly, while 95% means they answered 950 questions correctly. The 20 extra questions eliminate the chance it was a question that was slightly easier, and that someone actually did study harder, and practice harder.

Comment: Re:Good luck with that. (Score 1) 293

by tlhIngan (#47566499) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

80% of the music in my iTunes came from CDs..."ripped" straight from the plastic. I an convert those all to MP3s.

So they should be suing Microsoft and Apple.

I think they did, many years ago. Apple got sued over the "Rip Mix Burn" campaign back in the old days and I think Apple still pays some go-away money for all that.

But it was also decided that iTunes has enough "restrictions" that really keep it from being a device of mass copyright infringement. E.g., the max 5 burns of a playlist. (Which can be gotten around by deleting a song, then re-adding it back - once you change a playlist, the counter resets). Or recreating the playlist, etc.

Comment: Re:I must be the outlier (Score 1) 226

by tlhIngan (#47566419) Attached to: Comcast Confessions

In my town, there's a perpetual 45-minute line of people at the comcast office. Even though the lady that works there is helpful and friendly, I'd rather talk to an idiot on the phone for 20 minutes than waste an hour or more driving to the office, waiting in line, and dealing with the issue in person.

And yet, the use of that hour is probably among the best than the 20 minutes on the phone. Because you'll try and try, and then you have to return the equipment to the store anyways (or send it back by mail).

And all along the way, they can lose your cancellation, continue to bill you for months afterwards, fail to receive the returned equipment and bill for that, etc.

And sorting it out through the system when you're an ex-customer is 100 times harder because they really will do the hard sell and sign you up again.

The only real option is well, small claims court, which means easily a day of your time, default judgement (what, you think Comcast will show up?) and refund months later.

Or just spending the hour at the store and getting it all done with documentation. (What, you think that record of your phone call will exist? Ha!).

Aren't they obliged to cancel your account if you ask, though? I mean, say you say "i want to close my account", they asked if you're sure, aware of the great deals etc. Say no, again, politely, then firmly "close my account now". What would happen if they continued trying to get you to stay and you stay silent? You aren't obliged to go through their script; you've told them your side of things. Can't you just stop paying them and if there's any come back tell them the date/time of the call, who you spoke to and ask what the problem is? Perhaps there needs to be a mandatory website/service where you just click/say "i'm out of here" and there's no come back on their part?

Yes, they're obliged to cancel when you ask. But they're not obliged to make it easy - they'll just follow their script endlessly. Remember, getting you to hang up in frustration is also a win for them because it's a cancellation that didn't happen.

And if they can make you wait an hour on hold every time, even bigger plus - most people would hang up in frustration.

Mistreat the call center staff and you'll find your cancellation didn't actually take effect, your file number either won't exist, or will contain inaccurate details, etc.

I'm not quite sure why Comcast hasn't emiserated the in-store situation yet; but apparently they haven't, and it's not as though the front-line peons are fucking with you for their pleasure, so if they aren't forced to they generally won't.

Because in-store staff have to do everything - from signing people up, to people wanting to add subscriptions, buy hardware, etc. Cancellations is just a small part of the entire thing that they couldn't be bothered to try to retain you when most of the people in line are just wanting to add a service.

Plus, humans react differently when they're face to face with another human than when they're on the phone, over the internet, etc.

Comment: Re:No matter the flavor... (Score 1) 127

by tlhIngan (#47566137) Attached to: Old Apache Code At Root of Android FakeID Mess

Relying on Java for anything fundamental is going to bite you in the butt.

Crap. That's like 90% of cellphones out there (the rest are iPhones). Between Android and featurephones, all of which rely on Java... (J2ME wasn't just a pipedream - practically all featurephones prior to the iPhone used it).

Comment: Re:The real deal (Score 1) 43

by tlhIngan (#47566031) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)

These are not for high volume. These are more for "I have a contract for 200 of these boards a month"
You set them up to do the run, they do it fairly quick and you're done.

For high volume there are $15k to $200k machines that would blow your mind. That's when you're spitting out hundreds of thousands of soundcards or whatever... Those take weeks to setup, but they can spit out a fully populated PCI card in just a few seconds. Those have shields and such because they are so fast they can really hurt you.

With these sorts of things it's always trades offs between setup times and speed per unit.

Or you just use your local contract manufacturer to do it. 200 boards a month is nothing. The only reason for this machine is to do it in-house if you can accept the limitations over using your local contract manufacturer.

And the biggest delays for that is usually part lead time - setup for a run is usually only up to a day or so followed by the run itself. And hell, they'll even test it for you for a small additional fee.

And they scale up - the Foxconns won't take your business until you're wanting to do thousands to tens of thousands, but your local one can do 100, 200, 1000 quite easily. Even with oddities like no spare parts for the machine.

Comment: Re:Unfortunately? (Score 3, Insightful) 76

by tlhIngan (#47561207) Attached to: seL4 Verified Microkernel Now Open Source

How does the "or later" clause hinder use? Licensing under GPLv3 might have (I'm not going to argue that either way), but what does the "or later" clause matter?

Because you cannot mix v2-only code with v3/v3+ code. It's actually incompatible - v3 puts additional "restrictions" (from v2's perspective) on the code, making it incompatible (e.g., anti-TiVoization, etc).

So this means all code in that kernel must be either v2 or v2+ (which means the "+" disappears).

For an embedded systems, they typically want GPLv2 or v2+, avoiding v3 as much as possible. "or later" can hinder since if you're not careful, you might accidentally include v3 code (especially if you pull from an upstream source) when you don't want to. v2-only makes that a license violation, while v2+ turns into v3/v3+. One should be careful when pulling patches to make sure the codebase doesn't unexpectedly turn into v3.

Comment: Re:interesting split developing (Score 1) 24

I had been wondering about this. A FOAF was a curator at a museum on the West Coast, and when I talked to him about the idea of online displays, he was completely dismissive -- it seemed like anything other than "Maximum Lockdown" didn't even register with him. Then again, this was probably 15 years ago. Was Maximum Lockdown the usual stance before the Internet explosion, or do all three approaches have a well-established history?

I think all three approaches are common. It really depends on the museum. If they have some prized artifact the world knows about (Mona Lisa, David, etc) then it's likely to be "maximum lockdown" because well, they want you to see that item in their collection.

Then there are museums that make money off being exclusive dealers so they tend to put some stuff up.

Finally, there are public museums that have full openness. and intentionally want to spread the collection aroun.

I think it relates to how the museum is funded, as well as how notable its collection is - the lesser known, the more they need to advertise. After all, if you're the Louvre, you don't need to do anything - people come to you so you can lock it down and force people to come in. But if you're a museum on your rapidly dying culture, well, putting it online could mean dying as a footnote or leaving a legacy.

Comment: Re:Yes it should ship! (Score 1) 108

by tlhIngan (#47555261) Attached to: Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

Just because there is a large competitor, you do not quit. Apple didn't and came from behind several times. Now if it is not profitable, let it go, but don't just give up and give it all to App/Goog(le) without a fight. Besides, 1% of a lot of people is still a lot of people.

Heck, when the iPhone was first released, Steve Jobs himself said he didn't expect to do much to the market - if he got 1%, he would be happy.

It's a big market.

Then again, Samsung controls around 90% of the Android market, and probably a majority of the phone market in general.

And yes, Tizen is probably just a threat tool - there was a point in time that it was supposed to be able to run Android applications. Samsung's got enough power in the Android market that Google may try to kick Samsung out of the OHA for trying to sell a non-Android phone that can run Android apps, but Samsung's got countermeasures. First, they are the only OEM who has complete replacements for every closed source app, including their own app store. Second, Samsung's got muscle - owning the majority of the Android marketshare means they can force their way if they have to.

And considering Samsung's got various OSes ready to go, I can't see it as more than a way to keep Google in its place - keep making the OS, we'll let you install your spyware/adware, and don't you dare threaten us.

Comment: Re:No need for a conspiracy (Score 3, Informative) 281

Well, the available CPU power increased dramatically since the original iPhone was released back in 2007.

Back then, the iPhone and iPhone 3G used ARM11 (ARMv6) processors at 400MHz. The iPhone 3Gs used a Cortex-A8 based CPU running at 600MHz - clock for clock, the A8 was practically twice as fast as an ARM11, and the 50% speed boost doesn't hurt, either (so nearly 3 times faster). Of course, with that added speed, the iPhone 3Gs doubled RAM to 256MB.

The iPhone 4 doubled RAM again to 512MB, and upped the speed to an 800MHz Cortex A8, roughly a 33% increase in speed, but more importantly they also upgraded the GPU to run faster. The iPhone 4s went from a Cortex-A8 based CPU to a Cortex-A9 multiprocessing CPU and upgraded graphics again.

The iPhone 5 upped it to 1.3GHz custom Apple A6 core (faster than equivalent Cortex-A9), just over 50% faster clock for clock, and doubled RAM again to 1GB.

The iPhone 5s went to ARMv8, where running 64-bit code is so much more efficient that 64-bit code can outrun 32-bit code by up to two times. Running 32-bit code, ARMv8 is only marginally faster than ARMv7, but 64-bit code is where ARMv8's speed really shines.

The spread of CPU speeds is probably anywhere from 3-5x for a supported iOS.

Me, I'm running an iPhone 4s with iOS 7. It's snappy enough - the most sluggish times are when I make a phone call and it seems to linger at the contact screen for a second or two, and when I hang up and it lingers at the call screen for a second or two.

It won't be supported on iOS 8, I don't believe. Given it's been 3 years, well, it's probably time to upgrade.

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