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Comment: Re:Funniest headline I've seen all day (Score 1) 166

by tlhIngan (#49186523) Attached to: <em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

I've done a bit of system integration with bill acceptor machines, and they should be fine. They're not looking for visual spectrum stuff, or comparing a bitmap, they're checking for a finite number of specific features. Usually, it is 9 or 11 small spots that are each checked for one thing. None of them are the face visuals.

Actually, if they're spocking the old $5 bills, it's probably not going to be accepted anyways as we've moved to the new polymer bills. While for a time the old bill acceptors wouldn't accept the new bills, the new bills have pretty much taken over.

Granted, not being an artist, I have to admit I'd probably keep that $5 bill. Being a paper one it's probably close to being cycled out naturally.

Comment: Re:Pirating just got a big boost! (Score 2, Interesting) 108

by tlhIngan (#49180957) Attached to: NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

e consoles that support PC games...means more developers make games for PC...means more games for ME to pirate! YEAH!!!

Not really, I think PC is going to be the red-headed stepchild for AAA games for a long time to come - the money just isn't there as much.

Consoles will be where it's at for the time being because of the money aspect - PC ports will continue to generally suck due to poor ROI unless you're an indie developer (where ROI can be measured in publicity generated and not actually dollars).

I mean what's one of the biggest draws of the PC platform? Steam sales! Yet I see new PC games that are just a few months old going for 40+% off easy. Making it almost pointless to buy any game on release day on PC when the next steam sale you can get it at a decent discount. (Heck, I've even saw games that cost $10 that I avoided buying as too expensive - next steam sale and it'll probably be $5).

It's why other than perhaps Call or Duty and similar have delayed PC releases, and often lame PC ports. A game like Call of Duty does it because of marketing - being able to say they sold a billion copies on launch day is worth a lot of money so a token PC port ready for launch day makes sense.

Comment: Re:Better get the service manual, then (Score 2) 33

Insightful, really? I think a few mods must've missed a "whoosh" somewhere.

Either that or they haven't seen how modern Haynes books have reinvented themselves given their old business pretty much evaporated once the 90s hit. (Yes, I remember the shelves of Haynes books back in the day and the modern internet has pretty much killed that business.)

Yeah, so it's a bit more complex than just a power supply sequencer and simple "power good" monitor? It's actually recording "telemetry" off its own power supply continuously, then they correlate the data later?

But can they turn off a power supply and take a resistance reading, for example? Or how about varying the voltage while monitoring the current?

In a spacecraft, because it's really difficult to bring it in for service and diagnostics if something goes wrong, you pretty much have to build in all the diagnostics as telemetry. The more information you can gather the better diagnosing you can do - and if you miss one, well, you can't go and probe it later with a multimeter.

So easily measured stuff like voltages and currents of power rails is instrumented because if something goes awry, that's all the data you have. Analog channels are cheap (they're generally multiplexed together) while sending someone to go and measure it for you is pretty expensive, if it's even possible to do.

The power supply inputs (solar panels, RTG, etc) will have current and voltages measured on each input (e.g., each solar array input channel will have voltages and currents monitored, not just the aggregate), the battery current and voltage will be monitored (maybe even on a per-cell basis), the output power rails of the power supply will be monitored, and the input power used by each instrument as well. If an instrument starts drawing significantly more current, you can tell which one it is and see how the rails dip. If the sum of the currents used by the instruments don't match the current the power supply is providing, then you have a short somewhere. If a power rail is off but you're still seeing voltage and even current, you can tell if the switch is bad, or if it's being backfed or a short is carrying power on it. Or if a rail goes out of spec (overvolt or undervolt).

It's unlikely they can turn off a rail and measure it - it's generally not too useful a measurement if you have current and voltage measured every which way.

And yes, there is other telemetry that's possible, including temperature, angle encoders (encoding positions of each servo in an instrument and maybe even the wheels, etc).

Comment: Re:Maintainable... (Score 1) 239

by tlhIngan (#49180623) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

I'd say it's more "real" than that - personally I'd regard the "optimal refactoring situation" the one where you have a piece of code that originally did one thing, then had years of frankensteinesque new functionality hurriedly bolted on to it until it barely resembles it's original self and is likely to blow up if you look at it wrong. At some point rewriting the code with the complete current functionality, and likely future expansion, in mind is going to make it much clearer and easier to modify further without random bits interfering with each other.

Well, refactoring also is the opportunity to apply previous experience to the new code as well.

When refactoring, you can trim out the fat - the original code may have been written to satisfy features X, Y and Z, but as it evolved, Y and Z were never used, yet its code exists and often has to ve special cased to support real use cases of Y1 and Z3 (Z1/Z2 were old requirements that were obsoleted).

Also, decisions may have been made because the system may have added possibilities for X1, X2 and X3 as they were planned into the requirements, but real business operations deemed there was no practical use case in the end.

So refactoring to current spec simply say you need to support X, Y1 and Z3. But experience has taught you that X is unlikely to ever change, Y was revised so maybe make it possible to revise it should it be necessary, and Z needs to be flexible because it's Z3 now, but past experience shows Z4 and Z5 are likely so that code should be made as adaptable as possible. And maybe redesigned since Z needs the flexibility, while X is static and Y changes are limited.

Comment: Re:How? Reaction is equal and opposite. (Score 1) 420

The problem is that the response is not proportional because everyone who hears about this and is offended on behalf of the victim can take their little piece of revenge. There is nothing to keep this public shaming reasonable or just.

The problem is idiots who don't realize the internet is not a toy. Trolls do it for the lulz and don't realize that no, they're actually creating a very permanent record of their activities.

People are worried about "government surveillance" because it chills online speech. Guess what? The Internet does that independent of government by having basically a permanent record - what you do today can impact you decades in the future.

So I've got little sympathy for those who don't know how to behave online, because it was instilled on me since the beginning the dated phrase "If you don't want it posted on the New York Times, don't post it online". Adjust it as necessary, but the truth is there - what you do online is NOT private, and is eternally recorded and what you did might end up plastered all over the news.

Troll all you want, but realize that your five minutes of fun is recorded and you may find yourself as the top news story worldwide. If you want to offend, go for it knowing it WILL haunt you forever. This isn't a bathroom wall in some gas station - it's a gigantic unforgetting bathroom wall that the world sees.

Comment: Re:New News: Product Design is Hard! (Score 1) 211

If you think it's going to be easy to put together a real techy product with software and circuits and PCBs and enclosures and EM certification and patent minefields and manufacturing and packaging and distributors and competition, you might want to examine why you think that.

it's not even that. it's scalability.

It is SUPER easy to put together a one-off or even a 10 or 100-off product.

Scale that up to the thousands and you're looking at a difficulty rating that grows exponentially - what used to work for small batches doesn't anymore when dealing with mass production.

Ordering 1000 parts through Digikey is simple. Ordering 10,000 of same, not so simple because lead times suddenly matter - Digikey may stock the item, but only in small quantities because by the time they sell out, the lead time has expired and they have a new batch.

Not to mention if you really want to order large quantities, you don't go to Digikey, but direct to the manufacturer. You can buy through Digikey and the like, but you're at the mercy of Digikey/Arrow/Newark/etc. Work with the manufacturer and they can quote you better times and availability because they know they can batch in a bigger order. But manufacturers are tricky and most don't want to deal with itty-bitty pseudo-companies. Or they find more lucrative markets (actually happened - the manufacturer of a SAW filter for GPS suddenly got their filter approved for LTE. So the manufacturer basically stopped selling to Digikey in favor of selling direct,

Then there are the companies who just don't want to deal with you, to which you are lucky you can get the part though a reseller.

Add in testing and design for manufacturability which are complicated topics in an of themselves. Testing that used to take half an hour per board needs to be condensed to be more efficient - whether it be custom designed test fixtures, test applications, test harnesses, equipment, etc. And automate, automate, automate so the QA person only has to take their board and stick it in the fixture. If there are dozens of little connectors and other crap, accommodations should be in the fixture to make those connections without human intervention.

And then design for manufacturability - knowing how to build the boards and stick them in cases and minimizing the amount of fiddly things that have to be done so it's more a matter of build the board, stick it in the test fixture, wait for a "PASS" from the automated tester, shove the board in the case that self-aligns and close it up.

Comment: Re:Way too expensive for my blood... (Score 1) 64

by tlhIngan (#49172395) Attached to: Games Workshop At 40: How They Brought D&amp;D To Britain

No, it's just fucking dumb. By forcing people to have to tediously paint each piece by hand you limit the actual number of people who become interested.

The question is, do you turn off more people with such a requirement than you attract? Today, answer is probably yes, nobody has patience for anything. Back in the day, probably not, it was pre-internet and people sat around doing things that took a long time.

Well, considering to compete in a tournament you MUST paint the figures, that already excludes people like me who have NO artistic skill, Or even just fine painting skills. If it was up to me, the thing would be double the size when I'm done because it would be painted over and over and over again. And it'll still look like someone used a paintbrush they bought from Home Depot for painting walls.

I can understand side tournaments where people compete based on their artistic skill that's unrelated to the main event, but tying the two together means someone like me who can't paint worth a damn won't even bother trying to enter.

Comment: Re:C++ important on Apple too (Score 1) 390

Not quite. Although you can compile C++ as part of an OSX or iOS project, there's no point - other than using someone else's library. The parts of projects that aren't Obj-C tend to be C.


You're dropping out of Obj-C for cross platform compatibility, because you're dealing with a low level Apple API, or because you want maximum speed for some part of the code. All these things are usually best served by C. If you're wanting objects at the expense of speed, then you wouldn't stray from Obj-C in the first place.

Technically, you can just call C code straight from ObjC - ObjC code compiles C code just fine (unlike C++, which cannot compile C code).

Whether that code is in the same file or different doesn't matter - ObjC is a superset of C.

Comment: Re:Because you're an idiot? (Score 1) 93

by tlhIngan (#49172175) Attached to: New Seagate Shingled Hard Drive Teardown

Find me an 8TB SSD that is even within spitting disttance (hell, within ICBM distance) of $300 and you win the prize

I think that will be available in 6 years.
Bear in mind though that this SMR drive is an exception. The other manufacturers are still producing 4-6 TB drives for that price.

Well, $2000 gets you spinning rust 8TB HDDs from the other guys with fancy helium and no SMR right now. You can easily buy 4x 1TB SSDs for that price.

But you can bet even those hard drives will probably drop to $300 range soon enough (probably a couple of years). Moore's law will see the price halve in that time, so you can get an "8TB" SSD (8x 1TB) for $2000 after the spinning rust version dropped to $300-ish.

Comment: Re:Too bad (Score 1) 43

by tlhIngan (#49172079) Attached to: Google Prepares To Enter Wireless Market As an MVNO

What I see in Google is the only company that pulls off ads and spying *without* being annoying or terrible. I hate companies that inject ads into things such that it gets in the way or makes it harder to do what you were doing. I hate companies that spy on you without your permission and then do sketchy things with the results. Google ads don't get in the way, they tell you straight-up that they're spying on you, and they don't generally do anything terribly sketchy with the results. Thus, they can spy on me as much as they like, if they keep it up and use it for good.

You do realize Google is the biggest purvey of annoying ads online, right? Popups, popunders, flash ads, etc. Basically all the crap that ABP and others block. Heck, Google through its DoubleClick subsidiary created a nice flash-to-HTML5 converter.

And that Google is probably already spying on you through your apps with the in-app ads (Google owns AdMob, after all).

You have to remember that pretty much every ad on legitimate sites is served through Google. Shady sites like torrents and porn usually are where the other ad networks go. But pull up a site loaded with ads that's legit and pretty much it's all going back to Google.

Comment: Re:Because you're an idiot? (Score 1) 93

by tlhIngan (#49169597) Attached to: New Seagate Shingled Hard Drive Teardown

If you still doubt this technology, go have a look at the technological advances in hard drives, versus the technological advances of flash in the last 5 years. Hard drive vendors have very little to innovate while flash/rram are at the lower end of a hockey stick figure when it comes to innovation and price reduction. Within the next 5 years, flash/rram will replace disk, both in the enterprise as well as the consumer market.

I'd love to see your all-disk array do 2M IOPS, something that all flash arrays are capable of today. Again, at the price that (with dedupe and compression) comes darn close to your disks. Even legacy storage vendors are increasingly investing in solid state technology. Investing in disk is equal to investing in Greek government bonds.

SSDs follow Moore's law - double the transistors, double the size. You can cheat with TLC and more, but the smaller cells aren't helping. Hard drives aren't restricted to Moore's law which is why their prices can tumble.

As for 2M IOPS, if you're doing that, you need SSD, no question. But if you're doing movie editing where raw speed and basically long stripes of writes take place, you may be better off going with hard drives because you value storage over IOPS. When a CGI scene can start to require several TBs of assets to be loaded for rendering (seriously, the modern movie is already pushing 200+TB of assets just for CGI), 2M IOPS isn't so critical.

And if your business needs 2M IOPS and 8TB of storage at 2M IOPS, there are companies willing to accommodate you, and sure you're going to be paying tens of thousands, but if you're pushing that sort of workload, that's probably well worth the investment.

Anyhow, I can see SMR drives serving as yet another tier in the storage hierarchy - you have the SSD for the hot files, the cooler files get put on a huge regular storage array, and the SMR drives serve as cold files long term near-availability storage, and then you have tape for offline storage. The SSD gets used for the files where they're busy so it's fast, the hard drives serve up older files that are referenced only once in a while, and the SMR serves as a archive pool for files accessed rarely or not at all, just before being dumped to tape.

Or, perhaps SMR drives can be used in high capacity applications where it's mostly read only. Think like a digital download store (music, movies), or Netflix. Updating a single file on an SMR is painful, but if you're going to write a big movie to the disk and everyone's going to be reading from it, a large cheap SMR drive fits the bill because it's going to be read from far more than written to.

Comment: Re:The idea was a good one, the execution poor (Score 1) 201

by tlhIngan (#49165537) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Honestly, I'm still baffled so many people were upset about getting a few album from a popular, well respected, rock band, simply because it found its way directly onto people's devices. It's not as if it woke you up at 3am and started playing it!

Well, you're looking at several phenomenon combined into one.

First, it's Apple. Apple is newsworthy. If you need ad clicks, mention Apple. Did I mention Apple generates traffic? It's at the point where I'm sure we'll see headlines like "Apple CEO Tim Cook Scratches Butt During Keynote" soon enough.

Second, law of big numbers. Let's say only 0.1% of people hate U2 to complain. Out of half a billion iTunes users, that's half a million people. It doesn't take much to think one of those people has a blog that's worth anything. And combined with the first, well, boom, all over the news.

Third, well, people only really complain when they have a complaint. If 99.9% of the people liked free music, they probably won't all post "cool, free stuff!" online. No, those people who have an issue with it "oh noes, free stuff, don't want!" will post all sorts of messages about it. Combine it with the first and second, and it explodes.

Hell, I'd expect if an error in a factory production line caused a fingerprint to be left on the screen it would be a massive national disaster. Even though one could easily just wipe the offending fingerprint off.

Comment: Re:Nice resolution (Score 1) 96

by tlhIngan (#49165365) Attached to: Valve and HTC Reveal "Vive" SteamVR Headset

But remembering interviews with Occulus developers there is more to VR than a good resolution and tracking. Things like ridiculous low latency needed to prevent motion sickness and screen artifacts caused by rapid panning. Has Valve solved these things in record time in secret or will this be a better specs on paper but worse in practice product ?

Or you're looking at the fact that VR is being super hyped up, and it's only a matter of time before some company comes up with a consumer product on the market. I mean, Occulus has been around for how many years now releasing devkits but no consumer hardware.

So it's leaving a huge gap in the market - which two scenarios are going to play out. Either VR is going to fizzle out because the public is so tired of seeing Occulus this, Occulus that and nothing is available to actually buy (other than what Samsung releases) that they get tired of the hype and it dies as vaporware. Or someone sees that they can make a quick buck and releases crap, and the public buys into it because Occulus has been hyping it up as the next big thing, but someone else releases a product to get first-mover advantage and satisfy pent up demand. Doesn't matter if it's crap or it makes people sick, people will see it as a Occulus competitor and assume that it'll be representative of the state of VR.

And if it makes people sick, guess what? People will think Occulus isn't all that based on what people experienced with what they could buy.

Remember, the public is going to latch onto what they can get first

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 231

by tlhIngan (#49165213) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

It's really interesting how quality feel and real quality mismatch. Bendy plastic absorbs drops way better then solid stainless steel. Steel mostly transfers the energy to the screen, which cracks. Or it deforms permanently. Properly designed plastic pops off and can then be popped back.

And that's the thing. Plastic is cheap - it's why the vast majority of cheap crap is made from plastic. Nice stuff is made from metal, which isn't as easy to work with (you can't really injection-mold metal very well - you could with liquidmetal but that's Apple-exclusive), so building out of metal already costs a lot more to build. When you're spending $600, you sort of want to feel like you're getting your money's worth.

Going from metal to plastic is considered the #1 cost cutting measure in industry - consumers generally view going from metal to plastic as a move that cheapens stuff because plastic is tackier.

Building a good device out of plastic is quite hard - you need to pick the right surface finishes otherwise your plastic can lead to interesting long term issues. You need to assemble it correctly - there's nothing more disconcerting than buying something for $600 and it creaks at the slightest bend (usually a sign of poorly-fitted parts).

Comment: Re:I should think so! (Score 1) 107

by tlhIngan (#49165089) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs

With both the BD+ vm and the BD-J stuff, there is a lot of attention paid to 'ooh, the an unauthorized player attempting to do unauthorized things with the content on the disk?!'; but the contents of the disk are largely treated as trusted and the playback device is treated almost entirely as a potential adversary, not as a potential target, either from the disk side or the network side.

This is an unfortunate part of the Blu-Ray standard - the only people who are supposed to be able to author a Blu-Ray disc using BDMV profile are... studios. Initially, back during the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray war (who I found out that they did actually want to unify the two into one rather than go to battle it out - they just couldn't agree on BD-Java vs. JavaScript (HD Interactive) and dug their heels in), HD-DVD was AACS-optional, allowing for home authored HD-DVD discs which played everywhere.

  But Blu-Ray was designed to be an exclusively Hollywood format with content dictated by the Blu-ray association (Sony proudly declared they were never going to make porn Blu-Rays, for example back then). AACS was mandatory, which meant you couldn't make a BDMV profile disc at home - you were given the BDAV profile instead which allowed for non-AACS content. In fact, it was so bad that if you mastered a BDMV disc, it would play in some Blu-Ray players but not others.

These days, either through lax enforcement or explicit standards, AACS is optional on Blu-Rays and you can author basic BDMVs. But early players did not allow BD-R's to be BDMV, not by physical limitations, but software.

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972