Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Talk to us first if you wish to patent the chan (Score 1) 37

by tlhIngan (#49564625) Attached to: Imagination To Release Open MIPS Design To Academia

It's very common these days for companies to allow universities to use their technology at the cost of tying the company into the university's patent revenue. And of course this is often publicly-funded research, so not only is the taxpayer paying for the development of patents used to sue that same taxpayer, the patents go directly to a company from academia.

Well, it's "talk to us first" which probably means "if you want to patent this, you're going to have to license it to us" sort of deal.

I mean, think about it - the company is offering researchers the chance to work on a live product. If the researchers generate something good, then patent it, the company could find that it is hamstrung because the university it gave research materials to has now blocked it from producing the next-generation product.

Basically the companies want to give researchers materials they need to do their research, but they're also not wanting to shoot themselves in the foot for their generosity (which often includes engineering support at the highest levels) by now being forced to pay huge sums of money for the privilege of furthering research.

So there are several reasons.

One is simple fairness - materials were provided for your research and it would be appreciated to not bite the hands that feed you. So if something gets patented, then perhaps a license to use those patents can be negotiated, with a slight discount

If it results in patents that others are licensing, then maybe a tiny royalty for providing the materials to fund the research.

If a university objects, the simple answer is to not accept the offer and to use other materials.

It's really no different than if a company provided funds for a research grant, except instead of providing cash, they're providing materials.

Comment: Re:Do not want (Score 1) 101

by tlhIngan (#49564365) Attached to: Smart Headlights Adjust To Aid Drivers In Difficult Conditions

My current car (a 12 Infiniti) has the steering headligts - great in the parking lot, really makes a different, not sure how much it matters at speed. It's currently a luxury feature, but with time and technology it won't be.

Steering headlights aren't used as much at speed because at speed, you generally have far greater field of view so you can see farther ahead to anticipate.

Steering headlights are useful at low speeds, generally urban turns and corners where the light suddenly pointing out a pedestrian is far more useful.

Comment: Re:ESPN can go eff themselves. (Score 2) 287

by tlhIngan (#49563405) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles

And no pocket is being picked. Companies willingly pay them for their channel because the vast majority of cable subscribers want it. They always want to pay less, of course, but the other option (no ESPN) just isn't viable in most cases.

ESPN is the most expensive channel on cable, and it comprises probably close to HALF the cost of basic cable - ESPN charges cable providers around $12/month/subscriber.

Contrast with History or Discovery - you can get every channel on either network for under $1/month/subscriber - the amount you pay on basic cable for each amounts to under 50 cents. And practically all the cable channels are paid like that - well under a quarter each.

That's why ESPN is angry - because having every subscriber pay it tons of money every month is a great business model - including those who don't want it.

Comment: Re:long run? (Score 1) 149

by tlhIngan (#49561015) Attached to: Google Officially Discontinues Nexus 7 Tablet

2 years is a long run? Hard drives used to have 5 year warranty. Many still have 2 year warranty. Cutting off a people who use the device to store their personal info after 2 years is a "long run"? Aha.

2 years is a wonderfully long run for Android stuff... you're usually lucky to get ANY software update, and here it's brought to the latest and greatest. Especially since I think the 2013 N7 went from Jelly Bean to Kit Kat and now Lolipop. Which is remarkable in a Nexus device in general.

Comment: Re:translation (Score 1) 329

by tlhIngan (#49560867) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Translation: The app store wasn't ready when the 1st gen iPhone was released (Apple had already been experimenting with 3rd party apps for the iPod before the iPhone was even announced). Like all Apple products, the 1st generation is beta testing of an incomplete product (iWatch buyers beware).

Actually, the App Store wasn't even in the works - Apple really did insist people write web-apps if they wanted to extend the iPhone. It's why Apple released Safari for Windows (so Windows devs could test their web apps), why Apple went to add HTML5 extensions to access the sensors (accelerometer), touchscreen, and camera, etc.

It was only after seeing the devs cry for a native SDK AND seeing the jailbreak community with their own "app store" that Apple realized there might be potential. The App Store policies were revealed then as well - if you didn't want to go through the review process, write a web app. Else submit for approval.

A few days afterwards Google announced Android would have an open app store.

The App Store really took after the old Installer.app in the jailbreak days - previous app stores included Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, and the dozens of others for platforms like Symbian, PalmOS, and Windows Mobile, which were basically external 3rd party websites that you paid money to and they sent you a file or registration code.

Comment: Re:Okay (Score 1) 74

by tlhIngan (#49560647) Attached to: Oculus Rift: 2015 Launch Unlikely, But Not Impossible

I just feel that it's strange for some people to say they won't contribute to wikipedia - because they fear somebody else with an agenda will just revert their edits.. on any subject.. all the time.. with nobody backing them up despite facts - and at the same time complain about lack of certain information on wikipedia. At the point where they won't contribute, themselves, they should have written off wikipedia as a source of information entirely; unless they think they're special and everybody else's contributions are free of such tyranny.

it's not fear of reversions - reversions happen all the time. It's rather the waste of time putting real effort in, tagging, citing and doing everything properly, then boom, revert.

Doesn't matter if you spent a whole week perfecting the article and made it a stunning example of what could be done, it just takes power-mad editor 2 seconds to say "I hate it, revert" and that's that.

Edit wars are a sign that people still care to take the time to invest in editing. But after you spent an hour fixing a problem, only to see it reverted the next day, you start feeling your time could be better spent elsewhere.

People won't bother to contribute if they feel their contributions won't be taken seriously. Fixing a simple date in an article that takes 2 minutes is one thing, but fixing up an article to the point where it's fully in compliance takes hours or days, all of which can be lost in seconds.

That's the environment Wikipedia has become.

Comment: Re:Do they charge patent royalties for Windows Pho (Score 1) 103

by tlhIngan (#49560559) Attached to: Microsoft Increases Android Patent Licensing Reach

No device maker is forced to include an SD card slot

You know, Google's actually quite good about patents. They actually worked around all the patents in Android - it was only the likes of Samsung that decided that the de-facto Android UI wasn't 'good enough' and decided to follow the iPhone. Which is why Apple went after Samsung, and not Google. Because Google worked around it in Android (the rounded corners patent), while Samsung basically implemented the entire patent.

Google got rid of the SD slot on the Galaxy Nexus for that reason as well - they saw the patents, and the easiest way to avoid it was to not have to worry about it. So you dump the SD slot, which means you don't need to support FAT32. Ah, but internal storage - you solve that by using MTP instead of MSC. Boom, you do not need to license FAT32 at all on a Google Nexus device.

Android avoids a lot of patent issues. It's just that manufacturers bring them back in - want MSC or SD slot? Now you have to support to FAT32. Want to look like an iPhone? Now you have to pay Apple.

Comment: Re: Vapourware (Score 1) 74

by tlhIngan (#49553815) Attached to: Oculus Rift: 2015 Launch Unlikely, But Not Impossible

I'm guessing the next rev will have a 4k display. I believe the competition is also looking into that as well. Given the extra R&D on an entirely new concept with equally impressive tech; I give the launch date late 2016 or early 2017 for a consumer product.

And the question is - is it too late? I mean, we've been hearing about OR for years now, and all the wonderful things it can do. Consumers are ripe for *ANYTHING* to come onto the market.

An enterprising Chinese manufacturer can release POS versions of OR with crappy screens and laggy tech and make it for $150. If they release it by the holidays, that will be the big Christmas gift of the year.

And by CES 2016, everyone would wonder what the hype was about, and damage the concept so badly, even an Apple version wouldn't get the market going again.

The technology is being hyped up way beyond reasonable. The first out of the gate could really go and spoil it for everyone.

Yes, a high-res display is nice, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if it wasn't there. You want the low latency and fast response and that is already there. Someone releasing a crappy version would bring about the same thing that happened every time it's tried - it flops, and the technology gets shelved for another decade.

Comment: Re:Time is relative. (Score 1) 45

by tlhIngan (#49545715) Attached to: Hubble Turns 25

Hubble only feels like 24.99996 years old.

Isn't it the other way? 25 years on the surface of the earth would mean MORE time has passed for something that's in Earth's orbit - time slows the deeper you are in a gravity well.

So technically, Hubble more than 25 years old by now, even though on the surface of Earth, only 25 years has passed.

Comment: Re:I doubt Apple will stay in the market (Score 1) 417

by tlhIngan (#49545513) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

There isn't a whole lot in there for them. Margins are thin and their hardware is no longer unique since they are using the same Intel CPUs that everyone else uses. Apple almost certainly makes more money on iPhones and tablets than they do on PCs and laptops; I and others expect that they will transition from selling PC and everything else to selling everything else and software.

Well, how do you expect developers to write apps for iOS to do? Move to Windows?

And while the PC market is "bad", you have to realize Apple still moves millions of Macs every year - it may not be the most profitable line, but it still makes money (more than iTunes revenue does, though Apple tries to keep that one down since they want to sell content to move hardware).

It's also interesting how people claim Apple will kill off the PC, and that the "Post PC" era means that. No, the Post-PC era means the PC as the central unit of computing is over. PCs will be around, just there will be more varied computing devices around, from smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and other things. Which one you pick depends on the intended activity. Instead of households needing 1 PC per family member, it's decreased to 1 (or 2) shared PC while everyone uses a tablet and smartphone. Heck, remember netbooks? They were a stopgap measure that people used so they could avoid having to take turns at the PC.

Desktop PCs have moved out from the realm of the way to get a super cheap PC to the realm of enthusiast PCs - they're no longer the cheapest computing option, but they still remain the option of choice if you want high end computing. Which is fine - as the market changes niches evolve. Laptops are cheap and plentiful (see Best Buy) and if you need a PC for home, they're the preferred option - they're small, portable, look clean on the desk, are powerful enough and external expansion makes overcoming their limitations trivially easy.

Apple's worst performing product line is the iPod, for obvious reasons - they don't move much, they don't make much. Even they make more money than iTunes. Macs are a staple at Apple, and while I see them cutting down the number of models they offer in the near future, they'll still offer them for a long time to come. The PC market won't disappear - it's just less important nowadays than it was in the past.

Comment: Re:You got it all backwards ... (Score 2) 301

The entertainment business has been making way too much for way too long. Those days are over and there's no going back.

What we're hearing from IP interests is their last breaths.

People are going to have to produce entertainment for time and material and a realistic margin of profit.

It will be good.

People will be producing IP because, by golly, by gum, it's fun.

You're right, it's going to be good.

Because it means I can release a Linux based device without following the GPL anymore since that's bound to "IP Protections" which no longer exist. I mean, without IP protections, the GPL is meaningless because the GPL requires IP protections in order to operate.

If you don't get how it works - the GPL gives you rights that you otherwise won't have under IP laws. You have a choice - obey existing IP laws which restrict what you can do with the GPL'd software, or obey the GPL to get the enhanced rights it offers. But without IP protections, you can do anything with GPL'd software without needing to agree to the GPL.

It would be wonderful - no more GPL lawsuits, no more having to read the pesky open source license - just take and give away the binaries.

And yes, you CAN pirate open-source software, since the right to derive and distribute comes from the license itself - IP laws do not give you those rights, so if you do not want to obey the license, you are pirating (copyright infringement).

Oh, how glorious it is when one need not distribute their source code anymore! And even better, people will write the code for you, for free to take!

Comment: Re:root = same process (Score 1) 129

Gatekeeper also isn't "all MacOS X security". There's separate malware detection, and in order to do much of anything the user has to enter their computer account password.

It's a minor part of OS X security, mostly designed to keep casual users from installing stuff outside the apple store.

Actually, it keeps people from running stuff downloaded from untrusted sources.

Basically, anything downloaded from the Internet is considered "bad" unless they paid Apple to either host it in the Mac App Store, or they paid Apple for a code signing certificate and signed the app.

Gatekeeper can be worked around in two ways - install the app via a "trusted method" - which could be from a read-only media (e.g., CD or DVD), output of the OS X developer tools or other mechanism (e.g., external file server). Or you wipe out the extended attributes of a downloaded file since that's how OS X tracks trust level.

Gatekeeper only activates on untrusted sources. Trusted sources are fine.

This has resulted in an interesting situation since OS X inadvertently promotes open source - the output of the compiler is trusted, thus will never activate Gatekeeper. If you don't want to get a signing certificate from Apple, just distribute the source code...

Comment: Re:Remember this when people say D vs R doesnt mat (Score 1) 99

by tlhIngan (#49540991) Attached to: Bloomberg Report Suggests Comcast & Time Warner Merger Dead

As much as I feel disappointed and disgusted by things that Obama and other Democrats have done over the last several years, I still don't buy the whole line that some people here on Slashdot trot out all the time: that Democrats and Republicans are the same thing.

You know that this deal would have sailed through and there's no way the FCC would have pushed for Title 2 regulation, if a Republican were in the White House right now.

Actually, I'm surprised so much is happening on Obama's final term. Usually the second term of a president is coasting because he knows he's not getting re-elected, while everyone else is clamoring for his spot in the next election, so no matter what the president does, it doesn't matter because everyone else is using it to campaign for 4 years. Doesn't matter which party - oppose the president if it gets you votes.

Hence the term lame duck - the president's second term is supposed to be one where they are powerless and really just keeping the White House warm...

Comment: Re: Figures (Score 4, Interesting) 366

by tlhIngan (#49538337) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users

It seems unlikely that development support of XP is more costly than the revenue generated by XP users. And Apple has plenty of cash. But this may still be shrewd - let's see if there's a bump in Mac sales this quarter. These users represent existing Apple customers running an OS that Microsoft abandoned. They don't need to know about how fast Apple abandons hardware, but to be fair Apple does upgrades pretty nicely. They can blame MS and gain the customer, all by hosing said customer. Devious and clever.

Well, Apple knows how many XP users use iTunes. They know how much those XP users spend and can easily determine if they're just a tiny fraction of those using Vista or later, or significant enough to continue supporting them. Apple has all that data.

And I've seen it too as my main machine is XP. I'd love to upgrade it if I had the cash (I do have a Win 7 machine used for other purposes so I'm not SOL). Thing is, iTunes still does work, it's just crapping out randomly a bit more than usual - Monday was plagued with the inability to log in (but closing and restarting iTunes several times fixed it), and app updates seem to be an on and off thing (mostly off).

And how fast Apple abandons hardware? Maybe for iOS where you get 50% more support time than the main competition (at least in cases where you get supported updates). Macs that can run Yosemite date back to 2010 or so.

Apple though, does abandon older software a lot faster - they only do support the last two versions of OS X and iOS in general.

This may well have less to do with Apple being mean and cutting off XP users from their fix and more with Apple dropping support for ciphers that are anything but secure anymore, with XP simply not supporting the more current ciphers with better algorithms and more robustness (like forward secrecy). If they didn't, the rant would not go away but simply shift to "Apple's sloppy handling of security puts your content at risk".

Here's the thing - iTunes runs on a virtual version of OS X - one of the reasons it's so big is that it brings with it a bunch of OS X libraries adapted for Windows. Things like ciphers and SSL and all that, Apple already has ported versions of the OS X libraries for that they update - it doesn't use the OS libraries for it.

And in fact, there's nothing wrong with iTunes itself - my version of iTunes worked perfectly until the past week or so - and no, I didn't install any new version of iTunes. So Apple changed something that broke iTunes on its end because iTunes worked before and it wasn't changed

Comment: Re:ostensibly for sorting purposes (Score 2) 65

by tlhIngan (#49538163) Attached to: New Privacy Concerns About US Program That Can Track Snail Mail

But the real "so what" is that they are OCRing the mail, so even if they were throwing away all of those scans, they would still reasonably be storing the metadata

I would expect them to OCR the mail. in fact, the postal system has the best OCR in the business which can read printed/typed/stickered labels (even at an angle), and handwriting. The accuracy of the system is beyond what you can find - 99.99% accuracy means 1 in 10,000 letters has an error, and if you're dealing with millions of pieces of mail that's not pre-sorted, correcting that requires lots of manual assistance. (they have special stations that let the operator view the mail but not actually handle it and type a corrected address).

Storing images of the OCR'd labels is simply smart because it means you have a set of working scans, a set of failed scans (with corrected addresses) and can run tweaks to the OCR software through actual real live labels that passed and failed and discover whether or not your fix improved matters or made things worse.

Don't panic.

Working...