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Google To Take 'Apple-Like' Control Over Nexus Phones (droid-life.com) 179

Soulskill writes: According to a (paywalled) report in The Information, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wants the company to take greater control over development of their Nexus smartphones. When producing Nexus phones, Google has always partnered with manufacturers, like Samsung, LG, and HTC, who actually built the devices. Rather than creating a true revenue stream, Google's main goal has been to provide a reference for what Android can be like without interference from carriers and manufacturers. (For example, many users are frustrated by Samsung's TouchWiz skin, as well as the bloatware resulting from deals with carriers.

But now, Google appears to want more control. The report indicates Google wants to do a better job of competing throughout the market. They want to compete with Apple on the high end, but also seem concerned that manufacturers haven't put enough effort into quality budget phones. The article at Droid-Life argues, "We all know that Nexus phones will never be household items until Google puts some marketing dollars behind them. Will a top-to-bottom approach finally push them to do that?"

Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 178

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 178

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment Just a Motorola Oncore Receiver bug (Score 3, Interesting) 187

This is the second time a bug in the firmware of Motorola Oncore GPS receivers have manifested itself. There is a bug relating to a 32 bit wide bitmap, and DoD just took the GPS satellite numbered 32 out of the constellation and that seems to be the cause. I have data for two such receivers showing the anomaly and for one different receiver seeing no trouble at all.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

Comment Re:It's the population, duh! (Score 2) 63

I have to say it's this. 50% of the US population lives in the Eastern time zone. That means if you only have things on the east coast, you are most likely to cover everyone. Ask someone in a central state what their latency and network paths are, you end up going to Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, LA and sometimes the bay area to change networks. Not a lot of interconnection happens in the mountain states, and even markets like Phoenix while large don't quite have enough density to make sense.

Comment Re:Not a big deal... (Score 2) 458

No, not necessarily. The problem isn't so much the cpu cores, those will be mostly backwards-compatible. The real problem are all the other discrete PCI devices. If Microsoft does not provide updated drivers for their older OS releases, those older releases have no chance of working on newer hardware.

For example, Intel's Skylake chipset has I219 gigabit ethernet now (uprev from I218 which itself was an uprev from I217). The chance of older ethernet drivers working with newer chips is zero. In the case of the I219, the flash mapping and access mechanics changed drastically.

The integrated GPU is another good example. Skylake is up to Gen9. The chances that Gen8 code will work with it are zero.

One can go down the list. The only chipsets which are generic enough for older drivers to work are going to be the USB and AHCI chipsets. Everything else? Forget it.

But I don't know why people are complaining so much. The same can be said for BSD and Linux distros. An older BSD or Linux release is not going to work on newer systems. Most people don't care since they just update to the latest. While it is possible to backport the drivers to older OS releases, not very many people have the skill required so for all intents and purposes you need to run newer OpenSource OS's on these newer chips too.

-Matt

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