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Comment Re:"Microsoft abandoning it just as Yahoo is adopt (Score 1) 204

Cash cows are forever? Hardly. Tell that to buggy whip manufacturers at the advent of the automobile, or more to the point, tell that to IBM's Mainframe Division in 1978. All cash cows will eventually die as they fall out of relevance, and cash cows in the computer industry have a far shorter lifetime than they do in other industries as the computer industry moves far more swiftly.

True, MS's cash cows probably still have a few more decades of life in them yet, but Microsoft is at least smart enough not to rest on their laurels and make an effort at getting into the mobile sector, however pathetic their current attempts at doing so are.

By the way, I looked up United Technologies, and well, I don't know why you bring them up. They're a technology company all right, but they don't look a computer company to me. They look more like Boeing than Microsoft or IBM, and well, the aerospace industry is rather different from the computer industry, and doesn't have anywhere near the same rate of change that the computer industry does.

Comment Re:"Microsoft abandoning it just as Yahoo is adopt (Score 1) 204

True, Microsoft's revenue keeps going up, but that doesn't mean anything. They are no longer supreme dictator of the tech world, able to control the industry at their whim, as they were in the glory days of the nineties and early 2000s. I remember a time when the industry jumped at every word Microsoft said, when the mere thought that they were getting into something was enough to make the faint of heart pull out to avoid competing with them head-on. No more. They're about as relevant and dangerous to the leading edge of computer technology as IBM or SAP. Microsoft is turning into a boring old company just like them.

The other thing is that a vast portion of Microsoft's revenue comes from only two cash cows: Windows and Office, and those two are beginning their slide into irrelevance with the rise of mobile computing. Hence their rather pathetic efforts so far to try to get into that market. It's something that they must succeed in somehow, and they need someone with true vision to edge into the market dominated by Apple and Google. Ballmer wasn't it.

Comment SSL (Score 5, Informative) 335

I suppose using HTTPS would have helped even a little, if Slashdot ever bothered to do so. The victims might have noticed that the certificates changed, even if they did check out, most especially if they used HTTPS Everywhere. They couldn't just foist off an SSL cert for Slashdot signed by some other CA (or even the same CA) then: the SSL Observatory would have noticed the change in the certificate the way SSH notices that public keys to servers you connect to change. Unless of course Slashdot gave its (non-existent) private keys to GCHQ, in which case all bets are now off. Why browser SSL doesn't automatically cache certs the way SSH does and warn if there's a change that doesn't involve certificate expiry or revocation is something that isn't quite clear to me.

Comment Re:You've gotta be kidding me (Score 4, Informative) 169

I not only read the article but also the associated paper, and it seems that the proposed scheme involves precisely that. They generate some random inkblots and you have to give them some imaginative descriptions. Nevertheless I remain unconvinced that this is a good idea from a usability standpoint. I haven't even been able to find a link to a working mock-up of the system in action, so I could try it out.

Comment Re:Gee, they're going to build an ARM-based comput (Score 4, Informative) 176

Nonsense. For the other stuff you need to buy, a case is the only one that has to be custom made, but I bought mine for only about $8 from RS as I recall. Most modern mobile phones have MicroUSB chargers that can readily be used with the RPi. The official power supply from RS was $15 when I bought it, and now I wish I hadn't, because mobile phone chargers that can produce 5V/2A DC can be had for less than $5. And who the hell doesn't have tons of old SD cards lying around? I have dozens of old 2GB-4GB cards lying around, gathering dust, left over from old digital cameras and such. In any case I can buy a new 4GB card for approximately $5 (or an 8GB for $8), and that's more than enough space to install Raspbian. Total bill thus comes up to $35 + $8 + $5 + $5 = $53.

Now, I see that you can probably buy a refurbished 300 MHz Pentium II-based PC (which is how powerful the Raspberry Pi's processor is said to be on their FAQ) for $60-$70 or so, but it would have only 64-128 megs RAM (good luck finding more RAM compatible with it), and probably an old IDE hard drive that is smaller than the $5 SD card (sorry, SATA didn't exist when that machine was manufactured), and no or very primitive 2D/3D acceleration (no luck doing H.264 decoding on such hardware, so it can't even run XBMC), and it consumes ten times more power. So you just spent $20 more for a machine inferior in almost every way to the Raspberry Pi. Good call.

Comment Re:Gee, they're going to build an ARM-based comput (Score 3, Insightful) 176

Your definition of hacking sounds like all software to me. I mentioned software and hardware. There isn't even a plain RS-232 serial or Centronics/IEEE-1284 parallel port on most modern PCs any more, which were the easiest ways to do hardware interfacing back in the day, and you'll be lucky to even have a host USB port on most mobile devices. USB can be used to do hardware interfacing, but it is in no way as trivial as serial or parallel port interfacing used to be. You could actually wire TTL-level logic straight to a parallel port, and you can wire the same stuff to the Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins with just a pull-down resistor (or you could use 3.3v CMOS logic instead).

Comment Re:Gee, they're going to build an ARM-based comput (Score 5, Insightful) 176

How many GPIO pins does your ARM tablet have by the way? I sometimes wire wrap discrete components and sensors and stuff to the ones on my Raspberry Pi and write software to drive them.

The Raspberry Pi isn't just a cheap ARM-based PC. An important part of its vision is to bring back the spirit of hacking, both software and hardware, that used to be possible in the old computers of the 1980s. This has become very difficult to do on modern x86 PCs, and is all but impossible on mobile devices. The people who bash the Pi these days tend to forget that part for some reason.

Comment Re:Neutrino Detection? (Score 3, Informative) 85

Why yes, neutrinos have been detected. The relevant paper is this: C. L Cowan Jr., F. Reines, F. B. Harrison, H. W. Kruse, A. D McGuire (July 20, 1956). "Detection of the Free Neutrino: a Confirmation". Science 124 (3212): 103â"4. Note the date. Frederick Reines won the 1995 Nobel Prize for these experiments that established the existence of the neutrino.

It's hard to say that they're indirect detections. How do we even detect something like an electron? By the fundamental forces like electromagnetism, which is no different in principle from the methods used to detect neutrinos, which work by weak nuclear force interactions. The trouble is that neutrinos are affected only by gravity and the weak nuclear force (making them an example of a dark matter WIMP), so detecting them is rather hard, given that the forces involved are so weak.

Comment Re:Subjects in comments are stupid (Score 2) 157

Well, there is a value proposition in the $550 iPad 3 for many people, enough people for Apple to profitably sell it at that price point. Some folks find it easier to use, with more apps they care about, and so forth. Enough that they're willing to pay the $150 premium over the Nexus 10. I personally don't consider the premium worth it, but enough other people do, and that makes all the difference. Apple is making something that people want, at a price they feel is fair.

Let's see, one of the first hits on Amazon for a core i5 ultrabook is this, at $584.98, as opposed to $1088.99 for the Surface Pro. It has a Core i5 processor, same as the Surface Pro, also runs Windows 8, same as the Surface Pro. It has 500 GB of storage as opposed to only 128 GB on the Surface Pro. It weighs 3.96 lbs as opposed to only 2 lbs for the Surface Pro, its touchscreen probably isn't as good as the Surface Pro's, and the Surface Pro's screen resolution is higher at 1920x1080 vs. 1366x768 for the VivoBook, and perhaps the battery lasts longer, but that's about it. Frankly, I don't care about these advantages enough to pay $504.01 for them, and I frankly haven't heard any convincing arguments anywhere to justify that huge, huge price difference. I could buy two VivoBooks for just a little over the price of one Surface Pro! The fact that they don't seem to be selling very much either makes me believe that more people have my opinion than disagree. Microsoft is perhaps making something some people might want, but at a price they cannot really justify.

Comment Re: Subjects in comments are stupid (Score 3) 157

The "waycom pen and touchscreen" is the only thing you listed which I don't get with a $600 ultrabook, and it definitely isn't worth the $400 difference to me. I make no pretense of being some kind of artist, and my pointing device needs are more than served by a $10 mouse or a built-in trackpad thank you very much. And I think it's cute how you missed the whole point of the obligatory car analogy.

Comment Re:Subjects in comments are stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 157

Its destiny was not decided by "geeky douchebag hipsters" but by Microsoft. Explain the value proposition in paying US$1000 for an x86 tablet when there are ultrabooks with comparable specs that can be had for almost half the price. Honestly, I'd actually consider buying a Surface Pro, if it were priced at maybe $500-600. Microsoft priced themselves out of the market. They are not and will never be Apple, no matter how much Ballmer wishes otherwise. It's like Toyota marketing a sports car under the Toyota name, with Ferrari prices.

Comment Re:Apple made the same mistake (Score 1) 390

How many companies made Macintosh-compatible computers on the 1980s? How many companies made IBM-compatible computers in the 1980s? How many companies make smartphones that are compatible with the iPhone today? How many companies make smartphones compatible with Android today? The answers to these two sets of questions are the same, and that is the whole point about openness. It illustrates how Apple still has the same mindset they had 30 years ago, and why they'll eventually become marginalised into a niche again.

Comment Re:I wonder.. (Score 1) 358

Dunno if this is related. It seems to have happened to me on occasion since the 4.3 update, although I don't think it's completely off. About once every couple of weeks I'll be listening to music or audiobooks on my Nexus 4, and it will continue playing. The music doesn't stop, and apparently I can still control playback by means of the Bluetooth headset. However, the power button doesn't bring the screen back on, and nothing short of giving the power button a long press, the way I would when turning it on when it has been turned off, will suffice to bring it back up again.

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Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.