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Comment Re:Ad company defends business model (Score 4, Insightful) 184

Company threatened by emergence of a new model of online compensation uses control over existing infrastructure to severely limit its penetration into the market.

Not really. Running a miner is not a way that legitimate content sites recover their cost of operation. It's a way to grab some of the viewer's cycles for mining without their knowing it. If you want viewers to pay for use of your site in CPU cycles, design a protocol for that which will tell the user what they're paying, and allow them to pay it fairly or inform their decision to stay off your site.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 2) 178

I once worked for a non-profit that funded scientific field research. Two of us were standing outside with a researcher who had just returned from spending months in one of those inflatable rainforest tree rafts, when a huge, iridescent staghorn beetle landed right at our feet.

The scientist shoved us back. "Don't step on it!"

The other staffer I was with gave him a totally uncomprehending look, and I had to explain to the researcher: "The kind of people who work here don't step on weird looking bugs. They pick them up and play with them."

Comment Re:Gotta be water, not air (Score 1) 81

This just like setting up an inertial platform in the ocean. You tow the long tube out horizontally and then flood one end of it. The flooding end sinks while the not-flooded-yet end pops up.

If you divided the platform into two watertight segments, you could flood just one of the compartments and it would flip up to a vertical orientation with part of the non-flooded compartment below the waterline. You then position the tower where you want it, and flood the upper compartment just enough to settle it on the sea floor with enough force to keep it in place. It remains in part supported in its upright position by bouyancy. The flooded section is under compression; the part with air is under tension up to the displacement point of the above-water part.

Comment Re:I don't take my charger with me. I may charge i (Score 1) 71

Apple have an advantage here because they make both the software and the hardware and can tune both to improve performance.

E.g. in one of Louis Rossman's videos he found out that the trackpad in a Macbook supports both SPI and USB. It runs in USB mode when you run Windows via Bootcamp or are in the EFI shell but SPI when you run macOS.

SPI is obviously a lower power bus, but of course it's easier to add support for HID over SPI to an OS you control than it to one you don't.

So Apple have a special mode to save power by running the trackpad in SPI mode rather than USB.

Comment Re:Runs win 32. (Score 1) 71


Intel actually did the same thing in reverse to allow Arm only NDK binaries to run pretty well on x86 Android devices. A lot of games were C/OpenGL applications ported from iOS that ended up being compiled to ARM binaries, not Java and libhoundini got pretty decent performance translating them to x86.

In fact Dec had a translation layer which translated x86 NT binaries to Alpha native binaries. That actually run the code in emulation until it had profiled it and found all the entry points and then did a translation which it cached on disk. So at one point the Dec Alpha was the fastest processor for running x86 binaries.

Of course this sort of thing only really works if you translated code from a low power/low performance chip to a comparatively high power/high performance chip, i.e. x86 to Alpha or ARM to x86. Back when libhoudini was launched the Atom had a bit more native performance than the fastest ARM chips, albeit when consuming much more power when active.

Now the problem with translating something like Photoshop to run on ARM is that people typically run Photoshop on a fairly high end x64 system. A low power ARM implementation like a Snapdragon 835 doesn't have the horsepower to run it well even assuming the translation layer does a perfect job.

Comment Re:Yep - government rules encourage rent-seeking (Score 0) 92

The problem the US has is not too few rules. It has a vast number of rules, and each new rule has been subtly altered by interested parties lobbying. And those interested parties are very, very good at gaming the rules that exist and at the same time lobby for subtle changes in any new rules which suit their interests and screw their opponents.

A couple of examples would be the ban on Kinder Surprise eggs.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits confectionery products which contain a "non-nutritive object", unless the non-nutritive object has functional value.[19] Essentially, the Act bans "the sale of any candy that has embedded in it a toy or trinket".[20]

In 1997, the staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) examined and issued a recall for some Kinder Surprise illegally brought into the US with foreign labels.[21] The staff determined that the toys within the eggs had small parts. The staff presumed that Kinder Surprise, being a chocolate product, was intended for children of all ages, including those under three years of age. On this basis, the staff took the position that Kinder Surprise was in violation of the small parts regulation and should be banned from importation into the US.[21]

Kinder Surprise eggs are legal in Canada and Mexico, but are illegal to import into the US. In January 2011, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) threatened a Manitoba resident with a $300 (Canadian dollars) fine for carrying one egg across the US border into Minnesota.[22] In June 2012, CBP held two Seattle men for two and a half hours after discovering six Kinder Surprise eggs in their car upon returning to the US from a trip to Vancouver. According to one of the men detained, a border guard quoted the potential fine as US $2,500 per egg.[23]

In 2012, the FDA re-issued their import alert stating "The embedded non-nutritive objects in these confectionery products may pose a public health risk as the consumer may unknowingly choke on the object".[24]

Kinder Surprise bears warnings advising the consumer that the toy is "not suitable for children under three years, due to the presence of small parts", and that "adult supervision is recommended".[25]

Some US cosmetics manufacturer got a ban in for some long forgotten product which now means Kinder Surprise eggs are seized by customs and illicit egg importers fined.

Or look at this

The agency's failure to effectively regulate cigarettes, a mature technology that has been extensively studied since the 1950s, raised doubts about its competence to take on the far more complex questions surrounding e-cigarettes. When the FDA detailed its plans to aggressively regulate e-cigarettes last year by using the same exact regulatory regime it had used for cigarettes, that concern seemed warranted. Per that plan, any vapor products introduced after 2007--essentially all of them--would have to retroactively apply for pre-market approval. Those that failed to receive it could be ordered off the market, potentially sending millions of users back to far more dangerous combustible cigarettes. It looked as if Philip Morris' gamble would pay off more than anyone could have anticipated.

Since the market for e-cigarettes barely existed in 2007, there was no baseline established for the product, meaning e-cig producers couldn't just apply under the substantial equivalence standard that is available to cigarettes. Instead they had to meet a much vaguer standard, convincing FDA regulators that approving their products is "appropriate for the protection of the public health." It's uncertain exactly what that will entail with the FDA's new direction, but we do know that it would have been outrageously expensive to seek approval under the old one. The FDA's own impact analysis estimated that the cost of application would average $466,563 for delivery systems and $131,643 for e-liquids, compared with only $22,700 for conventional cigarettes applying under the substantial equivalence pathway.

The agency's existing guidance on what to include in applications is daunting, going far beyond providing basic toxicological and safety reports. Producers are also required to show that their products will be beneficial to the health of the population as a whole by proving that they will not discourage current smokers from quitting or lead nonsmokers to initiate use. Thus, even if a vapor product is indisputably safer than conventional cigarettes for the individual user--and the vast majority of them most certainly are--the FDA could ban it anyway.

Given these regulatory hurdles, one may wonder who would have bothered even attempting to surmount them. Indeed, the FDA expected that not many would try. The agency's preliminary impact analysis predicted that the costs of seeking approval would be "high enough to expect additional product exit, consolidation, and reduction in variety" in the e-cigarette sector and that only 20 to 80 applications would be received in the first two years of regulation (it has since revised this estimate upward). As the deadline for submitting applications loomed in late 2018, literally thousands of products--not just hardware but also discrete flavors and concentrations of e-juice--faced removal from the market.

When the regulations were originally announced, critics had dubbed the law the "Marlboro Monopoly Act," because the new barriers to entry would end up insulating Philip Morris from competition. Once they were expanded to e-cigs and the agency seemed poised to ban thousands of vapor products, the nickname took on new meaning. Who would be left to fill the demand for e-cigs, and who would have the money and know-how to navigate the byzantine, expensive path to FDA approval? The big tobacco companies, of course. Though late to the game, big tobacco companies have finally begun investing heavily in new alternatives, including the massive research budgets needed to get past FDA administrators.

Philip Morris cleverly lobbied to turn a bill that was supposed to reduce smoking to one which gave them a monopoly. The problem with adding more rules is that they people you're trying to regulate will lobby for subtle alterations like this which benefit them and/or cripple their competitors.

Or look at the Affordable Care Act. It was supposed to reduce the cost of insurance and rein in the insurers. It ended up forcing people to be their customers and showering them with subsidies. Oh and increasing the cost of insurance.

You need to fix the ability of lobbyists to skew legislation to benefit the companies they lobby for before you can expect new legislation to be able to curb those companies.

Comment Macbook keyboards are interesting. (Score 1) 520

I can't comment on recent ones, but I have a 2011 17" MBP in the kitchen doing light duty. I picked it up cheap because it wouldn't boot. The problem was a bad keyboard, which I replaced.

The keyboard, at least on the old MBPs, feels very solid, but when you get the replacement it's incredibly thin and flimsy; the metal body is little more than foil. You could easily fold it in half like a piece of paper. It's basically a flimsy dome switch keyoboard with a mechanical gizmos added to the key to give it a crisper feel. This also means its unlikely to be a piece of dust causing your problems -- unless the dust was put there in the factory. The business parts of the switch are safely under a silicone membrane.

What give the installed keyboard its solid feel is that it is screwed into the very sturdy aluminum laptop chassis with dozens of tiny screws. What you feel when you type on it is not the solidity of the keyboard, but of the heavy sheet of aluminum it is very firmly attached to. This is how the engineers got the machine to feel sturdy and light at the same time.

My advice is if the key seems mechanically good but doesn't register, first test an external keyboard to make sure it's not some kind of software issue, then replace the whole keyboard. It's not a particularly complicated repair, but be advised the screws are tiny, about the size of coarsely ground coffee. A fine jeweler's phillips head screwdriver, strong magnifier, and a large expanse of uncluttered workspace is recommended. The screws are small enough you can't just put them into the hole. You have to nudge them into the hole and hope they go in business end first, which takes several tries.

Also: given the severe abuse keyboards get in normal use, I recommend using an external keyboard whenever you can; that way you can just toss the keyboard when it breaks. Only use the laptop keyboard when you're on the road. This also gives you the chance to get a keyboard that you really like.

Comment Re:If a single piece of dust... (Score 1) 520

I've got one of these.

I remember when I got it I chose it because I could add Ram and upgrade the hard disk. And it's a nicely built machine once you put in 16GB and an SSD. Interesting thing is that you still see a lot of them in use.

Of course in the long run Apple will kill them off because new OS releases won't run on them, and you'll need those new OS releases to build for iOS. And building for iOS is the only reason I bought an Apple over say Asus who'll sell you a whole range of machines from dirt cheap netbooks, to Apple-like ultrabooks to beefy gaming machines.

I.e. at some point, even if I still need to build stuff for iOS it may well be that running macOS in VirtualBox on a PC is easier than running it on an old Macbook.

I'd be very surprised if Apple go back to making machines with user upgradeable storage and Ram. In fact they seem to be trending to making things like the Wifi card non upgradeable.

Comment Reminds me of Alexander Dugin (Score 1) 649

From TFA

The main topics covered by the groups run from Russia were race relations, Texan independence and gun rights. RBC counted 16 groups relating to the Black Lives Matter campaign and other race issues that had a total of 1.2 million subscribers. The biggest group was entitled Blacktivist and reportedly had more than 350,000 likes at its peak.

From Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics

Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke "Afro-American racists". Russia should "introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements â" extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics."[5]

There's a certain amount of irony that Democrats are complaining about this, given the idea was to sow general discord in the US rather than to make one party win over another. Especially as, during the Cold War, the KGB did want doveish candidates to win over hawkish ones - e.g.

Russian GRU defector Stanislav Lunev said in his autobiography that "the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad," and that during the Vietnam War the USSR gave $1 billion to American anti-war movements, more than it gave to the VietCong,[19] although he does not identify any organisation by name. Lunev described this as a "hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost".[19] The former KGB officer Sergei Tretyakov said that the Soviet Peace Committee funded and organized demonstrations in Europe against US bases.[20] According to Time magazine, a US State Department official estimated that the KGB may have spent $600 million on the peace offensive up to 1983, channeling funds through national Communist parties or the World Peace Council "to a host of new antiwar organizations that would, in many cases, reject the financial help if they knew the source."[13] Richard Felix Staar in his book Foreign Policies of the Soviet Union says that non-communist peace movements without overt ties to the USSR were "virtually controlled" by it. Lord Chalfont claimed that the Soviet Union was giving the European peace movement £100 million a year. The Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) alleged Soviet funding of CND.

U.S. plans in the late 1970s and early 1980s to deploy Pershing II missiles in Western Europe in response to the Soviet SS-20 missiles were contentious, prompting Paul Nitze, the American negotiator, to suggest a compromise plan for nuclear missiles in Europe in the celebrated "walk in the woods" with Soviet negotiator Yuli Kvitsinsky, but the Soviets never responded.[21] Kvitsinsky would later write that, despite his efforts, the Soviet side was not interested in compromise, calculating instead that peace movements in the West would force the Americans to capitulate.[22]

In November 1981, Norway expelled a suspected KGB agent who had offered bribes to Norwegians to get them to write letters to newspapers denouncing the deployment of new NATO missiles.[13]

In 1985 Time magazine noted "the suspicions of some Western scientists that the nuclear winter hypothesis was promoted by Moscow to give antinuclear groups in the U.S. and Europe some fresh ammunition against America's arms buildup."[23] Sergei Tretyakov claimed that the data behind the nuclear winter scenario was faked by the KGB and spread in the west as part of a campaign against Pershing II missiles.[24] He said that the first peer-reviewed paper in the development of the nuclear winter hypothesis, "Twilight at Noon" by Paul Crutzen and John Birks (1982),[25] was published as a result of this KGB influence.

Support for the peace movement eventually forced the US out of South Vietnam something North Vietnam would be unable to do militarily and after which North Vietnam invaded. Support for movements like CND hampered deployments of Pershing II and GLCMs to Europe.

What's telling about both movements is that the peace movement in the US and Europe condemned the US for taking part in Vietnam. Once the US left it didn't condemn North Vietnam for invading South Vietnam. It didn't condemn any of the atrocities the Viet Cong or Khmer Rouge did after they took over.

And CND melted away after the USSR collapsed, despite the fact that the US, UK and France still have nuclear weapons.

I.e. there's a lot of evidence that Russia backed inflated the 'peace movement' when it was in its interests and then let that movement wither when it was not.

Of course all this is a bit inconvenient to the left since both the peace movement and identitarian movements like BLM were supported by the left, not the right. I.e. Russia tried to increase support for left wing causes throughout the Cold War. Post Cold War it seems to be following a Duginist agenda which is more about sowing chaos in the one remaining superpower than it is trying to aid the left over the right or vice versa. And even then it sees BLM, quite rightly, as a movement which will weaken the US.

Comment Re:Here is the executive summary (Score 1) 342

Who's to say that putting more thought into the design wouldn't have given us the same set of useful features, and more besides?

Worse Is Better is really an explanation of how ad hoc hacks that solve 90% of the problem now have survival characteristics over a more elegant 100% solution which may be later to market, or cost more.

USB vs FIrewire
Unix vs Lisp
Windows vs Unix

I.e. it's better to get a 90% solution out fast and cheap and then try to fix the limitations later.

USB is perhaps the best example of this - it was only originally meant for low speed peripherals like mice and keyboards. They were very dumb - the host computer set up a polling schedule, the host controller executed it and HID class devices simply respond when polled. However over the years it has added faster speeds and even things like OTG and USB 3.0's Asynchronous Notification.

USB got popular because it was royalty free to implement ports unlike Firewire, and very easy to implement peripherals. Later revisions added more features and improved efficiency and speed.

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