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Comment Re:This actually looks really unusable (Score 5, Insightful) 317

If my experience with trackpad controls on phone games is anything to go by, I think it's a very bad idea.

where those phone games, "built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators"?

no? then your experience is invalid.

honestly, i look at it this way. It might work. It might suck. either way, it's just a controller. i already have a system to use it with it. So, pending some horrible hands on reviews, i'll probably just pick one up and see for myself.

Thank you! For finally bringing some perspective into this conversation.

The trend nowadays seems to be to first trash and ridicule anything new or innovative that anyone does. Or better still, list out the 10 reasons why something like this should never have been built in the first place. Jeez man, maybe we should just send some people over to work in the patent office - maybe, we can harness all the negativity to solve the "stupid patent" problem.

I have no clue if this controller will really work well in real life or not. But we can definitely say

- This is indeed very innovative. For the first time, someone truly thought out of the box and redesigned a game controller from the ground up, instead of just adding more haptics. Well.. the Wii controller notwithstanding.

- Love the attempt at how they've translated the "keyboard WASD + mouse" way of navigation in an FPS to a controller. Might *just* work. More power to you, Valve!

- Sure, it will have a fairly steep learning curve and people will complain like hell, but hey, so does any other control mechanism.

- For me, the litmus test will be playing Counter Strike using these controllers. Or maybe I'm getting old, but it still remains the benchmark game for me as far as an FPS is concerned.

P.S. Isn't Steam Engine a better name than Steam Box?

Comment Re:Meh-be (Score 1) 151

The roomie I just moved in with was appalled when I discovered for her that her newly purchased notebook was actually a slower and worse-off computer than the laptop she was hoping to "upgrade" from. So we sent it back and now she has the credit and wants me to shop for her.

She kept mentioning the RT and liking it, but I warned her away and told her that tablets are still a developing technology, that it's in its awkward stages and next year she'll have something worth picking up. She said "okay, maybe next year it would be a good idea" but still seemed lost.

I'd like to say she has some good news when she gets home today, but the tablet isn't much better than the notebook. There's no removable media, not even a full-size SD slot?

I see these things as glorified palmtops. They're just slightly larger, but they fit the same niche -- something to pull out of your backpack or Euro-wallet at the airport or cafe and use within serious constraints on time and space. It's a useful gadget to complement a fully functioning PC at home, but IMHO it doesn't really qualify as a principal or "base" PC.

But oh, look: it's priced like a PC.

Scratching my head / not catching on.

Very interesting - the way you put it. If you read Anand and Brian's analysis of Baytrail / Silivermont performance, it pretty much lands up at half the CPU and a third of the GPU performance of a typical Core i5 that you would find in a slim notebook (Ultrabook). The crucial difference is of course that Baytrail consumes dramatically less power - about 2-3 watts (compared to 10-15 watts for a regular notebook CPU/GPU).


This power difference is crucial as it is low enough to be realistically used in a slate or iPad form factor. However, where it gets tricky is to determine if the performance tradeoff is worth it, especially if you are trying to do something meaningful - i.e. beyond simple surfing and answering emails.

There are two ways to look at this - firstly, Silvermont is about three times more powerful compared to the older Atom. So, if you are looking to replace an old Atom based Netbook, the answer is obvious - Silvermont will most certainly not suck in terms of netbook style usage, while still not heating up and keeping your family jewels safe. Personally, I think the best solution is a dual boot Silvermont that will boot Android and Windows 8.1 - it will let you use Android as a true tablet, and will let you use Windows 8.1 in a limited notebook way.

However, if you are looking at this as your primary computer replacement, I don't think Silvermont is going to cut it. You are better off with a Haswell. The dramatic power reduction in Haswell means that you can get a slim notebook that will still get you 8+ hours of battery life, almost rivaling an iPad. That is actually a game changer in itself if you think about it. This means that you can carry around a fairly lightweight and compact notebook with you and not bother lugging around chargers. In other words, you can carry it around like an iPad. Getting battery to last an entire work day or an entire school day is pretty cool! Something like the Macbook Air 13.

It would be super interesting if Intel came out with a version of Silvermont with beefier graphics (say, HD3000). I suspect that would be enough to support full HD meaningfully and to be a true viable notebook replacement.

Comment Re:at some point... (Score 3) 827

I don't get the part of the article, where the author is complaining about the spending on the Athletics??

I mean, the football programs like where I went to school, MORE than pay for themselves, they prop up all the other non-revenue generating sports.

It isn't like student tuition is going to college athletics, in fact from the schools I know. the athletics are subsidizing the rest of the school...

I grew up in the south, I'm talking about schools like U of AL, LSU, the schools in MS...etc.

Is that not the way it is in other school conferences?

I'm not actually a huge sports fan myself, but c'mon if you're going to bitch, at least get the fact right on who is spending who's money where.

I agree it is atrocious what colleges are doing today...but let's be fair about the money accusations.

That's because everyone has forgotten the basic reason for colleges and universities. Places where people can go and learn, get an education, and/or research. Instead it has become a circus for sports - with its attendant media coverage, fan following, controversies, and what not.

I absolutely respect the need for entertainment and sports. I love it myself. But why the heck are colleges even involved in this racket? And it IS a racket. A racket that media houses and "the suits" that own sport franchises and clubs do extremely well.

So while you say sports should not be brought up in this discussion because it pays for itself, I say that is precisely the problem. Colleges now fancy themselves to be big businesses, sport franchises, media houses, and what not. And it should not be this way. And it is the students and their families that pay the price - literally.

Heck, this whole notion of profit and loss should not even be the primary point of discussion when you talk about colleges and hospitals. I'm an ardent believe in free markets and capitalism, but damn, these two things are so massively screwed up. If any organization's duty (in a capitalistic setup) is to its stakeholders, then these idiots needs to realize that when it comes to colleges and hospitals, their primary stakeholders are the people who patronize their services. Not frickin sport fans and beer bars.

Sorry for the rant. I'm terrified to think how horrible the system is going to be when my kid grows up.

Comment Re:pen and paper (Score 2) 217

Ummm... how am I supposed to take notes if I skip the class alltogether?

Take someone else's?
How about the teacher's? Surely you realize he already has notes and could make copies of all he is going to write to all students. As a matter of fact, a lot of teachers do it, it's called duplicated notes.

You must've missed the part where I talked about writing my notes. See, it's not reading them that ingrains the information, but writing it down for myself. Otherwise, yea, fuck paying for class, I'd just buy the teacher's edition of the book.

That makes no sense. Whatsoever.

I'm sorry, there is nothing I can do if you can't understand simple English.

Says the guy who completely misinterpreted my plainly written post. Pot, kettle.

Word of advice, dude - try to actually understand what people say in their responses, before you get all butthurt and reactive. Not everyone who replies to your posts is taking a shot at you.

I would mod you up if I had points. I completely agree with you (and I'm not even sure why the previous commenter even got pissed!).

The purpose of taking notes is to distil what we are reading or listening or observing, and then noting it down on paper in a way that makes sense to us. The act itself has merit as lack of speed (and even laziness) forces us to quickly assimilate what we are hearing or seeing, and write it down as efficiently and quickly as we can so we don't fall behind in a lecture. More importantly, it forces us to think through the topic and formally defining it in our own terms.

I even argue that the best note taking happens when we are constrained by limited amounts of note paper. If I have only one page for an hour long lecture, I will really try hard to note down what I think are the important bits or the bits I would most likely forget.

The point really is not to compress the content from say, a hundred pages into one page - I really see the act of note taking as the act of learning itself.

Sure, I'm sure others have different and probably better ways of learning. However, this works for me and I haven't discovered a better way.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 175

I Welched on my bet and it led to a Mexican standoff with another guy who was an Indian giver. In the end we settled it with a game of Russian Roulette. It was chaos, a real Polish Parliament. In the end, the gun didn't go off and we all felt like we were Gypped and the Canadians were sorry about the whole mess even though they were not involved at all.

That whole post was Double-Dutch to me. As confusing as a game of Chinese whispers.

That's because the game being played by the big boys is like Chicago style politics. They give you the illusion of choice but in reality, it is a Kansas City Shuffle. You work hard, you work the system, you work the work, if you catch my drift, and you feel like you have a leg up on everyone else. You hear everyone laughing, you laugh along making fun of the other suckers, but the reality is that you are the one that was getting conned all this time.

Comment Re:Ok.... (Score 1) 142

I know you're just saying that to screw with pedants... but I hate you anyway.

If you're going to talk about pedantry, I don't understand the experiment to begin with. My concern is probably naive, but consider the fact that over a hundred detectable earthquakes occur every days, and thousands more occur that are too mild to detect.

Aren't earthquakes introducing massive errors in this experiement - considering how long it has been running?
If this concern is valid, they should have used a good vibration isolation mechanism, and I'm not sure if they did.

Comment Re:Reward the artist (Score 1) 301

Wowser, do these same ideas also apply to programmers??
I can easily make the connection between programmers and your statement:
"if someone is doing good work in a creative field, they should at least have some level of trust in the fact that they can circumvent the established system with its attendant bloodsucking leeches, and still feel like they are getting the same level of respect, exposure, and money. In fact, it should be a lot more."

Of course it does - and in fact this is happening all the time. What makes you think that certain dotcoms or even mobile phone apps are worth the hundreds of millions of dollars as compared to certain other apps that are worth a thousand times less?

I see no reason why a Monet should be worth a hundred mill, just as I fail to see why Instagram should be worth a billion. But I don't begrudge them whatever they are earning or are considered to be worth. If we are going to support "free enterprise" in the truest sense, we should support the big guys as much as the small guys. In fact, the big guys arguably need more help because they have a lot more to lose.

And most importantly, it sends a signal to all the others that this system works even if you get really big or semi-big. Otherwise, you are simply destroying the incentive, the goal post, that people strive for.

Comment Re:Reward the artist (Score 5, Insightful) 301

Where is the EFF is fighting all of this??

They are busy protecting our civil liberties and trying to prevent our country from turning into a police state. Some millionaires making tens of millions instead of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the greed of their corporate owners may not be "just" but I'm betting it's not a real high priority for the EFF.

And there's a huge problem with precisely this type of thinking. Bands like Radiohead are trying extremely hard to "do the right thing" - i.e. what they consider fair to themselves and to their audience. We, the listeners, should be trying to prop them up instead of calling sour grapes on them because they happen to be millionaires or whatever. If you like Joe No-Name band that has sold all of 50 albums so far, good for you.

Do remember though that your (and my) media consumption largely consists of authors, bands, movie directors, and artists that have attained some level of commercial success. It is really sad to see initiatives like Radiohead's honor based payment scheme - not be wildly successful. I would actually have loved to see Radiohead make 10 times the money from this experiment than they would have from the record label. Just imagine the message that would have sent - not just to Radiohead but to every other artist and even to us.

Honestly, if Radiohead makes a hundred mil instead of ten mil, I wish him all the very best. Thom Yorke's talent, consistency, and hard work deserves all the money he can get. The concept of money is completely nonsensical when it comes to creative works anyway. Heck, even manufactured products nowadays cost what they cost because of factors that have little to do with their manufacturing cost.

But at the very least, if someone is doing good work in a creative field, they should at least have some level of trust in the fact that they can circumvent the established system with its attendant bloodsucking leeches, and still feel like they are getting the same level of respect, exposure, and money. In fact, it should be a lot more.

Comment Re:Ultrabook II? (Score 5, Interesting) 229

Remember when Intel took the MacBook air design and turned it into the Ultrabook reference design for its Wintel PC OEMs? Why would Apple not want that to happen again, only faster?

I disagree. Copying a form factor is not really copying design. That's a bit like saying that every hatchback car today is a copy of the original Japanese hatchbacks or whoever first produced the design. While it is true at one level, it is too simplistic a statement to make.

Anyway - I think the biggest challenge for Intel is not its process technology (process shrinks are going to get a lot harder in every iteration, but that holds true for everyone - including Intel and probably more so for TSMC, Samsung, and others). It is actually not even an x86 vs ARM architecture thing - ARM architecture superiority has pretty much been debunked since Medfield's release.

The biggest challenge for Intel, IMHO, is that it is simply not used to (and not geared for) SOCs. Intel has always designed and manufactured discrete chips whereas the entire mobile industry prefers, nay wants, highly integrated SOCs. This is the one aspect where Qualcomm kicks everyone's butt. To put it another way, Intel's fight is not with ARM or TSMC or AMD. Intel's fight today is with Qualcomm. Intel *needs* to get the same level of integration in its SOCs as Qualcomm - otherwise no one will want a bunch of discrete chips from Intel even if Intel shouts itself hoarse about how much better its chips are. And this goes for Apple as well. If Intel can give Apple an SOC that integrates the CPU, GPU, modems and other chips (I'm actually not an expert here but I would say things like DAC, GPS, etc. - anything that is not MEMS), I have a feeling that Apple will find it very hard to say "no".

I don't mean to sound grand but I honestly feel that the future of semiconductors will be highly integrated one-chip SOC based solutions that are "cheap as chips".

Comment Re:The same (Score 1) 184


Didn't know about Workday. Interesting stuff.

It is also worth noting that Salesforce bought Heroku, which was turning out to be a very viable platform in itself.
My bet is on Salesforce extending itself to cover finance and supply chain as well.

It would be an interesting twist in the long running Benioff vs Ellison drama.

Comment Re:The same (Score 1) 184

So who does Salesforce outsource to?
At some point there has to be servers in racks, it can't be cloud all the way down.

IT today is about configuration management, deployment and managing virtual and real infrastructure, scripting automation etc. You just described my day.

Oh, absolutely. I was only referring to IT departments in large and medium sized companies.

To put it another way, I was trying to say that these corporate IT departments will start looking more and more like the IT departments in dotcoms.

Comment Re:The same (Score 1) 184

No movement to outsource the management of the machines to outside cloud services? That may or may not happen where you are, but there's a lot of it going on, and it invalidates much of your list.

Your statement is a tad Naive. Do you truly think that the majority of services are going to the cloud? Only an idiot would trust the cloud with their corporate crown jewels. My opinion is that most companies will end up with a mix of services. But... Hey... What's new?

Where I work we are building our own internal cloud services, not outsourcing. Part of that may have to do with the fact that we are a large Biotech company and have various regulations that we have to comply with. Most cloud services, in my opinion, are being used by small to mid-size companies who do not have the economies of scale to run an IT department. Most large companies will use some cloud services but it's highly unlikely that they will trust cloud services with their crown jewels.

The point is that there will be a mixture of services that will need to be supported by IT....

I used to think so too, but don't any more. Look at If most of Fortune 500 companies are willing to trust their front-end business - i.e. sales - i.e. the stuff that brings in money and runs the rest of the company - to, I'm not sure why they would have an issue with other data that is piddly in comparison.

The *real* reason why the entire IT backend has not gone the cloud way is simply that other cloud based providers have not been able to create a platform like Salesforce. A platform that is customizable, extensible, scalable, can give good performance, has good security in place, has ready-made and relevant tools, has a good developer base. And I'm talking about corporate functions like HR, finance, payroll, supply chain, manufacturing, internal communication, marketing, etc.

I know it is a buzzword but I see PaaS as the future. Generic platforms like Azure can be made to work, yes, but the killer platforms are ones that are focused on solving specific problems. Once this starts happening, and it will, IT as you know it, will no longer exist.

Corporate IT will become more like IT in web shops - it will be about configuration management, deployment, managing virtual infrastructure, scripting and automation, monitoring, etc. And it will be about development and scripting.

Just my thoughts though. I could be wrong.

Comment Re:Blackberry Enterprise (Score 1) 125

Blackberry Enterprise is one of those products that I really just have to scratch my head at. It has always seemed to me that encouraging users to treat as secure something which is easily lost, stolen, or damaged is a fundamentally flawed concept for a business model. Sure, there are users out there who have a genuine need for such a concept, but the problem that really needs to be addressed is user understanding of data security practices, not giving them technology that encourages continuing bad practices in ignorance.

Honestly, I've felt for a long time that Blackberry should have done a better job with their enterprise dominance - instead of doing this half assed job of trying to appeal to every market segment. A few years ago, almost all company issued phones were blackberries. Imagine if blackberry had focused on letting you do more with your blackberry - like teleconferencing, video conferencing, virtual workspaces, screensharing, collaboration etc. They had the software, the network, the hardware presence. Their competitors should always have been Cisco, Avaya, WebEx, Netmeeting, Sharepoint, gtalk, heck even Google hangout - *not* Apple and Samsung.

I see the same story with Intel and Microsoft. The amount of hubris these companies have shown - - just beggars the imagination. I mean, we're talking about common sense stuff, not some fancy "blue sky strategy" or whatever. I can understand that big behemoths like these can get blind-sided by other innovative products - stuff like the iPhone - but these companies have literally let it slide for not just a year or a couple of years, but for 5, 6, 7 years. It is ridiculous.

What is even more ridiculous is that the moment these guys come up with a big successful product, they stop innovating. It is all incremental feature creep from there on. I mean, look at even companies that are supposedly engineering driven as opposed to management driven. Look at yahoo messenger. They've been around for donkey's years, nailed chat, supported offline messages years ago when gtalk still doesn't, but just stopped innovating besides adding some silly emoticon crapware. I haven't used it in years, but I'm pretty sure that they still don't do video chat properly, especially video group chat. /rant

Comment Re:Yawn (Score 3, Insightful) 157

I think what's most important is now we have the mathematical models in place that allow us to simulate convincing sounds rather than "sample and include". For the creative types, this will save a ton of effort and money. It also has implications for games, e.g. with the given environment model, be able to produce convincing sounds in real-time rather than taking sound samples mixing them with reverb, attenuation, positioning, etc.

Yes, absolutely! I see it as analogous to vector graphics vs bitmapped graphics. Vector audio is THE holy grail of accurate sound reproduction.

If these guys can pull this off, it will be the literal (digital) equivalent of having your own live performance - every time! You will have software based models of various instruments that will play music for you by playing their respective instruments for you real-time. The possibilities of this are actually astounding. You would record or store music not as digital samples (lossy, lossless, notwithstanding) but in terms of *how* each instrument is played. You have now turned the problem on its head - you are constrained by the accuracy of your software/mathematical model of each instrument, and by how well you are able to control it to become more nuanced. At a hardware level, if you assume infinite processing power, the challenge would be to accurately play these software instruments. You could again take a completely different approach - you could for example have an array of speakers where each speaker is dedicated to playing a specific instrument, and all the speakers are fed separate audio signals.

Contrast this to the currently audio setup - which would be a 2.0 or 2.1 or 5.1 or 7.1 stereo/HT setup - where each speaker tries (and fails) to accurately reproduce the entire audible frequency spectrum, or you have a mish-mash setup where different speakers divvy up the frequency spectrum between themselves (think sub-woofer and satellite speakers) so they can do a marginally better half-assed job.

If you look at the entire chain in a traditional setup, you have the speaker driver's mechanicals, the speaker crossover electronics, the speaker wire, the power amp, the pre-amp, the DAC, the player, the source audio signal (mp3, flac, redbook CD etc.), the recording mike, and the recording room - all of these links in the chain distort the music in their own way.

What I mentioned above is only my interpretation of how this technique can be used -there are a huge number of other possibilities - software defined objects, such as in games, can now have their own (genuine) sound, and that will sound different depending on how you interact with them. You could also have virtual instruments, unconstrained by the laws of physics, define their own physics and their own unique sound. You could even program room acoustics and have the instruments play sounds as if it was being played in open space, a large hall, a studio, on a beach etc.


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