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Comment Re:Stick with iOS (Score 1) 126

The trouble is that, while that's a good question; it applies all to readily to using custom ROMs or using stock ones.

Should you trust some random dude on the internet who totally got AOSP+CM tweaks working on a newer kernel by aggregating blobs from 4 different devices? No, probably not. He may well be acting in good faith; but you have zero assurance of that; or much reason to trust that he hasn't made some potentially serious error in the process of making it work.

Should you trust your handset vendor/(and telco, if it's a phone that they've had a hand in)/Google? No, very probably not. The vendors do seem to care slightly more about bugs that might cause customer support calls or returns; and a lot less about security patches or providing vaguely recent versions of anything; but aside from those somewhat different technical priorities they aren't markedly more trustworthy than some random person on the XDA forums.

Comment Re:Why not an x86 board? (Score 1) 107

They don't appear to have abandoned the product line; but it's been ages since I've seen a VIA x86 in the wild. HP used to build thin clients around them, after Transmeta died horribly; and prior to Atoms they showed up reasonably frequently on embedded boards(slow; but markedly cheaper than a Pentium M and markedly smaller and cooler than P4); but they don't seem to have done well recently. They were always pretty slow, and ran pretty warm unless clocked quite low, plus their GPU offering is a descendant of the old S3 'Chrome' designs which is...not good...when it comes to software support.

Between Atoms and the AMD G-series SoCs, it was a bit of a slaughter.

Comment Re:Security expert? (Score 1) 303

It probably helps that the techniques for neutralizing locks and cameras, while typically not legal if used during a burglary, aren't all that interesting to a potential jury; while the techniques for neutralizing dogs are either rather unreliable or deeply unsympathetic. Some dogs will roll right over for a charm offensive and a treat; but you can't rely on that; and if you kill a dog you've probably made yourself less popular than at least half of the actual murders on the docket, which isn't a good plan for a relatively petty property crime.

Comment Re:Why not an x86 board? (Score 2) 107

Intel has parts that would work(albeit a bit light on GPIO); I've got a dreadful little tablet here based on the Z3735G, and they packed that CPU, a gig of RAM, 16GB of flash, a 1024x600 touchscreen, some sort of BT and wifi, and a battery together for under $50.

If they hadn't also burdened the device with some of the more agonizing firmware I've had the pleasure of dealing with(AMI's dysfunctional take on 32-bit UEFI, no compatibility support module, on a 64-bit platform? Sign me up!); it'd actually be a decent little Linux toy, since that Atom is supported by intel GPU drivers, not the freaky PowerVR stuff.

As best I can tell, though, the Z-series Atoms didn't attract all that much interest(they are comparable to ARM devices aimed as similar price performance niches; but not particularly superior); and vendors weren't exactly clamoring to buy the chips; and Intel doesn't really like selling parts that cheap. They'd much rather try to sell you on a Core M or the like.

There isn't a whole lot of reason to do it; or apparent interest; but it could be done.

Comment Secret Service? (Score 1) 205

I can understand why the Secret Service might be the ones who actually break the bad news and hand over the handset; but does anyone know if they actually have any role in 'approving' it; or do they just provide whatever the Information Assurance Directorate tells them is the correct answer?

Even aside from their recent history of embarrassing scandal, you don't really think of them as one of the techie outfits.

Comment Re:Main application? (Score 1) 79

I'm not quite sure why the iRiver IHP-120/140s didn't do FLAC out of the box. They supported some other specialty goodies(line level and optical in and out) that required more hardware and are probably even more esoteric; and they had ogg vorbis support, so it's not like they were MP3 only or wedded to whatever Microsoft was pushing at the time(the 300 series, though, leaned dangerously in that direction).

Luckily rockbox support is quite good on those models, which takes most of the pain away. LCD isn't good enough to do Doom justice, however.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 4, Informative) 30

If memory serves, the original logic behind the existence of this thing was dissatisfaction with Twitter jerking around 3rd party client developers in order to ensure that their freeloading peasants were exposed to enough advertising and had suitably limited control over layout, presentation, etc.

This service was going to be the one where developers came first and you were the customer, not the product. As far as I know that part of the vision was delivered; it just turns out that demand for "Like twitter, except basically empty" isn't all that robust, no matter how nice the service is.

Comment Re:Touch bar is a good idea (Score 1) 228

I don't disagree that Apple makes good hardware; my point was that (presumably because they care more about iDevices on the low end; and just don't care on the high end; and because, if only because MS and Intel have been cluebatting them as hard as they can for several years, PC OEMs have stepped up their game a little bit) Apple's offerings have gotten comparatively less exciting. They are still very good, unless you are one of the customers they decided they don't care about anymore; but the difference is not as dramatic as it once was.

Back in the bad old days, getting a genuinely thin and light PC laptop was downright hard. Sony and Fujitsu had some slightly eccentric offerings for moderately alarming amounts of money, some of the X-series Thinkpads were pretty good; but ibooks and powerbooks were often actually cheaper once you ignored the janky plastic crap and barely portable stuff in the bargain bin. That situation eased a bit once Intel dropped the pitiful farce that "Pentium 4M" was actually a mobile CPU and accepted that Pentium M parts were going to have to be available across the board, not just as a high end price-gouge product; but even once suitably low power CPUs were available, atrocious screens, shit build quality, and assorted other sins remained the rule.

On the desktop side, the minis were actually pretty aggressive(you could usually 'beat' them with some mini-tower eMachine that managed to be noisier despite having 10-20 times the volume to put a cooling system in; but that wasn't very impressive); The iMacs compared less well in a straight spec-fight; but good all-in-ones were practically nonexistent elsewhere; and the workstation hardware tended to get gimped GPUs; but was otherwise a pretty solid competitor among its peers.

All of this just isn't as true anymore. You can't get a screen that isn't something of an embarrassment for less than ~$1400(there is the macbook air; but 1440x900, in 2017, for $1000?); and once you move north of a thousand bucks; PC laptops suck far less than they used to. The macbook pros are nice; but more 'nice' than 'pro'. iMacs are still pretty good as AIO options; but the less said about the 'Mac Pro' the better.

I have no interest in arguing that what Apple is doing is bad business, they certainly make enough money on it; but it is pretty hard to be surprised that it isn't doing OSX's market share any favors.

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