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Comment What will they come up with next? (Score 1) 85

Recent innovations include:

* Innovative means of continuing to maintain a completely locked down network, even in the face of FCC regulations regarding LTE, in the name of security.
* Forcing device manufacturers to lock down bootloaders such that only Verizon can issue security updates.
* Failing to issue said security updates, creating insecure devices, forcing customers to upgrade.
* Requiring upgrading customers to obtain a downgraded (limited) data plan in order to qualify for subsidized phones. (You're always paying a subsidized price, whether or not your contract is currently subsidizing a phone.)
* Introducing a marketing strategy where eager users can pay twice for their subsidized phones if they'd like to upgrade early. (Do the math, it's not friendly, and is difficult to understand by design.

I'm sure there are plenty of legitimate innovations coming from Verizon. But it doesn't nearly make up for the harm they're doing to the future of mobile. Their primary mission is control, not customer satisfaction. They have a lot of customers, a lot of money, and most importantly, a lot of cell towers, which keeps us "happy enough" as customers.

Comment Re:It is a broken system (Score 1) 1145

It would a frivolous waste of money we dont have to fix something thats not broken.

However, what makes it s truly broken unit system is that it uses the unit pound for both mass and weight. Yes there have been "hacks" of the system to bring them inline with physical reality so you have the "avoirdupois pound" meaning a mass and the "pound" meaning force. However this means that the units are not clear: when you say "pound" do you mean force or mass? If you need to tweak your unit system to make it consistent with physics that's not really a good sign is it?

Scientists already use the Metric system, and few people who live on earth and are not scientists need to make a distinction between weight and mass.

How is this different from the folks who use kilogram-force? I just read a post on a motorcycle forum about an unfortunate individual who didn't know the difference between kgf*m and N*m on his torque wrench and managed to break three bolts in his cylinder head by applying 9.8 times more torque than necessary. Why anyone would label something in kgf*m (and why he continued torquing after breaking #1) is beyond me.

The imperial mass unit is slugs. The unit of force is pounds. Yes, you can use lbm, but it's no more revolting than kgf.

That said, I strongly support converting to metric.

Comment This is why I don't buy games very often. (Score 5, Interesting) 259

I have the income to buy them. I have the desire to play them. I have the computer hardware to play them. And I won't pirate them.

But I won't pay you $50 or $60 and be rewarded with the very kind of stress that I've purchased the game to temporarily escape from. You're not going to stop the pirates, but you are going to stop me.

Comment The wireless analogy (Score 2) 238

Powell went on to say that ISPs had huge up-front costs which had to be allocated out to consumers, and those consumers were familiar with usage-based fees from paying their power bill or buying food.

In the case of wireless, I couldn't agree more. I negotiate with my local grocery store and set a fixed price for the maximum amount of groceries I might need each month. It works great most of the time, except when unexpected company shows up at the end of the month and I wind up paying an extra $70/egg in overage charges.

Comment To which anti-patent organization should I donate? (Score 1) 123

I've been strongly offended by software patents ever since I learned over a decade ago about how meager the "innovations" they protect can be. I think most of us will make one or two "patentable innovations" per day before lunch, or at least infringe with some fundamental task like throwing an exception (never realizing we were "innovating" or "infringing" in the process).

So where should we send the money? I want to donate to an org that shares my opinions and is doing something about it. The two I know of are as follows, but would appreciate additional suggestions.

EFF Patent Busting Project:
End Software Patents:

Comment Re:Obligatory predictions. (Score 1) 748

One could argue that smartphone handsets might be more "locked down" over time, but I never saw AT&T handsets being more locked down in any way than their T-Mo counterparts. They might throw more crapware in (can't believe I'm using that term for my phone), but as long as rooting exists, there will be ways of removing them.

AT&T is the only US carrier who has disabled the ability to install applications from sources other than the Android market (e.g., that have been downloaded from the web). It's very ineffective, given that one can load anything they want via the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) which is part of the Android SDK.

From what I've seen, the T-Mobile G2 simply supports tethering out of the box. AT&T is currently hunting down customers who are using "illegal" tethering software.

Crapware-infested Android phones make for a truly awful experience. Those apps tend to be cobbled together and listen for events which they shouldn't, draining the battery and lagging the phone. Sure the advanced users can clean them off, but the average user will conclude that Android sucks and buy an iPhone next time.

Comment Re:This is pure speculation, but my gut says ECM (Score 1) 913

It is speculative crap, and had you read most of the other posts you would have seen that (let alone TFA). The specific problem is with a sticky bushing. In those instances they can demonstrably pull out the part and show you how it takes too much force to move, perhaps even more than the return-spring can supply. This means that pushing the accellerator will make it sluggishly return - or not at all.

There *may* be an ECM issue as well (though there's no evidence of it), and the code update to give the brake pedal priority fixes an obvious design flaw, but that's not what's at play now. What they're talking about is a known faulty *mechanical* system.

TFA is talking about moving from cable throttles to electronics and discusses hydraulics and hoses? I'm not putting much faith in TFA. Nor do I particularly place high esteem in arbitrary internet comments (as one should do with my commentary as well).

The point of my comment is that I'm questioning the information I'm doesn't square with a lot of reported cases as well as knowledge of how these systems work. Referencing the same people I'm questioning isn't going to make me any more likely to believe it.

Comment This is pure speculation, but my gut says ECM (Score 4, Interesting) 913

This may well be speculative crap, but at least based on the anecdotal incidents I keep hearing about, this sounds like an ECM problem.

First Toyota blamed floor mats. That immediately causes consumers to think that the problem was the fault of idiot drivers, not Toyota itself. The typical person's reaction would rightfully be something along the lines of "duh, if you stack floormats under the accelerator, it's going to stick...this is not Toyota's fault".

Now Toyota blames the pedal. And the pedal manufacturer. Again a simple system that people understand...that can be labeled as obviously defective and replaced with something theoretically not defective, bringing about peace of mind.

Finally Toyota is going to "go the extra mile" and update the ECMs to cause pressing the brake to cut the throttle. I imagine this is an algorithmic (code) change to the ECM, not just new calibrations. Apparently Toyota uses a proprietary ECM that is not very "hackable". That is, it's very closed in comparison to items like those in GMs and VW/Audis where there are cottage industries of tinkerers who have decompiled the code, modified calibrations for performance and economy, and even modified the algorithms themselves. (You don't see things like VAGCOM or EFILive for Toyotas.)

Point being, if they update the ECM and it is all proprietary stuff and there's no easy way to diff it (or an adequate number of eyes to catch the difference) they can fix the problem and scapegoat the pedal manufacturer. And potentially leave a lot of dangerous vehicles on the road to save face.

The biggest hole I can find in this idea is where I'm getting my data. Random reports from people, a lot of whom seem to claim their vehicles accelerated from a stop. And of course it's all stuff reported by the popular news media. And of course a lot of folks who rear-ended someone in their Toyota are going to suggest anything other than their own actions being the cause.

But being a software developer, the more I hear about this, the more it stinks of software. An ECM has too many variables to simulate all possible conditions, so you must rely on the algorithms to work correctly. My gut says there's a tiny hole in there somewhere, where most users will never encounter it.

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1) 142

...this does not apply to Mac users, because Mac's don't suffer from drive-by downloads and other malware. My PPC G5 running Safari on Snow Leopard is rock-solid and secure.

-1 Offtopic? Lay off this guy. He's probably tired and cranky after just having ported Snow Leopard to the PowerPC.

Can I get a copy?

Comment Gameloft's problem is Gameloft. (Score 1) 289

I recently picked up a Droid (after having had iPhones for the previous two years).

It appears to me that Gameloft's offerings for Android are poorly executed. The market reviews for this developer are quite low. Looking at the reviews for their paid games, you'll commonly see comments along the lines of "looks like an NES game", and it's easy to see why from the screenshots.

I have only tried Gameloft’s (free) Solitaire, but if that product is representative, it should come as no surprise why their Android sales are extremely poor. This games is so horrid that I wouldn't have it on my phone if you paid me to. It appears to be a port from some lesser-spec device.

When playing the FreeCell game, there is a man in the lower portion of the screen who looks around, nods his head, and emits little “Z” graphics if you take too long to move, i.e., indicating that he is tired. Who is this guy? Are they familiar with the fact that Solitaire is a single-player game? It is, after all named a derivative of the word “solitary”. And it does not help that the graphics in this game appear to use a 256-color palette, and textures that were originally intended for a non-smartphone with a screen resolution of about 160x160.

I'm currently annoyed that there aren't many good games for Android. I'd pay $10 without blinking for a well done solitaire game. I've even emailed Solebon suggesting that they port their iPhone product. But if the only offerings available are crap, I'll stick with the free sudoku and my SNES and Genesis emulators.

Comment Well I guess I am required to vote for Escape... (Score 1) 939

...because it's the only one I have. About eight years ago Slashdot posted a story about the "Happy Hacking" programmer's minimalist/old-Sun-layout keyboard. I bought two, and have been using them ever since.

No caps lock, unless you count "Fn-Tab". Control is where it should be.
No windows key. There's a "diamond" key that's mapped to that keycode. Incredibly useful to have such a key that is not mapped to anything by default (in Linux at least). It's custom keyboard shortcut heaven.

It's held up well for eight years. I've pulled all the keys out of it several times for full cleanings, and it still works as original. Only damage so far is I've managed to break one of the flip-out feet on one of them. But again, it's seen eight years of constant use.

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