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Comment Mind the hacked Chinese ROM (Score 1) 29

I got a Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone a while ago (bought via HonorBuy) and found out that the reseller had put a hacked (internationalised) Chinese ROM on my phone. This meant that my phone would not be getting any official Xiaomi updates, let alone frequent updates from the reseller.

To solve this I had to create a Xiaomi account, ask Xiaomi permission to unlock bootloaders on their phones (received this after a few days) and perform a fastboot upgrade to the latest available Xiaomi international ROM.

After this I can update to the latest international ROM without issues, fortunately, which currently is 7.5.2.

Comment Re:Quit it already! (Score 1) 470

Facts be damned, indeed. When about 3,200 of the plant species we consume today are created through mutagenic breeding (nuking seeds with radiation or chemicals, basically), but nobody complains about those, we have already passed the point for a sane discussion: Mutagenic breeding: why irradiating seeds is better than GMOs

Comment Re:visual studio (Score 1) 359

I have been doing C/C++ development primarily on Linux/QNX (embedded) for a while, but recently figured that I'd try this new-fangled VS 2015 (Community Edition) after having used VS 2005 and 2010 (Pro) in the past with no complaints.

Even though I am using a modern, high-end system with Windows 7 Ultimate, I didn't get VS 2015 to even install. It'd just flake out with a cryptic error message about a problem with a module or something, then after that I couldn't get the installer to get past that point, despite multiple reboots, nuking any trace of VS from the registry, etc.

I also tried to install the stand-alone MSVC toolchain (why was it removed from the SDKs anyway?!) using the Beta installer, but that one presented its own nightmare with having to tweak the entire system so that tools and headers were even found. Definitely no GCC sysroot-like ease of use.
In the end I just went back to my preferred workflow on Windows: writing code in Notepad++ and using Makefiles to compile my projects using MinGW (5.x, currently) in MSYS2 shell. Simple, easy and powerful.

As far as I'm concerned there's no use case for Visual Studio or MSVC any more. GCC/MinGW, LLVM/Clang have passed it by years ago (especially with C support) and as an IDE it's passed the bloatware point multiple times. If one thinks they need Visual Studio/MSVC, they badly need to refactor their projects and their way of thinking.

Comment Stating the obvious (Score 1) 369

As someone who got started on programming back in the early 90s with QBasic, then moved through a VB and Java phase until ending up at C/C++, it's fairly obvious what has happened over the years. Basically ongoing abstraction and proliferation of scripting languages is making people forget about actual programming.

Where programming involves the actual manipulation of hardware, drivers and bytes, scripting merely involves being able to use pre-existing APIs proficiently. See for example applications which use C++ at the core and use Lua for automating or customising certain tasks in a dynamic fashion.

Having used scripting languages like PHP, JavaScript (Vanilla mostly), Perl and Python for well over a decade, and most recently having taught young children to create simple games in Scratch, it's not hard to see what has changed: we stopped teaching how to program.

When even CS courses at school involve nothing more than being able to glue the right Java libraries together (hello Apache Commons and Spring!), and 'JavaScript development' is basically more of the same, it doesn't take a genius to see that they are no longer writing in system languages (BASIC, QBasic, C/C++, Pascal, etc.) like students of yesteryear.

Real computer science and programming involves understanding hardware, knowing how to get reasonable performance out of limited hardware, understanding that hardware is not perfect and how to compensate for this, as well as resource management.

Or more succinctly: programming is being able to write the runtime, scripting is being able to write scripts for said runtime.

Submission + - Germany's Energiewende: The intermittency problem remains (

An anonymous reader writes: Recent headlines talk about moments of high renewable generation in Germany, but the celebrations are premature. A nearly carbon-free economy is still an ambitious goal for a major Western economy, or any industrial powerhouse of the developed world.

This energy transition has come at a high cost and created not only winners. The Energiewende has also destroyed the effort embedded in existing infrastructure and put an unprecedented strain on German society.

Thus, despite what some op-ed writers may have said, Germany’s energy-turnaround is most assuredly neither cheap nor a done deal, technologically speaking. There are still many issues to be sorted out, and we have more work to do.

Submission + - Yet Another Setback for Concentrated Solar (

An anonymous reader writes: The Ivanpah experiment just keeps getting worse. Now a fire has broken out and the plant must further reduce its already paltry generation output.

It seems that its time to just shut this plant down and stop they tremendous financial bleeding.

Comment Re:Well crud (Score 1) 153

I got the MSI Seahawk version of the GTX 980 Ti. It's (probably still) the fastest GTX 980 Ti out there, with the integrated watercooling keeping things cool. I think I'll be fine with it for another year or two at least.

It'll be interesting to see how much of an improvement Pascal will be relative to the previous gen of Nvidia GPUs, in particular among the flagship models. The 1080 Ti better be amazing with what they have been promising :)

Comment Re:Opportunity Cost (Score 4, Insightful) 206

"most expensive" is of course only true in post-1970s Western countries. Meanwhile countries like South-Korea, India and China are pushing ahead with cheap, safe nuclear power, with the latter implementing a fully closed fuel loop, meaning no nuclear waste at all.

The whole problem with nuclear power in the West is simply that it's stuck in the 1960s with crushing regulatory burdens worsening the problems of maintaining 60+ year old reactors and preventing any improvement there.

Comment Not that hard. (Score 3) 140

If we stick to this 14-day limit, then we will never know how things work exactly after this point. The question is thus whether we can use that knowledge for the benefit of humanity, to which the answer appears to be 'yes'.

What I find most tantalising about this is the prospect this opens of artificial uteruses, and with it the elimination of the need to carry one's unborn child along inside one's natural incubator for nine months, at least for humans of the female persuasion. This would also enable same-sex couples to have a child with their DNA, without requiring anyone else to carry the child to term.

This in addition to the things we can learn from studying the development of embryos and stem cells in general, for both current and future humans.

The possible positive impact these advances may have to me at least far outweigh the philosophical musing some people seem to be absorbed in.

Comment Art (Score 5, Insightful) 144

I agree with the only knowledgeable person in that 'article' that this is just a type of art, with no scientific or social usefulness. Without the data being recorded (was the sensor calibrated?) known, realising how useless official 'safe limits' for radiation are (often lower than naturally occurring background radiation), and the Linear Non-Threshold (LNT) model having been discredited decades ago, one can at most say that they put it together in a pretty fashion.

But since we're talking about Greenpeace here, the PR mouthpiece for both the fossil fuel and solar/wind industries, I'm not shocked at this.

Comment Re:Galaxy Nexus (Score 1) 105

The Android Browser is one of those components which Google has specifically said won't be getting security updates when a few big holes were uncovered recently. Unless this has changed I will continue to treat the Galaxy Nexus as a solidly EOLed and insecure device.

Not that it matters that much, though, as the GNexus is far too slow for general usage anyway. For anyone complaining about the iPhone 4S slowing down with iOS updates, it's clear that they haven't tried to use a GNexus with 4.3 with a normal amount of apps installed.

Comment Galaxy Nexus (Score 2) 105

My Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.3 says 'hi' :)

A flagship device only a few years ago, it's not received patches or any form of updates for years now and is now too unsafe to even consider using as a smartphone any more.

Meanwhile the iPhone 4S I also use is up to date on the latest iOS with no sign of support being dropped just yet, despite this phone being of a similar age as the Galaxy Nexus.

The lesson I have learned out of owning a Google Android device is to never buy Android again. Apple and even Windows update their devices for as long as reasonably possible, while Android is a walking security risk, even on Nexus devices.

Comment Re:Not JVM (Score 2) 172

My approach to mobile development (Android & iOS) is to write all of the logic and everything else I can in C++ ('Objective-C++'), then use some glue logic in Java/Objective-C/Swift where needed and native APIs aren't available.

Writing an entire app in Java, Objective-C or Swift seems illogical, even if the app isn't intended to be cross-platform. Just being able to debug the core logic with mature C/C++ tools on a Linux/BSD PC is a godsend, and reusing the same code across two (or three, or four) mobile platforms is just awesome.

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