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Comment Re:Nope... (Score 1) 193

Investment in a platform makes all the difference. x86 was selling like hot cakes and Intel pushed hard (as well as being pushed by competitors like AMD, Cyrix etc) to keep getting faster. But physics finally kicked in and they couldn't keep making their chips faster but the costs over the huge volumes made their chips fast enough and cheap enough to compete against RISC chips which were much lower volume and more expensive as a result. Companies can only improve their products on the back of investment which comes from sales. ARM found a niche in low power portable products and so focussed on this because it was earning them money and they didn't need to compete with x86. Other chips died as a result of purchases. Alpha went to Compaq which had bought DEC and then it went to HP who bought Compaq, and they killed it because of the deal they had with Intel to develop Itanium. The Alpha devs went to AMD and producer the Opteron which killed Itanium in the market. The market determines where investment goes as well as the history. The x86 (once it got 64 bit support via AMD64 extensions, a direct result of the Alpha) it became suitable for big servers as it could now address more than 4GB of RAM. ARM continued in its niche but as smart phones came along, the need for more RAM and better performance started pushing the architecture towards the same sort of improvements that the x86 had gone through so it got 64 bit support, and multiple cores too and now the performance of ARM is such that a desktop or server could run on ARM, and ARM hasn't remotely hit the buffers that x86 is hitting.

I'm guessing you've not been around long enough to know this because you sound really inexperienced. I suggest you accept that you're wrong and give it up. ARM will keep getting faster and history got us to where we are. Do some reading, it is fascinating.

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 1) 193

It clearly can't or phones would be full of Intel x86 chips. The x86 underwent a large amount of development during the 90's where it doubled in speed pretty much every year until it peaked in the mid 2000's at which point they switched to multiple cores to keep ramping speed up. ARM took a different approach but the architecture has a lot more room to grow. Back in the 90's all the fastest chips were RISC like the ARM (eg Alpha AXP, SPARC, PA RISC) and x86 wasn't used at all on servers apart from small office servers but as it got faster and LINUX got better it displaced the RISC platforms. ARM will keep getting faster and x86 won't be the only game in town anymore. The last 15 years Intel has had it all its own way although they did get a bloody nose from AMD who produced a heck of a chip in Opteron also introducing us to 64 bit x86 while Intel tried to force the market onto Itanium and failed. Intel isn't the be all and end all of chip designers and it is good that they and Microsoft no longer control the market.

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 1) 193

ARM are low performance today because they haven't had the investment x86 got. Back in the 80's when Acorn first released their Archimedes running on ARM it was 10x quicker than an equivalent Intel x86 machine. There's nothing specific to ARM that makes it low performance, just that they have been focussed on the low energy market but with a significant push the ARM architecture can easily make massive performance gains. These things look pretty neat: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2...

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 4, Informative) 193

ARM doesn't make chips, it licenses designs to FABs who actually make them. Even Intel is making ARM chips again. Intel hasn't been able to get down to the very low power levels that an ARM CPU can run at without serious compromises on performance. ARM chips still have a lot of performance to give which is why we see them increasing rapidly each year like we did with the x86 back in the 90's and early 2000's. There's only so much that can be got out of a design and Intel has been flatlining for years since they debuted the i3/i5/i7 line and in that period ARM chips have got multiple times faster per core, and added more cores, not to mention tricks like having low and high power cores on the same die. All of this makes them attractive for servers, especially now that 64 bit ARM is out there. I've got a RP3 which is 64 bit and it zips along nicely with Linux and there's a whole bunch of useful things it can do in a machine which runs of a small USB power supply.

Comment Have TiVo but not for much longer (Score 1) 70

Here in NZ we've had TiVo for the last 9 years but we just had an announcement that the company managing the service will cease operations in October. No replacement EPG so both my TiVo boxes will become useless bricks at that time. There are some people looking at getting the S3 box working with locally produced EPG like they did with the S1 boxes personally imported, but it is unlikely that it will work out so I'm here with a couple of DVRs and in 6 months they will stop working. Since I've got Netflix everywhere and I rarely watch FTA TV any more anyway as even with TiVo the adverts are a pain, and all the DVRs I've looked at that aren't TiVo are horrible, I guess I'll not have a DVR from October and I'll watch far less TV as a result.

Comment Re:It's not the highway infrastructure (Score 1) 469

Alternatives to cars is what is needed. I agree with you that public transport is pretty hopeless. I used to work in the CBD and live in the suburbs so the commute by bus was 1.5 hours, but then again it was 1.5 hours by car too and it would cost $14 a day to park so adding in fuel I was looking at $20 a day. $400 buys a lot of bus trips and there's the benefit of being able to zone out. However, spending three hours a day commuting wasn't going to work for me so I bought a motorcycle and cut my travel time down to 35 mins each way because I could filter through the traffic to the front at traffic lights, and also parking in the CBD is free for motorcycles, plus I used around 1/3rd of the fuel that the car would so my weekly commuting bill dropped from $400 a month to $100. I was very surprised how few of us were on bikes because the traffic here is so awful but everyone likes their tin umbrella I guess. Personally, I was happy to gain another couple of hours a day, and I enjoyed riding my bike come rain or shine because I would take the out of the way route and have fun. The only downside was that car drivers tend to be ignorant of the existence of bikes so don't look, or don't see them so you need to keep your wits about you. Now though, I work from home so no longer need to commute through the city and I couldn't be happier.

Comment Re:More political FUD from the new world order (Score 1) 87

"I heard from a cop that a big problem with driving down there is tourists."

There's a degree of that to be certain, but also local driving standards are pitiful as well. The tourist crashes get noticed but there's a pretty constant rate of locals losing control on corners, or running into the back of other cars due to insufficient following distances. This has nothing to do with driving on the wrong side of the road, and everything to do with people being too bunched up and speeding. Local drivers frequently blame tourists but they're no angels on the road either and tourists don't actually make up a massive proportion of accidents.

Comment Re:More political FUD from the new world order (Score 4, Informative) 87

"A recent New Zealand study found that the risks of death from second hand smoke is between the risk of getting melanoma and dying in a car crash.
"

Interesting that you picked the NZ study and not one from somewhere else because here Melanoma and car accidents are both big killers due to us having far stronger sun, very low levels of ozone meaning we have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world: http://www.stuff.co.nz/nationa...

Also, the driving standards here are terrible as are the roads, and there's a lot of old cars still in use with the average age of cars being 14+ years meaning they lack a lot of the modern safety features and given that's an average, there are plenty of cars that are 30+ years old still running around. We have a very high accident rate and many deaths on the roads as a result of poor driving and old vehicles.

Put those together and then consider that smoking sits in between them and then think, how safe is smoking? It is already illegal to smoke in a car with children and there's a push for the country to be completely smoke free by 2025 because that's at least something that can be done to improve health as we can't fix the ozone layer, turn off the sun, or train drivers to not be crap behind the wheel apparently.

As for pollution, NZ is 85% renewable energy so that's nice, but transport makes up a lot of our pollution and the air in cities like Auckland is very poor at some times of the year due to traffic fumes along with a large amount of wood burners. There's very little support to move to EVs (I have one) or to encourage no-polluting heating (I have heatpumps) and there are even efforts to penalise those who generate their own electricity (I have solar) so it is pretty poor in the face of the whole clean green New Zealand image.

Comment Re:Lacking a Product Refresh? (Score 1) 328

The question is what should they do for a refresh? They've been waiting for processors from Intel but it almost looks like the bad old days of the PPC at the moment with Intel dialling right back on improvements, I mean an i7 processor from five years ago is still a pretty good chip all things considered. Hard to sell new computers to people who don't need them and I know from my history of Macs that three years is far too short a time for me to get maximum value out of them. More like 6 in fact. My current laptop is two years old and I consider it virtually brand new and won't be looking to upgrade it for quite some time to come. Apart from bumping the RAM and putting in a new HDD to replace a failed one, all my Macs have been virtually sealed units so I don't mind the current state because with the lack of upgradability comes reliability. I've had problems with machines in the past where I needed to reseat the RAM to get it to behave, but that's not the case any more. Dead HDD? Built in SSD solves that and at 500GB it is plenty big enough when allied to external storage as needed. As for the design? Why mess with a classic just because a few years have gone by? I like that I can buy a new Mac and in a few years it will still look and generally act like a new Mac (a few minor cosmetic features may differ but overall it looks the same) and that may not excite people who constantly want new stuff but I like it. I certainly don't like PCs which change models frequently and become hard to maintain because the specific parts are no longer made for that model, and I don't like Windows which is a ghastly mess and doesn't know if it is a tablet or a desktop where at least the few things macOS has picked up from iOS are subtle and I don't really use them anyway. Maybe people are refreshing their PCs after holding off due to Windows 8 and finally accepting Windows 10, but for mac users who just got Sierra there's still no need to upgrade unless the machine is really old.

Comment Just buy a local SIM (Score 1) 101

I travel a lot and never use roaming. Most of my stuff comes over the network anyway so I just make sure I have plenty of data. Last time I visited the UK I bought a SIM from 3 for £20 from a machine which came with unlimited calls, text and data. What I didn't realise at the time was it would also work almost anywhere in the world. When I went over to Denmark it connected to 3-DK and worked fine there, Sweden, yep, USA it switched to T-mobile and then I ended up in NZ and it connected to 2degrees. The SIM only worked for 4 weeks but boy did it work.

Comment Re:How many charge/discharge cycles? (Score 1) 198

"I see for most lithium battery technology is usually around 500 cycles."

Most devices with Lithium batteries are only expected to last a few years and the important factor is how long the device can run per charge so they tend to use all the capacity. A battery that is charged to 100% will die before one that is charged to less than full capacity. A car should last at least 10 years and the manufacturers have left headroom in their batteries for longevity so when the car reports the battery is at 100% it actually isn't but is more like 80%. Same goes at the other end where there's likely around 20% still left when the car says the battery is flat. Sure, if the car used the whole capacity of the battery like a phone does it would be able to go further on a single charge but it would also degrade rapidly and within a year or so the range would be significantly diminished and by year 3 the battery would pretty much require replacement. Useful info on this page: http://batteryuniversity.com/l...

Comment Crosstalk (Score 1) 2

I've got a 3D TV and the crosstalk between channels is a real challenge. I've tried multiple 3D sets and they all have it to some degree or other. Passive sets are slightly better but suffer from limited viewing angles. The effect breaks the 3D experience. TVs just aren't up to the job although OLED could have done the trick but the cost was prohibitive and newer sets don't feature 3D support. On the other hand, I have a 3D DLP projector and that has zero crosstalk and the image is brilliant but most people don't bother with projectors so for them a 3D TV isn't a benefit. Sadly, while I make a point of seeing 3D films (we have a local IMAX Laser 3D cinema) and also buy 3D Blu rays, they're getting difficult to find and some films aren't released on the format even though they did get a cinema release. 3D works really well and it is good some cinemas are persisting but the sessions are becoming rare with some chains not even bothering.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Did 3D TVs And Stereoscopic 3D Television Broadcasting Fail? 2

dryriver writes: Just a few years ago the future seemed bright for 3D TVs. The 3D film Avatar smashed all box office records. Every Hollywood Studio wanted to make big 3D films. The major TV set manufacturers from LG to Phillips to Panasonic all wanted in on the 3D TV action. A 3D disc format called BluRay 3D was agreed on. Sony went as far as putting free 3D TVs in popular Pubs in London to show Brits how cool watching Football ("Soccer" in the U.S.) in Stereo 3D is. Tens of millions of dollars of 3D TV related ads ran on TV stations across the world. 3D Televisions and 3D content was, simply put, the biggest show in town for a while as far as consumer electronics goes. Then the whole circus gradually collapsed — 3D TVs failed to sell well and create the multi-Billion Dollar profits anticipated. 3D@home failed to catch on with consumers. Shooting genuine Stereo 3D films (not "post conversions") proved to be expensive and technically challenging. BluRay 3D was only modestly successful. Even Nvidia's Stereo 3D solutions for PC gamers failed. What, in your opinion, went wrong? Were early 3D TV sets too highly priced? Were there too few 3D films and 3D TV stations available to watch (aka "The Content Problem")? Did people hate wearing active/passive plastic 3D glasses in the living room? Was the price of BluRay 3D films and BluRay 3D players set too high? Was there something wrong with the Stereo 3D effect the industry tried to popularize? Did too many people suffer 3D viewing related "headaches", "dizzyness", "eyesight problems" and similar? Was the then still quite new 1080HD 2D Television simply "good enough" for the average TV viewer? Another related question: If things went so wrong with 3D TVs, what guarantee is there that the new 3D VR/AR trend won't collapse along similar lines as well?

 

Comment Re:Just spyware (Score 1) 99

"heavy industrial software that exclusively runs on windows without any kind of useful analog on Linux"

I have a Windows 10 VM on my Mac and VMWare runs everything I throw at it very well and when I'm done I close it down. It associates file types with the Windows applications so they open on demand. Best of all, snapshot the clean install with all activated software you need and mount working files from a network share and then if Windows screws up you can revert to the snapshot. Amazing how well stuff that would previously be considered impossible to run in a VM actually runs today. You just need to assign enough resources to Windows and all my machines have at least 8GB of RAM and Windows runs well enough in 4GB although I could easily push it to 6GB. There's only really one reason today to use Windows as anything other than a classic environment for some specific programs and that is gaming but I wouldn't mix work and play on the same box anyway. My work machine is a Mac with a Windows VM, my play machine is a desktop tower I built specifically for that and nothing else. If you don't like the Mac then you can just as well substitute Linux (I've done just that too) but the main point is to protect yourself from Windows by not making it the primary platform. They can't spy on you when the VM is off and you can strip most of the nasty stuff from it prior to making the snapshot.

Comment Re:Can't watch sport any more because of the news (Score 1) 137

One thing I found interesting was that for football the news would warn that they're going to give the results so you should turn off or mute before they did, but for F1 there was never any such warning. Again though, F1 isn't all that popular, and since I routinely watch the news or listen to a radio what you're suggesting is I cut off all news of the world until I can put aside 3 hours to watch the race. I get what you're saying but in the end the best solution is just not to bother any more. The sponsors lose out, the sports channel loses out, all because the news stations need to fill a couple of seconds to say who won a race an render 3 hours of build up and the excitement of the race moot because I would then know the outcome. I tried watching but knowing the winner completely ruined the race for me and cutting myself off from the world for 12 hours until I could get home from work and watch the recording isn't practical. I doubt I'm alone in this and it really isn't self inflicted, there are so many sources of news around us it was virtually impossible to avoid finding out but there we are. I have indeed found something better to do with my time though and now build models instead which I find very satisfying.

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