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Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 3) 238

Indeed, I've never had a modern 3,5mm headphone port wear out. I've had a lot of micro-USB ports wear out. : And it's only logical that would be the case, the electrodes on the headphone port are far more robust than those on a micro-USB port.

I know that the standard response to "3,5mm port removal is the feature that nobody requested" is "it'll be painless and we'll be able to use the extra space to more useful internal hardware without having to make the phone bigger". But just ignoring the "painless" thing... how much more "capability" can you add in such a little space? That's enough for what, maybe 5% more battery time?

Maybe I'm wierd, but I couldn't give a rat's arse how thick a phone is... I just want it to be robost and not a big headache.

Comment Re:The Verge is 100% wrong (Score 1) 32

History has also shown us that most new ideas fail. Even good ideas.

I agree that the idea of accessories per se, attractive as it is to me, isn't enough to make a product a success these days. However I should point out that back in the day of PDAs it was normal for mobile devices to have a CF or SD slot that could also be used to add features. This was in the day when mobile devices didn't have cell data connections, GPS or even wi-fi, and it was quite common for people to add memory cards, wi-fi, bluetooth, and GPS. I have a box full of accessory cards in my attic.

Handspring, a company that made Palm Pilot clones, initially did very well with their Springboard modules which allowed you to add any kind of functionality to the base system, just like what we're talking about here. Then a few years after introducing the Springboard module Handspring stopped making PDAs altogether in favor of what was then called a "converged device" -- aka a smartphone -- without the slot. It's all about timing; Handspring was perhaps a little ahead of the curve on convergence, but a lot of manufacturers were getting pushed that way because of falling hardware retail prices made it attractive to put more stuff in the base device to keep the price high.

The standard inclusion of GPS + Cloud + Camera + Bluetooth built-in means that there really isn't a need to physically connect a device to a mobile device. The only exception is battery; there is a real need for a more elegant and secure way to extend the operation of a smartphone than plugging it into a powerbank via USB.

But I may be wrong. Maybe there's a compelling use case for a modular architecture that I just haven't thought of yet. That's why I like to see vendors trying something different, although I usually expect them to fail. I've watched tech long enough to realize that success isn't just about an idea being right, it has to come at the right time.

Comment Re:Old stuff "discovered" by the ignorant (Score 1) 349

While I don't necessarily disagree with you, let me point out that orthodox economic models are also based on assumptions that are not entirely true. For example you don't necessarily assume that any one agent (e.g. the central planner) has all the information relevant to making decisions, but you do assume that all relevant information is available to parties making decisions about transactions they'll take part in. That's not true, but it's close enough to being true that the models have practical utility. Oh, and there's the bit about people being rational in their decision-making.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 349

Because believe it or not, while working sucks, not working also sucks. You don't know how much you get out of work until you don't have it anymore, and I mean stuff beside money: social interaction, purpose, challenge, someplace to go and someplace to look forward to take a vacation from.

In Sweden they're offering an intriguing compromise: work less, or more precisely work for fewer hours, which isn't precisely the same thing.

Comment View from on high (Score 5, Insightful) 202

I used to make firmware that goes into aircraft instruments. The FAA has some guidelines on this.

Unnecessary code is generated machine code, and the rule is that you can have none of it. Source code doesn't matter, if it's ifdef'd out it's the same as commentary.

The theory is that if execution takes an unexpected jump, it can't land in anything that isn't specific to the purpose of the device. Some people take this to extremes, writing new versions of printf() that omit the floating point and pointer output formats when they're not used in the system.

However, if a buffer overflow causes the program to jump, it can't land in the middle of the pointer formatting section and send a pointer to the airspeed computer instead of the decimal altitude.

What the OP is talking about is unnecessary source, which is a different matter.

IBM did studies of bug frequency, and concluded that the number of bugs in a program depends on the number of source lines a programmer can see at any one moment. Big screens allow the programmer to view more lines of code at once, little screens require reading the code through a soda-straw.

Their studies showed that simple code-tightening techniques reduced the number of bugs. Placing the brace on the if-statement, for example, allows one more line to be viewed in the window. Omitting braces altogether for single-statement "if" saves another line. Using 120-char width lines instead of 80 allows fewer wrapped lines, and so on.

There is a competing goal of readability, so tightening can't be taken too far. The complex perl-style or APL-style "everything on a single line" construct goes the opposite direction - too much info and it becomes hard to understand at a glance.

Typical C-like syntax with line-tightening techniques is easy to read, and presents probably an optimal view of code to the engineer.

Braces on their own act like vertical whitespace. Requiring one-and-only-one exit from a subroutine leads to convoluted and chevron code (where the code looks like a big sideways "V" and the hints of indenting is lost). Requiring all definitions at the top of the module requires the reader to flip back-and-forth, and requiring Hungarian notation makes the code look like gobbledy-gook.

Dump it all.

Name your variables clearly, using nouns for objects and verbs for actions. Name your subroutines after their functions. Tighten your code to make it terse, but keep it readable.

Comment Re:What a mess (Score 1) 434

You know, taking the dichotomy you propose as accurate, I'd go with the sleazeball hands down. You might not like them but you can work with sleazy people if you know what they are. They are simply pursuing their self-interest and respond predictably according to realistic calculations of where that lies.

A narcissist on the other hand you can't work with on the basis of realism because he's not rooted in the real world. He operates in a fantasy world. A sleazeball won't act in a way that harms himself but a narcissist, while every bit as self-oriented and deceptive will, and then go looking for scapegoats, even when that does more damage. A sleazeball only scapegoats when it's to his advantage.

So would you rather deal with someone who is rational but selfish, or someone who is unpredictable, self-destructive and selfish?

Comment Re:Anything incriminating? (Score 3, Interesting) 434

I was a Sanders supporter, and I'm neither surprised nor particularly upset. You have to be realistic. Hillary has been active and well-known in the party since 1974, when she rose to prominence as a whip-smart young staff attorney of the Children's Defense Fund. She's spent the last forty years, building contacts and networks in the Democratic party, including nationally as first lady for eight years and with nearly successful presidential run that took her across the entire country. She has a massive rolodex, war chest, and ground organization.

Bernie Sanders only joined the party in 2015. That the DNC was less than perfectly impartial towards the two won't come as news to an Bernie supporter, but to be frank the idea that long-time party insiders and activists would treat someone who joined the party last year the same as someone who's been a big deal in the party for decades is simply unrealistic.

Comment Re:What is the appeal of these things? (Score 1) 128

I think you think the text is too small because you haven't actually used one. I have, and I'm almost 60 years old and need bifocals. I generally can't read ingredients on food or vitamin packages without glasses, but I have no difficulty whatsoever with reading calendar notifications or caller ID on a smartwatch without glasses. Would I want to read a book or webpage on one? Nope. But for notifications the text size is plenty big for me, and I have weaker-than-average eyesight.

Likewise it's not particularly uncomfortable to wear a watch, or hard to remember to put one on. Some folks with ADHD might have problems, because they're always misplacing things and many of them have comfort issues with things like t-shirt tags which most people don't notice but they find distracting. But most people don't find watches uncomfortable or hard to keep track of.

This is just the usual problem with managing the tech adoption curve; the point where you've saturated the early adopter segment. There aren't new features coming in to entice thosee early adopters to upgrade and there aren't enough people on the penumbra of the early adopter community that they become hip. And there isn't really a killer app yet, unless it's fitness tracking which can be done on cheaper devices. That's the only reason I don't wear one anymore; there aren't any that are as good at fitness tracking as a fitbit, so I'd be paying more and getting less for my main use.

Comment Re:Much better source of Hydrogen (Score 3, Interesting) 71

There's actually a plausible case for bringing hydrogen back from Venus (not Jupiter) - it's highly deuterium-enriched (~150-240x Earth) due to the great amount of hydrogen loss to space over the planet's history. If further enriched in-situ (using the local abundant energy resources), it could be exported back to Earth. And there's a pretty clever way to do in-situ enrichment as well: whatever facility you're operating is going to need nighttime energy storage. Electrolysis has a very strong enrichment factor. If you wire your fuel cell stack in a cascade, you're enriching the deuterium at the same time you're storing electricity, and hence getting it for "free" (only the cost of the cascaded plumbing versus a simpler linear approach). There's also potential for enrichment on the recombination side.

Exporting from Venus is (obviously) not economically viable at present, however; you need the total costs to get the return product** to be under $1k per kg. ~$2k/kg if you had to return some hydrogen-bearing material anyway (such as plastic containers) and returned deuterated versions instead. But there could well be a potential case in the distant future for importing hydrogen.

** Costs include in-situ propellant (and potentially drop tank) production for launch, fueling the cycler, deorbit costs at Earth, and of course maintenance of everything involved, not least capital cost amortization if you want to be fair.

Submission + - Laser-Armed Martian Robot Now Vaporizing Targets Of Its Own Free Will

Rei writes: We know now that in the early years of the twenty-first century this world was being watched closely by intelligences granted by man and yet as mortal as his own — intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. Or at least one can assume that's what's happening on Mars these days, as NASA — having already populated the Red Planet with robots and armed a car-sized nuclear juggernaut with a laser — have now decided to grant fire control of that laser over to a new AI system operating on the rover itself. Intended to increase the scientific data-gathering throughput on the sometimes glitching rover's journey, the improved AEGIS system eliminates the need for a series of back-and-forth communication sessions to select targets and aim the laser.

As a side note, may I be the first to add that I think Curiosity is a lovely name, I love what you've done with the planet, but I have a medical condition that renders me unfit to toil in any hypothetical subterranean lithium mines...

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