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Comment Re:And project Ara was doomed to failure? (Score 1) 98

Back in The Old Days, every last somewhat-seedy mall kiosk carried a wide variety of 'shells' that were snap on replacements for the plastics of whatever Nokia was relevant at the time. As the number of phones that either have removable parts or are designed to survive without a case has declined, cases appear to have moved into filling a similar niche.

Comment Re:Unsure If Legal?!? (Score 1) 98

I suspect that the potential issue would be with replacement parts that are either copyright infringing knockoffs of iphone 7 components or provided with probably-not-trademark-approved logos and text designed to match the appearance of the iphone 7.

Any attempt to assert that fiddling with the hardware, in itself, is a crime would be overreaching bullshit of the highest order; but if the aim is to look as much like a different product as possible; it is pretty likely that some of the parts kits are on shaky ground in terms of copyright and trademark. Even then, though, it would be unusual for Apple to go after the end users for that; though a vendor offering cosmetic upgrades might well come under fire.

Comment Re: Wifi replace fixed cabled systems no way! (Score 1) 69

Wireless charging works surprisingly well; but its efficiency is pretty atrocious compared to the resistive losses you would see with any remotely appropriate cable and connector. Losses to heat in battery charging are the same either way; and AC/DC conversion losses are somewhat higher with wireless charging(conversion efficiency will be the same; but the losses in wireless transmission mean that you will need more power at the wall to deliver the same amount of power to the device).

It certainly has its uses, where the absolute power levels are low enough that the losses just don't matter much; or where specific considerations make exposed electrical connections a no-go; but the losses are substantial if you need to deliver significant power.

Comment Re:Skype Doesn't Claim Otherwise (Score 2) 46

While I would very much like to see improvements in the security of these services; it's also worth remembering that the 'alternative' is usually either POTS or cellular, provided by the local monopoly and/or cozy-cooperator-with-the-state.

That doesn't diminsh the fact that, when doing communications software on a global scale, something that counts as 'eh, bug' in silicon valley may involve a one-way trip to the basement of the interior ministry for a bunch of users somewhere; but secure communications is something where the 'default' option is somewhere between 'completely useless' and 'actively hostile'. Phone networks were never built with privacy or security(aside from anything needed for billing purposes) in mind; and they've since sprouted all manner of surveillance tools.

Just shrugging and saying 'Meh, the other guy is worse." isn't a good excuse; but it is worth remembering that people considering it to be a bug or vulnerability when eavesdropping succeeds is a pretty new feature.

Comment Re:Wifi replace fixed cabled systems no way! (Score 2) 69

One application that could be rather useful, for this standard(or even ones that use spectrum with even worse distance issues) would be the possibility of reducing the number of delicate connectors for devices that are docked/undocked frequently.

It's hard to beat copper for transferring power(yes, the various wireless charging schemes do work; but efficiency isn't pretty); but, particularly for low voltage, modest current, DC applications where ensuring safety is less of a challenge; you can use simple, robust, cheap connectors.

Connectors for high speed data are less pleasant, requiring some balance between very careful construction to allow high speeds over a limited number of lines and densely packing a whole lot of signal lines into something that still has to survive hundreds to tens of thousands of mate/unmate cycles and hopefully doesn't attract grit, pocket fuzz, and so on.

If you have a very high speed wireless link, even one with lousy penetration and high attenuation in air; you can potentially replace a complex and delicate data connector with one radio-transparent spot on the device chassis and one on the dock: no hole in the chassis, no connector to get damaged or full of crud, no fiddly pins getting bent or corroded; and since the two radios are very close together(ideally in a known position) power levels can be fairly low; and interference and noise would be less troublesome.

Given the issues with atmospheric attenuation; never mind walls, these very-high-speed wifi systems get rather less interesting at greater distances(though yes, SFP ports are creeping into APs, and that's consumer trash, not even some enterprise thing); but if the price isn't too high I'd be delighted to never see another laptop docking station connector again.

Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 2) 325

It doesn't help that a lot of the 'watches as jewelry' types are either looking for jewelry in a budget(in which case spending a large fraction of the purchase price on expensive and largely invisible electronics, rather than most of the money on the attractive case, is less than totally attractive); or looking for the 'timeless' and 'heritage' and so on that watch ads are always going on about.

While technologically pointless, your zillion-jewel-fiddly-mechanical-movement is going to be just as nifty for at least decades, barring abuse. Anything 'smart' will be old news in 18 months, at most; and archaic within a few years. That isn't terribly compelling.

Comment Shocking. (Score 1) 325

It's almost as though a relatively small market got saturated; with some added bite from the (more limited; but substantially cheaper) 'fitness' bands that offer a much lower cost of entry to have an annoying gadget on your wrist and bothering you.

I never would have expected that outcome.

Comment Re:Nothing new (Score 4, Insightful) 324

It certainly isn't new; but it is, arguably, even more glaring(and idiotic) now that 'mobile' is such a thing.

Yes, the graphic designer who thinks that he's god's gift to beauty because the site 'looks good' on his color-calibrated multi-thousand-dollar Eizo has always deserved a smack; but that's especially true now that it is more likely that his target audience isn't just viewing the results on a smaller, cheaper, screen than he is; but on a tiny smartphone LCD, backlight dimmed for battery life, with a mirror finish to pick up every stray reflection and hint of sunlight.

Form over function has always been a danger; and failure to test your output on a reasonable simulation of what people will actually view it on has always been a mistake; but the contrast is particularly glaring when the gulf between the sort of screens that 'content creators' tend to use and the average quality of screens site visitors are using is so enormous. It has always been there; but it has not always been so wide.

Comment Re:If you can't see the text (Score 5, Interesting) 324

Remember those crazy, utopian, idealists who tried to design web standards so that content and presentation could be, and would be, cleanly separated; and thus easily adapted to the requirements of just about any user agent out there?

That dream isn't completely dead; but it sure doesn't get much respect from the cool kids(which can make the 'just impose your own CSS' trick pretty hairy on some of the touchier sites out there).

Comment Re:Statutory Damages (Score 1) 218

Any remedy that involves me getting into a lawsuit with a megacorp isn't going to work.

...and hence we are back to my original point that we need to level the playing field in the legal system between huge corporations and individuals because in order for any penalty to be applied there has to be a court involved to determine whether the corporation did perjure themselves.

Comment Re:Open Source AI (Score 1) 210

There is good reason to believe that this is the best algorithm to use.

Just because the current best algorithm we have cannot explain why it made a certain decision it does not follow that all future best algorithms will be unable to explain. Indeed for some applications, such as scientific data analysis, one of the reasons we use algorithms like Boosted Decision Trees a lot is because we can see exactly why an event was classified as signal vs. background.

Comment Passwords less secure (Score 2) 428

Fingerprints are an inherently insecure way to 'secure' a device of any kind because there are techniques to obtain latent fingerprints, which we all leave everywhere anyway,

If someone wants to get into my device so much that they are willing to find, scan and make replica fingerprints then at this point passwords are even less secure.

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