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Comment Re:A question about flash and SSDs (Score 5, Informative) 133

Speaking as someone in the NAND industry...

NAND does not have its own reliability controls on-die. Items such as wear-leveling, file management, and ECC mechanisms need to be handled somewhere. So the options are in software, which would then need to be validated and designed for each NAND manufacturer, die, and process; and would consume CPU and batter power from the tablet OS, or it can be done via a separate off-die controller.

And as to the choice of eMMC, it's a cost/performance/reliability trade-off. eMMC is relatively inexpensive (very small die), and includes all of the aforementioned reliability mechanisms at a low-power, and low-cost method, in an I/O language supported by most mobile architectures (SD/MMC). However, it severely lacks in relative performance to an SSD. The other option is an optimized SSD controller, which may cost many times more, but has much higher performance. The problem is how to include a $100 SSD in a $100-200 tablet BOM... impossible.

Comment Understanding "computers" vs "programming" (Score 1) 426

In my college program on electronics design, we actually did a lot of system-level programming on 8085 machines. We went so far as to build DAC converters to build volt meters out of computers. What it gave us was the ability to understand the basics of CPUs interacting with memory, signals, IOs, assembly language. That said, with two years of that under my belt, I am no closer to understanding any real-world programming that can get me a job, than had I not taken the class.

Yes, the basics of computers are much easier when you don't have massive clock frequencies adding insane complications to applications. No, programming has nothing to do with understanding what JMP does. Do I think it's valuable? Sure. Do I think it'll make any difference on whether you can call yourself a "programmer?" No way.

Comment Just sell it... (Score 1) 1

Ebay it, take the $150, and go buy a box better suited for what you want. Grab an AspireRevo, hook it up through HDMI, and you're only fronting $50 for something more useful and practical (at least, after Flash 10.1 comes out...)

Comment Re:Not very bright in most cases (Score 1) 586

There are a lot of posts just like this, so I'll respond to this one.

Web code is simplistic, for sure, but how many hours have to be spent making a page render the same in IE4-8, Safari 2-3, Firefox 2-3, Opera, mobile browsers, etc.

I can code a beautiful page for any one, or maybe two, of those in no time. It's double the work or more to get it to render in all of them accurately. And all of this with solitary HTML/CSS/JS. Now I have be a DBA, I do program in C/Perl/Java/PHP, yet I have respect for the need to actually work knowledgably in HTML/CSS. It's not the code that's tough, it's how different the definitions of that simple code are across the ecosystem.

Comment Choose NTFS for the life of your drive (Score 1) 198

There's one other reason to choose NTFS: the file system is spread across the drive, versus having a localized FAT table. Unless the wear-leveling on the drive is good (and most controllers for USB sticks are more than sufficient for what they're designed for, but I wouldn't call "good," they're designed for price), you end up with very uneven wear on a finite-life product. Add in that the USB market takes the lowest grade of memory available, and I'd trust NTFS over FAT, generally.

That said, I still use FAT, because as long as my thumb drive works long enough to move my presentation from my laptop to my customer's, it's done its job. I don't expect it to have a long life, and I have an unlimited stream of new drives to play with.
The Courts

Is RIAA's MediaSentry Illegal in Your State? 200

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Is Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG 'investigator' MediaSentry operating illegally in your state?. The Massachusetts State police has already banned the company, and it's been accused of operating without a license in Oregon, Florida, Texas, and New York. Similar charges have now been leveled the organization in Michigan. Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth, in response to a complaint, has confirmed that MediaSentry is not licensed in Michigan, and referred the complainant to the local prosecutor."

Submission + - Apple cracks down on the Hymn Project (hymn-project.org) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Ever since the initial launch of the iTunes Music Store, an intrepid group of programmers over at the Hymn Project have engaged in a marvelous cat-and-mouse game with Apple. Now they're finally being hobbled by Apple's lawyers.

The purpose of the project has always been to provide software that can be used to losslessly remove Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection from music purchased through iTunes, so that the buyer may exercise their right of fair use and play the music on non-Apple devices (Hear Your Music aNywhere).

The software has gone through many incarnations. The original hymn has been succeeded by JHymn, QTFairUse6, MyFairTunes, and others. Regardless of the program, the emphasis has always been squarely on fair use — not piracy. Any discussions of piracy have been strongly and actively discouraged on the site's forums.

For years now, Apple has been content to mostly ignore the Hymn Project. At worst, they would introduce subtle changes to new versions of iTunes that would break the Hymn software. Nobody really knows if this was done intentionally, but it was usually just a matter of time before a new solution was found. This seemed like a reasonable approach for Apple to take. After all, why should they care? The DRM was only in place to placate the record companies. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has even expressed his opinion that all music should be free of DRM.

Well, now things have changed. Recently, a new program called Requiem was announced that appears to be a complete crack of the iTunes DRM scheme. Previous programs had relied on various forms of trickery or memory hooks to access the unencrypted audio data — none had ever completely cracked the encryption algorithms.

Requiem seems to have been the last straw. Earlier this week, the ISP hosting the site received a Cease and Desist order from Apple Legal, demanding that all downloads be removed from the site, and that the site post no links to any programs that could remove DRM from Apple music or video. Reportedly, similar C & D orders were also sent to at least one of the project's developers, and to another ISP where Reqiuem had been hosted. Ironically, Requiem was never actually hosted on the Hymn site — merely mentioned and linked to in one of the forums. Nevertheless, the Hymn Project has now come into the crosshairs of Apple's lawyers and, lacking legal resources, has seen no choice but to comply with the order.

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