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Comment Re:Why can't there be an open phone? (Score 1) 470

The problem is that nobody goes after manufacturers that violate the GPL. If Google were to put their money where their mouth is, they should pursue ALL the manufacturers that refuse to release the GPL code to their Android software.

Here are some of the big GPL violators: Amlogic MINIX Samsung HTC ...

What would that accomplish? The only thing that you could get is whatever kernel modifications they've made. Do you really think there's a lot of really innovative kernel work being done by those players? And, AFAIK, they do publish the kernel changes to comply with the GPL. Samsung and HTC do, anyway. I'm not sure about the smaller ones.

The rest of Android is under the Apache2 license, so OEMs have no obligation to publish their changes. Not even to Google.

Comment Re:Making America great again (Score 2) 128

What do people mean when they say "make America great again"?

I think most of those people actually mean "I want the world to revert back to how it was X years ago". With X depending on personal experiences.

Of course, that's impossible.

Very true. And I think what Trump is thinking of when he says it is the greatness of the captains of industry, like Rockefeller, Sinclair, Carnegie, etc., with himself and his friends in the leading roles.

Comment Re:Why can't there be an open phone? (Score 2) 470

Remember the original PC was "open" because IBM were forced to under anti trust law.

That's not true. There was no anti-trust ruling against IBM related to the PC (though when they created the PC they were already operating under the terms of a consent decree related to anti-trust prosecution for actions in the mainframe space), and the PC's openness was really a result of Compaq's careful cleanroom reverse engineering of the BIOS, rather than any legal constraints on IBM. The previous anti-trust action against IBM probably did have the effect of making them more circumspect about trying to control the PC, but that was less of a factor than Compaq's work.

Comment Re:Why can't there be an open phone? (Score 1) 470

Boy, I was wrong :-( Android we all hoped would be a GNU OS with all rooted phones and terminals and hacks back in 2009 when we read about it. Nope. Is it too late and why won't Google be more open?

Android is open, rootable and hackable. Most OEMs make phones that are locked down, but Google's Nexus and Pixel line have unlockable bootloaders (note, however, that Verizon required the Pixels to be locked down; buy from Google for the open version), and full source code to the OS is available, including build toolchains. There are binary blobs for firmware (as is the case for lots of PC hardware, too), and Google's own apps are closed source, but the operating system is absolutely open and hackable. There's also no cost for writing your own apps, and nothing requiring you to use Google's "walled garden", the Play store. In fact there are other play stores out there, and you can download and install individual apps.

Comment Re: This will never happen, even if I want it to. (Score 2) 268 You can refuse a presidential pardon and still be convicted.

The precise Supreme Court ruling is kind of interesting. The holding was that a judge cannot recognize a pardon unless it has been introduced into the court. The mere fact that a judge knows the pardon was granted isn't enough; someone has to actually bring it up in court. So, you can be prosecuted even if you've been pardoned, but all you have to do is to say "Hey judge, I've been pardoned" (more or less) and the judge will dismiss the case (with prejudice, I'd expect). But if you refuse to bring it up, the trial and sentencing go forward as normal. Unless the prosecution brings it up, but that would be dumb.

Of course, in most cases if you've been pardoned and haven't rejected the pardon, the prosecutor won't even bother trying to prosecute you because he knows you have a get-out-of-jail-free card. But in theory he could try to prosecute anyway... until the defense files a motion to dismiss.

Comment Re:...without sacrificing photo quality (Score 4, Insightful) 103


It's really impressive how much a difference sharp eyes make. I like taking close-up portraits with my 85mm f/1.4 on a full frame sensor. 99% of the whole picture is basically completely out of focus. If the other 1% falls on the eyes, the picture looks perfectly sharp. It's junk otherwise.

Yup. When people look at portraits, they look first, last and middle at the eyes. My slight oversharpening brings out detail in the irises and lashes that people don't consciously notice but really make the image "pop".

Most of photography is understanding how humans see images and enhancing (with various techniques, including composition, focus, lighting, post-processing etc., etc.) the portions that the photographer wants the audience to look at, in ways the audience finds compelling. In hindsight it's obvious that you can take random photos and go the other direction, losing detail that no one cares about, without degrading human perception of the image. Doing it well requires some understanding of the content of the image, though, so it takes a smart-ish system.

Comment Re:Google is AAF (Score 1) 103

And everybody agrees JPEG is old, tired and long in the tooth the old patent issues. Then there was JPEG-2000 but again patent issues. Again, why would Google push this on top of what's essentially something that collectively we've been told is dying and encumbered by *possible* patent issues? I can see from the press info and details that they've come up with a way to use ML in a new way, great. But again, why not on top of WEBP they're own great new way of doing this and not JPEG? you can convert JPEGs to WEBP why not? Oh the browsers don't support WEBP but do JPEG?

You're missing the forest for the trees, I think.

This technique is entirely independent of image format. You could do it with JPEG, or WEBP or anything you like... you could even do it with lossless compression formats, though you'd obviously be making them lossy. The researchers used JPEG because it was convenient.

Comment Re:...without sacrificing photo quality (Score 4, Insightful) 103 a lie, it reduces image quality just in a way you cannot see visually

If all you want to do is look at the image this is fine, but anything else that needs it full quality will be sacrificed

Actually I think you could probably see it if the device are using isn't already so high def you can't tell the smallest details anyway. What they do is just request a 1/4 size image and then upscale it. Woo clever.

No, they request a 1/4 size image, then upscale it, then selectively restore details to portions of the image that humans pay attention to. The result isn't much larger than the 1/4 size image, but looks much better to people.

I've been doing something vaguely similar (though not automatically) for years in my portrait photography. I selectively sharpen (actually, oversharpen) key facial features (especially eyes) that are the things that people focus on when looking at a portrait. This makes the whole image seem sharper and more vibrant, though it isn't. In fact, if the entire image were sharpened in the same way it would look terrible. This is especially useful when I shoot with a soft-focus filter which creates a very nice dreamy effect but can make the subject look dull. Soft focus plus sharpened eyes (and, often, lips -- it depends) make a beautiful portrait which people find more appealing and "realistic" than without the phony sharpening. Similarly, reduced overall resolution with detail retained in the right places makes an image look as good as the full resolution version, even though it's not.

Comment Re:Google is AAF (Score 1) 103

Google you're annoying as fuck with the moving targets on your open standards, and while I think it's great that we now have another way to store images but we still have GIF, PNG, SVG, JPEG and even your own )(*@)(*! WEBP

This ins't a new standard. The images processed by this algorithm are standard JPEGs, just adjusted in a way that reduces image complexity in a way that is imperceptible to humans.

Comment Re:Unfortunate. (Score 1) 205

I wonder if they have something to say about putting dual USB (either dual USB-C, or USB-C plus micro USB) on the phone, because I need power + audio out more often than I need something else.

Good question. I don't think dual USB would be the right solution, though. USB can deliver data/audio out while pushing power in, so you only need one port. With a miniature USB hub plus a USB audio adapter you'd be able to charge and listen at the same time. And someone could even combine them into one small device. I found one that allows charging the device while getting HDMI output, so something like that.

Personally, my phone (Pixel XL) charges so quickly and lasts so long that I rarely need power + audio, except in the car where I use Bluetooth audio anyway. The combination of quick charging and long battery life means I charge when it's convenient for me to charge, rather than when the phone needs it. Mostly that means I only plug it in when I'm in the car (where my dock has a charger, so it requires no conscious decision to charge).

Comment Re:Unfortunate. (Score 2) 205

Because the engineering mantra of designing something that's the minimum needed to do the job properly has been supplanted

Alternatively, given the available more flexible and general-purpose alternatives, the headphone jack is no longer required to do the job properly, so the mantra dictates that it should be removed.

I've spoken with mobile phone hardware engineers about the issue, and what they say is that there are very compelling reasons to remove the headphone jack. It takes a huge amount of space, particularly due to depth, and does so right in a crucial area where designers would prefer to put antennas. Being able to get rid of it in favor of USB audio allows them to make better phones.

Comment Re:Sigh. (Score 1) 119

Fingerprints are not used for authentication, right?

Wrong. Fingerprints are great authenticators (and not particularly good identifiers; uniqueness guarantees are very weak), but the authentication is derived from the integrity of the measurement process, not the secrecy of the fingerprint.

That is, the security of a fingerprint-based authentication is primarily derived from the assurance you have that the fingerprint being measured is an actual body part and not some simulacrum. In the case of attended authentication stations, where a guard examines your fingers to verify that you're not wearing latex finger covers or similar the security is actually very good. In the case of a mobile phone phone sensor or similar, the security is fairly low -- though stronger than a typical phone password when shoulder-surfing opportunities are factored in.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 1) 399

Because your less-than-technically savvy "friends" and acquaintances will try sending you email at WallyL at, which is not my email address, because mine is at, but those people don't know the difference and send stuff to the wrong person.

I've never had that problem, in 25 years of email use.

Comment Re:Greenpeace are fucking morons. (Score 1) 84

While Apple, Google and Amazon all have electronic services delivery, Amazon is, by far, the largest in terms of physical plant for their vast goods-shipping network.

While yes, Apple and Google do ship, they simply don't have the sheer scope of what Amazon is dealing in.

So yeah, Amazon's going to come in behind those two.

This report is only about data centers, not all operations. So it's excluding goods shipment infrastructure.

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