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Comment Re:Beautiful by the numbers launch / deploy / land (Score 3, Informative) 103

SpaceX started streaming a live "technical webcast" feed for the last several launches; here's the one for last night's launch:

In the past I think it's been linked from the webcast page, but you can also find it by searching Youtube.

Comment Re:Game Dev here. (Score 3, Informative) 104

Humble Bundle used to require you to sign into your Steam account and they would add the game directly to your account instead of giving you a key. It was originally keys, then the linking system, and then back to keys.

I'm guessing that Valve disabled that API because they don't want to make the process of buying games outside of Steam as seamless as their own store.

Comment Battery life (Score 3, Interesting) 56

No, the biggest irritants are battery life and price. Putting a standalone cell radio in a watch will make the battery life even worse than the 24-48 hours that the latest crop of Android-based watches get with real usage. And the cell radio costs more and will probably have lousy antennas.

I can see why AT&T would want a cell-connected watch: so they can charge you an extra $5-$10 a month to add another device to your plan.

Comment Robots are useful on Earth, too (Score 1) 95

Research in robotics is especially useful because it has direct applications here on Earth, which makes it more likely to attract private investment and increases the likelihood of being able to spin off space tech for consumer purposes.

Maybe in the future we'll be able to build robots using off-the-shelf parts to do boring, dangerous tasks here on Earth, and use slightly more robust versions (still made of mostly off-the-shelf parts) on Mars without spending billions on R&D.

The easiest way to build billions of affordable robots is to have a dozen of them in every home. I'm still waiting for a robot personal chef, dammit!

Comment Re:Simple (Score 1) 311

Credit card companies charge 20-30 cents per transaction, so for $0.99 apps it's a good deal (Apple has probably negotiated lower transaction fees).

Where it gets unfair is that Apple wants the same cut of recurring subscriptions like magazines, etc, which may be a lot more than $0.99. You're prohibited from providing a link to go to your website to sign up for the subscription because Apple wants the cut they get when you buy using in-app purchases.

That's the reason why on iOS you can use the Amazon app to buy physical goods, but not music or other digital items.

Comment Re:Seriously, $250,000? (Score 1) 44

None of these X-prize style challenges offer anywhere near the R&D cost of even attempting the challenge.

It's mostly about the prestige -- though I guess people might consider a $10 million challenge more prestigious than a $250,000 one.

And if organizations started offering $10,000 for a bunch of smaller challenges (that still cost a couple orders of magnitude over $10,000 to develop) I'd imagine the novelty would wear off.

Comment Libraries (Score 2) 391

Some interesting points in the article. I think there's nothing really stopping you from creating a high-level representation that lets you work abstractly. A graphical programming model is probably going to be too simplistic, but the card example could easily be something like Cards.AceOfSpades. Or being able to call something like Math.eval(<insert some math here>).

Where it falls apart is when you have to hook this up to code that other people have written. If there was a single PlayingCard library that everyone could agree on, you might be able to create a card game by adding a "simple" set of rules (in reality, even simple games tend to have a lot of edge cases, but this would at least free up the nitty gritty work to allow writing something more like a flowchart expressing the various states).

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that a single library is going to meet everyone's needs. Even if you manage to get everyone to stick to one framework, e.g. if all Ruby developers use Rails -- as soon as you start adding libraries to extend it you're bound to end up with different approaches to solving similar problems, and the libraries that use those libraries will each take a different approach.

Comment Too bad we didn't have this 2-3 years ago (Score 2, Insightful) 86

Nokia could have made a compelling cross-platform play. Write one app, have it run on iOS, Android, and Meego -- and others. Like what HTML5-on-mobile was supposed to do, but without the performance and compatibility headaches.

It wouldn't necessarily have a native look-and-feel on each platform but there are plenty of apps that use non-standard themes anyways.

Comment Re:Not a good architecture for alternate guis (Score 1) 240

As far as drivers, the abstraction layer is supposedly EGL / OpenGL ES. Of course, that assumes every OpenGL ES implementation works flawlessly out of the box without hacking around bugs, etc, which is rarely the case.

AFAIK, Weston only supports Mesa right now. Nvidia doesn't provide an OpenGL ES library or Mesa support in their binary drivers, so you'd be stuck with the open source nouveau driver if you want to use Weston.

There's also the concept of nesting compositors, where the desktop window manager (kwin, gnome-shell, etc) would run as a session compositor and handle window decorations, drag events, and compositing, and then it would send the full screen image to the system compositor which would just do a dumb blit to the screen.

I'm curious about of the performance of this, since it sounds like you basically have:

1) App renders widgets/video/3D using OpenGL to a window pixmap, and sends the pixmap to session compositor.
2) Session compositor uploads window pixmaps to OpenGL textures and then renders the scene to a full-screen pixmap, and sends it to the system compositor.
3) System compositor sends full-screen pixmap to the OpenGL drivers, which displays it.

which seems like it'd use a fair amount of bandwidth shuffling back and forth pixmaps that might be nearly 2650x1600 for a maximized window, at 60fps. There might be some optimizations to pass off the images without compositing, e.g. for a full screen window or if there's no overlap, but there might also be some degenerate cases.

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