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Comment Not surprised (Score 5, Interesting) 109

I was once asked by my boss to tinker with Tizen, see if it was usable, since a client was soliciting bids for an app they wanted to run on Samsung's smartwatch.

After a few day's experimentation, I reported that the Tizen SDK was basically unusable to write any app except the ones Samsung already wrote, and that the specific app the client was hoping for was literally impossible. The SDK itself was one of the worst programs I've used in many years - horrendously slow, crash-prone and cluttered in the way typical of early-00s Windows apps.

Needless to say, I am not surprised on multiple levels. First, that Tizen is insecure in addition to being slow and useless. Second, that nobody's taken a serious look at its security, since most people stop looking at it far before security starts to matter.

Comment Re:Absurd (Score 5, Insightful) 251

Tesla might not be able to reach Ford's current sales volume in the foreseeable future, but perhaps Ford's stock is sliding because investors expect its sales volume to shrink considerably? Ford doesn't have a BEV program, doesn't have a good AI program, and isn't even making cars that sell well internationally. They've bet fairly big on SUVs, crossovers and pickups, which are currently selling like hotcakes in the US, but not hugely well anywhere else. If the rest of the world passes heavy fuel-efficiency regulations, that would basically limit Ford to just domestic sales - and while it's unlikely Trump is going to tax CO2, the next administration certainly could, and California is trying to even now.

Tesla is also in position to win even if they lose. BEVs are looking like they'll be a pretty big market, and Tesla built a big-ass battery factory. Even if nobody buys a Model 3, whatever car they buy instead will probably have Tesla batteries inside it. Their ramp-up on batteries seems to be going smoother than their ramp-up of full cars.

Comment Re:Burn it up??? WTF?? (Score 1) 236

The ISS is not in an orbit high enough to be long-term stable. There's microscopic amounts of drag from the extremely thin near-Earth atmosphere, but that still adds up. Every resupply mission to the ISS gives it a small altitude boost, to keep it in orbit.

If those boosts stop happening, even if the ISS is kept in it's low-drag configuration (align the solar panels edge-on), it *will* come down, in a matter of years. When it does, it is very likely parts of it will survive re-entry and be a hazard to people on the ground - Skylab had components survive re-entry. As a safety precaution, it is better to put it on a controlled de-orbit, so that any debris is over deep ocean and unlikely to be a danger. Mir took this path, coming down into the Pacific ocean on a steep angle.

As for putting it into a higher orbit, in order just to get it to a geosynchronous orbit, it would require roughly twice the mass of the ISS in propellants. We could maybe get it into a medium orbit, such that it would not come down for centuries, but that would still require billions of dollars in rockets. Maybe if ITS launches ahead of schedule...

Comment Re:processor line-up (Score 1) 173

The Zen architecture uses four-core "Complexes", which combine cache and some cache-coherency logic (not execution resources, the way Bulldozer did). The six-core parts are confirmed to be two-complex (eight-core) parts with two cores disabled. The four-core parts are almost assuredly single-complex parts, ie. a die specific for four-core (and under?) chips.

Comment Re:Portable turrets (Score 1) 82

Remote-controlled turrets have recently become a trendy upgrade for military vehicles - the M1's TUSK system (Tank Urban Survival Kit) includes a remote-controlled 12.7mm machine gun, to allow it to be operated by the crew without exposing themselves.

Autonomous turrets are deployed along the Korean DMZ, and are equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher and a 5.56mm machine gun. They are claimed to be configured to require human authorization to fire, but are widely suspected to have fully-autonomous capabilities.

However, none of these are man-portable, for the simple reason that any system able to aim a decently powerful firearm is going to be fairly heavy. Even a light rifle will be 3kg+ with ammo, and recoil will be a problem without more mass (either for a recoil-damping system, or just to dissipate the force). Not to mention that it will be slower to aim (point-and-shoot is a lot easier than looking through a camera and pressing buttons, and that cover is rarely perfect - the soldier will be at risk anyways. Setting up some tripod-mounted remote-control gun sounds like an invitation to throw grenades at you.

Comment Re:Captain falcon is the fastest moving, and what (Score 1) 78

Captain Falcon has the highest movement speed but he generally has slower attacks than any other competitive-level character. In particular, his neutral B is the slowest attack in the game.

If you were referring to "the simple strategy of crouching at the edge of the stage caused the network to behave very oddly", "network" refers to "neural network", meaning the AI. I didn't see any other references to networks in the article.

Comment I'm doing it right (Score 1) 325

I'm working on a system now, and for the first time in my career, I'm taking the time to really do it right (mostly because, for the first time in my career, I'm being allowed to). Even though it's mostly used in-house, we do have outside customers with access so I do make sure it runs acceptably on slow connections or devices.

Images are small and scarce. That's not exactly a big deal these days, but honestly, it makes styling easier.

There is one CSS file. It caches just fine. I just ran a test simulating a 22kbps connection - the first page load is about ten seconds, but after that, nothing takes more than a second or so to load, save for one page I've already marked for revision.

Javascript is minimal, mostly used to make nested menus load with AJAX or to do form submission with nice validation. This saves bandwidth overall, so I'd call it a win. The site does not degrade gracefully without Javascript but it doesn't require that much CPU horsepower to do what we do with it.

There are no ads or tracking. Not even Google Analytics. The designer wants to add it but I'm not gonna let it happen. We have server logs we can analyze for all the info we need, why would we send that on to Google, not to mention the perf hit?

Tested in current versions of Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and Edge, and also IE10, under Windows and Linux (for browsers that run on Linux). IE misses some styling features, Firefox has some alignment glitches I haven't gotten around to yelling at the designer to fix it yet, but everything is fully usable. Safari and OS X testing will happen if we ever get a Mac to test with. Mobile browsers technically work but the site is very information-dense and nobody in their right minds would use it on a phone. (And I've tested it with Lynx, you can read it but it's not easy, and saving stuff is broken... if I ever run out of stuff to do, I might fix that, but it's not exactly a priority)

On a normal business-class internet connection (25Mbps shared across a dozen people), and a normal business-class browser (dual-core, 8GB RAM, Windows), most pages load in about 30ms. Only one takes longer than 100ms, and that's already queued for revision.

The fundamental problem is that too few programmers have a direct profit incentive to make a good website user experience. The big sites make money from ads, which are inherently anti-user. Contractors (which I used to be) care more about getting it out under the hours estimate than about quality. I work directly for the people who use this site eight hours a day, you can bet your ass I'll make this a good site for them to use.

Comment Re:Can someone explain the turbine here? (Score 3, Informative) 139

It's a fuel pump. Unlike a reciprocating engine, where you can inject the fuel at low pressure and then compress it, a rocket engine has to inject the propellant at the same pressure it's burned at, and thermodynamics wants that pressure to be as high as possible in order to get maximum efficiency (imagine a car engine that injected fuel at the top of the cylinder stroke instead of the bottom). Combined with the sheer amount of propellant being used, that means you need an absolutely insane amount of power in your fuel and oxidizer pumps.

So they use a turbopump. A small amount of fuel and oxidizer are tapped off and burned. The resulting hot CO2 and H2O are used to run a turbine, which drives the pump. In the Merlin engines, and in many other engines, it ends up just exhausting, generating no additional thrust. Other designs, including Raptor, find ways to re-use that exhaust to generate a bit more power.

Comment Re:Welcome to the Osborne Effect (Score 4, Interesting) 136

Good theory, but I think you're wrong. That's not what's hurting Microsoft - Sony did the same thing, with rumors of the "Neo" appearing shortly after the console itself launched. And yet the PS4 still sold quite well from day one.

What hurt the Xb1 is that it's demonstrably weaker than the PS4, but cost significantly more at launch ($500 compared to $400). Most games are available on both, so the natural inclination is to go with the cheaper and more powerful console. With a wide library of shared games, there's lots of direct comparisons to make, and even before they launched, it was easy to tell the PS4 would be more powerful. That gave the PS4 a very strong advantage during the first year or two.

Even now, they only have price-parity, with both having an entry price around $250-$300. But more people already have a PS4, making that the more attractive option both for multiplayer gaming (if all your friends are on PS4, you'd want one too) and for the larger percentage of third-party exclusive titles (it's nowhere near as big a deal as it once was, since porting is so easy, but there's still some studios that are deciding to skip the Xb1 because the audience is smaller). And it seems to me (as a non-Xb1, non-PS4 gamer) that Sony's shoveling the money from their console sales into more first-party games, giving it a still stronger library, which is ultimately what every gamer cares about.

Microsoft doesn't have a lot of options for coming back from this, just as the PS3 struggled to come back from the Xb360's early lead and the XbC never came close to the PS2. They could make the Scorpio be *substantially* more powerful than the PS4 Pro, making it more future-proof and maybe able to handle 4K/VR better. They could slash the price, and hope to catch up that way, but that's a risky move. They could pin it on VR or AR, but that's riskier still. They could double-down on their cross-play with PC bets - make every single Xb1 game PC-compatible and bundle a PC version, which would widen their library (although it would cannibalize Scorpio somewhat). Or they could go on a spending spree and buy up every developer they can, and kill off the PS4's third-party support - Sony is no Nintendo, they can't survive on first-party games alone (even Nintendo might not do so much longer).

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