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Comment Re:I'm not sure I follow (Score 1) 71

We've been through this before: It wouldn't have helped.

Sure, it'd have fixed the fire problem for people who follow the rules. But it'd still be banned from commercial flights because there's no way in hell an airline will inspect the battery to ensure that it has been properly replaced and is of the correct vintage.

Furthermore, plenty of folks (myself included, because I'm daft like that) would have refused to return the old, too-big battery and kept it as a spare.

As much as I want easily-swapped batteries in all of my devices, it wouldn't have made much of a difference here.

Now that the smoke is clearing I may look into a fire-sale Note 7 just to futz with as a semi-pocketable tablet with a stylus.

Comment Re: "Of course it can," says government (Score 1) 263

thermals are actually quite easy to shield from, anything high in boron will do it. It's the high energy ones that you can't (economically) shield from.The issue with high energy neutrons is that what people use as gamma shields tend to make more neutrons. Basically, you need a swimming pool over your computer to shield from them.

Comment MS plays the software patents game now (Score 4, Informative) 221

Microsoft makes money of Open Source software by shaking down companies that deploy it. I.e. they weaponize their software patent portfolio.

That's how they make money from Android.

Recently, they received good press for their Azure patents protection offer, but it is not what it seems at first glance, their is nothing benign about it. It's just a dressed up protection racket.

And while moving their Quantum Computing software to github, gave them press that they "Open Sourced" it, nothing could be further from the truth.

They will try to get a stranglehold on the future of computing, just as they had it in the PC market. They just switched strategy, but this tiger won't change its stripes.

Comment Committed to the least they can get away with (Score 2) 121

Microsoft, owner of Skype (which Microsoft changed specifically for spying, not that Skype was trustworthy under its previous owner either as The Guardian tells us, "Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prism program in February 2011.") and NSA "provider" since 2007-09-11 (the NSA's first PRISM provider) wants us to understand their "commitment to our customers' security". Apparently that commitment is as little as they can get away with.

That's true of every software proprietor, Google included. The problem is the lack of software freedom which is designed to leave users at the mercy of the only programmers allowed to inspect, alter, and publish improvements to the proprietary software—these are the very programmers users couldn't trust with their security in the first place.

Comment Re:preposterous! (Score 1) 263

You are right in the lottery sense : if your particular phone or app crashes, it is very unlikely that it is due to cosmic rays. However, it might be likely that it happens fairly often around the world. This is similar to the lottery : it is unlikely that you will win, but it is likely that someone will win.

It's all a matter of cross-section of the devices actually. If we want to compare, the IPhone 4 (an old baseline, smaller than today's generation but close to most of the low-cost devices) measures 0.007 m^2, while the top 10 largest data centers (from this random link) combined measure about 1.7 x 10^6 m^2. I am going to assume only 1% of the surface is occupied by sensitive chips (?). You would need about 2.4 millions IPhone 4 to cover the same area. Thus, it is very possible that mobile hardware is victim of more high energy burps than immobile hardware.

Comment Software freedom for cars is necessary. (Score 2) 102

I don't think that will be sufficient or even a good plan for the car owner.

The correct and complete solution is simple (and it's high time /. readers start endorsing this to each other and to their Congressional representatives): complete corresponding source code for all of the car's software licensed to the car owner under a free software license. I recommend the AGPLv3 or later in order to help maintain software freedom when people provide remote services to do this job. This would allow the car owner to have an application they trust running on and in the car which allows them to list all connections to other parties and selectively break whichever connections they wish ad-hoc. Few dealers would prefer this because it cuts them out of the loop; only dealers that genuinely want you to have the best available support and service, even extending beyond the dealer's business.

Practical problems with a dealer-only arrangement include: no possibility of getting this fixed ad-hoc (dealers in the US often don't do business on Sundays) which means your privacy means less to them than their ability to engineer new monopolies, no way to trust that the connection to someone's monitor is complete (you're trusting the dealer not to screw you but they have already shown a desire to do that in other ways), dealers are like any other business in that they sometimes go out of business which leaves car owners in the dark for getting this operation done, cooperative dealers are sometimes too far to realistically deal with (if I sell the car from the US mainland to someone in Hawaii they won't want to ship the car back to get this done because their Hawaiian dealer either doesn't exist or isn't cooperative).

Comment Re:Registered Mail (Score 1) 169

I don't know if you can use registered mail for parcels originating in Germany.

But the real fuckup is that it was sent via DHL. It got fucked in the handover from DHL to USPS (the delivery agent) somewhere in New Jersey.

Registered airmail with Deutsche Post, if even possible, would've cost a fortune. But then the box was worth a fortune, so...

Comment Re:GPUs have limited applications (Score 1) 121

I wouldn't call a modern GPU that constrained really. The only thing they lack is memory protection. It's also a lot easier to program on a GPU ever since the SIMT paradigm came out (i.e. CUDA, OpenCL). Also plenty of modern processors come with a GPU on the same die as the CPU. Like nearly all smartphones for example.

Actually all modern GPU have had memory protection for several generations. The problem GPUs have is that don't generally have full support for demand paging and precise exceptions (SIMT makes that pretty expensive). For example, putting in hardware for highest possible performance and hardware to be able to hit a page fault and be able to clean up and restart multiple threads (that might be communicating or synchronizing states) are two different hardware optimization points. That being said, some limited support for demand paging is generally possible.

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