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Comment Still Catching Up (Score 4, Interesting) 44

It looks like Intel is still playing catch up in the modem space. Interestingly, it looks like for the 2016 iPhone, Apple is using either the Intel XMM 7360 or the Qualcomm X12. Both of these modems were released in 2015. Qualcomm hasn't shipped a new generation since then, but Intel did release the XMM 7480 in February. It would be interesting to see how much progress Intel has made in a year.

Either way, the fact that Intel's modem exists is good for everyone... except Qualcomm. Without it, Qualcomm would be the only LTE modem supplier. There is no doubt Apple is aware of the Intel modem's shortcomings. My guess is Apple is willing to turn a blind eye to that for the "1st gen" product and use the new revenue as a carrot to get Intel to direct its engineering efforts to the features that Apple wants, probably stuff like CDMA for example.

Comment Re:non-news is non-news (Score 5, Informative) 159

Unless Apple is doing some sort of quasi RAID like read/write access against all available memory chips

"Quasi RAID" is actually how all SSDs work. The controller spreads the writes across multiple flash chips. This is why NVMe is so much faster, the OS can give the SSD controller thousands of outstanding IO requests instead of the max of 32 with SATA. The iPhone uses a single eMMC flash chip which integrates the controller and the NAND on one die. The eMMC chip will do the same thing, only across flash cells instead of entire chips.

In the end, all this comes down to is the fancy 128/256GB eMMC flash comes with a nicer onboard controller than the 32GB one, hence higher bandwidth. That said, with such a huge difference there is no doubt Apple ordered the cheapest 32GB flash they could find. You probably can find the same eMMC chips in a $50 cheap Chinese Android phone. For a $500+ phone they should be paying the extra $2 for higher bandwidth 32GB eMMC chips.

Comment Re:2 years seems rather excessive (Score 1) 87

Remember this is Russia. Most of the USSR state owned industry was sold to former Communist party members and other politically well connected people for pennies on the dollar, including the Soyuz factories. It takes 2 years to build a Soyuz because they use the exact same industrial process to build them that they used 40 years ago under Communist rule. It's Govornment subsidized and NASA pays through the teeth for it anyway, so zero incentive to improve inventory management or process efficiency.

Comment Doesn't Make Sense (Score 1) 310

This Gartner report seems to tell a very different story than Intel's announcement that Q3 revenue would $700 million better than expected. To quote Intel's press release:

The increase in revenue is primarily driven by replenishment of PC supply chain inventory. The company is also seeing some signs of improving PC demand.

Intel can get in big legal trouble with the SEC for lying on these type of financial announcements, so I tend to give a little more cred to regulated stuff like this than just some random analyst.

Comment Great Option (Score 2) 135

Now before anyone freaks out, keep in mind that there is nothing in the Audio over USB-C spec that requires the device that implements it to not have a headphone jack. Its totally legit for a phone to support this spec and have a headphone jack. In fact, I suspect that most vendors will probably go this route.

Being able to plug your phone in to a single USB-C connector on your car or stereo and have it charge the battery and play music using 1 wire is a nice feature.

Comment Misleading Title (Score 4, Insightful) 154

Really should read "UK's Top Police Warn That Making Aim-Bots/Game Cheats May Turn Kids into Cyber Criminals"

I'm not an expert in sociology, but it seems plausible that unethical behavior in online video games can be a gateway to unethical online behavior in general. From a technical standpoint I know that the skills developed by hacking games are similar to the skills needed to hack financial software.

Comment Re:The iPhone 7/7+ still support CDMA (Score 1) 84

I don't think this made the Slashdot front page but Intel bought VIA's CDMA modem design and license about a year ago. Intel's modems currently only support GSM & LTE, whereas VIA never updated their CDMA modems to be LTE capable. It likely will take a couple years for Intel to integrate VIA's CDMA implementation with their LTE design, but once its done, Intel's modems will be just as capable as Qualcomm's.

CMDA isn't only important for the US Verizon/Sprint market, the much more important reason to implement CDMA is China Telecom. Either way, the iPhone 7S will likely mark the return of all iPhones being universally supported by all carriers... regardless of whether there is an Intel or Qualcomm modem inside it.

Comment Pattern Recognition (Score 4, Insightful) 58

Its a little disingenuous to say that Watson "created" the trailer. The only thing Watson did was run a pattern recognition algorithm to figure out which clips in the movie were tense, happy, scary, etc. Then a human editor sorted through all of the clips, picked the good ones and put them in sequence to create a trailer that actually had narrative instead of just being a hodge podge of disjoint clips.

Pattern recognition is getting better which is the first step to creating an AI... but Watson, and AI in general is still very far off from creating a computer program that is capable of original thought.

Comment Re:Could you gush a little more? (Score 1) 427

Java is now toxic thanks to its owner. For the sake of the entire tech industry, we all should consider it a legacy technology that should be removed from everything as quickly as possible. Unfortunately that will take years... maybe even decades, but we must start the deprecation process as quickly as possible. Besides, in the 20 years since it was created we have better cross platform languages now anyway.

Thankfully a lot of us have input in to technical decisions here. We all need to take a stand and kill Java.

Comment Re:Linux. (Score 1) 405

I keep a Windows system around for minor software that needs it

AKA "games".

Other than games, the very important thing that keeps Windows on my personal system is TurboTax. Like pretty much any other US Taxpayer that has a tax situation too complex for form 1040-EZ and doesn't want to pay ~$150 for H&R Block or ~$300 for a certified CPA. I hired a CPA once and $50 per year TurboTax did a better job!

Before anyone says Wine, its a non-starter. TurboTax uses a bunch of .Net features that don't work 100% right on Wine like WPF. Unfortunately the Mac version is absolute garbage, so that route isn't viable either. It really sucks, but the easiest way to be a lawful US citizen is to have a Windows system.

Comment Its About Ecosystem Development! (Score 1) 81

The fact that Intel is offering to manufacture ARM cores for their custom foundry customers is not new. In fact, there are some Altera FPGAs with embedded ARM cores being manufactured by Intel already. The important thing about this deal is that ARM limited will now provide Hard IP for Intel's process technology.

To understand the importance of this, you have to understand a little more about silicon design and manufacturing than the average Slashdotter. Suppose you are some random fab-less chip designer that builds semi-customized ARM SoCs, a company like Rockchip or Mediatek for example. Generally the way you put together your new SoC is you buy a license for the ARM CPU design, then you buy a license for a GPU design from someone else, then you license a USB controller... so on and so forth, until you have all the building blocks necessary to make your new chip. Then you plug them all together, simulate, fab, validate, and ship.

Those blocks come in two different forms, Hard IP and Soft IP. Soft IP is basically a netlist... its a big text file that lists every transistor in the design and the interconnections between every transistor in the design. Usually soft IP vendors will give you the RTL, which is a more human readable language like Verilog which you compile in to a netlist. Hard IP on the other hard, is more like a vector graphics drawing or a stencil. Hard IP lists every transistor, its x/y coordinates on the silicon, and the exact shape and route of the copper wires. The problem with hard IP is every silicon manufacturer uses different shapes and sizes for their transistors and connecting wires (this is called the process design for the foundry), so a given hard IP design can only be built by the foundry it was designed for.

There is a program called a synthesizer that takes the netlist from the soft IP and generates the layout for the hard IP given a bunch of input parameters that describe the target foundry's process design, rather incredible really. The problem is not every design is "fully synthesizable" for example anything involving high speed I/O or analog (aka the "PHY" layers for modern busses: PCIe, USB, eMMC, Ethernet, SATA etc.) In any case, the pieces of the design that can not be synthesized need to be drawn by hand (aka human hands) using CAD software. For things like CPUs, usually there are some critical pieces that are drawn by hand, because a good human engineer can design a better, more efficient layout than the synthesizer can, at much greater expense of course. So depending on what percentage of your design is not synthesized, switching from one foundry to another can turn out to be a lot of work! This is the important thing here, ARM is providing ready to go hard IP for Intel foundry, just like they do with TSMC already, so the technical barrier for an ARM SoC designer to use Intel foundry is now lower... potentially comparable to TSMC.

Depending on the amount of engineers you have and how sophisticated they are, you might design some of those blocks yourself. Up to the point of companies like Apple and Qualcomm where even the ARM CPU design is a custom implementation and doesn't bear much resemblance to the reference design from ARM limited.

For Intel, using Intel foundry is a non-issue since they have an army of engineers that for the most part they design every IP block themselves anyway. For companies like Apple and Qualcomm that also have armies of engineers switching to Intel foundry is not a technical issue, its about business decisions for them. The big news is the smaller companies that don't have as many resources to do custom design now have Intel foundry as a viable option.

Comment Correlates With Stat Counter (Score 4, Interesting) 272

The data over at Stat Counter seems to agree:

Looks like MacOS and Linux share has remained roughly flat over the last year. Win8.1 use has declined 48.5% and Win7 by 23.1%. Hence Win10's adoption has been at the expense of Win8.1 and to a lesser extent Win7. Overall it seems Microsoft's free upgrade has largely been successful at retaining existing Windows users, but it hasn't won any converts from Apple, and it hasn't slowed down Android at all. They stopped the bleeding, but its not exactly the "threshold" that would return Windows to growth that Microsoft's upper management claimed it would be.

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