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Comment Re: Stupid Software Design Decisions (Score 1) 212

I should have been more clear, every scan *job* not every file. I am very aware of the way Windows works and its horrible amount of overhead for creating a new process compared to UNIX.

This performance concern would need to be balanced against the added security of preventing a persistent malware infection of the scan engine process. Maybe replace the process every 1000 files scanned? This is what performance profiling is for.

From a software engineering standpoint, one should start out with the "best" design and ignore performance for the most part, and then after the initial implementation do performance profiling to see what you actually need to optimize. If you optimize up front, then you have no way of knowing if the optimizations you did in the initial design actually had any benefit.

Comment Re: Stupid Software Design Decisions (Score 2) 212

Since the whole point of it is security it really makes sense to have two copies of your scan engine installed, one in Ring 0 for early boot rootkit detection that scans every driver as it loads and only scans if the binary passes MSFT's driver signing checks first.

All of your scanning of code modules after the kernel is up should be forwarded to a sandboxed user mode service so that even if the scan engine is compromised the malicious code can't go anywhere. Not a bad idea to fire up a new process for every scan so the exploit will be short lived.

Its pretty clear that antivirus software isn't written this way. They run everything in high privileges.

Comment Stupid Software Design Decisions (Score 2) 212

Seriously why the hell does Antivirus software need to run its scan engine at Admin group privileges, and why is half of the scan engine running in Ring 0 kernel drivers?

Its amazing, my work laptop BSODs about once a day just because of some crappy driver included in the Antivirus software installed by IT.

Since it crashes that frequently just in normal operation it seems likely that there is at least 1 vulnerability in that driver which is exploitable from user mode.

Comment Re:The great thing about standards... (Score 1) 221

Would it have killed them to make it backwards compatible with the hardware that already exists?

Speaking from a purely technical standpoint, based on the way the eMMC and UFS standards are written that would be extremely difficult to achieve. The UFS standard actually uses a MIPI M-PHY design for the actual electrical conveyance of data across the copper data lines. The protocol layer of UFS is actually identical to NVMe and the OS storage drivers interact with the UFS device as if it were a NVMe SSD. By comparison, SD cards have their own proprietary bus format that is derived from MultiMediaCard, which was derived from the SPI bus protocol, which was derived from I2C. This is a completely different hardware and software stack from UFS.

Really what it comes down to is when the UFS specification was originally written it was intended to be an internal bus for giving smartphones faster internal flash. It was not intended to become and external card format that would compete with SD. If that was a consideration from the start, I'm sure JEDEC would have baked a good backwards compatibility story in to the standard. Now that the standard already exists UFS v2.0 needs to be backwards compatible with UFS v1.0, so it is too late to add SD bus compatibility since v1.0 already exists in the market and backwards compatibility with it must be maintained.

Maybe they could try to bake in some SD compatibility without breaking the ability of new cards to work with old UFS hosts after the fact... but given how orthogonal the two designs are that would likely add an unacceptable amount of complexity to the flash chip's controller (remember complexity == more transistors == more expensive controller and more power consumed.)

Comment Floppy Drives Are A Bad Comparison (Score 0) 771

There is a big difference between the floppy drive and the headphone jack. The floppy drive died out because a bunch of new, better in every way alternatives came out that made it no longer useful. The headphone jack is still quite useful.

If Apple wants to push technology forward and make a better headphone jack then why not do something that would actually improve audio quality like making the new connector support balanced headphone drive and get rid of the common ground? Combined with a quality pair of headphones that would really push audio fidelity forward.

Of course like everyone else here I expect this is probably just a money grab intended to sell a bunch of dongles and collect a ton of licensing fees on lighting connector headphones with zero actual improvement included.

Comment Boring (Score 3, Informative) 205

...contains 621 million transistors... Imagine how many mind-boggling things will become possible if this much processing power ultimately finds its way into new consumer technologies.

Let see... 1,000 very small compute cores... sounds a awful lot like your typical GP-GPU these days. Only reason the power consumption is so small is because it has < 1 billion transistors. Compare that to the 17 billion transistor nVidia pascal monster. Even the non-Iris graphics Skylake desktop CPU has ~1.7 billion, and over half of those are spent on the GPU.

Chances are even paltry Intel HD Graphics running an OpenCL program will have more FLOPS than this thing. Don't be fooled by the flashy headline, the laws of physics still apply.

Comment BSA = Software Industry Lobbyists (Score 4, Insightful) 55

I suspect that the $1 trillion number the BSA came up with is a generous estimation that gives excessive weight to all the secondary sectors that the software industry supports. Just because construction firms purchase a bunch of trucks doesn't mean that construction jobs get counted as part of "the auto industry's impact on GDP." The only thing that counts towards GDP is the revenue generated by the sales of those trucks (worker wages DO NOT count as part of GDP unless they are government workers), same principle should apply to the software industry.

Just a bunch of rhetoric to talk up Congress about why its so important that they pass a bunch of new IP laws to protect the US economy.

Comment Re:Alleged to be one of two new models (Score 2) 144

Your right, there is something amiss this time. This is the first time consoles are architecturally identical to a standard PC system. It is also the first time that none of the consoles attempted to push technology forward in any way (the chips in both consoles are nothing to write home about performance wise, even at the time of the console's launch.) At the same time, small form factor PCs like NUCs were getting popular. Combined with Steam, PC manufactures started building gaming systems that *directly* competed with consoles in the living room. All things considered, consoles are exposed to the PC refresh cycle much more than ever before. Neither Sony or MSFT were concerned since the game software developers just target the lowest common denominator anyway.

The big miscalculation that both manufactures made is two emerging disruptive technologies have shown up. First... VR. Second, neither manufacturer predicted how aggressively TV manufactures would rapidly push the price of 4K displays down. Both of these offer compelling experiences that current gen pedestrian hardware design choices are incapable of driving. So the current gen consoles are going to end up having a short life. Otherwise the market is going to shift to the PC and leave them in the dust.

Comment Re:Cheap natural gas and expensive regulations... (Score 1) 235

The problem is that the coal industry is leaving taxpayers with pension obligations and mine cleanup obligations.

In this case Peabody is essentially asking the court to take shares away from its current stockholders so that Peabody can then give those shares to their debtors as repayment for their debt. So in this case anyway, the current investors are the ones being f'd, not the US taxpayer.

Comment Re:The lack of technical precision in TFS is annoy (Score 1) 492

So what the hell does "Ubuntu will primarily run on a foundation of native Windows libraries" mean?

Back in the WinXP days when Windows Services for UNIX (formerly known as Interix before Microsoft bought it) was free there where was a community driven effort to use Xming to run KDE and GNOME on Windows Services for UNIX 3.6 by recompiling all the user-space libraries to Interix and using a fork of the BSD package manager to install all the dependencies. After Microsoft starting charging money for Services for UNIX by requiring you to buy the "Ultimate" Windows Vista SKU interest dropped off rapidly. Question is will this be another bait and switch tactic to try to get you to buy the higher end Windows SKU when the next version comes out? It has happened once before.

From a technical standpoint, I honestly don't know how they are doing this, but my guess is that Microsoft has decided to dig up and revitalize Interix. It provided an implementation of POSIX as a WinNT kernel subsystem, similar to Win32 (ignoring that Win32 is given special treatment by the NT kernel.) Most of the work would be to make Interix compatible with ELF binaries and the Linux INT 0x80 syscall interface, make a version of ld that is compatible with Linux ELF binaries, throw in an X server implemented on either Win32 GDI or maybe one of the newer APIs like Direct2D, add a chroot jail and then let Ubuntu provide all the userspace libraries and applications.

Comment Re:Why not work on real pci-e ext cables / buses (Score 1) 42

PCIe 3.0 runs at 8 GT/s, which has very high signal integrity requirements, at that speed even a 1mm stray solder ball starts acting like an antenna. If you want to route that signal over cheap wire (which is a requirement) you are going to have signal integrity issues at trace lengths >12" from the PCIe port on the chip-set, meaning your cheap cable is probably 3-4" in length at best. A 3' cable is going to cost $100 if you do it this way. Note that a typical 50cm U.2 cable costs $50 because of the shielding and wire thickness needed for moving PCIe 3.0 over cable. This is why U.2 was originally an enterprise/server product and wasn't intended for consumer systems.

So, just using PCIe signaling as is doesn't pan out for the consumer market, customers won't buy it without cheap 6' cables. So you need to change the signal so that it can traverse a cheap cable better... this requires a bridge chip to convert from the PCIe signaling to external cable signaling... Intel set out to do EXACTLY what you are asking for (external PCIe) and Thunderbolt was the result.

There are two reasons why BIOS changes are needed for Thunderbolt. First, the Windows pci.sys bus driver doesn't do a very good job at assigning I/O resources to hot plugged PCIe devices when you hot plug a complex topology of 3-4 nested levels of virtual PCI/PCI bridges at once. Supposedly this is better in Win10 but still not perfect. Second, there are some subtle differences in the PCI enumeration algorithm for Thunderbolt versus regular PCI. So Non-Mac Thunderbolt systems have the BIOS do resource assignment for hot plugged Thunderbolt devices... even while the OS is running using SMM (OSX supports Thunderbolt natively and doesn't need the BIOS hacks.)

Comment Re:Choice is good, but... (Score 1) 287

every ARM SoC is its own dysfunctional port

Honestly, even though we all (Linus included) shit on UEFI, ACPI, x86 and the PC in general... I think we all have to agree that despite the PC ecosystem has literally thousands of different OEMs that fact that somehow every PC in existence is able to boot stock unmodified operating system images is pretty amazing.

All of those PC specifications like PCIe, USB, x86, ACPI and UEFI certainly have their faults but honestly having industry standard specs that enable universal kernel binaries to boot on every platform is worth it compared to maintaining thousands of different kernel binaries for every single board the way the ARM ecosystem does it.

Comment Re:Wow, this is different (Score 2) 542

It took me a matter of minutes to find that people have been adding GPUs to Macs on a Thunderbolt port for years.

You are right, it is possible to use an external enclosure connected via Thunderbolt to add a GPU to a Mac. But those enclosures are expensive, and Thunderbolt isn't exactly designed with this task in mind. The performance you get out of this solution won't be as good as a regular old PC, and you going to spend 3X the cash for worse performance.

Consider that current Macs have Thunderbolt 2, which will give you 20 Gbit/sec of max bandwidth. Compare this to the 8 Gbit/sec per lane on PCIe 3.0 X 16 lanes = 128 GBit/sec bandwidth on a PCIe 3.0 X16 connection, Thunderbolt 2 only gives you 15% of the bandwidth. Surprisingly, Apple is late to the party shipping Thunderbolt 3 (Gigabyte and MSI have been offering it with their Skylake systems for a few months now) but when they do release a Thunderbolt 3 Mac, this will go up to 40 Gbit/sec, which is still only 31% of a PCIe 3.0 X16 link. Note that the PCIe external enclosures will also need to be updated to Thunderbolt 3, which has not happened yet.

Another thing to keep in mind is that on a lot of Macs Apple connects the Thunderbolt controller to the PCH PCIe, not the CPU PCIe, so you also have to count in the X4 DMI link between the PCH and the CPU will add latency and potentially be a bottleneck since all your disk and network access also goes over that X4 link. However, the high end Macs like the 15" Macbook Pro and the Mac Pro do have Thunderbolt connected to CPU PCIe.

Another thing to remember is that the 3D performance on the video drivers for OSX are usually not as optimized as the Windows drivers, there are many stories online about how installing Windows on your Mac boosts gaming performance. Honestly, the Occulus Rift guy is right here... he could have worded it more diplomatically though.

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