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Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 179

If you stick to a C-only subset of C++ you can write your library in C++, but at that point why bother with C++ anyway?

Or you could write your library in C++ but put it behind a C interface. Then you can use all of the expressive power of C++ internally, and provide an API that can be called from any language. And it will still be very close to as portable as if it were written in plain C, because we now have decent C++ compilers on very nearly every platform.

Comment Re:I hate Apple... (Score 2) 72

Not really. When the iPhone came out in '07, it mostly took a bite from RIM's lunch, not Nokia's. Mind you, Symbian was still doing pretty well up to 2010, ahead of iOS and Android combined, when Stephen Elop started ruining everything. We would be all using Nokia MeeGo phones now if it wasn't for that Microsoft trojan! Anyway, at that moment Android exploded, with Samsung filling the vacuum from Nokia's collapse.

Comment Re: This is an Android Problem (Score 1) 152

I wish that there were more phones running plain Android with fast updates.

This article is exactly what we need to make that happen, though ideally we need it to be on CNN, not just Ars. But Ars is a good step. When consumers demand good update policies, manufacturers will provide them. It's a competitive market.

Actually, I think we're further down that road than it may appear. Stagefright was a big kick in the butt for the Android ecosystem. Not because it actually affected any real users, but because it got a *lot* of press. I think many OEMs have realized they need to fix their update problems, because consumers are beginning to care. The problem is that the OEMs product plans for the last few years have not included plans for monthly updates. Planning for that sort of update cycle requires them to change a lot of things in the way they do business. One is closely related to what you mentioned about carrier-specific builds: The OEMs just have too danged many products. It's not uncommon that what appears to the end user as a single model (e.g. Samsung Note 4) is actually one or two *dozen* different devices... each with its own software build. Not because they actually need that many SKUs and not because all of them actually need different software, it's just been easier to do it that way. Now that the pressure to provide updates is being turned up, I think they're looking at how to streamline their product lines and processes to make it more feasible to deliver them. Oh, and they also have to build the cost of the update-related work into their business plans.

However, building phones is a complex process, and device design and planning cycles often run more than two years, so it takes time for changes in approach to reach the market. I think it'll start getting a lot better in the next 1-2 years.

That's why I'm just sticking with Nexus phones.

Me too. Of course, in my case it helps that I get them for free :-)

Comment Re:Missing a big point (Score 1) 566

Of course you didn't talk at all about "handling the current situation" you talked about "self driving" which isn't actually related at all.

I actually don't agree with that, though that's Tesla's position. I don't think semi-autonomous driving is realistic. Once the car can drive itself sufficiently well that people feel safe looking away to text or whatever, they will. Any system that expects that a human will continue paying attention and be ready to take over at a moment's notice is asking for trouble.

Comment Re:This is NOT a matter of trademark violation (Score 2) 206

Not necessarily. Take a look at the relevant portion of the Lantham Act. It would have to fit one of the provisions therein. It might make a false suggestion of affiliation, but it's arguable.

15 U.S.C. 1125 - False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden

(a) Civil action

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or

(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities,

shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

Comment This is NOT a matter of trademark violation (Score 1) 206

You violate a trademark if you mis-represent a good or service as that of the trademark holder. And it has to be in the same trademark category that they registered. Having a trademark does not grant ownership of a word, and does not prevent anyone else from using that word. Use of a trademark in reporting and normal discussion is not a violation.

Comment Re:An important thing to note (Score 1) 611

I can't find one either - I moved out of the states ~20 years ago, and I have NEVER paid that much taxes since then, and much nicer (larger) houses.

NJ property taxes are insane, definitely. They've been insane for a long time, though, so I don't think they're evidence of federal taxes being shifted to the state level.

Comment Re:Missing a big point (Score 1) 566

Nice job of focusing on word choice and ignoring the point. The GP claimed that this would be studied and a fix for the current system would be pushed out, making it safer. My point is that I don't think the car has the sensors needed to handle this scenario, so it's not possible to push a fix to the current system.

Comment Re:Location from Wifi? (Score 1) 102

GPS does not work better with WiFi enabled

Actually, your GPS receiver can pinpoint your location more rapidly if it has a good approximate location to start with, which it can get from Wifi location. If your GPS receiver had to start from scratch (no assumption about initial location), it could take multiple minutes to locate you because it has to find and identify multiple satellites, and listen for a full 30-second cycle from each. With a good location estimate plus an already-synchronized clock, the GPS receiver can refine your location in a few seconds.

So GPS does work better with Wifi enabled. And, as you said, location services can use Wifi even when GPS isn't available. In cities Wifi can be much better than GPS because unobstructed views of the sky are hard to come by, and the Wifi AP density is high.

Comment Re:Missing a big point (Score 1) 566

Tesla will make some changes to ensure that this type of accident is avoided in the future, and push at the next update.

I'm not sure that's possible. I think the biggest part of the problem in this case is that the sensor hardware on the Tesla Model S is inadequate for self-driving. The radar doesn't have vertical resolution so it can't determine whether there's enough clear space under an obstacle, and the camera can't resolve differences between a light gray truck and a light gray sky. To fix this you need either dramatically better vision processing software (which may well require better on-board computing hardware), or better sensors -- e.g. LIDAR.

Comment Re:It really is Google's fault (Score 1) 152

Google should have created an OS architecture that allowed for it to push its own security updates while leaving the aesthetic aspects and third party apps of the phone vendors and carriers alone (unless they were fundamental to the security problem).

If there were a clear dividing line between "aesthetic aspects" and "things fundamental to the security problem", that might be feasible. The Android One project has actually tried to draw such a line, but none of the big OEMs are happy with where Google drew it. They want lots of control.

Comment Re:This is an Android Problem (Score 2) 152

I don't see why Google can't figure it out

(Android security team member here)

It's not that Google doesn't know how to do that. It's that Google can't do that while also having a free and open source OS. Every piece that's moved out of the OS and into Play services is another piece that is no longer open. Moreover, if Google does too much of that sort of thing and removes the ability of OEMs to customize and differentiate their devices, they'll ignore Google completely, filling in the missing bits with their own code. Removing components from the OS is a last resort, not a first choice.

What makes things worse are carrier specific builds. Apple managed to do tell them to F off, Google should too.

AFAIK, Google doesn't do carrier-specific builds for Nexus devices (though I know there is some carrier-specific testing). Google can't control what other companies do. Their devices have to pass the tests to prove compatibility or they can't use the Google apps (including Play, which is the biggest carrot), but that's the full extent of the control Google has.

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