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Comment Software bugs (Score 2) 377

Some bugs I've been responsible for, although it's hard to tell exactly what they did cost:
- rounding error when programming a timer in an embedded system, resulting in a baud rate to be 10% off, causing problems with several units shipped to customers
- overflow of an 8-bit counter, resulting in a serial protocol failing

Plus tons of other errors I forgot or haven't been aware of. Total damage for sure thousands of Euros. However, that's probably little for a 25+ years career mostly in software development.

Submission + - ASUS X205 netbook only running Windows 8.1 (

nodan writes: In September ASUS announced there'll be a new netbook X205 which is on sale by now. Unfortunately though, it's only offered with Windows 8.1 Bing. Apparently, it's not possible to disable (U)EFI in way that one can run a standard Linux distribution like Ubuntu. For me, that's completely inacceptable — I'd love to buy that computer but not with Windows 8.1. A request to ASUS customer service only resulted in a pathetic "we don't support other OSs ...". Does anybody else feel the same and do you think there is a chance to convince ASUS if there are sufficiently many request for that machine with Linux?

How To Judge Legal Risk When Making a Game Clone? 270

An anonymous reader writes "I'm an indie game developer making a clone of a rather obscure old game. Gameplay in my clone is very similar to the old game, and my clone even has a very similar name because I want to attract fans of the original. The original game has no trademark or software patent associated with it, and my clone isn't infringing on the original's copyright in any way (all the programming and artwork is original), but nevertheless I'm still worried about the possibility of running afoul of a look and feel lawsuit or something similar. How do I make sure I'm legally in the clear without hiring an expensive lawyer that my indie developer budget can't afford?"

Comment Untested software (Score 4, Interesting) 233

Again, it's surprising that such an obvious software bug makes it into the real world. You really can never trust untested software at all. What disturbs me most are the proposed "solutions": the companies issuing the cards try to avoid the exchange of the cards by all means due to the costs involved. However, that comes at the cost of sacrificing the security gained by the introduction of the now ill-functioning chip. What has been mentioned as well was updating the software on the card at the banking terminal - I'm surprised that this is possible at all. Essentially, that opens another huge security gap (which might have been there for a long time but went unnoticed so far).
PC Games (Games)

EA Shutting Down Video Game Servers Prematurely 341

Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"

Comment True, but ... (Score 1) 392

It is certainly true that many ideas can be implemented in software as well as hardware, so this really shouldn't be the line drawn for patents. Still, software patents feel something between wrong and outrageous for most people - why?

I think there are two reasons for this: First, there are a lot more people building meaningful stuff with software than with hardware because it is cheap and easy. All you need is a computer for a couple of hundreds of bucks, and if you like you get all the rest for free (as in beer). For everybody who wants to write software, a patent could be in the way.

Second, and more important, many if no most patents lack substance and should not be patents at all, and for software this is even more obvious than for hardware. What is this one-click-buy-stuff about? Should there maybe be patents for storing text documents on a harddisk or using pixels to show text on a screen? I probably wouldn't mind a software patent for reasonable inventions, like a O(n) sort algorithm. But it's so incredibly hard to come up with such inventions ...

I have a past at a global player in the electronics market and I've seen some drafts for patents that in my opinion should never be granted. However, giving the current patent system, the number of patent applications is a value in itself, regardless of the substance behind.

All that said, as long as the patent system is not fundamentally changed, software patents are going to do a large damage to both the economy and the consumers.

Comment I looooooove Microsoft ... (Score 2, Interesting) 842

... for giving people even more reasons to run Linux instead of Windows. Really, this is completely sick. My last Windows machine at home has been reformatted with Linux last year, I'll never run Vista and I doubt the next Windows will go anywhere. Windows users are basically happy with XP, meaning that XP finally did what '95, '98 and 2000 should have done but never did accomplish. Who needs Vista? What is Windows 7??

Comment Foul (Score 1) 600

Something is wrong here ... it used to be this way: 1. Make a good hardware design 2. Write drivers for the hardware 3. Use it under the operating system of your choice Talking about choice: If anything, this shows that something must be seriously wrong with Vista. First, the performance shouldn't be poor to begin with, but it apparently is. Second, one should be able to fix any performance issue by writing a new driver to fix the shortcomings, which apparently is not possible. Another good reason not to buy or use Vista (as if there weren't enough already). Btw, the last MS-Windows machine in my home was reformatted four weeks ago and now leads a happy life as a Linux machine.

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