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Comment Banana Software (Score 2) 108

I tried it, and I'm wondering what the hype is about. Not because of the idea, which is nice, but the implementation, which totally sucks. Very regular and very annoying crashes that waste items, severe server problems, burning through the battery as if it was calculating PI to a gazillion digits (this app is the only one to make my phone *hot*!), etc.

For some in-game advances (hatching pokemon-eggs) you have to walk certain distances. Ok, I know my regular morning walk distance, which is 2.4km. I had to restart this app eight times during this course, and it only "got" about 1.5km due to that fact that it does not count while being crashed (crashing is not that obvious, the display still follows your path on then virtual map, but the background process(es) that count distance, provide new pokemons, or allow intercations or item access is/are gone). Or you try to catch a pokemon - you spend a bunch of those "pokeballs" to catch it, and when you got it, the game freezes. The pokeballs are gone, and of course the pokemon is, too, after you restart the app. Well, and restarting (or starting in the first place) is just trying your luck. During the day it is "just" difficult to start, but after work or on weekends, the app does not even complete the loading screen. It usually hangs at the point where it connects to their server(s?) and thats it. As the server capacity problems have not been fixed after a week, I guess the server side simply does not scale (which perfectly matches the apps quality). That I get the game to start during my walk might be due to the fact that I walk while most of the teenagers are still in bed ;-)

Worse of all, people complained about the loss of bought items (e.g. you can buy those pokeballs if you are to impatient to "harvest" them), so I and maybe some other, more cautious people will wait for the software to getting into proper production status before spending a single cent on anything).

The version number of the app tells an developer that this software is basically not ready for production (0.29.2, a clear indicator for it being beta, if not alpha), and as unripe and buggy it is, it is an insult to the user. No reaction to the bug reports (they just generate an auto-answer that they won't reply to bug reports), and nearly 200k users giving that app only one star due to the bugs. And even those who give more stars more often than not complain that the app is buggy. I don't understand those idiots - If an app crashes regularly, why do they give five stars?

All in all, a nice new gaming idea, but with a total failure of an implementation. I have not heard of the development company (Niantic, Inc.) before, but from this experience, I would not let them develop even a "hello, world!" program for me.

Comment I'm a regular switcher (Score 1) 331

I work at the real bottom of it. While other people think about "which OS (version) do I have to work on?", I sometimes don't even have a processor to work with.
I do FPGAs with VHDL, ARM CPUs in C and assembler, usually without any OS at all (think graphical UI on a machine with 2 kilobytes of RAM!), maybe with some library routines (not a full OS) for networking. Sometimes I have to work on the PC side of things, so I have a good part of my build chain (anything after the C and VHDL compilers to create update packages, etc), the communication libraries for my PC programmers, or simple tools in C and Perl, and sometimes BASH. And if it comes to worse, I do a bit of SQL, PHP, HTML, and even Lotus Script.

Switching between VHDL and C is so common, at the moment I have two VHDL and one C project open, and I work both - usually, while the VHDL synthesizes (10-15 minutes for one build), I write the test routines in C.

Comment And what's next? (Score 5, Insightful) 397

And in the next iteration, account names will be mandatory, together with the passwords for them (verified on the spot by your friendly customs people) and the PINs for your banking cards?

The PSA (Paranoid States of America) still shit their pants because of one terrorist incident a decade ago, while local yokels with guns (including the police) kill ten times that much people per year.

Comment Re:Obviously (Score 1) 207

The HP books have a certain information density to them, so I dropped the speed of reading them down to about 100 to 120 pages per hour, And I have read them in English, which is not my native language. You could have quizzed me back then, and I would expect not to have failed (I actually won a radio quiz on the first HP volume which I had read weeks ago). Because I do read, not skim the text.

Comment I'm a 'natural' speed reader (Score 1) 207

I've always been a fast reader. I actually started reading English books as an adolescent to reduce my reading speed (I'm not a native speaker of the English tongue). Even as a kid I did not need my members passes at the local libraries (they all knew me), and I was exempt from rule "children may only borrow two book at a time". In university, I attended a course on speed reading for fun, and my initial test was way faster than the tutors, and I still managed to gain an additional 10-20% boost by the course.

So I read about 100-200 pages per hour in English and 600-800 pages per hour in German. All while remembering a lot of details and enjoying fine points that even 'normal' readers might miss. I can sit down with the Lord of the Rings right after lunch and have read it by dinner, and still see the fine linguistic differences between the individual people in Middle Earth. And you can ask me about different scenes, and I can e.g. tell you that this scene is about _here_, on the lower left side.

This is also quite power consuming, i.e. my heart frequency and body temperature rises, and I actually absolutely cannot do this with a clogged-up nose, making having a cold many times as miserable...

I would not say that I miss out on things because of the speed reading - I do not skim, I _do_ read. And having information and storylines 'more present' due to the short temporal distances usually helps understanding a story better. I cannot imagine how people can cope with a story like Ted Williams Otherland when they have to spread reading it over weeks and months - all the issues of normal life in between reading a few pages here and there must be horrible (I spread reading the series over four days).

Over time, the detail knowledge of a story fades, of course, usually after having read some more books in the mean time. But something is always kept, and pops up when I re-read a book, or when I need the knowledge.

Comment Re:GPS clocks? (Score 1) 291

Have you ever tried to get a GPS signal inside a house (A real house, not cardboard or wood)? No chance.

We've got a time signal here called DCF77, which is quite strong and reliable (at least since tube TVs went the way of the dodo), and I even get a sufficient signal in my concrete basement.

Comment A lot of issues (Score 1) 165

Disclaimer: I'm a so-called LEGO Ambassador, i.e. I represent my LUG (Lego User Group) to LEGO, but I'm not a representative and/or work for LEGO itself.

LEGO is very interested in this 3D printing topic and had a workgroup on this on the Ambassador forum. I did not participate in this workgroup, but I can give some of the results. None of them come as a surprise, if one thinks this topic over, though, so I'm not telling any secrets.

- for standard bricks, it is too expensive, and except for a few classical basic bricks, there are patent and copyright issues.
- for bricks that do not exist from LEGO, this may work, but color, clutch power, surface structure, and durability are nearly impossible to match with current technologies
- best use for 3D printed stuff is to technically link LEGO parts to other things, e.g. a RasPi case that can be connected to a LEGO technik frame, where color and surface structures don't matter at all, and clutch power does not matter that much
- A lot of 3D stuff is accessories for Minifigs, like tools, weapons, hair pieces, etc.

Basically, while there are thousands of 3D data sets for LEGO parts available on the net, actually printing a box of bricks to build is far from being practical.

LEGO uses 3D printing in their design process, but only for prototyping. They are more likely to cut and glue existing parts for the prototyping, though, as this is still faster and better.

Comment USB Serial - Too much brain for its own good (Score 1) 299

We have an application where we still need a real serial connection. USB serial adapters have too much brain for their own good, and don't cut it in realtime scenarios.

And from the embedded point of view, a UART can bed one with a handful of registers, maybe an interrupt, and a few lines of code, even in assembly. For talking USB, I need a whole protocol stack with hundreds of things I never ever need.

Comment Louis, just queue in! (Score 1) 378

What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives travelling twice as fast as stagecoaches? - The Quarterly Review, March 1825.

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. - Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895

640K ought to be enough for anybody. - Bill Gates (1955-), in 1981

I admit that humans are going to Mars to settle. But there, human space travel will end. - Louis Friedman (1941-), Engineer, in 2015

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