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* Posts by Charles 9

3271 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

Charles 9
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Re: RE: comparison with a PC and PC performance

In Joerg's defense, hand-tuning is a lot easier when the specifications are more concrete. In the general PC environment, coders have to consider whether their end product will be running a machine with lower levels of shader support which can restrict the level of graphical detail you can put in your product. Consider the game BioShock. It was made right around the time DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4 came out. However, since most video cards on the market could not support them, the amount of DirectX 10 code they could put in the game was quite limited. Pushing the envelope in PC technologies is risky because you risk alienating audiences (Crysis was an exception to the rule--but it scored BECAUSE of its audacity--trying to repeat the feat would be difficult).

OTOH, on something like a console, you know exactly what type and how much hardware you'll be working with. This is the kind of information that lends itself well to hand-tuning. If you know just how much and what kind of RAM you're working with, you can micromanage to get the last byte of performance out of it and do it with the tighest timing you can. Similarly, knowing that every PS4 will fully support OpenGL 4.2, you know just what functions you can and can't use and don't have to worry about fallback functions.

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Charles 9
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Re: RE: comparison with a PC and PC performance

But to use hand-written assembler over the entire length of a huge project is usually too demanding unless it's a requirement. So as the other writer has said, compiled code is made as a base and then parts of the object code hand-tuned or replaced with hand-written assembler where performance is demanded.

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Charles 9
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Re: It's such a shame it's x86

The Cell lost when GPUs kept jumping up in performance. The writing was on the wall: the future of HPC would be in GPU-based architectures, and I think Sony recognizes this which is why they seem to be putting a solid emphasis on that part.

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Charles 9
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So Sony's finally laid its cards on the table. Since they've changed architectures from generation to generation, switching to PC-based architecture is actually not too radical on their part, nor is trying an OnLive-like approach to retro gaming. All I can say at this point is good luck to them.

Which leaves Microsoft. Their console evolution has been a bit different from that of Sony, and it might be of benefit to them to try something different than Sony's so as to differentiate itself. I think it would be best if Microsoft didn't jump architectures the way Sony did and stick with POWER CPUs and AMD GPUs. When it comes to specific hardware development, as long as the tools are robust and the hardware capable, the architecture can usually take care of itself, and sticking with POWER gives them a compatibility angle that keeps them closer to Nintendo's niches. As for memory, at least 4GB would be prudent, though with Sony touting 8GB they may want to consider moving up to allow for larger game worlds: cost-benefit analysis pending. Meanwhile, network-based gaming is thankfully a platform-agnostic idea so they can leverage Live to perform many of the same functions without much of a need for architectural changes.

So, Nintendo's already out the gate, and Sony's laid its cards on the table. Now it's Microsoft's turn. Odds are we'll hear from them at E3.

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Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

Charles 9
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Re: So if the PC dies

But what if one argues that Microsoft sells the LICENSE, which then counts as a sale and therefore invokes exhaustion?

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Oklahoma cops rake ashes of 'spontaneous combustion' victim

Charles 9
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Hadn't there been one case where one other aspect of SHC was noted, one which wick effect combustion couldn't handle: speed? It'd be interesting to see one where the verified burn time was too short for wick effect combustion.

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How private biz can link YOU to 'anonymised' medical data

Charles 9
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Re: Typo?

And we all know how much practice private business has had in DE-anonymizing data. Once they figure out datum A is from the same person as datum B, they keep the relationship logged, keep doing so for other linked data until they find enough information through voluntary consent, legal mandata, or public information to identify any one of them. Then suddenly ALL of them are identified.

You just watch. All that "effectively anonymized" data will be effectively DE-anonymized inside of two years.

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Ad-titan Google blocks Adblock Plus in Android security tweak

Charles 9
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Turbo Mode

For versions of Opera other than Mini, the proxy service is available as "Turbo Mode": recommended for use on low-speed networks. Desktop installations can find an icon on the lower left (looks like a speedometer) that will let you toggle Turbo Mode, and it will recommend it if it detects a slow network. Opera Mobile keeps Turbo Mode tucked in the settings and allows for the ability to be kept on, kept off, or toggled on whenever one isn't in a WiFi zone.

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Charles 9
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That's precisely the point. If you have to move behind paywalls, fine. At least we know ahead of time the price of the service. Treat people more like clients and less like cattle.

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Charles 9
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Re: don't expect any response from Google

Or unless backed up with the threat of a hit to their bottom line. So unless the EU threatens to fine Google (and it would have to be something big like a 10% GAP fine or so), Google will see it as just The Cost of Doing Business.

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Obama says patent trolls 'extort money', pledges reform

Charles 9
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Re: Or we could try to fix it

Not necessarily. Software patents because algorithms aren't necessarily specific enough to be covered by copyright. Consider the idea of "clean room engineering". This was the method Compaq used to bypass the copyright on the IBM BIOS because they basically came up with an alternative implementation of the BIOS without any inside input. Patents cover that angle by protecting the process in general. If the IBM BIOS had been patented, Compaq would've had no way to legally clone the BIOS, just saying.

Having said that, the length of software patents are not in line with software product lifecycles. Current patent terms were made for when product lifecycles were measured in years (usually around a decade or so) while software tends to cycle every year or so. If software patents are to be issued, then they need to be issued for a much shorter length of time to reflect the pace of change.

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Charles 9
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And in that same timeframe software would've undergone two or three product lifecycles. Your argument would make it more valid to make software not patentable at all because the bureaucracy time is longer than the product lifecycle.

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John Lennon's lesson for public-domain innovation

Charles 9
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Re: GPL is copyright

That was what I thought. The GPL and similar licenses are meant to leverage copyright law to protect the code from hijacking. A similar angle sometimes occurs in the patent field. Their version of the FOSS license is the "hands off" patent: obtaining a patent on a process for the primary purposes of allowing free use of the process and not allowing anyone else to assert it.

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Charles 9
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Re: But /why/ ?

IOW, the idea behind the FOSS licenses is about applying the copyright laws JUST a little bit, not so much to limit the people's ability to USE the code but rather to protect the code from being hijacked.

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Software update knocks out Space Station communications

Charles 9
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Meh

Oops.

Sometimes, even the best laid plans can go awry. But give NASA credit for keeping up with their "Steely-Eyed Space Men" mystique. So something went wrong; they already had the backup plan in place. A few quick tweaks and they're back in business. In the annals of space travel, this was the furthest thing from a panic attack; more like one of those many "Oops" moments that occur all the time; annoying, but planned for in any event.

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Iceland thinks long and hard over extreme smut web ban law

Charles 9
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Re: Parental Responsibility

Besides, how will you handle things if the kids can outsmart the parents, which is not unheard of in the electronic age?

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Own a drone: Fine. But fly a drone with a cam: Year in the clink

Charles 9
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Re: RC hobbyists

"Law enforcement is REACTIVE. PROACTIVE law enforcement gets into the realm of attempting to determine one's intentions before he or she formulates the intention or executes the action, resulting in everyone being a criminal before given the chance to not be one. This makes the abhorrent assumption that people have no other attachment to doing right, or not doing wrong depending upon the theory applied, which is an affront to personal liberties."

But REACTIVE is now too slow for people. By then, the tragedy (Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, 9/11) has already occurred and people are dead. That's too late. The move now is towards PRE-crime: preventing the tragedy from actually taking place so people don't die. Because if PRE-crime is such a bad time, how bad would it be compared to someone YOU love being the next to die become of some crime no one anticipated in time?

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Charles 9
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Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

They'd probably say you'd no longer be allowed to fly such a machine in Oregon if the law passes. Owning such a device before the law passes would be a grey area due to prohibitions on retroactive statutes, but if the law passes, FLYING one would almost certainly be forbidden, built-in or not.

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The universe speaks: 'It's time to get off your rock!'

Charles 9
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Re: If an asteroid wants to wipe out mankind, it had better hurry

Thing is, we still have one edge over other species: we can adapt. Hey, if the Inuit can live in the Arctic all year long, perhaps we will over time. Plus we're good at building things..You'd think in 7,000 years we'd have better access to fission and fusion technology which is basically temperature-agnostic. Rig to some geodesic domes and use the snow and ice for water and you have a fair go, I'd say, regardless of how cold it gets.

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Civilization peaks: BEER-dispensing arcade game created

Charles 9
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To those in Europe, please don't knock all American beers. Admitted, the big brand names are perhaps thin an unsatisfying for your tastes, but most Americans drink it for (relatively) cheap refreshment, not necessarily because of its flavor (Note: the best-selling beers in America tend to be "light" beers--that should say something). However, for those who want more honest beers, we have a great amount of diversity thanks to a booming microbrewing industry, and these microbreweries are not afraid to experiment, so you can find just about anything from the full-bodied to the far-out-there, just by asking around a little.

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Doped nanotubes boost lithium battery power three-fold

Charles 9
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Re: Bring it on!

Except the primary reason for more than one car is more than one simultaneous driver. And these drivers tend to drive in similar patterns so would want similar kinds of cars to keep costs down.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bring it on!

The trouble is that countries like the US have lots of land area. Long haul is a REQUIREMENT for a viable car replacement since people are unlikely to keep two vehicles: a short-haul for intracity driving and a long-haul for the trips to other states. One vehicle would have to fit all.

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Facebook in futile attempt to block perverts from Graph Searching for teens

Charles 9
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Re: Maybe 13 is the problem

Part of the problem is that kids that young may not be fully cognizant of the potential consequences. We tell kids to just say no, but they sometimes have trouble understanding WHY they say no. Kids may scoff at "Because I said so," but if told the actual reasons may just reply with a "retard's stare," meaning it went completely over their heads. By the time of adolescence kids are at least aware of the concept of personal privacy and would therefore be interested in ways to safeguard it.

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Charles 9
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Re: I've got a solution for this...

Oh? I used to recall being able to upload pictures to bulletin boards...and that was in the days of the 9600-bps modem.

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Mind out, Apple: Ericsson leads charge against the SIM

Charles 9
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Re: Much nicer project

As of right now, that's physically impossible due to the distances involved for the car, mobile, laptop, and tablet. Home appliances are easy enough to attach to a home network, but all those devices above can roam, and someone needs to foot the bill to keep them connected even in the middle of nowhere, and as long as you're not the owner of that particular link, you'll have to go through someone to stay connected. That's always been the problem. Someone else owns the road: be it government or a private enterprise.

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Microsoft needs to keep visible under waves of Blue

Charles 9
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Too vague

Thrifty Rent A Car tried that already for a service mark. Application was rejected as too vague AND upheld on appeal. Doubt IBM could do much better.

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First the NYT, now the Wall Street Journal: But are hacking attacks from China new?

Charles 9
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Re: Defense in Depth

Don't savvy IT guys set those buttons up as Schmuck Bait these days? The ones who press the button don't get the trusted positions and so on?

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Charles 9
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Re: A golden opportunity

But at the same time, any country with an excess of something (in this case, human capital) would do well to find ways to trim the fat, whether it be in inhospitable mines or as cannon fodder.

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Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Charles 9
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Re: Acer W510

The point was that 1024x600, single-core ;power-sipping netbooks were plenty good enough AND they kept the price down: which is another check for the netbook as well. I got mine used for $125, and most netbooks of the type run in the $125-150 range used depending on wear and tear.

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Charles 9
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Personal testimonial--realtime

The sentiments of this article are echoed with this writer, who is in fact doing the exact same thing. Personal experience has shown that practical remote computing, even web browsing, requires a decent computer with decent software. Tablets are all right for occasional reading, but I type a lot, and the Bluetooth keyboard I brought with me was hit or miss, not to mention the battery life was an issue since you don't have options for them. OTOH, my Acer Aspire One had the option of tacking on not only extra batteries but also a bulkier triple-capacity one that gives me about nine hours of casual use and several hours on more serious stuff like video playback: not bad in my book, and it's proved genuinely useful in an environment where access to wall power is iffy due to my remote location. At least the wireless service is decent and they don't seem to have an issue with mobile hotspotting. For a small investment, I can stay connected for the duration of my trip.

And I thought I was one of the few who actually got genuine use out of these netbooks: small enough to transport easily (note: you don't have to open up netbooks at airport checkpoints) yet just good enough with its SD slots and USB ports to do honest computing work (including handling a TrueCrypted external HDD for the bulk storage).

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We're not making this up: Apple trademarks the SHOP

Charles 9
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Correcting myself.

Whether it's a service mark, a design patent, whatever. Point is, it's SPECIFIC. They're locking in a signature style, not saying any other electronics company can have a store. So I say, "So blanking what?"

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Charles 9
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Meh

IINM, Apple now has a Design Patent for their Apple Stores. It's not as if this is the only way to arrange an electronics store and has more to do with Apple's sense of style. As long as the patent is specific to this layout, I say OK they've locked in a signature style. Just steer away from it and life goes on.

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Sick software nasty uses child abuse pics to extort infected victims

Charles 9
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Re: I think the only solution here is DBANing the drives.

If I were really sick, I'd give them a few hours through which time I'd try to obtain the victim's identity and address. If they didn't pay up, I'd scatter the pron around the drive (perhaps encrypting a few with a password), lock as much as I could, transmit the information to authorities in e-mails and self-terminate to leave little trace that it was malware. Unless the plods were ready to admit the computer was tampered, the victim can now be arrested for possession of child porn (which in most countries is a felony). That would add real fear factor to the scareware: pay or face the end of your freedom.

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How to destroy a brand-new Samsung laptop: Boot Linux on it

Charles 9
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Re: Licence agreements

Not even a Live OS complete with Kernel which by definition must have low-level access to the hardware in order to function?

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Charles 9
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Re: @Ru re. Oh How I Laughed...

There are different levels of bricking. Each start with the same problem: useless machine. But "soft" bricks can usually be remedied by switching the machine to different or alternate modes of operation that go around the piece of software/firmware causing the brick. Harder bricks usually affect some piece of software that can't be avoided. In this case, we're dealing with something worse, a "baked" brick in which some hardware or firmware component has been damaged, instantly rendering any fallback worthless because the failure is either in the fallback or affect something above it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bad Firmware or Bad Ubuntu ?

Probably because the fallback routine needs to be updateable in case the fallback itself becomes an exploit avenue. And this fail occurred during kernel (Ring 0) operation, so it could conceivably do anything: even access the EPROMs that contain the fallback units, messing them up beyond any means of either recovering (because you now have a backup failure) or preventing (because it's already running at the highest level of trust short of hypervisor mode--who watches over the kernel?).

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'Gaia' Lovelock: Wind turbines 'may become like Easter Island statues'

Charles 9
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What about if you use Generation IV technology which burns the fuel more thoroughly and leaves less waste with shorter required storage times?

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Is your Surface Pro a bit full? Slot in an SD card, it's not from Apple

Charles 9
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Re: Optional

Depends mostly on the card. A Class 4 SDHC Micro is probably not going to be as speedy as onboard Flash. A Class 10, OTOH, should get you pretty close, and all SDXC Micro cards are at least Class 10 (as UHS-1, the minimum speed of SDXC, surpasses SDHC Class 10--it was specced for 1080p recording).

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Truly these are the GOLDEN YEARS of Storage

Charles 9
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Re: The 1st and Primary question

Packrat attitude mostly.

They'd rather sift through ten gallons of sludge than let the big one get away.

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'End of passwords' predictions are premature - Cambridge boffin

Charles 9
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Re: MASSIVELY IMPROVES SECURITY: End Of Windows

They tend to get around that with botnets. Instead of 1 machine trying a million combinations, you have a million machines trying one each. This is hard to block since an actual user could be in the mix.

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TSA to pull backscatter perv scanners from US airports

Charles 9
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Re: These scanner should never have been installed

If you pay a little closer attention, you will also note that Israel has very few sanctioned points of entry. With that in mind, it's easy to concentrate your security resources. The USA, OTOH, has numerous points of entry, many of which are very, VERY busy. To employ Israel's style of security on ALL those points of entry (to say nothing of the thousands of miles of coastline and open borders) would probably compare unfavorably with the US Defense budget (already bigger than the next 10-12 countries combined, including China).

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BT's 'six-month free broadband' offer is a big fat FIB - ads watchdog

Charles 9
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Absolute truth in advertising--there oughta be a law.

There really should be a law in the books that enforces absolute truth in advertising (we can use courtroom standards--in the US that would mean your words must be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth). If a lie or half-truth is found, the company is guilty of deceptive appeal to the public (thus enforcing the "case" mentality of ads--you're making a case before the public, after all), punishable by having the ad enforced as if it was completely true, compensation equal to twice the difference, and/or a temporary cease-and-desist against all advertising other than simple price points (this is the phone and this is the bottom-line price, that's it): be they print, Net, TV, or on location.

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Hyperspeed travel looks wrong: Leicester students

Charles 9
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Re: Well if you're going to be picky

Wings probably aren't strong enough to support the shear from the engine thrust if placed on the wings. The idea makes me think of the Starfury from the Babylon 5 universe. It was specifically designed for what you mentioned. Four thruster clusters, one on each corner, each with a forward, backward, lateral, and vertical thruster so it can turn like few other ships could: even in place.

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Charles 9
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Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

"Best of all the CIC (or bridge) is well protected by being stuffed deep in the guts of the ship."

Andromeda had it the same way as well. Also, since the ships featured on the show were smaller, they took a different approach to protection. Instead of being huge and massively armored, the ships were more spread out with lots of open space between them. The universe of Andromeda had a lot of gravity manipulation, so the most common attacks were made by way of massive kinetic imapcts. The ships were designed to let the objects pass through: transferring as little destructive energy as possible to the ship itself. The spread-out nature of the ship meant it was difficult to get to the bridge in the center as its own gravity shields and outer layers would encourage more glancing hits.

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Scientists spin carbon nanotube threads on industrial scale

Charles 9
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Re: Power transmission?

IIRC overhead lines (especially transmission lines) use aluminum instead of copper. It's not as efficient but it's efficient enough while being MUCH cheaper.

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Next-gen H.265 video baked into Broadcom's monster TV brain

Charles 9
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If Google's smart, it'll be pushing VP9 support early, possibly touting decreased costs due to no need for licensing. They were too late with VP8 because too many H.264 devices were already out; now they have a chance to jump in while the slate's still clean.

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Charles 9
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Re: What a rubbish demo

How about encoding a segment of a football match (doesn't matter which type--all of them encourage movement)? With all the camera panning and player movement (not to mention the subtle green specking in the turf), that should tax the codec.

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Kill that Java plugin now! New 0-day exploit running wild online

Charles 9
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Re: Does it work on Linux?

The planes themselves use customized built-to-purpose systems for the most part because of the high standards for safety required. As for the onboard entertainment systems, it's not surprising. If what I see in other industries is any indication, it's a customized embedded Linux distro (possibly even a specialist distro like MontaVista), and it likely has no external network access (with the possible exception of when it's undergoing maintenance).

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Nokia decrypts browser traffic, assures public not to worry

Charles 9
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Re: so somebody can watch every detail of your internet banking transactions?

Sure, but if your bandwidth is so limited you have to call on a man in the middle to compress your web traffic, you have a trust issue. You can't really compress encrypted traffic and Mini browsers usually don't have a lot of horsepower or memory space to handle full-on webpages (that's why Mini browsers are chosen--to not chug the phones on which they run). So the only way the proxy server can optimize the traffic is to have access to the cleartext. So you're in a dilemma. The only ways to restore the trust chain are to (1) establish your own web optimization proxy, or (2) eschew proxies. For some people, neither option is viable (not enough resources for a full-on mobile browser, no resources for a self-owned proxy).

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Mozilla to Adobe: PDFs don't need no more steenking plugins

Charles 9
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Re: Sadly...

The file bloat is mostly a function of document makers going overboard with embedded graphics and fonts. Simple ones with only, say, one or two fonts and a smattering of relatively simple graphics, don't really tip the scales very much.

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