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* Posts by DrXym

3423 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows

DrXym
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Re: What software will it run?

"AFAIK, Windows developers now target X86-64. What happens when you try to buy 32-bit software for Windows?"

Most software is still 32-bit and runs on 64-bit Windows quite happily through a Windows on Windows layer which thunks the difference away. Devs won't bother to offer a 64-bit version unless it offers a tangible advantage since it's more effort to build, test and distribute two binaries instead of one.

Microsoft has mostly dumped 32-bit Windows but it's still around for some Atom powered devices and of course there is a substantial legacy of such machines.

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UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones

DrXym
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I hope that's a poe. If you make phones less attractive to thieves then you've prevented crime.

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DrXym
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The power of the default

If security is enabled by default then more people will leave the setting on than if the setting was off and left for people to find and enable.

I expect the cops know that stolen phones end up being sold on or used for criminal purposes and see this as a fairly simple way to reduce that use.

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Oracle claims knockout blow in IP lawsuit

DrXym
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Good news for Oracle

They should upload the press release to a webserver running Oracle Linux.

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Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'

DrXym
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I'm more impressed

By the fact that the phone logged the light was turned on and off and for investigators went into the phone and found that information. If there is a moral here (other than don't kill people), it's probably to be to turn the ring volume down low on your phone and leave it at home when you're out disposing of the corpse. The low volume is just in case you have to explain why you didn't answer an incoming call.

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Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes

DrXym
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Re: So where do their numbers come from...

Meanwhile Ryanair works out fees typically costs them between 15p and £1.50 and naturally slaps a £5 charge per leg per person.

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DrXym
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"It probably needs to pay most of those fees on to visa/mastercard, who will then pass them on to the issuer banks."

Exactly. Whatever they charge is in addition to whatever Visa / Mastercard charge Amazon when a user makes a transaction through their service.

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DrXym
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Oh joy

Yet another proximity payment system for phones that nobody will ever use.

At the end of the day Google, PayPal, Amazon, Apple + world are trying to insert themselves into transactions as another layer of fees on top of what Visa, Mastercard or Amex would charge. What's the point of that for the consumer or the merchant? Why is whipping out a phone seen as a benefit when most credit cards have proximity RFIDs anyway these days?

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XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources

DrXym
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Cinavia

Blu ray players have to implement cinavia protection which includes the XB1. I would not be surprised at all if they enforce it through any DLNA player.

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NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids

DrXym
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Re: Microcode

"Not sure why you would need a JIT though, when ARM's Jazelle technology can execute Java bytecode natively."

Because Android doesn't use Java byte code. It has its own registered based bytecode format. I guess a chipset could natively execute that but perhaps it yields no tangible benefit over standard JIT / AOT strategies.

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DrXym
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Re: Microcode

Google are already playing around with an ahead of time compiler called ART which will become the default in Android L (5.0). The idea is to save battery life by compiling an app into native instructions during installation instead of compiling it in memory each time it's run (a JIT).

Apps will launch and run faster as a result and battery life is better because code isn't repeatedly compiled and thrown away during launch. I assume that if Android were running on an ARMv8 chip that it could generate 64-bit instructions where it makes sense to do so.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

DrXym
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What's the point of the 4G?

What's the point of paying a large premium for a 4G enabled tablet plus the hassle & added expense of a phone plan that covers the extra SIM when the phone in your pocket can be tethered?

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Can't touch this! Microsoft joins OpenGL 3D graphics group

DrXym
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Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

"WebGL use-cases are hardly those wanting to push the performance envelope."

WebGL has the potential to be really fast. It's basically OpenGL ES 2 bindings for Javascript. OpenGL ES 2.0 executes a lot of the rendering pipeline in the GPU compared to older versions of OpenGL.

The biggest danger with it is that some graphics cards have pretty awful OpenGL ES 2.x profiles on desktops and WebGL requires the GPU to declare itself "safe" through an extension.

If that sounds a bit iffy then that's because it is. How does a driver know it's safe or not? It might *think* it's safe (just as many ActiveX controls though they were safe for scripting) but only takes one duff method implementation for a malicious site to smash through WebGL and do something nasty like execute native code.

At the very least browsers will have to maintain a white/black list and had better hope that when exploits appear (and they will) that they're marginal enough to not impact too many people.

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Digital dongle transforms European XBOXen into tellies

DrXym
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Some set top boxes take a CAM (conditional access module) which is a PCMCIA card that decrypts subscription channels. Anyway there is no reason decryption has to be done in hardware. If Microsoft intended to show TV from an encrypted service they could do so in software. I doubt they'd bother though.

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DrXym
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Re: Didn't Sony do this a few years ago?

PlayTV was dual tuner so it was a genuine PVR. The problem with using a console as a PVR is that the thing has to be always on (even if that means a low power state) in order to respond to recording events and consoles consume far more power than a typical set top box would.

I think the benefits of using a console for TV are pretty marginal. An XB1 doesn't pass through HDMI when it's turned off so you're burning an extra 200W if you chain the satellite and/or terrestrial through it.

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DrXym
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To effectively act as a PVR, you need a twin tuner. One tuner is tuned to the mux containing the channel you are watching, the other tuner to the mux containing the channel you want to record.

Theoretically a single tuner could watch one channel and record another so long as they were in the same mux. It could also timeshift what you are watching - pause live tv etc. But ordinarily you would want two tuners.

You wouldn't need a decoder card. The USB dongle would just spew out a transport stream and the software in the computer / xbox would extra the audio & video just like it does with a DVD or other stream of content.

Anyway, this tuner is DVB-T/T2/C only which is far easier to do and there are plenty such devices already. A satellite tuner would require the dongle to send a voltage and signal to the LNB on the dish to set the polarisation and frequency. This obviously poses issues for a USB device and it would probably require an external power supply. And if you wanted twin tuner then the dongle would have to have an input for each LNB.

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

DrXym
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Re: Good article.

Wikimedia takes down pics all the time. Perhaps in this particular case, the legality is so grey that they feel no reason to do it. Perhaps they are right in saying that if a human doesn't take the picture that it's not theirs to hold copyright on. It'd have to be tested in a court of course but it's still an interesting argument.

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Newly spawned Dixons Carphone leaps onto LSE as £12bn sales org

DrXym
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I'm really excited

I really want to buy a Matsui Phone and extended warranty

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Microsoft's Brit kid Cortana lands on UK WinPhone 8.1, but China's is the real cutie

DrXym
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Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

"I know some people round here just HATE Microsoft, but seriously: a downvote for saying "If you want the update, here's a way of getting it"? It's psychotic."

Develop a thick skin. I've lost count of the number of negative votes I've gotten for making factual statements that the reader simply didn't like.

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DrXym
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Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

The claim was all WP8 devices would get 8.1. But my wife's Lumia 520 hasn't gotten an update for it yet. The 520 is somewhat gimped by its memory so I wouldn't be surprised that if/when 8.1 arrives it is missing certain functionality.

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4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles

DrXym
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Re: Concerning IPTV

"Which kind of throws out the idea of everyone sharing a single multicast stream doesn't it?"

No it doesn't. Live TV is multicast. If you view a PPV movie, or a recording, or your timeshift out of your RAM buffer then it goes to unicast.

"And as for a client side buffer enabling pause/rewind, how does that work if you rewind to the beginning of the programme you tuned into half way through?"

The box goes "oh he's rewinding back in time so we'll stream from a different url". Or it goes "oh he's rewinding back in time so we'll stop here and throw a popup asking if he wants to timeshift -15, -30 or -60 minutes and THEN stream from a different url"

"While UDP multicast may be the most efficient use of bandwidth, using it will require bringing in many restrictions in what the public already expect from a streaming video service."

No it wouldn't. The end user would be sublimely unaware of all of this. They'd just have this cool box which allows them to rewind live TV even if they've only switched to the channel this second. They'd have this cool box which lets them "record" 10 channels at once. They'd have a cool box which did this even when it was unplugged from the wall because the "recordings" are actually timeslives in the cloud mapped onto a honking big storage device recording *everything* and figuring out which bits to save. They'd have this cool box which is about the size of a paperback book because it doesn't need to pack in any HDD, tuners or any of that nonsense.

Catch my drift? I'm not saying IPTV is perfect or all of this is easy. But it's doable and in some ways is actually easier than it would be through other means. It needs the infrastructure in the ISP, particularly for time shifting but the fact is that it offers huge potentials.

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DrXym
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Re: Concerning IPTV

"A single UDP stream would prevent many of the useful tricks iPlayer currently does, like changing resolution on the fly, buffering without losing any of the programme and live pause / rewind."

Live pause & rewind can be handled with a buffer. Stream to an HDD or even into RAM. The RAM option might be more limited but there is no reason that an IPTV solution requires client side storage of streams - timeshifted streams could be stored on a server and accessible on demand. Same for recordings - what you think of as a recording is just a start/end time and a channel id which is resolved to the stream on the server when you play it.

As for how to deal with load, that's an issue for the ISP / provider to sort out. There is already fairly sophisticated protocols for DVB-IPTV which answer these sort of issues including load management.

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DrXym
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Re: Concerning IPTV

"Yes, multicasting would be great; it works in theory. In practise, are all the ISPs going to invest in the kit and the upgrades to their networks to make sure it all behaves well? And then decide that they'll provide a basic TV service out of the goodness of their little capitalist hearts?"

Well if they're offering IPTV then I assume they would. Or if there were a consortium of broadcasters who supported the platform then they'd pay for the kit to go into the ISP's intranet just as they pay for the kit that goes into masts.

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DrXym
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Concerning IPTV

Live streaming TV doesn't require every single computer has a single connection to the server. This could be accomplished using UDP multicasting - everyone watching a particular channel subscribes to an IP address and they're sent the same packets. It would require the ISP to have some box which does the multicasting but it's far more efficient than everyone having their own streams.

Anyway for DVB, HEVC is approximately twice as efficient as encoding video as AVC. There are 4x as many pixels but they're also 1/4 the size and things like macro blocks are variable size. So it is possible that HEVC might deliver a subjectively better image at a similar bitrate as AVC.

So potentially it wouldn't imply any more bandwidth from existing broadcasts, although it would mean switching hardware and that is obviously the main sticking point. I don't see much market for UHD in terrestrial broadcasting but a more efficient codec has obvious benefits.

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14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

DrXym
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Re: Bad AV

What I find incredible about AV software is how bad the UI is in most of it. If an AV company can't even write a decent UI, then what does that say for the state of the code you can't see?

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DrXym
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Re: Point of Issue

I think there is plenty of blame to go around. C/C++ for having some inherently dangerous constructs and doing very little to discourage their use "for legacy reasons". AV companies for writing sloppy spaghetti like code, a lot of which is bound to be very low level and very fragile. OS manufacturers for still needing AV software even in a day and age when a lot of checking could be pushed into the cloud and mitigated by virtualization and other tricks to prevent malicious code doing bad things. And users for doing dumb things that require AV software in the first place.

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Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY

DrXym
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Re: PDF on Windows?

Firefox uses a JS based PDF viewer:

https://github.com/mozilla/pdf.js/

It renders into a canvas (with a text layer on top). It means it's okay for previews but not so good for printing.

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

DrXym
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Re: Quantity not quality

"Or early BBC HD on Freesat to BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD now on Freesat."

A TV channel occupies a frequency with a bunch of other channels which together form something called a mux. The mux is a transport stream with audio, video, and data of all these channels mixed together. The channels in the mux all share from a fixed bandwidth and software / hardware attempts to compress each channel in real time to make best use of this space. Programmes in the channels might be hinted and channels might be weighted for quality.

Channels can move from one mux to another as space is freed up. Channels on Sky / Freesat are constantly moving around. The BBC tends to keep its channels in the same mux but it still moves them. Until a few years back space was very constrained but new Astra satellites have been launched to supply more capacity.

The BBC is also known to have switched hardware encoder because they were dissatisfied with the performance of their encoding at the bitrate.

So anyway, even assuming there was a difference (and you'd have to have stream captures from then and now to say for sure), there are other reasons that quality has changed. Personally I think the quality of Freesat on BBC channels is generally excellent.

I only watch Freeview when I'm in a hotel or something but in SD it's always falling to bits under heavy load. In part that's due to using MPEG-2 and in part due more channels squashed into less muxes. Freeview HD implements DVB-T2 which is more space efficient and HD channels use AVC. So picture quality has the potential to improve substantially over what it was.

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

DrXym
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ODF is not open source

ODF is an open standard, not open source. Any word processor / spreadsheet / presentation can implement it which includes MS Office. In fact, if Microsoft pull their socks up and robustly implement it, I can't think of a reason *why* any government would want to switch.

LibreOffice / OpenOffice + derivatives really aren't adequate replacements for MS Office. They're okay for the basics but stray beyond that and they start to show a lot of rough edges. This is particularly prominent in Impress & Calc which can be very fiddly and unforgiving to use. But all components are affected. LibreOffice needs to spend at least one, and probably two major iterations where the primary focus is on usability and performance.

Until that time I don't think Microsoft has anything to worry about.

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Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530

DrXym
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Another one?

This must be about the 4th or 5th android killer by now.

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Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives

DrXym
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Re: Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

The use of GPL in a commercial product obliges the company to supply the source upon request. These days most companies would normally throw the tarballs up on a web server and let people click the link to get them.

Note of course that a Linux dist isn't just GPL, but dozens of open source licences with disparate obligations. So potentially RH could withhold parts of a dist (e.g. BSD licenced stuff) if they felt like it though it would cause bad feeling in the open source community if they did.

They could also dual licence something really important that they developed themselves to stop the likes of Oracle leeching off it but Canonical got burned by such practices so that might be a non runner.

What they have done is stop releasing discrete patch files for their fixes & changes. Instead they concatenate everything into one large patch. Presumably this is to frustrate Oracle's support efforts.

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DrXym
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Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

Just remember they're ripping off Red Hat Linux lock stock and barrel. "Ah", some apologist might say, "the licence allows them to". It sure does. It doesn't make them look any less hypocritical.

I do wonder who in their right minds would pay them for support though. If you want to pay for support why not pay it to the company which actually develops the distribution (or the package maintainer itself) instead of the barnacles hitching a ride.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

DrXym
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Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

"So you either log connections to the same standard or you don't offer an open hotspot. Even if you do provide a hotspot which logs everything (e.g. FON) the police have demonstrated time and again that technology confuses them."

I very much doubt that you as a householder would be on the hook if someone did something malicious on it.

Any complaint would come through BT and BT would know from the logs that it was someone piggybacking from your public wifi spot. They'd also know who that person was according to the login details.

So while plod might come around to ask if you saw someone doing a four fingered shuffle in your garden, you yourself would not be under suspicion of any crime.

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Boffins fill a dome with 480 cameras for 3D motion capture

DrXym
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And it goes without saying

That a porn studio will be first to pioneer this system

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You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

DrXym
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Re: Eek!

"Otherwise, consider *why* I'm using Pirate Bay for my media needs. Hint: it isn't price, it's availability."

And midget porn

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Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN

DrXym
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This is why net neutrality is so important

Without net neutrality, ISPs will start throttling services and holding them to ransom which essentially means people pay more to use them. Aside from that people find themselves involuntarily segregated into service packages where one ISP works well with one set of services and another ISP works well with another set of services.

The only reason I see to break net neutrality is if the ISP actually paid Netflix or some other service to install servers on their backbone to minimize latency.

In other words, the ISPs should not be allowed to throttle or impede access to service outside of their network but they should be able to add proxies or servers inside their network to improve service..

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For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets

DrXym
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Probably not so much the form factor

I think 8" would work better if the device came with a stylus and a keyboard attachment so the desktop could be used on the go. It wouldn't hurt either to throw in more storage and better CPU performance.

As it is these devices are destined to run in metro for the most part and that's where the problem is. Metro is quite a mature and usable touch GUI and the apps it ships with are very usable these days. However, the app store is a joke - the situation with 3rd party apps has improved but it doesn't bear favourable comparison to Android or the iPad. If I had money in my pocket to buy a 8" tablet, I'd probably drop it on a Galaxy Tab.

It's probably why Microsoft and vendors are looking to larger sizes where Android and iPad begin to look distinctly clunky and where a Windows tablet / hybrid makes more sense.

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ARM arms devs for 64-bit Android push with 'Juno' board

DrXym
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Dalvik and the NDK

Most apps are pure Dalvik. They neither know nor care if the host OS is 32-bit or higher since Dalvik imposes the app constraints in much the same way as a JVM does.

Apps that use the NDK (and some like games need to) on the other hand definitely know what the architecture is and are probably rolling their eyes about yet another target appearing. The problem at present is that every architecture .so needs to be built and bundled together in a single APK (bloating it out), or separate apks for each architecture (an administration and testing nightmare). Neither is optimal and unsurprisingly devs won't support a new architecture until it gains traction. And a new architecture won't gain traction unless the apps support it.

Google could help a lot here (and ARM and Intel) by supporting LLVM targets. Let someone compile their NDK app against a LLVM bitcode target. Let the device compile that target into native code during installation. Or even Google could do it when the apk is uploaded to their store. The point being that then devs don't care what the architecture is because their app will work on anything and new 64-bit cpus integrate seamlessly into the ecosystem.

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Microsoft hopes for FONDLESLAB FRENZY as Surface Pro 3 debuts

DrXym
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Re: Buy a Miix 2 instead

The Miix 2 11" has the choice of i3 or i5 processor and comes with 2 or 4GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB SSD. For much less than the Surface 3. And it includes the keyboard so it's cheaper again.

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DrXym
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Buy a Miix 2 instead

They're similar spec, they're cheaper and they come with a keyboard.

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YouView loses YourView trademark fight, may have to pick new name

DrXym
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Who's View?

You said Your View referring to "my" View. The correct answer was My View as in "your" View.

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British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

DrXym
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Re: Boffins disagreeing with each other?

Scientists disagree all the time. As if that's a bad thing.

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Silent, spacious and... well, insipid: Citroën's electric C-Zero car

DrXym
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Re: Price of Electricity

I'd say petrol costs are vastly more concerning. It only takes a whiff of regional instability (e.g. what's happening in Iraq right now) for the price to be hiked up. And over the long term the price always goes up.

I think it's crazy for electric cars to have so many batteries in them. It would be better for a hybrid that can do an average commute but can kick over to something else if the battery runs down - hydrogen, ethanol and diesel are all potentially renewable.

Or even an aluminium / air battery which can't be recharged but does provide a large range so someone won't be stranded if they exceed their conventional range.

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Women are too expensive to draw and code – Ubisoft

DrXym
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Understandable I guess

If you give people the choice of sexes for the main protagonist then the developers have to record hundreds of hours of the identical dialogue for both sexes. In every supported language (English, Spanish, French, German etc.). And motion capture too. And two sets of cutscenes if it's fmv. And get the engine to cope regardless of models used. It probably is a logistical headache.

But Ubisoft could choose a female protagonist more often than it does. The AC series has had one spinoff with a female lead (for the PS Vita) but otherwise it's just some lunk doing pretty much the same thing from one historical setting to the next.

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Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING, cries mobe research dude

DrXym
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Re: Why do we need "contactless" payments AT ALL?

"What's wrong with swiping a card?"

If I board a bus, it's easy to swipe an NFC card on and off. If I'm waiting for a train and want to buy a mars bar then it's faster if I can swipe through a small purchase without entering a PIN.

It probably offers nothing for larger purchases where it makes no difference if I put the card in a slot or wave it around before typing a PIN. I suppose someone in Visa / Mastercard might have decided that one method of payment is less likely to result in someone losing their card or having it skimmed though.

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DrXym
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I think most people would. An NFC can be embedded in a bit of plastic and works just as well. Why whip out a phone for all the thieves to see?

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UK govt 'tearing up road laws' for Google's self-driving cars: THE TRUTH

DrXym
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Intractible problems

You're driving up a country lane. 50m ahead you see a car coming the other way. One of you has to pull into the side to allow the other to pass. Usually it's obvious who has to do it and it can be resolved easily by humans.

How is a self drive car going to do that? How does it know that it must pull over? How does it signal its intention to the other driver? How does understand when other driver signals back? What happens if the car has to reverse to pull in?

Or is it going to be completely brain dead and drive right up to the other car and then halt because it is an obstacle? How is it going to extricate from that?

And that's just one very simple example of a problem that happens every single day that is almost intractible for a computer. There are thousands more like it - faulty traffic lights, police directing traffic (corollary: telling a police officer from a loony directing traffic), traffic calming islands, diversions, oil spills, lorries unloading goods, floods, potholes, buses stopping to change drivers, broken down cars, carparks / long tunnels with no gps, a lorry on fire, cones & roadworks, emergency vehicles w sirens etc.

I think the tech would be very useful for motorways and as an advanced safety system but completely self drive vehicles on public roads is so far off I don't see happening any time soon. There will have to be a conscious, sober driver behind the wheel ready to take over and extricate the car from a situation it can't solve itself.

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Look inside ELON MUSK'S CAR! Tesla S wundervehicle has voom

DrXym
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These are very big cars

I would think that most people who have need to drive through London or use on street parking would prefer something a bit smaller. It's also not hard to imagine the London Mayor deciding that people rich enough to afford a Model S are rich enough to pay for a congestion charge.

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

DrXym
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And in other news

Freedom comes with risks sometimes. I'd rather a device which lets me choose what software I want to install on my device than one that doesn't. Sure, that means morons will install "sexy girl screensaver" which wants to dial phone numbers, or whatever.

For me it means I can choose to use a different browser, dialler, bittorrent client, emulator or anything else that is regularly or outright banned from Apple's store.

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The British are coming! The British are coming! And they're buying Surface fondleslabs

DrXym
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Re: blackberry playbook anyone?

"Is that a touch-enabled version of Eclipse?"

Some Windows tablets come with a keyboard dock (as do some Android tablets). The remainder can connect via USB or bluetooth to keyboard / mice.

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