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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1409 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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While you're preparing to carve Thanksgiving turkey, the FCC will be slicing into net neutrality

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
FAIL

Don't forget the rabid studios

Deregulating Internet service that's provided by music and movie studios is extremely dangerous. They have armies of rabid copyright lawyers that would be allowed to do pretty much whatever they please to justify their existence. They could monitor traffic, block large encrypted streams, forbid codecs that can't be inspected, and forbid peer-to-peer transfers. Throw in the rabid marketing departments and they're going to ask competitors to pay commission on customers visiting.

These aren't imaginary tactics. Some hotels monitor their guests and then demand commission from the shops they visit. CableTV and TV stations blackout shows during fights for commissions. Music and movie producers have a history of creating "Private copying levy" taxes on all recordable media. Sony distributed rootkits, has worked hard to make copyright infringement a severe crime, and even strangled to death their own line of home electronics in the name of studio profits.

The Internet and tech companies are extremely resilient by nature. If it doesn't work in the US, it will relocate to a better country.

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Uber: Hackers stole 57m passengers, drivers' info. We also bribed the thieves $100k to STFU

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thanks much

Can I forward all my botnet spam to Uber to thank them for funding criminals?

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AT&T insists it's not sweating US govt block of Time-Warner gobble

Kevin McMurtrie
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Departure?

I thought the precedent has been blocking AT&T acquisitions because everybody hates AT&T products.

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iPhone X: Bargain! You've just bagged yourself a cheap AR device

Kevin McMurtrie
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AR for the iPhone XV

There's a huge potential for AR - maps, technical/schematic assistance, gaming, and new forms of telecommuting. Anyone who's tried to navigate Tokyo or repair a scientific/industrial machine knows that 2D diagrams aren't enough. You need at least 3D AR. Better yet, 3D AR with a human or digital assistant.

The problem is that nobody has the building blocks to efficiently create AR products yet - 3D data, physics models, optical location recognition, 3D contextual assistance, and the elusive user interface. There's nothing more than some demonstrations that were extremely labor intensive to build. A few real products might become available soon if you place barcode stickers on everything. The iPhone X may be AR ready to some degree but it's going to be obsolete before practical AR products are available.

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OnePlus 5T is like the little sister you always feared was the favourite

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: So Close!

I've become addicted to a microSD card. Android has some pretty good apps for offline music, video, maps, mail, translation, Wikis, RAW camera files, and background file backups that are built for a microSD card. It's essentially a laptop computer without an attached keyboard.

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Some 'security people are f*cking morons' says Linus Torvalds

Kevin McMurtrie
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Exercise stack to avoid everything living in registers

https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/kees/linux.git/diff/?h=usercopy-v4.15-rc1

https://github.com/torvalds/linux/blob/master/drivers/misc/lkdtm_usercopy.c

I had forgotten how much I really hate other people's C code. I'd be screaming and cursing too if I was a Linux kernel developer.

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Aww: Apple won't be HomePod for Christmas

Kevin McMurtrie
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I COULD TYPE, BUT I LIKE YELLING AT DEVICES

Another terrible sounding wireless speaker with a more-creepy-than-useful digital assistant that will soon stop working when it's required "cloud" tethering is terminated. Do I have to awkwardly pretend that I enjoy using this amazing premium product or can I have it delivered directly to the landfill?

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OnePlus 5 x T + five short months = Some p*ssed off fanboys

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

One Plus OPPO

If only siblings OPO and OPPO could be merged. I want microSD card (OPPO), NFC (OPO), headphone hack (both), 3rd party ROM support (both), and global LTE bands (OPO). Stereo speakers would be nice but I can live without them when there's a headphone jack.

I actually don't care about the dual camera tech. That has been slamming up against diminishing returns for years. I'll bring my big lens hardware when I need sharp photos and videos in low light.

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Now Oracle stiffs its own sales reps to pocket their overtime, allegedly

Kevin McMurtrie
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...so pull your weight and everyone will appreciate

Those are salaried jobs. You work as long as it takes to get some amount of work done and you get paid for that work. Salary is also periodically renegotiated based on performance.

Hourly workers are told exactly when to arrive and exactly when to leave. That time is meticulously tracked and any falsification is grounds for firing. Big companies have a habit of telling people to regularly falsify time sheets then firing anyone that complains. The grounds firing may simply be an example where you falsified a time sheet (as you were told to do). This "with cause" termination usually cancels all accumulated benefits that would otherwise be due to the employee. People who find themselves suddenly unemployed from a nearly poverty-level salary can't afford lawyers to fight back.

Oracle has money to properly pay employees. There are no excuses.

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US trade cops agree to investigate Apple's 'embrace and extend'

Kevin McMurtrie
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They already lost me

I waited years to Apple see if Apple would reverse their trend towards a walled garden. They didn't so I've moved on.

Apple's embrace of open standards started in the late 1990s after losing the critical mass to exist as a closed environment. I was a Mac developer at the time and everyone was quietly killing all Mac development. MacOS 7 was archaic, MacOS 8 was too buggy, and market share was down to 3%. Open standards got them back into homes, schools, workplaces, and produced a badly needed surge of new software. Unfortunately, Apple now has enough cash that they can stubbornly support poor products for at least a decade.

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Softbank gets Uber A-OK for $9 BEEELLION investment cash splurge

Kevin McMurtrie
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Don't stop there

The Radio Shack web site still seems to be up. It's not too late to buy another well known American brand that nobody likes. Half the store was to sell Sprint phones, right?

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Amazon to make multiple Lord of the Rings prequel TV series

Kevin McMurtrie
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Running up stairways of falling rocks

The Peter Jackson series of movies were popular because they were entertainingly terrible on an epic level never seen before. It was like Jackson was boasting, "Yo, Raimi. This is how it's done! <mic drop>" It was all fun but I don't want to see another Tolkien-inspired movie for at least another decade.

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Metal 3D printing at 100 times the speed and a twentieth of the cost

Kevin McMurtrie
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3D PCB

If you could print with an alloy that melts at 240C, and a thermally conductive alloy that sinters at 240C, and an insulator that sinters at 240C, you'd have 3D PCBs. Place the components in it as it's built-up then bake it. It sounds hard but it can't be worse than designing the sandwich in the iPhone X. More advanced designs could even accommodate liquid cooling ducts.

The Borg collective is calling. We must go.

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OVH data centres go TITSUP: Power supply blunders blamed

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Ah, that explains it..

I've already blacklisted OVH so I got a flood of spam yesterday when spammers moved elsewhere.

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Brit moron tried buying a car bomb on dark web, posted it to his address. Now he's screwed

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Occam's razor

Maybe he really hated his car.

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Marissa! Mayer! pulled! out! of! retirement! to! explain! Yahoo! hack! to! Senators!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Another helpful step

Lay off your abuse staff so you're not wasting money reading all those complaints about hacked accounts doing bad things.

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KRACK whacked, media playback holes packed, other bugs go splat in Android patch pact

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I will never buy another adrioid device which doesn't ...

Ah, I had the 2015 Moto X Pure. A minimal OS phone that promised rapid updates, except that software and hardware support was immediately terminated. No VoLTE and no warranty service. ZTE also went the extra mile by also promising parallel Cyanogen development but instead disabled bootloader unlocking and published non-functional kernel code.

Some companies like class action lawsuits more than repeat customers, I guess.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Easy upgrade

We can get the security patch by purchasing a new phone next year.

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This could be our favorite gadget of 2017: A portable projector

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: How much...

For the rated lumens, it's probably one multi-die LED on sapphire substrates. These LEDs are virtually indestructible except for reverse polarity. It's likely that the board will cook before the LED does.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

Romania?

Sounds like the projector is doing transcoding in the cloud. And by cloud, it means a group in Romania that offered to transcode pay streams for free.

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For fanbois only? Face ID is turning punters off picking up an iPhone X

Kevin McMurtrie
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Worse than no headphone jack?

Facial recognition problems seem tiny compared to having only a single connector. I still don't know how those phones sell.

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HPE HQ to leave Palo Alto birthplace as it 'consolidates' offices

Kevin McMurtrie
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The real deal

HP's most used product in Silicon Valley continues to be office buildings.

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OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: 20 layers you say.

Thermal stress was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the teardown. With no thermal goo, I wonder if the OS has to juggle clock speeds to match the temperature between the two sides of the sandwich. Or maybe it cracks in two years and Apple tells you to buy a new one?

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Tesla share crash amid Republican bid to kill off electric car tax break

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: The US has an inverted system

What Tesla is doing today will be copied and made cheaper by somebody else next year. That R&D has broad value in the long run. Besides, don't forget the enormous gasoline subsidy in the form of military intervention in areas of oil production.

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Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

This is too slow

Fixing it looks really hard but I think I can add some code to work around it being slow.

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HTC U11: U-hoo. Look over here! Two new phones! We're Not Actually Dead

Kevin McMurtrie
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Stop

Nope

Maybe I'll accept the lack of a headphone jack when there are two USB ports. I'd rather have the phone be a few milimeters larger than have to carry more accessories while traveling.

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Slashing regulations literally more important than saving American lives to Donald Trump

Kevin McMurtrie
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Calling BS on the effectiveness

Major crashes usually involve people doing something incredibly stupid - being too uncoordinated, not having a driver's license, running stop signs, or swerving a 35 MPH Toyota into the fast lane's 70 MPH traffic. A computer looking at low-precision vehicle vectors is going to have a hard time judging the difference between a potential accident and an imminent accident quickly enough to significantly change the outcome. It probably can't do it at all. Combine all the computed mistakes of each vehicle on a crowded 10 lane freeway and it's not going to work at all.

I drove 1000 miles to buy a version of my car without automatic collision avoidance. Owners said it sometimes skidded to a halt on busy freeways when lanes shift for construction.

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Google remembers it has an air-fares API, takes the usual action

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I like this kind of behaviour ...

Google would buy the whole US government, replace taxes with listening devices, declare the project a huge success, then promptly turn the country off.

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Vlad the blockader: Russia's anti-VPN law comes into effect

Kevin McMurtrie
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How about we block all the connections that aren't VPN? China and Russia go through incredible efforts to block outside media, even if it requires human rights violations, but are happy to let crime gangs use whatever government network resources they wish. It only seems fair.

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Google's phone woes: The Pixel and the damage done

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

The microSD card doesn't need to use MS FAT and all the baggage that comes with it. Some phones use ext3, ext4, or f2fs.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Screen burn-in, poor colors, and distorted audio?

I wish my ZTE Axon 7 or the preceding Moto X Pure 2015 had so few problems.

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You're designing an internet fridge. Should you go for fat HTML or a Qt-pie for your UI?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: The code!

As others pointed out, your light doesn't always work. Fancy minimalist fridges still have lots of tech. They have variable speed fans continuously running in each compartment, going just fast enough to keep the temperature even, so bread bags never become soggy on one side and dry on the other. The compressor is also variable speed so it doesn't need to be loud unless you've loaded it up with warm drinks. An alarm goes off if the fridge ever warms up into the "danger zone" where mold grows. The defrost heater runs based on metrics rather than a timer. There's even a heater in the fridge for people who live in very cold climates.

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Why are we disappointed with the best streaming media box on the market?

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Mushroom

Roku - crushing your aspirations of watching a movie

The Roku is a dense collection of everything that sucked about 1990s technology. A crude joystick for a keyboard, massive input lag, UI halts while performing tasks, switching apps takes longer than loading from a floppy disk, dead-end search results everywhere, signup pages that don't work, can't transcode audio, forgets subtitle settings, and randomly reboots.

This fireball icon is for everybody who gave Roku players good reviews. You're cruel.

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Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

OLEDs

I don't know what Apple is using, but many OLED panels are on an insanely fragile silicon plate. Knock your phone against the table and the OLED panel will shatter without any damage to the glass. This means no "living with it" option when the screen breaks. It will go black and make faint little twinkles as the edge sparks.

Hopefully Apple is using one of the flexible OLED panel designs. All the cool kids use cracked iPhones.

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Chinese whispers: China shows off magnetic propulsion engine for ultra-silent subs, ships

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
FAIL

Wait, what?

El Reg, you're linking to an article stating that the sub uses a permanent magnet motor. That's a very ordinary motor, though they're usually not submarine sized because big magnets are insanely dangerous. It says nothing about magnetohydrodynamic drive.

Magnetohydrodynamic drive needs to use AC unless you want giant foaming and corroding electrode contrails behind your sub. That AC would make more noise and EM than a permanent magnet motor.

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If you say it loud enough, Uber will sound atrocious: Super Cali juristic discrimination process

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Mushroom

Stack ranking

These can't all be coincidence or simple mistakes. It sounds like Uber did serious research into business models that grow rapidly then die in a fire.

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Coin Hive hacked via old password to move manic miners' Monero into miscreants' pockets

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Damnit

Who posted a photo of my password book to Shutterstock?

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Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
WTF?

No more menus

Ubuntu 17.10 has a redundant mini-dock where the top menu bar should be. Now all apps supporting a system menu bar have no menus.

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Continuous Lifecycle 2018: Agile pioneer Dr Linda Rising to keynote

Kevin McMurtrie
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$

Agile can't make any money as a living scientific document. The big sacks of cash are in selling it like a religion, and that's where people come to hate Agile. The religious Agile sales pitch attempts to resolve problems through more rigorous and expensive training rather than critical analysis. Complain to an Agile preacher/consultant about Agile's failings and you'll smell the flames of hell seeping into the room.

The reality is that Agile is nothing more than a set of concepts that are valuable to consider as solutions. Follow them blindly and you'll fail miserably. (And have lots of wasted Post-It notes)

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Apple Cook's half-baked defense of the Mac Mini: This kit ain't a leftover

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Linux

Too late

It's not just that the existing design is three years old, it's that people who have a much older system have no Apple replacement to buy now. Would you replace a 8 to 10 year old Mac with a 3 year old Mac? No.

I replaced my Mac Pro desktop with a System 76 Linux box and I'll do something similar with my Mac Mini Server. Yes, I have to replace all the software. It's replacing 5 - 10 year old software so it's not a big deal. Linux is a bit shitty but it's better than Windows or trying to use an iMac where an iMac is the wrong form factor.

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Europol cops lean on phone networks, ISPs to dump CGNAT walls that 'hide' cyber-crooks

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Trollface

IPv6 side effects may include...

o Increased peer-to-peer communications

o Sudden loss of traffic routed through monitored servers

o Big chunks of IP addresses being random bits

o Obsolete government exploits and rootkits

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Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Hot Office?

That's California room temperature. Techies spend less on clothes and office AC.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Tape fixes everything

I use pyrolytic graphite tape for my thermal hacks. A patch of it on a tiny hot SMD will spread the heat out enough for the PCB copper traces to provide cooling.

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uBlock Origin ad-blocker knocked for blocking hack attack squawking

Kevin McMurtrie
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The other use of everything good

It does look like CSP reports could be used for precise browser fingerprinting, analyzing whether or not certain sites are reachable, and analyzing load times.

It's hardly the worst thing about browsers, though. I tried to convince an IT department of a previous employer that many browsers were an incredible security risk because they used remote URL completion assistance. They were leaking the title of every confidential Confluence page in the company, and a recipient of that confidential data was business partner. (IT told me to not worry.)

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Qualcomm takes 5G to spooky millimetre land

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Attenuation sometimes a good thing

Attenuation is a good thing for urban areas. You don't want the signals bouncing off walls hundreds of times then arriving as a mess of echoes. You don't want devices in shouting matches, each trying to get above the background noise of the others. High attenuation essentially creates perfectly clean point-to-point communications.

Downside - we're back to holding the phone up in the air to get a signal.

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Xperia XZ1: Sony spies with its MotionEye something beginning...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: What's wrong with it?

Sony phones have been pretty good when it comes to customer-friendly features. They test the hardware well, maintain the OS, they have microSD cards, and there are 3rd party ROMs. I may forgive Sony when I throw my ZTE Axon 7 into a wood chipper for not supporting 3rd party ROMs and not getting critical bug fixes.

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

Kevin McMurtrie
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How long does a modern TV tuner last?

The first generation of HDTV tuners went into the trash a long time ago. They were some DVD chips and a pile of open source junk found on the Internet. They ran hot, crashed constantly, and had compatibility issues.

The second generation tuners were popular with plasma TVs. Plasma was the only tech at the time that could show 1920x1080 without weird motion artifacts. Today those TVs aren't as bright as they used to be and some people might be tired of their 300W to 900W power consumption heating up the room. Or the dithering flicker. Or the power supply hum. They won't be around in 5+ years when ATSC 1.0 goes away.

New TVs that are most likely to be in use during the conversion should have a spare HDMI port for an external tuner dongle. Might as well get started on ATSC 3.0.

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Kotlin's killin' Java among Android devs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Doesn't Kotlin rely on Java?

It's using the Java 8 JVM so Java is still there. You can be running a Python front-end on the JVM and still access Java objects, though they don't behave well due to the different base class architecture.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Shorter, slower

I'd argue that most of the bloat in Java 8 comes from traditions of anti-patterns and bad/buggy Checkstyle rules. What's really being discarded are bloated coding patterns. I wouldn't be surprised if Kotlin's helpful attempts to further reduce bloat are undone by new anti-patterns.

In scanned through the Kotlin documentation and noticed that it's moving more towards immutable objects and the elimination of primitives. That's a nice option, but enforcing that in CPU sensitive code destroys performance. Making tight processing loops 100x to 1000x slower on a mobile device is a bad idea.

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