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Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Andy Dodd Re:"Rogue"? (207 comments)

Yeah. I think Kirt's ranting about the "tyranny of Google" is BS. Although I can sort of understand where they MIGHT be coming from after the Cornerstone mess - but that was probably a no-win situation for everyone involved.

That said, I fully agree with the people that are seeing a slow move towards AOSP becoming more and more closed source. One by one, the following happens:
Google wants to integrate GMS further with a given app (no problem here)
Google forks said app to add GMS integration (no problem here, although moving it to some sort of plugin-style approach might work better as it avoids what has proven to be the inevitable result)
Google stops development on the open-source component that the GMS-integrated component was forked from within AOSP, leaving it to rot. This annoys people and is where the perception that Google is slowly "closing down" AOSP comes from.

There's also the fact that AOSP's strict scope-limiting to Nexus devices only tends to cause people to not bother upstreaming to it - https://android-review.googles... for example

Also annoying is the fact that Google still builds AOSP using prebuilt kernel images, which often depend on toolchains deleted from AOSP. Also, AOSP uses kernel headers that just happen to match the actual kernel itself in structural organization but have different names, so Bad Things happen if you try to build AOSP against actual kernel headers now:
https://github.com/omnirom/and...
and
https://github.com/omnirom/and...

15 minutes ago
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Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Andy Dodd Re:Well Shoot... (207 comments)

AOSP?
Omni? (I'm biased here - the history is that it was founded by a number of Cyanogenmod maintainers that left as a result of the Focal fiasco. However I'll be honest, a lot of the developers have burned out and as a result we're really behind on a lot of things...)
Some of the Omni guys along with people from EOS and Slim are talking about forming a project that is strictly limited in focus to hardware support. Some of the ex-Gummy guys already formed such a project (AOD) but a number of people (including myself) are holding back because they kind of rushed things - starting to code without planning the project, while the challenge of such a project is planning and organization/politics. Screw up the planning and organization/politics and best case is that you wind up "just another ROM".

AOKP is dead due to Cyngn hiring Roman
Same for ChameleonOS

about half an hour ago
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Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Andy Dodd Re:why google keeps microsoft away (207 comments)

As a former Cyanogenmod maintainer (I left the project as a result of the Focal fiasco), I'm 90% certain no officially supported device ever used flash memory for swap.

The closest I can think of was that some devices used zram (which Google added official support for in KitKat IIRC...) - zram was pseudo-swap where the system would swap into "compressed" RAM.

37 minutes ago
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Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Andy Dodd Re:A good thing. (207 comments)

Yeah, that's the part that doesn't make sense to me. Why invest in Cyngn 6 months after you killed off every Android device in your portfolio?

41 minutes ago
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Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Andy Dodd Re:Not always a good thing. (207 comments)

The problem is that unlike on the desktop, the display subsystem on many devices is more than just the GPU. Also, the subcomponents of the display subsystem interact with other subcomponents in such a way that if an OEM makes changes, those changes ripple throughout the whole subsystem.

The end result is that if one component of the display subsystem (and this includes the camera, since it has hooks into the display subsystem to handle preview and such) is closed-source and deviates from the reference implementation for that platform, it's a nightmare of reverse engineering to get the other components open-sourced.

That's why, for example, most of the original CyanogenMod maintainers for Samsung Exynos4 devices ditched the platform. Samsung had reference source at Insignal, but it was vastly outdated (Their "ICS" source had significant architectural components that dated back to Gingerbread) and didn't even remotely match what ANY OEM used (Samsung's own handsets did NOT use the "gingerbready" components referenced previously). Getting that source usable with any real device was a nightmare. The kernel wasn't the issue, it was all of the HAL stuff - hwcomposer/gralloc/etc - especially hwcomposer.

Cyngn (the abbreviation I use to refer to Cyanogen Inc) does have access to all the proprietary goodies that should allow them to support a device very well, but so far, their track record has been to do no better than the OEMs they claim to be trying to provide an alternative.
Oppo N1 - didn't receive KitKat OTA until November 2014, 1 year after KK was released. Epic fail. Yeah, there were CM11 nightlies, but Cyngn staff will aggressively remind you that community builds (including CM nightlies) are NOT supported
OnePlus One - Their current state is "average" - many OEMs upated to Lollipop within a month of Google releasing it, Cyngn is at 3 months and counting.

42 minutes ago
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Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Andy Dodd Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (352 comments)

Actually the banks have been pushing for a transition to EMV, but merchants are resisting it right and left for various reasons.

Watch all the merchants change their tune in October when all of the banks institute a liability shift to the merchant for non-EMV transactions (magstripe).

yesterday
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Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Andy Dodd Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (352 comments)

During a vacation in early September, my parents had to switch credit cards at a Walmart.

The terminal (correctly) recognized it was a contact-chip enabled card, and refused the mag-swipe.

But the terminal's contact-based reader was nonfunctional!

Don't forget the whole CurrentC clusterfuck. CurrentC is going to get a brutal kick in the nuts in October when the EMV liability shift occurs - the backers of CurrentC will be faced with 3 options:
1) Accept contactless EMV payments (Including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, but not limited to them. I'm not sure if it's possible to block Apple Pay/GWallet without blocking all contactless EMV - no one has done it so far.)
2) Accept the shift of liability for fraud from the CC company to them (very unlikely)
3) Stop accepting credit cards completely (not gonna happen)

yesterday
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Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Andy Dodd Re: Positive pressure? (352 comments)

Or use a solution that has been in use to handle sewer gases for years - vent pipe to the roof.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Andy Dodd Re:Thrift store (428 comments)

Yeah. The reason you can't find 3-button mice are because scroll mice provide everything they did and more. Honestly I find it easier to position my fingers since the middle "button" is significantly different in feel than the others.

The only issue is that on SOME mice it's too easy to accidentally scroll.

4 days ago
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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Andy Dodd Re:Turn about's fair play (263 comments)

To some degree, this is handled by unemployment insurance premiums.

Most unemployment offices, in addition to the direct unemployment benefits, have retraining programs that often last well beyond when the direct benefits expire.

For example, I started my masters' degree part-time when I was still working at my first job. 4 weeks later i got laid off.

I got the standard unemployment benefits (26 weeks I think???) but when those ran out, I was still eligible for New Jersey's tuition waiver program (free tuition at a state school with some limitations - you're last in priority when classes fill up pretty much but that wasn't a problem in an EE graduate program) for the entire remaining duration of my M.S. program.

about a week ago
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The Current State of Linux Video Editing

Andy Dodd Re:Kdenlive is getting stable (223 comments)

I played with it a little, but the poor state of support for multichannel audio was a major issue for me.

What I want:
Record video with my camera along with a "reference" (for timing) audio track
Record audio with a Zoom H2
Replace "reference" audio track with multichannel (surround) audio from the H2
Edit the various clips after I've synced/replaced the audio
Export to H.264 + AC3 surround

Last time I tried that with kdenlive, it was pretty much impossible

about two weeks ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

Andy Dodd Re:Nope (241 comments)

Most of those emulation layers have failed... While it's 95%+ compatible, that last 5% causes many people's apps to not work. Blackberry tried Android runtime compatibility and failed miserably.

about two weeks ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

Andy Dodd It's all about the ecosystem (241 comments)

No one has really managed to provide competition to the iTunes ecosystem (I consider the iOS App Store as part of this ecosystem) or Google's Play ecosystem.

Samsung has tried multiple times to begin establishing their own ecosystem, and those attempts have consistently failed. In many cases (myself included), those attempts drove people away from Samsung's products. (The most annoying thing I remember about Touchwizz was the constant bombardment of "register for Samsung blah" shit - you couldn't disable the pestering without either giving in or rooting the device and nuking Samsung's bloat. With ICS on the GS2, they broke things to the point where various parts of Android, even the fucking launcher, broke if you removed any of the bloat.)

Really the only entity I know of who has any chance at this point of establishing themselves as a third player in the mobile market is Amazon - they have a pretty decent ecosystem. In fact they've done reasonably well in set-top-box style and tablet-style hardware, and while the original Fire Phone was a catastrophic failure, Amazon is one of the few organizations with the ability to recover from something like that.

about two weeks ago
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Google Glass Is Dead, Long Live Google Glass

Andy Dodd Re:adios Explorers (141 comments)

Interesting, I'm in the Explorers program but haven't gotten that email yet.

Surprised they even bothered to send that to you.

I agree with most of your assessment, except they've done even worse as far as iOS integration with Android Wear, and to be honest, I believe many of the iPhone integration issues were iOS limitations, not choices Google made. iOS has always been shit for "nonstandard" Bluetooth devices - for example, most Bluetooth OBD adapters don't work with iOS since iOS doesn't support Bluetooth SPP (Serial Port Profile) devices as far as I can tell. Only OBD adapters using special BLE-based protocols or acting as a Wifi AP work with iOS.

The battery life started as "OK but could use some improvement" until they deployed KitKat to Glass, which pretty much ruined Glass. XE19 made it suck less than XE16-XE18, but it was still never as good as XE12 in terms of reliability and battery life. XE21/22 brought back some of the reliability issues and made battery life even worse than XE16.

I haven't worn my device in 2+ months. Basically, it's been useless due to the battery life since XE21/22.

about two weeks ago
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Google Glass Is Dead, Long Live Google Glass

Andy Dodd Re:Glass was doomed from the start (141 comments)

The current Glass XE hardware had potential, before they deployed KitKat on it and killed its battery life.

The hardware would've been great if refreshed with a more suitable CPU such as a Snapdragon 400 (The Cortex-A7 is a highly power efficient CPU, which is why most Snapdragon 400-based phones get great battery life, and in fact it has been used by all Android Wear devices except the Moto 360, which gets panned for poor battery life even after Moto made great improvements in that regard, it's still poor compared to other Android Wear devices).

But it appears that Google is moving Glass towards a design dependent on an external (belt-worn) battery pack, since some of their patent filings are clearly missing the battery and their announced partnership with Intel whose mobile chipsets are NOT suitable to a device like Glass unless it's externally powered.

about two weeks ago
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Google Glass Is Dead, Long Live Google Glass

Andy Dodd Re:I hope this still comes to the industrial secto (141 comments)

All evidence from Google over the past few months (the Glass for Work initiative, their filing of design patents for Glass that are clearly dependent on an external power source such as a belt-worn battery pack, their partnership with Intel whose chipsets are not suitable to any form of Glass that does not depend on an external battery pack - note that Intel chips are suitable only to tablets/Chrombooks due to their excessively high power consumption) is that Google is targeting industrial/business uses.

They have done nothing to address Glass' biggest flaw as a consumer device - battery life/power consumption.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

Andy Dodd Re:Insteon (189 comments)

Same reason I went with Z-Wave.

In theory, ZigBee is a more "open" standard, but... It's too open. ZigBee HA has pretty much no interoperability guarantees.

For example, ZigBee Lighting Link (ZLL) is standardized - but there are lots of examples of ZLL devices that won't talk to each other. Hue hubs won't talk to Greenwave bulbs, Greenwave hubs won't talk to Hue bulbs, despite all devices being ZLL certified devices.

Note that Vera has a fairly robust plugin mechanism, so it's possible to add support for stuff not built in using either USB devices or network connections. Vera can't talk directly to any of the ZLL bulbs mentioned above, but there are Hue and Greenwave/TCP Lighting (horrible name to have your lighting company share an acronym with a widespread transport protocol...) plugins that will talk to the hubs to command the bulbs.

I can click one button on my phone and have:
1) My thermostat (Z-Wave) temperature setting change
2) A bunch of Z-Wave lights turn on at various brightnesses
3) My Hue bulbs change brightness and color
4) My Greenwave bulbs turn on/off at various brightnesses

about two weeks ago
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Nuclear Waste Accident Costs Los Alamos Contractor $57 Million

Andy Dodd Re: Renewable energy ist cheaper! (166 comments)

Yeah. Also, unfortunately, "reprocessing" gets a bad rap due to PUREX which, while better than no reprocessing at all from a waste perspective, is still pretty bad.

The pyroprocessing process used as part of the IFR design had great potential - there was a good chance that it would have been able to fuel the USA for 1-2 centuries using only the existing LWR reactor waste stockpiles. The waste from the IFR would be incredibly dangerous - but only for 100-200 years and MUCH lower in volume compared to the amount of energy extracted than current LWR waste. (Which is something like 90-95% usable fuel still...) Such waste could be much more easily diluted using vitrification for storage on the order of 100-200 years.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

Andy Dodd Re:Insteon (189 comments)

At this point, Insteon's cost isn't much lower than Z-Wave which is much more flexible/modern.

I personally have a Vera Lite - it's a great device with built-in Z-Wave, but for the "hacker enthusiast" types, a group of people has created an alternative ecosystem of devices that use nRF24L01 radios for communications to do whatever you want.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?

Andy Dodd Re:Seems obvious but... (325 comments)

For the price they'll spend on an ultra-high-end laptop (I'm guessing stuff that meets their requirements will be in the $2000-3000+ range), you can get a mid-low range desktop that still blows it away in performance AND a midrange laptop you can remote into the beast with.

I stopped buying high-end laptops long ago. I do a lot of Android platform development in my spare time - most of the time I do it on a Chromebook running Crouton, remoted into a quad-Haswell i5 buildbox with 16GB RAM and multiple 256GB SSDs. (Actually, I ran out of space, so I'm putting in a 480, retiring one of the 256s or expanding the ccache size.) (Note, by "remote" I mean "across the room" - the assumption is that laptop and desktop are on the same LAN. I intentionally made my buildbox small in order to make it easy to lug around for car trips. I didn't get it small enough to suitcase in checked baggage, should've gone mini-ITX for that.)

The initial investment (single SSD) for the buildbox was $600-700, and that was around a year and a half ago.

A Dell Precision M2800 that barely matches what the buildbox is capable of (actually, it's significantly less capable CPU-wise due to thermal limits, 2.9 GHz nominal instead of 3.4 GHz nominal, for sustained loads turbo is useless.) costs $1799

Note that the assumption here, based on what the OP has described, is that the system will primarily be used for CPU/RAM-bound tasks, not GPU-bound.

about three weeks ago

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