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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

EmperorArthur Re: What alternative could be built? (140 comments)

Internal memory and internal SD card are two separate things in Android. Internal SD card is simply a part of the internal NAND that the OS treats like a normal SD card. Many phones don't support external SD cards but have moderate amounts of storage, so they compromise.

I'm not sure I follow.

Many phones don't support external SD cards, but officially their apis still need to support external storage with internal SD memory anyway, otherwise they won't pass the Compatibility Test Suite.

The problem is that the internal SD card and external SD card are treated differently.

Android apps by default work off the internal SD card. It's actually a separate partition that's mounted at the same place as old phones used for external SD cards. You can't change the default to use an external card. You can't recover space from that internal partition.*

Here's the kicker. Now external SD cards are mounted somewhere else. (/mnt/extSD) The thing is that many apps don't work with the external SD card. Especially after the latest android release. With android KitKat apps with the, misnamed, external storage permission can read and write anywhere on the internal card. The problem is that now they can read anywhere on the external card, but can only write to a directory on it which is something like "/mnt/extSD/data/" There are a few exceptions for system apps like the camera, but regular apps have to use this weird naming scheme.

It's actually a good security feature, but the fact they don't apply it to the internal SD card just seems to be Google deliberately moving people away from phones with an external SD card. Not cool.

*Without rooting, and knowing exactly what you're doing at least. No way a non expert is doing this.


Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

EmperorArthur Re:What alternative could be built? (140 comments)

How would an ecosystem be designed not to have these sorts of holes but also not to restrict what the owner of a device can use it for?

Just look at the Xprivacy extension for rooted android phones. Even iPhones let you disable app permissions. What has Google done about the issue? They reduced permissions into groups so users couldn't even know exactly what their apps have access to any more. Oh, and block apps from writing to most of the external SD card, but they can do whatever they want to the internal one. Guess Google doesn't like privacy or SD cards.


Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

EmperorArthur Re:No, no unfair advantage at all... (173 comments)

I'm sorry he lost his leg, but there is no why this is 'fair' by any sense of the word.

It's Deus Ex: Human Revolution coming to real life. Next thing you know it'll be someone with some other disability going ahead. Perhaps a footballer with a prosthetic that helps him catch and hold the ball. The tipping point (as it is in the game) is when you can get near natural control of a prosthetic by connecting it directly to a persons nerves or brain.

2 days ago

Two South African Cancer Patients Receive 3D Printed Titanium Jaw Implants

EmperorArthur Re:Mill? (69 comments)

The nice thing is all the waste powder can be reused without having to melt it down, so there's almost no waste.

How big of an advantage is that, though? Melting down metal to reuse it is really easy, much easier than with other materials like glass or plastics. Especially in the case where you control the environment and can be assured of its purity, vs. collecting scrap metal or something (but even collecting scrap metal is profitable).

Well, it's Titanium, so it's probably quite a pain. Titanium has an ignition temperature that's lower than its melting point so you have to work with it in an inert atmosphere, and apparently it's still a pain even then. Given that I'll bet titanium scrap isn't worth a quarter of its value when in block form.

The article says "each surgery cost just 20% of what a traditional jaw implant surgery would have cost." It doesn't say how much of that was due to not having to recycle 80% of the material and how much of it was because the jaw was made to order. It certainly implied though that a decent bit of the savings was due to laser sinstering.

You're also forgetting the cost of the multi axis milling machines that this process replaces. If they're even close in price and you're using 80% less material then why wouldn't any manufacturing shop go for it?

2 days ago

Two South African Cancer Patients Receive 3D Printed Titanium Jaw Implants

EmperorArthur Re:Mill? (69 comments)

When they say 3D printed do they mean a metal mill, or can we 3D print with any random material now?
And if so, why not use the far more tried tested, and better alternative milling?

Nope, it's "laser sintering." They take metal powder and fuse it together one layer at a time. You put a layer of metal powder down, the laser fuses it together, then you put another layer of powder over it. Repeat until done.

The nice thing is all the waste powder can be reused without having to melt it down, so there's almost no waste. The other thing is you can print shapes that are really hard to mill. No more ridiculously complex 6 axes milling machines that the US treats like munitions. Just Google ITER sometime to see the craziness.

2 days ago

Google Kills Orkut To Focus On YouTube, Blogger and Google+

EmperorArthur Re:But I thought it was already dead? (71 comments)

If Google kills unpopular services, why is Google+ not dead yet?

Because Google tends to spam you to set up an account if you use any of their other services. If you define active as making more than 3 posts a month then over 99% of Google+ account's aren't active.*

* I made those numbers up, but they're probably reasonably close to true.

about a month ago

Ars Takes an Early Look At the Privacy-Centric Blackphone

EmperorArthur Re:Apps which require location? (67 comments)

Take a look at Xprivacy. If you have a rooted android phone you can do that and more today. I think Cyanogenmod also has some sort of permission control built in now. Even Iphone's have basic permissions. The only thing that doesn't is stock Android and Windows.

Google knows there's a market for it, but they're worried about ad revenue or apps breaking because it would be "too much of a burden" on developers to make sure there apps behave when permissions are denied.

about a month ago

Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

EmperorArthur Re:Nobody tests RF ability anymore (198 comments)

Just once, I'd love to see some side by side comparisons of the end-to-end RF ability of these new phones. While voice calls, the kids tell me, are a thing of the past we are getting more and more dependent on data connections. And how you get data is via RF link. And yet I haven't even seen link quality mentioned in a single review for at least two generations of smart phones.

The truth is that there are few radio manufacturers. If you have Verizon in the US then it's almost certainly going to be a Qualcom radio. The exact same Qualcom radio that are in all the other phones of the same generation. Kind of hard to differentiate yourself if the carrier forces you to use the same thing everything else is using.

That brings up another point. Radios are carrier and region dependent. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, while just about everyone else in the world (except Japan) use GSM. Worse, the US and Europe use different frequencies. I think most newer radios can handle them all, but that certainly wasn't true in the past.

about a month ago

Bye Bye Aereo, For Now

EmperorArthur Re:Um (93 comments)

I think it's even mentioned at one point of the Supreme Court's decision. They'll have to do a bit more than that, and only offer pre-recorded programming, but It'll probably be done and, if they have the money to survive the lawsuits, it'll end up before the Supreme Court again.

about 1 month ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

EmperorArthur Re:Dream Theater (not the band) (310 comments)

Did you actually have the console, or just the HogPC software?

Because while it might be great for live shows, I've truly come to despise the hog when it comes to programming anything more complicated than a single scene. Seriously, I think I liked the lighting console that I had to use floppies and a VGA cable with better. At least that one was clear on exactly which scene I was working on, so I know exactly what happens when I press the next button. (that's without getting into overrides :/)

Seriously, the console/software is pretty good if you want colors on the fly with someone basically DJing the lights, but It would be a pita to run something like a play.

about 2 months ago

The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

EmperorArthur Re:Embedded System Designer's Opinon (240 comments)

But, But you can just put Linux on there. Then you can use Java for all those fancy things you mentioned. That will solve all your problems.
Seriously, I'm pretty sure I've seen this on an old Vonage box I was playing around with.

For many of the smaller microcontrollers we're lucky to have a full libc. It's always a wonderful day when I have to choose between rewriting an algorithm to use integers or taking a chance with new hardware with a built in floating point unit when the ship date is fast approaching.

about 2 months ago

The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

EmperorArthur Re:This "nightmare" rigns a bell (240 comments)

A deadline has a wonderful way of concentrating the mind. No deadline, less motivation.

This is the next big one:

Honestly I wonder how many devices it will affect. I know anything which isn't patched and relies on security certificates is hosed, but what about the network printer that nobody cares about and is running completely unsecured?

about 2 months ago

Google To Spend $1 Billion On Fleet of Satellites

EmperorArthur Re:But will they also have GPS? (170 comments)

Will these puppies also have some form of GPS in them? Not only will they know what filth you are posting but they'll know where you posted it from.

With triangulation, and Doppler shift calculations it doesn't matter. Though it's much harder to do those things with everyone vs just have them send their position data. Not that ISPs don't already know everything about you.

about 2 months ago

HP (Re-)Announces a 14" Android Laptop

EmperorArthur HP Is Being Cheap (121 comments)

ChromeOS, in contrast, comes with more stringent system requirements that would cost HP a bit more.

In other words, this thing is going to be really slow if you try to use it for serious work. Why? Because HP is cheap and doesn't want to shell out for decent components. That and/or they like their locked down bootloader.

about 2 months ago

SpaceX Shows Off 7-Man Dragon V2 Capsule

EmperorArthur Re:How many flights to test? (140 comments)

Want to bet on whether or not SpaceX convinces NASA to let them transition to sending up the DragonV2 on the supply runs as part of the testing? It would give the new capsule valuable flight data, and wouldn't cost NASA another cent contract wise.

about 2 months ago

How MIT and Caltech's Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds

EmperorArthur Re:That's the over-simplified version? (129 comments)

They say "randomly" generated coefficients, but I'll bet you can use a psudo random number generator and pass in the same seed value to both the sender and reciever. Bam, now both sides have the same set of semi random coefficients to use when doing the fancy linear algebra.

about 2 months ago

Proposed SpaceX Spaceport Passes Its Final Federal Environmental Review

EmperorArthur Re:Why do they need their own spaceport? (40 comments)

Out of curiosity, what do they need their own spaceport for, especially if (as an earlier poster notes) they only intend to launch about once a month? Are there constraints on the use of launchpads at Cape Canaveral, where there's already been a great deal of investment in building launchpads, support structures, etc.?

That's a part of it. Without looking into the details, Cape Canaveral doesn't seem to want to deal with more than one rocket launch within a week of each other. Wile the US Gov launches from Vandenberg, they also launch from Cape Canaveral. Plus the Orbital Sciences launches, other commercial launches, and everything else that happens there. The current story is often launch attempt one aborts, launch attempt two has a delay to make sure they fixed the problem, then it's a several week delay because Cape Canaveral had another launch planned.

The other reason is the idea of recovering the Falcon 9 rocket. It could be easier to launch from Texas and recover at Cape Canaveral.

about 2 months ago

Imparting Malware Resistance With a Randomizing Compiler

EmperorArthur Re:ASLR (125 comments)

If you think a bit further... An operating system could load an executable at a different address every time it is used, without recompilation!

The problem with ASLR is that it involves Position Independent Code. The absolute addresses may change, but functions are called by their relative addresses to each other. When you know were one function is you know were all the others are as well. A mild example of this new randomization technique is to randomize the file order being fed into the linker. Different file order means different function layout. Then even if you know where one function is you don't know where all the others are without looking at that individual binary.

about 2 months ago

Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

EmperorArthur Re:overly complicated (193 comments)

Like I said, cost is king.

Heck, I've been trying to redesign something to use the ATTiny and bitbang USB. Thinking about it, that's where the 4k number came from. Boards with more memory and more features are getting cheaper and that's awesome. I can't wait for when integrated USB becomes as common as integrated SPI and TTL.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to get out of my cave and yell at some kids on my lawn.

about 2 months ago

Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

EmperorArthur Re:overly complicated (193 comments)

Where did 4K of code come from?

I would expect to use a micro that can address enough memory for the job to be done right.
Who mentioned Arduinos? It wasn't me.

I was just talking in general. When someone says "simple microcontroller" I think of an ATMicro/Mega or something like the MSP430 most of which cap out somewhere between 2 and 16k. Anything more than that is a full ARM soc and normally is expensive and has finicky power and i/o requirements compared to the "simple microcontrollers" I normally work with. They're the lap of luxury since, like I said, you normally spend large amounts of time to make the code work with the 4k device instead of the 16k just to save a few cents per unit.

about 2 months ago


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