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Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

Ion Berkley Strange choice of enemy (182 comments)

You would think that Lyft was the last people that Uber has to worry about with all the entrenched taxi monopolies and the regulators after their blood.

about 4 months ago

Silicon Valley To Get a Cellular Network Just For Things

Ion Berkley Re: PG&E (42 comments)

No, it's not different at all in most senses...technically they are governed by the same legal rules stated in 15.247 (ISM device power is not limited to 20dBM BTW), and most definitely the same Eb/N0 curves. There's pretty good odd's that they even use the same fundamental radio IC. What's a little bizarre is why anyone would want to trade bitrate for range in such an application, the rest of the world is not interested in range, but capacity, so the smaller the cell size, the more cells you can pack in and the more customers you can serve. There's no cost advantage in 100 bps vs 100kbps, its the same single chip IC technology in the $2 range. You might be able to argue it's slightly more energy efficient, but it wouldn't be a strong case with contemporary technology. Plus when you cap the potential bitrate for a single arbitrary device then you cap the range of services. Better to have higher bitrate and very low duty cycle for future proofing. In truth the RF part is uninteresting its mature technology, what makes anything like this potentially more interesting is what gets layered above it.

about 7 months ago

Silicon Valley To Get a Cellular Network Just For Things

Ion Berkley PG&E (42 comments)

They're rather late to the game, PG&E has been running a 900MHz ISM IPv6 mesh network for several years over the whole of Silicon Valley, every electricity meter is a node, with gas meters relayed via the electricity meters, and indeed the same radios proliferate many other places in the world.

about 7 months ago

Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

Ion Berkley Terrible interoperability (355 comments)

Amen to the "Ball of hurt".

I design USB3 H/W....what. a. piece. of. shit. I have truly given up hope of engineering anything that will ever work universally, even Intels interfaces which you would like to believe would be a model reference design look like crap when you plug them into a gizillion dollar Agilent USB3 analyzer. Should I be be surprised? Probably not, USB has never exactly been the premium interface has it? Firewire didn't go away because USB was technically superior thats for sure. Thunderbolt just friggin' works, day in, day out, incredible and reliable performance. Sure cables are expensive, they have all sorts of clever active electronics...because...thats what it takes to make 10G in a consumer application work...not a $1.99 piece of injection molded crap from god knows what Asian hell chemical works. In fact Thunderbolts worst problem is ....Intel.....who seem to have a bizarre attitude towards people who want to buy components from them to make peripherals...I honestly don't get it.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Often-Run Piece of Code -- Ever?

Ion Berkley I'm pretty confident about this one..... (533 comments)

...but how many folks understand the significance of this?

@(posedge clk)
a = b;

about a year ago

MIT Researchers Can See Through Walls Using Wi-Fi

Ion Berkley Re:Not Wi-fi (75 comments)

You are correct in the sense that they are not using the upper layer protocols in Wifi, but incorrect in that the signal modulation they are using is that of modern Wifi (OFDM) as is there intended channel width (20MHz) and frequency band (2.4GHz ISM). So basically they are using a flexible R&D H/W solution (The USRP) to transmit and receive a WiFi like signal and demonstrate their innovation. Existing WiFi IC's would not be able to easily do this because they are not designed for new experimentation but just to implement the standard as cheaply as possible. The point being when you have proven, demonstrated and refined the concept using a prototyping platform, then you look for manufacturer(s) to incorporate the technology in production silicon...they are not close to that point yet but have just demonstrated an important milestone.

about a year and a half ago

NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Threshold Nationwide: 0.05 BAC

Ion Berkley Good start but... (996 comments)

...get serious about chasing drink driving regardless of the number.....US traffic stops with any probable cause for DUI need to get scientific, every gets to blow in the bag, non of this walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet backwards nonsense. And above all drink-driving needs to be properly stigmatized socially, I was stunned how many people drank and drive when I moved to the US from Europe, folks regularly drink many times the limit and drove when public transport/taxi is a viable alternative

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sell an Algorithm To Venture Capitalists?

Ion Berkley Different strategy (205 comments)

Here's my take. As others have stated VC's are in this for money, thus you show them the business case and that incudes explaining the barrier to entry - why another 2 bright guys, suitably funded couldn't easily reproduce your efforts. Now my real advice is this: VC's are not interested in small play's, they want to put a significant chunk of money in, and take a large multiple on that back. What that means is they are interested in large $$ opportunities that may take some time to come to fruition ...and that involves plenty things that can go wrong along the way leaving you with nothing to show for it. You are 2 guys, you already have something you think is very impressive to show, you don't really need lots of capital to continue development, it's really just your time. Go shop this to the incumbents in the applicable spaces looking for an immediate sale, Adobe/Apple in authoring S/W, google/vimeo on the backend, go-pro/contour/canon/nikon etc etc on the consumer H/W side. What you are looking for is enough money for the 2 of you to have a nice 7 figure bank balance..which means sell it, go work for the buyer for a while, take the money now whilst there is no obvious competition or the market changes and minimize the risk. Don't hold out to be a bizzilionaire, the chances not matter how good it is are vanishingly small.

about a year and a half ago

Electrical Engineer Unemployment Soars; Software Developers' Rate Drops to 2.2%

Ion Berkley I'm tired of H1B politics (419 comments)

As a 25 year chip/hardware engineer, the last 18 of which mostly as a hiring manager in Silicon valley at bleeding edge small and medium sized companies I can say categorically that it's never been easy to find engineers as I good as I wanted to find, and I don't recall it ever being worse than it is right now...I have people asking me left and right for IC and H/W people and I have non to recommend to them. My experience with H1B's is at odds with much I've read on here and elsewhere...and it leads be to the conclusion that there is abuse of the H1B system in roles such as the IT service industry, but in R&D taking the pick of the worlds best people is the life blood of US innovation, it always has been and it continues to be. I don't know what the IEEE's agenda is, but I can say absolutely that there are incredible opportunities available and apparently no-one who can legally work in the US who have have what it takes to hold them down.

about a year and a half ago

Group Kickstarting a High-Bandwidth Software Defined Radio (SDR) Peripheral

Ion Berkley Re:How does this compare with the Ettus USRP B100? (140 comments)

Simply put, we don't need this as a commercial product, it brings nothing new to the table whilst further diluting the very finite pool of customers for research grade SDR's, making it a less viable market for any company. Lowering pricing is not a reason alone to do something like this, healthy margins are necessary to make niche companies viable, let alone thrive. Thus GNURadio in this particular case is largely built on the back of the revenue from USRP's and an increasing number of folks are taking a free ride on the back of that without having contributed anything significant, new, or of worth themselves...I guess it's yet another new 21st century ethical dilema....at what point is it appropriate to build a "New product" using existing open source products as your stepping stones..this is not a legal question (of license violation), it's a moral question, how much new food do you bring to the pot luck to feel ok before dining on everyone else's contribution.

about 2 years ago

Nest Labs Calls Honeywell Lawsuit 'Worse Than Patent Troll'

Ion Berkley Re:How did they hide prior patents? (137 comments)

For example Honeywell may have filed new patents that failed to cite their own existing technology/patents.

I think when all is said and done, it's plainly not fair to describe Honeywell as a patent troll...there are a bit of a dinosaur, but they are the incumbent in this space and they did develop a lot of the basic thermostat technology...there time may well have come to become extinct...but they aren't parasite lawyers (though you can be sure BOTH sides pay them....)

more than 2 years ago

Army Reviews Controversial Drug After Afghan Massacre

Ion Berkley Nasty stuff (195 comments)

I can attest to this drugs potency, I've used it on two instances, and on one I suffered mightily the day and night after I took my weekly dose. Another of my friends was hospitalized after a psychotic episode on this drug. A girl I used to date used this drug for 2+ years during a posting to Sierra Leone in the military, apparently without any long term effect...but well beyond any duration it had been certified and tested for...however the flip side is that the initial brigade that was sent to Sierra Leone in a hurry were not on an anti-malarial and a large number came down with serious Malaria. Luckily there are much better alternatives in 2012, and I think it's somewhat weak to see this in the press...if it's being doled out to troops in this environment still then that is wrong and someone should get on it now, but this tabloid journalism and new culture of Mil/Gov leaks to the worthless press is ridiculous. Solve the friggin' problem, don't play some political game of buck passing in the headlines

more than 2 years ago

Hoover Dams For Lilliput: Does Small Hydroelectric Power Have a Future?

Ion Berkley Re:Small Scale Hydro makes sense (302 comments)

In recent history small scale hydro schemes have actually been seen to be more environmentally damaging than traditional large ones, largely because the can escape some of the environmental oversights in various jurestrictions. British Columbia is one of the worst offenders, where 49MW is a key project power output threshold below which it;s much easier to build a scheme. A very informative little film by my friend Bryan, now a Nat Geo camera man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPtddgUqr4o

Here's another great link to an NPS site dedicated to the ground breaking remval of 2 obsolete dams on the Elwha River in WA.

Hydro has it's place, but its not panacea.

more than 2 years ago

Is Onlive Pirating Windows and Will It Cost Them?

Ion Berkley Re:Service Provider License Agreement (225 comments)

$13.75/mo is chump change...let me tell you how much 250 engineers sat in down town Palo Alto costs per month...SGP is many things, but a fool is not one of them. ~$100M in and a $1.2B paper valuation means your lawyers spend a lot of time thinking thinks out before you act.

more than 2 years ago

Linux 3.1 Released With Support for the OpenRISC CPU

Ion Berkley Re:OpenRISC on FPGA? (165 comments)

There have been FPGA's big enough to implement OpenRisc on now for at least 13-14 years. I designed an OpenRISC based system that included additional logic many times the size of the OpenRISC on an FPGA in 2002 and designed and manufactured an ASIC with most of the same logic in 2003. These repeated "Someone just built the first opensource chip/system/board/hardware etc" threads on Slashdot make me laugh. Does anyone do any research anymore?

more than 3 years ago

Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar

Ion Berkley Credit where credit due. (77 comments)

OK, Kurtis beat me to it, but I'm glad he got the chance personally to acknowledge how much of what this project is based on is due to the efforts of Dave and Harvind, but also the vision of Matt Ettus who's built a company on the much more obscure proposition of open source hardware and enabled countless cool projects like and including this one.

more than 3 years ago

Apple To Buy ARM?

Ion Berkley Re:Buying ARM for a leg? (695 comments)

Its a quite accurate statement to say Apple is a founder. ARM originally stood for "Acorn RISC machine" and was developed internally at Acorn. When ARM was incorporated as an independent entity it was done so with Acorn and Apple as 40% owners and VLSI technology (at that time the sole manufacturer) as a 20% owner. At that time the name was changes to "Advanced RISC Machines". Apple had more than Newton in the big picture at that time including laser printers. The ARM610 was indeed developed specifically for the Newton, with a special MMU by ARM as one of its earliest projects. ARM cpu's (in many case multiple ones) are in every cellular handset I'm aware of in the last decade not just smartphones. ARM cpu's are being used by most of the next wave of startup companies in low power server design..look at Smoothstone for an example. And of course they are making serious inroads in Netbook design, both NVIDIA's Tegra and Qualcomm's Snapdragon are giving Intel plenty sleepless nights right now. The last ARM design I did put an ARM7n in every electricity meter...in other words our entire tech world is already built around this architecture.

The royalties on the older designs are tiny and not going to be affected by an acquisition, don't expect any significant cost changes to be noticeable at retail even if it were possible to renegotiate the royalty schedules. After some stagnation in the last decade where ARM struggled to break out of the the low cost embedded space the company is suddenly looking strong again and it could be quite possible that Apple wants to go this way as an insurance policy, because they fear other big stalkers might acquire a company they are increasingly strategically reliant on.

more than 4 years ago

Sun Plans Security Coprocessor For New Ultrasparc

Ion Berkley Re:Unanswered Questions (59 comments)

Why is this even on Slashdot? Its so un-news worthy, as pointed out by the previous commenter, this is the rule, not the exception these days. I had a paper at HotChips 10 years ago that presented an onchip crypto accelerator when it was actually a fresh idea. A more interesting discussion is perhaps whether payload encryption for applications such as VoIP belongs as an instruction set enhancement or as a stand alone co-proc. Many current chips that implement crypto co-proc's fail to utilize the true potential of the H/W offload due to setup cost and latency for such small packets. Another potential solution is to move it close to the network interface the same way that checksum offload has migrated with 1G and 10G NIC's

more than 5 years ago


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