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BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

LoneTech As a Q10 owner... (139 comments)

The square screen layout is not news (but it is problematic, with several websites breaking themselves out of spite or incompetence). The larger size got us a keyboard that looks simply too wide, not adding any of the keys we were missing; you could get used to that, but it has nothing to do with the primary problems. Blackberry used to sell on corporate support, working keyboards, and an integrated pointing device. As of the BB10 versions, it feels rather half-developed - that vaunted keyboard has markings that are not supported by the software, the pointing device is missing (the touchscreen basically mocks us by adding another layer with the popup ring), and the build quality is not the best (I have keys losing their clickyness, and I had to return one phone because the same issue made keys unusable). How on earth they decided on a keyboard device to make it impossible to answer a call with a button - and on top of that, make the end call function *move* on the screen - I'll never understand. It's quite possible this new model improves on things with the touch detection in the keyboard, but as it is I'd rather switch to Nokia E72 than take another chance with BB. While chasing fashion all manufacturers, even Jolla, seem to have agreed to not produce another practical PDA.

about two weeks ago
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Curved TVs Nothing But a Gimmick

LoneTech Re:No Way! (261 comments)

I have a simple explanation for a large chunk of its popularity - cinemas take a higher price for them, and therefore only show top tier movies in 2D if forced to. I went to the cinema yesterday to see Maleficent, and had to select 3D; there was no alternative. There was a choice in what 3D glasses to get; expensive single-use ones, ridiculously expensive ones that don't fit over glasses (still cheapo plastic film ones, mind you), or suffer the consequences of double picture at double brightness. The film itself made aggressive use of stereoscopic depth coupled with depth of field blur, which is a sensory conflict that continuously bugs me, and included misrendered video where the two pictures did not match, which bugs everyone. This is why 3D gets so many complaints; it's generally badly done and forced on people (try Hugo for a better film, including better stereoscopy). Meanwhile people who like the effect, which I do, aren't getting choices either; get a Fujifilm W3 (2010), because there's nothing else. Want more than 640x720 at 24fps? Tough - oh, and note that they sacrifice horisontal resolution for horisontal parallax, reducing the benefit as well as the quality, even worse if viewed on an interlaced panel like the LG polarized TVs which cut vertical resolution in half. Curved TV screens on the other hand really is a gimmick.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

LoneTech Re:Solution (552 comments)

Thanks for posting this! Personally I'd probably try to combine the NeuroSky or Emotiv with Dasher; you'd only need one or two fairly repeatable patterns, and would gain freedom to choose what to say. In fact it seems to have been done before with Emotiv hardware.

about 2 months ago
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Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

LoneTech Re:No (355 comments)

Sadly reality is even more confusing. Lots of Macs support multiple displays only via Thunderbolt, even though DisplayPort has multi-stream natively. Some got MST support in a firmware update. The Thunderbolt display daisy-chaining is not MST compatible.

about 2 months ago
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Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

LoneTech Re:Security? (355 comments)

DMA does not necessarily imply unrestricted access. PCs with IEEE 1394 (also known as Firewire) frequently do have this issue, because they can busmaster at will, and those PCs did not have any memory protection from busmasters. More modern systems frequently do, in the form of advanced IOMMUs; serious workstations did even when 1394 was introduced. This feature is present mostly on AMD chipsets (Intel have restricted it to some server-oriented ones). USB before version 3 did not have this issue because devices could not be true bus masters; the CPU would have to set up all transfers, including what memory they access. Similarly DMA on the ISA bus actually did not let the unit doing DMA transfers select the memory address, the DMA controller did. I have not yet read the host controller specifications for USB 3, so I'm not sure if the controller itself must offer this protection - even if it doesn't, the bus mastering would surely have to be enabled by the OS.

about 2 months ago
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AMD's Kaveri APU Debuts With GCN-based Radeon Graphics

LoneTech Re:Capable of Playing - worthless statement (123 comments)

I tried to find some hard data on either statement. It looks like the model number in TFS is a typo, and the test I found that showed results with BF4 neglected to explain what the medium settings are. It does, however, show us an average of 28fps, which would support your definitely not 30fps by a hairsbreadth. Now if only there were some technology to make that difference from 20fps count...

about 6 months ago
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Multi-Display Gaming Artifacts Shown With AMD, 4K Affected Too

LoneTech Re:Seems like a bullshit article. (148 comments)

I find the interesting thing is that last time I used fglrx drivers - which was quite a few years ago, maybe before AMD bought them - they exhibited this very behaviour on Xvideo. I'm rather curious what makes them decide that a simple buffer swap for the entire screen should be done by drawing it in little triangles (presumably a variant of tiled rendering, but it's a full buffer swap!) in an unsynchronised random order (well, roughly from the right to left - but why not display order, top to bottom?). Even when they did get vsync activated, it synced not to the vertical blank but about 1/9th into the screen - so you got a *guaranteed* horisontal tear in the same place instead of random jagged ones. That was all with just one monitor - when I ran two, some versions would synchronize to the wrong monitor. Meanwhile, the very new open source radeon driver support used a rock steady video overlay.

ATI proudly proclaimed their two-step release cycle back then. What we saw in reality was drivers getting released with alternating sets of bugs. Of course, support for something as plain as video playback wasn't a priority, so maybe there were improvements I didn't notice as much.

What fascinates me is not so much that they get issues when running on multiple monitors, but that the same weird artifacts keep popping up. It's not like modern graphics cards don't have the memory to use readout driven frame buffer base address swaps.

In all, I'd say the artifacts are not news worthy, but their longevity and recurrence are cause for shame.

about 10 months ago
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Dotless Domain Names Prohibited, ICANN Tells Google

LoneTech How about just using the dot? (132 comments)

Dotless names are used for local hosts (and frequently other shortcuts, like ssh aliases). Many systems use the dot to decide whether to do a global DNS lookup; if there aren't enough dots in there, the local domain gets appended. It's a lot like pathnames with the slash separator, where slash in front makes it an absolute path. What most people don't realise is that there are absolute DNS names too, which end with a period. If someone were to register the "search" top level domain, the URL would look like "http://search." Including the period. On /. of all places, this ought to be known.

about a year ago
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First Looks At Windows 8.1, Complete With 'Start' Button

LoneTech Re:easy enough to do (800 comments)

DOS did have limited multi-tasking. The cursor blinking is performed by hardware (so doesn't even indicate DOS is running), and DOS has had background print spooling from disk since version 2, not that anybody I know ever used it. We did use a bunch of other TSRs (a TLA for programs that keep working after returning to the prompt, they were that common), such as DOSKEY or QDISK. True multitasking was achieved with other addons, such as DESQview or VMIX, and even DOS itself provided task switching via DOS Shell (after version 4).
The indication of being back at the prompt did work in combination with the fact that it wouldn't do any work unless and until instructed (in other words, it's in a stable state). You would know not to interrupt a print job simply because you just started it.

about a year ago
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Jolla Announces First Meego Phone Available By End 2013

LoneTech Re:sweet (152 comments)

You must be playing a different Project Butter than I've seen. It would be a bit better if they got rid of the frequent hangups, often followed by an in-your-face message that the *app* is hung - which only appears after it starts responding again, proving that the UI was as hung as the app. It's not only slow, it's wrong and counterproductive.

about a year ago
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Firefox 21 Arrives

LoneTech Re:Developer Changelog (246 comments)

My favourite part of that changelog is "Firefox 21 hasn't reached its feature freeze yet."

about a year ago
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DHS Shuts Down Dwolla Payments To and From Mt. Gox

LoneTech Re:It's started... (302 comments)

Actually, the shininess of gold is a direct consequence of its electrical and chemical properties. It's metallic, which causes the shine via electromagnetic reflection, and it stays shiny because it doesn't corrode easily. Similarly diamonds (and rubies, and sapphires) have particular value for their mechanical and optical properties; the very same that made them pretty and resilient. In conclusion, any other material with those properties will also be pretty, so your assertion is incorrect. Other properties did contribute to the use in trade and decoration, such as weight and malleability.

about a year ago
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Implant Translates Written Words To Braille, Right On the Retina

LoneTech Re:The blind know braille but maybe not latin lett (75 comments)

Sorry. I naïvely expected Slashdot to do something right, and not mangle my text input beyond all recognition. Slashdot filters out Braille letters even if entered in HTML entity form, so what I tried to enter does not seem possible.

about a year and a half ago
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PSP Emulator For Android Released

LoneTech Re:Author here (89 comments)

Looks like a decent start to me. I'm going to want better controls, obviously, as the SDL build seemed to think the world is a crappy touchscreen. I tried Disgaea (backup of my own disc), but it got stuck at the loading screen; not really sure what it was waiting for. I did rather expect the unimplemented functions it warned of, Atrac+ doesn't seem that popular - but it's used extensively by this game, which was what I bought the PSP for in the first place.
When building, the inline assembly for CPUID didn't want to work (replaced it with cpuid device support), and I had to add a -march=core2 flag to enable SSE2.

about a year and a half ago
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Windows 8 Defeats 85% of Malware Detected In the Past 6 Months

LoneTech Re:MS trying to implement *nix security model (299 comments)

Sorry, your description is just historically wrong. What you call DOS isn't at all based on removing the features of Unix; it grew from QDOS, which was a Quick and Dirty imitation of CP/M. It eventually acquired a few Unix type features like directories, I/O redirection and device names. Also, at the time, Unix (far from the first multiuser OS, but quite popular due to its portability) was not particularly concerned with networking; things like UUCP (Unix to Unix CoPy) and Fidonet handled such tasks before the Internet (begun as ARPAnet) spread. The growing security model in Windows comes from an entirely different model of threats; MS indeed feel that the user is the threat, since a large number of them do not know what the computer does. Their solution is MS taking more control over systems that aren't theirs, since they feel even more threatened by users who do know (or want to learn) what they're doing.

about a year and a half ago
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Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site

LoneTech Re:shame (268 comments)

They used to. It started to get a bit less reliable somewhere around the 3000 series. At this point they're yet another PC manufacturer short on ideas with a legal department that considers customer hostility a good thing. It seems a common problem when a company grows enough to hire administrative people who aren't involved with the products.

about a year and a half ago
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Adapteva Parallella computer even more open as funding campaign nears its end

LoneTech RTL included (2 comments)

They've confirmed that board design files, FPGA logic, and documentation will be public. We just need to get the project started!

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Adapteva Parallella computer even more open as funding campaign nears its end

LoneTech LoneTech writes  |  about a year and a half ago

LoneTech (117911) writes "The Parallella massively multicore computer has been previously mentioned on slashdot, but as the kickstarter campaign nears its end more details have come to light. In particular, the glue logic and CPU are provided by a Zynq FPGA (a reprogrammable logic chip) with gratis development tools — already used in the prototype, but that board costs three or four times as much without the multiprocessor attachment. For the main feature, the Epiphany multiprocessor, much documentation is already public and the development tools are free software (yes, as in libre). Another distinguishing feature is its footprint — not much larger than a credit card, the entire board draws only 5W."
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