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Comments

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After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers

MBCook Re:Not buying it (457 comments)

No one is being killed by the 5v on the USB bus. The problem is the counterfeit chargers are often poorly designed and can fail in a way that shorts the USB cable to the AC power.

There was an excellent teardown & analysis of a cheap charger last year that pointed out serious safety issues.

1 year,4 days
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DRM: How Book Publishers Failed To Learn From the Music Industry

MBCook Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (212 comments)

Recently they added the ability to also buy the audiobook version and the app *syncs your place* so you can switch between the two formats. That's a pretty amazing idea.

But the app doesn't help the author. He said he had a Nook. Thanks to the recent firmware update people with a Nook Color or Nook HD can get then app, but if you have the eInk based "normal" Nook, you're just out of luck.

As DRM goes, Amazon has done an excellent job of reducing annoyance. They don't try that "you can only read this book on 2 devices, ever." stuff that we've seen elsewhere. But I get the feeling the only reason Amazon's DRM is so unobtrusive is they were so overwhelmingly powerful they could force publishers into a relatively consumer friendly system. We're lucky Amazon cares more about selling books than trying to wring money out of Kindle hardware sales, or the DRM would have been a lot worse.

about a year ago
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A Computer-based Smart Rifle With Incredible Accuracy, Now On Sale

MBCook Re:Wind (551 comments)

The video says that the wind is manually entered by the operator. I find it odd that it shows the temperature and barometric pressure. Is that really useful information when you're lining up a shot?

After watching their little YouTube clip, I wonder how useful this is. Placing the aiming dot seems really similar to aiming in the first place, I guess the only difference is you don't have to compensate for gravity/etc. I found it conspicuous that they didn't show their simulated target moving in the video. Can this only help with a stationary target? It seems like it would screw up your aiming if half the time you had to do it manually (compensating for everything) and half the time the system handled it.

about a year ago
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Most IT Admins Have Considered Quitting Due To Stress

MBCook I'm not surprised (397 comments)

I'm not surprised. It can be bad enough when they actually know what they're doing, if they have no clue it can be terrible.

There is an amazing story on Reddit (in 23 short parts!) of an IT manager from hell destroying a workplace. It's frustrating just to read.

about a year ago
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Fantastic js1k Submissions

MBCook Re:Hmm... (70 comments)

1451 is really pretty cool. It runs like a dog in Safari (0.5 FPS if lucky), but ran great for me in Chrome (probably closer to 20). It's very impressive.

I agree about the minecart. They did a fantastic job with that one as well.

about a year ago
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SpaceX: Lessons Learned Developing Software For Space Vehicles

MBCook Re:Why mention Linux? (160 comments)

The article is from Linux Weekly News (great resource, long time subscriber). It shouldn't be surprising that they would take a Linux bent on the story.

about a year ago
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Intel's Pentium Chip Turns 20 Today

MBCook Re:But actually... (197 comments)

Um... no. The pentiums were a major leap because that was when they moved to superscalar execution. They were great processors.

I assume you're referring to the name "Pentium" instead of calling it the 586, which was done because Intel lost a lawsuit and courts ruled they couldn't copyright numbers.

about a year ago
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Intel's Pentium Chip Turns 20 Today

MBCook Re:Ahh, Pentium. (197 comments)

Celeron. I'd forgotten that was how those started. They were just P2s without any external cache (and thus without any actual performance).

about a year ago
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Intel's Pentium Chip Turns 20 Today

MBCook Re:Ahh, Pentium. (197 comments)

You're right that there were slot based PIIIs using the Katamai core, I owned one. When I wanted to buy a second processor years later I had a terrible time finding a non-coppermine version that I could use in my dual slot motherboard. I don't know if the L2 cache was still off-die at that point or not. I think digitalsolo is right that they didn't go on-die until they went to socket 370. That was one of the best computers I ever owned.

about a year ago
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Intel's Pentium Chip Turns 20 Today

MBCook Re:Ahh, Pentium. (197 comments)

No, Slot 1 was to allow them to put the cache on the same board as the processor so they could speed it up. It quickly became unnecessary as later Pentium IIs and all(?) Pentium IIIs put the cache on die, making the slot unnecessary and expensive.

about a year ago
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Nvidia Walked Away From PS4 Hardware Negotiations

MBCook Re:Wonder what they told MS (255 comments)

Can you? One of the reasons the original XBox was pulled off the market as soon as the 360 came out (and no slim was ever made) was because nVidia reportedly refused to do a die shrink or combine dies, etc. So MS was left with a big, hot, expensive chip while Sony was able to shrink theirs and lower their costs dramatically.

MS might still hold a grudge on that one.

about a year ago
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Ubuntu Touch Beats Firefox OS For 'Best of MWC' From CNET

MBCook Re:Fragmentation (152 comments)

It's why in 2007, every feature phone could get games, but there were only a handful. They were mostly copies of old arcade games and often cost $3/mo or so. No one developed more ambitious things because of the porting effort and size of the individual markets. A few bigger games would be made (I remember there was a God of War cell phone game), but it would only be on one carrier and maybe 2-3 phones.

We already have 3 platforms (4 if BBOS can survive), plus there are a few other little ones. We have choice and competition.

We don't need 8 or 15 options.

about a year ago
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'This Is Your Second and Final Notice' Robocallers Revealed

MBCook Re:Effectiveness of "Do Not Call"? (235 comments)

The Do Not Call list works very well for what it was intended to do. It stops legal calls from businesses you have no association with. Do you remember the "would you like to change long distance providers" calls? What if Dish Network could call you every week to ask you if you wanted to switch off cable?

The problem is that the DNC list does *nothing* to stop the following groups:

  • Political organizations - law doesn't apply
  • Charity solicitation - law doesn't apply
  • Surveys - law doesn't apply
  • Scams - they're already breaking the law

Congress chose to allow the first 3 for their own benefit, and no law can stop the fourth, only really tough enforcement and holding phone companies accountable.

about a year and a half ago
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New Process Takes Energy From Coal Without Burning It

MBCook Re:You keep using that word... (365 comments)

This is a university press release. They probably talked to him and and asked him questions until he put it that way, because "if we say chemically oxidized no one will know what we're talking about". I bet he doesn't use that word in the paper.

about a year and a half ago
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New Process Takes Energy From Coal Without Burning It

MBCook Re:Scaling is the Key! (365 comments)

Coal is 84% carbon, 10% oxygen, 4% hydrogen, and 2% nitrogen (or so). Short of nuclear fission or fusion, you're going to get carbon and oxygen out of it no matter what you do.

The question is how much energy you get out. If this process were twice as efficient (in terms of CO2 per MW) then it would still be a worthwhile improvement wouldn't it?

about a year and a half ago
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Wireless Carriers Put On Notice About Providing Regular Android Security Updates

MBCook Re:Keep it Android! (171 comments)

If they don't tinker with the OS, how are they supposed to add value?

Why, with what you're suggesting, they would just be commodity dumb pipes. When has a phone company ever admitted that?

about a year and a half ago
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Wireless Carriers Put On Notice About Providing Regular Android Security Updates

MBCook Re:Not a problem for iOS. (171 comments)

You're not forced to take the update, but at least it's available to you if you want it.

Depending on the specific manufacturer/phone, an Android device may get a few updates, possibly very late, or none at all.

about a year and a half ago
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Microsoft Wants Computer Science Taught In UK Primary Schools

MBCook Are they teaching real CS? (168 comments)

Sounds find to me, as long they teach real CS, and don't just teach Word and Excel and Powerpoint. It constantly frustrated me that my little sister's computer classes where never anything more than "Make a presentation in Powerpoint". Microsoft should work to put an end to that being the end-all of computer education. That should only be a small part.

about a year ago
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Will "Group Hug" Commoditize the Hardware Market?

MBCook Re:This would be awesome.. (72 comments)

It's basically a return to the backplane days of the 8080/8086, except that memory has to stay on the CPU card for speed reasons.

about a year and a half ago
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A Humanoid Robot Named "Baxter" Could Revive US Manufacturing

MBCook Re:Unclear on the Concept. (414 comments)

People are mad because (say) 500,000 manufacturing jobs were replaced with workers overseas. If 1,000 jobs are created here to manage those robots, that still leaves 499,000 people mad because their job doesn't exist any more.

And the truth is that there is a large difference between people making portable DVD players and people running the robots to make the portable DVD players. It's quite possible that very few of those 1,000 "saved" jobs would even be people in that original pool.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Apple's Reality Distortion Field Relocates to Wall Street

MBCook MBCook writes  |  about a year ago

MBCook writes "Apple is the most profitable company, can’t make enough products to meet demand and is the most admired by its peers. Yet Wall Street and media fanatics are claiming Apple is doomed. The reality distortion field is in full effect. Apple has a lower P/E ratio than Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and now Dell, to name a few. I find this baffling and I would challenge any analyst to articulate to me how Apple is not healthier and stronger, competitively, in the long-term than many of those companies."
Link to Original Source
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Google delays Nexus Q launch, pre-orders get it free

MBCook MBCook writes  |  about 2 years ago

MBCook writes "After a mixed reaction from the press, Google will be delaying the launch of the Nexus Q. People who pre-ordred will receive the current version of the device for free."
Link to Original Source
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Android Phone or Condom Line?

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 2 years ago

MBCook writes "Naming a product is difficult. Branding legend Marty Neumeier says that good product names have 7 characteristics. They should be distinctive, short, appropriate, easy to spell and pronounce, likable, extendable, and protectable. Looking through this list of Android names, it’s clear that many marketing teams disagree with Marty."
Link to Original Source
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Word Lens: Live AR Language Translation

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 3 years ago

MBCook writes "A company called Quest Visual has just released Word Lens, a real time augmented reality language translator for the iPhone. It's capable of translating English to and from Spanish. The app it's self is free (the languages are downloads) so you can play with it in demo mode, where it recognizes and reverses words. I've been playing with it for 10 minutes and it works amazingly well."
Link to Original Source
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Introducing JITB: A Flash player built on the JVM

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 3 years ago

MBCook writes "Joa Ebert has started working on a new program called JITB. Announced in a talk at FITC San Fran, it's a Flash player written to use the Java JVM to run ActionScript, and in simple graphics test case (making 1 million flash.geom.Point) was 30x faster than Adobe's Flash player. There is an impressive demo video on YouTube showing the point test."
Link to Original Source
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Is This Really The Future of Magazines?

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "Interfacelab has put up a review of Wired's new iPad app, and declared "The only real differentiation between the Wired application and a [1990's] multimedia CD-ROM is the delivery mechanism[.]" While providing little interactivity other than a fancy page-flip, the application is made of XML and images, including two for the text of each page in portrait and landscape mode. This seems to be why the application is 500MB. The article suggests this was done to get the app out quick after Flash was officially vetoed by Steve Jobs."
Link to Original Source
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Apple Tech Note Details H.264 Decoding Framework

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "On March 29th, Apple added Technical Note 2267: Video Decode Acceleration Framework Reference. The note describes

...a C programming interface providing low-level access to the H.264 decoding capabilities of compatible GPUs [...] intended for use by advanced developers who specifically need hardware accelerated decode of video frames.

, an issue Adobe has been citing as one of the main reasons for the slow performance of Flash video on OS X."
Link to Original Source

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The sorry state of Avira anti-virus heuristics

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "How do heuristics detect viruses and malware on your computer? Would you believe it's as simple as a couple of string fragments? The developer of the DotSpots chrome extension, Matt Mastracci, went digging to find out why Avira kept flagging his software and discovered it was a few simple strings that many pieces of JavaScript could easily contain. The GoogleWebToolkit does contain those bits, but it isn't flagged. Why? Because it contains the word "google"."
Link to Original Source
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Hey Microsoft, Don't F*ck Up Windows Phone 7, OK?

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "Dear Microsoft, you did a good job at out-Appling Apple with the Windows Phone 7. At least on paper. But instead of trying to beat them completely, it seems that you want to screw it all with two stupid decisions."
Link to Original Source
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The Bloom Box: The Working Low Cost Fuel Cell

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "Last night, 60 Minutes aired a 13 minute piece on Bloom Energy and their Bloom Box, a new kind of fuel cell. Able to run on natural gas, biogas, or hydrogen, the devices have been in production testing for months at Google, eBay, FedEx, and Wal-Mart. The version to power an American house is smaller than a bread box, and a unit large enough to power a Starbucks costs about $800k."
Link to Original Source
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How the PS3 hypervisor was hacked

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "Nate Lawson has posted an article explaining exactly how the recent PS3 hack bypasses the hypervisor to gain unrestricted access to memory. It seems the trick is to use a pulse to glitch the hypervisor while it's unmapping memory, leaving a favorable page table entry."
Link to Original Source
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Cut This Story!

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "One reason seekers of news are abandoning print newspapers for the Internet has nothing directly to do with technology. It’s that newspaper articles are too long. On the Internet, news articles get to the point. Newspaper writing, by contrast, is encrusted with conventions that don’t add to your understanding of the news. Newspaper writers are not to blame. These conventions are traditional, even mandatory."
Link to Original Source
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iPhone: 46% of Japanese Smartphone Market

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "Despite claims earlier in the year that the iPhone was hated by Japan (later disproven), the iPhone has been doing well in the land of the rising sun and the evidence is in. Apple has taken 46% of the Japanese smartphone market, cutting the 27% market share of the previous lead, Advance Sharp W-Zero3 (Japanese site), in half. The article includes a large chart of the market share of Japanese smartphones over the last 3 years."
Link to Original Source
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Revenge of the Computer Nerds: Global Warming Code

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "It is fascinating to watch the mainstream media in America duck (and/or make excuses for) the greatest scam in modern history: the "science" behind man-made global warming. Even more entertaining, and far more enlightening, is to follow the analyses by the experts in computer programming of the recently disclosed methods used by the Climate Research Unit (CRU) from the University of East Anglia. [...] The bottom line is that if this kind of code were to be used by, say, an insurance actuary — or by someone writing banking software or for tracking the stock market — the programmer would immediately be fired...and probably face criminal prosecution."
Link to Original Source
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ABC Edits "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for Ads

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "ABC's recent airing of the classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was missing a few scenes. What was put in their place? More commercials of course. I'm can't wait for the version of "A Christmas Carol" without that whole Scrooge subplot."
Link to Original Source
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The Voynich Manuscript Decoded?

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "The Voynich Manuscript has confounded attempts to decode it for nearly 100 years. A person named Edith Sherwood, who has previously suggested a possible link to DaVinci, has a new idea: perhaps the text is simply anagrams of Italian words. There are three pages of examples from the herb section of the book, showing the original text, the plaintext Italian words, and the English equivalents. Has someone cracked the code?"
Link to Original Source
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The Real Reason the Droid's Camera Fixed Itself

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "When the Droid was shipped, it was plagued with a lousy autofocus bug. But then, it magically seemed to fix itself. Did Verizon secretly update all the phones from afar? Nope. The explanation is much weirder than that. The autofocus routine uses a timestamp and contained a rounding error with a 24.5 day cycle."
Link to Original Source
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Why Apple Leaves Low-End to the Competition

MBCook MBCook writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MBCook writes "Apple's approach causes it to neglect huge swaths of the market. For example, the company serenely ignored analysts' advice that it "had to" break into the hot netbook market. It has avoided the fast-growing segment of low-cost, lightweight consumer notebooks. Entering those markets could boost Apple's share even further. But the move would take a toll on profit margins and fight the company's commitment to choose what types of products it believes best serve its customers' needs. CEO Steve Jobs has dismissed the low end of the market, saying: "We don't know how to build a sub-$500 computer that is not a piece of junk." Apple has clung to its retrograde philosophy, fighting a tide in which manufacturers target products at minutely sliced-and-diced subsectors of the market. But the philosophy still works, and, happily, Apple is unlikely to outgrow it."
Link to Original Source

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