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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Oh forgot one (637 comments)

An object? It's a struct with a pointer to a struct with function pointers. And some fancy compiler macros that makes the syntax shorter. ;)

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Three Divisions of Computer Science (637 comments)

Again, about 90% of what I do on a daily basis could be considered "code monkey" level. It's when a customer has a REALLY difficult math problem that my formal education comes into play, and for giving people confidence in me.

For your direct question, I'd study the book Computer Architecture, Fifth Edition: A Quantitative Approach (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design)

That's what I used, and it helped me understand a ton of memory management. Then again, my undergrad curriculum was based on C....

Best tech book ever! (Well, I have the 3rd edition or something older.)
For anybody who really wants to understand the stuff, go look up all the classwork for CS61c at UC Berkeley.
It's the undergrad course that uses this book. Heck, Patterson even taught it from time to time.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

If your only suggestion is randomly calling System.gc() or randomly assigning null to variables, I'd drop everything right now and revoke your commit privileges.

Matheus is pretty much right. Another way to describe it is that GC doesn't absolve you of needing to know and codify your object lifecycles.

When you create an object or assign it to an instance variable, you have taken partial ownership of it.
Therefore, every time you do this, you must figure out where in your object lifecycle you give up (assign null) your partial ownership of that object.
Easiest way to do encourage this is for all classes which hold onto objects, you create your constructor and you create an invalidate() function where you let go of all these objects (usually by calling invalidate() against objects, and assigning null or clear() on containers/collections).
Finally, you need to be able to document when exactly this object is intended to be instantiated and when it is expected to be freed.

If you can't figure out when you should own or disown other objects, either:
* you should be reading through the class to figure it out
* you should redesign the object because it's poorly written
* you should redesign the architecture because it's poorly written
* you should write down a ton of comments and suspicions
* you should ask for help
* or you should do more than one of these options.

about three weeks ago

Is the App Store Broken?

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:App Store bugs = Apple's lack of interest & (258 comments)

Maybe I'll get flamed by somebody for thinking this, but the idea of rotating the top 10's by average session length, un-install rate, and other similar metrics would at the same time be literally asking for Apple to gather usage data about individual users.

Personally, I don't see that happening. I can't say I'm fond of the idea of invading my privacy by monitoring what I do remotely and spending my battery life simply to augment a store. I'm not even sure which one I find harder to give up: battery life or privacy.
Given Apple's stance on privacy, I can't see them taking the time to implement such a monitoring system, even if it's reasonably anonymous.

For Google, on the other hand, this is right up their alley. Power management sucks as it is on Android, so it wouldn't be hard to sneak that by anyways.

about a month ago

Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:A tale of two phones. (349 comments)

The Fascinate you picked is a special case since it's basically the same thing as a Nexus S, which has a whole 'nother community behind it simply because it was a Nexus device. And it's got bog-standard ARM hardware, which is the reason it's just slow as all hell. You can't expect this kind of support for most device ever.

I don't know why your vivow isn't supported anymore, but I'd have to guess it has to do with one of the selling points: Qualcomm's ARM CPUs are custom. That Snapdragon S2 was pretty awesome, yeah? Makes them faster but harder to support as they get older.
You knew this going in. And you know it'll bite you again eventually if you buy a Samsung with a Qualcomm CPU. In the meantime, hey, Snapdragon S4s are supported for now.

Come to think of it, the link I posted above mentions that even Samsung fucks up support for their Exynos SoCs without building their own CPU cores.

about 2 months ago

How a MacBook Camera Can Spy Without Lighting Up

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:It's pretty simple (371 comments)

If I recall, I think the Cypress FX2LP that was mentioned (or something similar) was designed in such a way that firmware upload over USB wasn't something easily disabled.

So, perhaps a bad choice of MCU.

about 8 months ago

Google Halts Sales of HP's USB-Charging Chromebook 11 Over Overheating

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Ahaha, not really. (57 comments)

Holy shit.

8 amps through the microUSB port is just stupid. I'm guessing the power supply circuit isn't overheating, it's the microUSB connectors that are overheating.

Telling people it's okay to use any charger but the one it comes with only works because the Chromebook won't try to suck 8 amps over a connector typically rated for 1.8 amps.

No fucking wonder why Apple launched Lightning instead.

about 9 months ago

Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:How do you compare for phones? (558 comments)

The original iPhone and iPhone 3G can run both iOS 3 and Android 2....

Of course, this doesn't help much given that there's been a lot of changes for power management since then. At least on the iOS side.

about 10 months ago

Android Co-Founder: Fragmentation "an Overblown Issue"

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Most don't notice the difference (289 comments)

Phht, it obvious you've never experienced the sadness that is the Nexus 4 in Northern California.

1) When my apps fail to connect to the internet, I can't tell if it's the latest OS is bad, or it's the hardware, or if it's T-mobile. Or if it's all of them.
2) Charging via microUSB and inductive will fail from time to time. There appears to be multiple problems. One of which is the phone draining more power than some 3rd party inductive chargers can provide, causing the battery icon and charging dialog to flash on and off rapidly (and not charge). Another friend who uses the official Nexus 4 inductive charger found and filed a bug where after you use it, power management breaks itself and the OS refuses to return to low power states until you reboot.
3) Other mystery bugs in Android: notifications for some apps never show up in the drop down. Stock messaging app sometimes never notifies you of new SMS messages. MMS sometimes refuse to download. This sort of outage continues for days, and all of a sudden fixes itself only to rebreak later. (it's not T-mobile's fault as opening the app will reveal the un-notified message)

Given my experiences, a Nexus 4 is most definitely a crappier phone than an iPhone 4.

about a year ago

iFixit Giving Away 1,776 "iPhone Liberation Kits"

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Problems with statutory rights (260 comments)

In all seriousness, the most important thing out of these "liberation kits" appears to be the screwdriver, not the screws.
There is no warranty problem if there wasn't any unnecessary change to the phone.
Keeping the phone as-is simply seems the most reasonable thing to do.

about a year ago

iFixit Giving Away 1,776 "iPhone Liberation Kits"

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Problems with statutory rights (260 comments)

And these screws are tiny, and what are the bets they are gone when you need them?

Want another quick and witty comeback? You keep them in the same box where you keep the warranty card. Because, you know, you have to keep *that* one anyway.

Lemme try this witty comeback thing! It looks fun!

That warranty card happens to be phone itself because it's got the serial number they can look up to see if there's a warranty left. So when we store the pentalobe screws in the phone, we're all good! Look, there's even two little holes at the bottom of the phone to keep them in! How thoughtful! Oh wait....

about a year ago

iFixit Giving Away 1,776 "iPhone Liberation Kits"

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:why replace once you have the screwdriver? (260 comments)

I thought Apple created and patented their own non-standard pentalobe screws and only sells the screwdrivers to Apple techs. It was specifically designed to not work with the screwdrivers available for camera repair or at Ace Hardware.

Uh... did you realize that page doesn't have the word "patent" anywhere?

about a year ago

Apple's Lightning-to-HDMI Dongle Secretly Packed With ARM, Airplay

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Disappointing for a new connector (392 comments)

Samsung's modified micro USB connector does 1080p.... at 30fps.
In fact, almost every Android device with MHL I've looked at is limited to 1080p30..... or 1080p24.... or 720p60.

This adapter does 1080p at 60fps if the device attached to it can provide the stream. (ipad mini can't, iphone 5 can)

about a year and a half ago

Linux Nukes 386 Support

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:What was the last version which actually did? (464 comments)

My nick is because I played Half Life on a Pentium 133 over a 28.8k modem and I wanted people to know that if managed to kill them through my slideshow of a computer, they truly sucked.

I probably got maybe 5 kills per deathmatch. 3 frames per second, probably.

about a year and a half ago

Toward An FSF-Endorsable Embedded Processor

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Those performance numbers are BS (258 comments)

Amen, brotha!

It's also hilarious when some programmers try to write in Verilog as if it were C. :)

about a year and a half ago

Apple Claims New Infringement After Being Ordered To Tell Samsung HTC Secrets

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Imagine the cars we'd be driving if (287 comments)

The first 2 examples do look pretty darn similar.
The Rambler and the Armada look nothing alike.

Maybe nobody thought to do design patents back then cuz they were such crappy cars, haha.

about 2 years ago

Intel DC S3700 SSD Features New Proprietary Controller

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Proprietary (54 comments)

Intel was shipping their own controllers for the low end, and using Marvell's for the high end with the 510.

Then Sandforce for the 520.

about 2 years ago

Intel DC S3700 SSD Features New Proprietary Controller

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Marketing Speech? 10 writes per day for five ye (54 comments)

Not quite correct either.

It's not the controller hardware dying, it's the controller firmware crashing and burning.

A few days ago, my Crucial C300, a drive I've been running like mad for 2 years, finally critically failed to read back a sector. And instead of returning an disk error, the entire drive froze. After waiting 15 minutes to see if it'd come back, it didn't. Rebooting, then rereading resulted in the same drive crash. Overwriting the sector with dd made it force a remap and allowed me to fully image my drive.

What does this tell us?

1) A 2nd controller doesn't help. It'll just do the same thing.
2) In the normal block failure mode, it'll return a disk error and we can overwrite it.
3) There exists bugs in the firmware where the block tracking metadata gets into a state where the controller can't handle it anymore. My guess is that maybe it ran out of memory trying to clean itself up or something. Whatever the case, if you hit something like this, there needs to be a way to escape without losing the entire drive. Perhaps a debug mode or memory-optimized read-only mode toggled by a jumper or something.
4) I should have noted the rare occasional stutter in the past month as a sign that things were not great.

Anyhow, I backed everything up, issued an ATA secure erase to hope the drive cleans its metadata too, and then loaded everything back on from the disk image. Works perfectly.

(relavent equipment: OSX 10.6, no TRIM enabled, ~2.5 year old drive, primary build/dev environment, all firmware updates have been loaded)

about 2 years ago

Intel 335 Series SSD Equipped With 20-nm NAND

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:Interesting... (135 comments)

I actually asked a person who worked in Intel's storage research about this.

It boiled down to this: Intel Research made the X25, and pushed it over to Intel's product teams who basically just put them in boxes and shipped it. And people loved it.

Then Intel's product design teams tried to design a follow on controller and sucked entirely at it. So they got the research group to rev the x25 a few times, while they contracted with Marvell for controllers since they needed a SATA 6G controller for their own firmware.

At that time, they hadn't switched to Sandforce, but judging by the fact that Sandforce has been quite dominant even back then, I wouldn't be surprised if Intel did almost no firmware customization now.

I wouldn't have believed that Intel had sucked in SSD controller design had I not heard it from a Intel researcher (although they might have been biased given that the story make their peers look good) but looking back again, we're talking about the company that brought us Netburst and FBDIMMs.

about 2 years ago

How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop

PipsqueakOnAP133 Re:It's too bad (933 comments)

apt-get is a easy way to kill my machine in my experience.

Apple's App Store has got the right idea. Carry the dependent libraries with the app that needs it. Storage is cheap, time is not. Better to not deal with dependency hell at all and just waste a hundred megs instead. All your configs are still in your home directory, in property lists. Better ordered than the old unix config files, not obscure like the registry, and easily convertible in-place into something that resembles JSON if you want to use a text editor, but also easily loadable into in-memory data structures if you want to programmatically manipulate them.

about 2 years ago


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