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Patched MS Bluetooth Flaw Exposes Even Disconnected PCs

hackerjoe Re:Bluetooth devices? (147 comments)

That won't necessarily help much, actually -- libbluetooth is just the userspace component, the kernel drivers will probably still be initializing the hardware. You'd be better off disabling kernel support: blacklist the kernel modules for your hardware. Then you don't need to remove random packages, they just won't have anything to talk to in the kernel and will remain harmless and inert.

more than 3 years ago

ERP Vendors Get Into Medical Marijuana Business

hackerjoe Re:I guess a stoner wouldn't know (138 comments)

Alright then, how about... a compounding pharmacy that deals with narcotics? I mean really. They're selling medicine compounded into different forms, this isn't some kind of strange, unique new business they're in. I can get compounded codeine lollipops for my kids from a pharmacy. Pot brownies aren't all that different.

more than 3 years ago

Vint Cerf Says No To IPv7, Yes To InterPlanetary Web

hackerjoe Re:Back to Usenet? (108 comments)

Except Anonymous didn't actually suggest putting the relay on Mercury, they suggested putting it in an orbit near Mercury's. I was hoping you had a reason for assuming the relay would be on Mercury besides failure of reading comprehension, but I guess not.

more than 3 years ago

Vint Cerf Says No To IPv7, Yes To InterPlanetary Web

hackerjoe Re:Back to Usenet? (108 comments)

Why is putting a platform on or orbiting Mercury useful? It's not inhabited and it isn't always in the right place around the sun, sometimes it's going to be behind (or in front of) the sun at the same time as the thing you're trying to communicate with. You'd need a constellation of sun-orbiting satellites so there was always at least one in the right relative position.

Is it that you want the satellites near a magnetosphere? That kind of almost makes sense.

more than 3 years ago

Vint Cerf Says No To IPv7, Yes To InterPlanetary Web

hackerjoe Re:Back to Usenet? (108 comments)

Why would there be temperature swings? The sun doesn't have a dark side and you wouldn't want a communications platform to turn very quickly anyway or be near anything else that could block line of sight to it. Just put a sunshade on one side of the platform that can withstand high temperatures -- 450C is no hotter than my soldering iron -- or am I missing something?

more than 3 years ago

Apple eBook Rules Changing For Sellers

hackerjoe Re:Ridiculous (584 comments)

Is there any reason Amazon can't just sell the ebooks for 30% more in Apple's store than in its own?

Did you read the comment you're replying to: "...Force other eBook sellers to raise prices, and now Apple's own solution looks much more attractive...."?

Since the publisher is the one paying royalties to the authors, I hope the publisher's getting the lion's share of the money from distribution. I'm not optimistic about what the author gets after that either, but that's a separate complaint, isn't it?

more than 3 years ago

America Losing Its Edge In Innovation

hackerjoe Re:They once were (757 comments)

Indeed. That's just how we use the language -- "engineer" has always meant a bunch of things besides just "professional engineer". In some places a "locomotive engineer" is the guy that drives a train! Now sometimes it means a software developer with no formal training. PEs deserve respect, but the word "engineer" just isn't used exclusively in association with professional engineering.

Maybe that's how it's used in some offices where lots of PEs work?

"Professional engineer", or the specific titles, "electrical engineer", "mechanical engineer", so on, I have no problem agreeing that those titles generally are and should be reserved. Sometimes you need to make the distinction, and this is how I see people use the titles.

Incidentally, if you refer to yourself professionally as a "welder" or "electrician" I expect you to be certified in your trade, especially before you do any work on safety-critical equipment. The trades example isn't as strong as all that.

more than 2 years ago

Mystery Missile Launched Near LA

hackerjoe Re:It's just a jet contrail (858 comments)

I cannot for the life of me see what you're talking about. I found the area -- about halfway between the Channel Islands and Catalina Island, indicated by the news spot -- and it's flat black for the entire period. I see a lot of clouds that sort of look a little like contrails all over everywhere else.

more than 3 years ago

Tesla Signs $60 Million Contract With Toyota

hackerjoe Re:That's uncharitable (233 comments)

Are you serious or is this just inane bitterness?

(a) We're talking about an SUV here, not a sports car. The design tradeoffs for the powertrain are going to be very different.

(b) Even if the Tesla Roadster really were that close to being the tzero, which is something I'm not convinced of, and the Model S were that close to the Roadster, Tesla's still the company with the integration and manufacturing experience.

(c) Tesla owns a manufacturing plant whose purpose is to produce powertrains for the Model S.

The electronics and control are the easy part. People who haven't thought about it don't really appreciate how much work goes into setting up a production run for machined metal parts: beyond the basic mechanical what-goes-where, there are tradeoffs in material choices, choices on which parts to source stock and which to manufacture custom, arranging manufacturing capacity and tooling up the plants where the production will be done, and QCing the finished product.

more than 3 years ago

Tesla Signs $60 Million Contract With Toyota

hackerjoe That's uncharitable (233 comments)

Of course they *could* do it, but Tesla has a powertrain that's pretty much exactly what they'd need already developed for the Model S, and they're presumably already gearing up for production of the components.

Tesla's proven they know what they're doing with the Roadster, so I can see why Toyota would want to spend $60M to adapt an almost-exactly-right design with a very low risk profile than spend probably more pulling together their existing R&D projects and tooling up, with all the entailing higher risk and extra development time.

The hybrid powertrains they've been developing are conceptually very similar to an all-electric powertrain, but there's a lot of mechanical re-engineering they'd have to do, and that takes time. Hell, maybe $60M is a loss, but they're doing this deal because all their best engineers are busy working on another project and they just don't have the staff to handle a big rush job right now. Staffing is a big deal!

more than 3 years ago

Against Apple, Ballmer Floats Microsoft Merger With Adobe

hackerjoe Re:First post! (520 comments)

Yeah, you have to read all the way through to the 3rd paragraph to find out about Halo Wars. Pretty obscure.

(Point taken, but come on, you have to be Indie Rock Pete to think Halo would have been better for being a bit player RTS rather than the phenomenon it is!)

more than 3 years ago

Best Education Path To Learn Video Game Programming?

hackerjoe Re:Oh boy (240 comments)

In fact, if you really like developing games, you ought to take 8/5 corporate soul-crushing job (that will crush your soul much, much less) and just make games in your spare time (or at work during downtime) for fun.

Bad advice! If you do that you're working 80-hour weeks anyway, you might as well get one of those soul-crushing 80-hour-week games industry jobs and spend all your time doing what you want to and not just half of it. (Or did you think being a corporate programmer was fun and not soul-crushing...?)

Plus, if you're actually working in the industry, you will (a) get to work with other, more experienced game programmers and learn the game-specific parts of the trade 5x faster and (b) meet a lot of talented and motivated artists and game designers, so that when you do decide to break away and do some fun indie stuff, you don't have to do it alone. Unless you want to, in which case you can use those contacts for mentorship too.

And don't do Full Sail. People who care what school you went to will look down on you for it, people who don't care, well they don't care. Just be a great programmer, learn some assembler and the basics of working with vectors and matrices, and you'll be in demand.

more than 3 years ago

Epic Games Predicts Console, Mobile Convergence

hackerjoe Re:Ya I want to know what Epic is on (104 comments)

Also people do like visuals and you can do more with a console than a phone. This is true no matter what the technology. If I can do a certain amount with a 1 watt GPU in a phone, I can do a lot more with a 10 or 50 or 100 watt GPU in a console.

I can say this with some authority as a game developer who's working on console titles and with mobile phones:

You are assuming that there's another, more advanced console generation on the horizon. There isn't. Microsoft hasn't announced it, Sony hasn't announced, and Nintendo is still catching up to the last generation. Oh sure, eventually we'll get one, but I'd be surprised if we even got an announcement about a more powerful console within a year.

Meanwhile, sub-1-watt GPUs are gaining ground FAST. The latest phone chipsets are within a stone's throw of "fast enough that nobody can afford to make content that fully uses the graphics hardware".

That's the real reason we're not seeing another console hardware generation: the art budget to fully take advantage of current-generation hardware is in the neighbourhood of $30M. You can't spend much more than that on average and still expect to make money on a game.

So, yeah, you're not wrong, but you're missing the big picture. Nintendo got it when they released the Wii; Epic gets it. It would be nice to get phones up to par with the consoles so we don't have to spend quite as much time optimizing our code, and so the lowest common denominator is better, but game developers aren't all that anxious for more graphics horsepower than the Xbox 360 offers.

I don't think the console form factor is going away, but regardless, there's a lot of value in unified tech across all platforms, PC, console, and mobile; mobile is going to be big enough soon that every serious game engine is going to have to be mobile-capable, even if games are still largely being targeted at consoles.

This was a bizarre concept at one point, there was no way you could use the same engine on e.g. the Nintendo DS and the Xbox 360. Now handhelds and consoles are close enough that it would be stupid not to use the same engine...

more than 3 years ago

Las Vegas Hotel Vdara an Accidental Death Ray

hackerjoe Re:Post a warning? (218 comments)

GP is actually partly correct though, the spot is staying relatively still side-to-side, so with respect to the direction that the building is parabolically shaped it's stationary; the article is just saying the spot is moving back and forth because the building is vertically flat.

more than 3 years ago

China Embargos Rare Earth Exports To Japan

hackerjoe Re:I can see the historians now (470 comments)

You're not supposed to feel sympathy for the Japanese of the 30s and 40s; they were guilty of terrible atrocities, but that war is over now. You're supposed to feel sympathy for the Japanese of 2010, who weren't in charge almost universally weren't even alive for World War II and are not acting particularly imperialist or aggressive.

The point is that most white westerners have similarly barbaric atrocities of imperialism somewhere in their not-too-distant past. Go back far enough and everyone can find an ancestor that murdered a rival warlord's entire tribe; if you believe that what your grandparents' neighbours did should condemn you, we are all guilty!

Eventually we have to forgive, or at least forget, if we're going to live together.

more than 3 years ago

The Big Promise of 'Big Data'

hackerjoe Re:LiveSQL (78 comments)

Aren't you basically talking about a materialized view? (This FAQ item has a simpler explanation than you'll get digging through the documentation above)

I haven't worked with materialized views, but if you want notification when the data changes, usually you can set up a trigger...

about 4 years ago

Rethinking Computer Design For an Optical World

hackerjoe Re:Here we go again (187 comments)

Hmm, actually rechecking the numbers it looks like current tech might not beat this in raw bandwidth yet. Still, it's pretty close -- 30GB/s instead of 50GB/s, or something like that, for equipment that's been available for a year.

more than 4 years ago

Rethinking Computer Design For an Optical World

hackerjoe Re:Here we go again (187 comments)

You people are not thinking nearly creative enough. The article doesn't make it clear why you'd want to move your memory farther away -- it would increase latency, yeah, but moreover, what are you going to put that close to the CPU? There isn't anything else competing for the space.

Here's a more interesting idea than just "outboard RAM": what if you replaced the RAM on a blade with a smaller but faster bank of cache memory, and for bulk memory had a giant federated memory bank that was shared by all the blades in an enclosure?

Think multi-hundred-CPU, modular, commodity servers instead of clusters.

Think taking two commodity servers, plugging their optical buses together, and getting something that behaves like a single machine with twice the resources. Seamless clustering handled at the hardware level, like SLI for computing instead of video if you want to make that analogy.

Minor complaint, the summary is a little misleading with units: they're advertising not 50 gigabits/s, but 50 gigabytes/s. Current i7 architectures already have substantially more memory bandwidth than this to local RAM, so the advantage is definitely communication distance here, not speed.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Signs License With ARM

hackerjoe Re:Hmm... (148 comments)

Interesting speculation but unlikely. The Java-specific mode (Jazelle) is deprecated; ARM's for a few years already been moving instead to a mode that supports CLR and JVM managed runtimes equally well, called ThumbEE, which is already in the newer Cortex A8-based smartphone chipsets:

ThumbEE in Jazelle article on Wikipedia
Information on ThumbEE from the ARM tech docs

It's a much more elegant approach -- do all the easy transformations via JIT compilation to the existing native ARM instructions, and add a handful of extra instructions to speed up the expensive things you do all the time, like null pointer checks and array bounds tests.

more than 3 years ago


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