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Comments

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Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

inflex Re: What for? (191 comments)

Pretty much every data connector has its pins exposed to the air and subsequently ingress of dust and liquid when not mated. Having a big metal enclosures/ground planes/shields around the connector is about electrical noise control and sometimes to a limited degree about preventing mechanical damage.

The old apple connector was awful, prone to breakages and pin-lifting due to "real humans" using the devices, it also was a significant pain to replace in the iPod Touch due to its wide body and numerous pins ( at least the phones had a replacable flex lead containing the dock connector ), it was also exceptionally good at picking up crap (lint, paper, body gunk, drinks ... everything that you'd think people wouldn't in their right mind have near it ). I like that it's been changed around to the lightning connector, yes the pins are exposed on it, but it would seem that for a portable device that's floating around in a lot of random environments, the lightning cable is the one that gets the least exposure ( compared to the device ) as it just sits at home waiting till the user returns to charge up their device again. The most common problem we've been encountering is just the socket on the phones filling up with lint over time causing the connection to fail due to the inability to fully insert the plug - thankfully easy to fix of course.

The MicroUSB connector on phones usually are mashed due to people deciding "No, it really MUST fit this way". The SONY Xperia with the Micro-A was a wonderful disaster in that respect ( yes, I know the key is offset to prevent incorrect insertion, but it's useless against determined humans ), or due to looser tolerances the tongue gets partially sheared away when the phone is dropped on the connector while plugged in.

Who knows how people manage to break things in strange ways, but they do, "we" might not, but "they" certainly do.

about a month ago
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Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

inflex Re: What for? (191 comments)

It likely won't, and its failure will be expensive on the device.

As a non-apple-fanboy, I do have to say that the lightning connector used on iPhones is a smarter connector. If it's going to break due to external force, it'll break the tongue off the plug, rather than damaging the socket, subsequently a lot cheaper and easier to fix. Replacing broken microUSB ( and soon Type-C ) sockets on phones, tablets and similar devices is rarely cheap and frequently has additional complications ( such as lifting tracks, broken PCBs or just nearly impossible to find a suitable replacement connector ).

It's a lot simpler extracting a broken off tongue from a lightning socket and getting a new cable.

about a month ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

inflex Re:Original iPads Work Well ... (386 comments)

iPhone 4's ( not 4S ) being updated to iOS 7 generally don't seem to perform quite as well as they did on iOS 6. Clients get annoyed with the lag and jump to the iP4S or 5. Still, that's not exclusive to Apple, but the inability to roll back for normal consumer situations is a significant pain.

Battery replacement isn't so bad in the iP4, 4S and 5.

about 5 months ago
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Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

inflex Certainly as a fork... good luck (248 comments)

I admit to being curious to see how this one goes as a fork off the existing vim codebase, but I'm not sure I'd be putting any bets on its long term viability. I suspect an overdose of optimism and insufficient compelling reasons for users to shift from vim will starve this project out.

Good luck to the developer - it's going to be one hell of a learning experience.

about 6 months ago
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Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012

inflex Re:Fashion trends (74 comments)

In the last 2~3 years the number of books published outside of the "big 6" houses has done a lot more than doubled, 3~4x I think according to Bowker ( and that's just the ones that have ISBNs assigned). One way a lot of us notice the growth is by having a really unpopular book listed on Amazon and seeing how bad the ranking gets. The most recent peaking genres were erotica (thanks to 50SoG breaking the ice) and of course Vamps. Nice to see Zombies shuffling in :D

about a year ago
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Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012

inflex Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (74 comments)

Oh help us, imagine if this happened in the world of software, eeeeish, they'd probably create something like Linux! *shudder*.

Readers are the ultimate choice makers, while big publishing houses can bring some useful services to the writer they're quickly becoming less relevant as the whole industry reworks itself into more independent units for hire ( cover art, editing, proofing, marketing ).

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

inflex Re:Yep (791 comments)

Because fundamentally the tongue-in-receptical design of connector as such as the microUSB is not a good design for dealing with humans and high cycles. Plenty of laptops and desktops submitted here with broken USB socket tongues as well ( yes, the standard USB socket ).

The micro USB is an acceptable design, but the lightning connector is better for dealing with humans. You, me, and millions of other people might be fine with aligning and getting it right and never break one, but there's also plenty of people who don't handle these things well and do break the connectors and it becomes a costly affair at times to replace them, punishing the "stupid" perhaps some might see it as. I prefer the lightning connector in terms of mechanical simplicity and robustness.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

inflex Re:Oh, I totally agree... (791 comments)

If you do it yourself. Send it to a phone repair centre and that'll probably jump to $60~$80 depending.

The cable connector should break, not the device connector; in short, that's what's wrong with microUSB.

In terms of a living, I love the microUSB, so many broken every week to repair; but from an engineering/failure-management view it is backwards.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

inflex Re:Oh, I totally agree... (791 comments)

The lack of physical polarity is a nice thing, but the winning aspect of the lightning design in terms of dealing with "human handlers" is its significantly more robust tongue and that if something is going to break, it'll still be the tongue that is on a cheap cable, rather than an expensive device.

The lightning connector handles the most problematic aspect of computers better than the microUSB connector.... humans.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

inflex Re:Yep (791 comments)

Sony Xperia phone recently arrived in my "broken USB connector to be repaired" list, at first I thought the client had reamed out the whole connector, but nope, instead it seems that Sony in their infinite forsight deviced "to hell with the physical orientation keying on the metal shell, let's just rely on the offset tongue holding the pins.

Needless to say, a lot of those phones are now being sent back for repair due to people not getting the orientation right first time, forcing it slightly ( and people do that, regardless of how sensible it is or otherwise ) and *SNAP* it's all over.

I'm glad to see Apple ditch the old connector, same principle as the microUSB, same mishaps ( fine on iPhones, since you can replace the dock assembly, but iPods require a lot of delicate work to replace their dock connectors since they're soldered directly on to the monolithic PCB with everything else ).

It's easier to engineer a better option than to teach people to be more careful.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

inflex Re:Oh, I totally agree... (791 comments)

Agreed as well. I get a lot of devices coming in for repair with broken micro usb sockets for repair. The lightning connector is infinitely more sane as a design ( barring perhaps the electronics complexity for the lane switching ). The smart thing about it is, if something is going to break, it'll be the tongue of the connector which is on a [comparatively] cheap cable, rather than a $$$ phone or other device.

about a year ago
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EU Committee Votes To Make All Smartphone Vendors Utilize a Standard Charger

inflex Re:Thought they required it a few years ago? (415 comments)

I'm no fan of Apple, but I have to say that the new connector is a smart move. It's more robust than microUSB, and if it breaks it's the *plug* that breaks, not the socket, so it doesn't destroy your precious device. The addtional aspect that it's not physically polarized is a nice bonus, as most of the breakages I've had come in here for repair have been because people tried a little too hard to plug something in the wrong way around ( the latest Sony Xperia phones with their non-bevel-keyed microUSB socket is an absolute *disaster*, so much so I think it's a design or supplier fault ).

about a year ago
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Middle-Click Paste? Not For Long

inflex Re:No thanks (729 comments)

Agreed, I used to use those on a fairly routine basis at times, still miss them for times when things go wrong.

about a year ago
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Apple Unveils iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S

inflex Re:Jobs must be rolling in his grave... (773 comments)

Oh yes, you can get the *glass* for cheap, like you can get the glass for the iP4/4S/5, S3, S4 and many other phones. Replacing the glass alone though isn't possible for 99.99% of people since they're fused units with the LCD.

Here's some examples of costs from one of my parts suppliers;

iP4/4S LCD/glass unit: $35 (AA OEM)
iP5 LCD/glass unit: $125 ( original )
Battery: $12.95

Galaxy S2 LCD/glass unit: $195
Galaxy S3 LCD/glass unit: $230
Galaxy S4 LCD/glass unit: $295

Other than the two pentalobe screws on the bottom of iPhones, everything else is fairly accessible with minimal glue/2-sided-adhesive (the iPods, iPads otoh are a major PITA). A lot of budget-end screen replacement services here in Australia range from $55~$150 for A, AA, Original grade replacements on the iPhone 4/4S phones.

1 year,6 days
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SSD Failure Temporarily Halts Linux 3.12 Kernel Work

inflex Re:Really? (552 comments)

You can still take the flash chips out and get the data off and reassemble it all if required ( yes, it's a major PITA, but it's something that is done routinely ). The data doesn't just vanish, in fact it's quite a problem trying to make data vanish in a hurry.

1 year,6 days
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Apple Unveils iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S

inflex Re:Jobs must be rolling in his grave... (773 comments)

Fortunately iPhones are among the cheapest to replace those parts. Hell you can buy a new Nexus 4 for the cost of replacing a Galaxy S2 screen in some places, certainly S3.

I'm no grand fan of Apple, but so far as fixing/repairing phones their iPhones generally are a lot more sane in terms of design, cost and supply [ of replacements ] compared to others.

1 year,6 days
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Transport Expert Insists 'Don't Dismiss Wacky Hyperloop'

inflex Re:Musk: All talk, No action (385 comments)

I'm afraid the time of Monty is coming to an end... the age of the shadow dwellers has begun.

about a year ago
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Are Amazon Vine Reviews of Technical Books a Joke?

inflex Re:They're just useless (126 comments)

There's two pen names, 10 books collectively spread between them and reasons for doing so.

about a year ago
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Are Amazon Vine Reviews of Technical Books a Joke?

inflex Re:They're just useless (126 comments)

Marketing... that's the crux. My wife is a writer, we've got about 10 books out there ( different pen names ), and honestly, unless you're either really lucky, or you pump the market constantly with a lot of effort you invariably won't float to the top, regardless of the contents of your books ( or products ). Even when you have a good run and make it in to the top-100 rankings on Amazon for a week or two, once you fall out of that it's a fast and long fall back down to irrelevance. We see a lot of other writers pouring money in to other pockets for reviews, promotions, blogs and social-name-dropping, it doesn't always pay off, but if you don't do it you really don't stand much of a realistic chance.

about a year ago
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Popular Android Anti-Virus Software Fooled By Trivial Techniques

inflex Re:Anti Virus software is a scam (94 comments)

I don't know about mobile platforms, but certainly on the PC arena, judging by the features and tricks in recent AV-suite releases, vendors have to been running out of oxygen in their world. Lately I have been repairing more consumer machines due to AV suites going rogue than I have for actual viruses ( AFP/randsom-ware had a burst of popularity recently ).

These days I just go with Microsoft Security Essentials and leave it at that. The clients still feel protected, they're not out of pocket, and at least it's not as likely to go utterly insane and take out the system and then refuse to be uninstalled cleanly.

about a year ago

Submissions

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How to manage a commercial source-code sale for a

inflex inflex writes  |  more than 2 years ago

inflex writes "I have a software suite that has been running for well over a decade and sold to companies such as Nashua, VirginBlue and NationalFoods. Many components are now OpenSource. I want to focus on my wife's career (Independent novelist) and am considering selling the source/rights to my commercial software and letting someone else take the reins. I'm looking for advice on how best to approach the situation — should I go through the 250k LoC and clean it up a bit, or just hand it over as it's currently running. Would it be advisable to bring in an escrow/3rd-party? I have no heavy emotional attachment to it, tens of thousands of people use the OpenSource components,of which will naturally remain that way but obviously the commercial version will diverge over time."
Link to Original Source
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Vampire-genre author signs with blood.

inflex inflex writes  |  more than 3 years ago

inflex writes "Marketing is tough in the eBook world, more so for independent authors. One author has gone right to the fringe and has started using her own blood to sign the books for fans."
Link to Original Source
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Which eBook path is best for self-published books?

inflex inflex writes  |  more than 4 years ago

inflex (123318) writes "After successfully self publishing my wife's fantasy novel in dead-tree format using LyX, GIMP and Inkscape in Linux, we're now trying to choose the best path to take in order to release it as an e-book. There are many options available to us — Amazon, Lightning Source, Google's ePub or finally ordinary plain PDF. Optimistally we'd love to go with PDF but are worried about blatent copying, contract lock-in, distribution and compatibility with the multitude of eBook readers."
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Choosing the right e-book path for self publishing

inflex inflex writes  |  more than 4 years ago

inflex (123318) writes "After years of hard work my wife's first fantasy novel "Tree of Life" ( treeoflifethebook.com ) has been published in print form. We are now trying to decide which e-book route to take. As an Open-source supporter, developer and now a publishing manager, I find myself conflicted over the DRM, freedom and control balance of the various options currently available. For background, my wife wrote the book in Ubuntu Linux, using LyX for the final output and a combination of Inkscape and GIMP for the artwork."
Link to Original Source
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eBay 'scammer' animations imply linux = scammer OS

inflex inflex writes  |  more than 6 years ago

inflex writes "While going through some eBay pages today it was noticed that eBay has an anti-scammer / dunk-the-scammer flash animation showing a Witch 'zapping' an evil glasses-wearing scammer on a laptop. The laptop itself is adorned with two stickers, one saying "Phishing since '02" and the other is a small 'tux' logo.

Is there any law against this? The tux logo is strongly associated with Linux. Why isn't there any other OS logo, or more importantly, why was the tux put there in the first place! (I'd be curious to see how long the use of OS X, Windows or Solaris logos would have lasted)."
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inflex inflex writes  |  more than 7 years ago

inflex writes "In the Australia IT news page today this article.
PIRACY statistics are labelled "self-serving hyperbole" in a draft government report.
A confidential briefing for the Attorney-General's Department, prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology, lashes the music and software sectors.
"

Journals

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Marketing online... where to even START!?

inflex inflex writes  |  more than 4 years ago

So here I am, a product in hand and somehow I have to get it into the market mind share, far beyond just 'friends in and family'. About the only thing I've ever had a lot of success with is infesting forums - the trouble with that is it's so much work and you really can't seem to break past the 1:1 ratio of effort vs sales. Things like AdWords, Facebook Fanpages, Facebook advertising don't seem to provide high returns either. Beyond the top couple of major social networking methods there appears to be hundreds of smaller avenues but they all seem to be even worse on effort-vs-return.

My suspicion is that it's a lot like winning the Lotto... you see the occasional big winner (like the White-board Resignation the other day) but for the most part everyone just ends up spending a lot of time, money and effort barely getting decent returns.

I think I need a cofffee now.

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