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Review of the First Medfield Phone

nephridium Re:An x86 pocket PC (66 comments)

Sounds promising, though it's apparently implemented in Java which doesn't bode to well for the performance, especially when considering 3D acceleration for games. Might be sufficient for streaming apps like youtube though. I can't try it out myself right now, but maybe someone can get it running with chrooted Debian/Ubuntu and post some results. The app's Google market webpage says it can run remote X applications, though I believe running them on localhost shouldn't be a problem either.

more than 2 years ago
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Review of the First Medfield Phone

nephridium Re:An x86 pocket PC (66 comments)

Argh, coming from the N900 I forgot for a second that Linux apps, due to lack of X-Server in Android, are run through localhost VNC, which basically rules out hardware 3D acceleration. Still, all the standard "productivity" apps should still run sufficiently fast. Here's hoping for a Meego port for this phone (which should be able to run 3D accelerated binaries).

more than 2 years ago
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Review of the First Medfield Phone

nephridium An x86 pocket PC (66 comments)

So it looks the performance and battery life are on par with the current crop of Android phones, but no one has mentioned the main advantage of the Intel device: binary compatibility with x86 architecture, i.e. tons of software that already exists. So there is huge potential of this being the first phone able to run windows and linux binaries by side-loading Debian/Ubuntu with Wine/Virtualbox.

A 1.6GHz Atom should be enough to run Windows XP sufficiently fast, imagine using all your favorite desktop apps on your phone, the screen's not too shabby either with 1024x600. Sure, most won't be optimized for touch input, but that trade-off is worth it for this kind of flexibility. Apps with source code can have their touch-friendliness added, for those that really require a mouse and/or keyboard, those could be added via Bluetooth (or USB?). I see no reason why it wouldn't be able to run apps like desktop Firefox/Chrome (with touch-input extensions), Gimp/Photoshop, MS Office, VLC, maybe even XBMC, or games like Warcraft/Starcraft titles, Counter strike or Quake (I was really missing the Quake3 benchmarks in TFA ;)

Connect it to a monitor and use it as a *real* PC that fits in your pocket and you can bring anywhere - how cool is that?

more than 2 years ago
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Star Wars Films In 3D Due In 2012

nephridium The definitive HD ultimate 3D Edition (409 comments)

Or something like that. - Unfortunately there is little hope the new 3D versions will be able to live up to what the original three movies were. They will most probably be a continuation of the insanity that brought us three additional Ewoks movies, the useless "revisions" of the original classics and three mostly annoying "prequels".

Fortunately there was an improved version (the digitally remastered Laserdisk version) before Lucas went completely crazy (when he added an undersized weird CGI Jabba the Hutt, let Greedo shoot first, etc.). The first signs of Lucas turning to the dark side could already be seen on Return of the Jedi when he opted to have Endor be inhabited by freakin Ewoks (instead of Wookies as originally planned - though with the wrong people at the helm not even Wookies can be counted on to save the day). There should still be some torrents of the rips around.

</rant>

more than 3 years ago
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Google Says Microsoft Is Driving Antitrust Review

nephridium Re:The most open - by far? (295 comments)

Yet, claiming that Android is by far the most open Smartphone OS is just plain false. Ever heard of:
OpenMoko
Maemo
MeeGo
- all of which allow anyone to write apps in any language available, because unlike Android they are mostly using linux' own standard interfaces. In some cases "porting" would simply mean recompiling or even just copying the app over, whereas under Android you'd most certainly have to rewrite it from scratch to conform with Android's requirements and still need to worry about compatibility issues between Android versions. This makes all three of them in effect far more open than Android OS.

more than 3 years ago
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More Devs Going Indie, To Gamers' Benefit

nephridium awesome indy project (137 comments)

This one's pretty interesting: http://www.wolfire.com/overgrowth

It's a "rabbit ninja fighting game" ;), free from DRM and they are even developing for Linux (just as they did the predecessor). They are also designing it very modder friendly by using open formats, allowing anyone to to add content and making the engine accessible by scripting (python). Even now during the alpha stages they are already offering support to the modding community.

Check out the hilarious dev/tutorial videos on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/WolfireGames

If you donate you get access to their weekly alphas too! Yes, every week not only a progress report, but an actual updated usable product alpha to play around and mod with.

about 4 years ago
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ISPs Lie About Broadband "Up To" Speeds

nephridium Advertising.. (547 comments)

That's what advertising is! You don't compare products by their advertising, but by unbiased reviews, or by trying it out yourself (if there are short term subscriptions). A certain brand of beer won't get you automatically surrounded by hot chicks just as a certain brand of cigarettes won't turn you in to a cool cowboy sitting by a camp fire.

Now if there was a standardised benchmark to test broadband speed.. - But for that you'd probably need government involvement, and who wants that, right?

about 4 years ago
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"Dislike" Button Scam Hits Facebook Users

nephridium Re:Easiest way to black facebook (179 comments)

You could ask the admins (since those are work computers) to have the proxies block those counter-productive websites for you. Of course this would incur the wrath of a certain (hipster) coworker demographic, but at least you wouldn't need to suffer through those facebook and twitter buttons before your untimely death by high-pitched screaming, keyboard bashing and mouse stoning (I hear Apple mice were specially designed with optimal trajectories in mind ;).

about 4 years ago
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"Dislike" Button Scam Hits Facebook Users

nephridium Easiest way to black facebook (179 comments)

..or you could simply add "127.0.0.1 facebook.com" to your hosts file - one little tweak, works on every OS, on every browser. The cleanest way for all those who just don't care much for it.

(Btw if you're using localhost as a webserver it's probably better to use 0.0.0.0 for all you annoyance blocking needs instead)

about 4 years ago
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Why Bad 3D, Not 3D Glasses, Gives You Headaches

nephridium Re:Make the 3D fad go away (255 comments)

Little amendment - the 750 million figure was for the US alone - worldwide we're talking about "$2.7 billion in theaters alone" (for my second link) - and I'm sure Bluray sales won't be too shabby either.

about 4 years ago
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Why Bad 3D, Not 3D Glasses, Gives You Headaches

nephridium Re:Make the 3D fad go away (255 comments)

Apparently enough people think otherwise. You picked Avatar as an example: a movie that has already grossed 750 MILLION and is set for a re-release later this year (with a crummy 8 minutes of additional footage - really?), because apparently people haven't seen enough of it yet.

And in the case of Avatar it's definitely not because of an elaborate storyline, character development or any deep philosophical underpinnings - this movie works solely because of the visual effects - without those people would simply put it down as a mediocre rehash of Dances with Wolves in Space and wouldn't even give it a second glimpse.

about 4 years ago
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Why Bad 3D, Not 3D Glasses, Gives You Headaches

nephridium Re:Cyclops, use your eyebeams! (255 comments)

Go to hell, hollywood, for making my everyday life even more impractical than it already is.

Erm, it's not Hollywood's fault that current 3D technology requires goggles. If you could name a technology that lets people see 3D movies on the big screen without wearing glasses I'm sure Hollywood would already be all over it; those glasses are not only a nuisance for short-sighted people, you know?

It's also not Hollywood's fault that 3D movies are hugely popular and are bringing the people back into the cinemas. What I see is that once a 3D HDTV becomes a common household product so will the glasses to view 3D media, they will become more comfortable, probably even fashion items, and people with eye disorders will be able to get lenses that support viewing 3D media (eg. for use in a second set of glasses worn when going to the cinema or watching a movie at home). - Unless of course some genius comes up with a method to do this without glasses - he/she could make millions...

about 4 years ago
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Silent, Easily Made Android Rootkit Released At DefCon

nephridium Re:More power to open source! (133 comments)

Thanks for the input, I wasn't aware of malware that was distributed through Maemo or Debian, could you name a few?

I'm always willing to get my facts straight :) - In any case, I believe open source, like sunlight, is the best disinfectant. Unlike with Apfel/Android nothing stops me from checking the source prior to installing - that means at least in theory I'd be far more secure (in practice, of course, but maybe others do).

about 4 years ago
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Silent, Easily Made Android Rootkit Released At DefCon

nephridium More power to open source! (133 comments)

It seems the main attack vector would be a "rogue app", just like with this recent story.

I deem myself lucky that all software I have installed on my N900 is open source, which means I (or anyone else) can check the code, compile it and improve it anytime I feel the need to - it's as simple as on any debian based system, "apt-get source", "make" etc. - That alone makes it the superior platform imho, though obviously it doesn't come with all the bling-bling apps and games that Apfel and Google supplies you with. For me openness trumps gimmicks anytime.

It also don't hurt that many of the tools and scripts I use on my Ubuntu workstation can directly be used on the phone as well.

On a tongue in cheek note: the only two packages (out of 868) that vrms admonishes about are "human-icon-theme" and "tangerine-theme" - but they probably don't pose a security risk ;)

about 4 years ago
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Firefox 4.0 Beta Candidate Available

nephridium Chrome vs. Chromium vs. Iron (366 comments)

Iron really doesn't provide any advantage over Chrome with regard to privacy.

Finally, somebody who not just posts FUD but actually investigates. After reading parent's article though, I get the feeling that Iron does actually do exactly what it claims to do: improve the user's privacy by changing default settings that 99% of Chrome users never even heard about, let alone change them to appropriate values. Specifically the changes mentioned are:

privacy related:
- disables the Google suggestion service (which informs Google about what you're typing into the search bar before you trigger the search)
- disables a service called GoogleURLTracker (which informs Google about your location, so it can "localise" you)
- Chromium's built-in statistics recording and reporting functionality is shut off
- the Client ID of the browser is wiped out
- disables Google's alternate error pages (that invokes another Google service, that isn't really required for web browsing)
- disables a web resource service used to fetch new help tips for Chromium (another service that "phones home" is disabled)

other:
- changes the Chromium version number from 5.0.306 to 4.0.280 (Iron version number)
- number of thumbnails in the New Tab page is increased from 8 to 12
- number of days of history used to compile that data is increased from 90 to 180
- Chromium tips that are shown on the New Tab page to help users learn how to use Chromium are disabled
- dialog that Chromium shows new users when it is first run is disabled

To recap, this article headlines "Is Iron a Scam? Yes" actually lists Iron's diffs from the Chromium project (which btw is only the codebase for Chrome, which itself is not open source, thus we have no way to ascertain what the Chrome browser is actually doing in the background). These diffs contains modifications that ensure that most of the default behaviours of Chromium that "phone home" are disabled and can not be enabled through the options menu.

So no matter what kind of douchebags the developer(s) may be, they are actually delivering on what they promise - a browser that disables phoning home features. Again: these features can be disabled through Chromium's options menu, but most people won't because they don't know about them.

Furthermore they are doing this while also releasing their source code for everyone to see (and compile) so we not only see what changes they make to the privacy settings, but can also make sure they are not adding questionable features themselves. In any case, if you wanted to fork your own personalised "privacy enabled" browser from the Chromium project it looks as if forking from the Iron source will save you some work.

more than 4 years ago
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2 In 3 Misunderstand Gas Mileage; Here's Why

nephridium Re:3 people in 2 don't know math. (1042 comments)

I trust Python on this - it was designed by a mathematician and supports unlimited accuracy.

$ python
Python 2.6.5 (r265:79063, Apr 16 2010, 13:57:41)
[GCC 4.4.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> 3/2
1

So what it says is that at least one person knows math, which is good enough for me :)

more than 4 years ago
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Wikipedia Offers a Book Creator

nephridium Nice (89 comments)

With the current proliferation of handheld computers (i.e. book replacements) this comes in real handy. I kept most of my books already as PDFs on my tablet. For webpages where previously I usually kept the Firefox tabs open with interesting Wikipedia articles (e.g. to read later during a flight) I can now save them (without worrying about thousands of little files clogging up my harddrive), which simplifies things quite a bit.

Another advantage is that you instantly know how it will look like when printed. Not to mention that PDF is an open standard, so there are free tools (at least on Linux) that let you easily add images/pages or otherwise modify it any way you like.

The whole point of IT is making information accessible, this is another step in the right direction.

more than 4 years ago
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RFID Checks Student Attendance in Arizona

nephridium Re:Prove it does not work (554 comments)

What if when entering the class every student needs to hold the card to the reader until it registers and beeps (just like in the subway)? They will find a way to enforce this if they think it's worth it.. Thus the best way would be to show them that forcing attendance does not yield better results.

more than 4 years ago

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