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Comments

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Second Android-Based Phone Announced

smilindog2000 Re:lack of keyboard (204 comments)

I guess I agree with you there, though I miss my old iPhone. My G1 seems like a Model T in comparison hardware-wise, but I don't think I can go back to the no-keyboard situation. My old eyes just don't work well enough to find those small keys.

I looked at all the photos of the new phone. Here's some insights from a G1 owner:

- The screen is *exactly* the same model. It's nice, but only 2.5". Every time I hold an iPhone, what really strikes me is that huge 3.5" screen.
- They *still* don't have a headset jack. This is possibly the dumbest lack of a feature ever in a smart phone, and they kept it! The non-standard headphones HTC ships suck, you have to have a bulky dongle to use anything else, and you can't charge while listening to music. Sucks, sucks, sucks!
- The camera lens appears larger, possibly meaning that HTC decided not to ruin all photos with a crap lens like on the G1. Of course, it could just be the same lens with a new style case.
- Being HTC, there's no way this phone has a bigger battery than the G1, and battery life will suck.
- The slot for the speaker looks identical the the G1. On the G1, it fills up with lint, and you can't hear calls when there's background noise, like while driving or at a restaurant (much to the pleasure of everyone else).

Until someone fixes the damned headphone issue, the speaker, the camera, and increases the screen size on an Android phone, I'll stick with my crappy G1.

more than 5 years ago
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Competition For the App Store Is Mounting

smilindog2000 Re:Not because there's only 1 (136 comments)

I've had an iPhone, and currently own a T-Mobile G1. In short, Android is a solid competitor (the only competitor IMO) to the iPhone OS. The actual G1 phone however, sucks big time, as GP suggests, though he didn't get close as to why:

- The speaker slot gets clogged with lint, and now I have trouble hearing the phone
- While the camera has auto-focus and more pixels than iPhone, HTC screwed up with a crappy lens that ruins all photos
- There's no headphone jack. Instead, HTC provides crappy headphones using a non-standard extension to the micro-USB jack
- The phone is too thick, and not nearly as sleek or well designed or packaged as the iPhone
- The battery is tiny in comparison to the iPhone.

Basically, some US company (Qualcom? T-Mobile?) must have said "Here's the specs for you, HTC", and then HTC delivered on the specs, but screwed up the phone.

While there are fewer users of the G1, there are proportionally fewer developers. Many of the best application spaces are already dominated on iPhone, while they're still open on Android. I believe that future Android phones will gain in market share vs iPhone, making development for Android a wise choice.

more than 5 years ago
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Senator Diane Feinstein Trying to Kill Net Neutrality

smilindog2000 Re:I didn't know Feinstein was a Republican.... (873 comments)

Diane has been technology illiterate for her entire career. In general, her heart is in the right place, but as Silicon Valley's senator, she's shamefully lacking in any sort of reasonable understanding of the issues.

Quite seriously, she hears, "let's protect our children", and "let's protect intellectual property", and that convinces her to support Trojan legislation designed to allow telcoms to put toll roads on the Internet.

more than 5 years ago
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EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor

smilindog2000 Re:It must be real (603 comments)

Here's the skinny on EEStor, so far as I can read.

Their new patent is a clean-up version of their old patent. Unfortunately, it's still a piece of marketing BS. Look at claim 1. It has 15 steps! If you avoid any one of them, you do not infringe. The rest of the patent is similar - not designed to protect, but designed to market an idea.

The physics of EEStor seems to have been replicated by half a dozen other companies, so we can probably begin to believe that the EEStore ultra-capacitors are possible in principle. However, a fully charged EEStor capacitor will explode on impact with about the force of 100 sticks of dynamite. I've thought about this problem for two years, without any solution. Hopefully the guys at EEStor are wiser, but no one else on the Internet has a solution either.

In short, don't bother believing this until you see it.

more than 5 years ago
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Drilling Hits an Active Magma Chamber In Hawaii

smilindog2000 Re:Hot Drill Bit (251 comments)

It turns out that this is not the first time geothermal energy plants have drilled into hot magma. They had a similar experience decades ago in Iceland. Unfortunately, it was a story told to me by a professor at Berkeley in 1985, so I'm not able to google any info on it.

more than 5 years ago
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Intel On Track For 32 nm Manufacturing

smilindog2000 Re:Normal people don't need faster computers (139 comments)

Yep! If you talk to DSP guys, they do this kind of thing all the time. DataDraw allows me to specify which fields of a class I want kept together in memory, and by default, they're kept in arrays of individual properties. I was able to speed up random-access of large red-black trees in DataDraw 50% with this feature, simply because you almost always want both the left and right child pointers, not just one or the other.

Nice to hear from a fellow geek who for whatever reason still keeps an eye on low-level performance.

more than 5 years ago
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Intel On Track For 32 nm Manufacturing

smilindog2000 Re:Normal people don't need faster computers (139 comments)

Not a bad idea, but where would I publish it? I could post it on my Dumb Idea of the Day blog, but no one reads it (which is ok with me). I would certainly be interested in writing an article about coding for cache performance.

more than 5 years ago
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Intel On Track For 32 nm Manufacturing

smilindog2000 Re:Normal people don't need faster computers (139 comments)

Check out the benchmark table at this informative link. On every cache miss, the CPU loads an entire cache line, typically 64 or more bytes. Cache miss rates are massively dependent on the probability that those extra bytes will soon be accessed. Since typical structures and objects are 64 bytes or more, the cache line typically gets filled with fields of just one object. Typical inner loops may access two of those object's fields, but rarely three, meaning that the cache is loaded with useless junk. By keeping data of like fields together in arrays, the cache line will be filled with the same field, but from different objects, often objects that will soon be accessed. This, plus the 32 vs 64 bit object references, and cache-sensitive memory organization (unlike malloc), leads to a 7X speedup in DataDraw backed graph traversals vs plain C code.

Understanding cache performance is critical for fast code, yet most programmers are virtually clueless about it. Just run the benchmarks yourself if you want to see the impact.

more than 5 years ago
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Intel On Track For 32 nm Manufacturing

smilindog2000 Re:Normal people don't need faster computers (139 comments)

The sad part is that improved runtime speed and code readability can be had together at the same time. The reason the DataDraw based code ran 7x faster was simple: cache performance. C, C++, D, and C# all specify the layout of objects in memory, making it impossible for the compiler to optimize cache hit rates. If we simply go to a slightly more readable higher level of coding, and let the compiler muck with the individual bits and bytes, huge performance gains can be had. The reason DataDraw saved 40% in memory was that it uses 32-bit integers to reference graph objects rather than 64-bit pointers. Again, C, C++, and most languages specify a common pointer size for all class types. If the compiler were allowed to take over that task, life would be easier for the programmer, and we'd save a ton of memory.

But then again... what's a mere factor of 7X runtime with today's computers? With the low price of DRAM, who cares about 40%? It's easier to stick with the crud we've used since 1970 (C, and it's offspring) than to bother building more efficient languages. Language research has abandoned efficiency as a goal.

more than 5 years ago
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Intel On Track For 32 nm Manufacturing

smilindog2000 Re:Normal people don't need faster computers (139 comments)

Good point. With solid-state drives coming down the pipe, even that bottle-neck will be somewhat relieved for what most people do (lot's of disk reads, few writes). I write programs to help designers place and route chips. The problem size scales with Moore's Law, so we never have enough CPU power. I'm part of a shrinking population that remains focused on squeezing a bit more power out of their code. I wrote the DataDraw CASE tool to dramatically improve overall place-and-route performance, but few programmers care all that much now days. On routing-graph traversal benchmarks, it sped up C-code 7X while cutting memory required by 40%. But what's a factor of 7 now days?

more than 5 years ago
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Should Apple Open Source the iPhone?

smilindog2000 Re:Nobody cares. (379 comments)

If you mean this patent then don't worry too much. Apple didn't invent multi-touch (these guys did), nor did they patent the way it's currently used. They patented extensions, such as performing cut and paste with gestures. Why the G1 has no multi-touch is a mystery to me.

more than 5 years ago
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Should Apple Open Source the iPhone?

smilindog2000 Re:Nobody cares. (379 comments)

I agree with the article that Apple could find itself marginalized by Android in 5 years much like Windows marginalized Macs years ago. However, making it open-source wont help. I agree that users don't care about open-source vs closed-source. What Steve Jobs needs to do is license the iPhone software cheaply or even free. Of course, he wont. I've used both Android and iPhone extensively. Android is a bit behind iPhone, but is on a steeper improvement curve. It will be an interesting five years to watch.

more than 5 years ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup On Educating Software Developers

smilindog2000 Re:Mythical Creature... (538 comments)

I agree that C++ GUI code (like Valve's Source engine) are better than the old C GUI libraries. C++ is a good fit for describing class hierarchies of GUI widgets. It's not all bad, but not all good, either.

While C++ works well for trees, consider graphs. Two classes, not just one (Nodes and Edges, rather than just Nodes). If there is a C++ database containing a graph, and you want to manipulate that graph, how do you do it? In C++, your life becomes harder than it should be at that point (do you attach void pointers to allow kludged extensions to database objects, or inherit from them directly and do copy-in/copy-out?). The only reasonable C++ graph library I've seen is the Boost Graph Library. If you care for a life of pain, make this the basis of your next big EDA project. Alternatively, if you store those graphs in a DataDraw database, your code is hugely simplified, while running far faster.

I do EDA coding for a living. Life as an EDA programmer is basically all about manipulating graphs. C++ and EDA have never worked out well together, but nor has Java, C#, or any other mainstream language. You need dynamic extension, like Python, but raw-speed, like C. Today, that means DataDraw.

more than 5 years ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup On Educating Software Developers

smilindog2000 Re:Mythical Creature... (538 comments)

Here's my beef with C++. Average to less-than-average programmers will never understand virtual functions, templates, or (shudder) multiple inheritance. New code is normally written by super-smart programmers who use all that stuff. Then, the B-team takes it over and can't figure out what the heck it does. The code is then doomed to painful process of continuous decay.

C++ was written by PhD's for PhD's. It was never a good fit for the real world. Java is a huge step forward for the world, just not graduate programs. Personally, I have 100 other issues with modern languages, which is why I do all my programming with the DataDraw variant of C.

more than 5 years ago
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Google To Sell Truly Open Android Dev Phone

smilindog2000 Re:FCC (219 comments)

I haven't used a BlackBerry, so I can't compare to that. However, I use to own an iPhone, so I can compare against the software available there early on. The iPhone had no cut and paste, no ability to download files, but the POP client worked OK. There was also no app store, only a 4-function calculator, and no dial-by-voice. In comparison to the iPhone trajectory, Android looks quite good to me.

more than 5 years ago
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Google To Sell Truly Open Android Dev Phone

smilindog2000 Re:FCC (219 comments)

IANAL, but my understanding is that you may not legally hack the modem itself or it's software driver. You do not break any law by writing software that manipulates the modem through it's provided driver, so feel free to hack at that level.

more than 5 years ago
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Google To Sell Truly Open Android Dev Phone

smilindog2000 Re:FCC (219 comments)

Like all cell phones, you are not legally allowed to hack the actual modem. Ultimate protection is at the modem layer.

Personally, I think this is another huge step for Google/Android. I've already bought a G1, and the software from Google rocks. Unfortunately, the hardware from Taiwan's HTC sucks big-time. I'm eagerly awaiting Motorola's Android offering next year, and T-Mobile's G3 roll-out in NC. The iPhone is awesome, but Android is a huge threat.

more than 5 years ago
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iPhones, FStream and the Death of Satellite Radio

smilindog2000 Re:Aw... (397 comments)

I'm one of those guys who just dropped XM radio. The commercials they run on may channels really pissed me off. I also got rid of my last Windows machine after Vista came out. Guess what my in-laws got me and the kids for presents this year? A Windows Vista box, and a new subscription to XM radio! Apparently, they're worried about my highly non-conformist streak.

more than 5 years ago
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Microsoft Researchers Study "Cyberchondria"

smilindog2000 Re:I, too, don't mind patients who do research (144 comments)

I'm glad to hear about your daughter. My brother had a similar diagnosis when little. I remember my parents trying to figure out how to buy a dialysis machine. He had a "miraculous" recovery. Fortunately for me, I'm in a good position to do well with very poor eye sight, so don't worry about me.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Another crazy new language effort - Language #42

smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "I've got this wacky idea: I'll write the world's most completely awesome computer language, and naturally get rich, famous, and attacked by hordes of crazed hot chicks. The language is called 42, and has the following insane goals: Run faster than C; Foster extreme code reuse; Compile to both hardware and software; Run faster on reconfigurable computers than Wintel boxes; Allow users to extend the language however they like. I need a few of you super-geeks out there to tell me flat out it's impossible. For some reason, that always motivates me. There's more detail at this discussion group."
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Major Advances Towards the Hydrogen Economy

smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "Two obstacles along the road to the hydrogen economy may have bit the dust today. First, the platinum typically used to build fuel cells may soon be replaced with a cheap alternative. Second, MIT has just announced cheap and nearly 100% efficient home-based electrolyzers for hydrogen production. Is MIT is aiming for true energy independence, or trying to blow up extreme environmentalists?"
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Practice Starting a High-Tech Company

smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "I would like to find between two and four college students to start one or two practice startup companies over the summer. I'd organize and run them, putting in about 4 hours/week, while the students would be free to put in as much or as little time as they desire. There are plenty of good ideas for startups. The hard part is finding good teams. Do you know anyone who might be the right kind of geek/student for this sort of startup training?

The first idea I'll throw out is building an ultra-high performance processor for executing high-end EDA applications faster than traditional Windows/Intel machines. These would be based on Xilinx FPGAs for computation, and would win on speed through high performance parallel SRAM banks with external high-speed caches. The main technology breakthrough would be a new C compiler that can optimize memory access for large sets of data across several external memory banks and caches, avoiding the the traditional Von Neumann bottleneck. Benchmarks I've done for DataDraw show cache performance now dominates runtime for a wide class of EDA applications. If you e-mail me, please put 'startup' somewhere in the subject."

Link to Original Source
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G++ STL Gets Smoked!

smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "How fast do you think your carefully coded STL based algorithms really are? If they rely on set, multiset, map, or multimap, then probably not so fast. A new DataDraw benchmark shows STL based code running about 4X slower and using 80% more memory than raw C code created by the GPL'ed DataDraw database generator. Does speed still count? The guys behind DataDraw think so."
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Best Interview Questions?

smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "To help me determine who has potential for algorithms development, I've given the same interview for seventeen years, asking mostly the same questions. My favorite question: "What is your favorite interview question?" If they seem real smart, I'll often ask, "How would you get out of a 3-D maze if you had only an infinite crayon and no sense of direction? What if the maze has one-way doors?" How would you respond? Anyone who answers the last question with a simple yet optimal run-time algorithm will be the first."
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Study Finds US Competitive in Math/Science

smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "Has the US fallen behind in educating our youth? This study says no! Frankly, I think it's bunk. If our kids were that smart, how come I had trouble dating in high school?"
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smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "Open source software has it's place in main-stream corporate America, but only a small place. As Windows and Microsoft Office users, we naturally push these programs on our school-age kids, without thinking of what we deny them. As the OLPC project and many blogs so often state, FOSS gives children an opportunity to look under the hood, and discover for themselves how things really work. A charitable foundation dedicated to supporting the adoption of FOSS in schools could greatly benefit millions of school-age children. It also could make great use of volunteer hackers, while requiring virtually zero cash donations. I would volunteer for such a foundation. Would you?"
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smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  about 8 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "According to EETimes, less than a week before the fifth anniversary of its iPod, Apple Computer on Tuesday warned that some of its recently-shipped music players contained a worm that infected Windows PCs. From the article: As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses."
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smilindog2000 smilindog2000 writes  |  about 8 years ago

smilindog2000 writes "Mike Liveright made news when he pledged, "I will purchase the $100 laptop at $300 but only if 100,000 others will too."

The deadline for his challenge is October 31, and so far, only 3,330 of us have signed up. Surely, thousands of us slashdoters would contribute $300 out of generosity. However, I'll do it for the rare privilege of owning an original edition One Laptop Per Child machine. Do other slashdoters want one of these beasties as badly as me? My inner child has fallen in love. You can sign up at http://www.pledgebank.com/100laptop."

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