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Comment Re: Clone is an exagerration (Score 1) 193

To top that off, many modern security-oriented chips implement HMAC and AES in hardware, which uses even less power and is orders of magnitude faster still. Doing one complete round of AES3 takes thousands of cycles on a CPU but can be collapsed into a single step process in hardware using a fraction of the silicon of a 32bits CPU.

Comment Re:RFID sleeve? (Score 1) 193

The RFID protocol has provisions to detect and mitigate collisions between multiple cards. If multiple cards try to respond at the same time, there is a random per-card delay before each card attempts to respond again and the reader can use that to enumerate cards that are within range until it finds the one it wants. Having multiple cards in range will merely slow down the enumeration process.

In my wallet, I simply put a stainless steel eraser stencil in the card pocket between my bank and credit cards.

Comment Re: Contactless payment ! (Score 1) 193

Being contact-less does not systematically mean that the card relinquishes all data. NFC/RFID is able to wirelessly supply power to support a secure microcontroller and two-way secure authentication/encryption to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. Companies simply chose not to implement it this way for some stupid reason.

Plain wireless ((EE)P)ROM is fine for anti-theft tags and basic identification but not wireless payments or other applications that require intrinsic trust.

Comment Re:Write-up is exactly right. It's a good thing. (Score 1) 197

There is lots of room for improvement left at the lower end of the phone/tablet market but phone and tablet manufacturers are trying to stretch their high-margin products for as long as possible so the lower-end is not going to see significantly improved products any time soon.

Take Samsung's Galaxy Tab A 7" launched a month ago: it is a slightly updated version of the Galaxy Tab 4 7" from 2014. Same 8GB eMMC, same 1.5GB of RAM, same 800p display, sidegraded (maybe) from a 1.2GHz Mediatek 1088 to some unspecified 1.3GHz 32bits SoC, updated cameras, lost dual-N support along the way and retails for $20-30 more.

There is less than $50 worth of parts, manufacturing and development costs separating $150 tablets and phones from $500+ models and most major manufacturers are trying very hard to keep the brakes on against the race to the bottom. Asus' $200 Zenfone 2 551KL is one example of how scary the $200 price point could become for premium device manufacturers.

Comment Re:More alarming than the "hack"... (Score 1) 346

Limiting the encryption people can have will be extremely difficult when there are multiple open-source encryption libraries available in the wild. Even without access to sources, there are also many papers describing the principles behind popular ciphers which people can use as a starting point for a design of their own.

Sounds like an unwinnable war to me. Even if the USA declares strong consumer encryption illegal and gets it removed from Google Play, iTunes, Amazon apps, etc., people who still want to use it can still sideload apps with strong encryption from alternate distribution channels.

Comment Re:How it used to be (Score 1) 551

Previously, computers became twice as fast every other year and software became noticeably more usable and more responsive from upgrading every two or three years.

Now though, CPU performance barely improved by only 50% over the past five years, most software still makes little to no use of extra cores or hardware threads and most people wouldn't notice much of a difference from upgrading. The market is approaching saturation with good-enough PCs that greatly outlive the upgrade cycle from the past and that is starting to hurt hardware manufacturers with declining PC sales.

The same trend is on the horizon for tablets and smartphones with sales growth slowing down as a growing number of people who want one already own one that is still good enough for their uses.

Comment Re:Really Sad? (Score 1) 551

10 years is a little too generous: my PC and laptop (P4 3000C/HT and Athlon 3000+) from 2004-2005 are unable to play h264 smoothly even at 480p. You need to look at 2007-2008 for entry-level PCs that can handle 1080p well. Fast forward one 3-4 years replacement cycle and that's where you see PC sales hit negative growth because most people feel no need to upgrade on a 2-4 years cycle anymore.

I currently own an i5-3470 which is nearly four years old and when Intel/AMD launch new CPUs, I yawn at how little the new chips bring to the table. At this rate, I may still be using the same i5 3-5 years from now. My previous PC had a Core2Duo E8400 in it and my main reason for the upgrade was because the Core2's performance was being murdered by swapping and with 8GB RAM (maxed), my only option was to upgrade. I built my i5 with 16GB RAM initially but quickly found out that even 16GB was still not quite enough to get rid of swapping.

Comment Re:Pet Peeve (Score 1) 147

The number of possible sites increases considerably when you add reversible pumps to the mix - many places in Europe use hydro dams with reversible pumps to help smooth out power from other sources: use the dams for extra power during peak hours and pump the water back up with excess production from other sources (including other dams which may have excess water level to ditch) during off-peak so the dam does not need to depend entirely on local rainfall and rivers.

This sort of dual-reservoir setup is one of few efficient ways of doing large-scale energy storage for semi-predictable energy sources like solar and wind where you otherwise have to use produced energy on-the-spot or lose it.

Comment Re:The 3 year cycle... (Score 1) 181

I dunno. It just thinks like the rate of change has slowed down a lot over the last decade. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

10+ years ago, performance was more than doubling every two years through a combination of higher clocks, die shrinks, extra transistors, fundamental breakthroughs in logic circuit designs, etc. Right now, mainstream CPUs are only ~60% faster than mainstream CPUs from four years ago because clocks are stuck near the 4GHz mark, die shrinks are becoming much slower in coming, nearly all fundamental breakthroughs have been discovered and modern hardware is already more powerful than what most people can be bothered with so there is a general lack of demand for significantly faster low-mid-range CPUs to make things worse.

Progress is slowing down and I can only imagine it getting worse in the future.

Comment Re:Go vertical! (Score 1) 168

But as you said yourself, CPUs (and GPUs) generate a lot more heat. They are already challenging enough on their own, imagine how hot the CPU or GPU at the middle of the stack would get with all that extra thermal resistance and heat added above and below it. As it is now, CPU manufacturers already have to inflate their die area just to fit all the micro-BGAs under the die and get the heat out.

Unless you find a way to teleport heat out from the middle and possibly bottom of the stack, stacking high-power chips will not work.

At best, you could stack memory and CPU/GPU for faster, wider and lower-power interconnects.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 191

For most of those issues, the solution is simple: if you forget cables and adapters so often that it is a major hassle, you might want to buy some spare cables and adapters to suit most scenarios. Type-A plugs are not going to disappear overnight (USB 3.0 Type-A maps directly to Type-C so Type-A on PCs, power adapters and anywhere else where shaving cubic millimeters does not matter is not going anywhere) so an A-to-C cable should have you covered in most cases where you cannot do C-to-C... assuming Type-C devices even give up Type-A power adapters.

My guess is the transition will be mostly from A-to-microB to A-to-C. Most people are not going to bother with microB-to-C adapters; they will just get a straight A-to-C cable.

Comment Re:Er, what? (Score 1) 191

The whole point of Type-C is to address the ugly kludge that is the current micro-USB3 connector that almost no phone or tablet adopted because the connector is huge - over twice as wide as micro-USB.

As for the EU and others with mandated micro-USB charging, I bet they will include Type-C as an acceptable or even preferred alternative in short enough order.

Comment Re:Mobile-only article; snort (Score 1) 96

Broadwell-H might be Intel's shipping name but the roadmap name has been Broadwell-K for about a year. That's why you see Broadwell-K used everywhere.

The fact that K-series chips (the enthusiast unlocked chips) will be from the Broadwell-K lineup likely contributed to most computer enthusiast sites choosing to stick with the old roadmap name instead of adopting Intel's new production codenames.

Comment Re:The Mill (Score 1) 125

The CPU side might be different but the GPU side remains the same and in GFXBench, the results will likely end up similar, give or take whatever they gain/lose on the CPU.

If Nvidia wanted to go all-out with this Transmetaism, the logical thing to do would be to put together a custom ART runtime that merges with their online recompiler/optimizer.

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