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Comment Re: Who needs this? (Score 1) 53

I almost bought 3 UniFi AC-pro units, until I discovered that they eliminated the ONE GODDAMN FEATURE from their AC models that made their hardware unique: Zero-Handoff.

Yeah, ZH was bad for networks with lots of users spread across a large area, but it was PERFECT for making 2.4GHz wifi usable by a small group of people in congested urban areas [by allowing you to put a 2.4ghz AP in every room with transparent hand-offs that ACTUALLY WORKED with Android devices & shout over your neighbors (~97% of Android devices STILL have fucked-up wpa-supplicants that won't switch APs unless the AP literally kicks them off.)

Comment Re: Who needs this? (Score 1) 53

Wireless HDMI. And maybe some future standard for PCIe and Thunderbolt over TCP/IP (the way we now have semi-standards for transporting USB, SCSI, and FireWire over TCP/IP (like almost every networked printserver appliance now sold).

At some point, it probably WILL become cheaper & easier to transmit insanely fast data without wires. At least, if you have fiber to each room, feeding a 60GHz access point with 20 feet of cat6 doing 10-gig ethernet. At that point, the wireless network is basically short-range de-facto open-air fiber [without the actual fiber].

Comment Re:Could be worse (Score 4, Insightful) 626

TSA confiscates nail clippers from pilots, too. The fact that there's a literal AXE hanging behind them in the cockpit (so they can smash the window and escape if the plane crashes and they somehow manage to survive long enough for the axe to be useful) has no effect on TSA's logic.

Comment Re:Factory reset before you get off the plane. (Score 5, Insightful) 626

I'd be more worried that they'd install NSA-grade bootloader-compromising malware capable of surviving anything short of JTAG-reflashing everything from the motherboard BIOS to the hard drive, videocard, and network card firmware, and turn my kick-ass laptop into one that mysteriously crashes for no apparent reason thereafter, even after I've reinstalled Windows multiple times (without even getting into the fact that it would be permanently compromised from a privacy and security standpoint). Think: Sony rootkit on steroids, with the nearly-unlimited of the US government and support from the legal system behind it (for the few who don't know, Sony's rootkit was distributed as a file that auto-ran if you inserted certain audio CDs to play them on your computer. It literally REFLASHED YOUR DRIVE'S FIRMWARE to disable functions used by ripping software).

The question isn't whether the NSA has malware like that. They absolutely do. Google "Advanced Persistent Threat" ("APT"), and know that it's common knowledge that the US, Russia, Britain, China, and Israel (plus countless more) ALL have state espionage agencies with the resources to develop and deploy APTs... and they actively do it every single day.

The NSA is full of self-perceived super-patriots who've willingly sacrificed every shred of their own privacy, and see nothing wrong with inflicting large-scale collateral damage to American citizens' computer hardware in the holy name of protecting the American homeland from any threat... major or minor, real or perceived. To their mindset, if deploying malware to the laptops of 14 million American citizens crossing the border in some given year causes Windows (or any network hardware that might be subsequently used by those laptops) to occasionally crash for no apparent reason thereafter, but enables DHS to prevent a single terrorist attack, it's 100% worth it, and as far as they're concerned, anyone who thinks otherwise is an evil commie terrorist-loving scumbag who hates America.

Comment Prototypes are ALWAYS huge & klunky (Score 4, Informative) 62

This story is insane. Prototypes of things involving emerging technology are NEVER, EVER, **EVER** tiny & compact.

In the early 1980s, pre-Commodore Amiga showed off their new computer's prototype at Comdex. It was a rack the size of a small refrigerator stuffed with handmade (wire-wrapped) logic boards. Two years later, it was an attractive-looking desktop computer with nifty open space underneath that was big enough to tuck the keyboard into.

The first version of Android was developed for a device that was a "phone" only in the sense that it could be used to make and receive phone calls, but was REALLY several cubic feet of prototype boards connected with ribbon cables and LITERAL duct tape.

It would be a HUGE mistake for MagicLeap to prematurely commit to a controller design just for the sake of early miniaturization. I'd rather see them implement the controller as an 802.11ad-connected semi-dumb remote frame buffer, and offload the back-end heavy lifting to a desktop PC that's as big as it needs to be to do its job and impress everyone.

The fact is, landfills around the world are littered with the corpses of prematurely-optimized hardware that ended up being inadequate for their intended purpose. That's why first-gen routers usually have more ram, faster processors, and better chipsets than second-gen routers... the first-gen ones are slightly over-engineered to give them headroom to handle more advanced capabilities, while the second-gen ones are pruned back to the bare minimum specs capable of running the first-gen model's firmware 9-15 months after release.

Comment Re:Usual useless fluff (Score 1) 139

Yeah, just TRY enabling QoS on a consumer-grade AP/Router. It'll KILL your throughput. Why? Because consumer-grade hardware doesn't have sufficiently-fast CPUs to actually inspect network traffic at gigabit speeds and make intelligent traffic-shaping decisions... they just implement "QoS" by arbitrarily limiting the bitrate from any one device to some fraction of what it thinks is the total link rate, exclude traffic on ports used by popular VoIP services, and call it a day.

With QoS enabled, I couldn't get more than ~8mbps to speedtest.net from any device on my LAN. With QoS disabled, I get 50mbps+ without breaking a sweat.

Comment Re: this happens in most mature markets (Score 1) 108

> They've become a smaller fish in a much larger pond.

More like a slightly-larger fish in an exponentially-larger ocean. On its least-profitable month during the Great Recession, Microsoft made more money than they did the entire year after Windows 95 came out. Most investors would be *delighted* to experience Microsoft-style failure.

Most of Microsoft's wounds have been either self-inflicted, or more like allergic reactions to imaginary problems -- dumping Windows Mobile *right* at the point when its capabilities stomped all over iOS and Android & it finally started to be "not ugly", self-mutilating Windows while consumed by "Tablet Fever", etc.

Comment Re: this has been done before.. (Score 1) 133

A few years ago, MSI *had* a line of modular "whitebox" laptops. So did Clevo. They've become rare, because discrete graphics are almost the only thing *left* to vary... and engineering the cooling to be adequate for high-powered GPUs without going totally overboard for low-powered GPUs is almost impossible.

Comment Re: Sneer today, gone tomorrow (Score 1) 133

The big question: can it at least do 5GHz 802.11n, or is it 2.4GHz-only? Most n-only implementations sold NOW are n-only BECAUSE they're 2.4GHz-only (by definition, 802.11ac REQUIRES 5GHz).

In single-family suburbia it might not matter (much), but in most urban residential areas, 2.4GHz wifi has become almost unusable.

I wish the FCC would buy back the upper half of the wi-fi channel centered on channel 14 via eminent domain, then allow wi-fi to use it ONLY as a 20MHz channel limited to ~5-20mW EIRP (or 1-4mW amp power, to reduce certification costs) to give urban users AT LEAST a single channel that's good enough for same-room use, but sufficiently power-limited for a single sheet of drywall to attenuate it by 20-50dB.

Comment Re: Nintend dropped the ball on surround sound, to (Score 1) 59

In 2006 there were amps that could SWITCH HDMI, but very few that could sit between the source and TV, extract the audio, AND spoof a 5.1-capable EDID. Go to avsforums.com & read the hundreds of angry forum posts from ~2008-2010 when Blu-Ray became real, and most people with "HDMI" receivers discovered that they had broken implementations that would NEVER be allowed to work as advertised.

Then, the HDMI people turned around & fucked everyone a SECOND time with HDCP 2.2. It's madness. They literally expect people to keep throwing away perfectly good amps every 2-4 years just to continue being allowed to have surround sound.

And I can assure you, prior to ~2013, almost NO amps supported 5.1 LPCM. They could do 7.1 DD+, 7.1 DTS+, and 2.0 LPCM, but NOT 5.1 LPCM.

Even NOW, support for 5.1 LPCM is a crapshoot.

Comment Nintend dropped the ball on surround sound, too. (Score 1) 59

Nintendo was too fucking cheap to license Dolby surround, so if your amp didn't have working HDMI audio input (at launch, most of the few HT receivers that supported HDMI had broken implementations) AND support 5.1 LPCM, no surround sound for you. It couldn't even fall back to fucking ProLogic. The goddamn GAMECUBE had better surround-sound support (via ProLogic) than 98% of Wii-U owners ever got to enjoy.

To wit: in 2012, most home theater amps only supported DDS and DTS via S/PDIF. Nintendo decided to go with a standard that most amps (even ones that were only a year or two old) couldn't use... then, or EVER.

Lack of DD5.1 is a major reason why I always get the xb360 version of any game even though I also have a (generally unloved) Wii-U... graphically, Wii-U is no better than xb360, and the 360 has DD 5.1 surround sound & better controllers.

The xb360 is ALSO why I'm able to enjoy DD 5.1 surround with Netflix & Amazon... it's the ONLY platform allows you to enjoy surround sound with streaming video services if your amp lacks hdmi and DD7.1+

Oh, and let's not forget that Wii-U has a Blu-Ray drive, but can't actually PLAY Blu-Ray movies because Nintendo was too cheap to license the nessary IP.

Comment Re: why do progressive glasses suck? Will these fi (Score 2) 120

Mass-production vs one-off customization. Even with robots and CAM to handle the grinding, it still takes more time and effort to grind two lens surfaces instead of just one... and more effort to calculate custom lenses instead of blindly grinding another standardized design on the other side.

That said, I think that competition from cheap online labs will force traditional retailers to reduce the cost of freeform lenses and market them more aggressively. If you can take your prescription and buy a mediocre pair of glasses for $15 online, why would you pay $50-100 for an equally-mediocre pair? On the other hand, if a mediocre pair is $15, but a freeform pair is $200, and the freeform pair is sufficiently better to feel like a HUGE improvement, people will pay the higher cost for the quality pair (even IF they buy a cheap mediocre pair online to keep as a spare pair). By (US) law, your "prescription" (sph, cyl, axis, prism) have to be provided on demand so you can use it elsewhere, but the measurements needed to make custom lenses for a pair of frames are still considered proprietary (and are pretty damn hard to measure without the proper equipment), so they aren't required to share them with you. Ten years from now, mediocre online glasses will be regarded the way drugstore reading glasses are now... something that's better than nothing if you're poor or need a spare, but blatantly inferior to "real" glasses.

As far as SV lenses for astigmatism go, the main advantage of two-sided freeform fully-custom over single-sided freeform semi-custom is aesthetics... with control over BOTH surfaces, you can neutralize things like magnification/minification (so your eyes don't look larger or smaller to observers seeing them through the lens), and adjust the base curve near the periphery to allow thinner lenses. If you only have full freedom over one surface, you can optimize for optics at the expense of thicker lenses, or thinner lenses at the cost of optic fidelity, and your ability to neutralize out magnification/minification will be severely constrained.

From what I've been read, single-surface semi-custom freeform is a HUGE step forward from single-surface lenses ground with traditional standard curves, but the difference between single- and double-surface freeform (for SV astigmatism) is more like the difference between 480p24 from a DVD and 720p24 from Blu-Ray... it's there, but it's not nearly as dramatic as the difference between nominal-480i60 from VHS and 480p24 from DVD.

I believe lenses marketed as "aspheric" are basically designed the way freeform lenses are (with raytracing), but are mass-produced in only a few permutations of sph+cyl... and usually, optimized for thinness over optics. Personally, I wouldn't bother with them... they cost almost as much as single-surface freeform lenses, and don't provide nearly as much optical improvement.

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