* Posts by Preston Crow

14 posts • joined 7 Oct 2008

Tesla 'API crashes' after update, angry rich bods complain

Preston Crow

Annoying but not unexpected

We've seen issues like this several times over the past few years. Every Tesla owner should be aware that relying on the app to unlock and start the car isn't safe. If the car is in a spot that doesn't have coverage, you're out of luck. If the backend servers have problems, you're out of luck. If AT&T messes things up, you're out of luck. All of those have happened.

What most owners agree on is that the app should be able to use Bluetooth to talk to the car directly if you're right outside it.

Yes, it is annoying when you have software glitches, and doubly so when they are from a very expensive purchase. Tesla has had more than its share of glitches, but on the other hand, Tesla is much more aggressive about rolling out updates that benefit owners, so taken as a whole, they're still doing it right.

Oi! Linux users! Want some really insecure closed-source software?

Preston Crow

I would be happy if they just released Acrobat Reader recompiled as a 64-bit application. I would even prefer a statically linked version of the old one. It's the only 32-bit application on my system. Without it, all that multilib junk goes away.

Reg probe bombshell: How we HACKED mobile voicemail without a PIN

Preston Crow

Google Voice Lite

At least in the US, you don't have to use the voice mail provided by your carrier. I've set mine to use Google Voice Lite (essentially just the voice mail part of Google Voice). This gives me free speech-to-text, which Verizon decided to charge extra for. It also means that it's protected by my Google password (which my phone app has saved, so I'm out of luck if I lose my phone). Good luck hacking it without guessing my password.

Unfortunately, Google Voice is only available in the USA right now, so you need to find some similar service elsewhere. (I hope they'll expand it, but they seem to be instead cutting it back and integrating it with Hangouts, much to the dismay of those who use an adapter to get free home phone service through them.)

IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

Preston Crow

Re: Floppy drives

No, 360K was DSDD. I grew up with SSSD (single-sided, single-density) disks on my Atari 800, which were 90K, and you could flip them to use 90K on the other side. (Atari wanted to do double density, but it wasn't reliable enough in 1979.) Double-sided or double density would get you to 180K, and both gave you 360K. Eventually they came out with "high density" 1.2M drives that were also double-sided. I've never seen a PC with 5.25" drives that were anything other than 360K or 1.2M. I think by the time the PC debuted, double density was just as cheap to manufacture, so single density was dead.

A little research:


Apparently the PC initially only had single-sided double-density disks that were 160K, though software later updated them to format with extra sectors to 180K. Double-sided drives (initially 320K, later 360K with the same update) came out the next year.

The 3.5" drives were mostly either 720K or 1.44M. The Mac version used variable-speed rotation to squeeze 800K on an otherwise 720K disk, which made the older disks incompatible with newer drives. We ran into that when we got our first iMac--the 800K floppies for Civilization wouldn't work with any USB drives.

Massive PC shortages to hit this Xmas

Preston Crow

Memory prices to drop

One thing that will be interesting are the secondary impacts of the drive shortage. As PC sales drop due to shortages or increased prices for hard drives, we can expect a surplus of other components. For non-comodities, such as CPUs, this will have little impact on the price, but for memory, this could drive the price down.

I doubt that memory makers are flexible enough to shift production over to flash fast enough to take advantage of the increased demand for alternatives to hard drives and at the same time avoid a glut in the DRAM market.

NASA chuffed with super-accurate new map of universe

Preston Crow

Apparent position, not actual position

It sounds like this is a map based on the apparent position of the quasars relative to Earth, not their real position, In other words, it's their locations as of when the light hitting Earth now left them. Until we start navigating with FTL drives or wandering around in a TARDIS, that will probably be good enough.

Microsoft names Windows Mobile 6.5 release date

Preston Crow


Will this run all phones that currently have WM6, or did they raise the requirements?

I might be willing to do an OS upgrade to get a better browser, which might postpone my jumping to a Google or Apple phone.

On2 investors bemoan 'unfair' Google buyout

Preston Crow

Similar Lawsuits

This sounds a lot like the lawsuit that Data Domain investors filed when their board didn't try to get a bid from EMC before agreeing to the NetApp deal, except in that case, there plainly was another party interested in purchasing the company, while it's less clear here, making it harder to claim specific damages.

Firefox's little cousin pops out of den

Preston Crow

Failed on my phone

I installed it on my T-Mobile Dash (HTC Excaliber, I think). It comes up and just sits there. I'm not sure if it's because the phone doesn't have enough RAM, or if Fennec can't handle a non-touch screen phone.

It's a shame, since Internet Explorer Mobile is useless on most sites.

Israelis develop 'safe' plutonium: good for power, bad for weapons

Preston Crow

Factoring problem

This sounds like a chemical version of the traditional mathematical problem of factoring. It's much easier to put two things together than to take them apart. That's the basic concept behind RSA encryption. It's also the same idea here. It's nice to see the same concept showing up in multiple realms.

Powermat cuts ties with cabled power

Preston Crow


How efficient is this technology? I hooked up my Kill-A-Watt to my cell phone charger, and it reports 0 watts when the phone isn't connected, and between 1 and 2 watts when it is. That said, I do use a similar system for recharging my Wii controllers, so this isn't some theoretical technology, just another company pushing something that already exists. And the good news is that if it takes off, everything needed to support it on the device will be built-in in the future. So given that they don't talk about efficiency, I assume there's a big downside there.

Walmart's Jesus Phone no better, no worse

Preston Crow

Yes, but not at Walmart

"What, don't progressives, libertarians, and Greens also want to "Save money" and "Live better"?"

Yes, but not at Walmart. Progressives and friends shop at Target, the Walmart for people who don't want to shop at Walmart.

Taliban extends mobile shutdown order

Preston Crow

A New Network

Perhaps the coalition should set up their own network.

EU battery rule may zap iPhone, blow away MacBook Air

Preston Crow

Many devices need this.

I had an electric hedge trimmer that became useless when the battery stopped holding a charge. I've had electric shavers with the same problem. This is not a new problem.


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