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Philip Ngai
Works at Commercial Real Estate
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lives in Fremont, CA 94539
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Philip Ngai

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I wanted to write a comment about how much this worries me but it seems they locked out new comments because they had already received so many negative ones.

https://blog.lastpass.com/2015/10/lastpass-joins-logmein.html/
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I don't use a password manager unless you consider a plain file and gpg aka gnupg a password manager.    If you really want a nice gui, have a look at http://keepass.info/ .   It is an open-source password manager so is unlikely to ever be sold.
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Philip Ngai

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fta:
My favorite iOS 9 feature is also its dumbest. Dumb, because it's so obvious that it should have been implemented years ago; favorite, because I no longer feel a burning sense of rage every time I try changing the case of a letter.

Maybe you’ve experienced the following frustration, iPhone users:

You’re tapping away on the keyboard when you make a typo. You back up, try to correct it, but the OS is smarter than you and automatically inserts a capital letter. So you backup again, hit the shift key but can’t remember if grey or white means caps are on, so you enter a loop of corrections until you finally get the desired case.

That’s why my favorite new iOS 9 feature is the magical and revolutionary mixed-case keyboard. A keyboard that finally switches between displaying capital and lowercase letters when hitting the shift key — something that Android keyboards and pretty much every other software keyboard has done for years. 

The iPhone keyboard, however, could only display all caps ever since it launched in 2007, relying instead upon a visual indicator on the shift key. 

But iOS 7 did away with the glowing identifier in a move to flatten the UI — something that exasperated the user experience and prompted CoDesign to ask, "Why can’t Jony Ive of all people design a goddamn usable shift key?"

Two years and two OS updates later, he finally did it.

http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/17/9343919/ios-9-keyboard-is-just-an-android-afterthought
My favorite iOS 9 feature is also its dumbest. Dumb, because it's so obvious that it should have been implemented years ago; favorite, because I no longer feel a burning sense of rage every time I...
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Philip Ngai

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I just upgraded from an unlocked $50 Microsoft Nokia Lumia 521 with 4G to an unlocked $50 Microsoft Nokia Lumia 635 with LTE. Both of them support T-Mobile's WiFi calling which does work well.

Both phones are a great value and I think upgrading to an LTE capable phone was worth it to have a phone for the short term.

My ideal phone would be a Google Nexus 5 class phone for around $300 but Google discontinued the first gen N5 and only the N6 is currently on the market, at a price much higher than I am willing to pay.
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Unlike cable with it's awful highly asymmetric (180 Mbit/s down/ 12 Mbit/s up) connection, I would regularly see LTE connections of 65 Mbit/s symmetrical.   What a breath of fresh air.   Alas, the towers are shared by far too many people for them to allow everyone to use them for normal internet connections.   They need to do something (like impose high per byte data fees.)
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fta:
Take a look at that BioShock Infinite chart, especially the Fury X results. It’s a power hog with its frame rate left unencumbered (in the low to mid 100s). The minimum amount of power drawn from the wall while running with FRTC off is higher than the maximum power draw with FRTC set to 55 fps. All told, it’s a healthy 34-percent reduction in wattage at the wall. Other high-frame-rate titles like Civilization: Beyond Earth and Dirt Rally exhibit similar—if a bit more minor—energy savings.

So with a simple Catalyst Control Center tweak that taps into Radeon 300 series graphics cards and AMD’s Fury lineup, we see a meaningful set of benefits. AMD’s Frame Rate Target Control makes your PC gaming sessions more enjoyable by turning down the ambient volume, dropping the degrees, saving you a few bucks at the wall, and likely extending the life of your video card by removing some unnecessary stress.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2942163/tested-amds-frame-rate-target-control-delivers-real-benefits-for-radeon-gamers.html#tk.rss_all
The new Frame Rate Target Control feature enabled in AMD's new Radeon graphics card has a big effect on your gaming PC's noise and power consumption.
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fta:
The F-15 is the most successful modern air-to-air fighter in existence and it has remained relevant and in production longer than the F-16 has. Sprey's idea that the F-15 Eagle is a big turkey stuffed with frivolous things like a "big radar" and two engines is laughable. The Eagle's massive radar aperture allows for it to detect, and in some cases to engage enemy fighters well before they can detect and engage the Eagle. This is a very big deal when it comes winning in beyond visual range air-to-air combat, and with the recent upgrade to the APG-63V3 AESA radar the F-15 packs the most powerful and capable fighter radar in operational service anywhere on the globe.

Regardless of its size, F-15's high thrust-to-weight ratio allows for it to compete with lighter fighters in the within-visual-range fight. This is especially true when tailored tactics are employed by the Eagle's pilots that exploit the big jet's (about the size of a tennis court) unique attributes when opposing fighters that were designed for high-g sustained turns in the lateral plane at lower altitudes, or low-speed high-alpha maneuvers. Additionally, the F-15's large size allows it to stay in the fight long after an F-16 or F/A-18 has hit bingo fuel state and returned to base. The F-15 also commonly carries double the payload of air-to-air missiles and ammunition than any light or medium weight fighter in US inventory.

Then there is the undeniable combat record of the Eagle, yet Mr. Sprey seems to think that the F-15 is a loser even after four decades of incredible success, not to mention the fact that it has never been bested in air-to-air combat and retains a kill ratio of 105.5 to 0. This denial of clear historical reality is a startling indication that Mr. Sprey may be living in the 1970s when it comes to air-combat doctrine, or maybe he simply does not want to admit that his stripped down, all super-maneuverable light-weight visual fighters or nothing initiative was not the right path for America's air combat forces after all.

The fact is that the F-16, the same aircraft that Mr. Sprey is said to have had such a great input into during its genesis, has gained thousands of pounds in avionics, targeting pods, fuel tanks and other "frivolous junk" continuously since its introduction into service and some see this as a testament to how inaccurate his light-weight fighter prophesies of the 1970s were.

Mr. Sprey's views are questionable considering that the F-15 remains more deadly than ever even after forty years of continuous service in the USAF, not to mention that its even more complicated and heavy brother, the F-15E Strike Eagle, is the most all-around useful machine that the USAF has in its inventory. Additionally, the F-15 Strike Eagle derivatives are still thought of as one of the top-of-the-line fighter aircraft available on the world market today.

Bottom-line, the idea that Mr. Sprey still thinks the F-15 is a dog when every metric and battle has proven him otherwise is more indicative of a character flaw than an argumentative one. 

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/pierre-spreys-anti-f-35-diatribe-is-half-brilliant-and-1592445665
A video is making its way around the net right now that featuring an interview with F-16 co-designer and king of the 1970's era "Fighter Mafia," Pierre Sprey. In it he slams the F-35 in almost every way possible. Sadly, about half of what he says is totally relevant, the other half is totally bullshit.
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The Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) system, designed and developed exclusively by Northrop Grumman for the Lockheed Martin F-35, is the most advanced integrated avionics system ever engineered.

Software-Defined Radio Technology

CNI has evolved through a 30-year collaboration between Northrop Grumman and the government — an unprecedented course of development of software-defined radio (SDR) technology.

SDR uses reconfigurable RF hardware and computer processors to run software that produces a desired waveform.

By sharing common power, RF hardware and computer processors, the avionics system becomes “integrated” CNI. SDR arms the F-35 pilot with multiple mission capabilities engineered for seamless low-latency transition from one mission phase to the next. The current configuration consists of 10 channels with more than 40 waveforms and 30 conformal antennas, supports multilevel security and is JTRS compatible.
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Philip Ngai

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 I finally got an invite to Google's Project Fi mobile phone service and my SIM is on its way.
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fta: From the IDF 2015 stage, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich briefly touched on the revolutionary 3D Xpoint technology co-developed by Intel and Micron. The memory/storage combination tech, which promises extraordinary performance leaps over existing NAND technology, will launch in 2016 under the brand "Intel Optane Technology."

We could have guessed on the timeline, but BK (as he is affectionately called) also stated that Xpoint will be coming across all manner of platforms, from the data center all the way down to ultrabooks.

This is a big deal because it means that the paradigm of fast, low-capacity memory placed next to the CPU paired with slow, high-capacity storage connected to the motherboards, may not be long for this world. (BK called this a "bottleneck.") To say that such an implementation would rock the PC industry is an understatement.

We've already written a lengthy announcement about 3D Xpoint, so for a full primer visit our article here, but the bite-sized takeaway of the new tech's capabilities boil down to:

    -1000x faster than NAND

    -1000x the endurance of NAND

    -10x the density of DRAM

Xpoint -- er, Intel Optane Technology -- will be available in both DIMM and SSD form factors. The DIMMs will be for Xeon system memory, presaging its use as an in-memory solution for applications like big data.
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Philip Ngai

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Vouchers make it easier to put your kids in a "good" school. Vouchers aren't required to do so. Anyone can do it the traditional way: move into the right attendance area.

But the reason schools are good is because the parents value education enough to do anything required. Not because the buildings are magic or the teachers are that much better. We have tried sending "good" teachers to "bad" schools many times. It doesn't work. We have tried spending very large amounts of money on buildings and Ipads. It doesn't work.

What does work is parents who will do what it takes. Including moving.

That first required act is the big filter. It is associated with all of the other required characteristics of families that make good schools like doing homework, respecting teachers, etc.

When you make it easy to enter a "good" school, you destroy the factor that separates the good schools from the bad schools and you damage everyone without making anyone better off.

There is no win/win situation. You can not put the kids from bad schools into good schools and expect the kids to get better. What they will do is ruin the education of the kids in the good schools.

Just one disrespectful and disruptive student in a classroom can affect every student in the classroom, especially if his mother is the same (and they usually are).

Some people object and say the poor people can not afford to move into good school districts. This is not true. Would an Asian Tiger mom refuse to move if her child could get a better education? Of course not. What the AT Moms do is line up to buy or rent a house in the right school district as soon as the home goes on the market.

There is a house literally across the street from me that sold in 2 weeks for $1000 per square foot. It is 60 years old and never updated. Why would anyone pay this price? The schools.

After the AT Moms move in, they line up to register their child on the morning of the first day of registration to be sure their children get in.

They sign up for after school tutoring because they know it's not the school that teaches. The school is merely a chance to put good grades on a transcript. The family is responsible for educating the child. It is this focus and passion that results in well educated children.

You don't just drop off your child at the magic teaching building every day and fulfill your obligations. That's the attitude that leads to uneducated children.
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This makes sense to me. 
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Philip Ngai

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 I bought a Toshiba Satellite S55t-B5152 Signature Edition Laptop. The main feature I was looking for was a 1920x1080 resolution display and this seemed to be the lowest priced laptop with such a display.

I did however want to upgrade it from a HDD to an SSD. There is no documentation from Toshiba that shows you how to do this. There is no door you can easily remove to access the HDD. You have to remove all 11 screws from the back panel and then carefully pry all the tabs off. This is not easy. It helps to remove the battery and start prying from there. Still there is a good chance of breaking a couple of tabs.

Fortunately, a few broken tabs doesn't matter much, the screws do a decent job of keeping the back panel on with some broken tabs.
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fta:
Having analyzed 1,400 air-to-air engagements between 1965 and 2002, Stillion concluded that sensors and missiles are more important than speed and maneuverability.

If a plane — perhaps with some drones riding shotgun—could spot its enemies far away and hit them with overwhelming numbers of far-flying missiles, it wouldn’t matter how slow and sluggish that plane was. Especially if its low speed and lack of agility bought design space for those powerful sensors and communications and huge weapons load.

Stillion proposed an air-to-air alternative to the F-35 and other tradition fighters — a team composed of “several long-range unmanned combat air systems optimized to perform as sensor platforms with modest aerial weapon payloads that are coordinated by a human crew on board a stealthy bomber-size aircraft with a robust sensor suite.”

This “sixth-generation” fighter “may even be a modified version of a bomber airframe or the same aircraft with its payload optimized for the air-to-air mission,” Stillion added. 

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2015/07/05/one_analyst_predicted_the_f-35s_dogfight_failure_108169.html
During mock dogfights over the Pacific Ocean in January, a U.S. Air Force F-35 stealth fighter struggled to get a clean gun or missile shot at a 1980s-vintage F-16D, according to an official...
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Philip Ngai

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Note that a fifth-generation F-35 with helmet-mounted cueing system from Day 1 connected to its built-in DAS/EOTS sensors (which no other aircraft have) will have the greatest advantage when shooting AIM-9X Sidewinder high off-boresight missiles.

fta:
Even after the US Air Force's fleet of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air superiority fighters starts receiving full Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder high off-boresight missile capability in 2017, the aircraft needs a helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS) to use the weapon to its full potential.

"We've been screaming for years that the F-22 needs to have the capability fielded, and fast," the Raptor pilot says. "Once the jets transitions from BVR [beyond visual range] to WVR [within visual range] with only AIM-9M-9s it is hugely vulnerable."

The huge advantage offered by such a high off-boresight missile in combination with a HMCS may give a third or fourth-generation fighter a decided edge over the fifth-generation Raptor (with AIM-9Ms) in a visual range encounter.
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The jitter etc can be fixed.   The problem that can't be fixed easily is that the signals to the eye and inner ear need to be in perfect sync both in terms of timing and gain to prevent that queasy feeling.   That is going to be harder to get right.  
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  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Electrical Engineering
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  • Commercial Real Estate
    General Manager, 2011 - present
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
    Technical Leader, 1998 - 2011
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Fremont, CA 94539
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