Why Bluetooth support (probably) took so long.

2021.09.17 00:40 alercah Why Bluetooth support (probably) took so long.

Hey friends!
I have seen a lot of understandable confusion and upset about Nintendo having taking so long to get Bluetooth headphone support on Switch. As well as a few good memes, but mostly people not understanding just how bad the situation is. Rather than writing a bunch of short replies, I figured I'd just write up one bigger post.
Now, just to be clear, I don't know for sure what the actual reason for the lack of headphone support was, or whether it could have been done faster. But I do know a bit about the most likely cause for much of the delay. Also everybody and their mother's already talked about bandwidth so I'm going to skip it.
I work at a certain colourful search company. For some reason, this company also sells phones and computers with Bluetooth in them. I don't work on anything related to that, but I've occasionally had the chance to talk to people who do. And I've learned that Bluetooth is absolutely awful if you're trying to sell hardware.
In order to support Bluetooth, you need a chipset, the actual physical chip that "speaks" Bluetooth. And you can't just have any old chipset. This chipset needs to be small and power-efficient—a portable console is not something like a traditional console or a car, which has plenty of both. You need to make sure you can get millions of them for your initial launch, and then millions more for years down the line. You can't take a risk on a small supplier that might go out of business in two years.
Pretty quickly you'll get it narrowed down to the big wireless suppliers that everyone uses. Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom (Nintendo's pick). Might be a few others but I think those are the biggest 3. Not many choices.
And the chips they sell don't do all you want. They all have various issues, might not support all the features you want, etc.
Because a chip maker is really selling you two things when you buy a chipset. First, the actual physical chip. Second, the firmware—the code that runs on the chip and actually implements the spec. You can—and probably will—write your own drivers to talk to the firmware, but the firmware is what actually controls the chip. And it's entirely proprietary, which causes problems.
A chip seller might say "well this chip should be able to do controllers, but we haven't written the firmware for it yet", and your only options are to say "pass" or "how much money do you want to write it?". You can't write it yourself, because you don't have the first clue how the chip works. You obviously need controllers, so this particular chip is probably a pass.
Once you actually have some prototype chips in hand, you find the bugs. All sorts of bugs where connections get dropped, latency gets too high, audio gets scratchy. Sometimes the spec is just plain wrong, and when they said to pass a 1 it should actually be a 0. Maybe sometimes the firmware crashes and you have to reboot the chip to fix it. Maybe you find a security hole. Yuck.
It turns out, the hardware manufacturers see themselves as in the business of selling hardware, not firmware. I can only assume that, to a chipset maker, firmware is an ugly side detail they'd rather not write. All the firmware from all the major chipset manufacturers is full of major bugs.
And who can blame them, really? Real-time embedded code, where you have to respond to things happening quickly in the real world with limited resources, is hard enough to begin with. But Bluetooth is a special hell. The current Bluetooth core spec is over 3000 pages long. That doesn't include any of the "profiles", which are the specific protocols for communication, like audio, input, files, etc, which add thousands more.
Getting this right is a bit of a challenge. And it's one that the hardware makers aren't eager to accept.
So when Nintendo set out to make the Switch, I can only imagine that they, like my coworkers have told me, were faced with a bunch of bad options for Bluetooth chips. And they had an obvious priority: pick the chip that makes the controllers work. You can launch a console without wireless keyboard support. You can launch a console without wireless headset support (Nintendo doesn't know what voice chat is anyway).
But you can't launch a console if the controllers don't work. That's just a non-starter.
So Nintendo presumably bought the chip that was best for their controllers. Spent all the effort they had available making sure that, even with 8 at once, the controllers worked "perfectly" (lol). Yelled at the supplier a lot to fix bugs in the firmware. And told themselves that they could maybe see about headphone support later.
Based on my coworkers' reports, it's hard enough to get chipset companies to fix the bugs in the functionality that's actually turned on. Like how my work laptop for years would just randomly have the bluetooth stop working until you rebooted. Or on my current laptop, where whenever I'm in a VC call and someone new joins, the little "ding" sound causes my wireless headphones to get confused between one-way and two-way audio so I can't hear anyone until I reboot them (really!). I imagine it's even harder to get them to add new features.
Because once the ink is try, the hardware company knows they're set for years. Even if the first contract was only for a few million units, Nintendo couldn't just go "you know what, next year, let's use a Qualcomm chip" if they stopped liking Broadcom. They'd have to redo all the engineering, all the testing, that went into getting the Broadcom chip working.
So what incentive did Broadcom have to fix the headphones?
TBQH, I wouldn't at all surprised if the real reason Nintendo was able to get it working now was because they were building the OLED model. It's no Switch Pro, but it still has redesigned internals with things in different places. That may have been an opportunity for Nintendo to say "Well if you don't have headphone support, I hear Intel had nice chips these days." And since they didn't change chipsets, we got support on the original models too.
But who knows?
tl;dr It's probably Broadcom's fault, and also Bluetooth is terrible.
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2021.09.17 00:40 ElizaWolf8 Looking for advice

A warning before I start that I mention some mental health issues and bullying and I don’t want to potentially trigger anyone!
Hi! I’m looking for some advice! I am in a place of questioning where I’m not sure if I should/could identify as a furry and be a part of the community.
I’ll admit I had a bit of an aversion to the community due to being heavily bullied throughout grade 9 under the accusation/assumption that I was a furry based on the fact that my favourite animal is a wolf and I have had both cats and dogs who I’ve loved and cherished very deeply as a part of my family. This led me to have some ingrained ideas/stereotypes that turned me away from the community. However, as of recently I have begun questioning that, as I’ve been exposed to more furry related content and began to get a bit more of an idea of what this community is like.
I, personally, am not interested in the, let’s call it, spicier side of the fandom, but I have no problems with its existence or those who enjoy it. For me, I’m just very interested in the style and the art (from what I’ve seen, you are all very talented).
I am an artist who specializes in cats due to my 7 year hyperfixation on Warriors (the book series by Erin Hunter) and I primarily draw OC’s for that series. I have attempted human anatomy, and I can do a mediocre job at it but it’s not great.
If I were to call myself a furry, I think I would do so by the definition presented by Moonkitti (a YouTube I follow). I checked her whole channel but couldn’t find the link, so to summarize, she identifies as a furry only in the sense that she enjoys creating animal characters based on people and drawing animal characters, which is how I think I would identify as well.
If I were to have a fursona outside of my Warriors OC, I think I would base them off of my first alter, Eliza. Eliza is a protector, a white wolf with bright blue eyes. She has a twin sister, Star, who is also a protector but works with different things and is much more quiet and timid.
I suppose what I’m asking is if this is valid and if I could be considered a furry while only taking interest/part in the art?
Sorry for making you read such a long post! I hope you all have wonderful days/nights!
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Hello,
Just saw this warning sent about 12hrs ago when I logged into IBKR via the web portal (something I hardly ever do...). I have had this (cash only) account since January and have only ever held GME and have NEVER had this message before, very suspicious timing!
I did not get this notification emailed to me which is very dodgy, why would I maintain a large cash balance (they require over 5% apparently) when I can use that to buy more GME!?!
Jokes on them though, now I'm going to finally get off my lazy ass and figure out how tf to transfer to computershare (I'm international...) because this is a major concern!
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