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Stephen Fry and DVD Jon Back USB Sniffer Project

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the mainstream-hacking dept.

Hardware Hacking 126

An anonymous reader writes "bushing and pytey of the iPhone DevTeam and Team Twiizers have created a Kickstarter project to fund the build of an open-source/open-hardware high-speed USB protocol analyzer. The board features a high-speed USB 2.0 sniffer that will help with the reverse engineering of proprietary USB hardware. The project has gained the backing of two high-profile individuals: Jon Lech Johansen (DVD Jon), and actor and comedian Stephen Fry."

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126 comments

Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (5, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350246)

Stephen Fry also did a video for the GNU project's 25th birthday:

http://www.gnu.org/fry/ [gnu.org] "Freedom Fry"

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350262)

Stephen fry also uses the iphone and loves it, not exactly supporting freedom of any kind there...

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350276)

Stephen Fry is an old man enjoying popularity with the young crowd by latching himself on to things he doesn't really understand.

The minute he is criticised or meets some opposition to his actions he will storm off in a pathetic strop.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350368)

Stephen Fry is an old man enjoying popularity with the young crowd by latching himself on to things he doesn't really understand.

The minute he is criticised or meets some opposition to his actions he will storm off in a pathetic strop.

That reminds me... am I the only person left who can see another car's headlights off in the distance and TURN MY FUCKING BRIGHTS OFF before I blind the other driver? I think I am. Everybody else waits until they're right near you, acts surprised to see you even though your lights are visible from a few miles away and can be seen around curves, blinds you, then turns down their brights. Idiots.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350450)

You must live in New Mexico. The state sport seems to be purchasing the brightest fucking headlights on Earth, then burning the retinas of all oncoming drivers.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Informative)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350482)

Stephen Fry is an old man enjoying popularity with the young crowd by latching himself on to things he doesn't really understand.

The minute he is criticised or meets some opposition to his actions he will storm off in a pathetic strop.

You know this for fact? irrespective of what people might think of Fry's personality, he is very far from dim. It would not surprise me that he has a pretty decent handle on what he is prepared to discuss. IANAG (geriatric), even so I think that some of the biggest and most revered names in FOSS and such like are well and truly in Fry's age group. That said, he does strop.

Also his father (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350812)

Fry owes a lot to his father, who ran a company that made electronic controls from a factory in the grounds of their house in Norfolk. Fry's father was still writing code, the last I heard.

Mind you, there's not much else to do in Norfolk.

Computer literacy runs in the family.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (5, Informative)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350490)

You're either a troll, or are ignorant. I saw a speech he gave a few years ago that was broadcast on BBC Parliament (or whatever it's called) on software freedom, DRM, format-shifting, P2P etc and he completely grokked the issues. He's not "just an old man", or "just a celebrity", he's actually incredibly fucking astute. He's a high-profile, highly intelligent celebrity, who actually knows what he's talking about, and exactly the kind of person people in power might actually listen to, as opposed to some AC on /. or "some beardy yank". tl;dr: He shares "our views" and communicates at a level that most British politicians respect and understand. This is a Good Thing.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350802)

You're right. I find it strange that people who don't want to be stereotyped (such as "he's just a geek") stereotype other people so readily ("he's just a comedian"). News at 11: People sometimes have more than one interest!

Asia Carrera, in addition to being a porn star, was at one time ranked number one in Unreal Tournament in the world. Crack all the jokes you like, but when was the last time you made millions and were ranked number one at a video game when it was at the top of its popularity?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350808)

Fry did start promoting DAB radio, which for people outside the UK is a digital radio system that uses outdated technology (poor choice of codec) where the broadcasters simply compress the life out of their audio to jam more channels in, thus ruining the audio and spoiling the whole friggin point of digital radio.

so, whilst he might be clueful, he can still be a sell-out.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351044)

Or maybe he just got something wrong. Why does he have to be a sell out?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351104)

Ive only ever seen his work as an actor and you can readily tell he is of above average intelligence.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351136)

Indeed, unlike Woz who seems more interested in playing pranks on people.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351464)

"He's a high-profile, highly intelligent celebrity...

Seconded. If you're familiar with the American TV show "House" then your familiar with another brilliant British actor and Fry friend and Blackadder alum Hugh Laurie, who has nothing but high praise for Fry. Fry I thought was also brilliant in the flawed "V for Vendetta" film adaptation of the great graphic novel. He a charming and intelligent actor and if he stands behind something I can buy into it.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34353056)

It isn't a gigantic surprise, actually. Outside of pure slapstick/dick-jokes circles, verbal comedy is actually a reasonably intellectually demanding flavor of entertainment-celebrity-dom. You essentially have to constantly (depending on the precise flavor) be either making concise-but-incisive observations about things that your audience knows about(so your jokes don't go right over their heads); but in a way that they haven't already thought of(so you don't merely bore them), and your phrasing has to be fast, cutting, and funny, without the luxury enjoyed by academic prose of being using a carpet bombing, rather than a scalpel, to examine the subject.

I suspect that a reasonable number of comedians either just don't much care about that particular subject, or are in favor of whatever keeps their royalties highest; but comedians as a class are, in all likelihood, among the best places in the entertainment world to look for clear-thinking, incisive individuals who can cut through verbal fluff and ambient groupthink with clarity, precision, and enough speed to be amusing rather than agonizing.

It's not for nothing, for instance, that comedians have basically replaced "news" anchors as the best source of national-audience television interviews in the United States. The fact that Frye cares about techie-interest stuff, rather than some other thing, is a fluke of person or biography; but I'd be pretty surprised to hear of any unincisive dullards making it beyond the lowest or crassest circles of the comedy world. Good verbal comedy is hard. Good verbal comedy on your feet, reacting without prep time, is harder...

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350570)

Yep. when all those ignorant young people discover that Fry is actually intelligent, educated and talented, they'll drop him like a hot potato and go back to pirating videos of anaemic pop songs performed by anorexic, Auto-tuned[tm] teen fashion models.

If you want to know the truth, look at the calendar. People who were born more than ten years apart have nothing to say to each other. Koko Taylor or Billie Holiday have nothing to offer that fashion model pop star, because they belong to an era before iTunes. The Blues is dead; long live the Blues. And from the other side of the coin, there's no possibility of any *new* artists making anything worthy paying attention to. We might as well stop producing new culture, and content ourselves with trading old vinyl 78s.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (4, Interesting)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350604)

actually Stephen Fry is extremely intelligent and computer literate.

he IS deffo a mac fanboi however, saying he doesn't understand just shows your complete ignorance of the man.

For example, Emma thompson's laptop went tits up and she thought the script for the movie she had written was all but lost. she called stephen and asked his help....

he managed to recover the script and everything else on the macbook that emma thought she had lost.

so check the Production section of sense and sensinility wiki page for this little snippet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Sensibility_(film) [wikipedia.org]

On an episode of the popular quiz show QI, Emma Thompson revealed that she lost the screenplay on her faulty computer. When a repairman could not retrieve the file, she took the computer in a taxi to friend Stephen Fry, who, along with flatmate Hugh Laurie, spent seven hours retrieving the missing file.

personally i am not a mac fan either however stephen fry does like their stuff and it was the writer Dougles Adams that got him into apple products

he has also been dealing with mental health issues and WINNING.. he's not the type to run off in a strop....

perhaps you should not comment on subjects that YOU can't understand or people you blatantly know nothing about eh?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351716)

Wow, what on earth prompted all this hero worship? Unless that's your anecdote, you who worked on the production of sense and sensibility, seriously, drop it. How are his mental health issues of _any_ relevance to this discussion?

I wouldn't buy an iphone because it's positive feedback to apple that i approve of what they're doing, even if i wanted to jailbreak it afterwards, apple doesn't care all that much, compared with me buying a competing device it's still a win.
Is this a particularly complex train of thought that other people are unable to comprehend?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Informative)

mr_bubb (1171001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351946)

And, don't forget, the trio of Fry/Laurie/Thompson were also on "The Young Ones". I believe that trumps just about any other goddamn thing.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350622)

I am quite certain that Stephen Fry is more of a techie than you would imagine. e.g. I remember a story about how he retrieved/rescued a script after a fellow writer lost it due to the computer crashing. He's probably the fix-it guy within his circle :-)

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350682)

Ah like the "old men" that invented computing as we know it? Um, Like JCR Licklider?

You know, the guy who was 45 in 1960 [wikipedia.org] , when he wrote about needing billions of bits [mit.edu] in computers? IN 1960!??

Yes, yes, I know, history is not important around here, especially when it doesn't involve rockets or space. Hell, even then no one cares.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351164)

The better question is why other people didn't see that coming. I mean the whole point of computing earlier on was to get through a set of data more quickly than one could manually do it. And to keep going longer as well. Both of which point to larger amounts of memory and disk space being needed.

Given the amount of scientific discovery at the time it seems a bit odd to not think there was a huge need in the future.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351518)

I think it's easy to say that in an era of essentially free computing hardware. Dig deeper and you'll see that it *was* obvious to many people that computers were useful, it's just that they were too large, expensive and cantankerous at first.

BTW, I'm glad you see that computers started because of "to get through a set of data more quickly than one could manually do it.", and *not* the insane viewpoint that we only have computers because of the space race of the 1960s. We could do the space race *because* we ALREADY had computers, not the other way around!

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Interesting)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350786)

If I remember correctly he's a manic depressive, so possibly the odd strop is not unreasonable. Also given the propensity for Slashdotters to be a bit odd, I don't think it's entirely fair to put him down for some behavioural quirks, many of which are less serious than those exhibited by stereotypical computer types.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Interesting)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350916)

I think his illness is referred to as "bipolar disease" which is related to manic depression but not the same.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351670)

Sorry matey, but they're both the same.

I believe he doesn't get enough of the manic side of things, only the depressive. That's gotta suck even more.

Spike Milligan also suffered from it, as do many comedians.

Remember he's a convicted criminal too, kids.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Interesting)

chartreuse (16508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34352790)

Remember he's a convicted criminal too, kids.

Yes, credit card fraud when he was 17 (three months' sentence), thirty-five years ago. Then he went to Cambridge, joined the Footlights, and began a brilliant career. (This was all covered in the BBC's celebration of Fry and Hugh Laurie's work just last Wednesday.)

From Wikipedia: "In December 2006 he was ranked sixth for the BBC's Top Living Icon Award, was featured on The Culture Show, and was voted most intelligent man on television by readers of Radio Times. [...] BBC Four dedicated two nights of programming to Fry on 17 and 18 August 2007, in celebration of his 50th birthday. The first night, comprising programs featuring Fry, began with a sixty-minute documentary entitled Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out. The second night was composed of programs selected by Fry, as well as a 60-minute interview with Mark Lawson and a half-hour special, Stephen Fry: Guilty Pleasures. Stephen Fry Weekend proved such a ratings hit for BBC Four that it was repeated on BBC Two on 16 and 17 of that September."

So if anything you're implying an early conviction is a good career move. But I'm sure you've never done anything illegal in your famously-productive life. What kind of example does that set for the kids? Go out and get convicted today!

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34352922)

"It only takes a room of Americans for the English and Australians to realise how much we have in common." - Stephen Fry

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350290)

Right, because no matter how much good he does for a movement, if he ever fails to support it in even the smallest thing, we should burn him at the stake. /sarcasm

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1, Troll)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350752)

Sometimes there are second considerations.

Smartphones in the US were painfully abysmal before the iPhone. Every phone I owned before the iPhone deserved to be immediately flushed down a toilet. And I owned most of them. The stuff was GOD AWFUL. I remember using a friend's Nokia which was essentially a flip-out camera with a phone embedded into it, and it took 1/3rd of an hour of searching and 7 menu clicks to take a photo.

The iPhone advanced phone interfaces and technology tremendously. Tremendously. We're in a far better phone world because of it. Is it horribly locked down? Definitely. But it also works really well. Sometimes making the world an actual better place is enough, even if you're not vegan while doing it.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351116)

I remember using a friend's Nokia which was essentially a flip-out camera with a phone embedded into it, and it took 1/3rd of an hour of searching and 7 menu clicks to take a photo.

What were you using the emacs interface?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351162)

The iPhone advanced phone interfaces and technology tremendously

Citation needed.

Seriously. The iPhone is a mash-up. It didn't advance anything except the fashion industry.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351458)

Smartphones were way better in Europe where he is from

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351102)

Don't be silly, I'm pretty sure that he doesn't weigh the same as a duck so...

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350302)

Well, apart from the freedom to choose a locked down device if you want one.

Unless, of course, you're advocating forcing people to use devices that give them freedom?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350334)

It's just his tendency to be vocal about how awesome he feels the iphone is, possibly failing completely to understand the restrictions that the project mention in TFA is trying to work around. During an episode of "Last chance to see" we saw stephen making quite a fuss and handing in about four of the bloody things before being allowed to visit the kakapo, what an incredibly sad individual.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

Hazelfield (1557317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34352224)

Well, sometimes the "freedom to choose less freedom" isn't a good option to have. Chances are it becomes more or less mandatory.

Let's say for example that my employer wants to install surveillance cameras to see how well we're working. I'd say "no way" and start working for another company. But when that company starts doing the same thing, and then the next, then soon I might run out of jobs to apply for. This way a pressure is created to accept measures you're uncomfortable with even though it's still voluntary on paper. Some things just shouldn't be allowed, even if both parties agree on it.

(OK, so a locked-down music player may not be the end of the world, but you get my point.)

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34352782)

surveillance cameras

Replace with that with "pre-employment drug testing" and your example would be a case of something that has already happened. When the stock boy at Target must pass a drug test to get a job (a job so mind-numbing that you practically need to smoke a dube to unwind after work), all semblance of freedom has gone out the window.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350318)

The capitalist pig probably also drives a non-opensource car.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350632)

He drives a London black cab.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351804)

You must be one of the poorer capitalist pigs in this city. The rest of us have chauffeur driven limousines....

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350330)

> Stephen fry also uses the iphone and loves it

Yup. He loses a some RMS points for that. It's still cool that he made a birthday video for GNU.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350408)

He practically endorses the iphone, which is an extremely proprietary and locked down device, mixed messages much? People may get the impression that fry actually understands and believes in the things he's saying during that video, so when he then goes on to recommend the awesome iphone people are going to imagine that it's a device that someone with such concerns and convictions would approve of...

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1, Offtopic)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351130)

Its also the first widely popular smartphone that 'jsut works' The iPhone IS an incredible piece of hardware/software. Its not as open as we would like, but that doesnt mean its not a VERY capable device. I carried a windows phone for 4 years. I couldnt even install ACROBAT on it without failing.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350484)

Well since RMS is a egotastical tit that would rather force all things GNU down your throat, instead of giving you the freedom to decide, I don't see a problem with losing points.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350528)

egotistical*

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350778)

egotistical*

Actually, I think "egotastical" is interesting, as in "ego fantastic".

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350806)

My iPhone (haha) auto-corrected to egotastical.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351060)

My iPhone (haha) auto-corrected to egotastical.

Well, sure, only in that case it's not referring to RMS, but to Steve Jobs.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (2, Insightful)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350376)

nobody is perfect :-)
personally I do not like the iPhone for all kinds or reasons, but although my teen son accepted one as a gift from his granfather I did not decide to disown him :-)

and "you" probably drive a car with proprietary "car"matics, "eeeviill"...

Let's than Stephen Fry for what support he gives, and try to explain issues to anybody who'd listen when possible..

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350538)

Stephen Fry has the kind of following that allows him to criticise the less neat features of that iphone and get these concerns out to a wide audience, with the potential to cause a headache for apple and maybe even force some kind of cooperation/change. Does he use his fame in this way? Does Fry pay for his own apple devices?

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350664)

He buys rather a lot of apple things when he is in his manic state. he said he has about 10 ipods or so and he feels lucky to have the type of money to back his needs.

Go watch Stephen Fry: Secret life of the Manic Depressive, if you care to know more.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351198)

I'll have to rewatch it for the bit where he explains that he never receives freebies for tweeting, must have missed that the first time around.
On a serious note, it's an interesting documentary, well worth a watch, as was HIV and me, both show the fry i prefer over the pompous and overexposed version beloved of quizcom fans and twits.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350740)

To be fair he was pretty keen on Android and Windows Mobile 7. He had a windows mobile 7 phone before they got released to the general public.

  I would be surprised if he actually pays for all of the devices he tweets about.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350472)

But then, considering freedom good, and considering high quality hardware and software good are not mutually exclusive. Nor are acknowledging that sometimes you have to sacrifice one for the other.

It's entirely possible to like both apple products, and open things.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350732)

If you consider the slight convenience advantage of the iphone worth sacrificing the freedom of an open system, you don't care a lot about freedom. Everyone will support freedom when doing so doesn't cost them anything.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350864)

Alternatively, you value freedom, but don't value it as much as you value actually being able to do things. The world is not a black and white place.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351170)

Sure, but the difference between an iphone and similar open platforms is pretty minor. We're not talking life or death here, nor the difference between being employed or not. There's what, a slightly smoother general "experience", and a handful of games that are iphone-only. As I say (above post was accidentally anonymous), you can't care much about freedom if that's enough to give it up for.

Re:Stephen Fry's previous good stuff: gnu bday (1)

commrade (79346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351836)

Freedom *is* the ability to do things. A phone that I can compile a kernel module for lets me do a lot more things than one where I may purchase pre-approved entertainment centric apps.

1700s: "Give me freedom or give me death!"

2000s: "Give me freedom or... oooh, is that an iPhone?"

/me slowly turns into RMS.

so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350314)

Like I care when hollywood actresses weigh in on foreign policy.... I don't care when a comedian endorses a software/hardware project.

Re:so? (4, Interesting)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350582)

He's not just a comedian though is he? Most actresses know less about foreign policy than Sarah Palin, whereas Stephen Fry knows a lot about open-ness, DRM and the importance of being able to play a DVD on the OS of your choice. Should we ignore anything Brian May has to say on the subject of Astrophysics because he's "just a musician"?

Yes, because (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350820)

He's Brian Cox, OBE.

huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351042)

Brian May (he of Queen Fame) is known for being knowledgable on Astrophysics (and wearing clogs), whereas Brian Cox is less well know for his big hair and guitar solos.

I suggest you go an wiki Brian May.

Re:so? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351180)

Doubtful, Ms. Palin seems to be deliberately obtuse about foreign policy. For God's sake she thinks that being governor of a state next to Russia counts as experience with international relations. And she spend most of her time in office running for VP.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351744)

Calling North Korea and American ally is being "deliberately obtuse"? That seems to be more "fucking dumb" than "obtuse"

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351328)

Actually he himself mentions that anytime he is arguing a point, his opponent will almost always label him 'an actor' and almost never that he is a writer.

Douglas Adams would've approved ... (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350504)

Actually, when I think about it, Douglas Adams did write a "Death to Dongly Things", sometime in the last decade.

I sure hope Stephen Fry can write up a funny thing to stir up support, even among those of us who don't care enough.

Re:Douglas Adams would've approved ... (2, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350652)

"Write" is a strong word. How about "published posthumously as part of a larger collection of writings?"

Re:Douglas Adams would've approved ... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350932)

Stephen Fry and Douglas Adams were great friends and one of them was the second to own an Apple Mac in the UK ....

Both were/are very knowledgeable about most techie things, especially Apple related (they are biased towards all things Apple...)

Anysort of breakout-board is always a welcome tool (2, Insightful)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350550)

That's a great idea, but at this point shouldn't it be a USB-3.0 device?

Re:Anysort of breakout-board is always a welcome t (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350574)

Nope. Not unless you come across a device that is USB-3 compatibleonly. As in, no backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 and 1.1. Then you would need a USB 3.0 analyzer.

That is very unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.

Re:Anysort of breakout-board is always a welcome t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350646)

Nah. USB 3.0 devices will compatibly downgrade themselves to USB 2.0 when that's all the host supports, while using the same proprietary protocol inside a (somewhat) different wire-level framing method. So an analysis of a USB 3.0 device in USB 2.0 mode should produce information that can be used to make a USB 3.0 compatible driver if it could be used to do the same with USB 2.0.

Re:Anysort of breakout-board is always a welcome t (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351214)

Not necessarily. You'll get a functional device in that case yes, but whenever USB enters a new major revision they've had to tack on a new chip to the mix. And there's no guarantee that the new chip will be completely compatible in terms of protocol with the older ones. In fact I'd suggest that they aren't compatible otherwise they wouldn't need a separate chip for it.

Re:Anysort of breakout-board is always a welcome t (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351504)

Not necessarily. You'll get a functional device in that case yes, but whenever USB enters a new major revision they've had to tack on a new chip to the mix. And there's no guarantee that the new chip will be completely compatible in terms of protocol with the older ones. In fact I'd suggest that they aren't compatible otherwise they wouldn't need a separate chip for it.

So, wait. How do you get a functional device if the interface chip is incompatible? You lost me there. Either they communicate effectively, and the device is functional, or they don't (and it isn't).

Er, uh, who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350650)

Or is that whom? Hum? Is he the guy on Futurama? They still don't use USB 2 in 3010, do they? And just say NO to stealing, kids. Not everything that is not yours is your brother's piggybank.

Why hardware? (3, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350944)

Why does this need to be implemented in hardware?

I presume the main purpose of this is analyzing the communication between a USB device and its proprietary Windows driver. Wouldn't it be easier to modify virtualization software to do this? Qemu can already connect a real USB device to a virtual machine (see its "-usbdevice host:" option).

Re:Why hardware? (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351006)

What if you don't have any usable driver for it in the VM ?
For instance, you could have an Xbox360 peripheral with no Windows drivers, so no luck to sniff anything usefull even plugged on a Windows VM.
Having an hardware device plugged between the device and the Xbox will permit you to actually know what's going on without even having a PC nearby (at a friend's or in a mall or wherever).

Re:Why hardware? (4, Insightful)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351204)

Two main reasons: Embedded device peripherals, and USB device development. Sometimes you don't have access to the OS running on the host to set up a sniffer (game consoles, some smartphones, and similar). And sometimes you need to debug a USB device that you're developing, and software USB sniffers don't provide the kind of detail needed to do that effectively (some errors are only evident when you watch the stuff on the wire, not the high-level requests).

Also, software sniffers are imperfect. I've had issues with them. A physical hardware device is completely transparent and can work without either side noticing anything. Sure, you can make do with a software sniffer sometimes, but that doesn't mean there's no point to a hardware version.

And since this is open, it can be repurposed for other uses. For example, you could use only the device port, and turn it into a kind of usb device-to-device bridge that lets your computer impersonate a USB device. That is currently not possible except on embedded systems with USB device controllers, and those have limitations. You could also use it as a pretty good logic analyzer, given proper firmware.

Re:Why hardware? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351302)

Because then it's hardware and software independent.

Want to know how that proprietary controller communicates with that proprietary console? simple. A windows driver wont always exist.

TMI! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350972)

Six links, three sentences. Why not just put a link to a Google search for single word and have done with it?

Software only solution? (1)

amiga500 (935789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351022)

Pardon my ignorance, but why can't this sort of thing be done entirely in software? On consoles this wouldn't be possible, but for Windows can't you create a virtual USB driver which is a proxy to hardware USB device? It seems folks have been doing this sort of thing with Ethernet for a long time.

Re:Software only solution? (2, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351210)

You just answered your own question. This will work on *anything* that has a USB port. Anything.

Re:Software only solution? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351648)

Let's say you're working on trying to reverse engineer the Xbox 360 controller protocol...

Yes, it has two modes. "Works on windows" and "works on xbox". Getting it to give up it's secrets to work on, "Works on Xbox" mode has been a pain in the ass.

I pledged! (1)

jpedlow (1154099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351454)

I pledged $50, it's my most sincere hope that projects like this get off the ground. The students/hackers/tinkerers that are super into this kind of stuff could use all the tools they can get, I'm just a newbie when it comes to this stuff, but I can certainly respect it. Anyway, here's hoping that they hit 200% pledges, they're already at 115%!

Interesting (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351530)

Of all the tech efforts for Fry to get behind a USB protocol analyzer is one of the least likely in my opinion, but it is a good and needed effort. Kudos to Fry for picking it.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34352914)

Too much fuss over nothing really. So proper H/W USB analyzer at 1400 is too expensive? Well what alternative do they offer? Is one time assembly of 180 SMT parts going to cost you less? No way.

Using a $500 logic analyzer from tech-tools.com and a software I wrote in less than a couple of days, I got my own USB sniffer. (Although full speed, not high-speed, due to limited bandwidth of the analyzer) USB is not that complicated, really.

500 is too much for you? then you can use this:
http://hackaday.com/2010/02/28/open-source-logic-analyzer-2/

Wow, they are getting pledges? That's a shameless ripoff.
     

I wonder if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351622)

...the Fry's [twitter.com] sponsored device will be for sale at Fry's [frys.com]

Amusing video but... (2, Informative)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351808)

Having worked with several commercial USB protocol analyzers over the years I have yet to see one was anything more than an FPGA connected to an off the shelf USB PHY chip. As much as I like cute dog videos these guys need to post proper requirements and design specifications if they seriously want funding from me.

Is it just me.. (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34352464)

Or did that header with "Fry" and "Sniffer Project" make you immediately think of the smell-o-scope from futurama?

OSX vs Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34352658)

Maybe if gnome had backed gnustep instead of GTK, he'd be running a Linux machine now, instead of a Mac? Most of Linux' problems are of it's own making. Apple shows linux howto do it right. They just choose to lock the hardware down. There's nothing in OSX that Linux couldn't do if Linux was designed correctly. It's not that hard to make an integrated windowmanager/Xserver/gui then port X11 to it as an application for backwards compatability. It's also not that hard to specify a hard standard for graphics so that there's one standard control panel to access/setup all video options. Networkmanager is a step forward but OSX has had that functionality since day one.
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