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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Ambient Sheep Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (165 comments)

Hah, I never knew that, but that's brought back a memory of disassembling "Halls of the Things" on the ZX Spectrum.

Was running through the code with my monitor/disassembler (DevPac, for those of you with long memories!) and I found the standard mapping table for the keyboard that pretty much every program had, but this time, immediately following it, was the ASCII text: "Yes cunt, a keyboard table". I nearly fell off my chair laughing... that someone had such hostility to spend the bytes at a time when memory was so seriously precious. A while later I found the main loop similarly flagged with similarly abusive comments scattered throughout it. :-)

At the start of the code was a phone number belonging to the devs' home city. The only reason I didn't call it was that it was two years after the game had come out, and the early 80s video game bubble had well and truly burst by then. Most games I hacked (purely for fun, not profit) pretty quickly, but that was the most difficult one I'd ever come across (mainly due to a cunning custom tape loader) and I'd actually given up, back in '83 when it came out. A couple of years later, one bored weekend, I had another go at it and managed it. It was worth the wait. :-)

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Ambient Sheep Re:Simple (635 comments)

Yup me too. Seriously.

about 1 month ago
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Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

Ambient Sheep Re:While I welcome any increase in bandwidth... (234 comments)

Uploading is still a fraction of what downloading is... Most home consumers, even those with IoT devices or heavy P2P users, are still net consumers of online information. (Think Netflix, Windows Updates, VPN, remote desktop, etc.) I see it as a gift I didn't care to receive but one that I wouldn't pass up. So, I have to ask, what's the point?

How else are they gonna get all the constant live-streaming from your various computer & console webcams & microphones up the pipe without you noticing?

about 2 months ago
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UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

Ambient Sheep Re:What if he forgot it? (353 comments)

Actually, I don't. So if we had been nabbed, it probably would have been her driving! :-)

about 3 months ago
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UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

Ambient Sheep Re:What if he forgot it? (353 comments)

Some of us have girlfriends/partners/spouses, and we occasionally drive each others' vehicles for reasons of convenience, pleasure, etc.

Back in the 90s my then-g/f and I used to regularly swap cars (all above board with insurance etc.) depending on where we were going, what we were gonna be carrying, even which car had most fuel in it, etc. etc.

In fact more recently I did the same thing for about a year or so when I lived with a woman for a while who had kids - her car had child seats in it, mine didn't. Rather than keep moving the child seats, if we were moving kids about, we took her car; if we were moving loads of shopping about (and no kids), we took mine, regardless of who was actually driving.

In either case, if the law had come along weeks or months later and said "who was driving your car at 8.13pm on such and such a date", we'd have had no fecking idea.

about 3 months ago
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The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore

Ambient Sheep Re:LOL translation (124 comments)

I wonder if that's why UK prime minister David Cameron used to think that LOL meant "Lots of Love"? Perhaps he'd been given a similar list by the UK spooks based on the US one?

about 3 months ago
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FBI Need Potheads To Fight Cybercrime

Ambient Sheep Re:Let me know when you win that war on drugs? (319 comments)

Smoke from what? Too much current? Its pretty hard to make a pothead smoke!

Wonderful! Despite being interested in electrical distribution, I'd never heard that usage before here in the UK, that's just too funny... "Two three phase electric circuits in a residential neighborhood terminated with potheads", brings wonderful visions to mind...

And no, I don't smoke it...

about 4 months ago
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Australian Exploration Company Believes It May Have Found MH370 Wreckage

Ambient Sheep Re:Does it make me a bad person... (293 comments)

the BBC does such a great job. I'm saddened I cannot get their TV channel.

iPlayer and a UK proxy should do you just fine.

Although the Beeb is far from perfect... but probably far better than what you get at the moment.

about 5 months ago
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Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

Ambient Sheep Re:HA (351 comments)

"people die from smallpox and guns and other unknown diseases"

I'm pretty sure at least one of those was unintentional.

I just thought it was a bit of anti-gun-lobby humour, myself.

about 6 months ago
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Nostalgic For the ZX Spectrum? Soon You Can Play With a New One

Ambient Sheep Re:Not the worst keyboard (91 comments)

If you actually have a working ZX80, you do realise it's worth quite a lot of money these days, don't you? Not that I'd sell mine if I had one (I "only" have my old ZX81 and ZX Spectrum (not to mention a QL mouldering in an attic somewhere)) but just to let you know that you should take good care of it...

about 7 months ago
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GCHQ Created Spoofed LinkedIn and Slashdot Sites To Serve Malware

Ambient Sheep Re:hey, GCHQ employees (335 comments)

And you're worried about Iran putting pressure on OPEC? Deal with your lack of domestic energy security. You had 40 years to wake up, but instead you sold everything off to mostly foreign concerns.

And now we're getting the Chinese to build our next generation of nuclear power stations... *facepalm*

about a year ago
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I wish my car could...

Ambient Sheep Another missing option... (443 comments)

...go invisible.

Could get tricky when stuff's coming the other way though. So perhaps just generally ghost-like, so you can drive it through things with no harm to either party.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Mitigating DoS Attacks On Home Network?

Ambient Sheep Re:Are they on your segment? (319 comments)

Depends on the country I guess. In the UK, BT (British Telecom), easily the biggest single internet provider, will give you a new IP address instantly, every time you power-cycle the router or even if you just press the software disconnect/reconnect button on the router's webpage. I think only once has it ever come straight back with the same one.

I know they're not the only UK ISP to whom that applies also...

So yeah, over here, "powercycle your modem and router" is quite good advice.

about a year ago
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Inside the Guardian and the Snowden Leaks

Ambient Sheep Not read it in years now... (239 comments)

Until Rusbridger apologises for the contempt with which he treated his readership over the Max Gogarty affair, I will never buy another edition.

about a year ago
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Two Years In Prison For Using Infrared Contact Lenses To Cheat At Poker

Ambient Sheep Re:Not exactly a new idea (320 comments)

The James Bond movie was Goldfinger and that was done by having a girl in a nearby hotel room using a telescope (or high-power binoculars, I forget) to spy on Goldfinger's opponent's hand, then radio it to him via a fake hearing aid.

about a year ago
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British TV Show 'Blackout' Triggers Online LOLs

Ambient Sheep Re: Who cares about battery life? (222 comments)

How does that work then, given that analogue (sic for the UK) ETACS phones were withdrawn in the UK on 31st May 2001?

Or are you talking about some kind of walkie-talkie thing?

Or are you just trolling?

1 year,20 days
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Ask Slashdot: Experiences Working At a High-Profile Game Studio?

Ambient Sheep Re:not enough info (189 comments)

programming a microwave timer may suck, programming the UI to the new BMW might be cool, or whatever

You might be surprised. By and large, I had far more fun programming point-of-sale systems for petrol stations (US: gas stations) then I did the far more glamorous world of TV digital effects systems. Once you got over the initial eye-popping "oooh wow" factor, it was a sheer grind most of the time. The analogy with "being a prostitute is fun because sex is fun" that someone made up there is spot-on.

about a year ago
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One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy

Ambient Sheep Lee Majors would be proud... (541 comments)

> 'From July 2012 through May 2013, the full cost has been £3.8 million ($5,963,340),'

The Six Million Dollar Man, then...

about a year ago
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Doom 3 Source Code: Beautiful

Ambient Sheep Re:Comment-free programming (399 comments)

I second this. My thoughts exactly. I used to do a lot of embedded work, especially stuff that talks to other devices down RS422. Sometimes you just have to say WHY you are doing stuff in a seemingly counter-intuitive way. Even if your own hardware is sensible, more than once I've had to write comments along the lines of:
"/* Because the stupid device at the other end of the cable requires we do it this way round or it breaks. */"

I would also worry about referring to external docs; in most places I've worked, the project leaders have just not been organised enough to do any of that. It would get lost, separated from the source code, or outdated in pretty short order. Unless it's a massive specification document, generally best to put such info in a big comment block near the top of the function, or module, I've found.

In general though, I agree with you. With well chosen names, code structure, and data structure, the actual code should largely explain itself.

about a year and a half ago

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