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Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

Chelloveck Re:And so therefor it follows and I quote (91 comments)

Which is the solution to all of this. Make Windows a free gift with purchase of any computer. It's not a $500 computer and a $100 OS, it's a $600 computer and a free OS. Done and done. Throw in a free copy with every Mac sold, too, just to say thanks for the free U2 album.

47 minutes ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Chelloveck Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (523 comments)

You're right, "persistent" would have been a better word. By "permanent" I simply wanted to be clear that I was talking about a change that lasted beyond the current session, not necessarily something irreversible. A change that survives a power cycle or reboot and requires specific intervention to reverse like the VID/PID change does.

Your more generic example is the situation I was describing when I said "accidental". The action has a purpose on the intended platform and inadvertently causes damage to the clone. This is as opposed to a malicious change which is specifically designed to cause the damage. It's the intent to cause harm that differentiates between accident and potentially criminal act.

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Chelloveck Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (523 comments)

If you use FTDI's VID/PID, you're trying to pass yourself off as an FTDI chip, and it is YOUR FAULT ALONE if an operation that does not cause issues on genuine FTDI hardware does bad things to your own.

Similarly, I note that all major web browsers masquerade as Mozilla by starting their User-Agent strings with "Mozilla/5.0". I suppose it'd be okay for Mozilla to publish some JavaScript on their site that has no effect on Firefox but causes Chrome, IE, and Safari to permanently delete their User-Agent strings? After all, if you use Mozilla's User-Agent, you're trying to pass yourself off as a Mozilla browser, and it is YOUR FAULT ALONE if an operation that does not cause issues on a genuine Mozilla browser does bad things to your own.

These chips may or may not contain stolen IP. They may simply be engineered to mimic the interface of the FTDI chips to be used as replacements. That's perfectly legal. Chip manufacturers often make work-alikes of other manufacturer's designs, from individual transistors up to full CPUs. Think of the non-Intel x86 CPUs, made to work with the x86 interface and instruction set but containing no stolen x86 IP. Or hell, think of the whole automotive after-market industry. If auto companies could legally prevent third parties from making replacement parts, you bet your life they would.

Nope. It's fine (but dickish) to detect the other guy's product and refuse to work with it. It's a regrettable accident if a legitimate operation on your own device permanently alters a third-party replacement, but I'd consider that to be the fault of a crappy replacement part. It's not at all acceptable to go looking for such an exploit with the intent of rendering the competitor's device unusable. Intent matters, and FTDI performed an obviously malicious action which has no use other than to deliberately break a competitor's product. Whether the competitor stole the design or manufactured a clean-room work-alike makes no difference. You can take them to court but you can't play vigilante.

yesterday
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The Bogus Batoid Submarine is Wooden, not Yellow (Video)

Chelloveck Re:Why not just swim? (44 comments)

That was my first thought, too. But remember, this is a Maker Faire. 90% of all projects shown off are special-interest art.

3 days ago
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Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Chelloveck Re:Nonsense (369 comments)

The distortion is strong in that one. And now he must excuse his earlier brief glimses of reality.

This. Just the case of a fan trying to justify a questionable decision. UI has become a fashion show. Helvetica is this year's hem length. Flat, primary colors are in, and they're simply FABulous! None of the changes have anything to do with usability. It's all change for the sake of change, nothing more. It's the same reason dresses and cars change their outward appearance from year to year, regardless of any substantive changes. It's done to make you think, wow, this is new, I MUST HAVE.

(Full disclaimer: I'm a sucker for upgrades. I always need to have the latest version of any software, regardless of whether or not it's actually better. Call it an OCD-ish mental disorder. I installed Yosemite yesterday, but unlike the author of the post I don't feel the need to justify Apple's fashion sense.)

about a week ago
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How Curved Spacetime Can Be Created In a Quantum Optics Lab

Chelloveck Don't leave us hanging! (89 comments)

C'mon, get to the important part. How long until this gives us warp drive or a time machine?

about a week ago
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Interviews: Ask Reuben Paul What Hackers Can Learn From an 8-Year-Old

Chelloveck Pee-Wee Herman? (44 comments)

Did anyone else read that as "Ask Paul Reubens..."?

about two weeks ago
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Ross Ulbricht's Lawyer Says FBI's Hack of Silk Road Was "Criminal"

Chelloveck Someone's confused (208 comments)

Silly rabbit! Government makes the laws. It doesn't follow the laws.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

Chelloveck No longer special (320 comments)

It has very little to do with the Internet. Saturday morning cartoons were killed by entire cable TV networks devoted to cartoons all day, every day. Saturday morning lost its special status as the one time of the week you could binge on cartoons.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Eyes Crew Deep Sleep Option For Mars Mission

Chelloveck Re:Just Go Nuclear and Get There Quick (236 comments)

Public relations. You have to get the nuclear fuel to orbit somehow. What if the rocket blows up and scatters it everywhere? What if it makes orbit but is inoperable, and falls out of the sky? What if the Mars mission fails en route, and the ship comes back on return orbit and whacks into the Earth? What if terrorists take control via the Internet and use it as a weapon? It doesn't matter if the scientists and engineers say it can be done safely. Who trusts them, anyway? Think of the children!

Remember, large fractions of people still believe that cell phones cause cancer and vaccines cause autism.

about three weeks ago
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Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

Chelloveck Re:Well, the good outcome of this (278 comments)

Oh? Which cults do you support by staying in their hotels?

about three weeks ago
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Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

Chelloveck Re:Not surprised in the least (278 comments)

Then I found out the hotel has internet connected TVs, so I plugged my *nix laptop into one of their jacks, got DHCP, and did a (ze)nmap scan to find all the other TVs. Picked one at random, grabbed its MAC address, and spoofed it on my network card. Wallah! Free access.

Meanwhile, the guy in the other room is getting charged per kilobyte for use of the internet-connected TV. Good plan. For an encore, how about breaking into another room and raiding the mini-bar, too?

about three weeks ago
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Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

Chelloveck Re:Did the fine cover the price paid by the visito (278 comments)

No, that's just enough money to tell Marriott that the regulators think it's a really swell idea, just don't get caught next time.

about three weeks ago
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Downtown Project Suicides Shock High Tech Community

Chelloveck Zoom and enhance! (185 comments)

Hmmm... Three linked "suicides" in Las Vegas. This sure would be a nifty bit of viral marketing for the new season of CSI... Just sayin'...

about three weeks ago
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Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Chelloveck Re: Here's the solution (577 comments)

So let me get this straight... Your argument is that people are so content with Windows 8 that Microsoft has to start a poison well campaign against it to convince people to upgrade? Really?

about three weeks ago
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LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers

Chelloveck The Cellular Industry (153 comments)

Now celebrating 25 years of pushing location-based services nobody wants!

about three weeks ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Chelloveck Ob. War Story (167 comments)

I worked at Motorola in the late '80s in the Cellular Infrastructure Group. Moto's cellular switch was Z80 based, but it was a helluva hack. The thing had six Z-80s arranged in three nodes, each with an active processor and a hot standby. We had a custom MMU that extended the address space to 24 bits and could be mapped in 4096-byte blocks. Of the 16MB address space, 4MB was shared and simultaneously accessible by the active and standby processors.

It was mostly programmed in assembly, but we did have a "high level" language called MPL (Motorola Programming Language) which was little more than a big macro set around the assembly. It was very naive, had no optimization, generated crap code, and was buggy as hell. I always called it a pessimizing compiler. There was a newer, less buggy version available but we didn't use it. We had too many hacks and work-arounds that depended on the buggy behavior in the original.

All the code was, of course, linked into a single monolithic executable and loaded from tape. It took about 20-30 minutes to load the program. The processor board had a serial debugger terminal which could be used to poke changes directly into running memory. Each memory page had some space reserved for patches. I sometimes had to patch live customer machines by entering an assembly routine byte-by-byte into memory via the serial terminal and finally patching a CALL instruction into the appropriate address in main executable memory. And hoping really hard that I hadn't made any typos.

Later in its life peripheral boards were being built that were 68000 and PowerPC based and much more powerful than the main Z80 boards. The Z80 software was so crufty by then that the peripherals had hardware hacks to work around weird software behavior just because it was too damned hard to change the software.

Ah, memories...

about a month ago
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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

Chelloveck Any of them, really (410 comments)

Specifically for Banned Books Week I'd recommend Fahrenheit 451, just because of the subject matter. In general I'd recommend 1984 due to its continued relevance. Probably Brave New World too, but it's been so long since I've read it I really don't know if it still holds up.

A Clockwork Orange is a good story and a fascinating linguistic study. I love both the book and the movie, but I don't see it being nearly as socially relevant as the others. Recommended, but lower priority.

His Dark Materials is a toughie. The first book was absolutely fabulous, the second was pretty good, and the last was weird. Recommended with that caveat. The series usually gets placed in the juvenile section because the protagonist is a kid, but I don't consider them kids books. The subject matter (especially in the third book) gets to be hard to follow. (Not that I'd want to keep it away from kids, just that I don't think it would hold their interest. If they read it and like it, more power to them!)

I've never read The Handmaid's Tale, so I can't comment on it.

(Side note: I live in the US, but happened to be in Oxford when I finished reading His Dark Materials. If I'd realized at the time that Philip Pullman was living there I'd have beaten down his door and demanded to know just why he ended it like he did!)

about a month ago

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