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Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft

Hast Re:So, doomed to fail? (704 comments)

It's no more a systemic flaw in Bitcoins than it is a systemic flaw in cash that you can be robbed.

Well, in a sense that is a problem... But the system is working "as intended".

about 9 months ago
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Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft

Hast Re:Unregulated currency (704 comments)

When buying, selling and trading bitcoins there are two things which make it work.

Exchanges, where you can buy or sell bitcoins to "normal" money.
Wallets, where you store your bitcoins.

Some sites are both (like mtgox) and others are only one (from what I can tell Flexcoin was a wallet, not an exchange).

When you buy and sell bitcoins at an exchange you tend to need to transfer money to them and have it sit in an account until you want to exchange it to bitcoins. (This is similar to buying tokens at a casino or something like that. You don't have bitcoins yet but your money is still on their server.)

Once you have bitcoins you can transfer them to a different wallet (which can be another site or just a digital file on your PC).

Both this and the Mt Gox case have a similar problem and resolution. Don't leave your money with people you don't trust. That is a good life lesson to learn, and hopefully it won't cost you too much. The same goes for putting a bunch of money into other shady businesses like online casinos and similar.

It seems like most people who are angry about how "obviously broken" bitcoins are just don't understand how they work. (And to be fair, most websites don't really explain it well either.)

You can still make a perfectly valid argument that putting your money into bitcoins can be a terrible investment. But the same goes for a lot of things. (Like the people who stocked up for food cans before Y2K.)

about 9 months ago
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Oculus Rift Raises Another $16 Million

Hast Re:not Fun, but honest clip (104 comments)

I found that more reminiscent of Louis CK's rant on "Everything is amazing and nobody is happy". :-)

There are some valid points though, the screen door is an issue on the dev kits. Personally I find that after a while you don't think about it too much. It feels more like watching "the real world" with a net in front of your eyes than a low resolution screen.

That the current screen is a compromise is not really a surprise to anyone who has followed the project. They had to swap screens as they started to produce the dev kits, so they went with a 7" screen because that was the best they could get with respect to resolution and refresh rate. Unfortunately it leaves a large part of the screen area unused as it's outside what you can actually see through the lenses.

about a year and a half ago
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Oculus Rift Raises Another $16 Million

Hast Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (104 comments)

My experience is that for the best experience you really need a powerful graphics card. If you get lag you will get motion sickness. (Or at least I do.)

For that reason I think if you want to use a laptop as a real demo station you'll need a gaming laptop with a fast GPU. Ideally you'd want a desktop most likely.

It might be worth checking how many FPS you get on your setup. I believe you want at least 60 FPS.

about a year and a half ago
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Oculus Rift Raises Another $16 Million

Hast Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (104 comments)

I find that it depends a lot on the demo you are trying.

The included Tuscany demo is very slow paced and most people have no problem handling that. I think out of 30+ people I have demoed my dev kit to only two people have gotten sick from that. Games like HL2 is a lot worse though, and I'm not sure why. I think speed has something to do with it, but it might also be that the rather cramped settings you are playing in aggravates the problem of not tracking head position. (Basically, when you sway your head side to side the game world doesn't match. This effect is more noticeable on things which are close to you in the world.)

I have also found that a few demos I have tried have had noticeable lag. These make me sick very quickly.

about a year and a half ago
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Helicopter Parts Make For Amazing DIY Camera Stabilization

Hast Re:Tripod (78 comments)

Movi (which this guy was apparently inspired by, he says so in the youtube clip at least) has an example movie shot by Vincent Laforet at Vimeo. http://vimeo.com/62917185 (He's the guy that shot the first 5D mk 2 video as well.)

The Movi system is for professional use though, and it costs $15k so it's not exactly for people to play around with.

If you want to understand more about why a gimbal system is so cool then look at the behind the scenes video from the Movi demonstration as well: http://vimeo.com/63357898.

about a year and a half ago
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Ad Exec: Learn To Code Or You're Dead To Me

Hast Re:Jorgenson is full of shit (339 comments)

I think you put the emphasis on the wrong part of the quote.

The point isn't that you can't learn programming by reading a book and experimenting.

The point is that this is not something everyone can learn (at least that way).

Those who are interested in computers will learn that way. But most people will not learn anything.

about a year and a half ago
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Ad Exec: Learn To Code Or You're Dead To Me

Hast Re:Moronic (339 comments)

SeekWell wouldn't be a half bad name for a language used to access databases.

about a year and a half ago
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Are Contests the Best Way To Find Programmers?

Hast Re:The best way to find programmers (260 comments)

Interview question #4: Justify why you didn't know that C++ can also do those things

The fundamental issue I have with C++ as a language is it has a "improv theater style" design where the answer is always "Yes, and...". A more sensible language tends to be designed with "No, because ..." answers to at least some features.

about a year and a half ago
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Adjusting to Google Glass May Be Hard

Hast Re:So... (154 comments)

Considering his main complaint is about replacing the users vision with that from a camera is moot I think it's fair to say that the skepticism is well placed.

Google Glass doesn't have a complete AR viewfinder. It's screen is only in the corner of your eye, so you don't have to look at it unless you want to.

And testing the effect he describes doesn't take any fancy equipment either. Just try walking around by looking through the viewfinder of your smartphone or compact camera. Even that is quite disorienting.

about a year and a half ago
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Carmack On VR Latency

Hast Re:Where have I seen this before? (94 comments)

Considering that the two were on stage together at QuakeCon talking about this issues I don't think it's all that strange. ;-)

The Virtual Insanity session (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gaqQdyfAz8) is well worth watching if you are interested in these things. As is Carmacks keynote from QuakeCon 2012.

about 2 years ago
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Carmack On VR Latency

Hast Re:It was not just hardware (94 comments)

I looked into this claim when the Oculus Rift was first presented (and the same references were made). BTW the experiments were funded by Sega as they were also looking into making a VR headset.

The only claims I could find are made by one guy. (Who I can't remember the name of right now, but he was involved in the Sega VR project.) And it seems like this is the only person to have said that there are medical problems with using VR. (IIRC he was also involved in the more recent scare that 3D TVs could hurt your eyes.)

The research results done for Sega VR were never published, they only said that it wouldn't be a good idea. (Not specifying if this was for medical reasons or that the VR experience just wasn't good.)

Palmer Luckey (the guy behind the Oculus Rift) has a sizeable collection of VR stuff already. And has apparently worked with some military VR stuff, so I'm pretty sure he knows what they are doing.

about 2 years ago
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Carmack On VR Latency

Hast Re:Invest in AR, not VR (94 comments)

Carmack, Abrash and Palmer Luckey talked about this during the Virtual Insanity session at QuakeCon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gaqQdyfAz8), And they point out that augmented reality is harder than VR for a few reasons.

The biggest ones are that your latency tolerances are much lower since you are comparing with reality. So any latency you add will be very obvious to the user as the things will seem to "float" on top of the real objects. Furthermore the way our eyes perceive depth makes it very difficult to completely fool the eyes that what they are seeing is real. Eg most systems today will cause you to focus at infinity. This works well enough in a VR environment, because everything is the same. But in a AR situation if you are looking at something you hold in your hand and replace part of it with AR then that part will be at infinite focus. So when you look at it it looks wrong. (It's similar to if you see a reflection in a screen, and you can consciously shift focus to the screen or to the object being reflected.)

You also don't need to completely fool the brain in order to get feelings of height and stuff like that. Even people who try Cave systems say that you get a feeling of falling if you jump of a virtual cliff.

And there are systems which actually do directly manipulate your sense of balance and movement. Look up galvanic vestibular stimulation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_vestibular_stimulation),

about 2 years ago
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Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

Hast Re:the real reason houses don't collapse.... (432 comments)

Yes and no.

I'd point out that modern computer programs are often extremely complicated when compared to other things. It's less like building a house as it is building an entire city at once. It's also worth pointing out that building houses usually has a lot more stable requirements and environments (the laws of physics), software is changed all the time.

And the final nail in the coffin for me is that we have tried building software like "houses" or other large scale engineering projects. They tend to fail. (See the waterfall method, or "Mythical man month".) Assuming that software engineers are not simply less intelligent than other forms of engineers I think it's safe to conclude that the same methods may not work.

about 2 years ago
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Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

Hast Re:I don't do a lot of programming (432 comments)

I was expecting your post to go "the most interesting programmer in the world" route with that start. Now I'm kind of disappointed. :-)

Regarding making diagrams and such... I find it depends on what kind of program I'm writing and in what language I'm writing it. If I'm working with low level stuff (like asm, or low level C) then I'd be a lot more inclined to diagram things first with quite a lot of detail. If I'm coding applications for phones I can usually do with making a rough sketch (usually starting with the first UI screens) and work from there quite free form.

Reuse is something I find I rarely do outright (unless I know that something will be used in multiple places). Modern IDEs make refactoring easy so my experience is that I'm better off doing that work when I need to. (Usually you will still have to adapt the code anyways because your new use will not match perfectly with what the old code did.)

about 2 years ago
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Want a Job At Google? Better Know Microsoft Office!

Hast Re:this is stupid (243 comments)

I agree with you that this is "the way it is" but I really think it's just an example of the monumental waste that goes on in most companies.

A lot of the office programs are wide open for disruption for this reason. As a software engineer I find it fascinating that people willingly put "business critical" code in anything that can't be tested and can't be source controlled. (I'm sure you can do that in VB script if you really put your mind to it. But it's not something that will be done.)

The only reason it's considered economically viable is because all the time and money that is wasted is invisible.

But yeah, today these features are required for corporate use. Hopefully we can fix that for the future.

about 2 years ago
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Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs

Hast Re:Openness (359 comments)

Yeah, MTP support in Linux is not really good enough. Hopefully more devices requiring it will push that through faster through.

I work with developing for mobile phones and having to support a storage location which can at any time be removed (ie if the user plugs their phone into the computer and it takes over the SD card) is a big pain. Having a global storage pool makes life a lot simpler. (A decent compromise is perhaps to have a micro-sd in a slot so it's not possible to remove without removing the battery. That makes it easier to handle.)

And while the micro sd card slot in and of itself doesn't really cost that much it does become more expensive when you figure in extra testing, more complex hardware design and new software requirements. (Although some of those only need to be done once, it does typically mean that some other feature is removed.)

about 2 years ago
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Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs

Hast Re:Can recommend Nexus again. (359 comments)

I definitely agree with that. Although I found out that it was easy to just reflash the device with a "region free" firmware and get updates quickly. I have no idea what the hell Samsung Sweden were doing during the 2 months it took them to "verify" the Jelly Bean update. Someone claimed that they were working on a Swedish dictionary for spell check, but there was one included in the generic version as well so I'm doubtful.

about 2 years ago
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Wireless Power Over Distance: Just a Parlor Trick?

Hast Re:Tesla (215 comments)

I looked into that article and the guy who wrote it. The quote you're quoting comes from a book he wrote himself (although the quote is from a chapter written by some other guy.)

Unfortunately I couldn't find an online reference however, so it's impossible to know just how the measurements "Dr Van Voorheis" mentions were made. So far I've had a hard time to find any examples of people who have actually reproduced the large scale effects that Tesla claimed to achieve.

If you look for the author of the article (Thomas F. Valone) you find some YouTube clips where he's presenting a talk about UFO power sources. And he seems to be part of a MUFON which is apparently a group of UFO hunter enthusiasts. Now there's nothing really wrong with that, but it does mean that I'm not likely to take his claims at face value. And even he doesn't claim that the Tesla stuff is real, he only quotes other people (mostly Tesla himself).

Meanwhile you have an article at IEEE (http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/mass-transit/a-critical-look-at-wireless-power/0) which seems to support the common understanding of wireless transmission of power. Basically that you can transmit power on roughly the same distance as the diameter of your coils. So a "charging pad" works, but powering a ship on the other side of the Earth doesn't.

To summarize I have to say that I'm quite convinced that if Telsas "World Wireless System" would have worked the results would have been reproduced today. The economic benefits are way to large for it not to. I'm sure the military would have loved to have remote powered drones and stuff like that if it was possible.

about 2 years ago
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Schneier: We Don't Need SHA-3

Hast Re:Too slow? (143 comments)

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point, but the idea of the salt is not to keep it secret. The idea is that each users password is combined with a unique string (the salt) so that if you try to attack the password database with a dictionary attack you have to process each password individually.

more than 2 years ago

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