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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

MtHuurne Re:I know I'm not expected to RTFA... (322 comments)

After reading the article from dmbrun's post, it seems what they're doing is a single code base, more shared APIs across Windows variants and a single store interface. So it's mostly focused on making it easy for developers to support multiple Windows variants. A smart move, but nothing revolutionary.

5 days ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

MtHuurne I know I'm not expected to RTFA... (322 comments)

The third link is not actually a link, since the <a> tag is missing the href attribute. I wanted to check what the CEO actually said, since "unify" could mean a lot of things.

Are they going for x86-64 only, killing the ARM-based WIndows RT, as Hot Hardware is reporting? They'd still have to keep ARM support for Windows Mobile. Perhaps they should have put Windows Mobile plus some tablet extensions on the low-budget tablets, that would have fit people's expectations a lot better.

Are they going for a single code base? In that case there would be multiple products created from that code base, so that doesn't tell us anything about the fate of Windows RT or any other specific products.

Are they going for a single product named Windows? While I think it would be good to drop the artificial home/pro/ultimate differentiation, having a different Windows for client and server use is still useful. Although that could be handled by having a different default configuration rather than an entirely different product.

5 days ago
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ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers

MtHuurne Re:What the fuck is this thing? (69 comments)

Yes, it's a reference board. What's new about it is that it contains a 64-bit ARM processor.

For what it's worth, I thought the summary was very informative.

about a month ago
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The Rise and Fall of the Cheat Code

MtHuurne Old games were more difficult (178 comments)

Another reason cheat codes existed is that without them, a lot of players couldn't finish the game. I think there are several reasons for this: the arcade roots, a larger percentage of hardcore gamers, the need to prevent the player from finishing an expensive game quickly after buying or renting it and game design being a much younger discipline.

Don't get me wrong, I actually prefer today's easier games, but it does mean that you don't really need a cheat code anymore to finish most games. Instead of having the difficulty increase a lot as the levels progress, games now have selectable difficulty from the start and achievements to add challenge for more talented and/or experienced players.

about a month ago
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Google Announces 'End-To-End' Encryption Extension For Chrome

MtHuurne Re:But can you actually trust it? (100 comments)

Chrome extensions are tied to your Google account, and Google has pretty much complete control over them. Chrome, as a browser, does not need to be tied to a Google account (although it will suggest that you do so) and its automatic updating can be disabled.

Not updating your browser will also leave you vulnerable. You could download updated Chrome installs from a generic download page, using a different browser and an IP address that is not associated with you, instead of accepting (possibly customized) automatic updates. That would be safe under the assumption that the generic Chrome build is not trojaned.

More to the point, though, I can securely send messages even though a compromised browser, if I encrypt the messages externally.

True, but then it would be more convenient to send messages from an external mail application and not use web mail at all.

about 2 months ago
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US-EU Trade Agreement Gains Exaggerated, Say 41 Consumer Groups, Economist

MtHuurne Re:Implementation IS the value. (97 comments)

That and the lobbyists: if there were fewer of these agreements in negotiation there would be less work for them. Not all GDP increases are actually useful. In the Netherlands we had an exceptionally soft winter; the GDP decreased because less natural gas was sold.

about 2 months ago
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Google Announces 'End-To-End' Encryption Extension For Chrome

MtHuurne Re:But can you actually trust it? (100 comments)

If you're worried about Google itself being forced to compromise this extension, you shouldn't be using Chrome at all.

In any case, the current state of webmail is typically messages stored as plain text, transmitted over secure sockets. Encrypting the message itself is a big step forward.

about 2 months ago
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Google Fiber: No Charge For Peering, No Fast Lanes

MtHuurne Re:Hedge (238 comments)

This is Google's hedge against increasingly higher costs for peering and neutrality breaking ISP's, so why would they then turn around and be hypocrites by ruining the very reason they're moving intro infrastucture to begin with?

Android started in much the same way, to avoid telcos getting control over the content people access on their phones. While the base OS of Android is still free, a lot of the standard applications are now licensed from Google and the terms for licensing them are becoming more strict. Google's fiber is neutral today, but that doesn't mean it will stay neutral forever.

about 2 months ago
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With the Surface Pro, Microsoft Is Trying To Recreate the PC Market

MtHuurne Re:Surface: the only Hope (379 comments)

They tried to go for the infotainment market with the ARM-based Windows RT, but it found very few customers, mainly because there are not many apps for it. A "Surface Mini" would only have a chance if it runs on x86 and I don't know how feasible it is to produce a small light x86 tablet that gets a decent battery life, while also being affordable and powerful enough to run Windows 8.

So I don't know if I would call this a long-term strategy or just facing the realities of today.

about 2 months ago
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Fixing the Pain of Programming

MtHuurne Re:The pain is good (294 comments)

I would like to spend more of my time creating new things rather than fighting to make existing things work together.

about 2 months ago
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DOJ Requests More Power To Hack Remote Computers

MtHuurne No prior knowledge needed (76 comments)

Yesterday there was a headline saying 300,000 servers remain vulnerable to Heartbleed. So the bug is still (ab)usable even after it has been published.

about 3 months ago
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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

MtHuurne Novena laptop (394 comments)

We could try to raise funds to pay for reverse engineering of the VPU in the Novena laptop -- if we could find skilled reverse engineers ready to take the job. Can you introduce me to any?

A quick search turns up this product description which points to the Freescale i.MX6Q specs.

Does anyone know what he means with "VPU"?

The GPU is a Vivante GC2000, which has been partially reverse engineered already; support is being added to etnaviv, which is a user-space driver -- the part connecting Mesa + Gallium to the kernel driver -- for the Vivante graphics cores (support older cores like the GC860 is good enough for everyday use). The kernel driver itself (galcore) is available under GPL, although it could use a cleanup. So there is no need to reverse engineer everything from scratch, but the etnaviv project could certainly use more contributors.

There is also a video decoding acceleration block in the i.MX6, but like all things H.264 that is likely a patent minefield, so I'm not sure it would be worth spending a lot of resources on reverse engineering that.

about 3 months ago
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Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

MtHuurne Re:Blank Media (477 comments)

Also, drives aren't proper backup, unless they're offsite, and these discs pack 50GB each, more than enough for most discrete items on your 3TB drive (what do you need that for anyway, HD porn?)

Optical discs aren't a proper backup either unless you store them offsite: they are easily destroyed in a fire or taken by a burglar.

I think encrypted online backup is a far more convenient solution than optical discs: it can run as a background process instead of requiring the user to insert a blank disc regularly.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

MtHuurne Re:Design Patterns by the Gang Of Four (247 comments)

Well, I'd argue that a library that needs a single global init call is itself a poorly implemented singleton with all the associated problems. It is unfortunately a common occurrence and wrapping it in a singleton class is a way to deal with it. But in my opinion that is making the best of a bad situation rather than a pattern that I'd recommend if you have anything to say about the library interface.

I have seen a lot of singleton use in C++ unrelated to libraries and most of those uses became problematic at some point. In C++ in particular, the fact that with a singleton you can't control the moment it destructs can be a problem if the destructor needs to do more than free memory.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

MtHuurne Re:Programming & databases (247 comments)

If you like Dijkstra's style, I can recommend Programming: The Derivation of Algorithms by Kaldewaij. For details, see my favorites list in a later post.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

MtHuurne My favorites (247 comments)

Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach by Hennessy & Patterson
Helps you understand what goes on inside a computer at the hardware and OS level, as well as illustrating how you can reason about the performance of a system before you actually build it.
Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice by Foley & van Dam
A good starting point for learning about computer graphics. Not all of it is still relevant, but even if you skip the chapters about vector displays and user interfaces there is still plenty of useful material in there.
Programming: The Derivation of Algorithms by Kaldewaij
Teaches a way of constructing algorithms that are provably correct. Although I rarely follow this approach to the letter (it is very time consuming), elements of it are extremely valuable in everyday programming. For example, thinking in terms of preconditions, postconditions and invariants (design by contract) helps in designing good interfaces, finding bugs, placing useful asserts etc. Even just thinking to yourself "could I prove this program?" without actually doing it is useful, since if the answer is negative, the program is too complex and probably incorrect.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

MtHuurne Re:Design Patterns by the Gang Of Four (247 comments)

If you don't read the book until you have lots of experience, you will probably have reinvented most patterns, but using different names for them which will only confuse other people reading your code. Overuse of design patterns may be a necessary developmental phase ;)

By the way, while it is in the GoF book, I'd argue that Singleton is actually an anti-pattern.

about 3 months ago
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Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

MtHuurne Re:The flaw in the Fermi Paradox (608 comments)

Analog broadcast radio would be relatively easy to pick up on a faraway planet and identify as a signal. But how much longer will we be using that? If all communication is compressed and/or encrypted digital point-to-point, if something leaks into space at all it will look like a weak noise. I think that if the radio search picks something up, it would be because an alien civilization is deliberately sending out a signal to be noticed, not because we picked up their normal means of communication.

about 3 months ago
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F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

MtHuurne Re:Just more bullshit (410 comments)

I don't think asymmetric bandwidth is the problem: even with user-generated content, there will be more downloads than uploads: you post on a forum, multiple people read it, you share a photo, multiple people see it. Unless you advocate everyone to run home servers or a massive switch from client-server to peer-to-peer, having asymmetric bandwidth is not a bad idea.

One problem is that the big ISPs don't want to be in the business of moving network packets; they want to be in the content business, because they see more potential profit there. They see the internet as a way of delivering that content: like you said, as a broadcast medium.

Another problem is closed services. For example, every social network has their own private/instance message system, instead of using standard protocols like IMAP and XMPP. This means you have to use the same service as your friends to be able to communicate with them. So even for non-broadcast use, power is becoming concentrated. The internet is moving further and further away from its decentralized roots.

about 3 months ago
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F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

MtHuurne Re:Good fast lane does not imply bad slow lane (410 comments)

If you pay attention to recent events, you'll see what happens in practice:

  • Netflix subscribers complain high resolution streams don't play well.
  • Comcast refuses to do anything about that problem unless they're paid by Netflix.
  • After some protest, Netflix caves in and pays Comcast.
  • Soon after, high resolution streams play fine.
  • Netflix announces they will raise their subscription rates.

So in the end, Netflix subscribers end up paying more and Comcast receives more money.

And switching from Netflix to a smaller content provider has the problem that "smaller" doesn't just mean they have fewer subscribers, it means they have fewer content to choose from as well.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Using a Ground Source Heat Pump System in China

MtHuurne MtHuurne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

MtHuurne (602934) writes "We regularly read about China's problems with pollution. You may have heard that China is also investing a lot in renewable energy such as hydro, solar and wind. However, there are also smaller scale initiatives like people installing a ground source heat pump in their home. The article documents the installation of such an efficient heating system with text, photos and diagrams and discusses the costs and expected savings."
Link to Original Source

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