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Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

Omega Hacker Just cursive, or all writing? (523 comments)

I would hope that they're dropping the archaic cursive style of writing because it's just that: archaic. OTOH, ceasing to teach kids how to write in a legible block "font" would be mind-blowingly stupid. No matter what people need to be able to write, but they don't have to write "fancy".

(Not to mention I can't actually manage to *read* most people's cursive writing, no matter what era they were taught it in.)

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

Omega Hacker Re:Probably fake cards, actually (178 comments)

Of course. I never said I'd write one, just *how* I would. Anyway, there are already tools out there to do this, benchmark the card at the same time, and can read some of the more SD-specific functionality out as well (e.g. check the *actual* manuf string vs the case).

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

Omega Hacker Probably fake cards, actually (178 comments)

If you think you're getting a card for 1/5th the price, you're probably getting 1/5th the card. I have personal experience with cards that claim to be 8GB but only have 1GB of actual flash in them. I won't touch on the malware issue, but before you actually try to make use of the cards you need to find a way to very exhaustively exercise the entire card. I haven't looked for such a program but I hear they're pretty easy to find. If I were writing one I would put a pseudo-random sequence across the entire advertised size of the card, then read it back and confirm that the same pseudo-random sequence comes back. The sequence should be longer than the card, or at the very least not repeat on something like a 1GB boundary. I suspect a common trick in these cards is to simply drop the upper address bits, so you'll read the same contents off e.g. the 2nd GB as you will from the 1st, and all the others.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling?

Omega Hacker DSL overhead (355 comments)


Looks like they're counting ATM frames, not your IP traffic.

about 4 months ago

Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling

Omega Hacker Throttling vs routing (398 comments)

First off, I assert that whether Verizon is actively throttling packets, or simply not providing sufficient peering to get to Netflix, they are committing fraud by advertising high speeds and not delivering them.

However, to *really* convince people, more rigorous experiment has to be performed: find a VPN (or set up your own with a colo) that's connected as closely to Verizon as possible, as close to their peering with Netflix as possible. That way the route between Verizon and your VPN/colo is as similar as possible to the Verizon<>Netflix route. You can then measure Netflix bandwidth to your VPN/colo, and the resulting full-path bandwidth.

I *strongly* suspect you'll see the exact same behavior, but by doing that you've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Verizon is absolutely to blame. It still doesn't separate the packet-throttling scenario from the insufficient-peering scenario, because even though your Verizon ingress point is ideally the same router, Netflix is *supposed* to peer to that router through dedicated lines (e.g. trunked 10G to the next room over where Netflix's router is).

Of course, since Netflix has offered to both purchase and install the 10G cards and wires on their own dime, that scenario is absolutely no different than packet-throttling. Except that in order to do packet throttling, Verizon had to spend *more* money on hardware than they would have to just add more capacity. Now *there's* a bit of research to do: $ to throttle vs $ to add capacity.....

about 5 months ago

Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

Omega Hacker Unfair? Hardly. (165 comments)

From the article, presumably from a staffer: "Out of over 9,000 staffers in the House, should we really be banning this whole IP range based on the actions of two or three? Some of us here are just making grammatical edits, adding information about birds in Omsk, or showing how one can patch KDE2 under FreeBSD."

Sorry, but if you're a congressional staffer, using a computer in a congressional office, why are you making edits about birds in Omsk, or KDE? You want to make those edits, do them from your own home on your own time. There, I fixed it.

about 5 months ago

California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs

Omega Hacker Re:So wait... what? (314 comments)

I try not to feed the trolls, but I just can't pass this one up:

"An order of magnitude more? 200 dollars? Really?"

Apparently you're too dumb to comprehend that he very clearly stated that $20 is *more* than the gas cost by an order of magnitude. That means he's spending $2 in gas for the trip. At the current ~$4/gal with what passes for an "efficient" vehicle in the US, that puts his round trip at ~12.5mi, or roughly 6 miles from the airport.

The depth of your illiteracy truly astounds me.

about 6 months ago

'Write the Docs' is a Conference for People Who Write Software Docs (Video)

Omega Hacker Wrong date, wrong YEAR! (24 comments)

The link for the Portland conference is very clearly for *last years* conference (see the pesky '2013' in the URL??). The correct link is:


It is being held on May 5th and 6th, of *2014*.

about 10 months ago

Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

Omega Hacker Re:If Comcast were Exxon (520 comments)


about 10 months ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Label Your Tech Gear, and If So, How?

Omega Hacker BoomerangIt doesn't offer anything anymore? (250 comments)

I was actually intrigued by BoomerangIt, until I noticed that a) "BoomerangIt Packs and Subscriptions are no longer available for purchase." and b) the cart indeed does not exist.

I'm a little fuzzy on how you a) start a business selling labels that promise long-term lookup&return, then b) stop selling new labels and thus getting new income, while c) still being required ("nominally") to provide the lookup&return service, without d) running out of money and imploding.

Am I missing something with either their site or their apparent lack of business model???

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

Omega Hacker Re:Confiscate cameras (478 comments)

I think you misunderstand. This has nothing to do with the passengers not wanting their picture taken. This has *everything* to do with the jackass owner trying to ensure that nobody can take their own pictures, because I guarantee he's got a photographer onboard who's taking "professional" pictures which are sold at ludicrous prices. Have you *been* to a themepark?

about 10 months ago

Sophisticated Spy Tool 'The Mask' Rages Undetected For 7 Years

Omega Hacker Re:Looks like Spanish? (98 comments)

Considering that *Kaspersky*'s press release opens with "Dominican Republic", I would guess the people writing it are probably pretty familiar with the difference.

about 10 months ago

Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance

Omega Hacker Re:And this is why (206 comments)

Agreed. Automatic expiration of laws help weed out old crap, and force lawmakers to *actively* support reauthorization of any bill and thus face any fallout over bills that might have seemed good at the time (no, I do *not* think the "patriot" act was a good thing at a time, but a lot of morons did) but have since proved to be a bad idea. Bonus: if lawmakers were required (after radically re-arranging the congressional rules) to re-up every single bill, we'd have a *LOT FEWER* bills in total. As long as they are not given the "out" of letting their underlings ([tenured] staff) re-up old stuff, they simply have a finite amount of time to both re-up and develop new bills.

about 10 months ago

Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

Omega Hacker Horse... barndoor... (301 comments)

While I generaly loathe our excessive use of fossil fuels, this is a case where the "market" is well in the lead of regulators. Those oils sands are already being dug up and processed, and the market is not going to let anything get in the way of that. This pipeline simply reduces the overall environmental impact and increases the safety (Casselton, North Dakota anyone?) of moving what is already being produced.

about a year ago

Scientists Predict Earthquake's Location and Strength

Omega Hacker Woo? (44 comments)

Waitasec... They took a "50-year quake" pattern and gave it a 40-year window, and now they call that "predicting a quake" ????

about a year ago

Why Reactive Programming For Databases Is Awesome

Omega Hacker HDL (165 comments)

Tl;DR [yet], but initially this sounds a lot like HDL's like Verilog and VHDL. The two fundamental constructs there are things that happen continuously (collections of simple logic gates) and things that happen based on a clock (registers, built around flip-flops). At a high level, this sounds like A = B+C is a continuous adder, and A is changed instantaneously with B and C. In the HDL world, this gets "compiled" down to silicon, but in a software world this would be radically harder to do, because you have to notify anybody listening to A that B and/or C has changed. Yes, it's like a spreadsheet in that sense.

1 year,13 days

How To Hijack a Drone For $400 In Less Than an Hour

Omega Hacker Re:Skyjack only works for WiFi drones! (161 comments)

I *highly* doubt the Amazon drones will be operated by some hobbyist Futaba or Spektrum protocol. Doing such a thing would be absolutely ludicrous from just about every angle possible. First of all, such protocols are nothing more than "stream-of-servo" positioning commands, and very badly suited to autonomous drone control. Honestly they're pretty badly suited to manual drone control IMO. Second, they are even less secure than WiFi. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the Amazon drones will be cellular-controlled, with high-end SSL used to send the drone a set of GPS coordinates (waypoints, etc.), and the drone will handle *every* control aspect from there on out, as it should.

1 year,16 days

Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

Omega Hacker Re:My lab (215 comments)

Marvin the domestic shorthair (humane society acquisition). His younger "sister" Kaylee was probably curled up on our bed at the time, plotting sneak attacks on Marvin in her sleep...

The mess is a consequence of the ongoing debugging of the primary project being interrupted by a bug that crept into a previous product and took over my desk with various levels of fix development for that. I'm cleaning up right now because the primary project may have just had a breakthrough and I need space to test it in full scale.

1 year,28 days

Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

Omega Hacker My lab (215 comments)

First of all what I'm doing: I'm designing industrial embedded hardware, using funky data busses and high-resolution ADC's. I do all the hardware design, layout, prototype fabrication, and *all* firmware and host-side software. I'm pretty much a one-stop shop for this project (and the only engineer on it...). The hardware is all "slow" stuff at this point, with the fastest clock being the 32MHz driving the 8-bit microcontrollers scattered throughout the system.

Panorama of my office

First off I've got my computer in the "middle", nothing special except the monitor's on an arm to free up desk space. A second monitor to the right is used for debugging consoles etc. (and WoW). Several USB hubs are scattered around (some mounted) for use by both tools and the product under development.

To my left up on a shelf I have a (rented...) Agilent MSO-X 3014A scope, 4-channels plus 16 digital, unfortunately only the 100MHz version. I have a second-hand cheapy 5MHz signal generator next to that for occasional use (impedance checking etc). A simple Protek 3006B power supply (Fry's?) handles everything I can't run off USB 5V or from an LDO.

A Saleae Logic and Logic16 do quite a bit of work for me, and there's the occasional use of a BusPirate. An AVR-ISP MkII handles direct programming of the microcontrollers when possible, while the vast majority of my programming and test jigs are built around my own STK500v2 implementation multiplexed with serial debug.

To my immediate left is the main project space, while to my right is space for whatever projects crop up and don't have to have direct access to the scope.

In the window against the desk would be one or both cats.

To the far left is my soldering environment, which includes a regular temp-controlled soldering iron as well as an Aoyue Int968 hot-air soldering station (with its own soldering iron). A $25 toaster oven is used for reflowing most simple boards. Bins of loose parts cover the shelving above.

Behind me is a desk that holds a "proper" reflow oven, albeit the cheapo $300 unit from eBay, as well as a rework station of the kind used for XBox repairs (some of my boards have a *lot* of thermal mass that hot air alone can't handle). Reels upon reels of SMT parts are piled under the desk...

Lighting is provided by 2x 60/meter LED strips that side-fire to each side along the camera-window axis, plus an overhead Ikea quint-MR12 set over the main workspace when needed.

1 year,29 days

Why Not Fund SETI With a Lottery Bond?

Omega Hacker Sounds like an execellent idea! (191 comments)

Let's use the Search for Terrestrial Intelligence to fund the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence! Only seems fair.

about a year ago


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