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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

PhrostyMcByte Re:pdf.js (132 comments)

Office Automation is problematic -- because it literally opens up a hidden window of your Office app and simulates clicking around the UI to do what you need, if something unexpected happens it can unhide the window to show the user a message. This might be good enough for a desktop app, but if you're running it on a server it'll just freeze up your process with noone there to click it.

For Office->PDF conversion of word docs, Aspose.Words has a fairly easy API and generally very accurate rendering. I highly recommend it.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

PhrostyMcByte I'm convinced there is no elegant PDF library (132 comments)

At least on the C# side of things, the three libraries I've used (iTextSharp, PdfSharp, and Aspose.Pdf) are all a bit of an unintuitive mess with inconsistencies all over the place and very little documentation. In the case of iText, their revenue stream is putting all their documentation into a book for people to buy, so it's not uncommon to get an intentionally vague response when asking for help.

I cycle between each depending on what I need to do, because they all have their own quirks and supported features. I've even piped from one to another to get certain parts of the process working.

Good luck.

about three weeks ago
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Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

PhrostyMcByte Re:Bose is worried (162 comments)

Well, I never said Bose actually had quality, only that people perceive them as having it. I carefully worded it like that because while I agree with you, it was not the point I was trying to make. I'll stick to my Mad Dogs and DT880s.

about a month ago
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Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

PhrostyMcByte Bose is worried (162 comments)

Bose and Beats are both highly brand-focused. Bose targets the more mature quality-seeking crowd, while Beats targets the bass-hungry and fashion-conscious youth. There's some overlap, but generally I'd say their targets kept competition to a minimum, and they've pretty much cornered those targets

Apple has the best of both worlds being viewed both as high quality and a status symbol. If they start using their monster marketing teams to align peoples' view of Beats with that of Apple, Bose stands a chance of being pushed out of the market by a frightening direct competition. They've got good reason to try to stall the acquisition as much as possible

about 1 month ago
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FCC Reminds ISPs That They Can Be Fined For Lacking Transparency

PhrostyMcByte Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (38 comments)

If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule?

It seems they've got quite a lot of bark, but not enough bite. Unless it comes to boobs on TV.

about a month ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

PhrostyMcByte Re:Automation is killing jobs faster than ever (435 comments)

Umm, is that per 100,000 65-74yo drivers, or just per 100,000 drivers in general? I imagine, you know, death, would skew that quite a bit if the latter.

about a month ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

PhrostyMcByte Re:High entropy rules on low importance sites (280 comments)

Meanwhile, the bank will take anything.

Really? I'm so used to "6-8 characters, no symbols, etc.". You'd think these things would be regulated.

about a month ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

PhrostyMcByte Re:Bah (280 comments)

You can buy a YubiKey to do this today without any finicking with a Raspberry Pi. There are a few modes depending on the devices you buy. First is what you say -- it can emulate a keyboard, and input a password for you whenever you press a button on the device. It can also perform HOTP/TOTP authentication, and some of them can act as a legitimate security token that integrates with your platform's crypto.

about a month ago
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DARPA Successfully Demonstrates Self-Guiding Bullets

PhrostyMcByte Re:Creepy (188 comments)

I think the point is that important figures could have several "dummy" lasers present at all times to fool the bullet into going elsewhere. It would act similar to any other frequency jammer.

about a month and a half ago
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The World's Best Living Programmers

PhrostyMcByte Re:Stack Overflow reputation (285 comments)

Stack Overflow reputation indicates that you're a 1337 documentation writer, not necessarily that you know how to program.

SO reputation indicates a number of things -- that you can understand and dissect problems and code from others, that you have intimate knowledge of the platforms you're answering about, that you can code reasonably well, and that you can communicate well.

Basically, someone with a high rep is very likely to be enthusiastic, knowledgable, and great to work with. Does this mean Jon Skeet can out-code an elite like John Carmack? No. Does it mean he's a good coder? Probably. One of the "top" programmers? Not enough data.

This whole article is a bit of a bonkers idea. What makes a good dev? Is it the ability to work quickly, elegantly, and robustly? Being able to pull innovative algorithms out of thin air? Is it the ability to hack together important, complicated projects even if the code itself is a mess? How about less direct things, like overall contribution to the dev community and enthusiasm for helping other people grow?

about a month and a half ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

PhrostyMcByte Re:Non-compete agreements are BS. (272 comments)

Non-competes are BS. But requiring employees to not reveal confidential information, poach clients, etc. for their new competing bosses seems like a reasonable and ethical thing to ask. It sounds like Amazon believes he may have crossed this line, beyond simply working for a competitor.

about 2 months ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

PhrostyMcByte Re:Why can't you plug into you TV anymore. (394 comments)

I own a HDHomeRun, and it was a bitch to set up because even Comcast customer support had never heard of it (at one point, they told me to call TiVo!)

When was the last time you did this?

I've had a HDHomeRun Prime for about three years now, and have never had an issue with Comcast's CableCard activation line. The other side of the call is seated by a weird androgynously-voiced Indian following a script, but I've never been on the phone more than about 5 minutes before my card was working.

about 2 months ago
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How Tim Cook Is Filling Steve Jobs's Shoes

PhrostyMcByte Less hands-on (209 comments)

But some say he is less hands-on in developing products than his predecessor.

The best leaders will see their own shortcomings and delegate to trusted experts to pick up their slack. Perhaps this is Cook's strategy.

about 2 months ago
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Google Engineer: We Need More Web Programming Languages

PhrostyMcByte Re:No, we don't (309 comments)

I have no idea if Google's language is one that I'd want to use, but I do know that Javascript is by no means a good choice to develop large-scale web apps with. Unfortunately, it's currently the only choice we've got. Given that the ecosystem is far more open to change lately, it seems like as good a time as any to replace it.

I think the best way we could handle it is to create a standard high-level bytecode and package format. Then any number of languages could be translated to it easily and efficiently.

about 2 months ago
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Report: Watch Dogs Game May Have Influenced Highway Sign Hacking

PhrostyMcByte Oh god. (154 comments)

Instead of rational articles with headlines something like:

Insecure government process allows trivial unauthorized access to road infrastructure

We get ones focusing on how a game may have encouraged people to hack into the stuff. I don't think it'll ever end.

about 3 months ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

PhrostyMcByte Re:Fsck x86 (230 comments)

I'm hardly counting ARM out. I doubt Intel will ever try to apply themselves to all the areas ARM is in. For phones and tablets, though? There is no doubt that ARM will have some very serious competition in the near.

I realize we like to root for the underdog here, but realistically, Intel's got a leg up in the long run.

about 3 months ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

PhrostyMcByte Re:Fsck x86 (230 comments)

ARM has already had its 15 minutes, just like AMD's Athlon did.

There's a good possibility that Intel will wipe the floor with all the ARM offerings. Maybe not with this generation of CPUs, maybe not the one following it, but they've got the best fab in the world and extremely smart people using it.

They've been actively focusing on increasing power efficiency for a number of years now, so I have no doubt they'll be able to bring strong competition.

about 3 months ago
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AMD, NVIDIA, and Developers Weigh In On GameWorks Controversy

PhrostyMcByte Re:maybe it's time for a new graphics api standard (80 comments)

It's time for the principal vendors to rebuild the list of assumptions of what gpus can and should be doing, design an api around that, and build hardware specific drivers accordingly.

For the most part, they've done that. In OpenGL 3.0, all the fixed-function stuff was deprecated. In 3.1, it was removed. That was a long, long time ago.

In recent times, while AMD introduced the Mantle API and Microsoft announces vague plans for DX12, both with goals of reducing CPU overhead as much as possible, OpenGL already has significant low-overhead support.

about 3 months ago
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Intel Announces Devil's Canyon Core I7-4790K: 4GHz Base Clock, 4.4GHz Turbo

PhrostyMcByte Re:More useful metrics? (157 comments)

Why don't we ever read about more useful metrics, such as the amount of (floating-point) operations per second per $ of a given CPU?

Because most people don't care about these things anymore. Take this from TFS:

Haswell may have delivered impressive gains in mobile, but it failed to impress on the desktop where it was only slightly faster than the chip it replaced.

In reality, Haswell had double the FLOPs thanks to the new FMA instructions, near double the integer throughput thanks to AVX2, and a significant boost to multithreaded code thanks to TSX.

In practice, people saw maybe a 10% speedup in what they actually do. A flops/$ metric would significantly inflate the actual value people would see from these CPUs.

The thing is, these measurements are either synthetic (who has code consisting of nothing but FMA?), hard and uncommon to use (Integer SIMD is rare and AVX2 has a confusing idea of "lanes" that splits some 256-bit ops into two 128-bit ones), or not on all CPUs (TSX is disabled on their unlocked K line for some reason).

about 3 months ago
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Imparting Malware Resistance With a Randomizing Compiler

PhrostyMcByte Re:Overengineered for it's eventual use.. (125 comments)

That's a nice idea, but it won't work everywhere.

In x86, for instance, the majority of instructions affect global flag registers. You can have two instructions that operate on entirely different memory locations and GP registers, but when you swap them the flags will end up set differently.

You'll find very few instruction pairs that you can do this to without some ability to perform local analysis of the code.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Judge rules BitTorrent cases must be tried separately

PhrostyMcByte PhrostyMcByte writes  |  about 7 months ago

PhrostyMcByte (589271) writes "TorrentFreak reports that Iowa Judge Stephanie Rose recently put a thorn in the plans of copyright holders hoping to file cheap mass-doe lawsuits against alleged pirates. Rejecting all but one Doe for such a lawsuit, Rose's order mentions that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the five Does in the case were a part of the same "transaction" needed to be tried together, with an uncommon understanding of BitTorrent showing that "...even in all five cases where Doe defendants allegedly have “hit dates” on the same day and close in time, there is no showing that the earlier defendants were still connected to the Internet and actively distributing data through the BitTorrent client at the same time as the later defendants.""
Link to Original Source
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Japan to fish space junk with kilometers-wide net

PhrostyMcByte PhrostyMcByte writes  |  more than 3 years ago

PhrostyMcByte (589271) writes "JAXA, Japan's space agency, is teaming up with fishing net manufacturer Nitto Seimo Co. to build a kilometers-wide net to orbit the Earth and collect space junk. The net would eventually be pulled by the Earth's magnetic fields to burn up in the atmosphere along with its contents."
Link to Original Source
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Black hole emits a 1,000 light-year wide fireball

PhrostyMcByte PhrostyMcByte writes  |  more than 4 years ago

PhrostyMcByte writes "12 million light-years away in the outer spiral of galaxy NGC 7793, a bubble of hot gas approximately 1,000 light-years in diameter can be found shooting out of a black hole — one of the most powerful jets of energy ever seen. The bubble has been growing for approximately 200,000 years, and is expanding at around 1,000,000 kilometers per hour."
Link to Original Source
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Origin of Species to be given for free, with FUD

PhrostyMcByte PhrostyMcByte writes  |  more than 4 years ago

PhrostyMcByte writes "November 24th will mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, the pivotal work that helped bring the theory of evolution through natural selection into popularity. Around this same time, Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron is spearheading a plan to pass out 50,000 free copies at universities around the country. The catch? Each copy will be altered to include creationist propaganda and FUD targeting evolution and Darwin himself."
Link to Original Source

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