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Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

Ronin Developer Source of Future Data (217 comments)

I guess we can expect that source code repositories will be scanned and processed. And, for code written by multiple authors, the modified code (from commits) will be scanned and indexed as well.

But, I bet they will never figure out who writes the malware recently attributed to the three letter agencies. They should, however, be able to figure out which agency writes the stuff if they get a copy of the source code or maybe even from decompiling the binary.

Additionally, if written from .NET, the CLR code can be reflected back to VB, C# or any other .NET language to retrieve the source code.

yesterday
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Researchers Tie Regin Malware To NSA, Five Eyes Intel Agencies

Ronin Developer Re:A call for Write Protect (94 comments)

Yup. Changing a bios required physically taking the old one out and popping in a new eprom. At 17, I doubt the NSA cared less about my original IBM PC that came with a cassette tape drive (I couldn't afford single sided floppy drives until a little later..let alone a hard drive until I was 18.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Ronin Developer Re:i++ (488 comments)

++i is not the same as 1++.

I have been working in Object Pascal, and C, and Obj-C and Java and numerous other languages for many years. I still prefer Object Pascal since I have been working with it since 1995. It's my preferred language for my own development. But, at work, I use what is most appropriate to meet our client's needs. Delphi has yet to be the correct choice. Our clients are either, PHP/Drupal, JAVA or C#/.net shops. Delphi doesn't have a place in web app development.

There was an argument earlier about why do we need another language, another tool chain etc. Hmmm. I seem to recall that Pascal and Object Pascal were around long before most of today's "modern" languages. I think we have the right to ask the same question of those languages.

The biggest argument I hear against PASCAL and Object Pascal is it's verboseness. While I would agree that all the begin/end blocks can seem annoying at times, nobody I know mistakes begin/end keywords for variables. And, single line statements don't need a begin/end block. I have heard arguments about the excessive use of white-space or the need for a semi-colon. Giving whitespace significance in code is an awful idea. Nothing could possible go wrong there could it?

The primary reason the language has suffered is because of what transpired at Borland/Inprise/Embarcadero after Delphi 7 was released. Quality suffered at the expense of making profit and developers migrated to cheaper or free solutions. I can't say I necessarily blame them - the product IS expensive. The migration of developers away resulted in a significant downsizing of the tool and component vendor community as well. At the same time, OSS became very popular. Still, Delphi continues to evolve. The tool permits rapid development of Windows/Mac and, on the mobile side, iOS/Android is a true cross-platform manner. While some might bitch about the FireMonkey framework, it does get the job done for cross-platform UXs. There will always be things that it can't readily do such as accessing certain frameworks out of the box. But, many frameworks have been translated. You can still access Java code on Android once you run the bridging tool and then adding the bridge units. Or, you could still write native iOS apps. But, if I am going that route, I would use the native tool chain rather than translate the headers (that's the vendor's job). That's just me.

I don't know if Delphi will survive. But, to speak against it without knowing what it can do is ignorant. Ignoring other languages and tools just because is just as ignorant as well.

3 days ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

Ronin Developer This makes me sad.... (314 comments)

I grew up knowing RadioShack in its glory. It was one of the few places where I could run out and buy parts to build some new gadget or circuit. And, it was one of the few places where you could not only test tubes from your TV, but replace them...yeah...when YOU could repair your own TV. And, it was fun.

I also had my first, unofficial job demonstrating the TRS-80 computer. They would let me come in and write software for it. I managed my paper route on their computers. The selling point, customers would come in and see me working. They'd ask what I was doing and I would tell them. Seeing how it ran my business contributed to quite a few sales for the local RS.

Yup....first HeathKit disappeared, RadioShack lost their way. Now, they too, will soon be gone....just like me.

about two weeks ago
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Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings

Ronin Developer Re:Is Uber a big government straw man? (299 comments)

But, if the business is subject to regulation and you fail to let the regulators in....well, be prepared for heavy fines and possible jail sentences.

As a company, their valuation is based entirely on speculation as they have little capital assets. Hindering those that hold legislative and regulatory powers over you is liable to result in your valuation disappearing overnight.

about two weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

Ronin Developer Release on Marketing's Schedule (598 comments)

What ever happened to the "we'll release when it's ready" approach to product development?

Oh...that's right...stockholders and their never ending quest for higher stock prices and profits and using customers as their QA department to cut costs.

But, it's not limited to just public companies. My favorite development environment (which I won't name as it's not relevant), went down the tubes for the longest time. It took a near-death experience for them to realize that they needed to get back to the "ship it when it's ready" mentality. They still have issues, but they are improving. Just wish the cost of the next major "upgrade" wouldn't cost me another vital organ donation.

about three weeks ago
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What Isn't There an App For?

Ronin Developer Days of Consumer Apps is Over (421 comments)

As a mobile developer and architect (primarily iOS now), I hate to say that there is much truth in that statement. In 2010, I started developing apps for both myself and corporate. The trend, which became very apparent in the early days, is that even if you have a great idea, you are up against several roadblocks. At the very least, an app/applet/program on a mobile device is supposed to do one thing and do it really well.

In the private, consumer world:
1) You have to set a price point that people will pay. That's typically either free, $0.99 or $1.99. And, it's why some developers people incorporate ads into their apps in the hopes of eeking out a living.

2) Then, you have to get it noticed. For some reason, insanely stupid or novel apps make it on the chart. The apps that provide utility never rank high so they become to find.

3) Then, you have have the copy-cats. They say copying is the finest form of flattery. Great - if it gets one a date with a really hot member of your preferred sexual preference. But, don't cut into my profits with that bullshit because you can't come up with an original idea of your own and then resell mine at a lower cost or give it away.

4) Lastly, there is the app lifecycle and planned obsolesce. You app has a limited lifetime. Any slowness during loading or awkwardness in its UI and it will, likely, meet the squiggly icon of doom rather quickly.

Platform of choice? Android and iOS.

The Commercial world is where the money is to be made. Large corporations have products they want to sell and marketing/sales folks who keep coming up with ways to get their products out there. They also have the money to fund development of limited purpose apps. Most still prefer to use web-based apps as well as they understand the web platform and how it can get their message across and it tends to be cheaper. Done with it? Just turn it off. Users aren't out any money. Typically, doing so is no harm no foul. Their platform of choice? iOS. Android is not making a dent in our industry (Pharma and Health) BECAUSE it is so open.

So, where does that leave us developers? Well, the market keeps evolving. First we had the older BREW and SYMBIAN phones (what a PITA). Then, we got smartphones followed by tablets. Now, through emerging tech, we have wearable devices. That will be the next market - finding the best ways to marry wearable tech with mobile, tablet and desktop technology to give the user something they find useful and affords the chance of making money. People might not like the ApplePhone or Pebble or whatever. But, it's coming.

Case in point - My youngest son, now 15, said he wanted an AppleWatch. Why? He finds reaching into his pocket to see the time (he doesn't walk around with it in his hand all the time, oblivious to the world around him as many teenagers do). Still, he wants something that does more than just tell the time (he's a competitive swimmer...not that the AppleWatch will help him there as it's not, supposedly, waterproof).

I still think a good online service providing utility via the web AND offering a useful web-service API is the way to go. I can build a mobile, tablet or tethered device to it when I am ready and think the market is ready and willing to pay for it.

about three weeks ago
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A New Law For Superconductors

Ronin Developer New Law? (53 comments)

WTF? Railroad Super Conductors get preferential treatment over less than stellar ones? What lobbying group managed to get Congress to pass this?

Oh...wait...

about a month and a half ago
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Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

Ronin Developer Re: Pretty sad (156 comments)

I could not agree more. I cut my teeth on Dr. Dobb's starting in high school during the early 80's. Looked forward each month to receiving my copy in the mail and then, digesting it's contents from cover to cover. While some of the discussions and techniques covered didn't always have immediate impact, I have found that, over the years, that much of the older content was actually still relevant today.

This view of "It isn't relevant to me today" will come, in time, to bit developers. The seemingly limited discussions which involved older tech, has opened the doors for the current generation.

Sadly, when they went entirely online, they lost their relevance and I saw limited value to the once vibrant tech journal known as Dr. Dobb's.

Goodbye, old friend.

about a month and a half ago
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The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

Ronin Developer I wasn't orginal? (100 comments)

Bumming...I invented the Write Only Drive while at college. Now, it looks like I infringed on the Patent. Mine, however, used the Pauli-Exclusion and Heisenberg Uncertainty Principles to store information on each atom. Problem was, we hadn't figured out how to get the data back out (it was just a s SCSI cable going into a black box. I think we just needed Heisenberg Compensators.

Even though we published our "Announcement" it during our April's Fools edition of our Newsletter, we received one call from a company wanting to commercially build it. We had to explain it was a joke.

about a month and a half ago
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Sir Richard Branson Quietly Shelves Virgin Submarine Plan

Ronin Developer The Virgin Submarine Plan (47 comments)

Sounds like a really bad porn movie.

about a month and a half ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

Ronin Developer Brilliant (567 comments)

We've been capable of doing this since 1980's. Even the early Xerox word processors had this orientation. The author must be a hipster.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

Ronin Developer The question asked... (720 comments)

Is often "Have you ever been arrested?" and "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?".

If you answer "Yes", the next question is often to describe why you were arrested and whether you were convicted.

If it's a juvie record, you might not have to answer.

When and if you are hired, they are putting a lot of trust in the hire. For positions that demand that level of trust, a hire is unlikely. For others positions, they might hire and you'll have to prove yourself as not being a risk. Evenually, if you stay clean, most will forget your earlier transgressions. Keep your performance evaluation as they will help you in the future if hired.

Good luck!

about 2 months ago
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Negative Online Reviews Are Not Defamation (At Least In Canada)

Ronin Developer Common Sense Prevails (62 comments)

Now, let's bring that logic here to the US.

about 2 months ago
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

Ronin Developer GOD and the 10 commands (452 comments)

GOD said to split it into two pages. Then GOD saidth, Upon each, thou shalt place five, not three and not four, but five commands. And, he saw it was good.

about 2 months ago
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Linux On a Motorola 68000 Solder-less Breadboard

Ronin Developer Excellent! (147 comments)

I cut my teeth programming the 68k on the original Mac - well, did 8086/8008/4004/z80 and 6502 long before. Loved programming the 68K.

No easy task getting the home brew hardware to work. The capacitance and inductance of the breadboard and wires is limiting performance. Always fun to write the loader and make it come to life.

its nice reading real 'nerd' stories. Anyone here belittling your work likely has no understanding of the effort and skill required to build an operational computer from scratch. Great job!

about 2 months ago
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Human Clinical Trials To Begin On Drug That Reverses Diabetes In Animal Models

Ronin Developer Re: US Gov't Corn Subsides (140 comments)

The first thing they teach you is to watch your diet and to exercise and monitor your glucose levels. When that approach fails, what other cause is there?

The fact that YOU have patients that continue to eat poorly and don't exercise is not an environment thing - it's laziness or they are simply tired of nothing working and have a nurse that doesn't understand their disease but pretends they do. I bet you probably smoke also, right?

Show me the "environmental" factors that can cause Type 2 to flair up. I exhibited no symptoms when I was 160 pounds at age 21. I am 6 ft 1. I fought semi-professionally, cycled, rock-climbed and ran long distance (trained for marathons). I developed the disease regardless. The only mitigating factor is that for four years, I led a more sedentary life onboard a navy ship where I couldn't do all that and performed the equivalent of shift work. Still it was another 20 years, after I got out, before I was diagnosed. I had regained a more active lifestyle.

The only extraordinary environmental factors that I was exposed to might be nerve agents, depleted uranium and experimental vaccines during Desert Storm. When you can drop down 20 pounds in the first several months, monitor and control caloric intake, increase activity only to have it go back up a few months later? Let me tell you, pal, it's a pisser. And, it's not diet as you indicate.

Short of sucking out the fat cells, there is little anyone can do to stop regaining the weight as the glucose that is not processed by the cells go straight to the fat cells and keep flooding the body with more glucose. So, yes, obesity and Type 2 go hand in hand caused by the cell's inability to utilize the insulin it produces - it's a Catch-22 type scenario called "insulin resistance".

As somebody else pointed out, Type 1's on insulin can develop it also. Prior to insulin injections, these folks would just waste away. Now, they can have the benefits of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lucky them.

about 3 months ago
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When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

Ronin Developer Re: Senator James Inhofe (282 comments)

By your reasoning, when you answer a question on a test in which you are trying to do well and get a question wrong, you are lying.

Models are that - models. They are based on the sum of knowledge you have. Models are meant to be adjusted to fit the facts. Failure to do so and assume you are correct is lying

about 3 months ago
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Dealer-Installed GPS Tracker Leads To Kidnapper's Arrest in Maryland

Ronin Developer It was NOT secretly installed (271 comments)

It is a common technique among used car dealers who are selling to someone with bad or poor credit. It is intended to aid in recovery and repossession. The purchaser is aware it is installed. And, it is removed when the vehicle is paid off.

The device our company made and sold ( when I worked for them) could be activated with a court order. Activation was not in the hands of the car dealership because of the privacy implications.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC to Apple Pay Only

Ronin Developer Ronin Developer writes  |  about 4 months ago

Ronin Developer (67677) writes "From the article:
"At last week's Apple event, the company announced Apple Pay — a new mobile payments service that utilises NFC technology in conjunction with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner for secure payments that can be made from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch.

Apple also announced a number of retailers that would accept Apple Pay for mobile payments at launch.

However, Cult of Mac reports that NFC will be locked to the Apple Pay platform, meaning the technology will not be available for other uses.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the lock down of the technology, saying developers would be restricted from utilising its NFC chip functionality for at least a year. Apple declined to comment on whether NFC capability would remain off limits beyond that period."

So, it would appear, for at least a year, that Apple doesn't want competing mobile payment options to be available on the newly released iPhone 6 and 6+. While it's understandable that they want to promote their payment scheme and achieve a critical mass for Apple Pay, it's a strategy that may very well backfire as other other mobile payment vendors gain strength on competing platforms. Subway already has penned a deal with Softcard to accept their mobile payment exclusively. Will other retailers take a similar tact and lock out Apple users who can't use their newly minted iPhone 6's for mobile payments everywhere because of this decision?"

Link to Original Source
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Say Goodbye to that Unwanted U2 Album

Ronin Developer Ronin Developer writes  |  about 4 months ago

Ronin Developer (67677) writes "Apple has listened to the complaints of those who object to having received a pushed copy of U2's latest album as part of their recent campaign. While nobody has been charged for the download, some objected to having it show up in their purchases and, in some cases, pushed down to their devices.

While it is possible to remove the album from your iTunes library, it takes more steps than most would like to take. Apple has responded and released a tool to make it possible to remove the album from your iTunes library in a single step."

Link to Original Source
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Key Logging on iOS Devices

Ronin Developer Ronin Developer writes  |  about a year ago

Ronin Developer (67677) writes "iKeyMonitor popped up on freecode.com today. It provides key logging capabilities to users of jailbroken iOS devices.

This is a perfect reason NOT to jailbreak your phone and why the Apple walled garden provides a measure of security.

Now, question for you Android folks — Can you install a key logger on an Android device? Any special requirements to do so? If the answers are, respectively, "yes" and "no", it seems to provide a clear indication why Apple still dominates the Enterprise tablet market.

Thoughts?"

Link to Original Source
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Break-Even at the National Ignition Facility Achieved!!!!

Ronin Developer Ronin Developer writes  |  about a year ago

Ronin Developer (67677) writes "It is being reported that the NIF has achieved break-even with the fusion reactor — getting as much energy out (if not a little more) than they put in.

While a long way off from commercial fusion power generation, this is a significant milestone."

Link to Original Source

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