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Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Sigma 7 Re:Hard to get excited. (129 comments)

video is the vast majority of the internet. Seems like a better use of their time to focus on making HEVC or VP9 more capable.

Most videos (at least those linked to from meme-based image sites) are stored in GIF format, despite them taking twenty times the bandwidth/file size of the Youtube video they're based on.

Thus the best way to save space/bandwidth is to find a way to optimize compression of .GIF files.

about two weeks ago

How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

Sigma 7 Tech for a non-issue (128 comments)

Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces

Is this a tech-for-no-reason article?

The article gives a long example where players need to figure out things like checkmate. That's the most trivial of problems, which players need to figure out just to complete the game. Plus, average children at the K-5 (outside of tournaments) have a house rule where capturing the enemy king is a checkmate, which is the same effect.

An easy question if you are an avid chess player, but what if you are not?

If you're at a tournament for that, then you really need to play a few chess matches yourself - even if it's against BattleChess, Chessmaster, or plenty of other free computer programs that can have their difficulty significantly reduced.

about three weeks ago

Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

Sigma 7 Re:In other news (358 comments)

In Florida, only for text messaging. They don't ban hand-helds or cell phones.


Also, officers don't pull you over simply because you are on the phone, they only enforce it if they catch you doing something else at the same time.

about a month ago

The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

Sigma 7 Re:WTF Is A "Feature Phone"? (243 comments)

Technically, a feature phone is a class of cell phone half-way between conventional smart phones and cellphones that only allowed dialing.

It's also a back-dated definition.

As for programming software for one - don't bother. There's so many variants that it's easier to aim for an Android or iOS.

about 3 months ago

MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

Sigma 7 Re:Uhm... since when are non-competes a bad thing? (97 comments)

Don't they stop employees from taking any kind of IP and running away with it, which would basically kill the industry?

That would be confidentiality agreements Non-competes are meant to prevent employees from leaving, and immediatly undercutting the employer.

As for why they're bad, I didn't find what I was looking for (a Texas software engineer sued for work before and after employment at a company), but one sample non-compete is more of a restraint-of-trade, requiring an employee to be unemployed for a period of three years (no regional limitation and no consideration.)

Such non-competes don't prevent innovation from being released into the wild, but instead choke the supply of available workers.

about 4 months ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Sigma 7 Re:Requires Windows 8 (226 comments)

Bleh. Last paragraph should read:

I think the point is that Visual Studio encourages programmers to code to APIs available only on Windows.

I think that's a problem with any system. For example, if you write something for Mac OS's Carbon, it still takes a bit of effort to port that to anything else (unless you have some standard middleware library.)

about 4 months ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Sigma 7 Re:Requires Windows 8 (226 comments)

For one thing, nothing on the page you linked even runs on Windows Vista, which is still in extended support.

You have to scroll down to find Visual Studio 2010, but it's there. Granted, the latest version should still run on something in extended support...

I think that's a problem with any system. For example, if you write something for Mac OS's Carbon, it still takes a bit of effort to port that to anything else (unless you have some standard middleware library.)

about 4 months ago

Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Sigma 7 Re:Guilty until proven innocent. (306 comments)

I've been wondering if it already exists in already-existing copyright law:


Sect. 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works


Sect. 106A. Rights of certain authors to attribution and integrity

Subject to section 107 and independent of the exclusive rights provided in section 106 [17 USCS Sect. 106], the author of a work of visual art--

(1) shall have the right--

(A) to claim authorship of that work,

This is probably meant to prevent other people from placing their name on your work, and probably should be tested on Youtube copyright claims. After all, a video does qualify as visual art.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Sigma 7 Re:Mmm (266 comments)

Yeah, and it should be reverted to the prior behavior because it doesn't fix the issue.

Prior behavior was with Windows 95/98 and really old versions of Netscape, where the browser blindly loaded an image from c:\con\con because that's the file found in the img tag. Unlike the BSoD, you needed a 110 reset.

And no, you should never revert to a revision that provides worse control over malicious scripts.

you get a never-ending stream of "would you like to stop the script?" dialogs

The script-stopping dialog would kill all scripts on that page, not just the individual one. Stopping the script includes stopping all timers produced by the script.

A "modal dialog" is a DENIAL OF SERVICE to all other application features.

Correct, and as the other anonymous poster said, an application is free to freeze itself to show that modal dialog.

What isn't acceptable is sandboxed or semi-sandboxed code running under that application capable of freezing the parent, and blocking everything else running. It is the duty of any application capable of running arbitrary code to allow the user to instantly block anything malicious or faulty, with minimal impact to things that should remain running.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Sigma 7 Re:Mmm (266 comments)

do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)

Sometimes it isn't an option because your fix gets rejected (or left to idle in an obscure bug report)

For example, one build utility had a bug where it checked for the presense of a compiler, but not if it was functional. The fix was rejected because the build utility doesn't check path - despite the fact that it does so for a different compiler. (Explicitly defining which compiler to use defeats the purpose of using said tool in the first place - I'd just use Makefile instead.)

Did you know it took 10+ years for Mozilla to fix the alert() denial loop? That bug is older than Mozilla itself, and the most obvious fix of "checkbox to stop further dialogs" was dismissed as a hack (compared to the destructive hack of force-killing Mozilla.)

about 4 months ago

Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

Sigma 7 Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

Placebos are "real" medicine.
We just don't know how they work.

You're confusing placebos with the placebo effect. It works based on the patient's expectation on how its going to work (i.e. the mind makes it real).

There's also a person who did an experiment that negated the effect of placebos, by an injection that blocks opiates.

about 4 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

Sigma 7 Re:Anger (529 comments)

For Christs Sake! It is NOT The governments Job to attend to MY child.

Then make sure it's not the government's job to attend your child once they should become self-sufficient. (i.e. isn't forced to welfare because they couldn't find employment in their field.)

It's bad enough that we're forced into using these shitty public schools

There's a concept known as homeschooling. As long as your child can pass specific benchmarks in education (i.e. is literate and can do math), you have no need to worry. You might even assist him in getting a job so that he can prepare for college.

then to take even more resources away from us to fund special programs for kids that don't need extra help in the first place is ridiculous.

Either you're suggesting they're taking resources away from average students to fund average students, or you're suggesting that gifted students already have access to material they need to become the best the can and aren't ostracized by their peers.

In either case, moving stuff around in education should result in a negligible loss of resources - especially with the internet age where stuff can be freely copied, searched, and edited.

Speaking of which, the best flutes should go to the best flute players, because that's what flutes are for.

about 4 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Sigma 7 Re:Yes (627 comments)

Non-ansi C either means a version that has extensions, or some implementation made before it became standardized.

The former is be trivially checked by comparing version numbers or whatever you use to detect library versions. The latter should be taken out, hung from a tree, gutted, shot and run over by a Buick.

If one still wants to test for outdated C, it's better to do a global smoke test where you cover a series of #include files and function calls in one program, rather than calling the compiler+linker several times in a row. (I don't know where, but there's a short delay between starting gcc and the first error message that prints out - indicating at least some overhead with multiple invocations.)

about 5 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Sigma 7 Re:Yes (627 comments)

Visual Studio IDE doesn't have makefile support, but it does include nmake.exe which is good enough. However, it doesn't support autotools, since that's a Unix-specific script.

I don't like autotools myself - modern apps that use it still perform checks concerning string.h in addition to trying to detect if something is Ansi C. Anything failing those checks should be considered too outdated to be worth bothering about (especially with the software not being designed to run on ~20 year old hardware.)

about 5 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Sigma 7 Re:Yes (627 comments)

It leads people to rely on building the application with the IDE instead of issuing standard Makefiles

In other words, it causes the programmer to rely on an automated build system instead of an automated build system.

about 5 months ago

Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise

Sigma 7 Re:Computer geeks != tech workers (158 comments)

Using your definitions, not mine.

You seem to be confusing "my" "definition" of computer geek with someone who uses a computer. Using a computer as a hobby is different than using a computer as a means for a hobby.

And taking pictures of their overpriced wireless routers to post on MyFace, Spacebook or some other vanity page is on par with showing off a phallic symbol. Most commonly done by fakers.

about 6 months ago

Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise

Sigma 7 Computer geeks != tech workers (158 comments)

A "computer geek" is a person who specializes in comptuers.

A tech worker is someone who works in the computer field.

Despite them being similar, they aren't the same. For example, call center tech support is filled with tech workers, but given the scripts and stuff they have, they don't have to specialize in the field.

The computer geek accepts computers as a hobby. This is different than a tech worker, as they end up with a general lack of scripts and go directly into the free-form world.

For this data analysis IT job categories were: IT managers, computer scientists, a broad range of IT analysts, as well as programmers, developers, support specialists, network and database administrators.

And this is basically stuffing a wide variety of carrers into one "tech worker" category. Programmers may be in a less social environment (although this varies), tech support specialists may be in a social environment while feeling socially isolated, etc.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

Sigma 7 Re:The more simple you make it the less complex it (876 comments)

because you can't produce something complex with something simple

The only requirement to make complex projects is to pick something that is robust enough to handle something complex. The minimal requirement is to provide arithmetic operations, flow control, input/output, and custom data structures. Once you have that, you can technically do anything.

Even Minecraft can create an 8-bit ALU, and you don't need one line of text.

The actual reason you don't see too many non-text programming languages is that they're harder to make them fully capable of doing system-level tasks expected of most other programs.

about 6 months ago

Adobe Flash Remote Code Execution Flaw Exploited In the Wild

Sigma 7 Re:Shocking (187 comments)

As you know, Flash can be disabled (or at least set to Click-to-play) on any non-braindead browser. Because of that alone, Flash cannot be worse than any browser.

Meanwhile, Javascript allows instantly redirecting you from any page to today's "Your Flash Is Outdated" malware page - with the back button never bringing you back to the page you were reading.

Oh, and you haven't encountered IE's ActiveX plugins, which have less sandboxing than Flash.

about 6 months ago

Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Sigma 7 Re:MOO2 (360 comments)

The ethics and idealistic rhetoric aside, there are some practical considerations. Namely that of technology changing much faster than the current copyright scheme. I am not talking even about music or outdated business models or anything like that.

Even though technology changes rapidly, MoO2 is on a platform that has generally maintained backwards compatibility - and there's even software that could emulate the platform as well. Such compatibility removes all practical limitations, and will keep it that way for a while.

Compare this to old NES games or arcade games, where the hardware platform gradually gets rarer due to lack of production and cartridges gradually decay. As time progresses, it becomes harder to play those games - unless you can find an alternate means (which requires violating copyright unless you have your own hardware to extract data from the cartridge.)

If there's no practical issues, this leaves only ethical issues concerning copyright.

So I would ask that Duke Nukem idiot, to go connect to TEN, and I challenge him to a game of Duke Nukem 3D, or if he can connect to my computer VIA his 2400 baud modem and beat me in a game we will all accept what he says as Gospel.

In case of Duke Nukem 3D - original multiplayer is prone to sync issues. The soruce to that game is also released, allowing you to make your own multiplayer system that works across the internet. (Currently, EDuke32 handles multiplayer.)

P.S. Someone jokingly mentioned a unit of time for Public Domain being a DukeNukem which would translate to 15 orbits of our sun,

I'm more of a fan of ~30-40 years. That way, a person born when Duke Nukem was released would have attended sufficient school in order to release their own equivalent (which they can, due to release of tools such as Unity, etc.)

about 6 months ago


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