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Comments

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CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

Sun Re: Prison time (272 comments)

As far as I know (IANAL), anyone can bring a civil suit against the police department. A specific cop has pretty much complete immunity from civil suits. The only thing that can touch a specific cop is internal affairs and the DA, as mentioned by GP.

It is true that should a specific cop start causing too much money lost through civil suits, it is likely that he/she will be fired. Again, however, it is up to the department to decide, not an independent jury.

Shachar

4 days ago
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Microsoft Now Makes Money From Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion

Sun Re: Did they make money on Surface? (117 comments)

If you are totalling the revenue for Surface and subtracting the direct costs for Surface, why would you then include the indirect costs that are by definition not specifically for the Surface?

No, that's not a correct statement. The indirect costs may not be specifically for a specific Surface unit, but the Surface division does have indirect costs that are specifically its own costs. This means that there are, indeed, indirect costs that are specifically Surface's.

The Surface factory pays rent, taxes, electricity and utility. These are all indirect costs, and they are all specifically for Surface.

What's more, the number of units sold is crucial. If you only sold a million units and the gross profit per unit is $5 (and it is, likely, less), then it doesn't take the indirect expenses to be particularly high for the division to be running at a net loss.

Shachar

5 days ago
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The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

Sun Re:Statistics (205 comments)

Your comment is definitely part of the 82% rule.

It says that 75.3% of statistics people quote are made up on the spot.

Shachar

about two weeks ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Sun Re:Transition period? (259 comments)

I didn't say that was okay. I said that was Ireland's rationale.

If memory serves me well, Cayman Islands have a similar shtick. No income tax for either corporations or residents, but lots of taxes on product consumption (customs etc.)

It is the trade offs that countries do to attract the "right" type of economy.

Shachar

about two weeks ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Sun Re:Transition period? (259 comments)

As far as Ireland is concerned, that is exactly it.

Google, Facebook and Microsoft (to name three, I'm fairly sure there are more) hold huge development and support centers in Ireland. While corporate tax in Ireland is low, income tax is fairly high. The Ireland government isn't losing from this deal.

Shachar

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Develops Analog Keyboard For Wearables, Solves Small Display Dilemma

Sun Re:Great (100 comments)

Graffiti is actually patented already, so unless they bought the patent holder, they should not be able to get a patent on this.

FTFY

about two weeks ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

Sun Re:Einstein's Nobel was for Photo-electric effect (986 comments)

To the best of my knowledge, no one has won multiple Nobels in a single field.

Okay, after checking that statement, it is not true. Frederick Sanger has won two Nobel prizes in Chemistry. He won it alone, in 1958, "for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin", and again in 1980, with Walter Gilbert, "for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids" (source).

It seems to me that the Nobel committee does not like to award the same prize twice. I think, had Frederick done the nucleic research on his own, he would not have won the second one. I think the committee only awarded him the second prize because not doing so would have denied Walter Gilbert the prize (and awarding only Walter a prize for joint work would be strange).

In that respect, Einstein got only one Nobel because he did his research alone.

Shachar

about two weeks ago
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Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court

Sun Re:Oracle (146 comments)

The action against Microsoft was based on anti-competitive acts, founded on the assumption (validated by the court) that Microsoft is a monopoly.

This action is based on strict copyright. Oracle is not alleging that Google are trying to harm Java, just that they didn't have the right to do what they did.

Shachar

about three weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Sun Re:Unicomp (304 comments)

Upon re-reading, I realize that parent might be joking. Still, it is important to note that Unicomp do, in fact, cater for the Model-M fanatics too.

Shachar

about three weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Sun Re:Unicomp (304 comments)

Did you buy the full size or what they call the "space saver"?

I am typing this on the space saver, and I can, indeed, flex it (if I try hard enough) by a few millimeters. For me, the reduced weight is a plus, though.

If you consider that a minus, you should go with the "Classic" version. I doubt you'll see any difference, USB and extra keys aside.

Shachar

about three weeks ago
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Object Oriented Linux Kernel With C++ Driver Support

Sun Re:Why do people still care about C++ for kernel d (365 comments)

Smart pointers in C++ are rarely larger in size than normal pointers.

std::unique_ptr has the same sizeof of void *. std::shared_ptr has the same sizeof as void *, but adds another allocation. Then again, boost::intrusive_ptr has the same sizeof as void *, does reference counting, does not require virtual functions in the destination class and carries no extra allocations (but does require that the class being indexed be aware it has references).

Shachar

about a month ago
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Object Oriented Linux Kernel With C++ Driver Support

Sun Re:Why do people still care about C++ for kernel d (365 comments)

Yeah, Linus mentioned those too. Where does C++ do hidden heap allocations?

The only example I can think of is when throwing an exception (and see below about that), and even then, the compiler rarely actually performs a heap allocation. Small exception classes are stored in a pre-allocated static buffer.

And if you are talking about library use, then you need to realize two things:
1. STL is the most allocation aware library I have ever seen. With a few C++11 related exceptions, it will always allow you to pick an allocator, and will always avoid allocation where one can be avoided.
2. If you think even that level of care is not enough, then you are free to not use STL. Assuming you are correct, your options are "Don't use STL, implement your own implementation in C++" or "Don't use STL, implement your own in C", and I fail to see how option 2 is preferrable to option 1.

As for the other two, RTTI cost you a few extra bytes per defined class (not instance). You are free to tell your compiler not to generate those if you don't use it (for user space, I rarely bother).

Exceptions are a different story. They get a very bad rap, and it's only partially justified. There are two reasons to not like exceptions for kernel code. The first is that exception use is a fundemental design decision. It is not something that can be slapped on to existing code. To do it properly, you must also have RAII and a good structuring of your code. Since those two are a good idea regardless, most good C++ programmers don't mind, but it's hard to migrate existing code to use it properly.

The other reason exceptions are not liked is because of a design decision made by the C++ committee that exceptions have no runtime cost when an exception is not thrown. This leads to the compiler generating the same code twice, and to a very complicated stack unwind code. I don't think either of these will prevent exceptions from working in the kernel (given the proper adaptations), but I do understand how these cause people to be weary of them.

I do agree with Linus about one thing. C++ is a language that is too complex. This leads to good C++ programmers being a minority among C++ programmers.

Shachar

about a month ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Sun Re: Unified Experience Across Devices (644 comments)

Just to add pedanticity (pedanticness?) to the discussion....

You forgot Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows 98SE, both technically OS versions of their own.

Shachar

about a month ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Sun Re:C=128 (167 comments)

Menus on the Amiga were bound to the screen, not the window. You are probably remembering a full-window.

Shachar

about a month ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Sun Re:C=128 (167 comments)

You can keep your ancient 1.3 books. I have the shining new 2.04 manuals in one of my unpacked boxes here (or maybe it is in storage, next to my actual Amiga?)

Shachar

about 1 month ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Sun Re:C=128 (167 comments)

What only Amiga users know is that the only way the power led can be controlled is by enabling/disabling the low-pass filter on the audio output since the status of the enable signal is indicated by dimming the led. It's not possible to turn it off completely to simulate the computer being dead.

The original Amiga 500, including the early Kickstart 1.3 ones, would actually completely turn off the LED. If you don't believe me, you are welcome to visit me. I still have my original machine in (more or less) working order.

You are correct that later models would not turn it off completely, but rather only dim it. I only remembered that fact after I hit Send, and thought no one will be anal enough to demand a clarification.

It's also possible to read a single sector, but that would require starting the DMA on a timer so it's more cumbersome than reading the entire track and it's not guaranteed to be faster since it's a spinning media.

In other words, the hardware does not support it.

As for MFM/RLL encoding the floppy controller does neither, it reads the raw bits. The order of the bits is interleaved on Amiga formatted disks to allow for blitter accelerated MFM-(de)coding.

That is one point I am not as sure about. It goes against what I remember, but I might be wrong on that point. However:

Don't trust anecdotes, the developer guides are available online.

Do provide links. Please. I failed to find them, and my black 2.04 books are buried in some box from my latest moving day (if I had not thrown them out).

Shachar

about a month ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Sun Re:C=128 (167 comments)

If I remember correctly changing display modes mid scan was often done so that workbench could do things like display HAM images in windows.

You misremember. The Copper code to change display modes took several scan-lines to run. Having a window with different display mode was impossible. You could, and did, have a UI construct called a "screen", which had its own display mode. You could drag a screen down and see another screen behind it.

All three were used though and it was used for many things such as sprites and the above mentioned screen mode changes.

AFAIK, none of those utilized SKIP. They were all based on WAIT and MOVE. If you know differently, please provide further details.

Maybe I missunderstood the OP?

I don't think so. I am, however, fairly sure you mis-remember.

Shachar

about a month ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Sun Re:C=128 (167 comments)

You got a partial answer. If "SKIP" was ever used, I'm interested to know by whom. I only know of a single example, which was EXTREMELY special case.

The commands:
MOVE: move immediate value into copper register. These included such actions as where in memory the video memory was (i.e. - where to fetch the picture from), what is the palette, video resolution, where on screen the video fetch starts and where it ends and many others.
WAIT: wait for the screen update to reach a certain point. There was a mask argument which allowed you to have don't cares on some of the bits.

These two was how most of the programs worked. From simply displaying a static image (the memory fetch registers had to be reset each frame), through "copper waves" (things like telling the hardware to start displaying the image in a different timing each line, so that a straight in memory was a wave on screen), to what matfud erroneously called "display HAM in a window" (it took several scan lines for the copper to completely replace the display mode, so you couldn't display two modes side by side, but you could display them one above the other). It also allowed "virtual sprites" by reusing the same 8 hardware display sprites for different things in the same frame, so long as they were not in the same line.

The third command, skip, had the same arguments as WAIT. Instead of waiting, however, it skipped the next command if the condition was not met. Add to that copper registers that restarted the copper program if written to, and the fact you could load two start addresses and switch between them, and you get the ability to perform a loop.

Back in 1994 there was a Mac "emulator" called A-Max. It was not really an emulator. It loaded Mac ROMs into the ram, patch some hardware related entry points so that it would work on the Amiga, load a copper instruction that caused the Amiga display to act like a Mac black & white display, and simply executed the ROMs. As a result, a 7.2Mhz Amiga 500 ran programs written for the 8Mhz Mac at 120% speed.

One (rather minor) problem they had was that while the display content was showing correct colors, the Amiga was hard-coded to use color 0 for the overscan. As a result, the overscan, black on the Mac, was white on A-Max. Around 1993 I figured a way to resolve this, using the SKIP command and the loop method mentioned above. I assumed that if I figured it, it was obvious, and didn't do anything with it. Around a year or two later, A-Max released a version which had text similar to the following:
Thank you (don't remember the name) for providing us with a method to give a black overscan without writing a huge copper program. As thanks, we've given him a free version of A-Max.

Which caused me to kick myself no ends, and never assume my ideas aren't innovative.

As far as I know, there was no other use for the skip command (which might explain why the A-Max guys never thought about it themselves).

Shachar

about a month ago
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Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Sun Re:C=128 (167 comments)

And then Commodore went on to (half inherit, half design) the Amiga. Maybe "cobbled together" is too harsh for it, but still. Floppy controller that can decide, per track, whether to work in MFM or RLL (but not read a single sector, mind you), more DMA channels than the CPU can handle, and a display processor with a built-in three commands machine language (one of which was only ever used by one application ever) to change display resolution mid-monitor.

I loved it, but the Amiga gave the impression that it was designed by engineers that couldn't make up their mind on what choice to make, so they created hardware that would offload all decisions to software.

One last anecdote. Many have heard of the famous "Guru meditation". What only Amiga users know is that you knew one was coming because the power led would blink three times. Yes, the power led was software controlled, making the Amiga the first ever computer that could play dead.

Shachar

about a month ago

Submissions

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France Bans Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations

Sun Sun writes  |  about 3 months ago

Sun (104778) writes "Citing the violence these demonstrations deteriorate into, the French government has placed a ban on all pro-Palestinian demonstrations. The step is receiving criticism from all sides of this particular conflict.

One has to wonder whether more traditional means of crowd control wouldn't be more appropriate, such as limiting the number of participants or assigning locations not next to Jewish centers."

Link to Original Source
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Israel Channel 10 Report Child Abduction Urban Legand as News

Sun Sun writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Sun writes "Israel's Channel 10 news reported Sunday of an attempted abduction of a 9 years old child was from the Disney World park. The reporter, Sivan Cohen, reports (video in Hebrew in this article) that when the parents found out the child went missing, the turned to park officials who closed down the gates and asked them to look only at the children's shoes. Using the shoes, the child was found in a bathroom with her head shaved and clothes changed. The reporter took the effort to mention this sounds like an urban legand, but it isn't.

Except, of course, it is. Channel 10 took off line all references to the story, and on Monday apologized for the incorrect report. The reporter was suspended, and the official response blamed the "parents" that reported this.

Still, one would hope that with a story that smells so strongly of hoax that a serious news outlet would do some fact checking before reporting."

Link to Original Source
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PrimeSense Opening Up SDK (Works with Kinect)

Sun Sun writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Sun writes "It seems like PrimeSense (the chip producer behind the Kinect) have released an SDK to the general public. Some things, like the drivers, were completely open sourced, while others, like skeleton tracking, user extraction and hand tracking are available free of charge (Windows and Ubuntu 32 and 64 bit). The forum seems to aim at being hardware neutral, but the actual drivers available right now are only for the PrimeSense chip (but do work with the Kinect hardware, which is about 50$ cheaper than the reference implementation they sell on the site). There is also a video of skeleton tracking in action.

Too late to win the original driver bounty, but maybe in time to win some of the later ones."

Link to Original Source
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New copyright law in Israel - mostly good news

Sun Sun writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Sun writes "Last Monday the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) passed the new copyright law, scheduled to go into effect in half a year. The previous law was passed in England in 1911, and was enacted in (then Palestine) in 1922.

The bad news:
  • Copyright period was lengthened for photographs was extended to match all other rights. All copyright now lasts life+70 years, except actual recordings which last 50 years.
  • "Making available" was explicitly listed as a protected right. On the flip side, the fact that another country found it necessary to list this right explicitly may aid people defending themselves in the US.
  • Work created for the government is copyrighted, albeit with a shortened copyright period of 50 years.


The good news:
  • No anti-circumvention clauses, and not for lack of trying. The Israeli record federation tried to pass such a law, with a lot of backing from the proprietary software industry. The opponents included the Israeli ISOC chapter, as well as Hamakor (represented, among others, by myself). The most important opponent, however, was the ministry of justice! It is too optimistic to assume we heard the last word on this, but for the moment, Israel is DMCA free.
  • Explicit exclusion from copyright of control over reverse engineering for interoperability and for research purposes. Again, this one had a lot of fighting from the software industry (mostly Microsoft and Retalix), but again common sense prevailed. This time a lot of help was received from the academic community, with several professors stepping forward to state that without ability to reverse engineer, research would come to a halt.
  • Fair use was expanded. The 1911 law had a limited "close" list of what would be considered "fair use". The new law allows the court to expand the list based on economical and other considerations. The list of considerations is, itself, also subject to court discretion and expansion.
  • Transient copies — the specifically excludes transient copies made for the purpose of a legitimate activity from being controlled by the copyright holder. The fact that, in order to run a program, the bits are copied from the hard disk to the RAM can no longer be used in order to control what can be done with a program.


All in all, this is a huge improvement even over the existing law. As someone who was present during some of the deliberations, and actively participated, I can say that I think that the most important law in the Israeli codex is the law that governs how much money a party can receive in campaign contributions. Despite at least three of the last four prime ministers got into hot water over violating this law, the end result is that the Israeli legislator is, for the most part, open to hear what is best for EVERYONE, and does care to do the right thing. Interest groups can still try to present their case in a convincing manner, but the fact that such humble resources, such as a bunch of volunteers from Hamakor and from the academic world, could make a difference is a very encouraging sign."
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Sun Sun writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Sun writes "I have just published a suggestion for a comment mechanism that will, I think, advance us an important step toward stopping comment spam in blogs. Non-spam comments welcome.

In a nutshell, commenters are asked to have their computer solve a cryptographic riddle, thus increasing the cost of posting spam to blogs as comments. The idea is not new, as such. I have seen similar suggestions for email. Unlike email, however, I believe it is feasible for blog comments."
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Sun Sun writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Sun writes "This really is from the "unsubstantiated rumours" department.

The Israeli online newspaper "Daily Maily" reports (content in Hebrew) that Information Week reports that Adobe announced it intends to open source ActionScript Virtual Machine, the engine behind Flash Player. According to Daily Maily, it will be integrated into Mozilla as a new open source project called "Tamarin". It is not clear whether this new engine is supposed to serve Flash or JavaScript content, however.

I am sorry about the long list of references, but aside from the link at Daily Maily, I have not managed to pick up a single reference to this piece of news, from either Adobe site or the Mozilla site. Any collaborating evidence would be appreciated."

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