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Comments

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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

dgatwood Re:The US tech industry (230 comments)

With turbo boost, it runs until it hits a thermal limit, then scales the clock speed back a bit at a time until the load stops or it hits a speed at which it can run continuously without overheating. So it almost certainly will eventually throttle back to a lower clock speed, but that may or may not be 1.4 GHz. For example, if you are running only one core at full throttle, it will probably not scale back that far.

But no, it almost certainly cannot run at 2.7 GHz 24x7.

7 hours ago
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Tetris Is Hard To Test

dgatwood Re:One Line (103 comments)

It's simple enough to implement in a shell script. At least three or four of us have done it over the years.

8 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Make a High-Spec PC Waterproof?

dgatwood Re:This seems the obvious solution (130 comments)

http://www.liquipel.com/

They coat the chips in some sort of coating that insulates them.

My first inclination would be to get the biggest heat sink I could find, fasten it to the motherboard, and build a 12V to 5V and 3.3V DC-DC converter (and 1.8V, if needed). By not starting from 110VAC, you can cut the PSU heat to a level that might be manageable without fans. Then get extension cables for any connectors that you want to keep usable, along with a couple of heavy gauge wires for your 12V leads, stick the whole thing in a plastic box or bag with the cables hanging out the top, and fill it with epoxy....

Mind you, such an approach is almost certainly not advisable, but that would be my first inclination. :-D

10 hours ago
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CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

dgatwood Re:The ACLU is busy with real rights violations (236 comments)

Even that isn't a "No True Scotsman" fallacy, because there was no initial flawed assertion, nor a counterexample that disproves that assertion.

yesterday
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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

dgatwood Re:The US tech industry (230 comments)

As many folks have already pointed out in other threads on the subject, Intel screwed up the Haswell line by using an entirely different pinout on the i7 than on the i5. The result is that any motherboard with soldered-on chips has to be specifically designed for one or the other.

Apple chose the i5, presumably because that's the hardware grade where most of the Mini's sales came from, rather than doubling their R&D cost by building two very different motherboards.

Here's hoping Intel doesn't screw up Broadwell in the same way.

yesterday
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Passwords: Too Much and Not Enough

dgatwood Re: Passwords should not exist (208 comments)

They only fix 2 problems - weak passwords and keyloggers.

That's not true. They also provide protection against:

  • Shoulder surfing attacks, which require no compromise to the internals of the endpoint
  • Storage of data encrypted with a protocol that later proves vulnerable in some interesting way, such as a key compromise

For example, consider heartbleed. If someone stores your encrypted communication, and later compromises a host's private key, that attacker could ostensibly decrypt those communications. If you use a password, that password is compromised, and it's "Game over, man." If you use a physical token, only the PIN is compromised (assuming the actual verification happens in a separate process).

Ideally, you would still want to issue new PIN codes, but the account hijacking risk would be largely mitigated by the physical token requirement, at least after the n-hour cookie expiration window passes, and you could even eliminate that window by expiring any cookies in your authentication database before bringing it back online after you fix the heartbleed vulnerability.

yesterday
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Verizon Injects Unique IDs Into HTTP Traffic

dgatwood Re:Is there a way to prevent this? (198 comments)

So you're saying they made a new network for blackjack and hookers? You know what, forget the network. And the hookers.

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

dgatwood Re:USB VID is meant for a specific organization (543 comments)

Regardless of the fact that it may be legal for others to do so, it's unethical and clearly misrepresentation.

Not true. Lots of small homebrew hardware uses off-the-shelf chips like the ones FTDI builds without applying for their own VID/PID combo. This causes minor headaches because software can't tell them apart from one another, but as long as the final product doesn't have a USB logo on it, it is perfectly acceptable to sell it, even if your homebrew flash programmer looks like a USB to serial adapter to any software that asks.

If you want to use the USB logo, you have to apply for your own VID/PID combo and reprogram the chip to identify itself as being your product, and ship a custom driver that talks to it (which could be a modified version of the official FTDI driver, or the open source driver, or whatever).

yesterday
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

dgatwood Re:Is this legal? (690 comments)

As other people have pointed out, not all of the fake chips have those markings—or any markings, for that matter. This tells me that some company special-ordered batches of chips that were silk screened with those markings, but that the part normally comes blank.

2 days ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

dgatwood Re:UK article, US units (164 comments)

And who would want a 9" pianist figurine anyway?

2 days ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

dgatwood Re:Is this legal? (690 comments)

First, there's no such thing as "illegal access to software". The customer may be violating a licensing agreement, but as a rule, that's not a criminal offense.

Second, I'm pretty sure there are third-party FTDI drivers out there. So you really can't make the argument that the clone chip vendors don't have an alternate driver. The best you can do is state that if a clone gets bricked, it means that the commercial FTDI driver was loaded at least once by the customer for some reason (possibly with the intent to use it with the clone hardware, but possibly to use it with some other device), and that it matched the clone because it was attached while that driver was loaded.

3 days ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

dgatwood Re:Is this legal? (690 comments)

Besides, they aren't FTDI's chips, so FTDI's statement about what uses their chips are certified for is irrelevant.

3 days ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

dgatwood Re:Is this legal? (690 comments)

Actually, if you sell it as a "USB/Serial converter", then you are, because the USB mark is trademarked.

Only if they use the USB trident mark. The letters "USB" are likely to be held as descriptive.

If some medical device manufacturer uses a consumer-grade FTDI chip - counterfeit or not - in a medical appliance, then that manufacturer is the one who would be liable, as FTDI has already made it clear that these chips are not certified for such uses.

Liability is not binary. If the failure were accidental, you'd be correct. Because it is deliberate, at best, both companies would be held liable—the medical device vendor for choosing an unsuitable part and FTDI for deliberately breaking it, and at worst, FTDI would be held solely liable for deliberately breaking it.

3 days ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

dgatwood Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (286 comments)

No, I haven't solved any of the hard problems, because determining whether a colored ball or arrow is meaningful really isn't one of them. The hard problems are things like:

  • recognizing and handling road signs
  • dealing with potentially contradictory lane markings
  • dealing with rain on the cameras
  • determining which way to swerve when avoiding obstacles (like a dog running across the road), and whether to brake instead, or do both
  • choosing whether it is better to hit the object in the road or swerve into the next lane (including computing the distance and speed of an oncoming vehicle correctly, even if it is a motorcycle)
  • handling four-way stops when other vehicles don't follow the rules
  • determining weather conditions sufficiently to compute braking distance correctly (Is it rainy or just cloudy?)
  • recognizing that there are kids playing by the side of the road and you should probably slow down just in case one of them falls out into the street....

Traffic lights are relatively straightforward by comparison, so long as they are working.

3 days ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

dgatwood Re:The obvious question is (164 comments)

No, that's the next generation, when they add backscatter and/or millimeter-wave scanners.

3 days ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

dgatwood Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (286 comments)

Describe for me, programmatically, the difference between a stoplight and a taillight.

That's easy. The stoplight is above you. Two cameras at different angle provide sufficient parallax to tell the difference between something far away on a hill and something nearby above the car. And you're done.

and a police light

Same answer.

and a neon sign

Same answer, plus the stoplight is not on the side of the road, as computed based on distance to the edge of the road when looking forward.

and also, please include all the many shapes and sizes of the various stoplights all over the country.

No need. Humans can't see the shape of the fixture when driving at night, but that limitation has never been a problem. You just need to know the color and to be able to figure out which colored light corresponds with which lane.

3 days ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

dgatwood Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (286 comments)

its video cameras can sometimes be blinded by the sun when trying to detect the color of a traffic signal.

So can people. One possible solution would be radio signals in every traffic light to indicate the light's state. No signal and can't see the light? Stop the car and tell the driver to take over. This would be useful for eliminating confusion when you have multiple lights as well, so it might be worth pursuing.

That said, the simpler fix is to use a higher quality camera with better lens coatings. I can't remember the last time I saw lens flare that blew out a picture to the point that it was truly unusable except when using old camera gear with uncoated lenses. For additional robustness, put more than one camera on the front, pointed in different directions. That way, lens flare should never be a problem, in practice. (Lens flare tends to be angle-specific, and the sun is in one spot, so if a lens at one angle is in a position to flare badly, a second lens at a different angle probably won't be, assuming your lenses aren't old, uncoated nightmares.)

it can't tell the difference between a big rock and a crumbled-up piece of newspaper

Neither can people, reliably, unless it is blowing. Whatever you see in the road, it is best to avoid it. :-)

3 days ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

dgatwood Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (286 comments)

Really, the problem is that "when children are present" is kind of ambiguous. What if there's only one child? And is the concern really all children, or just unaccompanied children? Are high school students children? Do kids in strollers count? And so on.

Most drivers would assume that the intended purpose is to increase safety around the time when kids are arriving at school or leaving school en masse. So they would interpret it to mean "Speed Limit [X] on Monday through Friday, from 7:15–8:00 and from 2:30–3:15". If the signs just said that instead of "when children are present", then automated cars could easily do the right thing every time. Also, by being more concrete, the signs would eliminate the selective blindness that causes many human drivers to ignore the lower speed limit.

3 days ago
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Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

dgatwood Re:backup for 911 (115 comments)

The monthly cost of a landline is cheap insurance in the event of an emergency. Cell towers go down, fail, become over-congested, and cell phone batteries die.

Not around here. I'm paying about $40 per month for a nearly bare-bones land line (only Caller ID). Even if I were on a $0.35 per text plan, I'd spend more money on that land line every month than I would on texting for ten years. Cheap, it ain't.

3 days ago
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Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

dgatwood Re:backup for 911 (115 comments)

Sounds like a variant of a famous joke.

Operator: 911. What is your emergency?
Hunter: My hunting partner just had a heart attack. I think he's dead.
Operator: Go make sure.
[sound of a gunshot]
Hunter: Okay. Now what?

3 days ago

Submissions

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Richard Stallman to Start Fashion Line

dgatwood dgatwood writes  |  about a year and a half ago

dgatwood (11270) writes ""Walking down the halls of MIT, I’d often see my colleagues dressed rather shabbily, and it was then that I decided to do something about it," said Richard Stallman, 60, of Cambridge, MA. So Stallman, a leader in the Free Software community with decades of software design experience, is ready to turn that experience towards a new target: clothing. He is expected to showcase his new line at FOSSCON 2012."
Link to Original Source
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Feds announce bailout of Kit Kat Club

dgatwood dgatwood writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dgatwood (11270) writes "Federal regulators announced today that they have decided to provide a $69 billion bailout to the financially strapped Kit Kat Club. On further questioning, regulators said that dancer Jugs Aplenty was "an American icon who is simply too big to fail" and described the chain of night clubs as "the last bastion of freedom in a sea of scandals and coverups".

The manager of one club spoke with a Slashdot indy reporter under the condition that he remain anonymous. "Things have been kind of tight for us lately. My customers keep telling me that it is hard for them to find the cash to visit nude bars with the economy in the doldrums. This bailout will ensure that Kit Kat Clubs across the nation can continue to provide quality entertainment and live dance shows that help weary investors beat the economic downturn." He went on to say that he could not think of any business more deserving, saying, "I've got a bone to pick with politicians who wasted all those billions of dollars on banks. What good have banks done for our country lately?"

As always, we will keep you abreast of the latest developments as more information becomes available."

Link to Original Source
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NIST Announces Reverse Leap Day

dgatwood dgatwood writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dgatwood (11270) writes "The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced a correction as a result of small errors in leap second calculations arising out of the gradual slowing of the expansion of the universe. At precisely 1:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Saving Time, the date will skip forward by 24 hours to Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008. Director James Turner described this as the first "reverse leap day" in recorded history. He added that he expected a similar correction each year for at least the next seven years.

Americans are advised to immediately adjust their clocks and calendars forward to April 2nd. Director Turner warned, however, that not all countries in the world have agreed to this change yet. "Americans who regularly interact with people in other countries should expect some minor confusion until this all sorts itself out," Turner said, adding that "We considered simply dropping February 29th, but decided that would be too confusing."

For more information, see the NIST Coordinated Universal Time page at http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/faqs/time.htm."

Journals

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Chronicles of GoDaddy: How not to run an ISP

dgatwood dgatwood writes  |  more than 5 years ago

This is a review of the GoDaddy.com ISP. For a brief period of time, I used them for both my SSL certificate provider and my hosting provider. That lasted about a week. This review chronicles my experience with GoDaddy so that others can avoid the same fate.

It's hard to know where to begin when criticizing my experience with GoDaddy. It all started with a GoDaddy SSL certificate that was expiring in mid-August. Things started going wrong when GoDaddy sent me the expiration notice in mid-June. I immediately went to their website to renew. When I got there, I got a message that said I couldn't renew it for three days. I wrote them to complain and their reply basically said, "Yes, you can't renew before a certain date." Three days later, on the day it said I should be able to renew it, it still said I couldn't renew it.

A couple of weeks later, I went back to renew. I submitted a renewal for 9 years and paid for it (almost $270). I thought it was odd that they still hadn't sent out the cert, but I figured it would happen on the billing date for the account.

In the meantime, I decided to try to speed up my website by moving large graphics to shared hosting. Since I had a GoDaddy account already, I added hosting to it. Thankfully, I only paid for two months. While uploading content to the server, I started having weird problems almost immediately, finding that the server would just suddenly block my IP (including pings) for several minutes at a time. I theorized that they were limiting the number of reconnects per minute, so I spread the load out across several IPs and finished my uploading. I did all this over the holiday weekend to minimize impact.

Well, once I had the content on the server, I switched my home server to point to the images on that server. The next night, I tried to view a page full of thumbnail images and it stalled for a very long time. The problem went away after a couple of minutes, so I ignored it. When it happened again the next night, I started becoming concerned. When it happened on the fourth night, I started running a script that requested a tiny 15K image once a minute so that I could characterize the problem.

I contacted GoDaddy at this point, and they blamed my connection. I then reproduced the problem from work (where they have multiple OC-3 connections). I contacted them again. They continued to just say "We can't reproduce this" and actually had the nerve to suggest that I call them when I have the problem. How do you call somebody about a problem that only lasts 2-3 minutes from the start of the hang to the end? That's like telling somebody, "When you see a shooting star, text me so I can look up." Yikes!

Then, it got better. GoDaddy contacted me and said that they couldn't issue my SSL certificate because they now issue them for a maximum of 5 years---this in spite of the fact that their website was perfectly willing to sell me a 9-year certificate. So they started the process of issuing a refund.

A few hours later, they denied the refund. At this point, I wrote them back, chewed them out massively, listing in detail the litany of problems I had experienced with their service, carbon copied the president of GoDaddy, and basically threatened legal action if they didn't fix this mess. They restarted processing of the refund, but continued to refuse to honor the terms of our contract.

Their servers are still performing inadequately, so I plan to drop their service entirely as soon as I figure out where to migrate the files. And my SSL cert no longer comes from GoDaddy. I didn't even wait for my existing cert to expire; I don't want GoDaddy to get the free advertising. It also helps that my new SSL cert provider is free as in beer. I figure it's worth the hassle of renewing the cert annually to save $30 a year.

The bottom line is that I was going to spend about $114/year in hosting and SSL with GoDaddy, but because of their completely inept customer support, I'm now going to spend exactly $0 with them, and I will be spending a fair amount of time over the next few weeks posting detailed, harsh, negative reviews of their hosting service on every site I can find, from FaceBook to Web Hosting Geeks....

If I did my job as well as their customer service reps did their jobs, I would have lost my job after the first day. How, precisely, do these clowns stay in business? And how have they not had their credit card merchant account revoked?

David

P.S. Does anyone know of a web hosting provider that allows SSH, is reasonably reliable, and doesn't claim the rights to produce derivative works based on anything you upload?

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