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Comments

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Robot With Broken Leg Learns To Walk Again In Under 2 Minutes

jandrese Re:Fast Forward (69 comments)

This reminds me of a story I read a few years ago about a landmine clearing robot that was designed to have its legs blown off and still travel through the minefield.

2 days ago
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China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC

jandrese Re:How many broken parts trying to spin up? (215 comments)

Who says aliens use base 10 math? Base 8 or Base 12 would make a lot of sense, and then their round numbers would be something totally different.

2 days ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

jandrese Re:Two words (338 comments)

But the whole point of Netflix is to get good selection. Redbox has the Blockbuster problem: Halfway decent recent release selection, but absolutely abysmal older and obscure movie selection.

2 days ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

jandrese Re:I doubt most people care (338 comments)

I have a 2 disk at a time plan with Netflix. I have my own queue and my wife has one. I run through about a disk a week, sometimes two. My wife has had the same disk for a couple of months now. It really depends what movie you have. If I get some light comedy I'll pop it in whenever and return it in a day or two. If I get some Kurosawa film I need to hunker down and pay attention so it can sit for several days before I watch it. It's a lot more commitment.

There is no way I'm going to drop the DVD plan unless it goes totally to crap. Selection wise there is just no comparison. For me the streaming is a sideshow until there is some sort of compulsory licensing system for video like we have for music. The current law gives too much power to rightsholders to ever have a good streaming service. It's a fundamental problem with the way the laws are set up.

2 days ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

jandrese Re:Answer needed (390 comments)

The EULA for an ISP never guarantees service on residential links. All speeds are listed as "up to".

about a week ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

jandrese Re:ugh (390 comments)

That's not what Verizon's own chart says. They seem to claim that the CO->Remote links aren't close to saturation at all.

about a week ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

jandrese Re:another government crime against humanity (752 comments)

Yep, if there is ever a political system that results in peace and harmony between all people, it is anarchy.

about a week ago
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White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

jandrese Re:Why not? (382 comments)

Also the ones where he appointed people to positions without Congressional approval, because without people in the positions the government agency could not operate and Republicans didn't like those agencies and was withholding nominations to effectively cripple them.

But really, the ones that go "too far" are simply the orders that Obama has signed. The fact that he signed them makes them automatically disastrous power grabs by an out of control executive bent on total domination. They need a return to the careful and thoughtful exercise of executive power we saw under George W.

about a week ago
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LibreSSL PRNG Vulnerability Patched

jandrese Re:This is not how you inspire confidence (151 comments)

Only if the master process quit after forking twice. This is not typical, since most of the time people will leave the master process around to clean up after the children to avoid zombies. It's such a strange case I think you would be hard pressed to find a real world application that behaved in a way that made it vulnerable to this exploit. I'm glad the OpenBSD guys got a patch for this, but even if they didn't I woudln't be losing much sleep over it.

about a week ago
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LibreSSL PRNG Vulnerability Patched

jandrese Re:Shocked I am! Shocked! (151 comments)

That's not exactly the case, but it's close. The issue is that the SSL library has no way of knowing if the process forks other than checking the PID. If the SSL library detects a PID change, it has to reseed the RNG to avoid getting the same random values in both the parent and the child. Due to the way Unix PIDs work, you have a guarantee that the Parent and the Child will have different pids (fork() fails otherwise). However, if a grandparent forks a parent and then exits, and the parent then forks a child, there is nothing in Unix that outright prevents the child from getting the pid of the now deceased grandparent and foiling this detection so the SSL library doesn't know that a fork happened.

So it's a potential problem, but not one that likely exists in any production code. You could write test code that exploits it fairly easily by forkbombing the machine until the pid wraps before spawning the child, but in real production code it is unlikely to be an issue. Plus it was fixed.

about a week ago
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LibreSSL PRNG Vulnerability Patched

jandrese Re:This is not how you inspire confidence (151 comments)

To exploit this, you needed a program that was written like so:
1. Grandparent initializes SSL state, sends some data, then exits.
2. Parent forks a child
3. Child happens to get the same pid as the grandparent, and then uses the SSL connection.

It's a program structure that doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the real world. Maybe it has happened somewhere.

The big issue is that the original discoverer found an easily filled molehill and somehow it got reported as a world destroying volcano across the the various tech sites. A minor flaw in the first public release of the test version of a library with no production users is not "catastrophic".

about a week ago
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Manuel Noriega Sues Activision Over Call of Duty

jandrese How the mighty have fallen (83 comments)

Manuel Noriega can't even have some nobody VP at Activision eliminated anymore. Back in the 80s he could have had trained assassins at their doorstep within a week.

about a week ago
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White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

jandrese Re:Why not? (382 comments)

Oh yeah, Obama is a terrible abuser of executive orders if you believe chain emails and talk radio.

about two weeks ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

jandrese Re:Idiots ruin safety records (443 comments)

My point is that Tesla has a low douchebag factor.

about two weeks ago
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First Release of LibreSSL Portable Is Available

jandrese Welp, time to start the VMS port (101 comments)

Oh good, now we can get that vital VMS, DOS, and MacOS 7 support so they're not stuck on OpenSSL.

about two weeks ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

jandrese Idiots ruin safety records (443 comments)

I think the real message here is that Tesla's stellar safety record is due at least in part to its exclusivity and high price tag. The kind of people who can afford it are generally safer drivers. It's not a used Dodge Charger that some 16 year old asshole with a shiny new drivers license and Dad's credit card can buy off of the lot for a few thousand bucks.

about two weeks ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

jandrese Re:Died Outside a Tesla (443 comments)

Hopefully not yet.

about two weeks ago
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Aereo Embraces Ruling, Tries To Re-Classify Itself As Cable Company

jandrese Re:What about the ads (147 comments)

I understood it to be the entire reason they have to pay fees to rebroadcast the material: because they were denying ad revenue to the broadcasters.

about two weeks ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

jandrese Re:No. (502 comments)

Thanks to laptops being stuck at 1366x768 for many years past the point where that was acceptable most web designers have to assume that people are going to be hitting their site at that shitty resolution and make sure it works.

about two weeks ago
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Aereo Embraces Ruling, Tries To Re-Classify Itself As Cable Company

jandrese What about the ads (147 comments)

As I understand it, if they get classified as a cable company Aero will be legally allowed to put their own ads into the stream, overwriting the ads the original broadcaster put in there or maybe removing them entirely if they still want to be an entirely subscription driven service. They could really seriously piss off some OTA broadcasters with this approach.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Help save historic space data

jandrese jandrese writes  |  about a year ago

jandrese writes "The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has been recovering and digitizing NASA's old images from the Apollo program from dusty old tapes found in a barn. They are using modern techniques on the old data to achieve stunning results from the old material, but have run out of funding and are looking for help. They have a very modest goal of $75,000 and only 5 days left to reach it."
Link to Original Source
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Verizon CEO: US #1 in Broadband; Because I say so

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jandrese writes "Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg went on the record with the Council of Foreign relations to say that the US has far and away the best Broadband in the world, and that the European model has not served its customers nearly as well as the US model. Also how the FCC is making a big mistake if it starts regulating broadband and wireless.

Murray: So on the measures that matter most to you, where does the United States rank in terms of

Seidenberg: One. Not even close.

Seidenberg then goes on to explain how Verizon has laid more fiber than all of the telecom companies in Europe combined, and how Europeans have to carry multiple cell phones if they want to avoid roaming fees. He also promises to go after wireless bandwidth hogs."
Link to Original Source

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1.474 Gigapixel image of the Inagural Address

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jandrese writes "David Bergman used a gigapan Imager to create this stunning 1.474 Gigapixel image of the inaugural address by taking 220 images with his Canon G10 with the robotic mount quickly and precisely aiming the camera for every shot. A fullscreen version of the image viewer is also available. The level of detail is amazing, you can almost read the band's sheet music."
Link to Original Source
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Clear Channel wants to clean up XM/Sirius

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jandrese writes "It seems that Clear Channel's terrestrial stations are tired of the XM and Sirius counterparts being free from the FCC decency guidelines, especially after they are forced to pay $1.75 million in fees. To fix the problem they are asking the FCC to impose additional restrictions on the pending XM and Sirius satellite radio merger. In particular, they want the FCC to apply the over the air decency guidelines to all channels on satellite radio. The worst part is that the FCC has not rejected this idea out of hand."
Link to Original Source
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jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jandrese writes "LONDON (Thomson Financial) — Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc could face a possible lawsuit for failing to include measures to control access to copyrighted material in products such as Vista OS, iTunes and the iPod, two companies have warned.

Media Rights Technologies and BlueBeat.com have issued cease and desist letters to both companies and to Adobe Systems Inc and Real Networks — which produce the Adobe Flash Player and Real Player respectively — for actively avoiding their X1 SeCure Recording Control, which they said is an effective copyright protection system.

I guess DRM companies have gotten so used to suing their customers that suing potential customers seems like a good idea."

Journals

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Why does C not have a heap checking function?

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 6 years ago One of the things that has bothered me from the first day I learned about the Memory Management in C over a decade ago is how there is no apparently method in C for knowing how much memory is allocated behind a pointer that you are passed. I asked my teacher back in the day how we would prevent stuff from running off of the end of a buffer if we can't find out how big a buffer is and he just shrugged his shoulders and said "very carefully". It is no surprise to me that buffer overflows are by far the most common form of exploit on C based languages. The worst part is that a lot of that could be avoided with one simple function:

int heapsize(void* buffer, void** start);

Passed in your target pointer it would set the start pointer to the start of the buffer and return the length of the buffer in bytes. Now you would know exactly where your pointer is and how many bytes are left. Bounds checking suddenly gets really simple and buffer overflows, while not completely a thing of the past (lazy programmers would never check), appear far less often.

The normal argument against this function is "it's your program, you should know how big the buffers are", but frankly in an age of libraries and team coding this is just not true.

The worst part is that C already knows this stuff. It has to or the "free" command would not work. It is just hidden away and impossible to get at for some reason. Even with the many revisions of C over the years, it seems like this is one feature we're never going to get. I wonder why?

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Mkisofs

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 10 years ago Why in the world does mkisofs have such a crummy method for specifing what files you want burned?

In case you don't know, here's how it works, you specify one or more directories after the options to mkisofs like so:
mkisofs options_here directory1 directory2 etc...
If directory1 contains the file foo and directory2 contains the file bar, your CD will have foo and bar on the root. Directory1 and directory2 are gone.

This design is as frustrating as it is stupid. If you want to burn directories like that you either have to create a third directory and temporarily move them in there, or create symlinks in the third directory and turn on the (unreliable) -follow-symlinks option (hope you don't have any symlinks in those directories that you cared about).

The worst part is, the correct interface is trivial to implement. If mkisofs didn't get rid of that last directory, it would work perfectly. Using the above line you would get a CD with directory1 and directory2 at the root. If you want the old behavior, all you would have to do is explicitly glob the files like so:
mkisofs options_here directory1/* directory2/* etc...
Maybe it's time to pull out the source...

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S-Box mod chip

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 11 years ago I've had the S-Box (also called the NeoKey) installed in my PS2 for some time now, and there are a few things I need to get off my chest:

  • Installation: The first problem was that the documentation was wrong. I apparently have the generation 3 PS2, but it has all of the markings of a generation 1 PS2. When I talked to one of the vendors about it, they said that Sony has been doing that to try to thwart the modchip crowd. Ok, they can't do anything about that. What they could do is actually mention that somewhere. I went to at least a dozen different mod sites and none of them had any sort of waring about that whatsoever. Also, they all appear to have copied the instruction pages from a single source, lock stock and barrell. The originals weren't very good though (the pictures were kinda small and fuzzy). Finally, as for the actual process of installation, it was no too bad, except that the PS2 has an incredibly compact PCB, my pencil tip soldering iron was almost too big for that tiny little patch I had to solder on. I'm also not sure if that USB port will ever be usable again (I suspect not). Fortunatly almost nothing on the PS2 uses the USB port.
  • Import/Burned PSx games: The chip works as advertised sometimes, and lets me play DDR on my US PS2, however it is rather flaky, only working about 50% of the time and requiring a reboot the other times. I've found that it works best if you power the PS2 completely off (using the switch in the back) and back on when trying to play an import. It does blink ALL of the time when it is on however, which is rather annoying (fortunatly the light is covered up by the controller plugs).
  • Import/Burned PS2 games: there were some conflicting reports on the sites about support for Ps2 games. Apparently you need a Gameshark, and even then you can only play PS2 games that are burned on CDr. I suppose that would be fine for pirates, but all I really care about are import games. I guess I'll just be playing the PSx imports instead. Also, instead of a Gameshark, I already had a Code Breaker. The Code Breaker is apparently not sufficent, as it does not work. Actaully, I havn't had a gameshark to test with either, so I don't know if it works at all.
  • Final Verdict: If your soldering skills are only so-so, and you only want to play PSx games, and don't mind a bit of a headache in the install procedure, then this is an acceptable modchip. It is also reasonably inexpensive compared to some of the more full featured mods.

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