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Comments

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Previously Unknown Warhol Works Recovered From '80s Amiga Disks

jandrese Re:Amiga Floppies (154 comments)

Certainly you're not talking about the C=64 power supplies that were notorious for burning out after only about a year of moderate use?

9 hours ago
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Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

jandrese Re:Anybody know the plate# for each scotus? (451 comments)

Yeah, there is no chance a 911 call could come from a pay phone (although this avenue is becoming quite scarce over time) or a burner cellphone or IP phone behind 7 proxies. The Supreme Court has basically just opened another door on swatting people.

yesterday
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

jandrese Can't find welders? (360 comments)

Given the number of fabrication shops that have closed or gone overseas and laid off welders in the past two decades, I find it highly suspicious that companies can't find people to fill their positions. Is this like the H1B "crisis" where Silicon Valley firms can't find tech workers anywhere locally, but it turns out they're asking for DBA administrators with 15 years of experience on 5 different platforms plus 10 years coding experience with 8 different languages and can sysadmin server clusters that are willing to start people at $40k/year? I mean yeah, that guy in India said he could do it at that price, why can't we bring him over here?

yesterday
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How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

jandrese Re:P2P (196 comments)

P2P won't help your goal of using less bandwidth however.

yesterday
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Reinventing the Axe

jandrese Re:Awesome (214 comments)

The original poster did:

3D printed guns and powerful computers

3 days ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

jandrese Re:A chilling EMP scenario (270 comments)

I think the big concern is power lines picking up huge voltage spikes that fry power supplies everywhere. It would be interesting to see how good surge protectors are all over the country. I suspect a lot of them will fail to deliver on their stated promises. I do think these scenarios where an EMP goes off and suddenly everybody has to hunt for game in the woods with bows and arrows is silly though. It would damage a lot of equipment and require a lot of work to repair, but society is more resilient than people think.

3 days ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

jandrese Re:One word: FUD (270 comments)

Actually, most Boeings do still have a mechanical connection between the stick and the control surfaces. The most modern ones are fly by wire only, but older planes like 737s, 747s, 757s, and even 767s still have a mechanical link that the pilots can attempt a hail mary with. Airbus planes have been fly by wire only for some time though. Also note that these vehicles are rated for lightning strikes, which is not terribly dissimilar than a EMP and they don't fall out of the sky when hit by lightning bolts.

3 days ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

jandrese Re:One word: FUD (270 comments)

I think that article is counting every infant in an ICU, everybody on medical devices, and maybe every pacemaker in the US? I guess this assumes the EMP is strong enough that it actually damages the equipment (and that surge protectors are worthless) so the normal backup power generators are not effective. It's sometimes hard to figure out where the numbers are coming from when talking about scaremongering articles like this.

3 days ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

jandrese Re:TSA-like Money for Fear (270 comments)

Most cars power breaks are powered by engine vacuum and a completely mechanical linkage. Tesla owners and some people with Hybrids might be in trouble, but even then the e-brake should still work. They'll be able to stop even in the event of a total computer shutdown in the car. Loss of power steering won't kill too many people either, the mechanical linkage is still there and while your steering is heavy, you probably weren't making sharp rapid maneuvers when the EMP hit anyway. Even an old grandma can muscle her car over to the side of the road while it's still moving (steering once stopped maybe not, but by then who cares?)

Aircraft have the biggest problem. They're highly computerized and the failure mode is fatal. Plus, even if the aircraft aren't disabled, the loss of ATC in todays crowded skies would be a huge issue. Trying to get all of the planes down safely would be a monumental task.

3 days ago
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Reinventing the Axe

jandrese Re:Awesome (214 comments)

Where do you 3D print computer chips? Use the right technology for the job man.

3 days ago
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Reinventing the Axe

jandrese Re:Neat (214 comments)

My experience with splitters is that they were much faster than doing it by hand, but we were always splitting stuff that required a wedge and multiple strikes because the interlocking fibers would hold the log together (and snap back if you pulled the wedge) until you had pounded practically all the way through the wood. Of course sometimes we got some nice dry poplar and we would be finished with the whole tree in a couple of hours, but usually the wood we were splitting was just awful.

I can't imagine the guy in this video doing the same with some choke cherry logs.

3 days ago
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Reinventing the Axe

jandrese Re:Neat (214 comments)

Yeah, my impression of the video is that he's making wood that's easy to split even easier. On something like scrub pine, that axe would probably be a nightmare. I really don't need a breathtakingly expensive maul to split dry birch.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

jandrese Re:Old Nintendo Products (694 comments)

In general, anything with an optical drive is not going to be on the list of most dependable electronics 20 years later. Optical drives are crap.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

jandrese Re:HP48g (694 comments)

I still use my TI-85 I got back in the 90s. The nice thing is that it's not too different than a "modern" TI calculator, and it lasts forever on a set of AAAs. I'll probably pass it down to my son when he's going to take the SATs or something.

about a week ago
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

jandrese Re:Not a market back then (267 comments)

Microsoft seems to have taken the other track now. They are still bringing the Windows experience to the tablet, but they've revamped the windows experience to be the kind that works well on touchscreens, some say to the detriment of the mouse and keyboard crowd.

about a week ago
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

jandrese Re:ob Henry Ford (267 comments)

What's annoying is the perception that salad is the only kind of food that qualifies as healthy.

At McDonalds, this is probably an accurate perception, and only if you skip (or go very light on) the dressing. Even their yoghurt is questionable.

about a week ago
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

jandrese Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (267 comments)

Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I saw Tablet Computer prototypes come up every couple of years. Sometimes they would even make it to market, where they hit with a resounding thud thanks to their horrible clunky OS choices, lack of applications, and hardware limitations. Apple tinkered with the iPad for years before finally releasing it, waiting until the infrastructure grew up to make the device practical. They actually worked on the iPad before the iPhone.

Technologies that had to mature before the tablet computers became practical:

  • Wifi networking.
  • Capacitive Touchscreens -- Most early designs used a stylus, which sucks, and had poor resolution to boot
  • Low power but still acceptably fast processors -- A huge sticking point, lots of early tablets had extremely poor battery life on top of being slow
  • A touch enabled OS -- WinCE is terrible to use with a finger, and really pretty bad with a stylus. Symbian was never great. PalmOS was too narrowly focused on Palm pilots
  • Battery capacity -- Battery technology has come a long way in the past 15 years. Early attempts would use NiCad batteries, which just aren't good enough, especially with the relatively high energy consumption figures from the old chips.

Apple didn't have a smash hit with the iPad because they were the first to the market. They won because they tinkered and waited until the technology was ready, then came out with a solid finished well integrated product instead of some halfassed "laptop without a keyboard running a cut down version of Windows".

about a week ago
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Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi

jandrese Re:old tech (165 comments)

It's the first computer many people had access to, and especially the first computer they could actually program themselves. In an era where PCs cost thousands of dollars, a C64 cost only a couple hundred. Parents could afford them and the default shell was a BASIC prompt. Plus, it had built-in hardware to support making games (sound chip, sprite generator, joystick port) which made interesting to the kids first learning how to program on it.

about two weeks ago
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Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi

jandrese Re:This could be cool (165 comments)

translates to:

file= open(firstavailablefile());
sleep(disksize(firstavailablefile()) / 1000);
read(file, memory, disksize(firstavailablefile()));

about two weeks ago
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Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi

jandrese Re:This could be cool (165 comments)

If you love them, get them all backed up on to a HDD ASAP, and make sure your HDD is backed up regularly as well. You can fit an insane number of C64 floppies on a modern HDD, so keeping the images around won't take much space at all. The only way to really preserve data long term is to maintain it by bringing it with you as you upgrade.

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  |  about 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 6 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  |  about 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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