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Comments

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CERN Releases LHC Data

jandrese Re:Nuclear weapons? (41 comments)

This would be more for if they wanted to jump right to Antimatter bombs. This would tell them exactly how to do it. In fact it's so simple that even ISIS can do it once they get this data. You can expect to be annihilated sometime next week.

2 days ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

jandrese Re:Who? (132 comments)

You could follow the links in the writeup for that information too.

2 days ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

jandrese Re:So close, so far (541 comments)

Organized lists are oldschool man. Get with the times! Now it's all rounded corner boxes with drop shadows!

2 days ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

jandrese Re:By the same logic (316 comments)

You don't have to let a program run forever to determine if it will halt or not. There are other things you can do, like check the state at every state to see if it is identical to a previous state. If so, then you're in an infinite loop. There are other things you can do to prove that a loop will never terminate, but they get more complex.

It is a staggeringly complex problem for a more general case, and you can come up with a handful of specially designed programs that will always break it, but for the vast majority of cases it is solvable.

That's why it seems weird to me that you would immediately ditch the entire concept just because there's one crazy hack program out there that could break it, and only if you've specifically crafted your testing program so that it will fail in that case.

3 days ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

jandrese Re: By the same logic (316 comments)

That's the highly contrived example I was talking about.

3 days ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

jandrese Re:By the same logic (316 comments)

To be fair, the Halting Problem has always confused me because the counterexample to it is highly contrived and it seems like you could reword the problem slightly to avoid the issue. I assume that the description I got in school was incomplete and that it's really the tip of the iceberg of some enormous mathematical model that may or may not be applicable to real life.

3 days ago
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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

jandrese Re:Shattered (468 comments)

There's no technical reason why this should have been difficult. The only reason they "failed" is because they need to protect their goddamn micropayment system. I wasn't even a backer of this project (there were some other red flags early on), but I can totally understand why people are so angry.

3 days ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

jandrese Re:DID ANYONE READ THE ARTICLE? (428 comments)

One Democrat and almost every Republican is not "bipartisan effort against liberty".

3 days ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

jandrese Re:Bill Rejected with Bi-Partisan agreeemnt (428 comments)

Failure to pass this bill means we'll get another chance.

You are quite the comedian. You could have brought the House down with that one. This bill is dead for at least 2 years now, why would a Republican majority Congress bring it up? The only way this bill is going to come back is as an extension of the PATRIOT act that allows for greater surveillance of anybody who makes less than $1 billion per year.

This is the same bullshit they tried to use to kill the ACA, and nobody bought it back then either.

3 days ago
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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

jandrese Re:Bought merely for single player... (468 comments)

Another thing that dies with DRM systems like this is the mod community. When you have to worry about "cheating" because you intend to make money by keeping features locked behind micropayments, then you can't allow people to mod the game. The first thing they're going to do is install a "free money" button to bypass those micropayment barriers.

But a vibrant mod community can utterly transform a game. There have been two orders of magnitude more code written to mod Minecraft than is in the base game. Kerbal Space Program would just be a toy without many of the mods (which were eventually incorperated into the game). Have you seen what people can do in Skyrim these days? Elite is not going to have any of that because they can't afford to threaten their micropayment income.

4 days ago
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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

jandrese Re:Bought merely for single player... (468 comments)

The only way the single player only mode goes back in is if online crackers put it back. Companies very rarely patch out DRM systems like this, assuming that the long tail isn't worth servicing.

4 days ago
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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

jandrese Re:Shattered (468 comments)

If a dude totally lies to you and one of the defining features that made you excited for the game (no goddamn online only DRM bullshit) is pulled then yeah, I'm not going to buy anything from the guy again. Not unless he really really works hard to prove that he learned his lesson the first time somehow. What is the point of crowdfunding if you're going to be beholden to publisher's whims anyway?

4 days ago
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Facebook Testing Lithium-Ion Batteries For Backup Power

jandrese Re:Li-Ion batteries aren't good for this role (41 comments)

I got a Lenovo laptop awhile back and it noticed that I keep it plugged in most of the time. It sets itself to keep the battery between 70-80% charged in this state. I thought it was a really cool feature, although it does take a little getting used to. "Why is my battery low? Oh right, battery saving mode."

about a week ago
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Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

jandrese Re:Or perhaps Sony's gimmick could be "first" (130 comments)

That undercuts the existing deals in the Movie division, which is why it won't happen. People spend a lot of movie to get media a few weeks before other competitors, you can't just have the company create a competitor and then give them preferential access. There is a huge complex web of relationships with every release. If this were an easy problem every studio would already have their own version of Netflix for their own releases, but such a service would necessarily be slower, more expensive, and more DRM encumbered than the existing channels to avoid undercutting their existing partners. The middlemen demand their cut.

about a week ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

jandrese Re:Huh (223 comments)

Only if the Rosetta spacecraft has a camera tuned to that frequency. Lower frequencies add more uncertainty to the measurements too.

about a week ago
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Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

jandrese Re:Not a Netflix competitir (130 comments)

Have you seen Netflix lately? They've got more TV shows on there than movies. Their original content is all episodic series too.

about a week ago
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Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

jandrese Re:Headline is wrong... (130 comments)

The big problem is that Sony has a built-in conflict of interest from its Movie division, and will never be able to offer a service as good as Netflix. There will always be internal pressure to not have other studios in there or to put onerous DRM in place.

about a week ago
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Ubisoft Points Finger At AMD For Assassin's Creed Unity Poor Performance

jandrese Re:so... (262 comments)

That was my thought. This just seems like poor coding to me. Batch up more of the draw calls so you're not pounding the crap out of the API and taking a zillion context switches every second.

about a week ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

jandrese Re:Huh (223 comments)

Part of the problem is that some of the systems intended to help the probe land properly aren't working, like the thruster on top.

Some of it seems like just poor planning though. How hard would it have been to install a bright LED on the top that Rosetta could see from a few km away? LEDs don't weigh much and you only have to run it while Rosetta is taking the picture so the power budget would be nominal. It seems better than not being able to find the lander because it is in shadow.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Help save historic space data

jandrese jandrese writes  |  about a year and a half 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 4 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 6 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 7 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 11 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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