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How Relevant is C in 2014?

janoc Re:You don't know C++ properly until you know C (641 comments)

" don't really seem to understand the difference between pointers and C arrays"

Well, because there isn't one at the language level. The array syntax using square brackets is only a syntactic sugar for pointer arithmetic, nothing more. This is a common myth that there is a difference.

I suppose you mean the difference in the sense that an array means a continuously allocated block of memory of a certain size, whereas a pointer can point anywhere and you need to explicitly allocate that block if you want it. However, that has to do with memory (non-)management in C, not some intrinsic difference between pointers and arrays. You can get the same functionality e.g. using STL vectors - those guarantee that they are allocated as a continuous block.

This entire mess is a consequence of people coming from higher level languages where a pointer (address) doesn't really exist as a type. For people who have learned assembler and understand how the machine works at the low level pointers are an obvious concept. And yes, jumping into C++ without learning C is a really bad idea - especially when that student is often still struggling with basic concepts like data structures or algorithms.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

janoc Very relevant, programming is not only desktop/web (641 comments)

C is very much still relevant - most of the deeply embedded computer firmware is written in either assembler or C, where the bit twiddling capabilities, compactness of the language and efficient generated code are of high importance. All those ATMegas, PICs, 80x51, Z80, Renesas, small ARM Cortex cores - chips that are too small in terms of available memory to use higher level languages and OSes effectively. Essentially, if you are writing "to the metal", you are most likely going to use C, assembler and (rarely) C++. Those chips costs peanuts and are pretty much everywhere, controlling everything from your toaster to brakes in your car ...

Programming is not only about the desktop and web, you know.

Even on more "grown up" platforms you will find C in the network code, most of system programming is done in C, C with its standardized ABI is an interface language (e.g. you can load a C-interfaced DLL into Python or Java, for example) and many many other applications. I would say that knowing at least the basics of C is as much a must for any programmer as knowing basics of English - unless all that you do are web apps in Javascript.

about two weeks ago
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Ubisoft Points Finger At AMD For Assassin's Creed Unity Poor Performance

janoc Re:If at first you don't succeed... (262 comments)

Since when was video game production about releasing quality software in the last 10 years?

These days it is about rushing an unfinished release to rake in money during the holiday rush, the bugs and problems will be fixed after the "release" with multigigabyte patches or (even better) a paid DLC. If ever ... Spending time on debugging and optimizing takes resources away from building the next AAA blockbuster to be released 6 months later.

I am not even considering buying many of these "AAA" releases because of this "release unfinished crap and then milk-and-dime the buyer with pointless mandatory DLCs and season passes" anymore. There are better ways to spend my money.

Ubisoft is particularly known for their crappy games in the last years, draconian DRM, being openly hostile to PC gamers, so this fiasco shouldn't really surprise anyone.

about a month ago
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Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber

janoc Re:Typical muslims (389 comments)

I would like to see some reliable source for that 25% and 70% quotes.

The rest is not really worth commenting on.

about a month and a half ago
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Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber

janoc Re:Typical muslims (389 comments)

And you want to say that beheading people is somehow *representative* of Muslims? Or opposing gays is somehow representative of Christians?

If your answer is "yes", then you really need to widen your horizons, mate - you are painting people with an enormously wide brush if you dare to say that most people sharing a certain religion are murderers.

You are pathetic.

about a month and a half ago
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Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber

janoc Re:Typical muslims (389 comments)

Thank you for demonstrating your blatant racism and ignorance.

You do realize that there is 1.6 billion of people that are muslims in the world, spread out over the most of the globe? Your comment is like saying that we should ban all Christians from having human rights, because they are Bible thumping bigots opposing gays and abortions.

Please, do educate yourself before you open your mouth next time.

about a month and a half ago
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Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don't Think They're Smart

janoc Re:They're probably correct (273 comments)

Unfortunately, that's not how real world works. I have pretty much screwed up the first year of Uni, failing a calculus course badly - exactly the case of suddenly having to work much harder than I was used to in high school, where I really didn't have to do much to have good marks. The guys from the more math-oriented schools were running circles around me.

Unfortunately, that early screw up in the first semester has costed me cum laude graduation, despite having no problems later on - the university rules didn't allow for someone do graduate with honors when they have flunked a course like that. And trust me, there is quite a difference when you are looking for a job after the school in whether you have graduated or graduated cum laude ... It is even more pronounced if you are thinking about continuing in grad school or doing a PhD.

about a month and a half ago
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Safety expert: Virgin Galactic 'ignored' repeated warnings

janoc Right ... (2 comments)

Except that according to NTSB (http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/nov/02/virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-crash-investigators-fuel-warnings) the crash had nothing to do with the engine which worked fine until the breakup, but apparently one of the pilots unlocked the tail too early and/or the tail malfunctioned.

So much for the "we told you so!" brigade that jumps to conclusions and immediately knows the cause even before the wreckage has even cooled down ... sheesh ...

about a month and a half ago
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Buying Goods To Make Nuclear Weapons On eBay, Alibaba, and Other Platforms

janoc Lump of metal != centrifuge (260 comments)

Sorry, this is pretty much BS scaremongering.

Buying a piece of metal that could be made into a centrifuge doesn't mean that you will actually succeed to make one. There is a lot of specialized equipment needed for that which is tightly controlled (try to export a high precision CNC machine, for example!).

Most of this gear has lots of legitimate uses as well. Not to mention that if someone really wanted to obtain this sort of gear, I cannot imagine them shopping for it on Alibaba or eBay - they would be spending a ton of money for a product of unknown quality possibly from a mom&pop shop somewhere in China that sells everything from rubber bands, dresses up to car accessories, that is assuming it isn't a scam in the first place. There are better ways of obtaining it - e.g. through shell companies abroad acting as middlemen to avoid embargoes or from friendly nations.

And before someone pulls out the "terrorist building nukes" bogeyman - that requires a lot more than building a few centrifuges from stuff bought on Alibaba. There are plenty of simpler, cheaper and easier accessible methods to wreak havoc than trying to build a nuke that even countries like Iran didn't succeed in so far, despite vastly bigger resources than some lunatics in a cave possess.

about a month and a half ago
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Remote Vision Through a Virtual Reality Headset (Video)

janoc Did you mean ... (44 comments)

Telepresence (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telepresence)?

Why do I feel that whenever Oculus Rift is mentioned, the project has to be new and ground breaking, something that has never been done before, right? Never mind the decades of previous work and existing industrial applications (like telesurgery or underwater ROV operation ...).

about 1 month ago
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Skilled Foreign Workers Treated as Indentured Servants

janoc Pretty much why I am turning down US job offers .. (284 comments)

I am from EU, however this situation around the H-1B visa is why I am not even remotely interested in most of the job offers from the US that I am getting.

I have been in a similar situation in Europe before my country entered the EU and it is a lot of "fun" when you have to go every year to the immigration office, apply for a work permit renewal and pray that some clerk didn't get off the bed with the wrong foot and won't deny your application because of some bizarre reason - forcing you to lose the job and to leave the country, potentially incurring catastrophic financial losses (relocating abroad/overseas is one heck expensive, especially on a short notice!). On top of that, there is the inevitable "second class" treatment of the foreign employees, because the company knows that if the guy decides to leave, his or her permit is cancelled and they would have to leave the country on a short notice. The alternative is to have their new employer re-apply for the visa/permit again, but that must be done while the applicant lives outside of the country (yay, Switzerland ...), waiting another 6+ months for the paperwork to go through, with no guarantee of success ...

Sorry, but this is not how you treat skilled workers that you are ostensibly so interested in.

The US is doing itself a lot of disservice with this, because apart from the horrid H-1B regime, there is little else available for foreign workers (good luck trying to get the "green card" ...). I am sure there are many companies that use the visa responsibly and treat their foreign employees decently, but it is still a pretty big sword hanging over one's head.

I am certainly not expecting any entitlement to have a job in the US as a foreigner, but right now if someone wanted to hire me, they would have to offer a very sweet deal for it to be worth the gamble with the visas for me.

about 1 month ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

janoc Don't forget (631 comments)

Not like banks have any profit-robbing security measures in place. If there weren't laws in place forcing them to indemnify/limit the customer exposer against fraud, do you think they would bother?

When banks started to issue VISA/MasterCard credit cards in my country (one of the ex-commie countries) some 15 years ago, they had no clue about what they were doing - when I asked how it works in case of fraud, the clerk told me with a straight face that I have to bring a receipt from the sale and they will claim the money back from the seller. Yeah right, someone who swipes my cc number is going to give me a receipt ... The clerk couldn't fathom that such situation could occur, because nobody ever uses the card outside of an ATM or a POS terminal, right? (and those cannot be tampered with, right?)

Basically, if someone swiped your card, you were screwed - hopefully you had a sufficiently low withdrawal/payment limit on the card, otherwise your account could have been completely emptied.

Not defending CurrentC here (can be pretty much even worse), but the illusion that a credit card is somehow more secure is really that - an illusion ...

about 2 months ago
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Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days

janoc Pot calling kettle black? (111 comments)

Enough said ...

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

janoc Kids don't need to learn to "code" (213 comments)

Kids really don't need to learn to "code". Only trained monkeys working for few bucks/hour "code". Of course, Facebooks and Microsofts need such people too, but that really isn't what we should be teaching to kids.

Have them learn mathematics, abstract and analytical thinking, let them do actual science, experiments, let them tinker (and fail!), expose them to the computers and computer science too. That is much more important.

Whether the little Johnny or Susan can write a program for adding up a few numbers or make a web page when they can barely read and write yet doesn't matter - perhaps they will become an excellent physicists or chemists instead. Or perhaps get a Nobel for curing cancer, who knows. We will need all kinds of engineers and scientists, not only cubicle monkeys slaving for Microsofts of the future. Schools shouldn't serve only one industry - if the kids are prepared and interested, they will go in the computer science themselves, without having to "spoon-feed" them with it.

I simply wonder why these behemoths of companies sitting on so much cash don't run their own re-qualification/education programs? That would be a win-win situation for everyone. And it not some silly commie invention - Tomas Bata (the shoe tycoon from before the WWII) was doing exactly that - taking kids from the street and offering them education - and gaining qualified and loyal workers in the process. Of course, it is cheaper to whine about the lack of visas for foreign labour and poor school systems and demand that someone else solves your problems ...

about 2 months ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

janoc More BS (986 comments)

Unfortunately, the whole thing is again more BS.

The paper and the "independent researchers" (who are in fact working with Rossi) are quite well debunked here:
  http://shutdownrossi.com/e-cat...
  http://news.newenergytimes.net...

Arxiv is *not* a peer-reviewed publication - anyone can submit anything there. So having a paper on Arxiv doesn't mean that it is any good.

about 2 months ago
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Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

janoc Re: It will never get built ... (31 comments)

Sorry, even $2300 isn't enough for a device of this complexity. And anyway, they don't have that money - the backers paid only $500, so they have to fund the work from that, not from the $2300 that they may hope to get at the end.

Also check out how much a commercially produced (including all economy of scale discounts!) camera components costs: http://www.red.com/store/camer... Believe me, that isn't 100-200%+ of margin there.

And the team lacking any engineers or anyone with a verifiable experience in building projects of similar size?

about 2 months ago
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Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

janoc It will never get built ... (31 comments)

Oh and check out their team - "new media artistst", "filmmaker", "3D artist", "software developer" ... I don't see any electrical engineers, FPGA/signal processing experts, mechanical engineers ... Who is actually going to BUILD this camera?

This looks very much like CLANG (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/260688528/clang) 2.0 ...

about 2 months ago
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Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

janoc It will never get built ... (31 comments)

The problem is that this device will never get built. 100k is a ridiculously low budget for the production of a device of this complexity. Just to have an idea of what is involved for a much simpler device with the same budget (a silly 3D printer): https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... Basically those guys have also asked for 100k, got them, spent a year on it - and went bust. At least they had the balls to admit it and are going to refund the backers. Going to an assembly house with less than a million in budget? Forget it, they won't even speak to you.

That leaves assembling these cameras in a garage, by hand. Which means soldering those nasty BGA by hand - good bye any reasonable yield, not to mention that those chips aren't exactly cheap.

Which leads to the second point - I have serious doubts about their BOM costs. If they are planning to sell the camera for $500, with the FPGA/SoC costing about $100 alone, that can't work out. The 4k camera sensor is likely in the similar range (probably more - 300fps 4k sensor? Those things cost hundreds of dollars just the bare sensor ...). Which leaves about $200-300 for everything else on the camera *INCLUDING THE MARGIN* to pay all their expenses/salaries (and they have a LOT of people on the team!). Then there are fairly expensive licensing costs for anything HDMI related, USB related (USB vid/pid costs alone around $5k!), EMC compliance testing and certification (obligatory if they want to sell it in EU/US, it is ~$10k/iteration depending on type of the device), case molds are few thousands each iteration ...

In short, unless they have an order of magnitude larger external funding as well this isn't happening. Period. They may have a prototype which perhaps works (who knows, the videos could be fake, all pictures are labeled "concept drawings/renderings", irrelevant testimonials about open source, etc.), but they have no idea how much the manufacturing is going to cost. And I doubt that this is going to be a charitable undertaking with the team paying for this out of their own pocket.

about 2 months ago
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Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

janoc Re:Hardly surprising (249 comments)

That's because it is based on the gambler's fallacy - that the past outcomes of something somehow determine the future ones. The same voodoo is used for things like stock price prediction (look up "technical analysis"). It is mathematically a provable bullshit, but that doesn't mean people are going to stop using it ...

about 2 months ago
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Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista

janoc Minimal config != usable config (554 comments)

Honestly, the minimal required configuration is more to appease the marketing department and industrial partners than any sort of practically useful information.

Anyone who has attempted to use Windows Vista/7/8.x on anything with less than 4GB of RAM knows that it is completely unusable. It might run in 1GB, but there is nothing left for any applications. Even 4GB is barely enough for some basic work. For any serious use one needs at least 8GB or more and a modern CPU - likely an i3 or i5 at least.

The other reason is likely pressure from Intel, because they want to keep selling their Atom CPUs. Which are both slow (when clock speed is concerned) and most of them are 32bit only due to various issues (some CPUs not supporting 64bits, mobos/BIOS/drivers not working/not available for 64bits, etc). The moment Windows was 64bit-only, Atom would be dead. It is the same story as downgrading the requirements for Vista so that it could be used on the machines running the integrated Intel graphics back in the day. It was practically unusable, but allowed Intel to claim it is compatible ...

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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FTDI is intentionally bricking devices using competitors' chips.

janoc janoc writes  |  about 2 months ago

janoc (699997) writes "It seems that FTDI has started an outright war on cloners of their popular USB bridge chips. At first the clones stopped working with the official drivers and now they are being intentionally bricked, rendering the device useless. The problem? These chips are incredibly popular and used in many consumer products. Are you sure yours doesn't contain a counterfeit one before you plug it in? What are you going to do if your device gets trashed?

The article is on Hackaday: http://hackaday.com/2014/10/22..."

Link to Original Source
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Intentional backdoor in consumer routers found

janoc janoc writes  |  about 8 months ago

janoc (699997) writes "Eloi Vanderbeken from Synacktiv has identified an intentional backdoor in a module by Sercomm used by major router manufacturers (Cisco, Linksys, Netgear ...). The backdoor was ostensibly fixed — by obfuscating it and making it harder to access.

The original report is here (pdf)

And yeah, there is an exploit available ..."

Link to Original Source
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janoc janoc writes  |  more than 7 years ago

janoc (699997) writes "Apparently not only China is censoring Flickr. Flickr has recently introduced filters to filter out images deemed inappropriate. Unfortunately, the filters are now forced also on the German users (together with Singaporeans and Korean users). Photos marked "moderate" or "restricted" are invisible even to their own authors if they happen to be in one of the restricted countries. However, users from elsewhere can still see them just fine if they disable the "Safe search" feature in preferences — this option is not available to Germans anymore. There is a large discussion about this issue going on here: link."
Link to Original Source

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