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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

jiriw Re:Wrong conclusion (269 comments)

My Creative Zen Xtra (2003) is still going strong. 30GB harddisk (also available in 60 GB), large blue-backlit LCD, excellent user interface, IMHO. Replacable battery, however the Li-ion cell it came with is still doing what it's supposed to do. Built like a brick, however the front aluminium cover which gives access to the battery compartment hasn't got the sturdiest of closing mechanisms. Not a 'scroll wheel' of course because that was patented technology at that time. But side buttons and a jog wheel for volume and selection works for me.
I did install the 2.10.03 'plays for sure' firmware to make it WMP 10 compatible. Apparently that didn't always work out well for it has a reputation as "Zen killer". But I never had any problems with it...

I also still have (but don't use) my Creative D.A.P. Jukebox (Disc-man sized, blue/silver, 6GB HDD, pre-ipod era). Fond memories... but 6 GB is just too small.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

jiriw Re:Outages happen! (516 comments)

Here in the Netherlands, years is stretching it a bit. But -a- year should be easily doable. This year I know of one occasion I had to re-set my alarm clock due to a power outage not of my making (as a hobby electronic / radio amateur I do trigger the automatic circuit breakers sometimes). Regional power outages lasting longer than a couple of minutes make the national 8 o'clock news as major news items - they are that rare but they do happen a few times each year.
Last time we had a major power outage in a region near me (a few larger villages had no power for a couple of days somewhere in december 2007) was when an Apache helicopter flew into a set of HVAC lines (50KV, I think). It was on one of the very few places in our power grid there is no loop in the network, which is why it took a few days to restore the power for those villages, instead of seconds.
The thing I noticed when the accident happened (it was a Wednesday evening and already dark) were the lights flickering for a couple of seconds and I made a remark to my dad about something big probably shorting out. My dad, now retired, worked for KEMA at that time which, amongst other things, tests high voltage equipment for power grids, which might explain my interest in the subject as well. Later that evening, when I got home I heard about the helicopter accident on the re-run of the national 10 o'clock news.
The helicopter made an emergency landing and luckily nobody was harmed.

about three weeks ago

The Man With the Golden Blood

jiriw Re:Tell me why I should care. (75 comments)

This part of the text is where you should start then (By the way, I am certainly not a physician, just interested, as you are):

There are 35 blood group systems, organised according to the genes that carry the information to produce the antigens within each system. The majority of the 342 blood group antigens belong to one of these systems. The Rh system (formerly known as ‘Rhesus’) is the largest, containing 61 antigens.

The AB group is the earliest discovered (?) blood group system. The Rh group another (that +/- thing you were taught is an extreme simplification of it and points only to one antigen from the complete 60-odd set of Rh antigens). And there are 33 more blood group systems, apparently. I knew there was more than AB and Rh but I didn't know there were that many myself.

Start on some Wikipedia pages first. A lot of information is pretty accessible there. For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_blood_group_systems
Then, if you want to know even more, start following the references away from Wikipedia and try to get articles about the subject from medical literature.

about 2 months ago

Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

jiriw Re:Perfect (171 comments)

Implicit question answered here. For the tl;dr & tl;dt folk: Use a vacuum cleaner.

Vor Staub braucht man keine Angst haben, denn durch den inneren Wärmepuffer kann Staub nicht bis ins innerste vordringen. Staub im äußeren Bereich lässt sich dank der Offenporigkeit leicht mit einem Staubsauger absaugen. Weil der SilentPower keinen Lüfter hat, wird Staub auch nicht wie bei normalen Computern angesaugt. Du wirst sehen, dass man ihn seltener entstauben muss als einen normalen Desktop-PC. Dennoch gilt das selbe wie bei allen PCs: Regelmäßiges Entstauben schont die Hardware.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Resources On Programming For Palm OS 5?

jiriw Nice trip through memory lane, but go for Android (170 comments)

I wrote an app almost 10 years ago . Just looked through the code a bit. It says "Build with PRC-Tools 2.0 and Palm OS SDK 4.0 or better". Written all in C++. Most of my work I did in a simple text editor. Not in an IDE. And I used makefiles I wrote myself and a command-line to compile the lot. I remember compiling for the m68k mostly because that would cover all our potential customers. But there was already ARM support in the works... until we just dropped it. We had too few sales to warrant further development. Not that our version for WinCE PDAs was doing any better, by the way. A couple of years later the first IPhone was released. And for that platform we still develop and sell.

There was partial support for C++ in 'recent' versions of PRC tools... classes and use of new and delete, and if you really wanted them, exceptions and RTTI. But no STL, streams... I wrote a file io and string class to keep the back-end code compatible (we had a significant chunk of back-end code already written in C/C++ and used it in apps for many platforms).
Also you had to manually segment your code for Palm OS because there was a fixed code segment size (my app used five code segments and I had to specify for each function in which code ). Long function calls were used to make the segments interact and you had to keep in mind to use them as little as possible because, although the compiler did the work of adding those long function calls for you, they still incurred a performance hit.
I finally retired my company Palm M515 two years ago when I got a second hand HTC HD2 from a friend (and promptly updated it with CyanogenMod). I managed to save most of my (calender, notes, contacts) data and it's now part of the Google cloud...

It was fun to program for that platform, I learned a lot from it but I would say, in this day and age, it's utterly useless to start a new project for it. I would recommend Android over iOS, if you just want to make a mobile app. Although Apple's tools (XCode) are better IMHO, you can do a lot more with Android and the apps you make for them before you have to spend money on it (AFAIK the only thing Google asks is a $25 one-time fee if you want to publish on the play store and you can always side-load for 'homebrew'). And you can develop and compile an Android app on a variety of computer hard- and software platforms, while a recent Apple (i)Mac(book/mini) is required to make iOS apps.

If you're really adamant to create a PalmOS app, get yourself PRC-tools, cygwin and a 'recent' PalmOS SDK and you might actually manage to get a working app. Time-stamps of my versions are of april 2004 so I do not have the final versions... Also, the PalmOS 4 emulator and/or PalmOS 5 simulator, with roms and of course the full Palm desktop suite installed on your machine so you can make backups and install .PRC's on your PDA. Did I forget anything else (except for the fact some of these are a bit difficult to find on the 'net).
Ow, yes, there is a PalmOS developer suite for PalmOS 5 and 6, using Eclipse and a lot of integrated goodies. A 250MB sized beastie... but I haven't got the faintest clue where to get it nowadays.

about 5 months ago

Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks

jiriw Re:I don't think they are rocks (123 comments)

How are these things rocks? ... once you stick to a rock you become a rock? ... plastic is now considered a mineral? If I melt glass around a rock, can I call that a new type of rock? Or can I take super glue and glue some pebbles together and call that a new type of rock?

Even if you DNRTFA....
Apparently ... depends... in this form, yes... 2* yes, sort of...

How did you think Sandstone and Shale are created... or Obsidian? What do you think Amber is? Just because it is ground up other stuff with nice fossils in it (Sandstone/shale), a kind of glass (Obsidian) or has a non-geological origin (tree resin in case of Amber) doesn't mean it can't become rock.

about 6 months ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Label Your Tech Gear, and If So, How?

jiriw Re:Permnent Markers (250 comments)

Keyboard hijack should not be a problem. Remote login on the machine you intend to analyse the foreign hardware device on... Do not use a GUI that defaults keyboard input to itself, do not use one of the main TTYs , so a keyboard hack which cycles through the available '[ctrl]F1-7' targeting the default Linux virtual terminals available can't find any one logged on. Use an OS that doesn't auto-mount (which eliminates several Linux distro's, but at least you can make them behave, if you want to) or, even worse auto-executes at mount. Analyse the hardware make-up of the device at leisure before you manually mount the partitions yourself and take a look at the software. Did I miss something? Please tell :) Always happy to learn.

What's more of a show stopper is the nasty rumour about direct memory access bugs in USB chipsets which might actually give malign devices an attack vector that way. Don't know what's true about that one 'though. The last time I saw it mentioned, was about that security researcher that claimed sensitive information (and even attack code updates) from a trojan spread through his air-gapped machines using modulated data on sound waves emitted from one laptop's speakers to another one's microphone.

about 10 months ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Label Your Tech Gear, and If So, How?

jiriw Re:Use a dremel tool ... (250 comments)

Actually... if the object was made by metal, that would be the 'only' way. The only objects I bothered to physically label are my laptops and they aren't of the 'ultra expensive' kind... so I use a soldering iron for that.

For hand-held digital devices (a PDA in the not too distant past, now a smartphone), I've only put a message of ownership on the lock screen.

about 10 months ago

Dear Asus Router User: All Your Cloud Are Belong To Us

jiriw Re:Open Source is better. (148 comments)

My experience is, in general, Asus makes decent featurefull router firmwares. However, I like tinkering and moar ;) options so my RT-AC68U soon got DD-WRT on it and some custom scripts. Multiple WLan segments with their own SSID so I have a public and private channel, multiple VLAN segments, one for DMZ, one for local lan, one for 'experiments'. Everything with a proper IPTables script which runs at boot... Custom DNS lookup table. It's just fun to hack router.

A clunky interface doesn't matter to me, as long as it has the options I need. At the time I flashed my router I couldn't find a Tomato firmware for it, else I sure would have given it a spin...

What I do miss with the RT-AC68U is '3rd party' binaries support. It's a shame Optware, or something similar, doesn't work yet on the AC-68U. I did try something with a crosscompiler but I have not yet had good results. I'd really want to run bind and postfix on it... amongst other things.

about 10 months ago

Scientists Create Pizza That Can Last Years

jiriw Re:Nutritional value ? (225 comments)

Well ... maybe they also use some heat/radiation methods to kill bacteria?
The article mentions using iron filings to remove the oxygen, which makes me suspect they use an air tight container. So, if you manage to not have any bacteria in there, in the first place, and that air tight container is any good, I don't suspect anything living to take a bite from that slice, except when somebody actually intends to do so.

about 10 months ago

New Oculus Rift Prototype Features Head Tracking, Reduced Motion Blur, HD AMOLED Display

jiriw Re:Spacial concerns (156 comments)

That's where this comes in. Call it a trackball for your feet (although it's actually concave) with added thigh-strap.
Then there's also projects working on representation of your body in the 3d world, including relative position of your various body parts, like Stem. Combine these three and everything first-person should be quite immersive without you falling through a window, tripping over garden tiles or being run over by the school bus. As long as you're okay with poor feedback when you bump into something virtual or slice through your favourite adversary with a katana of your choice. They didn't fix that part to satisfaction yet.
With Oculus Rift alone, your immersion will only be adequate for vehicle simulation, racing games and maybe some top-down strategy.

about a year ago

Public Domain Day 2014

jiriw Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (225 comments)

Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?

(3) If the person who has an abundance of it is unwilling to provide* at any reasonable price, yes.
(4) If the food is purposely made** to spoil fast, sometimes even before you were able to take a bite from it.
(5) If you have to pay the producer of your piece of food over and over again*** in full, if you want it to last or if you want to eat it in another venue than you originally intended.

(* publishers that let works go 'out of print' but still prosecute 'alternative means of distribution'. It is called artificial scarcity and is something very common when dealing with monopolies.)
(** certain DRM mechanisms come to mind.)
(*** LP, Cassette, CD. Celluloid film, Video cassette, Laser disk, DVD, Blu-ray. Digital distribution with various restrictions. Multiple devices for playback, or the inability to be able to.)

about a year ago

Interviews: Ask Ben Heck About Gaming and Console Modding

jiriw Re:Proof read before posting (45 comments)

Seems to be ok now? ... However, the second link is not clickable. HTML source says:

Over 10 million viewers worldwide have watched <a>The Ben Heck Show</a>

Maybe this link is good enough instead?

about a year ago

Chinese Professor Builds Li-Fi System With Retail Parts

jiriw Re:does it work through walls? (155 comments)

Infrared currently is used as a point-to-point connection where (most of the time) there has to be a clear (as in: only air) path from one node to the other. It's mostly used as a device-to-device type of connection, not as a network of devices.

Li-Fi should integrate into the lighting plan of rooms, should be capable of operation using reflections instead of direct point-to-point. Of course, reflections and re-transmissions probably cause signal degradation if no filter capability exists so the software protocols should be able to compensate or, if unable, scale back to lower network speeds. The same for 'foreign' light sources (the sun included). Individual light points should act as repeaters with one point in a room connected to the 'regular' network being enough to provide the entire room (however large it may be) with full network access. At least, those are the 'promises' I heard about Li-Fi.

And, indeed, being unable to penetrate walls can be an advantage.

about a year ago

Shutdown Cost the US Economy $24 Billion

jiriw Re:Really? (767 comments)

Argh and then I forgot to post as a user. Sorry slashdotters.

about a year ago

Neil Gaiman On Why Libraries Are the Gates to the Future

jiriw Re:Not a defence of libraries (149 comments)

Indeed, his whole speech was in defence of libraries and of fiction... Actually, I think, in a broader scope it was defending people's possibilities to imagine. You could (partly) do that with (moving) pictures and theatre as well but he laid emphasis on written material - both the writer and the reader side of it. I think that's a justified emphasis because written material leaves more to the imagination and there is more of it.

One of the most basic ways to be able to fulfil that, people's possibilities to imagine, is through physical libraries. If everyone was born with a (mobile) internet connection, free of censorship, small enough in cost that it is affordable even in hard times and of liberal capability, a virtual form of libraries might be able to take over (some combination of e-reader, wikipedia and specialized chat system inhabited by the readers and 'virtual' librarians might do the job). Do remember, currently, young people first need to have some capability to navigate the internet, learn to handle a device capable of acting as an e-reader and learn some things about e-books and how to get them on their device before they can start reading them. Compare that to libraries for which they only need some push to actually pass that 'scary' librarian at his/her desk and their own two feet to walk to the library in the first place. Also, while there are still people in developed nations (not to mention the nations that are still developing) that have no easy access to internet, physical libraries have a very substantial role to play.

I read Mr. Gaimans (edited) lecture on the website of 'the guardian' from the link in the article. It made me remember all the emotions and wonder I felt while reading through all those fantasy and science stories I have... and the times I (try to) put something on paper as well (try to, because there are too many things I am interested in, including reading and therefore I mostly lack the time. Maybe that will change one day. The day I will stop imagining probably is the day I stop living).
I didn't hang out a lot in libraries as a child... but I did every now and then... and always loved the stories I read. At the end of (equivalent) high-school I still had a few reservations about reading due to the mandatory reading lists I had for the foreign languages I chose as subject (English and German. My native language is Dutch). But it didn't withhold me from also finding pleasure in reading. Also in much of the literature I had to read for those language subjects. It was at my early twenties that my interest in fantasy reading really took off and at that age I had enough income (savings form a Saturday job in earlier years, then student, then regular jobs) to buy the books I wanted to read, second hand and I had the internet to search for reviews and interesting authors. Still I buy most of the stories I read in physical book form. I find that form of reading superior for all situations except when mobile and weight-restricted. I do have a smart phone and I do have a very capable tablet. I'm very familiar with computers and the internet... still I find, for stories, hard copy a joy to read above all others.

Of course this is very much my own opinion and I do think everyone is entitled their own. When reading the lecture, however, I found myself both logically and emotionally agreeing with it and I hope more people will.
For it is the politicians mostly concerned with making the decision to do so, my opinion is that a policy involving the closure of public libraries is one of the worst things a politician could do apart from outright lying or doing something criminal.

about a year ago

EU Court Holds News Website Liable For Readers' Comments

jiriw Re:Nice! (246 comments)

For the TL;DR people:

The ruling states a number of very specific conditions. I'll start with the answer your question...
-The site was held liable for the offensive comments that were made anonymously, because those comments weren't traceable back to the original authors. To hold the site liable was deemed 'practical'.
-A disclaimer of liability doesn't mean squat if you can't properly divert that liability.
-The site was found to have generated income out of the posting of those offensive comments. Therefore holding the site liable was found 'reasonable'.
-The site did not take any proactive steps to remove the offensive comments.
-Given the nature of the article, offensive comments were to be expected and the site should have taken extra care with this article, which it didn't.

The compensation of damages awarded to the plaintiff is €320 (US$433) (I didn't omit a 'K' here or something. It's just that, €320).

about a year ago

Yahoo To Offer Bug Bounty Rewards Up To $15,000

jiriw Re:Definition of Scrooge (65 comments)

I don't know...

Yes, someone did notify you of something you probably didn't realise yet. And it might have become a problem for the company later on... if the wrong people found out just that. That person did it freely and out of his/her own good but it doesn't necessarily makes your job easier (maybe even harder because now you have to solve this while there are already enough other problems on your plate). It won't reduce your workload... your employer has enough other things for you to do... it won't get you to that pub a minute earlier than your employer allows you to leave for the weekend (and that might be even later now). You won't tell that to the person who made that bug report 'tough. You're glad there are people actively want to involve themselves in the security of the product you're proud to work on even 'though they do it without prospect of financial gain.
As a small thank you, you send the person a gift certificate paid from your own money, effectively saying 'Here is an hour of my time in wage. Please spend it on something you like to' (give or take... My reference is my current hourly wage, after taxes, as an IT professional, which is a little more, but not much).

Of course there is nothing wrong with a proper reward program, financed by the actual company. If these bugs take at least some skills and resources to track, and are that valuable it would be rather cheap for a company not to have one. That having said, a pay check for services rendered from a company is totally different from an employee paying you a small token out of his/her own pocket while the direct value for that employee is, at least, questionable.

about a year ago

Congress Wants Federal Government To Sell 1755-1780 MHz Spectrum Band

jiriw Re: even better (88 comments)

Those older technologies might be more wasteful in spectrum use... they most of the time are technologically less sophisticated which means easier to maintain in wartime.
An AM radio is much simpler to build and operate than your latest incarnation of an 'industry standard' 'packet switched' consumer communication device with built in audio compression. The latter needs several black boxes called 'microprocessors' and other hard to replace stuff. The former needs only a hand full of analog semiconductors or a few tubes. For some things, bandwith is not the primary concern. Also, many of those black boxes mentioned earlier don't mix very well with 'space'.

about a year and a half ago

Are There Any Real Inventors Left?

jiriw Innovation is waning? Don't think so! (417 comments)

To start with the actual lightbulbs: High yield white light LED technology. Sure, the photoelectric effect has been known for about a century. It took a while for the first practical applications to be available. LEDs being one of them. But you can't compare those little signalling LEDs of a few decades ago with the current lightbulb replacing LED technology. Of course this technology is a mix of other technologies, but quite a few of them are quite recent (as in max. decades old, not centuries).

The article mentions the Telephone as a truly innovative invention. But doesn't that in its turn used microphone, speaker and signal transportation technology of that time?

If the time frame for 'recent' is 'last half century' or so, I'd say there have been true inventions in, optical disk technology, various microprocessor advancements, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence hardware, gene manipulation, solar cell technology and various other fields. Too many to mention.
If algorithms can be inventions as well, we have never been as innovative as we are now. Look at all the new search technologies, data-mining for targeted ads, again AI algorithms, mostly visible to the general public in computer games, audio and video compression codecs, speech recognition, synthesis and language translation... the list goes on and on...

about 2 years ago


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