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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

kallisti Re:If you make this a proof of God... (612 comments)

*Spoiler alert* That is essentially the conclusion of Olaf Stapledon's book Star Maker.

about 6 months ago

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

kallisti Re:If you make this a proof of God... (612 comments)

>The creatures would eventually have mapped it and marveled at the mysterious pattern.

Sounds like you need to read Permutation City by Greg Egan. Some researchers build (well, sort of...) a really complex cellular automation and inject (well, sort of...) themselves into it. When life arises in the sim, they try to convince the new life forms that they created the universe. It doesn't go well.

about 6 months ago

California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

kallisti Re:Kalifornia (374 comments)

It has nice weather. The lure of 60F in January is enough to make people put up with almost anything.

Yeah, until you realize that the 60F sunny days we had all January mean that we're really, truly, screwed come this summer when we run out of water.

about 9 months ago

North Korea Erases Executed Official From the Internet

kallisti Re:Word unlocked. (276 comments)

In a book on the life of Shostakovich, there was an anecdote about Stalin giving a speech at a farm collective. After he finished, there was a thunderous applause that continued on and on for over half an hour. No one wanted to be known as the first one to stop clapping.

about 10 months ago

Automakers Struggle With Pairing Smartphones To Car Infotainment Systems

kallisti Re:Apple (187 comments)

Not that anybody cares, but I will retract that last comment. I was using the iPhone with MOG's player, which did what I needed. Trying to use the standard (crap) Music player.... well... it sucks. The problem isn't bluetooth, the phone has the protocol and it seems to work fine. It's the player itself that doesn't have much of any functionality.

1 year,1 day

Automakers Struggle With Pairing Smartphones To Car Infotainment Systems

kallisti Re:Apple (187 comments)

I happen to have bought a new VW myself, my phone connects via bluetooth for phone use, for media the same connector that is charging my phone also plays music. Works perfectly, full featured. I fail to see what functionality I am missing with the iPhone. I don't consider plugging it in to be a downside.

1 year,1 day

Myst Was Supposed To Change the Face of Gaming. What Is Its Legacy?

kallisti Myst's children are alive and well (374 comments)

Go to Big Fish if you think that Myst-type games are dead.

Try the demos for anything in the Dream Chronicles, Azada, Drawn, or Awakening series and tell me that isn't Myst influenced. Pretty rendered graphics, weird scenes with devices you need to figure out, it's all there. Sure, the actual find-the-object parts are new and there's WAY too many implementations of Simon and the Towers of Hanoi, but the basics of exploration and solving puzzles remains. Also, in what sense was Myst open-ended? Sure, you could freely walk between scenes, but it was still pretty much on rails.

I think it's more an issue of these games not being marketed to the "real gamer" market so they are invisible to people in that scene. Which makes sense, Myst wasn't targeted at that segment either. But there are lots and lots of them if you actually try looking. Big Fish claims that 2 billion games have been downloaded, so it's lot exactly a small market either. (Although, to be fair, I couldn't find much on conversion rates)

about a year ago

Technologies Like Google's Self-Driving Car: Destroying Jobs?

kallisti Re:Out of jobs? (736 comments)

In Oregon and New Jersey is it illegal to pump your own gas.
Supposedly for safety reason, but... seriously.

Oregon pump law

about a year ago

Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders

kallisti Sounds rigged (768 comments)

The question is set up with a large number of criteria about what is and is not acceptable as an answer. It sounds a lot like one of those "prove me wrong" contests where a million dollars if offered, but the requirements are so strict (such as proving a negative or evading circular reasoning) that no one can answer. After which the questioner claims victory. By setting it up as a "prove me wrong", it makes a contest instead of a discussion.

For example, there's the dismissal of the overzealous prosecutor, " if they can convict you of murder, then you're already screwed anyway, regardless of whether they also convict you of lying about being innocent". This focuses on the innocent, but guilty people do still have rights. There's also times when an innocent person is found guilty anyway. In this case, every single trial can ask if you did it. This forces to person to say YES or risk getting charged with TWO crimes, guilty or not. Possibly resulting in another trial with all the cost that involves.

It's kind of like if I were to rob you, then come back an rob you again. Would you argue that the second one didn't matter? Being convicted twice is worse than once, it could happen in every single trial with a guilty verdict. That makes it a worse outcome that we currently have.

about a year ago

Wiping a Smartphone Still Leaves Data Behind

kallisti This is old news, and no longer correct for iPhone (155 comments)

The key line: "On a wiped iPhone 3G"

Starting with the iPhone3GS, iOS encrypts everything with a random AES256 key. When you say to wipe the device, it erases that key rendering everything else unusable. This is mentioned in the article, but downplayed. It's been a long time since you could even buy an iPhone 3G, so it seems alarmist to bring it up now.

about a year and a half ago

New 25-GPU Monster Devours Strong Passwords In Minutes

kallisti Re:Use different passwords for different things (330 comments)

I've been using a similar scheme to avoid the multiple password issue, but I wanted something more secure than a simple prepend.

What I have is a highly secure "key" password, I append that to the domain, SHA1 that, Base64, extract the first characters....
It sounds like a lot, but I have a simple program on my iPhone to calculate the values and I can reproduce it pretty much anywhere I can get a programming language, so I'm not too worried about losing it.

So it would look something like this
Base64(SHA1("myreallysecurepasswordthatIreuse(thisisn'titreally)" + "slashdot")), then extract first 10 characters from that Base64

I haven't seen anyone quite using such a scheme. Since my biggest fear is people cracking passwords offline in order to use them on other websites, this should protect me without relying on a random table somewhere that can be lost forever.

about 2 years ago

Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

kallisti Re:If your #1 product kills children, you fail (383 comments)

You are confusing two different toys (both of which I spent many. many hours with).

Girder and Panel was mostly plastic girders that snapped together. I don't think it ever suffered a recall.

The toy with rivets was Rivetron, and was basically an Erector set that used rubber rivets instead of screws. They were all recalled because some pre-teens were choking on the rivets.

On a similar note, I had two Erector sets. One was new at the time, and consisted of a few plastic pieces held with screws and run by a small battery-operated motor. The other was decades old: almost entirely metal, had an AC motor and came in a box made out of sheet metal. This is one toy that we didn't put up in the closet because it could likely kill you if it fell.

about 2 years ago

MIT Slows Down Speed of Light In New Game

kallisti Velocity Raptor (113 comments)

This is a game showing 2D relativistic effects that happens to be an actual game. You use time dialation to dodge bullets and try to turn different colored objects the same with Doppler. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any kind of skip-ahead (and I suck at it) so I could never see what the later levels added to the mix

about 2 years ago

User Tracking Back On iOS 6

kallisti The definition of "limiting" from the docs. (188 comments)

First of all, I would like to clear up a common misconception. Apple did NOT ban the use of the UDID in iOS5. The few applications that did get banned did so because they stored the UDID without telling the user. If there's some legal text anywhere in the app that says they are storing this information, then they are fine. The UDID is marked as deprecated, which is just a compile time warning, but still works just fine. It is still used by a lot of people, too.

As for the new advertisingIdentifier, the Apple documentation on this subject is perfectly clear. Anyone can request the advertising device identifier, but developers are required to call advertisingTrackingEnabled. If that value is NO, the the id can only be used for: "frequency capping, conversion events, estimating the number of unique users, security and fraud detection, and debugging"

Note that this is entirely the responsibility of the developer to make sure that's all that is being done. Apple will probably pull any developer that is caught not respecting this, but how can you ever really know?

about 2 years ago

Apple Denies FBI Had Access To UDIDs

kallisti Re:iOS6 (104 comments)

They are used for identifying a specific device, which can be used in turn as a type of account id. Each application on the device is completely separate from the others, if you have an application such as a social network the user would need to login separately for every app. This in itself, isn't so bad, the problem is that applications can tie this information to create databases that might tie together things. For instance, OpenFeint was using the UDID for single sign-in. A researcher found that the profile pictures from Facebook contained the Facebook userid. If a user using OpenFeint was using the Facebook profile image, then that UDID could be used to find the Facebook profile. OpenFeint fixed that loophole immediately by obscuring the URLs, but the general problem remained, anyone could write an app to gather UDID information and many did.

How to deanonymize with OpenFeint

There isn't any way that a user can stop an app from reading the UDID, a jailbroken phone can change them IIRC.

In response, Apple deprecated the UDID. Although many places have said that Apple rejects apps that use UDID, this is not completely true. Apple started rejecting apps that used UDID but didn't tell you. There are still many apps collecting the information.

There are a few alternatives, with varying degrees of success:
* Each app makes a GUID, stores locally. Which works great for one-off apps, but doesn't allow multiple apps to collate data (either a benefit or drawback depending on who you are). It also means you will lose data on a reset.
* use a different ID, such as MAC. Essentially the same thing, with the same drawbacks, not recommended.
* Facebook and other networks have started using a Cookie stored in Safari. This means that the registration actually leaves the application and returns to it using a specially crafted URL. This way, each app can simply round-trip to Safari to grab the cookie. Complicated, but it works
* Use UIPasteboard. This is an API that allows you to store information that other apps can read. It's sort of a hack, but some libraries are using it.

more than 2 years ago

Government Lawyer Says Patent Trolls Are a 'Concern'

kallisti Oh, it's far more than that (91 comments)

Based on my experience as a juror, they specifically do not want people who know about the issues involved. The idea is that a juror will use basic judgement entirely on the facts presented by the lawyers during the proceedings. I was on a simple burglary case, we had jurors dismissed just because they had law enforcement relatives. Even knowing the place where the burglary took place was considered prejudicial, after selection we were told to not even go to the shopping mall where it had taken place and had to judge some distances (crucial to the testimony) based on some photographs of the scene.

The need for only basing on the evidence presented was mind-numbingly tedious. We had one man testify, the state's expert in glass shard forensics. This man was presented as an officer, but the lawyer spend (no lie) three hours asking him about his background, what cases he has worked on, just lots and lots of tedious questions to establish that, yes, he in fact does know what he's talking about. This was also the case with the arresting officer, we weren't allowed to assume anything about anyone. Real courtrooms are dreadfully tedious.

That the jury foreman for Apple/Samsung had his own patents should have disqualified him straight up, that lawyer messed up. Civil cases are different that criminal, of course, so maybe the restriction is more lax.

more than 2 years ago

Forget 6-Minute Abs: Learn To Code In a Day

kallisti Re:language != logic (306 comments)

I think that's a mis-reference to the Halting Problem if so. It's not (always) hard to prove that a given algorithm will terminate. It's just not possible to do it generically, and that doesn't sound like what he was suggesting.

I think that's a misunderstanding of the Joking Problem. It's not (always) hard to prove that a given post was intended for humorous effect and thus could get away with not being exactly correct.

It often runs into the Pedant Problem, which is sort of the geek version of code refusing to run if it contains the slightest error.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?

kallisti Re:Most things by Stephen Baxter (1365 comments)

The Xeelee sequence is mostly about humanity wasting centuries of time and resources fighting a totally pointless war against another species whose only real crime is being better than we are. While we're fighting a race who is less worried about our attacks than we are of ants, there's a silent killer destroying the entirely of the universe! That doesn't qualify as depressing? What about the part where humanity is enslaved through a wormhole?

There are a lot of "oops, everybody dies" books listed here, but I find the "life sucks for a long, long time" to be far more depressing.

On that note, The Wind-up Girl by Bacigalupi. A future without oil where rival Monsanto-clones purposefully spread food destroying plagues so farmer's need to buy their cures. That's depressing, because it's quite possible.

more than 2 years ago

YouTube App Removed From iOS 6 Beta4

kallisti Re:Mars expedition is staged (233 comments)

Therefore Arnie's Total Recall was not Total Recall.

Yes it was, it's just not "We Can Remember It For You, Wholesale". Which neither movie really resembles in the slightest.

more than 2 years ago


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