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Comments

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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

nsayer Re:Not the United States (922 comments)

So fundamentally my argument is that whatever scraps of paper exist that might be described as a constitution in the UK merely say that Parliament can do whatever the hell it wants. You're quibbling about the mere existence of those scraps of paper while ignoring my fundamental argument which is that whether they exist or not they have no value whatsoever.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

nsayer Re:Not the United States (922 comments)

Ok, douchebag. Maybe that quotation wasn't the best one. Look a bit further up on that same wikipedia page, and you'll find this one:

Parliament means, in the mouth of a lawyer (though the word has often a different sense in conversation) The King, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons: these three bodies acting together may be aptly described as the "King in Parliament", and constitute Parliament. The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty mean neither more nor less than this, namely that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever: and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.
—A.V. Dicey Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885)

more than 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

nsayer Re:Not the United States (922 comments)

That's more evidence than you've supplied to the contrary.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

nsayer Re:Free speech dead in UK (922 comments)

Even the ECHR was merely agreed to via an Act of Parliament. A future Parliament would have no legal encumbrance to repealing it. The UK Parliament is supremely sovereign. There's no law in the UK other than, ultimately, what Parliament passes. And there's no law they can't repeal, should they so choose. Their only restraint is custom and electability.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

nsayer Re:You Americans. (922 comments)

What's the difference between a Sunday and a holiday again?

more than 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

nsayer Re:WTF? (922 comments)

The UK Parliament is supremely sovereign. That means you can be jailed for anything that they say you can be jailed for.

more than 2 years ago
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Maybe the FAA Gadget Ban On Liftoff and Landing Isn't So Bad

nsayer Cameras (414 comments)

I just want to use my camera. Like virtually all cameras made in the last 20 years, it qualifies as an electronic device. The last time I flew into Newark, I was treated to breathtaking vistas of the Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State building in full plumage. I can't share those memories because of FAA stupidity.

more than 2 years ago
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4chan Gives 90-Year-Old Vet a Great Birthday

nsayer Re:4chan gets it wrong again... (363 comments)

Don't forget this, btw... The US did not declare war against Germany until Germany made such a declaration first, after the US declared war on Japan. Germany was not bound by the tri-partite pact to honor Japan's "de-facto" declaration of war (to wit, the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor), and it's quite possible that had Hitler not so declared that the US might have gone on to fight a one-front war against Japan only. I (and I don't believe I am alone in this) regard Germany's declaration of war against the US to be Hitler's first major blunder (not counting things before his rise to power, like the Beer Hall Putsch).

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft's Sleep Proxy Lowers PC Energy Use

nsayer Snow leopard had this first (163 comments)

So... Microsoft's "research" seems to come from reading competitor's product specifications: my AirPort Extreme has been doing this for my network of macs for ages now - ever since Snow Leopard came out.

This is WoL combined with a proxy. Whenever the target machine is asleep, the proxy continues to respond (in this case) to Bonjour requests. When someone attempts to actually connect to the machine, the proxy sends a WoL packet out and then when the original host wakes up, it will hear from the requesting host and proceed as normal.

The one thing that's a little weird about this is that the AirPort extreme will actually wake the target machine up every few hours to make sure it's still there.

more than 4 years ago
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Mac OS X Problem Puts Up a Block To IPv6

nsayer Why the hate for 6to4? (204 comments)

I've been using 6to4 ever since the 6bone shut down, and I've had no problems with it. In fact, it seems to me there are only two possible problems with 6to4 generally:

1. Bastard ISPs could, if they deeply inspect packets, see 6-in-4 packets generally as different or undesirable or whatever and do bad things like they do with bittorrent.

2. The 6to4 anycast default route as a mechanism to get from 6to4 space to the "real" IPv6 space can sometimes send your packets to a non-optimal gateway. The fix for this is simply for more such gateways to be created - preferably one (or more) per ISP - so that the traffic can be routed optimally.

I wanted to opt into Google over IPv6, but when I wrote them they told me to pound sand because I was using 6to4.

more than 4 years ago
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Red-Light Camera Ticket Revenue and Short Yellows

nsayer Re:-1 False Assumption (976 comments)

This is bullshit. There is always a couple of seconds where your light is red, but the other lights in the intersection are not yet green. Care to guess why it was designed that way?

Because someone was asleep at the switch.

It used to be that the light turned green immediately after the light the other way turned red. Everybody knew this, and gave the yellow light a lot more respect than they do today.

Then some numb-nut thought it would be a good idea to separate the end of the yellow from the beginning of the (opposing) green. And as soon as they did, people adapted and yellow lights lost a measure of the respect they had before.

And now, there's no going back. It would be unsafe to get rid of the buffer because it's expected now.

more than 4 years ago
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Pi Day and an Interview With a Pi Researcher

nsayer Re:Efficient coding abilities? (188 comments)

Of course, if you never start the computation at all then you never get results.

The terminating condition is knowing when Moore's law will fail.... far enough in advance to know when it is optimal to begin computation.

more than 4 years ago
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Pi Day and an Interview With a Pi Researcher

nsayer 1/pi of the orbit? shwa? (188 comments)

Um, if you wanted to use a circle as a metaphor for the year, then 2 pi radians would be a full circle, so wouldn't it make more sense to make it the day half way through the year (pi radians)?

more than 4 years ago
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Apple's "iKey" Wants To Unlock All Doors

nsayer Been there, done that (383 comments)

Um, isn't this what Smart cards were supposed to do for us?

As for the 'waving it in front' part, they have that too - in the form of contactless smart cards. They use them for TransLink around here. I know this, because I took an ordinary JavaCard and waved it in front of a TransLink terminal and it actually responded (of course, it responded, "Tag Card Again," because the correct applet obviously wasn't on the card, but still).

more than 4 years ago
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A Second Lessig Fair-Use Video Is Suppressed By WMG

nsayer Re:The hint is in the summary. (187 comments)

Additionally, 100 years ago, the exact same situation we have today was being played out vis-a-vis recorded music. Only back then, it was piano rolls instead of MP3 files. Playing the part of the big music companies today, were the big sheet music publisher of years ago.

Same arguments, almost word for word.

more than 4 years ago
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Killer Apartment Vs. Persistent Microwave Exposure?

nsayer Ask a local ham (791 comments)

By that, I mean amateur radio operator. Since the amateur radio service rules include RF exposure safety rules, and we all have to know how to do the math, they will likely be able to reassure you that the situation is safe. The rules for amateur stations are similar to the rules that all other RF transmitting services generally have to follow. Since the condo is not part of the fenced in enclosure where the antenna is, it's part of the 'uncontrolled' space (that is, space where the general public - particularly people not owning or working on the antenna). The exposure limits for uncontrolled space exposure are much stricter than controlled space (that is, any place where a person could be without having the transmitter shut down).

In all likelihood, the antennas in question are aimed such that the energy won't be going into the apartment. How can that be? They have to pay to generate the RF, and they want as much of it as possible to hit the opposite antenna rather than be used to irradiate a nearby condo.

They're selling this unit for a song likely because of the "what if?" thoughts you yourself are having. Educate yourself and turn this into an opportunity to acquire an undervalued property!

more than 4 years ago
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What Has Your Phone Survived?

nsayer Let that be a lesson to you (422 comments)

If you had used "find my iPhone," you likely would have been able to find it in the snow (yes, I know the GPS isn't that accurate - he'd have made the phone ping and listened for it) and not had to wait the two months.

more than 4 years ago
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After Learning Java Syntax, What Next?

nsayer Do something practical (293 comments)

The first two things I wrote in java were the quintessential '15 sliding tiles' puzzle game and an Othello game. I wrote them in swing. I wrote them not because the world needed yet another implementation, but because it was a fun challenge, and I got some practical experience in writing not only Java, but UI code (in this case, Swing, but the concepts had far wider applicability).

They're still on the net, for what it's worth. Don't expect a lot.

The third thing I wrote was MacXM, though that was in Java/Cocoa. Its follow-up was JXM.

I mention all of this because my advice is that once you've gotten all of that theoretical stuff in your head, the next thing you should do is write something. Even if it's just something for you, it's still something.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Pi Power - the power supply the Raspberry Pi *should* have come with

nsayer nsayer writes  |  2 days ago

nsayer (86181) writes "The Raspberry Pi is awesome. There's only one thing I dislike about it — how you're meant to power it. Crappy USB power supplies are ubiquitous, and the power more or less goes straight onto the +5 rail. Not only that, but the micro USB connector is SMT, and USB cables are much thicker and heavier than their 2.1mm barrel connector cable counterparts. No, it's just not the best tool for the job.

So I made Pi Power. It's a small board that sits on the GPIO pins (it comes with a stacking header so you can piggyback onto it) and has a 2.1mm barrel connector that will accept any DC voltage from 6-15 volts and output up to 2A of well regulated 5V power.

I sell them on Tindie for $15 ( https://www.tindie.com/product... ) and am running an IndieGoGo campaign to fund building 1000 of them at http://igg.me/at/PiPower ."

Link to Original Source
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Amateur ATSC digital TV success

nsayer nsayer writes  |  more than 5 years ago

nsayer writes "I am an amateur radio operator (N6QQQ) and am trying to set up an amateur television (ATV) repeater. Nothing new there, but this one will transmit digital TV using 8VSB modulation as compatible as possible with the ATSC digital TV standard. I bought some DATV gear from SR Systems and it arrived last week. Yesterday, I got it all working and successfully transmitted 8VSB modulated digital video at 420-426 MHz and successfully decoded it with an HD Homerun receiver. I'm using very low power at present, but my goal is to transmit with 150 watts of ERP from the summit of Mt. San Bruno at noon on 2/14/09 — the last weekend before the broadcast TV analog shut-down.

More details, including recorded video of some of my transmissions, can be had at my blog."

Link to Original Source
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Review: Parallels Desktop vs. VMWare Fusion

nsayer nsayer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

nsayer (86181) writes "A very, very long time ago, I used VMWare (before it was named VMWare Desktop) under the Linuxulator on FreeBSD to run Windows 2000 for the occasional windows-only application. But when MacOS X came out, I rather quickly bought a mac and have become an almost exclusive Mac user. But, as before, there would be an occasional need to run something that was Windows only, so I suffered with Virtual PC. When I upgraded to my first Intel mac, I switched over to Parallels Desktop, and, as before, have been using it to run the occasional Windows app under Windows XP. When I tried the first VMware Fusion public beta, all it did reliably was crash my machine, so I didn't really pay attention to VMWare after that. But suffice to say that I have used virtualization and/or emulation technology almost continuously since its inception.

Skip forward to a couple weeks ago and I heard about VMWare's pre-release special pricing offer for a copy of Fusion. This is the first point to bring up — the price of virtualization software has come way down. I believe that's in part to the competition that now exists in the space between Parallels and VMWare. And that's a very good thing. I don't remember what I paid originally for that first copy of VMWare so long ago, but I believe it was north of $150. I bought my copy of Fusion for $39. Vive le competition.

Both offerings have very similar feature sets. Both install special 'helper' software within your Windows guest operating system to facilitate things like video resizing (if you drag the Windows window larger or switch to full screen mode, both will resize the video area accordingly), mouse pointer sharing, drag and drop file copying, clock synchronization, etc. Both support some type of "undo" functionality that allows you to take a snapshot of the guest as it is now and at some future point revert back to the snapshot if something goes wrong. Both have a mechanism for running Windows programs in their own windows along side your mac apps (hiding the Windows desktop). Fusion calls this Unity, Parallels calls it Coherence. In those areas, it's pretty much a tie.

Both offer software that you can install on Windows either on a physical computer or on some other virtualized environment that will copy out the Windows installation and make a new virtual machine out of it. Here, I give Parallels a slight edge because the VMWare solution is actually hidden on their website and is actually designed for their enterprise products (but happens to work for Fusion). Also, since VMWare guests use ACPI and Parallels guests don't, you wind up with some virtual hardware quirks that require reinstalling Windows to completely clear up (Windows XP doesn't support switching from a standard PC to an ACPI PC without reinstalling. But you don't have to wipe the disk, you can just reinstall Windows itself, painful though that is). Since Windows tends to accumulate a lot of cruft in the registry anyway, a clean reinstall isn't a bad idea in any event. But if you have a lot of software that you don't want to have to put back on, you don't have to.

VMWare guests can run with both cores of your multi-core CPU (if applicable), Parallels guests are uniprocessor only. Unless the Windows software you use is heavily threaded, I'm not sure you'll notice too much difference there. Both systems seem to me to be responsive when dealing with typical interactive software.

Both systems support acceleration of 3D API calls, however my mac of choice is the Intel mac mini. VMWare doesn't support acceleration on the integrated Intel 950 chipset. I don't typically play 3D games, but I did try BZFlag under parallels when the 3D support was announced. I was able to get more or less the same frame rate as when I ran the native OS X BZFlag client. I haven't repeated this test with VMWare, however. If 3D games are your reason for booting Windows, then perhaps Parallels might be a better choice right now.

Both systems allow you to suspend the guest and resume it. In both cases, the normal Windows APM/ACPI suspend/hibernate functionality is avoided. Instead, the guest is simply halted in its tracks and upon resumption, the virtualization tools fix the clock and other sorts of things. VMWare's guest tools allow you to set up scripts that will run at suspend and resume time. But the big difference I've noticed is that when I resume a Parallels guest, the entire machine (both guest and host) seem to be mired in a tar pit for about a minute. From what I can tell, it's probably paging the guest in from a memory mapped file. But there is no indication of what it's doing or how long it will take. By contrast, when suspending or resuming a VMWare guest, there is a progress bar to let you know how much time is left, and when the resume process is done, the machine responds instantly at full speed. VMWare wins this one hands down.

One application I use under Windows is the Netflix WatchNow client. When you watch video in it under Parallels, you can often see tearing effects. Presumably these are caused by a lack of synchronization between the refresh rate of the host's monitor and the guest's virtual frame buffer. Whatever the cause, it can be quite annoying. But VMWare doesn't have that problem. Score another victory for them.

Another differentiation in behavior is when playing You Don't Know Jack: The Ride. Under parallels, this game has choppy, stuttery audio and often pauses for seemingly no reason. Under VMWare, it works perfectly. It's only an anecdote, and it's not a show-stopper for me, but it's nudge in VMWare's direction.

So in the end, I have to give the victory to Fusion. For a 1.0 product, it's more than just a strong contender, it's the clear victor. Can Parallels catch up? Sure, but given how long they've had a mac product, it's surprising that they need to."

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

nsayer writes "I've successfully upgraded my Mac Mini to a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo.

I'll go ahead and document the procedure here. I'm not the first to do so, but here goes anyway:

Lots of folks have put tutorials online about how to upgrade the memory. Upgrading the CPU starts with getting to the point where you would if you were upgrading the RAM.

The next step is to take a small flathead screwdriver and unscrew the metal riser in the front left corner of the board. Then disconnect the small wire connector for the power switch (back right corner) and the one for the IR receiver (front right corner). With that done, the board can tip up at the front and slide out.

Removing the CPU heat sink is not easy. You need to push the spring clips down to raise the clip part off the board. Then pinch the clips together enough that they can go backwards through the hole. Release them like you would remove tire bolts — do the one diagonally opposite the first one second.

Once the heat sink is off, either scrape off the old thermal compound or clean it off with acetone. Be sure to get it all!

The socket unlocks easily with a flathead screwdriver. Give the screw half a turn only. The CPU will pop right out. Put the new one in, making sure to line up the index mark correctly (bottom right corner, as you look at the board as it would normally sit in the case).

Take careful note of the CPU heat sink. It goes on only in one direction. Get this wrong and you'll have to detach it again (remember what I said up there about it being hard to do?) because the mezanine board won't fit over it. Before installing the CPU heat sink, squirt a small amount of heat sink compound on top of the cpu. Apply the heat sink and then detach it again to check the coverage. Once the heat sink is down correctly, push the spring clips through the holes in the board, again making the second one diagonally opposite the first one.

Put the board back in the case, attach the metal riser to the bottom left corner screw hole, reattach the two wire connectors you removed before, then proceed as if you had just finished replacing the RAM.

My 2.0 GHz Merom was just over $300 on eBay, so this isn't an amazingly cheap upgrade. I did it because I wanted the performance of the core 2 Duo, but since this machine is an HTPC, I didn't need a built-in display (and a Mac Pro would have been way overkill)."
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nsayer nsayer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

nsayer writes "A while ago, I submitted a review of the ElGato EyeTV 500 ATSC receiver for the mac. This review is of the brand-new EyeTV Hybrid ATSC/NTSC receiver and the new EyeTV 2 software that comes with it.

The old EyeTV 500 was a box the size of a paperback book. It could only receive ATSC (that is, digital) TV signals. Since the amount of CPU required to properly decode and display 1080i programming was (and still is) pretty hefty, the system was limited to show only quarter-resolution video (slightly better than 480p) for other than dual G5 macs. This is still the case, but now the list of systems that can process full resolution video also includes any dual-core Intel mac. That lowers the bar significantly from a machine costing more than $2k (at the time) to the $599 mac mini.

Back when we had an EyeTV 500 it was plugged into a PPC mac mini and we didn't really notice the degredation in the video very much. We bought it mainly so we could easily see what HD would do for us (we originally had an old analog set in the living room, but the mac mini display looks terrible in 480i, so we bought a 720p DLP set). We wound up replacing the EyeTV 500 with an HD DirecTivo because the program guide integration was much better with TiVo, the dual-tuner, and the ability to record satellite programming. The EyeTV Hybrid addresses all of those issues except the dual-tuner one.

First, the software. Just drag the application to the applications folder. Simplicity itself. The first time you fire it up, it goes through a setup procedure. One annoyance is that they ask you for a software activation key. This is because they sell EyeTV 2 as an upgrade for those with older devices. Still, it's a bit annoying to have to dig a piece of paper out of the box when there's a perfectly good piece of hardware in the same box that is required to use the software. Couldn't they have detected the newer hardware and bypassed the license key?

Now, let's take a look at the hardware. It's remarkably smaller. It's about the size of a BIC lighter, or slighly larger than an older USB memory stick. On one side is a USB connection (it includes a cover), on the other is a standard F connector for RF input. On the side is a small hole into which plugs an optional dongle for receiving S-video and stereo audio from an alternate source (such as a satellite receiver or video game). You plug the antenna into the one end, then plug the USB end into the computer.

And nothing happened.

As I began to check things, I noticed that there was a tiny spark between the USB connector's outer case and the computer case as I began to insert the connector. That was a bit scary! It dawned on me that we have a combiner/splitter/amplifier and that some of its power supply voltage must, somehow, be leaking into the shield, making its way into the EyeTV Hybrid, and resulting in some sort of ground potential difference between the two. It's possible that that is not the correct explanation, but the observable symptoms were that the device was recognized, but got no reception and sparks could be seen when you tap the plug against the case of the Mac Pro.

The EyeTV Hybrid comes with a short A-B USB cable. I thought to myself that perhaps if it was the cheap variety, it would only pass the 4 data/power pins and not connect the shield — thus, it could be used to isolate the two grounds. Sure enough, that solved the problem. As soon as I connected it that way, I heard audio and then saw a picture on the mac. Whew!

It's worth mentioning that the EyeTV Hybrid doesn't come with an antenna. Unless you live in the heart of the urban jungle, you're probably going to require an outdoor antenna anyway (even if you do live in an urban environ, you may want an outdoor antenna to cut down on multipath problems. Multipath results in ghosting on analog, but can cause you to lose signal completely with digital).

I then took the software through the auto-detection of the local broadcasters without incident. I chose only to look for ATSC services, so I haven't tried out the analog receiver capabilities. Here in the South SF Bay Area we're fortunate that all of the local broadcasters have digital transmitters up, all but 3 of them are on one of two mountaintops in the same direction, and the remaining ones are close enough that receiving them "off the side" of your antenna is easy.

It's worth noting at this point that the advertising of the Hybrid shows it plugged into a MacBook/PowerBook. Which is fine. But keep in mind that if you intend on watching TV while you're actually on the move (say, on a long car or train trip), you'll have to perform the auto-tune procedure as you go from one market to another, or repeat it if the terrain changes while doing it. This may be a little on the tedious side.

The biggest improvement in EyeTV 2 is the fully integrated program guide. It still gets program data from TitanTV, but it used to be that there was a relatively clumsy integration between the two. You used Safari to view the TitanTV web site, and then clicks there were handled by a URL handler in the EyeTV software. Well, that has all changed. The program guide lives in a window within EyeTV itself. Want to record a show? Just click a small pink circle on each show and it will instantly change into a red dot with clock hands in it. Clicking on a show will bring you right to that show's details where you can also decide to record it, or edit the recording schedule. It's still not a TiVo season pass — if the show changes its day or time, you have to fix the schedule, but overall it's much less messy than before.

We also found some lack of reliability in scheduled recordings with the old system. It's too soon to say if that's fixed now or not. If it is, then hooking one of these up to your Mac is as close to the TiVo experience as you're going to find.

Which takes us to the last point of comparison — price. When I bought the EyeTV 500, the price point was double the asking price for the Hybrid — $149. That's progress indeed.

Overall, this is a worthy 2.0 product follow-on to the EyeTV 500. At half the price, twice the functionality and a fraction of the size of the original, I'll take two."

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