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Comments

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Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

ntropia Use what you have already (579 comments)

Yellow light before green?
In Germany and other countries it works just fine, and I can't understand why it's not used everywhere...

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?

ntropia Let's see... (176 comments)

Not sure about the x86 issue.
DosBox runs just fine on Android and RaspberryPi.
Indeed, I've tested several ol'times masterpieces on the former, and it worked all very well (with Genuine Tears(TM)).

about a month ago
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Why Does Facebook Need To Read My Text Messages?

ntropia Re:Actually one of my beefs (293 comments)

It is true that users don't bother much with the granularity of permissions, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't know the reason a given permission is required in the first place.
F-Droid tries to address this, for example. For each permission, there is a short explanation that the developer (I presume) has to write on why it is required.
Not perfect, but it's better than Google Play, in my opinion.

about 6 months ago
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NYT: NSA Put 100,000 Radio Pathway "Backdoors" In PCs

ntropia "Good evening Mr. Gates,I'll be your server today" (324 comments)

It's clearly old stuff from few years ago, but it's insightful to see the different software requirements and specifications.
For example, the NIGHTSTAND Wireless Exploitation/Injection Tool has a

standalone tool currently runnuing on a x86 laptop loaded with Linux Fedora Core 3

while exploitable targets include:

Win2k, WinXP, WinXPSP1, WinXPSP2 running Internet Explorer versions 5.0-6.0

The GINSU software application to control the hardware implant BULLDOZER or the software one KONGUR:

supports any desktop PC system that contains at least one PCI connector (for BULLDOZER installation) and Microsoft Windows 9x, 2000, 2003, XP, or Vista.[...] If KONGUR is removed from the system as a result of an operating system upgrade or reinstall, GINSU can be set to trigger one the next reboot of the system to restore the software implant.

So after all, Microsoft is not really helping them, if they have to protect themselves from system updates :)

about 6 months ago
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Experiments Reveal That Deformed Rubber Sheet Is Not Like Spacetime

ntropia No sheets, Sherlock... (264 comments)

So no other approximations will be allowed?
And what's next? People modeling the Sun's gravity as a point?

about 7 months ago
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Hubble Finds Sign That Habitable Planets Could Exist Beyond Solar System

ntropia Re:Whats so special about water? (57 comments)

Nothing absolutely special about the two, but definitely special in combination.
Let's say that water and rocks are very good ingredients on their own, assuming we're interested in variations of 'chemically based' life:

- water has interesting physical properties (you mentioned most of them), but one of them is its dielectric constant, very important for facilitating catalytic conditions (self-replicating molecules?)

- these physical properties allows it to solubilize minerals and a fair range of organic molecules at the same time, useful for catalyzing chemical reactions.

- it is somehow reactive either in reversible ways (hydrogen bonds) or by directly participating in chemical reactions (i.e. oxydation of energetic molecules = generating chemical energy)

- rocks could catalyze the spontaneous formation of chemical precursors or building blocks of life...well, as we know it? yes, but it means it happened at least once.


Now, the important key is obviously the catalysis, i.e. making chemical reactions easier and quicker. Doing that in a low-energy context (i.e. the temperatures found on modern or archaic Earth), makes it much easier for randomly created molecules to survive long enough to have a chance to self replicate.

about 9 months ago
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Omate TrueSmart Watch Stands Alone — No Phone Required

ntropia Improvements (167 comments)

Can't wait for having to remember to recharge my watch every night (instead of every couple of years, as I do now)

about a year ago
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Disney Announces "One Star Wars Movie Per Year" Plan

ntropia No matter what (342 comments)

When I read this I thought about a bunch of friends of mine that are going to watch whatever they'll release.
They're smart & educated (in the trivial, scientific meaning), but when another movie will be out, they'll take out their wallets so fast that the friction with their trousers will set them on fire.

These are the same people that feel happy when Amazon is so kind to make them a personal, tailored[*], just-'cause-it's-you offer for buying all the Star Trek movies in blueray for just something-ninetynine.

Any speculation about the quality of the movies, the subject and so on is futile, to some extent: there's so much inertia behind the franchise that we are debating about that +/- 3% of fluctuation around the monolitic huge number of people that will watch it.

No matter what.


[*] ...on their movie history on Amazon Instant

about a year ago
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Mining Companies Borrow From Gamers' Physics Engines

ntropia Every problem calls for the right tool... (39 comments)

...or approximations of it. For this kind of simulations, there are are tools that are better, where "better" means more accurate, reliable and reproducible. Finite elements, for example, is one of them. Everything else is just horse manure covered with M&M's.

about a year ago
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Brian Krebs Gets SWATted

ntropia Re:Danger. (240 comments)

Not sure about the "anecdotal" excuse.
It doesn't mean (necessarily) a preference over shooting darker skin tones, but at least they seem to spend much, much more time looking at them, at least in NY.
I mean, even accounting for some +/-% of uncertainty, 87% is a freaking big chunk.

about a year ago
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How a Chinese Hacker Tried To Blackmail Me

ntropia Re:Why not use encryption? (146 comments)

I'm not convinced, and re-compiling the kernel seems like an extreme example to me.
The point would be that users who don't know how the FFT works shouldn't be able to use Instagram (oh, boy, if I wish so...).
The reality is that people use tons of complex algorithms every day without knowing it not because they are easy, but because they've been made easy for them and/or implemented in a transparent manner. Pretty much none of Gmail users even know what HTTPS stands for, but everybody started using it when Google decided it was going to be on by default.
My point is that even if PGP is more complex of HTTPS, it could be made easier and much more transparent than it is now.

about a year and a half ago
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Linux-Friendly Mini PC Fast Enough For Steam Games

ntropia Re:"actually playable" (93 comments)

I got a i3@3.1GHz machine that's able to run smoothly Black Mesa, SteelStorm and TF2.

I forgot to mention an interesting aspect: I have enough spare power to watch Netflix using XP in a VirtualBox machine

about a year and a half ago
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Linux-Friendly Mini PC Fast Enough For Steam Games

ntropia Re:"actually playable" (93 comments)

I still feel a bit of sore, so I'll chip in the discussion.
Few months ago I read several good reviews about the Zboxes as HTPC, so I bought one, together with 4Gb of RAM and a 160Gb SSD. The GPU was a ION and no, there were no chances to have a decent XBMC experience nor playing 720i videos (1080p? don't even think about it) without having very unpleasant "hiccups" here and there in the playback. Forget about any online streaming with more than 360p resolution (average YouTube videos were enough to put the thing on its knees). No, desktop effects were not on the way (i.e. barebone XFCE). It shouldn't have been a surprise, since it was sporting a crappy Atom D525 processor 1.8GHz, and I blame myself for having bought the positive reviews despite the terrible hardware specs.
After two frustrating weeks of tweaking trying to squeeze more juice out of it (Xorg.conf, VDPAU, Nvidia drivers...), I've sent it back and with pretty much the same amount of money, I've tried one of the cheap solutions I've found on the XBCM forum.
I got a i3@3.1GHz machine that's able to run smoothly Black Mesa, SteelStorm and TF2.
The box slashvertized here has a Celeron 847 instead of the Atom, but CPU performances are equally poor, so don't even think about games (or at least nothing more complex than Gchess).

The rather trivial moral of the story is that if you want a powerful machine you should buy one, and not waste your time with toy computers.
Be wise with your money and never look back.

about a year and a half ago
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AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

ntropia Re:Too bad. (798 comments)

Wait, do this means that instead of inefficient gigantic companies, you are suggesting that in US it would be better to have smaller ones that are able to: 1) cover a smaller area but provide better products, 2) and do some real competition and not the fake one that's in place now?

By the way, I like the implicit humor in the "Europeans don't know geography" punchline.

about a year and a half ago
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San Diego Drops Red-Light Cameras

ntropia It's about time (330 comments)

I can tell you that in several of places here in SD, the cameras went "bananas" a long time ago.
There's an infamous one right next to where I work that is flashing almost at random even with green lights. If you are unluckily driving there at night or dusk, you get the flash facing you that goes medieval with your retina... you just have to remember where the wheel was turned and Don't Panic(C).
An engineer friend said these cameras had problems and needed to be re-calibrated very often due to their lack of adaptation to light and weather changes... you know, 'cause of the crazy and unpredictable the weather of SoCal, you know?

about a year and a half ago
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IronKey Releases Windows 8 Certified Bootable Flash Drive

ntropia Re:What a non-story (66 comments)

Do we get a discount if we use the SLSHDT code wien purchasing the product?

about a year and a half ago
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Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?

ntropia Exercise 26 (689 comments)

The student compiles the following lists:
List of all achievements accomplished by US companies, universities, etc..
List of achievements obtained under direction, with direct involvement, or based on ideas of 'foreign' scientists/technicians.

The student calculates the intersection between these two lists and discuss the result. Extra points will be given for detailed analysis of contributions of foreigners (i.e. von Brown, Einstein, Fermi) to the outcome of WWII and the following US scientific program.

Bonus: the student provides the link to the discussion on Slashdot about the consistent reduction of patents filled in US during the strict immigration policies of the Bush administration.

about a year and a half ago
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Intel To Help Stephen Hawking Communicate Faster

ntropia Re:I have an idea (133 comments)

Name two.

1. Martinovich I., Perito, D., et al.
2. House, P., Greger, B.

Notes:
- these are only two papers that made it into the public media in recent times
- it is a very conservative estimation to assume that each one of them involved the work of tens of peoples
- it is also safe to assume that there are many others that are still "pushing the boundaries of Knowledge" on the matter but are not enough "media-chewable" so they never reach the notoriously sloppy AC's attention

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Italian senator to ban all the porn from internet

ntropia ntropia writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SometimesIt'sBetterToNotToBeItalian (939502) writes "How to save all the childrens from the pr0n? An Italian member of the Senate presented a law proposal to "...shut down all the web sites containing pornographic or moral-offensive material[Google translation]. The fine would be 50,000 euro or five years in jail. That's a good deal, considering that accordingly to a EU report of 2003, world porn market is just higher than the world military expenditure [PDF]. This is not the first case showing how people supposed to make choices for all of us doesn't have the knowledge to do it. The path from the proposal to enact a law is not so straightforward, although this further episode give a lot to mumble about."

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