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Comments

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Firefox Too Big To Link On 32-bit Windows

pslam Size of build != Size of executable (753 comments)

This is basic stuff to anyone who actually maintains a build, but Slashdot hasn't been a forum mostly populated by engineers for a number of years, now.

This appears to be due to link-time optimization blowing up the resident memory size of the linker, taking it past 3GB (which is already a non-standard hack the 32 bit build has had to do). Firefox is large, yes, but this has nothing to do with the final binary - which appears to be about 100MB total including all libraries in the Aurora builds.

I used to routinely run out of 32 bit address space compiling executables for a 64MB embedded ARM platform. This was due to symbol bloat, not executable size (which was 8MB). I also ran out of space compiling for a DSP with 288KB of RAM and 1MB flash, but that was mostly piss poor tools (Tasking). In fact, doesn't Chrome and even the Android sources already require building on a 64 bit host?

more than 2 years ago
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Royalty-Free MPEG Video Proposals Announced

pslam You're just repeating the "Theora sucks" meme (108 comments)

I don't have to explain:

Theora really can't even compete with MPEG-1 on either video quality at a given bitrate, or performance. It was very specifically designeed for extremely low quality, extremely low resolution, extremely low bitrate streaming video, over a decade ago...

This isn't true. There's plenty of results out there which say Theora is, while not the best, a good codec. To quote Wikipedia: More recently however, Xiph developers have compared the 1.1 Theora encoder to YouTube's H.264 and H.263+ encoders, in response to concerns raised in 2009 about Theora's inferior performance by Chris DiBona, a Google employee. They found the results from Theora to be nearly the same as YouTube's H.264 output, and much better than the H.263+ output.

There are plenty of people proclaiming that because it doesn't come out top, it's useless. Theora is far from useless: the results in any scenario that H.264 (even main profile) would be used, are still usable if you select Theora instead. They just aren't as pretty, because it's just not designed to the same constraints as H.264.

Becoming the HDTV standard would be an unrealistic goal. You attribute Theora not becoming the dominant standard due to Xiph's mishandling of the codec. The more obvious reason is politics: the MPEG group exists specifically to create audio/video standards which can be licensed. Broadcasters and content providers generally only use MPEG standards, and they just love licensing.

I'm interested to know what your theory is that Xiph could drive HDTV standards and have handled this better than a small company could?

more than 2 years ago
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No Windows 8 Plot To Lock Out Linux

pslam Just need self-signing (548 comments)

The solution is obvious: allow installation of your own root certificate. This is supposed to be for security, not vendor lock-in. Without this option, I simply don't believe their intent.

more than 2 years ago
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Google and OpenDNS Work On Global Internet Speedup

pslam Re:Stupid workaround for stupid server code (151 comments)

Yes: Gmail (IMAP and SMTP), Google Chat (XMPP), etc. Try it out...do the DNS lookups yourself from different places.

So, it's only Google doing it?

about 3 years ago
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Google and OpenDNS Work On Global Internet Speedup

pslam Re:Stupid workaround for stupid server code (151 comments)

FTP? Smtp? Distributed file shares? SQL server mirrors? NNTP? Ntp? I could probably list a dozen more.

Yes, that's a list of common internet protocols. I do not know of any example of anyone actually using geolocated DNS to CDN them. Do you have a concrete example?

about 3 years ago
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Google and OpenDNS Work On Global Internet Speedup

pslam Re:Stupid workaround for stupid server code (151 comments)

Because it works, and there is more out there than just HTTP. This same approach will work for any protocol that uses DNS to resolve domain names.

Except that this is only used for HTTP. I do not know of any non-HTTP examples.

about 3 years ago
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Google and OpenDNS Work On Global Internet Speedup

pslam Re:Stupid workaround for stupid server code (151 comments)

And here we have the real reason why this is being promoted:

3. And IMO most importantly, this removes the server selection choice from being under the sole control of the CDN provider. If this stuff is logic'd through the main HTTP page of the website, the CDN must expose its server selection strategy to the client, which is likely proprietary business knowledge.

It breaks DNS. It certainly breaks my local DNS installation, for starters. It also means that *everyone* must use this DNS hack because service will be degraded unless you do.

about 3 years ago
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Google and OpenDNS Work On Global Internet Speedup

pslam Stupid workaround for stupid server code (151 comments)

Messing with DNS is doing it the Wrong Way. All of these CDN services are based on HTTP. When you're using them, that's an HTTP server you're talking to. It's perfectly capable of geolocating you by IP, and it can either hand you back links to a local CDN, or redirect you to another server.

Why the hell must we mess with DNS to do this? This is a solution which only works if you use Google DNS, OpenDNS, or sometimes if you use your local ISP's DNS. What if you're just running bind for you local net vs the root servers? Bzzt. Doesn't work.

The most insane thing about this is it's Google we're talking about here. They damn well know how to implement this entirely in their servers without resorting to DNS hacks. Why are they promoting this net-neutrality breaking, layering violating botch? We need less people to use this, not more.

about 3 years ago
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Who Makes Your Favorite Networking Gear?

pslam The missing option is not another brand (322 comments)

The missing option is: "They all suck". None are my favorite. I only buy that crap out of necessity, and generally curse its cheap unreliability every day.

about 3 years ago
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Chrome 14 Beta Integrates Native Client

pslam NaCl is an anti-web abomination (209 comments)

NaCl is not so much about executing C/C++ code as it is about executing native compiled binaries. This has issues:

  • If I compile my C++ code for x86, I can run it on x86 browsers (well, specifically only Chrome on x86).
  • Ok now I have a cell phone, which is ARM. Guess I have to compile for ARM.
  • Now I have to compile everything for both x86 and ARM.
  • Ok now some other architecture is popular, but it won't run x86 or ARM.

It's incredible Google is even pushing this. It's so anti-portable and in concept anti-web.

There is a "portable" version of this, called "Portable Native Client". This means, of course, that NaCl is actually "Non-Portable Native Client" and that should itself be a clue. The "portable" version uses LLVM bitcode and a virtual machine. So more than a decade later, we've basically reinvented Java virtual machine applets minus the gigantic runtime (and language of your choice).

The only people who could possibly benefit from NaCl are Google. There's no general case use for this, and pushing it as standard into Chrome is a nasty move. Mozilla also reject the idea of NaCl. I believe Opera rejects it too (lacking a link). So, why is this being pushed?

more than 3 years ago
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Chris Dibona On Free Software and Google

pslam Re:Some people are never satisfied, though... (107 comments)

This is all very irrelevant. The point is, it is technically not "Linux", it does not match what people would define as "Linux" (pre-Android) and it in no way is "Linux" other than just the kernel and some public-facing Google engineers who call it such. I didn't bring politics into this.

more than 3 years ago
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Chris Dibona On Free Software and Google

pslam Re:Tired of this flaimbait... Apps are NOT the OS (107 comments)

The same is true of Ubuntu and the Multiverse. You can CHOOSE to run pay software, the same as Android. I can run a commercial server daemon on pure, fully open Linux. Does that cease to be Linux? No.

It's a matter of what's meant by "Linux". Everyone used to mean "GNU/Linux" when they said simply "Linux". Android isn't GNU/Linux. There's no GNU in it - they stripped out what they could and rewrote from scratch what they couldn't. It's Apache/BSD/Linux.

So no, Android is not "Linux" by the definition of what everyone - before Android came along - would call Linux.

more than 3 years ago
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Chris Dibona On Free Software and Google

pslam Except it's not GNU/Linux (107 comments)

He didn't call it a linux desktop; he called it "the linux desktop dream come true"

It's not "Linux" as most people know it. There's a reason Richard Stallman was always bothered by people referring to the OS underlying Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu and the countless other distributions as "Linux"; it ignores the fact that the vast majority of what makes it tick is the GNU userland.

Android does not have a GNU userland. In fact, they rewrote nearly all of it precisely to avoid it.

Android is an Apache/Linux desktop. It's only vaguely related to what everyone used to refer to as "Linux" or properly GNU/Linux.

more than 3 years ago
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If You're Working For Stock, Read the Fine Print

pslam Re:The law is not Caveat Emptor (374 comments)

Any contract lawyer would read over it and tell you what the holes are for a few hundred bucks. It's no big deal.

Since when is a few hundred bucks no big deal? For that matter, since when was it acceptable that a contract can only be understood by hiring a lawyer for a few hundred bucks? You're saying it yourself: the wording in the contract is so strangely constructed, that only a lawyer could understand it.

There's no reason NOT to go to a lawyer if you're considering signing something like this. It happens every day.

Well, apart from the several hundred bucks. If that happens every day, that's $50-100k a year, I guess. Good for the lawyers, bad for employees. The thing is, 364 days of the year you get a contract with normal termination clauses, but 1 of them has a dick clause. Do we pay a lawyer tax to insure ourselves against this, or do we assume that the courts will see it for what it is?

It just so happens that this guy decided to cut corners, got burned, and then whined about it publicly.

I fail to see how not spending a large sum on lawyers is cutting corners. People often don't use lawyers. it happens every day.

So, I guess you spend several hundred bucks on a lawyer every time you get a new job or receive stock or options?

more than 3 years ago
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If You're Working For Stock, Read the Fine Print

pslam The law is not Caveat Emptor (374 comments)

It seems a large number of people here think that it is, though. Idiocy, or trolls. Do people really have so little sympathy? Contracts are intended to be a fair, bindings agreement between two parties. There are countless examples of unfair or weasel worded contracts failing in court, but apparently that would be news to some. What about loan sharks? What if someone snuck in a paragraph of mind bending legalize which amounted to "we can kill you"?

Oh, of course, they should have read the contract, and in case it was too confusing, they should have hired a really expensive lawyer to read it for them.

Bullshit. While I have diminished sympathy for Lee for not double and triple checking his termination clause, I do not have none. I also suspect, as pointed out in another comment here, that Skype should be liable for a lot of taxes by effectively buying back his options for nothing rather than their grant price. This probably still represents a net win for Skype, but at least then it's not "free" for them to exercise this clause.

In any case, it's still a particularly nasty thing for Skype to have done. Options generally have a "30 day" clause so you're not screwed in case of termination. This is supposed to add potential value to the options: you don't constantly run the risk of losing them all at the whim of the company. Skype effectively has a termination clause which takes away all your options any time they want. The difference is huge: I currently work on the assumption that my options are "safe" and I don't have to worry about them vs termination. My employer has written their options clauses to effectively say "we cannot be a dick - we are bound to allow you a grace period". Skype didn't. Their employees must treat options as directly bound to their employment, and if they're working under an "at will" contract, they can be gone in an instant. Skype took away a vast amount of value in their options due to the buy-back clause.

more than 3 years ago
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OpenID Warns of Serious Remote Bug, Urges Upgrade

pslam Re:Avoiding OpenID due to myOpenID fiasco (45 comments)

So yeah, OpenID is only as good as its providers, and it's been demonstrated to me that they can be pretty damn insecure, ergo, I'm avoiding using OpenID for now. Using it for everything makes the OpenID provider I picked a single point of failure. I hate having to use seperate accounts for everything but at least when something bad happens, it doesn't usually affect anything else.

I just think this is like stopping driving just because one manufacturer made an unsafe car. You may be prematurely missing out - and making other people miss out - on what's potentially a good solution to password proliferation.

more than 3 years ago
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OpenID Warns of Serious Remote Bug, Urges Upgrade

pslam Re:Avoiding OpenID due to myOpenID fiasco (45 comments)

Some time ago myOpenID.com lost all (or some portion) of their registered accounts (afaik this was due to Amazon's cloud trouble). Which was annoying because I used it for my stackexchange login. As it turns out, I could just recreate my login with the same name and voila I could use it to access my stackexchange account. That means if someone had created an account with my name before I did they'd have full access to my SE account.

These are problems with myOpenID not OpenID. You're mixing protocol and provider.

I never realised how potentially broken things could get with OpenID and I'm being a bit weary about ever using OpenID again, even though I suppose I should've been more careful about what OpenID provider I picked.

You even say it yourself: you should've been more careful picking an OpenID provider. In any case, what did you lose? Nothing. What could you potentially have lost? A login on StackExchange. Many people would love to only have that problem.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Updating iOS To Address Privacy Concerns

pslam Re:Timestamps (318 comments)

A good programmer would try to use as few resources as possible.

No, a good programmer recognizes premature optimization.

more than 3 years ago
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RIM BlackBerry PlayBook: Unfinished, Unusable

pslam Clear example of why specs do not make a product (260 comments)

This article from the Ottawa Citizen [ottawacitizen.com] sums it up nicely. The Playbook is sleek and well designed. It supports Flash and QNX is the best mobile operating system available. The PB's smaller size makes it more portable and therefore more useful. It fits in my jacket pocket or my wife's purse. It is much lighter than carrying a laptop. Wifi is all I need at home or in a hotel room. The bridge to my Blackberry works well when wifi is not available.

And yet... if you asked a potential customer whether they'd buy this or an iPad 2, they're more likely to buy an iPad 2. This is what all the other companies haven't figured out yet: the age of winning on specs and back-of-the-box check marks is over. This just isn't a well executed product. You either understand this, or you scratch your head wondering why you can't sell, blaming some phantom "halo effect" or other nonsense.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Logging Locations of All iPhone Users

pslam Re:There is more than that (591 comments)

Interestingly, each and every iPhone user is doing the same "crime" committed by Google,, but unintentionally (and no, this does not seem to collect packets).

No, Google's "crime" was logging actual packet contents transmitted on open networks. This is just a list of network IDs.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Poll: Oldest timestamped file I created and have

pslam pslam writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pslam (97660) writes "Poll: What is the oldest timestamp on a file you created and still have on your computer?
* 2005-Present
* 2000-2004
* 1990-1999
* 1980-1989
* My files grow backwards in time.
* I created the epoch, you insensitive clod!

Background:

I'm currently upgrading one of my PCs and copying its data across. I've always been careful to keep backups of all my old filesystems — all the way back. It turns out the oldest file I have without an obviously bad timestamp is (this is not porn, honest):
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1071 1984-11-28 01:07 ./c-temp/utils/hot50/red.com
But my favorite is:
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 57600 1986-10-31 16:12 ./Games/oldie/digdug.com

But I thought — what about a file I actually created? Turns out that's:
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32768 1992-11-06 09:27 ./bc4-prj/source/keyboard.asm
(Yep, using Borland C 4, corruption somewhere in the years padded it to 32KB)

Guess when I was younger I didn't mind getting up to code at 9am in my spare time. How about a poll? I'd love to see what other people keep over the years.

Even if you don't run this poll, I suspect your data center will be thundering 'find' scripts as you try this out yourself :)"

Journals

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My own Vorbis decoder implementation from scratch

pslam pslam writes  |  more than 10 years ago Check it out here (edited for new location)

Basically, I've been putting the finishing touches on my from-scratch implementation of Vorbis. It now fits in 110KB of data, 35KB of code, and has some obvious ways to get even smaller. It's fast - about the same as Tremor, if not faster, and there's still some really easy ways to speed it up. It does one memory allocation total. It's in C++, and quite readable (more than Tremor in my opinion :)

All that's left to do is:

  • Implement seeking
  • Implement a callback interface for file reads/writes
  • Distinguish between EOF and bad streams
  • Remove DCT and window coefficient calculation from startup

Not much, eh?

If it weren't for the obvious licensing issues, I'd love to implement it into the Rio portable players. It would fit in with a tiny wrapper into a Rio Karma, and most likely eat up way less battery life than the Tremor library does (Tremor wasn't designed with very limited fast RAM in mind). I'd have to rewrite it from scratch for the Rio S-series and Nitrus (char == int == 24 bits, lovely).

Maybe I'll just do it one day and all of a sudden everyone finds their players magically start playing vorbis files...

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