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Comment: Re:it's a C idiom (Score 1) 264

by Ambient Sheep (#49650221) Attached to: C Code On GitHub Has the Most "Ugly Hacks"

Someone I know has a fast way to compute CRCs without tables that use only a single loop. The method seems broken to some people... [snip] ...but when you do the math it all works out.

I don't doubt that this is possible but is it really faster than using tables on any actual existing processor? Even CRC-32 only needs a 1K table, it fits into cache, it's really fast unless you're doing CRC of very short strings. And is he perchance using his own non-standard polynomial to make this trick work? Has he proven that it's as strong as the standard polynomials?

I first came across what I think was the grandparent's "hack" when writing code back in the 1980s for an 8085-based EPOS-terminal. With a total address space of 64KB (albeit we did have paged ROM and RAM to extend that), any but the smallest look-up tables were a ridiculous luxury.

First time I saw the hack, I thought "you WHAT now?!" and so one bored Friday afternoon I followed it all through and bloody hell, yes, it worked. Kinda melted my head as to how on earth the (since-departed) author had come up with it, but it worked.

We used it to calculate CRC-16-CCITT and CRC-16-IBM in both normal and reversed versions (four in total), so it seemed to be flexible enough to use any polynomial you wanted.

I'd be very interested to see the code :)

Sadly, although I probably still have the code (only slightly naughtily, since I was also the guy responsible for doing the backups, including offsite backups), it'll be on a 5.25" floppy somewhere, and a quick Google doesn't turn up anything I recognise... so you'll have to wait for another day.

Comment: Re:They didn't grab the opportunity (Score 1) 359

by Ambient Sheep (#49560057) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Heh, I'd forgotten about the Faces on Ads thing being the cause of all the Google hate amongst my friends that I wrote about earlier in this thread.

But for us guys, it wasn't the delay in getting an invite that was the biggest problem - in fact you could argue it made us even more keen, as we waited...

...it was the prospect of losing years'-worth of emails, overnight and with no comeback, if Google decided that you weren't using your real name, that did it.

Comment: Re:Shady Misinformation About Real Name Policy Too (Score 1) 359

by Ambient Sheep (#49559967) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Facebook had the same policy until basically a moment before G+, and they wielded it just as unfairly, too.

The key difference was, that when Facebook wielded it, you didn't suddenly lose five years' worth of emails overnight, without warning nor comeback. THAT'S what killed G+ amongst me and my friends (see my longer post here if interested).

Also, I don't think Facebook were so heavy-handed at that time (they are now) - I knew a few people back then who had dupe Facebook accounts (for work v. friends, or for "interesting" personal lives) which didn't get shut down until later.

Comment: Re:What ruined Google+ from the beginning was... (Score 4, Insightful) 359

by Ambient Sheep (#49559847) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Even worse, if they decided they didn't believe you were you, the account would be terminated. And because it was all tied together, it would take youtube, gmail, and your android phone with it.

Absolutely, and THIS was why Google+ failed, at least in my world.

They launched it at precisely the right time, when the world (or at least a very large proportion of the people I know here in the UK) was hating Facebook for their constant revamps and massive privacy invading. We were all gagging for a Facebook replacement. We hated them.

And Google provided it, while addressing one of our biggest bugbears about Facebook, that you couldn't separate your "work" contacts from your "friends" contacts without using the forbidden multiple accounts. Google's Circles (later copied by Facebook as lists) got that right. Great stuff!

At first, of course, it was invite only. Fair enough, that's what they did with Gmail... so I - and a whole bunch of people I know - eagerly waited for one of our well-connected friends to get some invites; we couldn't wait to stick it to Facebook and feck off to G+ for good.

Sure enough a couple of them did get invites, and offered them out... just as the whole "real names" hoo-hah came out. Heaven knows we were pissed off as it was by the real names policy (which Facebook was also laying down at the time), but that in itself, although a big blow, wasn't quite the fatal one. THAT was the revelation that if they decided against you, you lost years' worth of your emails with no comeback at all -- those emails that they'd been so adamant you didn't need to download to your local machine with POP etc.

I think pretty much all those invites went unclaimed.

They eventually back-pedalled as fast as their little legs would carry them, but too late, the damage was done.

+ - Did North Korea Really Attack Sony? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Many security experts remain skeptical of North Korea's incolvment in the recent Sony hacks. Schneier writes: "Clues in the hackers' attack code seem to point in all directions at once. The FBI points to reused code from previous attacks associated with North Korea, as well as similarities in the networks used to launch the attacks. Korean language in the code also suggests a Korean origin, though not necessarily a North Korean one, since North Koreans use a unique dialect. However you read it, this sort of evidence is circumstantial at best. It's easy to fake, and it's even easier to interpret it incorrectly. In general, it's a situation that rapidly devolves into storytelling, where analysts pick bits and pieces of the "evidence" to suit the narrative they already have worked out in their heads."

Comment: Who checks who's answering? (Score 1) 294

by Ambient Sheep (#48665383) Attached to: BT, Sky, and Virgin Enforce UK Porn Blocks By Hijacking Browsers

I'm on BT and I got asked. Once, just once. I said "no filter", obviously.

Thing is, how did they know it was me, and not my 12-year-old daughter?

OK, so I don't HAVE a 12-year-old daughter, but the point remains. Anybody could have been at the PC when it asked the question; there was absolutely no check whatsoever done on the identity of the person clicking. Just a simple "Yes"/"No" choice. It could have been me, could have been my (non-existent) wife, could have been any of my (non-existent) kids, could have been the next-door neighbour come to check something while their internet is down, could have been my aged Mum, could have been anybody.

I guess the ISPs really aren't interested in anything beyond enforcing the letter of the government's request.

+ - Spanish CyberSquat Raided in "Counter-Terror" Operation

Submitted by MrBingoBoingo
MrBingoBoingo writes: An anarchist center in Spain at Kasa de la Muntanya associated with techo libertarian projects was raided under the guise of of "Counter-Terrorism" operation. The squat had been continually occupied since 1989 and served as a social senter for the local community in addition to serving as a haven to technological and libertarian projects.

Comment: Re:Propagation delay ??? (Score 1) 720

by Ambient Sheep (#48579185) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Making a 'Wife Friendly' Gaming PC?

Some people are right fully upset with their spouses' gaming hours. That goes for both genders (yes, women can be gamers too). Go figure why some people don't want to take care of the kids, house and stuff while the spouse plays 5+ hours a day 7 days a week.

Yup, I briefly dated a rather cool woman just before Easter this year... she was good fun, and we clicked quite well, but one of the reasons it didn't get past two dates was her insistence that she had to lead her World of Warcraft guild three nights a week (as well as checking in with them at sundry other times), and that, plus time for her kids, meant that I was unlikely to get much of a look in at all. If she hardly had time to chat to me when we were first going out, what would it be like after we'd settled down?!

Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 167

by Ambient Sheep (#48012059) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Hah, I never knew that, but that's brought back a memory of disassembling "Halls of the Things" on the ZX Spectrum.

Was running through the code with my monitor/disassembler (DevPac, for those of you with long memories!) and I found the standard mapping table for the keyboard that pretty much every program had, but this time, immediately following it, was the ASCII text: "Yes cunt, a keyboard table". I nearly fell off my chair laughing... that someone had such hostility to spend the bytes at a time when memory was so seriously precious. A while later I found the main loop similarly flagged with similarly abusive comments scattered throughout it. :-)

At the start of the code was a phone number belonging to the devs' home city. The only reason I didn't call it was that it was two years after the game had come out, and the early 80s video game bubble had well and truly burst by then. Most games I hacked (purely for fun, not profit) pretty quickly, but that was the most difficult one I'd ever come across (mainly due to a cunning custom tape loader) and I'd actually given up, back in '83 when it came out. A couple of years later, one bored weekend, I had another go at it and managed it. It was worth the wait. :-)

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

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