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Comment: Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 4, Insightful) 276

by Anubis IV (#47407793) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

Kernighan wasn't involved until much later, according to Ritchie's own history of the language. C was a direct successor to B, which was Thompson's brainchild, and he was directly involved in much of the development of C, though Ritchie was the lead on it.

People often assume it was Kernighan and Ritchie because they co-authored the seminal book on the language (the eponymous K&R white book), but that book didn't even get published until almost 6 years after C was already complete.

Comment: Re:Netflix rating engine sucks (Score 2) 85

by Anubis IV (#47400215) Attached to: Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

Teams of researchers from around the globe competed for the $1,000,000 Netflix Prize way back in 2009, that would be awarded to the team that managed to improve the algorithm by even 10%. It took them the better part of a year to accomplish it, and you seem to think that a lone programmer can just get in there and knock out a lot of low-hanging fruit to substantially improve things?

I don't deny that there's always room for improvement (such as the example you provided), but suggesting that it can all be fixed by "hiring a programmer" is a bit naive.

Comment: Re:IMDB is full of descriptors (Score 3, Insightful) 85

by Anubis IV (#47400091) Attached to: Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

You do realize that IMDb is a type of wiki, right? The tags are user-submitted. They're good for some stuff, but probably not so useful for the sorts of things Netflix likely needs them for. Besides which, IMDb is owned by Amazon, so there's likely all sorts of legal issues in using its data for their service.

Comment: Re:Absolutely Awesome (Score 1) 200

by Anubis IV (#47391683) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

I love it too, but just because I love it, doesn't mean that I don't also think it's something that could have turned out really badly. The video clearly shows a number of near misses, and the last thing I want landing on a fireworks barge is a flaming, sparking machine that fell from the sky. Considering these fireworks were all directly over the barges, any near misses he had were also over them.

Even so, that doesn't temper the fact that the video is absolutely outstanding. I'm just glad it turned out okay.

Comment: Only thing that's changed... (Score 1) 132

by Anubis IV (#47389495) Attached to: Google Reader: One Year Later

The only thing that's changed is that I've made a point of getting away from free services and moving over to for-pay services with revenue streams that I understand, since I know they won't disappear in a year or two when they fail to successfully monetize their users or decide it's not worth it any more. Plus, I know how they're monetizing me: I'm putting cash directly into their pockets, without any of the funny business involving targeted ads, opting me in to stuff against my wishes, or selling my data to other companies.

Feedbin is the RSS reader to use. I tried Feedly, but it didn't allow .opml exports of feeds, and the last thing I wanted to do was lock myself into a new service right after leaving the last one. Feedbin is snappy, regularly updated with nice enhancements, and can be accessed from a number of clients. Absolutely love it, and the price is pretty good too.

I also switched from Gmail to FastMail. Again, it's a case of knowing where the money is coming from and getting more control over how my data is being used as a result. It's been a great change so far, and I've had far less issues using it once I got it all set up.

Comment: Re:Not a VIP box at the Olympics (Score 5, Informative) 63

Wish I had mod points, since AC has it right. If you check the document attached with the article, page 26 has the actual invitation itself, and it clearly says the event is in D.C., rather than in Sochi, and there's no mention at all of a VIP box or anything of the sort. This story went from "Comcast cordially invited them to an opening ceremony event at the Newseum" in the actual invitation to "Comcast invited them to an event for the Sochi opening ceremony" in the article to "Comcast invited them to a VIP box at Sochi" in the \. summary.

It's a non-story. Just regular schmoozing. Though the fact that regular schmoozing is a non-story might be a story in and of itself...

Comment: Re:Why do we have screen savers? (Score 1) 348

by Anubis IV (#47377783) Attached to: Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

Other than the issue I mentioned with other signals commandeering CEC, DPMS has all of the same issues I already enumerated:
1) It's not consistently carried to the TV if there are devices in between.
2) It's oftentimes not obvious to the user that it exists or how to enable it.
3) It isn't available with every form of cabling.
4) Not all TVs support it.

So, yes, a solution exists, but as with the ones I mentioned, it only covers some situations, not all, and that's exactly why screensavers still exist, since they cover all situations.

Comment: Re:John Smith? (Score 2) 146

Perjury is a felony in the US, carrying potentially serious jail time as a sentence. As such, it's not a civil matter that you need to be involved in; the criminal courts handle this stuff. Just let the courts or states' attorneys know that the guy is engaging in perjury, give them evidence of it, and they'll either take care of it or not. It costs you very little, but potentially costs them quite a bit.

Comment: Re:But.. but... (Score 2) 295

by Anubis IV (#47376683) Attached to: Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

First Law of Superpowerdynamics: Only well muscled young men with washboard abs and manboob pecs get super powers

I thought most of them got the washboard abs and whatnot because of their super powers. Consider:
1) Captain America: he was a wuss until he was given the serum that made him a super-human.
2) Spider-Man: a nerd that got pushed around until he was bitten by a weird spider.
3) Batman: used his "Has Gobs of Cash" superpower to get extensive training.

Comment: Re:Why do we have screen savers? (Score 1) 348

by Anubis IV (#47368799) Attached to: Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

I would ask why we still have screen savers.

Isn't it obvious? The devices outputting screensavers can't turn off the screen in most cases, that's why. And since they're the ones controlling the content, they're the ones best-suited to tell when burn-in might become an issue. Putting up a screensaver is effectively their only means of recourse.

With HDMI cables carrying CEC commands (e.g. your TV telling your audio/video receiver to power on), it's possible this situation may change in the future. For now, however, not all devices support CEC (which, incidentally, also goes by a variety of brand names, making things confusing for consumers), and many users hook up their devices indirectly (e.g. A/V switch or AVR), so the CEC commands wouldn't reach the intended device anyway. There's also the issue that Monoprice and others sell IR-over-HDMI kits that commandeer the CEC channel in the HDMI cable in order to get IR signals from your remote control into a closet somewhere else.

Long story short, there's no way for a device like a Fire TV to turn off the actual TV itself reliably. Some of the time? Sure. But with certainty in every case? Definitely not. That's why screensavers are still used.

Comment: Re:Somebody has to do it (Score 1) 178

I mean something like this, hard to find, which creates an almost undetectable security flaw [...]

[...] makes me wonder why this attack hasn't been seen in the wild before.

Seems like you answered your own question.

Besides which, the flaw may be ephemeral. Ideally, the flaw would be done in such a way that when the compiler tried to recompile itself (e.g.updating it with new features), it would re-add the flaw to its own binary, perpetuating the cycle. But the bad guys don't have to do it that way. They could just as easily leave out that code and only allow the flaw to exist in one version of the compiler. Whenever the compiler gets updated, the backdoor logic in the compiler would be gone, along with anyone's best chance for noticing something was wrong, but the software that was compiled using that tainted compiler would continue to exist for years and years. It's an attack that cleans up after itself, effectively.

Comment: Re:Somebody has to do it (Score 5, Informative) 178

The TL;DR version for folks who haven't seen it before or don't want to read it (which you really should do): just because the source is trustworthy doesn't mean the binaries are. The process to accomplish this sort of attack is fairly straightforward:
1) Modify, say, the compiler's source code so that it adds backdoors to some/all of the code it compiles.
2) Compile it, then replace the clean binary for the compiler with this new, tainted binary.
3) Revert the changes to the compiler's source code, erasing any evidence of wrongdoing.

By itself, that doesn't create a backdoor, but anything compiled using the tainted binary could potentially have a backdoor secretly added, even though the source code for both that code and the compiler would appear to be perfectly clean. The problem could be very hard to discover or pin down as well, only manifesting when a particular file is getting compiled, or even a particular line of code.

I think most of us are already familiar with this sort of attack, but it's worth repeating, since it's exactly the sort of thing that Microsoft's "Transparency Centers" don't address, and exactly the sort of thing we'd be expecting a government to be doing.

Comment: Re:Waste of taxpayer money (Score 1) 54

by Anubis IV (#47358041) Attached to: 'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Fluffiest Tail

She provides plenty of reasons for the research there. Moreover, the article says nothing about the Smithsonian paying for this research. She just happens to be a world expert on these squirrels and is working there, likely because they have a collection of preserved specimens that she is using in her studies. Given that the Smithsonian is providing their collection of preserved specimens from this species for her research, I wouldn't be surprised if what the universities and research institutions tied to this effort have to offer are the funds to engage in the expeditions. You'll be pleased to know that neither George Mason University nor the research station based in Spain are US federal government institutions.

Mind you, I'm not attempting to make any sort of political statement with this post, I'm merely seeking to point out the lack of a factual basis for most of your assertions.

Comment: Re:WUWT (Score 1) 441

by Anubis IV (#47357779) Attached to: Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

Wait...82F? Did you mean 92F or 102F? 82F is a pleasant Spring day where I'm at. The A/C would probably kick on at some point, but only for a few minutes each day. I'm enjoying the fact that where I'm at now our highs are only in the 90s right now, since last year at this time we had six weeks straight of highs over 100F.

Even when I lived in the only tropical zone in the entire continental US (i.e. south Florida), it only got into the 90s during summer, and despite the high humidity, the breezes tended to be pretty nice down there, so it was never too bad. Not to mention the near-daily rain showers.

I understand why places like Houston have the highest energy bills in the nation, given the combination of insane humidity (it's known as "The Bayou City" for a reason) and high temperatures (100F is normal in summer), but if you're only dealing with 82F, you have nothing to complain about. If you allow yourself to do so, you can acclimate to temperatures like that VERY easily.

Comment: Re:no, asshole (Score 1) 112

I agree, these users were blaring their stereos, but I disagree with your characterization of Google's actions. They didn't just hear what was said passively. What they were doing was actively listening to, recording, and transcribing everything that they heard. That's a night and day difference, and that's why people are offended. If I was offended every time my WiFi traffic got picked up by someone or something else, I'd be a raging inferno of umbrage, given that WiFi devices do that all the time, but simply disregard the stuff they receive that isn't intended for them, much as we might filter out other conversations when we're in public and talking with someone else.

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin