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Comment: Re:Tor compromised (Score 5, Interesting) 620

by Drachs (#45015705) Attached to: Silk Road Shut Down, Founder Arrested, $3.6 Million Worth of Bitcoin Seized

If I was guessing, I'd guess it was bitcoin, not Tor that did him in. He was moving way too much volume to hide all that. After all, the block chain is public. The FBI only has to lean on the various organizations that turn bitcoin into cash. If it gets the addresses of all their wallets, all their customer account information, and the identity of some coins that were spent on the silk road, it only has to work backwards to see who turned those coins into cash. People think bitcoin is anonymous, but it keeps a record of every transaction. This is probably the beginning of the end for bitcoin. I'm not sure it's mature enough to sustain itself without the black market support.

Comment: Re:I tech getting started with robotics (Score 1) 166

by Drachs (#43932255) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?

Well, the journey is long. To make it, you need psychological support. That's what the makerspace is for. You become friends with these people and hang out with them. They value building and making and engage in those activities. You naturally engage and get excited about the activities with them.

  - David

Comment: I tech getting started with robotics (Score 5, Informative) 166

by Drachs (#43898605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?

And here's what I recommend to get started on this long and rewarding journey. First of all, if you want to be successful, you need to make friends that are into this subject to learn from, and get inspired by. I teach at the local Makerspace. A Makerspace is where people go who like to build things congregate. Mine is called the Qc Co-lab, and you can view information about us on facebook or at to get an idea of the sorts of things we do. Makerspaces are also often called hackerspaces.

Next, you'll need a point of entry, a place to get started, and parts. Now, you've got a long road with many disciplines to master in order to actually create a soccer robot yourself. You can get started on the programming/electronics side or the mechanical/servo/motor side. In any case, I don't consider a soccer robot a good starting point unless you have help.

If you want to play with the programming and digital electronics, things like sensors and and control, I suggest you get an Arduino ($35). Get an Arduino kit with a good book and some toys to plug in and play with. Learn the electronics. Learn the C programming. "Getting Started with Arduino" is a good foot in the door of a very long hallway.

Next up is the mechanical/servo/motor stuff. Picking up a radio control hobby is a good way to get started with this. Remote control Styrofoam trainer plains can be purchased for $30. A good remote control can be purchased for $30. (Don't let them sell you a $200 control off the bat. By the time you're good enough to want a $200 control you'll decide you don't like the one you bought because of X, where X is some random reason related to your favorite parts of the hobby). Often these plains require you to do some assembly. You'll get experience with servo's, electric motors, batteries, and how all these things come together. Remote control cars are also very fun and exciting if you find those more interesting. (Make sure you get one that requires assembly and is customizable).

If you do want to buy a robot kit to knock around, I recommend the Arduino version of the boebot. I use this as a teach aid because Parallax produces very good documentation and training materials. See I do not recommend the basic stamp version, because if you get into this hobby you're going to need to learn C, so don't waste your time learning some other language. What I linked is for the Arduino version. The Arduino uses C/C++ on an industry standard chip. It's important to develop skills that are going to give you the most bang for you buck because the rabbit hole you're heading into is deeper than any one person can ever plumb the depths of alone. The downside here is this kit is expensive at $120. For the people in my class I build them a clone of the kit for $40. Maybe your local Makerspace has something similar going on, check them out.

Best of luck. I'll keep an eye on this thread, so if you have questions I'll try to help.

Comment: The precedent that was set years ago is a mistake (Score 0) 865

by Drachs (#29944438) Attached to: Apple Says Booting OS X Makes an Unauthorized Copy

The ability to make a transient copy of a work in order to use it should not be considered in regards to copyright law. It has always been implied that you have the right to make such copies. For example, when you read a book, light creates a copy of the work on your retina, and that's how we perceive it. These copies have never been considered for the purpose of copyright, and neither has the copies floating around in peoples brains.

Comment: Re:This is not a GPL violation (Score 0) 237

by Drachs (#28854907) Attached to: SFLC Says Microsoft Violated the GPL

I've looked around and all I see is casual mentions of static linking, which I assume to mean static linking to the kernel. I would like to be enlightened if I am wrong.

I find it very hard to believe that Microsoft would copy/paste GPL code or that they would statically link to some random library, especially considering that kernel drivers usually statically link against nothing but the kernel.

Which, as I have said, has been said by Linus Torvalds himself not to be a violation.

Comment: This is not a GPL violation (Score 0) 237

by Drachs (#28854159) Attached to: SFLC Says Microsoft Violated the GPL

The software freedom law center makes it's living by taking companys to court over GPL violations. At best anything it says must be taken with a grain of salt. The fact is, no amount of gyration or hand waving can magically make Microsoft code belong to the community. Microsoft wrote those drivers from scratch, and therefore can license them however it wants. Period. They are not required to use the GPL unless they incorporate GPL code into the drivers, which they did not.

Some people like to say that if you link your code with GPL code than your code must be GPL. It doesn't even say this in the GPL though some say it is implied. It's an untested legal theory. It's never even been brought to court and it has a very good chance of loosing because the court is likely to take a very dim view of the idea that one person magically owns another persons work. In the normal case, however, it might fly... That is of using a GPL library in a non-GPL program or linking a non-GPL library into a GPL program. This might be seen by the judge as taking advantage of something not yours, but in the case of loading drivers into the Kernel where there is longstanding acceptance of proprietary drivers it would fail, and this precedent would put even the widely accepted case in jeopardy.

But more importantly, Linus Torvalds himself does not believe the act of simply loading a proprietary driver module in a running kernel is a GPL violation, and he has explicitly stated this in the past, which means a lawsuit over this "violation" would be impossible to win, and even impossible to bring, considering Linus would not sign off on it. In addition, this is hardly the first proprietary software driver for Linux. There have been many over the years. Many of the wifi cards that have vender supplied Linux drivers, for example, use proprietary drivers because of an FCC mandate that the wireless products are not end-user modifiable.

A lot of people like to believe copyright is cut and dry. It's not. Let me assure you that the copyright act, written for books, says nothing about weather linking against another work makes your work a derivative work, which makes it a judgement call, and this issue has never been brought before a judge. When it is, you better hope it's over a better case than this, because if it was brought under this case it would have a very, very, good chance of loosing.

Comment: After having worked with thousands of chips... (Score 0) 357

by Drachs (#27531701) Attached to: How Does Flash Media Fail?

In my linux product which runs off compaq flash I can tell you that:

You often see lots of garbage and complaining in dmesg.

The flash chip fails to overwrite files properly. So that when I overwrite the file and try and read it back I get garbage.

Often the flash chip seems to have successfully overwritten the files and you don't realize anything is wrong until you reboot.

And... They don't last anything like the number of writes they pretend to. If you put even a light write load on a flash chip for any extended duration (Few days, few weeks) it will blow up.



+ - Finger length can predict elementary exam scores

Submitted by OlRickDawson
OlRickDawson (648236) writes "Science Daily is reporting that research study to be publish in the British Journal of Psychology has shown a correlation between the relative length of the ring and index finger and the scores on language and math tests in elementary school. The length of the index finger divided by the length of the ring finger is the ratio. The smaller the ratio (governed by testosterone exposure) indicates a higher numeracy score in males. At least this has a scientific basis, unlike Phrenology."

+ - Sony blames poor PS3 sales on Internet

Submitted by i_like_spam
i_like_spam (874080) writes "During a recent interview with GamePro, Sony's PR head, Dave Karraker, responded candidly to questions about the negative consumer perceptions of the PS3. He responded, 'I think a lot of this goes back to the proliferation of the Internet, where a very vocal minority can make a lot of noise and potentially alter perceptions of the masses, whether they are accurate or not.'

He also replied: 'A lot of the perceptions are not justified and seem fueled by people who don't have all the facts or have some kind of axe to grind. It is funny how myopic people can be when a new system comes along.'

There you have it, Sony's biggest quarterly loss in four years is due to inept consumers and FUD."

+ - Computer science PhD is turnoff

Submitted by nbauman
nbauman (624611) writes "The prospects for PhDs in computer science look even more dismal. According to research done by Professor Richard Wiseman at the Edinburgh International Science Festival se.html, one of the worst pick-up lines is, 'I have a PhD in computing.' 100 members of the public took part in 500 speed dates. During the event, participants rated the attractiveness of their dates and indicated whether they would like to meet that person again. To uncover the best type of chat-up lines, researchers compared the conversations of participants rated as very desirable by their dates with those seen as especially undesirable. Those highly skilled in seduction encouraged their dates to talk about themselves in an unusual, quirky, way. The most memorable lines from the top-rated man and woman in the study illustrate the point. The top-rated male's best line was: 'If you were on Stars In Their Eyes, who would you be?', whilst the top-rated female asked: 'What's your favourite pizza topping?'. In contrast, failed Casanovas tended to be far less creative, employing old chestnuts like 'Do you come here often?' or struggling to impress with comments such as 'I have a PhD in computing'. "Whenever our couples spoke about films they really increased their chance of disagreement", commented Wiseman. "In contrast, conversations about travel tend to revolve around great holidays and dream destinations, and that makes people feel good and so appear more attractive to one another"."

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.