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Comment: Code Academies (Score 5, Insightful) 143

This is the sort of thing that you can expect when you put developers through a whirlwind coding course. They learn to use library after library without understanding the ramifications of their use. Need an ad network? Slap in a library. Need geolocation? Slap in a library. What you end up with are flashlight applications that want permission to read the low level system log. Then again, that's coding in the instant gratification world that we live and develop in today.

Comment: Re:Recompress the coefficients (Score 1) 89

by Fnord666 (#47540623) Attached to: How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

Of course it's possible. JPEG encoding has three steps: cosine transform of each block (DCT), then quantization (where the loss happens), then coding. In JPEG, the coding involves a zig-zag order and a Huffman/RLE structure, and this isn't necessarily optimal. A lossless compressor specially tuned for JPEG files could decode the quantized coefficients and losslessly encode them in a more efficient manner, producing a file that saves a few percent compared to the equivalent JPEG bitstream. Then on decompression, it would decode these coefficients and reencode them back into a JPEG file.

I believe what they meant was that you would not be able to apply a lossless algorithm to the original data stream and achieve greater compression than applying a lossy algorithm. Your composite algorithm is just a more efficient lossy algorithm.

If we look at the original statement from an information theoretic point of view, the GP's statement should be easily understood. With a lossless algorithm, you have to encode all of the original information and restore it. Assuming an optimal encoding, it will still take a minimum number of bits to fully realize all of the original data on decompression. With a lossy encoding scheme, I can reduce the number of bits in the original stream before using the same optimal encoding. With fewer bits to represent it should be obvious that the encoded bitstream will always be smaller.

Comment: Timothy Strikes Again (Score 3, Informative) 85

Hey Timothy, have you ever noticed that submenu over on the left of the front page? You know, the one that lists the various sections that you can posts stories to? Ever notice that there is one called "Ask Slashdot", which just happens to match up exactly with the premise of this story, not to mention the title. Why don't you do all of us who filter by section a favor and try posting "Ask Slashdot" stories to the "Ask Slashdot" section every once in a while?

Comment: Re:If dimples have this big an effect (Score 1) 136

by Fnord666 (#47533913) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Why aren't aircraft covered in them? 10% is a big difference in the aviation industry.

Because the wings generate lift by keeping the laminar airflow attached to the upper surface for as long as possible. Disrupting this would effectively reduce the functional surface area of the wing and produce a significant loss in efficiency.

Comment: Re:S'not Wooden (Score 1) 80

by Fnord666 (#47528557) Attached to: A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

There are definitely many awful MicroUSB ports out there, but there are also high-quality MicroUSB ports out there. The price difference between a cheap MicroUSB port and a high-end one is several orders of magnitude. As _specced_ they're supposed to be rated for more insertion cycles than MiniUSB.

I guess the trick is finding a reliable source for high quality ports at a not unreasonable price. I am looking forward to seeing your crowdfunding campaign. How was the trip to Shenzen? I would think it would have been eye opening.

Comment: Re:S'not Wooden (Score 1) 80

by Fnord666 (#47528377) Attached to: A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

When the production keyboards ship, they'll ship with a cord. (The same MicroUSB port charges the battery for the bluetooth controller, programs the keyboard and lets the keyboard be a regular USB keyboard)

Take a look at the first generation Kindle Fire Tablets for an example of how badly a microUSB port can be for something. Now if the microUSB port on the keyboard were user swappable that would be very handy. Then again, there is a nice cottage industry out there replacing Kindle Fire microUSB ports.

Comment: Re:good wood? (Score 1) 80

by Fnord666 (#47528353) Attached to: A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

I probably wouldn't call it 'silly', though I have no problem with you doing so. I agree 100% that this is a niche product. I made one because I wanted one. We wouldn't be having a go of making a full production run if people didn't keep trying to buy our personal test units.

A couple of questions if you don't mind please. First, when will they become available for purchase? Second, will they be available at all in a kit form?

Comment: Re:And all because a copyright expired! (Score 1) 127

by Fnord666 (#47491889) Attached to: Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy

Correlation does not equal causation. And you've left out how Gygax and Arneson were avid wargamers, and how the first ruleset of what would become D&D was an expansion (by Gygax) of a medieval rule set by Jeff Perren... and how Arneson (an avid player of Napoleonic figures based wargames) further expanded on the concept.

Ah yes. I fondly remember playing Chainmail. In fact, I still have my rule book as well as the three book set for the original Dungeons and Dragons.

Actually I originally got started playing such games at an individual level (as opposed to a unit level) thanks to Howard Thompson at Metagaming Concepts. A group of us were playing a lot of the microgames from Metagaming such as Ogre, GEV, WarpWar and Chitin:I when we found the microgames Melee, Wizard, and Death Test by Metagaming. Inexpensive and pocket sized, they were great to carry with you and play whenever the opportunity presented itself. They were the CheapAss Games of the 1970s. In the Labyrinth, Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard formed The Fantasy Trip and added the necessary RPG aspects to the series for many adventures. After the dustup between Thompson and Steve Jackson, our group ended up switching to Advanced D&D for several years after that. It was too bad since I really liked TFT.

Comment: Re:Ah, how adorable... (Score 1) 125

by Fnord666 (#47487391) Attached to: FTC To Trap Robocallers With Open Source Software

To this day I still do not understand what makes this such a difficult and complex issue to tackle.

I don't see why it can't be as simple as: Spam call comes in, I dial a report number, telecom system flags the call and the origin. After 10 reports, 100 reports, that number is blocked. Further outgoing calls from the number are directed to a message to contact a fraud line to get the number reinstated. The longer a number has belonged to a legitimate company, the more immunity it is granted by the system to prevent abuses from angry consumers. The shorter the number has been in service, the more scrunity it is under.

Are the robocallers really able to shield their call origins from the telecoms? That just seems like such a ridiculous concept.

Let me help you out a bit with this. The thing is, those same telecoms that should be able to put a stop to this? They make money on every call. They have absolutely no incentive to do a damn thing about it except sell you caller id (for an extra fee) and the telemarketers the ability to fake their caller id (for an extra fee).
When in doubt, follow the money. Ask yourself who profits if something is done about a situation and who loses.

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw