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Comment: I've seen this before... (Score 4, Interesting) 241

by Josh Coalson (#42334611) Attached to: Whose Bug Is This Anyway?
I used to get bug reports for FLAC caused by this very same problem.

FLAC has a verify mode when encoding which, in parallel, decodes the encoded output and compares it against the original input to make sure they're identical. Every once in a while I'd get a report that there were verification failures, implying FLAC had a bug.

If it were actually a FLAC bug, the error would be repeatable* (same error in the same place) because the algorithm is deterministic, but upon rerunning the exact same command the users would get no error, or (rarely) an error in a different place. Then they'd run some other hardware checker and find the real problem.

Turns out FLAC encoding is also a nice little hardware stressor.

(* Pedants: yes, there could be some pseudo-random memory corruption, etc but that never turned out to be the case. PS I love valgrind.)

Comment: Not a Luddite screed (Score 3, Interesting) 469

by Josh Coalson (#41812751) Attached to: Is Silicon Valley Morally Bankrupt and Toxic?
It's not just corporate greed; consumer greed fuels the race to the bottom of the price curve. Users apparently have no problem "paying" for a service with their and others' privacy or other intangibles as long as the service is free-as-in-beer. The whole vendor-customer structure has been inverted; Facebook's and Google's etc. users who might have been paying customers in a sane economy pay nothing so are now the product. Now half the "innovation" that happens in the valley is just new ways to get people's attention and sell them out to advertisers, and the more obvious a patent is, the more it's worth.

I wonder if there could ever be a sane market again where you paid what a phone costs and got secure communication without being tracked, or paid for email with built in PGP and avoided getting spammed and having your email property of and stored by your provider forever, paid for a social networking service without having your life exposed or your face secretly scanned and sold to the government. I think those times are gone.

Comment: Re:Gid Rid of All Sales Taxes (Score 1) 229

by Josh Coalson (#39572855) Attached to: Federal Court Tosses Colorado's Amazon Tax

Here's an idea to clear up this mess nicely: get rid of all sales taxes. They're extremely regressive and complicate and impede commerce. Increase income, property, and capital gains taxes to compensate.

Sales tax is only 'regressive' if you measure the expenditure as a percentage of income, which is totally arbitrary. That phony definition plays on people's classism to sway them one way or the other. Sales tax when measured against the actual tax base is not regressive and in the US is actually more 'progressive' in that some goods you need to survive have no sales tax.

Comment: Re:Not avoiding MP3s (Score 1) 382

Note that FLAC was not designed to sound better than MP3s. (It can, if the MP3 encoding wasn't done correctly.) It was designed primarily as an archival format, the master copy from which you could encode to whatever format was practical for listening.

It didn't take long to realize that FLAC was easy to implement on devices, and memory keeps getting cheaper, so why not skip the transcoding step entirely? Not for quality reasons, for practicality. So now pretty much all software (except iTunes) supports it and many very good devices (except iPod) do too.

Comment: Re:Seems fairly obvious why not (Score 1) 550

by Josh Coalson (#35484674) Attached to: Why We Should Buy Music In FLAC

Isn't the fact that it's "good, free, and open" the exact reasons the publishers wouldn't use it? It kinda flies in the face of them being tyrannical mongrels controlling the media distribution if customers can actually meaningfully use it.

From the publisher's point of view, MP3 is as free and open as FLAC is. That's why a lot of them do sell FLAC. Like the Beatles (before they were even in the Apple store), the Rolling Stones and even Metallica.

Comment: Re:Perhaps. (Score 1) 446

by Josh Coalson (#34731422) Attached to: One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List

TSA is another colossal failure of Obama's administration, and another reason to not re-elect him.

P.S. the TSA was created by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act and signed into law by President Bush. I'll save you the one-word search:

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Transportation_Security_Administration

Comment: Re:Perhaps. (Score 1) 446

by Josh Coalson (#34731404) Attached to: One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List

Citation needed. What are you talking about here? I'm sorry, but you can't look for hidden weapons in peoples' cars with today's technology just by driving by them in a van. X-rays don't penetrate steel unless they're extremely high power, and at that power, you'd kill the people inside the car.

did you even look? http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/08/24/full-body-scan-technology-deployed-in-street-roving-vans/.

hell, even https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=x-ray+van would do it.

"citation needed" does not mean "I'm too lazy to type 2 words into a search box"

Comment: Re:Duh, they are in jail. (Score 1) 394

by Josh Coalson (#32970940) Attached to: Cyberwarrior Shortage Threatens US Security

It's part of a greater "war on curiosity" that's a fear-based initiative to stamp out any and all behaviors that even slightly deviate from a prescribed norm.

It's deeper than that; I think there's a large contingent of the population here that would agree with Tertullian:

"Now, pray tell me, what wisdom is there in this hankering after conjectural speculations? What proof is afforded to us, notwithstanding the strong confidence of its assertions, by the useless affectation of a scrupulous curiosity, which is tricked out with an artful show of language? It therefore served Thales of Miletus quite right, when, star-gazing as he walked with all the eyes he had, he had the mortification of falling into a well... His fall, therefore, is a figurative picture of the philosophers; of those, I mean, who persist in applying their studies to a vain purpose, since they indulge a stupid curiosity on natural objects, which they ought rather (intelligently to direct) to their Creator and Governor." -- Tertullian, Ad Nationes II:4

Comment: Re:Start with lawmakers (Score 1) 619

by Josh Coalson (#31416072) Attached to: US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card
The problem is not the card, it's the data and what's done with it. Somehow I doubt Congressmen have their personal and biometric data in some crappy insecure system, easily accessed, shared with any agency or corporation willy-nilly, sold to marketers, etc. like what is going to happen if this proposal goes through.

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

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