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Comment: Re:Spawn of Satan! (Score 5, Insightful) 68

by causality (#48026539) Attached to: Analyzing Silk Road 2.0

I've been hooked on opiates for 15 years now. [...] and my morals are still intact

These two things don't go together. You may want to re-evaluate. Get real help and free yourself.

Different person here. This is in line with my own personal morality and absolutely correct. My life is mine to do with as I please. I am free to do whatever I want whenever I want, provided that the consequences are SOLELY confined to consenting adults (generally that would be just me).

Anything else is an evil desire to control other people, with the approval you get from your own conscience, by convincing yourself it's for their own good, so you can pat yourself on the back and feel like a good person. The typical lack of reasoning ability, wisdom or long-term thinking in most people today and the general shallow thinking of the popular culture sadly promotes and legitimizes this inability to be satisfied with one's own life while respecting that others will live theirs as they please and realizing that telling people how they should live has never worked in the first place (c.f. Prohibition) so there should not even be a debate about this.

Someone who cannot responsibly use things (usually due to either a lack of personal maturity and self-knowledge, and/or an inability to deal with one's own life that causes them to reach for drugs as a quick-fix "remedy") has a problem. There are many others who use drugs the same way you might come home from work and drink a beer and stay home. Like Bill Hicks pointed out, it sure is strange the way you never hear about responsible drug users on the news or see them portrayed on shows. That would contradict all the fear propaganda and think-of-the-children rhetoric. Pay attention and you'll notice that the major mass media outlets will generally never contradict either: each other, or anything that faciltiates control. Adult people who are expected to make their own decisions about their own lives in a responsible manner, without being told how to live, absolutely does not facilitate control. Qui bono?

Comment: Re:C=128 (Score 1) 165

by Sun (#48013961) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

What only Amiga users know is that the only way the power led can be controlled is by enabling/disabling the low-pass filter on the audio output since the status of the enable signal is indicated by dimming the led. It's not possible to turn it off completely to simulate the computer being dead.

The original Amiga 500, including the early Kickstart 1.3 ones, would actually completely turn off the LED. If you don't believe me, you are welcome to visit me. I still have my original machine in (more or less) working order.

You are correct that later models would not turn it off completely, but rather only dim it. I only remembered that fact after I hit Send, and thought no one will be anal enough to demand a clarification.

It's also possible to read a single sector, but that would require starting the DMA on a timer so it's more cumbersome than reading the entire track and it's not guaranteed to be faster since it's a spinning media.

In other words, the hardware does not support it.

As for MFM/RLL encoding the floppy controller does neither, it reads the raw bits. The order of the bits is interleaved on Amiga formatted disks to allow for blitter accelerated MFM-(de)coding.

That is one point I am not as sure about. It goes against what I remember, but I might be wrong on that point. However:

Don't trust anecdotes, the developer guides are available online.

Do provide links. Please. I failed to find them, and my black 2.04 books are buried in some box from my latest moving day (if I had not thrown them out).


Comment: Re:C=128 (Score 1) 165

by Sun (#48013905) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

If I remember correctly changing display modes mid scan was often done so that workbench could do things like display HAM images in windows.

You misremember. The Copper code to change display modes took several scan-lines to run. Having a window with different display mode was impossible. You could, and did, have a UI construct called a "screen", which had its own display mode. You could drag a screen down and see another screen behind it.

All three were used though and it was used for many things such as sprites and the above mentioned screen mode changes.

AFAIK, none of those utilized SKIP. They were all based on WAIT and MOVE. If you know differently, please provide further details.

Maybe I missunderstood the OP?

I don't think so. I am, however, fairly sure you mis-remember.


Comment: Re:C=128 (Score 1) 165

by Sun (#48013889) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

You got a partial answer. If "SKIP" was ever used, I'm interested to know by whom. I only know of a single example, which was EXTREMELY special case.

The commands:
MOVE: move immediate value into copper register. These included such actions as where in memory the video memory was (i.e. - where to fetch the picture from), what is the palette, video resolution, where on screen the video fetch starts and where it ends and many others.
WAIT: wait for the screen update to reach a certain point. There was a mask argument which allowed you to have don't cares on some of the bits.

These two was how most of the programs worked. From simply displaying a static image (the memory fetch registers had to be reset each frame), through "copper waves" (things like telling the hardware to start displaying the image in a different timing each line, so that a straight in memory was a wave on screen), to what matfud erroneously called "display HAM in a window" (it took several scan lines for the copper to completely replace the display mode, so you couldn't display two modes side by side, but you could display them one above the other). It also allowed "virtual sprites" by reusing the same 8 hardware display sprites for different things in the same frame, so long as they were not in the same line.

The third command, skip, had the same arguments as WAIT. Instead of waiting, however, it skipped the next command if the condition was not met. Add to that copper registers that restarted the copper program if written to, and the fact you could load two start addresses and switch between them, and you get the ability to perform a loop.

Back in 1994 there was a Mac "emulator" called A-Max. It was not really an emulator. It loaded Mac ROMs into the ram, patch some hardware related entry points so that it would work on the Amiga, load a copper instruction that caused the Amiga display to act like a Mac black & white display, and simply executed the ROMs. As a result, a 7.2Mhz Amiga 500 ran programs written for the 8Mhz Mac at 120% speed.

One (rather minor) problem they had was that while the display content was showing correct colors, the Amiga was hard-coded to use color 0 for the overscan. As a result, the overscan, black on the Mac, was white on A-Max. Around 1993 I figured a way to resolve this, using the SKIP command and the loop method mentioned above. I assumed that if I figured it, it was obvious, and didn't do anything with it. Around a year or two later, A-Max released a version which had text similar to the following:
Thank you (don't remember the name) for providing us with a method to give a black overscan without writing a huge copper program. As thanks, we've given him a free version of A-Max.

Which caused me to kick myself no ends, and never assume my ideas aren't innovative.

As far as I know, there was no other use for the skip command (which might explain why the A-Max guys never thought about it themselves).


Comment: Re:C=128 (Score 5, Informative) 165

by Sun (#48010369) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

And then Commodore went on to (half inherit, half design) the Amiga. Maybe "cobbled together" is too harsh for it, but still. Floppy controller that can decide, per track, whether to work in MFM or RLL (but not read a single sector, mind you), more DMA channels than the CPU can handle, and a display processor with a built-in three commands machine language (one of which was only ever used by one application ever) to change display resolution mid-monitor.

I loved it, but the Amiga gave the impression that it was designed by engineers that couldn't make up their mind on what choice to make, so they created hardware that would offload all decisions to software.

One last anecdote. Many have heard of the famous "Guru meditation". What only Amiga users know is that you knew one was coming because the power led would blink three times. Yes, the power led was software controlled, making the Amiga the first ever computer that could play dead.


Comment: Re:The film sucked; the miniseries before it was g (Score 2) 39

by Sun (#48009771) Attached to: Expedition 42 ISS Crew Embraces Douglas Adams

Yes, but that's not the whole story (sorry about the pun).

Douglas Adams once said that every new medium he adapts to is a rewrite for him. He, quite deliberately, did not repeat the same story in a different medium, but rather wrote a new story loosely based on the same plot and characters.

Some of the differences between the movie and other adaptations were clearly not a dictation of the medium, but rather an artistic decision. Two random examples: in other portrayals Zaphod's heads were side by side and the heart of gold, at least in the books, was shaped like a sneaker shoe. The only reasons to change those are artistic, not medium related.

Yes, when you adapt a story to a new medium it was never told in before, changes are inevitable. To me, the best case scenario is that someone who understands and loves the original story embraces this fact, and tries to recreate a new story that captures as much as possible that was good in the original.

In fact, those movies which do try to capture the original books as accurately as possible are those I enjoy less. When I see them, I've either already read the book, or it is a few clicks away. By all means, give me a different story in the movie.


Comment: Re:huh? (Score 2) 269

by Sun (#48003851) Attached to: 2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

According to that logic, if I own an apartment, and I rent it out to you, I can video and audio record its interior.

It doesn't work that way, and that's a good thing. When you are driving a car, you have a reasonable expectation that you are not being watched and recorded all the time.

The country I live in (Israel) is strictly a "one party" country. Recording the inside of a car is, however, a case where none of the parties to the conversation are aware of the recording. It wouldn't pass here either.


Comment: Re:Another terrible article courtesy of samzenpus (Score 1) 383

by causality (#47986635) Attached to: Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

The headline is part of the submission. Editors sucking at editing submissions has been an eternal Slashdot problem, but the person to blame is schwit1.

Fire an editor or two, starting with the consistently worst-performing, and Dice will have rediscovered a time-tested method by which employers have dealt with employees who don't even try to perform their jobs competently.

As it stands now, they have little or no incentive to produce quality. If they had a sense of shame, embarassment, or pride in their work then that would at least be an improvement.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford