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Comment Re:Experts... (Score 2) 345

It's a function which gets called automatically without anyone writing any code to call it. Show me how to do that in C.

Well, it's a compiler extension, but GCC supplies the __cleanup__ attribute which essentially allows arbitrary destructor functions in C.

Mastery of the language is one thing, mastery of the tools another...

Comment Re:Why not... (Score 1) 526

These are the lengths I went to to get FLAC onto my iPod:

The upshot is that I wrote a transcoding filesystem to convert FLAC to AIFF (with art and tags intact) which iTunes understands and will then further transcode to AAC. The filesystem is here:

Comment Playstation Store (Score 1) 530

I think they have a point here. For example, the PS3 has a load of services which are in the cloud, such as film rental and downloads as well as game downloads. A HD film or some games seem to be around 7GB to download, but my ISP caps at 20GB per month with £5 for an extra 5GB over that limit (£1 per GB, grrr!!). So basically these PS3 services have to be used with care, otherwise the cost of renting a film is suddenly a lot more than you pay at the Playstation Store.

The really stupid thing is that the ISP doesn't count usage between midnight and 8am, but the PS3 can't be set to schedule downloads in these 'off hours' unless you subscribe to Playstation Plus for an extra £40 a year.

As a result I don't use the Playstation Store for much, and well, haven't used it at all since they lost all the credit card details anyway!

Comment Re:Plugin Support (Score 2) 236

If your extension doesn't work with 3.6, edit your install.rdf file and change the MaxVersion to 3.6 (or wildcard)

Nah. Just install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter plugin and help the beta effort. This add-on lets others run irrespective of the version, but then you can also rate the compatibility of all plugins and indicate if they work or not.

Submission + - microUSB cellphone charger becomes EU standard (

An anonymous reader writes: The European Commission has put into effect a June 2009 agreement stating that major cellphone manufacturers should standardize their charging/data connection ports to the popular microUSB format. CEN-CENELEC and ETSI provided the standards by which these 14 companies will abide by to make cell phone recharging and data transfer easy.

Submission + - 'Zombie' Satellite Returns to Life (

realperseus writes: The American telecommunication satellite, Galaxy 15, has been brought under control after spending most of the year traversing the sky, wreaking havoc upon its neighbors. The satellite is currently at 98.5 west (from 133 west). An emergency patch was successfully uploaded, ensuring that the conditions which caused it to "go rogue" will not occur again. Once diagnosis and testing have been completed, Intelsat plans to move the satellite back to 133 west."

Submission + - Sony's PS3 Jailbroken Forever ( 1

ReportedlyWorking writes: It appears that Sony's PS3 has been fatally compromised. At the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, a team named "fail0verflow" revealed that they had calculated the Private Keys, which would let them or anyone else, generate signed software for the PS3. Additionally, they also claim to have a method of jailbreaking the PS3 without the use of a Dongle, which is the current method. If all these statements are true, this opens the door to custom firmware, homebrew software, and OtherOS! Assuming that Sony doesn't take radical action and invalidate their private keys, this could mean that Jailbreaking is viable on all PS3, regardless of their firmware!

"Approximately a half hour in, the team revealed their new PS3 secrets, the moment we all were waiting for. One of the major highlights here was, dongle-less jailbreaking by overflowing the bootup NOR flash, giving complete control over the system. The other major feat, was calculating the public private keys (due to botched security), giving users the ability to sign their own SELFs Following this, the team declared Sony's security to be EPIC FAIL!"

Comment Re:Already here for a while now (Score 3, Informative) 158

Splashpower started in 2001:

I actually saw one of their demonstrations and it was cool. The pad was just a slightly thick mousepad like device, and you could put multiple phones of different types on it at the same time and at any orientation. They had modified battery modules to contain their own chip which did the inductive pick up and regulation. They said their goal was to get the chip built into devices by default, although unless the chip was very cheap, I suspect this would have been difficult to include in cost sensitive mobile phones and iPods.

Comment Make & program your own robots, William Clark (Score 2, Informative) 187

There's a similar lego plotter in this book:

The book describes using some large lego wheels to form a drum around which the paper was attached, and how to form a small electro magnet around a bolt through a technic lego plate to pull the pen towards the drum. The pen itself was suspended between two lego axles on a butterfly pin. The whole magnet head assembly could pinion left and right using an improvised lego rotary counter to measure progress with a similar block to rotate the drum.

I had the Sinclair Spectrum version of the book as a child and an IO box of relays. I never made the printer, but made lots of other devices.

There's some inside pictures of the book here:

A PDF of the book is here:

Comment Re:The only encryption algorithms worth a damn (Score 1, Informative) 108

smart enough to make these idiot companies with closed-source encryption

It's often overlooked that GSM development started in 1982. At that time computing power was a fraction of what it is now and DSPs, rather than dedicated logic used in today's chipsets, would be used for the first implementations of this new technology. Mobile phones are also very power sensitive devices - battery life is very important.

So given these pressures, some corners had to be cut to make the system workable on the available technology. This lead to the A5 algorithms being both proprietary and somewhat lightweight given the limited computing resources in a mobile phone. Due to the huge success of GSM and the number of handsets out there, it rapidly becomes very difficult to change the standard in such a fundamental manner. 3G is one attempt to upgrade the GSM standards and brings in new ciphers based upon an existing published standard, but even that has taken a long time to get traction and GSM is still very widely available.

So to say these companies are idiots is somewhat ignorant of the historical practicalities required to make GSM a success.

Comment Re:Where's the meat? (Score 1) 252

3.7 stands for a feature set on the Firefox roadmap.

Skipping that number signifies that the planned release has changed form. Avoiding use of that number then neatly avoids confusion about what the new planned releases will contain since Firefox 3.7 already has an attached meaning. It also allows retrospective discussion of what was planned for 3.7; useful if the roadmap is being updated.

If you don't have a published roadmap with promised features, keeping the next release as n + 1 is no problem.

Comment Re:Apple Specific Drivers (Score 1) 279

Yeah - I'd be surprise if you could damage the CPU in the way described in the original post.

There's a bunch about thermal monitoring and control from Intel here:

The relevant bit is:

"The power monitor continuously tracks the die temperature. If the temperature reaches the maximum allowed value, a throttle mechanism is initiated. A multi-level tracking algorithm is implemented. Throttling starts with the more efficient dynamic voltage scaling policy and if not sufficient, the power monitor algorithm continues lowering the frequency. If an extreme cooling malfunction occurs, an Out of Spec notification will be initiated, requesting controlled shutdown. Lastly, the CPU can initiate a thermal shutdown and turn off the system."

I'd guess the thermal shutdown cannot be configured by software and would prevent any damage if the other mechanisms were either ineffective or somehow disabled by software.

Comment Re:great news (Score 1) 333

Making schedulers runtime pluggable would make it really easy to get other people hacking on the Linux scheduler though.

For example, you could lash up a reusable test harness to allow scheduler testing under well defined and repeatable scenarios. This may then allow more direct comparison between schedulers hopefully leading to a best of breed race. Making it runtime un/loadable would also speed up the development cycle for the scheduler much in the same way that loadable modules can often be more rapidly debugged and fixed by not needing a reboot for each change.

You could even go crazy and make a scheduler plug in 'shim' just for the purpose of profiling different implementations under real workloads.

The only thing I would say is that the whole scheduler API should be made in such a way that the scheduler is undeniably covered by the GPL. Binary blob schedulers would be the worst possible outcome and would go against the thought of trying to open up the scheduler as a means of furthering development and healthy competition.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.