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Comment: Brillant (Score 1) 284

by DrYak (#49624057) Attached to: Single Verizon IP Address Used For Hundreds of Windows 7 Activations

I cut my teeth on Applesoft BASIC, but I used only the integer subset; the floating point was too demanding, although now I don't recall why. Whether it ran too slowly, was too resource intensive, or-- probably-- was too hard to program and debug. I did some home accounting/budgeting, but did it all in pennies rather than dollars, and avoided division operations.

And that was a brilliant idea.
Floating point can have weird rounding errors if you don't understand clearly how they behave. (see here for an example).
Using an integer number of a smaller unit (pennies) is better in those cases, and "LONG" data type can still represent a big amount of pennies for your situation.

Several real-world finance software do actually use the same approach (a integer "BIGNUM" of a small unit, instead of floating point).

Comment: Re:Dosbox in a browser? (Score 2) 40

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49623751) Attached to: Twitter Stops Users From Playing DOS Games Inside Tweets
Is there any reason to suspect that the version of dosbox compiled into javascript is more vulnerable to having programs inside punch their way out than the version of dosbox compiled for your platform of choice is?

I doubt that it is god's gift to efficiency; but it isn't obvious why dosbox would be a more permeable VM in-browser than it is on the desktop(how permeable it is, or isn't, I don't know, it probably gets less testing than the more heavily used and often publicly exposed VMs; but it is also emulating something relativley simple compared to those).

Comment: Or end-to-end encryption (Score 1) 139

by DrYak (#49622979) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

Interesting problems would include 1) being able to falsify the vocal aparatus in such a way that the voice-print recognition doesn't work, AND doesn't flag as not working and 2) creation and use of non-libraried phoneme/phonology/grammar sets so that recognition is not available by lookup.

Or use plain simple end-to-end encryption. (Constant encryption all they way between the two correspondents)

instead of using Skype (bascially a black box, and back befor microsoft them, their EULA mentionned that they'll collaborate with any local law enforcement agency) or analog POTS, try instead using standards like SIP or XMPP/Jabber/Jingle with proper encryption (e.g.: Jitzi is a software that implements SRTP/ZRTP encryption)

Then anyone trying to tap into that communication will only get noise.

Not that it's impossible for the NSA to do anything against this (they'll happily try to abuse any backdoor that they know of at each end-point).
At at least it will make it a bit less trivial for them to plain scan anything.

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 46

Were you trying to say:

"LOL, nei, (th)að var ekki augljóst að "here" ((væri?)) Ísland og að (th)ú værir íslensk. En ((??????)) Google Translate get ég látið eins og hálfviti á tveimur tungumálum. Ef gert er ráð fyrir auðvitað að Slashdot ((sé ekki að flækja Unicodeið?))"

That is:

"LOL, no, it wasn't clear that here is Iceland and that you were were Icelandic. But (????) Google Translate I can come across like an idiot in two languages. If one assumes of course that Slashdot isn't screwing up the Unicode"?

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 46

I'll reiterate: People here think it's a ridiculous product. The page is stupid marketing to foreigners. Yes, there are separate accent and apostrophe keys (in case you're curious, here's what an Icelandic keyboard layout looks like). Hákarl (the fermented shark you refer to) isn't eaten commonly, it's actually fairly rarely eaten (though some people do like it). Most of the foods you'd consider weird are rarely consumed, like sheep heads, skate, etc, often associated with a particular festival or whatnot. Probably the only things you'd find weird that are eaten fairly commonly are horse and fish jerky (harðfiskur). Lamb is commonly eaten here but you probably wouldn't find that weird. We also have a lot of dairy products you don't have but I don't think you'd find most of them that weird. Anyway, probably the most commonly-eaten food here is pizza ;) Hamburgers and hotdogs are common too (though our hotdogs are made of lamb).

Whale is eaten here but rarely. Nearly half of the catch consumed in Iceland is eaten by tourists (a large percentage of which, I should add, come from America). Also I'm continually surprised by the percentage of Americans who criticize Iceland for whaling but don't know that America whales too, and no small amount (producing thousands of tonnes of whale meat per year). Yes, they're "natives" whaling, but 1) it's no less traditional for Icelanders to whale than it is for Alaskan natives, 2) Alaskan natives use modern equipment for whaling too, including chasing them down in speedboats, killing them with modern equipment, and dragging them on shore with backhoes; and 3) Alaskan whales end up no less dead than Icelandic ones. None of the Icelandic whale populations are threatened.

Anyone who wants to discourage whaling over here, a few tips.

One, don't come out with the self-righteous stuff, because it doesn't fly. Not only does the US whale too, but receiving lectures on morality from a country where a majority of the population supports torture and who engages in all sorts of obscene human rights abuses and whose domestic livestock are mostly raised in factory farms in horrible conditions doesn't exactly come across well.

Secondly, know that any overt pressure is just going to cause backlash, and the more overt, the more the backlash. Many of you may see for example Paul Watson as a hero. Here he's seen as a ecoterrorist; he literally sent people in to sink ships right in the public harbour. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to distance yourself from these sort of people. You don't make friends by talking up people who come in and wreck up the place.

Third, understand the local perspective. It's not only that they've been eaten traditionally since Iceland was settled (indeed, the word for "beached whale" also means "jackpot" or "godsend", because in the old days it could mean the difference between life or death for a whole town). It's that they live free out in the open ocean, growing up their whole lives unhindered by man (except when, say, a NATO ship uses a super-powerful anti-sub sonar in the area or whatnot :P), living a pretty much idyllic life - and a single whale provides a vast amount of meat. Meanwhile, pigs for example - also highly intelligent animals - grow up in horrible squalid conditions in many of the countries that criticize Iceland .

Fourth, there are actual arguments you can make that have effect, and have on their own been discouraging whale consumption - but which foreigners who oppose whaling rarely make. Probably the foremost of these is the health issue. Whales, being top predators, tend to have dangerously high levels of heavy metal and organic pollutant contamination. If you want to make someone feel uncomfortable about eating whale meat, point out how much mercury and lead they're eating in that serving. There are also lesser arguments you can make that may or may not have effects on the person, depending on the individual - intelligence (but you better be well versed in the scientific literature, unbacked claims won't fly), for example, or how long it takes a whale to die versus other types of animals slaughtered for meat - but depending on the person, that may or may not be seen as a good argument. But the toxin contamination issue will have an effect on pretty much everyone.

(also, realize that not everyone here eats whale at all, and most people who do eat it only rarely)

Lastly, focus on the tourists. They come in for just a couple days and yet a large chunk of them order whale while they're here. Many of them oppose whaling back home, but it's as if when they come here their strict "morality" goes out the door, in the interest of "trying new things". I don't think they realize that they eat such a large percentage of the Icelandic catch, or that they somehow disconnect from where the meat comes from. There's a campaign here called "Meet Us, Don't Eat Us", encouraging whale watching instead of eating whale meat, and I think that's a very good strategy. The whale watching industry is economic counterpressure to the whaling industry.

(As a side note - I say all of this as a vegetarian).

Comment: Re:New competition (Score 1) 201

by swillden (#49619591) Attached to: Singapore's Prime Minister Shares His C++ Sudoku Solver Code

*Altho many Canadians argue the Queen isn't their Head of State, her representative in Canada is (the Governor-General). The fact no Court's ruled on this definitively shows how important the title "Head of State" is in a Parliamentary system. Most legal scholars seem to think that the Queen is Head of State, but there is a minority that disagrees and their Constitution is not helpful on this question. But mostly nobody cares.

Given that she owns the entire country it's kind of a moot point. If they piss her off she'll just kick them out.

Heh. I suspect that if she tried the outcome would not be that they would leave.

Comment: Re:From his Facebook post on his Sudoku solver (Score 1) 201

by swillden (#49619579) Attached to: Singapore's Prime Minister Shares His C++ Sudoku Solver Code

That's common knowledge.

Bit Twiddling Hacks

Not, too common, apparently, since this particular hack isn't in that list. It wasn't too hard to work out what it does (find the largest power of 2 that divides x or, equivalently, find the value of the lowest bit that is set) but it didn't make the Hacks list, and I don't think that's because it's too obvious.

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 46

Oh god, it's rare to see such bad English here. Maybe they got my ex's brother to write that page ;) And can they not tell the difference between their accent and apostrophe keys? Also, what stupid stereotyping-about-Iceland-to-market-to-foreigners is this? Just letting people know: almost everyone here thinks this is an absurd product.

It's currently a problem of access to gigabits through punybaud. -- J. C. R. Licklider