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Comment: Re:Not sure, if this is "news for nerds" (Score 1) 120

Absolutely. In a similar vein, have you noticed, the reviews with "Amazon Vine" next to them are typically full of platitudes & praise?

I appreciate Amazon's transparency, in fact I applaud it, but I think the whole Vine program is a bit brain-dead ("Hey we just shipped you a brand-new 60" Samsung HDTV, please let us know if you like it.")

IMO the Vine reviewers would have a lot more credibility if reviewers had to return the product after 30 days (shipping paid for by Amazon). I'll bet if you check most Vine reviews, they are made within 7 days of receiving the product, and I bet they average something like 4.5 stars.

If there is a big-data person from Amazon reading this, try instituting a 30-day "use & return" policy for Vine, and watch participation go down, along with average review. That will tell you who's in it for free stuff, and who's actually interested in using products & writing meaningful reviews (don't get me wrong, I'm not one of them, I wouldn't do it...)

Even though Vine "membership" isn't tied to the average review you give, and (in theory) the terms of participation in Vine are such that Amazon can ask for any Vine item to be returned to Amazon at any time, that's not the reality.

+ - Embedded Processors: MSP430 Evolving to 32 bits?->

Submitted by Smerta
Smerta writes: The MSP430 microcontroller has been one of the most popular choices for low-power designs, although competitiors such as ARM and PIC haven't stood still. Apparently (probably coinciding with Embedded World in Germany last week), TI has indicated a big announcement is coming soon ("Spring 2015") in a message from its corporate Twitter account. After doing some digging, I found that in October 2014, TI filed a trademark application for "MSP432".

Are we about to see a full-blown low power 32-bit MSP430-family processor from TI? If so, what will it be — a new architecture, an ARM Cortex M variant, or something else?

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Wilderness State Park (Score 1) 99

by Smerta (#49134805) Attached to: New Map Shows USA's Quietest Places

I swear on my life, I have the exact same story (Dave or John, is that you?!?!)

Back country camping the Tetons (this was summer 1990 I think), we took care to hoist anything with smell 100ft away, up in the trees... all of a sudden in the middle of the night, we hear an animal, which sounded very large, moving around our camp. Snorfling, walking, breathing, exploring.... it was probably only 5 minutes, but I swear, it felt like an hour. I have never, ever been more motionless in my life. 2 of us think it was a bear, one thinks it was a moose. All 3 of us agree at the time it sounded like a bear, and we all were having visions of huge bear claws shredding our tent into ribbons.

I've lost contact with my buddies (the aforementioned Dave & John), but I am 100% sure if I told this story, they would remember it instantly. Thank you for posting this, as I said, you described my/our experience to a T, so much so that I had to post a reply.

Comment: Re:New TLDs will hopefully end this practice (Score 1) 175

by Smerta (#49008191) Attached to: The Man Squatting On Millions of Dollars Worth of Domain Names

Mixelbin?!?! C'mon man, get with the times!!! All the kewl kids are dropping vowels like a bad habit.

Much better to go for mxlbn, it's way cooler.

Ironically (I believe that is the correct use of the term), mxlbn.com is actually available as a domain name as well. At least as of 4:18pm P.S.T.

Comment: Re:One more reason to use a wired keyboard (Score 1) 150

by Smerta (#48808431) Attached to: Wireless Keylogger Masquerades as USB Phone Charger

Serious question (in case it sounds like I'm being antagonistic):

Since AES is a block cipher, and an AES block is 16 bytes, and since keypresses appear to be transmitted "instantaneously", does that mean for each keypress, a 16-byte block is formed, and encrypted? And what about the encryption mode? (Otherwise doesn't it basically become ECB?)

Seems like a stream cipher would make more sense, although you'd need a protocol on top of that to stay synchronized, since packets can become lost/corrupted.

I could only find a very non-technical PDF on the topic. Interestingly, the wording seemed to imply something like a DH key exchange (one time, during pairing).

Comment: Re:Verizon admits it's a "weakness" (Score 1) 170

by Smerta (#48614239) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

Well it depends.

Mr. Polansky himself (while certainly not a security expert or a cryptographer) describes it as a "weakness" built into the system. The streets are littered with products and systems built with backdoors/weaknesses that are found & exploited by attackers (sometimes an insider who knows about or helped implement the weakness.)

On the other hand, while still subject to abuse, if the "weakness" is a 2nd, high entropy key, then you either have to get the key, or break the crypto (getting the key obviously being the attacker's 1st choice). This is different than a backdoor.

Comment: Re:C had no real successor (Score 1) 641

by Smerta (#48593619) Attached to: How Relevant is C in 2014?

C++ is no more complicated to use than C.

This I have to take issue with. I will agree that C++ is a useful language, including embedded systems, but it's much, much more complicated than C. You can write in a subset of C++ which is largely the same as C (never quite the same though), but if you were to draw a Venn diagram of C++'s features vs. C, it's crazy (I went through this exercise, for a presentation). Again, don't get me wrong, I've been using C++ on real time systems for 20 years, but it is an entirely different animal. For an example (this is a quote from Peter van der Linden's outstanding book "Expert C Programming", in fact I think he was quoting Tom Cargill):

"If you think C++ is not overly complicated, just what is a protected abstract virtual base pure virtual private destructor and when was the last time you needed one?"

There are other examples, but hopefully that one serves as a good example.

If you don't like a particular part of C++? Don't use it.

Here I am 100% in agreement with you, at least when it comes to personal projects. The problem is that when you work in a larger organization with a disparate knowledge of the language, you've got some people writing "C with classes" (if even that) and some people using template metaprogramming, complicated overridden copy constructors, placement new, custom allocators in STL containers, etc. Now, sometimes you can either just "use" that wizard's code and hope for the best, or just read it and run away, but sometimes you have to maintain it.

I am working with a group right now where I am the "C++ expert" in the group (I don't consider myself an expert), and there were a few individuals in the group, years back, that /clearly/ were language wonks. Their code is (mostly) correct, but it's almost inscrutable, and when it needs to be changed or fixed, everyone in the group except for me is terrified. So here is where the whole "Just use what you're comfortable with" breaks down. You can try to address this with a coding standard that restricts usage, subsets the language, etc. but still, it's very easy to introduce code that some in the group just can't understand. IMO this is possible in C too (hello, IOCCC!) but it's "harder" to do, because the language is simpler, there's just less you have to understand and keep in your head while you're reading someone else's code.

Comment: Re:Well DUH, You can't stop piracy. (Score 2) 116

by Smerta (#48586295) Attached to: IsoHunt Unofficially Resurrects the Pirate Bay

I won't be surprised if something like Lenticrypt (crypto using a running key cipher which ends up decrypting into different plaintexts) ends up being the nail in the coffin.

It's an interesting thought experiment... just how far will the desperate & ravenous copyright cabal go to claim ownership of bits that aren't even related to their product?

Let's say I have a bitstream that is *almost* bit for bit identical to an MP3, an MKV, etc. How bits have to change before it is no longer infringing? Don't start with things like, "Well, it depends how it was created and for what purpose..." Bits are bits. If I AES encrypt something (e.g. Linux distro) that ends up being 500 bits away from "Star Wars", am I in trouble? Do I have to prove how I created my "almost Star Wars" .bin file to avoid going to jail? What if it was different by 5,000 bits? 50 bits? Is it the data that is infringing, or how I created it?

I think pretty soon we're going to start seeing big binary blobs (my term, BBBs) that can be transformed into Star Wars, the Oreilly book collection zipped up, or a backup of my dropbox (of course that would be possible today using OTP and 3 different keys, but Lenticrypt simplifies it). So am I going to get sued because these 30 billion bits, manipulated in one specific way, could become Star Wars?

My point is that at a certain point, common sense must prevail. I understand that Amy Pascal likes her $100M payouts, and Tom Cruise likes his $50M movie checks. But all good things must come to an end. Many IT & software development professionals met head-on with the whole "adapt or die" reality when outsourcing to Asia & eastern Europe began years ago. And yet here we are.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend