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Comment: Fun, But Useless (Score 1) 14 14

This is a fun device that can show you what can be done with 3D printed plastic. That said, it's useless. It would be really cool if I could apply 1 pound of force to the crank, turn it a Million times, and have it apply a Million pounds of rotational force at the other end. But it's made of plastic, so it won't do that. Indeed, the fast-rotating parts would wear out before the slow-rotating part made a single turn. So it's not even good as a kind of clock.

All that said, it's a good conversation piece, and probably worth the price for that.

Comment: Re:You can still buy Windows 7? (Score 1) 172 172

That is exactly why the stickers are gone, IMHO too. It is rather easy to find XP Pro/Home stickers. Vista stickers happen occasionally. 7 stickers are rare though in residentials dumpsters.

I don't dumpster dive much more these days, it's not worth the effort.

Comment: iOS users feel it (Score 1, Insightful) 310 310

I currently have a web radio transceiver front panel application that works on Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, under Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. No porting, no software installation. See blog.algoram.com for details of what I'm writing.

The one unsupported popular platform? iOS, because Safari doesn't have the function used to acquire the microphone in the web audio API (and perhaps doesn't have other parts of that API), and Apple insists on handicapping other browsers by forcing them to use Apple's rendering engine.

I don't have any answer other than "don't buy iOS until they fix it".

Comment: Re:Randomness can't come from a computer program (Score 1) 64 64

Most of us do have a need to transmit messages privately. Do you not make any online purchases?

Yes, but those have to use public-key encryption. I am sure of my one-time-pad encryption because it's just exclusive-OR with the data, and I am sure that my diode noise is really random and there is no way for anyone else to predict or duplicate it. I can not extend the same degree of surety to public-key encryption. The software is complex, the math is hard to understand, and it all depends on the assumption that some algorithms are difficult to reverse - which might not be true.

Comment: Re:Bad RNG will make your crypto predictable (Score 2) 64 64

The problem with FM static is that you could start receiving a station, and if you don't happen to realize you are now getting low-entropy data, that's a problem.

There are many well-characterized forms of electronic noise: thermal noise, shot noise, avalanche noise, flicker noise, all of these are easy to produce with parts that cost a few dollars.

Comment: Randomness can't come from a computer program (Score 2, Interesting) 64 64

True randomness comes from quantum mechanical phenomena. Linux /dev/random is chaotic, yes, enough to seed a software "R"NG. But we can do better and devices to do so are cheap these days.

I wouldn't trust anything but diode noise for randomness. If I had a need to transmit messages privately, I'd only trust a one-time pad.

Comment: Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 939 939

Communism has been tried on a large scale - see Mao's Great Leap Forward.

Nope. That was a totalitarian socialist program pushing a collectivism that didn't work. Communism is a post-scarcity society and obviously scarcity was the thing Mao produced best.

Comment: Re:What's the score now? (Score 1) 77 77

I didn't actually work on GPUs very much at Pixar, the image computer I worked on was the grandfather of the SIMD image processing instructions on modern CPUs. What would become a GPU later on was a very expensive box from Silicon Graphics, I had one that cost at least a quarter Million dollars.

Comment: Re:What's the score now? (Score 5, Interesting) 77 77

If they actually told us how to program their microengines, something good might come of it. But they'll probably just BSD-license a list of numbers, as others have.

I liked writing bit-slice microcode at Pixar. I really could get every last bit of power out of the hardware.

Comment: Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 4, Insightful) 939 939

Maybe you should learn what communism is before calling anyone "commiefriend". (Which I have to say, is really repulsive. It's sort of like picking your nose over the internet.) I think you are discussing the difference between lasiez-faire ecomomics and regulated markets. Communism is a very great difference in scale from that. And it's never been tried on a national scale just as "free market" has never been tried because there are always economic biases that make it impossible. What there has been so far is socialism.

We were so poor that we thought new clothes meant someone had died.

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