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Comment: Re:OT: I want an ATSC signal recorder (Score 1) 246

by davidwr (#48896081) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

I have a cheap knock-off of the very box you pointed to.

It works fine as a DVR but as far as I can tell, it's just recording one of the programs not the entire stream. Also, there is no indication of whether it is recording meta-data and other data or if it's discarding it before recording it. In other words, it's not what I am looking for.

Comment: OT: I want an ATSC signal recorder (Score 1) 246

by davidwr (#48894479) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Anyone know of a sub-$1000 device that will record and play back "raw" ATSC signals?

In short,

* a recording device that will take an arbitrary digital TV channel, convert it from analog to digital (all airwaves are inherently analog at some level), and record the bits verbatim, along with some meta-data like the time of day, the frequency recorded, and maybe some extracted data like the digital sub-channels in the stream and information about what is playing on each sub-channel now and in the near future.

* ideally, DVR-like timer recording capability.

* a playback device that will put that recording onto a specific RF frequency. If the RF frequency is the same as the originally recorded frequency, my television should be fooled into thinking it is a channel that the TV already has mapped (e.g. RF channel 14, "display" as channel 20).

* ideally, a DVR-playback capability that would make the box act like a DVR, albeit one that uses a lot more disk space than your typical DVR. The output would go to the TV over a dedicated AV connection not the RF "CATV/Antenna" connection.

* ideally, the ability to recognize a USB device and copy the raw recording to it for storage or analysis/playback on a computer that can read the format.

Q: The use of such a device for legal and engineering purposes is obvious, but why would any normal consumer want such a thing?

A: Because at least then I'll KNOW for sure that I recorded what my receiver (or more specifically, the receiver in this magic box) received, not some partially-processed intermediate version. It will also allow me to record content encoded in formats that haven't been developed yet (as of January 2015), so I can play them back on a TV that supports that format.

Comment: GIve me a season full of shows on one platter (Score 1) 246

by davidwr (#48894325) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

I want large-data formats to succeed because I want my "boxed sets" to take up less shelf space. Give me an entire season at as-broadcast resolution on a single disk (13 episodes of HD or 3-4 times that for a very-good-quality digitization of old stuff that only exists on broadcast-quality NTSC tapes would be nice), including bonus material, and I'll be happier than if the large disks are used only for higher-definition content. My eyes aren't what they once were and neither are my ears.

For the same reason I wish all CD players (especially those in cars) were replaced with "audio disk" players that could play audio from video DVDs, DVD-audio, and all common computer audio formats in addition to the current CD-audio/MP3/WAV formats that seem common for new players today.

Comment: How about a meta-standard? (Score 1) 246

by davidwr (#48894261) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

How about taking a Yacc-like approach and creating a meta-standard that has each "file" on the disk include a list of codecs required for that file and which has each disk include a description of the various video- and audio-decoding algorithms needed to play the "files" on the disk (excluding the common standards that existed when the "meta-standard" was finalized - those would be baked in to all players), then let the player figure out what to send to the output ports based on the data format, the data, the processing capability of the player, and if known (or presumed, for one-way "outputs" like analog) the capability of the display device.

This way the only "hardcoded" part of the standard would have to deal with the raw laser I/O from the disk to the laser pickup on the player, basic things like the layout of error-correcting code, slightly-less-basic things like the filesystem-layout or equivalent, and a standard way for the player to understand the disk and file meta-data. Then the player could take it from there, creating codecs (or more accurately, de-coders) as needed based on the information on the disks.

The same technique could be used for future-proofing display devices. For display-devices with 2-way communication, the display could communicate its capabilities to the player in a standardized format, and possibly even communicate as-yet-undefined capabilities to the player as well (UV/IR, specialized color gamuts, infra/ultrasonic capability, alarms and sensors, etc.). These capabilities could be matched up with the format of the disk.


If the disk has a codec that says "supports SENSOR_STD_2019a" and the meta-code for the standard "SENSOR_STD_2019a" says
"if SENSOR_STD_2019a data NO_WARM_BODY_PRESENT becomes TRUE then execute GO_BACK_15_SECONDS_AND_PAUSE"

and the display tells the player
then the player can act on it, even if the player was manufactured well before SENSOR_STD_2019a even existed.

Comment: Stegonographic VPN? (Score 1) 184

by davidwr (#48893931) Attached to: China Cuts Off Some VPNs

The speed hit would suck but steganographic protocols for getting things like encrypted email back and forth may be badly needed for countries like China.


might contain a bunch of images of pink ponies, which each contain stenographicly-encoded encrypted emails. If you want to send an email, you upload what appears to China's Firewall to be just another Pink Pony.

I can't be sure, but I think this may have already been done :).

While you could do a full-blown VPN with this technology, I would hate to think how long it would take to load a typical 0.1-5MB web page over such a VPN.

+ - The end of Public Domain 1

Submitted by eporue
eporue (886151) writes "Since I uploaded the public domain movie The night of the living dead to YouTube I got 18 different complaints of copyright infrigment on it.
Actually, I have a channel of Public Domain movies in which monetization has been disabled "due to repeated community guidelines and/or copyright issues".
The problem is that 99% of the complaints are false, they are from companies that have no rights over the movies but by issuing millions of take downs, manage to control a good number of videos in YouTube.
Is there any way to fight back ? Is there a way to "probe" public domain ?"

Comment: Followup (Score 1) 155

by davidwr (#48893815) Attached to: Windows Server 2003 Reaches End of Life In July

The same type of "deep inspection" firewall trick can and probably should be at least CONSIDERED for ANY mission-critical machine that is deemed "too risky" to put on the same network with "unacceptably high risk of becoming contagious" machines. In some cases it may even make sense to apply this technique to machines that ARE running supported OSes and which are BELIEVED to be very well protected all by themselves.

For example, if you are running an in-house web site to provide selected employees with a web interface to the corporate back-end data center, it may make sense to put a dedicated security box between the data server and the web server and another dedicated security box between the web server and the company's "office" network. This way if some employee's machine gets infected, the web server is less likely to become compromised, and if the web server is compromised it is less likely to compromise the back-end data server. Also, the security devices can watch for suspicious activity, such as out-of-the-ordinary traffic patterns from the "office" network to the web server or out-of-the-ordinary data requests from the web server to the data server and raise alarms where warranted.

I'm sure by now you are worried about "what if the security boxes get hacked." That is a concern. There are ways of making the security boxes be pass-through boxes which are invisible/non-addressable to the office network, the web server, and to the back-end data center, which would mean that the only ways to deliberately "hack" them would be through a different network connection entirely (such as the connection to a dedicated, otherwise-non-network-connected computer in your security officer's office) or by sending carefully manipulated traffic through them that was designed to "break the XYZ-brand security box that someone told you might be there" or "break the security box that your traffic-analysis pre-hack investigation made you suspect was there."

If you don't care about STOPPING bad traffic but just want to raise alarms, a traffic-splitter that feeds a copy of all traffic to your security boxes will do the job and it will be all but completely invisible to the networks they are monitoring (a splitter will not be completely invisible, but it can be made to look like a non-addressable/dumb repeater, switch or hub from the point of view of the networks it is connected to - the only hint of its existence to someone without physical access to measure voltage levels may be a very slight increase in latency).

Comment: difficult and maybe expensive but not impossible (Score 1) 155

by davidwr (#48893699) Attached to: Windows Server 2003 Reaches End of Life In July

If you have hardware firewalls that do deep-packet inspection and reject all traffic that doesn't match whitelisted traffic, AND your whitelist is detailed enough so that in practice it rejects all unwanted traffic, you should be okay.

So, unless the traffic of your specific can't-migrate-to-a-supported-OS application is too expensive to distinguish from unwanted traffic, you should be able to firewall a server so well that the fact that the OS is unsupported and otherwise vulnerable to attack is no longer a "must fix now" issue.

That doesn't mean it isn't an issue, and I would still recommend finding some way to phase it out, but it just means you won't have to fully decommission your Windows 2003 server this year or even this decade.

Comment: Re:Another use of Crypto-coin - as gift cards (Score 1) 39

by davidwr (#48893615) Attached to: Jim Blasko Explains 'Unbreakable Coin' (Video 2 of 2)

The mining process is part of the running transactions. If today all bitcoin mining ceased, no transaction would ever be validated

I'm pretty sure the first few BC's were "pre-mined" by the same person/group which invented BC in the first place, if not as a deliberate way to create BC then as a way to test the protocols, algorithms, and code.

I addressed this general terms in the original post when I said "The company that created and pre-mined the cards would be on the hook for all transaction fees."

In other words, the issuing authority would have to absorb the computational costs of adding all transactions to the blockchain for that currency. They would be "on the hook" because 1) without mining, nobody would validate transactions without imposing a fee, and 2) with transaction fees, fewer people would bother to use the crypto-currency as a "gift certificate."

+ - Bidding war between networks, sports leagues will increase price of cable TV->

Submitted by Trachman
Trachman (3499895) writes "It appears that the cable tv bill is guaranteed to be a victim of inflation. According to the Washington Post article, ESPN and TNT have signed a new $2.6 billion annual contract to carry National Basketball Association games. All of it will have to be paid by cable subscribers. Let's do a simple math here: let's assume there is a 100 Million households in USA who have cable service, which amounts to $260 of costs, per year, attributable to each subscriber, or approx $22 per month. Of course, some of the expenses are reimbursed by advertisers, but the amount is staggering.

The word is that such a record amount will increase monthly bill? Or perhaps more people will be encourage to disconnect "zombie box""

Link to Original Source

+ - Government and Insurance Mosquito Drones Will Extract Your DNA->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Harvard Professor Margo Seltzer warned that miniature mosquito drones will one day forcibly extract your DNA on behalf of the government and insurance companies as she told elitists at the World Economic Forum in Davos that privacy was dead.

Seltzer went on to predict that in the near future, mosquito-sized robots would perpetually monitor individuals as well as collecting DNA and biometric information for governments and corporations.

“It’s not whether this is going to happen, it’s already happening,” said Seltzer on the issue of pervasive surveillance. “We live in a surveillance state today.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - Is Spacetime Countable--And Why It Matters?

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "One of the big problems with quantum gravity is that it generates infinities that are hard to deal with mathematically.They come about because quantum mechanics implies that accurate measurements of the universe on tiny scales require high-energy. But when the scale becomes very small, the energy density associated with a measurement is so great that it should lead to the formation of a black hole, which would paradoxically ruin the measurement that created it. So physicists have invented a technique called renormalisation to get rid of the infinities. They assume there is a minimum scale beyond which nothing can be smaller, the so-called Planck scale. This limit ensures that energy densities never become high enough to create black holes. This is equivalent to saying that space-time is not infinitely divisible. Instead it must be discrete, or as a mathematician might put it, countable. In other words, it is possible to allocate a number to each discrete volume of space-time making it countable, like grains of sand on a beach or atoms in the universe. Many physicists are uncomfortable with this ideas and now they may have an alternative. A small group of cosmologists are developing a new theory of gravity, called shape dynamics, in which spacetime is infinitely divisible and so uncountable . This ignores many ordinary features of physical objects, such as their position within the universe. Instead, it focuses on objects’ relationships to each other, such as the angles between them and the shape that this makes (hence the term shape dynamics). These angles and shapes are scale invariant--they are the same whatever scale you look at them. And that's why spacetime in this model is infinitely divisible. It's early days for shape dynamics but a growing number of theorists have high hopes for the theory following a recent proof that special relativity is its mathematical equivalent."

+ - Illinois Is Not Actually Requiring Students To Hand Over Their Facebook Password->

Submitted by oritoes
oritoes (3991429) writes "A story is circulating around the internet that a new Illinois anti-cyberbullying law has a provision requiring students to hand over their Facebook and other social media accounts to school officials on demand.

The ACLU and the state legislator who wrote the bill both say this is wrong."

Link to Original Source

+ - RIP, pioneering computer animation company PDI->

Submitted by harrymcc
harrymcc (1641347) writes "After a string of flops, DreamWorks Animation is shuttering its PDI/DreamWorks studio. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, PDI, along with Pixar, made short cartoons that were part demo, part entertainment--and helped pave the way for today's computer-animated features. Over at Fast Company, I assembled a mini-festival of the company's vintage work, originally seen at venues such as SIGGRAPH."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: Best Personal Archive 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What would be the best media to store a backup of important files in a lockbox?

like a lot of people we have a lot of important information on our computers, and have a lot of files that we don't want backed up in the cloud, but want to preserve. Everything from our personally ripped media, family pictures, important documents, etc..

We are considering BluRay, HDD, SSD but wanted to ask the Slashdot community what they would do."

"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970