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Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 1) 82

[...]I have serious doubts this device has sufficient resolving power to do what they claim it can/would/should do. To identify chemical components, you need a minimum spectral resolution (depending on the species you want to identify). To do quantitative analysis, the requirements are event higher. [...]

So this device might be actually able differentiate between a block of cheese and an apple :-), (like suggested by the article photos), but expecting to be a smartphone CSI able to solve mysteries with a click of an app will lead to buyers' remorse.

That said, I believe the device producers are not trying to mislead potential buyers, but the media coverage of the device has been largely hyperbolic.

Comment Re:From the "Course Goals" (Score 1) 273

Wow, this sounds like a nice university...

University of Toronto is an internationally regarded research university, the "Higher Education Ranking" by The Times (UK) ranks UoT at 20th in 2015 in "World University Ranking", and 16th in "World Reputation Ranking",

That's why the issue of the complaints, and the report are indeed newsworthy. It is not some obscure backwater university, but a school of medicine with a history of Nobel Laureates including Frederick Banting and J.J.R. Macleod who were the first Canadians to win a Nobel prize; for their isolation of insulin.

Comment Re:Ahm Mo Call (Score 0) 214

I'm going to call Bullshit on the price claims.

Reality... Experts at MIT have developed an idea that looks very promising as a source for funding dollars.

Exactly. I mean why the hell would we expect "[e]xperts in materials science at MIT" to be able to accurately calculate the manufacturing and production costs (and thus savings) for a novel battery technology? They are experts in material science, not process engineering or manufacturing.

I also don't assume they can find major cost savings in the US government's budget, cure cancer, or find Amelia Earhart.

That said, I do look forward to seeing if their idea does pan out for lower costing lithium batteries.

Comment Re:Don't use an IDE (Score 2) 257

This is half of the answer. C and text editors will be around forever, However, the missing part is documentation. There will be stuff you have done that is built on assumptions. That must be documented. We can still maintain (and do maintain) 35+ year old aerospace code, and it's relatively easy *because* all of the software artifacts are still available. [...]

Yes, the grandfather post did forget to include SCM (software configuration management) / source revision control, where numerous tools are available including : rcs, cvs, subversion, sccs, git or one of the other widely available SCMs. Of course, RCS (1982), CVS (1990), and SCCS (1972) are 25 years or older themselves.

Comment Re:A couple of things (Score 1) 583

-Keep every e-mail.

Keep your own backups of critical information (emails, files, notes, whatever), personal or project, in particular of your personal HR information.

Don't violate security policies doing this (i.e. Cloud services like Dropbox may not be acceptable for sensitive or classified information), but DVD-R / BD-R and USB flash drives make this cheap enough to do as an out-of-pocket expense if necessary.

Spend time organizing or keeping your information organized. Having lots of data / information "on one of these old hard drives" isn't helpful.

RAID is not a back-up strategy.

Comment From the very title: "Towards a Speed of Light..." (Score 1) 221

For faster Internet they clearly wants more bits to move as photons, at the speed of light through fibre. Nothing is faster (latency, throughput, bandwidth), and all the nearby alternatives including microwave as more expensive and less reliable.

The organizations that had microwave towers for communications, namely telecommunication companies and media broadcasters, have long since migrated to a) satellite or b) fibre for their primary connections. The only microwave links that I know of locally (~100km) are small short-haul for local broadcasters (not-for-profit media broadcasters) and piece-wise legacy systems as backups to fibre loops. Latency, throughput, and operational costs are all factors.

More researchers who know nothing about electrical or RF engineering (both fields with over 100 years of development) making stupid shark with laser style claims. Or at least the people who are writing about their speculations, are making such stupid claims.

Submission + - Adventures in microchip repair

plcurechax writes: From Intel's own website, a "soft-news" or promotional pieces takes a high level look at technology behind fixing design mistakes in microprocessors, "Microscopic Adventures of a Chip Circuitry Repairman":

For nearly two decades, the pursuit of perfection has led Nikos Troullinos down minuscular rabbit holes to fix tiny design mistakes that can cause computer processor circuitry to malfunction..

While Slashdot regulars and IT veterans don't need to be reminded about well publicized follies of past processor flaws that have been discovered, from the infamous Pentium floating point division bug (FDIV) discovered in 1994, to the TSX flaw on Haswell to early Broadwell processors discovered in 2014. TSXTransactional Synchronization Extensions.

Given the complexity and vast number of processor models, few flaws are discovered outside of the manufacturer. I believe an average of less than 1.0 (flaw) per technology generation. While Intel's processor flaws are the best publicized, that is at least in part due to having the largest brand awareness amongst consumers. Non-Intel x86 and other non-x86 microprocessors have had flaws as well from classic 8-bit micros used in 1980s personal computers and game systems to the latest AMD and ARM offerings.

The Intel Pentium FDIV bug occurred at a time when the company had been spending considerable amounts of money and effort in mainstream advertising intended to build brand awareness, direct to average consumers, not just IT professors and computing enthusiasts. Bob Colwell, retired Intel engineer who worked on the Pentium Pro (P6) to the Pentium 4 (NetBurst / Willamette), discusses this in an appendix of his book, The Pentium Chronicles, Colwell discusses his own involvement in internal FDIV bug reporting, and Intel's surprise and poor handling of the public relations fiasco which perplexed top executives and engineers for quite some time.

Comment Re:Does it report seller's location and ID? (Score 1) 142

If the seller is to get the money then the bar code must be unique to that seller, so it's not the general bar code of the magazine that's getting scanned.

The phone then reports this seller's ID to some central server.

This is a real issue as a notable percentage of long-term homeless tends to include individuals with mental illness, and in particular may be rationally or irrationally paranoid (from both previous experiences with government officials& law enforcement, and from the illness itself).

So identity card programs can be a tough sell, even ones meant purely to benefit the homeless themselves.

The reality of such a program unfortunately fits all too well into paranoid delusions that some homeless with mental illness suffer from.

Comment Re:Does it report seller's location and ID? (Score 1) 142

I seriously doubt it. I don't see how location reporting for a payment transaction in which location data is irrelevant could possibly pass Google's privacy policy review process. Collection of data not relevant to the transaction is not generally allowed[*]

Geo-location associated with transactions is one of the simplest, most effective fraud detection methods, [...]

Fine-grain, i.e. high precision, such as an actual raw GPS or Assisted-GPS reading for location, is not necessary for fraud detection to be effective, and is generally counter productive.

Comment Re:Does it report seller's location and ID? (Score 1) 142

I seriously doubt it. I don't see how location reporting for a payment transaction in which location data is irrelevant could possibly pass Google's privacy policy review process. Collection of data not relevant to the transaction is not generally allowed[*]

Geo-location associated with transactions is one of the simplest, most effective fraud detection methods, AFAIK, used in traditional (Point-of-Sales, credit cards, smart card and pin - aka card-and-pin) and online transactions done by financial companies.

For example: The Settle soccer mom who suddenly spends a few thousands dollars on jewellery in Nigera, without having a family member buying any airline tickets, generally sets off a red-flag that is verified or investigated.

I believe all online payment systems do some sort of geo-location based correlation, for fraud detection / reduction. It was common practice in 2000, I think I first experienced it in late 1990s, maybe 1998.

Comment Not surprising. (Score 1) 309

Since the very reason given since the discussions began 15 or so years ago, Nvidia, and most of its competitors (Intel being a special exception for an unrelated reason) have always said that due to fears and concerns about reverse engineering, they - Nvidia and ATI, now AMD, have been slow and limited in making available any documentation or assistance that could directly or indirectly ease reverse engineering of its technology, its intellectual property (IP); not to Open Source / Free Software developers, but to potential and current 3D video card competitors.

Providing the direct firmware blobs, even if encrypted (to be decrypted in memory on the video card) does reduce the effort of a reverse engineering attempt. Perhaps legal or senior management has overruled the previous plan to make encrypted firmware blobs. I believe there was one or more blogs entries written about methodologies of bypassing the decryption of encrypted firmware blobs even when/if the decryption key(s) are secure stored in the Nvidia GPU, or at least recovering the decryption key which undoes a lot of work by Nvidia, and may cause violate terms of various patent / IP licensing agreements.

Nvidia could possibly go out of business if they were barred from obtaining necessary licenses allowing them to implement video codecs in hardware in their future products.

I suspect this, or some benign reason (Nvidia's Linux developer were simply busy with in-house development, or on holiday) is the culprit.

* Unrelated pure speculation:

My pet theory about why Intel has been so open with their open source driver support for Linux, is that it is intended to be a) to support their APU processors and b) to try to help AMD in its secondary market (video GPUs) rather than their primary market (x86 compatible processors) which Intel knowns AMD needs to keep being a viable option, as AMD's x86 processors alone the past few years could of easily drove it out of business.

To avoid more anti-trust violations / investigations Intel needs at least one viable x86 competitor to remain alive. Preferably neither too far ahead nor behind, so that Intel continues to dominate the CPU manufacturing sector, it has at least something that is realistically a potential threat to their business. Just not a strong potential threat. But by possibly supporting AMD's secondary product line by providing an open book to their GPU's documentation and interface via their driver source code, Intel can provide a subtle nod to technologies, or other solutions that AMD could re-implement to improve their (AMD's) video card offerings.

In summary Intel can stand to help AMD in their video cards to keep AMD alive, which serves a critical purpose to Intel, as Intel needs someone that can be seen as potentially a rival CPU manufacturer.

Regarding Intel's domination of microprocessors:

While ARM processors have shipped in record numbers the past few years, they are manufactured by various companies who pay ARM a royalty (per unit made AFAIK), so Intel remains the single largest designer and manufacturer of CPUs. Although ARM Inc. has experienced explosive growth and tremendous profitability, it is still a tiny company in relative terms, such as market capitalization (a common benchmark) compared to Intel.

Comment Re:Dangerous Precedent (Score 1) 237

This sets a dangerous precedent that it is perfectly okay for the government to block websites in order to generate more revenue. If this passes, expect states in the US to try the same thing, especially if they have casinos that aren't doing well.

That would almost make sense, except Quebec, like Louisiana, has a legal system based / influenced on French civil law, rather than the more common (in US and Canada) English common law heritage.

That said, state and provincial governments are facing deficits and short-falls, so anything that promises increased revenue would certainly catch their attention.

Comment Re:hypocrisy (Score 1) 337

americans are and should be angry at the NSA

but other countries complaining about the NSA is hypocrisy

So you think the rest of the world should just accept the illegal (in the rest of the world) spying that the NSA does to them, just because it's a foreign government? That's a foolish argument.

It is hypocritical to continuous publicly call a nation an ally, often pressuring them them into working with US on fighting terrorism, etc., and then spy on said government who practises what US calls good governance, i.e. an independent government consisting of democratically elected representatives. That's the part of hypocrisy in foreign affair approach of US that upsets people from the rest of the world. That and the fact they do it even when there is no evidence or even fear of hostile or undemocratic activity.

if i was [G]erman, would i be worried about the NSA? or the BND and the BfV?

Why should any law-aiding, peaceful, democracy supporting person in the world be subjected to espionage?

if you live in a country outside the USA, and your biggest privacy concern is the NSA, you're a moron: your own country is doing everything the NSA is doing, and in many countries, far worse. obviously, they can also abuse you a lot easier than the USA can. and they do

Actually in most of world the intelligence agencies are limited to investigate suspects of terrorism, and international criminal activities, not whatever they feel like. While unlawful and unreasonable spying does happen, the democratic governments do try to limit the powers of their intelligence agencies. Economic espionage is regarded as an illegal activity, even though numerous countries have been found to be engaged in it, it is still considered wrong.

No other country in the world has an intelligence community even half the size of US. The Americans have always complained about allegedly Russians and Chinese spying on UN activities during negotiations, etc., but I doubt the Soviets ever managed a fraction of the spying the US conducted on the UN representatives.

It is quite rational to be considered with being spied upon by all parties, foreign and domestic. The idea that US is somehow above the law when dealing with other countries in one of the prime reasons the US suffers from poor public image internationally, it undermines the massive good the US also does do in many cases.

again: i don't have a problem with americans complaining about the NSA. americans SHOULD complain about the NSA. but i do have a problem with other countries complaining about the NSA when they do the same or worse

Do people also not have the right to complain about fascist governments, because they didn't elect them? Do Americans have no right to be opposed to ISIL / ISIS because they are not primarily active within US?

Why should you complain about what others complain about? Or are not a supporter and believer in free speech? It is one of those so-called key "American values" in theory.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer