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Comment: Re:First Question (Score 3, Informative) 36

by pthisis (#46707577) Attached to: Interviews: Jonathan Coulton Answers Your Questions

The first question should have been "Who are you and why should I care?".

He did the "Code Monkey" song, as you note. He also composed music for the Left 4 Dead 2, Portal, and Portal 2 soundtracks, and did the theme song for the TV show Mystery Diagnosis. He's featured weekly as the house musician/sometime question designer on NPR's game show "Ask Me Another".

And, yes, all Ask Slashdots should have a 2-3 sentence blurb with a link to a biography or wiki entry or something.

Comment: Re:Evil? (Score 1) 572

The client can detect it (on a plain install, view the cert for the page you're on and you'll see who signed it and whether it's a corporate cert or a self-signed cert). The "problem" at work is that once someone else has control of your hardware then it can't be trusted--they could as easily have installed a keylogger and screen scraper, or whatever. Or have installed a browser altered so that "view cert" shows a different cert from the one actually being used. The client isn't trustworthy, which means nothing at all is trustworthy.

You're relatively safe if you do your own OS install and keep things locked down, though even there the hardware manufacturer(s) could be snooping on things. At some point you have to weigh what is enough trust vs. having the tools you need to accomplish your goal (a powered down, non-networked machine is pretty trustworthy, but also relatively useless).

Comment: Re:Star Flight 1 & 2 (Score 2) 160

by pthisis (#45860781) Attached to: Development To Begin Soon On New <em>Star Control</em> Game

I wouldn't even say they were "inspirations". Star Control 2 was a spirtual successor to Starflight, except for some cool arcade combat added in--aside from that, the game is mechanically pretty similar with the same kind of intergalactic maps, system maps, planet exploration, etc.

They're close enough that I'd almost say SC2 is a rip-off of Starflight, except that Paul Reiche was one of the lead designers on both and I'm not sure you can rip off yourself. But it's a much closer relationship than just "inspired by".

Reiche also the primary guy responsible for Archon (which is in some ways an inspiration for the combat arena part of Star Control 2, though very much more a loose inspiration than an obvious predecessor) and was one of the early TSR Dungeons and Dragons guys.

Comment: Re:appearing to have free will (Score 1) 401

by pthisis (#45197287) Attached to: Physicist Unveils a 'Turing Test' For Free Will

Well, there is one small difference. With an AI, one can always, precisely, deconstruct why and how the system makes the decision that it makes

This is false. There are whole papers dedicated to how useless deeply trained neural nets are in actually understanding intelligence, because they're so complicated that we can't understand why they make particular decisions post-training.

Comment: Re: This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (Score 1) 177

by pthisis (#45066561) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

No, the sections I quoted are for the built in headset speaker used for calls. The numbers are all above average for call quality and average for volume. I'm not sure how their subjective judgement said "below average", given that every single one of the objective measurements was average or above. It's not the loudest or best speaker out there, for sure, but it's better than most.

Comment: Re:This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (Score 2) 177

by pthisis (#45061415) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

I hope it isn't a mildly revamped G2! The G@ has a below-average loudspeaker

There are a lot of decent criticisms of the G2. The SlideAside is pointless (and doesn't work with a ton of common Android apps), the screen is too big for some people, the buttons on the back are something you can adjust to but they're needlessly quirky and more prone to accidentally being pressed in your pocket than side-buttons are. I'm still not sold on having the headphone jack on the bottom instead of the top.

But the speakers? The G2 has virtually perfect frequency response and a very low distortion level according to:

GSMArena, for one, actually measure the volume. ...who also measure frequency response and other components of sound quality.

They note that the speaker on the G2 is better than average sound quality, though average volume-wise. There's absolutely nothing in their tests indicating a below-average speaker:

The LG G2 showed nicely clean output in both parts of our traditional audio quality test. The smartphone got pretty decent scores, but was led down by its volume levels, which were only average.
The scores stay close to perfect even when you plug in a pair of headphones. The stereo crosstalk worsens a bit but the rest of the readings are virtually unaffected (frequency response actually improves a bit). Unfortunately, the volume levels remained just as uninspiring.

Which seems like they're heavily over-weighting volume--unless you're hearing impaired enough that you normally max the volume on your handset, then maximum volume is far less important than the audio quality. But even by their weighting, it's still good audio quality with average volume level.

Comment: Re:This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (Score 1) 177

by pthisis (#45057837) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

But the Nexus 5 will probably be half the price of the G2. And run stock Android and receive updates.

The last sentence is why I wrote "the Nexus 5, presuming it follows the Nexus pattern, will run a standard Android OS and UI (and get faster OS updates)".

I'm not making a case for either phone being better, simply saying that the idea that one is a mildly tweaked version of the other is laughable.

Comment: This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (Score 5, Informative) 177

by pthisis (#45056321) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

the Nexus 5 (or whatever it’s going to be called) seems like a mildly revamped version of LG’s G2.

No, it really doesn't. The two most-often mentioned features of the G2 are:

a) The gorgeous 5.2" screen; and
b) A 3000 mAh battery; and
c) The rear-panel placement of the only buttons (power/volume), as opposed to the traditional volume rocker on the side that most smartphones have.

This has none of those--it has a 4.95" screen and a 2300 mAh battery. And the buttons are laid out like a standard smartphone. Those things alone are significant alterations that make these phones different in the most visible and usable ways.

The G2 also has a 13 megapixel rear camera; this has an 8 mp camera.

The G2 also has a customized version of Android with knock-on and other features; the Nexus 5, presuming it follows the Nexus pattern, will run a standard Android OS and UI (and get faster OS updates).

Without digging into it for more than 30 seconds, I see a phone with a different screen, different camera, different battery, different physical button layout, and different UI, and with significantly different physical properties (e.g. wireless charging on the Nexus)--these might be distant cousins, but they are most decidedly not "mildly revamped" versions of the same thing.

Comment: Re:Reefer madness bullshit (Score 2) 618

by pthisis (#44980749) Attached to: First Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Emerge In the United States

For some reason, it's not considered an epidemic when a doctor being paid by insurance companies prescribes methamphetamine manufactured by a pharmaceutical corporation under the brand name "Desoxyn"

Yes it is.

NIH: "The original amphetamine epidemic was generated by the pharmaceutical industry and medical profession as a byproduct of routine commercial drug development and competition"

White House: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic".

Comment: Re:you have the source (Score 2) 566

by pthisis (#44809725) Attached to: Linus Responds To RdRand Petition With Scorn

Not true... I have no opinion either way, but it's entirely possible to have a very good understanding of how semi-random numbers affect cryptography, and also of how rdrand generates them, without having the programming background to be able to safely remove it from the kernel. Crypto is about math, not programming, and contrary to popular opinion (apparently), the two do not always go hand-in-hand.

RdRand could generate entirely non-random numbers and it still wouldn't make the output of /dev/random any less random. It's designed so that additional inputs can only increase the entropy, never decrease it. There's a danger if you over-estimate the amount of entropy that a particular input adds to the pool, but the bits mixed in from rdrand don't increase the entropy counter so that's not a problem in this case.

Comment: Re:Not much worry with a source build (Score 2) 472

by pthisis (#44793407) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Security, In Light of NSA Crypto-Subverting Attacks?

It only unlocks the wallet for the user it's running as, it doesn't have crazy admin privileges.

If you care about security, you're already running the browser as a restricted user anyway--even if you did stupidly share passphrases between wallets (or accidentally mistype the wrong passphrase into the browser unlock window) it still shouldn't have FS permission to your primary wallet.

Plus you can run Chromium if you want to be able to audit the source, presuming you don't think someone's Ken Thompson'd chrome into gcc (or CPU microcode).

panic: kernel trap (ignored)