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Comment: Reminds me of.... (Score 3, Informative) 418

A letter in a hi-fi magazine (Hi-Fi News and Record Review, but I'm not 100% sure) years ago from someone who was upgrading his system.
He started by describing the upgrades to the cables and connectors. Then moved onto rewiring the amp with better quality conductors. Rewiring his house for a better electrical feed into the kit. He then described chasing his dream of perfect audio further by liaising with his local power company to get the substation upgraded. Finally (the punchline) was that he had written to the power generation company to change the isotope of uranium they used to get better bass.

Made me giggle.

Comment: Knightmare Chess (Score 1) 155

by rjforster (#48708071) Attached to: Designing the Best Board Game

I loved this game; it totally ate my brain when it came out. Basically an event deck for chess so you get cards like "Move your Bishop as if it were a Knight" style cards. You can play it better if you know a tiny bit of chess openings but good chess knowledge can also hinder you if, for example, a card is played which swaps the directions of move and capture for pawns - all your pawn structure knowledge goes out of the window.
I also played it with a stacked deck rather than a shuffled one to lessen the randomisation - put good early game cards at the top of the deck and escape cards for your king near the bottom.

Comment: Re:It was a lot more social (Score 1) 59

by rjforster (#48694709) Attached to: The Making of a 1980s Dungeons & Dragons Module

How often does the thief in the party actually steal from team-mates in the electronic versions? Yet our team had a thief character who would do exactly that -- swipe anything that wasn't nailed down -- and sometimes use a crowbar if it was. :)

It's those little amusing things that make RPGs so much fun. One of my groups has an ongoing joke that usually crops up in Sci-Fi games where we make strong booze on the side and get a little business going selling that despite the fall of governments or alien invasions going on.
I remember a fantasy game where I was the only character to have a magic sword (or any magic weapon, for that matter) - yet I never once drew it. It wasn't cursed or anything like that, I just rarely got into those kinds of scrapes and it got to the stage where I was making a point of it.

Comment: Re:Easier by several other methods (Score 1) 71

by rjforster (#48694557) Attached to: Quake On an Oscilloscope

Yep. Win98 for the Agilent ones too.

I remember, around 2001, buying a vibration motor for an old Nokia 3210 mobile phone that wasn't originally supplied with one, though the space inside was there. Fitting the motor was easy but I needed to flash the firmware to drive it. For this I needed DOS on a PC with a serial port. My home PC ran linux (obviously), my desktop at work was NT4 but the 'scope in the lab ran Win98 and had the serial port and floppy drive. 2 minutes later I had a vibrating phone.

Someone else at work put full excel on one of these Win98 'scopes.

Comment: Re:Well ... duh! (Score 1) 79

by rjforster (#48203601) Attached to: DHS Investigates 24 Potentially Lethal IoT Medical Devices

I disagree. You don't have to harden your internet connected refrigerator against malicious attacks.

Why? Because when you ask "what could possibly go wrong?" the answer is your food will spoil, and you will have to throw it out. It's not like spoiled food is not instantly recognizable.

Unless your fridge has the capability of re-ordering food that you've run out of. Or ordering all the ingredients from a menu you scan with your smartphone. Or whatever.
Then it can be hacked to order really expensive stuff. If it normally needs human approval then that is just another bump to cross before it can be hacked to be done without your approval.

Why would anyone do this other than as a prank? Well what if I order something from a company with a policy of "if it's listed as in stock but we can't deliver it within x days for some reason then you get it free when we eventually restock" then I get you to buy out all their stock half a second before I confirm my order. I wait a few extra days but get that crate of champagne for free. The supermarket can't detect anything because they aren't the ones being hacked.

As ever, it will be an arms race of attack and mitigation until it all settles down.

Comment: Have they fixed the invisible file mgr borders? (Score 1) 250

by rjforster (#47991127) Attached to: GNOME 3.14 Released

It's only on the file manager (that I've found) but you can click OUTSIDE the window and still interact with the window. For example if you have two file-managers close to each other with another window below them both and visible in the gap then you can't click the lower window directly even though you can see it and put your mouse over the visible part of it. All you do is focus one or the other of the file manager windows.
You can also hold down the windows key and click outside the file manager window and drag it around the screen just as if you had clicked inside the window (I can't remember if I changed the default key from alt to windows in my settings but the point applies).

Generally I'm OK with Gnome3 (providing you get the right extensions) but these invisible borders are such a fundamental breakage of the basic concept of a graphical windowed user interface.

Comment: Reminds me of ... (Score 1) 298

by rjforster (#47067861) Attached to: Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

...proposals (and lab prototypes / research) to use single atom trapping technology or atomic fountains or other such experiments to accurately measure the local gravitational field. The idea (and the source of grant funding, if you get my drift) was that If they did it at each end of a sub they could theoretically detect the faint effects of being near an undersea mountain. I think the most accurate version coupled two experiments together at each end of the sub which meant a vacuum tube running the length of the boat.
That was 15 years ago or more and I've no idea what became of the research.

Comment: I think companies should run cracking software (Score 1) 288

by rjforster (#46917693) Attached to: Applying Pavlovian Psychology to Password Management

You have complete freedom to use whatever password you wish and to change it whenever you wish but the company has a rack or 3 of kit dedicated to cracking passwords. If yours gets cracked then you get forced to change it. If it gets cracked again your collegues (and manager, and staff) also get told so that they can provide peer pressure/ridicule/helpful advice.
The cracking software can be aware of common passwords, your previous passwords and things like the names of projects you're working on. There can even be a 'submit a crib' internal website where others can upload the criptic post-it that's on your desk to see if it gives password hints.

Depending on the exact situation of your working environment the penalties might be far harsher.

Obviously if you work for a very big company they might use a rather large value of 3.

Comment: Re:I'm fedup with this (Score 1) 147

by rjforster (#45720441) Attached to: Fedora 20 Released

Not in my experience. Over the last 4 years my PC has run every version of Fedora and has /home on a pair of mirrored drives which I set up using anaconda on what I'm guessing was F11. I don't always upgrade as new versions are released but it is running F19 right now.
I grant that "not supported" is different from "it ain't gonna work" but for me at least; it worked.

Comment: Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (Score 1) 1440

by rjforster (#44935209) Attached to: Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

Some of that is because the camber of the road (ok, some roads more than others) makes every start a minor hill-start. By applying the handbrake you should be preventing any chances of rolling into the kerb.

I was told to keep it in gear with my foot on the clutch. Now I only do that if I know the cycle time is quite short, otherwise it goes into neutral and the handbrake goes on. I don't impede traffic because I see when the other lights change and am back into first before my light goes green.

Another point is that I hate fecking bright brake lights in my eyes and I am courteous to those that might be stopped behind me.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

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