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Comment: Re:This is a surprise? (Score 5, Insightful) 185

by stewartjm (#42137549) Attached to: Microsoft Security Essentials Loses AV-Test Certificate
RL Vaccinations are an example of human intelligence triumphing over at least semi-stupid self replicating DNA chunks.

AV software is developed by humans trying to stop other humans, a much much more intractable problem, especially when the Virus developers always have the first move. The Virus developers can trivially test their software against the AV, with almost no effort. The AV developers have to expend tremendous effort to even try to catalog the threats, let alone combat them.

Most likely the very fact that Security Essentials is faring so badly, is due to the fact that the Virus writers are being especially sure to find ways around it before launching new malware.

Comment: Re:It's not fair (Score 1) 392

by stewartjm (#41810019) Attached to: 26 Nuclear Power Plants In Hurricane Sandy's Path
There were wide spread power outages in Ohio, due to the remnants of Hurricane Ike in 2008, which caused 70+ mph wind gusts here. My power was out for about 6 days. The outages probably would not have lasted quite as long, if so many repair crews hadn't already been dispatched to Texas and Louisiana.

Comment: Re:Probably not much (Score 2) 119

by stewartjm (#39886695) Attached to: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Benchmarked

I always harp about this but in a couple of years there will probably be a game that requires that much power. However by that time there will be a $150 card that can run it.

That's only true if you're running a 60Hz low-mid res display, say 1920x1200(~2.3 megapixels) or less. Though, even then the actual retail price of such a card, most of the time , will probably closer to $250 than $150.

If you want to run 120Hz, or run 2560x(1600|1440)(~3.7-4.1 megapixels), or run 3+ monitors in an eyefinity configuration(~4-24.5 megapixels), then you need all the power you can get. And as the games progress, you'll continue to need to upgrade to the higher end GPUs, at least for the foreseeable future.

The 690 can mostly max out a single 120hz 1080p display in the more demanding games, as well as a single 60hz 2560x(1600|1440) display. And it's no slouch in the 6-7mp eyefinity category.

But if you want to do 120Hz 1080p eyefinity, or 60Hz 12+ MP eyefinity, then you'll need even more power than this monster provides. Again that's only in the more demanding games. There are plenty of console ports that'll do alright in these higher end monitor configurations with a single 7970 or 680.

Comment: Re:Buffer overflow (Score 1) 611

by stewartjm (#39791061) Attached to: C/C++ Back On Top of the Programming Heap?

Actually, things are advanced to the point where with very rare exception a human writing assembly is almost certainly not going to produce the optimal approach anymore.

Compilers are in general horrible at getting anywhere near full throughput out of the SIMD instructions on modern CPUs. At least partially because the languages don't provide data types and operators that map well to how the SIMD instructions work. For most tight number crunching loops, you'll be lucky if straight forward, compiled code is achieving even 25% of the throughput that the CPU is capable of. To achieve full throughput, you'll need to understand the SIMD architecture, and hand roll some assembly language or C/C++ code using SIMD intrinsics.

However, for most programs, it's usually not worth the time, effort, and "brittleness" of the resulting code.

Comment: Re:That and it also totally changes the story (Score 2) 235

by stewartjm (#39605571) Attached to: BioWare Announces Free DLC To Add More To the Mass Effect 3 Endings
Destroying the Mass relays to stop the Reapers would be a perfectly acceptable renegade ending, if it was Shepard who was destroying the mass relays to stop the Reapers, preferably by running a combat mission where you hacked into the relay control network with EDI's help, possibly on the citadel.

One of dozens of gaping flaws with the end is that Shepard is no longer the protagonist, that role is assume by the star child deus ex machine, who was introduced 5 minutes previous with 14 whole lines of dialogue. If you choose destroy, it is the star child who destroys the reapers and the network, not Shepard.

Another gaping flaw is the fact that the citadel is at earth at all, which would be ok if it had been foreshadowed that it could move, by moving it earlier. Though even if it had been properly foreshadowed, what happened to all of the people Shepard knew who lived on the citadel? And why was it moved off screen? Talk about blowing a chance for an epic cut scene.

Bad, lazy, horrible, writing, and by far the best explanation for it, is that EA refused to extend the release deadline again, so they had to tack something simple on and throw it out the door.

Comment: Re:EA strangles another once great studio (Score 1) 235

I was sad I pre-ordered a collector's edition as well. But by sheer chance, I had ordered it from Amazon.com, and they were offering full refunds on Mass Effect 3 purchases, even opened copies. I hung onto my copy until BioWare's first official response , where Ray made it quite clear that EA/BioWare had no intention of admitting any faults with the product. I went through Amazon's standard automated return system and received a full refund after shipping it back. Supposedly EA/Origin, and even some Best Buys were doing full refunds as well. One key phrase for increasing the likely-hood of a the full refund is something along the lines of "the game did not live up to promises made by the publisher".

It might be worth checking to see if you can return any of your copies. If nothing else, make sure to sell all of your copies used. The only message EA truly understands is money or it's lack, so send the right message.

Comment: Re:EA strangles another once great studio (Score 2) 235

If said game developer was a 1-3 person team I might just might buy the "Artistic Integrity" angle. But when said team is hundreds to thousands of people with the budget ticking at a million plus dollars a month, the actual impetus for "Artistic" decisions becomes crystal clear, and it's money money money.

Sometimes they do get lucky and churn out a hit despite their money driven process, most of the time they produce something that hits enough high points to pay back development costs with some profit, and other times they produce pure dreck like ME3s ending.

If only the gaming press wasn't so corrupt and incompetent, they might have been able to give ME3 the reviews it deserved, and kept it from raking in so much dough on the reputation of it's much more fulfilling predecessors.

Comment: EA strangles another once great studio (Score 5, Insightful) 235

It's not just a disappointing ending. It's an ending that was obviously duct taped onto the end to shove it out the door 6-12 months before it should have been released.

And the only response from BioWare is typical PR spin, with wonderful PR phrases such as "we value our fans" and "artistic integrity".

Comment: Re:Again... (Score 2) 293

by stewartjm (#39502035) Attached to: Sony Taking Down PSP Titles In Response To Vita Hackers
Actually viruses are virtually extinct in-so-far as malware goes. A classic computer virus was an executable, that when run, found other executables and modified them so that they would also spread the virus to further executables. Most malware these days only ever performs the infection step once per computer. These programs can generally be classified as worms or trojans, but not viruses.

Comment: Re:I was a "hacker" scout in 1994 (Score 1) 186

by stewartjm (#39271507) Attached to: Is It Time For Hacker Scouts?
I was never into scouting, and at the time, early 80s/3rd grade, I think I was too young to be an explorer scout. But for a 3-5 year stretch, I participated in an explorer scout program at a neighbor's employer. The dues were $10-20 per year. And for that, I was able to play with/learn about a VAX 11/780, for 2-3 hours at a stretch, 1-2 times a month. I learned a bit of VMS, the operating system, though I never did master it. A bit of FORTRAN, again, I was clueless at the time, but I did find the occasional use for FORTRAN in the 90s. I also remember playing with solid object modelling and FEA software a bit. I think I also played Adventure, along with a few other games.

That single VAX, with about 1 MIPs of CPU power, 4 megabytes of RAM, a dishwasher sized 40 megabyte HDD(aka winchester disk), and ~2 similarly sized, but a good bit slower removable disk pack drives, was used by an entire mechanical engineering dept. It's amazing how far computing hardware has come over the last 30+ years.

I most remember some of the "weird", and now effectively obsolete hardware I used. Such as Tektronix vector terminals, which were their main workstation displays for the first 1-2 years I attended. They had been phased out by modern raster terminals by the 3rd year or so. And DECwriter terminals, which let you use the computer by seeing all of your typed input and output printed to fanfold green and white computer paper, rather than displayed on a CRT. If nothing else, the DECwriters were good for looking up things in the online help, which you could later reference while using a VT100.

Comment: Re:LOL! (Score 1) 446

by stewartjm (#38979417) Attached to: Tapeheads and the Quiet Return of VHS

Due to noise, actual converters are limited to about 21 bits of dynamic range. 32, and even 64-bit floats can be useful for in memory representations, but provide zero benefit for fixed storage.

For a final mix, properly dithered 44.1kHz, 16-bit will cover everything from a whisper to about as loud as you can listen to without incurring permanent hearing loss. And that includes golden eared humans. No one can ABX between a high quality 16-bit ADC-DAC pair, and a wire, at say 40-90dB recording and listening levels.

At the recording and mixing stages, the extra precision/dynamic range of a "24-bit" recording is useful, mainly to avoid clipping. Along with some slight gains when mixing 10s to hundreds of sources together.

Nominally going 96, instead of 44/48 is the equivalent of having 1 more bit of precision at 44/48. At the cost of doubling the storage required.

You'd really be best off recording at 96kHz/24-bit and then immediately re-sampling to 48kHz/24-bit. You'd have what little extra human hearing range information the 96kHz recording provides, without doubling the storage space.

Of course in reality, the 21-bit converter may perform worse at 96, than it does at 44/48, so you may not gain anything at all. Though, I think, these days, most of the high quality converters can get you 20ish bits at up to 192kHz. But even at 192, you could re-sample back down to 44/48, and keep all the audible precision. You'd have to go up to about 700kHz, while maintaining 21 bits of base recording precision, to be able to capture anything in the human hearing range, beyond what a 44/48 24-bit recording can contain.

These days, there's virtually no difference between 44 and 48 kHz, you can re-sample between the two nearly perfectly with modern computers, and modern(circa 1990s and later) over-sampling converters can do a nearly perfect job with either.

In the late 70s and early 80s, 48kHz, let you get slightly better quality, out of slightly cheaper analog anti-aliasing/reconstruction filters. 48kHz also fit more neatly into some ancient digital tape format. It doesn't really matter which you use these days. Not to mention, it also let component manufacturers, extract more money from professionals by offering a pro model with 4 more kHz.

To sum up, as a storage format, with modern audio hardware, 44.1kHz 24-bit can contain everything that can be captured with a microphone, that is within the human hearing range. 96kHz workflows exist due to marketing, not science.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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