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Comment: Re:Good news (Score 2) 418

by RedWizzard (#48890181) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

Titanic and Avatar had better visuals than Serenity, to be sure, and Titanic had some good performances. I thought Avatar was a bucket of problems and flaws with some pretty colors, but really there's few of it's many, mnay flaws that I'm blame on a director.

That's hardly surprising. Titanic had 5 times the budget of Serenity and Avatar's was even larger. I was at least as impressed with the visuals in The Avengers as I was with Titanic and Firefly was extremely impressive visually for a TV show of that period.

It's quite hard to separate Cameron's direction of Avatar from his other roles of writer, editor, and producer. When a scene didn't work was it badly directed? Or badly edited? Or just poorly written? It's hard to tell. A perfectly well written scene can be ruined with poor direction and even if well written and directed it can be butchered by poor editing. In the end it doesn't actually matter because ultimately the bad result was the product of the same man's creative failure. As you say Cameron wouldn't simply direct a Star Wars movie. Whedon would probably not stick to directing either but I have rather more confidence in his ability to produce something good.

+ - Slashdot poll: Best cube 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "1. Rubik Cube
2. The Cube (movie)
3. Tardis Siege Mode
4. Lament Configuration
5. Weighted Companion Cube
6. Borg Cube
7. The Inhibitors (Revelation Space)
8. Icecube"

Comment: Line printers (Score 3, Interesting) 790

by Phil Karn (#48785225) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?
Others have already mentioned the dot-matrix printer, but there was a big one before that: the high speed line printer. They were too expensive for individuals, but they certainly were a familiar sound to 1970s programming students like me.

There were two main types: the drum printer and the chain printer. The drum printer was cheaper and therefore much more common. The drum, which contained all the characters in a given font, rotated once for each row printed. An entire row was printed simultaneously; a separate solenoid-driven hammer in each column fired at the right instant to print the desired character in that column. You could easily tell from across the room whether your program had failed to compile or if execution ended with a core (!) dump. The burst pages between jobs had their own highly characteristic sound.

A related sound is that of ripping fanfold line printer paper to separate jobs. Who uses any kind of fanfold paper these days? Or even paper...?

Oh, and let's not forget the sound of the Hollerith (IBM punch card) reader...

Comment: Re:IMO, it trends whichever way the wind blows.... (Score 1) 294

Even Google embraced the open floor-plan concept,

I think that the difference is that Google seems to do it correctly. I've worked in both Google offices and in other companies that did "open floor-plan", and I noticed a few things that Google does right:

  • It's open within small groups (~12-15) of desks with higher walls separating the groups. This generally means that you have a team sitting together with open communication and you don't have to worry about noise/distractions from other teams.
  • They have meeting rooms of various sizes, from non-bookable phone rooms (often used for personal calls) up to larger meeting rooms. People are encouraged to grab a meeting room if they're having an in-depth discussion with multiple folks.
  • Common areas (kitchen, cafeteria) are separated from work areas. This means that visual/auditory/olfactory distractions from those areas are minimized, while still providing a place for people to get together and chat informally.
  • There are quiet areas for people to focus. Most office have quieter "library" style areas, as well as "wellness" rooms with comfortable chairs/dimmable lighting. I have migraine issues, so the wellness areas were invaluable to me.

Comment: Are they still down? (Score 4, Insightful) 360

by Phil Karn (#48657641) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down
Is NK still off the net? About a half hour ago I had no trouble reaching the sites www.kcna.kp - 175.45.177.74 / 175.45.176.71 naenara.com.kp - 175.45.176.67 / 175.45.177.77 According to https://www.northkoreatech.org..., both sites are physically hosted inside North Korea. I see that both are in the 175.45.176.0/22 block that whois says is assigned to North Korea, and traceroute shows an extra latency (satellite hop?) for that network past China. Is that their only net block? A /22 is 1024 addresses, which I keep hearing is the total number for the entire country.

Comment: Re:How can you screw up a power cord? (Score 1) 71

by Phil Karn (#48580039) Attached to: Lenovo Recalls LS-15 Power Cords
It's a little hard to believe it's insulation degradation despite that .au recalls website entry. When insulation degrades, you tend to get short circuits that trip circuit breakers rather rapidly. It seems more likely to be an undersized or underprotected conductor, e.g., a multistrand conductor in which flexing from improper strain relief can break most of the strands, increasing the local series resistance and heat dissipation and possibly leading to a complete conductor failure with series arcing. Only an arc-fault protector would trip on a failure like this, and those breakers are still uncommon in the US even though they're required in much new construction. It would also seem that cord failures would be more likely in North America, Japan and other 100-120V countries because a universal switching supply producing a given amount of power will require twice the line current draw and produce 4x the heat dissipation (I^2 R) in a high resistance section of cord as it would in a country with a 230-240V supply voltage.

+ - Comcast Forgets To Delete Revealing Note From Blog Post

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today, Comcast published a blog post to criticize the newly announced coalition opposing its merger with Time Warner Cable and to cheer about the FCC’s decision to restart the “shot clock” on that deal. But someone at Kabletown is probably getting a stern talking-to right now, after an accidental nugget of honesty made its way into that post. Comcast posted to their corporate blog today about the merger review process, reminding everyone why they think it will be so awesome and pointing to the pro-merger comments that have come in to the FCC. But they also left something else in. Near the end, the blog post reads, “Comcast and Time Warner Cable do not currently compete for customers anywhere in America. That means that if the proposed transaction goes through, consumers will not lose a choice of cable companies. Consumers will not lose a choice of broadband providers. And not a single market will see a reduction in competition. Those are simply the facts.” The first version of the blog post, which was also sent out in an e-mail blast, then continues: “We are still working with a vendor to analyze the FCC spreadsheet but in case it shows that there are any consumers in census blocks that may lose a broadband choice, want to make sure these sentences are more nuanced.” After that strange little note, the blog post carries on in praise of competition, saying, “There is a reason we want to provide our customers with better service, faster speeds, and a diverse choice of programming: we don’t want to lose them.”"

+ - What Does The NSA Think Of Cryptographers? ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "A recently declassified NSA house magazine, CryptoLog, reveals some interesting attitudes between the redactions. What is the NSA take on cryptography?
The article of interest is a report of a trip to the 1992 EuroCrypt conference by an NSA cryptographer whose name is redacted.We all get a little bored having to sit though presentations that are off topic, boring or even down right silly but we generally don't write our opinions down. In this case the criticisms are cutting and they reveal a lot about the attitude of the NSA cryptographers. You need to keep in mind as you read that this is intended for the NSA crypto community and as such the writer would have felt at home with what was being written.
Take for example:
Three of the last four sessions were of no value whatever, and indeed there was almost nothing at Eurocrypt to interest us (this is good news!). The scholarship was actually extremely good; it’s just that the directions which external cryptologic researchers have taken are remarkably far from our own lines of interest.
It seems that back in 1992 academic cryptographers were working on things that the NSA didn't consider of any importance. Could things be the same now?
The gulf between the two camps couldn't be better expressed than:
The conference again offered an interesting view into the thought processes of the world’s leading “cryptologists.” It is indeed remarkable how far the Agency has strayed from the True Path.
The ironic comment is clearly suggesting that the NSA is on the "true path" whatever that might be.
Clearly the gap between the NSA and the academic crypto community is probably as wide today with the different approaches to the problem being driven by what each wants to achieve. It is worth reading the rest of the article."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Moving is always an option (Score 1) 405

by gowen (#48380129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

"When I ask my other tech friends what they would do, they simply suggest changing ISPs. Nobody likes Comcast, but I don't have a choice here. I'm two years into a three-year contract. So, moving is not an option"

Moving is always an option. But you have to eat the cost of one year of Comcast. Sorry, but that's your solution.

Comment: Re:Sounds like what Sun did (Score 1) 525

You seem to think that realeasing something as Open Source magically causes it to run well on all platforms. It takes work to port the code to different platforms and a commitment to mainaining and reression testing the stack on all those platforms. You need to provide motive to do all that, which is never going to happen. The people who are qualified to develop on and for Linux won't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Comment: Re:LMFAO (Score 1) 139

by Phil Karn (#48291031) Attached to: World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK
Because of inherent drift, inertial navigation is inherently suited only to fast vehicles that get to where they're going in just a few minutes or hours, e.g., planes and missiles. Cargo ships do not qualify. It is best combined with GPS to "flywheel" through outages (e.g., vehicles in tunnels) and so it can be automatically recalibrated whenever GPS is available.

Besides LORAN-C, there used to be another low frequency radio navigation system even better suited for global shipping: Omega. It operated on even lower frequencies, in the 10-14 kHz (yes, kHz) range, and had worldwide reach unlike LORAN-C which was only regional. It was shut down in 1997.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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