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Comment: Another Annoying Dependency? (Score 4, Insightful) 575

by vadim_t (#48417387) Attached to: Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

You're barking up the wrong tree. I don't think you remember how things were before PulseAudio.

You had /dev/dsp or later /dev/snd. Since the kernel doesn't do sound mixing, they were one user only, unless the soundcard provided mixing. Which a lot of them didn't. So esd, artsd and similar appeared. Running KDE and want sound in the one Gnome app you use? Have fun making esd run against artsd. Want to run an old game or app that only knows about /dev/dsp? Sorry, artsd has it busy. You make it auto-close the device when unused? Unreliable as hell. USB audio? what is that? Certainly no plugging and unplugging support there. For a while dmix was all the rage. Thing is, dmix is implemented in the ALSA libraries, which means it does nothing for you unless your app uses ALSA libraries, so it doesn't help your any with your /dev/dsp using app.

PA was created to solve all this mess. PA basically handles everything and provides interfaces for everything, so finally pretty much all apps can talk whatever protocol they like, and work. And audio can be reconfigured as you plug and unplug devices.

Was it unreliable for a while? Yes. But there is still nothing better. The kernel doesn't mix audio. You need a daemon by design, and you need something PA-like to provide a modern level of functionality. The only way to do without PA is have the kernel implement all that, and as far as I know, the kernel devs don't want it.

Comment: Re:Automatic sliding doors (Score 1) 209

by vadim_t (#48319505) Attached to: What People Want From Smart Homes

I used a rack and pinion driven by a motor with a gearbox, with the hardware installed in the window blinds box. Unlike the linear actuator, there's no position sensing, so it uses limit switches.

I also installed temperature sensors and a RTC chip for scheduling, plus a control box with buttons and a LCD. The brains is an Arduino.

My next step is figuring out the AC's IR protocol, and adding an IR led to make it control the AC. After that, maybe replace the window blinds with motorized ones, and add a light sensor to automatically close them when the sun is shining right into the window.

Comment: Automatic sliding doors (Score 1) 209

by vadim_t (#48313935) Attached to: What People Want From Smart Homes

I think that would be one of the most convenient improvements. If you're carrying something like a plate into another room, doors open in front of you. And automatically closing doors would improve climatization.

Also, automatic windows in hot countries. Where I live it's still hot at the time to go to sleep, but cool during the night. So I rigged my windows to automatically open when outside temperature falls enough. Integrating with the AC is my next project.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the fuss is about. (Score 2) 76

by vadim_t (#48175429) Attached to: Kickstarter Cancels Anonabox Funding Campaign

The problems are:

1. He said it was 100% open source ("The anonabox is an open source embedded networking device designed specifically to run Tor. It's 100% Open Source." on the project's page), and that he was designing the hardware (see the generation 1, 2, etc pics), clearly implying he was developing the hardware.

He clearly lied about that. Is there a problem with a customized small Linux distro running on an existing chinese router? No, there isn't, if you don't lie about it.

2. A quick review proved the software to contain significant security flaws, which makes this guy unsuitable for developing something where security is critical.

I see no problem with buying an off the shelf router with custom firmware from somebody who isn't balantly lying about what I'm paying for, and who actually understands security. This guy isn't either of those things.

Comment: Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (Score 2) 134

by vadim_t (#47863271) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

It's risky of course, but it has its upsides. Eg, here's an ID:

1GFRGRC37baNYgL6JbwrbXft2XjDHskFwf

If you want to buy me a beer, it's easy. No need to exchange personal information, mess with bank transfers, or anything of the sort. I can accept payments without even making any preparation -- install the client, generate the ID, figure out how to get the money later. That's the sort of thing where I think it does great -- allowing the near equivalent of just buying somebody a beer in person, but through the internet.

For large amounts, yes, you better be careful, and be willing to take the risk.

Comment: Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (Score 2) 134

by vadim_t (#47863191) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

Yes, but:

You buy 0.1 BTC at $500/BTC. Later you buy 0.2 BTC at $550/BTC. Later you buy 0.2 BTC at $560/BTC. Your client will say you have 0.5 BTC, but internally there actually are 3 separate accounts that it'll handle transparently. If you pay 0.3 BTC to somebody, it'll have to issue payments from at least two of them.

So, you wait a month, now it's $570/BTC, and sell 0.05 BTC.

My understanding is that it's perfectly possible that your client will decide to source bitcoins from all 3 accounts in some random quantities that add to 0.05. So how much have you gained? Hard to tell, since the standard client won't directly tell you what accounts it used, and doesn't know how much you bought each part of your balance for, it doesn't do banking at all.

Comment: Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (Score 5, Informative) 134

by vadim_t (#47862855) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

I'm not exactly a guru of bitcoin, but I'll summarize as somebody who's tried it recently out of curiosity.

Getting into it is surprisingly difficult. Purchasing bitcoins right now (or before paypal maybe) is pretty hard. Near impossible to find a site that will let you buy with a credit card, because sellers get screwed over with chargebacks.

Mining bitcoin at this point isn't worth it. At all. A high end GPU working 24/7 would get you $10 per month while costing more in power. At this point mining is only profitable to people willing spend a lot of money on very specialized hardware.

Once you have some, it's easy enough to use. But it's an unregulated system, so there is some danger and no safety net. If you're ever going to put serious money into it, be very, very careful. Danger comes both from things like getting hacked, and from that the value fluctuates without any central control.

Tax-wise it seems tricky. It seems (you're nuts if you take advice from a random stranger on this) that it's considered an asset, and if bitcoin gains in value you have to pay tax on that. Up to you to figure out how to keep track of it and do it properly.

As far as working, it does. You can buy stuff with it fine, and the USD/BTC exchange rate is stable enough. If you have cash to spare it might be worth to get some, just in case it increases a lot in value (I doubt paypal would get into it without consulting a bunch of lawyers), but you'd be nuts to put your life savings into it.

Comment: Re:Probably known already (Score 4, Insightful) 114

No, like the [Dual EC DRBG](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_EC_DRBG) controversy.

I love it how people (shills?) keep bringing up DES S-boxes, as if they had anything to do with anything. The thing with DES was in 1975. Almost 40 years ago. Since then the NSA went through 10 directors, and the US through 8 presidents. And most of the staff in high positions died or retired.

It's ridiculous to try to pretend that something nice a completely different NSA did 40 years ago has the slightest relevance to today's completely different environment and politics.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 129

by vadim_t (#46818333) Attached to: Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

Except you get much less zoom and enhace with this thing because you reduce your resolution to 10% of the sensor's capability for the sake of the depth of field control. A 40mp sensor turns into a 4 mp one. A face 100 pixels wide on an image is useful. A face that's 10 pixels wide, rather less so.

For CSI you'd want the near opposite of this camera: high resolution, a small aperture to keep everything at once in focus, focused to infinity, and excellent low ISO performance to compensate for the small aperture.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 4, Insightful) 129

by vadim_t (#46817665) Attached to: Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

- Yes it is $1600 and 4MP. Do you know how much the first DSLRs were with only 1MP? Technology evolves.

The problem is that physics get in the way of resolution increases, and the best modern DSLRs already have a sensor that can out-resolve most lenses.

Which means that a Lytro style camera is going to necessarily sacrifice quality.

You can make a larger sensor, but that costs serious $$$. This thing is in the price range of a full frame camera. If I'm guessing right, to compete in quality with a normal one it'd have to go with a medium format sensor, and those start at around $10K.

- Why do you need interchangeable lenses when you can focus on or apply lens effects on whatever you want after the fact? You would not care about lenses with this kind of technology at all - in fact, the elimination of lenses means this technology could result in large cost savings over the long haul.

Because lenses have nothing to do with focusing? All lenses can focus at all ranges. You can't put a f/1.4 on this for shallower depth of field and better low light performance, or a 10mm wide angle, or a fish eye, or a better telephoto lens, or a tilt/shift for architecture.

It could however be very cool for macro, but oddly enough they don't seem to be hurrying to demonstrate that. Which is a pity -- extreme macro is a huge pain to focus, and that's the one area where this thing could show some promise.

Comment: Meh (Score 4, Insightful) 129

by vadim_t (#46817465) Attached to: Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

It's mostly a solution in search of a problem.

Photographers choose what to focus on very intentionally, it rarely makes sense to focus on anything else. Of course it's possible to misfocus, but in that case it makes no sense to let the user play with it.

It's still going to be low res, because you get a small fraction of the "megarays" the sensor provides. The spec for this camera was 40, IIRC, so it might get around 4MP, which can't really compete with a modern DSLR. While resolution isn't everything, having some margin for cropping and large prints is a very good thing.

The control for the interactive photos is still clunky. I can't find a way to for instance get the whole image in focus, though that should be possible. It does it while changing perspective.

It doesn't fix the other problem that leads to blurriness -- camera shake. It's all well and good to be able to refocus, but most people learn to focus right pretty fast. The problem is with low light environments, and this isn't going to save you if you handhold and shoot at 1/10.

The sample images still looks low res and blurry.

It costs $1600 and doesn't seem to have interchangeable lenses -- what, are they insane?

Overall interesting toy, but doesn't seem to have a practical use.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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