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Tonight: Reactions and reductions of previous Slashdot appearances, including but not limited to: in-dash video gaming for the less upwardly mobile; a CSS descrambler you could scratch as a crib onto the side of your #2 pencil; and more on the engineers vs. scientists brouhaha. Enjoy!

I like the driving game in front of the windshield. Not everyone has the cash or the gumption to outfit his Macintosh with a Pathfinder; for the computationally experimental on a more modest budget, there is an easier way. wing_king writes: "A fellow named Troy Kellogg managed to hack an actual Atari 2600 console into the dashboard of his 1978 Volkswagen. The "AtariMobile" even has controller ports and a screen built right into the dash! The AtariMobile site has some pictures of the unit and some details on its construction. What a way to kill all that time sitting at stoplights."

Please tell me this is only for passengers and while parked, ok? I own one of these micro televisions, and it seems like playing on a screen that size while hunched over the stickshift might constitute more work than this labor-intensive project took in the first place. Wow.

Stir, reduce and simmer, stir in indignation: Aimster has removed the Pig Latin Encoder software from its site. And if that wasn't enough trivial encoding for you ...

If just over 500 bytes still wasn't small enough for your new MPAA-mocking tattoo, note that the famous Content Scramble System most famously De-flated with DeCSS has fallen anew.

PotatoNO writes: "Charles H. Hannum has created an even smaller DeCSS decoder than the perl script posted a few days ago. This one is written in C and takes 442 bytes, beating the perl script by 30 bytes. It's small and in C, so of course it's speedy. Hannum's program can decode in excess of 21.5MBps which is faster than the DVD spec allows for. That means it can actually be used for realtime playback."

Now hold on a goldarned minute there! William Evans, of Clark University's Dept. of Computer Science, took issue with the report Tuesday night in which drhpbaldy wrote: "At the latest ACM meeting, scientists and engineers threw mud at computer scientists for not contributing anything useful."

Wrote Evans in response:

"There seems to be some confusion as to what computer science is, and who computer scientists are. Programmers and other IT workers are not, for the most part, computer scientists--they're programmers and other IT workers. This is by no means disparaging, but simply a delineation based on definition.

Computer scientists study the branch of mathematics dealing with computation.

In the terms of your story, it was perhaps 'computer scientists' throwing mud at 'programmers and other IT professionals.' In actuality, though, it was mud thrown at business executives, and the ages-old indictment of the larger culture of western corporate management."

What medal do you get for 11th? ;) Rathnor writes: "I've spent the last week or so in Vancouver, Canada in the lead up to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World finals. I'm a reserve in the University of NSW Team from Australia. Its been a great week with lots of cool things done for us from IBM and UPE.

The results are officially out and presented: The winners were: St Petersberg State University Second place: Virginia Tech the rest of the standings can be found here. (We made 11th)"

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  • Now it's small enough to use as text wallpaper on your site the same colour as the background. HEY, every person who comes to your site will have DeCSS in their cache.

    Now THAT'S distribution. But, would it be the person who went to your site problem? or only yours? I'd like to see MPAA sue everyone who visits -oh say- /. and watch them try to find out the visitor's list.

    Cavalry Pilot's Reference Page []
  • by Blitherakt! ( 199326 ) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @04:24PM (#360559)
    Next time, I'll try to look for it before I post a reply.

    The reasons were listed in a C|Net article on March 12 of this year. Here's the relevant link [] and the quoted text (it's the second from the last paragraph in the article):

    Napster has contacted some of the people spreading these anti-filter technologies and asked them to stop. Aimster confirmed late Monday that it was taking its Pig Latin system down at Napster's request and had stopped development of a more powerful program for evading the filters that had been dubbed "Scorpion."
    So it looks like the hillarious Pig Latin encoder is no more, as well as their next generation technology. Ah, well...

  • He made it for the steering wheel was the controls, had a little switch to change it back into driving the car. Well, it'd be funny to watch him try to drive anyhow...
  • Please show me one of these PIII 333's you're talking about. I thought the slowest PIII was clocked at 450.
  • The Pig Latin encoder was horrible. They could have easily encrypted the search strings and then decrypted them when they reaced the other clients, but instead, it renamed ALL your files.

    Good idea, horrible execution!

  • From their site it looked like it was running afoul of the DMCA laws, but it didn't give any details.

    I believe the DMCA state dates back to the claim that Napster supposedly (for, IMO, extremely farsical values of supposedly) couldn't attempt to circumvent Aimster's pig-latin scheme without violating the DMCA.

  • I'm an engineer, I had to learn a fair bit of physics and chemistry.

    I have to apply that knowledge as an engineer, especially when I'm doing instrumentation. In my last job I did physics experiments for sensors employing the Kinotex [] technology. I did the experiments, wrote software for performing them, and wrote documents detailing my findings. I also used chemistry knowledge for some of it.

    I am not a physicist, or a chemist, or a computer scientist. I did, however, use the principles of all of those sciences in developing an application.

    Programmers and IT professionals are the same way. They apply the principles of computer science. Your average guy with a bachelor of CS is not a scientist, nor is your average guy with a bachelor of physics. I, too, am not a scientist. We apply the principles, but don't discover them, in general. We may sometimes discover principles, but that's not what we are hired to do.
  • It's not a TV screen, but a computer screen. Big difference.

    Have you ever rented a car with one of those GPS devices? It's quite neat, and is not illegal.

    Then again, those things probably reduce accidents.
  • instead, it renamed ALL your files.

    Well, at least it didn't convert them all to Sony ATRAC! []

  • ever heard of underclocking?

    Actually yes. I have an older Tyan dual LX(66MHz) motherboard in my server. I picked up a pair of P2 350 MHz (100MHz FSB)CPU's for $50 and underclocked them to 233MHz, since the motherboard only supports 333MHz at a 66MHz FSB it was the only way to get them to work. Two 233MHz CPU's is better than one 333MHz CPU. Underclocking is a good thing in some cases.
  • I don't think RR is very consistent with their server policy. We have RR, and the only requirement for us is that any servers we run have to be secure, so script kiddies can't crack into our server and use it to pingflood people. Otherwise they don't care.
  • Look at the picture on his homepage... this guy's nothing but a scofflaw! :-)


  • I'm still on RoadRunner in Newfoundland. By default, they block web and ftp ports.

    However, if you want to run a website, or ftp server, you can simply call them and ask. They announced it on their newsgroup when they started doing it.

    I did immediately, and they capped my upload at 500k. It's a good solution, and the bandwidth has been much better since because the warez-d00dz were capped as well. I'm very happy with the arrangement.
  • CSS is key-based encryption, and guess what, keys are small.

    Yes, but the point is: if the key and algorithm are easy to hand out, and the user has a strong incentive to do so, then it's not secure. So the point stands that CSS is crap.

  • Computer scientists don't really discover principles either, because computer science isn't a science -- it's more of a philosophy, like mathematics.
    Mathematics is a hard science, like physics, chemistry and computer science.
    No one explores an operating system, looking for the intrinsic principles which dictate its behavior. They don't create systems to describe the way computer chips work.
    Do you have a CS degree? This is exactly the sort of thing that is done in Computer Science research. You usually wouldn't study a particular OS but you'd certainly study the design and theory of OS's.
    It isn't physics or chemistry, it is not an empirical science and has little relation to those fields.
    Science != "empirical science". Pure physics and chemistry not empirical at all. You're thinking of biology (and even that's getting less empirical). Empirical means that you don't have a theory - that you're just observing something.
  • i wonder what you'd get if you took all the linux kernel source code and (painstakingly, i admit - it would be a long process) pieced it all together after running it through c2eng.

    don't flame for the random posting of ideas....
  • I remember someone offering to buy me a book after I helped them with a problem. Without blinking, I selected "The Art of Computer Programming," D.E. Knuth. He happily paid (at the time CA$127.50) for all three volumes.
  • For coming 11th you get a silver medal. (The medals are done based on how many problems you solve, but the rankings take into account the time you take to do it, as well as any penalties for incorrect submission)

    I was part of the university of Sydney team (although I'm currently at McGill uni in Montreal as part of an exchange program) We got a bronze medal (4 problems solved) - our last one was submitted 10 minutes before the end of the comp, and we didn't know if it was right or not until the award ceremony.

    It was lots of fun. I thought the most amusing bit was when someone came up with the idea of teaching the IBM face recognition software to recognise the face on the side of a pringles container. Mr Pringles is now a registered user on that IBM demo.

    IBM had lots of cool demos of stuff that they are working on - they were the sponsors of the competition. Unfortunately they don't do that sort of R&D in Australia.

    Oh, and is there something wrong with the fact that on the first night the USyd team played (American) Trivial Pursuit with the Berkeley team for relaxation? :)
  • No, but actually possessing that rod bent at that certain angle is a felony crime in all 50 American states.

    My SO actually convicted a man a year ago for. . . possession of a screwdriver.

  • well, IANAL, but according to that thing of ours called the constitution, states do not have the power to enforce their laws in other states, even if the laws are similar or identical.

    so, if you cross state lines, it becomes a matter for the overarching authority in the land, te federal government--they have the power to handle inter-state issues.

  • The DeCSS lawsuits concern a 40 bit KEY. This KEY is the one licensed to XING as a bus key. It is the one, of over 400, that is being killed on new DVDs as we speak.

    It is what Jon Johansen was accused of stealing by using a WinICE shrouder, and posting on October 6, 1999. The DVD MPAA group (actually not MPAA but the DVD Copy Control Association or "DVD CCA") . Hilariously, due to legal foulups the DVD CCA was not a US group until dec 1999 and has no California, no USA jurisdiction. In fact it is really one extortionist bully at Toshiba Corporation until Dec 1999 (or July 1999 depending on who you believe) hiding behind a few other names listed as partners in the DVD FLLC alliance. The DVD CCA and MPAA are fighting over this one goddamned 40 bit key Jon Johansen distributed. Not the rest of the many many different cracks and decoders and descramblers.

    Just these 40 bits.... nothing else you fools. The rest has little merit. Its not stolen object code, and certainly was not patented.

    Most VOB descramblers, and MPEG-2 DeCss descrambler loops work on **VALIDATED** data files from VALIDATED devices with valid session keys. They sometimes use brute force kracking and and care less about session keys... but they all come from VALIDATED mounted media... and in Livid and other enabling players they all rely on the 40 bit stolen Xing key.

    Validation is a 8 step process and just because Windows, Apple Mac OS, and Linux wipe your butt and usually have the DVD player code do it for you when you access a dvd ususally, does not mean that a solution exists.

    The 8 steps are :

    You can read about it in the huge publicly available INF-8090 Specification (though it is buggy) [INF-8090 v3.6 1999 SFF Committee Information Specification for ATAPI DVD Devices 8090) section 4.7.2].

    all this endless crap on Slashdot every month year after year is discussing what is done AFTER the 8 steps are completed! What idiots every single poster seems to be. Including the fools at Livid apparently, for never revealing more than one dvd key, the Xing key.
    There are no kracks until ALL DEVICE MASTER KEYS ARE DIVULGED!

    True, there are divide and conquer crypto attacks mentioned in Oct 26th 199 at (Frank A. Stevenson), but frank did not provide any keys, and you NEED a key to mount and access a DVD. There is no HACK. There is no slashdot provided links or code. Its all just the Xing key 40 bit reliance, or reliance on Apple and Microsoft to do it for you.

    You need a bus key and player key. The MPAA zeroes out the Xing master key on a special test CD (DVD ROBA buffer has a key wiped). If it fails, then they have proven the key is "stolen" in a player, if the test DVD works with other players using different player keys

    Nobody at Livid, and nobody on slashdot, and nobody on the net HAVE EVER OFFERED another key!!! I have 600 keys, of which only 4 are relevant, but only have one goddamned bus validation key. ONE.

    This crap you idiots keep talking about on slashdot is pure crap and you deserve to have to see that this little post (at level 0, not level +2 like the idiotic post i am responding to) is searchable but probably quickly forgotten despite the time of day of the entry. I post anonymously from cybercafes because thats what real hackers do, I don't give a rats ass about creating a slashdot account just to pretend to be non-anonymnous.

    I don't care that moderators all seem to surf this dying LNUX site at +1 and will never mod this up past 0.

    You can all just keep posting the same bullshit misinformation about DeCSS all you want to week after week.
  • One thing that a couple of people who were there discussed was what sort of relationship there is between going well in these sort of competitions and being a good programmer.

    The competitions require fast, quick hacks, not maintainable solutions. Cut and paste coding works fine.

    For example, one of the problems (H, I think), gave you a network of comparators (two inputs, and two outputs which would return the inputs in sorted order), and asked you if it was a sorting network. (As well as how long the operation took to complete).

    The rumor (which I heard from enough people to believe) was that the Stanford picked n random numbers 5000 times, and simulated the machine. If the simulation showed that the numbers came out sorted for each of these random choices, then their program stated that it was a sorting network. Now the probability that it was not was very very small - I believe their program worked on the first try. And its a clever hack. But its not the sort of thing you'd probably want to do for an open source project.

    Apparently some people got credit for the competition, based on how well they did, and some have solved > 500 past problems (one of the European teams did that - I forget which one, and I heard that secondhand). The more complicated problems can take a lot of time, so thats a lot of effort.

    One other thing is that you can take in any printouts/books/written notes which you want, so if you have them indexed properly then that can be a lot of help. One of the problems was very similar to one which one of the other people on the USyd team has done previously (although it wasn't one that we'd brought with us, unfortunately)

    Also, does anyone who was at the competition know if any team attempted problem D (the trees in the forest problem)? I don't think anyone had before the scoreboard was disabled in the last hour. Was there a nice way to do that (Our team had done almost no computational geometry)?
  • Those were for the IBM Visual java challenge, not the main competition. First prize for the actual comp was US$9000, IIRC.
  • You had an abacus? We had to knock out our own teeth and string them on a piece of hair. While burrowing underground. In the snow. Both ways.
  • I have a degree in computer science... 90% of what I did at university and 90% of what I do now is bang out code.

    where'd you go to school? I'm a Waterloo CS [] guy. I would say code is nowhere near 90% of what I've done (I'm in my fourth year).

    These are the CS courses I've taken:

    • theory of computation (zero programming)
    • algorithms (15% programming)
    • data structures (half programming)
    • scientific computation (33% programming)
    • social implications (zero programming)
    • operating systems (75% programming)
    • concurrency (75% programming)
    • software engineering requirements (zero programming ... some UML)
    • databases (10% programming, plus SQL)
    • law of information technology (zero)
    • intro to CS (60% programming)
    • software abstraction and specification (75% programming)
    • sequential programming (75% programming)
    • digital design (zero)
    • user interfaces (40% programming)

    I think a great quote to describe this subject is "real computer scientist don't use computers."


  • William Evans, of Clark University's Dept. of Computer Science wrote:
    Computer scientists study the branch of mathematics dealing with computation.
    Yeah, just like Engineers study the branch of mathematics dealing with building stuff.

    You would think a guy in an actual Computer Science department would know better. CS is more than just math with computers (at least, it was in the schools I went to...)


  • I was about to mod this post to "funny" until after re-reading it for about ten times, I realised it did NOT say "Employing the 'Kotex []' technology". Maybe I need to finally get some sleep, I've been on coffee for two days now.
  • The MPAA and the companies writing DVD software should freaking HIRE the people hacking on DeCSS. FerChrists sake, this implementation is less than 0.5k, is the goddamn fastest DeCSS decoding algorithm in existence, and is not even fully optimized yet(according to the above mentioned DeCSS gallery []). If they were smart, they'd be hiring these guys, not suing them.

    "People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them"
  • > That's pretty funny. If they had just known a little more theory, they would have known that a comparator network is a sorting network if and only if it correctly sorts all binary strings (i.e., the input alphabet is restricted to two characters). The maximum number of inputs was 12, so that only requires 4096 simulations, instead of 5000.

    Maybe they did, and so their solution was the correct one, and wasn't so funny after all. As I said, it was a rumor that I heard second hand. I certainly didn't know that - our team was a bit weak on the theoretical side. Most of those sort of courses are taught in 4th year for us, which started one week before the competition for one of our team members, and is only next year for the other two. It was the first time USyd had been to the finals, so I think we did reasonably well. I think I saw a couple of teams get H out.

    Note that I didn't say there was no correlation - there obviously is, and I agree that the comps do improve programming skill. But there are good programmers who don't do well in this sort of stuff, and the other way arround as well. The teams that came in the top ten are definately very good programmers. What I was pointing out the the OP was that the fact that the European teams went better than the US teams doesn't necessarily show that American CS graduates can't code.

    For D, thats sort of what we came up with as an idea, but we were worried about the time it may have taken. You have to loop through all the trees until you can't cut any of them down, and if every iteration only enables you to cut down the last one, you have to do this n^2 times as a worst case. (There are shortcurts, but I don't think that they improve thing too much) The maximum number of trees was 100, IIRC, and we weren't told the time limits. Maybe the time limits wren't a problem - we decided to try other questions instead.

    I spent a lot of time on the crossword question - I misread it and missed out on a lot of the edge cases, and never did get it out.
  • You were lucky!

    I and my 14 siblings were so poor we had to write our own TCP/IP stack doing all computations on our fingers and toes. And when our father wanted to compile Linux, we had to exhume our dead grandparents (may they rest in peace) to have enough fingers and toes for the computations! And because I was a slow counter, when dear old dad wanted to play Q3A, they had to kill me, and bring in the local smart kid to count using my fingers and toes!

    [Please note: This and the preceeding posts are best read aloud in an over-the-top British accent]
    D. Fischer
  • Anyone know why the Pig Latin thing was removed from Aimster? From their site it looked like it was running afoul of the DMCA laws, but it didn't give any details.

    Post away! This is your change to earn some karma! :)

  • Not a fair comparison. I, for example, plan to replace Wince with Linux as soon as I can get my hands on an iPaq 3600. That means Microsoft will get another sale, making them look good compared to Palm when in fact I'd rather buy the iPaq empty. Does anyone know how the iPaq sells vs the Jornada? Important question because no Palm or Jornada sales are to Linux buffs, but quite a few iPaq sales are. Any way to estimate the pro-Microsoft skew in the data by the number of downloads from []?

    If I have to buy an OS license I'll never use, I'd rather my money go to Palm, but of course I'd rather not waste my money that way at all.

  • As an engineer and sometime programmer who has studied computer science, and who has worked for applied physicists, I've seen (by strict definition) technicians carry out most of the physics experiments. The people with the actual advanced "applied physics" degrees spent most of their time analyzing the data and concocting ideas for more experiments. These applied physicists still used their knowledge of theory to help guide their experiments, especially when they weren't sure what to expect. On the other hand, the typical programmer probably doesn't know or need to know things like Turing-completeness in his daily travails, unless he's the type to traverse into researchy terrain where one wouldn't know what to expect either.
  • Did anyone notice that the article links to DeCSS? I think that's a violation of the DMCA. Damn. :(TM
  • So.... size matters?

    Seriously though, just because something that decodes CSS can be a small, perhaps trivial, implementation isn't in and of itself an indication of the strength of the encryption scheme. CSS is key-based encryption, and guess what, keys are small. This is like saying: "Gee, all those dead-bolts on your door are pretty puny, all it takes is this tiny little key to open them all!".
  • They didn't post this year's yet, but the problem set for last year's contest is all mathematical and crunchy.

    It's up there, but in PDF [] and word2000 [](?) format.

    Some of it is interesting, with some real world type problems. Although I could see some purists griping.

  • If you take Hannum's code, unwrap
    that macro, and run it through
    c2eng [], you get 92 lines of English.
    Small enough for a t-shirt.
  • Anyone else surprised that U.S. colleges generally considered tops for programming are lagging here? Only 3 of the top 10 are U.S. That's a pretty sad showing.

    I also noticed with some surprise that there are no Finnish schools in the top 10. Considering how involved the Finns are in Open Source and the like, it's interesting. Maybe they're all self-taught.

    So Warsaw University kicked Stanford's and CalTech's butt! Not to mention UCBerkeley's. I guess it's Virginia Tech all the way! They managed to only get beaten by Russians.

  • your sig is wrong

    thats the question

  • The relationship of computer science to software engineering is like the relationship between mathematics and other engineering disciplines. An engineer needs a grounding in mathematics, and mathematicians can come up with stuff that is useful to engineers. But a mathematician is not an engineer, and vice versa.

    Banging out code is not computer science. It's either "software engineering", or "hacking", depending upon how serious you are about it. Unfortunately, most universities don't have a software engineering degree, so people who want to write software get CS degrees instead.

  • I have just heard from a trusted anonymous source that the Virginia Tech team attempted to steal the championship trophy. Apparently, they were jealous about finishing second, so they tried to take matters into their own hands. Here is photographic proof of the team trying to wrestle the trophy away from the director Bill Poucher:

    See for yourself. []

    According the the anonymous source, the team had to be escorted by Vancouver police out of the contest grounds. Stay tuned, details to be forthcoming.
  • ever heard of underclocking? me neither. it's an effective way to waste most of your computing power, so only idiots or people with too much time do it. for more, see here: []

  • Good point, and I'm sure the Linux numbers are small. My point was that you cannot judge OS penetration by hardware sales alone in a market where the OS is bundled with the hardware and the hardware has useful value without the OS. Indeed, it's arguably worth _more_ without the factory installed OS! :-)

  • I also attended the contest, but only placed 34th (well, officially tied for 29th). But it's not surprising that US colleges didn't do so well.

    Have you seen last year's results? I don't think any US teams were in the top ten, so three ain't bad. Besides, you really have to give props to those teams in the top ten. Those guys were incredibly fast.

    The winning team this year is from the same school, and includes some (all?) of the same players from last year's winners, so you know they've got skills in Petersburg. In fact, the past two years both teams from Petersburg were in the top 5. I'd hate to be in that regional competition =)

  • You are kinda half right and half wrong. I guess it all comes down to semantics.

    The question is always asked, "does someone discover mathematics or invent it?" The answer, of course, is that it does not really matter. CS is extremely similar in that regard (and not just the real theoretical (read mathlike) parts) - if I write a new algorithm, did I invent it, or did it always exist and I just happened to find it.

    And yes, disecting an OS is dissimilar to disecting a frog, because indeed, someone made it already. But what is interesting, because software development is modular (libraries call other libraries, etc.) even someone who built a software system doesn't know precisely what is going on at the lowest level, and cannot [precisely] anticipate how all those levels will interact. So there is significant research figuring out why network communication in some OS is slow in practice, etc.

    And people do create systems to see how a chip works - building simulators _after_ the chip exists - so that they may compare actual to expected performance and determine what exactly is going on.

    Of course, on the otherside, where people make the simulators, or test protocols, before the system is built (which constitues a larger fraction of the CS research), they try and refine ideas before the actual implementation. This may seem a lot like pure engineering, but also matches the idea of having an hypothesis (this protocol will reduce bus contention) and proving it, both formally and empirically.
  • Easy enough to say if you have sight in both eyes but what of us pioneers in the computer industry? Some of us did not fare as well. I was driven blind counting all those little binary ones and zeros during the 1950s. Am I to be discarded like so much troll offal? Am I?

    Not that I'm not bitter or anything.

    Yuri Nidyuut, posting under one of my many accounts. I am legion.
  • There is a difference btw. CS and SE, so I agree with you on that regard. But I'll explain why I think a SE should study CS while in school.

    Programming is a skill one must teach oneself. You could listen to hundreds of hours of lectures, and read lots of books, but it requires doing it to learn. Much like driving - you cannot read a car's manual and expect to be able to drive. It requires practice, and experimentation (The first time I sat in the driver's seat I had absolutly no idea how much pressure to apply on the breaks).

    No one can teach that, you must teach yourself. However, CS is something that is much easier learned through books and lectures. In fact, you would not expect someone to sit down and be able to invent it all from scratch (recursion theory, typing systems, data structures).

    However there is a strong relationship - someone who understands CS will be a better programmer. Not to be snobbish, someone who doesn't understand any CS could _not_ be a programmer.

    Once someone has learned CS, they could then study software engineering, which is why many universities now offer SE graduate programs. There is a lot to learn about SE, a lot of which can be learned from books, lectures, but it requires first knowing CS.
  • It's not illegal to possess that rod bent at a certain angle.

    It is illegal to possess that rod bent at a certain angle _while committing a crime_.

    It's a lot like with knives. Nothing illegal about holding one in your hand in your neighbors kitchen (generally), until you reach the point where you are attacking your neighbor with it.
  • Actually, I was surprised that there were so many yankee teams in the top ten. It's be a while (if I remember correctly) since there have been any American teams in the top ten.

    Of course, I wasn't surprised to see Waterloo up there. They've been in the top ten (including at least a couple firsts) for years.

    Hmmm, that sounds kinda cocky. Oh, well.

  • Waterloo, Waterloo, rah rah rah :-)

    2001 #4
    2000 #2
    1999 #1
    1998 #3
    1997 #5
    1996 #3
    1995 #7
    1994 #1
    1993 #7

    We've been in the top 10 every year for the past nine years. MIT only placed ahead of us once. How many people outside of Canada even know we exist?

    Everything is so US-centric.

  • Mathematics is a hard science, like physics, chemistry and computer science.
    Pure physics and chemistry not empirical at all.

    You've got it backwards... "hard" sciences are those that deal with the physical universe; they really only have value if they accurately describe that universe. No matter how esoteric, bizzare or unusual the theories are, they are fundamentally useless if they do not achieve this goal. How well they do so is the yardstick by which scientists measure the success of those theories. In the end, they are empirical sciences - someone fires up a particle accelerator, or spend a a couple of years in a mine waiting for a neutrino to muck up a tank of water, looking for evidence that their theories are correct.

    Mathematics (and computer science, which shares a lot with mathematics) are "pure" sciences. A mathematician or a computer scientist has more in common with a linguist than a physicist or chemist. They study completely artificial constructs. There is no "zero" in the universe; it's an artifical thing, a human concept. You can sit in that damn mine for a million years, and never detect a zero.

    Because mathematics is just so plain damn useful in describing the universe, we tend to forget that it's just a very specialized and highly formalized langauge with an extremely strict set of rules. Think about it - it may be difficult, but you can describe any mathematical concept in English, French, Spanish, or any other human language. What makes one form of notation (math) a science, and the other (written langauge) an art?

  • More Patent Woes Abroad
    Posted by deran9ed []
    March 15, 2001
    from the: well-someone-had-to-poke-fun-at-it-dept

    Campbell Soup (
    NYSE:CPB []), is prepared to sue thousands of script kiddies worldwide for breaking the patents on their product. With the release of "Script Kiddies Soup" (which was direct marketing ploy to attract the younger, cyber generation of the world), lawyers for the Campbell Soup Corporation have denied authorizing anyone to use the replacements of numbers of altered ASCII into existing alphabets, and are looking forward to their days in court.

    "Campbell soup is already a house hold name amongst mothers and on-the-go type families. As Script Kiddies became familiar with our soup which contains a form of "hacker-Ebonics" where E's are 3's, I's are 1's and so on, Script Kiddies have misused our product and must now pay for their actions."

    Following this news, Campbell's has stated that its Script Kiddie Soup will be relaced with Distributed Denials of Soup v.1 which will include #,$,%,@,!, and / within the cans, as well as a MOTD on the inside label. We also are doing an AOL:Keywords spin off for those who aren't really hackers, but enjoy on-line soup-eating actives. They can expect a flood of ad's inside their labels." , Said Dan R. Morris president and chief executive officer

    "DoubleClick is in the midst of providing streaming ads once their patent suit is settled, and we contend that Campbell's will be the leading e-Soup retailer in the world." "But what about security? Just how secure is a can of Script Kiddie soup? If current hacker trends run parrallel with history, we can expect that sooner or later someone will find a buffer overflow and exploit the can for root-access. I would say patches wi ll be out soon to fix the compromising areas." Said JP of antisouponline, a popular main stream security site. Others disagree stating, "it's just a can of soup. Shut up and eat it.

    Officials at the Department of Justice are now asking whether or not to file an anti-trust suit against the Campbell Soup Corporation in attempts to see whether the company is acting in good faith by claiming patents on numbers replaced by letters, and ultimately the alphabet.

    John Ashcroft is appointing a special prosecutor to oversee the case as he vows to spend billions in surplus tax dollars to get to the core of the latest patent war. "We're confident we will uncover the nature of this after the NSA decrypts messages retrieved from current cans of this soup, some of which may invoke proof of terrorism as an agent's child had the word 0s4m4 on his spoon. We will ensure this case is brought to justice." stated Mr. Ashcroft.
    Ok so its a trolling story, but you have to laugh at some of the stuff going on with all this patent and copyright news ;) Bits and pieces for this story was taken from this article []
  • And on what hardware did he measure this speed? If I cross compiled this for my palm pilot, I doubt I'd see these speeds :)
  • Please remember, that the ACM thing is about developing a program rather than a system.

    I work with people in St. petersburg and can testify how good their coding is. Their week points are the engineering side and project management. I guess that is where the western schools could show their forte.

    Without making this into a very different contest, it is difficult to show real software engineering skills though.

  • also remember, commonly* decoding is done by a seperate board, thus not putting the load on the CPU. This however is being done by the processor. *I am aware that there are software decoders, but for my "im smarter than you are" purposes, this just isn't convenient
  • All laws can be divided into two:
    Those thant ban things that are morally wrong.
    Those that ban things that are not morally wrong in order to make it easier to enforce the laws in the first category.

    Most laws fit into the second category.
  • Here at UC Berkeley, a wing of our CS department fits William Evan's definition -- the theory wing. Many of the rest of us are experimental computer scientists, and in fact designing hardware and software is a necessary part of doing our research -- we couldn't just prove theorems and write papers and make significant contributions, we gotta build things too, to show the ideas have merit in practice -- you can only measure something you can run.
  • Even that 21.5Mbps doesn't mean a whole lot if we don't know what machine that speed was obtained on. A low-end pentium 2 getting that sort of speed is impressive, but a dual 1Ghz P3 is another story.

    Any idea what hardware was used to get this speed?
  • The "study [of] the branch of mathematics dealing with computation" is 'computational science', not 'computer science'.

    This is something that seems to be lost on a lot of people. I received my BSc. in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, and it was definately not simply the study of mathematics, although that was a big part of it.

    While I was at the UofC, it seemed that the department was moving more and more towards the 'theoretical' aspects of CompSci, but it still wasn't focusing exclusively on mathematics.

    Just because some mathematician specializing in computation calls himself a 'computer scientist' (to raise some extra funding perhaps?) doesn't make it true.

  • The laws in Florida and Georgia are grey about TV's. My Jetta [] has all the features of this guys car and then some (it runs Linux), yet I've never had any legal trouble. I actually got out of one speeding ticket because FLA Highway Patrol thought it was cool because we both had computers in our cars. Anyway, I agree it's a grey area, but it's not illegal, especially when you minimize the dvd and put the Navigation screen on top. hehe.

  • *siiiiiiiiigh* I can't believe I'm posting this...

    1. The Answer. From H2G2, pages 96 and 97:

    "Alright," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question..."


    "Of Life, the Universe, and Everything..." said Deep Thought.


    "Is..." said Deep Thought, and paused.




    "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majest and calm.

    ... From further down page 97:

    "Exactly!" said Deep Thought. "So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."

    2. The Question.

    From Restaurant at the End of the Universe, page 136:

    "...what do you get if you multiply six by ... N, I, N, E, ... six by nine..."

    --- reverend lola
    the titanium sheep
  • Except that they would never be able to trust them. It's sort of like hiring the fox to guard the henhouse. Since these guys would be the experts, the industry and its minions would never know for sure that they hadn't secretly sabotaged the project, by intentionally leaving in a subtle flaw or even a well-hidden back door. And since these guys have already shown a willingness to break the industry's crypto systems (and publish it), they might be tempted to do something like this.
  • Guys, do you realize that dudes running that website on his roadrunner connection?
    1. its against their EULA to do that
    2. slow upload, it was slashdotted before you even posted it.

    I fell sorry for him, he'll probably get kicked off, or have one heck of a bill.
  • In Oregon it's considered distracted driving, regardless of TV, cell phone, map, hot coffee, nail polish etc. If involved in a fender bender or pulled over, the fines increase. I just don't understand how they get away with putting up TV video billboards at busy intersections. It should be illegal. We have enough active distractions already.
  • Please! You respond to every single fucking post milliseconds after it hits. You quote from your own site like anyone reads it. Banality, they name is deran9ed. You or your wife or whoever you are this week, try every OTHER post for a while. Or take a day off. Do it for the children.
  • by kreyg ( 103130 ) <<kreyg> <at> <>> on Thursday March 15, 2001 @03:58PM (#360623) Homepage
    Isn't that kind of like saying people who actually perform physics experiments are not physicists? That only theoretical physicists are really physicists?

    I have a degree in computer science... 90% of what I did at university and 90% of what I do now is bang out code.

    Theory is important, I would even say the cornerstone, of everything we do, but there's more to it than that...
  • What if a program could be written in few enough bytes - maybe even create a new language specifically for the task, how hard could it be? - and also make a web page that randomly generates code until it matches. You couldn't be busted for passing on circumvention technology, since the program would be randomly generated along with many other possibilities.
  • So are tinted windows (at least in CO) but look how many cars have them.

    So many laws - so many interpretations. Most new R.V.'s nowdays have a monitor for the backup camera. So a monitor is not illegal.

    Besides in 2006 no TV will fall under the law

  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's 21.5M*B*/s. Since only half the blocks can be scrambled, that's equivalent to 43MB/s of MPEG stream, or ~32x maximum DVD bit rate. Also, there's a new version that's only 434 bytes! - the author of the code, who can't remember his damn password
  • Well, problem I was the one that our team submitted with 10 minutes to go, that we ended up getting right. We weren't sure what happened if blocks started up on the bottom of the grid (do they vanish? before or after the next move? Do they count as turns?) so we just submitted it anyway.

    You're probably right for D. But there were plenty of other problems to try :)

    The first test I noticed. The real problem was that given a set of words: AB, CD, AC, BD, then the following was valid (I think)

    ->AB ->AC
    ->CD ->BD

    All the maximal strings more than one character are in the input list. It gets more complicated if you have a 3x3 array like that, because then you can't check to prune after attemptying to allocate each slot - if you allocate line one then line two it will never be right, but if you do line 1 then line 3 then line 2 it may be. So you run into time problems.

    Talking to other teams afterwards, I think they were that picky. I had handled:


    with words ABCD and CD, and checked for adjacent words, but not the other case.

    I misread the instructions, and spent too long trying to work out what case I had missed before I reliased what it meant. My clarification came back "No comment", which hinted that I was right, but I would have had to rewrite bits of my algorithm to get it working, and we were running out of time.
  • i've been trying to post an indent->c2html version of the code for 10 minetes now, but i keep getting..

    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted.

    Reason: Junk character post.


    Streamripper []

  • Um, 21.5Mbps is pathetic for a DeCSS routine

    You obviously didn't notice that it said "in excess of 21.5Mbs". Besides that, it wasn't made for performance in the first place (you obviously missed that as well).

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • We apply the principles, but don't discover them, in general.
    Computer scientists don't really discover principles either, because computer science isn't a science -- it's more of a philosophy, like mathematics.

    No one explores an operating system, looking for the intrinsic principles which dictate its behavior. They don't create systems to describe the way computer chips work. And when they are done, they don't formulate ways to confirm their hypothesis through experimentation.

    They already know how the operating system works, and why -- because someone made it work that way, just like the hardware. It isn't physics or chemistry, it is not an empirical science and has little relation to those fields.

    Computer scientists try to work out how we should do things, not how things are. That's exactly the same sorts of decisions that any thoughtful programmer is doing every day on the job. The programmer just has a narrower focus.

  • You create a lock that is so primitive, all you need to do is push in a little with a coat hanger, or an awl, and it unlocks.

    Do you ban awls, or coat hangers?

    How about if it requires an rod of metal, bent a single time, to a certain angle.

    Do we ban rods of metal? Or the knowledge of that little angle?
  • by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:57PM (#360632) Homepage
    I love this.

    The MPAA has been pretty successful in repressing the distribution of DeCSS, viewing it as a threat to movie industry copyright - and movie industry profits.

    In what way have they been pretty successful? Short of "Hello World", it's probably the most widely distributed short piece of code on the entire net. And this new version just goes to show how amazingly ineffective they've been.


  • However there is a strong relationship - someone who understands CS will be a better programmer. Not to be snobbish, someone who doesn't understand any CS could _not_ be a programmer.

    Agreed. Where you find dissention is in how much CS is needed to be a "good" programmer. Some assert that only a pure computer scientist who has spent years studying theory can write worthwhile code. Others argue that CS is overhyped, overblown, and overemphasized, and that you only need a basic understanding of CS to write good code.

    The one end is like insisting that every engineer have a PhD in physics before they're allowed to do anything. The other insists that knowing f=ma is enough to get by, and you can pick up the rest as you go along. Somewhere in between the two extremes is a point where the minimum amount of education produces the maximum amount of effect. When we understand (or even have an inkling) of where that point is, then software development will have a chance to become a real engineering discipline.

  • If you're generating strictly random 500-byte long data, you've got 2**8(500) == 2^4000 combinations. That's a huge number- echo 2^4000 | bc if you don't believe me.

    Now, granted, these aren't all valid C- in fact, the vast majority won't even contain the string "main(" - but you should get the point, the whole concept of generating any intelligence from random data of substantial length; it's crazy. You'll literally be generating and testing random 500-byte long snippets for quite awhile! Unless, of course, you cheat- and your data isn't very random at all :)

  • by the_quark ( 101253 ) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @07:09PM (#360635) Homepage
    There's another interesting point - it really seems to me that the competition to bum a few characters from DeCSS is arguably art. I'd say that the coders involved in this are involved in an artistic endeavor, and even could be considered to be making a political statement about how stupid the DMCA is on these matters.
  • One thing that has been done is to write decss in a C-like language, for which there exists no compiler.
    It's trivial to convert it to real C, but technically it can't be converted directly to object code. Which shows how much bullshit the whole 'source is not free speech' argument actually is.

  • Er, don't these guys know the definition of science? If you don't use scientific method, then (from a scientist's point of view, anyway), it's not science.

    They said:
    "Computer scientists study the branch of mathematics dealing with computation."

    Mathematics is not science. What most computer programmers do (write code, run it to see if it works, and edit it until it appears to work) is a lot closer to science than the study of computational mathematics, to which they're referring.

    I'm not saying it's better, far from it, but it's more of a science.

    Personally, I prefer mathematical proofs that my program is going to work instead of scientific evidence that it did work in some cases, but I'm too damn lazy to ever actually prove correctness in my code.

    Just picking nits.
  • css-auth.c contains 6856 bytes of text devoted to building several tables used in the CSS decoding.

    Those tables look a little like this:

    static byte Table0[] = {
    0xB7, 0xF4, 0x82, 0x57, 0xDA, 0x4D, 0xDB, 0xE2,
    0x2F, 0x52, 0x1A, 0xA8, 0x68, 0x5A, 0x8A, 0xFF,
    0xFB, 0x0E, 0x6D, 0x35, 0xF7, 0x5C, 0x76, 0x12,

    I'm too lazy and not skilled enough of a programmer to completely understand the way the DeCSS (css-auth.c) code works. So I was wondering if anybody could enlighten me (or give me a URL to study) as to how Charles H. Hannum's 442-byte program is able to accomplish the same task as was previously bloated by the inclusion of those tables.

    Does the program functionally regenerate the tables? Or is it something else?

  • The St. Petersburg Times [] (an English, biweekly paper, published in St. Petersburg, Russia, has an article [] about winning the the competition.

    I quote a student and team coach from the article:

    "A large part of their talent was due to very good basic mathematical knowledge given in school," Alexeyev said. "That is one of the strongest points of Russian education. Michigan University, for instance, may have stronger technical facilities, but the smartest guys come from Russia."

    What does this mean in reality. Well they very good mathematicians, but unfortunately they learn very little about non-computer related stuff during their education. Their current business education is one acedamic hour per week for just one semester.

    Eventually, this will be fixed, (I would guess about five years or so) but not for some time, as education in Russia will not be the fastest to modernise. However, there are some excellent software houses there and they, at least, seem to know something about s/w engineering and running a business.

    Oh, yes, I speak about this because I have been working with programmers in St. Pete as well as small and medium sized technology companies. Also, the Mrs, used to help run some educational aid programmes there for Soros.

  • No. It is illegal if a * jury says it is.*

    However, it is * possesion * of burglery tools that is illegal. USING them is a seperate crime.

    The police may charge you with possesion of a burglery tool just for having the bent rod on your person.

    In the case my SO sat on the accused had commited a crime. A crime during which he * stole * a screwdriver. The screwdriver was not used in the commision of the crime, it was part of the "take."

    Even the prosocution stipulated that the screwdriver was NOT used criminally.

    That man is now in jail for possession of a burglery tool.

    One more time. *Possession* of a burglery tool is a crime by written code. You may be arrested for such possession if the police officer *believes* whatever object you possess is a burglery tool, and if a jury agrees with him, it IS a burglery tool, and you are a guilty.

  • where'd you go to school

    University of Calgary. I only really took a couple of courses that would fit into the "pure theory" category - "Computability" (theory of computation) and an algorithms course.

    For the rest, I guess it depends on how you want to look at it - assignments were almost exclusively an actual implementation, but that doesn't mean that 90% of your time wasn't spent absorbing theory... That, and I was programming long before I got to university because that's just what I love to do, so I did much more programming outside of my assignments than in them, so I WAS actually programming 90% of the time, not that it was because of the course content. :-)

    Mostly I figure the whole argument is just semantics though anyway - if you're applying principles of furthering knowledge, then whether the equipment is a pencil and paper or a Cray, it's still science.

    In defence of the original article, I would say that Computer Scientists can be programmers, but not all programmers are Computer Scientists, and the "dot com" incident (for lack of a better phrase) probably generated a lot of the latter.

    On a related note, not directed to you personally, how the hell is my original post flamebait? That's the second time today I've been modded down for being relevant and on topic. Sheesh.
  • Argh!! You're both wrong. Math is not science.

    Remember scientific method? Form a hypothesis, plan an experiment to validate or invalidate the hypothesis, perform the experiment, record the results?

    Math uses none of these. In math you either make up axioms or you manipulate axioms. Everything you can do in math can be done typographically, otherwise it's not math. If we actually knew the most basic laws of physics in their true form, we could do physics as mathematics. We don't, so we experiment to get better representations of them.

    If argument by logic doesn't work, I'll try argument by authority. Richard Feynmann says in his Physics Lectures "Mathematics is not a science." It doesn't get much clearer than that.
  • why is this at 0?
    mod up please.
  • It's not illegal to possess that rod bent at a certain angle.

    It is illegal to possess that rod bent at a certain angle _while committing a crime_.

    In many states and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to possess lockpicks, even if you never use them. I guess you could say they are illegal circumvention devices.


  • Well, after reviewing all of the articles, I disagree with the distinction less. I think my point was a) I'm a programmer by trade but b) I'm a Computer Science graduate, so the two aren't mutually exclusive.

    On the other hand, the "dot com incident" (I think I'll start using that phrase exclusively now, it's slightly catchy and vaguely derogatory :-) probably generated /attracted many talentless hacks calling themselves programmers / computer scientists. Although Evans says his comment isn't disparaging, my interpretation certainly is - a talented programmer IS a computer scientist, and untalented one is not.

    OK, now THIS was flamebait. My previous message was not. &ltshrug&gt
  • by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @03:23PM (#360646) Homepage Journal
    A fellow named Troy Kellogg managed to hack an actual Atari 2600 console into the dashboard of his 1978 Volkswagen.

    Luxury. I had to solder my VIC-20 to the front of my 3-speed. I carry around the car battery that powers it on my back. When the acid leaks, it hurts. But at least I have my email.

  • Nice idea, but I hope this guy doesn't get arrested for speeding or something. The police would see this. It's illegal for a driver to be able to see a TV screen in a car. Not even with the mirrors.

    Nice idea tough, so next time I'm trying a stunt with my car, I can try it first in a game to see if it's possible. ;-)

    "The answer to the Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is... 42"
  • >I had to carry my abacus in my teeth while crawling on broken glass. Uphill.

    Both ways... in the snow...
  • What else, the text of beowulf.

    Yuk, yuk, yuk.
  • This kind of thing *really* pisses me off. A screwdriver is not a buglary tool, and calling it one doesn't make it so, any more than calling a tail a leg gives cows 5 legs. Anyone saying otherwise is wrong.

    It appears to me that this guy commited a burglary, but there wasn't enough evidence, or whatever, to convict him. So they picked a convenient crime to which almost everyone in america is guilty of, and use that to "nail him". That is wrong. It shouldn't be allowed to happen, and everybody who helped make it possible (the prosecuting lawyer, judge, jury, and potentially police officers) all acted in an unethical and unprofessional manner. IMO, This guy should be relesed and preferably, all those people should have to apologize to him.

    If you can't get enough evidence to convict someone of burglary, they shouldn't be convicted. It is as simple as that. Anything else undermines the "innocent unless proven guilty" concept on which a large portion of our constitutional freedoms are based.

    Next thing you know, people doing perfectly legal things that aren't approved of by big brother/big business will be convicted of these crimes, and we will be one step further to becoming a police state.

    A lot of people will think I am overreacting, but I really believe this is bad. It happend in the 1950's, and it could happen again.

  • Underclocking is also very useful in embedded systems where power or heat are serious problems. If you are lucky, you can take a coppermine CPU, underclock it a lot, and put on a big passive heat sink, and still not over heat. This might be important if you are making a MP3 player for your stereo and you don't want fan noise.

    I haven't tried this yet, so I don't actually know if you can do that, but it should be possible.
  • I think the main point of having a really short algorithm is that it would be easy to memorize it, put it on T-shirts, and otherwise distribute it in so many ways that the MPAA will drive themselves crazy trying to stomp it out.

    However, I think what would be more useful than the ultra-short C version would be the shortest readable version. That would be easier to understand, and easier to memorize.

    That way, if ever dragged into court, you could tell the judge "My brain is an illegal circumvention device. So what are you going to do, put me in jail for knowing something?"


    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • This is exactly the sort of thing that is done in Computer Science research. You usually wouldn't study a particular OS but you'd certainly study the design and theory of OS's.
    Study and research are very different things. Study is what you do as a student, not as a researcher. It's like in a physics class when you do experiments confirming Newtons equations. That's study, but it sure isn't research.

    Pure physics and chemistry not empirical at all.
    Quite the contrary. If it's connected to reality, it's empirical. Theories that have nothing to do with reality have no part in physics or chemistry. That's math. Would a chemist -- even a "pure" chemist -- care about something without a connection to reality? They postulate lots of things that are new and novel -- but only novel insofar as they describe the world in a different way. They are never really interested in postulating about imaginary worlds. Mathematicians, on the other hand, love to do that. Heck, that's practically all they do anymore.

    Computer scientists are somewhere in the middle, I suppose. They imagine alternate worlds and novel systems, but then they make that concerete through implementation. Then they study some of how those implementations work. But there's very little to study that simple exists as is the case with the empirical sciences.

  • I'm too lazy and not skilled enough of a programmer to completely understand the way the DeCSS (css-auth.c) code works. So I was wondering if anybody could enlighten me (or give me a URL to study) as to how Charles H. Hannum's 442-byte program is able to accomplish the same task as was previously bloated by the inclusion of those tables.

    OK, it goes like this:
    1. All but one of the tables are used in applying your licensed PLAYER KEY (like the Xing key stolen by DeCSS) to each of the DISK KEYS. Unless the DVD-CCA have revoked your license, there will be a disk key that can be decrypted by your player key. This decrypted disk key can then decrypt the TITLE KEY which locks each particular file.
    2. One of the tables is used to reverse the order of bits in a byte, eg table[01100001] = 10000110. This is used in the scrambling.
    These mini decoders take the title key as input, they only then do the descrambling, which is quite easy. They don't handle the hard part, which is getting the title key. The bit-reversing table is 'functionally regenerated'.

    Some of the tables used in the decoding process really required: one of them is a specific substitution cipher from the CSS specification. Those numbers are not generated by an algorithim, they are a list of 256 different substitutions specified by humans and cannot be expressed more efficiently than a full list of them in table form.
  • There are no kracks until ALL DEVICE MASTER KEYS ARE DIVULGED!

    A master key is simply any 40 bits that can decrypt a specific disc key. You can brute-force a master key for each disc key on the disc. You can buy every DVD on the planet and build a repository of player keys that work on them, if you wanted. So shut up.

    Your firm grasp of the facts, subtle and intentional errors, incessant rambling and criticism of everyone who might look at your comment are hallmarks of trolling. Better luck next time.
  • Are you sure with your facts? I mean 21.5 Mbps is damn lot for a _packed_ stream.. it's DeCSS:d _before_ its unmpegged..

  • VIC-20? 3-speed? Those are for pussies.

    I had to carry my abacus in my teeth while crawling on broken glass. Uphill.

    But you tell that to the kids today, and they won't believe you.


System checkpoint complete.