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Comment Re:Price Point (Score 4, Informative) 82

You're wrong, but it's not your fault since the article Slashdot used is extremely short on information so you simply made an assumption based on existing information.

The original $500 Analogue Nt is indeed based on NES chips recovered from used Famicom (Japanese NES) consoles. However the $450 "mini" version announced does not include any NES components and is instead based around the Altera Cyclone V, a FPGA (field-programmable gate array) chip. This is essentially emulation in hardware. But a FPGA can't perfectly replicate the timings and quirks of the original Ricoh 2A03 that powered the NES and the maker seems to acknowledge this in the fact that the mini version adds user deployed firmware (revised FPGA code) updates.

This makes their approach not much different from software emulators, patching away emulation inconsistencies as they are found by end users. The only difference is the software emulators have had a mostly open source approach and 20 years of incremental improvements to get the NES library right, while this will be a closed source effort by a small company with an entirely different approach to emulating the NES, requiring that they basically start from scratch. And at $450 per unit they may have a limited number of testers.

Comment Re:Uhhh nope.... (Score 5, Informative) 165

As an owner of a 5280 (including the insane for the time 80mb ram configuration) I know exactly how a lazy reading could lead to a 16MB "harddrive". Like most laptops of the time the 5280 didn't have a SO-DIMM like standardized slots and so the ram was soldered right on the motherboard. The biggest configuration was the 16MB model, hence "up to" 16MB. But there was a way to get more ram after purchase - a proprietary 5280 daughterboard screwed in behind the rear port cover could add additional ram (largest daughterboard had 64MB) for a total of 80MB when combined with the top range model.

Also the 1.3GB HD configuration was only at release. Larger harddrives where available later on (I've got a 2.1GB) since the HD was the only thing not proprietary to the 5280 and so it could be easily updated without engineering new parts (HD is right between the two multibays and can be exposed without tools).

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 53

But yet the Russians didn't develop the Buran under the idea that it would be some sort of cost effective space taxi like the shuttle was sold to the American people as. The Buran (as revealed in the 2000s from soviet archives) was developed solely to avoid a "missile gap" situation with the US.

When the shuttle was announced the Soviets shrugged their shoulders, they already had something cost effective and didn't see the benefit of such a vehicle for them. When the size of the cargo hold was announced they raised an eyebrow. But when the wing specs where revealed there was no longer any question that the shuttle was also intended for some very dangerous military applications, up to and probably including the covert testing of weapons in space in such a way that the Soviets wouldn't know the Outer Space Treaty was being broken until it was too late and there was a proven killsat over Moscow.

Of course most of their suspicions where true. The DoD was responsible for the crazy shuttle modifications that killed its original benefits in favor of it being useful to the military to perform single orbit covert missions. But then the US military changed their mind after it was built and NASA was left holding the bag (and 7 members of STS-107 died for a never used 1000 mile cross range capability).

Comment Re:Hello (Score 1) 147

Using this setting is more then just removing a button. WebRTC allows a number of privileged network commands to be run (with very poor protection against misuse), including one that can be exploited to enumerate of all your network end points. That means a web page can see your internal network addresses (for example your intranet IP address and any secondary or virtual interfaces). This can even reach behind a VPN or TOR connection, defeating just about any IP privacy guard.

If you have WebRTC enabled (it is by default in Chrome and FireFox) you can visit this demo by Daniel Roesler which runs some WebRTC code to get your IP address(es). If you are on a VPN you'll notice that it can sniff your real IP address, and if you have multiple network connectors (such as if you run developer virtual machines or servers) you'll see those segments too.

Comment Re:Will it run Linux? (Score 1) 182

As long as you can get drivers you should be able to. It's an x86 rather then ARM based so Microsoft does require the BIOS to support both secure and unsecure booting. If HP hasn't provided a special button press to get into the BIOS during startup (like holding down F1 or DEL, or Volume + like on the Surface) you can get there from Windows now. Boot into Windows 8 and then use Recovery from the start menu to reboot the system into Advanced Recovery mode (sort of a graphical version of the old text menu where you could choose from options like command prompt or boot in safe mode). From the new graphical recovery console you'll need to go into the advanced options under trouble shooting and select UEFI Firmware Settings. That will get you into the tablet's BIOS where you can disable secure boot (several distros do support secure boot but honestly it's just easier to disable it so you can throw on anything). The same recovery console can also be used to override the boot device if you have any issues getting the tablet to boot from a USB stick or external DVD drive.

Comment Re:You'll want either AT&T or T-Mobile. (Score 5, Informative) 146

If you are only going to use it in Canada either 7-Eleven's "Speakout" or Petro Canada Gas Station's "Petro Canada Mobility" provide a cheap way of getting onto Roger's Canada wide network without any of the restrictions they slap on their in-house brands Chatr and Fido. There used to be a nice cheap way to get data but since they starting offering Android phones you'll get the same insane fee (10$ for 100mb) as the other Canadian carriers but without any unlimited option. SIM cards are $5-$15 dollars depending on current promotions and you can purchase a SIM card, airtime or phone over the counter in 30 seconds (just make sure you say clearly which provider you want airtime for, these are gas station/convience store clerks, not telecom pros). Speakout tends to be slightly cheaper/better package deals but 7-Eleven locations in Canada are few and far between.

I'll agree that Wind does offer a good deal if you want to go outside of Canada, not just in the US but their roaming rates are far more competitive then other Canadian carriers.

But you might want to look into what roaming rates you can get from a carrier in your own country first, they might be better.

Comment Re:But... (Score 3, Informative) 136

Yes, all 3 generations of Pro can have security turned off in the BIOS to allow a Linux install. But running Linux and actually doing anything aren't the same, there aren't properly configured drivers for a lot of things (as can be common for laptops). Even on the Windows side drivers initially held back the SP1 because Wacom hadn't released a compatible binary. The SP3 uses N-trig for the pen so it might be easier to get working but the Wifi, Bluetooth and even the advanced touch covers have all proven difficult to get working drivers on the SP2 and the hardware seems to be mostly the same in the SP3. You may find yourself with a screen and a USB port and not much else.

Comment Re:Tax filing (Score 1) 50

Canadians can still file by mail just fine. The difference is in timing - if you file by mail it will take the longest to get a refund if you had one coming. If you file online you'll get it faster, and if you file it online and have signed up for direct deposit they have/had an advertised time of 8 days between filing and getting your refund deposited. Basically the less manual paper stuff that has to be processed and shuffled around, the faster the Canadian Revenue Agency will process your return.

On the other hand businesses are in a different boat - there are still some small businesses that can file by mail but most organized entities must file a least some of their tax forms like the HST (sales tax collected) electronically. If you can hire an accountant to submit an inch thick tax return just to get out of a few more dollars in taxes then you can afford to fill it out and submit it electronically instead of other taxpapers footing the bill for all the manual entry.

Comment Re:Smelling more fishy every day. (Score 5, Informative) 227

While the MtGox situation is very, very suspicious the way Bitcoin works it makes the stealing and 'finding' of bitcoins very strange compared to traditional currency. Imagine a dollar bill. Much like a Bitcoin it has a unique serial number at the bottom. You can deposit it in a bank where they will keep a ledger so they know how much money anyone can withdraw from the teller while keeping most of it in the vault. If the vault is robbed it will quickly be discovered when they open it up in the morning and find it empty.

But Bitcoin differs in that last part. When you spend or transfer a bitcoin you aren't handing over the original, you're making a copy and the person receiving it is adding an extra digit to the serial number. Even though you still have it your copy of the coin is no longer legal tender and if you go to a store and try to spend it the cashier will tell you the serial number is too short and someone else owns the legitimate digital copy of that coin. If a thief gets into the bitcoin vault he doesn't need to remove or change anything, he just copies all the serial numbers and immediately 'pays' it into wallets he owns or controls, making his copy the legitimate article and the coins in the vault useless bits of data. The owners of the vault don't know this - the contents of the vault have not been changed in any way and it's only when they remove some of the money from the vault and try to spend it that they'll discover they've got worthless old copies.

While less likely it is also possible, with ledgers being moved around and even manipulated by thieves, that bitcoins that where assumed withdrawn are in fact still legal tender - if the bank made a copy of a one of their coins to service an apparent withdrawal, but that copy was never 'spent' then the original is still good. This is one of the difficulties of Bitcoin, unlike physical currency or even centrally managed digital currency (what a lot of your money basically is) you can't determine if each coin is worth something or just a bunch of worthless numbers without asking for the opinion of a bunch of other people. The extra layer of security of a vault actually makes it harder, since you are trying to keep that data out of the wrong hands, not share it with others to get their daily opinion (imagine if a bank removed every bill from the vault daily to check them with those counterfeit pens - how many opportunities to steal the money would that add).

Comment Re:Something new? (Score 5, Informative) 48

To be fair, while the Chinese capsule is probably a 'copy' given the engrained culture of copying things and passing them off as original (jets, tanks, bullet trains, cartoons, statues, retail stores, etc and etc), the Soyuz shape is actually a very mathmatically 'perfect' spacecraft given a certain set of requirements. In fact the shape is so dependent on math that America almost built a nearly identical craft for the Apollo program without either country knowing what the other was doing.

When designing spacecraft weight is everything - to move something in space you need a proportional amount of fuel, and then you need even more fuel to move that fuel. Tsiolkovsky's equation shows how adding even a small amount of weight to the final stage of a rocket greatly increases the weight of the lower stages. Soviet engineers zero'ed in on one specific element and that was in order to return something to Earth you needed a heatshield, a parachute and other equipment. As a rule of thumb they figured out that for every pound of spacecraft you wanted to bring back to Earth you would add about 2 more pounds to the spacecraft's weight.

Given how much weight was dependent on the size of the return capsule they decided to design it first and make it as small as possible, then build the rest of the ship around whatever they had come up with. The lightest possible return capsule would be a sphere: maximum volume (so you can fit 3 guys) with the minimum mass. But a sphere wouldn't work since it wouldn't remain steady and the G forces would kill everyone. Applying some math from the field of aerodynamics created the 'headlight' shape, providing lift while adding the minimum possible mass. The headlight return capsule is the part that is going to be identical no matter who designs it - the Soviet Union, the American contracters or the Chinese. As long as the design principle of a minimum mass return capsule is used it will look more or less the same from the outside.

The rest of the ship has more room for originality but is still going to be affected by math and common sense. A service module where the engine and fuel go will exist and it will obviously fit at the bottom/base of the spacecraft. To aid in launch aerodynamics it makes sense for this service module to be a cylinder with a rocket on the bottom and sized to fit with the spacecraft's largest surface at the top. Apollo's service module followed the same logic. Finally you need a crew cabin (the orbital module), since the whole point of a longer duration spacecraft is that your guys can get out of their seat. Since the orbital module isn't needed for deorbiting it makes sense for the reentry module to be connected to the service module, and so the orbital module by default gets put on top of the whole stack. Since it has a smaller attachment point anyway (the small end of the reentry module whose shape is already fixed) it might make sense to make the orbital module roughly spherical, since this again maximizes volume : mass and both the Soviet and Chinese versions did that.

General Electric, one of the bidders for the Apollo program, performed a study that came up with a nearly identical craft despite the Soyuz blueprints that existed at the time being a closely guarded Soviet secret. The main difference was their version of the orbital module. Rather then focusing on the volume : mass ratio (sphere) they focused on a shape that would work best for the fairings (Soyuz requires a large fairing to protect it during launch, much like most satellites do). This resulted in a cone shaped orbital module, essentially a lighter more minimal version of the Apollo command module. Of course the GE design was never used because NASA had decided what Apollo would look like long before a million (1960s) taxpayer dollars where spent on the design studies. The NASA design focused on a different key requirement - the module should have the same diameter as the Saturn C-2's upper stage. Because of that requirement the size of the heatshield became a fixed property. With a heatshield that big there was no reason to not bring back the whole spacecraft, minus the service module, and so you got the Apollo design that went to the Moon.

Comment Same way as other cars (Score 4, Insightful) 329

Normal gas cars catch fire every day just sitting in peoples driveways or driving along. It's usually a short in the 12V (regular car battery) system related to one of the electronic accessories. It can happen because water gets in and corrodes a contact (like the electric windows) or heat from a nearby item like a headlamp wears down the insulation or other wear and tear that cars are subjected too. In some cases it is identified as an engineering fault rather then a unique occurance in which case a recall occurs. If you go back 3 years you can probably find at least one recall for each of the major manufacturers to fix an electrical fault that 'could lead to a fire'.

Having some basic knowledge about car fires makes it clear just how much Tesla fires are about media hype.

Comment Re:New Attack? 0 Day? (Score 4, Insightful) 165

Easy. You have something (like a header) that leads the image decoder to allocate a certain amount of memory on the stack (a buffer) for an expected piece of data. Then you have the decompressed data be larger then it was advertised or calculated, overflowing the buffer and so overwriting other items on the stack, like the return address. By changing the return address you can point it back at the buffer, which when the CPU tries to read those bytes as code instead of data it turns out they do bad things.

Vulnerabilities in media decoders are a prime vector for infection since they are usually processed automatically. The only reason you are seeing it in software from 'a decade ago' is that hackers face so much competition from white hat researchers when it comes to browsers, fighting for vulnerabilities from a usually shrinking pool. With fewer opportunities some are turning to media decoders found in applications like Office. It's a less effective vector since it requires several actions from the user, but the upside is that these applications are often not as aggressively patched as browsers have become which means a single vulnerability might work for months.

For a comparison it's been almost a year since the last arbitrary code vulnerability was reported in FireFox's GIF decoder, and 2 years since the JPEG decoder was last turned into an attack vector (to the best of my knowledge). IE, Chrome and Safari have experienced similar droughts, with all the major browsers only having 1 or 2 image based vulnerabilities reported annually for the last few years, and usually by researchers who allow it to be patched quickly rather then as a zero day being exploited. Of course other types of media exist. CSS/HTML5 has rapidly become a media format in of itself and a little over a month ago FireFox was vulnerable to arbitrary code execution due to the way it decoded animations in CSS stylesheets (this was reported by Google and patched with the release of FF 24). TL;DR Researchers are hogging all the good browser vulnerabilities, so hackers are playing in the dusty old rooms nobody has visited in years.

Comment Want to know more about car fires in America? (Score 5, Informative) 232

Here is some interesting information on car fires from the US Fire Administration (USFA->FEMA->DHS) and the National Fire Protection Association.

From 2008-2010 "Approximately one in seven fires responded to by fire departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. This does not include the tens of thousands of fire department responses to highway vehicle accident sites.". The leading factors in ignition where "mechanical failure" (44.1%) and "electrical failure" (22.3%). 1

The actual number of highway car fires in that period was approximately 582,000, or an average of over 500 car fires every day on American highways.2

In this accident which involved an electric car a large piece of sparking metal debris was run over by the car and thrown up with enough force to slice through the cars stored energy compartment, in this case one of the batteries. The driver was alerted via the display to a problem and instructed to pull over immediately due to the fact that one of the batteries was now leaking and smoldering. A short time later the burning ember reached critical temperature and was able to ignite the softer materials in the adjoining 'frunk', the carpeted front side trunk located where most cars have an engine. The other 15 battery compartments, having not been skewered by a giant metal spike, remained unharmed due to the firewalls and other protection, as did the passenger compartment.

If the owner had been driving a gas powered car and that metal spike had instead been driven up into the gas tank, ripping it open and showering the fuel with sparks as it was dragged along the highway, would the driver have had any warning other than a loud bump and then the passenger compartment being consumed by flames?

This is not the first Tesla fire, there was another involving the Roadster resulting in a recall of 439 vehicles. The source of the fire in that instance was not the advanced battery at all, it was one of the old style 12V lines (Tesla vehicles still include a regular 12V battery for lights/instruments and 'ignition') being in a bad position near a headlight and susceptible to damage that could spark a fire. Going back to the statistics above we have over 100 car fires each day (22.3% of 500) caused by those 12V wires and components being damaged and shorting out. For example Honda recalled over 140,000 (non-hybrid) Fits in the US this year because the wiring in a 12V door switch could get wet, short out and start a fire. GM had the same problem last year and had to recall almost half a million vehicles.

Comment I can't be the only one to see a flaw in this math (Score 1) 208

Did no one else immediately think of the weight as soon as the author started talking about filling an SUV with microSD cards? I'm reminded of the saying '100lbs of pillows/feathers is still 100lbs', in reference to how people seem to overlook that very light objects are still heavy if you carry enough of them.

While the exact weight of each of the 19 million microSD card would vary a nice starting point is about 0.4 grams plus or minus 0.1 based on general specs. That's well over 16,000 lbs or 8 tons of microSD cards in the back of that SUV, which according to the page linked in the article is rated for a payload of only 1580 lbs. To get an idea of how much 8 tons is, that's the weight of a medium sized Caterpillar backhoe.

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