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Comment Re:Current Exchange quid to buck (Score 1) 194

Well, not quite. You see, before decimalization, there were pence, shillings, and pounds. 12 pence made one shilling; 20 shillings made one pound (also referred to by the slang term "quid"). However, there was also another informal unit composed of 21 shillings, called a guinea.

Tom Lehrer explains all this very clearly.

Comment Re:Can we knock-off the data mining now? (Score 1) 129

How many people are using DirectX 9 vs 10 vs 11. Which rendering functions are used most often, and thus should be optimized. Are they running in an environment where power usage should be conserved or where there is effectively limitless power?

I can think of dozens of questions with legitimate engineering purpose which are not clear at the point of sale. Don't pretend there is no legitimate use for this data. [ ... ]

Pure sophistry. NVIDIA already has this information, either directly via relationships with game developers and publishers, or indirectly via Microsoft's crash reports. Demanding a cloud login provides them no technical information they didn't already have.

Comment Bad Manners (Score 4, Interesting) 129

I wrote about this last week, when I installed the latest update, and found myself unable to access any of the additional features without creating a cloud-based login -- to access locally-hosted features. Apparently someone at NVIDIA with severe cranial intrusion injuries took a look at what Razer did with their Synapse 2.0 software, and thought it was so fabulous they had to do it, too.

The only vaguely useful feature GeForce Experience provided was ShadowPlay, NVIIDA's own screen capture video recorder. However, there are plenty of third-party offerings that accomplish the same thing. I could create a fake ephemeral email address or hack the registry to make it work, but frankly the features it provides do not merit the effort. I have since uninstalled GeForce Experience 3.0, leaving just the drivers.

Now that they've (unnecessarily and gratuitously) made the cloud login mandatory, I would also be interested to see some security researchers dig in to GFE3 to see how well NVIDIA is protecting people's login credentials...

Submission + - Slashdot ads compromised (

An anonymous reader writes: The Slashdot ad network is potentially spreading malware through malicious redirects as part of what's at the very least a phishing campaign and at worst a drive-by malware delivery network.

This was reproduced on a fresh, fully patched device.

Comment Dumping the Headphone Jack: My Theory (Score 1, Interesting) 551

Some years ago, I was privileged to engage in a discussion on headphone detection with some Apple engineers, who had clearly worked on the issue for some time, and I learned something surprising:

The 3.5mm headphone jack standard... isn't.

Even after you set aside the issue of cheap manufacturers releasing shoddy products, you're still left with the fact that there is no actual standard dictating dimensions, number of contacts, location of contacts, size of contacts, separation distance between contacts, etc. Different manufacturers can and do make them slightly differently. More crucially, there's also no validation authority to check that your products meet all the specs.

Let's just take the most obvious dimension: 3.5mm. For ages, those phone plugs were advertised not as 3.5mm, but as 1/8 inch (3.175mm). So if you wanted to make something compatible with a "1/8 inch" plug, you might get your dimensions wrong. Apply this principle to every other contact's position and size on the plug, and you can see where this is going.

Moreover, some phone plugs have five contacts (Apple's own, for example). The "meaning" of each contact is not standardized -- that ring in the middle may be microphone input, or the contact switch (answer/hangup) on the cable, depending on who made it and what it was intended to be plugged in to. Further, if the rings in your cheap knock-off aren't lined up with the socket contacts, then bumping the plug could cause the socket contacts to short across the rings, which would get interpreted as a button press, and your call gets dropped.

The result of all this mish-mash was the Apple engineers found designing a (cost-effective) headphone jack that worked reliably with all headphones and headsets one might encounter in the world was simply impossible. You couldn't position the contacts in such a way that they would never short across two rings (some idiot may have placed their rings very badly). You couldn't know ahead of time which contacts did what, and probing at insertion time was fraught with other perils, especially if your contacts created a short across two rings. Despite their extensive research and massive efforts, they still got tons of support calls about how someone's cheap-ass headset didn't work in what has long been assumed to be a standard phone jack.

So my theory is: They declared the problem insoluble, yanked the phone plug, and designed a new digital interface.

An adapter for "3.5mm" stereo headphones will almost certainly be made available. Yes, you still have the compatibility problem with other "3.5mm" devices, but now the problem is in a $30 adapter, and not a $750 phone. It will be interesting to see how liberally Apple licenses their connector so that third parties can also furnish adapters.

Comment Re:How is this possible? (Score 3, Informative) 96

The TrendMicro article off-handedly mentions that this malware is installed manually, suggesting physical access to the victim machine is required. This isn't so ridiculous an idea if the victim's machine doesn't have their screensaver set to lock the console (by default, xscreensaver doesn't do this); and if the victim's 'sudo' timeout is sufficiently long (default: 15 minutes).

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