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Comment I wonder how it deals with in-camera processing (Score 5, Interesting) 226

I recently got a tiny point-and-shoot camera, a Canon ELPH 300 HS, and I've been participating in CHDK's effort to hack it. When we got RAW support working, I learned the camera's lens actually has severe barrel distortion that gets "corrected" in software before saving a JPEG.

Images are "shopped" before they even emerge from the camera these days.

Comment The walk buttons work at odd hours (Score 2, Interesting) 824

I often get up early to jog or bike. At 6:00 AM, when I'm on a side street coming to an intersection with an arterial, and the light is red for me and green for the arterial, pressing the walk button will _immediately_ change the light for the arterial to yellow.

At 8:00 AM, however, with rush-hour traffic clogging up the arterial, the walk button appears to do nothing.

Comment most of the fees are not taxes (Score 5, Insightful) 477

I could understand advertising $39.95/mo exclusive of taxes, but the phone companies themselves tack on a bunch of other surcharges that are _not_ taxes. They make them sound like taxes by calling them "regulatory recovery fees", but they're really unadvertised price hikes that they can spring on you at will, even when you have a contractual price.

Make phone companies advertise their ACTUAL rate first. Then go after these warnings...

(It's for this reason I use a prepaid Tracfone; no surprises.)

Comment Should offer a good view of stars (Score 1) 488

On a couple of flights, I've tried to catch a glimpse of the stars through the window--far above city lights, with less atmosphere to look through, I'd think it'd be a pretty good view. The placement of the window makes it very difficult to look "up", however--not to mention the blinking light on the wing and all the interior lights preventing any sort of dark adaptation.

A plane with a transparent fuselage should solve two of these problems by permitting a line of sight that doesn't require craning your neck and is angled away from the wingtip light. It'd still be tricky to block out other local lights, but maybe possible...

Comment I thought TI had seen the light... (Score 3, Interesting) 417

When I was in high school, Zshell (an exploit that allowed running native Z80 assembly on a TI-85) was all the rage. The exploit and various apps (mostly games) spread virally throughout the school. I did some Z80 assembly programming myself, and it was a learning experience arguably more useful to my career than anything I learned in high school...

Years later at college, when my old 85 had been handed down to a younger sibling, I found I needed a graphing calculator for a physics class. I bought a TI-89 and was impressed to see TI allowed it to run native software, no hacks required. (There were still hacks, to get around a few limitations such as code size, but even these limitations were relaxed in later firmware versions.) I spent far more time programming the calculator than actually using it as a calculator.

Now they're back in their lock-it-down mode? Shame. It always disappoints me when manufacturers go out of their way to make their devices less useful--and in this case, a less capable learning tool, for budding programmers anyway.

Comment What about outside lighting? (Score 1) 339

Driving home tonight, I noticed dozens of buildings (mostly office buildings and hotels) that are uplit with thousands of watts of light. Car lots--even _empty_ car lots--are ridiculously bright, even after closing time. Billboards are nearly universally lit from below by lights that are pointed _straight up_, wasting the majority of the light they generate. My home city recently installed huge acorn-style streetlights every 30 feet along both sides of major thoroughfares. Why do governments focus on light bulbs and TV sets when our night skies are lit so brightly we can't even see stars anymore?

Comment Re:Isn't this a dupe? (Score 1) 613

if you change the icon of your .exe file to be the word doc icon, then the .exe still shows up

That doesn't make sense. How is Windows supposed to tell that your binary's icon looks like Word's icon? I suppose Windows could cache icons from various versions of popular programs to compare against, but then malware writers would just make a change that would be visually undetectable, like modifying a single pixel.

Comment I got some photos of Lulin a few days ago (Score 5, Interesting) 60

I got a picture of Comet Lulin early Saturday morning.

It's not nearly so impressive as Holmes was last year - but it certainly moves impressively fast. When I was taking test shots to check focus, I saw the comet visibly moved relative to the stars in 15 seconds. Holmes wasn't nearly that fast. I made an animation showing its motion relative to the stars over a period of 20 minutes.

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