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* Posts by Andrew Tyler 1

40 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow

Andrew Tyler 1

Formal Verification

I'm no an expert in formal verification techniques, functional programming and all that, but it all sounds like so much marketing dross and academic wanking to me. There are good ideas in there, but when the source hits the metal, all bets are off. Limiting your options seems counter productive when it all boils down to object code in the end. I'd be happy to be enlightened as to the benefits, but it seems to me that rigidly followed development practices (heavy on testing, review and refactoring) and no-exceptions coding standards are the way to go. And yes, I know it almost never actually works that way in the Real World, but it would be nice if it did.

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Tens of thousands of 'Watch Dogs' pirates ENSLAVED by Bitcoin botmaster

Andrew Tyler 1

This is probably among the worst nightmares of a game developer. Sure, it might make people think twice about pirating it (for a day or two), but suddenly you have all the earliest "reviews" claiming the their game is poorly optimized and runs terribly. As for the original pirate release group, I can't see it as too winning a strategy either. As I understand it, 16,000 people devoting 25% of their GPU resources for a few hours probably isn't a huge payoff. A banking trojan would surely be more profitable. Then again on the upside for the publishers, because it isn't something so droll as a keylogger or bank trojan, it gets news coverage along the lines of "piracy is dangerous" plastered all over the place. I'm sure a significant fraction of the stuff on the torrent sites contains much more malicious nasties that cause a lot more damage than 30 watts wasted and your ripped off game not working as well as it should

I was actually thinking of picking this one up at some point when the price dropped, but it seems even the legitimate copies suck a lot of computing power without a tremendous amount to show for it. That's kind of a shame. Even though in the end I'm sure it's just another GTA clone, the whole cyberpunk motif does strike enough of a chord with me to pique my interest.

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Teen girl arrested with 70-year-old man's four inch weapon inside her

Andrew Tyler 1

I don't think washing a steel gun in bleach is a good idea.

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Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids

Andrew Tyler 1

PC

You should try some of the current crop of PC racing sims. Have a look into iRacing, Assetto Corsa and maybe rFactor 2. They all share a heavy emphasis on realistic physics, and make no excuses concerning the difficulty of mastering them. In fact, a few of those mentioned above can be found (in customized form) running on the simulators for various Formula 1 teams.

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Our irony meter exploded: Apple moans ebook price-fixing watchdog is too EXPENSIVE

Andrew Tyler 1

Ouch

The irony is so lovely.

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Icahn trousered $700m from Netflix stock sale?! Er, it would appear so

Andrew Tyler 1

Rich asshole, richer, bigger asshole than ever before.

Quoth The Onion some time back.

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Wacky racers – The Reg's guide to 2013's Solar Challengers

Andrew Tyler 1

Tools.

To be fair about lending tools, that's not something I do anymore unless I'm well acquainted with the lendee in question. I have lost many, many tools that way. It's not that people intentionally steal them, but when everyone is in a rush (the usual circumstance for this sort of thing) people have a tendency to forget, and then I forget which tool I lent to whom, and then they're gone forever. Also, if it's not my personal property, I'm not really in a position to be lending it out to people. Maybe they had bad luck before. Maybe there is an even shadier team "borrowing" essential tools and then discarding them. Nerds can get pretty competitive, and not always in productive ways.

Of course, if this is just a case of "can I borrow that screwdriver for 30 seconds, I'll bring it right back," well then that's different. All the same, good tools are kind of sacred, and I've found (particularly amongst the younger crowd), that Good and Right attitude is increasingly rare. I'm still trying to get a not-inexpensive logic analyzer back from someone who then went and lent it to someone else who now swears they've never seen it before. They're otherwise trustworthy people, but the concept of treating other people's property with more respect that you'd treat your own isn't native to them.

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Valve uncloaks prototype Steam Machine console specs

Andrew Tyler 1

That seems like a lot of hot hardware to be hanging off a 450W power supply. My back-of-the-envelope calculations show that it could work, but it's pretty tight. I imagine they've thought all this through though.

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Finance watchdog: Big fingers + tiny mobe screen + banking = doesn't end well

Andrew Tyler 1

A synthesized voice reading out confirmations could be useful in some instances. Though I'm generally pretty good about at least performing the action of double-checking things, it's a bit like trying to find the error in a diagram or a bit of code you've been staring at for hours. It could be the most obvious and commonplace mistake, but I'm really reading what I expect to see more than what I actually see. The mistake is totally edited out at a conscious level. Since having someone else check your work isn't reasonable here, maybe presenting it to a different sense might help.

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Review: Beagleboard Beaglebone Black

Andrew Tyler 1

Re: And you missed...

Worked on a fairly involved project using a Raspberry Pi this last year, and the lack of documentation was a continual sticking point. There was enough info and code around to get by in the end, but that's really no substitute for a proper datasheet and manuals like TI have (and Broadcom presumably have locked away somewhere). I imagine they had their reasons, but trying to make an open platform on top of an MCU with double secret documentation isn't the best start.

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Alleged CIA spook cuffed by Russians: US Gmail 'spycraft' revealed

Andrew Tyler 1

Disguises

When I heard on the news he was caught with "disguises," I immediately pictured one of those old moustache+nose+glasses jobs and it made me smile. Turns out that's not far from the truth, which makes me laugh.

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Mexican Zetas ENSLAVING engineers to run crimelords' radio net

Andrew Tyler 1

Pay

You'd think with their income they'd be able to just pay well enough to get engineers to work for them willingly without all the pesky whinging and escape attempts.

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Pret-a-porter: LG boffins' bendy battery can be worn as PANTS

Andrew Tyler 1

UPS

Perhaps one day we could get a UPS that was just a slightly thicker than normal power cord. A couple CM in diameter, and six feet in length would provide a pretty reasonable volume for the battery itself. I suppose lithium isn't a good choice for a UPS though.

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Intel ignores Steve Jobs, adds touchscreen to Ultrabook

Andrew Tyler 1

Touch.

For normal computer (not tablet) stuff, I'd ideally have a mouse. However, I think I'd much rather have a touchscreen than a trackpad or nubby-pointer. So for mobile usage when there's nowhere to use a mouse, a touchscreen is probably the best option.

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World's only twin jet-engine bike drives onto eBay

Andrew Tyler 1

Because...

The power doesn't go through the wheel.

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Is your old hardware made of gold, or just DIRT?

Andrew Tyler 1

Metal

We sometimes do pretty well stripping out and separating the copper, aluminum and (to a much lesser extent) steel from the old lab equipment. In the grand scheme of things, it's a toss up whether it's worth it,but the last time, for a couple hours of stripping stuff down and a short drive we managed about $900USD.

The stripping down part makes a horrible mess though.

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Homeland Security bungles 'pre-crime' tech test docs

Andrew Tyler 1

Base Rate Fallacy

...and then some.

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Sony to ship VR-style 3D headset in November

Andrew Tyler 1
Thumb Up

Ah, now we're getting somewhere.

Hopefully this is popular enough to warrant a few follow up models. When they have a set at 1080p with head tracking, I would probably be pretty interested.

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Google points finger at human after robo car accident

Andrew Tyler 1

Overridden.

So, I take it when they say a human was in control at the time, they mean at the time of the actual collision, when the human driver was screaming at the computer and standing on the brake pedal. Presumably, this is how one operates the override.

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Australians safe from Mortal Kombat

Andrew Tyler 1

Get over here.

A B A C A B B

The one code I still remember after all these years.

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Anonymous hack showed password re-use becoming endemic

Andrew Tyler 1

The luggage padlock of passwords.

I use the same password for all my junk accounts, and its the same password I've been using for 10 years. Not familiar with rootkit.com, but Gawker would definitely qualify as a junk account if I had one there. I probably should graduate to using some password tool for them someday, but for the time being I'm not too worried.

Surely this is what most people do.

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Texter who fell in fountain threatens to sue

Andrew Tyler 1

Blob

Ah, so the unindentifiable blob's name is Cathy Cruz Marrero. Cathy Cruz Marrero ought to be terribly, terribly ashamed of herself. Mortified, even. If Cathy Cruz Marrero is so shy, she should have kept Cathy Cruz Marrero's identify a secret. If Cathy Cruz Marrero is just looking for a buck, Cathy Cruz Marrero is pretty foolish to do interviews for the news-media. Cathy Cruz Marrero's judge is going to say something or other about Barbara Streisand, and throw Cathy Cruz Marrero's case out of court.

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Ion readies book scanner for e-book buffs

Andrew Tyler 1

Ion readies book scanner for e-book buffs

Looks like it would take about as much time to read the book as it would to scan it in.

Not that it isn't a useful gizmo (I've got some old manuals and references it might be worth the time to scan to have a digital copies of), but hardly practical for everyday kind of stuff.

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Boffins baffled by 'magnetar': Ought to be black hole, but isn't

Andrew Tyler 1

Aw...

"If the Sun were located at the heart of this remarkable cluster, our night sky would be full of hundreds of stars as bright as the full Moon."

Now *that* would be awesome. Why can't earth be there? No rings, only one moon... damn this planet is boring. When I grow up, I'm moving to Westerlund 1. I'll find me a planet with big rings like Saturn, a few dozen moons, and I'll buy a beach chair. Probably listen to a lot of Pink Floyd.

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New US swarmsats will scatter to avoid space-war strikes

Andrew Tyler 1

Titles

That was actually the US test you're referring to (the excuse about having to destroy a wayward satellite).

I don't believe the Chinese needed any excuses. They just went ahead and tested theirs.

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Intel debuts hella-zippy optical future

Andrew Tyler 1

Units

It comes up often enough that the "Library of Congress" ought to become an official metric. How big is a Library of Congress anyways?

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Foxconn website defaced after iPhone assembly plant suicides

Andrew Tyler 1

Woah...

300,000 employees live and work there? Is 10 suicides a year actually all that unusual for such a large population? Stats in the US at large show about 20 suicides per 100,000 people per year. Not a great comparison, obviously, but realizing how big that place is puts this story in a totally different perspective.

That's a friggin' HUGE facility.

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Best Buy opens first UK store tomorrow

Andrew Tyler 1

Best Buy

Best Buy is a fine store if you know what you're doing. They make their money exploiting the ignorance of customers, so most Reg readers would probably find it useful when looking for a quick pick-up of some specific product.

Typical example is they'll have a good price for some primary product (say a TV), and then try to screw you by charging $80 for an HDMI cable (they're big on Monster Cable), $150 for a wall mount, and $300 for a largely worthless extended warranty.

Really what the world needs is more Fry's Electronics. It's been years since I've lived by one, but that place was great.

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Cops raid Gizmodo editor in pursuit of iPhone 4G 'felony'

Andrew Tyler 1

Title and stuff.

Can't say I have much sympathy. It was Gizmodo's attitude that irked me the most about it.

If I found that phone and understood what it was, knowing that a fellow engineers career might be hanging on getting it back, I'd go to fairly great lengths to get it to him (if somehow I had already magically missed the easiest and most sensible option of just giving it to the bartender, of course). So I can't see the finder as having anything other than blatantly nefarious intentions.

Gizmodo's claim of anything resembling intelligence or professionalism went out with them bragging about how they bought it.

If the finder had said he made at least superficial attempts to return it himself and, failing that, handed it over to a Gizmodo "journalist" on the pretext he would be interested enough to use his industry contacts to get it back to its proper owner, and maybe get something to write about along the way, then everybody would have a reasonable claim at innocence (nobody has to know about the envelope of $50's). Instead, Gizmodo doesn't only come off as acting ethically dubious, but as being almost comically inept at it.

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'iPhone 4G' loser outed

Andrew Tyler 1

Laws and stuff...

Seems to me there were at least a couple felonies leading up to Gizmodo getting all proud of itself. Might be a future in mugging Apple engineers as they're leaving work. Anything for the story.

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It's official: Adobe Reader is world's most-exploited app

Andrew Tyler 1

Foxit

Last time I went to install Foxit, it's installer was trying to sneak sketchy spyware by me. Its reputation is shot so far as I'm concerned. This doesn't imply I like Adobe, of course.

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Texas Instruments aims lawyers at calculator hackers

Andrew Tyler 1

HP

Better off with HP calculators anyways. Those TI toys are garbage. It can be a nuisance sometimes not using what everyone else uses though.

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British troops get nifty techno-gunsights

Andrew Tyler 1
Grenade

Confusing photograph, that.

Is the second soldier from the left in the picture a woman with really hairy forearms or a man with a really effeminate face?

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Army's £114m battle-comms net not up to Afghan demands

Andrew Tyler 1
Black Helicopters

Afghanistan

I would guess that the mountainous terrain in Afghanistan would actually make for some fairly difficult communications problems.

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UK cops eye shotgun cartridge Taser

Andrew Tyler 1

Sticky

I have trouble seeing that thing actually sticking into somebody with those little prong things. Seems to me as though it would be more likely to bounce off, certainly in the case of a glancing blow which is probably the most likely scenario anyways.

I also can't imagine a lot of situations where you would be forced to incapacitate someone from 100 feet away unless that person had a gun themselves, in which case you've just started a gunfight. Certainly a shotgun firing a big, low-velocity projectile like that isn't going to be the most accurate weapon, so you've also just started a gunfight at a severe disadvantage--provided of course your intention wasn't just to make the fellow fire back at you so that your buddies can shoot him with proper guns and claim self defense.

The only scenario where I could see these things being genuinely effective is if you're trying to do one of those surprise breach entry things, where you'd be hitting people across the room and your options are limited to real shells, bean bags or these things. They'd probably stay lodged in someone at that range. Were it decided they could be used in only this scenario, I suppose that might perhaps be reasonable.

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Toyota in 'real time brainwave driver control' success

Andrew Tyler 1

Give it here.

Let me control the radio, windows, AC, etc. in my car with it and I'd be well pleased, but leave the actual driving to me.

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Bing zings, but for how long?

Andrew Tyler 1
FAIL

More fiddling.

Yeah, after some more fiddling today the search isn't as good. Before, I had gone through and searched for every search I remember running on Google for the last week or so: "repair double hung window" and "cat diarrhea," for instance (both of which ruined my week), and it gave me the most useful sites I found through Google, but digging a little deeper into random, computer nerd centric things produced almost entirely useless results.

Anything that made me move away from Google would have to be substantially better, and to be honest, what I'm looking for usually pops up on the first page of Google results, so making anything substantially better would be difficult. If they could manage "as good," I'd probably be happy to use it if only to make Google sweat a little bit.

So.. yeah, I probably should have tried to break it more. I do like them video previews though. Even if entering "double hung" into a slightly schizophrenic video search engine isn't the best idea.

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Andrew Tyler 1

I fiddled with it.

It's okay. I guess. It's no better than Google for sure. The search page is ugly and too bandwidth heavy, but not nearly as bad as the monstrous Yahoo/Lycos search pages. The results it returns seem to be pretty much the same as Google. The video search is a lot better though. I like the preview feature, which is actually pretty impressive.

The best I would say for it is if that Google exploded I would use Bing instead of the others.

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Team Agni scores e-bike grand prix victory

Andrew Tyler 1

Real bike?

Anyone know a good time for the same course on a traditional racing bike?

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Mars projected to collide with Earth

Andrew Tyler 1

Let me be the first to say...

cool!

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