* Posts by fluffy

123 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Dec 2006


'Completely useless' Windows 3.1 hits Google's Android


Win3.1 didn't have long filenames

You may be confusing it with NT 3.1, which was the first Microsoft OS to have LFN support. Windows 3.1 did not - that feature didn't make it into their consumer operating systems until Windows '95.

Commodore 64 reincarnated as quad-core Ubuntu box


Well, Q-Link is still around, sort of

Q-Link eventually became AOL.

Putting an iPad through the Motions


Except that is a non-issue

I recall reading an article a few years ago about how doctors were using iPhones as mini-tablets and in-office entertainment devices specifically because they can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

Google moves to extend DNS protocol


requester vs. resolver

Okay, that's a pretty good point. I can see some corner cases where an anycast resolution wouldn't provide quite the optimal solution, although in most cases it seems like it would still be Good Enough.

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How is this better than Anycast?

Anycast works by abusing BGP to constantly modify Internet routing tables in order to provide a DNS that is network-latency-wise closest to the requester, a technique used by Akamai and the various root servers. It doesn't do anything as silly as using a requester's geographic location, but to use the actual latency of the Internet, and this requires absolutely no extensions to DNS or any potential privacy violations by anyone.

Firefox-based attack wreaks havoc on IRC users


Not the first!

Consider all the various worms that worked by spreading links to IE6-exploiting trojans via AIM/MSN/etc., and there is another recent one which spreads via Steam messaging.

2010 will be the year of the net tablet, claims analyst


Does not compute

"But unlike netbooks and notebooks, ... NetTabs are lighter and cheaper."


"... consumers will likely “demand big upfront subsidies” because NetTabs will cost more than most smartphones, Deloitte added."

At least in the US, most smartphones cost around $1-200 (subsidized) or $4-600 (unsubsidized), while decent netbooks start at around $100 (subsidized) or $2-300 (unsubsidized). So this seems like there's probably some apples-to-oranges comparison going on here...

Latest Asus Eee Keyboard desktop demo'd


Sign me up!

I was skeptical about the need for this product but then they mentioned it plays SUDOKU! Now i can't wait to buy one!

Revolutionary triangular-key keypad out on Android


How long before Better Keyboard does this too?

Better Keyboard is my Android keyboard of choice, and they're constantly adding new features, other peoples' patents be damned. Considering some of the stuff they've added (such as the Blackberry-esque two-letter-per-key mode) it should be pretty easy for them to tweak the skin to do this too.

T-Mobile back up after US outage

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There was an outage?

No wonder I was actually able to get some work done for a change!

Nokia to shut down N-Gage


I had an N-Gage QD

it was a decent Symbian phone, although its J2ME really sucked for games (ironically), and it worked fine for me up until the day it bricked itself because it ran out of memory and got stuck in a perpetual reboot loop with no way to fix it aside from sending it in to Nokia with a check for $28 to flash the firmware. I opted not to.

iPhone app grabs your mobile number


@ben ryves

Android actually provides a list of the potentially-hazardous APIs that an app uses before you even install it.

Texas Instruments aims lawyers at calculator hackers


This is NOT the same as modding a console

This is not for the purpose of being able to play pirated games. This is so that people can run their homebrew apps on the calculators they own. What would they bootleg from the TI calculators by cracking them? The same crappy firmware that they want to get AWAY from?

It's also a bit rubbish to just say to "use an HP instead." What makes HPs so supposedly superior? Software that doesn't suck. This is so that people can install whatever software they want.

Feds break Apple's code of App Store silence


Mismatched percentages

I think the whole 95% approval/20% rejection thing is a simple case of vague wording. I took it to mean that of the 80% of apps which are approved, that approval comes within 14 days for 95% of them.

Sony takes on the Kindle


@cynic 2

There are actually two different DRM systems on the Kindle (Mobipocket and Topaz), although they're both tied to the same device key which are generated from a single source.

Parallels woos Apple cult converts


Ubuntu on Mac questions

There's no need for Parallels (or VMWare) to run Ubuntu since, as Galus posted, VirtualBox works quite well for that. However, if you already have VMWare for some reason, Ubuntu runs just dandy under it.

As far as compiling Linux apps to run natively, it depends a lot on the app. Many of them work without a lot of trouble; you can use MacPorts or Fink to manage the UNIX-space libraries that most modern Linux apps rely on, and most terminal-based apps will just compile and work out of the box without any trouble. For GUI apps, however, you're generally better off finding an OSX-native alternative, as X11 is a bit of a mess under OSX (simply because OSX's windowing model is so fundamentally different than X11's).

Some apps like GIMP do have decently-supported ports (which still run under X11 but they hide the fiddlier bits of it - sadly, the various OSX-native GTK ports seem to always be in a perpetually stalled state), but there are so many better things than them on the Mac anyway (such as Pixelmator, which is pretty cheap and while it's no Photoshop it blows GIMP away).

Man blames cat for child porn downloads


I like how "downloading music" was his defense

Did he just self-incriminate?

KDE 4.3 promises polish, polish, polish


Of all the things for them to not start with a K

Traditionally, "Kaizen" is transliterated with the letter K. Why would KDE, who have the maddening habit of shoehorning a K to the beginning of every word whether it fits or not, choose this time to stop?

Schneier says he was 'probably wrong' on masked passwords


Wow, an expert who admits to being wrong?

What has the world come to?

And more importantly, can we please have more of this?

Amazon may plug in-book advertising into Kindle


Really nothing new

As a kid I loved Arthur Clarke's novels, and I recall that many of the older editions would have full-page ads scattered about - not just for other novels, but for things like subscriptions to TIME Magazine.

Firefox 3.5 - it's not a 'web upgrade'


"buying a present"

I guess that "buying a present" has truly become the de-facto euphemism for "browsing porn." Yet another aspect where Apple had set the standard long before anyone else.

Apple races developer to censor smut


They'd better watch out

when they discover that people can also get remotely-hosted porn via Safari.

Apple wilts under iPhone upgrade strain


My phone was broken but it got better

I tried upgrading while at work yesterday, and iTunes got as far as installing the new firmware and then indicating there was an "unknown error," which put it in an endless cycle of trying to recover the firmware and continuing to fail.

When I got home and did the phone recovery from my usual sync point, though, it went through just fine. I did end up losing all my notes, though, and I haven't bothered to check my various games' saved data just yet.

In the end, the one feature I actually cared about (stereo bluetooth music) turns out to not even be available on the first-gen iPhone anyway, which means either I can keep on putting up with crappy "iPhone-compatible" headphones, or I can upgrade to a 3G just for that one feature (and the ability to use my normal damn headphones) which isn't worth the extra $15/month for data service.

iPhone 3.0 - born on schedule...


The update bricked my EDGE iPhone

After it installed OS 3.0, it gave me an "unknown error" error, and had to go into recovery mode. Recovery would only try reinstalling OS 3.0, which of course failed with the same error.

So now I'm without my shiny JesusPhone. Good thing I have some spare GSM phones rattling around, which frankly were better at a lot of things anyway. I might just switch back for a while.

Software to turn iPhones, Pres into virtual pens grabs award


@Daniel 2

That was exactly the thought that first came to mind when I started reading this article as well. That would actually be pretty neat.

Site news: Unique commenter handles coming


@peter simpson

The issue they're fixing is multiple people using the same handle, not a single person using multiple handles. The first one is easy to fix, while the second one is basically impossible. Fortunately they're not trying to fix the second one.

Spectral Spector Twitterer admits hoax


Sadly, it's gone now

Twitter does have an anti-impersonation stance, and has been known to nuke impostors before. Sadly, that included the original @TinaFey. The (supposedly) real @tina_fey isn't nearly as funny or insightful.

Sharp creates true-hue five-colours-per-pixel LCD

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And, to add to Francis Vaughn's excellent post,

it also doesn't require new 5-channel image formats. Oversimplifying (neglecting various weighting factors and gamma curves and the like), Y is min(R,G), C is min(G,B). If C+Y > G then they're both decremented by G-(Y+C). Then R'=R-Y, G'=G-Y-C, and B'=B-C, and you display the colors as R',Y,G',C,B.

The end result is that you get a yellow which doesn't also partially trigger blue receptors (which real-world yellows don't, as they are NOT red+green), and a cyan which doesn't also partially trigger red (same reason).

Ocarina makes waves with lossless image compression


If they're guaranteeing lossless compression on everything

they really need to look into the "pigeonhole principle." If you are guaranteeing that any N-bit sequence can be losslessly compressed into an M-bit sequence, where M is less than N, then you're eventually going to run out of M-bit sequences when it comes time to encode the next N-bit sequence. Since any M-bit sequence can only be expanded into a single N-bit sequence, there is no way for everything to be losslessly compressed into a smaller sequence.

Granted, there are multiple compression schemes which do better or worse jobs with different sorts of data, and you can certainly improve average-case compression for certain classes of images, but there is absolutely no way to guarantee lossless compression *at all* for ALL images.

Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun


Regarding Yahoo,

In their years of relevancy, their server components were all written in C++ (most of the site) and LISP (their horrible storefront service); since then they have apparently migrated to PHP and C++, respectively.

Wolfram Alpha - a new kind of Fail


Wolfram|Alpha just wants to understand


Videogame history project successfully emulates CRT on LCD


A better CRT emulation

One of the screen savers in the xscreensaver collection (which sadly I can't seem to find ever since updating to Ubuntu 9.04) does a VERY convincing job of looking like an older dysfunctional CRT. When I first saw it running on my laptop I had to do a major double-take, because it was absolutely spot-on.



There it is. XAnalogTV does an extremely convincing job of looking like a crappy old CRT.

Slimline iPhone pictures unearthed


Why are people such idiots?

There was no "iPhone 1G," as the 3G refers to the network interface. Unless this iPhone is expected to use WiMax, why would it be called the 4G?

Mod man turns toaster into SNES


And you know what they say...

"All toasters toast toast."

- Mario

Lead roof thief eyeballed targets on Google Earth

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The thing I learned today

I learned that some buildings in the UK have a roof made out of lead (I guess you folk don't care about groundwater contamination?), and that in the context of a roof, lead is suddenly a precious metal.

Slash your way inside Apple's Mac Mini


My tool of choice

The first time I opened my G4 Mini (to upgrade the RAM) I used a putty knife as recommended, and found it to be difficult and fiddly. The second time (to replace a head hard drive) I found that simply using a nice stiff bench knife (also known as a dough knife, pastry scraper, and a bunch of other things - basically that large flat kitchen utensil used to lift up chopped ingredients) works exceptionally well.

I also found that standing it on the front of the case instead of the top helped immensely - that way I could use gravity to my advantage instead of having to fight against it.

Snacker discovers Nokia phone in crisp packet


@ "how many fingers"

The picture is a little confusing to the eye but her middle finger happens to be lined up with her index finger in just such a way to make her hand look malformed. You can barely make out her middle finger's nail just in front of her index finger's second knuckle.

Teen sacked for 'boring' job Facebook comment


@Greg Fleming

"Office administrator" is modern parlance for "secretary," now that secretaries almost never actually do any secretarial duties and mostly deal with administering aspects of the office itself (supplies, mostly).

Apple shares MacBook break-in tips


I see it more as a step forward

Okay, so RAM is slightly more difficult to replace, but how often do you do that? More importantly, swapping out the hard drive is now VASTLY easier.

Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB hard drive


TB vs. TiB

What is it with computer peoples' fascination with thinking that TiB are the "true" units? Historically, the ONLY computer-related units which have been in the power-of-two magnitudes have been memory and hard drive space. Everything else (CPU speed, network bandwidth, display resolution, etc.) have always been in the proper scientific power-of-ten magnitudes. There are very solid technological reasons for memory to be based on power-of-two magnitudes, but there aren't for disk space, and fundamentally it's not like it really matters to the end-user to begin with. And yet, operating systems still report hard drive space in powers of two instead of powers of ten, which then leads to the ridiculous "formatted capacity less" weasel words which only serve to add to the confusion.

We should stop taking hard drive manufacturers to task, when the blame lies SOLELY in the hands of the OS vendors.

Google kills iPhone-optimized iGoogle


What? It works just fine for me

At least here in the US, iGoogle and all its related things (iReader in particular) are still working fine in all their iPhone-optimized glory.

Palm's new OS finds the sweetest spot


Javascript has improved since iPhone 1.0

Now there are several excellent Javascript interpreters which support JIT, which means that it's actually quite possible to get quite good performance from it nowadays. Sure, it's not going to be as fast as C++ (or probably even as fast as JIT Java) but it'll still be pretty competitive.

Also, for network-bandwidth-heavy things like Jaiku (as mentioned in the article), it's not like the JS app has to individually process every byte of data - if they do something like implement a Socks server (like NetShare on the iPhone) there's very little heavy lifting that has to happen in the app itself. It'd just be passing large byte arrays around, for the most part.

First case of sleep emailing documented


Sleep-based behavior can be wacky

I had a friend in college who was an avid MUDder. He decided to give it up when one morning he awoke to find that his computer was on, and when he connected to his favorite MUD he had a bunch of messages from people complimenting him on his excellent gaming the previous night (which he had no memory of).

Stevie Wonder in touchscreen plea


@John Gamble

I believe the newest wheel iPods (meaning Classic and Nano) have a VoiceOver-like interface in them, where it reads out the current selected item, which helps both blind users and people who don't want to take their eyes off the road while they fiddle with their song selections. And of course the physical interface itself is extremely touch-friendly.

iPlayer finally makes friendly with Mac and Linux



Uh, you realize that Flash is an Adobe product too, right?

Apple updates MacBooks

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I've run all the updates

I was having the trackpad issue before the trackpad update a few weeks ago, and haven't had any trackpad problems since then.

I also had the won't-stay-asleep problem and the freeze-on-wake, but they were so intermittent that it'll be a while before I know if the fix actually fixed them.

I haven't had the 'black screen of death' problem at all before or after the update (even during intense gaming sessions both using Crossover and BootCamp).

Sony shutting factories and laying off staff


@Nameless Faceless Computer User

If by Sony you mean BMG, sure. Learn the facts before you keep on spouting off the codswallop you heard from Slashdot.

Satanic net neologisms - nominations invited


A few





eHarmony settles over same-sex dating


This might be harder for them to pull off...

Where are they going to find a bunch of gay Jehova's Witnesses (or JW willing to pretend to be gay) to fake-date members?