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Comment: You know a country is leading ... (Score 2, Insightful) 362

by 2Bits (#35648918) Attached to: China To Overtake US In Science In Two Years

... in scientific research when you see the following:

  1. Best research papers are published in the local language, and not in a foreign language
  2. The country hosts the best scientific publication entities.
  3. Scientists do not have to learn a foreign language to do research and read papers.
  4. Other countries' scientists have, at least, a working knowledge of your language.
  5. The best and brightest in the world come to study at your graduate schools.
  6. The best and brightest scientists want to immigrate to your country (to have the opportunities to work on advanced research).

None of these apply to China yet, and I don't think it happen in 10 years, let alone 2 years. So, if I were an American policy maker, I'm not gonna to freak out yet.

Comment: Not good for the future of Linux (Score 3, Insightful) 201

by 2Bits (#35607240) Attached to: Red Hat Nears $1 Billion In Revenues, Closing Door On Clones

If every distro is doing the same thing, this is not going to be very good for the future of Linux. Engineers at every distro are going to waste a lot time trying to figure what other distros had been patching, which part of the code had been changed while a specific issue was fixed, etc. Everyone is going to end up wasting a lot of time, and creating a lot of confusion.

Even though Linux distros are quite fragmented, but the current kernel development has been working quite well, because every distro is playing by the rule (more or less), which is quite transparent. Now, with this kind of one time big change by RH, even though you can still diff on all the source codes, it's not going to be easy to figure what has bee done (and why). And I think it's going to trigger other distros to behave similarly.

And it will be even harder for the users. As a user, if we have in-house-built applications that rely on specific version of a library or module, we might not want to have a giant patch on basically everything, we probably want only small, concise, specific patch for some critical security problems. I'm starting to wonder how are we going to manage that.

Comment: Re:Similar Revolts (Score 1) 501

by 2Bits (#35526316) Attached to: UN Backs Action Against Colonel Gaddafi

Who will fill the power vacuum? Will the next party be worse than the prior? Is it worth the bloodshed and genocide? Will the county's stability spiral downward, further lowering standards of living and liberty?

I don't know the answer for all the questions that you posed here, but as for the question of who will fill the power vacuum, I think the US will have a puppet ready any time, especially for countries that have oil. Life will be better or worse? We just have to look at Afghanistan and Iraq for examples. For Washington, who cares about the fucking life there? As long as you listen to us, pump out enough oil everyday so we can drive giant SUV to the convenient store around the corner, you are the good guy and we'll help you stay in power.

Comment: Separate the fact from speculation? (Score 1) 172

by 2Bits (#35524916) Attached to: RSA's Servers Hacked

I was expecting a better job from securosis, but then, the first paragraph got right into speculation:

According to the announcement, RSA was breached in an APT attack (we don’t know if they mean China, but that’s well within the realm of possibility) and material related to the SecureID product was stolen.

I stopped reading right there.

Comment: Real convergence (Score 3, Interesting) 297

by 2Bits (#35353382) Attached to: Can the Atrix 4G Really Become Your Next PC?
... could have happened with MeeGo, it's a damn desktop computer in your pocket, all you need is a dock, and preferably with standard connection port, and you are there. The dock could even come from a different manufacturer in the ecosystem. But heck, with the recent turn of events, it's not going to happen anyway.

Comment: Fuel from plant is probably a lost cause (Score 2) 105

by 2Bits (#35146538) Attached to: Spinach Could Be Used For Hydrogen Fuel

I know people are working hard to try to find an alternative to fossil fuel, but I believe using plant as an alternative is probably a lost cause. Whether you try to create methanol from plant (or food) or as the article suggests, use the spinach protein to extract hydrogen from water, is not very efficient way to create fuel. Sure, plants are "renewable", but at what cost? The gain in fuel is not enough to offset the cost, not only the economic cost of producing the fuel, but the environment, societal cost too. You may argue that we simply haven't found an efficient way to do it, that's all, but we eventually will. However, the cost to environment and the ripple that it creates through societies (e.g. rise of food prices) will always be there. Unless, of course, we could harvest plants/food massively, at very low cost, and without effect to the planet. That is a tall order, by itself.

I believe there are better ways, which we already know now, and which have lower long term cost. Nonetheless, the research project mentioned in TFA is still very cool.

Comment: Re:Nokia (Score 2) 256

by 2Bits (#35063500) Attached to: Android Passes Symbian As Most-Shipped Mobile Platform

No, Nokia should be focusing on Meego and come up with some real devices to run it. When N900 came out, it was the best. There were some problems with the OS and software, but it was way ahead of its competitors. Android was like a joke. But for almost two years, while Nokia is sleeping, everyone is leaping forward. How many releases of Android and how many generations of Android devices have we seen during this time?

Since I lost my N900 in a bar, I digged out my HTC Pro from the drawer and have been waiting for the successor of N900. I keep asking Nokia, what the fuck are you guys doing? Wake up. N900 and its successors could have been a boon for geeks, advanced users, the big cheeses, and all the business people. It's the real convergence: communication, life, entertainment, work, computing, all in the pocket.

I even wrote code on that device. My wife, who is in sales, said she could have run a real CRM on that thing, without having to carry a computer any more.

Nokia really needs to put its act together. They had the hardware, they hard the software, they had the distribution channel, customers are begging for it, I simply don't understand what the fuck are they doing.

Comment: The attitude here saddens me (Score 4, Insightful) 151

by 2Bits (#35017004) Attached to: Engineer Designs His Own Heart Valve Implant

Just a few comments, and all the negative comments already: big deal, there is nothing new here.

You know what, when I hear news like that, it really gives me more confidence in technical people (engineers, scientists, geeks, etc). The guy got a heart problem, he got the skills (with the help of doctors and others, probably) to design the best solution for himself, and in the meantime, for other people too. And guess what, he even got the ball to install it on himself first. And it seems to work just fine. What can be more cool, more geeky, more nerdy than that? Sure, it's only "a small sample of 30ish", as someone said here. So what? Even if this solution only applies to one person, it is still a fucking cool solution.

For me, I'd like to hear news like that everyday, that's news for nerds, stuff that matters. If I had kids, I would tell them this, and other similar stories, as bed-time stories everyday.

Comment: Given the restrictions ... (Score 1) 314

by 2Bits (#33506026) Attached to: Dual-Core CPU Opens Door To 1080p On Smartphones

...on the phone by the manufacturers and carriers, what's the whole point of having that much power? Recording and watching 1080p video? Pfft....the lack of imagination is pathetic. I have a tons of apps that I'd like to work on, if the phone platform is as open as the PC platform. Laptops just don't have the mobility and form/shape required for a ubiquitous interaction.

I just wish there are more manufacturers put out more high-end mobility devices for the MeeGo platform. Can't wait to get my hand on the N900's successor.

Comment: Making a fuss for nothing (Score 2, Interesting) 412

by 2Bits (#33378192) Attached to: Teacher Asks Students To Plan a Terrorist Attack

In this society, it is not possible to learn something, or teach something, without other people making a fuss over it. In the previous few years, I was interviewing candidates for quite a few security engineer positions. We want to hire someone junior who has the potential, and we would train him/her to do the work.

So we asked the following question during the interview: We know that A is sending a very important email to B. Your job is to get your hand on that email, no matter what. Show me the different ways of getting that email.

We were trying to find out if the candidate could come up with a plan to solve the problem. If he/she could come up with an attack matrix, it would be even better. But our goal is to find out if the candidate could consider the problem from all angles.

The funny thing about this experience was that, one of the candidate who didn't get hired, reported the experience to the Public Safety Department (i.e. Police in China), saying that we are recruiting crackers, probably for some unspeakable purposes. We got a few visits (you know whom!), and I was to be specifically "interrogated".

Comment: That's nothing (Score 4, Interesting) 242

by 2Bits (#33027244) Attached to: The Puzzle of Japanese Web Design

compared to the web sites in China. In China, not just web sites, all UI have terrible "busy" problems, everything has to be jammed onto the same page. Have you seen an application with 233 buttons on the UI? Yes, that's all the functionalities of the system, and I personally counted the buttons.

I've been working in Shanghai for 7 years. Initially, I just couldn't understand why customers wants us (the vendors, system integrators, developers etc) to put so many things on the same. It's simply not good to have menu, or navigation. Everything has to be presented on the same display. And every customer wants flying ads, flashing images and icons, animation, sound, popups, etc, etc.

After so many projects, I finally started to understand, although I hate it, and would not use it personally.

  • Project decisions, down to the smallest thing, such icons and fonts, are made by the big cheese.
  • No one really dare to make decision. As any decision would be turned down by the big cheese.
  • The big cheese has to make every decision, otherwise, he would not be able to show his power.
  • If he does not turn down other people's decision, the big cheese thinks he loses face.
  • The big cheese always want to get the most out of the project, and pay as little as possible
  • The more he gets from the project, the more it shows his achievement.
  • The big cheese is not the final user of the system or the web site. He would look at it at most for 5 minutes. Therefore, as long as it looks animated, seems to have a lot of functions and information, it'll be good. How it affects the end users is not his problem.
  • The big cheese is the one who signs the check. Vendors just play along.
  • The busy UI becomes a norm.
  • For new projects, the big cheese will look at your proposed simple UI, and say: "I want that one", pointing you to a busy UI example.

And everything turns into a vicious cycle that feeds onto itself. There's simply no way to explain to the customers.

Comment: Re:Self Justification (Score 1) 973

by 2Bits (#32796232) Attached to: A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars
I can buy a large orchestration of a song, made with 100 musicians and a 50 person choir, for $1. But the sheet music, which is reduced to be played on one or two instruments, costs $4? That just seems off.

Let's play the devil's advocate here and come up with a car analogy. I can buy a huge bus which can seat up to 80 people for much less than a Ferrari sport car, which can only seat two.

The cost of the music sheet, as compared to the price of an orchestrated song, has nothing to do with the argument. Neither the cost of production. Even if it had, it would just be a non-central argument. This is demand and supply. He wants to price music sheet at $4 per sheet, that's perfectly legal. From the demand side, you just don't have to buy it. You can find another supplier, for some cheaper replaceable products. Put aside our point of view regarding copyrights and patents, that does not justify you to take it for free.

Now, I do think that his price is way off too, but that's not really the point.

ps: I have stopped buying any new music albums since 2000, and basically listen only to what I had bought before that, or go to listen to live music only. Or only when a friend is willing to lend his CD. As much as I like ebooks, I just buy dead-tree versions only, to avoid DRM. That's unfortunate, I really prefer to a disk full of ebooks than a library full of books. And I'd like to carry all my books in my pocket too.

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