Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:It's kinda cute (Score 1) 301

by jmv (#49780141) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results

I do not know a single politician outside the US who would think that even remotely considering pushing an agenda as harebrained as creationism is anything but political suicide. ...well, except in Canada these days. A couple years ago, our minister of *science* was refusing to answer questions about whether he believed in evolution. More recently, Alberta also had a creationist minister of education.. So unfortunately, some of the madness has escaped North of the US.

Comment: tried and failed... and prior art anyway (Score 1) 101

by lkcl (#49758065) Attached to: Cute Or Creepy? Google's Plan For a Sci-Fi Teddy Bear

hang on... didn't bunnie huang do the "chumby", and didn't barbie try doing something like this - putting an interactive wifi and mic aspect into one of their barbie dolls... with a huge back-lash as a result? so (a) why is there an expectation that this will succeed (b) why was the patent granted when there is clear prior art???

Comment: debian digital signing and the GPG keyring (Score 2) 94

by lkcl (#49749449) Attached to: NSA Planned To Hijack Google App Store To Hack Smartphones

this is why debian has the GPG key-signing parties, and why all packages are GPG-signed by the package maintainer when they compile it, why the ftp masters sign the package when it's uploaded, and why the release files which include the checksums of all the packages are also GPG-signed. under this scenario there are an extremely limited number of extremely paranoid methods by which debian may be compromised. even the scenario of "cooperation between long-term sleeper agents within debian's ranks" would have a one-shot opportunity to get away with introducing malicious code, following the discovery of which their GPG keys would be revoked, the perpetrators kicked out of debian, their packages pulled immediately pending a review, and the already-effective procedures reviewed to involve multi-person GPG signing that would make it even harder for compromise to occur in the future.

now, if you recall, there was an announcement a couple of years back that the development of Mozilla's B2G was declared to be "open" to all, so i contributed with a thorough security-conscious review of how to do package distribution. it turns out that Mozilla is *NOT* open - at all. several other contributors have learned that the Mozilla Foundation is in direct violation of its charter.

basically, the Mozilla Foundation *completely* ignored the advice that i gave - which was that the use of SSL as a distribution mechanism would be vulnerable to *exactly* the kinds of attacks that we see the NSA attempting to do on google. they went so far as to enact censorship, preventing and prohibiting me from pointing out the severe security flaws inherent in their chosen method of package distribution. i remain deeply unimpressed with many aspects of so-called "open-ness" of well-funded software libre projects.

Comment: correlation between gravity and length of day (Score 1) 94

http://iopscience.iop.org/0295...

just to throw an appropriate spanner in the works, it's worthwhile mentioning the above article which notes a significant statistical correlation between variations in the measurement of the effect known as "gravity", and the (appx) 6.5 year cyclic variation of the earth's length of day.

now, before you go all "ooer" or "waah! gravity varies! we're all gonna dieeee spinning off into space", it's worthwhile pointing out that the author mentions, in the conclusion, that there *might* be some sort of unknown systemic errors in (a) how gravity is measured (b) how the length of day is measured which *happen* to coincide and give the *impression* that there is a statistical correlation between gravitational variation and the length of the earth's day. he does however state that in light of how the measurements are taken it would seem to be very unlikely that there are such systemic errors.

so, anyway, the point is: gravity appears not to be as simple as we assumed, hence why some long-distance space probes (Pioneer for example) have anomalous unexplained behaviour.

+ - Samba user survey results - Improve the documentation !->

Submitted by Jeremy Allison - Sam
Jeremy Allison - Sam writes: Mark Muehlfeld of the Samba Team recently surveyed our user base and recently reported the results at the SambaXP conference in Germany.

They make fascinating reading, and include all the comments on Samba made by our users. Short answer — we must improve our documentation. Here are the full results:

https://www.samba.org/~mmuehlf...

Cheers,

                Jeremy Allison,
                Samba Team.

Link to Original Source
Cellphones

Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone 134

Posted by timothy
from the hello-operator dept.
New submitter JoSch1337 writes: After a year and a half of development, the Neo900 project now opened its web shop for the down payments of binding pre-orders for either a full Neo900 phone or the bare circuit board to upgrade an existing Nokia N900. The up-front down payment is necessary to now secure expensive "risk parts" like the modem, 1GB RAM and N900 cases. Thus, without pre-ordering now, there might not be enough parts left after the first batch.

The Neo900 is the spritual successor of the Nokia N900. The new circuit board can be placed into an existing N900 for better specs (faster CPU, more RAM, LTE modem) than the original device while still maintaining fremantle (maemo 5) backwards compatibility. Alternatively, a fully assembled phone can be purchased as well. The Neo900 will be fully operational without any binary blob running on the main CPU. While the modem still requires a non-free firmware, it is completely decoupled from the rest of the device (think of a LTE usb stick you put in your laptop) and can reliably be monitored or switched off by the operating system.

You can follow the development of the project in the maemo forum, read about the specs of the device or consult the FAQ

Comment: Re:Installation Issue - Try telling Comcast that! (Score 2) 120

Similar here. One day the connection went out and I called tech support. I told them it was probably related to the technician I had just seen in the neighborhood. They couldn't even track that there was a technician around, so they couldn't help at all. Eventually (with tech support on the phone), I just opened the door and yelled "are you the one that took down my connection?" to the technician outside and he shouted back "yes". Cause identified.

Comment: Re:Sociopath (Score 1) 170

You'd find that people who aren't training to be pros, but work out that much, are probably more common than you think.

yep - count me in. i'm currently up to about the same level of exercise as you - about 2 hours a day: tennis or street-skating. tennis is for my eyes - and the social interaction. street-skating is because i find the explosive (sprinting) nature of tennis is causing huge knots in my arm and leg muscles. without this, i am... yeah, not a nice person either :)

Comment: Tennis and Computing (Score 2, Interesting) 170

by lkcl (#49687731) Attached to: John Urschel: The 300 Pound Mathematician Who Hits People For a Living

two years ago i took up tennis at the recommendation of a friend. before that i'd done tai ji, full-contact karate (shin kyu-kshin), long-distance skating (86 miles athens-to-atlanta 1999, 65 miles new york park 1999, 26 miles rotterdam 2006) and yoga (ashtanga and T.M Asanas). it's a big list of different physical activities, which have the following things in common:

* complex coordinated movement
* requiring or recommending very deep breathing (skating especially)
* very long and regular practice

the reason why i specifically love tennis is that in addition to these things it is necessary to not only be extremely physically fit but also, if you would like to win, you require strategy and planning both on and off the court. tennis is particularly harsh on the body in that it is a series of very short explosive sprints, standing still, *then* hitting the ball, and then doing it all over again.

also the types of movement required are *unbelievably* complex! serving involves *six* degrees of freedom of movement (x-y-z, rotation in x-y-z) in order to impart the maximum amount of inspired deviousness into a small yellow round object.

to fully understand why it was that, aged 44, i started this sport and now practice over an hour a day, you have to understand that prior to that i was sitting 12 hours a day in front of a computer screen: average distance approx 1 metre. for the prior 4 years that was a 24in imac, so the panorama i *initially* thought was great.... turned out to have caused extreme alterations in my eyes.

just over two years ago i discovered that my eyes had gone "prism". this is a new development: i've always had -0.75 astigmatism, but prism basically means that i can focus easily on an object that's 1 metre away, but if i look at something 3 metres or greater away i see *DOUBLE*. in the dark, i can't bring the two together.

the implications of that are that not only has there been physical damage caused by long-term computer usage but that there has also been *NEURAL* damage caused by long-term computer usage.

the bottom line of this story is, in this context, that this football player is being extremely sensible. if a few neurons get knocked out of place by a concussion, so damn what: his pursuit of mathematics will, by virtue of it being so incredibly challenging, allow him to grow new pathways and literally grow new neurons. the reason why his peers get brain damage is because they *don't* have anything other than football to challenge them.

each of his pursuits therefore supports the others. the physical exertion keeps his body - and his heart - fit. that in turn allows him more oxygen with which to feed his brain and thus sustain the pursuit of mathematics. the increased mental alertness allows him to play with tactics and strategy that the average player would not be able to consider. his specialty in mathematics would allow him to apply physics (moments of inertia) in a *really* practical way that would keep both him and the people he smacks down safer than would otherwise be done by someone without his knowledge.

but the best part of all this is that if he has a successful long-term career, i predict that he will end up inspiring thousands of young football players to pay a bit closer attention to their other studies, and that coaches will have an example - a specific person - that they can quote as to why, when they go recruiting, they are looking for someone who has not only the physique but also the high academic aptitude as well. ... wouldn't it be great to have an entire team of football players who not only kick ass (literally) but who have degrees and even PhDs? that would change how people think of football, forever.

Comment: a data collection device in antarctica (Score 5, Interesting) 403

andrew trigdell told me an amazing story back in 1999 about how he helped install Linux 0.99 on a solar-powered data collection computer in antarctica. Linux 0.99 was known to be highly stable, hence why it was chosen. it has a 56k modem which is enough to get the data back, and to check (very slowly) that it's still operational. so i think anything that's designed for long-term with those kinds of harsh remote and inaccessible conditions in mind, powered off of sustainable independent power, would be a good candidate for a device that would still be functioning even decades later.

Comment: Re:Happened to me (Score 2) 147

by lkcl (#49648933) Attached to: Technology and Ever-Falling Attention Spans

I know my average has plummeted over the years; especially when I bought a second display, and then a third.

Fortunately, this year I may replace them all with a large 4k display and then I'll have a long attention span again.

DON'T DO IT. or if you do, please put it into landscape mode next to the other monitors, in a circle. i had a large wide-screen display (big mac) - 24 in. i thought it was wonderful. i sat in front of it for 4 years, at a distance of about 1 metre. now my eyes are "prism", meaning that anything over 3 metres away i see *DOUBLE*, especially if it is off to the left or the right. but anything that is exactly 1 metre away, i see perfectly with extremely fast reaction time.

time and time again it has been shown that our eyes adjust to the conditions that we put them under. it is sheer arrogance of the optician industry to state "your eyes degrade with age". it is total shit. our eyes contain MUSCLES. therefore our eyes degrade with LACK OF EXERCISE, just like any other part of our body that has muscles.

the solution: i got plugable.com USB-to-VGA converters and surrounded my workstation with 4:3 aspect ratio monitors, in a semi-circle.... and threw away the "standard" prescription glasses given to me by the ignorant opticians, and bought glasses that were *two* diopters less than the prescription (which had to come from china). there are now opticians in the UK where you can give them exactly the prescription that you want. i recommend using them instead of buying cheap glasses from china.

Comment: key skill (Score 2) 425

by lkcl (#49620323) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

the key skill needed for programming is to be *able to pay attention to detail*. if you are unable, by any means, to focus on one thing for any length of time (because, for example, you have the attention span of a spider on cocaine or worse caffeine, because, for example, you have been brought up on txting and IMing and twittah) then it should come as absolutely no surprise that you are utterly useless at programming.

another person mentions that creativity is needed in programming. well, yes, this is true. if you have a bug that you don't know how it got there, you need to be extraordinarily patient [attention to detail] with yourself and your work, going over it *creatively* in different ways until such time as you have found, understood and then fixed the bug.

if you do not have the patience because you are, once again, brought up on a diet of twitter, instant gratitfication and refined sugar products, *no amount* of creativity is going to help if you cannot apply it.

i call myself a programmer: what i actually have is obsessive compulsion to be able to pay attention to one task for spans of time that exceed healthy limits. i can be freezing cold and not even notice... because i'm debugging something. only sheer complete exhaustion can get through under those circumstances. this is where it helps to be working in part of a team, as it sets some structure for social interaction. it's no accident, then, that there are entrepreneurs [this goes back a few years on slashdot - there's an article somewhere] who *only* take on *english language* majors [US i presume], and train them to be programmers. why? because people who can *communicate* turn out to make better programmers than people who have been through a university-driven programming course.

Factorials were someone's attempt to make math LOOK exciting.

Working...