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Comment: Re:Why Math matters (Score 1) 241

by Prototerm (#47487327) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Bur how often do you need to understand those things to implement a typical computer program that helps a user get something done? Oftentimes, you simply need to know one is better than another and get on with it. Of course, you'd need that understanding to, for example, work on the TrueCrypt sourcecode. But generally? I don't think so/

Comment: Programming != Math (Score 1) 241

by Prototerm (#47487269) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Programming isn't, strictly speaking, math. Not like calculus or algebra is math. It's something else entirely.

I have a rather annoying learning disability, and have suffered from it since I was in first grade: I have a great difficulty memorizing things. Now, even with that rather annoying problem, I managed to be near the top of the class in both grade school and high school. What happened is I learned early on how to analyze the patterns behind the subjects I was expected to memorize and when test-time came was able to reconstruct most of the required information based on those patterns. Perfect example of this is spelling. I figured out what phoenetic combinations ruled English, and used them to pass tests. Armed with those rules, I only had to remember one or two odd words per week. In history, I found myself being able to understand and explain historical trends and influences. Names and Dates, on the other hand, gave me (literally) a headache. Simple math was easy (just a small number of consistent rules, after all). Sort of. Word problems in math, on the other hand, were difficult at best.

After I graduated college, I bought myself a Commodore 64 (they were just on the market) and dove right into both Basic and Assembly language. Both were easy for me to analyze and comprehend. Logic may be a branch of mathematics, but to me it's more obvious than anything in the math textbooks. Calculus is (for me) as obtuse and illogical as it gets. "If a water tank with a height of 15 feet and a circumference of 20 feet is 2/3 full of water, with a 1/8 inch hole a foot above the bottom, how long will it take the water level to drop to the hole?" Just plug the hole, whydoncha? Jeez!

Interestingly enough, I also have problems with computer word problems. Just give me the code (any code -- C, C++, C#, pascal, basic, assembler, SQL) and a little time, and I'll tell you what's causing the bug you're seeing. Now, after all these years, I'm the one everyone comes to when faced with an intractable computer problem that no one else seems able to solve. And I still don't like math.

Comment: Re:Not the phone (Score 1) 243

by Prototerm (#46932685) Attached to: The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

I'll do you one better. My dumbphone costs me $100 US a year for voice and messages (I turn text messages off, though -- the phone's too small to type on with my fat thumbs), and any money I don't spend on calls gets rolled over to the next year. The phone doesn't use data, and I don't need it to. Email and Internet's what my laptop is for. Why would I want to spend $35 each month when what I've got now is more than I need? Oh, and that $35 is just the starting point. After you add state and federal fees, it's more like $50 a month.

Comment: Bad Idea (Score 0) 175

by Prototerm (#46675873) Attached to: Linux Developers Consider On-Screen QR Codes For Kernel Panics

I'd file this under the "Gee, mom, look what I can do" school of programming. It makes the assumption that every Linux user in the known universe has a smartphone and enough data minutes left in the month to play around with a QR code and a web page. I'm a great believer in the "KISS" principle: Keep It Simple! Your powerful computer just fell down and can't get up, so now you want to make it create and display a fancy bit of graphics? This sort of error is too important to rely on playing "stupid computer tricks"! What if it's a text-only server installation and there *is* no GUI available to display the QR? What if displaying the QR code *itself* causes an error? I'd hate to be using version 1 of *this* change! Besides, this sort of fancy error display belongs in User space, not the Kernel (IMHO). Simplifying the error message with ordinary, everyday language the user can actually write down with (gasp) pencil and paper is a much better approach than trying to impress people with how 1337 you are. /rant

+ - OpenSSH has a new cipher, chacha20-poly1305, from D.J. Bernstein!

Submitted by ConstantineM
ConstantineM (965345) writes "Inspired by a recent Google initiative to adopt ChaCha20 and Poly1305 for TLS, OpenSSH developer Damien Miller has added a similar protocol to ssh,, which is based on D. J. Bernstein algorithms that are specifically optimised to provide the highest security at the lowest computational cost, and not require any special hardware at doing so. Some further details are in his blog, and at undeadly. The source code of the protocol is remarkably simple — less than 100 lines of code!"

Comment: Nothing New Here (Score 1) 141

by Prototerm (#40553707) Attached to: YouTube-MP3 Ripper Creator Takes On Google

When I was a teenager, I made copies of streaming audio all the time ... using a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a pair of alligator clips attached to the speakers of a table radio -- all to capture the latest "top 40" pop tunes in glorious monophonic sound. That was back in the sixties, and the music world didn't come to an end because I didn't spend money I didn't have in the first place, nor did the huge multinational music companies crash and burn in bankruptcy. However, later on, when I *did* have money to spend I collected thousands of record albums and 45's. Even later, I re-purchased everything on CD's.

Tell me again why this sort of recording activity is *costing* companies money? Seems to me that it's more of an investment in the future.

Comment: New Jersey Just FInished Removing Them (Score 1) 1173

by Prototerm (#36652964) Attached to: Roundabout Revolution Sweeping US

Until the 1990's, the main route between Philadelphia and Atlantic City had at least two Roundabouts. The earliest time I remember seeing them was during the late 1950's as a passenger in my parent's car. So, this is not a new invention this side of the Pond, but an old one that has been tried and abandoned after decades of use. I had the opportunity to drive this route before they were both redesigned, and I can tell you that the design is only effective when traffic is very minimal. It's extremely hazardous with high traffic volume.

The State of New Jersey clearly knows this, as does any American driver who has experienced what I believe is a misguided attempt at a "Can't we all get along" society. If you've ever seen the original Death Race 2000 movie, or played the Carmageddon series of video games, then you know what the highways are like in the Philadelphia area.

Properly configured traffic lights are much preferred to the risk of physical harm the Roundabout represents.


Comment: Re:Version numbers (Score 2) 188

by dmiller (#36393862) Attached to: Google Releases Chrome 12

Google has grabbed a bunch of open source libraries, sometimes respecting the license, hacked on them, and rolled them into Chrom*.

If you have any cases where you think that Chrome is failing to comply with the terms of a free software license, then please file a bug at - we take license compliance very seriously. (I'm a Google engineer, though not working Chrome).

Comment: Re:OpenSSH is not vulnerable (Score 4, Informative) 31

by dmiller (#36271318) Attached to: OpenSSL Timing Attack Can Intercept Private Keys
No, it is not vulnerable to this attack. The Brumley/Tuveri paper describes a timing leak in a specific algorithm that is only used for elliptic curve crypto over binary/GF(2m) fields. OpenSSH uses ECC over prime fields that use different algorithms that have no known timing leaks. A result against ECC using prime fields would be more difficult because the curve point components are integers and so can use well-tested modular arithmetic code.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell