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Comment: Re:Horrendous security model (Score 4, Insightful) 266

by arctanx (#34328402) Attached to: Open-Source Social Network Diaspora Goes Live

I'm afraid you're screwed whatever you do. The data may be primarily stored on your own machine but you still want your friends to read it. This means if nothing else you have to at least send your status updates and photos to their boxen. They might be accessing a commercially hosted diaspora instance with IE4 on Windows 95A... and you can't help that. You've lost control of the data as soon as it got to their seed.

Compare that with Facebook. Again, they could be using any browser at all. They could have any of a huge number of viruses, keyloggers, webpage scanners running while they trawl through every photo you've posted, as you've granted them the right to do as your friend.

I think the competing model you're thinking of is the postal service.

Comment: Re:Oops... (Score 2, Informative) 348

by arctanx (#33983426) Attached to: Early Review of 11" Macbook Air

Why is this modded informative? Ugh. The speed of a CPU depends amongst other things on its instruction set (architecture) (which is the same here), the number of cores, hyperthreading and similar technologies, how well it can pipeline, the size and configuration of its memory caches, and general logic implementation which performs the instructions. Oh, and the clock speed.

Clearly the mods were not paying attention in the days of the Pentium IV and the Athlon Barton cores. The 1.83 GHz Barton 2500+ kicked the butt of similarly clocked Pentiums and was roughly equivalent to a 2.4 GHz Pentium IV for many applications. (IIRC the P4s were better for video encoding and those sorts of things.)

For many things (games!) the cache will have more effect than the clock. Every time your CPU has to get something out of memory it has to wait around for hundreds of those cycles which you're getting so excited about. If it has to get something swapped to disk: millions of cycles.

Processor architectures are still rapidly evolving so be very very careful when comparing speeds.

Books

+ - Which eBook path is best for self-published books? 1

Submitted by inflex
inflex (123318) writes "After successfully self publishing my wife's fantasy novel in dead-tree format using LyX, GIMP and Inkscape in Linux, we're now trying to choose the best path to take in order to release it as an e-book. There are many options available to us — Amazon, Lightning Source, Google's ePub or finally ordinary plain PDF. Optimistally we'd love to go with PDF but are worried about blatent copying, contract lock-in, distribution and compatibility with the multitude of eBook readers."

Comment: Re:But what is Ubuntu intended to be ? (Score 1) 11

by arctanx (#32795042) Attached to: Is Ubuntu becoming unnecessarily complex?

So true... I spent about 5 minutes trying to work out how it could possibly be a good idea before finding a way to fix it. Basically, fire up gconf-editor, go to /apps/metacity/general and set button_layout to "menu:minimize,maximize,close".

Before I was just using KDE but it's kind of slow on my netbook. Thanks to the simplicity of this particular fix 10.04 gets a tick from me. For now.

Ubuntu

+ - Is Ubuntu becoming unnecessarily complex? 11

Submitted by
GNUALMAFUERTE
GNUALMAFUERTE writes "I am an Slackware guy. I used Slackware for many, many years. I switched to Ubuntu a couple of years ago. I bought a new laptop, I had started developing a system that was meant to run on Ubuntu, and to be honest, I liked the simplicity of apt-get in my laptop. I still run Slackware on all my servers, but I must admit that having most software just a command away is pretty cool. Most if it "just works", and that is certainly magic for someone used to go through 2 hours of dependency hell every time he wanted to install something.

Ubuntu 8.04 was great, but it took me some time to get used to it, and sometimes it didn't feel like Unix. It had its own way of doing things, and customizing things wasn't so simple. Anyway, it was doable, but you had to do it the debian way, and the ubuntu way. Just knowing Unix wasn't enough. Some things seemed unnecessarily complex.

9 added even more tricks, but was still ok.

I recently upgraded many of my systems to 10.04. They decided to change everything again. Ubuntu has become unnecessarily complex. With this upstart crap, they obliterated 30 years of Unix tradition. Many things are so buried behind poorly documented ubuntu-ways of doing things, that you actually have to dig for hours in order to find how something is actually being done.

Yes, it works, and it looks great, and it's a fantastic modern operating system. But it isn't Unix anymore. What used to be accomplished by a simple symlink (and undone by deleting that symlink) has now been replaced by tones of little seemingly isolated shell scripts. They keep changing the way things are done, and implementing new abstraction layers implemented mostly through shellscripting. But they sometimes maintain compat with the original positions of the files you are looking for (Through yet more scripts).

For instance, delete the symlinks to /etc/init.d/gdm from /etc/rc*.d, and gdm will start anyway. Go ahead and delete /etc/init.d/gdm, and gdm will start too. You have to edit /etc/init/gdm.conf. Just renaming it will do no good. Now, the syntax and idea behind this new system are pretty cool, but, are they truly necessary? Yes, we gain a framework to trigger events, and manage service-dependency and load order, but we loose the beautiful simplicity of Unix. Doing things from the CLI is increasingly complex. The simple act of compiling a new kernel requires way too many ubuntu-specific black magic, and you better start with a config copied from an official ubuntu kernel, because userland will just break at just about any modification.

So, I ask Slashdot, do we really need this? Is this moving-away-from-unix trend really necessary? or are we just reinventing the wheel and needlessly alienating old school sysadmins?"

Comment: Actually (Score 4, Interesting) 90

by arctanx (#32784148) Attached to: Diaspora On Schedule, One Month In

I should expand on that because there is a legitimate concern here. One big problem I had with Facebook is that friends from completely disparate groups can share information about you without your control.

For example, unless you're a completely boring person and disable the ability for people to see your tagged photos and the ability for them to post on their wall, the photos and stories about what happened when you got drunk last night can easily be presented to your boss or whoever else. Maybe you're not comfortable with this.

What I would really like to see in Diaspora is a way to segregate users thoroughly. Facebook let you set different access levels to your wall for different groups of friends -- I'd like you to be able to partition your wall for different types of friends, or even moderate posts and photos before a particular group gets to see them. Thanks to the open source nature and 3rd party applications, I expect that that will be possible.

And that will be great.

Comment: Re:I don't understand (Score 2, Insightful) 90

by arctanx (#32784104) Attached to: Diaspora On Schedule, One Month In
If you can't even trust your own friends with your data, what business does your data have being on the Internet? Even with email in modern times, people usually have the courtesy not to publish private correspondence. (Except when they're dealing with celebrities like Steve Jobs or rms, when they sometimes forget.)

Comment: Re:good luck (Score 1) 90

by arctanx (#32783388) Attached to: Diaspora On Schedule, One Month In

Great point. In my mind there are two classes of privacy though: how private you want to be from your friends, and how private you want to be from third parties, advertisers, government statistics and facial recognition profiling, whatever. With Facebook these classes are essentially the same, whereas Diaspora will provide the opportunity to separate the two.

Sure, lots of people love to spread mundane information about themselves amongst their friends and that's not going to change. Given the opportunity though (which they haven't really had), I'll be interested to see if some people start thinking "well this Diaspora thing works quite well, and I get that third party privacy. Why not?". I'm not convinced that that will happen, but I don't think it's been fully tested yet.

Comment: Re:Personal web server? (Score 3, Insightful) 90

by arctanx (#32783344) Attached to: Diaspora On Schedule, One Month In

for a lot of people their home machine, if they have one, is about the most insecure place to put things.

Your implication is that their data is safer hosted elsewhere than on their own computers, but this is mixing two separate issues.

Home machines are "insecure" in that lots of people have trojans and malware. If this is the case, it doesn't matter what service you're using be it Facebook or a Diaspora seed on your own machine or hosted elsewhere. The malware controllers own you.

The point of Diaspora is to prevent the à la carte approach to private information which Facebook makes available to advertisers because they host the data. It's a systematic breach of privacy which is being solved, not an incidental one due to insecure computers. Given the nature of the project, I expect that the commercial/ad-supported Diaspora seed providers will compete over just how tightly they'll keep your seed locked down from any third parties.

Comment: Re:Can someone explain? (Score 1) 269

by arctanx (#32690514) Attached to: Senate Panel Approves Cybersecurity Bill

Yes, ham radio tends to use the AX.25 standard for packets of IP data. This typically operates at 300 baud on HF bands and 1200 baud on VHF, so it's not fast, but it does the job. They also have the 44.0.0.0/8 allocation to assign IP addresses for this purpose.

However, this tends to be forbidden in wartime: "Again during World War II, as it had done during the first World War, the United States Congress suspended all amateur radio operations." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_amateur_radio#World_War_II

What you really need is a low-power mesh network to facilitate widespread communications under those conditions.

Comment: Re:Simple Solution (Score 4, Interesting) 553

by arctanx (#32203174) Attached to: Wikipedia Is Not Amused By Entry For xkcd-Coined Word

Worse still is that the notability ambiguity extends to non-fictional articles. For example, the Super Dimensional Fortress (a popular free public access UNIX system) had a small article on Wikipedia until some Wikipedians decided that public access UNIX systems aren't notable and the article was successfully deleted. And some SDF users started working on the messageboards to catalogue the history of the service somewhere else.

Amusingly the article still exists in German and the English link takes you to the similarly-named Japanese anime but has nothing to do with the service.

When valid informational articles with people interested in maintaining them are being deleted, the battle has been lost. Arguing about fiction and self-referential joke articles is barely worth the effort.

Some of the fundraiser money should be spent on bigger hard drives.

Comment: Re:These guys are not helping (Score 1) 75

by arctanx (#30668062) Attached to: Australian Net Filter Protest Site Returns

Indeed, I will concede that the 3 hours in which to present your case was rather harsh. Nobody should be expected to pull together their information in so short a time, valid use of the domain or not. All the same, I don't think stephenconroy.com.au deserved more than, say, 24 hours, as their site was obviously not intended for commercial purposes. Common sense, please!

And indeed clearly others who have commented have had bad experiences with auDA which I haven't had to face. All the same, the website was obviously not selling a product. I'm a fan of following common sense and the spirit of the law. Perhaps you speak truth when you say that these are not strictly speaking 'laws', but policies which auDA has implemented, but they are a standard, have been for some time, and freer alternatives exist. I do not believe that auDA is fundamentally undermining our democracy by not allowing a protest site to occupy a .com.au domain.

I also agree that the site has brought attention to the anti-censorship issue -- but in the wrong light. I am pleased that the site brings publicity to the issue but the fact that the site is using underhanded tactics to have the right to register a domain undermines their cause, if you ask me.

Goodness knows that I'm not personally offended by the use of stephenconroy.com.au as a protest site, but the last thing we need is more ammunition against the protesters suggesting that we are disrespectful of Internet policies that aren't actually inherently bad.

Comment: Re:These guys are not helping (Score -1, Offtopic) 75

by arctanx (#30653824) Attached to: Australian Net Filter Protest Site Returns

Oh, congratulations! I assume it's who I remember. :) Well I'll stop spamming slashdot now. No doubt I'll encounter you again elsewhere. I was... "sheepmaster" I think back then? Cripes, I shouldn't say these things on replies to a post where I want people to take me seriously. Ah well.

The first time, it's a KLUDGE! The second, a trick. Later, it's a well-established technique! -- Mike Broido, Intermetrics

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