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Comment: Re:Older versions of distributions? (Score 1) 132

by basicio (#28762171) Attached to: Linux Distributions' Tracking of Upstream Projects Examined
That's basically what I've discovered over the last year or so of running it, yes.

But it would really have been nice to know about this kind of thing a year ago, hence my interest in seeing how older distros fare in the same metrics. This is not something that's really apparent until you've used a distro for a while and while it may not be an issue for some, it's a huge one for me.

Comment: Older versions of distributions? (Score 2, Interesting) 132

by basicio (#28760895) Attached to: Linux Distributions' Tracking of Upstream Projects Examined
I'd be more interested in seeing the statistics for older versions of distributions to see which age best, because I've been running into this problem with Ubuntu Hardy (8.04 LTS) for months now. I don't have the time or the inclination to upgrade my OS every 6 months, but even the LTS release of Ubuntu doesn't get major version upgrades for some packages I end up using a lot. PulseAudio hasn't been updated from the March 2008 version (0.9.10), which likes to crash randomly several times a week. Pidgin. Gimp. Amarok. All have very stable, very mature releases that are at least one major version beyond what's available. Now that I finally have some time I'm in the process of moving my Ubuntu box over to Arch primarily because it does rolling releases. It's going to be more of a pain to set up and keep running, but it's going to be a lot better than having to manually upgrade operating systems every six months to be able to run software that's been around for more than a year.

Comment: Re:Not feasible (Score 1) 174

by basicio (#28519289) Attached to: The Technology Keeping Information Flowing in Iran
Tor has central directory authorities. Directory authorities provide Tor proxies with a list of running routers, and that list contains the public keys of every Tor router. The extend cell to the second router is encrypted with that public key. Unless the Tor router in question is the one with that public key, it's not going to be able to read the extend cell and negotiate a symmetric-key exchange to extend the circuit.

Comment: Not feasible (Score 3, Informative) 174

by basicio (#28514687) Attached to: The Technology Keeping Information Flowing in Iran
There is no way Iran has the resources to perform correlation attacks on Tor traffic.

Facts: -There are about 1800 Tor nodes running right now, and about 900 of those are exit nodes. (http://torstatus.kgprog.com/)
-Any entity performing cross-correlation attacks on Tor isn't going to have a very good chance of compromising a given circuit unless they control a very significant portion (say, a third or more) of the Tor network.
-There are tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of clients using Tor, and Iran only accounts for about 3000 of them. (https://blog.torproject.org/blog/measuring-tor-and-iran)
-By default, Tor will not construct circuits with two nodes that share /16 subnets.
-Iran's assigned IP address blocks include 75 or so distinct /16 subnets

So to even have a chance of being effective, Iran needs to come up with at least 600 geographically distinct Tor nodes. Any nodes inside Iran are going to be almost entirely ineffective, because deep packet inspection means that all traffic into and out of Iran is slowed to a crawl. Iran also needs to write the code to do cross-correlation attacks. Iran then needs to deal with a ton of data they don't care about from users not in Iran (and there are a lot more people using Tor who aren't in Iran than people who are). It would take a lot of smart people distributed around the world to pull this off, and for very little gain.

Compromising Tor? That's pretty difficult. Blocking it, when all internet connections are being routed through a single place? Not so difficult.

Comment: Moving for another reason (Score 3, Insightful) 505

by basicio (#28410755) Attached to: Memory Usage of Chrome, Firefox 3.5, et al.

Yes, you did used to be able to do everything you described in 256MB of RAM. But to attribute the biggest increases in web browser memory usage to programmer laziness is to ignore a drastic change in the way we (and by we, I mean the general internet-using public) use web browsers. It's no longer enough to display static web pages. Web applications are mainstream, JavaScript and Flash are practically inescapable.

I was curious, so I just checked memory usage of a web browser (Firefox 3) and an office app (Word 2007). Total memory usage, with four tabs open to fairly intensive sites (slashdot, ars technica, gmail, facebook) and a 10-page document open in Word? 150MB. I do almost all of my web browsing and general computing on a computer with a 1.8GHz Celeron processor and 1GB of RAM. The P4 system you described should be doing just fine.

Comment: And your conclusions are just false. (Score 1) 677

Even small schools almost always have different math courses based on skill level (I went to a tiny high school, and we certainly did). You misunderstand the issue.

Unless you have classes with only 2-3 students of equal ability you're going to have this problem. Even in advanced classes there are some people who learn things faster than others, and the people who learn faster are almost always forced to sit through lectures and do work that is for them pointless.

The prevailing attitude in US education is that people who learn slowly are most helped by being in the same classes as those who learn quickly. This isn't wrong, but it does mean that those who learn quickly are slowed down to help others keep up.

This isn't a problem unique to math education though--it's an issue for almost everything. Unsurprisingly, things like art classes and music classes are least susceptible to this problem. The people who excel can do so, and the people who don't are still able to learn from those who do.

Comment: It's not actually that subjective (Score 1) 125

by basicio (#26787863) Attached to: Ruckus Closes Down

As someone who used to occasionally use Ruckus, it really was pretty terrible for a lot of reasons:
-very little music from independent artists. I couldn't find 3/4 of what I wanted on there. (Although I can't find a third or so of what I listen to on Amazon either, so your mileage may have varied.)
-absolutely horrific client software that only worked on Windows (because the DRM was available only there). This was a big deal when 60-70% of your campus was running OS X.
-wma's don't work on iPods, which are far and away the most popular mp3 players.
-you had to pay to put the songs on an mp3 player that *did* support FairUse4WM (it was something like $5 a semester, but still)
-the music catalog was labeled terribly and frequently had mislabeled tracks or albums, and albums were often missing songs. (Whoever marked albums with the explicit tag also apparently decided it was a fun idea to go through and mark about a third of the purely instrumental music 'explicit', which was really quite obnoxious.)

I had one friend who still used it, I think. She's sorry to see it go, but I don't know of anybody else who was.

So, to summarize: I'm just about as close to the opposite of an Apple fanboy as one can get, but when I saw that article summary I just nodded my head in agreement.

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