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Comment: Re:Great idea at the concept stage. (Score 1) 254

by columbus (#47836769) Attached to: UCLA, CIsco & More Launch Consortium To Replace TCP/IP

You're right. From the wikipedia page on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... from the 'How it Works' section, they are planning centralized control of the data (ez wipe) and access restrictions to data built into the networking model.

"In many cases, substantial storage is already available, and could be used more efficiently if it could recognize particular content and only keep one copy of it. Since hierarchical structures can exist within the network graph, this mode of distribution could naturally scale content delivery to the size of the audience, and simultaneously reduce up-stream equipment to just the minimum needed to produce the content."
. . .
"In this model, the logical place to put commercial copy control and security is not in consumer equipment, but in the neighboring commercial network nodes. If the node agrees that the consumer has a distribution agreement, then restricted content can be delivered. Such delivery contracts require relatively few, cheap CPU cycles from devices already present near the edge of an ISP's net. If there are commercial restrictions, those may need to be included in the content names, as well."

Comment: Not the only one (Score 1) 522

George RR Martin is not the only writer to select . . . unusual . . . writing tools.

I suspect that for a number of writers, the tools and the process has an influence on the flavor of the finished text.

Neal Stephenson wrote Cryptonomicon entirely in emacs. And he wrote the Baroque Cycle longhand with a fountain pen.

Use the tools that are appropriate to the task.

Comment: Re:Not enough, (Score 1) 415

by columbus (#45770729) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

Someone mod parent up please.

I recall there was a push to get Allan Turing pardoned a few years back and it got shot down in the House of Commons. I believe the prime minister said something along the lines of "He was convicted of breaking the law of the land at the time. Laws change but we don't roll back time and reverse earlier convictions. We adhere to the laws that are in force at any given time."

So when this came out from the Queen, it appeared to me that one part of the government (the monarchy) was circumventing another part of government (the democracy). I asked myself "is this an instance where democracy cannot summon the courage to do the moral thing and the aristocracy rises to the challenge? How remarkable."

But I do not know much about the relative roles of the monarchy and elected representatives with regards to the power of the pardon in the UK, so I was about to ask for more information. AC has answered my question before I could ask it.

Comment: Re:Python (Score 2) 465

by columbus (#45157085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing?

There are a lot of good suggestions in this discussion so far.

I have a few points to add.
1) compiled language vs scripting language
In general, any compiled language is going to run faster than any scripting language. But you will probably spend more time coding and debugging to get your analysis running with a compiled language. It is useful to think about how important performance is to you relative to the value of your own time. Are you going to be doing these data mining runs repeatedly? Is it worth spending ten times as many hours getting this thing up and running if by doing so, you can get it to run really fast? If so, than chose a compiled language. You're already familiar with C so that would be a natural choice. If, after consideration, you value your development time more than processing time, stick with a scripting language. You'll probably be able to stand up a working program much faster & you can look for other ways to squeeze out extra performance

2) Parallelism. Your initial question explicitly said you want to use all 4 cores on a Xeon, but I've only seen 1 response so far that addresses this issue. To get good performance out of multiple cores you may need to re-work your algorithms to split the problem into pieces and crunch them down in parallel. Is your problem one that is easily amenable to parallelization? If yes, then you probably want to start thinking about multi-thread or multi-process programming. If your program will never run on something bigger than 1 server, than you will probably be OK sticking with with single multi-threaded process. I don't have experience in this myself, but I've heard that writing your program in a functional language like Haskell will make it intrinsically easy to parallelize. If you ever think your program is going to run on something bigger than that Xeon server - let's say you're thinking of ramping up to a cluster, than I would suggest building it on top of MPI from the beginning. I've had good results getting something up and running on MPI quickly using a combination of python, NumPy, SciPy and mpi4py.

Good Luck.

Comment: Re:With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (Score 1) 631

by columbus (#44953219) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

I'll second this.

I was using Debian 6 (squeeze) with gnome 2 on the desktop. I didn't upgrade to Debian 7 (wheezy) because I didn't want to mess around with gnome 3. I thought I'd give Linux Mint Debian Edition a try. The LMDE with MATE gives me a new kernel, better performance, same desktop environment I was used to.

Updates are a bit rougher, but I've been able to handle that. Overall, so far, so good.

+ - NSA inserts backdoors into encryption methods->

Submitted by columbus
columbus (444812) writes "The Guardian, New York Times & ProPulbica are set to jointly disclose more information from Edward Snowden about the covert NSA surveillance program. New twist in this disclosure: how high profile tech companies have collaborated with the NSA to insert backdoors into commercial encryption software. Are open-source encryption packages compromised as well?"
Link to Original Source
Games

How Gamers Could Save the (Real) World 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the as-easy-as-pressing-a-button dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Three years ago, game designer and author Jane McGonigal argued that saving the human race is going to require a major time investment—in playing video games. 'If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week [up from 3 billion today], by the end of the next decade,' she said in a TED talk. Her message was not ignored—and it has indirectly contributed to the formation of something called the Internet Response League (IRL). The small group has a big goal: to harness gamers' time and use it to save lives after disasters, natural or otherwise. The idea is to insert micro-tasks into games, specifically asking gamers to tag photos of disaster areas. With the IRL plugin, each image would be shown to at least three people, who tag the photo as showing no damage, mild damage, or severe damage. The Internet Response League has been in talks with a couple of indie developers, including one that's developing a new MMO. Mosur said they've tried to get in touch with World of Warcraft maker Blizzard, but haven't had any luck yet. Blizzard did not return a request for comment from Slashdot."
Bug

Xerox Photocopiers Randomly Alter Numbers, Says German Researcher 290

Posted by timothy
from the we-think-you-meant-9 dept.
First time accepted submitter sal_park writes "According to a report from German computer scientist D. Kriesel, some Xerox WorkCentre copiers and scanners may alter numbers that appear in scanned documents. Having analyzed the output of two such devices, the Xerox WorkCentre 7535 and 7556, Kriesel found that "patches of the pixel data are randomly replaced in a very subtle and dangerous way": in particular, some numbers appearing in a document may be replaced by other numbers when it is scanned."

"Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." -- Marvin the paranoid android

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