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Comment Non-gamer hooked (Score 2) 37

I was never much of a gamer, so it was surprising I was so hooked into Sid Meier's Civilization in the early 90s. I started toying with Linux by 1995 and using it for serious work starting in 1996. And, yes, FreeCiv was a reason for me to be happy adopting Linux on the desktop.

Thanks a lot for many hours of fun!

Submission + - Investigating the Complexity of Academic Writing (

biohack writes: While the general public might expect that researchers should want to maximize comprehension of their work, academic writing tends to follow an opaque style permeated with professional jargon and complex syntax. Proposed explanations for the emergence of this style range from experts generally finding it difficult to be simple when writing about their expertise to more complex social and cultural theories:

Cynics charge ... that academics play an elitist game with their words: They want to exclude interlopers. Others say that academics have traditionally been forced to write in an opaque style to be taken seriously by the gatekeepers—academic journal editors, for example.

Submission + - Oracle Bakes Security Into New Chips (

An anonymous reader writes: Oracle's Larry Ellison gave a presentation yesterday at OpenWorld in which he detailed how the M7 chip's new Silicon Secured Memory system works. "On the M7, pointers and their memory blocks are stamped with a 4-bit 'color,' and accesses are verified to make sure the color in the highest bits of the pointer matches the color of the memory allocation. This works with virtual memory allocated from the heap rather from the stack, it appears. Solaris tries to avoid giving adjacent blocks the same color." El Reg notes that a 4-bit security stamp doesn't really offer that many distinct options. "Four bits of color means there are 24, or 16, possible colors a memory block can have. A hijacked pointer has a one-in-16 chance of having a matching color when it accesses any block of memory, allowing it to circumvent the SSM defense mechanism. ... It is even possible [a hacker] can alter the color bits in a pointer to match the color of a block she wishes to access, and thus avoid any crashes and detection. In short, SSM is a mitigation rather than bulletproof protection." Still, Ellison claims this would have shut down vulnerabilities like Heartbleed and Venom.

Comment Re:I've yet to see mention.. (Score 1) 144

Oh, I live in Mexico City. We are over 1,000Km away. We haven't even got bad weather (mild rain yesterday night, beautiful day today).

And about shanty towns... Of course we have some. But most of the city is much better built than what I've seen from the USA. No wonder we have that many 500 year old buildings in great shape.

Comment Re:There will be many deaths (Score 4, Informative) 273

Mind you, this third world country has infrastructure that year after year withstands hurricanes on both coasts, and they are seldom "catastrophic" (i.e. one strong event per decade). The area where it is hitting is moderately populated, and has available shelter places with great resistance that have been used before (such as the touristic compounds in Puerto Vallarta region).
Our country has hurricanes volcanos, sismicity, poverty and whatnot. But is much better prepared for a Katrina-style event than the USA.

Comment Pure awesomeness (Score 1) 69

Maybe it's that I'm "into" embedded stuff and all that. Or maybe it's because I've been studying my Masters at a school with heavy emphasis on crypto. But this project rings my nerdy bells in so many ways I cannot really count anymore. It's way past cool.

The only thing that lets me down a bit is that there's so little following of the idea here at Slashdot. It's as great as it gets. Congratulations!

Comment Different needs (legitimate?) (Score 1) 109

I have a RF audio-only baby monitor. Our house is quite big, and during our twins' first ~three months, it was hard to hear them from a different room. After the fourth month (they are six months old now), we haven't bothered to connect the monitor again, as their lungs are strong enough for us to hear whatever happens.

And yes, we mainly used our monitor to quickly go check on them, to make the distress time as small as possible.

Now, continuously streaming a video feed of my babies over the Internet... What good would that be for? Maybe only for me to ensure a hypothetical nanny didn't abandon or mistreat them while I'm at work — But I'd have to be always on watch!

What kind of reaction could I as a parent have were I monitoring my kids away from home? What use would this really have for my kids' safety?

The IoT is coming, I know, and we will soon have intelligent flowerpots. The cats' litter box will tweet every time a cat goes to pee. Yay for tech!

But sometimes there's no need at all for more intelligence in our devices. I want a baby monitor to be reliable, easy to check and fix... And not dependent on issues that might break (i.e. my Internet uplink being down for some minutes). Sometimes dumber devices are more intelligent.

Comment Re:Sometimes the titles are crazy long (Score 1) 87

If you have been researching for years on the mating habits of the Papuan purple-eyed spider, finding the differences between their behaviour and that of other spider genii, you would surely include that description as part of your title — It would not be responsible to make others think the article is general when it deals with a very specific variety.

(please note that the example is entirely fictional and I know zero about spiders or biological taxonomy)

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