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Comment: Re:IPv6 How will it happen? (Score 1) 143

by l2718 (#47525317) Attached to: Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic
Why should users care? How many "users" are aware of IP addresses, or view them as anything but a string of meaningless digits? The "complexity" of IPv6 falls entirely on sysadmins and on those who implement IPv6 stacks, that is on experts. It's possible some users will have a home network on the 192.168.x.x IPv4 range connected via a NAT to the IPv6 internet, but this choice will be made for them by the people who write NAT software: home users universally use first-come-first-served DHCP to assign addresses on their home network so they never see even the local IP addresses. I like to remotely SSH to my home computer, so I note the IP address assigned to my NAT by the ISP, but a typical user can't pull that off. I also like to have fixed IP addresses inside the home network so I can reliably use SSH between the machines. You might be diong the same. But the average user can't and doesn't feel the need to.

Comment: bad for standards (Score 5, Insightful) 194

by l2718 (#47515129) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264
Mozilla capitulating on the tag has serious implications for web standards. By including patent-encumbered code in the browser they take the rug from under those in the www foundation that argue for free web standards. Yes, some websites wanted to use H.264 for video encoding, but Mozilla shouldn't have abetted them.

Comment: Alcohol is a consumer good too (Score 1) 382

by l2718 (#47459443) Attached to: White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales
Post-prohibition most states regimented the alcholic beverage distribution chain into a three-tier system: producers, distributors, and retailers. As you can see this is even worse than with cars. For example, vinyards often cannot sell directly to the public, and they can't sell directly to pubs or wine stores. The middlemen must be paid ...

Comment: Standardization is critical (Score 3, Interesting) 137

by l2718 (#47244519) Attached to: BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

For wide adoption there needs to be a full market around electric vehicles: opportunities to build charging stations, sell home charging equipment and so on. Gas stations are possible since practically all cars use the same fuel, but also because they have very similar intake openings so that the pump can stop by itself.

Tesla by itself is too small to set standards, so this is good news. It also shows how disclaim in patents helps: the benefit from a greater and more active market exceeds the payoffs from discouraging competition.

Comment: FVWM (Score 1) 611

by l2718 (#47137135) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?
A few years ago I switched from tvtwm to fvwm and I'm very happy. One year being forced to endure unchangeable defaults chosen by Apple engineers (which are no doubt very good for most of their customers) further cemented my preference. I still don't understand why focus policy or keyboard bindings are the business of the window manager designer.

Comment: Consider incidentals (Score 5, Insightful) 105

Taxpayers should not be paying for someone's pet cause ... Proper action would be to mandate the government to use the best software for the task at hand ... Let the technical merits decide.

I'm sorry, but while technical merits should be paramount, they are not the only consideration. Public contracting is not an exact science, and it is entirely appropriate to have non-technical considerations tip the scales in close cases. So while Free Software should not be mandatory, legislating a preference for it makes perfect sense.

Furthermore, there are considerations beyond the needs of a specific project and tender. Free Software has an externality: when the government (as a customer) requests modifications and improvements (and pays for them to be created), everyone benefits. For example, when my university has Blackboard Inc fix a bug (or improve the software) only Blackboard captures the value (when they sell their software to the next customre). If we were using Moodle, every other Moodle user would automatically benefit. Had we opted for Moodle, we'd also benefit from fixes made by other universities.

Comment: Re:It's still NP. (Score 3, Informative) 114

Squaring key lengths would be entirely impractical. That said, the improvements only apply to a case of discrete log which isn't actually in use. Cryptographic algorithms generally depend on hardness of discrete log mod p (p a large prime), not in the field with p^k (p fixed, k large).

Comment: Re:arXiv link (to the technical paper) (Score 2) 114

Yes; the preprint was posted to arXiv when the research was completed. Obviously Science Magazine (the source for the slashdot posting) prefers to write about results when the journal article comes out later, because otherwise the magazine would to check the preprints for correctness on its own, which it can't be expected to do.

Comment: Somewhat (Score 5, Interesting) 114

Reading the paper, the most notable feature is that their algorithm is efficiency for constant characteristic, including the common case of fields of characteristic 2. It's also okay for the characteristic to grow somewhat with the size of the field, but not very fast.

This is not at all relevant to most implementations of DH, which use prime fields of large characteristic. For example, DSA depends on discrete log modulu a large prime p. In particular, I wouldn't worry about forward secrecy of current internet traffic.

Comment: So what? (Score 5, Insightful) 76

by l2718 (#46957397) Attached to: As Species Decline, So Do the Scientists Who Name Them

If DNA sequencing means taxonomy is now straightforward, then it's good students are switching to other fields. The goal of science is to solve problems, not to ossify. In this case, while taxonomy may cease to be a significant research field, morphology (understanding the structure and evolution of plants and animals) is surely going to continue. The people doing it will simply not be called "taxonomists" anymore.

During the 80s and 90s there were different projects trying to determine the cosmological parameters (mass density, curvature, cosmological constant, Hubble constant, etc). Then WMAP was launched in 2001, and by 2006 (release of 3-year data) the previous techniques were obsolete. Do you think many students in 2001 started working on the old techniques? Should they have? But we haven't lost interest in the cosmological parameters.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse