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Comment: But a lot was learned.. (Score 1) 182

by niftymitch (#47899945) Attached to: The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

But a lot was learned about internet education....

A good MOOC is harder to do than authoring a common textbook
and there are thousands directly involved being critical.

The most difficult part is the teaching assistants that make things work.
A MOOC quickly exhausts the ranks of teaching assistant talent and
taxes the normal teaching assistant pool with different tools and forces
them to interact in low leverage ways. The professor high leverage
but the middleware as it were is under provisioned for the extreme
fan out of a MOOC.

They will be back... changed but ultimately the extreme leverage potential
will be realized.

Now where is my source for BSD learn?

Comment: Re:geek or not ~ pfSense (Score 1) 237

by niftymitch (#47898701) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

Full blown Win-Server
software that can get the job done costs more than the hardware.

No, not really. Windows has the easiest internet-sharing and vpn configuration wizard you'lll find. And its not half bad, but...

The above is a rather nice little box. At half this price I would buy two.

I have an equivalent box, Instead of pfSense (which, besides the gui and the easy VLAN setup, is a crappy system for everything else), I run FreeBSD 9.2. And I use it everyday to tunnel into my windows machines with RDP via SSH :)

One caution is that Windows is not as secure an OS perhaps because
there is a rich set of stuff that is darn hard to replace or eliminate.

A FreeBSD or Linux based firewall+VPN system can be pruned to an astoundingly
short list of services and binaries. I say this but most Linux system owners
do not do this.... but it is better facilitated if you want to do it.

You open up a good context to make the point that a user should use what
they know best. If the poster knows how to manage one system and not
the other then the best answer for that user is obvious.

Opinionated discussions like this are really homework check lists
for others. At some point consensus identifies a winner to learn first.
Along the way issues, tools and options surface as alternatives worthy
or research and may cause the consensus answer to change.

I am not a fan of consensus science but it does have its place.

Comment: Schools in AL (Score 2) 1

by niftymitch (#47895171) Attached to: Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) slams Mark Zuckerberg

So far FB has kept its head count lower than any might expect.
They are concentrated and very centrally located unlike other Internet
companies and Silicon Valley companies.

Any elected officials tilting at the H-1B visa program has to look
hard at the school system in their districts and review their
placement success factors. They also need to look at wages
paid at all levels.... If this gentleman does not push hard for
minimum wage improvements across the nation he or she is missing
the boat.

Comment: Re:geek or not ~ pfSense (Score 1) 237

by niftymitch (#47894551) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

This indeed. I have pfSense running on one of these with a 60 Gig SSD drive. If it wasn't for the cat trying to hide behind it I wouldn't even know it was there and running.

The above is a rather nice little box. At half this price I would buy two.

I was going to reply to the original poster that if he had to ask
he could not get there from here. The above system has the
critical two Gig-E network ports. He would have to install
and learn how to administer a linux system or install a pile of odd
things on top of an IMO fragile WindowZ OS. Full blown Win-Server
software that can get the job done costs more than the hardware.

The best bet is to run the router that the ISP gives you and
then use that as the basic firewall and allow one port
access inside to a machine that runs VPN software.
That machine could be the above or it could be anything

The obvious other place to start is to Google for "gig-e router vpn".
When shopping VPN solutions make sure all three bits are
working.... Client, server, firewall...

VPNs are interesting... they punch a hole in a firewall that
once inside other security must be in place. Badly structured
VPN solutions increase the footprint and enable many
worms, viruses and other cruft to run free.

Well structured good things happen.

Comment: Re:Double-edged sword (Score 1) 110

by niftymitch (#47894295) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

IMO, you should be able to patent processes that are based on new technological development, but not the logic/flowpath of the process. Software itself should fall under copyright law.

Copyright law has been polluted by Micky Mouse.
As a result software should NOT fall under copyright law.

It is "Goofy" as heck that each time the Copyright of the old
mouse comes up the bar moves is insane.

Copyright might cover the text of code as code tells a story of what
is happening but to patent all stories about "Boy meets girl, boy and
girl fall in love, something happens under the covers and they live
happily ever after" is not worthy of a patent or copyright.

Sadly many method and process patents are little more than outlines
of a screenplay level abstractions of an idea. Further some of the
Copyright laws cover characters and plot formats. To this end characters
and plot formats are kin of an API. We have seen the nasty bits
that can happen when API freedom is murky (Java: Oracle-Google).
When the API is found to have value in and of itself the "owner" wants
to pull in the reign and put a context on permissions. Hardback books
might be OK but not paperback and not eBook stories.

Authors of Sherlock Holmes and other serialized character based stories
protected their intellectual property with Copyright. Today I am prohibited
from crafting stories and screenplays about a character "Sheldon Cooper"
that ..... Well you get the idea.

Copyright is the wrong choice. We need a better answer, a much better answer.

It is good to note that code is authored. Good code like a good story has structure,
consistency, organization and purpose. Side effects are possible. It can be asynchronous
perhaps in a Kurt Vonnegut way. The choice of language, punctuation and typography
might reflect on e.e. cummings.. It can be vapid and return the empty set or return
vastly more to the point that some spend a lifetime building on it.

Comment: Re:Double-edged sword (Score 1) 110

by niftymitch (#47894109) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

It decreases the incentive for some people. There are plenty of counterexamples of unpatented innovative software. I know I know, don't feed the trolls.

The part about "don't feed the trolls" is the important part.
If this shifts the balance of power such that patent trolls see less and less
value in flexing legal muscle things are a win.

True innovation still has merit but if the same obvious to try permutations criteria
that drug inventions are being held to apply we will be better off.

i.e. if a data link is used and a patent for RS-232 is issued it makes no
sense that an RS-485 is novel enough to justify a new patent. Same for
WiFi, Cell data, BlueTooth....

Design patents like rounded corners do need to be addressed.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile in the real world... (Score 1) 427

by niftymitch (#47876049) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

How do you emit less CO2 burning more coal? Most or all of these new coal plants are not intended to do underground sequestration as far as I can tell. And the reporting indicates that they expect to increase net coal consumption not just replace older plants. I think cleaner means fewer particulate emissions, which is good for lung diseases and quality of life, but still the plan is to burn more coal and therefore more CO2 which is bad for Global Climate Change.

And events that might naturally sequester CO2 are considered evil in the same context.

A large region of an ocean that flips into an anoxic state and starts to rain organics
on the ocean floor would be seen as a global disaster. Yet such disasters may
be necessary to reverse the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere.

I have not seen any credible science that shows good analysis for any reversal
strategy. Without reversal strategies those with vast coal reserves might do
well to level mountain tops, mine the coal and terraform the mountain top into
agriculture or homes. Reclamation and terraforming is ill understood... and needs
to be understood.

Comment:'s Joe vs CO2 (Score 1) 427

by niftymitch (#47875843) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

It's not likely that volcanic or tectonic activity has much of anything to do with it. Even the largest volcanic eruption of the past 100 years, Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 emitted only 42 megatonnes of CO2, only 0.2% of the 23 gigatonnes emitted by human activities that year.

And Mt Pinatubo was most famous for SO2 not CO2 emissions.

Comment: Acidification of oceans... (Score 1) 427

by niftymitch (#47875813) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

Historically, about half of the pollution from human sources has been absorbed by the oceans and by terrestrial plants,

The inability to absorb CO2 may have flipped and acidification may be
generating CO2 from oolitic sands and coral.

If acidification has flipped the oceans from a net sink for CO2 to a source
of CO2 we have issues with acceleration and underlying models in the

Sadly the global warming side may prove to be right for many wrong reasons
and the nonbelievers may be wrong for other reasons.

This is a case where two wrongs does not make a right----.

I find myself at odds in this because I see bad science that puts
me on one side of the issues and then I see observations that make
it clear that as bad as the science is they are getting essentially
the right answer. In this case it may only be necessary to get the
sign correct.

Any that study statistics and the camel will understand.

Comment: Re:isn't x86 RISC by now? (Score 1) 161

by niftymitch (#47839167) Attached to: Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

i've read the legacy x86 instructions were virtualized in the CPU a long time ago and modern intel processors are effectively RISC that translate to x86 in the CPU

Well the folk at Transmeta Corporation made it obvious that the external
ISA was no longer a necessary constraint on the way a modern processor
works. The explosion of the fast transistor count made it possible to craft
an instruction issue logic chain that was very rich in the clock times of modern

Strictly modern processors are more VLIW than RISC and trigger arrays
of resources selected by the expanded long instruction words.

Comment: The first five min... (Score 1) 199

by niftymitch (#47838863) Attached to: First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

Most interesting are the first five min...
It is not a debate....

Positions in writing... have already been submitted.

Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City sits where
in the chain.

Email is not covered... but there are parallel email issues.
Grand jury issues too. Bulk collection...

Back in a couple of hours.

Comment: So my phone has FB installed by default.. (Score 1) 131

by niftymitch (#47838281) Attached to: Facebook Blamed For Driving Up Cellphone Bills, But It's Not Alone

So my phone has FB installed by default and they know exactly what
data plan I have.

There seems to be no reason to pay data overages because of
vendor installed applications. There seems to be a fundamental
conflict of interest, evidence of fraud or bait and switch.

I am not talking about an auto with a speedometer that goes to 120 mph
sold in states with maximum speed limits well below but a clear misrepresentation
of purpose in marketing.

Speaking about strange numbers. Phones are marketed with standby
times and talk times that are impossible given the default software,
default settings and most likely distance to cell tower service.

I am most likely moving my number to my old old old Nokia flip phone.
It has standby time in days not hours. I see nothing smart in the battery
support for most smart phones.

+ - Why Munich will stick with Linux->

Submitted by Jason Hibbets
Jason Hibbets (2851661) writes ""There are many solved problems in open source. Groupware is not one of them," Georg Greve, co-founder and CEO of Kolab System starts off his post highlighting recent features of the latest release of the Kolab groupware project. He calls out a few newly elected politicans that don't like the current set-up, but says that thousands of users don't have the same experience. "In other words: The very problem used to criticise the LiMux desktop is already being solved.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: What does woosh (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#47832067) Attached to: Newly Discovered Asteroid Passing Within Geostationary Orbit Sunday

What does a woosh sound like in space...

House size is not too bad. Last I checked Hugh Laurie weighs 185 pounds lbs.
so this asteroid is not so large that I would worry.

On another note larger objects take decades for a satellite to reach
and maneuver to. We will get clobbered by some big ass brick piles
because these things are hard to detect in a time frame that might
permit us to do anything....

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.