For the last 10 years, I have been asking people more knowledgeable than I, "How big should my swap be?" and the answer has always been "Just set it to twice your RAM and forget about it." In the old days, it wasn't much to think about — 128 megs of RAM means 256 megs of swap. Now that I have 4 gigs of RAM in my laptop, I find myself wondering, "Is 8 gigs of swap really necessary?" How much swap does the average desktop user really need? Does the whole "twice your RAM" rule still apply? If so, for how much longer will it likely apply? Or will it always apply? Or have I been consistently misinformed over the last 10 years?
Having made amazing discoveries such as how to make the perfect cheese sandwich, linking heavy caffeine use to sleeplessness, and figuring out where all the teaspoons have gone, science has made the greatest breakthrough yet. They have uncovered the secrets of making the perfect phone call. The perfect phone call clocks in at a mere 9 minutes and 36 seconds, easily 11 minutes shorter than any conversation I've ever had with my mom. Unlike a call to mom, the perfect phone call is almost devoid of any gossip about her divorced neighbor and her heavily tattooed daughter. Instead three minutes should be spent catching up with news about family and friends, one minute on personal problems, a minute on work/school, 42 seconds on current affairs, 24 seconds on the weather, and 24 seconds talking about the opposite sex. What's left of your 9 mins 36 secs is a free for all.
secmartin writes "The popular virus scanner AVG released an update yesterday that caused their software to mark user32.dll as a virus. Since this is a rather critical file, AVG's suggestion to remove it caused problems for users around the world who are now advised to restore the file through the Windows Recovery Console. AVG just posted an update about this (FAQ item 1574) in the support section of their site. Their forums are full of complaints."
A refrigerator-sized tank of toxic ammonia, tossed from the international space station last year, is expected to hit earth tomorrow afternoon or evening. The 1,400-pound object was deliberately jettisoned — by hand — from the ISS's robot arm in July 2007. Since the time of re-entry is uncertain, so is the location. "NASA expects up to 15 pieces of the tank to survive the searing hot temperatures of re-entry, ranging in size from about 1.4 ounces (40 grams) to nearly 40 pounds (17.5 kilograms). ... [T]he largest pieces could slam into the Earth's surface at about 100 mph (161 kph). ...'If anybody found a piece of anything on the ground Monday morning, I would hope they wouldn't get too close to it,' [a NASA spokesman] said."
An anonymous reader writes "BD+, the Blu-ray copy protection system that was supposed to last 10 years, has now been solidly broken by a group of doom9 researchers. Earlier, BD+ had been broken by the commercial company SlySoft." Someone from SlySoft posts a hint early in the thread, but then backs off for fear of getting fired. The break is announced on page 15.
damn_registrars writes "'Half of all American doctors responding to a nationwide survey say they regularly prescribe placebos to patients. The results trouble medical ethicists, who say more research is needed to determine whether doctors must deceive patients in order for placebos to work.' The study just quoted goes on to say that the drugs most often used as placebo are headache pills, vitamins, and antibiotics. Studies on doctors in Europe and New Zealand have found similar results."
Massively is running a story about bandwidth costs for MMOs and other virtual worlds. It's based on a post at the BBC on the same subject which references a traffic analysis (PDF) done for World of Warcraft. Quoting: "If you're an average user on capped access, the odds are you have roughly 20Gbytes per month to allocate among all of your Internet usage (it varies depending on just where you are). For you, sucking back (for example) a 2GB World of Warcraft patch isn't something you can just do. It's something you have to plan for — and quite often you have to plan for in the following month. Even a 500MB download has to be handled with caution. MMOGs as a rule don't use a whole lot of bandwidth in actual operation. However, the quantity definitely rises in busy areas with lots of players, where there are large numbers of mobs, or on raids, and takes quite a much larger jump if you're using voice as well."
AcidAUS writes "Last week's bust of the largest spam operation in the world has had no measurable impact on global spam volumes. The spam gang, known by authorities and security experts as HerbalKing, was responsible for one-third of all spam, the non-profit antispam research group Spamhaus said." The article speculates that the operators of HerbalKing simply passed on to associates the keys to the automated, 35,000-strong botnet, and the spam flow didn't miss a beat.
Creativity is least likely to strike in the afternoon, according to a survey that suggests office workers have little chance of solving problems after lunch. A poll of 1,426 people showed that a quarter of us stay up late when seeking inspiration. Taking a shower or just sitting in the bathroom proved to be a popular way of getting the creative juices flowing. The survey found that 10:04pm was the most creative time, while 4:33pm was the least. I'll think of something funny to write here later.
Hugh Pickens writes "Traditional peak power hours — the time during the day when power demand shoots up — run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. when air conditioning begins to ramp up and people start heading for malls and home but utilities are now seeing another peak power problem evolve with a second surge that runs from about 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. when people head toward their big screen TVs and home computers. 'It is [not] so much a peak as it is a plateau,' says Andrew Tang, senior director of the smart energy web at Pacific Gas & Electric. '8 p.m. is kind of a recent phenomenon.' Providing power during the peak hours is already a costly proposition because approximately 10 percent of the existing generating capacity only gets used about 50 hours a year: Most of the time, that expensive capital equipment sits idle waiting for a crisis. Efforts to reduce demand are already underway with TV manufacturers working to reduce the power consumption in LCD and plasma while Intel and PC manufacturers are cranking down computer power consumption. 'Without a doubt, there's demand' for green PCs, says Rick Chernick, CEO of HP partner Connecting Point, adding that the need to be green is especially noticeable among medical industry enterprise customers."
MoonUnit writes "Technology Review has an interesting article about the way CAPTCHAS are fueling AI research. Following recent news about various textual CAPTCHAs being cracked, the article notes that a researcher at Palo Alto Research Center has now found a way crack photo-based CAPTCHAs too. Most approaches are based on statistical learning, however, so Luis von Ahn (one of the inventors of the CAPTCHA) says it is usually possible to make a CAPTCHA more difficult to break by making a few simple changes."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's Mike Nash came forward today in a blog post on the Windows Vista Blog and revealed the official name for Windows Code Name '7' as simply 'Windows 7.' The reasoning, by Mr. Nash, is that Windows 7 is 'the seventh release of Windows.' As much wonderful sense as this makes on first glance, it seems as if Microsoft's marketing teams pulled this number out of thin air: the Windows 7 kernel is version 6.1, and there's no way Windows 7 adds up as the seventh release of Windows anyway."
ivoras writes "An interview with MSI's director of US Sales, Andy Tung, contains this interesting snippet: "We have done a lot of studies on the return rates and haven't really talked about it much until now. Our internal research has shown that the return of netbooks is higher than regular notebooks, but the main cause of that is Linux. People would love to pay $299 or $399 but they don't know what they get until they open the box. They start playing around with Linux and start realizing that it's not what they are used to. They don't want to spend time to learn it so they bring it back to the store. The return rate is at least four times higher for Linux netbooks than Windows XP netbooks.'"
After his computer was stolen, Jose Caceres used a remote access program to log on every day and watch it being used. The laptop was stolen on Sept. 4, when he left it on top of his car while carrying other things into his home. "It was kind of frustrating because he was mostly using it to watch porn," Caceres said. "I couldn't get any information about him." Last week the thief messed up and registered on a web site with his name and address. Jose alerted the police, who arrested a suspect a few hours later. The moral of the story: never go to a porn site where you have to register.
toomuchtoomuchspam writes "According to Websense, Microsoft's CAPTCHA has been busted again. CAPTCHA was surely a logical move for different service providers to fight against spammers, but it seems to be melting down. 'Realizing the potential for massive abuse from spammers with anti-CAPTCHA capabilities, who could use the clean IP reputation to carry out various attacks over Email and Web space, Microsoft attempted to increase the complexity of their CAPTCHA system. The CAPTCHA system was revised in an attempt to both prevent automatic registrations from computer programs or automated bots, and preserve CAPTCHA's usability and reliability. As this attack shows, those efforts have failed,' says Websense security researcher Prasad. Could there be any better CAPTCHA? A better solution?"