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Comment: Re:Hackers reported that the malware "just worked. (Score 1) 148

by pszilard (#42951305) Attached to: Apple Hit By Hackers Who Targeted Facebook

Perhaps in this case it was a targeted site that was compromised, but the point still stands. By making it harder to "phish" people, they must use other means which potentially expose them much easier than an email spam campaign.

No, your point does not stand. You were blaming the stupid users with too much time browsing porn sites or whatnot as well as the corporation that did not train them properly.

There isn't much you can do against a browser plugin silently executing malicious code planted into a normally harmless popular website. No matter how knowledgeable were the respective FB developers, if the cited information is correct and complete, there was no way he they could have avoided the problem except by having java blocked/disabled.

Comment: Re:Hackers reported that the malware "just worked. (Score 5, Informative) 148

by pszilard (#42948469) Attached to: Apple Hit By Hackers Who Targeted Facebook

Being that this was a Java exploit which required a visit to a website at the least, I would say that those that got infected have more time on their hands than they know what to do with.

That was a bit quick to jump to conclusions:

Rather than using typical targeted approaches like "spear phishing" with e-mails to individuals, the attackers used a "watering hole" attack—compromising the server of a popular mobile developer Web forum and using it to spring the zero-day Java exploit on site visitors.

"The attack was injected into the site's HTML, so any engineer who visited the site and had Java enabled in their browser would have been affected," Sullivan told Ars, "regardless of how patched their machine was."

Source: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/02/facebook-computers-compromised-by-zero-day-java-exploit/

Comment: Re:folding@home (Score 1) 96

by pszilard (#42455857) Attached to: Einstein@Home Set To Break Petaflops Barrier

Protien folding simulation is such a large and basic need globally there ought to be enough large scale interest to make development of specialized ASICs to deal with these problems cost effective and exceedingly useful for all who need to do these simulations. A quick check of google shows such chips do in fact exist with unbelivable performance figures which kick the snot out countless tens of thousands of CPU/GPUs. There is no shortage of funding for medical research so it begs the question why waste CPU/GPU resources on folding simulations?

I still do seti and milkyway at home because there are no resources allocated for seti and milkyway at home is interesting to me personally.

First of all, protein folding is not the only thing they do, the Folding@HOME infrastructure is used by many for a variety of bio-molecular studies.

Secondly, custom ASIC-based machines like Anton and MDGRAPE (which are AFAIK the only such machines around these days) consist of much more than a custom-chip, they use specialized interconnects, memory, software, etc. and cost a lot. The MDGRAPRE-4, the coming version of the Riken-developed custom molecular simulation machine costs $10M + $4M (development + manufacturing) which poses serious financial limitations to it. Moreover, these specialized machines are only able to run a handful of molecular dynamics algorithms and while fast, they are nowhere near as versatile as general-purpose codes like AMBER, GROMACS, NAMD, etc. Although it is true that these specialized machines are a few orders of magnitude faster in terms of absolute performance (i.e time to solution and not Flops), due to their limitations and the way they are used, some researchers argue that they employ a "brute force" approach to molecular simulations which is not cost-effective from the point of view of science/$ delivered. I personally wouldn't call machines like Anton and MDGRAPE a complete waste, they achieve impressive advances in hardware, software, and science results in a specific direction: pushing the limits of how fast can one run a single simulation. There are certainly other (some would say better) ways to get amazing results with general-purpose (super)-computers be it using massive clusters or cycles donated to folding Foldging@HOME.

Finally, let me explain why is there compute-resource shortage in the (bio-)molecular simulation filed which will remain for the foreseeable future no matter how much money do various governamental and non-governamental agencies pour into it. Molecular dynamics is extremely compute-intensive, a single iteration of the MD algorithm requires 10^8-10^10 Flops (not LINPACK Flops!), repeated for millions of times during a single simulation of a bio-molecular system (and such a simulation can take weeks even on a big machine). And that's still a few orders of magnitude short of what would be needed to simulate timescales at which biological processes take place. Therefore, any compute-resource available can be harnessed for molecular simulation research and Folding@HOME does a decent job at utilizing donated cycles. Admittedly, there are some in the community who think that Folding@HOME is wasteful, but that's a topic for another discussion.

Disclaimer: I am involved in the development of the GROMACS open-source molecular simulation package which is in fact on of the computational engines used by Folding@HOME. Still, I believe I have not been biased in the way I presented Folding@HOME and molecular dynamics in general.

Comment: Re:Culture-product (Score 0) 102

by pszilard (#39704679) Attached to: Hanging Out at Sun Studio, Where Rock and Roll Was Born (Video)

I wish I could agree with that, but I can't. I'm a bit lazy so I'll just use an article I read a looon-long time ago. What I think is pretty much summarized in the following two sentences:

"[The term] has also, for years, been sort of the de facto label for an entire subculture of idealistic artists and music fans who place a lot of stock in the idea of making music for yourself or your friends, rather than for profit or popularity,"

"indie is now nothing more than a branding tool: a highly commercial and money-driven movement, more concerned with marketing a particular image instead of culture with a truly independent nature and passion for its art."
(source: http://articles.cnn.com/2006-09-19/entertainment/indie.overview).

Want examples? Just check out recent Ytube "indie" stars like Gotye. Ar they really making music for themselves and their friends? Not really...

Comment: Re:More Linux fragmentation... (Score 1) 194

by pszilard (#39704581) Attached to: MATE Desktop 1.2 Released

Fragmentation is not a bad thing. Think of it as natural selection in the open source software world. This is the mutation that may result in a new or different product.

My first reaction to the parent post was identical: diversity must be good. However, thinking about your evolution analogy I realized: if you really want to wait for (tens of) thousands of years for a piece of software to evolve from "ape" to "human", than simply waiting for the the natural selection to happen is the right thing to and eventually it will bring us brilliant software. However, this approach also fragments the community and diverts efforts from forward-thinking innovation to saving some dying technologies. There is nothing wrong with supporting projects that choose to stick to the good old ways -- by the end only the fittest will survive anyway (and that's called conservativism). But let's be honest, by building on Gnome 2, MATE is investing effort in taking steps backwards. Now I'm not saying that what they do is worthless (in fact I hate the guts of Gnome 3 and Unity), but I would still argue that just because a considerable part of the community doesn't like the new direction, development effort should not be invested into paving a road that is a dead end.

That's why on a second thought, I think it might be better for the community that the effort goes into e.g. Cinnamon, or why not a Unity fork.

One more thing: the GNU Linux ecosystem's great diversity is often mentioned as a great advantage. What leads to this diversity is the very thing we are talking about, fragmentation. A high level of fragmentation results in a bazillion choices and greater choice is for the greater good, most would think. However, psychology research suggests that choice overload can in fact be highly detrimental:

"The more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option that you chose." (Barry Schwartz)

If you fancy taking a dive into this topic check out Schwartz's TED talk (http://www.ted.com/speakers/barry_schwartz.html) or his book "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less".

Comment: Re:Culture-product (Score 0) 102

by pszilard (#39672565) Attached to: Hanging Out at Sun Studio, Where Rock and Roll Was Born (Video)

As soon as a band becomes really reputable it inherently looses its "indie" nature. Unless you have an (ehmm) modern view what constitutes as "indie" the your definition has nothing to do with "independent" anymore.

I'd say a really reputable "indie" band is just as much of a culture product targeted at the new hipsters generation (or whatever you call it) as Elvis was at his time.

Comment: in the corporate world it might stand out! (Score 1) 349

by pszilard (#37846362) Attached to: Nokia Unveils Its First Windows 7 Phone

Considering how strongly the corporate world is tied to the M$ ecosystem - OS, office/productivity suite, (web) application development platform, database etc. - I wouldn't be so sure that the Nokia WP 7.x-s have to stand out very much in terms of features & innovation in order to grab the attention and maybe even the $-s of the corporate world. I wouldn't be surprised if the unarguably good reputation of Nokia combined with a strong integration into the M$ ecosystem would suddenly make these phones serious competitors in the business segment.

I'm not familiar how well does the WP7.5 integrates into the M$ ecosystem, but if it's not as good as it gets, it will soon be.

Comment: Re:quadrillion? (Score 1) 179

by pszilard (#36501638) Attached to: Japan's 8-petaflop K Computer Is Fastest On Earth

Anyone here who find that 'quadrillion' is more descriptive than peta? (or 1e15, for that matter?).

Firstly, while for some quadrillion might sound more descriptive, in fact it's simply confusing. In some parts of the world it means 10^24 while in others 10^15: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/quadrillion

Secondly and most importantly, "peta-" is an SI prefix so it's inherently univocal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix#List_of_SI_prefixes

Comment: how about security risks? (Score 1) 174

by pszilard (#36429308) Attached to: Google's Android Ambitions Go Beyond Mobile

The first software bug that causes hell to break loose in people's apartments will cause quite a bit of headache, but a virus targeting home automation will surely be the real thing. I can imagine funny ones that keep flushing the toilet all night long, but also nasty ones that kill your pets by turning the apartment into a sauna while you're at work or knock you down with the garage door...

I hope the Android Market will be at least a bit more secure by the time the Android Home Automation Heaven arrives!

Comment: Re:Collateral success vs indication of support nee (Score 1) 494

by pszilard (#36222332) Attached to: Corporate Mac Sales Surge 66%

I have seen the same pattern: also university lab, positive responsiveness from both Dell and HP, their technicians were on-site in max 24h.

At the same time, Apple required the the faulty iMac to be brought to an authorized service where it took them about 2 weeks to figure out something they were actually told about by the technician who dropped of the iMac - he had ran a memtest. To top it off, they also messed up the OS while replacing the memory module.

Comment: Re:Integrated graphics in the CPU? (Score 1) 254

by pszilard (#31928662) Attached to: Next Gen Intel CPUs Move To Yet Another Socket

But for a desktop PC, isn't this a disadvantage? If you're using a proper graphics card, couldn't that space in the CPU be used for better things than a redundant graphics circuit?

The simple answer is: no!

Think about OpenCL and in general stream computing - which I believe is a the future of computing through a slow convergence of multicore and manycore. Having a more tightly coupled CPU and GPU (i.e. no PCI express bottleneck) would have the huge advantage of being able to do more streaming tasks on the GPU while not having to worry that communication will kill the performance.

There are already quite many GPU accelerated applications in various HPC research and industrial applications as well as desktop applications (just a few examples: Adobe CS5, OS X Snow Leopard, Badaboom media converter,...)

Comment: Re:Converting that article from English to Chinese (Score 1) 142

by pszilard (#31425674) Attached to: Google's Computing Power Refines Translation
I think this benchmark puts the bar a bit too high. First of all, a translator is not designed to produce invertible translations. Moreover, as the goal is to produce an understandable translation of a human-written text, the artifacts introduced by the machine-created translation are most probably magnified quite a bit with the second round of translation. Still, it's interesting to see that the Google algorithms actually do an OK job even in such an artificial benchmark.

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