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Comment: Re:The world's largest botnet (Score 1) 166

by tommituura (#45033611) Attached to: ArkOS: Building the Anti-Cloud (on a Raspberry Pi)

As much as I appreciate the joke, GP is right - and it has nothing to do with the OS the system is running, even though I'd wager Linux to still be more secure choice in that front. It's about who do you suppose is going to keep the system up-to-date? Following security news about the latest remote exploit in $HTTP_SERVER, or other parts of the system?

Giving a typical home computer user a "plug-and-play" server machine to host his/her own web pages at home and expecting anything like responsible and competent administration is silly. By trying to make it super simple to set up a server, they seem to be catering to the crowd that uses "password" as password, leaves their wifi just because that's the way it came from ISP, etc etc etc.

If they are trying to make their security idiot-proof, I sincerely wish them all the luck. Not holding my breath on that one though...

Comment: Re:BYOD is doomed for tests (Score 3, Informative) 55

by tommituura (#44530107) Attached to: Finland's Upper Secondary School Exams Going All-Linux

Right now, all the details are up to evaluation whatever seems most feasible.

Taken from project's website, the most likely way forward now is a USB-bootable live Linux distro on a laptop that has been maximally gutted in its ability to access anything else but a predefined server and the USB stick it boots on. Like, not having hardware drivers for the hdd etc. There also won't be any other programs except those needed to do the test installed, and the exam participant's user account won't have privileges to install anything else either, of course. The systems are most likely going to be booted by the administrators before test begins, (and the laptops, if owned by the students, have to be turned in for checks -- although if it's done in the same spirit as checks for graphing calculators are, the actual checks are randomly done. No school has enough manpower to do a sweep checks for every machine). There most certainly won't be any virtualization software included with the programs the exam taker can run.

The problem would at that point to prevent the student to boot into another OS in the middle of exam, accessing whatever, and then booting back test system again. Maybe they'll include constantly home-calling ping to some central server which will notify the local admins that "exam taker #34234 is up to something no good. Go look over his/her shoulder constantly for a while". Also, rebooting the whole computer would most likely be visible enough for the exam administrators (who are, or should be, on constant outlook for cheaters in any case).

That being said... a entrepreneuring (and skilled) exam taker could, with some hardware hacking, overcome many of these blocks in order to bring unauthorized materials into the exam and maybe even succeed in going unnoticed. That's why I'd really think the school districts (or the state) should just scrap the BYOD idea and shell the cash for bunch of cheap (around €200 or so) laptops. Since they would be usable for many years only for this purpose with tailor-made OS, it won't have to be *that* powerful anyway.

+ - Finnish Copyright Initiative Gets 50,000 Signatures

Submitted by Koookiemonster
Koookiemonster (1099467) writes "The Finnish citizens' initiative site (Finnish/Swedish only) has fulfilled the required amount of signatures for the third initiative since its founding. This means that the Parliament of Finland is required to take the Common Sense in Copyright initiative into processing.

The initiative calls for removal of copyright infringement as a crime, reducing violations by private individuals to a misdemeanor."
Biotech

In Development: An Open Source Language For Cell Programming 31

Posted by timothy
from the tab-A-in-slot-T dept.
hessian writes with a story at Wired (excerpt below) about a project from Drew Endy of the International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology, or BIOFAB, to standardize a programming language connecting genetic information from DNA to the cell components that DNA can create. "The BIOFAB project is still in the early stages. Endy and the team are creating the most basic of building blocks — the 'grammar' for the language. Their latest achievement, recently reported in the journal Science, has been to create a way of controlling and amplifying the signals sent from the genome to the cell. Endy compares this process to an old fashioned telegraph. 'If you want to send a telegraph from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the signals would get degraded along the wire,' he says. "At some point, you have to have a relay system that would detect the signals before they completely went to noise and then amplify them back up to keep sending them along their way.""

Comment: How about some reading to help too? (Score 1) 573

by tommituura (#43264991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: New To Linux; Which Distro?

Even if the submitter kinda implies he or she wants to learn by doing (or, "the hard way"), I can't get a feeling out of my chest that all this learning by doing would be much more effective with at least some reading homework before and/or during the doing. For that, I recommend at least skimming through this: http://en.tldp.org/HOWTO/Unix-and-Internet-Fundamentals-HOWTO/index.html

Yeah, there's some stuff the submitter probably already knows or isn't all that interested about for now... and that's why it's a good idea to skim through first.

Comment: How about just for the learning? (Score 1) 265

by tommituura (#43018567) Attached to: Tech Leaders Encourage Teaching Schoolkids How To Code
Actually, nevermind the "shortage of IT workers/cheap labor" issue, I think it would be very beneficial for humanity and geeks in general if most people had a passing knowledge how the magic boxes are instructed to do fancy stuff. Maybe such knowledge would help citizenry at large understand things like why DRM is fundamentally broken concept, that an ability to give general purpose computer your own instructions should count as one of the most important features and an important form of expression and self-determination, which would help us make sure stuff like "Trusted Computing" never sees any significant success in its owner/user-hostile form.

Comment: Re:Goodbye Windows (Score 1) 313

by tommituura (#42908015) Attached to: Valve Officially Launches Steam For Linux

My personal pet peeves about Unity:

1) Half-assed implementation of application switching - especially / mostly when dealing with multiple windows from same application (TERMINALS!!)

2) System-wide menubar (and I'm a long-time Mac user, for chrissakes!)

Now, let me elaborate on both of these. I admit I haven't yet mucked around with settings, and I'm actually using unity on a University lab computers where BOFHs are mostly responsible for the state of things, so reality might not be the same for you:

1 - application switching: Previously, every window of an application was a "program" in it's own right for alt-tab switching. I could switch to whatever window I exactly wanted to, quickly. That quickly is a keyword here. Because now, if I want to get that-one-terminal-I-directly-want, I have to raise the application switcher on screen, alt-tab on it, WAIT FOR A SECOND, and only THEN I get to actually choose the exact terminal I want up.

On Mac (up to 10.6 at least), cmd-tab raises all of the windows of a single app up. Even THAT would be preferable to Unity, because then I at least I get the terminal I want quickly and smoothly. That wait, as short as it is, is infuriatingly jarring and I can't fathom how anyone claiming to be UX engineer would come up with it. App switching happens all the fucking time and introducing a jarring delay onto it is unbelievably stupid. They also decided to get rid of the win95-style application switcher, so I can't even choose my exact program instance from there. Gee, thanks a lot.

Then there's the fact that this stuff doesn't play nice with multiple workspaces/virtual desktops. Try launching an instance of a program on another workspace when you already have one open on somewhere else, you'll see what I mean.

2 - System-wide menubar: Well, I kind of get what it wants to do. But let me say it, it's a stupid idea. It was and is a stupid idea on Mac, and it is stupid idea here. It really only works on a premise you always use every program in maximised window. On Unity, it's made even more stupid by the fact that it's hidden by default and you only get to see the menu by moving your mouse there. So if I want to select something from the menu, I need to move my mouse over there even before I can move my mouse over the exact menu I want to use! I know, this is a small issue, but still. When you're mucking around with user interfaces, these small things MATTER.

Comment: Re:50000 signatures from 5.4M people (Score 2) 103

by tommituura (#42679429) Attached to: Finland Is Crowdsourcing Its New Copyright Law

The number of signatures required is simply ludicrous. It's pretty close to 1% of the whole population of the nation, including newborns and the elderly.

To put it in perspective..

- 1% of americans would be around 3 million people. Would you sign a petition that REQUIRED 3 million signatures?

Signing is easy, it can be done over internet as in Finland, people have been conditioned to use their e-banking for identification.

- It only takes 20000 names to name a presidential candidate in finland

These days, president of Finland has been mostly stripped of his power other than to talk in grave voice about problems and visit other heads of state occasionally.

- In the last parlament election, the person who got most votes got around 43000 votes. Getting 5000 votes guaranteed a seat.

Apples and oranges, as parliament elections are divided by voting districts and this citizen's initiative thing is national.

Chrome

Should Microsoft Switch To WebKit? 244

Posted by timothy
from the all-the-cool-kids dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Although IE remains the one of the top browsers on desktops, it's being trounced on tablets and smartphones by browsers based on WebKit, including Safari, the Android Browser, and Google Chrome. Faced with this uphill battle on handheld mobile devices, Microsoft MVP Bill Reiss has suggested that it might be time for Microsoft to throw in the towel on Trident and switch to WebKit (though Reiss later decided he was wrong). But although there are lots of points in favor of doing so, there are also some good reasons not to, including security and a need for healthy competition to avoid having mobile developers begin to target WebKit rather than standards."

1: No code table for op: ++post

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