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Comment I don't think this will work (Score 2) 40

And this is why: regular people aren't qualified to evaluate good research. They also aren't qualified to evaluate research progress. I don't think you can produce a sustainable system for funding without review from your peers. You need experts to look at a carefully designed research project and decide whether it's feasible, worth the investment and whether the researchers are qualified to do the work. A system built without peer review may be successful at first, but ultimately, it will lead to disappointment and wasted money. (That said, it would be better if there were a mechanism to donate your money directly to the NSF and NIH extramural research funding agencies with targets for, say, AIDS research or superconductors.)

Submission + - Free Multi-user Remote Desktop Management

digitalderbs writes: I'm setting up a research lab in physical chemistry, and as part of my setup, I'd like to get a server with 8-12 cores that can be used by my students and post-docs. I'd like to give desktop (GUI) access to each of my users so that they may use software licensed only for that computer. I've tried X-forwarding with ssh on a fast network, and performance is definitely an issue. I'm looking for a free (and preferrably open sourced) system for managing multiple remote desktop sessions. VNC is of course the standard, and it works well but, from what I can tell, lacks multi-user session management. The NoMachine NX server works wonderfully on both low and high latency networks, but it's limited to two concurrent users. Alternative NX server implementations exist, including FreeNX, x2go and Google's neatx. What are your recommendations for remote desktop management client and server software for 6-12 concurrent users over a high (100Mbps) or low (1Mbps) bandwidth connection?

Comment Spotify a promising alternative to Pandora (Score 3, Informative) 170

I had a 1 year subscription to Pandora, and last month, I switched to Spotify. I found Pandora's rotations to be too limited for a given radio station. With Spotify, you can listen to whole albums and actually choose what you'll listen to. It has a related artist radio function, just like Pandora, and if you pay the $10/month subscription, you can download all of these tracks to portable devices like iPods--up to ~3300 or so tracks offline at a time. Now, instead of buying a few CDs (which I may or may not like), I'll just download them to my iPod with my Spotify premium subscription. Their collection has only been limiting in very few cases for me.

note: I'm not affiliated with Spotify. I'm just very happy with the switch, and I think more people would do online streaming--whether video or audio--if they had access to vast collections of media and the ability to watch or listen offline.

Comment I don't use it for the encryption (Score 5, Insightful) 601

I've been using PGP for a few years, and on the odd occasion, I'll send an encrypted email to myself. Part of the problem is that no one knows how to use PHP. I've been sending email to thousands of people in an academic setting, and I've only encountered one other person using PGP.

The reason I keep using PGP, however, is because of digital signing: there's a good guarantee that signed messages were actually sent by me. Headers are fairly trivial to spoof. With PGP, a 'hacker' can only impersonate me if they have access to the private key, which requires physical or ssh access, and he or she must be able to decrypt that key.

That said, I wish more people would encrypt their messages. This should be a no-brainer in a lot of fields, including human rights and for health and human services, and I think the barrier to commit to email encryption is still too great.

Comment Very simple text-based implementation (Score 2) 248

Signing log messages does not need to be complicated or incompatible with current text-based logging. Hashing messages is incredibly easy to do, and there's really no reason not to do it. I just implemented this in python in less than two minutes.

>>> from hashlib import md5
>>> log = lambda last_message, message: "{}: {}".format( md5(last_message).hexdigest(), message)

The output hashes the last message with the current message:

8a023b9cbebe055e4b080585ccba3246: [ 19.609619] userif-2: sent link up event.
649a2719064f7f276462464527b48a69: [ 29.680009] eth0: no IPv6 routers present

No binaries, still grepable, single host and most importantly, there is now a trail that can be verified.

Comment Re:A counter perspective on Unity (Score 0) 798

I hate to reply to my own post, but I forgot to mention one important detail. I'd advise using the 2D unity interface--not the default 3D unity interface built on compiz. The 2D interface is built on metacity (from Gnome 2), and it's considerably faster. To install:

$ sudo apt-get install unity-2d

And select it in the lightdm login screen.

Comment A counter perspective on Unity (Score 2) 798

I consider myself a power user, and I like unity. I've been using Linux exclusively for about 10 years now, and I run my own mail server, database, web server, and I tinker with sshd config files, send my emails with gpg--the works. I had switched from Debian to Kubuntu about 2 years ago, and I've used KDE from 3.1 to about 4.3. I switched away from KDE because it was slow with compositing and switching windows.

Now unity does have its issues, but it has many strengths. The 2D interface is built on metacity, and it's very fast. One thing I like about unity is that the title bar serves the dual purpose as the status bar, saving about a half inch or more of vertical screen space on every window. I use the keyboard extensively for window management, and not having a title bar in addition to a status bar is a welcome change.

The launcher stays out of the way (behind windows), and it can be easily used to launch applications with a keyboard. A number associated with each application on the launcher panel such that it'll either launch a new instance or switch to an existing instance instantly when pressed. For instance, I can press Win+1 from anywhere, and it'll take me to my browser, or open a new browser window.

That said, unity definitely still needs work when it comes to managing a lot of windows. My typical workstation has 9 desktops with up to 9 windows on each. For applications, such as Gimp, that use multiple windows, minimizing and accessing different windows can be a hassle in unity. There are also some stability issues in unity.

However, I do think that unity 2D shows great promise, particularly for users that are adept at keyboard shortcuts.

Comment Parking in Handicap (Score 2) 579

I find it a bit hard to believe that there wasn't a reserved parking space for the chairman right next to the doors. Or are you telling me that he would deliberately not park in a reserved space just so that he could clog up the handicap spaces? That would staggering.

Comment Re:Entropy (Score 5, Interesting) 222

I'd like to add a few points to this useful post, as a related expert.

As implied by the parent post, one of the biggest reason scientists care is because this is a dominating contribution to the folding of soluble proteins--proteins in water. The hydrophic effect has been understood for a long time (half a centery), including the fact that the entropic contribution to the free energy is proportional to the surface area change between two separate oil droplets and one. (This is the a-a(0) term in their equation.)

Their equation further adds contributions for the surface tension of the solvent (gamma) and an exponential decay term for the drying of water between the two two hydrophobic surfaces are they approach each other. Such phenomena have been well characterized in the last ten or so years by molecular dynamics simulations, and this appears to be an experimental confirmation of this effect.

The statement, however, that this paper finally describes the enigmatic hydrophobic effect is a gross PR overstatement.

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