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Comment APT-Cacher, Squid (Score 3, Interesting) 212

A good rule of thumb is to roll your sessions back prior to the start of every single class. This always gives a fresh machine and the students will quickly learn how to set their VM just the way they want it.

They can start each class with a fresh snapshot. In effect they would be restoring from backups. The configuration files from some other networked storage or their thumb drives and the applications themselves from the repositories. I've done something similar, but on bare metal, and after about half a dozen times they don't notice -- it had become such second nature to install and restore applications. Heck you might even have them practice installing the whole system from scratch. If you go that route, they can become quite proficient with installation and resource allocation. PXE booting a netinstall image helps there.

However, once you start to load packages from the net things can really slow down unless you prepare. The best way is to have a cache like APT-Cacher or Squid on your LAN or host system and have them configure their systems to use it for APT. For the cache to be most effective, you have to pre-load it before each class. That's easy and can be done while doing other things. It only takes time not attention. But once you have the cache loaded, installation will fly and can be done in 15 - 20 minutes. After that they weren't shy about installing on their own computers at home or helping their friends.

Comment ssh (Score 1) 260

If SSH is working properly you don't need a VPN. In fact if your service is so insecure that it needs a VPN then it probably shouldn't be connected to the net in the first place. Same goes for Git, SVN and other versioning. I can think of dozens of work activities that would never need to use a VPN. The whole premise of low VPN usage smacks of MBA-driven ignorance and Windows quirks.

Comment Re:Fuck those companies (Score 1) 198

True. Those things are almost exact opposites. You will never waste money by cutting costs, if you are accounting correctly.

Creative accounting has created too many problems and expenses already. Cost cutting itself will never waste money if the actual cost cutting is really done right. I've seen and heard of too many cases, especially in larger companies, of being penny wise pound foolish.

Comment Re:Sick of this over-promoted hipster (Score 1) 199

Good point. Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child didn't fail on its own, however. It had help from M$ and M$' better half, Intel. They got in and messed with OLPC causing delays, barriers and overruns. Even in the most generous assessments, Intel had a serious conflict of interest because it was actively trying to sell a product of its own which competed directly with OLPC. The OLPC was suppose to be based on the AMD Geode and Intel couldn't have that.

Comment Deferred sales (Score 1) 319

Yeah, and kid$ like you have been $aying this $ince '98, too. *Yawn*

To be fair it must be pointed out that M$ ran an $18 billion loss in 1998. Subsequently they may have gone over to Enron-style accounting to shuffle the numbers. Now even with all the voodoo economics, M$ is running a loss. Things would be even more bleak without tricks like deferred sales.

So if it were up to just the numbers, they would have been long gone.

Comment No call made to abolish (Score 2, Informative) 353

He made no call to abolish the TSA. He made a call to privatize it. There is a world of difference. There would be even less oversight of the TSA if it were out of government hands. It's bad enough as it is. Privatizing it would just remove all accountability, not that there is that much now. If it really were a call to abolish the TSA, that is something that many freedom lovers could get behind.

Comment I still don't want touch screen (Score 5, Interesting) 319

I don't want a touch screen. How about saving the touch screen and making a $150 laptop? The touch screen is just unwanted extra cost. I have a hard enough time keeping the screen clean without people intentionally smearing their grubby fingers across it. It's definitely not anything I want to pay extra for.

Netbooks are quite useful. I'd also like to see more ARM units with long battery life. The netbook form has more room for battery than a tablet does so there really aren't any excuses any more for not having 10 - 12 hours of battery. That's enough to get through a full day at a conference or long flight with transfers.

Comment M$ caused Nokia to tank (Score 4, Informative) 126

M$ did cause Nokia to tank. That was done via Elop. The topic of Elop comes up often at Tomi Ahonen's blog. He is the most accurate mobile forcaster around and has on multiple occasions enumerated the damage being caused by Microsoft's Elop at Nokia. Nokia was at the top of it's game when Elop killed it. The Linux phone that he stopped was getting better reviews than the iPhone. But at this point there's nothing viable left and he's even brought in more people from M$ than just himself to ensure that the damage is permanent. Most of the talent has been fired or left on their own. If you want to look for progress, you'll have to turn away from Nokia and towards Jolla. That's just a sample of what the state of Washington can expect with microsofter in charge.

Comment no-bid contracts (Score 1) 720

It's not just the war spending, it's how the money is spent on war spending. An already expensive situation is made even more expensive through no-bid contracts and private contractors in general. You have Halliburton and Xe (formerly Blackwater) and many other private contractors gouging the government for services that would have been much more inexpensive and efficient if still done by the military. Yes that includes all those growing numbers of no-bid contracts that this administration is continuing to hand out, just like the previous one did.

Comment Re:Link to torrent (Score 3, Insightful) 136

There may be a usual reason to ensure disclaimers, etc are read, but javascript is definitely not the way to go. You can very easily require a specific http referrer URL by configuring Apache to require it for a file or directory. Or you can simply have a plain old README or LICENSE file included in the tarball. Javascript just hurts usability and makes things over complicated and broken.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"
Networking

Misconfigured Open DNS Resolvers Key To Massive DDoS Attacks 179

msm1267 writes with an excerpt From Threat Post: "While the big traffic numbers and the spat between Spamhaus and illicit webhost Cyberbunker are grabbing big headlines, the underlying and percolating issue at play here has to do with the open DNS resolvers being used to DDoS the spam-fighters from Switzerland. Open resolvers do not authenticate a packet-sender's IP address before a DNS reply is sent back. Therefore, an attacker that is able to spoof a victim's IP address can have a DNS request bombard the victim with a 100-to-1 ratio of traffic coming back to them versus what was requested. DNS amplification attacks such as these have been used lately by hacktivists, extortionists and blacklisted webhosts to great success." Running an open DNS resolver isn't itself always a problem, but it looks like people are enabling neither source address verification nor rate limiting.
Google

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.
The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166

ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"

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