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Comment Manufacturer/Model (Score 1) 510

Here's my favorite part of the paper:

"Failure rates are known to be highly correlated with drive models, manufacturers and vintages. [...] However, in this paper, we do not show a breakdown of drives per manufacturer, model, or vintage due to the proprietary nature of these data."

Thanks, Google. :/

Comment Re:One more bullet on proprietary drivers (Score 1) 946

The meaning of a digital signature on a piece of data depends on the signing entity and the data. My signature on an email means I wrote the email. My signature on someone's public key doesn't mean I "wrote" the public key--it means I've verified that the name and picture on a state-issued ID card match the individual who has access to the associated private key and that I've known the person for a certain period of time. Very different meanings.

Whether or not it is reasonable for a distro maintainer to sign a blob from nVidia depends on what that signature would mean.

Maybe it means the distro maintainer has verified that the blob came from an employee of nVidia authorized to distribute official drivers.
Maybe it means the distro maintainer has tested the blob for a certain number of hours in certain hardware environments without experiencing crashes.
Maybe it means the distro maintainer has been granted exclusive access to the source code for the blob, has audited it, and has certified that it has passed manual and machine inspections.
Maybe it means the distro maintainer has been issued a legal document binding nVidia to provide financial compensation if the blob is later found to contain spyware.

Different people have different preferences about how distro maintainers should behave.

Comment Re:Typical Slashdot sociopaths... (Score 1) 77

You bring up a very interesting point here--one that was conspicuously absent from the article and other comments.

Could the reason for this perspective be that articles about animal experimentation are written by and for people who have already largely decided that the benefits of animal experimentation outweigh the drawbacks? Is applying labels to your audience such as "stupid", "moronic", "sociopathic" and "nutcases" the most effective way to engage them in a constructive debate that will eventually result in a reduction in this type of hurtful behavior?

This is slashdot. Everyone here understands how it feels to perceive an injustice and be emotionally overwhelmed by it. That said, please consider revising your argumentative strategy to encourage constructive conversation.

To answer one of your questions, I do think it would be a good idea to produce and distribute video footage of this research. Here are some reasons:
  1. It would encourage researchers to think twice about whether their actions would be considered appropriate and justifiable by the general public. My ethics manual at work offers the following simple test to help employees judge the appropriateness of their actions: "Would you do it if your coworkers and family were watching?"
  2. It would improve the accuracy of the research. When performing experiments, it is important to keep detailed notes on the procedure being performed in order to be able to duplicate the results at a later time, or for other researchers to be able to duplicate the results. Nevertheless, it is possible to make errors or omissions in these notes, and that creates problems. An objective video recording could remedy that situation.
  3. It would improve the accessibility of the research. Many people can understand a process better by seeing it done than they can by reading about it.

If you think these are good points, please feel free to reuse them. If you intend to continue arguing in favor of this kind of oversight, it would also be a good idea to anticipate some of the arguments your opponents might make against video recording so you can be prepared to counter them. Some of those arguments might be:

  1. Video records are more expensive and difficult to record, store and distribute than text-based notes and pictures.
  2. In particular, scientific journals cannot publish video recordings without attaching a CD or DVD to the issue or maintaining a companion web site. Whether or not you believe scientific journals are the best way to distribute research, it cannot be denied that they are popular and important.
  3. Video recordings that can be used to identify the individual researchers could make it easier for criminally inclined animal rights activists to perpetrate acts of violence.

Good luck in your future debates!

Comment write your own (Score 1) 197

If you're comfortable with scripting, you may want to write your own android app to do just what you need. Just make sure you buy an android phone that can install non-market applications. To test this in the store, ask to see a running phone of the model you're considering, and follow this procedure:

1. From the main screen, tap the menu button.
2. Tap Settings.
3. Tap Applications.
4. Look for a checkbox that says "Unknown sources - Allow installation of non-Market applications", and make sure you can enable it.

I realize this solution isn't for everyone. You would have to learn Java if you don't know it and learn Android programming, which isn't that hard. Otherwise, you could set up a special server with a regular OS and run your scripts there. If there are exceptional conditions, your server scripts could send an email to a special email address. You can quite easily configure your android phone to play a special ringtone when your "exceptional condition" email account has new mail.

As far as easily attaching sounds to an email, you may have to roll your own app for that. Someone more knowledgeable than me may know of an app to do this, though.

Comment Re:Bucharest (Score 1) 195

I'm curious: what do you mean by "1 euro max per day for domestic calls"? Do you pay by the minute for domestic calls? Also, what do you mean by "14mbit unlimited data"? In the US, carriers often claim to offer unlimited data but are usually lying. Either they start throttling speeds after a certain amount of data transfer, or they stop all data access claiming that the subscriber is abusing the network by transferring too much data.

Comment Re:Bucharest (Score 2) 195

Thank you both for sharing. As someone who pays $150/month in the US for no-frills TV, telephone and 10/1 Internet with a 50GB/month transfer cap, it's eye-opening to read about conditions in other parts of the world. Also, I'm sorry about how the United States has been behaving towards other countries for the past decade or so.

Submission + - Leapsecond is here! Are your systems ready or going to crash? ( 1

Tmack writes: The last time we had a leapsecond, sysadmins were taken a bit by surprise when a random smattering of systems locked up (including Slashdot itself) due to a kernel bug causing a race condition specific to the way leapseconds are handled/notified by ntp. The vulnerable kernel versions (prior to 2.6.29) are still common amongst older versions of popular distributions (Debian Lenny, RHEL/Centos 5) and embeded/black-box style appliances (Switches, load balancers, spam filters/email gateways, NAS devices, etc). Several vendors have released patches and bulletins about the possibility of a repeat of last time. Are you/your team/company ready? Are you upgraded or are you going to bypass this by simply turning off NTP for the weekend?

Comment Re:At least open the specs. (Score 1) 497

Then it turns their desktop to crap because it won't even start because the graphics configuration is bolloxed and they end up spending half an hour screwing around reinstalling the graphics driver or hunting the NVidia site for a replacement.

Half an hour... How things change. Before cell phones could access the Internet and I had multiple computers in my house, an X failure meant trying to remember how to connect to the Internet from the console and then searching for a solution using lynx. That was not a half hour process by any stretch of the imagination.

Reading your comment, I got a feeling like I did when a kid asked me why the drive letters in Windows start with C: instead of A:.

What do you call that feeling? It's not quite nostalgia; I'm glad the days of editing XFree86Config with ed and storing data on floppies are gone for good. Thanks, I guess, for reminding me how far we've come?

Comment Re:Better links (Score 1, Interesting) 190

I know it is futile to ask people to read an article before they comment on it, and I know it is equally futile to ask people who submit articles such as this to post links to original articles instead of second or third sources

I don't believe it's futile.

If you are submitting an article about an article in a scientific journal, please include a link to the original article in the original journal instead of a newspaper article based on a press release announcing the publication of the article.

If I were submitting an article about an article in a scientific journal to slashdot, it wouldn't occur to me to look for (or follow) a link to the original article. Whenever I search for information on a topic online and there is a link in the search results to an article in a scientific journal, that article is almost always behind a paywall. Even more frustrating, it's usually set up as a tease so that it *looks* like it's a link to the full article but turns out to be a page trying to sell me a subscription to their service (or $19.99 for three days of access to just that one article). I avoid these links due to how frustrating that experience is most of the time.

the official press release from the journal is available [] and the full article itself [] are available online

You seem to be informed about this sort of thing, and given how astonishing and tantalizing the prospect of full-text access is to me, I would appreciate some suggestions. Is there a way I can change my searching behavior so that I don't run into paywalls disguised as the full article? Is there a way I can change my behavior in general so that more full-text articles are available for free online?

Comment Re:SSH Feature Wish: Server policy on SSH keys (Score 1) 284

I wish it was possible to require SSH keys for some (or even all) users to have a passphrase, and enforce this requirement on the server.

As it stands right now, even if you generate a key for someone with a pass phrase, they can remove it easily on the client side and the server has no way of knowing. This means you could have passwordless logins to remote systems. Not good.

Such a policy would require the server to take the client's word for it that the private key was encrypted with a passphrase.

At least with modern systems and key agents you can get passwordless ease of use once you log into your local account, and if someone happens to get your private key they don't immediately have instant access to the machines you can log into. You should have a little time to secure the machines. [Think lost/stolen laptop or backup drive.]

Agreed. If someone is removing the passphrase from their private key, there is some other problem that needs to be solved. Personally, I like ecryptfs for my home directory and LUKS for my backup drive with the LUKS passphrase inside my login keyring.

Comment Re:Doubt it would make any difference (Score 1) 416

I'll take your word for it that the ballot has been rigged so that other parties have to waste efforts trying to get approval to appear. However, the reasoning I have used to vote for one of the two major parties goes like this:

1. Either major party X or major party Y is definitely going to win the election.
2. Both X and Y are pretty bad, but X is better than Y most of the time.
3. I'll vote for the X, the lesser of two evils.

I'm certain this is the way I make the decision. I'm pretty sure this is the way the rest of my family does it as well. When I talk to people who are disappointed by the current two party system, this is the reasoning that they articulate to me.

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