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Comment Re:NSA and elliptic curve (Score 1) 397

He elaborated (slightly) in a blog comment

>"You recommended to 'Prefer symmetric cryptography over public-key cryptography.' Can you elaborate on why?"
> It is more likely that the NSA has some fundamental mathematical advance in breaking public-key algorithms than symmetric algorithms.


I think his reasoning is that the NSA is more likely to have a clever hack for elliptic curve crypto which is why they've been pushing it - the ideal situation for the NSA is that everyone uses crypto that the NSA but nobody else can break.

Comment swap hands? (Score 1) 393

I'm can't tell if this is a dumb idea or a brilliant one. What about training yourself to type phone numbers with your left hand? It might be just enough to segregate out the muscle memory. It would be moderately annoying while you're training yourself, but if you're re-wiring calculators and remapping keyboards it can't be much more troublesome.

Unfortunately I don't use either kind of numpad much myself so I can't try it - I would just to see if it works.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 375

I had a lot of trouble recently with VS2010 hammering my dev workstation. It was pretty complicated actually - when running VS I was getting way too much disk IO which was making my system almost unusable - even when just having a few editor tabs open in VS.

The problem seems to be that I had only 2GB of RAM in the box (blame someone else, I didn't provision it), and while VS wasn't really using much itself, it was spawning a whole lot of threads which were processing in the background (IntelliSense and so forth), modifying lots of memory, and because my RAM was semi-full the changed memory was getting written out to the swap file constantly. And then of course the virus scanner was going nuts looking at all the disk IO. The disk IO became the system bottleneck and brought the system to its knees when it wasn't even doing any useful work.

Adding a gig of RAM completely fixed it. Even though my system wasn't exactly running out of RAM, the extra head room stopped it from thrashing the disk all the time for trivial writes. FYI, the system resources page was showing 1GB 'in use' and the other GB full of 'cached, just in case you want it again' when I was having the trouble to start with, which initially made me think that RAM wasn't the problem.

Comment Re:And NYT's readership goes up... (Score 1) 127

From interest I looked up a list of big earthquakes when the Japan one hit: USGS list - it was the fourth largest in the world since 1900. At a rough guess the chance of such a large quake hitting the area of the reactors would be lower than 1/1000, although the pacific rim is a very active area anyway. Right ballpark though.

Just chipping in because I happen to have looked this up already.

Comment Re:It's not my fault! (Score 1) 155

IIRC (it's on my home computer) f.lux changes the colour profile of your desktop towards red, which is like sunset/firelight/sleeping time, and away from blue which is like bright daylight. It's usually set based on its calculated dawn/dusk times from the time on your computer and the location you enter in the settings. I'm sure you can either override the location or just lie to it - you'd want the 'night' colour while you're meant to be getting sleepy.

Anyway, it's a free tiny download so just give it a go and see what you think. I like it.

Comment Re:It's not my fault! (Score 1) 155

I'm pretty sure it's based on how engaged your brain is. Reading is probably using your imagination and all the bits of your brain associated with understanding real-world situation, whereas if you're playing some kind of clickfest like bejewelled or diablo (or, dare I say it, WoW) most of your brain can get on with shutting down for the night.

On the flipside, if I'm trying to get over jet lag or need to stay awake for some other reason nothing beats a good game of Civ - that'll keep my brain spinning for 48 hours straight given the chance.

Comment Re:strange future tense (Score 1) 312

I really don't see how that's a defensible position. I suppose you're trying to argue something about non-intersecting light cones being effectively different universes? Once the light cone produced by Betelgeuse_explodes reaches us it's in our causal domain and we can reason back to the time before the light cones intersected just like for any other event. Everything initially happens in a different light cone from you, it's just that on non-astronomical scales the time is negligible.

For example, we can reason geometrically about when the light from Betelgeuse exploding will reach Andromeda, and the how long it would take our neighbours at Andromeda to send us a message saying "Holy shit! Did you see that?".

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