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Comment Older than 15 years (Score 1) 543

I semi-regularly ssh into a server that's running linux 2.2, and AIUI the home directories for that and the desktops in the building (that I do use regularly) are served off an ancient SGI mainframe. I also regularly use a server running AIX 5.3; I have no idea how old the hardware for that is (AIX 5.3 came out in 2004).

Thus, I'm reasonably sure 15+ years old is not an overstatement. Yay for universities.

That said, even my desktop is over 6 at this point.

Comment Re:BIOS (Score 1) 437

Hard to say. I'm pretty sure the 3 second time had a lot of "typical" linux components stripped out, but note that you won't get a shell until everything's finished loading, while X can be started in parallel with other things and be usable while other components start. I believe some work was done that got it under 5 seconds from init to usable. There's still the bios time (0 with a tricked-out coreboot setup) and the time while the kernel starts up before init (this takes 2-3 seconds for me, no idea what "normal" or "fast" is). That adds up to ~7-8 seconds.

One thing to note is that storing the kernel directly in EEPROM lets you skip the bootloader entirely. Bootloaders are usually pretty fast, but they usually have a programmed delay of a few seconds to let you choose a kernel or whatever.

Comment Re:Files are a gas, but drives are not balloons. (Score 2, Insightful) 450

I'd say media files (and software, too) expand to take up as much space as internet bandwidth allows. Back in the day, if you wanted online video, it was all tiny .mpgs. Now it's HD Theora and H264. Back when I had dialup, I wouldn't have appreciated it if the only way to watch something was to wait 7 weeks for it. Now, I can get that same file in a few hours and that's an acceptable time to wait.

And of course, very much involved is packrat tendencies: we'd much rather buy another hard drive than have to delete stuff, even if we're done with it.


Submission + - OGP releases video of VGA emulator booting ( 1

Theovon writes: "Slashdot hasn't seen much news about the Open Graphics Project for some time now, but the OGP has been quite busy, especially recently. As you may recall, the OGP's goal is to develop a fully open-source graphics card. All specs, designs, and source code are released under Free licenses. Right now, they're using FPGAs (large-scale reprogrammable chips) to build a development platform that they call OGD1. And they've just completed an alpha version of legacy VGA emulation, apparently not an easy feat. They have posted a Youtube video of OGD1 driving a monitor, showing Gentoo booting up in a PC. This completes a major step, allowing OGD1 to act as the primary display in an x86 PC. The announcement can be seen on the OGP home page, and there's an article. Finally, the Free Software Foundation has taken notice of this and is asking for volunteers to help with the OGP wiki."

Comment OLPC (Score 1) 113

Huh. I dropped my OLPC from about 4 feet (a little less, maybe 3.5 with some forward momentum too) just a week ago. It bounced to about 1.5-2 feet, then landed again. Outdoors, hard asphalt. No damage except a tiny depression in the plastic on one corner.

Not the first time I've dropped it, either. Only thing I've broken from a drop is a tiny chunk of plastic off the headphone jack--in a ~6 foot drop onto a tile floor that hit the wall and my leg and thus didn't get the full force, but did manage to bend the 1/8th inch headphone connector.

Sounds like Dell has some catching up to do.

Comment To Infinity and Beyond (Score 1) 630

A book that I liked when I was younger was To Infinity and Beyond by Eli Maor. It's a sort of advanced layman's look at infinity and the closely-related zero. It includes mathematical topics your students probably haven't seen before (and won't, unless they become math majors), in enough depth to be interesting but not overwhelming (not enough to really be useful mathematically, either just to make them interested and perhaps help them be more comfortable if/when they get to higher math). It also has a lot of history. It seems to be mostly available on google book search (a bunch of random pages missing, but mostly there) so you can check it out without leaving your computer!

Submission + - Google Lawyer grilled on public radio ( 1

Your Call Producer writes: "My name is Ben Temchine, and I am Senior Producer with Your Call, a daily political affairs call-in program broadcast on KALW-FM public radio in San Francisco.

We did a show recently about Google, Yahoo et al. and privacy concerns. The guests were Nicole Ozer from the ACLU, Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing and David Spark, a local tech reporter. We were joined by Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel of Google.

This is the excerpt of the show featuring Mr Fleischer. We thought this might be of interest to you. In particular what Mr Fleischer says about how long an email stays on Google's servers after you delete it from your mailbox.


Ben Temchine
Your Call
KALW 91.7 in San Francisco"


Submission + - Life Imprisonment for Copyright Infringement

ronadams writes: "P. Parameswaran writes in his AFP article:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he proposed comprehensive legislation to Congress Monday against copyright thieves, including raising the maximum penalty to life imprisonment and seizing the illicit profits of offenders.
Nick Ferrel at the Inquirer confirms the reports and adds a few interesting insights of his own. Good to know RIAA is a vital part of the US Government. I must have been asleep when my Government & Law professor glossed over that one."

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