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The Hacker Lifecycle 77

An anonymous reader writes "Hacker Benjamin Smith deconstructs the cycle of education, production, and rest that will be familiar to many software and hardware engineers. He breaks it down into four steps: 1) Focused effort toward a goal, 2) structured self-education, 3) side-projects to sharpen skills, and 4) burnout and rest. He writes, 'As my motivation waxes at the beginning of a cycle, I find myself with a craving to take steps towards that goal. I do so by starting a project which focuses on one thing only: building a new income stream. As a result of this single-mindedness, the content or subject of the project is often less interesting than it otherwise might have been. ... [Later], I almost always decide to teach myself a new technical skill or pick up some new technology. ... This is usually the most satisfying period of my cycle. I am learning a new skill or technology which I know will enhance my employability, allow me to build things I previously could only have daydreamed about, and will ultimately be useful for many years to come. ... [In the burnout phase], I'll spend this period as ferociously devoted to my leisure activities as I was to my productive tasks. But after a few months of this, I start to feel an itch...'"

Comment Deflection? Just don't stand under it. (Score 1) 151

The most likely scenario for a damaging asteroid impact is a city killer. A dangerous asteroid impact like the Tunguska event has about as much power as a single nuclear bomb. Which is enough to take out an entire metropolitan area such an asteroid lands in the middle of a metropolitan area. If we know where an asteroid will hit in advance we can evacuate cities. Months or years of lead time is not hard so we should concentrate on looking for these things.

Why does the conversation always talk of deflection? And making us feel scared because our space program is not up to snuff? When all we need to do is hop in a car and drive away?

Comment The halting problem is practically solved. (Score 2) 68

In the general case it is true that you can not tell if an program will halt. However most programs do halt and most programmers understand why. Theorem provers present a language to their users that does not admit the general case in which halting is guaranteed which is part of a more important guarantee that all programs can be reduced to a normal form.

Which means that the halting problem is solved for a program written in a language like coq.

The practical challenge seems to be that formal detailed requirements and specifications for algorithms are about as hard to write as the algorithms themselves.

Comment A sad justice system failure (Score 2) 429

A functional justice system keeps us from descending to the level of personal vengeance and feuding.

It is very sad to see the Justice system failing here.

No one has officially called these prosecutors out on their failings in any other way so we get this. I don't think harassment of these prosecutors and MIT and JSTOR is the appropriate reaction. Nor do I think it is the appropriate reaction that the prosecutors have not been reprimanded and appropriate taken to keep non-sense like this from happening.

How high does this failure in the Justice system go?

Comment BCP38 is the fix. (Score 1) 179

The statement that implied DNS servers can implement this is bunk. However BCP38 is the fix. The attack would have been impossible without spoofed IP source addresses.

An application/reflection denial of service attack is actually possible with SNMP and several other protocols. Even if all of the DNS servers were closed this attack could happen.


Festo's Drone Dragonfly Takes To the Air 45

yyzmcleod writes "Building on the work of last year's bionic creation, the Smart Bird, Festo announced that it will literally launch its latest creation, the BionicOpter, at Hannover Messe in April. With a wingspan of 63 cm and weighing in at 175 grams, the robotic dragonfly mimics all forms of flight as its natural counterpart, including hover, glide and maneuvering in all directions. This is made possible, the company says, by the BionicOpter's ability to move each of its four wings independently, as well as control their amplitude, frequency and angle of attack. Including its actuated head and body, the robot exhibits 13 degrees of freedom, which allows it to rapidly accelerate, decelerate, turn and fly backwards."

GNOME 3.8 Released Featuring New "Classic" Mode 267

Hot on the heels of the Gtk+ 3.8 release comes GNOME 3.8. There are a few general UI improvements, but the highlight for many is the new Classic mode that replaces fallback. Instead of using code based on the old GNOME panel, Classic emulates the feel of GNOME 2 through Shell extensions (just like Linux Mint's Cinnamon interface). From the release notes: "Classic mode is a new feature for those people who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. Built entirely from GNOME 3 technologies, it adds a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen. Each of these features can be used individually or in combination with other GNOME extensions."

Comment Just assign $PREFIX::$N (Score 1) 327

Manually assigned ipv6 is quite doable. It is really just a matter of assigning $PREFIX::$small_memorable_number.

There should only be one prefix you have to worry about and if you forget it you can look at any other computer on the network. Then just assign your servers each a small number.

For your case with VMs coming and going it would not be at all hard (and would probably result in better testing) to go the ISP route and assign a unique name to every address and then just report that name to your testers and devs. Reusing the name is exactly the same as reusing the ip address. Then you just have a series of machine names. testvm1, testvm2, testvm3, ... etc.

Really none of this is very hard, confusing or cumbersome. It just takes someone asking: "How do I make this work?" instead of thinking "Oh no! that is going to be horrible." and looking for excuses not to make it work.

Comment Vision (Score 1) 132

Obama has a vision a space program that fits within the budget.

The Republicans have a vision. The space shuttle pork still flowing despite the cancellation of the space shuttle. The republicans call the lack of pork lack of vision because the can't see anything to eat. The Republicans want a return to Apollo where the pork flowed more freely.

Now if someone really wants vision let me propose this. Charge NASA with laying the groundwork for colonizing the solar system. This should include the research (aka robotic probes) to figure out what is out there. This should include making space flight affordable and accessible without being a member of NASA.

Fundamentally space flight is affordable. Right now the fuel cost for a single person to orbit is about $70,000.

One way trips to Mars can be made as cheap as $500,000 if you believe Elon Musk.

A trip to Mars reduce to $500,000 is accessible to the middle class in the United States. Accessible to 100 million or more people. A colonization trip to Mars for $500,000 starts sounding like a good deal on a house given how silly housing prices are on the east and west coast of the United States.

So let's make the vision space flight and space colonization for the middle class. Let's laugh at everyone who suggests the vision for NASA is to give hand outs to the incumbent space companies and their over priced rockets.

Comment project (Score 2, Interesting) 92

Somehow the analogy seems apt. Tunes is a decade old and still has not gotten anywhere. Although the tunes survey subproject has at times been interesting, and was a good resource before wikipedia came along.

With a little luck the EDOS project will be more grounded and a little more down to earh.

Hmm. The more I think about it this looks like a funding hack by mandrake to get other organizations to help them build and test their distribution. Most of the things they were complaining about did not sound fundamental to open source development but did sound a lot like problems a distribution vendor would have.

I guess time will tell if this is a cool practical hack that supports mandrake. Or some academic proof of concept project that is generally useless for getting things done.

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