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Comment Re:Give us more options (Score 1) 297


Memory use climbing like that is almost certainly a problematic (leaky) extension. Check out the tail end of Nicholas's slides for the list of the top leaky extensions, which includes/included AdBlock+, LastPass, etc. Once you get near 2.2 or so GB on WInXP the OS starts freezing you for longer and longer as it twiddles page tables and the like, eventually freezing you for more than 30 seconds. (watch user vs system CPU when it freezes).

One other surprising source of a slow browser: Huffington Post. Their pages have a Twitter feed display which progressively slows down your browser, since it keeps adding more data to the scrolling list of tweets. Never leave a HuffPost page up (with a common hashtag for the search, at least).

I can (now) run for weeks with a browser with 850 tabs (though only 50-150 of them loaded, normally).

Comment Re:i'll do my own tests (Score 1) 297

340 tabs... Piker. :-) I typically run nowadays with ~850 -- there's a handy extension (Tab Stats 0.0.2) that will show you how many tabs you have, how many are duplicates, etc. 64-bit Fedora 15, running FF12 nightlies. Currently using ~ 2GB memory for 855 tabs (60 loaded).

Ironically the biggest memory user in about:memory is facebook (>100MB). Ironic, because I've never opened a tab to facebook, and I don't have a facebook account. This is the result of all those "Like" buttons, each of which takes an insane amount of memory. 100MB for facebook Like buttons. Really.

Comment Re:Mozilla needs to get their shit together. (Score 1) 507

a) that was a long time ago
b) you didn't say 'why' - the quality/performance/etc bar for patches to pass for a browser (now) used by 400m people is pretty high - but that bar is very similar for internal developers (employees or not). Back in the Netscape days, new Netscape employees would frequently get annoyed that they weren't just able to check their code in; they had to get reviews and then have someone with checkin privs do it, just like any other contributer.
c) some patches make user or web-visible changes that aren't agreed to
d) some bugs (when they get serious look in patch review) aren't ones we'd agree are bugs, or fixing them would cause other problems.

n.b. I work for Mozilla now, and in the pre-FF days I was a 3rd-party mozilla contributor and release 'driver'

Comment Re:Google Maps and Firefox vs. Chrome (Score 1) 585

Mozilla/Firefox is experimenting with SPDY, as you can see if you read Patrick McManus' blog (

SCTP can be run over UDP, but in any case needs the server you're talking to to support it (like SPDY). There are some parallels between them, though SCTP has some advantages in not blocking when a single packet is lost like TCP (which SPDY runs over). A researcher at UDel has some nice examples of HTTP-over-SCTP (and SPDY as well).

Comment Re:I was a firefox user (Score 1) 306

Running Firefox on Fedora 11 - I typically have 10-15 windows open with *450* tabs - and it runs for months like that without loading the system. NOTE: Flashblock is a must, *especially* under Linux.

One thing that really does help is BarTab (under 3.x; under 4.x until it's available you can set a simple config var to get a similar result). This keeps it from actually loading tabs when restoring a session until you switch to that tab. The only way you can get away with so many tabs in any browser...

Comment Re:SIP Videophones? (Score 1) 253

Or look at a couple of Ojo 900's (also SIP) - not large screens, but rock-solid 30fps even at low bandwidth; they'll run 24-7 and the fee is low (and they're cheap). You can dial the bandwidth down if you want; they'll run a nice experience down to 120Kbps, and can do down to 80K@30fps. At 250K they're great. I know someone who had dinner with his fiance every night, 1000 miles apart, using Ojos. They'd leave them on as soon as both of them were home, in the kitchen while they both cooked.

Comment Re:Open Source to the rescue (Score 1) 258

512 byte sectors were known to be a performance bottleneck LONG before the late 90's. At Commodore, I put full support in for any power-of-two HD sector size back around 92-ish (plus the FS supported allocation blocks of powers-of-two multiples of sectors, which most filesystems have for quite a while). Larger sector sizes was a win on performance, much the way larger allocation sizes in the FS was a big win, though more related to low-level overhead. Certainly on the platters larger sector sizes is a win - we experimented with that for floppies, and used a floppy format that got much of the benefit (removal of all inter-sector gaps, replaced with a single gap per track - you lost the ability to write single sectors, but got 10% more storage and faster transfer times - effectively one big sector, but with additional sync/etc headers that let you read data starting at any logical sector, to reduce rotational latency). Similar logic applies to HD platters - larger sectors lets you get more user bits on a track and higher transfer rates, but decreases the granularity for writing data.

Comment Re:While they're at it.... (Score 1) 806

Hey dave, that Caps Lock key is the most important key on the PC layout! Mine's used so much is has parallel grooves worn in it from my fingernail. What? You mean it's supposed to do something other than act as an alternate Control key? Never mind....

(From the fingers of a multi-decade Emacs user, who misses the Amiga (and Sun) keyboard layouts).

Comment Re:What (Score 4, Insightful) 1747

You believe the theory that has observations to prove it works. Not the scientist. Pretty simple if you ask me.

That's fine, if you can read the papers, and read the papers confirming (or not) the observations, etc. For example, with the whole autism/vaccine kerfluffle, the original paper by a British doctor has been debunked, and apparently he made up and/or mis-represented his data. Plus various doctors (which the public conflates with scientists, which is sometimes true and sometimes not) make all sorts of claims, often based not on scientific methods or verifiable proof, but instead on personal opinion/experience and a few particular cases they've seen. The problem is that it's way to easy to jump to an unwarranted conclusion, or to do what humans are all too good at - picking facts that support what we already believe or want to believe.

The public has little or no understanding of how science works (even many non-scientist academics don't). Combine that with the modern media's preference to not interpret, but instead present all points-of-view as equivalent (or to prefer certain points-of-view based on politics), and it's easy to see how the public can reach the belief that science is just opinion too - that you can pick who to agree with, based on what you want to be true.

Comment Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (Score 2, Interesting) 227

Not all that much of the OS was assembler - the biggest piece was FFS (which subsumed OFS), and honestly probably shouldn't have been in ASM - but space was *tight*. Sure, quite a few of the drivers were in assembler, and performance-critical parts of Exec were in ASM, but that was almost required at the time for low-level HW interfacing. Much of the OS was in C. (I was responsible for removing the majority of the BCPL code (look it up on Wikipedia) used in AmigaDOS for OS 2.0.)

It was all fairly carefully designed, and a lot of work went into making it bulletproof and snappy. While there are huge benefits to memory protection nowadays, most Amiga programs and certainly the OS were quite resilient to pressures, such as allocation failures, which would crush almost all apps today. Error paths were much more likely to get tested, and the path wasn't the library calling exit(1) for you when an allocation failed.

That said: it's 15 years behind the times now. No major improvements have been made (some, yes, but nothing major). Dave is basically right - and we were in the last year trying to break with the old hardware design, though there was one last big step left in it that actually got to the early prototype stage (AAA). We hadn't planned out where software would go, but if you look at what Apple did you probably get a hint of what we might have done. It would have been tough, though, since we didn't have the resources to throw at emulation at the time that Apple did. In the last year, the SW group (which I ended up running a good part of) was down to a handful of people ( 10 I think). I think the "OS" group was down to maybe 3 or so. The writing was mostly on the wall by around a year before *poof*, and much of the team left in '92-93 to places like Scala (where many still are, and where I went after bankruptcy), 3DO (which had a strong ex-Amiga and ex-Commodore influence from the start), etc.

I wish it had been open-sourced back in '95 or so. It may not have survived intact, but it might have formed the core for a strong competitor to Linux/etc and at least pushed them to improve their responsiveness much earlier on.


Submission + - Robot Discovers Itself and Adapts to Injury

androthi writes: Nothing can possibly go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong ... The truth behind the old joke is that most robots are programmed with a fairly rigid "model" of what they and the world around them are like. If a robot is damaged or its environment changes unexpectedly, it can't adapt.

Cornell researchers have built a robot that works out its own model of itself and can revise the model to adapt to injury. First, it teaches itself to walk. Then, when damaged, it teaches itself to limp.

Although the test robot is a simple four-legged device, the researchers say the underlying algorithm could be used to build more complex robots that can deal with uncertain situations, like space exploration, and may help in understanding human and animal behavior.

Submission + - Here come the Leonids 2006

yukk writes: "The nights and early morning hours of November 17-19 mark the return of the Leonid meteor shower to the skies of Earth. Viewers along the northeastern coast of the United States and Canada, as well as people in Europe and western Africa might get to see a possible "outburst" of as many as 100-600 meteors per hour. This spike in activity is predicted for 11:45 p.m. — 1:33 a.m. EST on November 18-19 (4:45 — 6:33 UT on November 19). Get the scoop here."
User Journal

Submission + - Internet gambling legislation leads to... cheap MS

daveo0331 writes: As you may know, in October the US passed legislation that tries to limit online gambling (it hasn't proven to be very effective, but that's a different story). The law happens to blatantly violate WTO rules because it differentiates between different forms of online gambling and, in the process, gives preferential treatment to domestic gambling sites over foreign ones. Then again, who cares? It's not like the US cares about international law or what the rest of the world thinks.

This is where it gets interesting. Antigua has complained to the WTO about this. And, the US doesn't have much of a case. The WTO has already ruled in favor of Antigua, and that was before the legislation even passed. Antigua's case is even stronger now. At this point, you may be saying so what, Antigua can't really hurt the US with trade sanctions. But the WTO can do a lot more than just authorize trade sanctions. They can exempt Antigua from their WTO obligations, specifically their obligation to support US intellectual property laws. I wonder what the RIAA would think of, 100% legal according to international law? Maybe the corporate lobbyists can get the US to actually respect things like their treaty obligations and international law.

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