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Submission + - The Raid-Proof Hosting Technology Behind 'The Pirate Bay'

HughPickens.com writes: Ernesto reports at TorrentFreak that despite its massive presence the Pirate Bay doesn't have a giant server park but operates from the cloud, on virtual machines that can be quickly moved if needed. The site uses 21 “virtual machines” (VMs) hosted at different providers, up four machines from two years ago, in part due to the steady increase in traffic. Eight of the VM's are used for serving the web pages, searches take up another six machines, and the site’s database currently runs on two VMs. The remaining five virtual machines are used for load balancing, statistics, the proxy site on port 80, torrent storage and for the controller. In total the VMs use 182 GB of RAM and 94 CPU cores. The total storage capacity is 620 GB. One interesting aspect of The Pirate Bay is that all virtual machines are hosted with commercial cloud hosting providers, who have no clue that The Pirate Bay is among their customers. "Moving to the cloud lets TPB move from country to country, crossing borders seamlessly without downtime. All the servers don’t even have to be hosted with the same provider, or even on the same continent." All traffic goes through the load balancer, which masks what the other VMs are doing. This also means that none of the IP-addresses of the cloud hosting providers are publicly linked to TPB. For now, the most vulnerable spot appears to be the site’s domain. Just last year TPB burnt through five separate domain names due to takedown threats from registrars. But then again, this doesn’t appear to be much of a concern for TPB as the operators have dozens of alternative domain names standing by.

Submission + - 'Just Let Me Code!' (drdobbs.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Andrew Binstock has an article about the ever-increasing complexity required to write code. He says, "I got into programming because I like creating stuff. Not just any stuff, but stuff other people find useful. I like the constant problem solving, the use of abstractions that exist for long periods nowhere but in my imagination, and I like seeing the transformation into a living presence. ... The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience. What was the experience of riding a bicycle has become the equivalent of traveling by jumbo jet; replete with the delays, inspections, limitations on personal choices, and sudden, unexplained cancellations — all at a significantly higher cost. ... Project overhead, even for simple projects, is so heavy that it's a wonder anyone can find the time to code, much less derive joy from it. Software development has become a mostly operational activity, rather than a creative one. The fundamental problem here is not the complexity of apps, but the complexity of tools. Tools have gone rather haywire during the last decade chasing shibboleths of scalability, comprehensiveness, performance. Everything except simplicity."

Submission + - The Exceptional Programmer (codercramp.com)

Scott Thompson writes: This blog post is an attempt to explain how that “usual” programmer could theoretically transform into an “exceptional” programmer if they wished to.

Comment Lubuntu (Score 1) 287

I'm a bit of a Luddite myself - very attached to the XP-style interface, and not inclined to upgrade to the latest and greatest unless I have a reason. And I've been using Lubuntu for years now and am very happy with it. All of the things that spoil Ubuntu users, but with an interface that suits us crotchety old folks. Plus, it's designed to run fast and light on older hardware. Now get off my lawn.

Comment yeah, a strange list (Score 1) 669

You're not going to see new games on this list. I am the type to latch onto stuff I really like. Plus, I don't devote much time to playing.

Neverwinter Nights - you can get the Diamond edition on GOG cheaply. I play it LAN-style with my kids, who enjoy it. I also play on a Persistent World. And I'm working on a module in the Aurora Toolkit. Oh, and I'm playing it on Lubuntu, though the kids use Windows 7 or XP, depending on the box.

FIFA13 for the XBox 360. I hate the direction that console games like this are going, with online play being the only real venue. But there is a career mode that I'm enjoying. The AI is good enough for me, and I'm slowly getting the hang of the 15 million different commands (I'm an old 8-bit button masher at heart).

Diplomacy, both via http://www.webdiplomacy.net/ and an Android app called Droidippy. Not sure how I avoided this game for so long, but I'm enamored with it.

Forza 4 and F1 2012, also for the XBox 360. I would love to be able to race the IndyCar in Forza 5, but as I already mentioned, I just can't bring myself to upgrade to a game whose primary selling points are all from online play. But those two are quite playable.

After re-reading the question, I realized that it doesn't limit to electronic games, so here are a couple more:

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5E in the Forgotten Realms. Yeah, I'm running a campaign for my kids. They're about to meet a group of drow for the first time. I smell a TPK coming.

Agricola (plus other German-style games). That one has my attention lately, and is probably the newest game on this list. It's similar in some respects to Puerto Rico, but I've found it more interesting.

Comment Pay Attention (Score 3, Interesting) 573

That editorial was written to shift perception. The CFR is part of the inner circle in Washington. Anything that comes from anyone associated with it should be viewed as a tactic in a larger campaign. He's not trying to argue the finer points of Snowden's guilt or innocence. He's trying to move the needle of public opinion, so that subsequent actions against Snowden have less resistance.

Comment I'm a dying breed (Score 1) 449

I love driving. The pull of g-forces as I accelerate through a curve. The satisfaction of getting my line just absolutely perfect along a technical a stretch of road. The roar of the engine when I downshift to accelerate. The moment the light turns green, and getting that almost-loss-of-traction launch. The strangely smooth sailing over a gravel road.

I enjoy my commute to work. I'm fortunate in that I don't sit in traffic, except for the occasional stoplight, but cover about 18 miles in about 30 minutes. I generally enjoy every chance I get behind the wheel. But, as time goes on, there are fewer and fewer of me. We have automatic transmissions and ABS and GPS and all these luxuries that take the driving out of driving. And people enjoy them.

One day, self-driving cars will be a common sight. And I will have adapted my driving to taking advantage of being able to recognize and anticipate the behavior of self-driving vehicles. And then self-driving cars will become the standard. And just like it's so difficult to find a manual transmission sedan in America today, other things that matter to a "real" driver will become more difficult or time-consuming or frustrating.

And then, sometime after that, it'll be a lost art, relegated to closed courses. And those of us who still care will recall fond memories as we carefully put the SCCA decal on the rear bumper of our self-driving car and look forward to the next weekend getaway where we can take our antique out for a spin.

This is no more than a lamentation - a rarity on /. with its straightforward language - so please take it at face-value. I'm not arguing one way or another. I'm just saying that I think this is how it's going to happen, at least from my perspective, and that it makes me sad.

Comment Lubuntu! (Score 2) 631

I used Ubuntu for a couple of years, until Unity came along. My history is all Microsoft, all the way back to DOS 3.3. I still earn my paycheck on C# and SQL Server. When I began using Linux, Ubuntu made the transition easy for me. And then they introduced Unity, and tried to pretend my laptop was a tablet. After trying a couple of others, I settled on Lubuntu and have been extremely happy with it ever since. I hope that train keeps rolling for a long time.


Submission + - James Bond's Lotus Esprit "Submarine Car" sold in auction in London (rmauctions.com)

Saphati writes: This past Sunday, the James Bond Lotus Esprit "Submarine Car" sold for £550,000 (£616,000 after 12% buyers premium) at an auction in London. It sold for much less than than the estimate of £650,000 — £950,000.

The jewel of the auction was a 1955 Jaguar D-Type that sold for £4,000,000.

Submission + - Amazing Map of Every Person and Ethnic Distribution in America

IsoQuantic writes: Wired has an interesting article describing what they call the best map ever made of America's racial segregation: http://www.wired.com/design/2013/08/how-segregated-is-your-city-this-eye-opening-map-shows-you/?viewall=true

The map, created by Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, requires over one million png files to render some seven gigabytes of data representing the 2010 US Census data. The ethnicity of every person is color coded and displayed in increasing detail as one zooms the map, so after reading the article skip over to the actual interactive map site here: http://demographics.coopercenter.org/DotMap/index.html

Submission + - US electrical grid on the edge of failure (nature.com)

ananyo writes: Facebook can lose a few users and remain a perfectly stable network, but where the national grid is concerned simple geography dictates that it is always just a few transmission lines from collapse, according to a mathematical study of spatial networks. The upshot of the study is that spatial networks are necessarily dependent on any number of critical nodes whose failure can lead to abrupt — and unpredictable — collapse.
The warning comes ten years after a blackout that crippled parts of the midwest and northeastern United States and parts of Canada. In that case, a series of errors resulted in the loss of three transmission lines in Ohio over the course of about an hour. Once the third line went down, the outage cascaded towards the coast, cutting power to some 50 million people. The authors say that this outage is an example of the inherent instability the study describes. But others question whether the team’s conclusions can really be extrapolated to the real world. “The problem is that this doesn’t reflect the physics of how the power grid operates,” says Jeff Dagle, an electrical engineer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, who served on the government task force that investigated the 2003 outage.

Comment video adapters that work with linux (Score 2) 591

I bought my current laptop because it shipped with Ubuntu. I actually run Lubuntu (which I can't brag about enough), but it virtually guaranteed that I wouldn't have video compatibility issues. My last laptop (from the same manufacturer) had an ATI card that I could never get to perform well (with at least three different distros).

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