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Comment Get a Nokia E Series (Score 2, Informative) 289

If you can, get a Nokia E72 unlocked. If you can't get the E72, get any E series Nokia phone (I have E71).

Reason for recommendation:

* WiFi roaming is painless

* 1500mAh battery: WiFi *drains* battery. You absolutely need the phone with largest battery pack or you're looking at charging it twice a day. A large screen android/iPhone is fun for a week till you get tired of looking at battery bars. Nokia will last whole 3 days on GSM and will get you through the day on WiFi.

* Integrated SIP with same dialing/receiving experience as a GSM call

* VoIP apps: Pretty much every VoIP app is available including Fring, Talkonaut and Skype apart from integrated SIP

* Excellent sound quality


* Small screen by today's standards (you get battery life in return)
* Abysmal inbuilt browser (you can have Opera Mobile and Opera Mini instead)
* It's not hip in US (however, if you want nerd points it'll score many - run wordpress on your phone with downloadable port of Apache2, MySQL4 and PHP5 - no kidding)
* Custom development is painful, but you get everything and the kitchen sink to write apps for the device (Python, Java, C++, ......)
* No touchscreen

Comment Strained by just 80K messages ? (Score 1) 181

A single low-end jury-rigged SMSC is well capable of over 5K TPS. 80K messages won't even break sweat on any telco's network.

That said, it's a pretty useless medium of communicating any significant amount of data. GPRS or even WAP are much more efficient and capable of dialup speeds. And hey, developing worlds have much better telecom networks than these kind of "for developing worlds" stories give credit for. At least in India, SMS is essentially free (costing less than $0.0001 (yes not a typo!) per SMS in volumes of a thousand.

Comment Scale of Indian elections and EVMs (Score 5, Informative) 179


It is important to put the size of elections in India in perspective and how they operate to understand any meaningful amount of fraud or corruption possible.

The EVMs in question are extremely simple. They only have a breakout panel with 32 buttons (expandable upto 64 buttons with an addon breakout button panel). The machine only ever knows the number of enabled buttons. The names and party symbols are affixed as paper "stickers" on the buttons.

[B] S First Last Name
[B] S First Last Name

The order and placement of stickers on the buttons changes from constituency to constituency. The machines are sealed/unsealed in presence of at least 3 officials, though in practice, it's no less than a dozen or more, as it's a public affair and often media is present.

Some numbers (courtesy http://www.indian-elections.com/facts-figures.html):
Number of EVMs used: 1.023 million
Max candidates per EVM: 64
Max candidates in election from one constituency: 35
Total number of candidates: 5398 (India is a multi-party democracy)
Number of parties: 220
Number of registered voters: 675 million

Cost of '09 elections: Approx $2 billion

Any 'fraud' analysis needs to take the process and numbers into account. EVMs in India solve a LOT of problems with regard to elections and drastically cut down on time, effort and cost involved. There are a number of places where several miles of journey on the back of mule is needed to reach the polling booths. It's much easier to conduct an electronic poll there rather than carrying several large ballot boxes that could be snatched.

Comment Doesn't compute (Score 0, Redundant) 248

So 1.6M processors with 1.6TB RAM means just 1 MB RAM(1.6e+12/1.6e+6) per processor. That sounds bogus!

Also roughly 12 GFLOPS of processing power per processor. WTF kind of cluster/super computer architecture is that ?? Sounds more like 1.6M Cell "stream" processors or something like that, definitely not something made from AMD/Intel parts. Of course, assuming numbers reported are correct.

Comment If you really want an alternative... (Score 2, Informative) 409

1. I hope you understand what you gain and lose by switching.

2. I have had to endure the pain of selecting from a few LDAP servers few months back. Just go and download Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition 6.3 (DSEE). Buy a support contract of whatever level you need. Set it up (takes minutes, the docs are EXCELLENT!) and after that forget it even exists. This baby just works!

Operating Systems

Submission + - Windows XP SP3 Yields Performance Gains (osnews.com) 2

hairyfeet writes: "OSNews is reporting that after an abysmal showing by Vista SP1 in the latest benchmarks that, surprisingly, Windows XP SP3 showed a marked improvement over SP2, gaining around ten percent in performance in the benchmarks. Considering that Microsoft has kept pushing forward the end of life date on XP due to customer and PC manufacturer demand, one has to wonder how wise it is for them to release a service pack that makes the older XP even faster than it already was compared to Vista."

Submission + - First Evidence of Another Universe? 2

blamanj writes: Three months ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Now, Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton thinks she knows what that means. (Subscription req'd at New Scientist site, there's also an overview here.) According to string theory, there are many universes besides our own. Her team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of gravitational interactions, they can be observed, and they're willing to make a prediction. The recently discovered void is in the northern hemisphere. They contend another one will be found in the southern hemisphere.

Submission + - Possible backdoor found in RNG standardizedby NSA (schneier.com) 1

kfz versicherung writes: "Defining algorithm for random numbers is one of the hardest fields in mathematics. We all know Microsoft failed miserably, even Linux (pdf) and SSL had their fair share of troubles. But now Bruce Schneier tells us the Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG, one of four random number generation algorithms standardized by the NSA (pdf). While on first look just slower than the other three, Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson showed at Crypto 2007 that the algorithm contains a weakness that can only be described a backdoor. Their presentation showed that the constants used have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers that can act as a kind of skeleton key. If you know the secret numbers, you can predict the output of the random-number generator after collecting just 32 bytes of its output."

Submission + - Dislike a Relative? Turn Them in as a Terrorist! 9

Stanislav_J writes: A Swedish man who had less than fond feelings for his daughter's hubby, took advantage of the son-in-law's trip to America by reporting him to the FBI as a terrorist. The e-mail, which the father-in-law admits to sending, earned him a libel charge after his poor son-in-law was arrested on his arrival in Florida, handcuffed, interrogated, and placed in a cell for 11 hours before being released.

It's a brief article, but dovetails nicely with the recent Slashdot story about "The War on the Unexpected." That article touched on many examples of well-meaning, but misguided and paranoid citizens reporting innocent activities to the authorities. In the current climate, the potential also exists for maliciously false and far from well-meaning reports made to the Feds about people one simply doesn't care for, or those made merely as a sick prank.

While the man admitted to sending the e-mail to the FBI, he claims he thought no harm would come from it because "he did not think the US authorities would be stupid enough to believe him." To quote the great philosopher Bugs Bunny, 'Nyahh....he don't know us very well, do he?'
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Gates drops to #3, new face on #1

mritunjai writes: The bull run in Indian stock market and spectacular growth of Reliance Industries stock, Mukesh Ambani has catapulted to be the richest man in World with a net worth of $63.2 Billion. Following him are Carlos Slim Helu at $62.3 Billion and Bill Gates at $62.2 Billion. Just in July '07 Bill Gates was displaced from #1 by Slim Helu. The brick-and-mortar barons are making a come-back specially the ones in infrastructure business. Are days of software billionairs numbered ?

Submission + - Wolfram awards $25,000 for flawed proof

An anonymous reader writes: Slashdot readers will have seen an announcement by Stephen Wolfram offering a $25,000 prize for a proof or a disproof that a certain 2-state, 3-color Turing machine is universal. The prize was awarded on October 24th, 2007 to Alex Smith of Birmingham, UK.

However, according to discussion in the Foundation of Mathematics e-mail list, archives of which are available here, the members of the prize committee were "informed but not polled" as to the validity of the proof. The prize committee members were Lenore Blum, Greg Chaitin, Martin Davis, Ron Graham, Yuri Matiyasevich, Marvin Minsky, Dana Scott and Stephen Wolfram. On October 26, Martin Davis wrote to the FOM list that "The determination that Smith's proof is correct seems to have been made entirely by the Wolfram organization. My understanding is that the I/O involves complex encodings."

On October 29th, Stanford computer scientist Vaughan Pratt wrote to the Foundations of Mathematics list that the universality proof of the (2,3) Turing machine was flawed, asking "How did an argument containing such an elementary fallacy get through the filter?" Pratt points out that the fallacy of the proof could be used to "prove" the erroneous statement that a linear bounded automaton is universal. The text of Pratt's email is available here.

Submission + - Apple Censors Java discussion

An anonymous reader writes: A quick Google search of "java 6 apple" turns up some interesting results. Note the following two threads on Apple's support website:

Both have since been taken down or otherwise made inaccessible. Seems a lot of Java developers are upset about the lack of information about Java 6 support in OS X, and Apple's removal of the Java 6 developer preview from the ADC website.

The discussions can still be viewed here:
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Science stumbles on with Ig Nobel awards (networkworld.com) 1

carusoj writes: "Research into the mystery of wrinkles on bed sheets, a method for extracting vanillin from cow dung, the "gay bomb," and the effect of Viagra on hamster jet lag dominated the awards Thursday night at the 2007 Ig Nobel awards at Harvard University. The tongue-in-cheek award program by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine at Harvard gives Ig Nobels as a parody of the Nobel prizes for serious scientific research. Past winners include Enron for economics and Dan Quayle for education."

Submission + - Bloggers who risked all to reveal Junta in Burma 2

An anonymous reader writes: Internet geeks share a common style, and Ko Latt and his four friends would not be out of place in cyber cafés across the world. They have the skinny arms and the long hair, the dark T-shirts and the jokey nicknames. But few such figures have ever taken the risks that they have in the past few weeks, or achieved so much in a noble and dangerous cause. Since last month Ko Latt, 28, his friends Arca, Eye, Sun and Superman, and scores of others like them have been the third pillar of Burma's Saffron Revolution. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2563937.ece

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