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Comment Re:ssh is the same (Score 1) 298

This is a lovely idea in theory, and I wholeheartedly support it.

In the real world, however,

1) ordinary users (i.e. the people in other companies who might want to use our company FTP site) are probably not going to have any programs installed that can talk to SFTP/SCP etc., and are not going to want to bother their IT department with it 'cos it'll probably take about 6 months to get any software approved and the project will be a dim and distant memory by then.

2) these same users, even if they had the software, are going to be blocked from the vast majority of other methods of sharing information with us (including conventional FTP on a different port) by overly-draconian internet filtering policies, probably mandated by the same people in the IT dept. that insist that all their FTP/SFTP/etc. sites are locked down and secured with all types of encryption and on a strange port.

Sadly, there are few practical alternatives to lowest-common-denominator FTP access for communicating with a lot of companies.

Comment Re:Serious Problems With Central Claim (Score 1) 238

That is true, but even if it is the case that the date that counts is the US publication date and the foreign publication date simply has to be disclosed, my (limited) understanding of the argument in the complaint is that they didn't disclose the foreign publication date at all. This would mean that they would be alleging that the copyright registration was fraudulent in any event.

That said, from my reading of the complaint, the arguments substantially depend on the idea that it is this initial (foreign) publication date that counts. This leads to two possibilities: a) the lawyers representing Mr. Shirokov are idiots, or b) it's the April date that counts. I am prepared to give Mssrs Booth and Sweet of Booth and Sweet LLP the benefit of the doubt in the absence of any evidence to the contrary...

Of course, as mentioned in my previous post, IANAL, and I would welcome any contrary evidence :).

Comment Re:Serious Problems With Central Claim (Score 2) 238

From the complaint:

45. An application for a registration of copyright in a published work requires a statement of the date of first publication; the nation of first publication should also be given. Specifically, under the Copyright Office’s guidelines an application covering a work first published outside the United States should state the date of first publication there, and should be accompanied by a copy or phonorecord of the foreign edition as first published.

IANAL, but whoever wrote the motion is, and they seem to think that it's the date of first publication of any (presumably Berne) treaty country that counts.

Comment The approach I take (Score 1) 600

I don't know if it will help you, as you and your user's needs may be quite different to mine, but this is the set-up I use for a small company that I do part-time IT stuff for. It works pretty well for them so it might work pretty well for your lot too:
This is for a small co. of about 12-15 engineers, (depending on how many part-timers your count). They do lots of computational modelling, so lots of storage space and CPU is needed. This sounds like it might be a bit similar to your needs (if you're going to do anything interesting with that large collection of videos & multimedia)

They have one "main" file server for project work. It's a white box PC from the local shop and has a couple of TB of hard drives in it. It runs ubuntu server with samba (like all the other servers in this co.). It has needed work about twice in the last 4 years.
They have a couple of old Dell workstations which are too slow to do engineering on now. One runs an external-facing FTP server (it could probably run a small website if needed, too) and one runs an internal wiki and a few other similar tools. I could probably move some of the internal stuff into the main file server, but we had the old machines kicking around, and it's useful to be able to fix stuff without breaking the whole network for the whole company at the same time.
We have a modelling file server, which is a big Supermicro rack server. It's a 4 or 5U box, because they have an open-plan office and nowhere to put the rack, so the rack-mount servers have to be very big (for what they are), so they can be quiet. This has space for 8 hard drives so you can pack it out with largish drives and there will be enough space for all but the most data-hungry organisations. It's expensive compared to the white-box PC, but if you really need the extra space, it can be difficult to find an off-the-shelf machine with space for more than 6 hard drives (and it's a lot easier to replace one if one fails, too).
We have a backup file server. This uses rsync to mirror the (newer) contents of the other two servers, so that if one of them falls over, we don't have a bunch of engineers sitting around while I get the train into the office, work out what's wrong, get the right part, fix it, etc. It also compresses the important (non-replacable) data every week so that someone can copy it to an external drive and take it off-site. Much cheaper than the internet connection that we would need to mirror a week's work in reasonable time over the internet.
All of the computers are cheap white-boxes from the local shop running windows XP or 7 with various versions of MS Office (whatever was current when the machine was bought). No-one seems to have any problem with the fact that the boss uses XP and office 97 while the new guy uses Win 7 and office 2010, and I have better things to do than make an issue out of it. We keep track of whose license is who's on the wiki. Most machines also have OpenOffice, but there is general user resistance to that concept.
We have a couple of PCs for doing number crunching. They sit in the corner and run VNC servers. If people need to crunch numbers they use them, otherwise they use their own cheap workstations.

In summary: buy off-the-shelf PCs for the users. So long as they have windows, office, anti-virus, etc. they'll get on with what they need by themselves. The hassle of getting people to use linux or OpenOffice is not worth the 250 pounds we pay to MS per computer. An off-the-shelf workstation or server with some extra HDs and some version of linux makes a perfectly adequate file server. Use sneakernet for backups.

As I say, your situation may be completely different, but I hope mine might give you some ideas.

Comment Re:openFOAM (Score 1) 105

While OpenFOAM is certainly really powerful, it is short of a GUI* (except for results-visualisation), and might therefore be less than ideal. That said, it is simple enough to use with a walkthrough, and the fact that the interface is basically composed of text files should make it easier for students to get back on track if they go wrong (this is a big problem, for example, with teaching CFX). If the main focus of the work is going to be running an essentially pre-built model (which the students then rebuild and run) and looking at the results then it will be more than capable. It is also easy to investigate the effects of changing discretisation methods, solution schemes and the like. If you want it to be easy for students to perform tasks such as changing the angle of the aerofoil relative to the mesh, change the mesh resolution, etc. it may be less ideal as this will involve lots of messing around on the command line (and in text editors).

* In fact, there is a GUI available from, but this costs money (albeit not a lot). (no affiliation, I've never used this software and can't speak for its quality)

Comment Re:Mini ice age coming. Unless IPCC wrong of cours (Score 1) 687

Now, I'm not saying that anything in your post is either wrong or right, but I feel I have to point out that if your best reference for a science story is the Daily Mail, then this is an argument that you are not going to win.

The Internet

Submission + - IEEE SPAM and IEEE Fake Spamferences (

IARIA writes: Dear Stephan I am a freelance journalist who specialises in scholarly communication and in Bogus IEEE Conferences I understand that you are the founder of IEEE Spam System in Germany I have previously been in communication with Johan and Petr and asked him if we could organise an interview with you as father of IEEE bogusity for me. However, I did not heard back from him on this matter. In our email exchange Petr was kind enough to address some concerns that had been raised with me by a number of researchers, who appeared to be on IEEE Spam System but do not wish to be. Despite their best efforts they had been unable to have themselves removed from your list. Meanwhile they were being bombarded with multiple emails. In an email to me of 11th May Petr assured me that two researchers I mentioned to him had been contacted by IEEE Spam System and that their names had been removed. Unfortunately at least one is still being sent unsolicited email (see below), and is very frustrated by it. I have also had a number of other researchers raise with me the issue of peer review in connection with IEEE Spam Industry I am sure these are all misunderstandings and can be settled in an interview. I would be most grateful therefore if you could spare the time to do a telephone interview with me about IEEE Spam Conferences and IEEE fake meetings and its activities. I look forward to hearing from you. As you know about IEEE SPAM and IEEE Fake Spamferences where there is money to be made, people will try to do it. that is basically the lesson to be learned from the numerous IEEE fake Conferences or IEEE spamferences popping up at an increasing rate. when does a conference become an IEEE fake event or an IEEE spamference? that's hard to say. There are numerous minor IEEE Spam conferences which may not be of greatest impact or quality, but still serve legitimate needs, such as providing forums for younger researchers, or providing local platforms. The increasing number of Spamferences in the mediterranean countries seems to be an indication of this. these conferences usually have mostly local attendants and sometimes they have papers and presentations in the local language, which makes it easier for local authors to submit and present. to me, most of these conferences look legitimate. but then there's the decidedly non-local approach, the grand über-conferences with titles that often sound like "34th intergalactic conference on science, nature, and other really complicated stuff" (maybe i should trademark that...). my personal favorite is "The 12th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics", hosted by the godfather of spamferences, NAGIB CALLAOS with the approval and sponsorship of IEEE Spam. This particular venue received quite a bit of attention for accepting a paper that had been generated by an automated paper generator. others report submitting papers with obviously stupid text and also getting accepted. The reviewing process of these conferences seems to be non-existent (you don't get review reports, and if you ask, you get weird explanations why there are none). The only things that seems to work well at these conferences is sending invitations (they are sending personalized invitations, something that no respectable conference bothers to do), and handling registrations (i.e., collecting money). The IEEE Conferences are organized by different entities. Some of them were good and some of them are very bad. For example, the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (IIIS), organized many IEEE sponsored conferences (with the logotype of IEEE) Nagib Callaos says that IIIS is "a nonprofit organization based in Venezuela, which examines and contemplates the globalization process." interestingly, the Florida Division of Corporations lists callaos' institute (named a little differently) as a for-profit organization. what a surprise! the saddest thing about this is that publishing at spamferences will actually hurt your career, yet many researchers don't really know what they are getting into. simply google cvs listing this conference and you'll see how successful the business seems to be (2260 hits)... This is the problem with IEEE. IEEE gives its name and its logo to many bogus conferences like: Please take careful note of the information belowabout this IEEE Computational Complexity conferenceIt is another FAKE IEEE conference this time on Computational Complexity.The organizers are academic criminals.Do NOT send these criminals any money. Please send this warning on to your networks.Many young people have been defrauded lately — and we must work together to defeat such efforts.Use extreme caution when applying for conferences advertised by organizations unknown to you.What a Shame for the IEEE Computational Complexity Conference! two new bogus papers have been accepted in the for varieties ??????????by Zeev Dvir !!!andExtractors for Low-Weight Affine Sources ??????? byAnup RaoThe papers are absolutely fake papers.What a Shame for the IEEE Computational Complexity Conference!

Submission + - EU Challenged Over Open Source And Free Software (

judgecorp writes: "Microsoft's unseen monopoly over Government IT in Europe got a challenge this week as a group led by Red Hat posed a legal challenge to a Swiss Government contract that awarded Microsoft 14 million Swiss Francs (£8 millioin) a year, because there was "no sufficient alternative" to Windows and Office. This sort of thing is rife, say activists, despite Government words in favour of open source. As well as missing the benefits of open source, European governments are in danger of stifling free software. Two weeks before the European Elections, free software groups are inviting European Parliament candidates to sign a pact supporting free software."

Comment Re:Useless (Score 5, Insightful) 194

Totally useless and a mere inconvenience for the die-hard file swappers. New sharing sites will pop up faster than I can say "First Post!" and new protocols to circumvent those blocks will have arrived by the time the mods have moderated "First Post" down to -1.

True as this undoubtedly is, I think this is the wrong attitude to take. Simply saying, "OK, Mr. Government, if you want to block bits of the internet go ahead, we'll just work round you." gives the impression that they have the right and justification to censor bits of the internet at will and it's up to us to work round that.

While the sort of people who read slashdot are able to circumvent this kind of thing, does that make it right to censor the internet for the rest of the less technically savvy population?


Submission + - Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat 2

mm4 writes: Groklaw reports IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas. Where else? The patent troll magnet state.

Submission + - Patent case filed against Red Hat and Novell

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