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Submission + - LLVM receives ACM software system award (

paleshadows writes: The ACM has just announced that LLVM is the recipient of the 2012 Software System Award. The Software System Award carries a prize of $35,000 and notable prestige. From the announcement: "Key factors in [LLVM's] success are the openness of its technology and the quality of its architecture and engineering as well as its clean, flexible design and easy-to-use programming interfaces. The LLVM project started in 2000 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) under the direction of Chris Lattner (now director of Developer Tools at Apple) and Vikram Adve, a professor at UIUC. Evan Cheng drove the design and implementation of the code generator in LLVM, and is now a senior manager at Apple. In the years since its release, LLVM has been incorporated into commercial products by Apple, Adobe, AMD, Arxan, AutoESL, Cray, Google, Intel, and many others. The Software System Award is given to an institution or individuals recognized for developing software systems that have had a lasting influence, reflected in contributions to concepts and/or commercial acceptance."

Submission + - The Rise of RaaS (Resource-as-a-Service) Clouds (

paleshadows writes: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enable organizations to rent cloud resources required to perform specific tasks, thus reducing operational and support costs. According to researchers at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology, the cloud market is about to give birth to a new and more efficient cloud platform. In a position paper presented at USENIX HotCloud '12 in Boston, researchers Orna Agmon Ben-Yehuda, Muli Ben-Yehuda, Assaf Schuster, and Dan Tsafrir postulate that IaaS is on the path to evolving into a more practical model, one that enables customers to purchase individual resources for a few seconds at a time. The researchers have dubbed this new cloud platform "resource-as-a-service" (RaaS). RaaS would enable businesses to have more control over what resources to allocate towards a virtual machine. "Renting a fixed combination of cloud resources cannot and does not reflect the interests of clients," states the paper.

Submission + - Netflix creates its own TV series and makes all episodes simultaneously avaiable (

paleshadows writes: Netflix announced that it has created its own TV series and that "unlike any major TV premiere before it, we are debuting all eight episodes of the first season at the same time today [whereas] conventional TV strategy would be to stretch out the show to keep you coming back every week." Steven Van Zandt (of Springsteen's E Street Band and The Sopranos) is starring.

Submission + - Oracle's Public Cloud (

paleshadows writes: A few days ago, at Oracle’s OpenWorld Conference in San Francisco, Oracle's Public Cloud was announced.
Larry Ellison said that the launch of Oracle’s Public Cloud is noteworthy in that it puts the company in competition with Amazon, Rackspace, and Salesforce, which are the clear leaders in the public cloud computing space. According to Ellison, Oracle’s new public cloud will be available for a monthly subscription and will include resource management and isolation, security, data exchange and integration, self-service sign up, elastic capacity on-demand, virus scanning, and more.

Comment Re:Military State (Score 1) 351

Politicians are greedy, and want to have control on everything. Including economy and research. And AFAIK, even more so in Israel, because of the military background of prominent state officials.

Respectfully, it's clear you don't really know anything about Israeli exact science academia and high-tech industry, both of which rely very little on government money; most of their funding comes from international competitive research funds and international investors, respectively.

If anything, Israel's army is a driving force for innovation.

Bottom line: your thesis about Israel is nice. It's just unrelated to reality.

Comment Re:Military State (Score 1) 351

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the billions of dollars that pour in to Israel each year as welfare from the U.S.

You are right. The 3$ billions per year Israel receives from the U.S. is ~1% of Israel's yearly budget. Importantly, most of the U.S. aid comes in the form of military equipment (that is, the actual funds flow directly to the pockets of U.S. military industry). It has nothing to do with start-ups and CS departments.

Comment Re:Military State (Score 5, Informative) 351

For a military state such as Israel, it is impressive that every now and then they come up with innovations; not very many, but they do come up with them.


I suggest you take a look at, e.g, Here's one paragraph (the source is backed by reference):

"How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources -- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom?[4] The Economist notes that Israel now has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world."

Or, e.g., browse the list that ranks the top-100 computer science departments in the world and observe where and how many times the Israeli flag appears in the list. (FYI, Israel has only 6 universities.)

etc. etc.


Submission + - Oh Google, why? (

paleshadows writes: For years, gmail users have been able to utilize alternate email addresses from within gmail. One could send mail as foo@bar (bar !=, while still having all benefits of a gmail account. These days are over. In a bizzare move, Google more or less arranged things such that, if you use alternate emails, you will not be able to enjoy the associated google calendar. For example, as a publicly declared policy, gmail refuses to allow you to accept any calendar invites that were sent to your alternate address. Amusingly, in response to users' outcry, Google personnel proposed (in all seriousness!) to solve the problem using an elaborate procedure that, among other things, eliminates your alternate addresses...

Submission + - Google Bulling Users to Use Chrome's PDF Viewer?

paleshadows writes: Most Chrome/Gmail users have probably noticed that opening a PDF attachment has become a lengthy and cumbersome operation, unless one chooses to "view" the PDF with Chrome's specialized viewer. Specifically, whereas "view" requires only a single click, "download" requires performing four operations: (1) clicking "download"; (2) pressing a "save" button after being told off that PDF "can harm you computer"; (3) opening the associated menu; and (4) choosing "open". No technical procedure exists to shorten this sequence.

Very many users have complained about the added complexity, but to no avail, their feedback generally being dismissed on the grounds that Chrome's plugin "really is safer". Users' anger seems to best be expressed in the answer voted most popular in one of the many related threads, saying, "I am not going to "cope with the warning". I am switching back to FF. Working in publishing, I need to download many PDFs every day from trusted sources. I can't add extra steps without affecting profitability."

Once upon a time, there was some powerful company that employed similar tactics to bully users into exclusively using a certain browser. Then another powerful company, in response, vowed not to be evil. So what is up with that?

Submission + - @spam: The Underground on 140 Characters or Less (

paleshadows writes: Is there a difference between email spam and Twitter spam (besides that it's shorter)? A research paper recently published in the ACM Conference on Computer & Communications Security finds: (1) that 8% of 25 million URLs posted to the Twitter site point to phishing, malware, and scams listed on popular blacklists; (2) that the accounts that send spam seem to originate from previously legitimate accounts that have been compromised and are now being puppeteered by spammers; (3) that Twitter s a highly successful platform for coercing users to visit spam pages, with a clickthrough rate of 0.13%, compared to much lower rates previously reported for email spam; (4) that the use of URL blacklists wouldn't help to significantly stem the spread of Twitter spam, allowing more than 90% of visitors to view a page before it becomes blacklisted; and that (5) even if blacklist delays were reduced, the use by spammers of URL-shortening services for obfuscation negates the potential gains unless tools that use blacklists develop more sophisticated spam filtering.
The Internet

Submission + - Algorithm Detects Sarcasm in Product Reviews ( 1

paleshadows writes: An Israeli research team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has come up with a computer algorithm to identify when online reviewers of products are being sarcastic. The algorithm, called SASI (Semi-supervised Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification), was shown to recognize sarcasm with a 77% hit rate; the researchers suggest that it might be beneficial to include the results of such an algorithm in reviews' summary and ranking systems. The training of the algorithm was based on 66,000 Amazon product reviews that were categorized by 80 sarcastic patterns, factoring syntactic features like the length of sentences, the number question and exclamation marks, and number of capitalized words. (Examples include: "All the features you want — too bad they don't work!"; "Well, you know what happened. ALMOST NOTHING HAPPENED!!!" and "Silly me, the Kindle and the Sony eBook can't read these protected formats. Great!".) From the reviewed products, those most likely to draw sarcastic reviews were Shure and Sony noise cancellation earphones, Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, and Amazon's Kindle. The researchers noted that "[t]he simpler a product is, the more sarcastic comments it gets if it fails to fill its single function — i.e. noise blocking/cancelling earphones that fail to block the noise". They further speculate that "one of the strong motivations for the use of sarcasm in online communities is the attempt to 'save' or 'enlighten' the crowds and compensate for undeserved hype". The algorithm and its evaluation are described in detail in this academic paper.

Submission + - XenClient: User Review (

Bandman writes: Last week was Synergy, and annual product annoucement / cheerleading session from Citrix. At Synergy, Citrix announced XenClient, the next logical step in the progression of desktop virtualization, namely a bare metal hypervisor designed to run on end-user laptops.

Blogger Matt Simmons grabbed a spare laptop and spent some time playing. He shared his thoughts (and pictures) of the process.

Comment Re:Other practises of bundling (Score 1) 220

Yes. Rules like this probably reflect the difficulty of the issue. And when Microsoft was under scrutiny in the US, they claimed that the "browser is an integral part of the operating system". I.e. they put technical reasons forward.

Except there was a bit of wool-pulling there: the html rendering and http components may have been integral to the OS, but removing the IE "front end" - which is what competes with Firefox, Opera et. al. - is a cinch.

But the decision is artificially constrained by the exclusivity of the deal. It's anti-competitive.

...but that's not a problem with OEM bundling per se. PCs have come with bundled operating systems since the year dot. If a particular OS producer says to PC manufacturers "we won't license our OS to you at a competitive price if you also offer bare PCs or competing OSs" then you're back to antitrust law. (IANAL but I'm pretty sure that's never been legal - the problem is getting it enforced!)

If they ever achieve monopoly, I bet we will see them arguing "MacOS is an integral part of the Apple computer".

Well, it is: Windows minus IE is still Windows; a Mac minus Mac OS is just a generic PC in a designer case.

However, if Apple wanted a Mac monopoly they'd probably have to unbundle somewhere along the line anyway in order to offer a comprehensive range of hardware choices: their current bundling strategy makes perfect sense for a niche premium-priced laptop, SFF & workstation market. Currently, they seem happy there.

There are still major restrictions such as the AppStore.

The AppStore may be restrictive, but its also bootstrapped a largely new arm of the software industry. Its certainly not very Free As In Speech but it seems to have given a lot of small developers easy access to a huge market. Anyway - I see the App store as a temporary measure while mobile internet connections evolve: once you have dependable, always on mobile internet, browser-based "cloud" applications make so much more sense. Currently, if I want to run my own software on an iPhone, the best bet is to write it in AJAX and host it on my home server (which probably means it will work on Android, Palm, Nokia...).

My solution is to use free software (i.e. GNU/Linux, Amarok, Okular, Gwenview, ...). This also allows you to be creative without getting taxed for it (e.g. LaTeX, Gimp, recordmydesktop, VIM, GCC, Ruby, ...).

Until the EU demands that linux distros have a choice screen... "Do you want VIM or EMACS?", "Do you want to use LaTeX, DocBook, nroff...", "OpenOffice or KOffice or ABiword", "Amarok or Rhythmbox", "PHP, Perl or Python..." :-)

(Yes, that's silly for all sorts of reasons, but be careful what you wish for because the EU and the DOJ are not particularly strong on common sense...)

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