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Comment Re:In other words (Score 1) 102

I've had a kidney stone, and I'll tell you the LAST thing I wanted to do during all that pain was hop on a roller coaster.

Amen, brother. I had heroin suppositories[*] keeping mine down to a deafening roar before my medevac, and I still couldn't even sit upright before the pain got the better of me. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.

[*] From the ridiculous to the sublime, as it were.

Submission + - New formula massively reduces prime number memory requirements.

grcumb writes: Peruvian mathematician Harald Helfgott made his mark on the history of mathematics by solving Goldbach's Weak Conjecture, which every odd number greater than 5 can be expressed as the sum of three prime numbers. Now, according to Scientific American, he's found a better solution to the Sieve of Erasthones:

In order to determine with this sieve all primes between 1 and 100, for example, one has to write down the list of numbers in numerical order and start crossing them out in a certain order: first, the multiples of 2 (except the 2); then, the multiples of 3, except the 3; and so on, starting by the next number that had not been crossed out. The numbers that survive this procedure will be the primes. The method can be formulated as an algorithm.

But now, Helfgott has found a method to drastically reduce the amount of RAM required to run the algorithm:

Helfgott was able to modify the sieve of Eratosthenes to work with less physical memory space. In mathematical terms: instead of needing a space N, now it is enough to have the cube root of N.

So what will be the impact of this? Will we see cheaper, lower-power encryption devices? Or maybe quicker cracking times in brute force attacks?

Comment Re:Hackaday Prize (Score 2) 537

Check out the Hackaday prize, over at Hackaday.io.

Actually, you don't even have to get too clever to save lives. In early 2015, the South Pacific country of Vanuatu was devastated by cyclone Pam, a category 5 storm that severely damaged almost half the country. (Full disclosure: the UNICEF photos are mine.). In spite of some islands being completely denuded of shelter, only 11 people died.

The people of Vanuatu deal with an average of 1.5 cyclones every year, but this was an unique event. There had never been a storm of this intensity measured in the country before, and certainly not one that passed directly on top of more than half the population. 3000 years of dealing with cyclones meant that people knew how to cope, but it was telecommunications that allowed us to warn people in time for them to seek shelter. Ironically, on Tanna (the worst-affected island) the majority of casualties occurred when the wall of a building designated an emergency shelter collapsed.

One national telco saw its entire national network knocked out. But within 10 days, they had better than 90% of it back in operation. I myself saw the CEO manhandling a microwave antenna into the back of a chopper during the height of the relief effort.

So yeah, it's not glorious; it's not clever. Sometimes tech just needs to be available to save lives.

P.S. The owners of a Very Large Internet Company saved a lot of lives in the immediate aftermath of the storm when they sent their superyacht to assist with relief activities. The vessel was small enough to get into the countless tiny passages, and large enough to support a helipad for medevacs. On top of that, the 40,000 litre desalination unit could keep entire villages supplied with water until barges could arrive. They don't want their names to come out because this is one of the few places in the world they can get away and just be people. But thanks guys. You rock.

Comment Re:Good, Bad And Ugly (Score 1) 194

The Good: if there are known threats that can be filtered, this is the most efficient level on which to do them.

The Bad: this will inevitably be extended to blocking torrent sites, Wikileaks and any web sites I administer.

The Ugly: it will create a false sense of security, "educating" users to be less educated about their machines.

The un-fucking-believably stupid: Ignoring the capacity for police state tactics in surveilling the domestic population, this is the same as tacking a bullseye onto the nation's internet and telling every terrorist, rogue nation and hacktivist:

DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON. THIS ONE. RIGHT HERE. IT WOULD BE VERY BAD. SO DON'T PRESS IT.

Comment Re:I use Plasma (KDE) and system.d (Score 1) 515

I, on the other hand, love systemd on my Kubuntu 16.04 with Neon running on top. In System Settings, at the bottom, is the Systemd Icon. Open it and you have the GUI to start and stop all services with a mouse click, if you don't want to us the CLI.

Linux and KDE. They keep on giving you choices because one size does not fit all.

Comment Re:KDE-Look a ghost town (Score 1) 515

I love KDE4's look and feel, and am not partial to the default Plasma5 L&F. So, I changed themes, splash screens, wallpaper and icons and now I have my Kubuntu 16.04 with Neon on top looking pretty much like my old Kubuntu 14.04 DE, except that Plasma5 is at least TWICE as fast on my laptop as Plasma4 was.

Comment Re:Linux on the Desktop? Seriously? (Score 1) 515

Trolling like that it is no wonder you post anonymously.
I've been using KDE since 1.l0 beta in SuSE, in September of 1998. I tried Gnome but didn't like it and I have never had to install Gnome to get a KDE app to run. For a long time Gnome and KDE dev teams worked together to create a compatibility layer so that each could run the other's apps without having to install the entire DE. It's still that way. I don't have Gnome installed on my Kubuntu Neon 16.04 with 5.73 Plasma5, but I can install Synaptic and run it without installing Gnome, but I run Muon instead.

Your second claim is entirely bogus. Unless you are running Gentoo or Arch or LFS you rarely have to compile anything. VERY FEW apps installed from the repositories have to be compiled, but when they do it is done automatically without the aid of the user. Examples: VirtualBox requires dkms, which requires kernel headers and some compiling, but its all done on the fly during the install. All the user has to do is reboot to activate the change. Installing GoogleEarth causes an automatic recompile of the source but it, too, is automatic. So, requiring the user to be a developer and compile source is NOT part of any of top 100 or so distros, save for the rare exceptions I mentioned. Of course, if you insist on going outside the repository and downloading tar file sources of apps not in the repository then you will have to know how to do a) ./configure b) make c) make install. But NO distro developers I know require that for elements of their distro, save Arch, Gentoo and LFS, and those are not distros that everyday mom and pop users would run.

You stated "When there is a day, that someone can be handed a USB stick with a flavor of Linux that they can run from it,have all their hardware supported, without having to install, compile, or download anything, we will have finally a Linux OS that is at least comparable to Windows 95." How about comparable or even better than Win8 or Win10, and more open and free as well? I have such a USB stick in my pocket as I type. It is a persistent Kubuntu 16.04 LiveUSB. It is easy to make with the mksub app, which is also in Kubuntu's repository. The fact is, the top 100 or so distros in DistroWatch's page hit list are just the kind of distro you claim doesn't exist. There are always the corner or edge cases of hardware for which is difficult or impossible to find Linux drivers for, but if you've spent any time on Windows help forums you see the exact same problem, and that is with vendor configured copies of Windows.

So, better luck next time trying to conflate an experience you might have had with a Linux distro 15 years ago into what you think are problems today.

Comment KDE is not dying... (Score 1) 515

I began using KDE when SuSE shipped the 1.0 beta with its September 1998 release. It was so much better than Win95 that it became my DE of choice every since. I have been running Kubuntu since their 9.04 release and am now running 16.04 with the Neon repository added, making my distro Neon. The jump between KDE4 and kDE5 has been traumatic for some, like the jump from 1 to 2 or the jump from 3 to 4, but in that jump most of the negative complaints were from MS fans trolling in an attempt to get Linux distros to adopt Mono. De Icaza has left the Linux scene and Mono has been delegated to a minor dev tool for some developers.

I was astounded by the significant increase in speed of Plasma5 over Plasma4. With Kubuntu 14.04 on this Acer 7739-6830 the Steam program "Universe Sandbox^2" was so slow I had to disable most of the particles so that the planets would revolve smoothly in their orbits around the Sun without stuttering or lagging. Running on Kubuntu 16.04 (even with Neon) US2 is so fast I can run all of the simulations without any lag or stuttering. Stellarium gave me frame rates of 25-40 fps on Plasma4 but on Plasma5 I get vsync at 60 fps for the mediocre GPU in this laptop.

I've never used Konqueror and don't consider it a watermark for any event. I've been a fan of KMail in the past. When Google, Twitter and Facebook announced that they were going to censor posts I decided to close my Google account. KMail accepted all 5,000+ emails I imported my 200MB mbox files without a hiccup. The only problem I've found with KMail is that when I delete a mail a ghost of its header stays in the msg list until I clock on another folder, then it disappears.

To nibble and quibble one might as well say that Gnome is dying, or Unity as well. The reality is that smart phones are killing the PC market. I have an Apple iPhone 6+. I can do things with it that I only dreamed about doing on my laptop, with either Linux or Windows, and its easy to use. But they are not killing the PC game market, or the corporate desktop/laptop market and never will because the smart phone form factor is too small and klutzy. My current laptop is six years old. Will I replace it once it dies? That's the question.

Comment Re:Why do you speak on behalf of the rest of socie (Score 1) 272

It shouldn't matter who the DNC leaker was. Blaming "the Ruskies" is just a diversion.

The question here isn't 'who leaked?', so much as 'if it's the Russians, what are they holding back?'

I'm a fan of leakers, but would prefer leaks from people who don't have a horse in the race. The age-old question 'cui bono?' (who benefits?) is a key element to establishing the value and completeness of a leak. I say this, by the way, as a professional journalist who has relied on leaks and whistleblowers for some big stories.

Comment Re:UBI will reach 100% of tax (Score 1) 1145

So what if the UBI reaches 100% of the federal tax?

I think the way that $3 trillion figure is formulated is more than a little disingenuous. Surely you don't just give $10,000 to every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Anywhere this has been looked at, it's been implemented as an income subsidy. In other words, you top up everyone's income so that nobody earns less than a given amount. Based on that calculation, and factoring in savings on welfare, food stamps etc., the idea actually looks quite attractive.

Comment Re:OpenBTS or WiFi? (Score 1) 37

It's OpenBTS, not Facebook's new project, that developed incredibly cheap 2.5G GSM service on cheap, software defined radio hardware.

Exactly. This idea has been around for yonks. Probably the most visible in international development circles was the Grameen Foundation's Village Phone project. This included small-scale GSM transmitter/receivers along with phones that would be shared on a commercial pay-as-you-go basis.

I met a few people working on a variation of this in Timor Leste, and tried to get some formal backing and traction for this in some Pacific island countries. The bottom line is that it's a no-go scenario, because you have inordinately high regulatory barriers, and the opposition of local telcos, who don't want anyone else hanging off their infrastructure, no matter how good it is for the bottom line.

That made some sense at the time, but today, why wouldn't you build your wireless network on WiFi instead?

Because at the end of the day, you still need to interact with local telcos. You can shim it any way you want, but if a person can't call or text their cousin in the capital, they're not going to pay to use the service.

But that's not reason to give up hope. You should give up hope because the telcos will never let it happen anyway, and even if they do, they'll find some new way to screw you out of accessing an affordable and open internet. :-)

Comment Headline is wrong (Score 5, Informative) 92

Brewster Kahle said that sentence at a conference also attended by TBL. And the quote doesn't even appear in the article that the phrase is linked to.

The actual quote is in the New York Time article:

“Edward Snowden showed we’ve inadvertently built the world’s largest surveillance network with the web,” said Mr. Kahle

Congratulations on failing journalism 101. But then, this being Slashdot and all: Congratulations! You're an editor!!

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 515

But a large number of professional programmers didn't learn how to code in a formal school program, either because they're self-taught or because they learned on the job. Citation please.

In the early days, many people didn't have anyone to learn from. If you weren't enrolled in a University computer science programme, you probably had close to zero access to formal instruction.

For my part, a colleague of mine came by my desk, saw me struggling to handle a conditional with a macro, and showed me how to create a control structure in Visual Basic. Spent a few months playing and reading MS' Knowledge Base in text mode through a 9600 baud connection. Then I found Kernihan and Ritchie little book, and suddenly it all made sense.

Fast forward 6 years to the late '90s, and I was writing systems software for NOC services. The dot com boom happened, and Bob, as they say, was my uncle.

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