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Comment Orange? (Score 1) 319

Orange is very pervasive throughout Ubuntu, but isn't often used elsewhere, at least not in the US. I'm wondering if this is your favorite color, or if it is more popular in South Africa, or if there is some other reason that orange was chosen as Ubuntu's signature color/

Comment Re: What's missing from this article? (Score 4, Informative) 757

The thing is, if a group of engineers discusses an idea, sooner or later an idea pops up that everyone at the table agrees is the best possible solution, given the problem to be solved and the resources available to solve it. Then they go put their solution into practice. Politics isn't like this. There are always a few nimrods who will denounce even the sanest solution to any problem as "statist" or "communist" or whatever the appropriate political insult is at the moment, so the end solution is almost never the sanest one.

QUICK: Name the last president we had with an engineering degree.

A: J. Carter

He didn't work out too well, did he? :(

Carter inherited a disastrous economy, which resulted from a prolonged war funded by future earnings. When the bill came due at the end of the decade, the economy had massive problems. Sound familiar?

Submission + - Steve Jobs taking another medical leave (

techmuse writes: The New York Times and many other sources report that Steve Jobs will be taking another medical leave of absence. No indication has been given as to when he will return. Jobs will remain CEO, and will continue to be involved in making major decisions for the company. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will run the company in Jobs' absence.

Submission + - Doctor marries Doctor's daughter, exploding TARDIS (

techmuse writes: In a veritable Who's Who of Doctor Who, 10th Doctor David Tennant is marrying Georgia Moffett, the daughter of 5th Doctor Peter Davison, who played the Doctor's daughter in an episode of Doctor Who. Except that the Doctor's daughter was a clone of the Doctor, which meant that she really was Who. So a newer Doctor is marrying an older Doctor's daughter, who is a clone of the newer doctor, but only has half the DNA of the older Doctor.

Comment Bad logic (Score 1) 5

I see this logic repeated a lot, but it isn't correct. It's true that Windows has the vast majority of the market share, and is therefore an inviting target. But given that Macs have approx 10% of the market share in the US, you would expect 10% of the viruses to be written for the Mac. Virus writers use Macs too. However, only a few proof of concept viruses have ever been developed for OS X, that rate has not increased as the Mac as gained market share, and none have been successful in the wild. Therefore, it seem very unlikely that OS X is as vulnerable to viruses as Windows.

Note that not all exploits are viruses. Both Windows and OS X are vulnerable to other kinds of exploits. However, because OS X ships with almost no services enabled by default and does not require them to be enabled to be functional, it's much harder to attack a default OS X configuration. Additionally, there are some fundamental differences in the behavior of programs in general on OS X. For example, Windows has a 15 year history of programs running in the background in the system tray, and an entire ecosystem has been built up around supplying small utility programs for windows that potentially create new threats or open new vulnerabilities. OS X will refuse to run any code downloaded from the Internet or installed from an outside source unless the user permits it to run first (using signed code hashes to validate the executable). It's much harder to run exploit code when the user must approve it.


Submission + - What does Windows 7 track, exactly? ( 1

techmuse writes: A posting on the Windows Team Blog states that "In the last month, Windows 7 users have used Jump Lists 339,129,958 times!" How does Microsoft know this? Microsoft gathers telemetry for some products, especially those in development. Does it also gather it for products on the market? What exactly does it track? Are most users aware of this (beyond a screen that says "Help make Windows better"?)

Comment Re:I don't think the authors understand cryptograp (Score 1) 247

To get a sense of how long it would take to find a particular key, consider:

The key has n bits, so there are 2^n possible keys that can be enumerated with those bits.

Each processor can test m keys per second. (I'm assuming each processor has the same performance, and ignoring latency between CPU nodes, I/O latency, or anything else that might slow the system down.)

You have access to p processors.

So the time to process all 2^n keys is:


Note that the value of m doubles once every 18 months (due to Moore's law), so to keep the key finding time constant, you must also add a bit every 18 months. (Adding bits is fairly cheap, but developing faster processors is not!) The value of p is not all that important because p increase linearly as you add more nodes, while n and m increase exponentially. To figure out how long of a key you need for a given algorithm, you simply need to determine the amount of time that you want to keep your data secret for, and choose a number of bits such that (2^n)/p*m is sufficiently large.

I'll let you plug in the numbers and work out the exact times for your favorite system for yourself. :-)

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