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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Is FORTRAN still winning? Was Re:Poor Alan Kay (143 comments)

That is true. My original guess was the memory allocations alone could explain the speed difference. Someone pointed out the handicap to compiler optimizations due to aliasing. (I do not have formal education in comp sci, so I have only a fuzzy understanding of aliasing).

8 hours ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Is FORTRAN still winning? Was Re:Poor Alan Kay (143 comments)

Have you done any comparison with this keyword in C and Fortran? I play in the Finite Element Field. For me the flexibility afforded by C++ out weighs the performance I could get in Fortran. At least the solver people work on a mesh that is not altered, you could estimate the memory needs in one pass and then do the allocations, even for unstructured meshes. I make unstructured meshes, so I would not know a priori the number of tets incident on a node or number of triangles incident on an edge. I build these structures as I go along, and it is impossible to avoid new() and delete() in C. They are basically malloc() and free(). So have not touched FORTRAN for ages.

Among the solvers some of the matrix solvers use FORTRAN and some blas. Again they too prefer C++ for most of the solution and reserve FORTRAN only for really serious loops.

yesterday
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Is FORTRAN still winning? Was Re:Poor Alan Kay (143 comments)

Yeah, yeah YOU can. But the C compilers don't know it. They still optimize code not knowing what could change and what could not. So you pay a penalty.

yesterday
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

140Mandak262Jamuna Is FORTRAN still winning? Was Re:Poor Alan Kay (143 comments)

Till about FORTRAN 77 it was clearly beating C in scientific computations. But that was mainly because Fortran used static memory allocations and C was littered will malloc and associated overheads. With Fortran99, dynamic memory allocations came to Fortran too. At this point I figured it must be just badly hampered C, all the pain and not much gain. Have not tried it personally.

But a question for those who have: Does it still win with dynamic memory allocation? How granular is the dynamic memory allocation? Complete like C? or it is a bastardized version where the common block sizes could be defined at run time and then it runs without ever calling free()? I could imagine the language getting malloc() but not free() to retain speed.

yesterday
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WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Plus Fight Gets Ugly For Users

140Mandak262Jamuna WhatsApp+ seems to be a skin for WhatsApp (180 comments)

It is not a totally unrelated product trying to use the popularity of WhatsApp. It is a skin on top of WhatsApp. I am not able to check how this works. It seems to be running the real WhatsApp in the background and work as a Man-in-the-middle between user input and WhatsApp app.

Technically it would be very difficult to stop an executable to run another executable in a sand box. Depending on how well you have understood the executable, you could do many things like step through debugging, poking and pushing memory etc. Debuggers work by "instrumenting" the executables, but they too act as man in the middle.

In this case Android executables are java which started out as an interpreted platform independent language. So it is a lot more "debuggable" than your typical linux or windows executable. So WhatsApp+ could theoretically sniff the memory locations and intercept communications, eavesdrop on the data and sell them to advertizers. One of the biggest thing about WhatsApp is, it does not eavesdrop, it does not sell ads. User are dumb to use this app.

WhatsApp itself should come out with a free version that would sniff the communications and sell ads and call it WhatsApp Minus. Or WhatsApp Minus Privacy.

yesterday
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'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video)

140Mandak262Jamuna Cheaper solutions exist. (82 comments)

A large box, anchored to the ground or fixed to the wall. It has a spring loaded button to lock, but requires a regular key to open.

Or a pet door or a cut-out door in the garage door. Works same way, can be locked without a key, but needs a key to open.

Far less complex, as reliable, and added bonus: The body you have hidden in the freezer in the garage would not be accidentally discovered by the deliveryman. (Note to self. Should cut down on watching Investigation Discovery shows.)

2 days ago
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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

140Mandak262Jamuna But they won't let you municipality to build it. (191 comments)

Not only they won't build it, they will not let you municipality build it either.

Long back Google had a April Fool posting about toilet net. That idea is fundamentally sound. The municipality can run fiber optic cables in storm water drains. It won't cost as much as it is costing Verizon to dig up and bury the cable. But you won't get it. They have the state law makers in their pockets.

2 days ago
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Local Motors Looks To Disrupt the Auto Industry With 3D-Printed Car Bodies

140Mandak262Jamuna Take this NADA (118 comments)

Since the buyers technically "make" their own cars, they would be treated more like the kit-car [*] and hobbyists of the past. The NADA had ignored that segment till now and there is lots of precedents for selling kits without going through the auto dealers.

[*] Sorry if you got Macgyver theme song running in your head.

2 days ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:This is ridiculous.... (76 comments)

Your observation about my observation of the telescope's observation stopped the doomsday clock! Hallelujah!! Hope no body follows up to this comment, lest it doom the universe again.

2 days ago
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Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

140Mandak262Jamuna They are sending me junk mail for ages. (230 comments)

I have discontinued their service ages ago, but without fail they keep pelting me with junk mail. Is this company selling international TV streams via dishworld.com?

2 days ago
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Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

140Mandak262Jamuna So we book the revenue. 800 billion dollars! (230 comments)

Book it as revenue. Declare the budget balanced. Sell the stock when the news hits the markets. Sell the company and skip town. Wait... it is US Govt right? It has already been sold to the highest bidder, right! Dang it, I knew I would hit a snag somewhere.

2 days ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

140Mandak262Jamuna This is ridiculous.... (76 comments)

I get the quantum mechanics principle, the mere act of observing changes the observed, that you can't measure the momentum or the position without affecting the other. But, just put a telescope in the orbit and it changed the universe? ... come on guys, there should be some limits even on hyperbole.

2 days ago
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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:beer wants to be free (567 comments)

Beer will be released from captivity, in a slightly modified form, but still in the same golden yellow color, after a few hours.

4 days ago
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Illinois Students Suspected of Cyberbullying Must Provide Social Media Passwords

140Mandak262Jamuna What is the solution? (321 comments)

The school is dumb. Bullies will simply have a "clean" facebook and twitter accounts to disclose to school officials, mothers and the pope, it will smell like roses. And they will have fake accounts to do the bullying. So whatever is the constitutionality of the procedure, it is not going to work

But teenagers are susceptible, emotional and are vulnerable to cyber bullying. What possible solutions are there? When there is a complaint of cyberbullying, for America based social networks like Twitter and Facebook, the schools may be able to go through court order and make them disclose the origin of these bullying postings and tweets. So if there is a law against cyberbullying they may be able to trace the IMEI number, cell phone number, IP addresses and other things for social media sites within American jurisdiction. That might give probably cause to make FB and Twitter disclose more info, like all tweets from that IMEI number etc. That may help them catch the bully.

But if the provider is out of the jurisdiction of the American Courts, there is no way to get this info. But teens being teens, the bullies would be careless, use their cell phones and use most popular american providers. But this will lead to the same selection process that created antibiotic resistant bacteria. The casual bullies will be out, but the real careful, malicious, thoughtful and methodical ones, the ones that are really dangerous will migrate to anonymous servers and difficult to trace providers, congregate there and do more damage.

4 days ago
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Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'

140Mandak262Jamuna One more tool to the ... (224 comments)

... purveyors of SEO tools.

"Dear Small Businessman,

Our SEO tools are the best in the industry. We have thousands of robot accounts constantly searching for news articles about your competitors. It will immediately mark them as false before you could say, eh? what?!. No body will hear any good news about your competitors!! You win!!! Just call us at 1-800-SCAM-ART and enroll at our basic 1000 robot service at the low low price of $29.99 a month. We recommend the de-luxe 10,000 robot service at $49.99 as value for money. The ultimate 1,000,000 robot service at $299.99 a month is recommended only for the dumbest businessmen.

Hurry! Act Now!

Wait! There is more. First three months Free!!!

Sincerely,

Imac Onman,

CEO, Conman International, an internet based conjob company that will take you to the cleaners!

4 days ago
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Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

140Mandak262Jamuna Yeah, Elon thought auto industry was ready for... (237 comments)

Elon too thought the auto sales model is ready for a disruption. The auto insurance agents form a powerful coalition. They make good living on the commissions. Will not be easy to break into their cartel. The regulatory framework is fragmented, state by state. State insurance commissioners are either appointed or elected in very low profile elections. They are easy to be lobbied by these insurance agents, they will run circles around google. Commissions on 450 billion dollar premium collection will be be given up easily without a fight.

It will not be as easy as breaking up the travel agents business using the net by buying the ITA software or something like that.

5 days ago
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Drug Company CEO Blames Drug Industry For Increased Drug Resistance

140Mandak262Jamuna It is self correcting don't worry about it. (136 comments)

The next superbug that comes out will kill many million people, will destabilize the world so much all those drug companies would go bankrupt. So it is self correcting, in that sense.

about a week ago
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Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away

140Mandak262Jamuna I felt it too. (121 comments)

I felt a great disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible had happened 5.5 billion light years away.

about a week ago
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Scientists Discover Compound In Baby Diapers Can Enlarge Brain Cells

140Mandak262Jamuna Tissue samples. not live brain (75 comments)

No, it is not enlarging live brains. It enlarges the cells in tissue samples.

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:I have grown skeptical of these experiments. (219 comments)

It is quite common in engineering software development to come across features that depend on one person. If your team has a few bachelors degree guys all proficient in the software development platform you might see the skill set perfectly interchangeable. But if your team has a mixture of Masters and PhDs working on engineering analysis there will be tons of tasks that only one team member can do. Companies can not hire multiple PhDs in the same super sub specialty. Typically companies will hire a dozen PhDs in a broadly related area, (they usually suck in software development and following coding standards.) Typically there will be given a broad area of code base to "own" and manage. So if the feature touches "absorbing boundary condition" it has to go through Dr Yin May. Or Dr Sundararajan would be the only one who understands how the k-epsilon model of turbulence is baked in to the product. Any feature or development that needs turbulence modeling would need Dr S to check if it is feasible and to implement it if it has to be done.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Charlie Hebdo publishes a picture of Mohammad

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about two weeks ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " Charlie Hebdo ups the ante. From the pictures released to the media I am not able to see where the figure depicted is marked as the Prophet Mohammad. But, if it is true, as claimed by almost all the media outlets, that it was indeed a depiction of the Prophet Mohammad, it is really a big deal. This escalates the confrontation, and forces Muslims, at least those who live in the Western democracies to accept that "non muslims can draw pictures of Mohammad, and they do not have the right to retaliate against it".

Charlie Hebdo is more anti-clerical than anti-islam. Even the earlier depiction of Mohammad that provoked the assault actually shows Mohammad being beheaded by the terrorists for being an infidel. Very provocative, but still it is anti-clerical than anti-islam.

I am not sure the media description make that distinction."

Link to Original Source
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains his Christmas Tweet.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about a month ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " Neil DeGrasse Tyson tweeted on christmas day what appeared to begin as a tribute to Infant Jesus, but ended up celebrating Isaac Newton who shares his birthday with Jesus, (with sufficient allowances for the estimate of Jesus' and the confusion between Gregorian and Julian calenders for Newton). Apparently this was retweeted some 77000 times, far above his average of 3.5K retweets. He doubled down on it by tweeting about people being offended by objective truths. Then wrote a fuller explanation. "
Link to Original Source
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Slashdot Beta. How to filter ? How to get to my comment?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about a year ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "1. In the slashdot beta I don't see the knob that lets you see more stories or less. Did I miss something, and it is under some obscure icon? Or is it gone?

2. When I post a comment, I often go my profile, find my latest comments, expand the threads there to see if there are any follow ups. In beta I am not able to get to my comment. It gives me the whole story. Will there be a link to a specific comment and the local view of that thread alone?"
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Facebook + Instagram asking for photo IDs

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about 2 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Apparently Facebook and Instagram are asking their account holders to verify their identity using government issued photo ids that include their full name and date of birth. Your account has been secured and requires account validation. Please login to Instagram.com from your desktop computer to validate your identify. is the message they are getting, according to CNET. CNET is speculating that it is an attempt by these companies to crack down on underage users because they are worried about the liability.

And here in slashdot we are obsessing with privacy and google getting to collect so much of info etc etc. Out there there are people who seem to be willing to upload their IDs to these sites, and think it is a fair price to pay for these services. Is there a site that will give a fake photoshopped government issued ID to upload to such services?"

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Indian engineering students develop solar powered moped

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 2 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "The Tamil language newspaper news item reads, "Two engineering students [name, college] have developed a moped that runs on electricity charged by solar panels. It takes 8 hours to be fully charged. It has a range of 35 Km (19 miles). The moped is built entirely using parts salvaged from scrap yards. Commuters can charge it while working and return home. With more than 8 hours of power cut in the grid, ability to charge using solar panels is indispensable. It costs 60,000 Indian Rupees (1250$) and we hope to reduce the price down to 25,000 Rs (500$) in mass production".

If it takes 1250$ using scrap yard salvaged parts, I am not sure how it is going to be 500$ in mass production. But still it is a good attempt and a nice project for engineering college students."

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IE slips to third place in w3schools.com

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 3 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Well, w3schools visitor profile is not the generic run of the mill net surfer. It is a little skewed towards web developer community. That also makes it a leading indicator of shifts in the web user profiles. In April 2011, IE has slipped to third place after Firefox and Chrome."
Link to Original Source
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Digg overrunn with spammers!

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Conservative activists have been caught banding together to digg or bury news stories of the progressives. Blogger oleoleolson writes in alternet: A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site Digg.com have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year. The article details the modus operandi of the net-mob. http://blogs.alternet.org/oleoleolson/2010/08/05/massive-censorship-of-digg-uncovered/"
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Why Chrome browser chokes on text files?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "I am trying to use Chrome to display some text files with non standard extensions (or no extensions like Imakefile). All the browsers handle this nicely. But Chrome keeps throwing up the file save dialog instead of just rendering the damn file with some fixed with font. Others are also reporting the same issue. Wondering why Chrome made it so difficult? I tried to make Chrome the default file handler for text files, (instead of notepad) that did not help. How does Firefox detect the file:/// resource is text file and displays it without fuss? Where is the file extension and mime type association defined for Chrome? "
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"Blaming IE is simplistic" says PCMag.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about 5 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " PC Magazine is defending Internet Explorer with this piece contending the browser is merely a messenger and there could be more holes, and blaming IE is simplistic and provides a false sense of security.

It is worth noting that Kurtz used the phrase "one of the malware samples", implying that there are others and that additional attack vectors may be involved. There is a fair chance that Internet Explorer is not alone in enabling the attacks.

It concludes:

The main thing to keep in mind is that these attacks go beyond Internet Explorer and that simply switching browsers is not an adequate defense. Kurtz sums it up on his blog "The world has changed. Everyone's threat model now needs to be adapted to the new reality of these advanced persistent threats. In addition to worrying about Eastern European cybercriminals trying to siphon off credit card databases, you have to focus on protecting all of your core intellectual property, private non-financial customer information and anything else of intangible value."

"

Link to Original Source
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HP ships Linux on its netbooks quietly

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "HP is including Linux in its 110 series of netbooks that are shipping now. It goes by various names QuickWeb or Instant Web. When you power on these netbooks, they boot into a splashtop linux instance. The OS is locked down and only the predefined applications could be run. They are browser, photo viewer, music player, skype and some file browser to view files on USB drives. WiFi works. Then if the you want Windows7 or WinXP, you press a button and the machine boots to a full Windows machine.

The Linux part can not see the hard disk of the machine. I just got the machine yesterday and have not poked around much to know how much it can be hacked. The browser is Firefox, I have not even checked to see if I can install noscript on it.

For most users of netbook, this is a very good deal. When you are in a public wifi in a coffee shop or an airport, you are guaranteed not to pick up a virus. I am not saying Linux is more secure or FireFox is more secure. Simply if you stay within QuickWeb or InstantWeb, there is no way any file can be written to the Windows disk at all!

This is such a big brand differentiation and it can be touted to high degree. But HP for some strange reason is very quiet about this feature in its ads and press releases. From business stand point, every company would strive for brand differentiation so that they dont compete on price alone. Quite strange HP is so silent about it. People are spending on purchase and subscriptions to antivirus software. All that revenue could be targeted by selling a device that is guaranteed not to be infected. Once many users realize that they rarely boot to full windows, they and their circle of friends and family would become more receptive to cheaper plain net access devices in various form factors.

I am very sure Microsoft is giving HP hell for this move behind the scenes. Is it the first sign of PC vendors growing a back bone? Or the lackluster promotion of this feature bodes ill for such an experiment? I wonder."
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The Levy has broken or is it a storm in a tea cup?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " Wall St Journal is reporting that Sony has decided to install Chrome browser as the default in its line of PCs. Though I have never been impressed by the Vaio line or its reliability, this is the first time a major PC vendor has decided to install something other than Infernal Exploder. I have always wondered what was keeping all the major vendors in line with Microsoft. Given the fierce competition between the vendors, at least one would have embarked on a strategy to position their line as the more secure one, with Firefox as the default browser. At least one should have decided not to compete on price alone and used something to differentiate their product line from the rest in the market. But none did. Till now. Is it the first levy to break? Or is it a company in trouble, i.e. Sony, trying to wring some money from some one with some cash lying around i.e. Google?"
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Port 4567 on Verizon FiOS routers

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "I got my home connection upgraded to Verizon FiOS. I am getting a blazing fast connection 20Mbps clocked by three different sites. But one important thing about it is that, the router/modem that must be used for this is supplied by Verizon and it leaves port 4567 open on the WAN site. Quick googling shows that it is a port used by Actiontec, OEM vendor to Verizon, to upgrade the firmware automatically. The router is, in fact, running a server and presents a user name password dialog to the whole world. I used Grc.com to verify that the port is really open to the entire world, not just to the Verizon servers alone.

Though Actiontec claims this port could not exploited I have quite a few concerns about it. If that password is cracked, hackers can upload a cracked version of the firmware and disable all protections at the router. I tried putting another router behind the verizon router but then my speed drops to 10Mbps. Thinking of getting a switch with firewall or configure the second router as a switch to protect my computers in case the Verizon router gets hacked.

I really would like to know the protections against password cracking on the router. How many failed logins are allowed per minute, per hour, per day, per week? Verizon knows which of its banks of servers are authorized to upgrade the firmware on the routers. Should it simply filter out all traffic to these ports originating from any other IP address? And why is the firmware upgrade initiated by an inbound call? Why cant the routers initiate a peridic check and look up their home servers and get a firmware upgrade? I don't like the way Verizon is implementing the automatic firmware upgrade. I fear someday soon somebody is going to crack that password and the hackers are going to get a million bots all with 20 Mbps connection to the world. Even if you are not a Verizon FiOS customer, you will be affected then."
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Firefox respecting Internet Explorer settings?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "I have been using Firefox for a long long time. I also cripple the internet explorer in my home machines. Apart from hiding all the buttons and the address bar I use the tools/options to set the security level to the highest even for trusted zones etc. Just the basic paranoia, some hole in pdf reader or flash would let IE to be invoked and get to run ActiveX, so stop it. I have always been able to download software Gimp, OO, Firefox updates etc etc without any problems using FireFox.

Recently I had to install a MSFT software, PhotoStory, (for a child, school project, don't ask and get me steamed up again) and I found that even using Firefox, the software would not download and issue an error about security policy prevents the download. OK, this is MSFT, what to do? Brought up IE, set the privileges to default, downloaded the software and restored the status quo ante after download. But still I was irritated by the fact that MSFT is making Firefox respect the security zone settings for IE.

Yesterday I wanted to try the new video/audio chat through gmail. This time Google software that is needed to access the webcam and the microphone refused download with the same warning. Now Google too is making FireFox respect the stupid "security zone" based privileges. Why? How? Why do OpenOffice, Gimp etc download executables but Google and MSFT somehow make FireFox respect that security policy from IE?

(BTW, the gmail chat requires me to grant permissions to Flash to access my WebCam and microphone. No way, Jose. The menu items in flash settings asking for permission to access WebCam and the microphone have always bothered me. )"
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Privacy concerns with social networking sites

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " This company tries to become a social website by allowing its registered users to construct their family trees. The idea seems to be once a vast tree is created the users will be able to find their rich and famous relatives etc. I could imagine this being a very useful service to many people. One of my relatives added my name to his tree and geni created an account in my name and added me to the tree and notified me about it. The email had options to opt out of more spam from them. I had a talk with my relative and expressed my concern about adding vast quantities of private info about our lives to a searchable, indexable database owned by some for-profit company over which we have absolutely no control. As it is the net has so much of our public information. Why compound the problem by adding our private information as well?

Looks like it had an impact and my relative decided to close his account and destroy the tree. But geni claims they need my permission to destroy my account. Is it reasonable for a company that bribes its users with free family tree service in exchange for private info about people to follow a opt-out policy? Shouldn't they be required to notify me and get my consent before they add my name? I have received invites from other social networking sites, but they all require me to create an account first. If I ignore the email, I hope, they would not add me to their databases. Probably they will just sell my email address to spammers and stop with that.

I believe there is neither a technological or legal solution to this problem. A new geni.com could easily be run by Russian mafia outside US borders and thumb their noses at us. I think the only solution is social. They are using social engineering to pry private info from the public by offering some service or the other for free. We need to educate the public about the implications of succumbing to the temptations by them. Today if I set up a stand in a fairground and ask people to give the names, addresses and phone numbers of their relatives and friends in exchange for small token gifts the response would not be overwhelming. Somehow people believe it is wrong to tell strangers such information. But set up the same stand in the internet and people are punching in the email addresses of their friends and relatives like gangbusters. What would it take to educate the public about the menace to privacy these companies pose?"
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Add Confusion to FUD. OpenDocument Foundation

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Yesterday in Slashdot we saw the first story about a misleadingly named organization "OpenDocument Foundation" abandoning Open Document Format for something else. Even a few slashdotters were confused initially, then a little digging revealed, that this organization had nothing to do with the founding or support of OpenDocument Format. They turned out to be a couple of shills for MSFT without event the proverbial garage. But the other news organization too are trumpeting around that ODF has been abandoned by its own founders. Story 1 and story 2 and story 3.

We know MSFT has the track record of deliberately confusing issues. It misleadingly named its format OOXML, trying to make the less informed think it is OpenOfficeXML while saying with innocent face it stands for OfficeOpenXML. It tried to buy votes in the ISO committee. Now either it promoted these shills or these shills are hoping to win favor from MSFT.



Will this back fire, the way the ISO committee vote back fired? Do we need to update the FUD=Fear Uncertainity Doubt with Confusion? Or do we wait till we get proper words beggining with K and E could also be added with just cause and make the acronym truly FUC D?"
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Inject mechanism to replace hypodermic needles

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " Cnet is reporting a new drug delivery mechanism adapted from ink jet printers by HP.

The article says, "The company is licensing a medical patch it has developed to Ireland's Crospon that potentially can replace hypodermic needles or pills for delivering vaccines or other types of medication to patients. The patch contains up to 90,000 microneedles per square inch, microprocessors and a thermal unit."

I remember inkjet printer works by heating the ink, so much so that it is ejected in an micro explosion from the nozzle. I wonder how many drugs can still be potent after being subjected to that kind of heat and pressure. Still it could turn out to be useful mechanism for some drugs. But wait till the refurbished medicine cartridge makers to enter the market if you want it at a cheaper price. ;-)"
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Will Google lose its trademark?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Once upon a time, Google was the new kid on the block in the search engine arena. Then it became the big kahuna of that area. There was a time when using google as a verb would have brought a smile. But now every body and his brother and even the prim and proper, stiff upper lip and what not types like the Deputy Attorney General Ronald Smetana are using it as a verb. The quotes have been dropped, the capitalization still persists as some vestigial token acknowledging it as a neologism.

Already a number of dictionaries define google as a plain English word. If OED or some such big name dictionary includes it, would Google lose its trademark? Does Google have lawyers who assiduously take steps to protect its trademark and not allow it to become a generic word to mean "search the internet"? Didn't Xerox lose its trademark or came close to losing it? Imagine a world where Microsoft Live could be branded as "Microsoft Live Google"!"
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Coming to a word processor near you: Ads!!

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Microsoft is planning a version of Works (its stripped down office package) that is ad supported . Works is usually part of the crapware preinstalled by many OEM vendors. Though it is supposed to sell for 40$ or so, I don't know anyone who bought MS-Works.

There is this ambiguous statement in the article, "Melissa Stern, Sr Product Manager for Microsoft, said the program will display advertisements when Works is being used online or off. The ads will be based on what the users are doing with the software, not the content they might be typing into a word processor."

Looks like MSFT believes that users will be using the word processor to do other things than typing stuff in it."
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JKRowling, Goblins and *IAA

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "In the latest book, The Deathly Hallows by JKR I came across a very interesting passage. Don't worry, this is not a spoiler. It does not reveal any plot details.

"You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with the goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is its maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."

"But if it was bought — "

" — then they would consider it rented by one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [snip] I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft."

I thought it is remarkably similar to the way a slashdotter would describe the mind set of *IAA people about CDs and DVDs! Has JKR expressed any opinion about *IAA and its tactics?"

Journals

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HP ships Linux on its netbooks quietly

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago HP is including Linux in its 110 series of netbooks that are shipping now. It goes by various names QuickWeb or Instant Web. When you power on these netbooks, they boot into a splashtop linux instance. The OS is locked down and only the predefined applications could be run. They are browser, photo viewer, music player, skype and some file browser to view files on USB drives. WiFi works. Then if the you want Windows7 or WinXP, you press a button and the machine boots to a full Windows machine.

The Linux part can not see the hard disk of the machine. I just got the machine yesterday and have not poked around much to know how much it can be hacked. The browser is Firefox, I have not even checked to see if I can install noscript on it.

For most users of netbook, this is a very good deal. When you are in a public wifi in a coffee shop or an airport, you are guaranteed not to pick up a virus. I am not saying Linux is more secure or FireFox is more secure. Simply if you stay within QuickWeb or InstantWeb, there is no way any file can be written to the Windows disk at all!

This is such a big brand differentiation and it can be touted to high degree. But HP for some strange reason is very quiet about this feature in its ads and press releases. From business stand point, every company would strive for brand differentiation so that they dont compete on price alone. Quite strange HP is so silent about it. People are spending on purchase and subscriptions to antivirus software. All that revenue could be targeted by selling a device that is guaranteed not to be infected. Once many users realize that they rarely boot to full windows, they and their circle of friends and family would become more receptive to cheaper plain net access devices in various form factors.

I am very sure Microsoft is giving HP hell for this move behind the scenes. Is it the first sign of PC vendors growing a back bone? Or the lackluster promotion of this feature bodes ill for such an experiment? I wonder.

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Security concerns over Port 4567 of Verizon FiOS

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago Submitted to Ask Slashdot: I got my home connection upgraded to Verizon FiOS. I am getting a blazing fast connection 20Mbps clocked by three different sites. But one important thing about it is that, the router/modem that must be used for this is supplied by Verizon and it leaves port 4567 open on the WAN site. Quick googling shows that it is a port used by Actiontec, OEM vendor to Verizon, to upgrade the firmware automatically. The router is, in fact, running a server and presents a user name password dialog to the whole world. I used Grc.com to verify that the port is really open to the entire world, not just to the Verizon servers alone.

Though Actiontec claims this port could not exploited I have quite a few concerns about it. If that password is cracked, hackers can upload a cracked version of the firmware and disable all protections at the router. I tried putting another router behind the verizon router but then my speed drops to 10Mbps. Thinking of getting a switch with firewall or configure the second router as a switch to protect my computers in case the Verizon router gets hacked.

I really would like to know the protections against password cracking on the router. How many failed logins are allowed per minute, per hour, per day, per week? Verizon knows which of its banks of servers are authorized to upgrade the firmware on the routers. Should it simply filter out all traffic to these ports originating from any other IP address? And why is the firmware upgrade initiated by an inbound call? Why cant the routers initiate a peridic check and look up their home servers and get a firmware upgrade? I don't like the way Verizon is implementing the automatic firmware upgrade. I fear someday soon somebody is going to crack that password and the hackers are going to get a million bots all with 20 Mbps connection to the world. Even if you are not a Verizon FiOS customer, you will be affected then.

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Privacy concerns with social networking sites

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago 140Mandak262Jamuna writes " This company tries to become a social website by allowing its registered users to construct their family trees. The idea seems to be once a vast tree is created the users will be able to find their rich and famous relatives etc. I could imagine this being a very useful service to many people. One of my relatives added my name to his tree and geni created an account in my name and added me to the tree and notified me about it. The email had options to opt out of more spam from them. I had a talk with my relative and expressed my concern about adding vast quantities of private info about our lives to a searchable, indexable database owned by some for-profit company over which we have absolutely no control. As it is the net has so much of our public information. Why compound the problem by adding our private information as well?

Looks like it had an impact and my relative decided to close his account and destroy the tree. But geni claims they need my permission to destroy my account. Is it reasonable for a company that bribes its users with free family tree service in exchange for private info about people to follow a opt-out policy? Shouldn't they be required to notify me and get my consent before they add my name? I have received invites from other social networking sites, but they all require me to create an account first. If I ignore the email, I hope, they would not add me to their databases. Probably they will just sell my email address to spammers and stop with that.

I believe there is neither a technological or legal solution to this problem. A new geni.com could easily be run by Russian mafia outside US borders and thumb their noses at us. I think the only solution is social. They are using social engineering to pry private info from the public by offering some service or the other for free. We need to educate the public about the implications of succumbing to the temptations by them. Today if I set up a stand in a fairground and ask people to give the names, addresses and phone numbers of their relatives and friends in exchange for small token gifts the response would not be overwhelming. Somehow people believe it is wrong to tell strangers such information. But set up the same stand in the internet and people are punching in the email addresses of their friends and relatives like gangbusters. What would it take to educate the public about the menace to privacy these companies pose?"

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JKR, goblins and *IAA

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago In the latest book, The Deathly Hallows by JKR I came across a very interesting passage. Don't worry, this is not a spoiler. It does not reveal any plot details.

"You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with the goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is its maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."

"But if it was bought ---"

"---then they would consider it rented by one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [snip] I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft."

I thought it is remarkably similar to the way a slashdotter would describe the mind set of *IAA people about CDs and DVDs! Has JKR expressed any opinion about *IAA and its tactics?

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Telcos reject govt subsidy to serve rural areas!

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Before you break out the champaigne bottles, please note the story is about Indian telcos. According to The Economist , the government put up a pool of money to subsidize expansion of mobile phones to rural India and invited bids from the mobile phone companies. Most companies are bidding zero, and one negative!. "But something rather odd happened in India: in 38 of the 81 regions on offer, many mobile operators bid zero. In other words, they asked for no subsidies at all. In 15 regions, India's biggest operator, Bharti Airtel, even offered to pay. As a result, barely one-quarter of the 40 billion rupees ($920m) available in subsidies is likely to be allocated." says the article. The article says the companies will still benefit by the subsidy because atleast some of the infrastructure will be paid for by the pool funded by Universal Service Funds, a kind of tax on mobile phone service elsewhere.

The article goes further to say that now the Governments of these devloping nations like Chile, India, Brazil etc are looking to subsidize/build district level (regions the size of counties in USA) wi-fi broadband. Contrast this with what the telcos are doing to rural America. They are arm-twisting the State governments to prohibit (slashdot) municipalities and rural counties from building WiFi networks to serve their communities.

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MSN search default on Lenovo.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Lenovo has agreed to install MSN search toolbar as default search engine. The article also says more "Microsoft plans to announce more such partnerships in the coming months and has several in the works, Osmer said, declining to specify. Microsoft also may start packaging its search tool bar with some of its software downloads, he said."

Interestingly, compared to the last time when rammed Internet Explorer down the throat of all customers and vendors, this time the vendors seem to understand the real benefit of being "default browser" or "default search engine." The article says that Dell demanded its pound of flesh to install MSN as the default search engine.

I think the landscape (should have made a creative pun with netscape here) has changed a lot since the last browser war. Vendors know the deal. Customers seem to be more informed. Atleast in some circles people are noticing the deletrious effects of vendor lock. It is real or it is just an illusion created by the herd moving from one vendor lock to a different vendor lock? In this case from MSFT to GOOG?

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DOT bans Microsoft?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Citing the cost and compatibility issues, US Dept of Transportation has banned or racheted back the installation of Office 2007, IE7 and Vista.

Schmidt says the Transportation Department hasn't ruled out upgrading its computers to Windows Vista if all of its concerns about the new operating system -- the business version of which was launched late last year -- can be resolved. "We have more confidence in Microsoft than we would have 10 years ago," says Schmidt. "But it always makes sense to look at the security implications, the value back to the customer, and those kind of issues."

To me it looks like a ploy to wangle a better price from Microsoft than a serious attempt to get truly interoperable system for them.

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Google Moves into Microsoft terriotry, at last.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago As expected Google announced that it is going to sell Office suite as a subscription service.

The link

I expected them to sell "application server in a box" with maintenance contracts. That will assure the companies that their data never leaves their control. Big companies would not allow their data to be saved in a third party server with independant logs of files subject to discovery and subpoena etc. But what google offers seems to be the higher level service than the free service but the data is stored in Google servers. May be this is a move by Google to pick the low hanging fruits, establish a large user base documents in the ODF format and capture the market of "I want my data anywhere, I dont care if you store it" people.

But in the long term, Google must sell "all-your-applications-in-this-box" server to companies. What Google is peeling away will not make a dent in the revenue picture of Microsoft in the near future. These users might have used MS applications, but either they are using old obsolete versions without upgrading or using bootleg versions. But if millions of users move to this application and move to ODF, MS wont be able to play the game of ever changing file formats and macro-api changes to keep the competition out. Once a standard that is really neutral and not controlled by any one company takes hold, free market will make sure there are some competition. Still MS will end up with a substantial market share but there will be alternatives for the users.

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World is going to end in 2036

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago UN urged to take action to avert asteroid collision in 2036. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10424822

The collision could wipe out a country the size of England the article says.

Things like hitting them with a bomb or flying a spacecraft into them - you just do not know what the results of that are going to be." Scientists now favour deploying so-called 'Gravity Tractors', small spacecrafts that would travel close to a speeding asteroid and, with their own gravitational pull, try to drag it onto a different path.

It is just 2007, less than 29 years. There is simply not enough time for UN to make a decision.

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Microsoft getting taste of its own medicine.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Apple is claiming that Vista is corrupting iPods and advising people to wait for the new release of iTunes.

Microsoft used to play such tactics to sabotage competing software vendors. Everyone remembers the slogan, "DOS is not done till DR-DOS wont run". It created the impression that competing software is buggy and not backward compatible while MS products are guaranteed to work smoothly. Those were the days when it could kill companies and startups by merely issuing a press release, "Microsoft is considering a project to do XYZ" and all the venture capital for companies planning to that particular XYZ would instantly vanish. Even established companies would spend so much of their resource keeping upto date with the ever changing GUI and API of MS, and MS would laugh at them and keep changing it and spend its resources to create new features and make it more and more incompatible with the rest.

Now, there may be nothing to the story that iPods are corrupted by Vista. It could be intentional idea deep inside Microsoft skunk works nostalgic about those days. Or may be there is nothing wrong and those who are complaining of Vista corrupting their iPods did something stupid. Or it could be an unintentional bug. It could even be true that MS's update will fix the issues and make iPod really secure. But Apple is doing to MS what MS did to others. By creating the FUD that Vista is deliberately corrupting the beloved iPod, with its 90 million installations, it could put a damper on the speed of adoptation of Vista. All it takes is one top CEO saying, "Dont buy any new laptops for my (fortune 500) company till it is guranteed that my iPod will work flawlessly." Such things will cascade and PC vendors will feel the pressure.

I think Apple is just a Microsoft wannabe. It uses heavy doses of DRM to keep it incompatible with the rest of the world. Microsoft is doing it in the corporate office software market. Apple is doing it in the music business. Both companies engage in FUD. Let us just hope these two battle each other while some other standard complying nice companies emerge to take over computing. Yeah. I must be dreaming.

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Astronaut charged with kidnapping

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Well, here is the bizarre story of an astronaut, a married mother of three no less, getting a crush on fellow astronaut and doing crazy things. But what caught my eye was that "emails" were discovered along with some physical artefacts. Are emails and their print outs one and the same? Do we need a course on Eastern Relgions to understand when the emails and their physical representations coalesce to become "one with the universe"?

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070206/ap_on_re_us/astronaut_arrested;_ylt=As4pWcVg1TafjIgo_EjaMkas0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

Relevant passage Inside Nowak's vehicle, which was parked at a nearby motel, authorities uncovered a pepper spray package, an unused BB-gun cartridge, latex gloves and e-mails between Shipman and Oefelein. They also found a letter "that indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein," an opened package for a buck knife, Shipman's home address and hand written directions to the address, the arrest affidavit said.

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