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China To Overtake US In Science In Two Years

2Bits You know a country is leading ... (362 comments)

... in scientific research when you see the following:

  1. Best research papers are published in the local language, and not in a foreign language
  2. The country hosts the best scientific publication entities.
  3. Scientists do not have to learn a foreign language to do research and read papers.
  4. Other countries' scientists have, at least, a working knowledge of your language.
  5. The best and brightest in the world come to study at your graduate schools.
  6. The best and brightest scientists want to immigrate to your country (to have the opportunities to work on advanced research).

None of these apply to China yet, and I don't think it happen in 10 years, let alone 2 years. So, if I were an American policy maker, I'm not gonna to freak out yet.

more than 3 years ago

Red Hat Nears $1 Billion In Revenues, Closing Door On Clones

2Bits Not good for the future of Linux (201 comments)

If every distro is doing the same thing, this is not going to be very good for the future of Linux. Engineers at every distro are going to waste a lot time trying to figure what other distros had been patching, which part of the code had been changed while a specific issue was fixed, etc. Everyone is going to end up wasting a lot of time, and creating a lot of confusion.

Even though Linux distros are quite fragmented, but the current kernel development has been working quite well, because every distro is playing by the rule (more or less), which is quite transparent. Now, with this kind of one time big change by RH, even though you can still diff on all the source codes, it's not going to be easy to figure what has bee done (and why). And I think it's going to trigger other distros to behave similarly.

And it will be even harder for the users. As a user, if we have in-house-built applications that rely on specific version of a library or module, we might not want to have a giant patch on basically everything, we probably want only small, concise, specific patch for some critical security problems. I'm starting to wonder how are we going to manage that.

more than 3 years ago

UN Backs Action Against Colonel Gaddafi

2Bits Re:Similar Revolts (501 comments)

Who will fill the power vacuum? Will the next party be worse than the prior? Is it worth the bloodshed and genocide? Will the county's stability spiral downward, further lowering standards of living and liberty?

I don't know the answer for all the questions that you posed here, but as for the question of who will fill the power vacuum, I think the US will have a puppet ready any time, especially for countries that have oil. Life will be better or worse? We just have to look at Afghanistan and Iraq for examples. For Washington, who cares about the fucking life there? As long as you listen to us, pump out enough oil everyday so we can drive giant SUV to the convenient store around the corner, you are the good guy and we'll help you stay in power.

more than 3 years ago

RSA's Servers Hacked

2Bits Separate the fact from speculation? (172 comments)

I was expecting a better job from securosis, but then, the first paragraph got right into speculation:

According to the announcement, RSA was breached in an APT attack (we don’t know if they mean China, but that’s well within the realm of possibility) and material related to the SecureID product was stolen.

I stopped reading right there.

more than 3 years ago

Can the Atrix 4G Really Become Your Next PC?

2Bits Real convergence (297 comments)

... could have happened with MeeGo, it's a damn desktop computer in your pocket, all you need is a dock, and preferably with standard connection port, and you are there. The dock could even come from a different manufacturer in the ecosystem. But heck, with the recent turn of events, it's not going to happen anyway.

more than 3 years ago

The Outfall of a Helium-3 Crisis

2Bits Gross... (185 comments)

The MRI imaging requires the patient hold his or her breath for 10 seconds. Instead of just breathing out normally, the patient exhales into a helium-impermeable bag

Note to self: next time doing MRI in the hospital, do not inhale that stuff, don't want to imagine where it came from...

more than 3 years ago

Stanford, UCD Researchers Say 100% Renewable Energy Possible By 2050

2Bits Nothing new here (360 comments)

Of course, everything is possible if we have the societal and political will. What's new here?

more than 3 years ago

Spinach Could Be Used For Hydrogen Fuel

2Bits Fuel from plant is probably a lost cause (105 comments)

I know people are working hard to try to find an alternative to fossil fuel, but I believe using plant as an alternative is probably a lost cause. Whether you try to create methanol from plant (or food) or as the article suggests, use the spinach protein to extract hydrogen from water, is not very efficient way to create fuel. Sure, plants are "renewable", but at what cost? The gain in fuel is not enough to offset the cost, not only the economic cost of producing the fuel, but the environment, societal cost too. You may argue that we simply haven't found an efficient way to do it, that's all, but we eventually will. However, the cost to environment and the ripple that it creates through societies (e.g. rise of food prices) will always be there. Unless, of course, we could harvest plants/food massively, at very low cost, and without effect to the planet. That is a tall order, by itself.

I believe there are better ways, which we already know now, and which have lower long term cost. Nonetheless, the research project mentioned in TFA is still very cool.

more than 3 years ago

Android Passes Symbian As Most-Shipped Mobile Platform

2Bits Re:Nokia (256 comments)

No, Nokia should be focusing on Meego and come up with some real devices to run it. When N900 came out, it was the best. There were some problems with the OS and software, but it was way ahead of its competitors. Android was like a joke. But for almost two years, while Nokia is sleeping, everyone is leaping forward. How many releases of Android and how many generations of Android devices have we seen during this time?

Since I lost my N900 in a bar, I digged out my HTC Pro from the drawer and have been waiting for the successor of N900. I keep asking Nokia, what the fuck are you guys doing? Wake up. N900 and its successors could have been a boon for geeks, advanced users, the big cheeses, and all the business people. It's the real convergence: communication, life, entertainment, work, computing, all in the pocket.

I even wrote code on that device. My wife, who is in sales, said she could have run a real CRM on that thing, without having to carry a computer any more.

Nokia really needs to put its act together. They had the hardware, they hard the software, they had the distribution channel, customers are begging for it, I simply don't understand what the fuck are they doing.

more than 3 years ago

Engineer Designs His Own Heart Valve Implant

2Bits The attitude here saddens me (151 comments)

Just a few comments, and all the negative comments already: big deal, there is nothing new here.

You know what, when I hear news like that, it really gives me more confidence in technical people (engineers, scientists, geeks, etc). The guy got a heart problem, he got the skills (with the help of doctors and others, probably) to design the best solution for himself, and in the meantime, for other people too. And guess what, he even got the ball to install it on himself first. And it seems to work just fine. What can be more cool, more geeky, more nerdy than that? Sure, it's only "a small sample of 30ish", as someone said here. So what? Even if this solution only applies to one person, it is still a fucking cool solution.

For me, I'd like to hear news like that everyday, that's news for nerds, stuff that matters. If I had kids, I would tell them this, and other similar stories, as bed-time stories everyday.

more than 3 years ago

Motorola Sticks To Guns On Locking Down Android

2Bits Why is Nokia still sleeping? (600 comments)

With all these manufacturers working hard on locking down, why is Nokia still sleeping on N900 and its successor and Meego/Maemo? Nokia should have taken its leadership with a series of N900 followups. That thing is the best ever.

about 4 years ago

Dual-Core CPU Opens Door To 1080p On Smartphones

2Bits Given the restrictions ... (314 comments)

...on the phone by the manufacturers and carriers, what's the whole point of having that much power? Recording and watching 1080p video? Pfft....the lack of imagination is pathetic. I have a tons of apps that I'd like to work on, if the phone platform is as open as the PC platform. Laptops just don't have the mobility and form/shape required for a ubiquitous interaction.

I just wish there are more manufacturers put out more high-end mobility devices for the MeeGo platform. Can't wait to get my hand on the N900's successor.

more than 4 years ago

Teacher Asks Students To Plan a Terrorist Attack

2Bits Making a fuss for nothing (412 comments)

In this society, it is not possible to learn something, or teach something, without other people making a fuss over it. In the previous few years, I was interviewing candidates for quite a few security engineer positions. We want to hire someone junior who has the potential, and we would train him/her to do the work.

So we asked the following question during the interview: We know that A is sending a very important email to B. Your job is to get your hand on that email, no matter what. Show me the different ways of getting that email.

We were trying to find out if the candidate could come up with a plan to solve the problem. If he/she could come up with an attack matrix, it would be even better. But our goal is to find out if the candidate could consider the problem from all angles.

The funny thing about this experience was that, one of the candidate who didn't get hired, reported the experience to the Public Safety Department (i.e. Police in China), saying that we are recruiting crackers, probably for some unspeakable purposes. We got a few visits (you know whom!), and I was to be specifically "interrogated".

more than 4 years ago

The Puzzle of Japanese Web Design

2Bits That's nothing (242 comments)

compared to the web sites in China. In China, not just web sites, all UI have terrible "busy" problems, everything has to be jammed onto the same page. Have you seen an application with 233 buttons on the UI? Yes, that's all the functionalities of the system, and I personally counted the buttons.

I've been working in Shanghai for 7 years. Initially, I just couldn't understand why customers wants us (the vendors, system integrators, developers etc) to put so many things on the same. It's simply not good to have menu, or navigation. Everything has to be presented on the same display. And every customer wants flying ads, flashing images and icons, animation, sound, popups, etc, etc.

After so many projects, I finally started to understand, although I hate it, and would not use it personally.

  • Project decisions, down to the smallest thing, such icons and fonts, are made by the big cheese.
  • No one really dare to make decision. As any decision would be turned down by the big cheese.
  • The big cheese has to make every decision, otherwise, he would not be able to show his power.
  • If he does not turn down other people's decision, the big cheese thinks he loses face.
  • The big cheese always want to get the most out of the project, and pay as little as possible
  • The more he gets from the project, the more it shows his achievement.
  • The big cheese is not the final user of the system or the web site. He would look at it at most for 5 minutes. Therefore, as long as it looks animated, seems to have a lot of functions and information, it'll be good. How it affects the end users is not his problem.
  • The big cheese is the one who signs the check. Vendors just play along.
  • The busy UI becomes a norm.
  • For new projects, the big cheese will look at your proposed simple UI, and say: "I want that one", pointing you to a busy UI example.

And everything turns into a vicious cycle that feeds onto itself. There's simply no way to explain to the customers.

more than 4 years ago

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

2Bits Re:Self Justification (973 comments)

I can buy a large orchestration of a song, made with 100 musicians and a 50 person choir, for $1. But the sheet music, which is reduced to be played on one or two instruments, costs $4? That just seems off.

Let's play the devil's advocate here and come up with a car analogy. I can buy a huge bus which can seat up to 80 people for much less than a Ferrari sport car, which can only seat two.

The cost of the music sheet, as compared to the price of an orchestrated song, has nothing to do with the argument. Neither the cost of production. Even if it had, it would just be a non-central argument. This is demand and supply. He wants to price music sheet at $4 per sheet, that's perfectly legal. From the demand side, you just don't have to buy it. You can find another supplier, for some cheaper replaceable products. Put aside our point of view regarding copyrights and patents, that does not justify you to take it for free.

Now, I do think that his price is way off too, but that's not really the point.

ps: I have stopped buying any new music albums since 2000, and basically listen only to what I had bought before that, or go to listen to live music only. Or only when a friend is willing to lend his CD. As much as I like ebooks, I just buy dead-tree versions only, to avoid DRM. That's unfortunate, I really prefer to a disk full of ebooks than a library full of books. And I'd like to carry all my books in my pocket too.

more than 4 years ago

Glaxo Open Sources Malaria Drug Search Data

2Bits Taking it with a big grain of salt (80 comments)

I'm taking it with a big grain of salt. The article only said that Glaxo would publish information of chemical compounds that have potential to act against the parasite that causes malaria , it didn't say that those are real final drugs that a third-world pharmaceutical factory can take to produce tablets. As anyone in the drug research would know (I'm only a programmer), in order to discover a cure, researchers generate thousands, or even millions, of chemical compounds to study. The majority of them are not useful for anything. They are not publishing information about confirmed hits.

The other thing I'm questioning is the patents. It just said the patents are waived for studying, it didn't say about manufacturing and marketing. What if one of the compound published turned out to be a hit, and Glaxo had patented it. Can others still use it without royalties? What about the IP of any derivatives?

Still a lot of questions to be answered.

more than 4 years ago

Source Code To Google Authentication System Stolen

2Bits Security through obscurity (306 comments)

Right, so Google is relying on a buggy security system, and complains when it is cracked. If they are so paranoid about security, as they said it, why not opening up the source code for security scrutiny?

Oh, I forgot, this is a company cherished by /.ers. If this were Microsoft, everyone would be ROFL.

more than 4 years ago

Gnome 2.30 Released

2Bits The features I'm still waiting for... (138 comments)

1) A sync framework built-in, for syncing different mobile devices. Everyone has one or more mobile devices now, nothing works really well. My Windows Mobile phone, PDA, my iTouch, etc, are not working well. SynCE and Multi-sync are not up to task (yet). This might be a Linux issue, but it would great too if Gnome could provide a nice syncing framework, if no one at a lower level would want to pick it up. Anyway, I really don't care where that issue should be lied in, I just wish my mobile devices work nicely with my linux laptop. It's annoying having to manage my contact, calendar, task list etc in Windows inside a VirtualBox, in order to be able to sync.

2) Evince should take a look at PDF Xchange PDF viewer. I want to be able to add notes, highlight, etc, in my PDF ebooks. Installing PDF Xchange Viewer on Wine is an ugly solution (font and UI are way ugly), and it's too slow.

3) F-Spot is slow...

4) Anjuta, can we do emacs key binding yet? Haven't used it for a while though.

5) Network Connections should apply network settings after changes, not having to ask users to restart networking service or reboot. Ok, probably just an Ubuntu issue.

6) Gnome should wake up probably after a suspend. I have no such issue with other desktop or WM, just Gnome. I tolerated it so far, coz I don't do suspend that much, and prefer to hibernate. But it's still annoying when you need to do it.

7) iBus seems to have a bad habit of hanging from time to time, especially when you are typing too fast, and you have to switch between input methods very often. And start up is slow too.

I'll try the new version soon, hope to see some of my problems solved. Regardless, thanks a lot for the hard work, really appreciat it.

more than 4 years ago

Triumph of the Cyborg Composer

2Bits Re:Too much time on their hands (502 comments)

There is a saying in Chinese: tian xia wu zheng sheng, yue er ji wei yu. Meaning: there is no correct tune, as long as it pleases your ears, it is good tune.

People have always been saying, computer will never be able to do "creative" work, that's what distinguishes human from computer, and that's what makes us human. Gradually, computers/machines are creeping more and more into the last fiefdom of what "makes us human with a soul". I guess, for those who get upset, falling from a high pedestal was a lost pride too hard to swallow./p?

more than 4 years ago

Graphic Novelist Calls For Better Game Violence

2Bits The last game I've played (465 comments)

The last time I played a computer game was in 95, and after that, I lost passion for games. That was called, fairly enough, Virtual World. It's a game where you sit in a cage modeled like a car, and you drove it in the mining tunnel on Mars. Obviously, the car is not really moving, but it had enough hydraulic system to simulate certain action to give some realism, like a flight simulator. It was expensive to play, $15 per 15 minutes. It's a multi-player game in which you tried to shoot each other while racing. If you got shot, you heard a bang on your back, and the car shook so hard it gave you dizziness. If you sit with your back on the seat back, it could hurt pretty bad.

I spent a lot money playing that game, and after, I had no passions for other non-realistic games anymore. I always say to my other gamer friends that the game they play are for pimps :)

about 5 years ago



Network of vehicle tracking camera in Shanghai

2Bits 2Bits writes  |  more than 4 years ago

2Bits (167227) writes "Shanghai is building a network of street cameras to track vehicles in real time. Motion sensor detects an approaching vehicle, triggers the camera to take a snapshot, which is then uploaded to a central repository for analysis and processing. An OCR software is used to decode license plate, the information is then sent to a cluster of computers to analyse driving patterns and track vehicles in real time. I guess the same network of Big Brother is being built all over the world now."

What would you propose as policies if you can?

2Bits 2Bits writes  |  about 6 years ago

2Bits (167227) writes "I got a chance to write a policies proposal to the government of a large city, to be presented during a large conference. The city is very large, with a population of 18 millions. It is in rapid development, but the government wants to plan for the next 20 years. The proposal should have a few goals:
  1. How to foster an innovative environment that can nurture entrepreneurs and startups, especially startups in high-tech with big potential of value add?
  2. How to create a city where the best talents in the world want to live in?
  3. How to build a business environment where everyone can participate, in order to avoid (or enlarge) the gap between the haves and have-nots?
  4. How to build a green and clean city?

I am as geek as most Slashdotters, with a libertarian incline. While I believe that everyone should take care of him/herself, but as someone coming from a poor family, social justice and balance are also important, and I believe that everyone should be given a chance.

The proposal might never get implemented, but if you get a chance, what would you propose? What kind of city would like to live in, if you can take part in designing it?"


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