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Wikipedia Moved To MariaDB 5.5

Annirak Re:But... But... Why? (133 comments)

Does the reason matter so long as they do it?

Again, I said it was a philosophical motivation. Philosophy is the place where the reasons for things matter.

about a year ago
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Wikipedia Moved To MariaDB 5.5

Annirak Re:But... But... Why? (133 comments)

RTFA.

For the last several years, we’ve been operating the Facebook fork of MySQL 5.1 with most of our production environment running a build of r3753. We’ve been pleased with its performance; Facebook’s MySQL team contains some of the finest database engineers in the industry and they’ve done much to advance the open source MySQL ecosystem.
That said, MariaDB’s optimizer enhancements, the feature set of Percona’s XtraDB (many overlap with the Facebook patch, but I particularly like add-ons such as the ability to save the buffer pool LRU list, avoiding costly warmups on new servers), and of Oracle’s MySQL 5.5 provide compelling reasons to consider upgrading. Equally important, as supporters of the free culture movement, the Wikimedia Foundation strongly prefers free software projects; that includes a preference for projects without bifurcated code bases between differently licensed free and enterprise editions. We welcome and support the MariaDB Foundation as a not-for-profit steward of the free and open MySQL related database community.

It's part performance and part philosophical. Given that wikipedia is a strongly philosophical enterprise, this seems reasonable.

about a year ago
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RCMP Says Terror Plot Against Canadian Trains Thwarted

Annirak Re:That title has quite a spin on it. (170 comments)

Maybe I'm being pedantic, but "tips" != "heard about the plan". I'm just asserting that the OP's statement makes the whole thing sound a lot more cloak & dagger than it likely was.

about a year ago
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RCMP Says Terror Plot Against Canadian Trains Thwarted

Annirak Re:That title has quite a spin on it. (170 comments)

That's not what it says. The article says this:

Toronto Imam Yusuf Badat, of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, told CBC's Evan Solomon that RCMP officers said they received tips from the Muslim community that led to the arrests.

This is not the same as:

A few men, in the Mosque that they went to, heard about the plan and reported it to the RCMP.

about a year ago
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Lawmakers Seek To Ban Google Glass On the Road

Annirak Re:Couldn't a HUD actually help you drive safer? (375 comments)

There go my plans for a LiDAR, RADAR overlay HUD to provide better visibility in snow, fog, low-light, etc. Baby, bathwater both defenestrated.

about a year ago
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Google Reportedly Making a Smartwatch, Too

Annirak Re:Tyranny of Age (196 comments)

Watches have some kind of an allure, much like fountain pens. Just take a look at the Tread 1. It's a beautiful watch and I want one, but I can't have one because it's $20,000. Some people like Rolex's too. Personally, I don't get that one, but that's fine.

If you have a smartphone, you surely must have had at least on occasion where it alerts, but it's awkward to get at it. You'll fish it out if it's important, but you'd like to know if it's important before you do that. For me, this has happened in a few ways: 1) it's raining and I'm outside. 2) it's winter, and the phone is in my pants pocket, which my coat covers. Finding out what the alert was requires removing a glove, and fishing it out of my pocket. 3) I'm in a meeting.

There's another use-case: Suppose you have bluetooth headphones. If you also have a smart-watch, you don't need to get out the smartphone to: 1) see who is calling and/or answer a call. 2) check which track is playing. 3) read a text message or email. 4) skip tracks, adjust volume...
The list goes on. Some of these functions are also covered by the bluetooth headphones, but not all.

Is it necessary for the smartphone to fulfill its purpose? Absolutely not. Can it be convenient to have a tiny UI strapped to your wrist? Absolutely.

about a year ago
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CS Faculty and Students To Write a Creative Commons C++ Textbook

Annirak Re:Decent books are worth more; your book was junk (96 comments)

K&R ANSI C is the only usable C reference. If you have a prof require a book other than K&R for a C course, you need to file a complaint with your CS dean, alleging incompetence.

C++, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a similar significant tome. I tried reading Stroustrop... it's just not the same. There's also the problem that while C is effectively a static language now, C++ is evolving constantly. (See c++0x, c++11)

In addition, many of the C++ concepts are libraries, rather than the actual language syntax, e.g. use of the STL or other container classes to prevent rewriting commonly used containers is almost as important as being able to write said containers if you need them.

about a year ago
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DARPA Tackles Machine Learning

Annirak Re:ROLLOVER AD (95 comments)

There are /. readers that don't block ads?

about a year ago
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Digging Into the Legal Status of 3-D Printed Guns

Annirak Re:Why does 3d printing matter (404 comments)

I just don't see how it matter what tech made the gun parts

Legally, it shouldn't matter. Practically, 3D printing has big implications for gun right/gun control.

I disagree. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I finally worked it out. 3D printing is not a revolution, it's just popular. You can put a CNC mill together for between 1.5x and 2x the price of a hobbyist 3D printer. It will work with metal and it will produce a smoother and more accurate final product. Why is 3D printing being singled out when CNC mills are a much more viable problem?

3D printing changes the world so that making a gun no longer requires specialized equipment nor specialized skills. So from the gun-control point of view, there is a real risk of guns being made in secret, in a decentralized way that is hard to detect, and being trafficked outside the existing system of licensed dealers and background checks. So the old framework of gun-control laws won't work. A would-be criminal who can easily make his own gun neatly evades the whole system.

This simply isn't true. Home CNC has been around for over a decade, in the $2000-$10,000 range. The more DIY you want to get, the lower it goes. The software is open source (LinuxCNC) and the electronics are simple.

There big question is, what will replace the old legal model? There are many possible things the legislature could try, from giving up on gun control (unlikely) to trying to regulate the plans for gun parts (impractical, as we know from file sharing) to trying to clamp down on the printers themselves (scary).

This is a good question. The problem, though, is that the ship has sailed on controlling the printers. There are so many plans available from so many people (see file sharing) and the printers themselves are cobbled together from hobby electronics and parts you can buy at Home Depot.

This is how the tech used to make the gun parts matters.

You may be right that someone in government will try and crack down on the printers themselves (Think of the children!), but it won't be long after that happens that someone with a CNC mill starts producing "controlled" items. The technology used is irrelevant.

about a year ago
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Schneier: Security Awareness Training 'a Waste of Time'

Annirak Re:Tick the box exercise for auditors (284 comments)

Yes, I do. The problem is that passwords are fundamentally broken. They are broken in several ways.

1) The password must be hard to guess. This, generally, makes it hard to remember.
2) Many implementations restrict the number of characters that I can use for a password. This is downright stupid, as it prevents xkcd/936 compliance.
3) Every service which uses a password must have a different password to prevent password reuse attacks. This exacerbates 1).
4) I need a way to recover the password if I lose it. This exposes a secondary attack vector on my password.
5) There needs to be a guarantee that the password will never be transmitted or stored unencrypted.

OAuth fixes 3) and mitigates 5) and 2).
Two-factor authentication fixes 1): guessing my password can be easy provided that attacks on my service provider are slow and that I can report my token lost/stolen in time several orders of magnitude lower than the time required to guess the whole solution space.
Biometrics can be used to mitigate 1) and 4), but they expose additional flaws, such as lack of revocation. If someone ever gets your fingerprint, they have access to all your fingerprint secured data/possessions, unless they are additionally secured by something else.

Using most OAuth vendors, however, exposes an additional security hole: tracking by the OAuth vendor (see Google, Facebook privacy concerns).

Ultimately, it seems to me that the solution is probably private OAuth vendors with support for smartphone-based secure keys. The problem is getting service providers, such as banks, to implement OAuth via a username + domain (OAuth vendor) + token approach.

This should allow users to choose their OAuth vendor, thereby allowing flexibility in the market when a particular OAuth vendor does Bad Things with users' data. This makes the required password complexity minimal. If the engine which processes the token and password were rolled into a secure smartphone application and transmitted to the OAuth vendor via a back-channel, it would also prevent password scraping.

about a year ago
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"Lazarus Project" Clones Extinct Frog

Annirak What about mitochondrial DNA? (154 comments)

This is the thing I still don't get about cloning extinct species. The mitochondria are also part of the organism, but they don't seem seem to ever get taken into account when there is talk of cloning. If you take the mitochondria from one species and the nuclear DNA from another species, what do you get? You could easily argue that you get a sort of hybrid species, which is not quite the same as either parent species.

about a year ago
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Microsoft Fined €561 Million For Non-compliance With EU Browser Settlement

Annirak Re:Why stop there ? (401 comments)

For Security!

No, I'm serious. Vague handwaving about "security" seems to make all kinds of human rights abuses "okay." So UEFI secure boot is clearly good for everyone. I mean, it has "secure" right in the name! That must make it good! We should all thank Microsoft for making our BIOS's "secure"! After all, once the BIOS is "secure," we can use it to make the whole system secure! Right? Right....?

Microsoft can get away with UEFI Secureboot right now because it's for security. But it happens to coincide with a move in the industry away from PC's as PCs. People are buying tablets as entertainment devices (you still can't do real work on them) instead of PCs. I don't think that the anti-trust courts are really going to pay much attention to this one.

about a year ago
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Seagate's New SSHD Hybrids Have Dual-Mode Flash Caches

Annirak Re:What is the point? (141 comments)

Bonus: All your data will be cached, not only what's on the SSD (OS + core programs). That includes the games you have installed on the HDD. (When you have a 120 GB SSD +1 TB HDD setup you typically do not install games on the SSD.)

All this is true, but it ignores SSD-caching solutions, such as Intel SRT. In that case, you get the same deal as the hybrid hdd, but instead of an 8GB cache, you get a cache the size of an SSD. However, this does not mean that you get the reliability benefits for SLC+MLC. If you really want the SSD-caching solution, you should look for a SLC SSD, which is even more expensive.

about a year ago
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NY Times' Broder Responds To Tesla's Elon Musk

Annirak Re:Anyone who doesn't like electric cars (609 comments)

Just out of curiosity, did you try looking up series hybrid before calling it an extended range EV? The term "Series Hybrid" describes, exactly, the power train structure of the Chevy Volt. It is also synonymous with Range Extended Electric Vehicle (REEV).

about a year and a half ago
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NY Times' Broder Responds To Tesla's Elon Musk

Annirak Re:Anyone who doesn't like electric cars (609 comments)

The Chevy Volt is a series hybrid. It's the same idea as a diesel-electric. You run an engine to run a generator to run a motor. That may sound wasteful, but the conversion losses are low (~5%/conversion) and (in heavy machinery, at least) you do away with gear boxes, which is a big win, and you get the engine running on the Atkinson cycle, which is a big efficiency win.

The new thing for the Chevy Volt is to throw a battery in the mix to get you regenerative braking (another big win).

So while the Chevy Volt is partially an EV, it's no more so than a plug-in Prius. It's a plug-in series Hybrid.

Not that this is a bad thing, but the question to ask is whether it's a better idea to put in a gas tank, engine, and generator, or to put in a bigger battery. It's an awful lot of weight to carry around for a "backup."

If it's speed of charge you're concerned about, check out Project Better Place. Their model is swappable batteries. A full "recharge" takes under 60s.

about a year and a half ago
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Britain Could Switch Off Airport Radar and Release 5G Spectrum

Annirak Re:Good idea (175 comments)

That depends on the goal of the stealth tech. On the one hand, a fighter that you can't detect at all is helpful, but there are other goals for stealth tech. For example, it's awfully helpful to have an aircraft that can't be tracked by targeting radar. Not having to worry about RADAR-based SAMs or AAMs is really nice.

Weather RADAR tracking of stealth fighters is great for knowing that one is inside your borders, but not so good for providing targeting to anti-air systems.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Electronics Prototyping Platform?

Annirak Re:Arduino, AVR, RPi, Beaglebone (228 comments)

When I mentioned breakout boards, I meant pre-built ones. With the chip already soldered on it.

With regards to hot air rework stations... I said heat gun. You know, the kind you use to strip paint? A heat gun, some tinfoil, and a decent PCB, and you too can solder SMD. Making your own PCBs is really cheap Like I said, about $10 for 10 if you can keep them to 5cmx5cm. See http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping.html for more info.

You still haven't demonstrated what kind of abuse breaks an arm, and from which manufacturer. All you've done is demonstrated what kind of abuse an AVR can take. That has absolutely no bearing on what an ARM can handle.

So what you're saying is that AVRs are for people who aren't good at electronics? That's fine. The next step up for them after they learn how to connect an LED can be to get an ARM board.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Electronics Prototyping Platform?

Annirak Re:Arduino, AVR, RPi, Beaglebone (228 comments)

ARM chips are 3.3V, surface mount

Surface mount is a moot point in the face of an inexpensive breakout board, unless you're looking at a size-constrained application. You can have your own PCBs manufactured professionally for $10 if they're small (5x5cm), so SMD parts are viable as long as the pitch isn't too small--I've soldered small SMD parts many times with both a heat-gun and a soldering iron. I like the heat-gun better, but the soldering iron is more commonly available. That said, if Arduino is a contender, then use of breakout boards is a non-issue.

ARM chips ... are very delicate electrically.

That's a pretty sweeping statement. Do you have any evidence to back that up? You know that NXP's line of ARM micros are all 5V tolerant, right? And ST's ARM lineup all have at least *some* 5V tolerant pins, most of them are mostly 5V tolerant. The STM32F4 which is on the discovery board has 138 of 140 5V tolerant pins. TI's micro that's on the launchpad also has all 5V tolerant I/O.

5V tolerance is a non-issue.

AVR chips have enough volts for an LED

If this is an issue, you're doing it wrong. VCC--|>|---/\/\/\---MCU pin. With 5V tolerant I/O, you no longer have a problem.

can be stuck in breadboards

See above comment about breakouts.

(Plus I think "eight UARTs, four SPIs, four I2Cs and up to 27 timers" is moot for most people...)

Just because you don't need it for a particular application doesn't mean that having it available is bad. Maybe someone *does* need that. Then they have it available.

There's nothing wrong, per se, with AVRs or PICs. It's just that the price/performance tradeoff isn't very good in the face of other options.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Electronics Prototyping Platform?

Annirak Re:Arduino, AVR, RPi, Beaglebone (228 comments)

I still don't understand why people are focused on PICs and AVRs. ARM has had better functionality and pricing (starting at the mid-range; low range is still dominated by 8-bit) and better peripherals for at least 5 years now.

TI Stellaris launchpad: $5, 80MHz, 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 CPU with floating point, 256Kbytes of 100,000 write-erase cycle FLASH and many peripherals such as 1MSPS ADCs, eight UARTs, four SPIs, four I2Cs, USB & up to 27 timers, some configurable up to 64-bits. Integrated in-circuit debugger.

Each of the following also have an integrated in-circuit debugger which is compatible with OpenOCD
STM32F0DISCOVERY: $8 48MHz ARM Cortex-M0, 64 Kbytes of flash and 8 Kbytes of SRAM, standard communication interfaces (up to two I2Cs, two SPIs, one I2S, one HDMI CEC, and up to two USARTs), one 12-bit ADC, one 12-bit DAC, up to five general-purpose 16-bit timers, a 32-bit timer and an advanced-control PWM timer.
STM32VLDISCOVERY: $9.90 24MHz ARM Cortex-M3, 128KB Flash, 8KB SRAM, standard communication interfaces (up to two I2Cs, two SPIs, one HDMI CEC, and up to three USARTs), one 12-bit ADC, two 12-bit DACs, up to six general-purpose 16-bit timers and an advanced-control PWM timer.
STM32F3DISCOVERY: $10.90 72MHz ARM Cortex-M4, with FPU, 256KB Flash, 48KB SRAM, up to four fast 12-bit ADCs (5 Msps), up to seven comparators, up to four operational amplifiers, up to two DAC channels, a low-power RTC, up to five general-purpose 16-bit timers, one general-purpose 32-bit timer, and two timers dedicated to motor control. They also feature standard and advanced communication interfaces: up to two I2Cs, up to three SPIs (two SPIs are with multiplexed full-duplex I2Ss on STM32F303xB/STM32F303xC devices), three USARTs, up to two UARTs, CAN and USB. To achieve audio class accuracy, the I2S peripherals can be clocked via an external PLL.
STM32F4DISCOVERY: $14.90 168MHz ARM Cortex-M4 with FPU, 1MB Flash, 192KB SRAM, and way too many peripherals to list here.

All the above are supported by GCC and OpenOCD.
With prices, capability, and development tool support like that, why would you use an 8-bit micro? It doesn't give you the same support that Arduino does. You have to learn how the peripherals work and you have to write your own interfaces to things like ADCs, but the examples are pretty complete.

about a year and a half ago
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EFF Moves To Nix Trademark On "Gaymer"

Annirak Re:Really!? (231 comments)

You're quite right. Trademarks are both geographically restricted and market restricted. If you're in a different market or a different location, the trademark doesn't apply.

And you have to register everywhere that you do business for the trademark to be valid in that region.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: Best small-footprint modern browser

Annirak Annirak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Annirak (181684) writes "I've recently started a paid internship at a company which is expanding faster than their IT department can supply new hardware. As a consequence, I've been issued a P4 2.4GHz with 512MB of RAM. Currently, I am using Firefox 4, but I find that it eats up far too much of my limited RAM. I'd rather not give up some of the more modern UI features that are offered by the current versions of Firefox and Chrome, but I need a smaller footprint. What other browsers are out there which could help me conserve resources?"
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Ask Slashdot: Software SSD cache implementation?

Annirak Annirak writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Annirak (181684) writes "With the bottom dropping out of the magnetic disk market and SSD prices still over $3/GB, I want to know if there is a way to to get the best of both worlds. Ideally, a caching algorithm would store frequently used sectors, or sectors used during boot or application launches, (hot sectors) to the SSD. Adaptec has a firmware implementation of this concept, called MaxIQ but this is only for use on their raid controllers and only works with their special, even more expensive, SSD. Silverstone recently released a device which does this for a single disk, but it is limited: it caches the first part of the magnetic disk, up to the size of the SSD, rather than caching frequently used sectors. The FS-Cache implementation in recent Linux kernels seems to be primarily intended for use in NFS and AFS, without much provision for speeding up local filesystems.

Is there a way to use an SSD to act as a hot sector cache for a magnetic disk under Linux?"

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