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Comments

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Glamor, X11's OpenGL-Based 2D Acceleration Driver, Is Becoming Useful

Chemisor Re:Eagerly awaiting ickle benchmarks (46 comments)

I wonder if the differences are due to extracting the result from the GPU. There is no doubt whatsoever that doing 2D with OpenGL on the GPU will be faster than a software rasterizer - what kills the performance in these tests is having to copy the result back to the CPU so it can be displayed in an X window. Once X windows are fully composited and output graphics never leave the GPU memory, the hardware acceleration will no doubt prove to be the fastest.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

Chemisor Jerks don't follow rules (130 comments)

Think about what you are asking here: you are trying to protect equipment from a bunch of jerks who don't follow the rules on how to properly take care of it, and are offering a solution that requires them to voluntarily log their actions. If they don't follow proper equipment maintenance rules, they aren't going to follow your logging rules either. If any voluntary system works for you, it will be when you have no jerks. If you have damaged equipement, then you have jerks. If you have jerks, you must have some sort of mandatory access control, such as signing out equipment using an id checked by the person in charge of the inventory. Anything less secure than this will be abused by jerks. After all, you don't expect them to sign out equipment they are planning to destroy, are you?

about 5 months ago
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Popularity On Facebook Makes People Think You're Attractive

Chemisor Re:Or not. (116 comments)

Nobody uses a facebook profile to determine if a prospective employee is a good fit - they are instead looking to determine if the prospective employee is a bad fit. With so many candidates for every position, there is an increasing need to disqualify people, and facebook is an excellent place to find dirt on them. If a capital offence can be found in six lines written by the most honest of men, anyone with an active facebook profile is entirely worthless.

about 5 months ago
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Interview: Ask Richard Stallman What You Will

Chemisor Re:GPLv4 (480 comments)

A committee by the FSF could for example determine what is 'evil' enough to prohibit its use. Do you think that's a good idea?

Please direct your question to the committee.

about 5 months ago
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Naming All Lifeforms On Earth With Hash Functions

Chemisor Re:Names are for communication (97 comments)

Nah. Only 2befc6455fdef3fdc8fe4d9770e45d1b like ebff344a30f680b4d1357c87428852a1 flavor.

about 5 months ago
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Naming All Lifeforms On Earth With Hash Functions

Chemisor Names are for communication (97 comments)

I think I'll go hunt some af7caaf1e73a2d24924371a370b4ef9b so I can feed my 362842c5bb3847ec3fbdecb7a84a8692 and a nice quiet evening with my 34b46c8cf192431e84ea81109660367b, chatting about the difficulty of talking about a474fb23f886eeaa16223eba872e53b1 that some socially inept scientist decided to name with a hash function.

about 5 months ago
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Louis Suarez-Potts Talks About Making Money with FOSS (Video)

Chemisor Saurez-Potts Open Source Stone Soup (33 comments)

Once upon a time, there was an open source developer who published an open source project on GitHub and declared that he was going to make a lot of money from it. People were curious; how could he make any money from what he gave away for free? So they asked him what his secret was.

He thought a moment and said: "You too can be making money from your free software project. All you need is to become a consultant."
"Really?" exclaimed the people "We never thought of that! What do you consult about?"
"I consult companies on how to make money from their open source projects"
"Oooh. That's clever. Uh... but what do you use your OSS project for?"
"Sometimes those companies sometimes hire me to write something for them."
"Your OSS project?"
"Well, no. They usually want something different made."
"But it's open source, right?"
"Uh, no."
"So your advice is basically to put your OSS project on your resume so companies know you can code and then will give you a job?"
"Well, yes..."
"So you are not really making any money from your OSS project, you are just using it to get a job?"
"Uh..."

about 5 months ago
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Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation?

Chemisor Can't sell it to developers (389 comments)

It is worth pointing out that all developers are power users, and will write applications first for themselves unless they are paid to do otherwise. The reason Windows is so popular is the sheer number of applications available for it. Once the "newbie" interface is segregated from the "power user" interface, there will be a lot fewer applications written for the former due to everyone but the big companies leaving for more useful environments. Fewer applications, and the unlikelihood of anybody writing any anytime soon, is what is killing Metro. If you aren't selling to developers first, you will lose - nobody buys Windows to run Windows.

about 5 months ago
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New Encryption Scheme Could Protect Your Genome

Chemisor Keep it (78 comments)

Encryption can be broken, especially the kind that exposes useful information about the plaintext as this one does. A much simpler alternative is to keep your genetic information in your own control, processing it on your own computer with open source software. You know, just what we already do with other sensitive information like passwords.

about 5 months ago
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200-400 Gbps DDoS Attacks Are Now Normal

Chemisor Why not rate limit? (92 comments)

So why don't NTP servers limit their responses to, say, 1 per 10 seconds per IP address? Even if spoofing, it would not take that long to exhaust the subnet of the attack target.

about 6 months ago
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Under Armour/Lockheed Suit Blamed For US Skating Performance

Chemisor Re:Its too bad.. (357 comments)

> more about your tech than your personal ability

So how far are you willing to take that argument? Some of us, like Bolt Usain, have longer legs and so can run more efficiently. Some, like Michael Phelps, have big feet and a swimmingly efficient body shape. Whatever personal ability you may have, their genetic advantage will beat you every time. They may not be engineered, but they are all freaks, because that's what you have to be to win in today's olympics. I don't know why people bother watching it - it's kind of like a freak show, but less entertaining. I mean, why would I care that one freak can run a course 0.01 seconds faster than another? The olympics are dead. We should just get rid of it.

about 6 months ago
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Sound System Simulates the Roar of a Rocket Launch

Chemisor Re:the real question is (113 comments)

Whether it goes to 11 or not, it better have a 1/4 jack for Marty McFly to plug a guitar into.

about 6 months ago
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The App That Tracks Who's Tracking You

Chemisor Re:Let me see if I understand this right... (52 comments)

There is nothing wrong with this picture. Monopolizing a hole has been a successful evolutionary strategy for millions of years.

about 6 months ago
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Would Linus Torvalds Please Collect His Bitcoin Tips?

Chemisor Some developers don't know (231 comments)

Gee, a service I have never heard of before is saying that maybe I have a valuable stash of bitcoins given to me by grateful users of my OSS project and that for a small fee they would be happy to liberate it for me for a tidy profit. Where have I heard this before?

about 6 months ago
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Hard Drive Reliability Study Flawed?

Chemisor Re:Last about five years? (237 comments)

I would add that vibration and handling are likely to contribute to failures. If you mount each drive on rubber grommets so it's isolated from the others, it should last longer. Failures are usually mechanical and less disturbance it gets, the better.

about 6 months ago
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Building Deception Into Encryption Software

Chemisor Re:Security through obscurity (106 comments)

Which is how we end up with things like the weak Zip File and early MS-Office encryption. Companies think they can roll their own, or take shortcuts and end up with weak security. Published algorithms have withstood scrutiny by actual experts, don't assume that your home-grown super-secret encryption will stand up to scrutiny

Funny you mentioning Zip and Office encryption. Neither of those ciphers is broken. If you read the papers you are linking to you'll find that the zip attack exploits its byte-by-byte CBC mode. With only a byte, dependencies between sequential bytes can be put into a solvable matrix. Expanding the block to even 4 bytes would make this attack infeasible. Office encryption break likewise exploits the CBC weakness, due to Office reusing IVs. The cipher, RC4, happens to be one of your published algorithms. This just illustrates that the cipher is only one part of any cryptosystem, and the way you use it also matters. If you know enough to make your blocks large enough, like 16 bytes, and are aware that IVs need to be unique, there is no reason you couldn't design your own secure cipher. Cryptographers are not supergeniuses. All it takes is some attention to detail.

about 6 months ago
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Building Deception Into Encryption Software

Chemisor Re:Security through obscurity (106 comments)

This is the "bad" sort of security through obscurity, because its sole protection is that no one will care enough to try breaking your encryption cipher.

It's not "no one", it's "no one who is able to break it". There is a big difference. When there is only a handful of people in the world who are capable of breaking your cipher, and there is no chance of them taking an interest it, I'd say your cipher is pretty damn secure.

its similar to turning off wifi beaconing or using MAC authentication on unencrypted wifi.

It is instead more similar to using a regular wooden door with a regular keyed lock to protect your house instead of a 6" thick high-strength steel vault door with an electronic lock. Define your threat before you decide on what security measures to take. If you don't, you will go bankrupt and will still get your stuff stolen in some other way. For most of us, a wooden door provides enough security because we need windows for light and can't afford the bulletproof 1"-thick ones. Likewise, most of us protect our data from regular criminals who aren't smart enough to do cryptanalysis. Against such adversaries, any cipher that has no readily available tools will do.

about 6 months ago
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Building Deception Into Encryption Software

Chemisor Re:Security through obscurity (106 comments)

cryptanalysis can break your encryption even without access to your encryption algorithm

I doubt it. That may have been true back when people used substitution ciphers and encrypted plain text. Today's ciphers scramble large blocks and precompress to increase data entropy. I seriously doubt anybody but a top-notch cryptoanalyst can decrypt even the simplest attempt at a cipher from anybody who knows anything at all about cipher design.

Such a cryptoanalyst is likely to be found only at some high level government agency like the NSA and he will likely be too busy to spare any time to decrypt your inane emails to your mistress. Consequently, I would postulate that if you design your own cipher and avoid becoming the next Snowden, your data will be just as safe as if you had used AES.

about 6 months ago
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What Killed the Great Beasts of North America?

Chemisor Re:WTF are they talking about? (214 comments)

Those are the elephants. They now want to introduce lions to thin the herds.

about 6 months ago
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An OS You'll Love? AI Experts Weigh In On Her

Chemisor Re:Stupidity... (175 comments)

I'm not sure that thinking is involved in the scenarios you describe. I might freak out, despite the thinking, logical part of my brain telling me that they cannot possibly harm me.

There are no illogical parts in the brain, and yes, they all think. The difference between conscious and unconscious thoughts is merely that you are paying attention to the former. We have the latter because it would be very inconvenient to consciously perform all the functions necessary for life, like breathing or swallowing. These autonomous functions work exactly the same way as your cortex does, you just don't have to explicitly babysit them. Emotional triggers are part of this autonomous set. Pigions programmed yours in the past and so it freaks out, and you are unable to stop it because you do not have direct control for the convenience reasons state above.

You can reprogram any emotional trigger, it just takes more effort. If you are afraid of spiders, for example, you can gradually desensitize yourself by spending a lot of time around Terelian Hookspiders. In this same manner you can reprogram any fear, love, taste, and even your core moral values. It just takes a lot of effort and dedication. Most of us simply don't want to change these things because we consider them part of our personalities and the idea of changing them can feel like suicide.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Categorical Thinking And Climate Change

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  about a year ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "We often hear this disconnect in the climate debate: sceptic Joe says "human impacts are small and likely not harmful"; alarmist Arthur says "humans are affecting the climate, therefore we must act now". It is not possible to get the alarmist to answer the claim of the skeptic that the impacts are likely to be small. I believe the disconnect results because the alarmist is using categorical thinking. In this mode, if something is bad, it is bad. Water is either clean or not clean. Forest is either wilderness or it is defiled. This conversation cannot progress because the world views of the sceptic and the alarmist are incompatible. The words they use do not mean the same thing."
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How do we get smooth animation on Linux?

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  about 2 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "For animation to be smooth, you need to do three things. First, draw to an offscreen buffer to avoid flicker. Second, swap buffers during the vblank interval to avoid tearing. Third, synchronize animation frames to vblank interval to avoid stuttering. Thirty years ago, the X11 SYNC extension was designed with this exact purpose in mind, but except for one failed attempt in 2006, a vblank counter still has not been implemented. VBlank detection capability also exists via the DRI2 extension, but DRI2 is only available with open source drivers, can not be used remotely, and has no Xlib API. OpenGL can synchronize buffer swapping, but only in 3D application, and only synchronously via glFinish. As things currently stand, smooth animation is not possible to implement under X, so here's a question for you, Slashdot: what can we do about this? Whom can we beg or pay for this functionality, so important if we are ever to see any games on Linux?"
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Risk Value Analysis and Health Insurance

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "While there has been a lot of handwaving in the media about everyone's need for health insurance, very little attention has been given to actually quantifying this need. A nerd like me needs hard numbers for things like total health risk and how much an insurance premium is really worth. So, here's a small article talking about these very things in mathematical terms, and calculating some interesting conclusions. For example, that a typical thirty year old white male has a total risk of dying of 0.14% this year, and would receive no economic gain from insurance if he has to pay a yearly premium of more than $482."
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Wide Indentation and Myopia

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "A blog post explores correlation between code indentation and myopia, suggesting that 8-space indentation levels are harmful to the eyes. The idea is that the most comfortable indentation level is one approximately equal to your "visual spread", which is the number of letters you can perceive all at once without moving your eye focus. Increasing visual spread is a common speed reading technique, which the author conjectures may cause myopia by encouraging the eye to favor field width over sharpness. He then further postulates that people who read faster tend to need wider indentation to accomodate their wider visual spread, which in turn encourages wider visual spread in programmers subsequently reading that code, causing a vicious circle of vision deterioration, and suggests that 8-space indentation be avoided to preserve the vision of the next generation of programmers."
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50kW Power Plant Prototype Runs on Water

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "BlackLight Power announced the successful testing of a 50kW power generator running on hydrogen from water. Many of you already know about BlackLight Power and its owner Randall Mills as associated with his Classical Quantum Mechanics and hydrinos. Due to lack of an actual working generator, people were naturally skeptical of his claims, and nothing much has been heard about them over the last ten years. Now it appears they are ready with actual commercial production of a hydrino power plant, and if that works, it would be the most important event in the history of physics since 1937."
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The Stupid Live Longer

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "According to new research by a Swiss university, it doesn't pay to be smart. "Scientists Tadeusz Kawecki and Joep Burger at the University of Lausanne said they had discovered a negative correlation between an improvement in a fly's mental capacity and its longevity". In the experiments, eugenic methods have been applied to a population of flies, demonstrating a measurable increase in intelligence after 30 to 40 generations. The smart flies lived 50-60 days, while the stupid ones in the control population lived 80-85. "This would explain why flies, like most other animals, have hardly developed their neural capacities," the researchers said."
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I do! I do! I do believe in ghosts!

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "According to the latest survey by AP, 34% of the US population believes in ghosts. Among other interesting results are 19% who believe in spells and witchcraft, 48% who believe in ESP, and 5% (including at least one computer programmer!) who have seen a monster in their closet. Something tells me that the decline in the US science education levels has a ways to go yet..."
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Why are you so dismissive of x86_64?

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "64 bit processors have been around for a while now, but on the software side the transition to 64 bit is curiously avoided. Whenever people hear I run a 64 bit OS, their reaction is incredulous; "What, you have more than 2G of RAM?" or "What are you running that you need 64 bit?" as if using software native to the processor were not sufficient justification. Even the 64 bit Linux distributions like Slamd inexplicably put 64 bit libs into /usr/lib64, instead of /usr/lib, where native stuff ought to go. Very few packages are shipped with a 64 bit version, on Linux or Windows, and 64 bit Windows drivers are frequently missing. It is as though everyone is covertly hoping that 64 bit will just go away.

As a programmer, I find this attitude difficult to understand. Of course I want 64 bit; it's the architecture of my processor, for one. The increased register set and the cleaner x86_64 ABI could be adequate justification all by themselves. Then there is the fact that 64 bit is the last upgrade we'll ever need. While 2^32 is still within human limits, being smaller than the world population, 2^64 of anything is nearly impossible to imagine. 2037 is far away yet, but not nearly as far away as the death of our Sun, which is much closer than 2^64 seconds. Finally, there is the fact that the newer processors are all 64 bit; Intel Core 2 Duo and Athlon 64 are where the future lies. So why aren't we embracing x86_64 instead of grudgingly and condescendingly allowing it to coexist with our legacy 32 bit applications?"

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Game review: An Objectivist Plays Bioshock

Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "In several pre-game interviews, covered previously on Slashdot, Ken Levine spoke much about making Bioshock a statement about Objectivism. What exactly that statement was, he declined to say, but now that the game is available, everyone can see for themselves. So here's a review of the game's plot by an objectivist, pointing out the jibes and misunderstandings that lead to the statement being a very negative one indeed."
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Chemisor Chemisor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Chemisor (97276) writes "The transporter is frequently neglected in space combat by even the most experienced starship commanders, whose macho instincts favor large and colorful explosions of photon torpedoes and phaser play over the subtler methods. Combined with the requirement that shields be lowered for its use, the transporter may be considered by some to have no place in modern combat. This is quite a pity, for these commanders are ignoring a very interesting and versatile weapon that can be used to devastating advantage in certain situations. This paper presents several tactical applications of the transporter in all situations, starting with all-out space battle and finishing with the more subtle applications in clandestine warfare."

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