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Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

De Lemming Vrije University? (136 comments)

"Vrije University" in the title sounds realy strange to me, as a native Dutch speaker. Vrije isn't a city, "Vrije Universiteit" means "Free University," which indicates it's not linked to e.g. the Catholic church. Just FYI.

about 2 months ago

Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

De Lemming Critical piece in The Verge (311 comments)

The Verge had a good article criticizing this project. The article doesn't break down the project completely, but points out why their goals are far-fetched, and people should not get too exited.

Also note that when looking at the project, it's not initially clear that a connection with the main electricity grid is still necessary. At night, displaying the signs and defrosting the road is done with electricity from the net. During the day, the solar panels can transfer electricity back to the grid. Their current implementation doesn't include batteries to store electricity locally, and this wouldn't be very environmentally friendly anyway.

about 4 months ago

Largest Bitcoin Mining Pool Pledges Not To Execute '51% Attack'

De Lemming Good article with several solutions (351 comments)

Bitcoin Magazine has a good article on this subject: Mining Pool Centralization At Crisis Levels. It also suggests a number of solutions.

The primary solution is for miners to switch to a peer-to-peer mining pool. In these the control is decentralized, just like the Bitcoin network itself. Even if such a pool hits 51% market share, it will not be able to actually block or reverse transactions, since the mining pool is decentralized and so its power is vested in the network as a whole.

about 8 months ago

I decorate my dwelling for the winter holidays ...

De Lemming Re:Alek Komarnitsky (199 comments)

Now there is a Slashdot story on the front page about this year's displat by Alek, with a video interview.

about 9 months ago

Belgian Telecom Becomes First To Accept Bitcoin

De Lemming Mobile Vikings customer (65 comments)

I'm a happy Mobile Vikings customer for almost two years now, and I applaud their move to accept Bitcoin. I will be using this option from now on.

Mobile Vikings are a small, tech oriented operator. Like several small operators in Belgium they use the cell tower network of one of the 3 big operators. MV were the first in Belgium to offer a decent plan for mobile data usage, a 15 € per month prepaid formula with 2 GB data included, while other operators where still billing (a lot) per MB used. When a lot of customers switched, this forced the big operators to offer similar plans (although they still cost more).

about 9 months ago

Belgian Telecom Becomes First To Accept Bitcoin

De Lemming Re:Too unstable (65 comments)

Like almost all online merchants who accept Bitcoin, they set their price in euros or dollars and the price in BTC is calculated at the moment of sale. Mobile Vikings uses BitPay as a payment processor who offers this service, another one is Coinbase.

about 9 months ago

RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

De Lemming Re:eMunie (287 comments)

There is no centralization. It's just that the genesis block (the first block in the chain, or in case of eMunie the first block of the tree) does not start with a balance of zero. After that there is nothing centralized in the system, it's a peer-to-peer network without central servers just like Bitcoin.

about 10 months ago

RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

De Lemming Re:eMunie (287 comments)

I'm one of those who gave some BTC to get a part of the initial eMunie supply. That makes me a victim in your eyes I suppose :-)

I like the fact that Dan (the creator of eMunie) is very transparent and open in these matters, we will know how much money he collects. I trust him when he says these funds will be used to further develop and promote eMunie. And I don't have a problem with him being paid for the work he does. In fact, he has be working full time on this project for more than half a year now, completely on his own expense.

about 10 months ago

RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

De Lemming Re:eMunie (287 comments)

Although not everything is known yet, the creator of eMunie has explained a lot of the mechanisms involved, mostly in forum posts. Those people, like me, who participate in the private beta, see the system working each day. And yes, everybody can apply for the beta.

There is no central mint involved. An initial number of coins will be pre-allocated in the genesis block. All of those coins will be sold (for dollars, Bitcoin & Litecoin), and everybody can participate. From then on new coins are distributed in two ways: everybody who has coins gets a small percentage of his coins as interest, and clients who register transactions (called "hatchers") get a fee to do that job. The "hatchers" don't do the same calculation all together, like Bitcoin miners, but transactions are appointed to them.

about 10 months ago

RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

De Lemming eMunie (287 comments)

eMunie looks like a good alternative to Bitcoin. It does not only give a solution to the anonymity issue, but solves a number of other issues with Bitcoin, like the huge block chain size, the long time before a transaction is confirmed and waste of electricity through mining. The start of the production network is expected for the end of January. I'm really looking forward to see if it can hold up to all its promises, but the developer is a really capable and motivated guy (he was the owner of the company that developed NFC used in a lot of smartphones today).

about 10 months ago

Why Project Flare Might Just End the Console War

De Lemming Obvious: latency (166 comments)

Even with modern broadband, latency is still an issue for these kinds of applications. In the article are some examples of currently used server side gaming enhancements, like "Forza 5 will even use cloud computing to monitor the way you drive, and alter virtual drivers’ AI (artificial intelligence) accordingly." That has no need for low latency. But if you want the environment to immediately react to players actions, there need to be low latency. And you can't remove the distance (and related network infrastructure) between the player and the data center.

about 10 months ago

Crowdfunded Bounty For Hacking iPhone 5S Fingerprint Authentication

De Lemming Re:'like from a beer mug' (148 comments)

As was explained in the Apple keynote, a capacitive (not optical) sensor is used, which scans sub-epidermal skin layers. So lifting a fingerprint will not work.

Here is an extensive explanation of the technologies used.

1 year,1 hour

Ars Test Drives the "Netflix For Books"

De Lemming U.S. only, but a lot cheaper than Safari Books (108 comments)

It's a pity this is not available outside the United States... I hope it will come to Europe soon. Their FAQ states: "When will you expand beyond the United States? Book rights are regional and right now we are focused on building a best-in-class offering for the U.S. market. We don’t have a timetable for international expansion, but we are committed to growing Oyster and making it universally accessible over time."

It reminded me of Safari Books, a subscription service for technical books. It was started by O'Reilly, but now contains books by a lot of other publishers like Addison Wesley and Manning. But subscription fees are considerably higher than for this new Oyster service. E.g. for an individual subscription with max. 10 books at a time in your library, you pay $28 / month or $299 / year. Obviously the value of such a service is strongly related with the content they offer. I couldn't find an overview of books Oyster offers, it would e.g. be nice to know if they have a good selection of technical books.

1 year,10 days

Uncle Sam Finally Wants To Hear From Us On Digital Copyright Law?

De Lemming The Case for Copyright Reform (183 comments)

They should just read The Case for Copyright Reform by Christian Engström (Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party) & Rick Falkvinge (founder of the original Pirate Party), and implement it. You can, of course, download the book for free on that website. I highly recommend reading it.

1 year,30 days

Signs Point To XKCD's Time Ending

De Lemming Re:There's a Wiki and a replay site (226 comments)

I know about a second replay site. It's not as good as the one on, but it has sound :-)

And don't forget the forum thread, which currently has 51583 posts. In this thread a new religion that worships the One True Comic was started. Also a few new standard units were introduced, based on the NewPix (half an hour), which was later replaced with the LongPix (one hour) when the update interval of the comic changed. People in the thread did extensive analysis of the comic, and later on some started analyzing the forum thread itself. The thread was also the starting point of the replay web sites.

about a year ago

Wikileaks Aiding Snowden - Chinese Social Media Divided - Relations Strained

De Lemming Live updates at the Pirate Times (629 comments)

This page at the Pirate Times provides live updates.

Last two updates at the moment:

14:45 (CEST) Ecuadorian Ambassador in Vietnam states confirms that Edward Snowden has requested asylum and mentions that the USA often refused to extradite criminals including bankers.

13:10 (CEST) A plane bound for Cuba with a booking for Snowden and another person has left Moscow but with Ed Snowden apparently not on board according to Russian Television English Service

about a year ago

Could Bitcoin Go Legit?

De Lemming Re:Feathercoin - Bitcoin Alternative (300 comments)

There are a number of "alt coins" which appear legitimate, and are used by a wider community. This thread on the Bitcoin forums has a good overview, it also includes the less popular and dead crypto currencies:

I like the idea of PPcoin very much, being an ecologic alternative to Bitcoin. They still have mining, like Bitcoin and all other alts, and this will consume as much electricity. But when all coins are mined, the power needs will drop significantly. The creators devised a very clever way to record transactions in the block chain without the need to do all the calculations which are done when mining. Website, including the white paper with a detailed explanation:

Probably the oldest alt coin still in use today is Namecoin. It integrates a naming system in the block chain, effectively creating a decentralized alternative to DNS.

The most popular alt coin is Litecoin. By some it's called the silver to Bitcoin gold, as it provides faster transactions and more coins generated.

about a year ago

Xkcd's Long-running "Time" Comic: Work of Art Or Nerd Sniping?

De Lemming Re:Is it art for art's sake? (190 comments)

Aubron Wood has made a nice web page out of the comic, he was the first one to do so. But I like this one even better:

It also has all the "special" frames (when something changes, when there is dialog,...) listed at the bottom.

about a year ago


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