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Comments

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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Khopesh Re:...like dash cams. (455 comments)

This works.

Dashcam video clears NJ man:

The tale of the police dashcam video has now helped clear a Bloomfield, New Jersey man who faced a multitude of criminal charges, including eluding police and assault.

about three weeks ago
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Linux Sucks (Video)

Khopesh Re:Basic misunderstandings and self-contradictions (293 comments)

The point is we need people like him to remind us that certain things suck and need to be replaced (cough, X11, cough) otherwise we ae stuck with old badly architected technology for decades.

It's hard to find somebody that says X11 doesn't suck. I am definitely not that person.

My point was that he says forking sucks, he gave an example where (unbeknownst to him?) forking was certainly the best option, then he went on to talk about how forked Linux distributions have made the world a better place. He seems to conclude that forking is great and that he "loves" it.

(Also, I misspelled his name. Sorry, Bryan. I guess my post had room for improvement ... meaning it sucked.)

about 4 months ago
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Linux Sucks (Video)

Khopesh Basic misunderstandings and self-contradictions (293 comments)

OpenSSL doesn't listen to bug reports. They don't even accept offered patches to known bugs. It's this spirit of non-cooperation that caused the forking into LibreSSL. See the 30 day prospectus (/. coverage) from the LibreSSL project lead, which details all of the problems. Brian even says forking is ultimately a benefit, and that he "loves that they're doing it."

It seems to be that his definition of "sucks" is "has room for improvement" ... Everything has room for improvement, so apparently everything sucks.

about 4 months ago
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Canonical Halts Ubuntu For Android Development

Khopesh Please change the name of this /. article (1 comments)

"Canonical Halts Ubuntu For Android Development" implies that they are halting Ubuntu in order to develop on Android, which is the opposite of the truth.

This article, if promoted, should be named "Canonical Halts Development of Ubuntu For Android"

about 5 months ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

Khopesh Re:did you checked the video? (688 comments)

But part of me wonders if I'm missing the point, if they're so intent on breaking it then might I as well just move browsers now? If I'm having to rely on addons to make a browser work then am I not just sat precariously one step away from Mozilla deciding that addon is unacceptable and cancelling it anyway?

It appears the FF devs have forgotten that their main advantage over Chrome is addons. I have so many addons, with icons to control them in the status bar (addons bar) that the new FF gave me about an inch of locationbar to see URLs. Thanks guys. I reverted this by using the dev version of Status-4-Evar. The GP's mention of Classic Theme Restorer is interesting, but I worry about its compatibility with Tab Mix Plus and other addons, as well as to your point of perhaps trying the new look & feel.

about 5 months ago
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The Mammoth Cometh: Revive & Restore Tackles De-Extinction

Khopesh Bring back undomesticated food (168 comments)

The core tenant behind the increasingly popular paleo diet is that food has been over-domesticated, favoring things like size, portability, and crop yield rather than health. Taste is often also low on the priority list (though higher than health). Wild plants like dandelion greens and ramps are significantly healthier than our domesticated cabbages for example.

The same goes for meat. Wild game meat is far healthier than meat from a factory farm. It's often tastier as well, though the farmed stuff tends to be fattier (and fat equals flavor). I'd love to try the meat of an ancestor of the cow that pre-dates its domestication. (It should also be eating and excersizing similar to the way it would in the wild rather than eating corn and living in tight quarters.)

about 7 months ago
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Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School

Khopesh Re:I don't think so (124 comments)

Times have changed - when I did my computer science degree, most of the students were at the geeky end of the spectrum and were there because that's what they were really into. Compare to the present-day cross section of computer science students: most of them are there because computers are seen as a good career. The extra-curricular interest is giving way to people who just want a job.

I disagree. People like you and me merely congregated together and ignored the others. (Also, you went to school in Wales. Different world.) My above statement was about "my most IT-savvy freshman colleagues," which is to say under a dozen total (and I was friends with all of them). I'd say about 75% of my freshman peers in CS declared the major for its salaries and/or a passion for video games. I imagine today's breakdown is roughly the same, more due to the fact that most freshmen are blank slates than any measure of incoming freshman tech savviness (which brings us back on topic...).

I even chose CS over History and other things I was roughly equally interested in because it better mapped to a better career. (Also because my grades were stronger in CS and advanced math, but that had more to do with my odds of acceptance.) I had lots of classmates who were horrible at math but had chosen the program for the money it represented. Most of them failed out and migrated to the business program (which was less academically rigid at that school at that time; these days, they'd fail there too).

about 7 months ago
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Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School

Khopesh Re:I don't think so (124 comments)

When I went off to college, many of my most IT-savvy freshman colleagues were versed in networks and system administration because they had run the computer labs of their high schools. Some of them had been caught cracking or otherwise mucking about in ways that the school staff lacked the ability to revert and been forced to clean up after themselves, others saw messes and volunteered to help out. They got paid and had responsibilities. From this new perspective, they learned the "damage" students could deal and then had the hands-on task of cleaning it up. I wish I had had that opportunity.

In this sort of environment, especially given the ubiquity of virtual machines and virtual networks, a well-facilitated capture the flag (CTF) event should be easy enough to facilitate. Even without virtualization (or even any lab at all), any school could reach out to a local hacker group and ask them to host a CTF event. The cost of scrounging up a bunch of computers and networking equipment for a one-shot event should be decently low given the spare parts in your typical hacker group or Linux users group. Maybe the school or city could even provide a budget for the event.

about 7 months ago
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A Strategy For Attaining Cuban Internet Connectivity

Khopesh Re:Cuba-specific Tor + long range wifi (802.22?) (119 comments)

"The island is 1,250 km (780 mi) long and 191 km (119 mi) across its widest points and 31 km (19 mi) across its narrowest points.[1] The largest island outside the main island is the Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in the southwest, with an area of 2,200 km2 (850 sq mi)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Cuba

Sorry, Slashdot killed my squared symbol and I missed it in the content preview. Wikipedia says Cuba is 110 km^2 in area.

If 802.22 can cover a 100km radius (200km diameter), width isn't an issue. The 1,250km length would need only seven full-powered 802.22 antennae to provide a "backbone" across the main island (1250/200 = 6.25). Maybe each of those can have either a satellite uplink or a wired connection. Surely, another few hundred cheaper and/or lower-powered antennae (perhaps 802.11y or 802.11af?) would be able to saturate valleys and high density areas.

about 7 months ago
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A Strategy For Attaining Cuban Internet Connectivity

Khopesh Cuba-specific Tor + long range wifi (802.22?) (119 comments)

If Cuba built its own onion routing network (perhaps using Tor software though not connected to the Tor network), then each satellite dish or other internet connection would automatically be able to facilitate connectivity for the rest of the network. No need to wire anything (except some of the exit nodes), this can all happen over wifi.

Don't forget that 802.11af, 802.11y, and 802.22 have ranges measured in miles (802.22 can cover 100km). Blanketing an island of 110km would still take a good number of antennae (especially given the dead zones created by dense buildings in cities), but at a governmental budget scale, it seems quite feasible.

about 7 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Khopesh Comment view (2219 comments)

Thanks for taking the time for this, Soulskill (et al).

I really missed the ability to set comment thresholds in the GET of an article (removed in the last major UI upgrade). I have a lot of friends that do not frequent slashdot, and when I link them an article that I want them to read the better comments of, it needs to be at a threshold they'll tolerate (typically, 5/4 for full/abbrev if there are enough comments).

I have other suggestions as well, but getting comments right is by far #1. I can fix the rest with Greasemonkey.

about 7 months ago
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Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication

Khopesh Inevitable. No need for long term tracking though (390 comments)

I see this as inevitable, really.

If we want autonomous vehicles to be maximally efficient, this has to happen. They move out of the way for a police officer or for somebody who has to change their route at the last minute and get to an exit from the opposite lane. More importantly, self-driving cars can cluster together. Take India for example; they drive 4-5 cars wide in lanes marked for 3. Highly efficient, but highly unsafe for human operators.

This doesn't have to invade our privacy or be implemented insecurely. If range is limited and details forgotten when they become irrelevant, then we're fine. If cars generate random IDs, there's no way to collate them together over time (well, without existing technology like reading plates or RFID).

about 8 months ago
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Something Better Than Alphabetical Sort

Khopesh Render the list randomly (1 comments)

Simple: Render the list randomly each time it is viewed (server side, please). It should average out to being a fair represenation.

Maybe pick a SEO-friendly order and statically serve it to the search engines (e.g. by identifying the Googlebot User-Agent).

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Linux Set To Be PC Gaming's Number Two Platform?

Khopesh Re:Wine is not an emulator (281 comments)

Wine: an emulator of the win32 API+ABI on POSIX+X. WinXP/Vista/7/8: an emulator of the win32 API+ABI on NT.

Neither is native in this sense.

That reminds me of this gem from the Cygwin FAQ (through Dec 2009, since removed for political correctness):

Windows 9x: n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

about 8 months ago
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Wayland 1.4 Released — Touch, Sub-Surface Protocol, Crop/Scale Support

Khopesh I'm cautiously optimistic, but not ready yet (128 comments)

It's a small step forward. From the release notes,

The wayland repository continues to mature and moves slowly. This cycle again only saw a few wayland changes, most of which where fairly unexciting:

- SHM Buffer SIBGUS protection. We added and couple of utility functions to help compositors guard against broken or malicious clients who could truncate the backing file for shm buffers and thus trigger SIGBUS in the compositor (Neil Roberts).

- Subsurfaces protocol moved to wayland repo and as such promoted to official wayland protocol (Pekka Paalanen).

- wl_proxy_set_queue() can take a NULL queue to reset back to default queue. (Neil Roberts).

- A few bug fixes, in particular, I'd like highlight the fix for the race between wl_proxy_create() and wl_proxy_marshal().

- A few scanner error message improvements and documentation tweaks and polish.

I'm hoping the Maui Project (which uses Wayland) can continue to gain momentum as Wayland does and that it becomes a viable option in the next few years.

about 8 months ago
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FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

Khopesh LLVM vs GCC benchmark (1098 comments)

From what I can tell, GCC is still the better compiler. It is better supported (lots of things won't work on clang or llvm-gcc) as well. LLVM/Clang tends to compile a bit faster (which doesn't matter unless it's an order of magnitude) while the binaries that GCC produces tend to run more efficiently. There's a nice benchmark comparing GCC 4.7 to Clang 3.1 (in Apr 2012) which demonstrates this.

I'm sure LLVM has been well designed and perhaps can do better with JIT and similar concepts (which you'd have to compare to e.g. GNU Lightning), but GCC is still king. Stallman's complaint is that it's getting attention and therefore it may become better than GCC over time, which he argues would be bad for developers on the assumption that eventually a game-changing feature is released for LLVM that is nonfree and then everybody will be forced to pay for it, a fate that the GPL'd GCC cannot suffer.

about 8 months ago
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GMail is down

Khopesh Article on the topic (3 comments)

Covered at The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/24/google_plus_gmail_down/

Netizens are complaining that Google's social network Plus is knackered and the webmail service Gmail is completely offline. In a painful twist of fate, the systems went down just as Google's crack site reliability team was preparing for a live question'n'answer session on Reddit. And it comes after strangers' email addresses started appearing in Google searches for "gmail".

about 8 months ago
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Does Anyone Make a Photo De-Duplicator For Linux? Something That Reads EXIF?

Khopesh Quick shell script using exiftool (243 comments)

This will help find exact matches by exif data. It will not find near-matches unless they have the same exif data. If you want that, good luck. Geeqie has a find-similar command, but it's only so good (image search is hard!). Apparently there's also a findimagedupes tool available, see comments above (I wrote this before seeing that and had assumed apt-cache search had already been exhausted).

I would write a script that runs exiftool on each file you want to test. Remove the items that refer to timestamp, file name, path, etc. make a md5.

Something like this exif_hash.sh (sorry, slashdot eats whitespace so this is not indented):

#!/bin/sh
for image in "$@"; do
echo "`exiftool |grep -ve 20..:..: -e 19..:..: -e File -e Directory |md5sum` $image"
done

And then run:

find [list of paths] -typef -print0 |xargs -0 exif_hash.sh |sort > output

If you have a really large list of images, do not run this through sort. Just pipe it into your output file and sort it later. It's possible that the sort utility can't deal with the size of the list (you can work around this by using grep '^[0-8]' output |sort >output-1 and grep -v '^[0-8]' output |sort >output-2, then cat output-1 output-2 > output.sorted or thereabouts; you may need more than two passes).

There are other things you can do to display these, e.g. awk '{print $1}' output |uniq -c |sort -n to rank them by hash.

On Debian, exiftool is part of the libimage-exiftool-perl package. If you know perl, you can write this with far more precision (I figured this would be an easier explanation for non-coders).

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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SSL Nightmare

Khopesh Khopesh writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Khopesh writes "Yesterday, Jacob Appelbaum wrote in depth about Certificate Authority compromises, discussing some very recent additions to Firefox and Chrome regarding blacklisted SSL certificates. It turns out that certificate revocation does not work, and that's becoming a major problem: Comodo, one of the world's largest certificate issuing authorities, just announced that it
issued fraudulent certificates to major sites, including Google, Yahoo, Skype, and others. Sadly, Comodo's site is refusing to serve their own account. Here is the Google cache of Comodo's compromise announcement."

Link to Original Source
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Feds Still Spy On Citizens

Khopesh Khopesh writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Khopesh (112447) writes "Too often, we've seen U.S. Intelligence agencies whose actions are cloaked in secrecy until someone uncovers governmental abuse that places innocent people under surveillance or on watchlists. It's truly scary to ponder how much more stays hidden. NetworkWorld recently got the chance to interview FBI Agent-turned ACLU Councel Mike German to get a thorough perspective from an insider who was fed up enough with those policies to quit his 16-year career and pick up as Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy for the ACLU. DailyTech has a nice overview of the story."
Link to Original Source
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Compromised .giv, .mil, .edu sites for sale

Khopesh Khopesh writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Khopesh (112447) writes "Imperva blogged today about the sale of compromised .gov, .mil, and .edu sites, illustrating that cyber-criminals are getting bolder. Krebs on Security has an unredacted view of the site list. Perhaps the biggest threat is yet to come; if an industrious criminal can break into top government and military sites, so too can government-backed teams, proving that GhostNet and Stuxnet are just the beginning..."
Link to Original Source
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Space.com & other TopTenREVIEWS sites compromi

Khopesh Khopesh writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Khopesh (112447) writes "This doesn't appear to be listed anywhere yet, but it just came in via email from Stephen O'Brien at the US Secret Service. There is not yet any recognition on any of those sites either. Quoting that email:

The Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force has been made aware of the following websites, which are redirecting users to a site hosting malicious code. This code can be used to exploit your computer and allow a user unauthorized access to your private information. Specifically, the exploits are targeting Adobe PDF files and Java applications.

Please use caution if browsing any of these sites:

Space.com
Livescience.com
Toptenreviews.com
Newsarama.com

Please contact the ECTF at 718-840-1220 if you have any further information or questions regarding this notice."
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Best Visualizations of 2010

Khopesh Khopesh writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Khopesh (112447) writes "We're overrun by a plethora of data in this Information Age. Presenting this data has always been a difficult task. Google is seen as a leader here, having formed itself around the very idea of distilling and presenting information. In the last year or so, we have begun to see other presentations of data in beautifully designed graphical representations. FlowingData, a blog devoted to this sort of thing, has assembled a list of the 10 Best Data Visualizations of the year. Another blog on this front is Information is Beautiful. Even Facebook's devs are in on the action with a map of friend networks that looks almost identical to NASA's Earth at Night map — but without overlaying atop a base image."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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A two dimensional political compass

Khopesh Khopesh writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The problem with a one-dimensional compass is that in the world of liberal vs conservative (an economic scale), there is an awfully large overlap between the extremes; Greens and Libertarians have a LOT in common. The only explanation is that there is another metric. Enter the social scale, weighing personal freedoms of the individual (the lowercase-l "libertarianism" or "personal") against the united power of government ("authoritarianism" or perhaps "statism"). Greens are personal liberals, Libertarians are personal conservatives. This two-dimensional compass was pioneered by David Nolan (a Libertarian Party member) and is formally called a Nolan Chart in his name.

I've done a lot of toying with this concept lately. There are three main implementations: the quick-and-dirty World's Smallest Political Quiz, which heavily favors the US Libertarian Party (it was written by Nolan and his advocates), derivate project VoteMatch, which tries to remove that favoritism and further matches your scores to prominent politicians, and The Political Compass, which is less biased and has more clear labels.

World's Smallest Political Quiz

This mapping uses two dimensions, economic (liberal vs conservative) and social ("populist" vs "libertarian"). I dislike both of the terms used on the social scale, and the fact that the scale ignores the fact that each pairing should result in a pairing of the labels. This is one of the key criticisms noted in the WikiPedia article.

Putting the dimensions together with one's score results in a nicely rendered mapping with only one label despite that each label refers to only one of the axes. For example, you might score low on both scales, which would label you "populist" despite that you are also liberal (perhaps even more so!). Worse, the term "libertarian" has two meanings; the (capital-L) Libertarian Party (US) is right-leaning in its nature, even though the term "libertarian" really only indicates a social leaning. This makes it a bad label for this test. I advocate for "personal" instead. I'd call the other direction (low on the social scale) "nationalist" instead (other tests call it "authoritarian" or "statist").

The bias of this test is clear; they've manipulated the test so that it favors higher scores on both scales, and they also utilize the psychological instrument of "higher is better" to put (capital-L) Libertarians at the "top."

VoteMatch

I found two incarnations of this test, both of which appear to be maintained by ontheissues.org. One of them crashes for me, so I linked the other. Please note that the linked speakout version reverses question 14, which should be "decrease overall taxation of the wealthy."

This test suffers the same labeling problem of The World's Smallest Political Quiz, which will hopefully be fixed along with the aforementioned bug. The main merit of this site is that it allows you to compare your results with the computed results of various politicians, giving detailed explanations of each issue, boiling right down to the politicians' voting and campaigning records. This is a hell of a merit, and kudos to this team.

Note: more than the others, this test is mostly only applicable to present-day politics in the United States. (Since the "politics" category isn't available to journals, I chose "United States" ... other options were "government" and "editorial" ... but all of my journals will be pretty much editorials.)

The Political Compass

This test differs from the above in that the scale is flipped vertically and rotated 45 clockwise. It is properly labeled. The only issues I have with it are the positioning of Mike Gravel on the US Primaries 2008 page, which is clearly biased by his new political party (Libertarian) rather than his platform or history, and more seriously, question 2 on page 4 of the quiz is ambiguous and should state "it is preferable to have a one-party state because it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system" rather than "a significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids ..." since the latter has an ambiguous eye of the beholder (it is certainly an advantage to that single party, but the quiz wants it framed more universally).

Because of its proper labeling, the final paragraph of WikiPedia's criticism section does not apply. Its axes aren't biased to favor the Libertarian Party, either (if "higher is better," then it favors Neo-cons). However, I still think the term "libertarian" is misleading, and I'd prefer the social scale to compare "personal" to "nationalist." The explanation bit has some fine print that uses even better labels, though they're too verbose for category titles: "voluntary regional collectivism" (personal/libertarian) vs "state-imposed collectivism" (nationalist/authoritarian).

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