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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

davecb Re:Open protocols (296 comments)

I suspect many PHBs can't even tell specification from implementation (;-))

2 days ago
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Japanese Nobel Laureate Blasts His Country's Treatment of Inventors

davecb Employers may misquote local laws (190 comments)

Honeywell once tried to make that claim, thinking that they were in Minneapolis. Alas, it's prohibited in Canada, where we were doing business (;-))

4 days ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

davecb Where's this desire for "nice" coming from? (358 comments)

I'm a polite Canadian, and worked much of my career for a "california cowboy company". We were never nice.

In many cases, what probably was meant as tongue-in-cheek comments came across poorly to Canadians and British, sometimes even as assholery or prejudice. I wouldn't expect "nicey nice" from my colleagues or my American cousins, and I'm quite surprised to see people in the US asking for it!

about a week ago
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Washington DC's Public Library Will Teach People How To Avoid the NSA

davecb is "superversive" a word? (81 comments)

Wikipedia thinks that "Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy. "

One might consider this superversive, an attempt to restore a social order's power of their security servicer.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

davecb Re:That was quick ... (103 comments)

When I said "honour bound", I didn't necessarily mean it wasn't the dishonor heaped on a politician by his opponents (;-))

about two weeks ago
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Canada's Copyright Notice Fiasco: Why the Government Bears Responsibility

davecb Re:Where's the Beef? (73 comments)

Huh? Mr Harper is a Conservative, so it's more like Mr. Nixon.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

davecb Re:That was quick ... (103 comments)

In a now far-past age, we had a fix for this. Politicians of the "family compact" era fought hard against "responsible government", which made ministers responsible for their departments, and honour-bound to resign from cabinet when they failed in their undertakings.

It was imposed anyway as part of Lord Durhams' reforms, much to their displeasure.

Over time, governments have become more resistant to losing votes and ministers have become very resistant to stepping down for anything other than cheesing off the PM. Just flat lying to the electorate has become popular, here, in the UK and the US.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

davecb Re:That was quick ... (103 comments)

I think we have a problem involving a lack of negative feedback. If I'm PM, I can do anything I want, and no-one can stop me. If I'm an ill-advised liberal I can do as much damage as an ill-advised conservative and equally as much as a deliberate "Dr Evil". That's probably a bad thing...

about two weeks ago
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Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?

davecb I'd love to put shards of my files everywhere (331 comments)

I could use high-reliability backup that isn't on some single-point-of-failure company like Kim's.

Alas, law enforcement would be unable to tell me from their worst enemy. OK if it's Canada, they can serve me with a warrant and reassure themselves that I'm not the they're looking for, but I fear the Excited States might not bother staying within the rule of law.

--dave
Hmmn, I owe the blog a discussion about this...

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

davecb Re:Understatement! (103 comments)

Yes, and courts are neuter, so it's a waste of time for them to hit on anyone (;-))

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

davecb Understatement! (103 comments)

This is Canada, where we engage in somewhat British-sounding understatement. The police or courts may say they are be "speaking" to someone, and the words they speak may be polite, but the import of them may be very unpleasant to the listener. Americans might translate it as "hitting on him with a clue-stick".

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

davecb Re:That was quick ... (103 comments)

I don't like the party in power, but you have to admit they're not slow!

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

davecb Re:It may not be a lie. (172 comments)

Good point, and thanks. I used your characterization about the "aim of the slimy" in a comment in the article we're discussing.

That's different from the courts screwing up, and more like a trick to get away with forum shopping, something that wouldn't happen nearly as well (badly) between states.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

davecb Re:It may not be a lie. (172 comments)

You think US courts won't take "judicial notice" of a Canadian suit on the very same crime, and one in which the company had to commence a Canadian action to get the information? You think we don't have treaties with the US? You think countries haven't honoured each other's decisions and court orders since the middle ages?

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

davecb Re:It is not illegal to lie (172 comments)

IANAL, but suppressing copyright infringement is neither unfair nor unlawful. Whatever else may be wrong about it, fraud it is not.

That claim requires the end justifies the means. Never has, never will.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

davecb Who's going to act? (172 comments)

Well, then we don't need to be breaking our spears over it here on /., do we?

Someone has to tell a whole mass of possibly-terrified individuals and a collection of government and police forces that a crime is being committed. Othewise the criminal walk away with their ill-gotten gains.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

davecb Re:It may not be a lie. (172 comments)

The US company would have to sue in Canada first to get the court order to disclose the accused's name. The US court would refuse to proceed if the same suit is already underway in Canada. "Jurisdiction shopping" gets you a pissed-off judge, and possible sanctions.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

davecb Re:It is not illegal to lie (172 comments)

Fraud is a criminal offence, requiring the person be making a false statement to obtain money, and the false statement not to opinions like "my product is better than his".

In the US, the tradition is to sue folks. In Canada we tend to call the cops. I'm mildly surprised no-one has said they done so already.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Poul-Henning Kamp asks "Please Put OpenSSL Out of Its Misery"

davecb davecb writes  |  about 9 months ago

davecb (6526) writes "At ACM Queue, he asks we not buy into the 299-odd remaining bugs after taking out Heartbleed Instead 'we need a well-designed API, as simple as possible to make it hard for people to use it incorrectly. And we need multiple independent quality implementations of that API, so that if one turns out to be crap, people can switch to a better one in a matter of hours.'"
Link to Original Source
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Civil Liberties Association files class action for all Canadians, against spies

davecb davecb writes  |  about 9 months ago

davecb (6526) writes "The British Columbia CLA filed a class action on behalf of all Canadians, against our security services' collecting of metadata, because it allows for a profile to be created of the individuals involved. It's a tough class for a court to certify, but to qualify, the BCCLA needed a class that they knew contained people who were spied upon."
Link to Original Source
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Android is almost impenetrable to malware: Google

davecb davecb writes  |  about a year ago

davecb (6526) writes "Google’s Android Security chief Adrian Ludwig reported data showing that less than an estimated 0.001% of app installations on Android are able to evade the system’s multi-layered defenses and cause harm to users, seemingly contradicting F-Secure's Android Accounted For 97% of All Mobile Malware In 2013. As you might expect, they're not talking about the same thing."
Link to Original Source
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The UK's porn filter is blocking the latest League of Legends update

davecb davecb writes  |  1 year,17 hours

davecb (6526) writes "Courtesy of Gamasutra, we see the UK's so-called "porn" filter is blocking game updates. As well, of course, as filtering such unimportant things as political and sexual-health sites"
Link to Original Source
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Canada (quietly) offering sanctuary to data from the U.S.

davecb davecb writes  |  1 year,15 days

davecb (6526) writes "The Toronto Star's lead article today is Canada courting U.S. web giants in wake of NSA spy scandal, an effort to convince them their customer data is safer here. This follows related moves like cisco moving R&D to Toronto. Industry Canada will neither confirm nor deny that European and U.S. companies are negotiating to move confidential data away from the U.S. This critically depends on recent blocking legislation to get around cases like U.S. v. Bank of Nova Scotia, where U.S. courts "extradited" Canadian bank records to the U.S. Contrary to Canadian law, you understand ..."
Link to Original Source
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Canada courts, patent office warns against trying to patent mathematics

davecb davecb writes  |  about a year and a half ago

davecb (6526) writes "The Canadian Intellectial Property Office (CIPO) warns patent examiners that ..."for example, what appears on its face to be a claim for an “art” or a “process” may, on a proper construction, be a claim for a mathematical formula and therefore not patentable subject matter.” (Courtesy of Paula Bremner at Slaw)"
Link to Original Source
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Copyright trolls sue bloggers, defence lawyers

davecb davecb writes  |  about 2 years ago

davecb writes "Prenda Law has commenced three defamation, libel and conspiracy suits against the same people: defence lawyers, defendants and all the blogger and commentators at "Die Troll Die" and "Fight Copyright Trolls". The suits, in different state courts, each attempt to identify anyone who has criticized Prenda, fine them $200,000 each for stating their opinions, and prohibit them from ever criticizing Prenda again."
Link to Original Source
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Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade

davecb davecb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

davecb writes "Rick Falkvinge reports today that the Swedish Pirate Party has laid charges against at least Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal before the Finansinspektionen , for refusing to pass on money owed to Wikileaks. The overseer of bank licenses notes (in translation) that "The law states, that if there aren’t legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed.”"
Link to Original Source
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World Conference on International Telecommunications every bi tas bad as feared

davecb davecb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

davecb writes "Internet Society President, Lynn St. Amour, writes

At the conclusion of today's plenary, the Internet Society is concerned about the direction that the ITRs are taking with regards to the Internet. The Internet Society came to this meeting in the hopes that revisions to the treaty would focus on competition, liberalization, free flow of information, and independent regulation — things that have clearly worked in the field of telecommunications. Instead, these concepts seem to have been largely struck from the treaty text. Additionally, and contrary to assurances that this treaty is not about the Internet, the conference appears to have adopted, by majority, a resolution on the Internet. Amendments were apparently made to the text but were not published prior to agreement. This is clearly a disappointing development and we hope that tomorrow brings an opportunity for reconsideration of this approach.

[ISOC is the quasi-parental body of the IETF, the Internet Engineering Task Force]"
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Canadian Government introduces a new, different "unlawfull access" law

davecb davecb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

davecb writes "The Canadian Government may be shying away from the "lawful access" bill, but the same changes showed up in the new privacy act amendments. Someone with proper authority other than a warrant can ask and receive your confidential information from your ISP. The bill contains a lot more, and rather looks like a systematic attempt to lower privacy standards in the name of privacy, as described in the article Bill C-12: Safeguarding Canadians' Personal Information Act – Eroding Privacy in the Name of Privacy, at the Slaw legal blog."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Why branch prediction doesn't help

davecb davecb writes  |  more than 5 years ago

In the discussion about IBM putatively buying Sun, we were having a side-discussion about prefetches and branch prediction.

I had forgotten why my branch prediction performance experiments had failed ("confirmed the null hypothesis") and had to go back to my notes.

It turns out that mature production software tends to be full of small blocks of error-handling and debug/logging code, which is not often used. A Smarter Colleague[TM] and I set out to test the newly-available branch prediction logic, expecting to see a significant improvement. I manually set the branch prediction bits in a large production application, only to find no detectable improvement.

The test application was Samba, so we changed the driver script to only read a few files from a ram disk, to eliminate disk I/O overheads. Still no detectable advantage from predicting the branches correctly!

Then we tried just a single few functions, under a test framework that did no I/O at all. Still nothing.

Eventually we tracjked it down to the debug/log/else logic: the branches areound it were always taken, but the branch-arounds were long enough that the next instructions were in a different icache line, and the cache-line had to be fetched.

It turned out that we had reproduced in code what our HPC colleagues see in data: the cache doesn't help if you're constantly leaping to a different cache line!

--dave

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Capacity planning in six paragraphs

davecb davecb writes  |  more than 5 years ago

An acquaintance asked about what to measure, and what tools to use, expecting to hear about vmstar, sar or the like.

However, the really interesting measurements are of the application's performance: response time and transactions per second.

Imagine you have a web site which responds in 1/10 second on average, is known to be running on a single cpu (queuing center, to be precise) and is averaging 6 transactions per second (TPS)

From that you know that the maximum performance will be 10 TPS, because ten 1/10ths fit into one second. You also know you're at 60% of the maximum, a nice safe number.

Now correlate this with your average CPU usage, network bandwidth and IO bandwidth, and you have a little estimator for what resources are needed to maintain good performance.

You also know that things will start getting bad at >8 TPS, so if you expect more business in future, you need to add more queuing centers (CPUs) with the appropriate amounts of network and disk I/O bandwidth.

You can also now use both the resource usage figures and tools that all the other folks have suggested, and watch out for growth in each of them. If the trend in their use looks like it will soon get above the number that corresponds to 8 TPS, above, then and only then do you need to start buying resources.

--dave c-b

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davecb davecb writes  |  more than 9 years ago This is a commonly reinvented wheel, and the version Stefan (metze) Metzmacher suggested in samba-technical is the round one (;-))

A maximally useful log message contains a number of fixed items, usually in a fixed-format header of some sort, and text for the human reader to use to understand the implications of the problem.

From memory, the fixed information includes enough to allow for mechanical sorting by nastiness and occasionally mechanical processing:

- date/time
- origin, meaning machine- or domain-name
- source, in some detail,, including the executable name and process id as a minimum, if applicable, and optionally the file, function and line, it is good to make this one token, for ease of parsing and resilience when one line has "sendmail:parse.c:parse_it:332:1948" and another has only "mconnect:1293"
- pre-classification, meaning the application type, error type and severity. DFAs can switch on this, and should.

The old ARPA format was error type source and severity as three decimal digits, which you still see when smtp says "250 ok". The 2 was permanent success, the 5 meant "the app", in this case smtp, and 0 was the severity. I prefer ascii, not numbers (;-))
- then the text for the human, saying the meaning of the error, the same way you're supposed to write the **meaning** of code in comments, not just say what the code does.

Syslog does about half of this, metze's did most of it.

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ARPA result codes

davecb davecb writes  |  more than 9 years ago Alas, many folks don't know the old ARPAnet tricks and have to reinvent them. Often inelegantly.

One very handy pair was the ARPA command and return-code standard.

A command was four letters or less at the beginning of a line (record, packet), often monocase, so it could be treated as a 4-byte integer and switched on.

For example, smtp starts ups with
helo localhost
250 froggy Hello localhost [127.0.0.1], pleased to meet you

The "HELO" is the command, and the next line the response.

the first character is an ascii digit, where
1 means "informational message", and is rare
2 means permanent success
3 means partial success, as in a series of steps.
4 means temporary failure, such as "no space", and
5 means permanent failure

The second digit is 5 for "this app" and 9 for "the OS"

The third digit is the severity, so
599 I must close down, my CPU is on fire
is a very sever and permanent error (:-))

The fourth character is an ascii blank if the reply is complete on this line, a "-" if it continues to additional lines. For example, smtp has a help command:
help
214-2.0.0 This is sendmail version 8.12.8+Sun
214-2.0.0 Topics:
214-2.0.0 HELO EHLO MAIL RCPT DATA
214-2.0.0 RSET NOOP QUIT HELP VRFY
214-2.0.0 EXPN VERB ETRN DSN
214-2.0.0 For more info use "HELP ".
214-2.0.0 To report bugs in the implementation contact Sun Microsystems
214-2.0.0 Technical Support.
214-2.0.0 For local information send email to Postmaster at your site.
214 2.0.0 End of HELP info

The three digits and the "-" for continuation allows one to write as simple or as complex a DFA as you like, by doing trivial masking on fixed-length strings.

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