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Comments

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Larry Ellison Believes Apple Is Doomed

digitalderbs A shocking statement (692 comments)

No one would argue that Steve Jobs made important contributions to modern computing. However, it's hardly surprising that a CEO, such as Ellison, would have an inflated perception of the importance of one individual (i.e. the CEO) to the success of a company. If he didn't believe that, then it would be hard to justify the millions he pays himself every year.

1 year,14 days
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Ubuntu Will Now Have Amazon Ads Pre-Installed

digitalderbs Re:Easily disabled (646 comments)

Thereby disadvantaging the non-technical user once again.

about 2 years ago
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Feds Add 9 Felony Charges Against Swartz For JSTOR Hack

digitalderbs Re:Curious. (252 comments)

Am I the only one who thinks it's a bad idea to allow JSTOR and others to prevent worldwide dissemination of academic knowledge through a paywall?

No. Apparently, Swartz does too.

about 2 years ago
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Windows Has a Future In RAM: AgigaTech Samples DDR3+Flash DIMM

digitalderbs UPS (139 comments)

I'm a little skeptical that this will revolutionize IT. How is this an improvement over a system on a UPS with a lot of RAM and aggressive caching? Data centers, which seem to be this product's first market target, already have this in place.

about 2 years ago
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Microryza Brings Crowd-Funding To Scientific Research

digitalderbs I don't think this will work (40 comments)

And this is why: regular people aren't qualified to evaluate good research. They also aren't qualified to evaluate research progress. I don't think you can produce a sustainable system for funding without review from your peers. You need experts to look at a carefully designed research project and decide whether it's feasible, worth the investment and whether the researchers are qualified to do the work. A system built without peer review may be successful at first, but ultimately, it will lead to disappointment and wasted money. (That said, it would be better if there were a mechanism to donate your money directly to the NSF and NIH extramural research funding agencies with targets for, say, AIDS research or superconductors.)

more than 2 years ago
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Profile of a Real-Life Jedi Academy

digitalderbs Re:Did he find his stolen lightsaber? (128 comments)

Yes, and according to this article, that lightsaber cost $700, which answers his question from the first article, "why would someone steal a lightsaber?" -- because, apparently, someone is willing to pay $100-$5000 for one (or lift one from a bar that is being passed around.......)

more than 2 years ago
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How much of your music/video entertainment is streamed online?

digitalderbs Spotify a promising alternative to Pandora (170 comments)

I had a 1 year subscription to Pandora, and last month, I switched to Spotify. I found Pandora's rotations to be too limited for a given radio station. With Spotify, you can listen to whole albums and actually choose what you'll listen to. It has a related artist radio function, just like Pandora, and if you pay the $10/month subscription, you can download all of these tracks to portable devices like iPods--up to ~3300 or so tracks offline at a time. Now, instead of buying a few CDs (which I may or may not like), I'll just download them to my iPod with my Spotify premium subscription. Their collection has only been limiting in very few cases for me.

note: I'm not affiliated with Spotify. I'm just very happy with the switch, and I think more people would do online streaming--whether video or audio--if they had access to vast collections of media and the ability to watch or listen offline.

about 2 years ago
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Fake IPad 2s Made of Clay Sold At Canadian Stores

digitalderbs EULA (265 comments)

Thankfully, the EULA's short and easy with only 10 items, but it still has you signing over your life.

more than 2 years ago
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Do Slashdotters Encrypt Their Email?

digitalderbs I don't use it for the encryption (601 comments)

I've been using PGP for a few years, and on the odd occasion, I'll send an encrypted email to myself. Part of the problem is that no one knows how to use PHP. I've been sending email to thousands of people in an academic setting, and I've only encountered one other person using PGP.

The reason I keep using PGP, however, is because of digital signing: there's a good guarantee that signed messages were actually sent by me. Headers are fairly trivial to spoof. With PGP, a 'hacker' can only impersonate me if they have access to the private key, which requires physical or ssh access, and he or she must be able to decrypt that key.

That said, I wish more people would encrypt their messages. This should be a no-brainer in a lot of fields, including human rights and for health and human services, and I think the barrier to commit to email encryption is still too great.

more than 2 years ago
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Secure Syslog Replacement Proposed

digitalderbs postscript on signing log messages (248 comments)

It occurred to me shortly after posting that a simple hash could easily be forged, and that a key signing of sorts would be needed to make it secure, though the system would have to be able to sign its own log messages without giving the hacker access to the signing key.

more than 2 years ago
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Secure Syslog Replacement Proposed

digitalderbs Very simple text-based implementation (248 comments)

Signing log messages does not need to be complicated or incompatible with current text-based logging. Hashing messages is incredibly easy to do, and there's really no reason not to do it. I just implemented this in python in less than two minutes.

>>> from hashlib import md5
>>> log = lambda last_message, message: "{}: {}".format( md5(last_message).hexdigest(), message)

The output hashes the last message with the current message:

8a023b9cbebe055e4b080585ccba3246: [ 19.609619] userif-2: sent link up event.
649a2719064f7f276462464527b48a69: [ 29.680009] eth0: no IPv6 routers present

No binaries, still grepable, single host and most importantly, there is now a trail that can be verified.

more than 2 years ago
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Tying Molecules In Knots

digitalderbs protein knots (12 comments)

Actually naturally-occuring protein knots have been known for some time now. See knots.mit.edu for example. This appears to be one of the first synthetic knots.

more than 2 years ago
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Ballistic Clipboard Holds Papers, Stops Bullets

digitalderbs Re:So.... (161 comments)

Police officers are already trained to cover their hearts with a hand in the event of a shooting. A clipboard may already be in-hand, it offers a larger surface-area, and if it catches bullets, the officer stands a better chance of surviving.

more than 2 years ago
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Are Power Users Too Cool For Ubuntu Unity?

digitalderbs Re:A counter perspective on Unity (798 comments)

I hate to reply to my own post, but I forgot to mention one important detail. I'd advise using the 2D unity interface--not the default 3D unity interface built on compiz. The 2D interface is built on metacity (from Gnome 2), and it's considerably faster. To install:

$ sudo apt-get install unity-2d

And select it in the lightdm login screen.

more than 2 years ago
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Are Power Users Too Cool For Ubuntu Unity?

digitalderbs A counter perspective on Unity (798 comments)

I consider myself a power user, and I like unity. I've been using Linux exclusively for about 10 years now, and I run my own mail server, database, web server, and I tinker with sshd config files, send my emails with gpg--the works. I had switched from Debian to Kubuntu about 2 years ago, and I've used KDE from 3.1 to about 4.3. I switched away from KDE because it was slow with compositing and switching windows.

Now unity does have its issues, but it has many strengths. The 2D interface is built on metacity, and it's very fast. One thing I like about unity is that the title bar serves the dual purpose as the status bar, saving about a half inch or more of vertical screen space on every window. I use the keyboard extensively for window management, and not having a title bar in addition to a status bar is a welcome change.

The launcher stays out of the way (behind windows), and it can be easily used to launch applications with a keyboard. A number associated with each application on the launcher panel such that it'll either launch a new instance or switch to an existing instance instantly when pressed. For instance, I can press Win+1 from anywhere, and it'll take me to my browser, or open a new browser window.

That said, unity definitely still needs work when it comes to managing a lot of windows. My typical workstation has 9 desktops with up to 9 windows on each. For applications, such as Gimp, that use multiple windows, minimizing and accessing different windows can be a hassle in unity. There are also some stability issues in unity.

However, I do think that unity 2D shows great promise, particularly for users that are adept at keyboard shortcuts.

more than 2 years ago
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Steve Jobs' Missing License Plate

digitalderbs Parking in Handicap (579 comments)

I find it a bit hard to believe that there wasn't a reserved parking space for the chairman right next to the doors. Or are you telling me that he would deliberately not park in a reserved space just so that he could clog up the handicap spaces? That would staggering.

more than 2 years ago
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We Finally Know Why Oil and Water Don't Mix

digitalderbs Re:Entropy (222 comments)

I'd like to add a few points to this useful post, as a related expert.

As implied by the parent post, one of the biggest reason scientists care is because this is a dominating contribution to the folding of soluble proteins--proteins in water. The hydrophic effect has been understood for a long time (half a centery), including the fact that the entropic contribution to the free energy is proportional to the surface area change between two separate oil droplets and one. (This is the a-a(0) term in their equation.)

Their equation further adds contributions for the surface tension of the solvent (gamma) and an exponential decay term for the drying of water between the two two hydrophobic surfaces are they approach each other. Such phenomena have been well characterized in the last ten or so years by molecular dynamics simulations, and this appears to be an experimental confirmation of this effect.

The statement, however, that this paper finally describes the enigmatic hydrophobic effect is a gross PR overstatement.

more than 2 years ago
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Conflict Between Occupy Wall Street Protestors and NYPD Escalating

digitalderbs Check out the RealNews (961 comments)

The RealNews has coverage--look at transcript if you can't watch the video. They're an independent news outlet that monitors exactly this type of news.

It appears that the protest, named Occupy Wall Street, is targeted at the corporate influence over politics, the imperialistic foreign policies of the US, and a demand for greater accountability in politics.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Free Multi-user Remote Desktop Management

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 2 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "I'm setting up a research lab in physical chemistry, and as part of my setup, I'd like to get a server with 8-12 cores that can be used by my students and post-docs. I'd like to give desktop (GUI) access to each of my users so that they may use software licensed only for that computer. I've tried X-forwarding with ssh on a fast network, and performance is definitely an issue. I'm looking for a free (and preferrably open sourced) system for managing multiple remote desktop sessions. VNC is of course the standard, and it works well but, from what I can tell, lacks multi-user session management. The NoMachine NX server works wonderfully on both low and high latency networks, but it's limited to two concurrent users. Alternative NX server implementations exist, including FreeNX, x2go and Google's neatx. What are your recommendations for remote desktop management client and server software for 6-12 concurrent users over a high (100Mbps) or low (1Mbps) bandwidth connection?"
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Citibank Compromised

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 3 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "In a recent attack on Citibank, hackers "breached the bank's network and accessed data on hundreds of thousands of bank card holders." At this stage, Citigroup has admitted that customer names, account numbers, and contact information have been compromised, but not birth dates, social security numbers and CVV security codes. News of this major breach hasn't yet been reported by major US news agencies."
Link to Original Source
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Django 1.3 released

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 3 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "Django, the popular, Python-based web framework, has released version 1.3 after a year of development. This version includes support for class-based views, support for Python's logging facilities, improved management of static (media) content, and improvements to the unittest framework, which makes use of Python's new improvements to unittest. A summary of the new features can be read from the release notes."
Link to Original Source
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Where has the quality gone?

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 3 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "A recent Ask Slashdot examined the importance of testing in software. A number of comments discussed the cost-benefits of testing, and whether it would save a company money in the long run. This made me think of quality assurance and testing in consumer products in general. In the last months, and after this Christmas, I've bought or received nearly a dozen things that have come to me broken, faulty, or have become unusable after a short time. Is the return rate of products and the expectation of quality so low that QA is no longer done on the products we buy? What's your experience?"
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How do you organize your experimental data?

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  about 4 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "As a researcher in the physical sciences, I have generated thousands of experimental datasets that need to be sorted and organized--a problem which many of you have had to deal with as well, no doubt. I've sorted my data with an elaborate system of directories and symbolic links to directories that sort my data by sample, pH, experimental type, and other qualifiers, but I've found that through the years, I've needed to move, rename, and reorganize these directories and links, which have left me with thousands of dangling links and a heterogeneous naming scheme. What have you done to organize, tag and add metadata to your data, and how have you dealt with redirecting thousands of symbolic links at a time?"
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How Do You Manage Your Home Directories?

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "A problem plaguing most people with multiple computers is the arduous task of synchronizing files between them : documents, pictures, code, or data. Every one seems to have their own strategies, whether they involve usb drives, emailed attachments, rsync or a distributed management system, all of which have varying degrees of success in implementing fast synchronization, interoperability, redundancy and versioning, and encryption. Myself, I've used unison for file synchronization and rsnapshot for backups between two linux servers and a Mac OS X laptop. I've recently considered adding some sophistication by implementing a version control system like subversion, git or bazaar, but have found some shortcomings in automating commits and pushing updates to all systems. What system do you use to manage your home directories, and how have they worked for you for managing small files (dot config files) and large (gigabyte binaries of data) together?"
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How Much Should E-Books Cost

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "The New York Times has a story on the price of e-books and how much they should cost, compared to their printed forms. "Publishers and authors say it is much more complicated than the cost of paper and shipping. The lower e-book price "is not sustainable," said Mr. Baldacci, whose novels regularly rise to the top of hardcover best seller lists. If readers insist on cut-rate electronic books, he said, "unfortunately there won't be anyone selling it anymore because you just can't make any money." At the same time we're being charged full price to replace the same books, music and movies every decade, and being led to believe that what we're "buying is the content, not necessarily the format.""
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Netflix's Roku Releases GPL software

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "The Netflix player company, Roku, has released their software under the GPL, as required by the GPL of the software the Roku player uses. Could this lead to software players on other platforms? They, however, imply that not all of their software has been GPL'ed.

"Certain components of the software included with the Netflix Player by Roku are subject to separate license terms, including "free" or "open source" software ("Separately Licensed Code"). As required by the terms of the relevant Separately Licensed Code licenses, Roku makes the "free" and "open source" code provided under such licenses, and Roku's modifications to such code, available on Roku's website, at no charge. If you believe any additional source code files should be provided under the applicable open source license, please contact us at support@roku.com and provide in detail the product or code module in question.""
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Favorite books

digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "In reading comments on Slashdot, I've discovered many interesting books. Some of my finds include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich and Design Patterns by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides. What are your favorite fiction and non-fiction books and why? I'm hoping we can share those gems in our library collections."
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digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 7 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "CNN is reporting that the MIT dean of admissions has been fired for falsifying her resume 28 years ago. She misrepresented degrees from Albany Medical College, Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College. Despite not having these credentials, she was well recognized for her service at the university :

Jones was named dean of admissions at MIT in 1997 and received MIT's highest award for administrators, the "MIT Excellence Award for Leading Change." She was also the 2006 winner of the "Gordon Y Billard Award" given "for special service of outstanding merit" performed for the school.
"
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digitalderbs digitalderbs writes  |  more than 7 years ago

digitalderbs (718388) writes "CNN is covering the Time Magazine person of the year.. you. In the December 25th 2006 issue of Time, the article will discuss how the biggest story of 2006 is the revolution on the internet : blogging, YouTube, myspace, facebook, wikipedia and so on. From the article :
"It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes...The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.""

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