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Lost Sense of Smell Is a Strong Predictor of Death Within 5 Years

kbahey Hypothesis by researchers (139 comments)

Contrary to all the speculative guesses in the comments, the researchers do have a hypothesis for this.

From the linked PLOS article:

Unique among the senses, the olfactory system depends on stem cell turnover, and thus may serve as an indicator of deterioration in age-related regenerative capacity more broadly or as a marker of physiologic repair function

about three weeks ago

Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

kbahey Re:There are no "remote" exploits for bash (329 comments)

/bin/sh is linked to /bin/bash and vulnerable

Not on Debian/Ubuntu. On those, /bin/sh is symlinked to dash, which is not vulnerable to Shellshock.

To test this, I created a small PHP script, as follows:

$ cat > x.php
system('echo hello there');

I run the php script, and do an strace following children:

$ strace -f -o output php x.php

In the output I find this:

28302 execve("/bin/sh", ["sh", "-c", "echo hello there"], [/* 24 vars */]) = 0

And here is what /bin/sh links to ...

$ ls -l /bin/sh
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 4 Mar 29 2012 /bin/sh -> dash

about three weeks ago

The Odd Effects of Being Struck By Lightning

kbahey Re:striking distance (191 comments)

In August 2009, a boy was hit by lightning and later died in hospital. Witnesses said the sky was blue above them, and there was no thunder or rain.


about three weeks ago

GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

kbahey Why is systemd bad? (314 comments)

Why is systemd bad?

The issues posed by adopting systemd to various distros are listed on the site: Boycott systemd.

Spread it around so people know ...

Mod this up!

about a month and a half ago

The Frustrations of Supporting Users In Remote Offices

kbahey Did it a long time ago ... (129 comments)

I had to deal with a remote customer whose person on site does not speak English, by getting him to enter UNIX shell commands. His native language (and mine) was Arabic.

What I did was to tell him what Arabic key to press so that the English equivalent would be the one sent to the shell.

We were lucky that his Arabic keyboard layout was the same as mine. That was not a given in those days (Late 80s, early 90s), but we lucked out.

He was describing to me the output in English (vertical bar, vertical bar with a circle at the bottom, ...etc).

It worked out and we solved the problem in less than an hour.

about a month and a half ago

Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

kbahey They store credit card data with the transaction (132 comments)

Home Depot stores credit cards with the transactions.

I know this because when you go to return something I bought, they don't ask you for the credit card, and sort of highlight that this is a convenience that is unique to Home Depot.

I complained more than once to the cashiers about storing credit card numbers (it is not their fault, it is management and IT). The cashiers would say: "Don't worry, we don't have access to it!"

My response was: it is not you whom I am worried about.

Now we know that storing credit cards is a bad idea, and why ...

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

kbahey Typing this on a recliner (154 comments)

I work from home, and have been using a recliner as my only "desk" for about 6 years and have the following to share ...

- My recliner is a La-Z-Boy. Can't remember the model since it is has been many years, but it is not something fancy. I tried leather for a little while, but it can be sweaty and sensitive to even your finger nails. So I have been using fabric.

- If you recliner has a wall behind it, then move it away from the wall a bit so it can recline back.

- Your LEGS (calves and feet) will feel better on a recliner.

- Use a pillow or something to support your NECK. It will feel better.

- Watch for your BACK. Put a stiff-ish wide pillow below you if you feel like you bottom is sinking in the chair. Also, put another stiff-ish wide pillow behind your lower back. Experiment with different pillows until you find the right combination.

- Avoid any FANCY back support that curves your spine too much. These are the most common ones on the market in my experience. This includes the wire frame lumbar support mesh thingies (they aerate well, but will hurt your back because of too much spine curvature), or those cylinder shaped hard pillows.

- Use a LAPDESK (those foam filled sacks with a vinyl covered plywood surface).

- Get a table that is level with the arm rests beside you so you can easily sip your beverage of choice, and have some handy items too (pens, paper, mobile phone, ...etc.)

- You will be absorbed in whatever you are doing, so interaction with the wife and kids will be mostly "huh? what did you say?" or "later, I am focusing on something else here" ... Not quality time ...

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

kbahey How timely ... (427 comments)

How timely. I am doing a presentation at the local LUG (KWLUG) on OpenWRT in a couple of days.

There are various options out there that are supported by OpenWRT.

In this day and age, you want the most memory and flash that you can get, gigabit ethernet, Wirless N dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), as well as USB.

I use The D-Link DIR-835, which has 128MB RAM, 16MB flash (the most memory and flash that you can get for a reasonable price) and all the above features . It goes for ~ $80 in Canada.

There are other options that support most of the above, but with a bit less RAM or flash sometimes, but perhaps 2 port USB, ...etc.

They are:

TP-Link WDR-4300 ~ $70
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 ~ $55
TP-Link TL-WR1043ND ~ $50

All of the above are supported on OpenWRT development snapshots (soon to be a stable release, Barrier Breaker).

about 2 months ago

Australia Rebooting Search For MH370

kbahey Re:Why the Australians? (92 comments)

For AF447, wreckage was spotted 2 days after the plane went missing, and bodies of passangers were recovered 4 days after that. That gave a rough area to search for the black boxes.

Not a single piece of wreckage from MH370 was found to give a clue on roughly where it went down.

The area is vast, so it is a mind boggling task.

about 3 months ago

Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

kbahey Berserkers (160 comments)

Reminds me of the Berserkers in Viking stories, who went into battle and fought in a trance like frenzied state.

about 3 months ago

Google Reader: One Year Later

kbahey Re:Tiny Tiny RSS (132 comments)

Another Tiny Tiny RSS user here. I run it on the home server, and never looked back.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Web Language That's Long-Lived, and Not Too Buzzy?

kbahey Wrong reason ... (536 comments)

I am no fan of Perl, but if you have an application that is mission critical, has lots of legacy code, and just works, then you do not go about rewriting it just because there is some dislike for the language.

If it was something related, such as difficulty of finding suitable candidates for developer positions, then I would understand. But just because "perl is ossifying" does not cut it as a valid reason.

about 4 months ago

Amazon Announces 'Fire Phone'

kbahey Dedicated camera button? (192 comments)

There's a dedicated physical button on the side of the phone that will turn it on and put it into camera mode when pressed.


I've had that since 2013 on my Sony Xperia ZL.
And even before that on the Sony Xperia Arc.
And even before that on the Sony Xperia X10 since 2011.

about 4 months ago

Amazon's Android Appstore Coming To BlackBerry

kbahey Market share predicted to be 0.3% by 2018 (76 comments)

Blackberry's market share is predicted to fall to 0.3% by 2018. And they will ship 50% less handsets this year than the past.

Here is the link.

about 4 months ago

Docker 1.0 Released

kbahey Re:Holy crap! (88 comments)

The proper way is to install gdebi:

sudo aptitude install gdebi

Then, you install a downloaded .deb using gdebi:

sudo gdebi packagefile.deb

Gdebi will search for dependencies for that .deb and install them for you automatically.

about 4 months ago

General Anesthesia Exposure In Infancy Causes Long-Term Memory Deficits

kbahey I had tonsillectomy (90 comments)

Reverse anecdote ...

I had tonsillectomy as well, when I was around 5. Yes, in the 1960s it was very common.

But never suffered from memory loss. On the contrary, I was always told I had good memory.

No problem with muscle coordination too

about 4 months ago

Free Wi-Fi Coming To Atlanta's Airport

kbahey Toronto's Pearson (135 comments)

Meanwhile in the north, we have had Wifi for many years at Toronto's Pearson airport ...

about 5 months ago

On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google

kbahey Re:I have seen this ... (108 comments)

But the point is, I am in Southern Ontario, and searching on just the restaurant's name does not get me Restaurantica results at all on the first page. And, it used to be that Restaurantica did show up by searching just the restaurant's name, in the first couple of results.

Google has been "going local" for a while, showing you results in your area first. But this is the exact opposite.

about 5 months ago

On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google

kbahey I have seen this ... (108 comments)

I have seen this in a few sites I run. One is a business site, another is a special interest with specific demographics, and the third is a blog.

It all started with Google shuffling their algorithms, with Panda then Pengiun.

I saw traffic drop on all three sites. Some coninciding with Panda, and the other coninciding with Pengiun.

One site was the top site for certain search terms for many long years. Not anymore. That site saw a 7.5X drop in pageviews per month traffic. Another site saw 3.5X drop, and the third was 2.5X.

What is weird is that Google de-indexed one site because of "un-natural links". When I contacted them, I asked what the links are, so I can remove them. They never came back with any definitive information, and sent the same template email saying site de-indexed because of un-natural links. It took 3 or 4 tries, and then they reinstated the site back in the index. They never told me what the links are, and never explained why they de-listed the site nor why they reinstated it.

Another thing of note: some sites no longer show up in Google searches. For example, here in Canada we have a restaurant review site called Restaurantica. It used to show up in the first few searches for restaurants in the area (Southern Ontario). Now, I don't see it at all on the front page. Seems Google decided that Trip Advisor and Urban Spoon are the authoratitive ones for restaurant, and Restaurantica is third class or something.

I also noticed that the search quality for Google has gone downhill starting in 2011. Really stupid matching of terms, some partial strings even. I've never seen Google's search that bad before.

They are for sure dumbing things down, a general trend in the industry in the name of "user experience" and such. You see this in Firefox with the dumbed down Australis, which requires Classic Theme Restorer to undo some of the damage.

Sigh ...

about 5 months ago

Game Industry Fights Rising Development Costs

kbahey Re:Procedural generation anyone? (111 comments)

Or, perhaps it is the generation that can't understand procedural [programming] that is the issue ...


about 5 months ago



First transmission of Bitcoin over public radio

kbahey kbahey writes  |  about 9 months ago

kbahey (102895) writes "A local radio channel in Kitchener-Waterloo was able to successfully transmit Bitcoin over radio waves. This makes what is believed to be the first known transmission of the digital currency by a public radio station. A series of beeps were played over the air, and listeners were asked to use an app known as to decipher a code produced by the sound. Chris Skory of Rockland County, New York was the winning recipient, and unlocked 0.05 Bitcoin worth about $40. The Bitcoin was donated by Waterloo start-up Tinkercoin and a local Bitcoin enthusiast.

Those local enthusiasts engage in local buying and selling of Bitcoin."

Whitehouse CIO on Open Source in Government

kbahey kbahey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

kbahey (102895) writes "The North American DrupalCon 2010 was held in San Francisco from 19 to 21 April with about 3,000 attendees. The highlight of the conference was the keynote by David Cole, CIO for the Whitehouse, on Open Source in government. The link has a video of the talk and a panel with the New York State Senate CIO, Andrew Hoppin.

As reported before on Slashdot, the Whitehouse is a Drupal user since October 2009."

Link to Original Source

Bono wishes movie moguls succeed against downloads

kbahey kbahey writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Khalid Baheyeldin writes "In his New York Times op-ed column, Irish singer Bono, otherwise noted for his humanitarian efforts expressed dismay at losses music artists incur from internet downloads. He notes that "we know from America's noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China's ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it's perfectly possible to track content". He then goes on to wonder "perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product.""
Link to Original Source

Facebook users may not be academic slackers

kbahey kbahey writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Khalid Baheyeldin writes "Last month, Slashdot covered a study claiming that there is a negative correlation between using Facebook and academic performance. Now, A new paper titled Facebook and Academic Performance: Reconciling a Media Sensation with data challenges that, and blames media sensationalism for the earlier coverage. If anything, they say there is a positive correlation. The authors of the new paper also respond to comments by the author of the earlier one too."
Link to Original Source

Canadian voting tech enters American politics

kbahey kbahey writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Khalid Baheyeldin writes "The CBC is reporting that a so-called "next-generation Canadian voting technology" is making its way on to the American political stage.

The secure electronic voting system based on cryptographic principles was conceived at the University of Ottawa about two years ago. The makers claims that Scantegrity's electronic voting technology is designed to provide end-to-end verifiable voter results.

From the article:

The key problem in automated voter technology is ensuring voter anonymity — by unlinking ballots from citizens' identities — while still providing them a way to check that their ballots have been cast properly.

"Scantegrity gives voters a privacy-preserving receipt," [Essex] says. "It doesn't show other people how you voted, but it does allow you to have a way to check to ensure your vote gets counted."

The concept is similar to hotels that issue confirmation numbers, he says. "You can go online and look up your confirmation number, but it doesn't display your room number."

Another key security feature Scantegrity provides is software independence, Essex says. "This means if an error is made in the software, that mistake can't go through the process undetected. There's a software tool that does a cryptographic self-audit to verify computations."

Scantegrity is designed as an add-on to existing optical scanning voting systems such as Diebold, he says. But the difference is that mathematical formulas are used to generate the randomized confirmation codes issued to voters, and cryptographic principles are used in the software to tabulate and verify the results.


Link to Original Source

RedHat's Bob Young on Canada's copyright bill

kbahey kbahey writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Khalid Baheyeldin writes "Red Hat founder Bob Young voiced concerns on Canada's Bill C-61. The bill, among other things, would make it illegal to modify or remove any device or software fitted with a technical protection measures (TPMs).

Young said "the proposed bill will cater too heavily to the content industry and not to the engineers and software developers that are going to be most severely impacted by the new laws. The proposed anti-circumvention legislation, he said, is similar to making the use and ownership of screw-drivers and pliers illegal because they can be used to commit crimes such as burglary."

Bob Young is now CEO of on demand publishing Lulu, and owner of the Hamilton Tiger-cats."

kbahey kbahey writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Khalid writes "The Canadian Press is reporting that after a 72-second surveillance tape was posted on Youtube, a suspect in a stabbing murder case has surrendered.

Consequently, police in Hamilton, Ontario say they now consider YouTube to be an effective crime-fighting tool.

From the article:
Police say the clip didn't lead to any witnesses coming forward, but the extra attention paid to the case because of the use of YouTube likely encouraged the suspect to turn himself in.
Hamilton police believe it's the first time law enforcement has used YouTube as a direct investigative tool.
Staff Sgt. Jorge Lasso, who made the decision to post the clip online, says the video had registered some 34,000 hits as of Thursday.


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