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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

Fotis Georgatos Re:First and foremost (176 comments)

Or, better, find an agent who can act on your behalf and provide for both, against some reasonable cost.
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel, unless you really need to.

3 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Who's the Doctors Without Borders of Technology?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Engineers Without Borders (112 comments)

hm... something interesting might be going on with email... in that case, google-plus-me, we are not all that much hidden in cyberspace!

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Who's the Doctors Without Borders of Technology?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Engineers Without Borders (112 comments)


Perhaps you are the man; please, please, have a look at this talk by Hans Rosling: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_...

If you find it inspiring enough, kindly contact back at georgatos _at_ ewb-luxembourg _dot_ org ;
I play as the secretary of the board, at EWB Luxembourg organization (other mundane roles included).

about two weeks ago

Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

Fotis Georgatos Re:bitching (98 comments)

no NSA project here, unless Digital Pine is a subsidiary? small world, isn't it?

about a month ago

Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

Fotis Georgatos If so... (395 comments)

...the impact of this would be profound in energy distribution since it can potentially decouple real-time supply-demand constraints.

about a month and a half ago

Send Your Own Radiosonde 90,000 Feet Into the Sky (Video)

Fotis Georgatos There is also SatNOGS... (48 comments)

...for the rest of us who can only afford a 200$ project to hear the beeping sounds from all that craft above 30.000 feet!


about a month and a half ago

GlaxoSmithKline Released 45 Liters of Live Polio Virus

Fotis Georgatos Re:Imagine the punishment it it killed millions (209 comments)

Well, this makes for an interesting observation:
* If someone knows in advance the herd immunity of a specific ethnic group and happen to be able to calculate differentiated susceptibility rates, then that would count well as deliberate act, regardless even if the calculations were correct or not.

It would still be genocide if an alternative ethnic group was hit hard, as a result of deliberate attempt.

And even if it is not genocide, it is still a criminal act by needlessly exposing members of the public at risk, in a way which is totally avoidable.

about 2 months ago

Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

Fotis Georgatos Octopus eats its own tentacles when hungry, no? (481 comments)

And if so, what would stop people doing the same?

Live from the field: Octopus just barely escaped being in our menu today, while ordering seafood in a right-next-to-the-sea tavern, outside of Nafplion, Greece.

Well, fact is, octopus IS really admirable animal, among other reasons for passing the mirror test. For the record, dogs typically do not pass the mirror test, ie. cannot consistently recognise themselves in a mirror. Octopus is surprisingly intelligent for an animal that is apparently primitive!

That being said, it's very tasty, too. I'll spare you the details of the great ways to cook it and prepare delicious dishes in the greek cuisine; for one, I have been catching octopuses, even before I was a teenager, in a traditional millenium-old underwater manner using just a harpoon. Big thrill for any young child.

However, there IS a problem with how we catch octopus and much other marine life: it is seriously important to avoid catching/capturing the young animals and only collect the individuals of some age, after having passed from breeding cycle. This is an increasing concern with many fishes, also, and we should all frown upon the practice of catching really really young fish, which is considered a delicacy in some places (Yes, I'm looking at you, South Italy). The sea needs to be respected and cultivated with more seriousness than it is currently done. Human population and technical know-how for fishing have increased in a way that is unsustainable: the sooner we understand it, the better. The sea could and would provide, yet not for the greedy...

about 2 months ago

Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Fotis Georgatos Re:Nothing to do with language (329 comments)


Having been an avid bash user for almost as long as the bug existed, and written countless shell scripts in it for that matter, I cannot avoid agreeing with parent. Fact is, shell language definition is nowhere near high-quality BNF-defined syntactical structure, therefor it is unknown how many more fancy bugs are hidden in the parser. What worries me even more are the famous bashisms, of which we all fall victims sooner or later: *users* and subsequent sysadmins of our produced software may fall victims of such code, suffering from unneeded compatibility issues. Shell scripting is certainly a very kludgy area of modern unix systems and it takes great effort to keep things tidy and maintainable.

about 2 months ago

Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Fotis Georgatos Re:Soon to be patched (329 comments)

RedHat is far more economical than Windows, when you need a big population of nodes, because you can use fi. free Scientific Linux on your many compute nodes and just keep one or two for validation of bugs and formal support. Best of all, it is all legal as long as you don't misrepresent the facts!

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Multimedia-Based Wiki For Learning and Business Procedures?

Fotis Georgatos If you expand a bit the circle of candidates... (97 comments)

...I suspect Confluence together with plugin CYO Create-Your-Own would do the job.

As an extra bonus, it might, just might, allow your office documents to be reasonably integrated within the wiki (fi. search box).
Although, I try to stray away of not open source software, I had overall good experience with Confluence a couple years ago.
Also, Apache Software Foundation has also been relying on it for years (after all, that's how they got hacked ;-).
Let us know how it would or would not fit your bill.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

Fotis Georgatos Re:well... (191 comments)

calrification: they rather should pick the 1st letter from each word of the poem/song they already remember; example:
"I'm gonna swing from the chandelier" -> "I'mgsftc" #pick 1st word letter -> "2I'mgsftc" # added 2 as salt -> "2I'mg5ftc" # replaced s for 5
password is now possible to memorize by a child and seriously secure

btw. one more point of attention: this exercise should rather be done together with parents, for both pedagogical and technical reasons:
* the child has a fall-back when it forgets the password
* parents will ensure that the *habbit* of doing it right gets passed on; in fact, that's the only one true think the child should memorise

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

Fotis Georgatos well... (191 comments)

If all the services they use are *online*, then using lastpass as password manager is a very sensible choice:

  • * no cost
  • * good security
  • * good integration within online activity (browsers etc)
  • * the only one to come within 24hrs of heartbleed giving a tool checking sites' vulnerability

You still need to remember one password though; what I would with children is the following: ask them to say a poem/song they remember; pick a line of the lyrics that they are likely to recall clearly; tweak slightly the letters with *them* driving the process (e->3, o->0 etc); add a little salt in the beginning (one or two characters); use that for the password manager. Proposed solution is not of exotic entropy, yet will do the job with flying colours, for most children.

In fact, they would be in good enough shape to start teaching the adults around how to do the job :-P

about 2 months ago

Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

Fotis Georgatos *Phony* cell towers... (237 comments)

... ha ha, still LOL about it!

about 3 months ago

How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Fotis Georgatos Re:It's not that difficult (202 comments)

nope; that's wrong; 50 tonne pieces are known to be possible to carry around, in fact it was a regular service in antiquity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

Given that Egyptians were providing for "negative incentives" on their population, as opposed to "positive incentives", it was a pretty cheap theater overall, too...

Carrying 1500 tons would not be out of reach with means of the time, if techniques were adequately developed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...
If you are into sailing, you can well understand that flotation, ballast, ropes, levers and forces of nature can do really much for you!

about 3 months ago

Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Fotis Georgatos Re:OpenRC (826 comments)

Oops, I hadn't realized before where OpenRC fits in the ecosystem, thanks for that comment!
People need to check this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... -> Features

In fact, what is fundamentally incomplete (broken?) in the current init mechanism is the inability to handle startup dependencies gracefully (hey computer scientists, we call that stuff DAGs: Directed Acyclic Graphs) and it is a prerequisite if we really want to see fast startup times in complex systems with complex services - service startup should be a like a tree, not like a chain.

Now, that being said, systemd seems to bring on top of the previous the ability to dynamically reconfigure the system upon changing hardware. That is indeed a feature that some people may have, yet not necessarily all. Forcing the baggage of that upon the whole linux population, is the major point of contention, IMHO.

Before anyone accuses me of jumping ship, let me make it clear that I'm old-style Linux pro (20+ yrs), probably on the conservative side which favors the widely tested init processes. However, being given choice would be appropriate and, at least allowing for DAG process startup is well desired.

about 3 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Fotis Georgatos Re:My experiences (191 comments)

Knowing the skills of the people around you is indeed a very smart and correct strategy. For you and for others.

about 3 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Things (191 comments)

> 1. Don't be there.

I think this requires a bit more of explanation, since it may be possible or, it may be not;

If you are located in a place that has an advance warning for potential natural disaster or adverse weather, it is very wise to take yourself out of the affected pool of people, in ordered and non-panic mode, since that releases relief resources for others who perhaps may end up in a major need.

I happen to come from an island in Greece, whereby a 7+ Richter scale EQ may occur twice per century; jumping out of the island is not always an option, however, the same argument still applies: - make sure you don't drain relief resources from the people that may be in higher need

Sometimes people don't grasp fully that action or non-action _can_ influence other citizen lives.

Finally, in a recent quake episode in Kefalonia, cars proved to be a good emergency handling measure, for both transport and sleep needs:
keep the family together => reduce movements => increase safety
This proved to be crucial during a period of the year that tents were made very unfavorable due to weather patterns and quickly ended up abandoned, after many days of aftershocks.

Conclusion? if you have a car keep some emergency stock in it - in worst case you'll help somebody else!

about 3 months ago



Network neutrality & bias, revisited

Fotis Georgatos Fotis Georgatos writes  |  about 2 months ago

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "As per Tim Wu, current Internet is not neutral as, "among all applications, its implementation of best effort generally favors file transfer and other non-time sensitive traffic over real-time communications". Please, do remember these words next time you fire up your favourite VoIP or videoconference client and you end up with broken or so-and-so communication!

In fact, if we look at how transportation roads are organised, it is neither free-for-all nor a market-only game: especially cities in Europe tend to have a fused model of lanes for generic usage and dedicated lanes for "responsive" traffic (bus, taxis etc). Why shouldn't the same concept work also on the Internet? If not, why not?

Perhaps, provided capacity by ISPs could be divided in a defined A:B ratio and, ensure that at moments of congestion the capacity is divided at that level. It could be 1:1 ratio (ie. 50% fraction) or it could be something else, however the whole debate going on trying to impose upon us the idea that the solution is either 0 or ...infinity and nothing else, is certainly not very convincing.

Whatever the perfect solution for the Net might be, it should not fail to achieve two major targets:
  • maintain the current ability of the network to serve all classes of users in some auto-tuning mode
  • ensure that incentives stay in place, for ISPs to keep investing in bandwidth and providing new services

Otherwise, how do we expect to have reliable videoconferencing and hard-realtime services down the road?"


Best PDF handling library, for our own definition of "best" ;-)

Fotis Georgatos Fotis Georgatos writes  |  about 4 months ago

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "I got recently engaged in a conversation about handling PDF texts for a range of needs, such as creation, manipulation, merging, text extraction and searching, digital signing etc etc. A couple of potential picks popped up (PDFBox, itext), given some Java experience of the other fellows. And then comes the reality of choosing software as a long term knowledge investment! ideally, we would like to combine these features:
  • open source, with a community following ; the kind of stuff slashdotters would prefer
  • tidy software architecture; simple things should remain simple
  • allow open API allowing usage across many languages (say: Python & Java)
  • clear licensing status, not estranging future commercial use
  • serious multilingual & font support
  • PDF-handling rich features, not limiting usage for invoicing, e-commerce, reports & data mining
  • digital signing should not go against other features

I'd like to poll the collective slashdot crowd wisdom about if/which PDF related libraries, they have written software with, keeps them happy for *all* the above reasons. And if not happy with that all, what do they thing is the best bet for learning one piece of software in the area, with great reusability across different circumstances and little need for extra hacks?

ROTG is not at all a good answer; I'd really like to hear the smoked out war stories. It is easy to obtain a list of such libraries, yet tricky to understand how many obtained success with them!"

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