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Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

nickovs Environmental ROI? (195 comments)

This begs the question whether mining for BitCoins is more damaging to the environment than mining for precious metals, for a given value of return. The EPA emissions factor for electricity is about 0.69 tons of CO2 per megawatt hour, so producing the electricity used by this datacenter is, on average, dumping into the atmosphere 331 tons of CO2 per day or about 120,000 tons of CO2 per year. While there are many other forms of environmental damage from gold mining, a quick search suggest that the greenhouse emissions from gold extraction run to about 11.5 tons of CO2 equivalent per kg of Gold. At this rate 120,000 tons of CO2 yields of 10.5 tons of gold, worth nearly $500 million at today's price. Will this datacentre yield more than half a billion dollars worth of bit coins each year?

about a month and a half ago

Milestone: The Millionth UK-Made Raspberry Pi

nickovs So many uses (129 comments)

I have four RPi boards. One monitors my UPSs, cleanly suspending my server when the power goes out and sending wake-on-LAN massages to it when the power comes back up so that the UPS only needs to drive my switch and AP, one has a camera board and does motion detection to spot people coming into my office, one is currently operating as a Bluetooth LE beacon for testing the new iOS iBeacon stuff and one is just for tinkering. Most of these have a few other services running on them too (two have I2C thermometers on them).

I see a lot of negative comments about the Pi being underpowered. Perhaps if what you want to do is run FPS games or you are trying to run Big Data analytics then this is true but it's plenty powerful enough for a whole host of service tasks. It's not that many years ago that the Pi's level of power would have been considered a high-end desktop configuration. The purpose of the device is to give kids a low-cost entry into programming and it does just that. On top, at $25 for a Model A its fine to put in 'dangerous' places where something bad might happen to it (like outdoors, driving the sensors and servos for my Halloween decorations). No, I don't have my MongoDB server on a Raspberry Pi, but for many many projects they are just about perfect.

about a year ago

Software-Defined Data Centers: Seeing Through the Hype

nickovs Hype cycle (39 comments)

"More than an actual technology, SDDN is the culmination of many other efforts at abstracting, consolidating, managing, provisioning, load balancing and distributing datacenter assets." Which is a fancy way of saying it's a bunch of commodity PCs running Xen, attached to some f***ing big Juniper QFabric switch with some PHP scripts to let middle-managers bring up servers without knowing where they are. It's just that right now our stage in the hype cycle is the Peak of Inflated Expectations.

about a year ago

Smartphones Driving Violent Crime Across US

nickovs Giving thieves the finger (204 comments)

A number of smartphone providers have been talking about adding fingerprint readers to phones to make the security stronger. Over 40% of serious crime involves smart devices and half of those crimes are violent in some way, many at knife-point. Does anyone else worry that it won't take long for muggers to work out that if they take the phone they need to take your index finger too?

about a year ago

Why Your Next Phone Will Include Biometric Security

nickovs Fingers are removable (110 comments)

Given that much of the rise in crime in New York last year was due to people having the iOS devices stolen, how long will it be before muggings at knife-point typically also involve the thief stealing the owner's index finger too?

about a year and a half ago

USMA: Going the Extra Kilometer For Metrication

nickovs Re:Long Live Roman measurements (909 comments)

Those Porsches also use circular wheels rotating around a central axle. I mean geez, that's so 4th Millennium BC; even Mesopotamians sports carts were using those. Can't the Germans come up with something that's actually new?

about a year and a half ago

The Case That Apple Should Buy Nokia

nickovs Re:Would never be approved (286 comments)

The test that the competition regulators apply is "Will this reduce competition and consumer choice?" When Google bought Motorola Motorola was already a maker of Android phones and the immediate effect on the market was small. If Apple bought Nokia it would almost certainly want to kill Nokia's Windows phones, which would largely kill Windows Mobile, which would significantly reduce choice. There is no way that the EU would allow this and it seems unlikely that the US would allow it either (although that would be moot if the EU nixed it).

about 2 years ago

TSA Says Screening Drinks Purchased Inside Airport Terminal Is Nothing New

nickovs It make sense (for a change) (427 comments)

If you are going to check something at a checkpoint then it makes sense to stochastically sample with secondary checks to test your error rate. Apparently the TSA believe that there is a reason to limit the liquids through airport checkpoints and screen those liquids that they do allow through. Irrespective of if this is itself a rational position, if you believe that it is then it is also rational to check randomly sample liquids after the checkpoint.

about 2 years ago

Cambodia To Extradite Gottfrid Svartholm

nickovs Svartholm is not wanted for file-sharing (126 comments)

It's important the appreciate that the Swedish arrest warrant for Svartholm isn't for file-sharing, it's for skipping bail and fleeing after his last round of appeals failed. Irrespective of the soundness of the original trail, the guy is a fugitive with a current conviction who's sentence has not been served. The charges he will face if he is caught now are far more serious than the ones he faced with Pirate Bay.

about 2 years ago

Arizona H-1B Workers Advised to Carry Papers At All Times

nickovs An alternate approach (884 comments)

As someone who doesn't have US citizenship but who lives and works in the US, creating businesses that have hired hundreds of people (including plenty of H1-B holders) I have an alternate approach; I shall simply be avoiding Arizona as much as possible. I shall not be holding any group meetings there, I'll see what I can do to avoid conventions there or transfers through PHX and they can kiss goodbye to any prospect of my opening offices there. I'm probably too white to actually be harassed under this law but that doesn't make it any less disgusting to me.

more than 2 years ago

Do Slashdotters Encrypt Their Email?

nickovs Opportunistic encryption (601 comments)

Ultimately decisions about email encryption come down to what threats you think you might be protecting yourself against. I have a PGP key, and on occasion I use it to sign and decrypt emails when I think it matters. The rest of the time I send mail, over SSL, through my own mail server, which will use SMTP's 'startTLS' command whenever possible. Most people I know read their mail either using SSH on the machine that runs the mail server or over some SSL-protected IMAP or webmail interface. Thus, for most cases, the mail is encrypted in transit but never encrypted on the servers. If the threat is one of people eavesdropping then this keeps me safe; if the threat is one of hackers targeting one of the mail servers then it doesn't. Most of my mail doesn't warrant any more effort to achieve any more security.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Flash-Friendly Router To Replace Aging WRT54GS?

nickovs DreamPlug (334 comments)

While it's a bit more targeted at the "server" market rather than "router" market, the DreamPlug does all that you want. It has dual gigabit ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n, a 1.2GHz ARM processor (with a decent crypto co-processor that can handle full duplex gigabit VPN encryption), USB2 and eSATA ports for adding discs, an external SD card port and 4GB of flash inside for the FS. It even has both analogue and SP/DIF audio out in case you want to stream music into your server cupboard. It's very low power too (typically about 10 watts).

more than 2 years ago

The Myth of Renewable Energy

nickovs Re:600 acre-feet, WHAT? (835 comments)

An acre-foot is a quite reasonable measure of volume if what you are interested in is collecting rain water in a place where land is sold by the acre and shallow depths remeasured in feet.

That said, I'd wholeheartedly vote for the US switching to metric measures if I had a vote.

more than 2 years ago

Swedish Daycare Tracks Kids With GPS Devices

nickovs What's the threat model? (125 comments)

When you're building any sort of security system the very first thing you need to do is decide what your threat model is. Then when you think about a solution you need to assess it against that model to see how it performs. If the threat here is kidnapping, the solution is useless since the bad guys will remove the tag. This solution is only ever going to help against "wandering" kids, but if the teachers think that the kids can't wander off then they are likely to pay less attention, which is means the kids will be at greater risk of injury from all sort of other things that the teachers would have spotted. The system almost certainly puts kids at greater risk than before.

more than 2 years ago

Queen Elizabeth Sets a Code-Breaking Challenge

nickovs Prince Philip has cryptography connections (132 comments)

I had the pleasure of meeting HRH the Duke of Edinburgh at an event once and, upon hearing that I worked in cryptography, he told me about his time working signals in the British navy during the second world war. He said he had always been fascinated by the operation of the British TypeX equipment that he used back then. I don't suppose that he did any code breaking but he certainly was using codes well before the Cypherpunks came along.

more than 3 years ago

Diver Snaps First Photo of Fish Using Tools

nickovs Transportation tools? (118 comments)

I'm still waiting for the photo of the fish on the bicycle so that I an get back to my ex about all those presents she claimed weren't useful...

more than 3 years ago

New Android Malware Attacks Custom ROMs

nickovs Not wanting to start a GLP flame war but... (146 comments)

... while the code for Android is GPLv2, the move of various other projects towards GPLv3 is only going to make this sort of problem worse. The 'anti-Tivoisation' clause basically demands that some authorised signing key gets distributed with any GPLv3 code that needs to be signed in order to run, and that the available signing key grants all the rights necessary for that code to function. While it is of course possible for users to completely rebuild the trust hierarchy with their own keys, very few people will be willing to do so. As a result it seems likely that any GPLv3 project will be unable to make effective use of signing as a mechanism for preventing the execution of rogue code, even if the license allows for it in theory.

more than 3 years ago

The Machines That Sparked the Beginning of the Computer Age

nickovs Re:Allies were the villians in WWII (139 comments)

Sadly, while the poster is clearly trolling with his deliberately lopsided history, the US did put well over 100,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps. These camps, while offering better conditions in most respects, bore far too close a resemblance to concentration camps for anyone with a conscience. look it up is you need to know more.

more than 3 years ago



Chimps have sharper memories than college kids

nickovs nickovs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

nickovs (115935) writes "The BBC are reporting that "Chimps beat humans in memory test". Researchers in Japan taught both adult and five-year-old chimpanzees to perform a test in which number sequences were displayed on a touch screen and then had to be recalled. (Human) university students were given the same tests are were consistently beaten by the young Pan Troglodytes. Lead researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa of Kyoto University said "Here we show for the first time that young chimpanzees have an extraordinary working memory capability for numerical recollection — better than that of human adults tested in the same apparatus, following the same procedure." Of course when it comes to testing memory function, choosing collage kids as subject may mean that there may be other effects in play!"


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