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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

seyfarth Re:Linux (194 comments)

It's never been a nightmare for me to maintain a Linux computer remotely. I would never suggest having non-savvy people keeping a computer up to date with Linux, Windows or OS X. Kubuntu will keep itself up to date if set to auto-update and ssh can be used to remotely manage the computer if needed. This might be a poor solution if the original poster has no Linux experience. I suppose the fact that the question was asked should have been a clue that this wasn't a Linux-savvy person or there would have been no question. Given the assumption that the original poster was a newb, then you might be right. Hopefully experienced help is available for whatever choice is made.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

seyfarth Linux (194 comments)

Linux runs Skype and Google+ Hangouts. I can't vouch for Facetime. Ubuntu works well with automatic updates and can be administered remotely as needed. The user interface needs to have icons on the desktop for the needed programs. I would use kubuntu since I have never liked Unity.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

seyfarth Re:Uh, sure.. (359 comments)

I have been working on an IDE (primarily for assembly language) for almost 2 years. It runs on Linux, Windows and OS X, using Qt for the GUI components. I edit exclusively in vim on all 3 platforms and compile with g++ on Linux and OS X, but compile with cl on Windows. Well, truthfully I use the Qt qmake tool to prepare a proper Makefile for the OS and then use either make or nmake. I debug typically under Linux and generally use the qDebug function. I will use gdb for a few commands here and there. I haven't yet needed to use the Visual Studio GUI or debugger. Editing with vim is much more efficient than nearly any IDE. I have done a little VB and liked IntelliSense there. I haven't tried it with C++. I suppose I need to add: "Stay off my lawn."

about 2 months ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

seyfarth Should have been plan A (230 comments)

Google should have designed Android around C or possibly C++. It would be more power efficient, but, more importantly, it would be free from involvement with Oracle. There is no reason why apps written in C for Android shouldn't be recompilable for X86 or ARM. It does require a bit more care. Fat binaries would also work well enough. Any large app is likely to be mostly data anyway.

about 3 months ago
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Why Are We Made of Matter?

seyfarth Matter-Antimatter Explosions (393 comments)

I wonder if it is possible that the Universe has some regions of matter and some of antimatter. In between there would be mixed regions and the resulting explosions could tend to keep the different regions separate. Initially asymmetry in the distribution would leave some small regions of each type. The m-am explosions could force separation and a certain portion of the matter regions would merge with other matter regions and the same for antimatter. This seems like a fairly obvious thought, so I assume that it has been considered and ruled out. Why or why not?

about 5 months ago
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Embarrassing Stories Shed Light On US Officials' Technological Ignorance

seyfarth Email is simple (299 comments)

The concept of email is simple: It's just really fast mail, except that the security sucks. For the post office to be as bad, it would have to copy each letter in each building and vehicle the letter entered and keep the copies poorly guarded for years. Seriously, a justice can quickly learn enough about email to judge sensibly. That doesn't mean they will, but it is simple enough to learn. The bigger issue is the excessive influence of money in all areas of government.

about 6 months ago
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Embarrassing Stories Shed Light On US Officials' Technological Ignorance

seyfarth Re:I've heard that government moves slowly... (299 comments)

I watched the video. It was rich when the admiral took it in stride and answered without laughing. He's well trained. I think I would be capable of laughing at a congressman.

about 6 months ago
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Author Says It's Time To Stop Glorifying Hackers

seyfarth Hire an expert (479 comments)

Anyone with a lot of money and little computer security knowledge needs to hire someone to set up their computers and teach them safe practices. It would be worth several thousand dollars to a milliionaire to avoid the sort of problems Ms. McWhorter encountered. Perhaps she is not rich, but she has won a Pulitzer prize for writing. I think she could afford to try harder to be safe. Ideally an operating system should protect the user, but it is practically impossible to write complex software with no errors. People should be suspicious when their operating system comes with a time trial of anti-virus software. The fact that such software exists, makes it pretty obvious that the system is fragile. Ms. McWhorter writes well, but is clearly not a computer security expert. She needs help with her computer and on-line affairs.

about 6 months ago
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Root of Maths Genius Sought

seyfarth Eugenics will happen (251 comments)

Currently it is politically incorrect to consider eugenics. I personally think that our view of this will gradually change as our knowledge of genetics increases. Suppose it becomes easy to select traits like athletic ability, appearance or intelligence in children. Some people will certainly try to give their child an advantage in life. It will happen like steroids in sports. Once some children are born with better traits, others will be tempted to do the same with their children. The ugly part of eugenics is association with racism. As long as we don't have categories of people forbidden to reproduce, it should be politically acceptable. It's not inherently evil to do something to opt for smarter or stronger children. Probably there will be successes and failures, but I think people will do it. For me I wonder what people would choose: intelligence, beauty, strength, ... With respect to math genes, it is currently hard to find a job with a Ph.D. in math, so there isn't a huge need for more people with good math genes though a few geniuses might be useful. My guess is that different folks will choose different traits and that the human race will become more diverse. People will continue living in interesting times.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing?

seyfarth Keep it simple (465 comments)

Your best bet is to use C. It is highly efficient. If possible use computational code like the Atlas BLAS package. This code will run circles around your own code no matter what language you use. You already know C and moving to C++ is a major problem. All the other languages are distractions from your purpose.

If possible run multiple, independent processes rather than writing parallel code. That can be a major ordeal.

If your goal is to process data as opposed to learning elaborate programming techniques, keep simplicity in mind. C is a very powerful language and you can reach maximal efficiency for many problems using Atlas BLAS and multiple processes. If you goal is to get a degree in CS, ignore what I've suggested.

about 10 months ago
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What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov

seyfarth Re:State Sites Also (267 comments)

I think $54M is a bit expensive too. I can imagine that it might take some effort, but this would pay a team of 500 programmers for a year. I expect it could be done by a team of 5 to 10 in the same time. This sounds like the mythical $500 hammer to me.

A better alternative would be to set up no exchanges and let the insurance companies provide the web sites. You would find some innovative people setting up exchanges on their own just like you now find exchanges for hotels and airlines. All the government needed to do was tell the insurance companies the new insurance laws and let it happen.

about a year ago
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What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov

seyfarth Re:Reminds me of vendor systems I deal with (267 comments)

I worked for NASA about 30 years ago and experienced a similar situation. The plan was that NASA employees were supposed to write job orders for Lockheed employees to work on. There were several of us NASA people who generally wrote Fortran instead of job orders. We were pretty good and this seemed reasonable to us. Now Lockheed did have some good programmers too, though they were only about 75% successful with their hiring. I did write some job orders and once or twice I ran into someone who was unproductive. Overall it worked fairly well, though I thought it would be better for all involved to work directly for NASA. I don't think that the government can count on successful contracting any more than successful government employees. If government employees are only paper pushers, then we have a large amount of wasted effort in management.

about a year ago
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What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov

seyfarth Stupid design (267 comments)

I didn't make it very deep into the web site. I was mainly interested in reviewing the rates for my county. What a surprise that there was a list with all the states's counties together! I was expecting to fill in my zip code possibly or enter the state and county to get a list of available policies. The resulting table was large enough to generate bandwidth problems. One stupid error in design could saturate their network! A good design would be easier on the users, the network and the servers. Now sometimes you have to trade server time and convenience for user time and convenience, but this was apparently not thought through. Surely someone in the government must realize that good design works better than bad design. If a web site is to be used by millions, it obviously needs a good design.

about a year ago
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New Operating System Seeks To Replace Linux In the Cloud

seyfarth Why use Java? (335 comments)

If you're having performance issues, then C++ would offer a more efficient solution. Why jump through all these hoops to boost Java performance? Just use C++ and get twice the performance instantly with Linux. I tend to agree with the AC that the language issue is overblown. With practice programming is about the same level of difficulty with most languages. C++ does a pretty good job at compile time checking, interfaces directly with the system calls and offers nearly all the performance you can get from the computer. (AVX instructions can be done quite well in assembly, but most cloud apps would not benefit from using AVX.)

Unless you have substantial computation or disk I/O, I would expect the bottleneck to be the network. With compute bound apps the OS is irrelevant. Likewise with I/O devices the time spent in system calls is dwarfed by the disk speed.

about a year ago
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Another Climate-Change Retraction

seyfarth Re:What I'd love to see (479 comments)

At least MightyMartian has a name and is not an anonymous coward. It is disappointing to see such silly tirades from someone who is anonymous and probably just enjoying the stupid arguments. Go away or get a life.

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

seyfarth Re:Piracy! (323 comments)

I frequently face the same issue. The solution is to drop the price of e-books. I suggest less than 50% of the printed book price. I find it frustrating to see an e-book for $10 when a printed one is $12. I can easily resell or give away the printed book, which makes it a lot more valuable. If the e-book were $6, then perhaps I wouldn't care for the printed copy. Also a printed copy for $4 with shipping is not a big deal versus $6.

1 year,21 days
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Hybrid Hard Drives Just Need 8GB of NAND

seyfarth Just buy more RAM (373 comments)

My suggestion is to simply buy more RAM. With 16 GB of RAM there are 10 GB for disk cache and 6 GB for everything else. This sounds like it matches Seagate's usage pattern pretty well. It should be cheaper and RAM can be written endlessly, so it should be more reliable. The only downside is it must refill its cache if you reboot. Gamers might opt for 32 GB if they can find a system with that much.

1 year,22 days
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Confirmed: CBS News Reporter's Computer Compromised

seyfarth Re:Security begins with Linux (176 comments)

Yes, you are right - we must hope we can trust the supplier. No, I will not read the code, though it is possible and many people around the world have read the Linux code. It seems like a better bet than an OS where you can't read the code. I also have over 20 years of Linux experience with 1 hacking episode about 18 years ago. I was running a BBS system on a fairly early Linux. No harm was done. My suspicion is that some young person read about an exploit and ended up creating a "schlongg" account with root access. It was not fun for me, so I posted a polite message on the BBS asking for whoever it was to give me a break. Apparently I was fortunate. Now I limit outside connections to ssh. I could be paranoid about limiting the ssh connections, but the potential harm is really not that great. I have several other computers in my home with no open ports and only Windows is a problem. Someone else suggested BSD "for paranoics". That's certainly a good idea. I can't judge whether it is safer than Linux.

about a year ago
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Confirmed: CBS News Reporter's Computer Compromised

seyfarth Security begins with Linux (176 comments)

I would not trust a commercial operating system to not be loaded with back doors accessible to the NSA. That's not even considering the history of Windows vulnerabilities. If I were in charge of IT for a foreign government, a news agency, a military or any business I would start by banning the use of Windows. With Linux it should be possible to have a computer which can search the Internet and prepare reports with no open ports for external attack. That should be the first step. Following that there needs to be training in human factors vulnerabilities. A computer for work should be a tool, not a toy, and user preference should not be the highest priority. Security should be first. Linux is clearly good enough for business purposes. I can see a value in Windows for gamers, but not for work computers. OS X is less vulnerable than Windows, but can you really be sure that the NSA can't access all OS X systems?

I would expect that hackers might also discover back doors. They would certainly study the instructions in the OS to try to find the holes.

Now I have been assuming that the computer was not running Linux. Perhaps it was. It is possible to screw up with Linux systems.

Fortunately for me, no one wants me to run their IT operation. It would be so painful trying to educate the users.

Maybe I'm a little too paranoid. Luckily not much is at risk on my home computers. I would not wish to do anything interesting to the NSA.

about a year ago

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