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The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

vadim_t Re:Curiosity if you don't mind (665 comments)

The Linus/systemd controvery is long over btw. People had a conflict, yelled a bit at each other, then came up with patches, and everything went back to normal.

Personally I like at least the idea of systemd. It means I can make a single startup script, and have most of the work done by the system, instead of having to muck around with the minor differences of the ubuntu/debian/etc scripts.

2 days ago
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The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

vadim_t Re:From the parent article: (665 comments)

Let me translate. They were fucking off by diverging from the core project into recreational political activities unrelated to their mission.

But that seems to be what a lot of people on Slashdot want. Look at the Mozilla and DropBox controversies. Lots of people posting and moderating support those.

No, I'd say what people here want in general is for an organization to be apolitical. Being against LGBT is bad, but doing activities related to LGBT is also bad. A software company is supposed to be a bunch of people coding and nothing else, ideally.

Deviations are allowed only for subjects related to the core mission: patents, copyright, open source, etc.

2 days ago
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Oppo's New Phone Hits 538 PPI

vadim_t That would be a great display for the Oculus Rift (217 comments)

I have DK1 and ordered DK2.

DK1 is cool as a prototype, but the lack of positioning gets annoying at times, and the resolution is horrible.

DK2 fixes that, but it sounds like the resolution still needs improving.

This is the kind of thing I'd love to have in there. The Rift as it stands right now won't work well with many UIs, as it's too low res to render the details, and it seriously breaks immersion to see things pixellated.

So the more the better I say, if it's overkill for a phone then there are other uses for it.

about three weeks ago
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Gmail Goes HTTPS Only For All Connections

vadim_t Re: More lip service (141 comments)

Obviously. I didn't claim otherwise

about a month ago
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Gmail Goes HTTPS Only For All Connections

vadim_t Re: More lip service (141 comments)

Google has their own CA. Of course the NSA may demand certs from them, but Google will have to know, so the NSA can't do it secretly anymore

about a month ago
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German Chancellor Proposes European Communications Network

vadim_t Re:Why not (197 comments)

Spying on this level isn't needed for when secret services "take an interest in somebody". There already are mechanisms for the authorities to wiretap you if they're concerned with you directly. There's no need to wiretap the entire net for that.

No, the purpose of such things is to assemble large databases of things like who talks to who, and for those purposes, you are of interest to secret services, as is everybody else. Let's say a friend of yours participates in some sort of environmental activism. Well, you both communicate, and that automatically makes you a person of interest.

about a month ago
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CSI Style Zoom Sees Faces Reflected In Subjects' Eyes

vadim_t Not very practical (103 comments)

Anybody with a recent DSLR can test that this can be done. I recently took a portrait if myself in my cat's eye.

The trick to this though is that you need a DSLR with fairly high resolution, a good sharp lens, and have the photo be a closeup of the subject. None of which are features of the vast majority of security camera footage.

If somebody was willing to spend amounts in the range of $1000 per camera, yes, this might be a possibility. Provided the person stared right into the camera while standing at a meter or so from it.

Also, it'll probably stay this way. There are limitations to the useful resolution that can be achieved, so it's not possible to simply put a 1000 MP sensor into a security camera and suddenly be able to perform the tricks shown in CSI.

about 4 months ago
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Year In Communications: NSA Revelations Overshadow Communications Breakthroughs

vadim_t Uh, okay? (61 comments)

This reads like: This bunch of corporate press releases haven't been getting as much attention as we'd like, so we'll mention Snowden, which is what seems to get attention these days, and then proceed to dump a list of the stuff we do care about.

It doesn't seem to be anything that exciting. Yeah, technology marches on. Somebody figuring out a way to get more bandwidth out of a cell tower is normal and expected. And I can't say I care that much since all this would do is to allow me to consume my tiny quota faster.

The more interesting bits about balloons and IETF proposing Tor already got discussed, so not like they got overlooked either..

about 4 months ago
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Snowden Gives Alternative Christmas Message On Channel 4

vadim_t Re:Enough (224 comments)

As far as I can tell, he lives off ramen because he has no money., not because he's into martyrdom.

about 4 months ago
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Snowden Gives Alternative Christmas Message On Channel 4

vadim_t Re:Easy answer (224 comments)

It isn't good for children to always have their noses stuck in a computer of some sort. There are plenty of other things they should be doing. That hardly constitutes being a "hermit."

Which does nothing to disprove Snowden's point. One can use a computer and still go outside, you know.

As to the rest of your post, it would be more convincing if it was posted tomorrow. And I could ask you the same question.

Unlike Americans, I don't have anything to celebrate on this day. I keep celebrating the way I did in the days of the Soviet Union, on December 31st. The Russian Orthodox Church sticks to the Julian calendar and celebrates on January 7, anyway.

about 4 months ago
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Snowden Gives Alternative Christmas Message On Channel 4

vadim_t Re:Easy answer (224 comments)

Yes, easy answer: if you don't like the government sticking their nose in your private life, just become a hermit!

Ed really should try leaving his desk from time to time.

You should take that advice too, are you being paid overtime for this, by chance?

about 4 months ago
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Why Don't Open Source Databases Use GPUs?

vadim_t You just answered your own question (241 comments)

"Many queries that I write are simpler than TPC-H, so what's holding them back?" -- simple queries don't need acceleration.

A "SELECT * FROM users WHERE user_id = 12", or a "SELECT SUM(price) FROM products" doesn't need a GPU, it's IO bound and would benefit much more from having plenty cache memory, and a SSD. A lot of what things like MySQL get used for is forums and similar, where queries are simple. The current tendency seems to be to use the database as an object store, which results in a lack of gnarly queries that could be optimized.

I do think such features will eventually make it in, but this isn't going to benefit uses like forums much.

about 4 months ago
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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss

vadim_t Re:Good Luck (68 comments)

Do you really want me to make a list of all the bullshit projects that have shown up on Kickstarter in the last few months?

Sure, if it makes you happy.

No guarantee that a successful project will ship anything either.

According to the updates and comments of the project you linked, it shipped. Tsk.

$700,000 for this?

Well, when 5000 people buy something in the ~$100 and above dollar range, yes, the result is a lot of money.

What are you whining about, are you jealous?

about 4 months ago
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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss

vadim_t Re:Good Luck (68 comments)

No, you are. I'm talking about donations directly to a project through paypal, without an intermediary like kickstarter that offters the "money back" guarantee.

about 4 months ago
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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss

vadim_t Re:Good Luck (68 comments)

Ask yourself this question: same guys that raise $250k on Kickstarter for a board game sell that board game on their own web site and make jack shit. Why?

Because of the reasons outlined in my previous post, and that I repeat below.

Kickstarter adds nothing to the project. Why does the cash register ring only on Kickstarter but not on the project's own web site?

If you're unable to read, or to comprehend what is written, what's the point of asking? I'll answer again, in case it sinks in this time: because kickstarter doesn't allow obviously bad projects, doesn't take my money if the project doesn't make enough, and isn't under the control of the project's owner, allowing tricky questions to remain visible to potential donors.

On the project's own site, none of those things are assured. There's no guarantee that a failed project will give me my money back, there's no guarantee that the people who run it will not pretend inconvenient questions aren't being asked, and there's no guarantee that the project achieved a minimum amount of planning to make sure it at least has some chance of succeeding.

about 4 months ago
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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss

vadim_t Re:Good Luck (68 comments)

Better hope Indiegogo likes your project or it will get buried and rendered invisible by about day three.

You have to get it noticed by other websites of course. Like Slashdot, for instance.

Crowdfunding sites do absolutely nothing to help indie projects get off the ground. They collect their cut while they make rude gestures, and that's it.

Crowdfunding sites are about the only reason why I pay those projects in the first place. If it's not on kickstarter or on indiegogo, your chances of getting my money are very close to 0.

Frankly, I can't understand why anyone uses those sites. They're going to do all the work themselves. Why not keep all the money?

For the project starter, it offers a way to host the information, communicate with contributors, and receive money. All those things take time to do on your own, and the people doing the project would rather spend time on it, and not on setting up Apache, web sites, and working out how to deal with card payments.

For the contributor, it offers a filter that rejects the obvious crap. Also provides an intermediary that helps me waste less of my money. If a random project needs $100K to be viable and I donate through paypal, if they only make $10K, I can't really expect to get my money back. On kickstarter, that is assured.

On the project's own site, they control the interaction. They can ignore annoying questions and pretend everything is going great. On sites like kickstarter and indiegogo they can't do that, and it works as a great indicator to potential contributors about whether there's anything fishy about the project.

And I also don't believe for one fucking second that a bunch of clowns can put up a web page and raise $250,000 for a board game in four weeks. The fragrance coming off that shit makes my scam alarm strip naked and run into traffic.

And that's precisely why kickstarter and indiegogo are so awesome. You see what the project wants upfront. You lose no money if the required amount is not reached. People digging into the details of the project can post about it, and you can read their warnings.

There is still considerable risk of course, but so far I've not seen anything better than this. It's certainly loads better than to just send money through paypal to some random person.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted?

vadim_t Re:I wouldn't (213 comments)

Ok, since you liked it, I decided I'll think on this some more and give some more feedback. So:

Something I've learned is that marketing and complexity don't mix, so I agree our communication strategy is not optimal. We are trying to talk to too many audiences and doing a bad job with all of them. We'll try harder.

You need a good reason for why I would want this right off the start. And right now it's not there. Look at FON, who did part of what you are, much more successfully. The immediate question for something like this is "Why would I want to share my connection?", and FON answered "You'll earn money!". There, that's nice and sensible.

They also gave out their hardware at a ridiculously cheap price. They were selling those at a Linux convention and though the pretty much unanimous opinion was that the idea was silly, a lot of people still got one, because it was so cheap.

It's a server/router hybrid. We need to be clearer about that. The specs are competitive with what you'd find in the market for regular computers, but we thought it would be distracting to break them down because some of them are subject to change.

Does every single person need a server? I don't think most people do. There's also questions like how does this work, exactly? If I bought this thing and hooked it up, who is it serving to? Myself and perhaps whoever finds an open AP and connects to it? Seems like a waste of money. I don't really have anything to serve to random passers-by.

Why have a powerful router? Why not something with the power of a Raspberry Pi, that you stick a SD card or flash drive into, if you want? The few people needing a serious server capable of more than serving cat photos can buy it separately.

Because at scale, the idea turns your internet acquisition cost into a one time cost.

Only if there are tens of millions of these things around. Otherwise you pay for this and you pay your usual ISP.

Sharing your connection: For better performance and your privacy.

Many ISPs have rules against this. How does sharing your connection and allowing random people to torrent things improve performance? It maybe improves privacy in the sense of confusing what you're accessing and what other people do, but these days that means that one day the police will break in, grab all your hardware and try to figure out whether it was you or not who downloaded child porn. There's a good reason why few people run tor exit nodes.

Oh yeah, this thing apparently runs tor. If it runs an exit node, you're not going to have better performance at all, as well as making it risky for the owner. If it doesn't, and this is successful, you're going to overload the tor network.

I admit there are critical mass issues, and this is a very legitimate criticism of the project. Our strategy to bootstrap this network is to run our network over the regular internet until such time that it spreads to someone near you in physical proximity.

Is it really going to work in a city? I live in one. My wifi signal is junk at the most distant room and I finally had to give up and just run some cable. Pretty much every single house with internet access in a city has a wifi router, because that's what an ISP gives you. Which means every possible channel is already clogged. I don't see this reaching any useful distance.

It's also a very niche, geeky, and expensive thing. I'm sure that in my building I'm the only person who has the slightest chance of being interested in such a thing, and given the wifi quality around here it can't possibly reach any nearby ones.

I don't think it's nonsense. We are trying to turn internet acquisition into a one time cost. It's a high price, why we were asking people to get in touch with internet.org for us and ask them to talk to us. We've now made contact with them, and hope something comes of it.

Ok, but who can afford $400 one time things? Not poor people, and not the developing world, certainly. The people who can afford something like this are rich nerds living in Silicon Valley, which is not a place where people need help getting an internet connection.

If aiming to give "internet to the people", you have to be absolutely dirt cheap. And maybe rugged and solar powered, too, depending on where it's going to be used.

For an example, look at the OLPC project, which does mesh networking.

If everybody does get one, how does this work once people stop paying their ISP? Does it magically route through tens of thousands of hops to the other side of the world? I have serious doubts that's going to work. What about communication across seas and oceans? Does it result in overwhelming the connection of the people who keep paying their ISP? That one seems very likely.

If you are serious about solving this problem you have to look at it from a lot of different angles.

The problem is that you're trying to solve everything you want at once, and most people don't need that.

Also most WIFI hardware sold out there has closed source drivers, even on Linux.

Most, but are you sure it's all? For a small fraction of what you're asking you could hire a good programmer to make you a driver. It seems awfully ambitious to do both hardware and complicated software. Even FON didn't do that, they made their own firmware for the WRT54G.

Final thoughts:

  • This needs to be much, much cheaper. Look more into existing hardware. There's likely something you can take advantage of, like existing access points or Raspberry Pi-like devices.
  • You need to give people a good reason to want to participate. There has to be an immediate benefit, that doesn't require all my neighbours to get one to happen
  • For a mesh network, you need mass deployment. Can't you take advantage of existing phones and laptops?
  • For the geeks you need clear information: how does this work, does this try to create a parallel internet, what does it serve and to who, is there central control, how do you host a website on this, etc
  • For the privacy advocates you have to explain how does this improve your privacy
  • It seems to me that the "one time internet payment" is the very, very last benefit this is going to have. It's not going to materialize until a huge amount of adoption happens, if it's actually technically possible at all. You have to give people other things first, and forget about this for the time being

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted?

vadim_t Re:I wouldn't (213 comments)

Some comments:

"Upliink"? Took me a while to notice there are two "i"s there for some bizarre reason. As a result, googling for it failed. If you're going to make up words, at least don't make them confusingly similar to normal ones.

Half a million is an awful lot of money. $430 is a lot for a router.

It's not clear at all what it does. IPv6 internet? What is that?

Sharing the connection with nearby people? Why would I want to?

Mesh networking. How is this going to scale? What performance and latency do you expect? How likely is it that two users will find one another? You need a huge amount of deployed devices for this to work, especially for ones in fixed locations.

There's some nonsense in the video about the number of people in the world without internet access. A $430 device sold in first world countries won't do anything to address that.

It's an enormous mish-mash of things. Android, mesh networking, some nebulous IPv6 internet, a web browser, an API for I don't know what... seriously, I'm well versed in tech, but I have no clue what is all this about. And that is a bad sign.

TL;DR: it's unclear what it does, why would I want to participate, and it's very expensive. Why aren't you developing alternative firmware for cheap wifi routers, for instance?

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted?

vadim_t Re:I wouldn't (213 comments)

Who cares? A consumer router is going to run well enough with either, and won't have a 10 page long list of firewall rules to slow things down.

I have a router running Linux and it deals with a 100 Mbps fiber line just fine. Running BSD on it isn't going to make any difference except for me having to learn how to do things in FreeBSD.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted?

vadim_t Trust for what purpose? (213 comments)

For ensuring the safety of your outgoing traffic, it doesn't matter at all whether you can trust your router or not. It's just one step away from a router at your ISP, which you can't trust, and which can be assumed to be malicious.

It's a bit different for ensuring the safety of your internal network, though. If you think there might be any reason why the NSA, government or whoever might want to reach inside your personal network, then you certainly should avoid any closed solutions and keep it under as much control as possible. That router might well hiddenly allow people that know how to access your network without permission.

Router manufacturers also have been caught rewriting pages to insert ads. Here is one example of such a thing.

about 4 months ago

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