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Comments

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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

vinsci Acquisition hinted by Web page HTML source (695 comments)

From mtgox.com:

<html> <head> <title>MtGox.com</title> </head> <body> <!-- put announce for mtgox acq here --> </body> </html>

about 2 months ago
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The Case For a Global, Compulsory Bug Bounty

vinsci Nonsense (81 comments)

That suggestion makes no sense at all, considering that governments are paying to insert seurity bugs either by ordering the companies to do so or by infiltration of the developer team.

about 4 months ago
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The Geekiest Game Ever Made?

vinsci Core War (87 comments)

Apparently the Core War game has becomre largely forgotten, or become better known under its commercial variant: anti-virus software.

about 4 months ago
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US firewall coming, 15 year jail terms for leaking

vinsci Lesson not learned (1 comments)

From 1985 to 1988, the British government attempted to stop people from reading the autobiography Spycatcher, by Peter Wright, a senior intelligence officer with the MI5, the Security Service. The result was pretty much predictable: it was the Streisand effect many years before it became known as the Streisand effect. Which US newspaper will be the first to print a story like the one the Daily Mirror ran at the time, in response to the censorship?

Find the book and read it, it's interesting with plenty of geek material. More than 2 million copies have been sold.

more than 3 years ago
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Angles On Anonymous

vinsci WikiLeaks hosts file for mirrors (383 comments)

Slightly off-topic: get your hosts file with IP-addresses for each of the WikiLeaks mirrors here:

WikiLeaks hosts file for mirrors

This is a complete list of IP addresses and host names for all WikiLeaks mirrors, in standard hosts file format. You can add the contents of the file to the hosts file already on your computer. The advantage of this is that you are no longer dependant on external DNS service providers in order to access WikiLeaks, as the file provides the necessary domain name to IP address mapping needed to access the sites.

more than 3 years ago
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Hidden Debug Mode Found In AMD Processors

vinsci Re:Security? (154 comments)

Reverse engineer a simple CPU? That's so elementary.

Indeed it is. And why not emulate it at the bare metal level in JavaScript, while you're at it?

more than 3 years ago
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Real-Time, Detailed Face Tracking On a Nokia N900

vinsci Re:Emacs? WTF? (139 comments)

Well, you're in luck. The N900 comes with vi pre-installed. Personally, I prefer Emacs of course. After all, the N900 is much more powerful than the desktop computers that existed in the first 10-15 years of Emacs.

more than 3 years ago
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Germany To Roll Out ID Cards With Embedded RFID

vinsci perfect bomb triggers (235 comments)

The new card allows German authorities to identify people with speed and accuracy, the government said.

Unfortunately, they will also make perfect bomb triggers, when the target walks by.

more than 3 years ago
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Real-Time, Detailed Face Tracking On a Nokia N900

vinsci Re:Finally, something to do with this phone (139 comments)

Probably Mappero. or if you want to edit OpenStreetMap, OSM2GO. These are golden. The Nokia Maps application has one big plus, though: you can store complete maps for the whole world on the N900 device (free downloads from Nokia, in case you managed to miss the commercials) so you don't need Internet access while finding your way. I still prefer Mappero though and simply zoom in to the required detail level and go over the route I intend to take in advance, so that Mappero downloads and caches the maps and I can do without Internet access again. Only if I get truly lost, i.e. when I am outside the cached maps in Mappero, do I switch over to the Nokia Maps application. Now if we could have the wonderful Mappero combined with the pre-downloaded Nokia Maps map database, it would be perfect.

more than 3 years ago
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The Amiga Turns 25

vinsci Actually, here's how Commodore died (2 comments)

Commodore didn't die from external forces, it was killed by the mismanagement and greed of upper management.

You may want to watch Dave Haynie's two-hour video on the last days of Commodore, The Deathbed Vigil (free, full version online at Google Video). The film sums up the steps leading to the demise of the company very well. It is both funny (the anecdotes), sad (the surreal atmosphere of the smashing up of keyboards at night and the burning of the Mehdi Ali doll), as well as informative.

The submitter's claims that the Amiga didn't become a blockbuster and that Commodore would have died as a consequence are just plain wrong, though. Perhaps it was less successful in the U.S. than in Europe (I obviously remember it from the European perspective). There was even Amiga UNIX (System V Release 4) and it was great, beating every other UNIX vendor to the market. Sun Microsystems hoped to sell it as their low-end platform, but as usual, Commodore management killed the deal. See the film linked above for some more details on this and other projects that were engineering successes, but destroyed by the clueless upper management. It's no coincidence the speed bumps in the Commodore parking lot were painted with their names at night, in secret.

C= Failure n. See: Greed
—Dave Haynie

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox Mobile Reaches 1.0

vinsci Room for improvement (198 comments)

Overall I like it - it's obvious that a lot of good thinking has been going on. That much said, there are a few things to look at:

  • No scrollbars on pages. This must be fixed! Microb does it right by fading them in and out of visibility, so that no screen real estate is lost.
  • The setting to preload it should be an option in preferences, enabled by default (you can do this manually, search the comments here for "preload" for instructions). Perhaps also add way to remove the preload setting for Microb and to make Firefox the default browser. (There's an add-on for making Firefox the default).
  • Slashdot is a great testing platform, with "dynamic discussions" on. This reveals several bugs, making Firefox mobile 1.0 painful to use. For example clicking on a the subject of a hidden comment does load and expand the comment correctly, but then scrolls the page elsewhere where the comment is no longer visible. Something similar happens when replying to a comment.
  • How can I copy/paste page and link URLs to an email, for example?
  • Javascript seems to kill UI responsiveness (seen on slashdot.org article pages, to the point where it is impossible to open a link in a comment).

Keep up the good work! You'll get there.

more than 4 years ago
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Firefox Mobile Reaches 1.0

vinsci Re:First impressions (198 comments)

Zooming with Ctrl-up and Ctrl-down works perfectly.

If your physical keyboard layout have the up/down keys in blue, like mine, you must also press the blue arrow together with Ctrl (easy as they are next to each other), otherwise you're really typing Ctrl-left or Ctrl-right.

While at first it seems handy that the N900 built-in browser, Microb, uses the volume control buttons for easy zooming, it's not so great once you'd actually like to change the volume quickly. (You'd have to use the desktop status area volume control in Microb.) Since some will prefer that anyway, a preference setting may be in place.

more than 4 years ago
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Cracking Open the SharePoint Fortress

vinsci Switch to Plone from Sharepoint (275 comments)

Why not make the same choice as the Irish government and kill off Sharepoint and switch to the open source Plone instead. A complete list of all Irish sites are here: Government and related websites, both Plone and non-Plone.

Disclaimer: I consulted for them on this project.

more than 4 years ago
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Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats

vinsci problem solved long ago, environmentally approved (128 comments)

I thought this was a solved problem: http://www.coppercoat.com/. Britain's biggest sailing magazine (and many others) has good results with it:

In the December 2007 edition of Practical Boat Owner, the editor Sarah Norbury extolls the virtues of Coppercoat after a 14-year test on her family boat, a Starlight 39. She writes: "Our experience with Coppercoat has been fantastic. In all the 14 years we've never had a barnacle, seaweed, nothing.... The original claim for our Coppercoat was that it would last 10 years and many people were sceptical. Our test proves the doubters wrong."

I guess good news travels slowly. ;-)

more than 4 years ago
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FSF Files Suit Against Cisco For GPL Violations

vinsci Re:The GPL does not force things under the GPL (409 comments)

either they obtain a separate license from each of the original programmers

This option is actually not available to Cisco, as almost all of the original authors (including me) have assigned their copyright to the FSF. Thus, we can't re-assign it to some other party after the fact. Some may have made their contributions public domain so they could be used, although I'd expect this to be a rare case.

more than 5 years ago
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Cross-Platform Video Chat For Linux?

vinsci Re:QuteCom (338 comments)

QuteCom runs well on a number of platforms.

The following platforms has a status of "good":

  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • MacOS X
  • Debian
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • SUSE
  • Mandriva

In addition, as of five months ago:

  • Gentoo is "not tested"
  • Windows CE "doesn't work yet"

I trust prebuilt binaries for all the platforms are coming soon.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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US firewall coming, 15 year jail terms for leaking

vinsci vinsci writes  |  more than 3 years ago

vinsci (537958) writes "[...] Congress began debating a bill which would impose a mandatory 15 year federal jail term for leaking internal banking documents. At press time the bill was expected to pass after House Democrats agreed to a clause calling for construction of a firewall that would prevent Americans from accidently reading leaked banking documents published by websites hosted in other countries. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to criticism that the bill would violate the principles of open communication on which the internet was founded by saying "When this bill passes there will be serious jail time for reading leaked documents; if the firewall saves just one child from having to spend time in prison then it's worth it.""
Link to Original Source
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1200 new species found in Amazon rainforest

vinsci vinsci writes  |  more than 3 years ago

vinsci (537958) writes "The vital importance of the Amazon rainforest is well known. As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the world, the region has unparalleled biodiversity. It harbours one in 10 known species in the world and one in five of all birds. The Amazon rainforest supports the highest diversity of plant species on Earth: depending where you are, you can find from 150 to 900 individual trees per hectare. The Amazon is also home to a diverse array of indigenous communities, and its rich natural resources base provides a source of livelihoods for many both within and outside the region.

However, this treasure trove of our planet has not escaped the gigantic appetite of unsustainable development. At least 17% of the Amazon forest has been destroyed, and much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. In the words of the respected Amazon ecologist Dan Nepstad, “The Amazon is a canary in a coalmine for the Earth.”

The loss of tropical rainforest has a profound and devastating impact on the world because rainforests are so biologically diverse. The 1,220 new species in this report illustrate the richness of biodiversity found in this the world’s largest rainforest and river basin, and also how much there is still to learn about this incredible biome.

The new species were found over the last 10 years, or about one new species every three days."
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vinsci vinsci writes  |  more than 7 years ago

vinsci (537958) writes "R&D company Novel Concepts, Inc. has announced its new IsoSkin heat spreader material that dissipates heat 20 times more effectively than copper, according to the company. The thin (down to 500 microns) IsoSkin spreaders could eventually be used to replace the outer "skin" of portable electronics, thereby eliminating the need for heat sinks and fans that cool notebooks and PCs, ExtremeTech reports."
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vinsci vinsci writes  |  more than 7 years ago

vinsci writes "Leaked documents drawn up by the UK Home Office have revealed new plans for surveillance cameras that can see through clothing to be installed in the streets. Those in control of the system would effectively see everyone naked. The proposal has been presented to PM Tony Blair's working group on Security, Crime and Justice."

Journals

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HOWTO: Thousands of open files on Linux

vinsci vinsci writes  |  more than 4 years ago

A project I worked on recently required splitting up more than ten million files, each with thousands of data points, into one file per type of data point and each with more than ten million entries. This seems straight-forward until you realize that by default, few kinds of systems allow having hundreds or thousands of files open simultaneously.

In my case I wrote a Python script to do the job and ended up with about 12,000 output files open at once, while attending to each of the more than ten million input files one at a time.

Fortunately, Debian GNU/Linux is a system that can be instructed to allow having that many open files, although you might get a different impression from the bash(1) manual page, which has the following to say for the "ulimit -n" command:

-n The maximum number of open file descriptors (most systems do not allow this value to be set)

The key here is that by "systems", the manual page really refers to "kinds of systems", not individual GNU/Linux systems. But even on GNU/Linux, it's a bit involved to actually get a non-root shell with an increased number of allowed open files. Here is one way to do it:

Let's begin with seeing how many files we are currently allowed (your number may vary, of course):

vinsci@debian $ ulimit -n
1024

Ok, now increase it. First, become root for example using su(1), sudo(8) or sux(1). Use sux(1) if you need an X application to open a large number of files:

vinsci@debian $ su

As root, we are by default allowed the same number of simultaneously open files:

root@debian # ulimit -n
1024

Now increase the number of allowed open files for this shell to 20,500 and check that it happened:

root@debian # ulimit -n 20500
root@debian # ulimit -n
20500

This increased limit only applies to the current shell and any child processes it has. We're still root, of course, but to get a user shell with this limit we can now simply su(1) again, this time to the desired user account and the new shell will inherit the newly set limit:

root@debian # su - vinsci

... and there it is:

vinsci@debian $ ulimit -n
20500

At this point you can then run the program(s) that requires more open files than normally allowed.

Keep in mind, though, that by exiting the current shell we become root again, so it would not be a good idea to hand over a shell set up this way to an untrusted user.

vinsci@debian $ exit
root@debian # exit

Afterwards, back in the original shell, nothing has changed so the old limit still applies:

vinsci@debian $ ulimit -n
1024

Do you have a more elegant way?

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