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the Great BOINC! September 26, 2006

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Misc.
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BOINC stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. It’s a quite interesting tool to help you integrate certain popular volunteer grid computing works like SETI@home, Rosetta@home …etc.. Nah.. why is there no RSA@home, SHA1@home 😛

I used to run SETI@home on my laptop at school, but soon I turned it off. Since a laptop is meant to be “mobile,” my laptop stops computing when I carry it with me, which happened frequently. Second, it consumes CPU so much that my laptop keeps faning. You know, that sound is quite annoying, especially when you’re willing to contribute to the mankind at sleep.

Anyway, now I installed BOINC on my desktop at office. With it a user can join multiple grid computing projects at a time. For example, my desktop is calculating einstein@home and Rosetta@home at present. I guess it has better data segmentation or priority control? Because I can hardly feel any lag on my box, even though the CPU utility is 100% all the time. Except for its improvement in process scheduling (just a guess) and the integration of different grid computing projects, it also generates integrated analysis report. Needless to say, they surely reserve the fancy looking graphics that illustrats your calculating results.

For those who are still interested in contributing to researches that requires massive computing, you have my recommendtion to add this handy tool to enjoy your generous offer. 🙂

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Is it necessary? September 20, 2006

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Misc.
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I saw a couple of news yesterday, and the day before. People who support Bian exercised violence against those who oust him. People in red are hit. Cars in red are hit. Cops and presses are hit. If blood is a must for damocratic revolution, the blood shall belong to those who start the attack. Those folks who attack innocent people shall be condemned and charged. However, is the Red so peaceful and rational whilst Green showing emotional and violent?

The answer is, no, not exactly. In the night of Sep. 15, people in red surrounded the president’s residence. There is a photo studio hanging Bian’s portrait in the front of the store. When the Red saw this, they start to abuse the owner. They yelled “shame on you” at two poor women, and kept knocking on the window. That’s not peace at all, that’s a serious harrasment.

These pictures remind me the Culture Revolution in PRC in 1965 – 1976. It’s a tragedy that people against what they are and where they from. The red guards are autohypnotized to hate those who don’t belong to them with no reason. Doesn’t it look so much like the crowd in Green and Red at this moment?

Although it’s true that our president Bian has no shame, so as the blind-followers who cannot control themselves and assault innocent people. The whole thing is becoming to an in-house terror, especially when there are party members taking chances to grab focus.

IE 7 RC September 20, 2006

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Misc.
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Finally there’s something good about Microsoft. I downloaded IE7 and gave it a try yesterday. IE 7 has no GM release yet, but RC. I saw some improvements, though they are mostly copied from firefox.

  • Tab – ctrl+t opens a new tab, that’s totally a copy
  • Google seasrch – a google search box at the up-right of the main window, totally another copy
  • Hidden menu bar – I can’t say it’s a good or bad idea, to me it’s good because I can see more lines of the content without a menu bar. But not to my girl, she is totally lost. Not all users have the knowledge of hotkey “alt,” in the end they just keep menu bar shown on the tool bar. This action nigates the good of original design anyway. Maybe MS guys can put a message that teachs users how to dynamically access the menu bar after the installation.
  • Better fonts – This assertion is personal and subjective, but I do feel the change. I like the words shape it presents anyway.

In case there is any of a misunderstanding, I didn’t claim that IE7 is better than any other browsers. Besides, the history taught us that MS’ new products are the best incubators ever for security leaks. My point is, whatever IE7 copies, it’s getting better than itself.

Vista? are you sure? September 14, 2006

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Linux.
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While the very first time I have Vista RC1 DVD in hand, it feels so much like 6 years ago I bought a Redhat 5.2 CD. I can’t wait to see this “tremendous” work of Microsoft since so many market analyzers keep telling investers to bet on manufacturers of DRAM, passive components…etc.. After my first contact with Vista, I can’t wait to tell you, DON’T buy their stocks, because Vista won’t sell. Those who bought Vista will regret in the end IF they treat Vista as Microsoft expected.

Is the alpha blending fancy interface so important to you? If yes, please spend more money on hardware since Vista will grade your hardware. If your hardware don’t “pass” the exam, say bye bye to alpha blending.I myself prefer a fast, stable and secure system. Even in XP, turning all visual effects off is the very first thing I do right after installation. In Vista, it applies two technologies to achieve security as they claimed. One is BitLocker for securing your “Operating System Volume,” the other is TPM for securing “boot process.”

I got this description from BDE (BitLocker Drive Encryption) tech. overview (download from microsoft’s official website), “BitLocker encryption of Data Volume is only supported in Windows Server Longhorn in version 1” …… Guys, how do you manage your data? Do you store them in a separated volume/partition or just put them in a folder named “don’t delete” under C:/? Can you see the strategy of Vista? I can’t, please help me. I cannot figure out what kind of operating system will try so hard to secure itself, instead of the user. Go, go buy Longhorn, then you’ll have to buy additional RAM, faster CPU at the same time. While you’re still fighting with M$ WINDOWS to secure your data, the WINTEL group are already laughing and counting money.

There is one more thing annoying about Vista. By default, its access control mechanism asks for your confirmation for every action. You have to confirm while opening a command prompt as administrator, copying a file, running third-party programs…etc.. From security’s point of view, it’s turning DAC (Discretionary access control) into MAC (Mandatory access control). That’s a totally good thing, what so bad is that Vista exploits MAC in a wrong way. An access control mechanism “controls” the previliges of users. In other words, user got warning and denial while doing things that he is not allowed to do. In Vista, user got “harasments” in regular operations no matter he is allowed or not.

I didn’t write this article to convince the readers how dumb M$ could be, but to point out the fact that a so called “friendly” OS becoming not only unfriendly, but also meaningless. Even the drawbacks I depicted above are not ill-designed, they indeed make no sense and create a complicated working environment for users. I will stay with XP, if I want to use Microsoft Windows .

SELinux trouble again… September 11, 2006

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Linux.
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If you’re involved in an open source package that doesn’t have stable release yet, you’re involved in a set of confusions, a chaos, a neuron-mingling disaster.

I tried to compile and install refpolicy (downloaded from tresys’s website) on my FC5 box whole day and got nothing paid off. What so wierd is, there’re documents from Redhat, NAS showing several lines of commands. But the result is not reproduciable…

I got error like “policy file argument (policy.20) is no longer supported”, this assertion totally contradicts with design concepts shown in other tech. reports. I searched online forums, made some adjustments to the system, but still in vain. Finally I have no way to go… except

mailing list!

That’s right, so I posted an article to fedora-selinux-list, hoping some nice guy will help me out of this mess.