Lazy reading for 2013/06/30

Some of the links this week go pretty in-depth.  Enjoy!

Your unrelated link(s) of the week: Candy Box and A Dark Room.  Both are text-only games, but they use HTML5 for animation.  They start minimal, and build up – be patient; there’s a lot of gameplay in there.  These minimal  games fascinate me.  It’s like reading a book, where it goes from just static text to an entire world being built.  (somewhat via)

Your bonus unrelated comics link of the week: Jack Kirby double-page spreads.  It’s not an exaggeration to say this artwork crackles.  (via I forget)


GSoC Hammer and compression performance numbers

Earlier this week, Daniel Flores posted the first-week report on his Google Summer of Code project, file compression in Hammer.  He mentioned that the LZ4 algorithm he is using seems to have the best performance with repeating text data, as in logfiles.  I asked for numbers, and he provided them.  The important data in the results is the total compression column.  It shows how many 64k blocks were able to be compressed, with that type of data.

BSD, Playstation 4, and disk storage

Supposedly it’s FreeBSD 9.0 under the hood on the new Playstation 4 systems.  What does this mean for FreeBSD, or driver support, or BSD in general, or what you can run on that hardware?  Possibly nothing other than a vague sense of superiority.

On the other hand, this BoingBoing article makes a good point about commodity hardware and its immediate utility.  It’s an effective network storage device and it doesn’t even mention FreeNAS.

Summer of Code, first week reports

All the Summer of Code students for DragonFly have posted their first week reports:

If any of these projects are interesting to you, or if you have any tips for these students on work they are doing, please provide feedback.




Julio Merino and NetBSD, and volunteerism

Julio Merino is not renewing his membership of the NetBSD board of directors; he wrote an extensive post as to why.  I agree with some of the issues he raised; they are possible on any open source project.  I don’t necessarily think the solutions he proposes are correct.

I am clearly biased on this, but I think NetBSD needs a ‘NetBSD Digest’, to talk about the changes being made and the work being done.  I once asked someone experienced in dealing with volunteers how you motivate people without a paycheck, and he said “Celebrate their accomplishments”.  All the BSDs could use that.  (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)

Lazy Reading for 2013/06/23

I was going to make excuses for a low link count because of being on the road this week – but somehow I managed to find a lot to read anyway.  We all win!

Your unrelated link of the week: Who you gonna call?  This kills me because there was some obvious prop work and setup just to create this 7 second joke.

Lazy Reading for 2013/06/16

This is a text-heavy weekend, given yesterday’s post.  Enjoy!

Your unrelated link of the week: ScummVM in a browser.  Comes with some LucasArts game demos, too. (via many places)

PRISM, privacy, and what you make yourself

If you’ve been reading the Digest for a while, you’ve seen me talk about the value of hosting or running your own services.  It’s not too much of a surprise in my case; if you are working on an open-source operating system, you want to run it.  It’s good to get the experience, and you can run programs the way you want, instead of picking from whatever vendors happen to sell you.

The PRISM disclosure, which I am going to assume everyone is familiar with at this point, is another facet.  Every time you use another company for your email, your entertainment, your software, and so on, their information on you can be accessed.    This isn’t a problem that can be fixed by going from one webmail provider to another.  You can shop around, but notice that the author in that link effectively throws his or her hands in the air and says, “there’s no way out” by the end of the article.  This is because corporations work as collecting agents for the government, even if they don’t plan to do so.

That sounds drastic, but there’s legal frameworks in every country for governments to require companies to give up data on any person, on request.  It happens.  I’ve seen it myself; I worked for Time Warner for several years, tracking down cable modem user information and handing it over as compelled by law.  I know the lawyers at TW Corporate didn’t like doing it, but they didn’t have a choice.  (I have some horrifying stories about what people would do to themselves and each other.)

Companies are increasingly working to create services to sell, not products to buy.  A service never stops being consumed, so it forms an ongoing revenue stream.  I’m not saying this is bad; I firmly believe that a financial incentive to be paid improves services.  However, as only a consumer, you can end up not owning what you use.  Other people have pointed this out, and I don’t want to sound like a frothing crazy person… but it is relevant, though not necessarily as catastrophic as some people pronounce.

What I’m working towards here is a reminder that you should run your own software, and running it on DragonFly is the best way.  (Or some other operating system, I guess.  If you have to.)  Instead of trying to figure out what the least-bad commercial option can be, run it yourself.  Good for privacy, good for learning.  I know that’s not an option for everyone; fighting with Sendmail (for instance) is not an activity that many people pick voluntarily.  But, if you’ve been thinking of setting up a replacement for Google Reader, or hosting your own mail, or own blog, etc… there’s never a better time than now.

(Follow all those links for some good information; consider it an early Lazy Reading post)