Author Archives: yodaiken

A basic design error in software

Suppose we didn’t know too much about bridge design, but were convinced that (a) the current design methods were too slow and unmodular to be useful, and (b) not knowing anything about structure other than what we could observe of completed bridges was no barrier to coming up with a new method. We might start by thinking, the bridge as a whole is too complex, let’s break it into parts to simplify. That seems sensible enough, so we decide to divide a bridge into modular sections  pilings, cabling, superstructure, and roadway. Then we divide our design team into parts and discover that the divisions make the design task harder. It turns out that the weight of the roadway makes a big difference to the design of the pilings and superstructure and, in fact, each of our components cannot be designed without deep information about the other components. We have transformed a hard problem into four harder problems.

What are patents for

Mr. R.J. Hall designed a new product known as a “Towel Tote” that is basically an absorbent scarf with pockets on the ends.  [See one here]. After filing his design patent application, Hall e-mailed with Mr. Farley Nachemin at Bed Bath & Beyond (BB&B) to see whether the company would retail his product.  Nachemin is a VP at BB&B and is employed as the General Merchandise Manager. Nachemin showed interest and two later met face-to-face. In the meetings and e-mails Hall made clear that the patent was pending. However, instead of moving forward with Hall, BB&B (with direct participation from Nachemin) mailed Hall’s product to Pakistan and had it copied and manufactured for retail distribution back in the US.

From Patentlyo

 

Big Data and politics

For the general public, there was no way to know that the idea for the Parker contest had come from a data-mining discovery about some supporters: affection for contests, small dinners and celebrity. But from the beginning, campaign manager Jim Messina had promised a totally different, metric-driven kind of campaign in which politics was the goal but political instincts might not be the means. “We are going to measure every single thing in this campaign,” he said after taking the job. He hired an analytics department five times as large as that of the 2008 operation, with an official “chief scientist” for the Chicago headquarters named Rayid Ghani, who in a previous life crunched huge data sets to, among other things, maximize the efficiency of supermarket sales promotions.

Exactly what that team of dozens of data crunchers was doing, however, was a closely held secret. “They are our nuclear codes,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt would say when asked about the efforts. Around the office, data-mining experiments were given mysterious code names such as Narwhal and Dreamcatcher. The team even worked at a remove from the rest of the campaign staff, setting up shop in a windowless room at the north end of the vast headquarters office. The “scientists” created regular briefings on their work for the President and top aides in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, but public details were in short supply as the campaign guarded what it believed to be its biggest institutional advantage over Mitt Romney’s campaign: its data.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/#ixzz2BYScPM1z

 

Free Software Patents: Alan Cox

1. A method, comprising: storing, by one or more processors, confidential data in a confidential section of virtual memory, wherein storing the confidential data in the confidential section of virtual memory comprises: mapping the confidential section of virtual memory to an address space in a first physical memory device; storing the confidential data in the first physical memory device; and marking the address space in the first physical memory device as having confidential data; receiving a request to copy data stored in the address space in the first physical memory device to a second physical memory device, wherein the second physical memory device has more capacity and slower memory access speed than the first physical memory device; determining that the address space in the first physical memory device has been marked as having confidential data; and denying the request to copy in response to determining that the address space in the first physical memory device has been marked as having confidential data.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the request to copy data stored in the address space in the first physical memory device is received as a result of a power-saving operation.

3. The method of claim 2, the operations further comprising: copying data stored in non-confidential sections of the virtual memory to the second physical device; completing the power-saving operation; and upon resuming from the power-saving operation: determining one or more processes had been using the confidential data; and providing a warning to the one or more processes that the confidential data was not copied to the second physical memory device.

4. The method of claim 2, the operations further comprising: copying data stored in non-confidential sections of the virtual memory to the second physical device; completing the power-saving operation; and upon resuming from the power-saving operation: determining one or more processes had been using the confidential data; and terminating the one or more processes

Inventors: Van Riel; Henri Han(Nashua, NH)Cox; Alan(Surrey Resgarch Park, GB)
Assignee: Red Hat, Inc.

SUMMARY

[0008] In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a method of protecting confidential data is provided. When a request to allocate space in a virtual memory for confidential data is received, a portion of the virtual memory is marked as confidential. It is determined if a portion of a physical memory has been assigned for the confidential portion of the virtual memory. The portion of the physical memory that has been assigned for the confidential portion of the virtual memory is then marked as having confidential data.

[0009] In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a method of protecting data allocated to a confidential area of virtual memory that is stored in physical memory is provided. When contents of the physical memory are being written to another location, contents of the physical memory that correspond to data allocated to the confidential area of the virtual memory are identified. The identified contents of the physical memory are then protected.

[0010] Additional embodiments of the present invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.

And then

1. A method for reducing the number of calls from an operating system to an application program, comprising the steps of: associating in the operating system at least one indicia with a first request to access hardware, the indicia indicating a type of notification to be provided by the operating system to the application program upon completion of the first request; receiving from the application program a second request; and based on the second request, de-associating one or more of the at least one indicia from the first request so that notification no longer needs to be provided by the operating system to the application program upon completion of the first request.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the notification comprises an operating system call.

3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the first request and the second request comprise input-output requests received from the application program.

4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the first request and the second request comprise a linked list.

5. The method according to claim 1, wherein the first request and the second request comprise a table.

6. The method according to claim 1, wherein the indicia comprises a flag.

Inventors: Cox; Alan(Swansea, GB)
Correspondence Address:  

    WILMERHALE / RED HAT, INC.
    60 STATE STREET
    BOSTON
    MA
    02109
    US

Assignee: Red Hat, Inc.
Raleigh
NC

[0011] In one embodiment of the present invention, a task can be added to the kernel input/output (I/O) queue while that queue of asynchronous I/O is being processed. The kernel can provide or set indicia, such as a flag, that is readable, for the example, by the application program. The flag can indicate whether or not the kernel is processing any I/O for a particular process (task). For example, while the I/O queue is being processed, the operating system kernel can receive, from an application program can, pertinent data (such as, for example, the file being written to, the data that is to be written to a file, and whether the application is to be notified upon completion of the write operation). The request is written atomically to the kernel I/O queue. When the process has a next kernel I/O request, the process examines the flag to determine if the kernel has completed I/O for the process. If the flag indicates that the I/O queue is completed for the process, the kernel receives a system call. If the flag indicates that the I/O queue is not completed, then the application program need not make a system call. When the I/O is completed, the kernel can check for race conditions. If another request is present in the I/O queue due to a race condition, the kernel can dispatch the request by using a kernel interrupt handler, rather than waiting for the application program to issue a system call to the kernel.

Samsung’s trial brief in the Apple patent lawsuit

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1257891/Samsung_unredacted_trial_brief.pdf

Contrary to the image it has cultivated in the popular press, Apple has admitted in internal documents that  its strength is not  in developing  new technologies  first, but in  successfully commercializing them.    When Apple was developing its campaign to promote the first iPhone, it considered – and rejected – advertisements that touted alleged Apple ?firsts? with the iPhone.  As one Apple employee explained to an overly exuberant Apple marketer, ?I don‘t know how many things we can come up with that you can legitimately claim we did first.  Certainly we have the first successful versions of many features, but that‘s different than launching something to market first.? See Ex. 4 (DX 578).    In this vein, the employee methodically explained that Palm, Nokia and others had first invented the iPhone‘s most prominent features.

Popcorn?

 

Free software and newspapers

Folks who decry the idea of subscriber fees argue that paywalls won’t work, and that those who advocate for them, don’t understand the Internet. The opposite is true. These folks don’t understand the first thing about actual journalism. It costs money to cover a metro region, or a nation, or the world comprehensively, to place reporters at key points and maintain them while they cover a beat and glean information year after year. Anyone who still thinks that this can be achieved by amateurs or hobbyists are embarrassing themselves. It hasn’t happened in a consistent fashion anywhere, and it won’t happen anywhere. Journalism is a profession; it requires careers, and careers require a living wage, and until newspapers recover a revenue stream for their online product, they have no future.

David Simon

Timestamp based reconciliation

Timestamp based reconciliation: This case differs from the previous one only in the reconciliation mechanism. In case of divergent versions, Dynamo  performs simple timestamp based reconciliation logic of “last write wins”; i.e., the object with the largest physical timestamp value is chosen as the correct version. The service that maintains customer’s session information is a good example of a service that uses this mode.

http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/files/amazon-dynamo-sosp2007.pdf

Murdoch strikes against copyrights

The witnesses allege a software company NDS, owned by News Corp, cracked the smart card codes of rival company ONdigital. ONdigital, owned by the ITV companies Granada and Carlton, eventually went under amid a welter of counterfeiting by pirates, leaving the immensely lucrative pay-TV field clear for Sky.
The allegations, if proved, cast further doubt on whether News Corp meets the “fit and proper” test required to run a broadcaster in Britain. It emerged earlier this month that broadcasting regulator Ofcom has set up a unit called Project Apple to establish whether BSkyB, 39.1% owned by News Corp, meets the test.
Panorama’s emails appear to state that ONdigital’s secret codes were first cracked by NDS, and then subsequently publicised by the pirate website, called The House of Ill Compute – THOIC for short. According to the programme, the codes were passed to NDS’s head of UK security, Ray Adams, a former police officer. NDS made smart cards for Sky. NDS was jointly funded by Sky, which says it never ran NDS.
Lee Gibling, operator of THOIC, says that behind the scenes, he was being paid up to £60,000 a year by Adams, and NDS handed over thousands more to supply him with computer equipment.
He says Adams sent him the ONdigital codes so that other pirates could use them to manufacture thousands of counterfeit smart cards, giving viewers illicit free access to ONdigital, then Sky’s chief business rival. From the Guardian.