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Comments

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NASA To Encrypt All of Its Laptops

AMuse Why doesn't NASA Just.... (226 comments)

An awful lot of people in this thread have quick and simple "just do this" solutions for NASA's data encryption challenges.

NASA isn't your standard corporate environment - there are serious challenges to any "Just do X" solution. They DO need to encrypt everything but its not a simple single-answer thing. They have to accommodate every scenario from "HR newbie with PII data in an office envrionment" to "Laptop collecting data on a C-130 as it flies through hurricanes" to "Laptops controlling robots in the desert during field tests sulating Martian environments".

In many of those cases a laptop with broken
encryption software means millions of wasted dollars if the experiment is a wash.

In other cases NOT having crypto means serious secrecy issues.

Anyway, there's no excuse for this loss but could we please stop pretending that NASA literally never considered DAR on mobile devices, and that simply doing {your favorite product} on everything would solve all the problems?

Thanks....

about a year and a half ago
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NASA To Encrypt All of Its Laptops

AMuse Re:i don't understand... (226 comments)

Wow, do you bring the servers with you when you go do field tests of your robot in the desert? Or on the plane when you're doing hurricane fly-through ops?

Wait, you don't have those kinds of complexities in your corp? Interesting.

I wonder if NASA is a really complicated and nuanced sort of place and how that might provide challenges for these sorts of seemingly trivial things.

about a year and a half ago
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Google Founder Offer $33M For Use of NASA Airship Hangar

AMuse Re:Google's airport (86 comments)

Just to clarify for other readers, you post makes it sound like "NASA Doesn't do much" at NASA ARC.

I work at ARC, and it's a wonderful research facility! In just my short time here I've been involved with groups doing pioneering work in computer science and robotics, supercomputing, avionics, aviation safety, cockpit design, UAVs (for science, not war!), earth science, biology, astrophysics, planetary discovery, and so much more!!

NASA Kepler, which just found a "twin" earth (Google: Kepler 22-b) was begun here, and the science operations are still performed here.

Quite a lot of great stuff comes out of NASA Ames, for a very small overall price tag.

more than 2 years ago
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Hack Targets NASA's Earth Observation System

AMuse Re:Houston, we have a serious security problem... (45 comments)

Hi all; I actually work for NASA as an IT Security guy.

While I can't answer specifics about this incident, you should remember that a great many things done by NASA are "General Science", and the data output from them is specifically and consciously made public.

It's possible that the FTP server is meant to be serving those files "to the public".

Why FTP instead of SFTP? Usually when you choose to make data public to the world, you don't bother implementing crypto on the data. And just because it's available via FTP for distribution, does not mean insecure FTP was used to *place* the data on the server.

more than 3 years ago
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Feds Discover 1,000 More Government Data Centers

AMuse Re:"What is a datacenter?" (246 comments)

You're quite right, actually. I didn't really want to go into all that detail with my post though, and knowing the "average" IT guy I think I'm still safe saying that they'd say "Hey, that should be in a datacenter!". ;)

more than 3 years ago
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Feds Discover 1,000 More Government Data Centers

AMuse "What is a datacenter?" (246 comments)

Before everyone gets all spun up on government waste, inefficiency, etc - I'd like to point out that numbers like these are never accurate. (For the record, I work for the feds, in the IT field).

The problem with "The feds have X datacenters" as a metric is that various audits occur at different times and by different auditors. These auditors almost always have differing definitions for what a datacenter actually is.

In one audit, a group can come through and define "Datacenter" as a big room where servers are co-located and services run on behalf of others. They'll find 2 at my center. Then a year later, a different group comes in and defines "Datacenter" as anywhere that more than 5 computers are running and left on all night. They'll find 200 at my center. Yes, this actually happened! The auditors came through dozens of science labs, found project servers sitting in the labs, and labeled each lab a datacenter.

Now here is the trick to why the statistics are complete mush. A normal IT guy would walk through the lab and say "Hey, that server should be in a datacenter!" -- but the auditors make the reverse conclusion. "Hey, this lab is a datacenter".

Yes, there is waste in the federal sphere and we absolutely need to take action to be more efficient at all levels. However, this article is basically pushing a number that came from someones' imagination, and pretending it's meaningful.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft's Ad Team Trumps IE Developers' Privacy Aims

AMuse Re:Firefox/Chrome extension? (149 comments)

Duh, how could I not think of a prompt + whitelist. :P

Then again, that presents the "NoScript" problem. While techies generally tend to use noscript, I pretty much see non-techies clicking "Temporarily allow all this page" on every page they visit that "doesn't work right" without even looking at the URL lists. So, a prompt to whitelist content would probably just get the same treatment. Better than status quo I suppose, but not a panacea either.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft's Ad Team Trumps IE Developers' Privacy Aims

AMuse Re:Firefox/Chrome extension? (149 comments)

Wouldn't this feature also kill things like OpenID and other "Single Sign On" services?

more than 3 years ago
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Adobe Calls Out Apple With Ads In NY Times, WSJ

AMuse Re:Adobe -- you are wearing no clothes! (731 comments)

If one strace's the chrome flash plugin process one discovers that in 10 seconds it issues 56,000 system calls -- 53,000 (95%) of them are useless gettimeofday() calls

Per my co-worker: That's probably why flash sucks so bad on MacOS. Apple won't give them the time of day!

more than 4 years ago
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Company Sued, Loses For Not Using Patented Tech

AMuse Re:Saw Stop is great (631 comments)

One of the well documented problems is that if you cut wood that is "too wet" then the brake will activate, thinking that it's hit flesh.

So really the article should say "Each time you cut wood that's too damp (which you have no way to determine beforehand) you pay $169 to replace the blade and brake". That puts into focus why some woodworkers who know how to be careful do not WANT the safety feature.

more than 4 years ago
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Simulated Hack To Test US Government Response

AMuse Re:Simulation of the results follows (73 comments)

Sounds like an excellent idea for foreign espionage. Set up a private shell company, then invite a bunch of former officials who know exactly how the real systems work, to get together in a hotel you've bugged and start pretending they're responding to a cyber attack of some sort.

Official1: "Call the NSA Task force Orange, tell them to begin operation Stork."
ForeignAgent: (making notes) Operation Stork.... NSA... means X..."

more than 4 years ago
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How To Get a Job At a Mega-Corp

AMuse Re:First, be a foreigner (373 comments)

FYI, NASA does not have a pension plan and has not for years. Lately, we're all on the "TSP" - Thrift Savings Plan. It's the government equivalent of the 401k.

more than 4 years ago
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NASA Nebula, Cloud Computing In a Container

AMuse Re:Is NASA suffering from mission creep? (55 comments)

There's another important factor in the paranoia about data breaches and risk that's often VERY overlooked.

As part of the chain of responsibility, the CIO community (the individual CIOs at the 11 NASA centers, and the federal CIOs in general) are very risk-averse. Why might that be? Well, in addition to the normal slamming your agency has to endure if there's a data/privacy breach, the CIOs and decision makers may also be civilly or criminally liable for negligence if it can be shown that they were permitting workplace practices that went against federal regulations. A few CIOs that I know are actually carrying personal liability insurance (out of their own pockets) to cover themselves in case such accusations are leveled.

Now, imagine you're the person tasked with pushing the envelope technologically (Hey, it's what NASA does) but the only thing your bosses ever remind you of is that it's your ass on the line if anything is ever breached, inappropriately stored or transmitted, etc -- and that fines and jail time aren't out of the question. That's enough to make someone pretty risk-averse!

more than 4 years ago
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NASA Nebula, Cloud Computing In a Container

AMuse Re:Is NASA suffering from mission creep? (55 comments)

To follow up on this (Disclaimer: I am a NASA employee), NASA and other federal agencies are prohibited by policy and law from transmitting or storing many of our data types on non-government owned hardware and networks. (Transmitting of course can be done if it's tightly encrypted). Processing our data on private servers is strictly prohibited in many cases.

The most frequently cited laws and policies which dictate this are FISMA and OMB M-06-16, but there are many others. Employees are even prohibited from doing team collaboration with things like Google Docs, because information which is not yet deemed to be sensitive (say, an immature design for a propulsion system) might become very sensitive, and once it's "out" it is out for good.

Like it or not, there's a lot of other countries with developing missile programs, communications programs and many other technologies which have dual civilian and military use, and NASA is charged by congress with keeping technology that may have military applications out of foreign hands.

If Nebula is able to perform as well as clouds such as EC2 and the like, and allow NASA and other federal agencies to do cloud style processing within the government sector, it could save HUGE amounts of taxpayer money that's otherwise legally obligated to be "Wasted".

more than 4 years ago
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Should You Be Paid For Being On Call?

AMuse Re:Well, then... (735 comments)

I'm an IT Security guy, and am part of a union. Our parent organization is the IFPTE -- International Federation of Professional Trade Engineers. I'm sure you could contact them about unionization at your workplace if you think you need to organize.

more than 4 years ago
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Home Router For High-Speed Connection?

AMuse Soekris Net55501 + m0n0wall (376 comments)

I've had fantastic luck with m0n0wall on a Soekris Net5501 box - The hardware was basically built for routing, switching and firewalling and m0n0wall is a great distribution.

Hit www.soekris.com for info on the products. (I have no financial connection whatsoever, just a satisfied customer)

more than 4 years ago
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Easing the Job of Family Tech Support?

AMuse Re:You can't teach people who don't want to learn (932 comments)

Sounds like you both enjoy poking fun at each other and bickering about inconsequential things. Assuming this doesn't rise to the level of genuine arguments (like couch guy below) I say it sounds like a normal and healthy relationship. Just thought you might appreciate the thought after all the other comments soon to follow.

(5 year wedding anniversary 2 weeks ago, goin' on 9 years together, bicker like it's been 80)

more than 4 years ago
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Easing the Job of Family Tech Support?

AMuse Re:here's where we get to hear someone spew (932 comments)

I hate to say it and fuel the flames, but I also got my wife a Mac. Then her parents got one, and my parents both got them. Know what? My tech support load dropped significantly and they're really happy their machine doesn't give them problems anymore.

more than 4 years ago
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iPhone Straining AT&T Network

AMuse Re:Good (551 comments)

This whole "iPhones are an ungodly sum" meme is getting old. Have you priced out a smartphone vs an iphone lately?

My iPhone w/ 3G service is costing me $50/month LESS than a Palm Treo 755 w/ Verizon that I just gave up to make the switch. Same minutes, same texts, MMS is no skin off my teeth since the data unlimited gives me twitter/facebook to send photos instead.

more than 4 years ago
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Build Your Own $2.8M Petabyte Disk Array For $117k

AMuse Re:You know why Amazon charges that much? (487 comments)

Ouch! Generally we use interns and junior staff to watch over the techs on the floor. This policy stands mainly because it's not just Sun coming in to maintain Sun equipment, it's a vast range of vendors and suppliers. A/C guys to come change the A/C filters, fire guys to check the fire system, electrical guys, safety guys, structural guys for earthquale checks... you get the picture! Quite a lot of those folks are NOT at all capable of knowing not to (for example) lay a big plastic sheet across the air intake to a cooling system while they're trying to inspect the fire sprinklers.

Even our junior staff may not know the specifics of the board being replaced in the E4k by the Sun guy - but they've had datacenter care and respect driven into their skulls by the time they've been there a month, so they can keep watch.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Proposed CA bill creates new "Offender" re

AMuse AMuse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

AMuse writes "The New York Times reports today on a Proposed New Law which would create a web-searchable database of persons convicted of domestic violence. Fiona Ma, the author, claims: "If you're online, Googling and looking for information on someone you met in a bar or on MySpace, this would provide a tool for people to go and look to see if someone who is suspicious and a little creepy has a history of violence". Is this evidence that the opponents of "Megan's Law" (Sex offender registry) laws are correct, and that sooner or later all of ones' run-ins with the law will be searchable by the public?"
Link to Original Source
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AMuse AMuse writes  |  more than 7 years ago

AMuse writes ""On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin blasted off the launch pad in Baikonur at 9:08 AM local time. Gagarin made his historic 108 minute flight (orbiting around the whole Earth once) and parachute landed near his Vostok 1 capsule in the plains of Russia. This flight made him the first human to orbit the Earth and an international hero."

Yuri's Night is a World Space Party celebrated at over 90 events in 30 countries to commemorate the anniversary of the Vostok 1 Launch. The 2007 San Francisco Bay Area Yuri's Night will take place on April 13 at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

The all-night event will include space and science exhibits, live music by several DJs, food and drinks and will be held in one of the enormous aircraft hangars at Moffett Field."

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