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Comments

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Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity

Iphtashu Fitz Re:but my LAN security! (505 comments)

If I decided to do this, I would need to operate my LAN like every node was bare on the internet.

Just get a second router and set up a DMZ. That's effectively what I did when I switched over to FiOS since Verizon gives you a router to use. My home network is now basically:

(fios conenction) -> (fios router) -> (my router) -> (my LAN)

I give out the wifi on the fios router to family/friends who visit. So they have internet access but they don't have any access to the equipment on my LAN.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Science-Fiction/Fantasy For Kids?

Iphtashu Fitz Re:Fantasy (726 comments)

Another good fantasy series would be the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. I remember reading them when I was really young and really enjoyed the puns and plays on words that he incorporated into the titles & throughout the books.

One other series that comes to mind is one I remember stumbling across in my elementary school library. It was "Midnight at the Well of Souls" by Jack Chalker. It's more sci-fi but it has a mix of fantasy included.

more than 2 years ago
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How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?

Iphtashu Fitz And end to traffic/congestion? Doubtful... (648 comments)

'Congestion would be something you could tell your grandchildren about, once upon a time.'

I find that claim highly suspect. Just because a car can self-drive doesn't mean the highways wouldn't be congested. In fact I'd argue that the exact opposite is true.

I live outside of Boston where we had to deal with the Big Dig for roughly a full decade. For those of you unfamiliar with it, this was essentially a project to replace the central elevated highway through the city with a larger underground tunnel (along with other new highway improvements). Before the start of the Big Dig the highway through Boston was designed to handle an estimated 90,000 cars per day, but that capacity was exceeded just one year after the highway had been built in 1960, and traffic jams were commonplace.

Since the completion of the Big Dig there have been studies that suggest the increased capacity of the highway hasn't resulted in less traffic. Instead, more people are now driving (and driving by themselves instead of carpooling) because they see the highways as better able to handle the capacity. If anything the traffic jams are bigger and extending further out from the city.

Driverless cars are likely to invite more people to hop into cars (and likely be alone rather than carpooling), so there will likely be many more cars on the road thanks to this technology. How does having a much larger number of cars, even when some or even most of them are automated, reduce or eliminate traffic/congestion if a road is only designed to handle so many cars per hour/day?

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Leads Sting Operation Against Zeus Botnets

Iphtashu Fitz Re:In what way is this a 'sting'? (114 comments)

In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime.

Again, in what way was this a sting? There was no deception involved, at least none that was mentioned in the article. The headline says it was a sting, but nowhere in the article is there any mention of any sort of deception. In fact the article really says nothing at all about how they identified the C&C hosts that were seized. Typically researchers locate C&C servers by analyzing the network traffic to/from a compromised server. How does network analysis equate to deception?

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Leads Sting Operation Against Zeus Botnets

Iphtashu Fitz In what way is this a 'sting'? (114 comments)

The slang term 'sting' means a swindle or fraud. This article doesn't mention any of that - just that Microsoft again seized C&C servers for the botnet. They likely determined which servers were providing C&C for the botnet by good old fashioned detective work, not some elaborate con perpetrated against the operators of the botnet.

more than 2 years ago
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Laser Scanner May Allow Passengers To Take Bottled Drinks On Planes Again

Iphtashu Fitz Here's what flying will be like in 10 years... (343 comments)

You pack up your carry-on bag and show up at the airport. As you go through the security line you have to unpack everything. All liquids and gels have to be placed on one conveyer belt. Electronic devices are placed on another. Your belt, shoes, hat, jacket, are placed on another. Whatever remains is placed on yet another. If you accidentally put something on the wrong conveyer then you and all your belongings are dragged off to a private room by 3 goons who go through everything with a fine toothed comb, taking so long that you'll undoubtedly miss your flight. Each of those conveyers goes through an assortment of various gizmos that poke, prod, scan, irradiate, zap, spray, and shake all of your possessions.

If you sort all your belongings properly then you then proceed to one kiosk where you have your retinas and/or fingerprints scanned. Depending on the outcome of that (and probably the whim of a nearby screener) you're shunted to another line where your clothes are swabbed down and tested for lord-knows-what sorts of chemicals. Then it's off to another line to proceed through a nude-o-scope so the screeners can gawk at you. And since the nude-o-scope doesn't actually do what it's purported to do then you're also subjected to a full pat-down. After the final pat down you're interrogated by yet another agent who demands to know where you're traveling, who you're traveling with, why you think you should be allowed on board an airplane, etc.

After about 30 minutes of "processing" you're allowed to retrieve roughly 85% of your belongings (half of which are damaged or completely destroyed from the "screening" process) from a huge bin where all those conveyers dump everything into one huge pile.

Oh yeah, and if you're not smiling sincerely throughout the entire process then you're also subjected to a full body cavity search and then ejected from the airport no matter what the outcome of the search.

more than 2 years ago
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Pasadena Police Encrypt, Deny Access To Police Radio

Iphtashu Fitz Big deal... (487 comments)

I was in the US Coast Guard for about 10 years through most of the 90's. They used regular VHF marine radio for most communications, but they had an encrypted local area radio that they could switch to if necessary. The quality wasn't as good as VHF, but you were pretty much guaranteed that every boater in 10 miles wasn't listening in if you were discussing something sensitive like looking for a body in the water, etc. If we wanted to notify people to be on the look out for a missing boat we'd broadcast on VHF. If we didn't want hundreds of random people to know that we're investigating a drunk boat operator or assisting somebody who had a heart attack or other medical issue we'd "go secure".

As time progressed we also started using cell phones more and more since the cell phone coverage for a couple miles from the coast is pretty decent these days in most populated areas and the quality is typically very good. Why shouldn't police departments be afforded the same level of security in their communications? Yes I know cell phones aren't perfect and could be intercepted by somebody intent on doing so, but at least you don't have to worry about hundreds/thousands of people eavesdropping by simply flipping on a radio.

more than 2 years ago
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Hawaiian Bill Would Force ISPs to Track Users' Web Histories For 2 Years

Iphtashu Fitz Another example of clueless legislators... (200 comments)

Once again we see a proposed law that will only impact law abiding people (and be a major invasion of their privacy to boot).

If I was intent on covering my tracks I could take so many routes:

- Download Tor and use it to privatize all my browsing
- Search for open SOCKS proxies, etc. to exploit
- Rent a VPS out of state and set up a proxy on it

and any one of hundreds of other approaches to take...

more than 2 years ago
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Red Hat's Linux Changes Raise New Questions

Iphtashu Fitz Re:One of the advantages of Linux (433 comments)

RedHat can go their own way without needing the rest of us to buy in

The only problem with your argument is that Red Hat has a huge base of paying customers, and money talks.

I manage a small research cluster at a university. It's running Red Hat linux on over 100 nodes. The university has a site license for Red Hat so licensing for the cluster isn't an issue. The decision to go with Red Hat had to do mainly with what distros are directly supported by commercial products like Matlab, Mathematica, Abaqus, Maple, Comsol, Ansys, etc. All these vendors sell lots of software & services to universities, research labs, etc. and they all support Red Hat linux.

I've personally dealt with support departments when trying to run commercial software on non-RH distros, and in some cases they pretty much tell you you're on your own if you're not using RH or one of the other top two or three distros. Most commercial vendors will only state that they support RedHat, SUSE, and maybe Ubuntu and/or Debian.

If/when Red Hat comes out with a new way of doing things then customers like us will start pushing on the vendors to support those new ways. After all, we're tied into using Red Hat, and we need their products to run on it. So the commercial software vendors will start supporting the Red Hat way of doing things to appease their customers. And once the commercial vendors start supporting it then it will slowly but surely make its way into other distributions as well so that these apps can run on distros that other people want to use.

more than 2 years ago
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NATO Exercise Banned From Jamming GPS

Iphtashu Fitz Re:What? (260 comments)

Basically impossible to jam because of the very powerful land based transmitters

Any signal can be jammed, and LORAN has its own weaknesses. A simple jamming or disruption of the signal from a master station would effectively disable LORAN across a huge geographic area. And given that they're ground based, it would be trivial to drive a truck into an antenna tower, blow it up with a small amount of explosives, etc.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Network Backup Solution Out of the Box?

Iphtashu Fitz Re:rsync? (251 comments)

If you're going to use rsync then I'd recommend using rsnapshot, which is essentially a perl script that makes rsync even more powerful. It's basically a poor-mans version of Apple's Time Machine software. It'll keep hourly/daily/weekly/monthly snapshots in such a way that disk usage is optimized, and the number & timing of snapshots can be fully configured.

more than 2 years ago
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Heathkit DIY Kits Are Coming Back

Iphtashu Fitz Heathkit - good quality (197 comments)

I still have a Heathkit multimeter that I built in the late 80's. Still works like a charm. I think I also have an LED clock sitting in a box in a closet somewhere.
I built a lot of their kits as a kid, from shortwave radios to speakerphones. My dad was a ham radio operator and he got me hooked on them. I'd love to see them make a comeback in this arena.

more than 2 years ago
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Wolfram Launches Computational Document Format

Iphtashu Fitz I wonder... (167 comments)

Was there any thought whatsoever in terms of security when they developed this format? A document that can embed other objects sounds like an excellent method for distributing malware, etc.

about 3 years ago
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Law Enforcement Still Wants Mandatory ISP Log Retention

Iphtashu Fitz Idiots (226 comments)

What kind of logging are they going to expect to come from all the VPS's out there? I have two VPS's, each of which I use for two different domains I own. I also manage a third VPS for a non-profit group. Unless the ISP starts to log every single bit of data that comes into and out of my VPS this law is going to be absolutely useless to dealing with traffic that goes through a VPS.

There's no way in hell I'm going to forward the syslogs, mail logs, etc. of my linux hosts to an ISP for them to archive for an arbitrary amount of time. I'll simply pay a little bit more to use a VPS provided by a foreign provider that's outside of the reach of US laws.

And even if they did somehow manage to force VPS users to forward logs to the ISP for storage, how would they know that what I'm sending them is everything? I'm a pretty decent professional linux systems administrator. It wouldn't be all that hard to filter out some stuff and only send the ISP's log server what I want them to see.

Once again we see an excellent of an example of a proposed law that only makes things more difficult for the innocent and ignorant, and will have little effect on those who have the knowledge and desire to avoid it.

about 3 years ago
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US ISPs, Big Content Reaching Antipiracy Agreement

Iphtashu Fitz Re:How will this impact hardcore infringers? (342 comments)

I think if they disallowed any encryption other than SSL, most people wouldn't complain because they'd still be able to access their website and email.

Wrong. Every corporation in the country that relies on VPN's for their employees would complain, as would every corporation in the country who has sysadmins who work remotely using tools like SSH to log into hosts. As would every single person/corporation who uses encryption like GPG to encrypt sensitive e-mails and other data.

And on top of that you could never trust on-line banking or anything else ever again. There are tools out there to help identify SSL man-in-the-middle attacks that more and more banks are starting to use. Either you'd no longer be able to use on-line banking or you couldn't trust your connection to your bank. Just think - all a black hat would have to do is hack into a major ISP and compromise their SSL-man-in-the-middle server(s) and they'd have full access to the bank accounts of all the ISP's customers who use online banking.

Oh yeah, and guess who would have to foot the bill for your ISP to set up these man-in-the-middle SSL snooper servers and to constantly monitor your traffic? It sure won't be them or the MPAA/RIAA.

more than 3 years ago
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US ISPs, Big Content Reaching Antipiracy Agreement

Iphtashu Fitz Re:How will this impact hardcore infringers? (342 comments)

If you can't download them to home, what good are they?

Wow, you really aren't all that bright, are you?

Your ISP starts throttling bittorrent on you and doing deep packet inspection of those torrents to see what you're sharing. So you rent a seedbox at a different ISP and do all your bittorrent transfers there where your local ISP has no control. Once you've received the entire torrent at the seedbox then you simply download it to home over an encrypted connection. As I said in my original post you just use scp/ssh or something similar that's SSL encrypted (possibly even a VPN connection). Your ISP can't inspect it. You're not using bittorrent over your ISP's connection so they can't claim you're infringing by sharing.

And who is going to throttle/block the seedbox in India? Seedbox providers are explicitly providing services intended to allow bittorrent, so they won't block it. And who cares if your ISP or other ISP's do that since you're not using bittorrent through your ISP. That's the whole point of protocols like bittorrent. Let the ISP's block the idiots who are stupid enough to try downloading torrents of copyrighted movies while hundreds or thousands of others rent seedboxes and run bittorrent there. All the bittorrent peers on the seedboxes will continue to run unimpeded while the ISP's block a small percentage of people. You seem to think that only one or two people are using seedboxes which couldn't be further from the truth. If that was the case then it would be easy for ISP's to block those one or two. But with hundreds or thousands of people using seedboxes then any bittorrent throttling the ISP's can do only hurts those who haven't learned about seedboxes or decided to invest in one yet.

Here's how it works for people who are hardcore infringers: Somebody in the movie industry gets a hold of the latest & greatest Movie X. They upload it to their seedbox in India and fire up bittorrent. They let their friends & other people know about it. Those people fire up bittorrent on their seedboxes in other countries like China, Russia, Japan, etc. Pretty soon Movie X is being peered by dozens/hundreds of seedboxes all over the world. Each of those friends then scp or rsync the movie back from their own seedbox to their own homes over encrypted connections so that their ISP can't tell what it is. Eventually word of the movie gets out to the general public and the torrent files get uploaded to sites like The Pirate Bay. It's then that people try to download the movie over their cable connection at home. THAT is the only thing that your ISP would be able to throttle or block. All the transfers to/from the seedboxes and among the seedboxes are entirely out of the control of your ISP or even US Copyright law.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Breakthrough in Cancer Surgery

Iphtashu Fitz Iphtashu Fitz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) writes "When 63-year-old Brooke Zepp was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor she underwent both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After both treatments failed she was given a few months to live because her doctors considered the tumor, buried deep in her abdomen, to be inoperable. The tumor, approximately 2 inches in diameter, was wrapped around her aorta and two other arteries. Not one to take "no" for an answer, Zepp eventually found a team of surgeons willing to operate on her. In a first-ever surgery a team of doctors removed five major organs: stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver and small and large intestines. For 90 minutes these organs were kept outside her body so the surgeons could reach and remove the tumor. Once the tumor was removed the organs were replaced with additional help from some artificial blood vessels made of Gore-Tex."
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Israel to Test Hijacking Warning System

Iphtashu Fitz Iphtashu Fitz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) writes "Starting next year, Israel will be requiring all airlines flying into its airports to use a new system to identify hijacked planes. The system is meant to specifically protect against 9/11 style attacks but can also identify "classic" hijackings as well. Although details are sketchy, pilots will apparently be required to use a Security Code System device that would require a PIN to be entered, and possibly a voice print as well. The device is the size of a credit card and not tied to a specific aircraft. Pilots that fail to input the proper PIN and/or voice print would be denied entry into Israeli airspace, and if they continue would be considered hostile. If a hijacker were to incapacitate the flight crew he would likely not know the PIN and also not have a voice print of the pilot. If the hijacker forces the pilot at gunpoint to enter the PIN and voice print the pilot could simply enter an alternate PIN that would notify air traffic controllers of the hijacking. In either case the device would notify controllers of a dangerous situation much sooner."
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vlingo Adds Speech Recognition To Mobile Apps

Iphtashu Fitz Iphtashu Fitz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) writes "A new high tech company, vlingo, may put an end to trying to type text on tiny mobile phone keypads. Their speech recognition technology will allow any application on a mobile phone to accept spoken input. Most existing speech-enabled applications on mobiles limit you to a handful of commands such as calling an entry in your address book. vlingo, on the other hand, allows you to say anything and have it recognized. According to their technology summary they accomplish this by offloading the actual speech recognition to servers on the data network. Check out the video demo on their website to see for yourself how it works. They also have a demo application available for download to your own phone if you're on one of their seven supported carriers."
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Iphtashu Fitz Iphtashu Fitz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) writes "Would 15 seconds be enough warning time to prepare for an earthquake? It certianly wouldn't be long enough to evacuate from where you live, but it may be just long enough to get out of a building or brace yourself in a doorframe or under a solid desk. Italian scientists may have discovered a way to measure the shockwaves of an earthquake a mere two seconds after it starts. It typically takes ten to twenty seconds for these shockwaves to spread 40 miles, so sensors that can transmit warnings at the speed of light may provide just enough warning before a major quake for people to brace themselves. Even more importantly it could allow for utilities like gas companies to automatically close safety valves, thus preventing potential fires or explosions in the aftermath of the quake."
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Iphtashu Fitz Iphtashu Fitz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) writes "In order to provide the U.S. Military with water in places like Iraq, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency gave millions of dollars in research funding to companies like LexCarb and Sciperio to try to extract water from the air. Amazingly, a company that DARPA didn't fund, Aqua Sciences, beat them all to the punch by developing a machine that can extract up to 600 gallons of water a day from thin air even in locations like arid deserts. The 20 foot machine does this without using or producing toxic materials or byproducts. The CEO of Aqua Sciences decliend to elaborate on how the machine works, but said it is based on the natural process by which salt absorbs water."

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