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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Multi-User Password Management?

JetScootr PS: Re:My password (198 comments)

I may be a bit OCD about passwords and security - 30 years USAF and NASA have bent my brain a bit. Typing in pwds a lot doesn't bug me cuz I know my pwd mgt tool is safe because it's out of reach of hackers.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Multi-User Password Management?

JetScootr My password tool is completely unhackable... (198 comments)

It's called pencil and paper. I have a notebook, and all pwds are encoded there. I have 4 simple rules for modifying what I write into what I type in. An example rule you could use is "Real pwds use only even digits; Passwords are written with all ten digits, odd digits are ignored". 2-4 simple rules will make it unhackable even for someone with physical control of passbook. (Never write down the rules - keep them in yer head).
To keep the rules fresh, use different passwords and uids for every single app or website possible. You'll always be rehearsing the rules in yer head, you won't forget them.
Here's an example from my current set: pwd= "RhinoPott=amus" Rule 1,3
I'll bet you can't guess the real password in 10,000 tries. You don't know rules 1 or 3, which modify what's written. Go ahead, give me 10000 tries in a text file - I'll let you know if you get it.
This really really works - I've been doing this way since the 1980's, and haven't misplaced a properly coded pwd yet.

more than 2 years ago
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USA Today Site Bugged

JetScootr What are you talking about? (1 comments)

No really, what is this post about? I use noscript, and a (mostly) empty page comes up from your link. I obviously won't enable it if it is 'bugged' or might compromise my privacy or security. So explain what the bug actually is. This is a website about information, not reddit-style "oooh look what I found, go see it now!". Sorry - that was harsher than I mean it to be, but it communicates the idea.

more than 2 years ago
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Toronto Police Use Facebook Picture in Online Lineup

JetScootr Even in a perfect world... (227 comments)

The cop's job is to get people in trouble. In a perfect world, it's the people that deserve trouble that get it, but even then, the very best you can hope to get from the police is to be left alone. There's no need to characterize cops as bullies or incompentent - even the good cops have to look at citizens as potential targets. The course of action when the cops want to talk to you is immediately get legal counsel, then follow that counsel in dealing with the police.
As for us v them - police are no longer part of the communities they patrol. They only see the worst in the community, and that biases their perspective. Also, they are trained and equipped more as an invading army than as "public servants", so seeing them as the enemy is an obvious and natural result.

more than 2 years ago
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Teacher's Aide Fired For Refusing To Hand Over Facebook Password

JetScootr The assumption in all this... (407 comments)

is that a person's opinion is somehow relevant to how they perform professionally. Just disagreeing with your employer is never just cause for firing the employee - the alternative is a cadre of 'yesmen' who cause stagnation through lack of new perspective and ideas. An employer who refuses to accept any kind of dissent is one who dooms his organization to mediocrity.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Companies That Force Employees To Join Social Networks?

JetScootr My real name is, honest yerhonner.... (364 comments)

Swiggle D. Leggboan. Go ahead, look me up. I don't know the direct-to-profile link, sorry no clickie-poppie.

more than 2 years ago
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What If the Apollo Program Never Happened?

JetScootr NASA/NACA was planning a moon trip first... (756 comments)

The plan was to move more slowly, using airplane-like vehicles to get into orbit. Ultimatley, the moon was the goal. JFK's challenge derailed the early shuttle program in the late 1950s-early 1960s. Use of 'disintegrating totem poles' replaced the development of reusable spacecraft parts. The shuttle program that we got after Apollo was another quick-easy-expensive program, rather than the result of 20+ years of development. sorry no cites, but I have little time right now for this....mebbe later. (google should find bunches - look up project dynasoar, X-15, etc)

more than 2 years ago
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"Learn To Code, Get a Job" According To CNN

JetScootr Re:worked for me (688 comments)

success = failures + 1; // how to be good at any job.

more than 2 years ago
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"Learn To Code, Get a Job" According To CNN

JetScootr Learn to be a pro.... (688 comments)

.....air conditioner repairman in a few interactive web sessions per week for a year? chef at a 5 star greasy spoon? TV sitcom writer ? What professionals (esp unions) would be insulted by such a trivializing of their careers? Computers are the most complex machines every devised. How good could such a 'professional' be? (claimer: I am pro developer)

more than 2 years ago
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Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops

JetScootr yup. (3 comments)

I knew it. I've known it all along, but was afraid that it was true.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Someone is licensing code I wrote un

JetScootr Re:op said it was misattributed (5 comments)

orig post said the seller is claiming it as their own code, which is a violation of pretty much any license I'm aware of. If the seller is honest, they'd correctly credit the author. Lying about the author upfront suggests they probably removed previous copyright notices and intentionally are violating the license.

more than 2 years ago
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Institutional Memory and Reverse Smuggling

JetScootr Happened to me at NASA... (312 comments)

I worked 30 years in astronaut training facility (full-fidelity simulators), and wrote many many documents on software that I wrote. I always kept my own digital copies, of course. Over the years, the contracts changed hands many times, and different document systems were implemented, and "all" documents were "always" converted from old to new. I was never able to later re-locate *any* document I had submitted to *any* of the document systems. So my copies of my documents were the only ones that actually existed that I knew of. This included meeting minutes, peer review notes, design and 'as-delivered' documents. So I think institutional amnesia is more the norm, and actual memory beyond 3-5 years is rare.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Roslyn: Reinventing the Compiler As We Know It

JetScootr Re:security? What about.... (195 comments)

"each phase of the code compilation process is exposed as a service that can be consumed by other applications."
How bout if the 'other app' is a web browser window? TFA suggests this will be possible with MS's product.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Roslyn: Reinventing the Compiler As We Know It

JetScootr Re:security? My first thot, too... (195 comments)

I was thinking cpu-specific, not OS-independent. Sorry for ambiguity. CPU-specific compilation may allow for use of idiosyncratic features/bugs in the production of invasive code, something a little more difficult if the target hardware is unknown.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Roslyn: Reinventing the Compiler As We Know It

JetScootr Re:security? My first thot, too... (195 comments)

Now malware can be shipped in various partially-compiled steps and in different packaging (one,two,three modules, arriving from different vectors, etc), making detection harder, and can then be compiled targetting the cpu it lands on. Oh, what a fricken great IDEA! platform-independence for malware just got easier! It''s really getting hard to distinguish between the bad guys and producers of ideas like this.

more than 2 years ago
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Renaming the Very Large Array

JetScootr Re:Do new names really stick? (176 comments)

Astronomers, as a group, are every bit as smart as rocket scientists. I've worked with both at NASA. I think they can handle the name change.

more than 2 years ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

JetScootr CERN IS faster than light (1088 comments)

I searched for 'faster than light' on the CERN website, got articles posted in 2012, 2014. They put this new discovery to work right away!

more than 2 years ago
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Scotland Yard IS using facial recognition tech

JetScootr not added security... (2 comments)

taking a toll on privacy without bringing added security?
cameras don't add security for the citizens, that is, if someone's gonna get mugged, the camera won't stop it. The number of convience store robbers caught on tape is proof that cameras are not a deterent.
What it adds is statistical accuracy to the reports written by the cops as they examine each victim's violent death.

more than 2 years ago
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I'm Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?

JetScootr You're too young... (18 comments)

to feel that way. I'm 50-mumble, am learning java, Qt, c++, Apache, mySQL. Developing is what I do, and I'll not stop while my fingers can reach a keyboard. You're not old, kid.

more than 2 years ago
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Hotmail To Ban Common Passwords

JetScootr Re:Good idea to ban common passwords (140 comments)

try this: use several unrelated dictionary words, strip the vowels, and make it look like math: prpl=rckt*grnt (purple = rocket * granite) or some similar small set of rules. passowrds are secure, you only have to remember three words, and once you've memorized the simple rules, you can even write down the three words without compromising the real password. You also get longer paswords (14 chars is current recommendation).

about 3 years ago

Submissions

Journals

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The end of the Space Age

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 5 years ago Today, I saw that the space age is really over. I was driving through Nassau Bay, on the opposite side of Nasa Road One from the Johnson Space Center, and saw they were gone: a dozen or so office buildings that housed the space program contractors since the very beginning. Although NASA gets almost exclusive credit, much of the space age happened here: Martin Marietta, Lockheed, Rockwell Rocketdyne, a score or more other contractors who were the backbone of America's push into space. Humans got to the moon because of what happened here, just as much as what happened across NASA Road One. My father worked in one of them, and virtually all of Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab were made possible by the scientists and engineers and managers that worked there. Now it's all empty fields being prepped for new construction. A few miles down NASA Road One is a historical marker commemorating the Japanese farmers who lived here a century ago. But no marker remains here where humankind planned the conquest of space.
There will be new contracts, new programs, of course. Eventually, we may get to the moon. My experience suggests that it won't be in the next half century, not meaningfully, anymore than our reaching the moon had real meaning a half century ago. And it won't be the same culture that does it. The space age is over, although humans' use of space is just begun.
It's also the end of my own space age. I have left NASA after 29 1/2 years, driven out by contract changes and my own personal growth and progressiveness. I no longer have the heart for government work, to try to "fix the system from within", etc. I don't know what's ahead specifically, but I'm sure I'll have more energy and enthusiasm chasing dreams that I had almost forgotten rather than those the nation has forgotten.

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My latest conspiracy theory

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 5 years ago This one'll never get the attention it deserves. What's it got? It has: gubmint involvement; Loch Ness monster; the oppression inherent in the system; etc.
What brought this revelation to me was the Bloop. To digress a little, the bloop was a noise heard in 1997 that seems biological in origin, but was heard over a range of 3000 miles. No one knows what caused it.
Fads and fashions come and go. When I was kid, ESP was a fading fad, and pyramid power, the bermuda triangle and the Philadelphia Experiment were rising stars. They faded too, replaced by crop circles, and I don't know what all other stuff. When I read about the bloop for the first time this week (how did I miss it for 10 years?), and saw that it was freely and completely described on a gubmint website, it dawned on me that the gubmint really has a vested interested in stuff like this.
Area 51 is a red herring. If you were running the Pentagon's black ops, would you develop flying sharks wid friggin laser beams in the one place on Earth that is most watched by the most whackos who are the most likely to publish their findings? No, you'd act as if you were, and then develop the really cool stuff somewhere else.
It's all about distraction, like a stage magician. The gubmint scours all of science and tries to find inexplicable, but clearly documented phenomena to feed the fringe market. It keeps the most annoying propeller-beanied/hyper-mouthed/camera-toting twitch-eyes out of the way. While they're chasing fake ufos, aliens and secret aircraft, the real ufos, aliens and secret aircraft are worked on unnoticed.
Anyone who realizes the gubmint is oppressing lunatics in this way won't be listened to; The lunatics won't admit they've been so thoroughly snookered again, and reasonable people will think, "here we go again with another conspiracy theory".
That's why no one will comment on this here, and I can post this without any fear of

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Quantum entanglement and encryption.

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 5 years ago Something has occurred to me while reading this Ars article on the "quantum crack that wasn't".
Everyone is gaga over the 'fundamental security' of quantum encryption systems, due to insurmountable quantum effects.
My thought is based on 'scientific philosophy', that is, unproven conjecture that sometimes leads to enlightening insight or new principles.
Larry Niven's ringworld science fiction series (and the shorts that led up to it) include a perfect force field as a device. It is perfectly reflective, perfectly immune to all effects of this universe, hence, not even time takes place inside it. In one story, live aliens from a billion years in the past came out of two such deactivated fields. (See "World of Ptaavs"). Here's the thought that Larry expresses: Everything in this universe affects everything else, however minutely, so the only perfect force field is one that puts the protected object(s) outside the universe.
The universe can be viewed as a massively-entangled set of particles whose basic 'knowability' results in the flow of time. Boy, I hashed that thought something awful. That is, it is impossible to quantumly entangle just two photons - the whole universe is involved, and can't be excluded. My conjecture: Eventually, a way to 'add' an entangled particle to a quantum security system will be discovered that will enable nearly-undetectable eavesdropping on a quantum data stream. "Nearly" undetectable, because it will also be vulnerable to the exact same effect.
And so the crypto-security arms race will continue forever...

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tref naut loff

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  about 6 years ago

lspr wevd kksi laoz plrt ddkv kmwe llad crwt mdr4 lsdw
7
sld kkd rem ddq idx bir xoo soq pas zmx dkw riu jnk
pho dkq mnd awk mdn wic kdr mny lse oib uyq xdp lkd

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The Idiot Speaks

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 6 years ago Here's a larger scope view on my rants here:
This is a journal of my switch to Linux, and it is much more toxic than I really feel (the journal, not Linux). I am deliberately NOT filtering my rants to save time and get real usability data in usable form, with facts of my experiences. I'm also collecting hardcopies of website helps I get, lists of sites used, etc. I will stick facts and my own opinions, but will collect hard data for anyone interested enough to fix whatever it is I gripe about. Hopefully, at least I can collect it into a useful form afterward.
My personal user history with MS:

  • 1979-1981 Apple ][ computer, "Applesoft" basic, didn't like it. LOVED the "sweet-16 interpreter" and Integer Basic.
  • 1981-1991 Ms-Dos 2.11 thru wudevver. Win 3.1 thru wudevver. Wudevver.
  • Mid-1980s I was getting to dislike Windows not doing things my way. I also distrusted the MS software contract, but didn't really get the bigger freedom picture yet.
  • 1991: Linux, and the freshening breeze of hope. I still hate GUIs.
  • 1996: Win95, and I almost liked Windows. Visual Basic, and I did. But after this, I increasingly disliked & distrusted MS and Windows.
  • 1997: I considered eliminating MS from my home computing setup.
  • 1998: I committed to doing so.
  • 2008: I swiftly put in motion plans for the switchover.

These rants are my stream-of-consciousness diary of doing so.
I'll be setting up mythTV and the rest of a home entertainment system by year's end. I'll be switching entirely to *some sort* of HDTV for zombiemode entertainment. I'll be finally completely setting up a home network to MY specs, not MS's. This twin-Dell ubuntu process is the first step. What I learn here will be used for the rest of my home.
That's why I'm doing this.

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Well, yes I am an idiot. Sometimes.

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 6 years ago Reviewing what I wrote yesterday, I realized I was way overharsh towards the creators of ubuntuguide.org and ubuntugeek.com.
My rant was aimed at them, but really, my piss-offedness has to do with the overall new-guy-to-Linux situation. Their efforts are not to be despised, even if less than what I needed. To those I hit with this, I apologize.
A new guy to Linux shouldn't have to dig as hard as I've dug, just to get the compiler to work or to find out how to add stuff to the box.
richie2000 - thanx. In my next post, you'll see I discovered the info you posted. However, I would absolutely dispute your statement that ""Universe/Multiverse" are "defined" on the repository add/edit screen in Synaptic". They ain't, at least not in 7.10, which is the only version I got. The fact they weren't is why I went on the info safari in the first place. I saw all this cool stuff in 'universe' but .... well, I'll explain in "Idiot part II".
The reason I'm ticked is cuz, like the title, I'm really NOT dumb. I'm very good at figuring things out. Read what I said I've done, and add this to it: I've never finished even one year of college (background: I grew up in a 3rd-world state [Texas], and had to deal with poverty and severe ADHD / HFA).
If I'm having trouble with this, how's "Joe Sixpack" gonna be able to make the jump?
I'm hoping by my rants here to aid myself (and others) in nailing down what went wrong, systemically, so when I join the F/OSS team for real, I'll have a worthwhile target to aim at.
Realistically, even though you mean to help, richie2000, I'll ask that your comments NOT include guidance in what to do next - I want to find ALL beartraps the hard way, the way a person not like me will. So far, my list includes: shopping-mall 'you are here' kind of map, that suggests to *any* newbie of any skill level or goal set, HOW to get where they want to go; This information should cross all company, distribution and application boundaries. For example, now I'm gonna have to find out the scope of the term 'universe': just Ubuntu? or all Debian distros? or all Linux distros? (Just an example, don't tell me!)
The list also includes: setting up a developer's system with the normal libraries. I ultimately did get gcc to work, but there's no X headers that I can find anywhere on the box. Also, the nautilus 'search' tool has never found any file, even when the file is in the current directory and I use every fricken letter and no wildcards - what's up with that? "hw.c" should be able to find a file called "hw.c" in $cwd. ('hw.c' is my 'hello world')

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I'm Not An Idiot

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 6 years ago I'm a programmer. I've written websites, databases, device drivers, network package distribution managers, compiler build systems, process automation systems, AI apps for analyzing discrete realtime systems, real time kernels and debuggers, and more. Languages used in the last 10 years alone include C, C++, HTML, SQL, CSS (three entirely different languages with the same moniker), ECL, JCL, FORTRAN, Radial, 3 languages I created myself (oops, add them to the first list), assembler, pascal, Visual Basic, Javascript, csh, sh, probably others I don't recall. I've worked on various flavors of Unix, Univac's Exec, MVS/JES3, ConCurrent's OS/32, Dos 2.11 thru latest windows, Gould, Chronos (remember that?) and others. No false modesty, after 30 years, I'm better experienced and skilled than most of the people using Linux. And I'm not so old that I'm afraid of new tech.
I'm in the process of retooling my personal net to Linux. Microsoft will have no home in any device I own when I am done. And here's why I'm frustrated and pissed.
The first of the new hardware: Two Dell desktops with Ubuntu 7.10.
Day 1:
Get'em out of the box and plug'em in. The hardware works. I expect nothing less from Dell, having used their products before.
The only docs I get with the boxen are legal disclaimers and 'plug A into socket B' assembly instructs. Also expected; Dell has been dragged kicking and screaming into the Linux market, and is still pouting like a two-year-old in providing non-Microsoft solutions.
Dell's attitude towards Linux has been approximately the same as the RIAA's attitude towards P2P software, although Dell tries to conceal their disdain with market double-speak. Note any Dell droid reading this: You ain't fooling NObody.
The *ONLY* reason I bought Dell was cuz I wanted the hardware to work without me having to do any thinking or research. Right now, I want to focus my efforts on Linux itself. When I build mythTV and the rest of a home entertainment network, I'll be more discerning about getting open products and vendors who are willing to support me.
I poke a stick at my new jellyfish, discover 'synaptic' is how software packages are installed. "Package" is not defined; I'm assuming it means binaries (all of them) needed to run an application. Shared libraries are a question mark: Does the package for 'frozen bubble' include the graphics libraries as well as the game executable itself? I also see a menu item 'Software Sources': Not clicked cuz I'm not interested in source code yet (More on this later). Ultimately on this first day, I am unable to get anything installed, even from the DVDs that came with the boxen. All network devices seem to be turned off or not installed. USB thumb drive doesn't work, but Ubuntu says something about it being defective. Maybe so; I only have one to try with. End of Day one: Not ticked off yet.
Day two: Trying to get gcc to work. Various Linux help guides online are good for educational purposes, but useless when setting up the compiler/ linker/ header files / libraries, etc.
gcc can't find the headers in /usr/include cuz they ain't there (even tho the Dell person I talked to on phone said they were). Are they in a different place than on Unix systems? Do I need to set environment variables or paths, or use gcc command line args to get'em? So far as I can find, there ARE NO DOCS OF ANY KIND online or in the ubuntu distro that tell me how to get these headers.
OK, skip it for now. Find Wesnoth.org for me and the scootrpup. Which binaries? the site says it varies, check with your distro's package. I have ubuntu 7.10, which wesnoth download page says Wesnoth Version 1.2.6 is in the 'Gutsy (7.10) universe repository'. This is the first time I've heard 7.10 called 'Gutsy Gibbon'. Lucky for me, Wesnoth page equated these terms. Wesnoth.org links me to ubuntuguide.org, the "Ubuntu Starter Guide".
What's the 'universe repository'? I've seen it mentioned in msgs in my box as I poked around trying to install stuff without blowing everything up. ubuntuguide.org uses 'universe' without ever defining it, and in fact, most places I encounter the term also leave it undefined. BTW- ubuntuguide.org seems to be a single page only. It's not very helpful and soon I leave it behind. Found a link to ubuntugeek.com, search for 'universe' top link is 'how to add universe and multiverse...', still no definition. It says 'edit file X and uncomment everything you need'. THAT'S A HOWTO? This was obviously written by an idiot and proofread by a prawn-brained goob. What's a comment and what's not? How do I know what I 'need'? What are the things in file 'X'? What can I put there that isn't already there? How does this website KNOW that what I need is already in the file but commented out? I think you can see what other kinds of info are missing from this 'how to' guide.

Somewhere on ugeek, I find a link to an ubuntu wiki which actually defines the term (somewhat) as being one of 4 parts of the "ubuntu s/w repository", but again, leaves more unsaid than it says.
Something of a side note: Again and again, I see notes like "This describes how to X in versions Y thru Z with application A. To do the same damn thing in M, versions N thru Q, or with B, go here: *link*". Peepl, get yer s..t together.
Day two will be continued in next journal entry.

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Can Alife fix NIST predictable randoms?

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 6 years ago As I understand it, a random number generator, from any one given state, will generate only one single string of randoms, the same every time that state is used to seed it. Thus, if one knows the initial state for the entire computer system's random number generation, one knows how to calculate every random in series that computer will come up with.
For example, if all new PCs use exact same initial state on the first boot, then all PCs would generate the same series of randoms using the same generator.
A recent random standard produced by the US govt is said to be predictable by using a second set of state data. I don't know if it is true; I tend to believe the experts more than the US gov.
I don't know if it is even theoretically possible to defeat such a backdoor, but it may be possible to make it less useful.
One idea is to use artificial life to generate seeds. The alife exists in a virtual world with varieties of plants and animals. All evolve and reproduce genetically. Part of their DNA is a seed for use by the OS's random generator.
Combining DNA from two alifes generates a third seed distinct from the parents. Variable timing, events and circumstances in the virtual world causes alife to spawn new seeds, like eating or encountering other alife.
The virtual world is constantly producing randoms as alife live, breed, evolve and die. Many thousands are generated between request instances by other applications in the same computer.
If the world system is robust enough the activities (and the seeds) of the alifes are difficult to predict in a very short time.
Of course, this idea could be simplified to just use large sets of data and genetic algorithms to modify them, but what's the fun in that?
The virtual world provides an API for randoms. The API allows an external application to 'check out' one of the alifes. In the client app, all the alife does is generate randoms, and if requested, give the client its most current. When the client has all the randoms it needs, the alife is checked in or discarded.
The seeds provided to the generator become almost as random as an effective generator itself would be, making backdoor-predictions difficult.
I don't have sufficient math to prove this would effectively defeat a backdoor in the random generation tool, but I suspect it would be helpful.
Is the backdoor sophisticated enough that this method is pointless?

Any math wizzes out there care to comment on this idea?

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I'm...so...*sniff*...honored....

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 6 years ago Recently, someone(s) in the ./ crowd moderated some comments of mine on a thread -1 troll...three times. I wasn't trolling, so I take it by this action that I hit a nerve with a telling point.
My comments were to the effect that when prosecuting a teenager for 'hacking' on decades-old security flaws, the company that didn't fix the flaws should ALSO be held responsible. (Sorry for the shout, I wanted to be sure that you understood I wasn't letting the script kiddie off)
Looking back at it, I realize this was actually a multiple.
a> The false dichotomy of who's to blame, and
b> the strawman that computers are hard to secure, therefore, security problems should be prosecuted on the basis that the intruder is solely to blame, and
c> Companies can be held responsible by lawsuits.
The truth is, phone companies allow phreaking to occur cuz it is easier to prosecute than fix. Phreaking used to be as easy as playing sounds into the mouthpiece of a pay phone. Allowing the flaw to exist for decades shows the company would rather use criminal records to ruin people than use a little more engineering to prevent nuisance losses.
Companies require motivation beyond just loss versus cost to fix. The human cost outside the company's balance sheet requires greater consideration than company profits. Lawsuits don't fix this.
The story of David and Goliath is in the bible because David took such a risk, and winning was (literally) such a long shot. So it is with lawsuits by individuals against big bizniz. It is unreasonable to expect every individual harmed by a company's (in)actions to have David's courage.
I'm putting this here cuz I really don't want any more unreasonable damage to my karma - the troll moderations were unwarranted.
I've never been down-trolled on ./ before, I thot I was being ignored.

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I've been stupid

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 6 years ago Not sure why I'm writing this, but here goes.
When I was ten or so, I had an electric train set. I also had 4 older sisters who were (are) smarter than me. They loved to play tricks on the mugwump (as I was tagged). One sister (unnamed cuz they're all guilty) managed to convince me that:
a> electricity always flows in a circuit, like battery pole to pole, thru the flashlite bulb, etc;
b> The electric cord for the train's transformer had TWO prongs, and required a circuit also (I think you can see where this is going)...
c> Therefore, if I touched only one prong while plugging it in, I wouldn't get shocked.
Just so you know, in case you're ever drawing a comic or something, it feels like "BIZZB BIZZB BIZZZB BIZZB ...", not "ZAPPPPPPP".
On a trip to visit relatives, sis was at her finest. Aunt Marie had gotten a big porch swing, big enuf for all 6 kids. Of course, when grownups weren't around, it was only big enuf for one at a time (or two, in the case of the twins). I got up early in the AM (I was 12 or so), and was swinging away, chewing a big piece of grass like I'd seen my uncle do the day before (I thot it looked cool).
Sis wanted swing. Rules of the house: Whoever gets it first, wins, and others MUST wait without complaint (or suffer Mom's wrath). She loitered for a few minutes, obviously trying to figger out how to evict me from the swing. Finally, she said "If you keep eating that grass, you're gonna turn green."
OK, I was 12ish, but not totally stupid, and said so, she wasn't gonna fool me. She added "If you spit, you'll see you're already turning green on the inside!"
I did, and sure enuf, my spit was green, I was turning greeeen...."MAAWWWWMMMMM!!!!!!" I went running inside, and Sis got the swing.

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Thuds and curses

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 7 years ago I've recently been writing unit test code at work, for work, based on preliminary experience with thuds. It's going a lot smoother at work than with thuds, and it took me a while to realize why:
I don't control requirements of the code I write at work, so I do almost no "rethinking" ("inline design refactoring") while writing the unit test code for the product at work.
I should note that I'm writing test code for product that has already been 90% completed. Due to the overall complexity of the product, writing test code was simpler than writing unit test plans and scripts and then doing and tracking them. I know the unit test code should be written first with agile development, but I don't control the software development lifecycle process at work.
The unit test design thinking/rethinking process with work code goes like this:

  • The unit test code is hard to write, so is the test that I'm writing too complex or is it the product code I'm trying to test?
  • If the test is too complex, simplify test, rethinking done.
  • else look at the product code: is the product code in too big a chunk? (nearly always, "yes")
    • then refactor product code into smaller chunks
  • else is the product code too complex? (only sometimes "yes")
    • then refactor product code into simpler chunks
  • else am I vague on the requirements of the product code? Surprisingly since I wrote this code myself, the answer to this is sometimes "yes".
    • then relook at the assembler that I am rewriting to gain greater insight into requirements, then refactor product design and code accordingly.
  • Refactor/redesign unit test and write code for unit test

With thuds, when I run into a difficulty with the test code, I rethink too much. That is, I rethink these topics:

  • The unit test code is hard to write, (so see above list up to but not including "am I vague on the requirements....")
  • Am I vague on the requirements of the thud code? If so, then
    • rethink the requirements I am coding to
    • CHANGE product requirements
    • and "refactor" (actually, "change") product design and code.
  • Since thud's unit test requirements have changed, redesign and recode the unit tests, including some that are done already.

Now that I realize that I was doing this, I understand somewhat what was happening. I stopped liking the thuds project fairly quickly, because of this and the display problem (see next journal post). I'll change my ways. I will be re-starting the thud project soon, and will begin updating this log of my explorations into XP.

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Thuds delays

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Thuds has been delayed, but not discarded. I'll update when I can. Complicated and boring work and home situations are the cause - I don't have as much free time. If anyone cared, sorry, but I will get back to it - probably in the next two weeks or so. Here's where it is:
> I've simplified/sped up process a bit, by conglomming more work into each iteration.
> I've failed to successfully develop the habit of "test first, always", but am still "testing first, mostly". Mainly, it's hard to figure out where to draw the line on what to write tests for. I've come up with a sort of fuzzy definition, that I need to work into a more formal spec. Basically, if it takes longer to write the test code than to bench check for a bug condition, then I skip the test code. Formalizing this will be: Any skipped test condition will be documented in the design spec as a manual test step. Importantly, this is to be used only to skip stuff that is too simple to test for, not to skip complicated tests cuz I just wanna get on with it. The complicated tests are where the money is - starting to write a complex test forces me to rethink the function, and usually, to break it up or simplify it.
> Thuds have a world now, but all they do is stand there in it and grow old and die. Sad.

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Thuds, new iteration 1"I Thud, therefore I am."

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 7 years ago
Design
Thuds are a standard linked list, and this will use only the routine methods for calloc, free, adding and removing things from linked lists.
Unit Test Plan

  • Add, get_first, remove a thud. Possible errors:
    • Create doesn't
    • get_first() returns null or invalid. (Invalid will likely crash the program).
    • Destroy doesn't, or it doesn't null the pointer provided.
    • Count of thuds doesn't go to 1 then to 0.
  • Add a bunch of thuds, then remove all of them in an arbitrary order. Possible errors are:
    • All of the above, plus:
    • relink in forward or reverse order fails or disagrees as to the order or content.
    • First and/or last links incorrect.
    • Destroyed thud still accessible.

Review:
Aug/05/2006 - 4 hours. This is more like it. I ran thru a normal (for me) coding session, had the usual number of whoopsies (bugs I'm familiar with that are little more than typos). It took longer to code the tests than the product; I'm sure it's cuz I'm well familiar with linked lists, and less with tests for linked lists that I intend to keep around in working order forever.

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Thuds Iteration 4 and reset

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 7 years ago I'll save you from reading a buncha lame development journal entries.
I figured out I'm going too slowly, with designs that are too simple. Each attempted iteration so far has resulted in almost the complete deletion of the *extremely* limited code from the previous iteration.
I'm actually an advanced programmer, but I was over-compensating for this by doing my XP "baby steps" in the code instead of in the process.
So, I'm gonna delete almost all but the make file, and start over with a realistic design concept, and each iteration will implement a narrower, but more complete portion.
So, for the next first iteration: Create a thud, using a linked list. Destroy it. Unit test will do its own printing of the Thud's existence.

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Thuds

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 7 years ago Here's the deal: I love to program, been doing it professionally for many years. I'm up to learn some new stuff: artificial intelligence (ai), specifically, artificial life, genetic programming, etc. I also want to learn extreme programming, and maybe convince my coworkers/company, etc to implement at least some of the practices. I know, as a solo programmer, I can't do most XP stuff; but I will try to do what I can. I'm going to post excerpts of my project notebook here, then ask other developers if this matches their experiences in implementing XP at their workplace.
This is done on my employer's computers, but on my own time, after hours so I don't interfere with any other users by loading down the system. The system is an SGI 12000, 8 cpus, running IRIX 6.5. I'm writing this in C. Yes, my employer's policies do allow me to do this. I won't post the code I produce, not cuz it's that special, but because I don't know how the copyright thing works out. I know the code should be mine, but being on the company's computers could result in misunderstandings, so it won't get posted. Sorry.
'Thuds' is the name of the project, and the alife I'll be creating. They'll have a 2.1d world to roam around in, based on a rectangular coordinate grid. Each spot on grid can hold zero or one thud, a variety of zero or more types of plants; a spot will have 'texture', in that ease of travel over the spots will vary, based on 'dirt','water','hill','rock',etc.
Thuds will be able to sense their surroundings and will have a fitness function that determines life, health, death, etc periodically. Thuds senses will be localized and will not be task specific.
Thuds will have a list of functions they can perform. In the first major version, thuds will not be able learn, but the goal is to produce a version where the thuds do learn. Thuds will have dna that describes their initial conditions and potentials, and they will reproduce sexually, with some mutation.
Project Plan:
XP methods will be used, such as one person can do alone. The Values that I will try to apply are communication (with myself, forward and backward in time), Simplicity, Feedback, Courage. Principals: Traceability, Education, Demonstration, Elegance. Practices: RCS will store code versions, Unit tests will be coded first, automated, and will all pass before each iteration is complete.
The code will be kept neat; I will also document all aspects of this project as I develop it. Energy - I will work on code only when my mind is properly attentive and I can focus and enjoy the work. Iterations will be fairly short by XP standards - I'm going for one per programming session. A session for me will be 1-4 hours in length.
For each iteration, I will document: The story, design, unit test plan, review of performance, list of code, tests and data produced.

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Lies

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 8 years ago I'm tired of being lied to. I'm talking about spin control from politicians, advertising, well, actually, any public statement made by any public person, and all statements made by corporations. Maybe these people sometimes tell the truth, I don't know. It's hard to find the truth among the lies, even though the truth of a statement is easy to determine. This is just a rant now, but later I'll add rational explanations of this rant, links to examples, what I think should be/could be done about it, etc. This has been on my mind for some time, but writing this is a big job, and I've held off. So I'll try doing it in little pieces, as I get time. Just some quickies:

  • Spokesdroids for big companies, industries, and lobby groups that claim to represent the customers of those companies, industries, lobbies, etc. Anything these people say is a lie; that's their job.
  • Any part of government that tries to block citizen's access to information that the government holds, with a few exceptions. The only gov't held info that should be kept secret:
    == Info on a citizen that the citizen wants kept private. This should start from a standard set, and be expandable to nearly all personal info, as determined by the citizen. Citizen info that should be public: Arrest/ trial/ conviction info, to ensure true justice; Public service records for all elected positions; Yes/No service info on all paid positions ("Yes, he served in the USAF from Mar 1, 1980 to Mar 2, 1984"), maybe a few others... let me know what you think should be public.
    == Stuff that is truly, actually part of national security. Specific plans for attack/defense; Not locations of things in the US that anybody can drive up and see. Specific details of technologies used to defend the US; Not technologies that are in the bizniz interest of US companies to keep secret; etc.
    == Negotiations records and meetings, while the negotiations are in progress. After a contract is awarded, or a treaty signed, all these records should be made public immediately.
  • advertising that is deceptive. I'm not talking about the legal definition of deception in advertising, but what actually does decieve: car ads that fool teenage boys into thinking hot cars==hot sex; ads for exercise/diet products that show professional bodybuilders whose bodies were not built by the product;etc.

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Daydream

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 8 years ago

As he fell from heaven, the bright one saw them next to the humans. He raged at them, saying "I sent plagues to kill the humans, and you killed the rats that carried it. I sent vermin to eat their crops, and you ate the vermin. For this, I curse you! For every joy you shall know pain, for every good moment, there shall be bad, from now on!"

She said to her partner, "See, he blesses us as the One has blessed the humans: the bright one gives us Love."
And she rubbed her cheek on the side of her partner's shoulder.

The bright one was even more enraged that his curse had gone wrong. He spoke another curse, but the flames and smoke rose and grabbed him before he could finish it.

The small one's partner approached the last curse as it hung in the air like a smoky vapor. He reached out his claws to touch it, but the One saw, and wishing his creatures no harm, he caused the small one's claws to pull back into his paw.

As the curse was blown and scattered by the light breeze, the One gave the little ones whiskers to make sure they could stay out of trouble.
The whiskers were to touch the sides of every opening, tell them of every breeze, so that any hidden thing or new curse sent by the bright one would not catch the little ones unwarned.

And that is why cats are curious, and have whiskers and claws that retract.

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Open Source At Nasa (rough draft)

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 9 years ago This is a rough draft...will update later with links and backup info. Nasa has released an Open Source license for use by civil and contract developers within the agency. This gave me an interesting thought.
Now first of all, I'm a developer, and what I say here is NOT from my employer (Unjted Spoce Alljonce) or NA$A. They have in no way approved or endorsed this - it's just me thinking. If I get a positive enough response, I may go to them with the idea.
I work in the Astronut trg facility on the simulators used to train spacefolk. Would there be a big response if the following software project was to be set up on OSDN? Project goals:
1> Provide Astronut training to real astronuts. This is not game software...
2> Run the real shuttle flight software, with emulated GPCs (General Purpose Computers - the shuttle's flight computers).
3> Provide portable code for the simulation so that it can run on any *nix box that is POSIX compliant and has the right hardware/software combo.
4> Run on any Xterm.
5> Display using Java and PDB.
6> Have extensions that can be easily added to the core simulation that will truly make it a game.
The idea is the core is built and maintained in one project at JSC by NA$A or the contractor.
The game extensions are maintained by a separate project of open source volunteer developers, outside of the NA$A/contractor environment. That means: Probably no $$$ for it *at all*. The game project would have the requirement to easily link and run with the core, not the other way round. I doubt mgt would buy the idea of NA$A money maintaining game software.
The volunteers maintaining the game project could contribute to the core, and would be expected to. These contributions would go thru the official software process of NA$A or the contractor, and would be used (if accepted) as a part of the baseline that is used to train the astronuts.
All copyrights would have to be gifted to either NA$A or the contractor, depending on the legal setup (of which I have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what that would be).

Would there be very many open source developers interested in working such a project, do you think?

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"Windows" help for Lindows

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 9 years ago Well, I tried, really I did. But Lindows.com has such a pain-in-the-ass-graphics-fancy-shmancy-plugin-loaded-crap-filled website that I couldn't get it to work on my old 233HZ PII on dialup w/ W95 and Opera 7.
So I'll post here, in case anyone can convey word to the brilliant minds at Lindows.
I have in my possession a Byte magazine from 1979 with ads for "Screensplitter Video Display System" describing, and I quote:

And a powerful new unit of area-the window-allows you to move blocks of text around or redimension paragraphs dynamically....Screen-splitter places the raw power of the Window Package at your control. you can create any number of "subscreens", each with a logically distinct I/O region with its own cursor, scroll control, ...

You get the idea. I don't know how far back into the past their evidence of common use of the word "Windows" goes, but it would be really really cool, to put into the hands of the jury, a magazine article and ads using that exact word and describing it even more completely than I've quoted here.
I just don't know how to get it to them.
By the way...I'm using a backup PC, it's not set up for email. That's why I don't just email it to them. "M2" in Opera 7 is just about the suckiest unusable tool I could imagine that ever came from somewhere other than microsoft.
Please post comments here, especially if you're in a position to get directly in touch with someone high enough at Lindows to make this useful.

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This is what happens when I get silly.

JetScootr JetScootr writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Three entries tonight, counting the one you are reading now. I was about to post on patents, then the NASA thing came up, so I'm posting both, with this note so whoever reads will know they are both here. If you even care. If you're even there.

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