Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

John_Sauter Re:cryptolocker solution (331 comments)

There is a solution for this class of malware, but it isn't anti-virus. Since cryptolocker only damages user data, the operating system should provide a secure and automatic backup of the user's data. Any time a user's file is changed, the new version is recorded on the backup, with its date. From the user's point of view, the backups are read-only, so malware can't damage them, and the user can retrieve an old version of a file at any time.

I hope you are aware that this could go wrong in terrible ways: there are some files that you actually want to have only in encrypted state. If your operating system always keeps a backup of their unencrypted versions, you may be secure against certain kinds of ransomwares, but open to all kinds of other data leakage.

Actually, I'm not. I was imagining that my PC, including its secure backups, is under my control. If I take a portable computer out into the world, I don't take the backups with me; they stay in my secure location. If I modify files while I am away, there might be a way for them to be sent back home, but if there isn't the data is backed up when I return.

What am I missing?

about two weeks ago
top

Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

John_Sauter cryptolocker solution (331 comments)

... The current big thing, cryptolocker, would work just as well on Linux. It needs no special privileges, all it needs is to run as the current user to encrypt all of the current user's documents and hold them for ransom....

There is a solution for this class of malware, but it isn't anti-virus. Since cryptolocker only damages user data, the operating system should provide a secure and automatic backup of the user's data. Any time a user's file is changed, the new version is recorded on the backup, with its date. From the user's point of view, the backups are read-only, so malware can't damage them, and the user can retrieve an old version of a file at any time.

about two weeks ago
top

Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

John_Sauter a cautionary tale (246 comments)

There is a lot of good advice here, so let me add a cautionary tale. I used to work for a local government as their “computer guy”. I got a call from a user who was unable to watch some video he had on a thumb drive. As part of diagnosing the problem, I logged in to his computer using my own account, copied the contents of the thumb drive to the hard disk, and played it from there. It turned out that playing the video worked from the hard drive and the rear USB connector, but not from the front. I told him this and closed the call, but didn't delete the video from his hard drive. I noted the call in my log, but didn't mention that the video was pornographic.

Much later, about a year after I my employment had been terminated, I got a call from the town's police. One of the detectives wanted to talk to me, and asked me to drop by the police station. It seems that someone had discovered that this user had been watching porn on his computer, and when they examined his computer they found that same porn on his hard drive, under my name. They gave me the third degree, wanting me to admit that I had been the source of the porm. I suspect they wanted me to be the scapegoat, since I was no longer an employee.

I acted calm, pleasant, truthful and stupid. They told me that I could be in big trouble if I didn't cooperate, and I responded by saying if I lied in order to tell them what they wanted to hear, in the long run I would get confused about what lies I had told, and get caught in a contradiction. Of course, it helped that they all knew me, so I had credibility when it came to being stupid. It also helped that these were small-town cops; I probably wouldn't last five minutes in an NYPD interrogation room.

This happened more than five years ago, and I haven't heard anything about it since.

about a month ago
top

HP Gives OpenVMS New Life and Path To X86 Port

John_Sauter Re:Not in visable uses... (136 comments)

The most bad-ass server I've ever had the pleasure of working with was a Digital VAX 11/750 generations ago. It was *built* to be reliable from the very first rivet....You could upgrade its CPUs one at a time without shutting it down.

You must have been using a cluster—the VAX-11/750 only had one CPU. I used a 750 when developing EDT; we called it “MAYTAG”.

about a month ago
top

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

John_Sauter Re:can be done (200 comments)

...People that are not using the service should not have to pay for it just because someone decided to run a line past their house. That would just encourage the planners to run dark fiber everywhere and collect fees for years before people decide to connect.

There's little reason to charge by the bit or have data caps like most ISP's do. It's not a finite resource like water is. The major cost is last mile, once you have that in place it is a minor cost to upgrade your backbone to support extra usage. The last thing parents need is a huge bill because their kids watched a ton of 1080p youtube videos last month, downloaded a lot of games off steam, or whatever else. The penalty would either be so small that it would be meaningless to have at all or big enough that it would cause massive bills by surprise like cell phone service and smartphone app pricing have done in the past.

I don't think you are taking economic realities into account. I modeled my proposal on the local water company. It costs money to run the fibre past each house. Somebody has to pay for that, and who better than the owners of the houses. Having this source of revenue encourages the utility to run fibre along each street, not just the wealthy neighborhoods. They wouldn't get paid for truly “dark fibre” only for fibre which can be connected to and provide Internet access.

Yes, data communication is a finite resource. It costs money to send a bit reliably across town or around the world—lots of people work hard to make sure the Internet stays up. Who better to pay those costs than the people who want that bit moved?

If parents don't want to monitor their children's (or guests') Internet activity, they can ask the utility to cap their daily data volume to prevent unpleasant surprises. There are other solutions, more difficult technically but not beyond reason. For example, the traffic of children and guests could be marked so that it could be limited in badnwidth and daily volume.

about a month ago
top

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

John_Sauter Re:Go Greenlight (200 comments)

You'll have to change the system before third parties become viable in this country. First Past the Post has to go, as does letting politicians draw their own goddamn district boundaries.

Not necessarily. Even with the disadvantages you cite, the original two US political parties, the Whigs and the Federalists, were toppled. It can happen again. Even without de-throning the Republicans and Democrats, a third party can gather enough support to make the difference in a close contest, and that causes the major parties to give at least lip service to their concerns.

about a month ago
top

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

John_Sauter Re:Go Greenlight (200 comments)

I also vote Libertarian when I can; I am a card-carrying member of the Libertarian party. When I can't, and I'm too lazy to run myself, I do enough research to figure out who is the current office-holder, and vote for his opponent. If he is the only person on the ballot for the position, I leave the line blank.

about a month ago
top

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

John_Sauter Re:Go Greenlight (200 comments)

.... I hate both parties. They're equally scummy. It makes one feel powerless to know that voting the bums out always means voting more bums in that are not any better in the end.

You've bought in to the lie that there are only two parties. Look beyond the Republicans and Democrats and you might find better bums.

about a month ago
top

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

John_Sauter can be done (200 comments)

And when the municipal broadband costs 10x as much, just raise taxes and throw people in jail if they don't pay. And if the service is bad, again raise taxes and throw them in jail if they don't pay. And if they complain, just raise taxes and throw them in jail if they don't pay.

Your competition being able to raise prices (taxes) at the point of a gun to pay for their bad business is a competitive advantage. Not being able to opt-out is a monopoly with the police enforcing it on citizens.

Sure it might be better, but it definitely can be much worse.

If you do a decent job of structuring the municipal broadband delivery company, you can bias it towards the “better” end of the spectrum. For example, you can require that there be no cross-subsidy between broadband and any other municipal function, and no support from general taxation.

The broadband company would have to support itself through user fees, like the Water District does in my town. You pay a monthly fee if the fibre runs past your house. If you want to connect the fibre to your home, you pay a one-time connection charge, followed by a higher monthly fee plus a charge per bit for incoming and outgoing data. If there is a problem you pay to call Customer Service, and a higher price if the call requires a technician to visit your home. These charges would be refunded if the company decides that the problem is their fault. There would also be a service level agreement, and your costs are reduced to near zero if it isn't met.

In addition, and this is crucial, there must be no legal barrier to someone else running his own fibre, and connecting it to the municipal system. He would pay the municipal system for his connection, of course, and provide his own customer service. That competition, or even the possibility of it, will keep customer service quality high.

about a month ago
top

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

John_Sauter Re:Vote (200 comments)

But what about if every politician you get to pick from is all spouting the same BS about why municipal broadband is bad? Who do you vote for then?

Then run for office yourself.

about a month ago
top

VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

John_Sauter Re:College is useful for most ... (225 comments)

...those with an inherent interest in programming often go far beyond the work required for class and use the incredible resources found at a university to study things that otherwise would have been beyond their resources.....You get out of college what you put in, and you will have access to resources and people you probably could not find anywhere else....The density of useful knowledge and experience is quite high among fellow students at a university, its just a matter of finding people with genuine interests in their respective fields rather than the ticket punchers.

That is exactly what happened to me. I started college never having seen a computer. I hung around the Computation Center, watched the Giant Electronic Brains and got to know the people, which included some of the computer industry's pioneers. I learned to program by auditing classes and writing code for the Stanford Time-Sharing System. The administrator of the AI Project didn't have a pay schedule for an undergraduate, so he had to treat me as a first-year grad student. I did graduate, but not with a CS degree--there was no such thing at the time. I turned my outside-of-class experience into a career.

about a month ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

John_Sauter Re:Nothing, really. (509 comments)

Prostitution . . . the world's oldest profession will be around . . . well, as long as humans are still around.

It may be the world's oldest profession, but that doesn't mean it is a career that lasts a lifetime. It would seem to me that the older one gets, the less this career choice would pay so the best bet is to start this one young and plan to transition into some other line of work pretty quickly.

Not necessarily. There are some forms of beauty that last a lifetime. A few years ago I met a grandmother who was still making a good living as a prostitute.

about a month and a half ago
top

No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

John_Sauter Re:Class conflict (401 comments)

I think there's an obvious class conflict when it comes to STEM fields. Wages are high enough that it challenges the corporate class structure that dictates what field should be paid more than other fields.

My wife works in marketing for a company that makes an engineered product and we had a fairly heated discussion about this once. Without thinking about the implications, she actually said that marketing was more important than engineering and marketing should always be paid more. Raising engineering salaries above some ceiling wasn't an option.

Now, my wife isn't a mean spirited snob but I think she genuinely meant this and I think it reflects the class consciousness in corporate thinking.

Strangely I never see this mentioned in articles about H1-Bs and STEM workers. It always seems to devolve into an unresolvable debate involving conflicting macoeconomic labor statistics.

I have seen this also. I think there is an evolution in large companies: even if they start by developing good products, they eventually become so focused on sales and marketing that they forget that the quality of their products is the basis of their business. I was at Digital Equipment Corporation as it went through this transition. By the time the founder, an engineer, was finally forced out, the company was headed downhill, and was soon acquired.

IBM has somehow managed to avoid this problem. While definitely focused on sales, they continue to develop new, competitive products. Whatever their secret is, I wish it was taught in American business schools.

about 2 months ago
top

Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

John_Sauter Re:better translation (346 comments)

My Gutenberg reference was to the fifth edition of Edward Fitcgerand's translation, which gives a different number to the verse. Nonetheless, your reference uses "nor" and "thy", just like mine does.

about 2 months ago
top

Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

John_Sauter better translation (346 comments)

A better translation of Rubiat 51 is:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Notice "Piety nor Wit". See http://www.gutenberg.org/files...

about 2 months ago
top

RAND Study: Looser Civil Service Rules Would Ease Cybersecurity Shortage

John_Sauter Re:So train them. (97 comments)

I hate the employers that whine that they can't get good help. The reality is that most employers are not able to pay for skilled or reliable workers. People with tremendous skills and good work habits are available but they do demand real pay. The cabinet shop that wants to hire workers for $10. per hour has a big problem. The cabinet shop that pays $60. per hour gets an entirely different type of worker. Offer $200. per hour and you can create world class cabinets.

I suspect that many employers are able, but not willing, to pay for skilled and reliable workers. I recently spent 9 months at a temp job with a large and wealthy employer, demonstrating my skill and work ethic to the hiring manager. At the end of the job he offered me a permanent position, but at $20 to $25 per hour. I would have been willing to take the job if I could have been compensated for my 900 miles per week commute. However, the policies of the institution did not permit him to do that, or, equivalently, offer me $35 per hour. I reluctantly turned down the job.

about 2 months ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

John_Sauter Re:varies (359 comments)

Actually, I did use TECO on the PDP-6 until Stopgap was ready. I also coded in assembly language for the PDP-6/10, and in Gogol for the PDP-1. I used Bliss-36 to write a PDP-11 task builder that ran on the PDP-10, so a customer wouldn't have to take his KL10 down to run the PDP-11 TKB on the PDP-11 front end in order to build the DECnet code.

about 2 months ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

John_Sauter varies (359 comments)

Like some others who have posted here, my choice of editor and language have varied with time.

  • In 1964 I coded in PDP-1 assembly language and my editor was TVedit.
  • In the early 1970s I used PDP-6 assembly language and Stopgap.
  • In the late 1970s I used Bliss-36 and SOS.
  • In the 1980s I used Bliss-32 and EDT.
  • In the 1990s and early 2000s I used DCL and EDT.
  • In the late 2000s and early 2010s I used Perl and Vim.
  • Today I use Python and EMACS.

about 2 months ago
top

Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

John_Sauter Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (90 comments)

People still publish Shakespeare and Mark Twain, even though they are in the public domain. You can even find the King James Bible if you look for it. If a book is popular enough there will be a demand for it, and someone to fill that demand.

about 9 months ago
top

Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

John_Sauter Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (90 comments)

Realistically, Paramount (or any big entertainment company) isn't going to be able to pass off your work as their own. Even if the public neither knows or cares, the industry insiders will know it is yours. If the big production of your script is successful, everybody in the industry will know that you are the person to get on-board for the next big success. The big production gives you publicity, even if your name does not appear in the credits.

Having a history of success is what gives you leverage.

about 9 months ago

Submissions

John_Sauter hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

John_Sauter has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>