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Comments

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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

Just Some Guy Re:Compared to Azure (94 comments)

The architecture of Google is utterly useless for many businesses cases.There are many use cases where it'd be perfectly appropriate.

it does not and can not provide accurate answers to queries.

In most cases, businesses don't really care about accurate answers to queries; they want quick, more-or-less correct answers. For example, suppose Amazon has a dashboard that shows their book sales on an hourly basis. Timeliness is more important than exactness here, and answers more precise than the pixel resolution of the graph on the big TV are wasted. A "big data" style query that is 99% correct and runs in 5 seconds is much more valuable here than the exact answer that returns in 2 hours.

For accounting types of reporting, slow, exact architectures are probably more appropriate. For realtime analytics, a best guess that comes back immediately may be the right thing.

yesterday
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PostgreSQL Outperforms MongoDB In New Round of Tests

Just Some Guy Re:The tipping point (146 comments)

you are limited by your storage hardware regardless of what technology you use.

Well, right, but I think we set our expectations too low in some cases. For example, the data item {"key": "foo", "value": "bar"} serializes to 30 bytes of JSON. With a few bytes to act as record separators, a hard drive with a 100MB/s write speed should be table of recording about 3,000,000 items per second. There's a lot more overhead than that, of course! But in the document we're discussing, PostgreSQL was averaging about 1,700 inserts per second, or about 170,000 times slower than the hypothetical maximum. Exactly how much overhead should we expect to have when doing simple inserts into a non-foreign-keyed table?

Cassandra makes data access between many servers easy (once you get used to its specialized API), but you could have done the same on multiple servers with their own PostgreSQL server by sharding your data among them.

Our write throughput was 150 times that of the "fast" PostgreSQL server in the article. We were running Cassandra on a cluster of 4 decent sized (but not heroic) EC2 instances. We had neither the time, money, nor desire to replace a 4-node Cassandra cluster and its out-of-the-box configuration with a 150-node sharded PostgreSQL cluster. Sure, it could be done, but there was no reason in the world why we'd want to.

Cassandra/MongoDB/Redis/etc. are not appropriate replacements for PostgreSQL in every - or even many - cases. Likewise, PostgreSQL is not an appropriate replacement for them when dealing with their own specialized use cases.

3 days ago
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PostgreSQL Outperforms MongoDB In New Round of Tests

Just Some Guy Re:The tipping point (146 comments)

If you have a single machine, then Oracle is the best performing database, followed by Postgres. When you need more than 4 dedicated servers hosting a database, then mongo can handle about 180% of the volume that oracle can, and about 220% the volume of postgres, and about 110% the volume of Casandra.

This, this, a million times this. A recent employer needed to be able to sustain 250,000 inserts per second. Not 24/7, mind you, but at random prolonged intervals throughout the day. The "PostgreSQL is the fast" chart shows it handling 10,600 bulk load operations per second or 1,700 individual inserts per second. That would be about 1/150th of the insert load we needed to handle.

I'm a huge fan of PostgreSQL - when it's appropriate. If you need strong relational and consistency guarantees, there's nothing I'd recommend over it. But sometimes you just need to move enormous amounts of data around very, very quickly. That's the use case where various NoSQL stores suddenly become very attractive. We chose Cassandra here because its big-O algorithmic complexity matched up very nicely with our access patterns, being O(1) where we needed it to be and O(n^2) where we couldn't care less.

3 days ago
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PostgreSQL Outperforms MongoDB In New Round of Tests

Just Some Guy Could that chart suck more? (146 comments)

Look at the "MongoDB 2.4/PostgreSQL 9.4 Relative Performance Comparison" and see that MongoDB's bars are much higher than PostgreSQL's, with labels like "276%" and "465%". That looks like MongoDB is much better, right? Oh, oops! Apparently that's how much slower MongoDB is.

3 days ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Just Some Guy Re:Think of the children (353 comments)

That's certainly possible. Alternatively, the demand for customer privacy might have ratcheted up enough recently that Apple et al started taking them seriously. Not so long ago, such things were something only cypherpunks and a few other geeks cared about. Now my mother-in-law wants to know if her iPhone is secure. That's a sea change in customer opinion, and Apple's and Google's actions could be chalked up to simply meeting market demand.

3 days ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Just Some Guy Re:Unlike my house keys, sir? (353 comments)

And therefore we should give up entirely, having been made to choose between perfect security and no security.

3 days ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Just Some Guy Unlike my house keys, sir? (353 comments)

Change the subject to house keys and the company to Master Lock. Does Mr. Comey, who is employed by me and my fellow taxpayers, also disagree with strong locks on houses? "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law." Yes. That's one application, of many, for locks. They can also be used for securing my person, house, papers, and effects, as is explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights. I want to lock my house at night, not just to keep out the police but to keep out everyone who doesn't live here. I want to lock my phone at night for exactly the same reasons. Pity if that's an inconvenience to someone; frankly, I don't care.

4 days ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

Just Some Guy Re:How to disable CGI in Apache (316 comments)

What about FastCGI? Should it be similarly affected? A lot of people run PHP and so on that way.

4 days ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

Just Some Guy Re:Preempting dumb discussion (316 comments)

Privilege escalation is always the kernel's fault. A failed/exploited process should never be able to gain control of a system.

Bullshit. First, "shellshock" isn't a privilege escalation bug, it's a remote code execution bug. Second, an overly liberal /etc/sudoers is a time bomb waiting to happen but has nothing to do with the kernel. Combine the two - say when a dev has something like httpd ALL=(ALL) ALL so that users can change their password via a web interface or something insane but common like that - and suddenly Johnny Cracker can hack the Gibson with only a single authorized setuid() call.

4 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

Just Some Guy Re:Netflix is not perfect... (94 comments)

Netflix certainly isn't perfect, but they're Pretty Darn Good (tm). I haven't experienced any more glitches with streaming Netflix than I have with Comcast breaking other downloads.

Meanwhile, even with their 'kill stuff randomly' methodology, the wrong thing still dies ever so often and brings the whole thing to a screeching halt.

The whole idea behind Chaos Monkey is to make sure there's no such "the wrong thing" single point of failure. Having talked to their SREs, I think such outages are exceedingly rare.

4 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

Just Some Guy Re:Compared to Azure (94 comments)

When hosting your app in the cloud, regardless of provider, it is considered best practice to design for failure.

Netflix goes so far as to randomly kill services throughout the day. Their idea is that it's better to find systems that aren't auto-healing correctly by testing recovery during routine operations than to be surprised by it at 3AM. It's successful to the point that you generally don't know that the streaming server you were connected to has been killed and a peer took over for it. That is how you make reliable cloud services.

4 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

Just Some Guy Re:Compared to Azure (94 comments)

so you've never worked on vertical computer systems?

Fixed that for you. You're conflating vertically scaled monoliths with "serious systems". That's quaint. While there are certainly still use cases for that kind of bulletproof all-your-eggs-in-one-basket architecture, that's a niche compared to the number of applications where horizontally scaled eventually consistent architecture is more appropriate.

The mainframe and vms clusters I've used had databases working for years (over a decade in one case as new hardware joined sequentially to cluster as old retired).

Undoubtedly, and the distributed clusters I've used where you can make progress as long as at least some reasonable subset of nodes are still alive have similar uptimes. When was the last time you heard about Google being completely dead in the water? Their software was written with the expectation that failures happen (and a lot at their scale) so that clients need to intelligently reconnect to unresponsive servers, etc. That design seems to be working out pretty well for them.

4 days ago
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BlackBerry Launches Square-Screened Passport Phone

Just Some Guy Re:Review are actually quite positive.... (189 comments)

For a few years now, it's been difficult to post anything about BlackBerry that didn't involve bad news or negative commentary.

5 days ago
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BlackBerry Launches Square-Screened Passport Phone

Just Some Guy First, independent, now a corporate SW Architect (189 comments)

That reeks of sour grapes. "I don't want to play the games I can't run! I don't want to download the apps that aren't available!"

My iPhone is **not** a toy, I use it for doing business. I have roughly a zillion apps, for very precisely described needs. Only the bare basics were on the phone when I got it, and I was able to pick a great SSH client, slick personal finance app, excellent public transit apps, a nice RPN calculator, my bank's app (so I can deposit checks by taking pictures of them), Yelp for when I want to take my team to a good dinner on business trips, a few instant messengers (because I can't get all my friends to "upgrade" to the ones I like), a document scanner with OCR, our corporate chat client, an outstanding GTD system (wassup, OmniFocus?), and a passel of games for idling away downtime at the airport.

I'm sure a BlackBerry would meet my needs if I had very few needs. But then again, I use Unix as an IDE and drive a minivan.

5 days ago
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BlackBerry Launches Square-Screened Passport Phone

Just Some Guy Re:Lacking developers. (189 comments)

I don't think there are accurate market share numbers available, and most of what you see are educated guesses. Here's a link to mobile usage which shows Android at 45.01%, iOS at 44.34%, Java ME (!!!!) at 3.77%, and Windows Phone at 2.69%. BlackBerry at 1.18% comes in behind Symbian at 2.61%.

As I can't think of a good reason why Windows would be disproportionately undercounted compared to iOS (unlike Android which is widely available on dirt cheap phones in developing nations), I'd say Windows Phone is a whole hell of a lot very far behind iOS.

5 days ago
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jQuery.com Compromised To Serve Malware

Just Some Guy Re:They will never learn (103 comments)

But if you and I are using the same library, why make the visitor fetch and store it twice? That's a slower startup for both of our sites. Multiplied across hundreds of thousands of jQuery-using instances, it adds up.

The fastest GET is the GET which need not be made.

5 days ago
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jQuery.com Compromised To Serve Malware

Just Some Guy Re:They will never learn (103 comments)

The purpose for parking JavaScript on a CDN is so that your visitors are likely to already have it in their cache. A million sites referring to the same URL is far more resource friendly than 10,000 sites hosting their own copy.

about a week ago
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jQuery.com Compromised To Serve Malware

Just Some Guy Re:They will never learn (103 comments)

Something like Jekyll can never have a server-side exploit, and statically-generated sites are certainly popular enough among larger projects.

about a week ago
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Apple Sells More Than 10 Million New iPhones In First 3 Days

Just Some Guy Re:individual vs carrier sales. (206 comments)

I wonder how many of those phones went to carriers and counted as 'First day sales'? How many actual _humans_ bought phones?

Since Apple reports sales to end users, approximately 0 and 10,000,000, respectively.

about a week ago

Submissions

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SCO On The Ropes

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  about 7 years ago

Just Some Guy writes "The SCO Group just published their SEC Form 10-Q Quarterly Report for July 31, 2007. In summary, they really needed a victory over Novell that didn't come. In their own words, "[as] a result of both the Court's August 10, 2007 ruling and our entry into Chapter 11, there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern." Other highlights include:

Revenue from the UNIX business decreased by $2,704,000, or 37%, for the three months ended July 31, 2007 compared to the three months ended July 31, 2006 [...]


and:

Revenue from our SCOsource business decreased from $31,000 for the three months ended July 31, 2006 to $0 for the three months ended July 31, 2007.


Are we close to the end of the saga?"
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SCO No Mo'

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  about 7 years ago

Just Some Guy writes "The other shoe has dropped; SCO has filed for bankruptcy. From their press release: "The Board of Directors of The SCO Group have unanimously determined that Chapter 11 reorganization is in the best long-term interest of SCO and its subsidiaries, as well as its customers, shareholders, and employees."

Although they "want to assure [their] customers and partners that they can continue to rely on SCO products, support and services for their business critical operations," they later go on to say that "SCO owns the core UNIX operating system", contrary to findings in the SCO v. Novell court case. It's not advisable to take their words at face value."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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PyCon 2011

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I am in Atlanta for PyCon, and you're on Slashdot reading about it. So there. Neener neener neener.

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I think they're trying to kill Slashdot.

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I seriously believe that someone is trying to sabotage Slashdot by making it decreasingly pleasant.

Exhibit A: the new-and-busted discussion system. I actually like it more than the old way for reading comments, but for writing comments it's almost maliciously bad. The new system's preview button is much slower than the old way, and the mandatory waiting time between posting comments is a lot longer than it used to be. The net result is that whenever you're eventually allowed to click the "Submit" button, if your comment doesn't go through immediately, you're stuck staring at a pink error message until the countdown is finished. The only thing keeping this tolerable is that you can middle-click on "Reply to This" to open the old-style comment form in a new window, but I don't know if this workaround is going to be left in place long-term.

Exhibit B: Idle. This is truly the worst interface I've ever seen on Slashdot, from the painful color scheme to the tiny fonts to the difference between the markup used in comments between Idle and the rest of Slashdot. For example, the <quote> tags are treated like <p> in Idle, so there's no visible difference between text you're quoting and your own words. I don't even mind the content so much because it can be an amusing diversion, but wow, the implementation is just terrible.

No, I contend that the new changes are deliberately designed to drive away readership. I don't think that the Slashdot admins are incompetent, so I'm convinced that this is on purpose.

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Avoid the Ramada

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This isn't tech-related in the least, but my family just got back from staying at the Ramada Inn in Kearney, Nebraska. It wasn't pretty.

Not that Kearney is a likely destination for Slashdotters, but for those who might find yourselves there: you've been warned.

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Tuning Slashdot, part 1: Relationship CSS

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Refactoring relationships

Right now, relationships are embedded into the comments section of story pages with tags like:

<span class="zooicon"><a href="//science.slashdot.org/zoo.pl?op=check&amp;uid=198669"><img src="//images.slashdot.org/fof.gif" alt="Friend of a Friend" title="Friend of a Friend"></a></span>

This is ugly for a few reasons. First, it's a mess. Second, it means that every visitor has to have their own custom-rendered comments sections so you can't apply aggressive caching to the page-generation code. I would replace this with per-user CSS.

First, create a CSS file for each user like this:

/* Default class */
a.relationship {
background: url(neutral.gif);
width: 12px;
height: 12px;
display: inline-block;
text-decoration: none;
}

/* User-specific values start here: */

/* Friends */
a.user3352,a.user42 { background: url(friend.gif); }

/* Foes */
a.user666 { background: url(foe.gif); }

Next, replace the HTML in the comments section with generic relationship information such as:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="relationships.css">
[...]
<p>by neutral (1234) <a href="bar" class="user1234 relationship">&nbsp;</a> on 2008-01-20</p>
<p>by Just Some Guy (3352) <a href="bar" class="user3352 relationship">&nbsp;</a> on 2008-01-20</p>
<p>by foe (666) <a href="bar" class="user666 relationship">&nbsp;</a> on 2008-01-20</p>

All "a" tags with the "relationship" class get the default CSS values. If there is also a corresponding "user*" selector in the visitor's stylesheet, then the values in that selector override the defaults. For a sad user with no friends, this means that everyone gets the neutral.gif icon. As that user accumulates more specific relationships, those CSS definitions are applied instead.

This benefits Slashdot because suddenly they don't have to generate a brand new comments section for every visitor. The per-user CSS would also be extremely simple to generate. In any case, it would be no more difficult than the current method of embedding all that information directly into the comments section.

Finally, those CSS files could also be cached very easily. Since they would only change whenever a user's relationships are modified, Slashdot would no longer have to query that information every single time it creates a page.

There are two drawbacks to this idea. First, there are no more alt attributes on images, so users don't see a "Friend" popup if they hover over the relationship button. If that's a problem, replace the icons with little smiley or frowny faces as appropriate. Second, it would take slightly more work to support putting users in multiple categories at the same time ("Friend" + "Freak"). The fix is to create a whole set of graphics like "friend_freak.gif" and "foe_friendoffriend.gif" and corresponding CSS classes. There aren't that many categories, though, so it would require only minimal extra work to cover every possible combination.

How 'bout it, Taco - could you use something like that? Less code, less bandwidth, and less processing should be pretty easily reachable goals.

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Get over it, UbuntuDupe

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

UbuntuDupe screwed up an Ubuntu installation almost two years ago. He still hasn't gotten over it.

UD, let me give you some free advice: move on. Really. You don't even have to admit that you were wrong. Just stop yapping about it and move on.

Do you notice that every time you bring this up, everyone opposes you? It's not because we don't like you, but because even if you were in the right (which you weren't), after two years we simply don't want to hear it anymore. Stop embarrassing yourself and let it die already, OK?

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NSFW? Fark off.

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Fark: Is read by your boss.
Slashdot: Is read by the weird guy in the server room.

Fark: Tries to be corporate friendly.
Slashdot: Links to Tubgirl.

Fark: Garfield.
Slashdot: Doonesbury.

Quit whining about "oh noes this is not teh NSFW!" If you want Fark, read Fark. This is Slashdot.

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I've been mod-bombed - yay!

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 8 years ago Within a five minute period yesterday, 5 of my comments got modded down with "-1: Troll". They were in different stories about completely different topics, but they were my most recent posts at that time.

I noticed that I've been building up a nice little list of liberal extremist freaks lately. It seems pretty clear to me that one of them happened upon some mod points and decided to spend them by modding me into oblivion.

I'm kind of flattered in a way, because they must have felt that I'm pretty important to spend their points against me. Even better, though, is this reminder that the favored tool of the liberal is silence. It's not enough to ignore opposing viewpoints, since someone else may hear them and be influenced. No, their response to someone who doesn't buy into their propaganda is to steal their voice.

On Slashdot, at least, they're limited to moderation. That's a lot better than in reality, when they'd probably scream "racist!", or "sexist!", or "capitalist!" in hopes that I'd run for shelter. That's not quite as funny.

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I Am Not This Serious. Seriously.

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 9 years ago I think I may have to take a break from Slashdot.

Why? Is is because it's eating into my work? Nah - I have plenty of long compiles that allow me to waste a few minutes here and there. Is it because I'm actually building a "Freaks" list? No way! The fact that some people find my honest opinions too insulting to bear is kind of amusing.

No, it's because I've started Acting My Age and becoming way, way too serious.

I am not at all like my Slashdot persona. I mean, my opinions and beliefs are the same - I've never once misrepresented those - but my personality is completely different. I'm a nice guy who likes to laugh, enjoy life, and have fun. I'm almost never this intense or serious in day-to-day life, but put me in front of a comment box and I go uber-professional and detail-oriented. Those are OK traits, sure, and it's nice to know that I'm capable of logical and serious discussion, but that's still not who I am.

I even get along brilliantly with people I disagree with. Although I'm a very staunch conservative, one of my long-time good friends is a deliberately homeless tree-hugger (I mean it - literally!) who's typically into paganism, environmentalism, socialism, and a lot of other isms that I don't really want any part of. We get along great, though, and although we disagree on pretty much everything we always have a fun time in the process. Not here, though. Oh, no. For some reason, I seem to lose the ability to parse gentle sarcasm when I come here and just have to respond in a pedantically exact manner.

So, why is that? I kind of blame Slashdot itself, and its "coverage" of the 2004 elections in particular. Despite our differences, we used to all pretty much get along before then. Now our little green corner of the 'net is hyper-politicized and angry, and you can't ask for a recommendation of a nice IDE drive without being lectured about the evils of magnetoresistive manufacturers and their harm to the third-world environment.

I'll make you a promise: if you promise to lighten up and begin enjoying the humor inherent in a population of nearly a million crotchety geeks from across the world, I'll do the same. In fact, as a token of good faith, I'll be the first to try. On the other hand, if I can't pull it off, then I'm out of here. Seriously. I enjoy life too much to be sucked down into a swirling pit of Seriousness and Thoughtful Deliberation.

Let's have fun again, shall we? Wish me luck.

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Why you're my foe

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  about 10 years ago I use my "Foes" list to manage the people who've established a pattern of saying things far beyond my threshold of tolerable stupidity. It's not that I dislike these people personally but that they detract from intelligent conversation to the point that they make themselves a nuisance. I'm not going to spend mod points to silence them, because that goes against my principals (and because I'd rather reward good conversation than attempt to "punish" the bad), but I personally have no interest in what they have to say and don't want to be bothered with it.

So, I think it's only fair to tell people why I've added them to the list. I'm not going to bother with prior entries, but I will be explaining all new ones.

The first recent addition is killjoe. I've disagreed with some of his postings, but this quote is what pushed him from "people I sometimes disagree with" to "people I don't want to listen to":

As for me I think the days of the peaceful liberals are over. It's time we adopted the republitard tactics. Yes that means dragging them behind cars and crucifiying them alongside the highways.

As far as I'm concerned, people who make comments like that are ineligible for civil conversation.

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Authenticated anonymity on Slashdot

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Want to post anonymously but verifiably? That is, do you want to be able to say things that you don't want traceable back to yourself, but you do want interested parties to be able to verify that multiple posts originate from the same person?

Right now, Anonymous Coward (AC) posts are stored without any identifying information. This means that while you may divulge some important information, another person can reply to your post, claiming to be you, and contradict your statements. Example:

You: I have proof that my company is making toxic waste.

Reply from twit: And no matter what you hear, I was not fired from my last job for making false accusations!

With common software, this is almost trivially easy. The idea is to post as an AC but always sign your messages with the same GPG ID. The advantage is that you can still be an AC when it's important, but interested observers can verify whether other a given set of posts come from you.

If you want do this, here's how:

  1. Generate a GPG key.
  2. Submit your key to a public keyserver.
  3. Write your Slashdot text in an external editor.
  4. Sign the post with your "anonymous" key.
  5. Use <ecode> tags to encapsulate your signed message.
  6. For added obscurity, add "no-version" to you gpg.conf file. If you're using GPG on Linux, that string may not narrow the field of candidates too much. If you hand-compiled it on your TI-85 calculator, and you've explained to your boss in great detail how cool it is to run crypto on your calculator, then it may reveal more information than you want.
  7. Be sure to click the "Post Anonymously" checkbox!

Now people interested in such things can verify that all of your posts originate from the same person, even though they can't determine who that person is.

This isn't exactly a brilliant invention on my part; all of the pieces already existed in usable form. However, I've never seen anyone actually do this, and I thought it might be a useful idea for someone.

Caveats:

  • Assume that your IP is logged by Slashdot and the public keyserver and available to whomever you're trying to hide from by posting as an Anonymous Coward.
  • Be darn sure that you remember to check the "Post Anonymously" box or your cover is definitely blown in a big way; the people you're hiding from can now trace a whole batch of incriminating posts back to you. For example, when I first tested the idea, I made that mistake and forever ruined a key with a clever name (IMHO).
  • This method can't prove that a post did not come from you. In the example above where an anonymous twit is trying to negate your statements, your best course of action is to post a signed reply to him stating that the reply post was not from you.

A Note To Slashdot Editors

I'm not writing this to be a pain in the butt, honest - this seems like a legitimate need that I think needed to be addressed. This specific implemention relies on the idea of <ecode> tags keeping the contents in pristine condition. If people start using this, please don't change ecode's functionality so that old signed posts are broken.

A giant extra helping of karma to the authors if you add code to detect signed messages, keep a list of key IDs that've been used, assign a serial number to each one, and print that serial number in the message header of each signed message. Then, casual visitors could see that a string of messages were all signed by "Slashdot authed AC #243", although responsibilty for actual verification would still lie with interested end-users.

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Ditch "Overrated" already!

Just Some Guy Just Some Guy writes  |  more than 11 years ago Would-be moderators, get this through your head: "Overrated" should almost never be used! If you think that something moderated as "Funny" isn't very humorous, then accept that other people enjoyed it and move on. If something is marked "Insightful" but you don't agree with it, then move on. Get the point?

I always kill "Overrated" in meta-moderation. Always. Keep that in mind, would you?

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