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Hal Finney, PGP and Bitcoin Pioneer, Dies At 58

Ted Stoner Secret sharing code (40 comments)

A long tome ago for a project I adapted some open source m-of-n secret sharing code written by Hal. I wasn't aware of his contributions to Bitcoin though. Sorry he had to suffer with ALS. RIP.

about 3 months ago

Robotic Suit Gives Shipyard Workers Super Strength

Ted Stoner Re:Only geeks... (125 comments)

Could be used for Feats of Strength during Festivus.

about 4 months ago

The Rule of Three Proved By Physicists

Ted Stoner 22.71415926535...? (80 comments)

Is it really 22.70000000 or is there some interesting splatter of digits beyond? I didn't see any more specific number in the article.

about 6 months ago

How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Ted Stoner Re:Closed source won here (582 comments)

I would say that open source bugs are easier to exploit because you have the source. Closed source bugs rely on reverse engineering and should in theory be harder to find. So yes bad guys can focus on a high-value product or target whether closed or open source, but I think their job is a lot easier if it is open source.

To reiterate my point, I think that this argument is applicable to high value targets mostly. For non-security code or that without strong monetary implications tied to it, open source should still be better than closed source from a bug perspective.

about 7 months ago

How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Ted Stoner Closed source won here (582 comments)

I've read the FOSS argument for years and I guess I have leaned in favor of it from a bug perspective. But in this case, I think closed source would have won, at least to the current point in time. If OpenSSL is truly behind 60-75% of the world's web servers, then the value in hacking it is enormous. Thus if I am a criminal organization, it might be worth spending $1M for guys to read that open source code and find problems that I can then monetize for a big profit.

I don't think you are going to get $1M worth of code inspection on the white hat side for OpenSSL. Maybe going forward it will, and companies may be willing to invest in the upkeep. Not out of goodness, but because it makes good business sense. For a large organization, how many soft and hard dollars have been chewed up in the last week doing analysis, patching, client communication and general PR for Heartbleed? Probably enough that a $10K donation in time or money to OpenSSL upkeep would be feasible.

There is also evidence that the bad guys have been exploiting this in the wild. So the usual argument of "we found the bug quicker with open source" is probably wrong here. The better-funded and more highly motivated bad guys found it quickest.

My guess is the bad guys have been working this bug against Yahoo for awhile. Yahoo told me a couple of months ago (and others I know) that someone was attempting to login to my account from Russia. I would now suspect Heartbleed here.

The logic for finding bugs on the black hat side is OR (find any bug and exploit). The logic on the white hat side is AND (prevent all bugs). The table is always tilted like this unfortunately in the security arena. Bugs will always happen and the good guys can't win every time, regardless of code access.

about 7 months ago

US Sentinel Drone Fooled Into Landing With GPS Spoofing

Ted Stoner Secure GPS (647 comments)

So the upshot is to secure GPS communications to prevent spoofing using countermeasures as discussed here.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Does Being 'Loyal' Pay As a Developer?

Ted Stoner You are asking for permission to improve your life (735 comments)

You are asking for permission to improve your life. Just do it. Everyone is replaceable. Leave good documentation for stuff that is hard to figure out. If you have been a good employee then you would have done that as a matter of course anyway. Give them sufficient notice and help them as much as possible during your transition out period.

more than 3 years ago

After Six Days of Outages, BofA Claims It Hasn't Been Hacked

Ted Stoner It may just be a normal internal SNAFU (315 comments)

Another major bank that shall remain nameless had a four-day outage in recent years. It was due to internal problems (messed up backups, bad SQL causing corrupted database, etc.). So it can happen although 6 days is really stretching it. I have also worked for a bank and seen systems hard down for close to a day (forcing me to fly across the country) due to a hardware failure that begat a human failure that begat a second hardware failure that begat a second human failure (lost backup media). So shit can happen even without hackers.

more than 3 years ago

DoT Grants $15M To Test Car-To-Car Communication

Ted Stoner Advanced Car-to-Car Protocol (ACCP) (263 comments)

I started work on what I called ACCP (Advanced Car-to-Car Protocol) in 2004. From the overview:

ACCP is a protocol for communication between two moving vehicles, to assist in making the driving task more efficient, and to make driver intentions explicitly known to those around them. The capabilities of this system advance upon the limited “communications” available today (turn signals and brake lights). Computers within each participating vehicle can talk wirelessly to vehicles near (adjacent) to them.

My intent was for things like signaling "I am looking for an address and don't see it" while driving slowly, and co-operatively determining target speed to aid in passing situations on single lane roads. I was wondering how long it would be before someone started doing something like this (although Michigan is more skewed to safety).

Over the last few years I've second-guessed myself on exactly how much of this I would really want to see. The opportunities for abuse are many and getting the implementation right would be difficult.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?

Ted Stoner Code until death (772 comments)

I am early 50s, coding for almost 40 years. Still employed but worried about the next job (taking a pay cut and/or competing against clueless but cheap weenies). The fact you went into PM tells me you went to the dark side. I don't generally see people come back from that. At least stay abreast of trends and development environments that have traction. Perhaps start focusing on Android. I feel safer having coding skills than management skills. In a downturn you need to retain the "doers" not the PMs. All our PMs were let go in the last round of layoffs. All us 40+ year old coders are still working. My friend retired from his programming job last year at the age of 79. Still had calls asking him to do some contract work.

more than 3 years ago

Las Vegas Hotel Vdara an Accidental Death Ray

Ted Stoner My wife's make up mirror has the same power (218 comments)

One day I smelled something burning and scrambled frantically, as I thought I had an electrical fire starting within the walls of my house. Turns out it was my wife's make up mirror sitting innocently on the edge of the bathtub. The sun hit the mirror just right and beamed a focused light onto a plastic container. The lid of the container was half-melted and smoking badly.

more than 4 years ago

Study Hints Ambient Radio Waves May Affect Plant Growth

Ted Stoner Re:What did she shield them with? (298 comments)

I hadn't thought of that angle. Maybe also the cage surrounding the plants results in an increased ambient temperature affecting the growth. Wind currents changed. So there's three variables to control and check: metallic substances, temperature, and airflow (with airborne entities).

more than 4 years ago

Working Toward a Universal Power Brick For Laptops

Ted Stoner Re:Here are the specs, no further deliberation nee (365 comments)

Agreed, users would screw up the knob - that's why I said the knob maybe should be hidden. It's there only for "backwards compatibility". Going forward with new products and the new standard, we lose the knob, lower costs and all are happy. For machines running less than the set voltage an internal voltage regulator can adapt, since the voltage should be close. Best to use the standard voltage however and not transfer any extra electricity into heat.

more than 4 years ago

Working Toward a Universal Power Brick For Laptops

Ted Stoner Here are the specs, no further deliberation needed (365 comments)

One knob to set the voltage, probably between 15V and 20V. Maybe we hide the knob so it doesn't get adjusted accidentally. n amps of current max. 2.5mm or bigger jack size. There, specs all done. Build 100M of them and cut me my cheque.

more than 4 years ago

Researchers Find Way To Zap RSA Algorithm

Ted Stoner Re:!news (173 comments)

They were able to crack a 1024-bit key in 104 hours using 80 slave workers. They also say the cracking app should scale linearly with the number of workers. So 800 slaves would mean on the order of 10 hours. That is pretty scary. Newer commercial apps should be using at least 2048-bit keys. I am not sure how that affects the results.

more than 4 years ago

Are Spammers Giving Up?

Ted Stoner My Inbox SPAM has dropped 87% (327 comments)

I would say 9-12 months ago, my quarantined email mailbox contained about 160 SPAM emails per day. Now I would say I only have to look at 20. That's a decrease of 87.5% from last year. I can't say for sure whether my ISP does any sort of pre-filtering to eliminate more before it hits my box, but otherwise, I would say, yes, the spammers might be giving up and moving on to other avenues (spamvenues).

more than 6 years ago



Oct 25 is Root 2 day

Ted Stoner Ted Stoner writes  |  about a month ago

Ted Stoner (648616) writes "The Unix timestamp (also used by Java) tomorrow (Oct 25) at about 1:04:16 AM GMT-4:00 DST (EDT) will hit 1414213456. Divide by 10**9 and square it and you get 2.

Root 3 day (timestamp 1732050808) does not occur until Nov 2024 so party now.

Visit the Epoch Converter site for more zany madness."

Ted Stoner Ted Stoner writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Ted Stoner (648616) writes "The ultimate in case mods comes from 34 year old Kasey McMahon. A beaver stuffed with a "2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Panasonic DVD writer, and AOpen motherboard" in the stomach and a fan to blow smoke out it's rear end.

New terminology to add to the lexicon. "I need to boot my beaver." "My beaver is down for maintenance." "My beaver is so hot."

A call to arms for animal rights activists perhaps."


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