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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

datapharmer Re:The vendor seems to be Watchguard (204 comments)

I was thinking the same thing, but I'm not afraid to name names. I have reported bug after bug and all they ever did was use the bug report as a "support case" and count it against my support allotment then close the case with no resolution. Some issues have been solved after a year or more, but support is unresponsive at best. I can name quite a few known problems, some of which could be potentially exploited for buffer overflows or denial of service attacks.

Just to name a few problems and bugs:
-ssl-vpn prompts the user to upgrade when new software is loaded on the firewall but if a user clicks no it disconnects them. If they click yes it uninstalls the software and fails to rienstall due to permission issues with the teefer driver if the user does not have administrative rights. It cannot be upgraded easily through group policy or windows update local publishing. It is an exe container so group policy is out and publising via local update publisher causes the system to hang at shutdown due to problems related to the driver removal/installation.

-services that use certificate checking fail if dpi is enabled and there is no reasonable workaround (examples: webex, apple itunes and app store). Implementing a realtime host lookup would easily resolve this problem but they only offer a one time hostname lookup which adds the ip to the policy (problematic for just about everything.... yes let's unblock all of akamai, that makes sense!!!)

-sso manager has a memory leak uses huge amounts of resources and eventually stops updating the list of authenticated users until the service is restarted if you have more than 2 domain controllers. We had to schedule a restart of the service every morning to mitigate this and it still uses an insane amount of processor time.

-Version 11.9.1 broke multi-wan pptp so not only is ssl-vpn broken (don't get me started on their poor ipsec support) but now the less secure backup option won't connect...

-expiring or rejecting a ca certificate causes all sites reliant on that certificate to fail to load even if a new certificate is present if dpi is enabled

-email quarantine generates a certificate with the server's ip as the name but links send the user to the hostname thus causing a certificate warning

-a wan connection with a ping monitor will not resume functioning once ping is restored in a multi-wan overflow configuration causing a temporary loss of connectivity to become a permanent one.

-ssl-vpn will not connect over udp in a multi-wan environment

I could go on... but I'll end with a non-bug:
-They clearly run modified versions of open source software but fail to release their code changes to customers or distribute the gpl with their software. This is clear simply from the log files and debugging information and has been complained about as far back as 2005: http://lists.gpl-violations.or...

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

datapharmer Re:Endian Firewall (238 comments)

I love (and use) endian, but I can't recommend it to a newbie. Once built it is solid as a rock, but Endian always seems to have some bugs out of the box that can be really frustrating, and the vpn setup is not very user friendly in my experience (but as simple as anything else if you are familiar with open vpn). It has gotten better lately with some long existing bugs being fixed, but it can still be painful out of the box and moving between versions can be hazardous (prepare to install from scratch as a backup plan). That said I do appreciate that most of Endian's bugs are frustrating from a "x doesn't work, y doesn't display properly, z doesn't configure as expected" but the security related bugs seem to much less common than many other open source and commercial firewall/utm solutions.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

datapharmer Re:Vyatta (238 comments)

Isn't it a little questionable to be suggesting a solution that has essentially be taken closed source? Vyatta is great, but unless the vyos community gains some strength it could end up as a dead end in a couple years. That aside, vyatta is a solid solution, so I'm only bringing up the potential negatives here since the vyos maintainers don't seem to have a lot of development/maintenance resources.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling?

datapharmer Re:maybe (355 comments)

Wrong analogy. It is like buying a 1/4 pounder* (where the 1/4 pound is raw weight). Something is lost to cooking (transfer). I'm sure At&t's lawyers already covered their butts. If you read the small print ATM/MPLS overhead is probably included in the bandwidth calculation. Mystery solved Scooby Doo.

about 5 months ago

Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

datapharmer Re:Hello, it is 2014 (113 comments)

Strange, I used windows 64 bit for several years with no problem. That said I built it with components I knew had stable 64-bit drivers. Only problem I had was many browser plugins were 32-bit only but I can't blame Microsoft for that. It was a hell of a lot better than Vista x64 I can tell you that!

about 5 months ago

Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

datapharmer Re:Can we get a tape drive to back this up? (316 comments)

Rotate the drives. Works great for small clients that can't afford the tape. Rotate them offsite on a schedule. For larger amounts of data use tape. No reasonable hardware solutions I know of can beat a robotic tape library for longevity, reliability, and safety of the data. Hard disks only win on speed, but it is trivial to do disk to disk and then duplicate to tape. It gives you the best of both worlds.

about 5 months ago

How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

datapharmer Re:Not all the blocks (202 comments)

Yep. Saw this too and it passes the KISS test. Not sure why everyone thinks they were hauling giant boulders around.

about 5 months ago

LinkedIn Busted In Wage Theft Investigation

datapharmer now for the computer fraud and abuse act..... (108 comments)

Ok so they got caught for involvement with internal shenanigans, now someone just needs to look into all of those mailserver logs where linkedin tries to access corporate email accounts using linkedin credentials when they haven't been authorized to...

about 6 months ago

Rocket Scientist Designs "Flare" Pot That Cooks Food 40% Faster

datapharmer Re:very cool (204 comments)

It isn't even new. I've owned one of these for years. Check out the primus brand pots for example. The idea of putting a heat exchanger in a pot has been around for a long time. I can attest that they are very efficient though.

about 7 months ago

Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

datapharmer Re:Reputational Damage (346 comments)

It is called a filter. We use them all the time. Add confidential, private, internal only and the email won't leave our domain. Why is it goldman sachs hasn't figured it out?

about 7 months ago

Krebs on Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails and Blaming Canada

datapharmer Re:Conspiracies, please. (130 comments)


about 6 months ago

Apple Kills Aperture, Says New Photos App Will Replace It

datapharmer Re:Aperture-specific plugins... (214 comments)

Not to be supportive of adobe per se (they are miserable too) but that is why dng was developed. Raw is very hard to support from an archival perspective.

about 7 months ago

Amazon Wants To Run Your High-Performance Databases

datapharmer Re:AWS is too expensive (142 comments)

1) I guess it goes down until it can be fixed under warranty (same or next day depending on purchase option). Redundancy is expensive. What happens when your single instance of AWS goes down with an "oops amazon is having problems with a datacenter" message?
2)Good job, you have identified why Netflix uses AWS.
3) Reserved instance is cheaper, but at that price still more than a dedicated server and the server typically comes with a 3 year warranty and will likely last past that (Dell will warranty for 6 years). Assuming it only lasts 3 your cost for running on AWS is nearly 3 times higher even when figuring in an improved warranty and OS licensing. I concede that short duration projects or very spiky loads are a great use for the cloud, but long running relatively even loads simply don't make sense form a cost perspective, nevermind the fact that you now lose access to your database if your wan connection goes down (unless you build out multi-wan, but there is yet another expense).

about 8 months ago

Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion

datapharmer Re:What Level 3 can do (210 comments)

Use OSPF and use pricing as one of the variables for cost calculation? Wouldn't take a rocket scientist and pretty sure any decent sized network does this already... We are't talking spot market here - most of these costs are negotiated in long-term contracts, but no reason we couldn't design it like the energy markets (though not sure you would want to).

about 9 months ago

Is Montana the Next Big Data Hub?

datapharmer Re:An educated workforce (164 comments)

Try it yourself. You might find out that to be successful at it requires skill and education. I have family there that are one of two families left in a several hundred mile radius that are still farming successfully. All the rest gave up or gave out. Between droughts, harsh winters and fluctuations in feed prices it isn't as easy as watch some cows munch grass, and yes, they are educated and have dedicated fiber running straight to the farm that far surpasses the quality of dsl I can get in the city here in Florida.

about 9 months ago

Sony Tape Storage Breakthrough Could Bring Us 185 TB Cartridges

datapharmer Re:Slight (208 comments)

Right, and how is the firmware on the drive for your non-magnetic media holding up after that EMP blast? You did remember to load a copy of the firmware onto a disk too, right? Oh, and the bios for the computer you were planning on restoring to, and the hard-drive firmware and other various chipset firmwares? I think come an EMP blast you had better set the computer aside and know how to be a dirt farmer before you starve. Even if you get your own files restored it is unlikely you will be able to do much else unless you plan on helping the telco reprogram all their equipment to get the network back up etc. In the meantime, you starve.

about 9 months ago

XP Systems Getting Emergency IE Zero Day Patch

datapharmer Re:just kill them already (179 comments)

Car analogy: I told the used car dealer to stop selling that garbage and just send all his vehicles to the dump. I mean they were all from like 2007 or before! I mean seriously, who uses a car that old (except for all the retro ones that were sold up until 2012 - and those suck too. They aren't hip at all)? They don't have the latest rear view cameras and other safety equipment or anything. It is no secret if you buy the after market warranty you can get your crappy old car fixed, but if you don't it isn't my problem you can't get parts when you need them because you are a dumb poopy pants. I throw everything away because there is a newer model that surely must be better because new and shiny!

about 9 months ago

AOL Finally Admits They Were Hacked

datapharmer Re:Does not compute (54 comments)

because the spf records don't pass but the recipient recognizes the sender?

about 9 months ago

HP Server Killer Firmware Update On the Loose

datapharmer Re:If it ain't broke... (100 comments)

That is a terrible policy. I spent a long night at an office of a fortune 500 company for that very reason. They didn't see any reason to apply bios patches because they were just to add support for newer hardware, not to fix any sort of vulnerability. Fair enough. Several years went by and their terminal server had a processor go finicky on them. They determined the available spares included processors that were compatible. I asked "has the bios been updated to support the newer processors?" I was assured that they do regular patching and it would not be a problem. I arrive on site, install the new processors and get no post. A bit of troubleshooting and we determine it doesn't recognize the processors because the bios was out of date. Really long story shortened - we had to shutdown another server, pull the processors, install them in the problem server, boot, patch the bios, shut down move the processors back in the donor server, and then reinstall the new processors. Of course this was in a server room that was an overstuffed shoe box so a number of acrobatics were required to get the servers extended to a point they could be worked on.

So what should have been a 10-15 minute processor replacement ended up causing several hours of downtime and the unscheduled shutdown of another server.

Don't be lazy!

That said, as someone else stated, I usually wait a couple months to patch (especially HP) unless it is considered a critical issue or I have a straightforward fail-over plan. HP has screwed my arrays etc. more than once with their quality updates.

about 9 months ago

The Internet of Things and Humans

datapharmer Re:Dumbest trend ever (55 comments)

No, you don't understand. All the little internet connected things in your life like your thermostat with infrared sensor and tv with camera and xbox with 3d imager and phone with gps and toilet with butt activated hemorrhoid sensor all send their little bits of data back to the big intelligence in the cloud. This way the great data architects of Fort Meade know you need some anal cream, a diet, and some new pants. They might also recognize that you are a danger to yourself if you continue to play WoW. But if you stop playing you might be upset about your surroundings and be a danger to others, so you get a new online friend to help you play even more hours each day. I think the Internet of Things is quite Intelligently Designed. In fact, I think everyone else who supports it should all spread the word by using a hashtag for intelligently designed internet of things #IDIoT

about 9 months ago



Remote temperature monitoring solutions for a lab?

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  about 3 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "I handle IT for a small research laboratory that has quite a few incubators. As anyone who has worked in a lab knows, the temperature displays on even expensive incubators just can't be trusted. As a result a lab technician must manually check the temperature of each incubator twice daily to make sure we are meeting our regulatory requirements. Since I know temperature, humidity, etc is measured in datacenters and server environments I was hoping fellow slashdotters could suggest a cost effective remote monitoring solution. The requirements are accuracy within .1 degree C, must not interfere with the incubator (so wireless is a plus but a remote probe is fine too), must record the temperatures over time in a central location, and must alert someone remotely if it goes out of a preset range (an email or sms would be fine). So slashdotters, any ideas that won't break the bank?"

Google's self driving car crashes

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

datapharmer writes "We've all read previous stories on slashdot about Google's driverless car, and some have even pondered if a crash would bring the end to robotic cars. For better or for worse, we will all find out soon, as the inevitable has occurred. The question remains — who is to blame. A Google spokesperson told business insider that "Safety is our top priority. One of our goals is to prevent fender-benders like this one, which occurred while a person was manually driving the car.""
Link to Original Source

Google gives users a holiday gift

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 5 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "Google has decided to donate $20 million USD to charities this holiday season since "charities are experiencing their toughest year in decades". The gift is said to be to "everyone" from Google and was distributed as an e-mail message to gmail users that states in part "As we near the end of the year, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for the time, energy, commitment, and trust you've shared with us in 2009.

With sharing in mind, this year we've decided to do something a little different. We hope you'll find it fits the spirit of the holiday season." The email links to a happy holidays from google website that explains what they are doing for the holidays and why. Adblock users take note, you will need to disable your blocker to view the message.

The list of intended recipients includes:
        * Feeding America
        * Boys and Girls Clubs
        * Smile Train
        * CARE, Mothers Matter
        * World Wildlife Fund, Natural Capital Project
        * Mobile Creches
        * Prajwala
        * HEAL Africa
        * African Institute for Mathematical Sciences

        * The Mango Tree
        * National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
        * Harlem Children's Zone
        * Save the Children, Latin America focus
        * Reporters Without Borders
        * Witness
        * Loud Against Nazis
        * Global Voices

        * Ushahidi
        * Save the Children, Middle East and Eurasia focus
        * Grupo Cultural Afro Reaggae
        * Ashesi University College, Ghana
        * Pratham
        * Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience
        * Shin Shin Educational Foundation
        * Tzu Chi Foundation"

Link to Original Source

AT&T Cellular Network Fails in San Francisco a

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 5 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "Reports are coming in that the AT&T cellular network in San Francisco has failed. Users are reporting that both data and voice are non-responsive as they scramble for landlines. It is unclear at this time what has caused the outage."

UF Emergency message system hacked

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  about 6 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "According the The Independent Florida Alligator a "Mystery Message" was sent by text message to University of Florida students and employees last night around 8:45PM EST. The message read "The Monkey is out of the Cage." and was apparently sent through the Mobile Campus text system that was setup to send out emergency alerts.

While the motivation behind the message is unclear, some speculate that the message might have referred to President Barack Obama since the message was received during the inaugural ball. Gainesville Police are in the process of investigation the source of the message and the Mobile Campus system has been shutdown during until the source can be identified."

Award Winning vlogger murdered

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "Award winning vlogger Ali Shafeya Al-Moussawi was shot 31 times Late Friday night in Iraq. he was 23 years old.
For those of you who haven't heard of Ali, he was part of the Alive in Baghdad project, which swept the awards at the first vloggies with 6 awards including best vlog. Their videos have been featured on the BBC, CNN, Sky News, Fox, ABC, PBS and many other networks. Most recently they won the international weblog awards.
Details of Ali's death are still a bit unclear at this point, but at 11:30pm Baghdad time Friday, Iraqi National Guard forces raided the street where Ali's house is, one of the neighbors heard a gun firing after 15 minutes from the arrival of the Iraqi National Guard convoy to the street, the force left at 3:00am. His neighbors kept calling Ali's phone and it was switched off all the time, so they called his cousin Amar because he lives one block away from where Ali lives.
Amar arrived in Ali's house and found Ali shoot dead in the living room, Amar called the Iraqi Police and told them the story as he heard it from Ali's neighbors. At 8:30 am Baghdad time the Iraqi Police took Ali's body to the morgue, his two uncles received the body at 10:00am and they headed to Najaf to bury him.
Amar said the neighbor who lives in the front of his house was shot dead too during that raid, the guy's name is Hussein and he is 26 years old. He was in his place along with his brother and nephew. The brother and the nephew disappeared after the convoy left.
The morgue report says that Ali took 31 bullets between the chest and the head and died immediately. He will be missed and remembered. His two brothers were killed in the Firdos Square bombing in 2005. He is survived by his mother and sister. Alive in Baghdad is collecting donations for his family to help pay for the funeral."

Link to Original Source

Google News Doesn't Censor

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "I went to read google news today and was greeted by a penis. Yes, a penis. Apparently google doesn't believe in censorship (except in China). The story is on STDs. I can understand that it relates to genitals. I don't need a visual to remind me. I understand that censorship is bad, but couldn't they at least use a default filter like they do on their websearches? After all — think of the children!
A screen capture of the offending image in context can be seen below.

Note: the following link may not be work safe!
screen capture."

Google Click2Call Gone!

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "Using Google Local today I had a disappointing discovery: Click2Call was gone! For those of you who don't use google local, click2call allowed you to enter your phone number and have google call you and connect you to a business for free. It is great for those of us living without unlimited long distance. I use it quite a bit to check on internet orders from smaller businesses, and even locally instead of dialing the number manually.

Hopefully this is temporary and has not been completely scrapped by google. Perhaps there is a connection between this and their acquisition of GrandCentral?"

Link to Original Source

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "In February I did a network installation for a bookstore that is part of a very large chain. The work was subcontracted out to me by contingent.net under the terms net 60. This was mutually agreed upon and I have dealt with these terms before without problem. Unfortunately contingent is the exception, and after sending multiple invoices and making several calls which have gone unreturned I am out of patience. My next step is to go to court, but I would prefer to avoid this if possible. Slashdotters — have you ever had an out of state client that wouldn't pay? What did you do?"

datapharmer datapharmer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

datapharmer (1099455) writes "Apparently Apple's press release and specs are a little misleading. In a recent conversation with an "Apple Expert" I was informed that only the Matte version of the 15" Macbook Pro is LED the Glossy finish is still CCFL! This will likely upset many of those who rushed out to buy a new Macbook Pro hoping to get better battery-life from the new LED screen. This may also explain the pricing glitches that were occurring after the announcement that showed savings of $150 (or $135 for the education store) when a glossy screen was selected. The glitch only occurred when selecting options and the confirmation screen reflected the standard pricing.

According to Apple's Website:

"The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is better for the environment, thanks to its new mercury-free display. Backlit by light emitting diodes (LEDs), the display weighs less and is more power efficient than the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) which most notebooks employ, and provides full brightness immediately after the system is turned on."

This is very different from what I was told by an "Apple Expert" (excerpt from conversation):

Apple Expert: Are you considering the MacBook Pro?

Me: yes

Me: The 15"

Apple Expert: I recommend the new LED display 15" MacBook Pro.

Apple Expert: It is matte finish, however, the advantages are significant.

Apple Expert: The new 15-inch MacBook Pro models feature a brand-new, power-efficient LED-backlit display and are the first of Apple's notebooks to transition to LED backlighting as part of the company's effort to eliminate the use of mercury in its products.

Me: so the glossy 15" isn't LED?

Apple Expert: Also...

Apple Expert: It's lighter, brighter, draws less power, and is instantly full brightness when Me power up.

Me: so the LED is only matte finish?

Apple Expert: I am really sorry for keeping Me waiting, I'll be just another moment.

Me: no problem

Apple Expert: The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is better for the environment, thanks to its new mercury-free display. Backlit by light emitting diodes (LEDs), the display weighs less and is more power efficient than the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) which most notebooks employ, and provides full brightness immediately after the system is turned on.

Apple Expert: Yes, the LED backlit is in matte only."


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