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Comments

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One-Time Pad From Caltech Offers Uncrackable Cryptography

eagl another random source (192 comments)

I always thought a high quality recording from a windy outdoors location with no man-made sound sources would make a fine source of random values.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: CS Degree While Working Full Time?

eagl courses not degrees (433 comments)

If you want to rise in your current company, you might consider finding out what skills you need to rise to the next level on the corporate ladder and then target those skills with individual courses. For example, my Mom was a "senior programming analyst" for about 20 years. She was told that she needed personnel and project management skills to rise to the next level of project or group leader. She decided she was having fun where she was, so her continuing education focused on a couple of courses that let her broaden her personal approach to her tasks. Her decision worked in the sense that since she was at the top of the pay scale for her job, she got the max annual bonus for many years in a row, and the company did not fire her through 3 complete corporate mergers. She did have a bachelors degree in math, but her focus was programming and the courses she took were programming courses.

UCSD has extension courses that may be available for open enrollment. That's where she went. She was a Berkeley alum but I'm not sure that was a pre-req for admission to the extension courses.

For you personally I suggest courses in software engineering, rather than "pure" computer science which will touch on a wide variety of topics that may not apply. Or pick/choose courses from the CS degree program at the university of your choice, on the theory that you can learn stuff that applies to you now and can later on be applied to a degree program. But if you're already a programmer, your next step up may be software engineering and project management.

about 2 years ago
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Do Slashdotters Encrypt Their Email?

eagl Yes and no (601 comments)

I encrypt work email whenever it includes private or sensitive information. But that is only because my company has a global email address book and every single user has published encryption certificates. My company has also mandated that every email gets digitally signed, whether it is encrypted or not.

Which brings me to my no answer, my personal email. I would encrypt all personal email if I could, but the problem is that it is unlikely I could get all of my email recipients (or even most of them) to bother to deal with keys and making sure their email client could decrypt as required. Not only that, I use webmail a lot and it's not easy to get everyone onboard the same scheme that would allow encrypted email via webmail.

If everyone did it, then heck yes I'd encrypt all of my personal email too. If it was as easy as microsoft putting a big button "enable encryption", along with another button "send public key to email correspondent", then everyone would be using encrypted email. But they won't, so I'm pretty much out of luck.

more than 2 years ago
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Do Slashdotters encrypt their email?

eagl Yes and no (3 comments)

I encrypt work email whenever it includes private or sensitive information. But that is only because my company has a global email address book and every single user has published encryption certificates.

Which brings me to my no answer, my personal email. I would encrypt all personal email if I could, but the problem is that it is unlikely I could get all of my email recipients (or even most of them) to bother to deal with keys and making sure their email client could decrypt as required. Not only that, I use webmail a lot and it's not easy to get everyone onboard the same scheme that would allow encrypted email via webmail.

If everyone did it, then heck yes I'd encrypt all of my personal email too. If it was as easy as microsoft putting a big button "enable encryption", along with another button "send public key to email correspondent", then everyone would be using encrypted email. But they won't, so I'm pretty much out of luck.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Everyone Hates the IT Department

eagl Re:my reason (960 comments)

Let me guess... The same organization that discovered a keylogger on armed UAV control systems and couldn't get rid of it for months?

more than 2 years ago
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"Wi-Fi Refugees" Shelter in West Virginia Mountains

eagl In other news... (627 comments)

In other tech news, crazy (technophobes,technophiles) found a way to (avoid,misuse) technology found in (your favorite tech here), conducting activities that resulted in (isolating them,harming people) in a surprisingly (ignorant,creepy) fashion.

The world responded with (shock,anger,compassion) for (1,2,5,30) minutes and then returned to their (pathetic lives,regularly scheduled programming).

more than 3 years ago
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Graphene Super Paper Is 10x Stronger Than Steel

eagl hazmat? (244 comments)

Sounds like it has great physical properties, but what about potential hazards? What happens when it burns or is crushed/shredded? Does it burn violently or excessively hot (or cold)? Is the smoke toxic? In mutilated form, does it release toxic or otherwise hazardous particles? Can you handle it with bare hands, and can you handle a torn edge with bare hands? Can it be disposed of normally? What about resistance to solvents and/or petroleum?

If the stuff is hazardous, then it's going to have some severe limits in practical use. The risk of hazardous exposure is going to have to be weighed against the benefits for every application, and hopefully we don't see irresponsible use of a new technology just because it's new. Some of the abuses we see of carbon fiber and li-po batteries in applications that routinely expect to get damaged are examples we shouldn't follow, if this stuff is dangerous when damaged or burned.

more than 3 years ago
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Cable Channels Panic Over iPad Streaming App

eagl they're right! (346 comments)

Good god, if a tv show intended for viewing on a tv inside a home was allowed to be shown on one of those newfangled gadgets that are electronical and have viewing screens that show magical MOVING IMAGES while inside a home, who KNOWS what might happen NEXT! We gotta stop this NOW, before someone thinks of a way to somehow magically store those shows to see them later inside that same house, or, god forbid, see the shows on TWO TVs in the same house at the same time!!!!!111eleventyone

everyone panic and someone for the love of god CALL THE LAWYERS!

more than 3 years ago
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Army Psy Ops Units Targeted American Senators

eagl And this is different from...? (391 comments)

How is this any different from a commander including a room full of water-damaged equipment during a congressional visit, to highlight the need for funding roof repairs in a critical facility that is too old to get maintenance/upkeep funding through normal procedures?

Really, the military can't fund or equip itself so whenever the people who DO fund and equip the military come by for a visit, you can bet your ass that the military commander will attempt to tell his story to the visitors. This is the way it is in an all-volunteer military that gets its orders from a chain of command that has no ability to actually provide money to accomplish those orders. The military takes its lawful orders, and does what it can to get funding to carry them out.

If anyone has a problem with this, they need to take it up with the SecDef, Commander in Chief, and chairmen of the military oversight committees in congress. Those people need to get their crap straight before anyone goes pointing fingers at the military folks who are stuck with orders to accomplish unfunded missions without enough personnel.

more than 3 years ago
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Would the Developing World Use E-Readers More Than Laptops?

eagl keeping them charged with solar (155 comments)

A kindle or equivalent book reader would also be a lot easier to keep charged with a small solar panel than most other tiny computers or tablets. Charge both a small light and the kindle with solar during the day, read/study a bit after sunset until the light batteries start to fade. I've read about lots of remote villages becoming much more productive due to having a few hours of light before sunrise and after sunset because of relatively cheap solar charged lights, and a kindle (or a ruggedized stripped down equivalent) wouldn't take much power to keep charged. Keep the whispernet and wifi options though. That could be the only way to get new content since remote locations may not have any network other than cellphones.

more than 3 years ago
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Confidential Data Not Safe On Solid State Disks

eagl Re:Pure crap (376 comments)

If you use the proper erase methods (solid state or other) then it doesn't matter. If you need to destroy the data simply put it on a cookie sheet and put it in the over on broil for 30 minutes.

Wifey hates the smell of burning plastic in the oven. Don't ask me how I know this.

more than 3 years ago
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Confidential Data Not Safe On Solid State Disks

eagl Secure erase option (376 comments)

A couple whacks with a hammer still works great. Remove the circuit board from the case, give each chip a little love tap with a ball peen hammer. Problem solved without waiting hours for the thing to "secure erase".

Concerned about losing resale value? Security costs money, period. If you want real security, sometimes you have to take some financial responsibility and accept the loss of resale value in exchange for real security. Price of doing business.

more than 3 years ago
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Has the Industrialized World Reached Peak Travel?

eagl Re:Awaiting next revolution (314 comments)

By excessive govt regulation I am talking about the mounds of paperwork required by a variety of different government agencies, none of whom coordinate with each other, in order to get approval to do anything.

Don't take this as being anti-environment, but the example of environmental impact assessments alone is enough to kill most projects that take up only a single location, let alone a rail or road project that will cut through maybe hundreds of different environmental regions. Likewise, other govt agencies will require certification of this or that before the project can move forward. As another example, if the project goes near any sort of school, park, or any area where children may be present, the project will probably need a mountain of documentation proving that the children will not be affected as well as having every employee who may come across children go through a thorough security background check.

By themselves many of these requirements seem like a good idea, but taken together they are a massive barrier to getting anything done at all, due to the federal government trying to babysit and nitpick everything at all times. What happened to the responsibilities of state and local governments to do this stuff? Why is the federal govt putting up so many barriers to any sort of industry or improvements? Under the current regulatory environment, our federal highway system would never have been built, period. It would have taken too long and cost too much just to file the paperwork for approval, and by then the economic situation would have changed enough to make the project impossible to continue.

We're doing it to ourselves. We demand so many restrictions on activities that nothing can ever get done. This restricts YOUR ability to travel just as it restricts the economy as a whole. For more examples, research the phenomena of the "shovel ready" projects and the recent US economic stimulus packages. There were a TON of projects that needed funding, but the paperwork would have taken years to accomplish. So the stimulus money only went to projects that could be started immediately, and some of those projects were frankly pretty stupid compared to the projects that couldn't be funded due to govt red tape. Look it up, since it isn't a problem related to any particular political party even though both major parties try to blame it on the other one. It's a problem with our entire fed govt, especially the non-elected policymakers (cue segue to bitching about the non-elected FCC board that decided to try to regulate the internet against the specific direction of congress and the courts).

more than 3 years ago
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Has the Industrialized World Reached Peak Travel?

eagl Awaiting next revolution (314 comments)

Peak travel is an interesting concept but it applies only to a given technology level. My own situation is an example. I live in Texas and have family on both the East and West coast of the US. I would also like to vacation in Florida, Maine, and Northern California. But with 2 small children and the TSA increasingly repressive, I simply don't travel much beyond a one-day driving distance.

That would change instantly if fast, harassment-free transportation were available. That used to be the airlines, and it could be fast rail if it weren't for the fact that excessive govt regulation and problems getting right-of-way means that it will never happen. But we're one transportation revolution away from me making coast to coast travel plans fairly often, because that is where I would want to go if there were reasonable transportation options.

I can't be the only one who doesn't go anywhere beyond a 1-day drive anymore, either. If we're at a transportation peak, it is because of artificial suppression of travel due to airport harassment and because of other concerns that could be addressed by the availability of fast and easy transportation. Note that I don't mention cost - I'd be willing to pay quite a bit for quick and hassle free transportation around the country, but it simply can't be done right now.

As a nation, we're quickly heading towards loserville when we can't even manage to use available technology to let people travel freely without harassment. Car, train, and aircraft technology are all available to allow for reasonably rapid transportation, but our car speed limits are where they were 30 years ago, there is still very limited train service in most central and western states, and the govt is doing its best to harass people out of flying commercial air. We suck, and we're doing it to ourselves.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Censorship Expands

eagl Re:It's not censorship (764 comments)

I oppose govt censorship because it is bad and I am happy that the constitution forbids it. Abuse of authority bothers me. But I have absolutely nothing against private citizens or store owners picking and choosing what they view or sell.

Interestingly enough, that also forms the basis of my opposition to various forms of FCC censorship. If people don't want to see nekkid people on TV, turn off the TV or use the ratings filter included on pretty much all tuners nowadays. Don't like listening to Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken? Change the channel. Don't need any govt intervention there, just turn the damn thing off or change the channel. But the US is populated by a bunch of people who want to decide what is good for everyone else and then use the govt's power to force everyone to comply with their own ideas. That's not good and it's why the govt isn't supposed to censor things except in fairly clearly defined circumstances.

The concept of censorship includes the idea that the suppression of a particular bit of information is forceable - ie. there is no way around the suppression and the suppression is enforced by a person or group with the power to effectively enforce the restriction. Amazon simply cannot censor anything that is otherwise legal because there are tons of legitimate and widely available alternatives. The first amendment guarantees the right of free speech but it does NOT guarantee an audience or forum. In London they have a park where people can stand on a box and say whatever they like, but in the US there are no guarantees of a forum or audience. Amazon is simply removing some books from the forum they provide in accordance with usage agreements they can change at their whim. Still don't like it? Feel free to register www.gayincestporn.com (or whatever suitably describes the removed material) and publish yourself.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Censorship Expands

eagl It's not censorship (764 comments)

It isn't censorship, it is a store owner deciding what things he/she wants to sell in their store. If I owned a store and had a magazine and book rack, you bet I'd be picky about what I put on the shelves. No censoring involved, just applying my standards of taste to what I, as a store owner, decide to display and sell in my store.

If Amazon wants to be choosy about what they sell, good for them. They shouldn't be forced to sell stuff that they're not comfortable with.

Now if it was the GOVT pulling it from the store, then yea it would be censoring. But it isn't. There is no constitutional right for a smut author to have their crappy book with a crappy title sold by any particular company... It is a marketplace and the same rules apply to books as do to any other item the store owner decides doesn't fit the store standards or image.

WTG Amazon for doing this.

more than 3 years ago
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US Monitoring Database Reaches Limit, Quits Tracking Felons and Parolees

eagl Cheaper solution to "2 billion" problem (270 comments)

For repeat or first-time violent sex offenders, castration seems like a much better solution overall. Either physical or chemical, the positive results for both the offender and society are well proven alternatives to lifelong incarceration, tracking, monitoring, etc. In addition to helping protect society, it would also be less expensive, a nice additional bonus for our society.

2 Billion. That is a lot. It simply boggles the mind that many governments today think it is OK to rigidly restrict mostly harmless activities of law abiding citizens, yet are so resistant to taking effective steps to prevent or moderate one of the worst sorts of human crimes. In the US, politicians find it convenient to ignore constitutional issues when it comes to increasing police powers and controlling basic citizen activities, but they shirk their responsibilities and make all sorts of claims why they can't do something to actually protect society from our worst criminals.

about 4 years ago
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Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI?

eagl Harsh reality and possible "solution" (178 comments)

OP - you need to understand that except for a very few people who fully adapt to nonstandard input devices, most of the other input devices you might try will do nothing but slow down your work rate. Any benefits you might find from using those devices are just as likely due to the reduced work rate as they are from the design of the devices themselves.

You may want to consider a lifestyle and work habit change. Keep using "comfy" standard input devices while you are on the road, with the obvious and relatively easy steps of using a full size keyboard and mouse (or trackball or whatever irritates your injuries the least). But then take the additional step of incorporating a significantly increased number of work breaks into your routine. And go to the gym (or pool, since some swimming can build muscles and endurance with little or no shock and as much or as little resistance as you want) to build up overall physical conditioning, which can help with the causes of the injury as well as help the body heal faster.

In short, use whatever input devices feel ok, don't go all weird with the input devices, since all you're going to do is slow down your work efficiency anyhow, slow yourself down with more (and more effective) work breaks, and add more physical conditioning to your daily routine.

You'll be surprised at how much less your wrists/forearms hurt if you build up the back, shoulder, and chest muscles enough that your wrists aren't taking all of the strain when you type and use the mouse.

about 4 years ago
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Iris Scanning Set To Secure City In Mexico

eagl "Secured"? I think not (265 comments)

Secured? Hardly. Monitored might be a good description, but "secured" can't be done with a camera no matter how smart the software is. Security is a human thing and accurate, reliable monitoring is just one piece of an overall security process.

about 4 years ago

Submissions

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DIRECTV freaks out and blocks everything

eagl eagl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

eagl (86459) writes "It seems as if DIRECTV has jumped on the DRM bandwagon in a big way. Wil Wheaton finds himself with 57 channels (plus or minus a few hundred) and nothing on, quite literally. Is the inevitable result of forcing restrictive standards that do not benefit consumers?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Fixed windows install that had been killed by update

eagl eagl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

It turns out that a system migration to a new hard drive on a different drive controller resulted in the windows kernel booting from one location, but the boot file listed it on the old drive. So the update would install and link the kernel back to the old drive instead of where it should have been, and boom instantly unlinked boot sequence. This happened with any update that changed the kernel.

I attempted to do a complete reinstall from the original windows home cd, but it was so old it didn't have the required SATA support even with the required sata and raid drivers added in during installation. So I used a spare winXP pro license I has acquired for emergencies like this, and the re-install worked like a champ. Computer works fine, and I got almost everything I need/want/use from my backups and archives so it's actually a bit better now than it was.

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Windows update killed my computer

eagl eagl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

The latest set of windows updates killed my computer. After the mandatory reboot, the computer locked up hard. It locks before the windows boot splash screen even shows, even when I boot using the various "F8" options. I used a ubuntu live cd to make sure it wasn't a hardware problem, and after mounting the windows partition I saw that trying the windows "logged" boot option wasn't even getting far enough to create the log file.

According to the windowsupdate.log file, the following updates were successfully installed:
KB929338
KB929399
KB890830
Root Certificates

The first one supposedly fixes a race condition and it replaces the nt kernel file, so it's possible it's not compatible with my hardware. Here is what I am running, and it was very stable until this update:

winXP home (fully patched and updated)
Athlon 64 X2 4400
2 gig ram
NForce3 based motherboard
AGP Nvidia 6800GT
Audigy 2 ZS soundcard
Onboard nvidia network interface

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