grahamsaa (1287732) writes "Like many others in IT, I sometimes have to do server maintenance at unfortunate times. 6AM is the norm for us, but in some cases we're expected to do it as early as 2AM, which isn't exactly optimal. I understand that critical services can't be taken down during business hours, and most of our products are used 24 hours a day, but for some things it seems like it would be possible to automate maintenance (and downtime).
I have a maintenance window at about 5AM tomorrow. It's fairly simple — upgrade CentOS, remove a package, install a package, reboot. Downtime shouldn't be more than 5 minutes. While I don't think it would be wise to automate this window, I think with sufficient testing we might be able to automate future maintenance windows so I or someone else can sleep in. Aside from the benefit of getting a bit more sleep, automating this kind of thing means that it can be written, reviewed and tested well in advance. Of course, if something goes horribly wrong having a live body keeping watch is probably helpful. That said, we do have people on call 24/7 and they could probably respond capably in an emergency. Have any of you tried to do something like this? What's your experience been like?" top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "My primary e-mail account is with gmail, and has been for years. I catch up with remote friends and family by using Google chat (within gmail). I have an Android phone and tablet, and am generally happy with them. Unfortunately, due to Google's cooperation with the NSA and other agencies, I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with my dependency on their services.
I do have a riseup.net e-mail account, but their webmail interface (squirrelmail) isn't nearly as polished as gmail's is (I can't fault them for this — Riseup is small and funded entirely on donations — but giving up some of gmail's features will be difficult). I'm not opposed to setting up my own mail server and I'm experienced enough with Linux to do this, but that presents the some of the same problems. In addition to that, it will take time to update my contacts with new address information, and surely some people will slip through the cracks, probably resulting in complete loss of communication.
Getting away from Google on mobile platforms is even more difficult. Google Now already knows where I live and work, what sports teams I follow, etc. Occasionally I rely on GPS to get around, which works very well, but it also leaks my location data to Google Maps. I need to use a smartphone for work (and my employer pays for my phone), but there don't seem to be any good alternatives to Android. iOS is locked down, and no better from a privacy perspective, and Windows Mobile (or whatever they're calling it these days) is no better.
I'm not interested in switching away from insecure / monitored services because I'm engaged in anything illegal, or because I have anything "to hide" per se. . . I just think that Google already knows too much about me. Switching to a search engine like Duckduckgo is easy enough, but getting away from other services looks like it's going to be very cumbersome. I ditched Facebook years ago and haven't looked back, but I expect this transition to be far more difficult.
Has anyone done this successfully? What services / applications work well? What do you recommend?" top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "I work at medium sized company that offers a number of products that rely fairly heavily on backend databases, some of which are hundreds of gigabytes and deal with hundreds or thousands of queries per second. Currently, we're using a mix of Postgres, Oracle, and MySQL, though we're working hard to move everything to Postgres. The products that are still on MySQL and Oracle were acquisitions, so we didn't get to choose the RDBMS at the time these products were designed.
So far, we've been very happy with Postgres, but I know next to nothing about Oracle. It's expensive and has a long history of use in large enterprises, but I'm curious about what it offers that Postgres might not — I'm not saying this because I think that sticking with Oracle would be a good idea (because in our case, it probably isn't), but I'm curious as to how some companies justify the cost — especially considering that EnterpriseDB makes transitioning from Oracle to Postgres feasible (though not painless) in most cases. For those that use Oracle — is it worth the money? What's keeping you from switching?" top
How can I keep the US government off of my domains?
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "SOPA and PIPA are dead, or at least in hibernation now, but I'm very troubled by what happened to JotForm recently.
I'm a contract sysadmin, and I manage and develop for a number of small companies and domains. While it's unlikely that any of them will be taken down (I don't host any content that is illegal), it is incredibly troubling that registrars like GoDaddy seem willing to take down entire domains without a court order.
What can I do to keep the US government, or any government, corporation, or third party from taking my domains offline? Are some registrars better than others?" top
Former DHS official: no "property interest" in data
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "Stewart A. Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security is quoted in the New York Times today as saying “You can’t really have a property interest in data,” he argued. “It’s going to get cheaper to reproduce it. It’s going to get reproduced and stored. It’s going to get copied.”
Of course, he was talking about your personal data — in his opinion, personal data can be stored, aggregated, copied and used to track your activities online. But this raises an interesting point — if one can't have a property interest in data, why are people getting sued, fined and arrested for copyright infringement? It seems that you can't have it both ways. If data is going to get copied, and if there's no enforceable property interest, what's the problem with online piracy?" Link to Original Source top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "Today an attempt to deceive likely-democratic voters in Maryland resulted in a conviction of the man who served as campaign manager for the effort of Maryland's former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s to regain the governorship.
A Baltimore jury found Paul Schurick guilty of election fraud on state charges related to 2010 voter-suppression robocalls meant to keep some African American voters, predominantly Democrats, away from the polls on election day.
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "I recently updated my resume and checked the web site of one of my previous employers to see how it might look to, well, anyone who looks at my resume. I was horrified to find that while the company is still (sort of) in business, their web site is horribly out of date. It lists a phone number that doesn't work anymore. Signing up for automated e-mail from them results in an auto-reply from an employee who long since quit (saying that he no longer works there). Not too recently, I did good work for this company as a contractor, but now their website lives on, undead, and if any prospective employer looks at my resume and decides to check this company out, it doesn't give a very good impression. So what have other people in this position done to mitigate the damage of a (fairly recent) work history with a zombie company?" top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, sent an e-mail to subscribers this morning apologizing for the way they handled recent pricing changes. It also announced that Netflix will be split in two. A new service called Qwikster will handle all DVD mailings for Netflix. Netflix will now only provide streaming content. According to Hastings, "Streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with different cost structures . . . "
Is this a good move for Netflix, or a sign of tough times ahead?" top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "NPR's Weekend Edition aired a story today on how rooting the Nook Color can turn it into a full fledged and relatively inexpensive Android tablet. The story claims that the process takes about half an hour, and only requires the purchase of a Nook and a microSD card, and points listeners to a YouTube tutorial on how to root the device. Could this signal a change in how mainstream users see devices like this? Could rooting Android devices like the Nook ever become mainstream?" Link to Original Source top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "The New York Times just announced that they are switching to a digital subscription model, which will require readers to pay a fee ($15-35 per month, depending on whether they want to view news on computer, smartphone or tablet devices) if they wish to read more than 20 articles a month on the site. Is this model sustainable? Is it time to start looking for another source for online news?" Link to Original Source top
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "After renewing my subscription to Google Earth Pro today I was surprised to find that my receipt went to my spam box. This wouldn't normally be unusual, except that Google is my e-mail provider, and the message went to my Google Apps account. Google tagged its own message to me as spam!
They also affixed this warning to the message: "Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be. Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information."
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "I work for a small company (about 30 employees) and have found our current anti-virus solution (AVG) to be fairly unworkable. I disabled daily scanning because it slows people down in general, the scans take a long time, and it seems fairly redundant (particularly as resident shield seems to be fairly good). Once every few weeks I do a full scan, and I rarely find anything more threatening than tracking cookies.
Still, these scans take a long time (often over an hour) and slow people down. Most employee machines are laptops, and most people take their computers home at night, so there's no good way to set an automatic scan late at night (as the machines will likely be off by that point). Does anyone have an idea at how to scan for viruses more efficiently?" top
Temporary passwords for FreeRADIUS authentication?
I've been poking around with FreeRADIUS for a few months now, with limited success. It seems that most of the documentation available is hopelessly out of date (referring to version 1.7 or earlier), and while it's clear that MySQL can work as a backend authentication database, I haven't seen any implementations which allow the use of temporary credentials.
Basically what I'm looking to do is to set up a hotspot system (and yes, I've already tried Chilispot . . . it doesn't meet my needs) that allows users to connect to my WLAN for a limited period of time using a randomly generated password. This password could be printed on a cafe receipt or given out some other way. Also, if possible, I'd like to use an up to date version of FreeRADIUS if possible (not 1.x). Has anyone done this? Do you know of any good resources for documentation? Thanks!"