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Sony's Plan To Tighten Security and Fight Hacktivism

gzipped_tar Wrong way of thinking (247 comments)

As part of the society, you should think about how not to become a target of hacking activism. Especially when it's impossible to crush every one of the "hackers".

Better yet, convert them into your loyal customers, and even better, direct their anger to your competitors.

more than 2 years ago
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Data Breach Flaw Found In Gnome-terminal, Xfce Terminal and Terminator

gzipped_tar Re:How is this is this different to shell history? (184 comments)

Shell history doesn't contains only input, not output.
Someone may have splashed some GPG private keys to the terminal, and the output ends up in the filesystem blocks.

more than 2 years ago
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Data Breach Flaw Found In Gnome-terminal, Xfce Terminal and Terminator

gzipped_tar Re:tmpfs (184 comments)

On a memory-limited system, one may not want /tmp kept as tmpfs in the RAM.

more than 2 years ago
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Data Breach Flaw Found In Gnome-terminal, Xfce Terminal and Terminator

gzipped_tar Re:Umm (184 comments)

The problem is your terminal history may include data from other hosts, decrypted. Therefore it's not just "your" worries.

more than 2 years ago
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Speech-Jamming Gun Silences From 30 Meters

gzipped_tar Speech jamming vs POV gun (370 comments)

Whenever I heard of Japanese speech-jamming machines I go grab my point-of-view gun.

more than 2 years ago
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Stealthy Pen Test Unit Plugs Directly Into 110 VAC Socket (Video)

gzipped_tar Good name (74 comments)

Good luck explaining to the corporate suites what a "pwn" is.

more than 2 years ago
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Azure Failure Was a Leap Year Glitch

gzipped_tar What a shame (247 comments)

We still see this kind of XXXX coming up every leap year.

more than 2 years ago
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Ann Arbor Schools Want $45M For Tech, Partly For Computers To Run Google Docs

gzipped_tar eMacs not good enough? (248 comments)

eMacs not good enough? But I never know vi costs so much!

more than 2 years ago
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Australian Govt Re-Kindles Office File Format War

gzipped_tar Re:TFA: Nobody fired for buying IBM (119 comments)

I think LyX is mostly focused on the WYSIWIG aspect. Your problems (automatic completion of bibtex key, automatically managed "make" process, and debugging in context) are better solved in something that work like an IDE. Perhaps you can look for one that suites your needs.

more than 2 years ago
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Australian Govt Re-Kindles Office File Format War

gzipped_tar Re:TFA: Nobody fired for buying IBM (119 comments)

Oh come on, get an IDE*. Typo in BibTeX key? It will jump to the offending line and highlight the error. Multiple passes? It manages the compilation process for you.

* Perhaps should be called IAE -- intergrated authoring environment. Personally I use vim-latex but please don't burn me for not using Emacs.

more than 2 years ago
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Australian Govt Re-Kindles Office File Format War

gzipped_tar Re:TFA: Nobody fired for buying IBM (119 comments)

For many purposes, simple text file is indeed superior due to, well you guess, textuality. Put it this way: you can't grep an ODF file, but you can grep in a text file with insane efficiency (most of the time).

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung

gzipped_tar Re:Searching by voice? (490 comments)

Maybe they got a patent on searching *by* the keys instead of searching for the keys. People these days are crazy.

more than 2 years ago
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New Cable Designed To Deter Copper Thieves

gzipped_tar Re:This won't work (668 comments)

They must be very good at NetHack.

more than 2 years ago
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Kodak Failing, But Camera Phones Not To Blame

gzipped_tar The article is weak (309 comments)

It first tried to rebuke the claims of Kodak being not able to innovate, etc, and then discussed "how people today use photos" in the examples of Flickr, Facebook, and such. It concluded with the weak argument of essentially one sentence, that "[It] is hard to see a role for Kodak in all of this." The problem with this reasoning is that exactly the same thing can be said about many of Kodak's competitors. I'm not aware whether Nikon or Canon is doing significantly better in this regard, which is to ease the "sharing and distribution" of photos through the Internet and social networking.

more than 2 years ago
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US 'Space Warplane' Spying On Chinese Spacelab

gzipped_tar Re:Isnt it more likely (158 comments)

Certainly it does. It is a decent way to visualize the orbital perturbation stuff.

more than 2 years ago
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Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh

gzipped_tar Re:I've already got that... (441 comments)

Apart from others, one way to harden the GP's backup is to sign a hash of it using his[1] own GPG key. Not that it counters all attacks but it makes the recovery process safer. If a malware somehow injects itself into the backup image after the image has been generated, the hash changes, but the signed hash cannot be easily spoofed.

[1] Since he's "Livius" not "Livia" I'd think he is a "he" not a "she" :-)

more than 2 years ago
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Google Punishing Chrome Results For 60 Days

gzipped_tar Re:Bing demoting Firefox? (173 comments)

oops strike that. My visual_grep function needs some bug-hunting again. XD

more than 2 years ago
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Google Punishing Chrome Results For 60 Days

gzipped_tar Re:Bing demoting Firefox? (173 comments)

3) Dogpile still exists. I don't think I've used it in the past decade until now.

And is the only one with Netscape in the top ten results ;-)

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Checking the positional invariance of Planck's Consant using GPS

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Whether the fundamental constants really stay the same is always a question worth asking. In particular, the constancy of Planck's Constant is something that cannot be simply ignored owing to its universal importance in linking the quantum and classical pictures of our world. Using publicly available GPS data and terrestrial clocks, researchers form the California State University were able to verify that the value of h indeed stays the same across different positions in the vicinity of our Earth. Their result says the local position invariance of h is satisfied within a limit of 0.007. The paper is published in the journal Physical Review Letters (paywalled), and a free-to-read preprint is available on arXiv. tl;dr version for slashdotters: by the well-known formula E = h * f, a hypothetical variation on h induces changes in f, the transition frequency that keeps the time in atomic clocks, both on earth and aboard the satellites. When taking account of other time variations such as general relativistic time dilation, and assuming the invariance of E (atomic transition energy) on physical grounds, we can figure out an upper bound on the variation of h reflected in the measured variation in f."
Link to Original Source
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Chinese developer web forum stores and leaks 6 mil

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "The "Chinese Software Developer Network" (CSDN), operated by Bailian Midami Digital Technology Co., Ltd., is one of the largest networks of software developers in China. A text file with 6 million CSDN user credentials including user names, password, emails, all in clear text, got leaked to the Internet.

The CSDN has issued a letter of apology to its users. In the letter, it is explained that passwords created before April 2009 had been stored in plain text, while later passwords were encrypted. Users created between September 2010 and January 2011 may still suffer from email address leaks.

A summary of the most frequent passwords without the corresponding usernames is available at GitHub. Somewhat surprisingly, the cryptic sounding password "dearbook" ranks 4th with 46053 accounts using it."

Link to Original Source
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US defunds UNESCO after Palestine vote, what's nex

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "The US withdrew funding after UNESCO's Palestine membership vote yesterday. The decision was triggered by a 1994 US law that requires financial ties to be cut with any UN agency that accords the Palestinians full membership. As Palestine actively pursues entrance to other UN agencies, the defunding list could grow. Interestingly, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) could also be among Palestine's next target, and US is the big supported of WIPO. A much more disturbing scenario is Palestine joining the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), cutting American funding to the organization that monitors nuclear proliferation in states like Iran."
Link to Original Source
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XML Encryption Broken, Need to Fix W3C Standard

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Researchers from Ruhr University Bochum demonstrated the insecurity of XML encryption standard at ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Chicago this week. "Everything is insecure", is the uncomfortable message from Bochum.

As pointed out by the Ars Technica article, XML Encryption is used widely as part of server-to-server Web services connections to transmit secure information mixed with non-sensitive data, based on cipher-block chaining. But it is apparently too weak, as demonstrated by Juraj Somorovsky and Tibor Jager. They were able to decrypt data by sending modified ciphertexts to the serve by gathering information from the received error messages. The attack was tested against a popular open source implementation of XML Encrytion, and against the implementations of companies that responded to the responsible disclosure — in all cases the result was the same: the attack worked.

Fixing the vulnerability will require a revision of the W3C XML encryption standard, Somorovsky said. The researchers informed all possibly affected companies through the mailing list of W3C, following a clear responsible disclosure process."

Link to Original Source
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London Conference on Cyberspace to be held on Nov

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "British Foreign Secretary William Hague has invited representatives from governments, civil society and business to the London Conference on Cyberspace on Nov. 1-2. The aim of the conference is "[to] launch a focused and inclusive dialogue to help guide the behaviour of all in cyberspace. " In a guest editorial for the German paper Spiegel, Hague says that "The Internet has fostered transparency and allowed individuals to hold their governments to account", citing recent examples of the Arab Spring. However, he identifies three major threats to the future cyberspace: criminals who use the Net to rip off the society, terrorists who use the Net for planning and propaganda, and oppressive governments that try to control the Net, to violate citizens' rights and to launch cyberattacks. "Nobody controls the Internet; and we can't leave its future to chance," says Hague."
Link to Original Source
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German Justice Minister speaks of government spywa

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "In an interview by Severin Weiland of Spiegel Online, German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger talks about the spyware from the German government recently dissected by the Chaos Computer Club. Having met with the CCC, she admits that the affair is "a very real possibility of a significant disaster." Apparently, the spyware scandal has brought new political impetus for her Free Democratic Party, self-labeled as "an energetic guardian of the private sphere", but she is careful in the choice of words not to offend the governing coalition. On the Pirate Party, she says "[they] has certainly enlivened things", referring to the civil right issues."
Link to Original Source
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Teacher Cannot Be Sued For Denying Creationism

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  about 3 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a public high school teacher in Mission Viejo, California may not be sued for making hostile remarks about religion in his classroom. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by a student charging that the teacher’s hostile remarks about creationism and religious faith violated a First Amendment mandate that the government remain neutral in matters of religion. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the lawsuit against an advanced placement history teacher must be thrown out of court because the teacher was entitled to immunity."
Link to Original Source
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Right-Wing Extremists Tricked by Trojan Shirts

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  about 3 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Fans at a recent right-wing extremist rock festival in Germany thought they were getting free T-shirts that reflected their nationalistic worldview. But after the garment's first wash they discovered otherwise. The original image rinsed away to reveal a hidden message from an activist group. It reads: "If your T-shirt can do it, so can you. We'll help to free you from right-wing extremism.""
Link to Original Source
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Spiegel Interviews Tea Party Co-Founder

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  about 3 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Mark Meckler, 49, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots in the United States, talks to SPIEGEL about the US debt ceiling, the radical right's uncompromising fight against the national debt and the "complete economic disaster" he claims President Barack Obama has created."
Link to Original Source
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Spiegel interviews Tea Party co-founder

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  about 3 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Mark Meckler, 49, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots in the United States, talks to SPIEGEL about the US debt ceiling, the radical right's uncompromising fight against the national debt and the "complete economic disaster" he claims President Barack Obama has created."
Link to Original Source
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'Death Strip' Game Sparks Controversy in Germany

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "A new computer game where players assume the roles of border guards and shoot people trying to escape from communist East Germany has unleashed a storm of controversy in Germany. The game's creator says he wanted to teach young people about history, but he has been accused of glorifying violence.

The name of the multi-player FPS game, "1,378 (kilometers)", was inspired by the length of the border between East and West Germany. Players choose between the roles of the border guards or would-be escapees: the escapee only has one goal — to get over the wall, but the border guard has more options, and can shoot or capture the escapee. He can also swap sides and try to clamber over the border defenses himself. By choosing to play the boarder guard and kill the escapee, the player would won an in-game medal from the government of East Germany. But then the guard would time-travel forward to the year 2000, where he would have to stand trial.

Jens Stober, 23, designed the game as a media art student at the University of Design, Media and Arts in Karlsruhe. He said that his intention was to teach young people about German history. "In the game, you ask yourself: 'What would I do?'" explained Stober. "You may come to the conclusion that you would not shoot at your fellow countrymen and women." But others disagree. "Basically you are just picking off people, as if you were shooting rabbits," said Axel Klausmeier, director of the Berlin Wall Foundation. Hubertus Knabe, head of the Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen Memorial to the victims of the Stasi secret police, has even filed criminal charges. He wants the Berlin public prosecutor to investigate whether the game glorifies violence. Rainer Wagner, from former East Germany, said it was like a punch in the face. "It feels like I'm being shot at again, emotionally," said Wagner, who was arrested by border guards during his escape attempt.

Initially, Stober's university and Professor Michael Bielicky, who had supervised Stober's work, defended the student. However, on Thursday a university spokesman said that the game will not be released on Sunday, the anniversary of German reunification, after all. Instead, the release is being postponed until December."

Link to Original Source
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EFF Sues US Govt Over Social Network Tapping

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Has the federal government overreached in tapping social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to investigate possible criminal activity? The non-profit civil liberties' group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) doesn't know, but it has filed suit to find out the scope of the government's investigations.

The lawsuit, filed at the Northern District of California's San Francisco division court, seeks information from a number of federal agencies under the Freedom of Information Act who are listed as defendants in the case. These agencies include EFF the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"An agency normally has 20 working days, about a month, to respond to a request for documents but that rarely happens," said Marcia Hoffman, staff attorney for the EFF, in an interview by InternetNews.com. "Considering these agencies have violated the law by not responding by the deadline, we want to get the courts involved. Once we get the information we'll make it available to the public on our Web site."

"Internet users deserve to know what information is collected, under what circumstances, and who has access to it," said Shane Witnov, a law student also working on the case. "These agencies need to abide by the law and release their records on social networking surveillance.""

Link to Original Source
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Artists Attack RIAA after Thomas-Rasset Verdict

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Last week a judge ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset owes the RIAA a $1.92 million fine for illegally downloading 24 songs. Richard Marx — one of the artists whose music Thomas-Rasset downloaded via P2P network Kazaa — spoke out against the court's verdict, saying he's "ashamed" to be associated with the massive fine.

"As a long-time professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels," Marx said in a statement. "These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets."

He continued, "So now we have a 'judgement' in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I'm ashamed to have my name associated with this issue."

Marx isn't the only artist to take umbrage with the ruling against Thomas-Rasset. Writing on his official Website, Moby said, "What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music? Charging $80,000 per song? Punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business."

In related news, Nate Anderson on ArsTechnica noted that "In the wake of the RIAA win, the organization's legendarily poor public image somehow got even worse". He quoted the words from a music critic Jim DeRogatis: "[the Thomas-Rasset ruling is] infamous as one of the most wrong-headed in the history of the American judicial system--not to mention that it will forever stand as the best evidence of the contempt of the old-school music industry toward the music lovers who once were its customers."

On the other side of the story, an RIAA spokesperson recently commented about their victory: "This group of 12 Minnesotans showed us that, despite the protestations of some pundits who suggest that the digital world should resemble some kind of new wild west, the majority understands and believes that the same laws and rules we follow every day apply online. Not just in theory, but in practice. Another group of 12 people presented with similar questions said the same thing two years ago. That makes a sample size of only 24, but it's certainly enough to learn from.""

Link to Original Source
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Google Android May Run Asus Netbook

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "Tim Culpan writes for Bloomberg:

Asustek Computer Inc., which pioneered the market for sub-$500 laptops, may install Google Inc.'s free Android operating system on its low-cost notebooks, challenging the dominance of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software.

Asustek has allocated engineers to develop an Android-based netbook by as early as the year end, Samson Hu, head of the Taipei-based company's Eee PC business, said in an interview on [Feb 20]. Asustek hasn't decided whether to proceed with a final product because the project is still under development, he said.

On the other hand, Microsoft remains confident on the netbook market. "We remain confident that people will keep on buying Windows, as we've seen strong growth in Windows on these small notebook PCs," Ben Rudolph, senior manager for Windows, said in an e-mail."

Link to Original Source
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SCO Proposes Sale of Assets to Continue Litigation

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "From Tom Harvey of The Salt Lake Tribune:

The embattled SCO Group Inc. is proposing to auction off its core products and use proceeds to continue its controversial lawsuits over the alleged violations of its copyrights in Linux open-source software.

The Lindon company has filed a new reorganization plan with the federal court in Delaware where it sought bankruptcy protection from creditors after an adverse ruling in the Linux litigation.

If approved by a bankruptcy judge, the plan could mean SCO's server software and mobile products lines are owned by other parties while SCO itself remained largely to pursue the lawsuits under the leadership of CEO Darl McBride.

"One goal of this approach is to separate the legal defence of its intellectual property from its core product business," McBride said in a letter to customers, partners and shareholders.

Jeff Hunsaker, president and COO of The SCO Group, said the litigation had been distracting to the company's efforts to market its products.

"We believe there's value in these assets and in order for the business to move forward it's imperative we separate it from our legal claims and we allow our products business to move forward," he said Friday.

"

Link to Original Source
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CrossOver for free on Oct. 28, thanks to Bush

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "On Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008, any one visiting the CodeWeavers' Web site will be given a deal code that will entitle them to one free copy of CodeWeavers' award-winning CrossOver software. Each copy comes complete with support.

In July, CodeWeavers launched the Great American Lame Duck Presidential Challenge to encourage President Bush to make the most of his remaining days in office by accomplishing a major economic or political goal by January 20, 2009. One of the goals is "reducing gas price": lower the average gas price in the Twin Cities below $2.79 per gallon.

On Monday, Oct. 14, gas prices in Minneapolis and St. Paul did just that.

White admits this is not how he foresaw the Challenge unfolding.

"I launched the campaign to inspire President Bush to make the most of his final days in office. Who knew that our Challenge would have this kind of impact on the country?" White said. "On the other hand, who knew that the economy would implode, causing oil demand to drop into the abyss and gas prices to plummet as well. Clearly, investigating Bear Stearns, AIG and those guys is misplaced — CodeWeavers is responsible for this mess. So it's free software for all!"

"I realize that by giving away all my software, I've caused horrific damage to my company's bottom line," White said. "In fact, our vice president of sales wretched Starbucks all over his shirt when he learned the news. But, I figure, the way the economy is going, in a few months everyone might be out on the streets, wearing potato sacks and standing in line for squirrel soup, so why not?""

Link to Original Source
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COBOL Thwarts California Gov't's Salary Cut

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  about 6 years ago

gzipped_tar (1151931) writes "COBOL has now taken center stage in the rumbling controversy over the State of California's budget. California is $15bn in debt and been without an approved budget for more than a month thanks to deadlock between legislators in the state parliament.

State controller John Chiang has said it would take six months to re-configure California's aging COBOL-based payroll system in order to cut the salaries of California's 200,000 state employees, under an order from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to try and rein in the deficit. Chiang has reportedly refused to issue reduced pay checks on the grounds the system cannot be changed quickly enough.

Ironically, the only ones who can make the changes — part time retired COBOL programmers — were among 10,000 employees laid off as part of the cuts."

Link to Original Source
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Sourceforge.net blocked in mainland China

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gzipped_tar writes "SourceForge, the world's largest development and download repository of Open Source code and applications, appears to be blocked in Mainland China.

The current blocking may be related to the recent anti-China protests of Beijing Olympic Games, which will begin on 8 August. Some days before, a very popular free source code editor in SourceForge named Notepad++ start to boycott Beijing 2008. The project's developer said that the action is not against Chinese people, but against Chinese government's repression against Tibetan unrest earlier in this year.

SF.net has once been banned by China in 2002. However, the ban was lifted later in 2003.

Submitter's note: As a SourceForge user in Beijing, I can confirm this first-hand. I also tried traceroute to sourceforge.net, only to find the connection being dropped at a Beijing ISP's gateway router. It appears that the projects' respective homepages are available even if they are hosted by SF, but the summary and download pages are blocked."

Link to Original Source
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Opera Releases Dragonfly

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gzipped_tar writes "Opera released Dragonfly, the "foundations of Opera's upcoming Developer Tools". It can be used by Web developers to debug JavaScript or inspect CSS and the DOM, on the computer or other devices supporting Opera. It has now been integrated into the Opera brower version 9.5 beta 2.

Dragonflies are known to be good bug-hunters, hence the name of this new software.

The new release is still in alpha, and documentations are coming soon. Notably, it is released under the BSD license in contrast to Opera's main product, the browser, which is close-source."

Link to Original Source
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Wikipedia ban lifted in mainland China on April 1

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gzipped_tar writes "According to multiple independent evidence observerd by Chinese netizens from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu as well as other places, the ban on Wikipedia has been lifted for Internet users in Mainland China. Except for the Chinese version, all locales had been able to be accessed before noon (Chinese local time). Still, there are reports saying that pages containing "sensitive" words could not be delivered.

Currently no infomation is known about the reason for this lift. It is speculated this could be at best temporary, as the Chinese authority has done multiple times. However, nothing from the officials could be heard as usual.

Most of Chinese Wikipedians are expressing their joy over the lift. But some consider this to be a (somewhat huge) April Fool's joke. This is not quite likely though, since April Fool's Day is not a Chinese tradition.

At the time I'm writing this, most of the reports are in Chinese so it's difficult to post some useful links here. Wikipedia has not confirmed this un-banning, while discussion has began on a Wikipedia talk page (The former link points to a static page of the discussion at the time of this writing).

By the way, I'm not joking."

Journals

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More evidence of /.'s secret, hypocritical user tracking/ad

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

This is a follow-up of a previous journal entry "Ads Disabled, or Not". In that post I revealed how Slashdot tracked you and gave your reading behavior profile to ad companies even if you had "ad disabled" selected AND NoScript blocking those 3rd-party spying companies.

I never tried to discover the exact mechanism of NoScript-bypassing by reading the /.'s SNAFU javascript code. I guess the reason of NoScript not working is /. uses its own (and its corporate overlord's) javascript, which is whitelisted, to send the tracking information, rather than just inserting the vendor-hosted javascript in the page source like you next-door blogger.

OK, apparently some of the customer-spying mercenaries has pissed off the corporate overlords. coremetrics.com, a user tracking service once used extensively by /., has been replaced by scorecardresearch.com.

Or perhaps it's the other way around, that /. has pissed off coremetrics because too many tech-savvy readers here knows about /.'s hypocritical user tracking and has blocked those attempts successfully, thus preventing coremetrics from reaching the goal of mining enough data from /..

Anyway, who cares. Let n00bs be tracked and spied on by those filthy mercenaries. Real Slashdotters(TM) has already given up the last little trust on Slashdot, if any.

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SLASHDOT ATE MY JOURNAL!

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I just now wrote a journal entry about the new "Admin" link in the user page (http://slashdot.org/~$USERNAME/admin). The link is right next to the "Achievements" link. In the same journal entry I jokingly said the mysterious link could be a "leaked" handle of admin-only functions.

After that, my journal entry appeared in the Firehose even if I didn't check the "Publicize" box. It was voted Green, and then disappeared from Firehose and my own Journal section.

Data loss, Slashcode SNAFU, or some Editor trying out his new nuke-the-user-from-orbit "Admin" tool? You decide.

And I for one welcome our journal-eating overlords.

EDIT: Oh, it's back: http://slashdot.org/journal/241922/User-page-Admin-link

But explanation?

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User page "Admin" link?

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 4 years ago http://slashdot.org/~$UID/admin

Currently points to the user page but the link is there on the user page, right next to "Achievements".

Some leaked, Editor-only, I-can-do-whatever-I-want-to-smite-you handle? ;)

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More on ads

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Following this story: http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218

Let the Q & A begin:

Q: There's no free lunch. You view ads so that the content producers are paid. Are you a Chinese commie zombie hacker Muslim terrorist?

A: We're talking about bandwidth here. I'm a geek and by definition I'm smart enough to block the ads so that I'm able to enjoy faster, less annoying Web experience. However, most people aren't, and they are served ads. Those ads traffic eventually makes everyone else's link slower (and more expensive), including mine, because it eats up the ISP's bandwidth. So I suffer because someone else's not doing something. That's ungood.

Q: Commie terrorist confirmed. You paid for your bandwidth and they paid for theirs. That's it.

A: If I use BitTorrent, I'll be throttled down so the good non-filesharing subscribers can have a reasonable bandwidth. Same thing should happen to them when they're wasting bandwidth on ads and I'm actually using the Internet. Just wait until the ads traffic volume grows to have a non-negligible impact on normal web usage.

Q: You don't seem to like the idea of using the hosts file as a blacklist like everyone else. What's your problem?

A: The hosts file should be used to do what it is supposed to do: tell facts about hostnames, aliases and ip addresses, not lies. Don't use it to cheat the OS even if you don't run your own Web server on your localhost. Use a firewall, NoScript, proxy server, anything.

Q: Is this write-up a rant or a flamebait or are you simply trolling?

A: Yes.

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Ads Disabled, or Not

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I've noticed this since day one but I decided to write about it only now.

On the index page of Slashdot there's a checker-box with the option "Ads Disabled" and a short note "Thanks again for helping make Slashdot great!" for me. I'm not a subscriber but I'm still awarded with this nice option. I guess it would be automatically available for all regular users with "a good karma". Well that's good, except it isn't. Or worse.

Before the appearance of such an option, I use NoScript to block everything on Slashdot other than that from slashdot.org or c.fsdn.com which hosts scripts that serve the normal malfunctioning of the site itself. After I accepted the no-ad offer, Firefox's status line began to show messages saying it was retrieving content from google-analytics.com and coremetrics.com, two ad servers. I haven't delved into the page source for the cause of this but I don't want it. It seems the (no-longer-)new "Ads Disabled" switch is designed to do the opposite of what we think it does: rather than a kill switch for ads, it does nothing to stop the ad servers from sniffing the readers' online activities, presumably even playing some role in bypassing readers' contermeasures.

For me this issue is somewhat mitigated by my habit of browsing the Web via a proxy server configured on the localhost with a custom, host-based blacklist (yeah, I know blacklists are an illusion and I should have used whitelists instead, and I get off your lawn). Here is a snippet from my Squid log:

127.0.0.1 - - [22/Sep/2009:19:18:18 +0800] "GET http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif? HTTP/1.1" 403 2795 "http://slashdot.org/" "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; zh-CN; rv:1.9.1.3) Gecko/20090909 Fedora/3.5.3-1.fc11 Firefox/3.5.3" TCP_DENIED:NONE
127.0.0.1 - - [22/Sep/2009:19:18:18 +0800] "GET http://data.coremetrics.com/eluminate? HTTP/1.1" 403 2657 "http://slashdot.org/" "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; zh-CN; rv:1.9.1.3) Gecko/20090909 Fedora/3.5.3-1.fc11 Firefox/3.5.3" TCP_DENIED:NONE

This is recorded when using Firefox with NoScript enabled and properly configured (using a whitelist).

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Data safety is too important to be entrusted to FS alone

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

When I clicked on the "Write in Journal" link to write this ramblings down here, I noticed the pun in it, because this story is inspired by the recent posts on the EXT4 data losing matter.

There was a huge amount of finger-pointing, FUD, and groupthink-catering in the comments and I don't wish to repeat them here. Just some random points of interest I gathered by reading them.

  • Does fsync() cripple the system?

    I expect fsync() to be a heavy operation for all filesystems except tmpfs because, well, it's side effects include (usually) the spinning up of disks. The performance (more accurately, temporal performance) is expected to be affected. However, "performance" is too vague a point to be discussed in this manner, and in real world programmers are paid because they are supposed to make reasonable, case-dependent trade-offs between stability and speed (i.e. the "performance" you hear a lot among the comments).

    To be specific, since fsync() gains points in data safety by sacrificing speed, and this is almost the case for all FSes, the reasonable and cross-platform tactic should be separating out the "precious, need fsync() whenever possible" data away from the "non-essential, don't have to worry about crashes in the middle" data, and use whatever heavy operations to ensure the former's safety (fsync, transactional database, or whatever shiny gadgets out there) while leaving the rest to be taken care of by the FS. By nature, you don't write to the "precious" data's storage very often like you do with other data, so the performance hit could be limited within the minimum necessary.

    In a word, using fsync != peppering the code with unnecessary fsync, and if you find yourself in a situation where you have to fsync() a lot, don't worry, it's time to show off your optimization skills ;)

  • Are the KDE guys, and millions of app developers at fault?

    Probably yes, because their approach to the safety of the configuration file was not FS-independent, relying on undocumented features.

    However, to look at things the glass-half-full way, they stumbled upon this caveat just because they are trying to ensure data safety. Had they not even bothered with this "petty safety issue" from the beginning, they wouldn't be able to make this mistake, er, I mean discovery. After this affair we can expect the overall safety of user data under KDE improved, not degraded.

  • Are the EXT4 guys, particularly TyTso, at fault?

    Probably not, though I'm not sure.

    I admit I may be biased on this point. I'm a user of both EXT3 and EXT4, and I tend to defend my choice. I think TyTso and other EXT4 developers are brilliant guys to which I own a lot.

    I think the solutin from Tso is sound, albeit not perfect. They are offering an upcoming patch which provides backward-compatibility. It's not perfect because it's an ad-hoc plug in the leak, but well, I don't know better than they do so it's not up to me to comment further.

  • Is the POSIX standard at fault?

    I don't think so. The POSIX standard doesn't address this issue. Want filesystem transaction? Probably time for something else in parallel to POSIX (as long as it's an open standard not affected by corporate greed a la OOXML).

    Which, I think, renders Tso's "POSIX defence" more or less Chewbacca-like, but he did point out a technical problem which is taken for granted by many, and should not. By the "POSIX defence" he can't prove that EXT4 is feature-complete (but was he even trying to prove that?) while pointing out the problem of relying on non-standard features (see the KDE section above).

  • Is this the death bell of EXT4? Is ZFS putting the final nail into the coffin of Linux?

    No and no. Heck, how did I even bother to answer this one?

  • You don't have any bones. You are just keeping it moderate by using weasel words and a lot of "probably".

    Probably ;) but it doesn't matter that much as data safety ;)

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Slashdot is dying

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Slashdot is dying. Netcraft confirms it. Otherwise, why all the "500 Internal error" responds?

Or is it déjà vu all over again?

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Slashdot SP3

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Slashdot no longer displays the number of comments on the "classic" index page. No matter how many there are, it's always zero.

This is a blatant move initiated by Rob and his minions to cripple the classic view and force us switching to the new view. Remember Windows XP SP3?

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I am an idiot, you insensitive clod.

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/02/2254238

Most blatant summary-troll I've ever seen on Slashdot.

To put it simple:
1. We are not judges.
2. "Idiot" is an insult. Insults are awful.
3. Self-proclaimed "intelligence" is awful, too.

I know this is Slashdot, but it doesn't matter. I think the attitude displayed in that summary is wrong and this has nothing to do with where it appeared or which audience group it targets at.

And I may be wrong.

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Wacky use of NMAP

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

http://books.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/12/08/1443223

I would have posted my NMAP story there, but well, it's too long and off-topic.

The story goes like this. I was in a astronomical observatory for a short of time, carrying my Fedora Linux laptop with me. Most of the co-workers there use Windows though (the horror). One day I found myself in need of printing something and there's an HP LaserJet sitting there. I asked "Is this one connected to the LAN? What's the IP address?" Someone kindly dug the IP out of his Windows configuration and hmm, Fedora managed to download the relevant bits from its repository and set up a working printer given the IP address.

Some days later, I changed to another office. I was in need of a printer again, but this time almost everybody was out on a conference! I can't use the former one because that room was locked and I didn't have the key. There's another HP in the room thought, so I asked the same question "so what's the IP address of this one..." and the two remaining people (one guy and one gal) stared into my eyes, as if I was something of a defect on an astronomical image. They apparently never heard of things like "the IP address of the printer" while using it all the time. They allowed me to use their Windows computer for a while to find it out, but I couldn't. I tried everywhere I thought was possible but I couldn't find it.

Then I came up with an idea. I asked one guy to print a few pages. While he was doing this, I used Wireshark to sniff the LAN and see if I could find something out. Well, nope. Also, because everybody was out, the LAN was extremely quiet...

I knew I'd already bothered them too much so I went to the sysadmin and asked a list of printers. I explained the situation and he gave me one. The observatory's LAN was supposed to use static ARP and every machine has to be registered (MAC address, owner, type, usage, etc.) at the sysadmin's before gaining access to the LAN.

However, when I was back to my computer, I found the list was wrong. Considering their adopting of static ARP, I had no idea why this was happening. Anyway, the admin couldn't help more. I then came to my final resort, NMAP. With NMAP's port scan, I discovered a few hosts that looked like printers (port 80 wide open for web-based administration, a bunch of Windows SMB-related ports, suggestions in OS detection, etc.). Because most of them had the administration page open to the LAN, I was able to get the model numbers from the pages and see if they matched the one I was going to use, thus eliminated a few possibilities. I then sent the CUPS testing pages to all the rest IPs, one by one... I heard distant sounds of printer crunching and spewing... and finally came to the one in my office.

I never explained what I did to the admin, and he never came up with anything to me. I thought that was tacit agreement... or he just never found out.

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WP:OR

gzipped_tar gzipped_tar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/29/1814222

Comments to the story linked above reminded me of this anecdote. I was writing up an WP article on a certain software library.

You know, there's a template specially designed for software products, where you can put info into text fields such as name, language, platform, version and release date, etc. To make sure it meets the standard of Wikipedia as closely as possible, I carefully organized my reference list before I set out to write it. I tried to make the list comprehensive: even facts like release date needed its citation.

However, the exact release date was only available in the comments in the source. The author's release-notes were not dated (horror). As I was not sure which template to use for citing source code, I pushed a question to the help desk. I asked it simply because which one was the best for *formatting* source code citation. I was pretty sure it would be OK citing source code. I've seen many books on computing doing that, and there are also published academic papers citing source code.

To my surprise, the first respond was something like this: "You don't do that. It's OR." Until then did I realize the real-life omnipresence of deletionism out there. I used to think it is a fictitious entity used to scare small children.

OK, I was not even trying to research anything. All I needed was to tell the reader "Package foo, version bar was released on XXX. Everybody knows it was *indeed* released on XXX because the author, who is after all sure about his own product, made it public in the source code in path/to/filename.c." Does that count as OR?

After all, I just ignored that opinion altogether. If anyone feels like taking down the article, be bold (WP:BOLD) and do it. Anyway, it's a small and "low traffic" article not notable enough to touch our deletionist overlords' egos. (And I think the whole "notability" stuff is a joke. Only the articles notable enough are caught by the trolls to be pushed to the deletion line.)

A note to deletionism zealots: look at WP:HORSE. Please don't mindlessly slap the OR tag on other's writings. If it *is not* OR and you *call* it OR, it is still not.

Disclaimer: I'm not attacking the Wikipedian who gave me the OR answer on the help desk. I'm not irritated by that comment, but by the various editor wars on other articles.

Posted in Journal because this is off-topic.

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