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

jeffstar Re:Mikrotik (238 comments)

I have deployed about 30 mikrotiks and I disagree with "feature rich, supported and easy to use"

feature-rich: so many features are half baked. Like openVPN only supports TCP for transport, so you end up running TCP on TCP, which is bad.
supported: the documentation is poor (although getting better now that they have a wiki), working examples are hard to come by since there are so many versions of RouterOS and each introduces different bugs and breaks different bits of functionality. The mikrotik people on the forum are at best surly.
easy to use: I have had to do so much trial and error only to find out the specific piece of functionality I am trying to use is half baked.

I've had good experiences with Watchguard VPN products - which use open VPN under the hood. so any decent openVPN based product is probably what you want.

about 4 months ago

POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits

jeffstar Re:Saddened, not surprised (67 comments)

for a while it was the most convenient way to sync music to an ipod on linux. don't know if this is easy these days or not as I eventually resorted to a VM with itunes.

about a year and a half ago

US Warns of Problems In Chinese SCADA Software

jeffstar Re:too much dependence on the internet (95 comments)

One good reason to connect an industrial control network to a network outside the immediate premise would be that it is a remote site that doesn't merit a human being nearby to mind it or is only economically viable if it doesn't require humans nearby. Thus it makes economic sense to network it, but a private network is too expensive, so it goes on the internet (probably with VPN only access).

Private networks are expensive, getting a satellite/whatever internet connection isn't.

Then you are only as secure as any other organization connected to the internet can be and vulnerable to the same attacks as the rest of the world.

more than 3 years ago

Securing the Smart Grid

jeffstar Re:I've never understood (97 comments)

the idea is that the cars will be smart grid enabled and only charge when you aren't running the dishwasher and the dryer and the oven and 3kw of lighting already, thereby maximizing the use of the existing infrastructure's capability.

about 4 years ago

Programmable Magnets

jeffstar Re:Critical analysis (120 comments)

i assumed there was electricity or coils to change the poles of the magnets according to the 'code' of the cdma signal.

more than 4 years ago

Malware Targets Shortcut Flaw In Windows, SCADA

jeffstar Re:It;s a concern. (214 comments)

unfortunately all the HMI software of the day seems to be for windows: citect, wonderware, etc.

I'm keeping an eye on http://www.inductiveautomation.com/ to see how their product does as it is built from open source libraries.

Additionally, you need windows to program protection relays ( http://www.selinc.com/ ) or your excitation system or your OPC server. You can't get away from windows in the industrial control and automation world.

I need windows to program the PLCs as well.

What I do is run linux and have a separate VM image for each program I need, one for GE multilin software, one for SEL software, one for each brand of PLC programming software.

Loading all the different shit I need onto a single install of windows means when that install gets fucked, as they all eventually do, I have to spend days reloading all the software and going through licensing bullshit.

Running the software in a VM means I can load it up, make the image read only so it is the same every time I boot, and then I'm set.

I have major issues with the automation and control world and the current state of the software it depends on, I think there is loads of room for a new player who understands software in 2010 and isn't burdened with a legacy product.

and for all the people talking about air gaps, I don't think they are as common as you think and as other commenters suggest are easily bridged by USB sticks.

more than 4 years ago

Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid

jeffstar Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (438 comments)

Any thermal plant like coal, oil, nuclear has restrictions on how fast the mechanical power into the generator can be changed.

Modern Hydro electric facilities can go from cold star to 100% output in 10 minutes usually, or from the usual minimum of 10% output to 100% on the order of a minute.

natural gas can also change output relatively quickly.

You can't produce power that isn't used, every second of every day every watt of energy that is generated is used somehow.

more than 4 years ago

Nvidia Drops Support For Its Open Source Driver

jeffstar Re:Be sure to vote with your wallet (412 comments)

you have to write the specs without giving away all the value and competitive advantage and know how in your product to your competitors. this takes time=money.

more than 4 years ago

Best WAP For Dense Crowds?

jeffstar Re:how cheap? pfsense? (178 comments)

i would mod you up had i not already commented

more than 4 years ago

Best WAP For Dense Crowds?

jeffstar Re:What about Ubiquity? (178 comments)

that is only when ubiquity clients are used, not ordinary 802.11n cards.

more than 4 years ago

Best WAP For Dense Crowds?

jeffstar Re:Mikrotik a possible choice? (178 comments)

mikrotik is cheap, and flexible, and can do lots of things, but there are lots of advanced features that only work half way, half the time, or are half-way documented.

if you are going to keep it simple, or don't mind spending hours reading old forum threads then it might be the way to go!

more than 4 years ago

Best WAP For Dense Crowds?

jeffstar you will need more than 2 APs (178 comments)

there was a slashdot the other day about the wifi at a python conference.

any AP is only going to handle 50 users or so because 802.11x is contention based.

So go ahead and get yourself 10 APs, spread them out, and make sure the ones near eachother are on different channels.

more than 4 years ago

AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA Over the Next 10 Years

jeffstar Re:PaaT (213 comments)

Bandwidth does keep getting cheaper, but mobile bandwidth is different.

There is a finite amount of spectrum that is suitable for mobile, and it has a fixed capacity dictated by the Shannon limit.

The only way to increase mobile bandwidth is to increase the density of the base stations or the amount of spectrum used whereas increasing bandwidth to a fixed location is simply a matter of more wires/fiber.

more than 4 years ago

Google Acquires Online Image Editing Tool Picnik

jeffstar Re:Dorks (84 comments)

minus the private jets and money, my life is a lot like that!
1) go to a tropical place
2) get tanned
3) ????
4) yachts & hotties!

more than 4 years ago

Should I Take Toyota's Software Update?

jeffstar Re:You're looking at it wrong. (750 comments)

there are lots of open sources alternatives to matlab: octave and scilab to name a couple.

more than 4 years ago

The Future of OpenSolaris

jeffstar Re:Another "dead unix" for the collection. (307 comments)

HP-UX didn't make your list?! I would have thought the writing was on the wall for it too, as well as everything HP except for printer ink.

more than 4 years ago

Delicious Details of Open Source Court Victory

jeffstar donations accepted (202 comments)

The JMRI sourceforge page acccepts donations, a proper slashdotting could make make up the difference between expenses and $100k pretty quickly!

more than 4 years ago



Best tools for creating GUI touchscreen interface?

jeffstar jeffstar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jeffstar (134407) writes "I've been suckered into creating a couple of GUI touchscreen interfaces for smart homes. I provide an interface like the xbox or windows media centres for controlling lighting, HVAC, and security systems. I've googled for hours looking for an alternative to the package I use which is flash based and utterly horrible to work with. The licensing process and documentation for this package are infuriating and the home brew scripting language has the most convoluted syntax ever! I stick with it because the results can look good. What platform, software packages or libraries would the slashdot crowd use to build fancy looking interfaces or to build a tool to allow the DIY home automation crowd to create their own GUIs?"

The new telecommuting?

jeffstar jeffstar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jeffstar (134407) writes "The Economist has a special report titled Nomads At Last up about how 'knowledge workers' and executives such as Jonathon Scwartz, CEO of sun, have ditched their offices for blackberrys and wifi connections at coffee shops or wherever they may roam. It is several pages long (the 'next article' link is easy to miss) but worth the read. I've found it quite difficult to do any serious coding at a coffee shop and sometimes embarrassing to be on a conference call with jungle or urban cacophony going off in the background so contrary to the article I prefer my climate controlled cocoon home offices. Some other points in the article really hit home for me: "anybody who works for himself has a tyrant as a boss" and "The danger is that the anytime, anyplace office will lure us into the tiger cage that is the everytime, everyplace office." The article goes on to state "Nomads are constantly juggling the social rights of colleagues, relatives and friends, as well as their own right to downtime." Some of these would points apply to anyone running their own business. How & where do are slashdotters liberated from cube farms working? How do you find this has affected your personal life?"
Link to Original Source

jeffstar jeffstar writes  |  about 8 years ago

jeffstar (134407) writes "The new iPhone has a 4-8GB disk, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0, Camera (2.0 megapixels). Up to 5 hours of talk time and Up to 16 hours of music playback. Up to 5 hours of battery life for video is based on H.264 1.5-Mbps video at 640-by-480 resolution combined with 128-Kbps audio. Touch interface."


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