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Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Fotis Georgatos Re:Nothing to do with language (326 comments)

+1

Having been an avid bash user for almost as long as the bug existed, and written countless shell scripts in it for that matter, I cannot avoid agreeing with parent. Fact is, shell language definition is nowhere near high-quality BNF-defined syntactical structure, therefor it is unknown how many more fancy bugs are hidden in the parser. What worries me even more are the famous bashisms, of which we all fall victims sooner or later: *users* and subsequent sysadmins of our produced software may fall victims of such code, suffering from unneeded compatibility issues. Shell scripting is certainly a very kludgy area of modern unix systems and it takes great effort to keep things tidy and maintainable.

2 days ago
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Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Fotis Georgatos Re:Soon to be patched (326 comments)

RedHat is far more economical than Windows, when you need a big population of nodes, because you can use fi. free Scientific Linux on your many compute nodes and just keep one or two for validation of bugs and formal support. Best of all, it is all legal as long as you don't misrepresent the facts!

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Multimedia-Based Wiki For Learning and Business Procedures?

Fotis Georgatos If you expand a bit the circle of candidates... (97 comments)

...I suspect Confluence together with plugin CYO Create-Your-Own would do the job.

As an extra bonus, it might, just might, allow your office documents to be reasonably integrated within the wiki (fi. search box).
Although, I try to stray away of not open source software, I had overall good experience with Confluence a couple years ago.
Also, Apache Software Foundation has also been relying on it for years (after all, that's how they got hacked ;-).
Let us know how it would or would not fit your bill.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

Fotis Georgatos Re:well... (191 comments)

calrification: they rather should pick the 1st letter from each word of the poem/song they already remember; example:
"I'm gonna swing from the chandelier" -> "I'mgsftc" #pick 1st word letter -> "2I'mgsftc" # added 2 as salt -> "2I'mg5ftc" # replaced s for 5
password is now possible to memorize by a child and seriously secure

btw. one more point of attention: this exercise should rather be done together with parents, for both pedagogical and technical reasons:
* the child has a fall-back when it forgets the password
* parents will ensure that the *habbit* of doing it right gets passed on; in fact, that's the only one true think the child should memorise

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

Fotis Georgatos well... (191 comments)

If all the services they use are *online*, then using lastpass as password manager is a very sensible choice:

  • * no cost
  • * good security
  • * good integration within online activity (browsers etc)
  • * the only one to come within 24hrs of heartbleed giving a tool checking sites' vulnerability

You still need to remember one password though; what I would with children is the following: ask them to say a poem/song they remember; pick a line of the lyrics that they are likely to recall clearly; tweak slightly the letters with *them* driving the process (e->3, o->0 etc); add a little salt in the beginning (one or two characters); use that for the password manager. Proposed solution is not of exotic entropy, yet will do the job with flying colours, for most children.

In fact, they would be in good enough shape to start teaching the adults around how to do the job :-P

about a week ago
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

Fotis Georgatos *Phony* cell towers... (237 comments)

... ha ha, still LOL about it!

about a month ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Fotis Georgatos Re:It's not that difficult (202 comments)

nope; that's wrong; 50 tonne pieces are known to be possible to carry around, in fact it was a regular service in antiquity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

Given that Egyptians were providing for "negative incentives" on their population, as opposed to "positive incentives", it was a pretty cheap theater overall, too...

Carrying 1500 tons would not be out of reach with means of the time, if techniques were adequately developed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...
If you are into sailing, you can well understand that flotation, ballast, ropes, levers and forces of nature can do really much for you!

about a month ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Fotis Georgatos Re:OpenRC (826 comments)

Oops, I hadn't realized before where OpenRC fits in the ecosystem, thanks for that comment!
People need to check this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... -> Features

In fact, what is fundamentally incomplete (broken?) in the current init mechanism is the inability to handle startup dependencies gracefully (hey computer scientists, we call that stuff DAGs: Directed Acyclic Graphs) and it is a prerequisite if we really want to see fast startup times in complex systems with complex services - service startup should be a like a tree, not like a chain.

Now, that being said, systemd seems to bring on top of the previous the ability to dynamically reconfigure the system upon changing hardware. That is indeed a feature that some people may have, yet not necessarily all. Forcing the baggage of that upon the whole linux population, is the major point of contention, IMHO.

Before anyone accuses me of jumping ship, let me make it clear that I'm old-style Linux pro (20+ yrs), probably on the conservative side which favors the widely tested init processes. However, being given choice would be appropriate and, at least allowing for DAG process startup is well desired.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Fotis Georgatos Re:My experiences (191 comments)

Knowing the skills of the people around you is indeed a very smart and correct strategy. For you and for others.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Things (191 comments)

> 1. Don't be there.

I think this requires a bit more of explanation, since it may be possible or, it may be not;

If you are located in a place that has an advance warning for potential natural disaster or adverse weather, it is very wise to take yourself out of the affected pool of people, in ordered and non-panic mode, since that releases relief resources for others who perhaps may end up in a major need.

I happen to come from an island in Greece, whereby a 7+ Richter scale EQ may occur twice per century; jumping out of the island is not always an option, however, the same argument still applies: - make sure you don't drain relief resources from the people that may be in higher need

Sometimes people don't grasp fully that action or non-action _can_ influence other citizen lives.

Finally, in a recent quake episode in Kefalonia, cars proved to be a good emergency handling measure, for both transport and sleep needs:
keep the family together => reduce movements => increase safety
http://www.noonsite.com/Countr...
This proved to be crucial during a period of the year that tents were made very unfavorable due to weather patterns and quickly ended up abandoned, after many days of aftershocks.

Conclusion? if you have a car keep some emergency stock in it - in worst case you'll help somebody else!

about a month ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Expert?? (442 comments)

bah. Engineering is about being able to tell somebody that, say, a bridge can be built in X days, bearing Y load of such and such type, endure for Z years at a cost $$$ AND be able to explain that we actually don't have analytical equations for all the physics that relate to it. Engineering is about taking responsibility in delivering the collected knowledge about technical systems of the past, for addressing current and future needs. As an engineer, it is nowhere written that you grasp the whole physics about a technical system, although you are still held accountable for its performance - as a minimum, to explain observed behavior.

about a month and a half ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re: meh (164 comments)

eleven years in hex? is that marriageable age over there?!

about a month and a half ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re:Only Major Site Not Stolen From (164 comments)

True: ancient tombs have been looted and re-looted, long before the concept of archaeology really took off. There is a good probability this tomb will be like taking a 2000-year-old 3D photo, all along with connecting it with historical figures & events. It's pretty much on track to be a spectacular finding, of the type that re-writes history books (or at bare minimum, amend them).

about a month and a half ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re:meh (164 comments)

he he... great answer! let's go figure the dozen definitions of a mile now!

about a month and a half ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re:The tomb of Geryon! (164 comments)

the real news are that the site is now protected by police 24/7, and the tomb will be opened anytime within this month.

about a month and a half ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Fotis Georgatos oh, OMG, BBC... (113 comments)

... the eternal source of truth!

about a month and a half ago
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How Facebook Is Saving Power By 10-15% Through Better Load Balancing

Fotis Georgatos Only two... (54 comments)

... comments threads after 24 hours, on slashdot? Now we know which keyword turns off the slashdot crowd! :-P

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Yeah! Why would anyone want it maintained? (132 comments)

+1. Yeap. You are on track, guys! The whole point is, that even if when we are involved commercially in a project, it's optimal to promote the usage of open source software anyhow, as a matter of enhancing community effort and investing time in a manner that you can benefit from it many times more in the future. Kudos.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Why? (132 comments)

OP here. Your concern is very valid and you are not alone, I have the same concerns. However, at the moment we know of no other standard that actually renders alike among zillions of Desktops, smartphones, automated processing agents etc. Can you really replace .pdf format with something of similar functionality AND not ask the majority of users to install X, Y, Z?

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Network neutrality & bias, revisited

Fotis Georgatos Fotis Georgatos writes  |  about two weeks ago

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "As per Tim Wu, current Internet is not neutral as, "among all applications, its implementation of best effort generally favors file transfer and other non-time sensitive traffic over real-time communications". Please, do remember these words next time you fire up your favourite VoIP or videoconference client and you end up with broken or so-and-so communication!

In fact, if we look at how transportation roads are organised, it is neither free-for-all nor a market-only game: especially cities in Europe tend to have a fused model of lanes for generic usage and dedicated lanes for "responsive" traffic (bus, taxis etc). Why shouldn't the same concept work also on the Internet? If not, why not?

Perhaps, provided capacity by ISPs could be divided in a defined A:B ratio and, ensure that at moments of congestion the capacity is divided at that level. It could be 1:1 ratio (ie. 50% fraction) or it could be something else, however the whole debate going on trying to impose upon us the idea that the solution is either 0 or ...infinity and nothing else, is certainly not very convincing.

Whatever the perfect solution for the Net might be, it should not fail to achieve two major targets:
  • maintain the current ability of the network to serve all classes of users in some auto-tuning mode
  • ensure that incentives stay in place, for ISPs to keep investing in bandwidth and providing new services

Otherwise, how do we expect to have reliable videoconferencing and hard-realtime services down the road?"

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Best PDF handling library, for our own definition of "best" ;-)

Fotis Georgatos Fotis Georgatos writes  |  about 2 months ago

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "I got recently engaged in a conversation about handling PDF texts for a range of needs, such as creation, manipulation, merging, text extraction and searching, digital signing etc etc. A couple of potential picks popped up (PDFBox, itext), given some Java experience of the other fellows. And then comes the reality of choosing software as a long term knowledge investment! ideally, we would like to combine these features:
  • open source, with a community following ; the kind of stuff slashdotters would prefer
  • tidy software architecture; simple things should remain simple
  • allow open API allowing usage across many languages (say: Python & Java)
  • clear licensing status, not estranging future commercial use
  • serious multilingual & font support
  • PDF-handling rich features, not limiting usage for invoicing, e-commerce, reports & data mining
  • digital signing should not go against other features

I'd like to poll the collective slashdot crowd wisdom about if/which PDF related libraries, they have written software with, keeps them happy for *all* the above reasons. And if not happy with that all, what do they thing is the best bet for learning one piece of software in the area, with great reusability across different circumstances and little need for extra hacks?

ROTG is not at all a good answer; I'd really like to hear the smoked out war stories. It is easy to obtain a list of such libraries, yet tricky to understand how many obtained success with them!"

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