Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

The Problem With Positive Thinking

nine-times Re:It's more than that (104 comments)

Yeah, when people start talking about how great positive thinking is, I always think, "Sure, as long as things are going well."

Your mindset is, to some degree, a prediction of the future. For that prediction to be helpful, it needs to be fairly accurate. Now many people will point out that predictions can be self-fulfilling, and a positive expectation is more likely to lead to a positive outcome. It's true. But it can also leave you unprepared for a negative outcome.

I think positivity needs to be measured, constrained, and tempered by a realistic assessment. It's useful to consider the what happens if things don't go well, and prepare for things to go very badly. Perhaps more importantly, I think it's important for us all to understand that different people just seem to have different mindsets, different approaches, and different personalities. Whatever your mindset, it can be helpful to have someone around who is very positive, because they can help to keep us all motivated and moving forward. But it's also very useful to have a pessimist around, who will point out the problems with your plans, force you to confront some uncomfortable truths, and rain on your parade a little bit.

People of all kinds can be useful and valuable, so it's important to not shit all over pessimists all the time. As if they don't have enough to worry about, without y'all treating them like they're useless.

7 hours ago
top

Passwords: Too Much and Not Enough

nine-times Re:Computers: They can respond fast -and- slow (208 comments)

They're talking about a different problem. If hackers get ahold of the password hashes, then restricting the rate of login attempts on the server itself won't help. That's where that "100,000,000,000,000" number comes from. I believe it's saying that's how strong the password needs to be to withstand a brute force attack when an attacker has gotten ahold of the table containing encrypted passwords. That's why it says:

System administrators "should stop worrying about getting users to create strong passwords and should focus instead on properly securing password databases and detecting leaks when they happen."

However, that seems like a short-term solution when there's a better long-term solution that's pretty obvious, which doesn't require relying on system administrators to secure password databases. If we stopped using passwords and used public key encryption instead, then websites wouldn't have your password, so they wouldn't be able to leak it.

It's an obvious solution. We know how to do it; the technology isn't new. We won't do it, though, because we don't care about security and we're unwilling to develop new standards. The companies who could push new standards forward are more interested in maintaining walled gardens.

yesterday
top

Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

nine-times Re:Automated digesting (172 comments)

I don't see how a mail client can discriminate between an email from my aunt and a message resulting from, say, an error in a cron job execution

Well then you're not the person to figure the problem out. It should actually be fairly easy to discriminate between an email from your aunt and a cron job error. Leave that problem to someone who does see how it can be done.

The point is that there is something wrong in how advertising is conceived and carried out.

I see. So let's just round up all people everywhere and control how they send email, since that'll be easy. Why even apply existing techniques for analyzing text to improve existing email filtering/sorting tools in email clients, when it's so much easier to control human behavior?

yesterday
top

Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

nine-times Re:What is critical thinking? (518 comments)

That's all well and good when you're working in a big mindless factory, and your hired to churn out widgets on a quota system. The problem is, often enough I'm looking to hire someone with a little more brains. I want someone who's going to bring some ideas to the table, who's going to think outside the box. I want them to speak up, and there isn't anything like, "I'm going to steal your ideas and present them as my own, and take credit." It's not a big mindless factory that would allow it. If you can come up with a way to save the business money, you're probably going to get a bonus and/or promotion at some time soon, because you're doing good work.

Now arguably a situation like that is a rarity, but part of the problem is, even when you're in that situation, it can be hard to find good people to work that way. It can be hard enough to find people who will do a job when you set out simple instructions to follow. It's much harder to find someone who has enough judgement to know when to follow the instructions, and when not to. When you can find someone like that, it's worth something extra.

Now I understand the desire to get a good job with nice, clear-cut responsibilities-- churn out 500 widgets, and if you do that, you get paid, and it's all that simple. Not all jobs are like that. Especially working for smaller companies, sometimes it boils down to, "I'm just trying to make my company successful. If you can just get done what I need to get done, I'll keep you around. But if you can help me figure out how to improve things, then I'll be trying to figure out how to keep you happy, because that's hard to find."

yesterday
top

Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

nine-times Re:symbols, caps, numbers (549 comments)

You're off-topic. You're right that password-reuse is probably a bigger security threat than having a super-secure password. Of course, to some extent that assumes that you have a reasonably strong password to begin with, that you have basic brute-force protection (e.g. timeout/lock after too many failed login attempts), and/or that you're not being specifically targeted. Because if I really want to get access into your email account specifically, and you have no protection from brute-force attacks, then suddenly password complexity becomes a very big issue.

But setting that all aside, we weren't really rating the level of importance of various security exploits. We were just talking about what constitutes a "strong password".

If you want to talk about the reality of hacks, I might put weak security questions ahead of password reuse, and social engineering above all of them. For a lot of people, you can call them up, tell them that you're calling form Microsoft because their computer has a virus, and get them to install remote-administration and keyloggers on their own computers. It won't fool everyone, but apparently it's not a small problem.

yesterday
top

Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

nine-times Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (518 comments)

Wrong, poor people could afford education out of pocket...

Oh, good. I thought that there were still poor people who had trouble paying rent and buying groceries. I didn't realize that everyone have thousands of dollars (~$10,000 per year per child) of disposable income floating around.

yesterday
top

Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

nine-times What "employers"? (518 comments)

...employers are getting a little bit worried that U.S. schools aren't teaching students the necessary critical-thinking skills to actually succeed...

And which employers are those?

Whenever a journalist writes something like this, I assume it means that they asked one or two people who are in some way connected with hiring people, "Are you concerned that U.S. schools might not be teaching students enough critical-thinking skills?" and those people respond, "Um... yeah, sure. I'm concerned about that, I guess."

Could we get a little bit of analysis, please? Is there any attempt to asses the critical-thinking skills and compare current recent-graduates to the recent-graduates of the past? Do you have any statistics or trends that you can cite? Do you have any method of guessing whether the problem is that the students lack critical-thinking, or whether the problem is that the hiring managers only believe that they lack the skills? Maybe a survey of the opinions of hiring managers over time, to show a trend of whether their opinion has been changing?

Or to take a step back and ask more generally, do you have anything other than off-hand anecdotal statements from a handful of random people who I've never heard of, and who I have no reason to value their opinion?

I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusions of the article, but it seems like a pretty empty piece of journalism.

yesterday
top

Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

nine-times Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (518 comments)

Fix the public schools by shutting them the fuck down, stopping the theft of money from the people that they could otherwise channel their resources

Right, and fuck poor people who can't afford to send their children to school. Those poor kids are worthless, and we shouldn't bother trying to educate them. It's far better for our society to keep those people poor and hopeless, without any potential for a better future.

In fact, let's just go and make sure that only millionaires are allowed to learn how to read. We need a good, rubust underclass of virtual slaves that we can order around and screw over with impunity. Otherwise, if I can't fuck over everyone else, what's the point of being rich? Am I right, or am I right?

yesterday
top

Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

nine-times Re:What is critical thinking? (518 comments)

It's a good question, but I don't share your dismissal that it's just, "criticizing the establishment just because it's the establishment."

As someone with experience hiring/managing/firing people, I think there is something to the criticism that our schools don't prepare people for the need of critical thinking in the "real world", and it's a criticism that I've made many times. As I see it, it's very common to see workers in the position of having been given instructions on how to deal with a problem, and then encountering a situation where those instructions don't apply. How does the worker respond?

In my experience, very often the worker will just follow the instructions anyway, even if they notice that they're doing something that makes no sense and will obviously cause problems. A fair amount of the time-- again, at least in my experience-- workers will follow the instructions up until a point, figure out that they can't proceed, and then do some other things that also don't make sense, and then pretend that they've finished the job. Every once in a while, if someone is smart, they'll stop and ask for further guidance, but that's rare because nobody likes to admit that they don't know the answer. Even more rarely, someone will actually come up with a comprehensive solution that actually solves the problem.

And really, all that is just one symptom. Another symptom is the extent to which people will come to work, do exactly what they've been asked to do, and nothing more. Often, there's no curiosity about the role that they're playing within the company, about how their role could be expanded or refined, or somehow changed. Even the better employees are generally those who just follow instructions, and those people rarely seem to grasp why they were provided those specific instructions, let alone figure out a better set of instructions for themselves. And if they had come up with a better solution, they rarely suggest it to their boss.

So what is "critical thinking" in this context? I think it involves "problem solving", which might be no less vague. It involves a sort of curiosity, to want to know what's actually going on, and why those things are going on. I'm not sure what else...

But school often doesn't prepare us for that. We're trained to sit down, shut up, do exactly what we're told and no more. Don't ask questions. Don't imagine that you might be able to come up with a better solution. Just do what you're told, and don't think too much about it.

yesterday
top

Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

nine-times Re:Automated digesting (172 comments)

For example, "Recovery: server.domain.com is online" could be enhanced to something like, say, "Recovery: server.domain.com is online. Further on/off messages are suspended for 8 hours unless you click ."

I think I mentioned elsewhere, a part of the problem with the sort of notifications I'm talking about is that I'm receiving them from many different vendors/services/devices who each choose their own standards, forms, and methodologies. It's the nature of things that I don't necessarily have any control over what I receive, how I receive it, when I receive it, or what form it comes in as. If I could even control what came in the subject line, then I wouldn't consider it such a problem.

For example, it's not just notifications saying, "Recovery: server.domain.com is online", but also any number of different notifications from different domain registrars that a domain is about to expire. I can't make GoDaddy, Namecheap, and NetworkSolutions follow the same procedures for how far in advance I get notified that a domain will expire, or what that notification will look like. I can't even stop one of those companies from deciding to change their own policies, changing the subject, content, and sender of those kinds of notifications. In fact, just to give an example, Dropbox uses Mailchimp for a bunch of their notifications, which means that each email is sent from a different sender address.

You can say, "Well these companies should have a better method of notification than email," or "These companies should be following certain standards," but good luck with making that happen. Until you can come up with a better solution, I'd really appreciate if someone could come up with some good tools for managing this kind of flood of notifications.

2 days ago
top

NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

nine-times Re:OK, not annoyed about the Liberian guy any more (352 comments)

'felt like crap' for several days (enough so that he was taking his temp regularly)

Actually, he was supposed to be taking his temperature regularly even if he felt fine. That was part of the protocol for coming back from an Ebola outbreak.

2 days ago
top

NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

nine-times Re:Mind Numbing Stupidity (352 comments)

he was not symptomatic during his subway rides.

I don't know about that. The reports that I've read have admitted that he was feeling ill in the days beforehand, but that he didn't have a fever. At least, he says he didn't have a fever, and he says he was taking his temperature twice a day, as he was supposed to. So I guess it depends on whether you want to take his word for it-- referring to the guy who knew he might have Ebola, was feeling sick, and still decided to go bowling.

If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on, "He wasn't checking his temperature and doesn't really know when the fever started."

2 days ago
top

Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

nine-times Re:Automated digesting (172 comments)

When there's cooperation, the settings that deliver best mutual benefit should be worked out by direct interaction, for the sake of effectiveness. That would put email back into its role of transport mechanism, where it belongs.

I'm not sure what you mean here, but email transport is still in its role of transport mechanism, whereas email clients are still in their role of sorting and arranging emails for display by a user in a configurable way. I'm not sure what there is to be changed there. Do you feel like explaining your comment?

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

nine-times Re:It's all about the data prouction rate (170 comments)

Some of that kind of nonsense happens in Powerpoint presentations-- embedding images that might be a couple hundred megabytes each. I see that in marketing companies often enough, but it's still been a pretty steady rate of growth for the past few years.

However, I still don't see multi-gigabyte Word or Excel documents, at least not often enough that I recall it.

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

nine-times Re:It's all about the data prouction rate (170 comments)

Unless you are still producing KBs of data.

Well yeah, lots of people are. An awful lot of work is still done in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. No need to embed a 5 GB video just because you have the space.

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

nine-times Re:We have more but we USE more. (170 comments)

In my experiences, a 90 percent full drive has as much time left before running out as it did a decade ago.

Not in mine. Granted, we're both going off of anecdotal evidence, but in my favor, my experience is based off of managing a few hundred servers and a couple thousand desktops.

It seems like most workstations/servers that I manage, if they're taking up massive amounts of space, it's very often because they're storing lots of old stuff. Several years ago, when we only had a 30 GB drives, people would go back and clear out, delete, and archive old data. Now they just store it, because why not? Storage is cheap. Most of the time, it doesn't seem like the data set is growing faster, but they're just holding on to old stuff longer.

So yes, I think it's true, if you have a 60 GB drive that's 90% full, it's a more pressing concern than if you have a 10 TB RAID that's 90% full. The RAID may be a bigger problem, but it's a less immediate problem.

2 days ago
top

Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

nine-times Re:Automated digesting (172 comments)

That would be nice if everything I received notifications for supported RSS.

2 days ago
top

Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

nine-times Re:Automated digesting (172 comments)

Actually, I'd like to see better methods of processing/digesting email, but not for personal email.

My work email is flooded with all kinds of junk, and I wouldn't mind someone trying to improve that. I get a bunch of ads that I wouldn't necessarily call "spam", but their ads. I actually want to get some of them (they're sometimes relevant to my job), but it's always super-low priority. I also get copied on a bunch of stuff that I might want to look at, often don't really need to, but that I do want to keep a record of the exchange in my email.

I also get automated notifications for certain kinds of things which could stand to have automated intelligent processing. For example, I might have an automated alert set to email me when a server isn't responding to a ping, and I *do* want to see that. However, if the server's internet connection goes flaky overnight, I might end up with 80 messages saying, "Error: server.domain.com is offline", and then a little while later, "Recovery: server.domain.com is online". It'd be nice to have all of those rolled up into a email digest that says, "You received a flood of messages with similar subjects. Here is a list of them, in order." I don't know practically how you'd do that, but I wouldn't mind if someone were to figure that out. Considering how much spam still gets through my spam filters, I don't expect a solution anytime soon.

Anyway, my only point here is that there are improvements that could be made.

3 days ago
top

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

nine-times Re:Compelling, but a mix still better... (396 comments)

That's no good as an answer. If you can't narrow the possibilities at all, then there's no point in planning at all. Maybe there will be a weird set of circumstances that require we send a donkey along on the mission. I mean, the possibilities are indefinite, so who knows what we could run into. Maybe the best solution is to send a crew made entirely of 5 year olds.

You've got to narrow it down. How can you make things as robust and redundant as possible, covering all the most likely possibilities, and as many of the unlikely possibilities as you can, without being wasteful? That's why NASA needs smart people to try to figure things out, rather than throwing up their hands and saying, "Oh well, we can't figure it out!"

I don't know that it would mean an all-female crew. I'm just saying it's not as simple as saying, "Well it's possible that you'll need strength, because anything is possible."

5 days ago
top

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

nine-times Re:Diversity is best (396 comments)

companionship from the opposite sex will likely be important for long term mental health.

Or it could cause problems. Imagine having to break off a relationship while stuck in a tiny spaceship with that person for months. Imagine if one of the women became pregnant. Lots of things could go wrong.

5 days ago

Submissions

top

What's holding back encryption?

nine-times nine-times writes  |  more than 4 years ago

nine-times writes "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?

What challenges have you faced in trying to increase your use of encryption, and what do you think we can do about it?"

Journals

nine-times has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?