Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Snowden Documents Show How Well NSA Codebreakers Can Pry

philmck Re:I am safe (278 comments)

A password is only safe for about 8 seconds (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/4423733.stm). A responsible company really should be asking you to change passwords more often than that. Forcing you, really.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?

philmck Outsourcing (201 comments)

Archiving old media is a time-consuming process, unfortunately. How many is "several" in your case? If it's more than a dozen or so you will probably run out of time and patience and will want to consider only doing the most precious ones or else paying someone else to do it. Also it may take a bit of experimentation to get the quality right. I asked around my friends and this is a common experience - so much so that I was considering making a business out of it.

If you're considering outsourcing, there are quite a few companies that will do this for you for around $10 per tape. Obviously this can get expensive if you have hundreds of tapes - it's up to you to decide how much your time and the tapes are worth to you. Unless you're willing to trust the post (or a courier) with your tapes, you'll need to find a local company.

A reputable commercial company is likely to get a better result than you would yourself, unless you're the obsessive compulsive type (not unlikely on Slashdot, I guess.)

about 9 months ago

Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

philmck Trust but verify? (870 comments)

No-one seems to have mentioned what seems to me an obvious solution: Make it very clear that communication with anyone else during an exam will result in disqualification, then verify this often enough that the risk of discovery is real, for example using RF sniffers or cameras. Specifically prohibiting certain devices seems to be missing the point.

I'm not a teacher, so I guess this "obvious" solution must have been found impractical for some reason - privacy concerns or too much manpower required?

more than 4 years ago

At Current Rates, Only a Few More Years' Worth of IPv4 Addresses

philmck So, what can I do? (460 comments)

I currently use two IP4 static addresses - one at the webhosting company I use in the US, essential for the SSL certificate (shared between several domains, yech!) and one at my home address in the UK, not essential but losing it and using dyndns wouldn't really free up another address. Last year I asked both suppliers what plans they had for IPv6 adoption, and both replied "none". It seems to me they're leaving it a bit late, especially at the hosting end. If I think of all the places where I currently have an opportunity to input an IPv4 port number (even though it's usually just left at the default) it comes to quite a large number.

about 5 years ago

ISP Mistakenly Emails Customer Database To Thousands

philmck Re:Free market will fix this (259 comments)

I too was with them in the beginning but they lost the plot (the founder even got a suspended jail sentence).

Agreed about the other ISPs as well - I've found bethere to be pretty good though.

more than 5 years ago

45-Year-Old Modem Used To Surf the Web

philmck Curta calculator (622 comments)

I've got a Curta calculator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curta) that's about the same vintage (1964, but earlier models date from 1948) that still works. Does that count?

more than 5 years ago

What To Do When a Megacorp Wants To Buy You?

philmck Bringing more people to the party is good (412 comments)

Life's about deciding what's important (to you), and doing it. If what you want to do is also important to mankind, then you should want to persuade lots of other people to go in the same direction. It seems to me that Megacorp is offering you a great way to do that. They might also help you avoid the common mistakes in the process.

You should check the small print carefully, though. If their direction turns out to be different to yours, you need some way to escape.

Don't worry too much about losing your freedom - if you want lots of people to help you, you inevitably have to put some time and effort into convincing them. You will still achieve much more than by working in isolation. And you can delegate the boring bits if you have money.

more than 5 years ago

Linked In Or Out?

philmck If it's all available anyway... (474 comments)

Basic information such as name, address, phone number, spouse's name, employer and so on are (usually) publicly available and trivial to find, e.g. from the electoral roll. I can't see any point in hiding them and personally I make no attempt - they're right there on my web page.

Having used online employment agencies, my CV is also pretty much public information and I have put that on my web page as well. I've found at least one permanent job and a contract as a result.

It may still be prudent not to broadcast your birthdate and mother's maiden name because they're unfortunately sometimes used as security questions, but it's barely worth it because they're pretty easy to discover as well. Maybe it just gives a false sense of security, in fact.

It's possibly still worth making some effort to conceal email addresses from spambots, but that battle is pretty much lost as well.

Bank account details are on every cheque you write (and every electronic payment) so any security based on criminals not knowing them is shaky at best. They're not really secret. Credit card numbers (and even the CVV) are pretty easily read by any waiter or shopkeeper.

My point is, a lot of personal information people think is private or obscure isn't really hard to find at all. It's safest to assume it's all known and concentrate on other security measures (encryption, effective passwords...) for the important stuff.

more than 5 years ago

Which Phone To Develop For?

philmck Re:You'll live in the house for decades... (344 comments)

...but how long will any mobile phone technology last? Will you find yourself having to re-do it all every 5 years as phone/carrier makers obsolete what you developed for?

Symbian for one has a compatibility promise that explicitly addresses that problem. The introduction of Platform Security in version 9.0 caused such an (unavoidable) compatibility break that they effectively had to say "never again". As long as you follow the rules (use only the published APIs and rely only on documented behaviour) you should be OK. [Disclaimer: I work for Symbian]

more than 6 years ago


philmck hasn't submitted any stories.


philmck has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?