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Ask Slashdot: Best Biometric Authentication System?

profplump Re:None! (123 comments)

There are lots of perfectly valid uses for biometric identification, including as a factor in a set of authenticated credentials. It's just that they shouldn't be used alone (nor should any other factor).

yesterday
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

profplump Re:Shyeah, right. (273 comments)

Snapshots are available in many filesystems as well as at the volume level via LVM and similar systems. Rsync will happily detect and copy changes without propagating whole files; it will even do in-place updates for circumstances where that's relevant. ZFS cannot detect bit rot until and unless you ask it to read all the data necessary to generate the checksum, which is exactly what rsync will do if you ask it to always use checksums.

There's nothing wrong with ZFS -- if you have an appropriate workload and disk system have at it. But if you're going to compare it to other tools you should first know what they do.

yesterday
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

profplump Re:21st century? (107 comments)

You can't indite Khan's methodology without dismissing the value of most public schools in general.

Not that you're wrong, just that singling out Khan is like noting that 4th grade isn't very good and ignoring the other 11 years of "education" we subject young people to.

about a week ago
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

profplump Re:Don't you know? (107 comments)

Right. Or they could have written a letter the to content producer, mailed it, and asked the producer to provide purchase details to obtain the video on VHS. No, wait, that would use the government-subsidized postal service, and would require the school to have electricity, and we can't abide that. Maybe they could ask someone with access to the Internet at their employer to watch the video and describe the it to the class the next day?

Or we could just spend $0.15/month and ensure that everyone has access to a reasonably level playing field with respect to access to basic communications services, just like we have with all sorts of other utilities and infrastructure including roads, electricity and telephones.

about a week ago
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

profplump Re:Don't you know? (107 comments)

So if I post a "No Trespassing" sign and you ignore it but I don't catch you in the act that means no one else has to respect the sign? Let me know how that plan works out for you.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

profplump Re:*Second* Obvious guy says: (223 comments)

Have you considered that he might want to improve his programming skills for reasons other than his future career? That he wants to indulge in the local culture, and enjoy himself, at least from time to time, through the lens of coding? Not everyone hates the activities in their day job (nor do we even know that coding is or will be his day job).

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

profplump Re:Obvious guy says (223 comments)

Who says you have to program indoors?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

profplump Re:Obvious guy says (223 comments)

Can't he concentrate on being a better person *by* being a better programmer? Or at least *while* being a better programmer? The idea that coding is merely some tedious task with no benefit for the coder or the world is a very limiting view.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

profplump Re:Obvious guy says (223 comments)

Why must he choose one or the other? Why do you believe that working on his coding skills will make his other experiences less meaningful or enjoyable?

about two weeks ago
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Data Center Study Reveals Top 5 SMART Stats That Correlate To Drive Failures

profplump Re:The measurements in question: (142 comments)

You can't compare real filesystems to EXT. EXT4 is a backport of some of what is possible in modern filesystems to a brand name that makes people comfortable. Like most filesystems it's sufficient for many uses, but it's not particularly good at anything and it's really bad a whole slew of fairly common uses. It's not even a good compromise for backwards compatibility, like EXT3 was, as volumes formatted as EXT4 can't be mounted as EXT2/3.

I'm not saying EXT4 is bad, just that it isn't a terribly useful baseline for comparison. By the time you get to systematically evaluating a filesystem on functionality and performance EXT shouldn't even be on the list, except maybe to help people who don't understand the problem see why you want to make a change in the first place.

about two weeks ago
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Data Center Study Reveals Top 5 SMART Stats That Correlate To Drive Failures

profplump Re:RUBBISH (142 comments)

He hasn't given up, he's just acknowledged the reality that the variance among drives of any particular model is large enough that he can't statistically pick a winner even given reliable statistics about the past performance of similar drives (which is definitely not available) and assuming the drives never change over their manufacturing life (with is definitely not true).

If you're buying 1000 hard drives their average reliability is meaningful to you (though even then it's only *a* factor, not *the* factor). But if you're only buying a handful of drives and prioritizing reliability you're much better off with diversity than any single model because the average reliability means almost nothing in your small application and diversity at least lets you avoid duplicating systematic faults.

Whatever strategy you think you've devised to beat the statistics is just you hoping to pick the right stock/horse/number and lying to yourself about the odds -- even if you have good data and choose the statistically best option there's still a very good chance it won't turn out to be the best one available and a moderate chance it will be one of the worst.

about two weeks ago
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World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK

profplump Re:are you sure? (139 comments)

GPS can be cryptographically authenticated, at least for authorized users. You can jam it, but you can't easily fake it, at least not against receivers that are worried about such things.

about three weeks ago
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World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK

profplump Re:Meanwhile, in the U.S. (139 comments)

Another way to look at it: Non-radio navigation continues to be possible, and constitutes a practical, cheap, already-in-use backup to GPS for most ship-related uses.

LORAN is fine and has valid uses. But it also has a cost, and taking it down doesn't meant that ships will get lost or crash into each should GPS become unavailable.

about three weeks ago
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World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK

profplump Re:Err - no. (139 comments)

The system can be selectively disabled to prevent use in specific geographic areas. Those areas are fairly large but not global.

And if the decision was made to disable GPS in the US they would most assuredly turn off any local radionavigation system as well.

about three weeks ago
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Help a Journalist With An NFC Chip Implant Violate His Own Privacy and Security

profplump Re:can chip implants cause cancer? (142 comments)

Do these schools of thought know that the chip is inside a piece of glass? Are they suggesting that glass causes cancer? They can't possibly be thinking of effects related to the radio emissions, as the chip has no local power source -- it is only active when powered by a fairly strong emitter and most pets spend well less than 0.0001% of their time in such a situation even if their chip is read many times each year.

about a month ago
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AT&T Locks Apple SIM Cards On New iPads

profplump Re: Non-story? (112 comments)

Unless they decide not to. Or go out of business. Or you haven't paid them enough. Or any of 100 other things. Even if it was 100% their policy to unlock on request, they locked it without my consent or any ethical technical or business purpose, which is itself a problem.

about a month ago
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Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

profplump Re:UNIX Philosophy (555 comments)

If you think httpd only does one thing you clearly have never even cracked the configuration file open, let alone compiled it.

about a month ago
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Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

profplump Re:What? (555 comments)

What is it about a server that makes systemd inappropriate? NetworkManager I see; servers rarely change their network configuration when they do they want to do it in a controlled way, not an automatic way.

But I don't understand what similar distinction you're drawing for systemd. It doesn't take away the ability to carefully manage your configuration via text files, and doesn't do anything automatically unless you ask it to; what about running a server makes systemd undesirable?

about a month ago
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The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

profplump Re:This Yeti/Area-51/LochNess story just won't die (200 comments)

If one of your required qualifications is "be part of an existing program that old admits men" then the program is sexist merely by its requirements, even if those requirements are applied equally to all candidates. Neither does discrimination require malice or intent -- unintentional discrimination has exactly the same outcomes as intentional discrimination.

You also can't claim both that there were no women up-to-snuff therefore no discrimination existed, and also that selecting women would have imposed an additional burden on NASA. One of those scenarios claims there was no discrimination while the other one claims that discrimination was present and intentional but justified. And again, if you construct one of the requirements to be "must urinate via a penis" it doesn't matter that you apply that standard to everyone who applies, it's still sexist (and assumes that "male" is the default option and the females have "extra" requirements -- even if gender was a legitimate reason to discriminate, why are females the group selected against instead of males?).

But mostly this is absurd, because if NASA wasn't discriminating against females they would have been in the extreme minority of organizations at the time. Sexism was even more ridiculous then than it is now and to presume that NASA is or was somehow exempt from that culture-wide phenomenon just because they dreamed up an arbitrary set of performance standards is insane.

about a month ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

profplump Re:I have an idea (174 comments)

If I can't otherwise have sewage treatment -- yes, definitely.

about 2 months ago

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