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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

skids Re:CPU time for charity (189 comments)

This suggestion would probably be the least work to set up and then tear down. Assuming the existing hardware is running a supported platform, it's just packages and a small amount of configuration and can run in an unprivileged account. When you get towards the end of the unplug date, start disabling new jobs from tasks with long-running jobs so you don't leave too many unfinished ones. And yes the WCG does have tasks that need storage, not just CPU.

yesterday
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

skids Re:user error (709 comments)

People can live without a clothing dryer.

...If they are not allergic to dust mites like some tens of percent of people, or if they spend even more energy heating their water to 140F, or buy a bunch of chemicals to kill them with cold water, they can, Oh, and then there is the allergy to pollen from the clothes line some other tens of percent of people have.

As to the OP, there is only a small sliver of people who are perceptive enough to realize their impact on the environment, but not perceptive enough to realize that it does not do much good to cut their own emissions for the most part because the vast majority of people will not. There are productive things to do that help push technology forward, like buying into advanced auto technology or alt energy systems if you can. The rest of the stuff just makes energy cheaper for the glutton across the street, so he can have more kids raised without your environmental values.

about two weeks ago
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IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

skids Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (197 comments)

HTML5 is enough of a language that it is supplanting Flash and Java, and I think this is what they are referring to. Declarative animation can get you a long way and if all you are using ECMA for is to fill in a few gaps you can arguably classify it as a language for the purposes of this survey.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

skids Re:WUWT (441 comments)

To be fair their argument is that the environmental life cycle and economics of spinning reserves/baseline for backup generation, or of mass storage, needed to be taken into account. Not that that makes it any less of a peanut-gallery "rebuttal."

about a month ago
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Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

skids Re:This just illustrates (365 comments)

Some natives maintained forests, some decided they would like plains better

I for one, in that situation, would want to see the bears from a distance. :-)

about a month ago
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Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

skids Re:This just illustrates (365 comments)

If we knew about the effects of excessive CO2 production in the 1900s,

FWIW.

"The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by gases in a planet's atmosphere warm its lower atmosphere and surface. It was proposed by Joseph Fourier in 1824, discovered in 1860 by John Tyndall,[66] was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896,[67] and was developed in the 1930s through 1960s by Guy Stewart Callendar.[68]" ...just because it always amuses me to remind myself how long we've known much physics.

about a month ago
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iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

skids Re:Umm, no (323 comments)

I don't know how to argue with someone who makes no sense whatsoever, so I won't. Suffice to say Apple's poor client behavior is well noted among wifi vendors.

about a month ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

skids Re:I prefer (337 comments)

You make that 6% and more back in improved latency performance. Of course these days, even with jumbo frames ethernet link speeds are up high enough that jitter is less of an issue, but still, that's only because bandwidth was thrown at the problem, which, if done to ATM, would easily have made up for the overhead, without the hackery of MPLS.

about a month ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

skids Re:I prefer (337 comments)

And that's great from the perspective of defining what should happen with basic service traffic, with the exception of not allowing the ISPs to mitigate obvious DDoS attacks because they must treat all similar traffic the same.

Also, we do not want to make it impossible for Company A to build a super-fast, super reliable, prioritized network over normal ISP/carrier links that allows them to provide e.g. home-based medical monitoring or even more trivial services. There's a legitimate case for premium service contracts, and they should be looked at as an opportunity to raise money for improving basic service rather than some sort of evil back-room deal. Locking the ratio of basic service capacity to prioritized offerings is how to do this most simply, with something akin to the "medical loss ratio" also an option.

Finally, the more legal policy that gets thrown at the network staff, the harder their job gets, and believe me, in most places the network staff is already oversubscribed both manpower and talent wise (heck ISPs can't even reliably rid us of source address spoofing to this day.) Having to pass every rule change through a legislative compliance test would be back breaking.

about a month and a half ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

skids Re:I prefer (337 comments)

What we need is something like RSVP being widely implemented, but I haven't noticed it mentioned anywhere in these net neutrality discussions.

What we really needed was widescale deployment of ATM so the client could define QoS properly in a call-based fashion. But that didn't happen.

about a month and a half ago
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iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

skids Re:Umm, no (323 comments)

Are you *seriously* suggesting using an easily spoofed MAC address is one way to do that?

No, and I remind my employers of this pretty much monthly to try to push towards 802.1x/MACSec on the wired side. However, we already use (password-based) 802.1x on the WiFi side, and you can't gain anything by changing your MAC after WPA2 enterprise authentication because your encryption keys and AAA state are tied to it, and trying to use someone else's for a fresh authentication isn't something the controllers abide. Which is why the Apple tweak doesn't try to touch anything but probes; it would be completely dysfunctional if they did it on actual traffic.

Also in our case your IP is locked to the MAC and ARP traffic is properly inspected and filtered (you'd be surprised how many WiFi systems do not do this.)

So yes, our network relies on a feature (802.1x auth and WPA2) which "means less privacy for users" in the sense that we know who is using what machine, for what, and roughly where. You would be hard pressed to find an enterprise network that did not.

As far as what we use it for in house, it's to improve the odds that each client has virus-checked each of their IOS or Windows devices individually (it is more trouble for most of them to learn how to change a MAC address than just to update their virus signatures, so this works well), and, as mentioned above, the controllers do location-based roaming optimization to unstick sticky clients, and that last part it what the Apple changes have the potential to break. We do carve out exemptions for network troubleshooting, deployment planning, and for stuff like locating lost or stolen equipment, but for the most part our policy on location tracking data is "don't look at that data and throw it away promptly."

Now, if this feature does become a problem, I sincerely hope Apple bothered to put in a user-accessible control for it. Given they seem to be of the mindset that the more user control they can take away from their WiFi setup the better, that hope is pretty bleak, and we'll be lucky to even get the ability to tweak it via a .mobileconfig.

about a month and a half ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

skids Re:I prefer (337 comments)

It's a giant sticky mess. Many advocates for net neutrality have only a vague idea of how things work so their proposals are vague. Many with the experience to produce more detailed proposals have ulterior motives.

Anyway, if you assume honoring protocol priorities is OK, then you end up with abusive situations where an ISP that runs video protocol 1 can sink traffic from a competitor based on the fact that they use video protocol 2. Add to that that protocols can be patented, and you'd end up with an incentive to create and patent stupid protocols just to do exactly that.

Also there are services whose availability would benefit the customer/public/economy that involve prioritizing packets between privately administered device networks, and not by protocol, and defining the difference between those services and unfair competitive practices leads us down a road to byzantinism.

Really we need to get to a point where end-users can send ToS bits into the network and have them honored as long as they are below a fair usage level for ToS packets, and a certain percent of the network is kept free for best effort, allowing the consumer some level of live control. Before we even do that, though, we need to just move towards "ISPs and other providers must make X% of all built capacity available at a (possibly tariffed) basic rate for public best effort use" and apply that principle across all areas of bandwidth, pps processing power, and -- the toughest sell but very important -- CDN capacity. The cash flow through CDNs really needs to be further regulated to eliminate the perverse incentive of making money off congested pipes on the back end. The restriction on sales of prioritized services in the other 100-X% part of the pipe would provide appropriate incentive for expansion of the entire pipe, benefiting the basic rate users not just the premium arrangements. The X could be adjusted by policy changes until the sweet spot is found or as the ecosystem changes.

Now if the above was TLDR, a solid proposal would be 100x more complicated.

about a month and a half ago
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iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

skids Re:Umm, no (323 comments)

It's not an assumption, it's a deduction and a prediction: Apple products will perform comparitively poorly on networks that have features such as Prediction Based Roaming (CISCO) or ClientMatch (Aruba) unless they *properly* implement 11k and the network is 11k-capable, or unless they stop randomizing the MAC in probes when associated to an enterprise SSID. It will be especially bad considering the presence of utter suck in the Apple roaming behavior is one of the primary reasons these technologies were developed. The reason I am not optimistic that they will properly handle turning off this feature when needed is that Apple has, historically, seemed determined to make their devices useless outside of the living room and coffee shop. I don't know if they've even realized running a differently named SSID on 5GHz from the one used on 2.4GHz (a position they held for years) so their clients stop crapping their pants is NOT an acceptable workaround.

Meanwhile, while they are flailing around, they will likely degrade the overall performance of the network for everyone by sending/receiving low rate frames at high transmission power to distant APs, with plenty of retransmits. This already happens now, and this feature seems to have the potential to make it more difficult for the network to compensate for bad client behavior.

Also, to your second point, in order to be exempt from CALEA, we are legally obliged make a reasonable effort to ensure the people we provide network service to are indentifiable associates of our organization, which is beside the point as far as TFA is concerned, but so you understand: if we do not, the alternative is to make our network sniff-ready for the feds at our expense. Ensuring that we qualify as a "private network" involves ensuring that we are serving members or identified guests of a private organization (ourselves, or a consortium such as eduroam), and this involves identifying said people's machines. We do this (and adjust our historical data retention and usage policies accordingly) to improve overall privacy, comparatively.

about a month and a half ago
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iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

skids Re:Umm, no (323 comments)

Even this small change will break things unless they do it really, really right. Modern large WiFi networks have recently started to implement standards on top of dot11k that help the device make better roaming decisions. They do this by locating the system, seeing what direction it is travelling in, and telling APs that you are going away from to not answer your probes. These optimizations will break if the MAC address on probes and scans changes. Now, if they have the sense to stabilize the MAC address in probes when the last SSID you attached to is still in range, that might work, but as it is, Apple doesn't know crap about making their devices work on enterprise WiFi and has had ongoing unresolved problems in this area for a decade. My hopes are not high that this will be anything more than a headache for us network admins.

Also depending on just how many different addresses these devices use on the network, the hazard exists that wifi controller vendors were not planning to have so many clients twisting doorknobs, and this behavior will actually cause problems for everyone. Won't be the first time Apple managed to bring down WiFi for everyone, though in this case I'd lay the blame at the vendors' feet because they should really be defending against such client misbehavior in case it gets done maliciously.

about a month and a half ago
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Huawei Successfully Tests New 802.11ax WiFi Standard At 10.53Gbps

skids Re:Nyquist (116 comments)

Or is there something more sophisticated going on here.

Spatial channels. You actually transmit on the same wavelength from multiple antenna, but (oversimplification) you aim one beam at one antenna and a different beam at a different antenna.

about 2 months ago
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How MIT and Caltech's Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds

skids Re:only send the last packet? (129 comments)

Usually in such schemes you can recover a packet if you have the surrounding packets before and after it.

about 2 months ago
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How MIT and Caltech's Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds

skids Re:Really? (129 comments)

So if the receiver got 10K copies of the 1st packet and nothing else it could still reconstruct the file?

Considering each one is only sent once, that would be some feirce level of broken compound load balancing.

Note he said each packet contains the modulus of the entire original file with a different prime. The only thing that would cause duplicate packets would be running out of acceptably-sized primes.

about 2 months ago
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How MIT and Caltech's Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds

skids Re:GAAA! (129 comments)

If that's "over-simplified" I am not sure I want to try to read the paper. That paragraph alone gave me a headache. Maybe it's the grapevine and the paper hurts less to read. Meh, tomorrow.

If it is like most such articles, they use 35 pages of polynomial math over a GF(2) field as a way to mathematically formalize what could be better explained with a one-page circuit diagram with a few XOR and shift registers and one paragraph of commentary, so yeah, wait for the boiled down version.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

skids Re:Could the soul survive? (202 comments)

That philisophical debate hinges around whether the essence of the object being teleported must be destroyed.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

skids Re:This research should receive enormous funding. (202 comments)

It basically boils down to this: you have to send point B the data about what you did at point A for the reading you made at point B to be interpreted in any meaningful fashion. That data travels in a classical fashion so you don't know what your reading at point B actually means until after the light carrying the data from point A has arrived. Once the data are combined, they become actual information.

Not useful for exceedind the speed of light under currently accepted theory, but very useful for cryptography because only you have the reading from point B and both peices of data are needed to get the information, so someone stealing the classically transported data is still missing a part.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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MA "Right To Repair" initiative still on Tuesday ballot, may override compromise

skids skids writes  |  about a year and a half ago

skids (119237) writes "MA voters face a complex technical and economic question Tuesday about just how open automobile makers should be with their repair and diagnostic interfaces. A legislative compromise struck in July may not be strong enough for consumer's tastes. Proponents of the measure had joined opponents in asking voters to skip the question once the legislature, seeking to avoid legislation by ballot, struck the deal. Weeks before the election they have reversed course and are again urging voters to pass the measure. Now voters have to decide whether the differences between the ballot language and the new law are too hard on manufacturers, or essential consumer protections. At stake is a mandated standard for diagnostic channels in a significant market."
Link to Original Source
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House Panel Approves Bill Forcing ISPs Log Users

skids skids writes  |  more than 2 years ago

skids (119237) writes "Under the guise of fighting child pornography, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Thursday that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to collect and retain records about Internet users’ activity. The 19 to 10 vote represents a victory for conservative Republicans, who made data retention their first major technology initiative after last fall's elections. A last-minute rewrite of the bill expands the information that commercial Internet providers are required to store to include customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses. Per dissenting Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): 'The bill is mislabeled ... This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It's creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.'"
Link to Original Source
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CIA drones may have used illegal, inaccurate code

skids skids writes  |  more than 3 years ago

skids (119237) writes "Coders hate having to rush code out the door before it's ready. They also hate it when the customer starts making unreasonable demands. What they hate even more is when the customer reverse engineers the product and starts selling their own inferior product. But what really ticks them off is when that buggy knockoff product might be used to target military unmanned drone attacks, and the bugs introduce errors up to 13 meters. That's what purportedly happened to software developer IISi based on an ongoing boardroom/courtroom drama that will leave any hard-pressed coder appreciating just how much worse their job could get. The saddest part? The CIA assumed the bug was a feature. The tinfoil-hat-inducing part? The alleged perpetrators just got bought by IBM."
Link to Original Source
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Hacking Big Brother with help from Revlon

skids skids writes  |  more than 4 years ago

skids (119237) writes "All those futuristic full-face eyeliner jobs in distopian cyberpunk fiction might not be that far off the mark. A New York University student spent his thesis time exploring computer vision technology (OpenCV) for ways in which one could confound first-stage algorithms that initially lock onto faces. Then he mixed in a bit of fashion sense to predict future geek chic. Now, whether you want to go for the coal-miner look just to stay out of the data mine, that's up to you..."
Link to Original Source
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Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets

skids skids writes  |  more than 4 years ago

skids (119237) writes "File this under "no, really?" CBS news catches up with the fact that photocopiers, whether networked or not, tend to have a much longer memory these days. When they eventually get tossed, very few companies bother to scrub them. Coupled with the tendency of older employees to consider hard-copy to be "secure", and your most protected secrets may be shipped directly to information resellers — no hacking required. "The day we visited the New Jersey warehouse, two shipping containers packed with used copiers were headed overseas — loaded with secrets on their way to unknown buyers in Argentina and Singapore.""
Link to Original Source

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