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Google Announces Hummingbird Algorithm, Updates To Search, iOS App and Android

snowtigger Re:Tomorrow, not today (46 comments)

It's already September 27 in Australia. Problem solved.

about a year ago

SSDs: The New King of the Data Center?

snowtigger And beyond SSD, the future is PCIe Flash (172 comments)

SSDs are slow in that they rely on old school disk protocols like sata. Sure, you'll get better performance than spinning disk. But if you want screaming fast performance, you should look at flash devices connected through the PCIe bus.

Products from Fusion IO would be an example of this. Apple Mac Pro would be another: "Up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive".

about a year and a half ago

10GbE: What the Heck Took So Long?

snowtigger Re:Question time (295 comments)

I wired my house with cat5E cables, thinking it would future proof the house. In hind sight, I would have chosen cat5.

10G may not work, even if you've chosen the right type of cable, as 10G is much pickier about the terminations. So you can always try and if it doesn't work well, go for prefabricated cables for the 10G connections.

about a year and a half ago

10GbE: What the Heck Took So Long?

snowtigger How to play with 10/20/40G networking at home (295 comments)

If you want to play with fast (10G+) networking at home, the smart way is to buy infiniband gear on ebay. There's quite a supply from compute clusters being torn down. Older SDR (10G) cards run $30-50. DDR (20G) a bit more and QDR (40G) for a few hundred per card. Buy a cheap copper cable for cross connect and you're done. Or preterminated fiber cables if you need distance, the cards usually handle that too. Some cards also handle 10G and 40G ethernet as well. Need a switch? 36 port QDR switches typically go for $1000. That's 1.4 Tbps worth of bandwidth.

I bought a couple of Mellanox cards that do both 40G ethernet and FDR (56G) infiniband. Between my two linux servers, I get about 37Gbps when using 2+ tcp connections. While bandwidth is about the same, infiniband latency is about half that of ethernet, so I run IP over infiniband.

Apart from being fun (this is slashdot after all), why would you want this? Because it remove the network as a bottleneck and changes the way I think about resources. File transfers are limited by disk performance, there's never network congestion, etc. The only thing that could saturate the link would be memory to memory copying (think VM migrations). Either way, it will be a long time before I worry about network performance again...

about a year and a half ago

Real-Time Gmail Spying a 'Top Priority' For FBI This Year

snowtigger Skype (283 comments)

It's hardly surprising that Skype isn't mentioned. It's widely believed that there are already backdoors in Skype. Skype has "declined to confirm" that there are no backdoors.

From the Wikipedia Skype Security article

Security researchers Biondi and Desclaux have speculated that Skype may have a back door, since Skype sends traffic even when it is turned off and because Skype has taken extreme measures to obfuscate their traffic and functioning of their program.[26] Several media sources have reported that at a meeting about the "Lawful interception of IP based services" held on 25 June 2008, high-ranking but not named officials at the Austrian interior ministry said that they could listen in on Skype conversations without problems. Austrian public broadcasting service ORF, citing minutes from the meeting, have reported that "the Austrian police are able to listen in on Skype connections".[27][28] Skype declined to comment on the reports.[29]

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Does an IT Generalist Get Back Into Programming?

snowtigger Read "Programming Pearls" (224 comments)

This book teaches you to think like an experienced programmer.

It's a great way of refreshing your algorithm skills and an easy ready compared to other (heavier) algorithm books.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Building A Server Rack Into a New Home?

snowtigger Re:Split your equipment (402 comments)

This is exactly what I have and it's a great solution.

In a small 4U network cabinet, you can fit a patch panel and a 24 port switch. That leaves you an extra 2U for other things. I also have a PoE enabled switch and a network server: The SuperMicro 1U Atom servers are small, cheap, energy efficient and quiet. For the switch(es), go for quiet (fanless if possible) and energy efficient. Most switches are made in the same factory in China and from the same components, so it doesn't really matter which brand you choose.

I recently downsized from a 42U to a 21U rack. A 42U rack is was inconvenient and too heavy to handle. Having a smaller rack on wheels is more convenient and 21U is probably more space than you'll need in a home environment if your main purpose is "just for fun". I've got a separate switch in the rack and an uplink connecting the two switches.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Trustworthy VPN Service?

snowtigger Run your own (more generic open source setup) (193 comments)

I recently set up my own VPN network and wanted a generic solution with access to a number of countries, mainly the US, Canada and the UK. I wanted something that would work naturally with all the devices on my home network, including the Wii, Playstation, etc. The problem with a regular VPN services is that they only give you one country at a time, plus you will probably tunnel more traffic than you want. Your ISP is usually the best route for traffic that doesn't have to originate inside a specific country.

So I've got a number of VPS instances in different countries, all running OpenBSD. These routers are connected with IPsec tunnels. That's not really necessary (ip encapsulation would work just fine) but gets me around national packet sniffing (Australia, I'm looking at you). Then I use OpenBGPD to dynamically announce routes between the routers. Finding out the routes for a provider is easy: just lookup the whois information for an IP number and you get the corresponding CIDR. Add that route to BGP and it's visible across the network in seconds. You also need to forward the appropriate DNS traffic, to get around the load balancing based on originating IP used by some CDNs.

This solution may seem too complicated and overkill, but it works incredibly well. You could of course achieve the same thing by having multiple VPN connections from a single router and add a bunch of static routes. But where's the fun in that?

As an added bonus, it's trivial to set up redundant gateways to the US and load balance traffic between them. This is a natural feature of BGP: if a router goes down, the BGP connection dies and traffic is routed through another path. Since OpenBSD is very light, I only pay for the smallest VPS instances, usually 128MB ram and a tiny bit of cpu for a few $/month per instance.

more than 2 years ago

Returning Power From Electric Cars To the Grid

snowtigger Prior art? (247 comments)

This was discussed on slashdot in 2007:

And it's not a very good idea:
"The V2G potential of Honda’s full hybrid vehicles is unexplored, but the company is doubtful of using them to power homes. “We would not like to see stresses on the battery pack caused by putting it through cycles it wasn’t designed for,” said Chris Naughton, a Honda spokesman. “Instead, they should buy a Honda generator that was made for that purpose.”

more than 3 years ago

Oracle Solaris 11 Express Released

snowtigger Excellent news (160 comments)

I'm glad to see some positive news coming from Oracle. Solaris is a great OS and I'm thankful that I can keep using it for free on my servers at home.

Now if we could also get full ZFS support for Linux, that would be great.

more than 4 years ago

Verizon To Pay $25M For Years of 'Mystery Fees'

snowtigger AT&T should be next in line for mystery fees (215 comments)

I remember AT&T slapping on $10 of "government fees and taxes" to my $60 plan, without specifying what those fees and taxes were.

I really hope they get to pay for that one day...

more than 4 years ago

Seattle Hacker Catches Cops Who Hid Arrest Tapes

snowtigger Re:Obstruction of justice (597 comments)

It all depends on what you look like and where you are. Technically, you're probably supposed to carry your passport as a foreigner in a ton of countries. But if you stay out of trouble and look like you're there for a reason, you've got nothing to worry about. Countries with lots of tourists don't want to annoy tourists for no reason.

I've travelled and lived in a large number a few countries over the last 15 years, including the US. Let's take the US as an example. If you speak good English, you'll never have a problem, except maybe getting into bars. If you don't speak good English and look like you're from somewhere else, carrying your passport would probably be a good idea.

As someone else pointed out, bringing your foreign driver's license is usually fine. As long as you've got some kind of ID, they can give you the benefit of the doubt.

more than 4 years ago

Google Shooting For Smartphone Universal Translator

snowtigger Re:Why bother for now? (178 comments)

Google is working on a translation system that's based on the massive information they've gathered off the internet. To get an idea of how this works, have a look at the 2009 Google Wave developer presentation. Fast forward to about 1h 12min

In another demo (which I can't find right now) they show how the translation engine understands the context of the conversation.

It's easy to see how this could be applied to a phone call using the right voice recognition software.

more than 4 years ago

IPv4 Free Pool Drops Below 10%, Allocated

snowtigger Oh well... (467 comments)

I've been using at home for years. It's by far the quickest to type and remember.

I'll probably keep using it for a while, until I need to reach any of those officially allocated addresses in 1/8. Hearing they got allocated in Africa and Latina America is really good news, since I rarely go to African and Latin American websites.

about 5 years ago

Using a House's Concrete Foundation To Cool a PC

snowtigger Re:Great idea (465 comments)

My Linux server is in our basement too. Even in our warm climate (Australia) there's more than enough cool air without some fancy cooling solution. I don't see why the guy needs extra cooling. Isn't his basement not cold enough for a few computers ?

more than 5 years ago

Using a House's Concrete Foundation To Cool a PC

snowtigger Re:dont bother... whatever you do will be obsolete (465 comments)

I just did the opposite. I got a number of wireless access points and connected everything in a WDS setup, thinking that would cover all my network needs.

Last weekend, I wired the whole house with gigabit ethernet. For some things, like streaming large files and IP based phone systems, wireless just doesn't cut it. Laptops and phones connect to the wireless network and everything else use plain reliable ethernet.

more than 5 years ago

Mind-Blowing Interfaces On Display At SIGGRAPH 2009

snowtigger Geek applications for the scratchable input (173 comments)

I've been to Siggraph a number of times. There are always a lot of creative display devices, virtual reality setups, 3D displays, etc, so that doesn't surprise me. But the scratchable input device is actually really cool: I wish I could get ahold of the source code for that one. Just imagine what you could do to automate your house:

1) Put one in your favorite TV chair and get rid of the remotes
2) Get rid of locks and door handles. Only the correct tap or gesture on the wall opens the door. When you've got friends over, you can semi-quote Back to the Future: "Door handles ? Where we're going, you don't need door handles..."

more than 5 years ago

The End of Tax-Free Internet Shopping?

snowtigger Loop hole ? I'd say a tool of free trade (784 comments)

Technically, I don't think mail order is a loop hole as much as it is a tool of free trade. I think the origin to this "loop hole" is a free trade agreement between states established by the federal govt. Not having taxes between states benefits competition in the market place.

In CA, the state charges a tax on everything that is sold. This tax is paid by the business for the privilege of operating in CA and of course passed on to the consumer. If I live in CA and buy something from another state, I'm technically supposed to declare "use tax" for the goods bought elsewhere, but used in California. Of course, no one does that, but that's another problem.

Within the European Union, there is a similar free trade agreement. Countries are no longer allowed to tax goods and services coming from other country. The difference to the US is that EU countries are better at collecting the "use tax".

more than 5 years ago



Fog clears around encrypted email provider Lavabit court documents

snowtigger snowtigger writes  |  about a year ago

snowtigger (204757) writes "The New York Times reports that on Wednesday, a federal judge unsealed documents in the case (covered here), allowing the tech entrepreneur to speak candidly for the first time about his experiences. Among other things, a court order required provide the F.B.I. with “technical assistance,” which agents told him meant handing over the private encryption keys, technically called SSL certificates, that unlock communications for all users."
Link to Original Source

Google Public DNS now supports DNSSEC validation

snowtigger snowtigger writes  |  about 2 years ago

snowtigger (204757) writes "Google’s Public DNS service, behind the well-known and IP addresses, now supports DNSSEC validation. Previously, the service accepted and forwarded DNSSEC-formatted messages but did not perform validation.

Effective deployment of DNSSEC requires action from both DNS resolvers and authoritative name servers. Resolvers, especially those of ISPs and other public resolvers, need to start validating DNS responses. Meanwhile, domain owners have to sign their domains. Today, about 1/3 of top-level domains have been signed, but most second-level domains remain unsigned. From the daily 130 billion DNS queries the service receives, only 7% of queries from the client side are DNSSEC-enabled (about 3% requesting validation and 4% requesting DNSSEC data but no validation) and about 1% of DNS responses from the name server side are signed."

Link to Original Source

Google Maps released on iOS

snowtigger snowtigger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

snowtigger (204757) writes "Google just released the Maps for iOS. It’s a sharper looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views. Google also released the Google Maps SDK for iOS, and a simple URL scheme to help developers use Google Maps when building their beautiful and innovative apps. The new Google Maps app is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher, in more than 40 countries and 29 languages"
Link to Original Source

Microsoft to open brick and mortar retail stores

snowtigger snowtigger writes  |  more than 5 years ago

snowtigger (204757) writes "Microsoft has announced that they will be opening brick and mortar retail stores around the United States and confirmed the appointment of David Porter as vice president of Retail Stores. Porter, a former VP at Wal-Mart, will need to determine "the timing, locations and specific details of the stores." The new move will help the software giant to compete with Apple, which has 251 retail stores that brought in $1.74 billion USD revenue for 2008. Porter added the stores would give consumers better direct access to products such as the upcoming Windows 7, as well as the Zune media players and the Xbox 360 gaming console."
Link to Original Source


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