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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

spaceyhackerlady Too secure == insecure (278 comments)

The problem with crazily-complex passwords is that if you can't remember them you write them down, and, at a stroke, have compromised security. One of the worst I've encountered is the U.S. Customs eAPIS web site, for sending advance information when you want to fly a private plane or sail a private boat to the U.S.

The other issue is that you risk locking out legitimate access.

My bank does the password plus security question thing. My security questions (you can make up your own) are more than a little interesting. :-)


about a week ago

My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

spaceyhackerlady Colour temperature vs CRI (278 comments)

This was an educational experience for me, learning the difference between colour temperature, which is really only valid for continuum sources, and colour rendering index, more applicable to spectral line sources. Low CRIs don't necessarily have a low colour temperature, but they definitely distort perceived colour, whether they're too blue, or the weird orange of sodium vapour lights.

The most stringent CRI requirement in my home is my makeup mirror. Which is the last incandescent bulb...


about two weeks ago

My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

spaceyhackerlady Three years and counting (278 comments)

I installed my first CFLs in 2011. They're still going strong.

The choice I made at the time was between startup behaviour and colour temperature. They either come on immediately but have a blue cast, or take a minute to warm up but have a warmer colour. I have the former in my kitchen, the latter in my living room and bedroom.

LEDs are interesting but their "white" is such a weird colour I'll pass on them for now.


about two weeks ago

Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

spaceyhackerlady Safety. Always. (468 comments)

I'm intrigued.

The visibility from the cockpit of many planes is actually quite mediocre. This was an issue, for example, for American flight 191. The pilots couldn't actually see the DC-10's engines from the cockpit, and did the wrong thing in response a perceived engine failure. Anything that helps pilots process and interpret information is A Good Thing.

Another bit of fictional prior art: the Far Star's control system in Foundation's Edge.


about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

spaceyhackerlady A Day That Shall Live In Infamy (340 comments)

I'm descended from Loyalists who moved from North Carolina to Nova Scotia in the 1790s.

...laura, United Empire Loyalist

about three weeks ago

I suffer from jet lag ...

spaceyhackerlady Moderately, I suppose... (163 comments)

Funny you should ask: I just got back from a trip to London. Eight time zones worth of jet lag.

I find the first night there or back is no problem to get to sleep, because I'm so totally wasted I can't hold my eyes open anyway. It's the second night that's the killer. After that I'm fine. Getting up at the right time is a challenge on flights to the east coast, but is rarely an issue for Europe.

Unless you're making a phone call or having some other sort of live interaction, the time at home is irrelevant. Don't even think about it. The time where you are is the time that matters.


about 1 month ago

Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

spaceyhackerlady My approach to the subject (199 comments)

I always insist on a clean compile with the warning level turned up as high as it will go. If the compiler is cool with my code, I have a better chance it will do the right thing with it.

Once I have an application that works I see if it meets performance goals (if any). If it does, I'm done. If it doesn't, profile, find the hot spots, optimize as needed. Compiling an entire application with -O3 is idiotic, and misses the point.


about a month ago

I typically start my workday ...

spaceyhackerlady Customers in the east (141 comments)

I get in to the office nominally at 8, but usually get in a bit earlier, like 0740.

Since I'm on Pacific time and almost everybody I deal with is on Central and Eastern time, I consider it a courtesy to them to be in the office promptly. At one time I had a job that got me over to Paris and Brussels quite a bit, but the "engineering" folks were the sort who rarely showed up in the office before 1000. This is getting kinda late in western Europe when you need to work with somebody to solve a problem. Since I was in the office earliest I took most of the calls from Europe, and, oddly enough, was the one invited to fly over and help them figure things out.


about a month ago

Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

spaceyhackerlady What is the goal? (232 comments)

My boss and I routinely look at new tools and technology with an eye to solving our company's problems and build cool new stuff. Our goal is not to embrace flavour-of-the-month technology. It's to identify better solutions to old problems, or find good solutions to new problems. Tools have to work, or they serve no purpose. Everything else follows from there.

We do most of our development in C on Linux, but have incorporated virtualization and cloud computing, new technologies that provide better solutions to old problems. The jury is still out on other goodies. I like python, while my boss prefers perl. I like Django, while he prefers PHP. He's the boss, so I write lots of perl and PHP... :-}


about 2 months ago

Who controls the HVAC at work?

spaceyhackerlady The thermostat is on the wall (216 comments)

It's on the wall, for all to see. Inscrutable display, mysterious controls, the works. When the weather changes it tends to lag a day. So the first warm day we cook with the heat on. The first cold day we freeze with the heat off.

I prefer opening the door out on to the balcony. Fresh air is so much nicer than anything the HVAC can do.

At home I leave my bedroom window open - even if only a crack - all year.


about 2 months ago

Favorite Star Wars Movie?

spaceyhackerlady First and still the best (457 comments)

My fave is still the original Star Wars. It was fresh, it was new, yes, it was hokey, but it worked. Check your sophistication at the door and enjoy the ride!

I find the prequel movies unwatchable.

Some things never change: when The Empire Strikes Back was imminent, they re-released Star Wars in the theatres to get some buzz going. It was accompanied by a short, a trip to the Moon, assembled from NASA footage. Some younger members of the audience expressed loud displeasure at the "fake" movie. They didn't read the credits where it said "Filmed on location by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration".


about 3 months ago

One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

spaceyhackerlady First year CompSci 1978/79 (230 comments)

I did my first year Computer Science in Algol W with punched cards.

The system required a blue "ticket card" to do anything other than list your card deck. We were issued a supply of ticket cards, and could (and did) buy more at the campus bookstore. We punched our cards ourselves. We were very careful to write everything out, to walk through our programs to make sure the program was syntactically correct and might have a chance of doing what it was supposed to do before spending a ticket card to find out what the compiler thought of it. We had immediate turnaround, which meant you could go through ticket cards that much faster.

I now program mainly in C on Linux boxes. The programs I create are orders of magnitude more complicated than what I created then. My interactive productivity is much higher too. I'm not sure I'd even attempt much of what I do now if I didn't have much more powerful computing and debugging facilities available.


about 3 months ago

Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

spaceyhackerlady Star Trek reference (1198 comments)

I am reminded of a TOS episode where two warring planets had made their war so clean and clinical that they had no real reason to stop it. Until Captain Kirk came in and showed them what war really was, something horrifying, to be avoided. Even if it meant talking peace with your enemy.

Capital punishment is such an atrocity. Maybe if it was shown to be that atrocity, there would be less support for it. Public hanging, firing squad, maybe even dust off the electric chair. Show that it's gross and disgusting, and that civilized people have better ways to keep their societies working.


about 3 months ago

How much use would you get from a 1 gigabit internet connection?

spaceyhackerlady Solutions and problems (224 comments)

My current ADSL serves me well. I can stream all the usual video services (YouTube, Netflix, Acorn, etc.) in decent (near-HD) quality. The only time I could use more bandwidth is when I want to download something big, like an OS upgrade.

With that said, I'm sure if I had gigabit internet I'd find something to do with it. :-)


about 3 months ago

The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

spaceyhackerlady "Blood Moon" (146 comments)

Please drop this idiotic phrase.

Besides, total lunar eclipses aren't red at all, at least, none I've ever seen. They're a neat copper colour.


about 3 months ago

Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

spaceyhackerlady I see...NERDS (146 comments)

...and the world is all the better for it!


about 3 months ago

Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates

spaceyhackerlady Re:Medicalizing Normality (558 comments)

Yup. Declare normal human variation pathological, make money by "treating" it, laugh all the way to the bank.

I would also add that many of the "autistic" children I see aren't autistic at all, not by any standard I understand. They are children desperate for attention, and have found a way to get that attention.

Some may even be jumping on the autism bandwagon to be trendy. I've seen this with allergies, where kids want inhalers and shit so they fit in with their over-medicated peers.


about 4 months ago

Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

spaceyhackerlady TNG good and bad (512 comments)

For the most part, TNG was competent. At its best it was brilliant. I'm with people on episodes like The Inner Light and The Measure of a Man. Add in, for me, Cause and Effect, The Emissary, a few others. The human condition, in space. Good stuff.

Unlike many, I actually liked The Dauphin.

I thought Darmok was an interesting idea. How do you make aliens who are, well, alien, but not so alien that you can't interact with them? This was an issue with the Borg, badass aliens who could kick the shit out of Klingons and not work up a sweat, but who were so alien that no meaningful interaction was possible.

Bad episodes? Yeah, there were a few. I prefer to remember the good ones.


about 4 months ago

Google Fighting Distracted Driver Laws

spaceyhackerlady What information do you need when you're driving? (226 comments)

Do you need to know how fast you're going? Yes.

Do you need to know how your car is performing? Yes.

Do you need to know where you are and where you're going? Yes.

We already have head-up displays that show car parameters, as well as navigation systems that help you get where you're going. This could be incorporated in to an HUD ("turn here ->").

Anything more would be information overload. I do not need ads to tell me how cool the store I'm driving by is (i.e. how much they paid for the ad), nor do I need neat pictures other people have taken in the vicinity.

Look at how they do it in airplanes: the pilots have the essential information in front of them, but can access other information as needed.


about 4 months ago



Little boxes around the edge of the data centre?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  about a year and a half ago

spaceyhackerlady (462530) writes "We're looking at some new development, and a big question mark is the little boxes around the edge of the data centre — the NTP servers, the monitoring boxes, the stuff that supports and interfaces with the Big Iron that does the real work.

The last time I visited a hosting farm I saw shelves of Mac Minis, but that was 5 years ago. What do people like now for their little support boxes?"

Cool embedded computers?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 5 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "I had a long talk with my boss yesterday about some possible new projects, and several involved deploying little embedded computers to do interesting things.

I've played with several tiny embedded Linux-based SBCs. My fave so far is Gumstix, but what other cool ones should I know about? The main requirements are ethernet and RS-232 serial I/O. Audio plus enough MIPS for some DSP is nice to have. Linux, naturally. This is Slashdot, after all. :-)

What tiny embedded Linux computers have you messed with lately?"

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 7 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "Our Marketing manager has had the brainwave that we should be more aggressive with our competition, so he decided that we should adopt Klingon culture around the office, effective April 1. This includes porting our systems to Var'aq, the official Klingon programming language. Something to do with killing (or at least maiming) the competition, he says.

Has anybody ever done this with a mainly Java-based system? Any good migration tools out there?



spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 7 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "I have several spam honeypot email addresses, and one of them recently started receiving spam from a Canadian discount warehouse store, Costco.

The emails have most of the usual hallmarks of spam, right down to the note at the bottom that says they're sending it because I requested it. Yeah, right.

I've asked when and how a non-existent person could sign up for spam, and have only gotten a form letter saying they don't have that information. Again, yeah, right.

So, Slashdotters, how would you tell a legit company that they have either been had by spammers, or that they've pulled a really idiotic stunt.

...laura, in no danger of being a Costco customer"


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