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The High-Tech Warfare Behind the Israel - Hamas Conflict

whois In the cloud! (402 comments)

"networked, cloud-based launching software provided by Qatar which can set off a rocket from any distance, and set them to go off at a specific time, using timers"

What's the difference between this and cell-phone activated stuff they've been using for years? (source: any war movie featuring IEDs)

It's on the Internet.. and they've found out how to use TIME CLOCKS!?

about 5 months ago

Researchers Design Bot To Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews

whois Re:Who would hire a ketamine user? (102 comments)

That's not how the logic behind those security clearance questions works. The reason they ask if you've used drugs, had an affair, or any other unmoral things is that if you have done those things you might be susceptible to blackmail. Some foreign agent comes up to you and says "I know you use drugs and can prove it. Sell us secrets or we'll tell on you and get you fired/jailed/etc.."

Or whatever.

about 5 months ago

Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

whois Jeff Campbell? Never heard of him. (337 comments)

Vice president of whatever... not an engineer. I read one of his letters to a congressional committee and it seems obvious that either he is a lawyer or had it drawn up by Cisco's legal council.

In other words this guy has never used a router.
This person has no idea how the Internet works.

He shouldn't be speaking about things he doesn't understand. Cisco had some good engineers who I really respect, with a few still working for them. If someone with enable wants to speak up in favor of a stupid policy that every operator knows is a bad idea then I might listen.

about 6 months ago

After the Belfast Project Fiasco, Time For Another Look At Time Capsule Crypto?

whois Time release escrow (170 comments)

I started working on software to do this a few years back. I concluded that all the software is already written if you have a need and the problems are all regarding the way the user wants to protect the information, how much money they have to spend and how careful they are. In other words, it's a social/societal problem and you could setup a consulting service to help people do it, but software probably wouldn't be much benefit.

Here is an example:

First encrypt all the things. Then give the encrypted file to anyone since you're going to assume for the sake of this slashdot post that the crypto is unbreakable (if you're unwilling to accept this assumption then feel free to divide the data the same way the key is outlaid).

Next establish some trusts in your name and appoint a number of people as trust managers. This should probably be more than one trust and definitely more than one person. You may even need to obscure who creates the trust depending on what you're hiding and who might want to get it. Try to make some of the trust managers overseas might be good if you're worried about long term survivability of your data, since stability of a country might be in question in 100 years or so.

Now, cut your key into two halfs (or more), write out instructions that the managers are to meet at some location at a certain date. None of the managers should know any of the other managers. For survivability you might give a duplicate copy of parts of the key to multiple people so if one person doesn't show up there is still a chance to recover from it.

Ultimately nobody has knowledge of anything. On the date in question the responsible people show up only with the knowledge they are supposed to arrive with their bit of information. It could be that they don't arrive anywhere at all and their instructions are to publish the information. Without having context only the receiver would know what the completed key was for, and even they might have only been instructed to hold on to data for 100 years then accept the key when it arrives.

This scheme works best if there are multiple companies around the world formed with the purpose of doing this for people, or if it was a common service asked for at banks/law offices/etc. If the lawyer is holding on to only one key for 100 years they might become curious and try to figure out what it's for. If it's one key amongst thousands then it's nothing more than a tiny amount of data they're paid to deal with. They would also be less likely to publish the information out of turn because it could be they're storing it for something worth less than the amount they're paid to escrow it.

about 6 months ago

Kaleidescape Settles With DVD CCA But No Victory For DRM

whois Re:Work visa (76 comments)

I contributed a plugin to XBMC that scrapes content from a site and shows youtube videos. I'm in the US and as far as I know everything I did was legal. Technically I don't play the videos, I just hand them over to the youtube plugin.

My preference would be to show youtube ads so the site I'm showing videos for gets revenue for users of the plugin, but I think the youtube plugin automatically bypasses ads, or doesn't have provisions to play them.

Regardless, XBMC has problems that have nothing to do with playback or copyrighted video. Crashes, the fact that the whole thing is a single-tasking system which can be hung by any misbehaving plugin, the inability to integrate web content or windowed content (the latter might be a skin thing that could be feasible, but you would still be stuck with a system very much prone to crashing)

You can help the XBMC team with real problems and not worry about video playback. Technically, the DRM piece in XBMC is probably an imported ffmpeg library anyway.

about 7 months ago

OpenStack: the Open Source Cloud That Vendors Love and Users Are Ignoring

whois Re:Anyone TRIED to set up OpenStack? (99 comments)

I agree somewhat. I was turned off by the silly naming of their daemons.

Nova, Swift, Cinder, Neutron, Horizon, Keystone, Glance, Ceilometer, Heat, Trove.

It's like they're trying to be old sysadmins and naming their boxes after their favorite pokemon until they run out of names and start using Star Trek episode names midway through. No context in the names so you can't figure out what anything does without a reference.

That said, I've looked at it several times because of the things it might do for me that ESXi doesn't (without costing a fortune). I wish it were less flakey. I've worked with people who managed Openstack in large clusters and had plenty of difficulties. It's a work in progress though. I imagine in a couple more years it will be rock solid.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

whois Re:Too much integration (533 comments)

It installed in less than 2 minutes because there is no software, as you stated in your post.

I use debian preseed and install my systems via PXE in 5 minutes. Of course I tell it not to install any software, so that is part of the reason it installs quickly. The other part being that it doesn't have to ask questions. We could get that time down a bunch by throwing away compatibility with 90% of the hardware. Solaris on Sun hardware used to install relatively quickly, and was very reliable (in some ways) because they always knew what hardware was there.

Honestly, on a workstation boot time is 1000% more important to me than install time. If windows 8 takes 45 minutes to install and boots in 3 seconds then fine, I'll accept a windows update if I'm not doing anything at the moment. If Linux can install in 5 minutes but takes 2 minutes to reboot then I don't want to reboot. Which is fine unless I'm using a laptop..

about 7 months ago

Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

whois Re:True Costs (589 comments)

so it integrates mail and calendar, as well as two things you just made up that nobody uses?

about 7 months ago

Chernobyl's Sarcophagus, Redux

whois Re:um (121 comments)

The core melted a hole through the ground deep enough to hit the water table where it exploded on contact with water, then caused a steam explosion that was so powerful some of the material hit the jet stream. The heat continued causing hydrogen build up and further hydrogen explosions.

They tried to pour molten lead into the cavity but that just boiled and caused the radioactive steam to also carry lead vapor as well, making it even more toxic. So they gave up and filled it in with concrete. No one has any idea how large the whole was, if there was a chamber at the bottom from the water reservoir or multiple explosions. I don't find it the least bit suspicious that the amount of concrete poured into a random unexplored hole in the midst of the greatest man made disaster in history might be a bit off.

Please cite sources for the core melting through to the water table. Accounts that I've seen say the steam explosions are from the cooling loop and secondary explosions are due to hydrogen. Most of the dispersal was due to the fire which burned for days.

about 7 months ago

Firefox 29: Redesign

whois Re:It has a combined address/search bar (688 comments)

If you begin a search with the question mark it doesn't do a DNS lookup, it just sends it straight to search.

So searching for:

?these are my search terms

does what you want.

about 8 months ago

Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

whois Re: Hybrids (193 comments)

Hybrids use their batteries much less than pure electric cars. Hence their batteries are smaller and cheaper.

Different kinds of batteries too. Rather than a deep cycle full discharge you're only using the battery when accelerating and recharging it when braking. They need to consider this when designing the battery system. Although I don't think anyone does, you could use giant capacitors instead of true batteries since that is how you're using them for energy storage. If you did use capacitors I think the reliability would go up but the fire/explosion risk might go up too, so maybe that is why they don't do it.

Some strange hybrids like one of the Ferrari's uses a compressed air cylinder instead of batteries. You could also use a flywheel but then you've got gyroscopic forces on the car. London's subway trains use hills as an energy recovery mechanism. They go up a hill when pulling into a station (slowing down) and go down a hill when pulling out (speeding up). Not practical for a car but kinda neat.

about 8 months ago

Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL

whois Re:Summary. (301 comments)

I would like to see performance numbers on who's malloc is terrible anyway. This was true in ancient times on some systems, to the point where people specifically did what they're doing, but I haven't profiled it in forever and I always assumed it had gone away.

I'm wondering if they cargo-culted their allocator, or if their software just happens to be old enough to fall in that range of things that ran on junky hardware from long ago. It's one of those things where if you're going to leave it in then it should be extensively documented. Not "some systems are slow" but "these exact systems have problems"

about 8 months ago

Intel and SGI Test Full-Immersion Cooling For Servers

whois Re:What about maintenance costs? (102 comments)

While I don't doubt your experiences were sucky, I think this could be overcome if they designed the computers and the datacenter with it in mind. You could make the boards be pullable cards from above. Depending on the size of the chassis they might use a robot crane to retrieve the cards or it might be by hand (the crane would mean the entire datacenter floor could be liquid and the cards would be brought to a place where they could be serviced without messing up the place)

As far as the plumbing getting in the way, I imagine that would be something they would have to address before this became practical. Most of it could be routed according to purpose so it doesn't obstruct but if the CPU board needed active cooling I think there would be more problems like you described.

If it saves enough money people will do it no matter the mess. They might make sealed pods that need to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair.

about 8 months ago

Apple: Dumb As a Patent Trolling Fox On iPhone Prior Art?

whois Re:Seems pretty different, not a gesture (408 comments)

That seems like grasping at straws. The fact of the matter is we've all used sliders in real life. Air conditioner controls on old cars being a good example. Apple took a concept everyone understood and made a modern look to it, but it could still be a virtual representation of a physical slider.

What needs to be asked is if this patent brought anything to the table or is it superfluous? My question isn't if sliders are innovative since they obviously are not, but is the concept of "slide to unlock your phone" innovative?

I could say no but I'd be lying if I didn't think they might have a case there. From what I remember the iphone was the first slide-to-unlock phone, and now all the smartphones seem to have it.

about 8 months ago

UAV Operator Blames Hacking For Malfunction That Injured Triathlete

whois Sounds like a RC plane not a drone (178 comments)

If it's subject to interference caused by someone broadcasting on the same channel and it can't compensate for it by switching channels or in some way authenticate it's control traffic, then it's a poorly designed toy and shouldn't be used commercially.

Reading the article:

"Operators of all unmanned drones used in a commercial capacity are required to be certified.
Neither Mr Abrams nor his business appear on the list of the 92 operators certified nationally."

So it sounds like he should be charged with some form of negligence if that is applicable to Australia. In the US the FAA would also probably be fining him.

about 8 months ago

AT&T Exec Calls Netflix "Arrogant" For Expecting Net Neutrality

whois Re:It's not arrogant, it's correct. (466 comments)

The dynamics have changed somewhat. Mainly because ISPs became monopolies when dialup died. Remember Earthlink or Mindspring, Speakeasy? Or Netzero? Big old ISPs that nobody uses now because they were merged into global conglomerates or went out of business.

In the old days Netflix could say "hmm, we're an outbound only company with lots of cash and nobody will peer with us.. why don't we buy an eyeball company and balance our traffic so peering is fair"

Now there is nobody to buy, unless you want to buy some giant companies.. or get bought by one of them.

Also, ratio based peering was a model that made sense in the old days because it was the easiest way to determine fairness amongst multiple providers. Even in/out means you aren't stealing my eyeball customers and I'm not stealing your server customers right? Or at least we're stealing both in equal amounts?

Now that argument doesn't hold true when you're talking about Amazon or Google or Netflix, or Rackspace or anyone else doing cloud business. They aren't eyeballs and don't want your eyeball customers. Most of the time if you talk to them directly they'll peer based on your inbound traffic from them. The same applies to CDNs like Akamai or Cloudflare. Again, they aren't getting in the residential market and aren't your competitor so why not peer to ease congestion?

Ok, so big monopoly telcos that do both content and customers don't understand this, their arguments are pretty feeble.. "it costs big $$ to peer!" Well, run a dark fiber down the street and peer out of joes basement peering for $10/xconnect .. "but optic costs!!".. are cheap if you're doing 10gig MM or SM with no fancy wavelengths. "Port costs?" Same.. buy cheaper gear.

The only question is if netflix and friends end up flinching and paying to connect to AT&T and Comcast, then nothing will change.

about 9 months ago

Malware Attack Infected 25,000 Linux/UNIX Servers

whois Re:I have admin'ed such a server... (220 comments)

So, currently, I work with (but thank Zeus, don't have to administer) a CRM system by an entirely different vendor, running on an outdated Linux distro. Pretty much everything I just said applies to this box. But hey the firewall keeps it safe, except the once-a-year the vendor demands access to audit our license compliance...

You should set it up so their only ingress is through a reverse ssh tunnel outward. Preferably secured with a key you send to them so their reused passwords aren't the only thing keeping people out. You should also restrict it by IP range to whatever machine they're coming from.

If the vendor refused any of my security stipulations for their audit I'd invite them to come to me and do the audit onsite. Of course they might threaten to shutdown your CRM but then you can always sue for breach, or better yet just name and shame them online since obviously they don't care about their customers security. Usually if you're processing credit cards anywhere then PCI compliance dictates the exact ways they can be provided access for the audit.

Make sure you have a permanently opened bug report about the security problems. Maybe they do look at those and want to fix them but other priorities come first, or their developers could be hopelessly unaware even though support/engineering knows how bad it is. Most of the time there is someone in the organization that knows and cares but doesn't have the ability to task anyone to fix it. In any case, it's helpful to reference this ticket each year when the auditors want to know why you aren't rolling over and playing nice like the rest of their customers.

about 9 months ago

House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls

whois Courtesy shouldn't be law (366 comments)

You aren't supposed to use a phone in a theater. It's courtesy not to use a phone in lots of cases.. in the line while waiting for your sandwich, in a meeting or conference with lots of other people, etc.

Make a courtesy area that people are allowed to use their phone and make an airline rule that you can't use a phone and that is fine. Making it illegal because you think it's rude is ridiculous. What if there is an ACTUAL emergency. My parents aren't very good with text and they always know when I'm on a flight. If I got a call from them while I was flying it might be a life-or-death thing.

Your wife is 9 months pregnant and you get a call from her doctor, do you answer it?

about 10 months ago

Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

whois Re:What a contradiction! (412 comments)

I doubt the viewers are actually that unhappy. By saying this rogue is stirring up controversy, it in fact will stir up controversy. People who don't care will start tuning in to see what the fuss is about. Regular watchers will keep watching to see if he finally fails.

If it's too distruptive I'm sure they'll change the rules, but right now they're probably just loving the extra attention for the show.

about a year ago

Old-school Wi-Fi Is Slowing Down Networks, Cisco Says

whois Re:This is a non-problem. (254 comments)

In managed environments you honestly have to do this. Windows (or the drivers) is real stupid about which band it wants to use so 90% of your devices hop on 2.4Ghz, which is congested already with all your neighbors also being on it. If you've got 100 people in a 5th floor downtown office it can get awful even if you put a bunch of APs in.

So we make two SSIDs, one for 5G and disable it on the 2.4 radio.

about a year ago


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