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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

wwphx Re:symbols, caps, numbers (549 comments)

My previous bank (a regional chain), which I fired, had changed their online banking system. It told me to create a new password, which I did, and IIRC it was 12 characters long. I used the session in which I created it, then signed off. The next time I tried to access my account I couldn't, called their people for a reset, set my new password, used it, signed off, couldn't get in again.

Turned out that your password had to be between 8 and 10 characters long. It'd take 12, but it'd never be able to compare it correctly. Thus, my previous bank.

The other thing that caused me to seriously doubt their competence was when their system had crashed and I got an ODBC error telling me that their back end was in Paradox.

I will say one good thing about them, though. My wife's checking account is through them (she doesn't do online access) and last year we added my name to the account and I got a debit card through them. A few weeks ago we were in a nearby town and my debit card stopped working, it was fine two days prior and there was plenty of money in the account. My wife forgot her wallet, so we used my card. Fortunately I had my personal account's card with me from a different bank. Come to find out that they had preemptively cancelled a whole lot of cards because of the Home Depot breech and I had a new card waiting in my PO box. Unfortunately they didn't notify me in advance. Double unfortunately I also use my card at Kmart's pharmacy for my wife's meds, so I expect another new card in the mail.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

wwphx Re:Obj-C (316 comments)

We jokingly always called it 'SCUD', it was UCSD.

Yup, computer-moderated, play-by-snailmail games. Flying Buffalo is one of the oldest hobbyist game companies still in existence, still owned by the same guy. He started running games out of a shoebox while he was in the military in Hawaii in the '70s, he got out and bought a computer and a programmer to code the game. Everyone would receive a printout of their positions and status at the start of the turn, you'd write your orders on a turn form and send it in, they'd be entered and batch processed. So (depending on the game: different games had different paradigms and backgrounds) all fleet movements would happen first, then attacks, then cargo load/unload orders, etc. So no one had an advantage by living closer or having faster mail service. They ran like four different games on the Raytheon, the most popular was Star Web, they also had Battle Plan and I think an economic game that was a bitch to run, only one guy could run those. There were a few hundred games of Star Web going on at any given time back then. The UCSD Pascal on Northstar CPM ran Heroic Fantasy, Feudal Lords and I think Star Lord ran on a TRS-80 Model 3(?). Another game, Galactic Conflict, was also run on a TRS-80 by the guy who designed it.

Later, Rick Loomis (the owner) had an account on The Source, and I think also on Compuserve, and players could submit their turns via email, but I think only Heroic Fantasy could go out that way, I don't remember. It was very useful if you were up against the turn due date and there was no way you could get your orders in on time. Your printout was still sent to you via USPS. Later still, after Star Web and the others were re-written off the Raytheon, that's when they probably gained the ability to send everything through email, though I believe they still do snailmail for some customers.

Lots of fun. They had a game store up front where I spent countless hours playing Champions 2-3 times a week, sometimes we saw the sun rise.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

wwphx Re:Obj-C (316 comments)

Another Pascal fan here. I was working for a play-by-mail game company in Tempe in the early '80s (Flying Buffalo) and though their older games were running on a Raytheon 704 with 32k magnetic core memory and punched tape I/O, their new stuff was being written in SCUD Pascal. When I attended their last convention a couple of years ago, I saw the exact same interface for Heroic Fantasy that I saw 30 years ago. The Northstar is long gone, but the code lives on running on Wintel hardware. Sadly the programmer who wrote that stuff passed away a few years ago, I hope they had good source code management.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

wwphx Re:Why isn't this auto-update? (174 comments)

The suspicion is that this will be a silent slipstream patch and you won't notice it. And that's probably fine for most Mac users. Myself, I manually applied it.

My question is whether this is a full patch, or just the partial one that they've been talking about for most *nix distros.

about three weeks ago
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Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

wwphx Re:There are numerous other obvious flaws (275 comments)

Oh, she's certainly evil, she's also twice the American National Scottish Harp Champion. She's allergic to cats though, we're on our third Standard Poodle. And his name is Dante. We know evil.

about 1 month ago
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Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

wwphx Re: There are numerous other obvious flaws (275 comments)

Two true stories about LRO. First, the Russians dropped two Lunakhod rovers equipped with laser retroreflectors. Along with retroreflectors left by Apollos 11, 14, 15 that makes a total of five on the lunar surface, but for a long time my wife was only able to hit four with the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory. And the landing sites for all five landers was well known -- the thing that wasn't known was where one of the Lunakhod rovers ended its journey. We could ping one of them with the laser, not the other. The popular theories as to what happened to the other rover centered around it either wandering off in an unknown direction or it possibly having had toppled in a crater and the retroreflector was not visible. My personal theory was that the moon men had hijacked the rover to go joy riding and had repositioned the retroreflector to use as a rear view mirror.

When the LRO imagery came out, the location of the lander for the missing rover was identified, but the meters per pixel resolution was high enough to see the path that the rover drove! The rover itself was too small to see, but by studying the path we could see that the rover did not end up where it was expected: it had driven out a certain distance (west, IIRC) and then doubled-back towards the rover! Once we knew that, my wife was able to ping the rover on her first try. Since then, when the laser is cooperating, she can ping all five retroreflectors during one evening run.

Second LRO story. The LRO is equipped with a laser detector and also a small retroreflector. Lots of laser ranging stations on Earth are able to ping the detector, though Apache Point has to dial-down the power of their laser to the point that it's not visible to the naked eye. But my wife hasn't been able to ping the retroreflector. It was a last-minute add-on to the orbiter and it's located under the main communications dish, they have to swing it out of the way for it to be accessible, making the orbiter silent during the attempt, I guess the command for swinging the dish back in to place is on a timer command. The problem is that the orbiter is on a circumpolar orbit and is only visible for about 45 minutes before it swings around to the dark side, and only about half that time is usable. She just hasn't been able to get a bead on it in the limited window and I think they've given up on it.

But I think it's a pretty amazing thing just to hit LRO's detector. You've got the earth's motion, the moon's orbit, and this satellite circling the moon. All from 220,000 miles away and they're able to ping this satellite that's moving at how many thousands of miles an hour?

about 1 month ago
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Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

wwphx Re:There are numerous other obvious flaws (275 comments)

My answer to these conspiracy idiots, aside from ignoring them, is to look at the numbers. The moon landings required INTERNATIONAL cooperation of thousands of people, if not tens of thousands, from around the world. So what you're saying is that all of these people agreed to tell the same story for five decades, and no documentary evidence has been uncovered in that time that shows this conspiracy being set up. Look at Snowden, the Pentagon Papers, Manning, etc.: governments CANNOT KEEP SECRETS.

Obligatory plug: my wife was the final segment of the 2008 Mythbusters episode that explored that myth, she bounces a laser off the moon shot through a 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory. There are five retroreflectors on the moon, three from Apollo and two on Russian Lunokhod rovers, and there's a clear signal difference between hitting a reflector and bouncing off the bare lunar surface. I also did a ten minute video on this program at waynewestphotography dot com.

Of course, this just means that some incredible hackers were able to fool the software that my wife uses to show different results while the laser is shining, depending upon where the laser is pointed. The Apollo laser reflectors were aimed specifically at the Earth, the Russian ones are quasi-random as there was no way to know where the rovers' batteries would fail, so their final orientation is not known and produces a noticeably weaker signal.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re: OT: On Airplane mode (504 comments)

I've been in the habit of putting my phone in silent mode when I go to bed, the vibrate mode doesn't disturb me as I have an air filter giving me a goodly amount of white noise.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re: Alright smart guy (504 comments)

Unfortunately the information doesn't look reasonable. I shut down all apps, we'll see what it says in the AM. Tomorrow night I might do the airplane mode test.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re: podcast app (504 comments)

Sadly, no. I've downloaded several podcast apps and even bought a couple, to no avail. I live in an area where once I'm 5 miles from home I have no signal, thus I have zero interest in streaming. So I'm dusting off my programming skills and intend to write my own with no support for streaming. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re: iPad 3 (504 comments)

I don't own an Android device, I tried using it on my Nook HD+ and didn't like it, but I have friends who own Android phones. They like them, good for them. It seems to me that Apple watches Android to see what shakes out as a good improvement and then implements it. For me, I don't like the security problems with Android malware (not that iPhone is impregnable) and there were some usability things that I just didn't like. I switched to an Apple ecosystem in 2008 when I just got sick and tired of updating Windows machines every week or more, I like the ease of use.

The one thing that I really wish Apple had added in iOS 8 was the ability to turn on the hotspot on the swipe-up screen. To me, that would have been an awesome feature.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re:I have it on a 4S and it works great for me. (504 comments)

I wonder if you upgraded on your phone or via iTunes? I have about 4 gig free on my 64 gig 4S and it upgraded fine and doesn't bog down too much, seems to be mainly when I'm hitting the home button and it's zooming back to the icon display. I probably don't have more than 100 or so pictures.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re:iPad 3 (504 comments)

I upgraded my iPad Mini Retina on Friday and it was kinda weird. After it was done updating and rebooted, it went into recovery mode. I did a restore from iTunes and it came up as an uninitialized iPad under 8, another restore took care of putting my apps back in place. I was afraid it was bricked and that I'd have to drive to El Paso to get it serviced, fortunately I didn't have to make the trip. The thing that I found very curious was that my iPhone 4S updated seamlessly.

Performance seems the same. I love the one swipe delete for email and the ability to receive iMessages on both it and my phone at the same time. And I ordered an iPhone 6 yesterday, my 4S is out of warranty and my wife wants it.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

wwphx Re:Alright smart guy (504 comments)

I updated my 64 gig 4S on Friday, and it's been stable and crash-free. I especially liked the Health app as it's accessible from the lock screen, assuming emergency responders know that it's there and how to get to it. I have an immune disorder so this is of interest to me, obviously not to everyone. I really like the one motion swipe delete for mail, and the Siri voice dictation in real-time is pretty cool. The funny thing is that I had more trouble upgrading my new iPad Mini Retina than I did my 4S. One other thing that was interesting, and I need to verify this: I was listening to some podcasts yesterday and when I got home, before syncing, they were already marked as played on my iMac. I'm not sure what's up with that as I try to have my phone to only sync music and podcasts via cable.

Issues: first and biggest, battery life. I noticed this yesterday when I got up and last night when I went to bed, I logged that my battery was at 66%. Eight hours later, 54%ish. I already turned off most of the background stuff that eats juice that was posted when iOS 7 came out, so I'm not sure what's up. I'm going to try putting it in airplane mode when I go to bed tonight to see if that stops whatever is eating it. Also, I'm still pissed at the way they screwed up the podcast app when 7 came out last year. I need to get back to studying Objective C/Swift and write my own.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

wwphx Re:Ashes to Ashes ... (268 comments)

That's about what I was considering. When I was working I'd store my off-site backups at work and rotate them every month. Now that I'm not, rotating them at my wife's office works just fine. If I ever get to the point that I can afford two enclosures, I have a friend in Colorado who pays for outrageous bandwidth that I could probably host the second unit with.

about a month ago
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'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

wwphx Re:Dogs as compass (127 comments)

That has not been my observation over many years of observation, and we started watching closely after the news of this came out months ago. Including when our dog is off the leash in the back yard.

I wonder if the study was peer reviewed.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

wwphx Re:Ashes to Ashes ... (268 comments)

The advantage of tape is capacity, the advantage of Bluray is cost. I used to use tapes extensively for my home systems, but hard drive growth just blew past affordable tape capacity, so I abandoned it. Even at its theoretical max density of 128 gig, it'd take 16 discs to back up my system. Not worth it for me.

I use an iMac with 2TB internal, I keep a 3TB external for Time Machine backups, and every couple of months or before we go out of town for any length of time I swap it with its companion at my wife's work place. The problem is that I'd like to go to 3-4TB internal, at which point my process breaks down. I freed up some space recently and now have about 40 gig free, but there were times when I had less than 10.

I think I'm going to get 3x1 TB USBs and move my photo archive to it, my pix take up almost 400 gig, then just do full copies when I plan to rotate my backups. I don't think I'm ready for NAS yet, though I am looking in to it.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

wwphx Re:Offsite. (268 comments)

I have the original trilogy on Laserdisc from before Lucas starting mucking with it.

about a month ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

wwphx Re:Great one more fail (600 comments)

I saw a bumpersticker in Colorado a few day ago that said "Buy a gun, piss off a liberal." I immediately thought of "I'm not a conservative and I own guns. Questions?" My friend came up with "Pro-gun, anti-NRA".

about a month and a half ago
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Kickstarter's Problem: You Have To Make the Game Before You Ask For Money

wwphx Re:Kickstarter's Problem (215 comments)

Except Kickstarter is a division of Amazon. If you run a Kickstarter and it funds, KS takes a percentage of your pledges, as does Amazon for being the funding source.

It'll never die.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Shades of Jack Ryan: altering text in eBooks to track pirates

wwphx wwphx writes  |  about a year ago

wwphx (225607) writes "German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to “secure documents by individual marking,” the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they’ll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.

Seems like I recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secrets to the Russians. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book."

Link to Original Source
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New Orleans mayor tries to end video surveillance

wwphx wwphx writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wwphx (225607) writes ""In seven years, New Orleans' crime camera program has yielded six indictments: three for crimes caught on video and three for bribes and kickbacks a vendor is accused of paying a former city official to sell the cameras to City Hall." On October 14, Mayor Mitch Landrieu "announced his proposal to scratch the program from the city budget. The budget requires City Council approval." No word on whether or not the 2011 budget has been approved.

In 2004, it was claimed that a test deployment of the cameras resulted in a 57% reduction in murders in a public housing development, turns out the sample size was ridiculously skewed. It's nice to see a major municipality abandon them, it would be fantastic to see somewhere like London dump 'em. They say that in London you will be photographed over 200 times a day on surveillance cameras."

Link to Original Source
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Update: TSA withdraws subpeonas against bloggers

wwphx wwphx writes  |  more than 4 years ago

wwphx (225607) writes ""In the wake of public outcry against the Transportation Security Administration for serving civil subpoenas on two bloggers, the government agency has canceled the legal action and apologized for the strong-arm tactics agents used."

This is an update to http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/12/31/1417212/TSA-Subpoenas-Bloggers-Over-New-Security-Directive?art_pos=19"

Link to Original Source
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wwphx wwphx writes  |  more than 7 years ago

wwphx (225607) writes "As a result of the GoDaddy nastiness and our domain registrar bash, I created my newest domain at NearlyFreeSpeech.net. My annual contract is coming up with my current hosting service, and I just found out that they may be going out of business, so I need a new host. I'm looking for a linux-based host that offers cPanel, PHP, MySQL, the Fantastico suite, 10 gig of transfer (I rarely use more than 1) and 500 meg of storage for a reasonable price (OK, cheap price: $5 a month or less). I'm running four or five domains now and near future. I've looked for hosting comparisons that run down the features, but what I've found isn't really useful or adequate. I'm also wanting a host that "does no evil". Any suggestions?"

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