Blog Archive: October 2011

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Hills Tower

Posted By Tim Bray

Roppongi is a district in Tokyo that I dont much like; Roppongi Hills is a glistening temple of ultramodernism that I cant avoid because the Google offices are there. Its all very nicely done but flavorless in an international way. I will say that, particularly now with the Tokyo International Film Festival in progress, there are more drop-dead cool outfits (for both genders) walking around than Ive seen in one place for a long time. Anyhow, heres a picture of one of its towers at night.

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 17:30:00 UTC

LISA LISA LISA LISA

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

No, not this. I mean the Usenix LISA conference. It is only 5 weeks away. Have you registered yet? The first few days are half-day tutorials with industry leaders teaching topics like Puppet, CFEngine (we don't take sides... both get a half day!) , Time Management (that's me!) , IPv6 (real deployments are happening!) , and many many more topics. The last half of the conference is a mixture of invited speakers, refereed papers, and other good stuff. What I like about the refereed papers this year is that we hit the perfect balance: half are "oh, I can use that right now!"

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 17:29:59 UTC

Cell Phone Surveillance System

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I was not surprised that police forces are buying this system, but at its capabilities. Britain's largest police force is operating covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network, transmitting a signal that allows authorities to shut off phones remotely, intercept communications and gather data about thousands of users in a targeted area. The surveillance system has...

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 15:30:00 UTC

Usenix LISA early-bird discount ends Nov 14! 2 weeks!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

You can save big $$$ by registering for LISA on or by Nov 14th. Usenix LISA 2011 is Dec 4-9 in Boston. I look forward to seeing you there!

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:02:35 UTC

Authorised Domain

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's a reading of my short-short story "Authorised Domain," commissioned as part of a package on "the future of the living room." The judge said I have to write this note and so I am, but I want to put it right at the top that I don't think it's fair. It begins with Mum … [Read more]

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 13:18:01 UTC

Another ATM Theft Tactic

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This brazen tactic is from Malaysia. Robbers sabotage the machines, and then report the damage to the bank. When the banks send repair technicians to open and repair the machines, the robbers take the money at gunpoint. It's hardly a technology-related attack. But from what I know about ATM machines, the security of the money safe inside the machine is...

Sun, 30 Oct 2011 10:05:22 UTC

Lessons from Space

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

By Diomidis Spinellis and Henry Spencer We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.  Wernher von Braun Twilight saw the landing of Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center on 21 July 2011, marking the end of the 30-year Space Shuttle program and leaving the Soyuz series of spacecraft as the only remaining major option for sending humans into space. With a history of 1,700 flights over an almost half-century lifetime, the Soyuz rocket and spacecraft are arguably a tremendously successful spaceflight design.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 14:40:18 UTC

Sprint is Giving Free Customer Service Lessons

Posted By James Hamilton

Sometimes the most educational lessons are on what not to do rather than what to do. Failure and disaster can be extraordinarily educational as long as the reason behind the failure is well understood.  I study large system outages, infrastructure failures, love reading post mortems (when they actually have content), and always watch carefully how companies communicate with their customers during and right after large scale customer impacting events. I dont do it because I enjoy failure  these things all scare me. But, in each there are lessons to be learned.     Sprint advertising from: http://unlimited.sprint.com/?pid=10 (2011/10/29).

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 06:30:20 UTC

Strange screen refresh issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

While editing my photo files today with Emacs, discovered a strange patchiness on the display: It happened several times with different kinds of smudge. I suppose this is an Emacs issue, but I haven't seen it before. Running the text cursor over the area recreated the text, so it's clearly a refresh problem, but what made it happen right now?

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 06:29:50 UTC

How to steal credit card details

Posted By Greg Lehey

The business with American Express got me thinking: to steal enough details about a credit card to access the account by phone, that's all you need. As a checkout person in almost any retail outlet, you do: Find a credit card number, for convenience with an unusual name, say, GREG LENEY (a name American Express invented for me in the past) or FAUSTO D'AMBRO. It doesn't really matter which brand of card.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 04:58:40 UTC

Weather station problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

The weather station reported an outside temperature of -3276.7° again today, for a considerable period of time. This time I looked at the internal unit: it was displaying --, suggesting that it couldn't communicate with the external unit. So maybe -3276.7° is its way of saying no signal received. That's got to be batteries, right? Changed the batteries, and it worked againfor a while, about 3 minutes. Then I lost communication again. Tried to reset the internal unit by removing and replacing the batteries, but it didn't respond. Further investigation showed that it, too, had flat batteries. After replacing them, things worked normally again.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 01:13:40 UTC

Elements of Modern C++ Style

Posted By Herb Sutter

As Im getting ready to resume writing a few new (or updated) Guru of the Week Items for the C++11 era, Ive been looking through the wonderful features of C++11 and analyzing just which ones will affect the baseline style of how I write modern C++ code, both for myself and for publication. Ive gathered [...]

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 01:13:40 UTC

Elements of Modern C++ Style

Posted By Herb Sutter

As Im getting ready to resume writing a few new (or updated) Guru of the Week Items for the C++11 era, Ive been looking through the wonderful features of C++11 and analyzing just which ones will affect the baseline style of how I write modern C++ code, both for myself and for publication. Ive gathered [...]

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 21:25:00 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Video of Kid Eating Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's hard to tell if he likes it. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered....

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 20:21:04 UTC

Full Extent of the Attack that Compromised RSA in March

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Brian Kerbs has done the analysis; it's something like 760 companies that were compromised. Among the more interesting names on the list are Abbott Labs, the Alabama Supercomputer Network, Charles Schwabb & Co., Cisco Systems, eBay, the European Space Agency, Facebook, Freddie Mac, Google, the General Services Administration, the Inter-American Development Bank, IBM, Intel Corp., the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),...

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Tab Sweep  Tech

Posted By Tim Bray

Clearly the art of the Tab Sweep has declined in the age of Twitter, and is apt to decline still further under the influence of Google+. But I think theres still a place for it. Hashbangs Back in February, I fulminated about abuse of hashbangs, most notably by Twitter. Theyre still doing it and it still sucks. Of the many responses, perhaps the most thoughtful was Jeni Tennisons Hash URIs. Web by Numbers The title is Interesting stats, and the top stat is Average Bytes per Page by Content Type. The rest are interesting too. Elixir In Why Rubyists should try Elixir he claimed last spring that it offers simple Object Orientation and charming syntax on top of the Erlang VM.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Mega Tab Sweep  The World

Posted By Tim Bray

Apparently I havent done one of these since January. The title is sort of a lie, since I dont have all these around in tabs; some are sitting in bookmark folders and so on. Going back through almost a year means that Ive actually reconsidered each of these and decided that it has aged well enough to pass on. Were Language Users And thats as good a specifier of Homo sapiens as any. Language is hard; for example see Evolutionary analysis shows languages obey few ordering rules. They present this sort of as a refutation of Chomsky, but thats silly; his important points are about the relationship between language and the mind, and are independent of languages structure.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 15:21:20 UTC

XKCD Today

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's a good one. Be sure to read the hover-over text....

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:49:53 UTC

LOPSA PICC 2012 Call For Participation

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

http://www.picconf.org/cfp/ Call for Participation:LOPSA-NJ Professional IT Community Conference 2012 This year's Theme:"System Administration: Scaling, Security, and Saving Money" PICC '12: 3rd Annual Professional IT Community ConferenceMay 11- 12, 2012 New Brunswick, NJ Hyatt Regency New Brunswickhttp://www.picconf.org The organizers of the LOPSA-NJ Professional IT Community Conference (PICC) invite you to submit proposals for papers and talks to be presented at PICC '12. PICC12 is a gathering of professionals from the diverse IT (computer and network administration) community in New Jersey to learn, share ideas, and network. The conference includes invited speakers and keynotes, training by top-notch experts that is relevant, useful, and recession-friendly; plus an "unconference" track where attendees propose and host their own topics during the event.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 17:30:00 UTC

Review: Apple's iPhone iOS5 "Reminder.app"

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

What does this Time Management guru think of Apple's new Reminders.app? If you read this blog your ears probably perked up when you heard that Apple's iOS5 adds a new application called "Reminders.app". It complements the todo-list infrastructure Apple has been adding to its calendar system on OS X. The big question is: Can it do "The Cycle". " The Cycle" is the todo list management system that I describe in Time Management for System Administrators. It is very full featured even though you can start just by using a couple of its principles and building up as you get used to it.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 17:01:38 UTC

Secret Codes in Bacteria

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Neat: Researchers have invented a new form of secret messaging using bacteria that make glowing proteins only under certain conditions. In addition to being useful to spies, the new technique could also allow companies to encode secret identifiers into crops, seeds, or other living commodities. [...] The new scheme replaces the fuse with seven colonies of Escherichia coli bacteria, each...

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 11:45:40 UTC

The Security of SSL

Posted By Bruce Schneier

EFF reports on the security of SSL: The most interesting entry in that table is the "CA compromise" one, because those are incidents that could affect any or every secure web or email server on the Internet. In at least 248 cases, a CA chose to indicate that it had been compromised as a reason for revoking a cert. Such...

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 07:48:03 UTC

Video trailer for The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Matt Freidell, a video editor/producer who created a company called The Glossary to produce short trailers for books, wrote to say, "I read the novella included in your newest release The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow and between the nostalgia of the actual Disney ride and all the great futuristic elements, it really conjured up some … [Read more]

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 23:05:25 UTC

Another firefox crash

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since I gave up using windows with firefox, it crashes much less frequently. The last one I recorded was on 21 July 2011. Today was another case: -rw-------  1 grog  lemis  1031749632 Oct 26 09:16 firefox-bin.core Program terminated with signal 11, Segmentation fault. (gdb) bt #0  0x83ea5147 in kill () from /lib/libc.so.7 #1  0x83ea50a6 in raise () from /lib/libc.so.7 #2  0x824d3dfa in XRE_InitChildProcess () from /usr/local/lib/firefox/libxul.so #3  <signal handler called> #4  0x8354fa42 in js::MarkContext () from /usr/local/lib/firefox/libxul.so #5  0xb1bd06c4 in ?? () #6  0xbfbf8bec in ?? () #7  0x00000000 in ??

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 22:24:23 UTC

Laptop installation, postponed

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over to Chris Yeardley's place this morning to complete the installation of the nVidia driver. It had failed: no kernel sources. Brought the thing back home, installed sources and driver, and it still froze. What a good advertisement for FreeBSD! I suppose the next step to getting it running on this laptop is to reinstall X. That will take time, and Chris doesn't have timeshe has an assignment which depends on it due in this week. So put a disk together in my test machine (the one with the broken USB bus) and took that over there for her.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 20:30:31 UTC

If It Moves, Test It

Posted By Robert V. Binder

The FDA has just published new guidelines for use of mobile technology in class I, II, and III systems. So, what does this mean for testing FDA-regulated products with mobile technology?   The new FDA Guidance defines when mobile platforms … Continue reading →

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 17:30:00 UTC

My new LISA Tutorial: 32 Questions

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I'm teaching 3 tutorials at Usenix LISA this year. Two are on time management ("intro" and "team efficiency") but the third is brand new: The Limoncelli Test. I've identified 32 qualities of well-functioning system administration teams. You've seen them before as "The Limoncelli Test". In this tutorial, I'll be going into more detail about the important ones and leaving plenty of room for Q&A. It is a 3-hour class and I hope to keep it interesting by making it very interactive. The hardest part of adopting these practices is often your own co-workers resistance to change. Therefore, I'm adding a big section on influencing others and "selling" big changes within an organization.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 11:02:29 UTC

Cracking the Copiale Cipher

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I don't follow historical cryptography, so all of this comes as a surprise to me. But something called the Copiale Cipher from the 18th Century has been cracked....

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:54:11 UTC

Demands from Law Enforcement for Google Data

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Google releases statistics: Google received more than 15,600 requests in the January-June period, 10 percent more than the final six months of last year. The requests in the latest period spanned more than 25,400 individual accounts worldwide - a tiny fraction of Google's more than billion users. [...] The highest volume of government demands for user data came from the...

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:40:53 UTC

Windowsno longer broken, just scratched

Posted By Greg Lehey

As a result of the problems with rebooting Chris' laptop, I was presented with the Windows 7 boot screen for the first time. They've done away with the broken window emblem and the my display panel is broken bloom that earlier versions used, and instead introduced a number of scratches on the surface. I wonder if I'm the only person who sees it that way, or whether even somebody in Microsoft is doing it as some kind of joke.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:24:00 UTC

Installing FreeBSD on Samsung laptops

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over to Chris Yeardley's today with the USB disk for her laptop. In principle it should have been plug in, frob a couple of config files, and we're done. But it didn't work like that. First, the laptop has big problems withwait for itUSB. I'm not sure why, but in many cases it didn't recognize the drive. We thought it might be a problem with the cable or one of the slots, and moving things around seemed to help, but even then it doesn't honour the boot sequence (first USB, then DVD, then internal disk) unless I first go into the BIOS and then out again.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 23:44:51 UTC

Garbage Collection Synopsis, and C++

Posted By Herb Sutter

In response to my note about John McCarthys inventing automatic (non ref-counted) garbage collection, rosen4obg asked: OK, GC was invented half a century ago. When it is going to land in the C++ world? Heres a short but detailed answer, which links to illuminating reading and videos. The Three Kinds of GC The three major [...]

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 23:44:51 UTC

Garbage Collection Synopsis, and C++

Posted By Herb Sutter

In response to my note about John McCarthys inventing automatic (non ref-counted) garbage collection, rosen4obg asked: OK, GC was invented half a century ago. When it is going to land in the C++ world? Heres a short but detailed answer, which links to illuminating reading and videos. The Three Kinds of GC The three major [...]

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 21:03:10 UTC

Storage Infrastructure Behind Facebook Messages

Posted By James Hamilton

One of the talks that I particularly enjoyed yesterday at HPTS 2011 was Storage Infrastructure Behind Facebook Messages by Kannan Muthukkaruppan. In this talk, Kannan talked about the Facebook store for chats, email, SMS, & messages.   This high scale storage system is based upon HBase and Haystack. HBase is a non-relational, distributed database very similar to Googles Big Table. Haystack is simple file system designed by Facebook for efficient photo storage and delivery. More on Haystack at: Facebook Needle in a Haystack.   In this Facebook Message store, Haystack is used to store attachments and large messages.  HBase is used for message metadata, search indexes, and small messages (avoiding the second I/O to Haystack for small messages like most SMS).

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 17:58:21 UTC

Twofish Mentioned in Thriller Novel

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I've been told that the Twofish encryption algorithm is mentioned in the book Abuse of Power, in the first paragraph of Chapter 3. Did rhe terrorists use it? Did our hero break it? I am unlikely to read it; can someone scan the page for me....

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 17:30:00 UTC

Automate? Will I lose my job?

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

In my speaking and writing I always encourage people to automate what they can and document what you can't. If something can't be automated (or isn't worth automating) writing a bullet list of the steps to accomplish the task makes the task less error-prone and easier for others on the team to do it. I get replies like, "What if I automate myself out of a job?" or "but if I document what I do, anyone can do it and I won't be needed!" Sysadmin, please! Neither could be further from the truth. First of all, there's always more IT work to be done.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 16:37:20 UTC

Microsoft COSMOS at HPTS

Posted By James Hamilton

Rough notes from a talk on COSMOS, Microsofts internal Map reduce systems from HPTS 2011. This is the service Microsoft uses internally to run MapReduce jobs. Interesting, Microsoft plans to use Hadoop in the external Azure service even though COSMOS looks quite good: Microsoft Announces Open Source Based Cloud Service.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 10:31:41 UTC

NSA Acronyms

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The second document in this file is the recently unclassified "Guide to Historical Cryptologic Acronyms and Abbreviations, 1940-1980," from the NSA Note that there are still some redactions....

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 08:15:08 UTC

John McCarthy

Posted By Herb Sutter

What a sad, horrible month. First Steve Jobs, then Dennis Ritchie, and now John McCarthy. We are losing many of the greats all at once. If you havent heard of John McCarthy, youre probably learning about his many important contributions now. Some examples: Hes the inventor of Lisp, the second-oldest high-level programming language, younger than [...]

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 08:15:08 UTC

John McCarthy

Posted By Herb Sutter

What a sad, horrible month. First Steve Jobs, then Dennis Ritchie, and now John McCarthy. We are losing many of the greats all at once. If you havent heard of John McCarthy, youre probably learning about his many important contributions now. Some examples: Hes the inventor of Lisp, the second-oldest high-level programming language, younger than [...]

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 23:10:37 UTC

Friends' newsletter, impasse

Posted By Greg Lehey

Helen Vincent sent me a copy of the newsletter draft in PDF format today. What a disaster! I really, really don't understand what's going on here, and I'm not sure that I want to. So far we have been blaming the low resolutions on the low resolution images stored in the document, but that's clearly not the only issue. Here's an image as extracted from the document with unzip, and the way it looks in the PDF: That's original size in each case. But the quality!

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 23:05:50 UTC

More TV recording problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been running ceeveear with three tuners for over a week now. Time for the USB tuner to give up on me, and indeed it did. One recording hung up completely. I caught it in the middle, shut down cvr2 (which runs Linux, where I haven't been able to work out how to hot-plug USB devices), unplugged the tuner and continued (recording on the first of the PCI tuners). The remainder of the recording wasn't particularly good, but it was readable. Why do I have so much trouble with USB? It's not the operating system, and it's not a specific device.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 22:51:41 UTC

USB installation, final part

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been taking my time with the installation of FreeBSD on Chris Yeardley's USB disk. The last status was that I had copied all the data acrossI think. I had turned off the machine before checking. Today I fired it up again and discovered some serious issues with the disk partitioning: c partition went beyond the bounds of the slice, probably a result of trying to copy the partition exactly from the other system, where the slice was larger. So, blow it away and start again. Not a problem. Or was it? The partition table included 3 partitions: a and d, both 20 GB, and e, the rest of 1 TB.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 18:39:01 UTC

Blue Coat Products Enable Web Censorship in Syria

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's illegal for Blue Coat to sell its technology for this purpose, but there are lots of third-parties who are willing to act as middlemen: "Blue Coat does not sell to Syria. We comply with US export laws and we do not allow our partners to sell to embargoed countries," [Blue Coat spokesman Steve] Schick told the Bureau. "In addition,...

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 17:30:00 UTC

Who's coming to Usenix LISA?

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Two things I like about Usenix LISA conference: (1) The speakers are (usually) the inventor. (2) They're accessible, not roped off into a VIP room. You can talk with them, hang out with them. (Boston, Dec 4-9; early registration discount ends soon!) There are a lot of big names this year: What's your interest? Linux? We got Jon "maddog" Hall himself! Solaris? (I mean... Illumos) We got Bryan Cantrill! Security? We got (Susan Landau! DevOps? we got Ben Rockwood), Avleen Vig, Adam Jacob, Kris Buytaert, Ian McFarland, Kastner and Goulah from Etsy talking about Deployinator and more! Puppet? We got the puppet master himself, Luke Kanies!

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:42:36 UTC

Facebook Patent to Track Users Even When They are Not Logged In to Facebook

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Patent number 2,011,023,240: Communicating Information in a Social Network System about Activities from Another Domain Abstract: In one embodiment, a method is described for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain. The method includes maintaining a profile for each of one or more users of the social networking system, each profile...

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 05:39:03 UTC

Context essays on Command Line podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Thomas Gideon at the Command Line podcast has done me the honor of selecting a couple of essays from my new collection Context for his latest podcast. MP3 link

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 22:45:02 UTC

Photo backup pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ran my photo backup today. I write to an external disk, and until I get eSATA working properly, I've been using a USB connection. And from time to time the system (Yvonne's lagoon) freezes up. On one occasion it has reported I/O errors before doing so, but on others there has been no indication of why. Today I finally finished fsck and found 4 files in lost+found, so deleted them (the backup will put them back in the correct place), andthe system froze again! Why do I have so much trouble with USB? Why do I even try? Put the eSATA card in defake and ran the backup from there.

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 22:32:11 UTC

Looking for a new keyboard

Posted By Greg Lehey

While writing my diary for yesterday, discovered I could no longer reformat paragraphs. Stopped Emacs, restarted it, no change. Then I discovered that the q key wasn't working, and the command is bound to M-Q. You can get keyboards almost anywhere, and they're not expensive. They're also not what I want. For me at least, the keyboard is the most important interface to the machine, and it must be exactly the way I want. In particular, that means not having to look at the keyboard when typing (thus the complete unsuitability of touch pad keyboards). But you need to look at a keyboard to find the function keys in their current position, somewhere off the top of the main keyboard.

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 21:24:27 UTC

Apple Pages: pain itself

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today Yvonne picked up a USB stick from Helen Vincent with a draft of the Spring edition of Wellingtonia. Helen uses Apple Pages, and in the past we've had significant problems understanding it. In this case, she was unable to send me a copy of the document by email, because it proved to be 26 MB in size, and her ISP has a hard limit of 20 MB. How do normal computer users move files around? She could upload them to the server, of course, but she doesn't know how to use scp. Thus the USB stick. And stupidly, I asked for the file only in Pages format, and not in anything that would show me the layout (such as PDF).

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 17:30:00 UTC

More... How to ask your boss to pay for you to go to Usenix LISA 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

In reply to my last blog post a reader sent me email to say: "I've never gone to a conference. What do employers typically pay for?" Your company probably has a written travel policy and a travel budget. Most employers pay travel, the conference registration, hotel, and food (T&E); IMHO they should do this since you need to get there, attend, and while there sleeping and eating are kind of important too. Other companies pay part of the cost or a fixed amount. For example, they might have a $1000/year training budget per employee and that would consume the registration (most people would therefore only go to local conferences that do not require travel).

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 15:57:07 UTC

Software Define Networking Comes of Age

Posted By James Hamilton

From the Last Bastion of Mainframe Computing Perspectives post:   The networking equipment world looks just like mainframe computing ecosystem did 40 years ago. A small number of players produce vertically integrated solutions where the ASICs (the central processing unit responsible for high speed data packet switching), the hardware design, the hardware manufacture, and the entire software stack are stack are single sourced and vertically integrated.  Just as you couldnt run IBM MVS on a Burrows computer, you cant run Cisco IOS on Juniper equipment. When networking gear is purchased, its packaged as a single sourced, vertically integrated stack.

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 15:30:00 UTC

Usenix LISA early-bird discount ends Nov 14

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

You can save big $$$ by registering for LISA on or by Nov 14th. Usenix LISA 2011 is Dec 4-9 in Boston. I look forward to seeing you there!

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 01:06:22 UTC

Installing FreeBSD, revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

When it comes to installing FreeBSD, I wrote the book. I've been doing it on a regular basis for over 15 years. So today when Chris Yeardley wanted to install FreeBSD, it should have been a breeze, right? Well, no. She downloaded a DVD from the web and burnt it herself, and her laptop told her it wasn't bootable. So she sent it over along with a USB disk drive to install to. That requires a dedicated machine (or a VM, which I didn't even want to try). And only three machines have DVD drives: dereel, teevee and Yvonne's computer, lagoon.

Sat, 22 Oct 2011 23:17:05 UTC

Nickel-Zinc batteries: first real experience

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today was garden photo day, and the first time that I did the verandah panorama using Nickel-Zinc batteries in the flash unit. Everything went well for the first 20 flashes or so. The recycle time was under 3 seconds the whole time (with NiMH batteries it's between 5 and 6 seconds). Then the unit didn't recharge. Looking at the display, it showed a flashing symbol. Low battery already? I waited a few seconds, but there was no change, and since I didn't really need the flash for the last few images, I just took them anyway. After I had finished, took the batteries out.

Sat, 22 Oct 2011 19:39:13 UTC

How to ask your boss to pay for you to go to Usenix LISA 2011.

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Ask early. Sometimes approval takes a long time. He/she may have to ask higher-ups. Warm them up. One day mention how you wish you had better tools to do something or wish you knew more about something ("time management" maybe?) . A few days later say that you found a class on the topic at LISA. (Intro to TM and Advanced TM are both being offered) Talk about end-results, not technologies. " There's a class that will teach me how to automate installations" is much more understandable than "there's a class on Puppet". Find 3 classes or talks you want to attend.

Sat, 22 Oct 2011 09:03:17 UTC

Stories of revolution and rebellion

Posted By Cory Doctorow

New from PM Press: Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail!: Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellion, a short story collection "that revolves around riots, revolts, and revolution." It includes "I Love Paree," the story I co-wrote with Michael Skeet.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 21:10:06 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid T-Shirt

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Pretty design....

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Analytics

Posted By Tim Bray

For some years now, Ive largely ignored the issues of how many people read this blog, where they come from, what technologies they use, and so on. But today I took a sidetrip into Google Analytics and I found the numbers interesting, so maybe you will too. But first, these words Yes, in this world you always have to listen to a sermon before they roll out the free food. Here it is: Dont do this. Dont obsess over your analytics or invest your time in worrying about how many people are coming or where theyre coming from. The first reason is that its futile.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 11:57:48 UTC

Clockwork Fagin on Escape Pod

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My steampunk YA short story, "Clockwork Fagin" (about the children who are mangled by the machinery of the industrial-information revolution, who murder the orphanage's cruel master and replace him with a taxidermied automaton that they use to fool the nuns who oversee the place), has been turned into a podcast by the good folks at … [Read more]

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 11:23:31 UTC

Google Enables SSL by Default for Search

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is a good thing....

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 22:58:24 UTC

Playing DVDs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Once upon a time TV was easy. You turned on a TV, found a channel and watched it. Then video tapes came, and you could record things, so you were independent of the broadcast time. Then pre-recorded tapes came, and with them licensing restrictions, notably the don't copy restriction which I personally find stupid. I can understand that the license holder wants to sell as many copies as he can (though nowadays they don't necessarily try), but that's only indirectly related to copying. Nowadays it's DVD DVDs and Blu-ray with all their stupid copy protection, which really only upsets the innocent, while the pirates know enough to circumvent the issues.

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Worth Fixing

Posted By Tim Bray

As progress progresses, increasingly there are fewer things for which its worth paying what it costs to fix them when they break. I think that many of us are offended by the disposability of things like kids toys, Ikea furniture, computers that arent brand new, sunglasses, and mobile phones. There are some things, though, that are worth repairing. I have examples and Im trying to figure out what theyre examples of. An object I recently paid to have repaired. Item: Boats Weve been toying with the idea of buying a boat to simplify our visits to our cottage; the current logistics involve water taxis and become somewhat fraught on busy popular vacation weekends.

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 14:24:29 UTC

EMCs Joe Tucci on the Cloud and Big Data

Posted By James Hamilton

Last night EMC Chief Executive Joe Tucci laid out his view of where the information processing world is going over the next decade and where EMC will focus.  His primary point was cloud computing is the future and big data is the killer app for the cloud. He laid out the history of big transitions in our industry and argued the big discontinuities were always driven by a killer application. He sees the cloud as the next big and important transition for our industry.   This talk was presented as part of the University of Washington Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 11:25:43 UTC

Random Passwords in the Wild

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting analysis: the hacktivist group Anonymous hacked into several BART servers. They leaked part of a database of users from myBART, a website which provides frequent BART riders with email updates about activities near BART stations. An interesting aspect of the leak is that 1,346 of the 2,002 accounts seem to have randomly-generated passwords-a rare opportunity to study this approach...

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 05:00:00 UTC

Tom @ Triangle InfoSeCon, Raleigh NC, Oct 20, 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I'll be keynoting the conference with a talk called, "You Suck At Time Management (but it ain't your fault!)" For information: http://raleigh.issa.org/conference.html

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Leaf Girl

Posted By Tim Bray

We were strolling our neighborhood, I encumbered by a camera, she by her age, currently 5. Shes been advised by her Goddess-like teacher to watch out for fall things. Girl: Daddy, a leaf that fell! Dad: Hold it up and Ill take a picture. Lots more where that came from (Im talking about the leaf). There are focus problems. There are blown-out-sensor problems. I dont care.

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 16:05:34 UTC

New Malware: Duqu

Posted By Bruce Schneier

A newly discovered piece of malware, Duqu, seems to be a precursor to the next Stuxnet-like worm and uses some of the same techniques as the original....

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

ICS and the New Nexus

Posted By Tim Bray

Ive been carrying the Nexus Galaxy (lets say NG for short) around for weeks, watching Android 4/Ice Cream Sandwich (lets say ICS) come together. Its a pretty nice phone. Size matters. But software matters more. tl;dr The best thing about the device is the new Android release. The best thing about the new Android release is the apps: Gmail, Calendar, and so on. The second-best thing is the screen. The big debating point is the size. Hard to Photograph Featureless black rectangles, I mean; give me pretty flowers or Japanese rock bands any day. I totally failed to take a worthwhile shot of the phone, so heres Plan B: a Nexus S, the NG, an original 7" Galaxy Tab, and a Moto Xoom, all lined up on a shiny black piano.

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 11:34:53 UTC

Discovering What Facebook Knows About You

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Things are getting interesting in Europe: Max is a 24 year old law student from Vienna with a flair for the interview and plenty of smarts about both technology and legal issues. In Europe there is a requirement that entities with data about individuals make it available to them if they request it. That's how Max ended up with a...

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 00:12:55 UTC

Backup pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

As if that wasn't enough, my weekly backup yesterday failed: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/14) /var/tmp 39 -> mount /backups mount: /backups: Device not configured The device node was there, of course, which in FreeBSD (with devfs) means that it has been detected. And I was able to look at it, but it still claimed not configured: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/14) /var/tmp 41 -> bsdlabel da0s1 # /dev/da0s1: 8 partitions: #        size   offset    fstype   [fsize bsize bps/cpg]   c: 1953520002        0    unused        0     0         # "raw" part, don't edit   d: 1953520002        0    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28552 === root@dereel (/dev/pts/14) /var/tmp 42 ...

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 00:07:13 UTC

Still more teevee pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the course of the morning, discovered I couldn't access teeveeagain! Brought it into the office and recovered things and watched it for a while. No particular problems. But I've changed everything except the memory, so swapped that too with Yvonne's computer. We'll keep an eye on it, but so far there have been no further crashes. There's another irritating thing with teevee: since the new motherboard, I no longer get remote syslog messages. They're very useful if something crashes, and the only way I saw the disk errors last week. Why did they stop? Did a lot of playing around and discovered that it would work if I restarted syslogd (newsyslog wasn't enough).

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 22:52:53 UTC

Nickel-Zinc batteries: first impressions

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally my Nickel-Zinc batteries have arrived. I bought them nearly 3 weeks ago, and received the confirmation: Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2011 18:32:59 -0700 (GMT-07:00) From: eBay <ebay@ebay.com> Your item(s) has been shipped out from Hong Kong today: 1807051126501 8 AA NiZn Rechargeable Battery + Charger PowerGenix New Why so long? The envelope explains: That's a delay of nearly 2 weeks. And the voltage?

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 11:12:32 UTC

Criminal Uses of Crowdsourcing

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting article....

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:48:34 UTC

Adult content filters cant replace good parenting

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:48:26 UTC

UK media swallowed the adult content filter line

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Guardian column, "Adult content filters can't replace good parenting," is a critique of the media coverage of Britain's new national "adult content" filter. The reporting on this story all led with uncritical repetition of the government's line that this would block "all adult content" -- nevermind that no two people agree on a … [Read more]

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 01:12:19 UTC

Your First C Program

Posted By Herb Sutter

As a tribute in honor of Dennis Ritchies passing, Id like to invite you to share your thoughts in this posts comments about your first C program  either the code if you remember it approximately, or a story about when you wrote it. Heres mine. I wrote my first C program in 1988 as [...]

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 01:12:19 UTC

Your First C Program

Posted By Herb Sutter

As a tribute in honor of Dennis Ritchies passing, Id like to invite you to share your thoughts in this posts comments about your first C program  either the code if you remember it approximately, or a story about when you wrote it. Heres mine. I wrote my first C program in 1988 as [...]

Sun, 16 Oct 2011 23:33:34 UTC

More teevee pain?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While watching TV in the evening, teevee froze again. I've replaced everything except the memory, which I had tested separately. Is it really the memory? Or something on the disk? The latter seems unlikely, since I wasn't using it. To be observed.

Sun, 16 Oct 2011 23:01:19 UTC

Open source class assignment

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Yeardley over this afternoon to talk about installing FreeBSD on her new laptop. She has a class assignment to contribute to some open source project, and of course I encouraged her to do it with FreeBSD. Chris isn't ready yet to take the plunge and install the ultimate anti-virus, FreeBSD alone on the disk. So how do you install FreeBSD as one boot option on a laptop? Well, I wrote the book, but that was years ago, and in general I don't do dual boot.

Sat, 15 Oct 2011 23:49:13 UTC

Ironing out the wrinkles in teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

So teevee is working well enough with the new hardware, it seems. But I still don't have the gigabit Ethernet running. Did a little investigation, and it seems that FreeBSD doesn't believe that the chip set can do gigabit Ethernet: nfe0: <NVIDIA nForce MCP61 Networking Adapter> port 0xd480-0xd487 mem 0xfaefd000-0xfaefdfff irq 20 at device 7.0 on pci0 miibus0: <MII bus> on nfe0 rlphy0: <RTL8201L 10/100 media interface> PHY 0 on miibus0 rlphy0:  10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 10baseT-FDX-flow, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, 100baseTX-FDX-flow, auto, auto-flow According to the motherboard instructions, though, it should do gigabit: It wasn't until I checked the specs, though, that the truth came out: Asrock make two very similar motherboards, the N68-VGS3 and ...

Sat, 15 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Autumnals

Posted By Tim Bray

A bright weekend day in mid-October doesnt happen so often in Vancouver that you can ignore it. So I took my little daughter out for a bike ride; as in, she rode, I walked along with my camera in one hand, the other ready for a quick grab for when she teetered. The remaining flowers are in harbinger-of-winter mode, but still worth looking at. I used to call these California poppies. My readers informed me sharply that they were actually Iceland poppies, but Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, who is authoritative on these issues, apparently settled the issue; theyre Welsh poppies. Anyhow, most of em are dead and gone; but not this one.

Sat, 15 Oct 2011 01:54:03 UTC

Temporary Post Used For Theme Detection (a49628b6-b764-40c5-b98c-98945ca89832  3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7)

Posted By Herb Sutter

This is a temporary post that was not deleted. Please delete this manually. (dc9f99c7-a6c2-4390-9891-b4562fbfb071 – 3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7) Filed under: Uncategorized

Sat, 15 Oct 2011 00:34:49 UTC

Dennis Ritchie's legacy

Posted By Greg Lehey

The accolades for dmr are pouring in, as well they should. Today I had my moment of glory with the postponed interview on ABC 702 Sydney radio, and of course they asked me about Dennis' importance. How do you answer that, especially to an audience of people with no particular computer background? Yes, I mentioned Unix, I mentioned C, like everybody does. But for me, the outstanding legacy of Unix is the file system, or at least the underlying concepts. It's such a masterpiece of simplicity, clarity and power. And nobody really seems to appreciate it. Certainly those who came after didn't understand the concept of a directory, or they would never have come up with this silly word folder.

Sat, 15 Oct 2011 00:19:19 UTC

New teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back home, put together the new machine. This time the processor is really a Sempron LE-145 and not the Athlon II that I got last time. You couldn't tell from the packaging. Here the chip of two months ago, then today's: Brought the machine up, ran fsck andit hung in exactly the same way as it did last night. Further investigation showed that it was the old soft updates bug with background fsck.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 23:59:22 UTC

MSY: strangling their outlets?

Posted By Greg Lehey

At MSY in Geelong, discovered a very poor selection of hardware. In the end bought a AsRock N68VS3 motherboard, a Sempron LE-145, exactly the same components that I bought two months ago. Also a power supply for $48, more than either the processor or the motherboard. Why so expensive? That's all that the branch can get. According to the pricelist, they have at least 12 cheaper suitable power supplies, starting at $17. But the Geelong branch can't get them. And even if customers order in advance, they don't get delivered. I sensed a bit of frustration from the salesman. MSY makes their money by being cheaper.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 23:51:13 UTC

To Geelong for hardware

Posted By Greg Lehey

Did some further tests on teevee this morning, and got it to a point where it wouldn't get through the POST with nothing connected to the motherboard. There was an extraordinary amount of dust in the heat sink, so blew that out with compressed airfinally an impressive cloud of dustbut how did it get in there in only two months? Checked the memory and the display card in Yvonne's computer, and they were both OK. So: processor, motherboard or power supply. Dragged out the receipt for the hardware, was about to put the machine with assembled motherboard into the car when it dawned on me.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 21:07:24 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Prehistoric Sentient SquidOr Not

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There's big news in the world of giant squid: Researchers initially thought that this strange grouping of 45-foot-long marine reptiles had either died en masse from a poisonous plankton bloom or had become stranded in shallow water. But recent geological analysis of the fossil site indicates that the park was deep underwater when these shonisaurs swam the prehistoric seas. So...

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 17:34:10 UTC

Burglars Tip Off Police About Bigger Crime

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I find this fascinating: A central California man has been arrested for possession of child pornography, thanks to a tip from burglars who robbed the man's property, authorities said. I am reminded of the UK story of a burglar finding some military secrets on a laptop -- or perhaps a USB drive -- that he stole, and returning them with...

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 16:19:09 UTC

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: a chapbook in PM Presss Outspoken Authors series

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I've just put up the site for my latest book, a slim chapbook in PM Press's Outspoken Authors series called The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. The book contains a novella ("There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your Life"), an essay on futurism, the transcript of a lecture on copyright and … [Read more]

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 11:38:20 UTC

Weird World War II Security Puzzle

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Read this. Anyone have any ideas?...

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 05:00:00 UTC

Tom @ Scalability (Server Fault), San Francisco, CA, October 14, 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Scalability, brought to you by Server Fault and High Scalability, have invited me to speak on the topic of "Ganeti Virtualization Management: Improving the Utilization of Your Hardware and Your Time". Info about Scalability 2011: http://scalability.serverfault.com

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 23:37:04 UTC

2000 Interview: Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup, and James Gosling

Posted By Herb Sutter

  Dennis Ritchie gave very few interviews, but I was lucky enough to be able to get one of them. Back in 2000, when I was editor of C++ Report, I interviewed the creators of C, C++, and Java all together: The C Family of Languages: Interview with Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup, and James Gosling [...]

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 23:37:04 UTC

2000 Interview: Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup, and James Gosling

Posted By Herb Sutter

Dennis Ritchie gave very few interviews, but I was lucky enough to be able to get one of them. Back in 2000, when I was editor of C++ Report, I interviewed the creators of C, C++, and Java all together: The C Family of Languages: Interview with Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup, and James Gosling This [...]

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 22:08:58 UTC

Death of teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

I wasn't kept idle during that time. Started watching TV, and then found something extraordinary: A SIGSEGV out of ls looks highly suspicious. At the same time, I got repeated reports on the (remote) system log: Oct 13 19:36:33 teevee kernel: ad4: FAILURE - READ_DMA48 status=71<READY,DMA_READY,DSC,ERROR> error=4<ABORTED> LBA=816716546 Oct 13 19:36:33 teevee syslogd: /var/log/messages: Input/output error Oct 13 19:36:33 teevee kernel: g_vfs_done():ad4p5[READ(offset=364471697408, length=131072)]error = 5 Shortly after that, the system froze and I wasn't able to reboot.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 22:00:10 UTC

dmr interview

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Susan Atkinson of ABC 702 Sydney radio, asking if I would do an interview about the death of dmr on this evening's Evenings program with Robbie Buck. It seems that she found me by quite a roundabout way: for some reason they rang UniSA and were connected with Ben Close, who put them on to me. Nothing to do with the messages I sent to various newspapers. Evenings runs from 19:200 to 22:00, and my part was at 21:30, but at the last minuteapparently after announcing the interviewthey postponed.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 21:18:16 UTC

Dennis Ritchie

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Dennis Ritchie has died after a long illness. He was 70; two years younger than when my own father died. When I joined Bell Labs in 1994 I was very excited that I would be on the sysadmin team that served computer scientists such as Dennis Ritchie. Many of my favorite textbooks were written by people that would now be my users. On my first day, however, I was told that I shouldn't ask Dennis, or anyone, to autograph a book: they didn't like that. This was disappointing. I had many books I had hoped to get autographed. None more than my original copy of The C Programming Language, also known as "The K&R Book".

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Photos of Wata of Boris

Posted By Tim Bray

I cant remember how I first heard Boris, but I fell in love right away. Theyre from Japan and play very loud, very deep, very beautiful music; some of it on Tuesday evening in Vancouver, and I was there. Boris is a trio: Atsuo on drums and vocals, Takeshi on guitars and vocals, and Wata on guitars, keyboard, and vocals; their anomalously-nonmononymic friend Michio Kurihara contributes guiar on recordings and tour. Back Story What happened was, on G+ I posted about how much I loved Boris recent Attention Please and Trevor Bramble posted back You realize theyre coming to Vancouver? Thanks Trevor!

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 15:08:10 UTC

Microsoft Announces Open Source based Cloud Service

Posted By James Hamilton

We see press releases go by all the time and most of them deserve the yawn they get. But, one caught my interest yesterday. At the PASS Summit conference Microsoft Vice President Ted Kummert announced that Microsoft will be offering a big data solution based upon Hadoop as part of SQL Azure. From the Microsoft press release, Kummert also announced new investments to help customers manage big data, including an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure and a strategic partnership with Hortonworks Inc.   Clearly this is a major win for the early startup Hortonworks.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 11:03:47 UTC

Official Malware from the German Police

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The Chaos Computer Club has disassembled and analyzed the Trojan used by the German police for legal intercept. In its default mode, it takes regular screenshots of the active window and sends it to the police. It encrypts data in AES Electronic Codebook mode with -- are you ready? -- a fixed key across all versions. There's no authentication built...

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 05:24:49 UTC

Dennis Ritchie

Posted By Herb Sutter

What a sad week. Rob Pike reports that Dennis Ritchie also has passed away. Ritchie was one of the pioneers of computer science, and a well-deserved Turing winner for his many contributions, notably the creation of C — by far the most influential programming language in history, and still going strong today. Aside: Speaking of [...]

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 05:24:49 UTC

Dennis Ritchie

Posted By Herb Sutter

What a sad week. Rob Pike reports that Dennis Ritchie also has passed away. Ritchie was one of the pioneers of computer science, and a well-deserved Turing winner for his many contributions, notably the creation of C — by far the most influential programming language in history, and still going strong today. Aside: Speaking of [...]

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 02:41:38 UTC

Goodbye dmra real giant of the computer world

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've made a number of comments about the recent death of Steve Jobs, and expressed my surprise about the personal sadness that many felt. Also the reactions to rms' comments, which my wife Yvonne found so good that she sent him a personal congratulation. But what got me the most was how people claimed that Steve was a technical innovator, a giant. And then today I heard the sad news that Dennis Ritchie died on Sunday. And it has taken the world this long to find out. Rob Pike seems to be the first to have reported it, less than two hours ago if I interpret Google's time-zone-less time specifications correctly.

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 23:45:18 UTC

More network problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

While working on the HTTP redirect stuff, noticed a significant drop in network performance: the modem was stuck in UMTS mode again. Again popping the modem fixed it, but it's getting irritating.

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 23:05:11 UTC

Outsmarting web crawlers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Stephen Rothwell and more recently Martin Schwenke have been complaining about the number of hits I get on our communal web server. One of the big issues are the web crawlers that index this diary in particular. The images are the issue: each image contains a link to a different sized version of the same image, which might look like http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-oct2011.php?imagesizes=11111111111112#Photo-13. That indicates that it's the 14th photo on this month's diary, that it should be size 2 (small), and that all before it should be size 1 (tiny). If I follow it, I get a new link to http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-oct2011.php?imagesizes=11111111111113#Photo-13, and so on.

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

DMR, 19412011

Posted By Tim Bray

Some things we now know to be good ideas: Writing operating systems in a compiled machine-independent language Performing file I/O by reading, writing, or overwriting integral numbers of bytes at integral offsets. Creating processes by duplicating existing processes. Null-terminated byte strings. Investing a substantial proportion of programmers time in building tooling to make themselves more productive. When explaining a new programming technique, starting with Hello, world. Its hard to believe that there was a time when any of these werent conventional wisdom, but there was such a time. Unix is composed of more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else Ive seen or am likely to see in my lifetime.

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 11:57:43 UTC

New Attacks on CAPTCHAs

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Nice research: Abstract: We report a novel attack on two CAPTCHAs that have been widely deployed on the Internet, one being Google's home design and the other acquired by Google (i.e. reCAPTCHA). With a minor change, our attack program also works well on the latest ReCAPTCHA version, which uses a new defence mechanism that was unknown to us when we...

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 22:14:16 UTC

Resource problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

While watching TV, tried to look up something on Google, as you do. But this time I got an error message telling me that it wasn't available. Tried my (local) home page, and was told that it didn't exist. Panic time? Into the office, where I found lots of messages like this: Oct 11 19:33:31 dereel kernel: pid 7409 (pbzip2), uid 0 inumber 519112 on /: filesystem full Oct 11 19:33:33 dereel kernel: pid 7454 (pbzip2), uid 0 inumber 519114 on /: filesystem full The processes gave the lie to what had happened: I only use pkbzip2 for backups.

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 21:47:36 UTC

St. Ignucius vs. St. Steven

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm truly amazed by the number people who take the death of Steve Jobs as a personal loss. On Facebook many people have replaced their photo images with a sad Apple face, and acccolades continue to pour in. But many of these are the same people who complained about Apple's predatory behaviour, both against its customers and against its competitors. So many people complained about the locked-down nature of Apples smaller devices. Now rms pitches in, in his typically tactful way, writes (quoting Harold Washington) I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone. Predictably, many Apple fans are up in arms, and a number have quoted this article with the truncated URL by Joe Brockmeier, titled Why FSF Founder Richard Stallman is Wrong on Steve Jobs.

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 00:19:24 UTC

New GPS navigator

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne returned from walking the dog with a small electronic box that she had found in the forest. It proved to be a Navman N196, a model so old that Navman no longer want to know anything about it, not even for map updates (in its turn a good reason to avoid Navman). But it works, and I was able to find a Home POI in the maps. That's in Ballarat, so we'll drive past next time we're in town and see whether it's really theirs. Otherwise Yvonne needs a GPS receiver, so this could do the trick.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 23:01:14 UTC

Testing hugin

Posted By Greg Lehey

I finished my amd64 build of the latest version of hugin yesterday, and was going to send it to Cartola when I remembered the old joke It builds! Ship it!. Guilty as charged. So I tried it out: === grog@defake (/dev/pts/1) ~ 1 -> hugin The program 'hugin' received an X Window System error. This probably reflects a bug in the program. The error was 'BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation)'.   (Details: serial 233 error_code 2 request_code 142 minor_code 3)   (Note to programmers: normally, X errors are reported asynchronously;    that is, you will receive the error a while after causing it.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:48:27 UTC

ISO C++11 Published

Posted By Herb Sutter

ISO has now published the new C++11 standard and issued a press release: English here, French here. Thanks again to everyone who made this happen, most especially Bjarne Stroustrup, who not only invented the language three decades ago, but as Evolution Working Group subgroup chair continues to be an active guiding force in its continued evolution. [...]

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:48:27 UTC

ISO C++11 Published

Posted By Herb Sutter

ISO has now published the new C++11 standard and issued a press release: English here, French here. Thanks again to everyone who made this happen, most especially Bjarne Stroustrup, who not only invented the language three decades ago, but as Evolution Working Group subgroup chair continues to be an active guiding force in its continued evolution. [...]

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Occupying Wall Street

Posted By Tim Bray

Like many people around the world, Ive found the nascent Occupy Wall Street (OWS) action attention-grabbing and thought-provoking. The link in the previous sentence is to their own site run out of that park in lower Manhattan. Way back in the same week that I launched this blog, I argued that the chief virtue of Democracy isnt that the population can be trusted to pick the right policies (we cant) nor even to pick the right people (check out recent history). But the general public can reliably be trusted to detect the condition where they are being badly ruled: Oppressed, robbed, cheated, or otherwise abused.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 14:52:41 UTC

Saying Information Wants to Be Free Does More Harm Than Good

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's a reading of my essay Saying Information Wants to Be Free Does More Harm Than Good, just reprinted in my second essay collection Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century. Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckstudio@gmail.com John Taylor Williams is a full-time self-employed audio engineer, producer, composer, … [Read more]

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 11:38:22 UTC

U.S. Drones Have a Computer Virus

Posted By Bruce Schneier

You'd think we would be more careful than this: A computer virus has infected the cockpits of Americas Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones. [...] "We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back," says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told...

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 22:51:50 UTC

Hugin on FreeBSD amd64

Posted By Greg Lehey

Compiling hugin on FreeBSD is currently a minefield. The latest version has removed one of the dependencies, tclap. While that's almost certainly the correct thing to do, FreeBSD currently doesn't have a tclap port, and I don't particularly feel like making one. So I had to replace the bits in the build tree. The problem there is that a make clean removes it all again, so it's very fragile. In addition, Cartola had asked for a binary for amd64, which I'm still not running on dereel, so brought out the old teevee, the one with the Ethernet interface damaged by a power surge three months ago.

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 14:40:38 UTC

Book news: Rapture of the Nerds and Little Brother II

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Two bits of glad tidings: first, Charlie Stross announces that we've turned in the manuscript for our collaborative, post-Singularity comic novel Rapture of the Nerds; second, my agent Russ Galen has sold Homeland, the sequel to my 2008 novel Little Brother, to Tor, in "a significant deal."

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 23:33:30 UTC

Backup causes system crash

Posted By Greg Lehey

After processing my photos, backed up to the USB disk. More problems. After some time of backing up, got a lot of these: Oct  8 16:02:24 lagoon kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): AutoSense failed Oct  8 16:02:24 lagoon kernel: g_vfs_done():da0p1[WRITE(offset=1802329030656, length=131072)]error = 5 Oct  8 16:02:24 lagoon kernel: g_vfs_done():da0p1[WRITE(offset=1802329161728, length=131072)]error = 5 Yes, those enormous offsets are valid: they're just shy of the 2 TB size of the disk. But that proved fatal. lagoon crashed completely. fsck workedit thinks. I really need to get my eSATA interface working.

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 23:28:01 UTC

Another net outage

Posted By Greg Lehey

Once again I've been disconnected from the net. It's standard procedure now to pull the modem out of the USB slot (more carefully than last time) and replace it. And today that worked. How I hate flaky USB devices!

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 23:01:43 UTC

More panorama experiments

Posted By Greg Lehey

More investigation of Qt's qmake today. The manual states: The following is a list of environment variables available to choose from when setting QMAKESPEC: aix-64 hpux-cc irix-032 netbsd-g++ solaris-cc unixware7-g++ aix-g++ hpux-g++ linux-cxx openbsd-g++ solaris-g++ win32-borland aix-xlc hpux-n64 linux-g++ openunix-cc sunos-g++ win32-g++ bsdi-g++ hpux-o64 linux-icc qnx-g++ tru64-cxx win32-msvc dgux-g++ hurd-g++ linux-kcc reliant-64 tru64-g++ win32-watc freebsd-g++ irix-64 macx-pbuilder reliant-cds ultrix-g++ win32-visa hpux-acc irix-g++ macx-g++ sco-g++ unixware-g hpux-acc irix-n32 solaris-64 unixware7-cc The environment variable should be set to qws/envvar where envvar is one of the following: linux-arm-g++ linux-generic-g++ linux-mips-g++ linux-x86-g++ linux-freebsd-g++ linux-ipaq-g++ linux-solaris-g++ qnx-rtp-g++ It doesn't say so, but it looks as if for FreeBSD I need to set QMAKESPEC to freebsd-g++.

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 05:00:00 UTC

Tom @ The Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA, October 8-9, 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I'll be a featured speaker at PPW with the topic "What Perl sysadmins wish Perl developers knew, and ($a,$b) = ($b,$a) ". Info about PPW 2011: http://pghpw.org/ppw2011 (and follow on Twitter)

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 01:22:14 UTC

More panorama software

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been in contact with Cartola (Carlos Carvalho), who is very active in panorama photography, especially 360° panoramas. He was (probably rightly) surprised that I didn't have any web-based software for interactive display of my panoramas, and pointed me to a couple of programs that help: Salado Player and Panini. While searching, came across another, krpano. Decided to take a look today. None are in the FreeBSD Ports Collection, so the first step was to build them. krpano proved to be a dead loss: it's commercial software. That in itself wouldn't be reason for rejection, but it's not available for FreeBSD.

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 00:46:04 UTC

Compressed air cleaning

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've established that Yvonne's camera problems were due to dust, and I suspected that the old camera had the same problem. I'm also wondering if the spontaneous shutdowns on pain, my Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop, were not due to overheating because of dust buildup. To the garage with both camera and laptop and tried blowing compressed air through them. Nothing very exciting happened. The camera works most of the time, but it did give up on focusing on one occasion and had to be power cycledwhich presumably could dislodge dustand the amount of dust that came out of the laptop doesn't suggest that it was a problem.

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 00:45:45 UTC

Why no container-based algorithms?

Posted By Herb Sutter

A few minutes ago, a colleague on another team asked: I really enjoyed your talk on Modern C++ from the Build conference, and have a quick question: Could there be a simpler syntax  something like: foreach(collection, lambda_function) // or some other syntactic name for foreach which would expand to for_each(begin(collection), end(collection), lambda_function) Same for find_if, [...]

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 00:45:45 UTC

Why no container-based algorithms?

Posted By Herb Sutter

A few minutes ago, a colleague on another team asked: I really enjoyed your talk on Modern C++ from the Build conference, and have a quick question: Could there be a simpler syntax  something like: foreach(collection, lambda_function) // or some other syntactic name for foreach which would expand to for_each(begin(collection), end(collection), lambda_function) Same for [...]

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 21:51:11 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Hundreds of Squid Wash Up on Southern California Beaches

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Humboldt squid are washing up on beaches across Southern California. Seems like it's no big deal; the squid just swam too close to shore....

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 19:24:13 UTC

WordPress.com expertise

Posted By Herb Sutter

I’m generally satisfied with the look and feel of this blog, but would like to tweak it in a few small ways to get a cleaner look, nicer formatting for code examples, and such. If you or someone you know is familiar with WordPress.com blog customization, and is interested in a small project along these [...]

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 19:24:13 UTC

WordPress.com expertise

Posted By Herb Sutter

I’m generally satisfied with the look and feel of this blog, but would like to tweak it in a few small ways to get a cleaner look, nicer formatting for code examples, and such. If you or someone you know is familiar with WordPress.com blog customization, and is interested in a small project along these [...]

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 19:09:57 UTC

Steve Jobs Lessons for Software and Systems Engineering

Posted By Robert V. Binder

Steve Jobs’ genius was in conceptualizing unique interfaces and packaging that resonated very deeply for large numbers of customers, and in the second half of his career, combining this with a business and operational model that generated huge returns to … Continue reading →

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 19:09:57 UTC

Steve Jobs Lessons for Software and Systems Engineering

Posted By Robert V. Binder

Steve Jobs’ genius was in conceptualizing unique interfaces and packaging that resonated very deeply for large numbers of customers, and in the second half of his career, combining this with a business and operational model that generated huge returns to … Continue reading →

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Two From Mexico City

Posted By Tim Bray

I was sorting through back photos and ran across a couple I wanted to share; they have nothing in common aside from having been taken in Mexico City when I was there in August. Just a street scene. The streets are pleasingly busy and bustling; one feels alive there. This was in the little guardhouse at the gates to the big race-course, Hipódromo Cuauhtémoc is its full name.

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 18:11:05 UTC

Security Seals on Voting Machines

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Related to this blog post from Wednesday, here's a paper that looks at security seals on voting machines. Andrew W. Appel, "Security Seals on Voting Machines: A Case Study," ACM Transactions on Information and System Security, 14 (2011): 129. Abstract: Tamper-evident seals are used by many states' election officials on voting machines and ballot boxes, either to protect the computer...

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 11:26:38 UTC

Dilbert on Security Standards

Posted By Bruce Schneier

So true (the predecessor)....

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 11:01:56 UTC

FBI-Sponsored Backdoors

Posted By Bruce Schneier

From a review of Susan Landau's Surveillance or Security?: To catch up with the new technologies of malfeasance, FBI director Robert Mueller traveled to Silicon Valley last November to persuade technology companies to build "backdoors" into their products. If Muellers wish were granted, the FBI would gain undetected real-time access to suspects Skype calls, Facebook chats, and other online communications­and...

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 21:50:11 UTC

Goodbye Steve

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that everybody in the world is commenting on the death of Steve Jobs. Yes, it's sad, to me especially since he was considerably younger than I am. But some of the accolades I've seen tend to confirm the opinions I voiced a couple of months ago: the computer industry is no longer technology-driven but market-driven. Steve Jobs managed to market things that others had failed to do. He made a cult out of mobile phones, something that was beginning to stagnate. He brought out business models with things like iTunes, really a front end for the iTunes Store, something that upsets both free software advocates and people like me who just want a program that doesn't tell you how to live your life.

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

RAV4

Posted By Tim Bray

Im not a car guy particularly, but when one saves your life you have to take notice. Well, and dumb luck; but the car didnt get in the way. What happened was, Hertz screwed up and made me stand in line at midnight so by way of compensation, instead of the normal Google econobox (of which I approve) Stall 839 contained a brand-spanking-new shiny white compact crossover SUV. I loathe sports utes in principle and practice but was too tired to go back and demand something smaller. But then I started to like it right away. It has that nimble lightweight feel that so few cars at any price do, plus tons of room and outstanding visibility.

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:16:31 UTC

Steve Jobs

Posted By Herb Sutter

Today our industry is much less than it was yesterday. We have lost one of the great inventors. Even more importantly, Steve Jobs’ family has lost a husband and brother and father, and our thoughts are with them. What can be said that hasn’t been said? Steve has been arguably the single most influential driver [...]

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:16:31 UTC

Steve Jobs

Posted By Herb Sutter

Today our industry is much less than it was yesterday. We have lost one of the great innovators. Even more importantly, Steve Jobs’ family has lost a husband and brother and father, and our thoughts are with them. What can be said that hasn’t been said? Steve has been arguably the single most influential driver [...]

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 01:39:29 UTC

We lost a Giant

Posted By James Hamilton

Earlier today we lost one of the giants of technology. Steve Jobs was one of most creative, demanding, brilliant, hard-driving, and innovative leaders in the entire industry. He has created new business areas, introduced new business models, brought companies back from the dead, and fundamentally changed how the world as a whole interacts with computers. He was a visionary of staggering proportions with an unusual gift in his ability to communicate a vision and also the drive to seek perfection in the execution of his ideas. We lost a giant today.

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 00:38:25 UTC

Status Report: Liars and Outliers

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Last weekend, I completely reframed the book. I realized that the book isn't about security. It's about trust. I'm writing about how society induces people to behave in the group interest instead of some competing personal interest. It's obvious that society needs to do this; otherwise, it can never solve collective action problems. And as a social species, we have...

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 23:36:21 UTC

Firefox: starting profiles again from scratch

Posted By Greg Lehey

My firefox configuration is the result of years of bumbling, made easier by the lack of documentation and clear migration paths. Lately I've noted that the size of headings has changed, for no apparent reason. And then Jashank Jeremy told me about the awesome bar on the new firefox, something that I don't have. Do I want it? The name sounds so stupid that it's reason enough not to use it. But it occurred to me that maybe I'm missing out on something useful too. So how about starting reconfiguring it from scratch? Did that, with a new profile called Cold-turkey, and in deviation from firefox's obfuscatory directory names (can you remember 7v0n6ir5.Default User, with a space in it?)

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 23:20:27 UTC

Another net outage

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had pretty good network connectivity over the last few months, but today I ran into more trouble: the modem went into UMTS mode and stayed there even when I was trying to download large quantities of data. We've seen that before. It seems to need physical removal and replacement of the modem in the USB connector. Did that, didn't get connected until the third attempt, and it dropped the connection immediately. Further investigation showed that the antenna connector had become dislodged.

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Steves Legacy

Posted By Tim Bray

What were the Really Big Things? Proving that user experience matters more than anything else in computer-based consumer products. Even more: that it matters more than everything else put together. Building polished, world-beating products on a foundation of open-source software. Bringing industrial-design values to the center of a traditionally specs-obsessed consumer-electronics universe. Breaking the telephone companies stranglehold on the world of mobile-device software. Breaking the media companies stranglehold on the world of retailing music and, well, anything whose value can be captured in a collection of bits. (Where by achievements I mean things that quite possibly wouldnt have happened at least for a while without his contribution.

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Upcoming Gigs

Posted By Tim Bray

I think this counts as a travel-planning Personal Worst. In November, Im committing speechification in Tokyo, Shanghai, Broomfield, and Antwerp. To be precise: Google Developer Day Tokyo, Nov 1. Google Developer Day Shanghai, Nov 4th. Defrag 2011, Broomfield, Colorado, Nov 9th. Devoxx, Antwerp, Nov. 15th and 17th. Buy airline shares. I shudder to think of the carbon load. But hey, if youre going to be in one of those places, drop on by and say hello.

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 11:58:17 UTC

Insider Attack Against Diebold Voting Machines

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is both news and not news: Indeed, the Argonne team's attack required no modification, reprogramming, or even knowledge, of the voting machine's proprietary source code. It was carried out by inserting a piece of inexpensive "alien electronics" into the machine. It's not news because we already know that if you have access to the internals of a voting machine,...

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 00:08:16 UTC

Panasonic: we don't do digital cameras

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finding a definitive link to the DMC-FT1 proved almost impossible. Even Google couldn't help on the Panasonic web site. Finally ended up at a page that tells me: That's with no restriction on the search. What a broken site! And of course their lists of digital cameras show only current models. Finally tried their support pages, but even there I couldn't find it. Maybe this is a perspective-dependent model number, like Canon's: it differs depending on where you look at it from.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 23:48:30 UTC

To the Friends again

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens have a problem: their printer isn't working. And I have taken it upon myself to look after their computer stuff, though it's all old Microsoft-space stuff. Spent the morning preparing: collecting seedlings for Hebes and Betula pendula. Into town, got rid of my seedlings, and to look at the printer: Presumably you don't need to be a computer expert to see that the thing is out of ink. And for that I came into town.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 18:29:09 UTC

Security Cartoon

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Nice cartoon on the problems of content filtering....

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 11:31:01 UTC

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Posted By Bruce Schneier

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. The website has some sample things you can do to to celebrate, but they're all pretty boring. Surely we can do better. Post your suggestions in comments....

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 23:50:14 UTC

More Hugin building

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've heard from Carlos Eduardo G. Carvalho, better known as Cartola, who's very active on the panorama scene. He's also yet another FreeBSD user in the Hugin communityall the more surprising that the latest version doesn't build under FreeBSD. Spent some time looking at the instructions that I had put up on the Panotools wiki. They're completely wrong. And despite the volume of this diary, I didn't describe the method in sufficient detail when I did it.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 18:20:09 UTC

Isaac Asimov on Security Theater

Posted By Bruce Schneier

A great find: In his 1956 short story, "Let's Get Together," Isaac Asimov describes security measures proposed to counter a terrorist threat: "Consider further that this news will leak out as more and more people become involved in our countermeasures and more and more people begin to guess what we're doing. Then what? The panic might do us more harm...

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 14:55:37 UTC

Jack and the Internetstalk, from Context

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's a reading of my essay Jack and the Internetstalk, just reprinted in my second essay collection Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century. Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckstudio@gmail.com John Taylor Williams is a full-time self-employed audio engineer, producer, composer, and sound designer. In his free time, … [Read more]

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 11:35:25 UTC

HTC Android Vulnerability

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Custom HTC firmware breaks standard permissions and allows rogue apps to access location, address book, and account info without authorization....

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 10:18:36 UTC

Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century, my second essay collection, is now officially available from Tachyon Books, and in finer bookstores everywhere. It features an introduction by the estimable Tim O'Reilly, as well as a walloping 44 essays that were previously published in various magazines, newspapers and … [Read more]

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 23:15:44 UTC

Microsoft making life difficult

Posted By Greg Lehey

As I've noted on many occasions, I don't have a completely functional laptop. I must have about 7 of them, but the most recent is 6 years old, and only two seem marginally functional: the Dell Inspiron 5100 which seems to be shutting down more and more frequently, and the Inspiron 1150 with the dead USB bus. Currently only the 5100 has a functional disk. But for things like visiting the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens I don't need USB: I can just move the disk from the 5100 to the 1150. Tried that, and FreeBSD came up with almost no problems.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Wallpaper Candidates

Posted By Tim Bray

I have a nice photo on my Mac desktop, but I never see it because its always covered with windows. I see my Android-device wallpaper all the time though, because Im always hitting the Home button. I think this pattern is general and thus mobile is more interesting than desktop on the wallpaper front. Recently, Romain Guy posted a collection of 100 of his photos he uses for wallpapers. Many of them are exquisite; go look. I liked the idea so I made a bunch of themed collections for the same purpose. While I selected things that I thought might work well, I havent actually tried them all.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 00:42:24 UTC

We're too lame for reverse lookup

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Yeardley is flying to Queensland with Tiger Airways, an el-cheapo subsidiary of Singapore's el-cheapo airline of the same name. It's so el-cheapo that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority suspended their license for 5 weeks earlier this year due to safety concerns. Presumably they're now satisfied of their safety, but there seem to be other issues. It seems that you need to get your ticket by email and print it out yourself (or, presumably, find another method that costs more). Chris tried that, but the ticket didn't come through: Oct  1 07:23:13 w3 postfix/smtpd[35444]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[202.172.235.32]: 450 4.7.1 Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname, [202.172.235.32]; from=<itinerary@tigerairwaysnews.com> to=<cyeardley@narrawin.com> proto=ESMTP helo=<crsmail1.tigerairways.com> Oct  1 07:23:37 w3 postfix/smtpd[35453]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[202.172.235.32]: 450 4.7.1 Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname, [202.172.235.32]; from=<itinerary@tigerairwaysnews.com> to=<cyeardley@narrawin.com> proto=ESMTP helo=<crsmail1.tigerairways.com> ...

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 00:33:47 UTC

A new organ

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne discovered an electronic organ on Freecycle the other day, and yesterday the owner called up to say we could pick it upin Clunes, 75 km away. Borrowed Chris' Yeardley's Landcruiser and off, not helped by my GPS navigator (or, more accurately, the maps), which are extremely inaccurate in Clunesthe house we were looking for was decades old, but the maps don't know the house number. Found the place anyway, and had no particular difficulty transporting it. Put it in 4, the room opposite the lounge room (3). It's has two manuals of 3 octaves each, the upper with 6 stops, the lower with 3, and a one-octave pedal with two stops: In addition, of course, there are lots of electronic special effects which don't seem to add ...

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 20:32:36 UTC

LOPSA PICC '12 planning meeting kick-off (NY/NY/PA area)

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Interested in helping plan the 2012 PICC conference? Whether you want to take on a big role or just help out in a small way, you are invited to the inaugural conference call. This is the meeting where the Call For Participation and Theme of the conference will be set. For info about the call send email to John BORIS jboris@adphila.org or me tal@whatexit.org Thanks! Tom

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Ideas

Posted By Tim Bray

From time to time, in the course of day-to-day life, we all make stupid, basic errors in cogitation. For example, this morning I was unloading the dishwasher and, with three coffee mugs in one hand, used the other to open the cupboard where the plates and bowls go. I had a moment of complete blankness before I shook my head with the mild annoyance usual on these occasions. Heres what Im wondering: If humans had the kind of minds that never made that kind of mistake, might we also lose the ability to, on occasion, have surprising and wonderful ideas? Which is to say, perhaps innovation emerges in a process like that found in evolution: Random Variation and Natural Selection.

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Theology Lessons

Posted By Tim Bray

I got a package in the mail today from Oxford University Press, containing The Architecture of Theology by Prof. A.N. Williams of Cambridge Universitys Faculty of Divinity. This pleases me intensely. I took the original of that picture on the cover; its the first interior shot in Sagrada Família, a piece here whose name echoes that of the famous Gaudí church in Barcelona. I even got paid for its use. I think there are some useful take-aways. Barcelona February I remember it like yesterday, touristing with Chris Pruett in the hard wind and rain under a bitter grey sky.

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 16:08:59 UTC

Changes in Networking Systems

Posted By James Hamilton

Ive been posting frequently on networking issues with the key point being the market is on the precipice of a massive change. There is a new model emerging. ·         Datacenter Networks are in my way ·         Networking: The Last Bastion of Mainframe Computing   We now have merchant silicon providers for the core Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) that form the core network switches and routers including Broadcom, Fulcrum (recently purchased by Intel), Marvell, Dune (purchased by Broadcom). We have many competing offerings for the control processor that supports the protocol stack including Freescale, Arm, and Intel.