Blog Archive: November 2011

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 22:54:00 UTC

Pain and OED

Posted By Greg Lehey

My copy of the Oxford English Dictionary requires Microsoft to run. And pain, my Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop which ran Microsoft, became very unreliable a while back, so I moved the disk to another Inspiron (1150). FreeBSD ran happily on the new platform, but Microsoft crashed. Presumably this kind of error recovery is in violation of their EULA anyway. So no OED. Since then, I've blown out the cooling channels of the 5100 with compressed air, and on putting the disk back in, things seem to be working again. But where's that CD? I had removed all plug-in components from the laptop, and in the mess in my office, it took a while to find the DVD drive.

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 21:40:17 UTC

Following me on Google Latitude? Please use tal@whatexit.org

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

http://www.google.com/latitude to sign up. It will be particularly fun at LISA to see everyone on the map!

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 18:28:50 UTC

Full Disclosure in Biology

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The debate over full disclosure in computer security has been going on for the better part of two decades now. The stakes are much higher in biology: The virus is an H5N1 avian influenza strain that has been genetically altered and is now easily transmissible between ferrets, the animals that most closely mimic the human response to flu. Scientists believe...

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:57:18 UTC

Bad CIA Operational Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I have no idea if this story about CIA spies in Lebanon is true, and it will almost certainly never be confirmed or denied: But others inside the American intelligence community say sloppy "tradecraft" -- the method of covert operations -- by the CIA is also to blame for the disruption of the vital spy networks. In Beirut, two Hezbollah...

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 00:28:00 UTC

Bootstrapping

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

AndroidZoom, along with just about every other third-party interface to the Android Market out there, provides 2D barcodes which aim to make it easy to install Android applications that you find online on a phone. Maybe this would be a nice feature for F-Droid? Unfortunately, I found this feature when I was trying to help a friend install the (free software) ZXing Barcode Scanner because they wanted to read a 2D barcode.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 23:39:26 UTC

NBN information sessions

Posted By Greg Lehey

Heard from Peter about the planned National Broadband Network installation in Dereel. As he told me, there will be an information session (two, in fact) on 6 December 2011, a week today. That'll be interesting; I wonder how to tame the lunatics. Spoke with Scott Weston and we now have a survey on the dereel.com site, currently showing 100% in favour of the facility.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 20:13:48 UTC

Security Systems as a Marker for High-Value Targets

Posted By Bruce Schneier

If something is protected by heavy security, it's obviously worth stealing. Here's an example from the insect world: Maize plants, like many others, protect themselves with poisons. They pump their roots with highly toxic insecticides called BXDs, which deters hungry mandibles. But these toxins dont come free. The plant needs energy to act as its own pharmacist, so it distributes...

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 13:01:18 UTC

Shopper Surveillance Using Cell Phones

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Electronic surveillance is becoming so easy that even marketers can do it: The cellphone tracking technology, called Footpath, is made by Path Intelligence Ltd., a Portsmouth, U.K.-based company. It uses sensors placed throughout the mall to detect signals from mobile phones and track their path around the mall. The sensors cannot gather phone numbers or other identifying data, or intercept...

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 05:33:55 UTC

Another Place, Another Time

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's a reading of my story "Another Place, Another Time," which was my contribution to The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, a companion volume to Chris Van Allsburg's classic Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a collection of illustrations and titles from a lost (imaginary) short story collection. I was commissioned to produce a story for the collection … [Read more]

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:13:16 UTC

Little Brother II naming rights up for bid

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Fantasy literature doyenne Terri Windling is in the midst of a serious financial and health crisis and her friends are pitching in to run a fundraising auction for her benefit. My contribution: naming rights for a character in the sequel to Little Brother, to be published by Tor Teens in late 2012/early 2013.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 18:55:27 UTC

Spider Webs Contain Ant Poison

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Shichang Zhang, Teck Hui Koh, Wee Khee Seah, Yee Hing Lai, Mark A. Elgar, and Daiqin Li (2011), "A Novel Property of Spider Silk: Chemical Defence Against Ants," Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (full text is behind a paywall). Abstract: Spider webs are made of silk, the properties of which ensure remarkable efficiency at capturing prey. However,...

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 13:26:46 UTC

The DHS Partners with Major League Soccer to Promote Fear

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It seems to be harder and harder to keep people scared: The Departments "If You See Something, Say Something"" partnership with the MLS Cup will feature a "If You See Something, Say Something"" graphic that will aired on the video board during the MLS Cup championship game in Carson City, Calif. Safety messaging will also be printed on the back...

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 02:33:00 UTC

Voice Message of Peace

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

The Community Wellness team at MIT has a program on stress reduction, mindfulness, and relaxation. Among their services is a guided three-minute relaxation exercise recording (available at extension 3-2256 or 617-253-CALM). It's a very relaxing message. At the end of the recording, there's a revealing error where a standard voicemail robo-voice say "no messages are waiting" before you system hangs up on you. Turns out, the MIT wellness folks implemented this using the normal MIT voicemail system. This gave me a thought: What if my voicemail greeting included a guided relaxation message as part of its greeting so that anyone who left a message had the chance to relax a little bit first?

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 00:58:22 UTC

Hello world!

Posted By Jeff Barr

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 20:50:18 UTC

High Availability for Cloud Computing Database Systems

Posted By James Hamilton

While at Microsoft I hosted a weekly talk series called the Enterprise Computing Series (ECS) where I mostly scheduled technical talks on server and high-scale service topics. I said mostly because the series occasionally roamed as far afield as having an ex-member of the Ferrari Formula 1 team present. Client-side topics are also occasionally on the list either because I particularly liked the work or technology behind it or thought it was a broadly relevant topic.   The Enterprise Computing Series has an interesting history. It was started by Jim Gray at Tandem.  Pat Helland picked up the mantle from Jim and ran it for years before Pat moved to Andy Hellers Hal Computer Systems.

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Wrong on the Internet

Posted By Tim Bray

I was lying in bed this Sunday morning, checking the Net before coming downstairs to make scrambled eggs (with mushrooms and snap peas, yum) for the family, and ran across a bit of random snark from Aaron Swartz. Any Sunday morning is improved by a chance to argue about markup languages and how the Web works. Aaron tweeted: @timbray Hey, check this out: http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=8129947 Oh wait, you can't, because you broke Postel's Law. http://yfrog.com/nxalujjj At this point, if you dont know what the argument is about, you can stop reading; itd take a long time to explain, especially what with Mark Pilgrim having taken his toys and gone home.

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 16:54:31 UTC

Using the HP 4470c Scanner Under Windows 7

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

Neither Hewlett Packard nor Microsoft Windows 7 offer native support for my HP 4470c scanner. Throwing a working scanner away to buy a new one only because some software was missing seemed like a waste, so I looked for an alternative solution. This is how I made it work using SANE , an open source framework for scanners.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Misscrolling

Posted By Tim Bray

We expect streams of text to scroll down in our browsers. But almost all of them scroll incorrectly. Figure 1 shows a column of text; the grey bars represent the lines. The blue rectangle shows the area currently visible in your browser. The red line is the last one visible in the current screen, the green one the next one that would be visible were the window a little longer. Figure 1: Before scrolling Figure 2 shows what you expect to happen when youre in this situation and you hit next-page or the space-bar; either option is acceptable. The top line visible in your browser window should be either the red or green line from the previous figure.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 22:27:50 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Cephalopod Art Conference

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There was an interdisciplinary cephalopod art conference earlier this year, in Minneapolis. Videos of the conference are available online. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered....

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 12:06:09 UTC

Android Malware

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The Android platform is where the malware action is: What happens when anyone can develop and publish an application to the Android Market? A 472% increase in Android malware samples since July 2011. These days, it seems all you need is a developer account, that is relatively easy to anonymize, pay $25 and you can post your applications. [...] In...

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Tab Sweep

Posted By Tim Bray

Happy Thanksgiving Americans! If youre the type who browses while full of turkey, here are some postprandial links with no unifying theme whatsoever. The Arts Address is Approximate is fanciful visual poetry built with Street View. Pretty pictures of spider webs. Smart Geeks The excellent Sam Ruby relates his Experience with Git. What Brent said, in Pub Rules. Oh yes my goodness yes. If youre publishing on the Web and youre not doing what Brent says, youre Doing It Wrong. Civics 101 Canadas national broadcaster asks: Should marijuana be legalized in Canada? As many others have noted, mainstream economics reporting is hopelessly broken, which matters a whole lot, because just at the moment economics, which are always important, are more important than usual.

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Snowleaves

Posted By Tim Bray

It snowed last week and, come the weekend, itd stayed cold and dry enough to leave some on the ground. I went out for a walk with my daughter, both of us carrying cameras. The first is by me, the second by the girl, who is almost 5½.

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:39:40 UTC

Creating a Viking Sword

Posted By Niels Provos

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 02:05:09 UTC

C++ Spring: GoingNative, Feb 2-3, 2012

Posted By Herb Sutter

Im very pleased to announce the C++ event of the first half of 2012: GoingNative 2012, to be held on February 2-3 in Redmond, WA, USA. (C++ and Beyond will also be great, but wont be till the second half of the year  and there are other C++ conferences/events coming too. I cant remember [...]

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 02:05:09 UTC

C++ Spring: GoingNative, Feb 2-3, 2012

Posted By Herb Sutter

Im very pleased to announce the C++ event of the first half of 2012: GoingNative 2012, to be held on February 2-3 in Redmond, WA, USA. (C++ and Beyond will also be great, but wont be till the second half of the year  and there are other C++ conferences/events coming too. I cant remember [...]

Wed, 23 Nov 2011 23:56:14 UTC

Disk recovery

Posted By Greg Lehey

Set to to replace the disk involved in yesterday's hardware problems. Fortunately, found a spare 1 TB disk, but of course it was USB. And it wouldn't probe; nothing. After a bit of messing around, discovered that the cable had lost its insides (left cable): Or so it seemed. In fact, the insulation is just black. But for some reason, it no longer makes contact. It's difficult to see whether all the contacts are there or not, but it's also not worth worrying about.

Wed, 23 Nov 2011 17:00:10 UTC

Google booth during LISA, Dec 7-8, 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Google's tech blog posted info about the many things that Google is presenting or doing at Usenix LISA. Beer and ice cream on Thursday night. A "ask an SRE anything" booth in the vendor show. Presenting papers, talks and tutorials and much more! Check it out! http://goo.gl/XXkpK P.S. I'll be at the Google Vendor Booth Wed, noon-1pm.

Wed, 23 Nov 2011 01:06:25 UTC

Usenix LISA hotel discount extended to Nov 28!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

That's right, folks! Book your room today!

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 23:31:13 UTC

Disk crash

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been trying to read these badly scratched DVDs I borrowed from the Geelong Regional Libraries, but teevee couldn't read them. They're borderline, so it's not clear that another reader couldn't read them. Tried in dereel and had disastrous consequences, which don't seem to be related to the attempt: Nov 22 15:04:27 dereel kernel: acd0: FAILURE - REPORT_KEY ILLEGAL REQUEST asc=0x6f ascq=0x04 Nov 22 15:04:27 dereel kernel: acd0: FAILURE - REPORT_KEY ILLEGAL REQUEST asc=0x2c ascq=0x00 Nov 22 15:06:51 dereel kernel: ahcich2: Timeout on slot 17 Nov 22 15:06:51 dereel kernel: ahcich2: is 00000000 cs 00020000 ss 00000000 rs 00020000 tfd 1d0 serr 00000000 Nov 22 15:07:44 dereel kernel: ahcich2: Timeout on slot 10 Nov 22 15:07:44 dereel kernel: ahcich2: is 00000000 cs 00000400 ss 00000000 rs 00000400 tfd 1d0 serr 00000000 Nov 22 15:08:27 dereel kernel: ahcich2: Timeout on slot 31 ...

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 23:16:38 UTC

Command line: older than I thought?

Posted By Greg Lehey

My article on command line yesterday provoked some investigation, and Callum Gibson came up with the sh(1) man page for the First Edition of Unix, dated (presumably) 3 November 1971, conveniently almost exactly 40 years ago. It contains text like: DESCRIPTION      sh is the standard command interpreter. It is the program                  which reads and arranges the execution of the command lines                  typed by most users. It may itself be called as a command                  to interpret files of command lines.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 23:01:32 UTC

Optus Rokewood tower

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the way home went down to see how the Optus Rokewood tower is getting on, in the process picking up the first hitch-hiker I've seen in years: his car had broken down. Optus built the tower almost exactly where I thought it would be 8 months ago, next to the Telstra phone line (though it's not clear what use that it): It's not in service yet, though.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 22:30:47 UTC

NBN comes to Dereel

Posted By Greg Lehey

Phone call from Peter of Daly International today. He was one of the team that visited me on 13 January 2009 to investigate the then proposed Optus mobile phone tower. Wendy McClelland put paid to that, but he's now working on the National Broadband Network project about which I heardbrieflyfrom Bryan Scott in August. It seems that there will be a community information session on 6 December 2011, and with any luck we might end up with connectivity mid next yearif the lunatic fringe doesn't find that fixed wireless, too, is dangerous, and put in some kind of protest. And what will it look like?

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 21:09:55 UTC

Global Netflix Platform: Large Scale Java PaaS Running on AWS

Posted By James Hamilton

Netflix is super interesting in that they are running at extraordinary scale, are a leader in the move to the cloud, and Adrian Cockcroft, the Netflix Director of Cloud Architecture, is always interesting in presentations. In this presentation Adrian covers similar material to his HPTS 2011 talk I saw last month.   His slides are up at: http://www.slideshare.net/adrianco/global-netflix-platform and my rough notes follow: ·         Netflix has 20 milion streaming members o    Currently in US, Canada, and Latin America o    Soon to be in UK and Ireleand ·         Netflix is 100% public cloud hosted ·         Why did Netflix move from their own high-scale facility to a public cloud?<

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 20:40:41 UTC

Audio version of my essay collection Context

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Jan Rubak has once again set out to create a fan-audiobook of my essays, reading aloud from my book Context as he did with my earlier collection, Content. He's a great reader, and he's uploaded half the book so far, with the rest promised soon. Here's an MP3 of his reading of "Think Like a … [Read more]

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 16:07:32 UTC

Movie fans turn to piracy when the online cupboard is bare

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 16:07:15 UTC

Evidence-based copyright: UK online movie marketplace is expensive, broken, patchy

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Guardian column is "Movie fans turn to piracy when the online cupboard is bare," a report on the Open Rights Group's study of the lawful options for people who want to watch great British movies online. The UK government and courts keep ratcheting up Internet censorship proposals because they say that there are … [Read more]

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:59:00 UTC

Free Cryptography Class

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Dan Boheh of Stanford University is teaching a free cryptography class starting in January....

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 03:40:57 UTC

Command line utilities

Posted By Greg Lehey

Almost without me recognizing the fact, a new term has crept up slowly over the last couple of decades: Command line. Everybody knows what it means, but why? It has taken until today for me to realize that it's a neologism that we never used to use. Instead we talked of job control, command interpreters or shells. Why the change? Clearly it has come from the GUI Generation and emphasizes one of the differences between a point-and-grunt interface and real language. Is it a valid usage? I'm not really opposed to it; after all, it snuck up on me, and I found myself using it almost without thinking (there's GUIs for you), maybe by way of command prompt.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Geeks Gather in Belgium

Posted By Tim Bray

I mean the 2011 Devoxx conference, tenth in a series, held in Antwerp, otherwise famous for Rubens and diamonds. Its big: 3000+ developers. Ive been before, back when it was known as Javapolis before Suns estimable legal team intervened. It is the creation of Stephan Janssen, pictured below, who seems both nice and competent to a high degree in an unthreatening manner. Hes also behind Parleys.com, a good-looking eLearning offering, which will be offering online video of the Devoxx sessions. This sort of unassuming excellence is what more of us should aspire to. Heres what seemed important to me: The atmosphere is unpretentious, informal, and humorous; all good things.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Mountain Tops

Posted By Tim Bray

I usually ask for a window seat, and try to have some sort of camera handy. Ive been flying since I was very young and Im not young any more, but Ive never tired of taking pictures through airplane windows. I get the occasional raised eyebrow from the other frequent flyers sucking on their Bloody Marys, but I can take it. These are from the very late stages of a recent flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver; at a rough guess, somewhere in the vicinity of Tsil-os Provincial Park. When I was working my way through the trips pictures I thought those are OK and tossed them onto Google+.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 16:47:45 UTC

Coming to DC tomorrow

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Reminder: I'm heading to DC tomorrow to give a lunchtime talk at New America Foundation, from 1230h to 14h. Admission is free, but they're looking for an RSVP.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 12:57:25 UTC

Hack Against SCADA System

Posted By Bruce Schneier

A hack against a SCADA system controlling a water pump in Illinois destroyed the pump. We know absolutely nothing here about the attack or the attacker's motivations. Was it on purpose? An accident? a fluke?...

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 04:12:00 UTC

Iron Blogger

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

I want to blog frequently but usually don't seem to find the time for it. I'm not above tying myself to the mast if it means blogging more. Iron Blogger is a blogging and drinking club based on this premise. The rules are pretty simple: Blog at least once a week. If you fail to do so, pay $5 into a common pool. When the pool is big enough, the group uses it to pay for drinks and snacks at a meet-up for all the participants. Nelson Elhage ran the original Iron Blogger for about a year before the effort ran out of steam.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 00:21:34 UTC

For the Win interview from Berlin

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's an interview I did last week with the SF-Fantasy.de podcast in Berlin MP3 Link

Sun, 20 Nov 2011 22:10:50 UTC

Wasting time with bad cameras

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into down today to pick up various giveaways, including a PCIe video card, a box of assorted cables and a 10 metre antenna mast that I might be able to use for better TV or network reception. On the way found a nice garden arrangement in the middle of a roundabout, and made the mistake of taking photos with the Kodak M1093 IS. Yes, it has a higher resolution than the Nikon “Coolpix” L1, but what help is that if you can't tell until later that the image was taken out of focus?

Sun, 20 Nov 2011 09:53:44 UTC

Interview with Robert LLewellyns Carpool on ebooks and publishing

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Robert LLewellyn, former Red Dwarf star, has a great little video series called Carpool, where he gives someone he's interested a lift to work in a car that's been fitted with cameras and microphones, and interviews that person while driving her or him to work. Last summer, Robert gave me a ride to the airport … [Read more]

Sun, 20 Nov 2011 02:50:13 UTC

We want your opinion, maybe

Posted By Greg Lehey

Being the opinionated kind of person I am, I participate in many online surveys, some of which even offer payment. Today I got one on a topic I forgetcat food maybebut it seems that they don't want to know from people of my age group: I wonder who thinks up these surveys, and if there's any kind of debug process. The surveys themselves seem to be based on foregone conclusions (Why do you give your cat foopussy? To give it a reward?

Sat, 19 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Better Quotes Redux

Posted By Tim Bray

Last week I asserted that proper left/right quotation marks are essential, recommended KeyRemap4MacBook to fix the problem, and suggested option-S, -D, and -F as mappings for , , and . Readers objected to all three and indeed, I was wrong about two of them. Some felt I was unduly purist and pedantic, a punctuation jihadi; that those good ol mechanical-typewriter compromises " and ' are good enough. Those people are wrong. Modern typography is a highly-evolved combination of art and science, the end-point of centuries of refinement. Itd be insane to discard that accumulated wisdom to save a keystroke or two.

Sat, 19 Nov 2011 00:27:42 UTC

Power failures: the 20 minute rule

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the afternoon we finally got a little rain, and the temperature dropped a bit. So, of course, did the electricity supply, at 16:27, while I was watching TV. My new 1000 VA UPS couldn't handle the 187 W load of the Sanyo PLV-Z700 projector and gave up, screaming. It required to be turned off and on again before it would continue. That's not protection: it's worse than no UPS at all. OK, we know that UPS manufacturers lie through their teeth (1000 VA, or 600 W. Don't connect devices with a Power factor below 0.95). It took me 20 minutes to get the system back up again (running fsck on 2 TB of data).

Fri, 18 Nov 2011 22:41:39 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Camouflage

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Some squid can switch their camouflage instantly. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered....

Fri, 18 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Antwerp

Posted By Tim Bray

I was here seven years ago. This time, I had a couple of hours of sunny midday downtime while I was waiting for my hotel room, so I walked around and took pictures. Antwerps cathedral is justly famous but my favorite spot is the train station, a massive old piece of architectural confectionery that has been mated not ungracefully to a fair-sized mall. Inside its dramatically vertical, with trains on every level from where you walk in to down at least four levels. Also it has that arching Euro-train-station iron-and-glass roof. Antwerp is a an unremarkable North-European mid-size city, busy and well-organized and functional.

Fri, 18 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

New Tintin Movie

Posted By Tim Bray

On Thursday night in Belgium I watched The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Tintin was important to my younger self and is Belgian, so this was a cant-miss. I enjoyed it a whole lot, but I worry that some Tintinistas will see a betrayal of the franchise. What accounts for the considerable charm of the Tintin books? I think the key things are the oddly flat but still pleasing coloring, the strong visual composition of each frame, the lovable if one-dimensional cast of characters, and the hurtling although fanciful action-packed plots. On the evidence, the filmmakers agreed with that list.

Fri, 18 Nov 2011 15:44:52 UTC

Free Lessons in Industrial Design & Customer Experience

Posted By James Hamilton

I seldom write consumer product reviews and this blog is about the furthest thing from a consumer focused site but, every so often, I come across a notable tidbit that is worthy of mention. A few weeks ago, it was Sprint unilaterally changing the terms of their wireless contracts (Sprint is Giving Free Customer Service Lessons). It just seemed a sufficiently confused decision that it was worthy of mention.   Heres one that just nails it on the other side of the equation by obsessing over the customer experience: Roku. Ive long known about Roku but Im not a huge TV watcher so Ive only been peripherally interested in the product.

Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:50:48 UTC

A Link between Altruism and Fairness

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I write a lot about altruism, fairness, and cooperation in my new book (out in February!), and this sort of thing interests me a lot: In a new study, researchers had 15-month old babies watch movies of a person distributing crackers or milk to two others, either evenly or unevenly. Babies look at things longer when they're surprised, so measuring...

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Better Quotes

Posted By Tim Bray

If you are publishing text for people to read and you want it to look even halfway professional, you absolutely must use real actual left and right quotation marks: quotes not "quotes". Also right-single apostrophe: as in dont use don't. In the Emacs setup I use for writing this, I reprogrammed some keys years and years ago to do the right thing. But when Im typing stuff into Google+ or Twitter or whatever, its just me and the Mac keyboard. By default you can get  with option-[,  with option-shift-[, and  with option-shift-]. Which I find awkward as hell, and not remotely intuitive.

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 19:13:47 UTC

EU Bans X-Ray Body Scanners

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The European Union has banned X-ray full body scanners at airports. Millimeter wave scanners are allowed as long as they conform to privacy guidelines. Under the new EU legislation the use of security scanners is only allowed in accordance with minimum conditions such as for example that: security scanners shall not store, retain, copy, print or retrieve images; any unauthorised...

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 12:37:40 UTC

Detecting Psychopaths by their Speech Patterns

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting: The researchers interviewed 52 convicted murderers, 14 of them ranked as psychopaths according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, a 20-item assessment, and asked them to describe their crimes in detail. Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their...

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 11:46:43 UTC

Im in Philly

Posted By Cory Doctorow

A reminder: I'm giving a free lecture tonight at 17h at the Wharton School in Philadelphia; I'm in town because I'm the guest of honor at PhilCon, the world's oldest science fiction convention.

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 23:21:31 UTC

Communicating in the Microsoft space

Posted By Greg Lehey

A few days ago I sent out a request to Freecycle for fish and plants for our new pond. No replies, so Yvonne planned to buy some goldfish in town today. And after she had left, I got a message: Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 22:59:42 -0000 Hi, just wondering if you are still interested, if you are let me know asap, so that we can send you pictures for you to see if you will take what we have to offer That sounded good, so I replied (Wed, 16 Nov 2011 10:46:46 +1100) and got a reply back within 5 minutes: Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 18:50:43 -0500 check your email to see if you got the link i sent  with pictures via petlink, waiting ...

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 22:45:16 UTC

Paul Kocher

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Really nice article on crypotographer Paul Kocher and his company, Cryptography Research, Inc....

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 22:41:17 UTC

Stealing electricity supply

Posted By Greg Lehey

Out to the letter box today: two letters, one for next door with the wrong street number. It's not the first time that's happened, and I was considering going and telling them so, but decided just to put the letter in their letter box. The other letter was from Red Energy, our electricity retailer: Are you doing the right thing for you? [sic] Talk to us first. It goes on to day We've recently received a request to transfer your energy account to another retailer.... That's the first I had heard of it. Rang them up and spoke to Shane, who first wanted my address (in the phone book, as I told him) and my date of birth (Google) to know who he was talking to.

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:03:10 UTC

GotW 101: Compilation Firewalls, Part 2 (Difficulty: 8/10)

Posted By Herb Sutter

GotW #100 demonstrated the best way to express the Pimpl idiom using only standard C++11 features: Guru Question Is it possible to make the widget code easier to write by wrapping the Pimpl pattern in some sort of library helper? If so, how? Try to make the widget code as convenient and concise as possible [...]

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:03:10 UTC

GotW #101: Compilation Firewalls, Part 2 (Difficulty: 8/10)

Posted By Herb Sutter

GotW #100 demonstrated the best way to express the Pimpl idiom using only standard C++11 features: Guru Question Is it possible to make the widget code easier to write by wrapping the Pimpl pattern in some sort of library helper? If so, how? Try to make the widget code as convenient and concise as possible [...]

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 18:55:23 UTC

GotW #100: Solution

Posted By Herb Sutter

The solution to GotW #100 is now live. Filed under: C++, GotW

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 18:55:23 UTC

GotW #100: Solution

Posted By Herb Sutter

The solution to GotW #100 is now live. Filed under: C++, GotW

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:30:00 UTC

Friday keynote at Usenix LISA: Michael P. Perrone

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

We have three keynotes this year: Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, and the closing keynote Friday afternoon. Our closing keynote speaker is Michael P. Perrone, Manager, Multicore Computing, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center I've been a sysadmin for long enough that not much impresses me any more. Watching IBM's "Watson" computer play Jeopardy! and beat the human contestants was, in a word, flabbergasting. Doug and I immediately began a quest to find someone from IBM that could talk about this amazing accomplishment at LISA. His talk, "What is Watson?" will be the final presentation of the conference. The talk will be 50 minutes long followed by 10 minutes of A&Q.

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:17:37 UTC

Sam Harris on Self-Defense

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I thought this was very interesting. His three principles are: Avoid dangerous people and dangerous places. Do not defend your property. Respond immediately and escape....

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 21:45:29 UTC

New USB hubs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received a couple of new USB hubs from an eBay seller in Hong Kong in the mail today. 7 ports, powered. For a total of $1 each, if you neglect the $4.40 postage. And? They seem to work, at least as well as other USB devices. About the worst thing about it is that they have clearly moved part of the purchase price to the postage.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 18:43:43 UTC

CHIMIT Workshop

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I am fascinated by the fact that there are researchers that study system administrators and how to make their work easier/better/etc. The #1 thing they tell me is "we need more interaction with more sysadmins to help guide our research!" The "CHIMIT workshop" at Usenix LISA 2011 is an opportunity to interact with these researchers. Read about it here and register to attend!

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 18:21:38 UTC

42: The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything

Posted By James Hamilton

Yesterday the Top 500 Supercomputer Sites was announced. The Top500 list shows the most powerful commercially available supercomputer systems in the world. This list represents the very outside of what supercomputer performance is possible when cost is no object. The top placement on the list is always owned by a sovereign funded laboratory. These are the systems that only government funded agencies can purchase. But they have great interest for me because, as the cost of computing continues to fall, these performance levels will become commercially available to companies wanting to run high scale models and data intensive computing. In effect, the Top500 predicts the future so Im always interested in the systems on the list. <

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 11:26:20 UTC

Identity Theft Call Center

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There's a group who charges to make social engineering calls to obtain missing personal information for identity theft. This doesn't surprise me at all. Fraud is a business, too....

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 20:09:11 UTC

Thursday keynote at Usenix LISA: Andy Palmer

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

We have three keynotes this year: Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, and the closing keynote Friday afternoon. Our Thursday keynote speaker is Andy Palmer, Global Head of Software and Data Engineering, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research We invited Andy because he deals with peta-scale data warehousing, big databases and all that fun stuff. I love hearing talks about big big big data. There are always plenty of surprises when things get that big. As conference co-chair, I can't wait to meet him in person! Usenix LISA 2011 is Dec 4-9 in Boston. You can register any time, but you get a discount if you register by Nov 14.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 20:02:34 UTC

More SSL Woes

Posted By Bruce Schneier

From Mikko Hypponen: "We found a malware sample. Which was signed. With a valid certificate. Belonging to the Government of Malaysia."...

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Thanks

Posted By Tim Bray

Thanksgiving has passed in Canada and has yet to arrive in the States. However, even in a dark time there are thanks to give. Dark, because late fall has bitten down with a vengeance these past few days. Weve had high winds that blew all the remaining leaves off the trees then lashings of rain to make them mushy. Daylight Saving Time went away so now the dark is gathering with cruel speed before 5 oclock, and the days will shorten for a few weeks more. On Saturday, after what Winnie the Pooh wouldve called a blusterous day, we had some light, and I mustered the children to help with our leaf-covered front lawn.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 17:04:39 UTC

My co-worker featured on CNN!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

"Google engineer: What I learned in the war" Dan and I have worked at two employers: Google and Cibernet. He's a great guy and I'm proud to know him. In addition to Dan, I have 2 other friends that have served in the Iraq and Afganistan wars. I was relieved and thankful (and a whole bunch of other adjectives and emotions) they all made it all home alive. Tom

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 15:24:52 UTC

AWS Startup Challenge 2011

Posted By James Hamilton

Last week I got to participate in one of my favorite days each year, serving on the judging panel for the AWS Startup Challenge. The event is a fairly intense day where our first meeting starts at 7:45am and the event closes at 9pm that evening. But it is an easy day to love in that the entire day is spent with innovative startups who have built their companies on cloud computing.   Im a huge believer in the way cloud computing is changing the computing landscape and thats all Ive worked on for many years now.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Usenix LISA early-bird discount ends today!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

You can save big $$$ by registering for LISA on or by midnight tonight! (California time) Usenix LISA 2011 is Dec 4-9 in Boston. I look forward to seeing you there!

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:14:49 UTC

Remotely Opening Prison Doors

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This seems like a bad vulnerability: Researchers have demonstrated a vulnerability in the computer systems used to control facilities at federal prisons that could allow an outsider to remotely take them over, doing everything from opening and overloading cell door mechanisms to shutting down internal communications systems. [...] The researchers began their work after Strauchs was called in by a...

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:12:18 UTC

How the BBCs HD DRM plot was kept secret & and why

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:05:55 UTC

Secret documents reveal the flimsy case for Ofcom to give into BBCs public TV DRM demands

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian just published an investigative piece I've been working on since the summer: "How the BBC's HD DRM plot was kept secret & and why." It contains the previously secret text of a memo that the BBC sent to the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, explaining why they wanted to put DRM on publicly funded … [Read more]

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 23:34:00 UTC

Famous in Scratch

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

A few years ago, I ran into my friend Jay in the MIT Infinite Corridor. He was looking for volunteers to have their pictures taken and then added to the library of freely licensed and remixable media that would ship with every version of Scratch -- the graphical programming language built by Mitch Resnick's Lifelong Kindergarten group that is designed to let kids create animations and interactive games. Jay suggested I make some emotive faces and I posed for three images that made the final cut: But although I've spent quite a bit of time studying the Scratch community in the last few years as it is grown to include millions of participants and projects, I forgot about about Jay's photo shoot.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Usenix LISA early-bird discount ends tomorrow!

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!

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 17:06:15 UTC

My novella Chicken Little as a stand-alone ebook

Posted By Cory Doctorow

40K, an Italian publisher, have brought out a standalone ebook version of my novella Chicken Little, publishing it simultaneously in English and Italian with some lovely illustrations. They're starting it off at a low price (which will go up on Nov 16): $0.99 in the Kindle store; £0.86 in the UK Kindle store; €0.99 in … [Read more]

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:35:11 UTC

Happy Corduroy Appreciation Day to all my readers!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

11/11 is the date that looks most like corduroy and 11/11/11 makes it especially special! Wear them 'cords with pride! Sincerely, Tom

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 11:52:50 UTC

Commentary on Strong Passwords

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It turns out that "2bon2btitq" is not a strong password....

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

GDD in Yokohama

Posted By Tim Bray

I was part of the entertainment at the recent GDD Tokyo 2011; I guess nobodys feelings are hurt if you hold a Tokyo-branded event down in Yokohama. I did not fall in love with Yokohama; mind you, we only saw the glossy boring built-up part right around the Pacifico convention center. The only thing that was visually interesting was this great big honking pink Ferris wheel. It was right outside my hotel room window. Here it is by day: And two by night, one close-up. The latter is when I walked over to try to get a ride; at closing time, alas.

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 15:30:00 UTC

Tools vs. Automation

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Sysadmins talk a lot about "automation" but I think a more specific definition is needed. " Tool writing" is when we create a program (script, whatever) that takes a task that that we do and does it better/faster/more accurately. For example, creating a new account used to take 10 or more manual steps (creating the homedir, setting permissions, adding a line to /etc/passwd, /etc/group, etc). Good examples include: FreeBSD "pw adduser" or Linux "useradd". In short, a tool improves our ability to do a task. " Automation" is when we create a system that eliminates a task. Continuing with our example, if we "automate" account management we might build a system that polls our HR database and creates an account for any new employee and suspends accounts for anyone terminated.

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Usenix LISA early-bird discount ends Nov 14! 4 days left!

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!

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 06:49:19 UTC

Coming to Philly, DC

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I'm headed to Philadelphia next week to be the guest of honor at PhilCon (Nov 18-20), and while I'm in the area, I'm giving a free talk at the Wharton School at UPenn (Nov 17, 5PM). On my way home, I'm stopping in DC to give a lunchtime talk at the New America Foundation on … [Read more]

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 23:06:23 UTC

Committing again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been literally years since I committed to the FreeBSD source tree. A number of reasons have held me back, including just plain laziness, but the biggest was probably my uncertainty after we changed from CVS to Subversion. In the past, I had kept a local copy of the CVS repository and committed to the central repository, but there are issues with subversion. It can be done, as described in here, but you end up with discrepancies in the revision numbers. So for a long time I put this into the too hard basket. In the meantime, though, I've switched to checking out from the central repository, so it seems that this is no longer an issue: svn commit does the right thing.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 19:51:51 UTC

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's taken me a few years, but I've come around to this buzzword. It highlights an important characteristic of a particular sort of Internet attacker. A conventional hacker or criminal isn't interested in any particular target. He wants a thousand credit card numbers for fraud, or to break into an account and turn it into a zombie, or whatever. Security...

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 09:39:47 UTC

Unlocking any iPad2 using a Smart Cover

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This security bug is just plain weird....

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 06:07:16 UTC

IndieGoGo campaign for Custom Made Theatre Companys sweet, low-budg stage adaptation of LITTLE BROTHER

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Little Brother Live, coming to Custom Made Theatre from Pauline Luppert on Vimeo. San Francisco's Custom Made Theatre Company is mounting a sweet, low-budget production of Little Brother, and they're looking to raise the funds for a high-quality video projector, which the playwright, Josh Costello, says "would make a huge difference."

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 02:00:51 UTC

New York

Posted By Bart Smaalders

I'm in New York this week, visiting Solaris customers and preparing for tomorrow's launch of Solaris 11. As readers of my occasional blog may know, I've been working on IPS, the new packaging system used in Solaris 11.  We've recently finished the first version of the developer's guide for IPS.  For those folks interested in how to use IPS to deliver their own software, or just want to better understand how Solaris uses IPS, we hope the developer's guide will be useful reading. You can find the new guide here.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 02:00:51 UTC

New York

Posted By Bart Smaalders

I'm in New York this week, visiting Solaris customers and preparing for tomorrow's launch of Solaris 11. As readers of my occasional blog may know, I've been working on IPS, the new packaging system used in Solaris 11.  We've recently finished the first version of the developer's guide for IPS.  For those folks interested in how to use IPS to deliver their own software, or just want to better understand how Solaris uses IPS, we hope the developer's guide will be useful reading. You can find the new guide here.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:30:00 UTC

SSH Fabric for ssh'ing to many hosts

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Fabric is a new tool for ssh'ing to many hosts. It has some nice properties, such as lazy execution. You write the description of what is to be done in Python and Fabric takes care of executing it on all the machines you specify. Once you've used it a bunch of times you'll accumulate many "fab files" that you can re-use. You can use it to create large systems too. The API is simple but powerful. The tutorial gives you a good idea of how it works: http://docs.fabfile.org/en/1.2.2/tutorial.html It is written using the Paramiko module which is my favorite way to do SSH and SSH-like things from Python.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 14:42:09 UTC

Happy Birthday to my co-chair, Doug Hughes!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Please wish him a happy birthday by posting a comment here or on the band new "G+ Page" for Usenix: https://plus.google.com/108588319090208187909/posts Doug: Working with you on the LISA 2011 conference has been a blast. I can't believe it is less than a month away! It is going to be the best LISA ever! Have a great day! -Tom

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 08:22:19 UTC

Then we take Berlin

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Reminder: I'm doing a live reading in Berlin tonight at 2000h (Sankt Oberholz, Rosenthaler Str. 72, Berlin Mitte). Chüs!

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 22:59:28 UTC

The Economist: machine whisperers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since the deaths of Dennis Ritchie and John McCarthy a subtle change has occurred amongst those people on Facebook who are my friends: they're beginning to understand the relative importance of Jobs, McCarthy and Ritchie. This particular image has popped up in so many places that I don't know where it originally came from: Today Greg Woods published a link to an article about McCarthy and Ritchie in The Economist. I consider The Economist to be one of the best non-technical publications, but this was not one of its best articles.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Five of w

Posted By Tim Bray

Pictures of Shanghai, I mean. Not including any tourist attractions. Heres maybe the definitive shot, to my mind: Traffic in Shanghai is full-on madness 24/7, both the massive freeways and the tiny alleys. Actually this ones a little misleading because everyones staying neatly in their lanes; driving in China is usually pretty free-form. Wed eaten at the famous and nice but sort of boring Xintiandi district and decided to walk home on the back streets; spent quite a bit of time walking down Julu Road, which had a distinct ordinary-folks feel; a relief after so much Shanghai homogeneous-gleaming-mall time. The people of Shanghai are, on average, well-dressed and stylish, even the ones who dont look like theyre rolling in dough.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:43:18 UTC

Cutting Wallets Out of Drunks' Pockets on New York City Subways

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's a crime with finesse: But he is actually a middle-aged or older man who has been doing this for a very long time. And he is a fading breed. "It's like a lost art," the lieutenant said. "It's all old-school guys who cut the pocket. They die off." And they do not seem to be replacing themselves, he said....

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:05:40 UTC

Call for Usenix LISA stories!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

To help us celebrate Usenix LISA's 25th conference, we are looking for stories! Do you have a favorite LISA story? Something you learned at the conference A contact you made that really had an impact on your career A funny event that still makes you laugh? Nostalga! (remember facesaver?) Contemporary! Please send your story by Sunday, November 20 to dinah@usenix.org.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 15:30:00 UTC

Usenix LISA early-bird discount ends Nov 14! 1 week!

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, 07 Nov 2011 12:26:43 UTC

Fake Documents that Alarm if Opened

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This sort of thing seems like a decent approach, but it has a lot of practical problems: In the wake of Wikileaks, the Department of Defense has stepped up its game to stop leaked documents from making their way into the hands of undesirables -- be they enemy forces or concerned citizens. A new piece of software has created a...

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 20:00:00 UTC

Bar Android & Twicca

Posted By Tim Bray

On Monday nights, this funky little teeny second-floor bar in Shibuya becomes Bar Android, a gathering place for Android geeks. This last Monday, which was Halloween, I went; what a blast, and I got a new Twitter client. I tried a few shots of the interior with my SLR but it was just too dark and crowded. However, the Galaxy Nexus managed to take this panorama, which is sort of twisted in places but nonetheless looks to me like the place feels. Its amazing that the phone managed to get anything useful at all; that said, apologies to the guys whose faces got fractured.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 16:57:44 UTC

Nicely formatted ePub of Little Brother German fan-trans

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Clemens Schaber, a reader in Austria, converted Christian Wöhrl's German fan-translation of Little Brother to a nicely formatted ePub. Thanks, Clemens!

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:12:15 UTC

CHIMIT: REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

If you are coming to Usenix LISA, why not come a day early and go to CHIMIT? CHIMIT is for people that study system administrators (how they work, how they communicate, how to make tools better for them) but they can't exist without sysadmins also attending their conference! Call For Papers: 5th ACM Symposium on Computer Human Interaction for Management of ITDecember 4-5, 2011 - Boston, MAchimit.acm.org Information Technology (IT) is central to modern life. We are surrounded by software and hardware systems that support our work and personal lives. The size and complexity of modern infrastructures is increasing rapidly; and we are now at a turning point where we need new approaches to IT system design,management, and services.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:33:37 UTC

A bacon spin on sushi: ikura baciri

Posted By Theo Schlossnagle

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Jing an Temple

Posted By Tim Bray

Its sprawling golden roof, all curls and curves, dominated my hotels neighborhood visually. This is impressive since its neighbors are towering skyscrapers and gleaming malls. I wouldnt say it really belongs on Shanghais must-see list, but there were some awfully nice pictures to be taken inside. The Buddhas There are three main-attraction representations, of which two are pictured here. The first, pictured through doors, is said to be the largest jade sitting-Buddha in China. The second is the temples largest, in the main hall; for a sense of scale consider that I was standing beside it looking up. The third, a standing figure carved in thousand-year-old camphor wood, eluded my photographic wiles.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 17:30:00 UTC

DevOps keynote at Usenix LISA: Ben Rockwood

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

We have three keynotes this year: Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, and the closing keynote Friday afternoon. The Wednesday keynote speaker is Ben Rockwood from Joyent who's talk is titled "The DevOps Transformation". DevOps has a lot of buzz, but Ben will separate the hype from the reality. DevOps may be a new term, but it's not a new idea. He will deconstruct DevOps into its three transformation phases, look back at the often referenced but rarely explained history that influences it, and see how it is a catalyst that is changing the craft of system administration. I'm really excited we were able to book Ben for the conference and can't wait to see the talk!

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 22:52:20 UTC

GotW #100: Compilation Firewalls

Posted By Herb Sutter

JG Questions 1. What is the Pimpl Idiom, and why is it useful? Guru Questions 2. What is the best way to express the basic Pimpl Idiom in C++11? 3. What parts of the class should go into the impl object? Some potential options include: put all private data (but not functions) into impl; put [...]

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 22:52:20 UTC

GotW #100: Compilation Firewalls

Posted By Herb Sutter

JG Questions 1. What is the Pimpl Idiom, and why is it useful? Guru Questions 2. What is the best way to express the basic Pimpl Idiom in C++11? 3. What parts of the class should go into the impl object? Some potential options include: put all private data (but not functions) into impl; put [...]

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 21:47:13 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Star Trek IV, now with Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Someone edited Star Trek IV, removing the whales and replacing them with giant squid. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered....

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 10:05:09 UTC

Weaponized UAV Drones in the Hands of Local Police

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Why does anyone think this is a good idea? The police in Montgomery County  and area north of Houston, Texas  is the first local police in the united States to deploy a drone that can carry weapons. [...] He said they are designed to carry weapons for local law enforcement. "The aircraft has the capability to have a...

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Up and Back

Posted By Tim Bray

Theres been a mini-flurry of debate on the Android Back button, with Christoffer Du Rietz arguing that its harmful and broken, and a small chorus of the usual Android-hater suspects chiming in. Steven Van Bael pushes back. There are interesting subtleties here. Provenance Heres a really easy question: Where does the notion of a Back button come from? I have argued, and Im really not joking, that the Web browsers Back button is one of the greatest user-interface innovations of my lifetime. First, its useful. Second, the knowledge that wherever you are, if youre lost or confused or change your mind you can back out, has been immensely successful in defusing angst among nontechnical users and encouraging them to check things out that otherwise they might not.

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 18:22:43 UTC

Journal Article on Cyberwar

Posted By Bruce Schneier

From the Journal of Strategic Studies: "Cyber War Will Not Take Place" (full article is behind a paywall): Abstract: For almost two decades, experts and defense establishments the world over have been predicting that cyber war is coming. But is it? This article argues in three steps that cyber war has never happened in the past, that cyber war does...

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 17:30:00 UTC

Futuristic System Administration

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Looking at the Usenix LISA 2011 conference program I'm excited we could book some really powerful "what will I need to know next year" kind of talks. This is what first brought me to LISA many years ago... the fact that by attending I'd be one step ahead of my co-workers as far as what's new in system administration. Some example talks: "What Will Be Hot Next Year?" with moderator: Narayan Desai, Argonne National Lab. Panelists: Kris Buytaert, Inuits; John D'Ambrosia, Force10 Networks; Jacob Farmer, Cambridge Computer "Ethernet's Future Trajectory" with John D'Ambrosia, Force10 Networks "IPv6, DNSSEC, RPKI, etc.: What's the Holdup and How Can We Help?"

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 15:41:22 UTC

Serious Hard Drive Shortage Expected for at Least 2 Quarters

Posted By James Hamilton

As rescue and relief operations continue in response to the serious flooding in Thailand the focus has correctly been on human health and safety. Early reports estimated 317 fatalities, 700,000 homes and 14,000 factories impacted with over 660,000 not able to work. Good coverage mostly from the Bangkok Post is available at Newley.com authored by a reporter in the regoin. For example: http://newley.com/2011/11/02/thailand-flooding-update-november-2-2011-front-page-of-todays-bangkok-post/.   The floods are far from over and, as we look beyond the immediate problem in country, the impact on the technology world is expected to continue for just over a year even if the floods do recede in 3 to 4 weeks as expected.

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 12:14:30 UTC

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom free audiobook

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Sean Puckett has read my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, aloud for the Voices in the Dark site. The download is free and CC licensed, and it's very good. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (Thanks, Tomi!)

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 12:03:54 UTC

Underage Children on Facebook

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting research on how parents help their children lie about their age to get onto Facebook. One reaction to our data might be that companies should not be allowed to restrict access to children on their sites. Unfortunately, getting the parental permission required by COPPA is technologically difficult, financially costly, and ethically problematic. Sites that target children take on this...

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 09:39:42 UTC

Coming to Hamburg, Berlin and Munich

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I'm heading to Germany next week for a series of school visits and public appearances to promote the German edition of my novel For the Win. I'm doing public stops in Hamburg (Nov 7, 10AM, Hamburger Kinderbuchhaus im Altonaer Museum), Berlin (8PM, Sankt Oberholz), and Munich (7PM, Lovelybooks, livestream available). Full details at the RandomHouse.de … [Read more]

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 06:14:16 UTC

A Passing of Giants

Posted By Herb Sutter

I don’t normally blog poetry, but the passing of our giants this past month has put me in such a mood.   What is built becomes our future Hand-constructed, stone by stone Quarried by our elders’ labors Fashioned with their strength and bone Dare to dream, and dare to conquer Fears by building castles grand [...]

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 06:14:16 UTC

A Passing of Giants

Posted By Herb Sutter

I don’t normally blog poetry, but the passing of our giants this past month has put me in such a mood. . What is built becomes our future Hand-constructed, stone by stone Quarried by our elders’ labors Fashioned with their strength and bone Dare to dream, and dare to conquer Fears by building castles grand [...]

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 22:28:00 UTC

Slouching Toward Autonomy

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

I care a lot about free network services. Recently, I have been given lots of reasons to be happy with the progress the free software community has made in developing services that live up to my standards. I have personally switched from a few proprietary network services to alternative systems that respect my autonomy and have been very happy both with the freedom I have gained and with the no-longer-rudimentary feature sets that the free tools offer. Although there is plenty left to do, here are four tools I'm using now instead of the proprietary tools that many people use, or that I used to use myself: StatusNet/identi.ca for microblogging (instead of Twitter): I have had my account since the almost the very beginning and am very happy with the improvements in the recent 1.0 rollout.

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 22:02:42 UTC

Its Time to Stop Talking About Copyright

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Locus

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 22:00:39 UTC

There is no copyright policy, only Internet policy; there is no Internet policy, only policy

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Locus column is "Its Time to Stop Talking About Copyright," about the way that concentrating on "copyright" instead of "Internet policy" or "policy" causes us to miss the big picture: The disconnection laws that the entertainment industry has bought for itself in the UK, New Zealand and France provide for removing whole households … [Read more]

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 21:52:19 UTC

computers, opinion, gardening

Posted By Greg Lehey

The latest edition of Wellingtonia has been published, without resolving the formatting issues. I didn't get any answer to the questions I sent by mail. I'm left with the feeling that people don't care, and I said so to the committee. The response I got was illuminating. It's clear that gardeners and computer people don't overlap much, and I've never expected the people to know much about computers. But it seems that even answering questions by email is too difficult. One of the first things I asked for when we created the committee was that people copy mail to everybody on the committee, so that we know what's going on.

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 00:14:44 UTC

Scott Meyers C++11 Materials: The Best Available Overview of C++11

Posted By Herb Sutter

  People keep asking me where to find good information on C++11. Until now Ive had to point them to blogs, and say that were all working on revising our books but itll take a while. Its been an unsatisfying answer. Finally I have a C++11 book I can direct people to: Today Scott Meyers [...]

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 00:14:44 UTC

Scott Meyers C++11 Materials: The Best Available Overview of C++11

Posted By Herb Sutter

  People keep asking me where to find good information on C++11. Until now Ive had to point them to blogs, and say that were all working on revising our books but itll take a while. Its been an unsatisfying answer. Finally I have a C++11 book I can direct people to: Today Scott Meyers [...]

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 18:41:55 UTC

DARPA Cyber Colloquium

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I note that the three "industry leaders" speaking at the DARPA Cyber Colloquium next week have about 75 years of government experience between them....

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 18:09:39 UTC

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow on Tor.com

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Stefan Raets has penned a lovely review of Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow for Tor.com: The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is the latest installment in the wonderful Outspoken Authors series by PM Press. In addition to the title novella, the book also contains the text of Corys Creativity vs. Copyright address to the 2010 World Science … [Read more]

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 17:30:00 UTC

Config Management? yeah, we got that.

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Looking at the Usenix LISA 2011 conference program I'm proud that we have the three major configuration management systems covered: CFEngine3, Chef and Puppet: 3-hour classes: "Puppet" with Nan Liu "Configuration Management Solutions with CFEngine 3" with Mark Burgess Invited Talks: "3 Myths and 3 Challenges to Bring System Administration out of the Dark Ages" with Mark Burgess (CFEngine Inc) "Building IronMan, Not Programming" with Luke Kanies, Founder, Puppet and Puppet Labs "Converting the Ad-Hoc Configuration of a Heterogeneous Environment to a CFM, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Chef" with Dimitri Aivaliotis "Choose Your Own Adventure" with Adam Jacob Experience Reports: "Getting to Elastic: Adapting a Legacy Vertical Application Environment for Scalability" with Eric Shamow (Puppet Labs) The Guru is In: (Q&A sessions) "Chef" with Aaron Peterson Refereed Papers: Fine-grained Access-control for the Puppet Configuration Language ...

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 11:14:29 UTC

The Economist on Lying

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Two articles. And this is the cited work....

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 02:07:27 UTC

Presenting Tomorrow at University of Washington

Posted By James Hamilton

Im not sure why it all happens at once but it often does.  Last Monday I kicked off HPTS 2011 in Asilomar California and then flew to New York City to present at the Open Compute Summit.    I love HPTS. Its a once every 2 year invitational workshop that Ive been attending since 1989. The workshop attracts a great set of presenters and attendees: HPTS 2011 agenda. I blogged a couple of the sessions if you are interested: ·         Microsoft COSMOS at HPTS ·         Storage Infrastructure Behind Facebook Message   The Open Compute Summit was kicked off by Frank Frankovsky of Facebook followed by the legendary Andy Bechtolsheim of Arista Networks.  I did a talk after Andy which was a subset of the talk I had done earlier in the week at HPTS.