An aggregation of our Blog Roll, made up of acmqueue authors.   more

Postings for November 2015:  (71 posts)
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:37:33 UTC

NSA Collected Americans' E-mails Even After it Stopped Collecting Americans' E-mails

Posted By Bruce Schneier

In 2011, the Bush administration authorized -- almost certainly illegally -- the NSA to conduct bulk electronic surveillance on Americans: phone calls, e-mails, financial information, and so on. We learned a lot about the bulk phone metadata collection program from the documents provided by Edward Snowden, and it was the focus of debate surrounding the USA FREEDOM Act. E-mail metadata...

Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:32:54 UTC

Policy Repercussions of the Paris Terrorist Attacks

Posted By Bruce Schneier

In 2013, in the early days of the Snowden leaks, Harvard Law School professor and former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith reflected on the increase in NSA surveillance post 9/11. He wrote: Two important lessons of the last dozen years are (1) the government will increase its powers to meet the national security threat fully (because the People demand it),...

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 23:14:41 UTC

Tackling cmake

Posted By Greg Lehey

So how do I fix the src/hugin_script_interface/CMakeLists.txt so that it doesn't create absolute path names for the Python files? Despite my aversion, went looking for the cmake documentation. What a disaster! It's just a list of man pages. From the invocation in the file, it's clear that it has some text editing capabilities:     EXECUTE_PROCESS( COMMAND ${PYTHON_EXECUTABLE} -c "from distutils.sysconfig import get_python_lib; print(get_python_lib(1))"                       OUTPUT_VARIABLE pyinstalldir                       OUTPUT_STRIP_TRAILING_WHITESPACE) Clearly OUTPUT_STRIP_TRAILING_WHITESPACE is an editing feature.

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 18:03:02 UTC

Voter Surveillance

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There hasn't been that much written about surveillance and big data being used to manipulate voters. In Data and Goliath, I wrote: Unique harms can arise from the use of surveillance data in politics. Election politics is very much a type of marketing, and politicians are starting to use personalized marketing's capability to discriminate as a way to track voting...

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:15:00 UTC

What JJ Abrams just revealed about Star Wars

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Last night (Saturday, Nov 21) I attended a fundraiser for the Montclair Film Festival where (I kid you not) for 90 minutes we watched Stephen Colbert interview J.J. Abrams. What I learned: He finished mixing The Force Awakens earlier that day. 2:30am California time. He then spent all day traveling to Newark, New Jersey for the event. After working on it for so long, he's sooooo ready to get it in the theater. " The truth is working on this movie for nearly three years, it has been like living with the greatest roommate in history for too long. It's time for him to get his own place.

Sun, 22 Nov 2015 23:45:38 UTC

More stuff from Kleins Road

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's only a little over a week until we settle the Kleins Road house, and there's still a lot of junk there that we need to get. Over today to pick up the last three computers: the Control Data 910, a microVax II, and an old MIPS R2000. They'll be offered on eBay for a ridiculously low price. But they're heavy. I got the Control Data into the car with no trouble, and the microVax is on wheels, so that wasn't an issue, but we couldn't lift it into the car.

Sun, 22 Nov 2015 23:13:53 UTC

The daily hugin build breakage

Posted By Greg Lehey

Still more Hugin build breakage! I'm really surpassing myself lately. Hugin depends on Vigra, but somehow the dependency wasn't in the Makefile. That's a little puzzling, since it's been there since long before my recent work; in fact, for nearly 11 years: r124104 | edwin | 2004-12-15 23:36:25 +1100 (Wed, 15 Dec 2004) | 14 lines New port: graphics/vigra - another program to mount panoramic images - also a dependency of hugin So why wasn't the dependency there?

Sun, 22 Nov 2015 00:10:17 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

For decades (well, about 16 years), I've used the same old passive KVM. It still works for VGA, but the mouse and keyboard connectors are obsolete: So I use it for VGA, and on those occasions where I need direct keyboard or mouse contact, I plug one in to the appropriate computer. But why? Active KVMs don't cost anything any more. Went out looking on eBay and found a likely looking one for $12.07 including postage.

Sun, 22 Nov 2015 00:10:16 UTC

Shells and POLA

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange problems with shell scripts today. I set a variable, changed directory, and the variable changed! It took a while to find out what was going on: === root@stable (/dev/pts/0) /etc-eureka/RCS 180 -> j=* === root@stable (/dev/pts/0) /etc-eureka/RCS 181 -> echo $j XF86Config,v aliases,v crontab,v devd.conf,v devfs.conf,v dumpdates,v ethers,v exports,v fstab,v group,v hosts,v inetd.conf,v ... === root@stable (/dev/pts/0) /etc-eureka/RCS 182 -> cd .. === root@stable (/dev/pts/0) /etc-eureka 183 -> echo $j #rc.conf# RCS XF86Config aliases aliases.db apmd.conf auth.conf bluetooth crontab csh.cshrc csh.login csh.logout defaults ... Clearly the value of j is *, not the expansion of *.

Sat, 21 Nov 2015 23:31:32 UTC

Porting hugin: disaster

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, I committed the latest version of Hugin yesterday evening. Of course I had done all my normal tests, and all worked well. This morning I had a bug report from Stari Karp and a couple of automated build failures. Looking more carefully, I discovered that I had messed up my patch files: there were three old patches that were no longer needed, and they referenced files that no longer existed. OK, svn remove them and commit again. Another message from Stari Karp: now he got an error message that I've seen before: /usr/ports/graphics/hugin/work/hugin-2015.0.0/src/tools/align_image_stack.cpp:196:38: error: reference to 'lock' is ambiguous             hugin_omp::ScopedLock sl(lock); But I fixed that last month!

Fri, 20 Nov 2015 22:30:09 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Spawning in South Australian Waters

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Divers are counting them: Squid gather and mate with as many partners as possible, then die, in an annual ritual off Rapid Head on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide. Department of Environment divers will check the waters and gather data on how many eggs are left by the spawning squid. No word on how many are expected. Ten? Ten...

Fri, 20 Nov 2015 13:04:19 UTC

Reputation in the Information Age

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Reputation is a social mechanism by which we come to trust one another, in all aspects of our society. I see it as a security mechanism. The promise and threat of a change in reputation entices us all to be trustworthy, which in turn enables others to trust us. In a very real sense, reputation enables friendships, commerce, and everything...

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 23:25:50 UTC

Back to ports again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got round to committing my updated ports (graphics/libpano13 and graphics/hugin. It seems to have been two years since I last did anything. To be on the safe side, only committed libpano13 today; if nothing blows up, I can commit hugin tomorrow. ACM only downloads articles once. It's possible that this article has changed since being downloaded, but the only way you can find out is by looking at the original article.

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 20:00:00 UTC

Long-form Reviewing

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a love letter to an automotive review, which turns out to be one of the best applications of blogging Ive ever seen. Specifically, the Long-Term Road Test format over at Whats happening is, the 2003 Audi A4  my write-up on it was one of this blogs launch features  is, well, as old as this blog. Its still a pretty nice car but has to visit the Audi doctor too often. So, were idly thinking of new wheels. Specifically, a run-about-town thingie: Smaller is better, and large fossil-fuel engines are inappropriate. Teslas are overpriced, which sort of leaves the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3.

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:16:04 UTC

RFID-Shielded, Ultra-Strong Duffel Bags

Posted By Bruce Schneier

They're for carrying cash through dangerous territory: SDR Traveller caters to people who, for one reason or another, need to haul huge amounts of cash money through dangerous territory. The bags are made from a super strong, super light synthetic material designed for yacht sails, are RFID-shielded, and are rated by how much cash in US$100 bills each can carry.......

Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:35:10 UTC

Paris Terrorists Use Double ROT-13 Encryption

Posted By Bruce Schneier

That is, no encryption at all. The Intercept has the story: "Yet news emerging from Paris -- as well as evidence from a Belgian ISIS raid in January -- suggests that the ISIS terror networks involved were communicating in the clear, and that the data on their smartphones was not encrypted. European media outlets are reporting that the location of...

Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:59:53 UTC

Ads Surreptitiously Using Sound to Communicate Across Devices

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is creepy and disturbing: Privacy advocates are warning federal authorities of a new threat that uses inaudible, high-frequency sounds to surreptitiously track a person's online behavior across a range of devices, including phones, TVs, tablets, and computers. The ultrasonic pitches are embedded into TV commercials or are played when a user encounters an ad displayed in a computer browser....

Wed, 18 Nov 2015 00:00:25 UTC

Understanding sensor dynamics

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the biggest issues I have with digital photography is the limited dynamic range of the sensors. Current sensors have a pixel depth of 12 or 14 bits. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 only has 12 bits. Since they're linear, that corresponds roughly to 12 EV. The many photos I take bracketed 3 EV either way increase this to 18 EV, but it's not ideal. A lot of postprocesssing is required, and there's the danger of ghosting. So when I read this article about a new sensor with higher dynamic range, I was very interested. It has an increased dynamic range of 88 dB!

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 18:03:00 UTC


Posted By Bruce Schneier

I have avoided writing about the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), largely because the details kept changing. (For those not following closely, similar bills were passed by both the House and the Senate. They're now being combined into a single bill which will be voted on again, and then almost certainly signed into law by President Obama.) Now that it's...

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 15:54:44 UTC

Turns out that unsubscribing from spam actually works

Posted By Cory Doctorow

After my spam hit a point where I couldn’t actually download my email faster than it was arrivingI spent a month clicking the unsubscribe links in all the spams in my inbox. Weirdly, it worked. What’s weirder is that I discovered that most of that spam was coming from organizations I knew, even ones I... more

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 12:36:48 UTC

Refuse to Be Terrorized

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Paul Krugman has written a really good update of my 2006 esssay. Krugman: So what can we say about how to respond to terrorism? Before the atrocities in Paris, the West's general response involved a mix of policing, precaution, and military action. All involved difficult tradeoffs: surveillance versus privacy, protection versus freedom of movement, denying terrorists safe havens versus the...

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 01:29:07 UTC

Repairing AVI files: the limits

Posted By Greg Lehey

My AVI file fix seemed to work. But the video ended early. It seems that it only works if the audio and video are OK. Otherwise I get things like: MEncoder SVN-r35933-snapshot-3.2 (C) 2000-2013 MPlayer Team success: format: 0  data: 0x0 - 0x6c08a536 libavformat version 54.63.104 (internal) AVI file format detected. [aviheader] Video stream found, -vid 0 [aviheader] Audio stream found, -aid 1 AVI: ODML: Building ODML index (2 superindexchunks). AVI: ODML: Broken (incomplete?) file detected. Will use traditional index. Generating Index:   1 % AVI: Generated index table for 5071 chunks! VIDEO:  [XVID]  720x542  24bpp  29.970 fps  2335.2 kbps (285.1 kbyte/s) [V] filefmt:3  fourcc:0x44495658  size:720x542  fps:29.970  ftime:=0.0334 videocodec: framecopy (720x542 24bpp fourcc=44495658) audiocodec: framecopy (format=55 chans=2 rate=48000 bits=0 B/s=40000 sample-1) Writing header...

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 00:21:28 UTC

Gmail rejection

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange message today: <> (expanded from <root>): host[] said: 550-5.7.1 [     12] Our system has detected that this message is 550-5.7.1 likely     unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of spam sent to Gmail, 550-5.7.1     this message has been blocked. Please visit 550 5.7.1 for more information.     i9si47983327bpq.207 - gsmtp (in reply to end of DATA command) The link didn't give me any opportunity to do something about the matter: it just told me the errors of my ways.

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 23:10:50 UTC

Joomla!: Done

Posted By Greg Lehey

More discussion of Joomla! on IRC today. As expected, it was a PHP issue. Jamie Fraser suggested adding this line to /usr/local/etc/php/extensions.ini (in this case creating it): Sure enough, I no longer got that error message. Instead I got: Fatal error: Call to undefined function simplexml_load_file() in /usr/local/www/joomla3/installation/application/web.php on line 262 OK, simplexml is another of the modules mentioned in /usr/ports/www/joomla3/Makefile. But what's the module called? No information in /usr/ports/www/simplexml/Makefile.

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 20:39:07 UTC

Paris Attacks Blamed on Strong Cryptography and Edward Snowden

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Well, that didn't take long: As Paris reels from terrorist attacks that have claimed at least 128 lives, fierce blame for the carnage is being directed toward American whistleblower Edward Snowden and the spread of strong encryption catalyzed by his actions. Now the Paris attacks are being used an excuse to demand back doors. CIA Director John Brennan chimed in,...

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 12:19:43 UTC

Did Carnegie Mellon Attack Tor for the FBI?

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There's pretty strong evidence that the team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who canceled their scheduled 2015 Black Hat talk deanonymized Tor users for the FBI. Details are in this Vice story and this Wired story (and these">two follow-on Vice stories). And here's the reaction from the Tor Project. Nicholas Weaver guessed this back in January. The behavior...

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 00:44:54 UTC

The Internet will always suck

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Have you ever wondered why the Internet is always just a little bit too slow to support the kind of activity you’re trying to undertake? My latest Locus column, The Internet Will Always Suck, hypothesizes that whenever the Internet gets a little faster or cheaper, that unlocks a bunch of applications that couldn’t gain purchase... more

Sun, 15 Nov 2015 22:28:59 UTC

Joomla!: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today I had the task of getting MySQL and Joomla! to work on our web site. The first step was to gain access to the MySQL subsystem. I can't recall configuring itmaybe Chris did. One way or another, we don't have the root password. How do you get that back? Even Paul DuBois' books didn't help (contact your administrator). After a search found this page in the official documentationapparently only for Microsoft! But the instructions are fairly easy to translate: === root@www (/dev/pts/0) ~ 98 -> cat > /tmp/temppassword set password for 'root'@'localhost' = password ('Not the real password'); ^D === root@www (/dev/pts/0) ~ 99 -> mysqld --init-file=/tmp/tmppassword In the process came across this page, entitled Installing MySQL on FreeBSD.

Sun, 15 Nov 2015 00:07:35 UTC

Joomla!: How?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo has had the idea of installing Joomla! on our external web server. Talking about it tonight: I had said use the package, that's what the Ports Collection is for. Some discussion. The package installs an amazing number of files, mainly in the /usr/local hierarchy: === grog@www (/dev/pts/2) /usr/ports/www/joomla3 4 -> wc -l pkg-plist     7650 pkg-plist And according to the official instructions, which are anything but clear (Move the downloaded Joomla! installation package to the server. Use a FTP Client to transfer the Joomla!

Sat, 14 Nov 2015 00:13:43 UTC

Migrating subversion

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have a cron job that updates my local FreeBSD repositories every night. Well, almost every night: ====== Fri 13 Nov 2015 03:52:12 EST: Getting svn updates: /src/FreeBSD/svn/head ^[]1;Updating /src/FreeBSD/svn/head^G^[]2;Updating /src/FreeBSD/svn/head^GUpdating '.' : svn: E210002: Unable to connect to a repository at URL 'svn+ssh://' svn: E210002: To better debug SSH connection problems, remove the -q option from 'ssh' in the [tunnels] section of your Subversion configuration file. svn: E210002: Network connection closed unexpectedly That's not the first time. Asked on IRC if other people were having problems, and got a completely different answer: change the repository.

Fri, 13 Nov 2015 22:22:09 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Fishing Championship

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's an annual event in Hvar, Croatia....

Fri, 13 Nov 2015 20:25:13 UTC

Amazon Chooses Data and Goliath as a Best Book of 2015

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Amazon chose Data and Goliath as one of its Best Books of 2015, in both the nonfiction and business categories....

Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:08:51 UTC

Personal Data Sharing by Mobile Apps

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting research: "Who Knows What About Me? A Survey of Behind the Scenes Personal Data Sharing to Third Parties by Mobile Apps," by Jinyan Zang, Krysta Dummit, James Graves, Paul Lisker, and Latanya Sweeney. We tested 110 popular, free Android and iOS apps to look for apps that shared personal, behavioral, and location data with third parties. 73% of Android...

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 21:36:50 UTC

Scholarly article on activism and technology in my YA novels

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Anika Ullmann, a graduate student in Cultural Studies Leuphana University in Luneberg, Germany, has published a paper on the relationship of my young adult novels to political radicalism, the hacker ethic and the “First Days of a Better Nation.” I found it a great and insightful read, and Annika kindly made a copy available for... more

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 20:28:51 UTC

Testing the Usability of PGP Encryption Tools

Posted By Bruce Schneier

"Why Johnny Still, Still Can't Encrypt: Evaluating the Usability of a Modern PGP Client," by Scott Ruoti, Jeff Andersen, Daniel Zappala, and Kent Seamons. Abstract: This paper presents the results of a laboratory study involving Mailvelope, a modern PGP client that integrates tightly with existing webmail providers. In our study, we brought in pairs of participants and had them attempt...

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 13:01:40 UTC

Betting Ticket Forged Based on Selfie

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is an interesting story. Someone posts a photograph of herself holding a winning horse-race betting ticket, and someone else uses the data from the photograph to forge the ticket and claim the winnings. I have been thinking a lot about how technology is messing with our intuitions about risk and security. This is a good example of that....

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 22:42:42 UTC

Olympus firmware upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Olympus has announced a firmware upgrade for the E-M1 long in advance of release. In the past I've had lots of difficulties with the updates. I suspect that their silly updater has some sensitivity to computer configuration, and it's not helped by just plain incorrect error messages. There's also a firmware update waiting for Yvonne's E-PM2 and the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ lens, so I did a trial run with that. Experienced an issue that doesn't apply to many components: the firmware update extends and retracts the lens. I had the camera lens down, so this was particularly obvious.

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 22:08:21 UTC

Language evolution

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time trawling web sites today for new amplifiers. It seems that the traditional HiFi setup no longer exists: amplifier at the centre, with tuners and media players as inputs, recording devices as inputs and outputs, and loudspeakers as outputs. JB HiFi is a typical Australian retailer, with a typically horrible web site. There I looked for loudspeaker: Hey, based on 'loudspeaker' we couldnt find exactly what you were searching for. Check out some suggested results below, or type in another search. It did find 7 hits: 4 Speakers (in the current political climate one would wonder whether they're selling Bronwyn Bishop cheaply), two PA Speakers, and a Wireless Audio, whatever that may be.

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 20:22:16 UTC

Bypassing the iPhone Activation Lock

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Clever man-in-the-middle attack....

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 12:44:57 UTC

Ransomware Is Getting Sophisticated

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Some of the tricks that ransomware is using to get victims to pay up....

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 00:47:42 UTC

rsync problems again

Posted By Greg Lehey

A year ago I had issues with rsync to my external web site. For reasons that I still don't understand, the initial handshake (via ssh) would fail. I suspected a network issue, and was still trying to understand it when the system crashed due to hardware issues. And then the problem was gone. Until today. It's back! It must be something to do with sshd itself. Should I just restart it or try to debug the issue? ACM only downloads articles once.

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 00:03:40 UTC

More ANZ stupidity

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne wanted to pay a bill this morning using ANZ's web (Internet) banking, and made the mistake of trying to add a payee who was already on the list. So it asked a security question, in this case What was the first street you lived on?. The correct answer was It's all in my diary, but she didn't know that, and made the mistake of trying to guess (and whose? Hers or mine?) . So the account was locked. Rang up and had to identify myself by a simple password.

Tue, 10 Nov 2015 20:17:51 UTC

IT Security Is Still a Great Career Path

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Jobs are plentiful and salaries are booming. I know from personal experience that demand far exceeds supply....

Tue, 10 Nov 2015 16:04:28 UTC

Christine's keynote at OpsCon Milano 2015

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Christine Hogan gave the keynote presentation at OpsCon Milano 2015 today. Her talk was titled "Learn to Fail Better" and highlighted cultural and technical points from our new book, The Practice of Cloud System Administration. OpsCon had an artist live drawing a summary of the talk, which you can see here: Congrats to Christine on her first conference keynote!

Tue, 10 Nov 2015 12:38:47 UTC

Linus Torvalds on Linux Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting interview. Slashdot thread....

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 22:46:18 UTC

Humanity's victories

Posted By Greg Lehey

The German Olympus forum has got rid of its old, functioning web site and replaced it with something running Drupal, offering lots of opportunities for overlapping text and bleeding boxes: I was reminded of an xkcd cartoon, and spent a whole lot of time looking for it before I finally found this, not on xkcd at all: ACM only downloads articles once.

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 12:11:18 UTC

Good Article on the Blockchain

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The Economist published a really good article on the blockchain....

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 00:04:17 UTC

technology, multimedia

Posted By Greg Lehey

More fun with multimedia today. After recording programmes from TV, I first recode them to convert them to and MPEG Program Stream, in the process discovering the quality of the recording. But today things ground to a halt round 47% of a specific recording: 2015-11-08 12:41:36.533 46.0% complete 2015-11-08 12:41:41.825 46.6% complete 2015-11-08 12:41:46.827 47.0% complete 2015-11-08 13:03:13.206 47.4% complete ^C^C What caused that? It was repeatable, and I've been having strange issues with recordings slowing down. I had thought it might be a problem with the disk on teevee, but smartctl had not revealed anything.

Sat, 07 Nov 2015 22:42:55 UTC

Fixing broken avi files

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recently I received a video in AVI format. I could play it with no problems, but I couldn't position. Broken index? Did some searching and found this page, a wonderful example of how to obfuscate computer code. Why do people enclose computer code in too-small (particularly too-narrow) boxes? It boils down to: pass it through mencoder with the -idx option and it will rebuild the index for you. Here's the function I use: # Rebuild avi index. # Usage: rebuild-index filename # filename will be replaced on success rebuild-index () {   if mencoder -idx $1 -ovc copy -oac copy -o foo$$; then     mv foo$$ $1   fi } ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 07 Nov 2015 00:52:25 UTC

teevee: grinding to a halt?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I still have performance problems with teevee, my TV display machine. Yes, it's not the fastest, but lately when I'm copying data across the net, it seems hardly to react at all. It only has a 100 Mb/s interfacethe last of our real machines not to have a gigabit interfaceso big file copies are limited to about 11 MB/s. But today I saw the speed dropping as low as 3 MB/s. cvr2, the source machine, showed that the copy stalled several times. What's the problem? pings showed that there were big differences in the response time, between about 140 ¼s and 6 ms.

Sat, 07 Nov 2015 00:37:15 UTC

Hugin under Linux

Posted By Greg Lehey

So finally I had a chance to run Hugin on a well-supported platform. It didn't crash. But the other issues were the same as on FreeBSD: the alignment of my test panorama was still wavy. But this time I tried the Straighten button of the Move tab. And it worked. The other is a now you see me, now you don't issue. After alignment, the fast preview window comes up with a text bleeding into the top right of the image: It's really ugly, but others seem to like it.

Fri, 06 Nov 2015 23:55:15 UTC

A new Linux machine

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still don't know how many of the anomalies I have found with the latest version of Hugin are due to my FreeBSD port. The attempts with Microsoft show that it's in much worse shape than my port, at least for me (mutual revulsion?) . So where does it run well? I've continually heard that the Apple port has its issues too. Linux is the way. But which distro? Asked on IRC, expecting to hear Debian or Red Hat or Ubuntu. But no, all four replies I got said Lubuntu. What's that? I've never heard of it? Seems it's a Lightweight Ubuntu.

Fri, 06 Nov 2015 22:30:03 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Squid and Bacteria

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Margaret McFall-Ngai studies the symbiotic relationship between squid and the bacteria that live inside them. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered....

Fri, 06 Nov 2015 04:36:00 UTC

From Wrought Iron to Crucible Steel Knife

Posted By Niels Provos

Fri, 06 Nov 2015 04:00:00 UTC

London Calling! An AWS Region is coming to the UK!

Posted By Werner Vogels

Yesterday, AWS evangelist Jeff Barr wrote that AWS will be opening a region in South Korea in early 2016 that will be our 5th region in Asia Pacific. Customers can choose between 11 regions around the world today and, in addition to Korea, we are adding regions in India, a second region in China, and Ohio in 2016. Today, I am excited to add the United Kingdom to that list! The AWS UK region will be our third in the European Union (EU), and we're shooting to have it ready by the end of 2016 (or early 2017). This region will provide even lower latency and strong data sovereignty to local users.

Thu, 05 Nov 2015 20:42:47 UTC

Passwords by Mail

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Julia Angwin's daughter is selling diceware passwords by mail....

Thu, 05 Nov 2015 12:16:31 UTC

The Effects of Surveillance on the Victims

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Last month, the Cato Institute held its Second Annual Cato Surveillance Conference. It was an excellent event, with many interesting talks and panels. But their was one standout: a panel by victims of surveillance. Titled "The Feeling of Being Watched," it consisted of Assia Boundaoui, Faisal Gill, and Jumana Musa. It was very powerful and moving to hear them talk...

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 22:40:49 UTC

Hugin on Microsoft: give up

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some more time trying to understand my problems running Hugin on Microsoft, without much success. It seems that the problems selecting files related to a setting in the Folders tab of the Control Panel: I have it set to select items with a single click. Hugin is the first program I know that has a problem with that. Most of the other problems remain, though. Hugin has always had two different interfaces, the Assistant and the individual steps. Since 2013.0.0 the Assistant has been part of the fast panorama preview window, which I suspect has had some kind of race condition for a long time.

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 20:30:00 UTC

BYOBook Signing at LISA '15

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I hadn't planned on doing a book signing at LISA this year but a number of people have asked, so I've set one up. You'll have to bring your own copy as I won't have copies to sell or give away. What: Book signing with Tom Limoncelli Where: The Atrium When: Friday, Nov 13 at 1:30-2pm What about e-books? I have stickers that I will autograph. Where you stick it is up to you. Will you be selling or giving away books? Sadly not this year. That said, feel free to bring books by other authors. I'll sign anything. Your books are too heavy to bring in my luggage.

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 19:54:59 UTC

Analyzing Reshipping Mule Scams

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting paper: "Drops for Stuff: An Analysis of Reshipping Mule Scams. From a blog post: A cybercriminal (called operator) recruits unsuspecting citizens with the promise of a rewarding work-from-home job. This job involves receiving packages at home and having to re-ship them to a different address, provided by the operator. By accepting the job, people unknowingly become part of a...

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 00:57:14 UTC

Hugin fisheye problems: understood?

Posted By Greg Lehey

What's the difference between how Hugin handles fisheye images now (version 2015.0.0) and how it handled them in the past (version 2012.0.0)? It seems that there are two changes: Hugin now stores lens information in a database. In particular, this means that it stores the kind of lens and its own idea of the focal length of the lens. In the case of my Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 8 mm f/3.5 fisheye lens, this is roughly 7.7 mm.

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 23:13:36 UTC

Loss of Integrity

Posted By Greg Lehey

In 1989 Tandem Computers announced its first real Unix machine, named Integrity S2, a name that had such a resonance that Hewlett Packard still use it for their mission-critical servers. I was involved in the leadup to the announcement, and as a result received a tombstone, something of which our Micro Products Division in NonStop Drive, Austin TX was particularly fond: We (European Unix Technical Support, of which I was the manager) received one of the very first machines in late 1989. There's some mention in my ersatz diary for November 1989.

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 20:31:19 UTC

$1M Bounty for iPhone Hack

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I don't know whether to believe this story. Supposedly the startup Zerodium paid someone $1M for an iOS 9.1 and 9.2b hack. Bekrar and Zerodium, as well as its predecessor VUPEN, have a different business model. They offer higher rewards than what tech companies usually pay out, and keep the vulnerabilities secret, revealing them only to certain government customers, such...

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 20:00:00 UTC

CL XXXV: Fading

Posted By Tim Bray

This years Cottage Life chapter is over. Not the best, either; what with my new gig and all we visited less, and the kids would as soon be in the city. Still, its a rare privilege. I could show you more mountains or birds or trees and trees and trees. Instead, lets settle for three fading hydrangea blossoms. All on the same plant on the same afternoon. This guy puts on a pretty nice show from spring through to fall and its pretty parts age then die with grace. I admire that.

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 12:20:08 UTC

Australia Is Testing Virtual Passports

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Australia is going to be the first country to have virtual passports. Presumably, the passport data will be in the cloud somewhere, and you'll access it with an app or a URL or maybe just the passport number. On the one hand, all a passport needs to be is a pointer into a government database with all the relevant information...

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 05:58:08 UTC

X clipboard

Posted By Greg Lehey

What's this clipboard nonsense? Some Microsoft invention? No, it seems that X has had it forever, but you need a special program (xclipboard) to access it. Looking at the appearance of the program (Athena widgets), it must be over 25 years old. And it Just Works. ACM only downloads articles once. It's possible that this article has changed since being downloaded, but the only way you can find out is by looking at the original article.

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 05:25:17 UTC

Hugin: the next hurdle

Posted By Greg Lehey

More playing around with Hugin today. First question: how do I get it to reenable the fast panorama preview under Microsoft? Thomas Modes said hold down the control key and start Hugin. But how? There are at least four different ways: Click on the image on the root window (is that what Microsoft calls desktop?) . With Crtl pressed, nothing at all happened. Start from a COMMAND.EXE window. This doesn't work either: when Ctrl is pressed, Return doesn't work.

Mon, 02 Nov 2015 18:00:00 UTC

Automation Should Be Like Iron Man, Not Ultron

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Q: Dear Tom: A few years ago we automated a major process in our system administration team. Now the system is impossible to debug. Nobody remembers the old manual process and the automation is beyond what any of us can understand. We feel like we've painted ourselves into a corner. Is all operations automation doomed to be this way? Read my answer in ACM Queue magazine. [Queue Magazine is for computer science practitioners. They asked me to write a column on operations/system administration that would suit that audience. This is the first one. You can read it free online occasionally. Subscribers never miss an issue.

Mon, 02 Nov 2015 12:47:43 UTC

The Rise of Political Doxing

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Last week, CIA director John O. Brennan became the latest victim of what's become a popular way to embarrass and harass people on the Internet. A hacker allegedly broke into his AOL account and published e-mails and documents found inside, many of them personal and sensitive. It's called doxing­ -- sometimes doxxing­ -- from the word "documents." It emerged in...

Sun, 01 Nov 2015 22:26:19 UTC

More Hugin pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

More playing around with Hugin today. I had a number of issues: It seems that Hugin has a log facility: in the General tab in preferences, you can select Copy log messages to clipboard. What's a clipboard? I thought it was something Microsoft, but Hugin is predominantly Unix (Linux) oriented. That means X, and all X has is a cut buffer. And nothing arrived there. I later discovered that X does, indeed, have a clipboard facility.

Sun, 01 Nov 2015 00:29:11 UTC

Hosting an NBN fixed wireless tower

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from somebody today who was in negotiation with the National Broadband Network to have a fixed wireless tower put on her property. It looks like a good idea for her: they pay $10,000 per year, and the area where it would go isn't much use for anything else. She has already given the contract to her solicitor to look at, but she's concerned about liability insurance. Surely the NBN would handle that? I'm puzzled. I think her biggest issue might be community backlash: she says that all the community is against the tower. But that doesn't make sense: why would the NBN want to erect a tower where nobody's interested?