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Postings for October 2015:  (24 posts)
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 01:09:20 UTC

Revisiting X configurations

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the results of Yvonne photo orgy is an incredible amount of processing. I store the photos on disk on eureka, and Yvonne accesses them by NFS. That's not ideal: some things, like making contact prints of video clips, require a lot of I/O, and over the net it's particularly slow. So why not log in oneureka? The simple answer is because my X configuration doesn't do it right. The fvwm2 menus look like this: + "eureka" Exec ssh -A eureka /usr/local/bin/xterm -name "xterm"  -bg BlanchedAlmond -s -sl 2048 -sb -ls -j -rw -display lagoon:0.0 -geometry 100x65+53+0 -fn 9x15 -e /usr/local/bin/bash & That's an ssh started from the window manager, so it needs an ssh key to be loaded.

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:24:26 UTC

Beyond Blame: Learning From Failure and Success

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

You're gonna want this book. Pre-order it now. (Pre-orders are paper right now; it should be available on Kindle soon. Official release date is Oct 25) This is the best book I've ever read about Postmortems and creating a Blameless operations culture. Tom

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:52:41 UTC

See me in Utah, Boston, Toronto and Waterloo!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This/next week, I’m speaking in events in Park City, Utah (Future in Review); Boston (The Freedom to Innovate Summit, the Berman Center and Suffolk University); Toronto (Seneca College); Markham (In Conversation and Storytellers); and the University of Waterloo! Come say hi! (Image: Terri Oda, CC-BY)

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:18:27 UTC

Autonomous Vehicles as Bombs

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Good discussion of the issues. Now we need to think about solutions....

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 02:04:47 UTC

Raw conversion revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over 4 years since I last compared raw image converters. I've learnt a lot since then, and on the whole I'm happy with DxO Optics Pro. But 3 days ago I had reason to examine things, and it took a while. I have now read the documentation for Raw Therapee. The first discovery was that it doesn't use lensfun, but instead profiles from Adobe Camera Raw, and you have to install them manually. In addition, the Adobe page states that only preliminary support is available for the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and newer models aren't mentioned at all. In general, the list looks about 2 years out of date.

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 00:32:09 UTC

Facebook: how can we best annoy you?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On one of my rare excursions into Facebook-land I was asked to participate in a survey. Opinionated as I am, I accepted. But all I got was a collection of postings, most as unrelated as these two: One's in Malay, though I can't understand enough to be sure of the topic: the Malays use a jargon that I can't decipher; neither can Google Translate. The other is in German about the cost of data retention. Do you prefer a fish or a bicycle?

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 00:29:09 UTC

Microsoft logoff

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've established that putting a Microsoft login session on ice isn't enough to free up the memory, so I'm currently logging off. Microsoft doesn't make it easy: It hangs there for something like 30 seconds. You'd think Microsoft's own products would behave. ACM only downloads articles once.

Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:11:12 UTC

Automatic Face Recognition and Surveillance

Posted By Bruce Schneier

ID checks were a common response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but they'll soon be obsolete. You won't have to show your ID, because you'll be identified automatically. A security camera will capture your face, and it'll be matched with your name and a whole lot of other information besides. Welcome to the world of automatic facial recognition. Those...

Mon, 05 Oct 2015 04:55:41 UTC

Olympus in-camera HDR revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've had a bit of a discussion on the German Olympus forum about the likely benefits of focus stacking on the Olympus OM-D E-M1. This was before I wrote yesterday's article on the subject. My concerns about the usability of the out-of-camera focus stacking were based on my experience with the out-of-camera HDR functionality of the camera, which was really not very useful. But then Martin Wieprecht came up with an example, apparently from his book Die Gro├če Reise ans andere Ende der Welt, that really did look good: So I tried again, looking through and out of my office.

Sun, 04 Oct 2015 23:45:01 UTC

Another FreeBSD VPS

Posted By Greg Lehey

While searching something completely unrelated, the following advertisement cropped up on my screen: As it says, it's from ARP Networks. The offer doesn't look bad, though nothing to entice me away from RootBSD, but it's nice to see other companies offering FreeBSD VPS. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sun, 04 Oct 2015 23:30:21 UTC

Photo processing and Microsoft memory management

Posted By Greg Lehey

More playing around with my PHP processing scripts today, and I think I have fixed all the bugs. Yvonne is still backed up to 26 September, and it looks like it will take her the rest of the week to process her thousands of photos and videos. And of course she's complaining about DxO Optics Pro Pushing the limits of your patience camera. In the past I have noticed big differences in processing speed, and sure enough, it was slow today too. It looked as if there were lots of hard page faults (which I presume means causing disk I/O). That's not so surprising given the relatively small memory of the machine.

Sun, 04 Oct 2015 19:00:00 UTC

Ingress in 2015

Posted By Tim Bray

Yes, were coming up for the third anniversary of Ingress, the game; Im one of the few from the first late-2012 wave who are still on-board. Why? Well, Ive walked 1,017km playing this game. I am at real risk of dying from boredom; in that I find most forms of exercise crushingly tedious and just wont. Ingress is excellent as a defense against sinking into an entirely sedentary lifestyle. Also, Ive met a ton of interesting people, done a chase scene and park sprint in San Fran, hoisted a few beers, braved howling waterfront windstorms, and found interesting places in Tokyo and Hawaii.

Sun, 04 Oct 2015 01:11:23 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

A few weeks back ALDI had a quadcopter (a camera drone) on special offer. I bought one and had intended to test it, but either I'm incapable or it is. According to the packaging (an important part of the documentation; it's the only place where they mention the resolution of the camera) it comes with propeller guards: But they're not there (the replacement propellers are). It contains a tiny camera on the underside: The remote control is one of the most amazing toys I've seen: ...

Sun, 04 Oct 2015 00:57:16 UTC

Still more S-100 boards

Posted By Greg Lehey

While unpacking cartons, found a couple more S-100 memory boards. One is the fourth Econoram board, similar to the ones I had already photographed, but I'm surprised that I hadn't missed the other one last time round, in particular because of the modifications on it: What's that for? Do I still have the circuit diagrams somewhere?

Sun, 04 Oct 2015 00:53:56 UTC

Fixing the contact print processing

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the side effects of Yvonne's photo spree of the last few days is that my contact print scripts can't handle the sheer number of images. They're written as PHP web pages, and we were getting: Request-URI Too Large The requested URL's length exceeds the capacity limit for this server. Took a look at the code, and discovered: function docontacts ($desc, $dirdate, $imagelist) {   $method = "get";                              /* transfer method.

Sat, 03 Oct 2015 00:49:17 UTC

Returning the lens cap

Posted By Greg Lehey

Clearly the new lens cap is useless. Time to initiate a return. To make it easier, it makes sense to send a couple of photos, roughly like the ones above. Fought my way through this emetic eBay form, climbed down the directory trees, and tried to upload the first image. No go: OK, try again, as they suggest. Well, a change of language helps, doesn't it? Additional retries alternated between English and German, and there was no way to break out of the loop.

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:11:25 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Bobtail Squid Keeps Bacteria to Protect Its Eggs

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid deposits bacteria on its eggs to keep them safe. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered....

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 19:06:53 UTC

Resilient Systems News

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Former Raytheon chief scientist Bill Swanson has joined our board of directors. For those who don't know, Resilient Systems is my company. I'm the CTO, and we sell an incident-response management platform that...well...helps IR teams to manage incidents. It's a single hub that allows a team to collect data about an incident, assign and manage tasks, automate actions, integrate intelligence...

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:40:11 UTC

Data breaches are winning the privacy wars, so what should privacy advocates do?

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Data breaches are winning the privacy wars, so what should privacy advocates do? My latest Guardian column, “Why is it so hard to convince people to care about privacy,” argues that the hard part of the privacy wars (getting people to care about privacy) is behind us, because bad privacy regulation and practices are producing... more

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:35:22 UTC

Stealing Fingerprints

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The news from the Office of Personnel Management hack keeps getting worse. In addition to the personal records of over 20 million US government employees, we've now learned that the hackers stole fingerprint files for 5.6 million of them. This is fundamentally different from the data thefts we regularly read about in the news, and should give us pause before...

Thu, 01 Oct 2015 23:32:57 UTC

Yet Another New Disk

Posted By Greg Lehey

The new disk for lagoon arrived today. I suppose it's a sign of the times that a 1 TB disk is now pretty much the lower size limit, and this one was only half the thickness of the one it replaced. What partitions? I've been recommending a two file system approach since the first edition of Installing and Running FreeBSD in nearly 20 years ago. In 2003, I changed from / and /usr to / and /home, implicitly leaving /usr in the root file system. That makes a lot of sense: despite the name, /usr now contains mainly system files, while user files are in /home.

Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:03:59 UTC

Existential Risk and Technological Advancement

Posted By Bruce Schneier

AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky: "Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point." Oh, how I wish I said that....

Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:00:13 UTC

Identifying CIA Officers in the Field

Posted By Bruce Schneier

During the Cold War, the KGB was very adept at identifying undercover CIA officers in foreign countries through what was basically big data analysis. (Yes, this is a needlessly dense and very hard-to-read article. I think it's worth slogging through, though.)...

Thu, 01 Oct 2015 00:57:11 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

For the past two months almost I've been trying to review The Practice of Cloud System Administration, by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup and Christina J. Hogan, for the The FreeBSD Journal. It hasn't been easy. Today was the deadline, and I'm glad I finally got something useful together. What's a cloud, anyway? A nebulous term. But the authors have addressed that in advance: you get a choice of two titles, and Designing and operating large distributed systems suits me far better. The difficulties don't reflect on the quality of the book, but because it comes from a perspective so different from my own.