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Postings for February 2016:  (25 posts)
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 01:49:48 UTC

NBN for the depressed

Posted By Greg Lehey

Anita Maynard asked on Facebook today about getting NBN in her location, which is in a depression. Ended up going over to take a look there, and discovered that her husband Ken is the bloke who bought our pizza oven last year. Fortunately he's happy with it. It seems that the National Broadband Network has been there a couple of times and established that he could get a signal if they found a way to mount the antenna about 10 m higher. Not really an issue, especially since Ken is good at that sort of thing, so he would build his own tower.

Mon, 08 Feb 2016 01:26:12 UTC

Still more TV pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking last night's recordings, discovered that cvr2 hung again. It was recording at the time, so I have an exact time when it happened: 2016-02-06 21:14:23.703343663. Unfortunately I don't have as good a time for the say before, but it was also some time after 21:00. About the only thing in /var/log/messages at least gives me a rough idea: Feb  5 20:58:57 cvr2 -- MARK -- Feb  5 21:18:57 cvr2 -- MARK -- Feb  6 10:12:31 cvr2 syslogd 1.5.0#2ubuntu6: restart. So it must have been some time between 21:18 and 21;29. What's causing it?

Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03:09:00 UTC

Wolf's Tooth Spear Update

Posted By Niels Provos

Sat, 06 Feb 2016 22:16:00 UTC

TV computer issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking on yesterday's TV recording, discovered that cvr2, the recording machine, was down. It seems that it just hung some time after 21:00. And it seems that Linux machines are particularly laconic when it comes to logging. Why did it die? No idea. It came back up again with no difficulties. Hopefully a one-off occurrence. As if that wasn't enough, had more trouble with tiwi. X came up in 1024×768 mode again. Why? An examination of the Xorg.0.log file was interesting: it didn't find any EDID data at all.

Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:00:00 UTC

LISA Conversations Episode 6: Alice Goldfuss on Scalable Meatfrastructure (LISA15)

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

In this episode we talked with Alice Goldfuss about the changes you need to make when growing a DevOps or sysadmin team. Alice also talked about dealing with remote workers, her experience at film school, plus she shares insights about giving your first presentation at a conference. LISA Conversations Episode 6: Topic: Alice Goldfuss discusses her LISA '15 talk: Scalable Meatfrastructure: Building Stable DevOps Teams You don't want to miss this! For the complete list of LISA Conversations, visit our homepage.

Sat, 06 Feb 2016 02:21:19 UTC

Intel graphics: not the solution

Posted By Greg Lehey

Left tiwi running overnight, mainly by accident. And today the display of a firefox browser was corrupted, apparently a font issue that I couldn't fix by changing tabs back and forth. Somehow the on-chip graphics just aren't up to an HD display. Maybe I should put the disk back in the old teevee machine until I can sort things out. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 06 Feb 2016 02:21:09 UTC

Configuring aspell

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since a recent upgrade to Emacs my spell corrector hasn't been working, claiming that no dictionary was selected. If I tried to select one (ispell-change-directory), it claimed that the selected dictionary (british) didn't exist. Googling didn't help: this otherwise helpful article told me to do exactly what I was doing. Exceptionally, the normal documentation didn't go into intimate details of installation. Why couldn't I select a dictionary? Finally I tried pkg: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) ~ 165 -> pkg info | grep spell aspell-              Spelling checker with better suggestion logic than ispell de-aspell-20030222.1_1         Aspell German dictionary hunspell-1.3.3                 Improved spell-checker for Hungarian and other languages ispell-3.3.02_5                An interactive spelling checker for multiple languages ...

Fri, 05 Feb 2016 22:55:53 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Knitting Pattern

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Surprisingly realistic for a knitted stuffed animal....

Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:15:21 UTC

NSA Reorganizing

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The NSA is undergoing a major reorganization, combining its attack and defense sides into a single organization: In place of the Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance directorates ­ the organizations that historically have spied on foreign targets and defended classified networks against spying, respectively ­ the NSA is creating a Directorate of Operations that combines the operational elements of each....

Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:00:00 UTC

Low-light Phone cam

Posted By Tim Bray

Regular readers will know that I have a thing about low-light photography. My new photo-toy is the Nexus 5X and Ive the urge to push it further into the dark than it really wants to go. Yes, the wide-angle is bending the building a bit; but its getting help from the architect. #Bike2WorkPix. 1/35sec at ISO 725. I remember, all those years ago, when the original Nikon D3 came out, the first digital camera that could see just as well as you in the dark. They more or less all can, these days. Thats a little corner of the mighty Pacific.

Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:56:58 UTC

Tracking Anonymous Web Users

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This research shows how to track e-commerce users better across multiple sessions, even when they do not provide unique identifiers such as user IDs or cookies. Abstract: Targeting individual consumers has become a hallmark of direct and digital marketing, particularly as it has become easier to identify customers as they interact repeatedly with a company. However, across a wide variety...

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:27:27 UTC

tiwi: done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

More work on tiwi today. Yesterday it was mainly working, but I had to check audio, ensure that it boots up cleanly, and move it to the lounge room. And clearly I needed to move the videos on teevee across to tiwi. Nothing very complicated, but lots of non-obvious details. Syncing the videos was the most time-consuming. I had already done so last month, but since then new videos have arrived, of course. I used rsync last time, but didn't mention it in my diary. That's a mistake: every time I use rsync for something like this, I have a couple of false starts while I sort out options and whether path names should end in a /.

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:18:27 UTC

The Internet of Things Will Be the World's Biggest Robot

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The Internet of Things is the name given to the computerization of everything in our lives. Already you can buy Internet-enabled thermostats, light bulbs, refrigerators, and cars. Soon everything will be on the Internet: the things we own, the things we interact with in public, autonomous things that interact with each other. These "things" will have two separate parts. One...

Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:27:34 UTC

mplayer: Finally!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I finished yesterday with the recognition that my issues with mplayer were related either to specific hardware or specific software. Which? Today I started by putting the disk from stable into the new tiwi machine and trying in that configuration. It worked. So it's not the hardware. Which software? I guessed something in /usr/local. The base systems are the same, so after replacing the original disks in their machines, I copied the entire /usr hierarchy from stable to tiwi (as /spool/usr), then rebooted and symlinked /spool/usr to /usr. And sure enough, that worked too. So all I needed was to put the hierarchy in the correct place and I was done.

Wed, 03 Feb 2016 12:09:02 UTC

Security vs. Surveillance

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Both the "going dark" metaphor of FBI Director James Comey and the contrasting "golden age of surveillance" metaphor of privacy law professor Peter Swire focus on the value of data to law enforcement. As framed in the media, encryption debates are about whether law enforcement should have surreptitious access to data, or whether companies should be allowed to provide strong...

Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:33:40 UTC

More fun with telemarketeers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Eighteen months ago I described a trick to upset telemarketeers. What I've heard since then is that it had an immediate reaction from telemarketeer management. The drones have been instructed to never, never change the configuration of their phones on instruction over the phone. Today I heard of another hack: a robot that recognizes spam calls and automatically handles them. This story in particular amused me. How do you recognize spam calls in advance? The caller ID may give some clue, as the link describes. That's applicable to the USA, but here we get different things. Today I got a call from 0380801590, which, however, appears to be a valid number.

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 23:18:15 UTC

Fixing video issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

By the end of yesterday I had at least three remaining issues with tiwi: display resolution, lack of video with mplayer, and lack of lirc support. Spent today addressing them. The resolution issue was straightforward enough, just a mode line in the xorg.conf file. But the lack of display kept me going all day. First question: is this a problem with mplayer or X? That's easy to check: display the output of a known good mplayer on tiwi:0, and display the output of my new mplayer, running on tiwi, on a display on eureka. But the first part didn't work. The X server wasn't listening on TCP port x11.

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:20:09 UTC

Paper on the Going Dark Debate

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I am pleased to have been a part of this report, part of the Berkman Center's Berklett Cybersecurity project: Don't Panic: Making Progress on the "Going Dark" Debate From the report: In this report, we question whether the "going dark" metaphor accurately describes the state of affairs. Are we really headed to a future in which our ability to effectively...

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:00:00 UTC

Marlowe, RIP

Posted By Tim Bray

Our big male cat, announced in this space in 2005, died suddenly. Bloggers cats get obituaries. Looking irritated, probably being tickled. Marlowe always had a great coat and there was a lot of cat under it; in mid-life he became obese, but when we put him on a diet and his waist re-appeared he was one damn fine-looking cat. He wasnt terribly smart or terribly affectionate. He liked the outdoors and was a pretty good rat-catcher. Hey, we live near the middle of a port city and thats a big plus. His greatest joy in life was a warm stationary lap, so he greatly approved of long TV shows.

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:00:00 UTC

Watch us live today: LISA Conversations: Alice Goldfuss on Scalable Meatfrastructure

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Today (Feb 2) at 3:30PM PST we'll be recording this month's episode of LISA Conversations. Our guest will be Alice Goldfuss. We'll be discussing her LISA '15 talk about growing a devops team: Scalable Meatfrastructure: Building Stable DevOps Teams Watch her talk from LISA '15... Scalable Meatfrastructure: Building Stable DevOps Teams ...then watch us interview her live... January 26, 2016 at 3:30 pm-4:30 pm PDT (convert) Watch Live! ...or watch the recorded show shortly after! You won't want to miss this! (NOTE: This recording was rescheduled; our usual time/date is the last Tuesday of the month.)

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:11:56 UTC

More Details on the NSA Switching to Quantum-Resistant Cryptography

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The NSA is publicly moving away from cryptographic algorithms vulnerable to cryptanalysis using a quantum computer. It just published a FAQ about the process: Q: Is there a quantum resistant public-key algorithm that commercial vendors should adopt? A: While a number of interesting quantum resistant public key algorithms have been proposed external to NSA, nothing has been standardized by NIST,...

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 22:59:24 UTC

Finishing the mplayer mods

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been procrastinating in applying my patches to mplayer, but it's gradually time to do something. And once I had found what looked like the most recent patches, actually applying them wasn't that bad. And it worked! About the only modification I needed to make was to remove a rather unsuccessful attempt to measure time in files captured from an MPEG Transport Stream: /*  * grog, 2008/10/16 07:15:42  * Calculate the elapsed time for a file.  We need this if we have  * copied transport streams with nonsensical elapsed time values.  */ double demuxer_calc_elapsed_time (demuxer_t *demuxer) {   double get_time_ans;   sh_video_t *sh_video = demuxer->video->sh;   sh_audio_t *sh_audio = demuxer->audio->sh;   if (sh_video && sh_video->i_bps)     get_time_ans = (double) (demuxer->filepos - demuxer->movi_start) / sh_video->i_bps;   else if (sh_audio && sh_audio->i_bps)     get_time_ans = (double) (demuxer->filepos - demuxer->movi_start) / sh_audio->i_bps;   else     get_time_ans=0;   return get_time_ans; } ...

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 22:37:10 UTC

Online concert bookings

Posted By Greg Lehey

So we've decided to go to the Kammerphilarmonie Köln concert on Friday. How do we get tickets? There are plenty of sites that sell them at different prices, or I can call up Her Majesty's Theatre and book them over the phone. The price is the same as on their web site. My prejudices against broken web sites suggest that the phone is the better choice. But that's chickening out, so I braved the web site. My prejudices were confirmed. I had to register with the site with full address, email and password, and it didn't want to acccept my address: If these sites insist on checking the address, they should at least have the most up-to-date list of addresses.

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 20:27:09 UTC

NSA and GCHQ Hacked Israeli Drone Feeds

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The NSA and GCHQ have successfully hacked Israel's drones, according to the Snowden documents. The story is being reported by the Intercept and Der Spiegel. The Times of Israel has more....

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:42:50 UTC

NSA's TAO Head on Internet Offense and Defense

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Rob Joyce, the head of the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group -- basically the country's chief hacker -- spoke in public earlier this week. He talked both about how the NSA hacks into networks, and what network defenders can do to protect themselves. Here's a video of the talk, and here are two good summaries. Intrusion Phases Reconnaissance Initial...