Blog Archive: April 2011

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 23:53:27 UTC

Learning JavaScript

Posted By Greg Lehey

I now have two of the four books on JavaScript that I had ordered from the library. The other two are available, but apparently they couldn't find them, so I'll have to wait 2 weeks. The two are “Creating Web Pages All-in-One For Dummies , 4th Edition” (the space before the comma is from the official web site, so maybe it's modern) by Richard Wagner, not a name I would associate with web design, and JavaScript: The Missing Manual by David Sawyer McFarland. Given that choice, I would expect the second book to be much better, but it's not so clear-cut.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 22:56:30 UTC

More panorama refinement with hugin

Posted By Greg Lehey

Photo day today, and once again a bright, sunny day with the sun shining directly into my lens: That was part of a panorama, so I couldn't just leave it out, and the results were as could be expected. In the end went out again later and made another series of photos (a total of 70!) with extra shots with the sun cut out: Unfortunately, it was windy, as the second merged image clearly shows on the leaves of the Salvia microphylla at bottom, but it had the desired ...

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 01:02:10 UTC

New word to describe GUI software

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've come up with a new word to describe the way I feel about so much GUI software: paneful. I've been using X on the desktop for 21 years now, and right at the beginning I arranged for my entire department to do a course on X. I had expected it to be a course on how to use X, but in fact it turned out to be a programming course. It was quite interesting, and a number of precepts seem to make as much sense today as they did then. Two stand out: Windows are cheap.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 01:02:10 UTC

New word to describe GUI software

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've come up with a new word to describe the way I feel about so much GUI software: paneful. I've been using X on the desktop for 21 years now, and right at the beginning I arranged for my entire department to do a course on X. I had expected it to be a course on how to use X, but in fact it turned out to be a programming course. It was quite interesting, and a number of precepts seem to make as much sense today as they did then. Two stand out: Windows are cheap.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 00:35:16 UTC

Photo processing: correction

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I ranted about the concept of “destructive” digital image processing, and said that that never used to happen in the analogue days. That's nonsense, of course: when you develop a film, the result replaces the original undeveloped film. You can't develop it again, though there were many times when I wished I could. One of the advantages of digital processing is that yes, indeed, you can reprocess a file, assuming you haven't been using some inferior product designed by people still trying to emulate the analogue processes, warts and all.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 21:43:16 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Giant Squid Eye Preserved in a Jar

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Great picture from the Smithsonian Institution....

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:45:59 UTC

TED Talk

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is a surprise. My TED talk made it to the website. It's a surprise because I didn't speak at TED. I spoke last year at a regional TED event, TEDxPSU. And not all talks from the regional events get on the main site, only the good ones....

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

CL XV: Eagle Glass Again

Posted By Tim Bray

The Cottage life series has previously visited the subject of bald eagles, and of using long telephoto lenses to photograph them. Can't have too much of that stuff. What's going on is, the three eagles who hang out round the cottage are raising a fourth, and one of the folks along the shoreline found the nest and emailed directions. So we went and looked. I took a picture but it's just a messy tangle of sticks in a high evergreen fork with what might be some brown tail feathers. We watched for a half-hour, and a big eagle visited a couple of times with something recently-killed.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Tom @ LOPSA PICC in NJ, April 29-30, 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I'll be teaching tutorials and maybe more. Watch this space: http://www.picconf.org/

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 13:18:40 UTC

European Data Center Efficiency Summit

Posted By James Hamilton

Google cordially invites you to participate in a European Summit on sustainable Data Centres. This event will focus on energy-efficiency best practices that can be applied to multi-MW custom-designed facilities, office closets, and everything in between. Google and other industry leaders will present case studies that highlight easy, cost-effective practices to enhance the energy performance of Data Centres. The summit will also include a dedicated session on cooling. Presenters will detail climate-specific implementations of free cooling as well as novel ways to utilise locally -available opportunities. We will also debate climate-independent PUE targets. The agenda includes presentations and panel discussions featuring Amazon, DeepGreen, eBay, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Norman Disney & Young, PlusServer, Telecity Group, The Green Grid, UK's Chartered Institute for IT, UBS and others.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 05:32:56 UTC

Memento Mori

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Make

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 05:32:42 UTC

Giddy delight at technological progress

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My Make column "Memento Mori" talks about the giddy, delightful vertigo I experience when I realize how fast and how far technology has come, and how fast it's moving: I'm often puzzled by how satisfying older technology is. What a treat it is to muscle around an ancient teletype, feeding it new-old paper-tape or rolls … [Read more]

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 22:26:08 UTC

Photo processing software: Not the UNIX way

Posted By Greg Lehey

I haven't had time to look at DxO Optics "Pro" in more detail, but it's about time I did before the free trial runs out. Spent some time reading the manual, which is more a walk-through than a description, but it gave some ideas, including forward references to terms used in a specific manner (what's a “Preset”? It seems to have some specific meaning in photo processing). Didn't get as far as actually processing photos, but by coincidence found an article in c't about raw image processing software. Or that's the idea. Somehow I just don't understand where current software is going.

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 18:16:31 UTC

Lunch

Posted By Joel Spolsky

What do you do for lunch every day? Where do you eat it? With whom? I've been on teams that eat together every day, and it's awesome. I've been on teams that don't, and lunch every day is, at best, lonely. A lot of big tech companies have cafeterias, either free (Google) or cheap (Microsoft). At these companies, some teams actually make an effort to eat together every day. But a lot of teams don't. If you wander around these places at lunchtime, you'll see some large groups, a lot of pairs of people who have scheduled a “lunch meeting,” but you'll also see a distressing number of loners eating by themselves.

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 11:56:17 UTC

The Cyberwar Arms Race

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Good paper: "Loving the Cyber Bomb? The Dangers of Threat Inflation in Cybersecurity Policy," by Jerry Brito and Tate Watkins. Over the past two years there has been a steady drumbeat of alarmist rhetoric coming out of Washington about potential catastrophic cyber threats. For example, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last year, Chairman Carl Levin said that "cyberweapons...

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 21:55:36 UTC

The podcast is back!

Posted By Joel Spolsky

Jeff Atwood and I have resumed our weekly podcast, formerly known as the Stack Overflow Podcast, now known as the Stack Exchange Podcast! Here are some ways to find us: On iTunes. If you have an iPhone or iPod that you sync to iTunes, you can set this up to automatically download every week. iTunes link to Stack Exchange Podcast On SoundCloud. SoundCloud is sort of like a sound version of Twitter, a very cool way to subscribe to audio. Stack Exchange Podcast on SoundCloud Or you can simply subscribe to the Stack Exchange Blog, where the podcast will arrive every Wednesday at about 3PM EST, complete with show notes and listener comments.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Wet Red Metal

Posted By Tim Bray

Just a picture.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 17:20:16 UTC

On platforms

Posted By Matthew Garrett

At some stage the seminal KDE vs Gnome paper vanished from its original home, and while it's still available in a few places (such as here) it set me thinking. What are the fundamental differences between Gnome and KDE development? There's lots of little differences (2006: Gnome parties on a beach. Akademy has melted ice cream in the rain) but they're both basically communities made up of people who are interested in developing a functional and interesting desktop experience. So why do the end results have so little in common?Then I read this and something that had been floating around in my mind began to solidify.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 15:51:51 UTC

The Amazon.com 2010 Shareholder Letter Focusses on Technology

Posted By Werner Vogels

In the 2010 Shareholder Letter Jeff Bezos writes about the unique technologies developed at Amazon.com over the years. Given that I have frquently written about many of these technologies on this blog I asked investor relations to be allowed to reprint it here. You can find the original here. To our shareowners: Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks ... walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you've stumbled into a computer science lecture. Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you'll find few patterns that we don't apply at Amazon.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 14:10:53 UTC

Social Solidarity as an Effect of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's standard sociological theory that a group experiences social solidarity in response to external conflict. This paper studies the phenomenon in the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Conflict produces group solidarity in four phases: (1) an initial few days of shock and idiosyncratic individual reactions to attack; (2) one to two weeks of establishing standardized displays of solidarity...

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 00:05:12 UTC

Photo comparisons in web browsers

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some time I've been looking for a way to display comparisons of two photos in web browsers. Sure, you can do it by putting them next to each other, but it's much nicer to be able to pass the cursor over an image and have it change from one to the other. I know it's possible with JavaScript, but I don't do JavaScript—yet. Last week I loaded an example from RawTherapee, including a 107 line script that did the switching. Today I finally got round to trying to understand it and bend it to my purposes. In such cases, I normally retain a reference to the source of the script, but in this case all I did was excise, and in the end I was left with two lines of code: function setimage (image, src) {     var realimage = ...

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 21:40:04 UTC

Yes, malware scanners on your servers too!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I recently pointed my "6-point list of security minimums" for the enterprise. That is, 6 thinks that may have been "would be nice" in the past but are now absolutely required as far as I'm concerned. Most sites do not do all 6, and I think it is time that such sites got with the program 'cause you are making the rest of us look bad. I got a number of comments asking if I was serious about malware scanners on servers. I am. If the server is a file server then the files being stored should be scanned. Not only does it prevent this server from being the unintentional transmitter of contaminated files, but it is an interesting way to detect which users are not protecting themselves.

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 12:33:59 UTC

With a Little Help in Australia and New Zealand

Posted By Cory Doctorow

One interesting thing about selling print-on-demand books is that they can be instantiated all over the world, close to where the orders are. For years, pundits have predicted corner store kiosks that can print any book every written, and though we're nowhere near that stage today, there are the first inklings of what such a … [Read more]

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:59:16 UTC

Security Risks of Running an Open WiFi Network

Posted By Bruce Schneier

As I've written before, I run an open WiFi network. It's stories like these that may make me rethink that. The three stories all fall along the same theme: a Buffalo man, Sarasota man, and Syracuse man all found themselves being raided by the FBI or police after their wireless networks were allegedly used to download child pornography. "You're a...

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:36:27 UTC

Google [Cc]hrom* revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Nearly a year ago I tried to get Google Chrome (or is that Chromium? Or chrome?) running on FreeBSD, and in the end gave up. Today I heard that it was now in the Ports Collection, so had another go. The good news: it works. But that's no better than firefox or Opera. And the package is enormous!. Here the sizes of the tarballs for the latest Opera, firefox and edited zucchini: -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  113637616 Apr 15 08:32 chromium-courgette-redacted-10.0.648.205.tar.xz -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel   66024327 Mar 19 10:58 firefox-4.0.source.tar.bz2 -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel   10647968 Apr 12 01:41 opera-11.10-2092.i386.freebsd.tar.xz Comparing the size of Opera is not really fair, since it's a binary distribution.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:15:15 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Fabric Designs

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Some of these are actually nice....

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Mobile Platform Count

Posted By Tim Bray

What's the right number? Of software platforms I mean, for devices which are real Internet citizens. At the moment, the volume players are iOS and Android. Microsoft and HP/Palm and RIM would each like to be the third, and one of them might succeed; conceivably more than one. Would that be good? I'm biased: Internet loyalist, Android admirer and subsequently advocate, and finally Google employee. I like variety and competition and I think a hot competitive ecosystem is best for the Internet and for Google too. I like the fresh look-and-feel ideas in WebOS and WP7, and I'd like to like Blackberry since I'm Canadian.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 10:24:43 UTC

Hard-Drive Steganography through Fragmentation

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Clever: Khan and his colleagues have written software that ensures clusters of a file, rather than being positioned at the whim of the disc drive controller chip, as is usually the case, are positioned according to a code. All the person at the other end needs to know is which file's cluster positions have been encoded. The code depends on...

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 00:29:59 UTC

Everyone is to blame for this continued expectation that such magic is possible.

Posted By Theo Schlossnagle

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 17:55:00 UTC

PICC Schedule available in "The Conventionist"

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

If you have an iPhone or Android, download "The Conventionist" and enter code "picc". You'll get the complete schedule for the conference (even if you aren't attending, it is a fun app to play with). Congrats to Matt, William and everyone for putting this together! I'm almost done with my slides for PICC. I can't wait to see everyone there! On-line registration is open for another 11 hours. After that, you can register on-site!

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 21:30:26 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Prints

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Okay, this is a little weird: This year's Earth Day will again include the celebrated "squid printing" activity with two big, beautiful Pacific Humboldt squid donated from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. We'll be inking them up and laying them out on paper to create fascinating one-of-a- kind imprints of their bodies. I don't know what's worse:...

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 00:17:08 UTC

DxO and RawTherapee

Posted By Greg Lehey

Took a couple of photos to investigate the “HDR” capabilities of DxO Optics "Pro", but they proved to be less useful subjects than I had hoped. I'll have to wait for some really extreme contrasts. In the meantime, read the RawTherapee documentation. I looked at it very briefly two years ago, but didn't get round to trying it, probably because I had decided to try to port it to FreeBSD first. Now I may have time for that. Did some investigation and discovered that the latest stable version was released in September 2009, and since then they've been building a new version.

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Reflowing

Posted By Tim Bray

Last month I rejiggered the publishing system here, making the text larger and wider and hyphenated and justified. Now more: a bit of cosmetic change, a significant stylesheet simplification, and a substantial gain in robustness. Plus, a lesson re-learned about the Web. The Visible Effect If you don't notice the changes, that's fine; I'm tinkering at the margins. If it all looks a little lighter, that's even better; I removed some bold-face here and some sidebar clutter there. The big deal is that if you make the window you're currently looking at really wide, you shouldn't see any surprises.

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 11:38:39 UTC

Declassified World War I Security Documents

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The CIA has just declassified six (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) documents about World War I security techniques. (The media is reporting they're CIA documents, but the CIA didn't exist before 1947.) Lots of stuff about secret writing and pre-computer tradecraft....

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 09:21:31 UTC

Speaking at How the Light Gets In, Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I'll be speaking at The Independent's How the Light Gets In festival in Hay-on-Wye on Monday, May 30, where I'll do two events: 1400h: Technology and Anarchy, with Nigel Warburton With a 3D printer and laptop, does everyone have the tools they need to build a bio-weapon? Novelist and activist Cory Doctorow questions whether we … [Read more]

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 09:03:56 UTC

For the Win selected for Kansas State Reading Circle; Little Brother wins Vermont's Green Mountain Book Award

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week, I was delighted to learn that my novel For the Win was one of three young adult novels selected for the the Kansas National Education Association's Kansas State Reading Circle list; and then to learn that the Vermont School Library Association, Vermont Library Association and the Vermont Department of Libraries had awarded the … [Read more]

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 04:18:14 UTC

My thoughts on the LOPSA Board election

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

LOPSA board elections are upon us. The candidate statements are being published and before I read any of them I want to make this statement of my own:* It is my experience with volunteer organizations that people that have achieved tangible results are more likely to produce more tangible results. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Everyone has ideas. They pour in from everywhere. Don't worry about electing "idea people"; a group of LOPSA's size only needs 1-2 "vision" people but a lot of "do'ers". Elect people that have a track record of getting things done. Years ago when I was in college there was a student government election.

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 02:56:09 UTC

Open Compute Server Design

Posted By James Hamilton

Last Thursday Facebook announced the Open Compute Project where they released pictures and specifications for their Prineville Oregon datacenter and the servers and infrastructure that will populate that facility. In my last blog, Open Compute Mechanical System Design I walked through the mechanical system in some detail. In this posting, we'll have a closer look at the Facebook Freedom Server design.   Chassis Design: The first thing you'll notice when looking at the Facebook chassis design is there are only 30 servers per rack. They are challenging one of the strongest held beliefs in the industry that is density is the primary design goal and more density is good.

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 00:49:54 UTC

JavaScript and other opinions about DxO

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really need to learn a way to do comparisons of photos by moving the mouse cursor over the image. That's trivial with JavaScript (I contend), but I don't really do JavaScript. Off on the web looking for examples, and found a nice one on the RawTherapee site. I still need to digest it, but it looks clean, and the results are effective. Not completely by coincidence, this page is related to the kinds of comparisons I'm doing now: which raw converter to use?

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 00:15:50 UTC

Tracking the reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

After rebuilding cvr2.lemis.com's tuner configuration a couple of days ago, it would have been nice to hope that there would be no more problems. Alas, that wasn't the case. I recorded four programmes yesterday. Three of them came out fine, but the fourth was nothing but junk for the first few minutes. Then it came good. Spent some time looking at the log files, and found: 2011-04-19 19:27:02.647 Started recording: Lost Worlds "The Bible Unearthed: The Patriarchs": channel 2032 on cardid 2, sourceid 2 2011-04-19 20:27:02.823 Started recording: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: channel 2008 on cardid 1, sourceid 2 2011-04-19 20:47:02.659 Started recording: To the Manor Born: channel 2062 on cardid 2, sourceid 2 2011-04-19 23:32:02.847 Started recording: Crude: channel 2002 on cardid ...

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:31:47 UTC

How do you compete with free? A taxonomy of reasons to pay for digital files

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Guardian column is "In the digital era free is easy, so how do you persuade people to pay?" and it's a first approximation of a taxonomy of reasons to buy stuff that you can download for free from unauthorized sites. I find that discussions about digital sales are often muddied by arguments about … [Read more]

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:29:00 UTC

In the digital era free is easy, so how do you persuade people to pay?

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 11:52:50 UTC

Large-Scale Food Theft

Posted By Bruce Schneier

A criminal gang is stealing truckloads of food: Late last month, a gang of thieves stole six tractor-trailer loads of tomatoes and a truck full of cucumbers from Florida growers. They also stole a truckload of frozen meat. The total value of the illegal haul: about $300,000. The thieves disappeared with the shipments just after the price of Florida tomatoes...

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 11:31:54 UTC

Costs of Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting blog post on the security costs for the $50B Air Force bomber program -- estimated to be $8B. This isn't all computer security, but the original article specifically calls out Chinese computer espionage as a primary threat....

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 00:01:36 UTC

More playing with DxO Optics "Pro"

Posted By Greg Lehey

Took some forgettable photos today to process with DxO Optics "Pro". Yes, it claims to be able to improve dynamic range, but the main purpose is to convert raw images and apply corrections for the camera and the lens. And I hadn't tried that yet. Once again, tried with an image of the verandah. The Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 is quite a good lens, but it does show some chromatic aberration at full aperture, so tried a photo under those conditions. Interestingly, DxO also corrected some distortion, so the images don't look quite the same. Here the image as the in-camera JPEG, processed by UFraw, and processed by DxO: ...

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 11:47:53 UTC

Software as Evidence

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Increasingly, chains of evidence include software steps. It's not just the RIAA suing people -- and getting it wrong -- based on automatic systems to detect and identify file sharers. It's forensic programs used to collect and analyze data from computers and smart phones. It's audit logs saved and stored by ISPs and websites. It's location data from cell phones....

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:22:02 UTC

Still more TV reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've been getting by relatively well with only one tuner in cvr2.lemis.com, but today Yvonne wanted to record another programme, and that caused a conflict. I needed another tuner, so put in the second PCI tuner, checked the cable connections, and tried things out. No reception at all on one, and bad reception on the other. Lots of experimentation, cursing and reboots later came to the conclusion that the second PCI tuner is part of the problem. Took it out and put in the USB tuner, and things seem to be OK at the moment.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:22:02 UTC

Still more TV reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've been getting by relatively well with only one tuner in cvr2.lemis.com, but today Yvonne wanted to record another programme, and that caused a conflict. I needed another tuner, so put in the second PCI tuner, checked the cable connections, and tried things out. No reception at all on one, and bad reception on the other. Lots of experimentation, cursing and reboots later came to the conclusion that the second PCI tuner is part of the problem. Took it out and put in the USB tuner, and things seem to be OK at the moment.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:19:42 UTC

Yet another X hang

Posted By Greg Lehey

While trying to get hugin to resize images correctly, managed to provoke yet another X hang. This time I had no VMs running, though VirtualBox itself was still running. The symptoms are always the same: the mouse pointer oscillates between the adjacent edges of two screens, X uses 100% CPU, and it's completely unresponsive. I have to shoot it down to get out of the problem.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Shrubberies by Moonlight

Posted By Tim Bray

In recent years I've developed a mild obsession with low-light photography; this was a big factor in the recent decision to open my wallet for a Pentax K-5. I went crazy on the weekend and tried to use only moonlight; while it didn't, strictly speaking, work, the results are still interesting. My thinking was along these lines: I have a camera that's alleged to take usable pictures at ISO6400, plus I have a lens (the Sigma 30mm f1.4) optimized for extra-low light. So I put that camera and lens together for the first time, and practiced on a glass of red wine reflecting a hanging Tiffany lamp.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 14:33:49 UTC

WikiLeaks Cable about Chinese Hacking of U.S. Networks

Posted By Bruce Schneier

We know it's prevelent, but there's some new information: Secret U.S. State Department cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to Reuters by a third party, trace systems breaches -- colorfully code-named "Byzantine Hades" by U.S. investigators -- to the Chinese military. An April 2009 cable even pinpoints the attacks to a specific unit of China's People's Liberation Army. Privately,...

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 12:59:06 UTC

Privacy, Facebook, politics and kids

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian's Comment is Free video team recorded an interview with me after the TEDxObserver event. They're editing it into a series of quick pieces; the first one, about kids, privacy, and social networks, just went live. I really like the way they put it together! The most powerful mechanism we have for securing the … [Read more]

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:13:08 UTC

Trying DxO Optics "Pro"

Posted By Greg Lehey

Returned a couple of laptops to Chris Yeardley, and in return got yet another computer that she doesn't seem to use much to try out DxO Optics "Pro", a Dell with the requisite 2 GB of memory and running Microsoft “Windows” XP Professional. OK, that's what pain.lemis.com runs, so it shouldn't be difficult, right? Wrong. It was easy enough to add a user, and then I had to set up the network for my environment. Maybe I should really run DHCP for this sort of thing; it would solve a lot of problems when guests come. In any case, set it up for one of my other IP addresses reserved for Microsoft, ugliness.lemis.com.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:13:08 UTC

Trying DxO Optics "Pro"

Posted By Greg Lehey

Returned a couple of laptops to Chris Yeardley, and in return got yet another computer that she doesn't seem to use much to try out DxO Optics "Pro", a Dell with the requisite 2 GB of memory and running Microsoft “Windows” XP Professional. OK, that's what pain.lemis.com runs, so it shouldn't be difficult, right? Wrong. It was easy enough to add a user, and then I had to set up the network for my environment. Maybe I should really run DHCP for this sort of thing; it would solve a lot of problems when guests come. In any case, set it up for one of my other IP addresses reserved for Microsoft, ugliness.lemis.com.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:13:08 UTC

Trying DxO Optics "Pro"

Posted By Greg Lehey

Returned a couple of laptops to Chris Yeardley, and in return got yet another computer that she doesn't seem to use much to try out DxO Optics "Pro", a Dell with the requisite 2 GB of memory and running Microsoft “Windows” XP Professional. OK, that's what pain.lemis.com runs, so it shouldn't be difficult, right? Wrong. It was easy enough to add a user, and then I had to set up the network for my environment. Maybe I should really run DHCP for this sort of thing; it would solve a lot of problems when guests come. In any case, set it up for one of my other IP addresses reserved for Microsoft, ugliness.lemis.com.

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Opening Day!

Posted By Tim Bray

I mean our son's little league, Vancouver's own Little Mountain Baseball, Canada's oldest Little League and, with 600+ players up through the age of 12, quite the going concern. The Little Mountain in question is a pretty big hill in the middle of Vancouver whose name constitutes part of my neighborhood's. My son has been playing since he was in Grade One; I've coached and team-parented and generally been involved all those years. Just now I discover that LMB has no Wikipedia entry, although it has a history page on Facebook and is pretty deeply lodged in middle-Vancouver culture. Hmm, there's an opportunity for someone.

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 00:58:41 UTC

Opera on Apple and Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still don't understand where my problems with opera are coming from, so decided to install it on boskoop.lemis.com, my Apple G4. Downloading was straightforward enough, but the name of the download file looked suspicious: it contained the text Intel. Back to look at the web page. No mention of requirements, so decided to try it anyway. Downloaded and installed without any problem. It wasn't until I tried to run it that I got the message: Now surely they could have thought of a better message and presented it earlier.

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 23:25:10 UTC

Another X hang

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really need more memory in dereel.lemis.com now that I'm running extremely memory intensive programs like Hugin and VirtualBox. Currently it has “only” 3 GB (and thus 12 million times as much as my first computer), and once again, under conditions of heavy paging, ran into problems with X: it hung with the mouse cursor trying to move from one screen to another. I wonder how to address that kind of problem, but I suppose throwing memory at it might make the problem go away.

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 22:59:17 UTC

Updating web page format

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tim Bray is another of the authors on ACM Queue, and we seem to have a few interests in common. Earlier this month he published an article on reformatting his web pages, based on reading yet another blog entry by Blaine Cook. In both cases, they come up with some ideas similar to mine, in particular (from Tim's page): Now we have wide variety in the pixel density on the screens we use, extra work is required to come up with density-independent designs.

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 03:03:32 UTC

Still more TV reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

I recorded 4 TV programmes yesterday. All failed: my reception problems are still dogging me. Spent some time looking at the cable connections, but didn't come to much of a conclusion. At least one of the daisy chain cables looks a bit worn, so possibly I should look at that first. As it was, removed the USB tuner and the second PCI tuner, so I can only receive one programme at a time.

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 01:29:12 UTC

More FreeBSD build strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time in the afternoon upgrading my FreeBSD test “boxes” (really VirtualBox VMs). Problems installing world on swamp.lemis.com: creating osreldate.h from newvers.sh /src/FreeBSD/svn/head/include/../sys/conf/newvers.sh: dirname: not found How did that happen? And yes, it's repeatable, and dirdate is there. More debugging needed, I suppose. I'd be surprised if it had anything to do with VirtualBox, though.

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 01:06:16 UTC

Opera update: can't render the Opera web site

Posted By Greg Lehey

Got round to updating the Opera port today, which was painless enough. When I restarted it, I got a new page: Note the modern truncation of the page in four directions. In fact, it's very modern: That looks like truncated text. I can't access this page with other browsers, so it's difficult to say whether the problem is the page or the browser, but looking at the source (and adapting the markup to this page), I find it says: ...

Fri, 15 Apr 2011 21:49:51 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Omega 3 Oil from Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

New health supplement....

Fri, 15 Apr 2011 18:45:47 UTC

"Schneier's Law"

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Back in 1998, I wrote: Anyone, from the most clueless amateur to the best cryptographer, can create an algorithm that he himself can't break. In 2004, Cory Doctorow called this Schneier's law: ...what I think of as Schneier's Law: "any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can't think of how to break it." The...

Fri, 15 Apr 2011 11:49:54 UTC

Unanticipated Security Risk of Keeping Your Money in a Home Safe

Posted By Bruce Schneier

In Japan, lots of people -- especially older people -- keep their life savings in cash in their homes. (The country's banks pay very low interest rates, so the incentive to deposit that money into bank accounts is lower than in other countries.) This is all well and good, until a tsunami destroys your home and washes your money out...

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 22:52:14 UTC

Network problems: a conspiracy?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back inside, discovered that my Internet link had been down for nearly an hour. That hasn't been typical lately: the PPP session was still up, and had been for two weeks. The signal strength indicator was normal (RSSI 7, which is relatively good here). And there were no error messages in the ppp.log. Called up Internode support and then investigated while waiting for the callback. Stopped the PPP process: Apr 14 16:10:07 cojones ppp[1663]: tun0: Phase: deflink: Disconnected! Apr 14 16:10:07 cojones ppp[1663]: tun0: Phase: deflink: Connect time: 51846 secs: 130078957 octets in, 50793080 octets out Apr 14 16:10:07 cojones ppp[1663]: tun0: Phase: deflink: 157216 packets in, 142146 packets out Apr 14 16:10:07 cojones ppp[1663]: tun0: Phase:  total 3488 bytes/sec, peak 317865 bytes/sec on Thu Apr 14 15:04:55 2011 The statistics information on the last ...

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 22:28:50 UTC

Browser strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that opera has a number of irritating bugs, at least in the FreeBSD implementation. At some time today the opera process stopped, probably because I accidentally stopped it. Started it again and it came up with a single window pointed at cvr2.lemis.com, not my home page. Clicking on the “Home” icon had no effect. After starting a new window, I was able to go to the home page, but I couldn't do anything with the original window. During that time, it came up with the information that a new version of opera was available. Interestingly, it wanted me to use the Ports Collection to install it.

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

100mm of the Day: Red

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a rhododendron, a very red one. Often they're hard to photograph because their redness enters a space that's welcomed by the human eye but stresses out camera sensors. That didn't happen here; not sure whether it's because it was kind of cloudy and grey, or maybe the camera sensors are evolving, or maybe this flower's redness is subtly different. On another subject, the problem scheduling the Google IO sessions is sort of like X simultaneous equations in Y variables, which would be fine except that Y is so much bigger than X.

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 18:35:00 UTC

Two More C&B Sessions: C++0x Memory Model (Scott) and Exceptional C++0x (me)

Posted By Herb Sutter

Scott Meyers, Andrei Alexandrescu and I are continuing to craft and announce the technical program for C++ and Beyond (C&B) 2011, and two more sessions are now posted. All talks are brand-new material created specifically for C&B 2011. Here are short blurbs; follow the links for longer descriptions. Scott will give a great new talk [...]

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 18:35:00 UTC

Two More C&B Sessions: C++0x Memory Model (Scott) and Exceptional C++0x (me)

Posted By Herb Sutter

Scott Meyers, Andrei Alexandrescu and I are continuing to craft and announce the technical program for C++ and Beyond (C&B) 2011, and two more sessions are now posted. All talks are brand-new material created specifically for C&B 2011. Here are short blurbs; follow the links for longer descriptions. Scott will give a great new talk [...]

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 11:36:43 UTC

Changing Incentives Creates Security Risks

Posted By Bruce Schneier

One of the things I am writing about in my new book is how security equilibriums change. They often change because of technology, but they sometimes change because of incentives. An interesting example of this is the recent scandal in the Washington, DC, public school system over teachers changing their students' test answers. In the U.S., under the No Child...

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 23:17:40 UTC

More TV reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

My TV reception problems still aren't over. All four recordings I made yesterday were useless. There's no doubt that the antenna connection was responsible for at least some of the problems, but not all of them. So what's the issue? I still don't know. Clearly I need to document things more carefully. I've been suspecting the individual tuners, but I don't have much evidence yet. Did some test recordings and discovered the sequence of tuner cards, something that I haven't written down before. There are two PCI tuners, on the right of this photo, and one USB tuner, the white stick in the USB slot.

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 23:12:42 UTC

In praise of the kludge

Posted By Greg Lehey

My thoughts about scripting languages yesterday aroused a certain interest on IRC: Mavvie: grO0gle - that monstrosity will fail if $FOO is empty. Mavvie: Put ""'s around it or use ! -z "$FOO" callum: Mavvie: wrong answer. Ban spaces and metachars from all filenames. Mavvie: Plus you shouldn't ignore errors, you should handle them. Mavvie: 2>/dev/null is just plain dumb. callum: I haven't looked at it yet, but it depends if there is any point in doing anything with the error output. Mavvie: Of course it does, otherwise you will have to write another Diary Entry about that a crontab has gone wrong for weeks now and nobody alerted you about it.

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

100mm of the Day: White Evergreen

Posted By Tim Bray

This is in Calgary a few weeks back. White on green on white, but you can't see any green. Today in Mountain View, the sun was dappling the green ground between the green trees. We were inside doing conference planning. And in most of Canada, the snow's gone, or going fast.

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 18:24:40 UTC

Guest of Honor at 75th Philcon

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I'm absolutely delighted to announce that I'll be the guest of honor at the 75th Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ, Nov 18-20 2011. Philcon is the oldest science fiction convention in the world; it's one I've attended a dozen times or so, and I'm honored to be invited on such an auspicious occasion.

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 18:14:57 UTC

Security Fears of Wi-Fi in London Underground

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The London Underground is getting Wi-Fi. Of course there are security fears: But Will Geddes, founder of ICP Group which specialises in reducing terror or technology-related threats, said the plan was problematic. He said: "There are lots of implications in terms of terrorism and security. "This will enable people to use their laptop on the Tube as if it was...

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 11:25:07 UTC

Euro Coin Recycling Scam

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This story is just plain weird. Regularly, damaged coins are taken out of circulation. They're destroyed and then sold to scrap metal dealers. That makes sense, but it seems that one- and two-euro coins aren't destroyed very well. They're both bi-metal designs, and they're just separated into an inner core and an outer ring and then sold to Chinese scrap...

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 00:04:50 UTC

Another web site

Posted By Greg Lehey

While at the Botanical Gardens, also spoke to Mike Sorrell, who wants me to take charge of the computer side of the Friends operation, notably the web site. I wonder if they'll still want me to when they find out about my opinions. Back home, took a look at the site. It doesn't look too bad, but there's very little content there, a total of 12 MB. By comparison I downloaded 66 MB to my site on Sunday alone. I suspect that the tools are an issue. I wonder how to prepare something to enable as many lay people as possible to contribute.

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 23:10:04 UTC

Workplace efficiency

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly 5 years since I decided that I'd rather retire on far too little money than continue working in an environment that drove me crazy. Yes, it's still far too little money, but I'm sure I made the right choice. The work conditions in the modern IT market (there, I said it; I can't think of a better word) didn't make up for the income. Recently I've heard of another trend that points in the same direction: Hot desking, a kind of dynamic workplace allocation. Like most dynamic allocations, what you get on allocation is empty, and you lose whatever is left when you free the resource.

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 19:06:27 UTC

Israel's Counter-Cyberterrorism Unit

Posted By Bruce Schneier

You'd think the country would already have one of these: Israel is mulling the creation of a counter-cyberterrorism unit designed to safeguard both government agencies and core private sector firms against hacking attacks. The proposed unit would supplement the efforts of Mossad and other agencies in fighting cyberespionage and denial of service attacks....

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

100mm of the Day: Pink!

Posted By Tim Bray

Well, I did warn you up front that lenses with “Macro” in the name tend to be instruments of photographic blossom abuse; in this case, of an early and rather wet rhododendron. Yes, it really was that pink. I have applied no color-correction nor contrast crankage, aside from darkening the background a bit. I brought the new lens down to the Googleplex this week but it remained holstered today as a consequence of having spent five-plus hours in meetings, most Google-IO-related.

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 18:16:31 UTC

Blog moved

Posted By David Ascher

after much procrastinating, I finally moved my blog.  Old URLs should still work, no feature changes are intended.  Please let me know if you notice anything askew!

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 11:03:25 UTC

How did the CIA and FBI Know that Australian Government Computers were Hacked?

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Newspapers are reporting that, for about a month, hackers had access to computers "of at least 10 federal ministers including the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Defence Minister." That's not much of a surprise. What is odd is the statement that "Australian intelligence agencies were tipped off to the cyber-spy raid by US intelligence officials within the Central Intelligence Agency...

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 04:18:43 UTC

Podcast: A Petition to the Queen of England (Mark Twain)

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week, I've read another of my favorite Mark Twain stories, A Petition to the Queen of England, a tax-time gem. Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckst[email protected] John Taylor Williams is a full-time self-employed audio engineer, producer, composer, and sound designer. In his free time, he makes beer, jewelry, odd musical instruments and furniture. He … [Read more]

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 22:14:17 UTC

Using "scripting" languages

Posted By Greg Lehey

I don't do perl. I don't do python. I don't do ruby. I use the bash shell, and sometimes I do some AWK, but it's painful. Why nothing more modern? For once, it's not a question of objections to particular languages or approaches. It's a question of thresholds. I can use bash for simple things like running programs. I can (and usually do) interface to it interactively. If I want to do more complicated things, I can build on existing command line input, coming up with monstrosities like: for d in [12]*; do (cd $d && if [ -d orig ]; then FOO=`ls -1rt orig/*G | sed 's:orig/::; s:.JPG::' | tail -1`; if [ $FOO != "" -a -e makejpeg ]; then grep $FOO makejpeg > /dev/null; if [ $?

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 20:02:03 UTC

Not being attacked? Your network must be down.

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Someone recently ask me how often an enterprise might expect to be attacked. Attacks are no longer something that happens now and then, they are constant. An hour without an attack is an hour your network connection was down. This is sometimes known as the "Advanced Persistent Threat". Shortly after APT was declassified someone gave a lecture about it at Usenix LISA. You can watch it here. (Note: I found some of what he revealed to be disturbing). I think the person meant how often an enterprise might expect a successful attack. That's an entirely different matter. Knowing about APT is one thing.

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

100mm of the Day: Overcommitted

Posted By Tim Bray

Today is Monday; four weeks from the week of Google IO. What happened was, I liked it last year and told everyone “Hey, I'd like to work on IO” and they said yes. So you won't be hearing much from me between now and then except for maybe a few pictures, because you've always got time to shoot when you have a new lens; today's are close-ups from the Bugdroid surgical facility. Those little Bugdroid dolls are cool but they're really not robust enough for young children to use as toys. That's OK because We Have The Technology. Oh, yes, Google IO.

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 18:20:35 UTC

New French Law Reduces Website Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I didn't know about this: The law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded. Police, the fraud office, customs, tax and social security bodies...

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 12:20:05 UTC

Don't lose $75

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

The early bird price for Confernece + training ends on Tuesday April 12th at 11:59 pm. Have you registerd to get the $75 discount? http://picconf.org Seating is limited for my new "Advanced Time Management: Team Efficiency" tutorial. Register soon! I won't be teaching this again until December!

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 11:33:50 UTC

The CIA and Assassinations

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The former CIA general counsel, John A. Rizzo, talks about his agency's assassination program, which has increased dramatically under the Obama administration: The hub of activity for the targeted killings is the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, where lawyers­there are roughly 10 of them, says Rizzo -- write a cable asserting that an individual poses a grave threat to the United States....

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 00:22:43 UTC

How I hate UNIX time functions!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Playing around with a few more details on my EXIF time reset program today, and discovered an amazing thing: if I tried to increment the time by 1 hour, 15 seconds, it only incremented by 15 seconds. If I tried to decrement the time by the same amount, it decremented by 2 hours: === [email protected] (/dev/pts/22) ~/Photos/20110410 179 -> exiftool foo | grep "Create Date" Create Date                     : 2011:04:10 08:36:01 === [email protected] (/dev/pts/22) ~/Photos/20110410 180 -> resetdate 1:0:15 foo exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -DateTimeOriginal="2011:04:10 08:36:16" -CreateDate="2011:04:10 08:36:16" foo === [email protected] (/dev/pts/22) ~/Photos/20110410 181 -> exiftool foo | grep "Create Date" Create Date                     : 2011:04:10 08:36:16 === [email protected] (/dev/pts/22) ~/Photos/20110410 182 -> resetdate 1:0:15 foo exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -DateTimeOriginal="2011:04:10 08:36:31" -CreateDate="2011:04:10 08:36:31" foo === [email protected] (/dev/pts/22) ...

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 23:43:26 UTC

Flash on Opera?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Looking through eBay auctions with Opera today, and again tripped over the missing flash support. Today I had enough time, so followed up on what to do. The otherwise quite good documentation didn't help much: it seemed to think I was running Linux, and gave me instructions how to install the support for various Linux distros, which isn't much help for FreeBSD. Google to the rescue, pointing me at an article in the Opera Knowledge Base. It seems I need a separate port, www/opera-linuxplugins, which I installed. Then to the Preferences > Advanced > Content menu and clicked "Plug-in Options" and then "Change Path" to change the directories that Opera searches in.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 22:44:15 UTC

Links for Sunday, April 10, 2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

Examiner: Prices at LDS canneries show inflation for food up between 11 and 49% - “The LDS’s raising food prices at their canneries by 11 to 49% in just three months should be a serious wakeup call to all Americans on the true inflationary conditions that exist in our economy, and that we need to [...]

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

100mm of the Day: Election!

Posted By Tim Bray

The new lens may have “MACRO” in its name but it's good fun out on the street too. Oh, and we're having an election! So let's wrap some Canadian politics around the picture. What's Good There's one way in which the Canadian approach outclasses our neighbors to the south: the whole thing, from the pulling of the trigger to the counting of the votes, is over in six weeks. Gotta love that. But First, the Picture Here are some street politics happening near where I live on Main Street in Vancouver. The campaigners are working for Libby Davies, who's held the seat for the NDP, our social-democratic party, approximately forever.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 01:25:59 UTC

Forging a Chest Handle

Posted By Niels Provos

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 23:43:42 UTC

Utilities in C: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I should have been taking house photos today, but it was far too windy. Instead I played around with an issue that had occupied me for nearly a year: last year at the last hacker's barbecue, Juha Kupiainen, Peter Jeremy and I took a lot of photos of each other, and I put them all up on my photos page. Problem: the clocks on the cameras weren't in sync, so the connection between the photos (ordered by time) got lost. Mine was the fastest, Peter was 15 seconds behind me, and Juha was 1 minute 54 seconds behind. How do I know that so exactly?

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 17:43:40 UTC

Open Compute Mechanical System Design

Posted By James Hamilton

Last week Facebook announced the Open Compute Project (Perspectives, Facebook). I linked to the detailed specs in my general notes on Perspectives and said I would follow up with more detail on key components and design decisions I thought were particularly noteworthy.  In this post we'll go through the mechanical design in detail.   As long time readers of this blog will know, PUE has many issues (PUE is still broken and I still use it) and is mercilessly gamed in marketing literature (PUE and tPUE). The Facebook published literature predicts that this center will deliver a PUE of 1.07.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 23:01:16 UTC

Mail on teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the evening, waiting in front of the TV screen for Yvonne, decided to check on my mail. That's simple enough: ssh to my main machine and start mutt. But teevee runs FreeBSD too. It's a simple matter of: === [email protected] (/dev/ttyp3) /var 5 -> ln -s /dereel/home/var/mail You have new mail in /var/mail/grog Somehow the immediate “you have mail” amused me.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 21:08:44 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: A New Book About Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Wendy Williams, Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid. Kraken is the traditional name for gigantic sea monsters, and this book introduces one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and curious inhabitants of the sea: the squid. The pages take the reader on a wild narrative ride through the world of squid science and adventure, along the way...

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 18:23:27 UTC

Get Your Terrorist Alerts on Facebook and Twitter

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Colors are so last decade: The U.S. government's new system to replace the five color-coded terror alerts will have two levels of warnings ­ elevated and imminent ­ that will be relayed to the public only under certain circumstances for limited periods of time, sometimes using Facebook and Twitter, according to a draft Homeland Security Department plan obtained by The...

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 11:22:20 UTC

Pinpointing a Computer to Within 690 Meters

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is impressive, and scary: Every computer connected to the web has an internet protocol (IP) address, but there is no simple way to map this to a physical location. The current best system can be out by as much as 35 kilometres. Now, Yong Wang, a computer scientist at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in...

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 08:43:11 UTC

Worldreader: ebooks for kids in the developing world

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I've recently lent my support to Worldreader, an innovative nonprofit program that distributes ebook readers to children in the developing world and then exposes them to a large library of donated texts from writers from across the world, as well as newspapers and other materials. I was delighted to give them access to all my … [Read more]

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:25:06 UTC

Opera font strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm gradually coming to terms with Opera. It's much faster, not only with photos, but also with normal web page display. As I suspected, though, I'm not yet ready to switch over completely. One of the biggest issues are fonts. There are two separate issues: For some reason, Opera doesn't find the non-European fonts installed on the system. firefox does, so it's not a question of missing fonts.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:20:04 UTC

More weather station woes

Posted By Greg Lehey

Came into the office this morning to find my weather station software crashing at regular intervals with SIGSEGV. Further investigation showed that I hadn't had any readings since yesterday morning. Tried putting the thing in the debugger, but it didn't seem to read anything at all from the device. This device has a pretty flaky USB interface, so tried various things, including disconnecting and reconnecting the cable (no difference) and then power cycling the device (remove and replace batteries). That didn't work either, but it pointed out the problem: it didn't reset.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 18:10:52 UTC

Detecting Cheaters

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Our brains are specially designed to deal with cheating in social exchanges. The evolutionary psychology explanation is that we evolved brain heuristics for the social problems that our prehistoric ancestors had to deal with. Once humans became good at cheating, they then had to become good at detecting cheating -- otherwise, the social group would fall apart. Perhaps the most...

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 17:30:02 UTC

Open Compute Project

Posted By James Hamilton

The pace of innovation in data center design has been rapidly accelerating over the last 5 years driven by the mega-service operators. In fact, I believe we have seen more infrastructure innovation in the last 5 years than we did in the previous 15. Most very large service operators have teams of experts focused on server design, data center power distribution and redundancy, mechanical designs, real estate acquisition, and network hardware and protocols.  But, much of this advanced work is unpublished and practiced at a scale that  is hard to duplicate in a research setting.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 11:29:48 UTC

Optical Stun Ray

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's been patented; no idea if it actually works. ...newly patented device can render an assailant helpless with a brief flash of high-intensity light. It works by overloading the neural networks connected to the retina, saturating the target's world in a blinding pool of white light. "It's the inverse of blindness–the technical term is a loss of contrast sensitivity," says...

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 09:23:58 UTC

Interview with Triangulation podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Yesterday, I recorded a fun, hour-long chat with Leo Laporte and Tom Merrit on the Triangulation podcast -- the audio is linked below, but there's also video if you'd prefer. MP3 Link

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 23:56:54 UTC

Looping software and warm cupboards

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've noticed in the last couple of days that the cupboard with cvr2.lemis.com, my computer video recorder, has been particularly warm. This afternoon I discovered why: USER       PID %CPU %MEM    VSZ   RSS TTY      STAT START   TIME COMMAND grog     27628 99.9  5.1 192880 99592 tty2     Sl+  Mar20 24472:38 /usr/bin/mythfrontend.real That represents 17 days of CPU time; in other words, almost since starting the front end, it has been using 100% CPU time. No idea why.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:52:35 UTC

Keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit

Posted By Herb Sutter

In a couple of months, I’ll be giving a keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer’s Summit, which will be held on June 13-16, 2011, in Bellevue, WA, USA. Here’s my talk’s description as it appears on the conference website: AFDS Keynote: “Heterogeneous Parallelism at Microsoft” Herb Sutter, Microsoft Principal Architect, Native Languages Parallelism is not [...]

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:52:35 UTC

Keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit

Posted By Herb Sutter

In a couple of months, I’ll be giving a keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer’s Summit, which will be held on June 13-16, 2011, in Bellevue, WA, USA. Here’s my talk’s description as it appears on the conference website: AFDS Keynote: Heterogeneous Parallelism at Microsoft Herb Sutter, Microsoft Principal Architect, Native Languages Parallelism is not [...]

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

100mm of the Day: Bee and Violet

Posted By Tim Bray

I recently acquired a new and sort-of-exotic lens; a Pentax 100mm “Macro”. This is what people my age may remember used to be called a “telephoto”. When you look through it, you don't see much of the landscape; so it's for zeroing in on a flower not a bush, a face not a crowd, a ship not a harbor. I've been having tons of fun with it so I'll load up the Internet with a few more pictures and share some. When people are showing off the capabilities of “Macro” lenses, it's traditional to start with a close-up of a flower or an insect.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:03:42 UTC

Counterterrorism Security Cost-Benefit Analysis

Posted By Bruce Schneier

"Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security," by John Mueller and Mark Stewart: Abstract:The cumulative increase in expenditures on US domestic homeland security over the decade since 9/11 exceeds one trillion dollars. It is clearly time to examine these massive expenditures applying risk assessment and cost-benefit approaches that have been standard for decades. Thus...

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 03:22:27 UTC

Ooops

Posted By David Ascher

apparently comments are broken on this blog. I’ll see if I can fix that tomorrow.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 03:22:27 UTC

Ooops

Posted By David Ascher

apparently comments are broken on this blog. I’ll see if I can fix that tomorrow.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 02:41:11 UTC

Surge 2011 CFP Extension

Posted By Theo Schlossnagle

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 01:03:13 UTC

Time lapse photography, still more dead ends

Posted By Greg Lehey

Continued my investigation of how to resize images for time-lapse photography today. The program I have been using is nona, part of hugin. Went looking for documentation, which, as I feared, was very scant. What I've discovered is effectively the usage() message: nona: stitch a panorama image  It uses the transform function from PanoTools, the stitching itself  is quite simple, no seam feathering is done.  only the non-antialiasing interpolators of panotools are supported  The following output formats (n option of panotools p script line)  are supported:   JPG, TIFF, PNG  : Single image formats without feathered blending:   TIFF_m          : multiple tiff files   TIFF_multilayer : Multilayer tiff files, readable by The Gimp 2.0 Usage: nona [options] -o output project_file (image files) ...

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 00:32:22 UTC

C++ and Beyond 2011

Posted By Herb Sutter

I’m very much looking forward to C++ and Beyond 2011 this August, again with Scott Meyers and Andrei Alexandrescu. All of my own talks will be brand-new material never given publicly before. This year’s program will be heavily oriented toward performance (first) and C++0x (second). There are two talks announced so far: Andrei will be giving [...]

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 00:32:22 UTC

C++ and Beyond 2011

Posted By Herb Sutter

I’m very much looking forward to C++ and Beyond 2011 this August, again with Scott Meyers and Andrei Alexandrescu. All of my own talks will be brand-new material never given publicly before. This year’s program will be heavily oriented toward performance (first) and C++0x (second). There are two talks announced so far: Andrei will be giving [...]

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 18:18:21 UTC

New Post

Posted By Tim Marsland

I am just doing a quick post to my blog.

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 18:18:21 UTC

New Post

Posted By Tim Marsland

I am just doing a quick post to my blog.

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 17:58:21 UTC

Epsilon Hack

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I have no idea why the Epsilon hack is getting so much press. Yes, millions of names and e-mail addresses might have been stolen. Yes, other customer information might have been stolen, too. Yes, this personal information could be used to create more personalized and better targeted phishing attacks. So what? These sorts of breaches happen all the time, and...

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 16:18:21 UTC

New Post

Posted By Tim Marsland

I am just doing a quick post to my blog.

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 14:32:27 UTC

OTN focus on IPS

Posted By Bart Smaalders

The marketing (er, product management) folks have been putting together  various pieces of information on IPS.  You can find all the information at this link.  Thanks guys!

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 14:32:27 UTC

OTN focus on IPS

Posted By Bart Smaalders

The marketing (er, product management) folks have been putting together  various pieces of information on IPS.  You can find all the information at this link.  Thanks guys!

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 13:46:28 UTC

Reducing Bribery by Legalizing the Giving of Bribes

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Here's some very clever thinking from India's chief economic adviser. In order to reduce bribery, he proposes legalizing the giving of bribes: Under the current law, discussed in some detail in the next section, once a bribe is given, the bribe giver and the bribe taker become partners in crime. It is in their joint interest to keep this fact...

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 12:32:27 UTC

OTN focus on IPS

Posted By Bart Smaalders

The marketing (er, product management) folks have been putting together  various pieces of information on IPS.  You can find all the information at this link.  Thanks guys!

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 11:44:06 UTC

Podcast: The Petrified Man (Mark Twain)

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week, I've read another of my favorite Mark Twain stories, The Petrified Man, a perfect April Fool's season tale of a prank gone wrong. Mastering by John Taylor Williams: [email protected] John Taylor Williams is a full-time self-employed audio engineer, producer, composer, and sound designer. In his free time, he makes beer, jewelry, odd musical … [Read more]

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:09:01 UTC

What should I cut from "Team Time Management"?

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I am rewriting my class "Advanced Time Management: Team Efficiency" class in preparation for teaching it at LOPSA PICC 2011. I need to cut about 30 minutes from it. If you attended when I taught it at Usenix LISA 10 you may recall that I had to rush at the end and didn't have a lot of time for Q&A. My notes say I need to cut 30 minutes. If you have thoughts about what to drop, please post a comment below. Thanks!

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:06:17 UTC

Panorama masking, finally

Posted By Greg Lehey

More work today on the panorama into the sun, and finally got a presentable panorama. Here the first attempt, then the one I did today: The increase in shadow detail is particularly obvious round the south verandah: And how did I do it?

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 01:05:41 UTC

Small is good: Local sysadmin/devops conferences like PICC are a big value

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

[I just learned the early-bird discount deadline was changed. You now have a few more days to get the discount!] If you live in Silicon Valley it is easy to make technical connections; for the rest of us, regional conferences rule. I attend many conferences: small and large, invite-only and public, regional and national, vendor-specific and vender-neutral, even some international ones too. My next speaking gig is is LOPSA PICC in New Brunswick New Jersey, which is a small, regional, conference this April 29-30. People there will be from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and more (last year 4 people came all the way from Virginia!)

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 22:53:33 UTC

Example of Efficient Mechanical Design

Posted By James Hamilton

A bit more than a year back, I published Computer Room Evaporative Cooling where I showed an evaporative cooling design from EcoCooling. Periodically, Alan Beresford sends me designs he's working on. This morning he sent me a design they are working on for a 7MW data center in Ireland.   I like the design for a couple of reasons: 1) It's a simple design and efficient design, and 2) it's a nice example of a few important industry trends. The trends exemplified by this design are: 1) air-side economization, 2) evaporative cooling, 3) hot-aisle containment, and 4) very large plenums with controlled hot-air recycling.

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Stadium Sun

Posted By Tim Bray

This is BC Place, where the Canadian Football team plays and the really big concerts happen. It's never been very nice under the vast dingy inflated roof, and the concert sound is reliably putrid. So they're making the roof retractable, and I went by while the sun was setting behind the project. I think the new building promises, once all the construction crud has been removed, a surprising elegance. And it has to be better the beige visual splodge it's replacing.

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 17:28:16 UTC

The Future of Messaging

Posted By David Ascher

The web has incredible potential to improve our lives even more than it already has.  I believe that nowhere else is this more true than in the space of personal communications. Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, today announced that Mozilla will be increasing our focus on messaging and communications [...]

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 17:28:16 UTC

The Future of Messaging

Posted By David Ascher

The web has incredible potential to improve our lives even more than it already has.  I believe that nowhere else is this more true than in the space of personal communications. Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, today announced that Mozilla will be increasing our focus on messaging and communications on the web.  As [...]

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 14:18:06 UTC

Ebook Fraud

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting post -- and discussion -- on Making Light about ebook fraud. Currently there are two types of fraud. The first is content farming, discussed in these two interesting blog posts. People are creating automatically generated content, web-collected content, or fake content, turning it into a book, and selling it on an ebook site like Amazon.com. Then they use multiple...

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 11:09:24 UTC

With A Little Help: Hitting My Stride

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Publishers Weekly

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 11:07:46 UTC

DIY publishing: getting Amazon and Lulu to co-exist

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My new Publishers Weekly column has just gone up, documenting the progress with my DIY short story collection, With a Little Help. This month, I talk about the Baroque process of getting a book listed on both Lulu and Amazon: Getting the book on Amazon was much harder than I anticipated. At first, I considered … [Read more]

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 10:38:39 UTC

Down and Out redesign

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Bruce Campbell did a nice PDF redesign of the text of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, my first novel. Thanks, Bruce!

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 04:53:17 UTC

TEDxObserver talk on kids and privacy

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's a video of my talk on kids, privacy and social media ("A Skinner box that trains you to under-value your privacy: how do we make kids care about online privacy?") at last month's TEDxObserver event in London. It was a great day and there were a ton of interesting talks (the set is here). … [Read more]

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 04:33:51 UTC

Ghosts in my Head on Beam Me Up

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Beam Me Up podcast (a production of WRFR in Rockland, Maine) has recorded a great reading of my short story Ghosts in My Head. MP3 Link

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 23:52:09 UTC

Masked panoramas, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

More work on the panoramas today, in particular the one where I had put my hand in front of the sun. It confirms yesterday's impression: there are bugs in hugin's mask function. I can easily define an exclusion mask (an area of the image that should be excluded from the panorama), but when I try to define an inclusion mask, it does random things. Sometimes it does nothing, and then sometimes it does, but there are discrepancies between the windows, and it seems to forget masks. Here the first image (mask window) shows image 1 of the panorama, of which I want only the area round the sun.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 23:51:44 UTC

More free computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Down to Smythesdale today to visit Matt Tatum, who had offered me a couple of old computers a week or so ago. The couple gradually grew, and in the end there were 13 of them: Back home and unloaded them in the shipping container. A lot of them are effectively junk, but in another I found a 250 GB disk, and there is a Dell PowerEdge 2400, whatever that may be, and 5 IBM NetVista machines: The NetVistas look interesting, and possibly something I could use for my 3G Internet connection, but what's in the boxes?

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 22:24:20 UTC

Lizamoon SQL Injection Campaign Compared

Posted By Niels Provos

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 00:04:04 UTC

X: race condition?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While doing the photographic work, used up amazing amounts of memory, and for the first time found numerous processes stuck in pfault status. While trying to look at it, got the mouse cursor wedged between two displays, and X hung itself altogether: By the time I took that photo, the processes had long since successfully completed, but the X server remained wedged and had to be shot down.

Sat, 02 Apr 2011 23:06:20 UTC

Photos into the sun and software experiments

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photos again today. After noting significant flare in my Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD lens and the comparative lack of it on the “before” photo was taken with the Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6, decided to try some shots directly into the sun. Yes, there's flare on the 9-18mm too; it doesn't show up as much because it covers most of the field of view. But I took these photos to stitch them together, so what's wrong with taking a photo where I obscure the sun with my hand, and then eliminating it from the final photo? The exposure is identical for both images, and the flare in the first image is clear in the shaded walls of the house and shed, and on the grass.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 21:33:48 UTC

Firefox on Microsoft: no easier

Posted By Greg Lehey

Started up my Microsoft VM to check some markup and found a whole lot of windows had popped up, including yet another unsolicited firefox version 3.6 download waiting for installation. Started that and was asked to accept a strange license agreement: Was that part of the firefox installation? Who knows? It doesn't say what it is, and it took me a while to realize that it was a GPL license agreement. I still don't know. I can accept the GPL, so accepted, but I don't know if it was related.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 21:26:56 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Shower Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Neat....

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Reshaping

Posted By Tim Bray

For the first time in years, I'm working on changing the look of this here blog. I've been bored with it in recent years, then Blaine Cook's Beautiful Lines pushed me over the edge. As of today, if you're reading this at tbray.org rather than in one feed reader or another, the text is justified on both sides and hyphenated as necessary. There are side-effects, and I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the results. I am sure there's lots more work to do. What Blaine Said His piece makes three arguments: Now we have wide variety in the pixel density on the screens we use, extra work is required to come up with density-independent designs.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 12:31:27 UTC

Interview with BookLending.com podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The BookLending.com podcast did a quick interview with me and Seth Godin for the current episode. MP3 Link

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 12:08:10 UTC

Two April Fools reminders!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Today is April Fools day. If you see something fishy, pause and think before you react. It could be a joke. Today is an opportunity to show how good you are at taking a joke. We still have a few copies left of The Complete April Fools RFCs. One big book of all the funny Internet RFCs (as of a few years ago). http://www.rfc-humor.com for more info. Makes a great gift for the geek in your life and is the perfect conversation piece for your office.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 12:00:21 UTC

First day of the month!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Today is the first day of the month. You, no doubt, have received a flood of reminders from mailing list servers about which mailing lists you are on. This is a good opportunity to unsubscribe from the lists you no longer find useful. Being able to manage a lot of email is good but getting less email is better.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 11:58:27 UTC

34 SCADA Vulnerabilities Published

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's hard to tell how serious this is. Computer security experts who examined the code say the vulnerabilities are not highly dangerous on their own, because they would mostly just allow an attacker to crash a system or siphon sensitive data, and are targeted at operator viewing platforms, not the backend systems that directly control critical processes. But experts caution...

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 00:02:54 UTC

Mashing Up Science - The Mendeley API Binary Battle

Posted By Werner Vogels

Two years ago when I was first introduced to Mendeley I concluded that if they executed right they could "change the face of science". Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. Turn the clock forward two years and Mendeley has now evolved into the world's largest crowdsourced research database, with 70 million documents, usage statistics and reader demographics, social tags, and related research recommendations. This database is available under a creative commons license. To see what innovation can happen when this data is freely available Mendeley has issued a challenge dubbed "The Mendeley API Binary Battle" - build an application that mashes up the Mendeley data and you can win $10,001!