Blog Archive: May 2011

Tue, 31 May 2011 23:18:21 UTC

Strange camera problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne asked me to take some photos of her riding Carlotta, so out onto the road. Carlotta is gaited, so it made sense to take some high-speed sequences. In all photos I used manual focus, because I can't count on the autofocus to do the right thing so quickly. I have a “focus once” function button on the camera, which performs an autofocus when in manual mode. Pressed that and took some photos. First took a single photo, then switched to high speed sequence. Here the first (normal mode) and the first of the sequence: Not only was the complete sequence out of focus, but it was overexposed by 2 stops.

Tue, 31 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Me and My Browsers

Posted By Tim Bray

I use Safari, Chrome, and Firefox simultaneously. But I'm not sure I'm doing it right. Here's why and how. Chrome Never really used it much before I joined Google. But it's what's logged into the mothership and where a lot of work happens. Via the magic of pinned tabs, gmail is on command-1, calendar on command-2, docs on command-3, Google Voice on command-4, and @Androiddev on command-5. Anything I click on in one of those apps opens a new Chrome tab. I like that Chrome's fast, and I really like that it's robust. There doesn't seem to be any one web page that can bring it to its knees, and when something is grinding, you can look in the management console, find out what's wrong, and clean up.

Tue, 31 May 2011 18:12:42 UTC

The U.S. Seems to Have a Secret Stealth Helicopter

Posted By Bruce Schneier

That's what the U.S. destroyed after a malfunction in Pakistan during the Bin Laden assassination. (For helicopters, "stealth" is less concerned with radar signatures and more concerned with acoustical quiet.) There was some talk about Pakistan sending it to China, but they're returning it to the U.S. I presume that the Chinese got everything they needed quickly....

Tue, 31 May 2011 16:00:00 UTC

Reminder: Vote on AMA questions by tomorrow night

Posted By Herb Sutter

As promised, reminder: The followup interview on Channel 9 has been scheduled, and will be shot on Thursday, June 2. You have until midnight June 1 (North American Pacific time) to post new questions, and to vote others’ questions up/down. If you haven’t been back to the call for questions page for a few days, [...]

Tue, 31 May 2011 16:00:00 UTC

Reminder: Vote on AMA questions by tomorrow night

Posted By Herb Sutter

As promised, reminder: The followup interview on Channel 9 has been scheduled, and will be shot on Thursday, June 2. You have until midnight June 1 (North American Pacific time) to post new questions, and to vote others’ questions up/down. If you haven’t been back to the call for questions page for a few days, [...]

Tue, 31 May 2011 15:44:48 UTC

Knights of the Rainbow Table 05

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's part five of my reading of my story-in-progress, Knights of the Rainbow Table, a story commissioned by Intel's Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson. Brian oversees Intel's Tomorrow project, which uses science fiction to spark conversations about product design and use among Intel's engineers, and he was kind enough to invite me to write a … [Read more]

Tue, 31 May 2011 15:00:00 UTC

How to send email

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

http://matt.might.net/articles/how-to-email/ is a great piece on email and it can be read by geeks and non-geeks alike. I've read zillions of articles with similar titles: I promise you that this one has new ideas.

Tue, 31 May 2011 14:39:30 UTC

Google's YouTube policy for Android users is copyright extremism

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Tue, 31 May 2011 14:39:07 UTC

Android's YouTube Store lockout is textbook copyright extremism

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Guardian column, "Google's YouTube policy for Android users is copyright extremism," examines the theory of copyright behind Google's announcement that it would bar people who unlocked their phones from using the new YouTube video store. This is the latest example of a new kind of copyright emerging in the 21st century, "configuration-right," in … [Read more]

Tue, 31 May 2011 13:39:33 UTC

What Went Wrong at Fukushima Dai-1

Posted By James Hamilton

As a boater, there are times when I know our survival is 100% dependent upon the weather conditions, the boat, and the state of its equipment. As a consequence, I think hard about human or equipment failure modes and how to mitigate them. I love reading the excellent reporting by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Board. This publication covers human and equipment related failures on commercial shipping, fishing, and recreational boats. I read it carefully and I've learned considerably from it.   I treat my work in much the same way. At work, human life is not typically at risk but large service failures can be very damaging and require the same care to avoid.

Tue, 31 May 2011 11:34:35 UTC

Keeping Sensitive Information Out of the Hands of Terrorists Through Self-Restraint

Posted By Bruce Schneier

In my latest book (available February), I talk about various mechanisms for societal security: how we as a group protect ourselves from the "dishonest minority" within us. I have four types of societal security systems: moral systems -- any internal rewards and punishments; reputational systems -- any informal external rewards and punishments; rule-based systems -- any formal system of rewards...

Tue, 31 May 2011 09:14:07 UTC

Chat with Graham Linehan

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Earlier this year, I interviewed IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan at The Story conference. Matt Locke, who put on the event, has just posted an MP3 of the chat.

Mon, 30 May 2011 23:58:07 UTC

Another USB crash

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow these USB disks aren't really reliable enough. I don't seem to lose any data, but there are continual strange messages that suggest things aren't all going well. Today the message was very clear: once again I froze the entire system. That's enough. From now on I revert to doing my backups over the LAN to some other machine that doesn't need to be up all the time. While the system was down, put in the 4 GB of memory that I recently received. Now I have 6 GB, of which I can only use 3 until I finally get the machine running in 64 bit mode.

Mon, 30 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

No Peace Soon

Posted By Tim Bray

In the Middle East, I mean. As of May 2011, the decades-old mainstream vision of how peace might play out is stone cold dead. The status quo is also apparently the future. Disclosure: I spent eleven years of my youth, between the ages of seven and eighteen, in Lebanon; my feelings on Middle-East issues could not be called moderate. It seemed somehow a news event when Mr Obama, a couple of weeks ago, reiterated the conventional wisdom of what peace could look like: Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, swaps to keep some settlements in Israel, shared Jerusalem, no significant right of return.

Mon, 30 May 2011 12:45:01 UTC

Every Pirate Wants to Be an Admiral: why less copyright gets you more culture

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's a short video I recorded for The Guardian called "Every Pirate Wants to Be an Admiral," in which I lay out the case for a less-restrictive copyright as better for culture. Cory Doctorow on copyright and piracy: 'Every pirate wants to be an admiral'

Mon, 30 May 2011 12:17:20 UTC

Lockheed Martin Hack Linked to RSA's SecurID Breach

Posted By Bruce Schneier

All I know is what I read in the news....

Mon, 30 May 2011 11:58:47 UTC

Aggressive Social Engineering Against Consumers

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Cyber criminals are getting aggressive with their social engineering tactics. Val Christopherson said she received a telephone call last Tuesday from a man stating he was with an online security company who was receiving error messages from the computer at her Charleswood home. “He said he wanted to fix my problem over the phone,” Christopherson said. She said she was...

Mon, 30 May 2011 02:01:21 UTC

64 bit upgrade, one small step

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne off to dog training this morning, so continued with the upgrade to 64 bits that had got interrupted last week. Things didn't work too much better today: got as far as checking out some configuration files when I got interrupted by Real Life. This is taking for ever, even though I'm nearly finished. I dread getting X up and stumbling.

Sun, 29 May 2011 21:14:13 UTC

Ten Lessons I Learned from Fixing my Laptop's Motherboard

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

A month ago I managed to break my laptop, by reversing the polarity of a universal power supply. The repair shop diagnosed the problem as a failed motherboard, and asked for ¿659 to replace it. I found the price preposterous and the notion of throwing away a motherboard for a single failed component ecologically unsound. Here is how I fixed the laptop on my own, and what I learned in the process.

Sun, 29 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Preschool Photographer

Posted By Tim Bray

I like to walk around and take pictures. My little girl, turning five next month, desperately wants to be part of anything that's going on. So lately, I've been giving her the little pocket Canon while we're out and about. Somewhat to my surprise, she's into it, taking hundreds of snaps. It turns out they include a few smile-provokers. No, I'm not going to do a lengthy slide-show here. But when I look at them (of course after having triaged the total blurs and cat butts), I share a certain joy; someone who's just pointing a camera at anything that looks neat without overthinking it.

Fri, 27 May 2011 21:15:27 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Hand-Cut Paper Silhouette

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Surprisingly pretty....

Fri, 27 May 2011 11:04:55 UTC

Apple's iOS 4 Hardware Encryption Cracked

Posted By Bruce Schneier

All I know is what's in these two blog posts from Elcomsoft. Note that they didn't break AES-256; they figured out how to extract the keys from the hardware (iPhones, iPads). The company "will be releasing the product implementing this functionality for the exclusive use of law enforcement, forensic and intelligence agencies."...

Fri, 27 May 2011 09:36:03 UTC

Classroom kit for Little Brother from Oakland International High School ninth graders

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Ninth graders at Oakland International High School read my novel Little Brother and produced a fantastic school reading kit with chapter summaries, student discussions, student-made comic strips, and further topics for classroom discussion. It's a tremendous piece of work, and I'm grateful to the young people in Sailaja Suresh's class.

Fri, 27 May 2011 00:23:16 UTC

More USB problems?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Backing up photos today was less than reassuring. Lots of messages like: rsync: recv_generator: failed to stat "/photobackup/Photos/grog/20090321/housephoto-notes": Device not configured (6) rsync: recv_generator: failed to stat "/photobackup/Photos/grog/20090321/makejpeg": Device not configured (6) rsync: recv_generator: failed to stat "/photobackup/Photos/grog/20090321/n-to-house-w-to-house.pto": Device not configured (6) rsync: recv_generator: failed to stat "/photobackup/Photos/grog/20090321/n-to-house-w-to-house.pto.mk": Device not configured (6) rsync: recv_generator: failed to stat "/photobackup/Photos/grog/20090321/verandah-e-verandah-se.pto": Device not configured (6) It wasn't repeatable: after aborting the backup, disconnecting and reconnecting the USB cable, all was well. There were also no console messages, but I wonder if I shouldn't migrate to some more reliable method of backup, maybe eSATA.

Fri, 27 May 2011 00:01:12 UTC

Goodbye PDP-11

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent most of the day loading the PDP-11, documentation, disks and software into Alastair's car: He had a trailer for the cabinets, but wanted to put the hardware in the back of his car: That required significant dismantling, and it took its time.

Thu, 26 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Nucks

Posted By Tim Bray

By which I mean our hockey team, now bound for the championship finals. In Vancouver this spring, vegan yoga instructors are hockey fans, as are professors of Patristic theology, gay-rights activists, sushi chefs, orchid breeders, and cloth-capped hipsters. I sort of am too; it's not a terrible condition. I even went to a game, my first in years. But they won't let you take a good camera in, so this is through a thick layer of acrylic with a point-n-shoot. It it looks like I'm right there next to the players, I was. This was the last regular-season game of the season that meant anything (clinching the President's Trophy); I snagged two seats on Craiglist, in Row 2 right beside the face-off circle to the goalie's right.

Thu, 26 May 2011 18:57:44 UTC

U.S. Presidential Limo Defeated by Steep-Grade Parking Ramp

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's not something I know anything about -- actually, it's not something many people know about -- but I've posted some links about the security features of the U.S. presidential limousine. So it's amusing to watch the limo immobilized by a steep grade at the U.S. embassy in Dublin. (You'll get a glimpse of how thick the car doors are...

Thu, 26 May 2011 14:55:15 UTC

Modern community building

Posted By Joel Spolsky

The Stack Exchange network is already up to 51 sites on diverse topics, from math to cooking to science fiction. Each site is a community on its own, and each community has its own needs and values. Pouring a big fat algorithm in equal measures on top of 51 different groups of people does not always work the way you might hope it would work. Maybe that's why the super-algorithm companies (like Google) tend to suck when they try to build social applications. Our goal as a company is to incubate each of these 51 communities–to get them to critical mass. Critical mass is that magic moment when the community has enough activity that it grows by itself.

Thu, 26 May 2011 11:02:58 UTC

Black Box Records in Automobiles

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Proposed new rules in the U.S....

Thu, 26 May 2011 06:24:10 UTC

Picking up the PDP-11

Posted By Greg Lehey

In April 1997, while we were in the process of moving from Germany to Australia, Hartmut Brandt gave me his PDP-11 (really an LSI-11/73). Despite the best of intentions, I never got round to powering it on, and well over a year I offered it to Alastair Boyanich. That was the background to the Hackers' barbecue that we held last year. But Alastair didn't show: he had trouble with the old car he was restoring. He finally made it here today with his father George to stay the night and take the computer tomorrow. Much fun was had by all:

Wed, 25 May 2011 16:55:48 UTC

Blackhole Exploit Kit

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's now available as a free download: A free version of the Blackhole exploit kit has appeared online in a development that radically reduces the entry-level costs of getting into cybercrime. The Blackhole exploit kit, which up until now would cost around $1,500 for an annual licence, creates a handy way to plant malicious scripts on compromised websites. Surfers visiting...

Wed, 25 May 2011 14:00:00 UTC

TONIGHT! Mark Burgess speaking at NYC DevOps

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

As mentioned previously Mark Burgess, creator of CFEngine, will be speaking at the NYC DevOps MeetUp tonight http://www.meetup.com/nycdevops/events/17211427/ When: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 7:00 PM Topic: Mark Burgess presents DevOps and The Future of Configuration Management Where: New York... exact location revealed when you RSVP to the MeetUp

Wed, 25 May 2011 13:52:18 UTC

2011 European Data Center Summit

Posted By James Hamilton

The European Data Center Summit 2011 was held yesterday at SihlCity CinCenter in Zurich. Google Senior VP Urs Hoelzle kicked off the event talking about why data center efficiency was important both economically and socially.  He went on to point out that the oft quoted number that US data centers represent is 2% of total energy consumption is usually mis-understood. The actual data point is that 2% of the US energy budget is spent on IT of which the vast majority is client side systems. This is unsurprising but a super important clarification.  The full breakdown of this data:   ·         2% of US power o   Datacenters:              14% o   Telecom:                     37% o   Client Device:            50%   The net is that 14% of 2% or 0.28% of the US power budget is consumed ...

Wed, 25 May 2011 01:46:34 UTC

More eBay pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two weeks ago I accidentally bought the wrong camera for Yvonne on eBay. Discussed with the seller, who wanted a $15 restocking charge, which I paid, so I though that the matter was over. Not so. On Friday I received a mail message from eBay in typical obfuscated form. Hidden in the mess was: eBay opened an unpaid item case for Canon PSA3100IS Digital Compact Camera A3100 IS SILVER , because jrandomseller either hasn't recorded your payment or didn't receive it yet. Clearly a misunderstanding, and I sent a message to the seller, who didn't respond.

Tue, 24 May 2011 20:26:56 UTC

New Route 53 and ELB features: IPv6, Zone Apex, WRR and more

Posted By Werner Vogels

An important contribution to the success of the Amazon Web Services is the willingness to listen closely to our customers and to use this feedback to drive the feature roadmap of a service. I am excited that today both the Route 53, the highly available and scalable DNS service, and the Elastic Load Balancing teams are releasing new functionality that has been frequently requested by their customers: Route 53 now GA: Route 53 is now Generally Available and will provide an availability SLA of 100%. See the Route 53 detail page for the exact definitions and how SLA violations will be handled.

Tue, 24 May 2011 10:50:30 UTC

New Siemens SCADA Vulnerabilities Kept Secret

Posted By Bruce Schneier

SCADA systems -- computer systems that control industrial processes -- are one of the ways a computer hack can directly affect the real world. Here, the fears multiply. It's not bad guys deleting your files, or getting your personal information and taking out credit cards in your name; it's bad guys spewing chemicals into the atmosphere and dumping raw sewage...

Tue, 24 May 2011 01:11:04 UTC

Links for Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

Hypergrid Business: Paper: Virtual Worlds Expand Uses of 3D Models - “Planners, developers, builders and architects should be looking to virtual worlds to provide a whole-life model of their project, according to a white paper released today by virtual worlds solutions provider Daden Limited.“ Vizworld: MUVE Market ¿ Virtual Patient Care Simulation Lab - “The MUVE [...]

Mon, 23 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Archiver's Intimations

Posted By Tim Bray

Nearly two years ago, I finished migrating ten thousand songs' worth of CDs into bits; but the racks-full of disks have continued to occupy living-room space. So we bought some sleeves and storage boxes at Staples and have started the process, on an occasional evening, of packing them away. When might they be unpacked? Never. By my children after I'm demented, muttering “Why on earth did Dad keep this around?!” By a music aficionado late in the twenty-second century, hands shaking with glee; exclaiming “Arvo Pärt!”, “Boney M!”, and “Edgar Winter!” By a low-paid legal-firm functionary, working to value my estate because litigation has broken out...

Mon, 23 May 2011 17:42:12 UTC

Guido van Rossum: 21 Years of Python

Posted By James Hamilton

Guido van Rossum was at Amazon a week back doing a talk. Guido presented 21 Years of Python: From Pet Project to Programming Language of the Year.   The slides are linked below and my rough notes follow: ·         Significant Python influencers: o   Algol 60, Pascal, C o   ABC o   Modula0-2+ and 3 o   Lisp and Icon ·         ABC was the strongest language influencer of this set ·         ABC design goals:

Mon, 23 May 2011 17:35:34 UTC

Links for Monday, May 23 ,2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

The Daily Galaxy: Is Dark Energy “Antigravity” Leakage from an Adjacent Universe? - “Burt Ovrut, most famous for his work on string theory, currently Professor of Theoretical High Energy Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, imagined two branes, universes like ours, separated by a tiny gap as tiny as 10-32 meters. There would be no [...]

Mon, 23 May 2011 15:29:14 UTC

Knights of the Rainbow Table 04

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's part four of my reading of my story-in-progress, Knights of the Rainbow Table, a story commissioned by Intel's Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson. Brian oversees Intel's Tomorrow project, which uses science fiction to spark conversations about product design and use among Intel's engineers, and he was kind enough to invite me to write a … [Read more]

Mon, 23 May 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Time and financial management

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

My new bank makes it easy to establish sub-accounts and set up automatic transfers between them. Today I created 3 new subaccounts: "2021 House Repainting" ($100 transfered in each month) "2016 New car" ($yyy transfered in each month) "Annual unexpected household repair" ($zzz/month... every year we seem to have a $z,000 emergency; might as well plan for it) I try to make my time management advice "friction free". That is, low effort, easy to get started. I try to do the same with my finances. Any amount of difficulty (friction) can be used as an excuse to not do something.

Mon, 23 May 2011 11:47:18 UTC

Dropbox Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I haven't written about Dropbox's security problems; too busy with the book. But here's an excellent summary article from The Economist. The meta-issue is pretty simple. If you expect a cloud provider to do anything more interesting than simply store your files for you and give them back to you at a later date, they are going to have to...

Mon, 23 May 2011 00:15:09 UTC

Ports build complete

Posted By Greg Lehey

Managed to complete the ports build today, modulo some problems: wget failed with a configuration problem: ===>  wget-1.12_3 GNUTLS and OPENSSL are mutually exclusive, enable at most one of them. All well and good, but why didn't the configuration dialogue notice that? gimp tried to install twice.

Sun, 22 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Tall and Narrow

Posted By Tim Bray

As in, portrait not landscape. It's the way to go. Which is to say, tablets should be held with the short bits at the top and bottom. And columns of text should be long-ish and narrow-ish. There are consequences, in particular for tablets. Some evidence, were any needed: Books, which when opened are somewhere between square and wider-than-tall, divide their text into two vertical rivers. Safari's Reader mode and the fascinating Readability. (Interestingly, Safari offers Reader service on some of this blog's pages but not others. I feel troubled that it sees the need on any.) Newspapers. Already taller than wide, the text is still further sliced into tall-and-narrow.

Sun, 22 May 2011 16:51:30 UTC

Wednesday: NYC DevOps Presents: Mark Burgess / CFEngine

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

This month's NYC DevOps meetup has a special speaker: Mark Burgess, inventor of CFEngine, talking on the future of configuration management. http://www.meetup.com/nycdevops/events/17211427/ Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 7:00 PM Topic: Mark Burgess presents DevOps and The Future of Configuration Management Mark Burgess is the founder, chairman, CTO and principal author of Cfengine. He is Professor of Network and System Administration at Oslo University College and has led the way in theory and practice of automation and policy based management for 20 years. In the 1990s he underlined the importance of idempotent, autonomous desired state management ("convergence") and formalised cooperative systems in the 2000s ("promise theory").

Sun, 22 May 2011 00:52:56 UTC

Too windy for photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today should have been garden photo day, like every Saturday, but it was too windy. I should have done them yesterday: the weather forecast was correct, and they're forecasting more wind tomorrow and rain on Monday. Still, did some photo processing, notably the egg photos. And for some reason the Ashampoo photo optimizer didn't want to run. It just hung there, and when I aborted with ^C, I got the message: err:module:attach_process_dlls "winspool.drv" failed to initialize, aborting What caused that? I really have no idea. Tried a new version of wine, but got the same problem I noted on 18 March 2011: ELF interpreter /libexec/ld-elf.so.1 not found Abort trap: 6 This appears to be related to the value of kern.maxdsiz, ...

Sun, 22 May 2011 00:21:38 UTC

New system build, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

Carried on running the ports build of the amd64 system in the background all day long, in the process modifying my method somewhat. Many years ago I changed the layout of my file systems. Traditionally the systems are /, /usr, /var and maybe /home. I have incorporated /usr with / and split /var between / (system-related directories such as /var/db and /var/run) and /home (user-related directories such as /var/mail, /var/spool and /var/tmp). Over the years I've increased the size of the root partition. In the last edition of “The Complete FreeBSD” I recommended 4 to 6 GB. My current machine has 10 GB, and for the new machine I chose 20 GB.

Sat, 21 May 2011 18:40:41 UTC

Code Verification Scripts

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

Which of my classes contain instance variables? Which classes call the method userGet , but don't call the method userRegister ? These and similar questions often come up when you want to verify that your code is free from some errors. For example, instance variable can be a problem in servlet classes. Or you may have found a bug related to the userGet and userRegister methods, and you want to look for other places where this occurs.

Sat, 21 May 2011 05:49:12 UTC

With a Little Help in the Wall Street Journal

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My new DIY short story collection With a Little Help has garnered a positive writeup and review in the Wall Street Journal, thanks to Tom Shippey: So far so good, but "With a Little Help" shows that Mr. Doctorow isn't starry-eyed about what will happen next. State bureaucracies can use technology as well as individuals, … [Read more]

Sat, 21 May 2011 04:53:59 UTC

Installing AMD64

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne off with Nemo this morning to visit Jenny Judson near Myrtleford, leaving her computer behind for me to play around with. The plan was to boot with my new 8.2-RELEASE bootonly disk and then build a STABLE kernel from sources. It didn't quite work out that way. It seems that this “bootonly” disk contains, well, only /boot: the kernel and a couple of helper files for the bootstrap. And it's 50 MB in size. Well, what's on the CD is. It's a lot more once it's properly installed. The bloat of ages looks like this: # du -sk /boot /src/UNIX/Sixth-Edition/rkunix 326962  /boot 28      /src/UNIX/Sixth-Edition/rkunix A modern kernel with helpers is over 10,000 times the size of the kernel of the Sixth Edition of Unix!

Fri, 20 May 2011 21:27:20 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Plush Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Very cute....

Fri, 20 May 2011 21:00:05 UTC

CDC on the Zombie Apocalypse

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weigh in on preparations for the zombie apocalypse....

Fri, 20 May 2011 19:43:36 UTC

The Normalization of Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

TSA-style security is now so normal that it's part of a Disney ride: The second room of the queue is now a security check area, similar to a TSA checkpoint. The two G-series droids are still there, G2-9T scanning luggage and G2-4T scanning passengers. For those attraction junkies, you'll remember that the G-series droids are so named because in the...

Fri, 20 May 2011 18:55:51 UTC

Software Load Balancing using Software Defined Networking

Posted By James Hamilton

I invited Nikhil Handigol to present at Amazon earlier this week. Nikhil is a Phd candidate at Stanford University working with networking legend Nick McKeown on the Software Defined Networking team. Software defined networking is an concept coined by Nick where the research team is separating the networking control plane from the data plane. The goal is a fast and dumb routing engine with the control plane factored out and supporting an open programming platform.   From Nikil's presentation, we see the control plane hoisted up to a central, replicated network O/S configuring the distributed routing engines in each switch.

Fri, 20 May 2011 16:59:03 UTC

My lambdas talk @NWCPP is now online

Posted By Herb Sutter

Lloyd Moore of NWCPP did record some video and post slides of my C++ lambdas talk two days ago. The video and slides (PDF) are now online.You can see Lloyd’s friendly smile in the foreground of the final frame. The room lighting and layout weren’t great for video recording, but the audio is quite clear and you can refer [...]

Fri, 20 May 2011 16:59:03 UTC

My lambdas talk @NWCPP is now online

Posted By Herb Sutter

Lloyd Moore of NWCPP did record some video and post slides of my C++ lambdas talk two days ago. The video and slides (PDF) are now online. You can see Lloyd’s friendly smile in the foreground of the final frame. The room lighting and layout weren’t great for video recording, but the audio is quite clear and you can [...]

Fri, 20 May 2011 12:44:46 UTC

Forged Subway Passes in Boston

Posted By Bruce Schneier

For years, an employee of Cubic Corp -- the company who makes the automatic fair card systems for most of the subway systems around the world -- forged forged and then sold monthly passes for the Boston MBTA system. The scheme was discovered by accident: Coakley said the alleged scheme was only discovered after a commuter rail operator asked a...

Fri, 20 May 2011 12:29:31 UTC

Mästermyr inspired Chest

Posted By Niels Provos

Fri, 20 May 2011 04:14:50 UTC

The CDC has a Zombie Attack Plan

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

And provides this HTML "button" to help spread the word. When it comes to disaster recovery plans, is your IT department prepared for zombie attacks?

Fri, 20 May 2011 00:33:43 UTC

More 64 bit upgrade preparations

Posted By Greg Lehey

I can't actually start installing my amd64 version of FreeBSD until tomorrow, because I need Yvonne's computer to do the bootstrap, and she's not leaving until tomorrow. But I still had some time to prepare the disk I was going to use. I have a surprising number of external USB disks: three 1 TB and one 500 GB. I use two of the big ones for photo backups and currently the little one for other backups, but both that disk and the third 1 TB disk contain older copies of my /src file system and various other junk. My intention was to move the backups to the third 1 TB disk and use the 500 GB disk as a bootstrap disk for amd64.

Thu, 19 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

On Books

Posted By Tim Bray

I hardly ever visit bookstores now. On the other hand, I've read more books since last fall than in the previous several years; mostly on my Galaxy Tab. I'm going to miss bookstores, but maybe we'll save some of the best ones. Just so that this isn't all tech and biz, I've thrown in 21 capsule book reviews. Bookstores Throughout most of my adult life, they've mostly sucked. There was a brief renaissance when they got the idea that bigger might be better and most towns had a mall with a Borders or B&N or whatever, and there were comfy chairs and lots of interesting books.

Thu, 19 May 2011 18:13:13 UTC

Five unexpected economics books, including For the Win

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Tim "Undercover Economist" Harford's feature with FiveBooks lists five "unexpected economics" books, including my novel For the Win: It is for young adults ¿ it's an adventure-action story, it's not that complicated. But it's very well done and conveys a lot of really interesting economic ideas very well. For instance there's the impact of globalisation, … [Read more]

Thu, 19 May 2011 11:01:24 UTC

BIOS Protection

Posted By Bruce Schneier

NIST has released "BIOS Protection Guidelines."...

Thu, 19 May 2011 01:25:00 UTC

Preparing for 64 bit upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne is off to the High Country on Friday for a weekend playing with dogs, and in that time I hope to be able to upgrade at least her machine to AMD64. Last time I did an upgrade I ended up downloading lots of tarballs, and by chance my monthly traffic quota runs out tomorrow, so it made sense to upgrade defake, my background installation VM, to the latest and greatest kernel and ports. That worked fine, but I was still amazed to note that I managed to download 1 GB of tarballs, including another version of this amazingly large Qt Everywhere, for which the canonical site is apparently still under construction: -rw-r--r-- ...

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:44:50 UTC

Localizing USB flakiness

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I established beyond reasonable doubt that my Huawei E1762 USB modem doesn't work reliably with the new 5 m USB cable. But who is to blame? According to the standard, the combination should work. We've established that it's not the motherboard, since it happens with two different ones, including the one where it has been running relatively reliably for months. The new component is the cable. So, let's connect some other device with it. First I tried a disk drive. Complete failure: May 18 13:22:44 dereel kernel: usb_alloc_device: set address 2 failed (USB_ERR_STALLED, ignored) May 18 13:22:46 dereel kernel: usbd_req_re_enumerate: addr=2, set address failed!

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:29:18 UTC

Mac Malware

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Some people laughed when I tweeted http://goo.gl/3yyKg but now look at this http://goo.gl/XpG03 just 8 days later! This might be a good time to relink to my post called Yes, malware scanners on your servers too!

Wed, 18 May 2011 13:45:55 UTC

Bin Laden Maintained Computer Security with an Air Gap

Posted By Bruce Schneier

From the Associated Ptress: Bin Laden's system was built on discipline and trust. But it also left behind an extensive archive of email exchanges for the U.S. to scour. The trove of electronic records pulled out of his compound after he was killed last week is revealing thousands of messages and potentially hundreds of email addresses, the AP has learned....

Wed, 18 May 2011 09:11:28 UTC

Speaking in Toronto on “How can we build a city that thinks like the web?” panel

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I'm coming to Toronto in early June on my way to Personal Democracy Forum in New York; while I'm there, I'll be speaking at the SubtleTechnologies event in Innis Town Hall at 6:30PM on June 4. I'm sitting on a panel called "How can we build a city that thinks like the web?" with Mark … [Read more]

Wed, 18 May 2011 00:31:22 UTC

Upgrading to 64 bit

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally found some cheap RAM for dereel, 4 GB for $40. Now I can increase memory from 3 GB to 6 GB, which means upgrading to 64 bits. Downloaded a boot-only amd64 ISO version of FreeBSD (in the record time of 5 minutes, 56 seconds), and planned to boot it on cojones. The boot failed with the message “kernel doesn't support long mode”. Further investigation showed that this was a masterpiece of obfuscation: it means “Hardware doesn't have a 64 bit mode”. Why kernel? Looks like a bug to me. Tried another machine, which I also thought did 64 bits, but no luck.

Wed, 18 May 2011 00:17:08 UTC

USB reliability

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received a 5 m USB extension cable in the post today. That's just what I need to connect my 3G modem to dereel, my main machine: the antenna cable is too short, and an extension would weaken the signal still further, so it made sense to use a digital connection. Things worked out of the box: disconnect the modem on the cojones, the other machine, connect to dereel via extension cable, and start PPP again. It worked so well that my TCP connections didn't even drop! Well, for a while. Then I discovered: May 17 13:03:10 dereel kernel: ugen5.2: <HUAWEI Technology> at usbus5 (disconnected) May 17 13:03:10 dereel kernel: u3g0: at uhub5, port 4, addr 2 (disconnected) May 17 13:03:10 dereel ppp[31895]: tun0: Warning: deflink: Unable to set physical to speed 0 May 17 13:03:10 dereel ppp[31895]: tun0: Warning: deflink: tcsetattr: ...

Tue, 17 May 2011 22:03:49 UTC

Post your questions for a followup C9 interview

Posted By Herb Sutter

The last Channel 9 video interview seems to have been well-received, and some people suggested Charles should have asked about additional topics. So here’s my idea: Let’s do another C9 interview, this time with your questions — hard or soft, big or small, just not too bizarre or personal please. :) Here’s how I’ll try [...]

Tue, 17 May 2011 22:03:49 UTC

Post your questions for a followup C9 interview

Posted By Herb Sutter

The last Channel 9 video interview seems to have been well-received, and some people suggested Charles should have asked about additional topics. So here’s my idea: Let’s do another C9 interview, this time with your questions — hard or soft, big or small, just not too bizarre or personal please. :) Here’s how I’ll try [...]

Tue, 17 May 2011 18:35:07 UTC

Mobile Phone Privacy App Contest

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Entries due by the end of the month....

Tue, 17 May 2011 17:06:29 UTC

Lambdas Talk: Tomorrow night @ NWCPP, Redmond WA USA

Posted By Herb Sutter

For those of you who are local to the greater Seattle area, tomorrow night at 6:30pm in Redmond I’ll be giving a reprise of one my talks that premiered last fall at C++ and Beyond 2010. The talk I’ll be giving is Lambdas, Lambdas Everywhere about all the wild and wonderful uses of C++0x lambda functions. It’s [...]

Tue, 17 May 2011 17:06:29 UTC

Lambdas Talk: Tomorrow night @ NWCPP, Redmond WA USA

Posted By Herb Sutter

For those of you who are local to the greater Seattle area, tomorrow night at 6:30pm in Redmond I’ll be giving a reprise of one my talks that premiered last fall at C++ and Beyond 2010. The talk I’ll be giving is Lambdas, Lambdas Everywhere about all the wild and wonderful uses of C++0x lambda functions. It’s [...]

Tue, 17 May 2011 12:46:45 UTC

Fingerprint Scanner that Works at a Distance

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Scanning fingerprints from six feet away. Slightly smaller than a square tissue box, AIRprint houses two 1.3 megapixel cameras and a source of polarized light. One camera receives horizontally polarized light, while the other receives vertically polarized light. When light hits a finger, the ridges of the fingerprint reflect one polarization of light, while the valleys reflect another. "That's where...

Tue, 17 May 2011 08:45:01 UTC

My new Ubuntu-flavoured ThinkPad is computing heaven

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Tue, 17 May 2011 08:43:48 UTC

Life with Ubuntu and a ThinkPad

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My new Guardian column, "My new Ubuntu-flavoured ThinkPad is computing heaven," describes the miraculously drama-free life I've discovered by buying ThinkPads with extended warranties and running the Ubuntu flavor of GNU/Linux on them: The problem with writing about switching to Ubuntu is that there's very little to report on, because it is just about the … [Read more]

Tue, 17 May 2011 04:41:55 UTC

Knights of the Rainbow Table 03

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's part three of my reading of my story-in-progress, Knights of the Rainbow Table, a story commissioned by Intel's Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson. Brian oversees Intel's Tomorrow project, which uses science fiction to spark conversations about product design and use among Intel's engineers, and he was kind enough to invite me to write a … [Read more]

Tue, 17 May 2011 00:05:02 UTC

Correcting underexposure

Posted By Greg Lehey

I took two photos at the Buninyong Botanic Gardens: the first time round I discovered I had the camera set to manual exposure, which proved to be 3.7 EV underexposed: Not a problem, since I noticed it and took a correctly exposed version. But it's interesting to see what my software can do. Tried DxO Optics "Pro" and Ashampoo photo optimizer, both individually and in combination. The results, though not as good as correct exposure, and surprisingly good given the extreme underexposure.

Mon, 16 May 2011 11:31:05 UTC

The Inner Workings of an FBI Surveillance Device

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This FBI surveillance device, designed to be attached to a car, has been taken apart and analyzed. A recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms that it's legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on your car without a warrant, even if it's parked in a private driveway....

Sat, 14 May 2011 04:40:14 UTC

Web browser crashes: state of the art?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over the last couple of days I've noticed a surprising number of segmentation violations on my system. Most are from my weather station software, which continues to die in nasty ways inside the USB stack, but there are a surprising number of browser-related crashes: May 10 12:00:03 dereel kernel: pid 29151 (npviewer.bin), uid 1001: exited on signal 11 (core dumped) May 10 15:16:41 dereel kernel: pid 28882 (firefox-bin), uid 1001: exited on signal 11 (core dumped) May 10 18:46:07 dereel kernel: pid 16828 (firefox-bin), uid 1001: exited on signal 11 (core dumped) May 11 11:10:35 dereel kernel: pid 81847 (firefox-bin), uid 1001: exited on signal 11 (core dumped) May 11 14:08:08 dereel kernel: pid 1799 (hald-probe-volume), uid 0: exited on signal 6 (core dumped) May 11 14:08:08 dereel kernel: pid 1800 (hald-probe-volume), uid 0: exited on signal 6 (core dumped) May ...

Sat, 14 May 2011 04:30:28 UTC

Olympus Viewer 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, did some playing around with Olympus Viewer 2 today. It's amazing how much reading I need to do for any of this stuff. Somehow the whole approach is different. I won't complain about the file name selection any more; all commercial software has that problem. But according to the help (which only showed up when I downloaded a 12 month old update—why didn't I get that version from the web site?) , I need to process every image individually. Maybe that's what they mean by this silly word “develop”—they're still thinking in terms of darkrooms and chemicals.

Fri, 13 May 2011 21:54:45 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Sous Vide

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Yum: We learned to cook squid sous vide at 59°C when we were at Atelier in Canada. The cooking time and temperature we picked up produce squid which is meaty, juicy and rich in texture. Here we marinated the squid with mango pickle and then cooked them for three hours at 59°C. Then we cooled them down in an ice...

Fri, 13 May 2011 16:29:02 UTC

Interview with Me About the Sony Hack

Posted By Bruce Schneier

These are what I get for giving interviews when I'm in a bad mood. For the record, I think Sony did a terrible job with its customers' security. I also think that most companies do a terrible job with customers' security, simply because there isn't a financial incentive to do better. And that most of us are pretty secure, despite...

Fri, 13 May 2011 12:11:26 UTC

Drugging People and Then Robbing Them

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is a pretty scary criminal tactic from Turkey. Burglars dress up as doctors, and ring doorbells handing out pills under some pretense or another. They're actually powerful sedatives, and when people take them they pass out, and the burglars can ransack the house. According to the article, when the police tried the same trick with placebos, they got an...

Fri, 13 May 2011 09:16:31 UTC

Coming to Milton Keynes and Oxford on May 18

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I'm taking a day off from writing next week to speak at the Open University and Oxford. On May 18, I'll give a talk on technology, regulation and general-purpose computing at the OU in Milton Keynes and at the Oxford University Scientific Society. Both talks are open to the public. Here are the details for … [Read more]

Fri, 13 May 2011 00:54:34 UTC

Links for Thursday, May 12, 2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

Photopic Sky Survey - “The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel photograph of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures. Large in size and scope, it portrays a world far beyond the one beneath our feet and reveals our familiar Milky Way with unfamiliar clarity. When we look upon this image, we [...]

Fri, 13 May 2011 00:40:34 UTC

More raw conversion comparisons

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't got my head (or my stomach) around Olympus Viewer 2, but I do need to do some more comparisons before my test license for DxO Optics "Pro" runs out. In particular, I haven't done any comparison of lens distortion yet. I know from past experience that my Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD, otherwise an excellent lens, has severe barrel distortion at full wide-angle and close up. Here's an example, taken about 20 cm from an A4-sized test chart: Running the cursor over the image shows what DxO makes of it: much better.

Thu, 12 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Pictures of I/O

Posted By Tim Bray

I would be the wrong person to ask for an overview of the just-concluded Google I/O 2011. I've been working on the presentations and exhibitors quite intensely since February or so – even contributed a couple of lines of code to the Android app – and I have a strong vision of how it was supposed to be; this could not fail to color anything I might say about the event. However, I can offer a few impressions and pictures. It happened in San Francisco, I city I don't particularly like but is fun to photograph. The first day was I/O BootCamp, where 500-and-change I/O attendees paid $100 for a day of entry-level lecture and labs (the I/O material itself is not introductory).

Thu, 12 May 2011 11:24:22 UTC

FBI Surveillance Tools

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting blog post from EFF....

Thu, 12 May 2011 01:15:31 UTC

eBay: Make it even more painful

Posted By Greg Lehey

As a result of the camera purchases, I was involved in eBay's horrible messaging system much more than I would have liked. I got mail messages (in eBay's barely legible format) from two of the vendors and sent them replies. eBay refused one of them: Oops. We weren't able to send your message to some-vendor, because the email address you used to send this message, [email protected], isn't linked to your eBay account. To keep eBay safe, we need you to send messages from a registered eBay email address. This will prevent your messages from being blocked in the future.

Wed, 11 May 2011 16:01:59 UTC

RFID Tags Protecting Hotel Towels

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The stealing of hotel towels isn't a big problem in the scheme of world problems, but it can be expensive for hotels. Sure, we have moral prohibitions against stealing -- that'll prevent most people from stealing the towels. Many hotels put their name or logo on the towels. That works as a reputational societal security system; most people don't want...

Wed, 11 May 2011 11:12:23 UTC

"Resilience of the Internet Interconnection Ecosystem"

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This blog post by Richard Clayton is worth reading. If you have more time, there's 238-page report and a 31-page executive summary....

Wed, 11 May 2011 04:54:54 UTC

Links for Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

Deconstructing Genius: There is no Magic - “We now understand that the third ingredient, raw intelligence, is necessary only as a dough, but it is the first which decides how many theorems the recipe makes, and how delicious they taste.“ TechCrunch: Why the New Guys Can’t Code - “I can guarantee you, without fear of contradiction, [...]

Wed, 11 May 2011 00:54:59 UTC

DxO and Olympus "Viewer 2"

Posted By Greg Lehey

Coincidentally to my investigation of DxO Optics "Pro", I found an article about raw converters in the c't special Digitale Fotografie 02/2011. This is a different article from the one I mentioned last month, and it pays more attention to the kind of operations you'd expect from a raw converter, notably correction for lens aberrations. It seems that there aren't many converters that do this kind of correction, but the article mentions that the Olympus converter (not tested) is one of them.

Tue, 10 May 2011 18:47:14 UTC

Medieval Tally Stick Discovered in Germany

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting: The well-preserved tally stick was used in the Middle Ages to count the debts owed by the holder in a time when most people were unable to read or write. "Debts would have been carved into the stick in the form of small notches. Then the stick would have been split lengthways, with the creditor and the borrower each...

Tue, 10 May 2011 15:12:46 UTC

WITH A LITTLE HELP in Booklist

Posted By Cory Doctorow

ALA Booklist has posted a stonking review of With a Little Help: Anyone who grooved to the counterculture vibe of Doctorow's young-adult novels Little Brother (2008) and For the Win (2010) will embrace these stories heartily–no one can dole out technological cautionary tales while simultaneously celebrating technology as cunningly as Doctorow. This volume's single never-before-published … [Read more]

Tue, 10 May 2011 11:20:33 UTC

The Era of "Steal Everything"

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Good comment: "We're moving into an era of 'steal everything'," said David Emm, a senior security researcher for Kaspersky Labs. He believes that cyber criminals are now no longer just targeting banks or retailers in the search for financial details, but instead going after social and other networks which encourage the sharing of vast amounts of personal information. As both...

Tue, 10 May 2011 00:08:37 UTC

OTN Sys Admin Day

Posted By Bart Smaalders

I'll be at the Hyatt in San Diego on Tuesday, May 17 to introduce the first OTN (Oracle Technology Network) Sys Admin day; we'll be focusing on Solaris 11 Express this time around.  This is a free technical seminar w/ hands-on labs, and is a great chance to try out some of the new technology in Solaris 11.   You can also offer feedback to both technical folks and Marketing (er, Product Management).  I'll talk about some of the changes in S11 Express of particular interest to system administrators, and discuss the new packaging system and installers. More info, including location and registration link can be found here.

Mon, 09 May 2011 23:29:45 UTC

Backup strategies for photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Michael Hughes today, asking how I back up photos. That's certainly an interesting topic. Digital technology has made many things easier than before, but it's also easier to completely lose images. Paradoxically, it's also easier to keep multiple backups, and that's what both Michael and I do. I've been backing up my computer for ever, of course. In the days of CP/M and MS-DOS I used floppies. They were slow, expensive and unreliable. Later I used tape, both QIC and some strange format that I now forget. It was slow, expensive and unreliable. About 18 years ago I moved to DDS storage, which proved to be a little faster, have a little more capacity, but it was still expensive and unreliable.

Mon, 09 May 2011 22:08:37 UTC

OTN Sys Admin Day

Posted By Bart Smaalders

I'll be at the Hyatt in San Diego on Tuesday, May 17 to introduce the first OTN (Oracle Technology Network) Sys Admin day; we'll be focusing on Solaris 11 Express this time around.  This is a free technical seminar w/ hands-on labs, and is a great chance to try out some of the new technology in Solaris 11.   You can also offer feedback to both technical folks and Marketing (er, Product Management).  I'll talk about some of the changes in S11 Express of particular interest to system administrators, and discuss the new packaging system and installers. More info, including location and registration link can be found here.

Mon, 09 May 2011 18:50:00 UTC

Vulnerabilities in Online Payment Systems

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This hack was conducted as a research project. It's unlikely it's being done in the wild: In one attack, Wang and colleagues used a plug-in for the Firefox web browser to examine data being sent and received by the online retailer Buy.com. When users make a purchase, Buy.com directs them to PayPal. Once they have paid, PayPal sends Buy.com a...

Mon, 09 May 2011 16:15:04 UTC

Links for Monday, May 9, 2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

ABC News: Some Black Holes May be Older Than Time - “Rather than everything merging back into a singularity, Professor Coley and Professor Carr speculate the densities reached as the universe transitions from big crunch to big bang, mean primordial black holes between a few hundred million kilograms and about the mass of our sun, [...]

Mon, 09 May 2011 15:34:53 UTC

Knights of the Rainbow Table 02

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's part two of my reading of my story-in-progress, Knights of the Rainbow Table, a story commissioned by Intel's Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson. Brian oversees Intel's Tomorrow project, which uses science fiction to spark conversations about product design and use among Intel's engineers, and he was kind enough to invite me to write a … [Read more]

Mon, 09 May 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Please put the LISA Button on your web site or blog

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Would you like to help Usenix LISA? Please put the LISA11 button on your website or blog. HTML code can be found here: http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa11/ I just put it up on www.TomOnTime.com and changed the position of where it is on EverythingSysadmin.com The graphic will change over the next 7 months so you don't have to do anything as we move from "collecting submissions" mode to "registration is open" mode to "thanks for attending" mode. Isn't distributed computing awesome? Tom

Mon, 09 May 2011 12:02:54 UTC

Status Report: The Dishonest Minority

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Three months ago, I announced that I was writing a book on why security exists in human societies. This is basically the book's thesis statement: All complex systems contain parasites. In any system of cooperative behavior, an uncooperative strategy will be effective -- and the system will tolerate the uncooperatives -- as long as they're not too numerous or too...

Mon, 09 May 2011 10:31:03 UTC

Help us organize the next Stack Overflow conference

Posted By Joel Spolsky

We're working on a series of two-day Stack Overflow conferences for the fall: “What's this conference about? The idea for the original DevDays was to have high-bandwidth, intensive introductions to a wide variety of new technologies¿ the kinds of technologies that everybody wants to learn but doesn't necessarily need to use on a project right now. Last time, it was things like iPhone development, Python, jQuery, Google AppEngine, etc. This year, we're asking you. So far, there's a lot of interest in DVCS, HTML5, and Node.js.”   Need to hire a really great programmer? Want a job that doesn't drive you crazy?

Sun, 08 May 2011 23:32:33 UTC

Bleeding edge Hugin

Posted By Greg Lehey

Continued with my panorama processing today, and it took me until midday to complete—a day later than normal. This mask processing adds a lot to the time, as of course does DxO Optics "Pro". Clearly time to investigate the development version of hugin. That's in a Mercurial repository, and it was relatively straightforward to get a clone. Building was another matter. It uses cmake, a program with which I haven't been able to make friends, and according to the somewhat confusingly named instruction file INSTALL_cmake, building is as simple as cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local .

Sun, 08 May 2011 00:12:41 UTC

Panoramas with DxO

Posted By Greg Lehey

Photo day again today. The first Saturday of the month is special, since I take a few more photos than normal, and managed to just about completely fill up an 8 GB memory card. Decided to process the raw images with DxO Optics "Pro", and after fighting my way through the windows, was presented with the information that the conversion (415 images) would take 6 hours, 20 minutes. Let that run and tried stitching them together from the JPEGs, intending to catch up with the real images later. That proved to be more work than I wanted, since many of them required masking.

Sat, 07 May 2011 17:47:26 UTC

Shannon's Law podcast – fixed!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Escape Pod people had some technical problems with their Shannon's Law podcast. Here's the fixed MP3.

Fri, 06 May 2011 21:31:01 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Noise Pollution and Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It literally blows holes in their heads: In the study, led by Michel André of the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, biologists exposed 87 individual cephalopods of four species -- Loligo vulgaris, Sepia officinalis, Octopus vulgaris and Illex coindeti -- to short sweeps of relatively low intensity, low frequency sound between 50 and 400 Hertz (Hz). Then they examined...

Fri, 06 May 2011 21:11:09 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Squids in Space

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There are live squids on the last Endeavor mission....

Fri, 06 May 2011 17:32:20 UTC

Forged Memory

Posted By Bruce Schneier

A scary development in rootkits: Rootkits typically modify certain areas in the memory of the running operating system (OS) to hijack execution control from the OS. Doing so forces the OS to present inaccurate results to detection software (anti-virus, anti-rootkit). For example rootkits may hide files, registries, processes, etc., from detection software. So rootkits typically modify memory. And anti-rootkit tools...

Fri, 06 May 2011 15:00:00 UTC

An internal Twitter-like service for your company

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

While teaching my Advanced Time Management tutorial at PICC11 I suggested that having an internal Twitter-like service at a company is a useful thing. Eric Shamow mentioned that he uses "Status.Net" which is open source. For those that didn't catch the link, it is http://status.net/open-source (they have a blog at http://status.net/blog)

Fri, 06 May 2011 14:58:16 UTC

TM4SA now available as a Google eBook

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Via many places including Green Apple Books. I mention Green Apple because they made an awesomely silly video explaining how it works.

Fri, 06 May 2011 12:01:15 UTC

Stolen Camera Finder

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Here's a clever Web app that locates your stolen camera by searching the EXIF data on public photo databases for your camera's serial number....

Thu, 05 May 2011 17:52:16 UTC

Extreme Authentication

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Exactly how did they confirm it was Bin Laden's body? Officials compared the DNA of the person killed at the Abbottabad compound with the bin Laden "family DNA" to determine that the 9/11 mastermind had in fact been killed, a senior administration official said. It was not clear how many different family members' samples were compared or whose DNA was...

Thu, 05 May 2011 13:14:58 UTC

Shannon's Law: a story about bridging Faerie and the mundane world with TCP-over-magic

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I have a short story called "Shannon's Law" in the new Welcome to Bordertown anthology, the first Bordertown book in decades. I was absolutely delighted to be invited to contribute a story, and had a fun time writing my piece, which is about the application of information theory to the problem of bridging the lands … [Read more]

Thu, 05 May 2011 11:43:40 UTC

Osama's Death Causes Spike in Suspicious Package Reports

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's not that the risk is greater, it's that the fear is greater. Data from New York: There were 10,566 reports of suspicious objects across the five boroughs in 2010. So far this year, the total was 2,775 as of Tuesday compared with 2,477 through the same period last year. [...] The daily totals typically spike when terrorist plot makes...

Thu, 05 May 2011 00:20:39 UTC

DxO improves your image

Posted By Greg Lehey

While working on some old photos, found the collection for my 60th birthday party (coincidentally about the same time I built the “new” machine). They didn't look too good, and on investigation it seems that I had taken them only in raw format and converted to JPEG with ufraw. At the time I had had some problems with those conversions, and so it seemed a perfect example to use DxO Optics "Pro" on. Ran through that, taking over an hour again, and somehow ending up with TIFF output—one of the settings I gave stuck, and I forget how to reset it.

Wed, 04 May 2011 23:33:09 UTC

Interview on Channel 9

Posted By Herb Sutter

Channel 9 just posted a new interview with me about ISO C++0x, C++’s place in the modern world, and all things C++. The topics we talked about ranged pretty widely, as you can see from the questions below. Here’s the blurb as posted on Channel 9 with links to specific questions in the interview. Enjoy. Herb [...]

Wed, 04 May 2011 23:33:09 UTC

Interview on Channel 9

Posted By Herb Sutter

Channel 9 just posted a new interview with me about ISO C++0x, C++’s place in the modern world, and all things C++. The topics we talked about ranged pretty widely, as you can see from the questions below. Here’s the blurb as posted on Channel 9 with links to specific questions in the interview. Enjoy. Herb [...]

Wed, 04 May 2011 23:23:00 UTC

Time for new hardware

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recently, while processing some photos, discovered some processes were crashing. Looking at top showed me: Mem: 2280M Active, 203M Inact, 370M Wired, 85M Cache, 112M Buf, 49M Free Swap: 3072M Total, 3063M Used, 9412K Free, 99% Inuse, 2372K In, 1012K Out That's telling me that, in addition to 3 GB of main memory (the maximum my i386 machine can address), I'm using another 3 GB of swap and running out, and I'm also paging heavily. I clearly need more memory, but the only way I can use it is to migrate to amd64.

Wed, 04 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

How To Die

Posted By Tim Bray

So, Derek's gone. I was finding it a little hard to maintain, this morning. I'd known him for a while; we weren't close but, like a whole lot of other people around geekdom and Vancouver, I'd been drawn in tighter and tighter as he wrote his way through mortal illness, always facing forward and keeping the story flowing even when everyone knew how, and recently when, it would end. The last photo I took of Derek. We weren't real friends as I said, but I was a fan, clicking on all the Penmachine links in my feedreader. And just now I was touched and honored to discover that apparently he left 82 comments on this blog over the years, between late 2006 and just a few weeks ago, which I just spent an hour reading.

Wed, 04 May 2011 18:00:00 UTC

WIETSPTUL Part 2: Tip for writing Practice and Experience Reports

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

As a quick follow-up to Making it easier to submit papers to Usenix LISA, here's a tip for writing a good Practice and Experience Report: Work backwards from the "lessons learned". Step 1. Write down the 4-5 things that you wish you knew before you started the project. That is, things that readers will feel they've learned after reading your paper. Step 2. Work backwards from those 4-5 things to figure out what people need to know to understand them (for example, the story of how the project got started, the problems you faced, and how you solved them). You really don't need to include much more.

Wed, 04 May 2011 17:15:57 UTC

"Operation Pumpkin"

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Wouldn't it be great if this were not a joke: the security contingency that was in place in the event that Kate Middleton tried to run away just before the wedding. After protracted, top-secret negotiations between royal staff from Clarence House and representatives from the Metropolitan Police, MI5 and elements of the military, a compromise was agreed. In the event...

Wed, 04 May 2011 15:58:00 UTC

Cook! Where's my dll?

Posted By Terry Coatta

I've been working on a little sample project in DevStudio to check out NuGet. Writing the code, using NuGet, and getting things to build all went fine. But when I went to run the code, it failed. Because I had set the project up as a Windows service, debugging was not entirely straightforward -- all I had were some stack traces in the event log. The service had died because of an an exception: Castle.MicroKernel.SubSystems.Conversion.ConverterException. The stack trace indicated that the exception was occurring during the process of getting logging initialized. After a bit more poking around I realized that there was a DLL missing from the bin folder of the project: Castle.Services.Logging.Log4netIntegration.dll.

Wed, 04 May 2011 15:58:00 UTC

Cook! Where's my dll?

Posted By Terry Coatta

I've been working on a little sample project in DevStudio to check out NuGet. Writing the code, using NuGet, and getting things to build all went fine. But when I went to run the code, it failed. Because I had set the project up as a Windows service, debugging was not entirely straightforward -- all I had were some stack traces in the event log. The service had died because of an an exception: Castle.MicroKernel.SubSystems.Conversion.ConverterException. The stack trace indicated that the exception was occurring during the process of getting logging initialized. After a bit more poking around I realized that there was a DLL missing from the bin folder of the project: Castle.Services.Logging.Log4netIntegration.dll.

Wed, 04 May 2011 15:58:00 UTC

Cook! Where's my dll?

Posted By Terry Coatta

I've been working on a little sample project in DevStudio to check out NuGet. Writing the code, using NuGet, and getting things to build all went fine. But when I went to run the code, it failed. Because I had set the project up as a Windows service, debugging was not entirely straightforward -- all I had were some stack traces in the event log. The service had died because of an an exception: Castle.MicroKernel.SubSystems.Conversion.ConverterException. The stack trace indicated that the exception was occurring during the process of getting logging initialized. After a bit more poking around I realized that there was a DLL missing from the bin folder of the project: Castle.Services.Logging.Log4netIntegration.dll.

Wed, 04 May 2011 15:10:00 UTC

Making it easier to submit papers to Usenix LISA

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

[This was originally published on The Usenix Update Blog] We want YOU to submit a paper this year to the LISA conference  Really.  Yes, you!  Whether you are in academia developing new algorithms that improve system administration, leader of an open source project that sysadmins find valuable, or a practitioner in industry that has written new software to improve productivity, we believe there's a paper inside all of you that wants to get out!  (Usenix LISA is December 4-9, 2011 in Boston).  LISA is also a great venue for student papers: it is a friendly audience and we have a "Best Student Paper" award that pays cash.

Wed, 04 May 2011 13:24:34 UTC

Open Compute UPS & Power Supply

Posted By James Hamilton

This note looks at the Open Compute Project distributed Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) and server Power Supply Unit (PSU). This is the last in a series of notes looking at the Open Compute Project. Previous articles include: ·         Open Compute Project ·         Open Compute Server Design ·         Open Compute Mechanical Design   The open compute uses a semi-distributed uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system. Most data centers use central UPS systems where large the UPS is part of the central power distribution system. In this design, the UPS is in the 480 3 phase part of the central power distribution system prior to the step down to 208VAC.

Wed, 04 May 2011 12:46:50 UTC

May the 4th Be With You!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Happy Star Wars Day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyYTATfgPZk http://starwarsblog.starwars.com/index.php/2009/05/04/may-the-4th-be-with-you/

Wed, 04 May 2011 11:40:09 UTC

Unintended Security Consequences of the New Pyrex Recipe

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is interesting: When World Kitchen took over the Pyrex brand, it started making more products out of prestressed soda-lime glass instead of borosilicate. With pre-stressed, or tempered, glass, the surface is under compression from forces inside the glass. It is stronger than borosilicate glass, but when it's heated, it still expands as much as ordinary glass does. It doesn't...

Tue, 03 May 2011 23:49:50 UTC

Panoramas made with TIFF images

Posted By Greg Lehey

More work on panoramas today. As planned, tried making the verandah panorama from TIFFs images instead of from JPEGs. The results were surprising: Moving the cursor over the image switches from the JPEG-based panorama (cursor off) to TIFF-based one (cursor on). I can't see any difference apart from a slight difference in framing. hugin reports two values for control point alignment, the mean error and the maximum, both in pixels. They were: Image       mean       max ...

Tue, 03 May 2011 19:25:25 UTC

Decline in Cursive Writing Leads to Increase in Forgery Risk?

Posted By Bruce Schneier

According to this article, students are no longer learning how to write in cursive. And, if they are learning it, they're forgetting how. Certainly the ubiquity of keyboards is leading to a decrease in writing by hand. Relevant to this blog, the article claims that this is making signtatures easier to forge. While printing might be legible, the less complex...

Tue, 03 May 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Election Wow

Posted By Tim Bray

We just had a surprising election; I previewed it on April 10, and am slightly smug over having pretty well called the outcome on April 25th. The overview that rings truest, to me, is Colby Cosh's Four parties enter, two parties leave. Canadian politics is usually boring; but not this week. Anyhow, I wrote this because I wanted space for an observation and a prediction. First: Canadian politics suddenly looks a lot like Britain or Germany: Big, broadly-based parties of the left and right, with a smaller party of the center. Seems to be reasonably stable and functional in those countries.

Tue, 03 May 2011 12:54:03 UTC

Nikon Image Authentication System Cracked

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Not a lot of details: ElcomSoft research shows that image metadata and image data are processed independently with a SHA-1 hash function. There are two 160-bit hash values produced, which are later encrypted with a secret (private) key by using an asymmetric RSA-1024 algorithm to create a digital signature. Two 1024-bit (128-byte) signatures are stored in EXIF MakerNote tag 0×0097...

Tue, 03 May 2011 12:24:54 UTC

Why poor countries lead the world in piracy

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Tue, 03 May 2011 12:24:30 UTC

Piracy and poor countries: Big Content wants to have its cake and eat it too

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Guardian column, "Why poor countries lead the world in piracy," discusses the groundbreaking independent research presented in "Media Piracy in Emerging Economies," a 400+ page report that took 35 researchers three years to compile. The project's lead, Joe Karganis, is giving a free talk tomorrow in London: So why do it at all? … [Read more]

Tue, 03 May 2011 05:09:31 UTC

Techno-optimism

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Locus Magazine

Tue, 03 May 2011 05:09:13 UTC

Will technology make us freer, and if so, how?

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Locus column, "Techno-optimism," looks at how technology has shaped global struggles for self-determination, democratic government and justice, and asks whether, on balance, technology will make the world freer and better or more repressive and worse: The convenience of privacy-unfriendly social-network technologies from Friendster to Facebook has made them tempting platforms for use in … [Read more]

Mon, 02 May 2011 23:52:51 UTC

Panoramas with images processed by DxO

Posted By Greg Lehey

My previous attempts at making HDR panoramas were less than successful, but they didn't really have anything to do with DxO Optics "Pro". Today tried the old method, up to a point: my way of creating HDR images wasn't very portable, so first updated the HDR script to optionally group the images into a specific number of images of the same view, allowing me to create multiple HDR mapped images from a list of arbitrary names. Did that, and got worthwhile results. Here the verandah panorama from the weekend, and then the one done today. They look pretty much the same until you look at the details.

Mon, 02 May 2011 16:55:01 UTC

Knights of the Rainbow Table 01

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's part one of my reading of my story-in-progress, Knights of the Rainbow Table, a story commissioned by Intel's Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson. Brian oversees Intel's Tomorrow project, which uses science fiction to spark conversations about product design and use among Intel's engineers, and he was kind enough to invite me to write a … [Read more]

Mon, 02 May 2011 14:09:55 UTC

LiveBlogging the Bin Ladin Assassination

Posted By Bruce Schneier

"VirtualReality" tweeted the Bin Ladin assassination without realizing it....

Mon, 02 May 2011 11:52:53 UTC

Hijacking the Coreflood Botnet

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Earlier this month, the FBI seized control of the Coreflood botnet and shut it down: According to the filing, ISC, under law enforcement supervision, planned to replace the servers with servers that it controlled, then collect the IP addresses of all infected machines communicating with the criminal servers, and send a remote "stop" command to infected machines to disable the...

Sun, 01 May 2011 22:54:01 UTC

Refining panorama processing

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's panorama photo of the verandah wasn't quite as good as usual; I suspect that hugin chose some inappropriate control points. It's surprising how different the automatic control points are from the ones I would have chosen. Normally I would have refined it, but I had other experiments in store. In particular, lens distortion must be an issue in the matter, and I can compensate for that with DxO Optics "Pro". In addition, there are possibilities to do the HDR processing directly with hugin, and I could do all the processing in 16 bit mode. Started by creating some JPEGs of the images: DxO `grep verandah-centre makejpeg | sed 's: .*::; s:JPG:ORF:'` makejpeg is the file that I create with a mapping between camera image name (first the camera name, then my own).

Sun, 01 May 2011 19:05:36 UTC

Choosing and Using Open Source Components

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

The developers of the SQLite open source database engine estimate that it's deployed in roughly half a billion systems around the world (users include Airbus, Google, and Skype). Think of the hundreds of thousands of open source components, just one click away from you. If you know how to choose and use them effectively , your project can benefit mightily.