Blog Archive: July 2011

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 23:48:14 UTC

More panorama experiments

Posted By Greg Lehey

As promised, the weather was better today, and I was able to take my weekly “house photos”, a term that I need to improve: they're mainly of the garden. Did a number of experiments today: Differently spaced panoramas During some of my tests last week, I discovered that I could get almost acceptable panoramas with only half the images. The test was on the verandah, which is stitched together from 24 images: two rows at 30° intervals. The trouble with going to 60° is that the height is lessened, and in practice I've found that 45° is just about enough for panoramas taken in landscape mode.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 21:41:00 UTC

Cost of Computing in Coal

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

  by  jonasclemens Much of my academic research involves statistics and crunching through big datasets. To do this, I use computer clusters like Amazon's EC2 and a cluster at the Harvard MIT Data Center. I will frequently kick of a job to run overnight on the full HMDC cluster of ~100 computers. Some of my friends do so nearly every night on similar clusters. Like many researchers and engineers, it costs me nothing to kick off a big job. That said, computers consume a lot of energy so I did a little back-of-the-envelope calculation to figure out what the cost in terms of resources might add up to.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Still Life Paintings of Daisies

Posted By Tim Bray

One of my favorite online activities is the discussion of photography and (often very loosely) related subjects over at PDML. A thread last March made me want to take pictures of daisies to serve as examples to support a point I was trying to make on the subject of nothing less than Art Itself. Unfortunately, this far north (and with a cool spring) theyve been hard to come by. But I found some. Id posted some other shots of flowers, acknowledging that they were steeped in cliché. This provoked a polite storm of only moderately-cynical argument, in which one gentleman offered I think about the retirement home with little old ladies taking oil paint lessons so that they can do still life paintings of daisies. Since then Ive been hell-bent on making a still-life of some daisies.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Good News-Biz News

Posted By Tim Bray

People still read news, but the howls of pain from the business grow always louder; the news about the news is all layoffs and paywalls. Id like to offer a cheery counter-example. Lets start with a boring corporate press release: TPM Ad Sales Revenue Up 88% In First Half of 2011. TPM stands for Talking Points Memo. Im a fan. Like most people who find politics and policy interesting, Ive enjoyed the last few years of US politics. In particular Ive been watching Americas self-induced debt-ceiling meltdown with a sick fascination. And like most people with interesting jobs, I dont have that much time to invest in being a politics junkie.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 17:15:22 UTC

Impact Factor of Computer Science Journals 2010

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has published the 2010 Journal Citation Reports . Following similar studies I performed in 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , and 2010 , here is my analysis of the current status and trends for the impact factor of computer science journals.

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 20:11:29 UTC, static IPs, and firewalls do not mix

Posted By Eric Allman

Attempting to move to proved to be more challenging than expected. In particular, all of my hosts that had static IP addresses behind my firewall wouldn't work. This should be a pretty conventional setup for most business users. It turned out to be an issue with ARP that Sonic doesn't seem to want to admit is a problem. I finally got it to work in an amazingly non-obvious way. This post is to help out you folks who are trying to do the same. Read more »Original post blogged on b2evolution.

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 20:11:29 UTC, static IPs, and firewalls do not mix

Posted By Eric Allman

Attempting to move to proved to be more challenging than expected. In particular, all of my hosts that had static IP addresses behind my firewall wouldn't work. This should be a pretty conventional setup for most business users. It turned out to be an issue with ARP that Sonic doesn't seem to want to admit is a problem. I finally got it to work in an amazingly non-obvious way. This post is to help out you folks who are trying to do the same. Read more »Original post blogged on b2evolution.

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 20:11:29 UTC, static IPs, and firewalls do not mix

Posted By Eric Allman

Attempting to move to proved to be more challenging than expected. In particular, all of my hosts that had static IP addresses behind my firewall wouldn't work. This should be a pretty conventional setup for most business users. It turned out to be an issue with ARP that Sonic doesn't seem to want to admit is a problem. I finally got it to work in an amazingly non-obvious way. This post is to help out you folks who are trying to do the same. Full story »Original post blogged on b2evolution.

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 00:33:09 UTC

60 years of commercial computing

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last year I noted that it had been 64 years since ENIAC was first demonstrated. But it wasn't for another 5 years that computers came out of the closetlaboratory and UNIVAC (later called UNIVAC I), confusingly called a “commercial computer” (something later reserved for non-scientific computers) was “delivered” to the United States Census Bureau. That was just over 60 years ago, and closer examination shows that it wasn't actually shipped to the Bureau until the following year. Looking at the intervening time, a couple of other important milestones occurred in a year ending in 1: in 1971, after a third of the intervening time, the first microprocessor was delivered, and in 1981, after half the time, the IBM 5150 was announced.

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:51:34 UTC

Posted By Matthew Garrett

I've turned off the automatic crossposting, so all future updates will only be here.

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 11:54:32 UTC

Hacking Apple Laptop Batteries

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting: Security researcher Charlie Miller, widely known for his work on Mac OS X and Apple's iOS, has discovered an interesting method that enables him to completely disable the batteries on Apple laptops, making them permanently unusable, and perform a number of other unintended actions. The method, which involves accessing and sending instructions to the chip housed on smart batteries...

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 11:46:28 UTC

Unmakers: Wikified Makers in hypertext form

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Adam created UnMakers using the Creative-Commons-licensed text of my novel Makers. It opens with the final scene, and invites you to navigate the text that led up to it hypertextually, following character-based indexes to the text. He'd like it if you'd annotate and further link the text, which is in a wiki. If you want … [Read more]

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 01:50:07 UTC

Reception problems narrowed down

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne back with a tiny “set-top box” (in other words, a TV tuner) from ALDI today. I bought it in the hope that it might shed some light on my continuing TV reception problems, and indeed it did. First I connected it at the end of the antenna daisy chain, behind the two PCI tuners, and checked the reception. Pretty much identical to the problems that I've been having lately: in particular, ABC1 was very poor. Played around with the contacts at the antenna amplifier power connector and it got marginally better, barely enough to suggest that it was an improvement.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 21:22:29 UTC

C++ Renaissance: The Going Native Channel

Posted By Herb Sutter

I’m happy to report there’s a new show on Channel 9 that focuses on native code development in C++. It’s called “Going Native”… iTunes podcast here, Twitter @C9GoingNative. From the description: C9::GoingNative is a show dedicated to native development with an emphasis on C++ and C++ developers. Each episode will have a segment including an interview with a native [...]

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 21:22:29 UTC

C++ Renaissance: The Going Native Channel

Posted By Herb Sutter

I’m happy to report there’s a new show on Channel 9 that focuses on native code development in C++. It’s called “Going Native”… iTunes podcast here, Twitter @C9GoingNative. From the description: C9::GoingNative is a show dedicated to native development with an emphasis on C++ and C++ developers. Each episode will have a segment including an interview with a native [...]

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 19:02:46 UTC


Posted By Bruce Schneier

ShareMeNot is a Firefox add-on for preventing tracking from third-party buttons (like the Facebook "Like" button or the Google "+1" button) until the user actually chooses to interact with them. That is, ShareMeNot doesn't disable/remove these buttons completely. Rather, it allows them to render on the page, but prevents the cookies from being sent until the user actually clicks on...

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 11:27:55 UTC

Data Privacy as a Prisoner's Dilemma

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Good analysis: Companies would be better off if they all provided meaningful privacy protections for consumers, but privacy is a collective action problem for them: many companies would love to see the ecosystem fixed, but no one wants to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage by imposing unilateral limitations on what they can do with user data. The solution --...

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:10:24 UTC

Inconclusive image processing

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a lot more time today trying to process images in different ways and compare them. It took all day and was inconclusive. I suspect that somewhere I have confused the output of two different processes, but it's difficult to tell. Still, I'm spending too much time on this. If I have to sit in front of a computer, I could at least finish my weather station software.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 19:10:00 UTC

Cryptography and Wiretapping

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Matt Blaze analyzes the 2010 U.S. Wiretap Report. In 2000, government policy finally reversed course, acknowledging that encryption needed to become a critical part of security in modern networks, something that deserved to be encouraged, even if it might occasionally cause some trouble for law enforcement wiretappers. And since that time the transparent use of cryptography by everyday people (and...

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Suggestions and Additions

Posted By Tim Bray

These are the ways that you circle people on Google+. The streams of names, most with little photos but some naked, burn time but I cant stop. The word friend groans under an overload of meaning. There are so many names that I think I should know but probably I really dont, theyre just names that sound like you should know them. Some people have funny names. We all know the controversy about G+ and Real Names, but some of the funny names are really Real. Sometimes the humor is a tribal thing; to an English speaker, names from the Balkans and parts of Africa are most inclined to be humorous.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 11:44:59 UTC

Ars Technica on Liabilities and Computer Security

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Good article: Halderman argued that secure software tends to come from companies that have a culture of taking security seriously. But it's hard to mandate, or even to measure, "security consciousness" from outside a company. A regulatory agency can force a company to go through the motions of beefing up its security, but it's not likely to be effective unless...

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 01:07:36 UTC

The captcha to end all captchas

Posted By Greg Lehey

I hate captchas, especially the fuzzy ones. But today I found one that completely blew my mind: who can write ¦²? At first I thought it was a joke, but I filled it out (with some difficulty) and sure enough, it was accepted. Maybe the hk should have been subscripted, but it accepted it without that. But how can they expect people to enter that kind of text?

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:34:45 UTC

Panoramas with distortion correction

Posted By Greg Lehey

After converting my photos with Olympus Viewer yesterday, I had 32 GB of images to process. The converted images were TIFF format, which required some changes to my scripts—fewer than I had expected. Spent most of the day playing around with them, in the process noting the good fit of most of the images. Went back and compared with the old ones, and discovered that, although the fit was different, there wasn't a really clear advantage of the new ones.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:53:00 UTC

Dates and Memory

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

Recently, I was working with Daf and Rob on a little offline wiki project -- more on that soon -- and we realized that we needed to parse some dates in ISO 8601 format. One of us wondered out loud if there was a Python module that could help us. I offered to take a look. Turns out, less than two months before, someone had uploaded just such a module into Debian. The maintainer? Me.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:28:58 UTC

Duplicating Physical Keys from Photographs (Sneakey)

Posted By Bruce Schneier

In this demonstration, researchers photographed keys from 200 feet away and then made working copies. From the paper: The access control provided by a physical lock is based on the assumption that the information content of the corresponding key is private -- that duplication should require either possession of the key or a priori knowledge of how it was cut....

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 15:38:39 UTC

Difference Engine 20th anniversary edition

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the original publication of The Difference Engine, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's seminal cyberpunk alternate history about a Victorian England dominated by mechanical computers. I was privileged to write the introduction to this 20th Anniversary special edition, which also includes new material from Bill and Bruce about … [Read more]

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 11:51:45 UTC

iPhone Iris Scanning Technology

Posted By Bruce Schneier

No indication about how well it works: The smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, is made by BI2 Technologies in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and can be deployed by officers out on the beat or back at the station. An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person's eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it...

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 05:16:22 UTC

Links for Tuesday, July 25, 2011

Posted By Jeff Barr

The Big Picture: Space Shuttle Era Ends With Atlantis - “When Atlantis touched down yesterday at Cape Canaveral, Fla., the high-flying era of the space shuttles came down to earth as well. After 30 years, the shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with Colombia, has ended with the 135th mission. “ dygraphs JavaScript Visualization [...]

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:31:00 UTC

Lawn Scrabble

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

The Acetarium, where I live, runs what we like to think of as the world's smallest artistic residency program by hosting artists, social scientists, hackers, and free software and free culture folks for periods of 1-3 months. Our most recently graduated resident, Noah, built a lawn scrabble set on the Media Lab ShopBot and held a Scrabble picnic this weekend with some former Acetarium residents and others. I don't really like playing Scrabble, so you can see me working on an essay (and verifying words) in the background.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:16:39 UTC

Hugin development version

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been subscribed to the Hugin development mailing list for a while now. Quite a bit is happening: Yuval Levy, the chief developer, has spent the summer adding lots of new features and at least one bug, and since he's going back to university in the Swiss autumn, it's liable to stay like that for a while. But how to find the bug? On some machines, notably Microsoft, but also some Linux, opening the fast preview window causes the process to loop, and they're still looking for the reason. Decided to jump in and see if I could see anything. That involved minimal work with Mercurial, not as bad as I had feared.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:47:21 UTC

Olympus Viewer 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Olympus have brought out a new version of Viewer, their program for image processing. I hadn't installed the previous version on smart, my Microsoft-in-a-VM, so did that today. But they wanted a machine with between 1 GB and 2 GB of memory, and I've had trouble getting even 1 GB in the past. Today was no different: the maximum memory I could set was a little over 800 MB. Made a copy of the disk to be on the safe side, created a new VM to use it, but wasn't able to start it: the copy had the same UUID as the one from which it was copied, of course, and VirtualBox refused to accept it.

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 20:01:41 UTC

Podcast: Shirkys Why We Need the New News Environment to be Chaotic

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Here's my reading of Clay Shirky's brilliant essay Why We Need the New News Environment to be Chaotic: Outside a relative handful of financial publications, there is no such thing as the news business. There is only the advertising business. The remarkable thing about the newspapers piece of that business isnt that they could reliably … [Read more]

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 18:06:12 UTC

Revenge Effects of Too-Safe Playground Equipment

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Sometimes too much security isn't good. After observing children on playgrounds in Norway, England and Australia, Dr. Sandseter identified six categories of risky play: exploring heights, experiencing high speed, handling dangerous tools, being near dangerous elements (like water or fire), rough-and-tumble play (like wrestling), and wandering alone away from adult supervision. The most common is climbing heights. "Climbing equipment needs...

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:00:00 UTC

The Limoncelli Test: 32 Questions for Your Sysadmin Team

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Just in time for Sysadmin Appreciation Week... People often ask me how they can improve their sysadmin team. It takes only a brief discussion to find fundamental gaps that, when filled, will improve the teams's productivity and the quality of the service being provided. To help you find these gaps, I present: The Limoncelli Test

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 13:23:24 UTC

Why Samsungs Galaxy Tab is meh

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The Guardian

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 13:22:47 UTC

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Android iPad-killer is a poorly thought-through disappointment

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Guardian column is a pretty unenthusiastic review of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, hailed by many as the first serious Android-based iPad competitor. The Galaxy has all the right parts, but they're assembled without much care or forethought. Something I missed mentioning in the review is that the device hides the low-profile … [Read more]

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 10:59:08 UTC

Smuggling Drugs in Unwitting People's Car Trunks

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is clever: A few miles away across the Rio Grande, the FBI determined that Chavez and Gomez were using lookouts to monitor the SENTRI Express Lane at the border. The lookouts identified "targets" -- people with regular commutes who primarily drove Ford vehicles. According to the FBI affidavit, the smugglers would follow their targets and get the vehicle identification...

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 23:13:14 UTC

Consolidation in Networking: Intel Buys Fulcrum Microsystems

Posted By James Hamilton

Great things are happening in the networking market. Were transitioning from vertically integrated mainframe-like economics to a model similar to what we have in the server world. In the server ecosystems, we have Intel, AMD and others competing to provide the CPU. At the layer above, we have ZT Systems, HP, Dell DCS, SGI, IBM, and many others building servers based upon whichever CPU the customer choses to use.  Above that layer, we have wide variety of open sources and proprietary software stacks that run on servers from any of the providers which include any of the CPU providers silicon. There is competition at all layers in the stack.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 04:05:13 UTC

Sysadmin Appreciation Day 2011

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

This coming Friday, July 29, 2011 is the 12th Annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. LOPSA has a list of vendors giving discounts that day (including their own membership is 25% off!) Here are the celebrations that I know about: Los Angeles, CA: NYC, NY: Columbus, OH: San Francisco, CA: Chicago, IL: Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 15:35:13 UTC

How I Dealt with Student Plagiarism

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

Panos Ipeirotis , a colleague at the NYU Stern School of Business , received considerable media attention when, in a blog post he subsequently removed , he discussed how his aggressive use of plagiarism detection software on student assignments poisoned the classroom atmosphere and tanked his teaching evaluations. As detailed in a story posted on the Chronicle of Higher Education blog , Mr. Ipeirotis proposes instead that professors should design assignments that cannot be plagiarized. Along these lines here are two methods I've used in the past.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 01:11:09 UTC

Copying DVDs: the simpler way

Posted By Greg Lehey

Discussing yesterday's efforts to copy DVDs on IRC today. There should be a simpler solution. To quote H. L. Mencken: For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. In this case, Callum Gibson asked why I couldn't just copy the DVD with dd and use mplayer to play the image. I've known for a long time why not: the DVD decryption takes place when reading the data from the DVD, so the data that dd reads is not the data that libdvdcss reads. But of course, there's a simple way to prove or disprove that: try it out.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 01:03:06 UTC

Hunting down the reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

There were three things to record concurrently tonight, so put the third tuner back in ceeveear. I've been concerned that this might be part of my ongoing reception problems, so after putting it in I started recording the same programme on SC 10 (the channel with the worst reception, and fortunately also the worst content) on all three tuners at the same time. Playing them back showed clearly that the problems were not confined to one tuner. In this image, the left side of the announcer's forehead has been torn out on all three recordings: That was typical of nearly every such artefact, but it's difficult to keep the players in sync ...

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 21:11:08 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Glass Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier


Fri, 22 Jul 2011 00:32:04 UTC

New Friends' web site

Posted By Greg Lehey

I haven't got much feedback from the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens about the web site, so decided that today was the day. The new site is online, and the transition was completely smooth. Now we just need to get round to closing down the old one, which is no longer accessible.

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 23:05:07 UTC

Copying DVDs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two weeks ago I borrowed a DVD from the Geelong Regional Libraries., my TV computer, doesn't have a DVD drive, and the machine is located where a DVD drive wouldn't make any sense. So to watch the DVD, I first need to copy it to disk, one of the most primitive operations you can perform with a computer. We've been copying data since computing began. But both the media industry and “clever” programmers have made copying DVDs a minefield. You can mount a DVD on the computer and access the files with no difficulty. By definition, they're in the subdirectory video_ts: === [email protected] (/dev/pts/6) ~ 66 -> l /cdrom/video_ts/ total 5656 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel       12288 Jan  1  1970 video_ts.bup -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel       12288 Jan  1  1970 video_ts.ifo -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   ...

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Japanese Brazilian Market

Posted By Tim Bray

São Paulo claims to have the largest Japantown in the world; its called Liberdade. Herewith three photos of items on sale there. Its a big city; claims to be the largest, with fifteen million souls or more, in both the Western and Southern hemispheres. Its not scenic or glamorous or touristic or fashionable, mostly; its about people focusing on working their way into the First World. Liberdade Its jam-packed and cheery and culturally variegated to a ridiculous extreme; worth walking around. This visitor from the other hemisphere and perimeter of the New World felt at home; Im used to a crowd where the faces represent every possible permutation of the gene pool.

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:26:06 UTC

Videos from HowTheLightGetsIn

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The HowTheLightGetsIn festival has posted video from the two items I participated in last spring. The first, Technology and Anarchy, deals with regulation, democracy and technology. The second, The Return of Revolution, is a debate of sorts with Evgeny Morozov (whose book The Net Delusion I reviewed in depth), and Alex Callinicos, in which we … [Read more]

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11:07:40 UTC

Is There a Hacking Epidemic?

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Freakonomics asks: "Why has there been such a spike in hacking recently? Or is it merely a function of us paying closer attention and of institutions being more open about reporting security breaches?" They posted five answers, including mine: The apparent recent hacking epidemic is more a function of news reporting than an actual epidemic. Like shark attacks or school...

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 23:17:59 UTC

Food Safari 13, Groggy 1

Posted By Greg Lehey

After commenting on the French Food Safari last week, I followed up with a somewhat milder comment on the web site: Looking at the big firm cheese with the big holes in it at the beginning of the episode, I thought it was (Dutch) Maasdam. But looking more carefully, it appears to be a French copy of Swiss Emmental. Why did you show that? I'm sure it wasn't because the French hosts wanted you to. And I see you still talk about "Speck" as if it were a French word (it's German).

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 22:52:14 UTC

Redirecting web pages, the right way

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday at the Friends Mike Sorrell asked me how I got the nickname Groggy. I went to a computer, brought up my home page, and followed the link to the page. But I got: Brought it up manually—strangely, that worked—and left the investigation until I got home. Here, everything worked correctly. So I tried with Microsoft “Internet Explorer”. Failure. Where's the bug? After a bit of investigation, I found that the link was incorrect: grog.html instead of grog.php.

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 21:42:19 UTC

Software Testability, Part 2: Controllability and Observability

Posted By Robert V. Binder

What makes a software system easier or harder to test?  The general aspects are controllability and observability. Controllability determines the work it takes to set up and run test cases and the extent to which individual functions and features of the … Continue reading →

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 11:23:21 UTC

Google Detects Malware in its Search Data

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is interesting: As we work to protect our users and their information, we sometimes discover unusual patterns of activity. Recently, we found some unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of our data centers. After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were...

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 02:20:09 UTC

Administering the Friends' computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow spent all day today with the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. In the morning, various preparations, mainly writing and trying to get Jenny Burrell's public key. That was yet another case of working around “user-friendly” software. Basically, all I wanted was for her to generate a pair of RSA keys and send me the public key. Completely straightforward: $ ssh-keygen $ mail [email protected] < .ssh/ And indeed, that worked. Almost. I never got the key. It's presumably sitting around on Jenny's machine waiting for her to configure the MTA.

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 19:50:59 UTC

Members of "Anonymous" Hacker Group Arrested

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The police arrested sixteen suspected members of the Anonymous hacker group. Whatever you may think of their politics, the group committed crimes and their members should be arrested and prosecuted. I just hope we don't get a media flurry about how they were some sort of cyber super criminals. Near as I can tell, they were just garden variety hackers...

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 14:59:03 UTC

Telex Anti-Censorship System

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This is really clever: Many anticensorship systems work by making an encrypted connection (called a tunnel) from the user's computer to a trusted proxy server located outside the censor's network. This server relays requests to censored websites and returns the responses to the user over the encrypted tunnel. This approach leads to a cat-and-mouse game, where the censor attempts to...

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 09:01:28 UTC

OU talk on network/PC regulation

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My Open University talk on network and computer regulation is up on iTunes U for your downloading pleasure: What is it about computers and computer networks that makes them so much more powerful and flexible than most other technologies? And why do these qualities seem to drive regulators and vested interest groups to demand illogical … [Read more]

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 05:18:22 UTC

Viking-Age Iron Making In Oakland

Posted By Niels Provos

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 05:18:22 UTC

Viking-Age Iron Making In Oakland

Posted By Niels Provos

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 23:43:08 UTC

More GPT pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have all three 2 TB disks set up: one as my /Photos file system, and two for backups. Only one problem: the first of the backup disks was still partitioned with MBR. That's a problem not just for consistency, but also because the partition name is different, so I can't mount them from entries in /etc/fstab. That's OK: I still have two other backups (the other one is the old /Photos disk, which still barely has enough space, and which is still online), so I wiped the MBR disk and partitioned with GPT instead. This time it had other surprises in store for me.

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

Id like to draw your attention to The huge success of an AppStore failure by Luís Fonseca of GAMEized. Its the sad story of a mobile-game developer running into the reality that theres a lot of pirated software out there. I think the obvious conclusions are wrong, mostly. (GAMEized had perhaps the worst possible outcome, observing piracy rates on the order of 90%. They got unlucky, having been prominently featured on one of the biggest steal-apps-here sites.) Let me start by saying that this isnt an Apple-specific problem; there are pirates on the Android side, too. Its not even a mobile-apps problem, per se, but a monetizing-bags-of-bits problem.

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 17:14:00 UTC

Quiet Room

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

At the Copenhagen airport, Mika and I found the quiet room. It was a soft, well lit, room designed for prayer and reflection. During the hour I was in it, the only other visitor was a child cracking open the doorway to peer in. The room had a guest book with hundreds of messages left by other travelers over the last couple years. People praised the airport administrators for providing the room, made suggestions, and complained about the room, the airport, and the country's shortcomings. They talked about themselves, their travels, their happiness and unhappiness with departing or returning home, and their thoughts about the world.

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 15:00:00 UTC

Data? We have a lot at.

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Cluster management operates on a very large scale: whereas a storage system that can hold a petabyte of data is considered large by most people, our storage systems will send us an emergency page when it has only a few petabytes of free space remaining.This guy is not exaggerating. This is why I love working at Google. (Did I mention that my coworker has a sign on his desk that says, "I work here because I love this shit!") Tom

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 14:42:43 UTC

British Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Ross Anderson discusses the technical and policy details....

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 01:00:00 UTC

Die Technikmafia

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

Marcus Rohwetter has recently published a very detailed article about Antifeatures in the German monthly magazine Zeit Wissen. Although I've only read the article through automatic translation -- unfortunately, I don't read German -- I'm hugely honored that Rohwetter has taken the time to engage with the idea so deeply and to help translate the argument for a much broader community than the free software community I come from and am best able to speak to. A lot of what I've been trying to do in the last year or so is to figure out how to speak more effectively about the politics of technology control to audiences of non-technologists.

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 00:52:19 UTC

Still more reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

The reception problems aren't going away.

Sun, 17 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

A couple of days ago I switched the Neuton typeface into this space, via Google Web Fonts. I liked it but a lot of others didnt, and it turned out that for some reason, on Windows it just didnt work as a body font; I suspect itd be fine for display purposes (as in, for headlines). So, on to Plan B: FF Tisa Web Pro, from Typekit. Why Tisa? I spent a really excessive amount of time trying this font and that, but at the end of the day the choice was easy. I wanted something that was really easy to read, unobtrusive, and yet struck my eye as modern, whatever that means.

Sun, 17 Jul 2011 00:24:27 UTC

Firefox 5: better?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that I had to do to live with firefox release 4 was to give up using multiple windows, because firefox crashed frequently if I did. What about version 5? I had a couple of cases where it looped for a considerable period of time (in the order of 10 seconds CPU time, frequently using more than 100% of a processor):   PID USERNAME    THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE   C   TIME   WCPU COMMAND 45155 grog         22  44    0   879M   757M ucond   3   6:26 103.96% firefox-bin On one occasion it went on so long that I had to shoot it down.

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 00:16:38 UTC

Reception problems: further deterioration

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow investigating my TV reception problems doesn't make them go away. Today was worse than ever. After restarting the new firefox, I discovered that a recording I had started had only recorded about 500 MB in over an hour. Looking at it confirmed: it was broken beyond recognition. Why? Did a number of tests, with little results except to confirm that something was very wrong. Tested the cabling, but in contrast to earlier attempts, wasn't able to provoke any particular change—with one exception: the USB tuner (number 1) stopped working altogether, and I had to reboot to get it to work.

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 00:15:24 UTC

Installing Firefox 5

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been less than happy with firefox release 4—not that I've ever been very happy with firefox—but it seems to be the only game in town. Were the developers also unhappy with it? Given that firefox 4 was the current released version for all of a month or two, you might get the impression. Still, there are issues that came in with release 4 that I might hope would be gone in release 5, so today set out to install it. The good news: I haven't seen any problems with release 5 yet, and it's possible than one problem I've had (incorrect repositioning after enlarging photos) might have gone away, though it's too early to be sure.

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:49:25 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Giant School of Squid

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Neat pictures....

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 19:33:00 UTC

Interview in Infosecurity Magazine

Posted By Bruce Schneier

I think I gave this interview at the RSA Conference in February....

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Somewhat Dutch-inspired

Posted By Tim Bray

The full quote reads Neuton is a clean, dark, somewhat Dutch-inspired serif font which reminds you a little of Times. I just now stripped the old serif/sans choice out of my blog (less marginalia!) and dropped in Neuton for all the body text. Using a Google web font is just as simple as they claim. I havent noticed a slowdown in the page load but I havent tested yet on a slow network. This follows some weeks of paradox-of-choice paralysis; there are just too many typefaces there that tickle my eye. So I sucked it up and pulled the trigger. I can always change my mind later.

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 11:31:38 UTC

Degree Plans of the Future

Posted By Bruce Schneier

You can now get a Master of Science in Strategic Studies in Weapons of Mass Destruction. Well, maybe you can't: "It's not going to be open enrollment (or) traditional students," Giever said. "You worry about whether you might be teaching the wrong person this stuff." At first, the FBI will select students from within its ranks, though Giever wants to...

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 23:55:22 UTC

Working around the last GPS navigator bug

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got the file update that I needed to eliminate this bug on my GPS navigator: As I had already discovered, the file is stored in an archive, and indeed, it's present. So “failed to open” probably refers to a bad language use of the word open, in this case presumably “process”. They sent me a new which was considerably smaller than the old one: -rw-------  1 grog  wheel   4276234 Jul 14 10:10 /src/GPS/ScanFast-7020-current/iGo8/ -rwxrwxrwx  1 grog  502    17348163 Jun 10 13:02 /src/GPS/ScanFast-7020/iGo8/ Further investigation showed that the file poi_brand.spr was missing.

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 23:51:14 UTC

FETCH does key-based authentication

Posted By Greg Lehey

Got a reply to my message to FETCH support. Yes, it can do key-based authentication, as a bit of an afterthought: you still need a (dummy) password, which you can store, but you can't store the pass phrase for the key. Or you can start ssh-agent, of course. But how do you do that on an Apple?

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 23:47:43 UTC

More insight into reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

More investigation of the recording problems today, for the last few days. It's proving useful to present this data in tabular form; clearly the next thing to do is to store it in a database, so I can do correlations between the file size and the number of errors (an obvious one) or time of day (less obvious).

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 18:47:10 UTC

My Next Book Title: Liars and Outliers

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions regarding my next book title. It will be:      Liars and Outliers:      How Security Holds Society Together We're still deciding on a cover, but it won't be any of the five from the above link. Vaguely ominous crowd scenes are not what I want....

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 17:14:53 UTC

Booting with EFI

Posted By Matthew Garrett

One of the ways in which EFI is *actually* better than BIOS is its native support for multiple boot choices. All EFI systems should have an EFI system partition which holds the OS bootloaders. Collisions are avoided by operating system vendors registering a unique name here, so there's no risk that Microsoft will overwrite the Fedora bootloader or whatever. After installing the bootloader the OS installer simply sets an NVRAM variable pointing at it, along with a descriptive name and (if they want) sets the default boot variable to point at that. The firmware will then typically provide some mechanism to override that default by providing a menu of all the configured variables.This obviously doesn't work so well for removable media, where otherwise you'd have an awkward chicken and egg problem or have to force people to drop to a shell and run the bootloader themselves.

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 15:58:35 UTC

Software Testability, Part 1: What is it?

Posted By Robert V. Binder

The incredible advances in computing capacity weve become blasé about (even impatient and demanding) would not have been possible without standard test features in all kinds of digital logic devices. The nearby graphic shows this nicely (I would like to provide appropriate attribution, but … Continue reading →

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 11:38:24 UTC

Physical Key Escrow

Posted By Bruce Schneier

This creates far more security risks than it solves: The city council in Cedar Falls, Iowa has absolutely crossed the line. They voted 6-1 in favor of expanding the use of lock boxes on commercial property. Property owners would be forced to place the keys to their businesses in boxes outside their doors so that firefighters, in that one-in-a-million chance,...

Wed, 13 Jul 2011 11:30:19 UTC

Interview with Evgeny Kaspersky

Posted By Bruce Schneier


Wed, 13 Jul 2011 02:23:40 UTC

More image alignment experiments

Posted By Greg Lehey

Google Groups has finally agreed to deliver my mail, after somewhat more than 48 hours, and a couple of people have responded on the thread. Some seem contradictory, but there was a bit of a sense there that the focal length could be part of the issue. The focal lengths of the two images were given as 21 mm (44.72°) and 23 mm (41.18°). The EXIF data reports a maximum of one focal length value between these two--maybe. Maybe there's nothing at all between the two values. If Hugin is relying on this information, there's a good chance that it will be wrong.

Wed, 13 Jul 2011 01:34:14 UTC

New navigator data

Posted By Greg Lehey

As promised, received a 4 GB microSD card today with newer maps:  Australia WhereiS 110126  NZ WhereiS 110125 The serial number seems to be a truncated release date, i.e. 26 January 2011, interesting because it was a public holiday. The data is still pretty inaccurate: Enfield is still a couple of kilometres to the north, and the town centre of Dereel is placed at the junction of the imaginary roads I noted a month ago: That was looking south, and the following map is oriented north, but there are still massive errors, as a comparison with ...

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 12:13:16 UTC

Insurgent Groups Exhibit Learning Curve

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting research: After analyzing reams of publicly available data on casualties from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and decades of terrorist attacks, the scientists conclude that "insurgents pretty much seemed to be following a progress curve–or a learning curve–that's very common in the manufacturing literature," says physicist Neil Johnson of the University of Miami in Florida and lead author of the study....

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 01:29:51 UTC

TV reception: back to two tuners

Posted By Greg Lehey

Clearly my current TV reception isn't good enough. It got worse when I put in the third tuner, though the deterioration applied to all tuners. I don't need a third tuner for some time (only about every couple of weeks), so took it out again and tried some recordings on the problem channels, 7TWO and 7mate. And, indeed, the results were better: Programme       Start       End                   Daisy chain       ...

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:55:31 UTC

Aligning time-sequence images, revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

A few months ago I spent some time trying to align multiple images, without success. Since then there has been a lot of activity on the Google hugin-ptx forum about this kind of topic, so posted my own question (why can't I use email? I don't get any error messages, but it never arrives), and got at least one suggestion. It seems that once again Hugin does different things depending on how you ask it. If you use the “Assistant”, you get seriously sub-optimal results, like the ones that I had in March.

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:45:52 UTC

Improving firefox

Posted By Greg Lehey

Anybody who reads this diary could be excused for believing that I'm an old fart, out of touch with reality, who refuses to accept progress. Sometimes I wonder if they're not right. My complaints about firefox are an example: why would anybody want to let the window manager manage firefox's windows when firefox, not a window manager, offers tabs, a less useful substitute? I've been using tabs for several weeks now, and firefox is much more stable for it. It also uses less memory, which I have suggested is related. It's also a pain, though I'm coming to terms with it.

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:30:19 UTC

Apple: insecurity through obscurity

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still working on a way to make the upload of files to the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens web site both secure and easy for non-computer people. Previously it seems that the files got uploaded via a web interface that at least uses https, but I didn't really want to implement that. What's wrong with good old scp? Jenny Burrell, so far the only person who updates the web site, knows more about computers than most gardeners, and fortunately she uses an Apple, so scp should be available. But it seems that Jenny didn't use this interface after all.

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:12:32 UTC

Powercor eats computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

First thing this morning, as I walked past the lounge room, I saw an unusual sight: the disk access light of, the computer that runs the TV projector, was shining brightly: heavy disk access. Never mind that it shouldn't have been on at all—I had not been able to turn it off after yesterday's power failure—why was it accessing disk at all, let alone so heavily? Some investigation showed a number of depressing things: It was apparently stuck in an fsck/reboot loop.

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 22:22:56 UTC

Spot Instances - Increased Control

Posted By Werner Vogels

Today we announced the launch of an exciting new feature that will significantly increase your control over your Amazon EC2 Spot instances. With this change, we will improve the granularity of pricing information you receive by introducing a Spot Instance price per Availability Zone rather than a Spot Instance price per Region. Spot Instances enable you to bid on unused Amazon EC2 capacity. Customers whose bids exceed the Spot price gain access to the available Spot Instances and run as long as the bid exceeds the Spot Price. Spot Instances are ideal for use cases like web and data crawling, financial analysis, grid computing, media transcoding, scientific research, and batch processing.

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 22:17:07 UTC

How a Big Ball of Mud becomes a Black Hole: Why Software Architecture and Process Matters

Posted By Robert V. Binder

Once upon a time, I had a client who was a Software 25 company with a struggling division. They were selling and supporting an integrated enterprise system brought in by acquisition. This product, at version 7.0, was dominant in its … Continue reading →

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 21:48:10 UTC

History of Stuxnet

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Nice article....

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 00:30:58 UTC

More reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, backed up my mythconverg database and re-scanned the channels. There seems to have been no change in the reception parameters, but some of the channel names have changed, in some cases subtly: for example, “7MATE ON PRIME” has become “7mate Ballarat”, and “7TWO ON PRIME” has become “7TWO Ballarat”, enough to confuse MythTV. One of the programmes I had wanted to record was “Electric Dreams” on 7TWO, but for some reason MythTV insisted on trying to record it from 7mate. Trying to record manually only added to the problems. The log file shows it trying to record once only, interrupted by the power failure: 2011-07-10 14:00:03.443 Started recording: Electric dreams "Sun Jul 10 14:00:00 2011": channel 2063 on cardid 1, sourceid 2 2011-07-10 16:04:42.795 Started recording: Electric dreams "Sun Jul 10 14:00:00 2011": channel 2063 on cardid 1, sourceid ...

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Women's World Cup Qarterfinals

Posted By Tim Bray

I hadn't planned it, but am having a slow single-parent weekend and tuned in by accident. I was hooked in the first 30 seconds and watched three of the four. I probably won't be able to take in any more, but I'd unhesitatingly recommend that you do if you can. Compared to the men's event, it lacks some power and pace; but there's no shortage of elegance or precision or passion or courage or desperation. My heart was in my throat over and over. There's less of the childish cowardly diving and related sleaze that taints the men's version; but it's not entirely on the up-and-up.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 00:30:08 UTC

More TV reception pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

My TV reception is going through a bad phase again, but it's clearly related to some stations, notably 7TWO. Last night I had the following recordings: Start       End                   Daisy chain       Number of time       time       Channel       ...

Sat, 09 Jul 2011 03:52:39 UTC

My Final C++ and Beyond 2011 Sessions

Posted By Herb Sutter

I just posted two more sessions I’ll be giving next month at C++ and Beyond. (Aside: If you’re interested in coming, register soon; there are now only 11 seats left.) “C++ Renaissance.” I've been asked to give the opening “Welcome, Everyone!” keynote talk at C&B 2011, and it's time to cover an increasingly open secret: After [...]

Sat, 09 Jul 2011 03:52:39 UTC

My Final C++ and Beyond 2011 Sessions

Posted By Herb Sutter

I just posted two more sessions I’ll be giving next month at C++ and Beyond. (Aside: If you’re interested in coming, register soon; there are now only 11 seats left.) “C++ Renaissance.” Ive been asked to give the opening Welcome, Everyone! keynote talk at C&B 2011, and its time to cover an increasingly open secret: After [...]

Sat, 09 Jul 2011 00:04:02 UTC

eBay: The power of negative feedback

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been two weeks since I picked up the replacement GPS navigator in Melbourne. At the time, Maurice promised to get me new maps “soon”. I wasn't overly surprised that I hadn't heard back from then, but we needed closure, so I sent them a message, including: Please supply up-to-date maps and file by CoB on Friday, 15 July. Otherwise I will leave the following negative feedback: Software and maps seriously out of date, missing files, promised updates missing That worked.

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 21:55:59 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Giant Squid Egg

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Interesting pictures. Article is in Italian, though. Google Translate translation....

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Porto Alegre – Usina do Gasômetro

Posted By Tim Bray

This is a power-generating plant on the waterfront that has been converted for art-and-culture purposes; there's a cinema, a café, a children's space, and lots of nice walls for hanging pictures. We got there as dusk was beginning to fall; it was a treat for the eyes and camera. Geeks will agree that there's a vaguely Aperture-Science feel to the place (for the rest, that's a videogame allusion). These three shots are just me admiring the space. There were at least three art presentations; this is from gravetos armados, an installation by Antônio Augusto Bueno that really reached out to me.

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Porto Alegre's Central Market

Posted By Tim Bray

Like the rest of town, it lacks the extremes of drama and beauty that conventionally attract tourists. We went there on Wikipedia's recommendation and I'm glad, since I got that you're-a-long-way-away-from-home shiver too rarely enjoyed by over-frequent travelers, but always by those who find their photographs rather than planning them. Boy, was it ever packed on a Friday afternoon. It's mostly about raw materials for food and drink. This being Brazil, “drink” includes mate, and here are some of your options for making it; I enjoyed the polished hand-lettering. I have so far failed to appreciate mate, but I think I'm in a majority; most people (not just Brazilians) seem to like it.

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 11:19:54 UTC

Organized Crime in Ireland Evolves As Security Increases

Posted By Bruce Schneier

The whole article is interesting, but here's just one bit: The favoured quick-fix money-making exercise of the average Irish organised crime gang had, for decades, been bank robberies. But a massive investment by banks in branch security has made the traditional armed hold-up raids increasingly difficult. The presence of CCTV cameras in most banks means any raider would need to...

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 04:40:58 UTC

Expanding the Cloud - AWS Import/Export Support for Amazon EBS

Posted By Werner Vogels

The AWS Import/Export team has announced today that they have expanded their functionality significantly by adding Import into Amazon EBS. AWS Import/Export transfers data off of storage devices using Amazon's high-speed internal network and bypassing the Internet. With this new functionality AWS Import/Export now supports importing data directly into Amazon EBS snapshots. Once loaded into an Amazon EBS snapshot, The customer can create a volume based on that snapshot and attach it to an Amazon EC2 instance, or they can share that snapshot with others. Amazon Import/Export is an important tool for customers to accelerate moving large amounts of data into the AWS storage systems.

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 00:36:40 UTC

Looking forward to USENIX Security!

Posted By Niels Provos

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 00:12:33 UTC

Backup disk failure and eSATA

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne reported boot problems on lagoon, her machine, today. That proved to be a failed mount of the NFS file system /dump: my backup disk (on dereel) has died. That's nothing that serious; disks die. But it occurred to me that keeping two backups on the same disk is sub-optimal. I really should find a way to alternate between two different disks, like I do with photos, so that I'll have at least one backup if a single disk fails. Took the drive out, in the process rejumpering the eSATA adapter that I bought last month for external connections. That showed some difference: lots of disk activity, to judge by the disk lights, but no reaction from the operating system.

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 11:36:23 UTC

Comparing al Qaeda and the IRA

Posted By Bruce Schneier

A really interesting article: Al Qaeda played all out, spent all its assets in a few years. In my dumb-ass 2005 article, I called the Al Qaeda method "real war" and the IRA's slow-perc campaign "nerf war." That was ignorance talking, boyish war-loving ignorance. I wanted more action, that was all. I saw what an easy target the London transport...

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 05:47:17 UTC

Podcast: I interview Thomas Gideon from the Command Line

Posted By Cory Doctorow

To commemorate the sixth anniversary of the excellent Command Line podcast, I interviewed the show's host, Thomas Gideon, now a staff technologist at New America Foundation. Command Line covers technology, games, civil liberties and related issues, and it's one of my favorite podcasts -- it was great fun to chat with Thomas on his podaversary. … [Read more]

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 02:22:27 UTC

Wondo Gonseff lives!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Decades ago I had a colleague called Wondo Gonseff. He was a good bloke, but he was somehow ashamed of his name and preferred to call himself by an anagram, Geoff Snowdon. I was reminded of him by yet another question about why I call myself groggy, and went googling for him. He's back! He has come out of the closet and is now on LinkedIn. Hopefully I can reestablish contact.

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 02:14:31 UTC

Recode or transcode?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Peter Jeremy had a query about the term “recode”, which I use for describing the transformation of my MPEG transport streams to program streams. He preferred the term transcode. Which is right? Both terms are in use, but if you believe Wikipedia, transcoding is a repacking of the data into a different format, while recoding maintains the format. But the examples they give are not very convincing. I need to think about this one, but “recode” sounds more logical to me than “transcode”.

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 02:08:41 UTC

Migrating the friend's web site

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have all I need for migrating the web site of the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, so did so. Well, at least we now have two web servers running in parallel, though is still the old site. It's obvious that the friends are not particularly technical, and the last thing I want to do is to have things go wrong somewhere. But—so far—everything works as it should. About the only issue is going to be migrating from ftp to scp for updating the site. In itself, that's not a problem, of course, especially since Jenny Burrell, the only person who actually does the updates, uses an Apple.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

I'm not sure what the F and I stand for, but the last two letters are for “Software Livre” FISL is the largest FLOSS event in the Southern Hemisphere, and brought me to Porto Alegre for a few days. The crowd is young (a lot of students) and serious. You'd think setting up a Tux-cart would be fun. Along with all the talks, which are pretty similar in content to what you'd find at a FLOSS event anywhere, there's a trade show, which I found kind of baffling. Big Oracle booth... huh? Various organs of government... well, OK, I guess. Little Web shops of one flavor or another, sure enough.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Porto Alegre – Around Town

Posted By Tim Bray

It's not the most glamorous or glittery place in the world, but it's nice and friendly. For one reason or another I took a whole lot of pictures in Porto Alegre. I think I'll have to break them up across a few entries here. It's a waterfront town, but the water's fresh, where a bunch of rivers come together and bunch up enough to be called a lake. I noticed a few nice-looking cottages on islands, and it works just as well as the ocean for hosting sunsets. There are a whole lot of places to eat, and the food we got was pretty good.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 10:53:54 UTC

Man Flies with Someone Else's Ticket and No Legal ID

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Last week, I got a bunch of press calls about Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, who flew from New York to Los Angeles using an expired ticket in someone else's name and a university ID. They all wanted to know what this says about airport security. It says that airport security isn't perfect, and that people make mistakes. But it's not something...

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 01:05:17 UTC

More reception problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the whole TV reception hasn't been bad lately, but last night was an exception which might teach me something. On cardid 2 (the PCI tuner) I recorded a programme on SBS 2 from 19:32 to 20:37, and a programme on 7TWO from 20:37 to 00:30. Concurrently on cardid 1 (the USB tuner) I recorded a programme on SBS 1 from 20:27 to 22:00. The recordings on SBS 1 and SBS 2 recoded without any error messages, though I found massive error reports for the SBS 2 recording in the log file—I guess. The log message format doesn't state the process ID, so in general I can't be 100% sure, though in this case it was the first recording of the day, so it's pretty clear that it must have been that.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 00:36:29 UTC

Transferring the fbbg zone

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been dragging my heels on the web site, at least partially because I don't understand the web-based interfaces. Got hold of the registry key and put myself in the whois data as tech contact, but still couldn't find a way to get hold of the zone file (I was sure there was only one). Yes, I can change the name servers, but I'd have to guess at the content. In itself, that's not difficult, since there wasn't much more there than the web site, but it's untidy. Spent a lot of time looking round the TransACT web interface, which showed me nothing, and spoke to people who know their way round TransACT, all to no avail.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Road Music

Posted By Tim Bray

I spend quite a bit of time in hotel rooms. This is how I arrange my musical backdrop. I'm sure this is painfully obvious to most of you, but there are a couple of new-ish technologies involved, and it can be a real quality-of-life improver, so here goes anyhow. First of all, you need to go buy a wire like this. I forget what it's called at the nearest big box, but it's cheap; there's a small modern headphone jack at each end. Six feet (2m) or so seems about right. Next, you need to have a lot of music available.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 11:14:19 UTC

Research in Secure Chips

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Unsuprisingly, the U.S. military is funding reseach in this....

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 00:16:21 UTC

Boat people and the web

Posted By Greg Lehey

Australia has been a leading country for immigration since the second world war, and to a certain extent immigrants are welcome and often actively solicited. But the bureaucrats have to make the decision, and as in other countries, one thing that greatly lessens your chance of being accepted is to arrive without a visa. I've been there, done that. But what if you have no choice? The US aggression in the Middle East has created millions of refugees, and in Africa, without US help, ethnic violence has been just as bad. So lots of people arrive in Australia by boat with the “help” of people smugglers.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 00:12:42 UTC

More Internet infections

Posted By Greg Lehey

Just before leaving for the Dilleys, got a call from Hazel at “E Protection”, a company in North Sydney (aren't they all?), telling me that my computer had been infected by the Internet. I asked for the phone number, but she said only registered users were allowed to have the phone number. Unfortunately I didn't have time to string her along any further, and just hung up. Somehow I feel guilty.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 19:00:00 UTC

Things About Google+

Posted By Tim Bray

No, I haven't figured it out. Neither has the rest of the world. Which means that now is a good time to write about it, while our impressions remain plastic. Famous people: The “Suggestions” list kept including them, and I kept adding them reflexively, because I follow some of them on Twitter. Then I stopped, because I follow some of them on Twitter. I particularly enjoyed declining the opportunity to add Jason Calacanis. Pictures: I publish the ones I really care about here on the blog. “Really care about” means thinking a bit and some time in Lightroom color-correcting, cropping, and so on.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 10:22:11 UTC

Little Brother stage adaptation in San Francisco, Jan 2012

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Josh Costello has adapted my novel Little Brother for stage in San Francisco (this is new adaptation, unrelated to the production that ran in Chicago a few years back). The show opens in January, 2012, and he's just gone into production; he's keeping running notes of his progress at a blog called LITTLE BROTHER LIVE.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 06:57:36 UTC

APAC Summer Tour

Posted By Werner Vogels

I have just landed in Tokyo for what will be a month long tour visiting our customers in the Asia Pacific Region. Next to customer visits I will take part in a number of events organized by AWS and by our partners. This week in Japan there are three public events planned: July 4 - AWS HPC Night at Fuji Soft Hall in Akihabara. Next to a presentation by me about HPC on AWS, there is a panel with Japanese HPC experts moderated by Dr Kazuyuki Shudo of Titec. July 5 - Cloud IT Leadership seminar on Business Continuity in partnership with Deloitte.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 00:45:35 UTC

Importing Trapster to iGo 8 GPS navigators

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last week Peter Dilley had found many more speed cameras with his BlackBerry than I had with my GPS navigator, and I've been doing some investigation since then. It seems that the most reliable and up-to-date source of data is Trapster. But that's really for Garmin and TomTom navigators, which use different formats. I've spent a lot of time trying to find out details of the formats that my navigator uses. It's made by Nav N Go, and for a long time I thought it was called iGO 8, but it seems this is somewhat generic term, and my particular version is called iGO My way.

Sun, 03 Jul 2011 17:43:11 UTC

Agility Drivers

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

A management practice is mature when even government bureaucracies decide to adopt it. The March 2011 publication of UK's ICT strategy marks this moment by advocating that “the application of agile ICT delivery methods [...] will improve government's capability to deliver projects successfully and realise benefits faster.”. This begs the question: were we misguided during the decades we were advocating stringent control of requirements and a tightly milestone-driven development process? Interestingly, this was not the case. We were right then, and we're right now. Things have changed, and this is why we can nowadays smugly apply agile practices reaping impressive dividends.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 19:20:45 UTC

No Endorsement

Posted By Cory Doctorow


Sat, 02 Jul 2011 19:20:24 UTC

“No Endorsement” – aligning the interests of creators and fans

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Locus column, "No Endorsement," talks about how print-on-demand, 3D printers, and other technologies that make products available when people want them change the economics of fannish activity, fan art, and homemade merchandise. I propose a ""No Endorsement" badge that fans could use that indicates, "The creator of the work from which is this … [Read more]

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 00:08:17 UTC

Australia's Urban Broadband Network: not National

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the projects that the new government brought in when they came to power was the “National Broadband Network”. It was a welcome move: prior to that, a couple of rival companies, first and foremost Telstra, who owns all the copper, had stifled competition and thus progress. By putting the national infrastructure in the hands of a company who did not compete in the retail market, and which would ensure coverage for all of Australia, we could only have advantages. But that didn't happen. Paradoxically, Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world. According to Wikipedia, 89% of the population lives in cities, and over 50% of the population live in the 3 cities Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 21:26:03 UTC

Friday Squid Blogging: Giant Squid as an Emblem for Ocean Conservation

Posted By Bruce Schneier

It's a proposal....

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 17:41:11 UTC

With A Little Help: Heuristics

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Publishers Weekly

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 17:40:42 UTC

Print-on-demand and donations – report on DIY publishing business models

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Publishers Weekly column, "Heuristics," documents the success I've had with a pay-what-you-like donation model for my With a Little Help DIY short story collection, and looks at how it might be applied to other books: But it's the success of the donations program that has me thinking hardest–specifically, about the value proposition of … [Read more]

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 17:08:05 UTC

TDSS Rootkit

Posted By Bruce Schneier

There's a new version: The latest TDL-4 version of the rootkit, which is used as a persistent backdoor to install other types of malware, infected 4.52 million machines in the first three months of this year, according to a detailed technical analysis published Wednesday by antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab. Almost a third of the compromised machines were located in the...

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 14:15:52 UTC

Alice and me on Rum Doings podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My wife Alice and I did a two-for-one interview with the Rum Doings podcast, a gamey, geeky good time: "Amazingly we get onto the economy of Star Trek, via the consequences of teleporters. There is much discussion of the consequences of new technology on, well, everything. And then comes piracy, geocoding, and the surprise appearance … [Read more]

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:52:23 UTC

Menwith Hill

Posted By Bruce Schneier

Article on the NSA's Menwith Hill listening station in the UK....

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 05:34:15 UTC

0wnz0red in Redstone SF

Posted By Cory Doctorow

The current ish of Redstone Science Fiction includes a reprint of my story 0wnz0red, along with a short story called "The Memory Gatherer" by Morgan Dempsey and "Breaking Heinlein's Third Rule: Exercises for Revision," an essay by Sarah Einstein.