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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 25 declined, 2 accepted (27 total, 7.41% accepted)

+ - 16th-century manual shows 'rocket cat' weaponry 2

Submitted by Bomarc
Bomarc (306716) writes "An article on KOMO website highlights the proposed use of a 'rocket cat' as weaponry. The — sometimes colorful illustrations that are coming to light illustrations (Digitized by the University of Pennsylvania) that are coming to light from a circa-1530 manual on artillery and siege warfare seem to show jet packs strapped to the backs of cats.

... looks like sharks with lasers have competition!"

+ - Ask Slashdot: Looking for RAID Calculator

Submitted by Bomarc
Bomarc (306716) writes "I’m looking for "RAID calculator" — that will provide recommendations for optional settings based on hardware information data entry; a way to calculate or warn that the optional parameters of controller and/or OS to keep the drive from "thrashing". Here I define "thrashing" as a way to reduce or eliminate the need to read and re-write a sector(s) that has just been written to. Most of what I've found so far is a size calculator, and if you need one of these, I believe that you are in the wrong business.

Example: a hard drive as an example that I’m currently using is a WD red 2 TB Drive for NAS (WD20EFRX). This drive has a 64MB buffer; a sustained read/write speed off 147 MB/s; bytes per sector 512(logical) / 4096(physical) bytes per sector; 3,907,029,168 sectors; 2,000,398 MB space; connected (in this instance) to a Dell Perc 5 with 256MB RAM – that can be configured to a stripe size with data segments of 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 Kbytes. Under the OS, the sector size includes 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K and 64K. The drive bays vary from 2 to 10 drives per array per system (2 drives as RAID 1; 4 as RAID 5, 6 or 10; 6, 8 and 10 drives as RAID 5 or 6)

In this example: The hard drive utilizes 4K bytes (physical) per sector; so with a 4 bay system (RAID 5 with 3 data drives; one parity drive) would result in a single stripe of 12K (with 16K of physical data that would include parity) data being written to the drive in one pass. Note however: That 12K does not go evenly into any of the stripe size, nor does it go evenly into the OS sector size. The result is "thrashing". The user will see a performance degradation (depending on where it occurs) as the controller reads a sector from the drive, merge the data with the outgoing RAID data, and re-writes the physical data to the drive for the sector(s) that are out — bound. If you are lucky to be writing large files, hopefully the logic in the controller will keep the “thrashing” process to a minimum. In an extreme example: you could have a stripe size of 8K and an OS sector size 128 k; with this configuration it could take 16 writes to get the data out — and we haven’t even dealt with hard drive sector size issues; that could bump the number up 128 writes for a medium sized RAID array!

So, back to the question: Has someone made available a "RAID calculator" out there that takes in these considerations — and shows or warns the user that there might be a problem, and/or hints the best configuration for a given hardware setup?"

+ - 160,000 Soc. Security numbers exposed in Wa State court system hack-> 1

Submitted by Bomarc
Bomarc (306716) writes "KOMO TV has reported up to 160,000 social security numbers and 1 million driver license numbers may have potentially been accessed. The information also includes other PII:
The vast majority of the site contains non-confidential, public information. No personal financial information, such as bank account numbers or credit card numbers, is stored on the site. However, other data stored on the server did include social security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, and driver license numbers that may have been accessed. Although there is no hard evidence confirming the information was in fact compromised, the data was still vulnerable and should be considered as potentially exposed.
The state has set up two web information pages here and here with more information and means to contact the state."

Link to Original Source

+ - How to deal with or perhaps replace Tivo?

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "On Friday, Tivo release a patch with had a critical bug. The bug causes the ability to transfers any (ALL) recordings to fail. Last time I called TiVo support they (still) claims that the problem is with an update to Windows 7, which I know to be false, for these reasons: First — the system that I use for transferring files from TiVo uses Windows XP, and hasn’t been updated in two weeks. Direct transfer (also known as back-door or web transfer) also does not work. The bug has impacted both of my TiVo boxes (a ‘Series 2’ and a ‘HD box’).

A Google search of the error message returns another person that has the same problem, and no other relevant results. And a bit of history of TiVo: They will frequently release an update on Friday, and with an annoying degree of regularity, the update will have bugs. Sometimes the bugs are just annoying, sometimes the bugs will be critical.

So my question: can I get away from TiVo? I need a solution that is workable (regular and HD), allow me to record, to let my wife watch TV, and for me to record 3+ shows at a given point in time. I’m not trying to receive non-legal channels, but to watch and record and (optionally) keep the recordings that I’ve made. I don’t mind paying for the service. Most of my searches on this topic don’t end well. Does someone have a viable solution that – when implemented is legal and doesn’t require a masters degree in computer science to understand 'how to make it work'? Something that has the features of TiVo, without the headaches? (I can’t even find a media player to effectively replace the TiVo player’s abilities)

History and background: My wife is NOT a techie. She is still trying to figure out the “URL” vs. the “search box”. I’m a techie. I’ve been working with computers for many years now. Several years ago, I migrated to TiVo for two key reasons The first is that it is simple to use. Though TiVo can be annoying for me, my wife can use it and understand it. The second is its ability to transfer and save recordings to a standard format. Every morning I start my daily transfer of files from TiVo to a local hard drive. Expected usage: Recording and keeping about one TB per month, library of about 65 TB of video (at this time). I use Binaryworks.it Extreme Movie Manager to track and organize my video collection."

+ - What to do when an advised BIOS upgrade is bad?

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "Twice now I've been advised to "flash the BIOS to the latest", once by a (major) hard drive controller maker (RAID); once by an OEM (who listed as "critical", and has removed older versions of the BIOS). Both times, the update has bricked an expensive piece of equipment. Both times, the response after the failed flash was "It's not our problem, it's out of warranty". Given that they recommended — advised that the unit be upgraded, shouldn't they shoulder the responsibility of BIOS upgrade failure? Also, if there design had sockets rather than soldering on parts, one could R/R the faulty part (BIOS chip), rather than going to eBay and praying. Am I the only one that has experienced this type of problem? Have you been advised to upgrade a BIOS (firmware); and the upgrade bricked the part or system — if so, what did you do? Should I name the companies?"
Media

+ - Media Mail: How to fighting the USPO?->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "Sending items using media mail is a great way to save money. However, the government (USPS) is dragging its feet. I recently tried to send a 160GB SATA hard drive filled with movies to a relative. I invite readers to understand what Media Mail is, and what it was intended to do by reading the pamphlet on line "A Consumer's Guide to Mailing". The relevant text: "Small and large packages and thick envelopes can be sent using Media Mail. Contents are limited to books, manuscripts, sound recordings, recorded videotapes, and computer-readable media (not blank). Informally called "Book Rate," Media Mail cannot contain advertising, except eligible books may contain incidental announcements of books. Media Mail is usually less expensive than Parcel Post."

After several phone calls, I was able to reach a real person sent them the question by email:

Thank you for taking the time to listen to me.

Attached are several images to give perspective on the items involved.

{images of SATA drive, SATA to USB connection, and descripton removed for clarity}

Technical details:
The drive is plugged into the device outside of the computer, and the computers normal operation is not required by it's absence or presence. It's operation is the same as a "thumb drive", only physically larger. (And it is more equivalent to a DVD in that the DVD requires a DVD drive — this device requires the docking station as shown in the above image)

My Issue:
What I am shipping is the "hard drive" with video's copied on the drive. This is the (more) modern equivalent of a "DVD" in that it has movies/ videos (approximately 100 hrs). Supplemental hard ware is not shipped, nor are games (etc) included.

My contention is that if VHS tapes, DVD's and CD's are allowed, than this MUST be allowed under the same pretext. Current technology is such that the hard drives being released today are intended for this sole purpose — holding movies. This is the same as shipping a DVD or a 3 1/2 floppy — just more data.


The response from the USPS was:
"I wanted you to know the information I received says Media Mail prices are not available for computer related parts, accessories, flash/thumb devices, and storage devices such as a hard drive. Any kind of drive, whether it be thumb drive or hard drive, is not eligible." This indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of what current standards are for holding data — out side of the computer.

Anyone know how to proceed from here? The USPS doesn't know (or want to tell) how to escalate the issue. I'm concerned that my next course of action might be to go to Federal Court (not my idea of fun, since I can't afford it)."

Link to Original Source
Medicine

+ - Tricks with your mind and a dummy's body->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "KOMO is reporting about a study from Stockholm's renowned Karolinska Institute. The story by the AP is using cameras setup to watch "you", from the perspective of a dummy. The system is set up so that as you perform activities with the dummy, you feel sensation. They start out with shaking hands with yourself. They have found out that most people (70-80%) tend to freak out the when the dummy is stabbed with a knife ("experience the illusion very strongly"). The entire article covers the perspective of both the study, and what the writer feels during the experience. Though this study was with short duration subjects, interest is raised with longer duration studies. "The questions is what happens if you did it much longer? If you were in there for days and weeks. Would it be like something out of Total Recall?" (Spence). I was intrigued with the possibility of VR in game simulation."
Link to Original Source
Government

+ - Washington State: Is Blogging lobbying?->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "Washington State is asking — is blogging lobbying? As KOMO's website is reporting, if blogging is lobbying, then those who are doing the blogging are required to file public reports detailing their finances. This is another instance where 21st century and 1970s political reforms are clashing. Though media is excluded, this could have a chilling impact on private blogs (and websites)."
Link to Original Source
United States

+ - Fed judge ruled part of law terrorism vage ->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "The Seattle PI is reporting a story by the AP where a Portland, Oregon Federal Judge has ruled against terrorism law: unconstitutionally vague.

He ruled a law prohibiting material support for terrorists is unconstitutional because it is too vague. The judge also ruled the law on the provision of "material support" to any group given the designation was unconstitutionally vague."

Link to Original Source
Republicans

+ - Georgia men claim hairy, frozen corpse is Bigfoot ->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "Two men claim to have shot Bigfoot, and placed him in a freezer. The announcement describes the creature as a 7-foot-7 male, weighing 550 pounds with 16-inch human-like feet and reddish hair. Three different tales so far offered three different tales so far about how they came to find the creature:
In one, the animal was shot by a former felon, and the men followed it into the woods. In a second version, they found a "family of Bigfoot" in North Georgia mountains. In the third, the two were hiking and stumbled upon the corpse with open wounds.
One interesting note is that this is being picked up by the mainstream media.
However — this rates up there with — Wow, we've found a new and wonderful creature. Let's kill it!"

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Paper posts names of those it says bought degrees->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "The Spokesman Review has published the names of nearly 10,000 people that have alleged to have purchased bogus college degrees from a Spokane diploma mill. The U.S. Department of Justice had refused to release to the public.
The list is available on Spokesman-Review's Web site. The newspaper did not say how it obtained the list.
A preliminary analysis by the newspaper, based on e-mail addresses, showed 135 individuals with ties to the military, 39 with links to educational institutions, and 17 employed by government agencies. But the numbers could be much higher if buyers used their personal e-mail accounts"

Link to Original Source
Toys

+ - Japanese Company Unveils Solar-Powered Bra->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "One company is really trying to empower women — with a new "Solar-Powered Bra". The aritcle has several models showing the new invention. And to no ones surprise, Fox is also — well, covering the story. It is environmentally friendly, and includes a belt that goes around the stomach. Its creator admits that "people usually cannot go outside without wearing clothes over it" and says it should not be washed or worn in the rain to avoid damage.
Imagine the uses: IPod, GPS and other low powered portable devices...."

Link to Original Source
Networking

+ - Indictment highlights file-sharing risks->

Submitted by
Bomarc
Bomarc writes "From KOMO TV website, an article about how Gregory Thomas Kopiloff used Limewire, Soulseek and other "peer-to-peer" file-sharing programs to troll other computers for financial information, which he used to open credit cards for an online shopping spree, according to a four-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

The news article isn't big on details, but it does outline the risks with "peer-to-peer" file-sharing programs. Carried by the By Associated Press"

Link to Original Source

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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