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Comment Re:Typical Liberal Thinking (Score 1) 109

Coal baseload power in Australia is about $25MWhr or about £12.

A major problem with shutting down coal plants in Australia is that the coal plant operators are the ones paying to protect the coal from fires. If they stop paying, it will catch fire and burn. There is a coal fire north of Sydney that has been burring for about 6,000 years. Not using the coal doesn't mean it isn't going to burn and it is much cleaner to burn it in a coal plant than in a coal seam fire.

Comment Re:They can save my TRS-80 tapes? (Score 1) 76

There are programs that will convert mp3 from cassette tape recordings into the raw bit stream and back to the audio again. That means you can plug your mp3 player into the cassette port of your TRS-80/IBM-PC/Vic or Apple and load the programs.

Can anyone read 9 track tapes in Melbourne Oz? I have one that needs read before all the bits go bad. Its a 6250cpi for maybe upto about 175 mbytes.

Comment Re:They still support OSX 10.6? (Score 1) 140

10.5.8 is the last version that will run on millions of PPC systems. They were mostly high end and fast systems when they were new and are still very functional. Many of those systems were handed over to other family members after upgrades and they are still out there working. Even the lifesaver machines from 1999 will run os x 10.5.8 and they are quite responsive enough to be useful when using Safari. They tend to get a bit bogged down with Chrome 21 or Firefox 16 but they still work. There are millions of old macs still out there that aren't ever going to get upgraded.

Comment An article with the proper use of zero-day? (Score 1) 121

I didn't think I would ever see another article with the proper use of the term zero-day. I expect when the NSA talks about zero-day they get the terminology right. An exploit the NSA discovers and doesn't use isn't a zero day until someone else start using it. Exploits they buy are most likely zero-day. Bugs found and reported to vendors but not used aren't zero-day if a patch arrives before an exploit. A real trick is knowing if a new exploit is being used and I think it is clear that the spooks might have an advantage in detecting that sort of thing.

Comment Re:what about git? (Score 1) 87

The entropy in hashes must be less than the entropy in the data or it isn't a hash. That means that a hash requires that there be collisions by definition. A good hash will minimize those but there will always be a risk.

When writing a program that requires a hash, I find it useful to gut the hash function so that if I'm using sha256, I set all the bytes except for one to zero so I see what happens with collisions and can test that functionality. It is amazing how many bugs I've found in protocol implementations by doing this with hashes and block cyphers.

A coder also needs to balance performance with the function of the code if it's cpu bound. Many web pages now spend more than half their load time doing the TLS handshake. If you decided you want to go beyond what the CPU supports, you can also find your code runs very slow. Say you want to run something like a hypothetical AES-1024. The hardware only supports 256 bits so you get a 10x penalty for that plus you have to deal with 4 times more bits so there isn't anyway the new code won't be less than 40 times slower. Sometimes it is just better to use a much faster weaker hash for some parts and a slower better hash for data intergrity. An example of this would be something like rsync or torrent where there are lots of little blocks and very fast hash is helpful but for a better hash can be used for sets of blocks. You can not count on the speed of a hash for security either. A cheap bitcoin USB device can do hashes 31,000 times faster than my workstation.

Comment blacklistd.conf? (Score 1) 58

Blacklistd looks like a great idea but I checked out the syntax in blacklistd.conf and I think it could use some work.

I could see lots of admins getting bitten by "nfail=*" meaning never. To me, that name or a '*' isn't the right choice. Security config files absolutely must be unambiguous to people aren't going to read the manual. Cron has a similar syntax and I've seen several cases were a simple change to a crontab resulted in a 5 star screwup that ran something 1440 times a day.

Comment I like my Q10 (Score 2) 127

I bought a Q10 a few months ago after years of trying and then abandoning other smart phones. I managed to use it without signing up for any accounts for several weeks. I can run android apps on it without rooting the thing. You can port QT apps to it with ease.

My phone uses MY servers for its data not someone one elses. That data link is fully encrypted and under my control.

BB apps make more money for most app developers than iphone and android apps.

The main problem with the thing is they managed to screw up the "screen lock/power" button so the thing turns off in my pocket. The thing has 39 buttons so they should drop pressing the top button to power off and require something like the top button and hold down "P" to power down and top button and "U" to unlock. I don't know how they could screw up something that has been well know for so long.

Comment Re:RAID is not backup. (Score 2) 174

Alos remember that the RAID controller in the NAS might be the only thing that will ever be able to read the drives so if lightning takes out the NAS, so long all the data even if the drives don't get zapped.

RAID also doesn't quite ccope with the problem that on large sotrage systems, the MTBF means that something is always broken and undetected and it is only going to get worse.

Comment Re:Oh just like Sword of Fargoal? (Score 1) 77

Rogue was the most popular and cloned by many others. Moria on the Vax (780?) pushed the limits of the machine at the time and aparently the limit of the game features was based on what could be tested using the test program that would check that new changes could be won. The odd thing is that it was written on a one off VAX (ouvax?) that had been an odd upgrade research project when DEC had a crazy idea that they could do field updagrades from PDPs to VAXen.

Comment Re:Jane the virgin (Score 1) 307

It follows the formula of Soap from 1977. Take an absurd idea and just push the boundaries in a semi-plausible way for some effect. Soap operas have been doing that since the early days of radio. The TV show Soap used that formula and in place of the absurd romantic ideas, tried comedy and pushing the edges of social issues that could be shown at the time.

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to work.