Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:what about git? (Score 1) 77

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) 47

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 Completely ridiculous (Score 1) 232

It's "facebook" people. Facebook. It's not like you need it or life requires it. It's not like you have to put everything in your life into it. You can of course put your whole life out there for anyone who wishes to see it (That's what I do mostly) or if you like you can post 4 pictures of cats and then only share them with a handful of friends and then never go back there again. People who use it aren't "willing victims" and people who won't use it because they don't want to use their real names aren't being somehow abused or picked on. What does identifying LGBT have to do with any of this shit? Just go outside and play for fucks sake and get over it.

Comment IceComm: serverless video conferencing, very easy. (Score 1) 115

Set up IceComm on a web site that only you and your kids can access, and give them the Chrome browser with a bookmark to go there at scheduled times ..

Very easy to set up server less video conferencing. Add a bit of TogetherJS to the mix and you've got realtime chat as well - without needing to install anything on any local computers besides the Chrome browser.

I use IceComm on my main server as the 'front door' to my business - I have a browser sitting on my front door all day, and whenever clients visit I'm ready for them. Its just like having a virtual front door to the business .. very handy and very care-free for the customers.

Comment Re:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 445

I object to your use of the word privilege in this context. The problems in poor schools in the Houston school system are in large caused by elements of their own communities. Politicians representing these poorer communities are notorious for preventing reform (Sheila Jackson Lee for one), or even enacting policies that are counter productive. They, along with the teachers union and community activists and leaders, also make it damn near impossible to fire, suspend, or constructively reassign teachers from underperforming schools in these communities. They seem hell bent on making sure these schools continue to underperform.

In addition, any talk of encouraging competition in education, or providing these communities with additional educational options for their children, are called racist, or a "war on education." So, they wont improve the system they have, they rabidly oppose any alternatives, and they definitely don't want to take responsibility for how their brinkmanship and inflexibility affects their community.

It is one thing to recognize and then try to make adjustments to compensate for perceived societal inequalities. I support this as rational and responsible behavior. Its entirely another thing for political and community leaders to create inequalities in their own communities that are destructive to the educational potential of their constituents, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty, and then blame it on something or someone else.

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 Turing machines for simple tasks = future cheating (Score 1) 301

Voting systems, cars, refrigerators, whatever - if you take a simple task like regulating a fuel mixture, or counting votes, and rather than use a simple methodology or circuit to accomplish the task at hand and instead use a re-programmable Turing machine, you introduce the certainty that the owner of the device - who is not the same as the person who bought the device! - will change the code at will to do whatever makes the owner a profit. Change the code in the engine, beat emissions tests. Change a few votes, keep a reconstruction of a country to your advantage going. Put an AI in charge of driving a car, and police or dictators will use that AI to control people they don't like. There is no judicial solution for this, as you cannot jail a corporation. The solution is to de-complexify the systems, reintroduce simplest-possible solutions that do not use Turing devices to accomplish tasks. Fuel mixing do not require AI and a telematics system networked to the internet. Though it is inevitable that a generation born to complex IT solutions be blind to the downsides of those solutions. Rule of thumb: if you can't control what it is doing, don't trust it.

Comment Premise incorrect (Score 1) 233

We're not "Ubering" because we're more mobile. We're becoming more mobile because companies are being Ubered. This is not an effect, this is a cause. Companies are Ubering because that way they can eliminate pensions, benefits, salaries, wages, and even the employees - Uber, for the uber example, plans on replacing all those "contractors" with robot cars. That means: all taxi drivers, gone. All Uber drivers, gone. Net result: the "inevitable" funneling of all profits to the owners and to Wall Street. The cost of public assistance to the newly destitute will, of course, be borne by taxpayers and the rest of society. Loss of retail revenue, loss of homes to bankers as mortgage holders default in poverty, decline of some neighborhoods that once housed the poor and lower middle class, with an increased crime rate which, of course, will be blamed on the lack of morals and gumption of the poor. So, more prisons, more pauper's graves, more of the usual invisible disaster that hyper-capitalism is greedily enabling.

Let's not even talk about what is going to happen to the tens of millions of truck drivers.

Comment Re:Because (Score 4, Insightful) 65

For the most part, corporate executives are schooled in business, not engineering. They know planning, reorganizing, finance, merging and acquiring, and (maybe) marketing. Their path to success is through doing those things. Initiatives that originate among the engineers have a long wait to see the light of day -if they ever do - because they first have to be championed by one of the aforementioned executives. That's why innovation in larger companies is done by acquiring products and technology from the outside, and usually not by developing ideas from within. The silver lining is that it creates opportunity for smaller companies that are more focused on their customers' needs and the technologies for satisfying them.

Comment Looking forward to this headache (Score 1) 471

I'm really upset about this. I have a 2014 VW Golf TDI which has been the best car I've ever owned. Diesel fuel is cheaper (here) than the cheapest gasoline, and my fuel efficiency is only marginally less than my previous car (a 2010 Honda Insight). It drives a long time on a tank, and the best part is that it's really sporty. I love the quick acceleration. I also was happy I got the 2014 Mk6 Golf rather than the 2015 Mk7 Golf because the 2015 Golf requires a urea tank whereas the 2014 does not... and to make room for the urea tank on the 2015 model, the Golf lost it's independent rear suspension in favor of beam suspension (TDI model only). But now I'm worried how the performance will feel after I take my vehicle in to get updated so that it's not cheating emissions standards. It will maybe be a bit less fun to drive. Hopefully it means I'll get better fuel economy though? Either way I feel misled by VW. Part of my decision when I bought my car was because of how it felt during my test drive, but that was a lie. I guess I should at least stop criticizing Mazda for being unable to bring their diesel Mazda 6 to the USA because of performance issues. I guess if you're not cheating, it's not so easily done.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 138

Software/web development is the only field I can think of where practitioners delight in ridiculing people outside of their specialty for not knowing everything that they do. I don't see that with medical doctors or lawyers or pharmacists or physicists. Every profession seems to have its own standards for basic maturity.

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin