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Comment: "Cyber-Armageddon" or "e-War"? (Score 2) 70

by Etcetera (#49307737) Attached to: Government Spies Admit That Cyber Armageddon Is Unlikely

Just armageddon (not the literal one, natch) through cyber means?

This reminds me of the 90's when people would prefix things with "e-" without a unified definition of the monkier. "E-mail", "E-file", etc...

If I had to guess, I'd imagine a "cyber-armageddon" as some sort of problem directly affecting logical electronic infrastructure. Imagine simultaneously wiping out all copies of DNS records everywhere (including hosts files) through some mysterious malware, blowing up a bunch of datacenters, and a Sony Pictures-like virus that hits Google and wipes out all code backups. That might be a "cyber-armageddon."

That would suck, and would cause quite a bit of culture shock (and, of course, would be a catastrophic economic event), but it would not be the End of the World.

On the other hand, an EMP attack against the United States which disables/blows most non-hardened electronic equipment and causes a quickly-cascading North American power system collapse everywhere all at once would be a *true* (figurative) armageddon. That's really what I think of when dealing with continuity of government plans and "dire threats". American society would find a way to survive without the Internet (although true, unprepared Millennials might suffer debillitating levels of shock). American society would probably *not* find a way to survive after a few months of a power and communications outage, however, at least in its current geopolitical form -- and especially if a power vaccum formed internationally. (Think "Revolution" without the hand-wavey, future-science gobbledygook.)

Comment: Re:What do HD viruses actually _do_ ? (Score 1) 324

by Etcetera (#49158517) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Are these root vectors playing the odds and assuming they'll be installed on an x86 machine running Windows7, so they put that payload in the firmware?

It's not like the firmware has an IP stack.

It doesn't take very many bytes to make one. And your hard drive is communicating over a bus. You'd be surprised what types of communication protocols are recognized over various internal data paths... How do you think those old Ethernet-over-SCSI adapters worked?

Comment: Microsoft "embrace and extend" redux, but without (Score 0) 755

by Etcetera (#49062479) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

We didn't tolerate it back then, I'm not sure why we should be more accepting of the strategy now. Systemd as a replacement for upstart that boots faster due to parallelism is fine; systemd as the amorphous blob it's become, with fingers in all sorts of projects and feature creep like I've never seen in the Free Software mode, should be shunned just on principle alone.

Embrace and Extend is a deceitful strategy for insecure companies, and for insecure twits. The systemd of today would NEVER have been accepted, if proposed as such, and Poettering damn well knew it. Hence the slow boil.

No thanks.

Comment: We had that; it was called Hypercard (Score 1) 291

by Etcetera (#49059179) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

and it was awesome.

Seriously, we don't need "everyone to become coders", which just happens to be exactly what ego-inflated, self-important Bay Area brogrammers exactly want to hear. We need easier tools to help people automate whatever the hell it is that they're already doing, without "coders" being involved. The theory comes afterwards.

IMO Apple really did understand the importance of this, once, and we had Stacks that solved all sorts of real world problems, built by people with basically no programming experience. I'd hoped when Jobs came back this mentality would return, but it never looked to have happened, what with the focus on application consumption only once the app-store consumer revolution really took off... Where's my HyperCard (+ HyperTalk/AppleScript) environment for the iPad?

Comment: If you have to ask (Score 1) 136

by Etcetera (#49013727) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is There a Web Development Linux Distro?

then you probably shouldn't have root to begin with. Try a CPanel/Plesk/Webmin interface that configures this for you, and a virtual hosting provider that spits out pre-packaged images you can connect up, and simply accept that you're using *that*, but "powered by LAMP" of some type.

Alternative: Virtual hosting configuration is *not* that hard any more, even if you're just editing text files.

Pithy Alternative: Don't ask a sysadmin to hold the hands of a brogrammer unless we're getting paid (well) for it.

Comment: Re:Too bad about WWII (Score 1) 645

by Etcetera (#49000595) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

And, unfortunately, there are groups of people who deny that the Holocaust never happened. (I guess those 12 million people killed just "got lost walking home.") All evidence for the Holocaust is written off as inconsequential or part of a pro-Holocaust conspiracy.

I wonder if, a generation from now, we'll have terrorism deniers who will claim that there were actually no terrorist attacks in the middle east? (We already have the 9-11 deniers, so we're partway there.)

I had a discussion (over Instagram, >. ) on whether the making-available of this video was correct or incorrect, and what American response would be appropriate. I didn't understand her point of view until I realized she was 5 when 9/11 happened and didn't understand the visceral reaction to the live images of the towers being hit and falling.

Sometimes you need to see evil clearly to decide to act.

Comment: Re:Even Fox gets it right sometimes (Score 1) 645

by Etcetera (#49000565) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

Money seems like too simple of an explanation because I imagine most of the clicks are going to the blogs that are now outraged that Fox displayed the video at all. If anyone sees a traffic spike it's going to be the other sites that just throw out short opinion pieces devoid of any real content that can be consumed in a minute or so by the majority of people who don't care about the video itself but are more interested in the drama surrounding it.

More to the point, Fox News Channel isn't some struggling webzine that's about ready to go under unless they get click revenue from Google Adwords up. Profit/loss and cost weigh into the big picture, of course, but they don't need to scramble for clicks.

There's no real need to presume that financial considerations outweighed the editorial decision-making process they stated that they went through before deciding to post it.

Comment: America is HUGE (Score 1) 255

by Etcetera (#48903661) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Sometimes it's hilarious listening to those demanding changes in Federal, national standards in the US, who've clearly never travelled outside the coasts and/or packed, urban dorm living...

Being able to stream 18 videos at once is nice. But you got along perfectly well beforehand. Broadband is about reliable, reasonable hardline (except for certain buildout locations where LTE is being petitioned as a replacement) information communication... It's NOT intended as the tail wagging the dog on Millennial cord-cutting.

Comment: Re:What has happened to Linux? (Score 1) 553

by Etcetera (#48826573) Attached to: SystemD Gains New Networking Features

I think they intend to bring stability and unity to Linux by eliminating modularity and choice.

Nothing so sinister.... The core group of people that made this stuff in the first place is moving on. This leaves the old sticklers that made things work out of decisions and are being replaced with a whole generation of new developers that haven't 'been there, done that, solved it' before. Its a changing of the guard in Linux - and its not looking good.

This... seriously. I'm reminded of the giant Dev vs Ops split within the technology sector right now. On one side you have grizzled SysAdmins who've BT,DT and deal with operational engineering, and on the other are Developers primarily focused on making something work well "in theory", on their laptop.

Comment: Re:islam (Score 1) 1350

by Etcetera (#48756603) Attached to: Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Don't confuse people of a certain religion killing people, versus people being killed for a religion. I doubt that anyone ever ran into battle shouting "For Shinto!" "For Atheism!"

The famous killers who have been athiests have not killed people in the name of atheism. That contrasts with Christian killers who most certainly killed in the name of their religion, or Islamist killers who have done the same.

"Oh My Science!"

Comment: TAI if you need it (was Re:Is there a better way?) (Score 2) 289

by Etcetera (#48748545) Attached to: Extra Leap Second To Be Added To Clocks On June 30

If you're doing calculations on time using intervals, and one second matters to you, you should be using a raw number instead of calculating the "23:59:59" yourself. If the UTC conversion is too much, use TAI instead and be done with it:


International Atomic Time (TAI, from the French name Temps atomique international[1]) is a high-precision atomic coordinate time standard based on the notional passage of proper time on Earth's geoid.[2] It is the basis for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is used for civil timekeeping all over the Earth's surface, and for Terrestrial Time, which is used for astronomical calculations.

Comment: Re:Sony security: strong or weak? (Score 1) 343

Something not much discussed, if outsiders were able to liberate "terabytes" of data from Sony Pictures, just how good was the corporation's computer security?

How many bytes of data did Snowden liberate from the CIA? If the CIA couldn't stop it, then this does not inherently say anything bad about Sony's corporate security.

That's Schneider's point -- NO organization can totally prevent data hacks and folks skilled in security know this.

I wish I had mod points... I'd mod you up.

Comment: Re:Sony security: strong or weak? (Score 1) 343

There is also the fact that this isn't Sony's first time on this ride. Shouldn't they have doubled-down on security after PSN got hacked?

You're supposing that "Sony" is a single massive thing -- it's not. It's a conglomerate with many separate units that share relatively little other than a name and some discounts at the Sony Store.

Proof: The hackers have done nothing outside of Sony Pictures. If there'd been interoperability in the layer that they got into, we'd be seeing data from other "Sony"s out there as well.

SOE/SMSS/SNEI learned a lot after what happened in 2011. But a movie studio that deals mainly with corporate accounting to pay actors and production companies, and the occasional internal creative discussion, has a far different calculus to make on what to secure how than an Online Game company, or the one handling end-user billing (read: PCI) data for a storefront (PSN).

You're going to see a giant top down review come out of this, of course, but implementation will probably still be handled by individual corporate units to some extent.

Sony wasn't attacked because they were vulnerable or had particularly lax security, they were attacked for political reasons by a foreign power. I guarantee you that if Viacom has been producing The Interview they would have had a similar attack against them and would probably have fared little better.

Comment: Success rate is the interesting bit (Score 1) 186

by Etcetera (#48517665) Attached to: Pizza Hut Tests New "Subconscious Menu" That Reads Your Mind

One can imagine all sorts of objections to this ("I take too long", "I like staring at onions, but I don't like eating them", etc...), however a self-reported 98% success rate -- or at least, 98% of the time they end up with a pizza with their preferred ingredients and/or that they end up really liking -- would explain why Pizza Hut decided to roll ahead with this -- seemingly weirdly ahead of its time -- tech right away.

98% approval suggests that browsing an appetite are more firmly linked. If the numbers hold up outside of the focus groups and small study areas, I'd expect this technology to spread far and wide. Carls Jr. (a/k/a Hardee's) and Jack in the Box already use the kiosks in several locations here in San Diego; a camera and tracker wouldn't be that much of a step and could provide a quite different experience.

You are false data.