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Comment: Article is right... (Score 1) 370

by Junta (#48200075) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

Yes, it's the fear of Ebola that's the bigger practical problem. However, the remedy for that fear is precisely doing things like declaring an Ebola 'Czar' and promising to deploy the National guard 'if necessary'. Note they didn't actually call up the national guard, just promised the obvious, if the national guard is warranted (it won't be) it will be called up. The nomination of a 'Czar' is pretty much free and convening ' a two-hour emergency meeting with every top federal official involved in public health and safety.' is actually not that terrible either. These measures are not a big deal in cost, but are important in their significance to the general populace.

So someone who is well informed may rightfully see all this as silly from a practical perspective, but I don't think they would perceive a significant investment of real resources in any of it.

Meanwhile those inclined to not be so well informed are assured by some response that really doesn't cost much.

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 119

by Junta (#48199931) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

idiocy of some banks pushing out mobile apps for online banking

Though that pales in comparison to having the secret number to take as much of your money as someone wants printed in plain on paper checks or stamped into a little piece of plastic that you share with anyone that you give money. If a mobile banking app would help me spend money in a more secure fashion at vendors, I'd gladly take it over a credit card to swipe. It could actually be substantially be incredibly more secure than chip and pin in some ways (e.g. the account holder fully controls the input and display device and can communicate with financial institution without going through vendor provided equipment.

Comment: Re:Easy (Score 1) 102

by Junta (#48199515) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

and how do you know it's used that much?

Admittedly, before making a formal business commitment, we wouldn't play 'guess the actual requirements from vague problem descriptions, but:
"his organization has a one large event per year with roughly 1400 volunteers total." suggests the need is highly seasonal and admittedly one month is a bit specific, but you get the idea.

Just so you know how that works, that place already has the site built

Actually, that case was not site development, but I'm well versed with precisely how much work it involved and even given the benefit of their familiarity with the codebase being modified, I'd wager easily it's more work than this question is detailing. It's also work my team could have done, but we were short on time. My team reviewed the code and only accepted it after we were comfortable that we knew the code provided as well as if we had written it ourselves. This is commercial for profit, but also not in the critical path for potential fiscal catastrophy (and I work those scenarios too, and those are a nightmare and warrant high cost, but you can't be so jaded as to assume *every* trivial piece of work should be treated as such).

They want volunteers to write a webapp from the ground up... That's a Major, enterprise level effort.

I get a different read: " In the past two years, they have used a site written by a volunteer that has worked fine for them, but that volunteer is unavailable to maintain or enhance his site this year. " Note that the client seems *relatively* content with what one guy bothered to do in his spare time that was almost certainly done on very short notice, just probably looking for someone to go in and add a field here, or combine two forms there, or something relatively simple like that.

Their existing site is worthless to an incoming developer.

Even with the obvious editorial bias trying to spin it to state that is the case, I just don't get that feeling from the description and my work with non-profits. They probably have a simplistic site that they want to evolve a little, not raze everything to the ground and start over.

I'm sorry, but you clearly have no idea how enterprise projects work

I am very familiar with how enterprise projects work. However you slice it, this is *not* of that pedigree. Small non-profits generally know they get what they pay for and don't have complex needs or unrelenting demands over even trivial cosmetic stuff like is common in enterprise land. There is just a huge world of difference between a production internet presence of an international Fortune 100 company with a labyrinth of inter-departmental nightmares to navigate with a potentially huge revenue amounts, market perception, or liability on the line at any given time and a volunteer sign up site for a local non-profit that only handles about 1,400 volunteers.

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 119

by Junta (#48199289) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

Well, two factor doesn't mandate two channels (for example a door access system that requires both a badge and a keycode is also two factor), but yes, two distinct devices needing to be hijacked is better. However, in your example that's not assured either. If the mobile device is used to access the website then it's still one device. There's no guarantee that the user used a different device to access the web and process the text message. It's at the discretion of the user to take care of their circumstances appropriately.

Ultimately, the point I was trying to make is that this is an improvement over the usual state of things and should not be discouraged just because it isn't perfect. This aspect of security is trying to find the right balance between 'secure' and 'friendly'. It's easy to be secure if you don't care how hard it is to use, but making two-factor authentication as the norm for authentication has thus far eluded us due to acceptance issues, rather than technical failings. We have dozens of viable two-factor authentication approaches, just none that most people would tolerate.

Comment: Cause and effect probably backwards... (Score 1) 712

by Junta (#48198223) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

The dominance of computer's as something for men in 80s pop culture was probably reflecting the trend rather than causing it. The timeline seems too short for so few pop culture things to influence.

The market for coding evolved at first primarily from 'data entry', which required nearly no training. Women of the time (disadvantaged or disinclined from training depending on your opinion) could take those jobs and men who needed to 'provide' sought higher trained jobs with higher pay. Basically straightforward data entry started to become 'advanced data entry' that started incorporating things like formulas and continued on from there. Perhaps because it started to demand more and more skills, narrowing the labor pool and driving up compensation, enticing men to start participating more heavily and an overall male-favorable social bias started to take effect. Or perhaps the nature of the work fundamentally changed enough in a way that drive a different male/female interest. Or some other factor, these are all guesses.

I just doubt that a handful of 80s movies changed the entire landscape of female participation in the market basically within a couple of years of the first movie's release, and there's a lot of alternative explanations that are quite viable.

Comment: Why not... (Score 1) 119

by Junta (#48197889) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

Use FreeOTP or Google Authenticator? It's simple yet pretty well secure and allows an arbitrary mobile device to provide keycodes? Sure, you have to actually type a few numbers (the horror), but at least you don't need yet another security dongle that, despite the current hype, will probably be obsolete in a couple of years.

Comment: Re:Easy (Score 1) 102

by Junta (#48197795) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

For what is almost certainly a few cosmetic touches to an existing app (that is likely only a couple hundred lines of code to start with) that would take probably 15 minutes to do, you'd charge $150k without any warranty of working, and then basically charge enough to nearly dedicate one reasonable (entry level) full time employee to an app that probably isn't used at all about 11 months out of the year? Well I know who is likely to lose any bids I put out for development work if that is indicative of your overreaction across the scale of things. Admittedly, I wouldn't raise this much fuss over this trivial case to even solicit bids (if it is really simple as I suspect it is, do it in the time it would take to go through the procurement dance).

I've seen quotes from a very good development company that has always delivered come in at about $10k for work significantly harder than this subject. Admittedly I think the owner undercharges for the skill of his team, but they seem happy because they knock it out in a week, deliver solid results, and move on to the next customer. So far my code review of their work has never seen a structural problem (some subjective preferences about some word choice was all) and the work hasn't actually produced defects for my test team or my clients. This is an example of *way* cheaper than it should be, but it helps provide some perspective on how unreasonable the numbers you throw out are. Of course, even with that they still get underbid, but we know better than to go to lowest bidder almost any time.

Comment: Re:I wouldn't (Score 1) 102

by Junta (#48197561) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

Yes, this is what I struggle with as well. It sounds like a trivial sort of application and the submitter characterizes it as needing a pool of developers and project management investment. That is a silly assumption, some things are truly trivial things. I had a very simplistic script on a backed up, shared filesystem and did 'git init' because it was essentially a free thing. Upon noticing that I bothered to git init, suddenly people were pushing 'you can't do git without something like github or gitlab, and an issue tracker, but not gitlab or github, but it needs to have integration with those'. Of course I know full well that it's a 20 line script for internal use by a team of about 5-6 people for a very trivial thing, and that those people aren't going to bother with a ticket even if a system was made available and instead just turn around in their cube and ask the entire user community about it.

As you say, this can go both ways, people stubbornly insisting on do-it-yourself and people pushing for 'someone else do it' against all reason. I have seen projects that really could use those facilities above and try to whip up their own gitlab type facility rather than just installing gitlab.

Comment: Re:It sounds like you already have a solution (Score 1) 102

by Junta (#48197397) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

Not knowing all the details, I'm thinking I might concur here.

For one, you can either coast by on the current solution so long as it continues to accommodate the needs or completely change over now 'just in case' needs evolve in the future. The latter frequently is a bad move since you are taking a hit now either way for the sake of a nebulous future requirement that you can't even be certain will be met by your selected solution. This means that if that nebulous future comes to pass, you might have to migrate again and have saved nothing. If the current system works and the events are basically run the same year to year with only cosmetic tweaking, then it would be a waste to change.

For another, it seems like some people are afraid of having the littlest piece of software written in-house. Sometimes a solution really is simple enough that it's overkill to fret overmuch about maintenance and adaptability. Of course a key line to recognize is when you have evolved unexpectedly into the domain where worry is warranted, but a fairly simple facility to manage 1,400 records seems like it could reasonably fit into the realm of simple code that shouldn't be scary. I admittedly have more experience in corporate, but I imagine this holds true in a general sense. I've seen some companies outsource every little need to an unmanageable sea of vendors and get stuck with an overall atrocious experience and I've seen others stubbornly write everything in-house against all reason, so a balance must be struck.

Comment: Re:How does it secure against spoofing? (Score 1) 119

by Junta (#48197097) Attached to: Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

Sure, that will get malware authenticated for that session. Realistically speaking, if the end device is compromised to the degree of having malicious intervening software, there's little that may practically be done. However, 'keylogging' does much less in this case. It can intercept the one time credential that was sent, but that credential is useless beyond that session.

Compare that to the common state of the art where not only can malware run amok with the authenticated session, it can also report up the login credentials for the adversary to use at will.

Now I will say I'd just as soon use TOTP with a pin appearing on my cell phone than a dongle. I suppose some people can't be bothered to type a 6 digit number in 60 seconds.

Comment: Re:I don't understand the hatred (Score 1) 70

by Junta (#48194223) Attached to: Rumor: Lenovo In Talks To Buy BlackBerry

No matter what brand you buy, the odds are it's "Made in China" from the cheapest parts the vendor could source.

Actually, vendors actually do manage suppliers differently and rule out the cheapest frequently. There are companies that will do whatever is chepest no matter what, but they generally learn their lessons. For example many companies did this and counterfeit capacitors screwed them royally in terms of perception and warranty cost. The vendors that managed suppliers with a focus on quality laughed all the way to the bank.

Also, ironically Lenovo manufactures some devices in North Carolina, USA. Two parts of their stated strategy are distributed manufacturing and in-sourcing manufacturing rather than relying heavily upon companies like Foxconn the way most others do it. So you order Dell from US, you 100% won't have US manufactured stuff. You order Lenovo, you might get US manufacturing. Lenovo might give it up like Dell did, but at the moment if you want 'made in america' your best bet is Lenovo.

Comment: Blackberry shouldn't be a hardware offering... (Score 1) 70

by Junta (#48194177) Attached to: Rumor: Lenovo In Talks To Buy BlackBerry

That was blackberry's biggest mistake. When it was blatantly obvious that their device market share was doomed, they could have swooped in and provided trusted enterprise platform atop the other platforms. Instead they stubbornly ignored that potential and doubled down on fighting back with dubious 'consumer' product, and failed.

So in the handset space, Lenovo can focus more on the efforts like BBM for other platforms. This could be a challenge since by the time Blackberry started responding, other credible competitors have seeped in (Microsoft, IBM, et al).

There is of course another interesting asset. Blackberry owns QNX, and QNX actually has a notable chunk of automotive.

Of course the rumor suggests a price in the neighborhood of 7.5 billion. That would be ludicrous for these options. They paid 1 billion for IBM's PC, 2 billion for IBM's x86 servers, and about 3 billion for motorola. It's hard to imagine enough perceived opportunity in Blackberry to be worth more than all of Lenovo's other acquisitions combined.

Comment: Re:How on earth? (Score 1) 84

by Junta (#48185965) Attached to: IBM Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Shed Its Chip Division

Perhaps they still need the chips for a while until they can migrate their hardware to other chips?

Except they just divested themselves of the division that does hardware based on other chips. Basically they sold to GF and probably required that GF would continue fabricate POWER for some time before renegotiating in a more traditional fashion. Maybe they are hoping that nVidia or some other companies will start designing serviceable POWER architecture chips and then they can sit back, and be like ARM without actually commissioning any actual chips and also sell servers based on the platform (or Tyan starts pushing out boxes they can slap an IBM logo on and skip designing servers either)

I think it's unlikely to go the way they are hoping for, but then again I never would have guessed Intel would have been able to get significantly into the Android ecosystem, so strange things can happen.

Comment: Competition need not be apples to apples... (Score 1) 49

by Junta (#48021929) Attached to: Lenovo Set To Close $2.1 Billion Server Deal With IBM

The 'topmost tiers' are threatened by other tiers, even when they are not direct replacements. Workload might not have another viable closed-source DB or Unix player or Mainframe platform to move to, but many of those workloads are moving out of those tiers entirely instead. On the flip side, you don't see a lot of workload living happily outside of IBM's wheelhouse eager to jump in. The signs all suggest that IBM's most believable favorable outcome is slowing the erosion rather than capturing a lot of new growth. This wouldn't be such a terrible thing, except that their business leaders and shareholders think that no growth == dead and act accordingly.

Comment: Re:Server Admins Everywhere are Saying... (Score 1) 49

by Junta (#48020745) Attached to: Lenovo Set To Close $2.1 Billion Server Deal With IBM

at least not worry about Chinese spyware

Considering the reality of the manufacturing and supply chain of *all* the vendors, there isn't a scenario where you are justified in not worrying on that score. The nationality of the CEO doesn't really help or hurt the ability of intelligence agencies to infiltrate product development and manufacturing.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.