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Comment: From basic programming to advanced (Score 1) 145

by erroneus (#46788115) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

Like so many others, my first code was:


We started out with some basic operations and grew from there. Unfortunately most people kept what they liked and discarded the rest. Things like data and input validation are seen as a waste of time by so many. Strings and other data which get passed to other processes in other languages (like SQL, or Windows image libraries) also warrant some inspection.

The types of vulnerabilities we find most often happen because programmers are neglecting to pay attention to some of these very basic things. Others are more complex, but if these basic issues are still going on, then it's hard to see programmers as generally professional whether they are commercial or open source writers.

It may come as a surprise to some people, but the mistakes made in coding these days are increasingly critical in nature as civilization is increasingly reliant on what is being written and run out there. Much scrutiny and soul searching should be done. (It won't happen until some really bad things happen and frankly, the truly bad things are too much of an advantage to alphabet agencies so we won't hear a push for this from government in case anyone was waiting for it.)

Comment: Re:There is another answer (Score 2) 201

You don't necessarily even need a hard kill, with the accompanying risks of damage/injury to bystanders and their property...

Thanks at least in part to the robust market for green diode-pumped solid state lasers, moderately alarming and dangerous IR lasers are ubiquitous and cheap. Depending on the quality of your optics and the robustness of theirs, outcomes ranging from temporary washout of the image to swift and permanent death of the imager are highly likely.

Comment: Re:Enh as much as I dislike Oracle... (Score 1) 140

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46785245) Attached to: Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site
I'd assume that their legal team would be running around the company quietly busting skulls if they didn't.

"Incur significant legal exposure during the course of fucking up a high-profile project for a government client" isn't one of those good strategies.

Doing one or the other can actually be surprisingly lucrative; but both, less so.

Comment: Big company experience comes to small company (Score 3, Interesting) 282

by erroneus (#46777783) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

Yes, I know how they are thinking and the pain you are feeling. To accomplish the implementation of this change management process you will need a lot of people working for you. Use this to your advantage. Quickly study up on the subject so your experience with the systems will not leave you with a dog pile of new bosses to tell you how to do your job. Instead insist that you need to hire more people to manage the overhead.

In the end that probably won't work and you'll be kept "at the bottom" where you are now.

These changes are going to be enormously expensive and despite all you have done, it will be perceived that you created this mess by not having a change management system in place to begin with. Of course, they will also see that you don't know about change management and will prefer to hire someone who already knows about it.

Now I'm not going to down change management processes. They can prevent problems and identify people who would otherwise deflect blame and hide in the shadows. But from what I have seen, you're just getting the beginning of the tsunami of changes.

Push for testing systems and additional hardware to support it. Of course it will also require more space and other resources. Try to get ahead of this beast.

Comment: Re:Government picking favorites (Score 3, Insightful) 88

Don't forget market power: something that no sane individual trusts a telco to exercise benignly, and which even ardent free-marketeers recognize as pernicious if abused.

If fatty were benevolent, well liked, and known for fairness and decency, there'd be no reason to kick him out just for being the fat guy. However 'benevolent', 'well liked' and 'known for fairness and decency' are not concepts you associate with the phone company. Terms like 'smirking, sociopathic fuckweasels' more usually come to mind. You don't want any of them getting their hands on more market power than absolutely cannot be avoided.

Comment: Re:Government picking favorites (Score 2) 88

Wireless is no substitute for wireline, this much is undeniable.

How, though, is it relevant to a discussion of how to divide scarce spectrum between competing wireless use cases(doubly so when both of them inhabit markets shaped in part by a semi-substitutable wireline implementation of the service they offer)?

The question isn't whether wireless is the future (it isn't, and anybody who says it is is probably lying to save on capital investments) but whether broadcast television is the best use of an unfortunately finite natural resource; and, if it isn't, whether we owe broadcasters some sort of dignified exit strategy or whether we can just kill them and get on with our day.

Personally, I'd be the first to agree that the default 'Sell to Ma Bell or The Exaflood will eat your babies or something, something' policy is utter bullshit. Given the notable successes of ISM-band wireless protocols, despite the fact that the ISM band is kind of a slum, I'd advocate letting the poor telcoes suffer with their 4G and allocating more relatively unencumbered spectrum.

However, I'd also be the first to axe broadcast television as an institution, leaving not one transmitter upon a tower, to free up that additional spectrum. Broadcast TV is a howling wasteland and its arguments that it offers some sort of valuable public service aren't exactly getting more convincing as time goes on.

Comment: Re:Skateboard comparison = fail (Score 1) 98

I suspect that the hover mechanism could do a fair bit of the work; but I posited additional elements because it would be a bit of a downer if the hover mechanism were tuned too far in the direction of being a good thruster/steering element, since you'd be walking a potentially touchy compromise between being capable of aggressive maneuvers and being inherently stable, rather than liable to assist you in tipping over even faster and harder that gravity would cover if you leaned too far out of the equilibrium position.

Just for the sake of consumer safety and not reducing bystanders to hamburger too often, the preferred arrangement would probably be some sort of EDF/Vectored thrust arrangement: all the advantages of a standard electric propeller (ambient-temp exhaust, none of the noise and fuel-line hassle associated with teeny internal combustion engines, runs on normal batteries rather than some sort of hobby fuel); but no exposed blades to do surprising amounts of damage upon somebody's first mistake.

You'd have to avoid going too deep into propeller-beanie-chic zones of absurdity; but if you could get the actually-hovering bit worked out, I suspect people would overlook that for the chance to zoom around at dubiously sensible speeds.

Comment: When someone else controls your stuff (Score 3, Insightful) 132

by erroneus (#46775139) Attached to: Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

When someone else controls your stuff, it's not your stuff. Look at Germany's gold! Where is it? It's in the US. They want it back, it's supposed to be on its way over... slowly. Net result, it's not Germany's gold. And if this tech makes it into our phones? Yeah, same thing. We "give up" our phones in order to prevent them from being stolen. Nice trade.

Comment: Re:power cars? technically no (Score 3, Insightful) 165

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46773179) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars
My (admittedly pretty hazy at this point) memory of heat engines is that their theoretical peak efficiency depends on the thermal delta they manage to achieve. Exactly the same resource that thermoelectric materials scavenge (albeit at miserable efficiency) into electricity.

Anybody who actually has some grasp of the matter want to chime in on where and why you would use thermoelectrics (and how efficient they would have to be) rather than simple insulation or one of the various waste-heat-recovery systems that transfer some amount of the heat remaing in outgoing exhaust gases into incoming working fluids?

Is the thermoelectric advantage purely that, assuming material reliability is OK, they are a 100% solid state, trivial to scale from 'handle with tweezers and magnification' to 'pretty large', and their output is easy to transfer and useful for all kinds of things after just a little DC-DC cleanup, or are there actually situations where they might be absolutely more efficient than insulation and heat recovery, rather than just easier to tack in almost anywhere in a design that you have a few extra cubic centimeters and expect a temperature difference?

Comment: Re:Open source was never safer (Score 1) 579

by erroneus (#46772411) Attached to: How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

One problem I see that is huge is in where it affects Android. It is an unfortunate reality that phone makers do not want to update or patch their phones as they would rather sell people new phones and carriers would rather extend contracts. So yes, perhaps I did understate it a bit.

There needs to be a push for phone makers to update their firmware NOW.

Comment: Re:most lego's are a rip off (Score 1) 351

by erroneus (#46772365) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

Well yes and no. Yes, it's overpriced. But when my son plays with them in ways I don't like (that is, I like to follow the instructions and only sometimes make changes for improved look or structure) he gets many hours more. He builds crazy and silly things but then again, he's 7 so what do you know?

Sad that kids can't use their hands. I didn't realize it was becoming a problem as I am trying my best to give my son the type of childhood I had. And yes, that includes teaching him how to go camping and fishing and shoot a gun and all of that. Am I a caveman?

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.