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Comment Re:Every single gag order needs to have an expirat (Score 1) 81

You've hit upon something important. Most Slashdot readers haven't been served any kind of gag order, but I'll bet quite a few of us are under NDAs and confidentiality agreements. In a nutshell, the situation is that, if you have signed this sort of agreement, it can be used as leverage against you, even if you aren't breaching it in any way. Just the threat of legal action can be used to push you around. You could be forced into a court room to argue against an organization's claims. Even if squeaky clean, an organization can usually bankrupt an individual long before hitting the court room. If an individual were to successfully defend against claims in court, they would still likely end up losing several hundred thousand dollars. It turns out these sort of SLAPP suits are common. So lets say you realize that your employer is breaking a law in a way that you can't stomach. If you've signed any kind of confidentiality agreement, unless you aren't very sure that you can report the problem to the authorities (don't even think of going to the media) anonymously, or that legislation that protects your disclosure is in place (talk to a good lawyer to be sure), you are in a bad place. A person in this situation should probably just quit and stay quiet.

Comment Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 1) 77

If anyone is wondering how pubwvj achieved a $7k build, it's all about size. The house is really a cottage, and a very small one at 252 square feet. That's probably the most important factor in keeping the cost low. They also used some fairly uncommon building techniques, including a ferrocement roof. I believe pubwvj is an engineer, meaning he likes to solve problems, of which there would be many in this sort of construction. He may have been able to get around any code issues with an engineer's stamp. Then again, it may be that a 252 square-foot structure isn't required to meet code. Looking over the construction diary, I don't think I would be worried about the safety of the building, it seems sound. The cost is about what I would expect for an owner-built structure of that size, even a more conventional structure. And I wouldn't abandon the idea of such a small home out-of-hand either. Looking around our home, which is about 1500 square feet plus a basement, the vast majority of the space is used for storing stuff we don't use (mostly equipment for former hobbies of mine). If we got rid of our junk, we could probably be quite comfortable in a 250 square-foot cabin/cottage, assuming it was well designed.

Comment Re:Stupid is as stupid publishes.... (Score 1) 486

I've actually worked with one of the authors. Nice guy. The analysis in the paper is so shallow that my guess is that it was primarily done by a graduate student, probably as part of a course but never successfully peer reviewed. I sure hope it wasn't accepted anywhere.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 110

I've worked in Alias Wavefront, Maya, 3DS Max, and Blender. They all have their quirks. All were fairly painful to pick up. But honestly, Blender is nice in that it is a fairly complete program. I'd like to see more consistency in its user interface, but it is comparable to the competition in that sense. Certainly, I'm seeing Blender in production settings a lot lately. Watching the documentary Video Games: The Movie, Blender was all over the place.

Comment Docker and wrappers (Score 1) 104

I've had trouble thinking of Docker as anything but a, fairly thin, wrapper to LXC. When Docker announced a move to support BSD, that made sense, because of the existence of jails. LXC and jails obviously have a fair bit of over-lapping functionality, so supporting the BSDs isn't a huge leap...but Windows? Microsoft must have a team well into work on containerization, otherwise this new partnership would have to implement everything from scratch. And given the mayhem that cgroups brought to Linux, I can't see that happening quickly.

Comment Re:TCO (Score 1) 158

I generally agree except for the install-time bit. My last job was as the technical director for a school division. We ran mostly Windows on user machines and mostly Linux on the back-end. I did a lot of installs of both Windows (XP & 7) and Linux (Ubuntu Server) over those years.

Getting XP or 7 to the point where one could image it onto a bunch of other machines took us at least a day. We didn't leverage AD as much as we could. If that were the case, it likely would have taken less time, but I'm not sure how much. Installing updates was, by far, the most time-consuming part. We tried to schedule that for the end of the day so the bulk of it would be done by morning. Next up was setting up the software suite, and then the virus scan and disk compaction. Finally, the little details about the desktop environment needed to be dialed in before imaging.

Setting up Ubuntu Server on a box took under an hour. Our procedure for setting up a file-server (which included several other services) could be executed in at most three hours. Heck, on Friday, I upgraded an Ubuntu desktop box (with a RAID array that needed to be preserved) from 12.04 to 14.04 in a bit over an hour. The hard part was backing up the most important bits of data. The actual upgrade was painless...except for the corrupt USB-key I made the first attempt with.

We didn't really image Linux machines because they were generally back-end servers, but it was something I looked into with some depth. Basically, because of the effort Canonical put into supporting Ubuntu on VMs, it was a piece of cake. I was actually more interested in network booting ala the Linux Terminal Server Project, but the truth is that I would have been drawn-and-quartered if I put any distribution of Linux onto a machine when a teacher didn't demand it. The teachers ran the show. A situation that was mostly fine, but horrible in some areas (ie. security).

Comment Re:A da Vinici is $499 (Score 1) 32

The current craze of 3D printers use additive methods (FDM). This makes it impossible to print a whole class of pretty simple shapes. For example a scan of myself with my arms held up 60-degrees above horizontal: printable (assuming there's not much overhang in my belly area, and ignoring my chin). A scan of myself with my arms held down 60-degrees below horizontal: unprintable without support. A sphere, for example isn't printable on a standard Reprap-type printer without support. You can add support or print models in pieces, perhaps with indexing to make them easy to assemble, but these can be challenging operations.

There are a lot of problems that still remain that make printing as a hobby a fairly frustrating experience. Automated bed-leveling will be nice when it becomes standard. Some sort of dissolvable material for printing support (using dual-print heads) would also be a huge leap. The software has a ways to go too.

But if your aim was to keep a couple of printers busy day-in and day-out in a business, it would likely be worth learning how to efficiently jump these hurdles.

Comment Re:I'm so excited (Score 1) 116

Exactly. There are lots of decent router distributions (and not all are Linux). I haven't tried all of them, but so far my favourite is pfSense. But for the sort of hardware in wireless routers (the subject of this article) OpenWRT is more appropriate. Not having to worry as much about spying is nice.

Just be prepared for a significant wait between the release of 802.11ax hardware and OpenWRT support. Support for 802.11n took quite some time.

Comment Re:And Everything Just Get's More Inconvenient (Score 1) 193

I got something similar yesterday: Picked up the phone and get a long pause before an employee of "Visa" greets me from an obviously packed and busy call-center. At this point, my Spidey senses were tingling. I would call his accent East Indian, which is fine. He tells me that I had qualified for a lowered interest rate. "Great!", I says. He then confirms my name and address, which didn't bother me as they are all over the place. But I hang up as soon as he asks for my date-of-birth.

They must get a bunch of people with this scam.

It occurs to me that several discussion forums I'm on know my date of birth. That now seems like an unacceptable risk.

Comment DIY routers looking better all the time (Score 5, Informative) 297

Putting open source routing software on a rack-mount PC equipped with a few NICs is looking better all the time. Since the open source routing software solutions are getting quite good, this is doable. I did it and wouldn't go back:

About three years ago I noticed that our Cisco routers were a bottle-neck, worryingly old, and I was the only member of my staff comfortable with their CLI. We definitely did not have the budget to buy new Cisco routers, so I looked into HP and D-Link layer-3 switches. They were still too expensive. We used OpenWRT on some wireless routers, so the idea of using open source routing software was not new to us. Tested using plain Linux as a router. That worked, but was (way) over my staff's head. Tried Vyatta on the same hardware. At that time Vyatta's web-interface was a joke, making it no better than plain Linux for our purposes. (The web-interface may have improved since then and as a virtual router in a VM environment, Vyatta looks quite good.) Untangle was decent, but all of the interesting features had to be bought, which nullifies most of the advantages of it being open source. Heard about pfSense on the Linux Action Show and gave it a try.

Testing pfSense and learning its feature-set convinced us that it could do everything we needed (NAT, routing/firewalling between VLANs and the outside world) as well as do some other nice tricks (VPN concentrator, web caching/filtering, nice graphs of important stats, logging web usage, acting as a DHCP and DNS server, etc.). Basically, pfSense does everything that OpenWRT does and more since it expects to be run on more powerful standard hardware. Since it runs on standard hardware, the community isn't as fragmented as with OpenWRT, and more of pfSense's users are applying it in a professional environment, so the community support is quite good. The paid support is excellent. Being able to replace a failing router or NIC with something we had on the shelf is nice too.

So we had an open source routing solution that fit our needs, and much better than Cisco's offerings. But shifting all of our routing from Cisco to pfSense was a bold move. The Huawei story was the clincher for us. If Huawei did it, Cisco could too. That realization lead to my decision to always use an open source solution on network edge devices. This story seems to support that decision.

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL." -- Dave Bowman, 2001