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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Viewing Launches (Score 1) 22

by Bruce Perens (#49166815) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission

With luck, they'll start incorporating our radio transceivers. I hear that SpaceX flies with several USRPs now, so that's not completely unrealistic. That might be as close as I can get. Anyone who can get me a base invitation, though, would be greatly appreciated and I'd be happy to do some entertaining speeches while there. I need a base invite for Vandenberg, too. I got in to the official viewing site for the first try of the last launch (and that scrubbed too), but this next one is on Pad 6.

Comment: Viewing Launches (Score 3, Interesting) 22

by Bruce Perens (#49164783) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission

I was in Florida to speak at Orlando Hamcation and went to see the DISCOVR launch at Kennedy Space Center. I paid $50 to be at LC-39 for the launch, an observation tower made from a disused gantry on the Nasa Causeway between the pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building. A crawler was parked next door! A hot sandwich buffet, chips, and sodas were served. It was cold and windy! I watched for a few hours and unfortunately the launch scrubbed due to high stratospheric winds.

The next day, Delaware North Corporation, which operates tourism at KSC, decided not to open LC-39 or the Saturn 5 center for the launch. This was the third launch attempt and I guess they decided most people had left. I was annoyed.

The closest beach was going to be closed in the evening, it's a sensitive ecological area. I ended up seeing the launch from Jetty Park. This turned out not to be such a great location, the tower wasn't visible at all and the first 10 seconds of the rocket in flight were obscured before we saw it over a hill.

What's a better viewing location?

Comment: Re:Climate change phobia (Score 1) 340

by Reziac (#49164459) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

Yeah, last week I pointed out the same wrt the Yellowstone dome. How much of what they're measuring is actually tectonic movement?

From the Wiki article someone linked on sea level change:
Global warming, a few mm per year.
All other causes, about 10 meters per year.
Draw your own conclusions.

Comment: Re:What's lacking is a plot and characters (Score 1) 214

by mrchaotica (#49164047) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

that doesn't mean it's lacking in good plot and characters

You've got to be joking. Abrams' Kirk is criminally incompetent (even in the first movie, before your "Khan wanted him to screw up" rationalization could apply). The plots of both movies have holes big enough to drive a planet through, let alone a starship. (For example, WTF is the point of starships anymore, since they can apparently just beam across the galaxy now?!)

Comment: Re:Ah, Damnit... (Score 1) 506

by Reziac (#49161569) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Or you have functionally the same car each year with different upgrades, hence Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler models with interchangeable everything.

One of my clients bought a Ford pickup, then replaced stuff with all the aftermarket Lincoln parts (who knew there were Lincoln pickup trucks!) and now he drives a Lincoln!

Comment: Hashes not useful (Score 5, Informative) 308

by IamTheRealMike (#49157781) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Seagate is correct. Putting a hash on the website doesn't improve security at all because anyone who can change the download can also change the web page containing the hash.

  The fact that this practice is widespread in the Linux world originates from the usage of insecure FTP mirrors run by volunteer admins. There it's possible for a mirror to get hacked independently of the origin web page. A company like Seagate doesn't rely on volunteers at universities to distribute their binaries so the technique is pointless.

A tool to verify the firmware is poetically impossible to write. What code on the drive would provide the firmware in response to a tool query? Oh right ..... the firmware itself. To make it work you need an unflashable boot loader that acts as a root of trust and was designed to do this from the start. But such a thing is basically pointless unless you're trying to detect firmware reflashing malware and that's something that only cropped up as a threat very recently. So I doubt any hard disk has it.

BTW call a spade a spade. Equation Group == NSA TAO

Comment: Re: Great, fully owned by Silent Circle (Score 4, Interesting) 59

The issue with Silent Circle isn't their jurisdiction. It's that their code is of deeply questionable quality. They recently had a remote code execution exploit that could be triggered just by sending a text message to their phone. It's been literally years since one of these affected mainstream software stacks, so how was that possible?

Well, they wrote their own SMS parsing code, in C, and used JSON to wrap binary encrypted messages and there was a bug that could cause memory corruption when the JSON wasn't exactly in the form they expected.

The amount of fail in that sentence is just amazing. They're a company which justifies its entire existence with security, writing software to run on a smartphone where the OS itself is written in a memory safe language (Java) and yet they are parsing overly complex data structures off the wire ..... in C. That isn't just taking risks, that's playing Russian roulette over and over again. And eventually it killed them. Remote code execution via SMS - ye gods.

After learning about that exploit and more to the point, why it occurred, I will strongly recommend against using Silent Circle for anything. Nobody serious about security should be handling potentially malicious data structures in C, especially not when the rest of the text messaging app is written in Java. That's just crazy.

Comment: Re:Agree??? (Score 1) 86

by Reziac (#49151883) Attached to: The Only Constant is Change

And thank you for that. I found beta unusable (and unreadable unless I turned CSS off). I'da hated to give up on.... good gods, 17 years I've been here??! the site is older than some of its users!

One thing that comes to mind on this 'new' look is make sure you check how it behaves at very large font sizes (which a lot of low-vision folks do use) and not necessarily an ultra-wide screen. Right now the Search box winds up overlaying part of the top menu.

Comment: Re:Is that really a lot? (Score 1) 280

by Reziac (#49148859) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

No doubt so, but how about the cost of operations in rough country with poor access, where going in on foot is feasible (witness the illegals crossing it) but patrolling in ground vehicles is not?

Hence I think the real comparison should be: How does the cost of using a drone compare to the cost of using a helicopter in those same areas? I'd guess the drone is significantly cheaper.

Second, how long does it take a drone to patrol, compared to a manned ground vehicle in the same area? What's the total patrol cost per hour for drone vs 4x4?? (Don't forget to factor in the cost of the 4x4 as well as for the drone.) In rough country, a drone (or helicopter) can get an overview in a few minutes, but a ground vehicle might be forced to wind back and forth for an hour to reach the same point (and might still not get a view of the ravines). If patrolling a given area takes the drone ten minutes and the 4x4 an hour, which one is more cost effective?

How does it affect man-hours? The patrol is generally two men, while the drone only needs its operator.

How does all this affect insurance rates on their various equipment? Do reduced hours in use also reduce rates on 4x4s and such? (Certainly it will reduce maintenance costs.)

Lots of factors to consider, not just 'dollars per arrest'. We need to see spreadsheets and balance columns, not assumptions.

Comment: Re:Leonard Nimoy is why we have nice things (Score 0) 407

by bluefoxlucid (#49148565) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

The ginormous geniuses I've met don't seem to consider themselves intellectuals, geniuses, or whatnot. I've started pointing out that I'm a genius after recognizing that genius is a matter of technique, and so geniuses can be made: we can turn roughly 100% of the population into geniuses by proper training, with strikingly little effort. As such, one of my future political plans is to tweak the education system to normalize geniuses, bringing the baseline up to something most people believe is an inherent force of genetic superbrainism. Maybe then people will stop pestering me or, worse, trying to hire me with the justification that I'm smart and they want smart people on their team; they have smart people, if they would just act like an intelligent species.

Now, having understood that the only thing that ever stood in the way of my dreams was myself, I must go learn to draw. I realize now that I can't draw because I've never put in the exact same effort that career artists and famous painters put into the subject, and so never learned to draw; it's not that I can't, but that I simply decided not to. That changes now.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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