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Comment: Re:Catastrophism (Score 1) 71

by WasteOfAmmo (#46759601) Attached to: Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

I have to say I miss Hogan also. My wife and I have also read most of Hogan's books and thoroughly enjoyed them. We are currently introducing our youngest to Hogan by reading Code of the Lifemaker as a family. His writing was not as good near the end and in all he did not publish near enough for my liking. I've yet to find a similar author to replace him in my library. If you have any suggestions I'd be interested in hearing them.

That all said, I had not heard of Velikovsky or John Ackerman... will have to check them out.

Comment: Re:Slightly OT, anyone still dual-booting? (Score 1) 163

by WasteOfAmmo (#40485831) Attached to: GRUB 2.00 Bootloader Officially Released

Yes, about 150 PCs running in Computer Science Labs. We have looked at running hyper visors with VMs but there simply is not a good solution available for a lab environment. To many issues with switching between OSs, ensuring both VMs are logged out when the user walks away, etc.

At one point I was seriously looking forward to GRUB2 being adopted by more distros as it supports retrieving the boot configuration over the network. This would easily allow simply remote configuration of which OS the machines would boot into. Although still useful now we have developed other ways to remote manage OS selection and reboots.

Comment: Re:My long awaiting features (Score 1) 470

by WasteOfAmmo (#40007925) Attached to: The 30 Best Features of Windows

#2, virtual desktops.

If I work on a project and then want to look something up, or someone comes with an USB stick and I need to copy it, and open the files, I just switch the desktop. It's like you have one table full of stuff, then you go to a different table to eat your pizza, and then you go back to your work table. You don't put away your work stuff so you can eat the pizza, you just go to the kitchen table.

I could not agree more. Linux and OS X has this. There are third party apps that work quite well (thank you VirtuaWin!) Why MS does not build this in is beyond me, people have been asking for it since Win95.

#4 A good command prompt

I really hate the 1990 DOS command prompt. Can we please have a modern command prompt in the year 2012? A modern cmd prompt is: any true type font, any size also full size, completition of commands with tab key, searchable history of cmds, different background, different text color, etc. For an example of a modern cmd prompt, see Konsole (KDE).

Yep, Konsole is an excellent app. However, check out Powershell. I was disappointed that it still resembles the CMD prompt so much but resizing works much better, you can change font and colours, it has command completion with the tab key (even completes files and command options for commandlets), has history (arrows as usual) as well as a 'history' command, has ls, man, and other familiar *nix commands (my OS hopping fingers thank you for that MS, even if they are simply aliases) and many more useful features. Regarding the searchable history, this solution may not be as nice, but try 'history | select-string -pattern "foo"'. Lastly, they finally got the copy and past to a reasonable state... you can simply left click and drag to highlight and it is copied to the clipboard and then right click to paste.

I still agree that there are many improvements that could be done *cough* tabs *cough* but the Poweshell prompt is a large improvement over the CMD (aka DOS) prompt.

Comment: Re:and it will never happen.... (Score 1) 216

by WasteOfAmmo (#37571350) Attached to: An Operating System For Cities

I don't think most people have forgotten the laws, they choose to ignore them. Common courtesy on the road is a near dead thing in some areas.

I agree with the common courtesy point however regarding the forgetting of laws, I think you may be sadly surprised if you polled people around your area. Example: I live in a neighbourhood with grid streets and mostly uncontrolled intersections. Over the years it has not ceased to surprise me how many people have stupid ideas on what the laws are regarding uncontrolled intersections. I have had persons argue with me stating that if you are traveling East/West that you have the right of way. I have also had persons argue the same for traveling North/South.

Other "laws" I have had "explained to me":
- if driver A is Northbound and turning left at a green light, and driver B is Southbound and turning right at the same intersection then driver B must yield to driver A. However if Driver B is not turning but going straight then driver A must yield. (at least the last part is correct)
- construction zones are 60km/h, even when the construction zone is in a posted normally 50km/h zone.
- in uncontrolled intersections you must yield to the right even when you are clearly the first person at the intersection and have enough time to safely proceed through the intersection before the car on the right arrives at the intersection.

Have a similar stories... post them below.

I'm now middle aged and for years I have supported the idea of mandatory re-tests every so often. Even to the point of a written test on the 5th, 15th, 25th, ... and a driven test on the 10th, 20th, 30th... year of driving. When you have been driving for 25+ years things change, new features come into play, you forget details, etc. A refresher should not be out of the question.

Comment: Re:Virtual Desktops (Score 1) 1002

by WasteOfAmmo (#36182840) Attached to: Do Developers Really Need a Second Monitor?

One counter example... sort of... but more to provide some, hopefully, helpful info:

I run three systems on my desk (Win 7, Mac OS X, Mandriva Linux). I run Synergy+ on all three (server runs on Linux) although I also have a KVM for those few rare moments when Synergy is not running. I also run virtual desktops on all three systems (Win 7 - 2x3, OS X - 2x2, Linux - 2x2). I am constantly switching between systems and desktops and I do use specific desktops for specific tasks. Typically I have between 3 and 5 windows open on each desktop. Lastly, I am a system administrator and only do related scripting and programming as opposed to being a developer and constantly in a programming environment.

Certainly I run the three systems to have one of each type of desktop system I typically administer. However you can also look at the setup as having three monitors as I use all three in my non-platform specific tasks. Certainly I could run with less monitors and virtual desktops although my efficiency and organization would greatly suffer (IMHO). I find organizing virtual desktops by task extremely useful when dealing with interruptions, multiple tasks, etc. Even going down to three systems/monitors and no virtual desktops would significantly increase screen clutter and decrease efficiency. Going down to a single system with remote access to the other two and having virtual desktops would be worse yet. Of course, a single monitor/system with remote access and no virtual desktops would be a nightmare.

I know other system administrators with only single monitors but with virtual desktops. However, even they have 1 or 2 additional systems on their desk which gets designated for a current task to help reduce screen clutter and increase organization. The developers I know run multiple screens when possible regardless of the platform used.

Finally, regarding virtual desktops on Windows 7: I highly recommend the following:
- VirtuaWin (using 4.3) with plugins: VirtuaPlus, VWDesktopIcons, vwKvasdoPager (this is the must-have module), VWPreview
Of course if you are running more than 1 system on your desk:

Comment: CLI does not equal DOS 6.22 and friends (Score 2) 720

by WasteOfAmmo (#35726506) Attached to: The Case Against GUIs, Revisited

As an avid CLI user on *NIX and Windows I would vehemently object if I was dragged back into the "dark ages" (aka 1980s). It seems that as soon as you mention CLI this is what people bring up for an argument. I suspect these are the same people who have not taken the time to objectively evaluate a modern CLI be it bash or powershell or something similar.

I humbly suggest these are the same people who have never had to log into and click away on a GUI to configure an option because the package does not have any CLI support on 30+ machines. Don't get me wrong, GUIs are great for a great many things but there are many tasks where a good script and a command line beats the GUI hands down. A simple example is turning 70+ machines over in a computer lab to put them in a special "exam state". With scripts and command line this takes literally less than 1 minute to hit all machines. Now I suppose if you had some nice admin tool GUI that allows you to point and click to select a set of actions to perform on each machine or group of machines you could achieve the same thing but I have yet to see it.

Comment: Re:Thoughts (Score 1) 466

by WasteOfAmmo (#35660164) Attached to: FBI Wants You To Solve Encrypted Notes From Murder

It's an interesting idea and the start of a simple enough encryption scheme for a kid to develop. Take signal and inject noise. Hmmm, how to write an algorithm that would analyze spaced out letters for statistical significance. Taking in to account that the amount of preceding or appended padding as well as the spacing of signal elements is unknown. Although a starting point is to assume an even spacing.

Comment: Near space (Score 1) 162

by WasteOfAmmo (#35081950) Attached to: Low Budget Air Space Photography

Many have pointed out that the idea is not new and they are right. Although, IMHO, it is still cool to see stories about near space activities by amateurs.

Here are some resources to explore:
  * Nuts and Volts magazine has run an excellent series of articles on constructing all sort of instruments and flight gear for near space projects. Including the basics of regulations, etc. (US centric). They still run the odd piece now and then on updated and additional tech solutions from readers. is a good read on the hobby. has a one page summary of the hobby.

From there Google is your friend. There are plenty of school and private groups/clubs that work on near space projects and launches. I've seen a few science fair projects on the subject also.

Comment: google cache (Score 2) 509

by WasteOfAmmo (#34840538) Attached to: An Interview With C++ Creator Bjarne Stroustrup

Comment: Re:I like this one... (Score 1) 327

by WasteOfAmmo (#32585372) Attached to: Modern Day Equivalent of Byte/Compute! Magazine?

Also take a look at its sister magazine Servo .

More on the PC side but Linux based is Linux Format . It's about the only decent computer magazine that I have found that still has coding articles in it. I wish there was a Windows base magazine similar to Linux Format but unfortunately it seems publishers think only lusers use Windows and not coders.

Comment: Re:How is this different from holding a Compass? (Score 1) 289

by WasteOfAmmo (#29445009) Attached to: On-Body Circuits Create New Sense Organ

I see your basic point but I mostly disagree for you. If you were simply to strap the device on for a few minutes or hours and play with it then I would agree completely with your assessment. However, if the subject were to continue to wear the device day after day for a longer period of time (weeks?) then would there be a point where the subject is essentially no longer aware of the device but still aware of the sensory information. In other words the "prosthetic" may be come one with the person. The article seems to allude to this happening. At the point were this happens I would say that the device could be considered a new sense.

Sure the device is using an established channel for transmitting its information but the information itself is not related to the channel being used (sense of touch in this case). At what point would the brain rewire itself to essentially consider the new input (a compass in this case) a new sense and direct wire it (sense to reaction) rather then simply translate a "touch" in a certain spot to mean "North." What would be even more interesting is the affects of removing the device after (if) the brain accepted it and used it as a new sense. What sort of "loss" or disorientation would the person experience.

With a hand held compass or a dash mounted GPS I would argue that you are not designating continuous attention to it and therefore it continues to be an external reference. Much like looking at your TV everyday would not make you feel like the TV is part of you and the information coming in is processed as a sense. With a strapped on device or some similar prosthetic continually providing input I would think that your brain would continually process the information (read as 'pay attention to it') and therefore eventually internalize the device. Of course the counter argument to this is the bulge of my wallet poking me in the backside as I sit at my desk all day. To my knowledge my wallet has not become a part of my personae yet (if that is the right word).

[I'm posting this anyway but wtf is up with the removing empty lines in POT postings in the preview???]

Comment: Depends on the department and part of campus (Score 1) 835

by WasteOfAmmo (#29356643) Attached to: Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

At the University of Saskatchewan if depends on which part of campus and department you are talking about. For general campus computing Windows is the most prevalent. Having said that:

1. Can you bring a Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop onto campus and expect wired/wireless net access and support... Yes. Although the wired access is more rare but more departments are supporting "laptop stations" in labs sporting wired connections.

2. Is all of the software available for all three platforms and for personal installation... Of course not. This depends on the vendor and also on the licensing. The department of Computer Science, as an example, does have a MSDNAA license to give students access to MS software used. Where possible they use OSS that works on all three platforms. Where not possible due to licensing, etc. students can remotely access the software through a Windows and Linux clusters (if Apple would get around to releasing a decent clustering technology, i.e. terminal services like, there would be one of those also).

3. Can you use most campus services such as printing, VPN, etc. with your laptop (regardless of OS)... This depends on where and which department but generally most are supported as possible.

4. Will potential students on tour get blank stairs about Linux and Mac questions... likely.

I would suggest the following:
1. Contact the campus IT help desk and ask your specific questions. Most of the tour guides are volunteer students and may or may not have the answers you need or that represent all of campus.
2. Contact the department (specifically the IT staff) that your daughter is thinking of joining (Engineering, Ag, Commerce, Math, Comp Sci, Nursing, etc.) for her major. Ask your questions about Linux support. Note that sometimes the college that hosts the department in question may have a different IT support staff (Ex: Department of Computer Science has its own IT staff and so does the College of Arts & Science that the department is part of).

Good luck.


New PHP Interpreter Finds XSS, Injection Holes 66

Posted by kdawson
from the double-edged-sword dept.
rkrishardy writes "A group of researchers from MIT, Stanford, and Syracuse has developed a new program, named 'Ardilla,' which can analyze PHP code for cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection attack vulnerabilities. (Here is the paper, in PDF, and a table of results from scanning six PHP applications.) Ardilla uses a modified Zend interpreter to analyze the code, trace the data, and determine whether the threat is real or not, significantly decreasing false positives." Unfortunately, license issues prevent the tool in its current form from being released as open source.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.