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Comment: The ban on knives was cosmetic at best (Score 5, Insightful) 276

by Xanthvar (#43099975) Attached to: Hockey Sticks Among Carry-On Items TSA Has Cleared For Planes
The ban on knives was cosmetic at best, so the lifting of this ban will not result in any decrease in safety.
Q: "But wait, didn't the terrorists on 9/11 use box cutters to hijack the plane? Couldn't they do it again?"
A: No. The reason that they were able to hijack the plane before, is the "rulebook" basically said to go along with the hijackers, you fly off to some other destination, there is a negotiation that drags things out, and eventually everyone leaves alive, with stories to tell their grandchildren... Only, on 9/11 they changed the "rules".

Today, it doesn't matter what kind of weapon is used to hijack the plane, the bulk of the passengers will use whatever is at hand to beat down the hijackers, because they know they are fighting for their lives now, and if you are going to die, you might as well go down swinging. Coupling this with the _1_ security measure that actually improved airline safety, putting locks on the cockpit doors (which does nothing if they don't actually lock them of course), the chance of hijacking a passenger airliner successfully is almost nil. Maybe a small puddle jumper commuter craft composed of all terrorists would be successful, but in that circumstance, they wouldn't need weapons either.

Yes, someone can still get hurt, and even killed, but you could do that with a pen/pencil or some other pointy object stabbed into the appropriate place. Now maybe someone from the UK will have a different take on this, as they seemed to fear bladed objects, as they appear to be the primary homicide weapon of choice since the general populace doesn't have access to firearms. As an American male, with military training I am not terribly afraid of knives being used to subdue a a plane full of passengers, whoever foolhardy that may be, as I believe that sheer weight of numbers would incapacitate or kill any would be hijacker in this. For most Americans, a knife is a tool, and not a weapon, and while it can be used as such, so can just about anything else, to include bricks, shoes, rocks, sharp sticks, and harsh language.

Just my $.02 worth.

Comment: Re:not that much money (Score 1) 184

by Xanthvar (#32618234) Attached to: Afghan Tech Minerals — Cure, Curse, Or Hype?
Canada is a pretty wealthy country, resource wise, and has been able to build an infrastructure undamaged by war in a modern era.

As far as the current GDP, from the CIA world fact book:
GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.47 billion (2009 est.)
Ref: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html

The idea (or Idealistically), these resources would give them an export that nets them hard currency that would allow them to bootstrap themselves, and build up a national (tribal?) infrastructure that is sustainable (other than heroin production), when these resources start to wane. I imagine they would be able to pay for roads and heavy rails systems, as well as power plants (maybe wind based?), which in turn would support heavy industry.

Comment: Re:The more the merrier (Score 2, Informative) 184

by Xanthvar (#32617776) Attached to: Afghan Tech Minerals — Cure, Curse, Or Hype?
"If you stop to think about it what purpose does the Iraq and Afghanistan wars serve the US?"

The Afghanistan war (not Iraq), was to destroy an enemy strong hold that planned and launched an attack on the US, targeting civilians, and succeed in killing more of them, than in any other foreign attack. (No, not referring to the attack on Pearl Harbor, that at least was an attack in military targets, an US civilian casualties was collateral damage).
Yes, most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, but they were Al-Qaeda agents, basing out of Afghanistan.
If you attack another country, you expect them to do something back.

The purpose of the continued war in Afghanistan is to fill the power vacuum with a government that will not allow a similar thing to happen again.

The effectiveness of these two purposes, is matter for great debate. The reasons were pretty simple, the solutions are not.
Iphone

+ - Apple drops HTML from iPhone and iPad->

Submitted by Xanthvar
Xanthvar (1046980) writes "It looks like Apple is going to revolutionize the industry again.
The Jebus phone and the iWonder Pad are going to change all the rules again, and leave the compatition scrambling to catch up.

From the Article at the Register:
Apple will drop support for HTML in the upcoming version of its iPhone OS, slated for release this summer.

According to people familiar with the matter, the removal of HTML support from Cupertino's mobile Safari browser is outlined in the Developer Program License Agreement for the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0, to be used not only in the iPhone but also in the surprisingly popular iPod touch and the "magical and revolutionary" iPad, set for US release this Saturday.

Apple's License Agreement states that mobile Safari will only render pages coded in its own HTML variant, dubbed iHTML — and that all such pages must be first approved by Cupertino's App Store police before they will be allowed onto the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

See the rest of this amazing story:"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Personal Finance (Score 1) 1142

by Xanthvar (#31088648) Attached to: If Everyone Had To Pass A Particular 101 Course, It Should Be About...
This is right on.
There are so many people who don't know how to balance their checkbooks (or something similar).
It may be a moot point soon, but showing that paying the minimum payment on your 20% interest credit card, you are never going to pay it off.
Also, that bag of M&M's that you got from the pretty girl for signing up for that credit card in college, isn't a good deal.

The other thing they need to teach, are the dirty tricks that are used to get people to over extend themselves, would be awfully nice to know, but I'm sure that the second that starts getting taught, the financial institutions would lobby hard to get it changed.

Comment: Re:Is it just D&D ? (Score 1) 496

by Xanthvar (#30904870) Attached to: Prison Bans D&D For Mimicking Gang Structure
I think you might be hitting the nail on the head here, but I can see the an argument for the other side, on why this could be a good idea.

Part of this could be a system doing this out of spite, as they inmates are enjoying something that lets them forget, for a period of time, that they are in prison. "They aren't there to have fun, they are their to pay for their crime... we need to put a stop to this immediately". Psychological studies have shown that there is a danger of jailers to develop sadist tendencies if left unchecked, almost a product of the environment they are working in.

From the flip side, almost any gamer has had a person who was a sociopath join the group, and do some pretty disturbing things... sometimes the line between pretend and reality gets pretty blurred. Imagine a group of like minded individuals, who are role playing Evil characters, who are basically evil people in real life. A group of people getting together, and sadistically role-playing raping and murdering, going through extensive planning, would be pretty disturbing.. especially if they are in prison for rape or murder... it would work counter to the ideal of reform, so I can see banning something encouraging this type of behavior... especially if the GM encourages it, and lets face it, there are some VERY angry people in prison.

Now throw in the fact that you have tons of time on your hands, and that reality is much worse than any fantasy, and of course you could loose touch with reality, and become obsessive.. why wouldn't you. We see this happening all the time in "well adjusted" people, who later can't cope with reality, and commit crime, or kill themselves, so prison is probably going to be worse.

There are lots of positive aspects to role-playing, but there can be negative ones as well. Unfortunately, rules, regulations, and laws are very poor at making exceptions or being able to differentiate between good or bad, and just bring down the ban hammer on all of it.

Comment: class action lawsuit waiting to happen (Score 1) 759

by Xanthvar (#29427167) Attached to: Microsoft Says No TCP/IP Patches For XP
This looks like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.
XP is still the main OS for netbooks, and if MS is going to sell (or allow others to resell), then they need to support it until there is alternative for that class of hardware on the market. An I am guessing that Win 7 isn't going to run like everyone thinks it will on old/underpowered hardware like the beta's seemed to indicate.

As far as the argument that the XP firewall will prevent this, we all know that isn't true, not to mention, there are often times when running the XP firewall is undesirable, like on enterprise deployments that sit behind an edge firewall.

I doubt anything will actually happen, but it would be interesting if it did.

Comment: You CAN play Wow on dialup.. and enjoy it (Score 1) 368

by Xanthvar (#29177971) Attached to: Blizzard Answers Your Questions and More
I know that this will come as a huge shock, but you CAN play Wow on a dial up link, and enjoy it. I have a buddy of mine that works the graveyard shift, and he will jump on Wow, and fire up team speak, and can play with the rest of the guys. yeah, voice quality isn't the best, but it works OK.

WoW is not that bandwidth intensive, and is fairly forgiving latency wise.

The people that seem to have the most problems, are the ones who are playing over a wireless connection, and the lag induced from that type of infrastructure is what frustrates them the most.

The biggest problem people are experiencing with WotLK is the video requirements and the frame rate that their computer produces. I know that I was unhappy with the additional eye candy that made the game almost unplayable ( I would start to get about 5 fps on boss fights) on my budget PC (I think I had spent about $300 US on it total) that I had been using before the expansions, but then again, it was a good excuse to get a new system (yeah, I use it for other stuff than just Wow).

I am guessing they will end up doing something that will require you to authenticate with BN, but will let you play on a LAN hosted game, so you can have your LAN parties.

Before I go frothing off at the mouth, you might want to actually see what the game will and won't allow.

Oh well, to each his own.

Comment: Re:KY? (Score 1) 520

by Xanthvar (#29151323) Attached to: Ask Blizzard About Starcraft2, Diablo III, WoW, or Battle.net
Amen to that brother.. welcome to the world of Warlocks..
We were nerfed every major patch from inception until WotLK came out. Then, they didn't need to nerf us, but cause we were just plain under powered.

It's kind of refreshing to be looking forward to a patch, because it seems things actually get better for us, not worse.

Comment: Bind on Guild equipment (Score 1) 520

by Xanthvar (#29151261) Attached to: Ask Blizzard About Starcraft2, Diablo III, WoW, or Battle.net
One of the biggest gripes that I have seen in the game, as far as raiding guilds go, is the amount of time and effort you have to get your main tanks geared up. It is nowhere near as bad as it used to be in the MC days, but you still have spend more time on them (as they often need multiple set for fire/frost/nature resistance gear), while other positions generally don't need as much.

The most aggravating scenario would be that you finally get your tank geared up and they leave for greener pastures, putting the guild back at square one trying to get the main (or off) tank geared back up for the fight.

Would there be a way to have bind on guild gear, where if the person leaves, the items revert back to the guild, so they can be distributed to the next tank. That way the guild's investment in equipping the person in question wouldn't be lost.

I realize there would be issues to be resolved, such as how you would keep a person from deleting the item(s) in question, and ensuring that there is enough gear that still binds to the person, so they aren't naked if/when they decide to leave the guild for something else, as well as a way to retrieve the gear if the person just quits playing the game all together.

I believe this would be one way to reduce some of the frustration of some of the requirements for end game instances, as well as a way to let a growing guild continue to grow, rather than just be a gear farm for other guilds.
Operating Systems

+ - CentOS back from brink of death->

Submitted by Xanthvar
Xanthvar (1046980) writes "As a shop that almost exclusively uses CentOS for our servers, this definitely had us worried. We are glad it has been resolved, and while curious as to what really happened, we can live without really knowing.

From the article:

CentOS is alive.

Two days after a core group of developers posted an open letter to primary admin Lance Davis, threatening to fork the open source OS if he didn't discuss his apparent disappearance from the project, Davis has answered their call — and he seems to have quelled their complaints.

"The CentOS Development team had a routine meeting today with Lance Davis in attendance," reads a new post to the project website. "During the meeting a majority of issues were resolved immediately and a working agreement was reached with deadlines for remaining unresolved issues. There should be no impact to any CentOS users going forward."

For more details, see El Reg!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/02/centos_alive/"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Security takes precidence (Score 1) 211

by Xanthvar (#28788623) Attached to: Keeping Up With DoD Security Requirements In Linux?
The reason that you are required to use version x.y.z or newer is because, there are security vulnerabilities with the earlier versions, and (generally speaking) if it is connected to NIPRNET and publicly facing, it is a matter of WHEN it gets hit, not IF. This is why there is a STIG, and why you need to periodically run it against your production boxes to keep them current.

If you are a DoD admin, then you have been briefed on why you need to do this, I'm not going to waste time talking about it here. Failure to remain current is a reason for DISA to shut off your connection.

The scenario that there is a vulnerability, but there isn't a fix for it available yet, and you are at the mercy of volunteers to fix it, is the one of the nightmares of DoD policy makers. This is why they often argue for non open source software, because the idea is if they pay for it, then they have someone's feet they can hold to the fire(not literally, but figuratively, anyway) to get it updated! (Yes, I realize that this isn't really the case often, and closed source can take forever to close a hole, but this is the argument... facts don't always come into play when lobbyists get involved).

I always thought DoD would be the perfect place for open source software, where they could build an approved flavor of Linux, set up an approved distro site, and then hash everything to make sure that you were running version that was blessed by security to help alleviate trying to support everyone's own custom setup. Unfortunately, there are several major problems that I see with this:

1. You are beholden to the vendor of your product, and what they say they support. This is part of the bane of COTS. Not everything is developed to run on Trusted Solaris. You use whats out there in the world, not what DoD has hardened. This makes sense for budgetary purposes, but is sometimes at odds with security. "Oh, we realize that there is a vulnerability in the subsystem, but we don't support the upgrade because it breaks out system." This is also why there are so many system still running IE6.. because the java apps that were written by the tons don't work on IE7 or later (or better yet, a non M$ browser) because they don't want to update the code (or can't because the guy who cobbled the original together is no longer there, and no one else understands what the heck he did...)

2. DoD or at least the military, doesn't want to be in the development business. They only have a finite amount of bodies, which they can devote to war fighting, and don't want to waste them on support roles (try not to laugh to hard, I know they don't do a good job of this either, but that is the concept anyway). They get around this by hiring civilians and contracting support roles out, but often, this leads to enormous amounts of oversight and administrative overhead (and don't forget about the opportunity to line the PORK barrel while you are at it), and suddenly what was an inexpensive concept is not a multi-million dollar monster with a life of its own.

3. It's far easier to find vulnerabilities that it is to fix them. Also, systems have gotten so complex, and with so many components, and at times a house of cards looks more stable than a server (DCTS, I'm looking at you).

I think China might have the right idea. Mandate your own OS, and only let it be used for official purposes. This is a great idea on paper, but in practice it would run afoul of the issues mentioned above. It might work for China if they don't have a lot of modernization or a bunch of legacy systems already, that would need to be converted. They may have the willpower to want to spend the money needed to make everything happen, but I don't see the US doing this anytime soon. It is probably going to take some very painful lapses to occur before this will take place.

I apologize if I seem like for the over use of acronyms, but hey, this is about a DoD system :)

As far as the OP goes, you might talk to some guys who are maintaining *nix systems on networks other than NIPRnet, to see if they have created their own distros, repos, or if they are doing something else. I do feel your pain, as I recall the days of STIGing Solaris 8, when it came with BIND 8 embedded in it, and even though you weren't running a DNS server on it, it would still flag as a vulnerability (No version of BIND 8 was considered secure, you had to use 9... but you didn't want to install 9 unless you were running a DNS server...what a great circular arguments were had over this), and if you got a new guy doing the STIG, you had to educate him all over about it.

Slightly OT, but one of the current issues that the US DoD faces, is that NIPRnet was supposed to be an administrative, non mission critical network, that has evolved into something more, but hasn't been protected like it needs to be. You can't just put its functions on a classified network, because the date simply is important or sensitive, but not classified. (You realize this when you have to get an UNCLASS downtime, and you get more push back on it, than you do on "other" networks, because some yahoo in the command center doesn't want be deprived of his sports score updates).

And the other age old problem is there isn't an admin out there that isn't fighting to get enough time to keep everything up to date (if there is, they're department is in danger of being downsized), and dealing with all the other day to day problems.

Good Luck

Comment: Probably not the "right" target market (Score 1) 83

by Xanthvar (#28544285) Attached to: Jim Zemlin Pitches Linux App Stores For Telcos

I think this would be interesting if they could get it to work on the scale needed to be profitable, but I don't see it happening.
I am guessing (and maybe incorrectly) that there are 2 kinds of Linux based web book users:

1) the proto typical techie who likes the freedom of configuration choices that it gives you or
2) the person who got it because it was cheaper or didn't know the difference and doesn't care, as long as they can get email and surf the web (and use their web based apps).

The evil capitalist in me thinks this would be a great thing for the revenue stream, if you could lock them into using our store and only our store (contrary to the open source concept), but I don't see that happening.

I realize this is slightly off topic, but I find it ironic that the mobile phone platform that seems to be the most open to allowing you to write and install what ever program you want is windows mobile (yes, that is what I currently use). Everyone is talking about "The" apps store, but WM phones don't have 1... they have an untold number of sites to get apps from, several dedicated to free (of cost anyway) sites, but this fact seems to be left out of the Iphone/Pre/Android discussions by various tech sites.

back on the original topic, I wish them all the luck, as it is nice to get compensated for your work, but I don't know if there is enough commonality to get enough return on investment for the vendor on setting up an app store. If this can be achieved, then it would pave the way for the developers to benefit as well.
 

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