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Books

Tools & Surprises For a Tech Book Author? 325

Posted by kdawson
from the chisel-and-clay-tablet dept.
Fubari writes "I have questions for those of you who have written books: what writing tools have you found helpful? I want to start my book off right (so I'm pretty sure I don't want to write it in MS Word). What has and has not worked well for you? So far I have thought of needs like chapter/section management, easy references to figures (charts, diagrams, source code), version control (check in/check out parts like chapters, figures, etc.), and index generation. I would also welcome advice about what I don't know enough to ask about. Did you encounter any surprises that you wish you had known about back when you started out?"
Data Storage

+ - Why power failures can always lead to data-loss->

Submitted by
bigsmoke
bigsmoke writes "So, all your servers run on RAID. You backup religiously. You're even sure that your backups are recoverable. But do you also need a UPS? According to Halfgaar (on /. before to promote better Linux backup practices), yes, usually you do. He argues that despite technological advancements such as file system journaling, power failures can still cause data loss in most setups."
Link to Original Source
United States

Journal: Crackdown on my .US infiltration attempt?

Journal by bigsmoke

Thursday, I was notified that my BigSmoke.US domain was selected for Nexus revalidation and confirmation. What this apparently means is that you're sent a mail through your domain registrar harassing you that you have 9 days left to prove that you have the right to use your dot-US domain. From the registration process (more than two years ago), I remember clearly being convinced, after reading the con

United States

+ - Crackdown on my .US infiltration attempt?->

Submitted by
bigsmoke
bigsmoke writes "Yesterday, I was notified that my BigSmoke.US domain was selected for Nexus revalidation and confirmation. What this apparently means is that you're sent a mail through your domain registrar harassing you that you have 9 days left to prove that you have the right to use your dot-US domain. From the registration process (more than two years ago), I remember clearly being convinced, after reading the conditions, that I fitted the requirements for getting a dot-US domain.

The problem is: now I actually have to prove it. But this whole situation has made me wonder if I actually do have the right to own a .US domain. I've always assumed that writing in US English for a mostly American audience (most of my visitors are from the States) alone would make me fit the requirements. (My website being US-centric also means that losing my domain would mostly be inconveniencing to Americans; most of the links and most of the search results that get broken would be American.)

But, if serving US citizens isn't enough, take the fact that my dot-US as well as most of my other websites are hosted at a US hosting provider or that advertisements on my websites are served by a US company or that donations are processed by an US company. Come to think of it, I process most on-line payments using said payment processor.

So, what's your opinion? As a foreigner, am I or am I not entitled to have my Dot-US domain? And what can I tell NeuStar Inc. to convince them not to take my two dot-US websites off-line.

Personally, I think that even I weren't entitled to get the domain under the current conditions, they shouldn't be able to take it from me after I've been allowed to use it since March 2005. Also, no-one complained when I recently renewed my domain until March 2009. Now it would cost me an enormous amount of time and money if I had to change my websites to a new domain. I'd have to change my e-mail address for hundreds of website accounts and somehow try to convince thousands of page owners to change their links. This is simply not practical, so I'm crossing my fingers that NeuStar isn't out to break the web by changing cool URIs."

Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - one man's trash: how Mr McGrath made a tidy profit

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Feature
One man's trash: How I made a tidy profit on unwanted VMEbus card cages
By Marty McGrath, McGrath Technical Services — EDN, 1/18/2007

I took a consulting job with a major semiconductor-equipment-manufacturing company. There, I built various test fixtures using surplus VMEbus-card cages that the company had in the warehouse. It was great to be able to get almost the same card cage that the company was shipping in the current product. One day, I found myself requesting another card cage for a new test fixture. The guy in the warehouse told me that I had better grab any other card cages now, because they were all going to be "in the dumpster" the following week. They needed the space in the warehouse. I protested; guys like me needed them for important company projects. I suggested that I would be interested in buying them; my real goal was to get someone to realize they were tossing out something useful. I was asked to bid on them. I didn't want them, so I put in a low bid of $100.

Two weeks later, I had forgotten about the VMEbus-card cages. Then I got the call. A voice droned, "You are the successful bidder on lot number 13285. You have 48 hours to get the nine pallets out of the warehouse." I felt panic, thinking, "My wife is going to kill me. Where am I going to put these things?" I had an addition to my house that was framed and roofed but unfinished inside. I thought that I could store them there for a short time to keep them out of the rain. If nothing else, I could burn the oak pallets to heat my house.

I made a deal with my wife that I would sell them all in six weeks or drive them to the dump. I created a flyer that described the item and showed the purchase cost of all of the components and included a photo. It came to $845 each, so I set the "sale price" at $250. I found a trade magazine that specialized in the VMEbus. I sent a letter to every company mentioned in the magazine. It worked. The orders started flowing in. In fact, the only resistance to purchase seemed to be, "Why are you selling them so cheap?" Instead of telling them that "my wife was going to kill me if I didn't get rid of them," I said something like "we are overstocked and eager to move them out at a low price."

Orders for one unit were followed by orders for multiple units. I was feeling much better about my "impulse buy." The kicker came when I got a frantic call from a purchasing agent from the same company from which I had originally obtained the nine pallets. One of the company's engineers had put in a request to purchase four units. This request represented sweet vindication for me; I sold him back those four units for 10 times what I had paid for all nine pallets!

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About two years later, I got another consulting assignment at the same company. The company set me up to do my rush project development in a storage room. One day, I asked a guy about some items that were stacked against a wall, how much they were worth, and why no one was using them. That was a lot of money sitting there! I suggested the company assign someone to go around and sell off these idle assets. The guy told me a story. He had heard of a consultant who had bought about 100 pallets of surplus VMEbus-card cages and sold them for about a million dollars. I felt my face grow warm as I realized that he was talking about me, but the numbers were greatly exaggerated. I did make approximately $20,000, but it sure did take some work, and there was the real risk that my wife would toss me out to sleep with the racks. I don't know if I had anything to do with it, but the company finally took my advice and created a department to dispose of surplus equipment in a more orderly fashion.

Marty McGrath is an electronics and software-design consultant at McGrath Technical Services (Sunnyvale, CA)."
Security

+ - Why Spam Fighting Needs Immediate Change

Submitted by netconcern
netconcern (707412) writes "CircleID has featured an article by iCAUCE director, Neil Schwartzman "Trench Warfare in the Age of The Laser-Guided Missile", shedding an outstanding light on the seriousness of zombie botnets threatening the infrastructure of the internet. From the article: "The historical development of spam fighting is allowing computer-aware criminals to take the upper hand in the fight against what has now evolved into a completely technologically and organizationally merged threat to public safety. If we do not change our strategic approach immediately, the battle, indeed even the war may be all but lost." A must read!"
Microsoft

+ - Why Microsoft should open-source SQL Server

Submitted by parvenu74
parvenu74 (310712) writes "Via ActiveWin.com Headlines: Stephen Walli, the former Microsoft exec turned open-source proponent, is at it again. This time, the former Softie is making the case why Microsoft should consider open-sourcing some of its crown jewels, including SQL Server and SharePoint. And he's got a few reasons that might make even closed-source proponents reconsider their business-model philosophies. Walli isn't any ordinary Linux lover. He worked for Microsoft, following Redmond's acquisition of Softway Systems, a company that developed an environment that allowed the rehosting of Unix applications on top of Windows NT, and of which Walli was a founder. (Softway's Interix environment morphed, over time, into Microsoft's Services for Unix technology.)"
Biotech

+ - The birth of quantum biology

Submitted by
Roland Piquepaille
Roland Piquepaille writes "Just when you finally have grasped the concept of quantum mechanics, it's time to wake up and to see the arrival of a nascent field named quantum biology. This is the scientific study of biological processes in terms of quantum mechanics and it uses today's high-performance computers to precisely model these processes. And this is what researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) are doing, using powerful computer models to reveal biological mechanisms. Right now, they're working on a "nanoswitch" that might be used for a variety of applications, such as targeted drug delivery to sensors. Read more for additional references and a picture showing how a protein could be used as a nanoswitch."
Security

+ - Anti Rootkit Author releases Undetectable Rootkit

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "From http://www.antirootkit.com/blog/2007/01/18/rootkit -unhooker-author-to-release-new-undetectable-rootk it/ The anti rootkit software author who goes by the name of EP_X0FF has released information recently about a new rootkit that he has created. EP_X0FF is the author of Rootkit Unhooker one of the best antirootkit scanners at the moment. The rootkit he has created is undetectable by all anti rootkit software. The new rootkit is to be called Unreal Test Rootkit."
Mozilla

+ - Firefox Co-Founder Blake Ross on Firefox and Opera

Submitted by
Kelson
Kelson writes "Opera Watch recently interviewed Blake Ross, co-founder of Firefox. Ross spoke on Firefox's evolution, how it can improve, its relationship with Opera and other browsers, implications of IE7, and the state of the web today. When asked about the fan rivalry between Firefox and Opera, he called it "ridiculous," adding that "Millions of people out there rely on us to make the Web better, not have pissing contests." Asked to describe Opera in three words, he said, "Our best ally.""
Software

+ - SeaMonkey 1.1 is out

Submitted by
asrail
asrail writes "The newer version of the formerly Mozilla Suite, SeaMonkey, is out and you can download it at http://www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/. From the release notes: "SeaMonkey 1.1 is now available. Powered by the same engine as Firefox 2 and the upcoming Thunderbird 2, SeaMonkey 1.1 includes numerous enhancements including more visible security indicators in the browser and enhanced phishing detection for e-mail, a new tagging system for e-mail that supersedes labels, support for multi-line tooltips in web pages, and previews images in tab tooltips." Preview images in tab tooltips is so cool... The new tagging system is somewhat superior to the GMAIL labels, you can colorize your message, create complex virtual folders (which supersedes a lot the view by label of GMAIL). The switch to the same engine used by Firefox 2 is a strong move on speed up, displaying and security of web pages. Follow the release notes if you're looking for more info: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/releases /seamonkey1.1/README.html"
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Scientific Study Confirms Common Bar Knowledge

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "According to this Reuters article on CNN.com, scientists in England have found that it isn't our imagination: women find a man more attractive when other women also seem to find said man attractive."
Programming

+ - Lisp and Ruby, sitting in a tree...

Submitted by
sdelmont
sdelmont writes "The developers of Rubinius, an experimental Ruby interpreter inspired by SmallTalk, have been discussing the possibility of adding a Lisp dialect to their VM. Pat Eyler collected some ideas and opinions from the people involved and it makes for some interesting reading. For many, Ruby already is an acceptable Lisp, and the language itself started as a perlification of Lisp (even Matz says so) so it is perhaps fitting and might help explain why the whole idea feels right. Now, if someone added support for VB and gave it the respect it deserves, the world would be a better place."

The first time, it's a KLUDGE! The second, a trick. Later, it's a well-established technique! -- Mike Broido, Intermetrics

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