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Comment: Re:Using Non-ECC Ram is Unacceptable (Score 1) 132

by Archtech (#48674765) Attached to: Many DDR3 Modules Vulnerable To Bit Rot By a Simple Program

Why was my comment moderated "Troll" when I merely pointed out that the parent had unintentionally inserted an extra negative in his statement? The drift of his comment was surely that ECC RAM is better. Yet he wrote "it's foolish not to use non-ECC RAM".

It's sad that moderators don't take the trouble to read what is in front of them. Or, worse still, that at least one moderator routinely mods my comments "Troll" without reading them.

Comment: Re:Many DDR3 modules? (Score 1) 132

by Archtech (#48667233) Attached to: Many DDR3 Modules Vulnerable To Bit Rot By a Simple Program

Reminds me of the first time I ever heard this particular discussion: at DEC in about 1983. A colleague who had gone to do quality engineering on VAX/VMS systems asked for statistics on crashes caused by memory errors. All VAX computers had built-in ECC (of course), but the advanced thinkers in engineering were wondering if it would be more cost-effective to do without. Money would be saved, both by the manufacturer and the customer, and systems would run significantly faster (maybe). Surely that would be worth the fairly infrequent crash, which could be recovered from with the help of backups, logs, etc.?

We all thought the idea was daft - purely on general principle. The reduction in speed due to ECC could be exactly specified, as could the extra cost. But random crashes couldn't - and what if human error caused the backups, logs, etc. to be missing or corrupt? Worse still, what if errors were introduced that didn't cause a crash or any noticeable problem? All sorts of critical systems could go on stacking up subtly wrong data more or less indefinitely.

To this day I always ask for ECC whenever I buy a new PC - but the only machines I have ever found that had it were Dell workstations.

Comment: Re:Someone just failed Physics 101... (Score 1) 54

I don't understand your comment about a dictionary. I referred to the standard definition of power - see (e.g.) http://science.howstuffworks.c... if your recollection is rusty.

As I was posting on Slashdot, I didn't think it was necessary to explain why the extract I quoted is confusing (and confused).

"...can boost 300 to 400 millivolts power to 3 to 5 volts".

Calling millivolts "power" is sloppy at best, but the real strangeness is the idea of boosting "300 to 400 millivolts power to 3 to 5 volts". Given that you can increase the voltage by a factor of 10 or so, one would normally expect that to be accompanied by a corresponding drop in current to keep the power constant. After all, you can't just pluck increased power out of nowhere by changing voltage.

And, of course, you can have a potential difference of millions of volts with no power flowing at all.

Comment: Re: Why wouldn't it be? (Score 2) 204

by Archtech (#48648011) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

"I doubt the cops care anything about civil law".

There is a mountain of evidence to show that the entire US federal government doesn't care about any law at all - international law, treaties, federal law, state law, or even the Constitution.

The key don't-get-into-jail card is always the same: the decision to prosecute is entrusted to the executive branch. If someone in the right position decides something won't be taken to court, it isn't. From a cop shooting an apparently defenceless and innocent civilian to a president launching unprovoked aggressive wars, authorizing torture, and refusing to prosecute the last president for the same things.

"A nation of laws, not men" - nice idea, but not any more.

Comment: Re:Not seeing the issue here (Score 5, Insightful) 204

by Archtech (#48647945) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

That doesn't seem to be quite in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. "Land of the smart enough to avoid being framed by the justice system" - doesn't have the same ring, does it? Especially since (ironically enough) simply being smart doesn't cut it - you need street smarts, expert knowledge, and best of all contacts.

That's it" "Land of the well-connected".

Comment: Re: No big red button? (Score 4, Insightful) 212

by Archtech (#48646143) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

"Are you paying for them?"

Aha! And there we have the central issue, in the simplest possible terms.

It's a matter of foreseeing and predicting risk, and then defending against it in a cost-effective way. Trouble is, there are very few other domains of expertise (if that is the right word) that so glaringly expose our human weakness at estimating risk. (See Nassim Nicholas Taleb's books, passim). Typically, a token effort at assessing risk is made, and then when some entirely unforeseen disaster strikes out of left field, we mutter about "black swans". The fact is that we are not nearly as clever as we think we are, which often leads us to bite off far more than we can chew.

Another relevant saying is "the left hand knoweth not what the right hand doeth". One person or team does the risk analysis, while other - completely unknown - people pile up unseen risks, which thus cannot be defended against. Presumably the people who designed those systems had no inkling that they would be attacked by technically expert enemies who deliberately set out to do as much damage as possible. I imagine that a resolute inquiry would eventually discover who upset whom, leading to this outcome.

Comment: Re:What took them so long? (Score 2) 212

by Archtech (#48646127) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

"This thought is so utterly flat as it is true, but it does not offer any train thought which steps to undertake to at least increase the security".

Precisely! The purpose of such statements is to focus the listener's mind on the highly unwelcome (and perhaps unfamiliar) idea that security is utterly antithetical to everything else we seek in a computer system.

Good security usually means lower performance, slower response time, greater cost, far less user-friendliness, and very noticeably less convenience in general. But if you want security, that's part of the price.

Since most people - including senior decision-makers - have little or no understanding of the issues and tradeoffs, this means that security will normally be severely neglected. So attackers have a fairly easy task and a target-rich environment. Until something really bad happens, when there is suddenly an outcry and a witch-hunt.

Comment: What took them so long? (Score 5, Insightful) 212

by Archtech (#48645767) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

About 20 years ago I used to lecture on the topic of computer security. Taking my cue from UK government experts whom I had met back in the 1980s, I used to point out that the only secure computer system is one that cannot be accessed by any human being. Indeed, I recall one expert who used to start his talks by picking up a brick and handing it round, before commenting, "That is our idea of a truly secure IT system. Admittedly it doesn't do very much, but no one is going to sabotage it or get secret information out of it".

I still have my slides from the 1990s, and one of the points I always stressed while summing up was, "Black hats could do a LOT more harm than they have so far". To my mind, the question was why that hadn't happened. The obvious reason was motive: why would anyone make considerable efforts, and presumably put themselves at risk of justice or revenge, unless there was something important to gain?

Stuxnet was the first highly visible case of large-scale industrial sabotage, and I think everyone agrees it was politically motivated - an attack by one state on another, and as such an act of war (or very close to one). This looks similar, and apparently used somewhat similar methods.

The article tells us that "...hackers managed to access production networks..." The question is, why was this allowed? If "production networks" cannot be rendered totally secure, they should not exist. Moreover, if they do exist they should be wholly insulated from the Internet and the baleful influence of "social networks" and the people who use them.

+ - The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the 50-Year Copyright Itch

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Victoria Shannon writes in the NYT that fifty years ago was a good year for music with the Beatles appearing on Billboard’s charts for the first time, the Rolling Stones releasing their first album, the Supremes with five No. 1 hits and Simon and Garfunkel releasing their debut album. The 50-year milestone is significant, because music published within the first half-century of its recording gets another 20 years of copyright protection under changes in European law. So every year since 2012, studios go through their tape vaults to find unpublished music to get it on the market before the deadline. The first year, Motown released a series of albums packed with outtakes by some of its major acts, and Sony released a limited-edition collection of 1962 outtakes by Bob Dylan, with the surprisingly frank title, “The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. I.” In 2013, Sony released a second Dylan set, devoted to previously unreleased 1963 recordings. Similar recordings by the Beatles and the Beach Boys followed. This year, Sony is releasing a limited-edition nine-LP set of 1964 recordings by Dylan, including a 46-second try at “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which he would not complete until 1965. The Beach Boys released two copyright-extension sets of outtakes last week. And while there's no official word on a Beatles release, last year around this time, “The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963” turned up unannounced on iTunes."

+ - Day One Review: Elite Dangerous->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I’ve spent the last few weeks with Elite: Dangerous (since Gamma 1.0 was released to us Kickstarters), and about four problem-free hours tonight, on launch day (and I’ll be coming back here periodically as time passes and the game grows). Probably about an hour of all of that time was spent just scrolling through the key bindings, and subsequently pressing keys on my keyboard that I rarely, if ever touch. Yes, after 30 years Elite is back, and it’s already eating my life."
Link to Original Source

+ - Lockheed Martin's 100 MW Compact Fusion Nuclear Reactor->

Submitted by Roger Pink
Roger Pink (3858149) writes "When I first heard the announcement regarding Lockheed Martin's plan to produce a compact fusion reactor (CFR) in five years, I was pretty skeptical. Then a lot of skeptical articles were written and I felt my first instinct was validated. The only problem is I think I was wrong. Having researched this story for an article I've written, I'm pretty much convinced this is actually happening.

This isn't cold fusion. Back in the late eighties a couple chemists thought they had fusion and rushed to publish out of fear of having the credit stolen. It was a complete failure of the scientific process and it set fusion back two decades. This time is different. The project leader has over a decade of experience studying and modeling fusion. The institution has a history of novel technologies and absolutely no reason to risk their credibility.

In short, it really seams like it's more likely there will be a CFR in the next ten years then not. Here's an article for a little background why:"

Link to Original Source

Waste not, get your budget cut next year.