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Comment: Hard to Erase AND Hard to Recover (Score 1) 491

by drenehtsral (#35349258) Attached to: SSDs Cause Crisis For Digital Forensics

Ultimately since the Flash Translation Layer goes and does things under-the-hood that are not externally visible, it is hard to be sure your data were erased, and it's also hard to be sure they were not erased... Essentially since there is an opaque interface at the logical-block level and the device is internally free to behave as it chooses so long as that interface is maintained, it makes it tricky to guess how the internal implementation will behave.
Plain old magnetic disks used a fairly predictable implementation of that interface so forensics goons got used to having an easy task on their plates.

Comment: To lend a hand when needed. (Score 1) 218

by drenehtsral (#35231860) Attached to: 10% of IT Pros Can Access Previous Jobs' Accounts

When you work in the trenches with a tight-knit group of geeks sometimes it makes sense to leave a key under the mat. I have only once used my still-active credentials, and it was to shell in from home to help a former coworker in a pinch, at his request. He was half-way driving from one location in the middle of nowhere to another, a good 30 minutes from the nearest network connectivity, so he used his cell to call me and ask me to run an urgent but simple sysadmin task for him. No problem. Part of the professionalism of the job is being willing to stand by your work and your coworkers even years down the road.

Comment: Here's what I did... (Score 5, Informative) 125

by drenehtsral (#31796330) Attached to: How Do I Create a Spiritual Game Successor?

If it is an individual who wrote the original game, ask them for permission. Both times I've asked, I've received permission.

If it is a faceless mega-corporation, avoid using images, music, or names from the original game, but unless they have a patent on the look-and-feel or game mechanics (never heard of the later), you can just code away.

For my platman (old Amiga game) remake for the GBA, you can get it on my web page. (

Also see freeciv, and any of the two-or-so decent Wing Commander Privateer remakes.

Comment: Re:not a thermal insulator and heat tax (Score 2, Informative) 194

by drenehtsral (#29501697) Attached to: Using the Sea To Cool Your Data Center

Cayuga Lake is hard to talk about as just one ecosystem, because it has such a strange set of features... It is (like all of the Finger Lakes) a collection of water in the bottom of a glacial valley. Unlike many such lakes, however, Cayuga lake is VERY deep in places (over 400 feet deep), and there are (if I recall correctly) springs or caves or something like that at the bottom in the really deep parts. That being said, it also has a decent sized shallow shelf, and a bunch of small bays and swamps where various creeks discharge. It's the shelf-like area at the south end where the cooling intake and outlet pipes are.

Much of the difficulty assessing whether the heat being pumped into the lake was going to have any negative impact or not had to do with the constant protesting by massive numbers of hysterical but scientifically illiterate hippies (if you've lived in Ithaca for a decade or more, you know who I am talking about). As sad as it is, because anything Cornell released or published was decried as bunk if it didn't damn the project, it didn't seem to matter any more what (if any) case they made to the community as a whole, so there wasn't much effort after some point to communicate anything clearly about this project. I don't blame them, it must have been like trying to piss out the sun getting those damn hippies to shut up long enough to have any sort of rational discussion.

In any case, I doubt it has done nearly the harm that the late '70s and early '80s did when the city essentially pumped any excess sewage right into the lake with minimal if any treatment. In any case, I think a heat tax would be a good idea, but only if it were absolutely universally applied (Apply it to residential, commercial, public sector, and industrial waste-heat and in some sort of a meaningful and constant form (X cents per Y million Joules)).

Comment: Eliminating Food may not do the trick... (Score 1) 1032

by drenehtsral (#26843893) Attached to: How To Keep Rats From Eating My Cables?

I have worked somewhere with rats, and we kept all food on lockdown to try and get rid of them (luckily, we ran all of our cabling through conduit, so the rats didn't gnaw any of it), but as it turned out the rats were just in the building for shelter during the winter, and their food sources were all outdoors and they had found some way in and out of the building that involved climbing the gutters and going in through an attic vent. Rats are very clever. We also had an office cat, but she did not eat nearly enough rats to make a difference.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.