Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment My hacks from long ago (Score 4, Interesting) 249

1. I was told that Unix couldn't dual boot with MS-DOS... so I patched the boot sector to load an alternative version of itself into RAM before system start if an unused bit was set (thus enabling DOS to boot)... so I could reboot back and forth... sometime around 1985.
2. Built a box with a Z80, 2764 EPROM, A/D converter, speech chip and a hacked together telephone interface... had 4 inputs and read the voltages of each to the caller on the phone, twice... then hung up.
3. Wrote a Forth for OS/2 in assembler... because I was told you couldn't write assembler programs in OS/2.
4. Built a system out of solar cells behind a filter, to detect infrared laser, and help align laser CATV links, with a companion box to generate a tone to feed into the transmitting laser.
5. Used a bi-color LED as light and sensor to detect a beam break to a reflector. (Green light can be detected by the red LED, but not vice-versa)

Comment Switch to secure operating systems (Score 1) 57

We could as a community decide to switch to secure operating systems, the kind that never, ever trust program code to do what it says on the tin. This would require a lot of coding, but nothing more than the scope of GNU/Linux. This would eliminate viruses, spyware, and a whole host of other problems. I look forward to the day when I can tell the OS which files to allow an application to use... until then it's going to keep getting worse.

Comment Re:Metadata (Score 1) 174

If you take the time to put the data in the pictures, it'll be there in the future. You can use Google's Picasa 3 to do facial recognition on your own stuff, in a private manner... it gets damned good over time... (It picks out the faces, you tag some, and then it starts making suggestions to speed things along considerably)

There are ways to then put those tags into the image, but they do take time to run. I expect this stuff to get better over time. I've run it against all my digital photos, and will keep doing so as I add more.

Comment My bucket (of money) list (Score 1) 842

1. I'd pay the folks at the Genode project whatever it took to produce a live CD bootable image, and keep them doing it with every new release. ( if you care)
2. I'd see if the silly idea I had in college for an FPGA replacement on steroids would actually work by designing the chip and having it fabbed... then fixing the bugs until it worked right. ( if you care)
3. I'd redo the house, install enough solar to power everything, and build a laboratory with a machine shop.
4. I'd build my own locomotive to run out at the Heston Steam Museum (either diesel electric, or just electric)
4. I'd dig to the bottom of the cold fusion thing, and see if it really works.

Comment Secure devices, securely accessed (Score 1) 48

When they start making devices based on Genode, and can generate a Private/Public key pair for authentication by pushing a button, and share the public pair via a local web page... I'll be interested.

As long as these things are running some version of Linux, Windows or that ilk, they won't be secure, no matter how many updates and patches you apply vigorously.

Comment How about securing things correctly for a change? (Score 3, Insightful) 220

There are security models and systems perfected in the 1970s in response to the data processing needs of the air war in Viet Nam. There are commercially available systems which work for multilevel security. This model can be ported to the open source world, if enough people are interested. I'm waiting for the Genode project from Germany to get something I can use in the next few years, and I hope there will be others.

I hereby suggest we just eliminate the possibility of a cyber-war, instead of getting stuck in an arms race.

Comment Only idiots trust computers that trust programs (Score 1) 77

If your operating system isn't smart enough to require a list of resources to feed a program you want it to run, you lose.

If you built your entire civilization on such a stupid foundation, you lose.

Anyone smarter than that can wipe you off the face of the earth, unless you can survive long enough to correct your deeply embedded mistake.

Comment The technical problem was solved 40 years ago (Score 3, Insightful) 36

The information processing need to handle both classified and top secret data in the same computer system in order to direct air traffic for the Vietnam war resulted in honest-to-goodness multilevel secure systems in the early 1970s. The Rainbow books tell you how it's done.

The reason we're all mired in shit these days is that nobody believed multilevel security was something normal computers used. Unix was named as a joke to mock Multics, which aspired to have multi-level security (and did in the end, if I recall correctly).

If your OS doesn't ask for a list of resources to use to execute a program, it isn't secure. MacOS, Linux, Windows don't... the only thing I know of coming down the pike is the Genode project from Germany.

Comment It's all about the Insurance Profits (Score 1) 191

When you have middlemen (Insurance Companies) and administrations working to maximize profit, all being paid by the procedure... the quality of each procedure is far less important that the quantity. We need to put health back in the drivers seat as the #1 priority... which isn't going to happen until we Nationalize health care... even then it's not guaranteed to happen.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel