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Comment: Re:Perhaps (Score 1) 222

by mlts (#46835425) Attached to: Consumers Not Impressed With 3D Printing

It depends. I have an old HP color laser that is still on its starter set of toner that I bought about a decade ago on closeout, and it still works for the occasional photograph. I've seen old HP Laserjet 4 models still continue to keep going for almost 20 years. If it has Postscript, a distinct driver isn't really needed.

Now, inkjet printers are a different story. For a while, one could buy an ink cartridge and get a low-end printer "free" with it. I expect little from a printer that costs well south of a C-note.

I think 3D printers will be similar. The cheap ones will probably have issues with melted filament. The good ones will have mechanisms to ensure that isn't an issue.

Comment: Re:Shuffles (Score 1) 325

by mlts (#46832955) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

You hit the nail on the head. Sometime in the late 2000s, Archos, Creative, et. al. just stopped making HDD players [1] with a decent capacity, leaving Apple and MS as the only companies with HDD players, and then MS bowed out of the market.

The iPod Classic does have a niche that nothing else sold today even comes close to. It doesn't require being online, stores a decent amount of songs, can be used as an external hard disk, and would be difficult to hack from remote.

I'm sure its days are numbered because 128GB MicroSD cards are out and it is only a matter of time before 256 GB MicroSD cards start selling which will put the final nail in the iPod Classic's coffin. However, the device has had a very good run.

[1]: They did make "multimedia" players, but were intended for watching movies and were too large to be a decent MP3 player.

Comment: Re:One simple reason for this (Score 1) 325

by mlts (#46832873) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

If IAP was used for basic stuff like additional levels, etc., then it wouldn't be as bad. However the nickel and diming for microtransactions makes almost all newer games not worth playing. Even the old tower defense games suffer from this, where versions of the game made before IAP was put in had items and towers that cost $5 now.

I'd rather pay $10 to $20 for a game, have all content with the package, then perhaps add expansions similar to how the RedShift's "The Quest" handled things (additional levels came as apps that you ran once and could delete once they copied the data to the main Quest program.) The microtransaction/nickel and diming is annoying and makes almost all new games not worth the bother downloading.

Comment: Re:Short sighted hindsight (Score 1) 95

by mlts (#46832745) Attached to: Microsoft, Google, Others Join To Fund Open Source Infrastructure Upgrades

This does make sense, because it benefits all involved and not a single company/organization has to shoulder all the dev work. Plus, should something happen, the donors are well insulated from lawsuits.

It would be nice to see more projects along these lines. ZFS comes to mind so a drive array attached to a Linux server could be moved to a Windows box and imported without trouble in a production environment.

Comment: Re:The world needs plumbers too (Score 1) 360

by mlts (#46827183) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance


There are many jobs that don't need a college degree and will pay well.

First, there is always mortuary science. People die regardless of the economic cycle, and is sounds grisly, but dealing with the bereaved and handling funerals does need people.

There will always be a need for plumbers, HVAC people and electricians. There becomes more of a need come construction booms, and people leave the field when the building stops. However, a master HVAC person will find work somewhere.

Welding is important. Yes, a robotic welder is extremely precise, but it will be a while before a robot is autonomous enough to go into the field to weld a metal plate onto the side of a building or do one-off metal fab work for a project (for example, I've had a local welder fab me steel cages so that some servers don't go missing that are used by a business in a crime-prone area [1].) Right now, no robot can do that on site, yet.

As for college degrees being stable... not in this economy. Even postdocs struggle in this environment, and people consider this economy "recovered" now. So, might as well learn a trade that pays as much if not more [2], and skip the six digit student loan debt.

[1]: Ironically, this was a suggestion several years ago made on /. It has worked out well because before that, the local meth-using element would just snip any Kensington cables with bolt cutters.

[2]: Good luck getting H-1Bs for plumbers and electricians. It will take people fresh off the boat just as much time to get their master HVAC certification as someone out of high school.

Comment: Re:Read what you wrote (Score 5, Insightful) 168

by mlts (#46817495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

If I had to give five general things a company could do, it would be similar to the following the parent stated:

1: First and foremost... separate and isolate. Finance should be isolated from everything else, with a Citrix or TS server so people working there can browse the web with the browsing well separated from critical assets. If a breach does occur, it will be limited in scope.

2: Laptop encryption is trivial. BitLocker [1] and the AD infrastructure to recovery is a must-have. Depending on level of paranoia, AD policy can be set to auto-encrypt USB drives, so a dropped thumbdrive doesn't mean a massive data breach. In fact, it would be wise to have BitLocker on all desktops as well, so repurposing of the machines is easy -- just a simple format or clean command in diskpart.exe.

3: Backups. Often overlooked, but a humble tape drive can mean the difference between a quick restore versus paying some guy out of Russia a lot of BitCoins. Disk arrays != backup because one command (blkdiscard for example) can render all backed up data gone in seconds.

4: A clear chain of command. This way, someone can't hack a VoIP connection, browbeat some lackey to get some critical access or knowledge about internal networking.

5: Active pen-testing from a guy running a script on boxes to actual blackhats using everything at their disposal including sending people on site in coveralls and fake badges to get in.

[1]: Yes, TrueCrypt is a good utility, but this is the enterprise where recoverability is as important as security.

Comment: Re:The technology has to change (Score 2) 168

by mlts (#46817365) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

Sometimes good security isn't a pain. Had client certificates been used more often, or just having a website ask the user to PGP/gpg sign a blob of text for logging in, passwords would be less critical.

With a client cert, almost all authentication troubles go away. However, client certs are troublesome for users to manage (have to remember the key's password as well as copy the private key to every device in advance), so it comes at a cost, although if people got as used to it as they are used to the like button, it wouldn't be that much of a speedbump.

Comment: Re:Strong passwords == useless (Score 1) 168

by mlts (#46817347) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

I've wondered about more adaptation of CAC-like cards for logging in, where the card reader (or even better, access tokens that work with a USB port) is standard on all new computers. This way, a host has a list of public keys for authorized users, rather than sensitive passwords (even if stored as salted hashes.) The way malware can work would be to generate bogus signatures/decryptions with the user's access token, and that is a lot more intrusive than just slurping a password typed in.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword against anonymity, so this isn't a perfect solution. However, for SSO in a company, it might be useful.

Comment: Re:want to figure it out BEFORE most customers pay (Score 1) 460

by mlts (#46811625) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

It makes sense in the long term, because the lines have to be taken care for, regardless of the direction of how the meters are spinning.

There will be blowback though. It is very easy to have several circuits in a house on battery power, and instead of using an inverter to backfeed the electric company, have a charge controller keep a battery bank charged and attach inverters to that for very clean, stable power. No, these won't run an A/C unless one has a disproportionately large solar array, but stuff like computers and other electronic items can be moved completely from mains power.

This might be a good thing though... less power that the utility company has to generate and route, although it would mean less power coming its way from people's houses.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 50

by mlts (#46806019) Attached to: Apple, Google Vying For Mobile Game Exclusivity

Exclusivity works very well on consoles. Like HALO, for example. You won't be finding it anytime soon on the PS4.

So, having it tried on smartphones makes sense. If one side or the other does land a lot more exclusive games than the other, it can be something that can force the hand of a consumer, because their buds are playing the game, but they can't unless they upgrade phones.

The stakes are high for the long term.

Comment: Re:Too bad it sucked (Score 4, Insightful) 50

by mlts (#46805951) Attached to: Apple, Google Vying For Mobile Game Exclusivity

Almost all games have fallen into that pit since 2011 and IAP became doable. Games that cost a few bucks and were very playable now are "free", but require numerous micropayments to be even playable. Want the same weapons/towers/birds that you had when you paid for the game in the pre-2011 version? That'll cost you, likely $10-20 total.

Comment: Re:One word: FUD (Score 1) 270

by mlts (#46805821) Attached to: Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

As a devil's advocate, assuming semis used completely mechanical systems, there would be other issues. All new cars depend on a series of embedded computers, and if those fry, the engine becomes deadweight and the vehicle becomes scrap metal. Fry a large amount of cars on major arteries in and out of metro areas, then the only way to get stuff in or out are airlifts.

No, an EMP blast wouldn't wipe humanity off the earth. However, people are herd animals and panic quite easily, and when they can't get their Doritos at the local grocery store, some will take it as an excuse to riot or just panic.

The Internet will survive. In fact, that is what its original purpose was... to be able to keep communication running in case of exactly this sort of thing. However, some cities likely will be never the same place they were beforehand.

Comment: Possibly higher... (Score 2) 80

by mlts (#46805709) Attached to: Heartbleed Pricetag To Top $500 Million?

If Heartbleed leads to subsequent intrusions, then the pricetag will definitely go into the ten digit range. If web services are patched, both external and internal [1], then it still will be expensive.

[1]: There are a lot of embedded devices that use OpenSSL, some may not be able to be updated, especially if they are used for constant production runs. All and all, if one factored in man-hours and opportunity costs, the factor is larger. Especially because the OpenSSL patches are not done yet, so even patched systems will need re-patched once a stable, "blessed" release is made.

Comment: Re:One word: FUD (Score 1) 270

by mlts (#46805533) Attached to: Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

Even the tinfoil-hatters I know were not predicting that many deaths in the first hour. In 3-4 days, this would be a different story because people would be re-enacting the Donner party in heavily populated areas once food trucks stopped coming... but in the first half-hour, there might be casualties like people in elevators, or a welding robot shutting down and dropping something heavy on a worker's noggin, but not these many in such short a time.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis