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Comment: TI-99/4A Basic ... Linux (Score 1) 413

by mmogilvi (#43578445) Attached to: My most frequent OS migration path?
Older people probably have long enough chains that the poll would need literally millions of options to include the right one. For example: TI-99/4A Basic - No persistent storage Apple IIe DOS MS-DOS 3.2 on an 80386 UNIX system V/386 v 2.1 on the same 80386 Linux (various distributions and versions: first Slackware 3.0 on pentium pro; currently gentoo on a core i7)

Comment: power of 3 rule (Score 1) 253

by mmogilvi (#36870566) Attached to: 'The Code Has Already Been Written'
From http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=169033&cid=14088668 :

> 1 UOW = program for yourself
> 3 UOW = give it to someone else
> (you install, you copy, etc)
> 9 UOW = give it to local group
> (howto, platform change)
> 27 UOW = shareware/open source
> (configure/make/make install)
> 81 UOW = product
> (real docs, slick UI, support teams)
> 243 UOW = business
> (lawyers, CEO, sales, marketing)

Comment: SRP protocol (Score 1) 288

by mmogilvi (#36247522) Attached to: Sony Suffers Yet More Security Breaches

If you can pick or control the overall authentication protocol, it would be even better to only store the s and v parameters from the Secure Remote Password (SRP) protocol. Pick a good underlying hash function H(), such as in the parent post. SRP uses some fancy zero-knowledge proof / public key algorithms (fairly interesting if you study it) to significantly reduce attack cross-sections for a much wider range of attack scenarios than just a hashed password, even when the password is weak.

Unfortunately, the most common situation is a web browser using http or https, and I don't know any way to use SRP properly in that context. Perhaps implement a secure tunnel on top of http in javascript and send all data through that - but that is totally tedious and impractical, probably can't work with images, and doesn't prevent MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacker from replacing the javascript in a way nearly impossible for either end to detect.

Someone ought to define a way to delegate a web apps' password validation to the SSL layer of the https connection, which would then use SRP to do the validation. Find ways to make it hard for attacker to force a downgrade to less secure authentication, for example by making the browser remember what web sites have used SRP in the past, and refusing to use weaker authentication protocols for them ever again. Done well, this would also reduce vulnerability to should-not-have-been-signed fraudulent certificates.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 375

by mmogilvi (#35769968) Attached to: Windows 8 Early Build Hints At Apple, WebOS Competitor - EWeek

Some ways Windows core OS could be improved:

POSIX filesystem semantics, including removing/renaming open files (continue access until closed), transition away from mandatory file locking by default, transition away from carriage returns in text files (fix notepad, start changing tools to default to leaving the carriage returns out), switch to UTF-8 encoding for unicode by default for filenames and contents (instead of 2-bytes-per-character), transition to case-sensitive filenames (when most people use GUIs instead of typing names, why have the insensitive complexity in there...), etc.

Fix it so POSIX api functions are no longer treated as bastard stepchildren - implement them in the core, and emulate others.

Include a good, standard scriptable command line interpreter by default, where it can be counted on to be installed. /bin/sh and associated commands would be a vast improvement, and it wouldn't be hard support command line editting ala bash or zsh as well.

I could go on for some time, but maybe you see the pattern. Summary: Keep the fancy end user GUI stuff, but fix the underlying foundation.

Comment: Graph of gravity wells (energy) (Score 1) 88

by mmogilvi (#35353792) Attached to: First Probe To Orbit Mercury May Help Us Learn How Planets Form
http://xkcd.com/681/ has a nice graph of gravitational potential energy differences that need to be overcome when traveling around the solar system (ignoring gravity assists, etc). Mercury is clearly harder to match up with energy-wise than anywhere else besides the sun itself.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin

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