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Comment: So many uses (Score 4, Informative) 129

by nickovs (#45069803) Attached to: Milestone: The Millionth UK-Made Raspberry Pi

I have four RPi boards. One monitors my UPSs, cleanly suspending my server when the power goes out and sending wake-on-LAN massages to it when the power comes back up so that the UPS only needs to drive my switch and AP, one has a camera board and does motion detection to spot people coming into my office, one is currently operating as a Bluetooth LE beacon for testing the new iOS iBeacon stuff and one is just for tinkering. Most of these have a few other services running on them too (two have I2C thermometers on them).

I see a lot of negative comments about the Pi being underpowered. Perhaps if what you want to do is run FPS games or you are trying to run Big Data analytics then this is true but it's plenty powerful enough for a whole host of service tasks. It's not that many years ago that the Pi's level of power would have been considered a high-end desktop configuration. The purpose of the device is to give kids a low-cost entry into programming and it does just that. On top, at $25 for a Model A its fine to put in 'dangerous' places where something bad might happen to it (like outdoors, driving the sensors and servos for my Halloween decorations). No, I don't have my MongoDB server on a Raspberry Pi, but for many many projects they are just about perfect.

Comment: Hype cycle (Score 1) 39

by nickovs (#44021629) Attached to: Software-Defined Data Centers: Seeing Through the Hype

"More than an actual technology, SDDN is the culmination of many other efforts at abstracting, consolidating, managing, provisioning, load balancing and distributing datacenter assets." Which is a fancy way of saying it's a bunch of commodity PCs running Xen, attached to some f***ing big Juniper QFabric switch with some PHP scripts to let middle-managers bring up servers without knowing where they are. It's just that right now our stage in the hype cycle is the Peak of Inflated Expectations.

Comment: Giving thieves the finger (Score 1) 204

by nickovs (#43699821) Attached to: Smartphones Driving Violent Crime Across US

A number of smartphone providers have been talking about adding fingerprint readers to phones to make the security stronger. Over 40% of serious crime involves smart devices and half of those crimes are violent in some way, many at knife-point. Does anyone else worry that it won't take long for muggers to work out that if they take the phone they need to take your index finger too?

Comment: Re:Would never be approved (Score 2) 286

by nickovs (#41596059) Attached to: The Case That Apple Should Buy Nokia

The test that the competition regulators apply is "Will this reduce competition and consumer choice?" When Google bought Motorola Motorola was already a maker of Android phones and the immediate effect on the market was small. If Apple bought Nokia it would almost certainly want to kill Nokia's Windows phones, which would largely kill Windows Mobile, which would significantly reduce choice. There is no way that the EU would allow this and it seems unlikely that the US would allow it either (although that would be moot if the EU nixed it).

Comment: It make sense (for a change) (Score 4, Insightful) 427

by nickovs (#41243143) Attached to: TSA Says Screening Drinks Purchased Inside Airport Terminal Is Nothing New

If you are going to check something at a checkpoint then it makes sense to stochastically sample with secondary checks to test your error rate. Apparently the TSA believe that there is a reason to limit the liquids through airport checkpoints and screen those liquids that they do allow through. Irrespective of if this is itself a rational position, if you believe that it is then it is also rational to check randomly sample liquids after the checkpoint.

Comment: Svartholm is not wanted for file-sharing (Score 1) 126

by nickovs (#41227417) Attached to: Cambodia To Extradite Gottfrid Svartholm

It's important the appreciate that the Swedish arrest warrant for Svartholm isn't for file-sharing, it's for skipping bail and fleeing after his last round of appeals failed. Irrespective of the soundness of the original trail, the guy is a fugitive with a current conviction who's sentence has not been served. The charges he will face if he is caught now are far more serious than the ones he faced with Pirate Bay.

Comment: An alternate approach (Score 5, Interesting) 884

by nickovs (#40445563) Attached to: Arizona H-1B Workers Advised to Carry Papers At All Times

As someone who doesn't have US citizenship but who lives and works in the US, creating businesses that have hired hundreds of people (including plenty of H1-B holders) I have an alternate approach; I shall simply be avoiding Arizona as much as possible. I shall not be holding any group meetings there, I'll see what I can do to avoid conventions there or transfers through PHX and they can kiss goodbye to any prospect of my opening offices there. I'm probably too white to actually be harassed under this law but that doesn't make it any less disgusting to me.

Comment: Opportunistic encryption (Score 1) 601

by nickovs (#38429920) Attached to: Do Slashdotters Encrypt Their Email?

Ultimately decisions about email encryption come down to what threats you think you might be protecting yourself against. I have a PGP key, and on occasion I use it to sign and decrypt emails when I think it matters. The rest of the time I send mail, over SSL, through my own mail server, which will use SMTP's 'startTLS' command whenever possible. Most people I know read their mail either using SSH on the machine that runs the mail server or over some SSL-protected IMAP or webmail interface. Thus, for most cases, the mail is encrypted in transit but never encrypted on the servers. If the threat is one of people eavesdropping then this keeps me safe; if the threat is one of hackers targeting one of the mail servers then it doesn't. Most of my mail doesn't warrant any more effort to achieve any more security.

Comment: DreamPlug (Score 2) 334

by nickovs (#38232064) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Flash-Friendly Router To Replace Aging WRT54GS?

While it's a bit more targeted at the "server" market rather than "router" market, the DreamPlug does all that you want. It has dual gigabit ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n, a 1.2GHz ARM processor (with a decent crypto co-processor that can handle full duplex gigabit VPN encryption), USB2 and eSATA ports for adding discs, an external SD card port and 4GB of flash inside for the FS. It even has both analogue and SP/DIF audio out in case you want to stream music into your server cupboard. It's very low power too (typically about 10 watts).

Comment: What's the threat model? (Score 1) 125

by nickovs (#37501950) Attached to: Swedish Daycare Tracks Kids With GPS Devices

When you're building any sort of security system the very first thing you need to do is decide what your threat model is. Then when you think about a solution you need to assess it against that model to see how it performs. If the threat here is kidnapping, the solution is useless since the bad guys will remove the tag. This solution is only ever going to help against "wandering" kids, but if the teachers think that the kids can't wander off then they are likely to pay less attention, which is means the kids will be at greater risk of injury from all sort of other things that the teachers would have spotted. The system almost certainly puts kids at greater risk than before.

Comment: Prince Philip has cryptography connections (Score 3, Interesting) 132

by nickovs (#36798192) Attached to: Queen Elizabeth Sets a Code-Breaking Challenge

I had the pleasure of meeting HRH the Duke of Edinburgh at an event once and, upon hearing that I worked in cryptography, he told me about his time working signals in the British navy during the second world war. He said he had always been fascinated by the operation of the British TypeX equipment that he used back then. I don't suppose that he did any code breaking but he certainly was using codes well before the Cypherpunks came along.

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)