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Comment Re:Hollow Wheels (Score 1) 112

This rock could have been clattering around in the rover's hollow wheels for a long time, and just recently fallen out.

Seems a reasonable explanation.

Any idea why the small gravel-appearing rock is undisturbed in all directions around the donut rock?

I'd expect some gravel to be disturbed in the direction of donut travel.

Comment Re:It could have been worse... (Score 1) 137

we have the "biggest and greatest" technology companies, right?

Target is a low-price, high-value retail store, not a technology company. In other words, a low cost provider of stuff for people's homes.

I believe they have as many, if not more, IT personnel in their India data centers as they have at their headquarters.

An exemplar of a US technology company they are not, no matter how much they spend on IT.

Comment Re: POS (Score 1) 137

I'm certain Target was observing "best practices" as written about in trade rags, and probably had numerous security, PCI, and HIPPA audits from outside "experts" on a routine basis.

That will probably satisfy the card processing industry and insurers. Clearly it satisfied the director and C-level executives.

OTOH, they are pretty clueless about how to secure an IT infrastructure. Practices likely followed typical industry norms: minimum length passwords containing upper/lower case, a number and a special character that expire every 30 days, a change control process, a policy to review all 3TB of daily log files for anomalies, division of responsibilities, encrypting all sensitive data, and related meaningless drivel meeting the letter of standards such as PCI compliance.

In the end, you can't fix clueless.

Comment Re:nuclear can be safe; short term profit preferre (Score 1) 664

Profit should not be part of the equation. Electricity is a necessity in modern society.

Instead of profit mongers designing, building, running, and maintaining nuclear facilities, it should be a government agency, similar to NASA, in control.

Profit, cost cutting, year-over-year "metrics", and performance-based measures guarantee an environment of deteriorating safety and increased risks. Combined with an anti-regulation mentality and you have a recipe for eventual disaster(s).

Nuclear energy is a "mission critical" activity based on the nature/need of the product and the potential downsides, and NASA is the only model agency I know that has a respectable record of safety.

Better yet, I think the way to go is have the government developing massive solar and wind farms. Make electricity so cheap that coal, oil, and nuclear energy producers can not possibly compete.

The only downside would be the hit terrorists would take. No more money going to hostile countries. No more oil profits funding of terrorist groups. No more nuclear facility targets. No more raw material for nuclear weapons. No more recruitment help from governments invading over misguided fears of weapons of mass destruction.

There is a lot less terror when a solar panel or wind turbine is blown up compared to a nuclear reactor, nuclear waste storage facility, oil refinery, petroleum storage facility, or natural gas pipeline.

Comment Um. I think I found a program to cut (Score 2) 217

Republicans are on a tear to eliminate social programs.

Lordy, this program is all about social (media) programs. Cut it, cut it, cut it.

Bachmann, you are a self-described cutter. Cut it. Come on, cut, cut, cut.

Maybe once we see Glen Beck crying about this on Fox the patriot citizenry will kill this outrageous social program.

Comment Exactly! (Score 4, Insightful) 386

The US government spent the 7 years following 9/11 keeping people terrified. If you read that as the government doing the terrorist's job, you possess properly working higher brain function.

In fact, the US reaction went way beyond anything "the enemy" could have hoped for.

The alleged mastermind said directly that the attack was intended to bring financial harm to the US. The US responded with trillions of dollars of wartime debt. As a token of appreciation, the US threw in recruitment benefits that will help terrorist organizations for decades. While they were at it, the US government stomped all over rights of the its citizens. Heck, why not? As if that wasn't enough, they also work very hard at keeping the terror of 9/11 alive, playing with "threat levels" whenever the people don't seem terrified enough.

The truly astounding thing is how much money they are continually throwing at things that do not improve security at all.

This will not play well with the /. crowd, but these high tech electronic gizmos don't work. People have made it through screening with handguns. And as people have said since the get-go, people don't even need to get past the security check to terrorize at airports (presumably all terrorist targets are air travel centric).

Maybe gizmos act as a deterrent, "Ooh, surely their superior technology form an impenetrable barrier, lets just give up trying" but I doubt it.

Many people have been arguing for more effective, lower tech solutions that actually will work. Dogs and pigs can detect an enormous range of aromas, don't need to see a nearly undressed image of your body, don't need to physically touch your naughty bits, and don't expose you to radiation.

If the government goal was effective security, wouldn't they use the very inexpensive and very effective dogs rather than the machines that cost millions and are not effective?

What would be more intimidating, a refrigerator-sized machine or a pack of hungry looking German Shepherds sniffing at your pant leg?

Comment Re:Testing? No, No, No, No, No (Score 1) 237

Testing can only prove the presence of bugs, not the absence.

It doesn't matter if you have 10,000 test cases or 10,000 times as many. Best case is you catch the bugs you were able to anticipate. And if you think you will be able to simulate real-life loads and traffic patterns of your first year in production, well, good luck with that.

If you are relying on testing to deliver "bug free" systems, you've already lost half the battle.

Do yourself a favor and dump most of your "test case" staff and hire yourself some real engineers. You'll find you didn't need those folks and have higher quality systems.

Comment Re:Teething problems (Score 1) 237

There is not enough public information to make specific conclusions about the contributing factors for this outage.

We can make specific broad comments about systems that have these type of requirements, performance and otherwise.

Just as there are platforms that have a security model that make them more (or less) secure than other platforms, there are platforms that are inherently better (or worse) at performance.

There are message passing schemes that well suited for this type of system.

There are programming languages that make it easier to develop robust bug-free applications.

There are systems with built-in high-availability fail-over capabilities (as apposed to a typical multiple vendor, multi tiered "solution").

I'm sorry, if they were patching the system after 3 months running in parallel, they probably have much more fundamental problems than the application not yet being production ready.

I think the biggest problem of all is the extreme hubris of vendors and consulting firm who sell the idea that they can apply their products, methodologies, and "industry best practices" (what a load of excrement!) to ANY project, even though they have never attacked a problem in the same class before! We'll have our Super Certified Windbags meet with the other vendors Account Superheros and your Subject Matter Expuds, and we'll have a full project plan and budget on your desk by this Tuesday.

Bzzt! Wrong!

The best case is that they simply fail miserably. Worst case is the get it almost-right and go through the outage/patch cycle for the next decade.

Oh, and for any system that must have near-perfect availability, you want to avoid patching as much as possible. Annually is a nice goal. Every Tuesday, not nice at all. That's begging, pleading, screaming for trouble.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle