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Comment: Re:What has a DMV got to do with draft notices? (Score 1) 200

AIUI (I don't live in the US so their may be errors in this)

To issue notices to register for the draft (there is no draft in the US at the moment but registration is still required in case there is one) you need two things, firstly a list of people with their addresses, secondly a list of people who have already registered for the draft. Then they can take the people who are in the first list and not in the second list and send them notices.

So the question becomes where to get that list, why the DMV well it's kinda simple.

1: most people drive and hence are issued driving licenses by their state's DMV
2: driving licenses are used as ID cards
3: you have a minority of people who don't drive, these people nevertheless need some kind of ID card, the states decided that it was simpler to have the DMV issue ID cards to people even if they don't drive than to set up a separate ID card department.

So the DMV database is the closest thing to a "database of all people in the state" that is readily available.

Comment: Re:Huh? This info was in a live database? (Score 1) 200

AIUI they used the DMV (driver registration) database to send out these reminders. Is it really that surprising that someone born in the 1890s could have been driving up to say the 1980s and have active records in the driving license database continuing into the 1990s and 2000s?

Comment: Re:What might have happened. (Score 1) 200

One scenario: some systems have tables that use a separate field for storing the century.

Why do you think they have that field? Why would someone design a database that is less efficient and encourages wrong queries?

Most likely because someone previously fucked up and thought 2-digit years would be enough, by the time they realised they needed to fix that it was easier to add a new field than change the semantics of an existing one. Given that how accurate do you expect the data in the centuary field to be for old records?

and in some databases they didn't even go as far as adding a century field instead just assuming that 2 digit years represented dates in a window arround the current date.

Comment: Re:Fedora can be annoying.. (Score 1) 120

by petermgreen (#47409781) Attached to: CentOS Linux Version 7 Released On x86_64

Do network drivers, serial drivers, input drivers, storage drivers, filesystem drivers and so-on belong in the kernel? microkernel advocates would say no, most designers of operating systems that actually get used have said yes.

I don't see how at least the low level part of a video driver is any different.

Comment: Re:Failsafe? (Score 1) 464

I'm sure people said the same about fly by wire when it was first suggested.

Yes it will likely take many years of experimentation, risk calculation, arguments with regulators and so-on to turn this from a concept into an actual product but I don't see any reason why it couldn't be delivered at an acceptable risk level.

Comment: Re: Failsafe? (Score 1) 464

Yes there is some risk of a total hydraulic or electrical failure but nevertheless the benefits from having larger planes than are practical with manual flight controls were deemed to outweigh those risks. Similarly the benefits from having a stronger more aerodynamic airframe and better visibility under normal conditions may be deemed to outweigh the risks of total camera system failure combined with a situation that prevents landing on instruments or a hazard that can only be spotted visually.

You will never reduce the risk of flying to zero, there always has to be some balance.

Comment: Re:Is it really a single board computer? (Score 1) 122

by petermgreen (#47397363) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

The documentation for using the module on your own board is available from the B2B section of their site. The connectors are off the shelf parts from hirose.

However while desinging and making a carrier for this will be much easier than designing with the imx6 directly it's going to be beyond most hobbyists. The connectors have a pin spacing of 0.4mm and massive numbers of pins.

Comment: Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (Score 1) 131

by petermgreen (#47397289) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

laws in most countries would probably support the consumer if they tried to return an unopened product in a reasonable time window.

At least here in the UK there is a lot of protection for consumers but far less protection for people buying stuff for buisness reasons. The tricky bit of course is distinguishing real consumers from failed scalpers fraudulantly claiming to be consumers.

no idea if the same applies in other countries.

Comment: Re:Banana Pi, Cubieboard, ODroid, BeagleBone ... (Score 1) 122

by petermgreen (#47393667) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

It's difficult to tell for sure without benchmarking individual applications. Having said that some general points

The odriod line like the Pi have USB based ethernet (though some odriod models have multiple USB busses from the SoC unlike the Pi) and no SATA ports, I'd avoid them for anything storage/network heavy. IIRC they are also lagging behind in terms of getting kernel support upstream. On the other hand when it comes to CPU power they are at the uppper end of what affordable arm boards offer.

The IMX6 based stuff (wandboard, cubox etc) seems like a pretty good all round choice, make sure you get a model with SATA if storage is important to you.

Most of the boards have some sort of GPIO but sometimes it's on awkward connectors or the software is immature. For some applications a board with a dedicated IO processor like the UDOO (or the arduino Tre when it's released) may be worth considering.

Comment: Re:Not impressed (Score 1) 122

by petermgreen (#47393565) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

There is no such thing as a "generic arm board", there are a load of SoCs out there which while they share the CPU core design they are very different in pretty much every other way. The differences don't end at SoC level, there are many differences at the board level too. Most pins on a modern SoC are programable to multiple functions and if you want things to work then the important ones need to be programmed to match the hardware you have on the board. Enumeratable "plug and play" busses are they exception not the rule.

If you have documentation than porting the bootloader and kernel is likely to be hard work but doable, without documentation it is going to be extremely difficult. In my experiance kernels intended for andriod often have problems running regular linux userlands and vendor kernels are often way out of date. Also a serial console is needed to debug/troubleshoot this stuff and most phones/tablets don't have an easilly accessible serial console.

Once you have a usable bootloader and kernel then getting a generic linux system up and running is fairly easy. Of course if you want to use specific features of the chip (e.g. acceslerated graphics) then you will have more work to do.

Comment: Re:Sanitize crazyness (Score 1) 215

by petermgreen (#47337327) Attached to: Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix

Take the C argument. The issue is really again one of input validation, buffer over flows happen ultimately because of of problems with input validation.

Sometimes they do, sometimes they happen because a series of inputs while valid individually nevertheless result when combined in a value too big for an internal buffer.

There have been plenty of exploits and injects in software written in Java, perl, Python, Ruby, BASIC, etc. It almost always comes down to input validation, and that is because input validation is *HARD* for any non trivial range of allowed inputs.

So you have three options
1: write a validator and assume the validator produces "safe" output
2: don't validate the data and treat it as potentially hostile whereever it passes in your system
3: write a validator but neverthless treat the data as potentially hostile even after passing through the validator. That way you have to screw TWO things up to get a serious exploit.

Then start mixing other technologies and it gets even more fun. So your C program is on a system using UTF-8, how big a buffer do you need to handle data from the database server with a VARCHAR(128) field? What character encoding is it using? What else writes data to that field what character encoding do those things use?

So you have three options
1: try to work out what the maximum size is and use a fixed buffer of that size with no bounds checking
2: do the above but put in checking so that if you screw things up you get an error instead of memory corruption.
3: use a buffer allocated on demand of the size that is actually needed.

User hostile.