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Comment: It's not just the hardware, it's the algorithms (Score 2) 213

by Mr. Protocol (#45757403) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted?

All the crypto software I've looked into depends on big internal arrays of special numbers to do its work. If those numbers are compromised (which is what NSA contracted RSA to do, basically), then the whole end-to-end crypto channel is compromised.

And that's the problem. You can build an open-source hardware router with open-source software, to keep the possibility of hardware backdoors to a minimum, but if the basic crypto algorithm you use has been compromised from the get-go, none of it matters. I think that's going to be the next really difficult intellectual load to lift: vetting ALL of the current crypto algorithms in use today to make sure the algorithms don't have built-in compromises. Since that vetting has to be done by crypto experts, not just software engineers, that pushes the trust back up one step: which crypto experts do you trust?

+ - x86 Computation Without Executing Any Instructions->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Trust Analysis, i.e. determining that a system will not execute some class of computations, typically assumes that all computation is captured by an instruction trace. A team at Dartmouth College shows that powerful computation on x86 processors is possible without executing any CPU instructions. They demonstrate a Turing-complete execution environment driven solely by the IA32 architecture’s interrupt handling and memory translation tables, in which the processor is trapped in a series of page faults and double faults, without ever successfully dispatching any instructions. The 'hard-wired' logic of handling these faults is used to perform arithmetic and logic primitives, as well as memory reads and writes. This mechanism can also perform branches and loops if the memory is set up and mapped just right. The lessons of this execution model are discussed for future trustworthy architectures."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Places Needing Stable IT Staff (Score 1) 472

by seawall (#44114399) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?

  I get your point but:

  In todays economy there are still a few pockets of stability and they tend to be in the
  places I put in this list. Not all positions, but some. E.g. We do hire some temps but they know they
  are temps and are about 5% of the workforce. I obviously don't work for Microsoft.

  These are places where they need (and more importantly: know they need) some working memory
  of how the place is runs. They are places where it is a big hairy deal to hire or fire certain positions.
  They are of a size that it is not unusual for exactly ONE person to know how to do a critical task.
  Even if cross trained, there is usually one (or maybe two) people who are really good at that critical
  task so you better have responsible people who would like to stay awhile.

  I am a sysadmin, I've been here for a decade, my most junior co-sysadmin has been here for years.
  No degree by the way, just a massive list of accomplishment. Me, I have a degree in a related field
  and fewer accomplishments.

  Even our web people have been here for years. That said, we all sometimes find ourselves working
  outside our original job descriptions from time to time. Money is tight but they want us to stay as long as
  we are doing a job that needs (or will soon need) doing.

  My particular organization has been through many expansions and contractions in the last century
  but makes extraordinary efforts to keep sharp people. My part is to stay sharp and grow. We have
  let go sharp people in the recent contraction, but we try to avoid it.

  In 2013 this is an exceptionally good situation to be in I know but these situations exist and are
  worth looking for.

Comment: It's ALREADY allowed... (Score 1) 371

by Mr. Protocol (#44113797) Attached to: FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

Two points:

1) The proposal (which is indeed from a private citizen, as many are) points out that ham radio cannot be used, at least in this country, to carry certain kinds of emergency traffic, because, for one thing, medical info about a particular patient can't be put out over the air UNLESS it's encrypted, due to HIPAA.

2) Encryption of ham traffic is already allowed in two specific instances: a) control of a satellite in space, and b) control of certain kinds of model craft.

So the ice has been broken, and the current proposal attempts to overcome certain legal hurdles in carrying emergency traffic. It's not just encryption for no reason, and it wouldn't be allowed for normal traffic.

Comment: Places Needing Stable IT Staff (Score 2) 472

by seawall (#44109035) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?

Emphasize stability if you can, this can make age a plus. Not that age
guarantees stability or youth means not responsible but you are more
likely to be considered in a place looking for stability.

County government,especially smaller counties. They typically run on shoestrings but they
can really appreciate someone who can keep systems running well. Likewise midsize
towns and cities.

If you have some oddball skills, that can be a plus. In fact if you know INGRES, are willing
to live in Seattle and are stable: Drop me a line!

Medical computing often wants someone a little older. Banking will often hire someone older.

  Midsized organizations 100-500 can be an especially rich vein, places that have been around
  awhile so gray hair isn't unusual and small enough not to automate the initial job search. They
  also often have enough work to keep a small team busy.

  Surprisingly, these can be research departments at
  Universities (yes, they sometimes happily hire people without degrees. Who
  better knows a degrees worth for day to day computing? Arguing with the person
  with an MS who wants to convert everything to Python is not fun.).

I think it a fair bet there are security companies watching the news
that are going to be more accepting of someone older than they were
a month ago.

Comment: Re:if only more technical leads had this mindset (Score 1) 1051

by Mr. Protocol (#42417401) Attached to: Linus Chews Up Kernel Maintainer For Introducing Userspace Bug

Except, of course, for the original UNIX team, which wasn't a thing like this. Thank God. And thank god I don't have to deal with brain-damaging interpersonal relations like those shown here these days. Retirement is good.

Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, et al. were much nicer people to work with.

Comment: Socratic Dialog (Score 1) 716

by seawall (#42174305) Attached to: Just Say No To College

Some of us need the Socratic Dialog. I was driven to learn about mathematics. I had real drive and read a LOT. I was smart. Yay me. I managed to mis-learn a heck of a lot that way. It wouldn't have been so bad later on but I mis-learned some basic things. It was unpleasant and time consuming to go back and edit out what I got wrong and I needed someone outside my own head. I couldn't see what's wrong in my own head alone. Sadly, even in college, that kind of teaching isn't available so much but it's golden.

Comment: Re:I'm Cured! (Score 1) 602

by seawall (#42173869) Attached to: No More "Asperger's Syndrome"
As funny as that is: "I'm Autistic" seems a more powerful social excuse than "I have Aspergers". In any case: most of us whatever-we-ares still need to do our limited best not to be jerks. If we want a social life: Labels are more of a tool to find strategies to be less of an asshole than an excuse for being one. ...and pathetically, getting all pedantic on a funny joke is probably itself an example of assholery. Sorry dmomo.

Comment: MANY Daylight Savings Times, Not One. (Score 1) 475

by seawall (#41926609) Attached to: On Daylight Savings Time:
If you co-ordinate with people in different countries this gets to be pretty annoying. Seattle PST/PDT doesn't change the same days as in, for instance: Victoria, Australia. Which aren't the same days as say, London, England. This makes co-ordination a bit of a drag. The deltas shift around every Spring and Fall: not once, but several times. UT makes it manageable but it still grates.

Further, the few farmers I know couldn't care less.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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