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Comment: First is NSA, then FSB? (Score 1) 406

by sillivalley (#49121247) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data
What are companies supposed to do when security agencies in other countries want the same access, such as FSB (Russia)? DIRNSA tried to pass that one over, but it is a real concern -- look at what Blackberry went through with India, for example. And how many other countries has Blackberry provided access to?

Comment: Try, yes -- (Score 1) 291

by sillivalley (#49056911) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?
Try, yes -- but expect everyone to succeed -- h*ll no!

We shouldn't expect everyone to code (whatever that means) anymore than we should expect everyone to understand differential equations.

But what is code changes and will change -- I started with machine code; I don't consider HTML/CSS to be "coding." But I'll admit that properly done HTML/CSS is no less artful that some of the things I've written in machine code, C, or Lisp.

It is also useful to recall that the telephone (the private wire-line kind) would never catch on because it would require everyone to be a telephone operator. The technology improved, and everyone learned to work with 4, 7, and later 10-digit numbers, until now we seldom have to remember phone numbers, as our phones do that for us.

But the kind and quality of code that causes others to sit back and go, "That is elegant/pretty/sick" will remain the domain of the few, just as few people can play musical instruments really well, or run really fast, or do any number of things at a high level of performance.

Comment: Gonna take a lot of butter and syrup... (Score 2) 740

by sillivalley (#48964549) Attached to: New Jersey Gov. Christie: Parents Should Have Choice In Vaccinations cover a waffle that big...

Talking out of both sides of his mouth -- his kids were vaccinated but parents should have the right to put their kids and others at risk -- oh, state's rights and the GOP party line... The only thing that would have made it better was if he was drinking a glass of water at the same time and spinning a plate on the end of a stick. This guy gives buffoons, clowns, and circus performers a bad name.

Every once in a while, rarely, a politician actually speaks his mind (McCain for example), and usually catches hell for it, not keeping to the party line.

Comment: It's the ecosystem-- (Score 4, Insightful) 355

by sillivalley (#48956001) Attached to: New Multi-Core Raspberry Pi 2 Launches
Yes, it's underpowered and possibly overpriced in comparison to (x, y, z,...)

But the Raspberry Pi has a large and growing ecosystem behind it -- developers (hardware and software), users, and more.

The Arduino is a similar beast -- underpowered, overpriced, and with a tremendous ecosystem, approachable and available to new classes of users.

As an example, look at what Adafruit is doing with Arduinos and the Raspberry Pi -- making them available, accessible, and useable by a wide audience, not just those tho are comfortable rebuilding kernels.

Look at other historical examples -- the underpowered 6502 (Apple ][) or that atrocity with 640k is good enough for anybody, right?

Comment: Bird 43, Simpson 240/260 (Score 2) 702

by sillivalley (#46790491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?
As another commenter mentioned, old test equipment -- the design of the Bird 43 wattmeter hasn't changed in over 50 years (and mine is over 30 years old). Similar story with the Simpson 240 series of multimeters (VOMs). I inherited a set of Starrett micrometers that are wonderful, even the ones my son used as C-clamps as he was growing up...

I also have a stack of old HP and Tektronix test equipment -- stuff that has service manuals and more-or-less replaceable parts (except for things like 'scope front ends, which are custom assemblies made of pure unobtanium).

Comment: A little over a hundred years ago... (Score 1) 292

Students were advised not to go into Physics as a career, as there were only two unsolved problems in Classical Physics -- that of the photoelectric effect, and the advance of the perihelion of Mercury.

Einstein addressed both problems in 1905, and changed the world.

What will the current set of "little problems" and inconsistencies in Physics lead to?

Comment: So what? (Score 3, Informative) 319

by sillivalley (#45111477) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mitigating DoS Attacks On Home Network?
Executive summary: Welcome to the real world. Everybody with an "always on" connection is getting this kind of crap, it's just that most people don't realize it.

Discussion: We have a cable modem for internet service. I run a SSH honeypot (Kippo) to collect information on folks knocking on our door.

Friday morning, my Kippo honeypot recorded a dictionary attack run of 291 SSH login attempts (against root) in 12 minutes (from, look it up if you want). I don't even bother to record to record the crap coming against port 80.

This isn't unusual, not even for an IP address in a residential cable block! And the more you look for this kind of activity, like running a honeypot, or even reviewing your router logs, the more bewildered you'll become, particularly about how "normal" people's computers survive under these continuous attacks.

The answer, of course, is that so many do not, their home computers rooted within minutes of being connected to the net, or when a child in the household (using a Windows account with admin privileges) clicks on some enticing link in IE... Their computer gets added to one or more botnets, an eventually they toss it out because it's too slow.

Suggestions: Make sure your network is as secure as you can make it, then ask for help to make it better. Help those you care about do the same. Friends don't let friends use IE (or windows) is a good start.

Comment: Which assumes... (Score 1) 103

by sillivalley (#43758507) Attached to: Cell Phones As a Dirty Bomb Detection Network
That the data from all those cameras, location+image, is constantly being streamed to a secure government facility where the data will only be used for good, right?

And people are concerned about Google Glass?

Yes, it's an interesting idea, but it has some problems!

But the carriers would probably love it, as someone would have to pay for all the bandwidth used -- certainly not gonna be a freebie on the carrier -- an opportunity for a government mandated fee, perhaps?

Idea -- check sources (e.g. 137Cs) are pretty cheap. Attach them to the outsides of public transit, pigeons, anything that moves around. The more the merrier.

Comment: Bill, I don't have problems creating documents (Score 1) 618

Bill, I don't have any problems creating documents using my iPad, or working on those documents on my Macbook Pro or MacPro desktop
Things just work. I update a document on one platform, and it appears on the others.

What I do have problems with is Visio under Windows -- damn, that's a hostile program! Even when trying to integrate Visio content with Office documents. Look on the bright side -- it's like opening Christmas presents -- you never know what you're going to get! But most of the time with Windows, it's not what you expected (or wanted).

But I guess that's because I don't understand, and haven't accepted the Windows hegemony and world-view.

Not that I'm singularly focused on Apple -- I do a lot of work on Linux-based platforms, and OSX plays nice with those as well.

No problems creating and editing documents using my iPad... I hear the shrill cry that the iPad tools don't have the "richness" of MS Word, or Excel, or Visio...
About that "richness" -- my guess is probably 80% of the "features" in those programs go unused. Most of the time when I run into one of those "features" it's because something popped up and now I'm searching for how to turn it the hell off.
And what apps such as Pages and Numbers don't offer, apps such as Evernote and Skitch do -- and they work, across platforms (even Windows).

And don't worry, Bill -- these things are just fads anyway. Don't RIM and Dell say so?

Comment: Inertial Nav + Kalman Filter (Score 4, Informative) 84

by sillivalley (#43434403) Attached to: DARPA Develops Non-GPS Navigation Chip
As others have posted, intertial nav platforms have been around for decades -- in military aircraft, and then in commercial aircraft.

The break throughs are not only in getting the platform sensors, the gyros, accelerometers, and magnetometers, onto a single chip, but also in being able to provide the computer horsepower to do the Kalman filtering to integrate all these sensors to come out with a nav/position solution, in a few cubic centimeters of processed sand, and for a few Watts.

It's not just the sensors, it's the processing as well. The sensors just throw data at you (data with all sorts of errors); the Kalman filter lets you bring everything together for your nav/position solution. As a prof long ago said it, "Kalman filtering -- how to stop worrying and learn to love matrix inversion."

Comment: ISP Egress Filtering... (Score 3, Interesting) 211

by sillivalley (#43413107) Attached to: Iranians, Russians, and Chinese Hackers Are After You, Says Lawmaker
How much of the crap we put up with would go away if ISPs instituted egress filtering?

Oh, that's not a panacea; it's not going to cure all the interweb's problems overnight, but it would sure as hell eliminate a lot of the low-level crap that goes on.

(grumble grumble grumble)

Comment: Really tough -- (Score 1) 687

by sillivalley (#43228949) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is a Reasonable Way To Deter Piracy?
Your first challenge is fitting "reasonable" and "piracy" into the same mental model...

Maritime nations through history have sought to deter piracy by displaying the miscreant's remains at harbor entrances.

Think of that as a way to show increased risk.

But software piracy? What's the risk? If you look at eliminating the gain from piracy, then you need to ask, what's the "gain?" To some, the gain is saving a few bucks. Pricing your software low works to eliminate that gain. Or providing support and/or upgrades to legitimate users. But to some, the "gain" in piracy is playing the game, and that gets back to a rational relationship between your goals and a pirate's: there may not be one. Someone engaging in piracy as a way to get their rocks off isn't likely to be motivated by pricing, support, upgrades, or much of anything else, even the lack of a technological challenge.

Is piracy something you can more or less ignore in your target market?

But "fighting" piracy? Old adage: never wrestle with a pig; you'll get filthy and the pig will love it.

Comment: Good Grief! (Score 1) 379

by sillivalley (#43010361) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Would You Feel About Recording Your Entire Life?
"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -- Cardinal RIchelieu

So how long would it take going through those recordings to find something...

But don't worry, our technological society is evolving to that point asymptotically -- you probably already carry a tracking device in your pocket that also can be used to make phone calls; if you drive a recently manufactured car it has a rat box in it that your insurance company can use to try to avoid any liability, and there are proposals for future model years to make that rat box collect even more information. Sound and pictures will get there eventually.

Human beings were created by water to transport it uphill.