Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: failed industry (Score 4, Interesting) 52

by Tom (#49517301) Attached to: How Security Companies Peddle Snake Oil

I've exited the security industry after 15 years, no longer believing that it does any good. And TFA is pretty spot on.

The issue is that security is both wide and deep. You need to cover all your weak spots, and you need to cover them completely. As an industry, we have succeeded in finding technical solutions to almost every challenge, but we've failed in creating a systematic approach to the field. Look at the "best practice" documents - they are outdated and mostly a circle-jerk. I did a quick study some months ago checking the top 100 or so for what the academic or scientific or just substantiated-through-sources basis is, and the result is pretty much: None at all.
Even the different standards, including the ISO documents, are collections of topics, not systematic wholes. It's like high school physics: This month you get taught optics, next month Newton mechanics, the third month electromagnetism. The only thing they have in common is the class room.

Nowhere is it more visible than our treatment of the user. It's clear that most security professionals treat users as disturbances, as elements outside their field of security. I imagine what roads would look like if their planners would look at accidents and say "cars are a threat to our road system. They clog it up and very often they crash into each other and cause serious issues to traffic. We need to protect the road system against cars. Can we automate roads so they work without cars as much as possible?"

We need a much more systematic, holistic view on the whole field than we have right now. In a pre-scientific field, snake oil is the norm. It was the same in medicine (where the term originates), in chemistry (alchemy), in psychology (astrologie, numerology, one hundred other primitive attempts at understanding and predicting human behaviour) and virtually every other field, even many non-scientific areas, such as religion/magic.

Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 2) 71

by Bruce Perens (#49515639) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

If the end of the coil that is hanging is grounded (earthed), it becomes an autotransformer. As it's shown, it's a variable inductor and the disconnected end is irrelevant and has no meaningful physical effect at the frequency a spark transmitter could have reached.

This comment seems to get closer to what they actually mean in their scientific paper. But the article about it is garble and the paper might suffer from second-language issues, and a lack of familiarity with the terms used in RF engineering.

Comment: Re:ISTR hearing something about that... (Score 1) 125

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49515461) Attached to: New PCIe SSDs Load Games, Apps As Fast As Old SATA Drives
It's also probable(though not assured) that a fair chunk of games are carefully designed to avoid IOPS-heavy demands because they are supposed to run from an optical disk in a console, a situation that makes an unremarkable HDD look positively random access. The PC version will still have more trouble with other processes butting in, but anyone whose game or game engine imposes load that craters an HDD is not going to have a pleasant time in the console market.

Comment: Is this a big surprise? (Score 3, Interesting) 125

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49515403) Attached to: New PCIe SSDs Load Games, Apps As Fast As Old SATA Drives
The PCIe devices are faster; but (since they also tend to be either substantially similar to SATA devices; but packaged for the convenience of OEMs who want to go all M.2 on certain designs and clean up the mini-PCIe/SATA-using-mini-PCIe's-pinout-for-some-horrible-reason/mini-SATA/SATA mess that crops up in laptops and very small form factor systems; or tend to be markedly more expensive enterprise oriented devices that focus on IOPS) it isn't clear why you'd expect much improvement on application loading workloads.

SSDs are at their best, and the difference between good and merely adequate SSDs most noticeable, under brutal random I/O loads, the heavier the better. Those are what make mechanical disks entirely obsolete, cheap SSD controllers start to drop the ball, and more expensive ones really shine. Since application makers generally still have to assume that many of their customers are running HDDs(plus the console ports that may only be able to assume an optical disk and a tiny amount of RAM, and the mobile apps that need to work with cheap and mediocre eMMC flash), they would do well to avoid that sort of load.

HDD vs. SSD was a pretty dramatic jump because even the best HDDs absolutely crater if forced to seek(whether by fragmentation or by two or more programs both trying to access the same disk); but there aren't a whole lot of desktop workloads where 'excellent at obnoxiously seeky workloads' vs. 'damned heroic at obnoxiously seeky workloads' makes a terribly noticeable difference. Plus, a lot of desktop workloads still involve fairly small amounts of data, so a decent chunk of RAM is both helpful and economically viable. Part of the appeal of crazy-fast SSDs is that the cost rather less per GB than RAM does, while not being too much worse, which allows you to attack problems large enough that the RAM you really want is either heroically expensive or just not for sale. On the desktop, a fair few programs in common use are still 32 bit, and much less demanding.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 488

you can rent apartments for 2500/mo and houses for about 3k/mo in the bay area (I live here and I do rent).

2000 is very bottom of rent price for anything livable. house rents start at 2500 (usually townhouses with shared walls).

yes, its insane. don't come here. and if you live here, move.

Comment: Re:Hmm, I guess I invented this as well... (Score 1) 71

by Bruce Perens (#49513567) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

Damn, I wish I would have patented that and all its quantum magic...

I noticed that my vertical transmitting antenna often works better if I connect a horizontal wire about the same length as the antenna to ground at its base! The wire isn't connected to the transmitting side of the circuit at all! And how well it works varies depending on the length! Obviously there is some deus ex machina at work here...

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky