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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Contract contingency? (Score 1) 536

What is the problem with getting it installed before he moved in? I had to pay for termite inspection for a house I bought since I wasn't about to trust anyone else. If I hadn't spotted a radio tower I could link to, I would have had DSL installed in the house before I moved in. The costs of pulling out out of a DSL contract are much cheaper than trying to cope with a house in an area where you can't get connectivity.

Comment: Re:Postgres has referential integrity (Score 1) 320

by thogard (#49298667) Attached to: Why I Choose PostgreSQL Over MySQL/MariaDB

The OID concept does fix a common problem. Take a typical CRM database where you have customer account and a ship to address. At some point, the ship to address for a customer gets updated to their new office yet someone wants to check where an old order was shipped to and the programmer didn't think of it so now reprinting the old invoices show the new address. It is amazing how many times I've seen that type of problem cause massive issues in data integrity.

Comment: Re: ECC Memory (Score 2) 180

by thogard (#49222557) Attached to: Exploiting the DRAM Rowhammer Bug To Gain Kernel Privileges

ECC might be able to help the attack. If you know the state of memory and the associated ECC values you would like and can calculate a designed bit pattern with the same ECC that meets the requirements, you may be able to get the ECC hardware to flip the bit for you as you hammer bits that don't matter as much.

Hammering memory to induce writes where they shouldn't happen has been done for decades. It was used back in the days when you needed high voltages to do writes in eeproms when people found out that you could use a 5V write power supply and sometimes get bits to change if you tried enough times.. Related techniques have been used with bubble memory and iron core as well.

Comment: What stupid patents? (Score 1) 99

by thogard (#49179767) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

A friend's boss saw him talking to a valve actuator using a tapping device and told him to talk to the patent lawyer about the invention. The "invention" was using a single wire to talk to something inside containment areas where drilling holes was a bad thing so wires could cost about a million a conductor. The resulting patent application didn't have that bit in it. It did have the use of a single wire for sending code using a keying device to another device. He ended up with a patent for using Morse code complete with encoding and everything else that was invented long ago. The bit about using the old technology in a unique way was missing.

Comment: Can too healthy be bad? (Score 2) 134

by thogard (#49179677) Attached to: Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

There is an old test known as the Schneider Index which was used by the US Navy for divers and pilots in the 1940s. An old movie called "Dive Bomber" shows details of how the test was done at the time. The test ended the flying careers for many pilots at the time if their score decreased much. It turns out that the guys who did best in the test were the ones most likely to pass out on dive bombing runs. The Schneider Index uses reclining heart rate, blood pressure with standing and then rapid activity for about 30 seconds and then factoring in increase in pulse, BP and the time to return to normal.

Comment: Re:How much CPU power & storage in HDD control (Score 2) 324

by thogard (#49161743) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

There is enough flash and ram to run Linux on the controller. I've seen it done at Ruxcon/Breakpoint where the hard drive booted up to the point where it couldn't find a root disk to mount.

It is trivial to make firmware that watches for things like /etc/shadow files and returns something else. You can have this code activate by searching for data that would be logged and hunting for the magic key and that is trivial since every system logs to disk.

Comment: Re:At Bat (Score 1) 78

by thogard (#49100115) Attached to: Australian ISPs To Introduce '3-Strike' Style Anti-piracy Scheme

I've seen the baseball diamonds near my house used exactly twice. Once involved using it for fireworks. It was built around the time of the 1964 olympics like nearly every baseball diamond in the country.

When a bat is going to cost you $300 and a full uniform and gear to play on a team is close to a $1000, there isn't much demand. The Melbourne girls baseball teams positions are more about forfeits than wins.

I don't know why the local baseball teams need such formal rules with such official imported uniforms. What ever happened to wearing a shirt the right colour?

Comment: Re:1 employee? Not the entire story. (Score 2) 158

That was true before the days of disposable servers. Today, when it breaks, drop it from the pool of working systems. The HVAC is on a lease contract which makes them far more reliable as the manufacture no longer gets s cut by selling parts that used to be used for maintenance. The same is true with power systems but the electrical wiring is massively overbuilt between the stuff under contract and the racks. I have a rack in a recently built data center and they have an electrician on site less often than some small companies I work with.

Comment: Yes and Yes! (Score 1) 716

by thogard (#49028343) Attached to: Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex?

The problem is modern operating systems have taken on too much of the operating environment role leading to excessive complexity. Our modern opening systems are hypervisors like like xen or vmware. The OS has become a mess of other things that aren't related to security and suability of a system. The Operating Environment is where the rapid changes and R&D should be so features can progress and mistakes can be quickly removed.

Comment: How about a better feature? (Score 1) 88

We need keys and host passwords checked as authentication types without having to revert to PAM hackery. Just how many systems have been exploited because some root process found a way to read some .ssh/keys and then hopped to other systems with no human intervention.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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