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Comment: Re:Enough of this (Score 1) 228

by tlhIngan (#49604171) Attached to: Long Uptime Makes Boeing 787 Lose Electrical Power

No. This is a "What the f* were you goofballs thinking when you wrote this code? And if this is all the better you can do, what other gotchas are hiding in there?"

Well, most of the case would be that they didn't realize it might be an issue.

Early Linux suffered from this issue a lot - device drivers could not be counted on to survive if jiffies overflowed. Modern day Linux implements a bunch of utilities to compare jiffies with an elapsed time (that handles overflows), as well as starting the jiffies counter 3 minutes before overflowing so it overflows early and bugs are detected.

Of course, in this case, it was discovered in a lab setting - not only is it unlikely to happen in the real world (no, making a change to cause the roll over early will not happen as it turns working code into an untested state), but it also relied on someone pretty much leaving the equipment on the whole period then noticing it died.

I don't know about you, but finding out the reason why something died 250 days later is difficult and probably only was discovered accidentally because someone left it set up at their desk the whole time.and forgot about it.

Hell, it's probably a given the bug exists in plenty of other things as well, just they're normally cycled long before it's a problem and no one actually ran it long enough to test.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 164

If you find that interesting, you may also be interested in the VMWare install script, which starts as a shell script but has a compressed binary attached to the end.

That's not interesting at all - there's something called a shell archive, or "shar" which is what it implies. GNU has "sharutils" which is used to create and extract files from shar files (or you can run the script - it IS just a regular shell script).

The benefit is, of course, you can embed a binary inside it and it self-extracts, and is transmissible over text-only media without having to use uuencode/base64 or other utility.

Of course, they aren't standard, and often are limited because they rely on external installed programs you should have in your system, and often there's version dependency on the programs it relies on, enough so that older shar files might not work on newer systems.

Comment: Re:Broken test? (Score 1) 62

Sure, sometimes keygens are trojans as well, but those are covered under the heading "virus". Most anti-virus software also detects perfectly harmless keygens these days, supposedly to "protect" the user from "accidentally" generating a key and pirating software.

Actually, most keygens people run into are infested with malware - Trojans and viruses and all that. Usually they're wrapped with a "dropper" application - run the keygen, and the dropper downloads the malware then launches the keygen.

The reason for this is infecting installations is a bit more difficult these days - since a lot of software is already downloadable the companies behind them sign the executable. So when you launch the installer, Windows pops up the nice message about the file and it's all signed and everything. Of course, since keygens are rarely signed, if they've been altered it's impossible for the user to tell.

The money involved in the malware trade is sufficient enough that they basically crowd out the sites that actually offer clean keygens.

Cracks, too. At least with keygens you can reasonably run them in a VM to get a serial number without infecting your PC, but cracks have to be run on the live installation, making them an ideal target for malware authors.

Stuff like drive-by-downloads generally aren't used much - between enhanced browser security, elimination of Java or Flash plugins, it's a lot harder to spread malware. But a good keygen or crack for a popular application and you can easily spread CryptoWall around and get $500 from a lot of users.

Comment: Re:MORE BLOAT! (Score 1) 81

You may never use iMovie, for example, but there it is, included with your Mac, whether you like it or not.

Not since Mavericks, actually. Since Mavericks, all the iLife and iWork apps are now separate (free to new Mac owners) downloads from the Mac App Store, so if you don't want iMovie, you don't download it. There was a mild amount of downloading when it was discovered pirated versions of iLife would automatically give you a legitimate version (because iLife/iWork was only "free with a new Mac purchase")

iTunes is always included, as is QuickTime, because well, people generally expect their OS to be able to play music and movies from the get-go.

Apple has been reducing the amount of 3rd party stuff they ship with the OS - between security issues (when bundling Java and Flash with the OS) as well. Kinda sad since my older Macs came with a bunch of not-trialware software. I suppose when Apple started shipping them with Mac Office trials was when they stopped asking 3rd parties for bundled software...

Comment: Re:Economy of Scale (Score 1) 81

by tlhIngan (#49580025) Attached to: Uber Testing Massive Merchant Delivery Service

The thing is, most people likely to consume their services would rather have them operating just as they are than otherwise. It is a bit of an irony given that we're a democracy, but stuff like this happens all the time. We have speed limits that almost nobody follows, and yet they aren't changed. The issue is that laws often do not reflect the political will of the population.

The problem is when something inevitably happens, and the user gets screwed. E.g., an Uber driver getting in an accident without a fare, but heading to pick up one. Technically, the Uber insurance doesn't apply, and it's up to the driver's insurance to figure out if they cover it or not.

If not, then if you're the one they hit, it's YOUR insurance that covers the bill under "underinsured party". Your insurance may try to recover the money from the other driver (who has no insurance) but there's no guarantee. Meanwhile, YOUR insurance goes up even though it wasn't your fault - the Uber guy ran into you. So you're screwed. You can try to sue to the other driver.

And that's when the big crackdowns happen. It's all a big party until someone gets screwed over. If it's someone in power, then Uber may have to pay up themselves (the principle to go after those with money).

And we're seeing the effects of no regulation slowly - depending on your location, taxi companies may be forced to pick up anyone, including handicapped, and if they cannot, they may be forced to actually wait for a replacement. (Some jurisdictions say if a taxi driver cannot pick up a fare, they must wait with the passenger until a replacement taxi arrives who can pick up the fare - you're not allowed to say "he's black, I don't want him" and drive off).

Uber's small enough now it doesn't matter because they're only going after the folks with money...

Comment: Re:Again? (Score 4, Interesting) 141

by tlhIngan (#49578041) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort

Do we really need a story about ham radio after every disaster? I'm sure it's being used, but not to the extent of official radio communication. "People communicating by any means possible," is not news.

Yes, because everyone not affected seems to assume that stuff like the Internet and cellphones will kill ham radio. Yet I'm pretty sure that while in normal circumstances you could get access to the Internet, and yes, the vast majority of people have cellphones, well, guess what? That stuff's not working now, so now what? Bit hard to use the Google or Facebook "I'm safe" feature when you can't get online now...

Call a friend, or text? Pretty hard when the towers are overloaded and maybe even in states that would appear to work, but not.

And that's a problem because people assume that because in the normal case it's not needed, it's obsolete. I'm sure a lot of people on /. wonder about AM/FM radios given that you can stream Pandora and other stuff off the internet.

And yes, ham radio is often official radio communications methods - many rescue groups use hams to provide communications between teams on the ground and HQ, or even to provide a way to tell someone else outside the country to relay messages onwards. And local government also often uses hams for emergency communications - the ham radio infrastructure may often be better than what their official radios have.

Comment: Re:Once again (Score 4, Interesting) 141

by tlhIngan (#49577855) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort

While you do have a good point, I think that any disaster that requires ham radio for communication would also likely have taken out the local power grid leaving consumer power line networking inoperable.

There are in general two kinds of operation of ham radio. First is local communications - local rescue groups using hams to help communicate and coordinate between groups on the ground and HQ.

There's also the longer distance communications - these guys get the signal out so someone in an area not affected by the disaster can pass on messages and whatnot. Think more along the lines of "I'm safe and sound" type messages being passed on to family.

The problem is power line broadband basically makes the long-distance communications less reliable. I mean, given Nepal's economic conditions, sending out "I'm safe" messages usually mean transmitting to India, where the infrastructure works fine. Powerline broadband would be working as well, which means your message will not be received because the receiver can't hear your message over the noise.

Power line networking or broadband generally affects long-distance HF communications more so than short-range VHF/UHF comms. And that's bad because short range would mean the power and infrastructure is down so it's not a problem. But you want to pass your message to places unaffected by the disaster where there IS working infrastructure, and then you have interference.

And that's the beauty of ham radio that blows people's minds away - it's not just about people talking to people in a city, but around the world - it spans the ability to talk to people from your neighbourhood or city to around the globe. Most people are fascinated because most of them only see extreme short range communications - a few miles at most for a cellphone to the tower, to a few tens of feet for wifi and Bluetooth. Telling them that it's possible to actually go around the world on wireless...

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 5, Insightful) 694

by tlhIngan (#49577729) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

Wait...the pope is a creationist...


He believes God created the universe, yes, but not that it's 6000 years old or whatever - rather, God created the conditions to which things like science and evolution can take place. The Big Bang happened because God didn't create the universe, He created the conditions for the universe to exist. God didn't create Man, he created the environment to which evolution could take place to create Man.

Effectively, he believes in evolution, but also in that God didn't wave a "magic wand" and Man suddenly popped out of nowhere. God created the conditions to which Man could evolve.

It's a partial cop-out, but given science really cannot explain what happened before the Big Bang, or what's outside the universe, well, that is God's domain.

Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 4, Informative) 262

by tlhIngan (#49577629) Attached to: Crashing iPad App Grounds Dozens of American Airline Flights

I'm guessing that their solution will be to put Pilots and Copilots on different update schedules and also allow for the immediate roll back of any software updates by the user. Where I don't think having one application on one OS is necessarily all that risky, what cost them in this case was the inability for the pilots to roll back to the last version that worked right after an upgrade or grab a 'backup device" from the pilot's lounge if theirs is somehow messed up. Given that the issue is not safety but more about keeping the schedule here, I imagine that the logistical costs of their solution will be a primary consideration.

No can do.

The problem isn't the iPad. Or the application. It's that one particular updated doc caused a problem.

And by flight regulations, EVERYONE has to carry the latest revision of the document. And every document is on a different update schedule.

Some documents are changed only when there are updates. Other documents have fixed expiry dates and must be updated to the latest version before that.

And at all times you must have the latest available updates - sure there's maybe a week of grace when the new edition comes out before the old edition expires, but that's about it.

In the paper world, people were actually employed to go through all 35lbs of documents ensuring the latest versions of every page were present (pages are usually supplied as differences in binders, so you remove the old page and stick in the new page. Pages were versioned (typically by date) and there's often a cover sheet saying what's the latest version of each page (updated every time there's an update).

Of course, if you have hundreds of pilots each having to do this, eventually the human version of patch(1) will screw up, so you need to double check for this.

It's why EFBs have been so widely embraced - not having to have someone check 35lbs of documents practically daily, not having to have a whole infrastructure set up to distribute updates, not having to spend time updating documents, etc, it's a terrible chore.

In fact, given the number of updates and how long it's been going on, it's surprising it's only happened once that an update screws up - I'm sure in the past with paper it happened dozens or hundreds of times a day because updates happen that often, usually to different subsets of the pilots.

Comment: Re:Makerspace.... (Score 1) 167

It's been called a WORKSHOP or some close equivalent in various languages for something like 2000 years now! Why the heck do we need to make up a stupid name for it?

Well, a workshop generally conjures up images of places to do metal/wood working, while a "makerspace" encompasses fare more activities than that. These include electronics (with stations set up to do SMD rework, too), 3D printing, CNC and laser cutters, paper working, fabric, etc.

A well equipped makerspace would generally help everyone from someone sewing a tea cozy to building some contraption.

Heck, you're likely to find a few people working on cosplay stuff which often involves not just working on fabric, but paper, metal, plastic (especially 3D printed) and electronics all in one go. And usually it's not separated out and compartmentalized, so when you're doing your metalwork, you can run into someone that helps you ensure your stitching will be strong enough and all that.

Comment: Re:My 2c (Score 1) 35

by tlhIngan (#49574647) Attached to: RealTek SDK Introduces Vulnerability In Some Routers

Shaw Cable in Canada allows you direct access to the configuration of the modem/router/wifi box. Unfortunately, if you turn off the wifi, it doesn't completely turn off the wifi. You have to call Shaw and get them to disable wifi on their side as turning if off in the software doesn't actually shut off the wifi, it just disables people seeing and connecting to it. The modem/router/wifi sometimes cuts out the cable modem part for a couple of minutes a few times a day if the wifi is enabled at all.

If you're on Shaw,give Customer Service a call and ask them to set your modem to bridge mode. (Shaw disables the option to do it from the web GUI). This turns off the router complete and it just bridges the DOCSIS modem to the LAN ports. If you have the Cisco modem, it's bridged to all 4 "LAN" ports. If you have the SMC or HiTron modem, it's bridged to port 1 only.

Stick your regular router to that port and you're done. No need to do anything fancy to use your router.

Note that startup's a bit tricky as the modem will run the routing software for a minute first in case you want to change the settings, before it resets itself and sets up the bridge. Sometimes my router grabs the settings IP (192.168.100.x) and needs to be released/renewed to grab the proper WAN IP.

Bridged my modem, run a super nice high end router on it and never looked back.

Comment: Re:Talk to us first if you wish to patent the chan (Score 1) 63

by tlhIngan (#49564625) Attached to: Imagination To Release Open MIPS Design To Academia

It's very common these days for companies to allow universities to use their technology at the cost of tying the company into the university's patent revenue. And of course this is often publicly-funded research, so not only is the taxpayer paying for the development of patents used to sue that same taxpayer, the patents go directly to a company from academia.

Well, it's "talk to us first" which probably means "if you want to patent this, you're going to have to license it to us" sort of deal.

I mean, think about it - the company is offering researchers the chance to work on a live product. If the researchers generate something good, then patent it, the company could find that it is hamstrung because the university it gave research materials to has now blocked it from producing the next-generation product.

Basically the companies want to give researchers materials they need to do their research, but they're also not wanting to shoot themselves in the foot for their generosity (which often includes engineering support at the highest levels) by now being forced to pay huge sums of money for the privilege of furthering research.

So there are several reasons.

One is simple fairness - materials were provided for your research and it would be appreciated to not bite the hands that feed you. So if something gets patented, then perhaps a license to use those patents can be negotiated, with a slight discount

If it results in patents that others are licensing, then maybe a tiny royalty for providing the materials to fund the research.

If a university objects, the simple answer is to not accept the offer and to use other materials.

It's really no different than if a company provided funds for a research grant, except instead of providing cash, they're providing materials.

Comment: Re:Do not want (Score 1) 125

by tlhIngan (#49564365) Attached to: Smart Headlights Adjust To Aid Drivers In Difficult Conditions

My current car (a 12 Infiniti) has the steering headligts - great in the parking lot, really makes a different, not sure how much it matters at speed. It's currently a luxury feature, but with time and technology it won't be.

Steering headlights aren't used as much at speed because at speed, you generally have far greater field of view so you can see farther ahead to anticipate.

Steering headlights are useful at low speeds, generally urban turns and corners where the light suddenly pointing out a pedestrian is far more useful.

Comment: Re:ESPN can go eff themselves. (Score 3, Interesting) 329

by tlhIngan (#49563405) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles

And no pocket is being picked. Companies willingly pay them for their channel because the vast majority of cable subscribers want it. They always want to pay less, of course, but the other option (no ESPN) just isn't viable in most cases.

ESPN is the most expensive channel on cable, and it comprises probably close to HALF the cost of basic cable - ESPN charges cable providers around $12/month/subscriber.

Contrast with History or Discovery - you can get every channel on either network for under $1/month/subscriber - the amount you pay on basic cable for each amounts to under 50 cents. And practically all the cable channels are paid like that - well under a quarter each.

That's why ESPN is angry - because having every subscriber pay it tons of money every month is a great business model - including those who don't want it.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich