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Security

Preventing My Hosting Provider From Rooting My Server? 539

hacker writes "I have a heavily-hit public server (web, mail, cvs/svn/git, dns, etc.) that runs a few dozen OSS project websites, as well as my own personal sites (gallery, blog, etc.). From time to time, the server has 'unexpected' outages, which I've determined to be the result of hardware, network and other issues on behalf of the provider. I run a lot of monitoring and logging on the server-side, so I see and graph every single bit and byte in and out of the server and applications, so I know it's not the OS itself. When I file 'WTF?'-style support tickets to the provider through their web-based ticketing system, I often get the response of: 'Please provide us with the root password to your server so we can analyze your logs for the cause of the outage.' Moments ago, there were three simultaneous outages while I was logged into the server working on some projects. Server-side, everything was fine. They asked me for the root password, which I flatly denied (as I always do), and then they rooted the server anyway, bringing it down and poking around through my logs. This is at least the third time they've done this without my approval or consent. Is it possible to create a minimal Linux boot that will allow me to reboot the server remotely, come back up with basic networking and ssh, and then from there, allow me to log in and mount the other application and data partitions under dm-crypt/loop-aes and friends?" Read on for a few more details of hacker's situation.
Data Storage

Best Filesystem For External Back-Up Drives? 484

rufey writes "I've recently embarked on a project to rip my DVD and CD collection to a pair of external USB drives. One drive will be used on a daily basis to access the rips of music and DVDs, as well as store backups of all of my other data. The second drive will be a copy of the first drive, to be synced up on a monthly basis and kept at a different location. The USB drives that I purchased for this are 1 TB in size and came pre-formatted with FAT32. While I can access this filesystem from all of my Windows and Linux machines, there are some limitations." Read on for the rest, and offer your advice on the best filesystem for this application.
Cellphones

AT&T Wins Gizmodo 3G Bandwidth Test 156

ink writes "Gizmodo has completed a 12-city test of 3G cellular bandwidth speed. Verizon won four of the twelve, however AT&T scored higher with six: 'Let's get this straight right away: We didn't test dropped voice calls, we didn't test customer service, and we didn't test map coverage by wandering around in the boonies. We tested the ability of the networks to deliver 3G data in and around cities, including both concrete canyons and picket-fenced 'burbs. And while every 3G network gave us troubles on occasion, AT&T's wasn't measurably more or less reliable than Verizon's.'"
Cellphones

Verizon Removes Search Choices For BlackBerrys 510

shrugger writes "I picked up my BlackBerry this morning to do a search and noticed Bing as my default search engine. I thought this was very strange, since I didn't pick this setting. I went to change it back to Google and, to my chagrin, Bing was my only option! Apparently Verizon has pushed an update that removes all search providers except Bing. Thanks a lot Verizon!" The Reg notes: "The move is part of the five-year search and advertising deal Verizon signed with Microsoft in January for a rumored $500m."

Comment Re:Launch Times? (Score 3, Informative) 327

Because a secret agenda of theirs is to make you use XCode to develop apps. This was made quite clear to my former company on a project. That's why you won't see Java nor Flash any time soon, and the ToS explicitly forbids apps that execute external code. I theorize that by doing this they 1) want control and 2)hope that the iPhone development activity propagates into OS X development activity.

Comment Non-Profits (Score 4, Interesting) 195

I've had a lot of experience volunteering for non-profit organizations. Granted, it's not the same type of "volunteering" that you mention, but it is a very good path to gain not only coding experience, but leadership skills, business experience, and of course, contacts. On the resume, it is definitely a differentiator. In interviews, I am always asked about my volunteer work.

That being said, there are several pitfalls:

1) The vast majority of non-profits are inherently very conservative and risk adverse due to their unique cash flow situation. You cannot just go into a group and say, "I'll build you X,Y, and Z and it will be fabulous." You must spend time gaining their trust in a volunteer capacity they ask for. If they're advertising on a volunteer site for a programmer, great. You're in. If there is an organization you want to help, but they're not asking for IT help, you may have to spend a long time volunteering for them in whatever role they need, buddy up to the higher ups, then offer advice on how you can streamline things for them.

2) Be careful of the organizations you list on the resume. They might not always help. The homeless, animals, and children are all very good causes that won't offend anyone. Sadly, though, gay and lesbian causes may turn off a born-again HR screener. I'm not saying don't volunteer for controversial causes, but I am saying be careful of what you put on the resume.

3) Be sure you know what you're doing. Even though it is a learning experience for you, it isn't. You are not giving any long term help to a organization by selecting obscure tools and sloppy coding. You will not be there forever. This goes for paid work and non-profit work. You may be hit by a bus, you may have a falling out. However, the product you create will be used for a long, long time. Use best practices and common tools. Mod me down, RoRers, but I recently talked to a non-profit that couldn't find anyone with RoR experience willing to help modify an app that some fly-by-night volunteer developed. They spent months posting on Craigslist and the usual volunteer sites, and eventually had to agree on a complete rewrite in PHP from another volunteer.

Comment Jeremy from Lee's Comics (Score 5, Funny) 387

Sometimes, "Stereotypes are a real time saver," as The Onion put it. Growing up, Lee's Comics in Palo Alto, CA was my neighborhood comic book store. Working there from the early 90's, there was a guy named Jeremy. I remember vividly the day Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons was introduced (or shall I say, First Appearance). When I watched that episode, me and every other kid within a ten mile radius said, "Jeremy!"

After school the next day, me and my friends went in, ran to Jeremy and said, "Hey Jeremy, did you watch the Simpsons last night?" "Yes," he said groaning, and obviously tired of the question. Why was he tired? Because Jeremy looked exactly like Comic Book Guy - Beard, receding hairline, big rotund body always wrapped in shorts and t-shirts. Only difference was that Jeremy wore glasses.

Jeremy, Real Life Comic Book Guy, wherever you are now, I salute you. You were a huge impact on the lives of many kids in the 94306 zip code.

Networking

Active Directory Comes To Linux With Samba 4 276

Da Massive writes in with another possible answer to a recent Ask Slashdot about FOSS replacements for Microsoft AD server. "Enterprise networks now have an alternative choice to Microsoft Active Directory (AD) servers, with the open source Samba project aiming for feature parity with the forthcoming release of version 4, according to Canberra-based Samba developer Andrew Bartlett. Speaking at this year's linux.conf.au Linux and open source conference in Hobart, Bartlett said Samba 4 is aiming to be a replacement for AD by providing a free software implementation of Microsoft's custom protocols. Because AD is 'far more than LDAP and Kerberos,' Bartlett said, Samba 4 is not only about developing with Microsoft's customization of those protocols, it is also about moving the project beyond just providing an NT 4 compatible domain manager."
Media (Apple)

Submission + - iTunes launches DRM-Free Music Tracks

jbottz writes: Apple today launched iTunes Plus, offering DRM-free music tracks at $1.29 per song. Launching with EMI's digital catalog of singles and albums, the tracks are encoded in the 256 kbps AAC file format. In addition, iTunes customers can now upgrade previously purchased EMI content to iTunes Plus tracks for 30 cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.
Editorial

Submission + - Corporate 'Coddling' of Younger Workers

WorthlessProgrammer writes:


During this morning's commute, NPR reported that younger workers require much 'coddling', at least according to the opinion of workers and managers that are 40+. (pod cast at npr.org).

I wondered why I was not able to make a comparative to my workplace, because there no known "high-maintenance" employees. And I am aware of ALL employees, as the U.S. incorporation of my employer is very small (less than 100 employees). Further recollection 'revealed' that there has been no new hire, discernibly less than 35, within the previous four years.

I should mention the major contributing factor to my employer's upper age 'bias', probably typical to small technical organizations, is that my boss requires all people to have significant experience. If you understand analog signal conditioning, digital 'glue' logic, embedded microcontrollers and DSP, electromagnetic compatibility and product safety issues, and switchmode power conversion, we may have a job for you. And yes, even the network support tech (he works for the Director of Engineering) knows electronics and can troubleshoot complex power supplies.

I will continue to use the network support tech as an anecdotal example; he is approx 40 years of age, is not arrogant, and does whatever is required to get the job done. The IT techs at my previous employer considered the engineering department arch enemies, never completed the most simple project on time, insisted that they were the only employees of any value, and were all under the age of 36.

So I emailed my wife (manager at an ag business). She concurred with the NPR report, and said that she seldom sees competent and reliable workers that are under 40.

Let the generational wars begin...
Music

Submission + - Apple release DRM free tunes

IndiepoprockJesse writes: "Apple today released their announced DRM free itunes music. The new service, called iTunes Plus, let's you download DRM free music with a higher bitrate at 30 cents a piece more. Currently only EMI music is available in the DRM free AAC 256kbps format, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney's classic albums. People who have EMI music on their computer can upgrade to the new DRM free format for 30 cents a song or 3 dollars for most albums.."

Feed We'll Have To Wait For The Next Lawsuit To Find Out If A Web Crawler Can Enter I (techdirt.com)

Last month, news spread concerning a somewhat odd lawsuit involving the Internet Archive and the question as to whether or not a computer spider can enter into a contract just by indexing a website. The case involved a woman who ran a website and had put some text at the bottom claiming that just visiting the website was entering into a contract, and part of that contract included not copying or distributing the content. The Internet Archive's spider did what it does and archived the page, leading to the threat of a lawsuit. The Internet Archive preemptively went to court to have a judge say they were in the clear, at which point the woman countersued. Of course, she didn't just countersue for copyright infringement, but a range of charges including racketeering. Most of the discussion focused on whether or not a spider could enter into a contract, though an equally compelling question is whether or not you can automatically force someone to give up their fair use rights. Unfortunately, neither question is going to be decided in this case. WebProNews reports that the woman and the Internet Archive have settled the case out of court with both sides putting happy faces on the story. At the same time, however, WebProNews also reports that the woman in question is still going after some of her critics, including publishing all sorts of personal information about at least two of them, potentially violating some privacy laws (at least one of the critics she's revealing info on is a minor). So perhaps there will still be a lawsuit stemming from this situation after all.

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