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Comment Re:Should have used vsftpd (Score 1) 152

You're saying it's possible to secure a known username. Who cares? Suppose 90% of attacks are on those known usernames (I don't have actual figures, but that seems plausible, based on my own experience with publicly accessible Linux machines). Just eliminate 90% of the attacks (and the chance of brute force breaking through) by eliminating those known accounts from remote login.

Why wouldn't you do this? You can still secure the rest of your accounts. Hackers, botnets and script kiddies go after the low-hanging fruit. Reduce your attack surface, and you are clearly better off. There's almost no hassle to having to su to root once you log in with a normal user account.

By the way--logging in to a console in public is completely different from remote root access. If someone can see over your shoulder--there are lots of other ways for them to engineer an attack. But we all have to be aware of the greater risk of unknown users on the Internet just scanning IP ranges and trying to login. If you've ever had a public web server, you will see that this happens to every machine. Much more common than someone we know trying to crack into our box.

Comment Offer custom maps (Score 1) 304

When I got married, I decided I wanted to make maps for my guests, none of whom lived in our small exurb. It turns out this is a pretty common task. I didn't want ugly, low resolution mapquest printout maps though. I wanted to be able to put in points of interest, I wanted a high level of street detail and I wanted some control over the rendering. I was excited to find out about OSM. It turns out, the Open Street Map website allows you to download a section of the map as SVG. Great! However, one problem: it has a pretty small limit on how big it can be, which limits either map size or level of detail. I ended up downloading the entire map, the rendering software and Mapnik style sheets, and having to compile the renderer myself. Then I edited the map in Inkscape, but there are some boundary issues when you just want a small segment of a big map. It was a pretty complicated project, but I think ultimately worth it.

If OSM offered a paid or advertising supported service to help make custom maps, I think it would be pretty popular. I've toyed around with the idea myself of offering this service, but I don't have the time.

Submission + - Local TV Could Go the Way of Newspapers

Hugh Pickens writes: "Alan D. Mutter writes on "Reflections of a Newsosaur" that the economics of local broadcasting may begin to unravel as dramatically in the next five years as they did for newspapers in the last five years due to the unparalleled consumer choice made possible by a growing mass of (mostly free) content on the Internet. "Once it becomes as easy and satisfying to view a YouTube video on your 50-inch television as it is to watch “Two and a Half Men,” audiences will fragment to the point that local broadcasters will not be able to attract large quantities of viewers for a particular program at a finite point in time," writes Mutter. The economics of cable TV programming already are geared to serving small but targeted niches but as audiences shatter, those options won’t be available to local broadcasters, who will be deprived of the vast reach that enabled the high ad rates and enviable profits long associated with their businesses. Although barely 8% of US households had access to IPTV in 2009, this technology is likely to be available to some 20% of the more than 100 million homes subscribing to pay-television services in 2014, according to senior analyst Lee Ratliff of iSuppli, a private market research company. "We already have gotten a hint of what the future could hold. Acting to trim spending during the recession, many local stations cut back their news staffs, resulting in a decline in the caliber and depth of their coverage," writes Mutter. "With the gruel we call local TV news already quite thin, our society can ill afford further cutbacks. But this may be the path we are on.""

Submission + - How to Go Broke Selling 0-Days (

Trailrunner7 writes: Despite all of the hand-wringing and moral posturing about the public sale of security vulnerabilities, it turns out that not many people are buying or selling vulns and the ones who are aren't making much money at it. A new survey of security researchers who sell vulnerabilities either publicly or in private, directed sales found that the vast majority of the flaws sell for less than $5,000. And almost none of them sell for much more than $10,000. At those prices, there's little chance that this is going to turn into the chaotic Wild West marketplace that some people predicted. It's a small, mostly controlled market that isn't making anyone rich.

Submission + - Meet The New Voicemail: Google Voice vs. YouMail (

CWmike writes: Looking for a better voicemail service? Web-based voice mail services have been adding features that go beyond just storing your messages online. Most can automatically transcribe recorded messages. And some have evolved into virtual command centers to handle your calling needs, whether it's receiving calls, making them or forwarding them to other phones. Howard Wen reviews four free Web-based voice mail services: Google Voice, Phonebooth, Ribbit Mobile and YouMail. Bottom line: YouMail might lack the neat extras of the other services in this roundup, but you can still use multiple outgoing greetings and assign each to specific phone numbers calling you. Plus, it provides apps for three of the major smartphone platforms. And YouMail is open to all right now.

Submission + - Rest in Peas: The Death of Speech Recognition (

An anonymous reader writes: Speech recognition accuracy flatlined--years ago. Works great for small vocabularies on your cell phone, but basically computers can't understand language--amazingly. Prospects for AI are dimmed and we seem to need AI for computers to understand language. Time to rewrite the story of the future.

Submission + - Texas to Cape Wind: You're Not First Yet

longacre writes: Cape Wind is making headlines for for being the first offshore wind farm to earn federal approval, but it still has plenty of legal hoops to jump through before groundbreaking. Texas, on the other hand, requires no review--state, federal or otherwise--to build wind farms off its shore. Texas energy expert and Popular Mechanics senior editor Jennifer Bogo talks to Texan energy leaders who are confident they will beat Cape Wind to the punch for the distinction of having the first functional U.S. Offshore wind farm. "I was about to write a press release to congratulate Cape Wind for getting their approval," says Jim Suydam, press secretary of the Texas General Land Office, "and let them know when they're done jumping through hoops up there they can come build off the Texas Coast." Despite its reputation as an oil-addicted, non-environmentally-friendly conservative state, Texas' existing land-based wind farms actually produce four-times more electricity than California.

Comment Re:House Rules (Score 1) 377 can just accept the Scrabble rules, which rely on lexicographers to determine the acceptability of a word. I'm not sure why you think you're better at determining what a "word" is than the committees of lexicographers who edit dictionaries. The original Scrabble rules are simple and avoid arbitrary classifications. Should we also eliminate rarely used scientific or medical words? Notes on the musical scale, which have english names? (do, re, mi, etc.) Is laser acceptable (light amplification by stimulated emission of radar)? Usage is what determines acceptability of something as a "word" in the English language, and determines inclusion in a dictionary.

Basically what you are saying, is that it's hard for you to remember these words. Part of the fun of Scrabble is in expanding your vocabulary. Accept the challenge instead of limiting yourself. There's already a clear, concise Scrabble word list. Use it.

By the way, ETC* is not acceptable, because it's not a word--it's an abbreviation without its own pronunciation. Amp, ref, and ex are all commonly used English words, so I'm not sure why they offend you. How often do you really say "amperage" or "ampere" rather than amp?

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