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Comment Re:Wherever there's a hurricane... (Score 2) 102

Wherever there's a hurricane there are roofers.

You call that a quote? This is a quote:

Look at all these little things! So busy now! Notice how each one is useful. A lovely ballet ensues, so full of form and color. Now, think about all those people that created them. Technicians, engineers, hundreds of people, who will be able to feed their children tonight, so those children can grow up big and strong and have little teeny children of their own, and so on and so forth. Thus, adding to the great chain of life. You see, father, by causing a little destruction, I am in fact encouraging life.

Comment Re:already used for spam... (Score 4, Funny) 192

What I loved were the printers at all three of the colleges I went to all had complicated systems set up so that they could charge you to print on the printers. However, open up wireshark and in less than a second, you would receive a couple hundred packets from printers advertizing themselves. And it wasn't just student printers either; the very printers they were charging us to print from availible for free and letting everybody know.

It's even worse than that, given that university regulations require that all software of this kind is developed in-house by underpaid student interns, the accounting software is usually as sucky as you can get. When I was a student you could set the page count in your postscript jobs to a negative value and it'd credit your account every time you printed something. I paid off my student loan that way.

Comment Re:Maybe because those kinds of lists are useless (Score 1) 71

I remember, in the 80's, Xenix was "export restricted", especially libc.a if it had "crypt.o" in it - like the algorithm hadn't been published many years prior to that. Anybody remember the big Toshiba machine-tool controller foorah that supposedly allowed the Soviets make quieter submarine propellers?

It wasn't just Xenix, it was about half of all the high-tech in existence. Those lists have always been a joke, both because they were totally out of touch with current technology, and because they seemed to have been generated by throwing darts at a Mouser catalogue. Back when it was still COCOM I once had to go through the IT section of the control lists, and found that something like a third of all the products sold in the computer store down the road were (in theory) export-controlled, things like "chips with more than 208 pins", a complex list of graphics performance that was leading-edge in the 1980s but was by the time the lists were published exceeded by anything faster than an S3 Trio64, anything that did adaptive routing which must have been high-tech in the 1970s some time but by the time it was featured on the control lists any Unix kernel and every router did it, and I can't remember all the other nonsense in there (Linux, even in the form it was in back then, had so much controlled technology in it you could practically open an arms fair with it). If the lists had been enforced as written, half the US computer industry would have had to stop all exports and/or been shut down as illegal arms traders. You just had to rely on the fact that they were never enforced unless you really pissed off the wrong people in the government, at which point they'd suddenly discover all sorts of violations that you'd committed.

Comment Re:forgot RH7 (Score 4, Funny) 380

Personally I don't really like the Debian distributions and prefer the Fedora/Redhat ones since I have never had many problems with Fedora Core 7 and have updated regularly all the way to Fedora 18 which IMHO is actually the best distribution to date although I would say that the new installer is a little bit cosmetically challenged, however it does what it is supposed to do and it does it well. I do think Alan Cox's statement saying that the new installer is unusable is totally wrong, although I do agree it is different.

I'm running a Redmond distribution, Windows 7 I think it's called. It's not bad, reasonably stable, the installer works just fine, has a nice polished look to it, and seems to have built-in Wine support because Office runs fine on it. I've heard it's been forked into something called Metro/Win8 which is pretty unpleasant, so I'll be sticking with the current distro for awhile.

Comment Re:send the mini-shuttle over there to wack it (Score 1) 450

"Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" was Finnish wasn't it?

Yeah, but it was Iron Skies that featured the nuclear-armed peaceful-research-only vessels.

Come to think of it, maybe that's North Korea's plan, to protect us all from space Nazis. Makes about as much sense as some of their other antics.

Comment Re:Windows 7 compatibility mode (Score 1) 313

Or they have shoddy legacy code that checks for 64-bit systems and refuses to run on them

So you're saying that someone writing code for 32- or even 16-bit Windows managed to figure out how to check for a CPU type that wouldn't be invented for another ten years and refuse to run on it? That's pretty impressive.

Personally I'd put my money on the code being 16-bit, using 16-bit components, or taking advantage of some Win16-compatibility mechanism that doesn't exist any more in Win64.

Comment This is 20-year-old technology (Score 1) 118

MasterCard were demo'ing this in the late 1980s under the name "Super Smart Card". The only difference was that back then the cards were gold-coloured, not silver as in the BBC photo. Since then this has been retried a number of times by different manufacturers, failing each time. So I wouldn't hold out much hope for this one succeeding. OTOH wait a few years and there'll be another press release from another vendor about it.

Comment Re:Grin (Score 1) 360

Another benefit is the support for older hardware that's been dropped by the GCC team along with ease of debugging. I've had compiler optimizations introduce unexpected bugs/failure mode in the Linux kernel itself that disappeared when the No Optimization flag was set. Simply put, if the kernel isn't stable, I don't give a damn how stable the rest of your system is, it's not stable because you can't trust the kernel and that's why Clang/LLVM is all about.

That's exactly the point I was making in this post earlier on in the discussion. Unless you've got the ability to run massive amounts of regression tests to make sure everything's OK, you can't trust the output of gcc with optimisation enabled. So far we haven't found a single compiler bug with LLVM. In contrast the last gcc compiler bug we had to work around was just over a week ago, a simple pointer assignment where the write went to who-knows-where in memory when optimisation was enabled.

Comment Re:Grin (Score 1) 360

Also, although I've heard a lot about the inner workings of GCC being rather intertwined and convoluted, whereas LLVM is simpler to work with and modify (not sure how true this is).

The internals of gcc are an absolute nightmare, even gcc's own developers admit this. A side-effect of this is that gcc is difficult to maintain, rather buggy, and any changes create a serious risk of introducing further bugs. In terms of code generation, I help maintain a sizeable OSS cross-platform codebase, and gcc alone has more compiler bugs than all other compilers it's built with combined. We've got so many "this silly-walk of code is necessary because without it gcc generates invalid code" conditional compile sections in our code it's not funny, and every new release of gcc brings about further kludges to get around bugs in the code generator. The sooner we can get away from everything using gcc as the default compiler the better.


Submission + - Sophos A/V riddled with vulnerabilities (pcworld.com)

arglebargle_xiv writes: Security researcher Tavis Ormandy has had a look at Sophos A/V and found that it'll actually make your system less secure after you install it:

The paper contains details about several vulnerabilities in the Sophos antivirus code responsible for parsing Visual Basic 6, PDF, CAB and RAR files. Some of these flaws can be attacked remotely and can result in the execution of arbitrary code on the system. Ormandy even included a proof-of-concept exploit for the PDF parsing vulnerability which he claims requires no user interaction, no authentication and can be easily transformed into a self-spreading worm.

The findings also include this gem:

Ormandy also found that a component called the 'Buffer Overflow Protection System' (BOPS) that's bundled with Sophos antivirus, disables the ASLR (address space layout randomization) exploit mitigation feature on all Windows versions that support it by default, including Vista and later.

Original paper here.

Comment Re:Marketing Speech? 10 writes per day for five ye (Score 0) 54

The article makes me a bit suspicious: "Intel's own high-endurance MLC NAND can be found in the drive, which is rated for 10 full disk writes per day for five years." sounds pretty bad actually, if I understand it right. Per cell this means: 365*10*5 = roughly 20.000 write cycles per cell? Sure wear leveling algorithms are there, but 20.000 cycles is not exceptional, or am I wrong?

With an Intel SSD you never actually get anywhere near the total number of write cycles. Because of a special Intel wear-levelling feature called BAD_CTX 0000013x the drive will brick itself periodically, forcing you to erase it and resetting the write config. It's a clever feature of Intel SSD products that I haven't seen other manufacturers implement yet.

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In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982