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Comment There should be an easy whitelist option (Score 1) 675

I installed an ad-blocker because a couple sites that I visit were serving up auto-playing videos with sound, and it was driving me crazy, so I broke down and installed an extension. That totally took care of my problem. However, it had the undesired side-effect of removing ads for sites that I would like to support. It's likely that I could find the extension I installed, go through the options, and add some sites to the whitelist. However, I'm far too lazy to actually do that.

If I went to a website I wanted to support and they displayed a message saying "We've notice you're using an ad-blocker. If you'd like to support us, click here to add us to your whitelist", I'd do that in a heartbeat.

Comment Re:Not that impresssed (Score 2) 73

From TFA: "When the Wi-Fi is on, the gun’s network has a default password that allows anyone within Wi-Fi range to connect to it. From there, a hacker can treat the gun as a server and access APIs to alter key variables in its targeting application. (The hacker pair were only able to find those changeable variables by dissecting one of their two rifles and using an eMMC reader to copy data from the computer’s flash storage with wires they clipped onto its circuit board pins.)"

So, it's a remote exploit in that you can do it if you're within Wi-Fi range (and the gun has it's Wi-Fi turned on), and they had to do some work to find what settings they could change via the API. Seems like a cromulent hack to me.

Comment I don't believe him (Score 2) 341

I can't believe these were his primary goals at the time. I think he got into something that was way more than he expected, and he pulled a c.y.a. move and sent Manning down the river. Saying he did it for the good of the Afghan people that might be named in the documents seems revisionist. But I guess only he knows, so he gets to tell whatever story he wants.


PA School Spied On Students Via School-Issued Laptop Webcams 941

jargon82 writes "A Pennsylvania high school is using laptops they issued to students to spy on them in homes and outside of school. According to a class action filling the webcams and microphones in these laptops could be remotely activated by school officials, and have been used in this role. One student was accused of 'improper behavior in his home' and the school provided a photo taken via his laptop as proof."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Lord of the Rings Online Preview

GamerDotDad writes: "Gameworld Network has posted a preview of 'The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar', the upcoming MMO from Turbine. It contains impressions of the game gleaned from the recent open stress test. Here's a sample:

'Playing as Race of Man, I had plenty of character class options: Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-Master, and Minstrel. I chose to be a Burglar. In the context of this game, that doesn't mean you'll be stealing valuables. The Burglar specializes in debuffing, or "robbing" enemies of the ability to attack you at full strength. Plus I imagine that, like Sawyer on Lost, this bad boy gets to score more often.'"

Submission + - Drive-By Pharming Attack Could Hit Home Networks

Rob writes: is reporting that security researchers at Symantec and Indiana University have figured out a way to compromise home networks using a single line of JavaScript in a web page. The attack, which they have called "drive-by pharming", would enable attackers to convincingly pretend to be any web site on the internet, making it fairly trivial to repeatedly phish for sensitive information, install malware on users' machines, or steal email.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Blade servers: early adopters offer tips, tricks

johannacw writes: This is a good one to check out if you're thinking about blade servers but have been holding off because of heat, space or other issues — customers who have been there offer their best practices. mand=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9010441

By Sandra Gittlen

(Computerworld) While blade servers can offer tremendous benefits for the data center, early adopters of the technology warn fellow IT implementers to plan very carefully.

"The impact on facilities wasn't considered when blades first came out, so you have to do some serious capacity planning and architecture development before deploying them," says Brian Smith, data center manager at The Cerner Corp. in Kansas City, Mo.

Blades are self-contained servers that support high-density computing. Unlike their stand-alone predecessors, they share components, such as a monitor, with other blades to ease management, allow for organized cabling and smaller server footprints in the data center.

Cerner, which hosts applications for hospitals, has been working with blade servers in its seven data centers for the past three years and has almost 1,200 in use today.

Smith says he has learned firsthand the promise and perils of the technology. On the upside, blade servers allow companies to consolidate their operations and employ advanced management tools such as virtualization. On the other hand, blade servers are notorious energy drains that wreak havoc on data centers' power and cooling resources. "Data centers can cook if they aren't prepared for the high density," Smith says.

Blades have bigger power needs

Jeff Stein, director of professional services at InteleNet Communications Inc. in Irvine, Calif., agrees. "The typical power requirement for a standard server is 120-volt power. The typical requirement for a blade is 208-volt power. Some facilities just can't offer that," he says.

InteleNet, a managed service provider, has 500 blade servers split between its main facility in Irvine, which it owns, and another facility in Phoenix. Stein just completed "a significant power expansion project" to support the blades. "In Irvine, the original construction and electrical designs for the facility were able to deliver a certain number of watts per square foot on average. Recent hardware developments, such as the blade servers, have forced us to enhance the infrastructure of this data center to support the increasing electrical and cooling requirements," he says.

He admits the team ran into challenges when they first deployed the blades almost two years ago. "We run a data center, deal with lots of power requirements and we still made an error when we bought our first chassis," he says.

Stein says the team purchased power distribution units and cabling that were much larger than anticipated. "This limited what additional equipment could be installed effectively in the same cabinet with the blades. We made sure to take note so that we never make that mistake again," he says.

Watch this space

He says another common mistake that data center teams face when dealing with blade servers is space allocation.

"You have this perception that because the blade servers are smaller and vertically mounted, you'll be able to put more in a rack. That's not always true," he says.

Stein says that traditional server chassis hold one horizontal-mounted server per rack unit. With blades, the chassis tend to be seven or nine rack units and deliver 14 independent blades. However, this higher-server density also brings related increases in power and cooling requirements.

Andi Mann, analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, agrees that blade servers can be deceiving. "You can't rack up two or three next to each other; sometimes you can't even fill up a whole rack," he says.

He encourages data center teams to plot out their equipment needs. "You need tools to help you understand your hot spots and where you need to run power. Remember, you're colocating a lot more power drain into a single circuit, and you need to ensure you aren't overloading the system."

Planning, other tools for the job

He suggests preempting problems by implementing dedicated power and space planning programs such as Visual Network Design Inc.'s Rackwise and Aperture Technologies Inc.'s Vista. He adds that applications such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Insight Power Manager track ongoing consumption.

John Rowell, chief technology officer at OpSource Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., says not planning ahead of time leads to cost issues down the road. "For larger server deployments, you really have to become a power expert, otherwise you'll get burned on costs," he says.

OpSource, a software-as-a-service provider, expanded its data centers during 2005 and 2006, increasing the pool of blade servers to more than 850 and sending the power demand through the roof. Coupled with the rising price of power during that time, he says costs increased by more than two and a half times what they started with.

Rowell says that because they had agreements in place with customers before that time, they were unable to pass the costs along to customers. "We've had to soak up a lot of those fees," he says.

Although OpSource is a service provider, in-house IT staffers might keep this situation in mind especially if they engage in chargeback or other budgeting practices that require user departments to pay for the IT resources they consume.

Rowell says there are two primary drivers for a move to blades: the number of servers required to support today's applications, and the increase in CPU and memory needed to support those applications. "Faster processsors and larger memory chips that come in these servers need more power to run. This combination has created a multiplier effect on the power requirements of data center deployments," he says.

To ensure that they are on target when purchasing equipment, Rowell says his team uses software tools to do a CPU/memory to watts analysis. "It typically requires three times the server CPU/memory capabilities to run an application today than was required in 2001," he explains.

Cerner's Smith says there are other considerations with blades, too, such as rack size. "Depending on how many chassis you put in a rack, they are getting taller. If you don't plan for it, the doors into the rooms might not be tall enough. We've had to replace some doors," he says. The height also poses a problem for cabling. "We do our cable management overhead to make sure we have enough room," he says.

There are some Band-Aid measures that companies can put in place to ease blade servers' power and cooling burden on the data center. "You can leave blank floor tiles around the racks to get cold air in; you can get a back door that sends heat out of the room; and you can bring water into the data center to cool it. There are lots of work-arounds," Smith says.

But he warns, "All that can add up. So the pluses of using blade servers can get outweighed by the cost of dealing with the high power and cooling needs."

Still, blades are worth the hassle

Although some ITers are quick to point out the costs and other issues inherent with blade servers, they are equally adamant about never going back to stand-alone servers.

Rowell says he wouldn't give up the strong management tools for his Linux and Microsoft environment. "One of the primary reasons we went with blades is for the virtualization tools," he says.

His team has striped multiple instances of software across a host of blades so that when a customer has an event, such as the launch of a new product, they can easily ramp up server capacity to support the traffic surge.

Consultant Mann says virtualization is also beneficial for companies going through mergers and acquisitions. "If your company all of a sudden buys another company, it's easy to rack up a whole lot of new blades and deploy a virtualized environment to your new employees," he says.

He adds that blades ease management within and between data centers. "Managing dozens of blades is simple. You no longer have to do swivel-chair administration because you can manage them all — even remote sites — from a single console," Mann says.

This ease of management allows IT groups to redeploy staff away from tedious server administration tasks, he adds.

Cerner's Smith says the key to balancing the pros and cons of the blade servers is to stay on top of your data center needs and not be caught off guard. One way he does this: "Our IT team meets with the facilities team every week to make sure everything is running smoothly. We have a list we run through — are we running out of power, space, cooling?" he says.

For InteleNet's Stein, blade servers have been a godsend. "It's worth it for us to make any modifications for our blade servers, because we don't have the headaches we used to have such as unracking servers and tearing them apart to reconfigure them. All we have to do is take out a blade, upgrade it and stick it back in," he says.

Gittlen is a freelance writer based in greater Boston and the author of Computerworld's "Networking Know-How" column. She can be reached at
Media (Apple)

Submission + - DVD Archival on HardDisk Solutions

Corbets writes: "I'm moving abroad and would rather not cart my DVD selection around with me, especially given that my DVDs and my changer will not be compatible with those I buy in Europe anyway. I'm looking for a nice solution that allows me to rip, downsample (I don't need super high quality — without my HD screen and speaker system, why bother?) and store as much as possible. I'm familiar with Mac the Ripper, but I'm looking for suggestions from the Slashdot community for other OS X compatible solutions."

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