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Comment Tires of this BS thread trend... (Score 2) 217

Look, old is not necessarily bad. These government systems running "obsolete" languages have been typically meticulously maintained for decades. That means they are close to bug-free, and their weaknesses are well known, documented, and mitigated. Ask a mainframe driver when the last time a critical bug in zOS was corrected.....

There is an old joke.... if you got run over by a truck, and had to spend the rest of your life on computer-controlled life support, which platform would you choose?

I want a VAX with VMS.

Comment Hell No! (Score 1) 1067

First, division by zero is undefined in mathematics.

You MUST throw an exception, and handle it appropriately, or you are headed for bug hell.... google the plight of the USS Yorktown and a zero-divide unhandled exception if you need a real world lesson.

Second, IF you were to entertain the thought of actually returning a value, zero is the wrong value. (set mode=mathematician)

The limit of 1/x as x -> 0 is infinity if I remember correctly..... It has been 35 years since that particular class.....

Comment Trap & Skeet (Score 1) 236

Anyone who has ever watched a master trap or skeet shooter murder clay birds with a shotgun knows the answer to this problem, at least in the shortrun..... the WH grounds are already patrolled by armed secret service agents with radios. Train them to shoot skeet, and direct them to targets over the grounds via their radios.

Comment Act like a business, not a consumer.... (Score 1) 405

You are paying for business class service, demand it.

Make this Comcast's problem, as if things are as you describe, it obviously is. DEMAND (politely, through your business support channels) that they resolve it, and demand a resolution deadline. If they do not meet it, terminate (or threaten to) the service.

In the mean time, I suggest you investigate VPN services which support static IPs on their end. Use comcast as your last mile connection if you must, but poke out on the Internet somewhere more friendly. If you have to do this, reduce your IPs from comcast to one, make it dynamic, citing their failure to provide the service contracted. Your VPN provider should handle the rest, and your comcast bill should go down.

Hope this helps.....


Comment Faraday Cage / Tempest (Score 4, Interesting) 142

Seriously, at this point we are worried about EMI to individual avionics components / systems in the cockpit from wi-fi in the cabin?

First, I would hope that the avionics themselves were shielded and tested before deployment and use. I mean, we don't want the altimeter interfering with the artificial horizon, do we? (stupid, simple, but real example)

Second, the whole cockpit and supporting avionics and other fight critical systems are in an enclosed conductive vessel, ie the cockpit and support area. It's a Faraday cage within a larger Faraday cage (the aircraft), so Coulomb's law should apply and mitigate this theoretical threat. Wi-Fi (bluetooth and the rest) should not reach the cockpit and instruments from the cabin unless the cockpit door is open. We all know how often that happens these days....

Polite language: red herring

Otherwise: I call BullShite


Comment I understand, but FTS (Score 2) 478

I have no desire to be a veggie, to feel my mental faculties drain away from me as I age. I can imagine nothing worse.

On the other hand, 75 is an arbitrary number. I'm 53, and will match wits with any of you. Both sides of my family have had folks live past 100, the most noteworthy being the oldest living graduate of the US Military academy. I will tell you that in his last days, he enjoyed playing poker one night of the week, drinking bourbon and branch, and hosting a weekly bridge game, all for gentlemen's stakes. I would not EVER have put money on the table and played against him, as he was sharp as a tack until the day that he died.

He, and the other members of his generation, lived to their 90s and beyond without the benefits of our modern understanding of health.

I fully expect, and am planning to enjoy my 100s.

75? Pfthhh!


Comment Just Wrong (Score 1) 383

Less useful but still useful are command shells.


You obviously do not get it if you do not understand the Jedi Power of a person who has mastered the shell. Pick a shell. When you think you have mastered the shell, experiment with other shells. Hell, change your shell to perl, I know a couple of perl junkies who run that way.

Sometime when you are bored, and have more that three brain cells on shift, from the command line (that would be a shell prompt) execute "man init" on your favorite Unix, and read the page. Then read the init scripts. {sarcasm}no, the shell is not useful{/sarcasm}

In a Unix Xwindows environment (or in MacOS X for that matter), the GUI is a tool, a nice place for multiple graphical proggies to play together, and an easy way to have multiple terminals open and visible at once. If you are an absolute luddite, get yourself an old VT101 terminal, learn how to plumb in a serial terminal to your machine, and explore the wonders of tmux.

Happy new year


Comment Alternatives: (Score 1) 250

OK, IF you have suspended acoustic ceilings, keep reading, otherwise forget the first suggestion and skip to the other option....

We started out with twist on attachments that mounted to the ceiling framework and provided a 1/4 inch stud, added a barrel nut and a bridle ring. All came from the local electrical contracting supply house, and were inexpensive, plus it all goes together with no tools other than a step ladder to reach the ceiling.

We we moving into a very large open space with a LOT of equipment to be interconnected. I managed the effort, and the one thing I was sure of was that the floorplan would not be what we imagined once we got used to the new space, and that it would be fluid over time. The bridle rings let us get the cables overhead and out of the way, but it's very easy to change things up, either by adding/removing cables, or rerouting them. If you need to go off in a different direction, it's a simple matter to add more rings. If a particular ring is no longer needed, simply remove it and the barrel nut, leaving the (unobtrusive) stud fixture in place for potential later use. They're cheap.

The intent was that as things stabilized over time, a "backbone" would emerge, and we would replace the bridle rings on the stable portions of the network with product from these guys: , with the idea that we could unscrew the bridle ring and barrel nut, and then hang the snake tray from the same attachment hanging from the suspended ceiling framework.

As it turned out, we never got around to that upgrade, as the bridle ring lashup worked very well for us. I no longer work there, but the approach I describe above worked for ~10 years.

The other option to explore is some variation of raised flooring. It does not have to be in the mode of the old machine room, 12 inches or so above the base flooring...... there are companies that sell what are basically interlocking floor mats with cable channels and removable carpeting tops. Looks like regular office flooring, but houses your cabling.

Hope this helps.....


Comment Not new technology (Score 2) 107

They demo'd this at CeBIT several years ago, and were spinning it at the time for high security applications, banking, etc. It did not get much traction IIRC, not sure how successful it was in Nippon.

One of its claimed advantages was (at least what they demo'd) that it used infrared to "see" the heat of your veins through the palm of your hand. Cut the hand off, it ain't gonna work, or so they claimed.

It will be interesting to see how this is accepted in the larger notebook market.


Comment They're asking the wrong question... (Score 1) 114

What do all government contracts have in common? Payment of the contractor.

Ask whoever writes NSA's checks (probably DFAS, Defense Finance and Accounting Center) for all contract numbers between NSA and (list of interesting companies). Then ask NSA for copies of those specific contracts.

It would not surprise me at all to find out that whichever payment agency, and you may rest assured they are automated, also has copies of the contracts themselves, so while you are at it with the request above, ask for existant copies of the target contracts.

You could always start with asking NSA to tell you in detail who does their accounting, and more specifically, handles accounts payable for contracts.

Comment Read the Certification Test rules, dumbass (Score 1) 328

RTFM, or in this case the rules governing the test. WE certainly have no idea what they are, since you neglected to mention which test you were standing.

I would be astounded to find, if they forbid certain models/features, that they do not have a whitelist of allowed models. THAT's where you should start your product research, not here, not with a vague, un-actionable question.

And Oh, By The Way, to echo another posters tongue in cheek remark, if you are in a scientific field, you really should know how to use a sliderule, even in these days. There ain't no batteries on a slide rule to run out, or be unavailable, nor are you ever likely to ever take a test where the use of one is forbidden.


Comment It's Personal (Score 1) 330

If you've been in the security community for a while (oh, 15+ years in my case), you meet and work with people, and develop personal friendships and trust, based on personal interactions with colleagues, competitors, and other professionals.

I have competed with Bruce's companies (Counterpane, BT), met Bruce several times in professional settings. I've never worked with him personally, but I have plenty of other colleagues who have.

I trust Bruce.


Comment Practical Advice, step by step (Score 3, Informative) 319

You more than likely have something "phoning home" that the bad guys are tracing back to you.

SO, to track that down, do this in exactly this order:

1. Prepare to reconfigure your router for new IP / MAC, but do not reboot it, yet. Make sure the router is NOT registering with some dynamic DNS service, if it is, that's probably part of the problem. Your ISP may be doing that for you, if so, ask them to change your reverse lookup name.

2. Power down every other computing device on the network. I'm assuming you have a wireless router? If so, track down everything that it connected to it, and power those down too. Save your most trusted device (an iPad perhaps?) for monitoring / reconfiging your router. If necessary, borrow a device from someone you trust.

3. Press "go" to reconfig the router, and observe. Your DOS should go away. If it does not, either the reconfig was unsuccessful, your ISP is somehow part of the problem, the router is registering itself somehow, or the router itself is infested.

4. Assuming the DOS abated, one by one, power up the devices you previously disconnected and observe. If the DOS starts after powering up a particular device, that's the culprit. There may be more than one. Do this slowly, to make sure as you power up a device, it's not waiting some period of time before calling home.

It would not be a bad idea to get your ISP on the phone, explain what you think is going on, and ask them to observe your traffic as you go through the above steps. If something "phones home", and you miss it, they should be able to see the traffic on their segment of the wire.

If you are successful at tracking down a culprit system, enlist the help of the anti-malware vendor in isolating the offending bits. Do this BEFORE you re-image the system. They would probably appreciate a sample. Of course, this assumes you are running anti-malware software on your endpoints.....

Hope this helps.


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