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Comment ECC (Score 2) 26

This is why ECC is used to protect memory and data busses. At least on the good stuff :-) . One of the issues is die shrink. As the minimum detail slze of the IC process gets smaller, the potential for radiation to flip a bit gets higher.

Silicon-on-sapphire is the main way to implement silicon-on-insulator, which is more protective of radiation bit flips and less likely to latch-up. But since these have historically been required only for space satellites, they have been horribly expensive. Imagine running an entire IC fabrication just to make a few chips. As there are more applications for rad-hard chips, the price could fall.

Comment Re:Missing theory (Score 1) 48

A view Russian probes got lost while flying over HAARP, I think Phobos Grunt was the most recent one. The theory is that their electronics was grilled by these high-power transmitters. This one actually makes sense though.

This was obfuscation on the part of the Russians. According to the failure report issued by Roscosmos there were other reasons, including use of non-space-qualified components that were susceptible to radiation damage, and insufficient ground testing.

Comment Re:These two may have been least at risk (Score 1) 52

There are plenty of people I know who would fall for this, because they simply don't know. They were issued a laptop for work and were told it was secured through a VPN, but don't understand how networks or routing actually works. They think they're secure only because an expert told them that VPNs are secure.

And not all VPNs are secure. Corporate VPN solutions are increasingly looking to split tunnelling to cut costs: internal corporate IP addresses are correctly routed to the VPN tunnel interface, so things like internal email and corporate web sites are all secured, but the external IP addresses (Google, Microsoft, Slashdot, etc.,) are left to route through the local gateway, reducing bandwidth through the corporate network. So if your wireless adapter connects to a WiFi Pineapple using one of those corporate laptops (thinking it's connecting to a conference AP or something), the rogue AP will faithfully route the still-secure VPN traffic to the proper corporate headquarters servers, but it will just as happily MiTM the rest of the regular unsecured traffic, scanning for credentials, cookies, API keys, or whatever other external sites the computer may happen to access. They could expose personal email account credentials, various web apps, DNS requests, discovery packets, or other loud network traffic. And this allows scenarios where the browser gets cache poisoned while browsing the unsecured web, then used to connect to an internal corporate web site where the malicious cached javascript echoes all the booty back to the attacker.

Of course, you expect the tech folks at the RSA conference would know how it all works, but a significant fraction of the attendees are not tech employees. There are no doubt many finance people; executives with expense accounts and instructions to "come back with a security contract"; salespeople; politicians; and the press in attendance.

I just hope the guys with the rogue access points are no worse than gray hats who are posting them on a Wall of Sheep somewhere at the conference, and not actually hacking the attendees.

Comment Re:== vs =, | vs ||, variable/pointer dereference (Score 1) 58

if (a = b) {

When they meant:
if (a == b) {

Which is the one thing Visual Basic got right IMHO, use := for assignment and == for comparison. The C form is plain wrong when you consider that "=" is the equal sign, to anyone who doesn't know C-isms the first reads "If a equals b then". Same way stealing kilobyte = 1024 bytes was a bad idea, the only excuse you really hear is that we've done it so long it seems natural. Like clicking the start button to shut down the machine, except we're still doing it.

Comment Re:Why is this different from traditional classes? (Score 1) 68

I'd go one step further and be more scientific, why not use automated A/B testing? Like you make a new revision of a lecture, half the class gets the new one and half the class the old one. Then you run some form of quiz on the material. If you have at least a few hundred students or ideally a few thousand you should pretty quick get statistically significant answers. And you could test with short/medium/long explanations to see whether you're beating down open doors or areas they'd benefit from more detail and examples. In the interest of fairness you should of course make all variations available after they've had the quiz, perhaps also with stats to see what quiz questions their path may not have covered as well as the others.

Perhaps that could even develop into a preference system, everything from "I want to learn the essentials for a passing grade quickly" to "I have learning difficulties, give it to me slow and in detail" to "I want to ace this class, give me in-depth insight". Or some form of branched interactive learning, if you grasp 80% quickly you don't need that in more detail but the 20% you struggle with have a more detailed explanation. I think I'd love a system where my hand was on the throttle, it's going as fast as I want it to go not as fast as the professor thinks it should go for some average or "no child left behind" student. Personally I tend to prefer to read the book simply because there's too much time spend on things I already understand.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 2) 127

First off, that whole 15 minutes thing is absolute bullshit. Maybe its a worst case if you were in truly deep thought over one of the hardest problems of the year. But most of the time you aren't, and it will be a few minutes Like around 1.

YMMV but whenever I'm stuck with half an hour from coming to work to a meeting or between a meeting and the lunch break or whatever I feel that time is exceptionally unproductive. Whether it's making a change or implementing something new or tracking down a bug I usually need some time to work out what it really does, what it should do and how I can do it with good code that's easy to maintain. Most botched jobs happen if I rush that, I can work quick and dirty but it builds technical debt. That I'd be three times as productive if I had an hour (15 vs 45 minutes effective time) doesn't sound too far off to me. I try to have a few "just do it" tasks ready for that, but typically they're not supposed to be my top priority. So if I had a PHB who wants me to work on that task and no other task until I'm done productivity and quality would suffer.

Secondly- your productivity doesn't matter. The team's does. Those interruptions- it means a team member needs help. They're blocked. Their productivity is at or near 0 until unblocked. If interrupting you costs 15 minutes from you but saves an hour for him, that interruption is worth it for the team. There are almost 0 of those interruptions that aren't a net gain.

Depends on how many of these interruptions are from your team and about work, not to mention if they've actually checked and read the documentation or is just asking because bugging you is easier than making the effort themselves. That said, answering simple questions or checking Bob's calendar to see if he's in a meeting doesn't break the flow for me, that I can push/pop off the mental stack. If I need to take 5-10 minutes to check/discuss/explain/investigate/show something though I've decided I'm already distracted so time to check my inbox and answer what I can now before they're at my doorstep. Sadly we're not big enough to have a support staff to shield us from the solutions we've developed so it's DevOps and most the users are one or two floors down.

Comment Nope (Score 2, Insightful) 127

Unless you're in a position where you absolutely need a certain expert (such as a research project) or a few other special circumstances (if its quit or go remote situation, say someone moving for non-job related reasons).

First off, that whole 15 minutes thing is absolute bullshit. Maybe its a worst case if you were in truly deep thought over one of the hardest problems of the year. But most of the time you aren't, and it will be a few minutes Like around 1.

Secondly- your productivity doesn't matter. The team's does. Those interruptions- it means a team member needs help. They're blocked. Their productivity is at or near 0 until unblocked. If interrupting you costs 15 minutes from you but saves an hour for him, that interruption is worth it for the team. There are almost 0 of those interruptions that aren't a net gain. Now if you have a problem with particular people being too disruptive, that's a management/personnel issue you should bring up to your manager.

Thirdly- not everyone works well in remote situations. Especially not long term (working remote for a day while you wait for a package/your maid/etc is a different matter). Very few people actually end up working as well as they do in an office- there are MORE distractions at home. And communications do not work as well- video conferences do not work as well as talking to someone in person. Even if you're one of those who do work well from home, you won't be as efficient as you would sitting near the rest of the team.

Comment Re:Simple answer. Dont use SAP. (Score 1) 111

Companies buy off-the-shelf ERP systems so they don't have to manage people like me, but they really end up paying through the nose for it.

Actually it's mostly so they if you get hit by a bus or decide to quit or decide you got them trapped and can demand a 10x salary increase they can get by without you. Sadly there's a lot of well designed custom systems that'll be throw out for no other reason than being very custom and very specific to your needs. The theory is nice, you can use a generic solution and it's just configuration. In practice I've found that you often end up with big limitations and have to work around them. And that can actually cost you a lot more time and effort in the long run than actually making a solution that works they way you want.

Comment Re:A Chinese diversion from climate change concern (Score 1) 131

Basically just an ACK, but it I doubt that the Chinese dictators have a decade to wait for economic self-sufficiency, and that is part of why they may be feeling forced to seize the current opportunity. They may know that their economy is about to crash in any case, and they NEED a scapegoat like #PresidentTweety. I certainly hope a bigger international fool doesn't come along later...

Minor supporting evidence in the recent assassination of Kim Jong-un's older brother. From the insane North Korean perspective, he was a dangerous pretender to the throne, but that is not a new thing. So why did they decide to kill him now? Perhaps because the North Korean government is on the verge of collapse? That would create the mess without giving the Chinese any benefit from it. Or perhaps because the North Korean's feared a Chinese invasion to install a puppet? The older brother could have been a good one, though I still doubt the Chinese want more involvement with North Korea no matter who is in charge there...

I still think my scenario is plausible, and the warm weather is coming soon...

Comment Re:Insurance? (Score 2) 160

They do- up to a certain dollar amount. If you need more than that, you buy the insurance. At which point you have to declare what's in the package, and how much insurance you want. They then charge for that, because otherwise it would be ripe for abuse to claim every letter you send if worth 10K.

And a surgeon does have insurance against cutting the wrong bits out. Its called malpractice insurance.

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