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Comment The reason I use Salt.. (Score 2) 141

Architecturally, Salt is based on a Pub/Sub message queue (they use ZeroMQ to build it) - this allows the master node to send commands to a large number of minion nodes with very little overhead. It is also pretty easy to hook into the message queue on either master or minion nodes, so you can use it to send custom "event" messages along the queue (with authentication and all the fixin's) which can be used to trigger commands or configuration changes, or to hook into external systems.

I am using this to experiment with "event-driven architecture" currently - doing things like automatically updating proxy configurations when a new application server comes online, or removing an A record from DNS when a host is terminated. I don't think it's the end-all, be-all of configuration management, but Salt does provide a lot of flexibility to implement some pretty fancy infrastructure.

Shameless plug: If anyone is coming to SaltConf 2014 in Jan., I'll be giving a talk about the above (I don't work for SaltStack, it's just neat stuff)

Comment Subtle advertisement for their HSM product? (Score 1) 104

It seems like a lot of people don't realize that amazon has recently released a Hardware Security Module product. If you want to encrypt your data in "the cloud" such that it is not available to your cloud provider, but is usable by your application, this is pretty much the only way to do it.

As far as I know, amazon is the only major cloud provider that has an HSM option -perhaps this is a subtle advertisement of their (not cheap) new service to people who are *really* concerned about encrypting their data.
Food for thought at least..

Comment Here's their apology (not good enough) (Score 1) 231

Well, they realized that the fscked-up. They just issued this apology / justification (not nearly enough IMHO)... From

On November 1, 2012, a version of the UniDict® iOS software revealed a bug that has embarrassed both our users and our company. We are sincerely sorry for the uproar and the bad feelings our customers have experienced. To everyone affected, we offer our humble apologies.

The story and tech details

On the morning of November 1, customers had an unpleasant surprise if they opened the app and let it go to sleep before it was closed. Upon waking, a dialog box showed "Run in Safe Mode" then the app disabled itself and performed an auto soft close. A notification appeared locally on the device and if the user had authorized the app to access their Twitter account, a tweet of the notification was sent out under their account with a hash tag #softwarepiracyconfession. This tweet only happened if the user tapped a send confirmation button.

As soon as we realised there was a problem, we corrected it by removing the anti-piracy module and working with Apple to get the patched version online for download. It was available before close of business on November 1. At no time was the device itself or personal information compromised; there was no virus, no unofficial APIs, no hacking and no malware involved. Nevertheless, a number of users with certain system configurations were affected during this time period. Some may still be if they haven't updated to the fixed version. If you are not running the latest version, we urge you to update your app immediately to avoid the potential embarrassment of an unexpected tweet.

Why this happened

Combatting piracy is challenging. As a small family-owned company with few employees every lost sale impacts our livelihood and our ability to continue developing apps that we are passionate about. Piracy of Enfour products happens at an astonishing rate. We have seen a 1:100 ratio of legal to pirated copies of our software. Ouch. We can't thwart truly determined hacker & crackers, but we wanted to possibly shame those who were opportunistically stealing our software. Just like installing a shop-lifting alarm in a store, we thought we were being creative with a notification and a timed tweet for users of a cracked app.

In retrospect, this was not the wisest choice. The bug that revealed this creative indiscretion was a screwup and we accept full responsibility. We have tried to reach as many affected people as possible using social media via our personal accounts as well as via our website and also the iTunes store -all in multiple languages. We have taken all possible steps to ensure that our customers are never affected again.

Piracy is a hot issue. Despite what some believe about piracy being acceptable and harmless, we know piracy does cost us money and affects us directly. It's far too large and personal a topic for us to pontificate upon, but if you are interested in a perspective that fits our opinion, there is a good article in Bloomberg Business Week.

Thank you We appreciate the time you took to read this letter and if you would like to discuss the issue further, we are available for comment.
Tracey Northcott
VP International Communications
Enfour, Inc.
3F Kouju Bld 3-52-8 Sendagaya
Shibuya-ku Tokyo 151-0051 JAPAN
TEL: +81-3-5411-7738
FAX: +81-3-5411-7704

I'm not a user of their software, or apple products for that matter, but if I were affected by this bug I would definitely *not* be appeased by this too-little, too-late apology/justification. Would they accept an apology from someone they caught pirating their software? No - they would take legal action, because "piracy costs us money". I sincerely hope that affected users take legal action against Enfour, if only to make an example out of them for other companies who think they are allowed to illicitly access users' devices. Maybe the EFF will weigh in?


Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 543

So you have surrendered to the erosion of personal privacy, personal rights and personal integrity; I haven't and neither has the author of the post. You may be one of those willing to trade your rights for convenience. I too would refuse my Social Security number.

So you only use pre-paid cellular, do not use credit cards or take out loans, or any other transaction that requires interacting with a credit agency?

How's that working out for you? Seriously. Living a life without interacting with the credit agencies in this day and age is difficult, and I'd like to know what you have to give up (like discounts on phones in exchange for contracts, etc) in order to keep your SSN completely private. (Where Completely = You, your employer, your health insurer (if you have one) and the gov't.)

I also refuse to provide my SS for consumer products. I am willing to provide it when applying for a loan which I have done for homes and cars. I am willing to provide it to employers and other tax documents. I have also provided it for credit cards (although I regret ever doing business with credit card companies) - but I have REFUSED to provide it twice for cell phones (most recently for a 1G Iphone w/ ATT) with complete success. I have also refused to provide it for employment applications - no one needs a credit check to decide if they want to hire me (note: I have submitted to and passed background checks for security clearance where the position required it - this is a different situation).

I wish more people would refuse to provide their SS - maybe people would stop asking for it when they don't really need it
(No, a cell phone doesn't need it - your landline didn't need to open a line of credit 10 years ago, and $2.99/min sex lines were perfectly available and billable).

It's not about keeping the SS completely secret - it's about minimizing risk by not handing it over to just anybody who asks.
We (the U.S.) have become too obsessed with credit scores - and too free about giving up our privacy (in my opinion).

Sorry if this reply has turned into a rant..I've just gotten progressively irritated reading this thread - I just don't think it's some kind of crazy tin-foil hat thing to try and push back against corporations treating our personal information so frivolously.
just my $.02 :)

Comment $5,000 fine vs. ~$10,000+ in legal fees? (Score 1) 849

The real problem here is that the legal fees for defending against a felony are going to be in the ~$10,000+ range, or you can just pay the $5,000 fine and go on your way.

I doubt anyone will ever actually go to prison over this, and it will be a while until someone presses it far enough to get the law overturned.

Meanwhile, the state can collect some fines in some tough economic times.

Comment ISPs don't have common carrier status?? (Score 1) 249

Also, with such tactics, doesn't an ISP lose "common carrier" status

I can't recall how many times I have posted that ISP's don't have common carrier status. They don't need common carrier status for protection under the DMCA.

Whoever modded up the parent: YOU FAIL!

I must have missed your earlier posts - could you please explain why ISPs don't have common carrier status under the law? (in the US)

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