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Comment Cobol/Mainframe vs new Kid with a PC (Score 1) 674

On my first job as a production line parts pusher we had major problems with managing the production line and inventory. Data Processing told us that a program we needed would be impossible even with with the heavy-iron mainframes. After the second lay-off the Industrial Engineer got riffed and left behind this thing call a PC that just happened to have a 3270 terminal controller board in it. That got me thinking. I reprogrammed the controller board in ASM, and using Borland Pascal Compiler I connected it to the mainframe "pretending" is was someone typing EBCDIC key code information to pull up their worthless production inventory programs, and scraped the screens to grab what I needed. It was the tail wagging the dog kind of implementation, trying to balance the real-time control necessary with the API simplicity I needed to make programming it easy for me.

Once I had the standard application pages so that it all groked correctly, and built my temporary DB on the other partition of the Mainframe, it took me only about 6 hours to write the program that DP was telling us was impossible to do. You should have seen the face of my managers face when I walked into his office carrying a very thick ream of printouts with the all the answers he needed that day. Once the DP manger got finished being chewed out by the president of the company, that same program, utilizing the Big-Iron mainframe and with a direct connection to the actual database, it took over 6 man-months to write the same in COBOL. DP offered me a job writing Cobol, and I said no, turned professional a couple of months later and never looked back. I decided solving problems was more fun than pushing parts through a factory.

Comment Re:Admiration and Trepidation (Score 2) 59

You have many processors (DMA, GPU, Bus controllers, network boards, IO boards, keyboards, etc) installed in your every day computers, and many pidgin holes in the memory pages that can be utilized for encrypted blobs. When the malware itself is not executed, touched by, or managed by your CPU then your white-list running under your CPU's control won't help much. You want to be running VT-d/IOMMU/IMA based software protection to lock things down as much as possible. While you wait for your BIOS to finish self-check, you could already be rooted by your network card DMA or GPU processor. Any whitelist (default deny policy) that is loaded _after_ you are already rooted, doesn't do a whole lot to keep you safe. Take the red pill to leave the hypervisor you didn't even know you had.

Comment Re:Don't have to buy one (Score 1) 207

Very good advise! I used to use this all the time, and it does a good job.

One other capability for new machines is TCG Opal SED drive technology, if what you are after is speed in securely wiping data. First off the drive can be encrypted for data at rest so there is no fear of someone mounting and reading it in the first place. But when they can't even see the partition table it makes it quite hard to mount it in the first place. Then you can just flip a single bit in the drives key and instantly everything in that region is wiped to the equivalent of AES256. The only way to recover it is to set the password back before the drive is reinitialized for some other purpose. You can even set up multiple regions, write or read protect them individually, install a fake (shadow) partition table, or even lock any of them to a pcr in the hardware TPM so partitions are unusable or even non-visible unless the machine was booted exactly in your own prescribed manor. Need to hide your banking data from ransomware anyone?

Comment With Math is there any choice? (Score 1) 192

I have been trying to get back into math for the past couple of years and one of my biggest gripes is there seems to be no good way to take notes on a computer for high level math. Sure you can learn Latex but it is time consuming to write/code and difficult to keep up or draw relations between different formulas. Any good apps out there for this? (Android or Linux preferred) Bonus points if it can actually compute or show connected relations between formulas.

Comment Hope they had the good sense to.. (Score 1) 91

I hope they had the good sense to encode a unique identifier into the LIDAR beam so that each car can tell its own LIDAR reflection from another, otherwise you will see a very different kind of "traffic jam" in the near future. Each car will be jamming the signals of every other car, and nobody will move an inch, not knowing where anything is. I searched the "news story" and found absolutely no indication that they even planned that far ahead. But don't worry, they didn't miss all the important Stock Market information. Now I know exactly what not to buy.

Comment Re:There's a lesson here (Score 1) 401

Agreed, and the Government also owns 'the problem'. The problem, is that the Government was too fast on the button to disassociate the phone from the backup account. Once they deactivated the phone's account there was no way to retrieve all the backup information for it, which should have contained a very good portion of what they wanted to know. Contacts, call logs, images, cloud info, etc. They would not have access to all the 'bits' from the empty/erased records on the physical memory chips, but they would have a good portion of the historical information going back over time, potentially before some of the records were erased.

Comment Threat responce and possible course of action (Score 1) 265

Without knowing what company and what thier actual business model is, my first inclination assuming they have not been hacked, would be are you doing anything that is creating IP traffic that they might be observing, and thus scanning you back?

A case in point, I once bought an HP/WinME (pls don't ask) machine that came with some undocumented extra software that I didn't ask for, no surprise. The actual purpose of this "keyboard driver" system service was to keep any dialup session active, by pinging a particular IP address. That address was assigned to a company (not the Mfg or even software author) and that company had necessarily black-holed that particular IP address, which could not be changed. My firewall would light up every so often because of probing packets and ICMP coming back from that domain in response to this software on my machine doing really stupid things. I could not turn this feature off without hacking my own machine to remove this system service. Funny how removing a system service keyboard driver has absolutely no effect on using the machine, who would have guessed. In hind sight, I can not blame that company for scanning me because in their eyes I was the intruder, constantly pinging them.

If you are sure that none of that is the case, and you really don't want to disable your fw scan detection then this is what I would do. Make a copy of one of their scans and print it. Write a letter for a cease and desist and address it to their legal department, and sent it via certified USPS mail. If that does not get action then I would seriously consider turning that feature off.

Comment How about a little reverse terrorism? (Score 1) 177

Take the original video off line, and replace it with one of a Special Forces unit taking out the person that posted it on line. Let them all think we have a nice all expense paid resort vacation awaiting them at Guantanamo Bay. All you need do to enter the contest is to post your favourite terrorist slasher video.

Comment Sound investment (Score 1) 210

So, so we are supposed to invest all our retirement funds in an American company that is betting that the Chinese will beat us economically with their socialist version of free trade? Their stock market just tanked not so long ago, should we worry?

Oh, and remember that their stock market reporting and analysis services are completely non-biased. What could go wrong?

Comment I propose a test (Score 0) 588

Invite the child with parents back to the school for conference. Take 10 school rooms at random and place computer equipment in each, all unplugged with no powered up WiFi, but not obviously so. Bring them around to each room and have the child assess that room for their level of comfort 'in attempt to find the best learning environment for the child'. No WiFi in the entire school should be on during this period, and ask the child which rooms were better or worse, except in the conference area, place a completely hidden WiFi transmitter. Sit back and see if they can notice the difference. If the child complains about the conference room and non of the classrooms, then relent and make the required changes, otherwise document the experiment for the court system to decide.

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