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Hardware Hacking

Sys-Admin Dispenses Passwords With a Banana (thenewstack.io) 89

An anonymous reader writes: A network administrator in Denmark is requiring users to perform a finger press on a banana to receive their Wi-Fi passwords. "The banana is mounted and in production," he posted Thursday, sharing two pictures. The banana uses a special new circuit board from Makey Makey to form a connection between the banana and a cheap Raspberry Pi computer with a screen attached, according to one technology site. They note that it could also detect finger presses on a doughnut, an apple, or even Jell-o, and offer this quote from the sys-admin about his motivations. "It's fun... It'll make people smile. It beats a static WPA password in funnyness." And most importantly, "When people leave our office, they can't access our WI-Fi because there's no banana to touch." This guy deserves some kind of award, come July 29th.
GUI

Docker Turns To Minecraft For Server Ops (sdtimes.com) 93

dmleonard618 writes: A new GitHub project is allowing software teams to construct software like Legos. DockerCraft is a Minecraft mod that lets administrators handle and deploy servers within Minecraft. What makes this project really interesting is that it lets you navigate through server stacks in a 3D space. "In today's world, we wanted to focus more on building. Minecraft has emerged as the sandbox game of the decade, so we chose to use that as our visual interface to Docker," Docker wrote in a blog.
Businesses

Tech Unemployment Rising In Some Categories (dice.com) 182

Nerval's Lobster writes: The technology industry's unemployment rate crept up to 3.0 percent in the third quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although that represents an increase from the second quarter, when tech unemployment stood at 2.0 percent, it's nonetheless lower than the 5.2 percent unemployment rate for the U.S. labor market as a whole. Despite that relatively low rate, however, many technology segments saw an accompanying rise in joblessness. (Dice link) Web developers, for example, saw their collective unemployment rate hit 5.10 percent, up from 3.70 percent in the same quarter last year. Computer systems analysts, programmers, network and systems administrators, software developers, and computer & information systems managers likewise experienced a slight rise in unemployment on a year-over-year basis.
Unix

30 Years a Sysadmin 162

itwbennett writes: Sandra Henry-Stocker's love affair with Unix started in the early 1980s when she 'was quickly enamored of the command line and how much [she] could get done using pipes and commands like grep.' Back then, she was working on a Zilog minicomputer, a system, she recalls, that was 'about this size of a dorm refrigerator'. Over the intervening years, a lot has changed, not just about the technology, but about the job itself. 'We might be 'just' doing systems administration, but that role has moved heavily into managing security, controlling access to a wide range of resources, analyzing network traffic, scrutinizing log files, and fixing the chinks on our cyber armor,' writes Henry-Stocker. What hasn't changed? Systems administration remains a largely thankless role with little room for career advancement, albeit one that she is quick to note is 'seldom boring' and 'reasonably' well-paid. And while 30 years might not be a world's record, it's pretty far along the bell curve; have you been at it longer?
Windows

How To Clean the Cruft Left By a Windows 10 Upgrade 205

MojoKid writes: Microsoft may have given you a free Windows 10 upgrade but it's not without some left over file clutter that some folks don't realize is left on a system after migration. It's not rocket science but there are a few key strategies to tidy up the file bloat an OS migration can sometimes leave behind and to further optimize an upgraded Windows 10 installation. The ability to roll back to your Windows 7 or 8.1 installation within 30 days is a very easily overlooked feature of the Windows 10 upgrade process. The feature is a lifesaver if you encounter issues, such as missing or incompatible drivers, and need to quickly recover without starting from scratch. This ability doesn't come without consequences, though. In order to offer this feature, Windows 10 is essentially keeping another completely separate Windows installation on your PC. This will need to go, once you've determined that you are sticking with Windows 10 and everything seems happy enough. These files are scattered throughout your system and include a number of hidden directories, with the bulk of them located in Windows.old and the hidden $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS directories.
Microsoft

Microsoft Releases PowerShell DSC For Linux 265

jones_supa writes: Microsoft is announcing that PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) for Linux is available for download in form of RPM and DEB packages. DSC is a new management platform that provides a set of PowerShell extensions that you can use to declaratively specify how you want your software environment to be configured. You can now use the DSC platform to manage the configuration of both Windows and Linux workloads with the PowerShell interface. Microsoft says that bringing DSC to Linux is another step in the company's "broader commitment to common management of heterogeneous assets in your datacenter or the public cloud." Adds reader benjymouse: DSC is in the same space as Chef and Puppet (and others); but unlike those, Microsofts attempts to build a platform/infrastructure based on industry standards like OMI to allow DSC to configure and control both Windows, Linux and other OSes as well as network equipment like switches, etc.
Programming

Rust 1.0 Enters Beta 211

An anonymous reader writes: Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety and speed and aims, among other things, to offer memory safety without garbage collection and threads without data races. Over on the Rust blog, the Rust Core Team has announced the release of Rust 1.0 beta. They write, 'The beta release marks a very significant "state transition" in the move towards 1.0. In particular, with the beta release, all libraries and language features that are planned to be stable for 1.0 have been marked as stable. As such, the beta release represents an accurate preview of what Rust 1.0 will include.' The final Rust 1.0 release is scheduled for May 15th, 2015. A warning from the developers: "Rust is a work-in-progress and may do anything it likes up to and including eating your laundry." The FAQ is worth reading.
Linux

Ask Slashdot: Linux Login and Resource Management In a Computer Lab? 98

New submitter rongten (756490) writes I am managing a computer lab composed of various kinds of Linux workstations, from small desktops to powerful workstations with plenty of RAM and cores. The users' $HOME is NFS mounted, and they either access via console (no user switch allowed), ssh or x2go. In the past, the powerful workstations were reserved to certain power users, but now even "regular" students may need to have access to high memory machines for some tasks. Is there a sort of resource management that would allow the following tasks? To forbid a same user to log graphically more than once (like UserLock); to limit the amount of ssh sessions (i.e. no user using distcc and spamming the rest of the machines, or even worse, running in parallel); to give priority to the console user (i.e. automatically renicing remote users jobs and restricting their memory usage); and to avoid swapping and waiting (i.e. all the users trying to log into the latest and greatest machine, so have a limited amount of logins proportional to the capacity of the machine). The system being put in place uses Fedora 20, and LDAP PAM authentication; it is Puppet-managed, and NFS based. In the past I tried to achieve similar functionality via cron jobs, login scripts, ssh and nx management, and queuing system — but it is not an elegant solution, and it is hacked a lot. Since I think these requirements should be pretty standard for a computer lab, I am surprised to see that I cannot find something already written for it. Do you know of a similar system, preferably open source? A commercial solution could be acceptable as well.
Security

Ask Slashdot: Intelligently Moving From IT Into Management? 125

MightyMartian (840721) writes "I've been working for an organization now for over seven years, my best run yet. A couple of years ago, the company went through some major changes and I bought in as an owner and as a managing director; my responsibilities encompassing administration, finance and IT. It's a small (20 employee or so, plus nearly that many with subcontracting companies) organization so needless to say I retained my direct IT responsibilities.

My fellow board members have decided that I need to detach myself from the day to day IT operations and take over more management duties; in particular in the finance and budgeting end of things. Right now I'm in the process of interviewing a new IT system administrator who will, over time, take on most of my IT roles. However, since this has been a one-man shop for seven years; namely my shop, I confess some reservations about handing over the keys and moving permanently up to the top floor.

Does anybody have any suggestions on the level of permissions for servers, networks and infrastructure I should start with? Do I, for the moment, retain some of the critical functionality; like superuser passwords, and slowly move the new system administrator into his or her role, or do I move more quickly, give him the basics and then let him fly on his own?"
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Asynchronous RAID-1 Free Software Backup For Laptops? 227

First time accepted submitter ormembar writes "I have a laptop with a 1 TB hard disk. I use rsync to perform my backups (hopefully quite regularly) on an external 1 TB hard disk. But, with such a large hard disk, it takes quite some time to perform backups because rsync scans the whole disk for updates (15 minutes in average). Does it exist somewhere a kind of asynchronous RAID-1 free software that would record in a journal all the changes that I perform on the disk and replay this journal later, when I plug my external hard disk on the laptop? I guess that it would be faster than usual backup solutions (rsync, unison, you name it) that scan the whole partitions every time. Do you feel the same annoyance when backing up laptops?"
IT

Ask Slashdot: Server Room Toolbox? 416

jandersen writes "I am the system manager in charge of a smallish server room (~50 servers, most in racks), and I am going to buy a set of tools; but first I want to hear what other people think would be a good idea. Certainly a range of good quality screwdrivers — slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Torx. But what else? Tape measure? Spirit level (for aligning the racks)? Any meters or cable testers? A wood lathe? I can probably get away with a budget of a few hundred GBP, but there ought to be some mileage in that."
Security

Remote Admin Tools May Not Be Clever Enough For Their Own Good 21

ancientribe writes "A couple of college interns have discovered that remote administration tools (RATs) often used for cyberspying and targeted cyberattacks contain common flaws that ultimately could be exploited to help turn the tables on the attackers. RATs conduct keylogging, screen and camera capture, file management, code execution, and password-sniffing, and give the attacker a foothold in the infected machine as well as the targeted organization. This new research opens the door for incident responders to detect these attacker tools in their network and fight back."
Security

Ask Slashdot: Security Digests For the Home Network Admin? 123

New submitter halcyon1234 writes "I'm currently cutting the webhost cord, and setting up a simple webserver at home to host a couple hobby websites and a blog. The usual LAMP stuff. I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous; I know how to get everything set up and get it up to date, but not enough to be sure I'm not overlooking common, simple security configurations. And then there's the issue of new vulnerabilities being found that I'm not even aware of. The last thing I want is to contribute to someone's botnet or spam relay. What readings/subscriptions would you recommend for security discussions/heads up? Obviously I already read (too much) Slashdot daily, which I credit for hearing about some major security issues. Are there any RSS feeds or mailing lists you rely on for keeping up to date on security issues?"
Software

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Install Ubuntu On 30 Laptops and Keep Them In Sync? 202

New submitter spadadot writes "I am setting up a new event in France (Open du Web), where between 15 and 30 laptops running Ubuntu Linux will be available. They came with Windows preinstalled and it must stay for other purposes. I'd like to take care of only one of them (resize the hard drive, install Ubuntu, add additional software and apply custom settings) and effortlessly replicate everything to the others including hard drive resizing (unattended installation). After replicating, what should I do if I need to install new software or change some settings without manually repeating the same task on each one of them? Should I look into FAI, iPXE, Clonezilla, OCS Inventory NG? Other configuration management software? I would also like to reset the laptops to the original environment after the event."

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