116 posts • joined Friday 20th March 2009 08:23 GMT
Re: Start with the end in mind
In the UK, tax authorities can demand to see financial records several years old. If your database holds financial records then you might need to keep old copies for audit purposes even if they are of no other use to the business.
In one organisation that I worked for, one full backup each month was kept forever to provide the permanent audit capability. (This was specified as a requirement by our major customer.)
Re: It is not just about numbers here
Old backups can be vital. A coding or user error that corrupts or deletes some of the data may not be noticed for quite some time - it might only be noticed when a year end routine was run. Being able to retrieve (with effort) the missing data can outweigh the costs of the backup regime.
When I was a system administrator, I tended to keep additional backups outside the normal cycle. One time a private 4 year old tape backup had the last remaing copy of a vital piece of source code.
Too many backups is expensive - too few is courting disaster.
If a computer system is being removed - always get a full backup before it goes - if you do not then you WILL regret it.
For £165 the THL W8S is far better value for money - 2GB RAM 32GB ROM, full HD 5" IPS screen, dual SIM, SD card slot, 13MP and 5MP cameras.
If the report is right then particles up to 1200 TeV were detected - this is equivalent to more than the mass of 1,200,000 neutrons (or protons).!!!
How could a neutrino achieve that energy ?
Even if somehow all the energy of a collision of a uranium atom with an antimatter uranium atom could be put into one neutrino, this would still be less than one thousandth of the energy of this particle.
As the setup includes a DVD player, there will be a HDMI connection between the DVD and the TV. Put a HDMI switch in this lead and you will have a video input. (HDMI switches can be had for under £7 on ebay.)
Re: end of csco -agreed
Cisco have become the Oracle of networking and like Oracle faced with open databases, Cisco is faced with open networking products. The high premiums that Cisco charges for its products will no longer be sustainable as the products from lower tier suppliers become good enough. Unlike Oracle, Cisco does not have much of a lockin caused by other products dependant on Cisco's products as network switches and routers by their very nature have to talk to competitors products. Can Cisco survive when the profit margins on its products fall to the under 10% level?
Multiple independant jobs
With 205,000 molecules being analysed, this job lends itself to an easy split (1 molecule per core) with very little communication between cores. This makes it an ideal fit for this sort of array of computers. For a traditional supercomputer job such as CFD (computational fluid dynamics) there is a huge amount of communication as the state of a cell affects all nearby cells. Very high bandwidth low latency interconnects are needed for that type of problem - an Amazon cloud would be almost useless.
Except for the bragging rights and the free publicity, the job could have been done on a much smaller array - one that was one quarter of the size would have completed the job in 72 hours and they probably took over 72 hours negotiating with Amazon to get that much resource at once.
Friendly Fire - Senior Management
Unfortunately in many organisations, senior management seem to expect to not have to conform to IT standards. If the CEO demands full access to business applications and internet porn from his laptop then the first line of defence already has a hole in it. Where possible, applications should be designed on the assumption that there are threats already inside the corporate firewall.
(In military terms, the corporate firewall is like the AA defenses around a base - it protects from hostile enemy aircraft but cannot protect from someone rolling a grenade into your tent - to protect against that you need additional security.)
Use a stack of old Dell computers
Plenty of Core 2 Duo Dell computers available on ebay for under £70 each - 16 of those plus gigabit network cards, a 16 port gigabit switch and a monitor should make for a reasonable cluster (and just stay inside the power budget).
Re: Oh come on...
For many systems, the cost of conversion to a new operating system is too high.
If you have (as is all too common) a system with orphan software (bespoke software where the supplier has gone out of business or no longer supports it) then moving to a new OS may well involve man years of development and debugging.
For embedded systems (e.g. industrial control systems) moving to a new OS may well be impossible without scrapping the associated equipment.
For non-networked systems, the fact of the supplier having dropped support may well be irrelevant as there is very little chance of security vunerabilities being exploited.
For systems that are connected to the internet then the question needs to be asked - at what point will security software such as Norton fail to provide adequate protection - by that point either the system has to be upgraded, discarded or disconnected from the internet.
Please note - there are still embedded systems running Windows 3.1 (and even DOS) - loss of manufacturer support does not matter to an isolated system.
Re: Ceres is 26% water? Hmmm...
Earth might have had a LOT of water during the early stage of its formation - however the impact that lead to the formation of the moon would have resulted in the vast majority of the surface water being lost.
Re: What it will take to kill this and what should be able to do
Amplified antenna's are mainly useless - what matters is the signal to noise ratio which is dependant on the RF field strength, the gain of the antenna (excluding amplification) and the noise level of the first stage of amplification. For a modern TV the noise level of the first stage of the tuner is usually as good as (if not better than) the noise level of an amplified antenna. If you are in a poor signal area - use a bigger antenna mounted as high up as possible and outside (indoor mounting drops the signal strength by over 6dB).
For an example of the sort of antenna that you should look for in a poor signal area, look at BestBuy SKU: 1305458800 (link http://www.bestbuy.com/site/antennas-direct-uni-directional-antenna/1305458800.p?id=mp1305458800&skuId=1305458800)
(In the UK look at Maplin part number A20HG (link http://www.maplin.co.uk/71-element-high-gain-digital-tv-aerial-221121) )
(In an electrically noisy environment, the directivity of the antenna is also a factor - however all high gain non-amplified antennas are inherently highly directive which reduces the impact of the interference.)
The larger the antenna, the better the result (if installed correctly) is the general rule. A small antenna will give poor results except in very good signal conditions.
Would the Supreme Court hear the case
With few exceptions, the US Supreme Court has the right to decline to hear appeals. Given the current makeup of the court, they may decide that the best approach (for them) is to decline to hear the case.
(Only about 80 of the 10,000 or so appeals is heard - there is no right to have an appeal heard.)
Outgoing radiation is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature so if the outgoing radiation is reduced by 3.7Watts/square metre then the earths temperature would rise by about 1.07 degrees centigrade. This is far less than changes that have occurred in the past when human involvment was non-existant. The only way that the "climate scientists" could get the high values that got the politicians attention (and funding for the climate scientists) was to postulate (with no proof) a number of positive feedback mechanisms and ignore any negative feedback mechanisms.
(Average solar flux at earths surface over 24 hours is approximately 250 watts and the average surface temperature is approximately 15C (287 K). To radiate the extra 3.7 watts requires the absolute temperature to rise by the fourth root of (250/(250-3.7)) which is approximately a factor of 1.0037 which multiplied by the 287 K starting temperature gives a rise of about 1.07 K (or C).)
Re: I'm surprised that the Republicans are doing this in public
Unfortunately many of the more vocal Republicans seem to think that even Fox News is too left wing!!!!
(Anyone who has looked at Fox News knows that the adverts are closer to being accurate than the programs.)
Unfortunately the majority of US politicians are owned by the people who pay their election expenses - for many of the Tea Party group this is the Koch brothers. One of the aims of the Tea Party group is to neuter the Environmental Protection Agency which has prosecuted Koch Industries on many occasions. (A Google search for "koch industries epa violations" will return many links.)
Re: Way to miss the dick in your digestive tract
If the US does collapse (and it seems likely that it will happen sooner or later) then the rest of the world will be screwed.
1) Loss of US food exports will lead to huge numbers of deaths due to starvation
2) US government bonds becoming worthless will destroy the economic system of the rest of the world as banks and governments across the globe go bankrupt. The collapse will be far worse than the 1930s great depression.
3) Expect an internal bloodbath in the US that makes what happened in Yugoslavia seem peaceful as each group blames others.
Depends on size and usage
For small businesses without 24 hour operation - full image backup overnight (or at weekend) is probably the best option as it is certain to have a consistent state of all applications.
For small to medium businesses with 24 hour operation but small number of servers, full image backup using one of the disk snapshot products is probably the best - note there must be sufficient spare disk capacity to handle the requirements of the snapshot software. Depending on the business there might also be a need for transaction data to be copied offsite if loss of data since the last backup cannot be tolerated or recovered.
For large businesses with a number of servers that need to be kept in step - this is where the problems occur - there is no "one size fits all" solution. Full mirroring at a remote site MAY be possible but expensive. (Dedicated fibre links between the sites would be required along with duplicate disk arrays etc.) If the site is big enough then having the DR system onsite but far enough away to be safe may be possible (but again expensive). Trying to get a consistent snapshot across multiple active servers tends to be DIFFICULT (understatement). If a person (or team) is given the job of designing the backup regime in this case then the first thing to do is to try to find out what data is fairly static and what changes frequently. Then find out from the business teams how important consistency is - for some data it will be critical - for others not so important.. Decisions need to be made on what should be done if the backup system fails (e.g. Mr JCB digs up the offsite fibre link).
If backing up to "the cloud" is considered then legal problems may occur unless the data is heavily encrypted due to the collision between the EU data protection directive and the US government slurping up the data that is sent over the internet or stored on a US cloud server. Cloud storage is also expensive when the network costs are added to the storage costs. (Just to backup or restore a single full 1TB disk in a 10 hour overnight backup window requires an uncontended 230Mbit/sec link !!!)
Cheap hardware BUT
Knowing Oracle the cost of the software licences (and compulsory maintenance) will inflate the bill to the point where it is many times the price of the competition.
Low power battery
As a cheap THL W8S phone comes with a 7.4Whr battery (and a spare in the box!!) this low power battery once again shows that Apple stands for looks over functionality. The only reason for glueing it in is to try to ensure that the product has a limited life so that Apple can sell more phones in the future to its fans.
A decently designed and built phone shoud have a lifespan of over 10 years (easily possible if the battery is replaceable) not the 5 years or less of a fixed battery model.
Re: I'd be happy with ...
About the best that you can expect to get from LEDs is the same light quality obtained from flourescent lights.
Visible light LEDs are almost as monochromatic as the low pressure sodium street lamps. To get white light from a LED lamp either a blue LED is used with a phosphor to generate the missing colours or a UV LED is used with the same type of phosphors as in a flourescent tube. Unfortunately none of the energy efficient light sources approach the smooth spectrum of an incandescent light source.
This requires 2 iDevices
The Fine My iPhones app needs an iPhone or iPad to run on (as well as the lost device) so unless you have either 2 iPhones or an iPhone and iPad, this application will not be of much use.
Stability of supplier
Is the product (or support for the product) likely to disappear due to the supplier going bust ?
For software products - are the sources available in case of the supplier going bust or deciding to discontinue the product.
For larger software suppliers - what is the tone of comments on their user groups - and does the supplier seem to have useful interaction with complaints.
Does the supplier have a history of raising maintenance charges ?
With the likes of THL bringing full HD phones with 32GB for under £230 (inc VAT), prices from the big players (Apple, Samsung, HTC) will be forced to come down over the next few years.
About the only significent useful improvements that Apple (or Samsung) could make to their phones are ones that their competitors have had for years - user replaceable batteries and SD card memory expansion.
(THL W8S is under £230 new on ebay and includes 8 and 13 MP cameras, GPS, FM radio, dual SIM, 2GB RAM, 32GB ROM, full HD IPS screen etc .)
Re: Power and size
I was meaning a file that was used during the Linux kernel build so that the kernel had only the correct device drivers - not a boot time or run time configuration of a generic kernel (a CONFIG_MTK6589T make file).
Correctly done you would have a generic make file that included a type file (e.g CONFIG_PHONE or CONFIG_TABLET or CONFIG_EMBEDDED etc), the SoC make file and the specific board file (if any) for additional devices or to disable not connected SoC devices. The CONFIG_xxx files would include lower level files so for example the CONFIG_MTK6589 file would include CONFIG_QUAD_CORE_ARM_A7 minimising the amount of duplicated configuration information. This results in smaller kernels with fewer bugs as errors in code that is not included does not have any effect on the kernel.
Power and size
For suppliers of SoC based equipment, configuring Linux is often the norm to avoid the kernel having loads of unwanted code. For example on a basic MP3 player the complete communication stack is unwanted as there is no externally connected communication interface (even if the SoC has one).
Generic kernels are far larger than custom tailored kernels -for example on the netbook that I am using at the moment the generic kernel image on disk is 3.9MP - and includes support for IP6, DECnet, Packet radio, Bluetooth, EISA bus, multiple CPU types and many other options that will never be used.
For the manufacturer of small SoC based systems, having the devices discoverable provides no benefit and will hinder if there are devices on the SoC whose use is not wanted.
Having something like a CONFIG_MTK6589T file that configures all the devices on a MTK6589T SoC would seem to be the best approach. (The MTK6589T SoC is the chip in my current phone - a THL W8S.)
Their biggest problem might be another manufacturer - THL. For example their W8S model is quad core, 8MP and 13MP cameras, 32GB, user swappable batteries (it comes with 2), full HD IPS screen and costs less than £240 (inc VAT) from a UK supplier (look on ebay). With competitor prices like that, a new entrant will have difficulty making a good profit. Also the Tegra4 is rather power hungry for smartphone use.
Weak random number ? Compromised certificates ?
The public key encryption methods use a strong encryption to protect the session key which is used to encrypt the message. If NSA have managed to get their chums at M$ or PGP to weaken the session key so that instead of 128 bits of randomness it only has 32 bits of randomness and the other 96 bits are derived by an algorithm that is known to the NSA, it would then be trivial for the NSA to decode the messages. For an outside attacker that did not know that the key was weakened and did not know the algorithm, the message would still appear to be secure.
If you want an document to stay secret - encode it with a version of GnuPG that you have compiled yourself (just in case NSA have tampered with the binaries).
Everyone should assume that the NSA has aquired the top level certificates for all the major internet companies (Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc) either by cooperation from their management or by espionage. All communication with such companies must be assumed to be open to the NSA.
Neat idea BUT
This design has a nasty single point of failure - the IP6 access point. If the sensors are important then more than one IP6 access point needed to be provided - which requires a more complex design (at least in the level 2 nodes).
Re: access to documents by unix/linux credentials only?
With root access it is possible to totally bypass the security on any database by using disk block access to the underlying data files. (Or an easier method - make the backup procedure make a copy of the database somewhere else on the disk - set that up as an instance and give yourself full access to the copy.)
In older Oracle databases (I only worked on versions 5,6,7), it was easy as a system administrator to get access to the Oracle SYS and SYSTEM accounts or to set up an OPS$ account. Once you have access then adding an account (or modifying an existing one) with the READ ALL TABLES privilege (and any specific extra tokens needed to access a specific table) is trivial. Again with Oracle, one of the standard procedures that would be done from time to time is a full database export. The export file is ASCII text with no internal protection - if data is stored unencrypted in a database then it is unencrypted text in the export file. Note also that as a system administrator it is usually easy to define or modify where exception reports are sent so if accessing a table raises a flag then the flag can be made ineffective.
Remember - all databases have a backdoor built in to recover from the case where the admin password has been lost - with Oracle it was SQLDBA (at least in versions 5,6,7). With SQLDBA it was possible to change the password for any user or to add a new user with any desired privilege.
Do you hate Microsoft that much ?
The only company that I would like to see her join is Oracle.
A Sad Day
Another sad day for humanity. Groklaw helped keep some of the law clean by exposing it to the light of truth. Will anyone else be able to do a similar job in future - I doubt it.
If you are old enough and have a good pension plan then the best route may be to retire.
System admin jobs are going the same way as most coding jobs did - either automated or outsourced to cheap countries. The only support jobs likely to continue for a while are the junior IT support - swapping keyboards and mice - swapping PCs - replacing toner and paper etc but these jobs pay peanuts. For most companies under 1000 employees, there is no business reason to have their own system administration team if they can get their administration done by an outside group for less. Using the internet, most system administration can be done just as easily from 5000 miles away as from 50 feet away.
Even the order of addition can change the result
In adding a collection of floating point numbers the result can change depending on which numbers are added first owing to the limited (though large) precision of computer floating point arithmetic
Example using 2 digits of precision
Starting from the left 1+.001+.001+.002+.003+.003 => 1.0 (Intermediate results truncated to 1.0)
Starting from the right 1+.001+.001+.002+.003+.003 => 1.1 (No data lost due to truncation)
As different versions of compilers may change the order in which arithmetic operations are carried out, getting different results from different systems with the same data on a model as sensitive to minor changes as weather forecasts is to be expected.
In weather forecasting the input data is noisy and low precision and many values are missing and are derived from averaging nearby data points (that may be 100 miles away) so runs are repeated with small changes made to the input data to see how stable the result is. In some conditions the forecasters can give accurate predictions for several days, in others the results differ so much after 48 hours that no useful longer range prediction can be made.
(Input data (best case) - temperature accuracy 0.1 degree C - 1 part in 1000, Pressure accuracy- 1 millibar - 1 part in 1000, Wind direction - 1 degree - 1 part in 360, Wind speed - 0.1 mph - 1 part in 1000)
Re: Postgres? No, thank you.
Remember - a database is a tool and like any tool if it costs a business more than it saves then the business will try to move to a different tool. Postgres may not be as good as Oracle but the price difference is so huge that for many businesses it is the better choice. (And as a former Oracle DBA, I would trust the support from the open Postgres forums more than I would trust the expensive support from Oracle.)
Even a small current server can easily handle a terabyte database which is bigger than most companies under 500 employees are likely to use and if Postgres uses more disk, memory and/or CPU power for its operation this is a tiny cost compared to the cost of the Oracle licenses which can easily be over ten times the cost of the hardware.
Postgres is already better than earlier Oracle versions that were good enough for business in their day and for non-IT companies using the computer as a tool it is good enough for use today.
No point in encryption
If you are using a cloud service then the machines in the cloud have to be able to process the data. If the data is encrypted then the machines will need the decryption key - which means that NSA etc will still have access to your data.
Cloud services should only be used for data that you do not mind everyone seeing - if the data needs to be kept secret then it MUST be kept in house.
One likely major aim of the whole NSA spying program is to obtain as much economic advantage as possible for selected US companies. (Example one - NSA learns about research in a non-US company - passes it on to US company that then patents it before the company that did the research. Example two - NSA finds out the bid prices for a major contract from non-US companies and passes them on to a US company that can then undercut the non-US companies.) With cloud computing this becomes even easier - many company secrets are stored on systems that the NSA have backdoor access to.
Mass of NEXT and power source ?
What is the mass of the NEXT engine and the required solar array (plus the xenon propellant) compared to the mass of a thruster and its propellant for the same total impulse ? (A quick calculation suggests that over 8kW of electrical power is needed which is a large array and the NEXT engine is large compared to a low output thruster.)
Theft charge is just to allow extradition
If the charge was only espionage then there would be no right to extradition from many countries in the world so the theft charge has been added on to make an offence that could get past a stupid (or bribed or coerced) judge as a valid reason for extradition. Spying on the USA is not an offence outside the countries with military alliances with the USA (NATO, and ANZUS members and a few others).
Easy for the NSA and friends to make "strong" security actually be weak
A number of protocols (SSL being a major example but also PGP) have one side chosing a long random key and sending that key via public key encryption to the other party. An easy backdoor for the suppliers of the software is to make the apparently 128bit (or 256bit) random key have only 32bits of randomness and the other bits derived by an algorithm from those 32bits. An ordinary user would not notice any difference but for the NSA it would reduce the crack time down to insignificence as they would only have a 32 bit key space to search.
If such a backdor is present in Windows or the commercial version of PGP, it would be almost invisible to users who think that they have strong steel armour but instead have wet tissue paper. (Linux and OpenPGP should be secure as the sources are published and any backdoors would be rapidly found.)
And when the CEO demands BYOD ?
Sensible policies tend to give way to corporate bigwigs wishes.
RSX11M - Dave Cutler
Anyone who read the RSX11M sources (driver writers especially) realised that Dave Cutler was a very very good programmer long before he worked on VMS and later Windows NT. He managed to get a multiuser protected general purpose operating system to work with a minimum memory footprint of under 32kbytes on machines with about the same CPU power as the chip on a credit card. (A 96kByte PDP 11/40 (1/3 mip) with 2 RK05 disks (2.4Mbyte each) could support 2 concurrent programmers - a PDP 11/70 (1 mip) with 1Mbyte and 2 RM03 disk packs (65Mbyte each) could support 10 or more.) During the many years that the CEGB used PDP-11 computers with RSX11M, I did not hear of a single OS failure that was not caused by a hardware fault - I wish that current systems were as good.
Re: @gordon10 - Apple Users - Smart People ???
This article talks about Apple iPhones. Many users of iPhones do not even realise that their phones have a computer inside and have zero idea about security - they will use the defaults. (If the iPhone had a default password of "password" you would probably find 50% or more still with that password.)
Backups or boot disks
In most sites Admins are responsible for ensuring that backups are performed. They also often have access to these backups (as they would need them if a restore is needed). Unless the backups are secured with encryption that the admin does not have the key to decipher, they will have access to the data.
There also has to be a way of reloading the OS if the system gets corrupted - either an optical drive or a USB stick (or possibly but less common - a network download). Neither Linux boot disks nor Linux boot USB sticks honor Windows file security and if either is used to boot the machine holding the secret data then it can be copied if it is not encrypted.
Simple fix for the US
If the US wanted to stop the tax dodging by companies that leave their money offshore then a simple fix would be to deem the money returned to the US three years after it is earned with the tax then being due. For a company to delay paying tax on overseas profits it would have to prove that the profits could not be returned to the US (e.g. if there was an exchange control that prohibited the movement of the money) .
Re: How does this work?
a) is the method used by Tesco to kill other grocers on the High Street. If there is a High Street with a mix of small retail shops then they will open a Tesco Express to suck the trade away (by lower prices) until there is only the familiar mix of closed shops and charity shops left.
Desktop PC's as servers ?
For small businesses (up to say 20 PC users), the most cost effective route may be to use the same PCs for the users and the servers and keep one or two spare systems ready to replace any broken PC (whether it is a desktop or a server). System backups to USB3 (or eSATA) external drives which are cheap items. Even a fairly unskilled (and cheap) user can disconnect one PC, replace it with a spare from a shelf, plug in a recovery external drive and boot from it to restore a system - far cheaper than a 24/7 (or even 8/5) maintainance contract. Larger organisations may need different PCs for the servers and desktops but even there having spare servers may well be cheaper than using an expensive server with an expensive maintainance contract.
One thing that IT vendors need to remember - there are far far more small companies than large ones and for most of the small companies, their IT system being out for a few hours once a year (or less frequently) is far cheaper than the cost of the expensive equipment that would eliminate the outages.
Use a router
Even a cheap home router can be set to not pass FTP traffic. When access is needed then log in to the router to enable the traffic then disable it afterwards. For older kit where updates are no longer readily available or where taking the device offline would cause too much disruption using a router to filter the traffic is a cheap fix (much less than £100 per device to be secured)
The publisher demands $$ for each ebook sold
The publisher will allow Amazon (or Apple or any other eBook store) to sell eBooks in exchange for a fee for each eBook sold. If Amazon sells the eBook to the public for less that it costs them from the publisher then they will make a loss on the book. (This is usually done to advertise other products and overall Amazon will make a profit.)
The incremental cost of a eBook is effectively zero but there are fixed costs in the production of a eBook and the author and publisher expect to make money otherwise there is no point in writing.
For people just writing for their own pleasure there are outlets such as Storiesonline.net but most of the stories there are not as well polished as the better commercial stories.
The big firms are also disliked by many of their customers
Anyone who has been burned by new releases of Oracle software not supporting all the features of previous versions or by bugs that take ages to fix (if they ever are) or by prices that are excessive is unlikely to be a fan of Oracle. When a reasonably priced alternative becomes available then they are likely to want to ditch Oracle as soon as practical. (SAP probably has the same problems but I never used SAP but I was an Oracle DBA and systems admin for years.)
For a new company, there is probably NO reason to use Oracle or SAP. Below the multithousand employee level, much cheaper products from other companies are likely to be adequate and with far lower staff overhead requirements. (For an example of their high prices - the list price for Oracle standard edition database running on a six core Xeon CPU is $52500 to buy and $11550 per year in maintenance and this is only for the database - no applications. )
Red Giant phase
In the last stages of a low mass star (like the sun), it will become a red giant before it collapses into a white dwarf. During this phase there will be a lot of solar atmosphere out to a distance similiar to earths orbit.
For asteroids inside this gas cloud, there will be friction leading to a loss of kinetic energy. This might be sufficient to cause them to lose enough energy to spiral in to the star.
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