* Posts by Prof. William Waterman Sherman

58 posts • joined 6 May 2010


'This is insane!' FCC commissioner tears into colleagues over failure to stop robocalls

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

It's the SPOOFING more than the SPAMMING.

I could screen calls quite efficiently myself, until the majority of nuisance callers began spoofing local numbers. Now, I'm more suspicious of local calls than out-of-state.

Not sure how spoofing caller-id is done, but putting an end to it would do more than anything else.

Cookie clutter: Chrome saves Google cookies from cookie jar purges

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: The Fonz Vs The Sharknado

Agreed. I always thought Eric Schmidt was creepy (especially showing up at Burning Man to hang out with Tank Girl). I was baffled when he went to Google and was described as the "adult" who would help them run a real company. Everything he uttered to sound cutting-edge and original was, uh, creepy is the best word to describe it.

WWII Bombe operator Ruth Bourne: I'd never heard of Enigma until long after the war

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Partial truth, partial cover up ?

German counter intelligence was awful because of common Nazi pathologies: overconfidence in their superiority, paranoia and distrust of rival sister organizations, and reluctance to deliver bad news to higher ups. Lots of Nazis and German generals kept informal channels open to the allies through neutral countries. They weren't spies, just serving their own interests, especially when it was clear how things were going to end.

Plus, the allies were very careful to protect Ultra sources. Quite often they arranged for a plausible alternate event explain their apparent luck. Not many operational commanders were privy to the details. Notably, Patton was a big fan of Ultra and couldn't get enough.

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Standard German and Dialects?

That makes sense. A letter never encrypting as itself was one of the enigma device quirks exploited by the geniuses who cracked it.

Of course the heros of Bletchley Park are rightly lauded, but I don't think the Poles who got things rolling are given their due. Without mechanical aids, they replicated enigma's internal workings with string and paper tags. By the time they had a solution, a cat's cradle would fill the room. And they did this all while staying one step ahead of the Wehrmacht until they reached Britain.

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Unplugging the keyboard = kernel panic ?

Unplugging the console keyboard on SPARC hardware generates a BREAK signal. That doesn't panic the system, but drops it to the firmware monitor prompt. Plug the keyboard back in, type "go", and it will resume operation.

Equifax IT staff had to rerun hackers' database queries to work out what was nicked – audit

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Impressive consequences

Sadly, the black hats still turn a buck after getting caught. My employer mandated an online cyber security course fronted by Kevin Mitnick (pro tip: pick long passwords and change them frequently). I'd have been more impressed by one run by Tsutomu Shimomura.

Emma's Diary fined £140k for flogging data on over a million new mums to Labour Party

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: UK's 11 main political parties... Plaid Cymru?

I thought the leading Welsh party was Shrflyrnpchthryiacflwan (pronounced, "Dferfrywnnshpfaludnionfaelemlynmor").

Who fancies a six-core, 32GB RAM, 4TB NVME ... convertible tablet?

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: That would make a very nice…

Total agreement, here. And this snippet: "Apple's developers deserve to be paid for the hard work..." tells me you have experience in the black arts.

As an exercise in frustration, I tried standing up a Snow Leopard VirtualBox on my MacBook running Yosemite (to keep Rosetta around). Ostensibly legal, I never got it working right. I figured it would be easier running a Hackintosh VM on Windows and gave up the effort.

US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Missing the point

Da–I mean–right on. The Russian game was to cast democracy as a disorganized, chaotic mess, as much for domestic consumption as its effect on the States. Regardless of who won, it was win-win for Putin. He gets to show Russians how superior it is to be run by a strongman, and cause America to doubt its own institutions.

I hear newscasts on both sides talk of how Russia "hacked" our election. They didn't hack the election, but they did hack our culture. They certainly tried to hack our election computers. They had about as much success as they did hacking our power grid. Not a call for complacence, but certainly a call for computer illiterates to stop overreacting and making policy in a panic.

Personally, I think the old hand ballots scaled well. That was ruined by a small number of Palm Beach morons who couldn't manage to puncture a pre-scored index card. Sorry, for saying, "moron". I'm no better than the trolls. I blame moose and squirrel.

Virtual desktops won’t save cash in clouds or on-prem. So why care?

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Latency is everything (damn speed of light)

Network latency is a double-edged sword. Sure, relatively high latencies (say, >80ms) can spoil the VDI experience with jittery screens and jerky mice. But even lower latencies (<20ms) can wreck transaction heavy, fat applications and drive them into the data center, so they live closer to their servers.

In standing up our own cloud service, our biggest revelation was the cost of VDI, both in licensing and hardware. MS license terms are confusing (intentionally, in my opinion) and lead to over-provisioning. And those fat apps–in aggregate–had a thirst for SSD storage that shamed our servers.

Boss made dirt list of minions' mistakes, kept his own rampage off it

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Fragile. Very fragile.

We run a load of VMware machines and the RAM is mostly hot-swappable.

'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

I'm not a coder, but I read a lot of code to gain insight into problems I'm tasked with fixing. I've learned to identify developers by their peculiar spelling and grammar quirks. For example, "thier" in a comment line indicates Andy wrote that particular routine, while "there" when he means "they're" points to Bob. And, if the code contains proper grammar and missing joins in an SQL query, of course it's Carl!

Bless their hearts. I love them all.

Obama's intel chief says Russia totally tried to swing it for Trump

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

The biggest fiction is that Russian meddling in US politics and media is something new. Russians (then Soviets) routinely planted false stories in third-world press and patiently waited for them to be picked up by the AP, UPI, AFP, Reuters, etc. for an appearance of legitimacy. With RT they simply cut out the middle man. Google and other aggregators then give RT equal play with western news outlets, more even, because sensational stories get more clicks.

Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Ditto. I worked for a genetics research company that employed several Slavic geniuses (no sarcasm). No one else touched the "Russian" code because it was indecipherable. They probably felt cramped by non-Cyrillic character sets limiting their options for single character variable names.

Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: apples and oranges

Comparing apples and oranges is not futile. It's quite easy. Whilst both are delicious, sweet, round and grow on trees, they taste quite different. Apples can be baked in pies, but oranges cannot. Apples come in a variety of colors, but oranges are almost uniformly the same color (a kind of reddish-yellow).

The LUN must DIE. Are you with me, storage bods?

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

spoken like a lazy storage admin

This article safely reinforces the worst prejudice of storage admins, which is the belief they can do their job and remain ignorant of the applications that run on their systems.

I'm a DBA (Sybase, Intersystems Cache) and a storage admin (ZFS, NetApp) for a cloud company. As a vertical market software vendor, I also deal with our premises customers' myriad other storage systems (EMC, Compellent, Hitachi, etc.). I've seen a lot of good and a lot of bad. The storage system, more than any other component, determines application performance.

There can be a real need for multiple LUNs in a database, even though they ultimately sit astride the same physical disks. Separating data from log I/O in RDBMs is axiomatic. The OS kernel may effectively serialize I/O to a single LUN whereas multiple LUNs have multiple software channels. In other words, you are clearing a software not hardware bottleneck. There could be other considerations in regards cache policies, tiering, etc. that justify multiple LUNs.

Apollo 17 Moon landing: Shock revelations

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Not possible!

No way those were Photoshopped. The last moon landing was in 1972. Photoshop didn't come out for another 18 years! Man, do your research before making wild accusations.

Piles of unshiftable HP fondle-slabs choke Best Buy

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Re: Looting

One electronics shop was looted, and afterwards counted 32 more HP tablets than they started the day with.

Unix dynamic duo awarded Japan Prize

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

It's called "K & R C" for a reason...

Bet Brian Kernighan is miffed.

MOSSAD SPY VULTURE seized in Saudi Arabia

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

...well actually...

The Brits tried to pull a fast one and turn Jerusalem over to the Arabs before they were scheduled to bug out. Didn't work too well. There was considerable animosity between Israelis and Brits at the time. The only reason the latter did anything to benefit the former was Truman twisting their arm.

How I invented Desktop Publishing

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Maybe you invented the Internet, but I invented computer networks...

In high school I discovered I could get two TRS-80s to talk together by cross-connecting their cassette tape drive cables. The first machine thought it was writing a string to tape, but it was really read by the second machine, which thought it was reading a string from tape. I cooked up a BASIC version of Battleship to demo the concept.

Disaster recovery blurs into high availability (or other way round?)

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

What about FT and BC?

There's also fault tolerance (FT) which is a very high level of redundancy, such that software is unaware of any failure. I'm thinking especially of Tandem. And then there's business continuity (BC) which is like DR but focuses less on the disastrous aspects. I'm thinking near line storage or data replication. The lines can blur but you really need prudent amounts of both. You don't want to fail over to the bunker just because one disk goes bad. And your RAID6 array doesn't help when it's under water.

Seagate squirts out rectal cleaning spray

Prof. William Waterman Sherman
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All those "thumbs up" icons are making feel very uncomfortable.

Can replication replace backup?

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

database replication

When the data you're protecting is all in an object or relational database, the DBMS usually offers another form of replication. Database replication basically consists of replaying the primary's transaction logs on a secondary system. This is an attractive option because replaying transactions instead of physical device I/O prevents many types of corruption and maintains transactional integrity. The secondary system can be used for report generation as well or other read-only uses.

Should your data centre look more like Google’s?

Prof. William Waterman Sherman
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I'm with Jake.

Technically, it might be a verb, but it sounds wrong to my ears. If we all agree to never use it as a verb, eventually (after a hundred years or so) the OED will delist it.

Let's dialog it some more.

Google boss turns Wave demise into success of sorts

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Well stated.

Once the Web gets deduped, my 9600 Baud modem becomes viable again.

Reminds me of the joke about the Texan who passed away and was too large to fit in a casket. They gave him an enema and buried him in a matchbox.

ET voted fave family film fodder

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Maybe kids are the fodder for these family films.

For me, at least three of those films were emotionally scarring. Didn't stop me from showing it to my kids, but still.

Wikileaks publishes encrypted 'insurance' file

Prof. William Waterman Sherman

Forget re-writing history. Try reading history.

The Taliban came after, fought, and displaced, the Mujahideen. The people we armed to fight Russian invaders were Mujahideen. Taliban largely sat out that fight, or were too young.

Before the iPad, there was the Newton

Prof. William Waterman Sherman
Dead Vulture

Executive whirlygig

As a vendor SE, I had the misfortune of attending a meeting of LA Times execs after they all received their Newtons. The meeting was constantly interrupted by, "hold on!...(scribble, scribble)...okay, go ahead...hold on...(scribble, scribble)...". My comment about witnessing the human equivalent to XON/XOFF flow control was not appreciated.

Those in the room with Tandy Model 100s had no problem keeping up. Ah, the Model 100, stalwart of newsrooms everywere, that's a computer you should memorialize.

Tombstone, to represent beloved gear of day gone by.


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