* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Moon flashes Earth after getting pounding from MASSIVE meteorite

DougS Silver badge

Question for the astronomers and rocket scientists out there

If this thing fell to Earth instead, how much of it would be left after the atmosphere did its best to burn it up? Would it hit intact, or would it blow up in the air like that one over Russia?

Prez Obama cyber-guru: Think your data is safe in an EU cloud? The NSA will raid your servers

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That's a great idea, but may I recommend one change? Don't fragment your data, store two complete copies, each XOR'ed with the same random data, so it can only be reconstructed on your end by XOR'ing the two together. Let the NSA and the Chinese each go crazy trying to decrypt something utterly impossible to decrypt!

Someone should write a Linux FUSE driver for that...

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I'll bet they'd have a harder time hacking into one in China

That might be a better place to keep your cloud data even as (or especially as) a US citizen/company. Sure, the Chinese can definitely access it, but if you store encrypted data it is probably safe. I think they'd have much less chance of breaking the encryption than the NSA.

Thus, encrypted data is probably safer sitting on a Chinese server with the Chinese equivalent of the NSA trying to crack it as it would be on a US or EU server with the NSA/GCHQ trying to crack it. As a US citizen, this is a very sad state of affairs to admit.

Samsung brandishes quad-core Galaxy S5, hopes nobody wants high specs

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Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

Is it one of those coatings you can get that wear off after a while? Or is it something factory applied that can be made to last for years?

I must say I really wonder how it is possible to make a phone with a removable back watertight? It would have to seal perfectly. Maybe at first it will, but let's just say I'm skeptical that will still be true if it is removed more than a handful of times. Or is the coating applied to the inside too, including the battery?

I will say if you take it snowboarding you might want to avoid getting the white one, as water resistance might not be your biggest worry if you lose it at speed :)

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Heart rate monitor

There have been heart rate monitor apps for years on the iPhone and Android working the same way it does on the S5. Somehow we're supposed to believe this is great new functionality because it is built in?

Tizen devices are HERE.... Hello, Samsung Gear 2 smartwatches

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Jump to a new platform?

Smartphones are a nearly non-existent market, it isn't like Android has any presence in that market. What difference does it make for whether anyone would buy these whether they're running Android or Tizen? It isn't like you're going to go to the Google Play store and find smartwatch apps.

I think the big thing holding back adoption is that the product sucks. It doesn't provide anything anyone wants. Maybe Apple will do better, as they seemed to get the formula right with tablets after multiple failed tablet attempts from Microsoft. Or maybe that's why the Apple watch is always rumored and never seen - perhaps they can't figure out how to make one that people will want to buy either!

Collective SSL FAIL a symptom of software's cultural malaise

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Re: NSA Link

I could believe the NSA has some employees secretly working for Apple and other large companies to put holes in the OS to give them easy access.

But I find it harder to believe they'd do it this way with the double goto. I admit I had to think about it for a second or two to realize why that was a bad thing - if they ran their code through 'indent' it would make stuff like that more visible, though I expect if someone was surfing through the code and saw that they'd fix it even if they didn't immediately realize it was a problem (let alone have the further realization it was a big security problem)

Hopefully they'll look at all the code modified by whoever did that to see if they inserted other more subtle issues elsewhere...

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Re: You'll get nothing from clang using -w

You can use pragmas to silence spurious warnings. Compile with everything enabled, investigate, silence ones you know are spurious, then when new ones appear you're not overwhelmed with noise.

DougS Silver badge

So what's the solution?

I know, some people will say "don't reinvent the wheel". Was it dumb for Apple to (apparently) implement its own SSL library, instead of using something like openssl? Perhaps.

However, serious bugs have been found in widely used open source security software that have been present for a long time before they found (or publicly found) If everyone was using openssl, on average everyone would be more secure. Apple would have avoided this bug. Sounds good, right?

Except when a bug was found in openssl it would affect everyone, all at once. There's no way that could be kept quiet long enough for patches to be developed for more than a fraction of devices, so you'd end up with 3/4 of the world open to attack for a few days or longer.

Chipzilla just won't quit: Intel touts 64-bit Atoms for Android phones, tabs

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So it looks like this "new" battery benchmark debuted today

What do you want to bet that Intel helped fund it, and helped select the tests behind the scenes?

They pull this every time they release a new chip, and then when someone finds the off-brand phone using their chip and tests it, they find it isn't close to the claims being made about it. I'm surprised anyone even bothers to review them anymore, after they've fail to live up to the cooked benchmarks time and again.

Mozilla takes wraps off 25 DOLLAR Firefox OS smartphone

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So what's your complaint? The original iPhone had a 480x320 screen, which is fewer pixels than the 640x240 this supports. Back then no one suggested it had terrible resolution, because it had more pixels than almost any phone at the time.

For $25 you aren't going to get specs that can or should be compared to high end products (and for the third world, any phone costing over $100 is very much high end)

That resolution is more than adequate for using it as a phone, texting, and simple browsing. And way more than adequate for Flappy Birds :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: be afraid

As I've been posting here for several years, usually to point out how meaningless "smartphone market share" is, soon every phone will be a smartphone.

The bottom price for feature phones I've seen reported is $20, this would pretty much be the nail in the coffin for feature phones. They'll quit making them by the end of this year, run through existing stock by the end of next year, and by 2016 they'll be pretty much gone.

Climate change will 'cause huge increase in murder, robbery and rape'

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I guess if alarmists can't get the results they want, make the headlines more alarming!

Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one

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If you're happy with what you have now

Can you still get those exact same models from your carrier?

Don't laugh, older phones are probably going to be "free". Since 18 month old Android devices have little resale value, you could either keep the used ones around as a backup in case something happens to the new ones, or give them to family members who aren't restricted to a corporate plan and could save money with a BYOD plan.

G20 gives Google, Microsoft, Apple et al tax deadline

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"Haven't undersigned anything..."

So you think you should only pay taxes in proportion to what percentage of government you'd like to have? Or that you won't pay taxes at all unless the government is only doing stuff you agree with?

Do you have kids? Not everyone does, maybe they want to defund education...why should their taxes go to educating your kids? The fundamentalists down south might want to defund NASA, what's the point of exploring space, the Bible tells us all we need to know about what's up there. Some guy that's afraid of flying doesn't want to pay for the TSA - or air traffic controllers. His neighbor who doesn't drive doesn't want to pay for the roads.

Follow that to its logical conclusion and I hope you never have to call the fire department.

Update your iThings NOW: Apple splats scary SSL snooping bug in iOS

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@Anon with the 3G

That will be six years old this summer. Do you expect them to support old hardware FOREVER?

Try finding OS support from the manufacturer from ANY other phone made in 2009, bar the 3gs.

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It's nice to see they're updating iOS 6.x also

I sold my 3gs years ago, so it doesn't affect me, but it shows that they still care about the old hardware even a couple years after they're done selling it. One reason why their hardware holds its resale value so well.

Muslim clerics issue fatwa banning the devout from Mars One 'suicide' mission

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This is rather sad

When you consider that Islam had a lot to do with keeping the knowledge of the ancients around during the Dark Ages when Rome was busy burning books.

Magnets to stick stuff to tablets: Yup, there's an Apple patent application for that

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US Patent Office grants obvious/ridiculous patent to a US Company.

The patent office is an equal opportunity grantor of obvious/ridiculous patents. Can you point to cases where they've denied obvious/ridiculous patents on a repeated basis to non-US companies?

US Company enforces said patent world wide ensuring US interests are protected and non-US company cannot secure it for themselves.

Having a US patent does not allow the company to assert its patent worldwide. That's why they have patent offices in other countries. Having a US patent that's filed before the date of a competing patent filed elsewhere gives it precedence, but the reverse is also true (at least for countries the US has a patent treaty with, which is most of the important ones)

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Re: Confused

Not only that, but Apple's patent covers the two devices communicating with each other, which your TomTom isn't doing.

Not saying Apple's patent isn't silly, but it isn't something your TomTom is prior art for.

TV scraper Aereo pulled off air in six US states after tellyco court injunction victory

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For those who don't understand how this works in the US

Originally broadcasters were happy to let cable companies receive and retransmit their signal for free. It meant more viewers, and more advertising revenue.

However, more recently broadcasters have realized they have some content many customers can't live without (in particular, professional and college football) so they started charging cable/satellite companies for retransmission. This is legal by FCC rules - in return for charging, they give up the "must carry" (i.e. if it is free, cable companies must carry certain local stations, but if they must pay, they are freed from that requirement)

Initially the fees were low, but they keep raising them higher and higher to see what the market will bear. Sometimes certain cable/satellite providers will lose access to certain locals for a while during a fee dispute, and such disputes are becoming more common.

Since the cable/satellite providers have to pay, the stations want Aereo to pay as well. Aereo claims they don't have to since each person has a "dedicated" antenna. The networks have vowed to pull their content (certainly at least the high value sports) from public airwaves if Aereo is allowed to continue.

South Korea green lights Stuxnet-like code weapons to nark Norks

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Cheaper than developing a Stuxnet-like code weapon

Is talking about it, to make your paranoid enemy waste effort defending itself against something that does not exist.

If they were really going to do it, they wouldn't tell everyone. That would be like Japan sending a cable to Washington on November 7, 1941 warning them about the impending sneak attack scheduled 30 days hence.

Help! Apple has snaffled the WHOLE WORLD'S supply of sapphire glass

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Re: Sapphire Glass is crap...

There's little point in developing a diamond screen for the hardness unless it could be made cheaper. I'm at a loss to think of something a phone's screen will encounter that will scratch sapphire but not diamond. Pretty much the only thing is, uh, sapphire. I'll be sure to remember if I'm carrying a sapphire ring around in my pocket to put the phone in the other one!

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Re: Sapphire Glass is crap...

If I want "a real comparison and evaluation" I think I'm going to choose a site other than Corning's. They have quite a vested interest considering how much they stand to lose if everyone was to start replacing Gorilla Glass with sapphire in mobile products.

You might as well go to Apple for a fair evaluation of the GS4, or Samsung for a fair evaluation of the iPhone 5S. Remember Microsoft's "fair" evaluations of Linux?

Project Tango: Google's all-ringing, all-dancing 3D-sensing smartphone

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Upvoted even though you criticized my post, not only because it was an eloquent critique, but because you managed to be eloquent and still work in the phrase "clique of halfwit cockchugger commentards"...

DougS Silver badge

How is that "depth sensor" any different than Kinect? There are multiple ways known to map a 3D environment, such as IR and sonar. It isn't like this will magically allow you to see what is behind a closed door. If it had enough processing power it might be able to see around corners in some cases (if the IR/sonar reflects back and the device can calculate the multiple reflections required to get around the corner and back)

This is simply packaging Kinect like tech in a smaller form factor. If Apple were rumored to be doing this in a future iPhone, we'd be treated to a horde of people claiming they're copying Kinect, Apple can't innovate, etc. If Google does it we have deluded people like you touting this as a "massive breakthrough". If you think it is, the credit goes to whoever designed the sensors. I doubt Google did, anymore than Apple designed the MEMs accelerometers in the first iPhone.

Alliance for Wireless Power to pursue new 50W standard

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Re: 50? What? Dell?

You doubt what? You don't think 50 watts will run/charge a laptop? Perhaps you need to look at the ratings on a typical laptop power brick. Not the brick for a desktop replacement laptop, but for ones that are actually, you know, laptops.

Chihuahua TERROR: Packs of TINY hounds menace Arizona

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Re: Chihuahua TERROR?

Someone at SyFy started the script a few minutes ago. It'll be ready for shooting tomorrow afternoon.

Google teases more cities with bonkers-fast fiber broadband rollouts

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I doubt it

They're going to skim the cream off the US broadband market, deploying in markets where it is easy and inexpensive to deploy. Just as Verizon did with FIOS.

They're never going to be hitting small rural towns that are underserved by broadband, only giving the ones who already have access to 50-300 Mb access to 1 Gb.

Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS

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The ridiculous values attached to Nest and WhatsApp

Makes me think we're due for another bubble burst.

Walking in a WiFi wonderland

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This is pretty smart of Avaya

They get publicity and get some real world heavy traffic testing in an environment where they can do performance monitoring in a way no enterprise would ever allow for their traffic.

MtGox claims to have a fix ready for Bitcoin withdrawal woes

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Withdrawal limits?

Do they really expect people to believe this is because they're "testing" this new software? I wonder how many years will it take for large holders to be able to withdraw everything under these limits?

Reports pump fuel into iCar gossip: Apple in 'talks' with Tesla

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I guess they want to buy GM also

As they have been spotted talking to them too.

Of course "Apple might buy Tesla" or "Apple developing iCar" makes much better headlines than "Apple in talks to integrate iOS into cars other people make". Surely Tesla would be a leading contender for such integration, given it is the only Silicon Valley carmaker.

How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog

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Warranty terms

I haven't read through the warranty on consumer drives, but I assume they specify in some way that they aren't rated for 24x7x365 use. If you use them that way, and it fails, you probably have to lie to make a warranty claim.

I agree about the packing/shipping cost. They have way underestimated the cost of replacing a drive, as well as counting nothing for the non-zero risk that two drive failures within a short amount of time can be fatal if using mirroring or single parity RAID. If that happens to them once, the cost will outweigh all the savings they will ever get by buying cheap drives.

Who OWNS data generated by 'connected cars' sensor slurpers?

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Here's how I look at it

If I get useful data for free, such as traffic updates or road conditions on my path, I have no problem with sharing my location (in an anonymized fashion) and other data to help the guy a few miles behind me in like fashion.

If I'm expected to subscribe to this service, I'm unlikely to do so, and they'd better not think I'm contributing my data for free to help them make money!

So what's the revenue model if they're providing it to me for free? I suppose they can sell the data to people with unconnected cars - they gotta pay for it since they aren't contributing. Oh, who am I kidding, if Google has anything to do with this the revenue model will be advertising, advertising and more advertising.

DougS Silver badge

So long as you can access under the hood to disconnect the right wiring harness, or the fuse panel to pull the right fuse, you can always turn it off.

Someday maybe the car won't start if you did that, but so long as "connected cars" have to share the road with unconnected ones, that isn't likely to happen.

New password system lets planet Earth do the hard work

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Not much better than regular passwords

How many people will choose the Eiffel Tower, the top of the Empire State Building, or some other well-known landmark? Will the system have to enforce not choosing such spots the same way you're forced not to use "password" as your password?

Even if you choose a place that wouldn't be guessed by strangers, what about your friends? What about your ex-wife, who knows you very well, trying to choose locations she wouldn't guess but you could still remember well?

Even if all those concerns are avoided, if your "password" becomes known just once, then you need to think of a new location. Plus, you wouldn't want to use the same location for your bank as Facebook, so you'll need multiple locations.

Seems like it has all the problems passwords do.

Google promises 10Gps fiber network to blast 4K into living rooms

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Re: What's the point?

How is fiber to the home a solution for bad copper INSIDE the home? If you're drilling a hole in the house to run fiber inside it, it is easier and cheaper to run a cat5e/6a cable through that hole.

If I could visit my house in 50 years, I am sure its occupant will have faster internet than the 25M/5M VDSL2 I have, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they are still using copper. They'll probably have replaced the thin RJ11 satin cable I ran from the telco service entrance of my house to where my DSL modem is located with something newer by then, I imagine :)

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@Christian Berger

I agree that the uplink speed is a problem in asymmetric situations like typical DSL and cable modems. But Google fiber was already 1Gbit symmetric, so that argument doesn't apply here.

DougS Silver badge

What's the point?

Name ONE THING you can do with 10Gbit that you can't do with 1Gbit. One thing that doesn't involve torrents, or dreamland technology like a personal holodeck served via the cloud.

For that matter, it is hard to see many things you need much more than 100Mbit for. I'm not saying "nobody will ever need more than a gigabit", but until we start doing something useful with hundreds of megabits it seems rather silly to worry about going from a gigabit to 10 gigabits. Especially when the userbase is measured in tens of thousands of customers, rather than the millions of us who live in the real world and won't see Google Fiber until 2040 at the rate they're moving. At this point, it seems more of a publicity stunt than anything else.

I'm sure large businesses would love to locate in areas where they're provided 10 Gbits, but I have a feeling the price for it will be a couple orders of magnitude higher for a business user, because there's a chance they might actually USE most of that 10 gigabit link and if customers actually use it Google can't provide it for anywhere near the prices they're charging.

Apple prevails in Siri marketing lawsuit

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Ford example

Your argument is that you have multiple cars that are otherwise equal aside from this feature, so if this feature works 70% of the time it is still superior to your other choices. Not as superior as if it worked 100% of the time, true.

But unless Ford's ad specifically stated "you'll never get into a cold car again in your life", simply showing several people happy to find their car is warm when they get into it can't be taken as a guarantee that it always works. Anyone who has experience with seeing advertising knows this.

That wouldn't stop a few people thinking they deserve something for nothing to sue Ford, as they did with Apple, but they'd rightly lose because Ford wouldn't state "this works 100% of the time" unless they really believed it would and the fitness for purpose test would be applied. People may not like the fitness for purpose test, but that's how the law works, at least in the US (where the Apple suit was brought)

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The suit was obviously without merit

The whole basis of their claim was that they bought the iPhone 4S on the basis of Siri, but if they knew it wasn't as good as the ads implied, they wouldn't have. If you make a purchase decision based on a single feature, you deserve what you get.

I await the lawsuit by 5S owners claiming the only reason they bought it because they believed the fingerprint scanner was infallible security, making it impossible for even the NSA to get into their phone.

'The Mystery of the Martian Doughnut' solved by NASA sleuths

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Re: @Graham Dawson

Oxygen can be recycled from CO2, so you don't need "substantial" amounts of it.

Microsoft may pick iPad for first release of Fondleslab Office™

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I struggle to see how Office could be useful on a tablet

Typing a multi page Word document on a touchscreen? Using touch screen to select cell locations in Excel, then typing in the values, then scrolling.

Using a keyboard/mouse is just way more efficient. Sure, you can use a keyboard cover which sucks slightly less, but at that point, why not just get a Macbook Air / Ultrabook and do it properly?

For viewing Office documents and making quick edits, sure. But you don't need full blown Office for that, and I have a feeling Microsoft is going to try to charge the same price as desktop Office.

PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

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Surely they'll support it for at least three years after they allow it to be sold

It would be pretty ridiculous to say "quit selling this Oct 31 2014, and no support after Jan 13 2015". Especially now that they will allow selling PCs with W7 Professional after after that date.

Microsoft obviously plans to add a few years to Windows 7, but want to wait until the last minute hoping to scare people towards Windows 8 for as long as possible. Sad that they must use fear to try to push that turdball on people.

The whole reason they held back W7SP2 that was in internal testing but never released was because they didn't want to restart the clock for another five years of support on Windows 7. They're going to end up doing it anyway, except now it is going to be with a bazillion updates. Maybe they'll produce a service pack but call it something else (a "roll up", perhaps) to avoid that five year commitment.

'No representation without taxation!' urges venerable tech VC

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Re: We get into problems when.....

But that's not the case. Only half of people pay income taxes, but everyone with a job pays SS/FICA taxes. Everyone with or without a job pays sales and other excise taxes. Everyone except the homeless pays property taxes (renters don't pay it directly, but some of the rent they pay to their landlords is used to pay property taxes)

I guess Perkins is mostly retired for venture capitalism now so he feels he can speak his mind without worrying what guys in the startups he's funding like Andressen and Zuckerberg will think of his extremist views.

US Senate bill would mandate 'kill switch' on all smartphones

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Buyer beware

If you don't purchase in a way you can get your money back if the product isn't what was advertised, it is your own fault. Ebay has buyer protection that covers this. Craigslist is the wild west, so there is no protection, but generally people meet for transactions so you would have to make sure the phone was reset to factory defaults before handing over payment.

Honestly, this is such an obvious thing, I don't know why anyone would be against it, but I think forcing laws is a bit extreme. Why in the world would you make a law requiring this for phones, but there is no law requiring a LoJack for a car? I should think that auto theft is a bigger problem in terms of the number of deaths related to auto theft as well as the total economic loss.

If phone theft became less of a problem for iPhone owners due to the activation lock, I think market demand would make it a standard feature on Android. Or if people aren't that worried about it (few think crime will happen to them) then there will be no market demand and things will stay the same. Either way, no law is required.

Apple Mac Pro: It's a death star, not a nappy bin, OK?

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Am I the only one

Who thinks it looks better with the external casing off? I'm not sure if leaving the guts exposed would be a good idea, but I suppose it is small enough it could sit on your desk so you don't have to worry about accidentally kicking it under your desk or having the cleaning staff slamming into it with the vacuum.

I want SDN and I want it now!

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Re: Then I have never worked in a well run IT dept.

Speaking as someone who has been a consultant rather than an employee for the past 15 years, I think I can give you a few reasons why that is.

1) the average admin isn't smart enough to do a good job automating (so if they try it has so many problems either they give up or their boss makes them give up) Sometimes I try to use their halfassed attempts at automation as a starting point, but I always end up scrapping it and going from scratch

2) the average admin is too lazy to want to do the extra up front work to make this happen, versus just fighting the fires as they come - if they're overloaded, they're not smart enough to realize that a few evenings/weekends spent automating a few things they spend way too much time on will give them the free time they wish they had

3) they're worried they may "automate themselves out of a job"

When I set up scripts to stuff in minutes that people would otherwise do by hand in an hour or two (like configuring the SAN switches in a C3000 blade chassis, for instance) it is interesting to see the responses I get. Other consultants think it is really great and want to use it right away. Those regular admins that I had already identified as being the more clueful and more interesting in learning how things work, rather than how to do what their job requires and nothing else, are also interested.

Others are actively hostile - they like doing these sorts of mindless tasks, because it takes a while, it is visible, and assuming they've been given a cheat sheet doesn't require any active thought. They might have to do actual work if all the "easy" stuff is automated away...

Toshiba opens curtains, reveals air-cushioned 5-terabyte terror

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Re: Instant Erase

Why did you put "erase" in quotes like that? Do you think that method is somehow insecure?

The key would be stored in NVRAM or flash, so once overwritten with a new key it is gone gone gone. Even if you had some known plaintext (you knew it was a Windows boot drive, for instance) its going to take someone with the resources of the NSA to decrypt it.

They aren't claiming MILSPEC instant erase, but it is good enough for your banking data or your bank's credit card database. If you're paranoid, you can always overwrite the unreadable data with garbage if you have enough time while you're waiting for the feds to get off their bullhorns and bust down your door.

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