* Posts by Developer Dude

13 posts • joined 17 Mar 2015

FBI boss: No encryption backdoor law (but give us backdoors anyway)

Developer Dude

"Perhaps this is because politicians don't understand that adding a backdoor blows the whole thing apart, rendering the encryption worthless – it's not something that can be switched on for an investigator and switched off at all other times"

Oh, they understand perfectly well.

They just don't care one whit.

As US$12bn is wiped off Apple's value in one day, iOS 9, OS X 10.11 and Watch OS 2 dates set

Developer Dude


Economics 101:

Buy low, sell high.

With the stocks down, I put even more money into the market, buying at the lower prices.

French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

Developer Dude

Re: It must be spent

I used to work at a Biotech corp. that had an onsite nurse who believed in this crap.

Knowing I had a EE degree she gave me an advertisement for a device and asked my advice about it.

Without going into the mumbo jumbo of the advertisement, it basically purported to convert "disordered chaotic" EM emissions into "ordered" EM emissions, thereby lessening their "harmful effects". It included a drawing showing the before and after of the EM emissions.

My response to her was that ignoring the fact that EM emissions from simple electronic gear like computers, cell phones and such were not harmful - *IF* they were harmful, making them "ordered" would, if anything, quite possibly make them more harmful, not less. In addition, I know of no electronic circuitry that could accomplish such "ordering".

She probably went and bought the device anyway - she also believed in black and white magic.

Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

Developer Dude

The data centers on the east coast may use "dirty coal", but they generally use it near to power plant, which is more efficient and less expensive. Also, the plants are usually outside the city and they can (if they choose to) make their emissions much more clean because the power is generated in one place, so they can spend the money and have the room to reduce their emissions, unlike small in-city power plants using the same fuel (or even "cleaner" fuel) which don't have the room or the scale (economically) to reduce their emissions by the same percentage.

Whether they use power from that plant near the plant, or you use it in your house, it is still power from the same plant, and many data centers go to extensive lengths to make their computer power use much less power; using large very efficient DC power supplies to supply multiple servers, instead of an AC-DC power supply per server, and so on.

Then there are the west coast data centers that use hydro, wind and solar power and like their east coast brethren use every trick they can to lower their power usage because even with those renewable power sources, their power bills are high.

So the devil is in the details and you can't just dismiss some large category of computing power as "dirty".

Boss hands dunce's cap to chap who turned off disk monitor

Developer Dude

Not a call out, but...

Same voicemail co.

Different office.

We had some kind of token ring network (IIRC) for the in-house network.

Periodically, we would arrive at work in the morning to find the network down and the network server (or something like it) rebooted.

The server was behind the receptionist counter at the entrance.

After a few months we found that the janitorial staff were unplugging the server to use the power outlet for their vacuum cleaners...

Developer Dude

Hard drives get hot too...

I used to work for a corp. that developed voicemail software.

Back then, the largest hard disks were 512 MB each, 5.25" drives that were several inches thick and gave off a lot of heat, and they required mapping of the error blocks, so we kept the printouts with the computer that housed them so we could reformat the drives if necessary.

I was in the QA lab late one night when I got a call from the CEO that the in-house voicemail server was down - would I go look at it and see what the problem was?

I went to the server room (a broom closet re-purposed for the in-house voicemail servers) and looked at the production server. I found that the person who had setup the server had stuffed the printouts of the error blocks between the hot drives and the drives had overheated and eventually started having errors. I took the server down, pulled the drives, copied as much data off them as I could onto other drives from the QA lab, and replaced the drives. I was there until well after midnight.

A lot of people lost a lot of voicemail that night. I don't recall just who had setup that server, but I sent out a company wide email explaining that while it was a good idea to keep the error block printouts with a computer, it wasn't a very good idea to block the airflow in a computer, especially in and around physically large hard drives that give off a lot of heat. We were lucky there wasn't a fire.

Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Developer Dude

Re: Yeah right

It depends on where you are. My previous gig I lived in WA state with zero income tax (only sales tax). Now I am living in Oregon and I pay almost 10% income tax.

So there is a difference.

Developer Dude

I've worked both sides of the fence, and straddled the fence as I am now (both a "contractor" to the people I actually work for, and an "employee" to the staffing agency that pays me and supplies "benefits").

The main problem as I see it is the difference in pay and benefits. If you are "self-employed" then in the USA you have to pay rougly double the SSI tax ("self-employed tax"), you have to buy your own health insurance, pay your own unemployment insurance (if you opt to, and if you do the rates will probably be significantly higher for you) and you will have a higher risk of unemployment. Not to mention the stress and the additional work taking care of all of that. Generally you want to get paid more for all of that risk, extra work, expense and stress.

But the "client" generally doesn't want to pay that extra amount, even though it will probably actually cost them less than if they did it themselves.

For me, my preference really comes down to who I am going to be working for/with and what I will be working on, and how much autonomy they will give me (whether they treat me like a code monkey or a developer makes a big difference to me) and where I will work (mostly at home or in an office).

Idiot thieves walk free after stolen iPad uploads pics of them with loot

Developer Dude

In other words, caught red handed, but not really punished, and they got a $9K loan they pay back in easy monthly installments.

Crime pays apparently because there is no justice.

Defiant Labio lawyer spits on black hats after 'med data' theft

Developer Dude

"Is this yet another attempt to justify criminal behaviour by making it out to be in the public good, exposing crap security? "



Developer Dude

Re: Don't they know anything?

Or, it isn't part of our human technology.

The universe is a big place. If something is possible in the realm of physics, then it is certainly possible that another intelligent civilization has implemented it, and may still be using it if they didn't die out before we grew to the point where we would observe them using it in our small corner of the universe.

There may be millions or even billions of other civilizations out there, maybe many of the able to travel through space faster than or at some significant fraction of the speed of light. But even if they could travel at some multiple of the speed of light, the distances are so vast that they may never visit anywhere near us.

So just because we don't know how, doesn't mean that many others don't know either - or didn't know when they still existed.

Data centre dangers: Killing a tree and exploding a UPS

Developer Dude

My first job out of college my employer had a 300 MB drive for the in-house minis (HPs IIRC) that was about the size of a dishwasher, but much heavier. It had removable disc platters. You could lean against it and feel when someone was accessing data.

Developer Dude

Back in the late 80s I worked in the QA staff for a well known maker of voicemail software and hardware.

Back in those days the largest hard drive you could get was half a gig and voicemail was hungry for disk space. We had the in-house corporate machine which had two large hard drives for a whopping total of one GB!

This was also in the days when you kept a paper record of the HD defect mappings so you could setup the HDs again if you had to reformat them.

One night when I was working late (I was over worked and underpaid) in the QA lab, I get a panicked call from the VP of the corp that the in-house voicemail system was down and customers were noticing. Not good.

So I walk over to the "server room" (a large closet) and look at the voicemail server. I opened up the front and noticed that the HDs seemed a tad hot. I also noticed that someone had conveniently stuffed the many pages of paper containing the HD defect mappings between the HDs, preventing them from getting any cooling air. Naturally the drives failed.

I worked into the wee hours of the morning to recover as much as I could, but a lot of people lost a lot of voicemails. The next day I wrote a long email regarding why such practices were foolish in the least.

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