• Storefronts for subscription services

    08/31/2018 at 07:13 0 comments

    We're probably near the end of keyboard passwords. Alphabetic, alpha + number, alpha + number + punctuation passwords were all fully exploited in short order. The future will be 8 pictures picked from a dictionary of pictures. Everyone gets a unique dictionary.

    Faced with the task of setting up a subscription based store front has made lions study security more. 20 years ago, all the credit cards were stored on a computer in the office & charged by dialing into a modem pool, after much stalling & negotiating with customers who were just minutes away from funding their credit cards. This manually executed monthly task funded everyone's paycheck. Other manually run scripts increased the balances in the accounts, shut down unpaid accounts, sent out warning emails.

    Nowadays, secure credit card storage is a monumental task. All known cyphers can be cracked in milliseconds. Small companies need to outsource the credit card storage & even the subscription management.  It's too easy for someone to get in & change their balance.

  • Why did the world pick VNC over X11?

    08/10/2018 at 20:34 0 comments

    VNC is so bad, it's god's joke against computer users.  Apple's implementation of the VNC server is a joke upon a joke.  Every MacOS release rounds the same circle of bugs, 1 release having broken security, the next release locking up during fullscreen blits, the next release having broken security again, none of them trapping all of the frame buffer changes.  The mane problem with VNC, besides Apple's incompetent hiring practices, is it tries to passively detect frame buffer changes rather than being in the drawing pipeline.

    It can compare every pixel of the frame buffer in certain time intervals or try to sniff drawing commands by checking CPU usage.  It seems to rely on sniffing drawing commands, most of the time.  Lions don't know because MacOS is closed source.  It never works, no matter how fast the network is.  It misses most frame buffer changes, severely delays the ones it catches, or just crashes.

    Little of the internet knows before VNC, there was already a fully functional, superb protocol known as X11.  That forced every drawing command through a single network socket.  Running programs over a high speed network was like running them locally.  It never missed a drawing command & responded instantly.  By 2001, X11 had been extended so the same programs without any changes could run on a local display, without the network layer.

    The world picked VNC because of its extremely short memory & the desire to reinvent the wheel to make money.  VNC is the corporate desire to replace i = 0; i < 5; i++ on Monday with i in 0 ..< 5 on Tuesday, then i in range(0, 5, 1) on Wednesday & use each one as an excuse to split your stock.

    It's a real problem of human nature.  Humans exist because of luck more than intelligence.

  • Using a "backup drive" as /dev/root

    06/24/2018 at 23:20 0 comments

    The answer is yes, the obscenely cheap, giant drives marketed only for backup use can still be used as internal drives. Once you don't mind losing the warranty, they can be torn down & an ordinary SATA drive extracted. The lion kingdom risked $170 + $17 tax in an act of desperation because for the 1st time in 30 years of owning desktop hard drives, the hot weather seems to have damaged one. It was a good time to start moving the entire optical storage collection of 20 years to a hard drive. The lion kingdom had 2 other hard drive failures in Hitachi micro drives, but not root filesystems.  Japanese hard drives have proven the least reliable.

    After much destruction, the goods slid out from the bottom to the top, in their own plastic assembly. The assembly was locked inside by tabs & had rubber shock absorbers.

    The teardown also liberated a USB to SATA adapter & 12V 1.5A power brick. The USB adapter does the magic trick of spinning it down when inactive, without disconnecting it.

    All USB drives are much cheaper than what are being sold as internal drives. Suspect the support & warranty costs are much higher when people install the bare drives.

    The lion kingdom got into the habit of tacking on 2nd paw, small hard drives as needed. This creates a lot of heat & uses a lot of power. The 8TB should eventually replace all of them.