* Posts by Chris_Maresca

124 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Nov 2009


Amazon DISAPPEARS from internet


NSA upgrading it's systems...

... nothing to worry about.

Google sniffs at MySQL fork MariaDB: Yum. Have an engineer


Re: Good News Everyone...

Open source is a licensing mechanism used by the owner of the code in question. It has nothing to do with 'retaining ownership' since that is related to copyright, not license.

Whomever owns the copyright owns the code and no open source license gives away ownership of the code. And in some jurisdictions (e.g. Germany) copyright is a right you cannot give away, it's a natural right like liberty. That's why pretty much every open source project now has a contributor's agreement which assigns copyright to the project (or the equivalent legal mechanism in places like Germany), thus allowing the project to control all the code. This is mostly a result of Mozilla's difficulty in changing the license to the Netscape codebase because they didn't control all the copyrights...


Re: commercial license

This is simply wrong. There is nothing in the GPL that says you can't use GPL licensed code for commercial use.

The only restriction is that if you distribute the application, you must make the source available, but that only applies to the GPL licensed code. The only place you might run into trouble is if you co-mingled the GPL MySQL drivers with your code, but most applications don't do that and it would be bad architecture to do so. Other than that, you can keep your code as closed as you like.

As someone else pointed out, there was a lot of FUD from MySQL about this, but it was just that, FUD.

T-Mobile US: Go ahead, PAY NOTHING up front for any device


Re: this is aimed at getting people to churn away from handset manufacturers the carriers don't like

Huh? How on earth do you figure that?

T-mobile offers handsets from every major maker and all of the popular/wanted ones - except the new Nokia 41mp camera phone.... I might actually move my account to T-mobile as they are significantly cheaper than my current carrier and they have a fantastic selection of phones....


Re: So...?

Not really, that model has been around in the US for at least 20 years. It just never applied to very high end phones and there was no split between your service & hardware payments. What T-mobile has done is split the coupling between HW & service, then done away with the upfront HW payment.

Month to month contracts have been available for years but are more expensive and there is zero device subsidy (like in Europe, BTW). The last time I was in Europe (and was shopping for a phone), you had to pay an upfront fee for the most expensive phones, even if they were subsidized by a monthly contract.... Plus devices were only subsidized on 12 to 24 month contracts, month to month contracts required you buy the device outright.... Never mind that if you wanted an Apple product, the upfront fees were far higher than typical US carrier fees.

Bolivian president's jet grounded so officials can look for Snowden


Diplomatic immunity

I carried a diplomatic passport for a number of years and my wife is currently a consular official. Here are some general rules about diplomatic immunity.

1. The person, residence & vehicle of an accredited diplomat are considered sovereign territory of the diplomats home country. Entering the premises or vehicle is the equivalent of crossing a border. My wife technically commutes to a foreign country every time she goes to work and a different set of laws apply to her when she is at work.

2. It is possible for a diplomat to confer diplomatic immunity to another person even when not in their residence or vehicle. This can be done by holding on to someone. The West Germans famously did this when East Germans were scaling the fence around the West German embassy in Prague, circa 1989.

A couple of things to note:

1. To have full immunity, you must carry a letter of accreditation from the host government. Even without it, you have partial immunity, but it is much, much more tenuous.

2. The rules are just rules, there is no way to actually enforce them. Governments have ultimate and unlimited power (theoretically) over individuals and diplomatic immunity will not protect you if they go all out.

3. Heads of state generally have a different, higher level of immunity in foreign countries than diplomats. I'm not entirely sure what the legalities are, but I do know from personal experience that head of state status allows for things that diplomats could never, ever do.

I find this whole thing rather strange. If I had been in Morales' place, I would have ordered the plan to fly on as there was little that any government could do stop it short of shooting it down. It's a matter of principle as much as anything else, a sovereign head of state is just that, sovereign.

It's a disturbing precedent to say that if you are a relatively weak country your sovereignty counts for nothing. And searching a head of state's plane is pretty much the same as invading a country to look for someone/something. This whole thing reeks - it's a sad day when someone vocally opposed to the US can't find refuge anywhere and even sadder when states resort to violating sovereign immunity as a means to an end.

Not work! - Firmware hacks


Some background info & suggestions

It runs a proprietary Motorola OS called P2K, IRC. AFAIK, there aren't a lot of hacks, although one way in might be bluetooth as I believe they used the BlueZ open source stack at the time.

You might see if you can get a USB data cable for it. Some platforms allow greater access through these connections (aka Sony Ericsson) which allowed people to hack the platform. I don't know it would do any good, but it's worth a try. In a similar vein, you might crack open the phone (or another working copy) and try to identify a JTAG header....

Also, see if you can download software updates. Sometimes you can unbundle these and modify them. A lot of old skool phone hacks were done this way, then flashed through USB data cables...

Finally, I know for a fact that the 'modem' (the part than handles communicating with the network) is a physically separate processor from the one running the OS. This was done for security reasons and specifically to make it MUCH harder to hack.

Overall, I would rate your chances of achieving anything meaningful as pretty low. The reason I say this is that, at the time that phone was new, I was at Motorola trying to get them to open it up so people could write apps and there were a LOT of technical barriers that made hacking it very, very difficult. That said, they did setup a dev site and there might have been some code up there, although I don't think it was for the P2K platform but for Brew (if anyone remembers that).

When Apple needs speed and security in Mac OS X, it turns to Microsoft


Re: They are probably using Samba, not Microsoft's code

Actually, it's highly likely Apple is using MSFTs code under license given that they released their own implementation a few years ago.

Otherwise, building your own SMB implementation from scratch would be a nightmare (as the SAMBA team found out early on...).

Which would also explain why they are favoring SMB over NFS or AFP. After all, they already have a license and a dev team dedicated to it.

Now if shares would just auto-remount after my Mac goes to sleep, it would be perfect.... (yes, I know all the ways this is supposed to work, but they just don't...)

Red Hat to ditch MySQL for MariaDB in RHEL 7


One unique feature

of MyISAM tables is the MERGE table definition. It allows you to merge two tables, even if they are in different databases, so that they look like one table to anything querying the DB. Kinda like a view, but the difference is that you can then specify which table is writeable and all writes will go to that table only.

This can come in very, very handy if you have to do something like have common data in several DBs but can't change the application. I don't know of any way to easily do this in other DBs, although there are some things which come close.

It does have some limitations, like the tables having to be exactly the same and you need to make sure to avoid key collisions. But when your use case calls for something like MERGE, it's a good solution.

AWS taps social networks for identity verification


Seems redundant

Most (all?) major programing languages have easy to use libraries for openID & Oauth, both of which underlie this service. There is also widely-available browser-side code for users to pick an auth provider.

And, in the end, you still have to keep track of your users somehow, so it's not like you can actually get away with zero server-side code for anything but the most basic app.

That said, being able to login to the AWS console using federated credentials is a very good thing as it allows for centralization of auth credentials (makes it easier to change/revoke all at once...).

Prankster 'Superhero' takes on robot traffic warden AND WINS


Re: Excuse me, sir...

Thing is in most jurisdictions, photo tickets are illegal in a variety of ways and very, very easy to defeat. BTDT twice. Most people loose in court because they are using some random excuse, not a technicality based in law. One of the easiest ways to defeat it is to do a discovery request on the contract between the municipality & the photo company. 9 out of 10 times this will be refused and your case will be dismissed.

Top guns doomed as US Navy demos first carrier-launched drone


Re: Amurrica Strong!!

LOL, that's very funny.

You mean like what happened in Cuba? Or perhaps Korea? And what will the Europeans do when the Russians come knocking? Perhaps they will throw Euros at them...

Rules, shmules: Fliers leaving devices switched on in droves


I was on a flight a week ago - of the people in my row, only I powered down my device - pretty sure everyone else just put theirs in airplane mode...

How do I know? Well, on landing, the others were instantly using their iPhones - mine took about a minute to boot up....

I actually think that people believe that airplane mode is all that's required and don't actually know how to fully power off their devices. My guess is that only 30% of fliers actually power off their devices.

Dell directors foresee unremitting brutality in PC market


Re: The Tree is Dead

I have the exact reverse - HP has always been much better to me (once even did a 2-day turn around on broken laptop over a weekend during x-mas holidays...) than Dell (my experience mirrors the above script...) over the last 20 years. So much so that I would never, ever buy another Dell, although I might buy an HP. That said, I mostly only use Macs these days which rarely fail and manage to retain their value for more than six months....

Vietnamese high school kids can pass Google interview


More than anything, this just shows the stupidity of Google's interview process....

Steve Jobs' death clears way for Adobe CTO defection

Thumb Down

Kevin Lynch has no vision...

In 2006, I was hired by Adobe to do a strategy review of mobile flash. What I said was that there was an opportunity for flash to be the default UI for mobile, but only if they open sourced it as it was clear that some sort of Linux on mobile (aka Android) would emerge as the leader and an ecosystem would form around it.

Kevin was aggressively against the idea, couldn't see where mobile was headed, that flash was in danger of being an also ran and that there was an opportunity for Adobe to lead in a new market of mobile, apps and data.

I hope Apple understands that they are hiring mr status quo. Actually, they probably do since they are coasting on the energy & innovation of Jobs. This is just another sign of a long, slow decline....

Report: AWS gets $600m contract to build CIA spy cloud




Ten pi-fect projects for your new Raspberry Pi


RFID/iButton Access Control system

I'm building an RFID/iButton access control system for a warehouse where I have a workshop.

Basically 3-4 readers, 2-3 doors, logging and a web interface (though not hooked up to the net). Also looking at bluetooth + phone app as another 'key'.

Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work


Not that secure

A friend of mine has a twin brother and they regularly used to fool the biometric readers at a datacenter we used to work at. They used a similar 'vein pattern' technology.

Needless to say, the security guards were pretty freaked out....

Canadian cyborg says Google Glass design is cracked


Re: Or, maybe ...

Living here in Silicon Valley and interacting quite frequently with Googlers, I would say that this is spot on. It's like they don't even bother using their own search software to see if anyone else has already BTDT...

Google is a cult, at least for the people working there, quite a few of whom will (inadvertently?) refer to it as 'home'...

Tesla vs Media again as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway


Re: Hey, Jack ...

Maybe he has 480v industrial at home, how do you know? Quite a lot of older converted buildings still have that...

Why you need a home lab to keep your job


AWS anyone?

Seriously, there are few reasons to have a lot of servers at home, particularly if you are focused on software. Learn how to build, deploy & manage cloud infrastructure - that's high value and you don't need a rack full of servers in your house.

I used to have a 'home lab' as well, but I've moved on to more modern infrastructure hosted elsewhere....

Microsoft to pump cash into Dell buyout deal?


They should shut it down and give shareholders their money back

Michael Dell was right.... He should listen to his own advice


WTF is... WebRTC?


Re: WebRTC==Wannabes encouraging boys Reacting To Crap

I start using new technologies when they solve problems for me

Er, that's exactly what I did - that was my point.

For some segment of the population, it's useful, just because you can't see that doesn't mean it's worthless.

Thumb Up

Re: WebRTC==Wannabes encouraging boys Reacting To Crap

Really? I built an internal app in about 20 minutes that allows the scanning of pages via a webcam.....

Show me how to do that quickly in any other way that's capable of deploying across 3 different operating systems...

Orange boasts: We made Google PAY US for traffic


Peering agreements vs depeering

Why is this surprising? Google is exactly like any other large network operator, it negotiates peering agreements with other networks. When there is a traffic imbalance, peering agreements often move from settlement-free peering to depeering, where one network pays another to carry the excess traffic.

It's not odd, new or bad. It's the way all networks have operated since the beginning of networks, although internet traffic was often not imbalanced between networks, so settlement-free peering was the norm for a long time. However, that has not been the case for a while, people have been paying for various forms of depeering for at least 10 years, either through edge-caching, via telco-run carrier hotels or simply paying for fatter pipes/cache co-location directly to telco-owned ISPs...

I'm not surprised France Telecom/Orange are making money from Google. They are a virtual monopoly in France, both on the bulk carrier and ISP sides, and probably in carrier hotel as well. They are also a major mobile carrier in globally (another form of ISP these days) and probably have a dominant position in most of Francophone Africa.

I'd be shocked if France Telecom/Orange were not making millions from Google through selling them fat pipes (dark & live) and co-location at their network edges, never mind datacenter space...

Help a US gov't agency switch to open source, win $3 million


While I understand the motivation...

... it might be a lot easier & cheaper to just license MedSphere, which is built on an open-source version of Vista EHR and is fully commercial supported.

'SHUT THE F**K UP!' The moment Linus Torvalds ruined a dev's year


Re: Err...

Sometimes it's management who isn't listening and you have to get angry for them to listen.

It's sometimes referred to as being 'passionate' but often dismissed as being 'emotional'. In some places, people getting angry is the ONLY thing management responds to....

But, hey, perhaps you've only worked in blessed places where this never happens.

Traffic app Waze 'turned down Apple's $400m, wants $750m' - report


Re: You actually use 19th avenue to get to the GG bridge?

SF had freeways. They ruined the city and threatened to fall down in an earthquake (see the Oakland freeway circa 1989), thus were torn down in the early '90s.

The real problem is all the people who think that living in Marin and working in Palo Alto is a good plan. Note, those are the same people who fought against extending BART to Marin because it would bring 'undesirable people' over the bridge.....

Hey, cloudy tech vendors on Amazon: AWS can fluff you up


You need to architect for AWS

Reducing costs by hosting on AWS is not just about re-provisioning existing systems with AWS instances, you have to architect apps to take advantage of the way AWS works. This requires an understanding off all AWS services and figuring out how to map those to your needs.

I spent the last 5 months doing this with a client's application and we reduced hosting costs to roughly 10% of what they were compared to traditional hosting.... Of course we spent about 3 months re-engineering parts of the application, but in the end that work also made it more robust and scalable.

Also, if you have an app with spiky demand that needs to scale rapidly (e.g. customer facing) then AWS is a great solution - see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/30/inside_pinterest_virtual_data_center/ for Pinterest experience in doing this and keeping their hosting costs to $35-$52/hr.

Tibetan monks lose their TVs as China's censors raid monasteries


Re: We could try making some stuff ourselves

Not necessarily. GE is bringing back appliance manufacturing & cutting the price by 30%



Re: Twelve channels of CCTV bleating the wonders of BeiJing policies

Easy to hide satellite dish. A friend of mine spent quite a lot of the late 80's installing them all over latin america.

All you need is a pond or a pool. Drain it, put you dish in it, put a tarp over it. God know how many tarp covered unfinished 'construction projects' there are all over China....

Trust the cloud with my PRECIOUS? You gotta be joking


Or you can get the best of both worlds....

Murfie will store both your physical CDs and give you streaming access to them through their service.


Of course, you can also have a local electronic copies of your music as well....

Intel launches Atom S Series at servers


Re: Anyone else thinking...

Probably not. I remember reading that electricity in large internet co's is close to 50% of the operating costs (I don't remember any more detail than that and no link, sorry). In that context, any reduction in usage is pure profit.

Review: Samsung Series 9 super slim notebook


I had a 2 lb laptop in 1995

It was a Fujitsu, don't remember the model. Minimal set of ports, 1/2 in thick. Came with a very cool docking station that had a full set of ports & a CD-ROM drive. It was actually lighter than the 1st gen Air (had one of those as well....), with roughly similar battery life (2hrs if you were lucky). Not as thin and all plastic, 'tho.

Apple is not the first one to build a minimalist light laptop, although I had a PowerBook Duo back in the day that came pretty close - it was replaced by the Fujitsu, then by an Acer of similar spec, but with a 14" screen...


Re: I have been

Might check out the Toshiba z830. Similar spec, lighter weight and seems to be on sale everywhere. It's a late 2011 model, so it's much cheaper (e.g. 1/2 the price). I just got one for cheap, seems pretty good so far. Battery life is supposedly upwards of 7+ hours.


Re: WTF?

i just bought a Toshiba Z830 - it has a backlit keyboard. It also weighs 1/2 lb less than an Air, has 3 hours more battery life and a full set of ports. Oh, and it costs $500, not $1000+.

That said, the resell value in 2 years will be exactly zero - while the Air will probably still be worth 70% of the purchase price...

Stallman: Ubuntu spyware makes it JUST AS BAD as Windows


Been using Fuduntu

... which, despite the name, is actually a Fedora fork. It's got, IMHO, the best UI of any desktop distro.

Check it out at http://www.fuduntu.org

Pirate cops bust LITTLE GIRL, take her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop


Re: Why the NDA?

Of course, if it gets to court, you could file a discovery motion for all the NDAs.....

Bleeding storage firm Overland: OK, we're losers, but so are our rivals


Their website doesn't seem to work right in Chrome, no wonder nobody buys their stuff...

Ten four-bay NAS boxes


Re: What I'd be looking for in such a thing

I have an NV+, it's pretty quiet except when it wakes up and the fan goes full bore.

Had a Thecus, it was AWEFUL. The UI sometimes wouldn't refresh properly, it was slow, very loud, prone to burnt out power supplies and the fan was not adequate enough to cool the drives... It did run Linux on x86, which was nice, but there is very little in the way of community, which is important if you have a problem.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd get a Synology hands down. The NetGear ReadyNAS is nice, but Synology has a much better community & ecosystem.

Sandy takes out NYC colo facility


Re: Management "strikes" again!!!

Building codes - EOM


Re: 9 hours of unplanned downtime in 12 years is pretty good

For a relatively cheap hosting, it's about as good as it gets. Even Amazon's vaunted redundant 'cloud' isn't as good.... Besides, a wealth of sites with vastly more resources went down as well, from Gizmodo to the Huffington Post, so I think we've done very well with our meager resources.

The reality of infrastructure is that almost no one needs 'five nines' and even fewer people are willing or in a position to pay for it. It's a nice marketing term, but five-nines of the people who throw it around have zero need for it.

Besides, in the modern world, you would want to achieve high-reliability through application architecture as well as good infrastructure. In our case, we could have failed over to a backup datacenter on the West coast, but the question was how long the NYC datacenter would be out, and if it was a good use of our time to migrate everything (it's a cold standby). In our case, the answer is no as we risked some data sync issues and our downtime was during the dead of night for all our customers (and they were all aware of the issues).

Had it not come back up before end-of-day today, we might have considered differently. It's still touch & go, so we might migrate after all.


Re: The building in not a dedicated colo

Everything came back up (as expected) about a 1/2 hour ago.

I've used this same facility for the last 12 years across 4 different companies and the only other unplanned downtime was a failed switch for two hours about 6 years ago.

This particular outage was a total of 7 hours during what is being described as a 'catastrophic' storm. Overall, I would say that 9 hours of unplanned downtime in 12 years is pretty good.


The building in not a dedicated colo

The tanks were likely underground as that was where building codes required them to be. Since fire is much more likely than a 100-year flood event, it's pretty sensible. Still, I fail to see why the pumps should fail...

Anyway, I have servers in that colo - they went offline at exactly 8:33 PM PST, according to our monitoring. Here's a link to the location https://maps.google.com/maps?q=75+broad+st,+nyc&hl=en&sll=40.72586,-73.957644&sspn=0.050671,0.129175&gl=us&hnear=75+Broad+St,+New+York,+10004&t=m&z=17

Also, it seems that trans-Atlantic cables are starting to go dark - https://twitter.com/skeevestevens/status/263137865578450944

LASER STRIKES against US planes on the rise


Easily solved

Laser guided missile - the first kill would put a stop to this instantly. Doesn't even need an armed head, just fill it with paintball paint.

Apple MacBook Air 13in review


No depreciation

It doesn't matter that XXX brand costs 10x less. After 18 months, brand XXX will be worth exactly 1% of what you paid for it.

In contrast, pretty much any Apple hardware will retain the vast majority of it's value for years. I just sold a 2008 MacBook Air for $630, just as an example. Show me a non-Apple machine from ANY brand that's worth more than 5% of it's value after four years....

Just looking at the initial cost of the machine is shortsighted - over the long term, the Mac's deliver much better TCO.

Of course, if you don't have the money for a new Mac, then it's a moot point. Even then, you should still buy a used Mac, even if you are only going to run Windows on it. Anything else and you are just burning money...

Carbon fiber MacBooks to appear soon?


Apple TV

It's probably for the Apple TV. TVs are too big to machine out of single block of aluminum and they would be too heavy if you did. CF is a modern and good looking alternative...

Microsoft promises two-step IE fix


Re: Just fix it quick please

Er, Chromium?

http://www.chromium.org/Home - Fully open source Google Chrome

http://www.apple.com/safari/ - If you'd like to give your data to Apple...

Peugeot 508 RXH estate car review


Re: Couple of questions

It's because cars typically have much higher compression ratios than industrial equipment. Industrial equipment is probably 8 to 1 and most cars are 10 to 1 or more.

Takes a lot more power to compress the fuel for starting....