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Slashback: Compromise, Bugs, Slag 262

Slashback with more on Bill Gates' comments on bugs in Microsoft's code, the recent compromising of millions of credit card numbers, more .uk domain waffling, and more, including a foolproof way to stop anyone from reading data off of your discarded hard drive's platters.

Let me just slide your card a few dozen more times ... Any Web Loco writes "Following on from this piece on /., this story in the Sydney Morning Herald tells us that the company that got hacked (exposing up to 8 million credit card numbers) was Data Processors International. Not much to the story, but we now know who it was."

Another reason to be cautious about domains with "uk" in them. An anonymous reader writes "The Register reports that Nominet has looked at opening up or killing it off and then decided it can't decide. The chair of sub-committee responsible, Clive Feather, is currently standing for re-election to Nominets Policy Advisory Board. The sub-committee he chaired had suggested shutting down entirely, which the main board rejected. His position must surely be under scrutiny by the internet community."

Interesting bugs are in the teeth of the beholder. dvdweyer writes "I myself do remember having read the whole interview with Bill Gates in Focus, a German weekly news magazine (their online service now seems to be part of MSN *yuck*). There are however resources online which provide full sources, in English, most notably RISKS in issue 17.43 (not 17.42) with a follow-up in issue 17.44."

When fan-subs just aren't what you want. May Kasahara writes "Studio Ghibli fansite now has official release dates for Region 1 DVDs of Kiki's Delivery Service , Laputa: Castle in the Sky , and Spirited Away , as well as official preview artwork of the disks and packaging. As a side note, the site now has a page up for Miyazaki's upcoming Howl's Magic Castle . See you at the video store on April 15!"

Fonts make your terminal much more useful. Russ Nelson writes "The Bitstream Vera fonts are available for trial use. Bitstream is still tweaking them, so they're under the provisional "no redistribution" license. You can download them yourself, though, and in about a month, put them in your software distribution. Kudos to X co-creator Jim Gettys for finally getting X some professional-quality fonts."

Dear Mr. Ashcroft: I hope you find this slag useful. eecue writes "Due to the recent MIT study concerning data recovery from old hard drives, we decided that the only foolproof means of data removal was complete destruction."

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Slashback: Compromise, Bugs, Slag

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  • by RobertTaylor ( 444958 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:07PM (#5348428) Homepage Journal
    with more on Bill Gates' comments on bugs in Microsoft's code

    Reading earlier someone (Presence2) stated:

    This interview occured in 1995.. don't you folks read? This was before 98,win2k,ME,XP and even NT was still OS2 in disguise. I'm sure Gates et al said a whole mess of stuff (128k memory?) that looking back now is ridiculus. Why drag a 7 year old article out for /. to rag on? - You're just sifting for dirt.

    Dont you even read users posts? Its amazing what you would learn ;)
    • by Goronmon ( 652094 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:10PM (#5348452)
      Bill Gates' attitude back then might have had an effect on the development of future OSes. I mean, just because it was so old doesn't make it completely irrelevant.

      Still, one would hope that he has had a few changes of heart since then.
    • by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) <(slashdot) (at) (> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:15PM (#5348484) Homepage Journal
      I can't wait for Sun to finish on their Oak project for interactive Televisions!

      Anyone out there hear of this new free OS called Lineux or something? I think it was written by some student in Estonia or something. Two guys down in San Jose are starting up some company based on this product called "RedHelmet" or something.... but I'm sure they'll go out of business in a year.

      I tried to go to their website, but I can't get my Mosaic brower to display these new Jpeg pictures.

    • by stock ( 129999 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:46PM (#5348678) Homepage
      Well don't you realize that if Bill gates would conduct a interview today with the same statements, he would create a big mess ?

      And why would we all suddenly believe that what he said in that interview in 1995 is not valid anymore? Remember latest security flaws on the microsoft platform, and on what massive scale it today happens? That costs fortunes while the legal department of MSFT allows Bill Gates to walk away with a smile.


    • It's history (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tarquin_fim_bim ( 649994 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:52PM (#5348715)
      No more ridiculus than looking back on Pearl Harbour or the Gettysburg Address. Humans learn from their mistakes, really clever ones learn from other peoples.
    • It seems to me that since the article is a recycled translation from GERMAN (which probably means that Bill Gates migh have said that Linux is the next great thing and it would have been lost in the translation), this was just an IQ test that either the editors (for publishing it) or the readers (for failing to spot that forever) failed miserable. Smart money is on both - after all, how hard can it be to READ an article that is being submitted and see it's junk before you start ranting on and on? Have fun, Daniel
    • by caferace ( 442 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @09:28PM (#5348982) Homepage
      Dont you even read users posts? Its amazing what you would learn ;)

      They don't even RTFA, and you want them to read user posts too?


      • Heh, read the article? But that would take valuable time that could be better spent making cursory scans of user submissions!

        Personally, I think the Slashdot editors are payed on commission. Slashdot editors: Selling cutting-edge pseudo-news to sex-starved 16-year-olds.

        By the hour.

    • Because this is indicative of Bill's personal attitude toward his product and customers.

      Nor is there any overt evidence that this attitude has changed.

      It isn't merely a mistake in prediction, nor does it having anything to do with a *particular* product so it doesn't matter how many products have been introduced since. It could be a thousand of them. It doesn't matter.

      Nor does this statement stand on its own. It's just one more in a long line of prognostications, statements, threats and temper tantrums that show an essential disdain, not just for his customers, but for other people in general.

      It isn't about MS. It's about Bill. As a person.

    • by wdr1 ( 31310 ) <wdr1.pobox@com> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @10:24PM (#5349270) Homepage Journal
      Shhhh... it's best not to alert the editors that it's 2003 and not 1995. They'll be pissed about VA's stock price.

    • This interview occured in 1995.. don't you folks read? This was before 98,win2k,ME,XP and even NT

      True. In the intervening time, he's provided us with hundreds of thousands of newer, cooler bugs than we ever had in Windows 3.1.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:08PM (#5348434)
    The site is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.
  • by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:08PM (#5348439)
    while interesting, is;
    8 years old.
    a multiple dupe.

    news for nerds, indeed.
    • by namespan ( 225296 ) <namespan&elitemail,org> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:53PM (#5348728) Journal
      There are a lot of things that are eight years old, or older. The Balkan Crisis, the first US-Iraq gulf war, U2's the Joshua Tree, HTTP .9, HTML 1.0, NeXTStep, the Simpsons, Unisyn 1.x, etc. A few of these things are of current interest because they're still useful/cool/relevant. However, even for the things that aren't currently relevant, they're still useful as historical perspective, especially if you start to look for cause/effect relationships.

      Windows NT 4/5, based on the Chicago/Cairo projects, were being worked on clear back in 1994. The corporate culture, shaped by the attitudes of the execs, in turn shaped the software being developed -- software in broad use today. It's history, man, cause and effect, and sometimes it takes a few years (or decades) for everything to propogate -- despite American pop culture's mass ADD.

      It's understandable, of course, to accuse slashdot editors/readers of knee-jerk pummeling of MS -- and most days I'm certainly ready to pick up my pitchfork and torch at a moments notice. But this seems to be genuine perspective. Gates is actually correct that moaning about computer woes has a partially social component, but one also wonders if a basically evasive response to the issue of bugs says something about the company that's given the market some really big security problems.

      It's interesting that it continues, too. After one of the recent big IIS/worm problems (think it was Nimda) I remember seeing an MS spokesman say that the problem was essentially due to their being a market leader, that any market leader would suffer similarly. This argument seemed rather disingenuous when the actual leader in the space IIS occupied (Apache) had no comparable difficulties, and again seemed to come down to evasion of responsibility for bugs.

      I think that's a thread throughout their history: mitigate importance of bugs, evade responsibility, promise more in next release. I don't think it's unique to them, and I'm not entirely sure it's bad business practices, seeing as how it seems to have won them an awful lot. But I like seeing the perspective. It's funny how the Jello makes more sense once you've seen the mold.
    • This interview [] of Emmanuel Goldstein of 2600 magazine, from around 1996, has not been featured on /. for AGES! I miss the nine month recycling of this one that went on for years.

      CNN does not help by scooting the copyright date up, it says 2001 on the page I viewed.

      Wow, the things I miss from the last century :)
  • by OzTech ( 524154 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:09PM (#5348448)
    I hope virus creators don't find out about this one...
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by blowdart ( 31458 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:10PM (#5348455) Homepage
    Clive Feather: His position must surely be under scrutiny by the internet community.

    The UK "internet community" cannot vote, assuming you mean UK internet users as the community. You can only vote in nominet elections if you are nominet member, which costs £1000+ per annum.

  • Standard US DoD SOP (Score:3, Informative)

    by George Walker Bush ( 306766 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:10PM (#5348457) Homepage
    for destruction of magnetic data is to use thermite in situations where time is of the essence and less important than safety (eg, your base is being overrun), and acid in other cases. Both are quite effective, needless to say.
  • by Deamos ( 108051 ) <deamosthane AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:11PM (#5348460) Journal
    Now that's how I'd want to get rid of my hard drives.. Anyone have a furnace I can use to get rid of some crapped out drives that came from servers that have pissed me off?

    Crash unexpectedly have you? Take that!

    Turn them in to paperclips! Finally a way to come through with all those threats! HAH!
  • all 8 million credit cards were held by 6 families in an Alabama trailer park.
  • Sometimes... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by awx ( 169546 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:11PM (#5348466)
    ...I hate paranoid companies. I have a pdp11 that used to control an experimental blast furnace at British Steel. Guess what the obvious thing to do with a disk rack full of company when the experiment was ended... :(
  • .uk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:12PM (#5348468) Homepage Journal
    Is supposed to be .gb.

    If the people in Great britian complain we don't use metric, that I'm sure as hell going to complain that they don't conform to the Domain standard. Take that!
    • (Score:3, Informative)

      by rgmoore ( 133276 )

      Why should it be .gb instead of .uk? The full and proper name of the country is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland. People are more likely to call it The United Kingdom (which fully includes the whole country) rather than Great Britain (which excludes the people in North Ireland, many of whom most certainly want to assert that they are part of the UK rather than their neighbor to the south). I've certainly heard lots of people talk about "The UK", but I've never heard them talk about "GB". There's certainly no reason not to use .uk rather than .gb.

    • (Score:2, Insightful)

      by p_d_austin ( 652261 )
      I'll take each point in turn. 1. You are correct the 2 letter ISO country code for the UK is gb see 02iso-3166-code-lists/list-en1.html#sz 2. Britain is now forced to use metric by Europe (the french invented it) but a lot of older people are resiting and like to still use imperial (which we invented). 3. The US Gallon is smaller than the Imperial Gallon. 4. A pint is 568ml so in North America we get short changed when you call a pint 16oz, check out the weights and measures act. And what the hell is a sleeve!! 5. Like .com follows the country Domain standard, I know there is .us but who actually uses it. Just for fun keep it light! Paul
    • (Score:4, Informative)

      by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:48PM (#5348685) Homepage Journal
      It looks to me like .gb and .uk are both TLD's for the United Kingdom. A website in Norway [] tells me so.

      --sex []

    • (Score:2, Insightful)

      Great Britain is a geographical term for the largest island of the British Isles, comprising of England, Scotland and Wales, whereas the United Kingdom also includes Northern Ireland which is part of the island of Ireland, hope this clears things up for you. Otherwise your post is valid.
      • (Score:2, Insightful)

        by meringuoid ( 568297 )
        Great Britain is a geographical term for the largest island of the British Isles, comprising of England, Scotland and Wales, whereas the United Kingdom also includes Northern Ireland which is part of the island of Ireland, hope this clears things up for you. Otherwise your post is valid.

        In a spirit of hardcore pedantry, I should add that the UK includes more than just the island of Great Britain and the province of Northern Island; Anglesey and the Isle of Wight are parts of the UK, as are the Shetlands, Orkneys and Hebrides, assorted other Scottish islands, the Scilly isles, Lundy, Flat and Steep Holm, that L-shaped island in the Irish Sea off Northern Ireland, and a great many worthless little rocks nobody cares about.

        The Isle of Man is technically not part of the UK, IIRC. It's a constitutional oddity, similar to the Channel Islands.

  • Wow...fonts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eric Savage ( 28245 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:16PM (#5348493) Homepage
    10 Basic fonts are just what was holding me back from setting up a Linux desktop. Does anyone have time to set up a site where you give away true type fonts for free? That would be a great idea and I've never seen one.
    • Re:Wow...fonts (Score:3, Interesting)

      by questionlp ( 58365 )
      I know your being a bit sarcastic or fecitious, but many of the free TrueType or OpenType fonts available on the Internet aren't exactly the best fonts, primarily when printing or used in any high-resolution, anti-aliased, and/or large font size scenarios. It all has to do with how the fonts are hinted, constructed, tweaked and tuned. It's a painful process, even for professionals who spend their work hours producing fonts.

      I personally think it's great that they are providing high-quality fonts that can pretty much be free to distribute or hacked... mostly being a free (gratis) replacement for Verdana (and a couple of other fonts Microsoft includes in Windows and Office).
      • It all has to do with how the fonts are hinted, constructed, tweaked and tuned. It's a painful process, even for professionals who spend their work hours producing fonts.

        Actually, with professional fonts it's more like months or years.

        [...]mostly being a free (gratis) replacement for Verdana (and a couple of other fonts[...]

        I find Helvetica to be a nice "replacement" for Arial. (Originally it was the other way around [].) and Verdana, too. On a side note anything is a good replacement for Times New Roman *shudder*
      • Re:Wow...fonts (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 )
        ...many of the free TrueType or OpenType fonts available on the Internet aren't exactly the best fonts, primarily when printing or used in any high-resolution, anti-aliased, and/or large font size scenarios. It all has to do with how the fonts are hinted, constructed, tweaked and tuned. It's a painful process, even for professionals who spend their work hours producing fonts.

        Actually, high resolution, anti-aliasing, and large font sizes are extremely forgiving of low quality. The only thing that making a font really big might reveal is that the creator didn't make lines quite horizontal or vertical. Given the ease of making exactly horizontal or vertical lines in any font editing program, this isn't a real issue.

        As you point out, the devil is in the hinting. Hinting really only matters when you need to display a character in as few pixels as possible. Typically on screen in small font sizes, but also on low resolution printers (is anyone really using dot matrix anymore), or for very small fonts (on a typical low end 300 dpi laser printer we're talking smaller than about 6 point). As screen resolutions improve hinting will become less important.

        Because of all this, free fonts on the web (or the cheapo font knockoffs you can buy) are perfectly fine for use in printed materials or for large font use. It's when you're trying to read body text in a poorly hinted font that you really appreciate what you get with a higher quality font.

        Interestingly hinting is largely irrelevant for X users. Hinting in TrueType is patented. Every distributor (including FreeType themselves) disables hinting support as a result. Unless you're willing to build a patent infringing copy of FreeType yourself (it's a simple change), you'll never benefit from high quality hinting information. If you don't mind anti-aliased fonts it's probably not a big deal, between FreeType's non-infringing auto-hinting and anti-aliasing support it's a minimal drop in quality.

  • Data Wiping (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tarnin ( 639523 )
    Seems to me that writing 0's to the drive is pretty sufficiant for most peoples needs. As it is its near impossible to impossible to retreive data from a disk that way. Turning one into slag after demag and what not is probalby pointless rite now. Of course, if you are thinking long term and have really sensative data that you are storing on a disk somewhere, then slaging is always an option. On the the writing of 0's to the disk. Best that I have come up with for windows is a bootable floppy/cdrom that had any type of program with the ability to write 0's block by block to the drive. This has worked 100% of the times that I have used it. Of course I havent done the extensive work of the MIT students but from the few programs that I've tried to use for recovery, I have come up blank which for what I keep on my drives is good enuf.
    • by 23orgFlea ( 529647 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:32PM (#5348604)
      I think you missed the point... We didn't slag the drive to get rid of data.. we slagged it becuase MELTING HARDS DRIVES IS COOL! Besides, 0 fills will only stop the curious not the devoted. MELTING STUFF IN A FURNACE IN YOUR BACK YARD IS COOL OK?
    • Re:Data Wiping (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      LOL.. you think some piece of $50 "recovery" _software_ is going to get anything off a drive? You're lucky it can read data that hasn't been overwritten at all.

      It's a trivial matter to recover data that has been "erased" by writing 0's over it. TRIVIAL. It's a little more difficult if you write true random data mixed with alternating 0/1 bits (overwriting several times, in several passes), but recovery is almost always possible with the right equipment. Complete destruction is the only sure way.

      This got modded up, why???

      Slashbot morons.
  • by prisoner ( 133137 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:20PM (#5348517)
    was "after a few minutes we saw a toxic smoke" etc, etc. I don't know why but that made me laugh. For some reason I have visions of some geek smelling that shit and saying "that's not so ACK ACK ACK...thump".
  • So what? (Score:4, Funny)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:20PM (#5348522) Homepage
    Bill Gates' comments on bugs in Microsoft's code

    So you can justify posting a 8-year old badly written and poorly translated article in an obscure German magazine merely because you think it's a novel way to "stick it to The Man"?

    And here I thought that we'd never run out of material to generate amazingly insightful comments and unlimited nasal chuckles from the peanut gallery.

    But I guess we've hit a new low.

    • It turns out that a Freedom of Information Act request has release the following transcript of a cell phone call between Gates and Balmer:

      G: There are bugs in Windows?

      B: Yes, bugs!

      G: Many bugs?

      B: Yes, many, many bugs! Very terrible stuff.

      G: What about Office?

      B: Yes, bugs there too?

      G: What about Justice Department?

      B: Don't worry, Justice Department will blame drivers . . .

  • Hard Drive Destroyed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TedTschopp ( 244839 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:21PM (#5348525) Homepage
    For those of you without the tools necessary in the pictures above. A Road flare works wonders.

    This from personal experience. I work for a rather large company. When we were upgrading from Windows 95 to 2000, many of the exec. at the company expressed concerns about the confidential data on their old machines. We Assured them that the data would be deleted.

    We took the hard drives out to the parking lot broke open the drive, started up a road flare and proceeded to melt down the platters. We left the drive 'cool' down and took them back into our exec. and showed them to him. He was quite happy with the procedure. He asked that all exec.'s hard drive be treated the same. We decided at that point our supply of flares would not last so one tech mentioned that he had a blow torch at home. Next morning he returned with 10 nicly blown hard drives.

    On another note, I've heard (someone please verify) that the military uses explosives to take care of old hard drives and storage media.


    • Thermite. Might be classed as explosive, I dunno.
    • Not to worry you, but corporate spies and dirty communists always have a blowtorch at home. That's sop.

    • I've heard (someone please verify) that the military uses explosives to take care of old hard drives and storage media.

      Last I heard, this [] is how they do it.

    • by il dus ( 244149 )
      On another note, I've heard (someone please verify) that the military uses explosives to take care of old hard drives and storage media.
      Nope, sorry to disappoint, but we don't do anything like that, though it would be pretty cool. The destruction process is so thoroughly regulated that it's often easier to just lock them in a safe and forget about them. In fact, in my office we have several ten year old hard drives. No one knows what's on them, just that they're sensitive, so they'll probably still be there ten years from now.
    • by PeterT ( 15849 )
      When I was on active duty in the Navy (back in the dark ages) we just torched the drive with a standard oxy-acetaline cutting torch. 20 inch platters would slag in about 15 seconds. The whole platter would be gone in under a minute. Great Fun!!!

      We used thermite grenades for 'emergency' destruction.
    • For those of you without the tools necessary in the pictures above. A Road flare works wonders.

      I would think that a couple of well placed off center drill holes, along with extended soaking in sea water and or other destructive chemicals would be also effective.

      Dis-assembly and conversion to windchimes also is an interesting alternative. Hard drive discs make good raw material for a number of interesting projects.

    • On another note, I've heard (someone please verify) that the military uses explosives to take care of old hard drives and storage media.

      I seem to recall a usenet post about some chap that was attending a some conference and the subject of deleting data from disks came up during conversation . One of the attendees said something like well, where I work, we just put our old drives into a hole ... you know, the one that the next N-Test is going to be fired off in ...

      Everyone laughed at that, til they realised the speaker wasn't joking...

      'course, that was quite a while ago now ...
  • 1) Advertise hard drive slagging service
    2) Keep actual slagging procedure secret
    3) ???
    4) Profit!

    Oh wait; I guess step 2 won't work now [].
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:27PM (#5348569)

    I used to just throw mine into the nearest active volcano, until I found out some volcano-diving kiddie named d4r74 was reading them anyway.

    • "After a few minutes we noticed toxic smoke rising from the furnace vent and decided to take a look inside.
      We realized we should have removed the PCBs from the drives first... oh well:"

      What is more unhealthy? Volcanic gas, or melting hydrocarbons with aluminum? I can't decide.
  • by Anonymous Freak ( 16973 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:30PM (#5348588) Journal

    Okay, it's 8 years old, so it's irrelevant, but still, the most revealing comment to me is:

    The reason we come up with new versions is not to fix bugs. It's absolutely not. It's the stupidest reason to buy a new version I ever heard.

    And it makes perfect sense! New versions should not be about bug-fixes. Being told to "Upgrade" should never be a valid response to someone complaining about a bug. Gates isn't saying bugs are in their on purpose, he isn't saying their good. He isn't saying they're in there because that's what sells. He's saying bugs are bad, bugs should be gotten rid of in any given version, and that a new version isn't about bug fixes, it's about new features. Isn't that what a new version SHOULD be?

    Some software companies are bad at that. Some companies <cough, Intuit, cough> *DO* insist that to fix a bug, you must upgrade. That is stupid.

    • I've seen several folks say that this interview is terribly old news and should thus be heavily discounted. There is some truth to that but here's the problem...

      In the last few years, I've heard (well, seen in print) several interviews with Gates where he essentially says the same thing about upgrading for bugfixes is not a valid reason to upgrade. He always gives it the standard MS spin about the great new and shiny features with new releases, but almost always disclaimed bugfixes as the reason people should upgrade.

      I'm sure some enterprising individual can locate a few similar quotes with google. I searched a bit last night but got tired of the search, and didn't much see the point since I specifically recall having seen it on more than just a couple of occasions.

  • by dlleigh ( 313922 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:31PM (#5348597)
    Steve Ciarcia describes his favorite method of data erasure in an editorial entitled "Hammers are for Wimps" in the March 2003 issue of Circuit Cellar Ink:

    ...I decided to revert to a tried-and-true hard drive erasure method that would prove more expedient. I entered the combination to my safe, grabbed a heavy metal object from it, and shoved it into my belt. I picked up the hard drives, walked out behind the house to a safe area, and put them on a stump. I backed up about 20', pulled the 8 3/8" "Dirty Harry" Smith & Wesson Model 27 .44 Magnum from my belt, and BLAM! Instant data erasure.

    Very cool magazine. Check it out at: []

  • I think that interview is a load of fabricated crap. I don't believe Bill Gates would be talking to consumers in that way, he's a much smarter businessman.
  • Hard Drive Data (Score:5, Informative)

    by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:34PM (#5348616)

    Crikey, from the posts here, people aren't very creative on how to get data off of a drive. You don't use any high-level programs like norton, or even something like "dd"; in fact, you use vendor-specific programming modes on the drive. (An example of programs that use such commands would be things like "MaxPower" from Maxtor, where they are clearly getting non-standard data from the drive.)

    Then, you use these commands to tweak the calibration registers to move the head a fraction of a track at a time, reading the data at each step. Hopefully, at one extreme or the other, you get a residual of the data. More sophisticated techniques would involve correlating data read at each subtrack step. This is left as an excercise for the reader.

  • by Anonymous Freak ( 16973 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:35PM (#5348624) Journal
    Okay, I didn't even realize the joke until I typed in the subject line. So, does anyone know what Vera looks like? The Bitstream fonts, I mean. Having high-quality good looking fonts is nice and all, but I'd like to know what they look like. Is there a sample picture of them anywhere? I haven't been able to find one.
  • by Nexus Seven ( 112882 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:38PM (#5348634)
    Is this one of those words, like fag and wank that means something horribly different depending on what side of the Atlantic you happen to be speaking?

    I think we should be told.
    • I think you are remembering the movie Alien Nation []. In the movie, the "newcomers" (outer space alien refugees) were pejoratively called "slags".

      According to, "slag" has no known real world pejorative meaning.
    • Re:Dodgy word "slag" (Score:2, Informative)

      by 23orgFlea ( 529647 ) Main Entry: slag Pronunciation: 'slag Function: noun Etymology: Middle Low German slagge Date: 1552 : the dross or scoria of a metal My guess is the slang tends to come from the slag being the 'left-overs' Ever hear of a slag heap? It's a giant pile of junk basiclly. Pretty sure wank means pretty much the same to everybody ;) Nobody does anything refering to wank without trying to hide in the bathroom while doing it. Fag is a good example tho, offer a fag to somebody over here and you'll get punched, kissed or just looked at strangely depending on the part of town you're in.
  • Spirited Away (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @08:53PM (#5348722) Homepage
    Does anyone know if the US version will have the red tint that was mentioned a while back here on Slashdot [] a few months ago? The linked site seems to say a new release on VHS over in Japan is correct, but what about the DVD? What about the US DVD?
  • by MrBlue VT ( 245806 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @09:05PM (#5348792) Homepage
    Did anyone read the next article after the MS bug one? SMTP chicken and the social contract. It talks about how offended a guy was that someone had his own Domain with an MX record and was, get this, trolling while using the postmaster account! What an egregious crime against man!

    Heh, just kinda reminds me of the day when the net was so innocent.
  • by phr2 ( 545169 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @09:16PM (#5348869)
    First of all you should never write sufficiently sensitive data to a hard drive in cleartext form. But if you have 10,000 encrypted files and you want to delete one securely, the question then becomes, how do you get rid of the decryption key for that file?

    It turns out you can do that if you have some securely deletable way to store just one key (e.g. 16 bytes for an AES key). See here [] for further description and a link to sample code.

  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @09:22PM (#5348934) Homepage
    The Vera Sans Mono Roman is gorgeous. I'm making it my default terminal window font. Thank you, Jim and Jim!
  • Why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @09:35PM (#5349032) Homepage Journal
    Why not just ask him? Couldn't slashdot officially do one of their interviews? It's not like he's unaware of slashdot. He's got a binary choice, he can accept or decline. The editors and mods pick the questions anyway, might as well try.
  • Now, if only we could get a similar license for GNOME....
  • Diana Wynne Jones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Thursday February 20, 2003 @09:53PM (#5349115) Homepage
    I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this, but.. good lord, Miyazaki is making Howl's Moving Castle into a movie?? That's *awesome*.

    I don't really have a comment here. I'm just curious whether i'm the only person on Slashdot who's heard of Diana Wynne Jones. She was, like, one of my favorite authors all the way through junior and high school, but not a lot of people in america seem to have heard of her (she's apparently mostly known in Britain.. apparently Neil Gaiman is a big fan, or something). I randomly wound up running across and subsequently buying a bunch of her books in paperback last week, after not having really thought about them for years, and now i see that Studio Ghibi is making one of her books into a movie. That's kind of random.

    Anyway, DWJ writes this very very well-realized sf/f that is pretty clearly aimed at a "younger audience". but doesn't seem any shallower now that i'm a bit older. Am I the only fan of hers around here? Just curious.
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @10:01PM (#5349168)
    My inclination as a chemist would be to pry the cover off of the drive, remove the platters and then soak them in a tub of rust remover aka Naval Jelly. That should pretty much take care of any data and/or media capable of retaining data. Once done some baking soda will do a nice job of neutralizing the mess.

  • According to their website [], the GNOME project is part of GNU []. GNU was founded to make the dream of software freedom [] a reality. The Bitstream Vera fonts offered to us here and now (the "beta" fonts) are not Free Software. Nobody is licensed to redistribute the fonts, so they cannot possibly qualify as Free Software. Therefore, it makes no sense why GNOME would do anything with these fonts at all. The GNOME project should wait until Bitstream releases the fonts under a Free Software license.

    I'm disappointed that an official part of GNU would get involved with these non-free fonts. If you are interested in using only Free Software, I urge you to not obtain copies of these fonts under their current license. It's times like these one can measure how interested they are in pursuing freedom versus pursuing convenience. The freedoms of Free Software got us the community we treasure. Don't throw that away.

  • I bought the Dave Gingery Build Your Own Metalworking Shop From Scrap [] books a year or so ago, but haven't gotten around to building anything yet. It occurred to me, after reading the books, that dead hard drives would make a reasonable good source of aluminum. I guess I've been beaten to the punch.

    I actually had a client request that I destroy some of their hard drives a couple years ago. Fun stuff, getting paid to break stuff. I dd'd /dev/zero over 'em, wrote some pseudorandom crap onto them after that, then popped the tops, pulled the platters out, and hit 'em with a belt sander-- all "on the clock"!

panic: kernel trap (ignored)