Archive for October, 2008

Bruce Talking on Bag Searches on the metro

Friday, October 31st, 2008

It was only a matter of time after I posted this, I just wasn’t expecting this 🙂

Wash Post

Security specialist Bruce Schneier will be online Friday, Oct. 31 at noon ET to answer your questions about the effectiveness of Metro’s new policy to search the bags of passengers before allowing them in a station.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the show.

Schneier is a noted cryptographer and security consultant. He’s the author of several books, including “Beyond Fear” and his newest, “Schneier on on Security.” He blogs at Schneier on Security, where he has written about the random bag searches implemented by the New York Subway system.

Looking for a new commute to work

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I just posted this on

Options for a new commute from Herndon to Tysons Corner.

Bag search on Metro

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I read today that metro is starting to do random bag searches, this reminds me of my recent trip to Beijing where all bags had to be x-rayed before being allowed onto the station platform. I am not sure what they were looking for but they weren’t looking very hard. I don’t think I ever saw anybody getting a secondary bag search.

I doubt that this will add much to the safety on the metro other than to generally slow everyone down. Bruce will probably comment about on this as part blog postings on security theatre and the TSA and their security procedures. At least they are going to have a bomb sniffing dog so that they are one step above the useless checks at the Smithsonian Museums.

Never Ending quest for more disk space

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

First I had mirrored 80 gig hard drives, then it became a mirrored 120 GB pair, when that ran out of space I tossed another 120 in and made it 3 in raid 5. When I had filled that I moved to twin 320 GB mirror, then one failed so I bought a 500 GB. That has morphed into 3 500 GB in raid 5 and 3 320 GB disks, 1 for backup and the other 2 mirrored.

I am now looking at 1tb hard disks wondering if I should continue buying 500 GB hard disks at $69 or start buying 1TB disks for $129

Bad generic_ata with ubuntu on another computer

Friday, October 10th, 2008

So I noticed another of my ubuntu boxes was running slow so I did a

Host:~$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda

Timing buffered disk reads: 8 MB in 3.72 seconds = 2.15 MB/sec

so it looks like it has the same issue as my other machine

so I did
Host:~$ sudo lspci |grep -i ide
00:0f.1 IDE interface: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82C586A/B/VT82C686/A/B/VT823x/A/C PIPC Bus Master IDE (rev 06)
Host:~$ lsmod |grep -i ^libata
libata 159344 4 pata_acpi,pata_via,ata_generic,sata_via

and added the following to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

blacklist ata_generic

and the following to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules

blacklist ata_generic

then rebuild initramfs

sudo update-initramfs -u -v

After a reboot I now get

sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda

Timing buffered disk reads: 164 MB in 3.02 seconds = 54.38 MB/sec

Amazing what this little tweak will do for performance.

The Great Wall – Simatai

Friday, October 3rd, 2008