Cluster benchmark: Scylla vs Cassandra
ScyllaDB (the C* clone in C++) is now actually looking promising — still need more reassurance about its consistency/reliabilty side though
_What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors_ [paper]
As we will see below, there has long been ample evidence that errors in spreadsheets are pandemic. Spreadsheets, even after careful development, contain errors in one percent or more of all formula cells. In large spreadsheets with thousands of formulas, there will be dozens of undetected errors. Even significant errors may go undetected because formal testing in spreadsheet development is rare and because even serious errors may not be apparent.
(tags: business coding maths excel spreadsheets errors formulas errorrate)

great post from Ross Duggan on avoiding developer burnout
(tags: coding burnout productivity work)
How is NSA breaking so much crypto?
If a client and server are speaking DiffieHellman, they first need to agree on a large prime number with a particular form. There seemed to be no reason why everyone couldn’t just use the same prime, and, in fact, many applications tend to use standardized or hardcoded primes. But there was a very important detail that got lost in translation between the mathematicians and the practitioners: an adversary can perform a single enormous computation to “crack” a particular prime, then easily break any individual connection that uses that prime. How enormous a computation, you ask? Possibly a technical feat on a scale (relative to the state of computing at the time) not seen since the Enigma cryptanalysis during World War II. Even estimating the difficulty is tricky, due to the complexity of the algorithm involved, but our paper gives some conservative estimates. For the most common strength of DiffieHellman (1024 bits), it would cost a few hundred million dollars to build a machine, based on special purpose hardware, that would be able to crack one DiffieHellman prime every year. Would this be worth it for an intelligence agency? Since a handful of primes are so widely reused, the payoff, in terms of connections they could decrypt, would be enormous. Breaking a single, common 1024bit prime would allow NSA to passively decrypt connections to twothirds of VPNs and a quarter of all SSH servers globally. Breaking a second 1024bit prime would allow passive eavesdropping on connections to nearly 20% of the top million HTTPS websites. In other words, a onetime investment in massive computation would make it possible to eavesdrop on trillions of encrypted connections.
(via Eric)