Game of Thrones Author Writes Books on an Offline DOS Machine

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Granite

I don't care if he writes his book in long-hand, on paper...with a pencil. I just want him to get the freaking book written. He's taking waaay too long.

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jeffroland

I hope by the Seven Gods that he backs up his writings to multiple floppies.

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TheMissingPiece

Honestly, to me this makes sense. Using an old school DOS machine gets rid of anything that can interfere with the writing - spellcheck, internet, etc. However, it also properly secures the data and makes it easily editable.

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MrHasselblad

I can get spell check to work with most any DOS, and most hardware configurations. Darn I can even get it to work with a Tandy 4000.

Wait let me better that one.

How about a 32k Tandy 102. Yes can get spell check to work with it. Anyone interested, look me up - it isn't all that many lines of code

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PCWolf

Any PC can be 100% secured by removing all wireless communications and never connecting it to the Internet. He is right about those annoying spell checkers that auto correct words. Tire Center.

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surfacewound

This is *generally* a fine rule of thumb but you had to go '100%' which is just flat wrong. Stuxnet proves this beyond question. The NSA wrote it to infect offline computers in Iran's nuclear program and succeeded.

Though that was a spearphishing attack with incredible resources any virus can be written to copy itself to any removable storage attached and spread to any other machine it connects to.

The only way to get true security is via a faraday cage/SCIF room with no such possible interaction with the machine and no outside electronics allowed within it.

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Renegade Knight

By pulling the plug the easy vectors are all shut down. That leaves you with needing direct access to either the machine, or say the floppy disc he uses to save his data.

That you mention a faraday cage is interesting. While I wouldn't think it normally possible to infect a computer without any kind of radios via EMF you do have me wondering if you can.

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LatiosXT

Put down the tinfoil hat Bullwinkle. Oh wait, they might hijack your brain too.

Actually, you can't guarantee security. I can just find a way to steal the computer or hard drive and call it a day.

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surfacewound

Encrypted drive = useless brick with random gibberish. And with a proper password no you can't brute force it.

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MrHasselblad

Interesting that an american writes about a tinfoil hat. No problem, just ignore that one dozen (plus) agencies that monitor each and every adult american.

Papers please

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Those spell checkers must be used by the FBI

How else could all those denials magically turn into confessions when they get you into Court

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Exarkun1138

I have 2 "old" computers that both still boot just fine that I fire up once in a while. One is a Windows 3.11 for Workgroups computer, not on the internet, and the other a 286/12 based computer with a VGA card, and a still functioning NEC 15" VGA CRT. The 286 computer runs Compaq DOS 3.36, Precursor Menu, and has loaded on it a ton of classic VGA games. It's housed in an old IBM AT case!

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vrmlbasic

Scifi author David Drake also uses ancient technology to craft his works. Though it's funnier when it is a scifi author using tech from the era of GHWB to craft his novels.

How does he get his novels _off_ of the ancient machine? Does his publisher/editor have USB floppy drives?

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NavarWynn

Most likely he (the author) does, either that or he prints it out (on the old DM) and mails it in. Kind of a requirement when your school is *that* old... the real question is whether his computer can use those newfangled 3.5" ones, or does he use the ever reliable 5 1/4"?

The only thing I miss about machines that old is the huge red on/off switches inset into the rear right side. Feels like you are flipping a breaker... you *know* that sucker is OFF!

Seriously though, as a creative professional, sometimes you *need* things to be just so for the creative juices to flow right. Frankly I kind of miss old white/blue Word... the clatter of the DM... the clunkety clunk of a 120mb HDD...

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PCWolf

Those giant side red switches were real power switches. Unlike today's fake power buttons that don't really turn off your computer unless you pull the plug out of the outlet or use the tiny On/Off switch on the back of the power supply.

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vrmlbasic

I must have skipped a step as I don't remember using PCs that had a cool power switch in the rear, just push-buttons on the front.

Can't say that I've ever liked floppy drives, especially external ones, due to all the racket they make. That old external C64 5.25" floppy drive used to clunk and rattle like machine gun fire lol.

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The Mac

The original PS/2 had the big red switch...

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AFDozerman

Pretty legit. My dad is in the same category. He's a preacher and writes up all of his sermons on an old Windows 98 machine. It's pretty beastly for its era, too. 20 GB HDD and a 500 MHz CPU. Makes you wonder just how far silicon computers can be pushed.

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evga760

that IS beastly for the era!! if you could somehow put a smaller HDD in there, maybe you could shorten his sermon XD

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Benjo

He can still get malware from floppy disks :P
Those viruses of old never die...

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Bullwinkle J Moose

The old viruses can be killed!

It's the new one that never go away because malware and spycraft is now protected under the new copy-protection Laws

Here is a Prime example>

Let's say you have found the perfect encryption program BUT it is only secure as long as you are "not" required to register "Online" and does not tie your specific hardware profile to the activation key

Once you tie a specific computer to the activation, anything you do with that encryption can now be monitored without your knowledge on a Windows 7 or 8 computer because the built in Firewall does not notify you when the encryption program accesses the Internet (Prove me wrong and cite your links)

You "MAY" be able to find a key-generator for said encryption and activate it without going through the State Sponsored Spyware Activation process but then you would be violating the copy-protection mechanism by trying to protect the security of your encryption program and put you in violation of the DMCA

You "could" activate the bought and paid for encryption online with a computer that you never use and simply activate the encryption with a key-gen on the computer that you DO use (Plausible deniability) but again, you have violated the law by ignoring the terms of service

"IF" said mythical encryption program was targeted by the NSA due to it's security potential, you would probably see exploits targeting the Key-Gen instead of the Encryption program itself

The reason is that by targeting the key-gen with a keylogging worm, all future encrypted volumes could be monitored even after you get suspicious and wipe your drive to start again fresh

Most "relatively" decent encryption programs can defeat keylogging attempts which is another reason to target the key-gen
You could simply use the virus laden key-gen on a clean machine and copy the unlock code to a clean thumbdrive and then wipe the hard drive of the root kit laid down by the key-gen, re-partition and format the drive, and then activate the encryption from the text file you saved on the thumbdrive "after" scanning it for malware
But hey....
That sounds like WAY too much work to guarantee security for a program that you bought and paid for doesn't it?

Welcome to 2014
You are ALL criminals now, and your anonymous masters are watching you!
Any attempt to circumvent your enslavement will result in wailing and gnashing of teeth

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MrHasselblad

Agreed

Does the united states federal government serve the people? Perhaps, but it does a much better job at almost enslaving them

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Even the BEST encryption is Useless with a shitty implementation

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/16/kiwi_prof_calls_bunk_on_nsaproof_tech_says_crypto_is_enough/

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Hamburger

It's only obsolete if it can no longer suit your needs.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Like Windows 8?
Or DRM?
Or the DMCA?

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acidic

nope. more like your same old tired rants. oh yeah and windows XP sp2 "locked down".

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Begin Rant:

Or Linux Live!

Locked down is the only safe way to use the Internet now

Someday, even YOUR OS will be Locked down!

end rant:

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vrmlbasic

Though how do we know that our lockdown programs are secure?

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Bullwinkle J Moose

It's easy to check if your OS is Locked Down as Read Only

Is it EXACTLY the same size on every reboot?

If your OS is secure, you only need to worry about online scams

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LatiosXT

>Can still access computer remotely
>Can still sniff through your RAM and inject code in there if I find an exploit
>Can still sniff through anything else

Also I recall in my Systems Programming class that someone can still taint the code without it ever showing up. How do you know someone didn't inject something in the compiler of the version you used to do their things? How do you know the firmware in your network hardware is safe? Did you painstakingly inspect every line of machine code to ensure nothing suspicious would happen?

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Bullwinkle J Moose

you can inject as many theories as you like but you cannot permanently disable my antivirus or add a rootkit to my OS or permanently add Gov't malware such as stuxnet to a read only system

Anything you try to do during a current boot session is erased when I reboot

Can you do THAT with Windows 7 or 8 ?

Even if you could put 7 or 8 in read only mode, the Windows firewall will not let you choose only those programs YOU want to allow access to the Internet or even notify you when Microsoft or NSA approved programs are sending or receiving data

No, a Read Only OS cannot stop ALL malware during a current session as long as there are vulnerabilities in the OS or hardware, but the damage done by Permanently installing malware on a NON-Read Only OS can be reduced by about 99.999999%

It's your choice and yours alone that will determine how bad the damage will be and simply rebooting a read only OS will eliminate anything that got through on the last boot (except for firmware attacks)

Eliminating ALL threats may be impossible, but eliminating over 99% of current "persistent" attacks with a read only OS is Pure Magic compaired to what you can do With Windows Spyware Platform 7 or 8

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Renegade Knight

A Read Only system would also have to be on Read Only Media booting from a read only BIOS. Otherwise changes can creep in.

Still, it would be a lot more of a challenge than hacking OS X or Windows in their native environment. An interesting challenge as well.

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LatiosXT

Uh sure I can. A combination of system imaging and virtualization.

I'd hate for you to touch one else's PC. You probably visit all the warez and pr0nz sites.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

How many time have you imaged an already infected system?

Do do realize that you will already be infected each time you restore such an image don't you?

and YES, YOU would hate for me to touch YOUR machine because I would show you how utterly lame your security is compared to mine when I visit the exact same site on both machines

Virtualization?

That doesn't exist in the REAL world!
LOL