Feeds

* Posts by Charles 9

3630 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

We're losing the battle with a government seduced by surveillance

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: False positives

But the trouble is they fear the false NEGATIVE over the false positive because they believe the false negative to be an EXISTENTIAL threat and therefore to be snuffed at all costs (when the price of failure is cessation of existence, no price is too high).

2
4

Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

Charles 9
Silver badge

Publicity could've been covered up with blackmail: something like, "you wouldn't want this dirty little secret to just suddenly turn up at the New York Times" or the like. Credible threat to the firm, plausible deniability to the government because the dirty secret is at least a stage removed from them (if the firm tries to turn on the government, they'll just turn around the claim the firm is a conspiracy theorist nutcase—what proof do they have).

1
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: no wonder

Perhaps, but they fear the false negative more than the false positive. No one wants to drop the big one because the big one may just kill them. When the false negative becomes an existential threat, all else is secondary.

0
1
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: If such surveillance was either essential or well controlled it could have been done honestly

But what happens when absolute, total surveillance becomes ESSENTIAL to survive? IOW, what happens when it's down to let Big Brother watch us or we die?

0
5

YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading

Charles 9
Silver badge

Simple: They never sell you the software in the first place, merely subscribe or lease you to it (think Steam and OnLive; both use the same model). You cannot resell what was never legally yours.

0
1
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: All sounds good to me

Where does it say the games MUST reside on the internal drive? What happened to external drive support which already exists on the 360?

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Not to worry

Five pounds gives you ten the authentication connection will be over SSL with the consoles having the public key, meaning faking the authentication will only be possible by stealing the private key. Track records for private key thefts have been historically very low.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Ever reliable...

Then explain why Steam is taking off. Why can't Microsoft do things Steam is doing like demos and sample periods? Wouldn't that and online reviews take the place of word of mouth?

1
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: It's a pity

Roll your own is my recommendation. Gaming requirements have hit a plateau lately, meaning you can get some decent hardware for a modest investment. Though given your PC's age (in comparison, mine's about 4 years old), it'll probably have to be built from scratch if you don't have an empty case lying around. Pick and choose your parts.

You can go middle-of-the-road (like a Core i5 or something from AMD) without much trouble since most of the grunt work goes to the GPU, and there you have plenty of options (budget $200-300 for something with comfortable performance; choose nVidia or AMD to suit your taste).

Measure how much you put on your hard drive(s) to determine what's best for you. If you put a lot of stuff in it, you'll probably want to stick with traditional drives at least as a secondary. Getting a solid-state drive for the boot drive does help with performance, but the price premium means you need to choose the device carefully depending on your storage and performance needs as well as you budget.

Memory generally isn't a big problem these days, especially with 64-bit OS's. Try to get at least 8GB of memory to give yourself some headroom, but check for the ideal clock settings and always buy in matched sets to maximize the performance on your motherboard (check your motherboard's specs for details on ideal arrangements). Getting more may not be needed right away, but as an option it doesn't really hurt on a 64-bit OS.

4
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Calm down...

Actually, I think it's QUITE warranted.

1. The control is being left to the publishers, and given the track records of the big guys like EA and UbiSoft, how do you think this will go?

2. The model already exists with Valve and Steam.

3. Given a recent patent application, I think Sony are actually going to go one worse than Microsoft on this and employ a system that can work even without Internet.

6
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Another great micro$oft design decision

Given a recent patent application (for discs with NFC chippery built in), I would say Sony will go one better and come up with a "use once only" disc that doesn't even require an Internet connection. Even if you have no Internet at all, once you use the disc, the NFC chip on the disc (which will likely contain a crypto key or the like) will prevent it being used anymore.

0
2

All major UK ISPs prepping network-level porn 'n' violence filters

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: not only but also

c) The ISP catches this because you're underutilizing the house DNS system and starts sniffing around. Pretty sure the ToS for such a service will require that the DNS settings not be altered on pain of cutoff.

1
0

Wikimedia edges closer to banishing Wikitext

Charles 9
Silver badge

Seems a little behind the times.

The Wikia network has had a visual editor available for its numerous wikis for some time (and BTW, they do retain a Source Edit mode in case of preference or necessity).

0
0

My bleak tech reality: You can't trust anyone or anything, anymore

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Why not try to expand the password memory capcity?

Why not? For the same reason you can't make something foolproof: eventually the world will produce a better fool. While it's not impossible to expand the human memory capacity to an extent, there are usually limitations that are not well known to the system designers. What if one has a bad memory for faces? For images? For spelling?

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: For those who feel I am too paranoid

But if you replace the government, what do you replace it WITH? Ever heard of the phrase out of the frying pan and into the fire? ANY government made by man will eventually be corrupted by the necessary human element. The only other type of government where the human element is minimized is the rule of absolute law: where the law dictates terms with no exceptions. We're not comfortable with that, either, because we're aware of the concept of mitigating circumstances.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: DropBox?

That's actually the exact technique I use. I also don't put the key in the Public folder but instead put it in a dedicated directory which I sync using tools like DropSync, so the actual existence of the database isn't known to all and sundry. And since KeePass has an Android client, I can still access stuff from my mobile if the need arises.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: the off-line solution

When THAT day comes, not even your Revo will be safe because the act of terrorism will come through the AIR: think an EMP from an airborne atomic/nuclear explosion. Not even offline devices will be wholly safe from them.

Plus there's always the risk of you getting mugged and the mugger nicking off your Revo WHILE you were using it (meaning the master password isn't needed, and they can nick everything else off before it has a chance to lock itself).

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Deterministic Password Generators

But you'd still need the necessary credentials to pass into the procedural generator in order to reconstitute the password. If that information is smaller than the hash technique, it isn't worth it since they'll just try to retrieve the procedure parameters and then reconstruct the algorithm (likely through disassembly—and the procedure must be in memory for it to work, so there's no guaranteed way to hide it).

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Policing users

So how do the ISP perform packet policing when their users increasingly use end-to-end encrypted channels like SSL? Or worse, encrypted-by-design networks like ToR, i2p, and freenet? How do you you DPI an encrypted packet?

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

You ever seen all these recent articles about malwares hiding in government installations for nearly a decade? The best malware stays silent and hidden, eavesdropping on network activity and then secretly sending off its results. If a malware sneaks onto the LastPass system, they can just listen for the credentials being passed online (and since it's at an endpoint, it's a point where it could avoid encrypted channels and hear a means of obtaining unencrypted credentials—either the user's master password or his master key).

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: PATRIOT

Even as huge as the resources of US.gov are, there ARE physical limitations. Barring an exploit, a large collection of individually-salted credentials would take more time and energy than the human race can currently exploit. Further along, you run out mass and energy on the PLANET, and we're not even close to ready to exploit extra-planetary mass and energy resources.

Put it this way. As much as people believe there's a black helicopter for everyone, consider the cost of building one, then multiply by the number of people in the country, then factor in the available US budget, which IS finite and having some debt issues.

0
0

Publishers put a gun to our heads on ebook pricing, squeals Amazon

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: FAIL?

"A monopoly is only a problem when the prices are to high, I get MS Office for $10 because we have a site license. That's probably close to what the real price should be. That is a monopoly."

Doesn't sound like a monopoly to me. A monopoly has to affect an entire market to be one. In your case, what your company chooses is your business, but if all your corporate peers had no choice but to use MS Office, then you're dealing with a monopoly.

Also, there are different kinds of monopolies. The worst ones are de facto monopolies that come about due to sheer market forces (rather than de jure monopolies enacted by law—those tend to occur with stuff like utilities where competition would result in duplicated infrastructures that are an eyesore if not a risk to the public). These run the risk of becoming self-reinforcing monopolies where even disruption is difficult because the monopoly holder can control the entire chain and create barriers of entry.

0
0

Amazon reaping $600 MEELLLION a year in ad sales

Charles 9
Silver badge

Except if the PC presence shrinks, so does the ad visibility. The ads show up on PCs, NOT mobiles. To avoid losing their ad visibility, they need to start migrating the ads. I suspect they'll take this a step at a time, perhaps starting with tablets where there's more real estate to spare and then move on to phones as their resolutions increase.

0
0

BBC boffins ponder abstruse Ikea-style way of transmitting telly

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Interesting

Not necessarily for the video part. In that regard, I think it's being done a bit inefficiently, though correct me if I'm mistaken. I'll admit I'm drifting from the topic at hand, but what I'm discussing seems more realistic AT THIS STAGE. Are TV video transmissions of a single quality or of a progressive quality such that the first bit of a frame produces a low resolution frame and then other parts refine it into a higher resolution over several stages like a progressive JPEG does? I would think for a more mobile world a progressive-quality stream would be more versatile without having to retransmit the same image multiple times, unless the overhead involved with progressive quality outstrips the costs of just transmitting the image multiple times.

0
0

Petascale powerhouse cracks important HIV code

Charles 9
Silver badge

Which is why I say virii with long incubations are worse, because for much of that time you can still be a transmitter. That had always been the danger of HIV and AIDS: the fact you can have it and not know it. It's been increased public awareness of that fact that has kept it under control by means of increased testing to catch it at early stages.

IMO, a nightmare virus would be something like a "time bomb": ticking away without your knowledge. It would be (a) airborne or otherwise overly easy to transmit, (b) highly lethal, but (c) with at least decent incubation. I consider us fortunate the closest we've come to a virus that ticks off all three criteria has been the 1918 pandemic, with its iffy (c) qualification.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

As for an ebola vaccine, that's a longshot. Ebola is a retrovirus, a kind of RNA virus. RNA virii have always been hard ones to nail because, by their nature, RNA virii tend to mutate a lot. It's for this reason we can't nail a virus for the common cold (coronavirus is also an RNA virus).

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

I think it's an either/or case. Its unique shape that makes it so effective in human cells (thus it's called *H*IV) has the drawback of being poor at fending off the elements. Similarly to the ebola case. As mentioned, the mutation that allowed ebola to go airborne also made it less infectious, probably because a structure capable of surviving in air also makes it less capable of infection once back inside. The potential bug-a-boo is either (a) a virus that is SIMULTANEOUSLY highly infectious and airborne-capable or (b) a switch-hitter: one that can switch between airborne-ready and highly-infectious depending on the circumstances (various bacteria can switch-hit by hibernating as endospores—can a virus switch similarly?).

0
0

Penguin chief: Apple's ebook plan 'dramatically changed' market

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: At or below cost

"The MFN clause is vital to enable Apple (or anyone else) to know that if they invest in a business model that succeeds, the suppliers can't simply cut them off. Without the MFN clause, the iTunes store would have been shut down by the music publishers who thought the world belonged to them."

That's an interesting thought, but it begs the question: do the ebook publishers need Apple and its numerous iDevice users more than Apple needs the publishers to drive incremental business? Because if it's the former, then Apple's dictating terms by introducing a barrier of entry.: raising prices always runs the risk of alienating customers and causing them to defect...unless you get them ALL on board, in which case you have a captive market and cartel behaviour. If it's the latter, then Apple would be in no position to dictate terms to the publishers; if Apple isn't that critical, they can stick with Amazon and the Kindles and so on. They get their wholesale price no matter what Amazon does afterward, unless the fear is that Amazon will pressure the publishers to lower their wholesale prices under threat of boycott?

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Reading between the lines

Cinemas are physical locations and they employ this to create a captive market. The ticket may be cheap, but they'll scalp you at the concession stand and bar you from bringing your own food for reasons of sanitation (about the only time you're allowed is medical necessity—diabetic food, for example).

0
0

Experts: Network security deteriorating, privacy a lost cause

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: NOT correct

Memory-SAFE...but what about memory-EFFICIENT? Can you compile a Sappeur program to run in a limited memory profile, say an embedded device? IOW, can you be BOTH memory-safe AND memory-efficient? What safeguards bounds and other things as such at runtime if there's no extra memory to manage it? That's the tradeoff I'm talking about. It's not always about performance efficiency.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: @ Charles

Mules are a way. They're not under the eye of the law, so they start the chain in a way that the law can't see. Laundering, shuffling the money multiple times, muddies the trail, and the shadow account helps to hide the money from people like taxmen. Another way is to extort/blackmail/glean financial details, which are then used to withdraw money, take a cash advance, or something else that's hard or impossible for a bank to fully reverse. If the transactions are done a little at a time (smurfing) it will be harder for the banks and law to spot before the point of no return.

The trick is to employ routes that avoid banks and other financial institutions as much as possible. Firms that want to maintain legitimacy keep within their purview as a show of security. The black market wants the opposite: to avoid them.

0
0

Doctor Who? 12th incarnation sought after Matt Smith quits

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: More than 13 is POSSIBLE just inadvisable according to WHo lore.

@Tom 13: Going back to "Trial of a Time Lord", I wish to clarify that scene. You're describing the Valeyard, which according to the Master was "an amalgamation" of the darkest aspects of the Doctor's nature. It's not so much an incarnation of the Doctor but rather some kind of offshoot (like the Doctor clone produced from the severed hand). Furthermore, the Master's description of the Valeyard's genesis was left very subtly vague: "somewhere between your 12th and final incarnations." Note there was no number given to the "final" incarnation. The regeneration to Twelve simply means the Valeyard's genesis could emerge at any time beyond that point, though I would think for the sake of canon continuity the question of his origins will be addressed sooner rather than later: if not in this incarnation then in the next one.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: 12th?

Nevertheless, the Who lore puts twelve regenerations as the measuring stick for Time Lords. But due credit to good writing with intentional vagueness. Going back to "Trial of a Time Lord", I recall the Master describing the Valeyard as having formed somewhere between the Doctor's 12th and final incarnation (a misleading hint—cheeky, but I like it). There is a lot of hints and so on (some from the Doctor himself) that the Doctor's incarnation limit is somewhere greater than 12. But given the lore, I would think they're going to start flirting with the thought more and more as time passes: perhaps increasingly dropping clues and tidbits. I'm pretty sure such tidbits will be a draw for any serious fan.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: New Dr.

I only get into Doctor Who recently but have begun to get more familiar with the inner plots and so on of one of the most intricate television series still to air.

To describe John Hurt as a previous "Doctor," and given the increased focus on the Doctor himself (and his past) during Matt Smith's time ("The Pandorica Opens" and "The Name of the Doctor", for starters), I would imagine Series 8 (which will now include the 11th official Regeneration) is going to start getting seriously edgy. I have to wonder if the Doctor won't just end up crossing his own timeline (again) but end up ENTANGLED in it (as in, given no choice but to crisscross it again and again). That would make for a plot where practically anything goes. Any bets?

0
0

Graphene QUILT: A good trampoline for elephants in stiletto heels

Charles 9
Silver badge

I was thinking a better bulletproof vest.. If a layer the thickness of Saran Wrap would take the force of an elephant on a pencil point to penetrate, what about a thicker bunch of graphene layers. How well would it stand up to, say, a 30.06 (something I don't believe kevlar was designed to handle—IIRC stopping a rifle round usually calls for sacrificial ceramic in addition to the kevlar).

2
0

Motorola shows off tattoo and swallowable password hardware

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: But 666 is a wonderful number!!

Doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as caustic soda (which is still scientifically correct). There's also the use of the word "caustic" to indicate it's not something to treat lightly, which you don't get from the chemical designation (it's like asking someone not familiar with chemistry to distinguish between sodium hydroxide, sodium chloride, and sodium bicarbonate). It's also specific enough to distinguish it from its cousin caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) where both used to be lumped into the term lye.

As for the COSH indicator, it's not as bound to scientific terminology. They went with the KISS principle in the name of safety.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Users already have fingerprints

"The real problem with this technology for ultra sensitive material, is if someone really wants access to it, they will take what they want to get it; an eye, a finger, something inside you, etc."

Depends. What you really want is a biometric that ONLY works when it's used, INTACT, on the original owner. That's why modern finger scanners don't go for the loops and whorls but rather at the blood vessel patterns which are unique even among monozygotic siblings. The best ones measure the FLOW as well as the PATTERN meaning a detached digit is worthless: no flow. As for the rubber hose route, perhaps a sufficiently dutiful keeper would somewhat damage the finger to the extent that it can't be used for reading anymore, though I suspect a panic finger would suffice as well (different finger triggers a wipe).

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: But 666 is a wonderful number!!

Actually, in scientific terms, they make the distinction for the sake of precision. An acid reaction is termed corrosive while a base reaction is termed caustic. Either way, the reaction happening to your body is bad. That's why lye is now more properly known as caustic soda.

2
0
Charles 9
Silver badge
Joke

Re: But 666 is a wonderful number!!

Thought it was 665, across the street (and it was used in Max Payne). In other neighborhoods that step by 4 except in duplex townhouses, the neighbor would be either 662 or 670.

0
0

Groundbreaking Camino browser digs grave, jumps in

Charles 9
Silver badge

The problem was that the API for Gecko took some serious leaps in the interim. Look at the differences between Firefox 3 and 4, then 4 and 5, and now the modern ever-evolving browser. Camino's API hooks were rendered obsolete, and there wasn't enough desire to keep up, probably because there were more than enough alternatives on the loose, all of which were better able to keep up with the times.

2
0

Google nuke thyself: Mountain View's H.264 righteous flame-out

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: If Google loose patience with hardware manufacturers again

Actually, Tom got it right the first time. "Loose" as in "let them loose". He's proposing Google get some chip designs for hardware-accelerated VP9 and release them to all and sundry ("let them loose" or "turn them loose"). I suspect there are some hiccups in such a plan, but I believe that was the intention.

0
2
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: VP9 may be in the same boat

Even if it means paying the royalties to MPEG-LA? Google offers VP9 with no royalties, and when the quantities rise, so does the cost in royalties. AND Google has the muscle to support the VP codecs in court (note how MPEG-LA couldn't take Google to court over VP8).

1
1
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: @SuccessCase

That's part of the ubiquity that gave H.264 the crown previously (and this ubiquity was spurred by the support of H.264 in the current-generatiobn optical discs). However, for H.265, no such consumer hardware exists yet, so Google still has a chance to get its foot in the door. As for the professionals, IIRC, they don't encode until they have to, to maximize the quality of their sources. And since they tend to use server farms to do the encoding, that encoding is likely done in software, which can change gears pretty easily.

2
1
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Bad timing last time?

Yes, and recall that Google was getting nVidia (who has their own SoCs—the Tegra line) among others in their ear. with VP8. It only fell through because, like I said, H.264 was already ubiquitous. Broadcom may be churning out H.265 chips (IIRC they're part of MPEG-LA). I will admit that Apple would be behind H.265 and can roll their own SoCs, and its iPhones still have weight, but there are plenty of others. What if Google counters Broadcom by getting other chip makers to bake VP9 into THEIR chips? We've heard little from Qualcomm (makes the Snapdragon line). Same with nVidia and the Tegras. Then there are the Chinese: wildcards in this fight. Patents I think would mean less to them than ubiquity.

4
2
Charles 9
Silver badge

Bad timing last time?

I don't think it was so much MPEG-LA's presence that allowed H.264 to win but more the idea that Google was simply late to the party. By the time VP8 came out, h.264 support was baked into too much hardware for Google to shake the tree. It's hard to beat H.264 when phone, vidcam, and other small hardware makers use chips with the codec baked in. This time, however, Google has a chance to disrupt H.265 before it can gain momentum: with VP9. Consider why MPEG-LA couldn't get a patent pool for VP8 rolling. While there are patents for them, Google probably owns the key ones since they got them along with On2. And Google's a big enough company that they would be willing to (1) take the fight to court and (2) challenge MPEG-LA's patents with its own, starting a patent war. And since Google isn't using the patents as a way to make money, any patent nullification would be neutral to Google if not beneficial (if an MPEG-LA patent is nullified).

14
3

Minty fresh Linux: Olivia hits the virtual shelves

Charles 9
Silver badge

This has been gathering my attention. I'm planning to migrate and it seems to be down to either Mint or Xubuntu (give XFCE props for maintaining a middle-of-the-road standing--not too flashy but still quite functional). Any thoughts on which is best or whether it's a case of "to each his own"?

0
0

UN report says killer bots could fight WAR WITHOUT END

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Permanent conflict? How so?

"Similarly, a killbot factory can't do a thing if the power's off and fuel supplies are disrupted. No need to target the manufacturing facilities themselves."

So what if the killbot plant is under a mountain with its own power supply (preferably a reactor so fuel isn't an issue for years)? If the ammo is also made on-site, then about the only weak link would be fuel for the craft, which could have potential ways to get around bombardment as well.

0
0
Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Civilised war

Yes, from the original series: "A Taste of Armageddon".

1
0

'Nothing will convince a kid that's never worn glasses to wear them'

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: Glasses.

No, the first word was right because it was a portmanteau of two insulting words: BOTH of which apply

7
0

First Cook, now Intel bigwig pokes Google in the eye over Glass

Charles 9
Silver badge

Re: The reason it is not see-through

Don't the latest jets already have helmet-mounted displays (HMDs)? These would have similar issues to transparent Glass, wouldn't they?

0
0