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* Posts by Charles 9

3696 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Graphene QUILT: A good trampoline for elephants in stiletto heels

Charles 9
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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).

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Motorola shows off tattoo and swallowable password hardware

Charles 9
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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.

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Charles 9
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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).

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Charles 9
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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.

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Charles 9
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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.

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Groundbreaking Camino browser digs grave, jumps in

Charles 9
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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.

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

Charles 9
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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.

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Charles 9
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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).

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Charles 9
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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.

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Charles 9
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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.

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Charles 9
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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).

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Minty fresh Linux: Olivia hits the virtual shelves

Charles 9
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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"?

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UN report says killer bots could fight WAR WITHOUT END

Charles 9
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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.

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Charles 9
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Re: Civilised war

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

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

Charles 9
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Re: Glasses.

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

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

Charles 9
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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?

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Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

Charles 9
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Re: Watches

My reason for not wearing a watch is a little more practical: they tend to sweat on my wrist.

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Charles 9
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Plus I would think a savvy robber would be on the lookout for the telltale bulge on the wrist of a long sleeve that indicates someone is wearing.

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Charles 9
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Re: @AC "People either wear glasses to see or glasses to reduce glare from the sun"

Whatever happened to photosensitive lenses like Transisions that shade when exposed to sunlight?

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Apple cored: Samsung sells 10 million Galaxy S4 in a month

Charles 9
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Re: not sure i see what Apple has to 'fear'

T-Mobile is a major carrier, one of the first to sell the S4, and it doesn't do contracts directly. They use hire-purchase (installments) to lower the sticker shock. Walmart also sells the T-Mobile version of the phone, and its phone plan is contract-free post-paid, so it sells all its phones at face value.

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'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

Charles 9
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Aren't the genuine plans signed with a hash? AFAIK, not even the music companies have had much success poisoning file-sharing networks with files that have hashes matching those of the originals, and poison files with unique signatures can be quickly ratted out (eMule, for example, has a reputation system).

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Charles 9
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How does a ceramic/stone bullet in a carbon fiber casing sound? No metal in sight.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not bake the gun

So you make a quick-replace barrel. Variation on the Derringer.

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Oi, butterfingers! Drop your mobe in a pint? Hope it's not an iPhone

Charles 9
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Re: EXPLODING PHONE?

METALLIC Lithium, yes. But most rechargeable batteries don't contain metallic lithium but rather a lithium compound (which means the lithium is already reacted and more stable in the presence of water).

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Charles 9
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Re: Destruction tests

*Had* to be destroyed? As in confidential data that had to go? Whatever happened to just removing the storage medium and dealing with it as appropriate (I've been partial to fire myself--even if you don't destroy the drive outright, the heat alters magnetism)? Just curious.

As for a test, it's best to find a source that performs a standardized test and describes, precisely, what's involved in each test. For the drop test, I would expect it to be performed from at least a 2m drop (say, a tall man drops the phone while holding it up to his face) and face-first (worst-case scenario, usually). Perhaps also a sit test involving the phone being tightly wrapped around a 30Kg round weight (simulating being stuck in the back pocket of skintight jeans) which is then set down on solid wooden bench such that the phone is between weight and wood (and then sitting on it).

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Charles 9
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Re: Water damage doesn't have to be permanent

Also depends on the water. Phone drops in fresh water, you have a chance. Drop it in the SEA, however, and you're basically screwed (not only is the salt in seawater an electrolyte, but the dissolved chemicals make cleaning it off afterward a pain; miss a spot and the minerals will deposit).

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Charles 9
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Re: cumulative effect

Simple. It's the way it hits that causes the cracks. Put simply, if the phone lands face-first, the glass is not likely to survive. Similarly, if sat on a sufficiently hard surface, you could probably stress the phone to the point of cracking. Most cracks I've seen, however, radiate from a point in the middle of the glass, indicating an sufficiently-hard direct impact. What struck the glass hard enough to make the impact crack, I can't say.

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Boffins' brilliant plan: CONCRETE COMPUTERS

Charles 9
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Re: useless

You wouldn't want reinforced concrete for a phone casing, anyway, as the most common material used for reinforcing concrete is steel (because it's relatively cheap and highly tensile). It or any other metal would play hobnob with wireless reception, I would think.

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Charles 9
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Re: Liquid cement......

The reason it's frequently called a glass is because the most commonly-used amorphous solid we use in our society happens to be common glass (which is a naturally amorphous solid).

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My, my Pi, did it spy ya? Bye, bye Pi, did it go higher?

Charles 9
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Re: Air traffic safety

"I know the associated story has been debunked by Snopes but, still, I have to add:

"Thaw the chickens first"."

Because the MythBusters showed that hardened, frozen chickens DO tend to wreak more havoc than the soft, fleshy thawed birds. The story itself may have been debunked, but the idea turned out to be plausible.

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

Charles 9
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Even the SERVICE jobs are being automated. Think self-checkouts, voice-recognition expert systems, and so on. Pretty soon, the phrase "There's just no place for you" is going to be alarmingly common.

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Reports: New Xbox could DOOM second-hand games market

Charles 9
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

XBONE games are SERIALIZED. Special numbers could be set aside for "rental" discs. Also, it's possible to press custom versions of a game for use in rental machines.

As for trying to exploit the "rental" discs, remember we're talking BD discs with ROM Marks (where the serial #'s likely to be placed). Recorders can't duplicate the ROM Mark.

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Charles 9
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Re: Worry.

Also, Microsoft already allows all-Internet downloads of games on the 360. Expect this to continue in the XB1, making it almost exactly like the Steam model. Since you can now go all-virtual, it can also be more-thoroughly enforced as a subscription or service.

To use an old joke of the late 19th century: "Ticket to Chicago--used only once."

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Charles 9
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Re: Worry.

"The cinema ticket idea suggests the only work around I can think of (ignoring the fact you can sell on tickets), and that would be to sell games with time-restricted licenses."

Thing is, the ticket, like a game disc, is perfectly resellable (even Steam allows you to gift-wrap a game and pass it on by whatever means you desire) UNTIL it's used (when you pass the gate, open the package, activate the code). In all three cases, it's now marked expended and nonrefundable.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Greg J Preece

But there HAS been controversy surrounding the cassette recorder and the VTR, to say nothing of CD and DVD recorders (both PC-based and consumer). So yes, ANY form of media that is not self-contained (like Nintendo's Game & Watch) has been in the copyright grey area of requiring an enabler. Audio cassettes and VTRs were too useful on the consumer end to stop. As for movies, it's a mixed bag. Pirating a movie is still possible, yes, but usually at reduced quality since trying to do a full-quality BD rip tends to work against most users' download allowances.

As for your proposed solution, isn't that what Sony filed to patent with its RFID system? Also, isn't that why more and more games are going to online worlds and a multiplayer focus: to justify continual monitoring?

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Charles 9
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Re: Mad greed

And if Sony does it, too, meaning it's down to the WiiU and the colonoscopy either way? IOW, what happens when ALL of them do it? Abandon gaming?

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Charles 9
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Re: Game resellers as "parasites"

I think the big thing is that books, cars, appliances, and so on are self-contained. They operate completely in and of themselves with nothing else required except maybe for utility supplies (power, water, etc.).

Computer software, OTOH, isn't really self-contained. They require the device to work in, and that's where the grey area comes in. Because now you have the situation of the ENABLER. And in this case, the enabler can be a service or a subscription: something that establishes a contract with terms and conditions that can usually be legally enforced.

Microsoft and Valve can use this angle and in doing so bring in the business software agreement, which isn't always a sale but a lease or service contract, with ink on pen and everything. Doing that can get the business software makers like Adobe and Autodesk on their side (Microsoft actually has play in the business software market as well—with Office). This could force the court to decide between allowing software leases/service contracts or nullifying a number of big business agreements.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Future of Gaming?

HINT: Microsoft's system is almost a carbon copy of Valve's Steam system, and the 360 ALREADY allows for downloadable games. Bet you pounds to pence the XB1 will ALSO have the ability to download the games off the Internet: no disc necessary.

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Charles 9
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Re: Steam vs Xbox game = invalid comparison

So? The disc is merely a one-time-use key with a copy of the installation so you can do it offline. You can get the same stuff off the Internet. No difference.

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Charles 9
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

It might be possible under Microsoft's system. Valve already has a system like that with Weekend Passes: tryouts of certain games once in a while. Perhaps Microsoft can offer Redbox/BBX copies specifically for those machines which, when inserted, ONLY work as long as that disc is in place. Afterward, the installation may remain, allowing you to buy a pass into the full version.

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Charles 9
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But Vernor v. Autodesk was thrown out. Turns out the copies were STOLEN (physically) from the company, who was under CONTRACT to return them to Autodesk for a new version.

Bet you Valve and Microsoft will make their game systems SERVICES and the games merely pay-to-play KEYS (or passes, as previously noted), meaning the resale is merely of a used (and thus useLESS) one-time key. IOW, it's REALLY exhausted.

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Charles 9
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Re: Yes Steam games CAN be given away.

You can ONLY re-gift a game if it's an authorized "extra copy" or it's a gift you haven't unwrapped yourself. Once you activate it, it's yours come hell or high water.

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Now it gets serious: Fracking could RUIN BEER

Charles 9
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Re: Fracking needs to be fully controlled

Not without the specialized equipment and trained experts that went WITH THE OIL COMPANIES they won't.

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Charles 9
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Re: Don't Panic! Lager is NOT BEER! Drink Ale!

Hello? You boil the wort when you brew lager as well. That's right; lager is still BREWED. The cold part only comes in fermentation, when it's chilled down to let the lager yeast go to work.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fracking needs to be fully controlled

He's saying large multinationals (like oil companies) have some leeway to get above the law. You want to scare a government? Threaten to move your wells out of that country. Bye bye big-time tax revenues.

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Experts: Network security deteriorating, privacy a lost cause

Charles 9
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Re: Privacy isn't lost - it only got more expensive

"The options are simple. Do it right, or end up a dead cert for a breach. And stop giving up *before* the battle."

That's the problem. There is NO "do it right". That implies perfection in an imperfect world. As someone else has said, network security is an oxymoron: much like Digital Right Management. The INHERENT risk of making something available on a network is that the wrong person accesses it: either by breaking the defenses (brute force hacking) or by disguising as one of the trusted (phishing). It's like the front door: strong crooks break the door down, clever ones get an impression of your key. Not even the vaunted air gap is 100% effective, as Stuxnet showed.

In the final analysis, network assets should be a value/risk evaluation. How useful is the asset on a network vs. the risk of someone exposing it. Instead of trying to keep hardening the target, the targets themselves should be evaluated to see if they're worth the risk and taken off if not. If the system will fail eventually, the best one can do is to fail safe and minimize the damage.

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Charles 9
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Re: Privacy isn't lost - it only got more expensive

It is BOTH defeatist...AND realist. Network security is like crimefighting. You're never gonna stop ALL of it. It is the case of "you have to be lucky all the time, they only have to be lucky once" AND they outnumber you. It's just that with network security, ONE breach is usually enough.

So the challenge of network security is to prevent ANY breach (since only once is enough to basically ruin you). Only a perfect security solution can achieve that level of success.

However, man is imperfect. Therein lies the contradiction.

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Charles 9
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Re: There's a better way

You can't use Wikileaks as an example because it was striving to stay on the "legal" side of the coin. All their proceeds had to come from legitimate sources or they'd lose their legitimacy. Black hats have no such moral/legal restraint and can use any and all means to obtain money, including but not limited to money laundering, mules, shadow accounts, and investments in other illicit businesses.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem is that our devices are too easily subverted by unexpected inputs.

Plus sometimes there are constraints to consider. There's a reason C and other less-sophisticated languages are still around. More sophisticated languages that build in garbage collecting and type checking inevitably introduce overhead which can cost you in speed, space, or both. If one or both are at a premium, then you're between Scylla and Charybdis. You can be lean or you can be safe but you likely won't have the capacity to be both unless you bodge it yourself. It's like trying to cram a bigger machine into a smaller frame: physics dictates some things won't make into the finished product unless you customize.

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Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

Charles 9
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Re: No second-hand games

"Simple. Laws have priority over EULAs. It's still illegal to shoot your neighbour, even if a EULA specifies it"

Is it STILL illegal if you shoot your neighbor with a water pistol? Or a confetti shooter? Or a blank round? This is the kind of grey area we're walking into. Can Valve and Microsoft say their software is a service and the game discs merely keys (since the games are also downloadable and subscription-based a-la OnLive)? IOW, is it a sale or it is a service?

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