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Comment Re:Pure undulterated bullshit (Score 1) 192 192

This isn't DRM. There's no need to turn text into an image here. I think people are confusing this for some sort of document protection scheme which is trying to do something that's impossible.

You're mistakenly treating the recipient as a hostile entity. If you can't trust them to view and *not attempt to copy* confidential information, then they shouldn't be allowed to see it anyhow.

Instead, you need to consider the recipient as an imbecile who will, for example, accidentally forward a confidential note to their entire address book, or forget to delete the message as requested.

Good security is often about simply making the default behavior secure. In this case, you're simply ensuring that the recipient has to do nothing at all for that information to remain secure, which is about as good as it's going to get once you release information to another party.

Comment Re:Sounds impressive, but is it? (Score 1) 80 80

This article gives some details:

Nevertheless, the automaker said it will offer to repurchase the trucks and SUVs that have not yet been fixed for a price equal to the original purchase price minus a reasonable allowance for depreciation plus ten percent.

So, essentially, the buyback amount in this case is roughly the market value plus ten percent. My understanding is that a buyback is not a trade-in, so there's no obligation to purchase the same make of vehicle.

Under typical lemon laws, for example, if the dealer can't fix serious problems with a new vehicle in three visits within the first 60 days, you're eligible for a buyback. In those cases, I believe the consumer is eligible for the full purchase price. In this particular case, it looks like the federal government is mandating the buyback because even of older vehicles of the seriousness and scope of the issue.

Disclaimer: I'm no expert on this subject matter, so I may have some details wrong.

Comment Re:Budget (Score 1) 105 105

That's good to know, and it explains the rationale a bit more.

Still... Would Congress really have complained had they requested a portion of their budget be directed for the research and preservation of some artifacts of substantial importance to American history? Are they really that limited by the scope of their federal budget? They seriously can't undertake important projects like this without breaking rules?

I think I'd be more comfortable changing the rules attached to their funding in order to give them some discretion for special projects like this, rather than relying on the hit or miss chance of public fundraising. It would have been a shame if they hadn't happened to have met their funding target. They might not be quite so fortunate the next time they try to generate additional funds this way.

Comment Re:How soon until x86 is dropped? (Score 1) 116 116

Videogame programmer here. It wasn't really a compiler optimization issue. There's no compiler on the planet that can perform high-level optimizations like that.

The real problem was that those vector units (SPEs) were highly specialized computational devices, best suited for churning through relatively simple, parallel tasks with a high volume of sequential data (e.g. media streams). Videogames, unfortunately, are loaded with tasks that require access to complex data sets and/or require lots of context switches, neither of which the SPEs can handle well. Ultimately, the SPEs, while powerful in specialized roles, often had problems compensating for the slightly less powerful CPU or graphics hardware, despite requiring many times the work to optimize the game for that hardware, and all that just to get similar performance to the Xbox 360's more general-purpose hardware.

In short, the Cell processor was immensely powerful for its time in highly specialized situations, but it wasn't very well suited to the typical tasks and loads seen in a videogame. It was an idea that sounds great in theory, but didn't work so well in actual practice.

Comment Re:Sounds impressive, but is it? (Score 4, Informative) 80 80

You're dividing the fine by the number of recalls, but that makes no sense. The company is already being penalized by the cost of the recalls, so I think you'd need to *add* that to the fine.

The agency said the civil penalty was broken down into a cash penalty of $70 million, and an agreement that Fiat Chrysler would spend at least $20 million on meeting performance requirements detailed in the consent order. An additional penalty of $15 million will be assessed on the company if an independent monitor, who has yet to be announced, discovers further violations of safety laws or the consent order.

Under the order, Fiat Chrysler is required to buy back as many as 500,000 vehicles with defective suspensions that can cause drivers to lose control. Also, owners of more than one million Jeeps with rear-mounted gas tanks that are prone to fires will be given an opportunity to trade in their vehicles at rates above market value.

All in all, this may end up costing them well over a billion dollars, especially if a significant number of people take them up on that buy-back offer.

Comment Re:138 Million Artifacts (Score 5, Insightful) 105 105

I'd bet the vast majority of those artifacts are likely sitting in shelves full of boxes and bins in the basement, and are not in need of any costly preservation measures, short of maintaining a dry, climate-controlled environment.

Good on them for figuring out how to generate some more revenue, but it tends to remind me of how local governments spend their entire budget, then come begging to taxpayers in the form of additional bonds to fund critical police programs, fire protection services, parks, schools / education, or emergency services infrastructure. They know taxpayers have a harder time saying "no" to these types of services.

Don't get me wrong... I'm really happy these suits are being preserved. It just seems strange that they couldn't have figured out how to do this within their existing budget. Given the historical importance of these suits, it makes me think that maybe their priorities are a bit off regarding their budget expenditures. What would they have done if the money hadn't been raised? Let the suits rot in a locker in the basement? Auction them off to a private collector? And what happens the next time they have some important American historical artifact? Is this sort of fundraising going to happen again?

Comment Re:Pure undulterated bullshit (Score 2) 192 192

If they're selling it as "secure" (as in a user *can't possibly* forward the data), then it's bullshit. If they're selling it as "this prevents someone from inadvertently forwarding your message to others or keeping it available longer than intended", then it should work as advertised. Obviously, it doesn't prevent intentional abuse.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of people simply use programs with the defaults enabled. Google's g-mail, by default, keeps ALL messages (by encouraging you to "archive" instead of "delete" messages). A lot of mail clients work in the same way now. This means that, by default, if you send someone a message with some sensitive data, you have no easy way of encouraging the recipient to delete the message after being read. This provides that mechanism. Unless someone goes deliberately out of their way to copy that data, it will not be forwarded or copied to their local client or mail storage.

Honestly, I'm not sure how useful this is anyhow. Unless e-mail is encrypted or internal-only, you basically have to treat it like a postcard. That is, anyone interested enough to glance at it while in-transit can see what you're writing.

Comment Re:I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers.. (Score 3, Informative) 308 308

Well, shit. Someone else informed me that the option to disable updating of drivers is ONLY when you insert new hardware. So, you typically wouldn't want to disable this.

It looks like this may still be an issue then. Damn, that's a really misleading setting name. Sorry for the misinformation.

Comment Re:Ahead of the curve (Score 1) 308 308

Ah, I see. Well, that makes a little more sense as to why it's buried in the options down there. Then Microsoft needs to add a checkbox to disable automatic driver updates then, similar to the way you can opt out of automatic application updates.

Doh. At times like these I wish I could edit my posts (or at least append new info to them), when I'm flat out incorrect.

Comment Re:I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers.. (Score 3, Informative) 308 308

Not sure why the question mark. What don't you understand?

The category of "optional" updates has gone away, and is instead replaced with the ability to disable driver or application downloads. This is roughly the same in practice, but is slightly less flexible.

The disadvantage with the new mechanism is that you can't pick and choose among the "optional" updates. Say you wanted to update your audio and mouse drivers, but not your video drivers (since you prefer to update them using Nvidia's app to do so).

The advantage of the new system is that you can choose to automatically update what used to be an optional update, and those had to be manually applied, if I remember correctly. Some people may also prefer to have both their drivers and applications automatically updated. It's a bit friendlier for typical users at the expense of the power-users.

I'd like to see that "driver downloads" setting moved to the main Windows Update settings page, where people are more likely to find it.

Comment Re:I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers.. (Score 1) 308 308

It appears there's no notion of "optional" updates anymore, at least for the consumer version of Windows. Instead, as I mentioned, there's a checkbox buried deep in system settings to prevent drivers from getting upgraded. Also, there's a separate checkbox on the Windows Update settings page to determine if you'd like Microsoft applications to automatically be updated. I'd guess this would control whether things like Office are updated automatically as well.

Comment Re:Ahead of the curve (Score 1) 308 308

It actually is an option (buried deep in system settings) to disable driver auto-updates. I was beta-testing Windows 10 and I didn't even realize this was possible until someone mentioned it in this discussion today.

Changing this setting to OFF is going to be the very first thing that power-users do with Windows 10. See my post above for details.

Comment Re:I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers.. (Score 3, Insightful) 308 308

Note: I saw an AC mention you could turn off automatic downloading of drivers, so I checked it out. Keep in mind my Windows 10 version is out of date, though. so the RTM may be different.

Go to Control Panel -> System, then click on "Change Settings"

Under the Hardware tab, you can click on a button called "Device Installation Settings"

You're then asked "Do you want Windows to download driver software and realistic icons for your devices?
* Yes (recommended)
* No

Unless this changes for launch, it looks like people will have a way to opt out of automatic driver updates, so that's a good thing. Still, damn... they really buried that setting deep.

Comment Re:I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers.. (Score 2) 308 308

I have a GTX 560 ti, and a couple of years ago, Nvideo released a driver that hosed that particular card with occasional lockups and general meltdowns. Hardware acceleration in Firefox, for instance, would cause the driver to glitch badly enough to require a reboot. Although Nvidia eventually did track it down and fix it, it took quite a few months to do so. I had to monitor their user forums to wait for a fix, and only then could I safely patch once it was confirmed by testers.

My computer would have been near unusable had the latest updates been forced on me. Microsoft really needs to rethink this. Patching automatically works fine as a default for home users, but there HAS to be a way to defer, roll-back, or opt-out of specific patches - especially anything that isn't security-related, like drivers. Patching an entire OS is not as simple as patching a browser. You know they're looking at the Chrome model here, which was actually somewhat controversial when it launched. This is a "we know what's best for you, so you don't have a choice anymore" model, and while it will be fine for *most* people, we've already seen that it can cause problems for *some*.

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder