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Comment Microsoft Research Into Passwords (Score 1) 165

Microsoft Research department spent a lot of time looking into password security.

They found that for tech people the absolute minimum time between password changes, while still having good passwords was 183 days. A more realistic minimum safe time to use is 365 days.

For non-tech people they found that the absolute minimum was 365 days. A more realistic minimum was 548 days.

When going under these numbers people would have to sticky note their password to their monitor, write them down somewhere else usually stored in their desk, start storing them in password files, just increment a number on their password, or use really easy to guess passwords. These methods of password remembrance being only slightly higher than having no password at all.

Obviously there is a discrepancy between their R&D and implementation departments as in a Windows domain the default time to change password is 42 days. And they recommend.
"Set Maximum password age to a value between 30 and 90 days, depending on your environment. This way, an attacker has a limited amount of time in which to compromise a user's password and have access to your network resources."

I also found it funny that in studying for Microsoft's security test, about 10 years ago, I was finding that what was in the required main study book was the exact opposite of good security practices. I didn't pass the test because I got 1 question wrong and at that time you had to 100% the test. The funny thing was that suggested reading for the test was "Writing Secure Code (Developer Best Practices)" which was written by Microsoft's then lead security expert. The book basically said that the Microsoft security test was all wrong. That being said "Writing Secure Code (Second Edition) (Developer Best Practices)" is a really good book to read for understanding good security.

Comment Battery Tech Has Impoved! (Score 3, Informative) 209

When I first started looking at standard AA batteries in about 1994 you had your normal Zink-carbon batteries that the good ones would be 1200mAh capacity. There were some premium Alkaline batteries that were 2000mAh. If you wanted rechargeable you were looking at NiCd at about 800mAh.

Fast forward to about 2004. Alkaline batteries at about 2000mAh was standard. Lithium batteries at 3000mAh were around and NiMH had almost completely replaced NiCd at about 2100mAh for good quality ones. Then there is also the proliferation of Li-Ion batteries for other applications. Charge times for rechargeable batteries had come way down.

Today Alkaline batteries are at about 2600mAh, with Lithium still at 3000mAh. NiMH are still in use and the good ones are still at 2100mAh with some "Pro" batteries at 2550mAh. Li-Ion still in great use, but getting smaller while keeping the same amount of power. Charging times have continued to decrease, mostly with new charging technology that can be used on the older batteries as well.

What does the future hold? Well, we have heard about tech for making Li-Ion batteries fully charge in minutes. There is the improvement in sodium batteries. Different chemical combinations of Li-Ion to hold more power.

Why is it not here now? Most new technology takes at least 5 years from announcement of it working, to being able to mass produce it at a decent cost. That is for companies that have lots of money and experience in that specific field. More of an average is 10 years between proof of concept and mass production. 10 years may sound like a long time to people, but in the manufacturing world with new technology, it really isn't that long. Intel runs with a 10 year plan, and they can bring many of their advancements to market in 5 years. Intel is a company with a lot of money and a lot of knowledge about exactly what they do and yet, they still work on basically 10 year plans. Most companies are not as efficient.

Yes many times products will be designed and brought to market in 1 to 2 years, but they usually use existing technology. They use chips, tech, batteries that exist when the product is announced. They already have the full design done, all they need to do is mass produce them, and it still takes 1-2 years. Even though exactly how to mass produce it and all the parts are known. New technology on the other hand is a different beast that there are often problems in figuring out how to mass produce it, or they find out that it can't be mass produced cheaply enough.

The other thing is that you are getting the new technology all the time, you just don't notice it because it is done in an incremental process. The battery has a little more power, it is a little smaller, it charges a little faster. Where if you compare something today to 10 years ago you would notice that the battery stores a lot more power, it is a lot smaller and it charges a lot faster.

Comment Re:What about Good Old Games (Score 2) 106

Yes, GOG did, and still does a lot of work on old games. When they can, they acquire the original source code to make them work on newer systems, fix some old bugs and remove the DRM. A lot of source code gets lost though, so they end up doing a lot of this through modifying the binary code directly.

However, they are moving away from the name God Old Games, as they now also offer movies and newer/new game releases.

As for Night Dive Studios, they are doing the same thing, just relying on other companies for distribution. Both companies have documented the fun of trying to track down the rights for these old titles and getting them to run. I can only see this as a good thing that more people are trying to track down the rights and make them work on current platforms as this just increases the chance of us being able to play our favorite old games.

Comment Microsoft Not a Safe Bet For Services (Score 1) 330

I know I'm missing some from this list but:

Windows Live Mesh (discontinued)
Windows Live Folders (Renamed to Windows Live SkyDrive
Windows Live SkyDrive (Renamed to SkyDrive)
SkyDrive (Removed features and renamed to OneDrive
OneDrive (Removed groups, reduced storage)

Honestly, with their constant failures and reduction of features, why anyone would trust Microsoft with any online services I don't know.

Comment Author's Points Don't Pass Smell Test (Score 1) 397

He uses the examples of planes and how humans are constantly correcting human errors. Okay, full automation would not have the human errors in the first place. Also the system would be aware that under no circumstance should a highly perilous course be taken. Actually the article more makes a point for why planes should be fully automated as most of the plane crashes have been human error. That being said, humans are still better at landing planes smoothly, but that will probably change over time.

As for cars, he says most car companies are trying to enhance driver control instead of replace it. Not so, just do a cursory search on automobile companies and find out how many already have fully computer controlled cars, or are working on it. A computer does not get tired, it can look in more directions and pay attention to them all at the same time, it does not take drugs, it does not get angry.

Now he does make one point in passing that should really be the main point, which is some people really want to drive themselves because they like driving. Some people don't trust computers. These social things are the only valid point I found in the article and it is just mentioned in passing.

Comment The Alien Generator Need To Be Turned Back On (Score 1) 142

Did you see the machine in Total Recall? It warmed the water, but also generated a magnetosphere. They shut it down before leaving as running without maintenance it would just break down. That does mean that once we turn it back on we need to figure out how fix it, but at least we will have blue skies and protection from the Sun while we study how the machine works.

*This is a joke, not a troll, or a belief of intelligent life forms on mars*

Comment What Radio? (Score 1) 535

Radio, why would anyone need that? It will just have a thunderbolt dock for "all" you iDevices to play music. Radio was dead long ago, didn't you hear?

Also the temperature control in cars has been too complex for a long time. Now instead of fan speed, heat setting, A/C, they have all been replaced by just setting the temperature and the car will manage the rest. Don't worry, there will only be one temperature number as having zones would not be simple enough. Also they have remove the sticks for drive, park, reverse and emergency break. Instead they have been replaced by a single button with is forward, or backwards. When you stop, it automatically engages park mode and when you turn off the car it puts on the emergency break.

And how much will all this cost? They have done extensive market research and found that most people buy a $20 000 car, so they are selling their low end car for $80 000 with all the simplicity added. Higher end models will keep the same type of 4x price point over equivalent models. The ultimate version of course being the solid gold iCar Pro Luxury.

Comment Microsoft Research and Their Password Policies (Score 4, Informative) 148

Microsoft Research found that the maximum times people could change a password and have it secure is twice a year. This was the absolute limit where they suggested that a more realistic limit was once a year. Any more than twice a year and people had to start writing them down, or use insecure passwords that were easy to remember. A common one being an easy to guess word with an incrementing number after it.

The irony is that Windows Server defaults to having you change your password every 42 days. 8-9 times a year.

How do I know this? I studied for the Microsoft Security Test. They had one required book for studying and one recommended book for studying. The required book would help you pass the test. The recommended book was written by Michael Howard, Microsoft's top secure code specialist. In the book, Writing Secure Code, he would reference the research division's work. Basically the book said that everything on the test and the other book was wrong. I have taken courses in security which matched what Microsoft Research and what Michael Howard said. I would highly recommend reading Writing Secure Code, as even with taking courses on it, I learned a lot from that book.

For the record, I didn't pass the security test. I got 1 question "wrong." I don't know about now, or if the test still exists, but you used to have to 100% it.

Comment Can't find those things on Linux? (Score 1) 394

Skype is a Microsoft product now, so there's no way it would have a Linux client
Wait, it does?

No Office though.
That's not Office, I mean something that will open .doc files.
*points at link again*
But it isn't Microsoft
That's not funny!

Still doesn't address text editors

Comment It was said best in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Score 1) 134

Jenny Calendar: Honestly, what is it about them that bothers you so much?

Giles: The smell.

Jenny Calendar: Computers don't smell, Rupert.

Giles: I know. Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a... it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It's-it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible. It should be, um, smelly.

Comment They could always do Dragonlance... OH WAIT! (Score 1) 210

The Dungeons & Dragons movies were cringe worthy, but they are absolute masterpieces when compared to Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight was a direct to video with combined 3D and 2D animation. It has a rating of 1/10 on IMDB. No Rotten Tomatoes score, but they list 20% of people liking it and a 2.6/5

From Wikipedia
Reaction to the film was predominantly negative. Dan Heaton describes it as a "disaster" and "tiresome." David Cornelius says it is "genre cheese and sloppy filmmaking." Michael Stailey declares "It's been a long time since I've come across a film this bad."
Jason Heller, of The A.V. Club, commented that this film "went direct to video, and for good reason. It's terrible. Not even the voice-acting talents of Kiefer Sutherland and Lucy Lawless can save its shoddy, out-of-date animation and flat storytelling, which isn't much of a step above the '80s D&D cartoon. And a lot less sweet."

Personally I think the shot at the '80s cartoon is unwarranted. They were mostly fluff, but there were 2 really well written episodes. Dragonlance on the other hand desperately needs a Mystery Science Fiction Theater 3000 treatment, but I'm not even sure if that could make this watchable.

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