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Comment: Re:Reminds me of one thing (Score 1) 733

by IamTheRealMike (#49352757) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

Because then everyone dies when the computer fails. Autopilots regularly fail and expect the pilot to take over

I think this depends on your definition of "fail". As far as I know true computer failures where the machine just goes crazy and tries to crash the plane are non-existent. What happens more regularly is the autopilot sees that something weird is happening and chooses to disengage itself - presumably an autopilot program could be written that never disengages and always does the best it can to fly the plane, unless deliberately disengaged.

This is particularly problematic when sensors fail, as they did in AF447, and the computer doesn't know what's going on any more.

No, this is irrelevant. If the planes sensors completely fail then the pilot doesn't know what's going on either, and the plane is probably doomed no matter what. In normal operation these planes are flying in a very small speed corridor between disintegration and stalling. If you don't know how fast your going a stall or overspeed is pretty much inevitable, and if you don't know how high you are even basic visibility problems can cause a crash into the surface. Neither human nor computer can succeed in such a situation.

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 335

As you say it was stable under the Ottoman empire, because they took over and kept it, America needs to do the same thing. The US, Canada, Australia, NZ were all British colonies, but the difference is the white people never left, so they remain beacons of progress. Hate to sound all racist here, but there is a strong correlation between those and African, Middle Eastern states that were given back.

I think you should probably read a good history of the British empire, followed by 20th century history, before posting nonsense like this.

The causes of problems in the middle east have a lot to do with the long term history of the "beacons of progress" fucking with the region. Specifically when the Ottoman Empire collapsed the colonialists divided the region up along entirely arbitrary borders that often drew straight lines right through native tribes and populations, then appointed flunkies to rule these new countries. There was zero attempt to make something that worked for the people who lived there. This caused serious long term resentment.

Have you ever watched the ISIS video of them blowing up border posts? The ISIS soldiers keep talking about the end of Sykes-Picot. Even though I actually have read a history of the British Empire, I still had to look that one up. It turns out to be the British-French treaty that created the borders of Iraq. Families in different villages were suddenly divided from each other, etc. The people who live there apparently still hate Sykes-Picot to this day.

Plus, when countries in the region got leaders the western powers didn't like, there were interventions (e.g. Iran). There were invasions. Not to mention the gaping wound that is Israel and the absolutist support for it from the US.

There hasn't ever really been a time when more powerful militaries weren't fucking with people who live in the middle east. Religion certainly plays a part, but the USA is a lot more religious than other western developed countries and it doesn't seem to hurt them much ....

Comment: Re:Your government at work (Score 2) 335

You are an idiot. The entire purpose of drone strikes is to carry out very targeted killings.

.... of civilians. You know, when the US says it killed "militants" what it means is "any adult male in the strike zone". This has been verified beyond doubt now, they openly admit it. Often they have no idea who they are killing as the drone strikes are targeted based on e.g. NSA tracking of a mobile phone. Whoever holds the phone at the time gets whacked. This is how they end up drone striking weddings and the like.

If we didn't care about collateral damage and didn't mind indiscriminately killing people, expensive drones would not be necessary.

Obviously you care about collateral damage, not because the USA is such a bunch of caring hippies but because the purpose of drone strikes is to exercise power. You cannot exercise power over dead people. You have to instead kill anyone who does something against your will, or is suspected of doing so, or just someone who got in the way to serve as a lesson to others. If you see the purpose of drone strikes as minimising casualties in a conventional war then you don't understand what drone strikes are for or why the USA uses them. Their purpose is power.

Comment: Re:Fuck those guys (Score 2) 569

And there it is! That European smugness. I didn't expect to see it in this thread but I can't say I'm not surprised. Tells us again, for the millionth time, how your shit doesn't stink....

Yes, there are a lot of smug sounding Europeans posting on Slashdot when stories about the US doing something dumb crops up.

However, today is not one of those days. The OP talked about "other countries". The USA is practically alone in having a problem such as "swatting". It's not just Europe that lacks this issue - it's Australia, Canada, China, Russia, India ...

SWATing seems like a natural consequence of a heavily militarised society that worships soldiers and has decided it makes sense for everyone to be heavily armed all the time. If the rest of the world didn't point out that decisions have consequences, you guys might think it was normal.

Comment: Re:Too Big to Nail (Score 2) 121

Ah, the efficient use of government resources trumps justice. Must be a first!

You're assuming that whatever a few FTC staffers think up and write down in an internal report is "justice".

That's not justice. That's the divided opinions of a few bureaucrats.

The reason the FTC would have had to spend a lot of time and money on an anti-trust case against Google is the underlying laws are vague and the arguments subtle and complex. Google would have mounted highly effective counter-arguments and there would be no guarantee of winning the case. If the case was won, what then? The FTC's goal is to try and improve the market, or so they say, but winning a court case doesn't automatically fix anything. And if they lost, questions would have been asked about why they weren't using those resources to pursue clearer cut issues.

Comment: Re:Hardware is trusted (Score 2) 83

No, that would be useless. Just think it through a bit.

OK, so you have a physical switch somewhere. Bear in mind the trend in laptop design is to try and eliminate ports and switches, so Jony Ive will throw a fit if you suggest such a thing and Apple won't do it. But let's pretend the PC makers all do.

When does the user have to press this switch? When there's a BIOS update that needs to be applied.

How do they know there's a BIOS update to be applied? Because a message pops up on their screen telling them there is one.

How do they know the message comes from their PC manufacturer and not a virus? They don't.

So will a virus just ask the user to press the button? Yes.

And will the user comply? Yes.

A physical switch will not stop BIOS malware.

Comment: Re:What kind of person did they study? (Score 1) 79

Then the app will check for the fake data on first run and pop up another prompt that says, "Guess what - I really need this".

That isn't the fix you're looking for. A way to delay acquisition of a priviledge until the point it's needed is a better fix. These apps aren't actually maliciously asking for useless permissions. Almost always they ask for lots of permissions because they have lots of features.

Comment: Re:Slippery slope (Score 3, Interesting) 362

by IamTheRealMike (#49305503) Attached to: OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers

Unfortunately, it's not really Microsoft pushing us down this slippery slope. If anything it's the NSA.

The problem is boot sector or BIOS malware is now a real thing that needs real defences. It's not some obscure academic attack any more. Securing the boot chain is the only known way to fix this.

The real issues start once malware begins using Linux to install itself. That is, "I cannot infect or modify Windows because of the secure boot check. But I can install Linux and then load a special kernel module and then make the kernel chain into the Windows boot process after modifying it". So then you start needing signed kernels to check for signed kernel modules, etc. Eventually you end up with hardware that only runs signed code, and it's not because of some evil DRM conspiracy but because the openness of the PC platform has caused it to be so thoroughly bum-fucked by malware developers. I mean what are the manufacturers meant to do? Leave their 99% Windows userbase vulnerable to spying and horrible un-removable viruses because Team Linux has never managed to get OEMs on board to make Linux laptops? Doesn't make any sense, regardless of where your software sympathies may lie.

Comment: Re:No boot? (Score 1) 362

by IamTheRealMike (#49305475) Attached to: OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers

I guess you'd be able to boot from a recovery USB stick/CD/etc.

Presumably the idea is malware will not be designed to infect such systems. After all being rendered unbootable is a sure way to get your victim PC taken into a repair shop, which then might submit the malware sample they find to AV vendors ...

Comment: Re:Well no shit! (Score 1) 232

by IamTheRealMike (#49304179) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

Microsoft was only fined in Europe. In America nothing much happened. Also: the fines were iirc not for bundling of the web browser but rather, the things they did to stop PC makers also including Netscape. Like threatening to punish them financially if they supported a competitor. That's a lot more cut and dried. You're right that bundling web browsers with operating systems was clearly the right move in hindsight and in practice Netscape might have been toast anyway. But maybe not: alternative browsers are doing better than IE is today, despite IE's bundling advantage. But being forcibly bankrupted by Microsoft if you included one of them crosses the line.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1) 232

by IamTheRealMike (#49304131) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

I care about getting good search results. Google choosing to put the better results lower in the ranking conflicts with that.

But Google doesn't do that, nor does the WSJ article imply it. Google chooses to add features to its search engine and sometimes those features, like embedded maps, rank higher than say MapQuest does. That's not putting "better results lower in the ranking", that's Google believing that an inline map works better than a link to another search engine where you get to re-enter your query. And I think it's right.

Comment: Re:But they help also (Score 1) 366

by IamTheRealMike (#49303959) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

When a customer has no real way of distinguishing certain types of sellers based on quality, some minimum standards are required

But they do. Uber drivers have star ratings and drivers that get bad enough ratings are fired.

A lot of people are making a false conclusion that Uber drivers are unregulated. They aren't - they're regulated by the company instead of by the government. And it seems like Uber may often do a better job of this.

Comment: Re:Wait, can machines even walk yet? (Score 2) 451

by IamTheRealMike (#49290717) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

Yes they can walk

So we're suppose to have machines driving vehicles some 80 years before they're smart? What idiot thought THAT was a good idea?

Your realise machines are routinely put in charge of vehicles that travel at 600 mph and in which mistakes can cause disintegration of the machine, killing everyone on board? Yet they're much safer than the human pilots we keep around as psychological placebos.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.