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Comment: Re:Like Dividing By Zero (Score 1) 1127

by Oh no, it's Dixie (#27434489) Attached to: Linux Needs Critics

But we can't get to questions like "Is feature X really worth Y dollars to me?" Because Linux does not cost money to install. It's like dividing by zero. It makes criticism of a missing component difficult because it doesn't cost me anything! How can I criticize it?! You will see people like Steve Ballmer have to dig and dig into imaginary costs of retraining, supporting and maintaining Linux to give it a "hidden cost" so that Windows can even begin to contend with Linux in price (you'll notice these concerns were suspiciously left out of advertisements when discussing the switch from XP to Vista).

These hidden costs are hardly imaginary. The time spent tweaking Linux to work on a given hardware setup might be better spent on more profitable things. I understand that with competent IT or competent users (even better), the transition from an "easier" OS to an open-source one can be made much smoother. However, in a business context, time is money. The time it takes to set up Linux and to retrain the employees to use it efficiently can discourage the more conservatively-minded.

Security

+ - SPAM: 41M Stolen Credit Cards Is Just the Beginning

Submitted by
narramissic
narramissic writes "The theft of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers that made news this week when 11 people were indicted in the massive data theft scheme, was 'inevitable' says security researcher Markus Jakobsson — and it could have been much, much worse. For starters, says Jakobsson, 'attackers really do not have to go through the effort of actually being physically present in the neighborhood they want to scan and attack. It is enough to make their intended victims visit a corrupted web page, which can be distributed by spam or advertisement.' And a sophisticated attacker 'can do even better — he can let already infected machines try to infect the machines in their neighborhood. The infection spreads geographically, and spreads like a wildfire in dense neighborhoods.'"
Link to Original Source
Robotics

+ - SPAM: Teaching language to robots

Submitted by
Roland Piquepaille
Roland Piquepaille writes "For a project scheduled to end in 2011, Plymouth University researchers will build two robots using software allowing them to interact with each other to exchange learned information like humans. The team will use language-learning techniques designed for children. According to The Engineer, the goal of the project is to teach concepts to robots including the meaning of words. As said the lead researcher, 'Robots still don't know the meaning of things. The only techniques we have at the moment are using mathematical tricks and statistics to produce more or less sensible replies.' These robots will be designed to encourage human interaction. They'll have a long neck and a face in place of a grip so it can look around or at an object from all sides. But read more for additional details and references about these future robots."
Security

+ - Kaminsky's slides from Black Hat

Submitted by harlows_monkeys
harlows_monkeys (106428) writes "Dan Kaminsky has released his slides from his presentation at Black Hat. The presentation goes beyond the details of the attack (which were guessed and leaked earlier) and goes into the things you can do with it, alone and in combination with other flaws. The scope is breathtaking, and goes way beyond just sending browsers to the wrong site."
The Courts

+ - SPAM: Electronic Privacy in Jeopardy, Email Tapping

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a dangerous legal precedent has just been set that can potentially unravel existing federal privacy protections for e-mail and Internet usage. The alert from the EFF is not just to sound a general warning, but it also takes the form of an Amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief, filed with the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the court's legal finding to be overturned. The findings of this case could become the foundation of a legal precedent by which other similar cases can subsequently be based upon. If that were to be the case, then the unauthorized retrieving of e-mails from an e-mail server would not be considered a violation of the federal Wiretap Act, which will then open the door for government-sponsored snooping."
Link to Original Source
Graphics

+ - SPAM: NVIDIA's Sub-$100 GeForce 9500 GT Launched

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has announced the new GeForce 9500 GT today and it's their latest addition to their sub-$100 graphics card offering. Of course the card won't bring the same level of 3D performance as current high-end, more expensive products but its feature set is comparable to just about anything else on the market. In comparison to the recently released GeForce GTX series, the GeForce 9500 GT has only a fraction of the number of stream processors, ROPs, and texture units available, but the GPU's configuration does put it on par with or ahead of the GeForce 8500 / 8600 series of graphics cards, that the 9500 GT will eventually replace."
Link to Original Source
Movies

+ - New DVD protection that stops (most) pc playback!

Submitted by
Lance Vick
Lance Vick writes "Well it would appear Warner Brothers has done it again. On at least our copy of 10,000 BC rented from RedBox at Wal-Mart... we found what appears to be some new variation of Sony's ARccoS ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARccOS_Protection ). A copy protection scheme where the disks actually ship with bad sectors which makes it difficult if not impossible for many pc ripping software and playback software to play the disk. Regular dvd players just blindly follow a set of instructions on the disk (like the ones that tell the player to show previews first no matter what). As such "most" consumer players are not affected... except for smarter ones that try to actually read the disk normally... they die.

In this case however we call it a variation because on 2 out of 3 machines in our office, the dvd-rom drives themselves came back with hardware errors trying to initialize the disk!

The two machines it did not work on resulted with a hardware output as follows:

ATAPI device hdc:
    Error: Illegal request — (Sense key=0x05)
    Logical block address out of range — (asc=0x21, ascq=0x00)
    The failed "Read 10" packet command was:
    "28 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 "

(^ this is a pretty standard error a linux kernel will spit out when a drive is unable to read a badly damaged disk or one that is just an unregognized format)

One failing machine is a desktop containing a "MAD DOG TF-DVDRW TSH652N".
The other is a laptop contianing a "MATASHITA DVD/CDRW UJDA770".

Since the hardware itself fails that means we do not even have the ability to try any software means to play back or rip the dvd we rented on those machines.
On the third machine (which contains a TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-L532U) It at least actually sees the disk as a dvd, however the protection still gave serious issues to most software.

VLC acted like it played the disc, but with no audio or video output.

unDVD, handbrake, and Thoggen all failed to be able to read through the bad sectors and the attempt would just die almost instantly.

Mplayer -will- play it however it takes a LONG time to seek before actually figureing the mess out and playing.( It actually took the video decoder 7 times to initialize before it actually was able to process!)

DVDrip however seems to be able to both play and rip the dvd without any issues. Way to go DVDrip team on supporting some new unknown copy protection!

We also have a uber generic consumer dvd player (a "Norcent np-315" we found beside a dumpster) in our workshop that plays the dvd flawlessly.

It seems this new ARccoS variant does a decent job of totally screwing up most attempts for a pc to read the virtually scratch free disk. That means we as legitimate holders of this disk with a right to play it, can not pop it into our main media machine and play it.

Bravo Warner Brothers, bravo. Way to encourage people to pirate.

We have yet to find any other information on this protection, nor anything regarding warner brothers releasing this mechanism. Hopefully someone else can shed some more light on this for us.

Please share any other experiences, tests, information, or thoughts regarding this.

-Lance Vick
Cross-Technical, LLC."

$1,000 Spray Makes Gadgets Waterproof 278

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thank-god-for-that dept.
Rio writes "A new $1,000 spray claims to protect notebook computers, iPods, cell phones and other electronic gadgets from liquid, making them completely waterproof, a Local6.com report says. A creator of the technology said it could be used for emergency first-responders, bio-medical devices and historic preservation." This might be a bit of a flashback from last year.
Space

Virgin Galactic Shows the Finished WhiteKnight Two 212

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the two-is-one-more-than-one dept.
Klaus Schmidt writes "Virgin Galactic today unveiled their WhiteKnight Two mothership, called 'EVE.' It is designed to carry the smaller SpaceShip Two into space. The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic's quest to launch the world's first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science. Christened 'EVE' in honor of Richard Branson's mother — Sir Richard performed the official naming ceremony — WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents ground-breaking aerospace technology. It is the world's largest all carbon composite aircraft and many of its component parts have been built using composite materials for the very first time. At 140 ft, the wing span is the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured."

Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.

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