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Comment: Re:Yet it works for me - and you if you try (Score 1) 151

by _xeno_ (#48674515) Attached to: Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack

Unless something has changed since less than a week ago, if you try and connect to Steam while Steam is down for any reason (say, a DDOS attack, like in this article), you will fail to authenticate and be left in a "logged out" state. At that point there's no way to activate offline mode because you can't connect.

If you were already logged into Steam and attempt to "go offline" it will attempt to authenticate with the Steam servers, and again - if Steam is down, that's the end of that.

This happened less than a week ago. That's not misinformation, that was me trying to open Steam on Saturday to check out the holiday sale.

Comment: Re:Yet it works for me - and you if you try (Score 1) 151

by _xeno_ (#48674305) Attached to: Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack

I can guarantee you that the last time I tried to start Steam without any network connectivity it tried to connect, couldn't, and refused to start in that state. That was a couple of years ago, but it definitely used to be the case that the only way to get Steam to go into offline mode is to already be online. So now whenever I get ready to leave for vacation I make sure to take the laptop offline.

Likewise when Steam was offline this weekend (and it was only down for like a half hour), I would start Steam, it would go to "Connecting...", it would fail, it would bring up the login window with an empty password, and that was that. No way to login, no way to switch to offline mode. So it's possible that it saw the working network connection and decided that since it couldn't contact the Steam servers it wouldn't go to "offline" but I most certainly couldn't do it while it was out. (I think Steam was out in a weird way where the update servers were up and a few game servers were up, but the authentication and store servers were down.)

But I can guarantee you that there was no way to get into offline mode at that time. I suppose I could have tried unplugging my Internet connection but why would I have tried that when it's their servers that are down, not my Internet?

Comment: Re:Except Game Servers Aren't Down (Score 1) 151

by _xeno_ (#48674261) Attached to: Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack

I checked. Steam doesn't have a status page, so you have to rely on Reddit threads. Steam was definitely actually down since other people couldn't get online either. You most certainly cannot start Steam in this state, there's no way to do it, it will be unable to authenticate because it can't contact the servers, so it'll demand you reenter your password. At this point there's now no way to get into offline mode because Steam can't get past the login.

In my past experience with Steam, the only way to get into Offline Mode is to first be online. Apparently you're supposed to know ahead of time when your Internet connection will die for a week.

Comment: Re:Except Game Servers Aren't Down (Score 1) 151

by _xeno_ (#48673867) Attached to: Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack

How long a timeout? Because Steam was down just the other day and the way it reacted was dumping me to the login screen, requiring me to re-enter my Steam password despite it being "saved", and then failing to connect because it was down, at which point it quits.

To get Steam into Offline mode, you must first connect to Steam.

Comment: Re:uh - by design? (Score 1) 163

by _xeno_ (#48664093) Attached to: Thunderbolt Rootkit Vector

I don't think Mac OS X even has a user-accessible BIOS. I know there's a "special" key combo you can hit to reset whatever they call their equivalent of CMOS settings (it's either NVRAM or PRAM and I have no clue what the difference is or why it matters). (I know this because there's another cute Mac bug that frequently hits my work MacBook where it will forget it has a built-in display because I turned it off while connected to a monitor, so you have to reset it to factory defaults to get it to realize "maybe I should turn on the laptop display.")

Ah, what the heck, I have the sucker sitting right next to me, let's see if you can disable it in ... "thu: no items." Oh.

(And I checked, you cannot access the EFI shell at all on new Macs. So even if it were possible to turn Thunderbolt off there, you can't access it anyway.)

Comment: Re:uh - by design? (Score 4, Informative) 163

by _xeno_ (#48662107) Attached to: Thunderbolt Rootkit Vector

Well, yes, if you can rip open the computer case and install new hardware, you have complete control over the hardware and that's to be expected.

Thunderbolt is more like USB to the user - it's a thing you use to connect untrusted devices to your system. You wouldn't expect that plugging in a USB thumbdrive would magically own your system (well, maybe you should, because it's happened in the past, but I think it's fair to say that it shouldn't). You'd think that plugging in a random Thunderbolt device would be designed to be safe. Apparently not: apparently Thunderbolt is unsafe by design.

The one mitigating factor is that literally no one uses Thunderbolt for anything, so it's not like anyone's likely to be coming across random compromised Thunderbolt devices. Discovering a Thunderbolt device at all would be out of the ordinary.

Comment: Re:yea but (Score 4, Informative) 580

by _xeno_ (#48626057) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

The OP has it wrong. The theaters would be liable.

Remember the shooting that occurred at a screening of Batman: the Dark Knight? Well, some families of victims are suing the theater and the case is still ongoing. Because there's a chance that the theater may be found liable of not having "enough security" for a random shooting, and because it can be argued that the theaters in this case were "warned ahead of time of a potential attack," they could potentially be found liable should anything happen.

Keep in mind that Sony is only pulling the release after the five largest theater chains refused to show it. And the reason they refused to show it is because they could potentially be liable should anything happen anywhere in any of their theaters. Given the poor reviews the movie is getting they presumably decided that it just wasn't worth any risk as they're probably not going to make much anything off showing it anyway.

+ - Woman game developer may have never "fled her home"-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Previously unknown indie game developer Brianna Wu made international news, including on the green, after claiming on October 11 that threats from the Gamergate movement had forced her to flee her home. As one report briefly mentioned, at that time Wu was on a planned trip to New York where she was scheduled to speak at Comic-Con. Later news interviews placed Wu at her home as they reported that she had fled from it, raising the question of whether she had ever been forced to flee her home at all.

As has come to be usual for any news on this subject, Medium administrators deleted an article that had provided additional evidence that Wu's secret media interview location was in fact her own home from which she had never fled."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Why Steam? Why? (Score 2, Insightful) 159

by MobyDisk (#48625493) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Didn't the rouble lose like a million percent of its value...but they also don't want to alienate the Russians by raising their prices to compensate for the currency crash

Economically speaking, this would mean that valve is selling games at 1 millionth of the usual price, but still profiting off them. Profiting so much, that they are willing to make custom software changes rather than just change the price. That's surprising math to me. Sometimes I wonder why companies, especially companies selling digital goods, don't just set the price in one particular currency then let it somewhat auto-fluctuate in the other currencies according to the market. Wouldn't that be simpler for them?

Politically speaking, Russia's currency lost value because they invaded a nearby nation and they are under sanctions. It is interesting that Valve is willing to go through effort to continue to offer them games at a price they can afford.

Comment: Re:Open-source is no longer a threat to them (Score 1) 217

by MobyDisk (#48625165) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Excellent questions. There are a few reasons, but they are indirect.

Why would they care if anyone uses .NET if it's free and cross-platform?

1) Because Azure will be the default place to deploy .NET servers, which makes them money.
2) Because .NET developers will tend to use Visual Studio, which makes them money.
3) Because Windows phone and Windows 8 and the Windows store will be the default place to deploy those apps, which makes them money.

Also, note that there have been free and cross-platform imlpementations of .NET for >10 years. It has done very little to dilute Microsoft's business.

Isn't this more of an indication that they are abandoning .NET so they don't have to keep paying to maintain it?/quote.
Open source != abandonware. And open source != free to maintain. Red Hat has not abandoned Linux, and pays quite a lot to improve and maintain it. Microsoft is moving toward the same model.

Comment: Open-source is no longer a threat to them (Score 5, Insightful) 217

by MobyDisk (#48620037) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

What has changed is that open-source is no longer a threat to Microsoft. It was a threat when Windows competed against Linux for the desktop and for the server. But today, Microsoft doesn't care about Windows and has re-invented itself: Microsoft lays its hopes on Azure.

All this open-sourcing of .NET is to entice people to use .NET and thus use Windows Azure. By eliminating the stigma of being closed and proprietary, they eliminate the #1 objection to using .NET. This openness goes both ways: not only is .NET opening, but Azure is supporting other stacks: node and LAMP for example. They don't care what tools you use anymore, they just want your hosting business.

Microsoft's new competitors are OpenStack, Amazon, and other cloud service providers. They will compete with those providers by trying to have the cloud platform that supports the most tools and the easiest process to get stuff into the cloud.

Comment: Is this technologically feasible? (Score 1) 134

by MobyDisk (#48580813) Attached to: Facebook Offers Solution To End Drunken Posts

Facebook is doing some interesting research. Is it even possible to determine, from a picture, if someone is drunk? Do you start with face recognition algorithms, and look at the face? Can the algorithm learn body language? I am skeptical on this.

Fashioning such a tool is largely about building image recognition technology that can distinguish between your drunken self and your sober self, and using a red-hot form of artificial intelligence called “deep learning”—a technology bootstrapped by LeCun and other academics—Facebook has already reached a point where it can identify your face and your friends’ faces in the photos you post to its social network, letting you more easily tag them with the right names.

Identifying one's face is not barely even AI any more. The fingerprint is based on the distance between the facial features. Yes, neural networks and things are good at finding those features, so AI is involved to some degree. Identifying some vague concept like drunkenness based on a facial recognition algorithm seems like a big step. I'll be impressed if they can do this with any reliability. I bet you could do better looking at the GPS coordinates of the picture, proximity to bars, the people in the picture, and the time of day. Maybe that is more like what they are doing, than actually judging the image itself.

P.S. This is supposed to be a tech blog. How sad is it that a story about deep learning AI yields nothing but a series of jokes about drunkenness?

BASIC is to computer programming as QWERTY is to typing. -- Seymour Papert