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Comment: Re:What if you tilt your head in headphones? (Score 1) 88

by Rich0 (#47795267) Attached to: RAYA: Real-time Audio Engine Simulation In Quake

The other replies cover the window-like way of doing things. The other way to do it is to make it so that if you look right, the screen rotates to the right. Usually you have a multiplier, so that a small head rotation translates into a much larger rotation on-screen. Looking backwards might only require turning your head 45 degrees, which allows you to still look to the side and see the screen.

This might sound awkward, but your brain adjusts to it with almost no effort. The main problem I've seen with head-tracking is that stuff on the screen never stands still, which makes it hard to click on small objects. Usually people who use head-trackers need to use a button to pause screen motion, dampen it, etc. Dampening screen motion other than a slight amount to reduce jitter is a bit hard on the eyes I find, since everything you see has a delay attached to it.

Comment: Re:Stop the US-centric crap already (Score 1) 403

by Rich0 (#47794697) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

Unless the officer in question is also an officer of the foreign division/corporation, I disagree completely.

All that seems relevant is whether the officer in question is in a position to produce the data.

Well, in practice all that really is relevant is whether the US government thinks they might be able to produce the data, and whether they can get their hands on him.

Everything else makes for great moral debate, but if you're standing on US soil and the US government really thinks that you have something that they want, then you're going to be in for a world of hurt if you don't produce the goods or convince them that you don't have them.

Comment: Re:Since when did Microsoft become a EU company (Score 1) 403

by Rich0 (#47794687) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

The question is not about whether they are subject to US law, they are, it is whether US can tell a US based company to ignore another countries laws. The argument here is that what the US court is demanding isn't legal and the US doesn't have the legal authority to do.

In practice, the law is whatever the government says it is. It is quite possible that MS will prevail on appeal. If it doesn't, then they'll really be between a rock and a hard place, and companies will basically have to look at incompatible national laws and choose which countries they'll base their operations in. MS would not be suffering this problem if they didn't own so much property in both the US and EU, and desire to sell their products in both markets.

Comment: Re:Since when did Microsoft become a EU company (Score 1) 403

by Rich0 (#47794679) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

The legal question is not so much where the corporation is based, but who owns the data that they have been entrusted with.

The PRACTICAL question isn't where the corporation is based, or who owns the data they have been entrusted with, but rather with how much money Microsoft has tied up in US assets. The courts can confiscate as much of those as they want until MS complies. Foreign governments can do the same.

When you travel through or own property in some jurisdiction, you're effectively within their control to the extent that you're unwilling to part with it.

Comment: Re:customer-centric (Score 1) 403

by Rich0 (#47794673) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

The US legal system starts and ENDS at the US borders.

Maybe in principle it does, but it practice the sovereignty of any country is whatever that country can enforce it to be.

You seem to have completely misunderstood this situation, For example your safe deposit box example, if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it, doing so would be a violation of europan law and the US officials doing it would be guilty of bank robbery and treated like any other common criminal.

That very-much depends on the details of the situation. Suppose the US wants the contents of your German safe deposit box.

If the US sent some agents to Germany without cooperation with the German government and they broke into the bank and were caught, then sure they would be arrested and treated as criminals (assuming they lacked diplomatic status), as in your fantasy scenario.

However, they would never do this.

Suppose instead you are in the US on vacation. The US grabs YOU and puts you in their own safe deposit box until you hand over the contents of your box in Germany. It is true that they might not have the means to FORCE you to comply, but they can literally hold you in prison until you die of old age without even charging you with a crime if you do not.

That is the more appropriate analogy here. If MS wants to avoid being subject to US law they should probably avoid having so much of their property in the US, where it is trivially seized.

Comment: Re:customer-centric (Score 1) 403

by Rich0 (#47794647) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

That assumes that the US division of Deutsche Bank actually has access to the banking records of German citizens. If the chain of command is set up correctly within the company, then the US division should be unable to get access to German records without the agreement of someone sufficiently senior in Germany.

Well, the US government might ultimately fail in getting the data, but they could confiscate all the assets of Deutsche Bank in the US, which would effectively block them from doing business in the US.

Comment: Re:customer-centric (Score 1) 403

by Rich0 (#47794641) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

Employees of companies are not legally required to be obedient. They can tell their US bosses 'no'. At which point it would be up to the discretion of the US bosses to decide to take action like firing the Irish employees, or to shrug and say 'oh well'. They are not legally obligated to fire them.

Sure, but if the US Courts are fining them every day the data isn't disclosed, and they don't care if the foreign employees refuse to cooperate, then the company is probably going to pressure those employees in any way that they can. They might even close the foreign datacenter entirely if the courts insist on it. Either that or they could close all their US operations.

Comment: Re:customer-centric (Score 2) 403

by Rich0 (#47794633) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

I'm not a Microsoft fan in any way, but MS is dead right on this one. A US judge does not have jurisdiction over foreign e-mails. He can claim jurisdiction all he wants, butwishing will not make the world bend to his black-robed will.

Well, whether this survives appeal is anybody's guess. However, if the US Supreme Court upholds it then MS will end up turning over the data. This isn't about making the world bend to his "black-robed will" - this is about making Microsoft bend to it. Once the appeals are exhausted they'll be told to produce the data. If they refuse then they'll be fined a million dollars a day, and the fines will be increased if that doesn't seem to be enough. Eventually Microsoft either goes out of business, or it capitulates.

Sure, after it happens the EU can then start fining them millions or billions of dollars if they want to. But, the only way around something like this is for a company to not own property or assets of any kind in both the US and EU. Courts can seize assets, which basically puts you in your jurisdiction no matter what your principles might otherwise dictate.

Comment: Re:Why a hardcoded list? (Score 1) 90

by Rich0 (#47794621) Attached to: Mozilla To Support Public Key Pinning In Firefox 32

We can't judge every security improvement solely on whether it solves "the NSA is out to get me."

The NSA and GCHQ are out to break the internet, so I'm afraid that is the benchmark which we have to use. They spy on everyone, and spoof sites like Slashdot to deliver malware. They prefer to hack other people's servers, i.e. your computer, and use them to attack their more specific targets.

So, what solution do you actually advocate then? Right now the NSA/GCHQ can still break the internet, and so can about a million other people. Oh, and everybody gets to pay $100/yr or so for every webserver they run, and virtual hosting is a pain.

DNSSEC is a lot better than what we have now. Moving to it doesn't prevent us from moving to something even better assuming that somebody figures out what it is.

While Iran might find it hard to impersonate .com sites, I bet that the NSA/GCHQ can impersonate .ir sites. That is a major concern for everyone, not just Iranians, because they are know to hack infrastructure providers in Europe and pretty much any other part of the world for this very purpose.

The only solution to that is to have ICANN be under the control of somebody that everybody can trust. Either that, or give up on having a single root. There isn't any reason that you couldn't hard-code into the browsers the keys of the TLDs, other than it making those keys harder to change.

Of course, that isn't going to help you all that much, because if the NSA needs to impersonate a European domain they'll just nicely ask the government hosting it for the keys and they'll cooperate, since while they all complain about the NSA in public the fact is that they love having access to all that data.

Comment: Re:Why a hardcoded list? (Score 2) 90

by Rich0 (#47792925) Attached to: Mozilla To Support Public Key Pinning In Firefox 32

Many of the registrars ARE controlled by the enemy which these days is usually the state. In some places the government just forces them to issue dodgy certificates, in others GCHQ or the NSA just hacks them.

Keep in mind that you would have to have control of the registrar that issued the domain. With SSL today anybody on the trusted CA list can impersonate any website anywhere. With DNSSEC Verisign certainly could impersonate .com websites, and Iran certainly could impersonate .ir websites, but neither party could impersonate the other's websites. That is a BIG reduction in the vulnerability space, even if it isn't perfect.

If the NSA really does has everybody under their thumbs, then face it, you aren't going to be able to evade them using anything likely to ever become mainstream. We can't judge every security improvement solely on whether it solves "the NSA is out to get me."

Comment: Re:They could start by not using civilians as shie (Score 1) 360

by Rich0 (#47792885) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

Well, if they want to launch their rockets from next to schools, then they shouldn't be surprised when their kids get blown up by artillery fire. That is probably their objective in any case - it makes for good PR.

Is firing artillery on schools wrong? Of course. Is firing rockets from nearby a school wrong? Of course. The one is still a consequence of the other.

I don't really see the Palestinians achieving their goals with the methods they're currently using. I get the impression that their plan is to keep blowing up the odd house until God comes down and wipes out the infidels for them. Or maybe they're just happy dying in the attempt.

Comment: Re:They could start by not using civilians as shie (Score 2) 360

by Rich0 (#47790577) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

As the video says in an abandoned plot of land roughly the entire length of a football field away from the hotel. Not from a school, not from a hospital -- an empty lot 100+ meters away from the hotel.

Conducting military operations 100m away from a civilian building is inappropriate. If a conflict broke out in just about any civilized nation that required basing soldiers within 100m of a hotel, the hotel would be evacuated. Heck, the whole city would probably be evacuated.

It is Gaza after all, with 1.8 million people in just 137 square miles it isn't like there are many open fields.

Well, then don't launch rockets from within Gaza then. Those rockets generally aren't targeted at military targets anyway, so there is nothing legitimate about firing them off in the first place.

When conducting war you have a responsibility to minimize the danger to non-combatants. That includes not basing your soldiers in close proximity to non-combatants (and 100m is close proximity).

The alternative is to return to tactics like WWII bombing, and that isn't in anybody's interests. Those fighting in Gaza (whatever they want to call themselves) are not acting as soldiers - they're basically acting as terrorists.

Comment: Re:Not A SW error! (Score 1) 155

by Rich0 (#47790345) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

Programmers are faced with shifting requirements, tight deadlines, undersized testing teams, pressure to work hours that result in fatigue and higher error rates, decisions being made by marketers and MBAs who do not understand the consequences of various changes, but blame tends to fall on the programmers for writing buggy software.

Meh, it seems that more and more the blame is shifting to whoever wrote the requirements or the project manager. But, without fixing all that other stuff, there isn't much they can do either.

The whole reason Agile was created was to try to deal with some of these pressures, which many consider unavoidable. The problem is that many companies just don't grok it, and insist on a fixed scope in a fixed time at a fixed cost. This approach fits in better with annual planning cycles. If you have a million dollars, a set of objectives, and a year to achieve those objectives it makes sense from the manager's perspective to tell the developers to just deliver that whole set of objectives. The problem is that after a year it turns out the objectives weren't quite right, the situation was more complex than people realized, a million dollars wasn't quite right, and so on.

Comment: Re:Obvious Reason (Score 1) 571

by Rich0 (#47789053) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

If Wikipedia is serious about involving more female contributors, it needs more opportunities for constructive, emotionally rewarding collaboration.

Heck, if they want to stop the continuous decline of contributors of any gender they'll do that stuff. I don't really care enough to deal with the fuss that is Wikipedia. If I want to post something informative I'll do it on my blog, which will get picked up by high-reputation feed aggregators and get plenty of visibility on Google and will be available for all posterity. Maybe somebody else will wikify it for me, which is great. I would love to just post initially on some site where everybody can collaborate to make it better. The thing is, I just want to contribute - I don't want to defend every word I write and debate whether it should be expunged or not. I'm all for improvements, and I'm sure my word on any subject is not the last (that's what comments are for!), but my sense on Wikipedia is that if I took the time to write something instead of improving on it there are many who would just campaign to remove what I wrote entirely.

In the world of millions of things I could be doing with my spare time, Wikipedia just doesn't rank up there.

Comment: Re:So what was the plan? (Score 1) 829

by Rich0 (#47782911) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

A shooting war with Russia means the entire US East and West coasts are within range of sub-launched cruise missiles,

Which is why US attack subs are following the Russian boomers around...

Sure, but can we be sure we have found every one of them?

It isn't just the boomers that are a problem either - I imagine their attack subs can carry cruise missiles.

But, think about it. The only way a war could start and stay contained is if the US sends troops to the Ukraine, the Russians don't do anything to interfere with them arriving there, and the US troops just fight along a front with the Russians to push them back to the border. How likely is that? It would certainly be a bloody war - nobody fights that way since WWI.

The more likely scenario is that the US mounts invasions of Russia from somewhere OTHER than Ukraine, which would put Russia on the defensive. They would immediately have to pull out of Ukraine or they'll end up being encircled, or losing a city in the north like Moscow or St Petersburg. Since that would be all-out war the US would preemptively attack all Russian Naval assets, expecting them to retaliate with unrestricted conventional warfare otherwise. We are now talking about a global unrestricted conventional war between the US and Russia, that we hope stays conventional even though the US is fighting on Russian territory, and will likely capture quite a bit of it assuming they can get enough ground troops over there before the real shooting starts (there is a logistics challenge here as Russia is huge and the US isn't basing thousands of troops in Latvia or anything like that). If the gloves are off, then you also have to factor in things like special forces, sabotage, and so on. I'm not sure that Russia's only option for striking the US is submarines.

I'm sure this would make for a great Clancy novel, but nobody really wants to actually see this stuff happen. I think the US/EU would let Russia march right up to the border of Germany before they'd do something about it. Maybe they'd stop them at Poland this time or something. I doubt that they're ready to draw the line at Ukraine, or even the baltics. Everybody is just going to want to pretend that it isn't happening, or that Russia just wants a bit more buffer.

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries