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Comment: Re:The App Store stuff is more interesting (Score 2) 264

by Vokkyt (#49336447) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple

The 'race to the bottom' is something anyone with half a brain can see, and anyone who's a developer looks at that and must feel some gnawing fear. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like we're all pushed to mobile (if you're not on mobile, you're out of touch!) and when I look at the market, it gives me the willies. I don't think the Google Play Store is doing any better in that regard either. Worse, I don't have the foggiest idea of how to correct the problem, not even one that would take Herculean effort from either company to employ.

I'm not sure that this is as much of an issue as people are making it out to be. I do agree that developers should get paid for their work and curation needs to be a bit better (though I find that is somewhat at odds with the complaint that the Review Board rejects stuff...should Apple be more hands on or more hands-off?)

After reading through the article, I checked out the apps that the folk made and used some left-over freebie money from when I last bought a Mac to get their product. They're absolutely right that it is a very clean, well polished, functional app. I also have absolutely no use for it.

The two apps mentioned in the article, Vesper and Twitteriffic, are not suffering because of poor visibility in the app store or the race to the bottom; instead, neither really fulfills any particular need, Vesper in particular. Their description left me just completely dumbfounded as to what the app was actually for:

Vesper is a simple and elegant tool for collecting notes, ideas, things to do -- anything you want to remember. Organize your notes whatever way comes naturally to you, without complications. Vesper's focus is on how it feels to use.

Did you get anything from that except that Vesper is a notepad application? Can you think of any reason you'd need an advanced notepad on iOS? Much less one that uses yet another cloud service instead of iCloud? Again, I can appreciate the quality of the app -- it really is a pretty application. But their problem isn't Apple facilitating people racing to the bottom, it's that their app is basically a $10 substitute for what already exists in iOS; yes, it's all in the same spot as opposed to being spread over apps, but that's not $10.

Twitteriffic itself isn't particularly well made -- it's a mess of a screen and it looks cobbled together. The ads are far more intrusive than the original Twitter app, the coloring looks really bad (like geo-cities era webdesign bad), and it feels so much more like a "me too" app than anything.

What these devs seem to be missing is that while there are issues with curation in the Appstore, it doesn't impact their applications in the way they imagine. Vesper is an app trying to solve a problem/need that no one has. Twitteriffic is just a bland twitter clone with a few functions that the native client already supports or that no one wants. Even if Apple kept both apps on the featured page for weeks, it wouldn't change anything -- the apps just don't really do anything. It's not enough to make a pretty app for iOS, it has to actually serve a need, and if you can do this, people will pay. On Cydia, there are a few tweaks and apps which met needs that iOS didn't have. Prior to iOS 8, there was a need for MyWi, and I still use it on iOS 8 cause I like it better. Maybe with enough marketing spin and catchy advertisements, the likes of Vesper can convince the public that they need Vesper, but as it stands, it's not that apps like this are being treated unfairly, it's that there just isn't a need. It's like an art student pouring months into a painting that no one wants to buy -- we recognize the talent, but we've deemed it's not worth it. You can't just make a really slick product that does nothing and expect it to sell at $9.99.

Comment: Re:I don't get it... (Score 3, Insightful) 214

by Vokkyt (#49293479) Attached to: Gabe Newell Understands Half-Life Fans, Not Promising Any Sequels

No idea why this is modded as Informative -- people wanting to buy HL3 sight-unseen isn't an indicator to make it, that's an indicator for a cash-in which they're not acting on. This is a sobering but good reason as to why there's no HL3. If they aren't feeling it, they shouldn't be doing it, because it's just going to end up with unhappy Valve and unhappy gamers. No one really wins except for Valve's bank account.

Demanding they put out HL3 without a creative impetus is like a kid demanding to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Seriously, not everything needs to be on a scheduled release cycle; it's okay for stuff to be done when it's done instead of just forcing out a new product 'cause it's about new product time. This mentality is what leads to so much awfulness from the tech sector.

Comment: Re:Reality of YikYak (Score 4, Informative) 367

by Vokkyt (#49215419) Attached to: Yik Yak Raises Controversy On College Campuses

YikYak runs off phones or via Chrome if you take the time to run YikYak as a package (or whatever the term is) for Chrome. If the device is connected to the school's wifi, they ought be able to get the log-in associated with that IP address at the time of posting, which YikYak stores and readily provides in the case of police investigations.

The campus I work for has basically taken a much more aggressive position on YikYak and we monitor it...as we remember to. YikYak itself is such a pain in the ass and most of the time it's just students bantering like students (I almost wrote idiots, but given how I was in university, I'm in no position to judge). Most of it is complaints and asking where the next party is.

Funny enough, YikYak's moderation system actually makes it really hard to deal with the threats that do pop-up because they get removed after 5 downvotes, meaning it's hard for us to find them before the students remove the threats. We effectively cannot take action despite wanting to. I wouldn't expect the YikYak folk to spend time contacting schools where the threats are occurring, but I hope that they log it well enough to allow institutions to take action if they feel that any one student is consistently using the service to post threats.

Comment: You're fighting a few fronts here (Score 1) 247

by Vokkyt (#48526635) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

You have a few challenges ahead of you; political ones, technical ones, and fiscal ones.

Are you just hoping to be the initial voice of inspiration and get everyone behind you? Or are you ready to be the advocate for the two factor auth you're proposing? Unless you've done your research and you know a lot of others in your department are on board with this proposal already, your proposal is going ground itself without much more than a candle flicker.

People tend to be really resilient to change, even really bright tech folk. "Good enough" is the motto that most people live by, so you're going to have to make a really enticing argument or get a lot of support across the board before even presenting this. Check with the necessary Systems folk; do they have ideas or wants or problems with a Two-Factor auth for users? Do the math for your accounts; are you saving enough money that it will make someone look good? Check with your Help Desk/Ticketing software; are password resets really enough of a problem that they're impacting people's work flow?

I promise you that most folks in a position to make a decision like this aren't staying up at night wishfully hoping that someone suggests TFA for the company, and few non-tech people in the company are even going to know what the hell you're talking about.

You're going to need to be prepared to really explain your idea and show that it already has support, else they're just gonna look at you like you suggested catapulting the ring into Mordor.

Comment: Riot beat Bennet to the idea (Score 1) 132

by Vokkyt (#48518955) Attached to: Twitter Should Use Random Sample Voting For Abuse Reports

Riot has had a system like this for some time, the Tribunal, and they allege it works pretty well. It used to have an in-game based reward (absolutely minuscule amount of IP, the in game currency), but they have since removed it, and last I checked it still had high numbers. I don't know if Riot is the originator, but I know it's a pretty major part of their abuse/harassment control.

I really don't know if a Tribunal style method would carry over to Twitter - I remember that part of the reason that people liked Tribunal was just the absolutely ridiculous stories you could read about players and the crap they pulled, and the in-game jokes made it worth it. Riot also made a mini-game of the system, insomuch that you get ranking based on how often your suggested ruling lines up with the actual ruling made on the case. You don't get anything in game anymore, nor does it affect your game profile, but people seem to like it. Likewise, Riot's punishments aren't just pardon/ban, but a range of punishments which can be administered by the admins there.

One thing that does make me kind of worried is that there's not a lot really holding people to the abuse Twitter accounts; in Riot's case, having a Level 30 account (necessary level to participate in the game in full) takes a bit of time, and while many users have accumulated quite a few spare accounts, eventually those pools run dry -- on top of that, primary accounts tend to have in game purchases tied to them, so loss of the account represents a financial loss. With Twitter, you can make a spoof account in seconds with no penalty, and harassment accounts are able to participate immediately and by necessity for Twitter to work. Without the time commitment or something tying people to the account, I'm not sure that this will have as great of an impact.

Comment: Re:Can parents opt out (Score 2) 193

by Vokkyt (#48506885) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

You haven't. You may have had headlines if you enabled it, you may have had spam, but you're not getting the targeted Google ads like with vanilla Gmail, and if you are, I'd love to see a picture of that with the non-gmail domain clearly visible. Honestly, a picture of screen instead of a screenshot is even preferred.

I really dislike Google in general, but GAFE is pretty straight forward and they're pretty honest about the whole "no ad tracking" stuff.

Comment: Re:Change in operations instead of cash.... (Score 1) 246

by Vokkyt (#48501283) Attached to: 10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

No, the point is that FairPlay stopped iTunes audio from being playable on other devices for a short period of time, which is a somewhat fair complaint in certain scenarios. For the plaintiffs who bought up the music on iTunes with the expectation that they could play it on other music devices, it really depends on what Apple wrote and did not write which will determine if that complaint is valid. For those who wanted to be able to put music from other services onto their player, it depends on if the courts deem the restrictions FairPlay added to be required by the Apple contracts with the Music folk.

The lawsuit site itself seems more interested with getting as many people involved as possible to add legitimacy rather than actually talking about how bad DRM was at the time, but at the time it was a fairly legitimate complaint, and nowadays that shit just wouldn't fly period.

However, at that time, the laws about DRM on music were very anti-consumer since the market was still trying to maintain the old style of music sales and weren't quite ready to give up the whole ordeal. The thrust of the complaint made in the lawsuit is that Apple's DRM obligations to the music companies did not require the restriction that the music only be played on Apple devices.

Whether or not that is true will be revealed once the contracts are shown, I guess, and it will be up to the courts to say if any interpretation is necessary.

Comment: Re:marketing (Score 1) 101

by Vokkyt (#48353115) Attached to: Espionage Campaign Targets Corporate Executives Traveling Abroad

I want to second this as the reason that a lot of people are afraid of going the proper security route.

At the University I work at, we have been trying to push through full disk encryption for computers that go out into the wild for years now, and each time we're told it's impossible because "what if someone loses the password?"

Even with two key solutions that would ultimately at least allow access should we need it, we're told that the possibility of someone leaving on a trip and getting locked out of their computer is completely unacceptable.

Comment: Technical Report from Unit42 on the Malware (Score 1) 59

by Vokkyt (#48329031) Attached to: WireLurker Mac OS X Malware Found, Shut Down

There is a PDF report on the main website for Unit42 about the malware, but it has a fairly invasive registration process. Signed up with bs info and uploaded to public google drive for everyone.

Link to the researchers website for those cautious about the gdocs link

Straight Link to the report (requires registration)

Have not read the technical details yet, but it looks fairly comprehensive.

Comment: Re:What the hell (Score 4, Informative) 168

by Vokkyt (#48312987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Single Sign-On To Link Google Apps and Active Directory?

Well, GAFE accounts aren't normal google accounts. Function wise they're the same, but Google promotes that they are not put through the same advertising analytics that normal gmail accounts are.

From the GAFE website:

Google Apps is governed by a detailed Privacy Policy, which ensures we will not inappropriately share or use personal information placed in our systems. Google complies with applicable US privacy law, and the Google Apps Terms of Service can specifically detail our obligations and compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations. Google is registered with the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement, which helps ensure that our data protection compliance meets European Union standards for educational institutions

FERPA is the big stickler here, as google really couldn't offer the service without being FERPA compliant, and they couldn't run Google Business as usual and still be FERPA compliant.

Now, as to whether you choose to believe their claims, that's another story, but you're approaching it with a lot of misinformation, it seems.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 125

by Vokkyt (#48280773) Attached to: Facebook Sets Up Shop On Tor

I think more people will just think "What's Tor?"

This is really a "news for nerds" sort of deal here. The general public, and even most power users aren't going to be all that interested in it due to the niche. As to why Facebook has elected to pursue an onion site, who knows. I doubt it's because they see a big future in Tor, or maybe they do. Given that Tor has a bit of a burden of knowledge to actually understand what it offers, most users won't know or care.

I'm willing to believe that it's possible an irresponsible journalist could really misrepresent the story to the public, but I guess I'd like to see it before it happened, and I feel that the Facebook PR engine would be quick to jump on any major misrepresentation due to recent allegations of Law Enforcement Officers using Facebook to aide in arrests for drug users. It's just not the kind of urban legend that they'd want out there to have to deal with.

Comment: Re:Russians as bogeymen? (Score 2) 98

by Vokkyt (#48262885) Attached to: Hackers Breach White House Network

The evidence from the actual report that it's of Russian origins is a little specious for my taste, though part of the reasoning isn't exactly unfounded.

Their evidence that it's of Russian origin is that a large number of the malware samples (APT28 as categorized by FireEye) included Russian Language settings along with English and "neutral" (which defaults to the environment defaults). That certainly is an eye-brow raiser in my mind, but I wouldn't say we got anyone with their hand in the cookie jar.

The other reasoning is just specious and/or speculation. The compile times for the malware seem to correspond to the Timezone for Moscow/St. Petersburg working days, which just seems like an odd assessment to make. Even if the government were to be paying hackers in Russia to make and operate malware, are these hackers actually punching in and out for 8 hour work days? Not to suggest that this isn't exactly what is happening, but it just seems like coincidence is an equally plausible scenario with this.

The other evidence is FireEye's own speculation on the targets could apply to other actors as well.

Their analysis of the malware otherwise is pretty good, but I think there just isn't enough to really peg it down. There are plausible explanations for the evidence that FireEye brings up which is no more of a stretch than it being of Russian origin.The language setting is good evidence, but there are some fairly valid reasons why that might be the case.

Comment: Re:Book directly with the airlines (Score 3, Interesting) 163

by Vokkyt (#48221691) Attached to: How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

Yeah, this is one I've never really understood. I used to think that you had to use the intermediary sites since when I was younger, my parents either always used agents or third party sites once we got Internet access.

But when someone pointed me to http://matrix.itasoftware.com/, which just lists flights and prices instead of actually letting you buy, I never went back to the annoying third party sites. I've never really gotten a deal on the third party sites that was any cheaper than just looking up the cost on the informational site and buying the itinerary straight from the airline, nor have the hotel deals been any cheaper or different for me than just booking the hotel independently. I know that my folks like it because it's all of the prep-work done from one site, which is a fair point, but I personally just haven't seen the benefit.

Comment: What privacy concerns? (Score 3, Informative) 168

by Vokkyt (#48213825) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

While this is useful information to have, the privacy implications are a bit unsettling.

As best I can tell from the description, this sounds similar to what Disney and other themeparks use to track their wait times for rides, except the amusement parks occasionally hand out little RFID "things" to guests at the ride entrance and ask the guest to give it to the operator.

As far as I'm aware, any time you're polling for WiFi networks you're broadcasting your MAC; this just seems like a fairly benign way to get information about a process without getting actual data on an individual.

Granted, you can somewhat reliably tie together a MAC addy's travel path if you have the ability to see all the places that MAC has been, but that was true even without this particular software.

So, yeah, what is the concern about this software in particular? It seems like the complaint is more with how the scanning for networks works.

Administration: An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. -- Ambrose Bierce