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Comment C is high level? (Score 4, Interesting) 91

I think they're misusing the term "high level" when it comes to programming languages. I suspect what they're trying to get at is that it's sophisticated and competently coded.

I wonder why they assume it's C and not C++, incidentally, since they're presumably looking at decompiled assembly? I haven't done much C vs C++ side-by-side analysis of the two... is there an obvious difference in the generated assembly? I guess maybe v-table structures would point to C++, where C programmers likely wouldn't invent such constructs.

Comment Re:Two Words: (Score 1) 314

I'd have agreed with you a few years ago. Yes, you can stop nearly all web-based attacks by blocking scripting, but you do so at the expense of blocking nearly all web functionality. These days, too much of the web is just utterly broken without scripting enabled. I was tired of constantly fiddling with it, trying to find the content delivery network to allow so the site would actually work.

I recently replace noscript with ublock-origin. Scripting is no longer the attack vector of choice... just an enabling technology. Nowadays, malvertising is a far bigger threat, and adblock software can also help a fairly substantial list of known bad sites as well using blacklists.

Comment Re:Micropayments? (Score 1) 216

Another potential solution would be some specialized web extensions designed specifically for the needs of advertisers. Essentially, instead of granting a third-party site blanket permission to load and execute arbitrary Javascript (insanely dangerous, since it can do anything), this mechanism only allows extremely specialized content to be loaded from a third-party - just enough to load a static image and enough smarts to check for a view or a click, and one that respects the "do not track" flag.

No animated ads. No audio. No arbitrary Javascript. No pop-ups. Static text and images only. And the content it still hosted by third-parties, so view and clickthrough metrics can be collected. The browsers' image handling libraries have been hardened long ago, and the other functionality would be small, simple, and easy to harden as well. This would mean static banner ads could be displayed with all the functionality advertisers want (minus universal tracking hopefully), but would be much more resistant to attack. You can't really say 100% safe, but it should be close to it.

If the industry were to universally adopt such a practice, then I'd feel a lot better about disabling ad-blocking (for these "safe" ads) for sites I wished to financially support. What stops me from doing it right now is the safety issue. When sites like HuffPost or Forbes are found to be serving malware via Google's Doubleclick or AOL, you know the ad industry has a pretty big problem. And while they're starting to talk about the annoyance and intrusive factor, they rarely talk about the safety issue, because I don't think they have a good solution for that yet.

Comment Re:Don't evolve your business model (Score 1) 216

I never voluntarily turned off Slashdot's ads previously. I used to run no-script, but now that every page requires Javascript to work, I ended up removing it and replacing it with an ad-blocker. Why? It's 100% safety driven. You see how infected ads are the prime way of infecting computers (straight Javascript is pretty safe these days), and since my computer is critically important to my work as an independent contractor, I just can't risk it.

For many years I lived without Flash-related content, because it was such a dangerous vector as well. I had to give up content from at least one site I really enjoyed watching, because it was only offered via Flash video. I was actually able to recently re-install it because it now can be selectively enabled (I have to click explicitly to run), so I can control it and prevent a random Flash ad with malware from infecting my machine.

Maybe other people blocked ads because of bandwidth and annoyance. I can only speak for myself. For me, it was purely a safety issue. The fact that the web is generally less annoying, loads faster, and looks better... well... that's just a bonus, I guess?

Comment Re:buyer beware (Score 1) 167

I've seen some *amazing* replies on SO that must have easily taken the programmer an hour or more to craft. The great thing is that answers of that quality tend to get voted up highly, and lots of people seem to point links to that page, so Google ranks it quite highly. This means that great answer is going to be what programmers find when searching for that particular topic, and I think that's absolutely fantastic.

What's hilarious to me is when I get to a SO question, and you have the inevitable jerk that tells the person asking the question to just "Google the answer". My inevitable thought is: how the hell do you think I got here, you self-righteous ass? I saw a great response from someone else as well, which was: "someone has to first answer the question before Google can link to an answer."

Stack Overflow has been an amazingly helpful resource for me as an independent programmer. My most recent use case: I realized I couldn't continue to use a hash function I found a few years ago due to its license (I misunderstood what the LGPL meant in terms of compliance with closed source projects), so I found a discussion of alternate non-crypto hash functions with more permissive licenses, and found the name of one, which lead me to its Wikipedia page, which in turn had a full C-source code example. A hash function is one of those things that you're unlikely to do better by yourself than if you simply copy code that's been tested and vetted.

Comment Just bought an Xbox One (Score 1) 373

I just purchased a 1TB Xbox One a few weeks ago. I typically purchase most major consoles per generation (although I'd tend to buy for Xbox if it wasn't exclusive), but wasn't impressed enough with any of the new generation until Fallout 4 pushed me over the edge. Here's why:

* I'm an Xbox gold member, and they recently started offering me free Xbox One games, so I already had a library building up
* Xbox 360 compatibility means I may be able to ditch my 360 sooner
* I prefer the Xbox style controller

That's pretty much it. I've also been purchasing all my games digitally, which means never having to swap discs ever again, although it meant a week straight of downloading on my poor DSL connection. I'm guessing once I fill the internal drive up, I'll then have to start actively managing the remaining space, so there's that downside, but I really like going disc-less so far. I never traded or sold used games, so this is a win for me. My understanding is that you can purchase all games digitally on both platforms. If your kids like to swap / borrow games with friends, then perhaps discs would be better for you.

I'll eventually get a PS4 so I can play some of the exclusive JRPGs that always seem to land there, but for the time being, I'm fine with the Xbox One. The two consoles are, to be honest, *very* similar in specs, with the slight edge going to PS4 - so slight, in fact, you generally need side-by-side comparisons to tell the difference.

MS has the better online experience, from what I've seen (considering I don't have a PS4 yet, it's been a limited view), and for $60 a year you get a number of free games every month, though I understand PS has something similar. More than likely your credentials and credit cards will be safer with MS, as they seem to have a better handle on network security, as demonstrated by repeated Sony breaches, but hopefully they've learned their lesson.

Overall advice: get the one you like, especially if it has an exclusive you really want. Most games will be available for both. I think your kids will be happy either way. If you really dislike MS that much, maybe go for PS4. But really... it's sort of a toss-up.

Comment Re:well that would be the vast majority (Score 1) 248

I think it's fine that PCs are migrating more towards work or content creation type tasks, while phones and tablets are being used for light computing / content consumption for most people. Those smaller devices are much better suited for the masses than PCs ever were. Moreover, their portability and ubiquitous nature means they're going to be a lot more useful in the sort of small, everyday-life sort of situations that most people find practical for their personal needs.

Don't mistake PCs for "relics", though, any more than a pickup truck or utility van is a "relic". They're just industrial-sized vehicles that most average drivers don't need, similar to how full-sized computers are designed for serious work (or play). And like it or not, when people have a PC, they're likely to be using Windows. While it's no longer as relevant as it once was in the computing world, it's very far from being irrelevant.

P.S. High end phones can cost as much as $600-800, while low-end laptops can be bought for as low as $230.

Comment Re:Volvo says it will be liable for any accidents (Score 1) 154

I think we know the answer to that - liability will be strictly limited to the company

There's no need for "get-out clauses" in the purchasing contract, because that's how the law works. Employees are not liable for the products or services of the company they work for. The only exception, from what I understand, is if they do something illegal themselves.

Also, Volvo has clearly stated that they're accepting liability for accidents which their autonomous systems cause. From TFA: "Who will be responsible when an autonomous vehicle causes an accident?" Why would they be responsible when another car broadsides theirs? They haven't even remotely suggested accepting liability in all cases.

You seem to be inferring some conspiratorial vibe here, and I'm not really seeing it. It seems rather straightforward to me.

Comment Re:Volvo says it will be liable for any accidents (Score 5, Insightful) 154

Have you ever been in an accident? It's pretty rare that you can actually see them coming. Otherwise, you would have avoided it, right? Or put another way... even if you can see it coming, it's likely that had you seen it earlier, there would be no need for last second heroic swerving or braking maneuvers.

Short of some horrible malfunction on multiple levels, a computer is going to start slowing down or braking long before a human is even aware of a potential problem. The autonomous car has the advantage of literally being able to see in all directions at once, and being able to react to that information in the blink of an eye.

Typical future scenario in your autonomous vehicle: "Why the hell is the car slowing d... oh, I see..."

Comment Re:No Worries (Score 1) 342

On the whole, very few people block ads.

Well, you happen to be wrong. 22% of users is very few? 200 million people worldwide are estimated to use ad-blockers, and the past few years have seen very dramatic increases in these numbers, which is why the ad companies and some website operators are starting to panic.

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.