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Comment: Re: Try and try again. (Score 2) 369

by rabtech (#49185757) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

You must have lost your mind. I used Windows Mobile for years. I had to install task managers to kill apps before they killed my battery. I had to install a registry editor and fiddle with settings to get even basic functionality working. IE on WM was a sick joke. I rebooted the phones every other day just to keep working.

  iOS was better in every way. It had a real grown up browser. Shit just worked. The fluid animations were just icing on the cake.

Powerful but flaky is useless.

Comment: That depends.... (Score 1) 644

by King_TJ (#49177959) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

As others said, there's not necessarily a guarantee Russia wouldn't decide to use Snowden as a bargaining chip or sorts, turning him over to the U.S. govt. at a very inopportune time for him to get any hope of justice. Surely, that's in the back of his head as at least a lingering possibility?

Also, he has quite a bit of support in the U.S. from people who think he's a hero, not a criminal. (Not everyone makes the front cover of Wired magazine, covered in a positive way.) Our current folks in political office may not care for him -- but *if* he could negotiate a high profile trial here, at least there would be a LOT of eyeballs watching, concerned that he received a fair outcome.

I'm positive he'd instantly find work in the private sector too, doing infosec of some sort.

Comment: I'm thinking Azure here? (Score 2) 206

by King_TJ (#49177021) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

I just attended a seminar today where a couple of Microsoft people gave presentations. One thing that they made pretty clear is that Microsoft's Azure "cloud" is a HUGE part of their future business model.

Right now, when you ask the typical MS user if they can name 3 things Azure does, they usually get stuck naming even one item. But one of these days, Microsoft hopes to embrace the software as subscription model to the point where practically everyone will just pay for Azure to spin up and host whatever servers they wish, vs. trying to run their own on their own hardware, in-house.

They've also made a big deal in their recent marketing about the Titanfall game running on Azure -- and I'm sure there will be more of this to come. If they do a Minecraft sequel, I'd suspect it will be designed so people can easily host Minecraft servers on Azure (probably with a friendly web front-end to create and configure them?). Maybe that will be the ONLY authorized way to do it?

Comment: How do they know they're getting paid fairly? (Score 2) 142

by King_TJ (#49167039) Attached to: Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free

I think this is a great strategy, but how would Epic Games know what a developer's gross income was, year after year, on a particular game title?
Is this a matter of Epic trusting them to report it honestly, or is it part of contractual terms where you're required to supply them with your tax records each year, or what?

Comment: Couldn't this be handled with dual firmware? (Score 1) 321

by King_TJ (#49161143) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

I'm thinking this might be similar to what some of the video card manufacturers have done (such as with the R9280X cards), where a physical DIP switch on the card selects between firmware flash A or B. If you suspected corruption, you could flip the switch to use the alternate, which presumably would be loaded from the factory with good, working firmware of whatever version was most recent at the time the product was manufactured.

I suppose this would technically only give you "one shot" at recovering from a firmware hack ... but better than nothing, right? And in the meantime, it would give protection to people from such things as a corrupt flash update or a way to do an easy A/B comparison between 2 firmware revisions.

Comment: So will it finish successfully without crashing? (Score 1) 52

I know that sounds a little snarky .... but that's been one of my issues with the Civ games for quite some time. It seems like as you get into the "thick" of the game, with a lot of units occupying more and more space -- the system resources taken get pretty large. It often leads to slowdowns and a freeze-up or crash before the game can be completed.

Comment: re: unrealistic activity in games (Score 1) 159

by King_TJ (#49151855) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

The difference, IMO, is that obtaining a real guitar to play with one of these games is really not much more "out of reach" than getting the plastic toy version.

If you want to play a sport like football, you have to gather together a willing team of players. If you want to drive a real car on a racetrack, that involves some expense and a suitable car. Chuck rocks at pigs? Umm.... sure, if you have a handy pig pen to go visit at whatever hour of day or night you're ready to play that game, and you have an ample supply of rocks to throw, plus nobody who'll call the cops on you.

Comment: As a former guitarist myself.... (Score 1) 159

by King_TJ (#49151817) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

I never had much interest in the Guitar Hero franchise, because meh.... playing a fake plastic guitar with buttons similar to the old "Simon" game I had as a pre-teen seems rather pointless. People put all that effort into mastering it and it's a useless skill for anything else. Why bother?

Rocksmith did interest me, because it was all about actually learning songs using your favorite electric guitar. But only a few minutes into that one, I realized I wasn't getting into it either. I like what they tried to do with it, but like others here said -- why no standard guitar tablature? The whole scrolling neck thing works for Guitar Hero, but I found it pretty disorienting and non-intuitive for learning music on a real guitar. Maybe offer a toggle between views/modes at least?

Also, maybe it's just me ... but I feel like the era of the "guitar god" and stadium rock is pretty much behind us. These games still cling to that theme, that you're trying to play bigger and bigger live shows, seeking the applause of the fans, etc. etc. But do people even really relate to that anymore? I guess it's one mechanism to try to make the game rewarding -- but part of me feels too old for that nonsense. I want a game that makes practicing songs and new guitar techniques fun, but without making me pretend I'm 25 years younger and striving to make it big in the era of 80's hair metal.

Comment: Re:file transfer (Score 2) 464

by ncc74656 (#49144359) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

The new machines lack LPT ports? WTF kind of machine did you buy without an LPT port? A laptop, sure, a desktop? You have to look hard, even today to find a machine that doesn't have a printer port.

Pretty much anything built in the last five or so years won't have serial or parallel ports. If you're lucky, you might have some headers on the motherboard that can be brought to the slot cage with connectors in brackets like what were common before ATX, but I've run across plenty of motherboards that don't even have those. Notebooks are even less likely to have them. This Dell Inspiron E1505 I'm typing on is a bit long in the tooth...main reason I'm keeping it going is its 15" 1680x1050 screen. No serial or parallel ports on it.

When I saw a sufficiently-old notebook come through my office a while back that had a serial port on it, I hung onto it for talking to our switches and routers. I forget what model of HP it is, but it's old enough that it runs on an Athlon XP. It's probably the better part of 10 years old at this point. The last emerge -uND world took a couple of days to run, but it's fast enough to run Minicom and Firefox, and to do traffic captures from the switch: serial connection to the management port to enable SPAN, Ethernet to the SPAN port for capture, and WiFi to talk to the whole thing from my office instead of the server room.

Comment: Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

by danheskett (#49134623) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

True, you didn't built everything from source, but you were happy enough that everything traced back to "the" sources to make you feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor, who probably just sold you formulaic encryption without any extra work to make you feel secure. Your data would have been more secure, if not actually secure, but you'd have felt it less, because really you have no way of knowing. So without somebody taking the extra time to make you feel secure, you naturally wouldn't feel it very much, if at all.

The problem is that there is no conceivable way to do what you are saying. It involves compromising or proxying disparate traffic, expertly.

And then, after all that, it would involve rooting an otherwise secure installation that is barely network connected, and using that to inject what, defects into the right sources so that the resulting binaries are weak or exploitable?

I agree that the NSA, CIA, and FBI have extraordinary capabilities, but the attack vectors that have thus far been revealed are the same attack vectors that security researchers have known and published for a long time - firmware, obscure libraries that are often used but seldom examined, zero-day exploits of popular software, mathematical flaws in encryption implementations, and physical security and chain of custody.

All of which is to say, the basic landscape of the threat has not changed much in 20 years. It is sophisticated, but as always, a strong layered defense and strong procedures and policies will minimize the possible impacts, exploits, and severity of breaches (if they occur in the first place). There are few things more secure than a well maintained GNU/Linux or OpenBSD box running in the wild.

Breadth-first search is the bulldozer of science. -- Randy Goebel