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Comment: A double click should not p0wn a computer (Score 1) 487

by iamacat (#49173133) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

Extensions do nothing for non-developers besides lulling them into false sense of security. An average user is not going to know that .cpl is an executable. And what could be safer than .doc? Well, Word has a turing complete macro language that has been exploited countless times. Extensions will not even help you because you just have to fat finger an icon once to have persistent malware on your computer for years.

Nope, the real answer is system level protection to ensure that an app can not do any more damage than a text file. Application sandboxing works pretty well on mobile. Yes, there is always cat and mouse game with malware, but infected phones/tablets are much less common than desktops or laptops. Most "infections" are free games that run on background and open ads in your browser rather than credit card number keylogging. I think this should be default experience on a consumer device. Freedom of tinkering and development is also very important, but should involve explicit steps and visual reminders to make sure no software or person can gain unrestricted access to your device without your knowledge and understanding.

Comment: It depends on software, doesn't it? (Score 1) 318

I would be all for killer robots with software designed to not kill when dumb weapons always would. Like a missile that can recognize children/other likely noncombatants near a target and abort the strike.

Drones that just fly for days and look for people to kill would be a problem, yes.

Comment: Radio vs on demand (Score 2) 305

by iamacat (#49112537) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

With Pandora model, each play potentially introduces artists/albums that the listener has not heard before. When the song is playing, there are purchase links on the bottom of the screen. This is different from Spotify's on demand access. Pandora is not able to charge its users same rates (or get most people to sign up for pay subscription in general) and is helping artists get sales from other channels. I think some difference in rates is reasonable. It would make more sense to compare Pandora with iTunes Radio and other similar services.

Comment: Re:safety (Score 1) 110

by iamacat (#49108755) Attached to: Mars One Does Not Renew Contracts For Robotic Missions

Hmm... I see very little chance and even limited desire for "the rest of my life" being 70 years. Hopefully there is a small chance of it being just 10 years but, being human, its not out of the question. As it happens I have some responsibilities on this planet I am not willing to step away from. But I fully understand people whose personal equations are different,

Comment: Risky move for NVidia, let's see if it pays off (Score 1) 138

by iamacat (#49066869) Attached to: NVidia Puts the Kibosh On Overclocking of GTX 900M Series

I am sure this is based on some analysis of failure data. Regardless, this is a bad move when people are already cooling off on discrete graphics, especially on laptops. Intel integrated graphics will now run many games adequately on small screens and there are obvious cost/form factor/battery life advantages. If you don't cater to hardcore gamer/technology enthusiast market that is most interested in overclocking, just who is going to buy your chips and cards?

Comment: Can anyone really see the difference? (Score 1) 94

Latest iMac sure looks nice, but I wonder if 4K at close distance would be any different. After all, it's only considered useful for pretty big TVs. Sounds like number-based marketing like clock speed in Pentium 4 days. What would the framerate be like if I try to play a game on this thing?

Comment: Get a dumb smart TV (Score 1) 330

by iamacat (#49045093) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Affordable Large HD/UHD/4K "Stupid" Screens?

Not every Smart TV has a microphone, camera or any of Samsung's spying ambitions. Most just have slow Netflix and Vudu apps and 3 HDMI ports. I would guess there is some profit sharing arrangement with included providers that makes the TV cheaper than it would be without mediocre hardware to allow these apps. After all, there is an $40 Fire TV stick with much wider capabilities.

So relax, buy the TV and don't use these apps. Personally I find them handy as the last resort when I moved other devices to another room or don't want to hunt for my cell phone or remote. But nobody is forcing you to even configure WiFi to enable them.

Comment: Go slow (Score 1) 233

by iamacat (#48995297) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tools To Clean Up a Large C/C++ Project?

Cleanup for the sake of cleanup projects never work. Current code performs some function and nobody can keep enthusiasm reading bad code for months just to have it perform same function in the end.

Instead, you can gradually raise code quality by setting a high bar for new changes. For example, have each change reviewed by a couple of developers other than the author who are known for good style. If a new utility method is added, ensure that the code was searched for existing similar facilities. When legacy mess has to be used, it should be wrapped into a clean interface. And so on.

Comment: Not for production use (Score 1) 175

by iamacat (#48989717) Attached to: Greg KH Favors Rolling Release Distros

Rolling distros are great if you are a technology enthusiast and completely manage your own machine. If you are supporting a large number of users or servers, you want to test a fixed configuration and deploy it to everyone once a year. In general the key to stability is to branch a code at some point and focus on bug fixes rather than new features/cleanup/refactoring.

Comment: Re:I am actually excited about Intel AMT (Score 1) 179

by iamacat (#48984405) Attached to: FSF-Endorsed Libreboot X200 Laptop Comes With Intel's AMT Removed

Have you ever actually tried to fix an unbootable computer over "simple video chat" with a non-technical person? Hehe.

I would install a pre-shared key and not give it "govt agencies and hackers". If they have a secret backdoor into TLS or intel hardware, I am screwed anyway.

Comment: Cheap smartphone (Score 1) 263

It will have a much better camera than a high end commercial Webcam and, if there is no existing $0.99 app, you can easily write one to take photos/videos and upload them to a location of your choice. Bonus: can work without another Internet connection, or even provide a WiFi Hotspot to employees/customers while still functioning as a wwbcam.

Comment: I am actually excited about Intel AMT (Score 0) 179

by iamacat (#48937355) Attached to: FSF-Endorsed Libreboot X200 Laptop Comes With Intel's AMT Removed

If I understand it correctly, I would be able to power on, fix or reimage my home desktops/laptops while at work or away on a trip. Or fix my moms crashed computer from half way around the globe. And, since all communication is authenticated with a TLS certificate, there is little danger of other taking over my hardware.

I understand people's right to be paranoid or want 100% open systems, and hope that appropriate choices remain available. But even for most Linux kernel developers a failsafe way to repair an unbootable system from remote is a good thing.

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