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Comment: Sigh. (Score 1) 131

by ledow (#48931147) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Criminals gaining entry to an ATM after blasting a huge hole in it? Not really the kind of thing the everyday guy has to worry about.

I mean, you've got to linger by an ATM for a while, cause a huge blast, then get round the back, gather the exploded money, etc. If you're prepared to do that, you'll find any number of ways of going that far anyway.

And in the UK, ATM's are everywhere - in shops, post offices, out in the street, etc. You can't protect them all. There are no really "secure" ATMs here - not in location or design.

You just make it so that they have to do all this to hopefully draw attention. But you can't protect against every attack.

Comment: Corporate Principles (Score 2) 217

by ledow (#48923603) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

Can anyone ever remember an instance where a company pulled out of something because it went against their ethos? I can't think of one.

Every time it's something like censorship, or threats to pull out of a certain market, etc. it's NEVER happened, and they always end up compromising their principles for the sake of sales.

I get that's what business is supposed to do, but it just means I automatically ignore ANY such attempt at pretending a company can have an ethos at all.

Just for once, I'd love to see a company, especially a tech company that espouses its freedom credentials as a selling point, to say "No, sorry, we can't do that, we'll just have to stop doing business with them". Can you imagine if Facebook just turned itself off in Turkey? Surely the uproar alone would mean that it would come in a less-censored form?

I just can't think of an instance where a company refused business because it was morally right to do so (possible exception - supposedly - of The Co-Operative in the UK but are they are company or a co-operative?).

Comment: Re:Wiped my Grub though. (Score 3, Informative) 192

by ledow (#48920979) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

"update"... I think he means he went from one to the other, I'm assuming MS put out Windows Updates to 10 just the same as anything else? But I could be wrong.

However, even so, in the world of UEFI, GPT, etc. why the fuck does Windows still stomp over the boot sector as if it owns it? Add your partitions, mark yourself as active, put an entry in the UEFI if you find it. Otherwise, stop. You don't need to overwrite the boot sector if you've got that far because it worked well enough to boot your installer! And anyone installing non-standard boot sectors will be smart enough to just add your partition in as an option to boot from.

Comment: Re:Why so complex? (Score 2) 222

by ledow (#48920915) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

There is no conclusive evidence that there even exists such a thing as interplanetary travel for a life-form. We've barely touched the moon ourselves.

Now, granted, the acceleration from the beginning of the last century to the Moon-missions was extraordinary. But since then, if anything our acceleration has slowed to an absolute crawl. The expense of a simple one-off mission that we've already done several times just isn't viable any more.

Now, consider, that you could get to Mars. It'd take decades of planning, travel, etc, but you could get there. That's the nearest planet.

Now don't consider distance, etc. necessarily. Consider resources. Now you have to find the time, money, resources, engineering, etc. in order to make fuel to make the next jump. That's not easy at all. Hell, Mars is being talked of as one-way at the moment. And if we got to there, to get to Jupiter would take even more resources, energy, etc. Now there are ways and means to cheat this, but they are slow, and not capable of sustaining human life along the way at the moment.

But let's say, on every planet we visit, we find a ready-built space-base with fuel and oxygen enough to get to the next planet. We land, breed like fuck, and it only takes 20 years - doing nothing else - to plan, fuel, and travel on to the next. That's nearly two centuries before you're heading out of solar system. And you're unlikely to be overtaken at any point, even if Earth finds an energy source 10 times more powerful in that time.

Asteroids - even less resources, even harder to land on, even more difficult to colonise. Let's say we fire out probes all the time we're doing this (ignore where the resources for these probes comes from).

The next star is 8 light years away. Let's assume every star is that far away from the next, every star has the same kind of planetary system, etc. It's going to take several centuries to get to the first. Several millennia to traverse a handful. Meanwhile, all the probes your sending out will barely hit the next star but let's say they hit 10 stars on the way out, and talk back instantly if they find something. We could cover a few hundreds of stars in that time.

Let's go mad... several millennia of this (we'll stick with c as the limit of physics, but that might obviously change - at that point, we'll reconsider Fermi's Paradox anyway!), and the entire race dedicated to populating a planet, building the infrastructure to convert every resource it has to nothing more than space travel "fuel" (of whatever kind), and their sons move on to the next planet, all the while sending out hundreds of probes. Every few centuries, they go to a new star.

That's, rounding UP, (10^4 years / 2 x 10^1) generations, 10^1 stars per millienia in each direction. The orders of magnitude wouldn't get near 10^8 at all.

Do you realise where that gets you? There are a hundred billion stars just in our galaxy. That's 10^11. It'd take thousands of millennia (millions of years) to do this at stupendous speed across the galaxy, stopping to do nothing else.

No doubt there'd be advances and speed-up, but you're still orders of magnitude in debt before you've colonised a galaxy sufficiently. And then you consider the number of galaxies - That's another 10^11 or thereabouts.

And then you add in real-life, where we aren't just able to do nothing but look for aliens. What you're suggesting is that, even if there was a civilisation just a few stars away from us (incredibly unlikely given what we can see), it'll take anywhere from centuries to millennia to discover them. Assuming speed-of-light all the way, and communicating with probes all the way, etc. it'll take longer than man has so far existed in a form capable of doing such things to actually make any kind of contact if only, say, 1% of the galaxy is habitable.

The numbers just get more ridiculous after that.

Now, of course, we're limited by our current knowledge. But that's the point. Our current knowledge says there's nothing even in range. And even with exponential increases in detection, capability, resources, dedication, etc. we're still talking millions of years. And until we can enhance that knowledge, even assuming we can do the impossible of a "Moore's Law" for such things, we're still not in the right ballpark to actually find anything with any certainty.

And it's more likely, in those millions of years, that we die out entirely, especially if we spread ourselves so thin. Fuck, we're not sure we'll make it off the planet ourselves - we have literally never sent a human being to another planet, ever. If we're lucky we might get a self-sustaining colony going somewhere before the Earth kicks us out. But even then, something on Mars, or Alpha Centauri, is NOT as hospitable to life as Earth currently is. Sustaining a population of any significance would be nigh-on impossible. But we just assumed that every generation, we could just build a new shuttle, fuel it, launch it, etc. just using the resources of the planet we've landed on and leave mum and dad to rot on the planet we've just stripped bare and that was none too hospitable when we arrived.

The problem is not lack of imagination, it's just a sheer numbers game. Until those numbers change significantly (they change all the time, we've revised all sorts since we started detecting more planets around foreign stars), we're up shit creek without a paddle. Even if there are a thousand other civilisations doing exactly the above, all looking for each other, it's going to take extraordinary feats of science, and hundreds of millennia, for them to even get close to detecting each other. And then when you run the maths for the chances of them crossing over at a point where they recognise and detect each other, it actually gets even worse.

Personally, I believe in the unofficial science line here - sure, there are likely civilisations out there. They may be more advanced, they may have technology orders of magnitude greater than ours (and thus also orders of magnitude less impact than we might be looking for, if they are at all conscious they can be seen), they may dedicate their entire civilisation to finding us, for millions of years, AND STILL NOT FIND US.

That's the problem. It's not naivety to make up fantabulous numbers like this, run them, exaggerate every possibility, and still find that it's incredibly unlikely that anything significant would ever happen. It's not naivety to extrapolate that back to more realistic numbers and say the same.

The problem of space is distance and time, and a speed limit. Even breaking the speed limit, and making the time as short as possible, and taking best cases for distance, and exponential advances in technology? Still unlikely that what we see in the galaxy will change significantly.

And, unfortunately, all we see in our galaxy are inhospitable places, vast distances, and not enough time - in our civilisation or even our universe - to make a dent in them.

Comment: Re:NSA (Score 2) 205

by ledow (#48918823) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

Your assumption is only one person did an analysis.

Do you have any idea how many people have combed over glibc and either reported or exploited issues found?

Hell, read the article - THE PROBLEM WAS PATCHED before he found it. What we're talking about is some old distros are still distributing that code unpatched, and that's the real problem.

We can all jump to conclusions but, personally, I doubt the NSA have anywhere near the capabilities they (and you) suggest. These people are in the art of deception. They don't need to crack something, they just need to make you think they have.

In the grand scheme of things, any secure system is out of their reach anyway, whether it uses this code or not. The systems they're interested in are likely running under much more strict scrutiny and a single attempt to exploit such things would raise alarms and even accusations of initiating cyber-wars.

To be honest, I'll put my trust in a planet full of people checking open code casually than a select group of "experts" hunting out these flaws.

People are being paid, worldwide, to find and fix these flaws in major commercial companies and just as security researchers, in universities or for their own personal reputation.

Next, we'll be in the "acres of supercomputers" and "boxes in every ISP" bollocks. You know what? If I were the NSA, that's EXACTLY what I'd want you to think.

They're either incompetent (fucking up Elliptic Curves in public forums and being spotted instantly), or they're not (in which case you can't believe anything they say and likely won't know what the REAL trick is).

Comment: Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 2) 318

by ledow (#48916093) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

If you'd not question Valve hiring the former Finance Minister of Greece to manage the economy of their market, why would you question the reverse?

The guy's an economist. That's what you want. Meritocracy and all that. And Valve are hardly suffering for his presence in their organisation from what I see, even though they haven't put out their blockbuster game promised nearly 10 years ago.

They're obviously doing SOMETHING right, attracting millions of people and tens of millions of item sales every day.

Comment: Re:Looks like a good choice by the Greeks (Score 2) 318

by ledow (#48915997) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

Shutting down the insolvent banks only solves the bank problems. It doesn't solve the country's and, as you rightly point out, the banks should not be that tied to the country policy.

In many ways, making the banks insolvent is a death warrant to future credit and investment. Who's going to start a bank in Greece now? And who's going to bail out Greece when they can't afford healthcare any more, get invaded, etc.?

The problem is bigger than the banks, hence focusing on the banks is erroneous. What they've done, however, is thrown out all the measures demanded by other countries and banks that would have saved them money enough to be solvent again some day. And tied those measures in with "greedy bankers". By throwing out the austerity measures, you've basically said "We don't care about saving money or what we spend on things we don't need", and that further destroys your credit as it stinks of mismanagement.

And, ultimately, a lot of these promises they won't be able to fulfil. What they are saying is that they'll default on loans, remove the money-saving measures already implemented and then SOMEHOW get back in the black. Nobody's quite worked out the somehow.

It's like a bankrupt telling you they'll go bankrupt, but keep drinking and gambling as before, and somehow they'll get back in the black if only those damn debtors would go away and stop helping them pay their debt off in easy monthly payments.

Comment: Re:precident (Score 1) 459

Resale of a legitimately-purchased product is a different matter.

Ubisoft are saying these were "fraudulently obtained", which is very different. Bought with stolen credit card, VAT not paid on them, or some other provable legal issue over their ownership (maybe they were cyber-cafe, or developer licenses and not intended for sale to the general public EVER?), that's very different to "I bought and own a genuine copy of AutoCAD and want to put it on eBay now".

Comment: Re:SAAS is a failure, this proves it (Score 1) 459

I'm sure uPlay will tell you - to be a legitimately purchased key, it has to be bought from them and all the terms they imposed on it followed. If those terms are broken (it's resold or whatever) it's not legitimately purchased.

Good-faith is hard to prove, especially when you're buying a product via a random third-party.

Even outside the digital world, this is the type of thing that would come under handling stolen goods (where only a court proof of good faith - not even having no knowledge of the origin of goods, which is deemed that it should have aroused your suspicion - can get you off the charges). You don't need to have proven to you by the seller that it was stolen for it to be a charge of "fencing". You know what happens in such cases? "Your" property is taken from you and - if possible - returned to the original owner. Because it wasn't yours to take in the first place.

You may have paid £10,000 to a guy for your car but if the court thinks you should have been the teensiest bit suspicious (e.g. if it was a £100,000 Lamborghini, you bought it in some back alley, or the guy never had the right paperwork) they will remove it from you. Your only legal recourse? To locate and sue the guy who sold it to you.

Good-faith is hard to prove. Buying from a third-party key site with no ties to uPlay that sells you uPlay keys for less than uPlay can sell them for... that's suspicious. I doubt a court would bother to hear the case past that point.

Tell me, if you'd bought a Windows key from some store on the Internet, would you consider that the same? You wouldn't be suspicious that it was much less than MS could sell you the same kind of key for (OEM etc.)? Or that it wasn't in the MS format of coming with a little certificate sticker, an MS-hologrammed box, etc.? You'd happily plug it into a PC knowing that MS would have the say in whether to activate it or not? Same thing.

Comment: Licensing (Score 1) 459

"Fraudulently obtained" could mean that they were keys offered under, say, a cyber-cafe program, or en-masse but with a caveat not to resell, or for developer testing, or just plain stolen, or any number of things.

All of which, sorry, but that's a legitimate reason to revoke if they've then been resold to the public as individual licences.

I have ALWAYS been suspicious of keys from anything other than the original store precisely because of this - you have NO way of knowing if they are genuine or not or whether they could be revoked or not.

And I was always suspicious that a key could be sold cheaper than, say, Steam or Origin or whoever were selling them. That just reeks that it's cheating some rule, even if it's been sold out of region restrictions or whatever - someone, somewhere is losing money and that makes me suspicious why they would allow that to continue.

Sorry, but Ubisoft aren't doing anything "wrong" here, maybe they aren't doing it "right" though (if you know who these keys are, why not put a pop-up on their account next time they login telling them that they don't have a genuine key - but you'll sell them one - maybe at a discount - for X amount of money so that you don't lose on their third-party sales and they get to legitimise their purchase? A bit like MS did with Windows keys a while back?).

Sorry, but the nature of app stores now is that you can't take third-party keys. Hell, I was incredibly suspicious of Humble Bundles but they seem to be genuine and approved and there isn't a lot of money involved on my end if they do get revoked (I'll be annoyed at the inconvenience, but I won't have lost the games as they provide DRM-free downloads too).

When you use an app store, whether that's Steam, or Windows Marketplace or Google Play Store, you have to get the keys from those companies. Ask yourself why would they co-operate with rivals selling their keys at a lower price than in the store, and offer their download and account services to other companies at a loss?

This may be a step backwards in terms of consumer protection, but equally people have been buying cars that only the original manufacturer can service for DECADES. As soon as you fit a non-standard part, the original company just doesn't want to know any more - in terms of warranty, service, etc. I consider this the same problem.

I have over 800 games on Steam. I trust that they are all genuine - lots are via the Steam store itself (most with money earned in-store via selling items from other Steam games!), and the rest are via trusted bundles that do have a relationship with Steam.

Whenever I saw someone fussing about saving a dollar by going through some external game key store that Steam used to obscure the URL to in their forums (always a good sign that they're official!), I wondered when it would catch up with them. I'd much rather have a genuine game for £10 than a game that could be revoked at any time without any legal comeback for £9. If you don't have the difference to spare, you shouldn't be buying games anyway.

Sorry, but this is your own fault. The only possible excuse is if someone's gifted it to you and you had reason to trust them but I'm not sure if uPlay even has that facility. At least on Steam, all that would happen in that case would be a reversal of the transaction that gave you the game (so you get back anything you traded for it, or nothing if you were stupid enough to trade for it outside of Steam).

Still waiting for all those Russian-sold games to catch up with the people on Steam who bought them cheap, or the games from outside Steam places that people tried to legitimise by using them despite the fact that Steam never say they have a relationship with those companies at all.

Comment: Re:The government needs to stay out of car design. (Score 1) 304

by ledow (#48893123) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

The problem is not the technology.

Like everything wrong with the article, the problem is crappy drivers.

Rear/side lights are there TO BE SEEN.
Headlights are there to SEE BY.

If you have a driver who doesn't know they have no rear-lights, they may not be seen by you. But if you have them without headlights IN THE FUCKING DARK, they are bad, stupid, dangerous drivers. This is not affected by whether they are running on DRL or sidelights or no lights at all. They are fucking dangerous and can't see where they are going and NOT NOTICING.

And if you're driving on a road and can't see the car in front of you, even in twilight, I suggest you put your fucking headlights on and/or stop driving until you've had your eyes checked.

DRL policy does not cause any danger that was not there previously. Many places in Europe have had DRL for decades.

Being a fucking idiot that's peering into the darkness and can't see the car in front, that's the problem.

Comment: Re:Why do Windows programs just run? (Score 1, Interesting) 126

by ledow (#48892983) Attached to: Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2

See my post RIGHT below yours.

Not true.

I run school networks, and we have legacy software going back to the floppy-disk days.

I impose a 5-year limit after the manufacturer was last active because, after that, sometimes it's too much pissing about to run the program, if that's even possible.

Going to Windows 8 64-bit broke FOUR programs that work absolutely fine on Windows 8 32-bit. And I'm using images configured in exactly the same way and thus in a highly reproducible environment.

Some shit breaks on EVERY Windows update. I condemned 10 pieces of our software when we went from 7 to 8. I condemned even more in a previous XP -> 8 move. Fact is, most people just don't care in schools because 10 year old software is ten-years out of date on the curriculum side. But for sure there is NOTHING as simple as you suggest.

Fuck, when I move OS at a site, my rule is "All your software needs to be handed in, with original disks and proof of licence. Anything you want to work on the new network will have to come from those hand-ins AND be subject to testing". Every year, approximately 80% of the school's software estate disappears into the bin never to be seen again - either nobody cares about it after the salesman left the building, or it just plain doesn't work, or it's no longer any use compared to other resources.

But, fuck, "Windows programs just work anywhere"? No. Not even if you have a lot of funds and time to spend getting just one of them to work. I can assure you.

By comparison, Linux software may break briefly and then get diagnosed and pulled back in. But you can pretty much run a 20 year old copy of the primary shell with no problem, if that's what you want to do. You may have to pull in old version of the libc, etc. but it'll work on the modern kernels. There's not much on Linux that's EVER been broken, certainly nothing that a bit of tweaking won't fix.

And yet I can show you a software graveyard in my office of Windows stuff that breaks EVERY year. Fuck, some of the companies STILL SELL IT even though they know it doesn't work on anything past Vista or 7. They don't give a shit and no longer have the programmer on staff to do anything about it.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.