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Comment: Act of war? (Score 1) 503

by melting_clock (#47487175) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

There is scope for this to become a very real world war. These terrorists are backed by Russia and there is strong evidence that serving Russian drops are fighting in the conflict. It seems easy to argue that Russia has just committed an act of war agonist all of the countries represented in the civilian casualties.

Hopefully a world wide war is not the result of this evil act. Either way, Russia is going to feel a lot more pain from the sanctions that must follow.

Comment: The cloud (Score 1) 749

by melting_clock (#47452627) Attached to: Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

Some people seem to forget that "the cloud" and "cloud storage" are nothing more than marketing buzzwords. What they describe existed long before the terms started being used. The implication that the cloud, an abstract concept, is real and actual physical servers are not, shows a delusional mind at work and a basic failure to understand reality. They were intended to appeal to those that did not understand the existing technology, to make it more accessible and to avoid focus on the implementation.

Sadly, confusing buzzwords or other marketing material with reality is all too common. I've been caught out by company boards that forget that the marketing material will typically cover specific use cases and expect every use case to be just as perfect. The misery of a CEO reading an article and learning a new buzzword is commonly felt by professionals in industries other than IT.

Comment: More pain for US companies (Score 1) 749

by melting_clock (#47452037) Attached to: Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

It is no surprise that US companies would have a problem with their government's policy on this. After the negative publicity surrounding the exposure NSA spying on everyone, US companies risk losing international customers and are living with a more complicated mix of international legislation. The cost of the loss of trust continues to increase. Some countries are legislating that data must not be allowed to leave their country and are imposing legal protections on customer data that would make sharing of that data with third parties illegal.

US companies might find themselves in a position where complying with a warrant for data stored outside of the US has them breaking the laws in the country where the data is stored. Countries that specifically have laws to prevent this type of data sharing are not likely to accept complying with a warrant in another jurisdiction as a reasonable excuse.

Comment: No (Score 1) 381

by melting_clock (#47439631) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Well, not really. My current digital watch is several years old but has great features: strong (titanium) band, solar battery charging so NEVER needs to be connected to the charger and the battery lasts for many years before needing replacement, includes a range of sensors (temperature, barometer, compass) that are sometimes useful and the usual stopwatch, timer, alarm, etc. Most importantly, it keeps time accurately.

It would be very annoying to have a connect a watch to a charger every day. Having a smart phone in my pocket already doesn't leave a lot of "smart" tasks for another device.

When smart watches can claim a similar battery life, durability and unobtrusive use, only then will I buy a smart watch...

Comment: Microsoft got it wrong (Score 0) 83

by melting_clock (#47428817) Attached to: Microsoft Settles With No-IP After Malware Takedown

Instead of doing the right thing and approaching the hosting provider, Microsoft acted as a bully and took action that hurt many innocent customers. It is the role of law enforcement to take action against criminals, not some company or individual that feels they are above the law.

Computer crimes are a growing problem internationally that needs better coordination between law enforcement agencies around the world. There does need to be better mechanisms for dealing with hacking, SPAM, phishing, DDoS attacks, invasion of privacy and other crimes. While companies and individuals should have a role in supporting this action, they should not be taking direct action, particularly when they target the wrong people. Hosting companies should be give the normal presumption of innocence, notified of illegal activities using their services and be given the opportunity to take action. Only when the actively participate or continue to facilitate criminal activity should action be taken against them by the appropriate authorities.

The idea of a presumption of innocence is lost on many companies, as shown in the pursuit of DRM and other copy protection measures in the name of piracy, they do little to slow down the pirates but end up hurting their paying customers. When customers give up in disgust and stop buying their products, the lost sales are blamed on piracy... People or organisations that have lost touch with reality should not be acting as police.

Comment: Microsoft have been abusing their position (Score -1) 113

Microsoft are not crime fighters, they are bullies and thugs. In a civilised country we have law enforcement working to take down criminals, not a company pushing its commercial interests above that rights innocents that have their services disrupted.

There does need to be better international coordination between law enforcement agencies to track and capture the criminals involved in hacking (the common, media misused, meaning), DDoS attacks, phishing, SPAM, etc. In recent years, there have been significant improvements in this area but there is a long way to go before it is good enough. There should also be a mechanism for dealing with hosting companies that facilitate criminal activities, that allows them to be punished if they are warned of the illegal activity and fail to act.

Comment: You're surprised that Facebook does this? (Score 1) 130

by melting_clock (#47346611) Attached to: In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

Facebook users gave up their privacy and allow their personal data to be mined. Posts have been used against them by employers, criminals, government agencies, various companies and Facebook. Facebook sells your data to advertisers and other organisations. This really comes as a surprise to anyone?

What Facebook has shown is that they can easily manipulate their users in a predicable manner. In this case it was for a study but is there anything stopping them doing something like this as a service to advertisers? Could companies pay them to manipulate their users in to buying there products? Advertising is all about some level of manipulation but Facebook has taken this to a new level by manipulation without actual ads that might alert users to the attempt to manipulate.

To be fair, I'd expect web search engines have become more about manipulated results than present real search data. I know Google was once a great place to search for information on a topic, now a search brings up mostly companies trying to sell you things and stupid sub-search bullshit where the search in run through other search engines to give more nonsense results. It isn't about searching the web anymore.

Comment: Blame the pirates (Score 0) 268

by melting_clock (#47342133) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

The core issue seems to follow that same logic as the movie studios, game developers, etc. that constantly blame piracy for a drop for a low performing release or drop in sales. Ignoring the fact that their movie plot is boring or their game just sucks. The two negative issues with drones being used for a hobby that are most commonly thrown around are privacy and air safety, with a few sensationalist scenarios being thrown up to prove they are only used be evil people... Scare the public into thinking that someone will use a quadcopter to spy on you or bring down a plane.

Privacy is a right that must be protected but banning "drones" does little to protect privacy. Having real privacy laws that cover ALL filming, without permission and in a area where there is an expectation of privacy, would do much more to limit the misuse of cameras. Cameras a getting smaller and cheaper. They can be easily hidden and the are integrated into more devices. Most of the actual invasions of privacy are through low range lenses on a DSLR or a camera phone, not a drone.

Privacy is something that most people just don't have a clue about. They install apps on they phone, tablets and computers that spy on them, by sending personal information to various companies. They upload pictures to social media automatically, without considering the consequences or the privacy rights of other that might be in those pictures. What do you do when someone uploads your picture to their facebook account without your permission? No only have they not respected your right to privacy in taking the picture, they have published that picture for the world to see.

Air safety is critical and there are rules in place that require that radio controlled aircraft, including quadcopters, to not fly above a specified altitude in controlled airspace and not fly within a specified distance of a airport. Outside of controlled airspace there is generally no altitude limit. Anyone breaking these rules should face stiff penalties that include imprisonment and fines that would destroy them.

We should not forget that most quadcopters are small and light, limiting the actual risks in the event of a collision. They are no greater risk than larger birds that are often found around airports. Birds have brought down large passenger planes but a quadcopter never has. If we want to be that paranoid about air safety, kill all of those terrorist birds; leave poison seed baits and shoot down any they approach an airport. They are a greater safety risk that quadcopters. If someone wanted to crash a plane, a little imagination would show there are easier and cheaper ways of achieving their goal.

I got into radio control a couple of years ago to clean up my rusty amateur radio and electronics skills. I do have quadcopters and a couple of those have cameras. I also have a DSLR. At all times I have respected the privacy rights of others and have always operated safely which includes not flying near people, their property, roads, built up areas or anywhere near full scale aircraft. The only times you would ever see a person in a picture I have taken is with permission or in a public place where they are part of a crowd that it in the way of something I am shooting.

Most people fly safely but their are some idiots, as you find in any human activity, that need to be dealt with. The big problem now is that anyone can buy a ready to fly quadcopter, charge the batteries, and fly with no knowledge of the rules or basic safety. There are no laws that require a guide to be sold with this gear.

Comment: Re:Another lost customer (Score 1) 208

by melting_clock (#47320171) Attached to: The Simultaneous Rise and Decline of <em>Battlefield</em>

Yeah, lots of my gaming buddies are not bothering with BF4 and EA.

You'll probably want to blacklist Ubisucks, er, Ubisoft, as well after the abysmal Tomb Raider and Thief reboots / remakes / re-imaging / re-cash grabs

You are probably right. I did buy BF4 but not premium, There are a lot of Ubisoft games that I have bought but recent releases haven't interested me. Apart from painful DRM and companies looking for more ways to make money, PC games seem to start out broken due to a push for the console market. The result is the PC version is crap and customers are screwed.

Any lost sales will be blamed on piracy which annoys me because I have always paid for my games.

Comment: Re:The other DICE (Score 1) 208

by melting_clock (#47311465) Attached to: The Simultaneous Rise and Decline of <em>Battlefield</em>

I've decided to blacklist EA and DICE on all platforms.

Are you also planning to blacklist DICE on the web?

Or, you could just look at the bottom of every page on /. "Copyright © 2014 Dice. All Rights Reserved. Slashdot is a Dice Holdings, Inc. service."

Once we are forced into the pathetic "beta" version of Slashdot, it will no longer be a site that I waste time on. I started visiting to read interesting posts on interesting stories. The quality of posts has gone down and the number of trolling first posts is at an all time high. Some days I can't find a single story that interests me. Some of the remaining editors just don't have a clue. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives today.

Comment: Another lost customer (Score 3, Interesting) 208

by melting_clock (#47309931) Attached to: The Simultaneous Rise and Decline of <em>Battlefield</em>

I have bought pretty much every PC release of Battlefield. BF3 was the low point for me, with regular connectivity issues ruining the game, include a long period of EA blaming a DDoS attack. It is painful to be kicked off of server part way through a round because the DRM lost connection to EA servers... There were more in game bugs than an previous release. Origin is an added annoyance. The fact that I had spent $1000 upgrading my gaming PC for BF3 didn't help.

BF4 seems to be been rushed out well before it should have been and was full of in game bugs, like invisible objects, constant crashes under a range of conditions, more connectivity issues. It is only fairly recently that most of these have been fixed.

No release has been immune to aimbots and other hacks but the inclusion of a kill cam did give some amusing views of them in action. I remember being killed by someone shooting from one end of the map to the other in BF3, with their shots needing to go through several walls and floors to get me. This happened many times in several rounds and the useless cheater detection never picked them up. The number of glitches that allowed players to get outside the map to either sneak around or kill those inside the map was amazing.

After two releases I regret wasting my time and money on, I've decided to blacklist EA and DICE on all platforms. The positive side is that it got me to buy several games on Steam, including a few nice cross platform games that I play on Linux. I am not going to miss EA or their Origin crap.

Comment: A very bad move (Score 2) 249

by melting_clock (#47218569) Attached to: New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

Google doesn't care about the security and privacy of Android users. Their own products mine their users data, as many people have pointed out. Apple is not interested in protecting users either. Luckily, Android users can protect themselves by rooting and installing real security software that limits what applications are able to do. XPrivacy is one of the best ways of protecting your privacy and device security. Add a firewall and the job is largely done. Sadly, you simply can't be protected without rooting and Google is always trying to prevent root level access...

Once there is a jump in malicious software due to this change to permissions, the resulting negative publicity might get Google to actually do something to protect users. The consequences will increase with the increasing amount of highly confidential information on Android devices and the increase in high value activities to be targeted. Internet banking and financial services tied directly to devices must be very attractive to criminals. Forget about stealing contact information, browsing history, location tracking, etc. Your right to privacy was lost long ago.

I really miss the days when Adware and Spyware were identified as malicious software by antivirus programs and we still had some rights.

+ - You can finally watch a live video feed of Earth from space, and it's awesome-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "After being continuously inhabited for more than 13 years, it is finally possible to log into Ustream and watch the Earth spinning on its axis in glorious HD. This video feed (embedded below) comes from from four high-definition cameras, delivered by last month’s SpaceX CRS-3 resupply mission, that are attached to the outside of the International Space Station. You can open up the Ustream page at any time, and as long as it isn’t night time aboard the ISS, you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the Earth from around 250 miles (400 km) up."
Link to Original Source

+ - Researchers create jet fuel from water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight->

Submitted by MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "Chemistry World reported on Friday that a group of European researchers have made a giant step toward inventing a process that will create jet fuel from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. If and when the process can be brought to an industrial scale it could make greenhouse gasses, considered a dire problem by some, into a valuable resource. It might even make jet plane travel carbon neutral.

The idea is that at high temperatures, water and carbon dioxide break apart into hydrogen, carbon monoxide and oxygen. Then hydrogen and carbon monoxide combines to become syngas. Then using the well-known Fischer-Tropsch process can be converted into kerosene or gasoline.

The trick has always been to remove the excess oxygen, which tends to make the syngas more explosive and therefore dangerous. The European researchers have hit upon the idea of using cerium oxide. When heated with concentrated sunlight the cerium oxide released oxygen which is piped out. When the syngas is created, the cerium reacts with carbon dioxide and water to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide, absorbing the excess oxygen. Then the cerium oxide is blasted again with sunlight repeating the cycle."

Link to Original Source

+ - NASA microgravity research could lead to diabetes cure->

Submitted by MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "When NASA asks for money for its various projects such as the International Space Station, one of the selling points was that the biomedical research that would be conducted in space would lead to cures for various diseases. A Friday story in National Review suggests that the promise may be about to be fulfilled in the form of a cure for diabetes. If so it would be boon to millions of people who suffer from the disease.

Where NASA sponsored research comes into play stems from an experiment that was first flown on the space shuttle Challenger in 1985 that explored the physics involving encapsulation. Dr. Taylor Wang, Ph.D was the payload specialist on that mission who did the research. As a result of that and other microgravity research, a company called Encapsulife has applied for a patent for what would be in effect a diabetes patch. It would be effectively a cure for diabetes."

Link to Original Source

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