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Comment: Re:Turing test not passed. (Score 5, Insightful) 285

by nmb3000 (#47421647) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

It was passed as defined

The Turing Test was not passed, and the only people who claim it was are ignorant reporters looking for an easy story with a catchy headline and tech morons who also believe Kevin Warwick is a cyborg.

The test was rigged in every way possible:

- judges told they were talking to a child
- that doesn't speak English as a primary language
- which was programmed with the express intent of misdirection
- and only "fooled" 30% of the judges.

And, even after all that, Cleverbot did a much better job back in 2011 with a 60% success rate.

This Eugene test outcome was a complete farce -- something to remind everyone that Warwick still exists and to separate the ignorant and sensational tech news trash rags from the more legitimate sources of information.

Comment: Re:Hacking the Xbox (Score 1) 58

by nmb3000 (#47224027) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

I don't agree that multiple question marks necessarily == multiple questions, but I'll take the advice of my anonymous friends and restructure my question:

During your original Xbox expose, was there a memorable experience you had that stands out -- perhaps a particular part of the hardware that you found especially well-designed (or laughably poor), or maybe a method that yielded unexpected success (or failure)?

Comment: Hacking the Xbox (Score 1) 58

by nmb3000 (#47216415) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

One of my first forays into the realm of hardware hacking was following along as you recorded your exploration of the original Xbox console. I was fascinated by the hardware, but enjoyed your analysis and methods even more. It was you that got me interested in hardware and hacking. (Aside: Thank you very much for releasing your book as a freely-available download and for the open-letter about Aaron and MIT)

What was the most memorable experience for you of your Xbox expose? Was there a particular part of the hardware that you found especially well-designed (or laughably poor)? A method that yielded unexpected success (or failure)? What kind of fallout from Microsoft did you face? I remember you posting the voicemail of the Microsoft employee asking you to remove the images of the Xbox ROM -- something I got a good laugh out of. And as a follow-up: do you have a feeling for how "secure" hardware has changed in the decade since the original Xbox launch?

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, and also for all the work you've done pushing for a world with both open software and open hardware.

Comment: Re:7.1a for x64 linux (Score 4, Interesting) 146

by nmb3000 (#47206285) Attached to: Auditors Release Verified Repositories of TrueCrypt

Luckily I have a copy of 7.1a for x64 linux

I noticed something the other day when looking for a copy of the install on my own system. It turns out that when you install TrueCrypt for Windows, it puts a copy of the installer in the destination directory! If you're on Windows, take a look in your %ProgramFiles%\TrueCrypt directory. You will probably find a TrueCrypt Setup.exe file (at work so not sure of the exact filename). This can be used to install/repair/reinstall TrueCrypt on any computer.

There have been some good attempts to create a trustworthy TrueCrypt archive, but nothing beats your original installation source, which you can use to verify against various signatures found online.

Comment: Re:It doesn't take a genius to come up with an att (Score 1) 155

by nmb3000 (#47192745) Attached to: Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

How can I make this clear? Do. Not. Fucking. Want. Yet another reason to avoid "smart" TVs, I guess.

You really can't as far as I can tell.

You still can, though it might depend on what size of TV you're looking for. I'm in the market for a new TV right now, and I've noticed that Costco carries "dumb" TVs up through the 40" range. There are both smart and dumb sets at 40", with the dumb sets being about $75 cheaper.

But yes, if you're looking for a large set you may have a hard time avoiding them at this point.

Comment: Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 155

by nmb3000 (#47190973) Attached to: Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

Okay, so far so good, but how about the signal amplifying and transmitting part?

TFA discusses that:

a $250 1-watt amplifier could cover a 1.4 square kilometer area. [...] By positioning the retransmission gear at a decent height within line of sight of a tower (on a drone, say, or on the roof of a tall building), a hacker in Flushing, Queens could deliver malicious payloads via the Home Shopping Network to a potential audience of 70,000 people per square kilometer. Or he could also hijack 10 different stations including CBS , NBC and Fox from a single antenna in the Inwood neighborhood of upper Manhattan that reaches 50,000 people per square kilometer. With a more powerful 25-watt amp (about $1,500) the hacker can cover more like 35 square kilometers, taking the reach of the attack into the hundreds of thousands of people.

Comment: Re:It doesn't take a genius to come up with an att (Score 5, Insightful) 155

by nmb3000 (#47190941) Attached to: Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

Abstract: In the attempt to bring modern broadband Internet features to traditional broadcast television, the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) consortium introduced a specification called Hybrid Broadcast-Broadband Television (HbbTV), which allows broadcast streams to include embedded HTML content which is rendered by the television.

And for anyone wondering just why the hell anyone would want this, TFA clarifies:

Broadcasters and advertisers have been eager to use the HbbTV to target ads more precisely and add interactive content, polls, shopping and apps, to home viewers.

So let me get this right... "Punch the Monkey", coming to a TV near you? Flashing and bouncing "Take the "Which Ninja Turtle are you most like?" poll for a chance to win $1000!!!"? Malicious "Your TV isn't secure! Click here to upgrade!" ads that install some bullshit TV "app" that does only god-knows-what? Remote scripting running on a device designed without any security in mind, and which will probably never be updated during its 8+ year lifetime?

How can I make this clear? Do. Not. Fucking. Want. Yet another reason to avoid "smart" TVs, I guess.

Comment: Re:hmmm (Score 1) 119

by nmb3000 (#47188863) Attached to: Bill Watterson (briefly) Returns To Comics

From what I've read, Watterson simply values his privacy and his family's privacy, and he has virtually no interest in publicity for its own sake. Apparently, any former celebrity who doesn't so desperately long for attention that they appear on Dancing With the Stars or jump at every chance for an interview or public appearance is so incomprehensible to most people that the only way to make sense of it is to label them a "recluse".

I agree with you 100%, with two small exceptions.

First, it does appear that Watterson is a bit more removed from society than even your average author.

Second, I think there's a kernel of reason in the idea that someone of renown -- someone who has made a lot of money and become a familiar name in the process -- is expected to give a little bit back to their "fans" in return for benefiting them so much financially. In no way to do mean that Watterson should be on Celebrity Jeopardy (he'd probably never beat Sean Connery anyway), but it might be nice if he did small things like book signings at local bookstores. I have that nice set of hardcover Calvin and Hobbes books, and I would absolutely love to have an opportunity to get it signed by Watterson. Sadly, autographs is one of the things that Watterson appears to refuse to do.

As someone who would probably be called a "recluse" by more than a couple of people, I can truly understand to desire to be removed from the limelight, but still, it's sad for those who adore his work that they don't have the opportunity to try and express that just a tiny bit.

Comment: Re:Hell Yes! (Score 2) 251

by nmb3000 (#47069357) Attached to: It's Time For the <em>Descent</em> Games Return

Descent was the first game that really blew my mind when it came to graphics and gameplay together. The difficulty curve was perfect, and the continued addition of new game elements made it stay fresh (and Descent II was even better at this than the first game).

It's also the reason I bought (or more acurrately, convinced my father to buy) a very nice joystick. There's a reason fighter pilots don't control their planes with WASD.

And who can forget the 3D wireframe maps which, towards the end of the game, got insanely complicated? I can't begin to guess how much time I spent trying to figure out just where the hell I was, where the hell I was trying to go, and how the hell to get there :D

Comment: Re:uh (Score 1) 252

by nmb3000 (#47062235) Attached to: Blizzard Sues <em>Starcraft II</em> Cheat Creators

Luckily precedent from the past shows that claim holds no water:

That's a fantastic point. Fixing your link: Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc. In the same way that Game Genie didn't infringe on Nintendo's copyright, the court should rule that this game modification does not infringe on Blizzard's.

I like to think of it as a variation of Plato's Forms -- the copyrighted product "Starcraft II" exists only as what is on-disk -- a fixed collection of code, art, and everything else that makes up the game. However, once this "ideal" form of the product is loaded into the computer's memory, it becomes a separate and mutable thing. The game itself has become a different and derivative thing simply by executing it, and any number of things can cause that state to be changed. This one single participant of the "Starcraft II" form is ephemeral and isn't being distributed (redistribution being the one reason their suit might be reasonable).

Trust me, I hate people who cheat against others as much as anyone, but this is a much larger issue with far-reaching consequences. Restricting what someone can do with code running on their own computer is a slippery slope, and we have already had enough ignorant court rulings (such as Blizzard v. bnetd). There's also the question of single-player cheating -- should it be illegal for someone to mod their single-player game, to give themselves infinite health, for example?

Blizzard is attempting to rectify a relatively simple technical flaw through the court system, and that's just sad. I hope you're right, AC, that the Game Genie precedent will be upheld.

Comment: Re:How about "no thanks" .... (Score 4, Interesting) 218

by nmb3000 (#46976843) Attached to: Google Testing Gmail Redesign

Really, you can blame the whole "UX" fad for destroying sensible HMI/HCI based design.

The stop sign is a classic case of form following function. Bold red colour, so you notice it. Unique shape, so you can tell what it is before you get close enough to read it. Simple and to the point, designed by engineers.

UX brings in a shit load of bollocks around it rather than making it as simple as it needs to be.

Exactly this. UX as a whole is a cancer on modern computing -- nothing more than a combination of follow-the-leader and a circle-jerk. All it takes is for someone presents a (completely wrong) idea and, as long as they are authoritative about it, the other UX sheep will view that opinion as gospel, not to be questioned but only blindly followed. This might be a teacher at a school or a company like Google.

A perfect recent example is this Stack Exchange question regarding traffic signals. An ignorant (but inquisitive) person asks why traffic signals are always three vertical lights instead of some cool new UX-y system of LEDs and poor contrast. An answer posted which sounded very authoritative (but included no references) and had a few pretty pictures was immediately up-voted by the other UX sheep, even though the answer is completely wrong. The author eventually went and made some edits to claim his view was "just historical" to cover up the fact that he was glaringly wrong about the issue of color blindness.

You can see this behavior everywhere. Microsoft following Apple, Mozilla following Google. It has nothing to do with something being empiraclly or evidently better -- it's simply everyone following the hipster cool kid in class around because, well, he wouldn't be popular if he wasn't right!

We've had computer usability studies for decades now which have provided some keen insights into how people intuit the function of computer (some very interesting ones from the original Mac and Windows 95 timeframes). UX, however, has nothing to do with research or study -- it's little more than populist bullshit.

Comment: Re:Yahoo, kill yourself! (Score 5, Informative) 300

by nmb3000 (#46899859) Attached to: Yahoo Stops Honoring 'Do-Not-Track' Settings

Horrible decision, a standard isn't being honored ANYWHERE so you decide to undermine it entirely without replacement?


The simple fact is that Do-Not-Track was a damned bogus idea from the outset. Saying to the massive web of advertising conglamorates and third parties -- all of which make more money the more they can identify you down to an individual -- "Won't you kindly not track me? That would just be great, thanks" is akin to asking the mob nicely not to burn your place down when you refuse to pay protection money, or calling up the NSA and asking them nicely to stop spying on your personal affairs.

If you don't want to be tracked, you need to take steps to make it happen yourself. The tools are there -- use them. If enough people start blocking all forms of advertising, perhaps the intrusiveness and privacy violation will recede. Or maybe the entire advertising industry will collapse (one can always dream).

"All my life I wanted to be someone; I guess I should have been more specific." -- Jane Wagner