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Comment: Re:Please don't take my nerd card (Score 1) 156

by jawtheshark (#47574201) Attached to: How long ago did you last assemble a computer?
Edsger W. Dijkstra was stupid?

You can do computer science just with paper and pen. That is entirely feasible and totally common in any computer science curriculum at any halfway decent university. Oh, you thought that computer science = programming. Well, yeah, no... it isn't and technically you can program without a computer too. You just can't run your programs.

Comment: Re: Really? (Score 3, Interesting) 74

by O('_')O_Bush (#47573539) Attached to: "ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads
Lawyers are not necessary to maintain law and order. They are useful only when law is written by and presided over by other lawyers, for lawyers.

That is, they are a solution to a problem they create.
  You can look back at just about every functionjng society for most of human history and neither find mob rule nor lawyers. You also find law that is comprehensible to a lay person.

Not saying our legal system is better or worse than old legal systems, just that the point you made about mob rule is certainly not necessarily true.

Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 1) 246

by Sycraft-fu (#47573039) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Yep, when it gets cheap enough people say "I wants," and that is all the more thought it takes. They may never get around to playing it, doesn't matter, they wanted to have it and now they do and they got a "good deal" on it so they are happy.

I do that ALL the time. I have more games than I can play. Not only that, I'm one of those who's very happy to replay old favourites. I really should buy new games pretty sparingly. However, when they are cheap, I buy them just to have them. As such a have a big list of games kicking around, particularly indy titles that tend to be cheaper.

Comment: Re:Isn't this exempted? (Score 1) 296

by Alsee (#47570553) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Nope, you misunderstand what the loophole was. It's utterly irrelevant whether or not it's easy to copy the music out.

You need to forget "plain English" and what "makes sense". We're dealing with the law and legalese. You need to think like a computer running into odd code. If a programmer writes "int Two=3;" then you'll get "Two+2=5". You need to obey the definition you're given, even if it clashes with what you think it should mean. You can't just assume Two+2 is supposed to be 4 when the code (or the law) says something different.

This law has a definitions section, and we are concerned with with three key pieces. I'll trim it to the critical bits.

A "digital musical recording" is a material object [...blah blah...]
A "digital musical recording" does not include a material object [...blah blah blah..] in which one or more computer programs are fixed

Therefore, according to the law, MP3 files on a computer hard drive are not "digital musical recordings".

A "digital audio copied recording" is a reproduction in a digital recording format of a digital musical recording [...blah blah...]

Therefore, according to the law, an MP3 player that copies an MP3 off of a computer is not creating a "digital audio copied recording".

A "digital audio recording device" is any machine or device [...blah blah...] making a digital audio copied recording

Therefore an MP3 player copying MP3's off a computer is not a "digital audio recording device".

The law only applies to "digital audio recording devices", therefore nothing in the law applies to MP3 players. Unfortunately this shitty law does seem to apply to a car audio system copying music off of CDs. Unless the judge gets "creative" in interpreting the law, it seems to me that car manufacturers are going to have to pay damages for every unit produced so far, are going to have to implement DRM on these car audio systems (preventing them from loading any song that's flagged as already being a copy), and are going to have to pay royalties to the RIAA for each future unit sold.


Comment: Maybe the author needs to get out more (Score 5, Insightful) 246

by Sycraft-fu (#47570537) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

No dude, your books are not so incredible that people will buy them no matter what the price. There may be a few people who are like that, but most aren't. Price matters in entertainment. Turns out, when you make something cheap enough so that people don't need to think about spending the money and even more so they feel like they are getting a "Great deal" they'll spend very freely.

Steam has figured this out with videogames and siphons tons of money out of people's pockets, and has people thank them for doing it. People get drawn in by the "savings" of the sales and spend tons. I should know, I'm one of them. Not only do I have games I haven't played, I have games I haven't installed. I see something that I'm interested in that is a good price and I say "Oh man, I should get that," and I do. If they are more expensive, I think about it more, I wait until I really want a new game, I go and replay something I already enjoy.

Cheaper books will lead to bibliophiles just collecting the things. I know my mom would. You get them cheap enough and she'll drop hundreds a month on stuff she'll never read, just because she wants to have it.

Authors/publishers/developers/etc need to get over this idea of their digital goods being "worth" a certain amount. No, you need to figure out what you need to do to maximize your profits since there is zero per unit cost. Usually, that is going to mean selling cheap, but selling lots.

Comment: Re:Are they serious? (Score 1) 296

by Alsee (#47568749) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

The Audio Home Recording Act makes it illegal to manufacture or sell "Audio Recording Devices" unless they implement the Serial Copy Management System (a form of DRM).

The Audio Home Recording Act has a clause explicitly excluding computers from being "an Audio Recording Device", and excluding computer hard drives from being "Audio Recording Media". So when MP3 players copy music from a computer they basically slide through a loophole in the law. The music industry fought a court case over MP3 players and lost on this exact point. According to that court ruling, MP3 players do NOT fall within the law's explicit definition of "Audio Recording Device". Therefore MP3 players are not required to implement the idiot DRM system.

It looks like the system installed in these cars does fall within the law's definition of Audio Recording Device. It looks like the music industry has a solid case here, unless an "activist" judge sees how stupid this all is and comes up with some creative way to avoid applying this idiot law.


Comment: Re:Isn't this exempted? (Score 1) 296

by Alsee (#47568483) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

The Audio Home Recording Act is a horrid law mandating DRM in any digital audio recording device. This law is directly responsible for the extermination of all technological innovation in the field, up until MP3 players essentially slipped through a loophole. Digital Audio Tape (DAT) failed in the consumer market because of this DRM crap. Minidisc failed even harder. And god-knows how many other technologies were killed by this law and I can't name them because they never got far enough to be named.

That said.... you are looking at the wrong part of the law. I'll post the correct sections below. I sure as hell hope the music industry loses this case, but based on this asinine law I don't see how they'd lose.

Section 1001. Definitions
(3) A "digital audio recording device" is any machine or device of a type commonly distributed to individuals for use by individuals, whether or not included with or as part of some other machine or device, the digital recording function of which is designed or marketed for the primary purpose of, and that is capable of, making a digital audio copied recording for private use, except for -
(A) professional model products, and
(B) dictation machines, answering machines, and other audio recording equipment that is designed and marketed primarily for the creation of sound recordings resulting from the fixation of nonmusical sounds.

Section 1002. Incorporation of copying controls
(a) Prohibition on Importation, Manufacture, and Distribution. - No person shall import, manufacture, or distribute any digital audio recording device or digital audio interface device that does not conform to -
(1) the Serial Copy Management System;
(2) a system that has the same functional characteristics as the Serial Copy Management System and requires that copyright and generation status information be accurately sent, received, and acted upon between devices using the systemâ(TM)s method of serial copying regulation and devices using the Serial Copy Management System; or
(3) any other system certified by the Secretary of Commerce as prohibiting unauthorized serial copying.

Section 1009. Civil remedies
(a) Civil Actions. - Any interested copyright party injured by a violation of section 1002 or 1003 may bring a civil action in an appropriate United States district court against any person for such violation.


Comment: Re:It Depends (Score 3, Informative) 329

That's completely the wrong approach..
If your hosts aren't secure enough to be on the public internet, they shouldn't be on an internal network either. Many attacks come from the inside, and if you have a large number of insecure hosts hidden behind a border firewall then all it takes is one tiny hole and everything can come crashing down, as has happened many times in the past.

A firewall is not the ultimate answer, and nor should it be your only line of defense. If hosts are correctly configured, then a firewall won't actually improve security as the only services exposed on the host will be ones you intended to run and thus explicitly allowed through the firewall.

Comment: Re:Fire(wall) and forget (Score 2) 329

If ports are unused, then the hosts themselves will reject any traffic sent to them without the need of a firewall...
If the hosts are running services you don't want, then you haven't configured your hosts correctly and hiding poorly configured hosts behind a firewall is not the answer.

Comment: Necessary? (Score 1) 329

Assuming the servers are correctly configured and hardened, then a firewall is an additional layer - ie the ports allowed by the firewall will be those ports that you have explicitly opened on the server, nothing else should be present irrespective of what the firewall allows. Wether you then need one depends on your budget, your risk profile, wether you need to comply with any external requirements (like pci-dss) etc.

Personally i have many servers with no firewalls, because having a firewall would add additional hosting cost, additional point of failure, additional attack surface, additional latency, and the servers themselves don't run any services that aren't intended to be open to the internet (and thus everything thats running would be allowed by the firewall anyway).

The benefits of having a firewall in my case - an extra place for logs incase my host is compromised, and the ability to control outbound access if the host is compromised, are outweighed by the downsides. The chance of the host actually becoming compromised in the first place wouldn't be decreased by the addition of a firewall, but you'd have the additional risk that the firewall itself could be compromised.

You will lose an important disk file.