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Slashback

Slashback: Circumvention, AOLandfill, Scoffing 399

Slashback tonight with more on efforts to stop the flow of AOL CDs from their house to yours, getting modded XBoxes on Microsoft's network, a less optimistic look at NVIDIA's latest chip, and more. Read on for more. Update: 11/22 00:13 GMT by T : Thanks to the AC who noticed the goofed headline ("this is only a test," remember), now amended.

Excuse me, is this the service entrance? We just posted about Microsoft blocking gamers with mod-chipped X-boxes from the Microsoft-run online gaming service; now NiteStar writes "Xbox-Scene.com just reported that a group of Xbox hackers named Team Assembly managed to change the serial number and MAC address of the xbox. After the change they managed to get onto Xbox Live (with mod-chip disabled) with a previously banned xbox ..."

Not so fast, mister. The Raindog writes "Since NVIDIA announced its GeForce FX graphics chip, the web has been flooded with a slew of previews and articles that do little more than regurgitate what must have been NVIDIA's official press kit. Slashdot had coverage a few days ago, but since then, a new take on NVIDIA's latest chip has surfaced without all the PR-inspired hype. As it turns out, the GeForce FX's features aren't all that remarkable next to ATI's Radeon 9700 Pro, which has been available for months now."

I liked the old .sig about a black hole that would blot out the sun. Matthew Davis writes "CNN.com ran a story about Jim McKenna and John Lieberman back in October requesting everyone to send the CD mailers they receive to them. When they reach 1 million CDs they'll hand deliver them to AOL. In a recent article by SiliconValley.com they quote Nicholas Graham, a spokesman for AOL stating, "If they reach their goal ... I'd be happy to give them directions and greet them at the door ... We would make a contribution ourselves to put them over the top" Does that mean they're putting Jim and John's address on the top of the CD mailing list?"

Now if only these were CD-RWs ... and they can keep sending me the nice, reusable cases, just no more paper sleeves, thanks.

Still teasing, Stephen. foolish_child writes "Not sure if you noticed, but in the newest paperback pressing of Cryptonomicon (1 November 2002, I think) there is a chapter from Quicksilver at the back. I spotted it in the railway station in Amsterdam, so maybe it's a European edition. I have been checking to see if it was also online but have seen no sign of it - hence the heads up. I'm sure someone will scan it in soon - it is SUPERB! (read it waiting for a train) - Enoch the Red, emissary of the Royal Society, landing in 1700's Boston looking for . . someone. Scary thing is how good his research is as usual - I've just been reading up on Leibnitz and Newton and Co. and . . . you've probably seen it already but I wanted to share :)"

This new edition of Cryptonomicon is probably in a bookstore near you already, and the book proper is (only) several months away.

One small step for BanKind. An anonymous reader writes "It seems CapitalOne's website works with Mozilla, as of this November, 2002. This is good news because many people have CapitalOne credit cards, and previously the site required Microsoft's Intarweb Explorer. This just shows how simply speaking up by e-mailing large companies can evoke change. For more info see here ." Update: 12/03 22:00 GMT by T : Note that this information renders moot the question posed here about Cap One.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Circumvention, AOLandfill, Scoffing

Comments Filter:
  • SLASHBACK (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:02PM (#4727642)
    shouldn't that be slashBACK?

    from the stupid-nitpics department

  • No kidding! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Inoshiro ( 71693 )
    "managed to change the serial number and MAC address of the xbox. After the change they managed to get onto Xbox Live (with mod-chip disabled) with a previously banned xbox ..."

    It's not really surprising that changing the only 2 identity-linked features on a piece of hardware would let you get past their blacklist.

    What you should be asking yourself is: is it moral for you to go online, with your modchip, and screw over people who want to play online without dealing with cheaters? Is it? I don't think so.
    • Re:No kidding! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeebs ( 577100 ) <rsdrew@NospaM.gmail.com> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:08PM (#4727710)
      From the slashdor summary:
      managed to change the serial number and MAC address of the xbox. After the change they managed to get onto Xbox Live
      (with mod-chip disabled) with a previously banned xbox ..."[bold my own]

      If the mod-chip is disabled how could they cheat? So is it moral? I think so.
    • Re:No kidding! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:08PM (#4727716) Homepage
      Cheating against others is never moral, but I have a feeling that Microsoft isn't doing this so much to protect their users as they are to try to stick it to those who dared mess with their product. They put a lot of effort into making the XBox fairly hard to hack, and now that it's been done, I don't find it suprising that they're banning them.

      Is it immoral to play online with an XBox that you've modded so that you can run homebrew software, or install Linux? I would hope not. Modding does not necessarily equal cheating.
      • Re:No kidding! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gvonk ( 107719 )
        Modding does not necessarily equal cheating.

        Yes, but not modding necessarily implies not cheating, by all of the methods we know of.

        • Very good point. Still, is it the most effective solution to ban people just because they have the ability to cheat? Whatever happened to banning actual cheaters?

          All they're going to do with this is alienate their geekier audience.
    • I'm a little more worried about them picking MACs/Serials that other people already have and wreaking all sorts of havoc when the legitimate owners of the Serial/MAC tries to get online when the hacker has alreayd logged in.
      • Re:No kidding! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:14PM (#4727760) Homepage
        Heck, if you really wanted to screw MS over, it is probably possible to write a little piece of software that will run on the box, set the MAC and serial to initial values, connect, and then be banned. Increment serial and MAC and repeat. Leave running for a day or two.

        Pretty soon, EVERYONE would be banned. There's an ugly situation.
        • At this point wouldn't Microsoft ban your login/password? Or perhaps might they notify your ISP of what you're doing?

          They're not going to sit idle while their entire database is massacred.
        • Easily solved.. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Inoshiro ( 71693 )
          Once they inspect the source IP and simply reverse the transactions that occured within the past few hours. You'll likely end up removing everyone who is on your local ISP from using Live! than anything else.
          • You'll still cause ripples, and at least for a few hours, you could cause massive network disruption.

            Also, since you don't need any reply back (I assume), what's to stop you from forging your IP address?

            Even if they were to nullify all bannings in a certain time period, all you have to do is leave it running, initiating a ban every few hours. They'll be so spread out that they can't be effectively isolated.
            • You can't forge the IP address easily. Not unless you've already owned all the routers between you and their Live! servers. And if that was the case, why not just own the servers and be done with it?

              And you also assume that they won't take legal action against someone who is distrupting thousands or millions of people from enjoying a service they are paying for.
        • Offtopic, but I find it somewhat disturbing that my original comment has been modded "Informative". Like I gave someone an idea or something.

          I would have much preferred "Insightful" :P
      • "the legitimate owners of the Serial/MAC"

        So, who are these legitimate owners? The whole point of the controversy seems to be
        the fact that Microsoft considers themselves to be the owners of those properties.
        I wonder how this compares to federal and state laws that govern who owns what, when a
        product is sold?

        I wonder if this protest will raise any question in consumers' minds
        as to wheter Microsoft even should be using your machine's serial number or ethernet address
        to identify and monitor a user at all.

        So many people posted, focusing on that detail, but few really
        seem to have properly identified the owner of the problem. It's
        not the modchipper, and it's not the so-called "legitimate" user.

        The problem rests on Microsoft's lap, and in no small way because they
        have relied on an insecure identifier to serve as a key
        to secure a system.
    • Re:No kidding! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Indras ( 515472 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:11PM (#4727731)
      I think you're missing a part of your quote, the one that says: (with mod-chip disabled)

      So, they can't exactly be cheating and screwing people over, if the only way they can get on xbox live is with the modchip DISABLED.
    • Re:No kidding! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EllF ( 205050 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:13PM (#4727749) Homepage

      Ino,

      Are all modchips necessarily used for cheating? From what I understand, the most spiffy thing about modding an XBox is that you can run Linux on such a system. If that's you reason for having such a system, how are you screwing over your fellow players?

      • Cheating has made some games - like Counterstrike - annoying and unfun to play.

        The only real way to cheat on an X-box is to modchip it.

        Thus, to prevent what happened to games like Counterstrike, MS merely has to ban all modchipped X-boxes.

        Sure, it messes up the couple dozen people who bought an X-box to run Linux, but if you really want that, just buy a $200 PC from Walmart. I'd rather them ban modchips than have good games turn bad because of cheaters.
        • Or, hey, buy one xbox for linux, and one for screwing with!

          The likelyhood of their [Team Assembly] picking a MAC/Serial combo already in use is *extremely* remote, giving that there are 16777216 unique MAC adresses for *each* network adapter manufacturer. And only God (and Bill) knows how big the serial number space is!
      • Re:No kidding! (Score:3, Redundant)

        by Rew190 ( 138940 )
        Why do you need to be running Linux when you're going on XBox Live? The whole idea here is that when using Live you shouldn't be able to use ANY modchip. When you're not using Live, then hell, mod it to death. When you are, you can't use any modchips that could potentially let you cheat. I see no problem here.
  • by plierhead ( 570797 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:03PM (#4727661) Journal
    Look out for MS's righteous rage when the forged MAC addresses start colliding with existing, non-hacker users and it disrupts the Live service they've paid for! Can anyone say "bolt the door, the wolf's outside" ?
    • Look out for MS's righteous rage when the forged MAC addresses start colliding with existing, non-hacker users and it disrupts the Live service they've paid for! Can anyone say "bolt the door, the wolf's outside" ?

      If I was being responsible, I'd set my Xbox MAC address to be exactly the same as the one on my PC... I assume no other Xbox is likely to have that MAC.

      But then again the range of MAC addresses is so vast, why bother with that? The chances of collision have got to be vanishingly small, right?

    • "Look out for MS's righteous rage when the forged MAC addresses start colliding with existing, non-hacker users and it disrupts the Live service they've paid for!"

      Has anybody anywhere seen two devices on the same network with the same MAC address? That wasn't done intentionally? I mean, we ain't exactly talking about a 4-digit PIN number here...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:05PM (#4727679)
    You get a EULA that says that you can't access the online gaming forum with a modified X-Box. Then you go and circumvent that by putting a new serial number and MAC address on it, possibly depriving someone else down the line with the identical numbers of playing online.

    You broke the licensing agreement in the first place by modding the box. Why do you think it's right to break it further by circumventing the agreed-upon penalty?
    • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:17PM (#4727786) Homepage
      Why do you think it's right for a seller of a physical product to tell you what you may or may not do with that product after the lawful sale?

      Do we, as consumers, have property rights, or don't we?
    • But they're not playing with mod chips enabled, so they own the game and they're paying for the service. Maybe if they were aware of the consequences of attempting to play with a modded box then they wouldn't have tried to do so in the first place. A permanent ban is very harsh considering that they've bought the Xbox, the game(s) and subscribed to the service. Maybe if M$ offered a refund for cancelling their access it would be an issue, but I think they are justified in changing the serial number and MAC address to plat for what they've paid for.
    • by Bagheera ( 71311 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @09:14PM (#4728178) Homepage Journal
      And many EULA's have been found unenforcable. Remember, this is hardware not software. My WRX didn't come with an EULA from Subaru saying I could only run Amoco Premium in the tank and couldn't change the air cleaner for a K&N, why shoud an X-Box come with an EULA that restricts what I do with MY hardware.

      You BUY hardware, you don't license it.

      Now, I agree with you completely that snagging another MAC and S/N at random is very uncool for the poor sot who actually buys the iron with those numbers.

      As for why it's OK to break the licensing agreement, I point out (again) that hardware is NOT licensed, it's owned. I do not RENT my console. I own it.

      As for circumventing the ban, given the above (I own my iron) I figure it's within my rights as a user to USE the iron I bought and paid for.

      I'm NOT condoning cheating or anything with a mod. This isn't about cheating. It's about the owner's rights to use their own gear.
      • by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @10:35PM (#4728744)
        But you're forgetting, Xbox Live is a service. You don't own it. You pay MS to use it. Their terms are you can only use it with unmodified hardware. There isn't anything wrong with that.

        As for the Xbox itself, Microsoft doesn't care what you do with it, nor do they have any say in the matter. They strongly prefer that you buy a lot of games for it, but hell even if you make it a Linux box, they don't care. Just lets them say to developers, "Hey, we've sold x systems, you should make games for us." (Yes, in the long run they don't want a lot of people buying systems but not games, but in the short run it probably still helps them)
      • As for why it's OK to break the licensing agreement, I point out (again) that hardware is NOT licensed, it's owned. I do not RENT my console. I own it.

        I strongly support the "I bought it, I'll hack it as I wish" attitude. It's my right to play DVDs under Linux, add mod chips to my consoles, and disable macrovision and region coding from my DVD player.

        But.

        This isn't about your hardware. This is about a service you pay for (and agree to a license for up front). You're welcome to hack your X-Box, but Microsoft is free to decline to let you onto their service. Seems reasonable to me.

      • >My WRX didn't come with an EULA from Subaru saying >I could only run Amoco Premium in the tank and >couldn't change the air cleaner for a K&N

        Dammit, if God intended your car to have free air flow, he would've put a a free-flow filtration system on your car to begin with!
  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:07PM (#4727697) Journal
    Everyone [savyon.com] hates [mit.edu] AOL CDs [kanorb.co.uk].

    Even dogs [nomoreaolcds.com].
  • If you send your AOL CDs back to those guys, you get what you deserve...Them send right back to you.
  • "...managed to change the serial number and MAC address of the xbox. After the change they managed to get onto Xbox Live (with mod-chip disabled) with a previously banned xbox ..."

    Any code devised by man can be broken by man.

    t_t_b

  • by MeerCat ( 5914 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:08PM (#4727713) Homepage
    The usual point of a petition is to demonstrate to people the mass rejection the public are showing their idea. Returning a million AOL CDs doesn't, IMHO, do this; it just tells AOL that their brand awareness campaign is working (and I dare say AOL know how many they have made).

    If you want it stopped, hit them where it hurts - put a return-to-sender sticker on them, make AOL pay for the postage, or handle them one-by-one, or see if you can use that German law about making retailers pay the cost of removing and disposing of excess packaging... I'm not a genius (I used to be, but I'm told I'm not any more) but surely we can come up with something more persuasive than a one-off dump of a large single load of CDs.
    • by 1DarkZen ( 25693 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:11PM (#4727738) Homepage
      I'm not a genius (I used to be, but I'm told I'm not any more)

      You must have gotten married.
    • Don't bother doing the return to sender bit. The CDs are sent 4th class bulk mail - if the post ofice sees one being returned, it goes straight to the trash.
      • Again [slashdot.org] (tho you're not to know), I have to say that I'm not living in the US, and whilst what you say may be true for you (I'm assuming, maybe incorrectly, that you are in the US), different laws about return mail apply elsewhere.

        A million CD's returned in one job lot go in the bin in one motion, but a million CDs returned one-at-a-time cost a hell of a lot more to process.

    • MOD PARENT DOWN! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @09:18PM (#4728197)
      "If you want it stopped, hit them where it hurts - put a return-to-sender sticker on them, make AOL pay for the postage"

      As has been repeated ad nauseum both here and on their website, AOL CDs (like almost all other mailed advertisements) are sent via Standard Mail (not First Class). There is no Return to Sender bit in Standard Mail (unlike First Class).

      Besides, if they were sent First Class, the return postage has already been paid in the price of the stamp. It wouldn't hurt their wallet one way or the other.
  • At last (Score:2, Funny)

    by bryhhh ( 317224 )
    woohoo!

    Now I can buy myself an Xbox on my CaptialOne card.
  • RE: Cryptonomicron (Score:2, Interesting)

    by usmcpanzer ( 538447 )
    I just recently (a weeka ago?) purchased the book in the US, and the Quicksilver part is in the back. Can't say I've read it yet, tho.

  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:11PM (#4727735)
    So they said they changed their serial number *and* MAC address to get back on. This is interesting and points back to something someone said in a previous thread. All you need to do is to make a program to burn through serial number space and get them marked invalid, and you've got a DoS of entertaining proportions.
    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:49PM (#4728025) Homepage Journal
      This raises a couple of interesting questions.

      1. Are X-Box serial numbers laid out in some predictable pattern (sequentally for instance?). And if not: 2. Just how big IS that serial number space. Something tells me it's of BIGNUM proportions and it's the kind of thing that you woudn't be able to burn through in your lifetime.
      • Still Good (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Srin Tuar ( 147269 )
        Even if there is an infinite number of combinations, this is a valid strategy. The reason is the banned clients dont have to store any state, but the server does. So after some ungodly number of combinations are banned the server will fail from having to store such a large database of banned clients.


        To make the method most effective, its best to make sure the serial numbers/MAC are well spread through the valid number space.

      • you might not be able to burn through it, but you could sure make a bunch of people who haven't hacked their X-boxes calling up MS complaining about how they can't use the X-box-live features, and demanding to know why.
        --
  • by coryboehne ( 244614 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:11PM (#4727737)
    The other evening (without an internet connection) I was trying to install the .Net framework (dotnetfx.exe) on my laptop and since I had installed windows 98 the version of Internet Explorer was 5.00.x but due to the dependencies of the .Net framework I needed to have 5.01 or later.

    As an aside, when you don't have 5.01 or later it just kills the browser that you do have installed, so it kinda causes a really fun catch-22, no browser to surf the web to find a new browser..... Really sucked.

    Anyway, back with my story.... I was on a frantic search for a copy of IE 5.01 or later when I remembered that I had a stockpile of those AOL Cd's in the garage... I grabbed myself one of them (yellow, no idea what version) and proceeded to find the IE directory on the disc.. Sure enough it was version 5.01.x so I installed it and everything went smoothly from there.

    So, the moral of the story? Sometimes AOL disks do have a use other than coasters or frisbees....
  • by BSOD from above ( 625268 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:12PM (#4727743) Homepage
    when you cook them in the microwave for 15 seconds. Just don't try this with anything you care about.
  • xbox serial number (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FeatherBoa ( 469218 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:14PM (#4727761)
    Team Assembly managed to change the serial number and MAC address of the xbox. After the change they managed to get onto Xbox Live (with mod-chip disabled) with a previously banned xbox

    Not only that, you can arrange for any arbitrary XBox to be permanently banned!
    I wonder if there's a way to pollute their blacklist with so many bogus entries that they have to give up.
    • by donutz ( 195717 )
      I wonder if there's a way to pollute their blacklist with so many bogus entries that they have to give up.

      Probably not easily. Out of all the Xboxen sold, I'd guess it's a small percentage of gamers who go online with them...so you'd have to get a list of serials for those gamers...then dial in to the service with each and every one of them....sounds like a tedious task that really isn't worth it unless you're hell-bent on pissing off Microsoft.
    • "I wonder if there's a way to pollute their blacklist with so many bogus entries that they have to give up."

      I don't see it working:

      Nov 22 20:49:20 xbl-auth MOD-check: Banned serial number "1234-1234", account "Slashdot Fan 2002"
      Nov 22 20:49:21 xbl-auth MOD-check: Banned serial number "1234-1235", account "Slashdot Fan 2002"
      Nov 22 20:49:22 xbl-auth MOD-check: Banned serial number "1234-1236", account "Slashdot Fan 2002"
      Nov 22 20:49:23 xbl-auth MOD-check: Banned serial number "1234-1237", account "Slashdot Fan 2002"
      Nov 22 20:49:24 xbl-auth MOD-check: Banned serial number "1234-1238", account "Slashdot Fan 2002"

      The next morning, someone in the XBL division looks at the log files, unbans the serial numbers, pulls up the billing information for "Slashdot Fan 2002", and possibly initiates legal action against Slashdot Fan 2002 (by attempting to equate the serial number spoofing to fraud or account cracking; such claims could be further helped depending on how the network ToS is worded). The easiest part comes from the fact that they already have all your personal info -- there's no dynamic IP address hassle and no need to subpoena the ISP for more information (unless the case gets really serious).

  • Remember ATI is the 500lb Gorilla here, not NVIDIA. ATI just woke up in time to see NVIDIA trying to sneak in on its graphics card market and put the smacketh down, respectfully.

    Lets see NVIDIA wake up and charge a little less that the 1/2 a grand they seem to think their metal is worth...
  • by Aexia ( 517457 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:18PM (#4727790)
    The Saturday night before Halloween I had a costume party to go to. I remembered this Saturday morning. Or rather, Saturday afternoon since that's when I actually woke up. I had no costume.

    But I did have a bunch of crap CDs, some of which were AOL CDs. So I taped them together and went as AOLandfill. Had about strips of 6-7 down each a leg, a sort of vest and a couple on my forearms. Truth be told, it did look like some low-rent Power Ranger battle armour or something, but once I said the name, people thought it was funny.

    I also got to use pickup lines like
    Try me free for 1000 hours for your first month!
    I'm so easy to use it's no wonder I'm number one!

    The terrifying part of the costume may have been how well those lines worked.
  • Nvidia not news ?!?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:29PM (#4727889) Journal
    Yeah, the same features implemented under ATI are documented but guess what...They will WORK for Nvidia, and they DON'T NOW for ATI.....

    ATI support is about the worst I've ever had the misfortune to need to deal with. The actually make M$ support look forthcoming and really eager to please. 4 rev's of ATI's so called catalyst drivers and things are actually sort of stable, but a slew of games won't run under the 9700pro, for example M$ CFS3 does not recognize the driver set up. If you are thinking about buying a video card I suggest as someone who has a Radeon 9700pro and a nvidia 460, I'd get a cheap GF3 or 4200 and wait and see the NV30. Unless you have money to just burn, ATI has dissapointed again, and they've not corrected any of this All in One Wonder driver issues either....
    • I know you're just trolling here, but the real issue is not that some features aren't as good, it's that Nvidia just didn't bother to implement something that ATI and Matrox did implement and is part of the DirectX 9.0 spec. Namely hardware displacement mapping [xbitlabs.com]. Hard for it to work on the GeForce FX and not on the Radeon when Nvidia didn't even implement it, huh?

      God I'm tired of people liking things because they're a fanboy for the brand.
  • capital one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw&snkmail,com> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:35PM (#4727936) Journal
    "It seems CapitalOne's website works with Mozilla, as of this November, 2002. This is good news because many people have CapitalOne credit cards, and previously the site required Microsoft's Intarweb Explorer. This just shows how simply speaking up by e-mailing large companies can evoke change."

    Excellent. Now keep speaking up and make sure they know that you are pleased to be able to continue giving them your business because they respect your personal choices.

    My bank in canada always had a Mozilla friendly site and I made sure I sent them a nice e-mail thanking them ,describing exactly why I prefer to use their services as opposed to my previous bank.

    Positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback!

  • by wilburdg ( 178573 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:51PM (#4728040)
    Weird. A link in the story description to a reply to that same story...

    Hmmm... But... but.... *head explodes*

    Slashdot: Successfully colapsing the known universe since...
  • by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <davep@zedkepCOBOL.com minus language> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @08:57PM (#4728074)
    Going back to the bad old days while the Geforce FX was a bunch of unsubtantiated rumours, I remember the furore around the theory that the FX would only have a 128 bit memory interface.

    Theory goes that by having a 128 bit interface the cards themselves are cheaper to produce. The fact that all bar one of the Radeon 9700 pro cards are using the ATI reference design is surely a testament to how much of a bitch it is to produce a 256 bit memory interface in the real world. But then they go and stick that f*cking vacuum cleaner thing on top. Are you expecting me to believe that a copper heat sink, heat pipes, and a rediculous vacuum cleaner thing is cheap to produce?

    Nah, it's panic innit. NV30 is nowhere near as fast as it should have been and they're having to overclock it's tits off to get any reasonable headway over the R300.

    Personally I blame specification overkill. Given that we won't be seeing DX9/GL2 based games for at least two years, what's the point of having 64k instruction long pipelines? Maybe nVidia are eyeing up the professional rendering market but... well... I dunno. It just seems a little over the top. The "ti200" version might be worth it, but then so is a Radeon 9700 (ordinary, not pro) and you can have that now.

    Dave
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @09:15PM (#4728181) Journal
    When we were looking at buying a new car a few months ago, toyota.ca told me that my browser was too old, and I should use IE5 or 'better.' I wrote to 'em and complained, pointing out that people who shop carefully online for cars are likely to shop carefully for browsers as well. :-)

    A month later, there was a page up saying they were redesigning for Mozilla/Netscape7/Opera compliance.

    Today Mozilla works flawlessly, on their remarkably well designed site.

    Score one for the good guys! And I'm off to make sure Toyota knows I appreciate their effort.
  • ATI vs. NVIDIA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scotay ( 195240 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @09:17PM (#4728185)
    I'm a happy owner of a 9700 pro. I'm sure future buyers will be happy with the NV30.

    Despite all the puffery of the PR, they only claim about 40% increase over the 9700. 46 measly frames in Doom III with all the goods!!! Neither of these cards will run the Doom demo well! Hardly worthy of the claim creating a "new era of cinematic graphics". ATI started the new era, and NVIDIA is now matching ATI's offering with a slight increase in performance. Good job to both camps. We will all enjoy the benefits.

    Future NVIDIA purchasers will have ATI to thank for the NV30's clockspeed and required hoover for cooling. There is little doubt that if it were not for the 9700 NV30 would be delivered later or clocked lower. I think ATI really surprised NVIDIA. We shall see who has the next surprise.

    I think the big lie is that cinematic effects only begin with their deeper 2.0+ shaders. If you look at the DX9 demos from ATI [hardforum.com], you can see the stock 2.0 pixel and vertex shaders offer plenty of opportunity for cinematic effects.

    The hoopla helps deflects attention away from NV30's lower bandwidth and poorer clockspeed-t/performace ratio compared to the 9700. I suspect the deeper shaders will not perform well for gaming and will only be used in near-real-time applications.

    Both will be decent cards that adequately handle requirements (DX9) that may only start to matter for mainstream games by the time we're debating NV40 vs. R400.
  • > Thanks to the AC who noticed the goofed headline
    > ("this is only a test," remember), now amended.

    Yet you never corrected the bogus "jumping genes" headline. Why is that?
  • The whole "web standards" debate is stupid, and most especially one sided sites like Zeldman's webstandards.org [webstandards.org]. All that Zeldman and his cronies are doing is try to push new standards ahead of sane development, probably just so that he won't have to deal with standards like HTML. He has a point, though, as the older standards are lame and the newer standards are better. But he lacks the ability to understand that browser development and deployment will always lag behind, and why. The sad thing is that his kind of suckered lots of web developers into believing that all they have to do is blame the user for having an old browser and all will become better because all users will upgrade. Truth is, that's not always possible or feasible.

    A tour of web sites using the Zeldman style with an older browser will generally work, as he does not advocate breaking them. But what you do get is less than what that browser is capable of. For example, browsers have for ages supported setting a background color or even a background image in HTML. Zeldmanistas refuse to set the background color, or in some cases, intentionally set it to something different than what is set in CSS. So while the site looks fine with CSS, without CSS you get maybe stark gray [ipal.org], or worse, black with black text over it. So what's actually going on here is not a case of these developers adhering to web standards, but rather, they are picking and choosing the standards they want to use, such as by not making use of HTML completely and correctly. So why should he any right to expect that others will choose to use newer standards like CSS or XML or whatever.

    There is also a very good reason to make a web site that works with older browsers. Many groups are now operating in lower income urban areas carrying out programs to get older computers donated to them from businesses that are doing the upgrading. Because of the economy, the number of businesses doing upgrades has dropped off and most donations are rather old. What this means is that most of the people receiving these computers are getting something in the late 486 or early Pentium range, and at best a copy of Windows 95, which is usually all (other than BSD or Linux, which hasn't made it to these programs that I've seen yet ... something for us to get more involved in I suppose) that these old machines with slow CPU, small memory, and limited hard drive capacity can handle. So they end up with usually an old Netscape version 3 browser (Java and Javascript are hopelessly broken, and CSS is non-existant). Newer browsers overwhelm the machine, if they even fit at all.

    This "economic accessibility" isn't yet addressed by law, and may never be. Private business does not have to cater to them. So the banks and other financial institutions listed with specific browser requirements aren't in violation. And besides, we're talking about people who can't afford a computer and have to use limited time community access ISPs just to get online (if the phone and electric bill are paid up). I'm sure the financial institutions have no interest in extending them credit.

    While businesses probably should have a free choice in what, and who, they support, governments OTOH should not. People should have a right to expect their government internet based services to be accessible to all, not just those who can afford a bigger faster computer that can handle the latest obese and overloaded software. And since it is possible to make web sites that not only work well with new standards, but also work well (as well as those standards allow) with older standards that the smaller browsers support, governments should be required to do this in all citizen-facing web sites. In other words, if it can be made to work in a minimal set of standards, it must be made to work that well when that's what's available. Then if it works even better in newer standards in ways that the older standards could never do, that's fine, too.

    What I think might be a better approach to this would be to support the development of a not-so-obese web browser [cipsga.org.br], as well as programs to get systems like Linux deployed onto more of the computers being donated to the economically disadvantaged (aside: why are politically correct words so long?).

    • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @11:59PM (#4729294) Homepage Journal
      So while the site looks fine with CSS, without CSS you get maybe stark gray...

      Very few web sits voluntarily chose a grey background. In fact, that glorious grey is the browser's default background color. If fact, if you visit webstandards.org [webstandards.org] without CSS support, you're getting the colors, fonts, and layout you asked for. Don't like it, take a trip to Edit > Preferences > Appearance > Colors. Click the button for "Background" and change it to something you like. See, control in your hands.

      So what's actually going on here is not a case of these developers adhering to web standards, but rather, they are picking and choosing the standards they want to use, such as by not making use of HTML completely and correctly.

      Actually, they're making use of the latest version of HTML completely and correctly. Using the various color tags and techniques from previous versions would in fact be violating the correct use of HTML. When you break standards you end up having to do dozens of special cases for the quirks of each browser. If you stick to baseline modern HTML with CSS, all modern browsers will display the same thing looking good, older browsers will degrade gracefully.

      You argue that by not supporting out of date HTML you're somehow discriminating against people with older computers. That's a bizarre claim. By using out of date HTML, you're making it harder for anyone to use it. Modern HTML makes it easier to render a web page in lynx [browser.org], or on your WebTV, or on a braille display, or be read aloud by a text to speech program. CSS makes it easier to keep your HTML small, speeding up the browsing experience for people with lower quality phone lines or working over an expensive wireless link. Modern HTML degrades gracefully. The old hackery HTML turns into a mess when forced to degrade. The webstandards.org page you complain about may not look pretty, but it's sure as hell usable. It'll work fine under lynx and a text to speech reader will easily and accurate speak the page for a blind person. As someone who occasionally must fall back on extremely low end systems and extremely slow connections, I appreciate how well webstandards.org degrade and curse how poorly most "old HTML" sites do.

      Zeldmanistas...intentionally set it to something different than what is set in CSS. ... So while the site looks fine with CSS, without CSS you get ... black with black text over it.

      Actually, anyone playing this sort of game is most certainly not a believer in Web Standards. Setting the background color at all in HTML (instead of CSS) is not invalid by the standard. No, those people are just assholes.

  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @10:06PM (#4728540)
    They decided to mod their Xbox, now they are upset that breaking the EULA makes their box incompatible with Xbox Live.

    BooHoo.

    If I were to somehow get OS X running on an AMD chip and iTools no longer worked, the last thing I would do would be to cry to Apple.

    Xbox Live is a little oasis of online gaming where cheating, drastic connection differences and hardware differences are currently nonexistant. It is EXACTLY what legit Counterstrike players have been begging for since the late '90s. Now, a bunch of assholes out to get around their own inability to deal with the consequences their actions have bestowed upon them, are out to ruin it for everyone else.

    XBL is something we've all wanted for years. Now, we can likely expect to see legit users permabanned from XBL because some 1337 hAx0r cannot possibly deal with the fact he can only get ahead in online Xbox games by using ......SKILL!!!!!

    So he uses their serial/MAC.

    Others do the same.

    They also cheat.

    XBL is ruined.

    I know a lot of people think it is cool to fuck over Microsoft at every oppertunity and feel that they should give up on the banning, but if this were anyone else, there would be a lot more outrage than there is now. Something good is on the verge of being destroyed. Too bad no one wants to own up to their own hypocrisy.
  • by Pretzalzz ( 577309 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @11:37PM (#4729168)
    I just heard on Car Talk that they decided to send 3.1 yogurt lids to AOL. Essentially, they were going to run a promotional campaign for some cause by printing a message on yogurt lids. The problem was that they put NPR on the lids(since they air on NPR) without clearing it with NPR. When NPR found out they said that the lids couldn't be distributed because NPR didn't want to be seen associated with a commercial product. So Click and Clack were stuck with 3.1 million lids that they didn't have anything to with. They had a contest to come up with the best use for them and the winning entry was "Send them to AOL and see how they feel".

Memory fault -- brain fried

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