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Comment More problems (Score 1) 486

Yet another potential problem that no one seems to have mentioned yet is that of shared houses. If my flatmate has a virus (which he doesn't any more because I cleaned it off last night) then the whole house is going to be seen as "infected" and four innocent people will be cut off the internet due to the indiscretions of one person. This could be made all the worse if the person owning the infected computer is on holiday for a week.

ISPs are in a great position to significantly impact bot activity but the first adopters of this kind of policy will lose customers to more forgiving ISPs as customers get angry about being cut off, whether this anger is justified or not. ISPs will have to ease their way into this kind of policy, being very careful not to alienate their customers.

Comment Re:so true (Score 1) 228

WoW has two instances of this sort of thing I can think of. The first is that as a rogue, I can pick almost any lock in the game... but certain locks I have to get the right key to open. It would have been simple just to raise the lockpicking skill required for that lock high enough that no one can attain it, but they didn't. They just said "No. You need the right key."

The other one is cold weather flying. One of the four continents requires a new skill to be learned before you can fly there, even if you have learned flying already. The talent is called "Cold weather flying" but there are warm areas of the continent. There are also cold areas of other continents. It's inconsistent and, as the article talks about, it breaks the immersion in the game. It's not quite as easy a fix as the lock one, but given enough thought, I'm sure they could have come up with a way of making it work and still be consistent.

I'd love to see game developers spend more time making games better.

Comment Re:It's not what it would seem. (Score 1) 154

The only sentence in that entire post I wrote myself is the first one. The rest of them are quoting Bill Hicks, the sadly departed comedian.

Although I will grant you that the reason the word "dinosaur" doesn't appear in the bible is because it hadn't been invented yet, I will not grant you that the one use of the word "behemoth" and the one mention of the word "leviathan" and the dubious references to a dragon are actually evidence that dinosaurs existed at the same time as man. If dinosaurs and man co-existed, the bible would talk about practically nothing else. They would be mentioned on every second page. There would probably be would a mention of them in the chapter about Noah for instance.

As for your assertion that I spend my days glued to Comedy Central; Bill Hicks will never be shown on Comedy Central, I have read significant parts of the bible and I don't own a TV.

Comment Re:It's not what it would seem. (Score 3, Funny) 154

The good man is not a troll and was indeed quoting one of funniest comedians of our time who is also conveniently mentioned in his sig. The follow up line was:

Bill: "I think God put you here to test my faith, Dude. You actually believe that?"
Young earth creationist: "Uh huh."
Bill: "Does that trouble anyone here? The idea that God.. might be...fuckin' with our heads? I have trouble sleeping with that knowledge. Some prankster God running around: "Hu hu ho. We will see who believes in me now, ha HA.”

And now, for some more dinosaur based humour from Bill:

Bill: “You believe the world's 12 thousand years old?"
YEC: "That's right."
Bill: "Okay I got a question to ask you."
YEC: "Okay"
Bill: "It's a one word question."
YEC: "Uh huh."
Bill: "Dinosaurs."

Bill: " You know the world's 12 thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, they existed in that time, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point. "And lo Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus...with a splinter in his paw. And O the disciples did run a shriekin': 'What a big fucking lizard, Lord!' But Jesus was unafraid and he took the splinter from the brontosaurus's paw and the big lizard became his friend.”

Comment Re:Is it just me? (Score 1) 45

The company I work for sells books. One of our developers created a Chrome addon in his own time that looks for ISBNs in every page you view and displays the price for the same book on our website.

No one knew that was going to happen when the API was developed. In fact, Chrome didn't even exist back then. (Although one of the other developers has made a Firefox addon and Firefox certainly did exist.) Companies just provide the API and let the developers come up with the good ideas. They don't expect anything in particular.

Comment Well, of course. (Score 1) 45

The company I work for developed an API the minute we saw the first bot scraping our prices straight off the website. It's crazy not to. The bots are nearly always managed by someone who runs a price comparison website that drives traffic straight to us. The easier we make it for them, the more sales we get.

The hard-working 3rd party developers are going to get the info anyway by scraping the HTML designed for browsers but it will be hard work for them and it will break every time we re-jig the site. The API uses much less bandwidth and much fewer resources for both them and us and has the benefit for them of always being in a defined format.

Frankly, I'm surprised developing an API isn't the first thing every retailer does after finishing version 1.0 of their site.

Warning: The following paragraph may contain traces of a shameless plug.

A more recent API we have developed ties our products to semantically tagged data about the products. We aren't really sure what people are going to do with this data yet but the possibilities seem broad. If you feel like having a play with semantically tagged book data, the new API is at BibDib. (Yes, we have an affiliate program.)

Comment Re:Ummm, no (Score 1) 228

He didn't say "high prices", he said "valuable". He also didn't say "buy things", he said "80%-90% reduction in numbers"

The high value causes more fishermen to go out and hunt the Bluefin Tuna and attempt to sell them for high prices at the market. The prices go up because the demand exceeds the supply. The high prices cause the perceived value to go up and even more fishermen decide that Bluefin Tuna are the best choice of fish for them to catch. If the price goes high enough, some of the Bluefin Tuna won't be sold and will simply go to waste, but that still contributes to the 80%-90% reduction in numbers even though nobody bought anything.

Any misjudgements about the levels of supply and demand end up with dead fish and poor fishermen.

The supply and demand dynamics are circular so it's very easy to get confused about cause and effect when the effect is, in turn, the cause of the original cause.

Comment Re:Skipfish vulnerability scanner (Score 1) 65

No, he wants the rules moved out of the source code for the same reason that anti-virus definitions are not compiled-in to anti-virus products and Nessus plugins are not compiled-in to Nessus.

New attacks are developed all the time, new vulnerabilities are discovered all the time. Having to write C code for this and re-compile the entire scanner is a massive pain and waste of time. Writing a rule should be quick and easy. And yes, even non-coders (say, sysadmins who may have never touched C or maybe anything other than Perl) should be able to do it successfully.

Even changing it to be a compiled-C plugin would be better than having it compiled in to the main application.

I see this being an improvement for the near future.

Comment Re:Move to a higher order port and use denyhosts (Score 1) 497

My thoughts on these suggestions:

  1. The purpose of changing the port is not security (a simple portscan will undo that) but reduction of logged error messages while still allowing all IP addresses anywhere to SSH to the machine.
  2. The port you choose is important. At one place I worked we used port 10000. This is already used for Webmin (although we never used Webmin) and hence we got thousands of Webmin brute force attacks against our SSH port. They could never have been successful but it didn't cut down on the logged error messages very much.
  3. Denyhosts and Fail2ban both have the ability to be quite nasty on false positives and are rather prone to them. Amongst all the suggestions above to use these products, I would also add to make sure you whitelist a place you can always get access to. You should also have an out-of-band communication method with your servers. That way, when you do finally get locked out of your own server by your security tool, you know how to get in and fix the problem. The same goes for an IPS if you install one. Make sure you can still access it when it decides you are an intruder.
  4. Check your SSH error log to make sure something like denyhosts or fail2ban would even be of any use. I have seen plenty of brute force attempts where each IP address only tries three different username/password combinations and then moves on to another server. Then another picks up where the first one left off. These guys wouldn't even notice if you were using fail2ban. Sharing your denyhosts with the denyhosts site might help. You could use the shared denyhosts block lists to configure fail2ban if you preferred it.

And to the original poster who gets a million per year across 50 or so domains... I got a new box installed a few weeks ago that had 45,000 attempts in the three days it was online before my ISP gave me the IP address. That's a million attempts about every two months. Per server. You have only yet seen the tip of the iceberg.

Comment Re:Why does only rape matter ? (Score 1) 85

I imagine you are absolutely correct about people having strong emotional reactions to rape and child pornography. In fact, much more so than murder, the mere mention of the other two crimes can cause an emotional reaction, whereas for most people, the murder needs to be of somebody they know to have the same level of emotional reaction.

On the other hand, within some games, death is a normal part of the game. In FPS style games, murder is the entire point. In this sense, our expectations are different in the game to in real life. But since rape and theft are not expected in most games we are taken aback and shocked if it happens. I wonder if murder might matter more in a game where death and murder are uncommon.

As for the technology, I'm not sure if you are familiar with the LambdaMOO case or the technology involved. As for me, my University used their own MOO based on the LambdaMOO as a tool to help teach their Computer Ethics course and I have had a character on the actual LambdaMOO in the past.

A MOO is basically a multi-person text-based adventure game. You can cause any text you like to appear on the screen of everybody currently connected if you know how. The rapist could cause the text:
Macgrrl slowly takes off her clothes.
to appear on the screen. This would (to most users) be completely indistinguishable from Macgrrl actually typing that. The technology is low but precisely because of that, the power of words became greater. Any player could completely alter the world as you (and everyone else) saw it. With current games, our power over the world is much less because the world is so much more complex. We can only do what the developers give us the ability to do. But this has not changed the emotional involvement (at least for some people). I think the emotional involvement comes more from the social interaction rather than the online persona. In the LambdaMOO case, the avatar was an extension of her real world self and had real friends, even if they were only ever contacted in a virtual setting. In that sense, WoW is unlikely to ever have this problem, but Second Life very well could or, as you said, Surrogates. The technology, however, I think is almost irrelevant. It's just the player's power over the world and other players that matters and the technology affects this.

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