Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Just a few notes (Score 5, Interesting) 170

No doubt all of this is in bits and pieces elsewhere. Feel free to mark redundant.

1. The GPS system is owned and operated by the military. Civilians are secondary users. They get to turn it off any time they want, or reduce its accuracy, etc.

2. People already use readily-available GPS jammers, primarily to steal LoJack-equipped cars. Not sure why they're legal to sell, as a device intended solely for disabling a military-owned system, but

3. My money is on the military testing its resiliency to deliberate wide-area jamming or attacks on GPS satellites. It's an obvious way to seriously affect the US military without shooting soldiers, so some countries/NGOs might be more willing to do this than, say, blowing up a bus. My money is also on testing during thesummer during the day because pilots can... y'know... look out the window and see where they are. VFR conditions pretty much guaranteed. (yes, yes, at FL180 up you're in class A airspace and always are on instrument rules, but even A380 pilots need to use eyeballs)

4. There are no commercial aircraft that rely ONLY on GPS. VOR and DME are widely used (especially VOR), and pilots are trained to be able to navigate using those methods (evne non-commercial license holders and non-instrument-rating license holders).

5. I'm a pilot. Only private, but I can navigate perfectly well without GPS, and the plane I most commonly rent doesn't even have GPS. And as a pilot, I'm nothing special. If I were flying in that area, I'd do nothing differently whatsoever.

6. I'm not sure what's up with that Embraer. Something to look up tonight.

Comment Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (Score 5, Informative) 142

Where do I begin...

With OnLive, you could play Crysis at 30fps on medium settings at 720p on a Celeron-equipped netbook with an Intel GMA950. So no, you were not getting the kind of thing integrated video can offer.

Latency depends entirely upon the quality of the network link between you and the data center. OnLive was not intended for people in Yellowknife or Cheyenne or the Azores; it was for people in densely-populated well-wired urban areas in which they had data centers. That's a lot of people, but no, it's not everyone, nor is there any sort of requirement that it be for everyone. Part of the setup was a latency/bandwidth test that you were supposed to run before you signed up. And if your ISP oversubscribed your last-mile connection to the point where you couldn't use it between 7pm and 10pm... yeah, that's a problem, but it's not universal, and it's not anything OnLive could do anything about, any more than Ford is responsible for whether on not your street has potholes. I suggest beating your ISP over the head with a lead pipe in such cases.

Yes, there's a loss of single-pixel detail. It's not perfect, and there is no requirement that it be so (any more that there is a requirement that lossy audio be forbidden for sale). Expectations must be reasonable (as must expectation-setting).

OnLive's video was tuned for 4 to 6 mbps with less than 30ms of latency, with low packet loss (less than 1%). Under such circumstances, it did well. When network conditions deteriorated, it had some automatic fallbacks to keep the framerate above 30fps for as long as possible; it would remain at least usable down to 2.5mbps/5% loss, though it wasn't pretty under those conditions. It was far, far more than glorified RDP and VNC (it wasn't a video memory buffer; the hardware captured and processed the digital video stream from a DVI interface and the digital audio stream as taken from SPDIF outputs, and injected control with a virtual USB HID). It was good tech. Low latency was achieved by essentially running unbuffered and a couple of other things that I'm not sure whether I could talk about yet.

But as I mentioned earlier, the real failure was the inability to make the deals with third parties that would turn that tech into something worth paying for.

Comment It's true (Score 5, Informative) 142

Ex-Onlive employee here (I left a couple of years ago). I've been hearing from my OnLive friends... yup. Big big layoff. Hire these people if you see 'em, folks, they're good workers who know their stuff and have a work ethic.

The tech works, and has been fine for almost three years now; I was doing all my gaming through OnLive when I worked there, and was about 50 miles form the data center. The trouble as I see it is the same that I saw back when I left: it ceased being a technology play when it worked well enough, and turned into a business development play. They needed to:

  • sign the majority of the major publishers
  • get them to release new titles simultaneously with physical retail
  • convince the publishers to charge somewhat less than physical retail and
  • form revenue-sharing-based transit agreements and peering deals with major ISPs to keep OnLive traffic out of the bandwidth caps

Unfortunately, none of the biz dev plays were driven to success.

Tech is easy. Business is hard. CUtting deals is hardest of all.

Comment Re:Screw you, anonymous! (Score 5, Insightful) 239

Thanking Anonymous for stealing my credit card info to demonstrate Sony's/Stratfor's/whatever's poor IT practices is akin to thanking an arsonist for burning down my house to demonstrate that it's flammable.

There's not a shred of morality or good intention in Anonymous. None. They're vandals and thieves who never got over resenting authority figures when they were 13. Having the ability to run Metasploit against a video game host doesn't change the basic mindset.

Comment Re:Why do people still use Sony (Score 2, Insightful) 239

So to punish Sony for hurting their customers, Anonymous hurts Sony customers. But Anonymous is stealing credit card info for YOUR benefit!

Good going, guys. Way to take the moral high road and to convince the public to support you. What's next, scrambling blood types in breached medical records databases to teach insurance companies a lesson with dead patients, so you can portray yourselves as Robin Hoods with a pile of bodies?

Comment Wait, what? (Score 1) 566

Hackers going to jail? Since when?

A few high-profile media darlings compared to thousands of breaches per day... no. Hackers aren't going to jail. You're still orders of magnitude more likely to do jail time for shoplifting a candy bar than for exposing a few hundred thousand people to identity theft or for selling a few thousand credit card numbers or engaging in online extortion.

This country has fucked-up priorities.

Comment Old trick. (Score 5, Insightful) 298

This is a time-honored way of targeting a particular company. It sounds expensive, but if your motivation is commercial or governmental *coughcoughstux* it's extremely cheap compared to the alternatives (bribery, breaking-and-entering, rubber-hose cryptography). It's also a great way of finding out whether your own organization is aware of malware trouble; this technique is commonly used as part of security audits performed by companies hired to find out how good your company really is.

A company I worked for a few years ago hired a security auditing firm to check up on ourselves (only a few people were told, and we were told to keep quiet to ensure that our day-to-day practices were tested, not our "crap, someone's checking!" performance). They were unable to penetrate the network from the outside (including wirelessly) or socially engineer their way past reception or weasel out a password, but they got in via the USB-stick-in-the-parking-lot method. They told us afterwards that this is an extremely effective technique, as primate curiosity is almost unstoppable.

Comment Re:Get an amateur radio license (Score 1) 278

But you DO need FCC approval on a per-device level to transmit in the cellular spectrum. And unlike in ham radio in which all you get for unlicensed transmissions is a stern lecture from a cranky old man (the reality is that the FCC only acts on the very worst transgressions in the ham band), if you transmit on cellular frequencies without an approved device, the FCC will be all over your ass. Because of the potential for serious harmful disruption; you might even end up on the DHS radar and discover first-hand how paper-thin the veneer of "civil rights" actually is. Disabling a portion of a city's phone infrastructure is just the kind of thing that Really Bad People would love to do.

Cellular spectrum isn't Citizen's Band. Homebrew will land your ass in front of a judge.

Also, there are serious restrictions on what you can and cannot do and say on the ham bands. You cannot engage in work-related topics (that's what commercial bands are for). You are not allowed anonymity; your callsign has to be given, and it's in a publicly searchable database. You are forbidden to encrypt your traffic (digital or otherwise), or even engage in coded speech. You're not supposed to swear. You MUST get out of the way of emergency traffic. And nobody needs a warrant to listen in or record your conversations.

Ham radio is great fun and is useful in regional emergencies like Hurricane Katrina, but is in no way a substitute for a telephone (socially, technologically, or legally).

Now, if someone came up with a user-configurable platform with an approved radio and approved locked-down radio driver code (which is separate from OS code, as people who write jailbreaking software know), there might be a very small niche market for that. But it's only a niche; don't fool yourselves otherwise. Slashdotters are not the center of the world, do not drive social or legal policy, and for that we should all count ourselves lucky.

Comment Growth industry (Score 1) 272

Think of all the economic activity this will generate: Blackmail - "Hey, Mr. CEO, I wonder if your wife knows you were at that leather bar at 10:40pm last night."
Industrial espionage - "The CEO was tracked to the headquarters of a certain component supplier. Could this mean an entry into a certain hardware market?"
Kidnapping - no. That's not even close to a joke. It happens.
Assault - "Today, protesters hounding a CEO turned violent as they cornered him at a local coffee shop..."

Yeah, I think it's best for everyone involved that it doesn't happen. There are legitimate uses for position-tracking (delivery truck driver, armored car services, school busses, etc.), but if you're not in a position which explicitly requires such tracking, no fucking way.

And despite all the knee-jerk CEO-hate that college freshman have, no, it's not okay to force physical risk and privacy invasion onto someone else, even IF they are a big bad scary exploiting evil-because-he-has-money-and-you-don't CEO. This is why we don't let children make decisions for others.

Slashdot Top Deals

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard