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Comment The problem is what you consider useful (Score 2) 52

When I can say from my couch "Alexa, make me a steak, medium rare, and bring me a beer, IPA" and a robot hands me a beer in 1 minute and a plate with a hot steak 18 minutes later, I'll give a shit and I think other consumers will, too.

Reasonable enough. Other than the stock capabilities (weather, time, shopping list, timers, alarms, "what's playing at the movies?", "what's the phone number for Tire-Rama?", oodles of music sent to the theater system), the only third-party capabilities we use regularly are:

o Adjust the lighting via TP-Link smart plugs
o Adjust the heating / cooling via Sensi smart thermostat
o Check Fitbit stats / progress

Is it worth $49 or so out the door, plus hardware cost for associated devices to be able to do all this without having to otherwise go and do it? Well, it is to us.

For instance, sitting in the theater, it's either get up, make a 20 foot walk to the light switch, flip the switch, a 20 foot walk back in the dark, and sit down again, or just say "Echo, Turn off the lights." Likewise, when the show is over, it's just "Echo, Turn on the lights."

But when it'll cook a meal, see it delivered to the table, even see that the dishes are washed... yeah, that's going to be a fine day. At consumer prices, I'd hazard a guess that's still five or six years off.

Comment Re:OpenVPN port tcp/443 (Score 2) 23

To be fair, OpenVPN isn't really designed to obfuscate the nature of the traffic any more than IPSec does. Both are about creating secure tunnels, with OpenVPN being very easy to configure and maintain as opposed to the pain that is IPSec. I use OpenVPN a lot, both for our road warriors, and to create the secure tunnels between our locations. In that role it really is an incredibly nice piece of software. But if I were looking at making something whose intent was to disguise that I was encrypting traffic at all, it's not the tool to use. Now as I understand it OpenVPN is pretty modular, so I would imagine if someone were to come up with some other encryption mechanism meant more to get around deep pack inspection, that would probably work, but as I said, such methods will inevitably make for a slower tunnel, and as OpenVPN is more of an infrastructure VPN, I'm not sure it's quite the right tool for that job.

Comment Re:OpenVPN port tcp/443 (Score 1) 23

My understanding is that some deep packet inspection methods can determine if potentially encrypted data is being passed through a filter. Obviously it's going to be error prone, but what does that matter when the general plan is to sufficiently inconvenience people so they don't even try. I doubt the PRC cares that maybe the odd innocent bystander's data gets hit as a false positive.

As a counter to that, I have read of encryption schemes that will bypass this kind of filtering, but it's going to be a lot slower as a lot more junk data has to be thrown in to fool detection. Good for low-bandwidth needs like passing text-based emails and the like, but not much good for anything high bandwidth like voice communications.

Comment Re:Copyright needs an overhaul (Score 1) 182

1710 when the Statute of Anne (long name, An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned.) was passed. To quote wiki,

Prior to the statute's enactment in 1710, copying restrictions were authorized by the Licensing of the Press Act 1662. These restrictions were enforced by the Stationers' Company, a guild of printers given the exclusive power to print—and the responsibility to censor—literary works. The censorship administered under the Licensing Act led to public protest; as the act had to be renewed at two-year intervals, authors and others sought to prevent its reauthorisation.[2]

...

The statute is considered a "watershed event in Anglo-American copyright history ... transforming what had been the publishers' private law copyright into a public law grant".[5] Under the statute, copyright was for the first time vested in authors rather than publishers; it also included provisions for the public interest, such as a legal deposit scheme. The Statute was an influence on copyright law in several other nations, including the United States, and even in the 21st century is "frequently invoked by modern judges and academics as embodying the utilitarian underpinnings of copyright law".[6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Submission + - Lloyds Bank Survives Three-Day DDoS Onslaught (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Lloyds Bank, the largest retail banking outlet in the UK, was subject to an unusually sustained Distributed Denial of Service attack earlier this month. The attack, from 'multiple systems', began on the morning of January 11th and ran until the close of Friday 13th, though Lloyds reports that none of its 20 million accounts were compromised.

Submission + - Nasdaq Completes 'Successful' Blockchain E-voting Trial

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq has released the findings of a recent blockchain e-voting trial, declaring the system a ‘success’. The test was conducted across the Tallinn exchange in Estonia in 2016 and aimed to reduce the complexity and cost of organizing shareholder voting. The experiment hoped to encourage investor engagement and participation at voting activities linked to Annual General Meetings (AGM) and trading and settlement issues. Using digital identification solutions provided by Estonia’s e-Residency platform and smart contract technology from startup Chain, Nasdaq created a system through which digital assets marking voting rights and tokens used to cast votes were distributed to each shareholder. According to Nasdaq, overall feedback on the trial was positive. Participants noted, however, that the system needs to deliver increased mobile support to encourage greater participation.

Comment Re:AI does what AI is programmed to do (Score 1) 158

The "DANGER of AI" is that the AI will be somebody's bitch. Whose?

AI is "merely" another form of power, and adversaries-who-have-power are always a threat. Don't worry about AI; you should worry about $THEM getting AI, thereby causing $THEM to have an edge over you.

100.0% of techs are just like this. When you're pointing your nuclear missile at someone else, it's good. When someone else is pointing one at you, it's bad.

Comment Of course... (Score 4, Interesting) 67

Of course, if they hadn't been so greedy and stupid as to design a non-user-replaceable battery into the phone, they would have been able to simply send out a relatively low-cost component to the afflicted users, instead of incurring a 5.3 billion dollar loss and severely inconveniencing every one of their note 7 customers (at the very least.)

It was their insistence on screwing the customer with planned obsolescence that bit them. They deserved to be bitten.

As does any company that designs in a non-replaceable, limited-lifetime component — much less one that is non-replaceable, limited-lifetime, and potentially dangerous.

Comment Re:More features. (Score 1) 236

In 1997, std::vector was not legal syntax.

1997 was prior to C++ becoming standardised, so there was no standard library. The vector from vector.h in SGI's STL was similar to the standard library vector, but it was not part of the standard library. The STL was also still available for a good decade or so after it was deprecated in favour of the C++ standard library.

Another change that happened involved the meaning of delete with respect to arrays. Old code would introduce bugs if compiled with new compilers and new code would leak memory if compiled with old compilers. That fits your time window.

Only if your compiler is buggy. Arrays have required deletion with delete[], not delete, for as long as the language has had a standard.

Submission + - Massive Twitter Botnet Dormant Since 2013 (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: A sizable and dormant Twitter botnet has been uncovered by two researchers from the University College London, who expressed concern about the possible risks should the botmaster decide to waken the accounts under his control.

Research student Juan Echeverria Guzman and his supervisor and senior lecturer at the college Shi Zhou said the 350,000 bots in the Star Wars botnet could be used to spread spam or malicious links, and also, more in line with today’s social media climate, it could start phony trending topics, attempt to influence public opinion, or start campaigns that purport a false sense of agreement among Twitter users.

Compounding the issue is a larger botnet of more than a half-million bots that the researchers have uncovered since their initial research. That research, the two academics said, will be shared in a future paper. In the meantime, the Star Wars botnet dataset is available for study; the researchers said the data is tens of times larger than any public collection on Twitter bots.

The researchers also said they have not shared their data with Twitter yet because they are waiting for their current research to be approved in a scientific journal.

“We would also like to give researchers a chance to get the dataset by themselves before they are gone, this is why we have not reported to Twitter directly, but we will as soon as the paper gets accepted,” Echeverria Guzman said.

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