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Comment Well behaved doesn't mean it is good at benchmarks (Score 1) 231

Antivirus software is a hot topic in IT security right now. Not because you need AV, but because most AV is terribly designed and breaks security in other applications. And while Windows Defender may not score particularly well on canned tests used by AV reviewers, it doesn't break as much software as other AVs do.

Remember that in order to work, AV has to inject itself all over the place in your system to intercept network activity, disk activity, etc. But if it does that at the expense of other security measures, is it really helping? As Justin Schuh said in his linked post, when Firefox implemented Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) to guard against buffer overflows, lots of AV suites disabled it by replacing Firefox's DLLs with their own which didn't feature ASLR. This stuff happens all the time, because AV vendors are always behind the curve in browser security compared to browser developers. Which isn't all that surprising if you think about it.

The upshot is, all AV software is pretty terrible. MS Defender isn't as good as some other AV suites at passing the canned tests that AV review sites throw at them. But at least it doesn't work against web browsers' built-in security measures.

Comment Time Warner Cable (Score 1) 108

TWC launched an app for Roku about three years ago. I use it on my two TVs with Roku 3's. One is on wifi, the other wired, and the video quality is as good as with a DVR. And the UI for the app is much better than on TWC's cable boxes; you can sort channels by name instead of channel number, navigation is quick and responsive, and everything is laid out logically for the D-pad instead of two dozen buttons on a normal remote. I mean, it's not exactly rocket science -- we're talking about basic TV functionality here, plus a navigable grid schedule and Pay Per View -- but everything about cable TV is so bad normally that this looks amazing by comparison.

Of course there's no guarantee Comcast won't screw it up, but if TWC managed to do a good job with it this has potential.

Comment Railroad switches managed by PDP-11 (Score 1) 620

A few years back I did some consulting for one of the big cargo train companies. They had a big mission control type room with maps of all the tracks they manage, with lights indicating switch status and train positions and so forth. The actual switches were managed by a bunch of racks full of PDP-11s running RSX-11, equipped with digital I/O boards linked to the switch motors and sensor relays out in the field. The computer room was amazing, immaculately clean and completely free of static, with air cleaners that popped periodically when they caught a piece of dust. I asked them why they still used those, seeing as there are much more modern computers capable of doing the exact same job, and they replied that they just didn't have faith that new machines would be as reliable.

Comment Who cares, you can just turn them off. (Score 1) 531

Tiles are nothing new; I immediately found them annoying and have always turned them off. These new "sponsored" tiles will only appear on the existing tiles page, which can still be turned off:

When you first launch Firefox, a message on the new tab page informs you what tiles are (with a link to a support page about how sponsored tiles work), promises that the feature abides by the Mozilla Privacy Policy, and reminds you that you can simply turn tiles off. If you do turn them off, you’ll get a blank new tab page and will avoid Firefox’s ads completely, including these upcoming suggested tiles.

So, it really doesn't matter.

Comment Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

In a world of physical media, there was at least some plausibility to the notion of export restrictions and region coding.

I'm not sure how it ever made sense. Back in the '00s, I bought a $30 region-hackable DVD player from Sam's Club just to watch "They Live". The reason being, I could either buy the out of print Region 1 version from a third-party seller on Amazon for $150, or the in-print Region 2 version from amazon.co.uk for $5. I probably could have downloaded it from somewhere, but I was willing to throw a few dollars at it to have a legitimate copy (and I liked the idea of a region free player in any case). But hey, the studio made money, Sam's made money, and some Chinese DVD maker made money. Now, with region-locked streaming, they've managed to make it completely impossible to legitimately stream certain movies, so nobody makes money. I guess that's progress?

Comment Dual Monitors and Decent Keyboard (Score 1) 312

I hate typing on laptops. Unless I am working at a customer site, I plug my laptop into the network and use it as a file server, and do my actual work on a workstation. I use two 24" ViewSonic monitors running at 1920x1080, and a Filco Majestouch 2 keyboard. I have almost the exact same setup in my home office as I do at work; the difference is that at home I use a keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches that are super loud, while work I use the version with Cherry MX Brown switches that don't have the loud "click" so it won't bother my office mate. $150 may seem excessive for a keyboard, but I've had them for several years and they're the best productivity investment I ever made.

Comment Eleven years of gaming evolution? (Score 4, Insightful) 102

I just checked out the video from HuskyStarcraft, and I guess I must be missing something. Aside from the DRM that forces you to be online to play, and the fact that they censor your character names, how is this an improvement over Diablo 2? It looks like exactly the same game, just at a higher resolution.

Way back in the WoW beta, I remember fantasizing about Blizzard making a Diablo III using some of WoW's technology. By which I meant the best of both worlds, a game that looks and plays like WoW but set in the darker Diablo universe with single player and LAN play. Instead, we get basically the worst of both worlds, a dated look and feel saddled with unnecessary online requirements. Next.

Comment Congratulations, you've been trolled. (Score 1) 380

This is an obviously fake site. Do a whois on aptiquant.com and you'll see that it was registered two weeks ago by a Georgia Tech graduate student named Tarandeep Gill. Further, you'll find that the majority of the content on the site was copied verbatim from http://www.centraltest.com/, which is apparently a "real" psychometric evaluation firm. Even the "about us" page features the same profile pictures, but with some of the names and credentials changed.

But it sure was funny watching y'all pat yourselves on the back about how smart you are.

Comment Re:Get ready to read another.... (Score 2) 377

GM offered him $1million for it, with the explicit promise that they'd sweep it under the rug and never develop it further... being ethical, my grandfather told them to stuff it, and ended up never selling the design.

This is obviously not true. Car companies have no vested interest in reducing fuel economy. In 1984 GM was struggling to meet consumer demand for the big, comfortable cars Americans want, while also meeting ever-stricter emissions and fuel economy rules. Since GM really didn't know how to make cars that were both small and good, they were stuck with a stable of large, underpowered cars and small, unpopular ones, and losing market share every year. A technology like you describe would have allowed them to leapfrog the problem altogether; instead of sweeping the technology under the rug, they would have bought the exclusive rights and dominated the market.

Now, maybe if you claimed your grandfather had tried to sell it to Exxon, it might be more credible.

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