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Comment Re:Recipe for disaster (Score 1) 69

The trouble is that one of the things malware can do is clean up after itself: exfiltration is much harder to hide from network logs(if the target actually has any); but unless you are hoping to remain undiscovered indefinitely, why wouldn't your exfiltration agent delete itself after its job is done?

Comment Re:Hooray (Score 1) 119

There was a brief burst of enthusiasm back in 2003 because the original 'support' for ipods on PCs was 'Musicmatch Jukebox'; a program so terrible that it made iTunes look like a blessing.

I can't really think of any situations since then when iTunes has looked like the better option; but there was that one.

Comment Re:Arr (Score 1) 147

From the looks of the PR renderings, they seem to be getting dangerously impractical in the pursuit of everything-will-be-white-and-curved-in-the-future aesthetics as it is. Yeah, futuristic and stuff; but ports are not going to be amused by anything that makes loading and unloading containers slower or more expensive.

Comment Re:I can see how this might be useful... (Score 1) 147

I doubt that the customers would want poison gas seeping into their products during shipping, even if Loyd's was up for the idea; but it wouldn't be a complete surprise to hear of an unmanned bulk carrier of some sort being flushed with dry nitrogen as a preservative; and some idiots encountering inert gas asphyxiation.

Comment Re:Eh, yes and no. (Score 1) 197

That's what makes Civ ultimately a 'god game', though less overtly than something like Populous. Not only are all possible concepts(with gameplay implications, you can roleplay in your head if it amuses you) fixed from the beginning of time; the player is always a dispassionate but all-powerful observer: The 'capitalist' player still decides each and every construction project in their entire empire just as the 'communist' one does; and the 'fundamentalist' gets certain bonuses and drawbacks; but no divine command to fulfill.

Comment Re:Eh, yes and no. (Score 1) 197

Civ would probably actually be vastly more educational if it had less historical 'flavor' rather than more: Since basically all the civs, government types, religions, etc. have to be reasonably balanced for gameplay purposes, they all end up being more or less interchangeable and the only connection to the things that they are named after is in the flavor text, city styles, and maybe a unique unit.

The use of historical flavor helps keep things from feeling like you are just playing a spreadsheet(at least for me, Alpha Centauri's unit design mechanics suffered a bit from that: there's no "ah, a swordsman!" it's all "Hmm, is 'plasma steel impact speeder' better than 'synthmetal particle impactor speeder'? let's check the numbers..."); but they are both limited to fairly minor differences, since otherwise civs that mostly lost in real life would be effectively unplayable and they don't respond much to what you do.

If, say, you play as the Romans; hooray, your special unit is the legion. But what if you play as Buddhist Romans dedicated to peaceful persuit of trade and culture? Well, you still get a slightly better iron-age infantry shock unit; because you're the Romans. It would be less flavorful; but more 'realistic' if instead of having historically-based flavor units, your play style influenced the shape of your civilization over time: the aggressive expansionists develop the militaristic culture and units based on specialized tactical doctrines; the culture types get extra soft-power options associated with the fact that even their enemies watch their TV shows, etc.

That would be substantially harder to do right, both in terms of the computer making decisions about your 'style' that lead to 'WTF? The computer thinks I was playing a merchant-prince? I was just funding my giant army!' and in terms of game balance; but it would more accurately capture the fact that what 'civilization' you are isn't just a veneer chosen at the beginning and static throughout history: it's what you do; and what options your choices open or close for you and how you respond to that, and so on.

Comment Eh, yes and no. (Score 4, Interesting) 197

I'm not terribly convinced that Civilization(for all its virtues as a game; though IV was better than V unless recent expansions have fixed it) is a particularly good choice: it is 'history themed'; but fundamentally designed around being a fun game; and basically a god game: everything your civilization does is under your direct control, and aside from some minor background noise random events, you are basically the only thing driving your entire civilization. Every tech you research, every building you commission, every unit you muster and personally move around. There's really no emergent behavior, no 'society' that you have to deal with, even the constraints on what is logistically and socially possible are pretty light(compare to, say, Europa Universalis, where 'just send in the troops and conquer them, idiot.' tends to lead to decades or centuries of heightened rebellion risks and uprisings, even more so if you have ethnic and religious differences to deal with).

That said, while Civ seems like a poor candidate, "computer games" are really just the fun-optimized end of 'simulations' and 'models'; and those are clearly useful tools, for education and elsewhere.

Comment Re:Imagine Domino's without the labor component? (Score 1) 207

Directly, they probably won't. Indirectly, how much money he is making is going to show up in his prices relatively quickly unless he somehow convinces people that approximately-adequate pizza isn't pretty close to commodified in most markets large enough to have overlapping take-out joints.

It's also amusing that he wants to "be the Amazon of food" and thinks that what he is doing will be incredibly profitable: Amazon is practically iconic for their absolutely tiny margins across most of their history and most of their business.

Comment This seems like a dumb question. (Score 2) 299

Why would self-driving cars destroy the insurance industry?

Even if we ignore the ability of incumbents to fight bitter rearguard actions for years or decades when their economic interests are threatened; it's not as though self-driving actually changes the basic risks associated with cars. In an ideal world, automated cars may be more reliable than human drivers, certainly less likely to be drunk or exhausted; but unless they somehow achieve infallibility, there will still be periodic accidents. And the whole point of car insurance(and the fact that it is generally mandatory) is that a car accident can easily cause more damage than most operators can afford to pay for, especially if injuries or deaths stack up in addition to mechanical damage.

Nothing about the self-driving-ness changes any of this. It might change the determination of who is at fault; or increase the number of 'no culpability can be assigned' situations; but it will still be a situation of occasional ruinously expensive incidents with long periods of quiet, which is more or less exactly what insurance is constructed to cover.

There will, presumably, be lots of fun arguing over who exactly carries the insurance, and what sorts of failure modes become the vendor's problem vs. the 'known risks' that the operator takes in using an automated vehicle on the road; but the same basic factors are in play.

What will probably change is the flavor of actuarial data-mining that is popular: currently, it's all about scrutinizing the driver for direct and indirect signs of riskiness. If the driver isn't driving, they'll presumably shift to exhaustive scrutiny of system maintenance and where/when the vehicle is operated(since some roads and times of day will just be more risky than others). Insurers mapping out 'high-risk' zones and charging people who travel in them more definitely won't go badly or upset anyone. Not at all.

Comment Re:Seems Reasonable. (Score 2) 760

I'm not in favor of more drug testing; but my impression of the bill was that it wasn't actually looking to advance its stated agenda; but to emphasize how much we put up with the current state of affairs only because it targets irrelevant people that nobody likes, rather than gunning for recipients of tax credits who actually count.

Sometimes, when a bad policy has been hanging on by selectively targeting those least able to do anything about it, arguing for its expansion can be the most effective way of forcing a confrontation. So long as drug testing is only going to affect filthy poor people in public housing and repulsive welfare parasites, it's political catnip for everyone outside of core liberal bleeding hearts(plus, in at least the Florida case, his wife owned the company doing the testing...).

If everyone looking to write off mortgage-related stuff on their taxes, or filling out a FAFSA for some federally backed student loans were expected to piss where Uncle Sam tells them to, there would be less happiness with the idea.

Comment Seems Reasonable. (Score 4, Insightful) 760

Obviously, the correct approach is "Don't drug test anyone outside of performance critical situations"; but this proposal seems like a reasonable way to point out one of the (numerous) ways we identify some people as presumptively scum until exhaustively proven otherwise; and others as presumptively guiltless until they really screw up(at which point the loss of standing caused by the case is punishment enough...)

Also worth considering that, even if you hate filthy poor people and criminals and such with a righteous passion; people nobody cares much about tend to be the beta testers for bad ideas that will eventually come to be imposed on the more 'respectable', usually starting with the ones that have less economic leverage. In this case, that's already mostly happened: mandatory drug testing of employees is pretty widespread, even in areas that aren't safety critical, and for metabolites that tell you nothing about the user's impairment on the job.

As a heuristic, you could do a lot worse when evaluating a law than asking "Would I approve if this law were applied to people I sympathize with?"

Comment In other news (Score 5, Insightful) 404

Slashdot poster "Fuzzyfuzzyfungus" highly confident that FBI director Jame Comey doesn't appear to know a goddamn thing about the guy his agency investigated at least twice; but knows to blame the 'internet' thing that damn kids are always getting terrorist propaganda and strong encryption from.

Comment Re: inspection or surveillance? (Score 1) 44

Yes, applying network surveillance tools to systems you own and administer and applying them to every hapless bastard who relies on your ISP are different things. It's not news that 'admin tools' and 'malice' have broad technical overlap; both are designed for easy and powerful control over a whole bunch of systems; but whether or not you are th legitimate admin is an obvious distinction between surveillance and security and 'remoteadministration' vs. remote access Trojan. Bluecoat's products certainly can be used for internal security applications; but it's a matter of record that they can and have been used for widespread surveillance by deeply unsavory state actors with nothing but the thinnest excuses from the vendor.

Comment Re:How To Untrust the Blue Coat CA Cert (Score 3, Insightful) 44

In theory the legitimate users of these sorts of MiTM boxes aren't supposed to need an actual intermediate CA cert because they are only MiTMing devices that they administer, so they simply use their own internal trusted cert and configure their devices to trust it.

That's why Bluecoat being handed a fully loaded Verisign intermediate CA cert is so disturbing; and Symantec's unwillingness to do anything but bullshit about it so disturbing.

MiTM-ing SSL traffic is one thing if it is from devices you have legitimate administrative access to; but when you have legitimate administrative access it's trivial to configure the clients to trust your certificate so you don't need anything special. The only reason you'd need a Verisign intermediate CA is if you want to be able to hit the vast majority of clients as configured out-of-the-box, without your certs pushed by group policy or whatever. Nobody involved seems to have a remotely good explanation of why Bluecoat has one; or what legitimate purposes it could possibly serve that couldn't be served by a vastly less dangerous toy.

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