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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.


Shuttleworth Says Snappy Won't Replace .deb Linux Package Files In Ubuntu 15.10 232

darthcamaro writes: Mark Shuttleworth, BDFL of Ubuntu is clearing the air about how Ubuntu will make use of .deb packages even in an era where it is moving to its own Snappy ('snaps') format of rapid updates. Fundamentally it's a chicken and egg issue. From the serverwatch article: "'We build Snappy out of the built deb, so we can't build Snappy unless we first build the deb,' Shuttleworth said. Going forward, Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu users will still get access to an archive of .deb packages. That said, for users of a Snappy Ubuntu-based system, the apt-get command no longer applies. However, Shuttleworth explained that on a Snappy-based system there will be a container that contains all the deb packages. 'The nice thing about Snappy is that it's completely worry-free updates,' Shuttleworth said."

Ask Slashdot: Best Data Provider When Traveling In the US? 142

An anonymous reader writes: I am visiting USA 3-4 times a year and I need a data service. I also need to keep my cell phone number, so swapping the SIM card in my phone is not an option. I have bought those 19.95$ phones in Best-Buy to get a local number, but those were voice only. So I have been thinking about getting a MiFi hotspot.

I have been looking at pre-paid plans from Verizon(only 700 LTE band for their pre-paid hotspot), AT&T, T-Mobile etc. perhaps to put in a MiFi hotspot or buy a hotspot from a provider, but have no idea which one to use, their reputation, real life coverage etc. It is clear that all data plans in the USA are really expensive, I get 100GB monthly traffic with my Scandinavian provider for the same price as 6-8 GB monthly in the US, which I guess could be a problem with our Apple phones as they do not recognize a metered WiFi hotspot. But that is another issue. I travel all over but most of the time outside the big cities -- and my experience from roaming with my own phone and the cheap local phone so far tells me that coverage fluctuates wildly depending on the operator.

NASA Scientists Paint Stark Picture of Accelerating Sea Level Rise 382

A NASA panel yesterday announced widely reported finding that global sea levels have risen about three inches since 1992, and that these levels are expected to keep rising as much as several more feet over the next century -- on the upper end of model-based predictions that have been made so far. From the Sydney Morning Herald piece linked above: NASA says Greenland has lost an average of 303 gigatons [of ice] yearly for the past decade. Since it takes 360 gigatons to raise sea level by a millimetre, that would suggest Greenland has done this about eight times over just in the last 10 years or so. "People need to be prepared for sea level rise," said Joshua Willis, an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "It's not going to stop."

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.

PC Games (Games)

Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available 192

An anonymous reader writes: This week the Steam Linux client has crossed the threshold of having more than 1,000 native Linux games available while Steam in total has just under 5,000 games. This news comes while the reported Steam Linux market-share is just about 1.0%, but Valve continues brewing big plans for Linux gaming. Is 2015 the year of the Linux gaming system?

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 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?


Scientists Propose Collider That Could Turn Light Into Matter 223

An anonymous reader writes "Imperial College London physicists have discovered how to create matter from light — a feat thought impossible when the idea was first theorized 80 years ago. From the article: 'A pair of researchers predicted a method for turning light into matter 80 years ago, and now a new team of scientists are proposing a technique that could make that method happen in the purest way yet. The proposed method involves colliding two photons — the massless particles of light — that have extremely high energies to transform them into two particles with mass, and researchers in the past have been able to prove that it works. But in replicating that old method, known as Breit–Wheeler pair production, they had to introduce particles that did have mass into the process. Imperial College London researchers, however, say that it's now possible to create a collider that only includes photons.'"

Facebook Revealed As Behind $1.5B "Catapult" Data Center In Iowa 82

Earlier this month, an article raised the question of who owns the giant data center being built in Altoona, Iowa. Today, the Des Moines Register has an answer, gleaned from "legislative sources." The giant facility, estimated to cost $1.5 billion when construction is complete, is to house a data center for Facebook. The article lists various attributes the site has to make it attractive for all that data, including access to transportation, extensive network infrastructure, and relatively low risk from natural disasters.

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