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Comment Hit Job on Google? (Score 0, Troll) 271

Just over a month ago, the WSJ did a hitjob on Pewdiepie, one of Youtube's most-subscribed personalities, causing his ad funding and Youtube Red channel to get cancelled. Now, a Times of London investigation decided now is the time to publish an article pointing out something that must've been the case for many years that noone bothered making a stink about before: there's little to no vetting of whoever wants to attach ads to their videos. I have to wonder if this is the MSM doing a focused attack on New Media, now that the TPP was effectively buried by Trump. That makes me wonder how badly they were actually planning on abusing the DNS blocking etc. provisions of that treaty... maybe we dodged a bullet but they still have illegal-capacity magazines.

Comment Chain of 6 Exploits (Score 5, Interesting) 82

It was also able to successfully demonstrate a chain of six bugs in Apple Safari, gaining root access on macOS.

I have a feeling as security gets more sophisticated, these chains will get longer. Eventually, the chain will get too long for a human cracker to think up themselves, and software will be needed which classifies and chains together vulnerabilities to achieve a desired effect. Then it's a short auto-bug-finder away from allowing a self-sustaining botnet that adapts to security upgrades, and could become permanently out of control if the C&C is taken down/abandoned.

Comment Re: Easy fix (Score 2) 84

Unfortunately my water heater uses my house's pipes as an antenna. I tried putting up Faraday cage wallpaper (even on the ceiling!), but am unsure what to do about the windows. Oh well, no windows means more privacy, right? Now I'm just worried that I didn't layer enough aluminum foil on the basement floor to stop the mole-drones from snooping on me. Stop trying to hack into my precious, life-giving water! I paid for that, mole-drones, not you! Well, my mom did, but still.

Comment Re:Economics (Score 2) 84

In practice we're going to get 'best-practices' checklists that they check off (self-certified), which are so overspecific (and quickly out of date) that huge classes of vulnerabilities will be completely unaddressed, and others will be 'addressed' inadequately. What we NEED is a provision that if anyone manages to find a vulnerability that grants unauthorized entry, all units must be recalled and installed units shall be refunded (oh and the consumer gets to keep the installed unit). That'll guarantee a bare-minimum of hackable features, and thorough testing of everything put in, rather than "Bluetooth and a full wifi stack on my front door lock" BS.

The way I see things eventually going is there being a central 'house computer' that controls all of the IoT devices in the home, utilizing some industry-standard protocol for interacting with the IoT devices so that the computer's OS doesn't matter (networkable lightbulbs have had this for decades). There's one central point of failure, but also only one device that needs security updates, and these things will be sold on their quality/length of updates.

Comment Not Three Biggest Threats (Score 1) 91

I think the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse are much bigger threats.
Think of all the bogus DMCA takedowns justified by 'combating illegal copyright infringement', or Bitcoin being shut down due to money laundering concerns, or laws requiring people to decrypt their devices for officials who ask them to (to ensure nothing illegal/incriminating/sexy is there).

Comment Re:Except, that is not Capitalism (Score 1) 392

Mercantilism is the rich owning (or being) the government. One can avoid it via any form of government that isn't capable of being primarily influenced by money. Direct democracy could potentially subvert mercantilism; votes could be bought but likely not enough to sway a decision (and the people would have themselves to blame if that happened) and it would be impossible to 'cover up' at that scale.

Also, a benevolent dictator unconcerned with material wealth, or a Plato-esque ruling class forbidden from owning material goods or money, are potential alternatives.

Comment Re:yeah, tax the robots (Score 1) 392

When washing machines and dishwashers became commonplace, the economy's capacity for human labor was rapidly expanding due to technological innovations and the rise of consumerism. Go to a supermarket today, and half of the stuff on the shelves hadn't been invented back then, in its exact current incarnation; even things like shoes, lightbulbs, garbage bins etc. are constructed completely differently today from how they were 50, 100 years ago. Soon, the economy's capacity for new productive human jobs will increase slower than the rate at which old jobs are replaced with automation, 'peak human labor' we can call it. We can have more busywork jobs, lowering average productivity, but total human productivity is near its peak (in advanced western societies, different story in developing nations, although they're catching up quick).

Comment Bad Keyboard Still Possible (Score 4, Interesting) 67

As far as I could glean from the article, the USG does nothing to stop USB devices from registering as a keyboard and then emulating keypresses to open up a back door. Having a physical switch on the USG that indicates 'this device is a keyboard' could stop that... for malicious devices that aren't actually USB keyboards.

I'm also skeptical hat the 'short list of approved commands' is 100% safe and there are no driver vulnerabilities linked to any of those commands. Also, if you plug a new USB device in thru this USG and it doesn't work, are you going to say 'too bad, probably infected', or are you going to remove the USG and try again?

Comment Re:waste of money (Score 1) 117

WiiU + Switch owner here. The Switch (with joycons) is smaller than the WiiU gamepad in every dimension, and is noticeably lighter. The joycon buttons are smaller and more tightly grouped. The analogue sticks are smaller and stiffer, their ridges have notches in the cardinal directions to help you tell what part of the stick you're touching. I often accidentally click in the left stick when moving it around quickly, whereas I don't recall that happening on the WiiU gamepad. The center of balance of the Switch is about 1cm to the upper-right of its center, similar to the gamepad. The + and - buttons feel different enough from the nearby buttons that it's easy to make them out by touch, whereas groping for the start and select buttons on the gamepad sometimes required me looking. It's much easier to reach the Switch's volume rocker than the volume switch on the gamepad, which pretty much requires looking to see what position it's at. The Switch's home button can be hit without completely moving your hand. When using touchscreen controls with the gamepad, I'd have to awkwardly move my hand to slide out the stylus, touch something, then put it back, or hold the stylus while pressing buttons/sticks, which is incredibly unergonomic. The Switch has no stylus so its games will likely take that into account, and I have a feeling few games will use touch controls given they're unusable docked. When I hold the gamepad, I put my fingers on all of the shoulder buttons simultaneously, which isn't very comfortable. The Switch's shoulder buttons are closer together so I just move my fingers between them rather than dedicating a finger to each one, which is more comfortable. Having 4 buttons under the left joycon's stick feels weird though, I'll feel the buttons and think "where's the dpad?!" for a moment. The joycon surface is more matte and grippy than the shiny smooth gamepad, but I wouldn't call it rough.
Subjectively, I feel the Switch is less fatiguing to hold, mostly due to the easier to grip material and the lighter weight, I don't have to grip it as hard. Much of my grip on the gamepad comes from my palm, which comes into contact with the smooth top side of the gamepad. I should point out that every time I used the WiiU I had the gamepad plugged in 100% of the time because the battery life was crap; not having to deal with the cord as often (due to longer battery life) or not at all (docked mode) is a big plus to ergonomics. I hate getting the charging cable entwined with my headphone cable, and on the Switch the two ports are on opposite sides of the device rather than right next to one another (although they probably should have the headphone jack on bottom and charging port on top). The gamepad has a constant amount of battery drain, whereas the battery life of the Switch is longer when playing less demanding games.
The standard Switch grip is lightweight and reasonably comfortable, and can be used when undocked as well. Your hands don't go all the way around the handles, but that doesn't bother me.

Comment Slashdot's Filter Does (Score 1) 101

I recently tried to post a (long) comment on Slashdot, and the filter prevented me from doing so; it seemed to particularly take issue with one section that talked about guns. I guess I used too many 'graylist' words too many times in my post, or something. Regardless, it wasn't spam, or offensive, and it took me a while to figure out how to split it into two posts successfully.

Comment Re:Year One Was Good (Score 1) 151

I know it's bad form to reply to my own post, but I couldn't post everything at once (lame filter). So here's the rest:

Motion controllers also allow for more immersive/intuitive controls, e.g. reloading a gun, throwing a grenade, or aiming a bow. Aiming a gun can be made close enough to real gun aiming that real-world skill enters the picture; most VR games with shooting have some degree of autoaim because most gamers are poor shots IRL.

VR hardware is improving in every way, as well. Third-party accessories for the Vive are allowing data to be wirelessly transmitted to and from the PC, and replacing the headstrap with a more comfortably-fitting one. Motion controller tech is iteratively improving, with 2nd-gen Vive controllers in the works, and Oculus' Touch controllers just came out. Third-party headsets utilizing the Vive's tracking hardware/software are coming, likely with improvements and cost reductions of their own. I'm personally waiting for the 2nd-gen hardware before I buy in, the cost is too high for me to justify buying something I know I'd want to replace within a year or so.

Comment Year One Was Good (Score 2) 151

Considering how brief and low-budget many of these apps are, it's not too surprising that only ~3% have made more than a quarter-million bucks. Many of the apps aren't even games, but 'experiences' that are either non-interactive, or are sandboxes with no rules/win condition. A VR game that lasts 5 hours is considered 'long' still, with ports of 2d games being nearly the only ones that are significantly longer. Recall that many early 2d games on the Atari or NES would only last an hour or so for a playthrough, if not for their difficulty.

AAA video games have been stuck in a rut for the past 12 or so years, I think due to the standardization of controllers. New controller features/more buttons drove much of the development of more sophisticated games. I recall first seeing a PSX controller and thinking "that's too many buttons! two on each shoulder?!" but now suspect that a few more might give the industry a shot in the arm; look at how overloaded the buttons are in e.g. the Dark Souls games, and how often a context-sensitive button gets the context wrong. The PS2 added analog face buttons but they were then removed a generation or two later since no games figured out how to use them in a compelling fashion, although the analog triggers remained (thanks, Dreamcast!). Recall what new ideas came out of early mobile games from touchscreen/gyroscope controls, e.g. Angry Birds and Zenbound.

VR makes gameplay that depends on depth perception a possibility; the 3ds was supposed to do this but it was too unstable (at first) and low-resolution to give accurate depth cues. Interacting with depth is made easier with the new generation of motion controllers, that are finally accurate enough to make it feel like your hands are in the game.

Most critics cite the high price of VR but it's been gradually coming down. You can get a Google Cardboard viewer for nearly free from multiple sources, and if you don't have a smartphone you can get a used old-model Galaxy S from ebay cheap, and combine it with a Gear VR. If you have a ps4 there's the $500 (all included) PS VR. Even the high-end PC-connected VR is getting cheaper; a year ago you'd need a ~$320 Geforce 970 graphics card plus a $600 Oculus Rift (assuming your PC is somewhat recent), but now a $170 Radeon RX 470 will suffice, and the Rift and Vive were $100 off (more or less) around Christmas. Rumor is the Vive's price will drop $100 or so later this year due to cheaper base stations/tracking chips. Windows Holographic headsets are coming out this year for $300, which connect to Windows PCs of course. In addition, multiple companies are working on all-in-one solutions, some of which will likely hit market this year, expected to be around $500.

Disclaimer: I've never actually tried VR, but am excited about it and follow the scene closely.

Comment Counterpoint (Score 1) 183

I made an account just to preorder a Nintendo Switch (for some reason they're abundant in Japan). After (shipping (from Japan to USA) + duties/customs/export taxes, currency conversion fees etc.) ~= $18 the total was a few bucks less than if I'd bought one at a store down the street (if they weren't all sold out of preorders, that is.) I imagine the weak Yen is responsible for this. Oh and I get it 3 days after it's released. And I pay no sales tax (although my state does have a Use Tax so I pay a bit regardless.)

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