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Comment This is just stupid, no matter the "real" motive (Score 3, Insightful) 455

I've seen so many comments on here and other blogs about how Apple is to blame because they're "blocking" other's from using the technology. Or it's Apple's fault for not implementing it in their phones.

First, the idea sounds simple in concept until you actually look at the implementation. Can my wife not FaceTime/Skype while I'm driving? Can I not use it on the bus, taxi or train for work (which I do frequently... well, I try to avoid the bus)? How do you handle rare occasions where you can't get a consistent fix on the phone's location? If Apple could think of a good, reliable way of implementing this without regularly interfering with legitimate operations I'm pretty sure they'd be all over it because they have a PR department on steroids.

Second, this is against the law in California... so why isn't the California Highway Patrol being sued for not enforcing the law? Why isn't the car manufacturer being sued for not having a safety device that requires both hands on the wheel (there are practical problems with as well, I'm just using it as an argument)? Why aren't they required to have safety radars on all their cars (the recent Tesla video shows it might have prevented this accident)? Why isn't the cellular provider being sued for providing data service to a customer that they can tell is traveling over a certain speed? (same practical problems apply here).

Finally, almost anything can be deadly or can lead to deadly consequences. If you drop M&M's in your car and bend down to pick them up while speeding down the freeway and kill someone it is NOT M&M's fault for having a poorly designed bag. It is your fault for making a stupid, reckless decision. Period, end of story.

I want to believe this is a case of grieving parents being maneuvered by an asshat lawyer but who knows.

Comment Apple is a fashion brand now (Score 4, Insightful) 212

I was eagerly awaiting the new MBP release expecting it would support 32GB like everyone else (hell, you can buy relatively svelte laptops that supports 64GB from Dell). The 16GB limit, the fact that you can't upgrade the RAM or the SSD, the lack of ports... the new MBP was just a giant middle finger to the "power user" community. It's very apparent that the executive/senior management at Apple could give two sh*ts about their technical/professional user base any more and are more focused on users who are concerned about how their device looks. The recent article on Bloomberg.com bears that out. The thing is, from a business stand point it makes sense. The average users is, well, average, and represents a much larger user base than you or I. "Space Gray" and "Rose Gold" are much much easier and cheaper options to implement during assembly than multiple memory options, etc. You can either spend more on R&D to appeal to 10-25% of the market or you can appeal to the 75% of the market like my wife whose still happily chugging along on her 8GB MacBook Air. From a business standpoint it's a no-brainer. I'm disappointed, I loved my MBP's but it's time to move on.

Comment Re:Anything but an advertising/marketing platform. (Score 2) 52

Saying you're not going to link user data and then trying to do so is underhanded. And that wasn't a casual remark Facebook made in passing, it was a requirement made by the EU to allow the acquisition to go through and Facebook agreed to it. Actually that's just lying. Underhanded is going through and changing the options available for users privacy settings and then reseting all users privacy options to the default as a result (and they did that more than once).
It's the hypocrisy of it all that upsets me. The entire reason the Facebook's status as a "media" outlet is in question is Facebook (as well as Twitter and others) are making a big show about fighting "fake news" and "hate speech". Something that has been going on for years. For example, the "birther movement" (link for people not up US politics) started eight years ago and was driven as much by social media as talk radio. Facebook and other beating the drum now did nothing about that, 9/11 truthers or anything else because they were making money off the advertising revenue. However, their gal Clinton lost (for the record I thought both candidates were terrible) and all of a sudden it's the scourge of society and must be eradicated. I have no doubt that if Hillary had won, we wouldn't have heard a peep about this and they'd go on merrily cashing checks off of similar stupidity.

Comment Anything but an advertising/marketing platform... (Score 4, Insightful) 52

It's not that he can't describe what it is, it's that he won't describe what it is. If he comes out and says "Hey suckers, we're a platform centered around gathering every bit of information we can about you and bundling it up for the highest bidder." some people might actually start to wise up to the fact that Zuckerberg sees every single one of us a source of income and nothing more. I have no doubt that if was made clear to Facebook that they would not be allowed to harvest user data from their internet drones their altruistic product to unite the planet would run into unforeseen technically difficulties and be wrapped up. And I understand they're a business and have to make money, that's their prerogative. It's the underhanded way they go about it, acting as if they're trying to work for the greater good while often flat out lying to everyone about their business activities. Witness the WhatsApp acquisition. "We will not bind WhatsApp users to their Facebook data". After everything has settled down, "Yeah, about that....". And that's just the most recent example of many.

Comment Might be related to the current scandal (Score 1) 50

The current corruption scandal that broke out at the end of November revolves around the government's controversial approval of Samsung's purchase of Cheil Industries in 2014. Among other things Cheil makes chemicals for batteries. If they had anything to do with batteries in the Note 7 I wouldn't blame Samsung management for distancing themselves as far away from them as possible. Calling them "toxic" would be putting it mildly.

Comment Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer. (Score 3, Interesting) 107

The vast majority of US Representatives and Senators do not understand the distinction between the Spitzer and James Webb Missions. Nor should they, there primary job is taking care of local and internal politics here. However:

If a lot of people call/email/write in saying "Save Spitzer", they'll have their assistants do some research and run the numbers. Unless one of those assistants is a space/astronomy junkie, the result will come back the same for all parties. Spitzer is "up there" and "doing science".... James Webb costs more and is risky (it hasn't even launched yet)... so back Spitzer. It's the politically "safe" move.

Personally, I don't want to see that happen. If we have to sacrifice Spitzer (and even other projects) to get James Webb... so be it. Astronomy is, after all, all about the very long game.

Comment London Cabbies are different (Score 5, Insightful) 417

I'm a New Yorker who makes frequent use of the yellow cabs here and has had the pleasure of using London cabs.

In NYC, it's basically the taxi's the are licensed. Any yellow cab has to have a medallion and they are expensive... often going for $750k+ USD. Once you have the medallion you can lease/rent it to just about any hack who qualifies for a drivers license.

In London, it's the drivers that are heavily regulated. The tests are notoriously hard and London cabbies either have or acquire neurology that is much more spatially oriented than normal.

The difference may be subtle to most people but it's important. When you get in a cab in NYC, you usually need to be explicit about the route that should be taken. Nefarious types will often take you through Times Square, Union Square, Canal Street or other traffic nightmares to run up the tab. London cabbies pride themselves (at least in my experience) on on knowing every last back road that will get you there that much faster.

So I see their point. They're a group of professionals.... who act like professionals. They've put a lot of time and effort into becoming such, I'd want to protect my turf as well.

Comment Reality Check. The sky is not falling. (Score 4, Informative) 239

One of my current roles is to provide technical support/advice for a group of project managers and business analysts. This morning a few of them had watched the Crash News Network over breakfast and came in convinced that privacy, as we know it, had come to an end. My job is to talk them off the ledge (and I actually enjoy it, they're smart people and as long as I explain it correctly, they get it... I've found that's pretty rare).

1. The issue only exposes 64k at a time. Let's assume that the average enterprise application has at least a 1G footprint (and that's actually on the low end of most applications I work with). That's 1,048,576K. At best, this means that this exploit can access 0.006% of memory of an applications memory at one time.

Ahh you say, I will simple make 16,667 requests and I will retrieve all the memory used by the application.

2. The entire basis of this issue is that programs reuse memory blocks. The function loadAllSecrects may allocate a 64k block, free it and then that same block is used by the heartbeat code in question. However, this code will also release this same block which means that the block is free for use again. Chances are very good (with well optimized code), that the heartbeat will be issued the same 64k block of memory on the next call. Multi-threaded/multi-client apps perturb this but the upshot is that it's NOT possible to directly walk all of the memory used by an application with this exploit. You can make a bazillion calls and you will never get the entire memory space back. (You're thinking of arguments to contrary, your wrong... you wont.)

Congratulations, much success... you have 64k internet.

3. Can you please tell me where the passwords are in this memory dump:

k/IsZAEZFgZueWNuZXQxFzAVBgNVBAMTDk5ZQ05FVC1ST09ULUNBMB4XDTEwMDMw
MzIyNTUyOFoXDTIwMDMwMzIyMTAwNVowMDEWMBQGCgmSJomT8ixkARkWBm55Y25l

There will be contextual clues (obvious email addresses, usernames, etc) but unless you know the structure of the data, a lot of time will be spent with brute force deciphering. Even if you knew for a fact that they were using Java 7 build 51 and Bouncy Castle 1.50, you still don't know if the data you pulled down is using a BC data structure or a custom defined one and you aren't sure where the boundaries start and end. The fact that data structures may or may not be contiguous complicates matters. A Java List does not have to store all members consecutively or on set boundaries (by design, this is what distinguishes it from a Vector).

Long story short. Yes, there is a weakness here. However, it's very hard to _practically_ exploit... especially on a large scale (no one is going to use this to walk away with the passwords for every gmail account... they'd be very, very lucky to pull a few dozen).

This doesn't excuse developers from proper programming practices. It's just putting "Heartbleed" in perspective.

Comment Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (Score 4, Informative) 440

People lining up at food banks aren't going to be going to costco and buying peanut butter in bulk. The same goes for families whose children benefit from school meal programs.

Unfortunately there is a degree of truth to the OP's comment about Costco being afraid of getting sued. I used to volunteer at "under privileged" schools and staff were specifically told not to give food to children in need but to direct them to one of the official programs. Litigation was cited as one of the reasons, as well as concern about children flying under the radar and not getting all the help they needed, etc. The cafeteria wasn't even allowed to give out unused food. The school district in this case was very concerned about getting their butts sued off because of a well intentioned act that went bad (it had happened before). It was a disheartening situation all the way around.

Comment An exchange should never lose money. (Score 1) 357

By definition a true exchange should never lose your money. You can lose your money, but they won't. An exchange is a barter system, you trade X for Y. Legitimate exchanges charge for a "seat" on the exchange, a percentage of the transaction, or both. However, they never just take your money. They may require that you put money in escrow to cover your position but this is set aside, usually drawing risk free interest (or as near as you can get to it) unless you specify otherwise.
No one should be able to prevent you from putting your money into unregulated vehicles/investments but if consider it any more than gambling and expect any protection then you're an idiot. In the US, gambling is actually more regulated than bitcoin transactions (at this time). If you hand off your "wealth" (of any kind) to any unregulated, un-vettted nob who managed to register a TLD then I would like to discuss a long-term, can't lose investment in the Brooklyn Bridge with you.

Let me repeat this. If you just hand over your wealth to someone with no legal safeguards in place, you're a dumba$$. Clear?

Submission + - MtGox finds 200,000 BTC in old wallet.

thesandbender writes: Today has news that BTC "found" 200,000 BTC coin a "forgotten" wallet that they thought they was empty. The value of the coins is estimated to be $116 million USD, which happens to cover their $64 million USD in outstanding debts nicely and might offer them the chance to emerge from bankruptcy. There is no explanation, yet, of why the sneaky thieves that "stole" the bit coins used a MtGox wallet to hide them.

Comment So much wrong in this thread... (Score 5, Insightful) 173

AMD's Bulldozer cores have Clustered Integer Core which has two true ALU "cores" and one shared FPU. For integer instructions this is two true cores and not "hyper-threading". For FP instructions this is "hyper-threading" and why Intel has been regularly handing AMD it's arse in all benchmarks that aren't strictly ALU dependent (gaming, rendering, etc). AMD's FPU implementation, clock for clock, is a bit weaker on most instructions as well. And yes, the FPU _is_ shared on AMD processors.

EMT64 is not "32 bits on each 1/2 of the clock cycle". That doesn't even make any sense. EMT64 is true 64 bit. x86-64 does have 32 bit addressing modes when running on non-64bit operating systems. This is part of the x86-64 standard and hits AMD, Intel and VIA.

Hardware Queuing Support is part of the Heterogeneous System Architecture open standard and won't even be supported in hardware until the Carizzo APU in 2015. Since this is an open standard, Intel can chose to use it.

Both architectures have shared caches.

WTF does nVidia's IEE-754 compliance have to do with Intel vs AMD?

I'm not an Intel or AMD fanboy, I try to use the right one for the job. I prefer AMD for certain work loads like web servers, file servers, etc because they have the most integer-bang for the buck. If I'm doing anything that involves FP, I'm going to use an Intel Chip. Best graphics solution?... yeah, I'm not even going to go down that hole.

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