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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

Altrag Re:So everything is protected by a 4 digit passcod (492 comments)

That works for basic access passwords since the only check is "is it right yes/no?" at one particular entry point (the login screen.) You can reset that password and they only have to "update" the one location (their password hash file.)

Encryption is a whole different beast as you're effectively password protecting every single byte on your device. Simply changing the access password won't change those bytes.

So unless they're storing your password in plaintext (or reversibly encrypted,) or they've built a master key into their algorithm then no, they can't recover your data even if they reset your password for you.

No major company with any sanity would store user passwords in a recoverable form -- way too much chance of a rogue employee or a hacker getting their hands on the file and open them up to massive lawsuits.

Similar issues if they store a "hard to get" copy of the password right on your phone -- it won't take very long before someone figures that out and how to access it and then you may as well turn off the password feature all together for all the security it would give you.

Master passwords are a little bit more likely.. not because they're any saner (for the same reasons) but its a little easier to control a single key stored in a vault somewhere than it is to control a (probably distributed) password file that needs to be accessed regularly. Of course having it in a vault is great for something like the CSS or the PS3 master keys (which were both cracked eventually of course) but less good when your level 1 or even level 2 tech support need to use it periodically..

yesterday
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

Altrag Re:So everything is protected by a 4 digit passcod (492 comments)

If they already have you, which is pretty likely if they've managed to get your physical phone since most people keep those on or near them at all times, then they can probably figure out how to lift a print. Or you know, just coerce you to touch the pad.

yesterday
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

Altrag Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (492 comments)

If they ever get quantum computing off the ground, we will see some earth-shattering advancements as it will break pretty much all modern crypto systems. (Factorization for sure. Apparently discrete logs as well according to a quick Wikipedia check. Those two underpin the vast vast majority of crypto systems in use today.)

Of course quantum computers only help with certain classes of algorithms. We've already come up with new crypto systems that aren't (currently believed to be) breakable using quantum computers and I'm sure more will crop up as time marches on.

yesterday
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Altrag Re:they will defeat themselves (949 comments)

That only applies in a closed system. Honestly if ISIS or whoever takes over their local region and then plays nice with the rest of the world, we (US/Europe) will likely leave them alone. Maybe a few minor economic sanctions as a slap on the wrist.

But if they take over their local region and then start posturing about taking over things we actually care about (either through direct military action or terrorism,) they'll find very quickly that Allah is more likely to welcome them to heaven than he is to stop the bombs and bullets coming their way.

2 days ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Altrag Re:they will defeat themselves (949 comments)

Yeah I think there might be a misinterpretation somewhere. I can't see any religious reason to ban math, especially when TFS goes on to state that physics and chem (both of which require a lot of math) are fine as long as the teacher adds on a "praise Allah" every time he (I would assume.. BS like this usually isn't particularly free of gender constraints!) makes a statement that sounds intelligent.

Banning sports is also kind of strange. Perhaps this group really is attempting to make "only" religious nuts rather than religious terrorists. If they were looking for the latter, you'd think that keeping the kids in shape and espousing team>individual would be beneficial in the long run.

2 days ago
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Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

Altrag Re:Double-edged sword (118 comments)

...but it decreases the incentive for people to make^H^H^H^Hstifle innovative software

FTFY.

about a week ago
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California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Altrag Re:Yelp Is Opt In (275 comments)

Well I don't use Yelp! nor do I have a business, so I really couldn't care less what they do personally.

And I don't disagree that Yelp! has no real incentive to change the system -- until someone sues the tits off them and finds a judge that agrees.

Right now businesses (particularly small businesses) have little to no recourse if someone decides to take out a vendetta on them. Its an overwhelming burden for a one or two person operation if one of those people has to be spending 16 hours a day monitoring Yelp! (not to mention the thousands of smaller review sites) in order to respond to every jerk out there who gives them a crap rating because there was no parking on the public street in front of their building (that they have no control over.)

Something will eventually have to give. It will likely take a court case because as you said, Yelp! themselves have no reason to change the system, but someday somebody is going who gets burned under the current wild west system of any jackass posting anything they want with no recourse is going to find a way to get recourse.

about a week ago
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Kickstarter's Problem: You Have To Make the Game Before You Ask For Money

Altrag Re:Try Kickstarting A Novel (215 comments)

So pretty much like any other publisher then? Unless you're already a known name you generally need to provide at least a first draft for them to read over before they'll give you the time of day never mind a year's salary (and almost certainly not all up front if they do!)

about a week ago
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Kickstarter's Problem: You Have To Make the Game Before You Ask For Money

Altrag Re:Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous did fine (215 comments)

Update early, update often. Backers will forgive delays if they know what's going on.

This. So much this. Especially if you're on a fairly large project with a large number of people involved. Putting out a weekly status update shouldn't be that much of a burden. I'll give a bit of extra leeway if its a small project with only 1-2 people who have to deal with the updates, emails, etc in addition to doing the actual work but even then at least once a month to say "hi, we're still alive!" is so very important.

Also, post updates to the damned KS page. I have no time nor desire to go searching through 85 different individual project sites because they don't like the KS posting software or they can't be bothered cross-posting or whatever. KS might suck as a portal but its the ONLY one that provides me quick access to all of the projects I'm backing.

about a week ago
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Kickstarter's Problem: You Have To Make the Game Before You Ask For Money

Altrag Re:Actually a good thing. (215 comments)

Where it can fill in the gaps is when you have a product (say a game, since that's what I'm usually most interested in) and are nearing production and suddenly you need:
a) Hosting services for downloadables.
b) Production services if you plan to make hard copies of the game, merchandise to go with it, etc.
c) Possibly most important: Visibility.

It can also help if you're a good designer but perhaps a crappy artist. You can build your game with clip art and cube models or whatever and then try to get the funds to hire a proper artist to flesh the game out as you're nearing completion.

There's plenty of points during a game's development cycle where a sudden (comparatively) large influx of cash can push it past a milestone that the developer wouldn't have been able to manage on their own (or would have taken them significantly longer to do so.)

Not to mention KS's for silly things like a nifty T-Shirt design or whatever where the idea actually is pretty much 100% of the project -- its not hard to get silkscreening done if you've got a picture and a few hundred/thousand dollars.

As for what the devs do if the KS fails.. depends on the dev. If they're mostly business people they may cut their losses and try something new. If they're creating a labor of love they'll probably try and push through it on their own. In both cases they may try to find other sources of income if they really believe in their idea and think that KS is just stupid for not trusting them. Everyone's reaction to a failed KS will be different I'm sure.

about a week ago
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John Romero On Reinventing the Shooter

Altrag Re:Geez, he still has a point (266 comments)

Not quite the same thing. VCs being a single (or at least very few) entities with a large portion of the investment behind them generally means they have a direct line to the project owners and can somewhat enforce accountability.

In KS' case, no specific investor generally has that kind of leverage and thus there's currently no real accounting.

KS themselves theoretically could have the leverage and that's what I'm suggesting. They just need to figure out a way to exercise it that would be viable when it needs to be applied to thousands of projects simultaneously (ie: it would almost certainly have to be automated with perhaps a manual intervention option for high-profile/high-dollar projects.)

about a week ago
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California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Altrag Re:Yelp Is Opt In (275 comments)

Sure. But that doesn't give Yelp! any obligation to publish (or even accept) those reviews. If Yelp! implements an opt-out system for businesses, then people wishing to post reviews of those businesses will have to use a different site to do so.

Free speech laws only apply to the government. Private entities like Yelp! can take it or leave it and its up to the marketplace to decide whether they're blocking so much speech as to be irrelevant. For example if they allow companies to only opt out of negative reviews, then the entire point of the review system becomes meaningless and nobody would use Yelp! anymore.

On the other hand if they only give the option to opt out of ALL reviews (both positive and negative) then the review system itself remains in tact and the companies in question just become non-entities as far as Yelp! (and its users) are concerned. Then each company could decide for itself whether its more useful to them to be visible (with potential negative reviews) or invisible (and nobody finds out about them -- at least not through Yelp!)

about a week ago
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California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Altrag Re:hmmmm (275 comments)

True, but Yelp! and similar are also under no obligation to make your speech accessible via their search engines.

I'm not sure being able to opt-out of Yelp! (presumably you'd lose/hide both your good and bad reviews if you did) is really all that useful.

I suppose being a non-entity (ie: you don't show up on Yelp! at all) is better than having a terrible rating, but generally speaking opting out would mean you're losing visibility and unless you truly suck, that's a worse prospect than dealing with a few bad reviews.

about two weeks ago
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Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

Altrag Re:Not the usual way science is done (74 comments)

It didn't. Clinical trials are performed for exactly one reason: To get FDA approval. Not for scientific integrity, not for human safety. Purely for political purposes.

Its a crappy system. You hear all kinds of stories about companies just discarding the results of any trial that didn't prove their drug "worked" (because they're only required to provide a certain number of trial results. They're not required to provide the results of any trials they may have performed, or even note that they happened, above and beyond that certain number. So you just pretend those others never happened and keep rerunning the trial until you get the minimum required successes.)

At the very least, the trials should be performed by an independent third party. Of course that would open up the question of who would setup and fund such a third party. The FDA wouldn't likely have the money to do that (and they have their own political agenda that could get in the way anyway) and the drug companies certainly wouldn't care to fund an organization that's basically working against them..

about two weeks ago
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When Scientists Give Up

Altrag Re:Doesn't surprise me (348 comments)

Do you think that Americans (or any other nationality) were somehow less ignorant and anti-intellectual 30 years ago, or 100?

Ignorant perhaps, but definitely anti-intellectual has swung back and forth over the past 100 years or so. 20 years ago, computer programming was all the rage for everyone -- and that's not exactly brainless work. Between the end of WW2 and about a decade after the moon landing, Americans were all about science -- promises of flying cars and robot housekeepers and who knows what else. Didn't make your average Joe any smarter, but it kept him interested in what science was doing (or more precisely, what it could be doing for him.)

Its really only the past couple of decades where we've seen a heavy anti-science swing. First the dot com crash, then the heavily politically-charged 9/11 attacks and their response, the "No child left behind" dumbing down of the school system somewhere in that time period (the first students under which will be in or around college age by now) and topped off with the significant financial burden of the 2008 market crash. All adds up to a very paranoid and risk-adverse world. I won't try to claim any one factor was a breaking point and there's probably many other factors I'm not considering never mind included, but those are some big ones to be sure.

We'll probably need science to produce something flashy and newsworthy and with a possible impact on normal peoples' lives in order to kick start Americans' desire for progress again. Either that or just wait until China's built themselves into a significant military threat and have another cold war.

about two weeks ago
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John Romero On Reinventing the Shooter

Altrag Re:Geez, he still has a point (266 comments)

Depends I guess on whether money or games are the bigger issue you to. If you look at it in terms of money then yes "losing" $9 out of every $10 seems pretty crappy.

If you look at it in terms of games, seeing 100x more games being produced (or at least attempted) is amazing.

Personally, I'm not so focused on money. I'll happily put a few bucks on a KS I believe in. As long as the developer makes a good faith effort to produce the game, I'm not going to knock them even if they fail. I'm well aware that its a gamble in a sense but I consider it to be a gamble on the person, not on the dollar value. I guess I'm still not too jaded to make that distinction.

I mean I understand why people dislike the KS model. They want a guaranteed return on investment and KS is quite literally the opposite of that. But for those of us who understand what its about and understand the risks, its a great platform for supporting cool projects that probably wouldn't have been made otherwise, and almost certainly that you'd never have heard of even if they were.

That said, it would be nice if KS could come up with some sort of accountability system. Say holding the money in escrow and releasing it in predetermined chunks based on the estimated project completion or something. I'm not sure how they'd decide that a project is DOA in order to refund or do something with the remainder of the escrow without a hell of a lot of manual intervention, but anything would be better than the zero accountability they currently provide.

about two weeks ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Altrag Re:Helium? (296 comments)

Nothing else in the drive lasts indefinitely either, so as long as they keep the helium dense enough to outlast the other components in the drive, this is a non-issue.

about two weeks ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Altrag Re:Helium? (296 comments)

Most likely they don't. They just have to keep it escaping slow enough that the expected lifespan of the drive runs out before the helium does. That's only a few years.

about two weeks ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Altrag Re:When can we stop selling party balloons (296 comments)

By recognizing the difference between "can" and "will." I would hazard to guess that only a tiny fraction of atmospheric helium manages to gain both the required energy and trajectory to actual escape.

about two weeks ago
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John Romero On Reinventing the Shooter

Altrag Re:Geez, he still has a point (266 comments)

To be fair, that's what you're buying for most media.. you can't rely on the trailers to even be accurate (and frequently not the demos either) and its often hard to tell which critics are shilling and which are being honest. So unless its something you've seen/played before yourself you have a reasonably high chance of getting something you're not particularly interested in.

I supposed AAA video games aren't too bad for that currently since they've just been reskinning the same half dozen games over and over for the past half decade :P.

about two weeks ago

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