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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Brulath Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

The New York court, in contrast, granted on June 11 a warrant that permitted law enforcement to obtain emails and other information from a Gmail account, including the address book and draft mails, and to permit a search of the emails for certain specific categories of evidence.

They only have permission to search for certain specific categories of evidence, despite having the entire archive, so they wouldn't be able to find them guilty of some minor illegal activity unless it was part of the specific categories the judge authorised.

Have you ever tried to find something in your email account that you know is there but couldn't locate it using any search terms that came to mind, only to find it later along with something completely unrelated? How hard do you think it would be to describe to a Google employee the type of information you want them to search for in (likely) thousands of emails and get a perfect success rate (assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that that's the only satisfactory outcome)?

Responding to the opinion by the District of Columbia court that gave the government the option of getting the email host to search the emails, Judge Gorenstein wrote that Google employees would not be able to arrive at the significance of particular emails without having been trained in the substance of the investigation.

"While an agent steeped in the investigation could recognize the significance of particular language in emails, an employee of the email host would be incapable of doing so," he wrote.

It seems to be the same thing, to me. So we have limitations to the type of evidence that may be acquired, and the ability to find that evidence using people with intimate knowledge of the case (as opposed to a corporation's employee).

I don't get the fuss, it's not like you have some right to hide suspected (they got a warrant) illegal activities just because they're recorded in an email archive stored somewhere other than your computer's hard drive. The only problem I have with it could be described as a slippery slope fallacy; that is, maybe the rules will become more relaxed over time as more judges build on this case. But that's somewhat pointless speculation at this point; this judge seems to be quite sane.

about a week ago

What Happens When Gaming Auteurs Try To Go It Alone?

Brulath Re:Outside of Valve I don't think many developers. (86 comments)

It's mostly the exclusive pre-order content, I assume, that causes them to want to pre-order a game they think they'll like so they don't miss out on whatever bonus it is. At least, that's probably the only reason I can think of for pre-ordering a console game.

about two weeks ago

Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

Brulath Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (178 comments)

The problem there, then, is that research papers which analyse a failure aren't accepted often enough, which probably leads to other people redundantly repeating the same fruitless efforts. Failures aren't as flashy, but they're surely still useful.

about three weeks ago

Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

Brulath Re:Seems excessive... (86 comments)

It might be fun for them to show off their ability at playing the game after the fact, but that doesn't change the reality of testing not living up to the dream job standard when you're actually doing the work part. It's not the worst job available, but it's not "dream job" material in the overwhelming majority of cases (though it might be a stepping stone to a dream job, sometimes).

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Learn C# For Game Programming?

Brulath Re:mess around in unity3d (254 comments)

Not every game needs to be super CPU-intensive though; Hearthstone is created in Unity3D, for example, and that works super well on everything but an iPad2. Skipping C++ initially and learning to create a game in Unity3D with C# is probably a wise choice for a bunch of people, at least for prototyping and for a wide variety of games that aren't CPU-limited.

about a month ago

Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College

Brulath Re:BSES (169 comments)

Aren't most coffee machines in fast-food outlets fully automated these days? As in, select the type and it'll produce the coffee for you, at the correct temperature, without burning? You'd pretty much always get a consistent result given the same inputs. That wouldn't stop it from being consistently bad, though, if the beans weren't very good or the milk was skillfully burned.

about a month and a half ago

"Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

Brulath Re:Fad diets based on new "science" (166 comments)

The TEDxOU talk Debunking the Paleo Diet is pretty interesting from the standpoint of determining what our ancestors actually consumed, though it doesn't prove anything on whether the actual "Paleo Diet" rules are good or bad. It's given by an archaeological scientist who studies ancient health/diet. She points out a few examples of foods which didn't exist when our ancestors were around that are commonly included in the Paleo Diet, which is interesting.

about a month and a half ago

Amaya Gaming Buys PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker For $4.9 Billion

Brulath Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (52 comments)

As far as problem gambling goes...

The most common argument I read about this and related topics is "let them fail", which does appear to be a good idea on the surface – they'll learn a lesson and be able to move on. The problem is that, at least in this case, the result of allowing them to learn for themselves is financial ruin, and then you are obligated to help them recover through various government-funded programs (as allowing them to starve / etc. would be morally dubious to say the least).

In cases where the failure leads to a burden on other people you can fairly easily make the argument that something representing those people (i.e. the government) should intervene and prevent that burden from eventuating, where possible. In this case it involves erecting barriers to gambling that make it more difficult to lose excessive quantities of money; by applying limits to withdrawals from bank accounts within casino-type areas, requiring people to enter licensed areas to gamble, and through other measures, we can reduce the likelihood that someone will lose enough money that we have to solve their problem.

If you or I are going to end up paying for allowing someone else to make their own mistakes – mistakes which could be avoided with less of our money – then I'm all for using strategies to avoid it, with the appropriate cautions and caveats.

about a month and a half ago

Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Brulath Re:Minimum wages create unemployment (1040 comments)

In the process eliminating most of the time they could be spending training or looking for work, thus causing them to remain on unemployment for a long time and not solving the problem at all. At least, that's the plan by the new conservative government; the previous government didn't require the 'voluntary' work which meant more time for job hunting and training. Sure, some people abuse it, but what else is new.

about 2 months ago

My Neighbor Totoro In Virtual Reality

Brulath Phase One (45 comments)

So it seems the Rift movies are in phase one still, where they experiment with replicating 2D movies in a 3D environment, and the result is about as boring as you'd expect. A bit like movie -> game (or vice-versa) conversions, you've really got to transform the work to fit the medium copying the scene verbatim with directionless self-insertion into the scene is pretty dull.

Based on my few minutes of thinking about it, I'm inclined to believe that the only way Rift "movies" will work is either as games or as replications of a play, where the user is stationary but can look around a scene in front of them from their vantage point. If you can't control at least part of the user's vision you're going to have a difficult time making a good movie – they could be looking in completely the wrong direction when something interesting happens, even with audio cues indicating where to look. A play allows the audience member to look around, but only in one major direction, which seems like it would fit the Rift pretty well. I guess this could include virtual concerts too; might even be able to do them in real-time with a good camera setup.

about 2 months ago

In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

Brulath Re:How does one determine the difference... (389 comments)

I've thought about this point a bit when others have mentioned it on slashdot – the idea that a government should hold nothing beyond easy public access unless it presents a true danger to the people, as defined by the people. It's a great ideal, but I don't think it'd survive the news media in any country; the 24/7 news vultures would shred any political who enacted such legislation to bits. No matter how well-intentioned your actions are, someone will spin it into doom to sell ads.

It's not entirely the media's fault – a lot of things that happen behind closed doors really shouldn't occur at all – but there's little point in denying that it'd be political suicide. If you've gone to the effort of getting elected, why would you want to nearly guarantee your opponents get the next election for free? First thing they'd do is reverse your openness policy, and we'd be back at square one. A good example of this happened in Australia recently; the prior political party openly reported on the attempts of refugees to enter the country without prior authorisation, and their opposition shredded them over some invented crisis. First thing they did when they got elected? Suppressed all information related to refugee entry attempts.

The ideal is a good one, but it requires mass education and critical thinking that currently doesn't exist in any country I've heard of.

about 2 months ago

In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

Brulath Re:How does one determine the difference... (389 comments)

Given the media exposure of Snowden it'd probably be very difficult to acquire an unbiased jury of his peers to judge him fairly, which is a bit of a flaw in the system. It can be very difficult to change a preconceived notion – even when you've been been presented evidence proving what's wrong and right the original notion can still influence your decisions.

about 2 months ago

Nintendo To Split Ad Revenue With Streaming Gamers

Brulath Re:screw that (110 comments)

I don't know about you, but I play a few games for the story – sometimes in spite of gameplay I don't enjoy. If I'm curious about the storyline in a game but not really interested in the gameplay, perhaps watching someone else play and skipping through the combat part I can see the story and skip paying for the game. I'm not saying their stories are particularly good, by the way, I'm just noting that if I'm somehow invested it can be more efficient to watch someone else play whilst doing something else during the sometimes pointless combat interludes than playing myself.

I don't get the full experience that way, there's nothing gained from exploring or having control, but I'm still consuming content created by a company in an abbreviated format. In that scenario, perhaps it's right that the company gets the majority or all of the money from advertising attached to those videos.

An example: I find Diablo 3 a little dull now, but the cinematic for the expansion had me curious about Malthael (their cinematic trailers are often enough to invoke curiosity – I play Starcraft only to see how that story plays out, regardless of what I think of the gameplay). Watch a few videos and curiosity sated, no game purchased. Blizzard should probably get the ad revenue for the videos, as they didn't really add anything different to what all players experience.

It does get a bit hairier when there's significant commentary, skill, or other creativity involved.

about 2 months ago

This Is Your Brain While Videogaming Stoned

Brulath Re:PVP? (168 comments)

you'd do well for your johnny-come-lately national presence on the internet to raise your awareness of and respect that.

So some people used a system with no lowercase letters 30 years ago and that means they write in lowercase today. It's perhaps more likely that the startups don't capitalise because it reads as more informal, and the anonymous coward didn't use capitals because they couldn't be bothered (much like they couldn't be bothered to log in). It'd be pretty weird, but I guess not impossible, for someone to go 30 years communicating online with people that use capital letters and not attempt to retrain themselves to do so.

I mean, it's not like it doesn't have benefits; capital letters – where appropriate – can improve the readability of a paragraph quite significantly. A single-world name? Not so much.

about 2 months ago

Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Brulath Re:math? maths? (688 comments)

Also, when it comes to language: everything you learn may not remain true indefinitely. Languages evolve constantly, so there's very little point in stressing about it when the language moves in a direction you didn't expect - you're certainly not going to be able to stop it. That and English is constantly breaking its own rules everywhere - you'd be hard pressed to find a page of text that doesn't break some - so worrying about specific instances of it isn't terribly productive.

Use what you believe is proper $country English whenever writing something formal, and whatever gets your point across when you aren't. I use 'colour' everywhere, as I'm Australian, except for programming, where I exclusively use 'color' to match American English. I don't let it bother me anymore - they're both functionally the same, who cares which form is used? The only time it really matters is if you're writing to be included in a consistent body of work, or you're writing a to impress.

Note: 'leet speak' and 'text speak' may qualify under "gets your point across", but only if the party you're communicating with can easily understand them without considerable effort. This is fine.

about 2 months ago

Valve In-Home Game Streaming Supports Windows, OS X & Linux

Brulath Re:Is this basically VNC? (106 comments)

But it prompts you to alert you that you're about to stream a game with a picture and all?

I just tried it out on my macbook, streaming over 1gbps ethernet from a computer sitting next to it. At 2560x1440 on Beautiful on both ends it was pretty laggy - lot of frames dropped, input wasn't super great with the mouse. With Borderlands 2 I enabled performance overlay, which reported it was running at 19.9fps with "slow encode, decode" written above at 2560x1440 Beautiful. At 1080p Beautiful and Balanced it gave me 60fps when there was little change on the screen and 30fps when I spun the camera around my character constantly. Moving the mouse around on the host computer gave fairly fluid panning on the menu screen, whilst using the mac's mouse involved a lot of jerking around (more jerkiness at lower fps, but even at 60 neither game seemed to interpolate the movements at all).

That's with mouse usage though, with a controller it might work pretty well - less precise movement. Overall pretty neat though, kinda wondering how it'd go through hamachi or similar (have aussie nbn, so 40mbit up might work if the latency isn't too bad). Tested on a Core i7 3770K with nVidia 680 SLi -> Macbook Pro 2012ish (whatever was the last iteration before the new slim model).

about 2 months ago

Blizzard Sues Starcraft II Cheat Creators

Brulath Re:Blizzard Shizzard (252 comments)

Worth noting: they've already done the "fully merged" part for low-pop servers, they're just allowing the server name to remain unique and visible where appropriate so that players don't have to change the name of their character. The automatic merging happens outside of capital cities in non-current content zones; in current content the permanent merging is in play, along with any friends from other realms you've invited to your group and the like. It's a pretty neat solution; some super low-pop realms have had 6 or so merged into one fairly seamlessly.

about 2 months ago

US College Students Still Aren't All That Interested In Computer Science

Brulath Is that a bad thing? (306 comments)

Why is it a problem that the percentage of computer science graduates, as a fraction of all graduates, isn't increasing? The number of students is increasing, so there are more graduates now than previously, but it's a problem because the proportion of those graduates completing computer science isn't higher? There are more degrees now than there were 30 years ago, that it hasn't decreased could be evidence of growth.

<capitalism>We should all panic if <our field> doesn't reach <arbitrary metric> within <arbitrary time period></capitalism>

about 2 months ago

EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

Brulath Re: damn EA.. i hate you (329 comments)

Depends on the game as to whether that will work or not; Red Alert 3, for example, can only do coop over the Internet - and now will be unable to do coop at all (legally - I think there's a project that's attempting to emulate the online server). More games are ending up that way.

about 3 months ago


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