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A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

Crayon Kid Re:So (194 comments)

You can configure RequestPolicy to filter on full domain, then only allow requests explicitly to, and not to

But I did NOT have it configured that way, thank you for the heads up about this trick.

about 2 months ago

A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

Crayon Kid Re:So (194 comments)

Use the RequestPolicy addon in Firefox. It's a whitelist for allowing certain sites to load resources (of any kind) from other sites. If the pairing between the site you're on and another site is not explicitly added to RequestPolicy, nothing gets loaded (the request is not even made to begin with). It covers JS, CSS, images, anything.

IMO it's a more practical approach than NoScript, although not as ultra-secure.

In case you're wondering what's the difference between RequestPolicy and Ghostery:

  • * Ghostery is a blacklist, not a whitelist (blocks only the things in the list, allows anything else). Blacklists are usually a bad idea in security.
  • * With RequestPolicy you control the list, with Ghostery someone else does.
  • * Ghostery has a lot of extra fluff, RP has only what's needed.

about 2 months ago

The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

Crayon Kid Re:But Does It Scale (63 comments)

They don't like hanging upside down.

about 2 months ago

Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Crayon Kid Re:But scarcity! (390 comments)

The problem is still the lack of competition in the market. If everyone had the choice between 4-5 ISPs, considering the popularity of Netflix, consumer ISPs would be paying Level 3 truckloads of money to ensure Netflix works flawlessly...and the roles may even be reversed (where Level 3 tries to gouge Verizon, since they'd know Verizon would have no choice or lose a ton of customers).

I've lived in Europe and I got to see first hand what very strong competition means.

Every ISP peers to the max with every other ISP it can, and with the backbone providers. Nobody charges for peering either way, everybody wants to open the pipes as much as possible.

At one place I lived at I had a choice of the biggest 3 providers in the country and 2 small ones. All of them offered bandwidth in the range of 100 Mbps, both up and down, to/from anywhere inside their network (which for the big ones meant pretty much the entire country) and varying levels of outside bandwidth (but 10-30 Mbps was usual). This was pretty much the standard on cable or copper connections in the cities. Outside it went down but you'd still typically get 30-50 Mbps. Fiber was only available in the cities – but it meant 1000 Mbps down (yes, 1 Gbps).

Lowest basic monthly subscription started from around 10$. It was 25$ for the fancy fiber stuff. I wish I was making this up.

Was there throttling, blocking, or shafting customers with lower-than-advertised bandwidth? You betcha, and plenty of it. Did anybody call for government regulation? Nope. They bitched about it to the ISP, and if the ISP didn't fix it (or couldn't) they switched to another one. Or they decided they don't care that much and stayed on. Whatever. Even with the most crap of the crappiest ISP's you still got something like 10 Mbps so, yeah, some people didn't care.

about 2 months ago

Valve's 'Steam Box' Console Is Real, Says Gabe Newell

Crayon Kid Re:What I'd like to see... (298 comments)

I'll probably get hate for pointing this out but other than Tablets this is the one place where Win 8's metro GUI actually works well,

You forget that Microsoft would be a direct competitor in the console market. Doesn't sound like a good idea to build your console around their OS. They would probably refuse out of hand, and even if they accepted you'd be at their mercy.

with both Valve and Sony bringing X86 based consoles to market its gonna be another golden age for us PC gamers,[..]its a great time to be a PC gamer regardless

Enjoy it while you can, because it's not going to last. As the vast majority of personal computing users move to smartphones, tablets and living room devices, the PC market is shrinking.

Who's gonna remain?
* Corporations, with all the virtualization and cloud going on, may very well go back to thin clients. Even if they don't, they usually go for standardized workstations, they have no use for interchangeable parts and tinkering.
* Gamers? I have a nagging suspicion that their vast majority wouldn't mind consoles if they got a mouse and keyboard alongside the controllers, and if Valve or anybody else will give them that, it's bye bye PC.
* Pretty much the only niche left for the PC will be professional power-users such as multimedia, music, 3D modelling, CAD, programmers, ie. specialized software on high-end hardware. But it will be a fraction of the current PC market, which might make it into a very different beast.

A decade from now we may very well look back on the PC of today the way we now look back on the golden days of Amiga and Commodore 64.

about 2 years ago

Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA

Crayon Kid Re:Sounds improbable (513 comments)

That's why the US has the fifth amendment (and why a right against self-incrimination is a good idea in general).

Please elaborate on how this is a good thing, because I'm really confused about it. To me it sounds like, the police finally found a way to identify a murderer, but then this 5th amendment thingy comes in and it gets thrown out on a technicality. What's good about that?

I've read the Wikipedia entry about the self-incrimination aspect of it, to prevent confessions obtained under torture for example. But that's a far cry from what we have in this case.

about a year ago

Windows Phone 8 Users Hit Some Snags

Crayon Kid Re:thanks for asking (391 comments)

People still use Symbian?!

Yes. The latest Asha line of models from Nokia is quite good. They've put good build quality and decent features into ~100 EUR devices. They've also mixed in features from other kinds of phones, such as QWERTY physical keyboards and Exchange support from business phones, or touch screens and Youtube video playback from smartphones. The screen resolutions are crappy, but it's suprising how well a small package of features can satisfy a casual user. And the S40 app support is also suprisingly solid.

To give you an example, I've asked a friend who has an Asha 302, here's what they do with it off the top of my head: web browsing with Opera Mini (mostly feed/news reading, checking forecast, Googling or Wikipedia); Exchange sync (email, calendar, contacts) for work; email support for popular providers (Yahoo, Google) as well as custom accounts (including stuff like secure IMAP etc.); Google Maps, Skype, Facebook, Shazam, YouTube; data-texting with Skype, Viber or WhatsApp; snapping pics and video (crappy quality, but bearable); music player and FM radio; apparently there's also MobiPocket (ebook reader) available for S40. She also has some obscure little S40 games she's been carrying around for years from phone to phone.

And of course it's 90% about talking and texting on the phone, all the above is only the other 10%. I guess that's what makes the difference. Some people want the phone to be just a phone, mostly.

about a year ago

FreeBSD Throws the Clang/LLVM Switch: Future Releases Use LLVM

Crayon Kid Re:Free software could leak cleartext or keys (360 comments)

If it's feasible to make money on a video game with a free engine and proprietary data, then why aren't there more popular video games built on engines that have been free from day one?

Not sure what you're asking, the first part of this question is completely disconnected from the second. And they both completely disregard what I've said above.

It doesn't matter if the code or the data is open or not. What matters is whether the hardware will cooperate to let you reverse engineer it.

As for Hollywood and game companies, they're not exactly poster children for moving with the times and waking up to the realities of technology.

about 2 years ago

FreeBSD Throws the Clang/LLVM Switch: Future Releases Use LLVM

Crayon Kid Re:Free software could leak cleartext or keys (360 comments)

Ah, but we should also point out that closed software on open hardware does little to achieve the above restrictions or protection of data. As long as the user has access to the underlaying machine they can still access the raw form of the program and the data. It's harder than having clear-text source code and unobfuscated data, sure, but it's doable.

The only environment in which closed-source code works is putting it on locked-down hardware, a "black box" of sorts with no external clue as to what's going on inside. You can sell such boxes to users (game consoles, media players) or you can keep them at your place and just rent the use of them remotely (web servers).

(if you're selling individual units to the users) and create a "black box" of sorts with no external clue as to how it works; or putting it on hardware you own and control fully, and just open the interface to the user (Web servers) -- which is pretty much the same as the previous, except you also keep the black box and just sell the use of it.

But if the code is always in a locked-down black box I don't see that it even matters anymore if it's "open" or "close".

Source code being open or close is not really the point, it's about whether the hardware is open or closed.

about 2 years ago

Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming

Crayon Kid Re:Finally (768 comments)

The only reason I can see for hating Metro (besides the "walled garden" thing, which is a MAJOR turn-off)[...]

I'm very curious: do you see Linux as a walled garden as well?

Serious question, no trolling. I get the impression you're a long time Windows user and I'm a mainly Linux user nowadays, for years now. Technically, Linux distros also use "app stores" (they just call them package repositories). The one major difference would be that on Linux you can always add another "app store" quite easily.

So, back to the question: would this make a casual user of Linux also see it as a "walled garden"? Conversely, if Microsoft allowed you to add other app stores, would you stop feeling walled? Are there other factors contributing to this?

about 2 years ago

OpenGL Becoming a Requirement For the Linux Desktop

Crayon Kid Re:Dear OP (229 comments)

While Unity 2D may have been dropped, Ubuntu Precise (which is as you probably know a LTS) offers the "Gnome Classic (no effects)" option, which uses Metacity and no Compiz (install gnome-session-fallback). There are some small differences from older "pure" Gnome 2 (and there are plenty of tutorials on the web describing how to close the gap) but I haven't found anything critical, overall it's close enough to the Gnome 2 experience.

about 2 years ago

Why Eric Schmidt Is Wrong About Microsoft Not Mattering Anymore

Crayon Kid Re:Notice one thing... (398 comments)

I suppose it depends how you look at it. Facebook has done work that advanced the state of certain technologies, such as NoSQL, high availability, global distributed services. It put social networks on the map more than ever before, and has raised awareness of online privacy. Facebook may be evil, but I'd say it was a necessary evil.

about 2 years ago

Facebook Confirms Data Breach

Crayon Kid Re:One teensy weensy difference... (155 comments)

You're right, but how difficult do you think it is to "prove" marriage? Marriage licenses in the US can be very casual, basically they're just a piece of paper. If a woman shows up with such a (forged) piece of paper and a random priest swearing "yeah, I married you two back in '67 in Vegas, I remember you were drunk as shit", you're screwed.

There's practically no way you can prove they're lying, and the US law recognizes this as a legal marriage, without the requirement that it was recorded in an official registry. Whereas in other countries (most of Europe), no marriage is valid without it being recorded in the centralized national registry. Licenses are just pieces of paper, they can be lost or reissued, but the record in the registry is either there or it isn't.

about 2 years ago

Facebook Confirms Data Breach

Crayon Kid Re:One teensy weensy difference... (155 comments)

In countries which implement ID cards, just knowing a person's unique ID number doesn't help a bad guy. In fact we freely give out those numbers when shopping when we need an invoice for accounting purposes, at the doctor's, for civil registry purposes (recording of marriages, children etc.), at the bank and so on. The number is just a convenient method of tracking a person in the records.

But don't confuse the number with [i]proving your identity[/i]: you have to present the card in person (it's a picture ID card); people are protective of their ID card; the cards have safety elements which make forgery very hard; there are automated verification machines (used mostly by banks and country border routine checks) which scan a card and respond back within seconds if it's valid.

So yes, identity theft is practically unheard of in Europe, in the sense it's used in the US. For example, in order to get a loan you have to show up at a bank and request it in person, physically sign a contract and wait (days) to be checked out. An impersonator would have to (a) forge an ID card; (b) forge your signature on a contract; (c) hope no word of this gets back to the actual person during the check-up period. And even if they manage all this, the laws are such that once it's proven it wasn't you, you're completely off the hook.

about 2 years ago

Facebook Confirms Data Breach

Crayon Kid Re:One teensy weensy difference... (155 comments)

Phonebooks were generally only easily available in the area you lived in and not accessable by Vlad in Minsk who wants to collect as much data as he can on you to impersonate you to a bank. Not only that , but once data is on a computer a lot of things can be automated.

So if I get this right, your solution to the fact that the US has a major identity theft problem is "would everybody be so kind and ignore it", or perhaps "bad guys, please don't use computers"? I'm afraid it may not work very well.

I'm not even sure what's with the American paranoia against unique ID cards. It's not like not having them grants you any anonimity. If anybody (including your .gov) wants to find stuff out about you, they do. You already have unique social numbers, so all the worse parts of being uniquely identifiable in a centralized database are already happening. You're just missing out on all the good parts, such as limiting identity theft, or a comprehensive civil registry. I mean, it's ridiculous that in the US you can't really prove you've never been married.

about 2 years ago

Facebook Confirms Data Breach

Crayon Kid Re:Phonebook (155 comments)

You probably don't remember this, but when you first started using the Facebook application on your phone you had to confirm your phone number. You probably got a text with a code you had to enter or something like that.

You can remove the number, as you noticed, but I'd be really skeptical whether they actually remove it. I suspect they don't, since it's a great way of tracking people across multiple accounts. As you experienced yourself, people often forget that they made Facebook aware of their personal phone number at some point in time.

Consider for example the case of someone who becomes more privacy-aware, closes their initial FB account then later opens another when where he is more guarded about who he friends and what he publishes. And he thinks he's leaving less of an online footprint... when in reality I bet FB is tying it all in with his previous account.

about 2 years ago

Illegal Downloading Now a Crime In Japan With Increased Penalties

Crayon Kid Re:Somewhat fair (286 comments)

that's when I started to feel maybe it's time for some civil disobedience.

Alright, but remember that civil disobedience also means you accept the punishment if you're caught, in order to make a stand and expose an unfair law.

If you break the law but expect to go unpunished then it's not civil disobedience, it's just freeloading.

about 2 years ago

To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

Crayon Kid Re:Driver's education (1651 comments)

In additions, drivers are always held responsible in accidents invoolving bicycles.

No, they aren't. The strict liability law you are referring to is about civil liability, not criminal liability. The police will determine who is at fault and will fine/prosecute whoever it was, including the cyclist. The strict liability is mainly about insurance; there is indeed a default assumption there that the driver is at fault, but only until the driver can prove (usually with the help of the Police) that it was not his/her fault.

Do not rely on this law to protect you be an asshole cyclist because it will NOT help.

about 2 years ago

To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

Crayon Kid Re:But that's not the real problem. (1651 comments)

You haven't understood what "fault" means. It's called "strict liability". A lot of people (even Dutch) assume that it's some kind of very powerful law that protects cyclists. They are wrong.

1. It's not a criminal liability, only civil liability. It's mainly for insurance ie. the driver is cut access to insurance coverage when they hit a cyclist until they prove they couldn't have prevented it. It has nothing to do with legal prosecution.

2. Even if it was about criminal liability, it's debatable whether it would be a deterrent to driving dangerously. There are punishments in place for all kinds of activities, they haven't eliminated those activities.

Read more here.

about 2 years ago



How bad UI complicated the KAL007 flight crisis 31 years ago

Crayon Kid Crayon Kid writes  |  about 2 months ago

Crayon Kid (700279) writes "31 years ago, on September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007 (KAL007) was shot down by a Soviet fighter, an incident which would go on to develop into one of the most tense moments of the Cold War.

On that morning, 23 year old John C. Beck, while working in the US Embassy in Tokyo, inadvertedly hit the wrong key and caused the loss of all ongoing work on a report on the incident being prepared by diplomats and translators for President Reagan, a fact which delayed the official statement from the US administration and caused several unfortunate side effects.

[...] I highlighted her workstation and hit the F6 key to reset. But my screen went temporarily black and then seemed to be starting again. I realized that I had mistakenly hit F7 and reset all the workstations in the embassy.

[...] I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.

It was only weeks later that I began to comprehend the effects of this single keystroke mistake.

He seems to have taken this incident in stride and accepted the consequences. But it doesn't change the fact that the user interface design seems horrid: it made it possible to destroy the work in progress on the entire network with a single keystroke, without even a confirmation, and furthermore placed that key right next to one used much more often and with less severe effects.

It would be very interesting to see if this design was simply bad or if it was intentional – if for instance they wanted to be able to destroy everything at the touch of a button in case of a security emergency."

Link to Original Source


Has Operation Anonymous succeeded?

Crayon Kid Crayon Kid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Crayon Kid (700279) writes "I submit to your attention the notion that Operation 'Anonymous' may have, after all, succeeded. Misguided teenager shenanigans aside, I think they made one important point: that if one site or service can be taken down for reasons seen by some as arbitrary, then any other sites and services can be taken down just as easily and for equally arbitrary reasons. In doing so, they have (albeit inadvertedly) called into question the fabric and organization of the Internet itself. It is becoming more and more obvious that the ideals that the Internet was built upon, both technological and philosophical, have failed. The Internet of today, despite what we would like to believe, is a badly hammered together mess which does not cope well with censorship, damage or bad noise-to-signal ratio. Key technologies and policies need to be addressed, reexamined and changed. For many of them work is already underway: DNS, IP address space, routing, distributed information hosting. But most important perhaps is the realization that we cannot have it both ways: either it is ultimately possible to deny access to any pieces of information and services, or to none of them."

Crayon Kid Crayon Kid writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Crayon Kid (700279) writes "Independent journalist Kieren McCarthy wonders whether Slashdot is on its way out on his blog.

[..]while Slashdot's star has been in the ascendency for more than five years, its impact is on the wane as new websites using the latest Net technologies have started out-Slashdotting Slashdot. As a news editor for an online IT news site, I have a pretty good idea where people are getting their tech news from, and the fact is that Slashdot is showing signs of being out-of-date and, frankly, on the way out.

McCarthy goes on to acknowledge that Slashdot had once a leading role in demonstrating new technologies on the Web, but that this is no longer the case. He argues that Slashdot's "too busy" interface and complicated comment system is outdated and surpassed by the likes of Digg. It also doesn't help that there's a percieved smugness and elitism about both the Slashdot editors (and the way they choose their stories) and about the Slashdot crowd.

Not that Slashdot is no longer a force. It still has a huge number of readers and a massive and loyal following but the fact is that it is becoming less relevant, its figures are falling, and it isn't showing any signs of adapting to changed circumstances. [..]Because Slashdot doesn't produce its own content, it lives and dies on the quality of its service, and the fact is that people prefer what others are offering.


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