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VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

DigitAl56K Re:VirtualBox has been excellent, but needs QA (267 comments)

every software upgrade is a gamble

No. It is usually rare that a minor update version that is an official release will fundamentally stop working altogether. Sure, maybe some quirks are introduced, but generally the product has been tested enough that it is 95%+ working and most users either won't encounter or can work around the deficiencies.

On the other hand, official releases of VirtualBox can just flat out break to the point you can't even start some of your VMs, or crashing the entire VM is just the matter of running some common piece of software. The next release can be months away and when it comes, it may fix your original issue and introduce another equally as crippling to your ability to use the product.

NB: This isn't an attack on the VirtualBox authors, who obviously produce a great product used by many with few resources. But the lack of testing or beta releases literally mean I roll back more than I roll forward - not out of personal preference but because I am forced to just to use the product - and that is what I mean when I speak of the upgrade gamble.

yesterday
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VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

DigitAl56K VirtualBox has been excellent, but needs QA (267 comments)

I user VirtualBox all day every day for fairly complex tasks, and it has performed admirably, yet it is sorely in need of QA help. Major releases happen with auto-update notifications and then you realize that your old snapshots can't be started, using a debugger blows up the VM, sometimes snapshots don't save properly even though it looks like they did, etc. etc. Then you have to dig out the last working version, which came out 6 months back, to get up and running again.

Aside from this "upgrade gamble", which I put squarely on a lack of beta releases, VirtualBox is fantastic. Hardware accelerated graphics with full Aero support, fast virtualization, shared clipboard and files, attaching USB devices - it's everything you need in a friendly UI that anyone can work with.

It'll be a tragedy IMO if it's left to rot.

For anyone interested, I find the last stable version to be 4.3.12 (on Windows).

yesterday
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Computer Chess Created In 487 Bytes, Breaks 32-Year-Old Record

DigitAl56K Incredible! (200 comments)

Next you'll be telling me you can create operating systems in less than 15GB!

3 days ago
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Insurance Company Dongles Don't Offer Much Assurance Against Hacking

DigitAl56K Re:onStar? (199 comments)

That's a very valid point, but let's not pretend that you couldn't have the benefits of OnStar without most of the nasty privacy issues. A limit on data retention, clear indication when the device is listening in, and not selling subscriber data to the government would resolve a lot of the criticism.

about two weeks ago
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Feds Operated Yet Another Secret Metadata Database Until 2013

DigitAl56K Re:Another one? (102 comments)

I wonder if it was "only" metadata due to actual intended restraint or mainly technology limitations at the time.

about two weeks ago
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Feds Operated Yet Another Secret Metadata Database Until 2013

DigitAl56K BRB! (102 comments)

Hang on while we all switch to encryption you can have a back door to. Once again you've proven yourself trustworthy!

Is big gov most eager to turn into our worst enemy or their own? It's hard to tell.

about two weeks ago
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Google Releases More Windows Bugs

DigitAl56K Re:Shame on you Google (263 comments)

Obviously posted by someone who doesn't work in software development, or has to deal with the fact the software needs to work in millions of configurations and with interdependencies.

Wrong, and wrong.

Plus, the bugs need to be investigated for the root cause. Patching over the flaw doesn't help things since it leaves the vulnerability open.

Yes, thanks for stating how security fixes are supposed to work, in case we all thought Microsoft was going to slap a bandaid on it and call it good.

See shellshock

No. Why are you referencing a completely different vulnerability not even managed by the company? Because they're both vulnerabilities? Because there's a risk someone didn't fully fix an issue once therefore no-one can in future? Newsflash for you: Microsoft has fixed vulnerabilities with the same root cause multiple times oflver the years.

Like say, shellshock

Do you know of any others?

(which is a design bug and now you have a problem of how to fix it because people are relying on the faulty behavior)

It was not a design bug Do you even know what you're talking about?

As for malfunctioning patches, you'll sing a different tune when you have to go fix dozens of PCs because the patch bluescreens, or you can't install software anymore.

*shrug* I guess I wouldn't roll straight to production...

Either way, millions of PCs get bricked from a bad update just to meet some company's arbitrary timeline.

Their *3 month* timeline.

And I don't know, those 3+ recalled patches were pretty serious if you were one of the affected people.

Google is between a rock and a hard place. Either they disclose and stuff gets fixed, or they don't and *we don't know if it would be fixed when MS said it would or not*.

about two weeks ago
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Google Releases More Windows Bugs

DigitAl56K Re:Shame on you Google (263 comments)

I am glad Google is sticking to their policies. 3 months is easily enough time to deploy a fix.

As one of Microsoft's end users, I'd much rather be faced with the quantifiable risk of deploying a patch than the unquantifiable risk that every system I own has been compromised, any data on them exfiltrated or encrypted and used to hold me to ransom, and the possibility that my systems have been used to attack others.

For all we know, Microsoft could be playing a PR game by developing patches and then holding them just past Google's 90 day window. Two in a row now? Seems fishy to me.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DigitAl56K Re:What about privacy? (112 comments)

You pretty much never hear of data being accidentally exposed

That's because it's intentionally exposed.

and I've never heard of Facebook being hacked.

Do you like to stick your fingers in your ears and go "la la la la!". Top result:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/19/...

and why do you think they have this?
https://www.facebook.com/white...

(Hint: Openly selling data, as the user agreed to when they "signed" the terms of service, is *NOT* the same fucking someone over in a manner that would cause a private user with a different TOS concern.)

"Hint" maybe you should read this:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/... .. and after you read that you can research and consider all the ways that Facebook has changed it's privacy settings over the years that constantly expose a wider assortment of information and allow greater data gathering by default, requiring users to maintain constant vigilance and opt-out, rather than opt-in. ... and then when you're done with that you can research how they have set up their "governance" system such that on the face of it they claim to take input from their user base about their major policy changes, but have set it up in such a way that there is virtually no chance that end users can override anything they want to do, despite the programs existence.

You have to be really nuts to be defending Facebook of all companies when it comes to user privacy.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DigitAl56K Re:Biased much? (112 comments)

We have a Facebook group. We use it to share pictures of events sometimes, and light humor, and the occasional bit of interesting tech news, and that's all. Nothing sensitive goes there, ever.

I bet Facebook wants business to use them as a primary channel for work because it will force employees to have Facebook accounts and get into the habit of checking them just to do their job well - even if the company just trials it and later abandons it.

There are many, many people who have not joined our Facebook group, and probably never will.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DigitAl56K Re:Situational Awareness (112 comments)

Then you might have a badly managed workplace?

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DigitAl56K Re:What about privacy? (112 comments)

Sure, but what businesses are so dumb that they will share their internal communications with another company?

For me it wouldn't even be about "with another company", it would be more along the lines of "look how Facebook has repeatedly fucked over the general end user on privacy issues, are we really going to trust our internal communications to these guys?".

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

DigitAl56K Biased much? (112 comments)

We have found that using Facebook as a work tool makes our work day more efficient," Lars Rasmussen, Facebook's director of engineering

Uhh, yeah. Where's the quote from the director of engineering without the clearly vested interested? I'm suspect thatyou'd be hard-pressed to find a credible DoE who is ready to champion Facebook as a collaboration tool for their business.

about two weeks ago
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Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site

DigitAl56K Re:It's the post office (182 comments)

And, for the record, if you can't figure out the USPS website you're an idiot. All these idiosyncrasies have been around for as long as I can remember on their site, and yet we ship out stuff all the time with the system.

So you're saying because you're a regular user, who is used to their crappy website that they haven't bothered to fix in ages, everyone else who doesn't know all the pitfalls should just suck it up?

Wouldn't it be nice if someone pointed out all the pitfalls for people who aren't regular users of USPS.com but might have an occasional need to ship something and might try it in future? I wonder where we could find such information...

about three weeks ago
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DuinoKit Helps Teach Students About Electronics (Video)

DigitAl56K Re:Speaking of Radio Shack (61 comments)

"You've got questions. We've got phone plans."

FTFY

about three weeks ago
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Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

DigitAl56K Re:Clearly (391 comments)

Archos was one of the first with a really polished player that also supported Flac, and kept making a HDD based one for quite a long time. Sadly, I think Archos backed out of the media player arena (probably because people kept saying "I have longed for XYZ", and then not buying it when they made it).

Archos's players were crap from numerous standpoints (I owned a higher-end one):
* Promised support for high resolutions that never came
* Constant random reboots that were never properly fixed in any firmware upgrade
* Hard drive constantly sleeping while device is sitting in a powered dock attached as USB storage, causing the attached system to stall waiting on IO regularly
* High-priced add-on hardware with proprietary connectors
* Didn't have certain docks like the battery doc in stock around launches, forcing you to buy higher priced TV capture docs if you wanted to rapid charge
* Touch-screen volume controls such that if you were wearing earbuds and touched the wrong part of the screen you'd blow your ears out
* Piece-meal buying of additional codecs for your device

I bought one for FLAC and large HD storage. I will never buy *anything* from that company again, *ever*.

about three weeks ago
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FBI Says Search Warrants Not Needed To Use "Stingrays" In Public Places

DigitAl56K Re:Someone please aware me: (303 comments)

Because when you are in a public place you have no right to the expectation of privacy.

Yes you do. Stop repeating that without even thinking about it.

You are communicating via a device that is generally not observable to people surrounding you. You might be sending text messages, IM's, photos, for example. Nobody around you can see that normally. This is all supposed to go over the air with GSM encryption - your phone using the strongest it can negotiate - to your carrier, who you have a contract with to carry your information. Then the signals are supposed to be switched over the phone network where it can't normally be intercepted without a warrant, and your data communications are not normally intercepted either.

The Stingray is specifically designed to masquerade as your carrier so it can get in the middle - aka wiretapping. It tries to downgrade the encryption *so that it can wiretap* and people can intercept communications that would normally be hidden from them.

If your argument was in any way true (i.e. because you are in a public place you have no expectation of privacy because anyone can hear you anyway), then the police would not need a stingray because they are local to that public place and they should just be able to walk up to you as a target and listen in in person, right? Except apart from the very specific case where you're blabbering way too loudly on a voice call, that just isn't true.

The very design of the Stingray condemns it as a wiretapping device.

about three weeks ago
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How Long Will It Take Streaming To Dominate the Music Business?

DigitAl56K I just can't wait... (169 comments)

.. until we start hearing stories about how even though people are listening to streaming music and paying for it, it isn't enough, and the studios are "losing revenue" that "they deserve".

The business model is amazing:
1 - Claim you should be making more than you are based on whatever stupid math you can put in front of the congressman you're lobbying where everybody pays for everything they ever listened to all the time.
2 - Profit from special taxes on sales of CD-Rs, internet subscriptions (everybody infringes at some point!), etc.
3 - Rate hikes bordering on collusion
4 - Never ending copyright extensions

about a month ago
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New App Detects Government Stingray Cell Phone Trackers

DigitAl56K Re:Why is this allowed in the first place? (71 comments)

Yes, and then we'd have proof, somewhere, of how many there are and could track where they have been used and who was actually affected.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Nanny State Bans Many Porn Acts in UK

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  about 2 months ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Independent reports that the UK's Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 has banned a long list of sex acts from Video-On-Demand pornography produced in the UK, many with no obvious reason. The restrictions "appear to make no distinction between consensual and non-consensual practices between adults".

A list of banned acts can be found in TFA, and include use of physical restraints, spanking, and humiliation. I wonder how long it will be before sites hosting content featuring such terrible, heinous, immoral acts are permanently blocked by the UK's net filter."
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Websites Still Failing Basic Privacy Practices

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "Do you ever find it surprising that large companies still can't get down the basics of privacy and security on the web? Today I went to enter a competition from Duracell to win a Nintendo Wii by filling out an online form that requires entering your full name, address, and date of birth, and then proceeds to submit it via an unencrypted HTTP POST. The ultimate irony? The message at the bottom of the page that reads,

"Trust is a cornerstone of our corporate mission, and the success of our business depends on it. P&G is committed to maintaining your trust by protecting personal information we collect."

Which websites have you found to be lacking in their basic privacy practices?"
Link to Original Source

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MEDUSA Ray Gun Creates Voices In Your Head

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "NewScientist is reporting on a US company, Sierra Nevada Corporation, that is ready to produce a crowd-control device which uses microwaves to heat the tissues inside your head so rapidly that the shockwaves resulting actually create sound. The device is named MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) and can be targeted using broad or narrow beams. From the article:

MEDUSA involves a microwave auditory effect "loud" enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. Sadovnik says that normal audio safety limits do not apply since the sound does not enter through the eardrums.

A member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois in Chicago who has also worked on the technique has commented that while feasible, attaining the necessary volume might involve power levels that could cause neural damage.

It is estimated that a demonstration version could be built within a year."

Link to Original Source

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AVG 8 Causing Trouble For Web Analytics?

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Register is reporting that AVG 8 includes as part of its anti-virus scanner Linkscanner, technology acquired by the company that scans results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search before you visit them. This apparently has resulted in traffic for some sites to increase by as much as 80%, confusing web analytics because real visits may not have increased at all. Approximately 28% of AVG users worldwide are now using AVG 8, so this problem has plenty of scope for growth.

How will analytic services react to the effects of prescanning, and what benefits does prescanning hold over real-time transport scanning? Further, even if prescanning protects your computer does it ultimately pose a risk to your personal security? In May Slashdot informed us that the FBI had raided homes of people who had merely clicked links to illegal pornography. When your computer is automatically clicking search results for you maybe you had better be careful what search terms you use."

Link to Original Source
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US to employ overhead spying domestically

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Washington Post reports that, "The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon" and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said that "Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement". Last year CNET reported on at least one county in North Carolina already using a UAV to "monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air — close enough to identify faces".

Discovery Channel's Future Weapons has provided insight into numerous UAVs, including the Fire Scout, Global Hawk, Predator 2, and the Dominator, their coverage of the Predator 2 particularly demonstrating surveillance and tracking capabilities of these units.

According to DefenseNews the US Air Force just announced the purchase of 28 Predators as part of a contract awarded to General Atomics. The US Air Force has just begun running ads on cable TV as part of their "Above All" campaign that feature the UAVs (sorry, no online video yet).

Initially, it appears that the administration plans to leverage conventional satellites for domestic surveillance purposes.

Behave yourself, citizens."

Link to Original Source
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How do you securely change your e-nationality?

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "Being a foreigner in the US has its ups and downs. One of the downs I face stems from the music industry's obsession with territory restrictions. Not only am I unable to purchase certain UK releases online despite being able to import CDs, but I also can't listen to most of the webcasting radio stations near my home because they've had to implement IP->Geo lockouts. This leads to a cultural disconnect for me that the Internet really ought to solve. If you've ever graced the forums of an online music store you have likely seen dozens of users around the globe with similar complaints, and in general the only solution is to find an open proxy in another country to bypass the artificial barriers.

Unfortunately many open proxies are not intended for medium-high bandwidth applications, and may be unknowing victims of malware designed to sniff and steal information. Are there any reputable secure and/or trustworthy commercial proxy/tunneling services designed to provide end-points in specific countries?"
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When will smart phone plans become affordable?

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "When my old no thrills voice-only handset finally began giving up the ghost last week I decided it was time to join my colleagues and jump on the smart phone bandwagon. Mobile IM, web, GPS and music downloads all beckoned. Then I totaled up the cost of my new wireless plan. Ouch!

The offerings from the leading US wireless providers are incredibly expensive. A typical voice plan coupled with basic personal Blackberry service can easily cost over $100 and depending on the network other basic features push the monthly rate higher still. Limited or unlimited messages, M2M messages, and night or weekend calling often cost extra. Users buying handsets advertised as having GPS may be unpleasantly surprised to find additional monthly service subscriptions are required to use all or some parts of these services, such as voiced directions. In the end you're likely to pay more for a cellphone with basic smart phone functionality than you do for digital TV and high speed Internet combined, even without high-tech features like GPS included, and most of the service agreements although offering unlimited data for what are clearly multimedia-enabled devices prohibit medium-high bandwidth applications regardless.

How long must we wait for todays smart phones to become the norm and for some level of sanity to take hold in wireless plan rates?"
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DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DigitAl56K writes "Star Wars fans rejoice! Four years after their original fan film saw them picking up light sabers and taking to battle, Ryan Wieber and Michael Scott have published RvD2. The choreography and attention to detail strongly rival the best efforts of Lucasfilm, as does the sound track.

A low resolution version of RvD2 is available on YouTube, and an HD version (429MB) can be downloaded from DivX Stage6. You can also order the original soundtrack and "Making of" videos via ryanvsdorkman.com, as well as donating to their projects."
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DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 8 years ago

DigitAl56K writes "Brian Transeau (BT) is a pioneer of the electronica genre who helped to define trance in the early '90s. His career is diverse with a background in classic music and long history of film scoring, but it is arguably his pursuit of using new technology in music that distinguishes him as an artist. He's a recognized master of audio synthesis and engineering, he writes his own software instruments and effects, and he's famous for his live shows — which he often plays real-time from a laptop computer.

His latest album, This Binary Universe, is released on CD+DVD and mastered in DTS digital surround, accompanied by visuals ranging from CGI to watercolors produced by artists who participate on deviantART. One track on the album is written entirely in Csound, a synthesis scripting language and renderer where the instruments, effects, and score are composed using only a text editor.

BT is currently on tour with electonica veteran Thomas Dolby. The shows not only feature visuals from the album rendered live, but also artwork from members of deviantART local to each area, and a full surround sound audio environment.

The DivX Stage6 team interviewed BT to discuss his career, latest album, use of technology in music, mathematics in music and in nature, and more. We also asked him how he feels about people who download music. The response was both interesting and honest, and gave significant insight into the ethical views of a real artist, as well as dispelling some of the common myths around the effect of piracy on artists large and small.

The complete interview is available from the BT channel on DivX Stage6, including the video for track 4 from his album, entitled "1.618" after the golden ratio, in DivX HD with MP3 Surroud."

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