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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Runefox Seriously? (354 comments)

So he's saying that he's fine with the FBI needing warrants, but when it comes to encryption HO CRAP NO THAT'S ABOVE THE LAW. Next, the FBI will be saying that locks and safes are above the law because they delay law enforcement's access to _______. Great stuff, bravo, good hustle..

about 3 months ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Runefox Re:This is something I've been noticing for a whil (253 comments)

Whoops, you're right! But since 4k is becoming a buzzword, larger screens are on the way to getting more pixel density even so.

about 3 months ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Runefox This is something I've been noticing for a while (253 comments)

Android handsets are in a numbers race as far as specs go, going so far as to push beyond what anyone would appreciably notice. Case in point: The LG G3 with its 1440p, making for 534 PPI. What, exactly, is the point of this ridiculous PPI? You certainly aren't going to notice a difference between a 1080p screen and that one at these screen sizes unless you're used to using your phone under a magnifying glass or an inch away from your face. And yet it's a big feature, proudly displayed as the first bullet point on the website. It's a numbers game.

Then there's the dual core vs quad core (and beyond) and maximum clock speed bit, which is absurd when you consider that different implementations (Qualcomm vs Apple for instance) even within the same architecture will have different levels of efficiency. In the PC world, for instance, Intel's processors absolutely dominate AMD's per-core and per-clock, and both are x86-64. For some perspective on that, Anandtech wrote that a single Haswell core has double the floating point performance of two AMD modules - four "cores". For Android's part, the trend seems to be, similarly to AMD, pushing for higher and higher clocks (Snapdragon 80x), and not efficiency. This can be seen in the preliminary benchmark results that show Apple's supposedly underpowered CPU topping the charts.

And then, coming back to the story's example of the Nexus 5 vs the iPhone 6, comparing Android to iOS as far as RAM requirements go couldn't possibly be more misguided. iOS is far more restrictive as to what an app can do in the background than Android is, and much more aggressive with reclaiming memory for the app in the foreground. Android keeps apps running for as long as possible (until memory is needed, basically), and apps can do essentially whatever they want to do in the background. This also factors in to battery life, where power consumption on Android is likely to be much higher and therefore much larger batteries are being used there for what is basically similar battery life.

It's for those reasons that it's tough to actually compare the two ecosystems, and it's tough to say whether the specs really make that much of a difference to the overall experience. I think the ultimate answer is that regardless of performance numbers on paper, we've hit the wall for what we're expecting our devices to do. For my part, I say that, for now at least, specs are irrelevant. As long as the device is able to handle the tasks thrown at it without choking and has the features I'm looking for, it's a device worth considering. I think the Nexus series in particular has always embodied that point of view.

about 3 months ago
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Inside OS X Mavericks

Runefox Re:Parallels (362 comments)

Supposedly, it's available as an upgrade only to those who currently own Parallels Desktop 7 or 8, with the full retail version coming IIRC in October.

about a year ago
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Canadian Official Escorted From House For Others' Facebook Comments

Runefox Oh, Dunderdale... (205 comments)

Living in Newfoundland myself, I've been hearing non-stop about her exploits as premier lately. It seems she's bat-shit crazy - That is, moreso than the rest of us. Among some of the other things she's tried to do have been to seal public spending records to make it impossible to see what the province is doing with its money, slashing education budgets, aggressive politics, compulsive lying and just generally being a slimeball.

Her predecessor (from the same political party - the provincial equivalent to the Conservative party) fought tooth and nail against the Harper government, even going so far as to recommend voting against him, but she regularly rolls out the red carpet and kisses ass whenever the prime minister and his cronies are around. It's obvious that like most of our premiers, she only wants to get in good with the federal government so that she can move up to a position there, and really has no other concerns than that. Her tactics are almost identical to the Harper government, to boot.

Sad thing is, this keeps happening because people here vote based on their voting history, not their actual ideals or which party would do the best job.

about a year and a half ago
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Connecticut Groups Cancels Plan to Destroy Violent Games

Runefox Oh wow! (350 comments)

$25 to get rid of your old shooters? Man, they're a better trade-in deal than anyone else around. Plus, they're getting rid of e-waste! How thoughtful!

Give them your Call of Madden 2011 and 2012, then go buy Call of Madden 2013.

about 2 years ago
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What Happens To Your Used Games?

Runefox Honestly now (276 comments)

Just how much value does trading used games at Gamestop have over other avenues? Gamestop's entire business model relies on the trade of used games at rock-bottom prices so that they can then sell them at about a 500% (or higher) profit. Of course they sit on old stock for a while, but even at their fire-sale pricing for really ancient stuff they'd typically be breaking even.

The biggest problem is not that Gamestop offers the ability to trade used games for (credit towards) new games; The problem is that Gamestop offers incentives to trade new releases back as soon as possible, and then - crucially - turns around and immediately offers them for sale while undercutting the new releases, which does indeed hurt developers. While Halo 3 did phenomenally well when it launched, I personally saw many used copies available at a local EB Games on the shelf right next to the new copies on launch day. This is like making a home release of a movie available while it's still in theatrical release - It undercuts profits at a critical time.

I've said it before, but what needs to happen is to regulate when used copies are available on store shelves. Used games in themselves aren't evil, nor is the ability to trade back to the store early on. However, the way Gamestop and similar companies operate by making used copies available for sale immediately and advertising them alongside new (especially considering that a used game is, in theory, no different than a new game at this early stage) is the major driving force behind anti-used game tactics that publishers and developers are beginning to make use of.

If Gamestop wants its business model to continue without alienating developers like it has been, and without having to fight anti-used tactics like have been deployed recently, they need to step up to the plate and offer some kind of compromise on street dates where the "premiere" of a game is off-limits for used sale. Otherwise, the push for single-use digital distribution and locked-down hard-copies will only continue at an ever-increasing pace.

more than 2 years ago
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First Firefox Mobile OS Phones Announced

Runefox Great! (116 comments)

Just what we need, more market fragmentation! It's not like iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS / QNX, Bada, Windows Phone, and the plethora of Java-powered phones out there is enough.

Let's not forget the main reason why WebOS failed - Lack of platform support. Very few apps available, with little developer interest because they're already splitting their focus primarily between iOS and Android, which is already a huge drain. By comparison, even BB OS and Windows Phone have tiny developer followings and very small market penetration.

TL;DR, a Mozilla phone is a terrible idea, at least in theory. We'll have to see when they ship how they do, but I doubt they'll be able to make a dent in an already-saturated market with developer focus already split at least two or three different ways. It's hard to even imagine Mozilla on the radar for devs and consumers alike.

more than 2 years ago
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Canada's Conservatives Misled Voters With Massive Robocall Operation

Runefox Re:What do you name this scandal? (401 comments)

Sure, but just as a friendly reminder, Elections Canada has moved the polling station to a deserted highway high up in the Yukon.

more than 2 years ago
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Ubisoft Blames Piracy For Non-Release of PC Game

Runefox I'd just like to say this (424 comments)

I am the 5%.

Not to Ubisoft, though. I don't know the last time I bought an Ubisoft title. Quite frankly, none of their games are all that interesting, and I'm not taking my chances with their DRM, either. I've got all of this generation's consoles, but really, if you're going to fuck with one platform, you kind of fucked with me regardless. Real smooth, Ubisoft.

Anyway, I kind of knew that Ubisoft's DRM scheme was all for the purpose of pushing to console-only development. I guess they'll save money by removing a platform from their development cycles (the way consoles are now, optimizing for them to get what we have now graphically isn't an easy task) and they won't have to worry about piracy anymore - Except they probably aren't actually losing an appreciable number of sales to piracy to begin with anyway.

about 3 years ago
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HideMyAss.com Doesn't Hide Logs From the FBI

Runefox Okay...? (233 comments)

So basically, someone out there thought that a site like this was actually a legitimate way to shield from any kind of tracking?

And the fact that that someone was wrong is surprising?

They make their points very clear in the linked statement: The service is not intended to provide anonymity or shelter from legal repurcussions; They are there to provide a workaround for those who are being censored, to provide a way of bypassing "Great Firewalls", or simply to prevent your ISP or wireless network from seeing your HTTP requests. There is no expectation of privacy, and nor should there be. The same expectations are true of Tor and other "anonymity" initiatives (though Tor is inherently less open to tracking due to the way packets flow through the Tor network (that is to say, it's very decentralized)).

Sure, services like HMA partially obfuscate the trail, but they aren't bound by any agreement to guarantee your privacy, don't claim to, and ultimately will not.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Mobile Data In Canada For a US Citizen?

Runefox Re:If you're travelling to Newfoundland... (270 comments)

Perhaps, but they've been here for over a decade now I think, and the level of service has been similar all throughout. I don't quite understand what they're even doing here if they aren't going to expand their network.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Mobile Data In Canada For a US Citizen?

Runefox If you're travelling to Newfoundland... (270 comments)

Forget Rogers in Newfoundland. Their coverage is in exactly two places - Most parts of St. John's, and I believe some of Clarenville or Gander. Bell's network, on the other hand, is comprehensive here, and the other mobile providers here use Bell's towers (Fido excepted, because Rogers owns Fido).

more than 3 years ago
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Authorities Closing On LulzSec

Runefox Re:Huh? (354 comments)

In that case, say hello to TrueCrypt hidden volumes.

more than 3 years ago
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Authorities Closing On LulzSec

Runefox Re:Logic disconnect... (354 comments)

Pfft. Just working harder doesn't suddenly make things any easier. Take a look at the war on terrorism: It'll never truly 'end', no matter how hard anyone tries. Terrorism is an idea, and ideas exist as long as people are around to have them. Frankly, I think Lulzsec/Anon's antisec movement is similar in scope, particularly since there are participants from everywhere in the world, not just in the UK and US.

more than 3 years ago
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Nintendo Announces New Console: Wii U

Runefox Re:My hands hurt... (330 comments)

Over a decade ago, when our cell phones were still rocking monochrome displays and just then getting into WAP browsing? Yeah. That's a great comparison, actually, and points out where the concept would have begun in the 'modern' era. Remember, that was about the extent of what our technology of the era could bring to bear without HUGE cost, which incidentally I imagine will be a very present issue with the Wii u's main controller.

more than 3 years ago
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Fable III Dev: Used Game Sales More Costly Than Piracy

Runefox Re:Agreed. (342 comments)

Operating costs are irrelevant; They exist for any other transaction in the business. As for buying the used game back, they don't do that with real currency, just store credit.

more than 3 years ago
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Fable III Dev: Used Game Sales More Costly Than Piracy

Runefox Re:Agreed. (342 comments)

I should note that with the Halo 3 example, I was offered a used copy of the game on launch day when I was going to pick it up.

more than 3 years ago
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Fable III Dev: Used Game Sales More Costly Than Piracy

Runefox Re:Agreed. (342 comments)

True, but EB/Gamestop have huge incentives to bring new games back for trade value. When The Godfather was released, there actually was a promotion that if you could beat the game within a certain period of time (I think it was either a few days or a week), you'd trade it back in and it was 'free'. Nowadays, they have their "Most Wanted" lists, with new releases fetching the biggest bounties, and new releases tend to have a "trade 3 and it's free" promotion as well. In other words, EB/Gamestop have put HUGE amounts of effort into making people part with new releases in order to get other games, in a rather turnstile fashion. If you've ever been into an EB or Gamestop, you'll probably notice that there actually are a surprising number of new releases with used stickers on.

It's true that on day 0, there shouldn't be many used copies, but I have witnessed it, in particular with Halo 3. Within less than a week's time, used copies lined the shelves for $5 less than new.

I don't believe that it's fair for a product to have to compete with itself on the same shelves that it's on. Recently used copies are very likely to not have any damage or defects, and EB/Gamestop warrant them as working for a certain period of time, anyway, so there isn't any incentive to pay the extra to buy a full retail copy. This is part of the reason why multiplayer is becoming such a huge cornerstone of game development - Multiplayer communities generally mean that people who play online will continue to do so, rather than trading the game in. It's also why EA and others have been bundling one-use DLC with their games, and why it could very well be possible that in order to combat both piracy and used game sales, one-use (or limited-use) serial keys for console games might be in our future. With that in mind, it would be a LOT better to come to an agreement with publishers over street dates rather than having the bottom taken out from under the entire used game industry in the name of anti-piracy (which is exactly how it would be spun).

more than 3 years ago
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Fable III Dev: Used Game Sales More Costly Than Piracy

Runefox Re:Agreed. (342 comments)

Per-sale of used game, it is pure profit. I never said there wasn't any risk in taking on the inventory, but then again, most games they take in will go for about $5-10 or so worth of store credit, ensuring that no raw currency leaves the door one way or another.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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"TrueCrypt must not die" - TrueCrypt continuation effort underway

Runefox Runefox writes  |  about 6 months ago

Runefox (905204) writes "In the wake of the confusing and abrupt apparent demise of TrueCrypt, many have been left without a continuing, open source means of cross-platform encryption. TrueCrypt.ch, a Switzerland-hosted webpage, sprung up recently in a bid to reorganize and continue development of recently-discontinued TrueCrypt. While no development efforts have yet begun, according to their current development status:

Currently the news is still in flux, and we will support any efforts in reviving TrueCrypt. If other Initiatives arise we will try to support them. At the moment we want to make sure everyone who wants can continue to use TrueCrypt.

They have already gathered the TrueCrypt source code into GitHub and made available for download the latest working versions of TrueCrypt, with the disclaimer that they are currently unmaintained. According to the website, the choice to use Swiss web hosting was made because "If there have been legal problems with the US, the independent hosting in Switzerland will guarantee no interruption due to legal threats.""

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Cerulean Studios releases IMPP specifications

Runefox Runefox writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Runefox (905204) writes "Cerulean Studios, the company behind the long-lived Trillian instant messaging client, has released preliminary specifications to their proprietary "Astra" protocol, now named IMPP (Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol), which provides continuous client functionality as well as mandatory TLS encryption for clients. According to their blog, Cerulean Studios' motivation for the release is to promote interoperability among the throngs of IM services and clients available by allowing others to also use the protocol. Future concepts include federation with XMPP.

While the documentation is in an early state and the protocol is claimed to still be in development, it is hoped that it will help decentralize the very heavily fragmented messaging ecosystem. It's implied that, in turn, greater options for privacy may become available in the wake of the PRISM scandal via privately-run federated servers, unaffiliated with major networks, yet still able to communicate with them."
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Runefox Runefox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Runefox (905204) writes "Kotaku is currently reporting on a user-submitted trailer for the upcoming indie game based on the infamous webcomic, Penny Arcade. Using the Torque Engine, the game is being produced by Hothead Games, and overseen by the creators of Penny Arcade, themselves. Here's the Kotaku article, and here's the video. While almost all can agree that the graphics, as they are now, will give small children nightmares, so, too, can most everyone agree that 'Fruit Fucker' is simply awesome."

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