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Malware Distributed Through Twitch Chat Is Hijacking Steam Accounts

Sigma 7 Re:Java? (53 comments)

And guess what, it is trivial to disable Java support for browsers

Only if you know where to find the option.

In Firefox Aurora version 34.0a2, I click the three lines button to get a menu, then click on options. None of the listed tabs lead towards disabling plugins, or making them manually activated by clicking.

In general, if you have to look in more than one place to configure your software, it's not trivial even if it's easy.

about a week ago

Malware Distributed Through Twitch Chat Is Hijacking Steam Accounts

Sigma 7 Re:Morons. (53 comments)

1) gamers that don't run basic AV

Basic AV = not automatically executing stuff.

If you mean something like real-time protection from common AV packages, then those are technically reactive to threats and don't detect new things within the past ~24 hours or so.

2) gamers that don't run sandboxing software over their browser (Sandboxie for example, shits TRIVIAL to use and is even foolproof!)

Browsers should be self-sandboxing, which has been the case since the start of HTML, until someone foolishly added JavaScript/plugins. Those two shouldbe disabled by default, and in the event that JavaScript or plugins are required for a site, they can be made click-to-play.

3) people DOWNLOADING programs for competitions...
4) actually wanting to play CS Go. The worst sin of them all.

No objection here.

5) Twitch still hasn't word-banned people typing these messages and any variants. It's not like their servers would break, they already have filters in place.

Word-banning is a clbuttic mistake.

about a week ago

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Sigma 7 Re:Hollywood Logic (917 comments)

There is nothing wrong in being a genious in something and not being able to explain how you do it. The common term for that is: intuition.
You ignore that someone who is doing stuff by intuition might have 30+ years in experience to do just that.

In case of the "iniuition" found in the Star Trek chess game:

  • The "less logical" is most likely a lower-strength chess player (e.g. capatin Kirk, Troi, etc), and is matched against a high-strength chess player (e.g. Spock, Data, etc.)
  • The weaker player makes a winning move, which was either "illogical", "emotional", etc. In reality, picking the winning move would be logical.
  • Games such as chess - especially on a high-rank logician such as Spock/Data (known to be able to calculate stuff to excessive significant digits), are likewise able to avoid sudden mate-in-one situations and would probably attempt to shake off mate situations in several turns. (Current computers can see 10 moves ahead, maybe more; Star Trek computers should technically see much further as long as they aren't limited by plot.)

Compare this to Babylon 5, where there was a chess paring, where the player that lost admitted to have made a mistake (e.g. didn't notice that he opened himself to a mate-in-one.)

Also, I'm not saying that intuition isn't valid. Only the cheap plastic imitation used in Star Trek is the issue, when it's used to plainly bash things like "logic".

about two weeks ago

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Sigma 7 Hollywood Logic (917 comments)

"I'm pro-science, but I'm against what I'll call "Spock-ism," after the character from the TV show Star Trek. I reject the idea that science is logical, purely rational, that it is detached and value-free, and that it is, for all these reasons, morally superior.

"Spock-ism" is really a Straw Vulcan where logic is forcefully neutered.

For example, Counceller Troi beats Lieutenant Data in a game of chess, claiming that it's a game of intuition. This ignores that computers can consistently win games of chess against anyone relying on intuition, and where intuition needs to be first built up on logic. (Really, just play chess intuitively against modern AIs on their maximum setting.)

about two weeks ago

Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Sigma 7 Re:Autoplay is EVIL (108 comments)

1) I suspect videos tend to be larger than Anim-GIFs by an order of magnitude

While empirical evidence: animated gifs tend to have a lower framerate (maybe sub 24 fps?) than a comparable video file, and are usually smaller than 360 pixels across.

Loading an animated gif tends to be longer/slower than the comparable Youtube video.

Additionally, browsers can't detect the difference between an animated GIF and non-animated until it starts downloading (unless there's some new HTML tags that I haven't seen.) On the other hand, browsers can detect if a plugin/video is going to be activated before downloading them, and can trivially add a click-to-play dialog to prevent sudden download surprises.

Modern browsers have options for disabling auto-play of Anim-GIF, while similar control for video might be up to a 3rd party plugin

I haven't seen an option for that in Chrome or Firefox without going third-party - and usually you've already downloaded a chunk of data.

Meanwhile, Chrome can auto-block plugins, allowing you to right-click on a plugin and run it - this occurs before the video/flash content is downloaded, saving bandwidth.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

Sigma 7 Re:CS2 (163 comments)

The CS2 versions tend to be depreciated - and I think you need to actually have a registered version to actually download them now (i.e. you need to pass some entitlement.)

Also, at least one of the packages required for video editing (I think it's Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0), doesn't work at all on Windows Vista or later. There may be a fix, but I couldn't find it offhand.

about three weeks ago

Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

Sigma 7 Re:An easy fix. (155 comments)

Obviously there should be a way to report copyright issues. However to do so there should be a deposit required, say $1000.

A.k.a. justice for the rich rather than the starving artist.

The actual fix is to require the plaintiff to sign the whole statement under penalty of perjury rather than just that they represent someone - or at the very least, put a punishment for flinging out fradulent DMCA takedown in the same way filing frivilous lawsuits is punished.

about a month ago

Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

Sigma 7 Re:Oracle Forms (371 comments)

If its so easy then you should have it done by teatime.

"Easy" is besides the point, and said easy portion is not a bottleneck.

Let's look at MinGW/MSYS, which I discovered omits certain critical definitions (e.g. EILSEQ etc.) from a recent download. Fixing them is "easy" but not of that helps the hard portion - getting the fix into the main repository so that others don't have to keep fixing it in the build environment - especially when that bug causes a violation of ANSI C specification.

Something like that can be picked up in an easy smoke test (e.g. ensuring that MinGW/MSYS packages are self-hosting). Yet, it hasn't.

Writing software is easy. Getting it distributed, or even trying to get everyone to agree on the color of the bike shed, is hard.

Nobody in the FOSS community wants it to be ported

The alternative is to write a framework that's superior to C#, .NET or other propriatery technologies - and get it deployed so that anyone can dive in with minimal difficulty (including initial learning time.)

about a month and a half ago

The FBI Is Infecting Tor Users With Malware With Drive-By Downloads

Sigma 7 Re:Hide behind todays popular hate-topic... (182 comments)

Download checksum are usually one or more of MD5SUM, SHA1SUM and SHA256SUM.

A simple transposition of bytes will not generate identical hashes.

From RFC793:

The checksum field is the 16 bit one's complement of the one's complement sum of all 16 bit words in the header and text. If a segment contains an odd number of header and text octets to be checksummed, the last octet is padded on the right with zeros to form a 16 bit word for checksum purposes. The pad is not transmitted as part of the segment. While computing the checksum, the checksum field itself is replaced with zeros.

The extremely weak checksum of the TCP header (or even IP header) will not detect byte transposition.

And no amount of checksumming will stop drive-by-downloads from browsers that still don't understand basic security. (Really, Javascript permissions should have been introduced in Netscape 2.0.)

about a month and a half ago

Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Sigma 7 Re:Hard to get excited. (129 comments)

video is the vast majority of the internet. Seems like a better use of their time to focus on making HEVC or VP9 more capable.

Most videos (at least those linked to from meme-based image sites) are stored in GIF format, despite them taking twenty times the bandwidth/file size of the Youtube video they're based on.

Thus the best way to save space/bandwidth is to find a way to optimize compression of .GIF files.

about 2 months ago

How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

Sigma 7 Tech for a non-issue (128 comments)

Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces

Is this a tech-for-no-reason article?

The article gives a long example where players need to figure out things like checkmate. That's the most trivial of problems, which players need to figure out just to complete the game. Plus, average children at the K-5 (outside of tournaments) have a house rule where capturing the enemy king is a checkmate, which is the same effect.

An easy question if you are an avid chess player, but what if you are not?

If you're at a tournament for that, then you really need to play a few chess matches yourself - even if it's against BattleChess, Chessmaster, or plenty of other free computer programs that can have their difficulty significantly reduced.

about 2 months ago

Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

Sigma 7 Re:In other news (358 comments)

In Florida, only for text messaging. They don't ban hand-helds or cell phones.


Also, officers don't pull you over simply because you are on the phone, they only enforce it if they catch you doing something else at the same time.

about 3 months ago

The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

Sigma 7 Re:WTF Is A "Feature Phone"? (243 comments)

Technically, a feature phone is a class of cell phone half-way between conventional smart phones and cellphones that only allowed dialing.

It's also a back-dated definition.

As for programming software for one - don't bother. There's so many variants that it's easier to aim for an Android or iOS.

about 5 months ago

MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

Sigma 7 Re:Uhm... since when are non-competes a bad thing? (97 comments)

Don't they stop employees from taking any kind of IP and running away with it, which would basically kill the industry?

That would be confidentiality agreements Non-competes are meant to prevent employees from leaving, and immediatly undercutting the employer.

As for why they're bad, I didn't find what I was looking for (a Texas software engineer sued for work before and after employment at a company), but one sample non-compete is more of a restraint-of-trade, requiring an employee to be unemployed for a period of three years (no regional limitation and no consideration.)

Such non-competes don't prevent innovation from being released into the wild, but instead choke the supply of available workers.

about 5 months ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Sigma 7 Re:Requires Windows 8 (226 comments)

Bleh. Last paragraph should read:

I think the point is that Visual Studio encourages programmers to code to APIs available only on Windows.

I think that's a problem with any system. For example, if you write something for Mac OS's Carbon, it still takes a bit of effort to port that to anything else (unless you have some standard middleware library.)

about 5 months ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Sigma 7 Re:Requires Windows 8 (226 comments)

For one thing, nothing on the page you linked even runs on Windows Vista, which is still in extended support.

You have to scroll down to find Visual Studio 2010, but it's there. Granted, the latest version should still run on something in extended support...

I think that's a problem with any system. For example, if you write something for Mac OS's Carbon, it still takes a bit of effort to port that to anything else (unless you have some standard middleware library.)

about 5 months ago

Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Sigma 7 Re:Guilty until proven innocent. (306 comments)

I've been wondering if it already exists in already-existing copyright law:


Sect. 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works


Sect. 106A. Rights of certain authors to attribution and integrity

Subject to section 107 and independent of the exclusive rights provided in section 106 [17 USCS Sect. 106], the author of a work of visual art--

(1) shall have the right--

(A) to claim authorship of that work,

This is probably meant to prevent other people from placing their name on your work, and probably should be tested on Youtube copyright claims. After all, a video does qualify as visual art.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Sigma 7 Re:Mmm (266 comments)

Yeah, and it should be reverted to the prior behavior because it doesn't fix the issue.

Prior behavior was with Windows 95/98 and really old versions of Netscape, where the browser blindly loaded an image from c:\con\con because that's the file found in the img tag. Unlike the BSoD, you needed a 110 reset.

And no, you should never revert to a revision that provides worse control over malicious scripts.

you get a never-ending stream of "would you like to stop the script?" dialogs

The script-stopping dialog would kill all scripts on that page, not just the individual one. Stopping the script includes stopping all timers produced by the script.

A "modal dialog" is a DENIAL OF SERVICE to all other application features.

Correct, and as the other anonymous poster said, an application is free to freeze itself to show that modal dialog.

What isn't acceptable is sandboxed or semi-sandboxed code running under that application capable of freezing the parent, and blocking everything else running. It is the duty of any application capable of running arbitrary code to allow the user to instantly block anything malicious or faulty, with minimal impact to things that should remain running.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Sigma 7 Re:Mmm (266 comments)

do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)

Sometimes it isn't an option because your fix gets rejected (or left to idle in an obscure bug report)

For example, one build utility had a bug where it checked for the presense of a compiler, but not if it was functional. The fix was rejected because the build utility doesn't check path - despite the fact that it does so for a different compiler. (Explicitly defining which compiler to use defeats the purpose of using said tool in the first place - I'd just use Makefile instead.)

Did you know it took 10+ years for Mozilla to fix the alert() denial loop? That bug is older than Mozilla itself, and the most obvious fix of "checkbox to stop further dialogs" was dismissed as a hack (compared to the destructive hack of force-killing Mozilla.)

about 6 months ago

Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

Sigma 7 Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

Placebos are "real" medicine.
We just don't know how they work.

You're confusing placebos with the placebo effect. It works based on the patient's expectation on how its going to work (i.e. the mind makes it real).

There's also a person who did an experiment that negated the effect of placebos, by an injection that blocks opiates.

about 6 months ago


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