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FSF-Endorsed Libreboot X200 Laptop Comes With Intel's AMT Removed

Zitchas Re:even when it is powered off. (169 comments)

I kind of suspect that is the point: Low level functionality that allows them to actually turn on the computer, not just wake it up from standby or hibernation. It also grants access for BIOS updating, erasing and reinstalling hard drives, and other access like that.

I suspect that the only "Off" that would actually block its activity would be the more absolute "the power bar is turned off" type security. Which is probably a good idea anyway, these days.


Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Zitchas Re:life in the U.S. (255 comments)

We're all glad that you've got decent service.

That being said, the point of changing the definition is so that the cable companies can't point to your plan and call it the "Extra super good internet plan."

The point is essentially a technicality: Raise the definition so that most typical plans don't count as broadband. Which makes it harder for the telcos to justify charging broadband prices for sub-broadband service. Which, hopefully, will either reduce prices for the low end of things so that more people can access it, or encourage the companies to upgrade their infrastructure to support the new speeds.

Look at it this way: This change should either make your 'net cheaper, or increase your speeds. Either way, you win. The only reason that the telcos oppose this is because they're going to actually have to spend some of their profit on upgrading infrastructure. The horror!

4 days ago

US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

Zitchas Re:Wonderful idea. (698 comments)

I wonder how long it will take until this is set off by someone playing GTA or CoD or something in the computer lab...

about 3 months ago

Civilization V Officially Available On Linux For SteamOS

Zitchas It is about time! (93 comments)

Well, my biggest time waster is now on Linux, without having to fiddle with WINE or anything. I guess I can now relegate this commercial OS to a seldom used secondary partition. Woot!




about 8 months ago

Alienware Swaps SteamOS For Windows

Zitchas Re:As expected (173 comments)

FYI: As of yesterday, Civ V now runs on SteamOS. Supposedly all the DLC is supposed to too, but they're still working on that. And it is one of the play-anywhere type games, so if you own a copy, you can play on windows, mac, or Linux, no need to buy a new copy for the other OS. I'll be getting my dual boot running today to try it out.

Civ: Beyond Earth has been officially "Win, Mac, and SteamOS" for a while now. I'm guessing it and Civ V use the same base underlying engine, or at least close enough to make using code form one in the other easy enough, so they're using Civ V in SteamOS to test their code for the Beyond Earth release. (I know the preview footage from E3 yesterday that some aspects of Beyond Earth look like a reskinned Civ5, particularly the map, combat, city, and diplomacy screens. So I'm expecting it to feel like an expansion that adds a whole bunch of stuff combined with a TC (Total Conversion) that replaces all the existing content)

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

Zitchas Re:Brain-Computer Interfaces (552 comments)

If I had mod points, I'd vote this up, especially since it is actually relevant to answering the person's question.

Sorry I don't have any sources, but I know I've read a fair bit about experimental brain interfaces as Multiio describes, but from North American sources, so hopefully some usefull stuff turns up. As far as that goes, the wikipedia article on Brain-computer interfaces has some hopeful links.


Of particular note is all the succesfull experiments where they've had monkeys controlling robotic arms to feed themselves, using brain-wave monitoring devices to provide joystick type input into a computer, and stuff like that. From what I can tell, that's just the "proven and done" stuff. More complex things like outputting text directly to a computer makes sense to me, but I haven't seen any mention of that sort of thing.

To all those who, instead of answering the question have been providing "pull the plug" or "why don't you research ways to kill them" answers: don't assume anything less than perfect mobility is essential for an enjoyable life. I, for one, would want to keep on living so long as I can keep learning and experiencing things. Even if it amounts to never doing anything physical again and spending my time learning on the web, I still consider that to be a life worth living. We can't, and shouldn't, make these decisions for others, especially for those we don't know. After all, while there may be a few that really want to die and get a lot of media attention, there are just as many, probably more, who share my view: never pull the plug on me until my brain has completely, utterly, and without the slightest trace of a doubt ceased activity. And even then wait a week or two just to make sure it wasn't just faint for a bit before doing it.

Whenever locked in cases like this come up, I can't help but think of Anne McCaffrey's brain-ships series. Basic premise being that locked in people were hooked into spaceships. If they can control prosthetics, they can control anything else, the theory goes. If they can never live outside a machine, well, give them the best possible opportunity to be as productive as possible in a machine, ideally by doing things that un-injured people can't do. I'm sure it is possible, but it is a field that needs a lot more work.

about 8 months ago

Intentional Backdoor In Consumer Routers Found

Zitchas Partial vulnerability list (236 comments)

In the pdf of his presentation he mentions that there are 24 router models confirmed vulnerable spanning Cisco, Linksys, NetGear, and Diamond. I have yet to spot the actual list of vulnerable routers, though.

He also elaborates on how a technically skilled person can figure out if any particular router is vulnerable.

The link to the list of vulnerabilities is found in the pdf. Here's a copy/pasted list of the ones known so far.


Backdoor LISTENING ON THE INTERNET confirmed in :

        Linksys WAG120N (@p_w999)
        Netgear DG834B V5.01.14 (@domainzero)
        Netgear DGN2000 1.1.1,,,, (issue 44)
        Netgear WPNT834 (issue 79)
        OpenWAG200 maybe a little bit TOO open ;) (issue 49)

Backdoor confirmed in:

        Cisco RVS4000 fwv (issue 57)
        Cisco WAP4410N (issue 11)
        Cisco WRVS4400N
        Cisco WRVS4400N (issue 36)
        Diamond DSL642WLG / SerComm IP806Gx v2 TI (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6998682)
        LevelOne WBR3460B (http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/101/507219/30/0/threaded)
        Linksys RVS4000 Firmware V1.3.3.5 (issue 55)
        Linksys WAG120N (issue 58)
        Linksys WAG160n v1 and v2 (@xxchinasaurxx @saltspork)
        Linksys WAG200G
        Linksys WAG320N (http://zaufanatrzeciastrona.pl/post/smieszna-tylna-furtka-w-ruterach-linksysa-i-prawdopodobnie-netgeara/)
        Linksys WAG54G2 (@_xistence)
        Linksys WAG54GS (@henkka7)
        Linksys WRT350N v2 fw 2.00.19 (issue 39)
        Linksys WRT300N fw 2.00.17 (issue 34)
        Netgear DG834[â..., GB, N, PN, GT] version 5 (issue 19 & issue 25 & issue 62 & jd & Burn2 Dev)
        Netgear DGN1000 (don't know if there is a difference with the others N150 ones... issue 27)
        Netgear DGN1000[B] N150 (issue 3)
        Netgear DGN2000B (issue 26)
        Netgear DGN3500 (issue 13)
        Netgear DGND3300 (issue 56)
        Netgear DGND3300Bv2 fwv (issue 59)
        Netgear DM111Pv2 (@eguaj)
        Netgear JNR3210 (issue 37)

Backdoor may be present in:

        all SerComm manufactured devices (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6998258)
        Linksys WAG160N (http://zaufanatrzeciastrona.pl/post/smieszna-tylna-furtka-w-ruterach-linksysa-i-prawdopodobnie-netgeara/)
        Netgear DG934 probability: probability: 99.99% (http://codeinsecurity.wordpress.com/category/reverse-engineering/)
        Netgear WG602, WGR614 (v3 doesn't work, maybe others...) (http://zaufanatrzeciastrona.pl/post/smieszna-tylna-furtka-w-ruterach-linksysa-i-prawdopodobnie-netgeara/) :END COPIED TEXT

about 9 months ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Zitchas Re:Good for you. (641 comments)

I continue to think that about 95% of all computer users would be happy if their current OS locked the feature set exactly where it is now and henceforth do nothing except patch bugs.

Maybe do a "new version" if they really must, but only if it doesn't eliminate or forcefully change the current workflow, doesn't require any additional resources, and can demonstrably *IMPROVE* the user's experience with the OS. Which for most people, means that the time that they spend actually using the OS is decreased. After all, for 95% of users, the OS is simply the digital equivalent of their desk. Most people don't want to spend their time staring at their desk, no matter how "pretty" it is, but rather they would prefer to be doing stuff with whatever they put on it.

Side question: How many people would upgrade their desk if the new version of their desk had drawers that took twice as long to open but made a fancy "Wooosh" noise when they did it? Or where you had to push a couple buttons on the side of the desk before you could pick up a pen (or touch the keyboard)?

about 10 months ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Zitchas Re:Good for you. (641 comments)


I've been saying this for years in regards to "new" operating systems. I don't need more "features", I don't need it to look "prettier", I don't need animations when I do something.

Pretty much all I need is something that will organize my files and provide the necessary APIs and backend support for running a predetermined set of programs. (a set that has remained pretty much unchanged for the past 2 years, and only a few additions in the past 5)

about 10 months ago

An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

Zitchas Nice, but.... (353 comments)

Well, I'm glad that someone's out there talking about it, but here on /. it really is preaching to the choir.

That being said, I'd love to see this video get sent out to the masses of people on some major news channels. Getting a couple million more people interested in upgrading and modding their own computer would do wonders for increasing the interest of computer parts manufacturers in catering to the upgrade/modding community.

about 10 months ago

How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?

Zitchas Re:EVN (Escape Velocity Nova) (270 comments)

I'll have to look those up. Like with most old games, EVN doesn't really need sequels, it just needs to be updated to use more recent hardware, such as bigger screens.

about a year ago

Japanese Firm Proposes Microwave-Linked Solar Plant On the Moon

Zitchas Awesome! (330 comments)

Are these ideas realistic anytime soon? Not really. Are they possible with today's technology? Iffy, although some probably are. Would I like to see most of them actually in existence now, if it were possible? Most definitely!

Especially the space ones, and the pyramid city. I like those ideas!

about a year ago

How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?

Zitchas Re:EVN (Escape Velocity Nova) (270 comments)

Deffinitely one of the top shareware games ever. I played it when first released, played it for many years after. Even made a few mods. Still have a copy of it kicking around, too. :)

about a year ago

Is Google Making the Digital Divide Worse?

Zitchas Re:Faster internet will help regardless. (259 comments)

Probably the amusing part is that this all assumes that increased internet speeds actually *help* people. Being able to load funny cat videos 100x faster isn't really a significant benefit, really. And lets be honest: Most people getting these gigabit connections are not going to be spending their time exclusively doing research and watching online courses. If they did, maybe it will help the rich more than the poor, but chances are they won't.

And I fail to see how any online service could start to default to 4k video anytime in the near future. 4k screens aren't exactly common. There isn't even enough market saturation of high bandwidth connection (and big screens) for 1080p to the the default size on youtube. (I think it's generally defaulting to 480p or maybe 720p).

about a year ago

Is Google Making the Digital Divide Worse?

Zitchas Faster internet will help regardless. (259 comments)

Having widespread gigabit internet should, in theory, continue to benefit the entire society, not just those capable of affording it. Even if the lower segment of society can not afford it, they should still benefit from it. After all, libraries and other public access points should be able to afford it, especially given that encouraging education is part of their mandate.

That being said, I disagree with the logic that one needs to have access to top-tier internet in order to advance one's education. Most of that bandwidth, in private use instances, is going to be taken up in streaming netflix, videogames, and torrents. (and related services) Very little is going to be used for educational purposes. If one is actually intent on learning, a tiny fraction of a gigabit connection is all that is needed, so long as one focuses on that and not trying to multitask.

about a year ago

SpaceX's Dragon Module Successfully Re-Enters

Zitchas Re:Orbit? Check - Moon Mission? Mars? (156 comments)

The point, I think, is to get the government institutions (who are the ones who don't have to make money at things) OUT of the business of doing repetitious, potentially profitable things. Like putting satellites into orbit, doing ISS supply runs, and other generic things that are pretty much routine these days.

If they are barred from doing easy stuff, maybe they will take their budget where it is supposed to go: into exploration and the development of new things, things that the the private industry won't do because there is no profit there yet.

more than 4 years ago

Would You Take a One-Way Ticket To Mars?

Zitchas 38% would go so long as they made it... (561 comments)

... and 7% think they already live there. In summary, out of 27844 respondents,26% would go on a one way trip so long as they had some chance of survival, and another 12% would go so long as they made it to Mars and died on impact. That makes 38% of the /. community who would gladly go on a one way trip to Mars. While not particularly representative of anything, it is interesting to see so many willing to go there, permanently. Hopefully the day will come when we have our opportunity. Oh, and I thought the Mars trilogy was awesome. That being said, the first part, where they are actually going to and starting up things there was the best part. For the first large portion of the book we actually have all the technology they use there. We just need some way to get it all assembled and used to take people there and help them survive. If it was not for the economics aspect, we would likely already be there.

more than 4 years ago

Civilization V Announced For This Fall

Zitchas Re:Worth checking out, but not spectacular... (326 comments)

I'm not griping about features I wish it had, I'm just pointing out that a lot of the features they (or others) are claiming as new additions are, in fact, things that Alpha Centauri had about a decade ago. And I'll point out that it was, by and large, made by the same creator...

And yes, it would change the tone. I want another AC. Actually, I'd be happy with the old AC, with updated engine. (something that runs on modern systems, uses millions of colours, and supports modern screen resolutions. Maybe expand it to support having the whole slew of factions active simultaneously, too. (and bigger maps)

more than 4 years ago

Civilization V Announced For This Fall

Zitchas Worth checking out, but not spectacular... (326 comments)

Well, it's nice that they're issuing a new Civilization game, but I'm still hoping they'll include more of the stuff they used in Alpha Centauri. That being said, some of the things they mention here *are* from Alpha Centauri, so there's hope yet. (for those unaware, Alpha Centauri was produced by Sid Meirs and Firaxis (among others) around 2000. Or at least, that was when they issued the last official patch.

For instance, ranged combat: Alpha Centauri had an artillery system built in, and the computer AI used it fairly effectively. Including artillery duels, bombardment, etc. Ship to shore combat was automatically a bombardment.

Modability: All the files for creating your own scenarios were there, easy to modify, written in plain english, and usually with explanations. And the game had a built in map editor. Which includes modifying factions, creating new ones, etc.

In fact, that leads directly to the one feature I really want to see in Civ V: Customized units. Not mods, but the ability, in game, to create new units by combining technology. For example, you've figured out how to make iron armor. Great. But you only know how to make longbows? So you now have iron-plated archers. Or whatever. That was one thing in Alpha Centauri that made the game truly unique: Tech developments gave you aspects of units, not the units themselves. As in they gave you a new type of weapon, a new type of armor, a new special ability, a new reactor (aka more hitpoints), new chassis (determines whether it's land, water, or air, and how fast it is, how often it needs to return to a city, etc)... Then the player puts them together to create the unit they want, the system figures out how much it costs, and there you go.

It led to some funny possibilities, like when you have really high powered cities, that you can create terraformers (equiv to engineers) that have tougher armor/hitpoints than most combat units. (although they still got a non-combat penalty) Or whatever one's heart desires, really. Not planning on going anywhere, but need defence? Then put together some sentinels with top of the line armor and hp, but leave them with the bare minimum for weaponry and chasis, and maybe give them one of the defensive special abilities. Or planning on doing some exploration? Throw together some rovers with high speed equipment, and deep radar (see 2 squares instead of 1), but leave off the weapons and armor. Almost anything is possible, really. And it adds so much variety to the game, so much re-playability.

The other thing I'm looking forward to seeing is the automation control. Can you activate an automated "governor" for a city? Can you tell that governor to only build stuff towards a specific end (say, research, or population expansion). Can you forbid the governor from building certain types of units (or any unit, for that matter)? On the same vein, can you give specific limits to engineer's automation? (for example, only allow them to build certain types of terrain improvement?

These are all things that they had in Alpha Centauri back in 2000, but have been almost entirely absent to all the Civ games produced since then. Otherwise, I'll probably just keep playing AC. Sure the graphics are bad (by 2010 standards, anyway), but it's the gameplay that matters.

more than 4 years ago

My keyboard has X-many keys; X=

Zitchas Re:i'd count... (430 comments)

By default on the iMac keyboard, F14 and F15 are screen brightness controls. F17 reduce volume, F18 increases, F19 mute/unmute, and F20 is eject. I think on the newer macbooks there's controls for the keyboard back-illumination. Not sure if those count as F keys or not.

more than 4 years ago



SpaceX's Dragon module successfully re-enters.

Zitchas Zitchas writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Zitchas (713512) writes "Following the news of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon module on-board, and its arrival on orbit, we now have the news that is has successfully re-entered the atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific. As their website proudly claims, this is the first time a private corporation has recovered a spacecraft they orbited, joining the ranks of a few space nations and the EU space agency.

A great step forward for space travel. Hopefully everything continues to go well for them."

Link to Original Source



For the record...

Zitchas Zitchas writes  |  more than 8 years ago I passed the written portion of my flight exam. Huzzah. One short step from being a legal pilot the world over. Or at least, eveywhere with the same standards as up here in the frozen north, anyway. Z

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