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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Zocalo Re:missing the point (436 comments)

I was thinking more of the sites that shutdown due to lack of funds, but yes, they could burn it all down when they shutter the site if they really wanted to be dicks about it. If they go to a subscription only model, then the content is still available, even if you have to pay the sub - it's just a personal call whether you think their version of the content is worth paying for of one of the free alternative sites meets your needs.

5 hours ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Zocalo Re:missing the point (436 comments)

Quite. Also, even when a site is using ads there are usually alternatives that provide similar content for free. If we were able to wave a wand and magically remove all advertising companies from the Internet (or better still, existance in general), I suspect most ad-funded sites would try and transition to Tip Jars or subscriptions, the browsing public would re-distribute to different sites, and a number of sites would ultimately fold, including most of the ad-laden SEO landing pages. No actual content of value would be lost (although some might only continue to exist in the Wayback Machine) and life would go on, only without the ads and malware attack vectors that piggyback on it.

Where do I sign up?

8 hours ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Zocalo Re:That's it? (436 comments)

Adblock and no script do more to keep viruses out of your stuff than antivirus.

That's actually a very good point. I haven't had a single alert from the AV component of my security suite (software on PC, host and hardware firewalls, etc.) for longer than I can remember, and that was a false positive from an installer. Then again, I whitelist cookies, JavaScript, Flash, etc., block all ads, treat all links/files I get sent with a healthy degree of skepticism, and don't tend to visit sites usually regarded as "suspect" (compromised is another matter, of course), so even the likes of SpyBot S&D and CCleaner seldom flag anything. Given how ineffectual AV is against the latest 0-day vulnerabilites and drive-bys, I'm giving serious thought to just switching off the real-time scanner and running a manual scan every week or so for peace of mind.

8 hours ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

Zocalo Re:Go (273 comments)

If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

about a week ago
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Putin Government Moves To Take Control of Russia's largest space company Energia

Zocalo Re:Trillion-dollar boo-boo (252 comments)

I think that the natural resources are a big part of the solution, but it's not just figuring out to how exploit them and looking at the overall national GDP that many seem to have latch onto; the really telling numbers are when you compare the GDP ranking for the country as a whole with the per-capita rating - there's a serious problem with the human side of the equation too. The country as a whole is right up there with the EU's big three (6th in the world, according to Wikipedia's 2014 estimate), but is languishing down in 58th per capita, on a par with second world countries (which is what Russia really is these days) and/or countries that have massive over population and subsistence employment issues. Ultimately, there's a fundamental problem with the distribution of wealth in Russia (Occupy Wall Street has nothing to complain about in the light of a hypothetical "Occupy Red Square"), and stunts like this are not going to help fix the problem, especially since those that have the money also have the all the power and are not afraid to use the latter to keep them both. At this point, perhaps the only option left might be for the people of Russia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution with another one...

about two weeks ago
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Putin Government Moves To Take Control of Russia's largest space company Energia

Zocalo Re:Trillion-dollar boo-boo (252 comments)

Yes, it does, the Moscow Exchange, or MICEX.

This kind of rampant corruption and cronyism is also the same reason why, despite an abundance of available resources and labour, Russia can't drag its economy out of the doldrums and up to a level that it ought to be capable of achieving. Russia's GDP is on a par with the that of countries like the UK, Germany and France - realistically it ought to be at least an order of magnitude above that. Ultimately though this is mostly an asset grab - you watch as control over Energia is transferred to Putin's supporters over the next few months - and probably an attempt to try and recoup funds lost through the latest round of sanctions imposed over Ukraine.

about two weeks ago
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Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Zocalo Re:StarCitizen? (121 comments)

Chris Roberts and other CIG developers clarified this when the rumours about Crytek first started getting discussed on the forums. They have a full license to the CryTek engine source code, so even if Crytek were to completely collapse they still have everything they need to get the game finished. At this point they have already customised the engine so far that it's now pretty much a dedicated SC-specific engine anyway, so the worst case is that they will lose any future development into new core engine features that might have come out of Crytek and have to do all the future development in house. That's almost certainly time and money they didn't expect to need, but at least they are not likely to have too many problems getting hold of ex-Crytek employeess looking for work who can work on it.

about three weeks ago
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Zocalo Good luck with that (317 comments)

The Act protects against distributing digital audio recording devices whose primary purpose is to rip copyrighted material.

So, the primary purpose of the CD system is ripping CDs is it? Not, for instance, listening to the radio, playing CDs, or even listening to the music I have previously ripped from CDs using the system AARC is complaining about? According to their argument that would have to be the case, even to the extent of ripping a CD and then only playing it back once, to meet the "primary purpose" claim. Or is the AARC expecting to convince a jury that owners of vehicles with these devices are ripping CDs onto a hard drive in a device that they will then probably need to dismantle in order to remove and attach the drive to some other system in order to play back the ripped music somewhere other than in the car?

AARC's greedy lawyers are greedy. Music (ripped in-car, naturally) at eleven!

about three weeks ago
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London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

Zocalo Re:Might fine police work there, Lou! (160 comments)

No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site.

No one should confuse The City of London police for an actual police force as most people imagine them, either. They are a territorial force responsible for a tiny area of Greater London as a whole that measuring a little over square mile and consists of mostly financial institutions and only a few thousand actual residents. Still, owing to their location in The City, they have developed quite a reputation for fraud investigations and also incorporate a division dealing with Intellectual Property, so other than the jurisdictional issues of interfering with websites (or at least the ads displayed on them) that are most likely hosted outside The City they actually do have the means and backing to look into this kind of thing.

about three weeks ago
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The debate over climate change is..

Zocalo Re:n/t (278 comments)

Pretty much my sentiments too. There's plenty of debate (albeit sometimes less than lucid) on both the political and scientific sides of the fence, the issue is that the press is mostly focussed on the political side of things and that then skews people's opinions of what is going on. On the non-biased scientific side, it's pretty much a done deal; real, on-going and that we are partly to blame - with much of the remaining debate surrounding just how big a part we play, since that is what we can possibly do something about and the amount is still far from certain. It's the politicians, lobbyists and paid-for "scientists" that are spouting all the denials and confusing statements making it seem like it's still in doubt at this point, and until more of the mainstream media starts providing balanced coverage of the debate that's the general impression that the masses are going to believe.

about a month ago
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Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

Zocalo Re:Disaster Area (238 comments)

Since he's currently spending a year dead for tax reasons I doubt that would be the case, but in any event since it's only totally black and not totally frictionless as well I don't think it would be suitable for crashing into a star at the climax of the next Disaster Area concert anyway.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Zocalo Re:Not really (381 comments)

What do you mean a specific phone or vendor?

I did say "almost all", and it was in reference to smart watches that are "phone enhancements" like the Samsung and I expect Apple's effort to be, or pair up to a tablet as you suggest, rather than those that are more standalone devices. Those that are from non-phone vendors, e.g. the Pebble and the Kairos I linked to, are obviously going to have to be as vendor neutral as possible to get any reasonable marketshare, and I'm fairly sure that Google will standardise an Android API to make things much more vendor neutral soon enough.

And yes, I've seen the Steel. I think it's fugly, although admittedly that's because I'm a fan of classic analogue chronograph designs from before the current fad for coaster-sized monstrosities came in; if my watch is going to be interpreted as a fashion statement then I want that statement to be "elegant", not "bling". That, I think, will be the biggest stumbling block to my getting a smartwatch; to borrow a line from Douglas Adams I no longer "think that digital watches are a pretty neat idea", and haven't worn one since the early '90s. Realistically, I think that is going to leave me SoL for quite some time, but at least there's a good chance there will be some killer feature(s) by the time that the old-school Swiss watchmakers have a decent range of smart watches.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Zocalo Re:Not really (381 comments)

Same situation here. I can see how they *might* be useful, but none of the currently available models have a killer feature or, better yet, a set of killer features, that make me want to get one. Not even slightly. On the flipside of that, the one feature that they almost all seem to have that I most definitely don't want is that they are tied to a specific phone, or at least to a specific vendor. Maybe Apple can come up with somethings for them to do that everyone else can rip off for the whichever generation of Android-phone linked watches finally become interoperable...

Still, at least they don't have to look as ugly as sin (another common failing), a particulary important consideration for those of us that don't like/suit chunky watches; give me slim and elegant over the most of the current watch designs any day! I'd get something like this in a heartbeat if only the vendor in question could make it do something my current chronograph couldn't that I found useful - if it were about half as thick.

about a month ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Zocalo Re:Sucks (702 comments)

Typically you would be waiting for your flight and doing your web surfing in the departures area of the terminal, e.g. on the far side of security, would you not? Apart from really long multiple hop trips where I've had to go through security again in-between flights for whatever reason (in which case I would have a way to top up the charges in my bag anyway), I don't think I've ever arrived at security without my phone/tablet's batteries being near maxed out ready for use in the lounge and on the plane.

about a month and a half ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Zocalo Re:Actually makes good sense (702 comments)

You're just not thinking outside the box enough. *Finally* we have a way of getting rid of all all of our broken electronics without having to pay those exhorbitant recycling fees or sneaking out in the dead of night to dump it at some ad-hoc "landfill" site!

"Sorry, officer, I must have forgotten to charge that one too... here you go! Shall we try this... um..." *wipes dust off logo* ...Compaq now, or just move on to the next crate?"

about a month and a half ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

Zocalo Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Fact is, the court that issued this ruling screwed up big time. Perhaps, if Google can find a few more egregious deletions to make, the European Parliament will correct the error.

Fact is, the European Parliament passed a law that was so full of holes that it was inevitably going to be abused before it was passed and, despite this being pointed out frequently, they went ahead and passed the law anyway instead of maybe taking a bit of time to plug some of the holes and clarifing under what circumstances is could and, more importantly, could not be used. At least it's starting to look like some members of the EC are starting to realise that the EP messed up, but somehow I doubt that they are going to be able to convince their colleagues to do anything about it because that would entail them effectively admitting that they messed up.

about a month and a half ago
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Court Allowed NSA To Spy On All But 4 Countries

Zocalo Re:The cost (242 comments)

Worthless is right. It's supposedly to prevent terrorism (at least that's how the proponents of wholesale data capture usually justify it), which would typically be a small cell of individuals looking to strike a handful of small high value targets. Yet despite having access to every single phone call in Iraq plus, no doubt, a whole array of other sources of intelligence the NSA appears to have been caught completely unaware by a major military offensive involving thousands that has effectively overrun about a third of the major towns and cities in the country. Missing the odd needle in the haystack would perhaps be excusable, but they pretty much overlooked the entire hayfield on that one.

Even so, I'm betting they'll use that as an excuse to justify collecting more than just metadata, which is now demonstrably not up to the job, rather than scrapping the whole expensive business and working out what sources of methods might actually give tangible results and using those instead.

about 1 month ago
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Google Starts Removing Search Results After EU Ruling

Zocalo Re:Good. (138 comments)

The requests from nasty people will be publicised because that is the most effective way to give the appearance that these laws are harmful, even though the majority of people have a legitimate, reasonable right to have their private lives kept private.

I'm curious whether Google is planning on posting a summary of this to Chilling Effects, just like they do for other takedown requests - something that I expect they will do at some point. No need to violate individual privacy requests, but a simple breakdown of what kind of information is being removed, in what kind of quantities and for what kind of reason/excuse should be sufficient to let people see whether or not this is being abused in any way. And for certain elements of the media to express their outrage over it, of course.

about 2 months ago
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The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event

Zocalo Re:Wound in the Force (129 comments)

I've heard that they are fast enough to make it seem like Greedo shot first.

about 3 months ago
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Registry Hack Enables Continued Updates For Windows XP

Zocalo Re:Will those patches actually WORK? (322 comments)

And there-in lies the problem, "just stripped down and a lot of stuff removed" means that you almost certainly won't be getting patches for the stuff that has been removed, which is just as likely (if not more so) to be the parts that really need patching when the next 0-day comes along. Also, unless all the system files present truly are identical, then replacing random system files on a desktop XP system for a "stripped down" version might, and probably will, cause some functions to stop working. I can see two not necessarily mutually exclusive outcomes from this; people who deploy this are going to end up with a very false sense of security and a lot of systems are going to get hosed because of an update that isn't compatible with desktop XP.

In fact, I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to "accidentally" push out bad patches to deter this behaviour. I'm pretty sure they'd rather XP just cease to exist at this point given all the bad security press it's got them, and any opportunity to ram another nail into the coffin isn't exactly going to be unwelcome.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Star Citizen takes the crowdfunding crown, reboots the Space Sim genre?

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 2 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Star Citizen, Chris Robert's attempt to reboot the Space Sim genre, hit a major funding milestone earlier today, exceeding the previous record of $4,163,208 secured by the game Project Eternity and more than doubling the initial funding target set by the producer of the Wing Commander series. With Stretch Goals now being passed every few hours bringing new features to the planned game, and David Brabham annoucing a new installment of the classic Elite using a similar funding model at Kickstarter could this be a wake up call for the big game publishers to take another look at the genre?

There's still two days left of Star Citizen funding as well, so if you feel like being a part you can chip in either at the main RSI site or on Kickstarter."

Link to Original Source
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A glimpse at piracy in the UK and beyond

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 2 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "The BBC has a fascinating look into the music download habits of the UK population based on stats compiled by Musicmetric. The stats, gathered through the monitoring of BitTorrent swarms and geo-locating the IPs, shows the hotspots for music copyright infringement across the UK and regional preferences for certain types of music. Some of the outliers are somewhat unusual though, suggesting some problems with the methodology or sample size, unless people on the Isle of Wight really do prefer trumpet-playing crooner Louis Armstrong to the likes of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran who top the lists nationwide.

Not in the UK? There are some global stats on the "Most pirated near you?" tab of the story. Better yet, if you want to crunch the numbers for yourself all of the data has been made available at the Musicmatch website under a Creative Commons license and a RESTful API to access the data (free for non-commercial use!) is also available."

Link to Original Source
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CNet / download.com trojaning OSS tools

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "In a post to the Nmap Hackers list Nmap author, Fyodor, accuses C|Net / download.com of wrapping a trojan installer (as detected by various AV applications when submitted to VirusTotal) around software including Nmap and VLC Media Player. The C|Net installer bundles a toolbar, changes browser settings and, potentially, performs other shenanigans — all under the logo of the application the user thought they might have been downloading. Apparently, this isn't the first time they have done this, either.

Fyodor's on the lookout for a good copyright lawyer, if anyone has one to spare."

Link to Original Source
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Free IPv4 pool now down to seven /8s

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "For those of you keeping score, ICANN just allocated another four /8 IPv4 blocks; 23/8 and 100/8 to ARIN, 5/8 and 37/8 to RIPE, leaving just seven /8s unassigned. In effect however, this means that there are now just two /8s available before the entire pool will be assigned due to an arrangement whereby the five Regional Internet Registries would each automatically receive one of the final five /8s once that threshold was met. The IPv4 Address Report counter at Potaroo.net is pending an update and still saying 96 days, but it's now starting to look doubtful that we're going to even make it to January."
Link to Original Source
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Following protons on a trip to (& through) the

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 4 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Ars Technica visits CERN and takes an in-depth look at the LHC, providing details on the extensive array of supporting technologies and science that don't get the same level of media attention as the main ring. The article details the various stages and sub-accelerators that protons go through in their roughly 6 million kilometer journey from CERN's proton sources, through to their entry into the LHC's main 26km ring and then onwards to an eventual high energy collision at one of the four detectors. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of any of Dan Brown's outlandish super-jets and paragliding facilities, but there are plenty of fascinating bits of information about the accelerator and the high degrees of precision involved in its construction and operation."
Link to Original Source
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KDE Software Collection v4.5 officially released

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 4 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Version 4.5.0 of the KDE Development Platform, the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, and many applications are released today. The KDE team focused on the usability, performance and stability of many previously introduced new features and technologies — click on the relevant links for the full announcements. Ars Technica has already posted a quick look at the new release of the Plasma Desktop here."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft to pay providers to delist from Google?

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Slashdot recently discussed Mark Cuban's plan to kill Google which was later revealled to be just a thought experiment, but has Microsoft been taking the idea seriously? According to Matthew Garrahan and Richard Waters of the Financial Times, discussions to achieve just that may already be in the early stages with News Corp., and probably with other providers too. Could getting search engine providers to pay for the "privilege" of indexing their sites be a means for old media companies to survive in the Internet era or does Matt Brittin's (Google's UK director) statement that "economically it's not a big part of how we generate revenue" indicate that Microsoft (and News Corp.) are grasping at straws?"
Link to Original Source

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