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The Hidden Security Risk of Geotags

cybereal Not all services are ignorant (175 comments)

It's worth pointing out that not all services are ignorant to this issue. I use flickr and upload geotag information for every picture I take, but, nobody can see it unless they are someone I've accepted as a contact. You can ratchet things up a bit further and use their added friend and family classes for even more restriction. You can also reveal the data on a photo by photo basis if you don't mind it being seen (or actually want it available, like a photoshoot of interesting things in a public place.)

I'm sure other similar photo sharing sites have similar permissions capabilities. I suppose the most likely risk areas are the twitpics and yfrog type upload it and forget it sites.

more than 4 years ago
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Using XSS & Google To Find Physical Location

cybereal Re:Not completely accurate (77 comments)

I suspect that the location information for many routers is not found via wardriving by google but instead by unwitting submission of the address from the computer by some software (perhaps one of the various google products, or maybe Flash or something) with the permission of the user. Of course, the user probably never read the EULA because nobody ever does.

There may be other ways, perhaps involving GPS-enabled cell devices using various third party software products, or even first party depending on the party.

more than 4 years ago
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String Quartets On the Web?

cybereal The only feasible explanation... (228 comments)

Is that whoever posed this question has never done even 10 seconds of research to answer it himself as one can easily find vast amounts of classical music online, on iTunes, Amazon, or one of the various "lesser known" stores.

I mean come on, I've downloaded several classical tracks straight from the iTunes promoted weekly single. So not only is classical available there, it's occasionally even promoted.

On top of that, every few weeks you'll see a deal on some bulk track sale on Amazon or similar stores posted to the old standby slickdeals.net site.

So really, why is this question here on slashdot? Is /. looking to compete with google by crowdsourcing search result for the most mundane and trivial bits of information out there?

more than 4 years ago
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Google Engineer Decries Complexity of Java, C++

cybereal And in other news... (878 comments)

So slashdot is posting a slashvertisement for Go. Shocker. There are so many raving google fanbois here.

That said, the points about Java, C++, and similar "do everything" languages aren't baseless. There's a lot to be said about using DSLs dedicated to specific software tasks. Reducing the domain coverage of a given tool significantly reduces the potential for doing unexpected things and adds dramatically more options for early detection of incorrect behaviors in the context of the task at hand.

Also, offering a better opportunity for modeling algorithms in a way that best suits that algorithm is a great goal too. However, no single language is the solution that this complaint begs for. So this slashvertisement for what is effectively just another Java is pretty unconvincing.

more than 4 years ago
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Top Authors Make eBook Deal, Bypassing Publishers

cybereal Re:A good idea (297 comments)

The only thing I don't like about this is the Amazon exclusivity. (Unless Amazon offers DRMed eBooks in formats other than the Kindle's - I haven't looked into that too much, but I understand that eBook DRM is at least semi-standardized.)

Sorry to disappoint you but Amazon bought the mobi format and has cut off all third party access to it. It is easily one of the most proprietary of all in terms of both the format and the encryption mechanism.

Fortunately, it's relatively trivial to remove it (and a little googling around or perhaps searching your favorite torrent site for ebook drm removal should land you some information.)

The reality is that there is no standard DRM as that is pretty much an oxymoron. DRM doesn't work, therefore, publishing it as a standard would be publishing exactly how to break it. There is one generally accepted ebook format standard, which is ePub. However, ePub doesn't define the DRM, it simply allows for it. Up until recently, everyone who used ePub with DRM used Adobe's ADEPT DRM. This is the DRM used where access to the file is made via Adobe Digital Editions AIR based reader. But, recently, Barnes & Noble has pushed for a second form of DRM (also produced by Adobe) that uses passwords instead of a content server.

So the closest to a standard DRM format would be ADEPT on ePub (also PDF) but I wouldn't accept that as "standard" for the reason stated above. What you get with Amazon, however, is actually variable. If you get one of their text-based editions you get the old mobi DRM. If, however, you get one of their more advanced typeset versions (which are an awful format that they produced without any thought for performance, and Kindle owners everywhere loathe the "TOPAZ" format for this.) then you're in even more proprietary territory.

There is nothing good about Kindle-exclusivity. There is no reason whatsoever that these publishers can't also release their books through other vendors such as Apple iBooks, or something even more "open" like booksonboard.com.

Still, it's interesting to see such powerfully important books being released outside the control of classic publishers. I hope to see this happen more, and am confident that enough prodding will get these same books released on more venues.

more than 4 years ago
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Sony's Blue-Violet Laser the Future Blu-ray?

cybereal Re:Another new format? (260 comments)

History is easy to forget. DVD was around on the shelves for almost a decade before it hit mass consumption levels. Blu-ray will probably see the same time frames, and this update to the format will take years of research and development before it's even commercially viable.

Don't sweat it.

more than 4 years ago
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US Deploys 'Heat-Ray' In Afghanistan

cybereal I'm a bit concerned... (406 comments)

I'm a bit concerned about how this might interact with my tinfoil hat... and cod piece!

more than 4 years ago
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3M Says Its Multi-Touch System Means Almost No Lag

cybereal Re:Digital, Indeed! (120 comments)

Forget two people, think bigger. Stitch 6 of these together, mount them into a conference room table, and use them for planning meetings. Why do you need 20 touch inputs per screen? Well you never know when everyone is going to go for the same screen portion at once. If this can be done with minimal or no bezel, it finally makes tabletop screens practical (for large companies).

more than 4 years ago
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New Google Research On Social Networks

cybereal Re:Just to point out... (95 comments)

Correction, facebook USED to support this. Or rather, a small subset of this. Now what they have is a hollowed out husk of what they offered before with all signs pointing to them further reducing this capability.

What's worse is that their only excuse offered for why they reduced this functionality was empty, vapid nonsense that could only be interpreted as "we think it's too hard so we won't do it anymore."

more than 4 years ago
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Customers Question Tech Industry's Takeover Spree

cybereal Re:Take over (156 comments)

Though I feel your cynical view and agree it's probably the usual case, there is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that a genuine desire to please and benefit customers drives at least some businesses. They may be smaller, or only rare, but that's the same thing in nature. The trend would map to symbiosis where one organism relies on another cooperatively for mutual benefit. A balanced relationship between a corporation and its consumers forces this mutual benefit scenario as the corp needs the customers for income and the customers need (or at least think they need) the corp for some product or service. However, when the customers lose their alternative options, the failings of the corporation no longer have the same level of negative effect on the corp as they might have otherwise because said consumers have nowhere else to go.

Of course, this is why monopolies are bad. However, it's probably worth realizing that less-than-monopolies are also bad in exactly the same way. Good examples of this are Wal-mart, FedEx/UPS, and Google. All of these companies take their positions for granted and abuse them one way or another with little recourse as they have few if any general competitors. Though they may offer some good things like broad areas of service or one or two worthwhile operations, they generally pose a threat to any potential competition or even actively stifle it through business practices that only a monopoly could afford (like massive price undercuts or underpaid employees, questionable service, or invasion of privacy.)

Unfortunately, this situation is an eventuality of all capitalistic business pursuits. Either businesses will fizzle out and fail or they will grow, become part of or overtake other businesses to get into a monopoly position. It's unclear if there could ever truly be an amicable solution that prevented this.

more than 4 years ago
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Experts Explain iPhone 4 Antenna Problem

cybereal Re:Cases (427 comments)

The effect of attentuation drops off exponentially as you remove the attenuating obstruction from the antenna. However, there is reason to believe that there is a different problem besides attenuation affecting a very small number of handsets. Personally I suspect some kind of ground fault in the casing leading to a magnetic field interfering with the radio itself. This wouldn't demonstrate itself as the loss of a couple bars, it would be complete or nearly complete loss of signal.

That said, I have an iPhone 4 and cannot reproduce any of the reported problems at all no matter what I do. I have to put my phone in what almost amounts to a faraday cage (a steel lock box) just to see any signal degradation. But a friend of mine has seen the problem occur with nothing but the tip of his finger placed over the antenna on the left side, specifically when touching the metal. The metal plates are not the antenna, the black lines are, so what this tells me is that there is some issue with grounding of the body in that phone. But until I can have him try his "magic finger" on my own iPhone, I wouldn't jump to any real conclusions. None of the reports so far have been remotely scientific. There are numerous variables and without any cross checking it's all guesses for now. Attenuation will definitely occur but it's usually not so dramatic as to go from five bars to "Searching..." like this friend of mine is seeing.

more than 4 years ago
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Finance, Scientific Users Get ActivePython Updates

cybereal Re:Great! (131 comments)

That link is unrelated to this post. The referenced scientific/numeric libraries for python are implemented in C as native modules. They are not just as fast as the equivalent code written in C, they *ARE* the equivalent code written in C, merely interfaced to with python. You might lose a meaningless tiny fraction of time preparing your vectors for processing in python, but you'll save several orders of magnitude more time not worrying so much about malloc corruption.

more than 4 years ago
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1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online

cybereal No match for... (54 comments)

Well that's great, it's nice to be able to see distant objects.

But what if you want to SMELL distant objects! yeah! That's why it's no match for my smell-o-scope here. Now that I've perfected the stench coils and installed an automatic lens-cheese remover, you can rest easy knowing you'll soon be smelling astronomical odors thanks to me! // Yay Futurama is back!

more than 4 years ago
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Study Finds Google Is More Trusted Than Traditional Media

cybereal Nothing new (155 comments)

News media has always been heavily biased one way or another. There's nothing wrong with this. The problem comes with the source of the bias. It used to be small news outlets trying to stick it to the community's most apparent "bad guys" like big business or the government. They were small and independent. However now, the largest and most influential companies in the world are the owners of the mainstream news media. Disney or Murdoch or it doesn't matter, most people know by now that the companies funding mainstream media are doing it for profit only, and have only that interest in mind. If you see something seemingly controversial on the news it's only because that organization feels everyone agrees (or at least, everyone they think watches their show.)

However, I find it worrying that people trust google. They are just as rabidly chomping at the bit of profit as Disney or NBC, or whatever. They don't have an altruistic plank in their yachts. They pretend to "not be evil" but regularly exert their dominance in public exposure via the web to piss all over other markets in an effort to clear a path for their own business strategy. They make things "free" so nobody can compete in conventional terms, forcing them into advertising revenue or similar structures and guess who has a huge monopoly on advertising online? Yeah... so before you go suckling the teet of google or similar companies, remember what it is they are after in the end.

That said, it's still more understandable to view a source like google as more trustworthy, but the problem is that google does not report on the news, they only repeat it from the other, less trusted sources, so it's sort of pointless to compare them.

When it comes to trusting information, it is acceptable to think the official source will be more truthful, even if occasionally they are not. News media gets a pass for some reason, maybe citing bad information, but authoritative organizations get panned for any lies, even accidental unimportant ones. So when an organization like MS or Apple or Google lies about something, it's either well known right away or it's well hidden, and the latter is much more common in my experience.

Not trusting social networking sites ... well that's just a surprisingly, unusually rational position to hold by the general public. Personally I "trust" twitter itself more than facebook, but trust the information less. I trust facebook to constantly try to screw me the way I described google doing it, subversively, for their own profit, under the guise of helping. Just see the constant quiet changes made to their privacy policies as cases where they didn't get away with it. Twitter is easier to trust just because they don't promise anything. You can protect your tweets, but that's about it. You can block followers but you know your tweets and most info is public. Twitter hasn't changed these policies, there is barely anything to change anyway. When I use twitter, I feel it's very obvious what my privacy expectations are. However, the information coming via twitter is less trustworthy than overhearing gabby women at the local mall. It's the same thing, really, except with infinitely more anonymity to hide your lies and innuendo behind.

more than 4 years ago
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Nintendo 3DS GPU Revealed

cybereal Re:Cheap or low power? (133 comments)

If you read some of the other articles that compare capabilities you'd see that though this chip is a little dated, it blows away both iPhone 4 and PSP in pixel fill rate. It may be that this factor is important for good 3D performance. It really stands out in pixel fill rate, like double the competition.

Everything else though yeah... it's old. But also, this is Nintendo, they have to sell cheap and they won't sell for a loss like their competition, which isn't profiting, so I can't really knock their strategy.

more than 4 years ago
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Amazon Seeks 1-Nod Ordering Patent

cybereal Re:Not exactly innovative. (194 comments)

He wants a patent on a centuries old auction bid technique? But on a computer?

This comment is exemplary of a common misconception in patents. They are not covering the results! They are covering the mechanism and methodology. The "machine" if you will. The patent would cover a specific method for interpreting/receiving/whatever the gesture and passing it along to the service so it would do the expected thing. There could be a thousand ways to do this, and thus, a thousand different patents that all accomplished the same thing, and that's okay. Reality is, there are usually only a handful of effective ways to accomplish tasks like these and so you end up with patent lawsuits, and preemptive licensing. Woo.

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Bait and Switch — No More Unlimited Data Plan

cybereal Re:Apple versus Microsoft (670 comments)

Indeed. However it's worth noting that almost all of this information is based on reinterpreted rumor. I wouldn't be surprised to see a clarification within the next week or so that changes some of these details for the iPad.

iPhone though... well sure. This was a long time coming. I consider myself a moderate data user on 3G (lots of data but no streaming video/audio) and my usage has peaked at 540mb in a month, but usually sits around 300mb. I do all my email, push from work as well, so it's not as though I'm really a light user in disguise. Even better, with the $15 option I can cut my bill because my wife peaks at about 100mb a month usually sitting at about 50mb as she is home most of the time, well in range of Wi-Fi.

In the end I'll save $20 cutting down plan costs, just enough to enable tethering if I ever need it... though so far, I've never needed such a feature (Wi-Fi is everywhere around here and I don't travel.)

I do hope there is a clarification on iPad 3G. I can imagine Stevie's inbox is packed with "WTF" letters right now. Given the way the data plans were announced alongside the iPad, I would be surprised if Apple is happy about this change. In fact, one could construe this as an act by AT&T against Apple, supporting the rumors that Apple is going to produce iPhones for competing networks.

Exciting times!

more than 4 years ago
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Google Stops Selling Its Own Phone

cybereal Someone needs a history lesson (196 comments)

I'm not sure which revisionist idiot informed the general OSS/Google fanboy world that selling unlocked phones directly to consumers was somehow innovating. Nokia has been doing this for years. I bought my last Nokia phone, the E70, well before even the iPhone was out directly via Nokia's website. You can still buy many Nokia products this way, including the venerable N900.

The prices may not always be the very best you can find but at least they are a trusted source.

more than 4 years ago
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Taiwanese Researchers Plug RFIDs As Disaster Recovery Aids

cybereal To consider both sides... abandon assumption. (108 comments)

I realize these ideas, of tracking, id, etc. are not popular in the slashdot crowd. What I am not aware of is any well thought out, well grounded, and generally objective essays, or perhaps more importantly, concrete and real historical examples of why compulsory identification is bad or wrong.

I mean, I can use my imagination to come up with some random nightmare scenarios but almost universally I eventually see how those situations either happen anyway or are ridiculously unlikely.

So, I ask you slashdotters who are already fuming at my interrogation :) Where's the beef? Please respond with some resources so that, if any are actually convincing, I can finally have something to back up my own disdain for this sort of identification and potentially monitoring.

Also as a special request, please don't respond with pointers at fictional works, no matter how compelling or convincing they are.

more than 4 years ago
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EA Introduces "Online Pass" To Get In On Used Games Market

cybereal Re:cheating the laws (223 comments)

I have to disagree very strongly as someone who supports the concept of first sale doctrine in a highly service-oriented economy. All that EA is effectively doing here is representing what they offer in terms of a service that has classically been silently included in the price of a title. So, in effect, this action is making it clear that they are not just selling a game but additional service offered through the internet of some sort. Whether you feel it's worth the $10 or not is your choice, you still get the game to play and sell as you see fit. No violation or circumvention of first sale is made, and what's more, there is better transparency about what you are purchasing when you pay full price vs. used.

If anything should come of this, it really ought to be stores like Gamestop selling used copies for greater than 5 stupid dollars difference from the retail price. Not that I would have before, but I certainly wouldn't pay for any used game with this sort of secondary service offering if it was not at least $15 cheaper than current MSRP.

more than 4 years ago

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