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Comments

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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

makomk Re: There's more to EU transport than cheapness (338 comments)

Uber's business model relies heavily on drivers using their own, standard insurance and not bothering to ask questions about whether they're actually covered. I think Uber have started offering their own insurance and raised prices to pay for it since someone got killed by an Uber driver in the US, but it's still inadequate (apparently less than they're legally required to have in Germany, and at least in the US all their drivers are driving uninsured whenever they're seeking riders).

4 days ago
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Google Brings Chrome OS User Management To Chrome

makomk Re:Just stop already (68 comments)

Don't forget that by default, Chrome now sends all your passwords back to Google encrypted only with a password that Google have easy access to. (Only if you're signed in to Chrome, but they're incredibly aggressive about signing you in, so much so I don't dare log into Google accounts from Chrome anymore.)

4 days ago
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Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?

makomk Re:Chrome? (436 comments)

By that standard Google Chrome itself has been malware for years - many pieces of software have bundled it in exchange for money from Google and made it hard not to accidentally install it, including I think Java, Flash, and various more shady products, and Google hasn't given a fuck.

about three weeks ago
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Old Apache Code At Root of Android FakeID Mess

makomk Re:passive scan isn't perfect (127 comments)

Barring another bug, it can - and probably does - scan for *all* ways to exploit it. The issue is that Android itself doesn't properly verify the certificate chain in packages before installing them, and Play Services can easily perform all of the missing checks itself and reject any package that fails them.

about three weeks ago
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OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 Supports Native IPv6, Procd Init System

makomk Re:Does it (reliably) support 5GHz or 802.11ac yet (71 comments)

Unfortunately, some common routers contain a buggy early revision of the QCA9880 802.11ac chip that's not supported by ath10k and never will be.

about a month ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

makomk Re:The American Dream is not a lie (818 comments)

It's a Red Queen's Race though - no matter how far everyone is willing to go to achieve the American Dream, only a tiny proportion of them ever will, and meanwhile all the rest are stuck running as fast as they can just to stay exactly where they are.

about 4 months ago
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How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

makomk Re:The Real Breakthrough - non auto-maker Maps (194 comments)

How much do you pay for Maps updates with Apple? Presumably, the amount it costs to buying a new iDevice every time they stop supporting the old one, plus the cost of a data connection... which is quite a bit.

about 4 months ago
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Mt. Gox Ordered Into Liquidation

makomk Re:Get this over with (44 comments)

The money laundering, and possibly also some of the other crimes, was committed in the US by American subsidiaries that Mark Karpeles set up specifically for that purpose.

about 4 months ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

makomk Re:Troll (794 comments)

Last time I heard, CVS sold homeopathic remedies too, along with most of the other major supermarkets and pharmacy chains in the US. Does that mean that all their medicines and "healthy" foods are just marketing to the credulous too?

about 6 months ago
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Report: Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) Scans Your DNS History

makomk Re:DEBUNKED (373 comments)

For values of "debunked" equal to "people clueless about how VAC works are loudly insisting that it's not true, and being believed because Valve fanbois". (Amongst other issues, you won't find the code of any VAC modules in Steam's or the game's DLLs because they're downloaded from the server at runtime in order to make them harder to reverse-engineer and block.) Someone later in the thread has apparently tested and found that stuffing the DNS cache with bogus entries increases the amount of SSL-encrypted data VAC sends back by almost exactly twice the size of the MD5 hashes of all those entries, and clearing the cache returns the amount of data sent back to what it was. (It may not necessarily be possible for others to replicate this, as I recall one of VAC's anti-reverse-engineering measures is that different people receive a different subset of the payload modules. So far no-one's tried though, they've just said it's not proof enough.)

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many (Electronics) Gates Is That Software Algorithm?

makomk Re: Verilog (365 comments)

You've forgotten about fixed point, which isn't really any more complicated to implement than integer arithmetic and is a perfectly reasonable way of implementing integer division by a fixed divisor. (A lot of compilers actually use this trick, because even running on a CPU it's often more efficient than using hardware division.)

about 7 months ago
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What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

makomk Re:Why is this a surprise? (804 comments)

Yeah, and nearly all of the professional applications people are going to be running on this cannot make use of the second GPU. Not even slightly. Literally the only reason to get dual GPUs is if you're buying from Apple and don't have any choice in the matter.

about 8 months ago
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What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

makomk Re:Hard to believe (804 comments)

Yeah, quite. The base Mac Pro actually turns out to be fairly reasonably priced for the combination of components inside, but - and this is important - there is essentially no reason to get that combination of components unless you have no other choice because you're buying a Mac. For instance, they're paying out quite a bit of extra money in order to fit everything into a smaller case, even though that'd actually be a downside for many customers. Also, most of the professional applications out there that use GPU acceleration can only make use of a single GPU, so the second $3400 GPU will be sitting completely idle for most Mac Pro buyers. What's more, as the article mentions many apps run better on NVidia GPUs anyway. Also, how many of the GPU-accelerated apps can also make full use of a 12-core CPU?

about 8 months ago
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Linux x32 ABI Not Catching Wind

makomk Re:Wont use Linux without it! (262 comments)

Running 20 year old Linux binaries is certainly possible too - I think one or two of the kernel devs do it from time to time but it requires a kernel option that's not always enabled and old versions of libraries.

about 8 months ago
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RSA Flatly Denies That It Weakened Crypto For NSA Money

makomk Re:RSA's name is now mud (291 comments)

Why? Running glorified PR pieces is the safest thing you can do under British libel law. Also, it certainly didn't stop our journalists going off the rails and smearing random members of the public on the front page, since random members of the public don't have the money for a libel suit - it just blocked criticism of large businesses and the wealthy.

about 8 months ago
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RSA Flatly Denies That It Weakened Crypto For NSA Money

makomk Re:It's a very sad day (291 comments)

Except they didn't notify their customers when the potential backdoor became public knowledge and most crypto library developers cautioned against it. That happened a year or two after it was introduced back in 2006 or 2007, yet they didn't notify their customers or change it from being the default until 2013, leaving those customers using crypto that RSA basically knew was backdoored for years. (It should've been even more obvious to RSA that there was a backdoor than it was to the rest of the crypto community, since the people with the ability to backdoor it had bribed them to use it as the default in their crypto product.)

about 8 months ago
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How Asimov's Three Laws Ran Out of Steam

makomk Re:ethics of killing and warfare (153 comments)

Not really. Laws for war make sense, even though only the winning side can enforce them directly, because by forcing the winning side to pin down the rules by which they consider the losers war criminals we give the press a tool to shame anyone on that side who broke those rules.

about 7 months ago
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Target Has Major Credit Card Breach

makomk Re:Chip and Pin (191 comments)

In practice, those obscure protocol attacks that could be detected by the bank weren't detected by the bank - they didn't bother looking for them and deleted the logs which would indicate if they were used. Some people in the UK had fraudulent transactions that were likely caused by this attack being used in the wild (in fact that's why researchers went looking for it in the first place), but the customers ended up liable for them because they couldn't prove it since the bank had deleted the logs.

about 8 months ago
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Death to the Trapezoid... Next USB Connector Will Be Reversible

makomk Re:Apple All Over Again (408 comments)

The pin remapping seems to be handled within the iPhone itself somewhere, no-one's quite sure where. (It wouldn't be terribly difficult to integrate it into the normal USB controller - there's vey little difference between the two USB2 data pins electrically.)

about 8 months ago
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Retail Radeon R9 290X Graphics Cards Slower Than AMD's Press Samples

makomk Re:the cards run at higher temps by default (111 comments)

Actually, NVidia have been doing the same thing for a couple of generations of GPUs as far as anyone's been able to tell, the press are just a lot less willing to kick up a fuss about anything they do than with AMD. (And I mean literally the same thing - designing their cards so the actual clock speeds and performance they run at out the box varies from card to card, then cherry-picking the best ones to send to reviewers.)

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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Chaos as Bug Fix Forks Bitcoin, Price Plummets

makomk makomk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

makomk (752139) writes "Chaos broke out in the Bitcoin community a few hours ago after an unintended and previously unnoticed bug fix accidentally forked Bitcoin's transaction history into two competing versions. The main exchange was forced to suspend deposits and prices plummeted by 23% before eventually recovering. The Bitcoin developers have responded by encouraging users to revert to the old, buggy version and this appears to have fixed the problem for now, at the cost of permanently reversing a number of old transactions that conflict with ones in the new version of history. Since the changes that caused the problem were done to make Bitcoin usable for new users of the Bitcoin client, this is a worrying sign for its future."
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BitTorrent 6.0 beta closed source, Windows only

makomk makomk writes  |  about 7 years ago

makomk (752139) writes "The BitTorrent (Mainline) 6.0 beta has been released, and it's a rebranded version of uTorrent. Unfortunately, it's also closed source and Windows-only. (Apparently, BitTorrent Inc always planned that the next version of Mainline would be closed-source, even before they decided to base it on uTorrent.) It also comes with a mysterious content delivery system called BitTorrent DNA, which appears to consist of a single invisible background task, dna.exe.

Does the original, open source BitTorrent client have a future, or is it time for its users to switch to one of the many other BitTorrent clients?"

Journals

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Livejournal: Attack of the V-Gift

makomk makomk writes  |  about 7 years ago Livejournal have introduced a new feature whereby a user can send (for free) a "v-gift" consisting of one of three pictures containing a prominent Pepsi logo to any other user. This image is then displayed in a prominent location on the recipient's profile page - more prominent than the user's actual profile information, which can end up pushed off the screen if enough are received. Since each account can send 10 per week and account creation is easy, this gives an effective way of harassing other users.

As far as I can tell, there's no way of blocking v-gifts or requiring that they be approved before they're shown, though they can be deleted by the recipient. This is probably why the profile of the official "news" journal used by Livejournal to make announcements is currently full of v-gifts. Needless to say, if you want to keep your blog or journal even slightly professional in appearance, Livejournal is not a good place to host it (if it ever was).

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The latest LiveJournal bannings

makomk makomk writes  |  about 7 years ago

This is an attempt to briefly summarize what's going on at LiveJournal. Basically, two LiveJournal users got permanently banned (with no warning) for posting ponographic drawings of Harry Potter characters. Now, LiveJournal claimed (though not publicly) they were child porn, but the people in the drawings aren't obviously under 18 and the people in question didn't claim that they were. Unfortunately for Livejournal, one of the users in question was fairly well-known.

While LiveJournal probably didn't expect quite the backlash they got, they obviously expected some, so a few hours beforehand they rolled out some changes to the handling of banned users. There's a standard way of linking to other users - the "lj user" tag - and it used to show suspended or deleted users with their names struck through. They removed the strikeout, the link, and the icon identifing it as a link to another user, making it harder to spot when someone had been banned. In addition, they modified the code for journal profile pages to that these users no longer appeared under the friends/members lists except on the logged-in user's own profile.

However, there's also some interesting history to this. On the 20th of June (in the aftermath of the previous, bodged set of bannings) Livejournal made certain reassurances about their policy. This was shortly before a permanent account sale in which people could pay $150 for extra features, good for the life of their account (this option is not generally available). I think one of the two banned users was gifted a permanent account during this sale.

It therefore came as a surprise when, in mid-July, Livejournal posted this "clarification". Note the initial ban on "or other material -- including drawings and text -- that explicitly depicts minors under the age of 18 (real or not) in a graphic sexual context". This was an issue for many fanfiction writers and the like, and flew in the face of LiveJournal's June reassurances relating to fanfiction. (If you can't see why many Livejournal users would write this sort of stuff, think about their age and general nature for a bit.) After someone pointed out that US law didn't say what they claimed it did, they added that this would only apply to "obscene" works. However, it became clear that their definition of "obscene" was worrinigly broad (and, though IANAL, I suspect it's siginificantly broader than what the courts would be willing to find obscene).

The other two categories of banned activies were also subtly but significantly broadened. For example, note the difference between "No content which is meant to plan, solicit the commission of, seek customers for, or provide instructions for serious illegal activities which could cause harm to others" and the "Material that asks for assistance in committing illegal activities that cause serious physical/economic harm to others" clause. The latter makes it much easier to ban users for saying how to install libdvdcss, for example.

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They patented *what* now?

makomk makomk writes  |  about 7 years ago Looking stuff up on the Internet, I ran into US patent 6529975. I'm no patent lawyer, but as far as I can tell it's a way of getting around the limited number of registers in the AC97 specification by writing to one register the address of an extended register to access, then reading or writing the contents of that extended register via another AC97 register. For those not familiar with computer hardware, this is an old* and well-known trick. However, presumably because it hasn't been applied to AC97 hardware before, it's still patentable. This is why the US patent system doesn't work.

(To be fair, they do list an alternative technique that splits one register up and uses half the bits as data and half as address, but that's still not exactly non-obvious.)

* By "old" I mean "the video address generator used in the BBC Micro and the original IBM PC was based on a variant of this technique" (and that's just the first likely example I happened to think of).

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The Revolution controller and 3D desktops

makomk makomk writes  |  more than 8 years ago Everyone's opinion of the Revolution controller seems to be either "that's really clever - Nintendo really did it this time" or "surely it'll never work?" Me - I thought "this is exactly the input device I need for that 3D desktop environment I was thinking about a while back".

Allow me to explain. A while back, I was thinking about 3D desktops/window managers - specifically, the practicality of creating one in which the windows are arranged around the user in a rough sphere at varying distances. I decided it'd be a cool idea, but interacting with it using a mouse would require way too many non-intuitive modifiers - especially if you wanted to be able to (say) tilt windows out of the way.

After considering further, I decided it would need a fully-3D six-axis input device. (Imagine if you could move and tilt windows in 3D using simple, intuitive gestures with your input device. Want to pull one closer? Push a button and pull the input device towards you. Tilt one? - just twist it in the direction you want.) Realising that there was no way I was going to be able to build one (and that I was too lazy to try), I abandoned the idea.

Then the Revolution came - with a fully-3D, six-axis controller that was almost exactly what I was looking for (except apparently better than I thought was possible). It was even wireless and one-handed. Is this the controller fully-3D window managers have been waiting for? Any comments?

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