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Comments

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Securing Networks In the Internet of Things Era

sinij Avoid IoT at all costs (80 comments)

There is very little upside to having various infrastructure devices and appliances networked. Downside are too numerous to list here, and securing them is overly expensive.

Solution? Air gap it!

6 hours ago
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A Movie of Triton Made From Voyager 2's Fly-by 25 Years Ago

sinij Re:Server overload... (33 comments)

No surprise ending - the main character rides off to sunset over horizon.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (136 comments)

If I can mess with your drive-by-wire system remotely, then yes, it is A LOT more likely to happen than having line cut.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (136 comments)

Understandably, I 100% disagree. It is possible to secure almost everything. How? Use the goddamn airgap! Don't network what you can't reasonably secure from tampering.

Everything from the elevator control panel to SCADA have no place being remotely accessible! If you do need remote functionality, you better secure it!

yesterday
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33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

sinij Re:The real crime here (418 comments)

This is rather strange view. So if I non-violently create a Ponzi scheme and proceed to rip off people for billions it is unjust for me to go to jail?
 
Punishment as deterrent is not entirely ineffective, at least for rational individuals.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (136 comments)

This is indeed the likely outcome of this debacle. If it comes to court, I will personally pitch-in for defense fund.

Still, it is surprising that nobody looked into these systems before. The technology to do so existed for many years.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (136 comments)

"Acceptable industry standard" is not a standard, it is status quo. You have to blame municipalities for complete lack of understanding of these security concerns.

Next, script kiddies causing couple fender-benders and every municipality having to upgrade traffic light systems at a "I want it yesterday" premium. Then higher property taxes to pay for such monumental lack of planning and foresight.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (136 comments)

This is not "going after you" concern, this is general mayhem concern.

Single stoplight can easily add +10 minutes of traffic to my commute. I imagine once Metasploit module for this comes out, some script kiddie would be able to turn everyone's commute to living hell for a considerable period of time.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Re:White hat application to cycling (136 comments)

I personally want to take Sicilian gondola everywhere I go, rowing it is good for your health and it is perfectly green. I advocate for all bike lanes to be turned into waterways to accommodate my craze.

yesterday
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

sinij Welcome to the Information Age! (136 comments)

It is scary how many industries (e.g. autos, "smart" electronics, control systems) are decades behind state of the art security. We will have a lot of growing pains to get out "only computer guys need to do this".

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

sinij Re:Oh God! One of those. (533 comments)

No, I am a system integrator. I know ALL your dirty secrets.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

sinij Re:Pick a different job. (533 comments)

I think you are fairly safe, programmers in general are less prone to violence than general population. The over-sized neckbeard makes it hard to accurately throw punches.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

sinij Re:Pick a different job. (533 comments)

If you mean the quality of code that gets churned by your average coder, then yes, it is just like plumbing.

2 days ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

sinij Asimov's Science Fiction (172 comments)

I am disappointed that Asimov's didn't even run this year's short story winner. I feel like Sheila was out of it for the past couple issues.

2 days ago
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

sinij Dead end job (247 comments)

T1 call center is a dead-end job that nobody does by choice. Who cares what the performance goals are, do they fire for not up selling? yes/no

3 days ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

sinij Re:Is this at least user-selectable? (473 comments)

There is no air quote marks around safer. It is so, empirical data tells us without a doubt. You rigid rule-following is getting in the way of your unstated goals of being the safest possible driver. YMMV.

3 days ago
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New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices

sinij Re:They need to match more than price (215 comments)

You are under mistaken impression that there is some intrinsic property of your operating system that protect you and your data. This is not the case. What makes Linux safer are better defaults, less market share, and higher technical competency of an average user.

Still, I will take your bet. Here is Linux distro I want you to run: http://www.securitydistro.com/...

3 days ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

sinij Re:Is this at least user-selectable? (473 comments)

What else would you want to make user-selectable behaviors? Should we also have a setting to have the car not pay attention to the road while texting, drinking coffee, and shaving/putting makeup on?

3 days ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

sinij Re:Is this at least user-selectable? (473 comments)

Exactly, so sooner we get GPP from behind the wheel to reading his newspaper while being auto-piloted, sooner we get another obnoxious and unsafe driver off the road so to speak.

3 days ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

sinij Re:Why speed only a little? (473 comments)

Limitations of a normal driving are mostly due to driver's inability to control the vehicle (e.g. predict exact point when skid occurs). Introduction of computer-assisted safety features like ABS, traction control all increased overall safety on the roads and arguably should allow for overall speed increase. These safety systems all function by overriding driver's input in some limited way when it is predicted or observed to lead to undesirable outcome. With autonomous cars you do not have driver's input, so optimal value for all circumstances could be computed. With this is place, it would be car's mechanical limitations and not limitations of driver's ability that will be a limiting factor.

For example, it is not outside of realm of possibility to have your car driven by autopilot at its natural top speed on a highway. We as society, for a good reason do not trust human operators with the same. For automated drivers such cautious approach is no longer valid.

3 days ago

Submissions

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ActivisionBlizzard numbers - WoW providing 30% of the revenue

sinij sinij writes  |  about 2 years ago

sinij (911942) writes "

World of Warcraft (WoW) has helped ATVI maintain its stock price, with this one single game providing roughly 30% of the revenue for the entire company via its expansion packs and monthly payments. Subscription revenue alone totaled $1.2 billion both in 2008 and 2009, and an additional $1.36 billion in 2010. Corresponding costs (the overhead cost of maintaining WoW’s virtual world) totaled a mere $404 million in the first two years mentioned, and $241 million in 2010. This means that WoW subscriptions have generated gross margins over 80% consistently. Since WoW has very high operating leverage any decline in revenue will have dramatic effects on the bottom line.

Forbes takes a detailed look into underlying finances of ActivisionBlizzard, and Vivendi's on-going efforts to sell its stake in the company. Diablo3 cash-shop revenues are not mentioned, but this would explain Blizzard's desperation to diversify from WoW subscription revenues."
Link to Original Source

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Why Warhammer Failed - Insider Story

sinij sinij writes  |  more than 3 years ago

sinij (911942) writes "EA insider, airs dirty laundry over what went wrong with Warhammer and what could this mean for upcoming Bioware Old Republic mmorpg.

Anyway, back to Warhammer. We shouldn’t have released when we did, everyone knows it. The game wasn’t done, but EA gave us a deadline and threatened the leaders of Mythic with pink slips. We slipped so many times, it had to go out. We sold mor ethan a million boxes, and only had 300k subs a month later. Going down every since. It’s “stable” now, but guess what? Even Dark Age and Ultima have more subs than we have. How great is that? Games almost a decade make more money than our biggest project.

Read it all here! "

top

sinij sinij writes  |  more than 7 years ago

sinij (911942) writes "I'm tired of hypocritical complaints about canned and outsourced customer support from people that given choice, will switch brand/provider/subscription to save extra 5%.

A while ago I had to write some customer support scripts as part of my work turning around small telecom. These scripts were badly needed, some of the people that were doing technical support were outright abusive ether without realizing it (cultural differences) or as a way to get let go and collect unemployment or as a way to channel their frustration with the universe on unwilling victims.

Script and demonstrative firing for not following it drastically improved things by eliminating what-were-they-thinking calls and subsequent PR nightmares. Most calls are trivial and can be scripted - they are ether RTFM, 12-oclock flashers that are too cheap to pay for 'complete install' option and are too stupid to follow step-by-step instructions or people venting about things we can't/won't change.

You also have to realize that CS/TS is never about helping people, its all about customer retention at lowest cost - when you have somebody to yell at when problems happen you are not as likely to stop paying. Trying to help customers cost a lot more, often cost-prohibitive, and leads to customers relying on your technical support to solve every single, no matter how trivial or marginally related problem. My favorite example for scripts is a four hour recording of a complicated problem that that resulted in service costs being equal to TWO (2) year profit from that client.

I understand everyone would love to have perfect customer support, where they deal directly with a professional that tries to work on your problem. Thing is, unless you are enterprise client brining thousands of dollars of profit you are not going to get it. Your bargain discounted plan that you switched to save 5% from your last deal typically has 10-20% profit margin and can't support anything better than scripted scapegoat support. Most people want cheap, quality service, right away and all the time - you can do maybe 1.5 of these things at once.

Another problem with first tier technical support is that all qualified people move on/get promoted, resulting in bulk of people working at first-tier support are ether recently hired students that don't plan on sticking around, immigrants with language/cultural difficulties or people with significant social/attitude/whatever problems. Without canned script, that strictly enforced, you end up with few people that end up better-off and most that work significantly worse. You also cannot allow exceptions for qualified people or next time you fire some asshat for trying to have phone sex with a customer (true story) you will get sued for discrimination or selective enforcement."

Journals

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Necessity of enforced customer support scripts

sinij sinij writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I'm tired of hypocritical complaints about canned and outsourced customer support from people that given choice, will switch brand/provider/subscription to save extra 5%.

A while ago I had to write some customer support scripts as part of my work turning around small telecom. These scripts were badly needed, some of the people that were doing technical support were outright abusive ether without realizing it (cultural differences) or as a way to get let go and collect unemployment or as a way to channel their frustration with the universe on unwilling victims.

Script and demonstrative firing for not following it drastically improved things by eliminating what-were-they-thinking calls and subsequent PR nightmares. Most calls are trivial and can be scripted - they are ether RTFM, 12-oclock flashers that are too cheap to pay for 'complete install' option and are too stupid to follow step-by-step instructions or people venting about things we can't/won't change.

You also have to realize that CS/TS is never about helping people, its all about customer retention at lowest cost - when you have somebody to yell at when problems happen you are not as likely to stop paying. Trying to help customers cost a lot more, often cost-prohibitive, and leads to customers relying on your technical support to solve every single, no matter how trivial or marginally related problem. My favorite example for scripts is a four hour recording of a complicated problem that that resulted in service costs being equal to TWO (2) year profit from that client.

I understand everyone would love to have perfect customer support, where they deal directly with a professional that tries to work on your problem. Thing is, unless you are enterprise client brining thousands of dollars of profit you are not going to get it. Your bargain discounted plan that you switched to save 5% from your last deal typically has 10-20% profit margin and can't support anything better than scripted scapegoat support. Most people want cheap, quality service, right away and all the time - you can do maybe 1.5 of these things at once.

Another problem with first tier technical support is that all qualified people move on/get promoted, resulting in bulk of people working at first-tier support are ether recently hired students that don't plan on sticking around, immigrants with language/cultural difficulties or people with significant social/attitude/whatever problems. Without canned script, that strictly enforced, you end up with few people that end up better-off and most that work significantly worse. You also cannot allow exceptions for qualified people or next time you fire some asshat for trying to have phone sex with a customer (true story) you will get sued for discrimination or selective enforcement.

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