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    posted a message on List of sites stealing Minecraft content. StopModReposts!

    GPL allows for-profit distribution, the only requirement is that source must be available at no additional cost. However, packaging malware would constitute a derivative work, so unless the malware is licensed under the GPL (or a compatible license) and the full source is available they would be violating the GPL.

    Posted in: Mods Discussion
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    posted a message on What Operating System are you using?

    Various GNU/glibc and busybox/µlibc Linux distributions (mostly Gentoo, Debian, Slackware, Angstrom OpenEmbedded, Maemo, OpenWRT), as well as OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and FreeDOS.

    I technically have a Win XP VM, but I've not had any reason to touch it in years.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on Do You Think That Immortality Is Possible (If So, When?)

    Larger populations can be sustained, and not wreck things. Current issues of shortages and collateral environmental damage are almost purely political/economic and entirely self-created. Population growth for the developed world is slowing, an in many first world countries immigration is the only reason populations are still going up (and some are even in decline despite it). There is no reason to think that similar trends will not happen as we raise standards of living elsewhere and secure proper healthcare and reliable birth control for all (the number of pregnancies that are unplanned is still shockingly high). Lower population growth rates combined with better techniques to utilize the resources we have should give us enough time to work on expanding out presence to more than just one tiny little mudball.

    Really if we didn't die, there is very little reason to reproduce (if the improved forms even had the capability to).

    The ethics will be debated, but I'm fairly sure that no decent argument against it will be found. However, yes, it will delay things a bit. Delay or not, I don't expect to see it soon, but it is really only a question of "when." The only "if" isn't a question of eventually capability but rather our survival as a species long enough to make it to then "when."

    Posted in: General Off Topic
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    posted a message on Do You Think That Immortality Is Possible (If So, When?)

    I have my doubts on biological/physical immortality. We can likely extend things to several times current lifespans (maybe even 10-20 times), but unless we develop means of swapping out parts things various bits are going to wear out (that still leaves the issue of ethical sourcing of replacement parts).

    Overall things look more promising if you focus on trying to emulate neural patterns via technological means (including but not limited to silicon-based tech). Sure, eventual heat death will catch up, but a few hundred trillion years is "close enough" to immortality and at that point there isn't much else happening anyway (as there would be no more stars to make interesting things happen, though black holes still could provide energy gradients to 'live' off of). Supposing you can reliably port a consciousness to new hardware as needed, you could have a form of cognitive immortality (and backups!).

    The real upside to ditching biological forms is they are fragile and are very limited in what conditions they can withstand (human bodies can only handle a few G's of acceleration, have issues in low G environments, can only survive in a narrow and relatively rare temperature and pressure ranges, limited atmospheric compositions, sensitivity to ionising radiation, etc.). Far more adaptable options exist if you can build a physical form to spec. Sure machines can break too, but they can be designed for repairs/replacements unlike biological ones. If we are going to ever venture into intergalactic travel, I would almost say it is a must. Certainly required if we plan to try to exist after the Stelliferous era.

    Posted in: General Off Topic
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    posted a message on What is your favourite Desktop Environment (For Linux/BSD users)

    I never saw the point of a Desktop Environment, I just use a window manager. For the past 6 years I've used dwm. http://dwm.suckless.org/

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on What's your favourite Text Application

    Text Editor: vim

    Word Processor: N/A, but vim + LaTeX is the functional equivalent.

    Hex Editor: xxd + vim

    For remote editing, either use sshfs to mount the remote directory locally or ssh into the server and run the editor remotely. Though vim could be trivially scripted to save a file and push it over ftp, sftp, scp, rsync, etc.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on Custom Minecraft Launcher

    I would suggest looking at MultiMC (https://github.com/MultiMC/MultiMC5) for how to go about launching MC and how a MC launcher should be designed.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on Windows 10 For or against?
    Quote from Spark»

    To be honest, I don't mind it. Yes, my privacy is at stake, but what people don't realise is that this ties to EVERY Microsoft device and application.


    Windows Phone

    I don't use, nor advocate anyone use any of those products.

    Aside from the general concern for others' privacy, I am indirectly impacted as when others accept abusive terms and products that do not respect them it creates a general acceptance for such behaviour.

    Windows 10 (as are many other products, and my stance is the same) is a product beholden to other masters, which I consider unacceptable. My computer should never do anything against my wishes or interests nor should it refuse to do what I direct it to.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on Youtube video downloader ?

    I just use youtube-dl, it also supports several other sites.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on Post your Chrome or Firefox theme

    FF with pentadactyl for a sane-UI.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on I'm really paranoid about viruses

    I advise using a combo of NoScript, uMatrix (or RequestPolicy), uBlock Origin, Web of Trust, Privacy Badger, Disconnect, and HTTPs Eveyerwhere on Firefox. Each covers a different aspect of protection and complement each other.

    NoScript protects against Cross-Site scripting attacks and gives you per-domain control over script execution. It uses a whitelist based permissions model by default.

    uMatrix handles cross-domain requests allowing you to allow/deny them as you see fit. It can use a combination of white and blacklisting. Request Policy offers a similar functionality, each offers a bit more control in different aspects.

    uBlock Origin is a blacklist-based resource request blocker, basically an ad blocker.

    Web of Trust is a community based "reputation" system, to give you an indication of if a site is generally regarded as trustworthy. This is useful to give you some basic idea if you should even visit a site, and if you do what permissions you should consider to afford it.

    Disconnect is a web-tracker blocking addon, that uses a blacklist model.

    Privacy Badger is similar to Disconnect and even Ad-blockers, but rather than using a predefined blacklist it uses an algorithm to determine what domains are trackers and it "learns" to block them. I would use it with Disconnect to kill off well known trackers (Google, Facebook, etc.) and Privacy Badger will handle new/lesser common ones.

    HTTPs Everywhere attempts to force https whenever possible, this means that the connection between you and a site your visit is encrypted. Combined with properly checking SSL certificates allows you to protect yourself from MitM attacks, snooping, as well as the practice of some ISPs to inject ads into sites you visit.

    As others have said, do not enable (or better, do not install) any closed (and invariably insecure) plugins like Flash, Silverlight, Java, etc. All of the above is a good start on protecting yourself from passive attacks, largely thwarts web tracking, and almost entirely blocks all forms of advertising. All of which are good things.

    However, security is a process, not a state. You can use all of the above and are still vulnerable. The fact remains that the user, you, remains as the single weakest point in the system. You have to decide what domains to whitelist, and you can still choose to download a file and run it (and it's not just executables, but even "documents" can exploit flaws in their viewers) and you always must carefully consider who to trust, and to what extent. While "Web of Trust" can help to inform your choice: it is always on the user to make the actual decision. No set of tools can magic away this responsibility.

    UAC is a good idea to keep enabled, if you do decide to us MS Windows (I would never advise you to, but that is a separate matter). However, while permission systems like UAC protect a user-level exploit from becoming a system-level exploit, it does little to protect the user's files. Backups are always a good practice as is sandboxing anything that might be exposed to untrusted/unverified data.

    That's more or less the basic "web browsing" advice I have. Sandboxing individual applications, backup policies, firewall configuration, etc. go beyond the scope of this post.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on My first impressions of Windows 10 (So far) - Share yours!

    I agree fully that the user bears a responsibility to inform themselves. My post is an attempt to hopefully encourage and inform others to do exactly that (I probably should add, something of "Don't take my word for it, do some research"). However, too many users do not know better, or externalities effectively force them consent. The former is one of ignorance, and the cost of that ignorance is only going to increase. The latter is an unfortunate consequence of software vendors tying themselves to particular OSes. Someone employed might not have the options to install another OS, or they must user a particular application that requires them to use MS Windows. Sure, they can change employers/vocation, or conscript someone to produce an alternative program to replace the one they currently need, however this isn't a practical solution in many cases. I wish it were a practical choice for everyone, as it was for me.

    The question becomes are there limits to what a company acceptable demand from their customers? We do have some limits on the enforceability of contracts, both regarding terms and conditions under which they are "negotiated" Which is a luxury most end users aren't even afforded: EULAs are take-it-or-leave-it.

    I do not use MS products, and do not encourage others to do so (one could say I discourage)*. However, the choices others make impact me. Both directly in that their poor choices may tangibly harm my interest, eg: My doctor or lawyer's potential inattentiveness to the above issues can harm parties other than just them. Could they be held liable? Yes, but it doesn't undo the harm. Indirectly they set an overall standard for society, one that I feel hurts everyone, including myself. When others agree to those terms both deliberately and by default, they are saying "It's ok." So those terms (or worse) will be offered more often.

    * For the record my stance on Apple or Google is probably harsher.


    Quote from BKrenz»
    Of course there are arguments against this, but this is capitalism. If you don't like a company's product, don't use it.

    This I feel deserves a special mention. This just boils down to a variation to the concept "might makes right": "Profitable makes right." I do not accept that it does. If one extrapolates from that, that I reject the system of capitalism, feel free to.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on My first impressions of Windows 10 (So far) - Share yours!

    I've not been an MS Windows user for about 7 years now, so I'm not going to try to compare Win10 relative to anything MS made post XP.

    However, that doesn't really matter. My core "issues" with Windows 10 are not tied to some lacking functionality or technical flaw, general poor design or implementation, nor bugginess born of rushed or simply careless development. While Win10 no doubt suffers from some combination of the above to at least some extent: they are not something I care to critique. I leave that to those who use it to enumerate and debate its technical strengths and deficiencies (which might very well be the fewest of any release of Windows, I don't presume to know).

    The one central problem with Windows 10 is, even to a non-user, quite clear: The user is not the one in control anymore. A computer is a tool. Meaning a computer is a device that facilities the users ability to perform a task of their choosing. Windows 10 displays a variety of "features" that are clearly contrary to that. By virtue of several things it does, Win10 directly demonstrates it is beholden to other masters. This isn't a sudden development, it's a trend not just limited to MS Windows, much less Windows 10 specifically. You can look to iOS and Google Android as two prior examples.

    * Forcing updates: even if you can defer them, this removes from the user the agency to decide how their system shall operate. Are updates good? In general yes, however the user should still be given the opportunity to make a choice. Even if that means they might make the wrong one. It could be a simple as an update breaks something you wish to run due to a bug, but it could also be more deliberate. Forcing updates could mean MS can disable programs they see fit to, simply because they do not like what it does (or just as likely someone else doesn't like and asks MS to enforce on their behalf). You can be sure the MPAA would /love/ to be able to ask an OS maker to make programs that permit streams to be ripped, disks to be copied, or these copies to be shared to be broken/disabled and the OS maker actually having a system in place that makes it feasible. This isn't even speculation, various industries have asked, repeatedly, for such a capability to exist. Hell, Sony even took it upon themselves to implement a system of enforcement, should you recall the "Sony rootkit." Forced updates automatically mean someone other than the user can dictate how their computer operates.

    * The tight integration of advertising is a violation of the user's privacy. Unique "Ad IDs" deny the user the agency to decide how they will be known to various parties, terms allowing information collected to be shared deny the user the right to decide who can know what about what they do on their machine. The question often asked in response is "What do you have to hide?" That's framing the issue on a false premise. The default is that whatever happens on a computer is private and between the user and that machine. The onus is on MS, the ad industry, or the government to demonstrate why it is in user's best interests that they should be privy any information. So far, I've heard no compelling argument for me to give them such permission, much less an argument to justify taking it regardless of my explicit consent. Now, I must concede that a lot of this information necessarily must be shared to allow some features such as Cortana. For example, access to you contacts is obviously needed in order to permit Cortana to be able to identify and correctly respond to requests that involve them.

    * The "App Store" This is more ambiguous, and the real problem is not fully realized on Windows 10. While I am a huge fan of package managers which are at a technical level quite similar, they differ on one major point: centralization. A package manager supplies and supports a standard for software distribution to make installing, updating, and removing software easier for the user. So too does an "app store." However, a package manger supports any number of repositories that supply a listing and the software itself. The user decides which repositories they trust. Trust -- at the core this is how a package manger and an "app store" differ in a fundamental way. With an "App Store" you have one central repository and one central authority who acts as the gate keeper. The arbiter of trust with a package manger is the user. She decides who's software she trusts to run on her system, and can chose to revoke the trust at any time. With an "App Store" the user's choices are limited only to whatever the authority decides is acceptable and trustworthy. Now, earlier I mentioned the real problem isn't fully demonstrated on Win10, but it does already exist on moblie, notably iOS. I worry that it is a matter of "when", and not "if" the time you have to jailbreak MS Windows to run arbitrary programs comes.

    * Worrying if not outright disturbing choices have been made regarding extremely sensitive information relating to security. Now, the user can opt out of these, but may not fully appreciate the implications of choosing not to. MS supports full disk encryption, putting aside the issues of if you can trust a closed-source encryption system: this is a good thing. However, the choice to store a recovery key on MS's OneDrive service? This practically defeats the purpose of full disk encryption. Can you trust MS to keep those keys safe? More importantly, you can be sure when "asked" by authorities they will hand it over (in fact their terms spell out they will). Wifi network credentials are uploaded to be shared with your contacts. They are encrypted, both in transit, and on the remote servers, but at some point any credentials shared with contacts must be rendered in plaintext in order for them to use them. While I can see some convenience in this, what right do I have to share a wifi passkey I have been given for another's network with my friends? It is irresponsible to facilitate sharing authentication credentials in such a manner. Again, you can opt out of these, but they should be opt-in only, and very clearly spell out the implications of choosing to enable them.

    Again, many of the above are not unique to Windows 10, similar examples can be found in a variety of products from many different vendors. Nor do I feel, much less claim, that Windows 10 is the more grievous example of the above issues. It doesn't change the fact they still apply. Can all of the above be "fixed" or avoided by a technical user? Sure, I'm positive one could patch around, disable, or otherwise thwart all of the above issues. However, unless this ability and tools are commonplace and trivially available as Windows 10 itself, it doesn't change the fact that the vast majority are stuck with a computer that serves a master other than them and they cannot trust to always answer to their wishes. Can you really consider it your computer anymore?

    Now, you can dismiss all of my above concerns as the worries of tin-foil hat wearing paranoid, but it doesn't change the fact that these concerns require only the smallest of leaps (if they require one at all) to see how real and immediate they are. If we consider the actions or statements of representatives of multiple industries and governments as sincere, these threats are all too tangible. You have the prerogative to ignore all of this, and you are free to run whatever OS or other software you like. If you run Windows 10 and are happy with the experience, I am happy for you. However, neither one's ignorance or wilful choice to ignore the negative consequences that are not in plain view does not shield one from them. Now, if you read this wall of text, or the ToS & EULA itself, and the other various terms and consider them carefully; and you still choose to consent to the terms and run Windows 10, you at least are making an informed decision. Just ask yourself: how many just install it without reading, how many will buy a computer and click "I agree" without a second thought? What happens to them? Is that right?

    Computers are only becoming more commonplace, and being integrated in ever more facets of our lives. This is a trend that will not be reversing, and if anything will only accelerate. The issue we face is who will those computers serve? Their user? The vendor? The government? If we accept that the user should be the one who is served, how can they trust their devices? How can they know that their cars, medical devices, GPSes, game consoles, smart TVs, phones, and computers cannot betray them and will only act in their interests? At least with Windows 10, you know the answer: you can't.

    Posted in: Computer Science and Technology
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    posted a message on Mod authors waiting for 1.9 to update their mods?

    Most they are waiting to deal with the render changes. 1.8 made huge changes to the MC rendering system (many would argue for the worse) and 1.9 is expected to make further changes. The effort to change everything for 1.8 only to turn around and make equally major alterations for 1.9 doesn't pay off. So many have opted to ignore 1.8 and wait to update directly to 1.9: Why port to something you know is going to be obsolete soon anyway?

    The new content MC adds is trivial are largely irrelevant to modders*. What matters to them are the internal changes require a great deal of work to accommodate and are made pretty much with complete disregard for what would be convenient for them. Most of the new 1.8 content has been backported by at least one mod, some like the new stone types, by several. So there isn't much of a reason to use 1.8 if you plan to play modded MC.

    *The amount of content in vanilla MC is less than many larger mods, and even a mid-sized mod dwarfs the additions made in a version bump.

    Posted in: Mods Discussion
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    posted a message on Mod Lag Mystery

    Well something does immediately stand out...

    [20:31:05 INFO]: System.getProperty('os.arch') == 'x86'
    [20:31:05 INFO]: System.getProperty('java.version') == '1.8.0_51'
    [20:31:05 INFO]: System.getProperty('java.vendor') == 'Oracle Corporation'
    [20:31:05 INFO]: System.getProperty('sun.arch.data.model') == '32'

    You are certainly running 32-bit Java, and appear to be running the 32-bit version of MS Windows, neither is recommended for modded MC.

    If for some reason it's mis-detecting the OS and you are indeed running the 64-bit MS Windows 8, I would make sure you install 64-bit JRE and make sure that is being used.

    Posted in: Mods Discussion
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