the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions -- 2016 Edition

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reader LichtSpektren writes: Almost eleven years ago, Slashdot featured an Ask titled "Favorite Firefox Extensions?". I thought it might be worthwhile to ask the question again (Editor's note: we couldn't agree more!), but expand the query to all web browsers now that there's more choices available.

Right now my main browser is Firefox, which I use with uBlock Origin, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, NoScript, Self-Destructing Cookies, Decentraleyes, Privacy Settings, and Clean Links. (N.B. the first four of these are also available in Chromium-based browsers.) I use Chrome as a secondary browser, with the first four of the aforementioned extensions, plus also Clear Cache and occasionally Flashcontrol.

This one has nothing to do with security or privacy, but Reedy on Chromium is a really nice tool for speed reading.

What do you use?
Let's get this going.

Don't Fuck With Paste

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 3 • Thread

The only extension I use on Chrome is "Don't Fuck With Paste", which prevents web sites preventing you from pasting into a field. So I can copy and paste from my password manager.

British Spy Agency GCHQ Used URL Shortener To Honeypot Arab Spring Activists

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
The British spy agency GCHQ used a custom URL shortener and Twitter sockpuppets to influence and infiltrate activists during the Iran revolution of 2009 and the Arab Spring of 2011, reports Motherboard, citing leaked documents by Edward Snowden. From the article: The GCHQ's special unit, known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group or JTRIG, was first revealed in 2014, when leaked top secret documents showed it tried to infiltrate and manipulate -- using "dirty trick" tactics such as honeypots -- online communities including those of Anonymous hacktivists, among others. The group's tactics against hacktivists have been previously reported, but its influence campaign in the Middle East has never been reported before. I was able to uncover it because I was myself targeted in the past, and was aware of a key detail, a URL shortening service, that was actually redacted in Snowden documents published in 2014. A now-defunct free URL shortening service -- -- was set up by GCHQ that enabled social media signals intelligence. was used on Twitter and other social media platforms for the dissemination of pro-revolution messages in the Middle East.

Facebook Offering Refunds For Kids' In-App Purchases

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Parents who found themselves with hefty bills after their kids made in-app purchases -- mainly via the now-defunct Facebook Credits -- can now request a refund from Facebook. PCMag reports: The news comes as part of a settlement for a class-action lawsuit brought against the social network in February 2012, and covers those who made any kind of purchase through their Facebook accounts between February 2008 and March 2015. Facebook maintained that it did nothing wrong, as those purchasing digital currency received what they paid for. But California's Family Code stipulates that minors can void contracts they make at any point when they're under 18 years of age. In other words, the legislation is designed to prevent other entities from preying on minors who don't otherwise understand the ramifications of their actions -- like tapping repeatedly on an in-app item to acquire it.

Movie Studios 'Take Down' Popular KAT Mirror

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Following the shut down of KickassTorrents website -- after its alleged owner was arrested, Hollywood studios are playing the game of cat and mouse with pirates to put an absolute end to KickassTorrents. An anonymous reader writes: One of the most popular KAT mirrors has had its domain name taken down following pressure from the major Hollywood studios. The Armenian .AM registry was quick to disable the domain, after it received a stark warning from the Motion Picture Association, representing Hollywood's major studios. This notice requires you to immediately (within 24 hours) take effective measures to end and prevent further copyright infringement. All opportunities provided by the website to download, stream or otherwise obtain access to the entertainment content should be disabled permanently," MPA's email reads.As TorrentFreak reports, the takedown of domain isn't the end of the website. The publication spoke to the operator of the website, and learned that they were "making continuous" attempts to bring the website back -- utilizing the channels available. is down already, but and mirros have since cropped up. Slashdot understands that Kickass torrent community is now back in action again, on a whole new domain.

and so the great downfall begins.

By nimbius • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
son: what ever happened to the time when we owned a movie studio?
grandfather: oh it was a magical time. we hired actors and writers and musicians. we had neat ideas and we tried our best at first to make the greatest films we could think of with the best actors. Cagney and Gable and Poitier and Ball...they were a wonder to behold.
son: and then? did they all go away? what happened?
father: we spent 30 years playing whack-a-mole with Scandinavian and Armenian web sites that took pocket change to run but millions to shut down. We cranked out 15 ghost busters and another 25 twilight movies. in the end, I think the Fast and the Furious 185 was about a talking irish cat? i cant remember. mother: everyone gather round! the torrents finished and we can finally watch Taken 56. this is the one where they take his altoids and hes even madder!

Re:Happened with Demonoid and Isohunt, too.

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Shh. It keeps them busy and occupied. Think of it as the game you buy for your kids so they shut up and stop asking "are we there yet".

Wasted money

By stevez67 • Score: 3 • Thread

If they put their money into making really good movies, instead of spending it playing whack-a-mole with torrent sites, maybe people would go to the movies again. The current method of remaking everything with ethnically diverse cast members is boring, as was the previous method of using 3 minutes of poorly written dialog masquerading as plot between CGI content segments.

FBI Probes Hacking of Democratic Congressional Group

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
From a Reuters report: The FBI is investigating a cyber attack against another U.S. Democratic Party group, which may be related to an earlier hack against the Democratic National Committee , four people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The previously unreported incident at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, and its potential ties to Russian hackers are likely to heighten accusations, so far unproven, that Moscow is trying to meddle in the U.S. presidential election campaign to help Republican nominee Donald Trump. The Kremlin denied involvement in the DCCC cyber-attack. Hacking of the party's emails caused discord among Democrats at the party's convention in Philadelphia to nominate Hillary Clinton as its presidential candidate. The newly disclosed breach at the DCCC may have been intended to gather information about donors, rather than to steal money, the sources said on Thursday.

I think the precedent has been set...

By argStyopa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread long as they didn't KNOW that anything they took was secret, no prosecutable crime was committed?

After all, "... no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case..."

Re:Government or hired?

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't think Vlad P is _that_ invested in having Trump win. If he is, Trump's ties to him go deeper than mere admiration.

Anything that hurts the US and weakens America's influence in the world helps Russia. Putin probably sees 2 likely outcomes with Trump winning: Trump does exactly what he has campaigned on and the US becomes protectionist, isolationist, and it's economy stagnates; leaving a large power vacuum that Russia could neatly slide into; or Trump wins, becomes a Putin/Erdogan-lite president and spends most of his time consolidating power, fighting off a hostile Congress, and trying to rebrand the White House as the Trump White House (or maybe just the Trump House?), leaving Putin alone to continue his Eastern European anschluss and growing influence in the Middle East. Either way, a Trump win is a Putin win.

Re: Cue the idiots

By gtall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The trigger happy twitter fingers of Trump is what gets the security service guys nervous. He is scheduled to get his first security briefing. There's nothing stopping him from tweeting that information and then blowing up the reaction into another Media Moment for himself. If he makes it big enough, it would look like the Federal Government is singling him out. That they should do but it will only play into his hands. His sycophants in the Republican party will tut-tut and claim it isn't that bad. His infantile voters will find a way to stomach it because he's Telling it Like it Is and Blowing Against the Man.

Re: Cue the idiots

By Crashmarik • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yeah it's a sad day in America when we need the Russians to expose our corruption.

Because the Media and the Justice System won't do their damn jobs.

Re:Naturally they'll investigate to help HRC.

By JackieBrown • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The whole democrat party has history and ties with Russia and has never seen Russia as a threat to the US until the democrat party was targeted.

"President Barack Obama was caught on camera on Monday assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the U.S. presidential election."

"Gov. Romney ... a few months ago when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing America, you said Russia, ...And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years. But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s"

Ask Slashdot: How Transparent Should Companies Be When Operational Technology Failures Happen?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter supernova87a writes: Last week, Southwest Airlines had an epic crash of IT systems across their entire business when "a router failure caused the airlines' systems to crash [...] and all backups failed, causing flight delays and cancellations nationwide and costing the company probably $10 million in lost bookings alone." Huge numbers of passengers, crew, and airplanes were stranded as not only reservations systems, but scheduling, dispatch, and other critical operational systems had to be rebooted over the course of 12 hours. Passenger delays, which directly attributable to this incident, continued to trickle down all the way from Wednesday to Sunday as the airline recovered. Aside from the technical issues of what happened, what should a public-facing company's obligation be to discuss what happened in full detail? Would publicly talking about the sequence of events before and after failure help restore faith in their operations? Perhaps not aiming for Google's level of admirable disclosure (as in this 18-minute cloud computing outage where a full post-mortem was given), should companies aim to discuss more openly what happened and how they recovered from system failures?

As transparent as their customers demand

By El Cubano • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The companies understand one thing: profit.

It depends on the volume of business and a variety of factors. For example, I was recently considering the purchase of a new automobile. There was one make which I ended up removing from consideration because their infotainment was not open for me to hack on. I felt like this was important and so I told the salesman why it was important to me and that this single factor resulted in my no longer considering any models from this manufacturer.

In another instance, a specific dealership had two different sales people contact me by phone, essentially competing with each other. I didn't like that so I didn't bother calling back either one. Several days later I received a form inquiry from the general manager (certainly an automated message). I took the time to respond, explaining that I wouldn't be doing business with them because of the poor coordination of their salesmen's activities. If I already talked with one and explained what I needed in a vehicle, why was another going to call me and try to make me go through all that again?

Granted, these are different examples, but I make this small effort in the hopes that it will either improve the situation for the person who comes along after me or for myself the next time. Of course, the larger the organization, the less likely this is to have an effect. I expect that the GM of the dealership with two salesmen could possibly do something based on my feedback. I fully expect nothing to change from the manufacturer of the car with the closed infotainment system. However, if 10,000 customers all told different dealers the same thing or bothered to write to the manufacturer directly, then something might change.

Southwest and other airlines are by necessity very large companies. If you tell a booking agent something it is almost certain no manager will hear of it. But, if you contact the execs directly, perhaps if there is a VP of customer service or an ombudsman, contact that person and let them know that you value openness and that you are specifically avoiding giving them your business because of their lack of it. If they hear this from enough people, the will get the message: we are losing out on business because of our approach to blah blah blah.

So, bottom line: companies should be as transparent as their customers demand. If you, the customer, don't demand then they won't know and won't make any change.

Too glib

By sjbe • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The companies understand one thing: profit.

That's not true. Companies and the people that run them understand more than just profit. I defy you to find a single person in a company who cannot comprehend something other than profit. To claim that profit is all they can understand is absurdly untrue. But there is a nugget of truth in what you say. What is true is that companies and some (not all) of those who run them have a strong tendency to focus on profits excessively, particularly short term profits. They do this to the detriment of all else including the long term health of the company sometimes. It's too glib to say that companies only understand profit but it is fair to say that companies tend to focus on it too hard at times and make bad decisions as a result.

A well managed company has to consider things like the health of their community, the well being of their suppliers, the trust of their customers, etc. All these things sooner or later will impact profits so if company focuses excessively on near term profits then in the long term they will likely be worse off and so will all those who depend on the company - customers, suppliers, community, shareholders and employees.

Indians, prolly.

By vikingpower • Score: 3 • Thread

"Outsourcing partner" in Bangalore must have screwed up.
On Indian outsourcing, here's a war story. When working with Fokker, the Dutch aerospace company, I was sent to Bangalore to emit a final judgment on an outsourcing firm there. On the second day, needing to go to the toilet, I lost my way in the building. Trying to find the loo, I walked by an empty cubicle (the cubicles had large glass panes in them). On the table lay a blueprint. Being an engineer, I couldn't refrain from looking at it. The name "Areva" was printed all over it, Areva being a French constructor of nuclear power plants. It soon became clear to me that those st***d Indians had left the blueprint of an import safety valve in a current nuclear reactor design, unsupervised, on a table in an empty cubicle, and that anyone could walk in on it. I took a picture with my cell phone and sent it to Areva - after having stood there, for a test, for about 10 minutes. Nobody turned up. Anyways - some high-up security guy there went ballistic; on the phone, he thanked me and explained to me the kind of mayhem that blueprint falling in the wrong hands could have caused. (Needless to say we at Fokker immediately cut ties with that Bangalore company.)

Re:Router Failure?

By Aaden42 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
That embarassment will make sure they hire more staff and put more money in IT funding.

You haven't worked in enterprise IT for long, have you? An embarrassment like this will make them flog their existing staff harder, insist on more metrics to measure performance, more boxes on the audit form to tick, more mandatory unpaid overtime. But little chance they'll actually spend more money on the IT cost center.

The Mojave Desert: Home of the New Machine Movement

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
pacopico writes: Most people think of the Mojave Desert as a wasteland located somewhere between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. For decades, though, Mojave has served as something of an engineering playground for people in the automotive and aerospace industries. Bloomberg has produced a documentary that looks at what's taking place with these engineers in 2016. There's a dude trying to make a flying car, Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic, a group called Hackrod using artificial intelligence software to make a car chassis, and the hacker George Hotz taking his self-driving car along the Las Vegas strip for the first time. One of the cooler parts of the show has a team of students from UCSD sending up a rocket with a 3D printed engine -- the first time any university team had pulled something like this off. Overall, it's a cool look at the strange desert rat tinkerers.

Hardy a wasteland - rich, fragile ecosystem

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

As someone who has spent significant time in the Mojave, trust me when I say its not a wasteland.

It will become one, once these hipsters finish with their tire tracks, disposable water bottles and condom wrappers.

it's amazing what you can accomplish

By v1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

when not surrounded by people that want very badly to tell you what you're not allowed to do near them

Re:it's amazing what you can accomplish

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

it's tragic what burning man has to pay for permits now, especially when it takes place on land that supposedly belongs to all of us.

That is because Burning Man treats the land like it is theirs and theirs alone. That event is mostly the "man" and long left whatever it once stood for. Now it's just a way for 20-30 somethings to burn through mad amounts of cash, all while feeling like they're somehow counter cultural. When the event is over the land looks and smells like human waste and takes an insane amount of resources to reclaim, clean, and restore it to some remote resemblance of what state it use to be in. If there's anything tragic about Burning Man, it's what it has become.

Study: Astronauts Who Reach Deep Space 'Far More Likely To Die From Heart Disease'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: Astronauts who venture into deep space appear to be much more likely to die from heart disease, according to a new study. In another sign that leaving planet Earth is fraught with danger and a potential blow to hopes of establishing a colony on Mars, researchers discovered deep space radiation appears to damage the body's cardiovascular system. They reported that three out of the seven dead Apollo astronauts died as a result of a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke. Although the numbers are small, that rate of 43 percent is four to five times higher than found among astronauts who flew in low Earth orbit or who did not actually go into space, according to a paper in the journal Scientific Reports. In an attempt to test whether the higher numbers of cardiovascular deaths were simply a statistical blip or a genuine sign of the effect of traveling into deep space, the scientists exposed mice to the same type of radiation that the astronauts would have experienced. After six months, which is the equivalent of 20 human years, the mice showed damage to arteries that is known to lead to the development of cardiovascular disease in humans.

Re:The 60's kills in slow motion

By Alomex • Score: 4 • Thread

No they didn't. Luckily there is such a bright mind as yourself to point the obvious...

If you read the article (yeah, I know, who does?) they used all other lower orbit astronauts as a control group, who had similar diets, smoking and drinking habits and level of fitness and stress.

Re:Other factors?

By Alomex • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

which is why they used lower earth orbit astronauts as a control group. (I know, I cheated, I actually read the article).

Three out of Seven?

By Rob Lister • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The article states:

They reported that three out of the seven dead Apollo astronauts...

I count eight

Alan Shepard
Edgar Mitchel
Jack Swigert
James Irwin
Neil Armstrong
Pete Conrad
Ronald Evans
Stuart Roosa

Pete Conrad died in a motorcycle accident. Is that justification to exclude him? With him, the rate drops to 37%. Regardless, if we wait a decade or so the sample size will be much higher.

Re:We won't be able to make ships with warp

By NotSoHeavyD3 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Being able to achieve an erection is not more important than treating Heart Disease with little to no side effects.

Well I guess that's ironic.(Then again someone will correct me if this isn't really an example of irony.) I mean it sounds like he's complaining about Viagra. For those that don't know the pill that gives old dudes woodies was originally developed as an anti-high blood pressure medicine. Yes, really. (Researchers noticed the side effects and somebody saw an opportunity.)

Re:So, what's a problem?

By Insightfill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Just pointing out that life expectancy at age 40, which is when these astronauts flew, is 79.9 years.

No mod points today, so just reinforcing your statement.

The life expectancy figures cited by grandparent are based on a starting age of "zero". A lot of kids don't make it to age five, many due to car accidents. Once you've made it to age five, the "average life expectancy" of the remaining pool has gone up quite a bit.

As you move up the population pool age brackets, you have already lost the people who were going to bring down the average. To state otherwise brings you to the situation where you're introduced to an 85 year old man and say to him "you should have been dead five years ago!" In the case of astronauts, you're also dealing with a bunch of guys who are in relatively good shape - you've already weeded out the morbidly obese, drug addiction, etc.

The IRS actually has tons of tables in the XLS format for figuring this sort of thing out. They're used primarily in figuring out distribution of retirement benefits over time, but have other uses.

Dark Patterns Across the Web Are Designed To Trick You

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Harry Brignell has posted a 30-minute video documenting dark patterns, deliberately confusing or deceptive user interfaces (not exclusive to the internet) that trick users into setting up recurring payments, purchasing items added to a shopping cart, or spamming all contacts through pre-checked forms on Facebook games for example. Basically, they're tactics used by online services to get users to do things they wouldn't normally do. Yael Grauer has written an in-depth report on Ars Technica about dark patterns, where he discusses Brignull's work with UX designers and business executives: "Klein [Principal at Users Known and author of UX for Lean Startups] believes many of the worst dark patterns are pushed by businesses, not by designers. 'It's often pro-business at the expense of the users, and the designers often see themselves as the defender or advocate of the user,' she explained. And although Brignull has never been explicitly asked to design dark patterns himself, he said he has been in situations where using them would be an easy solution -- like when a client or boss says they really need a large list of people who have opted in to marketing e-mails. 'The first and easiest trick to have an opt-in is to have a pre-ticked checkbox, but then you can just get rid of that entirely and hide it in the terms of conditions and say that by registering you're going to be opted in to our e-mails,' Brignull said. 'Then you have a 100-percent sign-up rate and you've exceeded your goals. I kind of understand why people do it. If you're only thinking about the numbers and you're just trying to juice the stats, then it's not surprising in the slightest.' 'There's this logical positivist mindset that the only things that have value are those things that can be measured and can empirically be shown to be true, and while that has its merits it also takes us down a pretty dark place,' said digital product designer Cennydd Bowles, who is researching ethical design. 'We start to look at ethics as pure utilitarianism, whatever benefits the most people. Yikes, it has problems.'" Brignull's website has a number of examples of deliberately confusing or deceptive user interfaces.

Non sequiturs?

By AthanasiusKircher • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
In addition to "patterns," both TFS and the people interviewed seem to have embraced the art of NON-patterned word salad... or maybe they just don't have a clue about what they are talking about.

'There's this logical positivist mindset that the only things that have value are those things that can be measured and can empirically be shown to be true, and while that has its merits it also takes us down a pretty dark place,' said digital product designer Cennydd Bowles, who is researching ethical design. 'We start to look at ethics as pure utilitarianism, whatever benefits the most people. Yikes, it has problems.'

What the heck is this supposed to have to do with anything?? First off, logical positivism is an early to mid 20th-century philosophical movement that embraced the idea of verification as the basis of truth. There are all sorts of things we could say about this philosophical movement, but I have no clue what it could possibly have to do with "Dark Patterns" or immoral web design. There's no reason verificationism inevitably leads one to a "dark place," whatever that means.

Yet we then jump to this idea of utilitarianism, yet another philosophical term that seems out of place. Yes, the stereotype of extreme utilitarians is that they will justify all sorts of weird ethically questionable behavior "for the sake of the greater good," like the doctor who would kill the live healthy dude who wanders into the hospital if he could save five other dying people with the organs. Most utilitarians aren't that crazy.

But again, I'm not sure what this has to do with "dark patterns" or web design, because it's pretty clear that these things probably DON'T do "the greatest good for the most people" -- in fact, they are ways of stealing wealth from large amounts of stupid people (who probably don't have that much money to spare, on average) and concentrating it among a few people. That's actually pretty much the opposite of utilitarian reasoning.

And I still have no clue what utilitarianism (an ethical philosophy) has to do with logical positivism (which has to do with epistemology, or the basis of knowledge). It would be quite possible to subscribe to one and not the other, or neither, or whatever -- they simply have little to do with each other. I'm not sure how empirical verification of stuff to determine truth inevitably leads to a MORAL argument around utilitarianism (which isn't usually something "verifiable" in the normal scientific sense)... and neither of these seem to have anything to do with "evil" web design.

The only thing I can figure is that this person is some sort of anti-science religious nutjob who thinks that dependence on scientific reasoning leads to moral decay or something, and they're just using "utilitarian" as a code word for "bad moral system."

This is one of the most muddled things I've seen in a Slashdot summary recently (and that's saying something)... and this person is supposedly "researching" ethical web design?? I think you might want to learn English first or some basic logic before you start throwing around irrelevant philosophical terms.

Re:The safe 1 minute summary

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

4. Morality is hard ...

Morality is easy, if you're not a selfish, self-centered dick. Think "golden rule" not "golden parachute".

Re:dark patterns huh?

By Jiro • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sounds like you ascribed a lack of value to it based on the delivery medium and thus didn't even click the link. Congratulations, you just applied a dark pattern to yourself as described in TFS,

This is nonsense.

1) It isn't a dark pattern unless someone is trying to trick him into not viewing the article.

2) The delivery medium actually makes the article lower in value. Taking 30 minutes to watch something that can be read in 2 minutes is a waste of time, and having to waste your time to get it reduces its value.

Android Marshmallow - Location

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Every. Single. Time. you enable GPS on your phone in Marshmallow, Google services prompts you to permanently allow Google to collect location data from your phone - this only goes away if you accept, it never goes away if you deny.

Apparently the only way to get rid of this without accepting, is to actually root your phone and use a custom xposed framework addon, explicitly for getting rid of that prompt.

Perfect example of a 'Dark Pattern' in a user interface.

Re:The safe 1 minute summary

By Solandri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
United Airlines flight 232 crashed into an Iowa cornfield while attempting to land. A turbine in the #2 engine flew apart mid-flight due to a manufacturing defect, severing all the hydraulic lines. The crew controlled the plane with differential thrust from the two remaining engines, and frankly it was a miracle they even made it to the runway. Roughly a third of the people aboard were killed.

One of those killed was a lap child - a child flying without a paid seat, and thus held on a parent's lap during the flight. This presented a problem during the emergency landing. Lead flight attenand Jan Lohr followed FAA procedure and instructed the parents to put the child underneath the seat in front like a carry-on bag. After the accident, the mother (who survived) came up to Jan and, in tears, told her "I did what you told me to do, and I can't find my child."

Jan was beset with guilt, and began a quarter-century crusade to outlaw the practice of lap children. That any child flying should be required to have their own seat with a crash safety seat like we use in cars. She even testified about her experience before Congress. It all came for naught when in 2012 the FAA issued its final decision that lap children would still be allowed. A victory for the selfish, self-centered stockholders and management behind the evil airlines, right?

Not so fast. See, here's the thing. Flying is really, really safe. Due to the irrational nature of people's emotional mind, we fixate on large accidents while multiple small ones slip by unnoticed. So every time an airliner crashes, it makes national if not worldwide headlines. But if there's a car accident nearby, even your local news station is unlikely to cover it. Consequently we've spent decades concentrating on making flying disproportionately super-safe. The FAA crunched the numbers, and determined that if a family with a child decided to travel for vacation, the odds of the child dying in a plane accident - as a lap child - were lower than the odds of the child dying in a car accident while strapped into a car seat. So to encourage people to fly instead of drive with their child on vacation, they allow the family to fly without having to pay for an extra seat for the child.

The lap child policy saves lives, despite its horrific outcome when the statistics don't work your way and there's a lap child aboard a plane which does crash. (As for forcing airlines to give children a free seat, that doesn't work either because they don't know until the time of the flight exactly how many people will be aboard. The way the industry operates is to slightly overbook because on average a certain percentage of people will miss their flights. When that gambit fails and more people show up for the flight than there are seats on the plane, someone has to be bumped off the flight. Forcing them to hold an unknown number of seats in reserve for "surprise" undeclared children would shift the number of passengers for a "booked" flight down, forcing them to raise the per-seat price, which again would encourage parents of young children to drive instead of fly.)

Morality is hard.

Apple's Rigid Negotiating Tactics Cost Us 'Skinny Bundles' For Apple TV, Says Report

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the reason we don't have actual TV channels on the Apple TV is because the company tried to strong-arm networks -- and failed. Apple's Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is said to have taken the wrong approach. In one meeting, he reportedly told TV executives that "time is on my side." Cue is also accused of bluffing executives by claiming other networks -- specifically Disney and Fox -- were already signed up. The company also refused to show off the Apple TV interface, or "sketch it on the back of a napkin," as one media executive requested. Cue also tried to strike hard bargains, says WSJ. He reportedly asked that Disney put off the royalties Apple would have to pay for several years. Those 'skinny bundles' we heard so much about were what Apple was planning to build its TV experience around, too. In 2015, a bundle consisting of Fox, ESPN and Disney content was conceptualized (and priced at $30), but no agreements were ever signed. In an effort to create more original programming, Apple is scheduled to release its 'Planet of the Apps' TV show about app developers next year.

media companies are inflexible

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The old media companies are infamous for their inflexibility, so this comes as no surprise. The only way to break them is to actually start taking sizable portions of their market by producing well received content but when you get to that point, you might as well tell them to fuck off because you don't actually need them anymore.

Time IS on Apple's Side

By rtb61 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The reality is the TV networks time in history is over, no one believes the corporate propaganda any more, their marketing ability is collapsing and the actual content producers, the people who actually produce the entertainment (the writers and animators) are sick of them (and of actors). So more direct content, from content creator to end user with minimal interference from content library services (not publishers any more, just a lend lease libraries). That is the inevitable trend and time most definitely is on Apple's side. They who produce the most economical, friendly and accessible libraries will win (exclusivity whilst sounding fine in psychopathic corporate board rooms is actually a no, no and will push those companies into second and third rate status), along with the content creators (writers and animators). Actors are on the way out because of course as computers increase in capability so virtual acting bots become possible and they live forever, do not have hugely wildly bloated egos and once paid for remain paid for and do not lose that investment in a drunken, drugged up splurges involving minors (that corporate main stream media together with public relations firms can not gloss over). Keep in mind those lend lease libraries will also become social media hubs, user to user and content creators to content creator and user to content creators (a lot more content creators will appear, as a result of non-exclusive deals with libraries, more of an investment in the content creator and hence limiting their ability to trade content via other libraries, will stupidly limit returns upon that investment. Why the investment by libraries into content creators, the more the merrier or cough, cough, the cheaper they become, enabling libraries to build up masses of cheap, competitive content and the market is opened up far wider to many amateur content creators, even user to user created evolving content (no fixed story, changes over time, with specific recorded creation points). Current main stream media is just so last millennium (although that era will go done in history as creators of the most bloated and inflated egos imaginable from demanding worship, to unlimited greed, to endless celebrations of their own egos and even publicly choosing political leaders thumbing their noses at the majority, spending way beyond what the anonymous majority could ever afford, laughing at the nobodies campaign efforts).

WSJ shill laps up TV industry PR flack

By goombah99 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The WSJ piece was an obvious force fed piece from the TV industry. It's the equivalent of the Taxi industry writing about Uber. No love.

I'm sure the industry would have kowtowed if Mr. Cue had worn an suit rather than a hawaii shirt and we'd all have skinny bundles and ponies.

Re:Time IS on Apple's Side

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actors are on the way out because of course as computers increase in capability so virtual acting bots become possible and they live forever

I was with you until you took a left turn into sheer fantasy. The most compelling stories are about humans (or analogies), after all, so I have a hard time believing we'll be discarding the human element entirely from story-driven entertainment. After all, even though we can play back musical recordings with perfect fidelity, music-lovers still flock to live entertainment.

Also, paragraphs > giantwallsofindecipherabletext.

and so the tables turn

By v1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

the reason we don't have actual TV channels on the Apple TV is because the company tried to strong-arm networks -- and failed.

I'd always been under the impression it was the networks that tended to be the "bullies" that were doing the "strong-arming" around the block? I guess life's rough when you're used to being the 400lb gorilla when the 600lb gator enters the scene.

Reminds me of a very dated newspaper cartoon from a long time ago, picture godzilla (labeled "Microsoft") rampaging through a city. He gets surprised by a tap on the shoulder from a much larger godzilla, labelled "AOL". Yeah, that was a long time ago, but you get the idea.

Moral of the story: bullying is OK as long as you're the one DOING the bullying, but quicky becomes NOT cool when you're the one GETTING bullied. I find it very hard to be sympathetic to a bully who just got the tables turned on them. Cry me a river.

UK Judge Calls For An Online Court Without Lawyers To Cut Costs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
mi writes from a report via The Times: A senior judge has called for the establishment of an online court (Warning: source may be paywalled) that does not have lawyers and can deal with claims of up to 25,000 British Pound (around $32,850). The proposal is the centerpiece of a package of reforms to the civil justice system, drawn up by Lord Justice Briggs, a Court of Appeal judge. Just how exactly will this court ensure no one is, in fact, a trained professional on the internet, where no one knows who you really are, is not explained. We discussed the idea last year. Apparently, it is still alive. The judge's report says this computer court would provide "effective access to justice without having to incur the disproportionate cost of using lawyers." The Law Gazette reported earlier in June that Briggs has mused about a three-stage process -- triage, conciliation and final judgement -- in which there might be some lawyer involvement.

Sharia courts

By rfengr • Score: 3 • Thread
Just hand it over to Sharia courts; they'll do it for free. Gonna happen soon enough anyway. You Brits are fucked.

The last thing anyone wants is their day in court

By Crashmarik • Score: 3 • Thread

It's almost always more expensive and damaging than any settlement or plea bargain you might reach.

So the small claims court then?

By ewanm89 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Here in the uk it already exists in the form of the small claims court, and one can initiate it online, all the judge is really suggesting is changing the charging structure for the court fees (one can currently claim upto £100,000 via the process, but above £10,000 the fee is a percentage of the claim) and he is suggesting moving the actual hearings away from a court room and onto video conferencing instead. Oh, the whole no lawyers thing is total baloney, to become a judge one has to have been a barrister for several years, so at some point if it gets that far...

Re:So the small claims court then?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'd prefer to go to Small Claims Court rather than do it online. If I take some company there then they have to come to my local court, no matter how far away they are. It makes it much easier to win because chances are they will, at most, send a local lawyer who barely understands the case or the issue, if they bother to turn up at all.

Doing it online makes it easier for them to mount a defence.

This is for civil small claims

By NoNeeeed • Score: 3 • Thread

This is for civil small claims cases, in which lawyers are rarely involved and which are largely set up to support people litigating in person.

They tend to be more about arbitration of unpaid invoices or failure to provide a service that's been paid for etc. I have a couple of friends who have used the small claims courts either against non-paying customers or companies that have stiffed them. In all cases they attended in person and were supported by the court staff rather than lawyers, and they all had good things to say about the staff and the system in principal.

These are very much not cases where high paid lawyers square up against each other and slog it out in a dramatic battle of rhetoric. In fact I've heard from a number of people that the judges who preside tend to take a dim view of trained lawyers trying to steamroller or confuse non-lawyers on the other side. These are not cases involving complex points of law. If the case gets more complex then it may be referred to a higher court.

This proposal makes a lot of sense to me for those sorts of cases. While the cost of using the small claims court can put people off using it, the time and disruption, especially if they are running a business, can be more of an impediment. The ability to handle much of the case without having to attend in person would make the whole system much better, and if it reduced the costs it would make the small claims court more accessible to many people to seek redress from companies. There's also lots of potential to design the online system in such a way as to provide lots of help and advice to non-legal people to they can make their case batter, which should also make the whole process more effective and fair.

North Korea Is Blackmailing Top South Korean Online Retailer For $2.66 Million

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: South Korea says that North Korea is behind a data breach that occurred last May, where hackers stole details about 10 million user accounts from, one of the country's biggest shopping portals. The hackers later tried to extort Interpark management by requesting for 3 billion won ($2.66 million / 2.39 million euros), otherwise they were going to release the data on the internet. [The hackers wanted the money transferred to their accounts as Bitcoin.] Authorities say they tracked the source of the hack to an IP in North Korea, previously used in other attacks on South Korean infrastructure. "Besides the evidence related to the IP addresses and the techniques used in the attacks, investigators also said that the emails Interpark management received, written in the Korean language, contained words and vocabulary expressions that are only used in the North," reports Softpedia.

Serves them right

By Dunbal • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I'm sorry but when you don't take your customers' security seriously, don't complain when someone walks through the front door and steals the stuff you left lying around. The hackers are wrong, but it's the store's own damned fault. They'd rather make more profit than pay for serious security. Shows what they think of their clients.

Re:so that's how much..

By Dunbal • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
We're going to launch a missile, and S. Korea is going to pay for it!

Microsoft To Lay Off Another 2,850 People In the Next 12 Months

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Business Insider: Microsoft is planning to lay off 2,850 more employees in the next 12 months or so, according to Microsoft's full 10-K report it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Part of the document reads: "In addition to the elimination of 1,850 positions that were announced in May 2016, approximately 2,850 roles globally will be reduced during the year as an extension of the earlier plan, and these actions are expected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017." Business Insider reports: "The first 1,850 layoffs mentioned here were mainly from Microsoft's struggling smartphone business, including 1,350 employees in Finland working at what was once Nokia world headquarters. These layoffs also included people in Microsoft's salesforce, which was recently reorganized and saw the departure of COO Kevin Turner. In total, Microsoft laid off 7,400 employees in its last fiscal year, which ended on June 30th, 2016. The new layoffs are a continuation of the same plan, and include the sales group as well as others. About 900 people affected by the new layoffs were already informed during the sales reorganization, according to a person familiar with Microsoft's plans."

Re:Worst Part

By sexconker • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

After the 29th, it goes from "offer" to "severed horse head in your bed".

Seems reasonable.

By galabar • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It looks like 2014 saw a large bump in employees:

Fiscal Year Ending Head Count Net Revenue (US$) Growth Net Income (US$) Growth
June 30, 2016 114,074 $85.32B -9% $16.79B 38%
June 30, 2015 117,354 $93.58B 8% $12.19B -45%
June 30, 2014 128,076 $86.83B 12% $22.07B 1%
June 30, 2013 99,139 $77.85B 6% $21.86B 29%
June 30, 2012 94,290 $73.72B 5% $16.98B -27%
June 30, 2011 90,412 $69.94B 12% $23.15B 23%

Going from 99,139 in 2013 to 114,074 in 2016 seems like it tracks better with previous growth patterns. But please don't let this change your opinion. :)

M$ is following a well-known path

By CAOgdin • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

1. They unload Win10 on the world, only partially designed, and sucker us into doing their product testing. Then, the add more and more complexity with unnecessary "features" that are mere click bait.

2. Then, the declare it's the last of the "Windows" line (unlikely, and a stupid claim by an executive without credibility to assert it.)

3. Now, they plan to get rid of productive employees. Why? "Bottom line" or, as Jack Welch said, early in his career at GE CEO, "the purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder return on investment." Then, two years ago, after retirement, he admits in Forbes' magazine that his was "...the dumbest idea in the world."

4. And Microsoft is joining the cadre of companies with "great (aka overpaid) CEOs" (usually self-proclaimed) who produce poor results over the long-term (see
They're about to fall off a cliff...and they think they're on solid ground. Mark my words.

So MS is basically bailing on the phone business?

By antifoidulus • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
What a shock, MS is bailing on the phone business, i.e. an industry where their bully monopolistic practices were useless and they had to rely on their shitty, shitty code, interface, and business practices to compete with competitors who actually know how to make software that isn't a steaming pile of shit. Shocking! But of course, MS won't reverse course on developing shitty bug-ridden software, they have trademarks to protect after all.

Re: Learning to program will get mr a job?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If you're an unemployed programmer, the problem is you.

Bullshit. The employment market has been negatively affected by the deliberate actions of the government and corporations. If you think that you're such a special snowflake that these sociopaths wouldn't get of you in a heartbeat you're one of those libertarian delusionalists. That you're employed is simply because they haven't finished yet, but there's no reasoning with the pull yourself up by your own bootstrap crowd. You probably believe in tax cuts for 'job creators' too.

Sure, doing those things you say will increase your odds and you'll be ok for a while. Of course we'd all have an easier time were it not for very active sabotage of our career prospects by well funded sociopaths encouraging foreign trade schools to turn out legions of barely qualified third world job stealers.

One wonders if you think that unemployed steel workers are their own problem. I mean the government at the behest of large corporations actively encouraging and subsidizing import of cheap steel had nothing to do with that, it's all on the individual, right? Libertarians disgust me.

Samsung Beat Apple In Smartphone Shipments, Profit Surges To 2-Year High

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier reports speculated this to be true, but now it's official: Samsung has beat Apple in smartphone shipments to lift the company to its most profitable quarter in over two years. The Hindu reports: "Riding on the strong sales of its Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones, Samsung Electronics on Thursday declared 8.14 trillion won ($7billion) year on-year operating profit -- 18 percent in the second quarter results. Touted as bad news for Apple that saw a 15 percent decline in iPhone sales in its second quarter results announced this week, Samsung saw substantial earnings improvement led by sales of its flagship products such as Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. A streamlined mid-to low-end smartphone lineup also contributed to improved profitability for the company. According to Samsung, it shipped about 90 million handsets in the April-June period with smartphones making up more than 80 per cent of the total, the Korea Herald reported. Samsung's second-quarter smartphone shipments are estimated at about 72 million units, almost doubling Apple's iPhone shipments of 40.4 million units during the same period."

Samsung has earned it

By npslider • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I am very impressed with my S7 Edge. It took me a little time to adjust to the curved screen, but all in all I prefer it to my iPhone 6. If Samsung continues to move forward, and Apple does not step up its game, this could be the the new normal.

Go Samsung!

By markdavis • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

But, But, But.... according to this earlier today:

the "iphone" is the most popular product of all time!!!! It is the best thing since sliced bread! It solved all the world's problems! It changed the world! Nothing else existed before it and everything about it was brand new and innovative! The article reads like distorted wet-dream fanclub marketing propaganda, completely ignoring reality and everything that lead up to it and happened after.

Anyway, go Samsung! Nice to have quality choices in a far less walled-in environment.

Re:Pogolobotog monkeys win the slig?!

By Penguinisto • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Parent post and TFA made equal amount of sense.

After all, there is a vast difference between a shipment (sending the product to a warehouse or store) and a sale (customer actually purchasing the product).

It's nice that Samsung shipped more phones than Apple, but how many of them are sitting in a stuffed channel, as opposed to sitting in customer hands as a sold item?

Apple only reports actual sales, so until/unless Samsung reports actual sales, TFA means absolutely nothing at all, and looks awfully the same as Microsoft's old Xbox channel-stuffing antics.

2 year high?

By Plumpaquatsch • Score: 3 • Thread
So let's compare to the same quarter 2 years ago: Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones in (calender) quarter 2 of 2014, while Samsung sold 78 million. So comparing those two quarters two years apart, Apple sold 14.7% more iPhones, while Samsung's smartphone sales are down by 7.7%.

So clearly in 2016 Samsung is the winner because they had a terrible year in 2015, while Apple is TEH L00zer because they had an incredible 2015.

The End of Gmane?

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
If any of you use mailing list archive Gmane, you would want to start looking at its alternative. Gmane developer Lars Ingebrigtsen announced Thursday that he is thinking about ending the decade-old email-to-news gateway. But first, for those unaware about Gmane, here's is what it does: It allows users to access electronic mailing lists as if they were Usenet newsgroups, and also through a variety of web interfaces. Gmane is an archive; it never expires messages (unless explicitly requested by users). Gmane also supports importing list postings made prior to a list's inclusion on the service.Ingebrigtsen said Gmane machines are under numerous DDoS attacks -- coupled with some other issues -- that have made him wonder whether it is worth the time and effort to keep Gmane ticking. He writes: I'm thinking about ending Gmane, at least as a web site. Perhaps continue running the SMTP-to-NNTP bridge? Perhaps not? I don't want to make 20-30K mailing lists start having bouncing addresses, but I could just funnel all incoming mail to /dev/null, I guess... The nice thing about a mailing list archive (with NNTP and HTTP interfaces) is that it enables software maintainers to say (whenever somebody suggests using Spiffy Collaboration Tool of the Month instead of yucky mailing lists) is "well, just read the stuff on Gmane, then". I feel like I'm letting down a generation here.As Gmane's future remains uncertain, Ingebrigtsen recommends people to have a look at Mail Archive.

Fuck mailing lists

By geek • Score: 3 • Thread

Seriously, fuck mailing lists. I've hated lists for 25 years. Nothing but flamewars and pretentious douche bags yelling at everyone to not use HTML and top post. If you need a 20 page etiquette manual for how to use the fucking things then they suck. Full stop. I've never understood why they are so prevalent in software development. All anyone does is bitch about how much email they get and spend countless hours dicking with filters.

An unique and great service

By BillKaos • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Considering Gmane has been for the most part a one-man effort on his free time, what Lars achieved is truly impressive.

I am a newsreader user, and I will certainly miss Gmane. If you will miss it too, show your support to Lars!

Blame the Assholes...

By Lumpy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Anyone DDOSing is a complete worthless asshole.
Anyone doing this to Gmane is the worlds biggest asshole.

So shut it down, the current generation of little shits dont deserve the cool stuff we had when the internet was started.

Re:Nothing of value was lost

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You're missing the bigger picture -- whether Usenet itself is dead or not, the fact that we're replacing open protocols with closed, proprietary web interfaces controlled by a single entity is a huge regression. Replacing Usenet with 8 million different web forums that I have to register with individually and use a different interface to read is not an improvement.

NNTP and SMTP may be old protocols but the problems they solve haven't gone away, only changed somewhat. People still talk about stuff in public. People still exchange private messages with each other. None of that is obsolete. That doesn't mean old protocols can't change or new ones can't be invented, but if you don't understand why and how the old stuff worked, all you're doing is jerking yourself off with a shiny Javascript widget. We don't need any more of that, thanks.

Gmane is the only way to reply to messages on list

By tap • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I do lots of Linux development. Often I'll find kernel patch that's not in the mainline kernel yet, or was just recently added, that has some issues with it. With gmane I can browse the original discussion threads about the patch, import them into evolution, and then reply to one of the messages. And get the proper in-reply-to headers on my email, cc the proper groups and people, etc. I don't have the original thread in my inbox because I'm not subscribed to 200 different lists that I save all the messages from. But gmane is.

None of the other list archives (which aren't as good as gmane anyway) allow you do this.