the unofficial Slashdot digest

Wired Cautions Would-Be Drone Photogs on the 4th

Posted by timothyView
Last year's spectacular but unauthorized you-are-there video from the inside of a fireworks display has probably inspired quite a few people to try getting their own bird's-eye view this year. Wired cautions photographers, though, that many municipalities have specifically banned (and some will be looking for) unauthorized airborne visitors, and that the FAA's guidelines for legal flight are tricky to comply with during a fireworks show. This is both because it's hard to maintain visual contact with a drone amid the dark and smoke of a show, and because of the altitude at which many commercial firework shells burst. In addition, even if a drone photo mission goes under the radar vis-a-vis local authorities, if resulting footage appears on an ad-supported site, like YouTube, the FAA may be a bit more interested than the pilot would like.

Someone Will Die Playing a Game In Virtual Reality

Posted by timothyView
SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.


By alphatel • Score: 3 • Thread
Finally, a way to be rid of noobs for good.

There should be a wavier on birth

By Karmashock • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Something along the lines of "you understand that beyond this point there are real dangers beyond the reasonable or desirable control of society and assume responsible responsibility for your own well being."

I can't believe all the stupid shit that is banned or that people have to be warned about because they're just that stupid. My personal favorite was a waiver I had to sign before using an ice rink. It literally was about absolving the rink from responsibility should I slip on the ice and fall... as well getting my initials next to a statement where they inform me that ice is slippery and they wanted it on record that I had been informed of that.

And that sort of thing is just everywhere.

My big issue with these rating systems is not that they exist. I think ratings are fine. My issue is that some countries take the step that if something gets a bad rating or refuses to be rated... that they presume to BAN whatever it is. That's not acceptable. By all means... slap warning labels on things.

I'd like a universal one that just basically reads "for adults only"... and then I'd put that on everything. Anyone that can't handle it will be assumed to be a child... even if they're 40 years old... and will be asked to go back to the various kiddy pools where they'll be kept safe from the big bad world.

Can a VR game scare the piss out of you? Sure. A survival horror game can do that already without VR. And if you have a heart condition or something then there are already games that can kill you. But it isn't the game killing you... its your fucking heart condition. And if you have one... maybe you should be smart enough to not play a game that is guaranteed to scare a little pee out of you.

Machine Learning System Detects Emotions and Suicidal Behavior

Posted by timothyView
An anonymous reader writes with word as reported by The Stack of a new machine learning technology under development at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology "which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts." Computer science student Eden Saig, the system's creator, explains that in text and email messages, many of the non-verbal cues (like facial expression) that we use to interpret language are missing. His software applies semantic analysis to those online communications and tries to figure out their emotional import and context by looking for word patterns (not just more superficial markers like emoticons or explicit labels like "[sarcasm]"), and can theoretically identify clues of threatening or self-destructive behavior.

I'm of two minds about this.

By jenningsthecat • Score: 3 • Thread

FTA: “Now, the system can recognise patterns that are either condescending or caring sentiments and can even send a text message to the user if the system thinks the post may be arrogant”

On the one hand, maybe it's a good idea to notify users that their comments will likely be interpreted by most readers as having 'X' emotional tone. On the other hand, it may result in people habitually self-censoring to the extent that they show no warning signs before they explode, (literally or figuratively), in some destructive action or activity.

I'm also thinking that this kind of ongoing **parentalistic monitoring is the wet dream of corporate overlords and wannabe dictators the world over.


**A word I coined, not a spelling mistake...

How To Design Robot Overlords For "Robot Overlords"

Posted by timothyView
Hallie Siegel writes: Ever wonder how they make robots look so awesomely real in movies? Visual effects expert Graham Edwards goes behind the scenes with the makers of Robot Overlords to take you through the development of the robots in this movie, from script development and sketches, to filming and post FX. Really cool to see how these robots come to life.

In Response to Open Letter, France Rejects Asylum For Julian Assange

Posted by timothyView
Several outlets report that Julian Assange has requested, but been denied, political asylum in France, by means of an open letter published by Le Monde. From The Globe and Mail's coverage, linked above: Less than an hour after his letter was published by Le Monde's website, Hollande's office issued a statement saying the asylum request was rejected.

"France has received the letter from Mr. Assange. An in-depth review shows that in view of the legal and material elements of Mr Assange's situation, France cannot grant his request," the statement said.

"The situation of Mr. Assange does not present any immediate danger. He is also the target of a European arrest warrant," it noted.

Assange wrote in the letter that his youngest child is French, and so is the child’s mother. "I haven't been able to see them in five years, since the political persecution against me started," he said.
Worth noting: Assange's legal team says that Assange's letter has been mischaracterized, and that it is in fact not a request for asylum per se; instead, they assert, the letter merely expresses Assange's "willingness 'to be hosted in France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities.'"

He lies in his work too

By drnb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What about his work ?

Well he's shown that he is willing to lie in his work also. Editing videos to remove information that doesn't fit his desired portrayal of events, absolutely distorting the true context of events.

Sweden's case won't really matter

By Sycraft-fu • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The UK now has a case against him, and a very strong one. He fled bail, and that is a crime. That crime is still ongoing since he's still fleeing said bail. So they can arrest and charge him for that. Doesn't matter if the original matter is log dropped, he is still on the hook for this.

That's the thing with court dates, bail, and all that jazz: Even if the case against you was going to be dismissed, if you skip bail you are now guilty of another crime. You have agreed to appear in court and a failure to do so is against the law.

The UK had no beef in this originally, they were just acting on an EU arrest warrant. Sweden said "We want this guy," the UK looked at the warrant and said "looks valid per the treaty" and thus arrested him. They had no interest or ability to decide on the validity of the charges, only if the request required them to act per treaty. It did so he was arrested, and then released on bail.

He challenged the extradition all the way up to the high UK court, but the courts found it was a valid request that the UK had to honour. Nothing to do with his guilt, just that the request was a valid one and they were bound by treaty to hand him over. Had he gone to Sweden then, that would have been the end of the UK's involvement. His bail would be returned and the UK would have no further interest in what happened.

However he fled rather than handing himself over. So at that point, he became a fugitive in the UK. They now have a case against him. It is totally separate from the original case, it is simply a case of skipping bail.

Likely they'll want to act on it too, since he's been flaunting it in their face for years.

France is stuck

By AHuxley • Score: 3 • Thread
The French political elite are stuck. French cryptography was linked to US and UK methods and hardware from the early 1970's on.
If France wants to keep its top staff at the NSA/GCHQ standard to enjoy total network collection France will have to take into account how the US and UK will respond.
France should have fully understood what it was doing politically when it had its early 1970's French (~JIC) meeting with the GCHQ.
What was the French SDECE worked very well with the UK over the what would have been the UK Zircon sigint satellite projects and options for sharing resulting material with the French. The UK French deal and later sharing was more about making France dependent on US and UK access than helping France share with the UK.
Generations of French crypto officials have now worked with and under UK and US advisors and now like the US/UK systems France is using globally.
France was very happy to help with UK with all aspects and details of its weapons sales during the Falklands war.
The US did not help New Zealand re the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour.
France cannot easily undo its linked hardware, access and software that the US and UK now offer.
It seems the French political elite understand what the French security services have been doing for decades and what France can do or will not have access to. France also seems more aware of just how deep the US is to French crypto and networks.
France should have understood the lessons from the 1950's when the US and UK had near total access to all French communications at all levels.
How or why the French left their secure networks so open to the US after the 1950-60's is a mystery. Decades later the upgraded French networks are still open to the US and UK??
French political policy has to always reflect on obligations back to the UK and UK for that collect it all sharing access.
The only long term option for France politically is to secure its own codes "again" and spend big on better quality French sigint for France globally.

Re:Competent Authorities

By 7-Vodka • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What does Assange's personnality, and your opinion of it, matter ? That's Ad Hominem put to the extreme. What about his work ?

It's the man, not his work, who is seeking asylum.

But it is his work that is important, regardless of this. Nay, not even his work, the work of the dozens to hundreds of brave souls who fight the slavers and face death constantly so that you may live under the freedom they provide. Something that bears mentioning regardless of the topic.

the work is more important than who's doing it

Actually, even as far as the work itself is concerned, since Assange selects what information he presents, there is a degree of judgment and choice involved. If Assange is prone to making choices based on personal interests rather than objective truth, then even the value of his work is questionable. That is why considerations about the person ("ad hominem") are relevant not just to his asylum request, but also to his work.

Hahaha. You jest right? You complain that one man may be cherry picking what secret documents he reveals, when he has revealed thousands or more... While the other side lies, cheats, steals, fabricates, leaks and murders to deploy their overwhelming propaganda.

We live in a world where the entire mainstream media are controlled by the intelligence services, even as paid assets at the very top. Where stories are censored in multi-continent wide blackouts. Where they are crafted to fit the interests of the rulers of the world. Where a whitehouse and pentagon leak secret material on a weekly basis when it's of interest to them. Where they don't even have to leak secret info if they don't want to because just BullShitting to the media will get your words repeated as truth, with no fact-checking.

Among all of this, you object to one man working against them? I think you woke up and tried to put one pant leg on a flea and the other on an elephant.

Re:Competent Authorities

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not an "IF" as to whether Assange cherry picks things for political reasons. He does. There are lots of things he's deliberately kept back with threats to release if certain things happen that he doesn't want (unredacted cables, files against NewsCorp, etc). The most famous was his "insurance file" which was to be released "should anything happen to him", which was left vague enough that it wasn't clear whether he was talking about "being killed" or simply "being sent to Sweden" (the statement being made during his fight to avoid surrender to Sweden). The scummiest blackmail on his part, IMHO, was his threatening to release unredacted documents that could get various aid/human rights organizations' employees killed if said organizations didn't provide him money (most famously his $700k shakedown of Amnesty International).

He refers to the leaks in Wikileaks' possession as his "property", and made all Wikileaks staffers sign an onerous NDA imposing ridiculous fines if they do anything to reduce the monetary value of said property, such as by leaking it.

Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man's Molestation Arrest

Posted by timothyView
AmiMoJo writes: The Saitama District Court has ordered Google Inc. to delete past reports on a man's arrest over molestation from its online search results after ruling that they violate the man's personal rights. The man, who was arrested about three years ago after molesting a girl under 18, and fined 500,000 yen (£2600, $4000). "He harbors remorse over the incident and is leading a new life. The search results prevent him from rehabilitating himself," the man's defense counsel said. The presiding judge recognized that the incident was not of historical or social significance, that the man is not in public office and that his offense was relatively minor. He concluded there was little public interest in keeping such reports displayed online three years after the incident. The judge acknowledged that search engines play a public role in assisting people's right to know. (AmiMoJo spotted the story on Surado, the new name for Slashdot Japan.)


By guises • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Ar, what a monster. He should be burned alive, but not to death, and then allowed to recover just enough so that he can fully feel all of the spikes of the iron maiden that closes on him as a manticore drips acid into his eyes.

Am i doing this right? I have no end of sympathy for your daughter, but I'm clearly not as vengeance-driven as you are. At some point in our past we decided that eye-for-an-eye was not a workable approach to justice and three lifetimes plus hundreds of years for an offense of twelve hours, no matter how awful those twelve hours may have been, goes so far beyond eye-for-an-eye... There's some horrible disconnect when it comes to sex crimes. We load down the act of sex with so much baggage that it's social anathema to do anything mildly sexually deviant, and crimes related to sex are seen as absolutely horrifying while doing relatively little physical / financial / property damage. There is of course the psychological aspect, which I by no means wish to trivialize, but I can't help but think that the psychological damage is made as severe as it is by all of the baggage which we attach to sex.

I have heard people say, without hyperbole, that they think that rape is as bad or worse than murder. Many rape victims also seem to feel that - 13% of rape victims attempt suicide. Think about that. These are people, a large number of people, who genuinely believe that it's better to be dead than raped. That's a problem, a big one, and it's a problem of perception. The courts only reinforce this, if they're handing down life-ending sentences over rape offenses, and that feeds the problem further.

Back to TFA: molestation isn't rape. Without reading the article, I'd guess based on the sentence that the offense of the guy in question was pretty small. Maybe a grope on the train or something, happens pretty often on those crowded Japanese commuter trains. Is that also worth murder?

Re:Hillary Clinton says:

By jordanjay29 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
When you're a young lawyer fresh out of law school, I can't imagine you have much choice in the way of cases. Not if you're going to get very far in your law career. Are you suggesting that an accused child rapist doesn't deserve competent legal counsel?

Re:Hillary Clinton says:

By jordanjay29 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
And if she had botched her job, the child rapist could have just appealed on that basis and gotten off scot free. The United States has this thing called due process, and that's what stops the folks like you from just lining up anyone accused of a heinous crime and shooting them. Every one is entitled to a competent defendant, regardless of whether they are guilty or not, and if Mrs. Clinton had somehow been removed from the case, then some other lawyer would have just been assigned.

When we lose our moral compass is when we, as a society, decide that due process isn't important anymore. When we revoke the rights of the accused to a proper defendant, to a proper trial, and try them in the Court of Public Opinion. It's been done in the past, and it generally works out to a singular solution, with no quarter and no recourse. But being accused of a crime doesn't mean that one has committed it. Even though Mrs. Clinton was convinced he committed the crime, she wasn't a judge, it wasn't her call to make. That's the way our society is built, that's our system of justice.

I think there's a lot of misplaced hate here

By rebelwarlock • Score: 4 • Thread
We don't know exactly what this guy did. Grabbing a 15 year old's ass once on public transport is quite a lot different than kidnapping and rape and should be treated as such. If he wants to clean up his act, he should be given a fair chance to do so.

Re: Hillary Clinton says:

By Zontar The Mindless • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I've decided to blow off the downmod I just gave you in order to explain something to you:

1. Clinton was appointed by the court to defend an accused rapist.

2. She asked to be excused from the case, presumably because she knew or at least strongly suspected the defendant had actually committed the offence.

3. The judge would not let her off the case.

ExecSummary: Hillary Clinton was *ordered* by the State to act to the best of her ability in the interest of the defendant. And this is exactly what she appears to have done. You may or may not like her or her politics, but in this case *she did the job which she was legally and ethically bound to perform*. If you cannot understand why she did so, then you've never any business ever voting in a US election or especially ever serving on a jury in a US criminal trial.

Turing Near Ready To Ship World's First Liquid Metal Android Smartphone

Posted by timothyView
MojoKid writes: Liquid Metal is an alloy metal (technically, bulk metallic glass) that manages to combine the best features of a wide variety of materials into one product. Liquid Metal also has high corrosion resistance, high tensile strength, remarkable anti-wear characteristics and can also be heat-formed. Given its unique properties, Liquid Metal has been used in a number of industries, including in smartphones. Historically, it has been limited to small-scale applications and pieces parts, not entire products. However, Turing Robotic Industries (TRI) just announced pre-orders for the world's first liquid metal-frame smartphone. The Turing Phone uses its own brand of Liquid Metal called Liquidmorphium, which provides excellent shock absorption characteristics. So instead of making a dent in the smartphone casing or cracking/chipping like plastic when dropped, a Turing Phone should in theory "shake it off" while at the same time protecting the fragile display from breaking. The Turing Phone does not come cheap, however, with pricing starting at $610 for a 16GB model and escalating quickly to $740 and $870 respectively for the 64GB and 128GB models, unlocked. Pre-orders open up on July 31.

Re:Another piece in the puzzle...

By Chris Mattern • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Terminators are made out of nanomachines, not "liquid metal".

The movie seems to disagree with you:

John Connor: So this other guy: he's a Terminator like you, right?
The Terminator: Not like me. A T-1000, advanced prototype.
John Connor: You mean more advanced than you are?
The Terminator: Yes. A mimetic polyalloy.
John Connor: What the hell does that mean?
The Terminator: Liquid metal.

Memory prices are crazy

By bobbutts • Score: 3 • Thread
How long until all phones and tablets come with a reasonable amount of storage and don't have an insane premium to upgrade it?

Who the fuck is Turing

By Razed By TV • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
and why should I give a shit?
Turing Robotic Industries is a company that has created no products to date. One article says it is mostly funded by Lugee Li, CEO of DongGuan Eontec Co., Ltd. That company seems to be primarily involved in die cast metal.
So far, none of this is important enough to be news to me.

What is this mysterious Liquid Metal, that I can't tell if it is a trademark or brand name or what?
Well, it seems to be an amorphous metal alloy with a non crystalline structure. This grants it some physical properties, different strengths and weaknesses, than a chemically similar crystalline metal. However, I doubt this is going to save your screen if you do drop your phone.

Anyways, a couple of paragraphs from wikipedia:
"An amorphous metal (also known metallic glass or glassy metal) is a solid metallic material, usually an alloy, with a disordered atomic-scale structure. Most metals are crystalline in their solid state, which means they have a highly ordered arrangement of atoms. Amorphous metals are non-crystalline, and have a glass-like structure. But unlike common glasses, such as window glass, which are typically electrical insulators, amorphous metals have good electrical conductivity."
"Amorphous metals have higher tensile yield strengths and higher elastic strain limits than polycrystalline metal alloys, but their ductilities and fatigue strengths are lower.[12] Amorphous alloys have a variety of potentially useful properties. In particular, they tend to be stronger than crystalline alloys of similar chemical composition, and they can sustain larger reversible ("elastic") deformations than crystalline alloys. Amorphous metals derive their strength directly from their non-crystalline structure, which does not have any of the defects (such as dislocations) that limit the strength of crystalline alloys. One modern amorphous metal, known as Vitreloy, has a tensile strength that is almost twice that of high-grade titanium. However, metallic glasses at room temperature are not ductile and tend to fail suddenly when loaded in tension, which limits the material applicability in reliability-critical applications, as the impending failure is not evident. Therefore, there is considerable interest in producing metal matrix composite materials consisting of a metallic glass matrix containing dendritic particles or fibers of a ductile crystalline metal."

All I hear is...

By Joshua Fan • Score: 3 • Thread
Gimmick, gimmick, gimmick, unproven gimmick, take our word for it and give us an exorbitant amount of money, you sucker.

When will they learn

By kuzb • Score: 3 • Thread

Nobody is asking for a new material to build the phone out of. Nobody is asking for another gig of ram, or a bigger screen. What people ARE asking for is better battery life. Making a phone out of exotic materials and then pricing yourself out of the market is a dumb idea. The world doesn't need another luxury smartphone. It needs a better smartphone for the average user.

FBI Wants Pirate Bay Logs For Criminal Investigation Into Copyright Trolls

Posted by timothyView
the simurgh writes: It has been revealed today that In the past few months, two of the Pirate Bay co-founders have been repeatedly questioned by Swedish authorities, acting on behalf of the FBI. The internet now has clear evidence that Prenda is indeed being investigated by the U.S. Government for uploading their own copyrighted content in torrents placed onto The Pirate Bay, for the sole purpose of creating a honeypot trap to sue over pirated downloads.

A conundrum

By YrWrstNtmr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Who do we root for? Prenda, FBI, or PirateBay.


By NoNonAlphaCharsHere • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Oh. Prenda Law, the qunitessential copyright trolls.

jail time must be had

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

if you want to discourage this behavior, it seems that the guys at Prenda Law need some jail time. Failure to do this makes all this merely a business expense.

Re:A conundrum

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Who do we root for? Prenda, FBI, or PirateBay.

A strange game, Dr. Falken.
The only winning move is not to play.
How about a nice game of chess?

Re:A conundrum

By HiThereImBob • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Who do we root for? Prenda, FBI, or PirateBay.

I believe the appropriate order would be:

1) Pirate Bay

2) FBI

3) Satan

4) Prenda

Clang Plays Tetris -- Tetris As a C++ Template Metaprogram

Posted by SoulskillView
New submitter mjvzb writes: Ever wish compiling was more fun? Well, I recently implemented Tetris as a C++ template metaprogram (code at Github). The game is played by recompiling its source, taking player input by compiler flag. The runtime program is only needed to print the game screen to the console and save the game state across compiler runs.

Implementing Tetris in templates is not as horrific as you may imagine, and I've put together a post covering the details. Once you get over the syntax, C++ metaprogramming is just like functional programming.


By phantomfive • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If only the people who want to take on challenges like this put their skills to something actually useful....... There has GOT to be a better use of your knowledge and skills.

Sometimes people do things for fun........not because they want to please internet critics.

Re:C++ metaprogramming is just like functional pro

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Say what?

Template metaprogramming is exactly functional programming.

Not only that, C++98 style was completely 100% pure with no mutabe state. You got recuursion and pattern matching (called [partial] specialisation). A class is essentially a function returning a type (well, multiple types) as internal typedefs. And as such functions are very much first class objects.

C++11 added some local mutable state. constexpr functions can now be evaluated at compile time. Those yielding an int can be used as template arguments.

Blink. Horrible. Really horrible.

By Cafe Alpha • Score: 3 • Thread

I've done that sort of metaprogramming. Years ago I wrote a compile-time Lisp interpreter. It's a HORRIBLE language.

Look, say you have some advanced feature. You could write a library in scheme - it will take you 1 day to a week.

You could write it in C++ templates. It will have a worse feature set than the scheme version, it will be much less readable (not that scheme is readable) and much harder to use. It will have unusable error messages. And a mockup version will take you months to write.

Getting your mockup embedded in Boost and working well with it will take the help of a bunch of experts and a two or three times as much work.

If you want it included in the Boost libraries, you'll need a couple years of work integrating it and getting it approved.


Really "C++ Plays Tetris", not Clang...

By macshit • Score: 3 • Thread

The title of this article is a little misleading, as this program works fine with the latest release of gcc (5.1) as well...

[No changes, either to the program or the command-line are required, just use "g++" instead of "clang++".]

Presumably it will also work with any compiler that supports a recent-enough version of the C++ standard and its proposed updates (with the command-line options updated accordingly).


By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This is the most terrifying and ridiculous thing I've seen in my entire life.

Americans have spent more than a trillion hours watching reality TV. That is far more terrifying and ridiculous than someone playing with a Turing-complete compiler meta-language.

3-D Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanning Could Strengthen Smartphone Security

Posted by SoulskillView
Zothecula sends news that researchers from the University of California are developing new fingerprint scanning technology that could one day enhance the security of mobile devices. The new technique scans a fingertip in 3D, capturing the tiny ridges and valleys that make up a fingerprint, as well as the tissue beneath the surface. This guards against attackers unlocking a device with an image of the fingerprint, or by attempting to dust the scanner. The basic concepts behind the researchers’ technology are akin to those of medical ultrasound imaging. They created a tiny ultrasound imager, designed to observe only a shallow layer of tissue near the finger’s surface. "Ultrasound images are collected in the same way that medical ultrasound is conducted," said [Professor David] Horsley. "Transducers on the chip’s surface emit a pulse of ultrasound, and these same transducers receive echoes returning from the ridges and valleys of your fingerprint’s surface." The basis for the ultrasound sensor is an array of MEMS ultrasound devices with highly uniform characteristics, and therefore very similar frequency response characteristics. ... To fabricate their imager, the group employed existing microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, which smartphones rely on for such functions as microphones and directional orientation. They used a modified version of the manufacturing process used to make the MEMS accelerometer and gyroscope found in the iPhone and many other consumer electronics devices.

While greater security is a benefit for some...

By SacredNaCl • Score: 3 • Thread

This is mostly going to be a benefit to cheating spouses who lock their phones constantly. The tech is mildly interesting, but it would suck to get locked out your phone because of a minor burn or a cut while making a hoagie. I can guarantee that this stuff can happen even with that technology. Facial and fingerprint scanners have been notoriously bad, even when they spend the money trying to make a better one.

Now as to beating it -- I'm willing to bet a piece of paper with the print with some clay attached and pressed into the shape (roughly) of a finger) could fool it. They aren't as clever as they think they are.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I like my passwords replaceable and secret, thank you very much.

Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Unusual Hardware Hack?

Posted by SoulskillView
An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter recently asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?

circle mouse

By MobileTatsu-NJG • Score: 3 • Thread

I once programmed an arduino to move my mouse cursor in the shape of a square to keep my workstation from auto-locking per company policy. There's a slider control on the Arduino board that I have that I used more-or-less as an on-off switch. For fun I'd hook it up to my supervisor's machine just to hear him try to explain it to somebody.

Back in the day

By Ultracrepidarian • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Back in the days of punch cards, I was working as an intern. There were several large trays of cards that were sitting untouched for a long time. I was told that two sets of unrelated data had accidentally been collated together into more-less-random order and no-one had come up with a way to separate them other than manually. As there were perhaps 20,000 cards the other operators were doing their best to ignore them.

While the others were at lunch, I looked them over. The most obvious difference was color, one set buff, and the other set blue. Then I noticed that one set had a corner-cut on the left and the other set on the right. Poking into the card sorter, I found I could loosen one of the metal hole sensing brushes and cock it to one side to sense the cut corner. In just a few minutes I had the two sets cleanly separated and back into separate trays.

When the others returned, I pointed to the result. They asked me how I had done this. I told them I had set up the sorter to sort on color and never did tell them the real story.

wire wrap serial interface

By Foresto • Score: 3 • Thread

The Commodore 64 had a nonstandard serial port, meaning that I couldn't connect my standard RS-232 modem directly to it. Being just a kid, I couldn't afford the $50 or so that an adapter would cost.

My solution: I borrowed a family friend's RS-232 adapter, opened it up, examined the components and circuit board traces, bought the parts from a local electronics shop, and built the same circuit with perfboard and wire wrap. I cut a slot in the back of my C64, mounted a DB-25 connector in it, wired it to my frankenboard, and stuffed the whole thing into the free space inside the computer.

It worked like a charm. I was the only kid I ever met whose C64 had a standard serial port on the back.

I miss 1970s tech.

By jeffb (2.718) • Score: 3 • Thread

I started out with a TRS-80 Model I in high school. I spent a lot of time on that machine, and applied a lot of the "canned hacks" developed by others -- add-on hardware better than that Radio Shack sold, a memory remapper to let it run CP/M, soldering in another 1024x1 RAM chip to support lowercase video, jumpering the clock divider chain to effectively overclock the CPU, and so on.

Eventually, I noticed that I was starting to have wrist problems, especially when I used WordStar -- that WP used the non-existent Control key quite a lot, and the CP/M port mapped it to one of the arrow keys, which was an ergonomic nightmare. But I happened to find a pair of foot switches on clearance at Radio Shack, pre-wired to mini audio plugs. I drilled two holes in my system unit, mounted two mini jacks, and wired them to the keyboard in the same position as the shift key and that arrow key. Stomp-K-D for the win! My wrists were better in no time.

Later, I got a state-of-the-art 1200bps modem, but my poor terminal program couldn't keep up. Any time the screen had to scroll, I dropped characters. The solution: I rewired the 40Hz real-time interrupt to fire at 160Hz, and wrote a little interrupt-driven driver to catch and buffer characters coming in over the RS232 interface. It was completely bulletproof. Unfortunately, it also sped up the keyboard timing (repeat delay and rate) by 4x in CP/M.

I guess the biggest hack, though, was building a full character-based video display subsystem that hung off the expansion port. Forty or fifty SS/MS LSTTL packages spread across eight or ten solderless breadboards, with a couple of static RAM chips thrown in for character generation and storage. It ended up being something like 30 lines of 100 characters, comfortably larger than the original 16x64 display or even the 24x80 displays in the computer labs, and each cell was 8x16 pixels, so they were nicely readable characters. Luxury. I used that "in production" for a year or two, until I managed to land a Lisa.

Magnavox pong

By jbeaupre • Score: 3 • Thread

I bought an old Magnavox tv with built in Pong, but it was missing the controllers. To play games, my brother and I would shove speaker wires into the ports and hold the bare wires with our hands.

By staying very still and very carefully pinching one wire in each hand, tips of fingers touching, we could control the resistance in the range needed to start and control the game. So much as a twitch or turning your head would cause the pong paddle to go off the screen.

Holding that still and staring at the tv, it looked like we were controlling it with our minds.

After a couple days, the TV died. But $18 well spent.

Square Enix Pulls, Apologizes For Mac Version of Final Fantasy XIV

Posted by SoulskillView
_xeno_ writes: Just over a week after Warner Bros. pulled the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight due to bugs, Square Enix is now being forced to do the same thing with the Mac OS X version of Final Fantasy XIV (which was released at the same time as Batman: Arkham Knight). The rather long note explaining the decision apologizes for releasing the port before it was ready and blames OS X and OpenGL for the discrepancy between the game's performance on identical Mac hardware running Windows. It's unclear when (or even if) Square Enix will resume selling an OS X version — the note indicates that the development team is hopeful that "[w]ith the adoption of DirectX 11 for Mac, and the replacement of OpenGL with a new graphics API in Apple's next OS, the fundamental gap in current performance issues may soon be eliminated." (I'm not sure what "the adoption of DirectX 11 for Mac" refers to. OS X gaining DirectX 11 support is news to me — and, I suspect, Microsoft.) Given that the game supports the aging PS3 console, you'd think the developers would be able to find a way to get the same graphics as the PS3 version on more powerful Mac OS X hardware.

Mac games?!? Why?

By JoeDuncan • Score: 3 • Thread
If I'd made a game for Macs. I'd be apologizing too...

Re: DirectX 11 for Mac

By adler187 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Probably referring to

Blaming their tools

By Viol8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sounds to me like they Driect X coders who don't know how to code for OpenGL properly but instead of fessing up they decided its easier to blame their tools than themselves. Poor workmen etc...

Exactly what I was thinking

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Even though the GPU makers focus on D3D and not OGL the GL performance is usually quite close to D3D. So when people start blaming their woes on OpenGL I start assuming they don't know what they're on about.

Re:Why release it?

By carlhaagen • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I've programmed portable OpenGL-based applications for many years for the three dominant desktop platforms - Windows, Linux, OS X - and I have no idea which million issues on OS X and its implementation of OpenGL it is you refer to.

Leased LEDs and Energy Service Contracts can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

Posted by RoblimoView
I first heard of Consumer Energy Solutions from a non-profit's IT guy who was boasting about how he got them to lease him LED bulbs for their parking lot and the security lights at their equipment lot -- pretty much all their outdoor lighting -- for a lot less than their monthly savings on electricity from replacing most of their Halogen, fluorescent, and other less-efficient lights with LEDs. What made this a big deal to my friend was that no front money was required. It's one thing to tell a town council or non-profit board, "If we spend $180,000 on LEDs we'll save it all back in five years" (or whatever). It's another thing to say, "We can lease LEDs for all our outdoor lighting for $4,000 per month and save $8,000 on electricity right away." That gets officials to prick up their ears in a hurry.Then there are energy service contracts, essentially buying electricity one, two or three years in advance. This business got a bad name from Enron and their energy wholesaling business, but despite that single big blast of negative publicity, it grows a little each year. And the LED lease business? In many areas, governments and utility companies actually subsidize purchases of anything that cuts electricity use. Totally worth checking out.

But why, you might ask, is this on Slashdot? Because some of our readers own stacks of servers (or work for companies that own stacks of servers) and need to know they don't have to pay whatever their local electric utility demands, but can shop for better electricity prices in today's deregulated electricity market. And while this conversation was with one person in this business, we are not pushing his company. As interviewee Patrick Clouden says at the end of the interview, it's a competitive business. So if you want the best deal, you'd better shop around. One more thing: the deregulated utility market, with its multitude of suppliers, peak and off-peak pricing, and (often) minute-by-minute price changes, takes excellent software (possibly written by someone like you) to negotiate, so this business niche might be one an entrepreneurial software developer should explore.

Re:So paying more in the long run is better?

By Mike_EE_U_of_I • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Was this some sort of lease to own scheme?

It would be pretty stupid if it was not. About 20 years ago, most office buildings changed up the ballasts on their fluorescent lights from magnetic to active which gave huge electricity savings. It was pretty common to see deals like this back then. The company that I was consulting at did this. They had a company come in and replace the ballasts. The deal was ten years of half of the savings on the electricity and then the leasing company walked away. So from the POV of the customer, they had no up front cost, for 10 years the customer got half the electricity savings, and for the remainder of the life of the product the customer got 100% of the savings. If purchased outright, the ballasts would have paid for themselves in just a couple of years so it was a really sweet deal for the leasing company.

I'm confused...

By SeaFox • Score: 3 • Thread

Is this a legitimate article, or are we taking Slashvertisements to a new level?

Re:So paying more in the long run is better?

By geoskd • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

installation costs might be a big factor purposely not discussed. It may be easy to lease the lights, but the costs of installation (and maybe even maintenance) drive the real cost up and potential benefit down.

There are no additional installation costs. These LED lights are designed to be drop in replacements for the older halogen and sulfur types. These elected officials are just that stupid.

Re:I'm confused...

By Roblimo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"Slashvertisement - a fiction spawned in the brains of basement-dwellers who think that anyone who says anything nice about anything or anyone is getting paid to be positive."

Nope. All ads or "sponsored content" pieces on Slashdot are clearly identified. This piece is legit, and I clearly stated that this is just one of many companies in the energy-saving businesses. Clouden's company is close to me and I first heard about it from a satisfied customer, but at no point did I (or he) say his company was better than others in the same business. In fact, let me repeat: If you're going to buy any kind of energy-saving services, you'd better shop around -- just like Smokey Robinson's momma told him:

Better methodology?

By Dereck1701 • Score: 3 • Thread

A better methodology might be to simply stop buying standard bulbs and start buying LEDs. As standard bulbs go out swap them out. Sure you won't see the savings immediately but you also won't throw away a boatload of perfectly good bulbs and you won't have quite such a sticker shock. I can definitely see the use of this leasing service, but only in cases with especially pigheaded bureaucrats, kind of like those ones who claim the world is 7,000 years old or those who think we can convert 100% to renewable electricity and organic food and not have rolling blackouts and half the population starving to death.

Rumblefish Claims It Owns 'America the Beautiful' By United States Navy Band

Posted by SoulskillView
ptorrone writes: Adafruit is now shipping the USA-made open-source Arduinos. In celebration Ladyada the engineer posted an Arduino rotating in front of an American flag with the public domain "America the Beautiful" by the United States Navy Band as background music. Adafruit immediately received notice from from YouTube stating that the song is owned by Rumblefish. Rumblefish previously claimed to own copyright to ambient birdsongs, too.

Re:Typical Slashdot...

By jk379 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

From the link:
America the beautiful / Samuel Ward [sound recording], Title: America the beautiful [sound recording] instrumental and vocal, Composer: Ward, Samuel. Arranger(s) Dragon, Carmen. Performing Ensemble: United States Navy Band. Lyricist: Bates, Katharine Lee. Publisher(s): Department of Defense. Form: sound recording.

Note(s): Taken from CD entitled: “Remembering the Navy Hour.” Featuring the Navy Band and Sea Chanters. Recorded by Sheffield Recording, Ltd., Inc. at the George Mason University Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

Credit: Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress.

This Composition is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 “COPYRIGHT BASICS” from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain.

This composition is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case Katharine Lee Bates (words), (August 12, 1859 â March 28, 1929), Samuel Augustus Ward (tune) (28 December 1847 â 28 September 1903), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that date.

This media file is a work of a U.S. Department of Defense employee, made during the course of the person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the media file is in the public domain.

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 “COPYRIGHT BASICS” from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Hold them liable

By bl968 • Score: 3 • Thread

Reuters claimed to own Nasa's video of the 1969 Moon Landings

CD Baby claimed ownership of music by an artist sang by the artist and used with their permission.

I have frequent claims on classical music especially military marches that are clearly out of copyright and are live performances.

The organization should lose all rights to claim copyright via youtube's content id after one false claim of copyright.

Youtube should also be liable for allowing blatantly false claims once they have received notification of the copyright status of public domain works.

Re:Typical Slashdot...

By bl968 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Except for the fact that all works by U.S. Government employees in the line of duty are by default public domain, and not eligible for any copyright protection at all.

So I seriously doubt that the US Navy has an agreements with Rumblefish or any other organizations to collect royalties for their performance. It wouldn't be legal if they did.

Re:Hold them liable

By sjames • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Strenuously disagree. This is more than a billing error here, it is an implicit threat of expensive legal action wrapped in a takedown that at the least interferes with someone's free expression. They need to take it seriously or go away.

Civilization has long understood the dangers of crying wolf and even has a number of fables about it in order to teach young children not to do it.

They are welcome to use their algorithm as a screening test, but they shouldn't be claiming ownership of things without human verification. Since their algorithm must have some 'idea' what it thinks the work is, it should only take a few seconds per filing to have a human verify that what is playing is what the algorithm thinks it is.

Perhaps the ban on the easy method of making a claim should expire after a time, but the message is fairly clear: If they prove they are unable to responsibly use a largely automated system, they will be forced to do it manually in order to force them to consider each case more carefully. It may even be acceptable to grant them 3 strikes rather than 1, but only if they issue a personal (hand written) apology from their CEO to the person they wrongly claimed against.

Three Strike

By CanEHdian • Score: 3 • Thread
How about a Three Strike rule for takedown requests? You earn a strike for every successful counterclaim. After three strikes "automated" takedowns no longer need to be honoured, only human-verified ones.

A Look At the Rare Hybrid Console Built By Sony and Nintendo

Posted by SoulskillView
An anonymous reader writes: Long before Sony and Nintendo were rivals, the two companies were partners for a brief time. In 1988 the duo started work on SNES-CD, a video game media format that was supposed to augment the cartridge-based SNES by adding support for higher-capacity CDs. In 1991 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sony introduced the "Play Station" (yes, with a space) but it never saw the light of day. Now, more than two decades later, Imgur user DanDiebold has uploaded images of the unreleased console. This particular model (about 200 Play Station prototypes were created) confirms that the system was supposed to be compatible with existing SNES titles as well as titles to be released in the SNES-CD format. In other words, it would have been the world's first hybrid console: game developers and gamers alike would be able to use both SNES cartridges and CDs. If you want to learn more about this particular prototype, check out the following thread on Assembler Games.

What space?

By frovingslosh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Sony introduced the "Play Station" (yes, with a space)

In the pictures there is no space between play and station in the name.

Appears to be Fake

By aitikin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Per page 7 of the forum, it appears to be a fake:

from a French modder that does custom cases.


By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

and lame

The story about it being fake is fake.

By Cowclops • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The message board post saying it was a fake was a fake. It was in French and they were joking about how they're so good at making repros that its theirs and its a fake. Except they were joking.

This doesn't prove its real, but I wouldn't be quite so quick to jump to the conclusion that its a fake.

The guy who has it seems to be worried about plugging into the "7.6V" power input, but its pretty obvious that a 7.5V psone power supply will run it just fine.

In cases like this, skepticism is to be expected, but the "proof" that its "fake" was an admitted joke, so lets roll it back to "maybe fake" instead of "definitely fake" until more info comes out.

Re:Appears to be Fake

By aitikin • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Okay, the video evidence is a little more convincing. Still waiting on an internals snapshot or video of it working, but I'm back on the fence.