the unofficial Slashdot digest

NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires

Posted by samzenpus in YRO • View
An anonymous reader writes "A NYPD community outreach campaign designed to show images of citizens with cops turned ugly quickly when a deluge of images depicting police brutality came in. From the article: 'The responses soon turned ugly when Occupy Wall Street tweeted a photograph of cops battling protesters with the caption "changing hearts and minds one baton at a time." Other photos included an elderly man bloodied after being arrested for jaywalking.' Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says, 'I kind of welcome the attention,' of the #myNYPD project."

I kind of welcome the attention

By wiredlogic • Score: 3 • Thread

Well now we know of one more sociopath who is gainfully employed.

If they were interested in upholding the law...

By NoKaOi • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

...then they wouldn't consider this a failure. Truth and evidence should never be considered a failure. Identifying police brutality so that those individual cops can be punished, and thus hopefully prevent other cops from doing the same, should be considered a success. But obviously that's not how it works.

There are plenty of good cops out there, but by not punishing the bad cops it makes them all look bad.

Some of these are overreaction

By AlphaWolf_HK • Score: 3 • Thread

One of these shows a police officer pinning a guy to the ground with his knee so that he can cuff him (presumably after the guy already did something wrong and tried to resist arrest.) That is hardly what I'd call brutality.

Also another one of these shows a guy laying on the ground screaming near a police motorcycle. I remember hearing about that, the motorcycle barely nudged him on accident and he deliberately dropped on the ground screaming like a 5 year old, way over-reacting to the incident. The guy (looked to be in his 50's or 60's) was acting like a baby trying to get attention and it was so cringe worthy that if I was there I would have been tempted to slap him and tell him to grow up for once in his life.

I understand that the police can go too far, but protesters and rioters certainly can and do go too far as well.

Re:Some of these are overreaction

By Charliemopps • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I understand that the police can go too far, but protesters and rioters certainly can and do go too far as well.

We hold the police to a higher standard for a very good reason. If the occupy people did that crap to me, I'd probably stop so I could kick the guys ass. But I'm not a cop, I'm not on duty, and it's not my job to put up with that kind of crap. Annoyed with protesters? Don't get a job as a cop dead center in the protest capital of the country.

F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

Posted by samzenpus in News • View
Dega704 (1454673) writes in with news of the latest FCC plan which seems to put another dagger in the heart of net neutrality. "The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals. The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers."

Re:Just more bullshit

By crioca • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
No it's actually quite an accurate characterization; the established players ("the rich") are now able to leverage that position to raise barriers to new entrants. Being rich is being privileged in the most classical usage of the term.

The Internet has acted as a great equalizer, removing many of the barriers that people without great wealth face when trying to make opportunities. Now we're putting those barriers back in place, by making it so that established players can use their wealth to hold a privileged position within the market.

This can only serve to benefit the established players at the cost of consumers and new entrants.

Drop Netflix, Pirate Everything

By Bob9113 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Only one reasonable response: Drop all your paid over-the-interent content subscriptions, and start pirating everything. Burn the media industry to the ground.

Re:Wrong battle.

By n8_f • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Still wrong battle. Franchises are simply agreements to use a city's rights-of-way. They've been non-exclusive since 1992. The problem is that building wireline infrastructure is extremely capital expensive and has severely diminishing returns in areas that are already saturated by a competitor. Your business plan is to sink a bunch of capital into a business and then compete on price with a company that has no capital costs? Good luck raising the billions you'll need for that.

No, the solution here is municipal fiber networks that are managed as public utilities that sell wholesale to ISPs. Just like how we have multiple shipping companies that use public infrastructure to transport packages between customers. Then you can have as many different competitors as the market will bear with as many different business plans. In that situation, the Comcast-Netflix deal would never have happened, because the competing ISPs would have been begging Netflix to install hardware in their data centers to make their customers' experience as good as possible. An ISP trying to make Netflix slower would have lost every customer that cares about Netflix (which apparently is a lot of them).

Re:Just more bullshit

By ClickOnThis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Mod parent insightful.

The internet began as a communication medium. Slowly but surely, we're seeing it turn into a broadcast medium.

It all began years ago, when cable companies started offering internet service with unbalanced bandwidth: outgoing speed was (and still is) a small fraction of the incoming speed. So began the process that has led to what we have today.

Imagine your Telephone Company sold you a phone service that let you call only certain other parties, who wrote a check to the Telephone Company so you could have the privilege. What's more, the number of words in the conversation depends on the payment, and the telephone subscriber (you) can never say more than one word for every 10 to 100 words you hear.

Welcome to the death of the internet.

Oh the irony

By TsuruchiBrian • Score: 3 • Thread

The big internet companies managed to turn net neutrality from something they didn't want into something they do. All they had to do was use all their lobbyists to lobby congress to change laws in their favor.


Now we are going to have the worst of both worlds. We have exactly the internet we didn't want and some more laws for our economy to waste GDP on lawyers and litigation.

If we really want internet freedom, we should be lobbying for actual competition in the ISP game. It may not be possible to have 10 ISPs all competing at the same time, with their own fiber cables, but we could have a system where the lines are owned by the public (rather than the telecoms), and the telecoms just compete for contracts to administer the network. If we didn't like how a company was doing business, it would be much easier to ditch them for a new company if we owned the pipes.

Unfortunately politicians are generally shitty and it takes a lot of public engagement to get them to actually do something correctly rather than way that benefits them the most when no one is paying attention (i.e. cheaply in the short term).

Mobile Game Attempts To Diagnose Alzheimer's

Posted by Soulskill in Games • View
the_newsbeagle writes "Currently, the best way to check if a person has a high likelihood of developing Alzheimer's is to perform a PET scan to measure the amount of amyloid plaque in his or her brain. That's an expensive procedure. But a startup called Akili Interactive says it has developed a mobile game that can identify likely Alzheimer's patients just by their gameplay and game results. The game is based on a neuroscience study which showed that multitasking is one of the first brain functions to take a hit in Alzheimer's patients. Therefore the game requires players to perform two tasks at the same time."

OpenSSL: the New Face of Technology Monoculture

Posted by Soulskill in Management • View
chicksdaddy writes: "In a now-famous 2003 essay, 'Cyberinsecurity: The Cost of Monopoly,' Dr. Dan Geer argued, persuasively, that Microsoft's operating system monopoly constituted a grave risk to the security of the United States and international security, as well. It was in the interest of the U.S. government and others to break Redmond's monopoly, or at least to lessen Microsoft's ability to 'lock in' customers and limit choice. The essay cost Geer his job at the security consulting firm AtStake, which then counted Microsoft as a major customer. These days Geer is the Chief Security Officer at In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm. But he's no less vigilant of the dangers of software monocultures. In a post at the Lawfare blog, Geer is again warning about the dangers that come from an over-reliance on common platforms and code. His concern this time isn't proprietary software managed by Redmond, however, it's common, oft-reused hardware and software packages like the OpenSSL software at the heart (pun intended) of Heartbleed. 'The critical infrastructure's monoculture question was once centered on Microsoft Windows,' he writes. 'No more. The critical infrastructure's monoculture problem, and hence its exposure to common mode risk, is now small devices and the chips which run them.'"

Is anyone surprised?

By TWX • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
We already established that often corporations will use free software because of the cost, not because they're enthusiasts, and often those that are enthusiasts for a given project are specifically interested in that project only, not in other projects that support that project.

Besides, it's disingenuous to claim that no one knew that there were potential problems, the OpenBSD people were not exactly quiet about their complaints about OpenSSL. Of course, rather than considering their complaints on their merits, they were ignored until it blew wide open.

OSS vs Reality

By Ralph Wiggam • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

In theory (the way OSS evangelists tell you) as a software package gets more popular, it gets reviewed by more and more people of greater and greater competency. The number of people using OSS packages has exploded in the past 10 years, but the number of people writing and reviewing the code involved doesn't seem to have changed much.

Apples and oranges

By Grishnakh • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

With open-source software, a monoculture isn't that bad a thing, as the Heartbleed exploit has shown. When something bad is discovered, people jump on it immediately and come up with a fix, which is deployed very very quickly (and free of charge, I might add). How fast was a fix available for Heartbleed? Further, people will go to greater lengths to make sure it doesn't happen again. Look at the recent efforts to rewrite OpenSSL, and the fork that was created from it.

None of this happens with proprietary software. First off, the vendor always tries to deny the problem or cover it up. If and when they do fix it, it may or may not be really fixed. You don't know, because it's all closed-source. It might be a half-ass fix, or it might have a different backdoor inserted, as was recently revealed with Netgear. What if you think the fix is poor? Can you fork it and make your own that's better? No, because you can't fork closed-source software (and certainly not selected libraries inside a larger closed-source software package; they're monolithic). But the LibreSSL guys did just that in the Heartbleed case.

Finally, monocultures aren't all that common in open-source software anyway; they only happen when everyone generally agrees on something and/or likes something well enough to not bother with forks or alternatives. Even the vaunted Linux kernel isn't a monoculture, as there's still lots of people using the *BSD kernels/OSes (though granted, there's far more installations of the Linux kernel than the *BSDs).

Recognize limitations of volunteer efforts

By hessian • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I am not anti-volunteer; I spend a lot of my time volunteering.

But you need strong leadership.

Otherwise, everyone does what they want to, which leaves huge holes in the project.

Whether a piece of code is open source or closed source doesn't matter. The quality of the leadership of the team that produces it is vital in both cases.

Specious Argument

By Nethemas the Great • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm not sure it's a valid argument. The probability of errors that may be found in a given system is proportional to the complexity of that system. Likewise the cost to maintain and evolve a system is proportionally tied to its complexity. It is therefore a worthy to goal to reduce system complexity whenever possible. If network communication infrastructure is taken to be the system, then it naturally follows that the fewer implementations that exist for performing SSL/TLS communication the less likely there will exist security vulnerabilities. Relatedly the cost to identify and correct vulnerabilities will be proportionally smaller. Said simply, it's much easier to guard one door than it is to guard many.

Suggesting that a "monoculture" is bad relies upon the same faulty premises of "security through obscurity." The failure with respect to OpenSSL and Heartbleed wasn't the monoculture. It was the lack of altruistic eyes scrutinizing it. More implementations would have only required more eyes.

Implant Injects DNA Into Ear, Improves Hearing

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View
sciencehabit writes "Many people with profound hearing loss have been helped by devices called cochlear implants, but their hearing is still far from perfect. They often have trouble distinguishing different musical pitches, for example, or hearing a conversation in a noisy room. Now, researchers have found a clever way of using cochlear implants to deliver new genes into the ear — a therapy that, in guinea pigs, dramatically improves hearing (abstract)."

So the guinea pigus can now

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

distinguish different musical pitches? That's good.

use hearing protection now

By lophophore • Score: 3 • Thread

This is an article about "hearing loss." Much hearing loss is preventable.

Use hearing protection now.

Use hearing protection when running your leaf blower, weed whacker, power sander, lawn mower, and especially when making like a war-mongering imperialist at the shooting range. Use hi-fi hearing protection at rock concerts and loud clubs.

Once your hearing is damaged, it is not recoverable, unless you become The Bionic Woman -- and for about 50% of us, that is pretty much completely impossible.

Hearing protection is cheap. I like the Etymotic ER20 for rock concerts. Maybe I look silly wearing them. But... I can still hear after the show. I really don't care if people think I look silly. I've been to some literally deafening rock concerts, and my ears have suffered for it... Now I always bring (and wear!) my ear plugs to shows, And I use hearing protection when running noisy power equipment.

The Witcher 3 and Projekt Red's DRM-Free Stand

Posted by Soulskill in Games • View
An anonymous reader writes "This article goes into the making of upcoming fantasy title The Witcher 3. The studio, CD Projekt Red, reveals that, unusually, it'll be releasing the game as a DRM-free download. 'We believe that DRM does more harm to legit gamers than good for the gaming industry, that's why the game will also be completely DRM-free,' says the game's level designer, Miles Tost. The game will build on the strengths of The Witcher 2 while attempting to broaden its scope. 'We want to combine the strong pull of closed-world RPGs story-wise, with a world where you can go anywhere and do anything you want.'"

A new advance on not RTFA

By Pop69 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Just don't post the link in the first place !

Re:What kind?

By seebs • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So far as I can tell, DRM-free means "no DRM".

FWIW, I actually find Steam really annoying. I usually use a couple of computers at once, and I sometimes have a slow-paced game on one and want to play something faster on another while, say, waiting for turns to process or something. I can do this with even the most draconian DRM schemes, but not with Steam. Yes, I'm aware of Offline Mode. Valve Support has told me that it is in fact prohibited to use Offline Mode to run another copy of Steam, even if I'm using it to play a different game.

Michigan FIRST Robot Championship Bout for 2014 (Video)

Posted by Roblimo in Technology • View
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, AKA FIRST, holds annual robot challenges, in which student teams build robots, then operate them to the cheers of an adoring crowd. Slashdot watched the Dexter Dreadbots build their 2014 contender. (The Dreadbots are Slashdot's home team.) And we've watched other FIRST competitions before, but this is the 2014 Michigan state championships. The next step after the state finals is an appearance at the National Championship Competition, which starts today, April 23, in St. Louis, although the first day is speeches and such, not actual competition. Keep an eye on to see who wins. And before that, you can watch the matches themselves, streamed live courtesy of NASA. ( Alternate video link.)

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View
An anonymous reader sends this story from Wired: "The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has since 2007 brought some 2,000 pictures back from 1,500 analog data tapes. They contain the first high-resolution photographs ever taken from behind the lunar horizon, including the first photo of an earthrise. Thanks to the technical savvy and DIY engineering of the team at LOIRP, it's being seen at a higher resolution than was ever previously possible. ... The photos were stored with remarkably high fidelity on the tapes, but at the time had to be copied from projection screens onto paper, sometimes at sizes so large that warehouses and even old churches were rented out to hang them up. The results were pretty grainy, but clear enough to identify landing sites and potential hazards. After the low-fi printing, the tapes were shoved into boxes and forgotten. ... The drives had to be rebuilt and in some cases completely re-engineered using instruction manuals or the advice of people who used to service them. The data they recovered then had to be demodulated and digitized, which added more layers of technical difficulties."


By ThatsDrDangerToYou • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Given the negative connotations of the word "hackers" - how about "dedicated engineers" instead?

I prefer restoring the original meaning of the "hacker" badge to its original lofty meaning as "one who hacks and hacks and hacks in the manner of a dedicated engineer until it rocks." ... and this clearly rocks.


By excelsior_gr • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The negative connotation to the word was given by the media. The people that know what they are talking about don't see it as negative.


By JWSmythe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Check your dictionary. Lots of things have two or more meanings.

Among readers here, the preferred IT meaning is roughly "an expert who uses his knowledge to do things requiring extraordinary skills." It's not "the kid who tricked you into giving him your Facebook password."

I'm curious, are you just a confused child, or a troll?


By Zak3056 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

"Hacker" can't have two meanings

Which of course is why "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is not a valid sentence. Or, as Samuel L. Jackson would say, "English motherfucker! Do you speak it?"


By pjt33 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I've never heard Samuel L. Jackson say that, although I have heard him say, "English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?"

Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View
Doofus writes: "The Wall Street Journal has an eye-catching headline: Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class. Quoting: 'According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can't find qualified workers. To help produce a new generation of welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, carpenters, machinists and other skilled tradesmen, high schools should introduce students to the pleasure and pride they can take in making and building things in shop class. American employers are so yearning to motivate young people to work in manufacturing and the skilled trades that many are willing to pay to train and recruit future laborers. CEO Karen Wright of Ariel Corp. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, recently announced that the manufacturer of gas compressors is donating $1 million to the Knox County Career Center to update the center's computer-integrated manufacturing equipment, so students can train on the same machines used in Ariel's operations.' How many of us liked shop? How many young people should be training for skilled manufacturing and service jobs rather than getting history or political science degrees?"

Yes to metal shop

By dlenmn • Score: 3 • Thread

Interestingly, I had metal shop in middle school, but not high school. (The middle school building used to be the high school, and the new high school didn't get a metal shop, although it did have other shops.) Whoever decided to let middle schoolers weld was crazy, but in a good way. It should definitely be available in high school.

I'm a physics grad student now, and I've used the student shop here to make custom parts -- in part because the real machinists in the instrument shop have a several month backlog. I guess that's inline with the article's claim. I've got a ton of respect for the machinists here: it requires lots of skill and problem solving abilities; it's not easy to make the crazy stuff we want. In short, their jobs aren't in danger of automation, and apparently there's demand for them. The same cannot be said for communications and journalism majors...

Mike Rowe

By Dcnjoe60 • Score: 3 • Thread

That's basically what Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) has been saying. He started a foundation to to provide funding for high school graduates to go to various skilled labor trade schools instead of college. Most skilled labor jobs are currently held by aging baby boomers and when they retire, there won't be enough people to fill the need. College isn't the answer for these jobs.

Re:vocational schools

By Trepidity • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You can't get the kinds of skills being talked about here through 1- or 2-year vocational programs, though. There is virtually no market for starting welders, because the low-end stuff has been automated or outsourced. What's in demand are people with at least 5+, preferably 10+ years of experience in specific high-skill niches. You can't pick those skills up by taking a year or two of classes at the local community college; you need a more involved apprenticeship program, or a career path where you start in an entry-level job and work your way up. But those entry-level jobs and apprenticeships are few and far between. A few unions provide some training paths (this is common among electricians), but those are way over-subscribed with long waiting lists, too.

In short, if you could magically take an 18-year-old high school graduate and make them a master welder through a 1-year vocational program, then yeah, they'd have their pick of jobs. But how do you do that?

Re:LOL ...

By Charliemopps • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I was a licensed welder for 10 years. It doesn't pay that well.

It's kind of like getting your CCNA. It doesn't pay well unless you get into one of the specialties. That $300k per year is what you get if you're welding under water or on a sky scraper. You really have to know what you're doing. Know what materials you're welding, use the exact right gas mix, have $50k worth of equipment, have all your welds Xrayed and inspected. I'm really good at welding and the few times I'm had my welds Xrayed has been pretty shaming. Those $300k dudes are earning their keep.

I actually think this article is demeaning to those in the trade fields. It would be like comparing your local ISP's helpdesk guy to one of Googles top developers. Just because it involves "welding" doesn't mean it's even remotely the same job.

Re:College is unsustainable longterm

By Trepidity • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

While it's worked well historically, Germany is slowly moving in the other direction, in part because students who take the "vocational" path have much higher unemployment rates and much lower lifetime earnings that students who take the "university" path, even those who choose a liberal arts university path. There's been a bit of a worry that Germany is training too many people for jobs that don't exist anymore, while it has a shortage of people with information-economy skills, especially engineering and technology. Part of it also relates to language skills; being fluent in reading/writing English is increasingly an asset, and the vocational track typically doesn't include things like foreign-language study, which are reserved for the universities.

OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

Posted by Soulskill in Mobile • View
An anonymous reader writes "Spec-wise, OnePlus One will go toe-to-toe with the latest flagship phones like the Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), and Sony Xperia Z2. In some areas, it even surpasses them, and at a price point of $300. The One has the same 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC SoC as the Samsung Galaxy S5, build quality similar to the HTC One (M8), and the large 3000+ mAh battery and Sony camera of the Xperia Z2. It also runs CyanogenMod 11S, which is based on Android 4.4."

Re:Nice toy

By Kjella • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Astroturfing Microsoft on websites, duh...

Re:Too good to be true?

By Andy Dodd • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The Nexus 5 is subsidized by Google so that it's sold nearly at cost or possibly even below it.

Google's business model here is that it gets people into the Play Store ecosystem, which is where Google really makes their money on Android.

OnePlus has no such business model, which is why they're limiting access to the device via their invite system.

One additional worry bead about this price point is that it means they're likely not funneling much money to Cyngn (Cyanogen, Inc) to support this device. For various reasons (mainly, the Cyngn guys being notoriously difficult to work with), Cyngn-backed devices get little to no community input on CyanogenMod builds.

As an example of what happens when you don't pay Cyngn much for a device, see the Oppo N1. Once Cyngn got what they wanted (experience with taking a device through the GMS certification process), they deallocated most engineering resources for the N1, which has since then received minimal level of support effort from Cyngn. The end result is stuff like location services being broken for 2 months straight in CM11 nightlies. Nearly everyone who bought the CM edition of the N1 switched to Omni, which is maintained on that particular device by three guys (disclaimer: I'm one of them) in their spare time. That's how badly Cyngn deprioritized the device - three guys in their spare time are investing more into suppporting the device than cyngn is. (Admittedly, we're making better use of our time too - see below.)

I expect users of the OnePlus One will see the same with the next Android version beyond 4.4 on the OnePlus - the team at Cyngn take the "no bug reports against nightlies" rule VERY seriously, and the results of that show in the quality of nightly builds that are maintained by them. (Many of the community-supported devices are supported by maintainers who have a thread on XDA, where they'll hear if a device has a major issue. The end result is that most people have a high expectation of quality even from nightlies due to the "community maintainer pays attention to what's going on" workaround, but you won't see that from Cyngn-backed devices.)

Re:Too good to be true?

By msauve • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
"MicroSD uses a cheap n-wire serial interface."

Uh, no. While it's true that SD cards offer backwards compatibility with MMC, modern cards transfer using a 4 bit wide parallel bus, and it's not nearly as simple as the SPI mode. With regard to your argument, have you ever looked at the flash chips in an SD card? Last I checked, they use the same memory dies as the "embedded" packages, and add the cost of an SD controller and more complex packaging. On the host side, there's the cost of an SD controller (although that's probably "free" with the SoC) and socket.

More specific to the original point, if a phone already has 16G of flash, the cost of upping it to 64G is minor - the parallel interface you mention is already there, and the difference in packaging costs between 16G and 64G chips is likely zero.

Re:Too good to be true?

By TubeSteak • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

and the difference in packaging costs between 16G and 64G chips is likely zero.

I never would have pegged the price difference between 16GB and 64GB as $50.
That means every other phone out there is practicing enormous and arbitrary price discrimination by jacking up the cost of storage.

Re:Too good to be true?

By Carewolf • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I never would have pegged the price difference between 16GB and 64GB as $50.
That means every other phone out there is practicing enormous and arbitrary price discrimination by jacking up the cost of storage.

Well Duh! Why do you think Apple for instance doesn't allow SD cards in their phones?

How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

Posted by Soulskill in Mobile • View
Bennett Haselton writes: "If you watch a movie or TV show (legally) on your mobile device while away from your home network, it's usually by streaming it on a data plan. This consumes an enormous amount of a scarce resource (data bundled with your cell phone provider's data plan), most of it unnecessarily, since many of those users could have downloaded the movie in advance on their home broadband connection — if it weren't for pointless DRM restrictions." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Amazon has Unbox

By Marrow • Score: 3 • Thread

You can download TV episodes and movies to your computer or Kindle with amazon Unbox and walk away untethered and watch them. It still uses DRM to lock the content to the device, but you only have to download it once.


By Dynedain • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

And the premise is wrong.

Plenty of content stores allow you to pre-download the content (iTunes comes to mind) and watch at your leisure with or without a data connection. DRM is irrelevant.

The poster is intentionally trying to conflate DRM with Streaming Media.


By seebs • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Seriously, just... Why?

Why should we read on for Bennett's "thoughts"? He's a twit. Why do you guys keep posting this garbage? Someone teach him how to use a blog, since what he's got here isn't "news", it isn't "stuff that matters", it's "some guy writing badly about things he doesn't really think through".

Re:Slashdot going down the pan, yet again

By OneAhead • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Well, the point of DRM wasting bandwidth is largely valid, but given the absence of actual data, it should not merit more than one sentence. I think Bennett Haselton would get a lot more goodwill from this community if he were to, you know, START HIS OWN PRIVATE BLOG and submit his stories to /. through the normal channels. If his ramblings are worth reading, they get upvoted and make the front page; if not, he saves himself the pain of getting flamed to hell. And even if the editors were to post his stories despite being downvoted, at least it won't be as big an insult if they're links to a 3rd party blog than if they're presented as "slashdot editorials". Useless stories slipping through the editorial process are an almost-daily occurrence so most would write it down to inattention, whereas willfully posting mediocre blog posts as "editorials" is a slap in the face of the community.

bennet who?

By ailnlv • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

who the f*** is bennet haselton and why does slashdot keep posting his opinion pieces?

Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

Posted by Unknown Lamer in Entertainment • View
jfruh (300774) writes "Aereo is currently fighting for its life before the Supreme Court, and has issued a warning: if you take us down, you could take the entire cloud storage industry down with us. The company argues that they only provide customers with access to shows picked up by an individual antenna that they've rented. If the constitutes a 'public performance,' then so does the act of downloading a copyrighted document stored in a cloud storage service — even if the customer has purchased the right to use that document." v3rgEz sent in a link to the transcript of the first day of arguments.

Re:Doubt it will shut down cloud storage...

By PRMan • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
There's no difference functionally. The difference is legal. And now they are being crucified for attempting to comply with previous court decisions because by doing so they look "shady".


By ratboy666 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What a strange thing! I guess I am allowed to time-shift broadcast TV, and I am allowed to space-shift broadcast TV. I can rent an antenna, and I can rent a VCR (PVR).

I cannot retransmit (time or space shifted or not) a broadcast to other parties (which is the difference here CATV rebroadcast to all CATV clients).

Now I have to read the arguments! About the only thing left is having an agent do the time or space shifting for me! And, of course, I can't really figure out is why the AGENT is in court for this. If my neighbour asks me to rent her some roofspace and rent her an antenna AND a VCR and then asks me to record a TV show... for which I may charge a bit for the service. And the TV network comes after someone, why would that be me? I would be inclined to laugh.

I think my lawyer would have a good laugh too. We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.

I guess I am not allowed to sell my labour freely in the USA. Now I REALLY have to follow this. I am personally guilty of renting antennas, and PVR (equivalent) to provide people with recordings. I never pressed a "record" button -- my customer went on-line to a web page and selected the recording themselves (using MythTV 10 years ago). I would deliver the recorded program(s) via disk drives or flash drives.

After all, if I have multiple tuners and I am not using them all, why CAN'T I RENT THEM OUT.

The only problem would have been an event like the "Superbowl" where I would have needed to have ALL my tuners capturing the same content. Instead of being efficient, you know, and sharing... Because WHERE the bits come from is important in Copyright law. See

As long as Aereo uses an antenna and receiver PER USER, the bits should be the right colour. And subject to the users rights. Including time and space shifting. Aereo wouldn't be rebroadcasting. IF Aereo IS IN THE WRONG then the question is why. As far as I can tell, they are not even being an agent for the user. They are simply renting an antenna and receiver. The actual Copyright material is NOT being shared, from Aereo's perspective. And yes, cloud storage would be at risk. For example, I quite enjoy using Kobo. I may purchase a book from Kobo WHICH IS Copyrighted. Of course. I then download to my reading device. The bits have the right colour at Kobo's end, and they have the right colour at my end. I should be able to do with those bits ANYTHING that Copyright law permits me to. And I do. There is no DRM in OTA broadcast, and typically there is DRM in Kobo electronic books. If *I* turn around and share the book, Kobo wouldn't be legally liable. The author would come after me for that. So why is Aereo being attacked here?

If the bits are simply coloured "copyrighted" and it IS authorized to the user, what else should Aereo do? Simply, Kobo is selling access to authorized bits as well, and would be AT THE SAME RISK. And, it goes deeper. Since Copyright is automatically assigned on creation, you would have NO IDEA what is ok to look at, here or touch.

Colour me completely confused.

Re:How many?

By Nyall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Does Aereo remove the advertisements those broadcasters placed into the stream? If not then how are they taking away a source of revenue?

Pirate bay

By Charliemopps • Score: 3 • Thread

I just want to point out to any Aereo users that should they get shut down, you can still go back to the Pirate bay and start real piracy again. It's a lot easier than this nonsense, all the commercials are edited out for you already AND if you thought you were sticking it to the broadcasting industry before, you'd really be sticking it to them now.

Re:Real problem was law letting the networks charg

By SemiChemE • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Digital signals do not transmit further than Analog signals! In fact, the range of a watchable signal is severely reduced. The clarity of the digital signal is significantly better and remains nearly perfect until the edge of the transmission range, but beyond that it completely degrades, whereas the analog signal is of poor quality, but still viable for many more miles.

Google Opens Up Street View Archives From 2007 To Today

Posted by Unknown Lamer in Technology • View
mpicpp (3454017) writes with news that Google is publishing all Street View imagery back to 2007. Quoting Ars: "The feature hasn't rolled out to many accounts yet, but it looks like a small, draggable window will be added to the Street View interface. Just move the time slider around and you'll be able to jump through past images. Granted, Street View has only been around for a few years, so the archives only go back to 2007. A few of the events Google suggests browsing through are the building of One World Trade Center and the destruction and rebuilding of Onagawa, Japan after the 2011 earthquake. Besides being really cool, the move will save Google from having to choose a canonical Street View image for every location. If the current image is blacked-out or wrong in some way, you can just click back to the previous one."

Google Earth

By Charliemopps • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This has been available on Google earth for years. It's just new to Google Maps. The most useful aspect of this is if you're buying a house. You can look back at past records to see just how old that swimming pool really is... or did the owner really build that garage last year?

It's the opposite of handy if you're selling however ;-)

Cue outcry

By Lumpio- • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Google is publishing more information! And some people might use that for EVIL! Oh no!

Re:Google Earth

By NJRoadfan • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The Google Earth feature was for satellite imagery. This new feature is for Street View images. Sadly it won't be of much use around here as the original 2007 photos are the latest available in many areas! I guess they are trying to give people an excuse to switch to the mostly broken new Google Maps interface.

Asteroid Impacts Bigger Risk Than Thought

Posted by Unknown Lamer in Science • View
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "The B612 Foundation, a U.S.-based nuclear test monitoring group, has disclosed that their acoustic sensors show asteroid impacts to be much more common than previously thought. Between 2000 and 2013 their infrasound system detected 26 major explosions due to asteroid strikes. The impacts were gauged at energies of 1 to 600 kilotons, compared to 45 kilotons for 1945 Hiroshima bomb."

Re:Am I reading this right

By ThreeKelvin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Your math is off. If your numbers are correct, the risk of having at least one meteor over an urban area during those 50 years is:

P(N>1) = 1-P(N=0) = 1-(1-0.3*0.03)^100 = 60%

Re:1-600 kilotons

By darkshot117 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm not sure why that data cuts off at ">20 kilotons", which seems to hide the fact that Chelyabinsk was measured to be 400-500 kilotons. >20 seems to be a bit of an understatement here.

What increases the risk

By hansraj • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't think anyone is implying that we are doomed because of _these_ impacts.

However, in general the frequency of an impact event is inversely proportional to the size of the impacting body. Smaller impacts happen more often than the larger ones. Counting the smaller ones precisely gives you an idea of what the risk of a big event is.

So far people underestimated these smaller ones that is being reported. The wikipedia article I linked to earlier, suggests one impact every five years at the level of 5 kT of TNT. These guys being right would imply a risk of at least a magnitude higher than previously estimated. That increases the risk for the really big ones too.


By green is the enemy • Score: 3 • Thread
The article authors say that most of the dangerous asteroids are already being tracked (additional tracking efforts under way), and can potentially be deflected since collisions can be predicted decades into the future. That's only a half-truth. Comets in the outer solar system are too dark to detect in their present locations, but can arrive at Earth very quickly. There will not be enough time to deflect them... Statistically, what percentage of impacts are from objects originating in the outer solar system? Is that even possible to determine?

This is the tail - it means more

By EngineeringStudent • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

We don't have enough history to gauge what actually has happened over time, so we have to estimate.
We approximate by finding big rocks or chemistry on earth, looking at craters on the moon, or this.

In all these cases we are using the small but frequent to infer the distribution of big but hugely problematic events. Our best answer the question about the likelihood of a killer impact is grossly changed if this tail is changed.

Think about it like floods. We ask how likely a 10,000 year flood is going to happen next year. We have ~100 years of rainfall data. We fit it to a distribution that is appropriate and then use those fit parameters to make a best guess. If our rain gauge was only measuring half the rain, we might under-estimate the actual risk by a factor of 10x or 20x.

There is good correlation between "killer impacts" and location of the sun in the galaxy (yes it moves around). We are starting to enter a higher risk region (transition to edge of arm) and perhaps the fundamental distribution is changing. In that case the history of craters on the moon or other might not be meaningful indicator of the near future.

Considering this I think good tracking is not a bad idea and should be thought out well and properly considered.

AT&T Plans To Launch Internet Video Service

Posted by Unknown Lamer in News • View
An anonymous reader writes "AT&T officially announced on Tuesday their intention to launch a Netflix-like service in collaboration with an investment group run by a former Fox president. AT&T is following in the footsteps of Verizon, which partnered with Redbox in 2012 to offer the same type of service, and like Verizon, is also still negotiating with Netflix on payments to not throttle Netflix traffic."

AT&T to Netflix:

By Zalbik • Score: 3 • Thread

Hey Netflix, that's some awfully nice bandwidth ya got a shame if anything happened to it....

Netflix fucked up when they paid

By Karmashock • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What they should have done is informed their users that their ISP is slowing the traffic that they paid for down intentionally in violation of if not the letter of their contracts then at the very least the common understanding and spirit of the contract.

And if the courts didn't find that behavior to be fraud then the bad marketing and political fallout would do the real work.

By paying, netflix took all the heat off the ISPs and allowed them to get away with it.

Netflix... making bad decisions yet again.

Re:Netflix fucked up when they paid

By alen • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

AWS is only the authentication part. the content is spread around their leased data centers and colo sites

i did some googling and since 2008 netflix used contract with limelight for CDN and lots of third party peering services. as well as transit from cogent and L3. problem is they always cut profit thin deals where the value for the provider was mostly learning to deal with the traffic. even limelight said they made almost no profit on the netflix deal.

instead of paying more in network costs like HBO and everyone else does netflix came out with their own CDN and wanted ISP's to host them for free. unlike the current arrangements where CDN's pay the ISP's for hosting and bandwidth. and netflix started super HD right at the time they screwed up their distribution system and went on their PR parade saying how bad all these ISP's are.

i don't know what the deal with AT&T and Verizon is but with comcast the difference is netflix is paying comcast directly instead of the other services they used to
pay. win/win for everyone and cutting out the middlemen

and if you look at netflix's financials their tech costs are less than 1/10 of revenues and content costs are 3/4 of revenues. their problem is they are just a low margin middle man for content and make very little profit