Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest

Blizzard Has Canceled Titan, Its Next-gen MMO

Posted by Soulskill in Games • View
Ptolemarch writes: Blizzard never officially announced it, but now it's gone: Titan, the next-generation MMO that had been in development for seven years, has been canceled. Mike Morhaime said, "[W]e set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn't come together. We didn't find the fun. We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no." Polygon adds an article detailing everything publicly known about Titan (which wasn't much). MMO-Champion's report mentions rumors of a new project at Blizzard called Prometheus.

Warcraft Killed it?

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 3 • Thread

"We're not trying to replace World of Warcraft with this new MMO," Morhaime told Wired at the time. "We're trying to create a different massively multiplayer experience, and hopefully World of Warcraft will still be going strong when that one is released."

So the execs didn't let the new thing cannibalize the old, but still profitable thing?
I'm sure that'll work well for them.

CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View
mdsolar sends this report from the NY Times: Yet another set of ominous projections about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was released Tuesday, in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gave worst- and best-case estimates for Liberia and Sierra Leone based on computer modeling. In the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported. ... In the best-case model — which assumes that the dead are buried safely and that 70 percent of patients are treated in settings that reduce the risk of transmission — the epidemic in both countries would be 'almost ended' by Jan. 20, the report said.

eyebrows raised.

By Noah Haders • Score: 3 • Thread

In the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20

ok, so considering that Sep 30 is one week away, I think it's unlikely that the disease will spread four-fold in that tiem.

CDC "Estimates"

By CanHasDIY • Score: 3 • Thread

From my experience, CDC estimates should be taken with a grain of salt, as they often seem dubious at best.

Then again, I suppose that should apply to any estimate, especially when the estimator is using ceteris paribus in order to reach a certain conclusion...

The best-case scenario is out.

By BarbaraHudson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Assuming that the dead are buried safely just isn't going to happen. When you have that many people dying, nobody's going to be in a rush to join them by burying them. "Let someone else do it." And eventually, there just won't be enough people to bury all the dead even if they were willing. They'd be spending way too much time meeting their own basic survival needs in countries that are falling apart.

Nobody's going to be running to the local clinic for examination when they know that they can't even be fed there if it's confirmed they have the disease - and that's already happening.

The patient escaped from Monrovia's Elwa hospital, which last month was so crowded with cases of the deadly disease that it had to turn people away.

One woman at the scene said: "The patients are hungry, they are starving. No food, no water.

More and more, it appears the "best-case" scenario is that the disease burns itself out while being contained to only a few countries. And please keep in mind, even the UN agrees that we're going to see more of this once more diseases gain antibiotic resistance.

Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away

By mythosaz • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

From The Onion, America's Finest News Source:
http://www.theonion.com/articl...

CONAKRY, GUINEA—With the death toll in West Africa continuing to rise amid a new outbreak of the Ebola virus, leading medical experts announced Wednesday that a vaccine for the deadly disease is still at least 50 white people from being developed. “While all measures are being taken to contain the spread of the contagion, an effective, safe, and reliable Ebola inoculation unfortunately remains roughly 50 to 60 white people away, if not more,” said Tulane University pathologist Gregory Wensmann, adding that while progress has been made over the course of the last two or three white people, a potential Ebola vaccination is still many more white people off. “We are confident, however, that with each passing white person, we’re moving closer to an eventual antigenic that will prevent and possibly even eradicate the disease.” Wensmann said he remained optimistic that the vaccine would not take considerably longer than his prediction, as waiting more than 50 white people for an effective preventative measure was something the world would simply not allow.

To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

Posted by Soulskill in YRO • View
coondoggie writes: Based on preliminary analysis, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates it paid $5.2 billion in fraudulent identity theft refunds in filing season 2013 while preventing an additional $24.2 billion (based on what it could detect). As a result, the IRS needs to implement changes (PDF) in a system that apparently can't begin verifying refund information until July, months after the tax deadline. Such changes could impact legitimate taxpayers by delaying refunds, extending tax season and likely adding costs to the IRS.

Re:Solution

By stoploss • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Tax evasions now impossible

You really undermine your own position when you make farcical statements like that. I would say the overwhelming preponderance of Americans on this site are already evading their state's use tax. Did you remit your sales/use tax due for all your online and other purchases across state lines last year?

As for sales tax evasion, well, it already happens today. The IRS would just use it as an excuse to further demand all of our financial transactions. The feds already got 80% of the whole country's personally identifiable credit card transactions last year (for the purposes of protecting us from fraud, of course, *cough*). Next up in your scheme: "friendly visits" from IRS agents who will graciously allow you to prove your innocence if you like to use cash more than they believe you should!

Despite all that, tax evasion will thrive via black markets.

You either had a failure of imagination or you are just too excited about your proposal.

Stop requiring people to overpay

By swillden • Score: 3 • Thread

The current IRS regulations effectively require people to overpay their income taxes, which results in nearly everyone getting a refund, which they want processed quickly, because somehow it's okay if the government is holding money you didn't actually owe, until you actually know how much they're holding. If, on the other hand, people have to mail in a check they don't care if it takes the IRS a few months to verify everything.

Simple solution: Eliminate the regulations that require overpayment, such as the regulation that penalizes you for underpaying if your withholdings are inadequate to cover your liabilities and aren't at lease as large as the prior year's withholdings. Some, perhaps many, people will still choose to overpay, as a sort of brain-dead savings plan, but many will reduce their withholdings, and those that still overpay will have no basis for complaint about a slower refund, since it was their choice.

But, then, I think the whole concept of mandatory withholdings is evil and wrong. It's just one of many ways that taxpayers are misled about how much they're paying. It's not the worst of such deceptions, but it's a significant one.

Thanks for the fraud, Turbotax

By nbauman • Score: 3 • Thread

We wouldn't have this problem if we filed our taxes online. Turbotax has prevented that, because they want to charge us for doing what the government could do free, as it does in less corrupt countries.

We've discussed this on Slashdot before. It's like keeping marijuana illegal because the prison guards' unions want to keep their jobs.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/mon...
The Sleazy PR Campaign to Prevent the IRS From Making Your Taxes Simpler
By Jordan Weissmann
Slate
April 14 2014 3:41 PM

Theoretically, it should be far easier for Americans with simple finances to file their tax returns. Instead of making tax filers putz around W-2s and tax prep software, the IRS could electronically prepopulate their paperwork with the information it already receives from banks and employers, and tell filers how much they owe. If the final figure looked about right, you’d have the option to file. As Matt Yglesias wrote here last year, the whole process could be a five-minute snap.

Theoretically. But for years now, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, has fought tooth and nail to prevent automatic tax filing from becoming a reality, lobbying against bipartisan legislation to introduce it with the help of a powerful tech industry trade group and conservative anti-taxers like Grover Norquist. Intuit and its competitors in online tax prep don’t want the government cutting its market share. The tax-crusaders want to ensure that paying the government remains as much of a painful, resentment-generating slog as ever. And thus a potent alliance has been born.

http://www.propublica.org/arti...
How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing
by Liz Day
ProPublica, March 26, 2013, 5 a.m.

So why hasn't it become a reality?

Well, for one thing, it doesn't help that it's been opposed for years by the company behind the most popular consumer tax software — Intuit, maker of TurboTax. Conservative tax activist Grover Norquist and an influential computer industry group also have fought return-free filing.

Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years — more than Apple or Amazon. Although the lobbying spans a range of issues, Intuit's disclosures pointedly note that the company "opposes IRS government tax preparation."

The disclosures show that Intuit as recently as 2011 lobbied on two bills, both of which died, that would have allowed many taxpayers to file pre-filled returns for free. The company also lobbied on bills in 2007 and 2011 that would have barred the Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, from initiating return-free filing.

Intuit argues that allowing the IRS to act as a tax preparer could result in taxpayers paying more money. It is also a member of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which sponsors a "STOP IRS TAKEOVER" campaign and a website calling return-free filing a "massive expansion of the U.S. government through a big government program."

Re:Solution

By CanHasDIY • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

End income tax.

Better idea: revert the legal definition of "income" to what it meant pre-1913.

Interestingly, before the oft-questioned "passage" of the 16th Amendment, "labor given in exchange for payment" was just that; income was what a business earned as a result of selling a product or service.

Thus the problem with the TEA party

By Overzeetop • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

..and really all of the "simple" solutions. It seems like a good idea - just don't spend that $1 Trillion and we can drop our taxes by $1 Trilllion. Except that economies don't really work that way. You can't add or subtract a trillion dollars like that and expect things not to spiral out of control.

Remember the recession that freaked out the entire world? Remember the job losses, the stagnation of the economy, and the general feeling that the world would end? We lost 8.8 million jobs, most of them paying $14-21/hr (if wikipedia is to be believed). Do you know how many jobs $1 Trillion dollars pays for? About 18 Million - more than double what was lost in the great recession.

"But wait," I hear you cry, "that trillion dollars would still be spent by the people who wouldn't have been taxed!" Oh, that's partially true. Understand that 40% of that money would go to multi-millionaires who's purchasing habits generally are not affected by their income. The other 60% probably would be spent, but that 60% would be spent on goods and services in an economy which has almost zero overlap with the manpower which would be idled by the drop of $1T in defense spending. Those are soldiers, intelligence report creators, bomb makers - not really things you purchase in your every day life. And because you can't train and re-purpose people fast enough to build the TVs and tablets and cars and hotel staff to pick up the increase in demand, the prices for all those products would increase. And because of the numbers, dropping the US income tax would result in a net increase in take home pay of about 4%-5% for most people in the middle class (Say, $60-80,000 annual household income) or about $50 a week.

So you're magical tax-free utopia would end up with 18 Million people out of work and without the skills needed to change jobs, inflation in the disposable goods and discretionary services market, and a net effect of $50 a week in the pockets of the people who still have jobs.

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Posted by timothy in Ask Slashdot • View
An anonymous reader writes I recently completed my PhD in computer science and hit the job market. I did not think I would have difficulty finding a job esp. with a PhD in computer science but I have had no luck so far in the four months I have been looking. Online resume submittals get no response and there is no way to contact anybody. When I do manage to get a technical interview, it is either 'not a good match' after I do the interviews or get rejected after an overly technical question like listing all the container classes in STL from the top of my head. I had worked as a C++ software developer before my PhD but in the past 6 years, software development landscape has changed quite a bit. What am I doing wrong? Has software development changed so much in the last 6 years I was in school or is my job hunting strategy completely wrong? (The PhD was on a very technical topic that has very little practical application and so working on it does not seem to count as experience.)

List the STL? Seriously?

By pruss • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I've conducted a lot of interviews (in an academic setting in the humanities), and I can say that it's risky guessing what exactly the interviewer is trying to accomplish with a question. Sometimes a question is asked neither to see if someone knows the answer to the question nor to see the content of the interviewee's answer, but to see how the person handles being asked such a question. I could see someone deliberately asking a question that he know the candidate not to know the answer to just for such a purpose, though personally I would avoid doing it as it's neither nice nor useful to stress out the interviewee even more (but I might do it in a mock interview preparing someone for a real interview).

So the interviewer might be interested to see if the interviewee honestly, humbly and politely says: "Would you like me to tell you the container classes I use the most? The others I have to look up when I need them", or if the person pretends to know the answer, or rudely bristles, or tries to weasel out of the question by changing the topic (of course it might be a bonus if the interviewee actually has a great memory and knows all the container classes; but then another question might need to be asked to gauge character).

Re:Why?

By metlin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Motivation notwithstanding, I would also suggest that you consider consulting.

I work in management consulting in one of the MBB firms, and we hire quite a few ADCs (Advanced Degree Candidates), particularly in the hard sciences.

The idea is that a PhD provides you with enough critical thinking and quantitative skills that would be extremely valuable in what you do. And you'd be surprised at the type of work that you'd get to do. As long as you have some semblance of social skills that can be cultivated and the ability to think quickly on your feet, you should be fine.

A good way to think about this is what happens when your senior client executive throws some numbers and asks you a question in the elevator -- can you quickly give an answer, and be professional and polite about it without becoming a nervous wreck?

Right now, I work with several PhDs and MDs in the healthcare payer/provider space, and their deep medical expertise is extremely valuable. We have similar profiles of folks with PhDs in mechanical/aeronautical/industrial engineering for industrial goods work, CS/EE PhDs in telecom/media/high-tech industry work and so on. You would be surprised at just how many PhDs, MDs, JDs, and the likes are hired by top tier consulting firms.

Despite what you may have heard of consulting on Slashdot and elsewhere, we do some pretty cool work. Yes, the hours aren't easy and you'll travel a lot, but consider it baptism by fire. In a span of two years, you would have worked on a wide array of projects and will have honed your hard and soft skills -- everything from building financial models to presenting to very senior executives.

And surprisingly, you will work with some very smart people. Yes, many of them may have MBAs, but just as many have other advanced degrees, and even the ones with MBAs also have pretty strong undergrad credentials (e.g., Harvard, MIT, Stanford), usually STEM.

So, whatever your motivations may have been, I will just say that consulting will teach you skills that are very hard to acquire elsewhere. It may be baptism by fire, but your value in the job market will grow by leaps and bounds.

Something to consider. :)

Re: Read Slashdot

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

How do you then explain the 6 year gap in your resume?

You could say that for the last six years you were a volunteer jihadi for ISIS. That would be bad, but it would cover the gap, and would not be as bad as admitting that you have a PhD.

Re:Job market does not like PhDs

By mc6809e • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Why promote a PhD? 75% of US professors are adjuncts and earn less than $24,000/year. Good luck with that ivory tower dream. Learn plumbing.

A non-tenured adjunct lecturer became President of the USA, so there's that, too.

Openings are rare, though.

You're applying for the wrong jobs.

By robbo • Score: 3 • Thread

Don't apply for a dev job. Assuming there was sufficient math in your PhD apply for a data science or data analyst role, which will include a fair share of programming but also mentally engaging work. Hiring managers for these roles look for people that have strong analytical skills and the ability to learn new things (proof: you have a PhD). What languages you know is secondary in these roles to how well you dig in to a problem and deliver insights.

The Site That Teaches You To Code Well Enough To Get a Job

Posted by timothy in Developers • View
HughPickens.com writes Wanna be a programmer? Klint Finley reports that software developer Katrina Owen has created a site called Exercism.io where students can learn to craft code that's both clear and efficient and get a lot of feedback on what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong. Exercism is updated every day with programming exercises in a variety of different languages. First, you download these exercises using a special software client, and once you've completed one, you upload it back to the site, where other coders from around the world will give you feedback. Then you can take what you've learned and try the exercise again. The idea was to have students not only complete the exercises, but get feedback. Exercism.io now has over 6,000 users who have submitted code or comments, and hundreds of volunteers submit new exercises or translate existing ones into new programming languages. But even Owen admits that the site is a bit lacking in the usability department. "It's hard to tell what it is just by looking at it," she says. "It's remarkable to me that people have figured out how to use it."

Re:How is that supposed to work?

By oodaloop • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If all that's keeping your salary high is that people haven't gotten minimal training off a website, maybe your salary is too high.

special software client

By frovingslosh • Score: 3 • Thread

using a special software client

Doesn't anyone else find this suspicious? Why in the world do I need to install a special client just to download an assignment? Why would anyone who knows anything about computers agree to this? How long before we start reading the stories about what this special client was doing behind users backs, that supposedly no one suspected?

Re:Yep, ready for a job in coding

By amicusNYCL • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I like this quote:

"It's remarkable to me that people have figured out how to use it."

That is a truly self-aware software developer saying that. Sometimes I feel the same way, I'll design something that will work really well, but once I put it in front of people I realize it doesn't make a lot of sense. But still, there are people who can dive in and pick it up from the start. It's remarkable to me as well when people can figure out how to use my software.

Re:How is that supposed to work?

By amicusNYCL • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Who is giving away their time to code review the work of thousands of neophyte programmers?

Probably exactly the same kind of people who answer questions on Stack Overflow or any of the other multitude of programming fora. Believe it or not, but some people like to help just because they enjoy it. I do it because answering random questions can be a nice break in the middle of work and it keeps me thinking about programming (especially problems that I wouldn't encounter in my normal work flow). It helps keep me sharp instead of only ever thinking about what I'm working on.

Coding isn't the problem...

By ndykman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Sure, it looks like it, and there are plenty of people with jobs out there that can lash something together. I worked with somebody at a startup would was struggling to get a web page working. After a few minutes, I realized the problem. She had no idea that you could loop through an array backwards.

We don't need more "coders". We need more software engineers and computer scientists.

Actually, maybe not. Maybe we need a workforce that is organized and that would stand against employers who insist on completely devaluing our field in a search for easy money, tossing aside qualified people in search for exploitable labor. That's the problem. I think we should be defending our industry and those that have the proper skills to do it well. Just because the latest, most visible trend is to hack together a mobile application or web site for a quick buck doesn't change the need for fundamentals.

Things like data structures, algorithms, discrete mathematics, computer architecture, etc. do matter. Not having a basic understanding of computers and computation leads to an astonishing amount of bugs, security holes and wasted effort. Some people have just accepted this as the cost of business. I say it's past time that we really stood up and say, no, things should be better. But since we can't collectively bargain, we are stuck.

I know, who cares, the money is awesome. It'll be like that forever, right? What does it matter that nobody can count on having a career after ten years because they are seen as too old with an outdated skill set.

This isn't about school, although I think a proper CS education is still the best way to learn this stuff. But you can get it with diligent self study and experience as well. In the end, real programmers have the conceptual understanding to adapt and excel in the long term. That's what we need more of. Real careers, not just jobs.

Google Quietly Nixes Mandatory G+ Integration With Gmail

Posted by timothy in Technology • View
An anonymous reader writes Back in 2012, Google had made it mandatory for new Gmail users to simultaneously create Google+ (G+) accounts. This is no longer so. Following the departure of G+ founder Vic Gundotra in April 2014, Google has been quietly decoupling its social media site from its other services. First, YouTube was freed, then Google+ Photos. Now, anyone who wants to create a new Gmail account unencumbered with a G+ profile can also do so.

Re:Does it matter?

By X0563511 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Personally the issue wasn't that Google knew my name (I'm sure they know a lot more than that) but that they made that information available to everyone who cared to look.

That left a bad taste in my mouth and I have since refused to touch G+ because of it, even though they did back out from that particular stance quite quickly.

Re:They Don't Need G+ To Track You Anymore

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's called "two factor authentication" and it's only mandatory if you care about security.

Well, if it is a matter of 2 factor and giving my phone number to Google vs less secure and keeping my phone numbers to myself, I'm afraid I have to err on the side of less secure, sadly.

Stop bundling.

By ledow • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I have a social networking account already, thanks.
I have an email account already, thanks
I have a cloud storage account already, thanks.
I have a search engine already, thanks.
I have an instant messenger already, thanks.

When you try to do EVERYTHING, you believe that all your customers will drop everything they have years invested in and run to you. Doesn't work out that way. And if you get over-precious and try to force them to do it, well, that doesn't go down well either.

So run them as separate, independent services that I *can* join together if I want to (it's handy to be able to sign into Google Drive with my old GMail account, for example, but don't FORCE that upon me).

In the same way that if you sell me TV, phone, Internet, water, gas, electricity, burglar alarm and music lessons - and then try to "punish" me for not using one of them, or force me to use one in order to get another - chances are that I won't use any of them. Whereas if you just ran them all as separate services, I might well decide to lump in TV, phone and Internet into a single package for convenience. But you have to think about what happens when I'm perfectly happy with my Internet provider and DO NOT want to change. If your offerings are that inflexible that you won't let me use one without the others - even if the others are useless to me - then I'm likely to find yet-another-company that will do, say, my email without requiring me to sign up to their social network too.

This is exactly how I viewed things. I was one of the first GMail accounts, back when they were invite-only and nobody knew they existed. It took over from my Hotmail (primarily because my Hotmail account was trying to tie into my Windows Live account, and into my Microsoft account, etc. etc. etc.). And when G+ came along, I looked and deliberately decided against it. The more the pushed, to more I ignored.

It never got to the point where it became a hassle to opt-out, even when it did become annoying, so I'm still on GMail but not G+. Hence, it's not a shock to me that probably a lot of other people did exactly the same.

Just because you offer "your" Facebook, doesn't mean I'll immediately move everything off my Facebook to change to you. No matter how good you are.

Re:Does it matter?

By i kan reed • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The reason is that "a single source for services" wasn't their plan. Their plan was "Steal users from facebook, by going absolutely nuts pushing G+".

still loving my g+ account

By Gnaythan1 • Score: 3 • Thread

Had it a couple years now, and still using it daily. made a lot of friends on there, and I've had some fantastic debates. I still post two or three times a day to g+ and I've got around 14000 followers.

jQuery.com Compromised To Serve Malware

Posted by timothy in Developers • View
An anonymous reader writes jQuery.com, the official website of the popular cross-platform JavaScript library of the same name, had been compromised and had been redirecting visitors to a website hosting the RIG exploit kit and, ultimately, delivering information-stealing malware. While any website compromise is dangerous for users, this one is particularly disconcerting because of the demographic of its users, says James Pleger, Director of Research at RiskIQ.

Always assumed it was ...

By gstoddart • Score: 3 • Thread

I have always treated it like it's an external 3rd party, not the web site I'm visiting, and therefore not an entity I trust.

I've always viewed jquery as about as trusted as doubleclick or scorecardresearch. I don't know or care what you do, I didn't visit your site.

But then, I've learned not to trust the web in general.

With so many sites using this, dumping malware into it means you can get a whole lot of sites easily ... making this a fairly obvious target.

Re:Thats not good.

By Jason Levine • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Except they've said that the library wasn't affected. So it would just be people who went to the jQuery website... like I did a couple of days ago. :-O

Re:They will never learn

By gandhi_2 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Every mass-use CMS has had exploits. Even wtihout the plugin exploit problems.

Re:They will never learn

By pooh666 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
What makes YOUR site so safe?

Re:More reason for Requestpolicy

By pjt33 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

If you're that worried about it, why don't you run a local mirror and point your hosts file at it?

Netflix Rejects Canadian Regulator Jurisdiction Over Online Video

Posted by timothy in YRO • View
An anonymous reader writes "Last week's very public fight between the CRTC and Netflix escalated on Monday as Netflix refused to comply with Commission's order to supply certain confidential information including subscriber numbers and expenditures on Canadian children's content. While the disclosure concerns revolve around the confidentiality of the data, the far bigger issue is now whether the CRTC has the legal authority to order it to do anything at all. Michael Geist reports that Netflix and Google are ready to challenge it in a case that could head to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Re:Funny how this works ...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

"Can anyone seriously argue that Netflix isn't also rebroadcasting TV content?"

Yes, easily. Netflix has purchased licenses for it's content.

Re:Funny how this works ...

By Em Adespoton • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

When it's American broadcasters going after Canada's icravetv, American courts had no problem getting a US court order that basically ended the service, because it was a rebroadcaster.

Can anyone seriously argue that Netflix isn't also rebroadcasting TV content?

Two weights, two measures. What a mess! And really, whatever solution will be a mess.

The difference is that NetFlix gets permission for rebroadcasting -- they have a license. That's why they don't have the same selection that other rebroadcasters do -- because they're licensing content on a show-by-show basis, not taking the OTA stream and routing it over the Internet.

This case is kind of unfortunate, as both the CRTC and Netflix are in the wrong, and both sides are unwilling to back down and come to a reasonable compromise, as that would threaten their power base.

The problem here is that the CRTC can stop all payment via Canadian credit cards to Netflix, and Netflix can support customers paying via alternate methods who are willing to stream over a VPN -- so the result of this conflict is that both sides lose, and the citizen (not consumer, although them too) loses even more.

But this whole thing is really about Rogers and Shaw lobbying the CRTC to block foreign competition for their new Shome project. CRTC is probably quite happy to be flexing their "muscle" in this situation after continually taking a beating from US lobbying interests on allowing US content onto Canadian networks.

So yeah; it's a huge mess to sort out.

Re:Funny how this works ...

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

But this whole thing is really about Rogers and Shaw lobbying the CRTC to block foreign competition for their new Shome project. CRTC is probably quite happy to be flexing their "muscle" in this situation after continually taking a beating from US lobbying interests on allowing US content onto Canadian networks.

That's the real reason.

You may not realize it, but about 5 years ago (it was illegal since 2002, but many companies appealed), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it was illegal for Canadians to view US TV via US "grey market" satellite receivers.

No, these were not people hacking DirecTV or Dish receivers to receive content for free. They were normal Canadians who were paying DirecTV and Dish their normal rates to get US TV. It was ruled illegal for companies to provide any sort of service to enable them to do this. (It's called grey market because to Dish or DirecTV, it's a normal subscriber paying full freight on their subscription, except they were receiving it in Canada).

The culprit? Bell.

So yeah, it's a bit bull-headed of Netflix - all the CRTC wants is to have numbers behind Netflix's claim that they provide tons of Canadian support. (That's what Netflix was claiming - that they already fulfil the rules they don't have to follow, and the CRTC basically says "prove it - show me the numbers").

In the end, it's going to be one big nasty fight. Sure, Netflix is worried because those numbers that prove its point are highly sensitive competitive information, but you'd think they could compromise in that Netflix could find a way to give the CRTC what they want without giving it to competitors. But it's better than the alternative which forced an entire industry to shut down.

A remarkably neutral document was compiled out of this - http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePub...

Not surprisingly the CRTC is made up of ...

By DaveyJJ • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Former and current employees of Bell and Rogers, members of their former lobbyist groups, and lawyers and other "VIPs" who have strong ties to Rogers and Bell. They're about as neutral on this matter as PM Harper is about his evangelical religious ties. Not very. The CRTC is looking out only for the entrenched players in this market, not consumers. Just yesterday a report came out that once again showed that Canada pays more than any other developed country except Australia for it's wireless phone pricing. The CRTC ignores this fact. Bell and Rogers are the incumbents and don't want anything changed. hell, Rogers has testified in front of the CRTC that wireless rates could be much lower here ... they just don't want to (obviously). And when competition threatens? They twist the CRTC's arm and they are safe again. The CRTC needs too be abolished and we need some real competition up here. The fact that Rogers and Bell so easily control the CRTC and the CRTC just bends over for them and it's decisions is disgusting.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Premieres On Linux, 2 Years After Windows

Posted by timothy in Linux • View
An anonymous reader writes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has finally been released for Linux two years after its Windows debut. The game is reported to work even on the open-source Intel Linux graphics drivers, but your mileage may vary. When it comes to the AMD and NVIDIA drivers, NVIDIA continues dominating for Linux gaming over AMD with Catalyst where there's still performance levels and other OpenGL issues.

Re: Awesome

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You're absolutely right.

Linux gaming cannot truly thrive until we can use EA's Origin as a platform.

Re:Beta

By VGPowerlord • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Bugs can be reported here.

You'd better hope that Valve pays more attention to it than the Source-1-Games bug tracker, which is basically ignored at this point.

Re:Awesome

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It had Minecraft before Microsoft got it on the Xbox. Related: Microsoft now maintains Linux games.

FINALLY!

By tlambert • Score: 3 • Thread

FINALLY!

It's the "two years later" of the Linux desktop!

Re:Awesome

By RenderSeven • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Related: Microsoft now maintains Linux games.

That remains to be seen, actually...

Fedora 21 Alpha Released

Posted by timothy in Linux • View
An anonymous reader writes Fedora 21 Alpha has been released. After encountering multiple delays, the first development version is out for the Fedora.NEXT and Fedora 21 products. Fedora 21 features improved Wayland support, GNOME 3.14, many updated packages, greater server and cloud support, and countless other improvements with Fedora 20 already being nearly one year old.

How about Wayland?

By Parker Lewis • Score: 3 • Thread
Some already test it?

Will it come with...

By rgbatduke • Score: 3 • Thread

Gnome 2 as an option (by whatever name) or only the insanity of windowing systems designed for finger-picking-tablets forced upon keystroke oriented users of actual computers doing real work in many windows on several desktops?

Otherwise, Centos 6 may end up being the last release I ever use. G2 may or may not be perfect, but I've got it more comfortable than five year old denim jeans and G3 sucked and continues to suck and AFAICT will continue to suck, forever, amen.

rgb

Elon Musk Hints 1st Person To Mars May Go Via New Brownsville Spaceport

Posted by timothy in Science • View
MarkWhittington writes If SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has his way, the first astronaut to set foot on Mars may begin his or her journey from the new commercial spaceport being built at Boca Chica Beach, just outside Brownsville, Texas. The Texas Tribune reported on Monday that Musk made the suggestion at the ground breaking ceremony of the commercial spaceport. The ceremony was also attended by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and various other Texas politicians and dignitaries, Musk's desire to establish a Mars colony and even retire to the Red Planet himself is not a secret.

Re:One's dreams may be superseded

By TheCarp • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Then he will spend his latter years telling people how he traveled to Mars before it was cool.

Re:One's dreams may be superseded

By kruach aum • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It would certainly be funny, but it would also never happen, because the Singularity is the nerd version of the Rapture. Human consciousness is not hardware agnostic.

Re:One's dreams may be superseded

By NoImNotNineVolt • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Human consciousness is not hardware agnostic.

[citation needed]

Re:Is this anything other than a press release?

By Gavagai80 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Antarctica is the most comparable place on Earth, and we've not managed a large-scale colonization of it yet despite the easy access, regular resupply flights and air.

Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

Posted by timothy in Mobile • View
Velcroman1 writes Bigger is better. No, wait, bigger is worse. Well, which is it? Apple's newly supersized 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the jumbo, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus are a marked departure for the company, which has clung to the same, small screen size for years. It has gone so far as to publicly deride larger phones from competitors, notably Samsung, even as their sales grew to record highs. Tech reviewers over the years have tended to side with Apple, in general saddling reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Note – a 5.3-inch device that kicked off the phablet push in 2012 – with asides about how big the darn thing was. Are tech reviewers being fair when they review the iPhone 6 Plus? Here's what some of them said today, compared with how they reviewed earlier phablets and big phones from the competition.

Re:Very sad

By khr • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

and pulling a big-ass phone out of my front pocket is a pain in my ass.

If pulling a phone out of your pocket is a pain in your ass, you may be doing something wrong.

Re:Very sad

By tobiasly • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Wait, I thought hipsters were the guys who liked the new things? Like if you had an iPad and an iPhone you were a hipster, but if you had an old Android and a Lenovo laptop you were a legitimate human being.

It depends on whether a critical mass of the general population also likes said new thing. When they were the ones waiting in line all night at the Apple store, it was all good. Now that the same lines are filled with people sleeping in trash bags to immediately flip them to China's gray market, not so much.

Re:Very sad

By crashumbc • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

ROFL at people calling 4.7" a phatablet

4.7" is small for phones today 5" seems to be the sweet spot. That said I love my 5.5" G3

Re:Very sad

By NeverVotedBush • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I got the iPhone 6 (not the 6 Plus) trading up from a 4S. Still getting used to the 6. For me it is too thin but that's just an opportunity to get a thicker and more protective case.

But if it wasn't for being able to supersize the icons on the display and Apple Pay, I think I would return it. It's really too big at least until I acclimate - if I acclimate. No way in hell I'd get the 6 Plus unless I got the big gold chain to wear it around my neck and make the display a clock face...

As phones go, I really liked the size of the 4S better. And so far, I'm not very impressed by the quality of the phone connections. Dropped calls and lots of garbled speech. My 4S had better call quality so far by far. I may still return the 6 if I can't get that figured out as the main reason I have it is to use it as a phone.

Re:what?!?!

By Charliemopps • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

So, what you're saying is... you didn't read the original reviews, the article or even the summary? The quotes are pretty clear.

On the Galaxy:

It’s still too big for a smartphone After testing it over the past week and a half, the awkwardness that came with carrying such a large, “notice me” phone outweighed the benefits of it, for me.

– Lauren Goode

Same person on the iPhone6:

Maybe I’m getting old, and my eyes are getting worse. Or maybe I’m stuck in Apple’s reality-distortion field (help). But something strange happened this week. I started to like a phablet.

– Lauren Goode

Translation: Your new feature sux because it's not Apple! Oh... Apple did it to? Yay! I like it now!

US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

Posted by timothy in Technology • View
Taco Cowboy writes The United States of America has launched airstrikes, along with some of its Arab partners such as Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar, against ISIL targets in Syria. ... Before the airstrike was officially announced to the press, a Syrian man living in Raqqa, Syria, tweeted about the bombings and the sounds of air drones all over Raqqa. ... Tomahawk missiles were launched from USS Arleigh Burke in the Red Sea. Stealth fighters such as F-22s were also involved in the strike.

Re:I'll just let my sig do the talking

By hermitdev • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Loss to infrastructure? Why did the US interstate highway system get built? It was a direct result of the US Army's difficulty in moving troops and equipment cross country. There are also requirements that every so often they roads remain straight long enough to be used emergency runways. I don't buy loss to progress, either. A lot of technological progress has been pioneered through military research. That I'm able to even post this comment right now was a result of DARPA funded work.

Re:I'll just let my sig do the talking

By camperdave • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
If you're going to link to the speech, then link to the speech.

Re:DAESH, not ISIL

By gtall • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Yeah, but they need Allah to back them up so they don't all dissolve into Western-style guilt trips and require Vitamin P to live with the inner demons they've created or themselves. It is sort of the Flip in Flip Wilson, i.e., Allah made me do it.

This Allah, he's a funny guy, never says squat, can only communicate through angels and then via dreams. Doesn't bestow riches or anything on this dirtball planet. Yet legions are running around claiming anything they do is because Allah wills it. Allah at this point is indistinguishable from Satan.

Re:Points of interest.

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
You're getting deep into conspiracy there. One of your major source websites is serious about chemtrails. That's just one clue of irrationality......

Re:I'll just let my sig do the talking

By HeckRuler • Score: 4 • Thread

Remember, you are a citizen of your state first and a THEN a citizen of the United States.

Fuck the Governor! I'm backing my Mayor's god-given authority over man and we'll fight tooth and nail if the state troopers try and pry the hard-earned cash from our poor hungry neighbors. You've got to have community! You've got to stand up together and fight the oppressive gubernational tyrants! What do I care if some shmuck in a city way out over there has a tornado plow through his home, what's that to me? I don't know that guy. He's not my neighbor.

If those farmboys think they can get fat off of the hard-working city-man, then they have another thing coming! GOGO CITY POWER!

And pay no heed to these poor rabble-rousers that think groups of people WITHIN the city need representation. We either stand together under the mayor, or we all fall apart.

(SARCASM)

Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Posted by Soulskill in Mobile • View
ourlovecanlastforeve writes: While reviewing a recent comparison of the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 6, OSNews staffer Thom Holwerda raises some relevant points regarding the importance of specs on newer smartphones. He observes that the iPhone 6, which is brand new, and the Nexus 5 launch apps at about the same speed. Yes, they're completely different platforms and yes, it's true it's probably not even a legitimate comparison, but it does raise a point: Most people who use smartphones on a daily basis use them for pretty basic things such as checking email, casual web browsing, navigation and reminders. Those who use their phones to their maximum capacity for things like gaming are a staunch minority. Do smartphone specs even matter for the average smartphone user anymore? After everyone releases the biggest phone people can reasonably hold in their hand with a processor and GPU that can move images on the display as optimally as possible, how many other moons are there to shoot for?

Specs never really mattered

By nine-times • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think sometimes people fail to recognize that the specs never really mattered. Not for any of it.

Does it matter what resolution the screen is? No. It matters whether the screen appears to be sharp. Does it matter how much RAM you have, or how fast the clock speed is on your processor? No, it matters whether applications are responsive. What really matters to people is the qualitative experience of using the object.

Specs and benchmarks are ways that you might try to quantify that experience. For the sharpness of the display, you can give the screen resolution and that can serve as an indication of the sharpness. For the speed of the device, you could measure how long it takes to complete a specific task, and that benchmark serves as an indicator of the speed. Those indicators may be more or less helpful. Some of these indicators (clock speed of the processor, megapixels of the camera) are often not that helpful anymore. But either way, they're just pieces of information that are helpful for shopping, for turning the qualitative aspects into quantities that make it easier to perform a direct comparison between products, and that's the only reason they're meaningful.

But a lot of the time, people lose sight of that. Especially when they have an agenda, and want to say, "my gadget is fancier than your gadget because it has more sneezelflopits." It doesn't matter what a sneezelflopit is, or whether it serves any purpose.

Re:Because...

By Andy Dodd • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yup. In many cases, the newer SoCs in phones have improved performance-per-watt.

Not always though... If you want amazing performance-per-watt, you don't want a flagship SoC, you want a midrange one. The quad Cortex-A7 Snapdragon 400 blows away any member of the 600 or 800 family in terms of battery performance. This is, among other reasons, why most of the Android Wear OEMs have chosen Snapdragon 400 units and disabled the unnedded cores. (Motorola was the only exception, and their usage of an OMAP3 has led to major criticisms of battery life since it's made on an ancient manufacturing process and the Cortex-A8 is significantly less power-efficient than the A7 even on the same manufacturing process.)

I have a device with a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801. Most of the time I've capped the CPU frequency at 1.5-1.7 GHz and don't notice a difference.

Re:ObBillGates

By jones_supa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn’t – it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem.

Seeing how fast the PC industry develops, if his prediction lasted 6 years, I'd say that's still pretty good.

Re:Because...

By Tyr07 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

People spend too much anyway.
I paid 80$ for a huawei y-530.
Dual core 1.2 ghz, 512mb of ram.

It does netflix, youtube, music, email, and all that other fun stuff, even some games with decent 3d graphics.
I really don't need more out of my phone.

Re:ObBillGates

By ArmoredDragon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

While I'm not a Gates fan, this whole thing looks like stupid urban rumor.

Looks like Bill's not too proud to revise history...

It seems to me that Bill isn't revising history here. He made the 64k to 640k comment in 1981, but never said anything about not needing more than that. Then infoworld pops this quote with no reference or anything. They certainly didn't interview him so where on earth did they pull that quote from? A lot of people have looked into it, including people from that page you sourced this from, yet nobody could find a proper source.

Which by the way, the page AC is referencing is here: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2...

Anonymous Peer-review Comments May Spark Legal Battle

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View
sciencehabit writes: The power of anonymous comments — and the liability of those who make them — is at the heart of a possible legal battle embroiling PubPeer, an online forum launched in October 2012 for anonymous, postpublication peer review. A researcher who claims that comments on PubPeer caused him to lose a tenured faculty job offer now intends to press legal charges against the person or people behind these posts — provided he can uncover their identities, his lawyer says.

Re:Why did he lose tenure?

By PvtVoid • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There are two possibilities: He lost his tenure because there was an anonymous, incorrect peer review negative towards him. His work was actually good. In that case he should sue the university to make decisions based on anonymous, incorrect peer reviews.

There's a third, more mundane possibility: he lost his tenure because he quit. When he lost his new job offer, he went back to Wayne State asking for his old job back, and they said no. The devil is in the details here. If he had a written employment and tenure agreement with Mississippi all signed and finalized, he would have a damn good case against Mississippi. TFA is not clear on this point, but I would hazard a guess that he got an informal notice that Mississippi intended to hire him, quit at Wayne State before the offer was official, and then Miss yanked the offer before they were legally committed. This kind of shit happens all the time. So sorry.

Moral: never, ever, quit your current job until the ink is dry on the legal papers for your new one.

Re:Why did he lose tenure?

By Notabadguy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It is important to keep in mind that there is no factual proof that he lost his offer of employment at UoMMC or his tenure at Wayne due to the comments on PubPeer. Sarkar's lawyer claims that the retraction letter from UoMMC says this is why, but has declined to offer the letter as proof.

All that is factually known at this time is that the scientific integrity of Sarkar's articles have come under scrutiny, and that a potential job at UoMMC didn't pan out for him.

Re:Why did he lose tenure?

By Casualposter • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This part of the article caught my eye: "Roumel’s response is that his client has no responsibility to critics who refuse to put a name to their accusations. “I don’t think he has any obligation to provide the data [behind the papers called into question] to anyone other than a journal,” he says."

It is fundamentally wrong to fail to provide the data behind a published paper simply because the requester is anonymous or not a journal. The scientist involved has some questionable published figures and an explanation as to validity of the data would be useful to the scientist involved and to those who are questioning the figures. Far cheaper to put up the data and let the accusers hang themselves on the own stupidity or ignorance. On the other hand, if there is something less savory going on putting the data up would be a disaster and suing the accusers is an obvious strategy: accuse me of anything and I'll bury you in legal costs is a pretty steep penalty for questioning published data.

Unfortunately from my own experience with reproducing published work: the typical paper leaves a lot to be desired and sometimes, the published results cannot be reproduced using the methods and techniques described. This is sometimes due to fraud and most times due to incomplete experimental sections.

Not ad hominem

By Roger W Moore • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not being familiar with the subject, does his work hold up?

I'm not an expert in the field but what I saw of the comments were very specific about reuse of figures and data without citation. They did not appear to be ad hominem at all but evidence based with image comparisons of figures from different papers. I expect that this is why he got into trouble - a relevant expert from the hiring university would be able to easily evaluate the merits of the comments.

Re:Know who to sue

By HeckRuler • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Walking in blind here, so help me out.

What's wrong with using the same data in in two different experiments? I mean, if you have an image of mars, and you want to analyze how much rust is in there and you also want to analyze how much the ice-cap changed.... why can't you use the same image? If you already have the data, why not use it again?

Did he work on two different experiments that were essentially the same thing? Like, he was double-dipping the grant pool for the same work?