the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

WWII Code-Breaker Dies At Age 95

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes an article from the Washington Post: Jane Fawcett, a British code-breaker during World War II who deciphered a key German message that led to the sinking of the battleship Bismarck -- one of Britain's greatest naval victories during the war -- died May 21 at her home in Oxford, England. She was 95... Fluent in German and driven by curiosity, Mrs. Fawcett -- then known by her maiden name, Jane Hughes -- found work at Britain's top-secret code-breaking facility at Bletchley Park, about 50 miles northwest of London. Of the 12,000 people who worked there, about 8,000 were women. Bletchley Park later became renowned as the place where mathematician Alan Turing and others solved the puzzle of the German military's "Enigma machine," depicted in the 2014 film "The Imitation Game"...

The sinking of the Bismarck marked the first time that British code-breakers had decrypted a message that led directly to a victory in battle... Mrs. Fawcett's work was not made public for decades. Along with everyone else at Bletchley Park, she agreed to comply with Britain's Official Secrets Act, which imposed a lifetime prohibition on revealing any code-breaking activities.

Meanwhile, volunteers from The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park finally tracked down an original keyboard from the Lorenz machine used to encode top-secret messages between Hitler and his general. It was selling on eBay for 10 pounds, advertised as an old machine for sending telegrams.


By BlackPignouf • Score: 4, Funny • Thread


Real-World Pong Created by Amateur Builders

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
sproketboy shares this article about a computer graphic designer who spent two years building a real-world version of the classic videogame Pong, played on a full-sized coffee table using only mechanical parts. The project's team apparently used a hard drive platter for the real-world scroll wheels controlling the paddles, aided by some large Arduinos and other homemade electronics (along with rainbow LED lights to create the pixels for the score).

"We don't have any electronics, product design, or manufacturing background," Daniel Perdomo told one technology site. "All we knew for this was thanks to the Internet (Google, YouTube, forums). Today you can grab all the knowledge you want just a few clicks away!" He's now looking for a hardware incubator to transform his "Atari Pong Project" into a real consumer product. (Interestingly, another group of hobbyists built a similar electromechanical version of Pong back In 2004.)

All mechanical you say?

By narcc • Score: 3 • Thread

played on a full-sized coffee table using only mechanical parts.

Sounds super neat.

aided by some large Arduinos and other homemade electronics (along with rainbow LED lights to create the pixels for the score).

Oh... well... so much for that.

And by real life Pong...

By Edis Krad • Score: 3 • Thread
... you mean this?

Researchers Criticize New DAO Ethereum VC Fund

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Three cryptocurrency experts published a scientific paper Friday detailing seven attacks that could influence how the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) allocates its Ether funds. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes, "Coincidentally or not, they released their work with one day before funding for the DAO closed, and not surprisingly, Ether's price went down, devaluing the DAO from $150 million to $132 million."

From Softpedia: DAO is a crowdfunded project that works on the Ethereum network, a new crypto-currency network that deals with crypto-currency named Ether, which many experts say is better than Bitcoin's blockchain... Investors can submit funding proposals, on which the DAO users vote by submitting some of their tokens and a YES/NO vote. In the end, based on the tokens and YES/NO votes, the DAO's computer program decides on the outcome.
Softpedia reports that the paper released Friday also suggests a series of mitigations to a design they say will "incentivize investors to behave strategically; that is, at odds with truthful voting on their preferences."


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 0 • Thread

I'm pretty sure that DRJlaw's actual mistake is in thinking that the 20% quorum means that 20% of the votes have to be YES, when in reality only the majority of the quorum (anything over 10%) is required to have the proposal funded.

Never give a sucker an even break

By PopeRatzo • Score: 2 • Thread

DAO is a crowdfunded project that works on the Ethereum network, a new crypto-currency network that deals with crypto-currency named Ether

One born every minute.

Crowdsourcing which deals get funded?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 0 • Thread

This is the worst idea ever. Not only is Ether questionably better than Bitcoin, but then the crowd gets to vote on which deals get funded? The crowd is historically behind the times and poorly educated about a real deal, so this sounds like a complete waste of money.

Re: Impact

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 0 • Thread

You are correct. I just wanted to add that the 2.3% group of conspirators would only work out if exactly 10% of the remaining DAO voted. Should say 50% of the entire DAO vote, and assuming the deal was so obviously a scam that all non-conspirators voted no, then the 7.7% holder would have conspire with 17.3% of DAO holders.

Someone had a joke and so many missed it

By dbIII • Score: 2 • Thread
An unbacked "currency" called Ether and so many people taking it seriously?

Google Scholar Users Report Badly Malfunctioning Captcha

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google's search engine for academic research materials is blocking many users with a malfunctioning captcha screen, according to complaints on a Google help forum. "I'm a doctoral student and a professor, which means I use this extensively. Now I'm blocked from using it at all, even after answering all of the stupid image questions (3 times)," reads a typical complaint.

Heart44 writes: A lot of researchers when using Google Scholar are being asked to prove they are not a robot. You have to find all the rivers (but not the sea or lakes) or all street numbers (but not other numbers) or all the store fronts from nine poor quality images, sometimes more than once and, surprise, you will fail more than two thirds of the time and then just get an error 400 "Malformed request, that's all we know". You are offered an audio challenge but clicking on that simply loads more pictures... Is that the best they can do distinguishing between man and machine?
One post ended by stating succinctly "I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional, and this process is wasting nontrivial amounts of my time. How do I stop it?"

This is Google's main problem...

By Chas • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Basically, most of their services are run like "projects".

And there's nearly zero accountability and no real person can be contacted to light a fire under someone's ass to fix things when they go seriously wrong.

So things that break, tend to stay broken unless someone (or many someones) go to extravagant lengths

My company was on Google's StopBadware list for over a year for providing a passworded and checksummed remote support client from TeamViewer so our less technically inclined clients could safely download a known-good client and wouldn't be expected to jump through hoops to get it working.

Apparently, that's baaaaaaad! Because somehow a tech support scammer could direct someone to our site and abuse the client. Never mind that they couldn't get the password.

Or some bad, bad person would somehow break into our FTP site and swap out the file for a corrupted one.
Never mind that we have processes in place to alert us immediately that something like this has happened.

And it took a fucking YEAR to finally get a response about this from the insipid fucktards. Because all their stupid site told us was our site was somehow compromised. Never mind that we took it down and reloaded clean TWICE, changing passwords, databases, etc all around.

Because questions to their google hangout board or whatever the fuck it was received no response. On multiple occasions.
It finally took some asshole making some deeply targeted calls both to Google and the university that apparently oversees the project for them to actually respond and tell us the actual reason.

Re:"Do you know who I am???"

By eric31415927 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

A student writing a final exam in large room goes over on time.
When approaching the front of the room to hand in the exam, a proctor informs the student that the exam is late and cannot be accepted.
The student says: "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" to import some great significance.
The proctor answers "No," as if he did not care.
At which point, the student quickly thrusts his exam into the middle of the pile on the desk and runs away.

Re:I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional,

By R3d M3rcury • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional!"
"That's what all the robots say..."

You are meant to be a robot

By Midnight Thunder • Score: 3 • Thread

Maybe the Google AI is actually expecting academics to have already been replaced by robots, so is rejecting anyone who may appear to be human? This is the first step towards sky net.

Re:This is Google's main problem...

By Richard_J_N • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I completely agree. I had a problem where our new company couldn't send email to Gmail users without always being flagged as spam. We were doing absolutely everything right - and there is no way to get hold of Google. I did finally, 6 months later find a way to reach a person at Google (via a back channel as a customer of a different company), and they confirmed to me: Google act as judge, jury, and executioner, in a secret trial; you can't see the evidence, you don't even know if you've been condemned, and there is no appeal. And they are fine with that.
For what it's worth, the problem was that the previous owners of our IP had got it into a secret blacklist (internal to Google), although we were clean on all of the hundreds of public blacklists I searched. Google are a menace to the public infrastructure. Even AOL behave better!

Doubts Raised About Cellphone Cancer Study

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Vox is strongly criticizing coverage of a supposed link between cellphones and cancer suggested by a new study, calling it " a breathtaking example of irresponsible science hype." An anonymous reader writes: A professor and research monitoring administrator at an American medical school reported that to get their results, the researchers "exposed pregnant rats to whole body CDMA- and GSM-modulated radiofrequency radiation, for 9 hours a day, 7 days a week," and the results were seen only with CDMA (but not GSM-modulated) radiofrequency. "[F]alse positives are very likely. The cancer difference was only seen in females, not males. The incidence of brain cancer in the exposed groups was well within the historical range. There's no clear dose response..."
An emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University in Britain also called the study "statistically underpowered..." according to Vox. "Not enough animals were used to allow the researchers to have a good chance of detecting a risk from radiofrequency radiation of the size one might plausibly expect."


By ArmoredDragon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A bullshit study is a bullshit study, no matter who calls out the fact that it is bullshit. The fact that this only happens to the males and not the females is basically a dead ringer for it being a part of the rat's genome and that it's not being influenced by any environmental or other outside factors. I'm not even a scientist and that fact sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Then when you read deeper into the methodology used, and they didn't even use enough subjects to be able to come anywhere close to being able to meet statistical significance, that this is just another one of those bogus health related studies that come around every now and then because somebody is ideologically opposed to something everybody does or uses, and sets out to prove a point rather than to investigate. This is similar to studies that come around every now and then to attempt to prove that take your pick of any one of meat, GMO, vaccination, or aspartame is bad for you.

Emotional involvement

By Okian Warrior • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

One problem with media reporting today is the perceived need to get emotional involvement.

In it's economic zeal to get eyeballs on articles, the media has resorted to sensationalizing and emotionalism. They compete for the most outrageous, most shocking headlines in an attempt to lure readers.

...and because of this the media has lost all credibility. The readers have wised up, and most don't seem to fall for these tricks any more.

We only have to look at the Trump campaign to see how this happened. Taking one single issue as an example, we read all about how he hates and has a war against latinos. In reality, he said nothing of the sort, which is 'kinda why he's got such a huge support base right now.

The media is astonished that his supporters aren't leaving him in droves... he *is* the next Hitler, didn't you know?

Everything is a crisis, everything is a war on something, everything is a conflict.

(Note: You can learn how to get around this using this one weird trick!)

The journalism..

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

was facepalm worthy from the get go.
But it continues to be facepalm worthy in criticizing the study.

The study was not worthless. It failed to show a statistically significant link. But it might have. The study was big enough that a real effect would have stuck out like a sore thumb. That it didn't, but some weird weak relationships were seen in fact puts a bound on the maximum size of the problem : I.E. In some contexts (gender, ludicrously powered phone, being a mouse) the effect of cell phone radiation doesn't cause excess tumors over the expected rate with a pretty good confidence.

The press started out all "OMG! Cell phones cause cancer!!!!". Then after the criticism of the hyperbole they went all "OMG!!! That study was shite!!!". The problem is with the press, not the study.


By Xenographic • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

> I'm saying exposure to Vox causes cancer.

Even stopped clocks are right twice a day. I think the complaints about this study look legit here. I don't read Vox regularly and have no stake in arguing whether they're good or bad in general.

Did anyone read the whole thing?

By Solandri • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I didn't. :) But just reading the first dozen pages...

It looks like they broke the test rats into groups with 1.5, 3, and 6 W/kg exposure, CDMA and GSM, male and female. That's 3*2*2 = 12 groups. For the brain section, they looked for two types of tumors. So now they've got 24 groupings that they're searching for possible correlations.

The statistical significance of the one correlation they found (male, CDMA, 6 W/kg, malignant glioma) was p < 0.05. In other words, due to their limited sample size, just by random chance alone you'd expect such a blip to occur about 1 in 20 times even when there is no real correlation. Well they tried 24 times and got one blip.

Same thing with the heart results. 24 groupings, one blip with p < 0.05, one blip with p = 0.052. Again, almost exactly what you'd expect by pure chance alone.

Systemd Starts Killing Your Background Processes By Default

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter nautsch writes: systemd changed a default value in logind.conf to "yes", which will kill all your processes, when you log out... There is already a bug-report over at debian: Debian bug tracker.
The new change means "user sessions will be properly cleaned up after," according to the changelog, "but additional steps are necessary to allow intentionally long-running processes to survive logout. To effectively allow users to run long-term tasks even if they are logged out, lingering must be enabled for them."


By Gaygirlie • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"screen" will work exactly as it always have, even with the new defaults.

Except that the way you describe is not the way that screen has always worked. Instead of the straightforward invocation screen on the command line, now it has to be prefixed with all kinds of systemd-specific stuff that wasn't there before.

Its functionality is the same. Really, just use an alias if typing is hard for you to do. Or even better. Start screen automatically at boot by running it as a .service. See the Arch wiki for how.

Seriously? "Jump through extra hoops and it'll work like it always did?" If you have to jump through such stupid extra hoops then it fucking doesn't work like it always did! Being able to run stuff in the background has been around for decades and it's one of those things that I make heavy use of and there is already a perfectly good, valid API and everything for that -- I haven't jumped on the systemd hate-train before, but a change like this for zero fucking good reason is pushing me over the edge, too.

Re:It's all Gnome's fault

By JohnFen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It sure looks that way. If that's actually the case, then I am at a loss for words. The amount of bad judgment required to resolve a Gnome bug by modifying the behavior of the OS is stunning.

Systemd is *more than* a pain

By Taco Cowboy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

... Systemd is a pain ...

Basically systemd is built on a totally fucked up concept - a concept in which whatever the users do is not important, only system resources count, and if the users do not like it, they can go fuck themselves

That is basically what systemd is - and it perfectly reflects the way systemd's proponents think as well


By l3v1 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
"Because there is not other way for logind to determine that "screen" was one of the things a user actualy intends to keep running, or something that is still running because it's exit logic is misbehaving."

Bad point of view. It shouldn't be systemd's task to decide who is running properly and who is not. If a process lingers because of some bad behavior or bug, than that should be corrected, but assuming every process is an idiot and should be killed is very stupid. The default behavior should be - as it always was - that if a process is running after the user left, does so intentionally. Such decades old expected behavior should not be changed because of some idiot thinks everyone's usage patterns fits his own.

I was lucky to read about this before I updated to this new systemd version (which I didn't), but we can't assume everyone will read about it, they're in for a real treat.

Re:security best practice?

By jsm300 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

How about doing anything that takes a long time and you don't want to remain logged in for it to complete? For example you are running a standard program that is going to take hours or even days to process some data, so you redirect stdin to /dev/null, stdout to one file, stderr to either the same file or another file, and you start the whole thing with the nohup shell command.

There is already a well established mechanism for cleaning up background processes, i.e. the SIGHUP signal. And there is already a mechanism for explicitly stating that you don't want a process to die when you log out, and that is the shell's "nohup" command (which blocks the hangup signal that is sent to the process when the user exits).

And in what way does this new mechanism "enhance security"? Running something in the background after you log out doesn't give you any more privileges than if you remained logged in.

Why do the systemd folks think they need to keep reinventing the wheel? This feels like a solution in search of a problem.

Massive Backlash Building Over Windows 10 Upgrades

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Some Windows users are now disabling critical updates on their systems rather than face the prospect of mistakenly upgrading to Windows 10. An anonymous reader writes: "By pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack," writes PC World's senior editor. He adds that "Over the past week, I've received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I've written over the rest of my career combined."

Now even China's official news agency is reporting that users are angry about stealthy Windows 10 upgrades, saying over 1.2 million complaints appeared on one microblogging site. It quotes a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China, who says Microsoft "has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," saying that lawsuits would be justified over Microsoft's action. "Yang Shuo, a worker at a Beijing-based public relations company, told Xinhua that the sudden update interrupted his drafting of a business plan and led to a meeting cancellation for a deal worth 3 million yuan ($457,735). 'Just because I didn't see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed.'"

In a possibly-unrelated development, the Chinese military plans to send nuclear submarines into the Pacific Ocean.

Sex has some parts I really like

By raymorris • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> I feel a bit conflicted on this one. ... But on the other hand Windows 10 has some stuff in it I really like.

Suppose for a moment that Windows 10 was awesome, as good as sex. And Microsoft is forcing it upon people who don't want it. How do you feel about forcing sex on someone who doesn't it? Still conflicted?

In my case, I have expensive hardware which is controlled by a Windows application, an application which doesn't run in Windows 10. Without Windows 7 or earlier, I have to throw out several thousand dollars worth of equipment.

Wrong title

By stooo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The title is wrong. It should read :
"Not enough Backlash Building Over Windows 10 Upgrades "

Re: And at the end of all this hoopla,

By hairyfeet • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I hate having to say it, as I've been building and supporting Windows units since Win 3.1 but for my business customers? We're looking into Chromebooks with the Windows 7 units being kept for legacy applications and to run hardware that won't work anywhere else, just like I have several XP units out there running legacy devices like CNCs.

The reasons why are simple...they are cheap, easy to manage, and for basic office work? They have more than enough power to do the job. You can manage everything locally with Google for business and if one dies who cares? Just whip out another one from the back and they are right back where they were in a couple minutes like nothing ever happened.

MSFT is really really fucking themselves HARD with Windows 10 as they forgot the golden rule...silly rabbit, Windows is for business. They forgot those millions of small businesses are their bread and butter and by keeping control of all their phone home shit strictly for Enterprise which most of them cannot afford? They just made the competition look a HELL of a lot more attractive. Even my gamer customers are asking me about alternative like Linux and SteamOS and just keeping a Windows partition for the games that won't run as even they really don't like Windows 10. its buggy as hell, as likely to crap itself on update as a bleeding edge Linux distro, has lousy backwards compatibility and piss poor driver support.....its just not a good OS.

My guess is by 2020 Nutella will go the way of Ballmernator, they only question is whether there will be enough customers left who give a shit for the next guy to try to save the company. What they SHOULD have done is backported both DX12 and the Windows Store and made selling add-on services and features a big money maker, with their massive server network and bandwidth they could get ahead of the curve with services like Internet TV and selling online game hosting services but they went from being a bad Apple rip-off with Ballmer to being a bad Google rip-off with extra spying and Bing! with Nutella...sigh. How they went from making something as good as win 7 to such a giant fuckup of a company is beyond me.

Re: EU should act over forced upgrades via decepti

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Care to share the actual damages you suffered at the hands of this free update reminder?

My time. I could have used it to better myself, or masturbate or whatever.

Please don't tell us you were tricked into installing it since you don't use Windows

Who told you that? I talk about using Windows all the time. I paid for Win7Pro, on purpose.

and according to you, you are the smartest motherfucker ever to walk the face of the earth.

Alas, I still talk to ACs, so that can't possibly be the case.

Re:They did it to themselves

By Ken D • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well it started out as an Optional Update.
Then it became a Recommended Update.
Next it will become a Critical Update.
And finally an Unavoidable Update.

Study Indicates Americans Don't Trust AI

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Taco Cowboy writes: It may be brilliant, but it's not all that trustworthy. That appears to be the opinion Americans hold when it comes to Artificial Intelligence systems... And while we may be interacting with AI systems more frequently than we realize (hi, Siri), a new study from Time etc suggests that Americans don't believe the AI revolution is quite here yet, with 54 percent claiming to have never interacted with such a system

The more interesting finding reveals that 26 percent of respondents said they would not trust an AI with any personal or professional task. Sure, sending a text message or making a phone call is fine, but 51 percent said they'd be uncomfortable sharing personal data with an AI system. Moreover, 23 percent of Americans who say they have interacted with an AI reported being dissatisfied with the experience.

I thought it was interesting that 66% of the respondents said they'd be uncomfortable sharing financial data with an AI, while 53% said they'd be uncomfortable sharing professional data.


By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread
"The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error."

It's not the AI the I don't trust

By JimMcc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not the AI that I don't trust, it's the companies with access to the data that worry me.

AI's aren't the problem, who owns them is.

By Nyder • Score: 3 • Thread

AI is a tool, just like a spreadsheet program. AI's by themselves aren't really the problem, who owns them and programs them are the problem. Corporations, whom some have shown a total greedy need for profit, even if it means breaking the law, will most likely be one of the major players in the AI industry. Governments are going to be another major player. History and news reports shows you how trustful governments are.

AI isn't going to be bad in itself, but it's owners, well, ya, we are fucked.

Studies also show...

By Lumpy • Score: 3 • Thread

That most americans are dumb as a box of rocks...

Honestly my fellow citizens are pretty fucking stupid. I personally embrace the AI and use it to my advantage. Let the drooling masses cower in fear of the new Witches.

Hell many of us that can create things with electronics, software and 3d printers are already considered magicians of dark arts by most of our Fellow Americans

AI as in...

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Study Indicates Americans Don't Trust AI

AI = Actual Intelligence

How The IoT Will Change The Chip

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Get ready for some big changes in the 'silicon' of Silicon Valley," writes tech CEO Narbeh Derhacobian who argues that the need to build tens of billions of connected sensor devices will change the way computers get built. "Just like smartphone owners like to pick and choose which apps they want, IoT manufacturers may want to shop for components individually without being locked into a single fab." An anonymous reader summarizes his article on TechCrunch: Thousands of different hardware devices, each selling around one million units, "would suggest the need for a much greater diversity of chip configurations than we've seen to date." Currently smartphones are engineered using a "System on a Chip" design where all the components are "locked into a single manufacturing process," but Derhacobian predicts chip manufacturers will continue a trend of moving towards a "System in a Package" approach -- "packing components closely together, without the complete, end-to-end integration... In a smart, connected world, sensor requirements could vary greatly from factory to factory, not to mention between industries as varied as agriculture, urban planning and automotive."

"In some ways, the great trends of the PC and smartphone eras were toward standardization of devices. Apple's great vision was understanding that people prefer a beautiful, integrated package, and don't need many choices in hardware. But in software it's generally the opposite. People have different needs, and want to select the apps and programs that work best for them."


By SpaghettiPattern • Score: 3 • Thread
I didn't realize until now that iOS apps run Android.

I'm not saying the article is wrong.

By Hognoxious • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I'm not saying the article is wrong, because I'm not really sure if it actually says anything.

Acer did this in the 1990s

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
They'd grab whatever components were cheapest at the time and put them together to build a PC. You'd buy one Acer model PC, really like it and recommend it to a friend who would buy the exact same model, and his would come with completely different components and suck. It's how Acer earned their reputation as a low-rate PC manufacturer that they're still trying to shake today. Routers occasionally run into this problem as well, as hardware changes from revision 2 to revision 3 result in incompatibilities or different behaviors even though two routers are "the same model."

If you want to dumb down the software and use non-standardized hardware, be my guest. But you'd better make damn sure the user experience is consistent across all the different hardware versions you're using. Otherwise you're saving money on the front end just to end up paying more at the support end.

Anyone spouting about the Internet of Things...

By argStyopa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...immediately identifies themselves as someone I need not take seriously.

Nobody rational GIVES A SHIT about connecting their coffeemaker to the internet.
Anyone reasonably skeptical will have nothing to do with the idea of connecting their front door locks to the internet.

Short version: it's the latest stupid internet fad, interesting only to the circle-jerk of people promoting such things.

Re:Don't use IoT

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Just like all the other times, the home will be the last place where IoT is applied. It will rule the commercial and industrial world for a generation or two before hoi polloi trusts it in the home. We will see bridge beams that continually report their own stresses, freight containers that log their location, aircraft that log flight data to satellites instead of to onboard black boxes, and building load compensation weights that continually adjust themselves.

William Gibson Announces New Sci-Fi Comic Book

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
68-year-old science fiction author William Gibson just released a complicated new science fiction comic book, and this weekend Ars Technica proclaimed that "the results are grand". An anonymous reader shares their report: A father and son occupy the new White House as President and Vice President. We never meet dad, but his son -- an evil jerk by the name of Junior Henderson -- has been surgically altered to resemble his grandfather, because Junior is about travel to an alternate Earth in 1945 to take grandpa's place, with the intent of remaking that world more to his liking (and, presumably, to prevent whatever it was that laid waste to the one we start off in)...The world is in ruins. The White House relocated to the ominous-sounding National Emergency Federal District in Montana. They have technology that far outstrips our own...

"It's an alternate-history/cross-worlds story," Gibson writes... "And I wouldn't want to spoil too much of the frame, because that's an inherent part of our narrative. But I will say that one of the first verbal tags we had for the material was 'Band Of Brothers vs. Blackwater.'"

On his Twitter feed, Gibson is also applauding the news that Marvel and DC comics abandoned a two and a half year legal battle to enforce their trademark on the word "superhero" against a publisher in the U.K.

Clickbait much?

By DudeTheMath • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Would it really be so hard to put the title of the comic in the story instead of requiring a click through? Anyway, it's Archangel.

an exclusive pantheon

By epine • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm a digital pack rat. I collect just about anything that raises my eyebrows in my personal wiki. It's a crazy thing, like people who build entire houses out of used beer cans, but for me, at least, it pleasantly passes the time.

I strongly prefer insight over outrage, so I was awfully slow off the mark in finally creating an "asshole" page (subpage "corporate asshole"), but having done so about six months ago, what a boon it has become.

Welcome Marvel.

Welcome DC Comics.

Allow me to make some introductions. On your left is Comcast, Marriott, General Mills, and Sony. You probably know most of those already. On your right there's FIFA, IOC, NCAA, and Voltage Pictures. Another cluster top heavy in the usual suspects. Across the room, there's Gawker Media and the IAB conferring in what appears to be an almost romantic tete-a-tete.

Be sure to pull up a chair while you have the opportunity. Word on the street is that we soon might need to suspend the fire code.

What's that, you say? Where's General Hayden?

Company Men: Torture, treachery, and the CIA

The Panetta Review had reached the same conclusions, on the basis of the same documents, that the Senate report later did. In other words, the CIA's own analysis of its records refuted all the cheerleading claims currently being trotted out by its team of publicists. Had the agency, in obstructing the report and spying on Senate investigators, finally overplayed its hand? "Nothing could be further from the truth," Brennan insisted, following in the footsteps of Michael Hayden, whom the report depicts as a kind of unflappable Pinocchio, fibbing under oath at every opportunity.

Yes, I understand why you might be puzzled not to find him here. The situation concerning Hayden is complicated. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that rot. His was a complex mandate. Many good minds suspect he's rather too full of himself in a bad way, but other perspectives remain credible.

It's not like you can simply go to Wikipedia and read the following:

The word 'superhero' dates to at least 1917. Antecedents of the archetype include such folkloric heroes as Robin Hood, who adventured in distinctive clothing. The 1903 play The Scarlet Pimpernel and its spinoffs popularized the idea of a masked avenger and the superhero trope of a secret identity. Shortly afterward, masked and costumed pulp-fiction characters such as Zorro (1919) and comic strip heroes such as the Phantom (1936) began appearing, as did non-costumed characters with super strength, including Patoruzu (1928), the comic-strip character Popeye (1929) and novelist Philip Wylie's protagonist Hugo Danner (1930).

Feel free to mingle among the assembled company of like minds.


By Webs 101 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"68-year-old science fiction author William Gibson"

What the hell? Cripes, I'm old.

Mugger Arrested After Victim Spots Him On Facebook's 'People You May Know'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR: In a somewhat bizarre story which proves that truth is often stranger than fiction, a serial mugger in England was arrested after one of his victims spotted him under Facebook's 'People you may know' section.Originally reported by the BBC, 21-year old Omar Famuyide had a long history of theft, muggings and armed robberies to his name. Not too long ago, Famuyide brandished a knife and stole a car.

Flash forward a bit, and the victim of said car robbery was recently shocked to see Famuyide's face pop up as a suggested friend he might want to add on Facebook. The victim promptly called the police who quickly managed to tie him to a large number of other violent crimes. By the time the dust settled and the full extent of Famuyide's criminal rampage was revealed, Famuyide was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

His Facebook profile ultimately led to charges of robbery, attempted robbery, and possessing a firearm.

In other news...

By CCarrot • Score: 3 • Thread

...idiot mugger uses real photo of himself on Facebook, gets recognized by one of his many victims, and arrested.

Dude, really? Did you go to the Wet Bandit school of bad-assery?

Re: Armed robberies can't happen in Europe!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

US homicide rates are about 3 times higher. Lets be clear here, the rest of the world doesnt envy the US; when it comes to gun law we genuinely believe that you are totally and irredeemably batshit insane, and can only watch in horror.

Re: Armed robberies can't happen in Europe!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Because it allows police to have good reason to arrest someone when they stop and search them and find the knife. Why is this so difficult for you to grasp? Stop trying to peddle your idiotic American gun culture on the rest of the planet. It is clearly the reason why you have so many shootings. I enjoy my city and I don't want it to become a dangerous shithole like the US is.

Re:Armed robberies can't happen in Europe!

By baker_tony • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So, on the extremely small chance that someone physically stronger than you, threatens you (without a gun of course) and you happen to have a gun and can operate it effectively while freaked out (and not accidentally shoot someone else or yourself which is more likely), you're willing to sacrifice all the other lives lost to guns? Like children under 5 who die or kill others every week in America because they kill themselves with a misplaced gun?
You're pretty sick.

Re: Armed robberies can't happen in Europe!

By baker_tony • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"the rest of the world doesnt envy the US; when it comes to gun law we genuinely believe that you are totally and irredeemably batshit insane, and can only watch in horror."
That's an understatement.
Other countries after massacres think "hmm, perhaps we should do something to fix this".
And fix it.
American's seem to think that massacres means more guns should be introduced and start buying more while screaming "Obama about to tell the army to attack Texas and take all my guns!!!". That's right, ask all the soldiers that come from Texas to attack their own families. Yet a large proportions of American's genuinely believe that will happen, just like they believe the world's only a few thousand years old.
And now they've got Trump one step away from punching the big red nuke button.
"Batshit insane" just scratches the surface of how messed up America is.

Fiverr Suffers Six-Hour DDoS Attack After Removing DDoS-For-Hire Listings

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two days after Fiverr, a marketplace for digital services, removed user listings from its website that advertised DDoS-for-hire services, the company's website suffered a six-hour long DDOS attack. Softpedia reports: The incident took place on the morning of May 27 (European timezones), and the service admitted its problems on its Twitter account. At the time of writing, Fiverr has been back up and functioning normally for more than two hours. Fiverr's problems stem from an Incapsula probe that found DDoS-for-hire ads on its marketplace, available for $5. Incapsula reported the suspicious listings to Fiverr, who investigated the issue and removed the ads. Fiverr first removed all listings advertising blatantly illegal DDoS services, but later also removed the ads offering to "test" a website for DDoS "protection" measures.

Is Denver The Next High-Tech Center?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader write: "The spread of the tech industry outside Silicon Valley has helped make Denver the fastest-growing large city in the U.S.," reports the New Yorker, saying it's now growing faster than Austin and Seattle, becoming one of America's 20 most populous cities. Cost-conscious investors and tech executives now are opening offices in cheaper "secondary cities" outside of Silicon Valley, like Salt Lake City, and the good universities near Denver mean a well-educated workforce, coupled with a low cost of living.

"Though the city isn't the headquarters for any big tech companies -- like Dell in the Austin area or Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle -- several of them, including IBM and Oracle, have offices here. The presence of those offices, and of the universities, has also helped create a vibrant startup scene: people get educated here or come here for jobs, and then they graduate or leave those jobs and become entrepreneurs." Last year venture capitalists invested $800 million in Demver's tech, energy, food, and marijuana companies, and in 2014 Oracle paid over a billion dollars to acquire Denver-based Datalogix.

Anyone else live in a burgeoning "secondary" tech city? Scott McNealy said he co-founded his data-analysis startup in Denver because in California " The prices of everything have skyrocketed. The regulations. The pension deficit. The traffic. It's just not a fun place to go start."

Behind the times

By michael_cain • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The OP's observation is really behind the times.

I moved to the Denver area 28+ years ago. Since I got here, the state's population has gone from 3.3M to 5.5M, almost all in the Front Range urban corridor. Much of that growth has been driven by tech, it's just been quiet. The state is consistently in the top several for VC money spent. There's also a long history of Colorado companies reaching a certain size and then being acquired by the giant coastal firms.

Re:I would expect that to be somewhere in China.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

What does the USA have to offer anymore?

A productive and cooperative workforce. I lived and worked in China for several years. They spend way more time on backstabbing and petty office politics. Organizational loyalty is rare. Since the company doesn't trust the workers, information and decisions are compartmentalized, which degrades productivity even more.

If you need someone to turn a wrench on an assembly line, China is great. If you need innovation and teamwork, America is a much better choice. Even Chinese companies like Baidu have their research division in California.

Re:Missing the logistics

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

University of Colorado (~40 miles) and Colorado State University (~65 miles) have solid engineering and computer science programs. There's also a good concentration of GIS and environmental companies due to the various relevant programs at both universities. Salaries are far lower than in traditional tech hubs, however.

Re:California refugees never help

By DigiShaman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We call em' "locus voters"; the liberals that leave the very problems behind that they themselves created. It's like a person that's trying to leave a problem when they are in fact *the* problem.

Re:I would expect that to be somewhere in China.

By michael_cain • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
As I mentioned in another comment, out of date. 25 years ago the Brown Cloud was a real problem. Today, Denver doesn't even make the 25 worst cities in the country for overall air pollution. Having lived here while it happened, it's just absolutely amazing how much cleaner the air is now.

Ray Kurzeil's Google Team Is Building Intelligent Chatbots

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes an article from The Verge. Inventor Ray Kurzweil made his name as a pioneer in technology that helped machines understand human language, both written and spoken. In a video from a recent Singularity conference Kurzweil says he and his team at Google are building a chatbot, and that it will be released sometime later this year... "My team, among other things, is working on chatbots. We expect to release some chatbots you can talk to later this year."

One of the bots will be named Danielle, and according to Kurzweil, it will draw on dialog from a character named Danielle, who appears in a novel he wrote -- a book titled, what else, Danielle... He said that anyone will be able to create their own unique chatbot by feeding it a large sample of your writing, for example by letting it ingest your blog. This would allow the bot to adopt your "style, personality, and ideas."

Kurzweil also predicted that we won't see AIs with full "human-level" language abilities until 2029, "But you'll be able to have interesting conversations before that."

Brilliant! maybe

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 3 • Thread
The last thing I would want to do is interact with a chatbot of me.

Though I suppose it would be funny to ask questions and interact with it until it gets bored with me and ignores me from then on until I get a new chatbot.

Can we teach it

By johanw • Score: 3 • Thread

to claiming to want genocide on Mexicans, like the last MS chatbot?

Dead people

By bigdavex • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I think it would be pretty interesting to feed the writing of a dead person into a program and then talk to it. I'm sure people would pay to chat with their late grandmother. But also, what does George Washington think about Middle East policy?

I'm skeptical of the article's claims but this is at least a good science fiction idea.

Chatbots are godawful

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I've yet to see a chatbot that does anything much deeper than look at the single previous line.
Every asshat writes a chatbot and says "It's different this time" and then it's not different. It's the same old shit. No lesson is being learned.

Part of it is simply that you and a chatbot fundamentally have almost nothing to talk about.
The chatbot has no information of use to you*. You have no information of use to it**.
The chatbot cannot perform any physical work that would benefit you since it has no physical presence.
You cannot perform any physical work that would benefit it, since it has no goals.

*It could tell you a story or read you Wikipedia page or something, but you'd be better off skipping the middleman.
**unless it is trying to harvest personal data from you for advertising etc.

Customer Service

By jetkust • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Chatbots are perfect to replace most customer service. Instead of having humans behaving like robots, let the chatbots do it. Makes perfect sense. And training would be easier. (assuming there was any human training to begin with)

Ruby on Rails Creator Supports After-Work Email Bans

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, is applauding talk of an after-work e-mail ban, writing that "the ever-expanding expectations for when someone is available have gotten out of hand... Work emails are ticking in at all sorts of odd hours and plenty of businesses are dysfunctional enough to believe they have a right to have those answered, whatever the hour. That's unhealthy, possibly even exploitative... Same goes for forcing everyone to work in an open office. The research is mounting on all the ills that come from persistent noise and interruptions from that arrangement."

While acknowledging that his firm's project management tool Basecamp has a "perfect storm" of features that can send emails and texts after hours, Hansson points out that at least version 3 (released in 2015) shipped with a scheduling feature that will hold notifications during weekends and other specified off-work periods. "What we need before we can even dream of having something like the French response is a change in attitudes. Less celebration of workaholism, more #WorkCanWait. More recognition that stress from unrealistic and unhealthy expectations and work habits is actually a real hazard to health and sanity."

Reasonable expectations.

By The Rizz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

As a business owner, I expect my employees to by reasonably available, even after hours.

What is reasonable? Well, if it's an emergency of some sort, I call or text them, depending on the immediacy. (Emergency being defined as anywhere from "someone's sick, can you cover a shift?" to "something's on fire".)

Anything below emergency I typically email and expect to be done when convenient - typically the next work day. If the employee checks their email after hours or on weekends, it's up to them if they want to take care of it right then (if it's something they can do from home), but I never expect it.

We have business hours for a reason. As far as I'm concerned, if it's not something I'd do while outside work, why would I expect that from my employees?

No need to ban it

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 3 • Thread

Jeez, just let people decide if they want to check their work emails. Is no-one an adult any more?

It doesn't even sound like the French thing is really much of a "ban" anyway. It's more a recommendation that companies draw up rules on when people should/shouldn't be expected to check/answer work emails.

Make it an outright ban and how is someone who works a different shift supposed to leave me a message?

Just make it so companies can't expect people to deal with work emails (or punish them for failing to do so) outside of work hours unless formally agreed.

Re:Reasonable expectations.

By The Rizz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sorry, but it is just wrong to expect employees to be available outside of scheduled work hours! My time off of work is MY time, and an employer has no right to expect me to use any of that time for their benefit!

...and here we have the flip side to selfishly unreasonable attitudes of bosses.

I have been taken to task because I wouldn't cover someone else's shift on my day(s) off. I replied that I make plans with family and friends on my days off, and (mostly) I refuse to change those plans.

If you've got plans and can't cover, then that's your prerogative. Perhaps what you've been "taken to task" for is your attitude, though? They way you've stated it here sounds like you're being overly confrontational when a simple, "sorry, I have plans" would have sufficed.

It sounds like it's definitely possible you're that asshole who always expects other people to cover for them, while resenting anyone expecting the same in return. When someone is sick, there's almost never anyone who is happy to come in on their day off, but people do it to help out the other employees. If nobody does, the business is short-staffed for the day, and those who are there are the ones who are the worse for it. Covering shifts is not done so much for the benefit of the business as it is done for the benefit of your co-workers.

My time outside of scheduled work hours is MINE! Many employers have for many years expected an employee's job to be their entire life. Sorry, my job is not the only thing in my life

It sounds like you've had bad experiences with employers. It sounds like you need to find better places to work.
(Unless, of course, your bad attitude is leading you to believe everywhere is oppressing you, in which case what you need to change is yourself.)

Even if I am paid, I have the right to refuse, and also the right to be informed of schedule changes during regular work hours.

Which is not always possible. Unplanned issues and emergencies come up, and reasonably accommodating those situations should be expected.

One more thing, far too many employers these days consider employees to be an easily replaceable commodity, one which is owed nothing in the way of consideration or loyalty of any kind!

On the flip side, far too many employees think their employers are owed no consideration or loyalty of any kind. This lack of trust and resentment comes from both directions, and is a serious problem whichever direction it comes from.

Re:Reasonable expectations.

By TheGratefulNet • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're completely self-centered and care only about yourself, and couldn't give a fuck about anyone else

classic case of pot calling kettle black.

in today's corp world, this perfectly defines how a COMPANY acts. they are spoiled little fucking brats who have too much of a labor pool to pick from and think the world revolves around THEM.

I find it precious that you try to turn it around. in the history of the modern age, life has NEVER been as good for companies as it is right now. they have everything on a golden platter and they lord it over us, pretty much constantly.

I have no idea what your work life is like. maybe you are rich and you are a business owner. I suspect you are or you are of the R persuasion who thinks that all roads lead to 'business should have all the say'.

or maybe you're a republican shill trying to shift the argument in your party's direction.

but its clear as crystal; this is the golden era for corportism and if a company wants something, THEY GET IT. they get laws passed as created by their PACs and the economy is so bad that no one dares talk back to the employer.