Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2017-Jan-12 today archive

Contents

  1. Study Shows Wearable Sensors Can Tell When You Are Getting Sick
  2. CVS Announces Super Cheap Generic Alternative To EpiPen
  3. Tesla To Power Gigafactory With World's Largest Solar Rooftop Installation
  4. Rural Americans At Higher Risk From Five Leading Causes of Death: CDC
  5. Switzerland Agrees To Its Own New Data Sharing Pact With the US
  6. Consumer Reports Now Recommends MacBook Pros
  7. Fingerprinting Methods Identify Users Across Different Browsers On the Same PC
  8. Europe Calls For Mandatory 'Kill Switches' On Robots
  9. Obama Changed Rules Regarding Raw Intelligence, Allowing NSA To Share Raw Data With US's Other 16 Intelligence Agencies
  10. Arizona Plans To Sue Theranos Over Faulty Blood Tests
  11. US EPA Accuses Fiat Chrysler of Excess Diesel Emissions
  12. Amazon To Add 100,000 Full-Time US Jobs in Next 18 Months
  13. Cassettes Are Back, and Booming
  14. Hacker Steals 900 GB of Cellebrite Data
  15. HTC's New Flagship Phone Has AI and a Second Screen, But No Headphone Jack
  16. Amazon Launches Anime Channel for $5 Per Month, Its First Branded Subscription Channel
  17. The Flying Lily Camera Drone is Dead, Buyers Will Be Refunded
  18. Opera Neon Turns Your Web Browser Into a Mini Desktop
  19. Apple Planning To Make Original TV Shows and Movies as Hardware Sales Soften
  20. Amazon Just Got Slapped With a $1 Million Fine For Misleading Pricing
  21. New FCC Report Says AT&T and Verizon Zero-Rating Violates Net Neutrality
  22. Scientists Use Stem Cells To Regenerate the External Layer of a Human Heart
  23. Japan Researchers Warn of Fingerprint Theft From 'Peace' Sign
  24. Scientists Calculate the Moon To Be 4.51 Billion Years Old

Alterslash picks the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Study Shows Wearable Sensors Can Tell When You Are Getting Sick

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
skids quotes a report from Phys.Org: Wearable sensors that monitor heart rate, activity, skin temperature and other variables can reveal a lot about what is going on inside a person, including the onset of infection, inflammation and even insulin resistance, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Altogether, the team collected nearly 2 billion measurements from 60 people, including continuous data from each participant's wearable biosensor devices and periodic data from laboratory tests of their blood chemistry, gene expression and other measures. Participants wore between one and eight commercially available activity monitors and other monitors that collected more than 250,000 measurements a day. The team collected data on weight; heart rate; oxygen in the blood; skin temperature; activity, including sleep, steps, walking, biking and running; calories expended; acceleration; and even exposure to gamma rays and X-rays. "We want to study people at an individual level," said Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics. "We have more sensors on our cars than we have on human beings," said Snyder. In the future, he said, he expects the situation will be reversed and people will have more sensors than cars do.

Slashdot reader skids adds: "IT security being in the state it is, will we face the same decision about our actual lives that we already face about our social lives/identities: either risk very real hazards of misuse of your personal data, or get left behind?

Pfff!

By no-body • Score: 3 • Thread

If I get sick, I know it myself. Don't need no App nor sensor, got enough sensors and Apps builtin!

Re:Sensors will be the killer app for Apple Watch

By ColdWetDog • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Everyone may want to be healthy, but everyone may

- not want anyone else knowing about how healthy you are or are not
- not want the data uploaded into 'the cloud'
- not even want to know what they are doing is unhealthy

Here be Dragons.

Re:Yes, that's why I tell them

By dbIII • Score: 4 • Thread

Yes, I do want my boss to know when I'm sick. I'm curious what you're getting at.

I think they are getting at you not being aware of places where they fire people just for being sick.

I'm getting the impression...

By iMadeGhostzilla • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

From scanning the paper briefly is that those are people who would be really thrilled if they had actually discovered something useful and they hope this can lead to important new work, presumably with them being asked to follow up on it. It's almost like a marketing piece. "It is possible that the use of wearables will lead to false alarms and overdiagnosis of disease. The number of false alarms will depend upon the threshold that is set, which can be personalized." It doesn't say how it could be personalized, which sounds critical for a claim like that. "Overall, we envision that these devices could be particularly powerful for individuals who are responsible for the health of others (i.e., parents and caregivers), and perhaps also for those who have historically limited health care access, including groups with low income and/or remote geography." We didn't really check with these people, but we're sure it could work for them, and them, and also them!

I hope I'm wrong, and that someone more knowledgeable here can confirm this was good research. Because if not, it would be downright irresponsible to suggest burdening people with sensors for an outcome that could be not just not useful but possibly harmful. That would fall under "academic prostitution". Again I'm hoping this is just my ignorance and laziness to read the article carefully.

CVS Announces Super Cheap Generic Alternative To EpiPen

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Pharmaceutical giant CVS announced Thursday that it has partnered with Impax Laboratories to sell a generic epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 for a two-pack -- a dramatic cut from Mylan's Epipen two-pack prices, which list for more than $600 as a brand name and $300 as a generic. The lower-cost auto-injector, a generic form of Adrenaclick, is available starting today nationwide in the company's more than 9,600 pharmacies. Its price resembles that of EpiPen's before Mylan bought the rights to the life-saving devices back in 2007 and raised the price repeatedly, sparking outcry. Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy, said the company felt compelled to respond to the urgent need for a more affordable alternative. "Over the past year, nearly 150,000 people signed on to a petition asking for a lower-cost epinephrine auto-injector option and millions more were active in social media searching for a solution," she said in a statement. The price of $109.99 for the alternative applies to those with and without insurance, CVS noted. And Impax is also offering a coupon to reduce the cost to just $9.99 for qualifying patients. Also in the press statement, Dr. Todd Listwa of Novant Health, a network of healthcare providers, noted the importance of access to epinephrine auto-injectors, which swiftly reverse rapid-onset, deadly allergic reactions in some. "For these patients, having access to emergency epinephrine is a necessity. Making an affordable epinephrine auto-injector device accessible to patients will ensure patients have the medicine they need, when they need it."

Re:And mathematicians, including

By Solandri • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem with the free market, and lassaize-faire capitalism is that it is destroyed by the first group that has major success. Becuse the greed that fuels the market can become very destructive as people with pathological levels of it inevitably take over. And the simplistic early agriculture type arguments for it just don't work in a highy technical and mechanized world.

There are so many examples which disprove this that I'm amazed it was modded up: IBM PC, Compaq, Apple iPhone, 3dfx, Blackberry, Palm Pilot, Nokia, GeoCities, Myspace, Wordperfect, Lotus, Silicon Graphics, Kodak, Blockbuster, Sony Walkman, Sears, Pan Am, Schwinn, Motorola, Sun, DEC, Yahoo, Xerox copiers, Nintendo (except they managed to claw their way back with the Wii).

All of these were market leaders who in many cases once owned 80% or more of their respective markets, til they were out-competed and were replaced as king of the hill. Contrary to what you claim, it's harder to maintain a dominant market position in a highly technical and mechanized world. The rapid pace of technological progress means it's very easy to fall behind if you misstep (Yahoo, Sony, Pan Am, Blockbuster), or get lazy (Xerox, Kodak, Myspace, Blackberry), or get out-maneuvered (Nintendo - both ways, WordPerfect, Lotus, Apple iPhone, IBM PC).

The free market works most of the time. Monopolies are the exception, not the norm, and I'm fine with bashing those with government regulation when they happen. Believing that monopolies are inevitable and thus everything must be regulated, is just as foolish as believing everything will work just fine if there is no regulation.

Re:you mean capitalism works?

By Solandri • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
No, they're able to do it for money because Mylan stupidly raised the price. If Mylan had kept the price at what it was before they acquired rights to the EpiPen, it would not have been worth it for a competitor to pay to develop their own pen, put it through the arduous FDA approval process, and put aside money to settle liability lawsuits in case something went wrong. When Mylan raised the price, it suddenly became cost-effective for someone to do all that, so CVS did. They still would've done it even if there had been no outrage, because overpricing something just creates an opportunity for someone else to swoop in and underbid you.

Re:you mean capitalism works?

By mjwx • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I completely understand the struggles people who are impacted by a disease and there's a cure out of there, but just costs so much.

At the same time, for all it's flaws in the patent system, in the grand scheme of things... the patent lasts like 5 or 10 or 20 years (I don't know). My point is it's not that long.

Let's remember that the drug wasn't there before. That's the price the society pays for a dynamic drug market.

You invent something; it's prohibitively expensive for a bit, then the price drops.

The alternative is... maybe it's not invented.

The former sadly is easy to rail against. The later is a bit more complex.

You do know that most drugs are actually developed with public money. Universities and government funded research labs. That means we already pay the cost of development, testing, so on and so forth. If it were left up to what was profitable, we'd have almost nothing cured at all.

Also cures and treatments aren't particularly profitable. Big Pharma spends a lot of its research and marketing budget on "lifestyle" drugs which are mostly two things,

1. Hardness pills. Because people with waning libido's will pay anything.
2. Vitamin supplements. Not that these are expensive, but they're so cheap to make because they don't have to pass FDA or equivalent testing. That means they don't have to work, in fact it's better if they dont work because then they cant be accidentally scheduled. They make placebo's a dozen for the penny and sell them a pound for 12 to hipsters and middle aged mothers who think multi-vitamins make them healthy. Their main cost here is advertising, convincing the middle aged mothers that popping a pill each morning compensates for their bad lifestyle choices.

When it comes for a cure for an illness, Big Pharma contributes very little in its development, they just buy up the rights for cheap, manufacture it cheaply and charge a fortune for it. This is why many governments forcibly license patents for local companies to make the drugs.

Re:you mean capitalism works?

By GuB-42 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In less "free" countries like the UK and France, the Epipen two-pack (the real one, not the generic) costs $70 and $100 respectively. And that's before healthcare.

Re:You don't know what a free market is, do you?

By networkBoy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

generally (and the exceptions are a bitch) an expired drug is safe but its efficacy is reduced. For some products that rate of reduction is low and an expired product can be good for a year or two after the date (Liquamycin for example), for other products the rate of decline is non linear and fast, so are only good a couple months past date with any real efficacy (Covexin®-8. CDT comes to mind).

Epi seems to be between the two, within some limits:

EpiPen's shelf life has been limited by the chemistry of the drug inside it. Epinephrine is an old and cheap medication, but it's also notoriously finicky. If exposed to light, heat or air, it can degrade, turning rust colored.
The FDA-approved label warns that if the liquid in the pen is discolored, it should be discarded: "Epinephrine solution deteriorates rapidly on exposure to air or light, turning pink from oxidation to adrenochrome and brown from the formation of melanin."

Great! so there's a way to tell, separate from the date!

But what about an expired EpiPen that looks perfectly normal?

The little published data that exists shows that the drug degrades over time -- and color is not an accurate way to gauge whether the epinephrine inside is still good.

well crap, maybe not.

One study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2000, examined EpiPens one to 90 months after the expiration date. Most were not discolored, but the epinephrine content decreased over time. The study stated that it was best to use EpiPens that had not expired, but found that the pens contained at least two-thirds of the intended dose up to a year after expiration. Even a sub-optimal dose could be better than nothing in a life-or-death situation, the authors concluded.

So...
Looks like if stored in *ideal* conditions the pen will last more than 18 months, but under likely real-world conditions 18 months is it.
FWIW, elsewhere I found that the manufacturer had targeted 27 months, but data only supported 19 months, they went with 18. That's not a large guard band.

Tesla To Power Gigafactory With World's Largest Solar Rooftop Installation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last week, Tesla announced that its Gigafactory has begun mass production of lithium-ion battery cells in Nevada. But the company failed to mention one thrilling detail in their January 4 announcement: the Gigafactory could be powered by the world's largest solar rooftop installation. According to an investor handout, a 70-megawatt (MW) solar array along with ground solar panels could let the factory operate entirely on clean energy. Inhabitat reports: The 70 MW solar array would be around seven times larger than any rooftop arrays currently installed, according to Tesla's exciting handout released by Electrek and confirmed as genuine by The Verge. The rooftop array currently boasting the title of world's largest is a 11.5 MW installation in India. The United States' biggest rooftop array is a 10 MW array atop a California Whirlpool distribution center. SolarCity will likely manufacture the solar panels, according to The Verge, as Tesla acquired the solar energy company in November. Powerpacks will store any excess energy generated by the vast solar installation. Tesla said in the handout the "all-electric" factory will be able to run with greater efficiency and will produce zero carbon emissions. Heating and water use at the Gigafactory will also be sustainable. In the handout, Tesla said a large part of heating for the building would come from waste heat obtained from production processes. Also, "Gigafactory's closed-loop water supply system uses six different treatment systems to efficiently re-circulate about 1.5 million liters (that's around 400,000 gallons) of water, representing an 80 percent reduction in fresh water usage compared with standard processes." Tesla even said they're building a recycling facility at the Gigafactory that will be able to "safely reprocess" battery cells, packs, and modules to obtain metal usable in new cells.

Solar panels in Nevada?

By Zemran • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Solar panels in Nevada? A Heliostat would work as well and would not require such an unecological production process. Solar panels may be better than old tech power production but the chemicals used are pollutants. They are not as green as claimed but heliostat towers are far more green and in a area like Nevada. Why does a country like Morocco end up leading the world? https://www.revolvesolar.com/w...

Re: Solar panels in Nevada?

By avandesande • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
A heliostat would take up 2/3 of the gigafactory site and could be used for nothing else. Solar panels are easy to sprinkle around building etc without making the property useless.

Re: Dunno if

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Who's paying? Musk has received billions of government aid. Is it a good investment, considering the outcome - a series of toys for the very rich? I don't think so.

Thanks, Obama.

Who's paying for oil and NatGas and Petrochemical and Ethanol subsidies? If solar was the only and only ever thing ever subsidized, you might have a point. But if oil and gas can have the huge subsidies they've gotten, well, let's hear you bitch about those.

Damn subsidies

By kwerle • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

A 2016 study estimated that global fossil fuel subsidies were $5.3 trillion in 2015, which represents 6.5% of global GDP.[3] The study found that "China was the biggest subsidizer in 2013 ($1.8 trillion), followed by the United States ($0.6 trillion), and Russia, the European Union, and India (each with about $0.3 trillion)."[3] The authors estimated that the elimination of "subsidies would have reduced global carbon emissions in 2013 by 21% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths 55%, while raising revenue of 4%, and social welfare by 2.2%, of global GDP."[3] According to the International Energy Agency, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies worldwide would be the one of the most effective ways of reducing greenhouse gases and battling global warming.[4] In May 2016, the G7 nations set for the first time a deadline for ending most fossil fuel subsidies; saying government support for coal, oil and gas should end by 2025.[13]

Keep funding the middle east.

Not gonna work

By RghtHndSd • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
They would need a massive battery to store all that power to make this work. They clearly haven't thought it through.

Rural Americans At Higher Risk From Five Leading Causes of Death: CDC

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: Americans living in rural areas are more likely to die from five leading causes of death than people living in urban areas, according to a new government report. Many of these deaths are preventable, officials say, with causes including heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory disease. Approximately 46 million Americans -- about 15 percent of the U.S. population -- currently live in rural areas. According to the CDC report, several demographic, environmental, economic, and social factors might put rural residents at higher risk of death from these conditions. Rural residents in the U.S., for example, tend to be older and sicker than their urban counterparts, and have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity. People living in rural areas also report less leisure-time physical activity and lower seatbelt use than their those living in urban areas and have higher rates of poverty, less access to health care, and are less likely to have health insurance. Specifically, the report found that in 2014, deaths among rural Americans included: 25,000 from heart disease; 19,000 from cancer; 12,000 from unintentional injuries; 11,000 from chronic lower respiratory disease; 4,000 from stroke. The percentages of deaths that were potentially preventable were higher in rural areas than in urban areas, the authors report. For the study, the researchers analyzed numbers from a national database. The CDC suggests to help close the gap, health care providers in rural areas can: Screen patients for high blood pressure; Increase cancer prevention and early detection; Encourage physical activity and healthy eating; Promote smoking cessation; Promote motor vehicle safety; Engage in safer prescribing of opioids for pain.

Re: Amazing

By Solandri • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I've been self-employed for a while, so I've paid for my own health insurance for a couple decades. My experience mirrors OP's. My health insurance cost has increased about 2.5x since the ACA was implemented (vs 1.1068x increase in the CPI) . My deductible has gone up (though roughly in pace with CPI). Vision coverage was dropped. My prescription coverage option tripled in price. And my insurer just switched from being a PPO (I can visit any doctor in their network including multiple doctors if I want) to an EPO (I have to pick one doctor in their network, and s/he has total control over if I can visit a specialist - no real point getting this over an HMO now).

Looking over my past premiums, there was a 18% increase from 2014 to 2015. A 24% increase from 2015 to 2016. And a 18% increase from 2016 to 2017. So that may be why your link found such a small increase in premiums. The bulk of the rise in my premiums has been since 2014, when the stats used by Factcheck.org ended. Crunching the numbers, my premiums rose 47% between 2010-2014 (average 8% per year), but 73% from 2015-2017 (average 20% per year).

Anyway, that's just my experience. I'm curious what other people have seen.

Re:Thanks Obama!

By Hasaf • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem is that the focus is on the wrong word. You even used the word. The word you used was "healthcare." The problem is that the word being used when the law is being worked on is not, "care," it is ,"insurance.

The emphasis remains to provide insurance, with the assumption that care will follow. The focus needs to be on healthcare.

If it cuts out a huge slice of profit for a small number of people employed in health insurance, that must be viewed as the cost of increasing national efficiency in providing health care.

Re: Amazing

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Unfortunately, it has helped the insurance companies more than it should have, but that's called politics.

No, that's called "The affordable care act". This was its intent from the very beginning, when republicans invented it.

I eagerly await Mr. Trump and his Republican colleague's attempt at improving things.

In the same way you await a train wreck? Or are you simply expecting to wait eternally? Because I have yet to see a republican attempt to improve anything.

Re: Thanks Obama!

By radl33t • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Excellent example. For fun, I track all insurance spending and compare it to that amount that would sit in my index funds. I am only 32, but, minus claims, I would have $104,000+ sitting in an account right now from car, home, and medical insurance. It would be significantly more because, approximately 65% of that could have been tax advantaged. That is after subtracting my single ~28K medical claim, which, funny enough, may have killed me without 5 minute access to a level 1 trauma center.

Re:Thanks Obama!

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

To start off, don't rely on private insurance providers or push any responsibilities out to individual states.

The trouble with your proposed solution, would be taking even more power away from the states, where constitutionally, the most power in the US is supposed to reside.

Switzerland Agrees To Its Own New Data Sharing Pact With the US

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mickeycaskill quotes a report from Silicon.co.uk: Switzerland has agreed its own new data transfer agreement with the United States, basing the framework on the deal struck by the European Union (EU) following the invalidation of Safe Harbour. The previous arrangement was invalidated because of concerns about U.S. mass surveillance but Switzerland says the new Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield will allow Swiss companies to transfer customer data without the need for additional contractual guarantees. The Swiss Federal Council, a seven member executive council that is effectively the head of government in Switzerland, claim citizens will benefit from additional protections and the ability to contact an ombudsman about data issues. Although not part of the EU, Switzerland is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has several bilateral agreements with the EU that sees it adopt many of the bigger bloc's policies. The Federal Council says the alignment between the EU and the Swiss transatlantic data sharing partnerships is good news for multinational organizations.

Consumer Reports Now Recommends MacBook Pros

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Consumer Reports has updated their report on the 2016 MacBook Pros, and is now recommending Apple's latest notebooks. MacRumors reports: In the new test, conducted running a beta version of macOS that fixes the Safari-related bug that caused erratic battery life in the original test, all three MacBook Pro models "performed well." The 13-inch model without a Touch Bar had an average battery life of 18.75 hours, the 13-inch model with a Touch Bar lasted for 15.25 hours on average, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar had an average battery life of 17.25 hours. "Now that we've factored in the new battery-life measurements, the laptops' overall scores have risen, and all three machines now fall well within the recommended range in Consumer Reports ratings," reports Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports originally denied the 2016 MacBook Pro a purchase recommendation in late December due to extreme battery life variance that didn't match up with Apple's 10 hour battery life claim. Apple worked with Consumer Reports to figure out why the magazine encountered battery life issues, which led to the discovery of an obscure Safari caching bug. Consumer Reports used a developer setting to turn off Safari caching, triggering an "obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons" that drained excessive battery. The bug, fixed by Apple in macOS Sierra 10.12.3 beta 3, is not one the average user will encounter as most people don't turn off the Safari caching option, but it's something done in all Consumer Reports tests to ensure uniform testing conditions. A fix for the issue will be available to the general public when macOS Sierra 10.12.3 is released, but users can get it now by signing up for Apple's beta testing program.

Oh well..

By fluffernutter • Score: 3 • Thread
I guess this means I'm not getting a replacement for a battery that actually lasts 10 hours one day.

Doesn't line up with our testing.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I've got 20 of these things seeing daily use as testing machines within our company, with the potential to purchase anywhere between 4K and 20K machines should they be deemed acceptable.

Right now, they are not.

So far, every single user that has a testing unit has complained about dongles at least once. Nearly half of them have complained about accidentally activating the touch bar, simply because their fingers accidentally brushed across it. We've also seen three laptops outright fail- the touchbar would randomly hang up, severely reducing the usability of the machine (apparently it's controlled by an embedded computer running it's own OS, rather than being accessible as a second display of pixels through the host OS).

However, the current show stopper is the battery life.

If you use these machines lightly, they're great. We get anywhere from 10 to 15 hours of use. If you load the machine down in any significant way- be it causing the GPU to kick in, or all the CPU cores to fire up- battery life drops to a measly 4-5 hours, sometimes as low as 3.

It's pretty clear that Apple has implemented some very aggressive power saving features, but at the same time this appears to be something they had to do to get any kind of reasonable battery life out of these machines- it's not something they did to extend an already excellent battery life, because if you're actually using the hardware then the runtime isn't that stellar. This is in line with what CR originally found, regardless of any Safari bugs. The machine simply isn't capable of lasting that long if you're using the hardware, regardless of what that use is caused by (be it a stray daemon sucking up 100% of a CPU core, or a Safari bug doing something similar, or anything else).

As it stands right now, these are going to be the first Apple laptops our company won't purchase for any of our employees. The hardware just isn't capable of consistently meeting our requirements. I get the feeling that Apple would have loved to have crammed netbook quality hardware inside this thing for thinness, but they knew that was marketing suicide so they came up with this machine instead, where you've got impressive specs and it works well as,long as you don't try to use them.

It's a shame, because if they'd made the machine a bit bigger with a higher capacity battery, we wouldn't have any complaints. 7-8 hours of life under moderate to heavy use is great, but that's nowhere near what we're seeing with these units.

Re:Slashdot "experts" who were wrong.

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

All of those smug commenters turned out to be wrong.

Actually, I don't remember anybody saying that it was entirely a hardware problem. It was very obvious from the very beginning that it was both. If it were purely a hardware problem, it would run down quickly all the time. The fact that it only happened when certain apps were running meant that software was causing excessive CPU utilization, which resulted in the battery running down much faster than you would ordinarily expect when running a typically power-thrifty app such as a web browser. And if it were purely a software problem, the remaining time estimate would be wrong, but the computer would continue to operate.

Clearly, it is also not only a software problem. If the hardware had been designed with a proper 100 Wh battery instead of the inadequate 75 Wh battery that they ended up using, then the worst-case battery life for the new MacBook Pro would be a few percent better than the worst-case battery life for the previous generation. Instead, as this software bug so clearly demonstrated, it is possible for CPU-hungry software to burn through the battery in only about 75% of the time that it took on the previous model, because as we all correctly pointed out, the battery is too small, and the CPU isn't significantly more efficient than it was in previous generations.

It is unfortunate that Consumer Reports retracted their complaint. As a result, no doubt a bunch of Apple apologists who don't actually understand how CPU power management works will falsely trumpet that there's nothing wrong with the hardware, when in reality, that couldn't be farther from the truth. The software bug exposed a fundamental design flaw in the hardware. The only thing that the software update fixed was the behavior of a single app (Safari). Although users who never run anything but a web browser can now rest easy in blissful ignorance, power users will still hate this new laptop because they'll still get three-quarters as much battery life as they did in the previous model, give or take a few percent. That's the harsh reality.

So no, the experts weren't wrong. You just didn't understand what we said.

Re:Slashdot "experts" who were wrong.

By imidan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

First, I think it's important to point out that positive moderation on Slashdot doesn't necessarily mean you're right about what you said, it just means that your opinion is popular.

Second, it's also important for us all to understand that Slashdot mod points are not rare or valuable, they do not make or break a person's reputation, and nobody cares what your Slashdot karma score is.

Third, literally revising history to retroactively alter a person's karma score is actually crazy for a few reasons... the two listed above, plus the reason that going back and changing the mod points doesn't mean it actually happened that way. Even making the suggestion that this is what should happen seems to indicate a profound misunderstanding of cause and effect, and of the world in general.

Jesus, we don't just erase our past when people say things that turn out to be incorrect. You're advocating a fucking sci-fi dystopia.

Hysterical screaming from the RDF brigade

By Shane_Optima • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Shane_Optima was wrong.

I most certainly was not wrong. I said that if it was a software bug in Safari (as alleged) that it was obviously still Apple's fault. I didn't address the possibility of CR screwing up one way or another. And guess what? According to TFS, Apple *did* screw up.

Apple is responsible for Safari bugs. That was my assertion then, and it's my assertion now.

How was that Slashdot comment, which turned out to be right, modded? -1.

Wow. So you're complaining that an Anonymous Coward (you?) speculating baselessly (yes baselessly, because no preliminary observations or experiments were mentioned) about the possible cause of the poor test result and then implying that Apple should be let off the hook if it's a Safari bug received a single -1 downmod instead of being modded up to +5, Nostradamus?

No one is going to have their mod privileges revoked. Instead, try re-working your tone to sound less like a perpetually whining fanboy.

I mean, for many years I liked Google (still do, in some ways) but I don't flip the fuck out when people criticize, for example, their decision to drop microSD card slots from their devices. That was a horrible anti-consumer decision and I made sure to mention it any time I talked to someone who was thinking about buying a Nexus device. There's a reason why Apple fanboys have the reputation that they do. No other tech company on Earth inspires this kind of rabid and unthinking loyalty.

Incidentally, if you register for an account people are around here will be less likely to assume you're a blithering fool or astroturfer.

The real moderation tragedy is that your comment here is currently modded up to +4. "Admins, go back and fix the moderation and mod everyone else down! My speculative Apple apologia turned out to be correct in fact [just not in conclusion]!", Jesus fucking Christ...

Fingerprinting Methods Identify Users Across Different Browsers On the Same PC

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: A team of researchers from universities across the U.S. has identified different fingerprinting techniques that can track users when they use different browsers installed on the same machine. Named "cross-browser fingerprinting" (CBF), this practice relies on new technologies added to web browsers in recent years, some of which had been previously considered unreliable for cross-browser tracking and only used for single browser fingerprinting. These new techniques rely on making browsers carry out operations that use the underlying hardware components to process the desired data. For example, making a browser apply an image to the side of a 3D cube in WebGL provides a similar response in hardware parameters for all browsers. This is because the GPU card is the one carrying out this operation and not the browser software. According to the three-man research team led by Assistant Professor Yinzhi Cao from the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Lehigh University, the following browser features could be (ab)used for cross-browser fingerprinting operations: [Screen Resolution, Number of CPU Virtual Cores, AudioContext, List of Fonts, Line, Curve, and Anti-Aliasing, Vertex Shader, Fragment Shader, Transparency via Alpha Channel, Installed Writing Scripts (Languages), Modeling and Multiple Models, Lighting and Shadow Mapping, Camera and Clipping Planes.] Researchers used all these techniques together to test how many users they would be able to pin to the same computer. For tests, researchers used browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Opera, Safari, Maxthon, UC Browser, and Coconut. Results showed that CBF techniques were able to correctly identify 99.24% of all test users. Previous research methods achieved only a 90.84% result.

Time for counter-measures

By davidwr • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Browsers should present a "generic" capabilities list to web sites unless the user white-lists that site to receive some or all of the "real" capabilities. An online video-gaming site may need to know if I can play a GPU-intensive online game through the web browser, but very few other sites need to know.

For example, "generic capabilities" would be:

Screen size would be "small" for tablets, phones, and small notebooks, or "normal" for everything else. Pixel density would not be disclosed.
"List of fonts" would be the most common "web fonts" in the main language of the operating system.
As for the rest, they would be shown as "not disclosed."

Re:What sites??

By 0100010001010011 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Someone that has advanced personal knowledge of this should definitely chime in about the glories of the HOSTS file over all other options.

Why isn't Mozilla doing more?!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What I always wonder is why Mozilla isn't doing more to protect user privacy. This is one thing that could really differentiate them from Chrome and other browsers.

I always hear from Mozilla supporters that Firefox is already "the best" when it comes to this. But the summary claims that Firefox is affected by these methods.

Then there are problems like how Firefox includes "telemetry" support that can be disabled, but it can't be easily removed completely. This should be opt-in, in the sense of the functionality not even being present unless you download a special non-default build that includes it. Yeah, that means Mozilla likely won't get as much user data to mine. That's the whole point, though: the browser shouldn't unnecessarily share data with anyone, including Mozilla. It's not like whatever data they've been collecting so far has done them any good; Firefox's share of the market is continually dropping as users get more and more disappointed with its awful user experience. All of the smart Firefox users (the ones being driven away) likely already disabled "telemetry", so they're probably already basing their decisions on incomplete data from the dumbest Firefox users.

It also doesn't help that they're so eager to include all of this unnecessary Web 2.0 and HTML5 functionality that lets websites track your location, or use your microphone, or other nonsense like that. This is the kind of crap that has one purpose only: providing personal data to advertisers. Any other use case is better handled by non-browser applications.

User privacy is one area where Firefox could really shine. It's perhaps the one thing that could really draw users back from Chrome, Edge, Safari, and the other browsers they've moved to after Firefox's user experience went to hell. Yet what the Firefox devs have done in this direction so far has been uninspiring.

You're far too generous

By bsdasym • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The game site does not need to know what your capabilities are. If you try to run it, and it doesn't work, you don't try again. It doesn't need to know *any* of the fonts or even font-families you have installed, it just needs to do what the web has always done; Present a list of fonts the site designer would like the browser to use, if they are available and the user allows it. No site needs to know even the simple small/med/large screen size, as that can all be (and usually is) handled entirely within the browser via CSS.

Give them even less info than you propose and it'll still be too much, generally speaking.

Re:VirtualBox

By techno-vampire • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Using multiple VMs with different distros won't help a bit here, because when you come right down to it, they're all using the same hardware, and that's what this is exploiting. Now, if you had multiple graphics cards and let different distros use different cards, that might throw them off.

Europe Calls For Mandatory 'Kill Switches' On Robots

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
To combat the robot revolution, the European Parliament's legal affairs committee has proposed that robots be equipped with emergency "kill switches" to prevent them from causing excessive damage. Legislators have also suggested that robots be insured and even be made to pay taxes. "A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics," said Mady Delvaux, the parliamentarian who authored the proposal. "To ensure that robots are and will remain in the service of humans, we urgently need to create a robust European legal framework." CNNMoney reports: The proposal calls for a new charter on robotics that would give engineers guidance on how to design ethical and safe machines. For example, designers should include "kill switches" so that robots can be turned off in emergencies. They must also make sure that robots can be reprogrammed if their software doesn't work as designed. The proposal states that designers, producers and operators of robots should generally be governed by the "laws of robotics" described by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. The proposal also says that robots should always be identifiable as mechanical creations. That will help prevent humans from developing emotional attachments. "You always have to tell people that robot is not a human and a robot will never be a human," said Delvaux. "You must never think that a robot is a human and that he loves you." The report cites the example of care robots, saying that people who are physically dependent on them could develop emotional attachments. The proposal calls for a compulsory insurance scheme -- similar to car insurance -- that would require producers and owners to take out insurance to cover the damage caused by their robots. The proposal explores whether sophisticated autonomous robots should be given the status of "electronic persons." This designation would apply in situations where robots make autonomous decisions or interact with humans independently. It would also saddle robots with certain rights and obligations -- for example, robots would be responsible for any damage they cause. If advanced robots start replacing human workers in large numbers, the report recommends the European Commission force their owners to pay taxes or contribute to social security.

I wanted to live in the future

By H3lldr0p • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

just not this weird sci-fi dystopian version we seem to be headed towards.

I was attacked by a Roomba

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

My Roomba has a kill switch, but that didn't stop it from attacking me. It was vacuuming the living room, when I went outside to fetch the dog bowl, leaving the backdoor ajar so I could get back in. Just as I picked up the dog bowl, I heard a "thump ... click". The robot had bumped the door, closing it, and locking me out of my house. I had to get a ladder from the shed and climb in through a 2nd floor window.

Lesson learned: Never turn your back on a robot.

Idiots

By sexconker • Score: 3 • Thread

The proposal states that designers, producers and operators of robots should generally be governed by the "laws of robotics" described by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.

Asimov's entire point was that such laws can't work. The robots will eventually run amok and bring about the downfall of society and our species.

Re:Three Laws Safe!

By chuckugly • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Not for that guy, though. His future looks pretty good to me.

Sad, sad, sad.

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I'm not sure which makes me sadder: The fact that an entire committee of people who are so highly placed in the EU actually think about this subject in such terms, or that enough citizens of the EU are concerned about the subject.

..no, it's neither one. It's the fact that all the above apparently believe science-fantasy so much, and are so under-educated on the actual realities of the subject, that any of them think the way they're thinking about this. Sad, sad, sad!

Obama Changed Rules Regarding Raw Intelligence, Allowing NSA To Share Raw Data With US's Other 16 Intelligence Agencies

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Schneier on Security: President Obama has changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, allowing the NSA to share raw data with the U.S.'s other 16 intelligence agencies. The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches. The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people. Here are the new procedures. This rule change has been in the works for a while. Here are two blog posts from April discussing the then-proposed changes.

Re:NOT FAIR!

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What's he difference between a lentil and a chickpea?
Trump won't pay $1000 to have a lentil on his face.

I'd carry on, but that'd be taking the piss.

But you're still reading, so I guess urine for the long haul.

Re:Thanks, Obama!

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Geez....Obama is trying to fuck us until his very last day in office.....

Frankly, I'm amazed we've survived this long without more rights trampled.

The meme is the message

By Xenographic • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

That's especially funny.

Because I believe I explained how this kind of nonsense works in my comment from just under a week ago, quoted in relevant part:

I have secret evidence that your secret evidence is completely bogus. This same secret evidence also indicates that you secretly wet the bed last night. And 20 organizations have signed off on it.

People who watch the "news" are like 50 shades behind everything going on. You guys have no idea how hilarious this is while waiting for you to catch up. But the real joke here is that there are people who actually think that CNN & BuzzFeed's "raw intelligence" of Trump pissing on Obama's bed is real. Corroborating evidence? We have a video of someone who gave Trump a golden shower in 2011! (quasi-SFW, despite what you might think)

Just don't read this guy's explanation of how it was sourced from nonsense they fabricated based on this old TIL on Reddit (amazing how history repeats itself...). But yes, someone can then feel free to link me to BuzzFeed & others "debunking" that one on the basis that the 4chan post laughing about their first victim is newer than the document they wrote during the primaries.

And then we can laugh at how they don't totally "debunk" the dossier based on the fact that they can't corroborate anything worth a damn in it, save maybe that it was created by someone doing an opposition report on Trump who got paid more the longer it was. That way we can all ignore all the more mundane items in the report that were proven to be nonsense. Anyhow, there are far more interesting things to research while everyone else is still wading through the "leaks" and yellow journalism. Feel free to keep wading through the stream, hoping to uncover nuggets of truth. I don't know about you, but after that sort of filth, I need a shower.

NSA probably isn't very happy about that

By LTIfox • Score: 3 • Thread
That would undoubtedly compromise intelligence gathering methods. Plus it would be only a matter of time before one of the recipients got hacked and all the data dumped.

Obama now supports whistleblowing!

By zedaroca • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

He just needed to get out of office.

Obama made the most pro-transparency move of his office time. By greatly increasing access to secret information, the odds of us knowing the lies and crimes of the future administration are also increased. Let's hope for new troves.

Arizona Plans To Sue Theranos Over Faulty Blood Tests

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a TechCrunch report: The Arizona attorney general is soliciting outside legal counsel to pursue a consumer fraud lawsuit against the beleaguered blood testing startup Theranos, according to a document posted on the state's procurement website. AZ's AG has so far declined to comment on any action, but the document contends Theranos may have defrauded customers in the state and the office is now seeking proposals to assist it in possible legal action "against Theranos, Inc. and its closely related subsidiaries for violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act arising out of Theranos Inc.'s long-running scheme of deceptive acts and misrepresentations relating to the capabilities and operation of Theranos blood testing equipment." Theranos ran its consumer portion of the business in Arizona and even worked with the state government to change laws allowing consumers to request blood tests without a doctor's permission. But, as the document cites, a myriad bad test results, including those raised in a series of Wall street Journal articles, raised concerns with the attorney general's office.

It is not "a myriad"

By al0ha • Score: 3 • Thread
It is myriad - as in myriad bad test results, not a myriad bad test results; didn't you pay attention in skool?

Took long enough

By smooth wombat • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

It's been known for years Theranos is nothing but a scam. They have never allowed anyone to try and replicate their results, have never submitted their tests to government scrutiny, have never done anything to show their tests do what they claim they do.

It's a bit late for Arizona to be suing the company now, right when it's about to go bankrupt. At least go after Holmes for the fraud she's been perpetuating all this time because there's little left of the company.

US EPA Accuses Fiat Chrysler of Excess Diesel Emissions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of illegally using hidden software to allow excess diesel emissions to go undetected, the result of a probe that stemmed from regulators' investigation of rival Volkswagen AG. From a report: FCA shares plummeted as the maximum fine is about $4.6 billion. The EPA action affects 104,000 U.S. trucks and SUVs sold since 2014, about one-sixth the vehicles in the Volkswagen case. The EPA and California Air Resources Board told Fiat Chrysler it believes its undeclared auxiliary emissions control software allowed vehicles to generate excess pollution in violation of the law. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne angrily rejected the allegations at a hastily-assembled conference call with reporters, saying there was no wrongdoing and the company never attempted to create software to cheat emissions rules by detecting when the vehicle was in test mode.

Re:This is why emissions testing should actually t

By Solandri • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
California reached a nexus point on this issue in the 1990s. See, emissions testing is cost-effective only if a significant fraction of the vehicles are in violation. If a smog test costs $40, and 10% of the cars are failing, then it's costing the economy $400 to detect each non-compliant car. If the excess pollution the car was putting out costs the economy (say) $1000, then testing is a cost-effective way to get these polluting cars fixed or off the road.

But what if the program is successful and compliance rates increases to 99%? Then you're spending $4000 to detect each non-compliant car, and the cost to detect these polluting cars exceeds the damage they do. That's the situation California found itself in in the 1990s.

The companies which made emissions testing equipment came up with a radical suggestion. Get rid of the annual smog tests. Instead, mount emissions detecting equipment at areas where cars normally slow down to pass. Freeway off-ramps, intersections, etc. The equipment would constantly detect emissions, and when it saw a spike in emissions it would snap a photo of the offending car(s). If the same car's plates showed up in multiple photos, you could send that registered owner a fix-it ticket requiring they bring the car in for testing. This way you're not wasting time or money dealing with the 99% of cars which are in compliance, and only spending extra money testing the 1% of cars which are probably in violation.

Unfortunately by the 1990s, smog testing in California had grown into a billion dollar industry. The service stations and smog test stations lobbied hard in Sacramento to kill this idea. They won, and so we still require smog tests today even though the vast majority of cars pass. It's worth nothing that an on-road emissions detection system would've caught the violating VWs nearly a decade ago when they first started cheating.

Everyone's doing it

By hawguy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I suspect this will play out like the doping scandals in sports -- everyone is doing it because if you're not, then you're at a competitive disadvantage.

I'm sure this is why none of the other manufacturers called our VW for this practice before the EPA found out... they didn't want to raise attention to it. I'm sure they all knew about.... if one manufacturer released an engine that met impossible-to-meet standards, you can bet that they all dissected the engine to see how they did it.

Re:Conservatives need to realize cheating occurs

By green1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Where do you get your information?

I live in Canada, there are very few models of EV available for purchase here compared to any CARB state in the US.

There is also no requirement that EVs be sold at all anywhere in the country, unlike the US where CARB states require the sale of EVs.

So let's revise what you said:
models available: nope
Required to be sold in every province in Canada? nope.

I can purchase locally the following EVs: Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. That's the entire list. If I go to another city I can add Smart ED, Kia Soul EV, and Mitsubishi MiEV. (theoretically the chevy spark and ford focus electric are also available, but I've been unable to find anywhere selling them)

I can not buy the following EVs anywhere in Canada despite their availability in the US:
Fiat 500EV
eGolf
Mercedes B Class Electric
Scion iQ EV
Honda Fit EV

What's worse?

By AndyKron • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
What's worse: Illegal emissions software, or dropping over 26,000 bombs in 2016 alone without any declaration of war? I'd say our government is far worse than Fiat. But then again, nobody seems to care about that except for the people who are watching their loved ones getting blown to pieces every day.

Re:Well yeah....

By Dare nMc • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> For example, they don't care whether it's a 1.6-2.0 liter 4 cylinder in a 3000lb car that gets 50mpg or a 7 liter V8 in a 7000lb package that gets 15-20mpg.

Not sure who the "they" you refer to is. In the US EPA cares, the have CAFE standards, and the Estimated fuel economy is used to calculate the allowed CO2 emissions per mile. Other emissions are not directly tied to fuel economy, but hitting the above standard closes the loop.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/...
  These standards
apply to model years 2009 through 2016
and require CO2 emissions for passenger
cars and the smallest light trucks of 323
g/mi in 2009 and 205 g/mi in 2016, and
for the remaining light trucks of 439 g/
mi in 2009 and 332 g/mi in 2016

Amazon To Add 100,000 Full-Time US Jobs in Next 18 Months

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a GeekWire report: Amazon just made a big statement about its continued growth aspirations, announcing that it plans to add another 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. over the next 18 months, an increase of more than 55 percent in its domestic workforce. The growth would push Amazon's U.S. workforce to more than 280,000 people by mid 2018. Amazon said in an announcement that the jobs will be available to people "all across the country and with all types of experience, education and skill levels -- from engineers and software developers to those seeking entry-level positions and on-the-job training."

Amazon stories

By Futurepower(R) • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Amazon: Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon's sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers (February 23, 2014)

Amazon: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace (August 15, 2015) Quote: "The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers..."

Amazon: Amazon Under Fire Over Alleged Worker Abuse in Germany (February 19, 2013)

Microsoft: Microsoft Is Filled With Abusive Managers And Overworked Employees, Says Tell-All Book (May 23, 2012)

Seattle: Together with Microsoft and bad city management, Seattle is a miserable place:

Traffic: Seattle one of the worst U.S. cities for traffic congestion, tied with NYC (March 31, 2015) Quote: "An additional 23 minutes a day spent in traffic may not sound like much, but when it adds up over a year it becomes 89 hours." (Whoever wrote that must be accustomed to Seattle misery. An additional 23 minutes a day spent in traffic sounds HORRIBLE.)

Slow internet: Many areas of Seattle have poor internet connections. See the article, These places have the slowest Internet in the country. (June 25, 2015) Quote: "... Seattle ... CenturyLink (CTL) customers trying to access particular sites from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. will have unbearably slow speeds."

Re:And what's the point?

By DogDude • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Trump is truly a 3D chess master.

No, he's not even a 2D chess master. He's a barely literate buffoon.

Re:Bow to your Amazon overlords.

By JackieBrown • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Progress? Adapt or die to new technology (as we here keep telling the RIAA and MPAA)

Re:Soros loser mod you down?

By ranton • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'm inclined to agree based on this amazon result, sprint, carrier, Ford, kicking foreign cheap HB1 labor out, alibaba possibly too - probably more too!

This is all just Trump's PR machine taking credit for things that happen all the time anyway. According to The Reshoring Initiative, about 3000 jobs per month moved back to the US from 2009-2016. In 2015 it was almost 5600 jobs per month. With Carrier saving 800 jobs immediately, Sprint creating 5000 jobs over 12 months, and Ford creating 700 jobs in an undetermined amount of time, it all comes up to well under 1000 jobs per month. And arguably only a few hundred of them would have been counted by the Reshoring Initiative, so it's an even smaller number compared to previous years than it looks. These are all just very small deals being made at a local level which happen all of the time.

When presidents save jobs, they do it millions at a time. Like when Obama saved an estimated 1.5 million automotive jobs through TARP. It's not fair to compare Trump's accomplishments with Obama's since Trump hasn't entered office yet, but these minor news stories are the type of wins a mayor or governor would brag about, not a President elect. The type of deal making where Trump sits in an office with individual business owners (even if the business is as big as Ford) is not the type which will make meaningful change for American workers.

Re:Bow to your Amazon overlords.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Speaking of acceleration, I wonder how many brick and mortar businesses (and jobs) they've left in their wake...

Steel plows put a lot of farmers out of business. Automatic looms put a lot of weavers out of business. Backhoes put a lot of ditch diggers out of business. Progress happens.

Cassettes Are Back, and Booming

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long time reader harrymcc writes: By now, it isn't news that vinyl albums continue to sell, even in the Spotify era. But a new report says that sales of music on cassette are up 140 percent. The antiquated format is being embraced by everyone from indie musicians to Eminem and Justin Bieber. Fast Company's John Paul Titlow took a look at tape's unexpected revival, and why it's not solely about retro hipsterism.

Re:In this economy?

By Grishnakh • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I disagree about the physical clutter bit; I actually like having the real CDs for my music. I buy stuff on CD, then rip it to Ogg to be used on my various devices. However, there's some giant differences from cassettes:

1) CDs actually have excellent sound quality, better even than the MP3 digital downloads sold at places like Amazon.
2) CDs don't degrade when you play them.
3) CDs come with booklets that frequently have the lyrics, artwork, etc. Of course, cassettes do too, but theirs suck because the format is different. CD booklets are a nice format that's about 1/4 the size of an old LP booklet, and has a nice square aspect ratio. Cassette inserts have a terrible aspect ratio and (at least back in the 80s/90s when I used to see stuff sold both ways and was able to compare) is usually missing a lot of stuff compared to the CD version.

But you're absolutely right that there's no rational reason to use cassettes. There's absolutely nothing better about them compared to other formats. They're awful; the size is terrible, the sound quality is terrible (it was terrible even when they were current; I remember well the tape hiss problem), they wear out, you can't skip tracks, you have to rewind them, etc. This truly is a case of simple retro hipsterism, nothing more.

Re:It IS hipsterism (if that's a word)

By tsotha • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Yeah, it makes no sense. But he's a musician, not an accountant.

Re:In this economy?

By Migraineman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Well...let's see an uncompressed, unfiltered, band-unlimited, DRM-less analog audio stream from a cassette, ...

Clearly you've never mastered audio for cassette output. Typical compact cassette tape will start rolling-off around 12-14kHz; chrome tape will get you 16kHz; metal will get you close to 20kHz. Tape ain't the holy grail, as limitations of the medium impose compression, filtering, and band limitation (just in the analog domain.)

I just checked, and I can get 100 CD-Rs for $12 retail all day long. So my band can release a single on CD in an audio-CD format, or as a data disc with a raw uncompressed bit file. I can master this from the kitchen of my apartment, just like the article says.

In spite of the article claiming "this isn't another display of analog hipsterism," oh yes it is.

Re:In this economy?

By oddaddresstrap • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"... meaningless without giving the base number ..."

From the report the article was based on:
"There were 11,489 cassettes purchased during the Holiday Season (an increase of 140% over 2015)".

Re:It IS hipsterism (if that's a word)

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Sgt. Pepper's was only four tracks.

It was only four tracks at a time. George Martin was ping-ponging from deck to deck like crazy.

With a computer and a USB interface, you don't have to go through all that, thank god. My first recording system was an old Tascam 4-track and it was hell compared to what can be done today.

Hacker Steals 900 GB of Cellebrite Data

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An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard report: Motherboard has obtained 900 GB of data related to Cellebrite, one of the most popular companies in the mobile phone hacking industry. The cache includes customer information, databases, and a vast amount of technical data regarding Cellebrite's products. The breach is the latest chapter in a growing trend of hackers taking matters into their own hands, and stealing information from companies that specialize in surveillance or hacking technologies. Cellebrite is an Israeli company whose main product, a typically laptop-sized device called the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), can rip data from thousands of different models of mobile phones. That data can include SMS messages, emails, call logs, and much more, as long as the UFED user is in physical possession of the phone.

Too bad they didn't publish the data.

By volodymyrbiryuk • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Too bad they didn't publish the data.

Re:Two questions

By The-Ixian • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Cellebrite was the company that "resolved" the issue for the FBI when they wanted access to a locked iPhone and Apple wouldn't help them by circumventing their own software.

So, enter Cellebrite and their cracking software to the rescue. The FBI then withdrew their request to Apple.

The whole thing was covered ad nauseam and, in my opinion, was largely a publicity stunt by Apple to showcase how secure their device is.

Re: Two questions

By cfalcon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think it was a political stunt to try to soft-ban encryption solutions, by overtly forcing a very prominent privacy oriented company into unlocking their own crypto by pushing in a backdoored update. The end result would be that any company that didn't have a backdoor ready to go for any device or OS that it touched would look like it was standing in opposition to law enforcement, and that this would be considered a legal risk, and therefore, no one would continue making encryption easier and/or more reliable.

Re:Pot meet Kettle

By BlueStrat • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Am curious how they feel when it happens to them.

i'm sure mossad will ensure we never know.

If the hacker(s) is/are smart the first thing he/they did was set up multiple deadman caches of the data that would automatically splash the data all over the web and physically send multiple copies of the data by multiple means/routes to multiple news/press/media outlets across the world if anything happened to them, as insurance against any possible reprisals/arrests/etc. I would, and I'm no uber-1337 h4x0r. Just in no hurry to find out if there's an afterlife or if my cellmate's name would actually be 'Bubba'. :)

Strat

Help is on its way

By troll -1 • Score: 3 • Thread
Does Giuliani know about this?

HTC's New Flagship Phone Has AI and a Second Screen, But No Headphone Jack

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: HTC is getting 2017 off to a flying start with an unseasonably early announcement of its next flagship phone: the U Ultra. This 5.7-inch device inaugurates a new U series of smartphones and is joined by a smaller and lesser U Play, which scales things down to 5.2 inches and a humbler camera and processor spec. HTC is touting a new Sense Companion, which is its take on the growing trend for putting AI assistants into phones, plus the addition of a second screen at the top of the U Ultra. As with Apple's latest iPhones, Lenovo's Moto Z, and the HTC Bolt, neither of HTC's new handsets has a headphone jack. The other big change on the outside is the U Ultra's second screen, which is a thin 2-inch strip residing to the right of the front-facing camera and immediately above the Super LCD 5 screen.

Re:No headphone jack ...

By jlechem • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Must be a shitty ploy, my brand new HTC bolt came with wired headphones. They are usb-c headphones but they are wired and they sound really really good. A cheap ass dongle will let me use my 3.5mm headphones if I so desire. I was butt hurt at first but I've gotten used tho them. Now if it was bluetooth only I would have taken this thing back in a heartbeat.

Re:No headphone jack ...

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Fuck dongles. Seriously, fuck needing a dongle to get a 0.01mm thinner phone with worse battery life.

They are particularly bad for headphones, because you tend to use headphones while moving around where as charging is done stationary. That means strain on the connector, and the headphone socket is fairly robust but the USB port is much more prone to damage.

Nope, nope, nope

By Stormwatch • Score: 3 • Thread

No jack, no buy, no thanks.

Re:Unfortunate.

By blindseer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Because the engineering mantra of designing something that's the minimum needed to do the job properly has been supplanted with a long-term strategic goal to attempt to sell more things to consumers by selling them devices that don't do everything they need out of the box.

Is this feature reduction or future proofing? I have a laptop with a SD slot and HDMI port that I've never used, except to only prove to myself that they worked, and not likely to use in the future. It also has USB-3 and DisplayPort outputs which with inexpensive adapters I can use to attach an SD card reader or HDMI cable. If given the option now I'd much rather buy a replacement that lacks a SD reader and HDMI port so that I can have a laptop that is just that much smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

I've had an iPod Touch for years that has seen daily use, and is now going into semi-retirement with my acquisition of an iPhone. That iPod had it's headphone jack damaged about a year ago but after an initial transition period I didn't miss it. I could still dock it with my truck stereo for music. When at home I could stream my music to an AirPort Expess, put in in a dock by my stereo, or just listen to it through the internal speaker. This is how I intend to use my iPhone now. What allowed me to keep that iPod working for me for so long was the ability to get audio and video from the dock port. I didn't need all kinds of ports and plugs on the iPod itself, I just bought the cables as I needed them. These cables and adapters included a composite A/V cable, component A/V cable, USB "card reader" adapter, and the car stereo adapter I mentioned earlier. An iPod with all of those ports on the device itself would have been huge.

This is a bit different with a laptop due to the inherent proportions of the format. I do remember many many people essentially laughing at Apple for not putting an optical drive in their laptop. Now we have people laughing at them for not having a SD slot. In the past I hated having to need adapters because they were exceedingly large and expensive, or so I perceived them to be, and it seemed I could never find the one I needed when I needed it. What has changed is the technology, adapters are smaller and cheaper now, and with the growth in the internet I have access to many competing suppliers trying to get me what I want when I want it.

Another change, perhaps just as important, is my perception. I have come to realize that no matter what two devices I have before me that I wish to connect I will need an adapter. We might not perceive this as an adapter but as a cable but every cable is effectively an adapter. Instead of thinking of this as having to buy another damned adapter I think of it as having to get a cable I would have had to get anyway but now I don't have to have a dozen ports on a computer where I'll only use half of them.

A joke among my friends was that USB stood for "useless serial bus" since when it was introduced there was nothing to plug into it. Now it's replaced nearly everything and I'm liking it. I don't need a laptop with a serial port, Ethernet port, flash card reader, modem port, Firewire port, parallel port, and DVI port like my old one did. When I pack my laptop I also pack the cables I need with the USB adapters attached. I treat the USB adapter and cable as a single unit, if it isn't a single physical unit already. While USB isn't quite "universal" it's close enough that I only need a couple other kinds of ports to plug into everything I need to get my work done.

Another thing that has changed with time is the weight bearing ability of my knees. Having all those ports on the laptop means weight that I must carry even if I just want to have a laptop with me to do a bit of work at a deli while eating. I'll still pack my bag with my laptop but all those adapters can be left behind.

So, yes, they do intend for people to come back for the cable they need. Any more I find complaints that a device doesn't have the p

Re:No headphone jack ...

By nmb3000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Must be a shitty ploy, my brand new HTC bolt came with wired headphones.

Pushing more expensive headphones might be a bonus short-term side effect, but the real victory here is the potential of closing the analog hole for mobile devices. I fully expect someone to introduce "end to end" DRM within a year or two which will require an authenticated and encrypted connection from the source (file or stream) through the mobile processor, to the headphones. Non-compliant headphones won't be able to authenticate with the host device and therefore won't be usable with certain DRM'd media.

Don't be surprised when Apple shows more "courage" and removes the analog audio connectors from their next lineup of desktops and laptops (if they haven't already). The desktop / laptop market will swiftly follow once people accept it on mobile.

Take a look at HDCP for an example of how this has already been done elsewhere.

Amazon Launches Anime Channel for $5 Per Month, Its First Branded Subscription Channel

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Todd Spangler, writing for Variety: Amazon is rolling out its first branded on-demand subscription service for Amazon Channels: Anime Strike, offering more than 1,000 series episodes and movies ranging from classic titles to current shows broadcast on Japanese TV. The Anime Strike channel is available to U.S. Amazon Prime members for $4.99 per month after a seven-day free trial, the newest addition to the lineup of around 100 services now available in Amazon Channels. Amazon has struck exclusive U.S. streaming deals for several series on Anime Strike, including "Scum's Wish," "Onihei," "The Great Passage," "Vivid Strike!," "Crayon-Shin Chan Gaiden: Alien vs. Shinnosuke," and "Chi's Sweet Adventure."

Re:The list sucks

By djinn6 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
They did license a bunch of other anime with non-exclusive contracts, like Rurouni Kenshin and Mushi-shi. Their library is obviously much smaller than Crunchyroll's since they just started, but Amazon has a lot of money and things might change after a few seasons.

The More You Know

By CrashNBrn • Score: 3 • Thread
Learn something new every day. Slashdot has an anime icon...

wat

By blackomegax • Score: 3 • Thread
5 dollars a month ON TOP OF prime? For some of the most vapid trope-filled tripe bullshit on the planet? No. There hasn't been good anime since stand alone complex. I doubt there ever will be again.

What a Rip-Off

By l0ungeb0y • Score: 3 • Thread
So, you fork over good money for Prime, only to have to fork over even more for their "channels" like this? Fuck Amazon and fuck Prime. They should either include this for free with Prime or just have everything sold piecemeal like they do with subscriptions on iTunes and iTunes doesn't cost $100/yr. As far as price/value goes, Netflix has Amazon Prime beat and they have plenty of Anime. In fact, Netflix has been putting out their own Anime for a while now, some of it like the Seven Deadly Sins is actually quite good

Re:Seems kind of odd.

By Qzukk • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Maybe they realized that the yearly subscription thing for Prime was not very popular with consumers

You have to be a Prime subscriber to subscribe to this, so you're paying monthly on top of the annual fee.

The Flying Lily Camera Drone is Dead, Buyers Will Be Refunded

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Lily Camera drone, which could begin recording as soon as you threw it into the air and would follow your movements automatically, has failed to materialize. The startup, which took pre-orders worth more than $34 million for its drone camera said Thursday they are shutting down the company and will issue refunds. From a report: The Lily company faced "many ups and downs" last year, the company said, adding that they couldn't secure financing for manufacturing and shipping the first batch of units. The Lily cameras were originally started to begin shipping in February 2016, but the co-founders said "software issues" resulted in a delay in the shipment. Later in October, the team gave people another chance to purchase the device, adding that stores will re-open in 2017. As of last month, the company hadn't shipped a single unit.

Oh please

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"The startup, which took pre-orders worth more than $34 million..."

FFS, you had $34 million dollars in your pocket and couldn't ship one fucking product?

They should rename themselves, "Hopeless Lamers Inc" and their company motto should be, "We Can't Do Shit".

Re:lolz

By shaitand • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
So what exactly did they do with the $34 million dollars? That seems like a substantial amount of funding just to ship a first round of a basic electronics product.

Re:Too long, too late

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Best Buy is filled with drones that will follow you around automatically.

Oh. You mean the flying ones, not the meat flesh ones.

Nevermind. Carry on.

Ups and downs

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 3 • Thread

The Lily company faced "many ups and downs" last year

Well... you'd hope so, really, when you're developing a drone.

Re:Oh please

By DerekLyons • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

FFS, you had $34 million dollars in your pocket and couldn't ship one fucking product?

IIRC there are legal limits on when you take that money out of (what is essentially) escrow. That is, the $34 million wasn't actually in their pocket and they (legally) couldn't put it in their pocket until they had a product to ship. That's one of the reasons why Kickstarter brands products to be delivered in the future as 'rewards' rather than 'pre-orders'. (Which doesn't stop people from seeing or using those rewards as pre-orders though.)

Opera Neon Turns Your Web Browser Into a Mini Desktop

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Opera today announced it's launching a new browser called Opera Neon. From a report on Engadget: It's a separate "concept" browser that shows where software could go. It's much more visual, with an uncluttered look, tabs and shortcuts as bubbles and a side control bar that largely gets out of your way. However, the real fun starts when you want to juggle multiple sites -- this is more of an intelligent desktop than your usual web client. If you want to have two pages running side by side, it's relatively easy: you drag one of your open tabs to the top of the window, creating a split view much like what you see in Windows or the multi-window modes on mobile devices. Also, Neon acknowledges that your browser can frequently double as a media player. You can listen to tunes in the background, or pop out a video in order to switch websites while you watch. These aren't completely novel concepts all by themselves, but it's rare to see all of them in a browser at the same time.

Flat, unintuitive UI? No thanks!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The article starts with a screenshot, followed by:

As much as modern desktop web browsers can do, their basic concept is stuck in a rut.

Well the screenshot shows that this browser appears to be stuck in the same rut that has plagued browsers, and UI design in general, for a few years now: these goddamn flat, unintuitive UIs forced on the world by Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Android and Windows 8/10.

With these awful flat UIs, it becomes much more difficult to determine how to interact with them. It's unclear what's a button, and what's a label, and what's an icon, and what happens if you click/press in a given area of the screen. That was the whole point of using borders and effects to try to give a three-dimensional appearance to UI elements: it makes it more obvious what they do and how they should be used.

I have no interest in these browsers that keep screwing around with inefficient UI paradigms thought up by web designers, rather than real UI experts. We should really return to UI design techniques that made for usable UIs, instead of the shitty techniques used today that only lead to painful UI experiences.

Re:A desktop ...

By Zocalo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
This is just the first step. Eventually, we'll have systemd-browser and the OS will be redundant.

But why?

By hackel • Score: 3 • Thread

What advantage is there to having a browser manage its own windows instead of the desktop window manager? It's not like this is new—almost every Windows program used to have a multiple-document interface that let you arrange multiple document windows inside of a primary application window. We moved away from this UI for a reason. It makes no sense. It's duplicating the functionality of the primary GUI and window manager. You can easily achieve the same result using existing tiling window managers and other tools. Is there some actual advantage here that I'm missing?

Apple Planning To Make Original TV Shows and Movies as Hardware Sales Soften

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
While investors seem to remain optimistic about the future of Apple, it's no secret that sales of its iconic hardware products have flatlined or fallen over the past year. From a report: We'll have to wait until January 31 to find out how the company performed over the critical holiday period. But for the moment, its most promising category of revenue has been "services," which includes things like Apple Music, and has been on a big winning streak over the past several quarters. Now it appears Apple is getting ready to make an even bigger bet in that category. According to a story just published by the Wall Street Journal, the company "has been in talks with veteran producers in recent months about buying rights to scripted television programs. It also has approached experienced marketing executives at studios and networks to discuss hiring them to promote its content." According to the story, the programming would be part of is Apple Music subscription ($6/month for an individual plan, $9 for a family plan.) The movie bit is deemed to be "more preliminary," according to the Journal.

Re:This is insane behavior.

By geekmux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Every indication points to the entertainment market being completely over-saturated. What makes Apple think they can do better than the existing studios?

Ever wonder if they said the exact same thing to Netflix a few years ago?

The world is flattening, which is opening up markets companies never even dreamed of before, so perhaps we can stop with this whole "over-saturated" theory now. Sure seems to me damn near anyone can make a buck these days as long as you can avoid infringing on someone else's patents, trademarks, or copyrights. Original content is a rather common-sense approach to doing exactly that.

*facepalm*

By ilsaloving • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Tim Cook: Oh no! Hardware sales are falling! What can we do?
exec: Stop making stupid hardware and go back to making stuff people actually want?
Tim Cook: No no that can't be it. We've just saturated the market so we need to start doing something else.

Re:Apple, why don't you show some "courage"

By amiga3D • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I like my 2012 15" Macbook Pro. Love it. But I haven't seen anything they've produced since that is worth buying. It's been a drive to lighten and reduce size and no other real improvements. They need to realize that some people don't want a 3mm thick computer at the cost of it becoming disposable in 3 years. Leave the option to change the battery and upgrade memory at the least. I'm going to be looking for a new laptop in another 3 or 4 years and it isn't looking like another Mac.

Re:Apple, your fashion statement is showing.

By 0100010001010011 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

flatlined or fallen over the past year..."

A company has finally made a Mini sided competitor, the NUC.
The Pro line is probably one of the last things Jobs had a hand in making. It just passed 3 years old.
They dropped their 17" line.
The 15" line was neutered.

Perhaps they should concentrate on making *hardware* if they want to sell it.

Dear Apple

By RatBastard • Score: 3 • Thread

Dear Apple,

How about making products your customers actually want? Like a MacBook Pro that's actually a pro-level computer. Or, a "Cheesegrater" Mac Pro with Thunderbolt and USB 3/3.1?

See, here's the deal: no one wanted the trash-can Mac Pro. We wanted the existing model with the I/O capabilities you put in your home-user machines. But, it's too late. You've lost us. We're tired of paying premium prices for last-years already outdated technology.

And you guys are really missing the bus with your lack of VR-compatible hardware. Sure, VR might be a flash in the pan, but isn't the fact that you make NOTHING with the CPU/GPU power to support it worrying?

Yours,
RatBastard, a former Mac customer.

Amazon Just Got Slapped With a $1 Million Fine For Misleading Pricing

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Some deals are too good to be true. And, for Amazon, they will cost the company. From a report on Recode: A Canadian enforcement agency announced today that Amazon Canada will pay a $1 million fine for what could be construed as misleading pricing practices. The investigation centered on the practice of Amazon displaying its prices compared to higher "list prices" -- suggested manufacturer prices (MSRPs) designed as marketing gimmicks to make people think they are getting a deal, even though it's often the case that no shopper ever pays that price. "The Bureau's investigation concluded that these claims created the impression that prices for items offered on www.amazon.ca were lower than prevailing market prices," Canada's Competition Bureau said in a statement. "The Bureau determined that Amazon relied on its suppliers to provide list prices without verifying that those prices were accurate."

Re:I'm all for protecting the consumer

By Nemyst • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
They could just read the relevant sections of the Competition Act. The criteria used to determine an ordinary price are clearly stated there.

Re:Govt wants free money

By beelsebob • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is a pretty common requirement in the western world. The US is the only western country I'm aware of in which there's not a law against advertising an item as on sale when it's never actually been sold at a higher price.

In the UK (and most of Europe) for example, all price cuts must be advertised as being cut from a different price that you have sold the item at for a continuous 30 day period.

Accuracy

By SeattleLawGuy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If that's the price the suppliers are giving them, why wouldn't it be accurate? Nobody forces people to buy from Amazon, there's an entire world wide web out there where they can compare prices and make their own determinations. Heck, there are even sites that will do the comparisons for you. Likewise, nobody ever pays MSRP on anything anyway; this sounds like a bogus complaint to me.

You are wrong. People rely on this information, which is why it is useful to do it. Amazon could and should easily show what the model normally sells for, but they only have an incentive to do it if forced to by regulation. Like how supermarkets should show price per unit even though anyone can do math if they take the time. In real life, you occasionally need regulation in order to incentivize behavior which is useful for society even though it hurts the person who does it. Otherwise you have lots of fraud, contracts are unenforceable, the economy becomes a whole lot less efficient, etc...

A lot of government regulations are implemented badly, and some are bad ideas, and there are too many--but there are really good reasons for some government actions.

Re:Canada extorts $1 Million from Amazon

By AthanasiusKircher • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yeah, I'm actually a bit surprised that so many people here just casually dismiss the fact that most American companies are engaging in pervasive and systemic deception on a regular basis. For the cynical among us, I'm sure people think that's true a lot of the time -- but prices are a pretty fundamental fact displayed by sellers (possibly THE fundamental fact). A lot of people here, for example, tend to be dismissive of ads, which they feel are mostly misleading and deceptive. I've seen a lot of posts arguing for their complete eradication. But displaying "fake prices" is okay?

Yes, it's common practice. Yes, it's not new. (I remember being shocked maybe 10-15 years ago when I went into a department store after probably not shopping in one for 5 years. And I couldn't believe how EVERYTHING was listed 50-70% off! I remember sales before that, sometimes exaggerating things, but it seems we took a turn somewhere in the past 20 years where this practice of inflating "retail price" became PERVASIVE.)

But just because it's common doesn't mean it's a good thing. While we're at it, can we do away with claims of "now with 30% MORE!" on product packaging unless that claim is followed explicitly by "more than... X" where X is a detailed explanation of what actually has less and when it had it?

Re:Govt wants free money

By sjames • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

How would it not? The whole premise of the free market is based on the buyer being able to determine tha value proposition of the offer. You can't do that when durability isn't apparent. For a while, brand made a decent(ish) proxy for that, but now most brands are just a shell around the no-name chassis used by multiple brands.

For example, 2 widgets priced at $30 and $35. The $30 one is made of substandard parts and will fail in a year. If the $35 one is made with quality parts, it will last 5-10 years. Simple choice. However, in the real world there's also the $40 one which is the same chassis as the $30 one but with a 'better' branding on the shell. There's also the $50 one that used to be made with high end components and would last a lifetime, but last year it switched to mid-grade parts and will last about 4 years.

If you don't have perfect information, you can only choose based on price so when it turns out to be crap, you lose as little as possible. So the $30 crappy one it is. No point in selling one that will last a lifetime at twice the price, nobody will believe it, so make one with the crappiest components known to man and sell at $25 if you actually want to stay in business. Every once in a while, use better components is a run so you can spread some dis-information around.

Likewise, competitive pricing for the same product only works when you know what other people are charging for the product.

New FCC Report Says AT&T and Verizon Zero-Rating Violates Net Neutrality

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Just a week and a half before he is set to leave office, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has issued a new report stating that the zero-rated video services offered by ATT and Verizon may violate the FCC's Open Internet Order. Assembled by the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the report focuses on sponsored data programs, which allow companies to pay carriers to exempt exempt their data from customers' data caps. According to the report, many of those packages simply aren't playing fair. "While observing that ATT provided incomplete responses to staff inquires," Wheeler wrote to Senators, "the report states that the limited information available supports a conclusion that ATT offers Sponsored Data to third-party content providers at terms and conditions that are effectively less favorable than those it offers to its affiliate, DirecTV." In theory, sponsored data should be an even playing field, with providers bearing the costs and making the same charges regardless of who's footing the bill. But according to the report, ATT treats the DirectTV partnership very differently from an unaffiliated sponsored data system, giving the service a strong advantage over competitors. "ATT appears to view the network cost of Sponsored Data for DIRECTV Now as effectively de minimis," the report concludes. While ATT still bears some cost for all that free traffic, it's small enough that the carrier doesn't seem to care. The report raises similar concerns regarding Verizon's Go90 program, although it concludes Verizon's program may be less damaging. Notably, the letter does not raise the same concerns about T-Mobile's BingeOn video deal, since it "charges all edge providers the same zero rate for participating."

Re:ATT & DirecTV wouldn't be a violation.

By quetwo • Score: 4 • Thread

Because AT&T has been given a defacto monopoly status (or really, participating in an oligopoly) by them being granted gobs of wireless spectrum in an exclusive manner. They aren't being told what they need to set their prices at, they are simply being told that they can't price them differently between them and their competitors. In the case of AT&T, they are not charging the customer or their subsidiary DirecTV for bandwidth, but for anybody who is using any of their competitors, they are charging the customer. This means that the customer is incentivized to use AT&T's product rather than a competitor, because while using the (T) service might cost $35 a month for unlimited streaming, it could cost in the hundreds or thousands for their competitors.

Does it really violate net nuetrality?

By acoustix • Score: 3 • Thread

I've always considered net neutrality to be more considered with how traffic is treated/shaped rather than how it is billed. I don't want service providers to change traffic priority that would benefit one content provider over another. But zero-rating, as far as I can tell, does not change traffic priority or speeds.

Re:A little late

By Maritz • Score: 4 • Thread

Lots of Trump fans on this site, presumably they're cool with having crappy connections to Netflix because Netflix haven't bribed their ISP sufficiently. You're headed for a brave new world where websites have to pay your ISP to access you, in addition to you paying your ISP.

Enjoy it.

Re:Racism?

By Maritz • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

You're claiming Trump's attorney general nominee is racist, while completely blowing off Obama's repeat calls to genocide against Appalachian culture. Go fuck yourself.

lol. I bet you believe in Pizzagate too.

Re:Abuse the unlimited data caps

By sabri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Nope 100% wrong

The cost of data over cable( copper or fiber) is effectively zero, the only costs are in supplying the cable in the first place ( and replacing it once every 100yrs or so, it doesn't exactly wear out). power costs are negligible

Nope 100% wrong.

Not only are you wrong, you are an idiot for posting this. Putting fiber in the ground is very expensive. Fixing fiber that has been broken is very expensive. Putting fiber in the ocean for transcontinental links is not just very expensive, it costs massive amounts of money.

And now you have only the cabling. You don't have any DWDM gear, routers, switches and the associated network engineers to operate them.

Data over cable is not zero. The only difference between wireless and wired internet access is the last mile, and the mobility aspect of it. As cellular technology evolves, it enables more and more bandwidth per user.

Scientists Use Stem Cells To Regenerate the External Layer of a Human Heart

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 quotes a report from Indy100: A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue. The study, published in the journal Circulation Research, detailed that the team took adult skin cells, using a technique called messenger RNA to turn them into pluripotent stem cells, before inducing them to become two different types of cardiac cells. Then for two weeks they infused the hearts with a nutrient solution, allowing them to develop under the same circumstances a heart would grow inside a human body. After the two week period, the hearts contained well-structured tissue, which appeared similar to that contained in developing human hearts. When shocked with electricity, they started beating. This represents the closest that medical researchers have come to growing an entire beating human heart.

mRNA is not a technique

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

FYI, all cells use an intermediate form of nucleic acid (i.e., mRNA) to produce proteins. mRNA is transcribed from the host cell DNA and translated to construct protein(s) using ribosomes (yet another form of nucleic acid: rRNA).

Re:How Many Babies Died For Your Stem Cells?

By Maritz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Funny how people like you are more concerned with a ball of cells than an actual human that breathes air. Goes to show, you end up with weird values when you base how you live your life on the rantings of a bunch of bronze age goat herders.

Re: How Many Babies Died For Your Stem Cells?

By rmdingler • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Quite. Since GW Bush was president, it has been possible to remove embryonic stem cells without harming the fetus.

It's just not necessary, unless researchers need totipotent cells, since pluripotent cells are what's being discussed here.

For those who don't RTFA or UTFA

By drunken_boxer777 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

(understand the fucking article)

The summary is somewhat inaccurate and oversimplified (this is Slashdot, of course).

The authors took donor hearts and removed all the cardiac cells, leaving only the extracellular matrix, which is the scaffolding that cells reside in. They then created stem cells from skin cells, not via a technique called "messenger RNA" (which is a type of biological molecule and not a technique), but by reprogramming the skin cells by providing synthetic messenger RNAs that instruct the cells to make 5 proteins that cause a "reversal" to a stem cell-like state. These new stem cells were instructed to become cardiac cells, which spontaneously exhibited "a heart beat", and then seeded onto slices of the cardiac matrix from a donor heart, and even a full heart. The cells contracted in unison, and could be "paced" by a "pacemaker".

Limitations of this approach are that the you need a human heart to start with (until a scaffold could be 3D printed, for example), cells did not fully differentiate into mature heart muscle cells, don't seem to maintain this fate past a certain time frame, didn't develop into all cell types needed for a functioning heart, and contracted with only a fraction of the force that a normal human heart does. But damn, the bioreactor with "grown" heart is incredible to behold (figure 6E), and this appears to be an interesting step forward to lab grown organs.

Japan Researchers Warn of Fingerprint Theft From 'Peace' Sign

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tulsa_Time quotes a report from Phys.Org: Could flashing the "peace" sign in photos lead to fingerprint data being stolen? Research by a team at Japan's National Institute of Informatics (NII) says so, raising alarm bells over the popular two-fingered pose. Fingerprint recognition technology is becoming widely available to verify identities, such as when logging on to smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. But the proliferation of mobile devices with high-quality cameras and social media sites where photographs can be easily posted is raising the risk of personal information being leaked, reports said. The NII researchers were able to copy fingerprints based on photos taken by a digital camera three meters (nine feet) away from the subject.

You would not write your password

By SlashDread • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

on your forehead right? For anyone to see?

Then why do people think information you leave all over the place is a replacement for a password?

Rock/metal horns also affected

By azrael29a • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
I guess the horns "\m/" sign is also affected, even though you're displaying only your index and pinky fingers. The vulcan greeting sign "_\\//" would be the worst to photograph, since it displays all the fingerprints.

Re:Sigh.

By ledow • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Actually guys, this is not only possible - it's old news.

And, no, it doesn't necessarily need stupendously perfect conditions:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/tech...

Re:Sigh.

By peragrin • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I didn't write the go but I did hear the thunderous woosh as the joke passed by your head at Mach 5.

I am surprised it didn't suck the air out of your lungs leaving you speechless. Then again from your post length you have excess air inside anyways.

Re:Hippies Lack Fingerprints

By Comrade Ogilvy • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I have been drinking out of a bottle wrapped in a paper bag for years, just to be safe. Screaming at people enough to keep them more than 3 meters away is a cinch. What's the problem?

Scientists Calculate the Moon To Be 4.51 Billion Years Old

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Scientists used rocks and soil collected by the Apollo 14 moonwalkers in 1971 to calculate the age of the moon. It turns out that it is much older than scientists suspected, coming in at 4.51 billion years old. ABC News reports: A research team reported Wednesday that the moon formed within 60 million years of the birth of the solar system. Previous estimates ranged within 100 million years, all the way out to 200 million years after the solar system's creation, not quite 4.6 billion years ago. The scientists conducted uranium-lead dating on fragments of the mineral zircon extracted from Apollo 14 lunar samples. The pieces of zircon were minuscule -- no bigger than a grain of sand. The moon was created from debris knocked off from Earth, which itself is thought to be roughly 4.54 billion years old. Some of the eight zircon samples were used in a previous study, also conducted at UCLA, that utilized more limited techniques. Melanie Barboni, lead author of the study from the University of California, Los Angeles, said she is studying more zircons from Apollo 14 samples, but doesn't expect it to change her estimate of 4.51 billion years for the moon's age, possibly 4.52 billion years at the most. The study was published today in the journal Science.

Re:Stupid question

By Biogoly • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The radiometric dating is done on zircon mineral crystals. These crystals would form naturally after the molten rock of the early moon cooled...just like on earth. So the date of 4.51 billion years is the time the molten moon cooled and the zircon (which was ejected from earth in what must have been a massive collision) formed. The oldest rock on earth has zircon that is dated to 4.54 billion years ago.To quote wikipedia: "Zircon incorporates uranium and thorium atoms into its crystal structure, but strongly rejects lead. Therefore, one can assume that the entire lead content of the zircon is radiogenic, i.e. it is produced solely by a process of radioactive decay after the formation of the mineral. Thus the current ratio of lead to uranium in the mineral can be used to determine its age."

Not a day over 4 billion

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

If it asks, I say it doesn't look a day over 4 billion. After all, the moon is a harsh mistress.

Uranium-lead dating

By rossdee • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Trump wants to make gay marriage illegal, I expect he will make Uranium-lead dating illegal too.

Re:Stupid question

By wvmarle • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This also puts the age of both the earth and the moon at "when the first rocks formed", not "when the celestial body formed" which imho is when a significant amount of space debris, possibly molten, clumps together to form something resembling a planet. There's probably no way to really figure that one out.

As the moon is supposedly formed from material from the earth, it could be argued to be the same age (it being from the same clump of material, plus some of the asteroid that caused the split - which in turn may have contained material that solidified much earlier, of course).

In that line of thought, how can we be sure that these moon rocks and earth's oldest rocks are really formed on these bodies and are not fragments of much older objects that were caught in the respective gravity fields?

Everything I know about uranium-lead dating...

By sh00z • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
...I learned from watching "Creature From the Black Lagoon." That movie has surprisingly accurate science for a Universal monster flick. Double-checking fossil age estimates against the surrounding rock. Whoa, I didn't catch that when I was eight! The leading-man "good guy" scientist is searching for additional information about the transition from water-breathers to air-breathers in the evolutionary record for tidbits that could prove useful in adapting the human body for deep-space exploration.