Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

'Blockchain Developer' is the Fastest-Growing US Job

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Blockchain developer" is the top emerging job in the U.S. -- according to data published in LinkedIn's 2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs report. From a report: [...] Using data gleaned from the LinkedIn Economic Graph, which serves as a "digital representation of the global economy" by analyzing the skills and job openings from across 590 million members and 30 million companies, LinkedIn found that "blockchain developers" has grown 33-fold in the past four years. In this case, "emerging jobs" refers to the growth of specific job titles on LinkedIn profiles in the period between 2014 and 2018. It's worth noting here that "blockchain" didn't appear anywhere in the top 20 emerging jobs in 2017, while "machine learning engineer" topped the list last year -- it's in second place this year.

And in another year..

By pak9rabid • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
And in another year, will be the fastest dying US job.

xkcd again...

By fibonacci8 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
https://xkcd.com/1102/

It's from INFINITY % since 1950!

By Dallas May • Score: 3 • Thread

Also a little reported fact:

More than 50% of American blockchain developers are expected to die before the age 80. Clearly this field needs regulation.

Ethereum Thinks it Can Change the World. It's Running Out of Time To Prove It.

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The blockchain system has daunting technical problems to fix. But first, its disciples need to figure out how to govern themselves. From a report: The handful of idealistic researchers, developers, and administrators in charge of maintaining its software are under increasing pressure to overcome technical limitations that stymie the network's growth. At the same time, well-funded competitors have emerged, claiming that their blockchains perform better. Crackdowns by regulators, and a growing understanding of how far most blockchain applications are from ready for prime time, have scared many cryptocurrency investors away: Ethereum's market value in dollars has fallen more than 90% since its peak last January.

The reason Devcon (the annual "family reunion" organized by the Ethereum Foundation; this year's edition was held in October) feels so upbeat despite these storm clouds is that the people building Ethereum have something bigger in mind -- something world-changing, in fact. Yet to achieve its goal, this ragtag community needs to crack a problem as complicated as any of the toe-curling technical challenges it faces: how to govern itself. It must find a way to organize a scattered global network of contributors and stakeholders without sacrificing "decentralization" -- the principle, which any cryptocurrency community strives for, that no one entity or group should be in control.

Re: Never Going to Work

By SirAstral • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

based on what evidence?

Cryptos are mined, which means over time more and more are added to the available pool. How does this fact fit into a "deflation mode"?

Inflation has a basic component... "amount of x". It is a key principle of supply and demand. More supply = less value. Less supply = more value. Demand has the same model in the opposite direction. If there are only 1000 coins in the market a demand for only 1 of them means its value is low. If there is a demand for 2000 of them then the value is high. Now... if the market flood with 1 million... the value AND demand for 1 or 2000 is low & low.

Blockchain and the Standard Model of Physics

By thragnet • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Dissociated Press (DP) — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Physicists identify new fundamental particle

May herald a new particle family and restructuring of the Standard Model

Geneva, Switzerland — December 3, 2018

Keywords: hypino, shinyon, blockchain

High energy particle physicists at the CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nullité) facility have confirmed the existence of the long-conjectured hypino (hy-PEE-no). It is thought to be the first member of a new class of particles known as shinyons (SHY-nee-ons), distinct from bosons and fermions.

Unlike other subatomic particles, hypinos carry no charge, and have neither rest nor relativistic mass. Their only defining quantum property is spin. Hypinos are thought to be the fundamental unit of marketing hyperbole. To date, hypinos are the only known members of the proposed class of shinyons, which are of especial interest to tech investors and holders of the MBA degree. Dr. Martin Waugh, of the Institute for Advanced Squander, further posits that the hypino may be the carrier of the so-called “weak-minded force”, a mutual repulsion between fools and their money. It is theorized that, upon sufficiently accelerated spin, hypinos transform into super-excited hyperinos, detectable only by Chief Information Officers.

The discovery of the hypino is recounted by Drs. Robert Crawford and Robert Jensen as follows:

“It was a Friday afternoon, and we and our colleagues were returning from a long lunch. Maintenance on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was scheduled to start Saturday morning, and the apparatus would be unavailable for two months. We were in a ‘what the hell’ kind of mood, so we thought we'd take a fantasy shot, just for grins and giggles.

“We had a few leftover Higgs Bosons from 2012 on the shelf, so our lowly lab technician, Garth Dennis, breech-loaded them into the beast , set up a blockchain for the target, positioned the extremely sensitive Swindleometer at the intended point of collision, energized the superconducting electromagnets, and let it rip. Upon collision, the blockchain shattered into a shower of the elusive hypinos. Examination of the debris field revealed that the blockchain and all of our cash were gone! Apparently the hypinos were entangled with our funding.”

There may be natural sources of hypinos. The strongest natural emitters appear to be located in Redmond, Washington, and Armonk, New York.

Re: Never Going to Work

By SirAstral • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

As long as the pool grows, regardless of the rate of growth it creates inflation.

Look at Venezuela and it's hyper inflation. What is growing? The amount of money. Everyone is a millionaire down there but only in the way everyone with $10k are penny millionaires in the USA.

" Inflation isn't just the injection of more supply,"
Correct, but the injection of more supply always guarantee's inflation. Just because OTHER factors can also increase or even LOWER inflation does no mute the basic fact that adding more X to the pool increases inflation.

What you and the other commenters are missing is that you think just because another mechanism can create deflation that somehow can mean that this does not create inflation.

It's simple as explain int he supply and demand model.

If there are 1000 coins and 10 more are created then inflation of 1% just occurred. This inflation may not be immediately felt by everyone but it is there. Additionally, if the demand for a lot of things fall, and cause deflationary effects of 2% that means that deflation was 1%. But if those 10 coins were not added then deflation would have been 2%. This is oversimplified for educational purposes but makes it clear that just because overall inflation is based on multiple things... adding currency to a pool is always inflationary and will never not be, no matter how many other factors offset that inflation.

Re: Never Going to Work

By SirAstral • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

No, you are just trying to turn my argument into something else and you are getting upset that I am not biting.

I don't care what you think, I only care about the facts. You can sit around the prognosticate all you want, it means nothing in the context of my comment.

Adding more currency creates inflation no matter how many fallacies you use to say otherwise. You are the one blathering about theory. It is very simple math to understand that increasing supply of currency decreases its value and thereby creates inflation. It's not theory, its just a plain as day fact just like gravity. I can't help you if you cannot accept that.

Crypto to fiat money is like torrents to HTTP

By jdoeii • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

When the torrent protocol was invented some people believed it could be the new internet. It's obvious by now that it's never going to happen. Torrents are just harder to use than HTTP. They maybe can save some money in bandwidth costs at the expense of being less reliable and harder to use. In practice they offer only one real advantage to HTTP - by the nature of being distributed they allow for the illegal distribution of copyrighted content.

The same thing with the blockchain. The distributed transaction is alway more expensive than the centralized one if compared apples to apples, no exceptions. BlCh offers just one real feature: by the nature of being distributed it allows for circumvention of regulations. And that's the only sustainable use case that was discovered in 10 years of its use. All other use cases are nothing but marketing, FOMO, or fraud.

As for ETH changing the world, here is a question I usually ask when meeting a crypto enthusiast: "Loan me a 10 ETH for two weeks. We will write a digital contract that I'll return 15. Except, when the contract comes to term I will have no money in my purse. What are you going to do?".

In a Test, 3D Model of a Head Was Able To Fool Facial Recognition System of Several Popular Android Smartphones

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Forbes magazine tested four of the most popular handsets running Google's operating systems and Apple's iPhone to see how easy it'd be to break into them with a 3D-printed head. All of the Android handsets opened with the fake. Apple's phone, however, was impenetrable. From the report: For our tests, we used my own real-life head to register for facial recognition across five phones. An iPhone X and four Android devices: an LG G7 Linq, a Samsung S9, a Samsung Note 8 and a OnePlus 6. I then held up my fake head to the devices to see if the device would unlock. For all four Android phones, the spoof face was able to open the phone, though with differing degrees of ease. The iPhone X was the only one to never be fooled.

There were some disparities between the Android devices' security against the hack. For instance, when first turning on a brand new G7 Linq, LG actually warns the user against turning facial recognition on at all. No surprise then that, on initial testing, the 3D-printed head opened it straightaway. [...] The OnePlus 6 came with neither the warnings of the other Android phones nor the choice of slower but more secure recognition.

Re:Biometrics are generally a brilliant idea

By Artem S. Tashkinov • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You only have six attempts to guess the right password: "If you enter the wrong passcode on an iOS device six times in a row, you'll be locked out and a message will say that your device is disabled."

Good luck with that. And then it will be locked to your iCloud account which is nigh impossible to remove by anyone other Apple service centers. iPhone protection against theft is probably the best in the industry.

Re:Biometrics are generally a brilliant idea

By Seven Spirals • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
aaand you miss the point ... again. You can change a fucking pin code. You can't change your iris-scan, dumbass. Not to mention the fact that you could have chose to use a password instead of a stupid ass PIN. You could have chose to use a dumbphone/dadphone and not have much information worth stealing on the device anyway, but you had to play Pokemon Go, right? We couldn't drag down your productivity by taking that away, I forgot... sorry.

Re:Biometrics are generally a bad idea

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Biometrics are better than nothing. In this case the attacker needs to scan your head and 3D print an actual-size model of it, so it's still better than a simple pattern unlock or nothing.

It's all about understanding and evaluating the threat. Facial recognition is a cheap, fast and moderately secure system that will keep your friends and siblings and random thieves out.

People who need real security on their phones use proper passwords.

I'm actually impressed

By Headw1nd • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Considering that humans could quite possibly be fooled by a 3D printed head in similar conditions, I'm actually very impressed they weren't all cracked. I also think this is an edge case scenario- Your phone is taken by someone who has the data, resources, and the will to make a 3D model of your head just to open it. Usually people would point to the government as a possible culprit here, but the government doesn't need to go to these lengths, they can use your actual face.

How about testing a Surface?

By SocietyoftheFist • Score: 3 • Thread

I wonder about the facial recognition built in to the Microsoft surface devices.

Apple To Build $1B Austin Campus, Add Thousands of Jobs in US Expansion

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple said Thursday it plans to invest $1 billion building a new corporate campus in Austin, Texas, that could eventually create 15,000 jobs. From a report: The iPhone maker will also set up new offices in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, Los Angeles County, as well as expanding operations in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado, according to the press release.

The Austin campus will be located less than a mile away from Apple's existing facilities in the Texas city, which already employ 6,200 people (its largest group of employees outside Cupertino). The new area will initially hold 5,000 employees, with capacity to grow to 15,000 over time.

Poaching Dell Employees?

By crow • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

This is close to Dell's headquarters, so this is a great chance for Apple to poach Dell's best employees. As a Dell employee myself (not in Texas), this can be good, as Dell may be pushed to increase pay and benefits.

Texas isn't that conservative

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We don't want the capital of Texas to turn into the bay area.

"We"? Speak for yourself and only for yourself. Your opinion is not widely shared in Austin. People have been moving to Austin in droves precisely because it is a good place to live, the city is (mostly) well run, and there are great jobs to be had there as a tech hub. If that's not your brand of vodka, fine but that's your problem.

You can keep your leftist attitudes and taxes where they are.

A) You being uncomfortable with someone who isn't a conservative is your problem, not anyone else's
B) Evidently you've never actually been to Austin if you think it's overrun by conservatives. Hell I consider it a bastion of sanity in Texas.
C) The notion that Texas is uniformly conservative is a ridiculous myth. At most it's around 58%/42% skewing conservative based on recent election results.

Re:Texas isn't that conservative

By gtall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Oh, you mean the low taxes fueled by all that black stuff in the ground. Remove the conservatism and Texas would be doing even better.

Tesla Is Seeking $167 Million From Former Employee Accused of Sabotage

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Tesla is seeking more than $167 million in a lawsuit against former employee Martin Tripp, recent legal filings revealed. In the lawsuit, which was filed by the electric car maker in June, Tesla alleges that Tripp, a former process engineer, had illegally exported data and made false claims to reporters, among other things. Tripp had earlier claimed in a number of press interviews that Tesla engaged in poor manufacturing practices at its massive battery plant outside of Reno, Nevada, and that it may have used damaged battery modules in its Model 3 vehicles, posing a risk to drivers.

An interim case management report published on Nov. 27 reveals that Tripp's attorneys aim to depose Tesla CEO Elon Musk and more than 10 people involved with the company. Tesla has refused to make Musk available and sought to limit the number of people deposed by Tripp's defense team at the law firm Tiffany & Bosco. Tripp's lawyers wrote in that report: "Tesla has objected to Mr. Tripp's desire to take more than ten depositions... In this case, where Mr. Tripp is being sued for more than $167,000,000 and has asserted counterclaims against Tesla, more than ten depositions is certainly reasonable and appropriate."
Tripp attorney Robert D. Mitchell said in an email to CNBC: "The purported damage amount claimed by Tesla relates to supposed dips in Tesla's stock price by virtue of the information Mr. Tripp provided to the press last summer." He characterized the damage claims as "absurd."

Not a smart move by Tesla

By haruchai • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What's to prevent Elon being sued for the amount he caused the stock to drop with his brain farts about "funding secured" that triggered the SEC going after him?

And in 'bailing attorneys' news:

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

From the article:

In early July, Tripp filed a formal complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that Tesla made "material omissions and misstatements" to investors relating to its flawed manufacturing practices and handling of scrap at the Gigafactory. Tripp was represented by Meissner Associates in the whistleblower matter earlier, but is now representing himself, attorney Stuart Meissner told CNBC. Meissner declined to comment further. Tripp also declined requests for comment.

Meissner was warned repeatedly that his client was A) out of control, and B) a pathological liar. He appears to have come to the same conclusion.

His client has also apparently fled to Hungary, so then there's that.

Re:And in 'bailing attorneys' news:

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Oh, and the point of a large figure (which Tripp obviously can't pay) has nothing to do with Tripp himself. The fun part will be discovery. Because anyone who might have been involved in telling him what data to get or otherwise communicating with him during the theft (Linette Lopez, I'm looking at you) would be soliciting a crime. Like, for example:

Peavy v. WFAA-TV Inc.: The media outlet was approached by an informant claiming that he had information about a local news issue. The media outlet refused to use the information without further documentation, encouraged the informant to obtain that, and advised him on the process (which amounted to an illegal wiretapping). The media outlet was found to have advised and encouraged the illegal acquisition of materials, which it then took possession of and published. The court characterized this as “undisputed participation.” The informant and the media outlet were found to be liable for the illegal acquisition.

Business Insider was valued at nearly $400M in 2015. If Linette was found to have been involved in the acquisition in any way - or in general failed any of the Bartnicki v. Vopper criteria:

1) The media outlet played no role in the illegal interception
2) The media received the information lawfully
3) The issue was a matter of public concern

Then they're criminally liable for the theft. And BI can't classify it as the actions of a "rogue employee", because when challenged earlier on the theft, BI came to Lopez's defense.

Also to watch out for:
  * People who took a short position in TSLA after learning of the story before it was published
  * People who already held a short position in TSLA who were involved in the chain of command on any decisions to work with Tripp and to publish

As I mentioned... discovery on this case is going to be loads of fun :) Especially because Tripp has so far proven so wreckless with how he's handled himself in this case (including posting a bunch of self-incriminating tweets - about revenge against Elon, claiming he doesn't know how to program, trying to hide his adafruit, scribd and stackoverflow accounts and then making hilariously bad excuses as for why he did so, chatting with famous Tesla shorts, etc - and then deleting them, as if they'd just disappear from the face of the Earth).

Re:And in 'bailing attorneys' news:

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Oh, and fun fact about Business Insider:

Business Insider's CEO and Editor-In-Chief Henry Blodget is a Yale history graduate who previously worked on Wall Street until he was banned for life from the securities industry because of his violations of securities laws and subsequent civil trial, which ended with a $2 million fine plus a $2 million disgorgement and the permanent ban in 2003.

Pull on the thread....

Arctic Posts Second Warmest Year On Record In 2018, NOAA Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a new report released on Tuesday by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Arctic had its second-hottest year on record in 2018. "Arctic air temperatures for the past five years have exceeded all previous records since 1900," according to the annual NOAA study, the 2018 Arctic Report Card, which said the year was second only to 2016 in overall warmth in the region. Reuters reports: The study said the Arctic warming continues at about double the rate of the rest of the planet, and that the trend appears to be altering the shape and strength of the jet stream air current that influences weather in the Northern Hemisphere. "Growing atmospheric warmth in the Arctic results in a sluggish and unusually wavy jet-stream that coincided with abnormal weather events," it said, noting that the changing patterns have often brought unusually frigid temperatures to areas south of the Arctic Circle. Some examples are "a swarm of severe winter storms in the eastern United States in 2018, and the extreme cold outbreak in Europe in March 2018 known as 'the Beast from the East.'"

Re:Second hottest year

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So what's to worry, it's colder than it was before. See? It's not getting warmer, it's getting colder!

(And yes, this is sarcasm. It's actually pretty sad that it is necessary to explicitly say so...)

Stop advertising a warmer Arctic

By hcs_$reboot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
I won't spend my holidays there.

The Chinese are really brilliant

By WuestenFuchs • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
Since even the president of the US is convinced that global warming is a Chinese hoax, we have to be impressed by the way China is playing this game. The Chinese manage to really create ever warmer weather year after year, just to fool us into thinking global warming is real. They are truly brilliant.

Re:"On record" = laughable

By religionofpeas • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"it's okay when my house is flooded, because 1 billion years ago it was an ocean"

AGW Denier trolls are out in force

By hyades1 • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

It's sad to see Slashdot taken over by anti-science scumbags, posting as "Anonymous Cowards" and lying that Global Warming isn't happening even with evidence all over the place. And then there's the overwhelming support for GW in the scientific community. What do they know!

I have to admire the plucky band of billionaires, conspiracy nutbars and oil companies bravely fighting back against all that nasty, evil science. Of course, the downside is that their kids will line up to piss on their graves.

Russian State TV Shows Off 'Robot' That's Actually a Man In a Robot Suit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A "hi-tech robot" shown on Russian state television turns out to be a man in a suit. While airing footage of a technology forum aimed at kids, a Russian state TV reporter proclaimed that Boris the robot "has already learned to dance and he's not that bad." Gizmodo reports: This "robot" actually retails for 250,000 rubles (about $3,770), as first reported by the Guardian, and is made by a company called Show Robots. "Boris" features glowing eyes, and plastic parts -- and shockingly human-like movements. Probably because he needs a human inside to operate properly. This faux-robot (fauxbot?) mystery was actually first unraveled when some eagled-eyed Russian viewers on the internet noticed that a suspiciously human-like neck was showing in the video. The report notes that "there's no indication" that there was intent to deceive anyone. Instead, it "appears to be a case of a TV presenter getting confused with what he believed to be 'modern robots.'" You can watch the broadcast on Russia-24's YouTube channel.

It's like an old joke coming to life

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Where the Soviets showcase the glorious developments of Russian ingenuity in an international display of new appliances, where they demo a potato peeling machine. Demonstrating it to the politburo, the inventor picks up a potato from a bucket, throws it into the machine and a few seconds of working very quietly later, a peeled potato is thrown out of the machine. An apparatchik is overwhelmed with joy, takes the bucket and dumps it into the machine, which prompts a rustling and a small door opens where an old babushka looks out and cries "Please, not so many, I'm alone this week".

Seriously

By Dunbal • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It's a kids show. Here's a spoiler for you - the big purple dinosaur called Barney is also (gasp!) a dude in a suit.

Translated for Fox/CNN

By monkeyxpress • Score: 3 • Thread

How is this a news story? It needs to be put through the hype distortion machine first:

In breaking news, the Russians have HACKED a robotics conference to plant FAKE robots. At a time when western nations faces the grave threat of EXTINCTION by the rise of machines, this sort of DECEPTION could only mean we have entered a dangerous new period of RUSSIAN artificial INTELLIGENCE operations.

There, fixed.

What's next?

By Plus1Entropy • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Humans pretending to be Russian robots?

What's next, Russian bots pretending to be human?

Re:Thank you very much

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I can't help but it feels more like the world is turning into a Monty Python skit, complete with Terry Gilliam's art. I'm honestly waiting for a large, naked foot to stomp me.

'Cryptocurrencies Are Like Lottery Tickets That Might Pay Off in Future'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
With the price of bitcoin down 80% from its peak a year ago, and the larger cryptocurrency market in systemic collapse, has "peak crypto" come and gone? From a column: Perhaps, but don't expect to see true believers lining up to have their cryptocurrency tattoos removed just yet. At a recent conference I attended, the overwhelming sentiment was that market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies could explode over the next five years, rising to $5-10tn. For those who watched the price of bitcoin go from $13 in December 2012 to roughly $4,000 today, this year's drop from $20,000 was no reason to panic.

It is tempting to say, "Of course the price is collapsing." Regulators are gradually waking up to the fact that they cannot countenance large expensive-to-trace transaction technologies that facilitate tax evasion and criminal activity. At the same time, central banks from Sweden to China are realising that they, too, can issue digital currencies. As I emphasised in my 2016 book on the past, present, and future of currency, when it comes to new forms of money, the private sector may innovate, but in due time the government regulates and appropriates.

But as I also pointed out back then, just because the long-term value of bitcoin is more likely to be $100 than $100,000 does not necessarily mean that it definitely should be worth zero. The right way to think about cryptocurrency coins is as lottery tickets that pay off in a dystopian future where they are used in rogue and failed states, or perhaps in countries where citizens have already lost all semblance of privacy. It is no coincidence that dysfunctional Venezuela is the first issuer of a state-backed cryptocurrency (the "petro").

Past Performance Does Not Indicate Future Results

By DatbeDank • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I also have a few zero volume penny stocks back from gambling... Err day trading penny stocks.

I keep them around as a reminder of what results from hubris and greed.

Most of these cyryptocurrencies will end up the same: no bid.

Don't be a bag hodler.

No they are useless crap.

By kbg • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No the problem is that the value of your CURRENT cryptocurrency is just going downhill and will be worth nothing in the long run. This will happen for all cryptocurrencies and the reason is that people just create new and new cryptocurrency.

The only people that can cash in are the people that originally created the cryptocurrency and they cash in before it becomes worthless. So everyone is trying to create their own cryptocurrency to cash in. Rinse repeat. An endless cycle that will never stop and makes common cryptocurrency useless.

The only way that a cryptocurrency can work, is if it is backed up by a government state so that you are quaranted to have an actual value for the currency based on the trust for the government. We have a name for this it's just called "Currency".

No, cryptocurrencies are not like lottery tickets

By jdoeii • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Lottery usually has (a) certain guaranteed odds of winning, crypto has no guarantees. (b) Lotteries are usually licensed with a limited number of licenses at any time. There is literally no limit on the number of possible cryptocurrencies.

The value of major cryptos is unlikely to go to hard zero though. There is utility in BTC and friends which is circumvention of regulations. Someone will always want to launder money and sell drugs.

But it's very unlikely for a legit application of blockchain to exist at all because a distributed transaction with consensus is fundamentally more expensive than a centralized one with a trusted third party. All, and I mean absolutely all with no exceptions, all current companies/products in "legit" space are doing things with blockchain purely for marketing/FMO reasons. All of these apps can be done more efficiently without the blockchain.

Let me fix it for you.

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 3 • Thread
Cryptocurrencies Are actually like Ponzi schemes That Might Pay Off the early "investors".

There. Done.

Cryptocurrency vs Stockmarket (epic failure)

By hAckz0r • Score: 3 • Thread

When cryptocurrency was opened to the stock market it became doomed to failure. Before that, the "value" was rising because it was useful. Its only intrinsic value is that value it presents for exchanging goods and services. For people who actually "use" cryptocurrencies, it's value needs to be kept stable, or everyone would refuse to use it, and thus it would have zero value

Enter the stock market, and now the market traders all want to make money by trading the currency itself, a thing with no intrinsic value except for what it can do. If the people who use it all cashed out then the stock market price would be $0. The way the stock market "makes money" (actually move money from one account to another) is to second guess what the other traders will think its value will be tomorrow. Buy low, sell high of course. The stock market will not "make money" unless the price/value is volatile. If the price was consistent over time the traders would have zero interest in it, because they can't trick the other traders into valuing it more tomorrow than today, because the price would be stable. In order to make money in trading cryptocurrency, it is in the traders best interest to force the price to become volatile and then to correctly guess tomorrows value. They will try every trick in the book to force wide swings in the "market value", even emplying illegal tricks if they can find a way to make that happen.

See the problem yet? The traders WANT the price to vary, and the users of it DEMAND the price to be stable! The traders will do everything in their power to make the value fluctuate, while the people trying to use it will be moving their share to some other currancy which is more stable, thus forcing the value to further decline. This is a feedback loop biased towards zero value.

When a stock for a traded company does poorly you can sell off its assets and regain some of that original value. When a cryptocurrency tanks it becomes worthless, and nothing can be sold off or recouped from the electronic dust that remains. Its value then is merely nostalga. It has no value beyond what other people think it will be worth tomorrow. If everyone thinks it has zero value, because nobody can trust that value being stable tomorrow, then the cryptocurrency is 100%, without any doubt, completely worthless. At that point you can thank the stock market for making your cryptocurrency wallet worthless.

If you are going to invest in any cryptocurrency my advise is to pick one that states up front that it will never be openly traded on the stock market. That one may have a chance at actually being stable, and you can count on its only intrinsic value, trust in its worth tomorrow being the same as today.

Ships Infected With Ransomware, USB Malware, Worms

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: IT systems on boats aren't as air-gapped as people think and are falling victims to all sorts of cyber-security incidents, such as ransomware, worms, viruses, and other malware -- usually carried on board via USB sticks. These cyber-security incidents have been kept secret until now, and have only been recently revealed as past examples of what could go wrong, in a new "cyber-security guideline" released by 21 international shipping associations and industry groups. One of the many incidents: "A new-build dry bulk ship was delayed from sailing for several days because its ECDIS was infected by a virus. The ship was designed for paperless navigation and was not carrying paper charts. The failure of the ECDIS appeared to be a technical disruption and was not recognized as a cyber issue by the ship's master and officers. A producer technician was required to visit the ship and, after spending a significant time in troubleshooting, discovered that both ECDIS networks were infected with a virus. The virus was quarantined and the ECDIS computers were restored. The source and means of infection in this case are unknown. The delay in sailing and costs in repairs totaled in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (U.S.)." The document also highlights an incident involving ransomware. "For example, a shipowner reported not one, but two ransomware infections, both occurring due to partners, and not necessarily because of the ship's crew," reports ZDNet. Another ransomware incident occurred because the ship failed to set up proper (RDP) passwords: A ransomware infection on the main application server of the ship caused complete disruption of the IT infrastructure. The ransomware encrypted every critical file on the server and as a result, sensitive data were lost, and applications needed for ship's administrative operations were unusable. The incident was reoccurring even after complete restoration of the application server. The root cause of the infection was poor password policy that allowed attackers to brute force remote management services successfully. The company's IT department deactivated the undocumented user and enforced a strong password policy on the ship's systems to remediate the incident.

Windows, right?

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Don't run ships on Windows, for obvious reasons.

Also, not carrying ANY paper charts as a backup? Dumb, dumb, DUMB.

Worms?

By fredrated • Score: 3 • Thread

Once it was the wood-eating teredo worm that sank ships, now it's data-eating worms!

Well of course not!

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

Ships are not air-gapped, they are water-gapped!

And everyone knows that salt water conducts.

What? No backup systems?

By techno-vampire • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I was in the Navy back in the early '70s, when LORAN was still king. Our ship not only had paper charts for the Quartermaster's Mates to track our position by dead reckoning, we took regular star sightings with a sextant for Celestial Navigation. And, we still had two mechanical chronometers that were kept wound, even though the ship's navigator had an Omega watch that was more accurate. The USN doesn't take chances with things like this and I'd bet that today's ships still use dead reckoning, hand-wound chronometers and sextants even with today's highly accurate GPS, just to keep in practice in case of an emergency.

FCC Panel Wants To Tax Internet-Using Businesses, Give the Money To ISPs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), which includes members like AT&T, Comcast, Google Fiber, Sprint, and other ISPs and industry representatives, is proposing a tax on websites to pay for rural broadband. Ars Technica reports: If adopted by states, the recommended tax would apply to subscription-based retail services that require Internet access, such as Netflix, and to advertising-supported services that use the Internet, such as Google and Facebook. The tax would also apply to any small- or medium-sized business that charges subscription fees for online services or uses online advertising. The tax would also apply to any provider of broadband access, such as cable or wireless operators. The collected money would go into state rural broadband deployment funds that would help bring faster Internet access to sparsely populated areas. Similar universal service fees are already assessed on landline phone service and mobile phone service nationwide. Those phone fees contribute to federal programs such as the FCC's Connect America Fund, which pays AT&T and other carriers to deploy broadband in rural areas.

The BDAC tax proposal is part of a "State Model Code for Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and Investment." Once finalized by the BDAC, each state would have the option of adopting the code. An AT&T executive who is on the FCC advisory committee argued that the recommended tax should apply even more broadly, to any business that benefits financially from broadband access in any way. The committee ultimately adopted a slightly more narrow recommendation that would apply the tax to subscription services and advertising-supported services only.
The BDAC model code doesn't need approval from FCC commissioners -- "it is adopted by the BDAC as a model code for the states to use, at their discretion," Ajit Pai's spokesperson told Ars. As for how big the proposed taxes would be, the model code says that states "shall determine the appropriate State Universal Service assessment methodology and rate consistent with federal law and FCC policy."

Re:I hate filling out forms to pay $2.12 tax

By oldgraybeard • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
For those who do not know, the owner of a business can not make a claim on the business workers comp policy. i was required by the government(over sight and regulations) to buy Insurance I could never make a claim on.

Re:Gotta love it!

By Jane Q. Public • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
This Pai jerk needs to go. Very soon.

You know what FCC just did? They just declared SMS to be an "information service" like internet, as opposed to communication.

That means now carriers can now choose to slow down, time-delay, or even block SMS any time they want.

Re: Gotta love it!

By LostMyBeaver • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I wouldn't worry about that just yet.

I'm pretty sure that companies will instead just get smart. For example, there's absolutely no reason NetFlix has to be a tax paying U.S. company at all. They can pretty much just pack up and move to Canada or Europe. We have room for them.

Then there's Amazon which would be more difficult to sort out, but if you simply move the corporation to Canada or Europe and then push orders to U.S. warehouses via leased lines or dark fibre, there shouldn't be any problems. Then Amazon could probably avoid paying 50% of what little taxes they already pay.

Google could probably save billions by leaving the U.S.

Microsoft wouldn't have to move very far at all to save a bunch of money.

I'm almost entirely sure that there's no real problems associated with this. And if I were a shareholder of any significance, I would consider suing any company which insisted in staying in the U.S. if something like this get passed.

I work for a telecom provider almost as big as AT&T. We have a presence in over 100 countries and we make money off of real estate. In some cases, this is literal in the sense that we rent offices and land that we own. In other cases, we rent and sell fiber as if it were real estate. The worst thing that could happen to us is if the content providers decided to pack up and move away from our networks into places where we would have to carry the data instead of providing it locally.

If we were a company like AT&T and were servicing the U.S. and then had to consider the risk of Netflix moving to Canada and moving all their proxies to Canada... or worse Europe, the cost of this to us would be so high we probably would collapse.

Consider that a website like Pornhub published on their technical blog live statistics a few years back of how much content they were delivering. It was approximately 300Tb/sec 24/7 worldwide. That means that there are just a massive number of one handed web surfers at every moment of every day sucking up bandwidth. If Pornhub were to consider moving their CDN outside of the U.S. and incorporating in the Cayman's for example, I would assume that service providers would have to increase capacity by at least 40Tb/sec to compensate for this.

Now consider that XVideos is supposedly bigger than PornHub (in this case it's not just the size, but the size surely matters) but they don't publish statistics like PornHub does. Now consider that YouTube and Netflix are A LOT bigger than either of those two sites.

The cost of just these 4 websites relocating to outside of U.S. borders would place at least 500Tb/sec additional burden on American service providers. Now, to anyone living in a first world country that has visited the U.S. (technically a first world country but second world in most categories other than money) they have horrible Internet access even when paying insane prices and they have miserable mobile/LTE coverage. I drove more or less the entire east coast on business and visiting friends and family last year and even Malta and Gozo were technically more advanced than America.... and those ARE shitholes.

Consider that while the FCC recently had a debate that suggested lowering the definition of broadband to 10/1 connectivity but due to lashback decided that 25/3 is what broadband is... across the first world, we can't even order anything that slow on our mobile phones anymore. How about in the Baltics where at least Lithuania and Latvia has 100Mb/sec fiber for like $15 a month in every house.

No... don't worry... you won't have to worry about footing the bill for this. In fact, we're more than ready to welcome Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc... when they decide to just pack up and take their money and jobs with them.

Re:Plus another tax and bureaucracy

By Bert64 • Score: 4 • Thread

The rich people will just find ways to avoid paying the tax, or move elsewhere.
Taxes mostly hurt and poor and middle classes.

Re: Gotta love it!

By Dixie_Flatline • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Isn't pornhub mainly located in Canada? Montreal, specifically. But in any case, that also goes to show that moving out of the USA would probably be a trivial matter.

Google Training Document Reveals How Temps, Vendors, and Contractors Are Treated

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"An internal Google training document exposed by The Guardian reveals how the company instructs employees on how to treat temps, vendors, and contractors (TVCs)," writes Slashdot reader Garabito. "This includes: 'not to reward certain workers with perks like T-shirts, invite them to all-hands meetings, or allow them to engage in professional development training.'" From the report: "Working with TVCs and Googlers is different," the training documentation, titled the The ABCs of TVCs, explains. "Our policies exist because TVC working arrangements can carry significant risks." The risks Google appears to be most concerned about include standard insider threats, like leaks of proprietary information, but also -- and especially -- the risk of being found to be a joint employer, a legal designation which could be exceedingly costly for Google in terms of benefits.

Google's treatment of TVCs has come under increased scrutiny by the company's full-time employees (FTEs) amid a nascent labor movement at the company, which has seen workers speak out about both their own working conditions and the morality of the work they perform. American companies have long turned to temps and subcontractors to plug holes and perform specialized tasks, but Google achieved a dubious distinction this year when Bloomberg reported that in early 2018, the company did not directly employ a majority of its own workforce. According to a current employee with access to the figures, of approximately 170,000 people around the world who now work at Google, 50.05% are FTEs. The rest, 49.95%, are TVCs.
The report notes that "the two-tier system has complicated labor activism at Google." On November 1st, after 20,000 workers joined a global walkout, "the company quickly gave in to one of the protesters' demands by ending forced arbitration in cases of sexual harassment -- but only for FTEs."

Re:Temp workers low the pay and benefits of everyb

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You can't negotiate with mega companies on your own unless you're one of the top 1% of math geniuses.

I don't know why that would help you negotiate. Negotiation involves understanding your value and having the confidence to ask for it. Confidence is a personal trait unconnected to math ability. And knowing your value is hard for almost everyone.

Re:Sadly, the law requires this

By swillden • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

May I point out that tou are _allowed_ to do things for them? You are also _allowed_ to hire them as employees and provide other benefits.

The point is that if you choose to do certain things for them then the law will decide that you have chosen to hire them as employees. If you don't want to hire them as employees then you must not do certain things for them.

Re:Temp workers low the pay and benefits of everyb

By JBMcB • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

because they can always dangle the threat of turning you into a temp when you get too uppity. Crap like this is why workers Unionized and why companies spend a small fortune demonizing Unions.

You need to be choosier on who you work for. I used to work in a union environment and it was a nightmare. Office politics out the wazoo. I still have friends there and all they talk about is how a third of their coworkers are incompetent and un-fireable, and how it's generally impossible to get anything fix or improved. The people who are lousy at their job get promoted so competent people can fill in the positions that actually do work.

I now work for a medium-sized IT company and, basically, have complete control over how I do my job. Everyone helps each other. If I need any additional resources I get them. I can work from home when I want to, unless there are meetings, which are rare. There are zero office politics, nobody is gunning for anyone else's job. Best of all, my boss, his boss, and HIS boss are all ex-programmers and IT guys. I can walk into any of their offices with any kind of problem and they'll try to get it fixed.

I'm sure such an environment could exist under unions, but I think unionization stems from a bad work environment to begin with. It certainly doesn't seem to help.

Re:The more things change

By grumpy_old_grandpa • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

* Used to be hip, no dull corporate - check
* A bubble of cult-like culture - check
* Lack of innovation since their one-trick pony - check
* Abusive monopoly power, including antitrust lawsuits - check
* Too much money for their own good - check
* Too big to fade away - check

To be fair, those would also fit many other large corporations. A noticeable difference between Google and Microsoft is that Google has miraculously managed to hold on to their badge of cool-place-to-work, despite all the bad press over the last years. Microsoft never managed to rid themselves of the stigma of shit software and computer crashes and viruses.

I worked somewhere like that ...

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

I worked somewhere like that ... for three months.

They had a gym/workout center ... in the basement of the building where most of us IT contractors were. I was shown it on my welcome tour, but told that I couldn't use it.

A department was really happy with what I did for them (with their website) so they invited me to a department picnic ... then their secretary called me back sheepishly to un-invite me; said she that wasn't allowed to invite me after all because I was a contractor.

I left in three months because the commute sucked, but the silly and frankly childish stuff like that didn't hurt when making the decision to leave.

President Trump To Use Huawei CFO As a Bargaining Chip

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
hackingbear shares a report from Politico, adding: "This fuels the suspicion that the Chinese executive is held as a hostage for the ongoing trade negotiation with China." From the report: President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he reserved the right to weigh in on the Justice Department's case against the CFO of Huawei, if it would help him close a trade deal with Beijing or would serve other American national security interests. "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made -- which is a very important thing -- what's good for national security -- I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump told Reuters. Trump added that President Xi Jinping of China had not called him about the case, but that the White House had been in touch with both the Justice Department and Chinese officials. Huawei's CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada earlier this month at the request of American authorities, who allege that she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. Yesterday, a Vancouver judge ruled that Meng would be released on a $7.5 million bail if she remains in British Columbia.

Re:The rest of the story you did not hear

By theycallmeB • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Well if he was actually pissed about this he could simply issue a pardon for the alleged crimes. Case over, "Deep State" thoroughly thwarted, tensions eased and good karma points earned with China. The use of Presidential pardons to counter over-zealous prosecution is emphatically one of the use cases in mind when the pardon power was written.

But, no, he publicly muses about using the arrest of Ms. Meng as a bargaining chip to extract a better deal from the Chinese government. That dramatically increases the chance that extradition will be denied, since political overtones were just dropped all over the case, while burning any good will there may have been from the trade truce.

It really isn't normal to forewarn the President about individual arrests in ordinary cases. If this had simply been left to career staff to make a legitimate case the Chinese government would have scowled some and then filed it as precedent for later use when the shoe is on the other foot. But it was very much the President's choice to make Iran related issues a priority for the Justice Department, as is his rightful prerogative, and also his choice to make this case a political football. So if he is in fact pissed about this, some of that ire needs to land on the man in the mirror.

Re:Hmmm

By l0ungeb0y • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
As an American, I see no reason to be offended by people making statements of fact. And as an American, you should be offended that we have such an embarrassment in office who has forever diminished the stature of the US and it's image across the world and done so much harm by alienating us fro our allies wile cozying up to anti-democratic despots for the sake of profits for the Trump family

extradition and double criminality principle

By FeatherBoa • Score: 3 • Thread

A fundamental underpinning of extradition proceedings is the âoedouble criminalityâ principle. If Canada is to extradite, there must be an offence charged in the U.S. that corresponds to one in Canadian law. While Canada has followed the UN with sanctions on Iran as regards nuclear and missile technology, I'm not aware that UN sanctions ever covered the trade in telecoms. Since in Canada sanctions like this emanate from the UN, I doubt there is a matching crime here. There is also the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act that spells out that American sanctions cannot operate in Canada -- otherwise 10,000s of Canadians who have visited Cuba could be rounded up.

Re: Hmmm

By c6gunner • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Which charges would those be? The charge of a Chinese citizen in China not complying with a unilateral declaration of "sanctions" by the USA which isn't even recognized by the UN? That's not a charge, it's a farce and a pretext. US law stops 12 miles offshore. Chinese citizens can do whatever they want under Chinese law while in China.

Your UID tells me you're probably senile, so I'll try to be gentle:

1. The UN doesn't need to recognize US law. As a general rule, the UN does not get involved with the laws of ANY country, though they will occasionally criticise ones which infringe on basic human rights.

2. You have no clue if her crime was commited while she was in China; you're just assuming it. This may be a revelation to you, but Chinese people do actually leave China once in a while. They even travel to the USA now and then.

3. Even if she had never left China, that doesn't mean she couldn't have broken a US law. Canada exports a lot of Canola to China. If I were to contaminate one of those shipments with ricin, I would very much be breaking Chinese law. If I were to then travel to (or through) a country which has an extradition treaty with China, the Chinese would be fully within their rights to demand that I be extradited on the charge of murder.

I can't wait for Saudis to start grabbing American tourists for extradition from Dubai for consuming alcohol, fornication and blasphemy while in the US.

The Saudis do not have laws against US citizens consuming alcohol while in the US. If they did then yes, they absolutely could do that; and the US would advize it's citizens not to travel to Saudi Arabia.

Abduction

By CHK6 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Wow, so we are back to the lowest form of leverage, abduction. Has it come to this? That the great nation of the United States will now abduct another citizen to gain leverage for commercial trade? I guess it's true, capitalism is nothing more than low grade warfare where by now the President of the United States will kidnap executives to use as a bargaining chip. How sad and what a bum. My fellow Chinese, I'm sorry that we have gone off the rails. No one in their right mind believes we should be abducting civil citizens for economic gains.

Apple Is Making Its Own Modem To Compete With Qualcomm, Report Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Apple is apparently working on its own, in-house developed modem to allow it to better compete with Qualcomm, according to several new Apple job listings that task engineers to design and develop a layer 1 cellular PHY chip -- implying that the company is working on actual, physical networking hardware. Two of the job posts are explicitly to hire a pair of cellular modem systems architects, one in Santa Clara and one in San Diego, home of Qualcomm. That's alongside several other job postings Apple has listed in San Diego for RF design engineers. The Information, which spotted the first job posting, cites sources that go a step further, claiming that Apple is not only potentially working to develop its own modem, but is in fact specifically targeting it for use in future iPhones, with the company looking to leave longtime partner Intel behind in favor of its own, in-house solution.

According to The Information's report, the new modem would still be years away, with even Apple's purported 5G iPhone slated for 2020 using Intel's in-development 5G modem instead. It makes sense logically, too -- if Apple is only just starting to hire now, it'll take at least a few years before it'll actually be ready to ship hardware. But the move would have big ramifications for the mobile space, particularly for Qualcomm and Intel, two of the biggest modem suppliers in the world.

Re:Apple Sucks at Hardware Design

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Apple is a massive failure when it comes to designing their own chips.

The are eight generations into their A4 to A12 ARM SoC. It is widely viewed as a big success. By controlling their own design, they can put all customizations on-die thereby cutting component count and reducing PCB size. They can also leave off everything they don't need, thus cutting power consumption.

Do they though?

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

How come Apple goes after the OSX86 community who wants to run Apple's OSX, but not on Apple hardware?

Apple puts in light roadblocks, but nothing serious to anyone that wants to make a Hackintosh. How do they "go after" such people?

For instance, if Apple really wanted to go after Hackitosh users, wouldn't they disallow Mac App Store use (it would be trivial for them to detect - they do not even try)? Yet the Mac App Store works fine on a Hackintosh.

Qualcomm could be in trouble

By Snotnose • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I retired from QC in '08 after 20 years. Went sailing with a friend and her BF some 4-5 years later. He'd left a job at Texas Instruments and moved from Texas to San Diego less than a year earlier. He didn't want to talk about QC, but said he regretted making the move. A year or so later went sailing with the same friend, same BF (she'd dumped her hubby of 20-30 years and moved in with the BF), and a new guy. Dude I worked with at QC in the 90s. He was debating leaving, said the company had changed once Paul Jacobs took over (which was a few months after I retired).

Christmas parties? QC had awesome Christmas parties. Cancelled.

Summer picnics, aimed at the kids of worker bees? Used to be awesome, cancelled.

And neither Ken nor Bill wanted to talk about it, but the whole vibe was more hours for not only less money, but fewer intangibles like a subsidized cafeteria and flex hours not being as flexible.

Some of you may remember John Rogers. President of Comic Con, died a month back. He was my boss. He was 100% a company man, I could not see him leaving QC. His obit never mentioned QC, the impression was he didn't work for them anymore. On the one hand, I get that. He had to be worth millions. On the other hand, he was a company man, loved his job, and I honestly thought he would die filling out my performance review. Combined with everything else I've heard, QC may not be a good place to work anymore.

Oh, did I mention the local newspaper runs an annual Best Places to Work every year? For 20 years QC was on that list. They've been absent for 5-8 years now.

Oh yeah, they've had layoffs for 2-3 years running now.

As an interested observer (I still hold lots of stock) I have to wonder if QC is driving out the 20-30 year folks who know their tech, and not being somewhere younger folks (or older transplants) want to work.

I can help with that.

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I think I have an old USR Courier 56K unit in my closet somewhere. Apple can have for free, if it will help them out.

Modem not just a Modem anymore

By rtb61 • Score: 3 • Thread

Why would the POTS modem, that being play old telephone service and modulator demodulator, remain what they are. Seriously one of these in pretty much every house world wide. What else can a modem be, well, router, switch and firewall just for a start. Now typical is file server, coming up web server and even email server and far smarter social media server. The scope for that core family device, taking up similar core roles like the smart TV, will expand and take up a much larger role in the family digital landscape. Apple is making a very smart move and probably started a while ago and is not just making an early announcement, I would guess they are much further along then they are indicated.

In all reality, the broadband modem is probably in need of a name change, to reflect its expanding role.

California Considers Text Messaging Tax To Fund Cell Service For Low-Income Residents

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California may soon tax text messaging to help fund programs that make phone service available for low-income residents. The report says the tax would likely be a flat fee added to a monthly bill instead of a per text tax. The Hill reports: The report outlines the shrinking revenue coming from a current tax on the telecommunications industry and argues that a new tax on text messaging should be put in place to make up for it. "From a consumer's point of view, surcharges may be a wash, because if more surcharge revenues come from texting services, less would be needed from voice services," CPUC spokeswoman Constance Gordon said in a statement. "Generally, those consumers who create greater texting revenues may pay a bit more, whereas consumers using more voice services may pay less." "Parties supporting the collection of surcharges on text messaging revenue argue that it will help preserve and advance universal service by increasing the revenue base upon which Public Purpose Programs rely. We agree," the report states. The CTIA, a trade association representing major carriers in the wireless industry, says the tax is anti-competitive and would put carriers at a disadvantage against social media messaging apps from tech companies such as Google and Facebook. The CPUC is expected to vote on the proposal in January 2019.

Re: Taxation is theft

By omnichad • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Try getting a job when no one can follow up with a phone call.

Re: subsidizing? wtf

By misnohmer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Remember, every government program is an opportunity for people to skim, grant contracts to friends and family or for kickbacks in one form or another. Maybe you have a family member who needs a job, why not hire them to administer some new program and of course pay for the job it of the same pool of taxes collected for that program.

Re:Nobody texts anymore, gramps

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I assume the tax would apply to those services as well. Generally legislation isn't specific as to which service you use.

How's that supposed to work? The two aren't anything alike.

They operate over different networks (cellular vs. cellular, WiFi, and wired). They operate on cellular via different channels (dedicated vs. general purpose). They differ in security (not encrypted vs. end-to-end encrypted). They require different hardware (SIM vs. any Internet connection). They operate on different classes of devices (phones and SIM-equipped laptops/tablets vs. PCs, phones, tablets, and MP3 players). The natively support differing numbers of devices per user (one per user vs. many per user). They natively support different content (texts alone vs. texts + effects, audio/video, typing notifications, tap backs, read receipts, stickers, money, hand drawings, etc.).

And that's all before we even get to the most obvious problem: one costs the end user a monthly fee just to use it, the other doesn't cost anything. Collecting a tax on $0 is a fool's errand.

I'd shudder to think how legislators would define the law in such a way that it could apply to those services in any sort of reasonable way. Aside from how they are visually presented to end users, there's really no similarity at all between iMessages/WhatsApp and standard SMS texting. If anything, the former bears more resemblance to instant messaging than it does to SMS texting. How are legislators supposed to draw a line that puts iMessage/WhatsApp on the same side as SMS without also including IRC, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Google app of the month, e-mail, or really just about any other form of asynchronous communication, free or otherwise?

A user may think that the only difference is that one is a green bubble and the other is blue, but the actual differences are vast.

Re:New game: The Onion or California?

By Notabadguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Taxes are cornerstones of modern society, particularly ones that are used to fund things for the disadvantaged.

Sorry you hate people, be sure to bring that up with your god when you're at the gates, he'll totally understand.

I'm sure you've heard that all taxes are regressive, and bureaucracy propagates bureaucracy. If a government can demonstrate fiscal austerity, responsible spending, and minimal waste on grossly negligent pork products and needs to increase taxation to raise revenue...alright.

You assume that governments automatically know what is best. They don't. You accept that if the government says it needs more money, the first response should be for them to steal more of everyone's money instead of auditing their spending for waste. Have you ever SEEN a CBO report? On how grossly wasteful and financially irresponsible virtually every aspect of our government is?

It isn't people-hating to question bureaucracy, it is civil duty - and while civic responsibility is a pipe-dream in America now, the only people hating is YOU. You hate people so much that you think the government should take their money unquestioned.

Re:Nobody texts anymore, gramps

By quenda • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I didn't know having a cell phone was a basic human need that government should be getting involved with.

Communications is a basic need to function in modern society, and governments have been involved in that since Henry VIII.
Governments subsidised where needed postal, and later phone services, to cover their countries.
Now in the 21st century, cellular service has become much cheaper than fixed lines to provide, so it makes sense to stop mandating cheap rural fixed-line services, and replace them with cellular. Also, telcos are not allowed to charge more in small towns than in the city. None of this cross subsidy is new.

But this California proposal makes no sense. Why create another micro-tax? Do you have a separate tax for each spending program? Thats ridiculous.
In Australia we pay A$10 (us$7)/month for unlimited calls and 1-2 GB of data. UK is similar. Even homeless people have cellphones. What does a basic service cost in the US?

Facebook Settles Oculus VR Lawsuit With ZeniMax

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Gaming giant ZeniMax Media's lawsuit against Facebook over the misuse of intellectual property related to the founding of Oculus VR has finally been settled," reports TechCrunch. In a statement, ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman said, "We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome. While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties." From the report: At the trial's conclusion, the judge awarded ZeniMax $500 million in damages to be paid by the defendants, including Facebook and some of the Oculus VR co-founders, a figure that Facebook appealed and had reduced to $250 million. Following the initial verdict, ZeniMax sought an injunction on sales of Facebook's Oculus Rift headset, claiming the device violated key IP. Terms of this settlement weren't disclosed. The trial was notable in that it offered a rare moment on the stand for a number of Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It also gave rare insight into the details surrounding the company's founding and acquisition.

Re:Facebook

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Those who backed Oculus got way more than what they initially paid for.

Do you believe Oculus kickstarter campaign would have worked had they mentioned up front intent to sell the company to Facebook?

Not only did they get the RC2 version of the headset, which is what was promised, but they also got the final version. So backers got a really good deal.

The final version establishes a persistent connection to Facebook 24x7x365 and sports a predatory privacy policy asserting Facebook has the right to rummage through your system for ANY reason. The reality is they got screwed.