the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Can Intel's 'Management Engine' Be Repurposed?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader iamacat writes: Not a day goes by without a story about another Intel Management Engine vulnerability. What I get is that a lot of consumer PCs can access network and run x86 code on top of UNIX-like OS such as Minix even when powered off.

This sounds pretty useful for tasks such as running an occasional use Plex server. Like I can have a box that draws very little power when idle. But when an incoming connection is detected, it can power itself and the media drive on and serve the requested content.

The original submission ends with an interesting question. "if Intel ME is so insecure, how do I exploit it for practically useful purposes?"


By Type44Q • Score: 3 • Thread
Repurposed... to mine bitcoins!

Repurposed? That's exactly what it is intended for

By MobyDisk • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The submission is confusing because the author proposes "repurposing" the ME, but the example is something that it what it is intended for in the first place. Back when it was first introduced, I worked for a company that created a program that would wake a remote computer on demand and run a few sundry tasks: a defrag and a backup. Intel partnered with various software vendors to create demos of what ME could do. And heck, even without ME, most network cards have a wake-on-LAN feature anyway.

Intel clearly didn't do a good job marketing the feature if nobody thought of how to use it until a vulnerability was found in it.

A Book Recommendation for Bill Gates: The Story of PLATO

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: This holiday season, many Slashdot readers are likely to find gifts under the tree because of Bill Gates' book picks. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it seems that turnabout is fair play -- what book recommendations do you have for Bill?

At the top of my pick list for personalized learning advocate Gates would be Brian Dear's remarkable The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, with its tale of how a group of visionary engineers and designers -- some of them only high school students -- created a shockingly little-known computer system called PLATO in the late 1960s and 1970s that was decades ahead of its time in experimenting with how people could learn, engage, communicate, and play through connected terminals and computers. After all, "we can't move forward," as Audrey Watters argued in The Hidden History of Ed-Tech, "til we reconcile where we've been before."

Plato Terminals

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3 • Thread
I worked for Control Data in the early 80's. While browsing through equipment in their Corporate Recovery Department with a friend of mine we came across several Plato Terminals (think is was 3-4) and we purchased them. We wanted to experiment with them, they were really ahead of their time.

Got them home and found out they had pulled all the display cards out. Otherwise they were complete. But Control Data kept any information and the cards themselves in-house. We were never able to do anything with them or get a hold of any display cards/information ;) a real bummer.

PLATO I Hardly Knew Ye

By careysub • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Ah PLATO - a system I knew about back in the day, and which we actually had some terminals for on campus (down in the medical research center on campus) and which I spent most of an academic year trying to find someway to gain access, unsuccessfully! I had the endorsement of a couple of professors, and a upper division research course to provide justification, but - nope, no way to do it. They were installed as part of grant program to the medical center, and although no one was even using them I couldn't even see the terminals, much less touch or use them.

Wired article

By mfnickster • Score: 3 • Thread

I got to play with a Plato terminal on a college campus around 1979 or so, it was really cool. Way beyond anything the standard campus terminals could do.

Years later I stumbled across this article:

I didn't recall the name Brian Dear, but he was interviewed:

“I was given a tour of the Chemistry Learning Center today, to a room where there had been PLATO terminals,” Dear continues. “The cable for the terminals was literally hanging from the wall, the terminals have been replaced by IBM PCs, and the students were using the Web. With PLATO, if you asked a question, you got an answer back in less than a second. If you ask a question on the Web, it can take as long as 15 or 20 seconds to get your answer, while the Net clunks away. The students were falling asleep. I asked myself, ‘Is this progress?’”

Power Outage Strands Thousands at US Airport. 600 Flights Cancelled

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes CNN: A power outage at the world's busiest airport left thousands of passengers stranded in dark terminals and in planes sitting on the tarmac, amid a nationwide ground stop. Incoming and outgoing flights at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were halted indefinitely as crews worked to restore power, leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations. Atlanta is the heart of the US air transport system, and what happens there has the potential to ripple through the country.

More than 600 flights to and from Atlanta have been canceled, including 350 departures, according to Flightradar24... Flights headed to Atlanta are being held on the ground at their departure airport. Inbound flights to Atlanta are being diverted, US Customs and Border Protection said. Departures from the airport are delayed because electronic equipment is not working in the terminals, the FAA said. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Some people stranded in the dark terminals used their cellphones as flashlights, one passenger told CNN. "There were a few emergency lights on, but it was really dark -- felt totally apocalyptic."

Cut power line to an airport at Christmas?!?

By elrous0 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

And John McClain just tweeted that he's about to pick his wife up from the airport!

Re:Oddly unprepared

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"It seems odd than an airport is so unprepared for a power outage."

Simple solution. The government will prohibit the word 'power-outage' and presto, no problemo.

Re:Oddly unprepared

By sjames • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's the absolutely essential. Ideally though, they could also keep enough systems running to continue moving people through. That would be computer terminals, adequate emergency lighting, baggage handling, etc. While highly arguable, I suppose TSA would claim their scanners are essential for as well.

Re:What happened to backup generators?

By WankerWeasel • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
They certainly have backup power for critical systems like air traffic but remember that an airport is basically a city. 275,000 people a day pass through that airport. The eleven different four-car trains there carry 200,000 people each day. The terminal is 6.8 million square feet. Just to keep some lights on so people don't panic requires a ton of backup power. Providing power for all the baggage handling, runway lights, and all other systems is a HUGE ask. Powering it during normal times likely takes damn near its own power plant. Running it on backup power would an insane requirement.

Re:What happened to backup generators?

By aaarrrgggh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It can be done pretty easily, it just costs money. Airports like Honolulu have on-site backup generation, but not sure what percentage of the load it covers— my guess would be about 65%.

For Atlanta the load should be around 35-40MW. 5-6 Turbines would cover it, but it would be about $20 million, and then you need to make sure your common points of failure with utility power are manageable, which would likely double the cost.

Google Reveals the Most-Trending Searches of 2017

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Google's annual list of the most popular searches is here, offering a peek into what people are really thinking about," writes CNN. An anonymous reader quotes their report: This year, you wanted to know more about one of the most powerful storms on record, the devastating Hurricane Irma. But you were also curious about [hip hop artist] Cardi B. and Unicorn Frappuccinos... Like 2017 itself, this year's top searches skew a little darker than usual, but are punctuated with some whimsy and positive moments. The top trending searches in the U.S. were Irma, Matt Lauer, Tom Petty, the Super Bowl and the Las Vegas shooting.

To determine the most popular trending searches, Google looked at its trillions of queries, filtered out spam and repeats, and identified searches that had the highest uptick in traffic compared with the previous year. It breaks them into categories like news, memes, and recipes (beef stroganoff was a hit).

Surprisingly there were more searches for 'iPhone 8" than for 'iPhone X," though those were the top two most-searched consumer technology products. (Followed by Nintendo Switch, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Xbox One X.) Other top searches this year included "What is net neutrality?" as well as questions about what bitcoin is, how to buy it, and the latest bitcoin prices. And one of the 10 most-searched phrases of the year was "fidget spinner."

Google uploaded an inspiring video to YouTube stating "This year more than ever we asked how." To dramatic music, the examples it gives include "How to calm a dog during a storm," "How to help Puerto Rico," "How to make a protest sign" -- and "How to move forward."

Thought "Fake News" would feature up there...

By bogaboga • Score: 3 • Thread

Perhaps the idea of "Fake News" is fake itself!

Stolen Car Recovered With 11,000 More Miles -- and Lyft Stickers

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The San Francisco Bay Area has more car thefts than any region in America, according to A National Insurance Crime Bureau report found that between 2012 and 2014, there were an average of 30,000 car thefts a year just in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Hayward. But one theft took a strange turn. An anonymous reader quotes their report: Cierra and Josh Barton purchased a new Honda HR-V at the beginning of summer. It was stolen while parked in front of their Livermore apartment complex at the end of August. Four months later, Hayward police called the Bartons to say they had recovered the vehicle... What they found, to their surprise, was a car in relatively good shape -- a few dents, a rattling hood. But in the back and front windows were Lyft stickers, Cierra Barton said.

The odometer had spiked from 2,000 miles to more than 13,000. And in the back seat, Cierra said she found a pillow, a jacket and a stuffed animal. "It wasn't burned out, it wasn't gutted, but it appeared to be have been used as a Lyft," she said. That, Cierra added, was even worse than she imagined. "Not only did someone steal our car, they made money off it!"

Lyft says that "Given the information provided, we are unable to match this vehicle to any Lyft accounts in the area," adding they "stand ready to assist law enforcement in any investigation."

the unprofitable gig economy

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Lyft driving is profitable only if you steal cars.

Just like Bitcoin mining is profitable only if you steal electricity.

Captcha: coinage

What they didn't know

By fustakrakich • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It was a self driving car, and it got bored...

My theory

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
A Lyft drive's car broken down. Despo guy stole a car, ran it for 11,000 miles and made enough money to repair his car and then abandoned it after making enough to repair his regular car.

Under these circumstances, would the guy have to steal the same model, make and color? Then we can narrow down the suspects list.

Just wow

By Krishnoid • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

And in the back seat, Cierra said she found a pillow, a jacket and a stuffed animal. "It wasn't burned out, it wasn't gutted, but it appeared to be have been used as a Lyft," she said.

Definitely the behavior and accoutrements of an irresponsible joyrider.

That, Cierra added, was even worse than she imagined. "Not only did someone steal our car, they made money off it!"

Those monsters! Probably some affluenza-infected trust fund kid who slept in the back of the car with their only item of comfort from their horrible parents ... ok, I'm losing the narrative here.

Seriously, someone who has to drive for Lyft to make money and sleep in the back of their car with a stuffed animal for comfort, and it's the *making money* part that's even worse than she imagined? I'm ready to put in for this thief's gofundme to buy their own HR-V (which runs around ~20k, apparently).

What's The Best TV Show About Working in Tech?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Recently Gizmodo hailed "the best show ever made about Silicon Valley", asking its readers one question: why didn't you watch it? They're talking about AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, which their Senior Reviews Editor says "discovered the fascinating, frustrating human side to the soulless monsters who built Silicon Valley." Unfortunately, "nobody watched it. The show never cracked a million live viewers after the pilot episode. It sat firmly on the bubble every season, getting greenlit only by the grace of AMC."

Today Netflix is making that show's fourth (and final) season available -- but is it the best show about working in tech? What about Mr. Robot, Silicon Valley, or The IT Crowd -- or that short-lived X-Files spin-off, The Lone Gunmen?

Has there ever been a good show about geeks -- besides those various PBS documentaries? Leave your own answers in the comments.

What's the best TV show about working in tech?

Re: HCF was not about working in tech

By c6gunner • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Mr Robot is about working in tech the same way that Die Hard is about working in law enforcement.

The Big Bang Theory

By seoras • Score: 3 • Thread

If you remove the fact that they are academics working on psychics then you basically have a good basis for life in the SF Bay.
When I was working there I got taken along to a Friday afternoon premier of one of the Star Trek movies at Mountain View's Shoreline Multiscreen cinema.
Sandals, shorts, pony tails and awful T-shirts. Beards if you can grow one. It's like a uniform for the geek crowd. This was the 90's, I doubt they've changed.
A couple stand up at the front and they shout out "hey everyone, excited?". The crowd goes wild.
"Hey, who here is from HP?". A small patch of the crowd woop and cheer.
"Hey who here is from Apple?" Another small patch of the crowd woop and cheer.
They repeat this with all the big names until finally..
"Hey who here is from Microsoft?". The room goes silent and then everyone starts booing. Then we all laughed.
I do miss that place sometimes...


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Is there anything this movie gets wrong about "working" in IT?

Moron bosses who know nothing about what you actually do? Check.
Multiple pointy-haired types hounding you about your work because they "have to be involved"? Check.
Consultants? Ugh, check.
Outdated tech that needs replacing but its "not in the budget"? Damn it feels good to be a Check sir!

So much more. This is the penultimate look at what working in IT is like. The only thing close is The IT Crowd.

Re:The IT Crowd

By Vulch • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Channel 4, not the BBC. Written by Graham Linehan of Father Ted fame.

None, The problem is

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3 • Thread
User land tech is just an office type drama. Exception Office Space, for the humor ;) was just funny

Entrepreneur tech is just crazy, social, rich individual type drama.

Actual Software Development, can not be put in video because it is thought, the ah ha moments, looooong periods of typing, doing, executing, reading, thinking, testing, a few Got Ya Sucker! moments ;) All of which are, for the most part very hard to visualize let alone record in video in a way that someone who does not do it would understand or even care about.

So what they always end up with is, the side stories, social interactions, drama, etc, etc. with a little poorly done tech mixed in, to try and make it look techie ;)

What it all comes down to is, to present most parts of IT, you need to understand that sub section of IT, which those not doing it can not do.

Example, On numinous occasions I have been sitting at a bar/where ever chatting with a friend/my son-in-law/etc (someone in the business) and people sitting next to us will just kind of look at us, shake their heads and move down the bar/go elsewhere ;) And it was not because we were loud or anything ;) Our conversation was so alien, I think it just ruined their piece of mind ;)

Also, the IT/Tech fields are not special in this regard, there are many areas like this. I think that is why things always end up going back to the old formulas, drama, humor, social interactions, sex, violence, crime, etc. all packaged in an environment.

Just my 2 cents ;)

Former Exec Who Said Facebook Was 'Destroying Society' Still Loves Facebook

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Remember that former Facebook exec who felt "tremendous guilt" about creating tools " that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works"? He's now walking back his criticism -- at least somewhat. Gizmodo reports: Palihapitiya said that he believes that "Facebook is a force for good in the world," and went on to express his belief that the social network is really trying to make its platform less of a hellish garbage fire of misinformation and election interference. "Facebook has made tremendous strides in coming to terms with its unforeseen influence and, more so than any of its peers, the team there has taken real steps to course correct," he wrote in the post... Facebook is certainly trying to soothe naysayers who think the platform might be rotting the brains of our youth -- a viewpoint that Sean Parker, Facebook's first president, essentially expressed last month... For Palihapitiya's part, Thursday night's statement wasn't a total reversal of his original claims, but seemingly an apologetic gesture toward Facebook (or perhaps friends still working at the company). Yes, social media has the capacity to utterly destroy us, but can't you see that Facebook is trying to be better?
His post argues social media platforms " have been used and abused in ways that we, their architects, never imagined.

"Much blame has been thrown and guilt felt, but the important thing is what we as an industry do now to ensure that our impact on society continues to be a positive one."

Flat Earther Now Wants To Launch His Homemade Rocket From a Balloon

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Maine alternative newsweekly just interviewed self-taught rocket scientist "Mad" Mike Hughes, who still believes that the earth is a flat, Frisbee-shaped disc. ("Think about this. Australia -- which is supposedly on the other side of the planet -- is upside down yet they're holding the waters in the ocean. Now how is that happening?") And Mike's got a new way to prove it after his aborted launch attempt in November. An anonymous reader writes: "One thing I want to clarify is that this rocket was never supposed to prove that the Earth is flat," Hughes tells an interviewer. "I was never going to go high enough to do that." But he will prove it's flat -- with an even riskier stunt. "I have a plan to go 62 miles up to the edge of space. It's going to cost $1.8 million and that could happen within 10 months."

"I'm going to have a balloon built at about $250,000 with $100,000 worth of hydrogen in it. It will lift me up about 20 miles... If I'm unconscious, they can use the controls to bring the balloon back." But if he's still conscious? "Then I'll fire a rocket through the balloon that will pull me up by my shoulders through a truss for 42 miles at 1.5 g's."

It's an awesome plan "if I don't burn up coming back through the atmosphere."

The interviewer asks Hughes a reasonable question. "Wouldn't it be cheaper and less deadly to just try to drill through the Earth to the other side to prove your point?"

"You can't," Hughes answers. "That's another fallacy. The deepest hole ever drilled is seven-and-a-half miles and it was done in Russia. It took 12 years. You cannot drill through this planet. It dulls every drill bit. All the stuff that you learned in school -- that the core is molten nickel -- it's all lies. No one knows what's in the center of the Earth or how deep it is. I'm no expert at anything, but I know that's a fact."

The rocket is superfluous.

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

He'd be better off letting the balloon go higher with a lighter payload. A steam rocket with its massive pressure vessel is going to take more off your maximum altitude than it contributes.

The first humans to see the curvature of the Earth were US Army captains Albert Stevens and Orvil Anderson, who achieved an altitude of 22km in the Helium-filled Explorer II balloon on November 11, 1935. This would be the way to go. The record for a hot-air balloon ascent is 21 km, which would be sufficient to detect the curvature of the Earth if your gondola sported a porthole with a sufficiently wide field of view.

But the easiest and cheapest sensory evidence you can get is from a camera lofted into the stratosphere by a weather balloon. For under $150 you can buy a ballon with a burst height of over 35 km. You could probably rig the entire mission for under $1000.

evidence-based rocket science

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"I'm no expert at anything, but I know that's a fact."

This is the quote of 2017.

And all of you haters and losers making fun of this guy, why do you hate diverse viewpoints in science? It's about time we had more Trump-supporting scientists.


By meerling • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I wonder if he's just trying to break the record for the most intricate and involved Darwin Award qualification.

Who did he vote for?

By Subm • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Do we know who he voted for?

Any guesses?

The best response to this I've heard is...

By WalrusSlayer • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

..."that's easy! Show me where the edge of the Earth is! That'd be the coolest place ever! Heck, I'll build a house right at the edge of the world!"

Personally, my favorite corollary is that the presence of cats is disproof of a flat Earth. If the Earth were flat, there would be an edge somewhere. Which is where all the cats would be, knocking things off the edge, rather than piddling around with us mere humans.

Microsoft Releases a Preview of OpenSSH Client and Server For Windows 10

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
kriston (Slashdot user #7,886) writes: Microsoft released a preview of the OpenSSH server and client for Windows 10. Go to Settings, Apps & Features, and click "Manage optional features" to install them. The software only supports AES-CTR and chacha20 ciphers and supports a tiny subset of keys and KEXs, but, on the other hand, a decent set of MACs.

It also says that it doesn't use the OpenSSL library. That's the really big news, here. I understand leaving out arcfour/RC4 and IDEA, but why wouldn't MSFT include Blowfish, Twofish, CAST, and 3DES? At least they chose the CTR versions of these ciphers. (Blowfish isn't compromised in any practical way, by the way). I prefer faster and less memory- and CPU-intensive ciphers.

Still, it's a good start. The SSH server is compelling enough to check out especially since I just started using X2GO for remote desktop access which requires an SSH server for its file sharing feature.


By jmccue • Score: 3 • Thread

Windows 10 that may just see the retirement of Putty

I do not see that happening, most people I know who need to access UN*X systems via windows uses putty and hardly ever opens up a "DOS Box (? not sure what it is called now). Anyway putty is a nice tool for people who likes GUI type applications so it will still be around.

BTW, I tried to get a few of them to go to Linux (work allows one to use Linux), but without luck.

"doesn't use the OpenSSL library."

By Chris Mattern • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Then how is it 'OpenSSH"? If it isn't using the Open code, it's just SSH, right?

Re:We've already got PuTTY

By Antique Geekmeister • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Cygwin provides an SSH server, with current OpenSSH releases and a more powerf bash based local working environment. It does require additional non-Microsoft published binaries, and it has had issues operating with various anti-virus software packages. I admit that I'm very, very curious what shell and what capability for chroot sftp access may be available with the new Microsoft published server.

Activating that future could be very helpful for people who wish to safely upload, or download, more safely from what is already a publicly exposed Windows server.

Re:We've already got PuTTY

By Dr.Dubious DDQ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
"Hopefully the Microsoft OpenSSH server will accept clients other than their's."

It does - or at least it did last time I tried it.

This project appears to be the Powershell team doing an honest port of the "Portable OpenSSH" code to native Windows, apparently including legitimate efforts to upstream the port to the main "Portable OpenSSH" project, and it seems (or at least seemed) to be as compatible as one would expect.

When I last tried it, the only issue I ran into was oddities in the terminal emulation, due to Microsoft's shell environment being "special" (things like backspace/del behaving oddly etc.), but it otherwise seemed to work just the same as OpenSSH on my Linux boxen. It's probably been nearly a year since I tried to seriously play with it, so I imagine a lot of improvements have taken place since then.

One nice thing about this project is that there seem to be rumors that "Powershell remoting" will eventually use SSH as its authentication and transport mechanism, which is a major hole in the current port of Powershell to non-Windows platforms. (You *can* do "powershell remoting" from e.g. Linux to Windows, but *only* if you substantially downgrade the security on the Windows side to allow it, because apparently it currently depends on one of the many special "Windows-only" features in powershell to do otherwise. Switching to SSH for this would fix that problem.)

Already deprecated algorithms

By twistedcubic • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

....but why wouldn't MSFT include Blowfish, Twofish, CAST, and 3DES?...

Slashdot article: New SWEET32 Crypto Attacks Speed Up Deprecation of 3DES, Blowfish

Bruce Schneier, the creator of Blowfish, long ago suggested people stop using it.

Trump Administration Prohibits CDC Policy Analysts From Using the Words 'Science-Based'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader hey! writes: On Friday the Washington Post reported that the Trump Administration has forbidden the Centers for Disease Control from using seven terms in certain documents: "science-based", "evidence-based", "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," and "fetus".

It's important to note that the precise scope and intent of the ban is unknown at present. Scientific and medical personnel as of now have not been affected, only policy analysts preparing budgetary proposals and supporting data that is being sent to Congress. So it is unclear the degree to which the language mandates represent a change in agency priorities vs. a change in how it presents itself to Congress. However banning the scientifically precise term "fetus" will certainly complicate budgeting for things like Zika research and monitoring.

According to the Post's article, "Instead of 'science-based' or 'evidence-based,' the suggested phrase is 'CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes."

The New York Times confirmed the story with several officials, although "a few suggested that the proposal was not so much a ban on words but recommendations to avoid some language to ease the path toward budget approval by Republicans."

Re:They must go nuts

By meglon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That's the difference between me and you, dickwad... i don't presume to tell a woman how to feel about anything, nor to i have the mental handicap of thinking i know what's best for them. Stupid fucks like you, on the other hand, if you're truly serious about reducing abortions.. then you would promote policies that do just that like better sex ed for teens, and easy access to contraceptives, not ones that do the opposite like the bullshit abstinence only.

Re: They must go nuts

By unrtst • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I love this little thread! It seems to embody the discourse for many of this years issues.
* Someone takes a side on something
* Other people adamantly disagree
* Others join first side, still no reasons presented
* Second side states some nearly-fact, and references it as why they are correct
* First side barely rephrases the same fact, and uses it to claim they are correct
* A back and forth ensues, each saying, "no, it's because $same_fact"
* Side note: one of the parties doesn't actually believe the fact, so they can't even fall back to agreeing on that

Regarding that last point, it means the two sides here probably won't agree that Monsanto is awful and needs broken in a variety of ways, even though "big evil gmo company" is the shared fact.... though someone from both sides WILL agree to that, and it just leaves everyone frustrated, wondering how nearly everyone involved can be saying essentially the same thing and arriving an completely opposing opinions.

FWIW, I blame language, or the poor or inaccurate use of it.

Re: They must go nuts

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

> Jim Crow was a Democrat

You're semantically-correct, but effectively wrong. Today's "Republican" and "Democratic" parties BOTH differ in important, fundamental ways from the parties bearing their names 50+ years ago. We've had at LEAST 2 or 3 MAJOR partisan re-alignments over the past 150 years where the names remained the same, but the members (and their personalities) got shuffled and switched around.

Abraham Lincoln was most assuredly NOT a "limited-government states-rights evangelical conservative", any more than Thomas Jefferson was a welfare-state environmentalist who advocated the poor, powerless, black, or otherwise-disenfranchised.

Both parties are volatile, fragile coalitions. In countries with proportional-representation parliamentary democracy, the coalitions are formed by elected officials after each election. In countries with first past the post elections (regardless of whether you call the resulting body a "congress" or "parliament"), you inevitably end up with 2 strong parties that shuffle back & forth, with a third group that occasionally coalesces into a stable third party, and the coalitions are effectively formed BEFORE the election.

This is why Republicans in Congress keep ending up hamstrung by their most extreme right-wing members, instead of kicking them to the curb and forming working coalitions with the least-liberal Democrats. The leaders of BOTH parties know that the result would eventually be another reshuffling that would probably result in a hardcore right-wing evangelical party big enough to keep Rs and Ds from getting clear majorities, while the Rs and Ds themselves were BOTH dragged towards a more ambiguous center neither party WANTS to be at, with neither Rs nor Ds likely to achieve solid, stable majorities for a long time afterwards. So conservative-leaning Democrats are pressured into NOT forming coalitions with Republicans, and Republicans aren't allowed to even THINK about forming a temporary coalition with any Democrats, even if such a coalition could steamroll over the extremists in both parties... both parties will automatically sacrifice short-term victories for the sake of long-term stability.

Re:They must go nuts

By nightfire-unique • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread


Honestly, whether or not abortiion is "right" or "wrong" is utterly irrelevant.

We should be using terms like "forced birthers" because that describes what so-called "anti-abortionists" are supporting. Not saving a fetus, but forcing a woman to give birth without her consent.

Perhaps in 100 years, we will rightly refer to forced-birthers with a similar disdain that we currently reserve for rape supporters.

Re: They must go nuts

By meglon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Fact: most of the judges on the supreme court who voted for roe vs wade were conservative.

Fact: the supreme court is supposed to be non-political positions. Additionally, as you can see by the stance of the members currently, ALL of the conservatives are against the Roe v Wade decision.

Fact: More Republicans voted in favor of the 19th amendment than democrats did.

You're conflating "republican" with "conservative" here. In the 1920's, democrats were the more conservative party.

Fact: Jim Crow was a Democrat.

Again, trying to suggest that democrats of the time were progressives; democrats of this time were radically conservative. Even brain dead idiots know that.

And to those [citation needed] tools, highlight the facts, right click on it, and select "search in google".

Fact: the only tool i see here is you. It takes an idiot to think that the republican party of the early 1900's even remotely resembles the modern day republican party. Modern republicans are the anti-thesis to Lincoln and his progressive republican party.

Bet you didn't know those inconvenient facts did you?

Yeh... i've seen your form of stupidity before. You're like the morons who think the NAZI's were socialists just because that word was part of their name. .. or One Million Moms who's membership is, what... less than 200k (and that's being generous). You mooks believe everything your masters tell you.... it must hurt to go through life as stupid as you are.

Windows 10 Bundled a Password Manager with a Security Flaw

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: A Google security researcher has found and helped patch a severe vulnerability in Keeper, a password manager application that Microsoft has been bundling with some Windows 10 distributions this year... "This is a complete compromise of Keeper security, allowing any website to steal any password," Tavis Ormandy, the Google security researcher said, pointing out that the password manager was still vulnerable to a same vulnerability he reported in August 2016, which had apparently been reintroduced in the code.

Based on user reports, Microsoft appears to have been bundling Keeper as part of Windows 10 Pro distributions since this past summer.

The article reports that Keeper issued a fix -- browser extension version 11.4 -- within less than 24 hours.


By Memnos • Score: 3 • Thread

So.. rename it "Giver"?

Flaw? You mean...

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 3 • Thread
Flaw? You mean "backdoor", created at the behest of one or more intelligence agencies?

AI is right around the corder...

By 110010001000 • Score: 3 • Thread
....but we still can't write small password keeper programs correctly yet. But somehow AI is going to happen.

Somebody's gotta say it..

By LVSlushdat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Windows 10 IS IN ITSELF a MAJOR security flaw... I think its too precious to call out one tiny piece of Windows 10 and complain about its security flaw.... Of course I will be ruthlessly downmodded by the Windows astroturfing squad... Do your worst, as MOST of us with half a clue know I'm right...

Do More People Use Firefox Than Edge and IE Combined?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
A funny thing happened when Net Applications' statistics began excluding fake traffic from ad-defrauding bots. Computerworld reports: Microsoft's Edge browser is less popular with Windows 10 users than earlier thought, if revised data from a U.S. analytics vendor can be believed. According to Net Applications of Aliso Viejo, Calif., Edge has been designated the primary browser by fewer than one in six Windows 10 users for more than a year and a half. That's a significant downgrading of Edge's user share statistics from the browser's portrayal before this month...

By comparing Edge's old and new shares, it was evident that as much as half of the earlier Edge traffic had been faked by bots. The portion of Edge's share credited to bots fluctuated month to month, but fell below 30% in only 4 of the 19 months for which Net Applications provided data... Microsoft's legacy browser, Internet Explorer (IE) also was revealed as a Potemkin village. Under the old data regime, which included bots, IE's user share was overblown, at times more than double the no-bots reality. Take May 2016 as an example. With bots, Net Applications pegged IE at 33.7%; without bots, IE's user share dwindled to just 14.9%. Together, IE and Edge - in other words, Microsoft's browsers - accounted for only 16.3% of the global user share last month using Net Applications' new calculations... In fact, the combined IE and Edge now face a once unthinkable fate: falling beneath Mozilla's Firefox.

StatCounter's stats on browser usage already show more people have already been using Firefox than both of Microsoft's browsers combined -- in 12 of the last 13 months.

It's reverse for me, at work.

By Nutria • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Required web-based systems running SAP and requiring 2FA just don't work well with FF, and Chrome refuses to connect to the server (something to do with TLS, no doubt).

Thus, I use IE11 most frequently.

Edge pitches so funny it hurts

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Got a Win10 recently. The homepage that came preloaded out of the box in Edge was some serious comparison stats with chrome. In default apps settings switching out of edge begs "please give edge a chance" or something like that. Looks like the only use for edge is to download chrome or firefox.

There is a God. There is karma. All they did to Netscape! It is justice delayed, no doubt, and all the jerks who did that have cashed out and gone. But I do feel some schadenfreude looking at its problems.

You're not going to believe me ...

By eneville • Score: 3 • Thread

I use FF heavily at home. Chrome at work. On the phone, however, I use opera most, very light and fast to navigate within a page.

Edge can't even do basic tasks!

By Jody Bruchon • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I've got Firefox and use it 100% of the time. I push everyone to it. Microsoft is desperate to move people to Edge and wants us to think it's faster than everything. That's fine, but even if it was the fastest browser ever, I can't even do simple things in it. I've navigated to this very page in Edge and I'll tell you what is missing when I right-click some things:

Save page, undo close tab, view page info, view page source, inspect element, and everything I have add-ons to get. Right-click on an image and you can't view image, copy image, or copy image location, only save it or open the link under it. No bookmark link, save link, or open in private window.

Just tried a page with auto-play video and there was no way to mute the tab like in Firefox. One major feature I love in Firefox is highlighting a non-linked URL or domain name and being able to right-click it and follow it as a link anyway, and being able to highlight and search any phrase on a page is another good one. None of that is in Edge. Edge is NOT a browser for getting things done; it's a browser for crappy tablets and people that have no idea how to internet on them. Even then, that's a bit of a stretch; way too many basic functions are missing to take it seriously. Saving web pages locally was in Netscape and IE in the mid-1990s, for god's sake!

Re:Edge can't even do basic tasks!

By TFlan91 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

...Edge is NOT a browser for getting things done; ...


Edge is for getting Chrome or Firefox.

Artificial Intelligence Is Killing the Uncanny Valley and Our Grasp On Reality

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
rickih02 writes: In 2018, we will enter a new era of machine learning -- one in which AI-generated media looks and sounds completely real. The technologies underlying this shift will push us into new creative realms. But this boom will have a dark side, too. For Backchannel's 2018 predictions edition, Sandra Upson delves into the future of artificial intelligence and the double edged sword its increasing sophistication will present. "A world awash in AI-generated content is a classic case of a utopia that is also a dystopia," she writes. "It's messy, it's beautiful, and it's already here."
"The algorithms powering style transfer are gaining precision, signalling the end of the Uncanny Valley -- the sense of unease that realistic computer-generated humans typically elicit..." the article argues.

"But it's not hard to see how this creative explosion could all go very wrong."

Re: Grasp on Reality, really?

By religionofpeas • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The number of people that would trust a video call with someone they know is substantially larger than people who believe a random e-mail, especially if both are coming from a home address.

An arms race against 'fake news'

By vix86 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

All of the claims about "fake news" could come to a head here really soon with more extreme left and right news sites/blogs putting out fake speeches and audio bites that have been created using this new technology. This tech is really going to muddy the waters on social media and will be utilized by movements and countries to spread disinformation. The more legitimate news outlets will spend more time fighting this disinformation instead of reporting on the actual events that are going on.

I think ultimately what we'll see is that other companies will come along offering services that archive and perform various match tests against sound bites and recorded speeches. You'll be able to confirm if the video clip you just saw actually happened and if so, when and where it occurred. Without something like this, we all will be lost in a see of fake speeches and events. I expect the government will get involved in this and the Library of Congress will be tangentially involved in the collection, storage, and verification; but I don't think any of this will be taken seriously until politicians on both sides of the aisle get burned by fake creations.

Used to it vs. not

By DrYak • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Currently, not a lot of people are used to put doubt into video (or even real-time face-to-face video) because the technology to fake it realistically enough has only started very recently to become cheap enough to be a worthy try for an attacker: And it will still be a little bit more time until it start getting used in real-time (basically once " ${price of renting cloud GPU time to run the neural net} ${money that can be made in such attempts}" ).

Once awareness is raised, society will eventually adapt and only the most gullible will fall for the tricks while our successor on /. will wonder why not more people are using whatever authentication is the most common for video chatting.

A bit like how a couple of decades ago, every body was aware of signature forging and wouldn't trust a simply hand written note, but would fall for attempt at phone-calls social engineering (i.e.: impersonating a general role by being a good actor, back at a time where the phone quality would barely let you recognise a voice reliably).

When is this going to happen?

By 110010001000 • Score: 3 • Thread
It is 2017 and the Uncanny Valley is very much still alive. AI isn't real.

Re:I, For One, Welcome Our New Robomimetic Overlor

By SuricouRaven • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Or it might be the end of comments sections. Consider this scenario:

Someone develops and publishes a comment-bot AI. It's not a general-purpose AI, but you can configure it with a position to promote and point it to a site, and it will then start posting unique comments promoting the view, and posting rebuttals to anyone who opposes the view. It's not going to pass for human in a conversation, but in single posts it'll appear human most of the time.

First thing that happens? Joe's Pizza unleashes a hundred instances to tell the world how great their pizza is. AI spam. But this is hard spam to get rid of, because it's constantly changing: This AI learns how anti-spam measures work. CAPTCHA tests get even more annoying for a while. But that's ok: The internet is used to spam. Joe's Pizza gets a lot of hate.

Then an election rolls around. Say, a US presidential election.

Suddenly, millions of instances appear - half of them promoting the Republicans, and half the Democrats. Comment threads all over the internet become fifty-pages of almost fully automatically generated text, flooding out any human voice. Both parties deny such underhanded techniques, of course - and perhaps even truthfully, as fingers are pointed to independent pressure groups or the governments of other countries as a possible source.

Meanwhile, the Church of the Easily Offended gets their running. They set a few thousand running - their job is to identify 'inappropriate' material - anything that offends their religion, or standards of decency or of clean language - and submit reports or write angry letters to site operators. In an amusing irony, the church website shortly has to close their own comments section because of the millions of bots now searching the internet for church comments pages and posting about why Islam is the true religion.

In the end the only option is to drop anonymous comments entirely, and tie any comments into verified accounts established with proof of identity.

Ask Slashdot: How Can Programmers Explain Their Work To Non-Programmers?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader Grady Martin writes: I disrespect people who describe their work in highfalutin terms... However, describing my own work as "programming solutions to problems" is little more than codifying what just about anyone can perceive through intuition. Case in point: Home for the holidays, I was asked about recent accomplishments and attempted to explain the process of producing compact visualizations of branched undo/redo histories.

Responses ranged from, "Well, duh," to, "I can already do that in Word"...

It's the "duh" that I want to address, because of course an elegant solution seem obvious after the fact: Such is the nature of elegance itself. Does anyone have advice on making elegance sound impressive?

An anonymous Slashdot reader left this suggestion for explaining your work to non-programmers. "Don't. I get sick when I hear the bullshit artists spew crap out of their mouth when they have no idea wtf they're talking about. Especially managers..."

But how about the rest of you? How can programmers explain their work to non-programmers?

Plenty of tutorials online

By John.Banister • Score: 3 • Thread
I seldom get paid for anything that resembles programming, but if someone wants to know more than "writing instructions for computers," I generally point them to a tutorial for a scripting language, preferably one that can be used to automate tasks in a program that they regularly use. After they've learned a little, I say "now imagine writing the program that runs your script or the operating system for the computer that hosts that program." As I've gotten older, I find that I don't put a lot of effort into coming up with simple explanations for people who don't want to make an effort at doing any learning, because if them gaining the understanding isn't worth their effort, then it also isn't worth mine.

Re:Need no explanation

By sycodon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"What do you do?"

"I'm in computers"


Then the conversation proceeds about other, more important stuff, like what to have for dinner, what time to meet for the movie, trip, etc.

Nobody really wants to know what other people do in detail unless they are considering a career change into that field.

Programmers tell computers how to do things

By ewibble • Score: 3 • Thread

I describe it as giving instructions to person with absolutely no intuition but will do everything precisely as you say.

Ask them to give you basic instructions on a simple thing like open a door or draw a picture and follow there instructions PRECISELY.

The answer in one comic strip!

By SysKoll • Score: 3 • Thread

This is an age-old question. Engineers always seem to be hard-pressed to explain what they are doing all day long.

This can lead to problems when the people asking the question are non-technical AND have the power to defund projects or departments they don't understand.

My favorite comic strip on the topic (oldie but goldie):

Start them early

By lhowaf • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
An programmer/author named T.D. (Tyler) Smith wrote a children's book called, "Goodnight Server Room" for kids aged 1 to 5. He said he and his children knew all about firetrucks and front-loaders because that was the sort of subject matter available for a lot of kid's books. He wanted to give his kids a start at understanding what Daddy did all day so he wrote the book.
As for adults...

Bitcoin Jumps Another 10% in 24 Hours, Sets New Record at $19,000

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: Bitcoin's price set a new record on Saturday as the virtual currency rose above $19,000 for the first time on the Bitstamp exchange. The gains came just hours after the currency crossed the $18,000 mark. Bitcoin's value has doubled over the last three weeks, and it's up more than 20-fold over the last year.

Bitcoin's value keeps rising despite a growing chorus of experts who say the currency value is an unsustainable bubble. One CNBC survey this week found that 80 percent of Wall Street economists and market strategists saw bitcoin's rise as a bubble, compared to just two percent who said the currency's value was justified. Another survey reported by The Wall Street Journal this week found that 51 out of 53 economists surveyed thought bitcoin's price was an unsustainable bubble.

Less than a month ago, Bitcoin was selling for $8,000.

Re:I have an idea.

By Pseudonym • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Well I invested all my money in tulips. Who's laughing mow?

Only one question left:

By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

Who will be the ones left holding the bag?

Re:I have an idea.

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This whole situation reminds me of the old Onion article, AOL Acquires Time-Warner In Largest-Ever Expenditure Of Pretend Internet Money. The AOL-Time Warner merger was the peak in the Dot Com boom insanity, en route to it transitioning to a bust. Now: Bitcoin Plunge Reveals Possible Vulnerabilities In Crazy Imaginary Internet Money

The amount of money people are dumping into coins is just absurd. I was just checking, and Dogecoin now has a market cap of $754 - more than the combined GDPs of Tualu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Palau. For a joke.

Re:You're a fool if you don't hedge investments

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Just admit this is new territory and doesn't work the same as traditional stocks.

All forms of financial assets function as a form of promissory note: an asset that can later be exchanged for desired goods and services. The "selling point" for BTC was that it going to be some new global payment system replacing credit cards, unbacked by anything but public trust, but with sufficient public trust that it can retain value without physical backing assets or a country behind it. How's that assumption going?

  * BTC is a terrible payment system from a technological perspective due to the huge processing cost and delays per transaction. Bitcoin fees aren't high because of gouging, they're high because bitcoin is technologically awful.
  * It's far too volatile for such a role
  * It already has a market cap as high as the major credit card companies combined, yet is accepted by a minuscule fraction as credit cards for the above reasons - which just screams "massive bubble".
  * Indeed, many early "forward thinking" adopters have been going backwards and eliminating bitcoin payment options - the very excuse for justifying its price.
  * Bitcoin is favoured target of hackers; it's proven much easier to compromise exchanges and wallets than traditional financial networks.
  * Governments have numerous reasons to crack down on bitcoin (drugs, money laundering, deliberately crashing the assets of states with bitcoin reserves like North Korea, trying to pop a bubble gently to prevent a recession, etc), and extensive tools to do so, effectively driving it back to its innate value (a currency for underground criminal activity). Historically, the loss of one market - for example, China - has been compensated for by growth in western markets. But if you take western markets out of the picture, you're taking the vast majority of the world's capital out of the picture, period. It's even worse because western markets have disproportional leverage on the world's global financial systems, and decisions taken by them can reach well beyond their borders.

"Neck beards" also pointed out that the dotcom bubble was, in fact, a bubble, even though they couldn't tell you when it was going to burst. Yes, sometimes "neck beards" may underestimate the general public's willingness to mortgage all of their assets into internet fads when they blinded by a growth curve. But that doesn't change the basic issues underlying it all.

That doesn't mean that nothing will survive. Some of the dotcom crash's survivors became giants today eBay, Google, Amazon, etc. But most people who had their money lost their shirts. Perhaps some "coin" future may survive and even ultimately flourish. But what I can say is that BTC itself is going to pop at some point or another.

Re:You're a fool if you don't hedge investments

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Of course they said that and of course they were wrong. Nobody knows exactly when the bubble will burst, otherwise they'd be milking it for all it's worth. Though maybe a good many speculators are actually realistic about the long term prospects of BTC and are in fact just milking it while the going's good. Just keep in mind: when the crash comes, don't think you can unload gradually on the way down. When it comes, it will be extremely hard to get rid of your coins at any price...