the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Adobe Security Team Accidentally Posts Private PGP Key On Blog

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A member of Adobe's Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) accidentally posted the PGP keys for PSIRT's email account -- both the public and the private keys. According to Ars Technica, "the keys have since been taken down, and a new public key has been posted in its stead." From the report: The faux pas was spotted at 1:49pm ET by security researcher Juho Nurminen. Nurminen was able to confirm that the key was associated with the e-mail account. To be fair to Adobe, PGP security is harder than it should be. What obviously happened is that a PSIRT team member exported a text file from PSIRT's shared webmail account using Mailvelope, the Chrome and Firefox browser extension, to add to the team's blog. But instead of clicking on the "public" button, the person responsible clicked on "all" and exported both keys into a text file. Then, without realizing the error, the text file was cut/pasted directly to Adobe's PSIRT blog.


By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 3 • Thread
This article is clearly a lie. How can a mythological entity have a PGP key?

Passwords For 540,000 Car Tracking Devices Leaked Online

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hacker News: Login credentials of more than half a million records belonging to vehicle tracking device company SVR Tracking have leaked online, potentially exposing the personal data and vehicle details of drivers and businesses using its service. Just two days ago, Viacom was found exposing the keys to its kingdom on an unsecured Amazon S3 server, and this data breach is yet another example of storing sensitive data on a misconfigured cloud server. The Kromtech Security Center was first to discover a wide-open, public-facing misconfigured Amazon Web Server (AWS) S3 cloud storage bucket containing a cache belonging to SVR that was left publicly accessible for an unknown period. Stands for Stolen Vehicle Records, the SVR Tracking service allows its customers to track their vehicles in real time by attaching a physical tracking device to vehicles in a discreet location, so their customers can monitor and recover them in case their vehicles are stolen. The leaked cache contained details of roughly 540,000 SVR accounts, including email addresses and passwords, as well as users' vehicle data, like VIN (vehicle identification number), IMEI numbers of GPS devices. The leaked database also exposed 339 logs that contained photographs and data about vehicle status and maintenance records, along with a document with information on the 427 dealerships that use SVR's tracking services.

Oracle Announces Java SE 9 and Java EE 8

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
rastos1 writes: Oracle has announced the general availability of Java SE 9 (JDK 9), Java Platform Enterprise Edition 8 (Java EE 8) and the Java EE 8 Software Development Kit (SDK). JDK 9 is a production-ready implementation of the Java SE 9 Platform Specification, which was recently approved together with Java EE 8 in the Java Community Process (JCP). Java SE 9 provides more than 150 new features, including a new module system and improvements that bring more scalability, improved security, better performance management and easier development to the world's most popular programming platform.

Maybe most popular...

By TWX • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...but the way Oracle runs it, probably getting to be most-hated and most-abandoned too. At some point most-abandoned will cross with most popular and it won't be most popular anymore.

All 9 of us are thrilled

By Billly Gates • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I will let them know.

The rest of us are stuck with Java 1.4.2, 6, and 7 due to poorly written apps using RMI to go to c:\program files(x85)\ check version numbers and using == instead of = to run.

Or we left long ago to Ror.

Move Over Connected Cows, the Internet of Bees Is Here

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new project is aiming to bring bees online by putting them in tiny "backpacks" so that scientists can track the threatened insect's behaviour and help its survival. From a report: Bees in Manchester initially will be connected to the internet using technology from Cisco to help researchers track their migration, pollination and movement, and eventually, across the UK. Sensors in hives located at a new 70,000 sq ft tech accelerator hub in the northern city called Mi-Idea, will measure the bee environment such as temperature, while the bees themselves will be tagged with RFID chips that look like tiny backpacks. All the information will be collected and made available to track online giving insight on their habitats, with the bees even providing "status updates" (albeit automated) on their whereabouts. Cisco is working on the project with the Manchester Science Partnership (MSP) and the hub is already home to six startups: Hark, an IoT data company, video platform Wattl, location data analytics startup PlaceDashboard, Steamaco, an energy technology company, IOT platform KMS and software firm Malinko.


By ArylAkamov • Score: 3 • Thread

Bee powered meshnet when?

Would that make them

By dmomo • Score: 3, Funny • Thread


Re:I'm okay with this, but..

By Zocalo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Re:Would that make them

By dmomo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I'm not worried. I've already set up a honey pot to trap them.

Nestle Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nestle, the world's largest food and beverage company, has been bottling water since 1843 and has grown into the largest seller of bottled water. But a detailed report on Bloomberg uncovers the company's operation in Michigan, revealing that Nestle has come to dominate in the industry in part by going into economically depressed areas with lax water laws. It makes billions selling a product for which it pays close to nothing. Find the Bloomberg Businessweek article here (it might be paywalled, here's an alternative source).


By OzPeter • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

...falls from the sky for free all the time.

There are many places in the US (typically in the West) where unless you own the water rights to the land you are on, you do not own the water that falls onto that land. So rainwater is only free for certain values of free.

Re:That describes nearly every soft-drink maker

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

If you ever want to give up Taco Bell, get a good smell of 'Ol' Roy' brand canned beef dog food, then goto a Taco Bell and inhale. You will recognize the smell.

Not this nonsense again.

Unlike Taco Bell, Ol' Roy brand canned beef dog food contains actual beef.

The two biggest scams

By Dracos • Score: 3 • Thread

... by which mankind has swindled itself are religion and bottled water.

Re: So.... fix the laws, I guess?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Demand a fair market price, if Nestle moves on let them.

"Next to nothing" is a fair market price for water. I pay about $1 per HCF (hundred cubic feet) at the retail level, for water pumped to my house. That is about a 30th of a cent, or $0.0003 per liter. This is in drought threatened California. In most other areas, water is even cheaper.

The prices listed in TFA are reasonable, and only sound otherwise to people that have no idea just how cheap water is. Any government is going to get way way way more from jobs and property taxes that they could ever expect to get by charging a few extra pennies per HCF for the water.

Re: So.... fix the laws, I guess?

By pushing-robot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're splitting hairs. Intrinsic rights don't exist; all rights are entitlements.

Thus, anything can become a right; it is up to society to decide which are beneficial to civilization and which are detrimental.

Terms like 'natural rights' are simply rhetorical devices indicating rights which are so fundamental to civil society that denying them would threaten the whole enterprise.

Clean water absolutely deserves to be a right anywhere sufficient infrastructure exists to provide it affordably. It's inarguable that potable water benefits civilization far more than it costs, unless you want to return to an era when cholera, typhoid, and dysentery were leading causes of death.

Major Cyber-Attack Will Happen Soon, Warns UK's Security Boss

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Alex Hern, writing for The Guardian: A "category one" cyber-attack, the most serious tier possible, will happen "sometime in the next few years", a director of the National Cybersecurity Centre has warned. According to the agency, which reports to GCHQ and has responsibly for ensuring the UK's information security, a category one cybersecurity incident requires a national government response. Speaking at an event about the next decade of information security, Levy warned that "sometime in the next few years we're going to have our first category one cyber-incident." The only way to prevent such a breach, he said, was to change the way businesses and governments think about cybersecurity. Rather than obsessing about buying the right security products, Levy argued, organisations should instead focus on managing risk: understanding the data they hold, the value it has, and how much damage it could do if it was lost, for instance.


By brian.stinar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Well, it sounds like the only reasonable thing to do would be to provide the National Cybersecurity Centre with much more funding!!


By Train0987 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Don't forget abolishing any privacy or encryption.

Re:Amm... So what?

By sdinfoserv • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
How about these:: the power grid goes down, for several months. Dam flood gates open releasing enough water to flood towns down stream. Your car no longer starts. Raw sewage from treatment plants backs up into the streets of all major cities. Stop lights turn all green every direction.
Like that? So what? Still?
Ya, I thought so.

Managing risk

By tomhath • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Rather than obsessing about buying the right security products, Levy argued, organisations should instead focus on managing risk: understanding the data they hold, the value it has, and how much damage it could do if it was lost, for instance.

He has a good point. When an all out attack does happen you won't be able to stop it. So before it does, make sure your backups work, make sure your restores work, put fences up to stop the spread of an attack, etc, etc.

In other words, assume the attack will succeed. Then what will you do?

They're So Good That...

By ytene • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
... it took lone-contributor security researcher, Marcus Hutchins, to stop the WannaCry ransomware outbreak [by registering a domain name].

Ian Levy, the Director of the UK National Cybersecurity Centre and the individual quoted in the OP, heads an agency that is so good, so capable, so on-the-ball, that it took a private individual to identify a means of neutering WannCry.

Never mind the fact that it would have been Levy's organisation that was responsible for preventing the NHS and other UK government agencies from being compromised in the first place...

To give you an idea for just how misguided the man's thinking is, here's another of his quotes, from the same article:-

"“Cybersecurity professionals have spent the last 25 years saying people are the weakest link. That’s stupid!” he said, “They cannot possibly be the weakest link – they are the people that create the value at these organisations."

So, let's just get this right. When we have an abundance of evidence that shows that it is people, not technology, who select easily-guessed passwords, people, not technology, that click the links in phishing emails, people, not technology, that try and promote code that hasn't been properly tested, "because they know it's OK, they don't need to test..." ... Mr Levy is certain that all this evidence is wrong, and he is correct.

I think that having Mr Levy in charge at the NCC is actually more scary than his claims of a "Major Cyber Attack Happening Soon" ...

Anatomy of a Moral Panic: Reports About Amazon Suggesting 'Bomb-Making Items' Were Highly Misleading

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Maciej Ceglowski, a Polish-American web developer, has demolished a news story from earlier this week in which a British outlet Channel 4 suggested that Amazon's algorithm-driven suggestions were helping people find items that are required to make bombs. Multiple credible news outlets picked the story, including The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, and CNBC. We ran an excerpt from the New York Times' article, which included a newsworthy response from Amazon that it was reviewing its website, on Slashdot. In reality what was happening was, Ceglowski wrote, the items Amazon suggested would help high school chemistry students with their experiments. From his blog: The 'common chemical compound' in Channel 4's report is potassium nitrate, an ingredient used in curing meat. If you go to Amazon's page to order a half-kilo bag of the stuff, you'll see the suggested items include sulfur and charcoal, the other two ingredients of gunpowder. [...] The Channel 4 piece goes on to reveal that people searching for 'another widely available chemical' are being offered the ingredients for thermite, a mixture of metal powders that when ignited "creates a hazardous reaction used in incendiary bombs and for cutting through steel." In this case, the 'widely available chemical' is magnesium ribbon. If you search for this ribbon on Amazon, the site will offer to sell you iron oxide (rust) and aluminum powder, which you can mix together to create a spectacular bit of fireworks called the thermite reaction. The thermite reaction is performed in every high school chemistry classroom, as a fun reward for students who have had to suffer through a baffling unit on redox reactions. [...] When I contacted the author of one of these pieces to express my concerns, they explained that the piece had been written on short deadline that morning, and they were already working on an unrelated article. The author cited coverage in other mainstream outlets (including the New York Times) as justification for republishing and not correcting the assertions made in the original Channel 4 report. The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism. By forcing reporters to optimize every story for clicks, not giving them time to check or contextualize their reporting, and requiring them to race to publish follow-on articles on every topic, the clickbait economics of online media encourage carelessness and drama. This is particularly true for technical topics outside the reporter's area of expertise. And reporters have no choice but to chase clicks.


By argStyopa • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's hard to believe the internet would hyperbolize something just for fun.

Re:And Slashdot, and The Mirror do the same

By msauve • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Wait till the news finds out you can buy weapons (knives, baseball bats, crowbars, etc.) and pressure cookers from Amazon!

Oh, that Maciej!

By Just Some Guy • Score: 3 • Thread

Maciej Ceglowski, a Polish-American web developer,

...better known as the owner of Pinboard (which recently bought Delicious!), and is somewhat well-known on Twitter for his snarky, witty commentary. He's not just some random guy with a blog.


By Bodhammer • Score: 3 • Thread
TL:DR - The news media are lazy. stupid fuckwits...

This Guy Is Digitizing the VHS History of Video Games

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: UK-based gaming journalist and blogger Chris Scullion is on a mission to preserve his collection -- and maybe your collection, too -- of these old video game VHS tapes. In the 80s and 90s, video game companies and trade magazines made these tapes to accompany popular titles or new issues with bonus material or promotional footage, giving a glimpse into how marketing for games was done in the industry's early days. Scullion has 18 tapes to upload so far, and plans to provide accompanying commentary as well as the raw video as they go up on his YouTube channel. Scullion's first upload is a promotional tape for Super Mario All-Stars, given away by Nintendo UK in 1993. It's hosted by Craig Charles, who played Lister in the British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. Digitizing his collection keeps that sweet nostalgia content safe from degradation of the magnetic tape, which starts to go downhill within 10 to 25 years. He's capturing them in HD using a 1080p upscaler, at a full 50fps frame rate by converting to HDMI before grabbing -- a higher frame rate than many standard commercial digitizing devices that capture at 30fps -- so that no frames are missed. Some of the tapes he's planning to digitize have already been converted and uploaded to YouTube by other people, he says, but most are either poor quality or captured with less-advanced grabbing devices.

Slashdot! News no one cares about.

By MikeDataLink • Score: 3 • Thread

Everyday I come to this site, and everyday I think we'll talk about some exciting tech news. But all that's here is news about some dude recording video tapes in his basement and people being mad about beta software not working.

It's almost as if the editors aren't actually nerds.

My Life in Gaming

By Luthair • Score: 3 • Thread
The My Life in Gaming guys and some others in NA have already done this to some extent, can find things on Youtube.

Re:Slashdot! News no one cares about.

By the_skywise • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I think because, as nerds, we've all actually... DONE IT.

I have. i transferred several old VHS tapes of various shows and such that aren't produced anymore as well as some old recordings I made way back when on my parent's VCR. I had the actual original airing of the first Borg contact on ST:TNG. Ironically, i decided to digitzie it not because it was ST:TNG (I can get blu-rays for that) or the first airing but because of the commercials!
Before that I digitized my old Laserdisc copies of Space Ace and Dragon's Lair.
I had a buncha old CD's from NextGen that I tossed though but those were all windows based and probably wouldn't have worked anymore.
I also scanned all my grandfather's slides using an actual film/slide scanner. (Something I thought would be a few months' of weekends that stretched into 4 years)

Um, okay...

By Solandri • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

collection keeps that sweet nostalgia content safe from degradation of the magnetic tape, which starts to go downhill within 10 to 25 years. He's capturing them in HD using a 1080p upscaler, at a full 50fps frame rate by converting to HDMI before grabbing -- a higher frame rate than many standard commercial digitizing devices that capture at 30fps -- so that no frames are missed.


VHS only has about 333x480 (NTSC) or 335x576 (PAL) resolution in luminosity, much lower color resolution. There is no point capturing it at higher resolution - you're just wasting storage space with duplicated or made-up pixels.

The framerate thing I can sorta understand - both NTSC and PAL were interlaced. So for example, the actual resolution of NTSC VHS was 333x240 @ 60 fps interlaced, which when deinterlaced (the alternate lines of video interpolated) created 333x480 frames @ 60 fps. While modern computer video formats do support interlacing, I've noticed annoying artifacts when they're converted badly (you'll see horizontal lines during quick panning or quick horizontal movement). So I can understand.capturing at 333x480 @ 60 fps when it only contains 333x240 @ 60 fps of information.

Maybe if he had access to the original Betacam tapes I could understand capturing in HD. Those had 720x480 or 720x576 resolution with 10-bit 4:2:2 chroma compression. But if your source media is plain VHS...

Red Hat Pledges Patent Protection For 99 Percent of FOSS-ware

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Red Hat says it has amassed over 2,000 patents and won't enforce them if the technologies they describe are used in properly-licensed open-source software. From a report: The company has made more or less the same offer since 2002, when it first made a "Patent Promise" in order to "discourage patent aggression in free and open source software." Back then the company didn't own many patents and claimed its non-enforcement promise covered 35 per cent of open-source software. The Promise was revised in order to reflect the company's growing patent trove and to spruce up the language it uses to make it more relevant. The revised promise "applies to all software meeting the free software or open source definitions of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) or the Open Source Initiative (OSI)." [...] It's not a blank cheque. Hardware isn't covered and Red Hat is at pains to point out that "Our Promise is not an assurance that Red Hat's patents are enforceable or that practicing Red Hat's patented inventions does not infringe others' patents or other intellectual property." But the company says 99 percent of FOSS software should be covered by the Promise.

Re:I like Redhat

By Doke • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
My opinion is mixed. They have contributed a lot to the Linux ecosystem. On the other hand they push systemd, pulseaudio, networkmanager, and gnome.

Only 99%?

By Scarletdown • Score: 3 • Thread

Why only 99%? If the software is FOSS, then the protection should be 100%, no less.

"FOSS-ware" Is redundant

By Khopesh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"FOSS-ware" would mean "(Free/Open Source Software)-ware"

The accepted terms are "free software," "free (as in speech) software," "software libre," and if you really insist, "F/OSS" or "FOSS" as expanded above. Also valid but with slightly different definitions: "GPL-compatible" (tighter definition), "open source" (looser definition, allows prohibiting modification or even sharing), and "copyleft" (looser still).

If I were to coin a new term for something meeting RMS's Free Software Definition, I'd consider "freedomware"


By Tenebrousedge • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The problem was that systemd was railroaded so fast through most of the major distros -- almost as if it were an insideous update to a proprietary OS, with the questionable acceptance by the Debian technical committee being the worst outcome, as it affected so many derivative distros.

This is untrue. Yes, many distros decided to adopt it in a short timeframe, but Red Hat had been testing systemd for years before that, and it's not like this was the first time that someone has either tried to replace sysvinit or someone has tried to introduce process tracking to the kernel. The pain points were known for decades, and as someone who has written a (short) book on the shell, anyone who prefers Bash as a scripting language has brain damage.

Debian's technical committee was split between systemd and upstart, with OpenRC being a distant third, and only one person who favored sysvinit. Since it is hopefully not in dispute that upstart was the worse option there, we can consider the decision to have been the best outcome. Note also that this was merely a decision about the default init system: sysvinit is still supported. The reason why sysvinit was not popular, however, was that the init scripts are comparatively more difficult to maintain, and generally slower. If Devuan has decided to shoulder the maintenance burden, I'm sure I wish them the best of luck with that.

The anti-systemd crowd here are morons, severally and collectively. No, systemd is not perfect, but there's a reason why people have been trying to replace sysvinit for the past three decades. Even OpenRC is almost entirely written in C. Either learn why, or quit complaining.

Apple's Latest Products Get Rare Mixed-Bag Reviews, Muted Reception

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg: Despite the strength of its brand, Apple occasionally releases a product to mediocre reviews -- remember the original Apple TV or Apple Watch? But reviewers have rarely been as grumpy as this month, when Apple unveiled its collection of new gadgets for the holidays. "I can't think of a single compelling reason to upgrade [to iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus] from an iPhone 7 [which was launched last year]," wrote Nilay Patel of The Verge. Another potential sign of trouble: the iPhone 8 models didn't sell out during pre-orders, another rare occurrence for Apple phones. [...] Reviewing the new Apple Watch Series 3 model, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern wrote "On the AT&T-connected models, the cellular connection dropped, calls were often choppy and Siri sometimes failed to connect. On the one that ran on T-Mobile, I experienced several dropped connections." The Verge's Lauren Goode noticed a serious connection issue as well, saying the device "would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE." [...] Reviewing the Apple TV 4K, The Verge's Patel noted the device's high price, a lack of 4K support in major apps including YouTube, and a lack of support for the Dolby Atmos audio standard. Reuters reported on Friday: Hundreds of people usually gather at Apple's Sydney city store with queues winding down the town's main street, George Street, when there is a new product release. But there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday, according to a Reuters witness. While the number of people queuing up outside Apple stores have dropped over the years with many opting for online purchases, the weak turnout for the latest iPhone has partly been due to poor reviews. Over at Financial Times, Tim Bradshaw reports: "I think demand is down from last year, for no other reason than you have another flagship phone," said Neil Cybart, an Apple analyst at Above Avalon. "A portion of the iPhone launch demand is not materialising quite yet." That could leave this weekend's initial sales lower than at any point since the iPhone 6 first launched in 2014, Mr Cybart added. Apple's decision to increase prices for the iPhone 8 compared with last year's model and a less aggressive launch push by mobile carriers could also affect demand.

Smartphones are not really phones

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's a telephone.

No it is not a telephone. It's a handheld computer that happens to be able to make calls. HUGE difference.

Re: No compelling reason to upgrade

By un1nsp1red • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Qi charging

That's cute. I remember when I got my first phone with wireless Qi charging (Nexus 4) five years ago

How surprising is this?

By Dixie_Flatline • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't know why there's this narrative that the Apple market is 'saturated'. They're still growing, just more slowly.

But even if that were the case, Apple is well known for allowing its own products to cannibalize sales of its other products. There's going to be a lot of demand for the X, and so that's suppressing iPhone 8 sales. Hardly a revelation.

There are plenty of people on long update cycles now; the most common one is 'when my phone breaks'. Assuming you're actually fairly careful with your phone, you'll get iOS updates for phones as old as the iPhone 5S, which was released in 2013. iOS 11 runs well on my iPhone 6, and I plan my upgrades to be on a 4 year cycle, because that's where I think the value is. A huge number of people bought the iPhone 6, and so how many of them really feel like they need an upgrade is a bit of an open question.

There's this story that Apple fans aren't just loyal, we're fanatical to the point of nonsense, and we buy things for no reason, all the time, and that's not true. We spend our money where we think it's warranted, and we like Apple products because they're well engineered and built to last if you put in a little effort. We don't buy things that are new for the sake of buying new things. I understand this narrative is important for some people because it makes them feel like the only reason that Apple is successful is because they're good at marketing and its customers don't understand what they're doing, but I'm afraid you're just going to have to accept that there are plenty of good reasons to buy Apple's stuff on its own merits.

The iPhone 8 looks like a great phone. If this were my upgrade year, I might consider one—though I would probably also go for the X, since that feels like it has longer legs for the future. I'm sure a lot of other people are making this decision and that's probably the one Apple was expecting. Relax.

Tick-tock strategy

By Mr_Silver • Score: 3 • Thread

"I can't think of a single compelling reason to upgrade [to iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus] from an iPhone 7 [which was launched last year]," wrote Nilay Patel of The Verge.

Apple work on the assumption that people upgrade every other year driven, in part, by the standard 2 year contracts that network operators tend to have.

The fact that last years phone isn't a big enough improvement over this years has been consistent for well over 10 years now. Admitidally skipping the S moniker has confused things - but Apple's target for the iPhone 8 are the people currently using an iPhone 6S (or earlier). In which case, the move from those devices to the 8 is a big jump.

I'm surprised that this well-worn strategy still takes reviewers (and posters on internet forums) by surprise.

Re:"the iPhone 8 models didn't sell out during..."

By not flu • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
And here I am with thousands of bucks worth of camera gear still taking photos with my phone just like everybody else. If anything people with an interest in good cameras are more likely to want a good camera on their phone also.

The Problem, Really, is This Thing Called 'Disruption'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter mirandakatz writes: The word "disruption" is everywhere in tech -- and it's getting founders in trouble. Just look at what happened with Bodega last week: Had the startup not professed to be disrupting the mom-and-pop shops on every corner, it might not have landed itself in such hot water. At Backchannel, veteran Silicon Valley communications whiz Karen Wickre makes the case against "disruption," pointing out that many of today's biggest companies got their starts without claiming to completely upend an existing industry. She writes: "What if Sergey and Larry had touted Google, in 1998, as 'an unprecedented platform for disrupting global advertising?' Do you think Jeff Bezos claimed that was upending global retail? Netflix? Within a few months of its 1997 launch, it did not foresee the actual paradigm shift of media streaming."

Real disruption is done secretly

By gurps_npc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That's how Netflix took down Blockbuster. They kept their huge profits secret till they went public. By that time it was too late for Blockbuster video rental store (Yes, they really did have a store that rented movies.)

Now, everyone tries to brag in order to get money. It's self defeating. If you are truly a disruptive technology, you should be working your ass to keep that secret. Claim you expect to get 20% of the market, not 80%.

Netflix's long term goal was streaming.

By enjar • Score: 3 • Thread
Reed Hastings has been quoted on a number of occasions saying exactly that. "There's a reason we didn't call the company ''" They also nearly screwed it up entirely with the whole "Qwickster" debacle, which Hastings also discussed. There's also more than a little cherry picking going on here. Picking a few "winners" and then extrapolating that because they didn't seek "disruption" as part of their business plan makes this kind of a puff piece. Not to mention the egregious use of other stupid buzzwords like "paradigm shift" in the description. I'd also like to believe the reason the Bodega folks got in hot water what that it was pretty easy to see that they were going down the Jucero path by over-engineering and hyping what amounts a vending machine -- a technology that's been with us a really long time, and that can already do pretty much everything they were promising. Source for dvd-by-mail: Source of Qwickster debacle:

Re:Well, duh

By bobbutts • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I find the advantage of Amazon to be convenience and selection. Price is a secondary concern. I want it now, but driving for 15 mins each way and messing around in a store doesn't qualify as "now".

Re:Well, duh

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

People love the idea of disruption when it rapes and pillages monopolistic industries that deserve to be disrupted. Yellow Cabs, yes. Corner convenience stores, not so much.

Re:Well, duh

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

instant gratification in a brick and mortar store does not include the fact that they don't carry my size in clothes or enough of a selection of the items that I am looking for. For example, I cannot get the programming books that I am looking for in a Barnes and Noble. They cannot keep up with the changes in the industry.

T-Mobile, Sprint Close To Agreeing Deal Terms

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
From a report: T-Mobile US is close to agreeing tentative terms on a deal to merge with peer Sprint Corp, people familiar with the matter said on Friday, a major breakthrough in efforts to merge the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers. The development follows more than four months of on-and-off talks this year between T-Mobile and Sprint, and comes as the U.S. telecommunications sector seeks ways to tackle investments in 5G technology that will greatly enhance wireless data transfer speeds.

Re:Network compatibility?

By starblazer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
they both run LTE networks and LTE is the way of the foreseeable future. CDMA and GSM are not the main underlying topologies like they used to be.

Re:Network compatibility?

By EvilSS • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I imagine they will phase out the CDMA network. Most other CDMA carriers are dropping it. Verizon is slated to turn off theirs in 2019 and several Canadian carriers are moving away from it as well.

Re:What does T-Mobile get?

By tgetzoya • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Sprint has a lot of spectrum that it isn't using because it can't afford to. After that, take the total number of subscribers from Sprint and T-Mobile and when it's still less than AT&T or Verizon there's so much spectrum left that T-Mobile could offer (very) much better coverage than either of the two titans.

When a new spectrum auction comes up, T-Mobile will not need to bid and therefore not raise rates to cover cost. Also, with all that new spectrum, 5G will be more realizable.

Finally, T-Moblie could start offering home broadband like Comcast or Charter. There would be lower caps than those but it's still a much more viable option at 5G.

Re:Network compatibility?

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Aside from the SIM card (which is used for LTE anyway), CDMA and GSM are only used for voice and 3G data (in fact GSM uses wideband CDMA for 3G data).

LTE uses OFDMA, with a few channels using dynamically assigned TDMA. These are compatible with both GSM and CDMA carriers as long as the phones aren't frequency-locked to a specific carrier's bands. So the networks would in fact be compatible if you made a phone with an OFDMA LTE radio, and both CDMA and GSM voice radios. My old Nexus 5 supports all those. So does the unlocked Samsung Galaxy 8/8+. If a combined Sprint/T-Mobile requested manufacturers to make such phones, I'm sure they would (except Sony, who seems to hate CDMA voice).

Sprint service is fine in most of the East coast and midwest. Their service has been hamstrung in the West coast because the company they hired to build their tower network there (which has since gone bankrupt) spaced the towers out the furthest apart the specifications allowed. You know, the time-honored tradition of fulfilling the exact letter of the contract while spending the least amount of money possible. This resulted in a cellular network which only worked well in open, flat terrain, and had lots of dead spots in urban and hilly areas. Sprint has tried to fix this by adding intermediate towers, but this is expensive and often results in towers being too close together.

The only true fix is to tear it all down and build all the towers again with proper spacing. Or to merge with another carrier with their own tower network, and to reallocate transmitting equipment to properly spaced towers, and shut down unnecessary towers. The extra cellular bandwidth wouldn't hurt either seeing as both companies predominantly operate in the 1.8-1.9 GHz bands (Verizon and AT&T have the advantage of 900 MHz voice bands).


By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Verizon's technology is decent

Verizon's MARKETING of their technology is good. Their technology is awful. They're the only network I consistently have to ask everyone to repeat themselves three times or more if they call me. It's like listening to someone speaking through a garden hose that someone else is jumping on over and over again.

They've learned the secret to getting people to say they have a really good network is:

1. Marketing, marketing, marketing.
2. Maximize coverage, at the expense of everything else.
3. Focus on call drops and other unlikely events that tend to get used as objective metrics.

Do those three, and you can get away with anything, to the point your network is virtually unusable in practice. Why? Because if the objective metrics say it's good, people will rarely even realize the more difficult to measure but more critical attributes of a phone service are infinitely better with all the others. Even Sprint.

London Has Decided To Ban Uber

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Johana Bhuiyan, writing for Recode: Transport for London, the taxi regulating service in London, announced today that it would not be renewing Uber's license to operate because of concerns over the company's "lack of corporate responsibility" in relation to public safety issues. The ride-hail company, which launched in London in 2012, is appealing the TfL's decision and will be allowed to continue to operate until a court makes a decision on that appeal. That process could take months. London is a significant market for Uber: The company says there are 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million riders on its platform in London. And like New York City, it is one of the most regulated markets where Uber operates. Unlike most markets across the U.S., Uber drivers in London and New York City are required to participate in government administered background checks.

Re:Uber is awful, but what came before is even wor

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

While Uber is abusive and socially dubious corporation,


what came before is even worse.

WTF? No. The world isn't America. This is London.

London has had regulated minicabs (i.e. what Uber is) since about forever. If you didn't want to fork out for a black cab, you could use any one of the minicab firms. This ranged from the local dodgy one man band, to a local company with a reputation and a collection of taxis to a bigger company like Addison-Lee who had an app and GPS tracking for ages already.

Re:ride-hail company

By mjwx • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Uber hasn't failed at that. Drivers need to have badges, and they need to get licensed car plates for the car from TfL. Otherwise you can't operate as a driver.

I think you are assuming that Uber's actions in other countries have also been the case in the UK. But they haven't.

Nice to see you didn't read my post and just substituted it with whatever you thought.

1. It is the responsibility of the hiring PHV company to ensure all drivers comply with relevant licensing laws. PHV companies are not to hire drivers who do not comply with these regulations. Although this isn't the problem, TFL has been letting uber get away with not doing this for years.
2. PHV companies must co-operate with police and investigators when a complaint has been made. PHV companies must also have an internal process for dealing with complaints. Uber has failed both of these duties as several complaints have been made to police and Uber did not follow them up. That is why TFL has taken the step not to renew their licenses.

The article is terribly biased, but I've been following the issue for some time and this is not unexpected. Uber can skirt regulations, especially in London which is very business friendly, but when the rozzers got involved they should have taken it seriously.

Re:ride-hail company

By SlaveToTheGrind • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

So basically you've just backed up what I said.

Well, no. You said, "they haven't been responding to criminal activity in their vehicles." That's clearly not true. The fact that their response was different than you would prefer is a different issue, one that I'm quite happy to discuss (and in fact did, but you ignored that part).

TFL would have told them to report it to the police

There's no "would have" here. Uber indeed did report the alleged incidents to TfL, and TfL indeed did NOT tell Uber to report them to the police. Again, I covered this in my first post.

And once again, more importantly, if there was really CRIMINAL activity against a passenger, why didn't THE PASSENGER call the police instead of just (wait for it) filling out a feedback form in an app? Really?

In addition to being implausible, the system you're is proposing is way too easy to hack. For example, a passenger gets pissed off at the Uber driver for whatever reason and wants to get even. Actually going to the police themselves would put them at risk of charges for filing a false police report, but in your system they could simply make a report to Uber and Uber would then be obligated to contact the police based solely on the word of the passenger (who now is shielded from liability since they didn't make the report to the police). The existing checks and balances in the system are there for a reason, and a system like yours would badly break them.

Use Real Words....

By sdinfoserv • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
"Ride Hail Company" - I am sick and tired of people using euphemisms in a lame attempt to side track reality. (Alternate Facts?) .. Taking someone you don't know, to a place you don't normally go - FOR MONEY - is a Taxi. period.
The problem with Uber is a corporation who's revenue model is built by taking pay and benefits way from the lowest link (the driver) and burdening them with expenses (their own car) and all liability all the while attempting to side step protections and taxes put in place by local governments.
It's a sham and a parasite and it's creators need to be sitting behind bars next to martin shkreli.

not safety, but cronyism

By ooloorie • Score: 3 • Thread

If people felt unsafe using Uber, Uber would lose riders, and if Uber drivers were unsafe, they wouldn't get insurance. Given Uber's constant tracking of both drivers and passengers, you're probably safer in an Uber ride than in a taxi.

No, Uber bans are simply about money and power, using "public safety" as a smokescreen: the London city government wants to force people to send money in the direction of their political cronies: taxi operators, unions, public transit monopolies, because they know full well that Uber can hurt all those government-imposed monopolies badly.

Why You Shouldn't Imitate Bill Gates If You Want To Be Rich

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
dryriver writes: BBC Capital has an article that debunks the idea of "simply doing what highly successful people have done to get rich," because many of those "outliers" got rich under special circumstances that are not possible to replicate. An excerpt: "Even if you could imitate everything Gates did, you would not be able to replicate his initial good fortune. For example, Gates's upper-class background and private education enabled him to gain extra programming experience when less than 0.01% of his generation then had access to computers. His mother's social connection with IBM's chairman enabled him to gain a contract from the then-leading PC company that was crucial for establishing his software empire. This is important because most customers who used IBM computers were forced to learn how to use Microsoft's software that came along with it. This created an inertia in Microsoft's favor. The next software these customers chose was more likely to be Microsoft's, not because their software was necessarily the best, but because most people were too busy to learn how to use anything else. Microsoft's success and marketshare may differ from the rest by several orders of magnitude but the difference was really enabled by Gate's early fortune, reinforced by a strong success-breeds-success dynamic."

Re:being completely with out

By dryeo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

One of the stories I heard was his contract with IBM allowed him to set the prices of the other OSes.
Which brings us to the real smart/lucky thing Gates did, signed a very good contract that let MS keep control of DOS and perhaps the above.
This was possible for several reasons, coming from a family of lawyers, and IBM, due to the antitrust actions on them, being eager to look like they weren't a monopoly.

Re:Very simply expressed in xkcd..

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Gates DID get a lucky break - there's no question about it. However that "break" was to be born into a well-off and well-connected family.

And, honestly... if you can pull that off, it's almost certainly the best way to "become" rich yourself.

Re:Very simply expressed in xkcd..

By cheesybagel • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Microsoft didn't have an operating system. They had to get it from someone else. IBM basically went to talk with Microsoft because Gates' mother, who used to be a bank manager, did benefit work on weekends with people connected with IBM's management. And Bill Gates' father, one of top lawyers in the area, helped craft their (highly favorable) contract with IBM.

Re:Step 1 to being like BG has nothing to do with

By WrongMonkey • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
None of the situations that you describe sound like "upper-middle class".

One of the characteristics of being middle-class is having leisure time. No matter how much money you're making, working 14hours/day, 7 days/week is not middle class, upper or lower.

Geek Mythology.

By westlake • Score: 3 • Thread

Microsoft was selling customized microcomputer BASICs to Fortune 500 clients in the mid seventies. MBASIC was the first product for the micro to reach a million dollars in sales. By 1980, Microsoft was offering a full suite of programming languages for CP/M and was moving into operating systems before being approached by IBM. The notion that Microsoft was am insignificant or invisible player in the industry before the IBM PC is just plain nonsense.

What Gates offered IBM was a serviceable and perhaps more importantly a uniquely affordable 16 Bit CP/M clone + MBASIC, etc., in time for the scheduled launch of the IBM PC. I doubt that the IBM PC team gave a damn how Gates sourced or developed the package so long as it was ready on time.

A New Zealand Company Built An AI Baby That Plays the Piano

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
pacopico writes: A New Zealand company called Soul Machines has built a disturbingly lifelike virtual baby powered by artificial intelligence software. According to a Bloomberg story, the baby has learned to read books, play the piano and draw pictures. The work is built off the research of Mark Sagar, the company's CEO, who is on a quest to mimic human consciousness in a machine. Sagar used to work at Weta creating lifelike faces for films like King Kong and Avatar and is now building these very realistic looking virtual avatars and pumping them full of code that not only handles things like speech but that also replicates the nervous system and brain function. The baby, for example, has virtual dopamine receptors that fire when it feels joy from playing the piano. What could go wrong?


By Katatsumuri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It already does:

But more importantly, smart AI-powered systems reduce the need for custom code. We will not have Terminator-style humanoid robots replacing programmers in their cubicles. We will just need fewer programmers.

And she won't talk back, either...

By hyades1 • Score: 3 • Thread

Sex slave programmed to feel joy only when servicing his/her master in 3, 2, 1...


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Why are all of the "AI"s so specialized?
One can play piano, another can drive a car, another can do speech to texr, another can identify faces, etc.

Is this really Intelligence? Is "Artificial" just a synonym for "fake"?

Re:Baby Al plays piano?

By guruevi • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It plays a piano, should've given it an accordion, then it would be Baby Weird AI

"What could go wrong?"

By OtisSnerd • Score: 3 • Thread
Watch the movie "Ex Machina" for some examples of what could go wrong.