the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

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

Google Removes 17 Android Apps Caught Engaging In WAP Billing Fraud

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google has recently removed 17 Android applications from the official Play Store because they were infected with the Joker (aka Bread) malware. ZDNet reports: "This spyware is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information, along with silently signing up the victim for premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services," Zscaler security researcher Viral Gandhi said this week. The 17 malicious apps were uploaded on the Play Store this month and didn't get a chance to gain a following, having been downloaded more than 120,000 times before being detected.

Following its internal procedures, Google removed the apps from the Play Store, used the Play Protect service to disable the apps on infected devices, but users still need to manually intervene and remove the apps from their devices. But this recent takedown also marks the third such action from Google's security team against a batch of Joker-infected apps over the past few months. [...] The way these infected apps usually manage to sneak their way past Google's defenses and reach the Play Store is through a technique called "droppers," where the victim's device is infected in a multi-stage process. Malware authors begin by cloning the functionality of a legitimate app and uploading it on the Play Store. This app is fully functional, requests access to dangerous permissions, but also doesn't perform any malicious actions when it's first run.

Because the malicious actions are usually delayed by hours or days, Google's security scans don't pick up the malicious code, and Google usually allows the app to be listed on the Play Store. But once on a user's device, the app eventually downloads and "drops" (hence the name droppers, or loaders) other components or apps on the device that contain the Joker malware or other malware strains.

Hacker Publishes Info On Las Vegas-Area Students After Demanding Ransom

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: Last month, Las Vegas' largest public school district announced that a hacker compromised some of its files using ransomware and was holding the files hostage while demanding a ransom payment. Now, a hacker has published files containing students' grades and personal information after school district officials refused to pay the ransom.

Brett Callow, a threat analyst with cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, told Business Insider that he discovered leaked documents published to an online hacking forum that purported to include records from Nevada's Clark County School District, including students' names, social security numbers, addresses, and some financial information. Callow's findings were first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Monday. "Ransomware attacks happen for one reason, and one reason only: they're profitable," Callow told Business Insider. "The only way way to stop them is to make them unprofitable, and that means organizations must stop paying ransoms."

Re:Right idea, wrong direction.

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Well, I am all for making it actually illegal and criminal to pay ransomware attackers. That may have the desired effect. As it is, far too many organizations are far too vulnerable to this for it to stop anytime soon. Comparing to the industrial revolution, this "computer" thing is still in the phase where the steam engines blew up regularly, safety valves were considered optional and forget about getting a pressure vessel actually certified to any sane standards (or at all).

I also think that if you are successfully compromised by ransomware these days and cannot recover on your own, gross negligence is a given. This is a _standard_ and _expected_ threat these days to anybody that even only loosely and remotely follows what is going on. Not to be prepared for it is to willfully ignore it.

Re:Right idea, wrong direction.

By gweihir • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You do not need the "best" in IT security to be prepared. You need an offline backup and a strategy to reinstall your systems. That is a pretty basic requirement.


By Tablizer • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

They used to charge me $30 to send transcripts. Now I just tell employers to go to HackedSchools.fu

Re:Right idea, wrong direction.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Mandatory reporting with jail if you don't would be nice. At the moment there is every incentive to cover it up if possible to avoid lawsuits.

That doesn't solve the other issue though: scapegoating. If the hack is going to cost millions (from lawsuits) they are going to blame the person who opened the infected email. They will cover themselves by sending round a 94 page PDF file containing all the things you must not do with the IT equipment, which if followed would make employee's jobs impossible, and then blame whoever they can for violating it.

Re:Right idea, wrong direction.

By burningcpu • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
At a previous job, there was an issue where the company was using semi trailers as temporary onsite storage, and our operators kept falling through the floor of the trailers, as the forklift and product load would exceed the tolerance of the aging wood floors. Now, the obvious solution would be to replace or reinforce the existing fleet of trailers, that had been allowed to dilapidate over the decades of use. However, that would have required an expense, and instead, the operators were blamed for not 'inspecting' the floors of the trailers sufficiently before entering, and would be 'retrained and recertified' following each incident. Keep in mind that these workers were moving 1000L totes of concentrated nitic acid, and death was a real possibility if one of those totes ruptured.

Elon Musk: Tesla May Be Overvalued Today, But I Think It'll Be Worth More In 5 Years

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In an interview with Kara Swisher via a New York Times podcast, Elon Musk said he thinks Tesla will be worth more than it is today in 5 years. CNBC reports: "Some critical mass of the market has concluded that Tesla will win, I guess," said Musk on the stock's increases. "I've gone on record already saying the stock prices have been high, and that was well before the current level. But also if you ask me, do I think if Tesla will be worth more than this in 5 years? I think the answer is yes." In May, Musk tweeted that Tesla's stock price was "too high," which sent it down 12% that day. However, since he made those remarks, shares are up almost 200%.

In the wide-ranging interview, Musk also said, "Tesla at this point is not in mortal danger, as it was, say, three years ago." He added, "The thing that Tesla has been able to achieve is get to volume manufacturing and have sustainable positive free cash flow. From a car company standpoint, that is the real achievement of Tesla." "Tesla should be measured by how many years we accelerate the advent of sustainable energy," said Musk.

Re:Bubble stock.

By Robotbeat • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Tesla sell sold over 90,000 cars in one quarter of this year. So you're off by a factor of 4. Additionally, that's basically just with one factory in California fully up to speed. There are 3 *additional* factories being built at this moment, and Tesla sells higher end vehicles on average than Toyota plus is more vertically integrated (capturing more of the value chain). Tesla is growing in capacity at a very fast rate compared to any of their competitors. And Toyota and Honda are both still deeply invested in hydrogen fuel cell tech, which is a massive dead-end. They're not that concerning for Tesla.

Which isn't to say Tesla is valued properly. They're about 4 times as much as makes sense to me. But I suppose that's what growth in an otherwise-stagnating market will get you: people don't have anywhere better to put their money, I guess.

Re:Bubble stock.

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Whenever people want to buy millions of battery cars, they'll sell them millions of battery cars.

That's funny. It seems like the other majors definitely all have electric cars on the market, yet for some reason it's only Tesla that is getting orders that keep them permanently backlogged.

I mean it's not like the other car makers are sitting around. If anything a conspiracy would point to them making intentionally shit electric cars. Either that or car makers actually think that Tesla is ahead:

No cash

By quonset • Score: 3 • Thread

and have sustainable positive free cash flow.

False. Tesla does not have free cash flow. It is still losing money. The one and only reason Tesla had a small profit was because it is selling carbon credits. From the link:

According to its earnings report, Tesla's total revenue hit $6.04 billion for the quarter, with about 7% of that, or $428 million, coming from sales of these credits. To put that in perspective, regulatory credit sales were greater than the company's free cash flow and amounted to four times Tesla's $104 million of net profit for the quarter.

This does not include the billions in government subsidies, here and in other countries, Tesla receives (i.e. the taxpayer is footing the bill). This article from two years ago breaks down the subsidies and whatnot Tesla received to show it had a "profit".

Still further, Mr. "Communism is bad" gleefully took hundreds of millions of other taxpayer dollars during the covid pandemic because, like so many other mismanaged corporations, they couldn't survive more than six days without heading to the taxpayer trough.

At least Musk is correct. Tesla is overvalued. Remove all the government subsidies and it's a money losing company. Always has been.

Re:Oh sure

By Rei • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Good I'd do the same. I have started multiple (small) companies and learned the hard way not to have short-sighted morons invest in my company and drive it away from its goals and into hell.

Indeed. The reporter was pushing him to pump battery day and pump the stock, and he was having none of it. At one point, he actually said, "My premise is never to try to convince people why they should invest in Tesla. Sell your stock! I don't care; what is the point of this podcast?" Sounded exasperated with her. The part about the current value vs. the future value came later in the interview.

This came after this conversation:

Elon: (responding to a question that was clipped out) "This is something that the average person really has no idea about whatsoever. Not that they're stupid. Smart people on Wall Street have usually not the faintest clue about manufacturing and how difficult it is. They think that once you come up with a prototype, well, that's the hard part, and everything else is trivial copying after that. It is not. That is perhaps one percent of the problem. Large scale manufacturing, especially for new technology, is between 1000% and 10000% harder than the prototype. I would really regard at this point prototypes as a trivial joke."

Kara: "Mmhmm."

Elon: "The press coverage of this event was sad."

Kara: "OK, tell me why."

Elon: "Most of the press takeaway was...."

Kara: "No battery."

Elon: "A sad reflection of their understanding, really."

Kara: "Well, explain it for them."

Elon: (exhasperated) "... I mean, I'll try, but I'm also not trying to convince people that much. The results will speak for themselves. The cells we're talking about, we've produced many of them. We've had cars driving with those cells since May. My premise is never to try to convince people why they should invest in Tesla. Sell your stock..."

Re:Bubble stock.

By Rei • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

But using a hybrid you can get 10 times as many battery boosted cars as 1 fully electric car.

FYI: the battery pack of the long-range Model 3 is only 6 times heavier than that of the Prius, and the short-range version is only 4,7 times heavier. Despite having ~17x and ~12x more energy, respectively.

One of the problem with "scaling down" is that it doesn't work the way most people think. The smaller your battery pack, the more power output and faster charging on a per-kWh basis you have to do, and the more cycles you put it through. This means you have to use more expensive, less energy dense, heavier cells, and have large amounts of excess unused buffer capacity to avoid the slower charging / more damaging cycling near the extreme ends of the charge range.

There simply is not enough raw materials to make enough batteries right now for every new car sale.

Raw materials prices right now are cheap because mining production has outpaced cell production. Of course, one of Tesla's main goals is to reverse that trend with their new 4680 line, which is forcing them to get into mining as well. But a key aspect is that cathode mineral mining (the slowest to scale) can't limit total global cell supply, because LFP exists, and in case you didn't notice, iron mining isn't exactly some small-scale niche industry. Tesla is also switching from battery-grade nickel sulphate to class-1 nickel metal (which is in glut), and from graphite to metallurgical silicon (which is 10x more common than class-1 nickel).

10 to 15 years is a long time for the big manufacturers to catch up.

Point of note: if someone has a head start and moves faster than you, you're not catching up.

Police Charity Bought An iPhone Hacking Tool and Gave It To Cops

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The San Diego Police Foundation, an organization that receives donations from corporations, purchased iPhone unlocking technology for the city's police department, according to emails obtained by Motherboard. From the report: The finding comes as activist groups place renewed focus on police foundations, which are privately run charities that raise funds from Wall Street banks and other companies, purchase items, and then give those to their respective police departments. Because of their private nature, they are often less subject to public transparency laws, except for when they officially interact with a department. "The GrayKey was purchased by the Police Foundation and donated to the lab," an official from the San Diego Police Department's Crime Laboratory wrote in a 2018 email to a contracting officer, referring to the iPhone unlocking technology GrayKey.

"The EULA I sent you [is] for a software upgrade that will allow us to get into the latest generation of Apple phones. Our original license was a 1 year license agreement paid for by the Police Foundation," the email adds. In a 2019 email, two other officials discussed purchasing the GrayKey for the following year. "This is the phone unlocking technique that the Police Foundation purchased for us (for 15k). Apparently the software 'upgrade' costs the same as the initial purchase each year. :/ They are the only ones that offer a tool that can crack iPhones, so they charge A LOT!," the email reads. Because police foundations act as private entities, they also do not directly fall under public records laws, meaning their expenditure or other activity may be more opaque than that of a police department itself.
"Our end goal is to have an intervention on the funneling of private money into police forces and into policing," Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice campaigns at Color of Change, told Politico recently. "If the police foundations existed to raise money for the families of fallen police officers, we wouldn't say we need to abolish police foundations. It's the specific type of work that they're doing that we object to."

This sounds great to me

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

I wouldn't mind police departments having lower funding, but some of that made up from charitable organizations like this that kind of helped decide what would actually be useful to police work...

I mean, wouldn't you rather the police have an iPhone unlocking tool rather than a fleet of armored cars and grenade launchers "just in case"?

Nowhere in the story is the word 'warrant'

By schwit1 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The iphone unlocker is a tool like a gun or police vehicle. If it is used lawfully where warrants are acquired before unlocking a phone then what's the issue?

Not your money

By Carrier Lifetime • Score: 3 • Thread

"Our end goal is to have an intervention on the funneling of private money into police forces and into policing," - Since is are private money what is their problem? It is not illegal to donate money to the police.

Re:Nowhere in the story is the word 'warrant'

By Frank Burly • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It's certainly better than buying them a flamethrower. But SDPD budget is $277 million, a GrayKey license is $15k--this seems like the sort of thing they could afford if they needed it. Further, using what's thought of as a 'widows and orphans' fund on retail purchases of specific and expensive products suggest a bait-and-switch for donors and easy graft for board members of such companies.

But the most troubling aspect is suggested in the summary: the charity could equip the police department with said flamethrower, or a crowd-dispersal heat ray, or the like, and the public would not have an opportunity to decide whether this is a tool they want their local police to have.

Re:Not your money

By orzetto • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The problem is that private money is not free. Those who give it expect something back. Private citizens donating to the police means the police will be more willing to protect these donors, which for the sake of example could be rich, white, old men, and not give a damn against single black mothers with three jobs.

The proper way to fund the police is through taxes managed by the people's government. Anything else is worse than corruption, as it turns police in guns for hire, and it does not get any less rotten just because they plaster "charity" over it.

26% of US Adults Get Their News From YouTube, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a study the Pew Research Center released today, 26% of U.S. adults said they now get their news from YouTube. That includes 23% via videos posted by news organizations and 23% from independent YouTube channels. Researchers surveyed 12,638 U.S. adults for the report. VentureBeat reports: "The study finds a news landscape on YouTube in which established news organizations and independent news creators thrive side by side -- and consequently, one where established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch," the authors wrote. The report defines "external news organizations" as both traditional media like the New York Times and digital-native outlets like BuzzFeed. Independent channels can include celebrities like John Oliver alongside "YouTubers," the 30% who have built their following almost entirely on the platform.

While the report paints a picture of a thriving news ecosystem, it also notes some disturbing differences between traditional and independent sources. Independent channels, for instance, tend to be built around personalities, rather than a broader news organization. And those independent channels are far more likely to focus on conspiracy theories around subjects like anti-vaccine topics or Jeffrey Epstein's death. The report analyzed 3,000 videos posted from the 100 top YouTube news channels in November and December 2019 and found that 4% involved conspiracy theories of some kind. But among independent channels, 14% of videos were primarily dedicated to conspiracy theories, and up to 21% made some mention of them. Only 2% of videos by traditional news organizations mentioned conspiracy theories. In addition, 37% of videos from independent channels tended to view their subjects through a negative lens, versus just 17% from news organizations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that negativity seemed to drive more views, which has made this subset of independent channels particularly problematic for YouTube.

What's new?

By ChrisMaple • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
40 or 50 years ago some science fiction author had a character say "I understand the world because I watch TV," and it was a big joke. The underlying fallacy remains the same, but it seems that now fewer people think it's a joke.

Re:So if Youtube is bad, what's a good source?

By dragonturtle69 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Use the world, NHK, I24, DW, France24, BBC, CNN, Fox. Admittedly, USA focused, but, it does help filter out the bullshit. If any headline has emotional words, the story is fact checked.

Re:So if Youtube is bad, what's a good source?

By adfraggs • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Globally I would suggest that public broadcasters do a very good job. I go to the BBC for a global perspective and here in Australia we have the ABC. Of course like every news source they have their critics but in terms of browsing for day to day factual news I think they are trustworthy and the general public tends to agree. Money corrupts, I think that's unavoidable, and so any publicly funded media outlet avoids much of the conflict with a fixed budget and a decent charter. The compromise is that a publicly funded broadcaster is an inherently left-wing concept and so anyone who works there and believes it to be a worthy institution would naturally buy into more left-wing ideas. This doesn't automatically mean the stories are all editorialised with marxist undertones, it just means a lack of diversity in the views of the people who work there. A good charter and editorial policies helps, you have to evaluate each news source on its own.

This might be more challenging in the US, I don't think PBS quite has the financial muscle to be effective in such a loud and competitive space.

Reuters does an annual review of news sources around the globe, rating them on various scales. It makes interesting reading, definitely worth browsing. What strikes me is how different the view of news sources is within the US vs other countries around the world. It's also pretty striking that the BBC is actually one of the most trusted news sources in America. That's kind of nuts.

Re:Well, it's better than Facebook

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It sure is basically the same thing. On the internet you often even get the news sooner.

Nothing is more hilarious to me than when I worked at an oil refinery and our power went out. I was in the electrical department so we panicked. We were phoning around the operations, they called the co-gen power plant, they were out too, they said they'll contact the primary energy provider and give us an update shortly, and while we were still on the phone a mechanical graduate engineer who was bored and playing with his phone told everyone that the energy company just tweeted that the power outage in our area was due to a substation fire.

Some dude on twitter found out what happened faster than what the biggest affected customer and major hazard facility did.

I've become a recent convert.

By slashdot_commentator • Score: 3 • Thread

MSNBC has become too biased with a propaganda agenda for me to tolerate its network product at this point. I find I really like The Hill channel with its program, Rising. Its the punditry news program which comes closest to matching my political perspective. Also, there are less accessible news services like Al Jezeerah (English) and South China Morning News. Finally, there are tiny, startup(?) focused news content programs like China Uncensored, which I enjoy.

A Week With the Xbox Series X: Load Times, Game Performance, and More

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Verge's Tom Warren spent the past week with an Xbox Series X, playing a variety of games on the preview unit, testing load times, performance, and some of the new Series X features. Here's an excerpt from each section of his report: Load Times: The most significant and obvious improvement with existing games on the Xbox Series X is the massive changes to load times. I noticed load times drop in pretty much every single game I've tested over the past week. Games like Sea of Thieves, Warframe, and Destiny 2 have their load times cut by up to a minute or more on the Series X. In Destiny 2, for example, I can now load into a planet in the game in around 30 seconds, compared to over a minute later on an Xbox One X and nearly two minutes in total on a standard Xbox One. These improved load times are identical to my custom-built PC that includes a fast NVMe SSD, and they genuinely transform how you play the game -- you can get more quests and tasks done instead of sitting and looking at a planet loading. [...] None of these games have been fully optimized for the Xbox Series X either. This is simply Microsoft's backward compatibility support in action. I switched back to my Xbox One X regularly throughout the week, and it was painful to witness these old load times that added a minute or more to games.

Game Performance: Not only do games load faster, but in many cases they also feel a lot smoother. Destiny 2 is a great example of a game that was held back by the weaker CPU and slow HDD in the Xbox One X. It's a title that hit native 4K previously, but the 6 teraflops of GPU performance in the One X was bottlenecked by a laptop-like CPU and an old spinning hard disk. This meant the game was stuck on 30fps. While Bungie has committed to enhancing Destiny 2 for the Xbox Series X and PS5 with 60fps support, it already feels faster without the patch. I would regularly notice frame rate drops in Destiny 2 on the Xbox One X when things got a little hectic on screen during a public event or in a raid with mobs of enemies coming at you. I haven't seen a single stutter running Destiny 2 on the Xbox Series X. This console has also improved other parts of Destiny 2 that were slow on the Xbox One. Loading into the character menu sometimes takes a few seconds on the Xbox One X, but on the Series X it feels like I'm playing on my PC as it's near instant. These are minor improvements, but they're the small things that add up and make a game more enjoyable to play.

Quick Resume: The Xbox One had a fast resume feature to let you swap between games, but it felt like it never really worked properly or games didn't support it. It couldn't be more different on the Xbox Series X. Quick Resume utilizes the SSD inside the Series X to let you swap between multiple games freely. It takes around five seconds to resume games where you left off, and I was able to switch between five games easily. I even rebooted the Xbox Series X for an update and all of the games still quickly resumed. Most games I tested worked flawlessly with Quick Resume, but some aren't supported. Titles like Sea of Thieves, that feature a big multiplayer arena, don't work with the new feature. It makes sense, though, since these games can't quickly resume a live and evolving environment that changes every second.
"What I will say is that the Xbox Series X felt like I was playing on a familiar Xbox that's a lot faster and more capable," writes Warren in closing. "The experience of switching back to an Xbox One was genuinely dispiriting."

"The true next generation of games is still a mystery, but what I've seen from backward-compatible games over the past week is encouraging. I'm hoping that game developers will have a lot fewer bottlenecks with both the Xbox Series X and PS5, enabling them to deliver some game improvements we're only used to seeing over on the PC side."

Name too long

By MrL0G1C • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Xbox series X is a terrible name in a series of terrible names, I propose it be abbreviated to something shorter. Xbox SeX, a lot easier to say.

Ars Technica has a better article

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Ars Technica has a much better article about the Xbox Series X, to be honest. Nothing on next-gen games as none are out, but it covers things like backwards compatibility and other matters.

YouTube Celebrates Deaf Awareness Week By Killing Crowd-Sourced Captions

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two days after the International Week of the Deaf, which is the last full week in September, YouTube is killing its "Community Contributions" feature for videos, which let content creators crowdsource captions and subtitles for their videos. Ars Technica reports: Once enabled by a channel owner, the Community Contributions feature would let viewers caption or translate a video and submit it to the channel for approval. YouTube currently offers machine-transcribed subtitles that are often full of errors, and if you also need YouTube to take a second pass at the subtitles for machine translation, they've probably lost all meaning by the time they hit your screen. The Community Caption feature would load up those machine-written subtitles as a starting point and allow the user to make corrections and add text that the machine transcription doesn't handle well, like transcribed sound cues for the deaf and hard of hearing.

YouTube says it's killing crowd-source subtitles due to spam and low usage. "While we hoped Community Contributions would be a wide-scale, community-driven source of quality translations for Creators," the company wrote, "it's rarely used and people continue to report spam and abuse." The community does not seem to agree with this assessment, since a petition immediately popped up asking YouTube to reconsider, and so far a half-million people have signed. "Removing community captions locks so many viewers out of the experience," the petition reads. "Community captions ensured that many videos were accessible that otherwise would not be."

Instead of the free, in-house solution YouTube already built and doesn't want to keep running, the company's shutdown post pushes users to paid, third-party alternatives like YouTube says that because "many of you rely on community captions," (what happened to the low usage?) "YouTube will be covering the cost of a 6 month subscription of for all creators who have used the Community Contribution feature for at least 3 videos in the last 60 days."

Re:Somewhere at google

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by a desire for profit.

Re:Just Because?

By azcoyote • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Did you read the summary? Google isn't doing it "just because". They are doing it because they will profit from the paid alternative.

You mean As far as I can tell, it is not owned by Google but rather by a non-profit organization. It doesn't look like Google stands to make any profit off of it.

Not used because it's a hidden feature

By MrL0G1C • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I never saw any option to edit subtitles, so I expect this is true for everyone else. If you hide a feature then of course no-one is going to use it. I even saw a couple of wrong subs and thought I'd like to had fixed it but had no idea how. Editing subs should be quick, easy and obvious as to how. Is this one of those stupid hidden catch 22 interfaces where you have to know what buttons to press to get it to work like a cheat code to a game?

Youtube should have pulled their finger out and fixed the feature so that it works right, canning the feature is pure laziness. I seriously hope I don't become deaf when this is the pathetic level of effort out there.

You don't hear about success

By complete loony • Score: 4 • Thread

This is a common problem with engineering. You only hear about the problems, not the successes. Particularly if that success doesn't seem to impact the bottom line. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Though I'm sure Youtube could quantify the ad revenue from people with captions turned on, and compare that to the support burden of spam etc. Obviously they don't believe the feature is worth the support cost.

Liquid Water on Mars? New Research Indicates Buried 'Lakes'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The existence of liquid water on Mars -- one of the more hotly debated matters about our cold, red neighbor -- is looking increasingly likely. From a report: New research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy indicates there really is a buried reservoir of super-salty water near the south pole of the planet. Scientists say such a lake would significantly improve the likelihood that the red planet just might harbor microscopic life of its own. Some scientists remain unconvinced that what's been seen is liquid water, but the latest study adds weight to a tentative 2018 finding from radar maps of the planet's crust made by the Mars Express robot orbiter. That research suggested an underground "lake" of liquid water had pooled beneath frozen layers of sediment near the Martian south pole -- akin to the subglacial lakes detected beneath the Antarctic and the Greenland ice sheets on Earth.

Earth's subglacial lakes are teeming with bacterial life, and similar life might survive in liquid reservoirs on Mars, scientists have speculated. "We are much more confident now," said Elena Pettinelli, a professor of geophysics at Italy's Roma Tre University, who led the latest research and the earlier study. "We did many more observations, and we processed the data completely differently." The planetary scientist and her team processed 134 observations of the region near the south pole with ground-penetrating radar from the Mars Express Orbiter between 2012 until 2019 -- more than four times as many as before, and covering a period of time more than twice as long. They then applied a new technique to the observation data that has been used to find lakes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, as well as an older technique used in the 2018 study. Both methods indicate there is a "patchwork" of buried reservoirs of liquid in the region, Pettinelli said -- a large reservoir about 15 miles across, surrounded by several smaller patches up to 6 miles across.

Uber Can Continue Operating In London After Winning Court Appeal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
After losing its license to operate in London last November, deputy chief magistrate of Transport for London (TfL), Tanweer Ikram, granted Uber an 18-month license after winning their court appeal. "Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV [private hire vehicle] operator's license," he concluded. Engadget reports: Uber's new licence runs for 18 months. It has "a number of conditions," according to TfL, that will allow the regulator to "closely monitor Uber's adherence to the regulations and to swiftly take action if they fail to meet the required standards." Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, added: "This decision is a recognition of Uber's commitment to safety and we will continue to work constructively with TfL. There is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app as we work together to keep London moving."

The UK's App Drivers and Couriers Union (ACDU) has "cautiously" welcomed the court's decision, but believes London mayor Sadiq Khan should take further action and limit the number of licensed drivers on the platform. "Such reductions, achieved through attrition, are necessary to ensure Uber can comfortably meet its compliance obligations including worker rights whilst giving TfL the breathing space necessary so that it can comfortably meet its responsibilities to ensure that Uber drivers and the traveling public are protected," the union said in a press release.

Deputy chief magistrate

By JPMH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Note re the first paragraph:

Deputy chief magistrate is a judicial role, with widespread responsibilities (see eg UK Judiciary website). It is not part of Transport for London.

TfL had continued to oppose Uber, but the court didn't agree.

Ransomware Attacks Take On New Urgency Ahead of Vote

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Texas company that sells software that cities and states use to display results on election night was hit by ransomware last week, the latest of nearly a thousand such attacks over the past year against small towns, big cities and the contractors who run their voting systems. From a report: Many of the attacks are conducted by Russian criminal groups, some with shady ties to President Vladimir V. Putin's intelligence services. But the attack on Tyler Technologies, which continued on Friday night with efforts by outsiders to log into its clients' systems around the country, was particularly rattling less than 40 days before the election. While Tyler does not actually tally votes, it is used by election officials to aggregate and report them in at least 20 places around the country -- making it exactly the kind of soft target that the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I. and United States Cyber Command worry could be struck by anyone trying to sow chaos and uncertainty on election night.

Tyler would not describe the attack in detail. It initially appeared to be an ordinary ransomware attack, in which data is made inaccessible unless the victim pays the ransom, usually in harder-to-trace cryptocurrencies. But then some of Tyler's clients -- the company would not say which ones -- saw outsiders trying to gain access to their systems on Friday night, raising fears that the attackers might be out for something more than just a quick profit. That has been the fear haunting federal officials for a year now: that in the days leading up to the election, or in its aftermath, ransomware groups will try to freeze voter registration data, election poll books or the computer systems of the secretaries of the state who certify election results. With only 37 days before the election, federal investigators still do not have a clear picture of whether the ransomware attacks clobbering American networks are purely criminal acts, seeking a quick payday, or Trojan horses for more nefarious Russian interference. But they have not had much success in stopping them. In just the first two weeks of September, another seven American government entities have been hit with ransomware and their data stolen. "The chance of a local government not being hit while attempting to manage the upcoming and already ridiculously messy election would seem to be very slim," said Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, a security firm.

This is my unsurprised face

By Hizonner • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

These are the same idiots whose shit court management software was literally keeping people in jail when they weren't supposed to be (see this article). No surprise that they're too stupid to protect themselves from ransomware or anything else.

The right solution for Tyler Technologies is the corporate death penalty, and the right mitigation for the clients is to stop using the software.


By dgatwood • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

No, no, you're not using the terminology correctly. It's only called debt when poor people spend money they don't have. When rich people do it, it's called a leveraged position. :-D

Yes, I'm being snarky. Most people would kill to earn a tenth as much money in their entire lives as President Trump has lost. That's why he wants so badly to hold on to this job. He can charge the American people huge fees for the use of his personal properties and make previous presidents' salaries look like chump change, which helps make up for the fact that most of his properties normally just lose value. :-/


By quonset • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Just remember, as the question asks, what's classy if you're rich but trashy if you're poor?

Getting money from the government.

Or, as one brilliant person on Twitter said:

The con artist is nothing more than a broke father of five kids by three different women, living in public housing.

Re:Most of it

By SpankiMonki • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We're already finding boxes of completed mail-in ballots in dumpsters behind the office of the people who were supposed to count those votes - and we haven't even had the election yet.

LOL, "boxes" of mail in ballots in dumpsters? You mean the nine ballots found in the trash in a single Pennsylvania district? Must have been pretty small boxes.

Brett Callow

By sonoronos • Score: 3 • Thread

This "Brett Callow" guy is interesting. He's all over the place on google as a source for Emsisoft, being cited as anything from a malware analyst to cybersecurity expert.

His linkedin profile shows that he has worked for Emsisoft as a "threat analyst" for two years.

Prior to that, he's completely wiped his resume, and the guy looks like he's in his mid to late 40's.

He actually seems to be a PR / Marketing dude that has been hired by Emsisoft to write a bunch of stuff regarding election hacking and bitcoin - whatever they tell him to write about.

He seems to be some sort of paid journalist for this company, making this sort of content most likely just inflammatory clickbait.

Healthcare Giant UHS Hit By Ransomware Attack, Sources Say

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Universal Health Services, one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S., has been hit by a ransomware attack. "Looks like another case of ransomware at over 400 hospital locations," writes Slashdot reader nickwinlund77. "They've had to go back to pen & paper for handling forms." TechCrunch reports: The attack hit UHS systems early on Sunday morning, according to two people with direct knowledge of the incident, locking computers and phone systems at several UHS facilities across the country, including in California and Florida. One of the people said the computer screens changed with text that referenced the "shadow universe," consistent with the Ryuk ransomware. "Everyone was told to turn off all the computers and not to turn them on again," the person said. "We were told it will be days before the computers are up again."

It's not immediately known what impact the ransomware attack is having on patient care, or how widespread the issue is. UHS published a statement on Monday, saying its IT network "is currently offline, due to an IT security issue." "We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible. In the meantime, our facilities are using their established back-up processes including offline documentation methods. Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively," the statement said. "No patient or employee data appears to have been accessed, copied or otherwise compromised," it added.

Ya, but

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread

They've had to go back to pen & paper for handling forms."

It's not that difficult to hand-stamp "Denied" on everything, just (even) slower than having their computers do it automatically.

This is what you get

By JeffOwl • Score: 3 • Thread
You dumb MF-ers who keep paying these bastards. Stop it. Recover best as you can without paying the criminals, learn your lessons, invest in security, training, and backup infrastructure, and move on.

Re:Ya, but

By thecombatwombat • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

UHS is not an insurance company. UHS runs hospitals and provides services. They don't get paid when things get denied, their motivations are exactly the opposite.

You might be confusing them with UnitedHealth Group, or UHG.

Ironically, the evils UHS might do are things like prescribing unnecessary treatment, committing the mentally ill as dangerous when they are not, and billing for procedures they did not do. If anything, the big insurance companies not wanting to pay them, are one of the best defences their would be victims have.

Bitcoin - the gift that keeps on giving

By Cyberax • Score: 3 • Thread
Bitcoin - the gift that keeps on giving. It enables so many new business models! Who wouldn't want to have an untraceable way to transfer large amounts of money internationally. Down with the regulations!

Apple's Battle With Epic Over Fortnite Could Reach Jury Trial Next July

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Apple and Epic met in a virtual court hearing on Monday to debate whether Fortnite should be allowed to remain in Apple's App Store while the two fight an even bigger battle over whether Apple is violating federal antitrust law. From a report: California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said didn't issue any update to her previous ruling, which upheld Apple's ban on Fortnite while the antitrust case is ongoing. Instead she said the companies should expect to hear from her in writing. Rogers said that it's likely that the case, which she added was "the frontier of antitrust law," will be heard in July 2021. She recommended a trial by jury in order that the final judgement reached would be more likely stand up to appeal, although said it's up to Apple or Epic to request this.

[...] In court on Monday, Rogers seemed less than impressed with the arguments put forward by Epic's legal team. She said that in the gaming industry, of which Epic is a part, it was standard practice for platforms to take 30% commission, as Apple does. She challenged Epic over its decision to circumvent Apple's policy in spite of its explicit contractual relations with the company, saying the company had "lied about it by omission." "You were not forthright," she said. "You were told you couldn't do it, and you did. There's an old saying, a rose by any other name is still a rose [...] There are plenty of people in the public could consider you guys heroes for what you did, but it's still not honest."

Missing from the summary: escrow account

By Anubis IV • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Missing from the summary but mentioned in reporting elsewhere is that there are apparently talks to hold the 30% in escrow during the trial. More or less, Epic gets to come back, use their own credit card processing, and have 100% of the funds hit their account, just as they were before they got booted, but then 30% of those funds are put in escrow pending the results of the trial. It's theoretically a win-win, since Epic doesn't like losing 10% of Fortnite's revenue and Apple doesn't like this sort of PR.


By aitikin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So we're going to have to hear from Apple defenders and Epic defenders for at least another 10 months. Because 2020 wasn't bad enough.

Re:This will end....

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Google just played the epic Ace card by announcing that the new OS for their cell phone systems will allow for 3rd party payment processors and 3rd party App stores to compete with their own offerings.

Actually, Google said nothing of the sort.

Contrary to your claim that they're allowing third-party payment processors, they're doing the exact opposite: they declared their intent to start enforcing their existing payment policy that all apps in the Play Store MUST use Google as their payment processor. That's been their policy all along, but they'll begin enforcing it next year. The reason you may be confused is because they also restated the fact that their Play Store policies do not and have never applied to third-party app stores.

Which brings us to the second thing you got wrong: Android already has third-party app store support. Epic was selling Fortnite out of their own store for years before they brought it to the Google Play Store, and they've continued selling it there since their spat with Google began. Likewise, Samsung has its own store. If the demand was there, these sorts of stores would already be in widespread use, but they aren't, which is why Epic eventually caved and brought Fortnite to Play. As for what Google actually announced, they are making it "even easier" to install third-party app stores in Android 12, due next year. That's it. No details what that means, and almost certainly no meaningful difference in practice, given that they aren't adding anything new in terms of what's already possible.

All of which is to say, rather than putting pressure on Apple to drop the 30% or add support for other app stores, this is Google saying that they think they're in a strong position with Play and that Apple has a strong enough case against Epic that they feel comfortable flexing their muscles a bit, putting the screws to Epic and Netflix and Spotify and others who are using their own payment processors, and demanding their 30% cut too, just like Apple does.

Here is why apple needs to be busted...

By hairyfeet • Score: 3 • Thread

Imagine if tomorrow MSFT put out an update that denied you installing anything except through the MSFT Store, no more chrome, no more Firefox, no Steam, nothing that MSFT didn't approve of and get a 30% cut of...everyone would have a screaming shitfit, right?

This is just replacing the old "On the internet" copyright troll meme with "on a phone" and in both cases its bullshit. Its an Operating System running on hardware, no different than Linux or Windows or BSD or whatever and letting companies lock down an OS so that nothing gets installed without their permission? Yeah just remember MSFT proposed the same thing in 2002 with their Palladium project and we all had a shitfit and rightly so, just because fashionista like the apple logo don't mean they should get a pass.

Re: Missing from the summary: escrow account

By orlanz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's not what the Judge said. Apple can choose to allow Epic back in under the same contract as before and put the 30% into escrow. Apple said we will think about it. Epic said it wasn't a compromise at all. Judge didn't care.

UK Risks Losing Contract For New Climate Research Centre Because of Brexit

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The UK is at risk of losing the contract for the expansion of a flagship European weather research centre based in Reading because of Brexit. From a report: The European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has been based in Berkshire for the last 45 years but its future EU-funded activities are now the subject of an international battle. At stake is a planned new facility with up to 250 jobs, and nine countries -- including France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Italy -- are vying for the business. "As a consequence of Brexit, a competition to relocate all ECMWF EU-funded activities from Reading in the UK to an EU member state is taking place during 2020," an official briefing note from one member state said. ECMWF, which is also a key body for climate-change research, is backed by 34 countries, 22 of them EU member states. In addition to weather forecasting, it operates a number of EU-funded programmes, including two services from the EU's Copernicus satellite Earth-observation programme, monitoring the atmosphere and the climate crisis.

Re:Small price. . .

By gtall • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Oh? So you'll be wanting to make sure you pay to implement all those rules and regs that you used to get from the EU. You'll need a lot to cover what they covered. And you'll be outside the EU, so you can kiss the trading benefits with the EU goodbye. And you'll be wanting a new trade deal with all the other countries that have trade deals with the EU except you won't have the EU clout to back up your bargaining position. Then there is the flow of scientists and engineers, they won't be coming to GB any longer. New trade deal with the U.S.? What do you have to offer now that the EU is not backing you up?

Now that you've shown Scotland how it is done, you can kiss them goodbye as well.

Re:More like

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The EU punishing someone for daring to leave.

The last time some folks dared to leave the USA . . . we fought a long and nasty war over it.

If California or Texas would decide to leave the Union tomorrow, you could guess that Washington, DC wouldn't be too keen on sending either state money.

Re:Stability and Consistancy.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Actually the British parliament did vote to build a new EU border in the Irish Sea. Johnson said it was a great deal, oven ready.

Of course he thinks it's shit now. Must be pretty upset with the idiot who negotiated it and signed the legally binding treaty.

Re:Stability and Consistancy.

By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Interesting point, we're just in the process of signing a large business deal with a government in an EU country which as far as we can tell should have gone to the UK (based on reverse-engineering their "we need this deal signed two weeks ago because our existing preferred contractor no longer meets the requirements"). So thank you, Brexit! An apologies to likely-UK-vendor who lost the contract.

Re:Title not quite accurate

By angel'o'sphere • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You are silly.
Basically every EU country has a chance, and front line are indeed France - as they have a big climate research center. Or Denmark - as they also have an international leading research center. However the EU also likes to spread out stuff. So Spain or Italy are by far not out of the question, nor is any of the smaller new members, like the Baltic states.

Netflix CEO on Paying Sky-High Salaries: 'The Best Are Easily 10 Times Better Than Average'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, writing at CNBC: In the first few years of Netflix, we were growing fast and needed to hire more software engineers. With my new understanding that high talent density would be the engine of our success, we focused on finding the top performers in the market. In Silicon Valley, many of them worked for Google, Apple, and Facebook -- and they were being paid a lot. We didn't have the cash to lure them away in any numbers. But, as an engineer, I was familiar with a concept that has been understood in software since 1968, referred to as the "rock-star principle." The rock-star principle is rooted in a famous study that took place in a basement in Santa Monica, California. At 6:30 a.m., nine trainee programmers were led into a room with dozens of computers. Each was handed a manila envelope, explaining a series of coding and debugging tasks they would need to complete to their best ability in the next 120 minutes. The researchers expected that the best programmer would outperform his average counterpart by a factor of two or three. But it turned out that the most skilled programmer far outperformed the worst. He was 20 times faster at coding, 25 times faster at debugging, and 10 times faster at program execution than the programmer with the lowest marks.

This study has caused ripples across the software industry since it was published, as managers grapple with how some programmers can be worth so much more than their perfectly adequate colleagues. With a fixed amount of money for salaries and a project I needed to complete, I had a choice: Hire 10 to 25 average engineers, or hire one "rock-star" and pay significantly more than what I'd pay the others, if necessary. Over the years, I've come to see that the best programmer doesn't add 10 times the value. He or she adds more like a 100 times. Bill Gates, whom I worked with while on the Microsoft board, purportedly went further. He is often quoted as saying, "A great lathe operator commands several times the wages of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer." In the software industry, this is a known principle (although still much debated). I started thinking about where this model applied outside the software industry. The reason the rock-star engineer is so much more valuable than his counterparts isn't unique to programming. The great software engineer is incredibly creative and can see conceptual patterns that others can't.

Re:10x principle

By quantaman • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'd say in my experience more like 3-4x. Study is flawed they took 10 trainees and compared them. You really need to compare imo developers that are worth having. Lots of people can hang a shingle and call themselves a developer but in my experience at least 25% shouldn't be. It's not just they are slow, given infinite time they won't growk it. They can do the simplest tasks and will a lot of hand holding can help out. But the ability to actually develop something of any size by themselves is completely beyond them. They aren't developers they are typists that happen to write code for a living ;)

I mostly agree. The big differentiator with the "rock star" programmer is some tasks that are extremely difficult or impossible for other developers are relatively routine for them (not to mention bugs). So to that extent they can be 3x, 10x, or 100x more productive depending on the task at hand.

At the same time a substantially weaker dev can be a net drain since it takes so much expert supervision to get work out of them and fix their mistakes afterwards.

For most orgs the most efficient way to hire is a handful of "rock stars" for the really difficult and critical tasks and a bunch of good competent devs for everything else. The problem is a lot of those "good dev" hires turn out to be bad devs, and you either need to fire them or suffer the consequences.

If you're big tech with oodles of money and an extremely profitable product then you may want to try for 100% rock star. You end up wasting a bunch of money on awesome devs where good devs would do, and most of your "rock stars" will turn out to just be good. But when you've got tons of cash it's better to have overpriced programmers than ones who break the code.

I've been in the industry for 35 years...

By Spinlock_1977 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I've been in the industry for 35 years. And that's why I get one more dot in the title.

I think some of you are missing the point. A rock-star programmer doesn't exist in a vacuum. A person with decent gifts to be a good programmer, with extensive experience in an application area, surrounded by a supportive environment and people, given the correct amount of power, is a super-star. Their perceived value is high, but I'd assign more credit to the person (s)he reports to - they created the environment making such realizations possible, and selected someone who didn't screw it up royally.

I've met plenty of super-brilliant-rock-star-walk-on-water people who failed to rock any stars because they were caustic, devious, or narcissistic. If you want to launch a rocket, it takes a lot more than one engineer.

Re:But are you diverse?

By Lothsahn • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I am all for this. However, in at least one study done by, they found that voice masking (male->female and vice versa) had no statistical difference on outcomes.

I feel ya. Solutions to that problem

By raymorris • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Those questions sure can be annoying. There is a solution or two, and some things to understand about what's going on in the other person's head when they ask.

I had an interview not long ago in which the first in-person interview was conducted by a couple of people who were either comp sci majors and/or totally untrained in interviewing, so it was NOTHING BUT those kinds of questions. That sure was annoying! Even though I should have remembered some tricks I know from being one of the interviewers.

During that, the CISO poked his head in to say hi - literally kept his feet in the hall and poked his head in and waved. I immediately engaged him in conversation, conversation about cost-benefit analysis of software projects, why sometimes you should NOT do it the best way, etc. It caught his attention that I was talking about the things he has to worry about, things his comp sci programmers never think about. The company called once a month for the next 4-6 months to double-check that I was still happy with the job I took instead, and didn't want to come work for them.

That experience reminded me of something I've used before. I try to come to an interview with my own opening line of conversation prepared. Facebook groups, industry groups, or events where the hiring manager spoke tell me something about the hiring manager. They tell me something about what the person is interested in and dealing with. So often *I* will start the interview by saying something like this "it's sure nice to meet you. Your talk at Defcon got me thinking and ...". Then we have an nice conversation that he enjoys for 45 minutes, talking about stuff we're interested in. I ask what kinds of problems the team is dealing with right now. He may or may not get around to asking any of his prepared interview questions, but he finds out that a) he likes me and b) I know some stuff, even something about the issues the team is dealing with right now. So that's an effective way to totally avoid those questions and instead talk about job-related things you came prepared to talk about. Because you got the conversation started off before they went into their pre-written questions.

Suppose you DO still get some of those. I have a strategy for that too, and some good news.
> And you have to answer right there, cold. He wants you to say the answer he has in his mind.

I've worked with at least a dozen people who ask those types of questions and none "want you to say the answer they have in their mind". In fact, the first things a candidate gets points for are a) listening carefully to the requirements and b) asking questions where the requirements are unclear.

We can't ask a candidate about interfacing our Foo transitive Doohickey with the PHJ system, because they won't know what the heck we're talking about. Of course you aren't familiar with our real systems. So we have to use a synthetic programming problem in order to see if you think like a decent programmer, and if you have any idea how to use any programming language.

So just imagine that you have a couple of systems you need to integrate and you have to do some string operations to adjust the data format. It's not about palindromes, it's about can you think about how to do some string operations. The one wrong answer is "I have no idea". A better answer is to simply restate the question while taking careful notes. That's points, just jotting down exactly what the input is and exactly what the output should be.

Then if you do some short pseudocode like:
Read input

That's better even if you can't figure out how to implement check-palindrome. I'm interested, we're interested, in how you approach the problem.

Some candidates give great answers to a completely unrelated question.

Some candidates give great answers to a completely unrelated question AND refuse to listen when we try to tell them twice "that's great, but it's solving the wrong problem".

When somebody absolutely refuses to hear the requirements, they go and the guy who clarified the requirements and couldn't quite find the solution stays.

So just start working on it like you would any other programming problem, and when you're doing some logical step say it out loud so we know you're approaching it in a reasoned way.

I had one interviewer ask me a "brain teaser" type of question. At first it seemed like a logic/programming kind of question, but in fact there was no logic answer, you had to think outside the box about real world analog materials. I didn't come up with the brain teaser "answer", what I did do was logically prove that the question was unanswerable as a programming question. I said something like "whether you start with input #1 or input #2 doesn't matter - the algorithm is equivalent either way. So let's consider what you can do starting with input #1 ...". I showed that logically no program could do it. I didn't get the brainteaser answer; I did get an offer at $150K.

Some programers pride themselves

By aberglas • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

on how much code they can write in a day.

I pride myself on how little code I can write in a day.

Indeed, on the best days, I end up with less code that I started with.

What is odd is not that someone would do some stupid study with trainee programmers, but that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings would admit to believing it.

It is true that a few good developers trump a large team of idiots. But because of the way that they go about things. Not what they can achieve in 120 minutes.

Amazon Plans Vancouver Expansion Where Talent Is Cheap

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon expects to nearly triple its workforce in Vancouver, where software engineers are cheap, smart and plentiful. From a report: The online retail giant plans to occupy a bunker-like former Canada Post mailing center that's being redeveloped into a new 1.1 million square-foot office to house 8,000 jobs by 2023, Jesse Dougherty, a vice president and Vancouver site lead at Amazon, said by phone. Currently, the company has 2,700 full-time employees at its city hub. It also plans to add 500 jobs in Toronto, according to a statement released Monday. A weak loonie, lower wages and a steady flow of graduates make Canada an attractive place to expand for tech companies whose largest expense is labor. The average wage of a software developer in Vancouver last year was $92,726, compared to $141,785 in San Francisco or $128,067 in Amazon's hometown of Seattle, according to a July report by real estate firm CBRE Group Inc. Once rental costs are folded in, the cost of running a 500-employee operation in the Canadian city is half that of a similar-sized operation in the Bay Area, it found.

Re:It's not about the labor cost.

By Major_Disorder • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If they can't want to wait to see a doctor, they can visit the USA like any other Canadian with an urgent need can do. Still worth it to be out of Seattle.


NOBODY does this. It is Pure 100% BS As a Canadian if I need to see a Dr. I call the office and make an appointment, usually within a day or two. If it is more urgent than that I go to the ER. Whichever I go to, I show my carecard and I am done. No enormous bills, no BS copays, no this Dr. is not covered because they are in the wrong HMO.
The Canadian system is not perfect, but I do not know a single Canadian who wants the foolishness and expense of the US healthcare. I have also never know of a single Canadian to go to the US for healthcare. Ever.

Re:It's not about the labor cost.

By SilverJets • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

" I have also never know of a single Canadian to go to the US for healthcare. Ever."

It does happen but it's mostly for experimental treatment not approved for use in Canada or people who need a non-life saving procedure and do not want to wait their turn.

Canada's healthcare is set up like triage. If you have an immediate life-threatening need you jump to the front of the queue. This sometimes pisses off people that are waiting for knee surgery or some other non-life saving procedure who then get bumped. But, too fucking bad. I'd rather get my "free" healthcare and have to wait a bit than deal with the crap system the US has where those with money get helped and those without die.

Re:Another reason Canada is so attractive

By timeOday • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Canadians pay it through income and sales taxes.

Not really. Canada's per capita expense on healthcare is 7,068 CAD (in 2019), or $5,286 USD. USA per capita is $10,224 (in 2017).

So, we spend about double.

Much of that is administration costs. "The U.S. Spends $2,500 Per Person on Health Care Administrative Costs. Canada Spends $550."

So for my family of 6, that's $12,000 more than Canadians simply down the drain every year JUST on additional administration costs.

Great for Indians stuck on GC queue in america

By zshXx • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
There are ton of Indian tech employees in Amazon Seattle who are patiently waiting for Green Card from years now. These are not H1 abusers from Indian consultancies but either transfer from Amazon India or Masters degree holders from US. I see many such folks choosing to move out to Canada/Europe from Amazon Seattle already because they are done with h1 renewal bullshit every 3 years with no GC in sight. Source: I am an Indian engineer in Amazon Seattle who is stuck in GC queue from nearly 8 years. Lot of my friends are in same boat.

TFW and H-1B

By spaceyhackerlady • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I've seen too many of these setups where the real reason to set up shop in Vancouver was that only so many H-1B visas were available in the U.S. so they brought Temporary Foreign Workers in to Canada. Cheap, do as they're told, go home when they're done, bring in some more.

I'm from Vancouver, BTW.