the unofficial Slashdot digest


  1. Small Dongle Brings the HDD Clicking Back To SSDs In Retro PCs
  2. Germany To Keep 2 of Its 3 Nuclear Plants Running Into April
  3. Room-Temperature Superconductivity Study Retracted
  4. All 50 States Get Green Light To Build EV Charging Stations
  5. Tim Cook: 'No Good Excuse' For Lack of Women In Tech
  6. The Latest iPadOS 16 Beta Brings Stage Manager To Older iPad Pro Models
  7. Cloudflare Takes Aim At AWS With Promise of $1.25 Billion To Startups That Use Its Own Platform
  8. Oracle Pays $23 Million To SEC To Settle Bribery Charges
  9. Intel and Samsung Are Getting Ready For 'Slidable' PCs
  10. Stock Trade Ban For Congress Is Being Readied For Release In US House
  11. Microsoft Exchange Online Users Face a Key Security Deadline Saturday
  12. Robinhood Debuts New Non-Custodial Crypto Wallet
  13. Senators Push To Reform Police's Cellphone Tracking Tools
  14. A Second Prime Sale Shows Amazon is Nervous About the Economy Too
  15. Cheat Devs Are Ready for Modern Warfare 2

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.

Small Dongle Brings the HDD Clicking Back To SSDs In Retro PCs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
Longtime Slashdot reader root_42 writes:
Remember the clicking sounds of spinning hard disks? One "problem" with retro computing is that we replace those disks with compact flash, SD cards or even SSDs. Those do not make any noises that you can hear under usual circumstances, which is partly nice because the computer becomes quieter, but also irritating because sometimes you can't tell if the computer has crashed or is still working. This little device fixes that issue! It's called the HDD Clicker and it's a very unique little gadget.
"An ATtiny and a few support components ride on a small PCB along with a piezoelectric speaker," describes Hackaday. "The dongle connects to the hard drive activity light, which triggers a series of clicks from the speaker that sound remarkably like a hard drive heading seeking tracks."
A demo of the device can be viewed at 7:09, with a full defragmentation at 13:11.

Why not go for the sound of a floppy drive?

By thesjaakspoiler • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I didn't have a HDD in my first computer like this young hipster did. =/

Modern torture device

By devslash0 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The sound of a parking hard drive head was the most annoying sound imaginable. Persistent, unpredictable, frustrating and unavoidable. The use of this gadget should be deemed as violating human rights and the Hague Conventions on war crimes. I wouldn't buy it for anyone... except my mother in law.

How about the lights?

By JoeRobe • Score: 3 • Thread

"The dongle connects to the hard drive activity light..."

The argument is that now you can tell if the computer has crashed, but if it works by tapping into the hard drive activity light why not just look at the light to determine if the computer has crashed?

Germany To Keep 2 of Its 3 Nuclear Plants Running Into April

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
Germany's government plans to keep two of the country's three remaining nuclear power plants running until mid-April to help prevent a potential winter energy shortage, the economy and energy minister said Tuesday. The Associated Press reports:
The announcement by Economy and Energy Minister Robert Habeck means the government has officially, albeit temporarily, reversed Germany's long-held plan to shut shut down its nuclear plants by the end of the year. Habeck said the decision to keep operating the two plants in southern Germany -- Isar 2 in Bavaria and Neckarwestheim north of Stuttgart -- into next year a "necessary" step to avoid potential power grid shortages in the region.

Officials still plan to close down Germany's third remaining nuclear plant, Emsland in the northern German state of Lower Saxony, at the end of the year as planned. Habeck said officials announced the decision Tuesday in light of stress test data from France's nuclear providers that indicated grid shortages could be more severe than expected this winter. Like other European countries, Germany is scrambling to ensure the lights stay on and homes stay warm this winter despite the reduction in natural gas flows from Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
"The situation in France is not good and has developed much worse than was actually forecasted in the last few weeks," Habeck said. "As the minister responsible for energy security I have to say: Unless this development is reversed, we will leave Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim on the grid in the first quarter of 2023."

They are keeping them running because of Russia

By saloomy • Score: 3 • Thread
and the natural gas/oil shortages the war will bring. This proves they were shutting down carbon-free energy generators like these three nuclear plants to burn more fossil fuels. Just saying...

Nuclear power is both safe and planet friendly

By Stonefish • Score: 3 • Thread

Looking at this logically Germany should refuel its existing plants and recommission its shuttered plants. This should be done for numerous reasons.
Russia can't be relied upon as an energy partner
The war in Ukraine is ongoing as Russia is doubling down.
The whole gas economy is bad as it relies on fossil fuels
Generating power with coal is bad as it relies on fossil fuels
The plants already exist, they don't need to be built, the carbon from the concrete and steel is already in the atmosphere, keeping the plants running claws back this debt.
Also getting to zero emissions is the goal, don't make it harder than it needs to be, be pragmatic.
Nuclear isn't all sweetness and light, but neither are power lines, solar and wind farms. Solar generates significant waste, wind farms decimates certain types of birdlife and they're intermittent.

You might want the world to be powered by a warm inner glow but you only need a touch of winter for things to change

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Study Retracted

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Magazine:
In 2020, Ranga Dias, a physicist at the University of Rochester, and his colleagues published a sensational result in Nature, featured on its cover. They claimed to have discovered a room-temperature superconductor: a material in which electric current flows frictionlessly without any need for special cooling systems. Although it was just a speck of carbon, sulfur, and hydrogen forged under extreme pressures, the hope was that someday the material would lead to variants that would enable lossless electricity grids and inexpensive magnets for MRI machines, maglev railways, atom smashers, and fusion reactors. Faith in the result is now evaporating. On Monday Nature retracted the study, citing data issues other scientists have raised over the past 2 years that have undermined confidence in one of two key signs of superconductivity Dias's team had claimed. "There have been a lot of questions about this result for a while," says James Hamlin, an experimental condensed matter physicist at the University of Florida. But Jorge Hirsch, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and longtime critic of the study, says the retraction does not go far enough. He believes it glosses over what he says is evidence of scientific misconduct. "I think this is a real problem," he says. "You cannot leave it as, 'Oh, it's a difference of opinion.'"

The retraction was unusual in that Nature editors took the step over the objection of all nine authors of the paper. "We stand by our work, and it's been verified experimentally and theoretically," Dias says. Ashkan Salamat, a physicist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and another senior member of the collaboration, points out the retraction does not question the drop in electric resistance -- the most important part of any superconductivity claim. He adds, "We're confused and disappointed in the decision-making by the Nature editorial board." The retraction comes even as excitement builds for the class of superconducting materials called hydrides, which includes the carbonaceous sulfur hydride (CSH) developed by Dias's team. Under pressures greater than at the center of the Earth, hydrogen is thought to behave like a superconducting metal. Adding other elements to the hydrogen -- creating a hydride structure -- can increase the "chemical pressure," reducing the need for external pressure and making superconductivity reachable in small laboratory vises called diamond anvil cells. As Lilia Boeri, a theoretical physicist at the Sapienza University of Rome, puts it, "These hydrides are a sort of realization of metallic hydrogen at slightly lower pressure."

In 2015, Mikhail Eremets, an experimental physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, and colleagues reported the first superconducting hydride: a mix of hydrogen and sulfur that, under enormous pressures, exhibited a sharp drop in electrical resistance at a critical temperature (Tc) of 203 K (-70C). That was nowhere near room temperature, but warmer than the Tc for most superconducting materials. Some theorists thought adding a third element to the mix would give researchers a new variable to play with, enabling them to get closer to ambient pressures -- or room temperatures. For the 2020 Nature paper, Dias and colleagues added carbon, crushed the mix in a diamond anvil cell, and heated it with a laser to create a new substance. They reported that tests showed a sharp drop in resistance at a Tc of 288 K (15C) -- roughly room temperature -- and a pressure of 267 gigapascals, about 75% of the pressure at the center of the Earth. But in a field that has seen many superconducting claims come and go, a drop in resistance alone is not considered sufficient. The gold standard is to provide evidence of another key attribute of superconductors: their ability to expel an applied magnetic field when they cross Tc and become superconducting. Measuring that effect in a diamond anvil cell is impractical, so experimentalists working with hydrides often measure a related quantity called "magnetic susceptibility." Even then they must contend with tiny wires and samples, immense pressures, and a background magnetic signal from metallic gaskets and other experimental components. "It's like you're trying to see a star when the Sun is out," Hamlin says.
"The study's magnetic susceptibility data were what led to the retraction," reports Science. "The team members reported that a susceptibility signal emerged after they had subtracted a background signal, but they did not include raw data. The omission frustrated critics, who also complained that the team relied on a 'user-defined' background -- an assumed background rather than a measured one. But Salamat says relying on a user-defined background is customary in high-pressure physics because the background is so hard to measure experimentally."
Dias and Salamat posted a paper to arXiv in 2021 containing the raw susceptibility data and purported to explain how the background was subtracted, but it "raised more questions than it answered," says Brad Ramshaw, a quantum materials physicist at Cornell University. "The process of going from the raw data to the published data was incredibly opaque."

Hirsch accused the data of being "fabricated," noting suspicious similarities to data in a 2009 paper on superconductivity in europium under high pressures. It too was later retracted.

Reality check

By Luckyo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This silliness has sadly become a norm in superconductivity research. Instead of trying to discover something that would be useful, we're stuck with "my diamond anvil is better than yours" idiocy.

For those not the know, we learned how to manufacture what is essentially a kind of an anvil that can put a very small object under extreme pressure in laboratory conditions. One of the things that extreme pressure does is raise temperature at which certain group of materials can become superconductive. And "advances" in this field have been advances in diamond anvils. As they became able to generate more and more pressure, researchers could raise the temperature more and more while retaining superconductivity.

This is utterly pointless for practical applications, because there are no practical applications where we would maintain such pressures. This is literally a pointless dick measuring contest masquerading as useful scientific experimentation to get grants.

Re:Reality check

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is utterly pointless for practical applications, because there are no practical applications where we would maintain such pressures

I believe the thing they are looking at is if some materials display metastability. This point or pointlessness of that search I leave open to debate, but I do believe that the excuse on paper is a bit more than dick waving.


By The Evil Atheist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Unless retractions play a role in changing the culture of universities and other research institutions as publish-or-die, we'll just be playing whack-a-mole, but with infinite holes and infinite moles.

It's time people stopped measuring publication output and switch to measuring replications and retractions. Institutions should be publicly shamed for low replications (both of their own research and for replicating others' research), and high retractions.

No superconductivity proven yet

By Roger W Moore • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

One of the things that extreme pressure does is raise temperature at which certain group of materials can become superconductive.

No, it does not - the whole point of this controversy is that this claim of superconductivity has not been proven. Even worse, there seems to be some compelling evidence that the data used to make the claim in the first place were fabricated. The fact that Nature is retracting the paper over the objections of the authors lends a lot of credibility to that.

This is why things like this have to be taken seriously. You, and doubtless many others, have started to think that high-pressure superconductivity in hydrides is a real thing and yet, as I understand it from a colleague who is a close collaborator of Hirsch, there are many reasons to doubt that, whatever they are seeing is superconductivity. Indeed, the Meisner effect - the smoking gun of superconductivity - still has not shown to happen for these materials.

While superconductivity is not my area of expertise, in my own field of particle physics when you get a significant group of people objecting to and disagreeing with a result then it is usually a sure sign that someone screwed up the result somehow. When there are disagreements about something new that's real you do not tend to get paper retractions and everyone in the debate tends to be less certain and confrontational since the side that came up with the new result believes it is real and so is open to answering questions and doubts about it from the side that ha doubts (indeed those who found the result often have some doubts of their own!).

All 50 States Get Green Light To Build EV Charging Stations

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
The U.S. Transportation Department on Tuesday said it approved electric vehicle charging station plans for all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico covering roughly 75,000 miles of highways. CNBC reports:
Earlier this year, the Biden administration allocated $5 billion to states to fund EV chargers over five years along interstate highways as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package. Under the plan, entitled the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, states provided their EV infrastructure deployment proposals to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. States are now approved to construct a network of EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors on the national highway system and have access to more than $1.5 billion to help build the chargers.

It's unclear how many charging stations the funds will support, and states have not yet shared specific charger locations. Transportation Department officials have said that states should install stations every 50 miles and ensure each station is located within one mile of an interstate highway. "We have approved plans for all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to help ensure that Americans in every part of the country -- from the largest cities to the most rural communities -- can be positioned to unlock the savings and benefits of electric vehicles," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

Re:Power plants?

By jonwil • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The feds are approving these charging stations because the feds are paying for them (specifically they told the states "here is a bunch of money to spend on building charging stations, come up with a plan how to spend it" and now the states have submitted those plans and the plans they submitted are what have been approved by the feds)

How Many Chargers per stop? Idle fees?

By Vandil X • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
As an EV owner, one of the hurdles of a roadtrip is not just finding a DC Fast Charger, but one that is available for use.

I own a Tesla Model 3, so the Supercharger network has most of my needs covered. Most superchargers have 4-8 spots, and sometimes there is a wait. People that idle get charged fees for using up the space to encourage them to move.

When traveling out of the supercharger network, I rely on DC Fast Chargers and a CHAdeMO adapter. Usually these chargers have 1 pedestal with 1 CHAdeMO-compatible cable. If it's in use, well, you're going to be waiting an hour. That really puts a crimp on road trips. Depending on the provider network of the DC Fast Charger idle fees may or may not be charged to cars done charging, but using up the space.

For these "every 50 miles" chargers, I hope they have 4-8 stalls like Tesla superchargers do, and have some idle fee system in place for people done charging.

We'd also need some kind of parking enforcement to ticket/tow non-EVs that are using/blocking the spots.

They should be like ATMs

By SirKron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Electric vehicle charging stations should be like ATMs you see in the convenience stores. Let the local power company have a profit center service to deploy them and let individual companies have them available for a part of the profit. If people buy the electric vehicles and charging them is profitable, then you will see charging stations pop up everywhere without the need for government intervention.

Re:Power plants?

By slack_justyb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We already have huge and visible power problems in Texas and California (so no this isn't a left vs right issue, it's a general infrastructure issue)

I think it's important to note that these "problems" are ones that businesses create but governments ask citizens to solve. Nashville Electric Services was telling customers to conserve electricity all the while the football stadium stayed on day and night, 24/7. The same is true for Texas and California. They want YOU to save electricity because they want THEIR problem to be YOUR problem.

And no serious plan in either state to fix their shit

Well Texas' problem is the "don't step on snek" mentality that abounds there. California's problem is the crunchy idiots who decided nuclear was too scary. So I mean the Government call tell them what to do, but then the Government is telling what to do. But I don't know, maybe that's someone here's cup of tea. Truth be told, they should just fix their shit, but political agendas be political agenda-ing.

And I wonder how many other states have similar problems or trending that way we haven't seen yet

Well that's because a lot of politicians like to put in people's hands so they can wash their hands of it. And that gets me to what I like this green light for EV stations. Usually you can nail politicians down to this issue about as well as you can nail down rain coming down the waterspout, that is usually "fixing shit" is something they just kick the can on because they'll only do it when 100% of the people agree to something which never happens. So the fact that someone is doing SOMETHING, I get it, it's not a complete package but I mean shit, progress is progress at this point.

But yeah every state has grid issues. We don't build shit in this country anymore. which is why when Trump was wanting to "build a wall" all I could reply with is "DO IT". Because even if it's a pretty shitty excuse for wasting tax payer money, we just don't build shit anymore.

This is like installing some pretty new faucets in your house but forgetting you need plumbing and a water source coming in

I get it. But it's a start. But yeah, it's nowhere near a complete package.


By psycho12345 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Still better then cars. Cars by their very nature can never be as efficient as a power plant.

Tim Cook: 'No Good Excuse' For Lack of Women In Tech

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC:
Apple chief executive Tim Cook says there are still "not enough women at the table" at the world's tech firms -- including his own. He said there were "no good excuses" for the lack of women in the sector. Apple has just launched its founders' development program for female founders and app creators in the UK. "I think the the essence of technology and its effect on humanity depends upon women being at the table," Mr Cook says. "Technology's a great thing that will accomplish many things, but unless you have diverse views at the table that are working on it, you don't wind up with great solutions."

Apple had 35% female staff in the US in 2021, according to its own diversity figures. It launched its original Apple Health Kit in 2014 without a period tracker -- which led to accusations that this was an oversight due to male bias among its developers. One challenge facing the sector is the lack of girls choosing to pursue science, tech, engineering and maths subjects at school. "Businesses can't cop out and say 'there's not enough women taking computer science -- therefore I can't hire enough,'" says Mr Cook. "We have to fundamentally change the number of people that are taking computer science and programming." His view is that everybody should be required to take some sort of coding course by the time they finish school, in order to have a "working knowledge" of how coding works and how apps are created.
According to Deloitte Global, large global tech firms will reach nearly 33% overall female representation in their workforces in 2022 on average -- with 25% occupying technical roles.

In the interview with the BBC, Cook also commented on the future of augmented reality, saying: "in the future, people will wonder how we lived without AR." He added: "we're investing a ton in that space." Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple could announced its long-rumored mixed-reality headset as soon as January 2023.

shut up, Tim Cock!

By MattMann • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

you're lucky you're allowed in tech.

studies have shown over and over, girls are interested in people, boys are interested in things. Technology is things. Do you even believe in science?

Mansplaining at its finest?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There are literally dozens of excellent papers explaining the infrequency of women in STEM, and their prevalence in some parts of STEM without the grinding hours, career death from childbirth, or horrible work/life balance issues common to so many STEM fields. It's so much *fun* to see idiots demand equal outcome rather than equal opportunity!

Does Tim also whine about ...

By UnknownSoldier • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

... lack of male nurses? ... lack of female fire fighters? ... lack of female plumbers?

Providing a professional environment where people can be friendly and have friendly banter is one thing. Not hiring employees simply based on their genitals because you have some bullshit diversity hire "quota" is reverse discrimination. No one cares.


By systemd-anonymousd • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

He's right. There's no excuse, there's only facts. And it's a fact that by every metric that measures freedom of career choice, societies in which women are more free tend to have women focusing on careers that focus on interpersonal social dynamics, and societies that have less freedom of choice have women who tend to focus on money-making technical skills. India vs. the US is the classic example.

There are studies undertaken by researchers who *wish* to find the opposite, but continually find that men and women tend to choose different types of careers. Again, not everyone, and you can't judge any one individual by their gender.

Women also tend to go into certain hard sciences more than men. Why do they not consider this evidence of discrimination? Equality of outcome is completely different than equality of opportunity and freedom of choice.

Maybe they don't want to work there?

By grasshoppa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is a radical idea, but maybe they don't want to work in tech? It certain seems that no matter how much they try to create a welcoming environment, women simply do not want to work in tech.

For all his awkwardness, maybe James Damore was on to something? You know, that something that got him fired for daring to suggest men and women are attracted to different things.

Simpler times.

The Latest iPadOS 16 Beta Brings Stage Manager To Older iPad Pro Models

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
Apple is bringing Stage Manager, a new multitasking system exclusive to iPads with the M1 chip, to a number of older devices. Engadget reports:
Probably the biggest change Apple announced with iPadOS 16 earlier this year is Stage Manager, a totally new multitasking system that adds overlapping, resizable windows to the iPad. That feature also works on an external display, the first time that iPads could do anything besides mirror their screen on a monitor. Unfortunately, the feature was limited to iPads with the M1 chip -- that includes the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in May of 2021 as well as the M1-powered iPad Air which Apple released earlier this year. All other older iPads were left out.

That changes with the latest iPadOS 16 developer beta, which was just released. Now, Apple is making Stage Manager work with a number of older devices: it'll work on the 11-inch iPad Pro (first generation and later) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (third generation and later). Specifically, it'll be available on the 2018 and 2020 models that use the A12X and A12Z chips rather than just the M1. However, there is one notable missing feature for the older iPad Pro models -- Stage Manager will only work on the iPad's build-in display. You won't be able to extend your display to an external monitor. Apple also says that developer beta 5 of iPadOS 16. is removing external display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads, something that has been present since the first iPadOS 16 beta was released a few months ago. It'll be re-introduced in a software update coming later this year.

Cloudflare Takes Aim At AWS With Promise of $1.25 Billion To Startups That Use Its Own Platform

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch:
Cloudflare, the security, performance and reliability company that went public three years ago, said this morning that it will help connect startups that use its serverless computing platform to dozens of venture firms that have collectively offered to invest up to $1.25 billion in the companies out of their existing funds. It's a smart, splashy incentive to entice more startups to use the now five-year-old product, which, according to Cloudflare, enables developers to build or augment apps without configuring or maintaining infrastructure. Cloudflare notes in a related press release that startups can scale so fast using the platform that Cloudflare acquired one last year: Zaraz, a startup that promises to speed up website performance with a single line of code. (Cloudflare isn't promising to acquire other startups, but the suggestion is in the air.)

Indeed, this funding program, as far as we can tell, is really about Cloudflare taking aim at hugely lucrative products like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Toward that end, we asked Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince over the weekend why Cloudflare thinks it can steal market share from these much bigger companies. "I wouldn't characterize it as 'stealing' market share from anyone," he said. "It's a matter of earning market share, and the way you earn market share is by providing a better product at a more affordable price." Asked how much more affordable, he said merely that it's "significantly less expensive than the legacy public clouds" because of how it's built. As Prince explains it, modern browsers "encounter new, untrusted code with nearly every page they open online today. They need a way to quickly and safely execute that code [and use a] technology called isolates to achieve that." Cloudflare Workers, which is the name of the platform, "takes the isolates technology inspired by the browser and makes it available as a developer platform."

Prince said the idea to connect startups on its platform with venture funding came out of existing relationships it has with VCs who'd begun noticing that more of their portfolio companies are using Cloudflare Workers as their developer platform. "When they did due diligence," said Prince, the VCs would "push [founders] on 'why Cloudflare and not a platform like AWS,' [and] the answer that startup after startup gave was that Cloudflare Workers scaled better, had better performance, and was less expensive to operate." "If you're a VC and you hear an answer like that multiple times from the most promising startups it causes you to take notice," he added. Cloudflare is not providing any funding or making any funding decisions, it makes clear. All funding decisions will be made by the participating firms.


By phantomfive • Score: 3 • Thread

People know how to use AWS. If you're in the Microsoft ecosystem, Azure has an easy on-ramp. Google cloud has decent AI support.

There are reasons to use those systems. If you use Cloudflare, then the savings you get will be eaten up by retraining costs.

You had me at...

By Big Hairy Gorilla • Score: 3 • Thread
"One line of code".


Who writes this stuff?

Oracle Pays $23 Million To SEC To Settle Bribery Charges

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
Oracle has paid $23 million to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to settle corruption charges that subsidiaries in Turkey, United Arab Emirates and India used "slush funds" to bribe foreign officials to win business. The Register reports:
The SEC said on Tuesday that Big Red violated provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) during a three-year period between 2016 and 2019. The cash that was apparently surreptitiously set aside was also spent on paying for foreign officials to attend technology conferences, which breaks Oracle's own internal policies and procedures. And the SEC said that in some instances, it found Oracle staff at the Turkish subsidiary had spent the funds on taking officials' families with them on International conferences or side trips to California.

"The creation of off-books slush funds inherently gives rise to the risk those funds will be used improperly, which is exactly what happened here at Oracle's Turkey, UAE, and India subsidiaries," said Charles Cain, FCPA unit chief at the SEC. "This matter highlights the critical need for effective internal accounting controls throughout the entirety of a company's operations," he added. Oracle, without admitting or denying the findings of the SEC's investigation, has agreed to "cease and desist from committing violations" of the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls of the FCPA, said the Commission.

Good news!

By Synonymous Cowered • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is great. I'm confident that this $23 million settlement will be painful enough for Oracle to convince them that this was not worth it, and they should never try anything like this again

So less than 0.1% of their 2021–2022 profit?

By Dru Nemeton • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Seems fair.

Does this count as irony?

By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Does it strike anyone else as ironic that just sliding the feds $23 million without admitting any wrongdoing is an acceptable way to make some inconvenient allegations of bribery disappear?

As a former employee....

By Y2K is bogus • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I had to take this damn training EVERY year and complete quizzes that ensured I knew exactly what was allowed and disallowed under the law. The amount of training we had to take every year amounted to probably 1 week of work, it was insane and the thing I hated most about working for Oracle.

The sub-standard pay and siloed org ceilings were other reasons I don't work there anymore...

Intel and Samsung Are Getting Ready For 'Slidable' PCs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
During Intel's Innovation keynote today, Samsung Display showed off a prototype PC that slides from a 13-inch tablet into a 17-inch display. Intel also announced that it's been experimenting with slidable PC form factors. The Verge reports:
The prototype device that Samsung Display and Intel have shown off today essentially turns a 13-inch tablet into a 17-inch monitor with a flexible display and a sliding mechanism. Intel was quick to demonstrate its new Unison software on this display, which aims to connect Intel-powered computers to smartphones -- including iPhones. The slidable PC itself is just a concept for now, and there's no word from Intel or Samsung Display on when it will become a reality.

Concept = Vaporware

By gurps_npc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Someone said "this would be cool!" so they CGI'd up a demo and found, that Yes, it WOULD be cool.

Too bad they do not have a working prototype, let alone a financially feasible business model for it.

That is not a "PC"

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That is a tablet. Far more restricted in many ways.


By paul_engr • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Stupid fucking idea. How about they just make some shit that doesn't suck?

Stock Trade Ban For Congress Is Being Readied For Release In US House

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotSkip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg:
Senior House Democrats are poised to introduce long-promised legislation to restrict stock ownership and trading by members of Congress, senior government officials and Supreme Court justices. The bill would apply to the spouses and dependent children of those officials, according to an outline sent to lawmaker offices last week by House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren. The restrictions also cover "commodities, futures, cryptocurrency, and other similar investments," according to the outline. The legislation would require public officials to either divest current holdings or put them in a blind trust. Investments in mutual funds or other widely held investment funds and government bonds would be allowed.

The bill may be released as soon as Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter. It hasn't been scheduled for a vote, though House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has said it's possible it could come to the floor this week in the middle of an already jam-packed schedule before lawmakers go on break ahead of the November midterm election. While conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats alike have been clamoring for restrictions on stock trades by members of Congress to avoid conflicts of interest, legislation has been hung up by questions about how broad to make the ban and whether to include family members. A group of senators is working on their own version of the legislation and there's little chance of Congress taking any final action before the midterms. [...]

Another potential point of contention is applying the requirements to the Supreme Court. The Congressional Research Service in an April report said that Congress imposing a code of conduct on the judiciary would "raise an array of legal questions," including whether it would violate the constitutional separation of powers. Justices and lower court judges already file annual financial disclosures and are barred from participating in cases where there's a direct conflict of interest. Despite that, the CRS report says that the Supreme Court has never directly addressed "whether Congress may subject Supreme Court Justices to financial reporting requirements or limitations upon the receipt of gifts."
"The current law doesn't prohibit lawmakers from owning or trading individual securities, but it bans members of Congress from using nonpublic information available to them for personal benefit," notes the report. "It requires any transaction be disclosed within 45 days."
Further reading: TikTokers Are Trading Stocks By Copying What Members of Congress Do

Re:Nancy Pelosi

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

She's pretty successful, but far away from the top. Take a wild guess what letter is in front of their names?

Re:Nancy Pelosi

By jacks smirking reven • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Sorry but here is the co-sponsor list for the Senate bill, find the R in that or do they have their own version of a similar bill?

Re:Nancy Pelosi

By MachineShedFred • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You mean this one? I've conveniently linked to the cosponsors tab, where you will see a whole three Republicans, in comparison to the 61 Democrats.

So while technically "bipartisan", only technically. The most surprising thing is that you'll find Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and AOC (D-NY) agreeing on something to the point of being original cosponsors on this legislation together.


By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not one single republican voted for the "Dark Money" bill

Re:Nancy Pelosi

By chill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Grow up. This has been going on forever, with pretty much the first major law shining SOME light into Congressional stock trading back in 2012, after a 2011 60 Minutes expose.

Nancy Pelosi isn't the first, isn't the last, nor is she the most prolific. That includes her husband lumped in as well. She's just a right-wing bogeyman. And "latter years of life" describes most of Congress. Yes, she's a crook. Most of them are. This type of law needs passed without childish gas lighting and point scoring.

The average age of the 117th Congress is 59 years old and the median is 60 years old. This is much higher than the median age of 38 years in the United States in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As a former employee of the SEC, I can tell you that they damn well know how to regulate and restrict employee stock trades. Anything other than the gov't TSP, which was exempt, or broad-based mutual fund trades was heavily restricted and needed advance approval to make a trade. Just apply that system to Congress and it'll be fixed -- assuming they actually ENFORCE IT. (Something the SEC was very uneven about.)

Microsoft Exchange Online Users Face a Key Security Deadline Saturday

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotSkip
Microsoft is about to eliminate a method for logging into its Exchange Online email service that is widely considered vulnerable and outdated, but that some businesses still rely upon. From a report:
The company has said that as of Oct. 1, it will begin to disable what's known as "basic authentication" for customers that continue to use the system. Basic authentication typically requires only a username and password for login; the system does not play well with multifactor authentication and is prone to a host of other heightened security risks. Microsoft has said that for several types of common password-based threats, attackers almost exclusively target accounts that use basic authentication. At identity platform Okta, which manages logins for a large number of Microsoft Office 365 accounts, "we've seen these problems for years," said Todd McKinnon, co-founder and CEO of Okta. "When we block a threat, nine times out of 10 it's against a Microsoft account that has basic authentication. So we think this is a great thing." Microsoft has been seeking to prod businesses to move off basic authentication for the past three years, but "unfortunately usage isn't yet at zero," it said in a post earlier this month.

Microsoft is the cause as well

By SmaryJerry • Score: 3 • Thread
The MFA that comes with 365 Business Standard is buggy and difficult to use and get properly setup with multiple users. Sometimes it completely locks out a user and then they aren't able to login on certain devices even with their MFA and password. It seems like they are pushing to get you on Business Premium where you can actually manage MFA properly in Azure.

Re:Doesn't play well?

By vux984 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

" I always tell people to use the alternative option. Either get a phone call or text message. Always works."

That's actually less secure. SIM cloning/hijacking is a well known attack vector against phone/text 2FA.

And no it doesn't always work, hell... my phone doesn't get SMS messages reliably in my basement rec-room. For me wifi is far more reliable. I realize that's not true for everyone though.

'Tap to approve' is also far less hassle than phone call or text message.

Vendor lock-in

By thelancelot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
This is another case where the large companies like Google and Microsoft are creating more vendor lock-in. What this is going to do is break existing email clients, scripts, and migration tools which use basic IMAP/POP connection methods to manipulate or move emails. Instead they want you to use their own specific API's, clients (web based, GMail, Outlook) and more complex browser based authentication methods for token exchange and management. They say the old method is insecure because of encryption and 2FA, but both of those are supported using basic authentication if done properly. Hackers are already finding ways using proxies to hack the MFA token exchange method: If you use encrypted (SSL/TLS) based basic authentication with 2FA, it can be nearly as secure as what they are forcing. The one advantage it does have is that you can provide a token per client, and only revoke access to that specific client, where with basic authentication changing the password would remove access from all clients. Of course is this one feature worth completely breaking decades of old software and scripts by eliminating the old connection method? I think this is the first step of deprecation for Google and Microsoft and wouldn't be surprised if in the near future they didn't eventually force OAuth for SMTP and then eliminate the use of IMAP and POP for email access on their services. If you want more information about this situation and a email provider that values supporting open legacy environments then I would suggest checking out this post:

Any excuse for vendor lockin

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3 • Thread

Remember about a year ago signing up for a teams account and could not believe it was impossible to configure basic things like an email address nor was there not even any way to hide the BS email address displayed. Your options are basically go all in with MS or they will fuck you over every way possible. This is simply more of the same in the name of security for your own sake.

The primary issue with present day systems is lack of SAS and secure authentication. The failures reflect Microsoft's continuous multi-decades total failure to adopt secure authentication procedures and technologies not the inherent shortcomings of passwords. They don't care and are not even trying.

All MFA schemes subject to trivial authenticator impersonation are worthless against phishing the single largest security threat corporations face. They know it, everyone knows it yet it is allowed to persist. They simply don't care.

In case there were any doubts about motives:

"Certificate-based authentication is still legacy authentication and as such will be blocked by Azure AD conditional access policies that block legacy authentication. "

So the secure MFA solution immune to authenticator impersonation (and interoperable with non-MS clients) gets disabled while the insecure MFA solutions worthless against authenticator impersonation are allowed to persist. This all makes a heck of a lot of sense.

The statistics about what is and is not being compromised are temporary blips that fail to consider the inevitable and obvious reaction of thinking human adversaries. It's like deploying a new spam filter that matches 90% of all spam and thinking you've accomplished something. Really what happens a few weeks later your thinking human adversaries adapt and your efforts are wasted. Unless there is a credible and competent technological hurdle involved nothing is being accomplished all you are doing is rearranging deck chairs.

Robinhood Debuts New Non-Custodial Crypto Wallet

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotSkip
Robinhood is finally rolling out a beta version of its non-custodial crypto wallet to 10,000 customers on its waitlist after announcing the product in May, its CTO and general manager of crypto, Johann Kerbrat, told TechCrunch. The product is called Robinhood Wallet and will be the company's first internationally-available app, Kerbrat said. From a report:
The company revealed new details about the offering in conjunction with the beta launch, most notably that it will launch exclusively with Polygon, a popular layer-two blockchain that plugs into Ethereum and makes the network faster and cheaper to use. This means beta users will be able to purchase the Polygon MATIC token on Robinhood's main exchange app and transfer it to their Robinhood Wallet. They will also be able to access dApps directly on the Polygon network, including DeFi apps such as Uniswap, Balancer and Kyberswap, and metaverse games such as Decentraland, a spokesperson for Polygon said in an email to TechCrunch. Over time, the Robinhood team plans to build out multi-chain support for the wallet beyond the Polygon ecosystem, Robinhood crypto product manager Seong Seog Lee told TechCrunch.

My current wallet is safer.

By Petersko • Score: 3 • Thread

I can keep a condom in it.

Senators Push To Reform Police's Cellphone Tracking Tools

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotSkip
Civil rights lawyers and Democratic senators are pushing for legislation that would limit U.S. law enforcement agencies' ability to buy cellphone tracking tools to follow people's whereabouts, including back years in time, and sometimes without a search warrant. From a report:
Concerns about police use of the tool known as "Fog Reveal" raised in an investigation by The Associated Press published earlier this month also surfaced in a Federal Trade Commission hearing three weeks ago. Police agencies have been using the platform to search hundreds of billions of records gathered from 250 million mobile devices, and hoover up people's geolocation data to assemble so-called "patterns of life," according to thousands of pages of records about the company.

Sold by Virginia-based Fog Data Science LLC, Fog Reveal has been used since at least 2018 in criminal investigations ranging from the murder of a nurse in Arkansas to tracing the movements of a potential participant in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The tool is rarely, if ever, mentioned in court records, something that defense attorneys say makes it harder for them to properly defend their clients in cases in which the technology was used. Panelists and members of the public who took part in the FTC hearing also raised concerns about how data generated by popular apps is used for surveillance purposes, or "in some cases, being used to infer identity and cause direct harm to people in the real world, in the physical world and being repurposed for, as was mentioned earlier, law enforcement and national security purposes," said Stacey Gray, a senior director for U.S. programs for the Future of Privacy Forum.

Pay no attention to the ACTUAL problem

By WerewolfOfVulcan • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The problem is not that law enforcement has access to this data. The problem is that corporations are allowed to collect it in the first place.

Of course, this is by design.

The government can't collect this kind of data without violating the Constitution. However, nothing in the Constitution or any other federal law prohibits corporations from collecting whatever they want.

Since the government (and by extension, law enforcement) can get pretty much any data they want with a subpoena (or a National Security Letter, if they don't feel like getting one of those pesky warrants), they turn a blind eye and let the corporations collect whatever they want, our rights be damned.

A Second Prime Sale Shows Amazon is Nervous About the Economy Too

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotSkip
Holiday bargain shopping is starting extra early this year. And that could be good news for shoppers, even if it signals slightly worrisome things for the economy. From a report:
E-commerce giant Amazon announced plans Monday for "a new two-day global shopping event" exclusive to members of its Prime loyalty program. Dubbed Prime Early Access Sale, the promotion is similar to Prime Day, the annual sale held in July to generate a bonanza of orders and new subscribers. Rival retail giants Walmart and Target have already signaled plans to kick off holiday sales earlier than ever, setting the stage for a long holiday shopping season with significant discounts. With warehouses and store shelves suddenly full of inventory after two years of supply chain disruptions, deals will be easier to come by than since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, say retail experts.

Amazon's bonus sales event may be a sign that retailers are concerned that Americans will keep a tight grip on their wallets this holiday season because of fears over inflation, rising interest rates and predictions of an oncoming recession. An Amazon spokesperson said that the company -- with annual sales of more than $470 billion last year -- added the second online sale to help overcome such worries. "In light of inflation and economic head winds, we want to help members save throughout the season," said Amazon spokesperson Deanna Zawilinski. [...] Helping fuel the sales competition is an oversupply of merchandise -- including clothes, toys, electronics, furniture and other popular consumer goods -- that retailers ordered to meet expected consumer demand but that were delayed for months because of supply chain problems. The items are now taking up valuable space in warehouses and store shelves. With a recent surge in inflation and rising gasoline prices, Americans haven't been spending on such items as much as retailers anticipated. Store owners and retail operators now need to move those items off the shelves to make way for new holiday merchandise.

Walmart has had Christmas decorations up...

By AmazingRuss • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
... for a few weeks now. It's not the Christmas Season anymore. It's the Christmas Quarter, and it is expected to perform.

I am sure its about inventory

By DarkOx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Retail is about inventory turns. Consumers trickling off their buying just a few points can lead inventory sitting on the self. Its not just a delay in revenue - like if you turn down the low ball offer for your used car, knowing someone will be along next week with a fair offer, its if you don't sell it now you won't or you'll have to massively write it down. There are lot seasonal and trend driven goods from clothing to electronics. You won't sell to many of last years fashions in many clothing segments, nobody is going buy last years model HD-TV unless you are giving it away practically.

Better to throw all your existing prime customers some of your margin now, than take outright losses later.

Re:Walmart has had Christmas decorations up...

By Waffle Iron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think that the past year or two has been an excuse for companies to jack up prices because consumers have been "expecting" them to rise. All businesses have been raising them as fast as they can because, for the first time in a few decades, buyers have been willing to place the blame on the economy in general instead of that particular seller.

However, they've all been increasing the pricing momentum like Wile E. Coyote, going faster and faster until they run over a cliff, where consumers choose to just stop buying their stuff. Now outfits like Amazon could be standing in mid-air, feeling around with their toes as they realize that there might no longer a pricing floor below them. Maybe it's time for them to look up at the camera for a brief second and gulp right before they drop.

Re:I'll peruse.

By TigerPlish • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Give me a shot at a set of decent surround speakers for 50% off

Buy used. No, seriously - buy used. Good speakers don't suffer foam rot and all that garbage.

A 30 year old set of Klipsch Fortes, or a 40 year old set of Cornwalls will still do the job as well as they did on Day One.

Ditto for surrounds.

Buying used is the only way some of us can have truly Nice Things. That's just how it is, how it's always been, too. Let some rich fool take the initial hit, and then swoop in and pick it up at a hefty discount when they tire of it.

My turntable is from 1975, but back then it was top-shelf stuff. Still very competent today. My speakers for that system, 1987. I have amps and other stuff from the 70's and 80's in storage, I rotate 'em around when I feel like it. All bought used, because for example, an Audio Research amp costs an obscene amount of money, criminal even -- but not used. Used it's attainable but us mere mortals.

The only thing I don't like buying used is cars. How do I know the previous owner didn't treat it like an appliance, and ate lunch in the car every day for 3, 5, 7 years with the engine idling and the AC on? For a whole hour, every day? That's how some people eat lunch where I work at. That's *murder* on the engine, a sure way to coke it up.

But I do understand what you're saying. The merchants, however, will *never* give us that kind of break. They buy on pennies on the dollar, and the most we'll see in discounts is 25%.. and that's a stretch.

The Beer Game

By Whateverthisis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
What we're seeing play out on a global scale was modeled in 1960 in an economics game called The Beer Game. It actually models the effects of supply chain and system disruptions and what that does to resources. It basically creates a bull-whip effect on supply chains and can take many turns to sort out, often in deep collaboration with suppliers. It rarely sorts itself out on it's own without collaboration. Unfortunately we're seeing this on a global scale, which means a "turn" can be many months if not years.

The net result is high cost, which economy-wide means high inflation, poor capacity utilization (ie factories are less efficient, leading to even higher cost), and high stock levels at all points in the supply chain. We saw the high stock levels when ships were bottlenecked at the ports, now we're seeing that high stock level at the retail side of things.

Cheat Devs Are Ready for Modern Warfare 2

Posted by msmashView on SlashDot
The PC beta for Modern Warfare 2 was only online for just over a weekend, but cheat developers quickly managed to create wallhacks anyway, according to videos created by multiple cheat developers. From a report:
The news highlights the constant cat and mouse game between cheat developers and the companies that make competitive video games, and shows that Modern Warfare 2 will be no different. Warzone, the massively popular free-to-play battle royale game built on top of Call of Duty's mainline games, was notoriously overrun by cheaters before publisher Activision and the development studios working on the game introduced a new anti-cheat mechanism called Ricochet. "I started developing a MW2 beta cheat right away. I was done the same day, the first day of the beta. My users got access once the cheat was complete & tested," Zebleer, the pseudonymous administrator of Phantom Overlay, a cheat provider that has a long history of selling cheats for Warzone, told Motherboard in an email.

[...] EngineOwning, another cheat developer, published a video to their Twitter account over the weekend appearing to show their own product in action, although it didn't seem to be ready for the beta. "Our MW2 cheat is now done and we're currently in close testing," the tweet read. "This means our cheat will be ready when the game launches, with all the features you'd expect." The Anti-Cheat Police Department, a researcher who has tracked the cheating ecosystem and who reports offending players, claimed in their own tweet that "Ricochet has this shitty cheat detected they are just a scam operation at this point."

And the scum players are too

By gweihir • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The real problem, as always, are no-honor players that think winning is everything and it does not matter how you do it. In a sense that is a form of corruption. These assholes, of course, destroy everything in the end. If a game does not get cheating under control, I am simply not interested and stay away and many others do so too. Yes, the opportunistic and similarly honor-challenged cheat developers are a problem too, but this is a small group of people and there will always be some of them.

Personally, I would welcome bans for whole groups of games (e.g. every multiplayer on STEAM) and based on real identities, e.g. with the credit card. Make it easier at the start, say 2 weeks, then 2 months and after they have gotten caught the 3rd time, make it 5 years. Yes, that would require good investigation, a real way to appeal and better software engineering and it would cost money. But longer-term not investing that money harms the whole industry tremendously.