Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Huge Trove of Employee Records Discovered At Abandoned Toys 'R' Us

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Hackaday recently engaged in a bit of urban exploration, taking a look inside of a recently purchased Toys "R" Us location that has been boarded up since the once giant toy store chain folded in June. Inside they found plenty of hardware left behind, from point-of-sale systems to the Cisco networking gear in the server room. But the most interesting find was on paper.

In a back office, they found "several boxes" of personal information about the store's employees, from their medical records to photocopies of their driver's licenses and Social Security cards [and also tax forms]. A video included with the article gives the viewer an impression of just how large a collection of files were left behind.

The author wonders if the situation in this particular store was a fluke, or if the other [800] Toys "R" Us locations were left in a similar state.

The article calls it "a very surprising look at what get's left behind when the money runs out and the employees simply give up...."

"We saw the great lengths the company went to protect customer information, so to see how little regard they had for their own people was honestly infuriating."

That’s why

By Kohath • Score: 3 • Thread

The last person at that location should set fire to the building.

MIT's Elegant Schoolbus Algorithm Was No Match For Angry Parents

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Computers can solve your problem. You may not like the answer," writes the Boston Globe. Slashdot reader sandbagger explains: "Boston Public Schools asked MIT graduate students Sebastien Martin and Arthur Delarue to build an algorithm that could do the enormously complicated work of changing start times at dozens of schools -- and re-routing the hundreds of buses that serve them. In theory this would also help with student alertness...." MIT also reported that "Approximately 50 superfluous routes could be eliminated using the new method, saving the school district between $3 million and $5 million annually."

The Globe reports: They took to the new project with gusto, working 14- and 15-hour days to meet a tight deadline -- and occasionally waking up in the middle of the night to feed new information to a sprawling MIT data center. The machine they constructed was a marvel. Sorting through 1 novemtrigintillion options -- that's 1 followed by 120 zeroes -- the algorithm landed on a plan that would trim the district's $100 million-plus transportation budget while shifting the overwhelming majority of high school students into later start times.... But no one anticipated the crush of opposition that followed. Angry parents signed an online petition and filled the school committee chamber, turning the plan into one of the biggest crises of Mayor Marty Walsh's tenure. The city summarily dropped it. The failure would eventually play a role in the superintendent's resignation...

Big districts stagger their start times so a single fleet of buses can serve every school: dropping off high school students early in the morning, then circling back to get the elementary and middle school kids. If you're going to push high school start times back, then you've probably got to move a lot of elementary and middle schools into earlier time slots. The district knew that going in, and officials dutifully quizzed thousands of parents and teachers at every grade level about their preferred start times. But they never directly confronted constituents with the sort of dramatic change the algorithm would eventually propose -- shifting school start times at some elementary schools by as much as two hours. Even more... Hundreds of families were facing a 9:30 to 7:15 a.m. shift. And for many, that was intolerable. They'd have to make major changes to work schedules or even quit their jobs...

Nearly 85% of the district had ended up with a new start time, and "In the end, the school start time quandary was more political than technical... This was a fundamentally human conflict, and all the computing power in the world couldn't solve it."

But will the whole drama play out again? "Last year, even after everything went sideways in Boston, some 80 school districts from around the country reached out to the whiz kids from MIT, eager for the algorithm to solve their problems."

Re:Optimal Busses

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing - parametrize the costs of change. It's actually a pretty big blind spot that they missed this, but it's understandable. They tried to fix their issues in one giant step, which naturally flopped.

Instead, tune that algorithm to make very small, yearly changes that move things in the desired direction. Essentially, they need to factor in the human / political element of this, which states that people resist change of all sorts. So the challenge then is to find a path which minimizes the pain of this transition for the most people. So it's a ten year plan instead of getting fixed in one shot.

Re:Optimal Busses

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Rule of thumb: People will complain about changes.

Later start times are correlated with better student performance. It also saves many parents money because they don't need daycare for after school, since the school day will end later. It also saves money on buses. For high school students, later start times are correlated with lower pregnancy and arrest rates, since they have less time after school to get in trouble before their parents come home.

But the people that don't like the change complain, and the (more numerous) people that benefit mostly stay silent.

They just learned what every programmer knows

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Programming would be so much easier without the damn user!

Complaining that school starts too... late?

By diamondmagic • Score: 3 • Thread

Too-early start times, especially for high schools, are a well known reason for poor academic performance:
http://time.com/4741147/school...
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/s...

Typical case of mathematicians

By TimothyHollins • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Nearly 85% of the district had ended up with a new start time, and "In the end, the school start time quandary was more political than technical... This was a fundamentally human conflict, and all the computing power in the world couldn't solve it."

No, it wasn't 'political'. The algorithm successfully computed an optimal schedule for the students with regards to bus transport, but did not include any data at all about the optimal schedule for the parents.
If they wanted to find the optimums, they should have included the whole system and not just the least impactful part. The parents schedules are the most important ones since they are responsible for making it all happen; from breakfast to dinner to bedtime.

I see this all the time. Brilliant programmers and mathematicians that think they can just throw the data into an algorithm and get an answer without understanding the data itself or how to interpret it medically/biologically.

Comcast Outbids Fox With $40 Billion Offer For Sky In Auction

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Comcast outbid Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox after offering $40 billion in an auction on Saturday. According to Yahoo Finance, "The U.S. cable giant bid $22.59 a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a $20.49 dollars-a-share offer by Fox, Britain's Takeover Panel said." From the report: Buying Sky will make Philadelphia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world's largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers. Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core U.S. market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon. Comcast's knock-out offer thwarted Murdoch's long-held ambition to win control of Sky, and is also a setback for U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney which would have likely been its ultimate owner. Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox's film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover.

NSA's 'Codebreaker Challenge' Features Exploiting Blockchain To Steal Ethereum

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The National Security Agency's 2018 Codebreaker Challenge kicked off on Friday, 9/21, and runs through 12/31," writes Slashdot reader eatvegetables. Each year's challenge -- which is open to U.S. students -- comes with its own (fictitious) backstory which the organizers say is "meant for providing realistic context."

This year's story? A new strain of ransomware has managed to penetrate several critical government networks and NSA has been called upon to assist in remediating the infection to prevent massive data losses. For each infected machine, an encrypted copy of the key needed to decrypt the ransomed files has been stored in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain* and is set to only be unlocked upon receipt of the ransom payment. Your mission is to ultimately (1) find a way to unlock the ransomware without giving in to the attacker's demands and (2) figure out a way to recover all of the funds already paid by other victims.

* For the purposes of this challenge, a private blockchain has been created with no real monetary value associated with the Ether.

"The first half focuses on network protocol analysis and binary reverse-engineering," writes eatvegetables, while "The second half is all about attempting to exploit the blockchain."

An email address from "a recognized U.S. school or university" is required, and the original submission notes that America's college students "are already hard at work trying to push their school to the top of the leaderboard."

I have the solution!

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

A new strain of ransomware has managed to penetrate several critical government networks and NSA has been called upon to assist in remediating the infection to prevent massive data losses.

Restore from backups! No backups? Let's start with who we're going to fire for not having backups and work our way up to indictments for gross negligence. ;)

Re:I have the solution!

By manu0601 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Restore from backups! No backups?

Of course they have backups. This is US government, they can always ask Wikileaks for copies of their documents.

Should The US Government Break Up Google, Twitter, and Facebook?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Bay Area Newsgroup reports: Political momentum for a crackdown on Silicon Valley's social media giants got a boost this week when a state attorney general said he would tell U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions next week that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be broken up. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wants the federal government to do to the social media firms what it did to Standard Oil in 1911, according to a Louisiana newspaper report Tuesday... "This can't be fixed legislatively," Landry told the paper. "We need to go to court with an antitrust suit." He or another high official from his office will next week present the break-up proposal to Sessions... Landry, president of the National Association of Attorneys General, had spent months with his colleagues probing what they described as anti-competitive practices by Facebook, Google and Twitter, according to the paper.
CNET reports: On Friday, Bloomberg reported it had obtained a draft of a potential White House executive order that asks certain government agencies to recommend actions that would "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias." The order, reportedly in its preliminary stages, asks US antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws."

Re:This won't work long term.

By jordanjay29 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Break them up, and users will eventually flock to one site, and we are back where we started.

Which is exactly what happened to AT&T. Most of the Baby Bells have been rebundled into what is now Verizon. Breaking up monopolies only works if the government routinely intervenes in business acquisitions to avoid new monopolies from forming.

Re:Why Twitter?

By wyattstorch516 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It's called the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. If you want to fight that in the court the go right ahead, it's been settled law since 1890. Saying that somebody has the right to censor you on their common platform is the same as censoring somebody from using their common railroad if they said something the railroad owner found objectionable. Funny how people have no problem with censorship these days as long as it means censoring the other side.

Google yes, Facebook maybe, Twitter no

By gman003 • Score: 3 • Thread

What would a broken-up Twitter look like? They only have the Twitter network itself, and Periscope, and 99% of the company is Twitter. Splitting them up would still leave Twitter being just as big and problematic. Trying to split the Twitter network won't work - everyone will just switch to one of them. Even if you try to do it on national or regional lines, half the accounts I follow are foreign so I'd end up using them (or more likely, an aggregation service), and then you're right back where you started.

Facebook has some more substantial products besides their core Facebook. There's WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus... I'd love for Oculus to go independent, the main reason I refuse to buy their hardware is that they're owned by Facebook and are thus guaranteed to turn evil at some point. A breakup here would actually do something. I'm not sure it's a good idea, but it's not completely unproductive like a Twitter breakup.

Google is too big. Search, GMail, Android, Chrome, Chromebooks/ChromeOS, Youtube, Drive, Docs, Pay, Play, Plus, Blogger, AppEngine/Cloud, Waze, Project Fi... the network effect is huge and it's clearly anticompetitive - and I didn't even list Alphabet's separate holdings, which include Waymo and Google Fiber. They need to be broken up. They're already anticompetitive as hell.

just strip them of legal protections

By ooloorie • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Google, Facebook, and Twitter currently enjoy legal protections against copyright infringement, defamation of character, and other kinds of legal issues because they claim that they are just redistribution information with no editorial control. Obviously, that is a sham.

The solution is simple: remove legal protection from these companies and hold them responsible for anything that appears on their web sites.

No breakup needed, the problem will take care of itself with a few lawsuits.

It's their own fault

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Being a company isn't the problem.

Once you've become a behemoth of a company who can manipulate popular opinion on a whim, now you're no longer just a company. You're either an ally or an adversary depending on the beliefs of the CEO, or how deep your pocketbook is. The Party in power loves these platforms as long as they are useful to them. Once they're not, we start seeing calls to break them up because of how much influence they wield over the population.

This is why it's dangerous to allow media giants to consolidate. You're putting an awful lot of power into the hands of too few people. In effect, we're letting a very few subtly influence how the majority thinks. I shouldn't have to explain how dangerous that is.

Here in the US, there isn't any neutral news anymore. They're propaganda channels for Team Red or Team Blue. You absolutely cannot watch the news without some sort of political bias inserted somewhere. ( Which is why I quit watching it at all )

So, yes. There are a lot of companies that need to be broken up and forbidden from ever becoming one again. Media companies, Content Provider / Content Delivery, Telecoms, Banks / Investment Houses, etc.

The problem is these same companies wield an awful lot of influence and money over the very people who should be regulating them.
( Why would I break up a company that will help my team win the next election ? )

Which is why they still exist at all in their current form.

Cody Wilson, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer, Arrested In Taiwan

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cody Wilson, maker of the first 3D-printed plastic gun, has been arrested in Taiwan. Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike quotes Reason: Earlier this week, Texas police issued a warrant for his arrest. Wilson, they claimed, found a woman on sugardaddymeet.com, a website that requires all users to assert they are 18 or over, then met her and paid for sex with her. Police say the woman was actually 16, which made that act a violation of Texas penal code 22.011 (A)(2)(a), regarding sex with a minor, which is legally considered sexual assault regardless of consent or payment.

While Taiwan has no formal extradition treaty with the U.S., and Wilson was not said to have been doing anything directly criminal in Taiwan, the press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.) Wilson was then, according to The New York Times, "delivered...to the National Immigration Agency" in Taiwan. It is expected to deport him to the U.S. to face those charges, which carry a potential 2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

A reporter for Ars Technica visited Wilson's home weapons printing company, and was told that " A management restructuring is coming." But they also contacted Adam Bhala Lough, who directed and wrote a documentary film about Wilson. Prior to Wilson's arrest, Lough argued that "Without Cody, it can't last. It's like Tesla and Elon Musk, you can't separate the two.

"If he comes home and faces the music, there is a chance Defense Distributed will survive because it is a totally independent company without a board or any regulatory body. And the buyers of these products -- not to generalize, but at least the ones I met while doing the documentary -- they won't care about buying a product from an [accused] pedophile. In fact they may be even more emboldened by the idea that Cody was 'set-up' or that it is a 'deep-state conspiracy' against him, even if (or when) he admits to it."

My loss of trust in law enforcement

By Andy Smith • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I got through 43 years without ever being in trouble with the police. Then I got on the wrong side of one police officer, and next time I encountered him he walked over to me and arrested me. Him and a colleague gave written statements that Iâ(TM)d assaulted them. Fortunately there was a recording of my arrest and the prosecution was dropped.

Itâ(TM)s hard to go through an experience like that, and still take this story at face value. I just donâ(TM)t trust law enforcement anymore.

Re:Yes

By fyzikapan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Pizzagate got "buried" because it was fictional nonsense invented by insane people. I'm not really sure how an armed confrontation constitutes burying it, but nonetheless...

He's not a pedophile

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

It sounds like he is guilty of having sex with an under-age minor.

However if he really thought she was 18, then he's not a pedophile.

That's an important distinction in terms of others doing business with someone - many people would be horrified at having anything to do with a true pedophile, while being OK with someone that had questionable but legal sexual tastes otherwise. Just paying for sex is a whole different kind of deal morally speaking.

Even if it was not a setup, he was pretty stupid to do anything even close to illegal when it was very probable everything he did was being tracked by the government (probably more than one).

Re:Who made those accusations?

By WindBourne • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
No. Nothing smells on ANY side of this, except maybe Wilson's.
Wilson was on SugarDaddyMeet, which is a male version of Cougars. The girl told her counselor who then told police.
By the time that police found out, he was in Taiwan, so, they were waiting for him to come back. However, he was told by somebody that he would be arrested for pedophilia as soon as he got off the plane in America, so he drop his flight home. City Police notified FBI, who then had his passport canceled so that he could not leave Taiwan and go other places. He apparently TRIED to go to another nation, and was caught because of that.

BTW, nothing says that he asked for a 16 y.o. girl. Supposedly, he wanted a just turned 17 y.o. to play sugar daddy to.

be woman

By ArylAkamov • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

>Lie about age when signing up to prostitution website
>Lie about age to man to get money and sex
>Willingly have sex
>Willingly take money for that sex
>Admit to doing all of this, WILLINGLY
>Claim this was "assault"
>People actually take your side

THE ABSOLUTE STATE

Space Junk Successfully Captured In Orbit For the First Time (with Video)

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The Surrey Space Center successfully used a net to capture a piece of artificial space junk in orbit for the first time in history on Sunday," writes Slashdot reader dmoberhaus. "The video was just released Wednesday and is quite stunning."

"Not only does the net look cool as hell, it's addressing a major problem for the future of space exploration," reports Motherboard: The test was carried about by the RemoveDEBRIS satellite, an experimental space debris removal platform built by an international consortium of space companies and university research centers. There are tens of thousands of pieces of fast-moving space junk in orbit, which range from the centimeter-scale all the way to entire rocket stages. Some of these pieces are moving faster than a bullet and all of them pose a serious danger to other satellites and crewed capsules... Removing this junk from orbit is particularly challenging because of the various sizes of the debris, its erratic tumbling motion, and the fact that some pieces are moving as fast as 30,000 miles per hour.
The successful experiment follows six years of Earth-based testing, according to a professor at the lead research institution, the Surrey Space Centre.

"While it might sound like a simple idea, the complexity of using a net in space to capture a piece of debris took many years of planning, engineering and coordination."

FTA: "Space Junk" they deployed

By doug141 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They deployed a target for their capture device test. It wasn't found space junk.

Re:FTA: "Space Junk" they deployed

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Well then. I suppose we should be thankful that they weren't trying to rescue drowning kittens.

Re:Language

By iggymanz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

nothing in orbit around the earth can go 30,000 MPH with respect to the ground though, that's some serious rounding! just over 25,000 MPH is the max, otherwise it's leaving

Not what it says on the tin

By craighansen • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This wasn't even a piece of space junk - it was a object purposely made and launched from the mother satellite. This reduces the complexity by major factors: 1) this junk was of the perfect size and shape to be captured by the net 2) it was nearly matched in speed to the capture net 3) it was at nearly the same velocity (speed and directly) 4) it was in the exact effing orbit. 5) The resulting combination then slowly de-orbits, using up all the equipment.

This means that you have to have one of these gizmos for each piece of junk. If you boost several gizmos at once with one mothership that has all the maneuvering capability, you're going to use up lots of maneuvering fuel to match orbits with each object. If you boost each gizmo separately, you'll need even more boost fuel.

Alternative use

By petes_PoV • Score: 3 • Thread
Presumably the same technology can be scaled to bring down the other guy's satellites, too.

Purism Launches First Security Key with Tamper-Evident Protection for Laptops

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes Softpedia: Purism announced Thursday that its highly anticipated Librem Key security key is now available for purchase as the first and only OpenPGP-based smart card to offer a Heads-firmware-integrated tamper-evident boot process for laptops. Developed in partnership with Nitrokey, a company known for manufacturing open-source USB keys that enable secure encryption and signing of data for laptops, Purism's Librem Key is dedicated to Librem laptop users, allowing them to store up to 4096-bit RSA keys and up to 512-bit ECC keys on the security key, as well as to securely generate new keys directly on the device. Librem Key integrates with the secure boot process of the latest Librem 13 and 15 laptops...

Designed to let Librem laptop users see if someone has tampered with the software on their computers when it boots, Librem Key leverages the Heads-enabled TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip in new Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops. According to Purism, when inserted, the security key will blink green to show users that the laptop hasn't been tampered with, so they can continue from where they left off, and blinks red when tampering has occurred.

Purism's web site explains: With so many attacks on password logins, most security experts these days recommend adding a second form of authentication (often referred to as "2FA" or "multi-factor authentication") in addition to your password so that if your password gets compromised the attacker still has to compromise your second factor.

USB security tokens work well as this second factor because they are "something you have" instead of "something you know" like a password is, and because they are portable enough you can just keep them in your pocket, purse, or keychain and use them only when you need to login to a secure site.

Did John Deere Just Swindle California's Farmers Out of Their Right to Repair?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a new Wired opinion piece by Kyle Wiens and Elizabeth Chamberlain from iFixit: A big California farmers' lobbying group just blithely signed away farmers' right to access or modify the source code of any farm equipment software. As an organization representing 2.5 million California agriculture jobs, the California Farm Bureau gave up the right to purchase repair parts without going through a dealer. Farmers can't change engine settings, can't retrofit old equipment with new features, and can't modify their tractors to meet new environmental standards on their own. Worse, the lobbyists are calling it a victory.... John Deere and friends had already made every single "concession" earlier this year...

Just after the California bill was introduced, the farm equipment manufacturers started circulating a flyer titled "Manufacturers and Dealers Support Commonsense Repair Solutions." In that document, they promised to provide manuals, guides, and other information by model year 2021. But the flyer insisted upon a distinction between a right to repair a vehicle and a right to modify software, a distinction that gets murky when software controls all of a tractor's operations. As Jason Koebler of Motherboard reported, that flyer is strikingly similar -- in some cases, identical word-for-word -- to the agreement the Farm Bureau just brokered...

Instead of presenting a unified right-to-repair front, this milquetoast agreement muddies the conversation. More worryingly, it could cement a cultural precedent for electronics manufacturers who want to block third-party repair technicians from accessing a device's software.

Re: The capitalist solution?

By peragrin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They are plus a ukraining company that I can't remember.

However tractors tend to be long term investment s(20-40 years) and change is slow. This law was focusing on people who bought tractors 10- 15 years ago and need updates and repair work.

John Deere is long term destroying their brand. So sad.

Re: Depends on how they got the lobbying group

By peragrin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You can't change a spark plugs and without a software override code on these tractors.

Yes it is that bad.

Re:The capitalist solution?

By hey! • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not like buying something like oil. It's capital investment and it affect the stuff you've already bought.

This is Deere turning an occasional choice about which farmers do have choice into regular payments for which they won't have choice.

This all reminds me of something Gandhi once said. A reporter asked him what he thought of Western Civilization, and he replied that he thought it would be a good idea. Capitalism only works because of competition, but companies do everything they can to avoid actually competing, for example making it hard to compare their products to other vendors (boy to vendors hate being in "commodity" businesses), or in this case by trying to make it difficult for customers to choose competitors for some transactions.

And if it's legal to evade competiing, why not? The fact that this undermines the justification for capitalism isn't your problem. This is a situation where you need regulation to ensure a free market can operate the way its' suppose to.

Re:Solution

By Antique Geekmeister • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

> Believe me, if Case or any other competitors thought that farmers would actually be willing to pay higher prices for equipment without the restrictions on right to repair, they would have already jumped on it on long time ago

If I may say, this is an incomplete analysis. If a company could steal property, sabotage competitors, and advertise fraudulently, by this competitive standard, they would. They don't partly because it becomes evident, partly because many employees would object, and partly because there are strong regulations against it. Raw profitability is rarely the full reasons not to do something in the business world.

In this case, it's consumer protection laws and working relationships with repair centers that encourage companies to make repair tools and tuning tools available. But the repair and maintenance costs are tremendous. And keeping the repair data proprietary or keeping it a trade secret has often been ruled or legislated as illegal, since the purchaser cannot apply their full ownership and privileges to control their own equipment without that data.

Re:The capitalist solution?

By AlanObject • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Capitalism only works because of competition, but companies do everything they can to avoid actually competing ...

Good observation. I like to say that there is absolutely one thing that you can always count on a corporate entity to do: protect an established revenue stream.

A corporation does not have morals or loyalty even though many of them do their best to create the illusion. They will lie about science, bribe governments, destroy competitors if they can get away with it and often, if they have the short-term mindset and think they can get away with it, wring out their customer base like a dirty washrag. That last seems to be what is happening here.

New Custom Linux Distro is Systemd-Free, Debian-Based, and Optimized for Windows 10

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes MSPowerUser: Nearly every Linux distro is already available in the Microsoft Store, allowing developers to use Linux scripting and other tools running on the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Now another distro has popped up in the Store, and unlike the others it claims to be specifically optimised for WSL, meaning a smaller and more appropriate package with sane defaults which helps developers get up and running faster.

WLinux is based on Debian, and the developer, Whitewater Foundry, claims their custom distro will also allow faster patching of security and compatibility issues that appear from time to time between upstream distros and WSL... Popular development tools, including git and python3, are pre-installed. Additional packages can be easily installed via the apt package management system... A handful of unnecessary packages, such as systemd, have been removed to improve stability and security.

The distro also offers out of the box support for GUI apps with your choice of X client, according to the original submission.

WLinux is open source under the MIT license, and is available for free on GitHub. It can also be downloaded from Microsoft Store at a 50% discount, with the development company promising the revenue will be invested back into new features.

Re:Stop peddling your WSL EEE bait, Microsoft!

By LVSlushdat • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yeah.. Those of us who spent most all of our working life playing a "Windows janitor" and left that shitshow behind when we retired, and now strictly use Linux don't give a rats ass for this bullshit... If EVER I found a need to run Windows, it would only be as a seriously locked down virtual machine, but I really don't see that ever happening.. Come on, say it with me, "FUCK YOU MICROSOFT!" (you KNOW you want to..)

Re:Is this useful?

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's not a virtual machine. It's also not cygwin. I recommend some research, you may find it useful.

Re:systemd

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

People actually use systemd?

Only in Russia. Everywhere else systemd uses you.

Re: What's the big deal?

By Antique Geekmeister • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They've been difficult to maintain, partly because systemd is now also replacing syslog and publishing logs in a binary, distinct format from the more easily read flat text formats.

Re:What's the big deal?

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

One of the big things Linux zealots like to yell about is how you only install what you want. How about just don't install systemd? And if you did, just delete it? Seriously, I don't understand.

Right, you don't understand. The people who come to hate on systemd don't have the technical skills to choose for themselves, because it is OS functionality. And the distros, who employ people who understand that stuff, want the advantages of systemd because they do understand what it is and what it does.

Mystery Solved: FBI Closed New Mexico Observatory to Investigate Child Porn

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The mysterious 11-day closure of a New Mexico solar observatory stemmed from an FBI investigation of a janitor suspected of using the facility's wireless internet service to send and receive child pornography, federal court documents showed..."

An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: In July, FBI agents investigating child sexual exploitation traced the location of several IP addresses linked to child pornography activity to the observatory, according to a 39-page search warrant application. During an interview with federal authorities on Aug. 21, the facility's chief observer said he had found, on a number of occasions, the same laptop hidden and running in various seldom-used offices around the observatory. He described the contents of the laptop as "not good," according to court documents. A federal agent immediately went to the observatory, located deep within Lincoln National Forest, and took the laptop into evidence...

Aside from continuing to "feverishly" search the facility, the documents state that the janitor said, "it was only a matter of time before the facility 'got hit,'" and that he "believed there was a serial killer in the area, and that he was fearful that the killer might enter the facility and execute someone." In response to the janitor's behavior, the management of the observatory, without input from the FBI, shut it down and evacuated its personnel. The facility's cleaning contract with the janitor's parents was also terminated.

The warrant application specified that the janitor "has a key to the building and unlimited access to the building, and is familiar with which offices are used only a handful of times a year."

It also says that the janitor was the only person in the facility at the time of the alleged downloads.

What they're not saying ...

By Rambo Tribble • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
... is that it was alien child porn.

Just odd

By CyberSnyder • Score: 3 • Thread

If the solar observatory were to have observed aliens, it would have been by tracking something passing in front of the Sun and then altering course under power. The aliens obviously would know where the semi intelligent life is in the solar system and would probably be able to jump to the other side of the Sun if they wish to hide. There are other solar observatories in the US and across the globe but were they all in use at the time that something may have been observed? But at the very least SOHO at the Sun Earth L1 point would have observed something.

There were reports that other facilities were shut down, but I believe that has been debunked. As much as I want this to be aliens or FAIRY GOD PARENTS!!!, I think it's most likely that it was just an extreme overreaction by the Feds.

Re:Right. And the Black Hawk military helicopter?

By whoever57 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No charges have been filed and an arrest warrant for the man has not been issued,

Why? If they were searching for and found child porn, why hasn't the man responsible been charged?

Re:Right. And the Black Hawk military helicopter?

By Mashiki • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Why? If they were searching for and found child porn, why hasn't the man responsible been charged?

Couple of things come to mind, but only because I've heard and seen similar cases. When children are being actively abused, they'll delay charging the person so that either the person/people/group doesn't get tipped off. The fucked up thing on this is they will kill the kid(s) and attempt to flee. The absolute worst thing that you can see out of this is it isn't just "a kid" or "kids" in a local area, but a wide-network of this spanning multiple countries, provinces, states, and so on.

Give you an example, a couple of years back ~350 people were arrested all on the same day for child porn. The person who got caught initially wasn't charged. The were groups as large of 40 people(men and women) abusing children, trafficking children, engaging in child prostitution and other absolute degeneracy. ~400 children were rescued from those 350 people, that was just the bust in Canada. That led to another 200 in the US, 80 in the UK, 150 in Thailand...

Re:Modern era witchcraft accusation

By DCFusor • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Almost as good as the "national security" magic spell they invoke when CP is too ridiculous. Oh, wait...

'Bombe' Replica Code-Breaking WW2 Computer Was Used To Decipher Message Scrambled By An Enigma Machine

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Computer historians have staged a re-enactment of World War Two code-cracking at Bletchley Park. A replica code-breaking computer called a Bombe was used to decipher a message scrambled by an Enigma machine. Held at the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), the event honored Polish help with wartime code-cracking. Enigma machines were used extensively by the German army and navy during World War Two. This prompted a massive effort by the Allies to crack the complex method they employed to scramble messages. That effort was co-ordinated via Bletchley Park and resulted in the creation of the Bombe, said Paul Kellar who helps to keep a replica machine running at the museum. Renowned mathematician Alan Turing was instrumental in the creation of the original Bombe.

For its re-enactment, TNMOC recruited a team of 12 and used a replica Bombe that, until recently, had been on display at the Bletchley Park museum next door. The electro-mechanical Bombe was designed to discover which settings the German Enigma operators used to scramble their messages. As with World War Two messages, the TNMOC team began with a hint or educated guess about the content of the message, known as a "crib," which was used to set up the Bombe. The machine then cranked through the millions of possible combinations until it came to a "good stop," said Mr Kellar. This indicated that the Bombe had found key portions of the settings used to turn readable German into gobbledygook. After that, said Mr Kellar, it was just a matter of time before the 12-strong team cracked the message.

funny story

By religionofpeas • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

During WW2, the Ministry of Defence searched everywhere for cryptogramists (experts in code breaking), but accidentally hired a cryptogamist (expert in algae and other spore-distributing plants), Geoffrey Tandy, whose expertise turned out to be useful in restoring a water logged codebook.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

For added authenticity

By skoskav • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
At the end of the day, one of the team members who was a homosexual was given a cyanide pill.

Bombes in Washington

By jmcharry • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What is seldom mentioned is that the British sent the design for the Bombe to the US where hundreds were built and did the bulk of the decrypting work. This is nicely presented at the NSA museum at Ft. Meade, which also has several Enigma machines, including a pre-war commercial version, and a section of a Bombe on display.

Re:Poland Developed the Bombe

By hackertourist • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

using data given to them by the French

AIU it was the other way round. The Polish team developed the codebreaking method using their own resources (notably, they were able to reconstruct the rotor wiring just by analyzing coded messages). They approached the French because they wanted to share their knowledge before the country was overrun. Also, changes made by the Germans meant the problem had become more complex and vastly more machines and personnel were needed to break the new codes with any regularity - resources the Polish cypher bureau didn't have.

Amazing place

By hackertourist • Score: 3 • Thread

It's quite remarkable these people were able to build a working replica, when all Bombes were destroyed after WW2 and its design kept secret. All they had to go on was people's recollections and the odd bit smuggled out here and there.
And then they went and did the same for the Colossus.

Streaming Accounts For 75 Percent of Music Industry Revenue In the US

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mallory Locklear reporting via Engadget: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released music industry revenue statistics for the first half of 2018 in the U.S., and on average, revenue growth has slowed. While overall revenue was up 10 percent compared to the same time last year, clocking in at $4.6 billion, that rate is only around half of the increase observed between the first halves of 2016 and 2017. Streaming revenue growth slowed as well, though it was still up 28 percent compared to last year. Notably, streaming accounted for the vast majority of revenue so far this year, with 75 percent of overall revenue coming from streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.

The numbers also show that more people continue to join paid subscription services, with subscription rates growing by about one million per month. But while streaming revenue is still on an upward trend, the news isn't so good for digital downloads and CD sales. Digital downloads have only made up 12 percent of overall revenue so far this year, down from 19 percent last year, and CD sales saw a whopping 41 percent drop in revenue. To compare, during the same time last year, CD sales were only down three percent from the year before. Vinyl revenue, however, is up 13 percent.

Streaming = bad (Sqore:20000)

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

By a CD, and archive it on a playback device of some sort.
Why pay and pay and pay hundreds of dollars for a single song?

Re:Streaming = bad (Sqore:20000)

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Can you name a contemporary song that you actually wanted to hear twice, let alone more often?

That makes sense

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Streaming is convenient and flexible, and 9 out of 10 songs produced today aren't worth the space on a HD to be archived for longer than it takes to listen to them once.

Re:Streaming = bad (Sqore:20000)

By KiloByte • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Can you name a contemporary song that you actually wanted to hear twice, let alone more often?

There's plenty, but none whose label is a member of the RIAA.

Japan Has Attempted To Land Two Tiny Rovers On a Distant Asteroid

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Friday, Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft attempted to deploy two miniature rovers on an asteroid that it's been orbiting since mid-August. Ars Technica reports: Each weighed only about a kilogram, and after separating from the main spacecraft they approached the asteroid named Ryugu. Japanese mission scientists think the rovers touched down successfully, but are not completely sure. Communication with the two landers stopped near the moment of touchdown. This is presumably because Ryugu's rotation took the rovers out of view from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, but scientists won't know for sure until later Friday (or Saturday morning, in Japan) when they attempt to download images from the rovers. And thus we are left with a suspenseful situation.

Still No Word

By mentil • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's Saturday morning in the USA now, and it still hasn't been announced if they made it. When they spend this many hours not announcing success, that usually means there was a problem. Their Twitter feed talks about the Hayabusa2 returning to its normal distance, but says nothing of the rovers.

Re:Still No Word

By jrumney • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The communication rate from Hayabusa2 is currently 4kbps. They are probably still waiting for the first image to download so they can release it to the press.

Twitter: Both rovers are confirmed to have landed

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

https://twitter.com/haya2e_jaxa
"
We are sorry we have kept you waiting! MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, 1a & 1b. Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu. They are in good condition and have transmitted photos & data. We also confirmed they are moving on the surface. #asteroidlanding
5:47 AM - 22 Sep 2018
"

Successful landing confirmed

By Severus Snape • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Rovers have beamed back images to Hayabusa2.

Massive Undersea Walls Could Stop Glaciers From Melting, Scientists Say

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Building walls on the seafloor could prevent glaciers from melting and sea levels rising due to global warming, scientists say. Barriers of sand and rock positioned at the base of glaciers would stop ice sheets sliding and collapsing, and prevent warm water from eroding the ice from beneath, according to research published this week in the Cryosphere journal, from the European Geosciences Union. The audacious idea centers on the construction of "extremely simple structures, merely piles of aggregate on the ocean floor, although more advanced structures could certainly be explored in the future," said the report's authors, Michael Wolovick, a researcher at the department of geosciences at Princeton University, and John Moore, professor of climate change at the University of Lapland in Finland.

Using computer models to gauge the probable impact of walls on erosion of the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, one of the world's largest, Wolovick and Moore hoped to test the efficiency of "a locally targeted intervention." They claimed the simplest designs would allow direct comparison with existing engineering projects. "The easiest design that we considered would be comparable to the largest civil engineering projects that humanity has ever attempted," they said. "An ice sheet intervention today would be at the edge of human capabilities." For example, building four isolated walls would require between 0.1 and 1.5 cubic km of material. "That is comparable to the 0.1 km3 that was used to create Palm Jumeirah in Dubai ($12 billion)...(and) the 0.3 km3 that was used to create Hong Kong International Airport ($20 billion)," the report said.
The authors say there's only a 30% probability of success due to the harsh environment, but did mention that the scientific community could work on a plan that was both achievable and had a high probability of success.

... and the penguins will pay for it

By Jeremi • Score: 3 • Thread

Because as long as we're fantasizing, why not?

Re:Not really

By religionofpeas • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I want to know if those scientists took the Antarctic magma plume recently discovered to be causing antarctic ice melting into account

Probably not. Why don't you call them up to let them know ? Go ahead and say that you represent the Slashdot community of armchair experts if they give you a bad time.

Re:This suggestion is just as stupid as ...

By religionofpeas • Score: 4 • Thread

Also if round Earth is "settled" then it is not science.

Re:This suggestion is just as stupid as ...

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

Scientific consensus in the 1970's was that the earth was warming. Whatever pop science mag said otherwise was crap, and is over exaggerated by modern deniers (the famous Time cover, for example, is a hoax.)

You either were lied to, or are a liar.

Re:Not really

By religionofpeas • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No I did not miss this. You missed my point.

The plume has been there forever. The melting accelerated recently. The EXTRA melting was therefore not caused by the plume, even if it affects total melting.