the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

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

Facebook's Novi Set To Launch Pilot With Paxos's Stablecoin as Uncertainty Hangs Over Diem

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook's crypto wallet Novi is inching forward with a "small pilot" in the U.S. and Guatemala, according to a tweet thread by David Marcus. From a report: The wallet project, which gatecrashed the crypto world in 2019 alongside a digital token dubbed Libra (now Diem), represents one of Facebook's attempts to lean into the fast-growing crypto market as well as the market for payments and remittances. As uncertainty hangs over Diem, Novi moved ahead with Pax Dollar for the pilot. The Block first reported that the project was weighing such a deal in August. Still, Marcus said that Novi's "support for Diem hasn't changed and we intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval and goes live. Beyond the pilot, our business model is clear," Marcus added.

Give Us Your Biometric Data To Get Your Lunch In 5 Seconds, UK Schools Tell Children

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: In North Ayrshire Council, a Scottish authority encompassing the Isle of Arran, nine schools are set to begin processing meal payments for school lunches using facial scanning technology. The authority and the company implementing the technology, CRB Cunninghams, claim the system will help reduce queues and is less likely to spread COVID-19 than card payments and fingerprint scanners, according to the Financial Times. Speaking to the publication, David Swanston, the MD of supplier CRB Cunninghams, said the cameras verify the child's identity against "encrypted faceprint templates," and will be held on servers on-site at the 65 schools that have so far signed up. He added: "In a secondary school you have around about a 25-minute period to serve potentially 1,000 pupils. So we need fast throughput at the point of sale." He told the paper that with the system, the average transaction time was cut to five seconds per pupil. The system has already been piloted in 2020 at Kingsmeadow Community School in Gateshead, England. North Ayrshire council said 97 per cent of parents had given their consent for the new system, although some said they were unsure whether their children had been given enough information to make their decision. Seemingly unaware of the controversy surrounding facial recognition, education solutions provider CRB Cunninghams announced its introduction of the technology in schools in June as the "next step in cashless catering."

Taking cue from Apple/Google

By Ritz_Just_Ritz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We'll make your life "easy" by using your biometric data to help you unlock your device. We'd NEVER misuse that data. Nosiree.

Another good reason

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
School lunches should just be free. The only reason to charge money for school lunches in 2021 is to enforce a sense of inferiority and hierarchy on children at an early age.

Simpler solution

By Lab Rat Jason • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Why go to all that trouble, when bog standard contactless payments would do the EXACT same thing without violating anyone's privacy. Worried about kids losing them, just make it up into a #YourSocialIssueStrong wrist bangle and everyone is set.

Re:Taking cue from Apple/Google

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

To be fair I can't see any evidence that Apple or Google have misused biometric data. In fact I can't see any evidence that they even gathered it from fingerprint sensors.

Well. Better than in us.

By bumblebees • Score: 3 • Thread
Where children are brainwashed with reciting the pledge of allegience every morning

Fisher-Price Launches a Working Chatter Telephone For Adults

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
For its 60th anniversary, Fisher-Price announced a special edition Chatter telephone that can make and receive real phone calls. Engadget reports: Before you start planning on where to display it at your home, know that it doesn't work as a landline unit. It connects to your iOS or Android phone via Bluetooth instead and has to be within 15 feet of your mobile device to work. You'll get nine hours of talk time on the Chatter phone on a single charge, and it comes with a speakerphone button. Other than the features that make it a working device, this Chatter for grown-ups looks just like its toy counterpart with its rotary dial, red handset and wheels. [...] You can get the fully functional Chatter for $60 exclusively from Best Buy's website, starting today until supplies last.

Too complicated and expensive

By yakatz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If it was a plain old phone, I would really consider getting one, but I don't see why anyone would want it at this price and with Bluetooth and a battery. Would you really use it? Keep it charged? I could see bringing a wired version of it instead of a lineman's handset when I go to some of my customers.

This is nothing new

By Snard • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Toy phones that could place real calls were around back in the 60s, as documented by this TV program.

Perfect for my office

By Registered Coward v2 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
If we ever return to one. There are two types of people: Those who would go "Why does he have that?" and those who'd go "Cool. Does it work?" I want to work with the second group. I have an old WE phone with a bluetooth headset. Freaks people out when I answer my phone with it.

Next bright idea

By azcoyote • Score: 3 • Thread
Sweet. Now it's time to market that toy gun that you can actually use to murder your neighbors.

Re: Too complicated and expensive

By NateFromMich • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

installed it and tied it into the house line.

Well, that's an issue, unless you want to shell out for home phone service.

a real conversation piece.

Well, it is a phone.

SEC Says GameStop Stock Surge Due To Individual Investors, Doesn't Recommend Policy Change

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Oscar Gonzalez writes via CNET: In January, GameStop's stock price shot through the roof reaching a peak of $483. There were many questions about this sudden surge, especially from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which investigated the rise and fall of the so-called "meme stocks" at the start of the year. The SEC's probe found no wrongdoings when shares of GameStop, AMC and other companies began to skyrocket, according to a 45-page Staff Report on Equity and Options Market Structure Conditions in Early 2021 released (PDF) on Monday. Instead, it found the rise in stock prices was due to individual investors who shared information on social media platforms such as Reddit.

"January's events gave us an opportunity to consider how we can further our efforts to make the equity markets as fair, orderly, and efficient as possible," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a press release. "Making markets work for everyday investors gets to the heart of the SEC's mission. I would like to thank the staff for bringing their expertise to this important report, and for their ongoing work on to address the issues that January's events raised." There were also questions about the practices of short sellers who bet on GameStop shares to drop in price, as well as Robinhood, the stock trading app that paused the trading of the video game retailers' shares when the market was in a frenzy. However, the SEC didn't recommend any policy changes or take any action against the firms. The agency did point out these issues at the end of the report. It said there should be improved reporting on short sales to allow for better tracking by regulators. The agency also questioned whether "game-like features and celebratory animations" found in investing apps like Robinhood led investors to trade more stock than they would have done otherwise.


By polar red • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

January's events gave us an opportunity to consider how we can further our efforts to make the equity markets as fair, orderly, and efficient as possible," SEC Chair Gary

what a load of bullshit. They want the market only fair when their ultra rich corporate overlords say so.


By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You realise that the SEC was investigating on behalf of the ultra rich corporate overlords who in many cases lost a fuckton of money right?

I get it you're desperate to share your narrative that the entire world is out to get you but your post is completely non sequitur compared to what SEC's conclusion was. The corporate overlords specifically were the ones who wanted the SEC to stop meme stock trading somehow, and they just said no.


By geekmux • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Why should they be stopped. Now hedge fund guys will think twice about shorting stocks, how is that a bad thing?

The entire reason the SEC has not and will not crack down on this is most likely because what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Any regulation imposed here would likely screw with both sides of the same corrupt coin. No way in hell are you going to stop or control hedge fund trading. WAY too many rich powerful people are invested in that activity. You would have better luck getting American mega-corp taxes extracted out of Ireland tax havens.


By sabbede • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Because it's a necessary market activity? There's nothing wrong with the shorting itself, it's just a way to conserve value across the market.

The problem is when they cheat by trying to force share values to fall. It's all well and good to try and profit from your prediction about where prices are going, and quite another to try and force the outcome. It's the difference between betting on which team will win a sporting event and breaking the kneecap of a star player to guarantee it.

Collusion and market manipulation is A-OK now!

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The problem is not gamification or celebratory encouragement. Its not even delayed and bad reporting of balances before the clearance periods that made one teenager commit suicide thinking he had run up several million dollars loss, and his parents will be protected from the loss if he died. No, its not even that.

The key is prevention of collusion, insider information exchange, quid-pro-quo underground exchange of non public information. Right now we think it is gangs of individual investors all betting against professional wall street traders. Its possible it is really big players using many anonymous smaller accounts using bots, starting a run and front running the herd. Its even possible they use sophisticated algorithm to find quirks or bugs in pricing very long duration options, deep out of money calls/puts and take up a position and then start this herd.

If social media and anonymous accounts exchanging trading information is ok, it allows the insiders, market manipulators, pump and dump artists, short and distort gangs to run wild.

More transparent disclosure and accounting of short position is desperately needed. The high frequency traders take advantage of nano second differences between markets. Short positions are disclosed once in 15 days. Not 15 seconds, or 15 hours, 15 days!!!

Every trade is marked whether it is short sale, or regular sale. Companies like S3 partners track it and report to their clients daily estimate of short positions. But vast parts of the private sales are not reported and it is only an estimate. Given the advances in tech and computers, it is time we update short positions continuously. May be make it Level 2 quotes or something, make it proprietary , make it a little expensive to get. But pay people to keep track of short positions continuously, and do not allow private sales and dark web to mess up the information flow.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Radiant Aims To Replace Diesel Generators With Small Nuclear Reactors

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: California company Radiant has secured funding to develop a compact, portable, "low-cost" one-megawatt nuclear micro-reactor that fits in a shipping container, powers about 1,000 homes and uses a helium coolant instead of water. Founded by ex-SpaceX engineers, who decided the Mars colony power sources they were researching would make a bigger impact closer to home, Radiant has pulled in $1.2 million from angel investors to continue work on its reactors, which are specifically designed to be highly portable, quick to deploy and effective wherever they're deployed; remote communities and disaster areas are early targets.

The military is another key market here; a few of these could power an entire military base in a remote area for four to eight years before expending its "advanced particle fuel," eliminating not just the emissions of the current diesel generators, but also the need to constantly bring in trucks full of fuel for this purpose. Those trucks will still have to run -- up until the point where the military ditches diesel in all its vehicles -- but they'll be much less frequent, reducing a significant risk for transport personnel. Radiant says its fuel "does not melt down, and withstands higher temperatures when compared to traditional nuclear fuels." Using helium as the coolant "greatly reduces corrosion, boiling and contamination risks," and the company says it's received provisional patents for ideas it's developed around refueling the reactors and efficiently transporting heat out of the reactor core.

Re:RTGs have been around

By Phydeaux314 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Very, very different use case.

RTGs are for when you need a small amount of completely maintenance and oversight free electricity for decades. Specific energy values for RTGs are in the low single-digit W/kg range. They're great for lighthouses, remote listening stations, deep space probes, and the like, but you're not going to run more than a few lights off of one.

Compact fission reactors will, depending on the design, require some degree of maintenance and monitoring. The upside is that specific energy for a compact fission reactor starts at about 50 W/kg and only goes up from there.

Cooled by Helium?

By ZoomieDood • Score: 3 • Thread

Is this the same "please don't inflate balloons because MRI machines are running out of helium" helium?


By Tom • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I noticed that "safety" is absent from the feature list, though I'm certain it was thought about.

Small nuclear reactors, if they can be made fail-safe (or fail safely) are the future. Our current energy model is questionable, not just because of how we generate electricity, but also because of the networks. Keeping the electrical grid up and running is a daunting task. I imagine (though I'm not in this field, correct me if I'm an idiot) that a kind of interchange station where local grids (largely powered by renewables plus small nuclear reactors) connect to a larger power grid to exchange excess or draw additional power when available/needed would be easier to handle, with blackouts if any occur being more local instead of half a country. And you probably would need less capacity on the large overland power lines.

Renewable energy will always fluctuate. Wind, water and sun just aren't constant, and while you can balance it out somewhat geographically and by using different sources, there will always be days in which both wind and sun are low and water power can't compensate fully.

But the green parties are opposed to nuclear mostly for ideological reasons. Better to keep old coal and gas plants running, right? Maybe we can convince them with facts. (who am I kidding?)

Too big

By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

Make one that fits in a cellphone or car. Maybe an RTG or something like what the Voyager probes have. I wouldn't mind a car that can run for decades without needing a charge up or refill. I suppose collisions could be a problem, but it should be fine as long as it doesn't collide with velocity enough for it to go super-critical.

Re: Lets Go Brandon

By e3m4n • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Aparently also had parkinsons. Multiple myeloma is a white boodcell cancer. Often vaccines are not effective training an immune system compromised my multiple myeloma. Its like trying to teach someone with severe autism spectrum disorder, Shakespeare. Some things are just too difficult for the tools available. I assume they tried the antibody injections but it probably didnt do enough.

MIT Researchers Create 'Robotic' Textiles To Make Breath-Regulating Garments

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new kind of fiber developed by researchers at MIT and in Sweden can be made into clothing that senses how much it is being stretched or compressed, and then provides immediate tactile feedback in the form of pressure, lateral stretch, or vibration. Such fabrics, the team suggests, could be used in garments that help train singers or athletes to better control their breathing, or that help patients recovering from disease or surgery to recover their breathing patterns. From a report: The multilayered fibers contain a fluid channel in the center, which can be activated by a fluidic system. This system controls the fibers' geometry by pressurizing and releasing a fluid medium, such as compressed air or water, into the channel, allowing the fiber to act as an artificial muscle. The fibers also contain stretchable sensors that can detect and measure the degree of stretching of the fibers. The resulting composite fibers are thin and flexible enough to be sewn, woven, or knitted using standard commercial machines. The fibers [are] dubbed OmniFibers [...].

The new fiber architecture has a number of key features. Its extremely narrow size and use of inexpensive material make it relatively easy to structure the fibers into a variety of fabric forms. It's also compatible with human skin, since its outer layer is based on a material similar to common polyester. And, its fast response time and the strength and variety of the forces it can impart allow for a rapid feedback system for training or remote communications using haptics (based on the sense of touch). As an initial test application of the material, the team made a type of undergarment that singers can wear to monitor and play back the movement of respiratory muscles, to later provide kinesthetic feedback through the same garment to encourage optimal posture and breathing patterns for the desired vocal performance. Though this initial testing is in the context of vocal pedagogy, the same approach could be used to help athletes to learn how best to control their breathing in a given situation, based on monitoring accomplished athletes as they carry out various activities and stimulating the muscle groups that are in action. Eventually, the hope is that such garments could also be used to help patients regain healthy breathing patterns after major surgery or a respiratory disease such as Covid-19, or even as an alternative treatment for sleep apnea.

Very creative and interesting idea

By Mostly a lurker • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Among other applications, this could potentially be useful in treating a number of medical conditions. Sleep apnoea and infant sudden death syndrome come to mind. Obviously, a great deal of research is going to be needed.

It's gonna be used for sex toys

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 3 • Thread

faster than you can say, "what do you mean you got your dick caught in it?!"

PS5 Console Plate Makers Provoke Sony, Then Hit Legal Trouble

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier this year, device skin maker Dbrand released a set of black PS5 faceplates and baited Sony to sue them (because that's their shtick -- to come across sassy and harsh). Sony is now obliging. Kotaku reports: As The Verge reports, Dbrand's "Darkplates" have recently been removed from the company's store, and any purchasing links now redirect to a page that only lists all the news articles written about the plates, including [a Gizmodo story]. Why pull them now? Because the company received a cease & desist letter from Sony, part of which says: "It has come to SIE's attention that dbrand has been promoting and selling console accessories in a manner that is deeply concerning to our client. First, dbrand is selling faceplates for the PSS console (in both standard edition and digital edition configurations) that replicate SIE's protected product design. Any faceplates that take the form of our client's PSS product configuration, or any similar configuration, and are: produced and sold without permission from SIE violate our client's intellectual property rights in the distinctive console design. Second, dbrand is selling skins for SIE devices that feature the PlayStation Family Mark Your company may not sell products that bear unauthorized depictions of our client's PlayStation Marks. The below still from one of dbrand's instructional videos shows a dbrand skin bearing a design identical to the PlayStation Family Mark."

For their part, Dbrand have responded with a rambling corporate shitpost on Reddit, which opens with "much like your hopes and dreams, Darkplates are dead" before eventually settling into actual legal defenses of their position, saying the plates don't violate any existing trademarks. Dbrand suspects that Sony's actual motivation here is moving to shut down competitors before revealing its own, first-party replacement panels for the PS5.


By bloodhawk • Score: 3 • Thread
Geez what a nutjob rant from them. realistically this was always going to happen they were basically begging to be sued and pushing the limits in various areas.


By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

PlayStation Family Mark

Ok, sure. They shouldn't be using that.

Any faceplates that take the form of our client's PSS product configuration, or any similar configuration

This part I don't get. Are cell phone cases infringing, since they "take the form" of the product they attach to?


By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

On the one hand, yeah, third-party casemods are great.

On the other hand, every specific case design is automatically copyrighted as a creative work.

By all means do your own casemods. BUT, if you're looking to make a commercial product:

1) Do NOT use Sony, Playstation, PS5, or any other trademark etc. in your advertising without making it *very* clear that it is NOT your trademark, and you are only specifying compatibility (also, research the law for the exact "do not cross" lines. Companiess are actually required by law to defend their trademarks pretty ruthlessly or risk having them invalidated. You really don't want to deal with that kind of grief.

2) Do not copy *anything* except the mounting points and other functional bits that are required for interoperability, and are thus not covered by copyright (arguably at least). Meanwhile, many consumer casemods, these included, appear to simply be the exact same part with a different color and finish, and are thus a clear copyright violation begging to be shot down.

3) Don't violate any patents. Honestly, unless they're using some sort of new and clever mounting clasp you really shouldn't have to worry about that with some inert parts for a casemod.

Why a Bitcoin ETF On Futures Might Not Be Such a Good Idea

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tomorrow morning, the ProShare Bitcoin Strategy ETF is scheduled to begin trading. "Before you rush headlong into this market, it's important to understand that there are crucial differences" between an exchange-traded fund that's backed by actual Bitcoin and an exchange-traded fund like ProShare's that is backed by futures tied to the cryptocurrency," says Jared Dillian via Bloomberg. Here's why he says "a Bitcoin ETF on futures might not be such a good idea: The vast majority of commodity-based mutual funds and ETFs and are also backed by futures, but that's because the actual physical storage of most commodities is impractical, like with oil. Also, with almost all commodities most of the trading action and liquidity tends to happen in the futures market, not the spot market. The United States Oil Fund LP is the classic example of a commodity fund that is backed by futures. The fund earned some notoriety in 2020 when it scrambled to roll its futures contracts out the curve (in violation of its prospectus) in order to prevent the fund's bankruptcy in the event that the price of oil went negative -- which it did.

The United States Oil Fund case is an example of why a Bitcoin ETF on futures might not be such a good idea; it's impossible to predict what will happen in the futures market. But the main reason that people oppose futures-based ETFs is the cost of carry. When commodity futures are in contango, or when the price of deferred month contracts trade above front-month contracts, there is a significant cost to roll futures contracts from one month to the next, and that underperformance is passed to the investor. This has been a major complaint about commodity ETFs for years.

While commodity futures frequently trade in contango, they can also trade in backwardation, which is when deferred month contracts trade below front month contracts. In this case, investors earn a positive roll yield. Many commodity futures are trading in backwardation at the moment, although Bitcoin is in contango. There is no reason to believe that it might not one day be in backwardation. Gold is an example of a commodity where the ETFs hold the actual metal and not futures, because the storage and accounting of physical gold is fairly straightforward. So why can't a Bitcoin ETF hold actual Bitcoin? The reason is because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's primary objection to physical Bitcoin funds is that the underlying market is unregulated. Well, the gold market is unregulated and we have physical gold ETFs, so what gives? The Bitcoin people are trying to figure this out.
Dillian says there should be a physical Bitcoin ETF. "The Winkelvoss twins were the first to apply for one, back in 2013, when Bitcoin was trading below $1,000 (it's now around $62,000). If their fund had been approved, it would now likely be the largest, most liquid ETF in existence, and would have provided supercharged returns to a whole generation of investors."

ProShares is not for everyone

By Mean Variance • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Their ETF products are quite different from the common ones you might see from Vanguard or iShares.

Buyer beware. Investors really should "read the prospectus" in the case of their products - and that doesn't make them bad, but their utility can be quite different. For example their double and triple leverage indext ETFs (and inverse) are meant for day trading, but people will hold for days and not understand why they lost money or aren't up 3x of the QQQ gain when QQQ is up for the week.

I've read the prospectus. It's interesting and calls out the risks. It can be a good product for trading in and out without the overhead of setting up a crypto or futures trading account. That's what the management fees provide - convenience. It'll generally correlate with the price.

You can all stop spouting obvious things...

By superdave80 • Score: 3 • Thread we have an all-time winner:

... it's impossible to predict what will happen in the futures market.

I mean... wow.

Facebook Plans To Hire 10,000 In Europe To Build 'Metaverse'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Associated Press: Facebook said it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on a new computing platform that promises to connect people virtually but could raise concerns about privacy and the social platform gaining more control over people's online lives. The company said in a blog post Sunday that those high-skilled workers will help build "the metaverse," a futuristic notion for connecting online that uses augmented and virtual reality. Facebook executives have been touting the metaverse as the next big thing after the mobile internet, though their track record is spotty on predicting future trends. "As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialized engineers is one of Facebook's most pressing priorities," according to the blog post from Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, vice president of central products. Facebook's recruiters are targeting Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland for the hiring drive. The company as of June reported having more than 63,000 employees worldwide, up 21% from the same time last year.

The metaverse essentially is a massive virtual world that can be accessed in real time by millions of people using avatars, who can use it to hold virtual meetings or buy virtual land and clothing or other digital assets, often paying with cryptocurrencies. The social network isn't the only one working on the metaverse, and Facebook acknowledged that no single company will own and operate it. Other players include Fortnite maker Epic Games, which has raised $1 billion from investors to help with its long-term plans for building the metaverse. "There's not going to be specific metaverses to specific companies. There's only going to be one metaverse," said Tuong Nguyen, an analyst who tracks immersive technologies for research firm Gartner. But there are concerns Facebook and a handful of other Silicon Valley giants would end up monopolizing the metaverse and use it to collect and profit from personal data, mirroring the situation now with the internet.

Replacing the browser?

By RhettLivingston • Score: 3 • Thread

One of the reasons the internet took off is that it was not started by big companies controlling it from day one. It is very natural that it should evolve into a virtual world. The question I have is whether this new virtual world is to be available to all creators without them having to pay exorbitant fees to some big company or it will be designed to be out of the reach of the one-man shops to implement without big servers. My fear in reading about Facebook, Epic, and others leading the way is that this is the final stage of the big business takeover of the internet. I would guess they would lead it to more server side implementation and less client.

So, who here is in the know?

ONE lie to rule them all.

By geekmux • Score: 3 • Thread

"There's not going to be specific metaverses to specific companies. There's only going to be one metaverse.."

Oh, you mean like the one global language that every human uses? Or the one global currency? One social media company? One government? And of course only one religion exists in the world too. That's why we get along so peacefully, right?


Assuming ONE metaverse is the most delusional piece of bullshit I've heard in a long time. Greed alone will ensure a war will ensue between metaverses. You think hacking a company is bad now? Wait until there's a glitch in your Matrix cased by APT FU, and your veteran avatar with 10 years of virtual experience gets simply deleted along with a few thousand others. Think you'll find a good job starting over at level n00b again? Think again.

Hell no there's no legal recourse. Not for plebs like you. Back to work virtual meatsack. You've got credits to earn and click off for food.


By sit1963nz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Facebook looks to gain 10,000 workers they can hold the EU to ransom over if they continue to pursue Facebook's immoral activities.

Re:Replacing the browser?

By RhettLivingston • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In those days, we (yes I was in one of those big organizations) had a lot of freedom to play using organizational resources during our free time. At the organization I was in during the late 80s, we could even raid the parts crib. They knew that people came out of college with the tools to learn what they needed to know, not with what they needed to know. It was then up to the organization to give us the resources to do the real learning over the next few years. They were making a bet that we wouldn't leave as soon as we were really ready to contribute.

Though the people who came up with http and html (what most people think of, wrongly, when we say "internet") were in big organizations, it was not the purpose of those organizations to do it. It was just a side thing to support other projects that were the purpose of the organizations. Much of the starting work was done just to try to get some funding support from the organization.

More importantly, there were many competing ideas at the time for standards to use in data sharing over the internet and most of us who were using and choosing between them were doing so on our own time.

My organization provided no support for us to develop or utilize these tools beyond providing the connection. Those of us who used it found these tools on our own time, installed them on our own time, built our own sites on our own time, etc. Often, we did so on computers we had put together from spare parts. I created our lab's first email, gopher, and web servers in the late 80s and early 90s on a PC that had been built off-the-books from parts. The company didn't think we needed tools like that. Most of our work computers were scrounged too despite being in one of the biggest defense contractors.

Without users, none of it would have taken off. AOL and Compuserve wouldn't have been created if it didn't appear that anyone was interested. The many people who used these tools before money came along for them were very much a part of their creation. We were the voters and alpha testers who determined that this would win instead of other sharing solutions like gopher.

Who's going to use it?

By RitchCraft • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
My kids are 33, 20, and 18. They all say the same thing, Facebook is crap, "It's for old people". The "old people" are not going to be around much longer. So who's going to use it? All my kids have VR headsets. When I asked them about Facebook's Metaverse they just laughed.

macOS Monterey Is Finally Rolling Out On October 25th

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Along with new MacBook Pro models, Apple announced during its Mac event today that macOS Monterey will be available on Monday, Oct. 25. Gizmodo reports: As with macOS Big Sur before it, Monterey represents a renewed effort by Apple to streamline its operating systems, with new Focus profiles for limiting notifications and helping you be more productive just like in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. Shortcuts, Apple's automation app, is now available on desktop for the first time. Monterey also represents the first time users will be able to AirPlay content from a Mac, a function that iPhone users have long enjoyed. If you've already downloaded iOS 15, updating to Monterey just makes sense -- these devices are so much more functional when they work seamlessly with each other.

But perhaps the most anticipated feature Monterey is supposed to bring us is Universal Control, which allows you to use a single mouse/trackpad and keyboard to control multiple Macs and iPads simultaneously. While the new feature wasn't initially included in the public beta rollout of Monterey, that omission has only allowed the hype to grow. It's unclear when Universal Control will come to macOS, only that it won't be available to use at launch. FaceTime's new SharePlay feature, which is also expected to arrive in iOS 15, will also not be ready to try at launch. That feature will allow you to share music or watch shows with folks over FaceTime.
The devices that support macOS Monterey include: iMac (late 2015 and newer), iMac Pro (2017 and newer), Mac Pro (late 2013 and newer), Mac Mini (late 2014 and newer), MacBook Pro (early 2015 and newer), MacBook Air (early 2015 and newer), and MacBook (early 2016 and newer).

Further reading: macOS Monterey Release Candidate Undoes Safari Changes, Reintroduces Old Tab Design

I'll stick with Mojave

By ugen • Score: 3 • Thread

Everything added since Mojave has been somewhere between "meh" and "do not want". I'll stick to my 10.14 until the current MacBook falls apart.

Re:Airplay from mac?

By BeepBoopBeep • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Its actually Airplay to a Mac

Some people kept at it

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

LOL. Reminds me of when people at my work tried using their iPads as laptops. A phase they all went through, and exactly no one kept doing.

I knew several people who have replaced laptops with iPads. Not coders, no, but for most other things an iPad works really well.

Re:"More productive"

By DamnOregonian • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You originally didn't seem to understand that concept so I nudged you towards a visual you might understand. Slashdot poorly covers Apple products and the idea that you think iPads are still stuck in 2010 with only finger-based input and no access to a file system is quite believable.

What the fuck does slashdot have to do with anything?
I own 3 iPads. a second gen iPad Pro 12.9", an M1 iPad Pro 12.9", and a 1st gen iPad Pro 10.9".
I own a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+.
I own an M1 MacBook Air.
I own an ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo.

I'm a senior employee in a large tech firm, and have been for 15 years.

Maybe I work at a mid-sized company where laptops are 100% useless, either that means laptops have zero value to the whole world or it means we're doing a task that has certain technical requirements laptops can't meet and we're fairly unique in that respect. Big shock, computer users around the world do a WIDE VARIETY of different things with their computers, that's why we have phones and smartwatches and tablets and, for some reason, Adruino.

More likely, you're full of shit.

So? Depends on your task, duddn't it. You can count negatives all day that doesn't mean anything. Most laptops don't have a stylus. You'd nail me super quick if I tried to push that as a reason nobody should ever buy a laptop over an iPad. The reverse is also true.

No, it's not.
If you need a stylus, an iPad is a great fit for you. A laptop never was. At best, you had a janky setup with a laptop and an external stylus.
If you need a laptop, an iPad isn't a great fit for you. If you think it is, it's because you're just not very productive.

Making a fart noise and waving it away might make your like-minded buddies chuckle but that doesn't help anybody with an actual computer problem to solve... just limits their options. "Well I don't want to use Linux because I don't like typing. I R supar smar!!"

What a lame straw man.
Nobody made a fart noise and waved it away. Reasons were given.

Credit Card PINs Can Be Guessed Even When Covering the ATM Pad

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: Researchers have proven it's possible to train a special-purpose deep-learning algorithm that can guess 4-digit card PINs 41% of the time, even if the victim is covering the pad with their hands. The attack requires the setting up of a replica of the target ATM because training the algorithm for the specific dimensions and key spacing of the different PIN pads is crucially important. Next, the machine-learning model is trained to recognize pad presses and assign specific probabilities on a set of guesses, using video of people typing PINs on the ATM pad.

For the experiment, the researchers collected 5,800 videos of 58 different people of diverse demographics, entering 4-digit and 5-digit PINs. The machine that ran the prediction model was a Xeon E5-2670 with 128 GB of RAM and three Tesla K20m with 5GB of RAM each. By using three tries, which is typically the maximum allowed number of attempts before the card is withheld, the researchers reconstructed the correct sequence for 5-digit PINs 30% of the time, and reached 41% for 4-digit PINs. The model can exclude keys based on the non-typing hand coverage, and deduces the pressed digits from the movements of the other hand by evaluating the topological distance between two keys. The placement of the camera which captures the tries plays a key role, especially if recording left or right-handed individuals. Concealing a pinhole camera at the top of the ATM was determined to be the best approach for the attacker. If the camera is capable of capturing audio too, the model could also use pressing sound feedback which is slightly different for each digit, thus making the predictions a lot more accurate.

Need keypads with changing digits

By MDMurphy • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Many, many years ago I worked at a high-security location that had keypads in addition to an ID card to enter. The digits on the keypad changed location, so your movement when typing was different each time, making capture more difficult. Of course, it meant you had to think about your entry code with no muscle memory to guide you.

Fake some presses

By syntap • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I cover when keying a pin, but also try to throw in one or two fake presses.

Don't use your index finger silly.

By Fly Swatter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Us a different finger for each number. And don't use your fingers in order either.

Apple's 3rd-Generation AirPods Arrives Next Week With a New Design, Spatial Audio

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
At its Fall Mac event today, Apple announced the new third-generation AirPods, featuring a slightly revamped design with shorter stems and touch-based "force sensor" and support for spatial audio. Ars Technica reports: The new AirPods retain their usual hard plastic finish and do not have in-ear tips like the AirPods Pro, though Apple says they are now officially IPX4-rated for sweat and water resistance. Apple says the earbuds have six hours of battery life and up to 30 hours when including the charging case. (That's compared to five and 24 hours, respectively, on the second-gen model.) The included case supports MagSafe and wireless charging, though the earbuds do not feature active noise cancellation or a transparency mode like their pricier siblings.

Though the second-gen AirPods were renowned more for their ease of use than their audio quality, Apple says it has updated them with a redesigned driver and an adaptive EQ feature that automatically tunes your music based on the AirPods' fit in your ear. The earbuds will also use Apple's spatial audio tech, which makes audio sound like it is coming from around the user's head. To help with that, the new AirPods support dynamic head tracking like the AirPods Pro and the over-ear AirPods Max. The third-gen AirPods cost $179 and are available to order online today, with in-store availability starting October 26. Notably, Apple will continue to sell the existing second-gen AirPods for $129 alongside the new pair.

New York AG Orders Two Unregistered Crypto Lenders To Shut Down

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday ordered two unregistered cryptocurrency lending platforms to cease operating in the state within 10 days and requested three other platforms to send her office information about their activities and products. From a report: Due in part to a lack of clear regulations, crypto companies have been making various moves -- and finding out that not all regulators agree with them. James' office argued that virtual currency lending products are considered securities under the state's Martin Act, which requires companies offering such financial services to register with the attorney general's office in order to do business with New Yorkers.

US Treasury Says It Tied $5.2 Billion in BTC Transactions To Ransomware Payments

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The financial crimes investigation unit of the US Treasury Department, also known as FinCEN, said last week it identified approximately $5.2 billion in outgoing Bitcoin transactions potentially tied to ransomware payments. From a report: FinCEN officials said the figure was compiled by analyzing 2,184 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by US financial institutions over the last decade, between January 1, 2011, and June 30, 2021. While the initial SAR reports highlighted $1.56 billion in suspicious activity, a subsequent FinCEN investigation of the Top 10 most common ransomware variants exposed additional transactions, amounting to around $5.2 billion just from these groups alone.

It's a stretch to call cryptocurrencies a victim

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
If you think the exchanges the money people behind cryptocurrency aren't fully aware of what the majority of the currencies they mine and create or being used for then I don't really know what to say to you. That's a level of naivety that's hard to imagine for anyone on slashdot.

The beauty of cryptocurrency is that it lets the exchanges take part in money laundering while keeping their hands relatively clean. The problem is that the government is slowly cottoning to that, and it's fairly clear that they're going to regulate the exchanges soon with anti-money laundering laws. When that happens it'll be like turning on a light in a seedy motel. Everybody'll scatter, and you'll see the price of cryptocurrencies collapse as trading comes to a halt except for the speculators we will be desperately looking for a greater fool to unload onto

To be fair this assumes the exchanges don't just buy off politicians like they're trying to do with Ted Cruz. I don't think our politicians are moral and upstanding enough not to be bought off but I do think that the banks will step in and demand the exchanges follow the same anti-money laundering laws that they have to, and the handful of left wing senators and house members like Elizabeth Warren will want crypto regulated so that it doesn't eventually become an over-leveraged asset and crash our economy like what happened in 2008 with those fake home loans that everybody knew or going to default.

Apple Introduces M1 Pro and M1 Max

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple today announced M1 Pro and M1 Max, its new chips for the Mac. Apple: M1 Pro and M1 Max introduce a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time. The chips feature fast unified memory, industry-leading performance per watt, and incredible power efficiency, along with increased memory bandwidth and capacity. M1 Pro offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory. M1 Max delivers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth -- 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 -- and support for up to 64GB of unified memory. And while the latest PC laptops top out at 16GB of graphics memory, having this huge amount of memory enables graphics-intensive workflows previously unimaginable on a notebook. The efficient architecture of M1 Pro and M1 Max means they deliver the same level of performance whether MacBook Pro is plugged in or using the battery. M1 Pro and M1 Max also feature enhanced media engines with dedicated ProRes accelerators specifically for pro video processing. M1 Pro and M1 Max are by far the most powerful chips Apple has ever built.

Utilizing the industry-leading 5-nanometer process technology, M1 Pro packs in 33.7 billion transistors, more than 2x the amount in M1. A new 10-core CPU, including eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, is up to 70 percent faster than M1, resulting in unbelievable pro CPU performance. Compared with the latest 8-core PC laptop chip, M1 Pro delivers up to 1.7x more CPU performance at the same power level and achieves the PC chip's peak performance using up to 70 percent less power. Even the most demanding tasks, like high-resolution photo editing, are handled with ease by M1 Pro. M1 Pro has an up-to-16-core GPU that is up to 2x faster than M1 and up to 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip.1 Compared to a powerful discrete GPU for PC notebooks, M1 Pro delivers more performance while using up to 70 percent less power. And M1 Pro can be configured with up to 32GB of fast unified memory, with up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth, enabling creatives like 3D artists and game developers to do more on the go than ever before.

M1 Max features the same powerful 10-core CPU as M1 Pro and adds a massive 32-core GPU for up to 4x faster graphics performance than M1. With 57 billion transistors -- 70 percent more than M1 Pro and 3.5x more than M1 -- M1 Max is the largest chip Apple has ever built. In addition, the GPU delivers performance comparable to a high-end GPU in a compact pro PC laptop while consuming up to 40 percent less power, and performance similar to that of the highest-end GPU in the largest PC laptops while using up to 100 watts less power.2 This means less heat is generated, fans run quietly and less often, and battery life is amazing in the new MacBook Pro. M1 Max transforms graphics-intensive workflows, including up to 13x faster complex timeline rendering in Final Cut Pro compared to the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro. M1 Max also offers a higher-bandwidth on-chip fabric, and doubles the memory interface compared with M1 Pro for up to 400GB/s, or nearly 6x the memory bandwidth of M1. This allows M1 Max to be configured with up to 64GB of fast unified memory. With its unparalleled performance, M1 Max is the most powerful chip ever built for a pro notebook.

Re:Not for laptops

By _xeno_ • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I believe they did actually say it was the most "powerful" laptop they could find.

They didn't say what it was and their graph's vertical scale is meaningless (it's "relative performance" and it looks like the M1 Max caps out at "375" while the "most powerful gaming laptop" caps at over "400") so who freaking knows what that means.

Plus, how are they even comparing things? Did they use a benchmark? What benchmark? Relative to what?

Who knows. They didn't give exact figures and they didn't say what they were comparing against.

It'll be interesting to see these things benchmarked when they ship. I expect that they really will have some impressive 3D performance, but none of that really matters because it's not like anyone uses Macs for anything anyway. (Even creative types have mostly moved over to Windows tools thanks to Apple Silicon breaking almost every piece of software professionals use. Sure, the pro-sumer stuff has been ported, but not the pro stuff.)

Re:x86 is dead

By MightyMartian • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Strange statement. I've been using open source software on my M1 Mac for a couple of months now, as well as writing code. Java and C/C++ all seem to work just fine, and the battery life is just bloody amazing. Best of all, the command prompt is actual BSD Unix, so I have a powerful processor and the CLI interface I enjoy the most and am the most productive in. I have my old Dell laptop if I need to do anything Windows-specific, but honestly, other than to use it for video conferencing, I rarely even turn it on anymore.

Anandtech has great article on chips

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Even though they don't have access to the chips yet, Anandtech has a great article up going through what details they can surmise, and giving more details on the Intel chips Apple was comparing against in the presentation.

One astounding point - the M1 Max has 57 BILLION transistors, built on a 5nm process... also from the article "AMD advertises 26.8bn transistors for the Navi 21 GPU design at 520mm on TSMC's 7nm process". So wow.

Re:x86 is dead

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Low end Ryzen's performance at the time the M1 launched was and double the Apple. In machines at a similar price point to a MacBook the gap was even larger. If course Ryzen continues to improve.

AMD has announced its strategy, as had Intel. Intel is adopting performance and efficiency cores, but it needs software support. AMD are just increasing the dynamic range to get the efficiency and performance.

The other thing to compare is upgradeability. Apple doesn't have any, RAM is integrated. That matters to some people, especially since Apple charges a lot for more RAM.

Re:x86 is dead

By Dixie_Flatline • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ryzens still have something like 2-3x the power draw at high performance levels. It's not that the Ryzens aren't good, it's that the statement: price/performance/noise level/power draw/battery life package

still falls in Apple's favour here. The price is reasonable, the performance is great, and the computers are basically silent because the total power envelope is so low, so there's no need for big fans to cool them. And the laptops are physically cooler as well, which means you can actually use them on your lap.

It may be that AMD has something coming that matches this coming, but they don't have that YET. All of them have loud fans and run hot and throttle when they run for a long time. Some don't even perform at their top level unless they're plugged in.

As always, the claims about the M1 aren't necessarily about the best performance, they're about performance per watt, or performance in a small package. It's not that CPUs don't exist that don't outperform the M1--Apple still sells some of those CPUs--it's that they pack a lot into a SoC that only draws something like 14w.

I've watched plenty of head-to-head comparisons of the M1 laptops vs. PC laptops, and while the M1 doesn't always win in benchmarks and large data processing, it's always straight up flattened everything else in heat, power, noise and battery life.