the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2017-Jan-11 today archive


  1. SpaceX Details Its Plans For Landing Three Falcon Heavy Boosters At Once
  2. Implantable Cardiac Devices Could Be Vulnerable To Hackers, FDA Warns
  3. Buggy Domain Validation Forces GoDaddy To Revoke SSL Certificates
  4. Latest Adobe Acrobat Reader Update Silently Installs Chrome Extension
  5. Comcast Remains America's Most-Hated Company, Survey Finds
  6. Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD
  7. JetBlue Giving All Passengers Free In-Flight 'Fly-Fi' High-Speed Wi-Fi
  8. Windows 10 Will Soon Lock Your PC When You Step Away From It
  9. New Research Suggests the Appendix Has a Purpose After All
  10. Facebook's 'Journalism Project' Seeks To Strengthen Online News
  11. Bitcoin Slides as China's Central Bank Launches Checks On Exchanges
  12. Samsung Says Over 96% of Galaxy Note7 Phones Returned To Date
  13. Google is Killing Its Solar-Powered Internet Drone Program
  14. Streaming TV is Beginning To Look a Lot Like Cable
  15. AMD Set To Launch Ryzen Before March 3rd
  16. Instagram Stories Hits 150M Active Users, Adds Advertising To Instagram Stories
  17. Wireless Headphone Sales Soared After Apple Dropped Headphone Jack
  18. Amazon Now Gives Away 5,000 Bananas a Day
  19. Regulators Criticize Banks For Lending Uber $1.15 Billion
  20. Amazon Still Lags Behind Apple, Google in Greenpeace Renewable Energy Report
  21. Alcohol Switches the Brain Into Starvation Mode In Mice, Increasing Hunger and Appetite, Study Finds
  22. Monopoly May Replace Iconic Pieces With Emoji Faces and Hashtags
  23. An Asteroid Passed By Earth At About Half the Distance Between Our Planet and Moon
  24. Author of Swift Language Chris Lattner is Leaving Apple; We're Interviewing Him (Ask a Question!)

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

SpaceX Details Its Plans For Landing Three Falcon Heavy Boosters At Once

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: As part of the process to gain federal approval for the simultaneous landing of its Falcon Heavy rocket boosters in Florida, SpaceX has prepared an environmental assessment of the construction of two additional landing pads alongside its existing site. The report considers noise and other effects from landing up to three first stages at the same time. After undergoing a preliminary review by the U.S. Air Force, the document has been released for public comment. As part of the document, SpaceX also says it would like to build a Dragon capsule processing facility on the landing zone to support refurbishment of the Dragon 2 spacecraft, designed to carry crew into orbit. The 130-foot-long facility would provide a "temporary" facility for vehicle propellant load and propulsion system servicing. When it originally designed its Landing Zone 1 facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, for the single Falcon 9 first stage booster, the company envisioned the need for one main pad approximately 200 feet across, and four smaller contingency pads, each approximately 150 feet in diameter. The chosen site had enough acreage to accommodate all five pads. Improvements in the rocket's landing navigation guidance system obviated the need for the contingency pads with the Falcon 9, however. So now the company wants to use the additional space to construct two concrete landing pads, each with an approximate diameter of 282 feet surrounded by an approximate 50-foot-wide hard-packed soil "apron." This would give SpaceX three landing pads and the ability to bring back all three Falcon Heavy boosters to land while also retaining the option to land one or two on drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the potential for a dozen Falcon 9 launches and landings each year, the document says SpaceX may eventually make six Falcon Heavy launches a year, potentially returning an additional 18 boosters to the Florida-based site. The new pads and crane sites would be configured to allow parallel processing of landed boosters. With U.S. Air Force Approval, construction could begin as early as this spring.

Re:They still haven't landed ONE by want to land 3

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

But they want to push without fixing the problems they already have.

If you want rapid progress, you have qualified people work on current problems, while other people work on anticipated future problems.

Have you ever watched six-year-olds play soccer? They all cluster around the ball, in a tight little group, with everyone 100% focused on just the immediate problem of kicking the ball. By the time they are eight, they understand that is not a winning strategy.

Falcon 9 Launch this Saturday in Lompoc

By Bruce Perens • Score: 3 • Thread
If you want to view the launch live, instructions are here.

Re:Where do these guys get their money?

By Bruce Perens • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

All of Musk's businesses lose money every year. Where exactly do they get the funds for all this expansion, or for the Gigafactory or the Tesla 3 tooling and production?

Maybe your news sources are not reliable. Musk's previous business efforts have made a ton of profit and he has reinvested his own funds in his more recent efforts. Tesla is a public stock company, so both institutions and individuals are invested in it. SpaceX is privately funded, you can see who the investors are here.

Re:Simple question

By Bruce Perens • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

How does this affect anyone's life at all? ... 'm sure I'll be censored to -1 by moderators who prefer to dodge the important questions.

It's not that anyone is dodging an important question. It's that the question is, I'm sorry, naive. The benefits of space research are around you every moment of your life.

The Apollo program, for example, used some of the first integrated circuits. This work progressed to essentially all modern electronic devices.

The sources of money are no mystery

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

All of Musk's businesses lose money every year

Except that they don't. Tesla has lost money to date but periodically shows a small profit and is approaching breakeven despite investing heavily in new products and technology. So far investors have liked what they have seen. Paypal was hugely profitable. SpaceX is private but there are rumors that it is profitable from credible sources.

Where exactly do they get the funds for all this expansion, or for the Gigafactory or the Tesla 3 tooling and production?

The Gigafactory is a joint venture with several partners, primarily Panasonic. Money for Tesla 3 development and tooling comes from sales of the Model S and X as well as loans and stock sales. (you are aware that the entire point of going public is to raise money to build the company right?) Plus Musk has put a lot of his own personal fortune into the ventures. It's no mystery where all these ventures get their funding. When you've started numerous successful businesses like Elon Musk has it's not terribly hard to get funding.

Implantable Cardiac Devices Could Be Vulnerable To Hackers, FDA Warns

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned on Monday that pacemakers, defibrillators and other devices manufactured by St. Jude Medical, a medical device company based in Minnesota, could have put patients' lives at risk, as hackers could remotely access the devices and change the heart rate, administer shocks, or quickly deplete the battery. Thankfully, St. Jude released a new software patch on the same day as the FDA warning to address these vulnerabilities. Motherboard reports: St. Jude Medical's implantable cardiac devices are put under the skin, in the upper chest area, and have insulated wires that go into the heart to help it beat properly, if it's too slow or too fast. They work together with the Merlin@home Transmitter, located in the patient's house, which sends the patient's data to their physician using the Patient Care Network. Hackers could have exploited the transmitter, the manufacturer confirmed. "[It] could (...) be used to modify programming commands to the implanted device," the FDA safety communication reads. In an emailed response to Motherboard, a St. Jude Medical representative noted that the company "has taken numerous measures to protect the security and safety of our devices," including the new patch, and the creation of a "cyber security medical advisory board." The company plans to implement additional updates in 2017, the email said. This warning comes a few days after Abbott Laboratories acquired St. Jude Medical, and four months after a group of experts at Miami-based cybersecurity company MedSec Holding published a paper explaining several vulnerabilities they found in St. Jude Medical's pacemakers and defibrillators. They made the announcement at the end of August 2016, together with investment house Muddy Waters Capital.


By e**(i pi)-1 • Score: 3 • Thread
= " I opt for a Tomb"

A lack of software freedom can be lethal & sca

By jbn-o • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, has an enlarged heart (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and is at risk of suddenly dying (due to a medical condition called "sudden death"). She has no symptoms. She has given a talk about this many times at tech conferences, you should be able to find a copy of her talk online quite easily. She calls herself a "cyborg lawyer running on proprietary software" because she needs to wear a pacemaker/defibrillator device on her heart which keeps her heart beating within a predetermined acceptable range (not too slow, not too fast) by shocking her heart until it beats at an acceptable rhythm. Sandler said she's been shocked before and it's like being kicked in the chest and it takes the wind out of her for a while, requiring her to take some time for recovery.

She knew of software freedom and figured on these weaknesses in these devices, some of which can be controlled remotely at some distance, because all of them run on proprietary software. She tried to get the source code, even offering to sign a non-disclosure agreement to do so, and nobody would share the code with her. She said she was the only one to ask her doctors about what ran on the device. She therefore chose an older model which requires the "programmer" device which sends a signal to the pacemaker/defibrillator be quite close to her body so that she'd probably know if someone were doing things to her device. The lack of software freedom and full user control (ownership) of the device is quite obviously a health risk and possibly lethal. Don't let anyone tell you a lack of software freedom isn't serious.

An interesting thing happened during her pregnancy, which she explained in an update to her talk: She learned that a pregnant woman's heart sometimes naturally races. For most women of childbearing age this isn't a problem as they're unlikely to need a pacemaker/defibrillator, so their heart can occasionally race without serious consequences. For Sandler this racing triggers the device to shock her back into an "acceptable" heart rhythm. It appears that the pacemaker/defibrillator device makers didn't test this device on women young enough to be of childbearing age but they're apparently happy to sell the devices for implanting into users of any age. This lack of testing in combination with the lack of software freedom means the device manufacturers aren't doing due diligence and they're preventing younger women, such as Sandler, from looking out for their own interests—avoiding "sudden death". One can only imagine what horrible multiply lethal outcome could predictably result for a pregnant woman with the same condition Sandler has whose heart races when she was driving while receiving a shock from her non-free pacemaker/defibrillator device. Don't let anyone tell you a lack of software freedom isn't serious.

So medical researchers don't understand security.

By mmell • Score: 3 • Thread
During development of these devices, I suspect that if the software developers ever tried to raise security concerns, they were (correctly) told to worry about that after they had a device that could save lives. Not unlike documentation, once the miracle gizmo has made it past the FDA (I.e., gone into production), going back to fix kludges and clean up dirty code slides wa-a-ay down the list of priorities. Happens all the time in IT.

True story.

Re:The FDA is part of the problem.

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I don't trust the FDA. I know what you are talking about, I've worked in the medical device industry, and it's a serious pain to get device approval, and the approval doesn't mean the code quality is good.

That said, I trust the manufacturers even less, because I've worked with them. If you let them do easy OTA updates the way we update cell phones, you'll end up with a bunch of people dropping dead on February 29th.

Re:The FDA is part of the problem.

By TheRaven64 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I agree with your heading, but not with the rest of your post. The problem is that the FDA requires that the company have the software certified as safe by a third party, but places very few rules on what this entails. In a lot of cases, the people certifying the software don't even have access to the code: they read the design docs, but nothing else. There's no red teaming of medical device software before widespread deployment and no auditing by the FDA. The FDA is happy to certify such devices as 'safe' with nothing like enough information to be able to honestly make that claim.

Buggy Domain Validation Forces GoDaddy To Revoke SSL Certificates

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
msm1267 quotes a report from Threatpost: GoDaddy has revoked, and begun the process of re-issuing, new SSL certificates for more than 6,000 customers after a bug was discovered in the registrar's domain validation process. The bug was introduced July 29 and impacted fewer than two percent of the certificates GoDaddy issued from that date through yesterday, said vice president and general manager of security products Wayne Thayer. "GoDaddy inadvertently introduced the bug during a routine code change intended to improve our certificate issuance process," Thayer said in a statement. "The bug caused the domain validation process to fail in certain circumstances." GoDaddy said it was not aware of any compromises related to the bug. The issue did expose sites running SSL certs from GoDaddy to spoofing where a hacker could gain access to certificates and pose as a legitimate site in order to spread malware or steal personal information such as banking credentials. GoDaddy has already submitted new certificate requests for affected customers. Customers will need to take action and log in to their accounts and initiate the certificate process in the SSL Panel, Thayer said.

Re: GoDaddy is HORRIBLE.

By freeze128 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Their phone support is poor because they have gotten so large, that they need a giant call center. If you're working on a complex problem with them, you will never get connected to the same agent twice. It's like starting over every single time.

They offer POP/IMAP mail services that don't exactly adhere to the standards, and have arbitrary limitations, like how many folders you can create.

I'm sure others will be happy to post other GoDaddy nightmares.

Latest Adobe Acrobat Reader Update Silently Installs Chrome Extension

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: The latest Adobe Acrobat Reader security update (15.023.20053), besides delivering security updates, also secretly installs the Adobe Acrobat extension in the user's Chrome browser. There is no mention of this "special package" on Acrobat's changelog, and surprise-surprise, the extension comes with anonymous data collection turned on by default. Bleeping Computer reports: "This extension allows users to save any web page they're on as a PDF file and share it or download it to disk. The extension is also Windows-only, meaning Mac and Linux Chrome users will not receive it. The extension requests the following permissions: Read and change all your data on the websites you visit; Manage your downloads; Communicate with cooperating native applications. According to Adobe, extension users 'share information with Adobe about how [they] use the application. The information is anonymous and will help us improve product quality and features,' Adobe also says. 'Since no personally identifiable information is collected, the anonymous data will not be meaningful to anyone outside of Adobe.'"

Closing the barn door after the horses are out

By theshowmecanuck • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Can we have some perspective here? We're talking about Chrome people. Google. The masters of collecting data. If you use Chrome your data is no longer your own already. So what are you complaining about?

Re:Foxit instead

By Chris Katko • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

At least throw a damn citation out.

Only thing I can see is version 6.1.4 (2014) of FoxIt had malware. But it was removed afterward because of user outcry.

HOWEVER, equally or more dangerous I've noticed:

>In July 2014, the Internet Storm Center reported that the mobile version for iPhone was transmitting unencrypted telemetry and other data to remote servers located in China despite users attempting to opt out of such data collection.[13]

You can turn of the "feature" that sends data

By Streetlight • Score: 3 • Thread
In the Chrome browser, just got to your extensions, find the Adobe extension, click on options and uncheck the box about sending info to Adobe. You can also disable the extension or click on the trash can to remove it. Hopefully one of these options will be useful to everyone unless Adobe is really sneaky and even if one takes the drastic measure of removing the extension there's enough left on your system to do the reporting work.

Re:what an evil scheme.

By Dusthead Jr. • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I never really understood this line of thinking, that if one is living an uninteresting, unimportant life they shouldn't care if they're being spayed upon? Privacy is only for people of interest. Everyone else is fair game? I thought it was the famous people who were exempt from having private lives. Personally I think that even if all you do is go home to an empty house and stare at the walls all day you should still do it without, frankly high-tech peeping toms. Buy you should be free to choose whatever you want.

The Acrobat Reader abomination

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 3 • Thread

"The extension is also Windows-only, meaning Mac and Linux Chrome users will not receive it. "

Which is good, because if you use Mac you don't need Acrobat in the first place. In fact, the built-in PDF reader includes a number of of the editing features that Adobe users have to pay for the "Pro" edition to get.

Comcast Remains America's Most-Hated Company, Survey Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
What may come as no surprise to cable TV or internet subscribers, Comcast remains among the least-liked companies in American history, according to a new survey from 24/7 Wall Street. From DSL Reports: [The survey] combines data from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, JD Power and Associates and a Zogby Analytics poll, and lists Comcast as the "most hated company in America." Comcast had made some small strides in the ACSI rankings last year, but even with minor improvements still consistently battles Charter for last place in most customer satisfaction and service studies. "The company')s internet services received the fourth worst score out of some 350 companies. In J.D. Power's rating of major wireline services, only Time Warner Cable -- recently subsumed by Charter -- received a worse score in overall satisfaction," notes the report, which adds that Comcast received the worst scores in consumer costs, billing, and reliability. "In 24/7 Wall St.'s annual customer satisfaction poll conducted in partnership with Zogby, nearly 55% of of respondents reported a negative experience with the company, the second worst of any corporation." Comcast finds itself ahead of numerous banks and airlines, but it isn't alone in the rankings among telecom providers. Dish Network is ranked eighth, the report noting that 47% of those polled reported a negative service experience with the company. Also on the list at tenth is Sprint, which had the worst customer service rating out of the more than 100 companies included in the survey. "More than half of Sprint customers polled reported a negative customer service experience with the company," the study found.

Residential Fiber

By Bigbutt • Score: 3 • Thread

City has laid fiber out to the curb and has made it available to residents. I never watch broadcast TV (been 4 years now) so I only had Comcast for high speed; 110 download/26 upload as of the last Speedtest. Honestly though, I've almost never had a problem with Comcast with an outage happening very very seldom in Virginia and Colorado and I've been on Comcast since the mid 90's. The main reason I'm switching is the price for 1G/1G fiber to the house is $50 a month vs the $130 a month for Comcast 'Blast'.


If it is so bad, why keep using it?

By Snufu • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Oh right, free market capitalism and competition only applies when normal suckers like you and me try to start a business, not to oligopolies and cronies who seize public spectrum, restrict access to utility poles on public land, and pour hundreds of millions into lobbying and captured politicians to protect their monopoly. Because the first rule of success in a free market system is to make sure there is no free market.

Health insurance

By tylersoze • Score: 3 • Thread

I figured every spot would have been occupied by health insurance companies.

Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares with us a report from The Daily Beast: When former Microsoft employees complained of the horrific pornography and murder films they had to watch for their jobs, the software giant told them to just take more smoke breaks, a new lawsuit alleges. Members of Microsoft's Online Safety Team had "God-like" status, former employees Henry Soto and Greg Blauert allege in a lawsuit filed on Dec. 30. They "could literally view any customer's communications at any time." Specifically, they were asked to screen Microsoft users' communications for child pornography and evidence of other crimes. But Big Brother didn't offer a good health care plan, the Microsoft employees allege. After years of being made to watch the "most twisted" videos on the internet, employees said they suffered severe psychological distress, while the company allegedly refused to provide a specially trained therapist or to pay for therapy. The two former employees and their families are suing for damages from what they describe as permanent psychological injuries, for which they were denied worker's compensation. "Microsoft applies industry-leading, cutting-edge technology to help detect and classify illegal images of child abuse and exploitation that are shared by users on Microsoft Services," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email. "Once verified by a specially trained employee, the company removes the image, reports it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and bans the users who shared the images from our services. We have put in place robust wellness programs to ensure the employees who handle this material have the resources and support they need." But the former employees allege neglect at Microsoft's hands.


By ogdenk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Private citizens maybe but I think e-mail and cloud storage providers should be treated more as "common carriers" and only respond to legit legal requests for such data rather than enthusiastically embarking on witch hunts to do law enforcement dirty work. What you're sort of advocating would be like the post office reading all of your sealed mail in just in case you might be a pedophile and letting law enforcement know you might be a pothead.

Why shouldn't I expect the same rights that I enjoy (theoretically, not in practice) with telephones and snail mail to carry over into the digital realm? The USPS is govt run in name only these days and is more of a private organization. Would you be cool with UPS searching all of your packages because a computer said there could be pictures of underage titties in there somewhere?

What this boils down to is the government is using private companies to circumvent the constitution using the same old "think of the children" tripe that brought us the drug war with a double-dose of tyranny and it's sickening.

Re:I heard about this in South Park

By hey! • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

PTSD has specific diagnostic criteria even including exclusion criteria (e.g. not due to substance abuse). The term isn't overbroad, it's just misused, like "Type A personality", which doesn't mean what people think it means.

Re:Whither privacy?

By Uberbah • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Right - just like how secretaries don't have a sexual harassment claim unless the boss locked the exit door before pressuring them into sex. They can always quit!

Re:Whither privacy?

By sjames • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They weren't sent TO Microsoft. They were sent to other users. If I send Joe Blow a letter and YOU open it, it is certainly a privacy violation.

Re: sucks but as of now someones gotta do it

By ZeRu • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It was just a lie spread by some leftist fanatics. Interestingly, many of the same fanatics mourned over Castro who actually imprisoned gay people.

JetBlue Giving All Passengers Free In-Flight 'Fly-Fi' High-Speed Wi-Fi

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: Today, JetBlue announced something miraculous for travelers. Every one of its passengers will have access to free in-flight high-speed Wi-Fi, which it calls "Fly-Fi." This is on every single aircraft in its fleet. In other words, if you are flying JetBlue, you get free high-speed internet "JetBlue's Fly-Fi, which clocks in at broadband speeds beating sluggish and pricey Wi-Fi offerings onboard other carriers, keeps customers connected with an Internet experience similar to what they have at home, including the ability to stream video and use multiple devices at once. The service enables JetBlue to deliver Amazon Video streaming entertainment to customers onboard to their personal devices, as well as web surfing and chatting on favorite messaging apps," says JetBlue. The vice president of JetBlue, Jamie Perry, explains, "It's 2017 and our customers expect to be connected everywhere, whether that be from the comfort of their sofa or 35,000 feet above it. That's why we're so proud that JetBlue is now the only airline to offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi, live TV and movies for all customers on every plane."

This is legit !!!!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

They've actually had this for a while now but they only recently "announced" it since they only recently got it on every single airplane they have.

I use it all the time... it's GREAT. It even works on the ground! (not every airplane but most).

The TV is satellite based LiveTV and it's always running on the LCD monitors installed on the seat. It's totally independent of WiFi so it doesn't use bandwidth.

As for the WiFi, it works for everything except certain things like TeamViewer, although I have successfully used VPN to bypass this restriction. I think it allocated more bandwidth to Amazon for streaming but even with bandwidth management, it is still 100x faster than anything on American, United, Delta or Southwest. JetBlue's system is satellite based and super fast.

how it works

By supernova87a • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
For those who want to understand why this is happening now, it's because JetBlue a few years ago chose to install in its planes the next generation of satellite-based internet onboard wifi systems. This is instead of what some earlier adopter airlines chose - namely air to ground (you may commonly know providers such as GoGo/Aircell in this category - which generally serves only the continental US footprint). ATG was cheaper and developed a bit faster because its infrastructure was cheaper to build, so naturally it took hold first for many airlines. Satellite internet at that time (Ku band and those older generations) struggled to offer a reasonable price, at a time when user adoption was not as strong as now (recall Boeing's failed Connexion offering).

Now the cost and weight of the receivers and onboard systems for satellite internet are dropping, and more airlines are seeing it as a beneft/potential revenue center.

And of course, when you have a satellite connection, you don't have to be above a certain altitude before the reception of ground signals works reliably.

ViaSat (the provider of JetBlue's systems on their A320/321s) claims that every passenger could have 12Mbps bandwidth, though I'm sure in practice not quite that much -- and definitely blocked for voice calls.

As always, the other airlines which had installed ATG now face the cost of having been early adopters to a technology that is now being displaced, and since there is a heavy $ to refitting passenger aircraft with new hardware, it will take a while for them to change out the old systems for newer satellite based technologies.

The cap'n has turned on the electronic device lite

By Qzukk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

(damn subject line limits, 1 letter too short) I want to know how long before we admit that nobody is ever going to be allowed to smoke on a domestic flight in the USA again so the airlines can paint on a "No Smoking" sign and repurpose the "No Smoking" light to one where the pilot can indicate when we're allowed to get our portable electronic devices out or when it's time to put them away again.

Re:How much bandwidth per plane and how meany AP's

By CohibaVancouver • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The legacy carriers need to massively reform, particularly United.

The *are* reforming. The majority of the flying public have made it clear that the most important thing to them is low fares. They'd love blankets and pillows and hot meals and leg room but they're not willing to pay for it - They just sort by price in Expedia and book the cheapest option.

So United and Delta and everyone else are reforming to meet that need: They offer a rock-bottom product with no services, and then allow people to buy the services they want, a la carte. Want leg room? Buy up into Economy Plus. Want a hot meal? Buy it off the menu. Want to check a bag? Pay $X. Indexed to the cost of fuel + inflation, you're still paying less today even with all the a la carte items than you were 25 years ago.

Re:This is legit !!!!

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If they're not assigning you a routable IP address and delivering connections to you, then it's not internet. It's internet's bastard child. But it's close enough for most people, most of the time.

Windows 10 Will Soon Lock Your PC When You Step Away From It

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft is working on a new Windows 10 feature that will automatically lock and secure a PC when the operating system detects someone has moved away from the machine. The feature is labelled as Dynamic Lock in recent test builds of Windows 10, and Windows Central reports that Microsoft refers to this as "Windows Goodbye" internally. Microsoft currently uses special Windows Hello cameras to let Windows 10 users log into a PC with just their face. Big corporations teach employees to use the winkey+L combination to lock machines when they're idle, but this new feature will make it an automatic process. It's not clear exactly how Microsoft will detect inactivity, but it's possible the company could use Windows Hello-compatible machines or detect idle activity and lock the machine accordingly. Windows can already be configured to do this after a set time period, but it appears Microsoft is streamlining this feature into a simple setting for anyone to enable. Microsoft is planning to deliver Dynamic Lock as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, expected to arrive in April.

Better than a timeout

By Webmoth • Score: 3 • Thread

I think the idea is that if you are at your desk but idle (say, for example, you're on a long phone call with your chair tipped back and your feet on the desk), the computer won't lock down after X minutes of inactivity passes. But if you step away, it locks within seconds. You probably want to have some delay before locking, just in case you bend down to tie your shoe or something else where you are out of the view of the camera for a moment.

The problem with the typical timeout we've used for years is that it can leave the desktop vulnerable between the time you leave the computer and the timeout expires. Most places set the timeout to several minutes to avoid employee irritation of having to unlock their computers several times a day, just because they were doing something else even though the computer was never out of their sight. A timeout is, at best, a compromise between security and convenience.

This new method has the potential to improve BOTH security and convenience.

Re:Should already be habit

By DeathElk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Thanks for the heads up. I've got new material for the screening tests. A potential employee with that kind of attitude has no place in our (or any) organisation.

Re:Should already be habit

By WolfgangVL • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That's fucking terrible. If I even saw that kind of shit from the other side of the room I would demand the little-dick prankster fuck be walked out or I quit on the spot. What a horrible environment to work in. This trash speaks to the (in)ability of your management team, the fuck-each-other-over-as-hard-as-you-can corporate bonus games that have permeated the tech industry, and your personal lack of integrity, knowing it all went down like that and not speaking up to put the real offender in the hotseat instead of watching the victims career nose-dive cuz he forgot to lock his system.

Totally should already be a habit, and is a requirement at every single serious tech job I've ever worked, but the first offence is maybe inverting some colors and flipping the monitor sideways, not taking kill-shots at your coworkers livelihood, destroying company source-code and sending email to managements families.

Anybody quietly aware of this action is an accomplice, and deserving of termination as well.

Will it ACTUALLY work now?

By Qzukk • Score: 3 • Thread

My office computer is set to lock on wake and lock on screensaver, and some days I'll forget to win+L and come in to work the next morning, wiggle the mouse to wake the monitor, and the computer will not be locked.

This isn't new to Windows 10, either. My 8.1 laptop, when I open the lid there's a 50/50 chance it will automatically unlock itself. I open the lid, the screen turns on to the clearly labeled "This computer is locked" screen, which will then sometimes within a second or so slide up automatically without me touching a thing.

If it happened every single time then obviously I fucked up on the configuration, but when it only sometimes works, I'd like to know what the hell is going on.

Can you turn it off?

By johannesg • Score: 3 • Thread

Or is this another mandatory feature? Because I totally hate it when my screen locks every five seconds. I can decide on my own whether an environment is safe for leaving my screen unlocked or not.

Normally I wouldn't worry about something like this, but this is Microsoft we are talking about. They think they know my situation so much better than I do, they need to make this choice for me.

New Research Suggests the Appendix Has a Purpose After All

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The appendix is an organ thought to have gone the way of our wisdom teeth and body hair: At one point we all needed them, now people can get by just fine without them. However, it turns out, at least the appendix has some purpose in the body. From a report: Scientists, though, have never been certain what the appendix used to do -- and if it is still, in fact, useless. On Jan. 9, a team of researchers led by scientists at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine published a review study proposing an answer: the appendix is a secondary immune function that both catalyzes immune cell responses and floods your gut with beneficial bacteria when they've been depleted. And it still plays that role, in a limited fashion, in human body function."We can function okay without it, but the appendix does provide some degree of immunity and beneficial bacteria,â Heather Smith, an anatomist and lead author of the paper said.

It's confirmation, and I approve

By Bigjeff5 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you thought you knew this before a study like this came out, then you're as bad as all the other gullible sheep out there, because there was not a large body of good evidence to point to to support that opinion.

The study in the Qartz article is a review study, looking at hundreds of other studies. It's an extremely important kind of study for solidifying our understanding of how things work, and frankly in my opinion they often don't get enough attention because people think they know these things already. You did not know these things already. You had a couple of articles that you'd seen before that suggested maybe the appendix isn't as useless as doctors used to think, but you didn't have a body of evidence that you could point to to prove that fact. Now you do. That's the importance of the study.

Of course, in typical fashion the SlashDot summary woefully misrepresents it as a study saying "Hey guys! I found this brand new thing that other people have already found! Check it out!", which of course that isn't what the study was doing at all.

Consider the source

By tomhath • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine

Re: Purpose?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The purpose is store sliced carrot. Haven't you noticed that when you vomit there is always carrot in there, even if it has been months since you ate any?


By Impy the Impiuos Imp • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Your chiro would probably tell you the appendix problem was due to sublaxations and recommended some kind of feely-doo. You would now be dead without the butcher.

Are you crazy?

By Xenna • Score: 3 • Thread

"Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine"

Osteopathy is quack medicine!
How dare you pollute Slashdot in this manner?

There used to be standards here, or was that before Trump?

Facebook's 'Journalism Project' Seeks To Strengthen Online News

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook is taking more responsibility over its role in the media industry. CNET reports on the company's announcement: The social network on Wednesday announced a new initiative called the Journalism Project, which seeks to put Facebook on steadier footing with the news industry. As part of the effort, the social network will work to help train journalists on how to use Facebook as a reporting tool and assist the public in figuring out how to sniff out misinformation. "We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news," Fidji Simo, director of product for the project, wrote in a blog post. "And as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive." The initiative is part of an about-face for Facebook, which for a long time shrugged off its influence on the news and downplayed the impact of misinformation circulated on Facebook on the 2016 presidential election. The company is now acknowledging the significant role it plays in the consumption of news online, along with its ability to shape journalism's future.

Re: Facebook wants more liberal news

By PortHaven • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We went other places. You damn New England liberals follow us everywhere. You ruined the north east. You ruined California. You ruined Colorado.

It's like you much up a place so bad that it's unlivable, then decide to move to the region where folks who don't want invasive government moved to when they left you. And then you just pass all the same stupid laws and taxes over until that place is ruined. In 20-30 years, Denver, Colorado will be an insane mecca of taxes and regulations that will be unbearable. Then you liberals will leave and move to Idaho, the Dakotas, etc.

Those states might get smart and just start shooting you all upon arrival. Though I think eliminating your right to vote in state elections for 5 years until you gain a feeling for the culture might be more prudent.

It won't work because...

By djchristensen • Score: 3 • Thread's not what (most? many?) people want. They want their prefabricated beliefs to be bolstered by the "news" they consume and are very much not interested in "real news", aka facts. Just wade through the other comments here claiming FB will now just filter out everything from one end of the political spectrum in favor of the other. Those people will likely use the "fact checked" indicator as a marker of stories to avoid, since they are obviously going to be slanted and "fake".


By PortHaven • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I find YouTube to be the best fact checker.

The media claimed that Trump mocked a disabled reporter, or more to the point, that Trump mocked a reporter for his disability. Trump did in fact mock a reporter who is disabled. However, there are videos on youtube that will show you that those body movements of his are used regularly, not for mocking disabilities but to personify his view of someone who doesn't have an answer.

Most of the mainstream media also claimed that Donald Trump said soldiers that commit suicide are weak. He said no such thing. Go to youtube and watch the actual speech. He was discussing the lack of care available for our veterans, particularly the lack of mental healthcare. He was discussing triggers, and our soldiers being left without the support they deserved. Every soldier and veteran I know who watched that video loved it. In fact, it was the first, and almost the only time I watched Donald Trump and thought to myself that he looked presidential.

Watch MSNBC, they'll show you protestors at a Tea Party rally outside one of President Obama's townhall meetings. They'll show you a man carrying an AR-15 on his back. They'll state how this is intimidating and seemingly rather racist. Go to youtube and you'll find the another video of that same rally. Except this video will clearly show the man in question with an AR-15 strapped to his back is in fact a black American.

So me, conservatives are very aware of how fake most of the mainstream news is. Liberals on the other hand are stuck thinking the only fake news is Fox/Faux News. Well, it is fairly fake. But it doesn't have the market nor is it even close to being top dog.


By argStyopa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'll start to believe this hoo-ha about "fake news" being a SERIOUS effort to raise the standards of journalism when I see one reputable mainstream outlet reporting that 'hands up don't shoot' in Ferguson was ALSO 'fake news'.

Until then, it's just "my party lost" biased after-election whinging.


By BigBuckHunter • Score: 3 • Thread
1: Weaken the integrity of the field of journalism by up-feeding fake news. 2: Promise to strengthen the integrity of journalism for money. 3: Profit.

Bitcoin Slides as China's Central Bank Launches Checks On Exchanges

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a Reuters report: China's central bank launched spot checks on leading bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai, ratcheting up pressure on potential capital outflows and knocking the price of the cryptocurrency down more than 12 percent against the dollar. The People's Bank of China said its probe of bitcoin exchanges BTCC, Huobi and OKCoin was to look into a range of possible rule violations, including market manipulation, money laundering and unauthorized financing. It did not say if any violations had been found. Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to stem capital outflows and relieve pressure on the yuan. While the yuan lost more than 6.5 percent against the dollar last year, its worst performance since 1994, the bitcoin price has soared to near-record highs.

Re:Fuck off, msmash

By spikenerd • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We're not your pump-n-dump engine.

How is saying, "The price is falling!" going to pump up the price? Perhaps it's a short-n-spread-fud scheme.

Re:Fuck off, msmash

By Baron_Yam • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

How is saying, "The price is falling!" going to pump up the price? Perhaps it's a short-n-spread-fud scheme.

After you pump the price and dump your bitcoin, you want to drop the price so you can buy more low in preparation for the next pump.

Now, it's unlikely MsMash is a top-level player in that scam, but there are lots of people who want to participate in hopes of enriching themselves.

Since the market is more or less entirely driven by fraud, this is essentially a guessing game of how far bitcoin will go during its ups and downs, so if you're NOT actually one of the big players who is moving the market through exchange fraud or controlling large amounts of bitcoin, you're probably not going to do very well... which seems to make them try all the harder.

This is a Story about China, not about Bitcoin

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Last couple of years have seen the wealthy in China resort to more and more elaborate schemes to exfiltrate their wealth, which they are officially restricted to moving just $50K/yr.

Like suitcases of cash brought on "vacation" to Hong Kong

And buying a $170M painting on a credit card.

Bitcoin is just the current fad for circumventing foreign exchange restrictions. When China clamps down, the wealthy will move to some other method, and bitcoin pricing will probably collapse.

Re:This is my shocked face...

By houstonbofh • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I use bitcoin to purchase stuff. I do not use it as an "investment." It seems to work for me. But I am sure it will die this year when the Linux Desktop takes over. (smh)

But I thought it was STABLE!

By SoftwareArtist • Score: 3 • Thread

Wow, didn't Slashdot run a story just a few days ago boasting that Bitcoin is now "more stable than many of the world's top currencies?" Darn! How could I have been so silly as to believe them? If only I hadn't immediately moved all my assets into Bitcoin! Oh, that's right, I didn't. Well that's a relief.

Samsung Says Over 96% of Galaxy Note7 Phones Returned To Date

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Samsung said today that over 96 percent of all Galaxy Note7 phones have been returned following a recall that started in September. From a report: First introduced in August, the latest Note7 smartphone received positive reviews until reports surfaced that some devices caught fire after their batteries exploded. After a "thorough inspection" of its phones, Samsung opted to issue a mandatory recall, but only after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its own recall notice. Achieving a 96 percent return rate took about four months, but it wasn't all done organically, as Samsung revealed in December that it would issue a software update to permanently disable charging on the outstanding Note7s. Until that point, the company had received 85 percent of affected devices. The FAA said today that DoT has informed airlines that they can stop pre-flight warnings about Galaxy Note7 smartphones.

Note 7

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You'll have to pry my Note 7 from my cold dead h

Re:Note 7

By Aaden42 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Your hands won't be cold.

The other 4% is on fire

By elrous0 • Score: 3 • Thread

Waiting to be shipped back once the cool down.

What about washing machines?

By khr • Score: 3 • Thread

DoT has informed airlines that they can stop pre-flight warnings about Galaxy Note7 smartphones

But do they now have to give pre-flight warnings about not using Samsung washing machines on the plane?

Re:Are the rest collectors?

By ausekilis • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Seems you don't have a collector's mindset.

Two easy counter-examples, Cheetahmen II and Action 52 for the NES. The cartridges were both unlicensed and "run-of-the-mill" products in that they were among the crappy NES titles of the time. Action-52 contains lots of crappy games that certainly wouldn't be worth the initial asking price for the cartridge. Today you can have one for ~$240, making it the 25th most expensive NES item. Cheetahmen II wasn't mass produced and only 1500 copies exist, but that can go for $1000.

Still not enough? Here's another list of random crap that's worth a lot today. The Super Soaker Monster XL sold for $500.

I couldn't find a list of things that have been recalled that are now collectible, but I seem to remember a baseball card with a profanity hidden on it being recalled/reprinted and the original is worth a hell of a lot more.

Google is Killing Its Solar-Powered Internet Drone Program

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Google's "moonshot" X division is ending its Titan drone program, which planned to use solar-powered drones to beam internet down to earth. Google bought Titan Aerospace in 2014. The company was developing solar-powered drones that could fly for several days at a time and take images of earth or beam down internet. When Google reorganized into Alphabet in 2015, Titan was folded into X, the Alphabet division that focuses on wild tech projects in hopes of stumbling on the next big thing.

Re:took a while;

By tsqr • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually, building a solar airplane that can stay aloft as long as their business model demands, is a significant challenge. Reliability of servo actuators and electric motors is a major issue. Designing a structure light enough to minimize the power required to climb to very high altitudes, but robust enough to survive winds/gusts during ascent and descent, is a major issue.

No, *physics* killed it

By elrous0 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Google just finally recognized it.

Re:No, *physics* killed it

By elrous0 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yes, good old balloons make much more sense if you just need to get up high and stay there. The whole "solar drones" thing reeks of a hype project combining two trendy technologies that are way inferior to a non-trendy, old-fashioned solution.

How to clean... you almost had it

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Cleaning is important because it keeps the airfoil surfaces aerodynamically sound. Even birds groom themselves to stay in good shape

So the answer is obvious - we bio-engineer birds that clean themselves - but ALSO clean the drones!

Or we develop a drone with a tongue, basically go with whichever idea can get grants or Google pay money.

Re:Won't produce revenue for Google's customers

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

More likely the regulatory/insurance climate is insane. I would bet that the money required to get the proper radio frequencies, get government approval for a drone holding pattern high enough over an urban area and insurance to cover any accidents would bankrupt a small country. There are most definitely also some technical hurtles but I would wager those are relatively minor in comparison. I think Musk summed it up when he was discussing the challenges of starting SpaceX, I believe he said something to the effect that the rocket science was easy, cutting through the red tape took a majority of their time/money. And that is for an industry that has existed for decades.

Streaming TV is Beginning To Look a Lot Like Cable

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The advent of streaming TV services and over the top devices that support them has come at a cost. They used to work on a simple, unwritten principle: being different from normal cable services. You didn't have to pay for large, non-configurable bundles of channels that played shows in linear fashion and required you to use a digital video recorder built into the box (often for an extra fee) if you wanted to create your own collection of programming to watch on your own schedule. But that's not the case anymore, argues veteran technology columnist Walt Mossberg. He writes: The general idea is that each of these TV services will appeal to cord-cutters and cord-nevers who merely consider old-style cable and satellite TV too costly. To overcome that, each offers what are called "skinny bundles" of channels, with fewer choices, at various prices. On Sling, for instance, you start at about 30 channels for $20 a month. On DirecTV Now, it's 60 channels for $35 a month. Both offer other, costlier plans, with more channels, or add-on plans for HBO, or for specialized programming such as sports, or kids' shows. Both are working on DVR offerings. In other words, while the bundles may be cheaper and skinnier, they're still bundles, not unlike the tiers of programming offered by traditional cable and satellite services. And you can't assemble your own custom bundle. Also, unlike in the Netflix / Hulu model, the emphasis here is on networks, not shows.

It's the commercials

By JoeWalsh • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'll never, ever pay to watch commercials.

If you must have commercials in your content, make it free to stream.

If you must ask me to pay for your content, don't put commercials in it.

This is non-negotiable. I will do without rather than pay for commercials.

Re:It's the content providers

By nateman1352 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The reason why is because The Walt Disney Company owns both ABC and ESPN. So they force you to buy all the channels they own, or none. Nothing in between. Disney isn't the only one that does that of course, every company that owns multiple networks does. The only way that will change is if the US Government forces them to offer a la carte. The government would also have to force them to not set pricing such that the a la carte cost for 1 channel is the same as the cost of the bundle (maybe a legally mandated 10% max bundle discount or something.)

So let them die.

By JustNiz • Score: 3 • Thread

The can keep trying different ways to fleece us, but any cable or cable-like companies that still stubbornly refuse to get a clue that the internet has already blown their entire monopoly-based business model away will simply have to accept going bankrupt.

Re:So don't buy it

By slinches • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Those are great options as long as you don't want to watch your local team's games live, which happens to be the only reason I would want such a service.

Until they quit blacking out local sports, those services are useless to me.

2017: Still falling for the 'streaming media' meme

By Rick Schumann • Score: 3 • Thread
Okay, I'm being very flippant about it, but I stopped using cable TV about 10 years ago, started using an antenna for broadcast stations, and never looked back once. My DVR always has more sitting on it than I have time to watch. Some shows pile up, and I'll watch those during the 'dry spell' times of the year when things are in reruns anyway. I know my situation isn't available to everyone (I can have an antenna, and I can get every major network plus a range of 2nd-tier ones), but I still say if you can use an antenna effectively to get shows for free, then by all means do it.

AMD Set To Launch Ryzen Before March 3rd

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares an AnandTech report: Thanks to some sleuthing from various readers, AMD has accidentally let the cat out of the bag with regards to the official Ryzen launch date. While they haven't specifically given an exact date, the talk to be given by AMD at the annual Game Developer Conference (GDC) says the following: "Join AMD Game Engineering team members for an introduction to the recently-launched AMD Ryzen CPU followed by advanced optimization topics." The GDC event runs from February 27th to March 3rd, and currently the AMD talk is not on the exact schedule yet, so it could appear any day during the event (so be wary if anyone says Feb 27th). At this time AMD has not disclosed an exact date either, but it would be an interesting time to announce the new set of Ryzen CPUs right in the middle of both GDC and Mobile World Congress which is also during that week. It would mean that Ryzen news may end up being buried under other GDC and smartphone announcements.

AMD has

By sirber • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Ryzen from the dead!

Re:AMD has

By barc0001 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

> in practice takes roughly 10 years for the savings to materialize... and by then, you've already swapped your CPU 3 times

Actually these days, not so much. I've got an i5 2500K that I bought in early 2011 in my home workstation, and I have no plans to replace it any time soon. My general rule is that I won't replace a processor unless it's both old and I will get around twice the performance of the old one. Looking at what I'd replace it with if I was to build the same machine today - an i5 6600K - there's just no point. I'd get about a 50% boost over what I have, and what I have is already more processor than I need for just about anything I do with the exception of gaming. And for that the money is better spent on a new video card, and that's what I do replace every 2-3 years.

In the past with Moore's Law that was around every 2 years, but Intel's been stagnant on progress for so long, they're now running ads like this:

Oooo... up to 28% better performance than a 3 year old part! And all you need to do is replace your chip, motherboard and probably RAM. Pass. Instead of spending $600 on all that I'll just drop $200 on last year's hot high end video card.

It's coming Feb. 29th

By cheese_boy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I have it on good authority that it'll be Feb. 29th.

Instagram Stories Hits 150M Active Users, Adds Advertising To Instagram Stories

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Instagram Stories now has as many users as the last number announced by Snapchat, the app Instagram copied. And it's swiftly moving to monetize that massive audience. Along with the new 150 million daily user stat, Instagram today announced the launch of ads mixed into Stories. The unclickable 5-second photo and 15-second video ads appear between different people's stories and can be easily skipped. Instagram will also provide business accounts with analytics on the reach, impressions, replies and exits of their Stories.

Instagram is Facebook. Avoid Facebook.

By Futurepower(R) • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
One of the stories: Facebook just ruined Instagram. (2016-08-06)

It amazes me that Facebook and Google and Microsoft and Adobe Systems believe they can use most people's ignorance of technology to abuse customers.

Another story: "The sale of Instagram to Facebook for a cool billion in the spring of 2012 was the ultimate Silicon Valley fairy tale: 18 months from launch to offer.".

Another quote: "The offer was even more impressive given Instagram's size and age. At the time, it had just 13 employees, operating out of a cramped space in the South Park section of San Francisco."

Wireless Headphone Sales Soared After Apple Dropped Headphone Jack

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack from new iPhones last year prompted lots of consumers to switch to wireless headphones, according to a new report on holiday shopping. From a report: Three-quarters of all headphones sold online in December were wireless models, up from 50% a year earlier, according to shopping tracker Slice Intelligence. Apple was the biggest beneficiary of the shift, as both its new AirPods earphones and models from its Beats subsidiary led the sales charts. The $159 AirPods, Apple's first wireless model sold under its own brand, didn't go on sale until Dec. 13, but the product quickly dominated the wireless headphone market, Slice found. In the year prior to the debut, the Beats brand topped online sales of wireless models with a 24% market share, trailed by Bose with an 11% share and Jaybird at 8%. But after AirPods went on sale, they grabbed 26% of online wireless sales, Slice found. Bose was second at 16% and Beats dropped to third with 15% of the market during the period considered.

Re:Totally false

By SpiceWare • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Legacy Port

A legacy port is a computer port or connector that is considered by some to be fully or partially superseded.

On the iPhone the 3.5mm headphone jack has been fully superseded by lightning and wireless. As such, legacy is the appropriate term to use in a discussion about iPhones and analog headphone jacks.

Re: From the department of the obvious...

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm pretty sure it was included in the box with the phone.

Not if you want to charge and listen at the same time it isn't.

Re:Breaking news, water is wet!

By David_Hart • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Colour me fucking stunned.

You got a Pantone chip for that?

Just curious.

Yes, "fucking stunned" is #0089af... The look was created by Derek Zoolander as a follow-up to Magnum... (grin)

Re:Totally false

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The 3.5mm jack is actually a great connector.

It's round so no orientation issues and you can rotate the plug. It's robust. It's waterproof. It's universal. You can send data and analogue audio over it at the same time, supporting everything from the most basic analogue systems to high end digital and everything in between. There are millions of accessories for it. It's easy to fix. It just works. It's extremely cheap.

If it has any weakness, it's that it doesn't offer an easy way to supply power. But then again neither does wireless, and it doesn't need power for headphones and small speakers.

There is a reason the 3.5mm jack remains so popular.

Re:Totally false

By fluffernutter • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Bread has existed since 1000BC. Are you calling hamburger buns 'legacy' ?

Amazon Now Gives Away 5,000 Bananas a Day

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: When thinking up ways to give back to its home city, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos decided to give out free bananas. That was in December 2015, when Amazon first launched the Community Banana Stand, handing out bananas to whoever wants a snack. Over a year later, Amazon has handed out over a million bananas to the Lake Union and Denny Regrade communities in Seattle, averaging almost 5,000 a day, the company said recently. By comparison, Seattle was home to just 662,400 people in 2015, according to the city's Office of Planning and Community Development. Employees and non-employees are welcome to grab one, or even more, of the fruit.

Amelia Bedelia Syndrome?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Maybe Jeff Bezos doesn't realize that his code monkeys aren't actual monkeys.


War on fruit merchants!

By bickerdyke • Score: 3 • Thread

So after book stores, Amazon now wants to push Banana stores out of business?

Re:Overrated comment incoming

By schnell • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
It has a solid business case. "There's always money in the banana stand."

I'm convinced of this.

By lazlo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

What this tells me is that, somewhere in Seattle, there's a dude that owns a banana stand that, at some point in the past, screwed Jeff Bezos' crush.


By plopez • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think paying taxes would be more effective.

Regulators Criticize Banks For Lending Uber $1.15 Billion

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Federal regulators criticized several Wall Street banks over the handling of a $1.15 billion loan they helped arrange for Uber this past summer, reports Reuters, citing people with knowledge of the matter. From the report: Led by Morgan Stanley, the banks helped the ride-sharing network tap the leveraged loan market in July for the first time, persuading institutional investors to focus on its lofty valuation and established markets rather than its losses in countries such as China and India. The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which are trying to reign in risky lending across Wall Street, took issue with the way in which the banks carved out Uber's more mature operations from the rest of the business, the people said.

Re:Make the banks take the risk when an driver hit

By Jahta • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The whole point of corporations in the US is so that nobody's liable for what corporations do. Corporations can't/don't go to jail, and a member of a corporations going to jail for something done under the auspices of the company is rarer than lightning strikes or lottery winners.

This is the result of corporate lobbying over the last 20 years, and the growing view (among the wealthy elite) that white-collar crime isn't really a thing. After the savings-and-loan collapse in the 1990s, over 900 bankers were convicted of criminal offenses; after the most recent (and much worse) financial crash, nobody in the banking industry has spent even a night in jail.

But where are the customers' yachts?

By TTL0 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

...long long ago, an out-of-town visitor to New York was admiring the elegant vessels harboured off the Financial District; "Those are the bankers' and brokers' yachts!" exclaimed the guide. "But where are the customers' yachts?" questioned the naÃve visitor in response...

Re:Make the banks take the risk when an driver hit

By Luthair • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Funny how it only happens to foreign corporations while wall street bankers and ratings agencies walk free after the sub-prime crisis.

Re:Uber is not a ride-sharing company

By Luthair • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Which is something people also do with taxis.... If the driver wasn't going that way already and you're only covering a share of the gas money it isn't ride sharing.

Re:Make the banks take the risk when an driver hit

By EndlessNameless • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There was no regulation.

Congress "deregulated" that piece of the banking industry when it repealed sections 20 and 32 of the Glass–Steagall Act in 1999.

It only took the corporations 9 years to create a national disaster.

It turns out some regulations are very, very good ideas.

Amazon Still Lags Behind Apple, Google in Greenpeace Renewable Energy Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon's cloud-computing unit says that one day it will rely solely on renewable power. But Greenpeace reports that a ramp-up in data-center construction in Virginia, where electricity comes mostly from coal and nuclear plants, makes that goal elusive. From the report: Apple, Google, Facebook, and newcomer Switch are taking some of the greatest strides towards 100% renewable energy, while companies such as Netflix, Amazon Web Services, and Samsung are lagging. The findings in Greenpeace USA's report outlines the energy footprints of large data center operators and nearly 70 of the most popular websites and applications. "Amazon continues to talk a good game on renewables but is keeping its customers in the dark on its energy decisions. This is concerning, particularly as Amazon expands into markets served by dirty energy," said Greenpeace USA Senior IT Analyst, Gary Cook. "Like Apple, Facebook, and Google, Netflix is one of the biggest drivers of the online world and has a critical say in how it is powered. Netflix must embrace the responsibility to make sure its growth is powered by renewables, not fossil fuels and it must show its leadership here," continued Cook.

Energy positive sources

By sjbe • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Look, a solar panel never makes in it's usable life the amount of energy it takes to produce

That hasn't been true for several years now. By 2020 it's estimated that solar panels will pay back all the energy they've ever taken to manufacture all of them.

the same with wind power.

Wrong again. Did you actually bother to research any of this? 20 Seconds on Google would have corrected your false assertions.

A coal plant returns the power it took to build with all parts in less than a month.

At the cost of dumping massive amounts of pollutants (including CO2) into the atmosphere for decades. When coal actually has to pay for the full energy (and financial) cost of mitigating the pollution it costs then you might have a fair comparison.

Greenpeace? Who cares?

By bradley13 • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

Greenpeace has lost all credibility. They are out for their own aggrandizement, and their primary goal is to perpetuate themselves. If they actually have any positive effect on environmental or conservation causes, it is entirely by accident.


By Mashiki • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You must be living in an alternate universe and just collided with ours. Because "global warming as a perpetual myth" doesn't exist here, there are just more people critically not accepting it as a blanket truth. There's your difference, if you can figure it out.


By kuzb • Score: 3 • Thread
People still take the uneducated eco-terrorists seriously? I thought they lost all their credibility years ago.

Greenpeace are fucking morons.

By Chas • Score: 3 • Thread

While Apple, Google and Amazon all have electronic services delivery, Amazon is, by far, the largest in terms of physical plant for their vast goods-shipping network.

While yes, Apple and Google do ship, they simply don't have the sheer scope of what Amazon is dealing in.

So yeah, Amazon's going to come in behind those two.

Alcohol Switches the Brain Into Starvation Mode In Mice, Increasing Hunger and Appetite, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: In tests on mice, alcohol activated the brain signals that tell the body to eat more food. The UK researchers, who report their findings in the journal Nature Communications, believe the same is probably true in humans. The mice were given generous doses of alcohol for three days -- a dose being equivalent to around 18 units or a bottle-and-a-half of wine for a person. The alcohol caused increased activity in neurons called AGRP. These are the neurons that are fired when the body experiences starvation. The mice ate more than normal too. When the researchers repeated the experiment but blocked the neurons with a drug, the mice did not eat as much which, the researchers say, suggests that AGRP neurons are responsible for the alcohol-induced eating. The study authors, Denis Burdakov and colleagues, say understanding how alcohol changes the body and our behavior could help with managing obesity. Around two-thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.

Laboratory mouse life

By codeButcher • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The mice were given generous doses of alcohol for three days ... equivalent to around ... a bottle-and-a-half of wine for a person. ... The mice ate more than normal too.

See, being a lab mouse is not all bad. All that free booze and food!


By zifn4b • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
These findings are not surprising because alcohol causes dehydration and dehydration is often confused with hunger. A lot of people who are chronically dehydrated aren't even aware of it and confuse it with hunger and thus try to resolve by eating when what they really need is a glass of water.

Re:You need a study for this?

By beelsebob • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Uhhh... Yes.

If you actually read, you'll see that the study isn't about the fact that alcohol triggers you to eat more, it's about how it does it, which parts of your brain are affected, and why. That's important information if you say.... wanted to make drugs that suppressed your starvation response to help you lose weight.

Re:All the best research is done in Europe

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Here in the States, it's treated as a character flaw and research pales in comparison.

As someone who's lived in both countries - though fortunately had a body type that wasn't seen to be overweight in either country (technically I am overweight right now, but nobody I know thinks so) - I can honestly say I question this. In the UK, I routinely witnessed overweight people mocked and verbally abused. In the US, there's at least a general recognition that losing weight isn't easy, and gaining it is. Which is not to say that there are no assholes in the US either.

I'd always assumed it was due to the environment. The UK is generally urban, which means people get plenty of exercise, and spend 20 minutes getting to and from work leaving more time in their day for healthy food preparation. In the US, which is more suburban, a combination of barriers to walking (some, like bizarre zoning, legally enforced) means people have to seek out exercise, do not get it naturally, and the 30-45 minute each way commute leaves even less time for food preparation, leading to widespread consumption of relatively unhealthy premade meals.

That leads to a situation where people in the UK weigh far less than the average American, which means there's less empathy - fewer people in your circle are likely to be overweight, so you're allowed to make more negative judgments AND the fact that so few people are overweight makes you more likely to treat them as doing something "wrong", as obviously they're "doing something" that the vast majority of people aren't (which, ironically, is less likely to be true in an environment with fewer overweight people - you're more likely to find people in that environment who do the same things as you, but have biological/genetic/medical/etc reasons for gaining weight.)

Is there better research in Europe? No idea - if there is, it probably has to do with a willingness of governments to fund research that has no agenda beyond better health, while I'm willing to bet most American research into obesity has an end goal of selling more Nutrasystems and Slimfasts. (That said, I'd love to be proven wrong on this.)

Re:Laboratory mouse life

By sinij • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Yes, but the WiFi is lousy, so only 2/5 stars.

Monopoly May Replace Iconic Pieces With Emoji Faces and Hashtags

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Hasbro, the toymaker behind Monopoly, is letting the public decide whether or not they should replace the game's iconic game pieces with new pieces inspired by pop culture and social media. CNNMoney reports: Gamers can visit the Vote Monopoly site and choose from more than 50 new options. The old tokens, including the thimble, top hat and Scottie dog, are also on the table. The voting takes place inside a digital house with shelves and furniture stocked with both classic and newfangled token options. Jazzy music plays in the background as you explore and take a closer look at the figurines. Some aren't too surprising. There's a horse, a sailboat, an airplane, a bike and a helicopter. Two of the stranger options are sliced bread and a fuzzy bunny slipper. Hasbro is offering up a number of tokens that may appeal to tech consumers. There's a cell phone that looks like it came out of the '80s, a television that looks very '50s, and a computer with keyboard that vaguely resembles the first flat-screen iMac. Internet denizens can also vote for a hashtag and emoji options, including a winking smiley-face, thumbs-up symbol, crying-laughing face and a Rich Uncle Pennybags version of an emoji face. Voting is open to internet users worldwide until January 31. The chosen tokens will be part of a fresh Monopoly game due to hit stores this summer, so think long and hard about whether you want to stare at a kissy-face emoji for the next decade or so. A special edition called Token Madness will offer the original tokens as well as the new winners.


By Oswald McWeany • Score: 4 • Thread

I hate how Hasbro has a monopoly on Monopoly.

Token add-on packs

By ZipK • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Why doesn't Monopoly come with a starter set of four classic tokens, and then offer add-on token sets? There could be themed sets (co-marketed with McDonald's!), memorial sets, holiday sets, and rare Beanie Baby-like individual tokens that sell for hundreds of dollars in secondary markets. Has the owner of Monopoly missed the last 20 years of marketing innovation?

Sell 'em separately...

By Tomahawk • Score: 3 • Thread

Personally I'd prefer to see the original tokens being shipped, but sell new tokens to buy to use in the games. Maybe add some extras, but don't remove the originals. Don't really see a reason to change them. I wouldn't mind being able to buy extra tokens to use for current games I have, but I'll probably never not play as the dog...

Re:A reminder that Monopoly is a terrible game

By TheRaven64 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You might want to read up on the actual history a bit more. Monopoly is based on a came called The Landlord's Game, which has two modes of play. In one, you won by constructing a monopoly, in the other you won by increasing the total size of the economy. The point was to illustrate how unconstrained capitalism would lead to monopolies and negative outcomes for most participants.

The modern version is a set of incremental changes to the 1933 game by Parker (later bought by Hasbro). This was a simplified version of The Landlord's Game, which eliminated the cooperative mode and left outright competition as the only objective.

Dibs on ...

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

... Pepe the frog game piece!

An Asteroid Passed By Earth At About Half the Distance Between Our Planet and Moon

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Monday at 7:47 A.M. EST, an asteroid thought to be between 36 and 111 feet wide passed roughly 120,000 miles from Earth -- and astronomers didn't spot it until Saturday. Smithsonian reports: According to astronomer Eric Edelman at the Slooh Observatory, 2017 AG13 is an Aten asteroid, or a space rock with an orbital distance from the sun similar to that of Earth. AG13 also has a particularly elliptical orbit, which means that as it circles the sun it also crosses through the orbits of both Venus and Earth. Lucky for us, 2017 AG13 wasn't a planet killer; according to Wall, the asteroid was in the size range of the space rock that exploded in Earth's atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February, 2013. According to Deborah Byrd at EarthSky, that meteor exploded 12 miles in the atmosphere, releasing 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. Not only did it break windows in six cities, it also sent 1,500 people to the hospital. That meteor also came out of the blue, and researchers are still trying to figure out its orbit and track down its origins. While 2017 AG13 would have caused minor damage if it hit Earth, the close call highlights the dangers of asteroids.

Re:The dangers...

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It was Chelyabinsk-sized. A direct hit on a city could kill millions of people.

I need my safe space

By Grand Facade • Score: 3 • Thread

Space rocks must be outlawed!

Re:The dangers...

By ledow • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You can't just divide the numbers. Gravity pulls stuff in, and the windows are tiny. Think Apollo 13 - only a tiny offset makes the difference between direct catastrophic entry and bouncing off the atmosphere.

And we have NO WAY to change that trajectory anyhow.

Also, statistically the chances are that most humans will die in such an impact - they're rare but when they happen they are INCREDIBLY serious. This was a BIG object, it would have changed life forever. It would have been "an event" not just a random meteorite landing on a desert or ocean.

Also, the bit you're missing? We basically missed this. It's been circling the Sun forever, it's been going to hit us forever, and we didn't spot it. We probably don't have a way to effectively spot it and others like it.

And a few thousands of a degree change in its arc and it would have been something that people recorded for the rest of future history and killed millions. It was only sheer chance that we "escaped".

So, actually, as a mathematician and therefore of a scientific mind, this is a damn sight more important than what some orange fool said about some actress. By orders of magnitude.

Roll on the day when THIS is the news and not all that other junk.

Re:a space rock with an orbital distance from the

By Deadstick • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

A common measure of the "size" of an orbit is the semimajor axis -- which is half the length of the ellipse. You can have an orbit with a semimajor axis intermediate between those of Earth and Venus that can intersect both of them at various times, if its eccentricity is big enough.

Every gravitational interaction between two bodies alters both their orbits, to a degree that depends on their relative masses and on how close the approach is. This one's orbit will almost certainly change significantly -- hell, even Earth's orbit will change, but by an amount too small to observe.

The moon is far

By Nukenbar • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

remember this is the real scale of the Earth to the moon.

Author of Swift Language Chris Lattner is Leaving Apple; We're Interviewing Him (Ask a Question!)

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Software developer Chris Lattner, who is the main author of LLVM as well as Apple's Swift programming language, is leaving Apple, he said today. From a post: When we made Swift open source and launched we put a lot of effort into defining a strong community structure. This structure has enabled Apple and the amazingly vibrant Swift community to work together to evolve Swift into a powerful, mature language powering software used by hundreds of millions of people. I'm happy to announce that Ted Kremenek will be taking over for me as "Project Lead" for the Swift project, managing the administrative and leadership responsibility for This recognizes the incredible effort he has already been putting into the project, and reflects a decision I've made to leave Apple later this month to pursue an opportunity in another space. We're delighted to share that we are interviewing Lattner, who says he's a "long-time reader/fan of Slashdot." Please leave your question in the comments section. Lattner says he'll talk about "open source (llvm/clang/swift/etc) or personal topics," but has requested that we do not ask him about Apple, which is understandable.

Update: Lattner is joining Tesla.

Re:What hardware is used for workstations at apple

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Posting as AC, as I have in the past worked for Apple. Most developers at Apple have both a desktop and a laptop, usually an iMac and then whatever portable that they picked when the joined (for some developers this is primarily a meeting tool). Depending on what that developer does they then have a collection of other hardware (often pooled with people on their team) for development and testing (e.g.: hardware with diverse GPUs or screen resolutions). And then in other cases one or more prototype machine (sometimes in special secure labs).

There is a real culture of making sure that the developers run on the shipping hardware, so ordering anything custom (even more RAM) is often a difficult thing. At one point there was a lottery to determine who got to use the latest shipping iPhones and who was forced to use the oldest supported model, to make sure that people were feeling the pain of older hardware. A number of managers were except from that lottery... they got the oldest model by fiat.

The build clusters used to be Xserves but that was moving to clusters of Mac minis and MacPros. There were some Windows machines around (think iTunes and Quicktime), and I know some groups that did chip-level-design used linux, but standard Apple hardware rules the day.

Re:Swift libraries

By dgatwood • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Flaws in shared libraries can't enable privilege escalation in any operating system that I'm aware of except possibly some of those really old, pre-MMU mainframe operating systems. In modern OSes, shared library code runs in the same environment privilege-wise as the rest of the code in the app.

In fact, quite the opposite. Copying libraries introduces one of Windows's key security flaws: Any exploitable bug in a shared library is only truly fixed after every single app that provides a copy of that library gets updated to include a new version of that library. From a security perspective, providing multiple copies of a framework or library is generally seen as very, very bad.

Of course, the reason for it in this case was that the library was evolving quickly, and apps would get built against different versions. By including it in the app, you can run apps compiled against newer versions of the Swift library on older versions of the OS that lacked that version (or any version) of the library. IMO, what's really needed is a systemwide mechanism for downloading updated versions of these shared libraries in such a way that they get automatically kept up-to-date, but that's a much more complex solution than just including a copy of the framework in each app. Alternatively, I'd settle for block-level deduplication in iOS, but again....

Perhaps now that things have settled down a bit, they can move it into /S/L/Frameworks.

Any hope for more productive programming?

By Kohath • Score: 3 • Thread

I work in the semiconductor industry and our ASIC designs have seen a few large jumps in productivity:
- Transistors and custom layouts transitioned to standard cell flows and automated P&R.
- Design using logic blocks transitioned to synthesized design using RTL with HDLs.
- Most recently, we are synthesizing circuits directly from C language.

In the same timeframe, programming has remained more or less the same as it always was. New languages offer only incremental productivity improvements, and most of the big problems from 10 or 20 years ago remain big problems. Programmers still have to deal with syntax issues in various languages, and if I want parallel execution in my code, I have to design for it from the beginning.

Software is helping us design our ASIC circuits from higher and higher level abstractions. But software doesn't seem to be helping us write our software. The abstractions aren't much higher level.

Do you know of any initiatives that could produce a step-function increase (say 5-10x) in coding productivity for average engineers?

When I first heard rumors about what became Swift, that's what I was hoping for. But it turned out to be just another programming language.

Swift governance

By Tough Love • Score: 3 • Thread

Governance of the Swift project is firmly under the control of Apple, as stated here. How can Swift ever be a true community project if Apple controls it? Look no further than Java to see what can go wrong when a corporation controls a language.


By johannesg • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I did some work on parallelizing FORTRAN in the nineties. It never went very far; our parallelizing compiler ran out of swap space when you fed it anything larger than a twenty-line program. Not that swap space was all that big in those days, but it was clearly not useful in a real-world context. There were some good ideas, but also a great many realities that tended to break those good ideas.

Today I'd say, but this is after not looking at it very almost two decades, that the granularity at which the compiler is able to work is too fine; parallelism works better when you have larger chunks of work to deal with, which is still very much a programmer job. And at those fine granularities, dependencies (not to mention Amdahl's law) kill your efforts at parallelization.

So, in my opinion, it was oversold in the first place, and it turned out to be much harder than expected. But it sure sold those research grants...