Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2017-Sep-13 today archive

Contents

  1. Climate Change Could Wipe Out a Third of Parasite Species, Study Finds
  2. Target's Sales Floors Are Switching From Apple To Android Devices
  3. Backdoor Found In WordPress Plugin With More Than 200,000 Installations
  4. iPhone 8 and iPhone X Will Support Fast Charging, But Only If You Buy a New USB-C Charger
  5. Samsung Unveils New Electric Car Batteries For Up To 430 Miles of Range
  6. Ford Disguised a Man As a Car Seat To Research Self-Driving
  7. Apple's 'Shoddy' Beats Headphones Get Slammed In Lawsuit
  8. Study Finds That Banning Trolls Works, To Some Degree
  9. EU Set To Demand Internet Firms Act Faster To Remove Illegal Content
  10. Kaspersky Software Banned From US Government Systems Over Concerns About Russia
  11. Windows 10 Will Soon Give Users More Control Over App Permissions
  12. Equifax Had 'Admin' as Login and Password in Argentina
  13. Trump Administration Sued Over Phone Searches at US Borders
  14. Ask Slashdot: What Are You Reading This Month?
  15. The Fake News Machine: Inside a Town Gearing Up for 2020
  16. $782,000 Over Asking For a House in Sunnyvale
  17. The iPhone Is Guaranteed To Last Only One Year, Apple Argues In Court
  18. Java EE Is Moving To the Eclipse Foundation
  19. Disney Is Lone Holdout From Apple's Plan to Sell 4K Movies for $20
  20. North Korea Is Dodging Sanctions With a Secret Bitcoin Stash
  21. French Company Plans To Heat Homes, Offices With AMD Ryzen Pro Processors
  22. At Least 1.65 Million Computers Are Mining Cryptocurrency For Hackers So Far This Year

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

Climate Change Could Wipe Out a Third of Parasite Species, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled, alternative source): Recently, scientists carried out the first large-scale study of what climate change may do to the world's much-loathed parasites. The team came to a startling conclusion: as many as one in three parasite species may face extinction in the next century. As global warming raises the planet's temperature, the researchers found, many species will lose territory in which to survive. Some of their hosts will be lost, too. Researchers have begun carefully studying the roles that parasites play. They make up the majority of the biomass in some ecosystems, outweighing predators sharing their environments by a factor of 20 to 1. For decades, scientists who studied food webs drew lines between species -- between wildebeest and the grass they grazed on, for example, and between the wildebeest and the lions that ate them. In a major oversight, they didn't factor in the extent to which parasites feed on hosts. As it turns out, as much as 80 percent of the lines in a given food web are links to parasites. They are big players in the food supply.

Some researchers had already investigated the fate of a few parasite species, but Colin J. Carlson, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues wanted to get a global view of the impact of climate change. Some kinds won't lose much in a warming world, the study found. For instance, thorny-headed worms are likely to be protected because their hosts, fish and birds, are common and widespread. But other types, such as fleas and tapeworms, may not be able to tolerate much change in temperature; many others infect only hosts that are facing extinction, as well. In all, roughly 30 percent of parasitic species could disappear, Mr. Carlson concluded. The impact of climate change will be as great or greater for these species as for any others studied so far.
The study has been published in Science Advances.

Re:so...

By Hognoxious • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Messing with ecosystems can have unexpected consequences. You might get a threefold increase of politicians or an epidemic of myxomatosis resistant middle managers.

Better the devil you know.

Re:Would you really miss...

By jandersen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Good joke, of course, but more seriously, we shouldn't be too dismissive of the role played by any major part of the ecosystems, when we don't fully understand the situation. Just as a rather well reported example, there are several indications that the rise in allergies may have a lot to do with the elimination of internal parasites.

Re:warming models wrong

By dave420 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Unless you've been saying that in a peer-reviewed paper in a journal of good standing, it matters naught. As your last sentence demonstrates your respect for the scientific method, you might want to apply it to your own criticism of the findings. To not do so is incredibly hypocritical, and only serves to make you look like someone wishing their conclusions are correct, which I'm sure you're not.

Re: so...

By Kiuas • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

15 years later, climate is the same

The same? What the fuck man? Are you living in a basement? I'm 27 years old living in southern Finland, and the climate most definitely is not 'the same' as it used to be when I was a kid. Winters start a lot later in general. It's normal to have a winter here or there that's warmer and gets less snow, but in since the weather is more unstable now and each year tends to be on average hotter than the last, with nearly every year in the 2000s breaking records, the snow doesn't stay on the ground but melts, which obviously in the long term is doing damage to plants and wildlife whose natural cycle has evolved to deal with proper winter. Looking at meteorological data for Helsinki in the 2000s 13 years have been warmer than the average, while the remaining 3 have been extremely cold, several times colder than the average. Because of those 3 extremely cold winters the average temp has 'only' gone up by 0,5 celsius here in Helsinki but that's an absurdly high figure for less than 2 decades. This essentially means there are no 'normal' winters anymore, where we get a steady amount of snow throughout the winter, It's either bleakishly warm moist and dark, with little or no snow, or extremely fucking cold with 10s of centimeters of snow fucking up all transit and traffic.

This is what climate science has predicted all along: increase in extreme weather on both ends of the scale, and it is most certainly seen - and felt. here. The meteorologists predict that if this keeps going, by the time I'm in my 50s southern Finland may see very little if any snowfall at all during the winter months, which is a dramatic shift for the environment as well as for the mental well being of people (snow coverage reflects light which offsets the darkness of the northern wintertime when we get nearly no sunlight. Without any snow, most of the daytime is essentially black as night during winter months, which leads to increased fatigue and depression).

At the same time globally there are more storms, more flooding and in certain regions increased droughts.

Like damn, it really takes a record amount of stupidity to look at the climate data now and proclaim the climate 'is the same', when people my age can already spot the difference with their own eyes.

Mosquitos are nearly useless

By ThatNakedGuy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Mosquitoes do not make up a substantial part of any creatures diet. Even bats do not depend on mosquitoes. Bats eat beetles, wasps, and moths. Mosquitoes make up less than 1 percent of their total diet.
Studies of areas where mosquitoes have been eliminated show no major ecological disruption. They are seasonal anyway. Mosquitoes (at least the ones that harm us) are a blight on the world and should be eliminated.

Target's Sales Floors Are Switching From Apple To Android Devices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
After three years of Apple products, Target is moving to Android devices for stocking, pulling items, and other essential sales floor duties. Target first outfitted its employees with Apple products in 2014, replacing PDAs with iPod Touches. Gizmodo reports: In Fall of 2016, Target stores began testing the Zebra TC51, which runs Android 6.0 Mashmallow and was confirmed to Gizmodo as "the new MyDevices for store team members chainwide" by a company spokesperson over email. On Reddit's r/Target page and the unofficial employee forum The Breakroom, the new devices have been met with enthusiasm -- and plenty of jabs at the old iOS scanners. "The current iOS my devices we have all sorts of issues, connection issues, scanner issues, and tons more," one Breakroom poster complained. On Reddit, a former store manager wrote that "the iPod hardware they used as on the floor scanners for employees died quickly and there was no way of swapping in new batteries. There were many hardware issues that came about with the ipods." While a Target spokesperson confirmed the company will still purchase some products from Apple -- iPads for online order pickups, iPhones for managers -- the sales floor is switching to Android, and the company is staffing up on Android developers to port over all the internal software stores use.

Target has a good consumer site

By chromaexcursion • Score: 3 • Thread
When I'm looking for something at Target, I go to their web site, and I can find the isle location where I can find it. Once I showed what I had to a Target employee helping me. They were amazed at the detail I was able to access. Along with a few other larger retailers, they've built a good site.

Re:What scanner?

By redmid17 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
An iPod is not a touch is not a PC. Kinda wondering why they didn't give it a power-supply case but I don't know if that's possible because of the barcode scanner. If an app could not have sufficed, I am guessing that inadequate testing went into entire process anyway. Android has been far more open with third party accessories and apps than Apple devices -- I say this as an owner of both but a user of primarily iPod/iPhone tech. I really really hope that Target is bothering to test. Many of my clients never bother to.

I develop develop/enable mobile barcode scanning for a few platforms as a developer, so this is not a subject I'm alien to. There is a very good chance that the app they use is less stable or more power intensive than the ones I develop for. Then again, that would just go back to shitty testing (much to my surprise).

Re:Honestly...

By sgunhouse • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
We use Zebra handhelds at Wal-mart, though not that model (ours are MC-40 and TC-70 models). They have a built-in camera-based scanner and removable batteries. We've used the MC-40 for over a year, the TC-70 for a bit less, and they seem reliable. Once in a while the scanner stops working after waking from sleep and you need to reboot to get it to work, but other than that I've had no issues with them. They are locked down to the point I can't say which version of Android they use, but I know it is Android. (Not being in an IT role I don't have Admin rights on the devices.) They do work better than our old devices which ran some version of Windows Mobile on them.

Dear Store Manager:

By magusxxx • Score: 3 • Thread

"...a former store manager wrote that "the iPod hardware they used as on the floor scanners for employees died quickly and there was no way of swapping in new batteries"

And how many employees were reprimanded for not plugging them in to recharge? A similar situation happened at a store close to me. A friend said the morning/afternoon shifts would screw around and not recharge devices. Leaving the night crew having to wait their turn for the only remaining device working. Why was this happening?....

1) No one plugged it in to recharge.
2) The recharge cord wasn't plugged in because the employee removed it so they could recharge their own phone. (Hey, Pokemon Go takes up a lot of juice during an eight hour shift. And no, I'm not kidding. This was actually being done by the same employees who were also [see #1 & #3].
3) When they were fully charged the powerstrip would be turned off. And then forgotten to be turned on again. In order to save energy. "Also turn the lights off when you leave the room." Even though people are in and out all day. And it take more power to turn it on/off 30x then it would use if you just left it on.

Also you notice managers won't lose their iPhones.You know, the ones they probably use for Pokemon Go. ;)

Surplus

By CHK6 • Score: 3 • Thread
This isn't a iOS or Android issue at the dogma level, more of a supply chain for equipment at a price point that Target wants to hit.

Backdoor Found In WordPress Plugin With More Than 200,000 Installations

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to Bleeping Computer, a WordPress plug that goes by the name Display Widgets has been used to install a backdoor on WordPress sites across the internet for the past two and a half months. While the WordPress.org team removed the plugin from the official WordPress Plugins repository, the plugin managed to be installed on more than 200,000 sites at the time of its removal. The good news is that the backdoor code was only found between Display Widgets version 2.6.1 (released June 30) and version 2.6.3 (released September 2), so it's unlikely everyone who installed the plugin is affected. WordPress.org staff members reportedly removed the plugin three times before for similar violations. Bleeping Computer has compiled a history of events in its report, put together with data aggregated from three different investigations by David Law, White Fir Design, and Wordfence. The report adds: The original Display Widgets is a plugin that allowed WordPress site owners to control which, how, and when WordPress widgets appear on their sites. Stephanie Wells of Strategy11 developed the plugin, but after switching her focus to a premium version of the plugin, she decided to sell the open source version to a new developer who would have had the time to cater to its userbase. A month after buying the plugin in May, its new owner released a first new version -- v2.6.0 -- on June 21.

Re:And here I thought SharePoint was bad

By 404 Clue Not Found • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's not 1980 anymore and coding is commonplace, and with it, bad code. Still, writing bad code is job that pays the bills for a lot of people who couldn't do better. Wordpress is the fast food of web development... cheap and crappy, but available everywhere and easy to hire/fire for. For most of its uses (blogs and small biz sites), the cost of a Wordpress hack and the subsequent cost to fix it or even re-create the whole thing again from scratch is probably still several times cheaper than hiring a "proper" web developer to do it the right way from scratch and with modern security best practices.

So your Wordpress site gets hacked and replaced with ISIS spam or whatever, ok, you fix it and move on. One would hope that valuable customer information is stored in a separate system, usually managed by a payment provider or Mailchimp and such. The visible website is just an information portal.

There's a market for enterprise-level security (which still gets hacked), a market for managed small-biz websites (squarespace, wix, etc.), a huge market for Wordpress, etc.

Most people would rather choose convenience and cheapness than perfect security...

Re:And here I thought SharePoint was bad

By Billly Gates • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Outside of silicon valley not everyone knows code. That is the problem. People read a book or remember doing a hello world in HTML with Netscape back in the day and assume it is easy and uncomplicated and do not understand what is at stake and how the whole computing stack from the application layer down to the network and physical work and interact. Just because some sweet .com sites work like magic means it was easy and simple to develop.

There is a market for those who buy template sites from hosts. They should stick with that if they do not know what they are doing or want to pay someone to develp and maintain.

Conflating nonfree & free software is the joke

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

This situation doesn't back up your point at all. Technical considerations about features and what's easy to learn versus hard to learn are remarkably subjective. What's objectively clear is that Sharepoint (a proprietary CMS) doesn't allow users to inspect what it's doing, alter the code, or share improved versions. Any problems with Sharepoint have to be fixed by the proprietor (Microsoft), and a backdoor in Sharepoint may well not be viewed as something that needs to be "fixed" from the proprietor's point of view.

WordPress, by contrast, respects a user's freedom to run, inspect, share, and modify. Site owners can decide how much time and effort they want to put into keeping their WordPress install secure. If they find a problem, improvements can be vetted, shared, and completely understood. The limits of review and improvement are the site owner's to choose and site owners retain the freedom to fully control their site (so long as they host on free software systems). Even bad free software (for any definition of "bad") is better than nonfree software because users have software freedom. Writing one's own code would grant one the freedoms only Microsoft gets with Sharepoint.

It's not fair to WordPress to conflate a WordPress plugin with WordPress itself ("Wordpress is a joke") or being horribly vague about what is so bad about various free CMSes. WordPress can't take responsibility for what others put in their WordPress plugins. They can only delist the malware plugins and describe why users shouldn't run that plugin downloaded from another source.

Finally, your point fails to describe how this particular WordPress plugin is critical to useful WordPress sites. This matters to WordPress' main audience—nontechnical users—who might want to know why they should not want particular functionality the plugin ostensibly delivers, or how to get comparable functionality another way. Lots of users aren't technical and won't know why they shouldn't install a bunch of plugins, or how to vet the plugins they find provide genuinely necessary functionality (including not blindly accepting every upgrade but vetting the changes along the way). I don't like malware either, but it's not fair to conflate software freedom with non-freedom (as if nonfree software was inevitable or just as reasonable a choice, an alternative), or to blame one party (WordPress in this case) for another' choices, and objections are far more useful when they are specific.

My top three ways to protect yourself

By raymorris • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> Could WordPress site owners could do more to protect themselves?

Here are three suggestions.

1. Do not have plugins installed that you don't use. A large percentage of Wordpress hacks that I have investigated involve plugins that are no longer in use. The only software that is guaranteed to not make you vulnerable is software you have not installed.

1b. As a corollary, if most of the features of Wordpress are things you are not going to use, do not install WordPress. Smaller, simpler code we'll have fewer vulnerabilities.

2. Hacks, either built-in back doors or simple vulnerabilities, tend to use certain PHP functions such as which can execute external commands, such as exec() and popen(). These can be disabled in php.ini. Disabling these functions will prevent hackers from using them, and they tend to indicate poor quality code anyway. If disabling these function stops the script from running, it *may* have been a poor quality script to begin with.

3. Tools are available to scan PHP code looking for suspect portions. These tools can also look for functions such as exec() or popen which should be looked at to see if they may be either venerable or back doors.

Somebody may say that they use a exec or popen either to retrieve web Resources with wget or to run the imagemagick binaries. It's a better idea to use PHP's built in HTTP functions and to use the imagemagick API via the imagemagick extension. The imagemagick binaries are the UI, the USER interface,to imagemagick. Applications should use the application programming interface or API, not the UI.

Re:And here I thought SharePoint was bad

By AC-x • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

[Avoiding] SQL-injection attacks is a really hard problem

NO! Avoiding SQL-injection vulnerabilities is a basic part of website coding and extremely easy to do, there is no excuse.

iPhone 8 and iPhone X Will Support Fast Charging, But Only If You Buy a New USB-C Charger

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
One little detail Apple didn't mention at its event in Cupertino, California yesterday was the fact that the new iPhones will support fast charging. According to the official tech specs page, the new iPhones can recharge up to 50 percent of their battery life in a 30-minute charge. The catch? You have to use a USB-C charger and Lightning cable (sold separately). 9to5Mac reports: iPhone 8 battery life is roughly equivalent to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. On a full charge, expect up to 12 hours of internet usage on iPhone 8 and iPhone X, with up to 13 hours on iPhone 8 Plus. With a 50% quick charge in 30 minutes, you are effectively gaining hours of additional battery life during the day, even if you only plug in for a short period. However, to take advantage of fast-charging, you cannot use the Lightning to USB-A cable that is bundled in the box. Fast charging requires a USB-C to Lightning cable and the USB-C wall charger. More specifically, one of three USB-C wall chargers. Apple sells 29W, 61W and 87W variants of its USB-C power adapters. Prices range from $49 to $79. Apple doesn't break out specific numbers on how each model affects charging times, it's not clear if the cheapest 29W model can achieve the advertised 50% recharge in 30 minutes.

Re:the right thing to do?

By msauve • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
They don't have that much courage.

Re:Innovation

By blindseer • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Ah, you seem to forget that the cell phone makers had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into using a standard charging port. If China and the EU had not made the cell phone makers get in a room and come up with a standard battery charging port then you'd be complaining (still) about how every phone maker has a different charger.

Apple uses a USB port to charge like every other cell phone. Sure, you have to buy a cable to plug it in, also like any other cell phone. You don't have to buy cables from Apple either, I found "Apple certified" cables for $8 on Amazon. I'm sure you can find them cheaper too, just like you can get a cheap USB-C cable and take your chances on it not working or breaking your phone. Before the USB port was mandated as a standard a lot of 5 billion dollar construction projects were funded from selling vendor specific chargers.

The transition to USB-C hasn't exactly been smooth either. Lots of cell phone makers couldn't be bothered with complying with the standard. The phone might have a port that *LOOKS* like a USB-C port but plugging in a charger other than what came with it could damage the phone, or limit it to slow charging rates as it reverted to voltage and current that complies with USB 2.0. I seem to recall an article on this website called Slashdot, perhaps you've heard of it, where there was a discussion on Google "suggesting" that Android phone makers comply with the USB standard or lose the Google endorsement.

Re: Super fast charging?

By scdeimos • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I routinely burn through the battery on my phone

Oh, a Samsung hey?

Re:USB PD 2.0

By garote • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

All previous iPhones have been able to pull ~10 watts out of a USB port by looking for a proprietary signal from Apple-brand chargers. (A "voltage cascade" on pins 2 and 3, a.k.a the USB data pins.)

With that signal, the iPhone draws 2 amps (at 5v) out of the connected USB port. Without that signal, the iPhone assumes it's a USB port from some other vendor, and uses the standard USB power negotiation signals to ask for the maximum power available from the port (usually 1 amp).

This "voltage cascade" signal is trivial to recreate in any USB wiring setup by adding two resistors. Put those in, and you signal to any Apple device that your port can supply 2 amps without problems. Many, many manufacturers have sold USB devices with "fast charging" ports containing these resistors over the last ~10 years, from USB hubs to USB ports on laptops to USB chargers that go in cars to USB charging stations at airports, et cetera. They've become so common that there's now confusion over exactly who came up with the voltage cascade signal idea.

Now that the USB spec has given us a good standard for supplying lots of power at lots of voltages, the earlier fast-charging signal can (very slowly) be phased out.

Re: the right thing to do?

By Jesus H Rolle • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

When USB was released motherboards still had Parallel and Serial ports for a while, when HDMI was released VGA didn't die instantly on Laptops.

Q: Conjunction junction, what's your function? A: Connecting nouns and verbs and phrases.

Samsung Unveils New Electric Car Batteries For Up To 430 Miles of Range

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: At the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA Cars 2017) this week, Samsung's battery division, Samsung SDI, showcases a new "Multifunctional battery pack" solution to enable more range in electric vehicles as the Korean company tries to carve itself a bigger share of the growing automotive battery market. Most established automakers, like Nissan with the LEAF or even GM with the more recent Chevy Bolt EV, have been using large prismatic cells to build their electric vehicle battery packs. Tesla pioneered a different approach using thousands of individual smaller cylindrical li-ion battery cells in each pack. Earlier this year, Samsung unveiled its own '2170' battery cell to compete with Tesla/Panasonic. Now they are claiming that they can reach an impressive energy density by using those cells in new modules: "'Multifunctional battery pack' of Samsung SDI attracted the most attention. Its users can change the number of modules as they want as if they place books on a shelf. For example, if 20 modules are installed in a premium car, it can go 600 to 700 kilometers. If 10 to 12 modules are mounted on a regular sedan, it can run up to 300 kilometers. This pack is expected to catch the eyes of automakers, because they can design a car whose mileage may vary depending on how many modules of a single pack are installed."

Re:The figure that matters...

By hey! • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Obviously both Wh/kg and$/kWh are important. Until the Wh/kg and Wh/m^3 figures for a new tech get good enough to make it physically practical, $/kWh is irrelevant; but beyond that with most new tech there's usually an adoption curve.

After you've done all the lab based tinkering you can to make new tech affordable, there comes a time when the only way to make it cheaper is to make it in quantity. But unless you are lucky (or persuasive) enough to be swimming in unlimited investor dollars, chances are you don't have the money to set up an operation on that scale.

That's why you target niche applications and early tech adopters. Elon Musk was smart about this: he didn't set out to build the electric equivalent of the Model T; he started out with an exotic roadster and then a near-as-exotic high end luxury sedan.

But then Henry Ford didn't start out with the Model T either; his first car was the Model A. The original 1903 Model A cost $800, at the time when the median US income was $543. He sold about 10,000 of them. The Model T was introduced in 1908 for $825, but five years later he managed to drop that price down to $440; sales increased twentyfold. By 1925 he'd managed to drop the price to $260 (the equivalent of less than $3700 in 2017 dollars) at a time median income had risen to $750. Not surprising he sold nearly two million of the things that year.

That's the power of the adoption curve. Early adopters bootstrap economies of scale you need to make something cheap enough for everyone.

Electric Pinto

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Electric Pinto -- enough said.

Re:Relevant questions

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually, it's really not. Note the above with the Model 3, for example: adding ~41% more range from batteries increases the vehicle mass by only 7%, which in turn translates to a loss of range at highway speeds of 2-3% 41% vs. 2-3%; it's not that meaningful. It'd be more like 5% for city driving, but then again, nobody cares about EV range in city driving - EVs go much further in city driving regardless, and who drives 310+ miles in-town-only per day?

Re: The figure that matters...

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Exactly; when you run the numbers it's easy to see the profit margin on them. They buy power at industrial rates (huge bulk), which in the US average something like $0.06-0.07/kWh, and sell it back for $0.20/kWh. The demand charges can be significant at low/uneven utilization rates, but that's not what we're talking about here, we're talking about "when electric vehicles become more popular". The station is much cheaper than a gas station to build; a typical 8-stall supercharging station today costs around $250k on average, and we're nowhere near mass production now. Punch in the numbers at say 30% average utilization and you find that it's easy to show significant profitability.

Re:Relevant questions

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

From what I can tell it's nothing revolutionary chemistry-wise. They adopted the round cell form-factor similar to what Panasonic/Tesla use, but the real innovation here is that the battery is modular. You can relatively easily add and remove capacity, meaning you can build identical cars on your production line and then fit whatever size battery the customer wants at the last minute. Customers can also pay for upgrades later, or even rent some extra capacity.

So the battery itself isn't that interesting, it's the BMS (battery management system) and mechanical construction that is quite clever.

Ford Disguised a Man As a Car Seat To Research Self-Driving

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to TechCrunch, Ford put a man in a car seat disguise so that a Ford Transit could masquerade as a true self-driving vehicle in order to evaluate how passers-by, other drivers on the road and cyclists reacted to sharing the road with an autonomous vehicle. From the report: The trial, conducted with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, also made use of a light bar mounted on the top of the windshield to provide communication about what the car was doing, including yielding, driving autonomously or accelerating from a full stop. The Transit Connect van used for the trial would indicate its behavior using signals including a slow white pulse for yielding, a rapid blinking for accelerating from a stop, and staying solid if it's actively in self-driving mode. The bar is positioned roughly where a driver's eye line would be, to try to catch the attention of those around it who would look in its direction.

old story about talking cars....

By turkeydance • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
waaay back in the day, when Ford/Chevy made "talking cars", as in the female (always female) voice "your door is a jar" or ajar or something like that, a new Buick bought by a church-going lady ran off the road after leaving the dealership. she said that "haunts are in my car" (haunts are ghosts). this experiment has a little "haunt" potential, even if it's only distracted drivers calling 911 to report it. and yes, those would be data points.

That is nothing!

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Equifax disguised a music major as Chief of Security!

Insulting

By JThundley • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

This is so insulting. Didn't we all as a society agree that actors in blackface is racist and offensive? Why is putting a man in carface any different?

Knight Rider

By Neo-Rio-101 • Score: 3 • Thread

I think I saw this trick done in the Knight Rider TV series from the 1980s

I specifically remember one scene in an early episode where KITT drove itself and came to a park. You can barely make out the hands on the steering wheel before they quickly pulled themselves away - but it wasn't edited out ;)

Re:old story about talking cars....

By Lordpidey • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Female voices tend to come out better after deep compression, that's a big part of the reason why they were used so much in 80s technology, because they were easier to understand.

Apple's 'Shoddy' Beats Headphones Get Slammed In Lawsuit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A lawsuit (PDF) filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, recounts the frustrations of five plaintiffs who found that Apple's Powerbeats 2 and Powerbeats 3 headphones did not perform as advertised. They are also claiming the company is refusing to honor warranty commitments to repair or replace the failed units. The Register reports: The complaint seeks $5,000,000 in damages and class action certification, in order to represent thousands of similarly afflicted Beats customers who are alleged to exist. "In widespread advertising and marketing campaigns, Apple touts that its costly Powerbeats (which retail for $199.95) are 'BUILT TO ENDURE' and are the 'BEST HEADPHONES FOR WORKING OUT,'" the complaint says. "But these costly headphones are neither 'built to endure' nor 'sweat & water resistant,' and certainly do not have a battery that lasts for six or twelve hours. Instead, these shoddy headphones contain a design defect that causes the battery life to diminish and eventually stop retaining a charge."

The complaint attributes the shoddiness of Apple's Powerbeats headphones to cheap components. Citing an estimate in a recent Motley Fool article, the complaint contends that Apple's Beats Solo headphones cost $16.89 to make and retail for $199.95: a markup of more than 1,000 per cent. That figure actually comes from a Medium post by Avery Louie, from hardware prototyping biz Bolt.

Re:Lawsuits

By skam240 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The lawsuit is claiming false advertising and If they can prove it then they deserve the win. We shouldn't have to research the hell out of every little purchase, we should be able to buy based on what is advertised. If an item is advertised as sweat and water resistant no one should have to doubt that claim, especially when paying a premium price.

Along with all this, holding Apple accountable for lying to consumers (if they really were) is healthy for our economy in general. If consumers have trust in the products and brands they are buying they are likely to spend more than if they do not have trust. I'm not at all the type of person to buy something when it first comes out but without these people our economy would be less healthy.

Re:Once & for all, Apple is fashion not functi

By lucm • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You buy Apple to LOOK cool, not to actually BE cool -- you understand that right?

That was true in 2014. Now you buy Apple because the storage on your previous Apple product is full and you have no other way to get more space.

Is it worth it if they work?

By dmr001 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

My use case is running for 40 minutes 4 times a week while getting my headphones soaked in a combination of sweat, rain, and lately ash blown in from nearby wildfires. I have blown through 3 prior pairs of Bluetooth wireless headphones, all of which suffered from poor reception while running, and all of which died a salt-encrusted death within several months.

My Powerbeats 3 aren't perfect (the cord sticks a bit on the back of my neck) but they are by far the only wireless headphones that ever really worked for me for running. I spent more than $200 with the other 3, which I suppose made the admittedly stiff price worth my while.

Re: Obligatory

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
MSRP is $200. Dealer/retailer pays $120. Distributor pays $80. Apple makes a typical 4-5X markup, not 12X as intended. There are more steps in the chain than most expect... For most CE products, you can assume a 10-12X markup between COGM (not COGS which would be higher than COGM) and MSRP.

Re:Fakes abound.

By mjwx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

To be fair, the term was "premium brand," which Apple - arguably - is.

Apple is by far, not a premium brand. Its an expensive one, but not premium. Even then, they're not so expensive as to price themselves out of availability for everyone. Here in the UK even someone on benefits (welfare) can get an Iphone. They're like a Toyota Camry and we can hardly call Toyota a premium brand

However, such a brand can be applied to all kinds of shonky products - Ferrari and Porsche, for example, sell all kinds of branded, over-priced tat.

Right about the first part, wrong about the second.

Ferrari's and Porsches have attributes that set them apart from cheaper competition (although the Porsche is the cheap Ferrari). You cant replicate a 488 for much less than a 488 costs. You cant say the same about Apple. Apple is like what Volkswagen does in Australia. VW pretends its a premium brand in Australia when they're common as muck in here in Europe and no more expensive than a Toyota. They aren't better quality or have better features than their competition, but they charge a premium because of the badge.

Study Finds That Banning Trolls Works, To Some Degree

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: On October 5, 2015, facing mounting criticism about the hate groups proliferating on Reddit, the site banned a slew of offensive subreddits, including r/Coontown and r/fatpeoplehate, which targeted Black people and those with weight issues. But did banning these online groups from Reddit diminish hateful behavior overall, or did the hate just spread to other places? A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and University of Michigan examines just that, and uses data collected from 100 million Reddit posts that were created before and after the aforementioned subreddits were dissolved. Published in the journal ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, the researchers conclude that the 2015 ban worked. More accounts than expected discontinued their use on the site, and accounts that stayed after the ban drastically reduced their hate speech. However, studies like this raise questions about the systemic issues facing the internet at large, and how our culture should deal with online hate speech. First, the researchers automatically extracted words from the banned subreddits to create a dataset that included hate speech and community-specific lingo. The researchers looked at the accounts of users who were active on those subreddits and compared their posting activity from before and after those offensive subreddits were banned. The team was able to monitor upticks or drops in the hate speech across Reddit and if that speech had "migrated" to other subreddits as a result.

Re:FIRST POST

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I tried some clever trolling, but got modded +Insightful instead. Very frustrating.

Re:Remind me...

By epyT-R • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You need to stop and think about what free speech actually means. Your beloved First Amendment, that only applies to the government curtailing your speech. It sure as hell doesn't apply to something like Reddit, nor does it shield you from the responses of other people.

Correct, yet a strawman. I never said the first amendment applies here. Stop pretending you don't understand the difference between arguing what should be vs arguing what is. It's the socjus crowd demanding that institutions (eg reddit) give them their gilded safe spaces, at taxpayer expense no less. They've demonstrated they've got no problem infiltrating such organizations to get what they want at everyone else's financial and political expense.

For all practical purposes, Reddit is private property. They can decide what they are willing to tolerate, and what they're not. As I said, they don't owe you a platform.

So if some site decided to toss all them "pinko commis" off their site for expressing left wing views, you'd be ok with that? It's possible your view is at least consistent on this, but I doubt it.

I've seen a lot of lame attempts to turn the tables on the effective 'special snowflake' label the socjus crowd's been aptly branded with. These people sound like the religious right, demanding blasphem..err I mean 'hate speech' laws in the name of 'decency' so that their fragile political views won't be challenged.

Who are the spoiled children? The ones who think they can say anything, anywhere they like, that other people should be required to tolerate it, and that there are no repercussions from being an idiot. Don't want there to be consequences of your free speech, keep it to yourself.

Spoiled children are usually demanding that big mommy/daddy step in to solve their conflicts for them. That sounds more like the reddit/pro socjus crowd than the pro free speech people. I'm sure you'd say the same thing to the online SJWs getting flamed for their illogical arguments? Oh, right, when they're criticized, it's 'trolling'...

The rest of your post reads like the sniveling whiny spoiled brat you describe. It's about the right amount of hypocrisy I'd expect from a progressive.

Re:Remind me...

By jedidiah • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> You need to stop and think about what free speech actually means. Your beloved First Amendment, that only applies to the government curtailing your speech.

It's a principle that is valued as the cornerstone of democracy.

You are attempting to use a "legalistic" argument to pretty much completely ignore a principle. You want to pretend that free speech is only defined by a single bit of law. You are eager to demonstrate WHY that law exists.

If not for that law, people JUST LIKE YOU would use the government to do bad things.

The Bill of Rights is not a comprehensive list of human rights. It's merely a set of limits placed on the federal government.

Usenet is dead. News at 11.

By shanen • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

One of the things that destroyed usenet was rampaging trolls. The kill-list was a weak response that ultimately availed naught. That is why I advocate for a more proactive reputation-based-filtering solution. You might choose to stuff your eyes and ears with tripe, but I would prefer not to.

There is a great deal of confusion about "freedom" and "free speech". Your freedom to speak freely should not block my freedom to ignore idiots. Not that I'm calling you an idiot. Yet. However, if I had to make a prediction based on your short comment...

Re: Remind me...

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Surely if they want to encourage lively discussion they should ban the people who try to sabotage it with fat shaming and extreme racism.

Trolls aren't trying to improve the quality of discussion. They aren't trying to put forward unpopular opinions (you can do that without calling someone a n!gger). They are trying to sabotage the debate, to drive people away or silence them.

Trolls actually stop people discussing controversial topics. They make lively debate impossible.

EU Set To Demand Internet Firms Act Faster To Remove Illegal Content

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Companies including Google, Facebook and Twitter could face European Union laws forcing them to be more proactive in removing illegal content if they do not do more to police what is available on the Internet. From a report: The European Union executive outlines in draft guidelines reviewed by Reuters how Internet firms should step up efforts with measures such as establishing trusted flaggers and taking voluntary measures to detect and remove illegal content. Proliferating illegal content, whether because it infringes copyright or incites terrorism, has sparked heated debate in Europe between those who want online platforms to do more to tackle it and those who fear it could impinge on free speech. The companies have significantly stepped up efforts to tackle the problem of late, agreeing to an EU code of conduct to remove hate speech within 24 hours and forming a global working group to combine their efforts remove terrorist content from their platforms.

lowest common denominator

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

If any country can decide speech is illegal, we're just going to have the lowest common denominator.

Re:lowest common denominator

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Yup...

Hate speech?

There is no such thing a "hate speech"...there is only speech.

And please do not confuse "hate speech" with incitement to violence against a group, they are two different things, and the latter is already illegal (at least in the US).

But voicing opinions, even if distasteful, should never be illegal and just because you find it in poor taste or against your morals, doesn't make it hate speech or something that should be banned or made illegal.

You should step back and think what speech you agree with now and is more common that could have been suppressed not that long ago if it had been banned like you are wanting to do now.

The fastest way to ruin a good thing..

By Rick Schumann • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
..is to get too many people involved in it.
47% of the people alive on the planet today have access to the internet -- call it 3.3 billion people.
I'd say that's more than enough to ruin the Internet, sooner or later. Which is what we're seeing here today.

Trusted flagger

By PPH • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What is a trusted flagger? Is there a certification and licensing program in place? How about indemnity insurance should the flagger incorrectly call for a takedown and damage some group or the content hosting company as a result?

*sigh* Here we go again.

By fustakrakich • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Until we can unchain ourselves from the ISP, there is no hope. We need a real P2P internet with multiple routing that can't be shut down. Without it the tyrants will always win.

Kaspersky Software Banned From US Government Systems Over Concerns About Russia

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mark Wilson writes: The Department of Homeland Security has told US government agencies to remove Kaspersky software from their systems. The directive was issued because of concerns about influence exerted over the company by the Russian government. Government agencies have been given three months to identify and start to remove Kaspersky's security products. Kaspersky has constantly denied connections to the Russian government, but the US is simply not willing to take the risk.

Re:Banned because Kaspersky patched NSA/CIA backdo

By Dan East • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is cold hard irrefutable fact, not internet rumor.

Got any more hard irrefutable facts I'm supposed to blindly believe? Just checking before I make any important decisions. BTW, I'm on the internet, and I'm seeing this claim made on the internet by a totally anonymous person with no actual attribution or sources backing it up, so that kinda, by definition, makes it an "internet rumor".

Attack vector

By Dan East • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Of all possible attack vectors into a system, antivirus software would have to be the most ideal mechanism for taking over or otherwise collecting data. By its very design it must have full reign of the system, read the data of every file accessed by any process, and have the ability to edit and delete any file on the system.

However, the most concerning part is that antivirus software must receive new functionality and data on a practically daily basis to detect and remove newly created malware. An antivirus program can take down its host system at any time by simply receiving a virus definition that causes it to remove or corrupt critical system files. It can also do the same targeting any specific application.

Personally I don't trust ANY antivirus company to wield that sort of power over my system.

Re:Russia please uninstall US antivirus software

By Shompol • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...all Russian government should not use US Windows software because it does contain CIA backdoor to get in!

Re:Banned because Kaspersky patched NSA/CIA backdo

By SeaFox • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

jimstone.is

After hackers released all the NSA hackware files, Kaspersky went through them and plugged all the holes. That would explain why American intelligence is telling people to avoid Kaspersky.

Let me repeat an old story on this site . . . .

Years ago, (2012 or so) a Norton programmer contacted me and told me that both Norton and McAfee had people permanently stationed at Microsoft, and their only job was to cooperate with Microsoft and make sure their system security products did not close any NSA backdoors that Microsoft put there for the NSA. This is cold hard irrefutable fact, not internet rumor.

Why would the government need to worry about Kaspersky plugging "NSA backdoors" on systems they personally own and have full physical access to? If they want to see what's on their own systems they can, in a worst-case scenario, just walk in the take them.

Why You Should Run Kaspersky

By j0ebaker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It is the US government who makes companies insert spy software into their machines. I run Kaspersky because they aren't under threat from the NSA to look the other way about back doors that The NSA and CIA might be putting on my computers.

Windows 10 Will Soon Give Users More Control Over App Permissions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: The software giant has revealed that you'll get much more control over what apps are allowed to do with your device. Where you previously only had control over location sharing, the Fall Creators Update will ask you to grant permission before accessing all kinds of potentially sensitive hardware and software features. It'll ask to use your camera and microphone if you have a video recording app, for instance, or check before offering access to your calendar and contacts. You'll only get these prompts for apps installed after you move to the Fall Creators Update; you'll have to dive into your privacy settings to review permissions for apps you already have. Even so, it's an important boost to Windows' privacy security levels. Much as on phones, where fine-grained permissions are already fairly commonplace, you might not have to worry as much about malicious apps spamming your contacts or hijacking the camera.

Re:That's not how it will work

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

True that. And MS is doing the same itself; today Windows version of Skype asked if it was ok to install a update (funny question itself, as I have disabled automatic update checks on it) and the dialog gave two options; Yes and Later. Pressing Later-button just closes the Skype immediately. Only way to bypass that dialog was to answer yes. Why not be honest that we give you no choice but do as we tell you or cry and do as we tell you? And if the MS did not try to make the Skype UI worse and more phone-like on every version, people might actually want to update it.

Sticking with Windows 9

By jfdavis668 • Score: 3 • Thread
I'm not hearing good things about Windows 10, so I am sticking with Windows 9.

Clarification

By XSportSeeker • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Just so people know, this has nothing to do with regular Windows software, just Windows Store apps... which no one cares about.
https://blogs.windows.com/wind...
"Starting with the Fall Creators Update, we’re extending this experience to other device capabilities for apps you install through the Windows Store."

I'd rather the headline be:

By QuietLagoon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
"Windows 10 Will Soon Give Users Complete Control Over Windows 10's Data Harvesting" But it's not. So I stuck with Windows 7 until I finish my migration to Linux.

Re:I can hear the cries already

By JohnFen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Don't confuse hating change for worse with hating change in general.

Equifax Had 'Admin' as Login and Password in Argentina

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reader wired_parrot writes: The credit report provider Equifax has been accused of a fresh data security breach, this time affecting its Argentine operations. The breach was revealed after security researchers discovered that an online employee tool used by Equifax Argentina was accessible using the "admin/admin" password combination.

I want to work at Equifax!

By intnsred • Score: 3 • Thread

Really, I do want to work there!

I'll be a bloody genius there -- hell, even I know enough to change the login combo to "admin/equfax" -- and they'll pay me well for such brilliant security insights.

Oh, but wait.

Now that people -- and even chat-bots -- are suing them blind over this mindless security breach, I'm thinking that maybe there won't be a company left when they're through.

Re:Are you shitting me ?

By Mr. Shotgun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I don't see how a "debug mode" or an accident can get passwords located in the code like that, no matter how horri-bad a dev is.

Oh I can see it, some horri-bad dev write a "Select * from users" because that is the only SQL he knows and then finds a bunch of extra fields in his response. And rather than asking someone or googling about selecting fields he then marks all the rest of the fields as hidden. Out of site, out of mind. Only master haxxor ninjas know how to right click a page and select view source.

Re:more than one moron

By angel'o'sphere • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why does equipment even have a default user/password?
It simply should not function until you have changed/set it.

How is there no Hitler reaction video to all

By Kogun • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

this dumbfuckery? Get on it people!

Re:Anyone want to place bets.....

By Xyrus • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

On the bright side Equifax's stock price is plummeting faster than a metric based Mars probe.

I hope they go bankrupt and every corporate board member spends the rest of their lives fighting identity theft. They deserve no less, since now I have to spend the rest of my fucking life fighting identity theft thanks to these assholes.

Trump Administration Sued Over Phone Searches at US Borders

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Trump administration has engaged in an unconstitutional practice of searching without a warrant the phones and laptops of Americans who are stopped at the border, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleged. From a report: Ten U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court, saying the searches and prolonged confiscation of their electronic devices violate privacy and free speech protections of the U.S. Constitution. DHS could not be immediately reached for comment. The lawsuit comes as the number of searches of electronic devices has surged in recent years, alarming civil rights advocates.

Re:Started with Obama, continued with Trump

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

As they should be. If it's the law or standard practice, it should be enforced so that it shines light on it and if negative, is changed through legislation, eventually stopping this discretionary enforcement that's been going on as the executive branch changes parties.

Re:In other words...

By mpercy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Bush didn't need any help. It was overwhelming passed by Congress, all he had to do was ask for it and sign it.

These are the 98 U.S. senators for voted in favor of the US Patriot Act of 2001 (Senator Landrieu (D-LA) did not vote) Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act on October 24, of 2001.

http://educate-yourself.org/cn...

Very few of the Democrats in the Senate learned their lesson, and so voted to reauthorize it by close to the same numbers in 2006, and Obama signed off on at least one more renewal (I've lost track).

The list of two-time Yeas includes Hillary Cllnton, Chris Dodd, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Rockefeller, Sarbane, both Nelsons, Diane Feinstein, Max Baucus, Joe Lieberman, ...

The House was a tad better as far as Dems voting Nay, it passed the House 357-66 in 2001 and 280-138 in 2006.

Re:Started with Obama, continued with Trump

By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The Trump administration is by far the biggest spike,

The biggest spike? Let's see, a quick Google shows it spiked from 2560 in October 2016 to...2595 in March 2017.

Note that both of those numbers are about triple the number for October 2015.

A few more quick Googles, and I find that, while the problem has gotten a lot more media attention since Trump became President, the problem started back after 9/11, and has continued a steady rise during both the last two Administrations, with essentially no change since Trump got the job (no change, in this case, means the trends have pretty much continued, almost like it was being done by the bureaucracy, rather than the policymakers)....

Re:Pick your poison

By sexconker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Border checkpoints within the actual border or international airports within the borders aren't "technically still outside the country". They're absolutely within the country. Could you imagine a group of scary-looking Muslims holding meetings in the "not in the US, yet" zone of LAX and the US letting it happen?

They're only "technically still outside the country" because they want to illegally fuck your rights.

You listed two choices, then mentioned three choices. Did you change your mind and remove the obvious and correct choice of the Constitution delineating the powers of the federal government (regardless of where it is acting or upon whom it is acting) while guaranteeing all other rights to the states and the people?

The Constitution applies within US borders, always. The Constitution applies to US citizens, always. If it is at odds with the law where a US citizen is, then treaties come into play as they are the only laws that are ranked as highly as the Constitution. The Constitution applies to what the federal government does, always and everywhere.

Re:Started with Obama, continued with Trump

By Shotgun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"sense of discretion"?

Does that mean the searches are ok and don't deserve notice as long as the President, who has no possible way to oversee the choices of who gets searched, uses discretion?

I personally believe that DHS should search through every single phone that comes through the border, with agents mocking all the selfies an vacation pics, while rubbing themselves when there are pics of hot chics. Maybe then, Americans would finally wake up to how unprofessional, un-Constitutional, and utterly disgusting warrantless searches are.

Ask Slashdot: What Are You Reading This Month?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Hey folks! Could you share what are some books (or book) you're reading this month? Maybe it's the book you've already started, or you intend to begin or resume later this month? Thanks!

The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome

By edx93 • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

by Tony Attwood.

Discovering I have asperger's (now known as high functioning autism) was one of the (if not THE) most life-changing events of my life (no joke). Not only has this book helped me understand myself, but I'm hoping it'll help me cope with all my still significant social and dating issues. I'm 1/3 of the way through, so we'll see. Any hints and tips from fellow aspies welcome.

The Hercules Text

By jwhyche • Score: 3 • Thread

I am half way through The Hercules Text by Jack McDevitt. After that I had planned to read a few more of his stand alone works, Eternity Road and Moonfall but I'm thinking of diverting to read some Jerry Pournelle's works. I'll probably start with Footfall since it has been on my "to be reread list" for almost a decade. From there who knows? I'm looking at a whole list of Pournelle that deserve to be re-read.

The Count of Monte Cristo

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

I'm reading _The Count of Monte Cristo_ for the first time at age 50. I'm sure glad I started reading it; I think it's great. You can get it legally for free online since it's in public domain. I downloaded it to a kindle.

“And now,' said the unknown, 'farewell kindness, humanity, and gratitude! Farewell to all the feelings that expand the heart! I have been heaven's substitute to recompense the good - now the god of vengeance yields to me his power to punish the wicked!”

Re:Various

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

Jim Butcher is a good writer. I like his style too. I just finished reading the entire series of Dresden novels, again, to keep it fresh in my mind while waiting for Peace Talks.

Suzanne Summers

By nanospook • Score: 3 • Thread
Playboy, 180 and oh yeah 1884

The Fake News Machine: Inside a Town Gearing Up for 2020

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
CNN has a story on Veles, riverside town in Macedonia, which back in the day was known to make porcelain for the whole of Yugoslavia. But now, as an investigation by the news outlet has found, it makes fake news. Veles has become home to dozens of website operators who churn out bogus stories designed to attract the attention of Americans. Each click adds cash to their bank accounts. From the report: The scale is industrial: Over 100 websites were tracked here during the final weeks of the 2016 U.S. election campaign, producing fake news that mostly favored Republican candidate for President Donald Trump. One of the shadowy industry's pioneers is a soft-spoken law school dropout. Worried that his online accounts could be shut down, the 24-year-old asked to be known only as Mikhail. He takes on a different persona at night, prowling the internet as "Jesica," an American who frequently posts pro-Trump memes on Facebook. The website and Facebook page that "Jesica" runs caters to conservative readers in the U.S. The stories are political -- and often wrong on the facts. But that doesn't concern Mikhail. "I don't care, because the people are reading," he said. "At 22, I was earning more than someone [in Macedonia] will ever learn in his entire life." He claims to have earned up to $2,500 a day from advertising on his website, while the average monthly income in Macedonia is just $426. The profits come primarily from ad services such as Google's AdSense, which place targeted advertisements around the web. Each click sends a little bit of cash back to the content creator. Mikhail says he has used his profits to buy a house and put his younger sister through school. [...] That site was blocked a few months ago after Facebook and Google started cracking down on fake news sites. Mikhail is now retooling his operation, with his sights set firmly on the 2020 presidential election.

Re:Talk about fake news!!!!!

By amicusNYCL • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

just because people share these things, doesnt mean they fall for them. that is something that seems to be ignored.

Sharing things and "falling for them" are precisely the same thing, whether you want to believe that or not. What's the goal of the people creating the fake news stories? To get people to share them, and click on them. That's the goal. The goal is not to get people to believe them. They don't make money when people believe their stories, they make money when people read and share them. So, you did fall for them. You're one of the people paying the people who write fake news, so congratulations.

As far as the political lean of the stories, the creators themselves will point out how stories that would appeal to conservatives spread far more quickly than those targeted at liberals. The people who would share a story like the fake Denver Guardian story in the article don't even bother to look at the source site and figure out that this fake news story is literally the only one posted on the site. You'll get people calling bullshit on any little detail on a site like Slashdot and doing research to back up their point of view, but that doesn't happen on the Facebook feeds of conservatives. People like the guy in that article rely on the lack of fact-checking among conservatives to bring him 5 figures in income per month, so it obviously works.

When did you notice that fake news does best with Trump supporters?

Well, this isn't just a Trump-supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin's famous blasting of the lamestream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn't something that started with Trump. This is something that's been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters. When we were coming up with headlines it's always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.

We've tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.

Re:Why keep calling it fake news?

By Tranzistors • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Fake news" is not always untrue, sometimes it's just really biased

Nope. One sided, biased news is not fake news. Even deceit by omission is not fake news. This is why Fox News and Daily Mail is not Fake News. It is fake when it is just a fabrication. Those guys in Macedonia are not selectively covering real events, they are making shit up. Remember when Pope Francis endorsed Trump? This is what Fake News is. This is what the friendly article is about.

Re:Kind of surprised it's in Macedonia

By allcoolnameswheretak • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

> this entire russia thing is the epitome of fake news

No it isn't. But the Russians have their own sophisticated troll and fake news factories. They probably don't need to rely on some freelancers in Macedonia.

Re:Kind of surprised it's in Macedonia

By amicusNYCL • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The "entire Russia thing" is the epitome of fake news? Well, you're not necessarily wrong. Here's some research which shows that some of these bots, identifying themselves as British people or whatever, post exclusively between 8am and 8pm Moscow time. People pushing out propaganda which favors Russia and their goal of destabilizing the Western governments set up after the fall of the Soviet Union, doing their work during 12-hour days in Moscow time.

Re:Trump was right

By danbert8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They were equally bad, but they were both still bad. I voted for the lesser of evils, Gary Johnson.

$782,000 Over Asking For a House in Sunnyvale

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: A house in Sunnyvale just sold for close to $800,000 over its listing price. Your eyes do not deceive you: The four-bed, two-bath house -- less than 2,000 square feet -- listed for $1,688,000 and sold for $2,470,000. "I think it's the most anything has ever gone for over asking in Sunnyvale -- a record for Sunnyvale," said Dave Clark, the Keller Williams agent who represented the sellers in the deal. "We anticipated it would go for $2 million, or over $2 million. But we had no idea it would ever go for what it went for." This kind of over-bidding is known to happen farther north in cities including Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View. But as those places have grown far too expensive for most buyers, future homeowners have migrated south to Sunnyvale, a once modest community that now finds itself among the Bay Area's real estate hot spots.

Re:Stupid, or hoping to make a killing?

By clong83 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Yeah. I live in a small town of about 15000 people, with a large and stable employer, which has led to a a very strange and hot real estate market for a place 50 miles away from anywhere.

When I was shopping for a home, I made a habit of inspecting the cabinet hinges in every room and bathroom. I don't care about a shiny new granite countertop. Cheap $0.50 hinges means corners were cut, and the place will likely fall apart. Nice Blum hinges on even the smallest cabinet? That's a winner. I am sure there are other things to look at too, but hinges worked for me pretty well as a 'tell'.

Re:Stupid, or hoping to make a killing?

By magarity • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

However, they can't actually afford a $6K per month mortgage payment

Then something is jacked up if they qualified for it.

Re:Whatever

By MachineShedFred • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

which means there are 32 states with better debt-to-GDP. California is in the bottom half, which lends statistical weight to the GP post.

Re:Whatever

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Hmm? Been having budget surpluses the last few years.

That is actually part of the problem. California's taxes are highly progressive and mostly based on income tax. Wealthy people tend to have highly variable incomes. So when times are good, California's budget racks up huge surpluses, and politicians being politicians, they tend to squander the surpluses on vote-winning boondoggles. Then a few years later, a recession comes along and the economic pendulum swings the other way. The revenues dry up, and we are locked into spending that we can no longer afford.

This is also why the "boom and bust" cycle is stronger in California than in many other states. Because of the volatile nature of government tax receipts, the government tends to overspend in good times, heating up an already frothy economy, while yanking spending at the very time some stimulus is needed.

The answer, of course, is long term planning and fiscal restraint, but you don't win elections by being a naggy sourpuss.

Re:Whatever

By ranton • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Money? What money? Last time I checked, California was riddled with a fucking obscene amount of debt.

California is not in debt. It is hard to pin down the actual net worth of California as a whole, but if its share of the total US net worth is proportionate with its share of the total US GDP, then California's net worth would be just over $10 trillion after subtracting state and local debt. There are probably only 5 countries other than the US with total wealth greater than the state of California (Italy is close, so maybe 6 countries).

California's government may be in debt, but that is only one small part of the state's entire balance sheet.

The iPhone Is Guaranteed To Last Only One Year, Apple Argues In Court

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reader Jason Koebler writes: Last month, Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Marketing, told Buzzfeed that iPhones are "the highest quality and most durable devices. We do this because it's better for the customer, for the iPhone, and for the planet."
But in a class-action court case over the widespread premature failure of tens of thousands of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, Apple argues that the company cannot guarantee any iPhone for more than a year. In a motion to dismiss, Apple argued that "to hold Apple's Limited Warranty substantively unconscionable simply because Plaintiffs expect their iPhones to last the length of their cellular service contracts 'would place a burden on [Apple] for which it did not contract.'"

Re:Intentionally poor headline

By Raistlin77 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"the highest quality and most durable devices" =/= "Reality"

Bullshit semantics are bullshit when their claims of durability cannot stand up to a longer warranty, which is more than justified when most people are forced into a 2-year cellular contract.

But Apple didn't stuff you into that 2-year contract, your shitty wireless provider did, and you happily accepted it to get your grubby little paws on a shiny new iPhone. Why is your failure to make a good decision Apple's problem?

This is no different then an auto warranty. Do you see any class action suits against automobile manufacturers for not repairing out-of-warranty vehicles that just happen to still be within their initial 4, 5, 6, and 7-year loans? Of course you don't. But by your logic, your vehicle should be guaranteed by the manufacturer to stand up to the length of the loan.

There is no justification for this whatsoever - the life of the phone and its manufacturer's guarantee have absolutely nothing to do with the length of the contract or finance agreement that your dumb ass got yourself into. Perhaps you should make better decisions about managing your money, like not locking yourself into a bad contract or finance agreement for a phone that you can't afford in the first place.

And, no replacing a phone every year isn't the fucking answer either.

Then don't buy one every year. And if you don't like the 1-year warranty that Apple provides, maybe you should just not buy an iPhone. What was that? You say NO manufacturer offers a warranty longer than 1 year? Hmph, imagine that.

Re:Intentionally poor headline

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Isn't there any provision in law for design flaws? In most European countries if there are design flaws the liability extends well beyond the warranty period, because the warranty is only for manufacturing defects that result in premature failure. Design flaws are considered a failure to disclose the true MTBF.

Re:Black and white

By that this is not und • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Companies employ what are called 'continuation engineers' or 'cost reduction engineers.' Sometimes these engineers don't even work for the product development department, they answer more to the purchasing and finance management.

Their job is to reduce the cost of materials so as to increase the profit for selling the company's products. This often involves using the lowest possible quality of components and material that will last the company's product through the warranty period.

These critters have to maintain a balance, of course, because there is also the marketing department involved, who want to maintain the good name of the company's brand.

The bottom line is that the Maytag Repairman was a good marketing stunt, but a total disaster to the Maytag company, who wanted to sell a higher volume of white goods. So they (as Whirlpool now) employ big teams of 'continuation engineers.'

Gov protects rights

By mx+b • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Because in general it is not the government's business to interfere with private agreements. If you and I agree to something, we should not need the government's permission.

Sir, you have this backwards. Government regulations are not granting permission, they are there to set a process that ensures everyone's rights are protected during the negotiation process, and to enforce penalties on those that break their contracts.

Without regulations, why should a billionaire CEO of a multi-national company give a shit what *you*, sabri, think about their policies and contracts? They can tell you anything you want to hear and then say "nevermind" after they've gotten your money. And what are you going to do as an individual?

Our government is of the people, for the people, by the people, because together we are strong and can protect ourselves and our rights. Individually we are weak, particularly in the face of a strong business adversary.

In this case, it does not [severely disadvantages them]. The system works as designed and the courts are now going to determine whether or not Apple's point of view (that an iPhone cannot be guaranteed to work after 1 year) is reasonable or not. This is based on general principles of reasonableness, not on a codified mandate for consumer warranties.

Our court system is effectively broken for most Americans. Have you been to court? I have. It's a lot of legal fees, meeting with lawyers, filing paperwork, waiting months for a court case, only to have the decision appealed by a defendant with way more money and time than you. It is extremely delayed justice, if you get it at all. The working and middle classes are typically hugely disadvantaged in court. We could fix it by requiring speedy trials, hiring more judges and public defenders, and other tweaks, but that would require a more expensive court system and likely higher taxes, which many completely flip their shit when they hear the word "taxes" so we've not been able to have constructive discussion on the topic.

We don't need the government to create laws that "protect" us, because those laws will have side effects. Don't believe me? Let me give you one example. It's somewhat off topic and may start a flame war, but that is not my intention. In my home country, the unions have been successful in creating very strong labor protection laws. In short, once you hire someone on a permanent contract, it becomes very difficult to fire them. That resulted in employers being careful in giving permanent contracts, and opting for temporary contracts which kept getting extended. Then the government created new laws to prevent that from happening, by mandating a permanent contract after three extensions. And guess what? Do you think more people got permanent contracts? No. "Disposable" workers that are easily replaced where replaced after three contracts. In California, where I live, there is the principle of at-will employment. This means (explaining for non-US person), that I can get hired and fired at any time. And you know what: that flexibility causes businesses to hire without giving it a second thought. No bullshit with temporary contracts needed, because everything is flexible. That is the net result of government interference, no matter how well these laws are meant.

It would be nice if we directed our ire at sociopathic executives of multi-national corporations that have no allegience to country or the people, rather than indirectly defending them when we attack government regulations and actions. No level of government did any of this to you; there is no law that says "no one should ever hire sabri for a permanent position". Corporations decided to do this because they are sociopaths, obsessed with forever increasing their profits regardless the consequences to people, the country, the economy, or the planet. Please note, I am in no way saying they shouldn't be profitable or well compensated for their work. Bei

Re:Intentionally poor headline

By Jaime2 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

By your reasoning, the cell phone carriers should be on the hook for the extra year, not Apple, as it was the carriers that decided to sell a device with a one year warranty along with a two year contract. In that case, this court decision was correct to not hold Apple accountable.

No, what I'm asking for is a company that claims to make a "durable" product back up that claim. Ironically enough, some auto manufacturers are now offering warranties that are longer than your average car loan or lease (a.k.a. durability), so your example is a rather poor one to use for comparison.

Apple backs up it's claim of durability with its reputation. Organizations like Consumer Reports rate Apple as a manufacturer with lower defect rates that others in its segment. In theory, a longer warranty is less valuable on a durable product than it is on a shoddy product. If the product was "perfectly durable", then a warranty would be entirely superfluous.

Also, you mentioned cars. It's quite common for a car to be sold with five year financing (or a four year lease) and a three year warranty. A warranty isn't magic, it simple trades predictability for economy. It's always cheaper (statistically) to not buy a warranty, but some people can't handle the financial disaster that would come along with being one of the "unlucky ones", so they buy the warranty. The length of the warranty has nothing to do with the quality of the product, it only represents the owner's tolerance for risk. The price of the warranty (in the case of phones this is baked into the purchase price) is dependent on the reliability of the product.

Java EE Is Moving To the Eclipse Foundation

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Oracle has chosen the Eclipse Foundation to be the new home of the Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE), the company announced this week. Oracle made the decision in collaboration with IBM and Red Hat, the two other largest contributors to the platform. From a report: "The Eclipse Foundation has strong experience and involvement with Java EE and related technologies," wrote Oracle software evangelist David Delabassee in a blog post. This will help us transition Java EE rapidly, create community-friendly processes for evolving the platform, and leverage complementary projects such as MicroProfile. We look forward to this collaboration." Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, is optimistic about this move, which he said is exactly what the enterprise Java needs and what the community has been hoping for.

Re:JBoss Development?

By MtHuurne • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

As far as I know JBoss is owned by Red Hat, so I wouldn't expect any news about it from Oracle. Since Java EE is a spec, not a code base, this move is good news for other implementations, as it means Java EE can continue without Oracle if needed.

Re:I think it's a good choice

By ledow • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The right direction being "Oracle washing their hands of it and having nothing more to do with it as they can't monetise it", so yes. This is definitely going in the right direction.

At least they didn't just kill it off and bury it, like some of the other things they took over.

Oracle's touch is like a death-knell to everything from Solaris to OpenOffice.

Total Eclipse

By dmt0 • Score: 3 • Thread
Of Sun

Re:Why does a language need an "Enterprise Edition

By bws111 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Java is not just a language, it is also a platform (JVM, APIs, etc). The different editions are for the plaform not the language. So there is a platform for 'normal' usage (SE), a platform for long-running, network intensive applications (EE), and a platform for lightweight use (ME).

Re:Why does a language need an "Enterprise Edition

By angel'o'sphere • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Java is not a compiler.

It is a huge set of specifications, a huge set of standard libraries, and a mountain of open source frameworks and platforms. And VMs ...

SE: standard edition, mainly for desktop apps, but the line to EE is blurry
EE: enter prise edition, defines standards for accessing DBs, do OR mapping (via annotations (*)), have annotation(*) based REST/SOAP services and build in tools to support development or out of the box deployment

In other words, if you want to run a C++ web service, you first need a web server (extra download and install) where you can deploy your *.so/*.dll to, then you configure something that the web server knows what requests to route to your plug in.

In Java EE, there is a build in web server, and you simply deploy the *.dll analogon (a *.war) and the server configures everything automatically, based on annotations (*)

(*) an annotation can be considered as a smart comment. The compiler puts it into the object code and the deployment environment interprets it (with framework support) and weaves the necessary missing code around it or uses reflection to orchestrate what ever the annotations are supposed to do.

Disney Is Lone Holdout From Apple's Plan to Sell 4K Movies for $20

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple has signed new deals to sell movies in ultra high-definition with every major Hollywood studio except the one with which it has long been closest: Walt Disney. At an event Tuesday where he announced the new Apple TV 4K, the tech giant's head of software and services, Eddy Cue, said the device will offer Hollywood movies in the high-resolution format, called either 4K or UHD, for ultra-high definition. Logos for most major studios briefly flashed on a screen behind Mr. Cue, including Time Warner's Warner Bros and Comcast's Universal Pictures. Mr. Cue said those studios' movies will be available in UHD at the same price as high-definition movies. Participating studios have agreed to a maximum price of $19.99 for 4K movies, currently the highest price for HD movies, according to a person with knowledge of the deal making. Apple had pushed studios not to raise film prices above that threshold. The one absence from Apple's list of big studios selling movies in UHD is Disney. It wasn't immediately clear why the company behind Star Wars and Marvel couldn't reach an arrangement with Apple. It currently sells its films in 4K on other digital stores, such as Wal-Mart Stores' Vudu, for $24.99.

The question

By Voyager529 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's an interesting question. I'm wagering that most parents aren't going to be willing to spend more for a 4K version of Moana when their kids are probably just as happy with the SD version, to be frank. As long as Disney sells the HD versions for $20 a pop, I'm sure that won't be a big loss. On the other hand, the Marvel and Star Wars properties lend themselves to 4K releases, but wouldn't enthusiasts prefer Blu-Ray discs to digital files at that point? I mean, assuming 60mbit download speeds (the standard tier from my cable company), it's nearly two hours to download a 50GB file, more than enough time for lots of people to drive to Target, buy a Blu-Ray for the sameish price as Disney wants for a 4K download, some popcorn, and a case of beer, and come home. Also, 50GB movies add up pretty quickly; it would take less than a dozen to fill up the hard disks for most standard Mac configurations. iTunes is required still due to the DRM (ruling out the use of Plex or other streaming server solutions), so a library of any consequence is going to require an external hard disk or three connected to a desktop with iTunes running. "Play via streaming!" seems obvious, but iTunes doesn't seem to allow that (admittedly, the Apple TV might). Even if it did, the bandwidth requirements for 4K streaming are rather high, making repeated viewings an uphill battle for Apple justify using as an avenue of first resort without Netflix's levels of peering. Now, the storage could be eased obviously, if the Apple 4K files are smaller than the selection I came across on TPB, but if Apple compresses more than a little bit, the resolution improvement becomes a tradeoff of higher compression, and again starts to favor Blu-Ray. For those who want to view a film on impulse, I would imagine that the HD releases are 'good enough'.

tl;dr: Disney content seems to me like something that would be 'good enough' in 1080p for most people. Between the transfer times and storage requirements for 4K iTunes downloads that aren't too heavily compressed to cease to justify the higher resolution, Blu-Ray probably still serves that niche better than downloads.

4K HEVC @ 15mbit/sec MAX is a SCAM

By WaffleMonster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ultra 4k blu-rays run up to 80mbit with ~50 sustained being typical depending on content. That's a 5x difference in bandwidth.

There really needs to be a coherent metric for communicating quality to customers because right now anyone can claim 4k resolution and push it at any bit rate / quality they damn well please.

"4k" is meaningless. Resolution is irrelevant. Nobody can tell the difference between 2160p and 1080p unless standing up comically close to a jumbotron. Demand for improved quality is really customers not appreciating blocking and banding caused by content delivery being unwilling or unable to deliver sufficient bandwidth to support the lies they are selling.

Get Laurene Powell to phone Bob Iger...

By Flytrap • Score: 3 • Thread

Isn't Laurene Powell (Steve Jobs' wife) a significant Disney shareholder... she should pick up the phone and call somebody.

In the old days, Steve would have picked up the phone and called Bob Igor (current Disney CEO) to remind him what happened to Michael Eisner, the last Disney CEO who tried to stand up to him.

For those who do not remember, Eisner was fired when it looked like Jobs (then CEO of Pixar) and John Lasseter (CCO) were going to take their Pixar ball and go and play with someone else (Warner Bros); and Igor was brought in with one task: Do not lose Pixar. Disney's subsequent acquisition of Pixar made Jobs the largest single shareholder of Disney and gave him a seat on its board of directors - which is presumably now filled by Powell.

Anyway... Tim Cook, at Apple, should call Powell and ask her to call Igor, at Disney, and have a gentle conversation about the difficulty he might have in a few months when he submits his new streaming app for approval for the Apple iOS and tvOS app stores.

Disney's been down this road before

By T.E.D. • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Back in the 70's Disney refused to license out their cartoons at a reasonable rate. Instead they produced their own TV program that would once a week air one or two of them. Meanwhile their competitors at Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barberra were tickled pink to take a nickel from anyone who wanted to air their old library.

The result was that Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barberra cartoons were constantly playing during "kid time" (after school on weekdays and Saturday mornings). All kinds of new content was being created too, as fast as it could be shoveled out. Meanwhile hardly anyone was familiar with the Disney cartoon stable, because they hardly ever saw it. Entire generations of viewers can describe Bugs Bunny cartoons in minute detail, and couldn't care less about Mickey Mouse.

They almost entirely destroyed their brand by being so tight-fisted. So now they have to go buy properties that were sensible about trying to maximize exposure (eg: Marvel, Star Wars), but it seems they still haven't learned their lesson.

Most movies are only mastered in 2K

By Kiwikwi • Score: 3 • Thread

To this day, most movies are only mastered in 2K, meaning that with "4K" you'll just be paying for digitally upscaled video without any added detail.

E.g. look at the IMDb box-office top 10 (as a proxy for new, popular movies), then check the Technical Specs for each movie. For the vast majority of movies, you'll see:

Cinematographic Process Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format)

Only two movies on the current top 10 were mastered in 4K: The Hitman's Bodyguard and Logan Lucky. Even Spider-Man: Homecoming, which Apple used when announcing the 4K movie initiative is only mastered in 2K! This is ridiculous.

Sure, with the 4K movies you'll probably also get higher bandwidth, which directly translates to higher quality... but that property is completely separate from resolution, and upscaling to 4K will actually give slightly worse fidelity than if the same bandwidth was used to compress the original 2K video.

North Korea Is Dodging Sanctions With a Secret Bitcoin Stash

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: North Korea appears to be stepping up efforts to secure bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which could be used to avoid trade restrictions including new sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council. Hackers from Kim Jong Un's regime are increasing their attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea and related sites, according to a new report from security researcher FireEye Inc. They also breached an English-language bitcoin news website and collected bitcoin ransom payments from global victims of the malware WannaCry, according to the researcher. Kim's apparent interest in cryptocurrencies comes amid rising prices and popularity. The same factors that have driven their success -- lack of state control and secretiveness -- would make them useful fund raising and money laundering tools for a man threatening to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. With tightening sanctions and usage of cryptocurrencies broadening, security experts say North Korea's embrace of digital cash will only increase. The 15-member Security Council on Monday approved sanctions aimed at punishing North Korea for its latest missile and nuclear tests. U.S. officials said the new measures would cut the country's textile exports by 90 percent, restricting its ability to get hard currency.

Re:This is why we need to criminalize CryptoCash

By courteaudotbiz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The corrupt Financial Industrial Complex is the real reason cryptocurrency was invented and continues to be justified.

And the real reason why the governments will want it to stay in place is full traceability. Yes, for now, BTC is totally anonymous. But wait till the governments put their nose into it, and require all wallet holders to be IDd. Then ALL the transactions you will ever have done in your life can be tied to you.

I want to still be able to use paper money, and they will make it more and more difficult to use it.

Re:This is why we need to criminalize CryptoCash

By geekmux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The corrupt Financial Industrial Complex is the real reason cryptocurrency was invented and continues to be justified.

And the real reason why the governments will want it to stay in place is full traceability. Yes, for now, BTC is totally anonymous. But wait till the governments put their nose into it, and require all wallet holders to be IDd. Then ALL the transactions you will ever have done in your life can be tied to you. I want to still be able to use paper money, and they will make it more and more difficult to use it.

With the amount of surveillance in the world today, not even paper money transactions should be considered private or anonymous.

Re:This is why we need to criminalize CryptoCash

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Given the current bubblicious trading in BTC, one strategy for our intelligence agencies might be to assist in the pump-and-dump, leaving Weird Fat Kid as the last fool to be holding a hard drive full of devalued tulip bits.

I'm so behind...

By aicrules • Score: 3 • Thread
I still don't understand how mining bitcoins can be a thing...I understand why any random person might invest in them because somehow a real dollar value has been attached to them, but when they get created out of nothing via activities that don't have any semblance of value or value control...I could never bring myself to even invest a dollar. To say it seems shady is probably a gross understatement. But I'm sure those who love bitcoin and the like have a different point of view...in the nearly decade that it's been around, I have tried numerous times to truly understand how it can even exist, and I've failed every time. Yes, any currency is made up and requires any two people who would use the currency in an exchange to agree that the currency has value. And yes, fiat paper currency doesn't have any actual value itself, but there is at least some level of legal infrastructure supporting it. Bitcoin is less than a fiat currency. And I just can't wrap my mind around why so many people have jumped into it. I'm just one person though...

Isn't this a good case for a "poisened wallet" bla

By loren • Score: 3 • Thread

I am no cryptocurrency expert, but my understanding is that the BTC really only has value because the BTC user base has formed a consensus that it does. I believe the vast majority of conscience human beings can agree that North Korea's (government's) recent actions and stance are dangerous and morally reprehensible.

Assuming that NK has channeled most of its BTC stash through a small number of wallets, and that most of them may be identified by NK's spending patterns, I think this is a good case for implementing "poisoned wallets" to render all BTC (or partial BTC) that left a verboten wallet after a given time stamp. This would work, of course, only for users that use the blacklist enabled version of the software... but I believe enough people find NK's position sufficiently dangerous to warrant adopting this alternative code base to at least GREATLY DEVALUE these "tainted" BTC. This type of change begs two interesting questions:

1) How are the list of poisoned wallets managed? On the micro level, I believe the choice of banned wallets should be up to the individual BTC user, but most users won't want to manage such a tedious list. I expect users would want to defer this responsibility to one or more "accusation bodies" each with their own accusation, conviction, poisoning and appeal processes, all blockchain protected (outside the BTC blockchain)... I expect users would sign up for these poisoning feeds in one of two groups: 1) organizations that uphold the users moral convictions, or 2) organizations that seek out a superset of poisoned wallets, for those that want to ensure any BTC they receive are untainted, and good for other transactions. I believe most users would be most interested in aggregators (#2), but enough users would also add original accusers (#1) to make such a system plausable.

2) Tainted BTCs wouldn't be completely valueless, as some users may still accept them, so differently tainted BTCs would trade at their own distinct prices, which may be an interesting opportunity for cryptocurrency exchange companies.

What do you think?

French Company Plans To Heat Homes, Offices With AMD Ryzen Pro Processors

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
At its Ryzen Pro event in New York City last month, AMD invited a French company called Qarnot to discuss how they're using Ryzen Pro processors to heat homes and offices for free. The company uses the Q.rad -- a heater that embeds three CPUs as a heat source -- to accomplish this feat. "We reuse the heat they generate to heat homes and offices for free," the company says in a blog post. "Q.rad is connected to the internet and receives in real time workloads from our in-house computing platform."

The idea is that anyone in the world can send heavy workloads over the cloud to a Q.rad and have it render the task and heat a person's home in the process. The two industries that are targeted by Qarnot include movies studios for 3D rendering and VFX, and banks for risk analysis. Qarnot is opting in for Ryzen Pro processors over Intel i7 processors due to the performance gain and heat output. According to Qarnot, they "saw a performance gain of 30-45% compared to the Intel i7." They also report that the Ryzen Pro is "producing the same heat as the equivalent Intel CPUs" they were using -- all while providing twice as many cores.

While it's neat to see a company convert what would otherwise be wasted heat into a useful asset that heats a person's home, it does raise some questions about the security and profitability of their business model. By using Ryzen Pro's processors, OS independent memory encryption is enabled to provide additional security layers to Qarnot's heaters. However, Q.rads are naturally still going to be physically unsecured as they can be in anyone's house.

Further reading: The Mac Observer, TechRepublic

Re:Electricity bill?

By skids • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Reliability: they get a physically distributed compute network that is diverse across geography, utility, and ISP, with next to no telcom hotel costs. Possibly also some renewable/cogen energy credits of whatever form they take in the host country.

(As to the comment below, given what they are using them for, the bandwidth requirements are likely rather small... they transfer chunks of input data and then munch on them for a good long while.)

I wonder what they have for local storage. ISTR from my BOINC days that most applications wanted a hefty storage area so their job servers didn't have to be arsed to talk to the nodes more than once a day or so. Also best to do due diligence and ask them to verify no wifi adaptors in there... they probably aren't pricks surrepticiously trying to build an access network, but these days companies really need to be forced to promise that in writing/website just in case.

Most critical thing I learned from my BOINC days though: find out how much noise these things make. If they are purely radiant, kudos to this company.

How to heat a house with a multi-line BBS

By aheath • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I used to be the sysop [ system operator ] of a BBS [ bulletin system ] back in the day [ mid eighties to early nineties ]. I met a sysop who ran a multi-line PCBoard system from the basement of his house in a Ohio. PCBoard required one CPU for two phone lines. I don't remember how many lines he had but it was an impressive number. He told me that he had enough desktop PCs in his basement to heat his house in the winter. He also had enough paid subscribers to pay for the cost of cooling his basement in the summer.

Re:Are they a startup?

By fgouget • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Because this business model is not well though-of. Internet informs me that AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 1700X consumes 95 W of power, much like an old-school light-bulb.

95W to which you add power consumption for the motherboard chipset, RAM, network card, and power supply. Qarnot has been on the market for two years already so I'm pretty sure they know what they are doing by now.

Crappy oil radiators seem to start at 600 W (about 6 CPUs) and better ones have a power consumption of up to 2500 W (26 CPUs).

Bigger = better. Are you American? A 2600W heater is not any better if what you need is a 500W one. Also one big 2600W heater is not better than two 1300W ones as it concentrates all the heat in one place causing uneven heating. Finally they are mostly targeting new building that, by law, have to follow low-energy standards and thus need much less heating.

Even if the CPUs reach a rather elevated temperature (1700X maxes out at 95 C), the surface temperature of the rack is only going to be luke warm, so you're not going to get any heat radiated to you.

Wow! You don't know anything about heating, do you?

High temperature heaters are really out of fashion because they cause lots of convection, moving the dust around, and because all the heat to go to the ceiling leaving the reat of the room, where you are, cold, thus increasing heating costs.

So nowadays most everyone buys low temperature heaters that provide a mix of convection and heating via infrared radiation (with its ultimate form being underfloor heating). They provide a much more even heating which lets you turn the thermostat down and thus save on power.

The heat is going to reach you by convection via the fans, which is a crappy way to warm yourself up.

From the Qarnot FAQ: Q.rads are totally silent since there are no mobile parts inside the Q.rad (no ventilators, no hard drives).

The costs of installation, transportation etc, however, are going to eat away most of the savings in my opinion.

That's probably why they don't target individual houses. Again from their FAQ: For now, we only install Q.rads in buildings for a minimum of 20 units !

I suppose, of course, that Qarnot will be paying for the electricity.

Still from their FAQ: Qarnot computing sells the computing power of the Q.rads to companies and research centers. The selling of these services pays for the electricity used by the Q.rads and therefore the heating that is produced. Each Q.rad continuously records its energetic (kW/h) and computing (CPU.h) consumption which enables Qarnot to bill its computing clients and refund the electricity consumed.

Been done already - Dutch Start-up "Nerdalize"

By alanxyzzy • Score: 3 • Thread
BBC news article from 2015
Nerdalize

Called it in 2010, dumb heaters will be illegal:

By robi5 • Score: 3 • Thread

https://tech.slashdot.org/comm...

The current practice of directly moving lowest entropy, precious energy to the highest entropy state - heat - will be considered immoral and eventually illegal. You won't be able to buy an electrical air or water heating system without that including compute units. Why heat with a dumb resistor when you can do it equally well with a CPU/GPU which does valuable computation, for which someone else would otherwise use up an equal amount of energy.

At Least 1.65 Million Computers Are Mining Cryptocurrency For Hackers So Far This Year

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to new statistics released on Tuesday by Kaspersky Lab, a prominent Russian information security firm, 2017 is on track to beat 2016 -- and every year since 2011 -- in terms of the sheer number of computers infected with malware that installs mining software. From a report: So far in 2017, the company says it has detected 1.65 million infected machines. The total amount of infected computers for all of the previous year was roughly 1.8 million. The infected machines are not just home computers, the firm stated in a blog post, but company servers as well. "The main effect for a home computer or organization infrastructure is reduced system performance," Anton Ivanov, a security researcher for Kaspersky, wrote me in an email. "Also some miners could download modules from a threat actor's infrastructure, and these modules could contain other malware such as Trojans [malware that disguises itself as legitimate software]." Ivanov said that the firm doesn't know how much money has been made overall with this scheme, but a digital wallet for one mining botnet that the company identified currently contains over $200,000 USD.

Re:Wow

By infolation • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
And, ironically, today is the day JP Morgan's boss suddenly decides that bitcoin is a fraud that will blow up, and is only fit for use by drug dealers, murderers and people living in North Korea and that he would fire 'in a second' anyone at the investment bank found to be trading in bitcoin.

When big money becomes that openly dismissive you know some shiat's gonna go down.

Re:CPU power put to good use

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We're spending the last of our energy inheritance making millions of computers play a 0-player game in order to earn points in an entirely virtual currency.

Still, it's no more crazy than most of what's going on right now.

Re:Wow

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

When politicians can't face up to their own mistakes, they blame foreigners for all their country's problems. Hillary Clinton lost, what in her mind, should have been simple election victory for herself. She can't accept the fact that a lot of folks just plain don't like her. So the evil Russian Hackers must be the blame. For his part, Trump said we need a wall to defend ourselves against the Mongol Hordes from Mexico. They all do the same thing.

Hey, bashing foreigners is the new orange or black or whatever.

"They" are out to get us, and "we" must be vigilant and get them first . . .