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


  1. Magic Mushrooms 'Reboot' Brain In Depressed People, Study Suggests
  2. Latest iOS Update Shows Apple Can Use Software To Break Phones Repaired By Independent Shops
  3. Over 500 Million PCs Are Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency, Researchers Reveal
  4. Samsung Electronics CEO Resigns Over 'Unprecedented Crisis'
  5. Steve Wozniak Announces Tech Education Platform 'Woz U'
  6. Apple To Ditch Touch ID Altogether For All of Next Year's iPhones
  7. IRS Suspends $7 Million Contract With Equifax After Malware Discovered
  8. Dutch Privacy Regulator Says Windows 10 Breaks the Law
  9. Woz Wants To Retrain You For a Career in Tech
  10. Google is Essentially Building an Anti-Amazon Alliance, and Target is the Latest To Join
  11. Why China is Winning the Clean Energy Race
  12. IT Admin Trashes Railroad Company's Network Before He Leaves
  13. SWIFT Says Hackers Still Targeting Bank Messaging System
  14. Qualcomm Seeks China iPhone Ban, Escalating Apple Legal Fight
  15. This Is the Week Wall Street Went Nuts Over Cryptocurrencies
  16. Does the Rise of AI Precede the End of Code?
  17. Google Bombs Are Our New Normal
  18. Someone Is Trying to Knock the Dark Web Drug Trade Offline
  19. Real Moviegoers Don't Care About Rotten Tomatoes
  20. Twitter Is Crawling With Bots and Lacks Incentive To Expel Them
  21. Recordings of the Sounds Heard In the Cuban US Embassy Attacks Released
  22. Researcher Turns HDD Into Rudimentary Microphone
  23. World's First 'Negative Emissions' Plant Has Begun Operation
  24. Octopuses Show Scientists How To Hide Machines in Plain Sight
  25. The Real Inside Story of How Commodore Failed

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

Magic Mushrooms 'Reboot' Brain In Depressed People, Study Suggests

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Magic mushrooms may effectively "reset" the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests. Psychedelics have shown promising results in the treatment of depression and addictions in a number of clinical trials over the last decade. Imperial College London researchers used psilocybin -- the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms -- to treat a small number of patients with depression, monitoring their brain function, before and after. Images of patients' brains revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms and participants in the trial reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, who led the study, said: "We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments. Several of our patients described feeling 'reset' after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been 'defragged' like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt 'rebooted.' Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary 'kick start' they need to break out of their depressive states and these imaging results do tentatively support a 'reset' analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy." The study has been published in Scientific Reports.

Re:pfft at hippies

By Khyber • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ah, look at th' wee lad, LSD. How cute. Come get summa dis DMT when you get another 20 years older.

Re:Honest lol

By freeze128 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The first time you use a magic mushroom, it doesn't seem to do much but make you a little bigger. If you take another one after that, then you can shoot fireballs!

A Perfect Moment

By Vasheron • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I a had a "perfect moment" on mushrooms. Out on a camping trip with friends, I dropped mushrooms and I looked out over the water and into the sun. All of a sudden everything just seemed to "fit" and I felt a sensation of warmth and wholeness envelope my body. Anxiety, fear, and doubt dropped away and briefly, for the first time in my life I felt completely at peace. I imagine some people search their entire lives for such a moment. It didn't last and, for various reasons, I haven't attempted to duplicate the experience, but I will always remember it.

Re:Fucking assholes

By Greyfox • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Sure, sure, because Nixon wasn't looking for any excuse he could find to crack down on the blacks and the hippies. And there was no shortage of twatwaffle cronies who were happy to make up whatever bad science the administration wanted to make that happen. And the pharmaceutical companies had absolutely no reason not to do everything in their power to suppress the natural drugs that worked so much better than the shit they were peddling. And not satisfied just to have the USA stick its head up its ass about the subject for the last 50 years, they went out of their way to export their hairbrained policies to the rest of the world. I hope history judges them harshly for the damage they've done, to generations of African Americans and the public well-being as a whole.

Brain Help desk

By valinor89 • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
User: My brain seems to be slow and moody as of late.
Support: Have you tried turning it on and off, sir?
User: Mmmm

Latest iOS Update Shows Apple Can Use Software To Break Phones Repaired By Independent Shops

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The latest version of iOS fixes several bugs, including one that caused a loss of touch functionality on a small subset of phones that had been repaired with certain third-party screens and had been updated to iOS 11. "Addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 6S displays because they were not serviced with genuine Apple parts," the update reads. "Note: Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See for more information." Jason Koebler writes via Motherboard: "This is a reminder that Apple seems to have the ability to push out software updates that can kill hardware and replacement parts it did not sell iPhone customers itself, and that it can fix those same issues remotely." From the report: So let's consider what actually happened here. iPhones that had been repaired and were in perfect working order suddenly stopped working after Apple updated its software. Apple was then able to fix the problem remotely. Apple then put out a warning blaming the parts that were used to do the repair. Poof -- phone doesn't work. Poof -- phone works again. In this case, not all phones that used third party parts were affected, and there's no reason to think that, in this case, Apple broke these particular phones on purpose. But there is currently nothing stopping the company from using software to control unauthorized repair: For instance, you cannot replace the home button on an iPhone 7 without Apple's proprietary "Horizon Machine" that re-syncs a new home button with the repaired phone. This software update is concerning because it not only undermines the reputation of independent repair among Apple customers, but because it shows that phones that don't use "genuine" parts could potentially one day be bricked remotely.

PWM signal spec vs actual

By raymorris • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

A sensor that outputs a PWM signal, or something that accepts it (such as a servo) has a specified allowable range and curve that it COULD use, and an actual range that it DOES use.

Servo controllers nominally output pulses between 1ms (zero position) and 2ms (full rotation). Actual servo models don't exactly conform to this "standard", so you tune your control to the specific model of servo.

Analogously, the DMX protocol standard says that the BREAK is signaled by a pulse of AT LEAST 88 microseconds (and up to one second). Many controllers fail to read the spec carefully try to output exactly 88 microseconds, sometimes falling a bit short. If you program your DMX to work according to the standard, and test it with truly conforming peers, it'll fail to work with the many DMX items that don't quite conform, or are borderline, sometimes falling a couple microseconds short. To have compatibility with "almost compliant" neighbors, DMX outputs can output a 92 microsecond break, and receivers can accept a 84 microsecond break.

I suspect that's what happened here. The third-party parts ALMOST matched the Apple parts. Maybe they were barely complaint to the spec while the Apple parts were well within spec, or maybe the third-party parts were almost compliant. Either way, they didn't work quite the same, so customers saw failures. Apple adjusted it to work within the parameters of the third-party parts.

I highly suspect if you tested MAF sensor or O2 sensor speced with an output range of "up to 0-5V", you'd find some model's actual range is 0.2-4.5V, while another model's actual range might be 0.3-4.7V. Firmware tuned for the first, the OEM model, wouldn't work quite work as well with the second one - even though they both have "0-5V output".

no it's not

By goombah99 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I can't really say what apple is or isn't doing but I'm quite sure you can't either. There's huge distance between a firmaware driven device with serial communication protocols of incredible complexity and a coffee filter. I don't think it's reasonable to expect apple to support every possible emulation of it's API. I can't think of any cas ein the history of modern community where a clean room emulation had 100% bit compatibility with the original. WHy would you expect a non compatible screen to maintain it's compatibility as the OS changed.

Re: And Microsoft can stop supporting hardware bec

By Chris Katko • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I had the EXACT same thing happen with a docking station that worked fine for 3+ years then an iOS update and all a sudden "this device is incompatible with your iphone and may damage the device".


Re:This is not news.

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A) Apple can’t update them remotely. Users have for as long as I can remember had to provide their password to confirm any updates to the OS. It’s specifically done that way to prevent attackers from loading updates they created or control.

B) iOS has always been billed as being made to run specifically on Apple’s hardware. You’re welcome to try using it on unsupported hardware, but Apple has never claimed it supports any hardware other than their own. If you choose to try doing so, you do so at your own risk.

C) Hanlon’s razor would suggest it’s more likely that this was a simple mistake than a case of malice. After all, it’s hardly unreasonable that an entirely unsupported hardware configuration would accidentally get broken by a major OS update. Were this a case of malice, it wouldn’t be getting fixed at all, let alone as quickly as it was.

Re:Give me a break

By Calydor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If the third party parts use workarounds to work, maybe something that is borderline an exploit because they don't know any other way to make it work, and Apple then FIXES that exploit, that means that yes, the third party part stops working and is to blame. Would you rather exploits don't get fixed because some piece of hardware USES IT?

And no, I'm not an Apple fanboy. The only iPhone I have ever touched belongs to one of my mom's friends. But fixing an exploit, and then building a tunnel for this specific piece of hardware, is not something you get to blame anyone for, be it Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Jim Smith in his garage.

Over 500 Million PCs Are Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency, Researchers Reveal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ad blocking firm AdGuard has found that over 500 million people are inadvertently mining cryptocurrencies through their computers after visiting websites that are running background mining software. The company found 220 popular websites with an aggregated audience of half a billion people use so-called crypto-mining scripts when a user opens their main page. Newsweek reports: The mining tool works by hijacking a computer's central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as "the brains" of a computer. Using part of a computer's CPU to mine bitcoin effects the machine's overall performance and will slow it down by using up processing power. The researchers found that bitcoin browser mining is mostly found on websites "with a shady reputation" due to the trouble such sites have with earning revenue through advertising. However, in the future it could become a legitimate and ethical way of making money if the website requests the permission of the visitor first.

"220 sites may not seem like a lot," the researchers wrote in a blogpost detailing their discovery. "But CoinHive was launched less than one month ago on September 14. The growth has been extremely rapid: from nearly zero to .22 percent of Alexa's top 100,000 websites. "This analysis well illustrates the whole web, so it's safe to say that one of every forty websites currently mines cryptocurrency (namely Monero) in the browsers their users employ."

That was the reason for notebook fans speeding up

By Vadim Makarov • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The effect is quite audible on my macbook pro. If I visit thepiratebay results page and disable adblock plus, the fans noise up from zero to the top speed in 30 seconds. Firefox CPU usage jumps to 25%. This stops as soon as the web page is closed, of course.

Re:Does this code stay resident somehow?

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Let's get down to brass tacks: How do I stop the bitminer? Can't I just close the web page? Or do I need to close the whole browser? Does the miner start up again when I relaunch my browser?

Once the bitminer starts, the only way to stop it is to remove the CPU (brains) from the motherboard, carefully remove the thermal paste, and soak it in a solution of one part vinegar and one part Listerine (the generic Listerine also works). Leave it overnight and by morning, you should be good to go. To be safe, I'd wipe down all the internal parts with the solution, too. And, it'll leave your PC minty fresh!

Re:Does this code stay resident somehow?

By h33t l4x0r • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I've said it before and I'll say it again:
cat >> /etc/hosts (or equivalent)

I have no problems with coinhive, they are getting rich as fuck and good for them, but not on my dime.


By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'd rather support a website with cpu cycles anonymously than advertising. They have to eat too.

For every dollar their visitors pay to the electric company, the site earns a penny. It is an incredibly inefficient way to pay for content.

We need a decent system for micropayments.

"the brains" of a computer

By zifn4b • Score: 3 • Thread

The mining tool works by hijacking a computer's central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as "the brains" of a computer.

Idiocracy, here we come. I suspect we'll have to start talking in 3rd grade language when Kid Rock is president.

Samsung Electronics CEO Resigns Over 'Unprecedented Crisis'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to BBC, Samsung Electronics chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun has resigned, saying the company is in an "unprecedented crisis." It's the latest management upheaval at the firm after the heir of the entire Samsung Group was imprisoned for corruption in August. From the report: Mr Kwon is one of three co-chief executives of Samsung Electronics. His resignation comes on the same day the firm forecast record quarterly profits, citing higher memory chip prices. Mr Kwon said he had been thinking about his departure "for quite some time" and could "no longer put it off." "As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company [to] start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry," he said in a statement. He will remain on the board of Samsung Electronics until March 2018.


By freeze128 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
They recall their phones TWICE, Their leader is imprisoned, and they post record profits? How is this freakin possible?

Re:I guess...

By rmdingler • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large high tech corporation. The CEO who was stepping down met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes. "Open these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve," he said. Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his wit's end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame your predecessor."

The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the press -- and Wall Street - responded positively, sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.

About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize." This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.

After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.

The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."

Steve Wozniak Announces Tech Education Platform 'Woz U'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder who changed the world alongside Steve Jobs, has today announced the launch of Woz U. According to the release, Woz U will start as an online learning platform focused on both students and companies that will eventually hire those students. Woz U is based out of Arizona, and hopes to launch physical locations for learning in more than 30 cities across the globe. At launch, the curriculum will center around computer support specialists and software developers, with courses on data science, mobile applications and cybersecurity coming in the future. Alongside the education platform, Woz U will also offer platforms for tech companies to recruit, train and retain their workforce through on-site customized programs and subscription-based curricula. There also will be a platform for K-12 students, which will be distributed to school districts, that will offer STEAM programs to identify talent and nudge those individuals into a tech-based career. And if that weren't enough, Woz U will eventually introduce an accelerator program "to identify and develop elite tech talent." Woz U also has an app on the App Store that will help people understand which field of tech they're best suited for, so they can set up their curriculum accordingly. Pricing has yet to be announced.

editorial isolation

By sheramil • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Do the editors at slashdot communicate with each other at all? Do they check the recent articles to see if the story has already been done?

hey fucktards

By Osgeld • Score: 3 • Thread

you just posted the same story less than 3 damn hours ago

I know its hard for you to pay attention, but for fucks sake

Apple To Ditch Touch ID Altogether For All of Next Year's iPhones

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier this week, a report said that Apple is planning to equip next year's iPad Pro with the hardware necessary for Face ID. Now, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, it appears the company is taking that one step further with its 2018 iPhones. All of the iPhones Apple plans to produce next year will reportedly abandon the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in favor of facial recognition. Mac Rumors reports: According to Kuo, Apple will embrace Face ID as its authentication method for a competitive advantage over Android smartphones. Kuo has previously said that it could take years for Android smartphone manufacturers to produce technology that can match the TrueDepth camera and the Face ID feature coming in the iPhone X. Face ID, says Kuo, will continue to be a major selling point of the new iPhone models in 2018, with Apple planning to capitalize on its lead in 3D sensing design and production. Kuo's prediction suggests that all upcoming 2018 iPhones will feature a full-screen design with minimal bezels like the iPhone X, meaning no additional models with the iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus design would be produced. That would spell the end of the line for Touch ID in the iPhone, which has been available as a biometric authentication option since 2013.

No thanks Apple

By the_skywise • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
As a current owner of an iPhone 6, I have absolutely NO intention of ever upgrading to an iPhone X. I like the touchId but, more importantly, I like an actual physical BUTTON on the 6. I don't even like the recessed divot for the 7 or the 8 as there's no substitute for it when wearing gloves (and no, haptic feedback is NOT a substitute).

I don't even understand how Tim thinks that Face ID is unique to the iPhone when Microsoft already offers it for their Surface Pros and, surely, Google can buy the tech if need be.

This is nothing more than Tech CEO masturbation to keep the churn rate going. Cook is out of ideas and out of his depth. Apple is stagnating and no longer innovating while ignoring core infrastructure and support. For example I had to help out a friend do an upgrade from their iPhone 5 to iPhone 7 after iOS 11 came out. Guess what, iTunes backup will NOT let you update because the iOS' are different - but if you go through the iCloud update you can. Why? Because that's why. Why are the backup scenarios different between the iCloud and iTunes?

But hey, Tim's brought us animoji, so uh, there's that.

Black Electrical Tape

By ad454 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Just place black electrical tape over the front camera.

For those of us who are not into selfies or video chatting. The rear camera is still available for taking pictures/videos.

I still do not understand why manufactures do not place physical shutters over camera, considering all of the 3 letter agencies and criminals that target our devices.

Re: Competitive advantage?

By stephanruby • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Apple's uses a 3D scan of your face. The android one could be fooled with a photograph.

The HTC phone couldn't be fooled by a photograph. It used the camera sensor and a laser depth sensor (at least two years ago). And the LG phone couldn't be fooled by a photograph, it used a normal camera sensor plus an infrared one, that's how it could determine the depth (and that was at least three years ago).

And right now, Apple is paying $23 per iPhone to Sony for its two camera sensors: a normal low light one and an infrared one. And no, Sony didn't even give its best camera sensors to the iPhone. If you want the latest Sony camera, you'll have to purchase a Sony Xperia XZ phone which can shoot video at 960fps.

Please bookmark this post, three years from now, the latest iPhone will eventually be able to shoot at 960 fps thanks to Sony (assuming Apples pays them enough licensing fees), and some people will be raving about how the iPhone is pioneering all this crazy advanced technology that Android can't even come close to.

Also, don't believe every clickbait rumor you read. There is no way the iPhone will get rid of Touch ID. It may call it something else and it may improve on the technology by embedding into the glass itself. But there is no way it will get rid of it completely. Seriously, can you even imagine people unlocking their phone in a dark movie theater, or in a dark restroom? Or in a crowded subway? Or while driving? Even without Steve Jobs, Apple designers and Apple usability testers are not completely stupid.


By Dutch Gun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The issue isn't the quality of implementation, it's that the phone can be unlocked by anyone who holds it up to your face. With either this or fingerprint unlocking the government no longer needs to be able to hack the phone's encryption.

As with fingerprint readers, simply use a passcode if this is a concern to you. You're not required to use this feature.

Re:Umm I live in the frozen north.

By JohnFen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

My gloves have conductive fingertips. I can use my phone without taking them off.

IRS Suspends $7 Million Contract With Equifax After Malware Discovered

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
After malware was discovered on Equifax's website again, the IRS decided late Thursday that it would temporarily suspend the agency's $7.1 million data security contract with the company. CBS News reports: In September, Equifax revealed that it had exposed 143 million consumer files -- containing names, addresses, Social Security numbers and even bank account information -- to hackers in an unprecedented security lapse. The number of consumer potentially affect by the data breach was later raised to 145.5 million. The company's former CEO blamed a single careless employee for the entire snafu. But even as he was getting grilled in Congress earlier this month, the IRS was awarding the company with a no-bid contract to provide "fraud prevention and taxpayer identification services." "Following new information available today, the IRS temporarily suspended its short-term contract with Equifax for identity proofing services," the agency said in a statement. "During this suspension, the IRS will continue its review of Equifax systems and security." The agency does not believe that any data the IRS has shared with Equifax to date has been compromised, but the suspension was taken as "a precautionary step."

Re:$7.1 million is a rounding error for Equifax

By mhkohne • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yea, $7.1 mil IS small for them. Which means that contract wasn't about that contract, but rather about getting a foot in the door for more work in the future. So while the loss of that contract is almost irrelevant, the near-future potential that goes with it is probably quite a bit more.

Re:$7.1 million is a rounding error for Equifax

By ninjaz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's certainly possible, but after the emails that came out showing that they made a special effort to run off anyone who was competent and conscientious, it's more plausible that they actually just suck that much.

It is hard to imagine them being able to instantly become competent after so much effort was put into warding off competence.

Re:Second chance, really?

By whoever57 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Because "flat tax" really means "tax increase for the poor, tax cut for the wealthy".

It's also not as simple as people would like to think. You run a business, what's a legitimate expense and what isn't? The costs of compliance (which are probably exaggerated by the site you linked to) are not going to be zero with a flat tax.

"The Tax Foundation is funded by private donations from members, corporate donations, and donations from charitable foundation such as the Koch Foundation, Earhart Foundation, etc."

Funded in part by the Koch Brothers. Yes, that's going to have promoting the interests of ordinary Americans as one of its most important goals.

the buck doesn't stop THERE

By v1 • Score: 3 • Thread

The company's former CEO blamed a single careless employee for the entire snafu.

A "single employe" shouldn't be able to pull this off. If they can, then the problem isn't with the employee, it's with the process the employee is working within. If your company is set up where a single peon can ruin your business, it's past time for a come-to-jesus meeting with management.

Bad link in summary

By myid • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The summary for this article contains a dead link labeled "discovered".

Yesterday, Slashdot had these two articles:
First at 11:21 AM, this first article.
Then at 12:39 PM, this second article.

Apparently Slashdot removed the second of those two articles, since the second one was pretty much a duplicate of the first. But Google cached it, and the cached article is here.

So now you know where to look, to read the "discovered" article that the summary references.

Dutch Privacy Regulator Says Windows 10 Breaks the Law

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The lack of clear information about what Microsoft does with the data that Windows 10 collects prevents consumers from giving their informed consent, says the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA). As such, the regulator says that the operating system is breaking the law. To comply with the law, the DPA says that Microsoft needs to get valid user consent: this means the company must be clearer about what data is collected and how that data is processed. The regulator also complains that the Windows 10 Creators Update doesn't always respect previously chosen settings about data collection. In the Creators Update, Microsoft introduced new, clearer wording about the data collection -- though this language still wasn't explicit about what was collected and why -- and it forced everyone to re-assert their privacy choices through a new settings page. In some situations, though, that page defaulted to the standard Windows options rather than defaulting to the settings previously chosen. In the Creators Update, Microsoft also explicitly enumerated all the data collected in Windows 10's "Basic" telemetry setting. However, the company has not done so for the "Full" option, and the Full option remains the default. The DPA's complaint doesn't call for Microsoft to offer a complete opt out of the telemetry and data collection, instead focusing on ensuring that Windows 10 users know what the operating system and Microsoft are doing with their data. The regulator says that Microsoft wants to "end all violations," but if the software company fails to do so, it faces sanctions.

Easy answer

By WolfgangVL • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We are taking ALL OF THE DATA. Like in the deal.... the deal you agreed to by breathing and blinking twice while your eyes glazed over at the EULA.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we feel we should also make you aware that we'll be rebooting your computer whenever its good for us, and you can trust that we will reset any user changed settings back to whatever we feel is best at that time when we do so.

While we're at it, we are going to go ahead and remove a few features here and there, so that we can sell them back to you when you finally realize that you do indeed need them after all. But don't worry though, we will go ahead and leave the shell services and support files there so they can slowly but surely bog your system down to the point that you can only reset the system back to default and start the whole system over again.

P.S. Thanks for all of that bandwidth we just used downloading that giant update that removes more features than it adds. Your welcome.


    Your friends at Microsoft, the NSA, and h1b1 "employees" everywhere.

Shocking only if one accepts MSM bias

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

This story only comes off as the Dutch looking out for Dutch Windows 10 users' interests if one accepts a mainstream media bias against critically examining the unethical power of proprietary software.

"The lack of clear information about what Microsoft does with the data that Windows 10 collects prevents consumers from giving their informed consent" is true as far as it goes but hardly affects just Windows 10. This whole story hinges on that Microsoft got caught ignoring user's privacy preferences and releasing more information than the user said they wanted released. All proprietary software inherently fails to give such clear information and every time that software is altered the information collected or disseminated can change, making informed consent harder.

Software freedom is needed to truly address the underlying concerns rightly raised by the Dutch government. Only with free software can users have any real chance to understand what published software does, verify programmer/distributor's claims about the software, ensure that the software complies by modifying the software, and help one's community by distributing the improved software.

So looking out for the users' interests makes sense to do at a government level (apparently the so-called "free market" approach results in situations like what we face now) but structurally this simply cannot be done in an effective and thoroughgoing way with non-free (user-subjugating) software. Proprietors know this and this is partly why they release their software without respecting their user's software freedom.

MS already admitted willingness to break EU law

By mutantSushi • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
MS has already admitted their willingness to do this, that if US law and EU law are in conflict they will follow US law. Now if they wanted to, they could structure their business so there is no ability for US to influence things. If they wanted to they could structure their business so it no longer is primarily based out of the US at all. MS and similar companies use all sorts of shenanigans to evade national tax liability, but MS isn't willing to take equivalent steps to evade US jurisdiction over-reach. US tech is is undeniably in the pocket of the US state and intelligence apparatus, they have billion dollar deals flowing from that and are comfortable cooperating within US intelligence control regime. That's what they're loyal to, pure and simple.

Re:then fine them!

By Kjella • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Full disclosure is meaningless if there is no option to completely opt-out of telemetry and data collection. There is no usable alternative to Windows, otherwise Microsoft wouldn't have 90+% market share on the desktop. Simply telling people what you are doing means nothing if they have no choice but to accept it, whether they like it or not.

While I agree it's half a solution, it wouldn't do much good if an alternative is available but nobody knows why they'd want it or need it. There's a reason the first amendment is the first, and why the four boxes of liberty are soap, ballot, jury and ammo in that order. The most important part of any change is to raise awareness as to why the change is needed. Clearly that too has some limitations (see: Snowden) but at least it brought the discussion out of the tin foil hat crowd and into the general public. And while the alternatives might be poor you can't really make a decision until you know the stakes.

Should be opt-in only

By MoarSauce123 • Score: 3 • Thread
It needs to be up to the user to send any data to Microsoft. If the user decides not to send anything then Win 10 ought to not send a bit. Simple as that. In order to get the data, Microsoft should offer an incentive.

Woz Wants To Retrain You For a Career in Tech

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Steve Wozniak wants you to work in tech, and he's going to help you do it. From a report: The Apple co-founder is launching Woz U, a digital institute aimed at helping folks not only figure out what type of tech job they might be best at, but train for it. "People often are afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can't do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how," Wozniak said in a statement Friday. Woz U starts off as online programs, but there are plans to build campuses in 30 cities around the world. Those cities will be announced within the next 60 days, Shelly Murphy, corporate relations for Woz U told CNET. In a press statement, Wozniak said Woz U will start as an online learning platform focused on both students and companies that will eventually hire those students. Woz U is based out of Arizona, and hopes to launch physical locations for learning in more than 30 cities across the globe. At launch, the curriculum will center around computer support specialists and software developers, with courses on data science, mobile applications and cybersecurity coming in the future.

Re:A Noble Idea

By DaMattster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Pews Social Trends research is *heavily* backed by the universities because they stand to lose money if people no longer need degrees. I would advise caution about using research studies because you have to see what angle they have. The US Department of Labor sees the largest job growth in trades. There are people earning six figure salaries that are skilled laborers.

Re:A Noble Idea

By 0100010001010011 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

There are lost of qualified IT professionals that are getting passed over.

Because I don't need and IT professional. CS and IT hasn't had shift towards the trades that all other degrees have had for a while.

When you're building a house you only need so many civil engineers and architects. At some point you need a fleet of plumbers, electricians and general contractors. That's where the engineering and IT work is at my company. Right now people are trying to cut the corner by outsourcing and it's having predictable results.

I don't need a BS CS major. I don't even need a AS. I want a 16 year old that is eager to be in "IT" and I can converse with in English. That's it. I would hire a dozen if my manager would allow it but we're stuck outsourcing to India for the time being.

IT and CS need to come to a realization that part of your job does not need a college education. It needs the skill sets that can be learned in 10-16 week vocational tech training. Every single other industry has a stake in that space but for some reason CS majors insist that the entirety of their job must be done by people with a CS degree.

Hell I would hire someone that could grok Python and just write documentation. I don't even need them to understand it. Turn my trash into perfectly valid Google Style documentation. That would take a huge weight off of my shoulders and improve code around the company. Maybe they might pick up some Python on the way. That's the sort of work that tradesmen give to the grunt apprentices. Doctors have moved to train physician assistants, RNs, and a host of other positions to do most of their job so they can concentrate on what they were trained to do.

As long as the gray beards insist that the only people that can replace them have BS degrees then the company will find the cheapest "BS" degree they can and hire them. Mechanical engineers have had mechanical engineering technologists for a while and they're amazing. It would take me twice as long to do something they do and it would be half as good. It doesn't mean I don't have a job it means I get to concentrate on the engineering.

If you want to see CS and IT shift back to the US then you need to sell your manager on hiring 16 year olds to do your tedious work so that you can concentrate on the hard bits of it. And when those hard bits become the tedious bits, train them and move on. Rinse and repeat. If you're a manager looking for 'cheap labor' start talking to the local voctech high schools. Factor in rework and communication 'costs' and pay them well for their age. You'll come out loads ahead. They'll have relevant job experience for the future and you'll have cheap labor. If you have someone set to retire in 5 years just have the 16 year olds shadow them and do any work that they can.

Yet someone else taking advantage of Woz

By mschuyler • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yet someone else taking advantage of Woz, I'm guessing, getting him to invest in an IT Tech University scam knowing full-well he would be enthusiastic about such an endeavor. He certainly won't be managing or really 'heading up' such a project in any meaningful way, having said more than once that he is not a 'managerial type.' I have always had the fear that one day I would awaken to the news that Woz was completely broke, having trusted glib promoters with his entire fortune.

Re:A Noble Idea

By somenickname • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I agree with you in spirit but not in practice. I work for a small company and we had a top-notch, experienced EE doing design *and* soldering work for a while. Once we hired a technician to do the soldering work, the EE's productivity increased dramatically. I don't think the same can be said for many/most software jobs. I can't hire cheap labor to do my dirty work because there is no part of the process that can be pushed onto people with underwhelming qualifications. There is no equivalent of "the guy who solders my boards".

We hire interns whenever we can but, I've long thought that maybe I spend more time helping the intern than I would if I'd just written it myself. And, when the intern leaves, it's actually pretty common to just rewrite what they did. So, it's almost certain that they are, at best, a cheap prototype vehicle.

The tedious work in computer science is actually what a technician is *least* qualified to do. You want a 16 year old kid to create your Makefiles? Fuck that. You want a 16 year old kid to grok your network? Fuck that. Those are hard things to do and there is a reason that people make a lot of money doing them: If you are good at doing that level of tedious stuff, you are worth a lot of money. It's actually very hard to do.

So, no, we aren't going to see a huge surge of technicians in CS. We've already seen it. It's called offshoring. And the quality of software (and support) has dramatically decreased because of it. Cheap labor and quality software are not compatible ideas. A product that involves creative thought does not lend itself to technicians. And that's what offshoring gives you: Technicians.

Re:A Noble Idea

By somenickname • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I genuinely admire what you're doing and really wish that a vocational "Software Engineering Drudgery" degree would be a thing but, I just don't see how it's possible. The drudgery requires just as much logic skills as the product. I would almost say that the best software teams are the ones who make their smartest guys build the infrastructure (including Makefiles, networking, etc). Everything else floats on that raft. I sure as hell don't want my raft built by a 16 year old.

I say this as a guy who dropped out of college as a junior at the age of 18. 20 years later, my lack of degree has had *zero* effect on my ability to get a job but, I'm acutely aware of how bad I was at doing... well... anything... at the age of 18.

I'd love to have a vocational software assistant but, software is complex enough that I barely trust experienced co-workers to write it, let alone a 16 year old kid.

Google is Essentially Building an Anti-Amazon Alliance, and Target is the Latest To Join

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google and the country's biggest brick-and-mortar retailers have one main problem in common: Amazon. Now both sides are acting like they are serious about working together to do something about it. From a report: On Thursday, Target and Google announced that they are expanding what was a years-old delivery partnership from a small experiment in a handful of cities to the entire continental U.S. The expansion will allow Target to become a retail partner in Google's voice-shopping initiative, which lets owners of the Google Home "smart" speaker order items through voice commands like owners of the Echo can do from Amazon. The announcement comes seven weeks after Walmart inked a similar deal with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of products through the service. Other big-box retailers like Home Depot are also on board. Voice commerce was the core of these recent announcements, and it may someday become popular for types of shopping like reordering household staples. But that's not what is most interesting here to me. Instead, it's the promise that Target is also beginning to work with Google "to create innovative digital experiences using ... other cutting-edge technologies to elevate Target's strength in style areas such as home, apparel and beauty."

that is fine with me

By FudRucker • Score: 3 • Thread
i been an amazon customer for a few years and for the most part they are okay, but the last year or two i noticed they have been slacking off when it comes to checking the quality of the people they allow to sell on amazon, i been ripped by deceptive bait & switch items a couple of times and it reminded me of the ebay tricks that made me quit buying from ebay, (are the bad vendors following me around?)

Are they out of touch or am I?

By Cajun Hell • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

which lets owners of the Google Home "smart" speaker order items through voice commands like owners of the Echo can do from Amazon.

Seriously? You seriously believe anyone wants to do that?

One of two things is happening:

1) Everyone-except-me spends most of their time shopping. If you're not asleep, then you're probably shopping. We all just sit around thinking about things we want to buy, and we're all frustrated that it takes so much work (ugh, the clicking! the endless clicking!!) to get them purchased. It's hell on earth, we have a problem, and we need it fixed. If only I had a convenient thing that would take voice commands for shopping! I would pay for that. I would order it. I'm ordering things right now. Anyone wanna sell me one of those? Oh well. I'll be ordering more stuff again in 15 minutes, so maybe my fantasy shopping interface will be ready then.

2) The aforementioned isn't true, but the people who run Amazon and Google think it's true.


By Presence Eternal • Score: 3 • Thread

Clearly voice shopping is the Achilles heel of Amazon. It's a market they have no part in and by the way, it is huge.

Said no one ever. Sounds more like a ship of fools, and doubly so for being captained by a company that never finishes what it starts. At least shoprunner was in the same zip code as a good idea.

Re:Are they out of touch or am I?

By JohnFen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's actually really simple:

by erasing, to the greatest degree possible, every single hassle required to buy something, you greatly increase the amount of impulse purchases. You'd be amazed at how often a minor amount of effort keeps people from buying something that they only maybe-kinda-sorta might want to buy.

This is great for retailers, and terrible for customers.

Re:Sorry, Google

By DNS-and-BIND • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

James Damore did not say what most people think he said. He did not say women are unsuited for tech jobs. He did not say women only have tech jobs due to affirmative action. That is all bullshit piled on by those mau-mauing him, in an effort to expel someone whose questioning made them uncomfortable.

Why it made them uncomfortable is the fascinating part of all this.

It makes them uncomfortable because it shatters the brittle shell of their enforced narrative, which can only be kept by keeping everyone from saying anything against it. It is very much a "the king is naked" situation. If James Damore is allowed to say men and women are different, the entire project of feminism shatters.

And yet everyone who doesn't live in academia or in a social justice echo chamber knows that men and women are different. If you think statistically different from men means inferior, then YOU are the misogynist.

Why China is Winning the Clean Energy Race

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: U.S. politicians have been warning for years that America couldn't let China win the clean energy race. That's exactly what has happened, with the trends most stark in electric cars, solar and nuclear energy. Why it matters: Building for the last decade, these trends have accelerated in the last couple of years. Politicians and business leaders said America's dominance in this space would bring jobs to the U.S. and security to our clean-energy resources, and now both of those goals are at risk. Why China is doing this: It needs to literally energize its 1.4 billion people, both how they travel and how they power their homes. Its leadership feels compelled to do it in a cleaner way than the U.S. did. Air pollution is at dangerously high levels across many of China's cities. People are seeing and feeling health repercussions of China's dependence on fossil fuel-fired cars and power plants in an acute way. Traditional air pollution, not climate change, is a big driver.

Re:Interesting definition of "leading clean energy

By Jzanu • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Your story was out of date and wrong even when it was printed. See here and check the end, also note the dates are written differently such that while your article was written later it was also wrong when published.

Re: Political Party explains this

By someone1234 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Nope, he called the Democratic Party of the US progressive. He also said, the Chinese single Party has no competition, so it could embrace the progressive idea of man-made climate change and it actively fights against it. Partly, because their smog-ridden great cities suffered more than present day US cities. Having no progressive competition left them acting freely for the greater good of their people (in this issue).

Contrary to you, realizing that pollution/climate change is a problem and that developing green energies will also create jobs, it is indeed progressive. Much more than the Orange Clown's dumb denial. I bet, China will open factories in the US where the White Trash can build wind turbines and solar panels instead of cars AND Trump will PAY FOR IT.

Re:Interesting definition of "leading clean energy

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

On top of that, China has been through 4 straight year on year reductions in the amount of coal consumed while their energy generation has increased year on year. Even if they are still playing with coal, they are most definitely trending correctly.

Wrong direction...

By pubwvj • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This isn't a race you win by being first but by being last. First to finish does it at the highest economic cost. Last to finish benefits from the economies of scale that the early adopters create that drives down the cost of technology.

Strategic independence

By Kjella • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You can dream that China is all eco-hippies. Truth is, they're doing their best to avoid dependence on foreign resources and foreign technology or at the very least control it through direct ownership.If they had Saudi-Arabia's oil reserves they wouldn't give a shit to find alternatives.

IT Admin Trashes Railroad Company's Network Before He Leaves

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: A federal jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota found a local man guilty of intentionally damaging his former employer's network before leaving the company. The man's name is Christopher Victor Grupe, 46, and from September 2013 until December 2015 he worked as an IT professional for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), a transcontinental railroad based in Alberta, Canada. Things went sideways in December 2015 when CPR suspended Grupe for 12 days for yelling and using inadequate language with his boss. When the man returned to work following his suspension on December 15, management told Grupe they were going to fire him for insubordination. According to court documents obtained by Bleeping Computer, Grupe asked management to resign, effective immediately. He promised to come back the following days and return company property such as his laptop, remote access device, and access badges. He did return the items, as promised, but not before taking the laptop for a last spin inside CPR's network. Court documents show Grupe accessed the company's switches and removed admin accounts, changed passwords for other admin accounts, and deleted log files. When done, Grupe wiped his laptop and returned it to CPR's Minnesota office on December 17, two days after he resigned.

Re: And this is why you disable accesss.....

By decep • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What if that person gets hit by a car

Or a train...

Stupidity on both sides

By DaMattster • Score: 3 • Thread
It takes two to make a squabble. If you're the company and you're going to fire someone that has access to critical network and server infrastructure, you cancel all of their access and security privileges immediately - it's never a good idea to practically allow the terminated employee to royally fuck things up for you. If you're the IT pro, you don't use access IDs and tokens with your name attached to them - that's just like robbing a bank, calling the cops with your own personal cell phone, and telling the cops that show up that you're guilty.

NEVER burn your bridges

By Fencepost • Score: 3 • Thread
Aside from the things the company did wrong (and firing network admins is always difficult), the real stupid move in this story is the sabotage.

This guy will likely never get hired as an IT staffer again. Sure the company was going to fire him, but in the modern world of "All we can confirm is that he was employed here from X to Y" his reason for departure was going to be an interview question, not something that was going to come up in reference checks. Now even ignoring that searching for his name is going to bring this up, he can't network for jobs with anyone he worked with, anyone who know those folks, and probably out to the second degree.

I guess that's one way to make sure you follow through on your dreams of a career change.

Re: This is why we'll never be taken seriously

By Reverend Green • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If doctors were treated as badly as IT, a lot more people with be afraid to go to the hospital.

Re:And this is why you disable accesss.....

By Snotnose • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

*before* you tell someone you're going to fire them.

CSB. One morning some 20 years ago I was in the sysadmin's office talking to him when some guy popped his head in and said he couldn't log in. Sysadmin said "damn, that wasn't supposed to happen until next week".

Sure enough, next week there was a layoff and the guy who couldn't log in was one of the head reductees.

SWIFT Says Hackers Still Targeting Bank Messaging System

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Hackers continue to target the SWIFT bank messaging system, though security controls instituted after last year's $81 million heist at Bangladesh's central bank have helped thwart many of those attempts, a senior SWIFT official told Reuters. From the report: "Attempts continue," said Stephen Gilderdale, head of SWIFT's Customer Security Programme, in a phone interview. "That is what we expected. We didn't expect the adversaries to suddenly disappear." SWIFT spokeswoman Natasha de Teran told Reuters that the attackers had attempted to hack into computers that banks use to access the organization's proprietary network, then create fraudulent messages to send over the SWIFT system. "We have no indication that our network and core messaging services have been compromised," she said. The disclosure underscores that banks remain at risk of cyber attacks targeting computers used to access SWIFT almost two years after the February 2016 theft from a Bangladesh Bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Hackers still following the money...

By mccrew • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Film at 11.

Swift can do that?

By Ukab the Great • Score: 3 • Thread

Eat your heart out, JavaScript. Those Apple technologies are just too amazing.


By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's not like banks aren't being adequately compensated for their services. If they won't fund the creation of a bulletproof banking network that can withstand close scrutiny then they really only have themselves to blame.

Qualcomm Seeks China iPhone Ban, Escalating Apple Legal Fight

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Qualcomm filed lawsuits in China seeking to ban the sale and manufacture of iPhones in the country, the chipmaker's biggest shot at Apple so far in a sprawling and bitter legal fight. From a report: The San Diego-based company aims to inflict pain on Apple in the world's largest market for smartphones and cut off production in a country where most iPhones are made. The product provides almost two-thirds of Apple's revenue. Qualcomm filed the suits in a Beijing intellectual property court claiming patent infringement and seeking injunctive relief, according to Christine Trimble, a company spokeswoman. "Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them," Trimble said. An Apple spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. Qualcomm's suits are based on three non-standard essential patents, it said. They cover power management and a touch-screen technology called Force Touch that Apple uses in current iPhones, Qualcomm said. The inventions "are a few examples of the many Qualcomm technologies that Apple uses to improve its devices and increase its profits," Trimble said. The company made the filings at the Beijing court on Sept. 29. The court has not yet made them public.

The rewards for 'courage'

By HBI • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

True, they can sit on their cash for aeons, but Apple as a tastemaker has literally already died. The last vestiges of the reality distortion field let up, and now it's back to early 90's Apple, the company that couldn't do anything right.

Re:high stakes for Qualcomm

By UnknowingFool • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Exposing their double dipping might have disastrous consequences in China. After all, invalidating their patents could allow a myriad of copycat chips to be made.

Re:The Slashdot dilemma

By sexconker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

[X] Monopolies and process patents are evil
[X] Apple is teh suck

This Is the Week Wall Street Went Nuts Over Cryptocurrencies

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Wall Street banks that weren't already on the bitcoin bandwagon appear to be piling on, or least eyeing seats, after the cryptocurrency surged to all-time highs this week on the way to $6,000. From a report: Analysts are working to keep up with demand from clients for information. UBS and Citigroup published extensive explainers on blockchain technology, while senior executives at JPMorgan Chase warmed to the cryptocurrency during the bank's third-quarter earnings call. The digital currency has risen more than fivefold after trading at less than $1,000 as recently as December, breaking the $5,000 mark this week and already targeting the next thousand-dollar level. Throughout its rise, the cryptocurrency shrugged off tighter regulations, feuding factions and warnings from the likes of JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon of fraud and an eventual price collapse.


By JesseMcDonald • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You can't categorically declare that Bitcoin's price is "unwarranted by the fundamentals of the asset". It's a new asset type and its fundamentals are yet to be determined. We're still feeling out Bitcoin's ultimate utility and long-term viability. Surges like this are inevitable.

We've gone through this process several times already. Each time people have declared it a "bubble", and yet... while each surge has been followed by a "crash", the average price after each crash has been significantly higher than the average price before the preceding surge. This was true at $2, $30, $200, $1200, and $4000. The long-term trend has been toward gradually increasing prices and less volatility.


By Lisandro • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Gold is not valuable because it is tangible; it is valuable because it is scarce. So is Bitcoin, BTW. Much like gold, as a currency it is inherently deflationary.

Thank you slashdot

By JasonVergo • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Back in 2011, Slashdot had a post about bitcoin. I thought it sounded interesting. So, I mined some and sent some money via dwolla to tradehill to mt.gox or something crazy like that and bought some. That $300 is now worth over $250k. I don't remember there being that many hater on the thread back then. If there were, I'm glad I didn't listen to them.


By mysidia • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It is why most wealth is not maintained in currency form, but rather assets that increase in value faster than inflation.

Perhaps.... but imagine a world with a deflationary currency. In order for businesses to persuade you to invest in their business or their debts, the bar for investing will be a much greater return --- because the business will have to increase in value faster or pay in interest a rate of interest you expect to be greater than the rate at which the deflationary currency increases in value, thus the cost of capital will be high, and businesses will be more responsible and careful with $$$ they spend not to waste it, Whereas with an inflationary currency it is almost a "Given", that tangible commodities and businesses will become worth more currency over time.

Re:Thank you slashdot

By Jzanu • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I'm German, I just hate the direction of the US led economics and American idiots advocating the stupidity that is killing off everyone who isn't as greedy as possible. If I can help one person realize analysis requires more thought than that then I am happy. There are greater interests exist in the world, and greater purposes for existence. Family, community, peace, humanity itself.

Does the Rise of AI Precede the End of Code?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares an article: It's difficult to know what's in store for the future of AI but let's tackle the most looming question first: are engineering jobs threatened? As anticlimactic as it may be, the answer is entirely dependent on what timeframe you are talking about. In the next decade? No, entirely unlikely. Eventually? Most definitely. The kicker is that engineers never truly know how the computer is able to accomplish these tasks. In many ways, the neural operations of the AI system are a black box. Programmers, therefore, become the AI coaches. They coach cars to self-drive, coach computers to recognise faces in photos, coach your smartphone to detect handwriting on a check in order to deposit electronically, and so on. In fact, the possibilities of AI and machine learning are limitless. The capabilities of AI through machine learning are wondrous, magnificent... and not going away. Attempts to apply artificial intelligence to programming tasks have resulted in further developments in knowledge and automated reasoning. Therefore, programmers must redefine their roles. Essentially, software development jobs will not become obsolete anytime soon but instead require more collaboration between humans and computers. For one, there will be an increased need for engineers to create, test and research AI systems. AI and machine learning will not be advanced enough to automate and dominate everything for a long time, so engineers will remain the technological handmaidens.

Stop. Just stop.

By 110010001000 • Score: 3 • Thread
Just stop. There is no such thing as "AI". Playing Go is NOT AI. Neither is Siri. Neural Nets are nothing like how real brains work. So just stop the AI hype.

That's called a compiler. Fortran 1957

By raymorris • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> the humans are no longer coders, they will instead be writing specifications for the code

Humans wrote computer code until 1957. In 1957, it became possible to instead write a specification for what the code should DO, writing that specification in a language called Fortran. Then the Fortran compiler wrote the actual machine code.

In 1972 or thereabouts, another high-level specification language came out, called C. With C, we got optimizing compilers that totally rewrite the specification, doing things in a different order, entirely skipping steps that don't end up affecting the result, etc. The optimizing C compiler (ex gcc) writes machine code that ends up with the same result as the specification, but may get there in a totally different way.

In the late 1970s, a new kind of specification language came out. Instead of the programmer saying "generate code to do this, then that, then this", with declarative programming the programming simply specifies the end result:. "All the values must be changed to their inverse", or "output the mean, median, and maximum salary". These are specifications you can declare using the SQL language. We also use declarative specifications to say "all level one headings should end up centered on the page" or "end up with however many thumbnails in each row as will fit". We use CSS to declare these specifications. The systems then figure out the intermediate code and machine code to make that happen.

The future you suggest has been here for 60 years. Most programmers don't write executable machine code and haven't for many years. We write specifications for the compilers, interpreters, and query optimizers that then generate code that's used to generate code which is interpreted by microcode which is run by the CPU.

Heck, since the mid-1970s it hasn't even been NECESSARY for humans to write the compilers. Specify a language and yacc will generate a compiler for it.

Re:When AIs write code

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
"We already have machines that think abstractly"

No we don't.

"What we do have is machines that have invented their own languages"

No we don't

"They are evolving"

No they aren't. The digital computer is the same basic design as it was in the 1960s. You can always tell who actually understands technology and who just consumes it.

Re:When AIs write code

By haruchai • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

More to the point, when AIs learn to write code better than human coders, the humans are no longer coders, they will instead be writing specifications for the code that the AI will write: essentially they will be managers for the AI.

No, the AI that writes the shittiest code will become the managers for all the other AIs

Re:That's called a compiler. Fortran 1957

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4 • Thread

With C, we got optimizing compilers that totally rewrite the specification, doing things in a different order, entirely skipping steps that don't end up affecting the result, etc.

We didn't. FORTRAN I was specificially designed with optimization in mind and in fact the first compiler was an optimizing compiler:

But yes, your point is otherwise sound. What is run-of-the-mill compiler optimization today would have been AI in the days of FORTRAN I. Modern code looks nothing like the early machine-level descriptions. I also agree that languages are (and will increasingly become) precise specifications of what we want with the details left up to the compiler.

Google Bombs Are Our New Normal

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
mirandakatz writes: Tech companies' worst crises used to come in the form of pranks like Google bombs: Users figured out how to game search results, such as when a search for "miserable failure" turned up links to information about then-president George W. Bush. Today, in the era of fake news and Russian interference, that's basically our new normal -- but as Karen Wickre, a former communications lead at companies like Google and Twitter, points out, tech companies' approaches to dealing with the new breed of crises haven't evolved much since the age of Google bombs. Wickre suggests a new, collaborative approach that she dubs the "Federation," writing that "No single company, no matter how massive and wealthy, can hire its way out of a steady gusher of bad information or false and manipulative ads...The era of the edge case -- the exception, the outlier—is over. Welcome to our time, where trouble is forever brewing."

Remember the /. SCO GoogleBomb in 2004?

By grub • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Hard to believe this was back in 2004, but it worked!

Re:The age of Russian interference?

By _Sharp'r_ • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

From the article:

We trust our devices: We trust them to surface the correct sources in our information feeds, we trust them to deliver our news, and we trust them to surface the opinions of our friends. So the biggest and most influential platforms falling prey to manipulations upsets that trust—and the order of things.

No, no we don't. We don't just trust everything we read, and for good reason. Typically, the more you know about the subject of a news story, the more you realize how inaccurate it is. That also applies to the news stories you don't know a lot about, you just may not be the one who has the right background on it. I like hearing from the people who do.

massive platforms and services we rely on routinely communicate and coordinate, despite the fact that they are also competitors.

No, we're not pining for the "good old days" when you only had to get the NY Times to preview a story for the three major TV network news teams and it became magically enshrined as the "truth" because no one ever got to see any other opinions.

The answer to bad speech is more speech to compete with it, not censoring speech in order to "control the narrative". Deciding to federate all the Internet media companies into a shared censorship regime because a few spammers purchased a rounding error's worth of advertising in order to promote their click farms is completely out of proportion. It's almost like someone was waiting for an excuse to propose the solution they've been wishing for, a return to the days when not anyone could just speak, when you had to get past the "gatekeepers" in order to communicate to the masses.

Re:#MAGA #TrumpGonnaDeportTheRagheads

By hackwrench • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You're just jealous because they took your job because they could do it faster and cheaper than you could.

Re:The age of Russian interference?

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The Russians! nonsense is just embarrassing at this point.

That's exactly what a Russian dezinformatsiya agent would say.


I find it curious...

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

...that the OP mentioned "fake news" and "Russian Interference" in the same sentence inveighing against bad information spread widely.

Someone Is Trying to Knock the Dark Web Drug Trade Offline

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Joseph Cox, reporting for the Daily Beast: The dark web -- a pack of websites that hides their physical location with special software -- is always a precarious place, with the FBI shutting down massive criminal networks, or competing sites hacking one another. Now, someone is trying to take the four largest drug marketplaces offline, seemingly by flooding them with a torrent of traffic. These sites offer a mail-order service for pretty much any drug a customer could imagine, from LSD to varieties of heroin. As of at least Friday morning, several marketplaces were inaccessible or could only be visited from backup website addresses, and at the time of publication are still facing problems. It's not totally clear who is behind the outages, but the downtime has disrupted the dark-web community somewhat. "We are facing a DDoS attack atm [at the moment] and I guess many other markets as well," a Reddit moderator for the site dubbed Wall Street, one of the affected marketplaces, told The Daily Beast.

i noticed that, too

By turkeydance • Score: 3 • Thread
have to hit the street

Probably ...

By PPH • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

... big Pharma. Heroin is cutting into their oxycodone sales.

Flooding one end to find the other?

By glitch! • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I wonder if this is a way of finding the customers. The dark system may hide IP addresses, but if someone can affect the timing on one end, that itself can be a signal. If they can flood one end, maybe they can look for indications of that congestion at the other end.

Piercing anonymity?

By Okian Warrior • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This leads to an interesting question.

We know that the original dark-web protocol allowed state actors to pierce the veil of anonymity by traffic analysis. For example, even though packets were encrypted, you could follow packets of the same length to their destination. Do this multiple times, and you have a statistical certainty of the destination site.

That was fixed, and a similar technique with packet timing was also fixed.

I'm wondering now: can packet *volume* can be used to fingerprint a communication path?

Suppose you could flood a site through the Onion system, and also turn it on and off with a 1-sec resolution. Set up a pattern of on/off packet floods, then see which destinations get flooded during which seconds.

Can you then use traffic analysis to uncover the destination site?

Re:Probably ...

By dj245 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Somehow, I can't imagine heroin addicts buying their next fix over the internet. It seems more likely that they would need it to be delivered WAY FASTER, and they would eventually end up selling their PC/laptop/smartphone just to get money for their next fix anyway. Plus, a local news story about the rising overdoses from Heroin mentions that the Heroin was TOO POWERFUL, because it was mixed with oxycodone.

You would be surprised. Buying over the internet completely eliminates the risk of getting physically harmed during the transaction. The risk of being robbed is probably about the same. The risk of getting caught by law enforcement is probably less (for reasonably small quantities).

Desperate people living day to day probably aren't using the dark web, but such people probably aren't using Amazon Prime either. There are plenty of affluent drug users, if Hollywood is any indication.

Real Moviegoers Don't Care About Rotten Tomatoes

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a recent essay published on the Hollywood Reporter, Martin Scorsese inveighs against two conjoined trends -- the widespread reporting of box-office results and the grading of movies by consumers on CinemaScore and by critics on Rotten Tomatoes -- and blames it for "a tone that is hostile to serious filmmakers." In particular, he contends that this hostile environment is worsening "as film criticism written by passionately engaged people with actual knowledge of film history has gradually faded from the scene." Richard Brody, a movie critic at the New Yorker, thinks Scorsese is missing the mark. He writes: I think that film criticism is, over all, better than ever, because, with its new Internet-centrism, it's more democratic than ever and many of the critics who write largely online are more film-curious than ever. Anyone who is active on so-called Film Twitter -- who sees links by critics, mainly younger critics, to his or her work -- can't help but be impressed by the knowledge, the curiosity, and the sensibility of many of them. Their tastes tend to be broader and more daring than those of many senior critics on more established publications. And, even if readers of the wider press aren't reading these more obscure critics, the critics whom general readers read are often reading those young critics (and if they're not, it shows). This is, of course, not universally so, any more than it ever was. The Internet is democratic in all directions -- it's also available to writers of lesser knowledge, duller taste, and dubious agendas, and it may be their work that's advertised most loudly -- but the younger generation of critics is present online and there for the finding. [...] What Scorsese doesn't exactly say, but what, I think, marks a generation gap in movie thinking that his essay reflects, is the appearance of an increasing divide between artistically ambitious films and Hollywood films -- the gap between the top box-office films and the award winners. For filmmakers ready to work on lower budgets, the gap is irrelevant. The filmmakers whose conceptions tend toward the spectacular are the ones whose styles may, literally, be cramped by shrinking budgets -- filmmakers such as Scorsese and Wes Anderson, whose work has both an original and elaborate sense of style and a grand historical reach.

Re:Releasing Shitty Movies

By bobbied • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread


(((Hollywood))) hasn't had an original idea in decades.

Well.... I think that's a bit unfair. They just haven't been very good at taking original ideas they find and making them into movies folks want to see. The problem, and what's not original are the old tired formulas that Hollywood uses to take an idea and turn it into entertainment.

They are victims of their past successes, drinking their own Kool-Aid, and not taking chances. Basically, the MBA's have taken over to maximize profit.

Re:Good reviews

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think there's also a difference between "reviews" and "criticism". They're related, but distinct things.

You use a "review" to decide where to direct your purchasing dollars. If I'm buying a new washing machine, I'll check the reviews of the ones that seem to meet my criteria. However by-in-large I don't need a review to know whether I'm going to see the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster in the theaters; I just know.

You use "criticism" to enhance your enjoyment and understanding of something. In the unlikely event that I see Thor:Ragnarok a critique afterward gives me a second bite of the apple as it were; it might even change my mind. Screen Junkies "Honest Trailers" on YouTube are an example of critique; they're intended for people who've already seen the movie.

In a review you do need elements of criticism, but those elements have to be discreet. A review ought to tell you why you want to experience this thing without interfering with that experience. And while a reviewer's feelings are more important in a review than a critics feelings are in a critique, a little critical objectivity is still very useful in a reviewer. A good reviewer should be able to tell you why you want to see a movie that he himself hates.

Re:Take it with a grain of salt

By Rhacman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I pass on the trailers if only because frequently they reveal too much.

Re:And in other news ...

By geekmux • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Hey Hollywood, stop making the same shit over again

If Bullshit Sequel #2 makes $50 million in profits, you better believe Hollywood is gonna make Bullshit Sequel #3.

That continues until Bullshit Sequel #8 proves to not-so-profitable. If not, then they'll make Bullshit Sequel #9.

Bottom line is STOP asking or blaming Hollywood. They are doing nothing more than responding to demand.

Review pages have just become utterly useless

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Between "professional" reviewers that don't dare to pan an atrocious movie because they fear the social shitstorm, astroturfing studios and people who don't give a shit about the movie being good or bad because it doesn't fit into their world view and that's why it's horrible (or because it caters to it and that's why it has to be stellar), all of them trying to out-do each other with "it's the greatest movie of all times" or "it's the worst trash since the invention of cinema" on a movie that is essentially "meh".

I guess everyone knows by now what I'm talking about, so I'll just close here. tl;dr version: It might work for simple Michael Bay movies that have no "message" but as soon as there is one, just ignore RT and find out for yourself.

Twitter Is Crawling With Bots and Lacks Incentive To Expel Them

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Wednesday, the exterior of Twitter's San Francisco headquarters bore an eerie message: "Ban Russian Bots." Someone -- the company doesn't know who -- projected the demand onto the side of its building. Bots, or automated software programs, can be programmed to periodically send out messages on the internet. Now Twitter is scrambling to explain how bots controlled by Russian meddlers may have been used to impact the 2016 president election. Twitter was designed to be friendly to bots. They can help advertisers quickly spread their messages and respond to customer service complaints. Research from the University of Southern California and Indiana University shows that 9 to 15 percent of active Twitter accounts are bots. Many innocuously tweet headlines, the weather or Netflix releases. After the election, there was little discussion inside the company about whether the platform may have been misused, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because it is private. But the ubiquity and usefulness of bots did come up. At one point, there were talks about whether Twitter should put a marking on bot accounts, so that users would know they were automated, one of the people said. Yet most of the conversation after the election focused on whether Trump's tweets violated Twitter's policies, the person said.

Re:Media Matters? Correct the Record?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why is there no outrage about David Brock spending $1 million per month on paid trolls for Clinton during the election? Hell they were proud to brag about it at the time. Those same people are now pushing The Russians! nonsense.

David Brock is an American Neo-Liberal political operative, author, and commentator who founded the media watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Source: Wikipedia (emphasis mine)

It's not illegal for Americans to exercise their 1st amendment rights to political speech.

Spending money to get out a political message is constitutionally protected speech, per the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.

The whole reason David Brock can spend money like this is because of the conservatives behind Citizens United.
That's right: Your problem with David Brock is your chicken, come home to roost.

Now, the emphasis above: He is an American citizen.
Americans can spend all the money they want to influence American elections.
However, foreign nationals, foreign companies, and foreign countries cannot do this.
Americans who knowingly accept money from foreign nationals, foreign companies, or foreign countries to influence elections are breaking federal law, and headed for federal prison.

And now you know why there is no outrage about David Brock (exercising his rights as an American), and there is outrage about Russian influence.

9-15% seems pretty low

By xxxJonBoyxxx • Score: 3 • Thread
>> 9 to 15 percent of active Twitter accounts are bots

Having worked in marketing briefly (shudder), I'd be surprised by any ratio that isn't close to 50/50. And a good chunk of the remaining 50% of humans also seem to be in marketing, either tuning their bots, watching what competitors bots are doing, or otherwise looking busy to keep pulling their social media paycheck. Personally, I've probably posted about 10K tweets, almost all through engines that magnify/schedule/repeat through networks. But I can't say I have enough time to actually follow Twitter for my own interests unless I'm actually at a con or other event where the feed provides some value, and the only email I see from Twitter is when someone contacts me directly.

Russian bots did nothing

By PontifexMaximus • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Come on, people. The Russians no more affected the 2016 election than my dead grandmother. The outcome was influenced by the fact Hillary was the worst candidate foisted on the American people in the history of the Republic. So, you liberals keep whining about outside influence.

Know what REAL outside influence is? How about a $500,000 Russian donation to the Clinton Foundation for her help in securing uranium mining rights in Canada. Or are you all too stupid to understand that?

Re:Media Matters? Correct the Record?

By penandpaper • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So rational with political experience and who understood so much that she lost to probably the worst President in US history. lol.

How is that a good thing? Honestly, that speaks more against her than anything about Trump. He is obviously better at winning the general election than her.

Even if she's as evil as you claim, that would still have made a better president than Trump

Now you are deluding yourself. Trump is probably the worst President in US history because he is stupid, evil or both. You just said that Clinton understood government with experience and campaigned on getting things done. If Clinton was evil and was able to do her evil agenda then that is more dangerous than an idiot or an evil idiot.

It seems impossible to put Clinton in a good light with your comment. Was that your intention?

Re:Russian bots did nothing

By tbannist • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The Russians! narrative is not meant to convince any Trump voters, it's meant to create an excuse for Democrats so the corrupt machine can remain in control of that party. There's not a single Trump voter saying to themselves today "Dang, the Russians tricked me!"

Of course not, all Trump voters know they're infallible, and that the coal jobs are coming back, and the wall is going to keep out the damn Mexicans.

Recordings of the Sounds Heard In the Cuban US Embassy Attacks Released

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter chrissfoot shares a report from The Associated Press: The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon. The recordings themselves are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen. Sound experts and physicians say they know of no sound that can cause physical damage when played for short durations at normal levels through standard equipment like a cellphone or computer. What device produced the original sound remains unknown. Americans affected in Havana reported the sounds hit them at extreme volumes. You can listen to the "Dangerous Sound" here via YouTube.

Re:It was harmful...

By Zontar_Thing_From_Ve • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

*grin* subtle, at least initially.

I'm more inclined to believe that it's another state-actor or else a very, very large criminal enterprise, something on the international scale.

If a state-actor they want to limit the US and the West generally from bringing Cuba into the fold.

I agree with you. And a smarter administration would be asking the following questions instead of just assuming "evil Cubans did this 'cause they're commies!"

Is there a nation that thrives on chaos and disorder in the world, particularly when it is the cause of such chaos and disorder?
Is there a nation that regards human life so little that it sent agents on a public airline with a radioactive element to kill a dissident and gave no concern to the impact the radioactivity would have on its own agents or the unknowing passengers?
Is there a nation that would benefit from Cuban-USA relations deteriorating?

The answer to all of the above is Russia.

Re:Is it time to round up the muslims?

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The number of Americans killed by guns in that "factoid" also includes suicide. Never mind that the mass shootings that are listed are primarily in poor black neighborhoods or anything. Obviously we need drug control too, so many people die from the wrong medication dosages and drug induced suicide every day that the opoid crisis is certainly to blame. 400,000 people die every year in the US from it. The opoid crisis is obviously the cause of all those deaths.

Speaking of which, we're seeing exactly that same type of problem with gun violence in black neighborhoods here in Canada. But we don't see the same level of problem in say poor chinese, indian, or vietmanese neighborhoods. We don't even see this problem in native communities, and despite the money handed over via treaties(and it's a lot -- which many never see due to their own corruption). It's almost...almost like there's more going on here.

Re:Is it time to round up the muslims?

By Immerman • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yep. For starters, we need to make it apply to white people too. Then that number would jump dramatically. Still be dwarfed by other gun deaths, but as I recall most of those are suicides, followed by accidents, followed by intentional murders over personal causes, none of which should qualify,

Re: It was harmful...

By arth1 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

All we really know is there have been sonic attacks against both US and Canadian government employees.

That's jumping to conclusions.
My SWAG is that it's a CIA product that's to blame, like a high frequency vibrator attached to windows to thwart laser listening, and that with the panes used in Cuba, the unfortunate side effect is that it acts as a speaker element and causes the sound "attacks".

I.e. Hanlon's razor.


By gosand • Score: 4 • Thread

There could never be any plausible malicious intent by people in Cuba against U.S. Embassy personnel. There's just no precedent and no motive.

The Cuban people were NOT indoctrinated for years to view U.S. Government entities as their enemy. There is NO possibility that rogue elements within Cuban society might be doing this 'For Fidel' out of ideological zeal.

Nope. None of that should even be considered.

I'm pretty sure they US public has been more thoroughly indoctrinated to view Cuba as the spawn of Satan by the US media than the Cuban government could ever hope to indoctrinate the Cuban people to view the US as a mere 'enemy'. I attribute this largely to the fact that the average Cuban is better educated and generally better informed than the average American.

I really just wish that Americans would figure out how to associate government actions with the government, and not condemn the country or people in it for the actions of their government. Your statement that the American public views Cuba as evil is surprising to me, because I don't think that at all. That may happen for some countries, like North Korea where things are a bit more extreme. But Cuba? I don't see it.

And I sure as hell hope that people in the rest of the world don't judge all Americans based on what our government does and says.

Researcher Turns HDD Into Rudimentary Microphone

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes from Bleeping Computer: Speaking at a security conference, researcher Alfredo Ortega has revealed that you can use your hard disk drive (HDD) as a rudimentary microphone to pick up nearby sounds. This is possible because of how hard drives are designed to work. Sounds or nearby vibrations are nothing more than mechanical waves that cause HDD platters to vibrate. By design, a hard drive cannot read or write information to an HDD platter that moves under vibrations, so the hard drive must wait for the oscillation to stop before carrying out any actions. Because modern operating systems come with utilities that measure HDD operations up to nanosecond accuracy, Ortega realized that he could use these tools to measure delays in HDD operations. The longer the delay, the louder the sound or the intense the vibration that causes it. These read-write delays allowed the researcher to reconstruct sound or vibration waves picked up by the HDD platters. A video demo is here.

"It's not accurate yet to pick up conversations," Ortega told Bleeping Computer in a private conversation. "However, there is research that can recover voice data from very low-quality signals using pattern recognition. I didn't have time to replicate the pattern-recognition portion of that research into mine. However, it's certainly applicable." Furthermore, the researcher also used sound to attack hard drives. Ortega played a 130Hz tone to make an HDD stop responding to commands. "The Linux kernel disconnected it entirely after 120 seconds," he said. There's a video of this demo on YouTube.

Before you go on a "spy on anyone" rant...

By IGnatius T Foobar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Before all the silly conversations begin about "omg anyone's computer can be turned into an eavesdropping device!!!1" ... remember that if you can compromise a computer to the point where you can make low-level manipulations to the hard disk ... you can also simply turn on the microphone.


By cachimaster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I'm the original author.
First, you are kind of rude for calling me idiot, specially if you didn't even read the friendly article.

Second, have you even looked at the video? no, the disk don't "temporarily park". The delay is proportional to the vibration amplitude, mean you can sense sound volume at a low rate. Sample rate is about 50 hz, it can't reconstruct a kHz signal but voice is in the ~300 Hz, and you don't need to reconstruct the complete signal to recognize it. You don't need to recognize a conversation, you need to recognize the patterns that the conversation causes. In the original article I proved a link to a research do does exactly that with the gyroscopes in mobile devices.

Re:Before you go on a "spy on anyone" rant...

By cachimaster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

God damn, nobody read the article anymore?

No, you don't need low-level manipulations to the hard disk, you only need to read a file, a low-privileged operation. Also, you can do it in servers that don't usually have a microphone.


By Lobachevsky • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I would like to apologize on behalf of people with dismissive attitudes. It is a real problem not just with anonymous posts, but even at the workplace, especially among "half-technical" people, who are are smart enough to understand jargon and comment but not enough to understand a reasoned argument. I've seen countless times where someone will quote from stackoverflow or some other source out-of-context, and several times where the source itself they quote from is utterly wrong to begin without even in-context. I might prove something with complex numbers, and they'll just quote someone saying you can't take a square root of negative numbers. Even after I convince them, they'll just laugh saying Intel cpus don't support complex numbers, and I have to show them the Intel cpu spec for hardware acceleration of complex numbers (and even without hardware support, it can be easily emulated in software). I've learned to stop trying, half-technical people are impediments to innovations.

Now, after that apology is done, I would like to bring up some academic research that may relate to your study of signal processing. There was some research done a while back (early 2000s, I think), that found that keyboard keystrokes leaked information on electricity draw. And even though they could not directly tell which key was hit, they were able to apply a model of qwerty keystroke cadence, since people tend to be faster or slower with keystrokes depending on the sequence of keys. Applying that model with a roughly 60Hz electrical tap, they were able to successfully reconstruct full text input at a 90% confidence. Because the model relied heavily on predictive modeling, it is not good for high-entropy signals like 8-character passwords, but it is excellent for low-entropy signals like a legal memo with several paragraphs explaining one point. You also mentioned a study directly applying to low SNR audio, for speech. However, I wonder if the vibrations for keystrokes are enough to disrupt HDD latency, and if so, a bivariate model using both HDD signal and electricity signal may yield a far superior reconstruction than electricity on its own, especially since the two 60Hz signals are likely out-of-phase. My 2 cents.


By cachimaster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

> I've learned to stop trying, half-technical people are impediments to innovations.

It's the internet. They are assholes, you just have to have thick skin :)

> I wonder if the vibrations for keystrokes are enough to disrupt HDD latency

Yes, they do. I saw it myself, the HDD is much more sensitive to vibrations transmitted by the chassis than sound. You might be onto something great here. I will quote you if I ever do something like this in the future.

World's First 'Negative Emissions' Plant Has Begun Operation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In an effort to reduce the 40 trillion kg of carbon dioxide humans produce each year, three companies have been working to build machines that can capture the gas directly from the air. One such machine in Iceland has begun operation. Quartz reports: Climeworks just proved the cynics wrong. On Oct. 11, at a geothermal power plant in Iceland, the startup inaugurated the first system that does direct air capture and verifiably achieves negative carbon emissions. Although it's still at pilot scale -- capturing only 50 metric tons CO2 from the air each year, about the same emitted by a single U.S. household -- it's the first system to take CO2 in the air and convert the emissions into stone, thus ensuring they don't escape back into the atmosphere for the next millions of years. Climeworks and Global Thermostat have piloted systems in which they coat plastics and ceramics, respectively, with an amine, a type of chemical that can absorb CO2. Carbon Engineering uses a liquid system, with calcium oxide and water. The companies say it's too early in the development of these technologies to predict what costs will be at scale.

Whataboutism and CO2

By XXongo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The biggest problem is that CO2 doesn't seem to be the big problem. In the past the earth had much higher CO2 values, and more plant life.

Yes, and no. In the past, the Earth had much higher CO2 levels, and also much higher average temperatures and no ice caps. So, if you don't mind losing the parts of the current land area that are near the ocean, yes, we could have higher CO2 and higher temperatures.

The "more plant life" you mention is speculative. Paleobotany doesn't give us a good measure of total plant biomass.

Because of the low levels of CO2 today, we have and increasingly large areas on earth, were nothing grows anymore...

No. Places where nothing grows are due to lack of water, not lack of CO2. Plants do need CO2, of course, but in very few places is it the main limitation to growth.

They should invest more time in solving things like those plastic soup problems in the oceans, instead of wasting their time on the agenda of a group of corrupt global warming advocates...

Ah, whataboutism! When one problem is brought up, say "what about XX?" to change the subject!

No reason we can't address more than one different problem.

Re:CO2 is not bad....

By hey! • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not the absolute level of CO2, it's the rate of change that will lead to mass extinctions. If you said we were headed for 1000 ppm in a million years, I'd say "big deal". If you said we were headed for 100 ppm in eighty years, I'd say, that's very big deal.

If analogies are your thing, it's like the difference diving into the pool and hitting the water at 10 mph vs. hitting the water 12,500 mph. One is a fun experience, and the best thing you could say about the other is that it's not an experience at all.

I have a question for people who spread memes like the above: do you ever actually think for yourself, or do you just repeat what you're told?

CO2 in paleo times

By XXongo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Actually, to find carbon dioxide levels higher than today you have to look back to the Miocene epoch, about 5.2 million years ago. There were not humans around then. During the following epoch, the Pliocene, carbon dioxide (and temperature) dropped, with the ice age cycle starting with an abrupt drop at the beginning the Pleistocene.

If you want to see really high CO2, though, you want to go back to the Mesozoic era.

Re:CO2 is not bad....

By hey! • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Smart doesn't come into it. You don't have to be a genius to think critically; it's more a habit than a talent.

Nobody who spent twenty minutes thinking about the "CO2 was much higher in the past" would realize that this is an idiotic argument; sure they were higher in the Eocene 50 million years ago, but the Eocene warming event was accompanied by global mass extinctions -- as was the subsequent cooling. But both the "rapid" warming and cooling happened much more slowly, slowly enough for new species to emerge as for old ones to disappear. "Rapid" in terms of the Eocene Optimum event was 0.3 C/1000 years. The current rate of warming is sixty times faster.

You don't have to be a genius to figure this out. You just have to be curious enough to look into it. So I have to ask again, do you actually think about this crap before you choose to believe it, or do you just go by how it makes you feel? Clearly, based on your strawman argument, you think how you feel about the messenger makes some difference.

Permafrost Farming

By Tenebrousedge • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We've covered the permafrost issue here repeatedly. No, it does not melt into rich farmland. Most often, it melts into a bog: for an example see the entire North Slope. It would be easier to farm the Sahara.

Octopuses Show Scientists How To Hide Machines in Plain Sight

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
If you want to learn the art of camouflage look no further than octopuses. Just watch this famous video that shows a diver slowly swimming up to a clump of rock and seaweed, only for part of that clump to turn white, open its eye, and jet away, squirting ink behind it. Materials scientists and engineers have fallen under the octopuses' spell. From a report: Scientists have engineered a material that can transform from a 2D sheet to a 3D shape, adjusting its texture to blend in with its surroundings, per a new study published today in Science. They mimicked the abilities of an octopus, which can change both shape and color to camouflage. This is a first step toward developing soft robots that can hide in plain sight, robotics expert Cecilia Laschi writes of the research. Robots that can camouflage may one day be used in natural environments to study animals more closely than ever before or in military operations to avoid detection, she writes.

Re:Are they really octopuses?

By GrumpySteen • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

One would think a pedant would be aware that the word octopus originates from Greek and wouldn't use Latin pluralization rules on it.

But who am I kidding? Pedants are rarely aware of anything other than their desire to make themselves feel smart by correcting others, even when they're wrong to do so.


By coofercat • Score: 3 • Thread

I had some of this material somewhere... now where did I put it?

(thank you, I'm here all week)

You can't easily see these robots

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

But it's a dead giveaway when they squirt ink at you.

Squirting ink ...

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

... and running away. Are you sure this wasn't the Washington Post?

Re:Military applications

By Gilgaron • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
For better or for worse, the best jobs some of his supporters are likely able to get would be found by joining the military. It has become a right-friendly make-work program.

The Real Inside Story of How Commodore Failed

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
dryriver writes: Everybody who was into computers in the 1980s and 1990s remembers Commodore producing amazingly innovative, capable and popular multimedia and gaming computers one moment, and disappearing off the face of the earth the next, leaving only PCs and Macs standing. Much has been written about what went wrong with Commodore over the years, but always by outsiders looking in -- journalists, tech writers, not people who were on the inside. In a 34 minute long Youtube interview that surfaced on October 9th, former Commodore UK Managing Director David John Pleasance and Trevor Dickinson of A-EON Technology talk very frankly about how Commodore really failed, and just how crazy bad and preventable the business and tech decisions that killed Commodore were, from firing all Amiga engineers for no discernible reason, to hiring 40 IBM engineers who didn't understand multimedia computing, to not licensing the then-valuable Commodore Business Machines (CBM) brand to PC makers to generate an extra revenue stream, to one new manager suddenly deciding to manufacture in the Philippines -- a place where the man had a lady mistress apparently. The interview is a truly eye-opening preview of an upcoming book David John Pleasance is writing called Commodore: The Inside Story . The book will, for the first time, chronicle the fall of Commodore from the insider perspective of an actual Commodore Managing Director.

Re: tl;dr

By goose-incarnated • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What a silly and arrogant thing to say. There are benefits to both, of course, which is why universities use both (lectures and reading material)

There is no benefit to listening to a talking head. Lectures are active (two-way), a talking head on youtube is passive (one-way).

The benefits of video exist only when the video is displaying information that cannot be easily understood with text-only: how to disassemble an iphone, for example. The linked video has, literally, a few minutes of information stretched out over 30m.

There is literally (once again), no reason to make this thing a video other than for people too stupid to read.

The Deathbed Vigil

By Jody Bruchon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
This one is hard to end up finding even if you're a Commodore guy. The Deathbed Vigil by Dave Haynie is basically a documentary about the last day the Commodore doors were open. It's almost entirely footage shot on-the-spot by Haynie of the staff and what they talked about and had to say during the last day.

If you watch it, you'll find that one of the employees was probably one of the nicest people ever, and even he was on the verge of saying that the head of the company was a piece of shit that was entirely to blame. It was pretty depressing, really. Everything went to hell after Tramiel left and management is entirely to blame. The engineers were the most dedicated people you could get.

Re:Are you joking?

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

" Really the advent of Windows a very good graphical interface was the biggest advancement in placing PC's in the home"

The C64 was a home computer. You've head about the Amiga, right? Windows came about years after the Amiga, whose GUI still was a match for anything MS came up with up until Win 3.1 (and even then the Amiga was a proper virtual memory multitasking system unlike the lash up that was Windows until NT came along). The reason the Commodore lost wasn't technology - they were leagues ahead of the PC in software and hardware, it was purely utterly inept management.

Minor quibble - it wasn't until Windows 95 that the Windows PC was getting close. I had first a 500, then a 2000 and a 2500, then a 3000, which was my personal favorite, and my last Amiga was the 4000 with the Toaster.

They were amazing machines, far ahead of the competition for video and 3D work. Finally in either 1999 or 2000, I went to a Mac based nonlinear system, and since Newtek intelligently made their Lightwave 3D software multi-platform, I moved over pretty easily.

Working in video through the 1990's was definitely an experience, from the days of crash editing, to frame buffers, switchers and programmable edits, and it was really "exciting" to do a 3D transition to tape, with software that would load a animation frame into the buffer, then back the VTR to a calibrated point, then put it in record mode, and record exactly one frame, pause, and repeat the process. And heaven help you if you didn't calibrate it before each and every recording session. As well, on a really long animation, after the first day, the calibration was as likely to go bad as not. And just imagine the wear on the tape! One time the director asked why getting an animation to tape took so long, so I had him sit with me for a tiny part of a recording session. And it was damn sad to see how my gorgeous 3-D work was mushed up after going to videotape.

I miss my Amigas, but I don't miss a lot of the workflow in those days.

One can't help but wonder where we would be if Commodore was a well run company instead of being based on the KeyStone Cops management model.

Re:Skipped over : the impact of standard computing

By tendrousbeastie • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I tend to agree with this in general. The computer market certainly did split in the 90s into the console market and the serious computer market. It wasn't really until near 2000 that PCs became gaming machines in the way they are now.

The Amiga sort of tried to be both at the same time - in Britain, where I am familiar with the Amiga, it utterly failed as a serious computer, and only really existed as games machine. It struggled against the Sega Megadrive/Genesis (Sonic was killing it in every way) and would have utterly failed had it had to compete against the PS1.

The fundamental trouble for the Amiga, in my opinion (I used one as my primary computer up to 2001, I did most of my first year university coursework on it), was the lack of modularity. Even in the early 90s you could swap out hardware in PCs to take advantage of new releases (e.g. the release of Soundblaster did not require you to by a whole new computer), and manufacturers/retailers could mix and match hardware to meet different needs.

But with the Amiga you were stuck with maybe 5 or 6 different computers (in the 90s - 600, 1200, 3000, 4000, CDTV, CD32) with a fixed and unchanging hardware. Had they been more modular, and had it therefore been possible to swap out the bitplane graphics system for a pixel based graphics by simply swapping out one card for another then things might have been different.

I know you could install a Piccaso card and other such graphics cards, but due to built in nature of the AGA and related hardware no mass consumer software would dare support anything else, and there was no real hardware abstraction layer to overcome this. Since none of it was abstracted through anything like OpenGL or DX or anything even remotely similar, no one would write software for any plugin card, preferring instead to target the bigger market for the built in hardware*.

* After Commodore's death there were some games that started to target plugin gfx cards (Doom and Quake clones, etc. such a Alien Breed 3d) but by then it was clearly too late, and the problem of a lack of a standardised abstraction for hardware was still present anyway.

So the Amiga was stuck with what was, by the early 90s, crappy bitplane based graphics and crappy 8 bit, 4-channel sound, and no way to move away from this. Without any standardised abstraction system to allow modular hardware (and without virtual, or at least protected, memory) it was just stuck with inadequate hardware.

Everyone says how Commodore failed because they didn't develop the hardware enough, and didn't release AAA or Hombré hardware like they should have, but it wouldn't have made a difference - they would have released some fantastic hardware which would have been top of the line for a year or two but which would have quickly been overtaken by the competitive market for modular hardware which PCs could take advantage of.

(First thing I did when I finally ditched my A1200 and got a PC was to go and buy a better graphics board so I could play Giants: Citizen Kabuto)

3 main reasons [Re:The real reason CBM failed

By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There was an big internal battle about whether to split the lines into business computers and consumer computers. Tramiel felt more comfortable competing in the consumer realm, but many top engineers and board members felt the business market had better margins. Tramiel wanted to be a low-cost volume producer instead of the deal with complex higher-end systems. He wanted to crank out mass widgets, not be IBM. After all, that's why the C64 was successful. If low-price-high-volume got you where you are, why change your spots? This battle drained the company's focus.

Another problem is that they didn't initially give much thought to forward compatibility. A lot of software producers relied on undocumented features and glitches to get special effects, tease out speed, or work around design bugs. C64's architecture was designed with price in mind, such as getting a deal on components at the time of first release. Creating a future-friendly architecture was ranked behind such. If the next model didn't recreate these glitches and oddities, the old software wouldn't be compatible. Thus, they had problems engineering a next generation model compatible with C64 software.

They even released a computer with the C64 chip set and a newer chip-set, but it was pretty much 2 different computers in one box, making it more expensive yet not having software for the "new half". It failed. Without compatibility and the software it brings, people would have no reason to get the new model(s). Their price-first past caught up with them.

And third, Commodore was flaky about paying their bills. They built up a bad reputation such that suppliers became pickier about payment schedules and conditions, robbing Commodore of supply flexibility. It's yet another case of short-term thinking catching up. Tramiel's bill-flake reputation followed him to Atari.