the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2017-Nov-14 today archive


  1. Why Google Should Be Afraid of a Missouri Republican's Google Probe
  2. All 500 of the World's Top 500 Supercomputers Are Running Linux
  3. Yelp Ordered To Identify User Accused of Defaming a Tax Preparer
  4. Apple Is Back To Being the World's Top Wearable Maker
  5. FDA Approves Digital Pill That Tracks If Patients Have Ingested Their Medication
  6. Pentagon To Make a Big Push Toward Open-Source Software Next Year
  7. Tesla Is a 'Hotbed For Racist Behavior,' Worker Claims In Lawsuit
  8. Investigation Finds Security Flaws In 'Connected' Toys
  9. Thirty Countries Use 'Armies of Opinion Shapers' To Manipulate Democracy
  10. Without Humans, Artificial Intelligence Is Still Pretty Stupid
  11. About 15 Percent of US Agencies Detected Kaspersky Software on Networks
  12. Germany Is Burning Too Much Coal
  13. Ads May Soon Stalk You on TV Like They Do on Your Facebook Feed
  14. CompuServe's Forums Are Closing On December 15
  15. The Strange Art of Writing Release Notes
  16. Fedora 27 Released
  17. EA's 'Star Wars' PR Disaster Finally Pushed Gamers Into Open Revolt Against Loot Boxes
  18. Firefox Quantum Arrives With Faster Browser Engine, Major Visual Overhaul
  19. OnePlus Phones Come Preinstalled With a Factory App That Can Root Devices
  20. Digital Technology Can Help Reinvent Basic Education In Africa
  21. Study Finds SpaceX Investment Saved NASA Hundreds of Millions
  22. Apple Could Launch Two New Full-Screen iPhones Next Year

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

Why Google Should Be Afraid of a Missouri Republican's Google Probe

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Republican attorney general of Missouri has launched an investigation into Google's business practices. Josh Hawley wants to know how Google handles user data. And he plans to look into whether Google is using its dominance in the search business to harm companies in other markets where Google competes. It's another sign of growing pressure Google is facing from the political right. Grassroots conservatives increasingly see Google as falling on the wrong side of the culture wars. So far that hasn't had a big impact in Washington policymaking. But with Hawley planning to run for the U.S. Senate next year, we could see more Republican hostility toward Google -- and perhaps other big technology companies -- in the coming years. The Hawley investigation will dig into whether Google violated Missouri's consumer-protection and antitrust laws. Specifically, Hawley will investigate: "Google's collection, use, and disclosure of information about Google users and their online activities," "Google's alleged misappropriation of online content from the websites of its competitors," and "Google's alleged manipulation of search results to preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google." States like Missouri have their own antitrust laws and the power to investigate company business conduct independently of the feds. So Hawley seems to be taking yet another look at those same issues to see if Google's conduct runs afoul of Missouri law.

We don't know if Hawley will get the Republican nomination or win his challenge to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) next year, but people like him will surely be elected to the Senate in the coming decade. Hawley's decision to go after Google suggests that he sees some upside in being seen as an antagonist to a company that conservatives increasingly view with suspicion. More than that, it suggests that Hawley believes it's worth the risk of alienating the GOP's pro-business wing, which takes a dim view of strict antitrust enforcement even if it targets a company with close ties to Democrats.

Re:Why companies should stay out of politics

By gbjbaanb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Unfortunately the bias is prevalent from the left - but that's because the left-wing media actively encourages it and is mainstream, while the right-wing media is simply ridiculed when they do it. The difference is clear that the media on the left, that gives a free-pass to bad practices from the left is the mainstream.

What we should be doing is holding up all examples of bad practice, and criticisng it. The left-wing media should be holding the left-leaning companies and individuals to as much rigour as they can to weed out the bad uns. But instead, we know our media is biased and polarised and this only drives society to be even more tribal and encourages "opposition" media to appear to counter it. This state of affairs is really is nobody's best interests except the political activists who want to make elections about tribal loyalty and not policies.

Re: Why companies should stay out of politics

By netizen_james • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Rand was simply a moron - her 'objectivism' isn't 'rightwing', it's just a stupid attempt to justify greed and selfishness. The 'collectivism' that the Randians decry is what the rest of us call 'civilization'. If all the Randians were rounded up and put on Madagascar to fend for themselves, they'd all die because to them, cooperation is anathema.

Yes, Hitler was 'right wing'. Most authoritarians are. No, Stalin was not a leftist. Neither was Castro. They were both authoritarians too.

If you want to see a 'leftist' nation, you need only look to Norway and Denmark. If you want to see a 'libertarian' nation, you won't find one. Anywhere. Ever. There's a reason for that.

Re:Why companies should stay out of politics

By Curunir_wolf • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

So, sure, Google is a monopolist bully that censors speech, invades privacy, and uses shade practices to kill their competition, but they're on our side!

Re:Why companies should stay out of politics

By Curunir_wolf • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

So many commenters here have been quick to forget discriminatory IRS practices under Obama.

You mean the thing about IRS investigating a group that said it didn't like taxes at all? Whyever would they try cheating on tax returns?

It was a much wider program than that, there were many groups. When all that happened, my wife was the head of a group in our state. She got started with the Ron Paul campaign, before the "Tea Party" was really a thing, so she got her org's 501(c)(3) status before the IRS started targeting conservative groups.

So since that was already in place, they went after us personally instead. There were audits, bills, threats, all based on nothing. We kept filing paperwork and responses to their queries, which somehow the IRS never received. I'd mail AND fax the stuff in, call to confirm and they just tell me I have to wait 6 weeks. 6 weeks pass and somehow they never got it. Send it again, and more threatening letters. We had to start making payments for a bill we didn't owe because they were shutting down our bank account.

The funny part is, less than a week after the "investigation" ended with a finding that the IRS "did nothing wrong," I get a call from a IRS rep that says they just got our case on the desk. He asked a couple of questions and gave me a fax number. Sent in the paperwork and called the next day, everything was cleared up.

So, yea, I don't buy that they weren't targeting people.

Re:Why companies should stay out of politics

By Curunir_wolf • Score: 4, Informative • Thread


When all that happened, my wife was the head of a group in our state. She got started with the Ron Paul campaign, before the "Tea Party" was really a thing, so she got her org's 501(c)(3) status before the IRS started targeting conservative groups.

So since that was already in place, they went after us personally instead. There were audits, bills, threats, all based on nothing. We kept filing paperwork and responses to their queries, which somehow the IRS never received. I'd mail AND fax the stuff in, call to confirm and they just tell me I have to wait 6 weeks. 6 weeks pass and somehow they never got it. Send it again, and more threatening letters. We had to start making payments for a bill we didn't owe because they were shutting down our bank account.

The funny part is, less than a week after the "investigation" ended with a finding that the IRS "did nothing wrong," I get a call from a IRS rep that says they just got our case on the desk. He asked a couple of questions and gave me a fax number. Sent in the paperwork and called the next day, everything was cleared up.

So, yea, I don't buy that they weren't targeting people.

All 500 of the World's Top 500 Supercomputers Are Running Linux

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Freshly Exhumed shares a report from ZDnet: Linux rules supercomputing. This day has been coming since 1998, when Linux first appeared on the TOP500 Supercomputer list. Today, it finally happened: All 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers are running Linux. The last two non-Linux systems, a pair of Chinese IBM POWER computers running AIX, dropped off the November 2017 TOP500 Supercomputer list. When the first TOP500 supercomputer list was compiled in June 1993, Linux was barely more than a toy. It hadn't even adopted Tux as its mascot yet. It didn't take long for Linux to start its march on supercomputing.

From when it first appeared on the TOP500 in 1998, Linux was on its way to the top. Before Linux took the lead, Unix was supercomputing's top operating system. Since 2003, the TOP500 was on its way to Linux domination. By 2004, Linux had taken the lead for good. This happened for two reasons: First, since most of the world's top supercomputers are research machines built for specialized tasks, each machine is a standalone project with unique characteristics and optimization requirements. To save costs, no one wants to develop a custom operating system for each of these systems. With Linux, however, research teams can easily modify and optimize Linux's open-source code to their one-off designs.
The semiannual TOP500 Supercomputer List was released yesterday. It also shows that China now claims 202 systems within the TOP500, while the United States claims 143 systems.

Re:This is the year

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There is a logical reason for this, and it has nothing to do with Linux.

The Supercomputers level of OSS use is primarily a concern with science. It compiles on multiple platforms, and is well maintained on most of them. Windows and MacOS are only available for the x86-64, ARM, and PPC platforms, and even then, not all of them. That only leaves FreeBSD as an option, and FreeBSD isn't as virtualization friendly, and drivers aren't readily available for GPU systems.

So it's quite literately the only logical choice, owing to that the other choices would have required engineering resources.

That said, Linux does not belong in safety systems, and I hope it never ends up in car automotive systems, power plants, or spacecraft. Everything else is fair game. These systems need real time operating systems that are highly threaded and can respond to events instantly, not be scheduled, or deferred due to eating all the swap space (one of Linux's worst default features, and what makes it woefully awful for web servers by default.)

Re:This is the year

By Tough Love • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread's quite literately the only logical choice

Oh I know, right? But the big fact you danced around is, Linux is just better than the others. It's faster and more reliable. Otherwise top 500 would not use it. Like, they tried to use Windows, they really did. Microsoft was paying academic institutions to install it and providing teams of free engineers. Still didn't do it. Why? Windows can't handle the load, it can't run continuously under load. It just gets more and more unstable then it falls over. Even when it does stay up, it can't touch the storage, scheduling or memory management efficiency of Linux.

Re:This is the year

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> The Supercomputers level of OSS use is primarily a concern with science. It compiles on multiple platforms, and is well maintained on most of them. Windows and MacOS are only available for the x86-64, ARM, and PPC platforms, and even then, not all of them.

This makes no sense. Almost all supercomputers are x86-64 based (+/- GPUs).

> That only leaves FreeBSD as an option, and FreeBSD isn't as virtualization friendly, and drivers aren't readily available for GPU systems.

Lol. Supercomputers don't use virtualization.

> So it's quite literately the only logical choice, owing to that the other choices would have required engineering resources.

That's not true, supercomputers within the past 5 years on the top500 list have used Windows, AIX, BSD, Linux. It's just that Linux is better for the job than the others.

> That said, Linux does not belong in safety systems, and I hope it never ends up in car automotive systems, power plants, or spacecraft.

I hope nobody who thinks supercomputers use virtualization ever have their opinion on a computing matter taken by the designer of a safety critical system.

Linux is in safety critical systems already. But it depends on the level and capabilities you're talking about. Processing doppler radar data and sending it to ATC systems in a timely manner is one thing. Running tight control loops in automotive engine and control systems is completely different and just isn't appropriate for Linux.

> Everything else is fair game. These systems need real time operating systems that are highly threaded and can respond to events instantly, not be scheduled, or deferred due to eating all the swap space (one of Linux's worst default features, and what makes it woefully awful for web servers by default.)

You're mixing up all sorts of things here. Nothing responds to interrupts "instantly", what you want is guaranteed hard upper limits. It doesn't even have to be all that fast often times, it just has to be an upper limit so you can design the system to meet response time requirements. Linux can respond "immediately" to interrupts, by the way. It does not have to be "scheduled". Work can be done in interrupt context.

"Highly threaded" what? That's nothing to do with real time.

"Deferred due to eating all swap space" What is this meaningless drivel? Automotive and aircraft control systems don't use swap space. They don't even use virtual memory for god's sake lol.

> (one of Linux's worst default features, and what makes it woefully awful for web servers by default.)

Apparently better than all the others at that too. Windows, OSX, and BSD must *really* be shit if Linux is so bad yet it still beat them all there too.

Re:This is the year

By The Cynical Critic • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

That said, Linux does not belong in safety systems

Dedicated real time operating systems obviously have their uses, but due to advances in embedded level hardware they're becoming less and less relevant. Even with the overheads of an "almost real time" OS like Linux with some compile switches most modern day embedded hardware is capable of making the dealines in all except some special super low latency use cases. Only place where a real time OS is even necessary these days are rare super low latency and super low power cases (as in under 0.25W).

Serious, 6502s and Z80s are no longer the standard embedded hardware out there anymore.

Re:This is the year

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It has nothing to do with not being able to handle the load. It has everything to do with costs. Linux is free. Windows isn't.

If I get you right, You spend all this money on a Supercomputer, so you logically use the cheapest OS out there instead of paid ones that should work better?

Sounds legit.

Yelp Ordered To Identify User Accused of Defaming a Tax Preparer

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
mi writes: California State Appeals Court ruled this week that Yelp can't shield the identify of an anonymous reviewer who posted allegedly defamatory statements about a tax preparer. "The three-judge appeals panel in Santa Ana agreed with Yelp that it could protect the First Amendment rights of its anonymous reviewer but it still had to turn over the information," reports Bloomberg. "The panel reasoned that the accountant had made a showing that the review was defamatory in that it went beyond expressing an opinion and allegedly included false statements."

Re:Think about it.

By ClickOnThis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The First Amendment protects you and me from the government. It does not protect you and me from each other.

If you say something about me I don't like, I can sue you. Of course, whether I win is another matter.

Intent of amendment

By datavirtue • Score: 3 • Thread

What do they want? Free speech or anonymity? Free speech can exist in either case but shit falls out when people know who you are after saying something in public. Perhaps we are talking about amendment 1.5...the one that guarantees us anonymity?

Free Speech does Not Equal Anonymity

By X!0mbarg • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Just because you are allowed to say it, does not mean you can hide behind anonymity to protect your sorry self from the backlash of what you said.

Sure, you have the right to you opinion. Just claim it as yours, and yours, and face the response. If you have somehow broken the law in the expression, then accept it!

Don't be a coward.

Re:So in other words...

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Anonymity is a goal, it is not something you can declare.

Just like a secret is not a thing that you told people not to tell anybody; that's only an attempt at secrecy. If it is actually secret depends on if they actually tell anybody.

So for example a legally-protected Trade Secret, you have to keep it secret. It only protects you if somebody violates the law (including civil law, such as a contract) in disclosing it. But if you forget to make somebody sign an NDA and they tell everybody, guess what? It stopped being a secret as soon as you told them!

A lot of people believe, "If I can't see them, they can't see me" and so when they go online, they think they're anonymous; after all, they can't see any of the people with access to their activities!

If you don't want your publisher to be exposed to lawsuits intending to unmask your identity, don't tell your publisher your identity! In this case, that would mean both lying about your name, and also using a VPN.

Personally, if I say your business sucks online and you want to sue me over it, I wouldn't want to hide behind anonymity, I'd want to roast you in the media for it really hard. People don't like it when businesses do that, it is very bad PR!


By Bruinwar • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

After some digging to find the actual review, it seemed fairly tame to me. The reviewer should have a copy of the tax-return that was "sloppy" & a copy of the one they had completed by another firm, maybe it will prove the review to be accurate.

The review:

Too bad there is no zero star option! I made the mistake of using them and had an absolute nightmare. Bill was way more than their quote; return was so sloppy I had another firm redo it and my return more than doubled. If you dare to complain get ready to be screamed at, verbally harassed and threatened with legal action. I chalked it up as a very expensive lesson, hope this spares someone else the same.

Apple Is Back To Being the World's Top Wearable Maker

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple is once again the biggest selling producer of wearables after its third-generation Apple Watch, released in September, helped it pip China's Xiaomi to the post. TechCrunch reports: The new device, Apple's first that connects to the internet without being tethered to a smartphone, took the U.S. mobile giant to 3.9 million shipments in the recent Q3 2017, according to new data from Canalys. The firm estimates that the gen-three version accounted for just 800,000 shipments, due to supply issues, which bodes well for Apple coming into the lucrative holiday season. That figure was a big jump on 2.8 million shipments one year previous. It also gave Apple 23 percent of the market, putting it fractionally ahead of the 21 percent for Xiaomi, the Chinese firm that was briefly top of the industry for the first time in the previous quarter. Apple's wearable division has enjoyed something of a renaissance this year, grabbing the top spot in Q1 for overall wearables the first time since Q3 2015. CEO Tim Cook said in Apple's most recent earnings report that Watch sales were up by 50 percent for the third consecutive quarter thanks to a focus on health services. As for the others: Fitbit took third in Q3 2017 for 20 percent, while phone makers Huawei (six percent) and Samsung (five percent) were some way behind in rounding out the top five. In proof of considerable fragmentation within the industry, "other brands" accounted for a dominant 25 percent, according to Canalys' figures.


By sexconker • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The top wearable maker has got to be Durex or Trojan.


By Verdatum • Score: 3 • Thread
Pip: v. "to beat by a narrow margin" (British)

I learned something today!

FDA Approves Digital Pill That Tracks If Patients Have Ingested Their Medication

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a digital pill -- a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine. The approval, announced late on Monday, marks a significant advance in the growing field of digital devices designed to monitor medicine-taking and to address the expensive, longstanding problem that millions of patients do not take drugs as prescribed. Experts estimate that so-called nonadherence or noncompliance to medication costs about $100 billion a year, much of it because patients get sicker and need additional treatment or hospitalization. Patients who agree to take the digital medication, a version of the antipsychotic Abilify, can sign consent forms allowing their doctors and up to four other people, including family members, to receive electronic data showing the date and time pills are ingested. A smartphone app will let them block recipients anytime they change their mind. Although voluntary, the technology is still likely to prompt questions about privacy and whether patients might feel pressure to take medication in a form their doctors can monitor.

Microwave Solution

By Scarletdown • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I can just see people deciding to now empty their pills into a bowl and microwaving on high for a few minutes. That should fry whatever tattletale device they are tainted with.

Insurance companies

By waspleg • Score: 3 • Thread

I have a CPAP, I already have to submit an SD card to them routinely to continue getting the insurance to cover medical supplies. Guess what's next?

Re:Nurse Ratched...

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Nurse Google will love this: yet another set of really personal data to be mined and exploited for new and innovative ways of raping your privacy.

Because you can bet your ass the exploitation of the pill tracking data will be outsourced to the private sector...


By eepok • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
For the youngin's:

Best headline

By Translation Error • Score: 3 • Thread
Personally, I think Ars Technica's headline & subhead on this was best:

Experts raise eyebrows at digital pill to monitor patients with schizophrenia
Pill reports when it's ingested in patients who may have delusions of being spied on.

Pentagon To Make a Big Push Toward Open-Source Software Next Year

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
" Open-source software" is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. According to The Verge, the Pentagon is going to make a big push for open-source software in 2018. "Thanks to an amendment introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and co-sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the [ National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018] could institute a big change: should the bill pass in its present form, the Pentagon will be going open source." From the report: We don't typically think of the Pentagon as a software-intensive workplace, but we absolutely should. The Department of Defense is the world's largest single employer, and while some of that work is people marching around with rifles and boots, a lot of the work is reports, briefings, data management, and just managing the massive enterprise. Loading slides in PowerPoint is as much a part of daily military life as loading rounds into a magazine. Besides cost, there are two other compelling explanations for why the military might want to go open source. One is that technology outside the Pentagon simply advances faster than technology within it, and by availing itself to open-source tools, the Pentagon can adopt those advances almost as soon as the new code hits the web, without going through the extra steps of a procurement process. Open-source software is also more secure than closed-source software, by its very nature: the code is perpetually scrutinized by countless users across the planet, and any weaknesses are shared immediately.

There's already -a lot- of OSS in DoD

By david.emery • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

In 35 years in that business, I saw and used a lot of open source development tools, as well as in deployed software. Red Hat is a major provider of OS to DoD, including embedded in weapon systems. GNAT Ada is open source.

And on my last project we kept 2 lawyers (one government, one prime contractor) busy nearly full-time evaluating various OSS licenses for our intended use. The GPL was a significant debate; most OSS licenses were deemed acceptable by both sides. In each case, we evaluated OSS and proprietary software for functionality, life-cycle costs, supportability, expected security/vulnerabilities, and made a decision that balanced these factors. Sometimes the OSS components won out, other times not. But there was a documented decision with rationale.

In general, the choice of software was not a government decision, but a prime contractor decision. Not sure how much we want Congress dictating to contractors what they put into their products.

Re:Has already seen this episode of the Soap Opera

By uassholes • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
"What happened to NSA Linux."

Re:"the code is perpetually scrutinized"

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The presence of Heartbleed being an excellent example that belies this claim.

No, you clearly didn't understand him. Heartbleed exemplifies his claim.

As soon as people knew about Heartbleed, there were fixes available. The bug was proven shallow almost instantly upon discovery, and numerous were the workarounds. People even re-implemented the whole software package to make sure it was fixed! And their fixes worked, the bug was indeed gone. You can't get a shallower bug.

Every example you can even find of a deep bug, a bug that is known to exist but that people don't know how to fix, it is a bug where either there are nearly zero users of the code, or the code is closed source and there are few people with access. Any bug that has even a moderate number of eyes will be very very shallow.

DoD OSS won't necessarily mean Open Source

By Registered Coward v2 • Score: 3 • Thread

As long as DoD does not distribute anything it develops beyond DoD (or the Federal government since it is all part of the same organization) it is all staying within the organization developing it and thus would not be obligated to share any improvements.


The GPL does not require you to release your modified version, or any part of it. You are free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing them. This applies to organizations (including companies), too; an organization can make a modified version and use it internally without ever releasing it outside the organization.


For instance, you can accept a contract to develop changes and agree not to release your changes until the client says ok. This is permitted because in this case no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA. You can also release your changes to the client under the GPL, but agree not to release them to anyone else unless the client says ok. In this case, too, no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA, or under any additional restrictions. The GPL would give the client the right to redistribute your version. In this scenario, the client will probably choose not to exercise that right, but does have the right.

Thus, as long as they only use it internally they have no obligation to make the changed source code available. In addition, they could require contractors to develop code under and NDA that prohibits release until the authorize its release so even if they do not do the actual development internally they can still control its release. I would not bet on the DoD probably choosing not to exercise that right.

So while it may be good PR for OSS in reality it may not actually advance OSS for the public. DoD could classify any OSS projects to prevent its release using the argument that its release would be detrimental to national security and require contractors to sign an NDA for any work they do for DoD.

Not the point, but missing the point as well

By jbn-o • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That's fiction, as as been proven many times with the discovery of ancient zero days in software that's been open source for decades.

Not only does that not follow (you have no idea who scrutinizes their copy of FLOSS precisely because of the privacy FLOSS affords users) but you're missing a much more important point: FLOSS respects a user's ability to do things computer owners want their software to do but inherently can't trust proprietary software to carry out. Proprietary software can't be trusted because the users can't be sure it is doing what the users want and not doing what the users don't want (typically this means leaking information, opening backdoors, and implementing malware). It's not about guarantees, it's about the permission to exert as much control over one's own computers as one wishes. Proprietary software inherently doesn't grant that permission and FLOSS does. Couple that with a monied organization as big as the American federal government, and you have the ability for significantly increasing control over their own computers.

Tesla Is a 'Hotbed For Racist Behavior,' Worker Claims In Lawsuit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An African-American employee has filed a lawsuit against Tesla, claiming their production floor is a "hotbed for racist behavior" and that black workers at the electric carmaker suffer severe and pervasive harassment. "The employee says he's one of more than 100 African-American Tesla workers affected and is seeking permission from a judge to sue on behalf of the group," reports Bloomberg. "He's seeking unspecified general and punitive monetary damages as well as an order for Tesla to implement policies to prevent and correct harassment." From the report: "Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric car revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination," the employee said in the complaint, filed Monday in California's Alameda County Superior Court. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Marcus Vaughn, who worked in the Fremont factory from April 23 to Oct. 31. Vaughn alleged that employees and supervisors regularly used the "N word" around him and other black colleagues. Vaughn said he complained in writing to human resources and Musk and was terminated in late October for "not having a positive attitude."

Re:Uh huh

By viperidaenz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

or 2.5) The complainant is partially accurate and the problem wasn't as widespread as they implied, and Tesla has already dealt with it but the complainant wants money.

see sexconker's reply for an answer to you thinking I'm implying an alleged conspiracy.

Re:Racism sucks... fight back

By Charcharodon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
What also is great when it turns out to be a frivolous lawsuit he has to pay Tesla's legal bills. Isn't America wonderful?

Some of the items he is complaining about:

Having to show up to work on time.
Having to be productive at work.
Not being able to blame his poor work performance on "racist crackers"
Being openly hostile towards his co-workers and then not getting invited out for beer after going on daily rants about how racists everyone is around here
The fact that they actually expect him to come to work during Black History Month instead of attending "whitey is a racists workshops"

Oh wait I'm confusing this guy with guys that I had to serve with while I was in the Air Force.

Hey maybe he has a point or more likely he was told that his performance sucked and if he didn't shape up he would be let go during next year's round of low performer culling.

Re:Racism sucks... fight back

By CohibaVancouver • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Tesla is such an SJW company.

What's amusing about all the "America, f*ck yeah!" folks complaining about Tesla being all "SJW" is the fact that of all the car companies, Tesla car are the 'most American-made' of any of the USA-based car companies.

So anyone who is a patriot who says "Buy American!" should skip over their F150 pickup (64% American made) and buy a Tesla (100% American-made).


Hotbed of Union Media Slurs more like

By seoras • Score: 3 • Thread

Isn't this getting a bit old and lame? All we hear about Tesla here on /. is how they are keeping the unions out and how the are a hive of horrors for workers.
Can we stop with the propaganda and get back to the techie stuff that keeps us reading here.

Re:Racism sucks... fight back

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Sounds like it might be much simpler:

Regarding yesterday’s lawsuit, several months ago we had already investigated disappointing behavior involving a group of individuals who worked on or near Marcus Vaughn’s team. At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial language, including the "n-word" and "w-word," towards each other and a threat of violence. After a thorough investigation, immediate action was taken, which included terminating the employment of three of the individuals.

Aka, according to Tesla, there absolutely was racial language used - but the plaintiff was part of it, and his contract was ended as a consequence. Also, Tesla makes some pretty damning-if-true counterallegations - among them:

- There is only one actual plaintiff (Marcus Vaughn), not 100. The reference to 100 is a complete fabrication with no basis in fact at all.

- The plaintiff was employed by a temp agency, not by Tesla as claimed in the lawsuit.

- Marcus was not fired, he was on a six month temp contract that simply ended as contracted.

- His email to Elon was about his commute and Tesla’s shuttles, which was addressed as he requested. There was no mention of racial discrimination whatsoever.

They also allege that the attorney hired has a long track record of taking on meritless lawsuits and using the threat of damage to a company's reputation in the media to get them to settle out of court.

I would say, "We'll see where this goes", except, well, we all know that while allegations get big headlines, unless there's a surprise ending and a court rules against Tesla, we'll never actually see an article covering the court dismissing the case. Just like each and every other time that something like this has happened.

Investigation Finds Security Flaws In 'Connected' Toys

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A consumer group is urging major retailers to withdraw a number of "connected" or "intelligent" toys likely to be popular at Christmas, after finding security failures that it warns could put children's safety at risk. Tests carried out by Which? with the German consumer group Stiftung Warentest, and other security research experts, found flaws in Bluetooth and wifi-enabled toys that could enable a stranger to talk to a child. The investigation found that four out of seven of the tested toys could be used to communicate with the children playing with them. Security failures were discovered in the Furby Connect, i-Que Intelligent Robot, Toy-Fi Teddy and CloudPets. With each of these toys, the Bluetooth connection had not been secured, meaning the researcher did not need a password, pin or any other authentication to gain access. Little technical knowhow was needed to hack into the toys to start sharing messages with a child.

You don't say...

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

What you are dealing with in the "smart devices" world today is what you saw in the computer world about 20 years ago when this "networking" thing was new for developers. They were used to creating software for standalone machines, suddenly they had to deal with the fact that there was a two-way data street connected to their machines. Looking back, we can only shake our heads at the naivete and utter ignorance. Even the last junior developer today will tell you it is a BAD, BAD, BAAAAAD idea to let anything in a browser run out of a sandbox on a user's PC. Still, 20 years ago large corporations thought this is a really smart idea, hey, we're extending the computer by content from the internet! What could possibly go wrong?

They, like us those 20-25 years ago, see a lot of potential and incredible opportunities, while not even knowing how it could possibly be a security concern. Yes, we look at them with contempt and sneer at their ignorance, but understand that these people CANNOT know what kind of security holes they're ripping into our homes.

That doesn't mean that it should be excused or that they deserve sympathy. It only means that we shouldn't buy their junk for the same reason we don't buy cars from someone who has so far only built shopping carts.

Re:Nintendo DS

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The same scare tactics appeared when the Nintendo DS with Pictochat was released. "stalkers" could chat with your child! But what is the wireless range of the devices? 30ft or so? So basically already within visual and verbal range to begin with. But now its exactly the same thing "BUT WITH A COMPUTER" (wait, isn't this the new Slashdot meme for patents, to just take normal every day activities and items, slap "with a computer" on it, and patent it all over again..?)

Except two things.

1) Pictochat only works if you're in the application. Once you exit, you can no longer send nor receive. And on the NIntendo DS, that's trivially easy to do by doing something else on the DS.

2) Bluetooth has a range of 30' to 100'.

If these toys are disregarding basic Bluetooth security, then it's possible for someone to simply establish a Bluetooth connection and potentially listen in, too. Being able to connect to one of these devices and use it as a spy gadget is useful

At least Pictochat is controllable - it only works when it's running. But these toys, if you can commandeer them to listen in 24/7 are far more dangerous

Developers, developers, developers...

By mejustme • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You get what you pay for. And I'm talking about the software developers here, not commenting on the toys. Company X hires junior developers, or can only retain developers working for minimal pay.

Guess what the quality of their work is going to be? Guess what the company's QA department looks like?

No surprise. Race to the bottom!

Re:Nintendo DS

By sjames • Score: 4 • Thread

Also, the child would have to be old enough to read and write to communicate in pictochat. Not ideal for dealing with strangers, but the toys in TFA could reach younger children who might not properly understand that the voice isn't their toy come to life.

Bluetooth classes

By DrYak • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

But what is the wireless range of the devices? 30ft or so?

Bluetooth devices are sorted into classes depending on radio power and thus range.
Your random USB bluetooth dongle is usually a Class 2 device with a range of ~10m (about 30ft)
There are USB dongle that are Class 1 devices with a rande of ~100m (about 300ft).

Also keep in mind that most walls (except steel reinforced concrete) are transparent to the frequency range used by Bluetooth/Wifi/ Wireless-USB/etc.

So by using off-the-shelf parts, an attacker could hack the toys from the street in front of the house.

And that's just the off-the-shelf dongle. The you can basically watch any computer security conference and see people boosting range of various wireless gizmos (RFID/NFC dongles, etc.) to crazy distance.
Cue in demos of mass-hacking use a pringles can-tenna.
(an attacker could scan the whole street using a simple modified bluetooth setup).

A Burglar want to see which houses on a street are potentially empty ? Just mass-scan all the unsecured IoT thingy (Bluetooth enabled toys, Wifi enabled surveillance, etc.) and see which of those only register silence or no visual motion.

Thirty Countries Use 'Armies of Opinion Shapers' To Manipulate Democracy

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The governments of 30 countries around the globe are using armies of so called opinion shapers to meddle in elections, advance anti-democratic agendas and repress their citizens, a new report shows. From a report on The Guardian: Unlike widely reported Russian attempts to influence foreign elections, most of the offending countries use the internet to manipulate opinion domestically, says US NGO Freedom House. "Manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 17 other countries over the past year, damaging citizens' ability to choose their leaders based on factual news and authentic debate," the US government-funded charity said. "Although some governments sought to support their interests and expand their influence abroad, as with Russia's disinformation campaigns in the United States and Europe, in most cases they used these methods inside their own borders to maintain their hold on power."

Re:Everything old is new again

By bobbied • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

back in my day we just called it propaganda. Folks do know the US Government does this every time we go to war, right? We did it before Iraq and we're starting to do it for North Korea.

Not to make too much of a fine point on this... You do realize that we ARE at war with NK now, technically. The Korean War never really ended, all we really got was a cease fire agreement...

Also, I'd like to point out that NK represents a "clear and present danger" (to use the legal term) to the USA given they have demonstrated both the technologies necessary to launch a nuclear strike on our main land and have expressed their desire to actually DO it. (ICBMs with sufficient range and Nuclear bomb technology).

They threaten the world in general and the USA specifically along with it's allies in the region.... The USA is right to object and seek both diplomatic, economic and military options to enforce the NK compliance with proper world order and end the open threat to the USA, it's allies and the world. It's the right thing to do.

That North Korea refuses to go willingly toward giving up their WMD programs is not OUR choice, but it is our problem.

Re:Is climate change one of the topics?

By NoNonAlphaCharsHere • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Human-fossil-fuel-burning-caused global warming/climate change, whatever YOU choose (I'm not gonna fall into your labels trap) to call it, is a FACT. Like evolution, it's simply a fact. The evidence is there. You (and people like you) can deny it all you like, but the evidence (like gravity == orbital mechanics) is irrefutably THERE. I don't have to explain myself, pointing at the evidence, you do, ignoring/denying it - it's right there, in front of your face. You're no different than the smokers, back in the 70's, spewing the company line, "No, no, no, smoking doesn't cause cancer, that's just a statistical correlation". You may choose to echo the petro-billionaires denials because it gives you a more comfortable, guilt-free lifestyle, but just like standing under a tree, claiming it's not raining, sooner or later -- you're gonna get wet. Meanwhile, when the petro-billionaires figure out how to monetize your serfdom/servitude without burning fossil fuels, they'll lead you by the nose to that new-found "truth".

Opinion shapers

By temcat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A Russian here. I would say that these "opinion shapers", as they are called here, together with RT have much greater impact (and in a more general way) on public opinion than the current nothingburger (my favorite word indeed) of Russian "election meddling" using Facebook ads and microscopical investments at the level of 100s of thousands of dollars. These sockpuppets can be found everywhere in the comment sections of major media. They exist on Slashdot too, although I haven't seen many of them here.

consider the source

By eaglesrule • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

From: It describes itself as a "clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world". The organization was 66–85% funded by grants from the U.S. government from 2006–15... Freedom House is a nonprofit organization. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., it has field offices in about a dozen countries, including Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Jordan, Mexico, and also countries in Central Asia.

So when they talk about government funded 'opinion shapers', they know the business.

Meanwhile, the Smith–Mundt Act has been repealed, and that 90% of the media is owned by just six major corporations allowing for near total consolidation of message. We're rife with super PACS that have millions for funding groups like Correct The Record and other astroturfing agencies. The major social media sites are deplatforming, shadow banning, and outright censoring anyone with an opinion they don't like under the guise of combating 'extremism'. Net Neutrality is being dismantled, to help ensure that competing platforms that actually support free speech can't compete.

But, Russian meddling!

Re:Is climate change one of the topics?

By bobbied • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Excuse me... I'm not arguing that the earth isn't getting warmer...

My point is that the dire predictions being made are invalid being overstated alarmist over reactions to what we are seeing. Al Gore (and others) where wildly wrong with their predictions about what would happen. Why? Why did Al do this? To sell tickets, to sell his ideas for carbon credits (which would make him a load of money), not to save the earth from a fate worse than death. Where are those hurricanes he talked about being more frequent and stronger that he said would happen? He was wrong on that over the last 12 years at least.

If the alarmists where wrong 12 years ago, starting with Al G, how do we know that the alarmist prophesy we get in the headlines today is right? What's changed? Do we have better data? Better models? Better theories? Proof that our dire predictions are getting better? Um.. No on all accounts.

Maybe you have some information I don't? Please share if you do.

Without Humans, Artificial Intelligence Is Still Pretty Stupid

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Christopher Mims, writing for WSJ: The internet giants that tout their AI bona fides have tried to make their algorithms as human-free as possible, and that's been a problem. It has become increasingly apparent over the past year that building systems without humans "in the loop" -- especially in the case of Facebook and the ads it linked to 470 "inauthentic" Russian-backed accounts -- can lead to disastrous outcomes, as actual human brains figure out how to exploit them. Whether it's winning at games like Go or keeping watch for Russian influence operations, the best AI-powered systems require humans to play an active role in their creation, tending and operation (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). Facebook, of course, is now a prime example of this trend. The company recently announced it would add 10,000 content moderators to the 10,000 it already employs -- a hiring surge that will impact its future profitability, said Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

So are people...

By RyanFenton • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Look up any documented case of feral humans, either in the wild or confinement. If they have a few years first with parents beforehand, they tend to be OK after a period of catching up - but left completely "unprogrammed", they tend to be completely unable to cope.

Humans need interactions on several levels to "become" humans as we recognize them.

It's not at all surprising that computers would need some of that same kinds of interactions to be able to speak to us on our terms. We take a LOT of faulty shortcuts to real logic in order to play our roles in society, conversations, and our shared understanding of the world.

You can get a lot of that odd 'logic' just by building associations - but it takes a LOT of misunderstanding and correction before you can know if those corrections really work the way others understand them.

Ryan Fenton

No kidding

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This is because what the hypesters are calling "AI" is just computers running software. And computers are dumb and so is software. It has been this way since the computer was invented and will continue this way unless there is some magical leap in computing.

Re:Out of date article^W summary

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Playing Go is not AI. Here is how computers were able to win at Go: a bunch of people sat down and wrote software to teach a computer how to play Go. It isn't magic. It is software. It isn't intelligent either. It was a single purpose program running on a computer playing a game with a strict rule set. Computers are GREAT at that.

Re:Out of date article^W summary

By Kjella • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

As long as you live in the fantasy that human brains are magical and computers are not there's no point in having an argument, because you've defined the answer "Humans are intelligent and computers are not, hence anything done by computers is not proof of intelligence." rather than the question: "What is intelligence?" and failed to make any measurable definition or criteria. It's like saying humans have souls and rocks don't and expect the debate to be anything other than theology and philosophy.

Even classical conditioning like Pavlov's dogs are proof of learning and reasoning, hear a bell often enough when you're fed and you associate the bell with food. A plant can't be conditioned, snip off the branches stretching towards the sun and they'll just stretch again and again. If you call it AI and it's not learning it's not really intelligence at all really, if you've found a flaw in a game's "AI" and it keeps falling in the same trap over and over it's just blindly executing. The neural nets at least got that part right, walking into a trap will assign that action negative weights. That's above zero intelligence.

Re:No kidding

By eepok • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I wish this itself could become a press release.

News Flash! Recently Discussed "Artificial Intelligence" Unmasked as Stock-Manipulating Hype

Yesterday, insiders from numerous think tanks and advanced computing companies came together to announce to the world that everything they've heard about Artificial Intelligence (or "AI") over the last few years has been false. "There are still no computers that can think unique thoughts on their own. It's all techno mumbo-jumbo and marketing speak to convince investors to invest in one company or the next. In fact, you may have been part of the entire effort to make AI seem more real.," said the spokesman for the group, Nerdy McSoontobejobless. "Chances are that you're in on the act, but just don't know it. If you've ever been asked to prove that you're 'not a robot' by selecting squares that include street signs, you're basically spoon-feeding an database algorithm what a sign is so that standard text-recognition software can figure out what the sign says."

"Oh ya," another representative amended, "Fully autonomous vehicles are still nowhere near ready for mass adoption. It's still going to be a decade or more until they're ready for personal ownership and, when they are, they're going to be extremely expensive."

The NASDAQ has dropped 15% since the announcement.

About 15 Percent of US Agencies Detected Kaspersky Software on Networks

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: About 15 percent of U.S. federal agencies have reported some trace of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab software on their systems, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told Congress on Tuesday. Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cyber security at DHS, told a U.S. House of Representatives panel that 94 percent of agencies had responded to a directive ordering them to survey their networks to identify any use of Kaspersky Lab products and to remove them. But Manfra said DHS did "not currently have conclusive evidence" that any networks had been breached due to their use of Kaspersky Lab software. The administration of President Donald Trump ordered civilian U.S. agencies in September to remove Kaspersky Lab from their networks, amid worries the antivirus firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that using its anti-virus software could jeopardize national security.

I reject this anti-Kaspersky sentiment

By mysidia • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sorry, but all evidence shown so far seems to indicate Kaspersky software works just fine, Not caused system compromises, AND
any case where Kaspersky "exposed" or "leaked" secret files were Kaspersky working like it's supposed to --- not Kaspersky violating any privacy expectations; you
just don't get to run "secret" potentially-malicious programs on desktop computers without the possibility of malware samples of your suspicious code going to the AV vendor for analysis.... I can accept that, and I think most people SHOULD accept that with zero objections.

Germany Is Burning Too Much Coal

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Several readers share a report: Germany is widely seen as a world leader in the fight against climate change. Thanks to its investments in renewable power, wind and solar energy provide a third of its electricity, more than double the U.S. share. Germany's goal to lower carbon-dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2020 is significantly more ambitious than that of Europe as a whole or the U.S. After the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed even greater determination. "We can't wait for the last man on Earth to be convinced by the scientific evidence for climate change," she explained. But there's another, troubling side to the German story: The country still gets 40 percent of its energy from coal, a bigger share than most other European countries. And much of it is lignite, the dirtiest kind of coal. As a result, Germany is set to fall well short of its 2020 goal. This dependence on coal is partly a side effect of Germany's abandonment of emissions-free nuclear power and partly foot-dragging on the part of a government wary of alienating voters in German coal country. During the summer election campaign, Merkel largely avoided the subject.

That's to be expected

By Stormwatch • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

With Merkel letting in all those Afri- oh wait, you didn't mean THAT kind of "burning coal".

Coal Burners

By grumpygrodyguy • Score: 3 • Thread

It's true, coal burners and mud sharks are destroying Europe.

Re:fucking krauts

By allcoolnameswheretak • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The emergency move away from nuclear has been incredibly short sighted. I understand not wanting to build new reactors, but shutting down running reactors, with all the capital investment involved, just doesn't make any sense. Especially when there is little risk of natural disasters in Germany.

If people are serious about maintaining the same quality of lifestyle that we have today without burning as much coal, the current solution is Nuclear Energy. Yes it does pose many risks but so does burning coal, and the latter seems to be destroying our environment.

Nuclear energy is great up until the point the time comes to dismantle an aging nuclear plant and all the nuclear waste that goes along with it. Then the power companies duck away by buying themselves out of the equation and letting taxpayer money take over.

Nuclear power is a really nice deal. Reap all the profits and let the taxpayer take care of the dirty work.

And if the unthinkable happens and one of the things blows up in your face due to incalculable risks, as has happened before at least two times, well, the taxpayer will also have to step in because like Fukushima taught us, the costs of a nuclear meltdown are so immense, it will bankrupt any company.

Whatever way you look at it, nuclear is a shady deal with corporations reaping profits while carrying none of the risks.

Re:Energiewende is a failure

By angel'o'sphere • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The energy bill is the smallest part of a household bill. My beer consumption two weeks at home is already more than my power bill. If I go three days in a pub, I likely pay more than for one month for power.

The price of energy for an house hold is close to irrelevant.

And: the poor would get social aid if they indeed could not pay the bill.

Your ideas how "expensive the power in Germany" is completely misleading, as we don't need much electricity.

Re:Only 25 years

By Mike Van Pelt • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

25-year supply if nuclear provided all electricity on Earth -- If we continue the once-through throw most of the fuel away non-cycle. Simply adding fuel reprocessing multiplies that number by a few times. Going to breeder reactors multiplies that by several more times.

Then there's the seawater extraction mentioned elsewhere.

Beyond that, there's thorium. According to my CRC Handbook, thorium is "about as common as lead", and "there is probably more available energy in the earth's crust from thorium than from uranium and all fossil fuels combined."

Ads May Soon Stalk You on TV Like They Do on Your Facebook Feed

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Targeted ads that seem to follow us everywhere online may soon be doing the same on our TV. From a report: The Federal Communications Commission is poised to approve a new broadcast standard that will let broadcasters do something cable TV companies already do: harvest data about what you watch so advertisers can customize pitches. The prospect alarms privacy advocates, who say there are no rules setting boundaries for how broadcasters handle personal information. The FCC doesn't mention privacy in the 109-page proposed rule that is scheduled for a vote by commissioners Thursday. "If the new standard allows broadcasters to collect data in a way they haven't before, I think consumers should know about that," Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in an interview. "What privacy protections will apply to that data, and what security protections?" For broadcasters, Next Gen TV represents an advance into the digital world that for decades has been siphoning viewers away to the likes of Facebook, Netflix, Google's YouTube and Amazon's Prime video service.

Re:Make your own choices

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I'm anti-freedom. One of the proper functions of government is to keep corporations on a tight leash and restrict their ability to violate customers' privacy. Otherwise, all corporations will violate customers' privacy -- there simply isn't enough of a market for privacy unless it's created by force.

Re:Make your own choices

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'm anti-freedom. One of the proper functions of government is to keep corporations on a tight leash and restrict their ability to violate customers' privacy.

In general, one of the functions of Government is to ensure that one can exercise their rights *and* not infringe on the rights of others. Both Conservatives and Liberals are guilty of forgetting and/or ignoring that.

I'm thinking ...

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread
... the money spent every month on cable subscriptions could buy a lot of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

ATSC 3.0 will not require existing internet

By jetkust • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
ATSC 3.0 will be delivered over-the-air, just like 1.0. The difference is the signal is based on "internet protocol" for reasons that make it easy for any device (tablet, phone) to receive the signals. Also, ATSC 3.0 is designed for two-way communication. What is interesting is how they plan on doing this. Turns out there may be plans to have what is called a "Dedicated Return Channel" (DRC), which is a separate frequency that the TV uses to transmit data to the broadcast station. DRC can be read about here: If this turns out to be true, it's essentially a "free" over-the-air quasi internet connection controlled and limited by the broadcast station. This is a pretty significant detail.

Hopeful and worried

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3 • Thread

ATSC 3.0 offers better reception and uses modern codecs.

Broadcasters can easily double number of channels and do so with much higher quality with less user effort (installing and positioning antennas) needed for reliable reception.

ATSC 3.0 does not require Internet connectivity to work. At least it is not required by the specification.

There is all kinds of crap ATSC 3.0 is capable of doing that would in my view be really bad:

Worst possible and perhaps most likely scenario is inclusion of "return channel" (DRC) transmitters into television sets turning them into two way bugs.

Followed by encrypted content and related plays at turning OTA into a subscription service or somehow forcing Internet access to get encryption key for data collection/stalking purposes. I personally think the likelihood of this occurring is slim.

Suspect features to push ads over a logically separate channel from the mpeg stream won't ever be used for the simple fact it will be too easy to configure receivers to ignore.

CompuServe's Forums Are Closing On December 15

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
harrymcc writes: In the era before the web, the forums on CompuServe were indispensable for everything from getting tech questions answered to chatting about movies. They still exist, albeit in diminished form. But Oath, which owns AOL, which owns what's left of CompuServe, is about to finally shut them down. I wrote about the sad news for Fast Company.

Former 74020,3224

By CharlieG • Score: 3 • Thread

Met many a great person over on MSLangs, and the Crafts forums
Was a Section Leader on a few forms, but was never a "wizop"

They killed it long ago.

By whoever57 • Score: 4 • Thread

The Compuserve forums don't seem to have a functioning search and all agents are blocked by their robots.txt.

What did the people running the site expect? Traffic when no one can discover the site?

Whoever made the boneheaded decision to put this in their robots.txt file killed the forums:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

I still can remember my compuserv ID

By Revek • Score: 3 • Thread

Now what did I eat for breakfast this morning.

I forgot I had compuserve account!

By k6mfw • Score: 3 • Thread

Better drag out my acoustic modem that takes the Model 500 handset (got it at kludge sale for $5). I could only afford the 300 baud, I was not rich like you 1200 baud guys. I enjoyed it immensely, even got to do electronic mail. I also was able to get detailed news of Shuttle flight 41C. Someone was kind enough to devote tons of time to get latest space news compiled in a single text file (decades before spaceref, NASAwatch, etc). Took some time to download but was very convenient since none of us had access to the UPI/AP wire and a Model 33 Teletype. Then the UPI found out and put a stop to it.

Actually last time I logged in was in 1996, there was a website that you can look up people that had compuserve accounts. Ah yes, them were the days.

Took me a few minutes to remember my old ID

By oh-dark-thirty • Score: 3 • Thread

76057,2411 signing off forever...

The Strange Art of Writing Release Notes

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reader necro81 writes: IEEE Spectrum has an amusing piece on how App Stores, and the frequent updates to those apps, have given release notes new prominence to average users. Unfortunately, most release notes are hum drum and uninformative: "bug fixes, performance improvements." That may be accurate, but isn't useful for determining if the new version is worth downloading. The article highlights counterexamples that weave humor and creativity into the narrative, even if it still just boils down to "bug fixes". For instance, when was the last time your release notes included ASCII art?
Although a bit old, TechCrunch also has a commentary on the highs and lows of App Store release notes.

What is the opinion of /. readers? How much information is appropriate in release notes? Should one make any attempts at levity, or keep it strictly to business? For those of you who actually write release notes, what guidelines do you use?

Tell me *something*

By gordguide • Score: 3 • Thread

Maybe not appropriate for release notes (which I agree with others here who suggest they should be to the point and functional) but I just wish more software developers or the companies they work for would just tell me one thing:
What does this application actually DO?
I tire of marketing-speak and general superlatives when the app name is cryptic or cute, something somebody thought was clever, but doesn't actually identify the app's function. So you have to read the marketing blurb, which far to often doesn't say what the thing does, or uses acronyms that someone who uses the software would know but someone who wants to know if it will be useful may not.

Really why does this have to be like pulling teeth?

Oh, and let's drop the word "actually", can we? About 98% of the time, dropping that stupid word from speech, reviews, or marketing enhances the clarity. It usually doesn't mean anything in the context of what is trying to be conveyed. I don't know how it became some kind of language crutch for tech about a bazillion years ago, but please, just stop it. Already.

Short and clear

By petes_PoV • Score: 3 • Thread

Unfortunately, most release notes are hum drum and uninformative: "bug fixes, performance improvements." That may be accurate, but isn't useful

Yes - nobody cares, except the geek who wrote the stuff and possibly their mother.

A well-written release note should contain the following:
1.) A single sentence that describes what the software does. No acronyms. Just a functional "This app is a music player for .... "
2.) What platforms it works on. What other stuff is required for it to run
3.) What it does that is different from all the other applications in the same class
4.) What functional changes and new features make this version worth updating to
5.) Any killer bugs that have been fixed in this version

If the author cannot think of a short piece of text that fulfills any of those 5 categories, there is probably no reason for making this release. And even less for anyone to download it,.

If it ain't broke...

By cellocgw • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Ever since I updated a freeware app only to find that the updated version had a rottener GUI , **and** spawned ads, I've learned not to update any app which is working nice and fine for my wants and needs.
I mean, really: My teensy freeware "spirit level" phone app works just fine. I have no idea what the last 6 updates did, and I really don't care. Nothing good can come of updating "blind" with no easy rollback path.

Part of my day job...

By ElizabethGreene • Score: 3 • Thread

Part of my day job* is helping my customers figure out why machines have BSODs. Very often this is driver issues. That means I spend a lot of time fishing for new drivers and looking at the release notes.

If I could, I would ask very nicely that driver publishers to include specifics about what issues are fixed when drivers are updated. If you fixed an issue that was causing 0x9 Power state transition failure BSODs in your Video driver, then please put that in the notes. Also, if it's not too much trouble please keep a running history in the changelog so I can open the changelog for version 5.10 and see what changed in 5.10, 5.09, and 5.08 without having to go fish for the release notes for each version.

I would also ask hardware vendors that repackage drivers (e.g. HP and Dell) to publish the original driver release notes instead of just a file that says "Upgrades driver to version x.yy"

* I'm a Windows Platforms DSE for Microsoft. The above is my own opinion, and not that of my employer or paid shilling for them.

Not sure about Apps, but...

By Ghostworks • Score: 3 • Thread

... as an engineer for an IC company, I had to translate bug reports into firmware release notes suitable for corporate customers. (These days we automate it through a combination of JIRA and repo comments.)

For those of you who actually write release notes, what guidelines do you use?
There was no formal standard or best practices to follow in our group: the de facto standard was a balance between whatever our engineer (usually the same guy over many releases) thinks is enough info, and what our customers (also engineers) badger us about being not enough info.

Should one make any attempts at levity, or keep it strictly to business?
If somebody is reading your document, it's probably because something went wrong. They are short on time and reading a document they didn't want to deal with, trying to solve it quickly. They are already angry. All humor in documentation is thus inherently tone-deaf and insulting. It is never worth doing, and we all want to punch you.

How much information is appropriate in release notes?
You must first understand our customers: they build systems of many ICs (and don't devote a lot of time to any one vendor), their companies are segmented by function (so the driver guy and the platform guy never talk to each other, everything is write once/change never, and iterative design is a dirty word), and they are very risk averse (they think it's our job to prove to them that nothing is ever risky). Here's what we end up giving them:

* Bug fixes: Sometimes too many little ones to be worth enumerating, collected under "bugs fixed". But usually there are some big ones, or at least specific ones that your customer noticed and called you on. Give a description of what the issue did and something that suggests you traced it to root cause and didn't just move data around until a test passed. "Resolved an issue whereby the widget exhausted streamer overhead and data was lost." An ugly fact: giving too much detail about what went wrong and how you fixed it actually makes customers ask more questions, which means more busywork. (The Japanese notion of process means asking a lot of nonsensical questions, to be answered in the form of a spreadsheet, repeating ad nauseam.)

* Errata: customers won't always move to the latest/greatest firmware: they'll stick with what they last validated internally. Some bugs were found to be around for a long time. You need to note these newly-known bugs in your errata for the previous releases when you rev the document. This is covering your ass; you've warned them. Also, it lets you sum up many bug fixes as "fixed all other previous errata".

* New unexpected features: If a customer does actually upgrade mid-project, it'll be to fix an intolerable bug, and then they'll get new features they weren't expecting along with the fix. Assume that the release notes are the only new document that they will ever read after switching... and thus the only document that describes new features. Give the interface, an example, and any required system configuration changes needed to live with it. Think of it as a one-page white paper on the new feature.

* New expected features: "(finally) added support for Industry-Expected Feature." Done. (Paradoxically, the bigger the new feature, the smaller the release note comment can be.)

* Changed/removed features and changed interfaces. Most customers will hate that you change an interface at all, but it's unavoidable.

On a related note: early in life, I found that I'm the only one I know who ever reads help files, release notes, and EULAs. I taught myself Matlab as a grad student in about a week by using their immaculate help system. I knew about long-standing but poorly-advertised features and bugs my coworkers didn't, because I actually read the damn release notes. I was not surprised at all that my mother-in-law's Samsung TV is spying on her, or that Windows 8 phoned "home" to various universities, because they told you they were going to do so in the EULAs. If you don't read the documentation, you're going to be worse off. If you're an engineer who thinks documentation is a "someday" task or a "check box item" for a release, then you're horrible, and I hate you.

Fedora 27 Released

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Fedora Project has announced the general availability of Fedora 27 Workstation and Fedora 27 Atomic editions. Fedora 27 brings with it "thousands of improvements" from both the Fedora Community and various upstream software projects, the team said on Tuesday. From a post on Fedora Magazine: The Workstation edition of Fedora 27 features GNOME 3.26. In the new release, both the Display and Network configuration panels have been updated, along with the overall Settings panel appearance improvement. The system search now shows more results at once, including the system actions. GNOME 3.26 also features color emoji support, folder sharing in Boxes, and numerous improvements in the Builder IDE tool. The new release also features LibreOffice 5.4.

Re:Systemd, DBUS, Pulseaudio, and Gnome3

By iggymanz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

fine if you're running a laptop or home pc

for those of us who administor hundreds of machines, we've found systemd to be unpredictable, unreliable, and needlessly complex garbage

Re:Which is better

By freak0fnature • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It depends on what you want to do. Steam games generally get full support for Ubuntu first, less so on Fedora. I can play TF2 natively, but both Portal games crash on me. But if you ask my boss, he would say that debian packaging is superior to RPM especially when dealing with dependency issues.

Re:Systemd, DBUS, Pulseaudio, and Gnome3

By MSG • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You speak only for yourself. Many of use who operate large server farms are quite happy with systemd. And the evidence suggests that those who integrate systems prefer systemd, as there are vanishingly few distributions that don't use systemd either exclusively or by default.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot?

By jfdavis668 • Score: 4 • Thread
It's a technology story. Far more relevant than the story about Germany burning too much coal.

EA's 'Star Wars' PR Disaster Finally Pushed Gamers Into Open Revolt Against Loot Boxes

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Gaming company Electronic Arts is not having a good week. Bowing to pressure from early players of Star Wars Battlefront II and the historically negative reaction over the weekend to the company's response to complaints on Reddit, the company has now detailed significant cuts in the cost to unlock characters in its game and promised to continue to listen to player feedback. From a report: Most importantly, Electronic Arts today announced that they are reducing the number of credits needed to unlock top characters in the game by 75 percent. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now cost 15,000 credits. Emperor Palatine, Chewbacca and Leia Organa will now cost 10,000 and Iden will cost 5,000. Mashable reports on the outcry that took place over the weekend: Battlefront II isn't technically out until Nov. 17, but fans that subscribe to EA Access or Origin Access -- which give Xbox One and PC players, respectively, a five-day, 10-hour window to play EA games before they launch -- are discovering how those changes feel. And it's a bad scene, friends. "At the current price of 60,000 credits it will take you 40 hours of gameplay time to earn the right to unlock one hero or villain [in Star Wars: Battlefront II]," Reddit user TheHotterPotato wrote in a post. "That means 40 hours of saving each and every credit, no buying any crates at all, so no bonus credits from getting duplicates in crates." The Reddit post produced such a mind-blowingly negative response that an agent of EA actually responded. Unfortunately, that response made things even worse. EA's Reddit account is plastered with a barrage of downvotes, with one particular response receiving over 600,000 downvotes -- a record.

EA is propped up by sports

By netsavior • Score: 3 • Thread
Football is the only thing keeping cable alive, and it is the safety net for EA as well.
EA has a core base of suckers who will buy the same madden/fifa game every year, even better most are "non-gamers" who don't give a shit about what happens in some star wars game.
fifa was the best selling game of 2016, they can afford to take loot box risks on "niche" titles which are full of whales.

Re:Its an industry wide behavior

By AlanBDee • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I can think of a good example of DLC done right: Rocksmith 2014. If you haven't heard of Rocksmith it's basically Rock Band or Guitar Hero with a real guitar and you're actually playing the song. Every week they release a song pack, 3-5 songs. They're up to about 1100 songs total. I've shelled out several grand over the years on this and am happy to do so, it's worth every penny to me. I get to cherry pick the songs I like and they all fit in a single game. I can start a random list and play till my fingers bleed (feels so good)


By kwerle • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No... games without micro transactions are the only ones I play - and there are plenty of 'em coming out.

If you support micros, that's the road you've chosen. There are plenty of others.

Re:In other news, sales of peanut M&Ms reached

By omnichad • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

People want long play and replayability. EA and many others have completely misunderstood and just added a bunch of pointless grinding exercises along with a monetary bypass.


By backwardsposter • Score: 3 • Thread

Looks like my 5 year long boycott of EA is going well for me. It started with Origin, and realized that they've gone off the deep end for me.

As a side note it's not JUST EA I don't play, but I'm pretty picky with my games now. They have to have feeling. I've played Breath of the Wild, Odyssey, and quite a few indie games lately, and that's fine with me.

Firefox Quantum Arrives With Faster Browser Engine, Major Visual Overhaul

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 57, branded Firefox Quantum, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The new version, which Mozilla calls "by far the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004," brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign. The Quantum name signals Firefox 57 is a huge release that incorporates the company's next-generation browser engine (Project Quantum). The goal is to make Firefox the fastest and smoothest browser for PCs and mobile devices -- the company has previously promised that users can expect "some big jumps in capability and performance" through the end of the year. Indeed, three of the four past releases (Firefox 53, Firefox 54, and Firefox 55) included Quantum improvements. But those were just the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, Firefox now exclusively supports extensions built using the WebExtension API, and unsupported legacy extensions will no longer work, the company said.

Re:Extensions, though :-(

By Merk42 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

And... and... and... WTF WERE THEY THINKING??? Make it so addon authors need to update things and/or re-create is bad enough, but then remove the underlying functionality? That's insane! It shouldn't be LESS CAPABLE.

It's almost as if to address the performance issues that people have been bitching about would require a major architecture change, but no that's not it, they, like any company, specifically asked YOU what would piss you off and did that instead.

Still waiting on the Slashdot Browser

By Merk42 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
C'mon people. Everyone here seems to know what would make the most perfect flawless browser. Why has no one here done it?

Re:It's quantized so it's not continuous anymore

By HumanWiki • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The Quantum is the smallest possible increment. Always remember that when someone tells you it's a quantum leap in performance.

I'm more afraid this Quantum Leap will consist of reliving the past mistakes and horrors made by other people.

Mozilla is just trying to set right what once went wrong.. And hoping that their next version, will be the one home.

Thank you Mozilla

By donstenk • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Thank you for keeping up, thank you for being non profit and open source and thank you for offering a cross platform alternative independent of advertising companies and OS vendors.

This is important work.

Thank you ðY(TM)ðY.

Re:Who cares about the features?

By AntiSol • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's kind of funny how often I see people justifying this insanity by talking about how horribly insecure the old API was. Kind of funny because in over a decade I have had exactly zero problems with addons doing nasty things. And I can recall hearing about exactly zero addons doing nasty things.

But we want to kill the old API,!

It reminds me of that time McLaren realised that they could increase the power to weight ratio of their F1 cars by removing that heavy steering wheel.

OnePlus Phones Come Preinstalled With a Factory App That Can Root Devices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: Some OnePlus devices, if not all, come preinstalled with an application named EngineerMode that can be used to root the device and may be converted into a fully-fledged backdoor by clever attackers. The app was discovered by a mobile security researcher who goes online by the pseudonym of Elliot Alderson -- the name of the main character in the Mr. Robot TV series. Speaking to Bleeping Computer, the researcher said he started investigating OnePlus devices after a story he saw online last month detailing a hidden stream of telemetry data sent by OnePlus devices to the company's servers.

Oneplus X

By ichthus • Score: 3 • Thread

I have an X, and I love it. The first thing I did after taking it out of the box was install TWRP and Cyanogen. Currently running LineageOS 14.1. Aside from the so-so camera, this is a great phone.

Exists on OnePlus 3T

By chill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This exists on my OnePlus 3T. When listing apps on the phone, there is an option to Show System Apps. You need to turn that on to see EngineerMode.

"Test Root" is one of the many functions it offers from the main screen. I don't see a way to *gain* root without using the adb command.

How is this different than OEM signed apps?

By • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Let's get some facts straight:

System apps are (or can easily become) root by design, so they can do a lot of things other apps can't. This is true for ANY OEM ROM since the anals of Android - preloaded apps are signed with developer keys, so they get API and Linux system privileges.

System apps chose to perform anything they want, silently. They don't need to ask permission through UI for stuff like Runtime.exec("su"..., or access protected/secured Android API - they just do it. And even if they don't do it from factory, OEMs like Samsung can just put in place a system-level updater that force app updates (they do this actually with samsung store), and eventually turn system apps into something they originally were not.

Now, Oneplus having an app, a preloaded one at that, which enables third-party apps to have root access is effectively unusual. I am indeed surprised Google sanctioned a ROM with such a feature, because Google does not want typical users circumventing most things Google Play, which can be done with root (common examples are adblocking through hosts files, or changing device properties such as for overclocking) . But then again, this feature is nothing special from a security standpoint. You will still get prompted by the OS whenever an app requests root even after this app turns root on for third-parties.

So, what kind of exploit can be attained from this kind of app in OnePlus devices? Is there anything different than what you could with an app that is signed with dev keys and already has root access? If an actor is managing to trigger root through the EngineeringMode app automagically, he likely also can do similar stuff with system apps that do NOT allow root to thrid-party apps. They are already injecting code or input after all, they can very well go the extra mile and do it all at once. Why bother escalating another app when you're already in control of an escalated process?

Re:How is this different than OEM signed apps?

By • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I just want to add the fact that before Samsung, Google Play itself updates without user prompt as soon as you get internet. The very first app that was self-updatable, and such an update is unblockable, is Google Play and Google Play Services themselves.

Writer and Editor are fucking idiots.

By Dishevel • Score: 3 • Thread
This is what the owners of these phones WANT!
They want full ownership over their device. Take you sensationalist bullshit and fuck off.

Digital Technology Can Help Reinvent Basic Education In Africa

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: African countries have worked hard to improve children's access to basic education, but there's still significant work to be done. Today, 32,6 million children of primary-school age and 25,7 million adolescents are not going to school in sub-Saharan Africa. The quality of education also remains a significant issue, but there's a possibility the technology could be part of the solution. The digital revolution currently under way in the region has led to a boom in trials using information and communication technology (ICT) in education -- both in and out of the classroom. A study carried out by the French Development Agency (AFD), the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Orange and Unesco shows that ICT in education in general, and mobile learning in particular, offers a number of possible benefits. These include access to low-cost teaching resources, added value compared to traditional teaching and a complementary solution for teacher training. This means that there's a huge potential to reach those excluded from education systems. The quality of knowledge and skills that are taught can also be improved.

Have these people ever been in Africa?

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem is, as said in TFS: "32,6 million children of primary-school age and 25,7 million adolescents are not going to school". Step one: get them in school, where a teacher has access to them.

Then this: "ICT in education...offers a number of possible benefits...these include access to low-cost teaching resources"

Um, no. Low cost is chalk and a blackboard. Pencil and paper. Using digital technology, especially for primary school children, is an idiotic idea. The kind of idea dreamed up by technology fans who haven't got the slightest clue about the actual challenges facing the kids there.

Re:Have these people ever been in Africa?

By KiloByte • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The kind of idea dreamed up by technology fans who haven't got the slightest clue about the actual challenges facing the kids there.

Those guys do know this better than you, it's just that their aim is not as benevolent as you'd expect.

Getting teachers there would cost orders of magnitude less than "one iPad per child", but won't line the pockets of people interested in their pockets being lined.

Any technological device would also end up being robbed by the local warlord. This is the primary obstacle for making sub-Saharan Africa less of a hellhole.

Re: How many of those kids

By gnick • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Apparently the Christians get more schooling than the Muslims.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Christians average six years of formal schooling, compared with fewer than three years for Muslims.

Study Finds SpaceX Investment Saved NASA Hundreds of Millions

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from Popular Mechanics: When a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft connected with the International Space Station on May 25, 2012, it made history as the first privately-built spacecraft to reach the ISS. The Dragon was the result of a decision 6 years prior -- in 2006, NASA made an "unprecedented" investment in SpaceX technology. A new financial analysis shows that the investment has paid off, and the government found one of the true bargains of the 21st century when it invested in SpaceX. A new research paper by Edgar Zapata, who works at Kennedy Space Center, looks closely at the finances of SpaceX and NASA. "There were indications that commercial space transportation would be a viable option from as far back as the 1980s," Zapata writes. "When the first components of the ISS were sent into orbit 1998, NASA was focused on "ambitious, large single stage-to-orbit launchers with large price tags to match." For future commercial crew missions sending astronauts into space, Zapata estimates that it will cost $405 million for a SpaceX Dragon crew deployment of 4 and $654 million for a Boeing Starliner, which is scheduled for its first flight in 2019. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but Zapata estimates that its only 37 to 39 percent of what it would have cost the government.

Re: NASA: get back to exploring

By Rei • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Of course, we know they're not going to be doing that either. Even ignoring the continual delays, SLS is simply an impractical launch vehicle. Way too expensive per launch, and they'll never have enough launches to refine it.

NASA needs to accept that it's not going to be a launch supplier, and switch to what it does best: R&D and exploration missions. And the new launch environment should be embraced. Think of what can be done when launch costs are much less than spacecraft development costs: suddenly you have a much stronger incentive to mass-produce spacecraft designs, since the incremental cost becomes so much less than the single-unit cost. Picture the era where we don't launch, say, 1 Dawn spacecraft, we launch a hundred of them, each to different bodies. We don't launch 1 Mars rover, we launch a couple dozen, each to different parts of Mars. Etc.

Re:Federal Government is Monetarily Sovereign

By sabbede • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Except that the Federal Reserve is in charge of monetary policy, not the Federal Government. The Fed's Open Market Committee regulates the supply of money through buying and selling bonds and T-Bills in order to fulfill its twin mandates to manage inflation and promote full employment. Making sure the Federal government has enough cash is a fiscal, not a monetary, issue and thus a matter for the Treasury not the Fed.

As for your obvious feelings about fiat currency, the one thing people never seem to recognize is that there is no such thing as intrinsic value. Value is an entirely human, thus subjective, concept. Every form of currency is fiat because it is based on a common agreement that something represents value - be it gold or paper. The gold standard just puts an intermediate step between the currency itself and its imagined value.

Re:No Research Costs

By saider • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is why there is incentive to increase costs. More cost = more profit.

The government often asks for scads of reports and documentation to show that you are following their accounting, engineering, quality, ... guidelines and rules. This needs to be delivered in their format, that they then give to auditors to pore over for years. Then there are "compliance" folks at the contractors whose job is to ensure that all reports are being done according to the contractual requirements. These contracts will often reference multiple contradictory government and industry standards, setting the stage for a number of people to research and resolve these conflicts. All of this extra work is "allowable" (since the government cannot ask you to perform work without compensation) and simply gets worked into the contract, inflating the cost (and improving the profit). If you have a high tolerance for bureaucratic quagmires, then government contracting can be very lucrative.

On the other hand, a commercial entity simply says "rocket costs 65 million dollars". The contract is a standard purchase order. Nothing more.

Private enterprise failings

By sjbe • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Really? What I took away was, "Look how much more efficient and effective private enterprise is!"

Private enterprise is NOT always more efficient or cheaper. Private enterprise generally does a terrible job on anything that is a public good. Roads, policing, primary education, basic research, and many other necessary things that do not have a direct and relatively short term profit motive are difficult for private enterprise to do effectively or efficiently. The notion that private enterprise is always better is idiotic, false and counterproductive. Use private enterprise for what it is good at and government for what it is good at and have them work together when appropriate.

There is absolutely no way the Apollo program could have happened with private enterprise footing the bill. Private enterprise was useful to contract for specific tasks but it never would have happened if we'd let the Invisible Hand of the market do its thing. The Hubble Telescope would never have happened as a privately owned and operated device.

Will Space X be Musk's only profitable company?

By Nova Express • Score: 3 • Thread

Tesla Motors, despite all the hype and love showered here, shows no signs of ever showing a profit.

Apple Could Launch Two New Full-Screen iPhones Next Year

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects to see two new full-screen iPhones next year: one will have a 6.5-inch OLED display, essentially making it a Plus version of the iPhone X; and the other will have a 6.1-inch LCD display, likely making it more like a full-screen version of the current Plus-sized iPhone. Both are said to have the notch. The Verge reports: In his research note, which was reported by MacRumors, Kuo writes that Apple is hoping to "satisfy various needs of the high-end market" by expanding its full-screen product line. At the high end will be the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone; beneath that will be an updated version of the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone X; and finally, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will sit below both them. Kuo predicts that the 6.1-inch phone will be priced somewhere between $649 to $749 and be set apart by having a less-dense screen resolution, offering a worse picture. If Apple does introduce a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, $749 certainly seems too cheap for it to sell at -- the iPhone 8 starts at $699 as it is, and the 8 Plus starts at $799. The 6.1-inch phone sounds like a step up from the existing Plus model, so it would make more sense to sell it for, say, $899, right between a refreshed version of the Plus and a refreshed version of the X.

That's nice, I guess, how about some new desktops?

By blindseer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It sure would be nice if we saw something new from Apple besides just cell phones. I know that they make them a lot of money. I also know that they have teams of people dedicated to the design of their desktop and laptop computers. Or they did at one time. What have they been doing? I'll be looking for a new computer soon and I'd like to see something from Apple that's not just a slight variation on what they had before.

I don't mean anything "big and bold" as a change, just put the high resolution screens on all their devices, wider adoption of ThunderBolt 3, just something newer. I'm not even sure what I want, just not the same thing for the last six years might help.

They got great phones. The tablets look good too. Even the iPods don't seem half bad. The laptops and desktops just don't seem all that great any more. That iMac Pro might be nice, if someone could actually buy one.

Time to catch up Apple. You should not have fallen behind in the first place.

Re:Dear Apple, Google, and Samsung

By geekmux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Dear Consumer,

We no longer give a shit what features you want. You'll get what makes us the most money and like it.

Fuck you, and have a nice day.

Hugs and Kisses,

- Apple, Google, and Samsung

Re:Electronic garbage - correction

By The123king • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Big banks still primarily use DOS software. I'm sure support for DOS was phased out over 20 years ago. If the main financial institutions still trust a 20 year old operating system, i don't think my slightly out-of-date iPhone is really that much of a problem.

The cutting edge of consumer products

By MrKaos • Score: 3 • Thread

Bleeds you of cash to get it and then you need a new one.

Re:iPhone SE

By nine-times • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I agree. I still think that the iPhone SE is the "right size" for a cell phone. It also has a better design, from before Apple decided it needed round edges to everything or that camera bumps were acceptable. I wouldn't mind an updated design, maybe with less bezel and more screen, but I wish Apple would stop making their products worse.