the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Feb-12 today archive


  1. 25 Years of Satellite Data Shows Global Warming Is Accelerating Sea Level Rise
  2. Skype Can't Fix a Nasty Security Bug Without a Massive Code Rewrite
  3. Facebook Lost Around 2.8 Million US Users Under 25 Last Year
  4. Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Benchmarks Show An Incredible GPU, Faster CPU
  5. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Center Booster Lacked Ignition Fluid To Light Engines and Land On Platform
  6. Trump's New Infrastructure Plan Calls For Selling Off Two Airports
  7. Amazon Is Cutting Hundreds of Corporate Jobs
  8. Reddit Audiophiles Test HomePod, Say It Sounds Better Than $1,000 Speaker
  9. Consumers Prefer Security Over Convenience For the First Time Ever, IBM Security Report Finds
  10. Unknown Language Discovered in Malaysia
  11. The Quest To Find the Longest-Serving Programmer
  12. The Flu and Airports
  13. Google Autocomplete Still Makes Vile Suggestions
  14. The Trump Administration is Moving To Privatize the International Space Station: Report
  15. German Court Rules Facebook Use of Personal Data Illegal
  16. Verizon is Locking Its Phones Down To Combat Theft
  17. A Facebook Employee Asked a Reporter To Turn Off His Phone So Facebook Couldn't Track Its Location
  18. The Insane Amount of Backward Compatibility in Google Maps
  19. Why Paper Jams Persist
  20. Google's Next Android Overhaul Will Embrace iPhone's 'Notch'
  21. Energy Riches Fuel Bitcoin Craze For Speculation-shy Iceland
  22. 'Razer Doesn't Care About Linux'

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

25 Years of Satellite Data Shows Global Warming Is Accelerating Sea Level Rise

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Associated Press: Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows. At the current rate, the world's oceans on average will be at least 2 feet (61 centimeters) higher by the end of the century compared to today, according to researchers who published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Sea level rise is caused by warming of the ocean and melting from glaciers and ice sheets. The research, based on 25 years of satellite data, shows that pace has quickened, mainly from the melting of massive ice sheets. It confirms scientists' computer simulations and is in line with predictions from the United Nations, which releases regular climate change reports. Of the 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) of sea level rise in the past quarter century, about 55 percent is from warmer water expanding, and the rest is from melting ice. But the process is accelerating, and more than three-quarters of that acceleration since 1993 is due to melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, the study shows.

Re:yes, but few care

By dj245 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If ppl want to stop this, then ALL NATIONS MUST STOP. Not just 1 or 2.

And that will never happen. I see a lot of talk about China in this thread but Russia is the #2 emitter of pollution. The US is reducing emissions, both per-capita and overall. Russia's emissions per GDP are increasing (albeit not as rapidly as China). Here's a nice graph of emissions per capita for the top 3. The difference is that China is seeing a lot of negative effects related to pollution, and politicians are under pressure to fix the problem or risk destabilizing the country. China has incentives to act.

Russia, on the other hand, doesn't have many developed low-lying coastal areas. Weather patterns are becoming more habitable, arable land is increasing, icecaps limiting shipping are melting, more natural resources (fishing, oilfields, etc) are becoming accessible, etc. Climate change may cost Russia's economic competitors in both money and political stability. A decent chunk of the Russian economy is based on oil and natural gas exports. Many other countries have some of these incentives, but Russia is the big winner of climate change, and they have every incentive not to take action. I would not be at all surprised if Russia was actively promoting anti-climate change ideology. They have a strong motive, means, and opportunity.

Disclaimer- I am an engineer in the North American fossil fuel industry

Re:25 Years

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

25 years of data? Why not 26 years of data?

Because the earliest data set came from the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimetry mission, which launched in 1992, and the paper was received for review in 2017. 2017-1996 = 25 years.

  Paper under discussion:

The scientists were unable to use satellite data taken before the satellite launched because that data does not exist.

Re:Known since at least 2006

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Citation. This isn't a new finding, it confirms previous work.

It is new in that this article shows the satellite altimetry, while the article you cite, showing similar trends, combines tide-gauge and satellite data to get a much longer data set. Basically, that article is using satellite data to calibrate tide-gauges, and then using that calibration to measure historical sea level rise.

Good article, though.

Let me know when other "religions" start basing their ideology (or their critiques) on multiple peer-reviewed studies instead of faith.

Yes, exactly: it is useful when different work by different groups shows the same result. This is reproducability, which is important in science.

Satellite measurements [Re:Oh good]

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

And there's no way those same currents could have affected the previous measurements we used to declare sea level was rising. I mean, there's no way they could have been eroding for some period and we thought it was the sea level rising. Climate only works one way!

That's why satellite altimetry measurements-- what the article being discussed here is about-- are important. You can measure the entire globe, not just the places that have tide gauges, and you can separate out the local effects from the sea level rise.

Analyze all of the data

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

No. It shows a more rapid rise in the last couple of decades, but it does not show an acceleration overall. If you can cherry-pick a 20-25 year period, so can I.

Just for reference, the 25 years of data was not cherry picked. The article being discussed analyzed satellite altimetry data, and the first of the satellite altimetry missions being discussed was TOPEX/Poseidon, which started giving data 25 years ago. 25 years is all the data that exists.

When they analyze all the data that exists, that's the opposite of cherry picking.

Skype Can't Fix a Nasty Security Bug Without a Massive Code Rewrite

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
ZDNet reports of a security flaw in Skype's updater process that " can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer." If the bug is exploited, it "can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full 'system' level rights -- granting them access to every corner of the operating system." What's worse is that Microsoft, which owns Skype, won't fix the flaw because it would require the updater to go through "a large code revision." Instead, Microsoft is putting all its resources on building an altogether new client. From the report: Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique, which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs. Once installed, Skype uses its own built-in updater to keep the software up to date. When that updater runs, it uses another executable file to run the update, which is vulnerable to the hijacking. The attack reads on the clunky side, but Kanthak told ZDNet in an email that the attack could be easily weaponized. He explained, providing two command line examples, how a script or malware could remotely transfer a malicious DLL into that temporary folder.

Re:Linux not vulnerable

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Quit being a DLLdo. Windows and Linux libraries are entirely different.

Re:Download the offline installer?

By Rockoon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The issue as I understand it is that a bit of nefarious code running in user scope can take these steps:

1) drop a properly named nefarious dll in a tmp directory
2) alter the userspace path environment variable that will cause skypes updater to search this folder first for that properly named nefarious dll
3) launch the skype installer which will then load the nefarious dll into a super user scope

Re: Linux not vulnerable

By WarJolt • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

LD_PRELOAD is not enough for privilege escalation. You need more, like a buggy Microsoft product. Maybe Skype for Linux....

Re:Static Link?

By Cassini2 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

While officially Microsoft supports static linking, in practice, it is necessary to use DLLs in many situations. The Microsoft official answer is at: Extension DLLs

The practical reasons that I have been forced to use DLLs are:

  • 1. If you want your application to upgrade smoothly over the years, you have to use either the DLL calls or the windows system calls and avoid the statically linked C libraries. For instance, when the times and dates for daylight savings time change, only the windows calls get updated automatically. The statically linked libraries don't get updated. DLL libraries get updated when the DLL gets updated (which can lead to DLL Hell, but that is another story.)
  • 2. If you have an application that allocates memory in one DLL and frees it in another, then it is vital that the library that does the memory management be a DLL. Otherwise, each DLL has it's own statically linked memory mapping library, and they don't know about each other's allocations.
  • 3. (2) applies to applications that use new and delete. It also applies to applications that are ActiveX controls and using IMalloc.
  • 4. Some of the cool Microsoft libraries link to DLLs, so it doesn't matter if you want to use static libraries. You are getting DLLs.
  • 5. Only the really old languages like C++ and QuickBasic supports static linking. I'm pretty sure Visual Basic, C# and .NET all require DLLs.

Circle jerk

By duke_cheetah2003 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What's worse is that Microsoft, which owns Skype, won't fix the flaw because it would require the updater to go through "a large code revision." Instead, Microsoft is putting all its resources on building an altogether new client.

Man I gotta hand it to whomever at Microsoft actually convinced their boss to go this route. There was a MSN messenger once, you know, Microsoft's IM client, they dumped it and bought Skype. Now they're dumping Skype for inhouse MSN messenger 2.0? Hahahahaha nice job.

Facebook Lost Around 2.8 Million US Users Under 25 Last Year

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to new estimates by eMarketer, Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic declined by 9.9 percent in 2017, or about 1.4 million total users. That's almost three times more than the digital measurement firm expected. There were roughly 12.1 million U.S. Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic by the end of the year. Recode reports: There are likely multiple reasons for the decline. Facebook has been losing its "cool" factor for years, and young people have more options than ever for staying in touch with friends and family. Facebook also serves as a digital record keeper -- but many young people don't seem to care about saving their life online, at least not publicly. That explains why Snapchat and Instagram, which offer features for sharing photos and videos that disappear, are growing in popularity among this demographic. Overall, eMarketer found Facebook lost about 2.8 million U.S. users under 25 last year. The research firm released Facebook usage estimates for 2018 on Monday, and expects that Facebook will lose about 2.1 million users in the U.S. under the age of 25 this year.

Maybe they will soon merge with Myspace.

By az-saguaro • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In the antediluvian days, before the great internet flood, CompuServe was center of the universe of the digital social space. I am sure that some readers are now asking "CompuWhat?" Then, in the Internet Archaic era, AOL arose to command the hearts and minds and social intercourse of the wired populace. "AOWhat?" Then came the Classical age of internet civilization, where Yahoo was the great Caesar. "Ya-What?". After the Dark Ages of the dotcom meltdown, a social media Renaissance arose with great city states like Myspace and Flickr. "Maybe your space grandpa, but not my space!"

[To quote from the Wikipedia article about Myspace: "From 2005 to 2008, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world, and in June 2006 surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. In April 2008, Myspace was overtaken by Facebook in the number of unique worldwide visitors. . . As of January 2018, Myspace was ranked 4,153 by total Web traffic, and 1,657 in the United States."]

Now, Facebook has arisen, to a rousing IPO, intriguing founders and principles, and a flow of money to make the robber barons of the Gilded Age blush with envy. Yet, social preeminence in the digital age would seem to be a fleeting, precarious, and uncertain thing. Of late, Facebook has garnered attention mostly for its dark and nefarious side, akin perhaps to fascism, communism, and other dubious and totalitarian social philosophies of the 20th century.

The Greeks reminded us of the moral perils of hubris, in parables such as Daedalus and Icarus. In modern terms, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". Given the history of internet social media in the past 20-30 years, anybody heavily invested in Facebook might want to consider their long term position. Who knows - the very existence of monolithic social media behemoths such as Facebook might be more akin to the media model of Snapchat and Instagram, here today gone tomorrow.

Re:Facebook has run its course

By aussersterne • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Bigger problem: you can't see what other people share. FB has "monetized" themselves out of the business by selling all the space in the feed to advertisers and never showing you anything from the people that you're trying to stay connected to.

It used to be a good tool for keeping up with everyone in your circle and what they're up to in a kind of rapid, quick-check way. Now if you want to see your friends' or family's updates, you have to go to each person's timeline individually, one at a time. Otherwise, they're essentially invisible to you. So you just call them instead, since it amounts to the same thing as checking and scrolling through every individual profile one by one.

Meanwhile, your feed is a whole bunch of bullshit clickbait from advertisers that have paid to insert themselves into the feeds of everyone of your age and your gender in your country.

And on the very rare occasion that you do happen to see a promoted item on your feed that you're interested in, generally the the app updates the feed just as you're about to tap on it, and *poof* it's gone. And there's no way in heaven or hell to go back and find it ever again, it's just gone. It's literally a platform for carefully obscuring from you anything you want to see and putting in front of you and endless list of things you couldn't care less about.

That's not what anyone was promised when they signed up, or what led to Facebook's growth.

Basically as soon as they decided to monetize the feed aggressively, the result was predictable and lots of people predicted it. "Great, so now we're going to see a lot of ads that we don't give a shit about, disguised as 'updates' from organizations and pages we don't care about, and everything we do care about will be hidden."

Yup. Exactly what happened.

Re:This surprises you how?

By avandesande • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
they should rename it 'myspacebook'

Snapchat, Pintrest. Instagram, Vine, Twitter

By cstacy • Score: 3 • Thread

That's for old people!
Like my parents!
That's funny....

Re:Facebook still not loosing enough Users

By TheRaven64 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The article that I read this morning was predicting a slow decline with a linear drop-off over many years. I think this completely misses the value of Facebook: it is not useful because of anything it does, it's useful because other people use it. Every person who quits makes it slightly less useful for 20 or so other people (and less valuable for a few hundred advertisers). I still run a Jabber server, but I haven't used it regularly for years - when I logged on before Christmas because I was consulting for someone who wanted to use it for pair debugging, I found that of the 100+ people in my roster, zero were online. Every person who quits a communication system increases the probability that someone else will leave. If only half of your friends are using Facebook then Facebook becomes the least convenient way of communicating, so you leave. Now there's a new group of people for whom Facebook isn't useful.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Benchmarks Show An Incredible GPU, Faster CPU

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: Though the company has been evangelizing its new Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform for a while now, Qualcomm is lifting the veil today on the new chip's benchmark performance profile. At the heart of the Snapdragon 845 is the new Kyro 385 CPU, which features four high-performance cores operating at 2.8GHz and four efficiency cores that are dialed back to 1.7GHz, all of which should culminate in a claimed 25 percent uplift over the previous generation Snapdragon 835, along with improved power efficiency. In addition, the Snapdragon 845's new Adreno 630 integrated GPU core should deliver a boost in performance over its predecessor as well, with up to a 30 percent increase in graphics throughput, allowing it to become the first mobile platform to enable room-scale VR/AR experiences. Armed with prototype reference devices, members of the press put the Snapdragon 845 through its paces and the chip proved to be anywhere from 15 to 35 percent faster, depending on workloads and benchmarks, with graphics showing especially strong. Next-generation Android smartphones and other devices based on the Snapdragon 845 are expected to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of this month.


By furiousgeorge • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Incredible GPU" (I'll just leave for a moment this is a chip just to be maybe 'unveiled', while the the latest iOS chip which you can buy for 6 months is already way ahead as usual...)

Unless they've fired their entire OpenGL/Vulkan driver engineering department and started over, I can't get excited. It'll just be *another* big bag of pain and busted features.

As God as my witness, I wish somebody would make the investment to give Qualcomm some actual competition, cause they are a nightmare.

Signed : Mobile Games Graphics Engineer.

Random tech shows incremental improvement

By xxxJonBoyxxx • Score: 3 • Thread
>> random chip company releases numbers to buttress its marketing claims

Nice, er, incremental improvement. Now, if you don't mind, I have a nap to take...ZZZzzz

Snapdragon 845 Is King (Of Android Phones For Now)

By Humbubba • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Quote from GizmoChina:

So how does Qualcomm's new chip perform against those in the market currently? Long story short, it is not the king... It was ran through benchmarking apps Geekbench and AnTuTu and then pitted against other phones and chipsets. The test device was compared to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro with its Kirin 970 SoC, the OnePlus 5T with Snapdragon 835, the Exynos 8895 toting Galaxy Note8, and the Apple A11 Bionic iPhone X...

Qualcomm's new chip beats all but one - the Apple A11 Bionic. Apple's chipset not only trumps it but does so with at least 2000 points in both the single-core and multi-core tests. Qualcomm's joy as the king of Android chipsets will actually be short-lived as the Exynos 9810 is said to be ahead in performance too.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Center Booster Lacked Ignition Fluid To Light Engines and Land On Platform

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Los Angeles Times: The center core booster of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy didn't land on a floating sea platform as intended during last week's first test flight because it ran out of ignition fluid, company Chief Executive Elon Musk said Monday. Musk took to Twitter on Monday morning to give a few more updates on the Falcon Heavy's first flight. After liftoff, the rocket's two side boosters touched down simultaneously on land, eliciting cheers and applause from the crowd of SpaceX employees gathered in the company's Hawthorne headquarters, as seen on the launch livestream. Those two boosters, which were used in previous launches of SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, will not be reused again, Musk said in a post-launch news conference last week. But the center core booster ended up hitting the Atlantic Ocean at 300 mph and about 328 feet from the floating platform where it was supposed to land. Musk said Monday that there wasn't enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines of the booster "after several three engine relights."

Re:Best possible failure

By Goetterdaemmerung • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Of the possible failures that could have occurred, this seems like the best one. This was the newest part on the whole 'kit' so it wouldn't surprise me if it was an issue in calculations or some minor mechanical issue that resulted in this. In the end this was still an 80% success and were this a commercial launch, the buyer wouldn't have been overly disappointed since the payload made it into orbit. I have no doubt the next launch will be a complete success with all 3 rockets landing without problem

Don't skimp on the metrics! The mission was 100% success given it launched successfully and put the payload into high orbit. All buyers would be perfectly satisfied with the result. The landings of 2/3 boosters is extra, and the reignition of the second stage to achieve Mars trajectory was extra - although the angle was slightly off. I'd grant these an additional 50% bonus so 150% successful mission far beyond anyone's expectations. Even Musk said he'd be happy if it blew up far enough from the launch pad to not cause damage.

Re:Best possible failure

By cjameshuff • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The target orbit was one that went at least to Mars orbit. There were no requirements that it only go to Mars orbit. They burned to depletion to demonstrate the amount of second stage performance available after a 6 hour coast (that being a requirement of some defense launches).

Re: Missed it by *that* much.

By Kjella • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Sure, but this is a TEST flight, so I would argue that it's more important to start with a smaller payload. That way you can work down from safe to probably safe and have less risk of losing the test vehicles.

Well, it's less risk to the test vehicle but the more your final configuration deviates from the current configuration the higher the risk of some unexpected side effects. When you can count the number of tests on one hand with fingers to spare it's better to fail on the first test and say that's what tests are for than fail on the second test and raise concerns that it has hidden flaws that might kill missions at random. Despite all that Elon Musk said to manage expectations they did not send a $100 million dollar rocket out there to blow up an equally expensive pad on a 50-50 or 2/3rds chance. They've extensively tested every component and subsystem they could find, simulated it a million times with computers and it would have passed with flying colors.

This is the final integration test, not the first test. The rest is that X factor, what haven't we taken into consideration. Are our assumptions, models and formulas flawed in some way. He can't really lose talking it down, if it blows up on the pad well space is hard. If it works, he's pulled off some amazing feat. So I'd want something very close to the production model flying, as long as the odds remain good you'll get your test data. And in that respect this was an entirely insignificant failure, they got telemetry on everything right up to the final impact. Making this part of the mission fail-safe wouldn't really have any big benefit. Just downsides in redesign, if this was what they thought was the right amount.


By DamnOregonian • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I actually got a little choked-up.

Was hard not to. Felt like one of those "Holy shit, humanity... Holy shit." moments.
Shit coming back from space and landing without banging off the ground or splashing into the water... is pretty amazing. Even cooler that the entire thing is autonomous.

Re:Ignition fluid is TEA-TEB

By the_other_chewey • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

higher momentum; terminal velocity is independent of mass (according to physics).

In an atmosphere? It absolutely is not.

In an atmosphere, the heavier a given shape is,
the faster its terminal velocity is.

It's pretty obvious: A one meter steel ball, a one meter
styrofoam ball, and a one meter helium balloon all fall at the
same rate in vacuum.

Add Earth's atmosphere, and they don't even all fall in the same direction.

Trump's New Infrastructure Plan Calls For Selling Off Two Airports

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Trump administration has released an infrastructure plan on Monday that proposes that the federal government considers selling off Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. According to Trump's blueprint, the administration wants to allow federal agencies to divest assets if they "can demonstrate an increase in value from the sale would optimize the taxpayer value for federal assets." It also includes the George Washington and Baltimore Washington parkways, the Washington Aqueduct and the transmission assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bonneville Power Administration on the list for "potential divesture." Politico reports: State and local agencies or the private sector may be better at managing assets currently owned by the federal government, the administration argues, and federal agencies should be able to "identify appropriate conditions under which sales would be made." They should also "delineate how proceeds would be spent." Under the administration's proposal, federal agencies would have to complete an analysis demonstrating an "increase in value from divestiture." Though technically owned by the federal government, both airports are operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority under a long-term lease agreement. The 53-page infrastructure plan lays out a vision to turn $200 billion in federal money into $1.5 trillion for fixing America's infrastructure by leveraging local and state dollars and private investment. "The White House says its plan will create $1.5 trillion for repairing and upgrading America's infrastructure," reports CNNMoney. "Only $200 billion of that, however, would come from direct federal spending. The rest is supposed to come from state and local governments, which are expected to match any federal allocation by at least a four-to-one ratio. States have gradually assumed more of the responsibility for funding infrastructure in recent years, and the White House says it wants to accelerate that trend."

As for how the money would be split up, the plan says that half of the new federal money, $100 billion, "would be parceled out as incentives to local government entities," reports CNNMoney. "An additional $20 billion would go toward 'projects of national significance' that can 'lift the American spirit,'" while another $50 billion will be designated "for rural block grants, most of which will be given to states according to a formula based on the miles of rural roads and the rural population they have," reports CNNMoney. "The rest of the money would support other infrastructure-related undertakings..."

Re:In other words...

By tbannist • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

We never had a surplus. The national debt has increased every year since 1957.

That's an interesting chart.

The only way for the debt to increase is to spend more than was brought in.

Actually, no. You seem to have missed the words "Includes legal tender notes, gold and silver certificates, etc."

The debt on that page can increase when the government prints more money.

The "surplus" was in name only, because it only dealt with some of the spending of the Federal Government. But we haven't had a surplus since 1957, back when Ike was rolling out the Interstate highway system.

According to the Congressional Budget Office there were real surpluses in the years 1969, and 1998-2001. You'll have to go to Historical Budget Data and open some Excel files to see the actual numbers, but if you do you will see that the debt held by the public decreased in each of those years.

However, that's neither here nor there. Quibbling over the exact numbers doesn't change the fact that Bill Clinton (and a Republican congress) either generated a surplus, or brought America as close as it has been since 1957. But in either case, George W. Bush (and a Republican congress) turned it into the largest deficits in America's history, through a combination of new spending, tax cuts and a disastrous recession.

Re:This has been known for months

By dryeo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If the airports are operating at capacity, there won't be much competition, same if they're too spread out.
Roads and bridges would probably be private/public partnerships. Private business gets its loans guaranteed by the government as well as guaranteed income. Looks good on paper, the government doesn't actually borrow money or raise taxes and the business gets a guaranteed profit.
In reality, it turns out that people avoid tolls if they can and the government still has to subsidize the bridge to make up for the shortfall and the next election, the other party runs on a platform of eliminating the tolls, wins and has to pay off the bridge and the private company. Taxpayers lose.

Re:Private ownership of public infrastructure

By meerling • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Technically you are correct.
However as we do have groups that are referred to as neo-nazis, who follow the teachings and ideals of the nazis, and even use one of the nazi flags, we have fucking nazis.

If it looks like a nazi, talks like a nazi, and goosesteps like a nazi... I'm sure you get the idea...

Re:Private ownership of public infrastructure

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Airports are unsuitable for private ownership because there is little meaningful competition. It's not like a rival can open their own competing airport nearby.

Re:Private ownership of public infrastructure

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Other nations sell off their airports and let the private sector take that huge risk.

No they don't, because they need the airports. All that happens is that debts and long term contracts to private companies are hidden from the national debt figures and the government has to underwrite everything anyway because the airport is too important to go out of business.

It's just a way of privatising the profits while socalising the risks.

Amazon Is Cutting Hundreds of Corporate Jobs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a Seattle Times report, Amazon is laying off hundreds of corporate workers in its Seattle headquarters and elsewhere. "The corporate cuts come after an eight-year hiring spree, taking the company from 5,000 in 2010 to 40,000 in its Seattle headquarters and gobbling up several retail businesses throughout the country," reports TechCrunch. From the report: However, according to the report, Amazon's rising employee numbers over the last two years left some departments over budget and with too many staff on hand. In the last few months, the company implemented hiring freezes to stem the flow of new workers, cutting the number of open positions in half from the 3,500 listed last Summer. The layoffs will mainly focus on Amazon's Seattle office, but there have already been cuts in some of its retail subsidiaries in other parts of the country, such as the Las Vegas-based online footwear retailer Zappos, which had to lay off 30 people recently. And the company behind, Quidsi, had to cut more than 250 jobs a year ago. The moves suggest Amazon may be trying to rein in spending and consolidate some of its retail businesses.

Probably long overdue

By ranton • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Studies seem to show that it is very hard to accurately assess employees during the interview process. The only effective way of keeping quality up is to fire under-performers. If Amazon hasn't been doing this regularly enough for eight years, then I could see why this could be long overdue. To some extent you can find useful work for under-performers to do, but as some point you just get too many of them.

Re:Probably long overdue

By geekmux • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Studies seem to show that it is very hard to accurately assess employees during the interview process. The only effective way of keeping quality up is to fire under-performers. If Amazon hasn't been doing this regularly enough for eight years, then I could see why this could be long overdue. To some extent you can find useful work for under-performers to do, but as some point you just get too many of them.

If you're not properly managing under-performers to turn them into performers, you're doing it wrong.

Some under-performers cannot be fixed. If you're not weeding those out in the first 90 days of employment, you're doing it wrong.

Mass firings serves one fucking purpose; abusing the bullshit tactic of fear and intimidation to keep your slaves in line. At some point, your most valuable assets leave for the competition, because you can't fucking stop doing it wrong.

Reddit Audiophiles Test HomePod, Say It Sounds Better Than $1,000 Speaker

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Apple released its much-hyped HomePod speaker to the masses last week, and the general consensus among early reviews is that it sounds superb for a relatively small device. But most of those reviews seem to have avoided making precise measurements of the HomePod's audio output, instead relying on personal experience to give generalized impressions. That's not a total disaster: a general rule for speaker testing is that while it's good to stamp out any outside factor that may cause a skewed result, making definitive, "objective" claims is difficult. But having some proper measurements is important. Reddit user WinterCharm, whose real name is Fouzan Alam, has made just that in a truly massive review for the site's "r/audiophile" sub. And if his results are to be believed, those early reviews may be underselling the HomePod's sonic abilities. After a series of tests with a calibrated microphone in an untreated room, Alam found the HomePod to sound better than the KEF X300A, a generally well-regarded bookshelf speaker that retails for $999. What's more, Alam's measurements found the HomePod to provide a "near-perfectly flat frequency response," meaning it stays accurate to a given track without pushing the treble, mids, or bass to an unnatural degree. He concludes that the digital signal processing tech the HomePod uses to "self-calibrate" its sound to its surroundings allows it to impress at all volumes and in tricky environments. "The HomePod is 100% an audiophile grade speaker," he writes.

Re:Check the THD plots

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Airplay can do Redbook audio if your SOURCE material is that bit rate (good luck getting that on to your phone, though). Apple Music is 256 kbps; you'd have to do your own rips to get to redbook (16/44.1), but you cannot do high resolution audio at all. Period. Nada. Apple doesn't care about high quality audio - just Beats and earpods and a mono speaker it claims can be full stereo (but which, in reality, it is not per lots of reviews, not to mention the laws of physics).

The butt hurt is strong with you!

Re:Check the THD plots

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Quit with the crap!

Yes, you should!

1. THD is VERY hard to hear. IM distortion is what is annoying.

False. Go and check any of the AES papers by gentlemen like Louis Fielder, Grant Davidson, or Dane Grant (all gentlemen I work with weekly). THD audibility is dependent upon SPL and frequency, and levels as low as 0.5% are not only audible, but objectionable based upon the spectrum of the THD.

Don't believe that? Perhaps Dr. Earl Geddes' presentation on the audibility of distortion will help. Of course, when you live in a reality distortion field, I guess THD might be a good thing!

2. Even Audiophile-quality (whatever THAT means!) Subwoofers generate around 25-30% THD when they are crankin'.

Really? In 2004 I was well below that level, and later I took it to >100 dB SPL with single digit THD. You're flailing here. Oh - and these SPL levels are a solid 20+ dB beyond the HomePod, meaning literally 100 times the sonic power, with one quarter - or less - the THD.

3. To get that 56%, he was driving the woofer to within an inch of its life.

Funny, because it can't move even close to an inch, or even half an inch.

And here are his comments in the "Distortion" Section:

"If we look at the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) at various sound pressure levels (SPLs) we see that Apple begins to “reign in” the woofer when THD approaches 10db below the woofer output. Since decibels are on a log scale, Apple’s limit on the woofer is to restrict excursion when the harmonic distortion approaches HALF the intensity of the primary sound, effectively meaning you will not hear it. What apple has achieved here is incredibly impressive — such tight control on bass from within a speaker is unheard of in the audio industry. [...] Even though Distortion rises for the woofer, it's imperceptible. The (lack of) bass distortion is beyond spectacular, and I honestly don't think there is any bookshelf-sized speaker that doesn't employ computational audio that will beat it right now."

So he likes the sounds of the compressor kicking in, and he believes that you cannot hear which, provably, you can. And he's - like you - a self-admitted Apple fan. The bottom line is his measurements are middling performance at best. And yes, I work in this industry, I design speakers, and you HAVE heard my work - guaranteed. Probably directly (SONOS, Polk, Genesis, Infinity, Beats, Blue, Audioquest, Mackie, EAW, KRK, Polycom, Microsoft, etc.) or indirectly (monitors for Mackie, Event, KRK, microphones for a dozen brands, etc).

The HomePod is an interesting idea - but it's got, at best, middling performance. These measurements confirm as much.

Re:I call bullshit

By thesupraman • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

except, of course, 6 speakers in a circle CANNOT ACHIEVE BEAMFORMING.

This is PURE marketing BS from Apple, there is no beamforming happening, because it is physically impossible given the physical layout, frequencies involved, driver geometry, etc. It is not even a matter of opinion, it is simply impossible.

What is being used is a mixture of room mode excitement, perceptual tuning and direct/reflect sound to give people some feeling of 'space', however there is practically no actual stereo separation. Really. Try listening to strong left/right panning audio on one - it is just a mess.

Of course the pudits, as usual, just swallow the pseudo-tech terms thrown out by marketing, and write big glowing reviews which assume thats what is actually happening...

What this 'with the numbers' review fails to address is the HORRIBLE compromises in other areas (I am looking at you, phase and group delay) that must be made to achieve what they are doing. These speakers are 'better' than a cheap PC speaker (and 90% of the shite bluetooth speakers people listen to these days), and yet such a large distance away from even a middling proper speaker setup that A/B blind testing is made impossible as it is simple to audible tell if you are listening to this is a proper pair of separated speakers.

If having flat frequency response was the main target of speaker design, then speakers would have been near perfect in the 60s.. and yet they were not.

But that wont stop the believers, marketers, and consumers who need to rationalise their purchases.

So, No, he has NOT 'provided empirical evidence that the HomePod reproduced sound more accurately than a speaker that costs nearly 3x its price.' .
It is trivial to get flat response - and few look for that as the only requirement, because it comes at the cost of other bad problems.

Re: Stereo sound

By sound+vision • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The "base" response (lol) is total shit under 300 Hz... The +/- 3db range is only 300 Hz - 12 kHz in the figures I have seen... And this article is conspicuously lacking in figures. The figures I quoted certainly line up with the physics of having a driver no larger than about 4 inches... You won't get any kind of real low bass response out of that, regardless of how high the excursion is. If the word "audiophile" wasn't a good enough clue that whatever you're reading is bullshit. $1000 speakers? You can find "audiophiles" spending triple that for turntable tech that was outdated 30 years ago, plus "directional speaker cable" and stands to lift them off the floor and other crap that was never anything more than hocus-pocus at ANY point in history.

Come to think of it, Apple's Reality Distortion Field and audiophiles are a perfect match!

Re:Check the THD plots

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Study the Fletcher Munson curves. You'll find that 75 dB SPL in the bass frequencies - where the THD was up to 56% - is about the same perceived loudness as a 55-60 dB conversation. A quiet level. If you don't know of what you speak - keep your mouth shut.

Consumers Prefer Security Over Convenience For the First Time Ever, IBM Security Report Finds

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study by IBM Security surveying 4,000 adults from a few different regions of the world found that consumers are now ranking security over convenience. For the first time ever, business users and consumers are now preferring security over convenience. From a report: TechRepublic spoke with executive security advisor at IBM Security Limor Kessem to discuss this new trend. "We always talk about the ease of use, and not impacting user experience, etc, but it turns out that when it comes to their financial accounts...people actually would go the extra mile and will use extra security," Kessem said. Whether it's using two factor authentication, an SMS message on top of their password, or any other additional step for extra protection, people still want to use it. Some 74% of respondents said that they would use extra security when it comes to those accounts, she said.


By geekmux • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For example, I am right now trying to recall the password for a gmail account. I can't remember when I created the account, I don't remember the only password the account has ever had so I can't tell them what one of the old passwords was, and even though I enter the code they send me by email they refuse to believe I am me. Right now, security is getting in the way of getting something done.

They gave you multiple ways to protect yourself from security getting in the way, and the system is the problem?

Hope this clarifies how much your "example", isn't.

Never believe what people say.

By petes_PoV • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Some 74% of respondents said that they would use extra security

I'll believe this when that actually start doing it.

People in surveys say all sorts of things. What they actually do is often entirely different. And what they will do in the long term is entirely different again.


By umghhh • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It means something still if public sentiment changes. Even if the difference between what people do and they say is huge if what they now say changes this much the chances are the masses move a bit and some less reckless and more competent of us will maybe prevail few % points more often than before. OC that will not be enough even if it is move in proper direction but better than nothing.


By Obfuscant • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They gave you multiple ways to protect yourself from security getting in the way,

If you don't remember the password, asking for the password doesn't protect you from the security. Do you remember when you created every account you have? And why bother sending a "secret code" to another email address if you're just going to ignore it? Those are the three ways they give me.

Most of the "in the way" is the fact that the web page just hangs after you enter the code. So yes, that's their problem. Otherwise, I said "getting in the way", not whose fault it wasn't working was.


By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

(. No system can guard against user stupidity.)

Users sometimes do stupid things. If you don't account for that, you are failing.

Unknown Language Discovered in Malaysia

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers have cataloged close to 7,000 distinct human languages on Earth, per Linguistic Society of America's latest count. That may seem like a pretty exhaustive list, but it hasn't stopped anthropologists and linguists from continuing to encounter new languages, like one recently discovered in a village in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula. From a report: According to a press release, researchers from Lund University in Sweden discovered the language during a project called Tongues of the Semang. The documentation effort in villages of the ethnic Semang people was intended to collect data on their languages, which belong to an Austoasiatic language family called Aslian. While researchers were studying a language called Jahai in one village, they came to understand that not everyone there was speaking it. "We realized that a large part of the village spoke a different language. They used words, phonemes and grammatical structures that are not used in Jahai," says Joanne Yager, lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Linguist Typology. "Some of these words suggested a link with other Aslian languages spoken far away in other parts of the Malay Peninsula."

Re:continuation ?

By DickBreath • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Wow over 7000 human languages! That's almost as many as the number that a modern developer must know.

Re:continuation ?

By OffTheLip • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
with 5 years experience in each (all).

Good news everyone.

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Stories like this always make me think of the following clip from Futurama A Clone of My Own:

Professor Hubert Farnsworth: And this is my Universal Translator. Unfortunately, so far it only translates into an incomprehensible dead language.
Cubert J. Farnsworth: [into the translator's microphone] Hello.
Translator Machine: Bonjour!
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: Crazy gibberish!

Papua New Guinea

By mspohr • Score: 3 • Thread

PNG has over 700 languages (plus many undiscovered tribes and languages).
The rugged terrain led to isolated groups each developing their own language.
The common language of the country is a pidgin (Tok Pisin) plus English.

One village

By OpenSourced • Score: 3 • Thread

One village. I mean it'a just one village, and they cannot all speak the same language? I'm all for cultural diversity and all that crap, but, surely 7001 languages are a bit too much? There is a need to have 7000 plus different ways of asking somebody to pass you the salt?

640 languages should be enough for everybody.

The Quest To Find the Longest-Serving Programmer

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In 2014, the National Museum of Computing published a blog post in which it tried to find the person who has been programming the longest. At the time, it declared Bill Williams, a 70-year old to be one of the world's most durable programmers, who claimed to have started coding for a living in 1969 and was still doing so at the time of publication. The post has been updated several times over the years, and over the weekend, the TNMC updated it once again. The newest contender is Terry Froggatt of Hampshire, who writes: I can beat claim of your 71-year-old by a couple of years, (although I can't compete with the likes of David Hartley). I wrote my first program for the Elliott 903 in September 1966. Now at the age of 73 I am still writing programs for the Elliott 903! I've just written a 903 program to calculate the Fibonacci numbers. And I've written quite a lot of programs in the years in between, some for the 903 but also a good many in Ada.

Re:I'm not a contender

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Donald Knuth is still an active coder at age 80, and started programming in the late 1950s.

Does the Geniac count?

By eastjesus • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
I remember getting a Geniac "computer" for my birthday back around 1960 and figuring out the logic for different ideas and implementing them by putting these little brass contacts into the 3 pegboard wheels which you could turn by hand to set the states and make little light bulbs light up for output. I would have been around 8 years old then and it was just for fun and learning. At that time programming often consisted of jumpers on patch boards - around 1980 I was surprised when a medical equipment company I worked for doing R&D tossed out boxes of those patchboards with their programming jumpers still in place; when I asked they said that they were finally updating their computer and the new computer couldn't read the old patchboards! My dad worked at Western Electric and took me down a couple of times around 1960 and I remember playing tac-tac-toe on a computer they had there. Later, around 1968, a friend of mine had graduated from high school and went to college and we both spent time writing and punching decks of cards for Fortran programs which ran on the schools IBM 1130. I remember having to pre-process the decks because the machine only had something like 4K of memory and everything had to stripped and compressed to run. In college, around 1970, I remember submitting card decks with programs I had written at a window and coming back the next day to pick up a printout of my syntax errors. I didn't write anything professionally until later in the 1970 when the 8008 came out and I started doing assembly language work (actually doing the assembly work by hand and writing out and entering the hex opcodes, sometimes in binary on switches, usually for hardware drivers). I get some nostalgic feelings for those times but I wouldn't want to do it again!

On and off since 1962

By jimbrooking • Score: 3 • Thread

First program: SOAP II assembly language, IBM 650 as a graduate assistant at Syracuse University. Latest (yesterday) PHP/MySQL database manipulation with HTML/Javascript/CSS handling the interactivity using AJAX.

In between - IBM 7070, 1401, 7040, System/360. CDC 6400/6600/7600/Cyber 205, Cray X=MP, Y-MP, and all manor of killer micros.

What a ride!!

Science Fair Digital Computer Kit

By mykepredko • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I think this is what you're talking about:

I had one myself around the same time. The "red switches" were actually a slider that moved a number of contacts up and down. Depending on how you wired the contacts, they would act is AND, OR, XOR gates and you could put together simple logic functions like decoders, half adders, etc. The output was a number of light bulbs.

Is was as finicky as all hell and not all that well documented. I suspect the poor documentation was due to the fact there wasn't a lot of education depth in the tool - once you figured out how to wire the different gates, that was really all there was to it.

Re:A contest?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

and wrote my last program yesterday

What made you decide to stop after all this time?

The Flu and Airports

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: The CDC says this year's flu season is on track to either rival or dethrone 2009's swine flu. 3,000 people across the U.S. have died as a result of the flu in the first 20 days of 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and that number has likely risen. If you want to avoid the flu (and of course you do) the National Institute of Health says orange juice won't cut it. Instead, the best flu prevention is a vaccine, and it's not too late to get one. Pair a flu shot with frequent hand washing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth so you don't transfer any virus from your hands, and you just might manage to avoid the flu.

Either TFS or the Headline sucks.

By sconeu • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There is no mention of airports in TFS.

Re: I got a flu shot this season

By arth1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I didn't exercise, ate poorly, and smoked a pack a day for 20 years. I hardly ever got sick either.

There could quite possibly be a correlation there. If your habits made people shy away from you more than an average person, you would also be less likely to become infected.
If everybody had halitosis, diseases would have a harder time spreading.

Re:Either TFS or the Headline sucks.

By toonces33 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There is in the article however, and they said that the dirtiest place in the airport are the self-ticketing kiosks. But I have known this for years - especially at Christmas time people drag their runny-nosed little brats onto airplanes, and due to the holidays people can't or won't cancel or postpone. I have even seen adults with runny noses going through the airports that time of year, so it isn't just the kids.

So the key is to use "best practices" going through airports. Wash your hands often, especially after touching things, use the hand-sanitizing stations if they are available, and make sure to avoid touching your face and especially rubbing your eyes.

Re:I got a flu shot this season

By arth1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Technically, "getting influenza" should not count as a form of "preventing influenza".

Why not? It helps prevent future infections better than a vaccine does.

A downside is that if you have had a particular influenza strain and then get a vaccine for the same one, you likely will be sick for a couple of days, as the immune system response is triggered full on.

This year's flu is an A/H3N2 strain.

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is a strain known for producing severe flu cases and sometimes-fatal secondary complications.

There is evidence that in past A/H3N2 outbreaks, people who contracted the flu despite being vaccinated had less severe symptoms and fewer complications. Even if the vaccine is only "10% effective" at preventing infection, the evidence still suggests that it's worth getting, especially as this flu is claiming the lives of many young, healthy people.

IMPORTANT: the "10%" figure was an early estimate from Australia in December. More recent figures I've heard are 17% effectiveness and 30% effectiveness in the US.

Google Autocomplete Still Makes Vile Suggestions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: In December of 2016, Google announced it had fixed a troubling quirk of its autocomplete feature: When users typed in the phrase, "are jews," Google automatically suggested the question, "are jews evil?" Almost a year after removing the "are jews evil?" prompt, Google search still drags up a range of awful autocomplete suggestions for queries related to gender, race, religion, and Adolf Hitler. Google appears still unable to effectively police results that are offensive, and potentially dangerous -- especially on a platform that two billion people rely on for information. Like journalist Carol Cadwalladr, who broke the news about the "are jews evil" suggestion in 2016, I too felt a certain kind of queasiness experimenting with search terms like, "Islamists are," "blacks are," "Hitler is," and "feminists are." The results were even worse. For the term "Islamists are," Google suggested I might in fact want to search, "Islamists are not our friends," or "Islamists are evil." For the term, "blacks are," Google prompted me to search, "blacks are not oppressed." The term "Hitler is," autocompleted to, among other things, "Hitler is my hero."

Re:Wait a minute...

By Archangel Michael • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

RACIST is simply a tool to dismiss something that one doesn't like. However, crying racism often leads to actual racist thoughts, like this video exposes.

Voter ID laws are racist because they (particular race) don't know where to DMV is. They don't have the knowledge. They aren't aware or uninformed. They don't have ID. They ....

Categorizing all people one way. THAT is racist.

Re:What did you expect?

By sheramil • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In this case, maybe Google should take action.

The vast bulk of humanity is, in the words of Citizen Ted, "a worthless morass of lying, defecating chimpanzees". What precisely should Google do about this? If they are developing AI that will replace us all, that's enough.

My attempt was relatively tame...

By hyades1 • Score: 3 • Thread

I tried "Jews are". Google auto-completed it as "Jews aren't white".

Be Glad Someone is Searching "Are Jews Evil?"

By eepok • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Why the hell would searching "Are Jews evil?" a bad thing? Is it showing one of those Google answer summaries saying, "Yes"? Chances are that it's not and that it's showing the historical issues of antisemitism, prejudice, stereotyping, and scapegoating.

I'd be more concerned if the widely spread issues of antisemitism weren't being combated by people going to Google and asking if what they've been told as children or are being told by their peers is true.

I searched "Is God..." and the first option is "Is God Real?". Great question!

I searched "Are all criminals... " and the first suggestion was "Are all criminals mentally ill?" The second was "Are all criminals bad?" Again, great questions!

Questions are good. Especially when they are intended to seek truth and combat prejudice.

Re: Wait a minute...

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Court rulings are not right by virtue if being court rulings. They are right by virtue if being right, only if they're right. A rather infamous court ruling held that black people couldn't be citizens, and another held that segregation was A-OK.

The Trump Administration is Moving To Privatize the International Space Station: Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Trump administration is planning to privatize the international space station instead of simply decommissioning the orbiting international experiment in 2024, The Washington Post reports. From a report: According to a document obtained by the Post, the current administration is mulling handing the International Space Station off to private industry instead of de-orbiting it as NASA "will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit." The Post also reported that the administration was looking to request $150 million in fiscal year 2019 "to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS -- potentially including elements of the ISS -- are operational when they are needed." The U.S. government has already spent roughly $100 billion to build and operate the space station as part of an international coalition that also includes the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the Russian Space Agency.


By Megane • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I think I would be in favor of a Senate Launch System if it started with the most senior Senators first. No landing, just a launch. It would be an "interesting" form of term limits.

Re:Which is it? Mulling or Moving?

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

The story does not read as the headline indicates.

It's "mulling" and reportedly (a) only the Trump team is considering this and (b) *everyone* else in the world -- including Ted Cruz -- thinks it's a monumentally dumb idea. From the original Washington Post article:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said he hoped recent reports of NASA’s decision to end funding of the station “prove as unfounded as Bigfoot.” He said the decision was the result of “numskulls” at the Office of Management and Budget. “As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead,” he said.

Boeing, which has been involved with the station since 1995, operates the station for NASA, which costs the agency $3 billion to $4 billion annually.

So far there are *no* private companies that want the expense and responsibility of maintaining the ISS -- especially as there is no business plan for something like this.

Re:Who's space station is it actually?

By ClickOnThis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Half is Russian and half is mostly American. It should be possible to do what King Solomon refused to do, and split it in half.

The famous story of King Solomon didn't exactly play out like that.

Two women claimed to be the mother of a baby. Solomon called for the baby to be cut in half, and each half be given to each woman. One of the women screamed and pleaded with Solomon to give the baby to the other woman. Solomon then knew who the real mother was.

Threatening to split the ISS in half may very well result in exactly that happening. It has no single "mother" who would surrender it for the greater good.

Re: Who's space station is it actually?

By c6gunner • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Also, the only country that is able to take people there is Russia.

This isn't really true. The Dragon capsule is quite capable of taking people there; it just hasn't been certifies yet because the FAA / NASA is still investigating the explosion of the Falcon 9 rocket from last year.

That's a good thing, of course; there hasn't been much need to rush development, so erring in favour of safety makes sense. But if the US really wanted to get a crew to the ISS next week and Russia refused to cooperate, SpaceX has the capability to get them there.

The first manned Dragon flight is scheduled for May, at which point it should recieve full certification and start doing regular runs to the ISS.

Privatize the White House

By OrangeTide • Score: 3 • Thread

We can bid on the Oval Office to be President for 1 term. AirBnB the Queen's Bedroom and Lincoln Bedroom, bidding starts at $100k/night. Those with wealth and success are obviously the most qualified to run the country and deserve the perks of their success and our admiration.

German Court Rules Facebook Use of Personal Data Illegal

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A German consumer rights group said on Monday that a court had found Facebook's use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users. From a report: The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook's default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law, and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid. "Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register," said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the vzvb. "This does not meet the requirement for informed consent."

Re:Won't affect FB much...

By fluffernutter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You think GERMANY would be the loser in that case? That's hilarious.


By fluffernutter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Oh noes, a country has protected its citizens against a multinational corporation! That's against everything America stands for!

Result: More annoying popus for Germans

By phayes • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Much like the French judgment that users need to be informed about the use of cookies on websites, all that is going to change in the end is that the users are going to be getting more popups with a refined text that nobody reads to click on to use the services in question.

How do I know this? because it's exactly what I see when connecting to websites that use cookies from France, including Slashdot.

About once a week, when clicking on a frontpage link on Slashdot, I get a "Warning you are in France and need to click on this button stating that you are OK with Slashdot using cookies to track you". It's fracking annoying to tell the truth. Why must I renew my acceptance _EVERY_FRACKING_WEEK?!? Because the stupid law says that "All sites can only keep cookies for a week and must ask again every time the cookie times out".

Clicking every week (which I will do because I want to use Slashdot & that Germans will do because they want to use Facebook) will change precisely nothing but make a bunch of obsessive people who write laws ever so slightly happier.


By Arbitary5664 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Or, you know, people could be using a service without being properly informed of how their data is collected, used, sold, or even given no option. Shadow profiles being made of people, for example, and automatically correlating information. Facebook just fucking fired one of their contractors after they acquired that contractors _GCHAT_ data. But whatever. Let's let a guy who calls his users "dumb fucks" for trusting him off with that kind of behaviour 'because users should be fucking smarter', or whatever.

Verizon is Locking Its Phones Down To Combat Theft

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Verizon is taking an extra step to protect its phones. CNET: The nation's largest wireless carrier said Monday that it would begin locking the phones it sells to consumers, which will prevent them from using a SIM card from another carrier. Initially, the phones will be unlocked as soon as a customer signs up and activates the service. But later in the spring, the company will begin the practice of keeping the phone locked for a period of time after the purchase -- in line with the rest of the industry. Verizon said it is doing this to deter criminals from stealing phones, often on route to retail stores or from the stores themselves.

Re:Protecting Profit

By Goetterdaemmerung • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This isn't about "protecting consumers". It's about killing off the secondary phone market. After you upgrade, you're stuck with a brick you can't sell. All those people who buy used phones will be forced to purchase new - or rooted ones.

They are going back to the bad old days of locked phones requiring permission to use another carrier in violation of their agreement with the FCC. Of course the FCC chairman is a Verizon stooge, so nothing will come of it.

Verizon is taking an extra step to protect its phones.

These are not Verizon's phones.

Par For The ./ Course

By tsqr • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Everyone reads the headline, and maybe part of TFS, and proceeds to jump to the worst possible conclusion.

From TFA: For consumers, there's little immediate impact because the phone gets unlocked immediately through a software update.

Also from TFA: Even after the change, Verizon will continue to unlock the phone [upon customer request] regardless of whether it's paid off or not. The company will also still accept unlocked phones from other carriers.

But don't let any of that get in the way of your impotent ramps, guys. You can always switch to that other provider that doesn't lock phones to their service. Let's see, who is that, again? From TFA one more time: AT&T requires you to pay off your phone and be active on your service for at least 60 days. Even then, there's a 14-day wait after you make your request. Sprint also requires that you have paid off your phone and wait 50 days, although the phone is automatically unlocked. T-Mobile has the same paid device requirement and a 40-day wait period, but will offer to temporarily unlock the device sooner for travel.

Re:Protecting Profit

By nine-times • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Yes, not to go off into a tangent, but I think it's worth repeating/emphasizing: Insurance does not save money overall. That's the same whether it's health insurance, car insurance, or phone insurance. The average individual participating in insurance will pay more than they ever take out, and all of the people collectively will pay more than they ever take out. If that weren't the case, then insurance companies would be losing money, and wouldn't be feasible as a business.

The purpose of insurance is to socialize risk. Everyone puts in a little money into a pool, and then if someone participating falls into an unlikely disastrous situation, they are permitted to cover their loss from that pooled money. No more money can be extracted than is put in, and some percentage always needs to be paid to someone to administer the whole thing.

Re:Protecting Profit

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

As much as I love vilifying the carriers, Verizon is not removing the ability to unlock phones, so most of what you've said is incorrect. In fact, the linked article specifically says:

Even after the change, Verizon will continue to unlock the phone regardless of whether it's paid off or not.

So what's actually going on?

In a nutshell, Verizon is simply matching what the other three US carriers already do. Currently, Verizon—unlike the rest of the carriers—sells phones unlocked by default. Going forward, they'll be stopping that practice and instead adopting the same practice of "locked by default, unlocked upon request" approach used by the other three carriers.

All of which is to say, this is a mountain being made of a molehill due to bad reporting and poor summarization. Importantly, this won't kill the secondary market like you're claiming, any more than the current practices of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have already "killed" the secondary markets (hint: they haven't; I've had no trouble getting phones unlocked before switching carriers or selling the handsets on the secondary market). Moreover, while I would love to see Verizon obliterated for its numerous offenses (e.g. ad identifiers and supercookies, suits against the FCC, giving us Pai, etc.), I have to give them credit where it's due for not attaching the requirement that the phone be paid off before it can be unlocked, which is something that all of the other carriers require.

Re:Protecting Profit

By Solandri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Reference to the FCC open-access agreement here.

Normally, it's the FTC's duty to investigate anti-consumer anti-competitive practices. The FCC is involved here only because the open-access rules were a stipulation of purchasing the 700 MHz band. So even if the FCC does nothing, the FTC can still step in.

A Facebook Employee Asked a Reporter To Turn Off His Phone So Facebook Couldn't Track Its Location

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Steve Kovach, writing for BusinessInsider: To corporate giants like Facebook, leaks to rivals or the media are a cardinal sin. That notion was clear in a new Wired story about Facebook's rocky time over the last two years. The story talks about how Facebook was able to find two leakers who told a Gizmodo reporter about its news operations. But one source for the Wired story highlighted just how concerned employees are about how their company goes after leakers. According to the story, the source, a current Facebook employee, asked a Wired reporter to turn off his phone so Facebook wouldn't be able to use location tracking and see that the two were close to each other for the meeting. The Wired's 11,000-word wide-ranging piece, for which it spoke with more than 50 current and former Facebook employees, gives us an inside look at how the company has been struggling to curb spread of fake news; battling internal discrimination among employees; and becoming furious when anything leaks to the media. Another excerpt from the story: The day after Fearnow (a contractor who leaked information to a Gizmodo reporter) took that second screenshot was a Friday. When he woke up after sleeping in, he noticed that he had about 30 meeting notifications from Facebook on his phone. When he replied to say it was his day off, he recalls, he was nonetheless asked to be available in 10 minutes. Soon he was on a video-conference with three Facebook employees, including Sonya Ahuja, the company's head of investigations. According to his recounting of the meeting, she asked him if he had been in touch with Nunez (the Gizmodo reporter, who eventually published this and this). He denied that he had been. Then she told him that she had their messages on Gchat, which Fearnow had assumed weren't accessible to Facebook. He was fired. "Please shut your laptop and don't reopen it," she instructed him.

Re:Block as much as possible

By Thelasko • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Using plugins is a good idea, but I find killing the traffic further upstream is more effective.

Re:facebook can see gchat?

By Enigma2175 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Buahahahahaha, this is the US we are talking about. There are no privacy protections. If a company employs you, they basically own you. They can look at absolutely anything they want if you're on a corporate-owned device. You are basically locked into a company because if you leave somewhere you no longer have health insurance and your company may blacklist you so you can't find a job elsewhere. Only laws that benefit corporations are ever passed as the governmental officials are owned by the corporations. Companies can do anything they want, down to regulating what activities you do when not at work or dictating when you piss. They can fire you at any time for almost any reason. The only exception is for certain protected classes (rage, gender, religion, etc.) but if they are firing someone for being black they just say "they aren't a team player" or "didn't align with our corporate culture" - it doesn't really matter as long as you don't mention their protected class and cite something sufficiently nebulous. The only real protected class is the US is profit.

Re:Facebook creeps me out

By fafalone • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Facebook recently went so far over the line I'd hope a civil suit might even have a chance... the mobile app is taking recent photos, uploading them Facebooks servers, and asking if you want to share them, without having any ability to turn off the "feature" short of revoking access to photos through the app manager entirely (so you can't even upload the photos you do want to share). Whenever this is brought up in the support forum, the thread is locked.

High time for federal regulation

By LeftCoastThinker • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Aaaand this is just highlighting why Facebook needs to be federally regulated. They have every right to fire a leaking employee, but I am pretty sure that how they figured it out is a violation of a number of laws. Even if they have access to said information for advertising purposes through the employees Facebook page, there is a whole different set of regulations as to what an employer can do to spy on an employee, especially on their days off...

It is high time the technocrats running Google, Facebook and Twitter go the hard slap down of federal regulation. They are just companies and they have been abusing their increasing power for far too long already.

Re:Facebook creeps me out

By innocent_white_lamb • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I own and operate a small business. I occasionally run my business name through google just to see what turns up about it.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my business has a facebook page! According to facebook's help pages, I believe that the facebook page was automatically created when people "check in" (whatever that means).

I can apparently claim that page if I send facebook some documentation to prove that I own my business. But I can't delete it.

I have zero intention of claiming that page and rewarding facebook for their slimy behaviour in setting it up behind my back, though. And why would I want to intentionally forward even more information to facebook to prove that I own my business?

The Insane Amount of Backward Compatibility in Google Maps

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Huan Truong, a software developer, writes in a blog post: There is always an unlikely app that consistently works on all of my devices, regardless of their OS and how old they are: Google Maps. Google Maps still works today on Android 1.0, the earliest version available (Maps actually still works with some of the beta versions before that). I believe Maps was only a prototype app in Android 1.0. If I recall correctly, Google didn't have any official real device to run Android 1.0. That was back all the way in 2007. But then, you say, Android is Google's OS for Pete's sake. How about iOS? Google Maps for iOS, version 1.0, released late 2012, still works just fine. That was the first version of Google Maps ever released as a standalone app after Apple ditched Google's map solution on iOS. But wait... there is more. There is native iOS Maps on iOS 6, which was released in early 2012, and it still works. But that's only 6 years ago. Let's go hardcore. How about Google Maps on Java phones (the dumb bricks that run Java "midlets" or whatever the ancient Greeks call it)? It works too. [...] The Palm OS didn't even have screenshot functionality. But lo and behold, Google Maps worked.

5 years?

By DogDude • Score: 3 • Thread
It's sad that a company keeping software roughly the same for 5 years is considered "news". Microsoft and other real software companies often support their products for a decade or more, believe it or not.

Re:Stable API

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The google Maps when was released was impressive, as it used the newer features in the browser, where other vendors were a bit wary to implement. During this time, including Javascript as only for form validations, and was coded to be expected not to be used. However these new features in the browser have became commonplace. But other then using the new standard browser features, Google didn't do too much that was crazy, Like having a plug in, using a MS or Firefox only feature. They followed the HTML 4 Standards. By actually following the standards it allowed for easier forward compatibility, as features are removed and deprecated much slower from a standard then they are in some crazy hack.

I myself have some fairly advanced HTML pages still running on modern hardware without worrying about upgrades, Because I followed the standards and didn't include any browser/os/hardware particular features. So they still work decades later.

This is why I have been a proponent of the Web Application method. The software has a much longer life span then with a say Windows forms.

Not insane

By RJFerret • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That is neither "insane" nor "hardcore", stuff continuing to work should be the norm (and is in many cases); insane is the opposite, that software is changed to not function anymore. It's ridiculous that simple things we used to be able to do are no longer capabilities.

Worse is systems/devices that used to have decades or hundreds of years of functionality are now being compromised by more software integration without a durable mindset.


By Howitzer86 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you run Google Earth Pro (the application, not the web app), you can see how the new stuff is layered on top of the old stuff in a way that might not be as apparent in the Google Maps app.

By default, Google Earth looks a lot like Google Maps - especially the browser version.
If you turn off 3D Buildings in Google Earth Pro, it drops back to projecting 2D satellite photos on topography. This is how it looks in the Google Maps Android app.
If you turn off terrain, that topography disappears and the ground is perfectly flat. Now you're working with data that's available to the old Android apps.
You can't turn off the satellite textures in Google Earth, but if you could, that would just leave the roads and street names. This is what was available to the first Android and Java apps.

New versions of Google Maps will load new layers, but so long that Google maintains the old layers and the format it is stored in, there's no legitimate reason why old versions of Google Maps couldn't load it and simply ignore the new stuff.

Though I have no experience, I'd guess it's this way because the database is being updated constantly, and not just for every official release. I can imagine they don't want to have to keep things updated while also updating the format, so instead, they just created one good extensible database and add to that in layers as new features become available.

Someday, years from now, we'll be marveling at the fact that Google Earth Pro still works, and still accesses all the new GIS data, years after Google abandoned it in favor of the web app. Sure, it won't support holographic teleportation targeting, but it'll still do what it was designed to do 10 years prior.

The trouble today

By darkain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This just goes to show the trouble with today's mindset of software, that any sort of decent backwards compat support is seen as revolutionary. And here I am, running Windows 10, still printing on a printer built in 1998 (that has official Win10 drivers), and using software written for Windows 95 that still works flawlessly. As much as the Slashdot crew loves to bitch about Microsoft, the WIn32 API has been stable as hell since its inception, MS has put in a great deal of effort to ensure software retains functionality. (yes, this excludes the DDK, which changes every Windows version)

Why Paper Jams Persist

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A trivial problem reveals the limits of technology. Fascinating story from The New Yorker: Unsurprisingly, the engineers who specialize in paper jams see them differently. Engineers tend to work in narrow subspecialties, but solving a jam requires knowledge of physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, computer programming, and interface design. "It's the ultimate challenge," Ruiz said.

"I wouldn't characterize it as annoying," Vicki Warner, who leads a team of printer engineers at Xerox, said of discovering a new kind of paper jam. "I would characterize it as almost exciting." When she graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, in 2006, her friends took jobs in trendy fields, such as automotive design. During her interview at Xerox, however, another engineer showed her the inside of a printing press. All Xerox printers look basically the same: a million-dollar printing press is like an office copier, but twenty-four feet long and eight feet high. Warner watched as the heavy, pale-gray double doors swung open to reveal a steampunk wonderland of gears, wheels, conveyor belts, and circuit boards. As in an office copier, green plastic handles offer access to the "paper path" -- the winding route, from "feeder" to "stacker," along which sheets of paper are shocked and soaked, curled and decurled, vacuumed and superheated. "Printers are essentially paper torture chambers," Warner said, smiling behind her glasses. "I thought, This is the coolest thing I've ever seen."

Re:In my personal experience

By XxtraLarGe • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

which is probably not representative, paper jams persist because my employer buys the cheapest paper they can find. The kind that clumps and sticks to itself, that sheds paper dust like it's snowing, that has uneven edges, etc.

In a former life, I was a "key-operator" at a local Kinko's. Paper quality is just one of several factors. There's also the way you load it into the printer. Paper has a natural curl from being cut from rolls. IIRC, the curl is downward, so if you load paper from a ream, make sure to put the paper in the same orientation you got it out of the ream. Don't flip it. Then there's also humidity. It's a huge culprit. If it's too low, the sheets will cling together due to static electricity. If it's too high, the sheets will cling together because they're damp.Other reasons that exist are dirty fusers, worn or dirty rollers, bad toner cartridges, etc.

Re:In my personal experience

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Having done printer repair, I am not proud of it but I needed the money.
However the most common causes are the following.
1. Worn out feet: Those rubber wheels that pull up the paper, get warn out over time and has a hard time grabbing the paper, when it does it is past the timeout period on the sensor.
2. Warn out fuser: The fuser is a heated roller they have a plastic/silicon covering on it, to prevent burning the paper. over time with heating and cooling the covering gets warped so the paper will not always fit in.
3. Bad Paper: Cheap paper that just sticks and doesn't flow properly.
4. A previous jam: There was a jam previously that wasn't as cleared out as people expected.
5. Bad ink (for solid ink printers): Cheap ink has a slightly different melting and cooling point then devices specification, causing ink to gum up the pathway.
6. Bad solenoid: over time they get sluggish or stuck.
7. Warn out gear. Those plastic gear if handing paper a bit too much for them ware out.
8. Blocked or malfunctioning sensor: a bad sensor says there is a problem when there isn't really anything.
9. Non-Paper blockage: Staples, Paperclips, bubble gum, rodents, bugs, hair, fingernails... causes blockage.
10. Abuse: Just smacking bending parts breaking pins....

Most of the Jamming problems can be fixed with regular maintenance. As unlike other computers moving parts (such as a hard drive, or DVD or floppy drives) there is a lot of torque and energy evolved with a lot of parts exposed to the elements.

Re: So why?

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

My mother, who at 96 still runs a business out of her apartment, insists that computer files are not ârealâ(TM) unless printed out, so she puts more mileage on her low-end laser than the average law office. To save money she re-uses her paper, which is tolerable if you take the trouble to keep your discarded pages in as pristine a state as possible.

But every so often I get The Call. I have to go over there again and untangle six pages of recycled paper that were put through with a staple left in the corner.

Re:So why?

By vtcodger • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

"I share your concern. This is Slashdot. We can't be expected to, like, read the actual article."

That's too bad, because it turns out to be a REALLY GOOD article -- informative and very well written.

The answer turns out to be that paper is awful stuff. Its properties aren't uniform and vary with supplier and climate. And printers are trying to move the stuff precisely and quickly.

Re:So why?

By zeugma-amp • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I agree with you. It is a well written, and interesting article. The nerdiness factor is high enough that it's definitely /. fodder. In it, I found my word of the day...

At a hip Rochester restaurant called Nosh, Viavattine held the menu up to the light to assess its "flocculation" (the degree to which its fibres had clumped infelicitously together).

Flocculation... just kinda rolls right off the tongue. Most excellent!

Google's Next Android Overhaul Will Embrace iPhone's 'Notch'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is working on a "dramatic redesign" of its Android operating system, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The company has stuck with a single look for its mobile operating system (OS) for quite some time now, but it's now reportedly looking at Apple for inspiration. The new version of Android -- which Bloomberg says is called "Pistachio Ice Cream" internally -- will apparently be designed with the space for a cutout at the top, much like the iPhone X and its so-called "notch." From the report: The operating system refresh, Android P, will emphasize Google's Assistant, a digital helper that competes with Apple's Siri and's Alexa. Developers will be able to integrate Google's voice-based technology inside of their apps. The company has also weighed integrating the search bar on the Android home screen with its assistant, although neither of these changes are finalized for introduction this year, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.

never update

By jbmartin6 • Score: 3 • Thread
This is why I never update. Yet another "upgrade" introducing pointless and gratuitous interface changes. No doubt they will "improve" my user experience by moving, removing, or renaming settings, adding new "features" I can't delete or turn off, and if they are feeling really ambitious perhaps break some of the apps I use and make the device generally slower.

How else?

By joh • Score: 3 • Thread

Everybody wants to stretch the display over all of the front or at least do that as far as possible. Since there are a few things (like the camera) that have to stay there too, you have to make room for them. So the only options right now are either a "notch" or a "full-width notch" (having the display not cover all of the height of the front). Since you can make good use of the display areas left and right of the notch you get more usable display area this way compared to leaving empty a strip on the top or bottom of the front just to put the camera there.

What's so hard to understand about this?

Re:Good luck on that one...

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The Essential Phone has a small notch and runs Android. So clearly it was possible with a bit of work and it looks like Google is just formalizing support for it. Presumably the width of the notch will be manufacturer defined.

BTW, the Essential Phone was released before the iPhone X. In any case, I doubt anyone is copying anyone here, it's just a question of LCD manufacturers starting to offer non-rectangular shapes. Started with aircraft and car manufacturers wanting round LCDs to replace dials, and then smartwatches.

Re:Oh, FFS

By djlemma • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Removing useful features and giving me more features I have no interest in is NOT progress.

Give me a phone with plenty of battery life, storage capacity, and the ability to interface with all the things I already own, and I'm happy. But, marketers gotta market, I guess.

Re:Good luck on that one...

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I wonder how Google will handle this.

I really hope they handle it by throwing in the towel and relegating those ugly notches to the dustbin of history where they belong.

Energy Riches Fuel Bitcoin Craze For Speculation-shy Iceland

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Iceland is expected to use more energy "mining" bitcoins and other virtual currencies this year than it uses to power its homes. From a report: With massive amounts of electricity needed to run the computers that create bitcoins, large virtual currency companies have established a base in the North Atlantic island nation blessed with an abundance of renewable energy. The new industry's relatively sudden growth prompted lawmaker Smari McCarthy of Iceland's Pirate Party to suggest taxing the profits of bitcoin mines. The initiative is likely to be well received by Icelanders, who are skeptical of speculative financial ventures after the country's catastrophic 2008 banking crash. "Under normal circumstances, companies that are creating value in Iceland pay a certain amount of tax to the government," McCarthy told The Associated Press. "These companies are not doing that, and we might want to ask ourselves whether they should."

Re:Whats new?

By MrL0G1C • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

People are already taxed on the profits they make from selling bitcoin...

Get real, they will be tax haven based.

Taxes are already levied on the hardware purchased for mining bitcoins,.

Not all locations have sales taxes, you don't think they bought their custom ASICs or GPUs in Iceland do you? Anyway I don't know how it works in the whole world but in the EU corporations don't pay sales taxes.

and the power consumed to operate the hardware

But will they be around for long enough for the generating capacity to be paid for?

There are MANY financial trading companies doing exactly the same thing, and have been doing so since long before bitcoin came into existence.

Financial companies tend to be in it for the long term and their server power usage is nothing like that of bitcoin miners.

Re:Crypto-currency mining is fly-by-night

By Rei • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Actually, most Icelanders are rather wary of that scheme. The big issue being that it will raise our power rates. It would be worth it if the revenue from those power sales would go to the general public (offsetting taxes), but we have way too much history with corporate dealmaking here to buy into such a story. The other issue is of course that it means a mass expansion of power generation infrastructure. If it were just wind and geo, I wouldn't have an issue, but (again, as history consistently tells) they'll just build giant dams, destroying our highlands one canyon at a time.

This article's title, BTW, that Iceland is "speculation shy"... if only it were true. Iceland is, and probably always will be, a country that goes through one bubble after the next, always hopping head-first into the next get-rich-quick scheme with little to no advance planning or caution. Not that there are parties (including the aforementioned Pirates, to which Smári belongs) who would take a more cautious, you-really-should-think-things-out approach. But so long as Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn gets in power - and they virtually always do - "due caution" will not be in the government's vocabulary. And there's all too many parties willing to go right along with them down the fast-money rabbit hole (Framsóknarflokkurinn, Miðflokkurinn, etc).

BTW, trivia: while "Smári" most commonly means "clover", it can also mean "transistor" - which I find ever-so-fitting for a Pirate MP. ;)

Cancer Genetics Crypto Coin

By Drethon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Need a crypto coin that is unlocked by doing processing for cancer genetic research. Probably no way to make it work but it would be nice if all this crypto coin mining processing went to something worthwhile.


By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What gets me about all of the Icesave nonsense is all you had to do was click through to the terms - just 1-2 clicks from the front page of the website about Icesave accounts - and it listed the insurers. The #1 insurer was a private fund. The #2 insurer was the British government (in the UK; the Dutch government in the Netherlands). It was explicitly spelled out! And indeed, that's how it should have been according to banking regulations; private funds were perfectly acceptable as the primary insurer, and the country of the citizens purchasing the product is the secondary insurer. Of course, the private Icelandic banking fund went bankrupt in the crash, which passed the liability on to the secondary insurers (aka, the UK and Dutch governments). Who sued Iceland in the EFTA court, to try to get Iceland to take on their liabilities. And - I can't stress emphasis on this enough - lost on all counts.

Should banking regulations have allowed private funds to back accounts? Probably not. But they were what they were.

That's not to say that there weren't Icelanders who contributed to the crash - far from it. The level of criminality going on among top figures in the banking industry to deliberately prop up bad assets and make off like bandits was insane. But people here are as angry with them as people elsewhere, as they crashed our economy. Our currency literally got cut in half. Picture that, in a country where most goods are imported. Picture that, in a country where loans were generally denominated in foreign currencies. The 3 banks that went under had combined liabilities equal to half that of Lehmann Brothers... but in a country 1/1000th the population of the US. It was devastating.

And on top of that, we had the British trying to stick us with their liabilities and treating us as terrorists. You know, the UK - the country that spent decades stealing our fish and depleting our stocks. But hey, if you want your nets back, you can have them. ;)

Re: Value?

By peragrin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Millennials are 1000 times better than live beyond yo u reans baby boomers who have racked up 22 trillion in debt and are going to make their grandkids pay it off for them.

Right now to reach break even government spending we need 10% annual growth in tax revune. Instead we get tax cuts and vague promises. By 2040 the us government will be completely bankrupt at the current rate of spending vs income. As it sits now 25% of our federal budget goes to pay interest payments on debt. Not prinicipal just interest. That debt is primiarily owed to the be people of the USA.

Put that on perspective. That means if you earn $300k annually your interest payments are $88k and your principals is in millions.

There is no way out of this and that is 100% due to the lazy fucking stupid boomers

'Razer Doesn't Care About Linux'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a blog post: Razer is a vendor that makes high-end gaming hardware, including laptops, keyboards and mice. I opened a ticket with Razor a few days ago asking them if they wanted to support the LVFS project by uploading firmware and sharing the firmware update protocol used. I offered to upstream any example code they could share under a free license, or to write the code from scratch given enough specifications to do so. This is something I've done for other vendors, and doesn't take long as most vendor firmware updaters all do the same kind of thing; there are only so many ways to send a few kb of data to USB devices. The fwupd project provides high-level code for accessing USB devices, so yet-another-update-protocol is no big deal. I explained all about the LVFS, and the benefits it provided to a userbase that is normally happy to vote using their wallet to get hardware that's supported on the OS of their choice. I just received this note on the ticket, which was escalated appropriately: "I have discussed your offer with the dedicated team and we are thankful for your enthusiasm and for your good idea. I am afraid I have also to let you know that at this moment in time our support for software is only focused on Windows and Mac." The post, written by Richard -- who has long been a maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, points out that Razer executive Min-Liang Tan last year invited Linux enthusiasts to suggest ideas to help the company make the best notebook that supports Linux.

Re:Razer what? why?

By Jason1729 • Score: 4 • Thread
I logged in to post this.

I bought a Razer keyboard. Why do they need me to create an account and allow them to track analytics about my usage for a louse mouse.

I had intended to buy a Razer Blade, but after my experience with the keyboard, that company scares me. I can't imagine why anyone would buy a Razer product where Linux support is necessary.

Re:Must all vendors support Linux?

By Sarten-X • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's a trade secret, or it contains third-party licensed specs, or it has a few security flaws... or there's just a slim chance of any of those, so the whole proposal requires review by at least 15 engineers and a small army of lawyers, plus all the senior management.

I'm as much a fan of Linux as the next guy, but even discussing something outside the original scope is an unexpected cost. At least they were open about that and provided a response.

Re:ROCCAT cares about Linux.

By luis_a_espinal • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

$200k is tiny cost compare to cost to society of what cost to not have Linux Drivers. I find it sickening and short sighted that you did not come to same conclusion. Rethink your statement and post below.

So a private company must burn $200K out of its own pocket to reduce a cost to society, a cost members of society does not want to pay itself.

Got it.

Re:Must all vendors support Linux?

By BronsCon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Either the hardware designers designed it and documented it for the software guys, or the other way around. The document already exists, so it really does take the same expertise and effort at this point.

Re:You gave a time frame. Razer didn't.

By batkiwi • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The article is about a reply from a support ticket, not any sort of official statement by Razer.

Someone in media should contact them officially.