the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Feb-13 today archive


  1. Hospitals May Turn To Algorithms To Fight Fatal Infections
  2. New York Times CEO: Print Journalism Has Maybe Another 10 Years
  3. Kaspersky Says Telegram Flaw Used For Cryptocurrency Mining
  4. Seattle To Remove Controversial City Spying Network After Public Backlash
  5. Trump Administration Wants To Fire 248 Forecasters At the National Weather Service
  6. Google Is Adding Snapchat-Style Stories To Mobile Search Results
  7. Huawei Got People To Write Fake Reviews For An Unreleased Phone
  8. Trump's Infrastructure Plan Has No Dedicated Money For Broadband
  9. Many ID-Protection Services Fail Basic Security
  10. Facebook is Pushing Its Data-tracking Onavo VPN Within Its Main Mobile App
  11. Porsche Is 3D Printing Hard-To-Find Parts For The 959 And Other Classics
  12. Google Launches AMP For Email To Bring Web-like Actionable Content To Gmail
  13. LoopX Startup Pulls ICO Exit Scam and Disappears with $4.5 Million
  14. Countries that Are Most Highly Invested in Automation
  15. 'Troll' Loses Cloudflare Lawsuit, Has Weaponized Patent Invalidated
  16. Bill Gates: Tech Companies Inviting Government Intervention
  17. The Most Popular Linux Desktop Programs
  18. US Senators Voice Concern Over Chinese Access To Intellectual Property
  19. YouTube CEO: Facebook Should 'Get Back To Baby Pictures'
  20. Microsoft: We're Developing Blockchain ID System Starting With Our Authenticator App
  21. In the Wake of Fake News, Several Universities Including MIT and Harvard Introduce New Course On Ethics and Regulation of AI
  22. Comcast Sues Vermont Over Conditions On New License Requiring the Company To Expand Its Network
  23. Amazon Is Designing Custom AI Chips For Alexa
  24. Daylight Saving Time Isn't Worth It, European Parliament Members Say

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

Hospitals May Turn To Algorithms To Fight Fatal Infections

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: Clostridium difficile, a deadly bacterium spread by physical contact with objects or infected people, thrives in hospitals, causing 453,000 cases a year and 29,000 deaths in the United States, according to a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Traditional methods such as monitoring hygiene and warning signs often fail to stop the disease. But what if it were possible to systematically target those most vulnerable to C-diff? Erica Shenoy, an infectious-disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jenna Wiens, a computer scientist and assistant professor of engineering at the University of Michigan, did just that when they created an algorithm to predict a patient's risk of developing a C-diff infection, or CDI. Using patients' vital signs and other health records, this method -- still in an experimental phase -- is something both researchers want to see integrated into hospital routines.

The CDI algorithm -- based on a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning -- is at the leading edge of a technological wave starting to hit the U.S. health care industry. After years of experimentation, machine learning's predictive powers are well-established, and it is poised to move from labs to broad real-world applications, said Zeeshan Syed, who directs Stanford University's Clinical Inference and Algorithms Program. Shenoy and Wiens' CDI algorithm analyzed a data set from 374,000 inpatient admissions to Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Michigan Health System, seeking connections between cases of CDI and the circumstances behind them. The records contained over 4,000 distinct variables. As it repeatedly analyzes this data, the ML process extracts warning signs of disease that doctors may miss -- constellations of symptoms, circumstances and details of medical history most likely to result in infection at any point in the hospital stay.

Hospitals May

By thechemic • Score: 3 • Thread
Isn't fighting a fatal infection somewhat of a waste of resources?

May turn to them?

By modmans2ndcoming • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

We are already doing that. We use predictive analytics that processes dozens of data elements on each patient in the hospital and scores them for sepsis risk. The system then can do many things with that score. The most popular is paging to the attending provider and care team. This helps to reduce the cases of septic shock significantly.

I worked in a hospital

By FeelGood314 • Score: 3 • Thread
They aren't clean. It was a while ago but I doubt the attitudes have changed. I worked in the laundry and we failed our health inspection every time. Management didn't care. The inspector would come in and we wouldn't have fixed any of the things he sited us for the last time. We were a critical resource or some bullshit like that so the health inspector couldn't shut us down. The mopping of the floors and cleaning of the beds was superficial. Spraying disinfectant isn't cleaning, you actually have to remove the human excrement and fluids so the bacteria doesn't have a place to immediately repopulate.
KW Hospital - Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, laundry department
Years - 1987 -1989
Faulty practices - putting clean laundry on dirty laundry carts, staff covered in filth handling clean laundry, staff covered in filth delivering laundry, no fire or safety training (7 high school students got left in the building during a fire), no metal detector for sharp objects.

New York Times CEO: Print Journalism Has Maybe Another 10 Years

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New York Times CEO Mark Thompson believes that the newspaper printing presses may have another decade of life in them, but not much more. "I believe at least 10 years is what we can see in the U.S. for our print products," Thompson said on "Power Lunch." He said he'd like to have the print edition "survive and thrive as long as it can," but admitted it might face an expiration date. "We'll decide that simply on economics," he said. "There may come a point when the economics of [the print paper] no longer make sense for us. The key thing for us is that we're pivoting. Our plan is to go on serving our loyal print subscribers as long as we can. But meanwhile to build up the digital business, so that we have a successful growing company and a successful news operation long after print is gone." CNBC reports: Digital subscriptions, in fact, may be what's keeping the New York Times afloat for a new generation of readers. While Thompson said the number of print subscribers is relatively constant, "with a little bit of a decline every time," the company said last week that it added 157,000 digital subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017. The majority were new subscribers, but that number also included cooking and crossword subscriptions. Revenue from digital subscriptions increased more than 51 percent in the quarter compared with a year earlier. Overall subscription revenue increased 19.2 percent. Meanwhile, the company's fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat analysts expectations, "even though the print side of the business is still somewhat challenged," Thompson said. Total revenue rose 10 percent from a year earlier to $484.1 million. New York Times' shares have risen more than 20 percent this year. "Without question we make more money on a print subscriber," Thompson added. "But the point about digital is that we believe we can grow many, many more of them. We've already got more digital than print subscribers. Digital is growing very rapidly. Ultimately, there will be many times the number of digital subscribers compared to print."

Re:They thought vinyl was dead, too...

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Vinyl is dead. The technology hasn't advanced since we learned how to read a record with a laser, and that was ages ago. Records aren't improving, and record players aren't improving. Vinyl is dead as a doornail. That DJs and hipsters still consume it doesn't change that; nobody else is interested, and even DJs are using it less and less.

Re:Been at least 25 years since

By No Longer an AC • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

For me it's been about 20 years since I had a newspaper delivered to my doorstep.

I wasn't dissatisfied with the reporting or any bias in the paper, I had just moved on and got all the news I wanted from the internet (and admittedly TV). Newspapers were stacking up in my apartment waiting to be taken to the recycling center.

I used to spend Sunday afternoons flipping through every page of the newspaper while watching NFL games. Now I don't get a paper and I don't watch football. You might say I've changed as well.

When I stopped subscribing to the local paper I got so many calls from them trying to get me to resubscribe that I finally called up their
"newstips" number and told them about a newspaper who was violating the do-not-call registry. Then the calls stopped.

One interesting side effect of not getting the local paper is I'm probably more aware of what's happening in Syria than I am with what's happening locally. That doesn't mean I'm more knowledgeable about international affairs. Instead I'm probably just more ignorant of what's going on in the place where I live.


By No Longer an AC • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not that the NYT is free from bias or from making mistakes but you're basically claiming that there's no way we can ever have any idea as to what's really happening in the world.

If you want to put the NYT in the same category as the Weekly World News and other tabloids where do we turn to for current events?


Sorry, but some news sources are more trustworthy than others. Just because the NYT says it doesn't make it true, but excuse me if I trust them more than the Washington Times or Fox. (or Breitbart or WND or Newsmax or The Onion).

Should we reject anything we hear from a long established part of the 4th estate and instead rely on what our friends liked on Facebook?

Perhaps we should get all our news from Donald Trump's twitter feed.

Re:Been at least 25 years since

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I'd be more interested in local news if the local newspaper didn't just print fluff pieces and hyper-partisan bullshit. There is real corruption in my city, for example, but it's not investigated or reported.

Not harmless

By sjbe • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

tabloids can be a harmless guilty pleasure.

Tabloids might be a guilty pleasure but they are almost never harmless.

Anonymous, no strings attached, a clean cut transaction.

Wait are we talking about tabloids or the prostitute you just picked up?

Kaspersky Says Telegram Flaw Used For Cryptocurrency Mining

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to Kaspersky Lab, hackers have been exploiting a vulnerability in Telegram's desktop client to mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero and ZCash. "Kaspersky said on its website that users were tricked into downloading malicious software onto their computers that used their processing power to mine currency, or serve as a backdoor for attackers to remotely control a machine," reports Bloomberg. From the report: While analyzing the servers of malicious actors, Kaspersky researchers also found archives containing a cache of Telegram data that had been stolen from victims. The Russian security firm said it "reported the vulnerability to Telegram and, at the time of publication, the zero-day flaw has not since been observed in messenger's products."

I guess Kaspersky really doesn't care about the US

By guruevi • Score: 3 • Thread

If you can backdoor cryptomining into a "secure messaging" service, you can backdoor pretty much everything. I'm sure that any US-based service has similar "bugs". How hard is it to create an application that communicates with a web service without the requirement to run random code? Why is there even a code interpreter in a "secure messaging app"?

Give me my IRC and PGP, at least I can read through and guarantee the code is clear in a matter of hours.

Seattle To Remove Controversial City Spying Network After Public Backlash

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from Activist Post: Following years of resistance from citizens, the city of Seattle has decided to completely remove controversial surveillance equipment -- at a cost of $150,000. In November 2013, Seattle residents pushed back against the installation of several mesh network nodes attached to utility poles around the downtown area. The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and privacy advocates were immediately concerned about the ability of the nodes to gather user information via the Wi-Fi connection. The Seattle Times reports on the latest developments: "Seattle's wireless mesh network, a node of controversy about police surveillance and the role of federal funding in city policing, is coming down. Megan Erb, spokeswoman for Seattle Information Technology, said the city has budgeted $150,000 for contractor Prime Electric and city employees to remove dozens of surveillance cameras and 158 'wireless access points' -- little, off-white boxes with antennae mounted on utility poles around the city."

The nodes were purchased by the Seattle Police Department via a $3.6 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The Seattle Police Department argued the network would be helpful for protecting the port and for first-responder communication during emergencies. As the Times notes, "the mesh network, according to the ACLU, news reports and anti-surveillance activists from Seattle Privacy Coalition, had the potential to track and log every wireless device that moved through its system: people attending protests, people getting cups of coffee, people going to a hotel in the middle of the workday." However, by November 2013, SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb announced, "The wireless mesh network will be deactivated until city council approves a draft (privacy) policy and until there's an opportunity for vigorous public debate." The privacy policy for the network was never developed and, instead, the city has now opted to remove the devices at a cost of $150,000. The Times notes that, "crews are tearing its hardware down and repurposing the usable parts for other city agencies, including Seattle Department of Transportation traffic cameras."


By sexconker • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Die, big brother. Keep that shit in the UK.

Re:Sad to see that the Republicans here...

By MikeDataLink • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

liberals are better at the blame game.

I'm not liberal, but about all I ever see Trump do is blame others.

Re: I thought municipal broadband would save us a

By c6gunner • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Oh. So if the police department purchased it using "free WiFi" funds, that would be cool then?

Marketing really IS everything ...

Trump Administration Wants To Fire 248 Forecasters At the National Weather Service

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: After a year that saw over $300 million in damages from hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, the Trump administration is proposing significant cuts to the National Weather Service (NWS) and hopes to eliminate the jobs of 248 weather forecasters. The idea, which is part of the 2019 fiscal budget proposal and caught the agency by surprise, is being derided by the NWS's labor union, which says the cuts will impact the reliability of future weather forecasts and warnings. All totaled, the Weather Service faces cuts of $75 million in the initial proposal. Some or all of those cuts could be jettisoned before the bill is voted upon. "We can't take any more cuts and still do the job that the American public needs us to do -- there simply will not be the staff available on duty to issue the forecasts and warnings upon which the country depends," said Dan Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

Further reading: The Washington Post

Re:Fastest transition to 3rd world nation?

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I know right. We're number 1 in many things that people just don't appreciate.

Number 1 in debt, Number 1 in citizen incarceration rate, number 1 in mass shootings, number 1 in climate change denial, number 1 in letting our infrastructure collapse under our feet, number 1 in letting poor people die due to lack of medical insurance, number 1 in bankrupting people who go to our universities.


Re:Fastest transition to 3rd world nation?

By Cro Magnon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The voters thought Trump was better than the establishment politicians. How much of that is on the voters, and how much of that is on the establishment?

Re:What did you expect?

By jbengt • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I bet the Military doesn't use the NWS. Neither do most news organizations.

You would lose that bet. Even if they have additional sources of data, and use their own people (more likely, their own computers) making predictions, both the military and most news organizations use NWS data.

Re: What did you expect?

By Enigma2175 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What? Are you talking about the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008? That's the only recent bank bailout of which I'm aware and it was signed into law by George W. Bush.

Re:What did you expect?

By The Snowman • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Congress is the board of directors, and they need to be taken out of the day to day decision system.

This is by design. The Constitution even limits the military budget process to no more than two years, with no similar limit on any other cabinet department. Back in 1789 when the Constitution was drafted, military coups were more common than they are today. Even outside of coups, military leaders were far more influential in governments. Our founders wanted to prevent that and put the military firmly under the control of civilians, to mitigate the risk of a powerful military controlling or even taking over the government.

After WW2, with the Cold War in full swing, the military became a favorite vehicle for delivering pork, as well. That, to me, is the real problem here. Our military is no longer about defense (sorry, "invading Iraq" which is 7,000 miles away is not "defending our country"). It is designed to evoke patriotism and support in the people so the wealthy can funnel lucrative contracts to favored military-industrial complex contractors. Essentially, stealing from the poor (taxpayers) to give to the rich (CEOs of companies like Boeing). Yes, those companies provide some value. However, they do so with gross inefficiency and well beyond the level required to defend U.S. soil. That is the problem that needs solving.

Google Is Adding Snapchat-Style Stories To Mobile Search Results

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is rolling out tappable, visual stories that incorporate text, images, and videos in the style made popular by Snapchat. "It started widely testing the multimedia format, called AMP stories, today (Feb. 13) in an effort to help publishers engage more with readers on mobile," reports Quartz. Google announced the feature in a developer blog post. From the report: Users can now find Google stories in search results -- in a box called "visual stories" -- when they search on mobile at for the names of publishers that have begun using the format, such as CNN, Conde Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media, and the Washington Post brands. Google worked with those publishers to develop the format. Desktop users can also get a taste of stories through Google's Accelerate Mobile Pages site. When a user selects a story, like Cosmopolitan magazine's piece on apple cider vinegar, it displays in a full-screen, slideshow format, similar to those on Snapchat and Instagram.

The multimedia format is part of Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, a competitor to Facebook's Instant Articles that helps load pages faster on mobile devices. Like AMP, the AMP story format is open-sourced, so anyone can use it. However, Google is reportedly only displaying stories from a select group of publishers, including those it partnered with on the development, on its own site at the moment. The company said it plans to bring AMP stories to more Google products in the future, and expand the ways they appear in Google search.

Stop ruining everything

By lucasnate1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The internet was nice before everything became mobile. You already fucked desktop interfaces, why do you want fuck the internet too?

Huawei Got People To Write Fake Reviews For An Unreleased Phone

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
As spotted by 9to5Google, Huawei has apparently posted fake reviews on Best Buy for its new Mate 10 Pro, which is available for pre-order in the U.S. despite not having any deals with U.S. carriers. "The fake reviews, which are exclusively on the Best Buy website, are likely the result of a contest Huawei ran on Facebook," reports The Verge. From the report: On January 31st, the company posted to a Facebook group with over 60,000 members, asking for people to leave comments on the Best Buy pre-sale page in exchange for a chance to beta test a Mate 10 Pro. The original post has been deleted, but 9to5Google obtained a screenshot before it went down. "Tell us how to why (sic) you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Best Buy retail page," the post states. On the Best Buy site, there are currently 108 reviews for the phone, 103 of which were written on or after January 31st, the day Huawei posted the contest. Many of the comments directly reference not having any actual hands-on experience with the product itself, but give the phone a five star rating. "I can't wait to get my hands on this phone and demonstrate how amazing it is to people," reads one. "This device looks exciting and beautiful and it would be amazing to have a chance to beta test it," another reads. It seems Huawei is betting that loads of high ratings early on will make people trust the product and lead to higher sales. That's all well and good except that these types of reviews are strictly against Best Buy policy, as 9to5Google points out. "Huawei's first priority is always the consumer and we encourage our customers to share their experiences with our devices in their own voice and through authentic conversation," a Huawei representative told The Verge in a statement. "While there are reviews from beta testers with extensive knowledge of the product, they were in no way given monetary benefits for providing their honest opinions of the product. However, we are working to remove posts by beta testers where it isn't disclosed they participated in the review program."

I'm glad I did

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
It is a wonderful phone. Like the Iphone X but without a notch. A+++++ would recommend.


By fluffernutter • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
This is why you can't really believe reviews anywhere. It is a system ripe for gaming.


By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Very insightful. Please mod up!


By Ichijo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Value is always a part of the rating.

If value for money is part of the phone's rating, then the rating doesn't really tell you which is the better phone.

Why does value for money need to be part of the rating when the price is usually listed right next to the rating?

Welcome to Chinese Marketing

By Ritz_Just_Ritz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Been a while since your last trip to the middle country? This is what it's like. Fake positive reviews are all the rage. Negative reviews are removed or shouted down by shills. In China, nobody would even bat an eye. In the near future, nobody in the "democratic" west will either.

The new normal is upon you.

Trump's Infrastructure Plan Has No Dedicated Money For Broadband

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: President Trump's new 10-year plan for "rebuilding infrastructure in America" doesn't contain any funding specifically earmarked for improving Internet access. Instead, the plan sets aside a pool of funding for numerous types of infrastructure projects, and broadband is one of the eligible categories. The plan's $50 billion Rural Infrastructure Program lists broadband as one of five broad categories of eligible projects.

Eighty percent of the program's $50 billion would be "provided to the governor of each state." Governors would take the lead in deciding how the money would be spent in their states. The other 20 percent would pay for grants that could be used for any of the above project categories. Separately, broadband would be eligible for funding from a proposed $20 billion Transformative Projects Program, along with transportation, clean water, drinking water, energy, and commercial space. Trump's plan would also add rural broadband facilities to the list of eligible categories for Private Activity Bonds, which allow private projects to "benefit from the lower financing costs of tax-exempt municipal bonds." The plan would also let carriers install small cells and Wi-Fi attachments without going through the same environmental and historical preservation reviews required for large towers.

Sounds Great

By sexconker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Eighty percent of the program's $50 billion would be "provided to the governor of each state." Governors would take the lead in deciding how the money would be spent in their states. The other 20 percent would pay for grants that could be used for any of the above project categories. Separately, broadband would be eligible for funding from a proposed $20 billion Transformative Projects Program, along with transportation, clean water, drinking water, energy, and commercial space. Trump's plan would also add rural broadband facilities to the list of eligible categories for Private Activity Bonds, which allow private projects to "benefit from the lower financing costs of tax-exempt municipal bonds." The plan would also let carriers install small cells and Wi-Fi attachments without going through the same environmental and historical preservation reviews required for large towers.

States get to decide how the bulk of the money is spent. Work with your state's government to make your voice heard. The rest of the money is available for grants for a wide range of shit.

This all sounds great to me. What's the problem?

Re:Bitch, bitch, bitch

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Record of Federal debt, to the penny. About $10.625 trillion to $19.947 trillion when he left office. That's about $9.32 trillion over 8 years - a bit more than $1.16 trillion a year, for 8 years.

Re:So much trolling

By another_twilight • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The US survived the civil war

620,000 people didn't. More US soldiers than lost in any, single, foreign war and until Vietnam, more than had been lost in _all_ foreign wars.

That number is just the dead. Not those left scarred and wounded. Or the families destroyed.

That something that called itself 'the United States of America' continued to exist after the civil war ignores the terrible cost and incredible tragedy of that war, and the deep damage done to those involved and to the institution of the 'US' itself.

Maybe you should aim for more than 'survived'.

Re:So it is eligible for funding

By sabbede • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
So? The State, which best knows it's needs and priorities, decides how much to devote to what. !Devoted != None.

Is the headline intentionally misleading?

By sabbede • Score: 3 • Thread
It sure sounds like it's trying to whip up outrage while implying political deception. As if letting the State decide how to allocate the funds is the same as not allocating any.

Many ID-Protection Services Fail Basic Security

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Paul Wagenseil, writing for Tom's Guide: For a monthly fee, identity-protection services promise to do whatever they can to make sure your private personal information doesn't fall into the hands of criminals. Yet many of these services -- including LifeLock, IDShield and Credit Sesame -- put personal information at risk, because they don't let customers use two-factor authentication (2FA). This simple security precaution is offered by many online services. Without 2FA, anyone who has your email address and password -- which might be obtained from a data breach or a phishing email -- could log in to the account for your identity-protection service and, depending on how the service protects them, possibly steal your bank-account, credit-card and Social Security numbers.

Security has no ROI...

By ctilsie242 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Ironic that the companies that are in business to watch people's IDs seem to not care about protecting security themselves with basic account security measures. However, I think this is typical of the computer industry as a whole with "security has no ROI" a mantra sung by the PHBs.

Do these services even work? Once someone applies and gets a credit card, the damage is done... the ID theft service may not be able to do much, because the debt is already signed for and it is up to the victim to press the fraud allegations and do the police reports.

Post-Experian: Endless whack-a-mole

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
130+ million horses have already left the barn, and they doused it with gasoline and threw in a lit match on the way out ( THANKS, EXPERIAN!). Frankly I'm surprised there hasn't been hundreds of thousands of cases of identity theft so far from this. As the subject line alludes to, I have little faith in any 'identity protection' service being able to do much of anything for anyone at this point in time, and how you log into their 'service' is probably the least of your worries. The mere fact that I haven't seen evidence of mass identity theft cases actually makes me more worried than if there had been, I've go no idea what these thieves are up to with all that very-much-personal data.

Re:Security has no ROI...

By nnull • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That's because we have a culture and society that doesn't value privacy or security. Take for example European countries who have a higher value in privacy that security companies actually flourish there, because more people on average care about security and testing for flaws.

Meanwhile, the only security companies that flourish in the US are security camera installers who install completely open to the internet security cameras for everyone (Because it's easier to just leave the firewall open to the internet for the client, who cares? Job is done, got payed! Client is happy to be able to watch their place on their phone and forgets about all that secured network nonsense.). There's definitely zero risk assessment being done at many companies.

Facebook is Pushing Its Data-tracking Onavo VPN Within Its Main Mobile App

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
TechCrunch reports: Onavo Protect, the VPN client from the data-security app maker acquired by Facebook back in 2013, has now popped up in the Facebook app itself, under the banner "Protect" in the navigation menu. Clicking through on "Protect" will redirect Facebook users to the "Onavo Protect -- VPN Security" app's listing on the App Store. We're currently seeing this option on iOS only, which may indicate it's more of a test than a full rollout here in the U.S. Marketing Onavo within Facebook itself could lead to a boost in users for the VPN app, which promises to warn users of malicious websites and keep information secure as you browse. But Facebook didn't buy Onavo for its security protections. Instead, Onavo's VPN allow Facebook to monitor user activity across apps, giving Facebook a big advantage in terms of spotting new trends across the larger mobile ecosystem. For example, Facebook gets an early heads up about apps that are becoming breakout hits; it can tell which are seeing slowing user growth; it sees which apps' new features appear to be resonating with their users, and much more. Further reading: Do Not, I Repeat, Do Not Download Onavo, Facebook's Vampiric VPN Service (Gizmodo).

What fresh hell is this?

By Pyramid • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You'd have to be absolutely mental to VPN all your traffic through Facebook's servers. They have direct access to all your traffic as it leaves their VPN concentrator. Their wet dream.

People really need to educate themselves about how VPNs work, what they are and aren't good for.

Secure, encrypted traffic between two endpoints? GOOD!
Secure, encrypted traffic between yourself and an actor with unknown motives who by default has to decrypt it before sending it on it's way to the Internet? DOUBLE PLUS UNGOOD!

I am shocked

By Cajun Hell • Score: 3 • Thread

I am shocked, shocked that a megacorp (not to mention that it just happens to be one that was already primarily known for being a piece-of-shit) offers a trojan horse VPN service.

Who could have predicted that Facebook would want to spy on people?! No, I wouldn't have guessed it to be untrustworthy, and you wouldn't have guessed either! Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go back to using something safe: my Google VPN (unless someone tells me that the FBI's VPN service is better).

Re:What does a vpn provide over https

By CodeHog • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It depends on the vpn. I suspect in this case the answer is no, not really any better than https. If you want 'secure' vpn look for ones that log nothing. And use HTTPS and don't use their DNS.

Better than no VPN?

By ctilsie242 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I don't know what would be worse. No VPN, or a "free" VPN from a place doing heavy package analyzing. On one hand, I've seen Wi-Fi machinations, be it HTTP intercepts, attempts to get the device to accept an untrusted key as a trusted root CA, and other stuff, so any VPN would be useful to deter that. On the other hand, FB isn't someone whom I would trust to be a privacy provider.

Personally, I'll stick with with my Digital Ocean droplet for my VPN needs. There are fewer parties that can have access to snarfing my network logs... just the DO admins and me.

Re:Roll Your Own

By green1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The question really becomes, which do you distrust more, your local ISP, or the ISP of the location you're hosting your VPN. If you trust neither, then there's no point bothering.

VPN is useful for 2 things:
1) creating a secure link between 2 separate locations over the public internet where you can't afford dedicated transport (e.g. My home, and my office)
2) shifting your traffic from an ISP that's a known bad actor, to one that's only a suspected bad actor (because be honest, are there really any ISPs that are "known good"?)

Number 2 is still relevant for many people, but VPNs are far too commonly used by people who don't understand the technology to try to simply make everything safe, when all it really does in most cases is add complication, cost, and latency.

Porsche Is 3D Printing Hard-To-Find Parts For The 959 And Other Classics

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Porsche Classic, Porsche's classic cars division, has turned to 3D printing obscure parts that people might need on occasion. From a report: They already have about 52,000 parts available, but for the truly arcane ones, it's cheaper to 3D print them than make the specialized tools to create them over again. In addition to that 959 lever, Porsche is also 3D printing eight other parts. They are made from steel and alloy and the plastics are made using an selective laser sintering printer, which Porsche describes as: "A process where the material is heated to just below melting point and the remaining energy is applied through a laser to fuse the plastic powder at a selected point." So there you have it! The next time something is busted on your 959 or 356, don't cry and abandon the car, stalled on the side of the road. Call up Porsche. They'll science something for you.


By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4 • Thread

You only know about PLA and you apply that knowledge to everything that says "3D printed".


Re:cue Tom Sellek :

By bkmoore • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

....Never mind if we ever get to a point where you can 3D print your own AK-47 that can fire 30k rounds without the receiver breaking or the barrel exploding in your face like the original can or ... hand grenades? ... RPG's?

You could make small arms with conventional machine-shop tools. Why is this always an issue when people talk about 3d printing??? No-one is saying, "if you let people buy a hobby lathe, they could start turning out hand grenades and rifle barrels."


By zifn4b • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I can finally get parts for my Porsche collection said no Slashdot member ever.

Google Launches AMP For Email To Bring Web-like Actionable Content To Gmail

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Google today announced an extension of the AMP (accelerated mobile pages) program to include another popular communications medium. From a report: The internet giant unveiled the Gmail developer preview of AMP for email, a web-like experience designed to make emails more engaging and interactive. One of the key benefits of AMP for email will be that content within an email can be updated, and recipients will be able to browse email content much like they would a web page. So an email from Pinterest, for example, could contain actionable content, allowing users to Pin content to their own Pinterest account without leaving Gmail. Or they could complete a form to arrange a meeting, fill in a questionnaire, and do just about anything -- all from within the email itself. It's clear that marketers will be a major target audience here.

I still use mutt

By zoward • Score: 3 • Thread

Will there be enough text left in the body of the email for a text-based client to even work anymore? Not that I'm worried about it - I suspect the same people who will use AMP to send email are the ones I wouldn't want to read anyway.

Re: Maybe it's the decades of viruses

By Cryacin • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I'm more thinking of all of the security policies the banks have about email being a "secure" medium...

Dear Mr. Smith,
Please log into your internet banking here, as a fraudulent transaction has been detected by our software:

From Russia with love.

Re:F__K NO!!!

By Rakarra • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Ideas need to be combated aggressively. How it works in the tech world is that if you just sit back passively and say "eh, not for me," then the powers that be will make it default, and more and more companies will use it exclusively. There will be a short period where you really can opt out, but as it gains more traction, you will be more cut off and marginalized like folks who, say, refuse to use sites that require Javascript. The vast majority will always choose something more functional, regardless of security concerns. As long as they don't care, don't expect that just sitting back and doing nothing will keep you safe from this -- especially since the advertisers, the trackers, and general do-badders REALLY want it, and they have a lot of resources to push for it.

"Engaging and Interactive"

By Greyfox • Score: 3 • Thread
Annoying. They mean annoying. Like my gmail inbox isn't already clogged with an endless litany of companies I talked to once, terrible tech recruiters working out of India and notifications from people I'm not interested in hearing from. At this rate I may as well just ditch email and go back to old-fashioned snail mail. At least then it costs the sender something to talk to me.

This will screw up discovery and FOIA big time

By knorthern knight • Score: 3 • Thread

OK, let's say you have a court order for discovery, or you're in a government agency that receives a FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request for old emails. You may have the original "container" email but the content could easily have changed. How will courts handle this?

LoopX Startup Pulls ICO Exit Scam and Disappears with $4.5 Million

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Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: A cryptocurrency startup named LoopX has pulled an exit scam after collecting around $4.5 million from users during an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) held in the recent weeks. The LoopX team disappeared out of the blue at the start of the week when it took down its website and deleted its Facebook, Telegram, and YouTube channels without any explanation. People who invested in the startup are now tracking funds move from account to account in a BitcoinTalk forum thread, and banding together in the hopes of filing a class action lawsuit.

Re:PT Barnum Was Right

By rahvin112 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The SEC was created precisely to combat the fake company offering that quickly went out of business and kept all the money scam. The laws put in place to stop this are extensive including a massive amount of paperwork that ties the real people behind everything to the offering so if it turns out to be a scam the SEC can go after them and put them in prison.

Maybe at some point the SEC will have charge of crypto-currencies, but the funny thing is the same people getting ripped off will be against SEC regulation because it will add paperwork to the process.

At some point you just have to accept that a fool and their money will soon be parted. You would think with all the offerings that turned out to be scams that people would be cautious but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Re:Why a Lawsuit?

By Jason Levine • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Given my experience, local police would throw their hands up in the air and say they couldn't do anything. I had my identity stolen and a credit card opened in my name. The police outright told me they didn't want to investigate because they'd likely track the criminal to another jurisdiction and some other department would get the arrest. I pushed and they did some investigations. They reached a "dead end" when they showed me the online credit card application the criminal filled out. I pointed out that they had the person's IP address and the date/time it was submitted. The officer looked at me blankly as I explained that you could use those to find the ISP and get the name of the person who owned that account. Sure, it might be a hacked system, but it would be something. Despite this, though, they didn't follow up on this and I eventually stopped pestering the police for updates. For all I know, the people who stole my identity are still doing it to other people.

I tried contacting the FBI but since I didn't lose a ton of money, they weren't interested in my case at all. Maybe this would rise to their level and they could track these scammers down. Local police, though, would be all but useless.


By tattood • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Pyramid scheme != Ponzi scheme. From Wikipedia:

...pyramid schemes are based on network marketing, where each part of the pyramid takes a piece of the pie / benefits, forwarding the money to the top of the pyramid. They fail simply because there aren't sufficient people. Ponzi schemes, on the other hand, are based on the principle of "Robbing Peter to pay Paul"—early investors are paid their returns through the proceeds of investments by later investors

This was neither a pyramid, nor a ponzi scheme. It was just plain fraud.


By jwhyche • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Well what do you know. I was dead wrong. Someone is making money off this bitcoin thing.

Re:PT Barnum Was Right

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

A random Reddit user recommended that I go fuck myself. I took matters into my own hands and I've got to tell you - I enjoyed it!

Countries that Are Most Highly Invested in Automation

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A report by the International Federation of Robotics looks at the countries that are most highly invested in manufacturing automation. The countries with the ten highest densities of robots are, in order: South Korea (631 per 10,000 workers), Singapore (488), Germany (309), Japan (303), Sweden (223), Denmark (211), United States (189), Italy (185), Belgium (184), and Taiwan (177). Overall, the automation of production is accelerating around the world: 74 robot units per 10,000 employees (up from 66 in 2015) is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries.


By darkain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What is the definition of a "robot" here? Is it something that is more human or animal oriented? I'm sitting right next to a printer, which replaced a type writer. They are functionally the same, press ink into paper in specific patterns. Because it isn't a large mechanical beast pressing down keys to apply lettered ink to paper, is it no longer in the classification of a "robot", even though it uses mechanical gears to move the paper and print head around? This could be applied to all sorts of computerized mechanical devices all around us now. Where is the line drawn to build these stats? And as such, then the stats could easily be swayed larger or smaller to fit a given narrative that one wants to persuade the reader to.

No need to be alarmed.

By Eloking • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Robotic engineering is my field and I'm sure a lot, even here in /., still feel threatened by the rise of robots. You know, the "Robot will take our job and kill us all" mojo.

First, don't forget that mondialisation have cut a lot, LOT more occident job than robot. I'm sure everyone here know someone whose job have been lost after the plant have been relocated in China. In fact, the way I see it, robotisation will help to bring back more job lost to the chinese that we'll lose.

Second, robot "can't" do everything (well, not yet). Most industrial robot application are still hightly repetitive (read "boring") manual task. There's a lot of our customer that need to bring people from other countries because Millennials doesn't want to do them.

Third, robot still need worker. I had that plant where all riveting were done by employees with big machineries. Because of poor ergonomy and all the vibration, most workers had a lot of back pain problems avec a few dozens years. They were pissed to see us at first, but now everyone want his own robot so he can sit down and listen to the radio while he monitor the robot work. Futhermore, robot operator have higher salary than a simple manufacture worker.

Of course, I know I'm indirectly responsible that some people lost their jobs. There's that new contrat we just got where I met with my boss to share my concern that our client want the robots to fire a few people even if he say he won't. It's part of the job and I live with it thinking that I bringing more good than bad for the society.

Re:We're Number 7! We're Number 7!

By careysub • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It is a shame then that we are not a well educated nation. Try sorting this this chart by various age cohorts. When it comes to tertiary ("college") education the U.S. is current ranked 7th overall. Not good for a nation of "specialists". But it gets worse. The oldest cohort, nearing retirement is 4th internationally. But the youngest is 12th, and since the ranking gets worse as you get younger, and all signs point to a continuing deterioration in support for higher education, we can expect it to be much worse, rather than better of even the same in another 10 years.

Re:how much is 1 robot worth

By bluefoxlucid • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If one robot is worth 100 workers, then it means automating your entire workforce would increase the standard of living by 100x.

Only if your entire workforce keeps working. Technology increases the output of human labor (the only cost). To increase the output of human labor by 100 times, you create technology whereby the effort of 1 human labor hour produces the same output as previously requiring 100 human labor hours.

If you make a machine which runs itself and keeps running without maintenance or other human input (like fuel), it's incurring no cost. If it runs forever, the output is infinite. On the other hand, if it costs 1,000 human labor hours to make it, it replaces 10 human labor hour per thousand hours of run time, and it runs for one hundred thousand hours, you're breaking even. Think about solar street lights with LED bulbs.

That's such a huge increase that all sorts of welfare and UBI programs which are currently mathematically unsustainable (without amassing debt), becomes roundoff error.

Actually, we can do that today, without raising taxes. Add in healthcare and the blunt plans there are something like a 0.9% tax cut on the rich, and no corporate tax increases; although you need to do a little adjustment there (see further down). The Dividend isn't really a UBI, but something new--related, though.

I shoved the payroll tax for retirement and disability benefits up to the top tax bracket and got 43.7% instead of 39.6%, along with a bit of a mess along the way for effective tax rate in total. The ETR is higher in 2016 at $50,000, in that model; that changes rapidly, moving upwards and narrowing the gap between 2016 tax policy (ignore the TCJA; I'm repealing that) and the model. You can repair it in 2016 by raising the top tax rate in total to 45% and adjusting the income tax brackets to be more progressive--really a crucial step to clean up the mess I've made in all this restructuring.

With OASDI staying on payrolls, two things happen. First, payroll taxes get backshifted into wages, so you don't get the wage boost (or price cut, depending on who you ask and how you look at it long-term) and employment increase (always) of reducing the cost of employing people. Second, you have that 0.9% tax cut on the top income earners, which you can reclaim to help fix the slight increase in ETR. By 2022 (earliest this can actually happen--Trump will veto), you can have that scenario without actually raising anyone's taxes.

So... Dividend alone: no homelessness, no hunger, increases available jobs (probably full employment?), decreases cost of welfare (make people less-poor), trivial to pull off without increasing taxes in 2016. With universal healthcare: A little tougher to do without tax increases in total on someone, although probably can pull it off in 2022. Shunt OASDI payments entirely onto the rich: likely 45% top tax rate instead of 39.6%, higher wages at the low end, and lower unemployment (if we're not hitting permanent full employment already).

This plan practically requires cutting working hours to avoid a labor shortage. I'm looking for a 7-hour work day or a 4-day work week.

'Troll' Loses Cloudflare Lawsuit, Has Weaponized Patent Invalidated

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A federal judge in San Francisco has unequivocally ruled against a non-practicing entity that had sued Cloudflare for patent infringement. From a report: The judicial order effectively ends the case that Blackbird -- which Cloudflare had dubbed a "patent troll" -- had brought against the well-known security firm and content delivery network. "Abstract ideas are not patentable," US District Judge Vincent Chhabria wrote in a Monday order. The case revolved around US Patent No. 6,453,335, which describes providing a "third party data channel" online. When the case was filed in May 2017, the invention claims it can incorporate third-party data into an existing Internet connection "in a convenient and flexible way."

USPTO should be punished

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

USPTO keeps validating these bullshit patents because their system rewards passing patents but never punishes passing bad patents. The result is that just about anything can be patented and is expensive to fight in court. If you're lucky, you will win and by win I mean you will have spent millions of dollars fighting a bad patent and get nothing in return.

This is a serious problem.

And not it's time to sue the PTO as well

By Sebby • Score: 3 • Thread
Specifically, the "examiner(s)" that ultimately approved the "patent", causing waste of taxpayer money in not only the worthless approval process, but also in the resulting pointless court case (though I guess you could argue the case has the merit of proving the PTO is run by a bunch of rubber-stamping monkeys).

Re:Oh please please please

By sinij • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
To Whom It May Concern,

Cease and deists, your actions are in violation of patent #23942, "Sensible Correspondence on the computer", that my firm owns. The royalties are 1 MILLION DOLLARS for each post you critical of patent system you make.

Sincerely Yours,
Patent Trolls

Re:Oh please please please

By sconeu • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Dear "Patent Trolls",

We have determined that your claim is invalid, due to your failure to raise your pinkie to your mouth when requesting "1 MILLION DOLLARS".


Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe, Attorneys at Law

Re:USPTO should be punished

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This is not true.

Our company has filed two patents for my work. Very difficult paper work. The patent examiners are actually good. When the lawyers went through the work and rewrote it in legalese it took me weeks to understand all the import of what the application says. But the examiners got it, got to the crux of the matter and raised valid and relevant objections. They cited proper prior art. I was actually impressed by the quality of the patent examiners. After all, Albert Einstein started out as patent examiner, just saying.

We were able to explain the differences, and what was the invention and what was prior art. They made us reduce some of the expansive language added by our lawyers. So they are not all bad.

It makes me suspect if these companies game the system by filing multiple similar patents, dropping the ones that get assigned to competent examiners and pursuing the ones assigned to the weak ones.

It is like terrorism. The terrorists have to succeed only once. The law enforcement has to succeed every time.

Bill Gates: Tech Companies Inviting Government Intervention

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In an interview with Axios on Tuesday, Bill Gates warned Apple and other tech giants that they risk the kind of nightmarish government intervention that once plagued his Microsoft if they act arrogantly. Axios reports: The big picture: "The companies need to be careful that they're not ... advocating things that would prevent government from being able to, under appropriate review, perform the type of functions that we've come to count on." Asked if he sees instances of that now, Gates replied: "Oh, absolutely." Why it matters: With the Big Tech companies feeling they're suddenly drawing unfair scrutiny, this is Microsoft's co-founder saying they're bringing some of the problems on themselves, by resisting legitimate oversight.

Plagued it how?

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

they risk the kind of nightmarish government intervention that once plagued his Microsoft

It was found that Microsoft violated a de facto monopoly position, and they got off with a handslap. "Plagued" is not the right word here, unless you want to say that we were plagued by Microsoft, as it has been said that Microsoft set back computing significantly.

Re:"legitimate oversight"

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There is no reason to believe that the Democratic party has any intention of repealing the PATRIOT Act or FISA.

Unfortunately, our democracy has been crippled and has resulted in a non-representative government that doesn't work for the people because of the reductive first-past-the-post voting system that in effect in 99.9% of the country.

Re:Wait...encryption or Uber's Greyball?

By nateman1352 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Agreed that Uber Greyball is a legit example, unfortunately Gates is talking about encryption. From TFA: "When I said he seemed to be referring to being able to unlock an iPhone, Gates replied: "There's no question of ability; it's the question of willingness.""

This is nothing more than Gates taking pot shots at Apple, Microsoft's main rival. Hoping he can gall some prosecutor somewhere in to giving Apple the gift of an anti-trust lawsuit, just like he experienced long ago. Good to see that Gate's colors have not changed.

There is no oversight

By rainer_d • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The courts are secret, the decisions are secret, the evidence is secret, the verdicts are secret. And no jury.

Lawmakers however would like you to think, that copyright-violations are bringing our countries to their knees and threatening their foundations.

Again, I say, "Screw you, Bill Gates!"

By King_TJ • Score: 3 • Thread

I remember many years ago, when the antitrust litigation was just winding down against Microsoft ... one of my best friends said to me, "Have you noticed how it seems like the government really got to Bill Gates? The comments he's making suddenly all sound like exactly what they told him to say. I wonder if this was part of the settlement with them?"

At the time, I thought that was somewhat insightful -- but perhaps a bit too "tin foil hat". As time has gone on though, I'm thinking he was right on the money.

If you look at the statements Bill made before and after the Justice Dept. got ahold of him, it's a night and day difference. And ever since then, he's continued to be pretty much a mouthpiece for Federal government agendas. The latest I've seen him advocating for (after pushing "Common Core" teaching in schools) is "IEPs for all students". Honestly, that would be a horrible idea, considering the current IEP is difficult enough to get teachers and faculty up to speed on and cooperating with, when you have a student with real disabilities or behavioral problems affecting their learning. If everybody had an individualized list of requirements and details on accommodations that would "best suit them", you'd probably double or triple the cost of running public schools. You'd need far more faculty to actually go through all of the IEPs and to implement them for everyone, plus more expense providing all the things they'd ask for like quiet places to take exams by themselves.) It's madness.

The Most Popular Linux Desktop Programs

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The most recent Linux Questions poll results are in. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing for ZDNet: LinuxQuestions, one of the largest internet Linux groups with 550,000 members, has just posted the results from its latest survey of desktop Linux users. In the always hotly-contested Linux desktop environment survey, the winner was the KDE Plasma Desktop. It was followed by the popular lightweight Xfce, Cinnamon, and GNOME. If you want to buy a computer with pre-installed Linux, the Linux Questions crew's favorite vendor by far was System76. Numerous other computer companies offer Linux on their PCs. These include both big names like Dell and dedicated small Linux shops such as ZaReason, Penguin Computing, and Emperor Linux. Many first choices weren't too surprising. For example, Linux users have long stayed loyal to the Firefox web browser, and they're still big fans. Firefox beat out Google Chrome by a five-to-one margin. And, as always, the VLC media player is far more popular than any other Linux media player. For email clients, Mozilla Thunderbird remains on top. That's a bit surprising given how Thunderbird's development has been stuck in neutral for some time now. When it comes to text editors, I was pleased to see vim -- my personal favorite -- win out over its perpetual rival, Emacs. In fact, nano and Kate both came ahead of Emacs.

Re:So no killer apps.

By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually this list is rather surprising that there isn't any really popular Linux App, that isn't widely used in other platforms. This list is mostly just rather basic tools for 2018, Web Browser, Video Player, Text editor, and Windows Managers.

Back in the days. Macintosh had its Adobe Suits for desktop publishing DOS had its word perfect and Lotus 123 Windows had its Office Suite Amiga had its video tools

In general the other OS's seems to have a flagship tool that stands for how the product is primary meant to be used for.

Linux doesn't seem to have that. Probably mostly because it is heart it is a server OS. So what really probably should be on the list is Apache MySQL PHP Or whatever is more popular at the moment.

And Linux has LibreOffice. I've been using it for years for academic writing and creating learning and teaching resources (all my students have Windows or Mac). I haven't used MS Office for years and don't miss it one bit.

That said, Linux is sorely lacking in decent, productivity oriented multimedia editing software. Adobe still rules the roost in this department and doesn't support Linux and Wine doesn't work well enough with Adobe software. Unfortunately, I still have to dual boot Linux & Windows so that I can do multimedia editing when necessary.

Wood and Formica

By argee • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

I made my own desktop. Two epoxy-glued layers of 3/4 inch plywood, covered and edged with off-white formica. It is supported by 2-drawer file cabinets. Size is 8 ft wide and 3 ft deep. I have 2x4 reinforcements underneath the top. Holes in the back for cables. It is a solid thing you can jump on. From Amazon I got a pull-out drawer unit for pencils, and some other bric-a-brac. I have a keyboard hutch, and the monitor used to be on top of the hutch, but now is on an arm from the wall. I like this desktop, rugged, custom and ample enough to do work, including soldering up things from time to time. Nome, Alaska, USA

No productivity apps

By Hasaf • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

As you noted, Libre Office wasn't even on the list. Even in the article the most popular were computer management apps and no mention of productivity apps.

This is a large part of the reason I stopped using Linux on the desktop. When the computer was the ends, rather than the means, it was great. However, at this point in my life, the computer is the means, not the ends. When I just need to get work done, Linux just isn't the tool.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

These days people think that if the interface isn't being screwed up every other week then the software must have been "abandonded". The idea that software might mature to the point where it only needs bug-fixes and (very) occasional fine tuning is considered sacrilege.

indirect linking

By Mozai • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Why did you link to ZDnet, instead of linking to the source at LinuxQuestions?

US Senators Voice Concern Over Chinese Access To Intellectual Property

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Leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday they were concerned about what they described as China's efforts to gain access to sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual property through Chinese companies with government ties. From a report: Senator Richard Burr, the committee's Republican chairman, cited concerns about the spread of foreign technologies in the United States, which he called "counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors. The focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecoms (companies) like Huawei and ZTE that are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government," Burr said. Senator Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic vice chairman, said he had similar concerns. "I'm worried about the close relationship between the Chinese government and Chinese technology firms, particularly in the area of commercialization of our surveillance technology and efforts to shape telecommunications equipment markets," Warner said.

Never mind the Russians

By HangingChad • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Never mind the Russians trying to undermine the duly elected government of the United States with the assistance of a national political party. Let's pay attention to the Chinese instead.

They like IP?

By houghi • Score: 3 • Thread

The way they treat IP, I think it will be in better hands than what the US is doing with it. Midn you, I am eneither Chinese nor USian, so I will get screwed no matter what (alas not by a female).

Re:We sold our soul long ago

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I worked for Procter & Gamble 20+ years ago. Back then there was a project for P&G to start making Crest toothpaste in China, part of the entry in to that market. Well, long story short, we had to hand over all the IP related to Crest and the manufacturing lines to them to even get the 'right' to enter into the market, plus every tube of toothpaste sold there had to be manufactured there. What we did is get 1950's era line(s) back in working order and shipped them over, plus the old Crest recipe from same time. So both China and P&G benefited. China for jumpstarting their research into toothpaste and P&G entry into the market. Now many years later P&G is almost out of the market as local companies in China now have the 'inside' track on deals/market share, etc, etc.. So, if anyone thinks the Chinese play fair, you have your head in the sand, but the opposite is true as well, if US Corporations hadn't sold their soul and IP to China they wouldn't be in the pickle they are today, and the US as well.

The problem with fake assets.

By ewibble • Score: 3 • Thread

The whole concept of owning IP shipping manufacturing overseas is flawed. IP is a made up asset that can be removed at any time with no effort the part China. All they have to do is say they won't follow US patent and copyright law an they have all the manufacturing capabilities and all the intellectual property. What exactly can the US do about it?

That is the problem with made up assets they can just as easily be unmade.

Re:Never mind the Russians

By forkfail • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Eurasia is, and has always been, our friend and ally! Eastasia is, and has always been, our enemy!

YouTube CEO: Facebook Should 'Get Back To Baby Pictures'

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki won't divulge her biggest fear about competing with Facebook, but she will give them some free advice. From a report: "They should get back to baby pictures," Wojcicki said Monday at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, California. Video has been an obsession for Facebook, as it tries to swipe the most advertising dollars migrating off television before YouTube can get them. Facebook has been aggressively advancing the number of clips and live streams that bubble up to the top of your News Feed and has rolled out a central hub for TV-like programming called Watch. "You always have to take competition seriously. You don't win by looking backwards; you win by looking at your customers and looking forward," she said.

Re:YouTube is currently better...

By doconnor • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I see ads in the middle of YouTube videos all the time, probably about one every 10 minutes.

all wile youtube burns

By luther349 • Score: 3 • Thread
youtube the company thats burned cash sense day 1. the company that gone from upload anything short of porn and beheading to censoring everything but people selling goods. the company advertisers run away from because despite all the attempts to censer the sites still 90% garbage uploads. the site where every channel begs you to hand them money on every video. the company that lets its own users abuse the dmca leading to massive issues with trolls and false flags. and they wanna talk shit about someone else.

The pot calling the kettle black

By William Baric • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Maybe Facebook should get back to baby pictures, but then YouTube should get back to cat videos. Both platforms are against the free expression of ideas, and both are trying to influence politics. To me, allowing big corporations to control ideas and politics is part of fascism.

Facebook really is crap at video

By drinkypoo • Score: 3 • Thread

I have my own issues with Youtube, but it's far and away the most competent video streaming site even with its flaws. Facebook's video controls are hot steaming dog puke compared to Youtube. The UI is atrociously designed, and laggy beyond compare. And my potato may be outdated, but I've got eight cores and sixteen gigs, there's no excuses for this kind of nonsense. (Youtube is plenty responsive.)

Facebook is dead

By randomErr • Score: 3 • Thread

People got tired of dealing with all the ads and unrelated news on Facebook. The former FB users, to a lesser degree YouTube, have ran to mostly closed off micro-networks like Telegram, Discord, Amino, and Quidd.

Microsoft: We're Developing Blockchain ID System Starting With Our Authenticator App

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Microsoft has revealed its plans to use blockchain distributed-ledger technologies to securely store and manage digital identities, starting with an experiment using the Microsoft Authenticator app. From a report: Microsoft reckons the technology holds promise as a superior alternative to people granting consent to dozens of apps and services and having their identity data spread across multiple providers. It highlights that with the existing model people don't have control over their identity data and are left exposed to data breaches and identity theft. Instead, people could store, control and access their identity in an encrypted digital hub, Microsoft explained. To achieve this goal, Microsoft has for the past year been incubating ideas for using blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies to create new types of decentralized digital identities.

How do you know a trend is over?

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Either when mainstream media starts reporting about it or when MS starts to develop for it.

ELI5 -- why are blockchains relevant here?

By ctilsie242 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Blockchains are relevant for ledgers and logs (basically a secure utmp/wtmp). However, for authentication, it really doesn't help much.

Instead, MS would be better off designing an open protocol like RFC 6238 or RFC 4226, except using public/private keys as opposed to shared secrets, and having an open authenticator app for this.

Buzzword compliant, but semi-interesting

By ErichTheRed • Score: 3 • Thread

I wonder if Microsoft is trying to get around a scaling problem. If every company on Earth switches to Office 365, and they're basically forcing everyone this way, then they will control at least a portion of identity/login for most of the world. They're doing this with Azure AD right now, with every company either in a cloud-based or federated trust with their own tenant. I'm sure Azure AD is designed in a way that there's no single point of attack that could leak all users' credentials, but maybe the point of decentralizing it is actually to get the storage part off their hands while still controlling the process.

Re:Buzzword compliant, but semi-interesting

By DigiShaman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's essentially Microsoft Passport 2.0, is it not?

In the Wake of Fake News, Several Universities Including MIT and Harvard Introduce New Course On Ethics and Regulation of AI

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The medical profession has an ethic: First, do no harm. Silicon Valley has an ethos: Build it first and ask for forgiveness later. Now, in the wake of fake news and other troubles at tech companies, universities that helped produce some of Silicon Valley's top technologists are hustling to bring a more medicine-like morality to computer science, the New York Times reporter. From the report: This semester, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are jointly offering a new course on the ethics and regulation of artificial intelligence. The University of Texas at Austin just introduced a course titled "Ethical Foundations of Computer Science" -- with the idea of eventually requiring it for all computer science majors. And at Stanford University, the academic heart of the industry, three professors and a research fellow are developing a computer science ethics course for next year. They hope several hundred students will enroll. The idea is to train the next generation of technologists and policymakers to consider the ramifications of innovations -- like autonomous weapons or self-driving cars -- before those products go on sale.

Re:Obvious question

By swillden • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You're the one making the claim that has to be defended. You're saying that this new stream of disinformation has no effect. In general, disinformation is a tried and true technique with a long history of success, so it's on you to demonstrate why this particular form of it is ineffectual.

Now, if someone comes along and claims that the Russian disinformation did change the election outcome, then it's on them to support their claim. But the claim that it might have follows logically from the fact that disinformation has often been effective in other contexts.

And given the stakes here, I'd argue that it behooves us to assume that social media disinformation campaigns are a threat to the integrity of our democratic process and take steps to remedy them. Unless someone can satisfactorily prove that they aren't.

Re:Obvious question

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well if you looked at the pooling,

Polls have systematic biases. For instance, Democrats are more willing to participate in polls.

Re:Obvious question

By DNS-and-BIND • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The DNC rigged the primary to put up literally the only person in the US who could lose against Donald Trump.

Re:Obvious question

By chispito • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You're the one making the claim that has to be defended. You're saying that this new stream of disinformation has no effect.

How can somebody disprove an effect if nobody is able to describe or quantify it?


By Zmobie • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm confused myself. It has been about seven years since I graduated, but all engineering students at my university were required to take an ethics course then already (Pretty sure all ABET accredited degrees require some form of ethics). It covered both legal implications/liability and the actual moral side and importance of being responsible when doing any type of work in the field. We even discussed in depth the societal implications and impact several engineering disciplines can have on society (including Computer Science). Hell I remember at least a few times where the professor brought up the medical ethics saying precisely telling us that should always be kept in mind. My university may have been/still is one of the top CS programs for us normal people (top 50 ranking), but I would think places like MIT/Stanford/UT Austin would have had this a looooooooooooong time ago.

Comcast Sues Vermont Over Conditions On New License Requiring the Company To Expand Its Network

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VTDigger: Cable television giant Comcast is suing the Vermont Public Utility Commission over the panel's decision to require the company to expand its network and step up support for community access TV if it wants to continue doing business in Vermont. A key issue is the services Comcast must provide to local community access systems that carry municipal government and school board meetings and other local events. The 26 community access systems have been pushing -- against resistance by Comcast -- for high-definition video, greater ability to operate from remote locations, and inclusion in the interactive program guides that Comcast customers can use to decide what to watch. The PUC -- formerly known as the Public Service Board -- in January issued a new 11-year permit for Comcast to operate in Vermont. In July the panel rejected the company's request to drop some of the conditions attached to the permit.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Comcast argued that the PUC "exceeded its authority under federal and Vermont law" by imposing "numerous conditions on Comcast's continued cable operations in the state that are arbitrary, unprecedented and will ultimately harm local cable subscribers by resulting in millions of dollars in increased cable costs." It said the commission "did so despite overwhelming record evidence that Vermont cable subscribers do not want to incur any additional costs or fees for the kinds of conditions imposed" in the commission's January order.

Re: simple solution

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Because Cable Companies run as psuto-monopolies. Where they operate in a particular area without much competition.
I live in Charter/Spectrum Territory. Comcast operates less then a few miles away from my home. However me as an individual cannot switch to Comcast or the people who live a few miles away in the next state can switch to Spectrum.

My options are limited.
Discontinue Cable (where I will have No High speed internet access) and limited TV services (too much tree coverage for satellite)
Do deal with what I have.

Because Spectrum owns the cable and the miles of infrastructure. I am as an individual is mostly powerless. However we have these things called governments, where I and other members of my community can vote on who can make rules and encourage them my issues. Where they can act as an overall control on such a company where otherwise I would be powerless to do anything about.

Re: simple solution

By Vermonter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For the same reason the government gets to regulate your power company. When you fight hard to become a monopoly, don't be surprised when you are suddenly heavily regulated.

They have constitutional rights?

By Rastl • Score: 3 • Thread

I find it interesting that Comcast feels that it has Constitutional rights as a company. There's two pieces to that. They're a corporation - not a person. Vermont is also only requiring these changes within their state so even the commerce clause doesn't apply if Comcast wanted to stretch it that far.

These requirements aren't unreasonable. Build out the network like they're supposed to do anyway, add the public access content to the online guide like they do in other states, provide for live transmission when it's practical, and be a part of a proceeding to determine if public access content should be broadcast in HD.

This has no impact on their carrier status. It actually fits right in with it. They're being told that they have to open their network to content. Vermont isn't asking for anything that hasn't been done in other states. There's no actual burden on Comcast except for having restrictions tied to their license.

As at least one other commentor has said - if they don't like it they can decline the license and let another cable operator take over their monopoly. Or withdraw and let the municipalities manage their own infrastructure. But this is the cost of doing business and they need to suck it up or leave.

Re:There's no such thing as a free lunch (still)

By dryeo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Perhaps only pay $389 million rather then $400 million for the stadium naming rights? All over N. America the communications companies seem to have endless money for advertising but no money for customer support or expanding infrastructure.

Re: simple solution

By turkeyfish • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you pay as much as I do for Comcast service ($250/month), the day they break up Comcast's government permitted monopoly will indeed be a great day.

We have to keep in mind that like other cable operators, Comcast is essentially a monopoly in the communities that they serve. This being the case, local and state governments have every right to regulate them and impose conditions on their operation. Indeed, indirectly as a taxpayer I provide them access to public right-aways, so I expect that I should get something for my money or be in a position to have another cable company come in and do the job.

I've been tracking their service for a number of years now. There are several things that can be noticed that bear directly on what unregulated monopoloies can get away with.

1) they are increasing the number of channels, but 95% of these are purely advertisment/sales only operations. No programming just sales.

2) their scheduled progamming includes networks that steadily increase the number of commercials per hour without any recourse for the consumer to pay only for the channels used. Thus they get extra advertising dollars at my expense as a consumer.

3) they provide almost no public services for local and state governments and local NGO's and other groups to present alternative views so they heavily censor potentially alternative views in the "market". Likewise, they have almost no truly educational channels, say that teach science, geography, literature, social studies, etc. The few that do have limited input into scheduling or time alotments.

4) They force you to choose viewing plans that provide you no choice, but to pay extra for an incredible number of channels I would never watch. They benefit because it makes it seems they are providing more, but in reality they are merely charging more for useless product. Let those who want to watch the shopping channels pay for the priviledge. As a captive consumer, I should be able to decline paying for them, even when I don't watch them.

5) they are providing less and less quality programming for the "basic service" (ie access to networks) dumbing it down and forcing viewers to pay for "premium" services just to have anything worth watching at all.

6) they give a lot of money as a government monopoly to political candidates that support their vested interest, skewing and disadvantaging public discourse.

I say that the laws governing local cable monopolies need to be revised, so that local governments can establish their own services and develop efforts to insure that every part of the country has true competition in the cable markets. We need to move away from monopolies. If monopolies are essential, then they should be government run monopoloies that taxpayers have a direct voice in how they are run.

It's about time that public utility regulators are replaced with office holders that put some pressure on cable company monopolies to do something other than parasitize their customers. Otherwise,its time to vote out the current crop and replace them with more progressive minded citizens, who actually represent the public rather than the cable company monopolies.

Amazon Is Designing Custom AI Chips For Alexa

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a report ( paywalled) from The Information, Amazon is designing a custom artificial intelligence chip that would power future Echo devices and improve the quality and response time of its Alexa voice assistant. "The move closely followers rivals Apple and Google, both of which have already developed and deployed custom AI hardware at various scales," reports The Verge. From the report: While Amazon is unlikely to physically produce the chips, given its lack of both fabrication experience and a manufacturing presence in China, the news does pose a risk to the businesses of companies like Nvidia and Intel. Both companies have shifted large portions of their chipmaking expertise to AI and the future of the burgeoning field, and both make money by designing and manufacturing chips for companies like Apple, Amazon, and others. Amazon, which seeks to stay competitive in the smart home hardware market and in the realm of consumer-facing AI products, has nearly 450 people with chip expertise on staff, reports The Information, thanks to key hires and acquisitions the e-commerce giant has made in the last few years. The plan is for Amazon to develop its own AI chips so Alexa-powered products in its ever-expanding Echo line can do more on-device processing, instead of having to communicate with the cloud, a process that increases response rate times.


By M0j0_j0j0 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Seriosly.. who wants this Alexa shite?


By GeekWithAKnife • Score: 3 • Thread

Does this mean Alexa will finally understand what I mean when I say "fuck off you gimmicky spy platform"?

I fucked up

By NoNonAlphaCharsHere • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I accidentally called Siri "Alexa", and now neither one of them is speaking to me.

It'll all be over us humans when...

By forkfail • Score: 3 • Thread

... saying "Alexa, design and manufacture your next upgrade" is a viable instruction.

Everybody calls it a spy device... but

By imagio • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Everybody carries a smartphone. A device that has microphones, cameras, and positioning sensors. A device that is a black box in which they have no control over the software (mostly) and firmware. We know that the echo only records and sends audio when it has been activated by the wake word. If you are concerned that the microphone might be activated nefariously without the wake word why do you carry a smartphone? Your phone has even more data about you (video, location, audio, emails, browser history, etc) and you carry it everywhere with you. If you are concerned about devices spying you should be more concerned about your phone.

Daylight Saving Time Isn't Worth It, European Parliament Members Say

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
AmiMoJo shares a report from Ars Technica: Earlier this week, the European Parliament voted 384 to 153 to review whether Daylight Saving Time is actually worth it. Although the resolution it voted on was non-binding, the majority reflected a growing dissatisfaction with a system that has been used by the U.S., Canada, most of Europe, and regions in Asia, Africa, and South America for decades. The resolution asked the European Commission to review the costs and benefits of Daylight Saving Time. If the EU were to abolish Daylight Saving Time, it would need approval of the majority of EU member states and EU Parliament members.

"We think that there's no need to change the clocks," Ireland Member of European Parliament (MEP) Sean Kelly said to Deutsche Welle. "It came in during World War One, it was supposed to be for energy savings -- the indications are that there are very few energy savings, if any -- and there are an awful lot of disadvantages to both human beings and animals that make it outdated at this point."

Shared schedules matter

By sjbe • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

And having fixed standard work times is just as idiotic as the idea of daylight saving...

You've never tried to manage a business have you? There is a lot of benefit to having most companies work predictable schedules. Real, tangible, measurable, economic benefit. If you worked in a company like mine you'd find that it's really hard to run an assembly line without people showing up at the same time each day. Good luck running a hospital with people coming and going whenever they feel like it. Have fun running a restaurant when the waitstaff or cooks can come and go whenever.

Many of us have to deal with clients or suppliers in other countries who don't work at the same time anyway.

And far more of us do work with clients who are nearby and need to be able to interact with us on a predictable schedule. It is a LOT easier to arrange this if most businesses have roughly similar or highly predicable schedules.

Many businesses operate 24/7.

Many more do not. What is your point?

Re:Restructure this whole world clock business

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So you end up going to work at 22:00 and return at 08:00 and it's all in the daylight, so what , these are just numbers. Travel planning will be simplified and so will arranging meetings where people join on-line from different time zones.

You optimize for the common use case.......talking about 9:00AM and expecting people to know it's morning is a much more common use case than needing to change your watch when you travel.

If I say, "Oh, it's 7:00PM in your time zone?" everyone already knows it's after standard business hours there.

If we get rid of DST

By Cro Magnon • Score: 3 • Thread

How will I know when to change my smoke alarm batteries?

Re:Yes, finally.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I used to love coming in to work early, because I could dos about posting on Slashdot while no-one else was around, and then knock off early and post on Slashdot from home for a few extra hours ever evening.

Then I realized I can just post on Slashdot all day at work on no-one seems to notice, so I only get up just in time to roll in to work right on time.

You think I'm joking.

Re:Yes, finally.

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There is a difference between having the opportunity to elect your representative, versus a bureaucratic appointment. Theoretically elected representatives are swayed by feedback from their constituency. A bureaucrat only answers to the person that appointed him.