the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Feb-14 today archive

Ultra-Processed Foods May Be Linked To Cancer, Says Study

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Ultra-processed" foods, made in factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen, may be linked to cancer, according to a large and groundbreaking study. Ultra-processed foods include pot noodles, shelf-stable ready meals, cakes and confectionery which contain long lists of additives, preservatives, flavorings and colorings -- as well as often high levels of sugar, fat and salt. They now account for half of all the food bought by families eating at home in the UK, as the Guardian recently revealed. A team, led by researchers based at the Sorbonne in Paris, looked at the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults who are part of the French NutriNet-Sante cohort study, registering their usual intake of 3,300 different food items. They found that a 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet was linked to a 12% increase in cancers of some kind. The researchers also looked to see whether there were increases in specific types of cancer and found a rise of 11% in breast cancer, although no significant upturn in colorectal or prostate cancer. "If confirmed in other populations and settings, these results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades," says the paper in the British Medical Journal.

Re: Compared to....

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

US eggs don't last longer.
The e-coli outside on the shells have absolutely nothing to do with the life period of eggs.
If at all, e-coli or other bacteria that get into the egg are the problem. And inn this regard then american way of washing is counter productive as it encourages migration of microbes through the shell.

On the other hand, the white of the egg is alkaline, bacteria usually don't survive this. Only in rare cases they manage to reach the yolk. In the yolk they strife so quickly that an "rotten egg" is immediately recognized.

Eggs last easy half a year or longer, in stable conditions. However they dry out.

Since the EU doesn't want to regulate to that level ($$),
Sorry, you are completely mistaken: we have the exact same regulation, with the exact opposite wording: it is forbidden to wash eggs because of the automated washing processes that would rub the bacteria into the shell. And using hot water and even detergents on the outside would reduce the shelf life of the eggs.

Study seems badly defined IMO

By Megol • Score: 3 • Thread

The concept of "ultra-processed" seems similar to the precision in "non-natural" processing - processing that isn't commonly done in nature or traditional cooking methods.
Without actually defining _why_ some type of processing should be considered ultra-processed and some others shouldn't I can't see this as a homogeneous group without some "natural magic" added. And nature isn't magical.

One very common example of ultra-processed (using the vague definition given) is pre-processed starches of which there are many variants. One that is commonly used is pre-gelled starch: one takes a starch and treats it like it would be when cooked (heating in water) which generates a gel which is then dried and pulverized. This means that when one add the processed starch into water it will produce a gel without needing heating and with much less tendency to clump.
Doing this saves time but gives the exact same result as if one would take a non-processed starch, add it to a water-based liquid and then heating the result!

That fact haven't stopped people claiming that using this kind of processed starch is somehow bad, if not in some magic non-natural way then as a way of "cheating" consumers from properly prepared food.

Not sterile

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Eggs are heavily cleaned in the US.

This is true and not necessarily a good thing. It's also arguably unnecessary if you design the supply chain properly. As evidence see how eggs are handled in other countries without the same amount of washing. Most places in the world do not bother with the expensive cleaning and refrigeration systems the US supply chain requires.

In the US, the entire supply chain from post clean to shopping cart has to be germ free.

Not even remotely true and not possible either. The supply chain does have safe food handling regulations including cleaning and refrigeration and testing but safe handling does not equal germ free. If it was germ free it would be FAR more expensive.

Now the US egg lasts a lot longer because it's been sterilized and sits in a sterile environment.

A) They aren't sterilized. Some (but not all) eggs are pasteurized which isn't the same thing. Those that aren't are cleaned but nothing remotely close to sterile.

B) Eggs are most certainly not stored in a sterile environment nor are they handled in a sterile manner in most of the supply chain. Especially once they reach the grocery store. People open literally almost every egg carton to ensure no breakage prior to purchase so they are a LONG way from sterile by the time you get your hands on them.

C) Eggs in the US demonstrably do not last longer and because of how they are processed they have to be refrigerated which is not required other places. I own chickens and eggs that aren't cleaned (which removes the protective coatings) actually can sit on a counter for weeks without ill effect even without refrigeration. US eggs are refrigerated which makes a difference but you can refrigerate uncleaned eggs too and get the same effect. Once you refrigerate an egg though it has to stay refrigerated until you use it.


By Anne Thwacks • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Try to live like your grandparents did. They were in most cases not inflamed by BS books from Marxists and other SJWs. Neither were they inflamed by the BS factory called Hollywood. Feminism and Ecology-Nazis were non-existent.

I am not sure how old you are, or where your "reality" comes from. Marxism was a big thing in the 1940's and 1950's. Feminism is far older it was big in the 1920's and 1930's, but had its origins earlier than that. Your grandparents probably took Hollywood more seriously than people do today.

People have been campaigning for social justice since at least the time of Jesus Christ, and probably even earlier - you might remember a guy called Moses saying "let my people go". Not all people trying to stop their surroundings being actively destroyed are "Ecology-Nazis" although clearly some are.


By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Try to live like your grandparents did.

Eat a lot of fried food, use butter and/or animal fat when cooking just about everything, and smoke unfiltered cigarettes?

Tickbox Must Remove Pirate Streaming Add-ons From Sold Devices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
TickBox TV, the company behind a Kodi-powered streaming device, must release a new software updater that will remove copyright-infringing addons from previously shipped devices. A California federal court issued an updated injunction in the lawsuit that was filed by several major Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix, which will stay in place while both parties fight out their legal battle. TorrentFreak reports: Last year, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), an anti-piracy partnership between Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and more than two dozen other companies, filed a lawsuit against the Georgia-based company Tickbox TV, which sells Kodi-powered set-top boxes that stream a variety of popular media. ACE sees these devices as nothing more than pirate tools so the coalition asked the court for an injunction to prevent Tickbox from facilitating copyright infringement, demanding that it removes all pirate add-ons from previously sold devices. Last month, a California federal court issued an initial injunction, ordering Tickbox to keep pirate addons out of its box and halt all piracy-inducing advertisements going forward. In addition, the court directed both parties to come up with a proper solution for devices that were already sold.

The new injunction prevents Tickbox from linking to any "build," "theme," "app," or "addon" that can be indirectly used to transmit copyright-infringing material. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are specifically excluded. In addition, Tickbox must also release a new software updater that will remove any infringing software from previously sold devices. All tiles that link to copyright-infringing software from the box's home screen also have to be stripped. Going forward, only tiles to the Google Play Store or to Kodi within the Google Play Store are allowed. In addition, the agreement also allows ACE to report newly discovered infringing apps or addons to Tickbox, which the company will then have to remove within 24-hours, weekends excluded.

To be fair...

By viperidaenz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Their website used to say this on the front page

What TV shows and movies can I see for free?
You can see almost every movie and TV series ever made. You can even access movies and shows that are still on Demand and episodes of TV that were just aired. You will never pay to watch any of them.

Enjoy watching complete seasons of almost every television series ever created, including those from the premium cable movie channels and subscription services.

Relax with some popcorn and catch the latest hollywood blockbuster from the comfort of your own home without paying a rental fee. Also included - Sidetick.TV!

Live stream over 50,000 live radio stations or access full albums from your favorite recording artist... finally cancel your spotify or satellite radio subscription saving hundred of dollars a year!

Watch upcoming PPV Events like UFC, Boxing, and Wrestlemania in ultra high definition without paying a single penny!

Re: GPL issues

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Correct, they're appointed morons.

the text of injunction...

By 4wdloop • Score: 3 • Thread

The text of the injunction

is an interested read, including multiple screen captures and the discussion that follows is fascinating, alleging that they may be responsible for copyright violation

"In Fung, the Ninth Circuit analyzed Grokster and held that a defendant may be held liable for copyright infringement under Grokster ’s inducement theory where four elements are present: “(1) the distribution of a device or product [by the defendant], (2) acts of infringement [by third parties], (3) an object [of the defendant] of promoting [the device’s or product’s] use to infringe copyright, and (4) causation. Fung , 710 F.3d at 1032"

The #3 above may get them in.

Facebook Is Spamming Users Via Their 2FA Phone Numbers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to Mashable, Facebook account holder Gabriel Lewis tweeted that Facebook texted "spam" to the phone number he submitted for the purposes of 2-factor authentication. Lewis insists that he did not have mobile notifications turned on, and when he replied "stop" and "DO NOT TEXT ME," he says those messages showed up on his Facebook wall. From the report: Lewis explained his version of the story to Mashable via Twitter direct message. "[Recently] I decided to sign up for 2FA on all of my accounts including FaceBook, shortly afterwards they started sending me notifications from the same phone number. I never signed up for it and I don't even have the FB app on my phone." Lewis further explained that he can go "for months" without signing into Facebook, which suggests the possibility that Mark Zuckerberg's creation was feeling a little neglected and trying to get him back. According to Lewis, he signed up for 2FA on Dec. 17 and the alleged spamming began on Jan. 5. Importantly, Lewis isn't the only person who claims this happened to him. One Facebook user says he accidentally told "friends and family to go [to] hell" when he "replied to the spam."


By jcr • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Microsoft's reputation for security was damaged for a decade

I have to take exception to that. Microsoft never had any reputation for security in the first place.



By Bender Unit 22 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.


By Tom • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Possible user errors aside, why would you ever willingly give your phone number or any other personal details not strictly necessary to a company in the business of selling your personal data ???

It should be obvious to an idiot that for FB, 2FA is just a welcome excuse to get you to give up your phone number, which of course they will immediately turn around and sell.

Honestly, you have to be stupid not to spot that.

This is what the GDPR is about

By Alain Williams • Score: 3 • Thread

The up coming General Data Protection Regulation says, amongst many other things, that data must only be used for the purpose that it is obtained and can only be used with the explicit permission of the individual. Hopefully scum-bags like facebook will change once they have had a few fines of 2% of the annual worldwide turnover.

Not so fast...

By chill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

(Logging in to repeat my anonymous post)

I received several SMS messages like this, from half-a-dozen numbers, a week or two ago. There were maybe 20 messages over a 1 hour period.

Here's the thing. I don't have a Facebook account. I did, once, about 10 years ago. I cancelled it after only about a month, and that was long before they implemented 2FA. And it was also long before I had my current phone number. This number has never been given to Facebook for anything, at least not by me.

I thought they were a scam of some sort, and just ended up blocking the numbers as spam in my messaging client (Signal).

YouTube TV Is Adding More Channels, But It's Also Getting More Expensive

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
YouTube's internet TV streaming service is expanding its programming with the addition of several Turner networks including TBS, TNT, CNN, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, truTV, and Turner Classic Movies. YouTube TV is also bringing NBA TV and MLB Network to the base lineup. NBA All Access and MLB.TV will be offered as optional paid add-ons "in the coming months." The downside? The price of the service is going up. The Verge reports: Starting March 13th, YouTube TV's monthly subscription cost will rise from $35 to $40. All customers who join the service prior to the 13th will be able to keep the lower $35 monthly rate going forward. And if you've been waiting for YouTube to add Viacom channels, that still hasn't happened yet. Hopefully these jumps in subscription cost won't happen very often. Otherwise these internet TV businesses might suddenly start feeling more like cable (and not in a good way). The Verge also mentions that YouTube TV is adding a bunch of new markets including: Lexington, Dayton, Honolulu, El Paso, Burlington, Plattsburgh, Richmond, Petersburg, Mobile, Syracuse, Champaign, Springfield, Columbia, Charleston, Harlingen, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.


By Cutting_Crew • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
exactly. i mean whats the point? If you are close to dead even staying with your cable co. or the equivalent, its not worth the hassle. I have spectrum and if i just choose the basic internet plan (which i think is 75 mbps). its $80 + tax. So i go with youtube and pay $40 + tax and now i'm paying as much or more than what i pay for the previously mentioned basic internet plan + the lowest tier cable package.

F that noise.

By Snufu • Score: 3 • Thread

The whole point of the interwebs is I consume what I want (pull) not what an ad exec wants me to watch (push.)

Re:Pay for what you want....

By dbrueck • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I've got a hunch there are some channels that they get paid to place in the lineup. If so, letting you drop those would actually hurt their bottom line. Then there are channels that cost them so much that they simply must charge everyone for them or they would not be able to offer them to those that do want them, due to costs.

Yup, that's exactly how it works - some channel owners pay providers to carry the channels, while the "top-tier" channels are considered must-have and so it's the other way around: the providers pay for the right to carry the channels, and then more often than not there are groups of channels owned by the same company and the rights for them are negotiated as a group. For years, Disney + ESPN (especially ESPN) were considered must-have cable channels, so not only did providers pay for for the "privilege" of including ESPN, they paid a ton for it - easily 25% or more of the fees providers paid for their channel lineup went to ESPN.

ESPN's success is why there has been a proliferation of new cable sports channels, and it's a big part of why ESPN has been weakened so much. But the deals are so valuable and complicated that they end up being deals with a very long duration. For example, Comcast and Disney hammered out a deal in 2012 that remains in effect until 2022 (see https://mediadecoder.blogs.nyt...).

Incidentally, the long duration of these deals is also a major factor in why the TV industry has been moving so frustratingly slow for end users: people were wanting to e.g. watch TV on their computers or phones long before it was allowed because few of the business deals had provisions for anything online. It's not hard to imagine that in 2020, if ESPN is still alive, viewers will be frustrated by some inane restriction due to the fact that the content rights were negotiated way back in 2012. :)

Re:Do not want.

By SeaFox • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Did you miss the part where they're optional paid add-ons?

Why don't you read what I quoted again, and the channels listed very carefully.

Re: Huh?

By OakDragon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

. I'm glad I got rid of all my cable and direct TV stock, that money is now invested .. very differently.

It's bitcoin, isn't it?

New Silicon Chip-Based Quantum Computer Passes Major Test

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Researchers from two teams now working with Intel have reported advances in a new quantum computing architecture, called spin qubits, in a pair of papers out today. They're obviously not the full-purpose quantum computers of the future. But they've got a major selling point over other quantum computing designs. "We made these qubits in silicon chips, similar to what's used in classical computer processes," study author Thomas Watson from TU Delft in the Netherlands told me. "The hope is that by doing things this way, we can potentially scale up to larger numbers needed to perform useful quantum computing."

Today, a research group at TU Delft, called QuTech, announced that they'd successfully tested two "spin qubits." These qubits involve the interaction of two confined electrons in a silicon chip. Each electron has a property called spin, which sort of turns it into a tiny magnet, with two states: "up" and "down." The researchers control the electrons with actual cobalt magnets and microwave pulses. They measure the electron's spins by watching how nearby electric charges react to the trapped electrons' movements. Those researchers, now working in partnership with Intel, were able to perform some quantum algorithms, including the well-known Grover search algorithm (basically, they could search through a list of four things), according to their paper published today in Nature. Additionally, a team of physicists led by Jason Petta at Princeton reported in Nature that they were able to pair light particles, called photons, to corresponding electron spins. This just means that distant spin qubits might be able to talk to one another using photons, allowing for larger quantum computers.
There are some advantages to these systems. "Present-day semiconductor technology could create these spin qubits, and they would be smaller than the superconducting chips used by IBM," reports Gizmodo. "Additionally, they stay quantum longer than other systems." The drawbacks include the fact that it's very difficult to measure the spins of these qubits, and even more difficult to get them to interact with each other. UC Berkeley postdoc Sydney Schreppler also mentioned that the qubbits needed to be really close to each other.

" they stay quantum longer than other systems"?

By JoshuaZ • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I'm trying to figure out what this means and the best I can get is that they mean that entanglement is preserved for longer? If so, that will certainly be a useful thing for doing any serious quantum computing. At this point though, it seems like we have a lot of different promising architectures for quantum computing but none of them are anywhere near implementation to do the things we seriously care about, like simulating quantum systems or running Shor's algorithm on a serious scale's_algorithm.

Tesla Roadster Elon Musk Launched Into Space Has 6 Percent Chance of Hitting Earth In the Next Million Years

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk grabbed the world's attention last week after launching his Tesla Roadster into space. But his publicity stunt has a half-life way beyond even what he could imagine -- the Roadster should continue to orbit through the solar system, perhaps slightly battered by micrometeorites, for a few tens of millions of years. Now, a group of researchers specializing in orbital dynamics has analyzed the car's orbit for the next few million years. And although it's impossible to map it out precisely, there is a small chance that one day it could return and crash into Earth. But don't panic: That chance is just 6% over a million years, and it would likely burn up as it entered the atmosphere.

Hanno Rein of the University of Toronto in Canada and his colleagues regularly model the motions of planets and exoplanets. "We have all the software ready, and when we saw the launch last week we thought, 'Let's see what happens.' So we ran the [Tesla's] orbit forward for several million years," he says. The Falcon Heavy rocket from SpaceX propelled the car out toward Mars, but the sun's gravity will bring it swinging in again some months from now in an elliptical orbit, so it will repeatedly cross the orbits of Mars, Earth, and Venus until it sustains a fatal accident. The Roadster's first close encounter with Earth will be in 2091 -- the first of many in the millennia to come.

Re:Space junk

By iamhassi • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
We have a way to deal with them. Send offshore oil drillers into space and break up the rock in dramatic fashion with explosives. Saw a documentary about it once.

Mariner 4

By jfdavis668 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
If you are worried about this car, why aren't you worried about Mariner 4? Or any other probe or rocket body that was sent on the same trajectory. They all may impact Earth some day.

Cross the orbit of Venus?

By david_thornley • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

TFA says the roadster will cross the orbits of Mars, Earth, and Venus. The last burn was in Earth orbit, so obviously it'll return there. The burn gave it an apohelion well beyond Mars orbit, so obviously it'll cross it (assuming it's in the ecliptic). Every diagram I've seen has the Roadster's orbit roughly tangent to Earth orbit, as would happen if the burn increased its orbital velocity.

Without major changes to its orbit, the Roadster will stay at Earth orbit or further from the Sun. If it were to make a course correction, it could establish an even more elliptical orbit and cross Venus orbit, but the delta-vee of a Tesla Roadster in a frictionless vacuum is very, very low.

Space is Big [Re:Space junk]

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

So far, we've discovered 15,000 rocks in orbits crossing close to Earth ("Near Earth Objects"), and the best estimate is that we've found about one quarter of the ones larger than 140 meters in diameter.

Wheelbase of a Tesla roadster is about four meters.

For every Tesla roadster in Earth-crossing orbit-- one--there are a million rocks that are at least that big.

There are a lot of asteroids. But, fortunately (quoting Douglas Adams), space is big. Really big.

Correction: a 0 percent chance

By steveha • Score: 3 • Thread

I am 100% confident that the car will never hit the Earth, because I fully expect that within the next couple hundred years it will be retrieved and put on display in a museum somewhere. Maybe the Luna City museum or the Ceres Museum; some Earth museum is also possible.

Right now, retrieving it is theoretically possible but such a huge and expensive undertaking that it's totally unreasonable. But if we build out our infrastructure, we will have spacecraft flitting between Earth, Mars, and the asteroids and sending a tow truck to grab the Roadster will be no big deal.

FBI, CIA, and NSA: Don't Use Huawei Phones

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The heads of six top U.S. intelligence agencies told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday they would not advise Americans to use products or services from Chinese smartphone maker Huawei. "The six -- including the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of national intelligence -- first expressed their distrust of Apple-rival Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom company ZTE in reference to public servants and state agencies," reports CNBC. From the report: "We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks," FBI Director Chris Wray testified. "That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure," Wray said. "It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage."

In a response, Huawei said that it "poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor." A spokesman said in a statement: "Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities."


By Obfuscant • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Exactly. If you're doing something the Chinese government would be interested in, sure, I can see avoiding their stuff.

Malware doesn't always have to be watching users and grabbing their data. They can also be getting hooks into the US wireless infrastructure.

But if it is ok that the Chinese do watch everything you do, that's ok with me.

it seems to me that using something one's own government hates is actually a good thing.

So when the FDA or EPA bans something you run right out and start downing massive quantities because anything the FDA hates must be a good thing?

Re:Apple (Focxonn) okay?

By AK Marc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
US officially operates under a One China policy, where Beijing is recognized, but Taiwan isn't. And China considers Taiwan to be an autonomous region, like Hong Kong and Macau. And Foxconn is operating in China, so are subject to the laws and practices of China. One should assume that Foxconn is a Chinese company.

Though, I have no idea why Huawei is targeted. They have no official ties to the China government, and, unlike Cisco, have never put in a backdoor for government control. I'd be much more worried about American companies. The government has requested backdoors publicly, and privately, and there have been some confirmed and found. It does not matter that they are intended for US operatives only, once they are in, they can be compromised by others.

I guess it's just plain racism. China bad. America good.

Re:Apple (Focxonn) okay?

By Bing Tsher E • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Though, I have no idea why Huawei is targeted. They have no official ties to the China government, and, unlike Cisco, have never put in a backdoor for government control.

Ding ding ding. The NSA wants a back door that they control in every phone.

They got caught. [Re:Apple (Focxonn) okay?]

By XXongo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Though, I have no idea why Huawei is targeted.

Because they have been caught installing spyware in the firmware.

Their response was "oh, that wasn't us, it was somebody else."

Re: Apple (Focxonn) okay?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Did you just wake up from a coma?

Valve Bans Developer After Employees Leave Fake User Reviews

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Insel Games, a Maltese developer of online multiplayer titles, has been banned from Steam and had all its titles removed from Valve's storefront after evidence surfaced that it was encouraging employees to manipulate user review scores on the service. Yesterday, redditor nuttinbutruth posted a purported leaked email from Insel Games' CEO encouraging employees to buy reimbursed copies of the game in order to leave a Steam review. "Of course I cannot force you to write a review (let alone tell you what to write) -- but I should not have to," the email reads. "Neglecting the importance of reviews will ultimately cost jobs. If [Wild Busters] fails, Insel fails... and then we will all have no jobs next year."

In a message later in the day, Valve said it had investigated the claims in the Reddit post and "identified unacceptable behavior involving multiple Steam accounts controlled by the publisher of this game. The publisher appears to have used multiple Steam accounts to post positive reviews for their own games. This is a clear violation of our review policy and something we take very seriously." While Valve has ended its business relationship with Insel Games, users who previously purchased the company's games on Steam will still be able to use them.

Re:JD can't be bothered to read...

By Headw1nd • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
You're right. Steam should continue to let this company use its storefront to defraud users lest it hurt those who were already defrauded. This is impeccable logic.

Re:common practice

By Kneo24 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I once worked for a company that asked its employees to do something similar. They opened up a forum so their customers could ask for help and discuss how to better fix the system that the modules we were selling them go into. - It was an after market repair company. There was a section for customer feedback they wanted us to fill up.

I laughed, laughed, and laughed some more. What ended up happening was the QA manager did all of this, pretending to be a customer initially, having a screen name so very similar to his actual name, which you could find on the "about us" page of their website. Then he continued to answer technical questions on the forum in a official capacity of the company under the same user name.

Re:will they refund real users? give them an unloc

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Just cause the game "works" doesn't mean it's providing the experience they were sold.

Actually, it does. You keep suggesting that these customers were sold a multiplayer experience. They weren't. They were sold a game, and that's exactly what Valve gave them. Nothing more, nothing less. At best, they were promised a multiplayer experience, but that promise didn't come from Valve.

Whether the game lives up to its promise of delivering a particular multiplayer experience is the responsibility of the publisher. Moreover, if your ability to deliver on your promises depends on maintaining a relationship with a third-party, maybe you shouldn't go breaking the contractual terms under which that relationship operates, lest you fail to be able to deliver on your promises?

As for updates, what's stopping them from updating it? I've updated plenty of games I bought on Steam with third-party patches and mods. Is there some sort of magic preventing first-parties from updating their own games? I doubt it. All they've done is cut off their ability to easily update those copies, but they've hardly cut off the ability altogether. Besides which, even if they had cut it off, it's not difficult to verify whether someone has purchased a copy of your game, at which point you can simply give them a free copy of the game off of Steam, one which you have the ability to update.

Valve may choose to give these customers a refund, but they are under no obligation to do so (excepting those who qualify under their normal terms for a refund, of course). But if Insel made promises it can't keep? It may be on the hook for those refunds, and it'd need to figure out some way to honor them without Valve.

Re:will they refund real users? give them an unloc

By vux984 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

" At best, they were promised a multiplayer experience, but that promise didn't come from Valve."

If I bought the title from Valve, after reading the description on Valve, and Valve gets 30% of the cash... then Valve has an obligation to deliver what was promised along with the publisher.

This isn't some bizarre interpretation, if I buy cottage cheese and take it home, open it, and its modly, I can return it to the store I bought it from.

"At best, they were promised a multiplayer experience, but that promise didn't come from Valve."

Valve curated the title, published the promise, featured the promise prominently on their own publishing platform ("steam"), and then took a substantial component of the selling price. That promise may not have originated with Valve, but Valve most definitely passed it on with their explicit endorsement.

Re:will they refund real users? give them an unloc

By laughingcoyote • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm very glad Valve has "made an example" here, and I hope they follow suit with any other studios that pull the same stunt. If you want to get good reviews, make a good game. If you cheat and you get caught, you pay the price.

I certainly feel sorry for the devs and others affected by this who weren't responsible, but we can't let that stop us from penalizing cheaters.

Apple's HomePod Speakers Leave White Marks on Wood

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple's new smart speakers can discolour wooden surfaces, leaving a white mark where they are placed, the firm has acknowledged. From a report: The US company has suggested that owners may have to re-oil furniture if the HomePod is moved. The device went on sale last week after having been delayed from its original 2017 release date. Apple told Pocket-lint that it was "not unusual" for speakers with silicone bases to leave a "mild mark." But the gadget review site told the BBC it had never seen anything like this problem. The website's founder, Stuart Miles, told the BBC that a speaker left a mark on his kitchen worktop within 20 minutes.

Re:Feature, not a bug

By hey! • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Come back to my place and we'll put on some White Stripes.

Steve Has Appeared On My Furniture!

By dryriver • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
If the mark left were shaped like Steve Jobs's visage, Apple users would be jumping for joy around the world. "My God! Steve has appeared in my living room!" The furniture would then be worth 10 times what it was worth before - because Apple users would buy it when sold. What Apple should go for in V 2.0 of the Homepod is leaving more than just a "mark". The Homepod should blast the wood it sits on in pieces, then send you to Apple's iFurniture website for a replacement, which is again blasted to pieces by your Homepod, and so on and so forth. The economics of this gets even more fantastic than you might think, because when the furniture gets blasted to pieces, the Homepod lands on the floor. So you need new furniture AND a new Homepod each time. Homepod V 3.0 may also blast your children to pieces. You can then go to the iChildren website and order robot children made by Apple. Those children will in turn play with the Homepod V 3.0, blasting the furniture, themselves and the Homepod to pieces. You can then go to iEverythingHasGoneToShit website and order replacements. Apple are geniuses.

Re:Oiled wood. end of story

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Woodworker here, goombah99 is talking out of his ass. Go ahead and put a heavy piece of plastic on your oiled wood cutting board and see how it won't leave a circle. I find it amusing that some asshole on slashdot can now just lie right through their teeth and be upvoted for it.

You know what this means

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Next month Samsung selling speakers with chalk pre-applied to the bottoms.

Ibviousky racist

By mschuyler • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

White privilege in action.

Even Apple and Google Engineers Can't Really Afford To Live Near Their Offices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
That's according to the Y Combinator-backed real-estate startup Open Listings, which looked at median home sales prices near the headquarters (meaning within a 20-minute commute) of some of the Bay Area's biggest and best-known tech companies. Fast Company: Using public salary data from Paysa, Open Listings then looked at how many software engineers from those companies could actually afford to buy a house close to their office. Here's what it found: Engineers at five major SF-based tech companies would need to spend over the 28% threshold of their income to afford a monthly mortgage near their offices. Apple engineers would have to pay an average of 33% of their monthly income for a mortgage near work. That's the highest percentage of the companies analyzed, and home prices in Cupertino continue to skyrocket. Google wasn't much better at 32%, and living near the Facebook office would cost an engineer 29% of their monthly paycheck.

Re:Yo! Taxes, fool!

By cje • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There are a lot of places on Earth that have no functioning government (and therefore have no taxes). One would think that the the "taxation is theft" crowd would be flocking to these places en masse, but for some reason they are not. Interesting, that.

30%? That's cheap for Australia

By jezwel • Score: 3 • Thread
Where property prices have escalated way out of control, a mere 30% of my income to pay mortgage and strata fees would be soooo nice - it's more like 50% right now.

At least slow wage growth drops that % down a smidgeon each year.

Re:Yo! Taxes, fool!

By another_twilight • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Taxation is systemic theft

FFS, this is even worse than the copyright=theft meme. Taxation is a levy. It's a portion of personal (household/business) wealth paid to a governing body to fund public works. It's no more 'theft' than membership fees that cover costs of an organisation.

an institutional framework of extracting wealth from people

That's better, even with your use of scare-word 'extracting'

through the threat of violence

... and then you're back to ranting

a perfect example of terrorism

Hot tip; in english, words have meanings and 'terrorism' doesn't mean 'bad thing I don't like'.

A society that admits the practice is, by definition, uncivilised.

Only if we use the ... irregular definitions that you've used.

I presume you favour a low-to-zero tax system. You'll happily ignore the enormous benefits that come from living in a country and civilisation that's been built from the wealth that so many other citizens, past and present, have pooled and concentrate on the limitations that expecting you to make a similar contribution places on you, and/or the inefficiencies (and even corruption) of those we've arranged to spend this wealth.

While I'm sure that you're quite capable of re-inventing civilisation on your own with nothing more than a small set of nail clippers, most of the rest of humanity have consistently, across history and culture, seen the benefit of pooling resources and co-operating. So would you mind very much setting aside the keyboard that taxes have helped build and stop posting on the internet that exists only because of taxation and find some lonely place to beat your manly chest and declare loudly about how much of a rugged individualist you are? Or is Poe's Law biting me in the ass?

Re:Yo! Taxes, fool!

By another_twilight • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

So is waste, fraud, and abuse

All systems have inefficiencies and in human systems, waste, fraud and abuse are just that. You cannot eliminate them, although they can be reduced. So long as the benefit of co-operation outweigh the costs of organising same, including inefficiencies, then societies will keep forming and some kind of pooling of resources will happen.

Using the existence of waste, fraud or abuse as the (only) reasons for abandoning a system is simplistic. Can the system be improved? Is the cost of trying to improve the system likely to return more than is spent?

Perfection is a direction, not a destination.

If you want to give the government all of your money and have "smarter" people than you decide how to waste it

It has nothing to do with 'smarter' people spending 'your money'. If you want to participate in and benefit from the advantages of society and civilisation, you need to contribute. If you want to be the one with your hand on the wheel and more control over the purse strings, stand for office. Personally, I don't. This argument is a straw man.

Or maybe move someplace with a communist system and not have any money of your own to begin with.

Believe it or not, there are political and economic systems that lie between the extremes you offer. Some of them have considerably higher standards of living for more people than either 'pure' communist or 'pure' libertarianism (or whatever tax-free system you seem enamoured of).

But you're probably not interested. You've used the word 'communist' as an epithet while using a service and system made possible only because of the taxes paid by generations before you. You live in a place and period of peace unknown in history due in no small part because of the sacrifices made by people who were paid by taxes. The life you lead and the wonderfully narcissistic position you are allowed to hold is all because better people than you have realised that co-operation works and who have been (relatively) happy to keep their end of the bargain.


By plopez • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A house is *not* an investment. It is affordable long term rent control. As time goes on the payments become a smaller percentage of income (you hope). If you are constantly playing monopoly, taking 2nd mortgages and HELOCS you *will* get screwed when the next bubble bursts.

Anyone who tries to tell you a house is an investment is nothing more than a carnival barker trying to sucker in another mark.

Best Linux Distribution

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Linux Journal: We started things off with Best Linux Distribution, and nearly 10,000 readers voted. The winner was Debian, with many commenting "As for servers, Debian is still the best" or similar. One to watch that is rising in the polls is Manjaro (7 percent), which is independently based on the Arch Linux. Manjaro is a favorite for Linux newcomers and is known for its user-friendliness and accessibility. And, now for the top three LJ winners: Debian (33 percent), openSUSE (12 percent), and Fedora (11 percent).


By mark-t • Score: 5, Informative • Thread">Too many reasons.


By PPH • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Linux and in fact all Unixes are built around the philosophy of having a bunch of simple tools. Each one doing its specific job well. systemd inherited the Windows philosophy of being a hairball that tries to do everything.

Let me put in a good word for Devuan

By shoor • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

No systemd and it does all the things I want. In particular, it let's me run me-tv, which doesn't run well on ubuntu because of something to do with gui libraries. (Each side blames the other last I checked, which I admit was quite awhile ago.) Before Devuan, I had to run me-tv on Linux Mint, which is a very good distro (if you're comfortable with systemd, which I'm not.)

Re:Best for what?

By dmbasso • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I helped my mother (74 years old at the time) install Debian in her new computer, through a voice-only call. I was surprised how easy it is to do it nowadays.

Tried out something new on my newest Laptop ...

By Qbertino • Score: 3 • Thread

I got meself a refurbished ThinkPad X220 for college and portable web development, pimped it out with 8GB RAM and a 250GB SSD and thought I'd try something new off the beaten Debian/Ubuntu track.
Manjaro i3 seemed like a nice candidate. And sure enough, it holds up nicely. Rolling updates (manjaro is arch based) and i3 is a very neat tiling WM that's really fast and nice and easy to configure. The manjaro i3 defaults are nice as is the turquoise on dark-grey design. Technical but still modern and sleek.

Manjaro is the new kid on the block and might just be yet another passing distro-fad but for now it holds up and I'm enjoying it. yaourt is a CLI tool for installing non-standard packages and so far everything I've needed could be found on AUR.

Bottom line: Wanna try something new with i3 as default? Yours truly recommends Manjaro i3. Give it a shot,

Crypto-currency Craze 'Hinders Search For Alien Life'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Scientists listening out for broadcasts by extra-terrestrials are struggling to get the computer hardware they need, thanks to the crypto-currency mining craze, a radio-astronomer has said. From a report: Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers want to expand operations at two observatories. However, they have found that key computer chips are in short supply. "We'd like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]... and we can't get 'em," said Dan Werthimer. Demand for GPUs has soared recently thanks to crypto-currency mining. "That's limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, 'Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?'," Dr Werthimer told the BBC. "This is a new problem, it's only happened on orders we've been trying to make in the last couple of months."


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's disgusting that all that important computing power goes to something so utterly pointless. They should stop this nonsense and just let the cryptocurrency miners have the GPUs.

Re:This is too easy

By arth1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is not SETI@Home, but SETI proper, where they need graphics cards to quickly analyze data, not wait for weeks or months. SETI@Home is high bandwidth, but terrible latency.

Proof of space

By Idou • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
More reason to switch to Proof of space. Then SETI will be able to buy a bunch of used GPUs on the cheap. . .

Re:Protecting alien's privacy

By Excelcia • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They are not looking for modulating of a star. No one is thinking an alien race is going to be modulating a star. Stars don't emit on the hydrogen line. Lord.

When looking for a frequency to search for transmissions on, you can't use nice round numbers and expect that those nice round numbers for us are going to be nice round numbers for them too. 1.000000GHz for us won't be 1.000000GWhatevers for them because every race will have a different measurement for time. So they look for frequencies that are built into the fabric of the universe and use those as the base reference, with the belief that if that idea makes sense for us it would make sense for others too. Hydrogen is the most basic element, the most abundant element in space, and the precession frequency of neutral hydrogen atoms (1.42ishGHz) is a radio frequency that propagates reasonably well. The hope is if that idea makes sense to us, it will make sense to an alien race who might be looking for a frequency to send on that others will think to listen to. Hydrogen line times pi is another one.

Conspiracy! :P

By Koreantoast • Score: 3 • Thread
How do we know SETI doesn't want the GPUs to mine cryptocurrency themselves to fund their program? :P

Apple's Software 'Problem' and 'Fixing' It

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to media reports, Apple is planning to postpone some new features for iOS and macOS this year to focus on improving reliability, stability and performance of the existing versions. Steven Sinofsky, a former President of the Windows Division, shared his insights into the significance of this development: Several important points are conflated in the broad discussion about Apple and software: Quality, pace of change, features "versus" quality, and innovation. Scanning the landscape, it is important to recognize that in total the work Apple has been doing across hardware, software, services, and even AI/ML, in total -- is breathtaking and unprecedented in scope, scale, and quality. Few companies have done so much for so long with such a high level of consistency. This all goes back to the bet on the NeXT code base and move to Intel for Mac OS plus the iPod, which began the journey to where we are today.

[...] What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and growth. You don't just show up and say you want all three and get a "sure." On the other hand, this is precisely what Apple did so reliably over 20 years. But behind the scenes there is a constant discussion over balancing these three legs of the tripod. You have to have all of them but you "can't" but you have to. This is why they get paid big $.

[...] A massive project like an OS (+h/w +cloud) is like a large investment portfolio and some things will work (in market) and others won't, some things are designed to return right away, some are safe bets, some are long term investments. And some mistakes... Customers don't care about any of that and that's ok. They just look for what they care about. Each evaluates through their own lens. Apple's brilliance is in focusing mostly on two audiences -- Send-users and developers -- tending to de-emphasize the whole "techie" crowd, even IT. When you look at a feature like FaceID and trace it backwards all the way to keychain -- see how much long term thought can go into a feature and how much good work can go unnoticed (or even "fail") for years before surfacing as a big advantage. That's a long term POV AND focus. This approach is rather unique compared to other tech companies that tend to develop new things almost independent of everything else. So new things show up and look bolted on the side of what already exists. (Sure Apple can do that to, but not usually). All the while while things are being built the team is just a dev team and trying to come up with a reliable schedule and fix bug. This is just software development.

Not lost at all...

By QuietLagoon • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

...What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality....

My impression is that those people who have been commenting on Apple's software problem know the golden triangle quite well. What they don't understand is why Apple cannot seem to (or does not want to) get the balance right from the customer's viewpoint. Apple is, after all, supposed to be an expert in this area.

Re:TLDR: MacBook getting better or not?

By ilsaloving • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

IMO the 2016 are the worst in a steadily worsening lineup. They have turned computers into ludicrously expensive, laughably limited, unrepairable appliances. I am still using my macbook from 2010. I was able to upgrade the ram to 16GB. I was able to replace the hard drive with an SSD. I can't change the battery trivially myself, which is annoying, but apart from that the machine still runs reasonably well for virtually all my workloads except for high-end gaming.

Now? You can't repair *anything* on the machine. Everything is soldered. Not only that, you can't *plug* anything into the machine either unless you buy expensive dongles. So now, for example, everybody needs to maintain a stock of dongles in every meeting room because nobody makes TVs and projectors with USB-C/TB3 connectors.

The only reasons Apple is doing as well as it is on the computer front is because a) you can't develop iOS apps without one, and b) Microsoft has fucked up Windows so utterly badly that people now have a very strong incentive to jump ship.

If Microsoft every manages to pull it's head out of its rear and come up with a Windows strategy that isn't stupid, Apple is gonna be in trouble.

Re:TLDR: MacBook getting better or not?

By apoc.famine • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The 2016 model was the one which forced me to switch to a Dell Precision running Ububtu. It's got it's share of quirks, but nothing like the clusterfuck of apple's hardware and software.

A year and change in, and I'm more happy with this than I was with my old 2012 MBP. I've got the ports I need, and I can actually crack it open (once I fuck with the stupid non-standard screws) and do things. It's got an actual nVidia graphics card in it as well, not just some crappy embedded video.

And cost half the price of a similarly equipped MBP. No, not quite as snazzy, but whatever. Apple's evolution in their MBP line was opposite the direction I needed them to go, both in hardware and software. Where they were once my go-to, they definitely aren't now. While this focus on software quality is addressing one of my major complaints, there's no guarantee that it's more than lip service, and it's too little, too late for me personally anyway.

I doubt that MS will ever fix its issues either. Smartphones are the next computing evolution, and MS missed the boat hard on that one. With smarphones and game consoles being the primary devices that teens engage the world with, MS is left clinging onto businesses as their primary market. They'll be there for awhile yet, but google is really starting to put the squeeze on them. I don't see MS ever recovering to be as dominant as they used to be.

You've hit the nail on the head

By Brannon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
> If it's a zero-sum-game (favor profits OR favor customers, pick one), and Apple is making high profits, then why is Apple also ranking first in customer satisfaction []?

Most Slashdotters just don't understand technology, in their hearts they believe it exists to give insecure nerds some measure of self-esteem--when in fact it exists to improve the quality-of-life for *regular people*. So /.ers hate Apple and Apple is not aware of their existence.

It's a story as old as [internet] time.

Re:open up mac os X to more systems if just HP / D

By TheFakeTimCook • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I agree with this. I work as a "creative" (commercial photography) and I keep nothing but the specific software I need on my machine's. All work files are kept on SSD's while in the field and dumped onto a RAID at the office. The computers themselves are kept clean free of anything that might degrade performance.


I just can't believe how NON-forward-thinking so many Slashdotters are. In a lot of ways, It feels like it's 1990 in here.

The people of that mindset believe that The only real computer is a tower with a bunch of internal RAID storage, a bunch of barely-compatible peripheral cards with mostly-working drivers, running a version of Linix that "works pretty well, except for...", that it only took 9 months to get sound working, and don't ask about the scanner...

They simply can't fathom of a world where you can purchase an 18-core all-in-one computer, take it out of the box, and with very little fuss, have a fully set-up system, with attached external storage, automatic backups, and email, web browsing and much more in a few minutes.

MPEG-2 Patents Have Expired

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter jabuzz writes: Unless you live in the Philippines or Malaysia, then MPEG-2 has now joined the likes of MP3 and AC3 and gone patent free with the expiration of US patent 7,334,248.

Re:What does that mean?

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

>Is the patent relevant to modern computing?

As network capacities increase, the efficiency of the coding should matter less. So presumably MPEG-2 is becoming more relevant over time.

Re:What does that mean?

By Strider- • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

A lot of live HD distribution is still done in MPEG2. Why? The coding delay for MPEG2 is a lot lower than for h264/HVEC/whatever the latest fancy is. Not a big deal when dealing with canned material, but a huge factor in dealing with live material. It's the difference between an 18Mbps stream (for MPEG2 HD) vs 6Mbps (h.264), but also the difference between 0.5 seconds of encoding delay vs 2 or 3 seconds.

Also, the broadcast industry is incredibly stingy when it comes to spending money, especially capital expenditures. MPEG2 encoders are pretty cheap at this point, whereas MPEG4 are 10x the cost.

Re:What does that mean?

By Solandri • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Steam In-home Streaming encodes your desktop in real-time via MPEG4/h.264, and does it with so little latency that you can use it to play FPS games. It's not like you're encoding it over and over so the latency builds up. You encode it once just before you stream it.

Cost shouldn't be an issue. Broadcast equipment typically costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The addition of a few dollars for a GPU with hardware h.264 encode (now commonly found on phones and tablets) would be trivial.

I suspect the issue is simply foot dragging due to backwards compatibility. If you want your HD distribution broadcast to work with the largest number of legacy client devices, MPEG2 is what you need to use. Switching to MPEG4/h.264 would require the cable company send out a newer cable box to all those customers who've been dutifully been paying $15/mo to rent a cable box which was paid off a decade ago.

Re:What does that mean?

By the_other_chewey • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

A lot of live HD distribution is still done in MPEG2. Why? The coding delay for MPEG2 is a lot lower than for h264/HVEC/whatever the latest fancy is. Not a big deal when dealing with canned material, but a huge factor in dealing with live material. It's the difference between an 18Mbps stream (for MPEG2 HD) vs 6Mbps (h.264), but also the difference between 0.5 seconds of encoding delay vs 2 or 3 seconds.

That's not an inherent problem of the spec, and hasn't been true for over half a decade:
(it's even better today)

I've set up live streams with x264 as an encoder with a guaranteed
encoding latency of under 150ms. On commodity hardware.

Also, the broadcast industry is incredibly stingy when it comes to spending money, especially capital expenditures. MPEG2 encoders are pretty cheap at this point, whereas MPEG4 are 10x the cost.

Yeah, commercial ones. I've been surprised several times by how free-software-averse
the whole broadcasting industry is: They'd rather buy a commercial encoder for $bignum
purchase + recurring $bignum2 support fee instead of using a superior setup that's based
on x264, would cost them about $bignum/10 for the initial setup, and then nothing to run for as
long as they'd like. I'd even deliver the whole documentation on how to run everything, so they
wouldn't need me again.

It's frustratingly hard to make "No need, I'll document and show you how to fix everything yourself"
an accepted answer to "But who do we call if something goes wrong?", even in cases where
they already have very capable and qualified people in-house.

Unfortunately, there's a pretty good inverse correlation between price and quality for H.264
encoders: The more expensive they are, the more they suck.
And that's were the latency problem tends to come in (and the encoding efficiency problem, and
the picture quality problem, and...).

This last patent was a NO-Op for most folks

By slew • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

FWIW, the "interesting" video codec patents expired many years ago. You can peruse them here...

The last patent is entitled "Conditional access filter as for a packet video signal inverse transport system" applied to cable systems and satellite broadcast, but basically doesn't apply to program streams (which is what is used in DVD and created by most MPEG2 A/V multiplexers).

There were some streaming and DVR-like systems that recorded transport streams directly and used them, but not really any "free" stuff (which might use packet formats like MKVs) . Of course now it is totally moot...

Messenger Kids Advocates Were Facebook-Funded

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Fast Company: Facebook unveiled this kid-friendly version of its signature messaging service in December, while the YouTube Kids scandal was in full swing. Messenger Kids, Facebook said, had been designed to serve as a "fun, safer solution" for family communications. It would be available for children as young as 6, the company said. To forestall criticism, Facebook asserted that the app had been developed alongside thousands of parents and a dozen expert advisors. But it looks like many of those outside experts were funded with Facebook dollars. According to Wired, "At least seven members of Facebook 13-person advisory board have some kind of financial tie to the company." Those advisors include the National PTA, Blue Star Families, Connect Safely, and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Considering the false grassroots campaigns used

By H3lldr0p • Score: 3 • Thread

throughout lobbying, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. There are no depths to which those versed in averace will not sink in order to satiate their perverse desires. If it means having to prop up puppet groups, just like the far right has done numerous times, in order to find such "family friendly" advocates then let them. Let them do it so we can mock them and point out their lack of clothes.

It's that second part which is more important. There is no pity to spend here. Mocking laughter is the only cure for this ailment.

The title of the Wired article is misleading

By Jaguar777 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Halfway through the article the author says they were unable to find any bias caused by the funding.

Funding from Facebook may not have affected the feedback or research around Messenger Kids. The Facebook advisers who spoke to WIRED offered thoughtful perspectives, based on personal experience or supported by research.

The title of the article could have just as easily been "Facebook Sought Expert Review for Messenger Kids"

I am SHOCKED ...

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find astroturfing going on in this establishment.

{Your biased expert findings, sir.}

Thank you.

Kaspersky Lab Sues Over Second Federal Ban

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has filed a lawsuit targeting the second of two federal bans on its wares. The latest suit goes after language in a defense law explicitly blocking the purchase of Kaspersky products. An earlier suit targets a Homeland Security directive doing the same. From a report: The bigger picture: With the White House reluctant to institute additional sanctions on Russia, White House Cyber Czar Rob Joyce pointed to Kaspersky as an example of the Trump administration taking Russia seriously. While Kaspersky isn't alleged to be involved in the election hacks of 2016, it's hard not to see the actions against the firm in the context of deteriorated relations with Moscow, as part of a growing spat between the two countries.


By midifarm • Score: 3 • Thread
Why do they assume they have a right to supply the US Government with anything? THe Us Government as a "company" can choose products for company-wide use or non use. Some companies required Blackberries at one time. Now they're no longer allowed. Apparently the critics are right, they don't like free enterprise!

This is going to send a strong message

By Opportunist • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

If you don't let us get a backdoor into your products, you won't work in this country again.

Constitutionality of a Bill Targeting a Co

By Wayne Anderson • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Completely aside from the political stuff of whether Kapersky is giving things to the FSB and is therefore an elevated risk - I wonder aloud about the constitutionality of a law targeting specific companies.

And it MUST be banned

By Ivan Stepaniuk • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It is not acceptable for a sovereign government that any company, especially a foreign one, has the ability to render the whole country's computer infrastructure to a halt with the flick of a switch on their automatic update servers.

The system is already broken. Using closed source software puts any country sovereignty at stake. Your software providers' "red buttons" are bigger and faster than Trump's.

Germany Considers Free Public Transport in Fight To Banish Air Pollution

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Car nation" Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines. From a report: The move comes just over two years after Volkswagen's devastating "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal unleashed a wave of anger at the auto industry, a keystone of German prosperity. "We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars," three ministers including Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks wrote to EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella in the letter seen by AFP Tuesday.

Re:Roads are also subsidized

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You are forgetting that roads are also heavily subsidized.

And you're forgetting that everybody benefits from those roads - that's why they're subsidized.

And everyone benefits from Mass Transit too. Even if you don't use Mass Transit, you benefit from cleaner air, less congested roads, and an improved over-all economy. (Cities with good Mass Transit are generally considered more desirable- which brings in more employers and people wanting to live there, which improves your property values, the tax the city brings in... and along with that more amenities for citizens).

Re:I'm not in Germany but...

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Death by hobo and death by car crash are both very very very low probability events. If one is ten or a hundred times more likely than the other, they're both still inconsequential. Inconvenience of wasted time in public transit relative to car, on the other hand, is a near certainty outside of dense city centers with dense transit networks that are well-run.

Here in the US, there are maybe a half-dozen places where having a car is less convenient than driving, all dense city centers where a distinct minority of the population resides. Everywhere else, even in those same metro areas, all the subways and buses and commuter trains could be free, and they can run twice as frequently, but that'll make almost no dent in driving rates. Maybe Germany is dense enough for free transit to be of some real benefit to people, but my guess is that anyone who can take transit already does.

Re:I'm not in Germany but...

By Solandri • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The public transport system in most of the US is (intentionally or not) crippled.

It's not crippled. With a few notable exceptions (e.g. NYC), the cities here tend to be a lot sparser than the European cities I've visited. The means the traffic problems which slow down driving your own car there are not as bad here (in time per distance), and that public transportation has to cover a larger area so either runs slower (more stops per trip) or leaves you with a longer distance to walk after getting off (fewer stops and longer distance between stops). Also, a lot of the European and Asian cities' roads are based on historical foot paths, cow paths, landowner plot borders, and organic city expansion over a half dozen to dozen centuries, so are curved and twisted making navigation and traffic management a nightmare. A subway has an advantage in being able to bypass a squiggly road route, and taking a more or less straight underground route. Most of the cities in the U.S. (Boston being a notable exception) have their streets laid out in a grid which eases navigation and traffic management, resulting in shorter travel distances by car and less traffic (per distance).

In other words, it's not that public transportation here is crippled. It's that the optimal solution changes depending on city density, road layout, traffic volume, and parking availability. And a lot of the cities in the U.S. have better road layouts and haven't yet reached the high enough density needed to make public transportation the optimal solution. The lower density also means there's more parking per distance so you can find a parking space quicker and closer to your destination that even if there were European-style public transport available.

Just because there's an optimal a solution which works in one location in one situation, does not automatically mean it's the optimal solution for all locations in all situations.

Re:I'm not in Germany but...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I live in Austin, and find the bus to/from work more convenient (and cheaper) than driving. Downtown parking garages are $25-$40 a day, so by taking a bus, it not just saves me $800 a month, but also 30+ minutes a day in commuting time, just to find a spot in the 10+ levels of the garage.

There are a lot more than six places where public transportation is useful.

Re: "Free"

By grep_rocks • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
US cities were built around mass transport then General Motors came in a paid cities to rip out the infrastructure and replace it with buses - this is the way America works it is owned by big corporations and public transport is not in their interest - and most people in America don't get it - somehow America can't have trains, public transport or healthcare because it is special - and it is - it is special but not in the way they think - it is because it is wholly owned by corporate interest and its people are too stupid blaming immigrants, liberals, gay people and minorities for their problems - instead of blaming the fucking banks, big box stores, auto companies, and insurance companies who are just fine with the way things are

Google's Chrome Ad Blocking Arrives Tomorrow

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is enabling its built-in ad blocker for Chrome tomorrow (February 15th). From a report: Chrome's ad filtering is designed to weed out some of the web's most annoying ads, and push website owners to stop using them. Google is not planning to wipe out all ads from Chrome, just ones that are considered bad using standards from the Coalition for Better Ads. Full page ads, ads with autoplaying sound and video, and flashing ads will be targeted by Chrome's ad filtering, which will hopefully result in less of these annoying ads on the web. Google is revealing today exactly what ads will be blocked, and how the company notifies site owners before a block is put in place. On desktop, Google is planning to block pop-up ads, large sticky ads, auto-play video ads with sound, and ads that appear on a site with a countdown blocking you before the content loads. Google is being more aggressive about its mobile ad blocking, filtering out pop-up ads, ads that are displayed before content loads (with or without a countdown), auto-play video ads with sound, large sticky ads, flashing animated ads, fullscreen scroll over ads, and ads that are particularly dense.


By Zocalo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
My fourth option is the same as the one I use when I come across a site with an anti-adblock script where the effort to work around it outweighs my desire to read their specific take on the content. See if that content is available elsewhere, with a side-option of probably not returning to that site again if it's a high-enough profile to enter my conciousness or particularly obnoxious about the detection. There are already far too many instance of ad-providers serving up malware to make not blocking ads across the board a remotely sane thing to do from a security perspective, and given the recent abuse of a popular script-hosting site to mine crypto-currency it seems like only whitelisting scripts is a pretty damn good idea too.

Of course, I do have the advantage of knowing what I'm doing with script- and ad-blockers so a whitelisting is a viable option. The average Joe's PC, on the otherhand, is probably going to be spending a lot of its time sending spam, mining crypto currency, or acting a a proxy for random script kiddies to do whatever they want. If Google really wants to make a difference with Chrome's ad-blocker (and AMP, for that matter), they could start right there and insist that all pages and content, including any ads, will still render a usable page without any scripting support. I'll still be blocking the ads though. :)

Re:Anti competitive

By sg_oneill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Its kind of critical at the moment.

A friend of mine is a journalist who makes his living off the website he writes for now that the newspaper it sprung out of has died. That means he's 100% dependent on ads to pay the rent (The sites fairly opposed to paywalls). So understandably he's got a bee in his bonnet about ad blockers.

My self on the other hand actively advocate people using full strength no exception ad blocking, simply because I've had on more than one occasion been pwned by zero days sprung out of advertisements dropping malware on my machines without my consent. In the current deeply unethical state of internet advertising, its just too dangerous to permit ads in my browsers.

And so we have a problem. Because without good writers and content makers being able to make a living off their trade, we're going to lose a lot of the good content on the net to paywalls, and a lot of content makers are simply going to quit. And thats BAD for the internet.

So maybe companies like Google and Apple laying smackdowns on badvertising , despite the conflict of interests involved might be what it takes to save the internets content infrastructure from the slow death that losing advertising might bring

Re:Anti competitive

By MitchDev • Score: 4 • Thread

Or force them to ditch annoying auto-playing audio/video ads and pop-ups/pop-unders, etc.

Re:Anti competitive

By Voyager529 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They way I see it, you don't have to use Chrome...

Is there really a law that prevents me from writing my own web browser that blocks all ads except my own?

I'm torn on this topic because auto-play video ads, floating ads, ads with undesired audio, and ads on overlays have made using websites an absolute chore without ad blocking software. uBlock and friends, however, seem to go too far in the other direction and prevent any ads from being displayed, which is not what I want, either. In theory, Google has the balance right, and I think that having such capabilities built into the dominant web browser is going to instill corrective behavior in the same way that integrated pop-up blockers have brought that ad format to extinction.

However, Google is not the company that should be doing this. They are an ad company. This is the definition of 'conflict of interest'. Google also has an overwhelming market share of online advertising. Facebook admittedly rules the roost on their own platform, but it's not entirely apples to apples since they keep their ads in-house, and even though they're the most popular website on the internet, their decline has begun.

Beyond Google, you end up with small percentages in other areas where AdSense doesn't do the trick - the MSN, Yahoo, and AOL homepages (still seen by millions), the sketchy ad networks like Trafficstars and Taboola that serve up ads to torrent sites and porn sites, and places like DDG who run their own ads on principle for whatever they can get.

Ad networks should never have let things get this far in the first place, and shame on whoever thought it was preferential to do this rather than keep ads a 'necessary evil', as if the pop-up blocker battle of the 90's is forgotten history. I'd throw 'government oversight' into the ring as a solution, but if you're left-of-center, Trump and Ajit aren't going to make any decisions you like, and if you're right-of-center, it's more government oversight in general, which isn't desirable, either. Even if somehow there was a sudden outbreak of common sense from Washington, we start dealing with the same "physical jurisdictions don't apply to the internet" problem. Even a perfectly written and enforced federal law is thwarted by an office move and shifting the VMs to Ireland or Sweden.

To directly answer your question, no, there's no law preventing what you state. However, you're not a multibillion dollar company whose primary income is based on ad revenue with a browser commanding over half the browser market which case, the rules are just a bit different. There's nothing stopping you from writing an operating system and shipping a web browser on it, but you're not Microsoft, you're not telling OEMs they can't ship computers with Chrome on it, and this isn't context is involved here.

Re:Anti competitive

By Dragonslicer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

A friend of mine is a journalist who makes his living off the website he writes for now that the newspaper it sprung out of has died. That means he's 100% dependent on ads to pay the rent (The sites fairly opposed to paywalls). So understandably he's got a bee in his bonnet about ad blockers.

As far as I know, ad blockers aren't doing any kind of advanced image analysis, they're just going by the domain the ad comes from. So if he wants to sell ads on his site, he can host the ads himself and they won't be blocked.

AMP For Email Is a Terrible Idea

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via TechCrunch, written by Devin Coldewey: Google just announced a plan to "modernize" email with its Accelerated Mobile Pages platform, allowing "engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences." Does that sound like a terrible idea to anyone else? It sure sounds like a terrible idea to me, and not only that, but an idea borne out of competitive pressure and existing leverage rather than user needs. Not good, Google. Send to trash. See, email belongs to a special class. Nobody really likes it, but it's the way nobody really likes sidewalks, or electrical outlets, or forks. It not that there's something wrong with them. It's that they're mature, useful items that do exactly what they need to do. They've transcended the world of likes and dislikes. Email too is simple. It's a known quantity in practically every company, household, and device. The implementation has changed over the decades, but the basic idea has remained the same since the very first email systems in the '60s and '70s, certainly since its widespread standardization in the '90s and shift to web platforms in the '00s. The parallels to snail mail are deliberate (it's a payload with an address on it) and simplicity has always been part of its design (interoperability and privacy came later). No company owns it. It works reliably and as intended on every platform, every operating system, every device. That's a rarity today and a hell of a valuable one.

More important are two things: the moat and the motive. The moat is the one between communications and applications. Communications say things, and applications interact with things. There are crossover areas, but something like email is designed and overwhelmingly used to say things, while websites and apps are overwhelmingly designed and used to interact with things. The moat between communication and action is important because it makes it very clear what certain tools are capable of, which in turn lets them be trusted and used properly. We know that all an email can ever do is say something to you (tracking pixels and read receipts notwithstanding). It doesn't download anything on its own, it doesn't run any apps or scripts, attachments are discrete items, unless they're images in the HTML, which is itself optional. Ultimately the whole package is always just going to be a big , static chunk of text sent to you, with the occasional file riding shotgun. Open it a year or ten from now and it's the same email. And that proscription goes both ways. No matter what you try to do with email, you can only ever say something with it -- with another email. If you want to do something, you leave the email behind and do it on the other side of the moat.

Re:Plain text?

By TheRaven64 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There are few e-mail clients even capable of sending plain text e-mail, let alone clients that do so by default.

Really? Apple Mail (macOS and iOS), Thunderbird, and K9 Mail are all happy to have plain text set as their composing format. I've not seen a mail client that can't send plain text.

Re:Nobody likes it?

By green1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They could start by not letting it run ANY code...
This isn't a hard concept, nobody expects their email to run applications, or connect out to remote servers, or anything like that. The most anyone will ever want from their email is some formatting (bold, italic, colour, font size) that's easy to implement without adding the capability to run full scripting languages and reach out to every remote ad server on the planet.

The problem isn't that companies don't know how to make it secure, it's that their business model relies on it being insecure. If email clients refused to reach out to remote servers when displaying a message, the companies couldn't track everything you do. If they didn't run scripts the companies would be limited to static ads.

Of course this is really the biggest problem with almost all innovation right now. The question is no longer "how do we make X better" but instead "how do we make X more profitable" It used to be that people assumed that doing the former would lead to the latter, now there's no attempt to even consider the former. This leads to thousands of non-interoperable walled gardens full of garbage nobody wants that is actively hostile to the users.

Re:Had to switch to desktop mode to read post

By green1 • Score: 4 • Thread

No, AMP would be a horrible idea.
Stopping this charade that mobile devices should get inferior pages on every website instead of the full experience on the other hand would be a good idea.

Cell phones these days have almost as much processing power as full computers. They often have higher resolution screens, and are fully capable of using the internet, Unfortunately a large percentage of the internet is crippled when you try to browse it without manually telling each webpage that you want desktop mode, and even then many sites refuse to oblige and continue to serve the crippled version of their site.

There should be no such thing as a "mobile" website. There should just be "websites" because I have never once met a desktop site that didn't work on my phone, and I have never once met a "mobile" site that was better in any way than the desktop version of the same site when accessing them from my phone.

AMP needs to die.
Mobile pages need to die.
Let me access the actual site, by default, on my phone!

Re:https everywhere is about control

By ilsaloving • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Just because the idea is blatantly self-serving, doesn't mean it's wrong in general.

Yes, Google may indirectly benefit from HTTPS everywhere. However, HTTPS everywhere IS needed, because the parade of malicious actors never stops and every layer of security we add can only be a good thing.

The Problem Google is Fixing

By Koreantoast • Score: 3 • Thread

No company owns it [email].

That's the "problem" Google is fixing.

The Next Falcon Heavy Will Carry the Most Powerful Atomic Clock Ever Launched

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from This isn't your average timekeeper. The so-called Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) is far smaller than Earth-bound atomic clocks, far more precise than the handful of other space-bound atomic clocks, and more resilient against the stresses of space travel than any clock ever made. According to a NASA statement, it's expected to lose no more than 2 nanoseconds (2 billionths of a second) over the course of a day. That comes to about 7 millionths of a second over the course of a decade. n an email to Live Science, Andrew Good, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory representative, said the first DSAC will hitch a ride on the second Falcon Heavy launch, scheduled for June.

Every deep-space mission that makes course corrections needs to send signals to ground stations on Earth. Those ground stations rely on atomic clocks to measure just how long those signals took to arrive, which allows them to locate the spacecrafts position down to the meter in the vast vacuum. They then send signals back, telling the craft where they are and where to go next. Thats a cumbersome process, and it means any given ground station can support only one spacecraft at a time. The goal of DSAC, according to a NASA fact sheet, is to allow spacecraft to make precise timing measurements onboard a spacecraft, without waiting for information from Earth. A DSAC-equipped spacecraft, according to NASAs statement, could calculate time without waiting for measurements from Earth -- allowing it to make course adjustments or perform precision science experiments without pausing to turn its antennas earthward and waiting for a reply.

Re:Forgive my ignorance

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Meh. Most clocks go up to at least 12.

Re:Forgive my ignorance

By GS1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I believe this clock is accurate up to ±2ns per day, not per second. In fact I would be shocked if it were per second.

Plus, this has to be understood as a random walk of time keeping. When a clock "looses" a second, it's not necessarily slower than some other reference. It may be faster.

Now, if relativity states time dilation slows clocks (from the point of view of Earth-based observers), this is something we can agree upon and take into account. This is not clock imprecision of random loss (or gain) of time. It has in fact and must be taken into account for the GPS system to work at all.

See: https://physics.stackexchange....

Re:Gravitational time dilation

By DickBreath • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
You don't compensate for it. You want accurate time measurement within the orbiting clock's frame of reference. The value comes from comparing it to other clocks in their respective frames of reference. A translation between frames of reference can be done to take advantage of the accuracy of whatever is considered to be the most accurate clock.

On the subject of accuracy, about that 7 microseconds per decade -- does that assume that all errors accumulate in the same direction? Or might some oscillation errors be in different directions from other errors. (eg, an extra "tick" or a missing "tick".)

Even if all errors accumulate in the same direction, it is probably not enough for slow, inefficient, puny humans to notice. The length of sprints do not need to be adjusted to compensate, and thus no effect on the release schedule.


By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Shirley if it has a powerful dong it should be used to time porn films?

Not just no, And stop calling me Shirley....

Re:Most powerful... 13?

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

Excellent... if only we could get the moderation to go to 6.

Yes! The post could then be modlier!


New Horizons Probe Captures Images At Record Distance From Earth

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
jwhyche writes: The New Horizons probe has captured the farthermost images of Earth. The probe took images of Earth from a distance of over 3.79 billion miles on December 5th, 2017. This beats the image Voyager 1 captured 27 years ago. The Voyager image was taken at a distance of 3.75 billion miles and has become known as the "Pale Blue Dot" photo. Engadget notes that this new record is likely to be broken again within a matter of months. "The [New Horizons spacecraft] is slated to swing by another Kuiper Belt object (2014 MU69) on January 1st, 2019 and record more imagery in the process," reports Engadget. "So long as the mission goes according to plan, New Horizons could hold on to its lead for a long time."

Re:Looking back into the past

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What a vanity mission! We can see the influence of the Facebook indoctrinated generation here:

We sent up an expensive space probe to take a selfie!

Let's enhance it!

By Kiuas • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

That's some pretty impressive zoom, but can we enhance it?


By StatureOfLiberty • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This article is the most poorly worded article I have read in a long time. It was not at all clear what they meant. However, the NASA link is quite clear.

It is not the farthest picture from earth. It was not taken from earth, or even near earth. It is not the picture itself they are talking about. It is the space probe that took it. New Horizons was the furthest from Earth of any space probe that has taken a picture (any picture).

Voyager 1 was 3.75 billion miles away from Earth when it took a picture. It just so happens it was a picture of Earth.
New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles away from Earth when it took a picture. (That is the record they are talking about).

Re:Looking back into the past

By zifn4b • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

We sent up an expensive space probe to take a selfie!

Once upon a time there was a plan to build a space elevator. Next project: Space Selfie Stick

Farthest FROM Earth, not OF Earth

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 3 • Thread

The New Horizons probe has captured the farthermost images of Earth. The probe took images of Earth

No it didn't. The images are not of Earth.