the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Mar-07 today archive

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

Most Americans Think AI Will Destroy Other People's Jobs, Not Theirs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. adults believe artificial intelligence will "eliminate more jobs than it creates," according to a Gallup survey. But, the same survey found that less than a quarter (23 percent) of people were "worried" or "very worried" automation would affect them personally. Notably, these figures vary depending on education. For respondents with only a four-year college degree or less, 28 percent were worried about AI taking their job; for people with at least a bachelor degree, that figure was 15 percent. These numbers tell a familiar story. They come from a Gallup survey of more than 3,000 individuals on automation and AI. New details were released this week, but they echo the findings of earlier reports. The newly released findings from Gallup's survey also show that by one measure, the use of AI is already widespread in the U.S. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans (85 percent) use at least one of six devices or services that use features of artificial intelligence, says Gallup. Eighty-four percent of people use navigation apps like Waze, and 72 percent use streaming services like Netflix. Forty-seven percent use digital assistants on their smartphones, and 22 percent use them on devices like Amazon's Echo.

Re:Automation is good

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Why do we have so many homeless people?

Have you ever talked to any homeless people? Have you ever spent time working with the homeless, and helping them deal with their situations? If you do, you will soon understand that most homelessness is about mental health problems, not economics.

Re: yeah forget that

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
No problem I just filed a trademark on my job. I'll be happy to license it.

Re:Your duty is clear

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think most people understand that their job probably requires some degree of human-level intelligence. As such, they figure that their own job is safe until technology reaches that point AND costs less than their salary to rent such an AI. The only ones who really have to worry are those who know that a reasonably sophisticated algorithm could replace them.

But those same people who know their own job requirements probably have no idea what many other types of jobs entail, and I suspect they're likely to over-simplify them. As such, they're "good candidates for AI to replace."

At least, that's my hypothesis for the patterns of these answers.

Yes, but...

By uohcicds • Score: 3 • Thread

Up to a third of Americans believe the earth is around 6000 years old, and that evolution is a lie. And increasing numbers believe the earth is flat, in spite of fairly compendious evidence to the contrary.

So you'll forgive me if the opinions of the American public don't exactly fit me with a sense of confidence or hope in their sense of judgement when presented with inconvenient things like facts.

Re:Your duty is clear

By ranton • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

But those same people who know their own job requirements probably have no idea what many other types of jobs entail, and I suspect they're likely to over-simplify them. As such, they're "good candidates for AI to replace."

Or, conversely, they may not be as personally invested and can therefore form a more objective opinion about other people's jobs.

One aspect of AI automation that most people tend to ignore is the disruption that even automating 20% of your job can have on the industry. Especially if it happens quickly. The law industry is one example where the job prospects for most graduates is hurt significantly just because one aspect of the job (research and discovery) is increasingly handled by advanced algorithms.

The other aspect which is ignored is the impact of other displaced workers on industries which are not as disrupted. Perhaps AI cannot do plumbing, but those millions of unemployed truck drivers sure could. The shrinking number of jobs which are insulated from AI disruption will instead see increased competition from those displaced human workers.

Literally anyone who thinks their job will not be impacted by improving AI technology is deluding themselves. It will most likely follow the general trend of the last 50 years, where a small percentage of people see dramatic gains in income / wealth (not just the top 1%, but my guess is closer to 5-10%) and the rest experience a much shakier career than the middle/working class of the last century.

Samsung's New TVs Are Almost Invisible

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mike Murphy reports via Quartz of Samsung's new top-of-the-line televisions announced at an event in New York today: Samsung's new QLED line of 4K TVs features a technology the company is calling "Ambient Mode." Before you mount the TV, you'll snap a picture of the wall it's going to hang on -- it doesn't matter if it's brick, wood, patterned wallpaper, or just a white wall -- and then after it's up, you can set that picture as the TV's background. The result is something that looks like a floating black rectangle mounted on a wall. Samsung even includes a digital version of the shadow this black rectangle would cast on the wall, as if there really wasn't a large LED panel sitting in the middle of the thin metal strips. There are five QLED models, with minor tweaks between them, ranging in size from 49 inches, up to an absolutely massive 88 inches. The televisions have a built-in timer so that the ambient setting will turn off after a while, in order to spare your electricity bill. Viewing the televisions before Samsung's event, the ambient really did appear to blend them into the walls at first blush. One, against a fake brick wall, was indistinguishable from what was behind it until you really got close up to the screen. The distinction on another, attempting to mimic a painted off-white wall, was a little more obvious. But that's not really the point -- the mode is just intended to give the illusion of invisibility between watching TV, and when you want to show off your new television to a visitor. Pricing isn't available but you can expect them to range from a few thousands dollars all the way up to $20,000 for the largest, sharpest models. Samsung also announced that it's partnering with The Weather Channel, The New York Times, and others to overlay content on the ambient TVs. They will also be able to control any smart device that can control to Samsung's SmartThings system, like Amazon Echoes, Ring doorbells, and Philips Hue Lights. Bixby is baked into the remote to help you search for content and cater to commands.

Re:Invisible tvs!

By gl4ss • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

you know whats more so stupid? you can do this same thing with any tv you can put a picture on.

A Cunning Plan

By Michael Woodhams • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Here is something for you hackers out there to try.
The simple version: In a room with no exterior windows, set a large TV/monitor into a wall. Surround it by a window frame. Display the view you'd expect to see from your building, if there actually was a window there.
Elaboration 0: Use a camera to feed a live view of outside to the 'window'.
Elaboration 1: Have weird things happen occasionally in the view: UFO, Godzilla attack, albatross flying into the "window", tsunami, pyroclastic flow, spiderman.
Elaboration 2: Have some cameras inside the room and some AI to identify and track human heads. By whatever method, pick one head as the victim. Feed the location of that head to the display software, so it will display the view with the correct parallax for that viewpoint.

Once you add the parallax, I think this could be very convincing to any unsuspecting viewer.

I disclaim any responsibility for the effects this could have on the viewer, or consequences that the viewer or others might visit upon the trickster. Consult your own ethics and lawyers and (if relevant) your institution's ethics review board.


By markdavis • Score: 3 • Thread

>"Viewing the televisions before Samsung's event, the ambient really did appear to blend them into the walls at first blush."

Except that Samsung and apparently most of the other manufacturers are in love with stupid, GLOSSY screens. So no, it will not be invisible, it will reflect every stray light and everything else, even when it is on. (Can you tell I am a fan of now nearly unobtainable MATT displays?)

I can guess their "sample" setup was engineered VERY carefully to try and hide the actual reality of reflections that would be present in any real-world use.

Re:Screen Saver

By ChoGGi • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

something like: (shows short clips from random youtube videos with low counts and names like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321)

Re:Too much extra shit

By Cederic • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

How are you going to get video to appear on the TV without Internet?

Using one of the myriad of devices that can connect to the internet in a secure, controlled and controllable manner, then provide that content to the TV using one of the industry standard inputs.

With no fucking adverts, no camera or microphone in the TV monitoring you, no removal of specific applications because the media company stopped paying the TV manufacturer, etc.

California Becomes 18th State To Consider Right To Repair Legislation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Jason Koebler shares a report from Motherboard: The right to repair battle has come to Silicon Valley's home state: Wednesday, a state assembly member announced that California would become the 18th state in the country to consider legislation that would make it easier to repair your electronics. "The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence," Susan Talamantes Engman, a Democrat from Stockton who introduced the bill, said in a statement. The announcement had been rumored for about a week but became official Wednesday. The bill would require electronics manufacturers to make repair guides and repair parts available to the public and independent repair professionals and would also would make diagnostic software and tools that are available to authorized and first-party repair technicians available to independent companies.

Can I ...

By PPH • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

... order some parts to fix my AR-15? The full auto mode is inoperative.


By Okian Warrior • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

... order some parts to fix my AR-15? The full auto mode is inoperative.

Your AR-15 doesn't have a full auto mode.

You can modify an AR-15 to be full auto, but it's tricky and probably won't work. The AR-15 tends to jam when fired at full-auto rates.

Also, such modifications are illegal.

What you *can* do is modify a liberal so that they know what they're talking about when it comes to guns.

That's also tricky and probably won't work, but it's not illegal.

Re:can they repair their state first?

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Low taxes and a healthy FU to the gov't works best.

I'd tell you to enjoy Kentucky, but I see that they just outlawed child brides. More big government overreach, amirite? Maybe Alabama will be more to your liking.


By nightfire-unique • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Please, please, please make it illegal to manufacture or offer for sale any device into which a battery has been glued.

Single issue vote from me. e-waste ain't no laughin' matter, yo.

Re:can they repair their state first?

By BlueStrat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Your statement would be more convincing if your signature line didn't accuse all liberals of wanting a police state.

This needs to be addressed first.

My sig refers to ideas and ideology, not people. That's a large part of why there's such a disconnect. Nazis of the 19030s/40s are bad, but the German people are and were not bad, it's the Nazi ideas that are bad. Calling those ideas out as bad is not saying the German people are bad. Same thing here. I'm criticizing a set of ideas, not people.

We need to be able to discuss ideas calmly and logically or there is no hope of maintaining a stable nation.

Come now, that's not fair. People in different regions of this huge nation are...different.

That's true. Some regions like to marry 13 year-olds and some vote Democratic.

And in California men marry men and women marry women which is just as strange to them. Again, you attack some mythical group that somehow all believe in lockstep when that's not true of either Left- or Right-leaning people in the US, and somehow also believe your ideas are superior by default. That just works to stop people listening to what those who may disagree are actually saying. It doesn't help solve anything and only makes things worse.

Besides, that's not really fair as few places still have laws allowing marriage that young, and many are old laws left over from as far back as the Reconstruction era. The States you referenced were also States for many decades prior to many of the more liberal Western States and so those much more recent States started out with more-current laws and customs.

Can't we find things, like this proposed Act where we share common ground, that we can come together on and stop demonizing each other on and trying to "win" by any means, even destroying innocent people's lives? It's either that or eventually we end up in a place where there are internment camps and mass graves.


Oculus Rift Headsets Are Offline Following a Software Error

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Polygon reports that Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets around the world are experiencing an outage. The outage appears to be a result of an expired security certificate. "That certificate has expired," said the Oculus support team on its forums, "and we're looking at a few different ways to resolve the issue. We'll update you with the latest info as available. We recommend you wait until we provide an official fix. Thanks for your patience." Polygon reports: One place where users experiencing the issue are gathering is on the Oculus forums. Last night user apexmaster booted up his computer, tried to open the Oculus app and was greeted by an error indicating that the software could not reach the "Oculus Runtime Service." That same error is cropping up on computers all around the world, including several devices here at Polygon. Once it has appeared, there's no way to restart the Oculus app, which renders the Rift headset unusable.

I hear thier next software update

By bobstreo • Score: 3 • Thread

Is the inclusion of the exciting new software: .Blipverts

More proof that Oculus was definitely not the way

By Khyber • Score: 3 • Thread

A certificate expiry takes your entire fucking VR gaming rig down?

That's what you get for using a Facebook company.


By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yeah... it's sort of hard to believe the bumbling that would allow a certificate to expire before realizing that it would shut down every single one of their users. I mean, I understand bugs slip through, but this is sort of astoundingly bad.

More to the point, as you indicated, what the hell is an expiring certificate doing in their software anyhow? A normal code-signing certificate expires after a time, but the software that was signed with it does NOT expire. We now know that their device-critical software has a time bomb in it that only they can periodically reset, and they were already slipshod enough to miss the deadline once.


By vtcodger • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Can't access it? Security feature. It's undeniably secure.

Just wait until Ford or Toyota or VW inadvertently lets a certificate expire and a few hundred million vehicles glide silently to a stop ... wherever they may happen to be,

Breaking News! Fix released

By CeasedCaring • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
To resolve the "Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service" error, please follow these steps:

If you currently have the Oculus app installed:

Go to
Click Download Install Patch to download OculusPatchMarch2018.exe.
Open OculusPatchMarch2018.exe.
If Windows asks you if you’re sure you want to open this file, click Yes.
If Windows Defender prompts "Windows protected your PC", click More info and then click Run anyway.
If your antivirus software restricts the file from opening, temporarily disable your AV and continue.
Select Repair and confirm you would like to repair the Oculus software.
Allow the repair process to run, download and install.
Launch the Oculus app.

Shortly after the repair you will be prompted for an update. Please complete the update. The download and update may take up to 10 minutes depending on network connection.

If you uninstalled the Oculus app from your computer:

Go to
Click Download Oculus Software to download OculusSetup.exe.
Open OculusSetup.exe and follow the onscreen instructions to install the latest version of the Oculus app.

Source -

Snap Is Laying Off Around 100 Engineers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Snap is laying off about 100 engineers -- nearly 10 percent of the team -- CNBC has learned. The company has seen smaller rounds of layoffs in recent months in its marketing, recruiting and content divisions. These layoffs would be Snap's largest yet and the first to hit the company's engineers. The company last month rolled out the redesign of its pioneering photo messaging app. The redesign separated publisher content from content posted by friends and connections. Snap reported roughly 3,000 employees as of the December quarter and said in its first annual filing that it expected "headcount growth to continue for the foreseeable future."

Re:Isn't that the company with the messaging app?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
You think that's bad, look at google. Their product is just a form with a single field.

Re:Isn't that the company with the messaging app?

By hawguy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Who names a productivity software, "Slack"

If you've seen the inane conversations that go on in a typical company's slack channels, you'd know that it's an appropriate name

Self-Driving Cars Are Being Attacked By Angry Californians

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to incident reports collected by the California department of motor vehicles, some Californians are purposely colliding with self-driving cars. The Guardian reports: On January 10, a pedestrian in San Francisco's Mission District ran across the street to confront a GM Cruise autonomous vehicle that was waiting for people to cross the road, according to an incident report filed by the car company. The pedestrian was "shouting," the report states, and "struck the left side of the Cruise AV's rear bumper and hatch with his entire body." No injuries occurred, but the car's left tail light was damaged. In a separate incident just a few blocks away on January 28, a taxi driver in San Francisco got out of his car, approached a GM Cruise autonomous vehicle and "slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch." The police were not called in either case.

Re: I wonder what good they think that will do?

By slazzy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Start a, new business: dummies for driverless cars to make them look like they are being driven by someone.

Re: It's just vandalism

By pedz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well... you are neglecting something called consequences. Sure, it is "illegal" or "improper" to kill folks or vandalize cars and often those who do that go to jail or whatever.

But it is also illegal as well as immoral to utterly fuck over your fellow citizen with your greed and usually those folks do not go to jail. But, karma still comes around and shits on them by way of being vandalized, assassinated, and taunted a second time.

Its all good man.!

Re:It's just vandalism

By Tom • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It used to be very much not normal in Europe, and how shameful it is depends on how normal it is.

When I grew up, I wasn't aware of a single unemployed person in my social circles. No parent or friend of parents or relative, not one. People who didn't work were either too young or too old.

The older I get, the more unemployed people show up. Several of my friends are now unemployed. This is an intentional political shift to put pressure on people to accept low-paying jobs.

When the movie "Falling Down" came out in 1993, I understood immediately why the protagonist is hiding that he lost his job, no explanation was necessary. I don't think you could show the movie to todays audiences without explaining that point.

Re: It's just vandalism

By Tom • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The last G20 happened in my home city, so don't think I have any sympathy for those looters and assholes whatsoever.

That said, there is more to it than just riot tourism. Politics in the west have shifted so far to the neo-liberal model that we are basically back to debating how many angels can dance on a pin-head instead of which religion is better or if religion at all is good. The entire economical debates in politics of the past decade are running in circles around a tiny area of the total field of discourse. Unless you are a strict neo-liberalist, your views on wealth distribution, social justice and fair economic systems are not only not represented in politics anymore, nobody is even close enough to them to be an acceptable compromise.

That leaves only the street. And yes, it is rarely the poor who protest, because they don't have the money or time to organize, travel somewhere to join a group or demonstration - they are busy surviving.

The G20 riots specifically were stupid, counter-productive and very, very predictable. So much so that I'm with the conspiracy theorists that the riots were not only expected but provoked (actions in the days before) and maybe even "helped along" by agent provocateurs. So that the many, many peaceful protests didn't get media attention. Things probably got quite a bit out of hand in a "the spirits that I called" manner, if you guys are familiar with German poetry.

So under the media image of Hamburg burning, there was a lot of effort to have an actual impact. It just didn't get much screen time.

Uh, SF is not CA

By grasshoppa • Score: 3 • Thread

Anyone else amused that the article conflates SF with the entirety of CA? News flash, folks: SF, LA and SD could very well be their own distinct state, with everyone else making up a very very red state.

Personally, I'd love to see that. Give them what they want; their own state. Their own echo chamber to do with as they please.

It'd be even more amusing than some random dumbass conflating SF with the entire state of CA.

Android P Drops Support For Nexus Phones, Pixel Tablet

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google has launched the first developer preview of Android P, the company's new mobile operating system that brings new features and improvements over Android Oreo. Unfortunately, developers will only have a small set of blessed hardware to choose from with Android P: the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. Google's Nexus smartphones and Pixel C tablet will not get Android P when it's fully released. The Verge reports: Eventually, Android P will ship on new phones from other manufacturers, along with the handful of handsets that third-parties bother to update, but there are a couple Android mainstays that won't get to enjoy this marvelous future: Google's Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones, and the oft-forgotten Pixel C tablet. As Ars Technica confirmed with Google, those devices won't be getting Android P when it's released fully. Also, as Android Police notes, there's no Developer Preview image for the Nexus Player, which came out in 2014, so it might be done getting updates as well. It's 2018, and we're beyond the two years of major OS update support these devices were promised, so this isn't hugely surprising. All three devices will continue to get monthly security updates through at least November of this year, but they'll remain stuck on Android 8.1 for an underlying OS as far as official Google updates go.

Google is pretty forthcoming about updates

By Streetlight • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Check the link below. Scroll down to and open "Nexus devices" under "When you'll get Android updates" to see when Google will not guarantee updates.

So much for Android ...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

but there are a couple Android mainstays that won't get to enjoy this marvelous future: Google's Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones, and the oft-forgotten Pixel C tablet

They've stopped supporting my Nexus tablet, and now my wife's Nexus phone.

And since I refuse to run a proprietary version of Android with someone's branded shit in it (looking at you, Samsung) ... then I'm afraid Android is pretty much dead to me. Because it comes down to proprietary and obsolete, or Nexus and obsolete.

The reason I bought these Nexus devices is because I expected to get extended support, and a pure build of Android. I realize there was no promise of forever, but this isn't nearly long enough for hardware which works just fine.

Fuck you, Google. If this is the length we get support for our Nexus devices, why the fuck would I buy another one?

Android has become far too much of a moving target, and the market is way too fragmented as every company turns it into a shitty platform to hawk their own crap. Android was a nice idea, but it's just not holding up to its promise. Owning an Android tablet is pretty much pointless to me now, so I'm not replacing mine, just switching back to an iPad.

If Google won't support the Nexus devices, then the entire Android ecosystem is pointless. Every device maker has their own store, their own wallet, and their own crap I have no fucking interest in .. so fuck it, I'm over Android.

I'm not wasting more money on another Android device. Nexus were the only Android devices which made any sense, and if they're abandoning them, then Android has lost all value to me.

Pretty disappointed

By trawg • Score: 3 • Thread

I bought my Nexus 5X quite late (bit more than a year ago). This is my third Nexus phone - started with Nexus One, then Nexus 4, now this one).

I didn't expect to get much more than two years of core Android updates from it and it seems that's what I'm going to get.

I'm not disappointed by that - two years for a relatively low end phone (I paid AUD$450 for it new) isn't too bad. But I am massively disappointed by the fact that Google have erased the Nexus line and expect me to jump up to a top-tier phone - over twice as expensive - so that I can make sure I get the latest operating system updates reliably.

There's Android One but after reading their website I still can't figure out exactly what the hell it is. I think it's basically the latest version of Android but if you buy one of those phones, you're "guaranteed" to not get any of the usual vendor crap installed on top of it.

Of course it doesn't matter because I can't seem to buy them in Australia anyway without going through importers.

I feel like Google is missing a massive opportunity to have a Google-branded mid-range phone. But many of my friends were happy to shell out for the Pixel so maybe I'm just a grumpy cheapskate outlier :D

Re:Pretty disappointed

By n329619 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

But I am massively disappointed by the fact that Google have erased the Nexus line and expect me to jump up to a top-tier phone...

In Android land, you get the flexibility to pick a whole selection of devices with personal customization. But it also means you get quite the trade-off. Cheap and you get bloat and no-update or Google-tier and you get expensive hardware and get updates. Compare to iPhone land, iPhone only gives you one option, Apple-tier expensive hardware and get updates. After all, if you want updates you need to pay devs to update your device somehow.

Depend on your preference, picking an iPhone might be your easiest and best choice at providing you long update cycle. But if you really want your current Nexus 5X to last a little longer, you could spend some time to install a custom rom still supported after the end of support from either xda-developers or lineageOS. If you donation or pay the devs there, they will be encouraged to continue to support your device, keeping it up to date.

There's Android One but after reading their website I still can't figure out exactly what the hell it is.

What is Android One - tl;dr devices where manufacturers have committed to give clean android updates to the device. As for how long, it will be at least 1.5 years after device launch.

You can buy them by clicking on the devices at the website. If not, you could just copy the device name and ebay / amazon it to Australia. It's not that hard if you really want one. Not to mention, they are cheaper than Pixel phones.

Pixel phone on the other hand is still directly supported by Google and get 2-3 years at device launch (1-2 years remaining).

Re:So much for Android ...

By nnull • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Few years back, I was excited about the Android touch screens and how neat that you could use them for HMI kiosk type displays. This was when everyone thought desktop Android was for some reason the future and all those all-in-one Android PC's were all over the place. Then a lot of manufacturers started dropping Android. It started getting difficult to get large (20+ inch) Android powered touch screens (I was using them as information screens all over my plant and interactive security camera feeds). Then support started dropping from these devices (Many of them stuck on Android kitkat). The prices skyrocketed from $300 to $1500. Developing for these old versions of Android became a hassle, since everything freaking changed how Android did things in a heartbeat, especially when you wanted to add more fancy things. Old development information just ended up getting google washed, so trying to find answers why X doesn't work for old versions just became difficult. There is nothing wrong with the hardware, it's still pretty nice, but trying to get a new version of android resorts to hoping someone made a custom firmware and maintains it.

I just ended up giving up on Android completely (Had no time to deal with the BS), went with Raspberry Pi's and can get nice inexpensive very large touch screens that work for them. Maintaining them is a snap compared to the junk Android is now. All the Android screens, nice as they were, especially the HP's slate, all into the dump. Meanwhile, my Raspberry Pi's still chugging along for 3 years plus, zero issues. When I want to add more fancy things, no problem! All the libraries work, have the latest updates, works great! Rather spend my money donating to the Raspberry Pi team and linux development. Upgrade? No problem, $30 and I got a more beefy Raspberry Pi! I'm pretty sure I can keep my personally made software going until I die with very little effort.

FBI Again Calls For Magical Solution To Break Into Encrypted Phones

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: FBI Director Christopher Wray again has called for a solution to what the bureau calls the "Going Dark" problem, the idea that the prevalence of default strong encryption on digital devices makes it more difficult for law enforcement to extract data during an investigation. However, in a Wednesday speech at Boston College, Wray again did not outline any specific piece of legislation or technical solution that would provide both strong encryption and allow the government to access encrypted devices when it has a warrant. A key escrow system, with which the FBI or another entity would be able to unlock a device given a certain set of circumstances, is by definition weaker than what cryptographers would traditionally call "strong encryption." There's also the problem of how to compel device and software makers to impose such a system on their customers -- similar efforts were attempted during the Clinton administration, but they failed. A consensus of technical experts has said that what the FBI has asked for is impossible. "I recognize this entails varying degrees of innovation by the industry to ensure lawful access is available," Wray said Wednesday. "But I just don't buy the claim that it's impossible. Let me be clear: the FBI supports information security measures, including strong encryption. Actually, the FBI is on the front line fighting cyber crime and economic espionage. But information security programs need to be thoughtfully designed so they don't undermine the lawful tools we need to keep the American people safe."

Re:And yet again...

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

These people think _they_ define how reality works. They think that laws and power can change reality. They have no understanding that mathematics and engineering are far close to actual reality than their fantasy of how the world works will ever be. As such, once they think they have enough power to demand things, they become a serious problem.

Re:Strong Encryption, But Not For Us

By mcl630 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm all for being able to keep data private from unauthorized viewing. But I'm also for law and order - my safety, and the safety of my family, depends on it. Encryption is a tool, like a hammer, but if you give perpetrators impenetrable boxes to hide their precious loot in then all the tools in the world will not allow them to be brought to justice - ever.

You do realize that those "impenetrable boxes" are also protecting your banking information, medical records, credit/debit card transactions, private communications, etc, etc, etc, don't you? You and your family's safety depends on it.

Re:And yet again...

By pots • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
He's just using the term "strong encryption" in a non-technical way - he's using strong in a subjective sense. He means "sort of strong-ish." If you just leave out that part of what he said then there's nothing weird about his comment.

Also, calling the director of the FBI an "FBI mouthpiece" is not really what the word mouthpiece is intended to convey.

Here's the impossible

By raymorris • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Imagine I want to tell Travelsonic something secret. I don't have his email address or any other way to contact him other than posting here, for all to see. My desire is to post openly, where everyone can read it, but only Travelsonic can tell what it means. We have no means of agreeing on a secret password or anything.

Cryptography experts tells us that's impossible. Or was impossible, until Diffie and Hellman figured out a very clever way to do it. Diffie-Hellman key exchange is now used all the time, of course. It's a brilliant solution to a problem that seemed impossible for many years.

Therefore I don't think it's unreasonable to say "I understand we don't have any way to X, but it's possible that some clever innovation can somehow achieve this goal, something nobody had thought of yet.". In his remarks he acknowledged that there is not a solution, currently. He said he's not proposing any law or regulation, because there isn't any law that could make sense right now. He's right, most any such law that could be passed today would be bad.

In fact, I happen to know of some innovative ideas that partially solve the need. It's possible to do encryption in such a way that you can't read the message, but you can check if the message has certain strings in it. You can build a chip that, without revealing some fact , cryptographically proves that the fact is stored in the chip.

Simple salted hashing of text and call message numbers makes it impossible to know who someone called, yet still possible to answer whether they called one specific number. So the FBI could find out whether a suspect called Muhammad Atta, without being able to tell who else they called. This isn't super-advanced technology - every web site that has password login uses salted hashes, or should be using them.

I'm fact saving only the salted hash of the numbers you call and text would be MORE SECURE than what your phone does today.

This guy may, five years from now, propose something stupid. If so I'll oppose it. I don't see expressing a desire to consider what innovative solutions might solve certain needs, with a search warrant, as stupid. Such a search might have some uninformed people making dumb proposals, but he made none in this case.


By Koby77 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Along those lines, how about for any communications system that the FBI should propose, they have to implement it onto themselves and their own communications systems/email/cell phones first, for 5 years. And they have to give the "magic key" or whatever they want to call their encryption backdoor, to some public figure who will constantly audit them. If the FBI balks at their own proposal, then we can reasonably assume that it won't work.

The Future of 'Fab Lab' Fabrication

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: In 1965, tech pioneer Gordon Moore noticed a trend: The number of components on an integrated circuit was doubling every year. Long story short: The world of bits was transformed. Could the same thing be happening now -- to the world of atoms? Neil Gershenfeld thinks it is. He's the MIT professor who in 2003 helped create the first "fab lab": a roomful of computer-guided fabrication tools, like laser cutters and mills for carving materials, that allows everyday people to create things with a precision normally available only to a Boeing or Siemens.

In 2009, Gershenfeld helped set up the Fab Foundation in part to help people make products they needed that the mass market wasn't providing. It took off. Indian farmers used fab labs to create instruments to verify the quality of milk; a Kenyan engineering student made "vein finder" tools for doctors. By 2016 there were more than 1,000 fab labs worldwide. Then Sherry Lassiter, who leads the Fab Foundation and is known as "Lass," noticed that the global total was doubling every year. It looked just like Moore's law! Now there's Lass' law -- the prediction that the number of fab labs, or such tools, will double roughly every year and a half. Why would this be happening? It's part inspiration (people hear about the labs and want their own) and, as with Moore's law, technical progress: The machinery has gotten cheaper and more digitized. If Lass' law continues, custom fabrication will explode.


By Khyber • Score: 3 • Thread

It's a fucking conjecture. Law has an actual definition in scientific terms.

Not the Same At All

By EndlessNameless • Score: 3 • Thread

Moore's Law relied on technological advances in the semiconductor industry to fuel its projected growth. There is no practical or predictable limit on such growth until you run into a wall dealing with fundamental physics.

Lass's Law relies on adoption of a technology by commercial, state, and private entities for its growth---of which there are a limited supply. We are most likely looking at the beginning of an S-curve and mistaking it for an exponential or geometric curve. It is quite conceivable that the market for these devices will be saturated in time.

Next Big Windows Update Will Bring Hardware-Accelerated AI

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZDNet: Every tech vendor these days is quick to slap the AI label on products and services. Up until today, I thought Microsoft had done an admirable job in refraining from doing this with Windows. But the shark has been jumped as of March 7, the company's latest Windows Developer Day. Cue the eye rolls. Microsoft is telling developers that the next release of Windows 10, which we are still calling by its codename, "Redstone 4," will enable developers to "use AI to deliver more powerful and engaging experiences." Microsoft execs say there's now an AI platform in Windows 10 that enables developers to use "pre-trained machine learning in their apps on Windows 10 devices."

Clippy on steroids

By h8sg8s • Score: 3 • Thread

MS Bob is now pumped up and will shove animated AI paperclips up your @ss if you do anything he doesn't like. I, for one, welcome our new Skynet overlords..

Hardware acceleration?

By nmb3000 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Microsoft execs say there's now an AI platform in Windows 10 that enables developers to use "pre-trained machine learning in their apps on Windows 10 devices."

That's not hardware acceleration, because you need, ya know, specialized hardware for that which you can't send via a software update. In fact, the word "hardware" isn't even in the linked article, so where did this silly headline even come from?

"Hardware-Accelerated AI "?

By Gaxx • Score: 3 • Thread

Er... so that would be a computer, then?

Sounds reasonable

By EndlessNameless • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Per the article, they will let developers train their AI in Azure and then import directly into applications. Training a neural network is exactly the kind of limited-duration, CPU-heavy activity that the cloud is designed for. Borrow a thousand CPUs to knock it out in short order and get on with your work.

And imagine if you wanted to train an algorithm with different inputs to see which method yields the best results in your application. You can burn through the training process in parallel in the cloud quickly, and then start building packages for testing immediately. You can iterate faster to fine tune things once you've picked the best baseline training. Without paying for an expensive AI "render farm" up front. The idea is promising, although the devil is always in the details.

And, obviously, any decent hardware-level support for AI would be great. The article only refers to the Azure integration though, so it appears the Slashdot headline is misleading.

Re:Hardware acceleration?

By jetkust • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
They did include an architectural diagram in the article. The hardware part is WindowsML -> DirectML which will utilize the GPU and/or the AVX-512 instruction set of the CPU, or any possible future chip created with ML in mind.

Amazon Admits Its AI Alexa is Creepily Laughing at People

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Over the past few days, users with Alexa-enabled devices have reported hearing strange, unprompted laughter. The Verge: Amazon responded to the creepiness in a statement to The Verge, saying, "We're aware of this and working to fix it." As noted in media reports and a trending Twitter moment, Alexa laughs without being prompted to wake. People on Twitter and Reddit reported that they thought it was an actual person laughing near them, which can be scary when you're home alone. Many responded to the cackling sounds by unplugging their Alexa-enabled devices.

Re:It's not a bug...

By tattood • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Many responded to the cackling sounds by unplugging their Alexa-enabled devices.

That is the best way to use an Alexa-enabled device.

The Evil Bit.

By Zorro • Score: 3 • Thread

Points to switch on back.

"Yep, here's your problem. Someone set this thing to Evil."

Re:It's interesting

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

When I asked Siri the same thing, she responded "here's what I found on the web regarding 'are ewe's glistening?'.

WTF is going on?

By quantaman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Laughing for no reason seems like a very odd bug, do any Alexa users have a hunch what's happening?

For instance, are there situations were Alexa laughs appropriately and this same laugh is getting triggered by random triggers? Is this some poorly thought out Easter egg or a test feature that wasn't correctly disabled?

I suppose a hacker is a possibility as well.

Re: Even the fake AI can't help it...

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
AI is funny, get over it!

Bitcoin Dives After SEC Says Crypto Platforms Must Be Registered

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Bitcoin slumped after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reiterated that many online trading platforms for digital assets should register with the agency as exchanges. From a report: The largest cryptocurrency dropped as much as 8.6 percent to $9,864 after the SEC statement boosted concern that tightening regulation may limit trading. [...] "If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an 'exchange,' as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration," the SEC said in the statement Wednesday.

Some of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms, like Coinbase's GDAX, aren't registered as a national exchange with the SEC, and instead have money transmission licenses with separate states. In the case of Gemini, it's regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services as a trust company, according to its website.


By sexconker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Anyone who knows anything about Bitcoin will tell you that such movement isn't even a fart in the wind.

+0.05% Past hour
9.08% Since yesterday
6.12% Since last week
+40.08% Since last month
+695.05% Since last year

what shocking 2011

By slashmydots • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Tradehill was shut down after it reached the volume of trade that required it to register as an exchange or whatever. This happened around 2011. This is not news to ANYONE. Once again, clueless people who don't do their research are overreacting. This is why we didn't want Wall Street traders with very high opinions of themselves entering the bitcoin world.

Gold and Silver

By Zorro • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

NOT registered anywhere.

Not a government controlled currency...

By bobbied • Score: 3 • Thread

But subject to government regulations none the less....

Image that... LOL

Binance users got hacked

By jetkust • Score: 3 • Thread
Somehow a hacker bought a bunch of viacoins and pumped the price of it by automating sell orders on people's accounts and buy orders to viacoin. Binance haullted withdrawals because of it.

Google Launches First Android P Developer Preview

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google today launched the first Android P developer preview, available for download now at From a report: The preview includes an updated SDK with system images for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, and the official Android Emulator. Unlike last year, there is no emulator for testing Android Wear on Android P.

[...] Today's preview includes the following new APIs and features (but you can expect much more; this is just the first preview, after all): Display cutout support; HDR VP9 Video, HEIF image compression, and Media APIs; HEIF (heic) images encoding has been added to the platform; multi-camera API; ImageDecoder for bitmaps and drawables; Improved messaging notifications; Data cost sensitivity in JobScheduler; indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT: Platform support for the IEEE 802.11mc WiFi protocol -- also known as WiFi Round-Trip-Time (RTT) -- lets you take advantage of indoor positioning in your apps.
Other features and their descriptions are listed here.

Wonder if it has a Yellow theme

By HumanWiki • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

and if the follow up will be Android PP

Comparing Google vs Apple styles

By ScooterComputer • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm a huge Apple fan, have been all my computing life. But I think it instructional for developers (and consumers and fans!) to compare Google's communication style regarding new operating system features and Apple's, cough cough, "communication" style. Google is clear, outlines what features they've added and want to add, and their intent on development track. Apple... get WWDC, and they show stuff, and they'll talk about some stuff, maybe. And maybe what they show and talk about ships, but good luck on getting more information about what is going on if it doesn't ship when planned. And even after that, don't plan on getting adequate, clear documentation; the best resource is the developer forums or Stack Exchange where you will get more (empirical) info from other developers than you do from Apple.

This is NOT how I thought things would go. [Luke was right. (Tell your sister, he was right.)]

Apple users, consumers, developers: we shouldn't stand for it. There –is– a better way. And Google shows it. Apple can pay lip service to the "evil" of Google, but at the end of the dev cycle, that's really all it is. And Apple can utter profundities about secrecy and the delight of surprise, but honestly it's all just nonsense after the "reveal". Apple...Tim Cook...up your game... it is beyond time to stop acting like it is 1997, or 2007.

Time To Bring Back the Software User Conference

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Holger Mueller, writing for ZDNet (condensed for space): Every tech company has a user conference these days. And is it just me, or are they all starting to feel the exact same? Same announcements, same message, same speakers, same venue. Rinse, repeat. On top of this sameness, irrelevant gimmicks and lack of substance threaten to drag the tech user conference into obsolescence. But all is not lost. Here are a few areas in which tech conferences are going astray, and a few ideas about how to fix them.

It's about the product. Users attend conferences to learn more about a vendor's software. So product needs to get a lot of air time. Yes, services matter too-but it's the product that people have taken time out of their busy schedules to learn about.
Have a motivational speaker who matters.
Demo software. Many attendees are expert users. Vendors need to demonstrate they, too, are experts with their own product. The best way to do this is to demo the product.
Subject expertise beats celebrity. Yes, user conferences are about inspiration, but a celebrity, soap opera star, or a talk show host is not something an enterprise software user can relate to their work and is definitely not why they spend 3-4 days and a few thousand dollars/euros to attend a conference.
Limit the philanthropy. It's great for vendors to give back to a purpose outside of the software. But it should not be 50 percent of a keynote.
Users want to network. Vendors should give users a chance to network. Not just informally, but in a planned way.
Party hard but responsibly.

Somehow attract serious attendees

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

All those dead are good, but one problem I've noticed at conferences in recent years is, it seems like a lot of attendees are not fully into the material.

Conferences would probably be better if they were smaller but more dedicated. That would limit networking a little bit, but if you had smaller and more regional conferences the quality and usefulness of networking would probably be higher.

I also think most software (development and use) conferences could use a LOT more hands-on training opportunity. You can get a ton of videos on development or using any software these days, so to me real value that brings me to a conference is (A) to get to speak directly to developers to provide feedback and ideas, or (b) to be able to have some hands on the wit truly expert users who can help me with problems I may be having, by working with me in person.

A great way to get work done.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

These user conferences are not about software, it is about bigwigs to go and make contacts. While us working folks, can get our work done uninterrupted.

The last time I been to one of these, I had more interest looking at the other vendors booths to see what they are doing and where the market is shifting. The actual speeches and stuff, were just a wast of time.

Software isn't sold to users

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
it's sold to management. When it to sales know your audience. If a guy comes into a truck dealer with a hot wife and he's looking for a $15k plain white work truck you ignore him and sell the wife a $60,000 Cadillac.


By 110010001000 • Score: 3 • Thread
That is because these conferences are run by marketing and sales. The marketing people are using it as a platform to show how useful they are to a company, and the sales people are using it to generate leads. What you want is a technical conference, but tech corporations are rolling in money so aren't very interested in technical things at this point.


By sexconker • Score: 3 • Thread

All of these conferences are useless. Here's what I want to know:

What does your product do?
How much does it cost?

If you can't answer that on a single page on your website, you're full of shit.

Leaked Files Show How the NSA Tracks Other Countries' Hackers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An analysis of leaked tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) gives us a glimpse into the methods used by the organization to detect the presence of other state-sponsored actors on hacked devices, and it could also help the cybersecurity community discover previously unknown threats. The Intercept: When the mysterious entity known as the "Shadow Brokers" released a tranche of stolen NSA hacking tools to the internet a year ago, most experts who studied the material honed in on the most potent tools, so-called zero-day exploits that could be used to install malware and take over machines. But a group of Hungarian security researchers spotted something else in the data, a collection of scripts and scanning tools the National Security Agency uses to detect other nation-state hackers on the machines it infects. It turns out those scripts and tools are just as interesting as the exploits. They show that in 2013 -- the year the NSA tools were believed to have been stolen by the Shadow Brokers -- the agency was tracking at least 45 different nation-state operations, known in the security community as Advanced Persistent Threats, or APTs. Some of these appear to be operations known by the broader security community -- but some may be threat actors and operations currently unknown to researchers.

The scripts and scanning tools dumped by Shadow Brokers and studied by the Hungarians were created by an NSA team known as Territorial Dispute, or TeDi. Intelligence sources told The Intercept the NSA established the team after hackers, believed to be from China, stole designs for the military's Joint Strike Fighter plane, along with other sensitive data, from U.S. defense contractors in 2007; the team was supposed to detect and counter sophisticated nation-state attackers more quickly, when they first began to emerge online. "As opposed to the U.S. only finding out in five years that everything was stolen, their goal was to try to figure out when it was being stolen in real time," one intelligence source told The Intercept. But their mission evolved to also provide situational awareness for NSA hackers to help them know when other nation-state actors are in machines they're trying to hack.

this is why...

By k3v0 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
governments can't be trusted with encryption backdoors

Researchers Bypassed Windows Password Locks With Cortana Voice Commands

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two independent Israeli researchers found a way for an attacker to bypass the lock protection on Windows machines and install malware by using voice commands directed at Cortana, the multi-language, voice-commanded virtual assistant that comes embedded in Windows 10 desktop and mobile operating systems. From a report: Tal Be'ery and Amichai Shulman found that the always-listening Cortana agent responds to some voice commands even when computers are asleep and locked, allowing someone with physical access to plug a USB with a network adapter into the computer, then verbally instruct Cortana to launch the computer's browser and go to a web address that does not use https -- that is, a web address that does not encrypt traffic between a user's machine and the website. The attacker's malicious network adapter then intercepts the web session to send the computer to a malicious site instead, where malware downloads to the machine, all while the computer owner believes his or her machine is protected.


By h8sg8s • Score: 3 • Thread

Just another reason to not use Cortana or any of the other voice-activated appliances from Amazon, Apple, Google, etc.

History repeats

By lucasnate1 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In the past, you could hack into old windows machines by pressing F1 at password prompt. If the help file was missing, it would ask you to browse and find it, which would allow you to right click on executables and run them. Nice to see that some things never change.

Physical access

By chaotixx • Score: 3 • Thread
If a determined attacker has physical access to your machine you've lost via any number of methods.

Marketing over security

By swb • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Wow, what a fail by Microsoft. It should be beyond obvious to anyone with a pulse that not providing a way to completely disable Cortana opens computers up to an entire Pandora's box of security vulnerabilities.

It's totally obvious Microsoft is just jamming this down everyone's throat, especially business users, because they know they can get big (and mostly bullshit) "adoption" numbers and operational data for Cortana.

Of course the larger problem is nobody wants Microsoft's bullshit attempts to re-invent themselves as Google, Amazon/Alexa or Apple/Siri. So they will cram it down everyone's throats and get some minor level of usage just because it's there even though it aggravates most everyone else.

Re:History repeats

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You didn't even need a missing help file. If you could open the help bubble you could right click and click print. Then from the print dialogue you could open a proper windows help screen. From there if you opened the index search and opened a different help topic you'd get a full windows help screen with menubar. Then just click file, open, navigate to the windows folder, right click on explorer.exe and run it.

Ask Slashdot: Should We Worry Microsoft Will 'Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish' Linux?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
BrianFagioli writes: While there is no proof that anything nefarious is afoot, it does feel like maybe the Windows-maker is hijacking the Linux movement a bit by serving distros in its store. I hope there is no "embrace, extend, and extinguish" shenanigans going on.

Just yesterday, we reported that Kali Linux was in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10. That was big news, but it was not particularly significant in the grand scheme, as Kali is not very well known. Today, there is some undeniably huge news -- Debian is joining SUSE, Ubuntu, and Kali in the Microsoft Store. Should the Linux community be worried?

My concern lately is that Microsoft could eventually try to make the concept of running a Linux distro natively a thing of the past. Whether or not that is the company's intention is unknown. The Windows maker gives no reason to suspect evil plans, other than past negative comments about Linux and open source. For instance, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once called Linux "cancer" -- seriously.

Linux in a Microsoft future.

By murph • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't think that Microsoft wants to extinguish Linux. In my opinion, the new "Microsoft Loves Linux" future looks like this:

Linux VMs running under Azure (Microsoft gets paid)
Linux running under Windows (Microsoft gets paid)
Android (Microsoft gets paid under those questionable patent threats)

Linux won't be extinguished, it will live on under Microsoft's guidance, as they get paid handsomely for it.

Re:No, absolutely not

By MightyYar • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

But unlike when Windows makes a poor GUI decision [cough, Windows 8, cough], you aren't stuck with it. Every "feature" you mention is addressed by someone who shares your distaste. Don't like Debian's decision to go with systemd? People forked it and made Devuan. Don't like Ubuntu's choice in GUI? Use Mint or Kubuntu.

By the way, I use FreeBSD because it has no-worries support for ZFS, but I don't think it makes a great desktop unix. And to be honest, I find myself making Linux VMs inside of FreeBSD's bhyve for certain software where Linux has better support. I'd probably switch back over to Linux if btrfs matures or if ZFS support gets a little more integrated (which I think is not going to happen).

Re:Embracing a Cancer?

By fisted • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It doesn't even matter whether or not MS will EEE Linux, given that systemd is already turning it into a sort of Windows. I wonder how long until the developers add a registry.

Re:Sorry Conspiracy Theorists

By rastos1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

How do you extinguish something that is free, open, and worked on by thousands of volunteers?

Systemd. I.e. you develop something that looks attractive to 800lb gorilla and the decision makers who can override the will of the volunteers.


By DrYak • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The major performance issues that remain are with I/O.

Because even if there's no translation happenning, you're still bound to the sucky NT Kernel filesystem drivers.

Otherwise it's actually pretty good, in some cases equal to or even slightly better than bare-metal Ubuntu performance.

Keep in mind that this has mostly to do with the way multi-processing is handled :
- Windows suck at multiple processes, because creating a new context ( fork() ) is a horribly inefficient process. (Whereas on Linux, it's almost a free action thanks to CoW facilities in the virtual-memory subsystem).
- As such when running a unix software using a software translation layer (like Cygwin), multi processing will suck.
- That's why multi-threading is popular in Windows world : there's no context separation, everything is done in the came context.

- The NT kernel introduced a new concept called pico-thread which are much more light-weight than regular Windows process to setup. These aren't available in Windows, but gives a way to the NT kernel to provide extremely light-weight multi-processing to Linux ELFs.
- Multi-processing works decently well on WSL (unlike Windows native apps, or Unix apps via Cygwin).

- But if you read the technical blogs at microsoft, you'll release that the managed to achieve pico-threads by throwing away some of the context isolation of actual multiple process.
(There's a reason while picothreads aren't available for production Windows software)

- So basically in purely multiprocessing/multithreading benchmarks (e.g.: thinks running on OpenMP) WSL can even slightly beat actual real linux, because Microsoft threw a lot of safety and security out of the window. (It's great for testing software, but do not ever contemplate using WSL in production. It's only to test software before deploying on real Linux).
- When benchmarks are mostly CPU oriented (e.g.: most of the media compression tests) - most of the CPU cycles are spent running the instruction to process the data, and they are the same no matter what OS they run on (i.e.: a cygwin compiled software would run just as fast, provided it was compiled with a similar version of GCC the optimize code the same way).
  - Whenever a benchmark hits any other part of the NT kernel (example: file IO) the performance just completely collapses. It doesn't matter that there's no translation going on and that the NT kernel is directly service IO request it self, when that IO code just plain sucks. A deep overhaul of the NTFS code would be the only hope for WSL to suck a tiny bit less.

(3D API in theory could be an area where performance degradation won't be as significant : some manufacturer like Intel produce better Windows drivers than Linux, and other like Nvidia re-use basically the same drivers.
But OpenGL is among the long list of Linux APIs that WSL is not supporting in its (very limited) subset).

Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 'S Mode'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Microsoft head honcho Joe Belfiore confirmed today that Windows 10 S won't be a separate Windows version anymore and that Microsoft will ship an "S Mode" with Windows 10 starting 2019. "Next year 10S will be a "mode" of existing versions, not a distinct version," Belfiore said today on Twitter.

Wonder how this will continue...

By ctilsie242 • Score: 3 • Thread

First, Windows S, which locks out all programs except Windows Store ones, is offered. Then merged with the mainstream OS. I have a feeling that it may wind up becoming the default, then "non-S" mode eventually becoming a chargable extra, or even deleted sooner or later.

Maybe I need a better tinfoil hat. For some purposes, "S-mode" can be useful, but I wonder if it really can protect against Trojans or malware.

Re:What kind of news is this? WHAT IS THIS "S MODE

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

In brilliant marketing fashion, the "S" stands for nothing at all, according to Microsoft. All it signifies is that the version of Windows you're using can only run Universal Windows Platform apps, making it largely useless for anyone who wants to use their computer for much more than e-mail and web surfing. Oh, and no web surfing with any browser except Edge. Whee.

"We Control The Vertical, We Control...

By Zorro • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The Horizontal."

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits

"Unactivated" Edition

By omnichad • Score: 3 • Thread

It's about time they made Windows 10 S free. All pirate copies of Windows 10 that fail to activate get to be Windows 10 S. If you have a paid license, you get Home or Pro. Anyone can download the media creation tool and install Windows 10 S without a license.

That's my prediction. Though give it 2 more years and anyone not paying for a subscription to Windows will get the "S" edition and everyone else will be downgraded.

Do I have to sum it up.

By Revek • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

S mode is the shit mode.

Facebook's VPN Service Onavo Protect Collects Personal Data -- Even When It's Switched Off

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Security researcher Will Strafach took a look at Onavo Protect, a newly released VPN service from Facebook: I found that Onavo Protect uses a Packet Tunnel Provider app extension, which should consistently run for as long as the VPN is connected, in order to periodically send the following data to Facebook ( as the user goes about their day:
When user's mobile device screen is turned on and turned off.
Total daily Wi-Fi data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off).
Total daily cellular data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off).
Periodic beacon containing an "uptime" to indicate how long the VPN has been connected.

Re: Clueless

By Maelwryth • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Even with 100% open source people wouldn't read it all. People don't even read privacy policies or EULA's. What we need is either ethics in business or laws to deal with it. I prefer laws.


By Qbertino • Score: 3 • Thread

Facebook does Facebook things!

Film at eleven.

Switched off != Powered off

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 3 • Thread

That sort of shenanigan (and the desire to lower my electricity bill) is why I have a physical switch to remove the power to the devices I don't trust. That include PCs with wake-on-lan and shady BIOS code from Intel and whatnot.

With the power off, the only way for a device to phone home is to have its own battery and an internal 3G modem. Not impossible but not very likely, since sneaky manufacturers probably rely on people pushing the fake power-off button.

As for cellphones, since it's getting hard to find devices with removable batteries, I transport mine in a metal lunchbox. Yes I'm paranoid, but I'm proven right more and more everyday...

Re: Clueless

By Chris Mattern • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

With 100% open source, most people won't read it all. But a few will. That makes it tough to keep any dirty work under wraps. Look at this article. Facebook's VPN is closed source, but the packets it sends can't be hidden from a determined user. Does the average user packet sniff what it does? Of course not. But somebody does, and the cat's out of the bag.

Re:Of course it does

By ctilsie242 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What it boils down to is who is the paying customer. With FB, users are the product. Same with Google. This is why one uses a decent VPN, that you pay for, and where the VPN provider's reputation matters.

VPNs are a must have, just because ISPs and local endpoints do so many shenanigans.

Chrome 65 Arrives With Material Design Extensions Page, New Developer Features

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Chrome 65 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions in this release include Material Design changes and new developer features. You can update to the latest version now using the browser's built-in silent updater or download it directly from Chrome 65 comes with a few visual changes. The most obvious is related to Google's Material Design mantra. The extensions page has been completely revamped to follow it. Next up, Chrome 65 replaces the Email Page Location link in Chrome for Mac's File menu with a Share submenu. As you might expect, Mac users can use this submenu to share the URL of a current tab via installed macOS Share Extensions. Speaking of Macs, Chrome 65 is also the last release for OS X 10.9 users. Chrome 66 will require OS X 10.10 or later. Moving on to developer features, Chrome 65 includes the CSS Paint API, which allows developers to programmatically generate an image, and the Server Timing API, which allows web servers to provide performance timing information via HTTP headers.

'Material Design' = 'We don't know how to design'

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Material Design is hideous, unintuitive crap. The fact that one of the biggest companies in the world hasn't got a clue on user interface design speaks volumes about the state of modern computing. Go and see how many user INTERFACE design jobs for PC (or even Apple) software companies there are - virtually none - because most people haven't got a clue about interface design, and don't understand what they are doing.
Hence Windows 10, 'flat' design, Windows 8, 'The Ribbon', Android (utterly awful user interface with virtually no affordance and virtually no visual feedback to anything you do, and just plain designed wrong), and so on.

Tablet devices

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

And still it does not allow a user to set the "use the desktop site" as a permanent setting for every page. So when you use Chrome on a tablet with a decent sized screen you still get the crappy mobile pages until you go into settings for every single page visited and change the setting to use the desktop site.

Exactly how hard is it to make that setting apply globally and not page by page?

Mercedes' Futuristic Headlights Shine Warning Symbols On the Road

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In its new high-end vehicles, Daimler says it will introduce programmable, "million-pixel" headlights that project warning symbols and driving tips on the road. "The technology, which Daimler calls Digital Light, was demoed as a concept ten years ago, but at the Geneva Motor Show it's finally being introduced as a feature that's 'expected' to be available on certain Mercedes-Maybach S-Class vehicles sometime this year," reports Gizmodo. From the report: Sitting alongside the vehicle's standard headlights are a pair of small monochrome projectors that each feature "a resolution of over one million pixels," Daimler claims, resulting in an "HD-quality" image being projected onto the road surface ahead of the vehicle. Using data from the car's onboard sensors, as well as traffic and obstacle data that GPS devices rely on, the headlights project symbols like a snowflake indicating slippery conditions ahead, a construction symbol reminding drivers to slow down for road workers, arrows for where to turn, and even simple white lines representing the size of your vehicle so you can immediately tell if you're able to squeeze into a narrow parking spot. The ability to selectively switch off pixels means the S-Class' headlights could help drivers avoid blinding oncoming vehicles or pedestrians, as onboard sensors detect faces and windshields and automatically dim the brightness in those areas.

Why is this better than HUD?

By froggyjojodaddy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This is really bizarre. I'm not sure why projecting onto the road is better than using tried-and-true technology like HUD (Heads up Display). Surely it would be better to project warnings etc. via HUD vs. onto the road? I have a HUD in my BMW and it is one of those technologies that I found genuinely useful and non-obtrusive.

For example, it shows turn by turn directions projected onto my windscreen, so I don't have to move my eyes or head. The location is just perfect and doesn't obstruct anything.

Would be great if we could understand the rationale Daimler used to project vs. HUD. I'm sure there's a reason, I just can't figure out what it would be.

Re:Can it show texts?

By stealth_finger • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
No, but it will probably display ads.

Re:We need new headlight regulation

By mjwx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I wouldn't mind some lumen limits. I've been blinded too many times myself.

Brightness isn't the problem. It's vehicle height and headlight adjustment (as well as lazy people driving with their high beams on). Too many vehicles are being made stupidly high in the SUV craze but don't have their headlights adjusted downwards to prevent blinding drivers in normal sized cars. Manufacturers don't do this because it would make their vehicles unsafe to drive at night and lets face it, SUV drivers are terrible at the best of time.

Re: Can it show texts?

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Come on, obviously Frogger should be first. You can even have real-life 3D obstacles in the scene!

Arrows where to turn

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

I can see this going horribly wrong. What if the arrow you are seeing on the pavement is being projected by the car next to you? Why not just a heads-up display for this sort of thing?

Sri Lanka Blocks Facebook, Instagram To Prevent Spread of Hate Speech

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Sri Lanka has blocked social media websites Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to avoid the spread of hate speech in the country, local media reported on Wednesday. From the report: Even though there is no official confirmation from the authorities, the Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Wednesday said the government has decided to block access to certain social media. Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) has started to monitor all social media platforms to curb hate speech related to communal riots escalated in Kandy district. Telecommunication service providers (ISPs) have also restricted internet access in Kandy district on the instructions of the TRC.

Temporary block

By gopla • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is a common practice in this part of the world. A temporary blockage of social media for 1-2 days, usually restricted to just a district or a city is common in India.

It is employed when the law enforcing agencies are caught unaware about some sudden flashpoint that triggers street violence. This blockage stops spreading of violence to larger area and give time to enforcement agencies to mobilize their resources

It is not to be confused with censorship or blanket ban of internet / social media forever. Over all it has a positive impact in preventing larger scale destruction of life and properties for cost of inconvenience of few days.

Re:The benefits of diversity!

By Kiuas • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

After Merkel decided to let in anyone who arrived, Germany started to have a problem with racism - aka the natives bitching about the bad behaviour of the new arrivals.

If you think this situation started with the refugee crisis, think again. Germany has had such laws in the books long before the current refugee crisis, up to the point that using nazi-symbolism is punishable by law, as is denying the holocaust. These laws prohibiting 'incitement of violence' or hatred against ethnic grouops have been on the books for decades, the recent law regarding social media is just the latest development. Even prior to the passage of the law, someone posting hate speech online could be fined in Germany and elsewhere, the only thing that the law changed was make it possible for the platforms to be fined for failing to remove such content.

Now granted, the recent influx of refugees has made the situation a lot more heated, but the general point is that Germany has been using censorship and hate-speech laws to control the (mostly) far-right groups in the country long before the last couple of years.

Note that this is not to say I agree with their laws, I think they're hastily implemented and essentially make the problem worse, not better. But the general point is that this sort of attitude within Germany (as well as other European countries) is not something they just recently came up with. The 2nd world war left its mark on the law(s) in many places, including here in Finland, Austria, Ireland and the UK.

Sure it is

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

Hmm, a government faced with civil disturbances decides to block social media "to curb hate speech"?


Re:The benefits of diversity!

By Kiuas • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You miss the point where those laws were not enforced because they weren't necessary.

This is simply not true. There have been hate speech convictions in Germany and elsewhere prior to the current refugee crisis. A Finnish far-right politician whose only talking point throughout the years has been opposing immigration got sentenced to fines for calling all muslims pedophiles way back in 2012. Here's a story of a drunk neo-Nazi being fined for doing the Hitler salute in 2011. Etc, you can find many more examples using google.

Again, do I agree with these laws? No. Do I agree with the far-right? No, but saying that these laws have never been used before is simply not true.

Censorship is evil, period

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When talking about elections, Stalin reputedly said: "It's not who votes that counts; it's who counts the votes". Whenever one of these "hate speech" articles come up, I think of something similar: It's not the hate speech that matters; it's who gets to define what hate speech is.

I live in Europe, where the equivalent to the American 1st Amendment is ridiculously watered down. The European equivalent says: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. ... The exercise of these freedoms ... may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for..." and the list of exceptions continues...

Which means: Just like in Sri Lanka, European governments can restrict your speech based on the ruling elite's ideas of necessity, safety and morals. Which basically means that they can restrict any damned thing they please.

Censorship is evil. Speech may be uncomfortable, it may be offensive, but there are very, very few situations where it should be restricted.

A Short Documentary About 81-Year-Old Commodore Amiga Artist, Programmer Samia Halaby

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
erickhill shares a short documentary about Samia Halaby, an 81-year-old Commodore Amiga artist and programmer: Samia Halaby is a world renowned painter who purchased a Commodore Amiga 1000 in 1985 at the tender age of 50 years old. She taught herself the BASIC and C programming languages to create "kinetic paintings" with the Amiga and has been using the Amiga ever since. Samia has exhibited in prestigious venues such as The Guggenheim Museum, The British Museum, Lincoln Center, The Chicago Institute of Art, Arab World Institute, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Sakakini Art Center, and Ayyam Gallery just to name a few.

Re:Bad math

By Mascot • Score: 4 • Thread

This is one instance where I am fine with an off by one error.

Re:Amiga Forever

By Wizardess • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I second the notion. Amiga Forever is based on WinUAE. But it has enough added content that it's well worth the price. Fortunately for her Amiga Forever includes at least one environment which gives very accurate emulation of the A1000 with the same timing, video limitations and features, and even sounds. I suspect she'd feel right at home with it unless she wants the interlace flicker as part of her environment. (And I bet even that could be at least partially emulated on a good enough base Windows machine.) Mike and his company Cloanto have done a wonderful job. (So says the former head moderator of the BIX Amiga Exchange.)

Isn't it amazing ...

By Qbertino • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

... how this so very well and elegantly puts into perspective all those todays whiny girlie brats who cry about "gender discrimination" and "equal pay" but couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag?

This lady has a working brain and used it when the Amiga came about and saw the future. She is way more a digital native than most teens today. Cudos to you, ma'am.

My 2 cents.

This 81 year old...

By Viol8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

... probably knows more about computers than the supposed "digital natives" generation, whose IT abilities consist mainly of knowing how to prod a touchscreen to update the latest trivia about their tedious lives on social meeja.