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


  1. New York's Subway Is Slow Because They Slowed Down the Trains After A 1995 Accident
  2. China's Anti-Pollution Initiative Produces Stellar Results
  3. YouTube Will Add Information From Wikipedia To Videos About Conspiracies
  4. Mozilla Working On In-Page Popup Blocker For Firefox
  5. How Your Returns Are Used Against You At Best Buy, Other Retailers
  6. Facebook Has Turned Into a Beast in Myanmar, UN Says
  7. Amazon Recalls 260,000 Portable Power Banks For Fire Hazard
  8. A Chatbot Can Now Offer You Protection Against Volatile Airline Prices
  9. 'Women At Microsoft Are Sexualized By Their Male Managers,' Lawsuit Alleges
  10. Developers Love Trendy New Languages, But Earn More With Functional Programming: Stack Overflow's Annual Survey
  11. Google and Ubisoft Are Teaming Up To Improve Online Multi-Player Video Games
  12. Media Reports About a Massive Geomagnetic Storm Hitting Earth on March 18 Are Inaccurate, NOAA Says
  13. Privacy-Busting Bugs Found in Popular VPN Services Hotspot Shield, Zenmate and PureVPN
  14. A Startup is Pitching a Mind-Uploading Service That is '100 Percent Fatal'
  15. Reddit and the Struggle To Detoxify the Internet
  16. Firefox 59, 'By Far the Biggest Update Since Firefox 1.0', Arrives With Faster Page Loads and Improved Private Browsing
  17. Researchers Find Critical Vulnerabilities in AMD's Ryzen and EPYC Processors, But They Gave the Chipmaker Only 24 Hours Before Making the Findings Public
  18. Microsoft Admits It Updated Some Windows 10 Computers To Newest Build Despite Users Telling It Not To Do That
  19. Larry Page's Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode
  20. Trump's Pick for New CIA Director Is Career Spymaster
  21. US Navy Under Fire In Mass Software Piracy Lawsuit
  22. Apple Is Letting Companies Make 3.5mm To Lightning Cables Now
  23. Lyft Says Its Revenue Is Growing Nearly 3x Faster Than Uber's

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

New York's Subway Is Slow Because They Slowed Down the Trains After A 1995 Accident

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to the Village Voice, New York City's subway trains are running slower because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is deliberately running the trains slower. The Village Voice obtained MTA internal documents, discovering that the decision to run the trains slower was made following a fatal 1995 crash on the Williamsburg Bridge. From the report: The subway's performance has been steadily deteriorating for many years. The authority's own internal data shows that delays due to "incidents," such as broken signals and tracks or water damage, have only marginally increased since 2012. But there is one type of delay that's gotten exponentially worse during that time: a catchall category blandly titled "insufficient capacity, excess dwell, unknown," which captures every delay without an obvious cause. From January 2012 to December 2017, these delays increased by a whopping 1,190 percent -- from 105 per weekday to 1,355. In December, one out of every six trains run across the entire system experienced such a delay. The increase has been steady and uninterrupted over the past six years.
In 1995, a Manhattan-bound J train crossing the Williamsburg Bridge rear-ended an M train that was stopped on the bridge, killing the J train operator and injuring more than fifty passengers. The National Transportation and Safety Board investigation placed most of the blame on the J train operator, who the NTSB suspected had been asleep. But the NTSB also identified potential issues with the signal system that contributed to the accident, which it found didn't guarantee train operators enough time to apply the emergency brakes even when awake. "They slowed the trains down after the Williamsburg Bridge crash," a veteran train operator who asked not to be identified told the Village Voice. "The MTA said the train was going too fast for the signal system." As a result, the MTA, quite literally, slowed all the trains down, issuing a bulletin informing employees in April 1996 that their propulsion systems would be modified so they could achieve a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour, down from the previous high of 50 to 55 miles per hour on a flat grade. But the MTA didn't stop there, internal documents show. One of the NTSB's safety recommendations was to set speed limits. As a result, the MTA began a still-ongoing process of changing the way many signals work to meet modern safety standards.

Whats the story

By AHuxley • Score: 3 • Thread
The option to buy better trains is not going to be supported.
The ability to rework the signal system is not something that could happen.
The trains stay safe and staying slow is the only method that supports that is not a story.
Want a good train? Invest in a great transport system.
The UK, Japan, South Korea, parts of the EU can offer great turn key rail networks for export.
Tunnel design, working air-conditioning, new systems to move a lot of people around faster.

Re:Doesn't sound like it was the accident

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You mean military protection racket? Military protection wouldn't be as needed if they weren't part of the US, which has managed to annoy a lot of the world with its brainless meddling.

Re:Strange Tone

By PrimaryConsult • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The problem is the hack for enforcing speed limits - timer signals. Basically, train passes spot "a", a hidden timer starts counting, signal at spot "b" turns green if the timer runs out before the train gets there, otherwise it stays red. If you ride up front (on one of the few trains where you can see the same as the operator), you can see how the timer signals work and see the speed the train is going (either with a GPS app on your phone, or by peeking through the gap in the door to the cab). Here's a typical interaction:

A sign says "GT 35" meaning 35 MPH enforced speed limit. Great. Except, even in a perfect world, if they actually go 35, they will not see the signal clear - the timer would hit zero the second the train reaches it. So they have to go 34. But, the speedometers aren't perfectly calibrated and may be off by up to 3MPH, so now down to 31. But wait, the signals aren't calibrated right either; some of them say 35 but are actually counting down too fast (not like there's a quartz crystal in there), it could be off by as much as 5MPH. The end result is, in an enforced 35, the operator can only "safely" (as in his keeping his/her job safe) go 26. Experienced operators will instinctively know the fastest they can get away with, but anyone new will follow the rule of 9MPH under the limit. Since throughput during rush hours is only as fast as the slowest train, one overly cautious operator can tank the schedule for all the trains behind him.

Now one solution to this justified over-caution was "two shot" timers - there are two signals. The first one is yellow with an S under it, the second red. If the first one clears to green before the train passes it, the second one also turns green. If the first one does not clear to green, the operator has to slow down so that his average speed since the start of the first timer is slower than the enforced limit, or the second one remains red. So if he enters a 25 going 35, in order to make that second shot he has to drop down to somewhere around 15 (but likely that won't be enough, so they will instead come to a complete stop). In the case of two shot timers, to deal with a 25MPH enforced speed limit, trains operators who make a mistake on the first shot are reducing their speed to 0 for several seconds. All this has to do is happen once to cause a ripple effect on all trains behind.

At a lot of the locations these timer signals do not make any sense. Some of them are on uphill grades. Some are on banked curves designed for 60MPH running - if it were simply a signal system limitation that had them slow down the trains, there would be no reason to treat curves any differently from straightaways. The speed restrictions designed for human limitations on reaction time were also copied over to the modern signal system the L train uses without being re-evaluated (in other words, they fixed the original problem from 1995 but left in the hack). Thus why it is an expose - reducing speeds is now a kneejerk reaction to any perceived danger, bordering on superstition.

British rail system had a solution to this...

By Karmashock • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

... in the 1800s.

Naturally I wouldn't employ that solution in exactly the same way because we have better technology to facilitate the concept, but I would still enact the same concept.

The British system simply made it physically impossible for trains to enter a stretch of track unless the train in front of it or going the other way or whatever had turned in a key. The key was slotted into a signalling box which permitted other trains to enter that track. If the key was NOT turned in then further trains could not physically access that track. The switching station would literally not actuate.

Now, if you did it today, you'd use computers and sensors and encryption... etc... but the concept would be the same. If a train currently holds the "key" for a bit of track then you can't have that key and you can't access that track. You could have the trains automatically brake if they entered track that hadn't been vacated yet... you could turn off the third rail to make it extra fool proof... and you could have the brakes default to an ON state in the event that the third rail was disabled.

Yes yes... engineering problems with what I said. Engineering solutions always have problems... even good engineering solutions.

There are problems with a hydro electric dam and an automobile and a jet aeroplane. The trick is solving those without losing the utility of what you're attempting to do. Point is that this isn't actually that complicated.

The system I conceptualized is damn near foolproof if executed competently. You could have drunk, high, sleeping train operators, going down the track at whatever speed the track/trains can handle, without any crashes into other trains.

Its possible. We can do it.

Re:Doesn't sound like it was the accident

By Maxo-Texas • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

No... roads, sewer systems, health care programs, international highways, bridges, funds for education.

Red states have pretty terrible economies because they don't invest in their citizens and they drive their best and brightest out of their states to other states.

So red states depend heavily on the federal government. States like wyoming with 280,000 citizens per senator vote themselves federal money paid for by states with 19,000,000 citizens per senator. It's atrocious.

I wonder just how low the population of these states has to go before the system breaks down.

You know, if california just paid 40,000 of their "liberal" folks to live in wyoming that would flip wyoming blue.

40,000/38,000,000 seems like a pretty good deal to me.

China's Anti-Pollution Initiative Produces Stellar Results

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
hackingbear writes: China has declared war on its pollution -- one of the worst on the planet -- and now appears to be winning. Popular Mechanics reports: "Over the past four years, pollution in China's major cities has decreased by an average of 32 percent, with some cities seeing an even bigger drop, according to professor Michael Greenstone of the Energy Policy Institute. This decline comes after several aggressive policies implemented by the Chinese government, including prohibiting the building of new coal plants, forcing existing plants to reduce their emissions, lowering the amount of automobile traffic, and closing down some steel mills and coal mines. Some cities, like Beijing, have achieved even greater reductions in air pollution. Beijing has seen a 35 percent drop in particulates, while the city of Shijiazhuang saw a 39 percent drop. China has prioritized pollution reduction in these cities, with the government spending over $120 billion in Beijing alone."

Re:There's a lot of admiration for China

By RazorSharp • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The New York Times likes to put over-the-top columns on the op-ed page from both sides of the aisle. It's disingenuous for you to claim that the column you cited is indicative of the opinions of those who run the company. They frequently have two columns on the same page that contradict one another. Does that mean that the New York Times has paradoxical opinions? No. It means it's an op-ed page.

Even if you take that article to represent the paper's opinion, you misconstrue the author's point. He's not praising China's political structure as much as he's criticizing the ineffectualness of America's system. Considering that your post is so tongue-in-cheek, it would seem that you ought to recognize the same tone in the article you cite.

You're trolling and trying to turn a non-political story into a political discussion.

They Have Access to OSHA and EPA Documents...

By IonOtter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We've already been through this, here in the US and Europe. They don't have to repeat all of our mistakes, and our multiple environmental and regulatory agencies make everything freely accessible to anyone who wants them.

So it should be no surprise when they make rapid advances in cleaning up things, once they get the word from on high.

No, what IS a surprise, is the fact that the word came down from on high.

It's almost as if the wealthy and powerful within China realized, "Oh, shit! I don't have anywhere I can run to, if this all goes to Hell in a handbasket! We better make sure that doesn't happen!"

This is a realization which the rich and powerful of the US and Europe have yet to arrive at.


By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It's also only a "success" if you report it as a percentage. The WHO PM2.5 limit is 10 micrograms, China's average was around 40 micrograms. So with a 30% drop it's gone from four times the WHO's worst-allowable value to 2.4 times the worst-allowable value. It's still absolutely terrible, just slightly less terrible than it was.

Re:Seems very close to the 1970s U.S. experience

By Maxo-Texas • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We had rivers catching on fire and the government got serious about the pollution.

It remained serious until fairly recently. It's been backsliding in republican areas for a while.

The devastation from hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the two weeks of catastrophic flooding, and the toxic aftermath should have been opportunities for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to snap into action. Had Scott Pruitt done so, it would have been in stark contrast with his tenure so far, which has mostly consisted of making the case that the regulatory power of the EPA should be undermined and advocating that his agency be made smaller in size and scope, be deprived of a robust budget and enforcement power, and shift focus to what he likes to call âoeregulatory certaintyâ for polluting industries.

In the past, the EPAâ(TM)s job in the aftermath of storms has been to help ensure that victims do not return to homes and neighborhoods that are toxic cesspools. The environmental aftermath of Harvey and Irma has been particularly devastating, with Superfund sites that have flooded, pipelines that have have leaked, forced evacuations because of explosions at the Arkema chemical plant, and a hazardous mix of floodwaters and sewage.

A week ago, George W. Bushâ(TM)s EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, wrote a scathing assessment in the New York Times of how Pruitt has been performing on the job. âoeThe agency created by a Republican president 47 years ago to protect the environment and public health may end up doing neither under Mr. Pruittâ(TM)s direction,â she noted. When reflecting on Pruittâ(TM)s performance during Hurricane Harvey, she added that the EPAâ(TM)s recent actions, including the EPAâ(TM)s attack on an AP reporter, âoeare only the latest manifestations of my fears.â

Whitman may have missed some of Pruittâ(TM)s other activities. During the two hurricanes, the EPA administrator has appeared in far-right media, blasted the Obama administration and the mainstream media, disparaged discussions about climate change, and rolled back more regulations. Here are some noteworthy Pruitt sightings that took place during the recent weeks when severe weather battered the United States:

  Trump and Pruitt further sought to significantly shrink the EPA over the past year, proposing drastic budget cuts and offering buyouts that reduced staffing. From December 2016 to January 2018, the size of the agency has shrunk by 1,500 people, according to the Office of Personnel Management, and its current total of 14,162 employees is fewer than worked for it under President Ronald Reagan's administration.

The agency additionally altered its policy on the scientific boards that advise the agency, blocking any researchers from participating if they received grant money from the EPA.

And governor Snyder set up the Flint Michagan disaster by assigning managers who could override local governments.
Hundreds of kids poisoned with lead. They are still on bottled water. It's just that bad.

Re: There's a lot of admiration for China

By aberglas • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Problem is that History is not taught in schools. People do not know China's recent history.

During Mao's strong man Great Leap Forward some 30 *Million* people starved to death. A billion went hungry -- the birth rate plummeted. All due to Mao. Then the cultural revolution.

Since Deng Xioping there has been an economic miracle. But now we have a new emperor, Emperor Xi Jinping. Ruler for life.

Maybe he will be good for China. But if he is not, then there will be no way to remove him until he dies. He has centralized all power, removed all checks and balances, and cracked down on media and anyone that dissents at any level. Not good signs. He also boasts an aggressive foreign policy.

So, be careful what you wish for. Most strong men have been disasters for their countries of the highest order. Hitler, Stalin, Mao. The exception is probably Lee Kuan Yew, but he kept a semi-democratic system in place.

YouTube Will Add Information From Wikipedia To Videos About Conspiracies

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about popular conspiracy theories to provide alternative viewpoints on controversial subjects, its CEO said today. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that these text boxes, which the company is calling "information cues," would begin appearing on conspiracy-related videos within the next couple of weeks. Wojcicki, who spoke Tuesday evening at a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, showed examples of information cues for videos about the moon landing and chemtrails. "When there are videos that are focused around something that's a conspiracy -- and we're using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia -- then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event," Wojcicki said. The information cues that Wojcicki demonstrated appeared directly below the video as a short block of text, with a link to Wikipedia for more information. Wikipedia -- a crowdsourced encyclopedia written by volunteers -- is an imperfect source of information, one which most college students are still forbidden from citing in their papers. But it generally provides a more neutral, empirical approach to understanding conspiracies than the more sensationalist videos that appear on YouTube.

I have an idea

By slashmydots • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I want to see a huuuuge disclaimer on these looney SJWs' videos stating there are only 2 genders and thinking otherwise is a mental illness.

Re: Donald trump is a RUSSIAN!

By • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

First of all, one man's racism is not another's differing viewpoint. Racism is really just racism, it's a pretty well-defined notion. Nobody is expected to or even should be tolerant towards intolerant people. Read Sir Karl Poppers "The Open Society and Its Enemies", that might enlighten you.

Second and way more importantly, this is not about racism or political opinions, this is about getting rid of obvious off-topic troll posts. This thread is not about whether Hillary Clinton is a member of the KKK, and the people who post this useless drivel can just go fuck off - permban them, shadow-ban them, delete their posts. I'm personally fine leaving all kinds of KKK posts in a thread about "Hillary Clinton is a member of KKK".

These off-topic posts are designed to derail discussions. Ban those assholes, it's as simple as that.

Re: Donald trump is a RUSSIAN!

By iggymanz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Wrong, people mentioning issues with outsourcing major projects to India or wanting to discuss demographics of inner city crime have been called racist. It is often a smoke screen raised to prevent rational discussion, a label thrown when no substantial argument exists.

Re: Donald trump is a RUSSIAN!

By sinij • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Racism is really just racism, it's a pretty well-defined notion.

Not in a today's SJW-infested world. For example, opposition to illegal immigration often portrayed as racism. So definition is anything but clear, and I can guarantee that my definition is quite different from AmiMoJo's.

Re: Doesn't matter. Won't convince anyone.

By meta-monkey • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Sure, debunking is great...when the conspiracy theory is false. But for a long time people would call you crazy if you thought the CIA was conducting mind control programs, the NSA was faking evidence to get us involved in wars, or the spooks were recording your phone calls and email.

I have a sneaking suspicion that YouTube has no interest in sorting fact from fiction in "conspiracy theories." I'm pretty sure they just want a method of attacking political views they disagree with. In the meantime, CNN will continue their hard-hitting reports confirming that sources familiar with the thinking of former acquaintances of Donald Trump speculate that Trump's use of Russian salad dressing confirms he's a double secret Putin agent and that Hillary really won the election #RESIST.

Mozilla Working On In-Page Popup Blocker For Firefox

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Firefox is working on a blocker for annoying in-page alerts that often ask you to input your email address to receive a newsletter from the site. "The feature is still in the planning stages, but Mozilla is asking users for any examples of sites with annoying pop-ups," reports Android Police. "Mozilla wants to make Firefox automatically detect and dismiss the popups." From the report: If you know of sites that use in-page popups (whether it be newsletter signups, surveys, or something else), you can fill out the survey here. There are also Firefox and Chrome extensions that make the process easier. I'll be interested to see how Mozilla pulls this off, it will no doubt be difficult to detect the difference between helpful and not-helpful popups.

Helpful Popups

By mentil • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

it will no doubt be difficult to detect the difference between helpful and not-helpful popups

There is No Such Difference! Kill 'em all, let FSM sort 'em out.

Re:Helpful Popups

By mentil • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Right now Firefox blocks popup windows with a message that the site wanted to open a popup, with an 'open anyway?' prompt and 'ok' button. The same functionality could be reused for in-page popups, with an option to permanently whitelist the site.


By bazorg • Score: 3 • Thread

A while back I started to get pop ups of this type that clearly identify when I'm about to close the tab (they probably check the mouse movement).
I imagine it's highly effective in getting attention, but once again (for the millionth time), being inconvenient is not an acceptable way to get attention. Being user-unfriendly like that only leads to continuing an arms race, and I'm happy to see Mozilla working on this sort of thing once again.

How Your Returns Are Used Against You At Best Buy, Other Retailers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): At Best Buy, returning too many items within a short time can hurt a person's score, as can returning high-theft items such as digital cameras. Every time shoppers returns purchases to Best Buy, they are tracked by a company which has the power to override the store's touted policy and refuse to refund their money. That is because the electronics giant is one of several chains that have hired a service called The Retail Equation to score customers' shopping behavior and impose limits on the amount of merchandise they can return. Stores have long used generous return guidelines to lure more customers, but such policies also invite abuse. Retailers estimate 11% of their sales are returned, and of those, 11% are likely fraudulent returns, according to a 2017 survey of 63 retailers by the National Retail Federation. Return fraud or abuse occurs when customers exploit the return process, such as requesting a refund for items they have used, stolen or bought somewhere else. Inc. and other online players that have made it easy to return items have changed consumer expectations, adding pressure on brick-and-mortar chains. Some retailers monitor return fraud in-house, but Best Buy and others pay The Retail Equation to track and score each customer's return behavior for both in-store and online purchases. The service also works with Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Sephora and Victoria's Secret. Some retailers use the system only to assess returns made without a receipt. Best Buy uses The Retail Equation to assess all returns, even those made with a receipt.

Machine Learning Failure?

By mentil • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It seems the retailer inputs driver's license number and address, or scans the barcode if it has one. That's how one is tracked. Retail return policies generally have a catch-all "we can refuse any refund for any or no reason at our discretion" clause, which is used in this case. It seems The Retail Equation (TRE) presumably uses machine learning fraud-detection systems, like a credit or debit card company uses, only you can't call them to force the transaction through, so you're just stuck with no way out. Given that returns are a cost-center for retailers, this is a 'feature' rather than a bug. Getting flagged means no returns to that store for 365 days, and you only find out after you've bought your merchandise; so if you bought clothes unsure if your spouse likes how they look, or if they'll be comfortable, then you're SOL if not. TRE has been around for several years, their website says 1999, and I found complaints about them online dating back to at least 2011.

TFA gives an anecdote of a guy who was blacklisted from his first return... before he even made it. So he was allowed zero returns from Best Buy before being banned from returns. Apparently, it triggers so rarely that there haven't been enough complaints about false positives to cause retailers to ditch the system. In my experience, customer complaints can cause a company to loosen its return policies to the point of letting pretty-obvious fraud through, although larger companies are probably less likely to care. I guess the moral is, shop at smaller stores if you're not certain you want something, and check the return policy.

Re:How can you return a stolen item?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

you steal an item from a store. You hang around outside the store, looking for dropped receipts that have your item listed, and usually was not paid for with a credit card (as the store will either refund the card, or only offer store credit), then you take your stolen item and the receipt inside and get your refund.

Or, you hang out in the parking lot looking for a dropped receipt with a big-ticket but small physical size item on it, you go inside, slip the item from the shelf, make your way back to the front of the store and head for the customer service desk and get a refund on the device you didn't even steal since you never left the store! (this is fraud however, still illegal of course).

Or, you steal items at one store location, then go to another store location and try to get a refund without receipt. Then be a complete asshat when they refuse until a manager caves and gives you money cause he's a spineless coward too stupid and scared to do his job properly and call the cops. (this last one is a constant source of irritation to a friend of mine working in retail)

Oh, and no, device serials are not always (or often) printed on purchase receipts in the US. That's why 2 of the above work yet the major US retailers still aren;t doing it.

Re:"How Your Returns Are Used Against You"

By guruevi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The problem is not taking advantage of the system, the problem is that many people are unaware of their rights and these lists are typically turned abusive rather than stopping actual 'fraud'. It's easy to end up on the list because you returned a number of high value items and you otherwise don't frequent the retailers for high value items.

On the other hand you can always initiate a chargeback on your credit card. AutoZone once attempted to refuse me a refund. Sold me a set of wipers where one wouldn't fit and they wouldn't take it back because "store policy" (I opened the package and only then noticed that they sold me the wrong length for one side). I told the manager: sure, I'll just contact my credit card company and get the purchase voided. Instantly changed their tune.

Re:charge back when best buy fails will change the

By Calydor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

To quote the GP, your purchase didn't meet your legitimate, reasonable expectations by having dead pixels. The return/exchange was fair.

So is there a market for tech rental?

By swb • Score: 3 • Thread

I get the outrage, like everyone else it's hard not to think of this as a blacklist designed to rip off customers and with all the Kafkaesque elements you'd expect from an opaque, privately run blacklist.

That being said, if a big part of this is tech "rental" -- buying an item for limited use and then returning, why not approach this as a business opportunity? Create some business model where people can more or less rent these items (purchase minus restocking fee) and where each iteration of sale-return results in a declining, "open box" selling price?

If this "problem" is big enough that it's worth the pure overhead cost of running a blacklist of abusive consumers, it sounds like there's a way to run to use that overhead instead towards basically renting these items to abusive customers.

Facebook Has Turned Into a Beast in Myanmar, UN Says

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
UN investigators have accused Facebook of playing a "determining role" in stirring up hatred against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. From a report: One of the team probing possible acts of genocide said Facebook had "turned into a beast." About 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military launched an operation in August against "insurgents" in Rakhine state. Facebook has said there is "no place for hate speech" on its platform. "We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns," a Facebook spokeswoman told the BBC.

The UN's Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar announced the interim findings of its investigation on Monday. During a press conference the chairman of the mission, Marzuki Darusman, said that social media had "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony" amongst the wider public, against Rohingya Muslims. "Hate speech is certainly, of course, a part of that," he added.

It's not Facebook ...

By CaptainDork • Score: 3 • Thread

... and it's not other social media.

It's people who take that sit seriously.

You'd think that, by now, people would know that social media is a game room.

It was intended for entertainment purposes only.

It's not Facebook.

It's us.

Ordering and Moderation

By Prien715 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What's terribly insidious about Facebook as a platform is not the speech it allows, but the speech it promotes.

Here on /., you have numerous ways about how to order the comments on the site, which ones to show/not show, etc. Facebook does not. Instead, it orders your feed based on what it thinks you will interact with -- this happens to be things which we strongly disagree with. Instead of a society where reasonable people have discussions about solutions to problems, Facebook has created a platform where it literally promotes posts that troll to increase "user engagement" -- and thus their ad revenue. Online discussions have literally become worse since Facebook has existed -- and you see it here too.

In Soviet Valley, Facebook uses you.

Rohingyans Brought it on Themselves

By DatbeDank • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

The Rohingyan Muslims have for years been a constant thorn in the side of Burmese people and government. The Rohingyans have been attacking and killing the Buddhists in the region for well over a century now.

This so-called "Genocide" is the response to constant acts of violent Jihad against otherwise peaceful Buddhists that have been going on for years. Shame that the media has been ignoring the plight of these peaceful Buddhists finally snapping and defending themselves against this onslaught of Arabic barbarism.

Make no mistake, the Rohingyans brought it upon themselves for their inability to peacefully live alongside Buddhists.

No, the beast is Islam

By Chrisq • Score: 3 • Thread
If the Rohingya hadn't come to Myanmar and started demanding privileges, killing and raping it would not have happened. We can see that they are up to the same tricks in Sri Lanka too. We should not criticise, in a generation's time or sooner we will have to do the same in the West or become sharia hell holes.

are you kidding me?

By slashmydots • Score: 3 • Thread
700,000 people show up unannounced in your country and Facebook is the problem? The 700,000 people are the problem! It doesn't help that a lot of their cultural practices are EXTREMELY disapproved of by the rest of the world.

Amazon Recalls 260,000 Portable Power Banks For Fire Hazard

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon is recalling 260,000 AmazonBasics portable power banks that can "overheat and ignite," according to a release by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The company has received more than 50 reports of the power banks overheating in the U.S., causing chemical burns and property damage. CNBC reports: "Consumers should immediately unplug and stop using the recalled power banks and contact Amazon for instructions on how to return the unit and receive a full refund," the release says. Amazon is contacting everyone who purchased one of the affected devices. The recall covers six versions of the AmazonBasics portable battery: 16,100 mAh; 10,000 mAh; 5,600 mAh; 2,000 mAh with micro USB cable; 3,000 mAh; and 3,000 mAh with USB micro cable.

Well wtf?

By bobstreo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

How else will I be able to recharge my Chinese knock-off hoverboard from Amazon?

Re:Interestring, so far AB has seemed OK

By sexconker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Amazon Basics came about because Amazon got jealous of all the fly by night companies that were creating storefronts on Amazon and eBay for dropshipping from aliexpress. The bigger players in this space actually get the Chinese manufacturers to slap their logo on the product / box. Other than that, the item you get from any of the dozen companies (including Amazon) is identical.

It's true for everything from portable battery packs, to USB power adapters, to primary cell batteries, to "hover" boards, to solar lights, to RGB light strips, to mandolin slicers, to slow cookers, to beard trimmers, to everything else made in China.

The only reason to buy the Amazon Basics brand is if it is somehow cheaper after considering tax and shipping (occasionally even Amazon needs to clear stock), or if you expect it to fail soon and want the more generous return/refund policy of a "shipped and sold by Amazon" item.

A Chatbot Can Now Offer You Protection Against Volatile Airline Prices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The same bot, DoNotPay, that helped users overturn parking tickets and sue Equifax for small sums of money is now offering you protection against volatile airline prices. The Verge reports: Joshua Browder, a junior at Stanford University, designed the new service on the bot in a few months, after experiencing rapidly fluctuating airline prices when flying to California during the wildfires last year. "It annoyed me that every single flight, I could be paying sometimes double or even triple the person next to me in the same type of seat," he told The Verge. Browder first used the service himself and then tested it among his friends in a closed beta. He claims that the average amount saved among the beta testers is $450 a year, though it's not clear how many flights were booked and how much they cost. The service is available to the public starting today. To use it, log in with a Google account, input your phone number, birthday, and credit card information through Stripe. (Browder swears the credit card information won't be stored.) Then the chatbot tells you you're all set. Now, every time you buy airline tickets, whether from an airline's site or a third party, the chatbot will help make sure you pay the lowest price for your class and seat.


By the_skywise • Score: 3 • Thread
"How does it make you feel that the 'airlines are bending you over and raping you with their prices'?"
Or is this going to be more like Clippy?!
tink - tink - "Hey I see you're trying to book a flight to Hawaii, I see flights nearby to Alaska are much cheaper"


By Patent Lover • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yes, it also takes your Google account sign in info, phone number, birthday, and credit card information.

What sort of swear is it?

By OzPeter • Score: 3 • Thread

Is it:

  • a "Cross my heart" swear?
  • a "Pinkie Swear" swear?
  • Or some kind of other swear?

We really need to know this in order to validate what type of security risks is involved in using this service.

For GMail users?

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

from their site:

"How it works.
Flight and hotel prices change all the time. DoNotPay finds travel confirmations from past bookings in your inbox. When the price drops, the robot lawyer will find a legal loophole to negotiate a cheaper price or rebook you."

Re:For GMail users?

By schnipschnap • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Thank you for the only? useful comment in this thread. If the editor is listening, it might have been useful to have had this information in the summary.

Here's some information from the article on the legal loopholes:

The chatbot uses American rebooking rules on a ticket to switch flights and obtain refunds. It uses rules like the “24 hour rule,” weather warnings, and airline compliance with laws against price gouging to find cheaper tickets. Every five seconds, the chatbot checks for a deal up until the time of your departure, when weather and cancellation loopholes appear more often, according to Browder. DoNotPay actually books and holds the seat for you with its own money until your old seat can be canceled, using the bot’s VC funding.

Because it isn’t versed in other countries’ rebooking rules, the chatbot only works on US airlines with flights that depart from inside the US, whether domestic or international. It doesn’t work for flights flying from international into the US. (The chatbot can also check for lower hotel prices from five hotel chains, including Hilton, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Marriott and Best Western, but it doesn’t cover every hotel yet.)

'Women At Microsoft Are Sexualized By Their Male Managers,' Lawsuit Alleges

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: According to a newly unsealed court filing, women at Microsoft who work in technical jobs filed 238 internal complaints pertaining to gender discrimination or sexual harassment from 2010 through 2016. The new document was first reported Monday evening by Reuters. The figures were revealed as part of a proposed class-action lawsuit originally filed in 2015 (Moussouris v. Microsoft). The female plaintiffs argue that the company's internal rating system discriminates against women and disfavors professional advancement for women.

As part of the class certification process and civil discovery, Microsoft handed over years of records to the plaintiffs' lawyers. In the Monday-released filing, which was originally submitted to the court in October 2017, Moussouris' lawyer, Michael Subit, wrote that "Microsoft's Culture is Rife with Sexual Harassment" before continuing: "Company records indicate that women at Microsoft are sexualized by their male managers and coworkers, leading to a substantial number of incidents of alleged sexual harassment, and even several incidents of sexual assault, that often go unpunished." Specifically, Subit continued, Microsoft's internal unit (known as "ERIT") received 108 complaints of sexual harassment filed by female US-based technical employees, 119 complaints of gender discrimination, eight complaints of retaliation, and three complaints of pregnancy discrimination. Out of all of the claimed instances of gender discrimination, Microsoft's internal investigation only found that one such complaint was "founded."

Re:Internal complaints? really?

By yndrd1984 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If they do not go... If they do go...

Well, since it's impossible to please everyone, suggestions on both ends of the spectrum will inevitably be made, and you can use this logic to dismiss all of them as stemming from bigotry. All you have to do is pretend that the same people are making both arguments.

The women always lose. That is what is important.

Any statement you don't like is misogynistic. That is what is important.

Re: t!ts and d!cks

By dbialac • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Honestly, this lawsuit has little to no merit. 125000 employees and there are less than 300 complaints in total over 7 calendar years. That's not a systemic problem. It's a greedy lawyer hoping for a settlement... who forgot Bill Gates was at Harvard studying law.


By Solandri • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I suspect the vast majority of problems go unreported even when management is responsive.

Why are we basing this on number of complaints? Anyone can file a complaint. One person with an overactive imagination can file multiple complaints without merit. The stat is already skewed far in favor of exaggerating the scope of the problem, and you're proposing skewing it even more. I thought one of the basic premises of our society was innocent until proven guilty?

If you truly want to gauge the scope of the problem, the number you should be looking at is the number of unique persons who were investigated and found to have committed sexual harassment. That eliminates the complaints found to be without merit. And it eliminates multiple complaints against a single individual. So the problem is likely much smaller than one complaint per 521 employees.

Even if 100% of the complaints are legit, the actual problem is probably on the order of one individual being complained against per 2000-5000 employees. If you base it on the number of accusers Bill Cosby has, the problem ends up being one individual in 15,000. Meaning of Microsoft's employee count of 124,000, there are probably only 8 individuals guilty of sexual harassment. And if 9 out of 10 people experiencing harassment don't report it, that still means it's being perpetrated by fewer than 100 individuals. The other 99.9% are innocent.


By quantaman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I suspect the vast majority of problems go unreported even when management is responsive.

Why are we basing this on number of complaints? Anyone can file a complaint. One person with an overactive imagination can file multiple complaints without merit. The stat is already skewed far in favor of exaggerating the scope of the problem, and you're proposing skewing it even more. I thought one of the basic premises of our society was innocent until proven guilty?

If you truly want to gauge the scope of the problem, the number you should be looking at is the number of unique persons who were investigated and found to have committed sexual harassment. That eliminates the complaints found to be without merit. And it eliminates multiple complaints against a single individual. So the problem is likely much smaller than one complaint per 521 employees.

Even if 100% of the complaints are legit, the actual problem is probably on the order of one individual being complained against per 2000-5000 employees. If you base it on the number of accusers Bill Cosby has, the problem ends up being one individual in 15,000. Meaning of Microsoft's employee count of 124,000, there are probably only 8 individuals guilty of sexual harassment. And if 9 out of 10 people experiencing harassment don't report it, that still means it's being perpetrated by fewer than 100 individuals. The other 99.9% are innocent.

You math.... strangely.

Lets just look at Bill Cosby for a moment, he raped dozens of women. And the vast majority of victims didn't come forward until decades later when everyone else started coming forward. If rape victims weren't reporting you think victims of sexual harassment are? If you were a woman being sexually harassed at work don't you think your first instinct would be to tough it out and not cause a scene?

It's the pattern that shows up with the majority of the #MeToo cases, one or two women come forward and then half a dozen more suddenly pop up to credibly corroborate their story. And in most of those cases I suspect there's a ton more who never come forward.

It's not surprising when you think about it, would you really want to call up a reporter to talk about getting sexually harassed? Would you want to risk having your name thrown all over the internet as a victim of sexual harassment?

So yes, most workplaces have a lot more than 1 sexual harasser in 521 employees, they probably have a lot more than 0.1% of employees harassing. The question with Microsoft isn't whether this is the tip of the iceberg, because it most certainly is. The question is whether their iceberg is unusually large compared to any other organization.

Adopt the traffic light system?

By Rande • Score: 3 • Thread

The Navy uses (used?) the traffic light system - so if she says 'Yellow light' it means that you are edging on the unacceptable and should tone it down, change topic or whatever as you're making her uncomfortable. 'Red light' means you are being completely unacceptable and you should stop and walk away. And of course, 'Green light' means that your advances are welcome and please proceed.
Navy Traffic Light System

Perhaps this would help simplify things as unsocial geeks may not see or understand non-verbal communication that indicates that the other person is uncomfortable with the interaction.

Developers Love Trendy New Languages, But Earn More With Functional Programming: Stack Overflow's Annual Survey

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Stack Overflow has released the results of its annual survey of 100,000 developers, revealing the most-popular, top-earning, and preferred programming languages. ArsTechnica: JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language among professional developers, making that six years at the top for the lingua franca of Web development. Other Web tech including HTML (#2 in the ranking), CSS (#3), and PHP (#9). Business-oriented languages were also in wide use, with SQL at #4, Java at #5, and C# at #8. Shell scripting made a surprising showing at #6 (having not shown up at all in past years, which suggests that the questions have changed year-to-year), Python appeared at #7, and systems programming stalwart C++ rounded out the top 10.

These aren't, however, the languages that developers necessarily want to use. Only three languages from the most-used top ten were in the most-loved list; Python (#3), JavaScript (#7), and C# (#8). For the third year running, that list was topped by Rust, the new systems programming language developed by Mozilla. Second on the list was Kotlin, which wasn't even in the top 20 last year. This new interest is likely due to Google's decision last year to bless the language as an official development language for Android. TypeScript, Microsoft's better JavaScript than JavaScript comes in at fourth, with Google's Go language coming in at fifth. Smalltalk, last year's second-most loved, is nowhere to be seen this time around. These languages may be well-liked, but it looks as if the big money is elsewhere. Globally, F# and OCaml are the top average earners, and in the US, Erlang, Scala, and OCaml are the ones to aim for. Visual Basic 6, Cobol, and CoffeeScript were the top three most-dreaded, which is news that will surprise nobody who is still maintaining Visual Basic 6 applications thousands of years after they were originally written.

cargo-culted copypasta

By KiloByte • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

So a website devoted to copy+paste programming gets Javascript at #1? Oh so surprising...


By per unit analyzer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I call BS on any survey or programmer that considers HTML a programming language.


By mrun4982 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The addition of CSS doesn't change anything. HTML and/or CSS are not programming languages.


By Sesostris III • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
To be fair, they didn't. The exact title of that particular survey item is "Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages".

Google and Ubisoft Are Teaming Up To Improve Online Multi-Player Video Games

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google and Ubisoft announced on Tuesday they have a new project intended to improve the performance of fast-paced, online multi-player video games. From a report: The search giant said it teamed with Ubisoft -- the publisher of popular video games like Assassin's Creed and Far Cry -- to create a gaming developer framework intended for coders that work on online video games. The project is called Agones, which is Greek for "contest" or "gathering," and it will be available in open-source, meaning developers can use it for free and also contribute to the underlying technology. Google pitches Agones as a more cutting-edge way for developers to build multi-player games that don't crash or stutter when thousands of video gamers play at the same time.

Each time people want to play their favorite first-person shooter or other computer resource-heavy online video game with others, the underlying infrastructure that powers the online video game must create a special gaming server that hosts the players. The Agones framework was designed to more efficiently distribute the computing resources necessary to support each online gaming match, thus reducing the complexity of creating each special server while helping coders better track how the computing resources are being used.

Yeeeeeeah, no.

By Kokuyo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Those are not two names I usually associate with a good user experience... much less an improved one.

Unless, of course, you define a good user experience by not having to worry about lugging around that darned heavy wallet.

Re:Exactly this

By EvilSS • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Outside of a few enclaves, there's little push to make games connected online. Those enclaves tend to be centered around large media companies.

Don't get me wrong, I've done plenty of multiplayer, but I don't like it exclusively. I'd rather the devs spend an extra six months polishing gameplay over polishing netcode. Or give the networking funds over to the story devs so I can have some of my in-game actions reflected meaningfully in the story. None of this pallet-swapped outfit or "moral compass" bull. Meaningful reflection.

You must be old, like me. Players in their 10's-20's don't care much for single player games anymore, it's all about online PvP (in whatever form that takes for any given genre) for the vast majority of them. Just look at the top grossing and top played games (including F2P games like LoL, Hearthstone, Fortnite BR, etc). All multiplayer. The last "Huge" single player game I can think of was Zelda BotW. Doom, Fallout 4 before that but none of those have any staying power with the general gaming public.

A nice game company should

By AHuxley • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Let users have access to their own offical servers all over the world while the game is enjoying sales.
When the game is no longer supported push an update to let people host the game, use p2p. A way to keep multi player working within a user community.
Pushing a big brand party political data mining ad company onto a game is just not useful branding.

Re:Oh boy

By Voyager529 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Ah, the two companies I love the most getting together

Just wait until the collaboration between EA and Comcast, powered by Oracle!

Re:what about letting us have lan servers and our

By Voyager529 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

what about letting us have lan servers and our own hosted ones that can run the mods and maps we want to run?

There are still a handful of games which do this. The most recent release of Unreal Tournament does so, as does Civ VI. A great resource is this page:

Which lists out games exclusively by the ability to do LAN-based multiplayer.

Media Reports About a Massive Geomagnetic Storm Hitting Earth on March 18 Are Inaccurate, NOAA Says

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Several news outlets this week are reporting that Earth is expecting a "massive magnetic storm" on March 18. Yeah, so that's not happening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told Newsweek and other outlets. From a report: And they would know: Not only does NOAA help people build forecasts for weather here on Earth, they also predict space weather events like geomagnetic storms. "This story is not plausible in any way, shape or form," Bob Rutledge, who leads NOAA's Space Weather Forecast Center, told Newsweek via e-mail. "Things are all quiet for space weather, and the sun is essentially spotless." The magnetic storm's "imminent" arrival was one of Monday morning's top science news stories, according to Google News. But most coverage appeared to be based on a misinterpretation of a chart posted on Russia's Lebedev Institute's website showing a minor uptick in geomagnetic activity on the 18th. That elevated activity is expected to be a minor storm at most.

I was expecting a spectacular aurora but...

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

...instead got fake views!

Massive Hangover Predicted

By goombah99 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The National St. Paddy's Forecasting center is predicting a violent disruption of geospatial equilibrium and thought competence the morning of March 18th.

It's a question of degree

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The University of Alaska - Fairbanks does predict high auroral activity the night of the 18th.

So, depending on where you live, you might get to see some aurora that night - but nothing like the "news" going around the web. blank as paper

By swschrad • Score: 3 • Thread

worst case an A3 flare, which won't even color the sky in Norway, is the 24 hour prediction.

No jackbooted facts treading on our freedoms!

By GameboyRMH • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

In today's post-truth world, people are allowed to believe their own facts in the face of those pushed by so called "experts" and "people who actually know what the fuck they're talking about." So to anyone out there who wishes to believe in the alternative fact that Earth's technology will be set back to the 1700s on Sunday, you should feel free to sell me all of your soon-to-be-useless electronics which I will pay above-scrap prices for. I will use them to build a post-apocalyptic museum to teach the young ones about the before-times. Don't worry about scrubbing valuable personal information from them either, that will all be deleted when the geomagnetic storm hits.

Privacy-Busting Bugs Found in Popular VPN Services Hotspot Shield, Zenmate and PureVPN

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A report by VpnMentor, a website which ranks VPN services, reveals several vulnerabilities in Hotspot Shield, Zenmate, and PureVPN -- all of which promise to provide privacy for their users. VpnMentor says it hired a team of three external ethical hackers to find vulnerabilities in three random popular VPNs. While one hacker wants to keep his identity private, the other two are known as File Descriptor and Paulos Yibelo. ZDNet: The research reveals bugs that can leak real-world IP addresses, which in some cases can identify individual users and determine a user's location. In the case of Hotspot Shield, three separate bugs in how the company's Chrome extension handles proxy auto-config scripts -- used to direct traffic to the right places -- leaked both IP and DNS addresses, which undermines the effectiveness of privacy and anonymity services. [...] AnchorFree, which makes Hotspot Shield, fixed the bugs, and noted that its mobile and desktop apps were not affected by the bugs. The researchers also reported similar IP leaking bugs to Zenmate and PureVPN.

VPN recommendations

By 110010001000 • Score: 3 • Thread
So what VPN provider do you people recommend?

Funky browser plugin "VPNs"

By Burz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Use a real VPN client like openvpn with appropriate firewall rules instead.

VPN is a suckers game

By SuperKendall • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

Opinion: All VPN's have CIA backdoors and are heavily monitored.

Change my mind.

Roll your own

By duke_cheetah2003 • Score: 3 • Thread

Seriously folks, you want a cheap secure VPN to do whatever you want with? Rent yourself a t2.micro instance on Amazon Web Services, setup OpenVPN and go crazy. It's not even exceptionally difficult. You control it all, the logs, the keys, the server, you decide what gets saved and what gets discarded.

The cost? About $9/mo for the instance runtime, plus your bandwidth (first 1GB is free, after that, 9 cents a GB, previously I'd posted you pay for bandwidth in both directions, but that's not true. You pay for data out, not data in.)

A Startup is Pitching a Mind-Uploading Service That is '100 Percent Fatal'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The startup accelerator Y Combinator is known for supporting audacious companies in its popular three-month boot camp. There's never been anything quite like Nectome, though. From a report: Next week, at YC's "demo days," Nectome's cofounder, Robert McIntyre, is going to describe his technology for exquisitely preserving brains in microscopic detail using a high-tech embalming process. Then the MIT graduate will make his business pitch. As it says on his website: "What if we told you we could back up your mind?" So yeah. Nectome is a preserve-your-brain-and-upload-it company. Its chemical solution can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass. The idea is that someday in the future scientists will scan your bricked brain and turn it into a computer simulation. That way, someone a lot like you, though not exactly you, will smell the flowers again in a data server somewhere.

This story has a grisly twist, though. For Nectome's procedure to work, it's essential that the brain be fresh. The company says its plan is to connect people with terminal illnesses to a heart-lung machine in order to pump its mix of scientific embalming chemicals into the big carotid arteries in their necks while they are still alive (though anesthetized). The company has consulted with lawyers familiar with California's two-year-old End of Life Option Act, which permits doctor-assisted suicide for terminal patients, and believes its service will be legal. The product is "100 percent fatal," says McIntyre. "That is why we are uniquely situated among the Y Combinator companies."

See through scheme

By AnotherAnonymousUser • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Nice try, zombies. We're on to your business model.

What is old is new

By dyfet • Score: 3 • Thread

Ancient Egypt also had high priests that made a somewhat similar sales pitch...

That's were the hook comes in

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I want to be entombed in my glass block, holding a note that says "I know where 100lbs of gold is buried".

Of course, this means you have to guess what kind of thing will be valuable enough 100 or 1000 years from now for someone to extract your consciousness. You could also try some reverse psychology along the lines of a sign that read "I was frozen believing that God is real. Change my mind".

Re:What's the point?

By Trailer Trash • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If that were true, everytime someone on Star Trek stepped through a transporter they would be dead too.

The problem is that this may happen when you fall asleep. We don't know. I've always called it the "transporter problem" because I came to it from thinking about the transporter in Star Trek. Like you have.

The issue is that if I made an absolutely perfect replica of me at the molecular level, and assuming consciousness fully resides in the physical flesh (which I believe), then the replica would think he's me. He would not think he's a replica. Therefore, I can be a replica and not know it. I know I'm not because what I just described isn't possible.

But the issue is that when I go to sleep at night, I lose consciousness. When I awake, it's me again.

Or is it?

"I" don't have to survive that. Whoever I am tomorrow will think they're the same person that I am now because they will remember all my experiences (including this one), so there's no reason for the consciousness residing in my brain tomorrow to be the same as today. We literally have no way of knowing how that works.

This was also very well explored by the movie "Multiplicity", although they added some great comic elements that took it in a different direction.

Re:And why would anybody in the future care?

By Swave An deBwoner • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Via the fuck() system call of course.

Reddit and the Struggle To Detoxify the Internet

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In an article published on The New Yorker this week, Andrew Marantz discusses the state of free speech on the Web and takes a look at Reddit, the internet's fourth-most-popular site, after Google, YouTube, and Facebook. Some excerpts from the story: On November 23, 2016, shortly after President Trump's election, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman was at his desk, in San Francisco, perusing the site. It was the day before Thanksgiving. Reddit's administrators had just deleted a subreddit called r/Pizzagate, a forum for people who believed that high-ranking staffers of Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign, and possibly Clinton herself, were trafficking child sex slaves. The reason for the ban, according to Reddit's administrators, was not the beliefs of people on the subreddit, but the way they'd behaved -- specifically, their insistence on publishing their enemies' private phone numbers and addresses, a clear violation of Reddit's rules. [...] Some of the conspiracy theorists left Reddit and reunited on Voat, a site made by and for the users that Reddit sloughs off. Other Pizzagaters stayed and regrouped on r/The_Donald, a popular pro-Trump subreddit. Throughout the Presidential campaign, The_Donald was a hive of Trump boosterism. By this time, it had become a hermetic subculture, full of inside jokes and ugly rhetoric. The community's most frequent commenters, like the man they'd helped propel to the Presidency, were experts at testing boundaries. Within minutes, they started to express their outrage that Pizzagate had been deleted.

Redditors are pseudonymous, and their pseudonyms are sometimes prefaced by "u," for "username." Huffman's is Spez. As he scanned The_Donald, he noticed that hundreds of the most popular comments were about him: "fuck u/spez", "u/spez is complicit in the coverup". One commenter simply wrote "u/SPEZ IS A CUCK," in bold type, a hundred and ten times in a row. Huffman, alone at his computer, wondered whether to respond. "I consider myself a troll at heart," he said later. "Making people bristle, being a little outrageous in order to add some spice to life -- I get that. I've done that." Privately, Huffman imagined The_Donald as a misguided teen-ager who wouldn't stop misbehaving. "If your little brother flicks your ear, maybe you ignore it," he said. "If he flicks your ear a hundred times, or punches you, then maybe you give him a little smack to show you're paying attention."

Although redditors didn't yet know it, Huffman could edit any part of the site. He wrote a script that would automatically replace his username with those of The_Donald's most prominent members, directing the insults back at the insulters in real time: in one comment, "Fuck u/Spez" became "Fuck u/Trumpshaker"; in another, "Fuck u/Spez" became "Fuck u/MAGAdocious." The_Donald's users saw what was happening, and they reacted by spinning a conspiracy theory that, in this case, turned out to be true. "Manipulating the words of your users is fucked," a commenter wrote.

Right Detoxify

By DarkOx • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

"He wrote a script that would automatically replace his username with those of The_Donald's most prominent members, directing the insults back at the insulters in real time: in one comment, "Fuck u/Spez" became "Fuck u/Trumpshaker"; in another, "Fuck u/Spez" became "Fuck u/MAGAdocious."

That does not sound like plan to "detoxify the internet" so much as one to replace it with their own preferred toxic garbage/

Sorry "Liberals" we are on to you now. You don't give a crap about liberal democracy, you don't care about the free exchange of ideas. You are not really against violence, or harassment. You only want to be ones to decide who is on the receiving end. You and your leadership in the DNC are transparent pieces of garbage.

Re:It's a circle-jerk echo chamber

By sycodon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There is a meta-moderation system where you look at the moderation and post and judge if it was reasonable or not. I've not done that in quite a while so who knows how often/if it is used anymore.

Re:It's a circle-jerk echo chamber

By quantaman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

./ seems to do well allowing downvotes. There's certainly bias on certain subjects, but in general you find high quality comments on both sides.

I think technology (the moderation system) plays a role, but as tech people I think we tend to overemphasize technology and understate the role of editors in establishing a site's culture. The /. editors simply don't post the sorts of stories and summaries that attract trolls and extremists, as a result the people who mod tend to be more reasoned and open to opposing ideas.

Sites who post controversial stories to drive page views are going to have lower quality comments because that's the people they attract and the tone they set.

Sites who allow users to post stories are going to end up with sections that are cesspools.

I don't think you can fix reddit with the right moderation system, whenever users control the content there's always going to be problematic content.

It's the editors

By tomhath • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I've been on Slashdot under many different handles almost since its inception, and I would say that in the past 5 years or so it has failed. Why? Probably just because more people are online, and you only get along with most people personally, not by "discussing controversial topics" but by dealing with them in daily interactions.

I agree that slashdot has failed, but i think the reason is different. Back in its heyday, stories in the firehose which were voted up made the front page. Today, voting doesn't really matter; the editors find and post stories according to their own agenda (e.g. Trump bashing and SWJ stories). That filter/selection process by the editors far outweighs any moderation.

spez *is* a cuck

By devloop • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
"One commenter simply wrote "u/SPEZ IS A CUCK," in bold type, a hundred and ten times in a row."

Just because the delivery is off, it does not mean the message is wrong.

Firefox 59, 'By Far the Biggest Update Since Firefox 1.0', Arrives With Faster Page Loads and Improved Private Browsing

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a VentureBeat report: Mozilla today launched Firefox 59 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The release builds on Firefox Quantum, which the company calls "by far the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004." Version 59 brings faster page load times, private browsing mode that strips path information, and Android Assist. In related news, Mozilla is giving Amazon Fire TV owners a new design later this week that lets them save their preferred websites by pinning them to the Firefox home screen. Enterprise users also have something to look forward to: On Wednesday, Firefox Quantum for Enterprise is entering the beta phase. Firefox 59 for the desktop is available for download now on, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play.

Donation incoming.

By BenFenner • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Another update I don't have to suffer thanks to Moonchild Productions.
Time to donate $59 toward the Pale Moon project.

Re:Pale Moon Browser 27.8.1 has been released

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Bleh... Seamonkey (the real Netscape) still has all of you beat, even (especially) after all these years. We should celebrate its stability, at least in its user interface.

Extensions killed the beast

By vossman77 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I have been using Firefox since when it was only part of mozilla, but I have since moved to Waterfox, because I have not been able to replace my old extensions. And the newer version of my old extensions, e.g. noscript, really slow down the new firefox browser.


Re:Pale Moon Browser 27.8.1 has been released

By arth1 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

PaleMoon is alas no longer an option at work, as it won't work on Enterprise Linux 6 anymore, the still supported and last systemd free major OS family.
And building it on my gentoo machine at home is not an option either, as I have to install and switch to old gcc 4.9 compilers just to get it to build.

Seamonkey is no problem building, but alas, there are a few sites it doesn't work with. Like the Kinja empire and BofA.
So Firefox it is, at least for now.

Re:get back to me when all of my addons work

By fafalone • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
theweatherelectic is a paid promoter. His comments, nearly exclusively on Firefox stories (he's recently started commenting on some others after repeatedly being called out for lying about his affiliations, look back further in post history and you'll see absolutely exclusivity to Firefox stories before I and others began calling him out), and always starting within minutes of one being posted, repeat Mozilla talking points and downplay or deny every negative aspect of updates. Take this comment here, bragging about all his addons and 9000 others working, as if that excuses major limitations that count as "working", and the many very popular plugins that absolutely do not work. All of yours work? Well half of mine do not work and do not have equivalents.

Researchers Find Critical Vulnerabilities in AMD's Ryzen and EPYC Processors, But They Gave the Chipmaker Only 24 Hours Before Making the Findings Public

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Alfred Ng, reporting for CNET: Researchers have discovered critical security flaws in AMD chips that could allow attackers to access sensitive data from highly guarded processors across millions of devices. Particularly worrisome is the fact that the vulnerabilities lie in the so-called secure part of the processors -- typically where your device stores sensitive data like passwords and encryption keys. It's also where your processor makes sure nothing malicious is running when you start your computer. CTS-Labs, a security company based in Israel, announced Tuesday that its researchers had found 13 critical security vulnerabilities that would let attackers access data stored on AMD's Ryzen and EPYC processors, as well as install malware on them. Ryzen chips power desktop and laptop computers, while EPYC processors are found in servers. The researchers gave AMD less than 24 hours to look at the vulnerabilities and respond before publishing the report. Standard vulnerability disclosure calls for 90 days' notice so that companies have time to address flaws properly. An AMD spokesperson said, "At AMD, security is a top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as new risks arise. We are investigating this report, which we just received, to understand the methodology and merit of the findings," an AMD spokesman said. Zack Whittaker, a security reporter at CBS, said: Here's the catch: AMD had less than a day to look at the research. No wonder why its response is so vague.

Now this is suspicious

By Megol • Score: 3 • Thread

Look at how the information is delivered. "This site is to inform the public about the vulnerabilities and call upon AMD and the security community to fix the vulnerable products." - but doesn't actually give AMD the time to fix the problem(s).

Look at the website:
Nice name.

"MASTERKEY requires an attacker to be able to re-flash the BIOS with a specially crafted BIOS update"
So this is a low impact problem. Yes they try to hype it but the fact is if anyone have access to a computer one should always assume they can gain control.
For just a few years ago people wouldn't even try to portrait it as a problem.

The rest are similar things - bypassing security while still needing physical and/or elevated privileges. Yes there may be problems caused by this, no the problems aren't really bad.

I wouldn't be surprised if Intel spent some $$$ to encourage the group behind this to select the website name, the naming of the exploits (or "exploits" in some cases), how they are presented on the website and the white paper, and lastly to not giving AMD any chance to patch the problems. Add to this the quote above that show an exceptional level of dishonesty.

And if Intel didn't give them anything the group missed out - Intel have dedicated resources for these kind of operations as anyone that have been into computers for a while should know.


Re:Sponsored by, Intel! (R)

By DRJlaw • Score: 4 • Thread

Pretty clearly Intel-funded, yes.

Pretty clearly? Based on what evidence? All you've done is speculated as to motive.

Re:Sponsored by, Intel! (R)

By DarkOx • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We could be using single cycle machines with no pipe-lining, in order execution and several megabytes of SRAM.

They would be slow but they could be they could be secure by now. We chose fast and cheap over reliable.

From their own Disclaimer

By iCEBaLM • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"Although we have a good faith belief in our analysis and believe it to be objective and unbiased, you are advised that we may have, either directly or indirectly, an economic interest in the performance of the securities of the companies whose products are the subject of our reports."

24 hours notice. "Researchers" who seem to spring up out of nowhere. Creating a website and videos for maximum publicity. All the security flaws seem overblown (require actual flashing of firmware or bypassing driver signing), and.. wait, what's this?

A huge number of put option (a bet that share price will fall dramatically) volume 5 days ago?

Nah, this is totally legit!

Re:Follow the money

By slack_justyb • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They literally spell it out on their disclaimer page.

Although we have a good faith belief in our analysis and believe it to be objective and unbiased, you are advised that we may have, either directly or indirectly, an economic interest in the performance of the securities of the companies whose products are the subject of our reports.

So while these exploits might be real, they just straight up fess to being shady as shit. This is some blackballing level of unethical behavior. They literally hit and run AMD for profit. Whoever these engineers are, this whole episode should be the end of any future career they might have had and it just stops short of what I would think would constitute an outright FTC investigation.

Twenty-four hour notice and then posting publicly the exploits isn't research, that's a willful attack.

Microsoft Admits It Updated Some Windows 10 Computers To Newest Build Despite Users Telling It Not To Do That

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Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: The admission came in a knowledge base article updated last week. Not all users of older Windows versions were forcibly updated, but only those whose machines were running Windows 10 v1703 (Creators Update). This is the version where Microsoft added special controls to the Windows Update setting section that allow users to pause OS updates in case they have driver or other hardware issues with the latest OS version. But according to reports, a Microsoft snafu ignored these settings and forcibly updated some users to Windows 10 v1709 (Fall Creators Update).

Endless entertainment....

By LVSlushdat • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I used/supported Windows for 20 years as a sysadmin. When I retired in 2010, I decided I was done with anything MS, and switched my home systems from dualboot Win7/Linux to JUST Linux. Since I'd been using Linux off/on since 1994, starting with Slackware, it was a particularly easy "switch".. Now I laugh my ass off at the abuse MS heaps on those who, for whatever reason, STILL us MS products, especially Windows 10. Being retired, I have copious "playtime" and I tried Windows 10 when it first came out and was astounded at the lengths MS went to to get their product on every possible machine. They took a LOT of tricks out the malware writers playbook to shovel their shit everywhere they could.
These endless reports of Windows doing whatEVER the hell it wants on computers *should* tell all you need to know about *your* computer, if you still use Windows.. hint: *YOUR* computer has become MS's computer, and they just let you use it, except when they want to use it.. As I said, ENDLESS ENTERTAINMENT....

Re:Tame Windows Updates, the sure way

By Solandri • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I can confirm what the others are saying - disabling the Windows Update service doesn't work to stop this. I've disabled it for months due to an incompatibility with the graphics drivers it kept trying to install. A few weeks ago, the same time I started getting messages saying I *had* to update to 1709, the Update service started re-enabling itself without my authorization.

I couldn't use 1709 because for some reason it broke about a third of my installed apps, but the damn thing kept installing itself. It caused me all kinds of headaches, including almost causing me to go over my ISP's quota because it kept downloading the 1709 update again (5 GB) every time I rolled it back so I could use my computer. Eventually I gave up, blocked off an evening so I could reinstall all the apps it broke. That's when I discovered not only were the apps broken, they couldn't be uninstalled nor reinstalled. I ended up having to roll back the 1709 update, uninstall the affected apps (which uninstalled fine in the previous version), do the 1709 update, then reinstall the broken (now uninstalled) apps. Didn't finish until well past 3 am.

I'm seriously thinking of going to go back to Windows 7.

Goldfinger's Rule would seem to apply

By john.r.strohm • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Goldfinger's Rule, as chronicled by I. Fleming, tells us that "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

From the article: "This incident marks the third time in the past year when Microsoft has mistakenly updated v1703 users to v1709. It happened before in November 2017 and January 2018 when Patch Tuesday security updates accidentally upgraded some users."

The rule would seem to apply.

Re:Tame Windows Updates, the sure way

By john.r.strohm • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It was a bug the FIRST time they did it.

It was a screwup the SECOND time they did it.

This is the THIRD time they've done it. From the article: "This incident marks the third time in the past year when Microsoft has mistakenly updated v1703 users to v1709. It happened before in November 2017 and January 2018 when Patch Tuesday security updates accidentally upgraded some users."

Goldfinger's Rule: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

Claiming that this is just another bug... Sorry, Elmo, that dog just won't hunt.

Re:Tame Windows Updates, the sure way

By Attila Dimedici • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
That did not work in this case. Windows 10 has a nice little "feature" which allows it to obtain updates via peer to peer. We had multiple Windows 10 computers which, while set to look to our WSUS server rather than to Microsoft's servers for updates, downloaded the updates from other Windows 10 computers on the Internet. We have since modified Group Policy to stop them from doing that.

Larry Page's Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode

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Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page's autonomous flying taxi company Kitty Hawk on Tuesday unveiled its "fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi" called Cora. Since October, Cora has been seen moving through the skies over the South Island of New Zealand. It looks like a cross between a small plane and a drone, with a series of small rotor blades along each wing that allow it to take off like a helicopter and then fly like a plane. The New York Times reports: Now that project is about to go public: On Tuesday, Mr. Page's company and the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, will announce they have reached an agreement to test Kitty Hawk's autonomous planes as part of an official certification process. The hope is that it will lead to a commercial network of flying taxis in New Zealand in as soon as three years. The move is a big step forward in the commercialization of this technology, which even the most optimistic prognosticators had recently bet would take another decade to achieve. The decision to embrace the commercial use of flying taxis offers New Zealand an opportunity to leapfrog many developed countries in this area, and perhaps give it a head start over Silicon Valley, where much of the most innovative work has been taking place.

"His boy, Elroy ..."

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread
Awesome. I can't wait to fly to work so I can snooze and occasionally push my one huge button.

car jokes are for old farts.

By nimbius • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
sifting through flying car jokes in the comments section is whimsical, but as a millennial I wasnt promised flying cars in my future, i was promised a dystopian cyberpunk pesudo-utopia run by evil megacorps.

i wont be happy until an army of these things are deployed to relocate cybernetic self-aware corgis to robo-france as part of an effort by UN-Bot-3000 to quell unrest surrounding the birth of a telepathic, 6-legged mario plumber from a haunted cyber-womb.

No flying car

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 3 • Thread
More of the usual nonsense: a ridiculous, tiny airplane with folding wings. That's not a flying car. Flying cars, as they are generally envisioned (think Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, etc.) obviously rely on technologies that we do not currently have, and that we are not likely to have this century. By insisting in calling these silly things "flying cars", the manufacturers are bound to Segway themselves - those of us who have been around for a while remember the Segway, a device that was bound to revolutionize transportation. We also remember thinking, "This piece of junk is going to revolutionize transportation?" as it was unveiled.

Flying cars are a stupid idea

By sjbe • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you want to know just how ridiculous a flying car for the masses is, just go take an introductory flying lesson.

Quite so. Even fully automating a vehicle's navigation and controls doesn't solve the problem. For aircraft to safely fly they have to have a rather rigorous level of inspection and maintenance, well beyond what most people are capable of (including myself).

Then there is the ridiculous energy cost to flying. Trying to lift something the size of a car into the air will suck energy at a enormous rate.

I get that the idea of a flying car is appealing but if you give it a few moment's thought it's a really dumb concept. It doesn't solve any burning problems, it's hugely expensive, the technology doesn't exist and likely never will, it's terrible for the environment, our infrastructure isn't designed for it, and it's dangerous.

Not in the USofA

By Shotgun • Score: 3 • Thread

The FAA requires flights in the US to be planned to have a minimum of 30 minutes of fuel remaining at the end of the flight for Day VFR operations. 45 minutes for night or IFR flights. The requirement is there for a reason, as running out of fuel is a consistently high ranking cause of accidents. In my Zenith Zodiac 601XL, which has approximately the same performance as this vehicle, it is generally around 15 minutes between arriving at an airport and getting it on the ground. Setting up in the pattern for a coordinated landing with the other traffic actually takes time.

This thing cruises at 93mph, and has a 62mile range....somewhere around 40 minutes of flight time.

To fly across the city, say 20 miles, there is going to be several minutes of climb out, and something on the order of 15 minutes of en route time. Every landing would have to be an emergency declaration disrupting any traffic pattern.

Trump's Pick for New CIA Director Is Career Spymaster

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An anonymous reader shares a AP report: President Donald Trump's choice to be the first female director of the CIA is a career spymaster who once ran an agency prison in Thailand where terror suspects were subjected to a harsh interrogation technique that the president has supported. Trump tweeted Tuesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and that he has selected Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo. Haspel, the current deputy CIA director, also helped carry out an order that the agency destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges. Haspel, who has extensive overseas experience, briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Re:Some questions

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
1.: yes, why do 2. or 3. even matter? Even people in the Middle Ages understood that 2. is irrelevant and therefore 3. is irrelevant, too.

Re:Some questions

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

1. Is waterboarding torture?
2. Has waterboarding ever extracted useful information?
3. What great harm does waterboarding do to those performing it? Please provide some factual info, not just your opinion

1) Yes
2) No
3) See below

"In 1986, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton interviewed Nazi doctors who participated in human experimentation and mass killings. Lifton concluded that after years of exposure, many of the doctors experienced psychological damage similar in intensity to that of their victims. Anxiety, intrusive traumatic memories, and impaired cognitive and social functioning were all common consequences."

Re: "harsh interrogation technique"

By RazorSharp • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I think he genuinely wanted to, but I also don't believe he resorted to a broad use of executive power lightly. The Affordable Care Act was his great congressional push and after that he lost congress. There are certain things the executive branch can act on and certain things it cannot. Selective enforcement, which is basically what he did with the immigration problem, has long been an area where the executive branch has great latitude. Moving a military base/prison isn't the same thing. As a Constitutional scholar, I'm sure Obama was aware that he would not win in court if he attempted to shut Gitmo down without congressional approval.

Re: Explain to me please

By Rakarra • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Please point to actual evidence that Islamic countries have in fact ever demonstrated that they have given the US any "moral authority".

No one "gives you" moral authority. You earn it with the combination of your words and deeds.

Angry young men need to be given focus

By XXongo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

the type of person that is attracted to terrorist organizations has never, ever believed that the U.S. was part of the "good guys"... regardless of the existence of waterboarding methods.

This would be true if the world consisted of only two clearly distinct types of people "the type of person that is attracted to terrorist organizations" and the type that isn't, and if the type that "is" will always go and join Al Qaeda without any convincing. But the world is not, and they don't. People are anywhere in any range in between. Radicals have to be radicalized. Angry young men are plentiful, but they don't become terrorists until they have their anger focussed and fanned and, most particularly, given a target. "Terrorists" don't pop up out of nowhere, they are recruited and radicalized.

They might get radicalized to say "my country is repressive, I need to fight for more freedom for myself and my brothers." They might say "I need to fight to leave my country and go to America where I can open a falafel stand and get rich." Or they might get radicalized to "America is evil and wants to destroy us and our way of life and we need to fight it."

Our use of torture is a tool that gets organizations like ISIS or Al Qaeda the ability to take these angry young men and turn them to that last option.

Just like you can't convince a truther than 9/11 wasn't a conspiracy, a birther that obama is an american, a fookooshimar that fukushima will kill every single person in japan and then some, a typical terrorist has an image of the West that does not need to be based in reality or fact.

But how did that "typical terrorist [who] has an image of the West that does not need to be based in reality or fact" become a terrorist? How do they get that image of the west? They are radicalized. We are giving the terrorist organizations the tools to do that.

I take you've never met anybody from the middle east, right? They aren't born saying "I need to kill infidels". They have to be recruited.

US Navy Under Fire In Mass Software Piracy Lawsuit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: In 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Navy began using BS Contact Geo, a 3D virtual reality application developed by German company Bitmanagement. The Navy reportedly agreed to purchase licenses for use on 38 computers, but things began to escalate. While Bitmanagement was hopeful that it could sell additional licenses to the Navy, the software vendor soon discovered the U.S. Government had already installed it on 100,000 computers without extra compensation. In a Federal Claims Court complaint filed by Bitmanagement two years ago, that figure later increased to hundreds of thousands of computers. Because of the alleged infringement, Bitmanagement demanded damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. In the months that followed both parties conducted discovery and a few days ago the software company filed a motion for partial summary judgment, asking the court to rule that the U.S. Government is liable for copyright infringement. According to the software company, it's clear that the U.S. Government crossed a line. In its defense, the U.S. Government had argued that it bought concurrent-use licenses, which permitted the software to be installed across the Navy network. However, Bitmanagement argues that it is impossible as the reseller that sold the software was only authorized to sell PC licenses. In addition, the software company points out that the word "concurrent" doesn't appear in the contracts, nor was there any mention of mass installations. The full motion brings up a wide range of other arguments as well which, according to Bitmanagement, make it clear that the U.S. Government is liable for copyright infringement.

Obligatory Russian Reversal?

By Clueless Nick • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

In Soviet America, the Navy are the Pirates?

Re:Two points...

By Gilgaron • Score: 4 • Thread
Its probably just some lame program for training that got stuffed into the standard system image. Mission critical stuff probably only resides on individually validated systems.

Re:phone-home software in the navy

By afidel • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Incorrect. They learned the scope of the problem through discovery and adjusted their claims to account for the much more massive copying (the original scope was just the single site where the trial happened). The DoD very much does not allow call home.


By bestweasel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"We need to scope out this Bitmanagement deployment, Lieutenant. How many PCs will need it?"
"Several hundred thousand Sir".
"That's a lot of licenses, is there any way we can get by with fewer?"
"Well Sir, we could switch to a concurrent licensing model."
"How many would we need then?"
Scribble, scribble.
"I make it 38 Sir."
"That sounds better, we'll do that."

Re:Reinterpreting license agreements

By Immerman • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm curious, how do you get from "bought software for use on 38 machines" to installing it on 100,000 while "the number of active licenses doesn't exceed the ones it bought"

Apple Is Letting Companies Make 3.5mm To Lightning Cables Now

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple has updated the specs for its Made-For-iPhone accessories program, letting accessory makers put USB-C ports on licensed devices, as well as create 3.5mm to Lightning cables for the first time. 9to5Mac reports: With the new specs, companies in the MFi program can now include USB-C receptacles on their officially certified iOS and Mac accessories for charging. That allows users to charge MFi accessories with a USB-C cable and or power adapter they might already have, for example, and also draw power from the USB port on a Mac using the same cable. It also has other advantages for manufacturers. Apple's documentation for the new specs lists battery packs and speakers as products that could benefit from using a USB-C receptacle. Products are also allowed to bundle USB-C cables with the MFi accessories, but manufacturers can opt to not include a cable or adapter and reduce their costs and or price in the process. Unlike with Lightning receptacles, Apple does not allow the port to be used for passthrough charging or sync of an iOS device. Also, new for accessory makers is the ability to create a Lightning to 3.5mm stereo analog audio output plug, which would allow users to go direct from the Lightning port to a 3.5mm input on another device.


By GeekWithAKnife • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Visionary? Magical? Great innovation?

Reinventing the wheel might be great, unless of course all you need is a wheel.

3.5mm jack just works. It's cheap it does what it needs to do. No real need to change it yet.

If they really want to do something new with sound they should make their stupid music app play FLAC. Isnt that the whole point of getting sound over W1 headphones? (AKA"special blutetooth")

Seriously, for such an innovator this is rubbish.


By TheRaven64 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It sounds as if Apple is worried that malicious devices will attempt to MITM the connections from iTunes to the device. Even if none of the certified devices do this, making iOS users expect other bits of hardware to be on the line in the nominally secure path makes it easier for uncertified devices to find their way into common use. In theory, everything is encrypted, but there may well be timing attacks that work if you can interpose some hardware.

It also sounds as if they're also worried that things won't correctly forward the power control signals or manipulate them to account for the drain of the device on the line and so the iOS device will get more or (more likely) less power than it expects. This is important with regards to the throttling that they do: peak power consumption for an unthrottled iPhone is more than the peak power output of an old battery. This isn't normally a problem on mains power, but it is if the mains power is lower than advertised.

Who Cares About Adapters?

By mentil • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Alternate headline: Apple creeping towards a USB-C future. This move sounds suspiciously like the lead-up to a surprise announcement that they're courageously killing Lightning and replacing it with USB-C. Long overdue, IMO. Lightning is still limited to USB 2.0 speeds, and the latest revision of Thunderbolt uses the USB-C connector. Macbooks use USB-C as well, so iDevices are the only Apple things not yet using that connector... and would have much to gain by doing so. One of the last pieces of the puzzle was digital audio over USB... which had an official protocol finalized in the past year or so. Now that 3rd party manufacturers can produce licensed iDevice compatible gadgets with USB-C ports, everything is in place. Sure they'd have to include a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle instead of the Lightning one, but switching over sooner would be pulling the band-aid off quickly. People who bought those Lightning headphones would have to get a USB-C to Lightning adapter, as well.

Two years too late

By monkeyxpress • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As an embedded developer I think USB-C is a pretty good standard (cobbled together for sure, but not overly expensive and lots of good backwards compatibility). The connector is also a nice size/shape and should serve us well for many years to come. Apple was definitely on the right track when it pushed USB-C over other connectors on its 2016 Macbook pros. But why on earth has it taken them nearly two years to allow accessory makers to use this through MFi?

Having worked for some big companies, it feels like they pushed USB-C into the MBP on ideology (and to be fair, they have pulled these shifts off before), but then lost interest in following through with developing the eco-system. Some junior engineer probably got given the job of trawling the not-inconsiderable USB-3.1 spec to come up with a policy document for MFi, and they've only just managed to get it sorted out.

They seem to be dropping the ball on a lot of stuff like this recently. Homepod was delayed. The air charging mat is not here yet. The delays on the Airpods. I know that no big company lasts forever, but surely all that work they did to infuse the organisation with 'steve jobs think' could keep the magic going a bit longer. Personally I feel that Cook has and always will act as a caretaker, wanting to make the smallest changes possible in the belief that the spirit of Jobs lives on. But the technology market moves at an immense pace. They still make great products, but without strong ideas and assertive changes of direction, the company is increasingly getting left behind.

Apple Control

By ScooterComputer • Score: 3 • Thread

I think this story should serve for non-technical buyers to provide greater awareness of the amount of CONTROL that Apple wields upon their ecosystem. Many users are completely unaware that Apple effectively sets what you can, and often CANNOT, buy to interface with your iDevice. And consumers should know... because when they can't get that accessory they want, or they blame a vendor when a device uses a USB micro-B port/cable instead of Lightning, often their ire is misplaced at the vendors when 90% of the time it is Apple that has denied them the solution they desire. And considering how many vendors "take it on the chin" and never publicly inform the buyers of this, I can only assume there is a non-disparagement clause in the MFi license as well. From the amount of abuse that some vendors take and still remain silent, Apple might be the biggest "abuser" in the relationship. Certainly Apple took advantage with their passthrough Lightning port-to-Lightning plug used in the "bandaid" iPhone battery cases; they even used the fact that their case had it as a competitive finger in the eye to their partners... all without mentioning that they themselves prohibited the vendors from using such a port/plug combination. Mophie has remained silent, still can't use the part. Oddly, tech "journalists" reported the "marketing", knocking MFi partners in reviews for not having the port rather than reporting to buyers about Apple's shenanigans. I've not read a single review yet where this control over ports/options has been exposed.

Lyft Says Its Revenue Is Growing Nearly 3x Faster Than Uber's

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
U.S. ride-sharing company Lyft says it passed $1 billion in revenue last year and that its revenue grew 168 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017, almost three times faster than Uber's reported 61 percent growth. "Uber, of course, is still much larger than Lyft -- it generated a reported $7.5 billion in revenue last year and operates in many more cities and countries," notes Recode. "While its fourth-quarter growth may have been smaller than Lyft's percentage-wise, it was still almost certainly many times larger dollar-wise. Both companies are still unprofitable." From the report: But the big-picture reality is that despite Uber's head start, its early dominance, ability to raise massive amounts of financing, aggressive (often allegedly illegal) growth tactics, faster move into self-driving cars and everything else in its favor, it has not been able to destroy Lyft. Instead, Lyft capitalized somewhat on Uber's missteps and unsavory reputation, raised another $2 billion last year, gained market share, launched its first international market last year (Toronto) and seems poised to exist for the foreseeable future.

Yes, but where's the model for making profit?

By Bearhouse • Score: 3 • Thread

I get it...get through insane amounts of cash running after revenue and market share...VCs keep it coming in anticipation of cashing-out when you list. But...are people really that dumb, after being burned by a bunch of other dud Unicorns?
Who the hell would buy Uber today? They're destroying billions of dollars a year, with no signs of how to make a profit...neither have Lyft