the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Apr-17 today archive


  1. Cambridge Analytica Planned To Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency
  2. FDA Approves First Contact Lenses That Turn Dark In Bright Sunlight
  3. Former FCC Broadband Panel Chair Arrested For Fraud
  4. Facebook Admits To Tracking Users, Non-Users Off-Site
  5. More Than 95% of World's Population Breathing Unhealthy Air, Says New Report
  6. Amazon Shelves Plan To Sell Prescription Drugs
  7. New York's Attorney General Is Investigating Bitcoin Exchanges
  8. Selling Full Autonomy Before It's Ready Could Backfire For Tesla
  9. Online Tax Filers Will Get Extension After IRS Payment Website Outage
  10. Windows 10 Update Will Support More Password-Free Logins
  11. NASA Planet-Hunter Set For Launch
  12. NASA's Got a Plan For a 'Galactic Positioning System' To Save Astronauts Lost in Space
  13. Employees Who Worked at YouTube Say Violent Threats From Volatile 'Creators' Have Been Going on For Years
  14. Diamonds in Sudan Meteorite 'Are Remnants of Lost Planet'
  15. Former Cambridge Analytica Employee Says Facebook Users Affected Could Be 'Much Greater Than 87 million'
  16. One Laptop Per Child's $100 Laptop Was Going To Change the World -- Then it All Went Wrong
  17. What It's Like To Live in America Without Broadband Internet
  18. IRS 'Direct Pay' Option Not Working on Tax Day
  19. Microsoft Delays Windows 10 Spring Creators Update Because of 'Higher Percentage of BSODs'
  20. Cybersecurity Tech Accord: More Than 30 Tech Firms Pledge Not to Assist Governments in Cyberattacks
  21. Apple Is Planning To Launch a News Subscription Service
  22. Tesla Temporarily Stops Model 3 Production Line
  23. MPAA Silently Shut Down Its Legal Movies Search Engine
  24. 19-Year-Old Archivist Charged For Downloading Freedom-of-Information Releases

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

Cambridge Analytica Planned To Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that harvested millions of Facebook profiles of U.S. voters, attempted to develop its own cryptocurrency this past year and intended to raise funds through an initial coin offering. The digital coin would have helped people store online personal data and even sell it, former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser told The New York Times. The Verge reports: Cambridge Analytica, which obtained the data of 87 million Facebook users, was hoping to raise as much as $30 million through the venture, anonymous sources told Reuters. Cambridge Analytica confirmed to Reuters that it had previously explored blockchain technology, but did not confirm the coin offering and didn't say whether efforts are still underway. The company also reportedly attempted to promote another digital currency behind the scenes. It arranged for potential investors to take a vacation trip to Macau in support of Dragon Coin, a cryptocurrency aimed at casino players. Dragon Coin has been supported by a Macau gangster Wan Kuok-koi, nicknamed Broken Tooth, according to documents obtained by the Times. Cambridge Analytica started working on its own initial coin offering mid-2017 and the initiative was overseen in part by CEO Alexander Nix and former employee Brittany Kaiser. The company's plans to launch an ICO were still in the early stages when Nix was suspended last month and the Facebook data leak started to gain public attention.

So definitely it's a business plan.

By OpenSourced • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Their mission statement must read something like: "To exploit and profit from misguided public trust in any recent data or computing platform, before their lack of any safeguard becomes widely known"

Next step, I suppose they will turn into something AI related, like predictive-algorithm-guided stock investing or something equally juicy.


By Anne Thwacks • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
No need to worry. At least we can be sure this one is a Corrupto-Currency.

Cambridge Analyica should be shut down

By FudRucker • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
and the FBI confiscate all their computer hardware, desktops, laptops, storage systems, EVERYTHING and inspected for illegal activity then run through a shredder. All their employees personal electronics confiscated and searched and if any employee has any data on other people they be arrested and investigated for identity theft, and the whole outfit shut down, they are basically criminals

E Corp ?

By Liquid Len • Score: 3 • Thread
Man, I'm watching Mr Robot these days, and Cambridge Analytica looks more and more to me like a real-life version of E Corp...


By rtb61 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Like that kind of comment went out last millennium. People kinda of should be free to express themselves via their attire and style, their choice. There should not be cause to not hire or fire someone, unless it breaches common decency, properly covered, no genitalia exposed and that would have to include camel toe and stuffing socks down your shorts. So dress or kilt or caftan or what ever should be OK for either sex and you hair colour and style, as long as it is not a pack of snakes who cares.

Why did they want to do crypto currency, because they had a database full of gullible cryptocurrency buyers, they knew the best marketing angle for each and they could suck them into buying a ton of them, as simple as that. Rather than sell that information, they decided to exploit those weaknesses themselves, still wildly scummy though, I mean really, really scummy. A real pack of pommie crooks. The poms (Prisoner Of his/her Majesty, you don't write the 'H' but you sound it) have really be sticking to the septic tanks and make no mistake. From Blair riding the Shrub to war instead of talking him out of it, to the latest debacle, the work of the poms to make a profit out of the war on terror. They have been spending bugger all and even this time around when they actually started it (right down the the white helmets they control and the Skripal BZ incident) they spent the least and the US was sucked in to spend the most, by far (although, they were taking the opportunity presented by the poms to tests Russian (2nd string) air defence systems, to decide whether or not to directly attack Russian forces in Syria, which is now a definite no).

Israel, UK, Saudi Arabia, how many countries are fucking over the USA?

FDA Approves First Contact Lenses That Turn Dark In Bright Sunlight

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The first photochromic contact lenses have been approved by the FDA. "A unique additive will automatically darken the lenses when they're exposed to bright light," reports Interesting Engineering, citing a FDA statement. "The lenses will clear up whenever they're back in normal or darker lighting conditions." From the report: "This contact lens is the first of its kind to incorporate the same technology that is used in eyeglasses that automatically darken in the sun," said Malvina Eydelman. Eydelman serves as director of the division of ophthalmic, and ear, nose and throat devices at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The FDA approved the technology after extensive trials and clinical studies. One study had 24 wearers use the contacts while driving in both daytime and nighttime settings. The FDA found that there were no problems with driving performance or issues with vision while wearing those contact lenses. In total, over 1,000 patients were involved in the various studies conducted by the FDA. According to current plans, these photochromic lenses should be available for those needing them by the first half of 2019.

Re:Safety-How fast can y take them off when it's d

By erice • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Doesn't matter. They won't darken at all in a car. The react to UV and the windshield blocks UV. This is the same way that photosensitive eyeglasses work. If, like me, you only wear glasses when driving, the photosensitivity is completely useless.

Contacts or glasses that block direct sunlight

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

I'd like something I read in a science fiction book - contacts or glasses that block direct sunlight.

The glasses know where my pupils are, and where the sun is. Each lens automatically draws an opaque disk onto itself, between the eye's pupil the sun. If I turn my head, each lens draws its disk in a new location, blocking the direct sunlight from entering my eye's pupil.

Those glasses would be handy on a non-hazy day, when I'm driving towards the sun.

Re: Safety-How fast can y take them off when it's

By freeze128 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Drive like a pirate! Arrr!

Re:I wouldn't mind glasses that let me see better

By Rob Lister • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
You are describing the first symptoms of cataracts. I just had cataract surgery so I know what you're experiencing. Having the surgery is like getting teenage eyesight back. I can even make out the color bands on 1/8th ohm resistors again.

Re:Law of Unintended Consequence

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Being out in bright sunlight and seeing those lens wearers with weird blanked out eyes. Who will be the first one shot by some redneck with the excuse "Ah thort they was'n alien or a zombie, so I blasted that there creepy-eyed f*ck*r"

Yeah, that'll happen. It's always those darn rednecks shooting people.

I'm going to stay downtown where it's safe!

Former FCC Broadband Panel Chair Arrested For Fraud

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from DSLReports: The former chair of a panel built by FCC boss Ajit Pai to advise the agency on broadband matters has been arrested for fraud. Elizabeth Ann Pierce, former CEO of Quintillion Networks, was appointed by Pai last April to chair the committee, but her tenure only lasted until September. Pierce resigned from her role as Quintillion CEO last August after investigators found she was engaged in a scam that tricked investors into pouring money into a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pierce convinced two investment firms that the company had secured contracts for a high-speed fiber-optic system that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue. She pitched the system as a way to improve Alaska's connectivity to the rest of the country, but the plan was largely a fabrication, law enforcement officials say. "As it turned out, those sales agreements were worthless because the customers had not signed them," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in prepared remarks. "Instead, as alleged, Pierce had forged counterparty signatures on contract after contract. As a result of Pierce's deception, the investment companies were left with a system that is worth far less than Pierce had led them to believe." Quintillion says it began cooperating with lawmakers as soon as allegations against Pierce surfaced last year. Pierce was charged with wire fraud last Thursday and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Re:Mod parent up

By Jeremi • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ha ha! As if that will make any difference. It's America, you just vote in some other bums.

All bums are not created equal. The trick is for voters to accurately evaluate the bumminess of each bum, and choose the less-bummy bum in each election. That way, in the best-case scenario, we slowly work our way up the bum-gradient, and even in the worst-case scenario, while things don't improve, they don't degrade either.

Saying it won't make any difference only discourages voters from evaluating the candidates carefully, which increases the chances of them accidentally choosing the bummier bum, and thereby making things worse than they were before.

You are looking at the wrong problem.

By thesupraman • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Actually, I beg to differ.

The current Bozo and friends are, as expected, foolishly blatant and open about what they are doing.
This comes from a lack of political experience, and is actually rather refreshing.
The other mod were almost the definition of pure slick politics - where everything was hidden.
They only mad a few slip ups that got leaked out and tipped the balance, but they were certainly adept at playing kiss the baby while selling out your freedom.

Having a loudmouth idiot in charge can have benifits, and I would suggest is making the whole system less corrupt, not more, as it is at least being exposed and made obvious.

Re:Don't forget whose fault this REALLY is!!

By Shikaku • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It says right there, appointed FCC chairman by Donald Trump (emphasis mine). Under Obama he was in the FCC as the Republican seat; the chairman under Obama was Tom Wheeler:

Re:You are looking at the wrong problem.

By rtb61 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Actually it is a solid indication of the extreme problem, corruption in US politics is causing. It is so bad and rampant, it is spreading through out the entire system. It is infecting US government at every level, Federal, State, Local and in every Agency. They are seeing the corruption at the top and emulating it. Seriously wire fraud from the agency that is meant to fight wire fraud (the distribution of the data and the management of the scam), a top level political appointee. Alarm bells should be ringing, you have serious, deep and pervasive corruption going on, you desperately need to crack down on it hard, otherwise it will destroy the country and it has already caused an enormousness amount of damage to the economy, to the society as a whole, to infrastructure, to global presence, to all government agencies and even to education of the generation. The continued failure to 'properly' investigate, prosecute, convict and penalise, in glaringly public incidents, is destroying your country. Corruption is becoming a mass problem and spreading, failure to carry out high level prosecutions ie 'See no one is above the law and everyone gets caught', is accelerating that growth of corruption, you have hit second world government levels of corruption, it looks like you a going on to third world level government, where bribes are expect to be paid for everything. You should be freaking the fuck out.

Re:You are looking at the wrong problem.

By Undead Waffle • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You seem to think this is a new thing. This problem is the basis of the "small government" philosophy. Corrupt people will seek power, so the best protection is to limit the available power and localize it as much as possible to minimize the damage. Ideally corruption would be punished but it rarely is anywhere.

Facebook Admits To Tracking Users, Non-Users Off-Site

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook said in a blog post yesterday that they tracked users and non-users across websites and apps for three main reasons: providing services directly, securing the company's own site, and "improving our products and services." The statement comes as the company faces a U.S. lawsuit over a controversial facial recognition feature launched in 2011. The Guardian reports: "When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you're logged out or don't have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don't know who is using Facebook," Facebook's product management director, David Baser, wrote. "Whether it's information from apps and websites, or information you share with other people on Facebook, we want to put you in control -- and be transparent about what information Facebook has and how it is used."

But the company's transparency has still not extended to telling non-users what it knows about them -- an issue Zuckerberg also faced questions over from Congress. Asked by Texas representative Gene Green whether all information Facebook holds about a user is in the file the company offers as part of its "download your data" feature, Zuckerberg had responded he believed that to be the case. Privacy campaigner Paul-Olivier Dehaye disagreed, noting that, even as a Facebook user, he had been unable to access personal data collected through the company's off-site tracking systems. Following an official subject access request under EU law, he told MPs last month, Facebook had responded that it was unable to provide the information.

smart people solve problems, when they want to

By epine • Score: 3 • Thread

Facebook could have distributed a free "please track me everywhere" browser add-on that added some flag to the http session so that their users were identified as such.

With a bit of crypto, you could even make this so it didn't leak Facebook membership to third-party sites (for example, by providing an encryption key which Facebook can/cannot actually decrypt). Then everything gets sent to Facebook, but for the people who opt out, it's encrypted with a key associated with no known decryption key, and basically useless.

Also, I think Facebook has the resources to support more than one major browser.

This discrimination problem is a problem manufactured out of their own indolence, to their own convenience.

Right up there in the "biggest lie" category...

By GerryGilmore • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
...along with: "The check is in the mail"; "of course I'll respect you in the morning"; and "I promise I won't cum in your mouth" is..."(our only goal is) improving our products and services."
Unless that is Yiddish for: "I just want more money!", in which case - yeah.

Re: No wonder it costs so much to save the Zuck's

By Reverend Green • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I, for one, prefer "His Imperial and Royal Majesty Donald I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Empire, Emperor of the Americans, King of Canada, Mediator of the Mexican Confederation, Protector of the Confederation of Panama, Co-Prince of Cuba."

Tracking of non-users violates GDPR

By jools33 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I would say that tracking of non-users violates GDPR in several ways, hope Facebook has 4% of revenue at the ready to donate to the EU.

Wow such bullshit

By HermMunster • Score: 3 • Thread

They are saying that we non Facebook users are being tracked so they can provide us services that we don't use? They are saying that they are tracking non Facebook users to protect their security? All of us need to be tracked so they can be secure? Improving services by collecting data on users that don't use their site? They violate our privacy so that they can provide stuff to other users in order to make a profit?

More Than 95% of World's Population Breathing Unhealthy Air, Says New Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
More than 95% of the world's population is breathing unhealthy air and the poorest nations are the hardest hit, a new report has found. From the report: According to the annual State of Global Air Report, published Tuesday by the Health Effects Institute (HEI), long-term exposure to air pollution contributed to an estimated 6.1 million deaths across the globe in 2016. The report says exposure to air pollution led to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and chronic lung disease, causing many of those premature deaths. It also says that air pollution is the fourth-highest cause of death among all health risks globally, coming in below high blood pressure, diet and smoking.

Re: Where does one find the 5% breathing healthy a

By Reverend Green • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Actually no.

Urban life expectancy declined precipitously during the industrial revolution. It turns out that horrible pollution, long hours in an unsafe factory environment, and grinding poverty are pretty bad for human health. Who knew?!

We owe our current (declining, if you're an American) life expectancy to two advances occurring well after the industrial revolution proper: urban sanitation (water & sewer) systems, and antibiotics.

Re:Global warming

By hcs_$reboot • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
OTOH fixing global warming should have a positive impact on the air we breathe.

More than 95% of World's Population Breathing

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Coincidentally, this was the subject of a very worthwhile podcast from the BBC: "More or Less". As with all statistics, one has to understand what lies behind - how did "they" reach these numbers, what do they mean by unhealthy and who are "they" anyway? It turns out that "they" are WHO or some other reasonably reliable source; the numbers as such are sound as well, and what they are about is one pollutant: particulates, and the criterion for whether the air is healthy is an official guideline number: 10 (what? for the sake of the argument, let's 'particles per m^3', but it isn't essential for the discussion here). So unhealthy air would be an average of >10 units - if it is 12, as in some cities, it is counted as unhealthy, and if it is 150, it's the same, in this particular statistic, although I suspect we can all agree that 150 is a good worse than 12.

So, there is nothing wrong with the number, but one has to understand what it actually says; and unfortunately most news media have not bothered, but instead go on to explain how it shortens lifespans and make it hard to breathe - which is certainly true, as far as it goes. However, the effect is going to depend on exactly how bad the numbers are, and we also have to remember that what produces the pollution also in some cases contribute positively in other ways to people's health and quality of life: as an example, if London were to get rid of all motorised transport, it might add 30 days to people's life expectancy; on the other hand, that life expectancy now stands at somewhere in the 90es for millenials, mostly due to the technologies that pollute; how much would life expectancy go down, were we to abandon significant parts of technology? It is not a simple and straightforward decision to make.

Re:Where does one find the 5% breathing healthy ai

By Subm • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We exported many of our polluting industries to places that, lo and behold, now have poor air quality.

Try to get rich people to pollute less

By Subm • Score: 3 • Thread

Now try getting an American or rich person to fly less, turn down the heating in the winter or cooling in the summer, or buy less manufactured useless stuff.

Trivial changes that could reduce our pollution 90% without lowering anyone's quality of life are looked at as, "What do you want us to return to the stone age and live in caves?" as if riding a bike to work or wearing a sweater indoors in the winter undid all of human civilization.

Everyone reading these words, including you, can do things today, here, now to pollute less.

Amazon Shelves Plan To Sell Prescription Drugs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Major Blud writes: CNBC is reporting that Amazon Business, which considered selling pharmaceutical products last year, has put its plans to do so on hiatus. "The change in plan comes partly because Amazon has not been able to convince big hospitals to change their traditional purchasing process, which typically involves a number of middlemen and loyal relationships," reports CNBC. Amazon was able to gain licensing in 47 out of the 50 U.S. states, but has struggled to land contracts with large hospital networks. "The setback illustrates the challenges of getting into the medical supply and pharmaceutical space, even for a company as big as Amazon," reports CNBC. "Several health-care and pharmaceutical distribution companies saw their stock take a nosedive following recent reports of Amazon potentially getting into the space, but it will likely take some time before those concerns turn into real threats."

No incentive for the hospital

By nicolaiplum • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Hospitals (for civilian non-veterans) in the USA have no incentive to be efficient. They can put whatever number they like on the invoice and they'll likely get paid.
You people in the USA could get cheaper medical care with cheaper drugs if you would get your hospitals and doctors to find the cheapest supplier - but you seem to think that's some sort of evil socialism and you reject it. You have at least one illness: severe delusion. Maybe you have other illnesses too.

Re:No incentive for the hospital

By MMC Monster • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not sure if I believe this.

As a physician employed by a fairly large hospital network, I know that my hospital pinches any penny they can.

If they can get 1 cent less per acetaminophen tablet, they would sell their own mother for the opportunity.

Not that they will pass that savings on to the consumer. But it will increase their margins so that they can afford to buy more stuff.

So I can't believe is giving up on this.

The only thing I can think is that the hospitals have multi-year contracts that need to run out and Amazon wasn't willing to wait.

So much for draining the swamp

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If the putative swamp-draiing team in Washington had put John Stossel in charge of the FDA and turned Amazon loose with the ability to buy medications in bulk on the world market and fill US prescriptions for less, Trump's second term would be assured. But apparently, nothing this rompingly popular is even under consideration by the 'populists'.

If anything, the pond scum is getting deeper.


By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread
More competition in this space would be good. It's disheartening that such a big player as Amazon can't break in.

Why would Amazon be good for this?

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Amazon is pretty good at consumer delivery, but they're B2B service for repeated mass deliveries doesn't really exist yet. Nor is it in their area of competency. Those supply chains are already pretty well optimized, the ordering will be done via boring forms (for legal reasons), and there's no upselling/tracking of people's desires, and things are moved by the box, not the item. Also, big hospital chains already get bulk discounts.

My guess is they really just weren't able to compete on price and service, not that "there are longstanding relationships that made hospitals decide to lose money.:

New York's Attorney General Is Investigating Bitcoin Exchanges

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that it has launched an investigation into bitcoin exchanges. He's reportedly looking into thirteen major exchanges, including Coinbase, Gemini Trust, and Bitfinex, requesting information on their operations and what measures they have in place to protect consumers. The Verge reports: "Too often, consumers don't have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms," Schneiderman said in a statement. His office sent detailed questionnaires to the thirteen exchanges, asking them to disclose who owns and controls them, and how their basic operation and transaction fees work. The questionnaire also asks for specific details on how exchanges might suspend trading or delay orders, indicating Schneiderman is particularly concerned with exchanges manipulating the timing of public orders. The investigation will attempt to shed more transparency on how platforms combat market manipulation attempts and suspicious trading, as well as bots, theft, and fraud. Many of the exchanges Schneiderman is targeting, such as Beijing-based Huobi, have headquarters located outside the U.S., but the attorney general has jurisdiction over any foreign business operating in New York. Coin Center's director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh tells The Verge that the new investigation might be overkill, given the existing rules already in place for bitcoin exchanges. "Far from being unregulated," he says, "these businesses must contend with state money transmission licensing laws, federal anti-money laundering law, CFTC scrutiny for commodities spot market manipulation, SEC scrutiny for securities trading (should any tokens traded be securities), and in this case, state consumer protection investigations from the several attorneys general."


By fred911 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"Far from being unregulated,"

That they are. They aren't required to maintain an orderly market (fill orders at best available price at that time). They're not required to post a bid/ask that they can't front run and they can buy and sell from their own account when there's better pricing available.

  This allows them to manipulate the spread that a listed or transparent market automatically corrects.

  The main issue is front running and not being required to maintain an orderly market. Spot sellers need to provide their own lubricant.

I have an alternative theory

By Pollux • Score: 3 • Thread

Back on April 11th, Vice News put up a really interesting documentary titled, "Street Gangs on the Dark Web". In the video, a reporter interviews a former drug dealer who has been using Bitcoin and the Dark Web to buy blank credit cards, reprogram them using stolen credit card data on the Dark Web, use the cards to get cash and goods, then use some of the gains to buy Bitcoin anonymously at these exchanges to continue funding his enterprise. And they also shared that a large majority of these walk-up Bitcoin exchanges are in the state of New York.

I suspect the attorney general watched the documentary as well. Because the video has mysteriously been taken down, with no mention found ask to why, and a Google search for "Vice News Street Gangs on the Dark Web" proves the video at one point did exist, but none of the links contain the video any longer. Mod points to anyone who can find a working copy of the video.

Selling Full Autonomy Before It's Ready Could Backfire For Tesla

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Tesla has an Autopilot problem, and it goes far beyond the fallout from last month's deadly crash in Mountain View, California. Tesla charges $5,000 for Autopilot's lane-keeping and advanced cruise control features. On top of that, customers can pay $3,000 for what Tesla describes as "Full Self-Driving Capability." "All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go," Tesla's ordering page says. "Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed." None of these "full self-driving" capabilities are available yet. "Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction," the page says. "It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval."

But the big reason full self-driving isn't available yet has nothing to do with "regulatory approval." The problem is that Tesla hasn't created the technology yet. Indeed, the company could be years away from completing work on it, and some experts doubt it will ever be possible to achieve full self-driving capabilities with the hardware installed on today's Tesla vehicles. "It's a vastly more difficult problem than most people realize," said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research and a former auto industry engineer. Tesla has a history of pre-selling products based on optimistic delivery schedules. This approach has served the company pretty well in the past, as customers ultimately loved their cars once they ultimately showed up. But that strategy could backfire hugely when it comes to Autopilot.

Re:Chapter 7?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What happens when they start selling them and the courts find that all liability is with the software/hardware manufacturer?

Then the manufacturer will pay for insurance, rather than each individual paying for their own. It will just be built into the price of the car, but will be less expensive and more efficient than the current system because of better transparency and lower transaction costs.

Consumers will win, since they will save money and hassle. Car manufacturers will win since "no-insurance-needed" cars will sell better. Insurance companies will lose, since they will be selling to informed manufacturers (who may opt to self-insure) rather than to confused consumers.

Re: "Full autonomy is far away" overestimates peop

By Mr D from 63 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And others vastly underestimate the challenges of designing a system that can perform better than humans without human oversight

And still OTHERS appear to be utterly ignorant as to the state of the art in self-driving car research and delivery.

Kind of strange for a place like Slashdot to have some many people so very, very ignorant of technology.

Please explain the "state of the art" for all those ignorant people. You could be one of them as far as I know.

Actually, the entire road network will be adjusted

By mileshigh • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The law needs to be adjusted to accept the reality that nothing is perfect

The problem (traffic, roads, laws, standards) will get redefined to fit the new AI solution, same as when we transitioned from horses to cars. When you get enough autocars out there, the roads will begin to get engineered to mitigate the weaknesses of AIs, bit by bit.. This is exactly what happened to cars: we created and adapted roads, laws, enforcement, etc to match car's needs and continue to do so. The Model T was high off the ground to deal with the rutted, muddy dirt roads (or no roads at all) they were likely to encounter. Today, we have aerodynamic skirts a few inches off the pavement for efficiency. Pavement--smooth pavement--is simply assumed.

That's what always happens with any disruptive technology: we end up adapting everything, including ourselves, to meet it part way.

An example of things that will probably be changed soon than later: road construction zones will be required to implement certain protocols (signage, markers, notifying some central database, whatever) to make them easier for AIs to traverse. Failure to do so will entail liability for accidents.

My guess is that true full autonomy will first roll out in a big way on certain long-haul trucking routes. Many freeways are a fairly clean, well-defined situation and the prize for trucking companies is too big to ignore. Those parts of the chosen freeways that are problematic for the AIs will be upgraded, either due to lobbying by large trucking firms, and/or those firms'll kick in some of their own $ to make those changes happen sooner.

Deceptive post...

By internet-redstar • Score: 3 • Thread
It's a deceptive article because: - it focuses on LIDAR while nobody has proven that it's required to do 'full self driving', as nobody could accomplish that yet.
- everybody who is tired of waiting on the feature can ask their money back from Tesla.
- not a lot of people who have enough money to buy these cars are stupid enough to 'get confused'
- it's a duplicate of a similar story which ran 1 year ago. Tesla Autopilot has gotten better and will get better
- Tesla has already promised that if a hw upgrade is necessary (which is likely), they will upgrade free of charge.

Aside from that, we love the AP capabilities of our Tesla's.

Re: I worked on lane tracking software

By Carewolf • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They are deliberately comparing autonomous cars against average drivers and not normal drivers. The average includes drunks and irresponsible drivers who have the vast majority of accidents. When of if the AI beats an average driver it will still be an order of magnitude more unsafe than a normal driver.

Online Tax Filers Will Get Extension After IRS Payment Website Outage

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: The IRS will give last-minute filers additional time to file their tax returns after the page for paying their tax bills using their bank accounts crashed, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Associated Press. The IRS "Direct Pay" page allows filers to transfer funds from their checking or savings account to pay what they owe. As of 5 p.m. ET on April 17 -- Tax Day -- the page was still unavailable. Direct Pay is a free service. The "Payment Plan" page, where filers can pay their tax bill in installments also appears to have crashed. "I'd strongly advise folks who owe any federal taxes and cannot pay online to mail a check or money order to the IRS to the appropriate address," said Patrick Thomas, director of Notre Dame Law School's Tax Clinic. According to a TurboTax spokesperson, the IRS's technical difficulties are affecting all tax preparers and tax returns. "Taxpayers should go ahead and continue to prepare and file their taxes as normal with TurboTax," the spokesperson said. "TurboTax has uninterrupted service and is available and accepting e-filed returns," she said. "We will hold returns until the IRS is ready to begin accepting them again." H&R Block said it will continue to accept returns from filers.

Good new for some

By AndyKron • Score: 3 • Thread
That's great news for the people who didn't get their taxes filed last February like I did.

Re:Good new for some

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

That's great news for the people who didn't get their taxes filed last February like I did.

I did mine back in early March (via the IRS's own But, since I owed money, the date I picked for the IRS to withdraw the funds was today - and that withdrawal hasn't happened yet, which very well might be due to these problems.

So your implication that this only impacts last-minute filers is not necessarily accurate.

Windows 10 Update Will Support More Password-Free Logins

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: It's not just web browsers that are moving beyond passwords. Microsoft has revealed that Windows 10's next update will support the new FIDO 2.0 standard, promising password-free logins on any Windows 10 device managed by your company or office. You could previously use Windows Hello to avoid typing in a password, of course, but this promises to be more extensive -- you could use a USB security key to sign into your Azure Active Directory.

Something you have and something you know

By Hasaf • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

From the summary it looks like they are reverting to only using something you have, which is, normally, a lower level of security.

Re:Something you have and something you know

By gravewax • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
For the average home user that reuses passwords with names and birthdays or simple repeated phrases it is a massive security improvement. For someone that understands the consequences of bad password management, password strength and reuse it is a decrease. The reality is for decades we have all tried to teach password health and for decades users have failed to learn, not sure if it is us IT people to blame or the users, either way it means passwords are very very weak security for a large percentage of the population.

Remember, kiddies!

By Locke2005 • Score: 3 • Thread
OTHER parts of your anatomy can also be used for "fingerprint" login! (Unless you are Trump, it which case your "Little Donny" is far too small!)

Re:Something you have and something you know

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You think your random 64-characters password is safe?

Not just the number of random characters... I've recently found a few websites that ignore password case altogether so it would be even easier to brute force a password now than it should be. I would hope that they look for brute force attacks but since they go so far as to ignore password case I wouldn't be so sure.

I'm looking at you

NASA Planet-Hunter Set For Launch

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The US space agency is about to launch a telescope that should find thousands of planets beyond our Solar System. From a report: The Tess mission will go up on a SpaceX's Falcon rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida and survey nearly the entire sky over the course of the next two years. It will stare at stars, hoping to catch the dip in brightness as their faces are traversed by orbiting worlds. Tess will build a catalogue of nearby, bright stars and their planets that other telescopes can then follow up. Key among these will be the successor to Hubble -- the James Webb space observatory, due in orbit from 2020. Its powerful vision will have the capability to analyse the atmospheres of some of Tess's new worlds, to look for gases that might hint at the presence of life.

James Webb will "tease out the chemical compositions of those atmospheres and look for whatever's there," said Paul Hertz, the astrophysics director at Nasa. "People are very interested in looking for, what on Earth, are bio-signatures, such as methane, carbon dioxide, water vapour and oxygen." Tess follows in the footsteps of Kepler, a groundbreaking space telescope launched in 2009. It also used the "transit technique" to confirm more than 2,000 so-called exoplanets. But Kepler, for its primary mission at least, only looked at a very small patch of sky, and many of its discoveries were simply too far away or too dim for other telescopes to pursue with further analysis.
The launch of TESS was scheduled to Monday evening, but it has been postponed until Wednesday. SpaceX tweeted Monday afternoon that it is "standing down today to conduct additional GNC [guidance navigation control] analysis, and teams are now working towards a targeted launch of @NASA_TESS on Wednesday, April 18."

Looking into the future

By AlanObject • Score: 3 • Thread

Anyone know how long before we launch a telescope capable of imaging one of these planets?


By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
To be fair, the cost overrun is about the cost of three F22 aircraft.

FYI. Launch live stream link.

By Woldscum • Score: 3 • Thread

"SpaceX is targeting launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Wednesday, April 18 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The 30-second launch window opens at 6:51 p.m. EDT, or 22:51 UTC. TESS will be deployed into a highly elliptical orbit approximately 48 minutes after launch.

Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean."

Re:Looking into the future

By crunchygranola • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Physics begs to differ. Using a combination of a starshade external coronagraph, a large aperture telescope, and interferometry it will be possible to image the closer Earth-like planets at least.

But it won't be for time. An initial starshade mission will need to be funded and launched, probably with a dedicated 4 meter telescope. 20 years perhaps,

NASA's Got a Plan For a 'Galactic Positioning System' To Save Astronauts Lost in Space

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From a report: Outer space glows with a bright fog of X-ray light, coming from everywhere at once. But peer carefully into that fog, and faint, regular blips become visible. These are millisecond pulsars, city-sized neutron stars rotating incredibly quickly, and firing X-rays into the universe with more regularity than even the most precise atomic clocks. And NASA wants to use them to navigate probes and crewed ships through deep space. A telescope mounted on the International Space Station (ISS), the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), has been used to develop a brand new technology with near-term, practical applications: a galactic positioning system, NASA scientist Zaven Arzoumanian told physicists Sunday (April 15) at the April meeting of the American Physical Society.

With this technology, "You could thread a needle to get into orbit around the moon of a disant planet instead of doing a flyby," Arzoumian told Live Science. A galactic positioning system could also provide "a fallback, so that if a crewed mission loses contact with the Earth, they'd still have navigation systems on board that are autonomous." Right now, the kind of maneuvers that navigators would need to put a probe in orbit around distant moons are borderline impossible.

pulsars for positioning is idea with old roots

By iggymanz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

the plaques on the Pioneer spacecraft launched in 1972 and 1973 showed the Earth's position from 14 pulsars

Curious how this is really different

By ausekilis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

GPS works by triangulating between 4-6 satellites that are all spread out. A 3d hexagon with a person in the middle somewhere.

With extra-terrestrial navigation, the person is very far outside of that hexagon. It's really hard to find an exact position when you have multiple sources that - for all intents and purposes - are co-located. Get far enough from Earth and all GPS satellites are one dot in the distance. Looks like they've found a way to use various stars as the points of that hexagon. Cool.

Re:Curious how this is really different

By TFlan91 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

No, wrong. Kinda. Hexagon is the right idea, but pulsars, pft.

They found the seventh chevron.


By TFlan91 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

GPS has what, ~3/4 meters precision? That's on Earth.

This would eventually have 1 km precision in _all_ of space. Ya that's a big circle on my futuristic, hologram smartphone Goopple Maps (c), but in _all_ of space?! Damn...


By ShoulderOfOrion • Score: 3 • Thread

The GPS said this wormhole was a shortcut!

Employees Who Worked at YouTube Say Violent Threats From Volatile 'Creators' Have Been Going on For Years

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Anonymous readers share a report: YouTube managers had no way to predict Nasim Aghdam would go on a bloody rampage, but they had plenty of reasons to fear that someone like her might one day show up, say former employees. Aghdam was the 38-year-old, disgruntled YouTube video creator who arrived at the company's San Bruno, California, headquarters on April 3 and began blasting away with a 9mm handgun. She wounded three staffers before she killed herself. Police say leading up to the shooting Aghdam, who was from San Diego, believed YouTube sought to censor her and ruin her life.

This kind of violence is unprecedented in YouTube's 13-year-history, though Aghdam's anger and paranoia aren't unique among the millions of people who create and post videos to the site, according to five former YouTube employees. In exclusive interviews, they told Business Insider that going back to the service's earliest days, frustrated creators -- seething over one of YouTube's policy changes or the other -- have threatened staffers with violence. Typically the threats were delivered via email. At least once, a video creator confronted a YouTube employee face-to-face and promised he would "destroy" him.

Re:narcissistic personality disorder

By Dare nMc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This was a single death with a gun, only the shooter dead, practically a suicide. Their are 60 suicides by gun a day in the us, around 30 homicides a day with guns.

How loud and for how long do you expect the "liberals" to drag out each of these 90 deaths a day?

Honestly in a case like this, that doesn't fit the mold and results in a single death, their is little to gain by attempting to address it, and publicizing it makes repeats more likely. When you have 90 deaths a day by guns in the US, and less than 15% of them are by woman, even lower rates by foreigners, much more is to be gained by society to not focus on this unusual situation.

If anything I am a little surprised no news media focused on how California's laws, making it so much more difficult to get semi-automatics rifles and big clips... may have reduced the impact of this crime, could even have something to do with California being 42nd out of the 50 states in gun homicide rate. And how they have much better reporting of the mentally ill... already makes mass death situations like that one in Florida and one in Nevada less likely. They could have used this one to point out these things again, but maybe all the media are not all a bunch of liberals looking for any reason to vilify those on the right.

Re:narcissistic personality disorder

By quantaman • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Not all of them. Many politicians don't have an excessive need for admiration. They do what they must in order to get votes, but that's it.

Don't get me wrong here....I agree that all politicians are evil.

I disagree with this thinking, I agree that there's a disproportionate number of "evil" politicians, and a bunch more who went in good and were corrupted by the system. But I think there's a lot more who, despite being ambitious, are also genuinely trying to do what they think to be the right thing with integrity.

I find the "all politicians are evil" to be really counter-productive. It lets the bad ones get away with anything since they're all assumed to be evil anyways. And the good ones aren't rewarded for being good since people assume ulterior motives.

I think that's one of the things that got Trump elected, he was ridiculously corrupt and dishonest but a lot of people couldn't really register it because they already assumed all politicians to be completely corrupt and dishonest. If anything they found him more trustworthy because the corruption and lies were so obvious people didn't feel deceived and he seemed more honest.

Re:narcissistic personality disorder

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Posting as AC due to being long-time-reader, and probably my second post in 20 years. Your facts are off. Not that I see any connection between the Maryland shooting in St. Mary's and the Youtube shooting, but I can't help myself because you're wrong on the internet. There's an XKCD for that.

I live in the next County over and have been following this unusually closely just because it's local. So let's go:

1. Handgun. Yes. A Glock 9mm, I assume a Glock 19. If I'm not mistaken, such handguns are legally limited to a 10-round magazine in Maryland. I'm not certain because I haven't looked into owning a gun in this state. I'm a transplant from Virginia and am a gun owner. But my current circumstances preclude me from keeping a firearm of any sort in my home. I have seen no reports that the shooter had more than one magazine in possession, so that indicates a maximum possible load of 11 rounds.

2. Shooter had it illegally. Technically, yes. In the sense that a 14-year-old drives a parent's car illegally. He was not of legal age to purchase or own a firearm of any sort in the State of Maryland. The Glock in question was his father's, who I assume did own it legally. But he couldn't be bothered to secure it in a gun safe, it was subsequently acquired by the shooter, and here we are.

3. Shooter taken out by armed security. This is a false statement. The shooter shot his girlfriend (or perhaps recently ex-girlfriend). He then shot himself. The "armed security" you speak of was a school resource officer who happened to be unusually close by. The resource officer shot the shooter simultaneously. This was widely reported in the media as an example of good guys with guns ending bad guys with guns. Several days later the coroner's report came out and it stated that the shooter's fatal bullet was his own, not the resource officer's.

This was not a "school shooting" in the traditional sense. This was an incident of domestic violence. The people involved were high school age so it's reasonable to conjecture that any such domestic violence, involving guns or not, is likely to happen at school. Had they been ten years older it would have happened at home or at work. Had he been slightly less homicidal, he would have beaten her at school. Having been at Virginia Tech in April of 2007, please refrain from accusing me of splitting hairs. I know what a mass shooting at school looks like in some detail. This is not that.

From the available evidence that I've read (mostly from local, rural, moderately conservative-leaning media) there is no indication that the shooter intended to shoot anyone other than his girlfriend and himself. Since the coroner's report states that the fatal bullet was his own, the combination of these two facts yields the result that the resource officer's actions (actions I support, for the record) led to no difference in outcome.

Now the real conjecture comes. There's no evidence that I've read to substantiate the notion that this was in play here. But statistically, most domestic violence is a learned behaviour. Most domestic abusers are so because they saw a parent being a domestic abuser. Dollars to donuts, this kid saw that gun aimed by his father at his mother at least once. Mass shootings are perpetrated by someone completed different. Stephen Cho was deeply unhinged, for sure, but I very much doubt he saw one of his parents kill thirty-some unarmed civilians.

Re:narcissistic personality disorder

By SvnLyrBrto • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Nope. It's remained in the news, as the story has developed. The police released the body camera footage from their earlier encounter with her a few days ago... that made the Friday news. And just this morning, there was a segment on KCBS about possible possible security changes at company campuses as as result of the shooting. But hey... carry on... and don't let a little thing like facts get in the way of your narrative.

Re:narcissistic personality disorder

By MrKaos • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder

I've been writing a book on this subject and the impact of the psychological abuse from NPD. One abusive parent is required and one fawning parent who feels guilty about the abuse and tries to compensate.

with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration,

Also entitlement and imposing their emotional needs onto you via psychological manipulation.

and a lack of empathy.

I have to clear this bit up because it's important, especially if you don't want to become a victim. Empathy's traditional meaning is an awareness of other peoples feeling. Somehow, in the modern vernacular, it has been attached to compassion for other peoples feelings.

To be clear, narcissists do have empathy, however they way they use it to manipulate people better so they can secure narcissistic supply.

People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them.

Thinking about it, but rarely achieving it. To be clear, narcissists are losers. They aren't talented enough at anything to be able to get what they want because they are so preoccupied manipulating people around them to get the emotional validation they seek.

This is the essence of narcissistic supply and everything they do is geared around how and what they have to do to manipulate people into interacting with them that way.

It's the narcissists sense of absolute superiority that makes them unable to submit to any discipline that would make them good any anything to generate those feelings in people in a genuine way. Everything about the narcissist is their false self and maintaining the perception of it.

The behavior typically manifests by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of social situations.

The correction was necessary because they, themselves were abused over time. If you are going to feel any compassion for a narcissist feel it for when they were a child from age 3-13 when their brains were still plastic and their abusive parent conditioned them to being abused and the fawning parent told them they were special. After this age the narcissist is beyond help because they don't think anything is wrong with them and over time they will drive their victims to complete emotional breakdowns remorselessly and then discard them callously.

You have nailed it that it is those people that would attack the Youtube staffers instead of being grateful they have a platform. I'm not qualified to make a diagnosis, however the traits are there. Youtube took their narcissistic supply away from them, caused them an un-excusable narcissistic injury, they felt entitled to retribution.

What I'll point out though is narcissists are conscious of getting into trouble so this person was highly likely to be slipping over to an anti-social personality disorder. It's likely they are diagnose-able with one of these conditions.

Diamonds in Sudan Meteorite 'Are Remnants of Lost Planet'

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Diamonds found in a meteorite that exploded over the Nubian desert in Sudan a decade ago were formed deep inside a "lost planet" that once circled the sun in the early solar system, scientists say. From a report: Microscopic analyses of the meteorite's tiny diamonds revealed they contain compounds that are produced under intense pressure, suggesting the diamonds formed far beneath the surface of a planet. In this case, the mysterious world was calculated to be somewhere between Mercury and Mars in size. Astronomers have long hypothesised that dozens of fledgling planets, ranging in size from the moon to Mars, formed in the first 10m years of the solar system and were broken apart and repackaged in violent collisions that ultimately created the terrestrial planets that orbit the sun today.

Re:Ummmm ...

By bws111 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

According to TFA, these diamonds contain an iron-sulphur compound that forms at 20 gigapascals. Regular diamonds can form at 3.5-4.5 gigapascals.

Lost Planet

By DickBreath • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I hope they can find this lost planet and return it to its rightful owners.

Anyone who has lost a planet within the past 4 billion years should please contact lost and found, and provide a description of the missing planet.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

By GrumpySteen • Score: 3 • Thread

Especially when they're alien diamonds coming down in a rain of fire from the sky


By srmalloy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you read the article, it mentions that the diamonds are up to 100 micrometers across. Human hair diameter ranges from 17 to 181 micrometers, so these diamonds are roughly as big across as the thickness of a human hair. What they're describing is more appropriately used for industrial abrasive than as gems.


By tr33frog • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
Hard to call it a planet, since there is a fair chance that it might still be in one piece if it had cleared its orbit...

Former Cambridge Analytica Employee Says Facebook Users Affected Could Be 'Much Greater Than 87 million'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cambridge Analytica and its partners used data from previously unknown "Facebook-connected questionnaires" to obtain user data from the social media service, according to testimony from a former Cambridge Analytica employee. From a report: Brittany Kaiser provided evidence to the British Parliament today as part of a hearing on fake news. Kaiser, who worked on the business team at Cambridge Analytica's parent company until January of this year, wrote in a statement that she was "aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys" used by Cambridge Analytica or its partners, and she said she believes the number of people whose Facebook data may have been compromised is likely higher than the widely reported 87 million.

Still can't figure out ...

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

... how information you GAVE AWAY to unknown people is "compromised", just because it was used by someone you may not have wanted to know it?

The question I'm more interested in

By damn_registrars • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
How many non-users did Cambridge get information on? It's been known for some time - and was admitted in congress recently - that facebook has profiles for non-users as well as actual users. For myself and ... well, I'm told repeatedly that I am the only remaining person alive between the age of 8 and 80 who doesn't have a profile there ... it would be really interesting to know if Cambridge got information on "us" as well.

Re:The question I'm more interested in

By skids • Score: 4 • Thread

You're not alone. I wonder if we're in better standing to sue the pants off someone.

(Congratulations, bleating sheep of America. You not only gave a huge social engineering war-chest to the evil corporations you ranted about on FaceBook, but also probably to the Evil Government you ranted about on FaceBook, and most certainly to the Evil Enemies of America you ranted about on FaceBook. I hope you are proud of yourselves.)

Re:Still can't figure out ...

By iMadeGhostzilla • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It's in CA's interest to keep fanning this flame as they only profit if people -- and potential clients -- believe CA really helped change history.

Re:Honest question

By Quantum gravity • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This is what Christopher Wylie (The whistleblower in the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal) has to say about it:

"So whenever you go, and you like something, you are giving me a clue as to who you are as a person. And so all of this can be captured very easily and run through an algorithm that learns who you are. When you go to work - right? - your co-workers only see one side of you. Your friends only see one side of you. But a computer sees all kinds of sides of you. And so we can get better than human level accuracy at predicting your behavior."

One Laptop Per Child's $100 Laptop Was Going To Change the World -- Then it All Went Wrong

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Adi Robertson, reporting for The Verge: In late 2005, tech visionary and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte pulled the cloth cover off a small green computer with a bright yellow crank. The device was the first working prototype for Negroponte's new nonprofit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), dubbed "the green machine" or simply "the $100 laptop." And it was like nothing that Negroponte's audience -- at either his panel at a UN-sponsored tech summit in Tunis, or around the globe -- had ever seen. After UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered a glowing introduction, Negroponte explained exactly why. The $100 laptop would have all the features of an ordinary computer but require so little electricity that a child could power it with a hand crank.

[...] But OLPC's overwhelming focus on high-tech hardware worried some skeptics, including participants in the Tunis summit. One attendee said she'd rather have "clean water and real schools" than laptops, and another saw OLPC as an American marketing ploy. "Under the guise of non-profitability, hundreds of millions of these laptops will be flogged off to our governments," he complained. In the tech world, people were skeptical of the laptop's design, too. Intel chairman Craig Barrett scathingly dubbed OLPC's toy-like prototype "the $100 gadget," and Bill Gates hated the screen in particular. "Geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text," he told reporters.

[...] After announcing "the $100 Laptop," OLPC had one job to do: make a laptop that cost $100. As the team developed the XO-1, they slowly realized that this wasn't going to happen. According to Bender, OLPC pushed the laptop's cost to a low of $130, but only by cutting so many corners that the laptop barely worked. Its price rose to around $180, and even then, the design had major tradeoffs. [...]

Re:Wrong target market

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

This and more. The problem I see all the time is a bunch of technological elites coming in and thinking they know best. They think if they just throw a bunch of technology at the problem then it will go away. Africa is a big place. One solution will not solve all the problems. An throwing a bunch of technology at it won't solve it.

An that is exactly what I'm seeing in every post here. A once size fits all. Throw a bunch of books at them or throw a computers. Dig them a well then drop the internet on them. Africa's problems' are African problems. How about instead of assuming we know all the answer, we ask the Africans what they need?

I bought the first model at 4:00 AM opening day

By kriston • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I ordered the first model OLPC XO-1 at 4:00 AM opening day.

It was exciting, and the give-one-get-one idea made that $400 a reasonably altruistic purchase even though it was supposed to be a $100 computer.

The dual mode (reflective/backlit) screen was great but for a few stuck pixels. I didn't want to burden the project with my nitpicking so I kept it.

I really wanted to like it, and since I was a long-time Cyrix MediaGX processor user I thought that the evolved AMD Geode derivative should have been a performance boost.

It wasn't a slow laptop but the designed-by-committee Sugar desktop software crippled its performance dramatically. It sought to solve a problem nobody had with a solution nobody wanted. I optimized it as much as I could and eventually gave up and put a more conventional X Windows desktop on it and lost interest.

I still own it. The newer models didn't interest me once the Netbooks and Google Chromebooks came out.

Re:technology outpaced it

By swillden • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The "one laptop per child" demand was met instead largely by smartphones.

Nothing has really met what I always thought was the coolest and most valuable goal of the OLPC project: Ultimate hackability. There was a "view source" button on the keyboard. For any program that happens to be running, you could press the "view source" button and get a window with the source code (everything was Python), which you could read and even modify at will. The system was designed to make this very safe, with easy restoration to a prior functional state and extremely strong sandboxing of all apps (the security model was very cool, actually) to limit the damage of malware.

I was really jazzed by the idea of turning hundreds of millions of kids loose on such an environment. Sure, a high percentage of them would have no interest in coding, but if 1% of them got interested in it that would be millions of young programmers, and some percentage of them would be brilliant. I was excited by the what this might mean for software engineering... and for third world countries who just might be able to turn themselves into software powerhouses.

But, it never happened. Instead, we have devices that in many ways have higher barriers to entry and are harder to program than traditional desktop OSes.

Actually, the project objective was still achieved

By GrpA • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't think the project failed at all.

It was quite an interesting and ambitious project at the time - the concept that a full PC could be manufactured for less than $1000. Many of us, at the time, said things like, "Think of all the cool things we could do with a laptop that only costs $100"... And you know, this was back when a laptop typically cost around $1000 or more, and was a complex computer.

Sure, it was ambitious, but it pushed the concept of a cheaper laptop for children far before anything in it's time, and first sub-$500 laptops came out.. Early small-screen devices with pretty good, if somewhat degraded performance.

And pretty soon the market realized that this was possible, and there was a market for it - cheaper laptops for kids and people who wouldn't otherwise use a computer.

So the market responded, and the capabilities that technology could bring changed. Smaller displays came out. Cheaper processors. Lower cost memory solutions. And people started buying these and pushing for embedded-able systems, and it happened.

Sure, OLPC as a product was a complete failure - they were like a pre-kickstarter project gone wrong - but they were the spark that lit the fire that continued to grow in intensity and they did succeed in one simply object just by existing - they re-aligned the market.

But, in a way, the vision they had wasn't lost. It was influenced, and it came to be... Just not with them.

So the end result was achieved by a failed project - which then brings up the question as to whether the project was to bring low-cost computers to children in third-world countries so they could change the world, or whether it was to sell laptops.

Because only one of those objectives wasn't achieved.

Of course, the Raspberry Pi was probably the spiritual successor to this concept and came out much later without the same fanfare and backslapping, but it did manage to succeed and change the world.


At the time I was disappointed

By Cafe Alpha • Score: 3 • Thread

that they spent YEARS trying to design and manufacture extremely low power displays with new (and admittedly more reliable than current stock) light source designs.

Yes those displays were innovative. They were also extremely over-designed and unnecessarily sacrificed readability for power efficiency.

But the big problem is that using current stock displays would have allowed machines on the market instantly and cheaply, while inventing a new technology required years of wasted time and limited manufacturing and source options.

Over the years commodity stock displays overtook the OLPC screen technology in price and in some of the capabilities by extreme amounts anyway. The choice to create a new technology looks ever worse.

To get an idea of how weird the OLPC display was, instead of using light colored by filters and led peak colors, they used prisms that spread light from a white power source. And instead of choosing to use the three narrow color bands that are optimized for the peaks of the human visual system and are the only way to get saturated colors, they instead chose to use 4 color bands and use all the light, not just the peaks. Sure that probably improved the light efficiency by a large factor, but the result was an entirely novel display technology that looked horrible and would have no market outside the OLPC.

Similarly the fact that the display could also work in a reflective mode in black and white was innovative, but was all this worth adding 3 or 4 years to the development time and limiting manufacturing sources and driving up the price?

The choice of LEDs as a light source also made the light source more reliable than what was in use at the time. But stock display technologies eventually caught up with that.

What It's Like To Live in America Without Broadband Internet

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Motherboard has an interesting piece which serves as a reminder that even today in every single state, a portion of the population doesn't have access to broadband, and some have no access to the internet at all. From the piece: Wilfong (an anecdote used in the story) is one of the more than 24 million Americans, or about 8 percent of the country, who don't have access to high-speed internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- and that's a conservative estimate. Most of them live in rural and tribal areas, though the problem affects urban communities, too. In every single state, a portion of the population doesn't have access to broadband.

The reasons these communities have been left behind are as diverse as the areas themselves. Rural regions like Wilfong's hometown of Marlinton are not densely populated enough to get telecom companies to invest in building the infrastructure to serve them. Some areas can be labeled as "served" by telecoms even if many homes don't actually have internet access, as in Sharon Township, Michigan, just a short drive from the technology hub of Ann Arbor. Others are just really far away. These places are so geographically remote that laying cable is physically and financially prohibitive, so towns like Orleans, California, have started their own nonprofit internet services instead.

Soon to be a new show on "history" channel!

By Kenja • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Already got nonsense about mountain men and what not, so why not "broadbandless"!

Not like they're missing out on much anyway

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
At current the Internet is kind of a waste of time, they're probably better off without it, are getting more important things done, reading more books, etc.

Imagine the horrors of analog porn

By sinij • Score: 3 • Thread
Without internet, all your porn is analog.

Know this full well

By Strider- • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I operate the internet connections to two remote communities in Washington State. In the end, I have between 80 and 100 people connected via a 3.3Mbps/900kbps satellite link. Collectively, they push between 20 and 30 GiB a day through the link. The only thing that makes it usable is the extremely aggressive QoS I have on the link, ensuring everyone gets a fair kick at the can.

So why Satellite? In the case of these two communities, it's the only viable option. They are both in extremely rugged terrain, surrounded either by National Park or federal wilderness area. The nearest cellular tower is probably 50 miles and 2 or 3 valleys away, the nearest telephone pole about the same. It would be theoretically possible to lay a submarine fiber cable up the lake, but the lake is 1500' deep making a cable laying effort comperable to a short oceanic cable run. And there's no way the costs would be recouped from under 200 residents.

I once plotted out what it would take to link out via fixed wireless, and it would require two self-powered repeater sites, in areas that easily receive 400" of snow a winter. The added bonus is that one of these repeaters would have to be located on a ridge in the federal wilderness. Making this happen would literally require an act of congress to approve, and given how dysfunctional congress is... Plus the whole system would probably cost about $400k to build, again not something that's going to be recouped from the small number of users.

So, in the end, we pay our satellite fees. Those who want faster service arrange their own links via ViaSat or similar, and we continue on. If SpaceX ever gets StarLink off the ground, that could easily be a good option. However, I'd love to see how their flat Ku-Band antennas will work in areas that get significant snowfall, and have a limited view of the sky due to rugged terrain.


By DaMattster • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This is the problem when we let corporations run things. They only go to areas that are going to be profitable. We even let the corporations determine what percentage constitutes coverage. And then, when we decide to subvert the corporations and go at it ourselves, said corporations hold up these efforts in the court system.

IRS 'Direct Pay' Option Not Working on Tax Day

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Online payments on are partially down. But the government still expects its money. A page on the IRS website that allows taxpayers to make a payment is not working for many as of Tuesday morning. Clicking on "Make a payment" on the payments page redirects the user to a page titled "unplannedOutagePage. Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available," the page notes. UPDATE 04/17/18: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Associated Press that online tax filers will get an extension due to today's website outage.

"Your payment is due even though you can't pay us"

By ZorinLynx • Score: 3 • Thread

I often wonder if these government institutions actually live in the real world.

The common sense thing to do if their payment system is broken would be to postpone the due date for payments!

Re:"Your payment is due even though you can't pay

By MightyYar • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check. The YouTube video for how to address and stamp an envelope will be the first in 2018 with a billion views.

Re:A great new source of government income

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

To be fair, April 15th is the cutoff date for filing return forms and any other appropriate forms along with any taxes owed (besides any you're filing proper forms to defer). It's not like April 15th is a surprise or that there is not adequate time.

I did our taxes a month ago, using the government's "Free Fillable Tax Forms" website. Also using that site, I scheduled our payment to be withdrawn from our bank account today. The return was accepted by the government.

Now as of right now (11:46am PST), the government hasn't pulled the money out of our account. I don't know if this is because of the outage or not - but in the past it's happened early in the day.

But, in any case, I did not wait until the last minute, and I used a 100% IRS-approved-and-managed system... yet this still may affect me. I would argue that I should not face any penalties if my pre-scheduled payment is delayed by a government server outage.

(to be fair, we have no idea whether or not the IRS will apply late penalties related to payment delays caused by this outage).

Microsoft Delays Windows 10 Spring Creators Update Because of 'Higher Percentage of BSODs'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft has admitted that it had to postpone the release of Spring Creators Update, the upcoming major update to its Windows 10 desktop operating system due to technical issues. BleepingComputer notes: More precisely, Microsoft says it encountered a higher percentage of Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) errors on PCs, the company's Insiders Program managers said in a blog post yesterday. Microsoft says that instead of shipping the Springs Creators Update faulty as it was, and then delivering an update later to fix the issues, it decided to hold off on deploying the defective build altogether. The OS maker says it will create and test a new Windows 10 build that also includes the BSOD fixes, and ship that one instead of Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17134, the build that was initially scheduled to be launched as the Spring Creators Update on April 10, last week.

Pff! Sounds like an unfounded rumor!

By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

I've been using the latest Win10 update and my computer is justttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

That's sort of the question, isn't it?

By RyanFenton • Score: 3 • Thread

What happens when they have buildings filled to the brim with software engineers working on projects/components, but each new component has a small chance of adding a new bluescreen on a subset of machines?

The whole point of Windows 10 was supposed to be that it was the end-state, the stage where all further upgrades would be updates to this. But lashing another sail onto the boat doesn't seem to be adding the thust expected, or bring the income desired.

They really wanted the Windows Store to be the future too - just like Metro was going to be the perfect union of touch-phone interfaces and desktop interactions (well, by forcing everything to just be touch-phone, and insulting anyone that disagreed).

But no one uses Windows Store. It most certainly is not an improvement on the flawed Apple store or other marketplaces.

Then there's the data gathering. I'm sure they market that information to folks (in aggregate) - but I'm also pretty sure that they aren't going to see the returns they might dream about for selling access to that information, compared to their dreams of being some super-Google.

Probably the biggest source of instability has been the DRM and protection systems. Locks and keys designed to, well, lock things up on anything being off tend to... lock things up. And there's teams of teams constantly working on those.

Windows is still a money machine. PC sales aren't at peak at the instant, but there's still mountains of money for selling OS licenses on most new systems.

So, they bounce between ideas still - cross compatibility with XBox game images - but they link it with Windows Store, so it's basically like signing a cult marriage contract. Strait up ports of some games, but the same Store logic kills that idea. Tools to help manage things - but they keep making the interface Metro compatible, so folks drop it as soon as they can find a better tool.

The overall story is that they still have folks there dreaming that their failed pet ideas are still the future, an unlimited income stream that just needs tweaking. They need to identify that, and get past those folks - especially if they're managers.

Then be OK with just making the best OS they can, without trying to loop everything back into some infinite income stream. The golden goose is good enough - work on the nest, NOT a butcher shop.

Ryan Fenton

Poor Quality By Design

By nateman1352 • Score: 3 • Thread

At least Microsoft learned from the botched deployment of RS2 (aka Redstone-2, or the "Creators Update") which didn't work well on anything older than Skylake for several months. Looks like it is going to take them similar amounts of time to stabilize RS4 (Spring Creators Update... I wish they would just call it RS4 instead of coming up with meaningless marketing names) but at least they won't hold people's machines hostage in the meantime.

This is a natural consequence of the new world order Microsoft established with Windows 10. Now, the more money you pay for your Windows license, the more stability you get. At the bottom rung is the "insiders" who can actually install Windows totally for free. But they will always and forever be using beta releases, never will they be on a officially released version. Instead of paying MSFT with money, you pay them by giving away free QA. Next up is the people with the "Home" license. Most people are in this category. They get the newest release forced up their butt every 6 months. Next up if you paid for the "Pro" license you get a checkbox that lets you delay the newest release until another release is given after that. Finally, if you pay through the teeth for an enterprise license, then you get the Windows 7 level of service, highly tested stable releases every 3 years.

Re:Deploying bad releases?

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Wouldn't surprise me if it's related to driver rollouts. There's a lot of complaints in the fast and slow channels over MS once again deciding to force driver updates on everything. Not only was windows rolling back drivers in some cases, but rolling out drivers that people were using that made their system stable and then overwriting newer signed drivers with MS 'certified' drivers like on a new OS install. It's the biggest thread in the driver section and has been for quite awhile.

Re:Well, That's Nice

By • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm not sure if sarchasm or an actual story. I like the comment either way. The fact a W10 computer can start updating itself without prompt or UI, when connected to whatever network (which might be a Starbucks for all we know), is one of the most scary things ever. And I don't mean security-wise, I mean: "here I go do my once-in-a-lifetime presentation to the money suits with my Windows laptop. YAY! FINGERS CROSSED hoping the fact I'm in a different time-zone with different busy hours, and the fact I didn't set this new WIFI to metered can doesn't get me a reboot, or that Delivery Optimization doesn't resource hog BITTORRENTING updates just as I'm about to seal the deal".

Cybersecurity Tech Accord: More Than 30 Tech Firms Pledge Not to Assist Governments in Cyberattacks

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Over 30 major technology companies, led by Microsoft and Facebook, on Tuesday announced what they are calling the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, a set of principles that include a declaration that they will not help any government -- including that of the United States -- mount cyberattacks against "innocent civilians and enterprises from anywhere."

The companies that are participating in the initiative are: ABB, Arm, Avast, Bitdefender, BT, CA Technologies, Cisco, Cloudflare, DataStax, Dell, DocuSign, Facebook, Fastly, FireEye, F-Secure, GitHub, Guardtime, HP Inc., HPE, Intuit, Juniper Networks, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Nielsen, Nokia, Oracle, RSA, SAP, Stripe, Symantec, Telefonica, Tenable, Trend Micro, and VMware.

The announcement comes at the backdrop of a growing momentum in political and industry circles to create a sort of Digital Geneva Convention that commits the entire tech industry and governments to supporting a free and secure internet. The effort comes after attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya hobbled businesses around the world last year, and just a day after the U.S. and U.K. issued an unprecedented joint alert citing the threat of cyberattacks from Russian state-sponsored actors. The Pentagon has said Russian "trolling" activity increased 2,000 percent after missile strikes in Syria.

Interestingly, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Twitter are not participating in the program, though the Tech Accord says it "remains open to consideration of new private sector signatories, large or small and regardless of sector."

That is nice of them

By houghi • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The real question is what this actually means and how useful this is.
Does this mean that previously did it and are now stopping. Or where they never asked? I can also easily say that I will never help a government to do it. The likelihood of them asking is extremely small.

And are they willing to do business with those companies, er, governments. What about their re-sellers? What about companies? I doubt that many governments will ask a company to hack the planet. They will have a department that has holdings that owns companies that are not linked in any way or for to the government, because "National Security"

Also nice that they can do it when the civilians and companies are guilty.

To me it sounds hollow and more marketing than anything else. These are not the companies that are asked to help. They just own products that are used to do attacks.

will not help governments ?

By bagofbeans • Score: 3 • Thread

No offense
The companies will not help governments launch cyberattacks

...but if we help a cutout company working for a foreign government, it wasn't our fault, mommy!

We need transparency and C level execs to go to jail, not weasel-worded fake accountability and cost-of-doing-business fines.

No Cyber"Attacks"?

By BlueStrat • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

But assisting with government domestic mass-surveillance and data-mining is A-OK.

"We promise we won't help attack anyone, we'll only help governments oppress their domestic populations, the US government's domestic surveillance of the US population being at the top of the list."

With "friends" like these, who needs enemas?


Too fucking late.

By nimbius • Score: 3 • Thread

Symantec is complicit in some of the most brutal repressive regimes on the planet.
same with cisco.
And Microsoft? theyve not only back doored every OS theyve released, they even put out a tool for governments to crack into private computers.

Perhaps, but...

By DaveM753 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

a declaration that they will not help any government -- including that of the United States -- mount cyberattacks against "innocent civilians and enterprises from anywhere."

Maybe they won't help any *government*, but what about private entities like corporations or wealthy individuals? What if a corporation or a wealthy individual were to ask our new, friendly "Cybersecurity Tech Accord" members to mount a cyberattack against someone? Under that scenario, they would not be helping a government.

...and someone please define "innocent civilians" and "enterprises" for me. I can subjectively define it by my own ideas, but how are our new, friendly "Cybersecurity Tech Accord" members going to define these terms? What does "innocent" mean to them? What does "civilian" mean to them? What constitutes an "enterprise"?

This seems like a seriously limited promise.

Apple Is Planning To Launch a News Subscription Service

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple plans to integrate recently acquired magazine app Texture into Apple News and debut its own premium subscription offering, according to people familiar with the matter. The move is part of a broader push by the iPhone maker to generate more revenue from online content and services. The Cupertino, California company agreed last month to buy Texture, which lets users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 a month. Apple cut about 20 Texture staff soon after, according to one of the people. The world's largest technology company is integrating Texture technology and the remaining employees into its Apple News team, which is building the premium service. An upgraded Apple News app with the subscription offering is expected to launch within the next year, and a slice of the subscription revenue will go to magazine publishers that are part of the program, the people said.

Paying for Cupertino bias?

By bobbied • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No thank you... I can assemble a biased news feed all on my own or just subscribe to Twitter and Facebook and get one ready made for free.

Subscription Offering

By lazarus • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

When they rolled out their paid-for streaming service they killed off their free radio stations. I'm just wondering what is going to happen to news once they have a paid-for service.

Tesla Temporarily Stops Model 3 Production Line

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Tesla is temporarily stopping production of its Model 3 electric car, amid a long waiting list and several missed targets. The company, however, says the shutdown is intended to resolve some of the problems that have contributed to the numerous delays in getting the cars to hundreds of thousands of reservation holders. The automaker said Monday it would halt production of the Model 3 sedan for 4-5 days at its Fremont, California assembly plant, BuzzFeed reported. Tesla, however, says this is part of a planned period of downtime that was similar to another shutdown in February, and it isn't intended to have an affect on the company's current production targets for the car. "Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1," a Tesla spokesperson told The Verge. "These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates. This is not unusual and is in fact common in production ramps like this."

Short sellers

By Okian Warrior • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Tesla is the most shorted company right now.

The problem with the situation is that most investors *want* Tesla to fail so that they can make money from the short sales.

OTOH, Elon Musk is aware of the shorts and tends to do something to prop up the stock price whenever it drops a little. Like announcing a new model or a new production goal. (The production goals are never met, but the announcements make the stock tick up a couple of percent.)

So right now we're awash in bear market opinions, and many suggestive (but worthless) statements keep making the rounds such as:

"Tesla has never made a profit"
"Tesla loses money on every car they sell"
"Tesla only survives due to government handouts"
"Tesla is so far behind that some people will get their cars $SOMENUMBER years from now"
"Tesla is burning through cash, will be bankrupt in $NUM months"
"Musk is a serial liar"

Those are the highlights - have I missed any?

To analyze #4 as an example ("burning through cash"), note that this is something the CFO and CEO keep track of and anticipate, and are responsible for raising more cash before the bankruptcy actually happens. Also, specifically Tesla predicts that they won't need another round of financing, but that option is certainly open if they need it.

It's nigh impossible to get an accurate assessment of Tesla's worth right now, due to corruption in reporting.

Tesla expects to turn a profit for the first time later this year. Their stock will probably skyrocket when that happens.

Re:Next - janitorial staffing updates

By Octorian • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Why such obsession over trivial and routine manufacturing decisions at Tesla? Are we also going to get "Janitors at Tesla factory had to put overtime to unclog plugged toilet" headlines?

Because Tesla is a heavily shorted stock, and has started to return to the "good news" phase of the cycle.
Whenever a stock is heavily shorted, good news that increases the stock value must be immediately followed by a series of damning articles to make the stock value drop again.

So if Model 3 production was completely on-track, and there was nothing else bad to report about the company, you absolutely would see a front-page article on the terrible toilet problems that were causing issues at the factory. (Often, but not exclusively, originating from a place like "Business Insider" or "Seeking Alpha" from an author who quietly admits to have a short position on TSLA and a long position on competitors.)

Re: Next - janitorial staffing updates

By haruchai • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I was about to respond, snippily, that it's not like there's a whole lot of people cancelling, and then thought I'd google.

Turns out AC's right -- people are cancelling, and in many cases Tesla's taking a really really long time to refund their money (up to 3 months, it seems). More at

Not technically "not refunding", but still pretty poor.

Did you read your own link?
"The next day, I found a FedEx envelope on my doorstep. My refund had arrived — 61 business days after I cancelled my reservation.

Not every Tesla refund takes this long — or this much work. "It was easy," says Jeff Maggard, a former reservation holder from Ithaca, New York, who cancelled his deposit in February after a career change made it hard to justify buying a new car. His refund showed up on his credit card less than two weeks later. "I did it all online without talking to anyone. There was no number to call so I could be talked out of it by a representative. No dumb tricks to make me stay. It was great," Maggard says. "Very customer-centered."

I've waited much longer for refunds for a lot less than $1000 so I don't know what the gripe is all about.
In any case, it's clear that it's not everyone who had to wait a long time.
It's been suggested that a lot of the complainants may have had the credit cards used to place the reservation expire which would make a refund difficult.

Re: Next - janitorial staffing updates

By Rei • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Indeed. They're half a year late. Reservations have remained roughly constant at about half a million. And over on the Tesla forums, people are cheering the news about scheduled line downtime. Because you take lines down to upgrade them to be better / faster. Every time Tesla has taken the line down in the past, it's come back up much faster than previously. The last line downtime saw an over 2x increase in production.

I've been hoping to see news that Tesla would be taking the line down, as that would be the next sign of an upcoming production jump, and was very happy when I saw this today.

Re:Next - janitorial staffing updates

By Rei • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This is about Tesla consistently failing to hit production targets by orders of magnitude,

They hit 80% of last quarter's target. Is that "off by an order of magnitude" to you?

Which followed the reports that this was done in unsustainable

What BS "reports"? They've maintained the 2k/wk rate since then.

Yes, they're six months late. Big whoop. Reservations are still at half a million, the "competition" is still a joke, and each of the supposed "Tesla killers" so far has turned out to be half-baked. Exceeding in some cases even my pessimism. I totally didn't call that, for example, the 2018 Leaf would only be able to go 200-300km before being throttled to 20-25kW charge rates. I mean, ouch.

MPAA Silently Shut Down Its Legal Movies Search Engine

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Back in 2015, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released its own search engine to combat the argument that people pirate films because there are too few legal alternatives. According to TorrentFreak, the search engine,, has since been quietly shut down by the movie industry group, stating that there are plenty of other search options available today. From the report: The MPAA pulled the plug on the service a few months ago. And where the mainstream media covered its launch in detail, the shutdown received zero mentions. So why did the site fold? According to MPAA Vice President of Corporate Communications, Chris Ortman, it was no longer needed as there are many similar search engines out there. "Given the many search options commercially available today, which can be found on the MPAA website, was discontinued at the conclusion of 2017," Ortman informs TF. "There are more than 140 lawful online platforms in the United States for accessing film and television content, and more than 460 around the world," he adds. "That is all absolutely true today, though it was also true three years ago when the site was launched," adds Techdirt. "The simple fact of the matter is that the site did little to serve any real public customer base. Yes, legal alternatives to piracy exist. Everyone knows that, just as they know that there are far too many hoops and restrictions around which to jump that have nothing to do with price. The MPAA and its client organizations have long asserted strict control over their product to the contrary of public demand. That is, and has always been, the problem. On top of all that, the MPAA showed its no better at promoting its site than it was at promoting the legal alternatives to pirating movies."

It was pointless

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Most of these legal outlets were pointless. You either had to sign up to some ridiculous streaming service that didn't work with your smart TV anyway, or you pad to pay full retail price for a digital rental that also wouldn't play on your smart TV.

The physical disc was usually cheaper, but also quite awkward thanks to DRM.

Reminds me of an issue I had with True Lies

By bobstreo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I rented the VHS tape of it. Put it in the VCR, it wouldn't play. I tried about 3 other copies (from Blockbuster) and none of them would play. Finally found out there was a new Macrovision (copy protection) version on the tape that was "Incompatible" with my 1 year old VCR.

I find most of my legal movie and television needs can be met using and an antenna, and Netflix.

Re:It was pointless

By TheDarkMaster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
This. I have some bought legit copies of some movies that I particularly like, and guess what: It's a pain in the ass to get them to watch on the computer (I do not have a dedicated Blu-ray player, for various reasons). It's much simpler and easier to watch the "generic" copy.

Well, They're Not Wrong

By rsmith-mac • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

At least in my sphere of the world, JustWatch has cornered the market for streaming listings. There hasn't really been a need to use anything else. So while the MPAA's effort was half-hearted to begin with, there really isn't a need to keep it up when there are other, better options.

We're going in the wrong direction... yet again

By MikeDataLink • Score: 3 • Thread

When Netflix streaming came out I said "This could end piracy. Finally." Then the stupid movie companies decided it wasn't good enough and spun up 400 different streaming services. Defeating the very solution that would have fixed the problem.

I refuse to have multiple streaming subscriptions just so I can watch one show on your service.

19-Year-Old Archivist Charged For Downloading Freedom-of-Information Releases

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ichijo writes: According to CBC News, a Canadian teen "has been charged with 'unauthorized use of a computer,' which carries a possible 10-year prison sentence, for downloading approximately 7,000 freedom-of-information releases. The provincial government says about 250 of those contain Nova Scotians' sensitive personal information."

"When he was around eight [...] his Grade 3 class adopted an animal at a shelter, receiving an electronic adoption certificate," reports CBC. "That lead to a discovery on the classroom computer. 'The website had a number at the end, and I was able to change the last digit of the number to a different number and was able to see a certificate for someone else's animal that they adopted,' he said. 'I thought that was interesting.' The teenager's current troubles arose because he used the same trick on Nova Scotia's freedom-of-information portal, downloading about 7,000 freedom-of-information requests."
The teen is estimated to have around 30 terabytes of online data on his hard drives, which equates to "millions" of webpages. "He usually copies online forums such as 4chan and Reddit, where posts are either quickly erased or can become difficult to locate."

Re:Government guilty!

By suso • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I agree, but man pages have nothing to do with gender. It's called a man page because it's short for manual. The command was called man most likely because so many commands were shortened back then to 2 or 3 letters. There were a few women working on Unix at Bell labs in the 70s, one was Lorinda Cherry and among other things she helped write programs like the 'bc' and 'dc' commands.

Re:Government guilty!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The kid was has been quoted as saying he thought that the records were public and he didn't know he wasn't supposed to be able to do that.

By any measure these files were public. They were published online with a URL without any access control system. The question is whether they should have been made public or not. And apparently the government unintentionally published just 250 documents that contained information that was somehow privileged in the batch of 7000.

So 96.4% of the documents were supposed to be available to the public.

Any reasonable person would have looked at a freedom of information website and assume that the published documents were intended to be public as the vast majority of the documents were. The government made a mistake, overreached and is at fault for putting this person through this ordeal. Charges should be dropped with apology.


By HeckRuler • Score: 3 • Thread

"Archivist"? A 19 year old.... archivist? What kind of bullshit made up term is...

The teen is estimated to have around 30 terabytes of online data on his hard drives

...Well alright then. I'm not even mad. Props to the archivist.

Re:Government guilty!

By beernutz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Again, you wrote this line verbatim with the verbiage "Criminally" right in it. This might lead someone to think you considered his actions to be... well... "Criminal"

The kid was criminally stupid in archiving the data instead of working towards fixing the problem

Re:Government guilty!

By q4Fry • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I agree, but man pages have nothing to do with gender. It's called a man page because it's short for manual. The command was called man most likely because so many commands were shortened back then to 2 or 3 letters.

Is this an example of "man splaining" ?