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

MIT's AI Uses Radio Signals To See People Through Walls

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new piece of software that uses wifi signals to monitor the movements, breathing, and heartbeats of humans on the other side of walls. While the researchers say this new tech could be used in areas like remote healthcare, it could in theory be used in more dystopian applications. Inverse reports: "We actually are tracking 14 different joints on the body [...] the head, the neck, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists, the hips, the knees, and the feet," Dina Katabi, an electrical engineering and computer science teacher at MIT, said. "So you can get the full stick-figure that is dynamically moving with the individuals that are obstructed from you -- and that's something new that was not possible before." The technology works a little bit like radar, but to teach their neural network how to interpret these granular bits of human activity, the team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) had to create two separate A.I.s: a student and a teacher.

[T]he team developed one A.I. program that monitored human movements with a camera, on one side of a wall, and fed that information to their wifi X-ray A.I., called RF-Pose, as it struggled to make sense of the radio waves passing through that wall on the other side. The research builds off of a longstanding project at CSAIL lead by Katabi, which hopes to use this wifi tracking to help passively monitor the elderly and automate any emergency alerts to EMTs and medical professionals if they were to fall or suffer some other injury.
For more information, a press release and video about the software are available.

Another reason not to use WiFi at home.

By BitterOak • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I'm glad I installed Cat 5e ethernet cable in my home 10 years ago!

Re:I wish this was news, but...

By slew • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Even this report is a dupe of a report from the exact same MIT research group back in 2013...

News from 2011.

By tlambert • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

News from 2011.

See-Through Walls: Motion Tracking Using Variance-Based Radio Tomography Networks

https://www.semanticscholar.or... []

Re:How could this possibly be a bad thing?

By Reverend Green • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Nothing to worry about here.

MIT would never weaponize the technology they develop. They totally don't run a major DoD weapons research laboratory. No one there is involved in the development of killer robots. I'm certain they haven't had any thoughts at all of selling this privacy invasion tech to repressive regimes for use in their automated tyranny systems.

Thank goodness for MITtens!

Re:How could this possibly be a bad thing?

By jenningsthecat • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

One could argue that monitoring people’s movement with WIFI signals and without their consent is still a privacy violation. It is no different than using hidden cameras, just different wavelengths.

Average citizens no longer care about privacy invasion. Hell, they're no longer in a position to even define privacy. 'Reality' TV shows, pervasive video surveillance, selling out themselves and all their acquaintances on Facebook, and turning a blind, (or not so blind), eye to the advertisers that stalk them around the Web - I'd say "privacy" is pretty much a meaningless word now among the majority of folks.

China's Surveillance State Will Soon Track Cars

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
China is establishing an electronic identification system to track cars nationwide, according to a report on WSJ, which cites records and people briefed on the matter. From a report: Under the plan being rolled out July 1, a radio-frequency identification chip for vehicle tracking will be installed on cars when they are registered. Compliance will be voluntary this year but will be made mandatory for new vehicles at the start of 2019, the people said. Authorities have described the plan as a means to improve public security and to help ease worsening traffic congestion, documents show, a major concern in many Chinese cities partly because clogged roads contribute to air pollution. But such a system, implemented in the world's biggest automotive market, with sales of nearly 30 million vehicles a year, will also vastly expand China's surveillance network, experts say. That network already includes widespread use of security cameras, facial recognition technology and internet monitoring.


By Excelcia • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This is rich. China's surveillance state. How about the UK with ANPR - not just the UK, there are a lot of placed, even here in Canada, with ANPR now but not like the UK has. How about the NSA tapping into every internet backbone in the world? The Five Eyes have more domestic surveillance than China will ever have.

Stories like this make me angry. Not because I think of China as being any better, but because people who write these kind of headlines are just so willfully ignorant it makes my teeth itch. We (read every resident of a Western democracy) have been living in the kind of a surveillance state for the last decade as would have given the head of the KGB at the height of the Soviet Union an absolute erection.

Re:20 years behind the US...

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

US has EZ-Pass, which is a defacto tracking system, even if not originally designed as such.

EZ-Pass / FasTrak are opt-in, so not the same at all.

They can be legally removed from the vehicle at anytime.

Good a reason as any to do away with toll roads

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
for the same reason I want Medicare for All I'd like to see toll roads go away. Some things should just be paid for by civilization as a whole. China isn't oppressing these people for shits and giggles. They're doing it because they've got massive wealth inequality and this is how you maintain a society when you've got lots of folks who lack food security and shelter. The reason you guarantee a decent quality of life is because you can't be free when somebody controls your access to food, shelter, healthcare, education & transportation. The latter being needed to access to former. Until then you're a weeks meals or a harsh winter away from doing whatever the folks in charge of the money say.

LPR Readers

By speedlaw • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Already there in the US. In the NYC area, cross a bridge ? EZ pass and photos. Use most highways ? EZ pass readers "for statistical tracking". Lose your 95 yo Grandparent and they have a car ? "Elderly male missing, White Nissan Sentra, LPR hit on plate at XX location two hours ago".


By ttsai • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is rich. China's surveillance state. How about the UK ...

It's not the surveillance that's the problem. It's the willingness of the state to act upon that data in a way that violates human rights that is the problem.

I monitor my kids in very detailed and intrusive ways (well, at least that's what they tell me). However, I don't use that information to beat my kids when they say something bad about me. China has shown a willingness to imprison, intimidate, and physically harm based on surveillance, and that is a huge difference with most Western governments.

China's Ambitions To Power the World's Electric Cars Took a Huge Leap Forward This Week

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Future Mobility Corporation (FMC), the Chinese parent company behind electric car start-up Byton, has placed an order for a paint shop capable of handling 150,000 cars per year, German supplier Duerr said on Wednesday. China's Byton, a newcomer headed by the former head of BMW's i8 program, has already released plans for a premium electric SUV vehicle, the latest in a series of China-backed electric autonomous prototypes. Byton has financial backing from Chinese state-owned carmaker FAW Group and the country's dominant battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) This is just one of the stories this week relating to China and the electric car industry. MIT Technology Review adds: In a public offering on June 11 in Shenzhen, battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) raised nearly $1 billion to fund ambitious expansion plans, and its stock has been shooting up every day since. Thanks largely to the company's new plants, China will be making 70 percent of the world's electric-vehicle batteries by 2021, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Just seven years later, CATL has built up the biggest lithium-ion manufacturing facilities in the world, according to BNEF. The company can crank out around 17 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion cells annually, placing it just ahead of Korea's LG Chem, the Tesla and Panasonic partnership, and China's electric-vehicle giant BYD. Flush with capital from its offering, CATL plans to build two new plants and expand existing facilities, pushing its capacity to nearly 90 gigawatt-hours by 2020. [...] Notably, it's the only Chinese battery company so far to line up deals to supply foreign automakers, including BMW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

The knowledge is why be careful building in China

By raymorris • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

About the time I was born, Schwinn was THE brand of bicycles in the US. Every kid wanted a Schwinn. Part of that was marketing, part of it was their production expertise. Schwinn had a lot of "tricks of the trade" to make great bikes.

To cut costs, Schwinn made a deal with a company I Taiwan to actually manufacture the bikes. They sent their experts to Taiwan to teach the workers there how to do it. After the Taiwanese company started using those techniques to build and sell non-Schwinn bikes, Schwinn switched to a new, small company in China. Again their entire their experts to Asia to teach the workers there all the tricks and techniques.

The little Chinese company is now the world's largest manufacturer of bikes. Schwinn declared bankruptcy in 1992, and by the time I was 7 years old the bike to have was Diamondback - one of several brands produced and sold by the company in Taiwan.

Schwinn had taught the Asian manufacturers how to put Schwinn out of business.

American companies are still doing that. Apple has been very, very good to Foxconn, for example. Foxconn no longer needs Apple, or soon won't. They are now selling direct, using everything they learned from building Apple's products, and can cut Apple off any time they decide it's advantageous to do so.

Half Truths are Still Lies

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Nope, Henry Ford incorporated in 1903 and made a profit in 1903. Tesla has been around for 15 years and still making no profit.

Surely you know you are lying by telling only half the truth, right? I mean, if you knew he started in 1899 and nearly went bankrupt with a low-quality, over-priced car, and then re-incoroprated in 1903, you also know that he didn't start shipping the Model-T until 1908. Before that he was selling a custom, low-volume, high-end roadster, the model 999. You might have heard, Tesla also started out selling a low-volume, high-end roadster.

But one way Musk is not like Ford - Ford didn't have to compete with an already entrenched global industry. So, that might have slowed Ford down just a little bit. But I will give you this, Musk is a thin-skinned narcissistic ayn-randian asshole, but at least he's not a god damn nazi.

Experience is one thing, culture another

By raymorris • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

> The Chinese will soon be *better* at making bicycles than the west, simply because they do it. Same with robots, there will soon be far more in China than in the USA, and thus far more expertise.

Experience is one thing. Another parameter is that US culture is very unusual in a particular way, or really two related things. Co-workers from other countries have told me it's a bit hard to get used to working in the US because of this cultural difference.

In most cultures, including China, when someone shows up to work the company does things a certain way, and it's very often the Chinese way, the way other companies do it. The employee does their part, according to company procedures. That's good for manufacturing a million identical copies. The US is weird in that we tend, much more than other countries, to do things our own way. The employer wants certain results, of course, but each employee may do things a little differently, perhaps using different tools. Rather than doing everything the traditional way, Americans are looking for that "one weird trick" that makes it better, faster, or cheaper. The employee who comes up with a nifty trick to do it better is called clever, inventive, and praised for their ingenuity. In most cultures that behavior would be odd, inconsistent, and potentially dangerous.

My own workplace is an example - everyone on my team chooses different tools. Even where we have to share a common standard, Git, some of my co-workers use various diff GUIs to work with Git, while I use the command line. The codebase is a mix of programming languages and styles. Heck, some co-workers shine their shoes, some don't wear shoes. An office in China would look, and be, much more consistent, everyone working together, doing it the same way.

China is very good at making a million identical widgets, America invents like no culture before. They compliment each other - the Americans try all kinds of wacky new ideas and when they get a good one, they contract with the Chinese to make a million of them, precisely to specification.

Obviously each culture is different in many ways, with different attitudes and norms having different benefits and drawbacks.

IF we remember where our strength is, the US can continue to be a major and very important part of that synergy. If we lose our individualistic and inventive spirit, well then our workers will be like workers everywhere else, and be competing on wages - and in wages worldwide, only the top 1% make over $25,000 / year or so.

Re:The knowledge is why be careful building in Chi

By GerryGilmore • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Same way that all of the "domestic" brands like IBM and HP became supplanted by Lenovo and Acer/...
As a capitalist, modern capitalism not only sucks, it's stupid.

Re:Experience is one thing, culture another

By GerryGilmore • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
While I don't disagree with your analysis, let me differ...
Fundamentally, there is a nexus between design, engineering and production. A three-legged stool, if you will.
I would submit that a national economy cannot long subsist on one (or even two) legs of that stool, and we have arbitraged at least 2 of of those legs to an economy that - while efficient - is, at heart, a Communist Dictatorship and we in the west ignore what we have wrought to our peril.

78 Indigenous Languages Are Being Saved By Optical Scanning Tech

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at UC Berkeley are using futuristic technology to save a piece of the past. From a report: Project IRENE is using cutting-edge optical scan technology to transfer and digitally restore recordings of indigenous languages, many of which no longer have living speakers, Hyperallergic first reported. The recordings were gathered between 1900 and 1938 when UC anthropologists asked native speakers of 78 indigenous languages of California to record their songs, histories, prayers, and vocabulary on wax cylinders. Many of those cylinders are housed at Berkeley's Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and they are in a state of disrepair, degraded and broken. It's a frustrating state of affairs, as many of the languages recorded on the cylinders have fallen out of use or are no longer spoken at all. The "Documenting Endangered Languages" initiative, which has support from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, is hoping to save this important history.

Re:Unimportant history

By mcswell • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"Salvaging the language recordings themselves might be useful to linguists and people studying the human brain..." Speaking as a linguist who has worked on endangered languages (and other languages), agreed. Language, in the sense of a means of communication with a syntax at (at least) the context free (and possibly higher) level in the Chomsky Hierarchy, is a uniquely human ability. (Well, I keep waiting for ET to phone home so I can find out how his language works, but no luck so far.) Every child (apart from the extremely retarded) picks up a first language (and in the right situation, a second language, or even more), while no linguist has ever completely and accurately described the grammar of any language. Which is very odd, when you think of it.

So agreed, language is a unique window into the human mind.

More focus should be given to this...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Kurdish, a number of Japanese aboriginal languages, and others in Russian, China, Africa and other parts of the world are *STILL* being actively stomped out through forced education only in a national language that regions inhabitants had forced on them for cultural conversion reasons, rather than a choice given over time.

As a result many other languages are dying out today not because there are no speakers, but because it is illegal for regional schools to teach them and they are instead forcibly taught the nationalist tongue in an effort to separate them from their heritage.

The purpose of language is to communicate

By innocent_white_lamb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The purpose of a language is to communicate.

If there is nobody left who speaks or writes that language, why is it suddenly important (other than in an abstract way) to preserve it?

The Canadian government is currently spending $90 million (Canadian, about $70 million USD) to preserve endangered aboriginal languages.

The first line of that article says "Indigenous languages in Canada are dying out at an alarming rate and in desperate need of saving".

My question is why, and what makes it worth spending all of that taxpayer money on?

If someone is interested in an obscure language to want to preserve it and learn it, I see no problem with doing that as an academic exercise. But I honestly don't see why it's suddenly a responsibility for governments to preserve it.

Again, a language is intended to facilitate communication. If nobody's communicating in that language any more then it's obsolete.

Re:Hold on....language evolution.

By Kjella • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

However, if we the human race are going to finally band together and solve our problems as a species, we are going to need one language.

Doesn't mean it has to be one and only one language though. Most people are more than capable of being bi-lingual, their native language and the common language.

It's purpose is for communication.

Yes - but also from one generation to the next, passing down a heritage. It would be very strange to not speak or write the language of my parents and their generation.

And as we are seeing in our digital age. English is winning the Darwinian race. It's perfect for representation with computers - unlike languages like Chinese and it has the leg up of being the language of the Creators of the Digital Age.

English is a cluster fuck of a language and the single reason it's becoming the global language and not yet another regional language like Russian, Chinese or Arabic is the British Empire. It's the only language with reach in Europe (UK), North America (US & Canada), Africa (bunch of former colonies), Asia (India) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand). And with the Germans losing two World Wars and the French being insufferable they cornered the market as the business language in Europe too. It helps that the Internet was started in the US, but if nobody else spoke English other countries would just make their own enclaves. There's many Russian, Chinese, Spanish etc. speakers that don't know the English-speaking part at all.

Northern Pomo is the most endangered language

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The Postmodernists were a briefly popular academic cult whose polysyllabic but totally non-referential coined language, though impenetrable to outsiders, once dominated at liberal arts schools and was the written language of numerous papers.

Because the Pomo tribe has been exclusively vegan and abstains from heterosexual relationships it has been unable to pass on its culture to new generations, so its numbers have been steadily declining in recent years as older tenured chieftains die off. Today, native speakers are confined to a few small campuses in northern California.

Turkey Bans Periscope

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
stikves writes: According to online reports, a recent court order has banned Periscope across Turkey. The cited reason is the alleged violation of copyrights of a local company named "Periskop." This adds to the list of online services no longer available in Turkey, including Wikipedia, PayPal and WordPress, among others. While access from Turkey to the domain and to the Twitter account "periscopeco" is banned, users can still access Periscope services under the name Scope TR and Twitter account "scopetr." Lawyers from Twitter, Apple and Google requested rejection of the case, "saying it was impossible for a company like Twitter, operating in the U.S., to be aware of the existence of the same brand name in Turkey," reports Stockholm Center for Freedom.


By dmesg0 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Erdogan = Khomeini
Turkey is slowly becoming Iran while Atatürk is rolling in his grave

That's a bit rough

By rossdee • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

for submarines wanting to transit between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean

Re:Trademark, not copyright

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The stated reason does not have to make sense. Turkey is no longer a democracy, Erdogan has locked thousands in jail to silence opposition and is following classic authoritarian techniques to secure his control over everything.

'Netflix and Alphabet Will Need To Become ISPs, Fast'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Following the recent official repeal of net neutrality and approval of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, an anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via TechCrunch, written by Danny Crichton. Crichton discusses the options Alphabet, Netflix and other video streaming services have on how to respond: For Alphabet, that will likely mean a redoubling of its commitment to Google Fiber. That service has been trumpeted since its debut, but has faced cutbacks in recent years in order to scale back its original ambitions. That has meant that cities like Atlanta, which have held out for the promise of cheap and reliable gigabit bandwidth, have been left in something of a lurch. Ultimately, Alphabet's strategic advantage against Comcast, AT&T and other massive ISPs is going to rest on a sort of mutually assured destruction. If Comcast throttles YouTube, then Alphabet can propose launching in a critical (read: lucrative) Comcast market. Further investment in Fiber, Project Fi or perhaps a 5G-centered wireless strategy will be required to give it to the leverage to bring those negotiations to a better outcome.

For Netflix, it is going to have to get into the connectivity game one way or the other. Contracts with carriers like Comcast and AT&T are going to be more challenging to negotiate in light of today's ruling and the additional power they have over throttling. Netflix does have some must-see shows, which gives it a bit of leverage, but so do the ISPs. They are going to have to do an end-run around the distributors to give them similar leverage to what Alphabet has up its sleeve. One interesting dynamic I could see forthcoming would be Alphabet creating strategic partnerships with companies like Netflix, Twitch and others to negotiate as a collective against ISPs. While all these services are at some level competitors, they also face an existential threat from these new, vertically merged ISPs. That might be the best of all worlds given the shit sandwich we have all been handed this week.

Or they can not

By WillAffleckUW • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Look, Net Neutrality is the Law of the Land in CA, OR, WA, and a few other states.

They can just walk away from the unprofitable other states and let you freeze in the net dark.

All the profit is in the West.

Re:Netflix and Youtube ...

By StormReaver • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

On the other hand, there might be a battle between AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other carriers to convince customers that they are better ISPs, by not screwing with third party content.


What will happen is AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Mediacomm will collude to ensure that everyone gets the same shitty Netflix experience across the board. We'll have nowhere to go, so we'll give up and keep paying for shitty service.

The Low Earth Orbit satellite companies (StarLink, Boeing, and I think one other) will likely be our only hope of getting decent Internet service on a broad scale. Alphabet seems to have already given up on being a terrestrial ISP, and no one else seems to care to fill the gap.

Re:We the consumers

By grep -v '.*' * • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

under the impression that I already pay for high-speed internet access,

Ahhh yes, there's the fallacy again. You pay your ISP for high-speed access to their network, and then the bill also includes egress access to the general internet.

For normal ISPs, their network connects you to the outgoing peer that connects you to the actual internet. Those peons don't have enough resources invested to make you stay around their network, so you have to access elsewhere.

For great ISPs like Comast, Verizon, and the defunct AOL, your high-speed access is simply your window into to our glorious on-line world. Why on Earth would you want to go elsewhere. (No really, WHY? STOP it.) Our network contains glorious, copious amounts of never-ending entertainment that we tie back to your bill, and the best part is that it's free! At least to us that is; we've got all of the already servers sitting on our networks and pay for the content anyway, so the more we can makeXXXX ahem, let you stay within our network the better for us.

For that small eventuality when you need to access the general internet to, say, connect to your bank to pay our bill, we graciously provide an egress to the general overall internet where "everyone else" lives. But don't dally outside too long, because there's GREAT stuff already located on our network where we also store your bill, and after all, we have to pay for internet egress access, y'know? That stuff gets expensive. The text and few graphics your bank has? Fine. Audio, and then video streaming? To the outside world?? STOP it, that stuff's bothersome, our 1200 baud modem to the outside world gets really hot sometimes, y'know? Our 10G and experimental 100G blades interconnect just fine, but do you know how hard it is to FIND a modem now-a-days? US Robotics isn't making them anymore and eBay seems to have supply problems as well. So just say on OUR side of the network and everyone'll be much happier.

So in conclusion, connect to your ISP and just stay there. We might or might not bill your for bytes, but if you egress then WE'LL ALSO be billed for them. Friends don't make other friends incur extra costs. Just hang around our network and billing services, we'll all be much happier if you do. That's a nice internet you've got there, shame if something were to happen to it.

-- Your loving ISPs: Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, CoX.


By dryeo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You meant Socialism. Geez you kids today don't know words.

No Socialism is people getting together and starting a co-op ISP.
Crony Capitalism is when the Capitalists own the government.

Re:Actions are all that matters

By houghi • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Strange that you have no cpmpetition in the US and here I amn living in the communist country (accoding to stuped Mericans) of Europe and have the option of several companies with several offers at several speeds.
I have real unlimeted and pay 40 EUR or so for 100M down and 30M up. There are cheaper and faster ones, but they will not be as unlimited.

And I live in one of the more expensive ones with not that many competition as others.

Stuped communists who do things for the people by the people.

Spanish Soccer League App In Google Play Wants To Use Phone Mics To Enforce Copyrights

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The official app for the Spanish soccer league La Liga, which has more than 10 million downloads from Google Play, was recently updated to seek access to users' microphone and GPS settings. "When granted, the app processes audio snippets in an attempt to identify public venues that broadcast soccer games without a license," reports Ars Technica. From the report: According to a statement issued by La Liga officials, the functionality was added last Friday and is enabled only after users click "eyes" to an Android dialog asking if the app can access the mic and geolocation of the device. The statement says the audio is used solely to identify establishments that broadcast games without a license and that the app takes special precautions to prevent it from spying on end users. [La Liga's full statement with the "appropriate technical measures to protect the user's privacy" is embedded in Ars' report.]

[E]ven if the app uses a cryptographic hash or some other means to ensure that stored or transmitted audio fragments can't be abused by company insiders or hackers (a major hypothetical), there are reasons users should reject this permission. For one, allowing an app to collect the IP address, unique app ID, binary representation of audio, and the time that the audio was converted could provide a fair amount of information over time about a user. For another, end users frequenting local bars and restaurants shouldn't be put in the position of policing the copyrights of sports leagues, particularly with an app that uses processed audio from their omnipresent phone.

Is this even legal

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Presumably, they'd be recording also other people at the same venue who have not agreed to being recorded. Someone's voice is sensitive information. Given the new laws about privacy in the EU, I'm surprised this is even legal, or that they are taking the risk at all.

Re:Is this even legal

By ctilsie242 • Score: 4 • Thread

This is probably for Central American countries where privacy laws are few to none, and where invasions of privacy will not go punished. I can see software like this in the US being used, with disabling the mic access considered a violation of the DMCA.

Great for battery life

By omnichad • Score: 3 • Thread

Imagine if a handful of apps on your phone were this bad. Would your battery even last through the day?

Well, I wasn't expecting . . .

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

. . . the Spanish Soccer Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....

" Our chief weapon is mics... mics and GPS... GPS and mics.... Our two weapons are mics and GPS...and IP Addresses ...."


By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 5, Funny • Thread


FC Microsoft fans! Disgusting!

Volkswagen Fined One Billion Euros By German Prosecutors Over Emissions Cheating

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Volkswagen was fined one billion euros ($1.18 billion) over diesel emissions cheating in what amounts to one of the highest ever fines imposed by German authorities against a company, public prosecutors said on Wednesday. From a report: The German fine follows a U.S. plea agreement from January 2017 when VW agreed to pay $4.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil penalties for installing illegal software in diesel engines to cheat strict U.S. anti-pollution tests. "Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step toward the latter being overcome," it said in a statement. The fine is the latest blow to Germany's auto industry which cannot seem to catch a break from the diesel emissions crisis. Germany's government on Monday ordered Daimler to recall nearly 240,000 cars fitted with illicit emissions-control devices, part of a total of 774,000 models affected in Europe as a whole.

Re:Probably not enough

By amorsen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You can't just claim damages due to "dirty air"

Of course you can. The air would have been much less polluted if Volkswagen and the others hadn't cheated.

at most you could claim damages for much dirtier the air has gotten due to Volkswagen not quite meeting the Euro-6 norm or whatever it is.

There is no "not quite" about it when we are talking about more than an order or magnitude. This is not astronomy.

It's not in anyone's interest to cripple this company

It is absolutely in my interest to cripple them. I have zero faith that they will not do the exact same thing the next time they think they can get away with it.

Re:Fine the bosses and the shareholders...

By amorsen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That is actually an excellent point!

A suitable punishment would be to take away all government-granted monopolies, since they do not play by the rules of the government. Goodbye Volkswagen patents!

That would benefit the owners of Volkswagen vehicles, who were defrauded and who have so far not had a penny in compensation (at least in Europe).

Re:Probably not enough

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I think the issue has to do more with shared or diffused responsibility in groups. The larger the group, the less likely anyone is to get in trouble for it because it's more difficult to attribute the harm to any one person's action. It's the same in large religions or political groups when there's some kind of scandal. At best you might get one or two people thrown under the bus, but you're not even guaranteed that much.

Should you automatically put the CEO in jail if they weren't responsible and had no part in the wrong doing? What if they were the person who noticed something was wrong and blew the whistle on the wrong doing?

What about the more morally gray cases where the upper management is pushing hard for results and some of the underlings interpret these directives is creative, yet illegal or unethical ways? We can establish that the CEO might have ultimately caused the behavior, but they never asked for something illegal.

We could further descend the ladder until we get the bottom rung where the CEO has a signed letter in blood telling everyone to kill and rape babies to increase profits where it's pretty clear that they need to go away for a long while. However, the point is that where in there is the line where you know exactly which people need to go to jail and which people don't?

With an individual crime it's a lot easier for a jury to wrap their head around what happened and there are far fewer conflicting versions of events. Try to put a group on trial, and no one really knows who to trust when all of the fingers start getting pointed and there's always enough plausible deniability or presumption of innocence that it's a lot harder to get a jury to convict. Also, a large organization is going to have a lot of money to spend on lawyers. Much like a celebrity, they can afford the best legal talent so you're more likely to get away with murder, figuratively and likely literally as well.

Re:Probably not enough

By fazig • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The bulk of “Dieselgate” lawsuits are being handled by prosecutors in Braunschweig where four separate sets of criminal proceedings are being conducted against current and former managers of VW, headquartered in nearby Wolfsburg.
Some 39 individuals including Winterkorn are being investigated over suspected emissions fraud, with the former CEO also being probed for suspected market manipulation together with Hans Dieter Poetsch, the group’s former finance chief who is now supervisory board chairman, and Herbert Diess, now group CEO who joined the firm in July 2015 as head of the VW brand.


Then we have one of the major German newspapers noting that Winterkorn stands to lose his entire financial existence.
Source: (you may need a translator)

Re:Shareholders fined.

By The Evil Atheist • Score: 4, Informative • Thread At least one executive will go to jail.

Britain's Dixons Carphone Discovers Data Breach Affecting 5.9 Million Payment Cards

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: Another week, another cyberattack. This time around, it's the Dixons Carphone group which says it has fallen victim to not one but two major breaches. The bank card details of 5.9 million customers have been accessed by hackers in the first breach. In the second, the personal records of 1.2 million people have been exposed. Dixons Carphone says that it is investigating an attack on its card processing system at Currys PC World and Dixons Travel in which there was an attempt to compromise 5.9 million cards. The company stressed that the vast majority -- 5.8 million -- of these cards were protected by chip and PIN, and that the data accessed did not include PINS, CVVs or any other authentication data that could be used to make payments or identify the card owners. The report goes on to mention that 105,000 non-EU issued payment cards, which were not chip and PIN protected, were also affected. The company says it will be contacting those customers affected by the breaches.

Laptops With 128GB of RAM Are Here

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Brace yourself for laptops with 128GB of RAM because they're coming. Today, Lenovo announced its ThinkPad P52, which, along with that massive amount of memory, also features up to 6TB of storage, up to a 4K, 15.6-inch display, an eighth-gen Intel hexacore processor, and an Nvidia Quadro P3200 graphics card. The ThinkPad also includes two Thunderbolt three ports, HDMI 2.0, a mini DisplayPort, three USB Type-A ports, a headphone jack, and an Ethernet port. The company hasn't announced pricing yet, but it's likely going to try to compete with Dell's new 128GB-compatible workstation laptops. The Dell workstation laptops in question are the Precision 7730 and 7530, which are billed as "ready for VR" mobile workstations. According to TechRadar, "These again run with either 8th-gen Intel CPUs or Xeon processors, AMD Radeon WX or Nvidia Quadro graphics, and the potential to specify a whopping 128GB of 3200MHz system memory."

Re:For what use?

By Hadlock • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Most developers I know have a single laptop as their primary workstation. We were complaining about the 16GB limit on macbook "pro" laptops in 2015 as the on-premise software appliance we were developing at the time used about 10GB memory, which quickly ballooned to 17GB by mid-2016.
The product we were using was also designed to scan other machines, which meant that you would likely have between .2 and 8 VMs running on your local machine to dev/test the entire product.
So yes this is absolutely supposed to replace your personal workstation. I do about half my work from home these days, the 2-3 days a week I am in the office I still probably do 4 hours of work at home. Splitting your work between two machines is a real bear. Here we are three years later and the best "professional" macbook offering still only offers 16GB memory, where Lenovo and Dell have been offering 32GB memory in laptops for two+ years now. Will I need 128 GB? No probably not tomorrow but 64GB would be a reasonable ask for someone in my line of work. There's something like half a million software developers in the Bay area, I'm sure more than 5% of them are running in to memory problems at least monthly.

Re:I still like my first computer...

By jez9999 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You had flint tools? We just had to imagine the numbers in our heads.

Re:Apple, have courage

By Graymalkin • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Just because I need a portable computer, doesn't mean I need to sit at a cafe all day.

Wanting good battery life is not about sitting in a cafe all day. I want a portable computer that I can use places away from my office/desk for long periods of time without hunting for a power outlet. I also want to use my laptop and not have it throttle way down on the battery. It would also really nice for it to be light so it doesn't weigh down my bag.

Portables have aspects with inverse proportions. Intel dropping the ball after Skylake has meant any manufacturers wanting high performance parts in a small envelope can't pack a lot of RAM unless they sacrifice battery life by using much higher power draw DDR4.

A higher power draw means lower battery life (for the same sized battery) and likely a lot of thermal throttling issues. DDR4 uses several times as much power as LPDDR3E used in the MacBook lines. Even if you are willing to sacrifice the battery life, the thermals would be a major issue even on AC power. The higher power RAM/controller would eat up the thermal budget for the CPU meaning it would enter TurboBoost mode less often or worst case actually stay throttled down.

The ThinkPad in the story is a brick. This means thermals and battery life probably aren't major concerns. From the looks of it actual portability isn't much of a concern either.

Laptops aren't really designed

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 3 • Thread

for power hungry applications as they don't really handle thermal dissipation as well as their full size workstation brethren.
Not to mention the high end hardware that can deliver the power you need will eat a battery so fast it's shocking.

Since the damn thing is going to have to be plugged in at all times anyway ( with the added bonus of that tiny ass screen ) why
get a laptop for this sort of work ? ( I use CAD and DCC software and I'm sure as hell not going to do it on a 17" monitor on a road trip )

Additionally, I've never really liked laptops as their upgrade possibilities are extremely limited ( if they exist at all ).

Re: CAD, 3D CG, Scientific, GPGPU, HPC Needs It

By exomondo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why are people doing CAD, etc on laptops?

Because they want/need portable workstations.

Also I was doing CAD on workstations with 8gb of ram. You do not need 128gb of ram to run cad programs.

There were a lot of people doing CAD on workstations with 1mb of RAM too, therefore 8gb is massive overkill? You'd think that 640k Bill Gates quote has had enough exposure that people would have got the point of it by now, obviously not.

Needing power sucking CPUs and multiple GPUs, this laptop does not solve that problem.

They use desktop-grade CPUs rather than low-power portable ones and if you really need it you can expand the GPU capability with an eGPU for those times that you need it.

So again, what's the point?

Oh no you can buy a laptop with 128GB of RAM, what a terrible thing! What's the point of complaining about it? If you don't need it don't buy it, if nobody needs it nobody will buy and it will go away and you can stop whining about the existence of something you don't want or need.

Hundreds of Thousands of Windows XP and Vista Users Won't Be Able To Use Steam Soon

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Windows XP and Vista users have six months to upgrade their operating systems or get the hell off of Steam. From a report: "Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems," Valve, the company that operates Steam, said in a post to its XP and Vista support community. "This means that after that date the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows. In order to continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows."

Re:Boo hoo

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Are you willing to support 17 year old software, for free, when you offer a modern version?

Buying hundreds of dollars of games on Steam isn't exactly the same as free. I'm really only asking that Valve continue to host the data on their servers, not that they do any additional updates to my game library.

I don't think any of us really enjoy the frequent updates to the Steam client. Those updates are something we tolerate, but I'm certainly not asking to pay for them.


By higuita • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That is plain stupid and egocentric way to think!

A machine may not have anything useful but it can be used a botnet, jump host, malware server, etc
That is why IoT is a big problem, people think like you (eg: it is just a webcan looking to a plant, i do not care), yet it was involved in a DoS that knockout your favorite site, it is acting as a reverse proxy for some child porn, it is CC node in a huge botnet or even just mining some crypto coins.

The fact that it works do not mean that it should not be replaced. At very least should be protected and if it is not possible to protect it (like XP, if it connects to the internet), it should be terminated and replaced.

Re:Boo hoo

By Zak3056 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

On the other hand. Your car is too old. We're not going to allow you to buy gasoline here.

It's not yours

By Uteck • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

RMS has been warning of this for years, you don't own anything if it is on someone else's server.
Steam is just game rental.

Re:Boo hoo

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

Both of them?

Microsoft To Give Office 365, Apps a Makeover

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
On the heels of recent redesigns by Google and Apple, Microsoft is giving its Office apps a facelift over the coming months. From a report: Over the coming months, Microsoft will begin rolling out changes to the interface of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Office 365 and Office Online ( users. Key to the Office app redesign are an updated Ribbon, icon refreshes and new ways to more easily see changes coming to the Office suite. There's a simplified version of the Office Ribbon, which allows users to collapse it so it takes up less space and hides many options, or keep it expanded into the current three-line view. Microsoft is starting to roll out this new Ribbon in the web version of Word to "select consumer users today in" In July, Microsoft will also make this new Ribbon design available in Outlook for Windows. "We've found that the same ten commands are used 95% of the time by everybody," said Jon Friedman, General Manager of Design Management and Operations. In Outlook such as "Reply," "Reply All" and "Forward" are basically universal. But that other five percent is different for every person, so Microsoft is adding an option to remove commands from the Ribbon, such as Archive, for example, and pin others to it, such as "Reply by IM."

Re:I've never quite gotten used to...

By hackertourist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The ribbon system was somewhat better than Word's unholy mess of unlogical menus and dialogs stacked 3 levels deep. Compared to a well-designed menu system it still stinks though.
When you're working in a table for instance, you keep having to switch between 4-5 tabs that each contain 3 functions you need, and a dozen useless ones.

The Ribbon is also optimized for people who remember things visually (so they can find the icon even if it's in a sea of similar-looking icons) to the detriment of people who remember things by name (for whom the menu system with actual descriptions instead of just a cartoon was perfect).

And now that Microsoft has expanded its use to e.g. Windows Explorer in W10, that has gone down the drain as well.

Of course

By Revek • Score: 3 • Thread

Everyone wants to relearn their interface every few years.

Re:I've never quite gotten used to...

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

Word isn't one the ones I use that often but I do use it enough that trying to remember where the icon is and what it looks like is #$%^ing hassle

An this would be the whole point of my statement, and the cruft of your problem. You don't use it every day. I do use it ever day and so to so many other people. Sure, it took a little getting used to at first. But after that I, and so many other people, realize that it is a better system.

Where it really shines is on my surface pro, or any other touch screen laptop/tablet. In a few swipes with my finger and what I'm looking for is done. Menu systems on small screens suck.

Death to the Ribbon

By MoarSauce123 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I hope they finally remove the ribbon and replace it with a space saving and much easier to use menu system.

Wait a minute...

By ZenShadow • Score: 3 • Thread

...did they just re-invent the toolbar?

Bitcoin's Price Was Artificially Inflated Last Year, Researchers Say

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A concentrated campaign of price manipulation may have accounted for at least half of the increase in the price of Bitcoin and other big cryptocurrencies last year, according to a paper released on Wednesday by an academic with a history of spotting fraud in financial markets. From a report, first shared to us by reader davidwr: The paper by John Griffin, a finance professor at the University of Texas, and Amin Shams, a graduate student, is likely to stoke a debate about how much of Bitcoin's skyrocketing gain last year was caused by the covert actions of a few big players, rather than real demand from investors. Many industry players expressed concern at the time that the prices were being pushed up at least partly by activity at Bitfinex, one of the largest and least regulated exchanges in the industry. The exchange, which is registered in the Caribbean with offices in Asia, was subpoenaed by American regulators shortly after articles about the concerns appeared in The New York Times and other publications. Mr. Griffin looked at the flow of digital tokens going in and out of Bitfinex and identified several distinct patterns that suggest that someone or some people at the exchange successfully worked to push up prices when they sagged at other exchanges. To do that, the person or people used a secondary virtual currency, known as Tether, which was created and sold by the owners of Bitfinex, to buy up those other cryptocurrencies.


By ISayWeOnlyToBePolite • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

And how do we know these "researchers" are not artificially pushing down the price of Bitcoin now...

They are actually real researchers who have written a paper describing their findings. Previous to this they released a paper about manipulation of the VIX. To describe and expose asset manipulation publicly while being held to the standards of science is their career, and they are doing quite well. To suggest that they also secretly engage in asset manipulation seems far fetched at best.

Re:It has no intrinsic value

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Beethoven's Piano Concerto #5 is priceless.
Bitcoin's value is price-less.
Ergo, Beethoven invented Bitcoin.

Google "Layering"

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
why do you think there are so many crypto currencies now? You buy Monero with cash and then Ethereum with your Monero and maybe two or three other currencies in there and then finally buy some bitcoin and cash it out. That's how you do the money laundering.

As for buying drugs with bitcoin, yeah, and lots of folks get caught. Lots of folks don't. Right now in a lot of the world drug laws are selectively enforced. In America if you're middle class or above and white you can pretty much do drugs with impunity. Depending on your jurisdiction you can do drugs if your black as long as you stick to your side of town.

Our drug policy is how we enforce racial segregation in the parts of the country that want it. It's also how we bust up groups of young people when they start protesting for change. This isn't me making crap up either. Nixon's old aids admitted to it.

Re:No value at all

By desdinova 216 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
it's not the gold itself, it's the latinum that is contained within.

Surprising absolutely no one

By sjbe • Score: 3 • Thread

A concentrated campaign of price manipulation may have accounted for at least half of the increase in the price of Bitcoin and other big cryptocurrencies last year,

Just say it. It's a Ponzi scheme. Admit it and you'll feel better.

If you are an honest believer in cryptocurrencies I admire your earnest faith in humanity but virtually everything about cryptocurrences virtually screams scam to anyone with a functioning brain and any sense of skepticism. It is nothing more than a bunch of greedy people trying to make a fast buck from credulous fools using the latest financial fad.

A Vulnerability in Cortana, Now Patched, Allowed Attacker To Access a Locked Computer, Change Its Password

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for BleepingComputer: Microsoft has patched a vulnerability in the Cortana smart assistant that could have allowed an attacker with access to a locked computer to use the smart assistant and access data on the device, execute malicious code, or even change the PC's password to access the device in its entirety. The issue was discovered by Cedric Cochin, Cyber Security Architect and Senior Principle Engineer at McAfee. Cochin privately reported the problems he discovered to Microsoft in April. The vulnerability is CVE-2018-8140, which Microsoft classified as an elevation of privilege, and patched yesterday during the company's monthly Patch Tuesday security updates. Further reading: Microsoft Explains How it Decides Whether a Vulnerability Will Be Patched Swiftly or Left For a Version Update.


By SumDog • Score: 3 • Thread

He better have gotten a huge bug bounty for that. Remove code and auth changes via Cortana? That's gotta be worth at least the $10k PornHub paid for their PHP remote code execution (which wasn't even a PornHub bug, but a PHP one; so that company collected the PHP bounty on top of it as well).

So, given the pace of new features in Win10

By IWantMoreSpamPlease • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

How long before this bug is re-introduced?
It's continually blows my mind people *voluntarily* use Win10...the track record of show-stopping problems with this OS is well known.

Past tense?

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 3 • Thread

"Microsoft has patched a vulnerability in the Cortana smart assistant that ALLOWS an attacker with access to a locked computer to use the smart assistant and access data on the device, execute malicious code, or even change the PC's password to access the device in its entirety."

The patch was released 1 day ago. This vulnerability still exists for every Cortana-equipped computer that has not yet been updated.

And how many people refuse to update because updates have a history of breaking things?

Not vulnerable anymore

By TheDarkMaster • Score: 3 • Thread
Using Windows 7 again. After the disastrous 1803 update I decided to stop playing beta operating system tester.

Re:So, given the pace of new features in Win10

By Solandri • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The bugs don't bother me - they're inevitable. It's the "features" that are deliberately put into Win 10 which annoy me most. I changed the program associated with several file types to non-Microsoft programs soon after upgrading to Win 10. After last week's patch, instead of launching the program when double-clicking on the associated file type, it popped up the standard "no associated program" dialog and asked if I wouldn't rather want to use the Microsoft product instead of the one I'd selected.

If I went to the trouble to change the default to a different program, that should be a pretty clear indication that I don't want to use the default Microsoft program. Please stop bugging me about it. This is supposed to be an operating system that I paid for, not an advertising platform. I'm worried we're headed down the same path as Cable TV - where originally you paid for cable so you wouldn't have to watch ads like on broadcast TV. But soon the cable channels figured out they could charge you for the channel AND put ads in their programming.

The End of Video Coding?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Netflix's engineering team has an insightful post today that looks at how the industry is handling video coding; the differences in their methodologies; and the challenges new comers face. An excerpt, which sums up where we are:

"MPEG-2, VC1, H.263, H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, VP9, AV1 -- all of these standards were built on the block-based hybrid video coding structure. Attempts to veer away from this traditional model have been unsuccessful. In some cases (say, distributed video coding), it was because the technology was impractical for the prevalent use case. In most other cases, however, it is likely that not enough resources were invested in the new technology to allow for maturity.

"Unfortunately, new techniques are evaluated against the state-of-the-art codec, for which the coding tools have been refined from decades of investment. It is then easy to drop the new technology as "not at-par." Are we missing on better, more effective techniques by not allowing new tools to mature? How many redundant bits can we squeeze out if we simply stay on the paved path and iterate on the same set of encoding tools?"

New vs old

By DrYak • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

but it would be stupid to start adopting any of that into actual products or live usage until and unless it tops the more traditional methods in performance.

The logic behind the article is that the new techniques will never top more traditional (or at least could not have a way to achieved in the current state of affair), because most of the resources (dev time, budget, etc.) are spent optimizing the "status-quo" codecs, and not enough is spent on the new comer.
By the time something interesting comes up, the latest descendant of the "status-quo" would have been much more optimized.
It doesn't matter that the PhD thesis "Using Fractal Wavelets in non-Euclidian spaces to compress video" shows some promising advantages over MPEG-5 : it will not get funded, because by then "MPEG-6 is out" and is even better just by minor tweaking every where.
Thus new idea like a PhD thesis never get funded and explored further, and only further tweaking of what already exist gets funded.

I personally don't agree.

The most blatant argument is the list it self.
With the exception of AV-1, the list is exclusively only the actual list of block based algorithm : MPEG-1 and it's evolutions (up to HEVC) and things that attempts to do something similar while avoiding the patents (the VPx serie by On2, Google).

It completely ignores stuff like Dirac and Schroedinger :
completely different approach to video compression (based on wavelets) that got funded, developed and are actually in production (by no less than the BBC).

It completely ignores the background behind AV-1 and how it relates to Daala.

AV-1 was designed from the ground up not as an incremental evolution (or patent circumvention) over HEVC, it was designed to go along a different direction (if nothing else, at least for the reason to avoid the patented techniques of MPEG, as avoiding patent madness was the main target behind AV-1 to begin with).
It was done by AOMedia, where lots of group poured resources (including Netflix themselves).

Yes, on one side of the AV-1 saga, you have entities like Google that donates their work on VP10 to serve as a basis - so were's again at the "I can't believe it's not MPEG(tm)!" clones.

But among other code and techniques contributions (beside Cisco's Thor which I'm not considering for the purpose of my post), there's also Xiph who provided their work on Daala.
There's some crazy stuff that Xiph has been doing there : stuff like replacing the usual "block"-based compression with slightly different "lapped blocks", more radical stuff like throwing away the whole idea of "coding residuals after prediction" and replacing it with what "Perceptual Vector Quantization", etc.
Some of these weren't kept for the AV-1, but other crazies actually made it into the final product (the classic binary arithmetic coding used by the MPEG family was thrown away for integer range-encoding, though they didn't go as far as use the proposed alternative ANS - Asymmetrical Number System)

Overall, incrementally improving on MPEG (MPEG 1 -> MPEG 2 -> MPEG 4 ASP -> MPEG 4 AVC/H264 -> MPEG 4 HEVC/H265) get hit hard by the law of diminishing returns. There's only so far that you can reach be incremental improvement.

Time to get some new approaches.

Even if AOMedia's AV-1 isn't that much revolutionnary, that's more out of practical considerations (we need a patent-free codec available as fast as possible, including available quickly in hardware, better end up selecting thing that are known to work well) than for not having tried new stuff.
And even if some of the more out of the box experiment didn't end up in AV-1, they might end up in some future AV-2 (Xiph is keeping experimenting with Daala).

Re:Clients aren't getting any faster

By pz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The revolution came from stable, standardized algorithms that allowed custom hardware to be built. Doing video decoding on general-purpose CPUs is never going to hold a candle to a custom H.264 chip.

Re:Article is much more interesting than summary

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If humans truly are incapable of discerning the difference in a controlled study, doesn't that suggest that the test is flawed because it is being too strict for some arbitrary reason?

To better illustrate what I mean,say I want to buy hosting for a service and want 99% uptime. However, the person considering providers throws out any without guarantees of 99.999% uptime. They're not actually doing what I want and I may end up paying more than I would otherwise need to for no good reason. Or suppose I have a machine that judges produce and will remove anything that it thinks shoppers won't purchase (as a result of appearance, bruising, etc.) so that I don't waste resources shipping it to a store that will eventually have to throw it out as unsold. I want that machine to be as exact as possible because if it's being more picky than the shoppers, that's wasted produce I could otherwise be selling.

Re:What else would one do?

By slew • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Well if you read the article and not the summary, the authors are discussing that there doesn't seem to be any fundamental changes coming anytime soon. Sure newer codecs are coming out but they are all the same approach. It's like if we discussing public key cryptography and the algorithms used. Imagine if RSA was the only real technique and the only new changes coming out were merely larger keys and that other techniques like elliptic curves didn't exist.

I think your analogy is somewhat flawed. Public key cryptography was in somewhat of the same "rut" as video codec. Video codecs have been stuck on hybrid block techniques and Public key cryptography has been stuck using modulo arithmetic (RSA, and Elliptical curves both use modulo arithmetic although they depend on the difficulty of inverting different mathematical operations in modulo arithmetic).

There are of course other hard math problem that can be used in public key cryptography (lattices, knapsack, error-correcting codes, hash based) and they languished for years until the threat of quantum computing cracking the incumbent technology...

Similarly, I predict hybrid block techniques will likely dominate video encoding until a disruption (or in mathematical catastrophe theory parlance a bifurcation) shows the potential for being 10x better (because 1.2x or 20% better doesn't even pay for your lunch). It doesn't have to be 10x better out of the gate, but if it can't eventually be 10x better, why spend time optimizing it as much as hybrid block encoding. Nobody wants to be developing something that doesn't have legs for a decade or more. The point isn't to find something different for the sake of difference, it's to find something that has legs (even if it isn't better today).

The problem with finding something with "legs" in video encoding, is that we do not fully understand video. People don't really have much of a theoretical framework to measure one lossy video compression scheme against another (except for "golden-eyes" which depend on what side of the bed you wake up on). Crappy measures like PSNR and SSIM to estimate the loss-ratio vs entropy are still being used because we don't have anything better. One of the reasons people stick to hybrid block coding is that the artifacts are somewhat known even if they can't be measured so it is somewhat easier to make sure you are making forward progress. If the artifacts are totally different (as they would likely be for a different lossy coding scheme), it is much more difficult to compare if you can't objectively measure it to optimize it (the conjoint analysis problem).

So until we have better theories about what makes a better video codec, people are using "art" to simulate science in this area, and as with most art, it's mostly subjective and it will be difficult to convince anyone of a 10x potential if it is only 80% today. If people *really* want to find something better, we need to start researching more on the measurement problem and less about the artistic aspects. It's not that people haven't tried (e.g., VQEG, but simply very little has come from the efforts to date and there has been little pressure to keep the ball moving forward.

In contrast, the math of hard problems for public key cryptography is a very productive area of research and the post-quantum-encryption goal has been driving people pretty hard.

Generally speaking, if you measure it, it can be improved and it's easier to measure incremental progress than big changes on a different dimension.

Re:What else would one do?

By sexconker • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

it's means it is.

It's been nice proving you wrong.

Microsoft Explains How it Decides Whether a Vulnerability Will Be Patched Swiftly or Left For a Version Update

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft has published a new draft document clarifying which security bugs will get a rapid fix and which it will let stew for a later release. From a report: The document outlines the criteria the Microsoft Security Response Center uses to decide whether a reported vulnerability gets fixed swiftly, usually in a Patch Tuesday security update, or left for a later version update. Microsoft said in a blogpost the document is intended to offer researchers "better clarity around the security features, boundaries and mitigations which exist in Windows and the servicing commitments which come with them." The criteria revolve around two key questions: "Does the vulnerability violate a promise made by a security boundary or a security feature that Microsoft has committed to defending?"; and, "Does the severity of the vulnerability meet the bar for servicing?" If the answer to both questions is 'yes', the bug will be patched in a security update, but if the answer to both is 'no', the vulnerability will be considered for the next version or release of the affected product or feature.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

if (paying_customer) {
} else {

if (can_make_more_money) {

if (issue_is_critical) {
} else {

'Waluigi Was Robbed and Humiliated by Nintendo'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Gene Park, writing for The Washington Post (shared by numerous readers): In the Nintendo universe, Waluigi is supposed to be as villainous as his cartoonish mustache and perpetual frown would suggest. But what made him that way? Perhaps it is Nintendo's insistence on humiliating the character in front of his friends and the general public. On Tuesday for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo announced new details on the much-anticipated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for its Switch console. The 25-minute presentation was long on details. For one thing, the latest game includes every single playable character in the fighting-game franchise's 19-year history. It seemed to exceed fan expectations, except for fans of the meme-ready Waluigi. Waluigi, again, was snubbed by Nintendo. He will not be a playable character in the new game.

Waluigi has traveled a long road. Once he was hated by Nintendo fans, who listed him highly among gaming's most annoying characters. His origin story is unimpressive. Waluigi is simply a bizarro version of Mario's less famous but more charming brother Luigi. In his 18-year existence as a minor character, he's had virtually no back story. But that blank canvas ended up becoming Waluigi's greatest gift. Since he stood for nothing, supporters could project their wildest hopes unto him, like Barack Obama in 2008 but actually good at golf. He can be described in a single website as anyone from a "true nowhere man" to "the logical end point of capitalism" and the "triumph of capital over creativity." In other words, Waluigi became the perfect meme fodder.


By rockout • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Life must be difficult when you're reduced to posting political opinions in a story about Waluigi.

Waluigi, the rightfully unloved Nintendo character

By Eloking • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Since the story is on /.

Waluigi was a dump and uninspiring attempt to give Wario a partner for team game like Tennis. But, honestly, what a bad attempt that is.

While Wario did (surprisingly) manage to get some personality and some fanbase, Waluigi was anything except that.

Like his name, pretty much everything about the character lack imagination and there's no surprise that Nintendo didn't bring him in the latest Smash Bro game. Credit to Charles Martinet though, at least the voice is funny. Still, to this day, Waluigi remain to my eye the most unimportant character of the franchise. In fact, the only thing more unimportant than him is maybe this news.

I also want justice

By paulpach • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I am with your Gene Park. I also want justice:

* Jerry should stop bullying Tom
* Squidward should be granted a restraining order against Sponge Bob
* Dogs should stop chasing cats
* Cockroaches should rent their own apartment
* Bullet ants should dip their butts in anesthesia before stinging a person
* Someone should tell Gene Park that Waluigi does not actually exist.

Terminal velocity..?

By cyberchondriac • Score: 3 • Thread

Despite it's fall from quality years ago, apparently slashdot has not yet reached it.

Re:Waluigi, the rightfully unloved Nintendo charac

By Volanin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Actually, his name is one of the only redeeming characteristics. In japanese, we have MARIO and RUIGI... and we also have the term WARUI, which means "bad person". So in order to create bad Mario and Luigi, we ended up with WArio (which, when translated, has the charm of the inverted M) and WARUIgi (which is actually an even better fit in japanese, but is unfortunately completely lost in translation).

Chile Becomes First Country In Americas To Ban Plastic Bags

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Eyewitness News: Chile's Senate has passed a bill that will prohibit the use of plastic bags in stores, with a vote in their House of Representatives overwhelmingly in favor of the measure, with 134 supporting the bill and one abstention. According to The Independent, the new law would give large retailers one year to phase out the use of plastic bags, and smaller businesses two years. This makes Chile the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags, and officially recognize how important such a ban would be in the effort to reduce unnecessary single-use plastic waste.

At first, the measure was only meant to ban plastic bags in Patagonia, but it was approved by both the senate and president for the entire country. The Association of Plastic Industries registered Chile as using 3,400 million plastic bags per year, or 200 per person. Telesur reports that the Minister of the Environment, Marcela Cubillos, said the country needs a larger cultural change for people to start replacing plastic with reusable bags.

Incorrect problem vector

By evil_aaronm • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The problem, here, isn't the bags: It's the people who can't bother to dispose of them properly. Can we ban the lazy, inconsiderate people, instead?

Re:What about pet waste?

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Paper bags? How did people survive before plastic bags were invented?

It isn't like paper bags have no environmental footprint.

So people will whine about that. I'm not certain that recycled paper will be very good for grocery bags, because every time paper is recycled, the individual fibers get shorter and shorter. I think Trader Joe's uses recycled, and their paper bags are pretty weak.

This law ...

By PPH • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

... has been sponsored by the specialty plastic bag manufacturing industry. Who were not seeing sufficient sales of their product due to the second use of grocery bags for trash can liners, pet poop and homeless peoples' storage needs.

Re:What about pet waste?

By GLMDesigns • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
As a NYer I hate paper bags because roaches love them.

And I love plastic bags from the store because I put my garbage in them and each time I leave the apartment I throw out my trash.

This is far superior to reusable bags in which I must then BUY plastic garbage bags. Now that's retarded.

To all those that think it is a bad idea

By houghi • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The comments so far that I have read anout how this is bad are basically reduced to "This is an inconvinience for me." and then tryt to find another reason. So here is how it works in places where they are already doing this.

Instead of using a bag one time, you take a cotton bag that you can use many times over years. You take it with you when you go shopping. Sure, you will forget it a few times, but most people are not snowflakes and will start to remember, just like you remember to take your phone with you.

Where I live most people can not use the bag for trash anyway. You need to buy special bags for special garbage. So there is no gain there.

The single use items need to stop. I just bought 4 microSD cards and the amount of garbadge I got with it is immense. I get a SD sleeve (or whatever it is called) that I do not need. They are placed in a plastic that I do not need inside an even bigger plastic that is put inside a carton. That was the put inside a box that was filled with filling paper. 4 microSD cards Could have bneen send in an envelope, yet they decided to use the size of a small shoebox. I guess 99.9% waste.

I also use 1 use-based items, because I am as lazy as the rest (and perhaps even more so as I do this at work), yet I changed my behaviour in using plastic bags and I did not try to sweasel my way out of it and find excuses. I adapted my behaviour and after a month it was ok.

So now when I go shopping, I take two small nags that are both the size of a wallet with me. I always have at least one with me at all times in case I suddenly need it. Something like this and yes, they exist in other materials as well, but you need to search foir yourself as I am lazy and my shift is almost over.

Facebook May Ban Bad Businesses From Advertising

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook will now let you file a complaint about businesses you've had a problem with if you bought something after clicking on one of their ads. If enough people complain about a business, it could lead to Facebook banning the company from running ads. The Verge reports: The new policy is rolling out globally starting today, and it's meant to help Facebook fight back against another type of advertising abuse on its platform. Facebook says it's trying to combat "bad shopping experiences," which can cost customers and make them frustrated with Facebook, too. Facebook is particularly interested in a few problem areas: shipping times, product quality, and customer service. This isn't just a matter of misleading advertising: if a company regularly provides bad service, products that don't meet buyers' expectations, or just frustrates consumers, they risk getting in trouble with the platform.

It appears that Facebook will send notifications to users to ask about their experience if it detects that they've purchased something after clicking on an ad. You'll also be able to find those companies and leave feedback on the Ads Activity page. Facebook says it will inform businesses about negative feedback and try to pinpoint problems that a large number of customers are having. If customer feedback doesn't improve after a warning, Facebook will eventually start to limit how many ads a company can run. If it continues long enough, they can be banned.

Many bad products are from stupid customers.

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I am not saying there are bad companies that produce crap. But if you look at Amazon bad reviews on products most of them are from people who got a product to solve a problem that there was no advertising to say it was even remotely going to solve.
This $400 dell laptop runs the most modern games kinda choppy. It is utter crap compared to my $3000 desktop system I made last year.

Or the people don’t understand the difference between a professional product vs a home product. Your linksys home router vs a Cisco switch for a data center. The home router is orders of magnitude cheaper and it has more features.
Or people getting an expensive camera with lenses that do not autofocus. For most average picture taker your phone will get better pictures. But for the professional photographer they can get real art from this complex phone.

People often will get the cheapest crap they can find expecting it to work like the premium version, or pay top dollar for an item that is meant for professionals that require sill and training to use.

Here we go,....

By AbRASiON • Score: 3 • Thread

Look at the business which recently had people coming through the door late in the evening, AFTER closing time, they let people through but eventually had to cut new customers off at a certain point in time.

Unfortunately, the next customer to try was a black woman,....

Do I need to explain the rest? Suffice to say, total social media mess, people fired, was any of this deliberate? Who knows? Based on the original posted story, Occam's razor says no.

Regardless. Customers can be idiots and cause unwarranted complaints and rating bombing to occur.

Re:Many bad products are from stupid customers.

By Kokuyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think there are much worse examples. One of them would be people leaving a 1 star review because shipping was bad. I have yet to figure out in what way that is the fault of the product.

Re:Prepare for more ideological abuse

By ScentCone • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Hogg didn't get shot at, but he sure is happy to exploit the fact that other people were in order to collect $ and logistical support from people like Soros as he goes out to gin up partisan fund raising and votes. Hogg and his types couldn't be more thrilled when a crazy person murders people, because they love a good emotional lever to use when trying to strip away ever more civil liberties.

Re:Yes, I would like to file a complaint . . .

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Why would you even purchase something from a one-shot advertiser on the Facebook? Research a product you're interested in on as many sites as possible, and understand in advance that the internet practice of purchasing something you cannot 1st hold in your hands is an inexact science.

While this makes perfect sense to you and me, I'm going to guess that neither of us use Facebook. We've already got people getting their news from Facebook, so I expect purchasing decisions are the least of our worries.

The Internet Is Finally Going To Be Bigger Than TV Worldwide

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to estimates from media agency Zenith, next year, for the first time, people will spend more time using the internet than watching TV. People will spend an average of 170.6 minutes a day, or nearly three hours, using the internet in 2019. That's a tad more than the 170.3 minutes they're expected to spend watching TV. Quartz reports: Zenith measured media by how they are transmitted or distributed, such as broadcasts via TV signals and newspapers in print. Watching videos on the web through platforms like Netflix and YouTube, or reading a newspaper's website, counted as internet consumption. Nearly one-quarter of all media consumption across the globe will be through mobile this year, up from 5% in 2011. The average person will spend a total of about eight hours per day consuming media in its many forms this year, Zenith forecasts.

In some parts of the world, TV will remain on top -- for now. Zenith forecasted media consumption through 2020 and did not expect the internet to overtake TV in Europe, Latin America, and the whole of North America in that time. In the U.S., it was projected to surpass TV in the U.S. in two years.

Gorgeous Sunrise

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

When was the last time you enjoy the unbelievably gorgeous view of sunrise?

Stop wasting so much of your life online (and in front of the idiot tube).

Go out, live your life, as intended !!

Social change

By TJHook3r • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
In the old days, people came into work and had conversations about soaps, now they have conversations about BuzzFeed articles and Twitch stars. Not sure much has changed - most people are passive consumers of low-effort content.

Re:Repeat Post

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The fact that internet is now being watched more than TV is just because TV is boring.

It's not even that. People want the ability to watch a current show, even one on a network they already get, at times other than the one it which it is broadcast.

Being able to time-shift is what draws most plebeians to streaming. Finding out that episodes are only available on the network's server for a short time, or not until a certain date, or only if you subscribe to the individual network, is what is drawing the plebeians to Kodi.

What about streaming TV? Counting cord-cutters?

By sabbede • Score: 3 • Thread
Neither link says how they count streaming TV services like Sling or DirecTV Now. I made the switch a few months ago, how's my TV consumption being counted? What about when I open a Roku channel and watch live TV through it? Is it counted differently if I use it to watch something that aired yesterday?

Re:TV? Oh, the Big Screen

By CastrTroy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We've been able to time shift since the advent of VHS tapes. But people will still want to watch shows live, or as soon as they are released because there is a big social aspect to the entire thing. Talking with your friends the next day or in real time as the show is being aired is still very much a part of the TV watching experience. YouTube Live and Twitch show that watching something as it occurs is still an important part of the entertainment ecosystem. Sure we don't have a fixed number of channels like we used to with traditional TV, but I don't think a lot has changed. If anything, there is even more pressure for people to watch stuff live as the endings are so quickly spoiled on the internet.