Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Aug-08 today archive

Contents

  1. AI Can Now Help Write Wikipedia Pages For Overlooked Scientists
  2. Georgia Defends Electronic Voting Machines Despite 243-Percent Turnout In One Precinct
  3. Google Using Chinese Site It Owns To Develop Search Term Blacklist For Censored Search Engine, Says Report
  4. WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow Hackers To Modify, Send Fake Messages
  5. US Invaded By Savage Tick That Sucks Animals Dry, Spawns Without Mating
  6. Ankis New Robot Has Artificial Emotional Intelligence
  7. Samsung To Spend Over $22 Billion on AI, Auto Tech and 5G
  8. Audius Raises $5.5 Million To Decentralize Music, Help Artists Get Paid Faster
  9. Engineers Teach a Drone To Herd Birds Away From Airports Autonomously
  10. New York City Just Voted To Cap Uber and Lyft Vehicles and Require Drivers To Be Paid a Minimum Wage
  11. P2P Piracy is Alive and Growing, Research Suggests
  12. Freelance Platform Upwork's Opt-in Service Tracks Freelancers By Capturing Screenshots, Webcam Photos and Measuring Clicks and Keystrokes Frequency
  13. People Still Don't Like Their Cable Companies, ConsumerReports' Telecom Survey Finds
  14. New Facial Recognition Tool, Designed For Research Purposes, Tracks Targets Across Different Social Networks
  15. When Working in Virtual Reality Makes You Sick
  16. Hashcat Developer Discovers Simpler Way To Crack WPA2 Wireless Passwords
  17. Podcasting is Not Walled (Yet)
  18. Cybersecurity's Insidious New Threat: Workforce Stress
  19. LibreOffice 6.1 Released
  20. Big Money, Big Dreams, Big Expectations and a Lot of Hype: Magic Leap One AR Headset Goes on Sale for $2,295 in Certain US Markets
  21. Apple Tells Lawmakers iPhones Are Not Listening In On Consumers
  22. Women Die More From Heart Attacks Than Men -- Unless the ER Doc Is Female
  23. Oracle Challenges Pentagon's $10 Billion Cloud Computing Contract

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

AI Can Now Help Write Wikipedia Pages For Overlooked Scientists

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Popular Science: Plenty of prominent scientists have Wikipedia pages. But while checking to see if someone specific has a Wikipedia page is a quick Google search away, figuring out who should be on Wikipedia but isn't -- and then writing an entry for him or her -- is much trickier. For example, you may or may not have heard of Christina Economos. She doesn't have a Wikipedia page about her, although she's a professor at Tufts University and the New Balance Chair in childhood nutrition. But while she lacks a Wikipedia page, she does have a very short stub describing who she is professionally on a website made by a company called Primer. That little blurb, which could one day grow into a full-blown Wiki entry, was created by an AI system dubbed Quicksilver. The idea behind the project is to use AI as a jumping off point. Humans can use it to help them write Wikipedia pages for scientists who don't have them, but deserve to. For example, on Economos' Primer page, there's a link to an article from CBS Boston that mentions her -- a good potential source for a human Wikipedia editor who may want to write an entry for her.

Primer launched officially last year and uses AI to read information and generate reports; part of its focus is doing the kind of work an intelligence analyst might do. Artificial intelligence generally needs data to learn from, and so for this project, Primer used around 30,000 existing scientist Wikipedia pages to train their machine learning systems. Then they fed 200,000 names and related employment information into their AI system. Those names came from the listed authors of scientific papers focused on computer science and biomedical research provided to Primer from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
If you're curious to see a sample, you can head on over to this page, which has 100 examples of AI-generated Wikipedia blurbs.

Way to lower Wikipedia's quality

By guacamole • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Now AI is going to trash Wikipedia with useless stub articles based on information you can google within 10 seconds That's just what we need.

automating what shouldn't be

By doom • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm not a huge fan of Jimmie Wales, but one thing he said made a lot of sense to me-- he commented that at wikipedia they're continually at war with programmers who want to automate things that are better done by a human being... e.g. it's easy enough to send a standard welcome message to every newbie, but because it's a standard message it doesn't mean very much, and it's better to have a culture where actual human beings decide to send out welcome messages...

Automatically generating pages for subjects that a human being couldn't be bothered with sounds like an idea that is perhaps not quite as dumb as letting people vote by cellphoe, but it's getting there.

It Serves Feminism, not Science or Wikipedia

By Kunedog • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
From TFA:

Another aspect of the project is to make it easier for scientists who are women to get the representation they deserve on Wikipedia—to empower human editors “to close the gender gap in representation of women in science,” Bohannon says. One of the ways that can happen is if a group wants to create more Wikipedia pages with a focus on women scientists, they could use data from Quicksilver, which Bohannon points out is filternable by gender.

This is yet another sexist politically-motivated project, not one that genuinely cares about scientific merit or improving Wikipedia.

Re:automating what shouldn't be

By bluegutang • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

For some things, automatic pages are appropriate.

There is a guy who has "written" 2.7 million Wikipedia pages. For example, he created a page for every single bird species where the pages don't already exist. That's OK because the basic information for each species is pretty formulaic - English name, Latin name, classification, habitat perhaps. Once the page exists, humans can add more "interesting" info if they have any.

This method doesn't work well for other topics, like people.

Privacy?

By petes_PoV • Score: 3 • Thread

Then they fed 200,000 names and related employment information into their AI system.

Before doing this, I sincerely hope Primer got written permission from those "overlooked" scientists.

One reason for not having a Wiki page is because they don't actually want one. Not everybody is a self-promoting narcissist.

Georgia Defends Electronic Voting Machines Despite 243-Percent Turnout In One Precinct

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"In Chicago, it used to be claimed that even death couldn't stop a person from voting," writes Slashdot reader lunchlady55. "But in the Deep South, there are new reports of discrepancies in voter turnout with the approval of new electronic voting systems." Ars Technica reports: [I]f any state is a poster child for terrible election practices, it is surely Georgia. Bold claims demand bold evidence, and unfortunately there's plenty; on Monday, McClatchy reported a string of irregularities from the state's primary election in May, including one precinct with a 243-percent turnout.

McClatchy's data comes from a federal lawsuit filed against the state. In addition to the problem in Habersham County's Mud Creek precinct, where it appeared that 276 registered voters managed to cast 670 ballots, the piece describes numerous other issues with both voter registration and electronic voting machines. (In fact it was later corrected to show 3,704 registered voters in the precinct.) Multiple sworn statements from voters describe how they turned up at their polling stations only to be turned away or directed to other precincts. Even more statements allege incorrect ballots, frozen voting machines, and other issues.
"George is one of four states in the U.S. that continues to use voting machines with no ability to provide voters a paper record so that they can verify the machine counted their vote correctly," the report adds.

Re:100% the Dims' fault

By fafalone • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Maybe if Republicans weren't doing things like placing all the ID places in wealthier areas, poorly reachable by public transport from less wealthy areas, open only during weekday business hours, requiring a not-trivial-to-the-poor fee, disallowing comparble non-state IDs less likely to be possessed by whites, their voter ID whinging wouldn't get shot down as transparently racist.
If you're willing to reform those problems across the country, *then* we can talk about voter ID. Also the right has yet to present any evidence of large scale illegal alien voter fraud.

Re: What good is the paper?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Voting is one of the few times that a blockchain could actually make things better.

You vote on the computer and get a receipt with a secret transaction ID on it. You can then verify your vote against the public blockchain any time you like using that transaction ID (which is anonymous), and anyone can verify the overall count and integrity of the chain too.

Some care will be required to make sure the votes remain anonymous. The most obvious risk is correlating people's visits to the polling station with transactions on the blockchain, but there are ways to prevent that.

Re:What good is the paper?

By RavenLrD20k • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Also, if a voting machine is bricked, then the votes from that machine are irrecoverably lost.

12 years ago I did a few rounds as an election tech in GA shortly after they first started using the electronic machines. Back then the machines had the capability to each print out a record of votes counted with a built-in printer that had memory independent from the unit's main memory. This was done so there was still a way to retrieve the votes from the machine both as a fail-safe if the machine became disabled as well as an audit trail in case of discrepancies. It was a matter of procedure that the precincts had to generate the "receipt" print-out from each machine and send them into the county Board of Elections office with the memory card and stack of tokens so the officials could make sure there was at least a card for each vote according to the printed totals. While they did that, I was inserting the memory card and dialing up the Secretary of State server for the uploads.

Didn't bother anybody in Detroit

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread
They just stopped the recount when it got a bit embarrassing.

Re: What good is the paper?

By SuiteSisterMary • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Paper ballots have all kinds of problems, though, including people marking two different candidates,

This at least shifts the source of the problem to 'idiot who marks two candidates' and away from 'random programmer somewhere unknowable, who can do unverifiable things to the software.'

and sometimes needing recounts.

This is a feature, and a very desirable feature at that.

Google Using Chinese Site It Owns To Develop Search Term Blacklist For Censored Search Engine, Says Report

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is using search samples from a Beijing-based website it owns to make blacklists for the censored search engine it is developing for China. Google's website 265.com redirects to China's dominant search engine, Baidu, by default, "but Google can apparently see the queries that users are typing in," reports The Verge. From the report: Google engineers are reportedly sampling those search queries in order to develop a list of thousands of blocked websites it should hide on its upcoming search engine in China. Blacklisted results, which include topics like the Tiananmen Square massacre, will result in users seeing a blank page, The Intercept reports. On Baidu, if you search for something less specific, like Taiwan or Xinjiang, you'll get a partial blackout where you can only see tourist information and not politically sensitive news reports. It could be possible that Google is taking a similar tack.

Originally, 265.com was founded in 2003 by Chinese entrepreneur Cai Wensheng, who's also the founder of Chinese beauty app Meitu. Google bought the site in 2008, while it was still operating its search engine within China. Google has essentially been using the site to figure out what Chinese users are searching for since 2008, and now that it is working on an Android search app, it will finally have a use for that data.
The Intercept first reported this news.

So no more

By AHuxley • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Tibet
Tiananmen Square protests and the date1989.
No mention of the June 4 incident.
No Gang of Four https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Thats some might fine freedom of speech for a US brand....
Not going to find two term limit.
No searching for 1984, Brave New World, Personality cult, emperor’s reign, ascend the throne. No yellow gown.
Nothing on a third consecutive term, continued rule.
Communism bringing censorship to a US brand for every user.

Tiananmen Square massacre - BAD

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

Tiananmen Square heroic tank maneuvers... GOOD!

Foxconn suicides - BAD.
Foxconn dormitory attached trampolines... GOOD!

VPN how-to - BAD.
Loving government monitoring for citizens’ protection... GOOD!

Sleeping with the enemy

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3 • Thread

Can almost see Google in a VW rolling down the street with fanta in hand, stack of holerith cards in the trunk snapping kodaks for the AP.

Re:So no more

By _merlin • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

They block zh.wikipedia.org but allow en.wikipedia.org - Chinese-language sites are more restricted than English-language ones (it's implemented as a TCP blackhole on the IP addresses, DNS lookup works fine).

Re:So no more

By Kiuas • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Google doesn't give a shit about freedom of speech. They (via Youtube) were part of the coordinated, multi-platform purge of Alex Jones.

Freedom of speech is about preventing censorship by the government (meaning: the stuff that China for example is doing), it's does not mean that private corporations cannot choose which content they allow on their platforms. In other words: no-one is limiting Alex Jones' freedom of speech by blocking them from their platforms as his nonsensical bullshit is deemed damaging to their brand(s). That's the free market at work for you. Arguing otherwise is like saying that if I write a column on how the moon landings were all faked by the lizard-illuminati-freemasons and newspapers refuse to publish said column because it's unscientific conspiratorial BS my freedom of speech is being limited, which is a moronic argument.

So once again, repeat after me: private entities are not required by law in any western country to allow anyone to use their platform to spread their opinions.

How this can be so hard for some people to understand is beyond me.

They also refuse to work with the US government but happily work for the Chinese government.

If you have evidence that Google has refused to follow the laws of the US, I'd be interested to see that. What I've gathered as a European following the events in the recent years, it seemed pretty clear to me that all the major tech companies were involved with the security apparatus of the US, based on the information leaked by Snowden, and I also do not remember seeing cases where Google wouldn't provide the authorities with required information when they're legally required to do so, so frankly I have no idea what you're referring to here, but then again neither do you probably, as you're not even aware of the definition of free speech.

WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow Hackers To Modify, Send Fake Messages

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A recently discovered flaw in WhatsApp could allow hackers to modify and send fake messages (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). Researchers at the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point said the vulnerability gives a hacker the possibility "to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation" as well as "create and spread misinformation." The New York Times reports: WhatsApp acknowledged that it was possible for someone to manipulate the quote feature, but the company disagreed that it was a flaw. WhatsApp said the system was working as it had intended, because the trade-offs to prevent such a deception by verifying every message on the platform would create an enormous privacy risk or bog down the service. The company said it worked to find and remove anyone using a fake WhatsApp application to spoof the service. "We carefully reviewed this issue and it's the equivalent of altering an email," Carl Woog, a spokesman for WhatsApp, said in a statement. What Check Point discovered had nothing to do with the security of WhatsApp's so-called end-to-end encryption, which ensures only the sender and recipient can read messages, he said.

For now, the issue appears limited to a discussion among security experts. Both WhatsApp and Check Point Software said they had not seen regular users creating fake quote messages in chats. Check Point said it also discovered a way within group chats to send a message to a specific individual within the discussion. That individual is tricked into believing that the whole group saw the message and responds accordingly. WhatsApp played down the concerns raised by Check Point, saying most people know the person who they are messaging on the service. The company said 90 percent of all messages on the service are sent in one-on-one conversations, and the majority of groups are six people or less -- making it less likely that an unknown person can infiltrate a conversation to trick other users.

Seems like it cancels out

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

I mean, if you are a hacker why bother to send a fake message if another hacker is just going to modify it.

Not quite

By sjames • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's not like I could send message that looks like you sent it. It's just that I could craft a fake quote claiming to be from you and send that to someone, but they'll know I am the one that sent the "quote".

So it's like every other communication method out there.

We must do something to fix this spam issue.

-- Abraham Lincoln

US Invaded By Savage Tick That Sucks Animals Dry, Spawns Without Mating

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A vicious species of tick originating from Eastern Asia has invaded the U.S. and is rapidly sweeping the Eastern Seaboard, state and federal officials warn. The tick, the Asian longhorned tick (or Haemaphysalis longicornis), has the potential to transmit an assortment of nasty diseases to humans, including an emerging virus that kills up to 30 percent of victims. So far, the tick hasn't been found carrying any diseases in the U.S. It currently poses the largest threat to livestock, pets, and wild animals; the ticks can attack en masse and drain young animals of blood so quickly that they die -- an execution method called exsanguination.

Key to the tick's explosive spread and bloody blitzes is that its invasive populations tend to reproduce asexually, that is, without mating. Females drop up to 2,000 eggs over the course of two or three weeks, quickly giving rise to a ravenous army of clones. In one U.S. population studied so far, experts encountered a massive swarm of the ticks in a single paddock, totaling well into the thousands. They speculated that the population might have a ratio of about one male to 400 females. Yesterday, August 7, Maryland became the eighth state to report the presence of the tick. It followed a similar announcement last Friday, August 3, from Pennsylvania. Other affected states include New York, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Re:Goodbye Arstechnica

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Your island is too small to have an east coast, everything is still within the ocean-moderated climate.

These ticks seem to be much worse in a continental east coast environment.

New Zealand is totally different, with rain evenly distributed around the year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
The whole country is Oceanic.

Re:Reproduces without mating?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's the damnedest thing too, we're starting to see signs of this in the human population as well. My wife just spontaneously got pregnant a few weeks back, and I know it wasn't me because I was out of town. Incredible stuff.

Re:Goodbye Arstechnica

By maglor_83 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I live in Australia. We have cane toads, rabbits etc which cause huge amounts of damage (we also have this tick). There are other countries that have cane toads, rabbits etc where they do not cause huge amounts of damage. The problem with introducing species is that they don't usually balance the same way they did in their native environments.

I looked this up on Wikipedia.org

By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Here's what I found:

The longhorned tick can transmit an animal disease called theileriosis to cattle, which can cause considerable blood loss and occasional death of calves, but mainly is important to dairy farmers because of decreased milk production and sheep farmers because of decreased wool quantity and quality.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

So the tick doesn't suck animals dry. It's a vector for a disease, theileriosis, which only affects cattle and, if left untreated, kills the host. Blood loss through the nose and bowels are two of the symptoms but infected cattle don't die from blood loss (exsanguination).

The longhorned tick is sometimes also a vector for other common tick-borne diseases.

This is a non-story for anyone except researchers and maybe farmers if the ticks start spreading theileriosis. There are other species of tick in Asia, Europe, and north Africa which are more common vectors for theileriosis.

Ars Technica have published a misleading and factually incorrect article which is apparently intended to cause fear and anxiety among millions of people. They have displayed all the journalistic integrity of Facebook.

Re:Goodbye Arstechnica

By Waccoon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The introduction of rabbits and foxes into Australia is a textbook case of the devastating effects of invasive species. Bonus points for the fact it was done on purpose by hunters, strictly for sport.

Ankis New Robot Has Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
harrymcc writes: Toymaker Anki, whose Cozmo robot has been a hit, has announced its next bot: Vector. Though it looks a lot like Cozmo, it packs far more computational power -- Cozmo relied on a phone app for smarts -- and utilizes deep-learning tech in the interest of giving Vector a subtler, more engaging personality. Over at Fast Company, Sean Captain has a deep dive into the software engineering that went into the effort. Vector is being powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 chip, and has cartoon eyes displayed on a 184 x 96-pixel screen. The robot actually scans its environment via a single 720p wide-angle camera mounted below the screen. "Cozmo springs to attention when you call its name, making twittering sounds, and lifting its bulldozer-like arms up and down," writes Captain. "If you ignore Cozmo, the bot gets more in your face, or makes loud, obnoxious snoring sounds."

While Vector can connect to the internet and display weather information, set timers, and speak answers to various questions, it's the social and visual intelligence that people may fall in love with the most. Vector is able to detect people and interact with them, even when faces aren't visible. Computer vision technical director Andrew Stein and his team "trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) -- a popular deep-learning AI technology that mimics the brains visual cortex," reports Captain. "Using the often blurry and distorted footage that Vector's camera captures as he moves around, Stein has been teaching the CNN to detect people from the back or the side, for instance, up to about 10 feet away."

Artificial psychopathy

By godel_56 • Score: 3 • Thread
It doesn't really know how you feel, but it knows how to fake it.

Samsung To Spend Over $22 Billion on AI, Auto Tech and 5G

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Samsung conglomerate said it will invest more than $22 billion over the next three years to target such areas as artificial intelligence and auto-technology components, as it seeks out growth drivers beyond phones and memory chips. From a report: The bulk of the spending will be earmarked for Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate's crown jewel. The company is the world's No. 1 maker of smartphones, semiconductors and televisions and last year put more toward capital expenditures than any other publicly traded company. Samsung ïsaid it would invest heavily in four key areas through 2020. Auto tech, artificial intelligence and new fifth-generation, or 5G, cellular technology [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source] -- all of which that fall under Samsung's umbrella -- will draw funding, as will its nascent drug companies specializing in contract manufacturing and biosimilar medications. Samsung, South Korea's largest business empire, spans 62 affiliates as diverse as life insurance and theme parks.

1,2,4

By Jodka • Score: 3 • Thread

from the ./ summary:

"Samsung said it would invest heavily in four key areas through 2020. Auto tech, artificial intelligence and new fifth-generation, or 5G, cellular technology."

That's three, not four.

Audius Raises $5.5 Million To Decentralize Music, Help Artists Get Paid Faster

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new company called Audius, lead by entrepreneur and DJ Ranidu Lankage, has raised $5.5 million to build a blockchain-based alternative to Spotify or SoundCloud. "Users will pay for Audius tokens or earn them by listening to ads," reports TechCrunch. "Their wallet will then pay out a fraction of a cent per song to stream from decentralized storage across the network, with artists receiving roughly 85 percent -- compared to roughly 70 percent on the leading streaming apps. The rest goes to compensating whomever is hosting that song, as well as developers of listening software clients, one of which will be built by Audius." From the report: Audius plans to launch its open-sourced product in beta later this year. But it's already found some powerful investors that see SoundCloud as vulnerable to the cryptocurrency revolution. Audius has raised a $5.5 million Series A led by General Catalyst and Lightspeed, with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Pantera Capital, 122West and Ascolta Ventures. They're betting that Audius' token will grow in value, making the stockpile it keeps worth a fortune. It could then sell chunks of its tokens to earn revenue instead of charging artists directly. The big question will be whether Audius can use the token economy to crack the chicken-and-egg problem of getting its first creators and listeners on a platform that might be less functionally robust than its traditional competitors. There are a lot of moving parts to decentralize, but there are also plenty of disgruntled musicians out there waiting for something better.

Re:Yes, I read the article

By Desler • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not supposed to. It's just techno-babble designed to fool investors and giving them money

Great idea, almost

By slashmydots • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This would work perfectly and be awesome since microtransactions and 10 minute or less clearing of payments with zero fraud is what crypto does BUT people investing in these coins and an upward trend and miners of it wanting to make money will screw with it far too hard. They'd have to standardize the price. For example, there is a coin where 1 unit of it = $1 USD and always will. But they can implement that. The code exists. If they do, it'd be perfect. Otherwise your music would cost $1 one day and $5 the next because of an investor pump and dump scheme.

So what is the blockchain solving?

By feedayeen • Score: 3 • Thread

Spotify knows how many ads I've ever seen, Spotify know what ads I've seen and what their payment rates are per view. If they didn't they wouldn't be able to sell ads at all. Spotify also knows how much money I've ever given them in subscription payments, if they didn't, they couldn't track who was subscribed. This means that Spotify knows how much money I brought in every month to their company.

Spotify knows what songs I've listened to, they keep track of how many people listen to each song. If they didn't, they wouldn't be able to do analytics given me recommended songs, they wouldn't have top 100 lists, or be able to report how many monthly listeners an artist has and how much they will pay those artists per listen. What is the problem that the blockchain is solving which wasn't solved with database queries?

Engineers Teach a Drone To Herd Birds Away From Airports Autonomously

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Tech Xplore: Engineers at Caltech have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The algorithm is presented in a study in IEEE Transactions on Robotics. Herding relies on the ability to manage a flock as a single, contained entity -- keeping it together while shifting its direction of travel. Each bird in a flock reacts to changes in the behavior of the birds nearest to it. Effective herding requires an external threat -- in this case, the drone -- to position itself in such a way that it encourages birds along the edge of a flock to make course changes that then affect the birds nearest to them, who affect birds farther into the flock, and so on, until the entire flock changes course. The positioning has to be precise, however: if the external threat gets too zealous and rushes at the flock, the birds will panic and act individually, not collectively.

To teach the drone to herd autonomously, Soon-Jo Chung, an associate professor of aerospace, and his colleagues [...] studied and derived a mathematical model of flocking dynamics to describe how flocks build and maintain formations, how they respond to threats along the edge of the flock, and how they then communicate that threat through the flock. Their work improves on algorithms designed for herding sheep, which only needed to work in two dimensions, instead of three. Once they were able to generate a mathematical description of flocking behaviors, the researchers reverse engineered it to see exactly how approaching external threats would be responded to by flocks, and then used that information to create a new herding algorithm that produces ideal flight paths for incoming drones to move the flock away from a protected airspace without dispersing it. The team tested the algorithm on a flock of birds near a field in Korea and found that a single drone could keep a flock of dozens of birds out of a designated airspace. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds.

Not Learning anything

By sdinfoserv • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Please stop implying there's some type of learning or AI going - there isn't. A "herding algorithm" reverse engineered form "mathematical description of flocking behaviors" is not a learned behavior. It's a programmed algorithm... computer code. Leaning implies an automaton developed some insight independently... Just like a self driving car will never know where left your sock in the bedroom... let alone understand the context of what a sock is....

Drones work

By NewtonsLaw • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I fly drones at a local airfield and can vouch for the fact that they're a very effective method of getting rid of birds from such places.

When I first started flying at the airfield there were healthy (albeit not for the aircraft that used the place) populations of gulls, pluvers and (at certain times of the year) ducks. It was impossible to deter those birds using ground-based techniques but chasing them well beyond the airfield boundaries with a small racing drone has resulted in a dramatic drop in numbers.

Since I started driving the birds away (be still all you animal-rights activists) there has not been a single bird-strike at the airfield.

Of course the media would rather report that, as a drone flier, I could be spying on people, carrying high-explosives and trying to bring down airliners -- but then again we all know that what you read in the media is (these days) far from the truth.

Re:Not Learning anything

By bobbied • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I came here to post exactly this. There was no "learning" by the drone.

They didn't take the drone, put it though "training" regime where it learned anything. They programed specific actions, nothing more. The device isn't modifying its behavior or it's response to stimuli based on it's experiences trying to heard birds.

Please

By Tablizer • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Can I use it on telemarketers?

Re:One very expensive scarecrow

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Should've asked a farmer, not an engineer.

The farmer would have told you that scarecrows are mostly ineffective.

New York City Just Voted To Cap Uber and Lyft Vehicles and Require Drivers To Be Paid a Minimum Wage

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New York City Council passed regulations on ride-hail companies on Wednesday, capping the number of vehicles on the road for one year and requiring that drivers to be paid a minimum wage. From a report: Council Speaker Corey Johnson said earlier that the regulations are intended to protect drivers, fairly regulate the industry and reduce congestion. The year-long cap on new licenses for ride-hailing vehicles will take place while the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) studies the effects of ride-hail service in the city. The cap would not apply to new wheelchair-accessible vehicles or new vehicles serving an area demonstrating need in a way that does not increase congestion. App-based ride services account for 80,000 vehicles in New York City, and provide 17 million rides per month, according to a study by The New School for the TLC. The surge in ridership coincided with increased resident frustration with the local subway system. With the move on Wednesday, New York City, the largest American market for Uber, has become the first major American city to restrict the number of ride-hail vehicles and to establish pay rules for drivers. In a statement issued moments ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said," Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action -- and now we have it."

Re:The money ...

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
What if the super-wealthy drive up costs of necessities like food and housing, so even with a somewhat higher income, you're less able to afford them? Money is relative, unfortunately.

Re:The tighter your grip...

By DRJlaw • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Go ahead New York, go and regulate these services. All that means is another one will come in to take their place.

And be identically regulated, because these regulations are not specific to Lyft and Uber.

They might structure their business plan to avoid the rules, or simply ignore them because enforcement is impossible.

Enforcement is quite possible. Summon driver through the app. Ticket driver. Enough tickets, impound vehicle. Heck, ticket the service that sent the request to the driver while you're at it. Hard to be anonymous publishing an app. Hard to run a service like this without an app.

You want to tell people that they can't drive a friend to the airport? Good luck with that.

Because that is what is happening. I remember just last week when I wrote an app so that my friend could ask me for a ride to the airport... Oh wait... they call or text me, specifically.

I hate the whole concept of a minimum wage. The minimum wage has been and always will be zero dollars. No law will change that.

Ah yes, I see. You're a denizen of libertarian fantasyland. I'll be moving on now...

Wrong as usual

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You are a very confused man, because I am talking about the fact that NYC has specifically eliminated driving jobs, not arguing about the minimum wage per se (though actually you are also wrong there).

Reality has a bias towards reality, not myth.

It sure does, which is why I post about reality, not the mythical fairyland your mind inhabits. I mean if you can't even distinguish between an abstract concept like minimum wage and a specific cap on a class of jobs - how can you seriously claim to be grounded in reality?

I'll let you have the last response as I can only do so much to try and introduce the deluded to reality, and I have given you as much help as is warranted. The rest is up to you, good luck!

Not staying in Manhattan if I can help it

By Bruce Perens • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The last time I stayed in Manhattan, the Doubletree cost $700/night. The customer paid for that, but it felt wasteful. Since they banned Air B&B and similar, we're not staying in New York city for personal trips. I'd much rather help a local person keep their home than stay in the impersonal people box of some corporation.

In Manhattan, I'll usually take the subway if it's at all possible. But limiting rideshare in the name of the long-obsolete medallion cab system - which promotes cruising around looking for a customer, using up fuel and making pollution for nothing; that can't be a plus.

Re:54.5 cents per mile + NY MINWAGE + full insuran

By LostMyBeaver • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I'm not convinced this is true.

I travel a lot... in spurts. Like one year on, three years off. I use Uber exclusively because it allows me to handle my expense accounts cleanly. If I use Yellow in NY and Black in London, etc... I'd have to manage a bunch of receipts and scan them and all that shit. On the road, I even try to eat at places that accept either Paypal or Apple Pay so that full receipts are sent to my accounts there. On top of that, I only use airlines and hotels that allow me to pay with Paypal.

Taxi drivers and Uber drivers certainly make a large part of their income from locals. But locals who can afford taxis are generally people who are better at managing their money. In addition, people using taxis to get around the city in NY for business are expensing it. In either of these cases, the cleanliness of the payment system of Uber or Lyft is worth higher prices.

I honestly haven't even considered city taxi services in years because I simply don't want the hassle of doing expenses or even the added work itemizing on taxes.

The bad part for the taxi companies is that unless they were to collaborate on a massive international level to offer the same service that Uber or Lyft offers, they have no defense against this. Let's be honest, in a period of 2 weeks, I used Uber in NYC, Tokyo, Oslo and London... I had absolutely no problems and was happy to do it. I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to use a taxi in Japan, taxis in London are REALLY REALLY unreliable outside the two inner zones. And frankly, taxis in NYC are not too bad, but more often than not, my credit card doesn't work in their machines because of the massive amount of anti-fraud tech that is supposed to protect me as opposed to inconvenience me.

I think this will certainly hit Uber, but as you said, it will simply cause a price adjustment which has been needed anyway.

P2P Piracy is Alive and Growing, Research Suggests

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
From a report: In recent years Hollywood and other entertainment sources have focused their enforcement efforts on pirate streaming sites and services. According to several reports, streaming sites get more traffic than their P2P counterparts, with the latter being almost exclusively BitTorrent related. While the rise of online streaming sites can't be denied, a new research report from anti-piracy outfit Irdeto shows that P2P remains very relevant. In fact, it's still the dominant piracy tool in many countries. Irdeto researched site traffic data provided by an unnamed web analytics partner. The sample covers web traffic to 962 piracy sites in 19 countries where P2P was most used. This makes it possible to see how P2P site visits compare to those of pirate streaming sites.

Re:Anyone shocked?

By sconeu • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.en.html

Re:theft

By UnknownSoldier • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Here is a (hex) number:

A9C120EDFD186901C9DBD0F660

It is ALSO a copyrighted program (*) since I just wrote it.

1. Do you steal a number??? Hint. YOU CAN'T and don't since I STILL have it if you "steal" it.

2. If you copy that program you have committed piracy (since I never game permission for you to use it.) So copying numbers are now illegal ???

Yes, according to current idiotic, archaic, law. It is called "Copyright Infringement"

It doesn't matter if numbers represent data such as audio, video, text, etc.

Saying it is illegal to copy a number is still stupid.

(*) It a 6502 program (*) that prints the letters A-Z on an Apple ][.

main LDA #C1
next JSR $FDED
      CLC
      ADC #1
      CMP #DB
      BNE next
      RTS

--
Only children censor
Adults communicate and even laugh at taboo subjects.

Re:Anyone shocked?

By SirCowMan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It'll be $80 for 8+ services, + $0.50 every quarter to show growing profits, for declining services.

Netflix, having shown how to make a viable competitor to casual downloading, has give up that game and seems to want to sit with the old media folks. The VPN/geoblocking restrictions was the biggest move, but now also we see the limited introduction of geoblocking on their "own" programming (i.e., CBS deal for ST), and the nerfed access to higher quality levels for devices without hardware DRM - or, most egregiously in the case of 4K, even when all technical DRM instruments are in place it won't stream 4K without the particular device also being certified by Netflix. It's getting harder to watch something without it being better quality being sourced by other means.

Throw on top of that the effective removal of the recommendation system, the demotion of anything not Netflix created, and constant wobbling about of the UI (at least on devices). The ability to raise content to the surface, put you in easy touch with something you'll want to watch next - that value-added sort of service was not something easily replicated by your own ripped DVD collection, or "pirate" sources. Now it's half-gutted, and getting worse. There is little compelling reason anymore to use Netflix as an interface to access something, where available elsewhere.

Netflix, at $8 (or a fraction of that when shared), demonstrated how media could be distributed in such a manner as to make piracy essentially irrelevant. Just needed to keep adding that content.

Now, looking at $14 or whatever for Netflix's top tier, need to scroll through a half-dozen full-screen auto-playing standup comedy specials which have no relation to viewing history before finding something you'd be looking for.. the value proposition is lost. Just wondering when the ads will start.

Re: theft

By DRJlaw • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Uncopyrightable procedure, process, system, or method of operation.

Specifically, in this instance, something covered by merger. There are no expressive elements to the program. It is merely the simplest, most mechanical way of getting a 6502 CPU to produce that entirely non-expressive output.

Signed,
Actual IP attorney

Re:Streaming services too expensive

By war4peace • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Actually, nope.
Here in my country, east of the Iron Courtain, Netflix is 7 bucks a month, cheapest tier. Tidal is 5 bucks a month. Same with Spotify.
They're not too expensive.
Geolocking does exist as a matter of fact, and it's one of the main reasons piracy still exists.
We (my people) have been treated a second class people for far too long , and we won't have it anymore. So when Netflix comes and says "you can't have this content that others do because $bullshit_reason*", we don't like it, and stop using it.
*$bullshit_reason could be, for example, a certain movie or TV series had their broadcasting rights sold to some asshole local company which sits on them trying to boost prices, or to an actual broadcaster which is only interested in maximizing profit. This results in many, if not most good movies or TV series being unavailable in my country. Anecdotal evidence: 10 of my top 10 preferred moviesw ere unavailable on netflix for my country (or at all!) due to broadcasting rights or movie owner not wanting to sell rights to Netflix. Hulu isn't available in my country, at all. Tidal has a "hip-hop problem", pushing their own music agenda despite the fact that I am a metalhead and for months I have only listened to metal on their platform. Yet, every fucking time I open Tidal, the main page and all their recommendation revolve around "JayZ's Playlist" and "Nicki Minaj" and other crap I simply DO NOT WANT. I perceive that behavior as being disrespectful - so I cancelled my subscription.

The pirate alternative: Torrent websites (private trackers):
- have a much wider selection of content
- have HIGH QUALITY content (Blu-Ray, 4K, etc)
- Are very fast (5-10 minutes) to download pretty much anything (local peers abound)
- Don't push their own agenda
- Have most content available IMMEDIATELY after release (especially music and TV series; for movies you generally need to wait a month or so for highest quality)
- Have a large variety of good subtitles in a myriad languages, readily attached to movies and series
- Do carry obscure and "rare" content (which I can't legally buy, stream or rent from anywhere)

I am all for legal methods of consuming content, and I am ready to pay for it. But when, for example, the FIFA World Cup 2018 took place this summer, I was unable to find an easy way to legally livestream matches. I was ready to pay-per-view or subscribe to bundles, but none were available for my country. The official broadcaster for my country had horrible service, thir website was down or locking up most of the time, it was unusable. And there was no alternative... except watching pirate livestreams which worked perfectly.

Life finds a way... so does consuming media content in a timely manner.

Freelance Platform Upwork's Opt-in Service Tracks Freelancers By Capturing Screenshots, Webcam Photos and Measuring Clicks and Keystrokes Frequency

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Caroline O'Donovan, reporting for BuzzFeed News: To convince workers to join the unstable and unreliable world of freelance work, startups and platforms often promise freedom and flexibility. But on the digital freelance platform Upwork, company software tracks hundreds of freelancers while they work by saving screenshots, measuring the frequency of their clicks and keystrokes, and even sometimes taking webcam photos of the workers. Upwork, which hosts "millions" of coding and design gigs, guarantees payment for freelancers, even if the clients who hired them refuse to pay. But in order to get the money, freelancers have to agree in advance to use Upwork's digital Work Diary, which counts keystrokes to measure how "productive" they are and takes screenshots of their computer screens to determine whether they're actually doing the work they say they're doing.

Upwork's tracker isn't automatically turned on for all gigs on the platform. Some freelancers like it because it guarantees payment, but others find it unnerving. [...] Upwork maintains that freelancers don't have to use the time tracker if it makes them uncomfortable. [...] But while Work Diary may be opt-in on its surface, Microsoft Research's Mary Gray said freelancers may not feel like they really have a choice.

How to use Upwork

By CHK6 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I have used Upwork and this is why we have paid based on set milestone deliveries and not hourly. We negotiate upfront stating we only pay per milestone and then layout the milestones and what we are willing to pay. It's a lot easier to control costs and not have to worry about getting overcharged by hourly rates. The idea is voyeurism on someone's workplace is creepy and not needed as it's never helpful.

This is how some people think

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This is how paper shufflers, bean counters, and other non-producing types think. That's why all they're good for it shuffling papers around, obsessively counting things, and the only things they produce are more papers for other paper-shufflers to shuffle around, and more things for bean counters to count.

Got to pound the non-round pegs into the same round holes everyone else fits into, or you're not a 'productive worker'!

People do not like having anyone looking over their shoulder all the time, whether literally or 'virtually'.
You want people to be productive? Let them know what you need done, then get out of the way and let them do it. If they consistently don't get it done, then you can replace them with someone else, but micromanaging people is just plain stupid and that's what all this surveillance of 'freelance workers' is.

Do clients really ask for this?

By xxxJonBoyxxx • Score: 3 • Thread
I use Upwork to hire small or complicated jobs I don't want to do myself (or hire for). I've never heard of this level of tracking.

However, I only ever do fixed project bids: if you write X by Y and it meets Z quality standard, I will give you $$$. I could give two zits if you hacked it together in two hours or it took three times as long as you thought it would as long as you hit my quality standard. Not even remotely interested in knowing what else my hires were doing with their time as long as my thing was done.

Re:Never go full psychopath!

By sjames • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No gun, but you can bet they're hoping to soak up the potential alternatives until it's the tracker or "want fries with that?"

If schemes such as these go away, the need for work to be done won't go away, it's just that the people doing the work will be offered less creepy conditions to work under.

This is not news.

By Dracos • Score: 3 • Thread

The Upwork tracker has always done this, as did the oDesk client before the merger with Elance.

Everything about oDesk was far less buggy than the platform in place now, which is clearly developed offshore, along with seemingly everything else they can outsource.

The choice put before freelancers has always been: use the tracker or give up guaranteed payment. What's changed is Upwork's strategy, focusing on new client uptake and short-term projects. The top fee rate used to be 10%, but after the merger Upwork changed this to 20% for the first $10,000 of hourly work. Their automated job matching is feeble and basic... I'm not interested in 90% of the recommendations I get. Similarly, almost all of the interview invitations I get, which are sent by clients themselves, have little or nothing to do with my skillset.

The newest alarming thing is Upwork's account verification policy. For obtuse reasons, they will suspend your account until you verify your identity over video chat (with outsourced staff). It happened to me, and I've seen at least three Reddit posts about it.

Upwork has overall become a shitshow from the freelancer's perspective. But not because of the tracker app.

People Still Don't Like Their Cable Companies, ConsumerReports' Telecom Survey Finds

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Larger cable providers once again take a beating for perceived value -- even when it comes to bundled plans. ConsumerReports: Unhappy with your pay-TV company? You're not alone. Dissatisfaction with the perceived value of pay-TV service was once again high among the 176,000 members who participated in Consumer Reports' latest telecommunications survey. When we asked for feedback on their experiences with pay TV, home internet, home telephone service, and bundled plans, they shared their displeasure. In fact, most of the larger cable companies -- Optimum (Cablevision), Comcast, and Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks) -- earned low scores in multiple categories, settling into the bottom half of the 25 providers in CR's new telecom service ratings.

Only 38 percent of pay-TV subscribers were highly satisfied with their service, meaning they were "very" or "completely" happy with the offerings. Armstrong, a smaller cable company that operates in Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, earned the second-place slot behind Google Fiber, in part due to favorable scores for technical support, reliability, and customer service. Verizon and the two satellite-TV companies -- AT&T's DirecTV and Dish Network -- also rated better than Cox Communications, Comcast, Spectrum, and Optimum.

Top-rated EPB, a municipal broadband service run as a public utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of the few bright spots for internet service. It was the only company to receive a top mark for value. It also got top marks for speed and reliability. Google Fiber was a close second in the ratings, the only other company to get a favorable mark for value.

Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents who have a bundled plan -- TV, internet, and phone -- said they got a special promotional price when they signed up. And 45 percent were still enjoying that rate when they answered our survey.

Re:The problem is too many channels

By Jason Levine • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'd argue that the problem is too little competition. Especially if you're relying on your cable company for Internet service. In most places, the local cable company is the only Internet access provider or one of two providers. And by "local", I mean "giant cable company who serves your area." Without meaningful competition, a company doesn't need to invest in customer service. After all, customer service costs money and customers have few, if any, other options. For example, Charter's Spectrum is the only wired Internet provider in my area. So even if I hate them (I'd definitely say I'm highly dissatisfied), I have no other options. I can reduce what I pay them by cutting the TV service cord and not having a home phone via them, but I'm still tethered to them by Internet service. They know this and can engage in whatever trickery they like knowing that I can't switch without significantly impacting my home Internet usage.

Now, if there were four or five different providers, then Spectrum would be forced to either give me good service or see their customers flee to Providers 2, 3, 4, or 5. The providers with good customer service would increase their customer base while the ones with bad customer service would either be forced to improve or go out of business.

This would also fix issues with TV service. Providers with good TV service would thrive while those stuck in the past would continually lose customers.

Re:The problem is too many channels

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That wasn't the cable companies, it was the providers. Disney said, "If you want ESPN, you also have to carry these other 30 channels". Because they were all owned by Disney. And more Disney channels means it's more likely you'll watch a Disney-owned channel.

Does anyone else see a pattern here?

By erp_consultant • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Think of all the industries with shitty customer service ratings:

1) Cable
2) Cellphones
3) Utilities
4) Airlines
5) Car dealers

What do they all have in common? They lack any real competition. In every case the customer has little or no choice of their service provider. With airlines the choice is fly or take the train or drive. In most cases the alternatives are impractical. With car dealers, unless you are buying a Tesla, you have to work through a dealer network. In most cases that is actually protected by law. The only viable alternative is to buy a used car or don't drive.

It's not much better with cellphones. Service generally sucks, service sucks, coverage sucks and it's expensive. At one time I remember rumors of Apple entering the cell service market. It turned out not to be true but I wish they had.

It's a little different with cable companies. With traditional cable you have the traditional oligopoly. But there is a viable alternative - cut the cord. Get an antenna, NetFlix and maybe Hulu or Amazon and you don't need the cable companies anymore. The cable companies know this and respond in typical fashion - by trying to punish their customers for leaving. Good luck with that strategy boys. Meanwhile their customer service ratings continue to stink and people are cutting the cord at an ever increasing rate.

That's unpossible!

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Top-rated EPB, a municipal broadband service run as a public utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of the few bright spots for internet service. It was the only company to receive a top mark for value. It also got top marks for speed and reliability.

But we've been told there is no way a government service could give better performance at a lower price than a private company! Fake news!

Re:I do. LOVE FIOS. Love. Love. Love.

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Spectrum is always down in my area too! When you live in an area with precisely 1 fast broadband provider (which is common across the US); and you cut cable TV only to find a few years later you're now paying the same for internet that you once paid for cable- because they use internet consumers to subsidise their cable TV customers... yeah, I hate my cable company ISP. I hate monopolies in general because they can do precisely this... abuse the consumer.

New Facial Recognition Tool, Designed For Research Purposes, Tracks Targets Across Different Social Networks

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at Trustwave on Wednesday released a new open-source tool called Social Mapper, which uses facial recognition to track subjects across social media networks. Designed for security researchers performing social engineering attacks, the system automatically locates profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks based on a name and picture. Unlike tools such as Geofeedia that require access to certain APIs, Social Mapper performs automated manual searches in an instrumented browser window. The Verge: Those searches can already be performed manually, but the automated process means it can be performed far faster and for many people at once. "Performing intelligence gathering online is a time-consuming process," Trustwave explained in a post this morning. "What if it could be automated and done on a mass scale with hundreds or thousands of individuals?"

Just once...

By x0 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
...I'd like to read a story where social networks gets less creepy.

m

What kind of idiot

By bobstreo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

puts their picture in social media? I mean, if you're a sports star or actor, sure, but for everyone else, just stick to pictures of cats and your latest meal.

And if you use the same name in different social media, well derp...

Common tool in the online dating industry

By GameboyRMH • Score: 3 • Thread

Online dating sites have been using tools like this internally for years to track users' activity on competitors' sites.

Contrary to WA State Constitution and Canada's

By WillAffleckUW • Score: 3 • Thread

let alone the EU GPDR.

Stop doing this stuff.

Re:Excellent

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Go ahead and vote. You have no power and you never will. And your vote will make NO difference.

If that were the case, wouldn't Hillary have won.....?

When Working in Virtual Reality Makes You Sick

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Virtual reality is a modern-day beacon of escapism -- a way to fully immerse yourself in other worlds -- and it's seeing unprecedented applications. The market, no surprise, is exploding, with some industry groups estimating a $60 billion global market by 2022. As business booms, however, people who are using the tech are reporting a growing number of physical side effects -- like VR arm, but worse: eye strain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and even dissociative experiences. From a report: VR companies recommend that people take frequent breaks and moderate their VR time when they're first starting out. "As you become accustomed to the virtual reality experience, you can begin increasing the amount of time you use Daydream View," reads one line of the health and safety information included with Google's VR platform. But what happens when it's your job to build these escapist technologies? The potential health risks for everyday consumers are compounded for those who make VR products for a living.

When VR bigwig Jeremy Bailenson founded Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, in 2003, two items were even more important than the VR equipment he was using: "We had to keep a bucket in the lab and a mop nearby," Bailenson says. Today, he institutes a strict 20-minute limit on headset time for people in his lab. These health effects produce unique challenges for VR developers. "We have to understand not just the good but also the downsides of this technology. There a lot of questions we need to answer," Bailenson says. "The whole point of VR is it takes you out of your space, but you can't be doing that for many hours a day."

[...] Suddenly rotating around a virtual environment using handled controllers or quickly looking left and right in the VR space without any concomitant physical movement in the real world tend to physically affect Jonathan Yomayuza, VR technical director at the Emblematic Group, a creative firm based in Southern California. [...] The feeling Yomayuza describes is common among people who work with or use VR.

The worst par is...

By GuB-42 • Score: 3 • Thread

If you are particularly sensitive to motion sickness, devs will use you as a guinea pig in order to test how nauseating their work is.

I mean, we are not equal when it comes to motion sickness, and it is in best interest for everyone that everything is done to make VR accessible to everyone, possibly through the use of comfort options. But in order to know which parts cause problems and which countermeasure are effective, it has to be tested by someone with a low tolerance, because others won't notice.

Design, design, design

By Dracolytch • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Hi there. I'm a professional VR developer, I teach a VR development course, and I made a fun little game-jam indie game which I sell on Steam. I'll happily talk about this kind of stuff all day. While I don't get motion sickness of any kind (car, boat, desktop gaming), I do occasionally feel ill in VR, especially in a poorly designed experience. If you have to keep a bucket nearby, you're applying the wrong design principles (either by accident or on purpose).

For the vast majority of users, it all comes down to design:
If the eyes are seeing movement that the body didn't initiate, then discomfort happens.
If the environment does not honor the players' physical body, then discomfort happens.

This is why flying around in Google Earth can make you ill, while making things in Google Blocks negatively affects very few people. Comfortable locomotion is still a difficult/unsolved problem, which is why a lot of games have teleportation mechanisms.

The stimuli that make a person feel ill are VERY personal. For example, I have no problem moving up in VR, but I feel a little queasy any time a game moves me down in VR. The precise stimulus and degree of impact is different for every individual.

There are a lot of camera things (such as shaky cam) that have to be avoided outright completely. Even traditional cinematic techniques such as panning over an environment should be done with care (open the scene at speed instead of accelerating/decelerating, provide audio cues such as rushing air before you fade-in to a aerial pan). Flying about in Google Earth is made somewhat more comfortable by reducing the field of view to just the foveated region, which is generally more tolerant of motion than the periphery.

Other forms of discomfort include when objects pass through where the operators' physical body would be, and the use of inverse kinematics which often shows player limbs in orientations that don't match up with the operators' actual position (and thus proprioceptive system). These often "feel weird", but don't generally make people ill. (Interestingly, often the best solution to this is to not include arms or legs at all, and only show hands, like in Job Simulator)

Honor and respect your players' body. They'll thank you.

Re:Ready Player One makes you really wonder

By AlanBDee • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're absolutely right. As examples I love to play Just Dance... for about 20 minutes before my fat ass is too tired to continue. Then there's Rocksmith which I can only play for about an hour or two before my shoulders are too tired. Then I retreat, assuming I have the time, to play Factorio for something like 11 hours.

I think it's the augmented reality that will work. Since you can still see your surroundings the "3D effect" won't happen. It won't be the Ready Player One environment many envision. I don't want to say it will never happen, but i don't see it happening and becoming main stream for a very long time.

Imagine playing a top down shooter but it's in 3D on a tabletop? Or you're looking at a wall but the augmented reality make it look like you're looking through the windshield of a mechwarrior and everything "though the portal" is in 3D but computer generated. I think this would help reduce that 3D sickness because your surroundings would align with what your inner ear was detecting.

Re:Design, design, design

By Dracolytch • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

For many genres of experiences, teleportation is a very viable way to go. For anything that focuses on locomotion (such as shooters, walking simulators, or non-archery sports games), it's a big problem.

To be honest, I'm not satisfied with any software-only solutions, and I've seen quite a few. Frankly I've been doing this long enough that I'm skeptical a software-only solution could exists. The industry is seeing a lot of growth in the location-based entertainment and industrial sectors, because their solution is "Get a bigger room"... Which is a rather unsatisfying answer for home use. Some of the passive optical sensors (Windows MR headsets) have promise in terms of tracking volume, but homes have lots of obstructions and other dangers (stove tops, stairs) which would need to be designed around.

Even the hardware solutions I've seen are almost all either insanely expensive, or very gimmicky. Omnidirectional treadmills are a technology still in their infancy, but there's a lot of promise there. Things like the Virtuix Omni treadmill (which is NOT a treadmill) aren't enough, it will likely take something akin to the Infinadeck to actually solve the problem.

Driving

By godel_56 • Score: 3 • Thread

You should also consider the dangers of driving in the real world (and maybe using machinery) after a long VR session.

Decades ago I read that UK military pilots recorded a higher number of traffic accidents after doing a long session in a flight simulator, presumably because it screwed up their perception of motion and distance. When this was discovered the pilots were subsequently given a driver or a taxi voucher to get home.after one of these sessions. I wouldn't be surprised if the same effect occurred with the current, relatively crude VR environments.

Hashcat Developer Discovers Simpler Way To Crack WPA2 Wireless Passwords

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter Woodmeister shares a report: While looking for ways to attack the new WPA3 security standard, Hashcat developer Jens "Atom" Steube found a simpler way to capture and crack access credentials protecting WPA and WPA2 wireless networks. The attacker needs to capture a single EAPOL frame after requesting it from the access point, extract the PMKID from it by dumping the recieved frame to a file, convert the captured data to a hash format accepted by Hashcat, and run Hashcat to crack it. Once that's done, the attacker has the Pre-Shared Key (PSK), i.e. the password, of the wireless network. Depending on the length and complexity of the password and the power of the cracking rig, that last step could take hours or days. "The main difference from existing attacks is that in this attack, capture of a full EAPOL 4-way handshake is not required. The new attack is performed on the RSN IE (Robust Security Network Information Element) of a single EAPOL frame," Steube explained. This makes the attack much easier to pull off, as the attacker doesn't depend on another user and on being in range of both the user and the access point at the exact moment when the user connects to the wireless network and the handshake takes place.

Re: Use good passwords

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What am I, a network administrator? Who's got time for that

I give them my neighbor's SSID and password, which I've cracked. Problem solved.

Re:Use good passwords

By hawguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A good password for wifi, since it doesn't really need to be memorized, is one generated by something like keepass2: 15 characters long random letters numbers and punctuation:

DHDukBDL04Pt2ZT

for example (note that is not a password I use, just one I randomly generated).

Since no-one actually has to type this in more than once per device, it's really not a major problem that you can't memorize it.

It may not need to be memorized, but it does need to be typed into every Wifi device you own, sometimes through a clunky on screen or "scroll through the letters" LCD interface. So random string passwords are annoying enough that many people avoid them.

Simpler way ...

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread

... obviously involves a $5 wrench.

Re: Bypassing login password by booting a differen

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Was having fun with analogy.

The computer user password is not to protect against local access to the data.

PSK algorithm is not designed to protect against offline brute force campaigns. Well known property of PSK. It's why people have always had to chose increasingly absurdly long passwords to secure their APs.

You need to encrypt the files or entire drive like you are planning.

You need to use a secure authentication protocol like what's included with WPA3 to avoid susceptibility to offline brute force campaigns.

Only for WPA3 they chose a crappy authentication protocol out of the gate opting for a balanced PAKE when better (augmented) versions are readily available on similar terms.

Difference between balanced and augmented is a bit like the difference between a password file stored as plaintext or hashed.

If it's hashed (augmented) and stolen someone needs to crack it before they can login as you. If it's plaintext (balanced) as what was selected for WPA3 they can login as you immediately without cracking it.

A lifetime ago Cisco released an undocumented authentication protocol for username/password wireless authentication (LEAP) that was quickly revealed in all ways that mattered to essentially be MSCHAPv1.

At the time of release shortcomings of MSCHAPv1 were well known. Surely someone must have known yet they went ahead and did it anyway. While not nearly as egregious the same theme is being repeated with WPA3. Better algorithms with better properties are readily available yet they elect to go forward with the inferior one anyway.

Run an open wifi

By mea2214 • Score: 3 • Thread
...and you never have to worry about password or any of this BS. My open wifi in a densely populated neighborhood has been running for 6 1/2 years getting around 30 unique visitors/day, 200 unique visitors/month. Why are people so stingy with their wifi? Most everything is encrypted end to end nowadays.

Podcasting is Not Walled (Yet)

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Rakhim Davletkaliyev, a software developer, writer and podcaster, recently launched two new podcasts. One of the things he was asked by people following the launches was "but how do I subscribe, it's not on iTunes/Google Podcasts?" He writes: Podcasts are simply RSS feeds with links to media files (usually mp3s). A podcast is basically a URL. And podcast clients are special browsers. They check that URL regularly and download new episodes if the content of the URL changes (new link added). That's it, no magic, no special membership or anything else required. The technology is pretty "stupid" in a good way.

Ever since tech companies started waging war against RSS, podcast distribution became visually RSS-free. What do you do to subscribe? Easy, just search in the app! For the majority of iOS users that app is Apple Podcasts, and recently Google made their own "default client" for Android -- Google Podcasts. It looks like podcast clients are similar to web browsers and just provide a way to consume content, but the underlying listings make them very different. Corresponding services are actually isolated catalogs. When you perform a search on Apple Podcasts, you aren't searching for podcasts. You are searching for Apple-approved podcasts. And if the thing you're looking for is not there, then... well, you get nothing.

Most Podcast clients still accept RSS. Apple Podcasts, iTunes, PocketCasts, OverCast, PodcastAddict. Google Play Music doesn't say anything explicitly, but you can just put RSS URL into the search field and it works. For now. I won't be surprised if these apps gradually and silently remove this feature.

Re: more like ad dot

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Recently, Apple, Google, and Facebook have colluded to censor views with which they disagree by removing authors from their platforms. The populist right wing in particular communicates by podcasts, and Apple and Google recently removed some, including some very popular ones, from the podcast indices that their walled-garden apps provide. TFA higlights the lengths to which Apple and Google go to make their indices seem the only avenue for surfacing content to users of their default applications, although the underlying technology is in fact open and accessible outside those indices and apps. That openness provides an avenue for resisting censorship, but the viability of that resistance relies on users understanding something about how RSS works.
In a wider context, this is also important in the overall contest between open standards like RSS and the closed approaches of centralized tech. Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al. despise RSS because it is impossible for them to monetize or censor and replicates much of their functionality. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are all built around the idea of a feed/wall/stream, which is basically RSS. The tech companies would love to kill off RSS and provide ad-filled, censored, feeds/walls/streams under centralized control instead of decentralized RSS feeds that anyone can publish. Hiding the RSS in podcast apps may work towards that goal.

Re:Not going to happen

By omnichad • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Do you know how many walled gardens there are for podcasts? I've helped a couple people list their RSS feed and I didn't post to anywhere near this number of services. If this were part of an open web, they would simply be indexed by search engines and no manual submission would be needed. You don't have to explicitly submit your web site to Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc, so why should podcasts be any different? Sure, you can prefer manually-submitted entries. But expecting every podcast to know of every directory is insane.

Yes and No

By Hydrian • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

A podcast client is a bit more than a web browser with RSS support. People are looking for more than that anymore in an podcast client. They want to be able to stream or download it. They want to be able to speed up / slow down playback. They want to support both audio and video podcasts. They want cross-device placement/bookmark sync. They want intelligent downloading so they don't blow their data caps (particularly with cell data). That's a bit more than just a web browser with RSS support.

But I do agree with you on the big players trying to take a chunk out of RSS podcasts and RSS in general. I talked about that in https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=10677653&cid=54511965

But here is the thing, content rules. If people can't get the content that they want on big players app they want, they'll use a different app. Encourage you're content creator to stay platform agnostic. This doesn't let the draconian big players isolate content. If the big players want that content, force them to add support for open standards like RSS in their apps.

Re:Not going to happen

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You mean curated/filtered services, if you have conflicting views/interests with these services you will not find the content you are looking for.

Yep, just ask Alex Jones.....

I mean, I'm not a fan of his, it was a bit of a whack job channel on YouTube, but wow....he just got booted.

Strangely, however.....I've not see a lot of other high visibility channels on either side of the spectrum that were as bad if not worse than AJ get booted.

RSS is good

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

RSS and things built on top of it like Podcasts are good for users. But the technology is bad for advertisers. If you see criticism of RSS, look closely at where it comes from. If it comes from someone trying to sell you something, take their advice with a grain of salt.

It's been said before that advertisers and ad brokers are at a disadvantage with RSS. But Web 2.0 developers that wish to sell frameworks and services are also at a big disadvantage too. You'll see self-described web experts that disregard RSS as being primitive, limited, or no longer relevant. But I have to wonder if this has more to do with such "experts" trying to compete with a free and established technology.

Still, I believe it is inevitable that RSS will die. Take Usenet newsgroups for example, that is basically dead, at least in terms of being a widely used communication hub as it once was. What replaces it? A fractured set of isolated web forums (that includes /. and Reddit). Instead of having a huge global network of message boards, we have tiny isolated communities, and even that medium is dying out. Replaced by the top post schemes of Facebook groups, Google+, and Twitter.

Why did Usenet die? There are many factors, but one of the big ones is that it's hard to get ad revenue from running a news server and easy set up on a web forum.

Cybersecurity's Insidious New Threat: Workforce Stress

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
This week's Black Hat event will highlight job-related stress and mental health issues in the cyber workforce. From a report: The thousands of cybersecurity professionals gathering at Black Hat, a massive conference held in the blistering heat of Las Vegas every summer, are encountering a different type of session this year. A new "community" track is offering talks on a range of workplace issues facing defenders battling to protect the world from a hacking onslaught. With titles like "Mental Health Hacks: Fighting Burnout, Depression and Suicide in the Hacker Community" and "Holding on for Tonight: Addiction in Infosec," several of the sessions will address pressures on security teams and the negative impact these can have on workers' wellbeing.

"A lot of people in this space feel strongly about wanting to protect their users," says Jamie Tomasello of Duo Security, who is one of the speakers. "Where this becomes challenging is when people are under sustained high stress. That increases the risk of depression and mental illness." The impact on cyber defenders' lives is deeply concerning, as are the broader implications for security. In spite of a push for greater automation, many tasks in cyber defense are still labor intensive. Workers experiencing mental health issues are more likely to make mistakes and to have performance issues that require colleagues to pick up the slack, increasing the likelihood they will make errors too.

its always been a problem

By nimbius • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
disclosure: I left infosec for the relatively calmer career path of system administration.
infosec is under enormous pressure to deliver a product that cant be hacked, and take the blame for when products are hacked. Developers routinely leapfrog infosec for exceptions to upgrades or coding standards and when theyre caught with their pants around their ankles theres no accountability, only blame. 'IS director' is a revolving door of burnouts that are exhausted from the constant assault and bettery from sales insisting every credit card is a good credit card, and managers insisting you need to stand down from every product meeting or just not attend at all because it somehow negatively affects 'agility.'

I became so jaded eventually that my job morphed from protecting users from malicious actors, to just keeping a running CYA log of poor leadership decisions and whom to attribute them to when the shit hit the fan. no hardened binaries? no standardized two factor? no problem. Just dont expect me to sit quietly in the meeting.

It's just over work

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
and it's happening everywhere. Companies are cutting staff and forcing the ones left to work longer hours. 80% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck (google it). _Everybody's_ stressed out. It's just that when your cyber security guys get that way and start making the mistakes folks under high pressure 24/7 tend to do then your network gets hacked and you've got a PR disaster on your hands.

LibreOffice 6.1 Released

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Document Foundation said on Wednesday it is releasing LibreOffice 6.1, the latest major update to its productivity suite. It is available to download for Linux, Windows, and macOS platforms. The new version offers, among other features, Colibre, a new icon theme for Windows based on Microsoft's icon design guidelines, which it says, makes the office suite visually appealing for users coming from the Microsoft environment. The Document Foundation also reworked the image handling feature on LibreOffice to make it "significantly faster and smoother thanks to a new graphic manager and an improved image lifecycle, with some advantages also when loading documents in Microsoft proprietary formats." Other new features and changes include: The reorganization of Draw menus with the addition of a new Page menu, for better UX consistency across the different modules. A major improvement for Base, only available in experimental mode: the old HSQLDB database engine has been deprecated, though still available, and the new Firebird database engine is now the default option (users are encouraged to migrate files using the migration assistant from HSQLDB to Firebird, or by exporting them to an external HSQLDB server). Significant improvements in all modules of LibreOffice Online, with changes to the user interface to make it more appealing and consistent with the desktop version. An improved EPUB export filter, in terms of link, table, image, font embedding and footnote support, with more options for customizing metadata. Online Help pages have been enriched with text and example files to guide the users through features, and are now easier to localize.

LibreOffice 6.1's new features have been developed by a large community of code contributors: 72% of commits are from developers employed by companies sitting in the Advisory Board like Collabora, Red Hat and CIB and by other contributors such as SIL and Pardus, and 28% are from individual volunteers. In addition, there is a global community of individual volunteers taking care of other fundamental activities such as quality assurance, software localization, user interface design and user experience, editing of help system text and documentation, plus free software and open document standards advocacy at a local level.
You can read the full changelog here. Here's a video that walks through the new features and changes that LibreOffice is receiving with v6.1.

Re:LibreOffice isn't very good

By nagora • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Even documents saved in MS Office format sometimes don't convert properly.

The same is true of different versions of MS Office, of which there are many.

Re:So, What Happened?

By xxxJonBoyxxx • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
From Microsoft's site (https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/jensenh/2006/11/21/licensing-the-2007-microsoft-office-user-interface/):

"...licensing program for the 2007 Microsoft Office system user interface which allows virtually anyone to obtain a royalty-free license to use the new Office UI in a software product, including the Ribbon, galleries, the Mini Toolbar, and the rest of the user interface."

"For almost everyone, there's no catch at all. Just sign up for the license, and follow the guidelines. That's all there is to it. You can use the UI in open source projects as long as the license terms are consistent with our license. You can use it on any platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. If you're an ISV, you can build and sell a set of controls based on the new Office UI. There's only one limitation: if you are building a program which directly competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the Microsoft applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free license."

Re:LibreOffice isn't very good

By Archtech • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Publishing specifications and claiming adherence to standards is quite "good enough" for Microsoft from a business point of view - which of course is the only point of view it has ever had.

The number of people who notice that the software doesn't quite jibe with the specs, or doesn't quite implement the standard (or, usually, both) is small. And, by their very ability to understand software, they are wholly without influence in business circles.

So, from Microsoft's point of view, screw 'em.

They should be touting No Subscription Required!

By gosand • Score: 3 • Thread

I have this installed at home (linux) but I rarely use it - once or twice a year maybe.
At work I use MS Office all the time... Excel and Powerpoint mainly, Word and Visio if I have to. Recently I wanted to create a database ERD, so I fired up Visio 2016. Apparently we have the standard version, and after lots of googling found out that the crow's foot diagrams aren't included in the standard version. They used to, but got removed. You can't even download and install them. What makes it worse is that you can pick that as a template when creating a new document, but none of the shapes are there to use.

Of course, we do have an Office 365 subscription, but even there Visio is not included in it. This was something standard in older versions of Visio.
In fact, I have a damn MSDN license, but when I go to the site and look in my product keys page, all of them throw errors for any version of MS Office.
Microsoft is really screwing the pooch on Office 365, so I am glad to see LibreOffice still making strides. I just recommended it to a co-worker yesterday who was trying to navigate the labyrinth of how to get Office installed at home now.

Re:Can do proper kerning now?

By TheDarkMaster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Is it serious that you've never seen the difference between one text with proper kerning and one text without kerning? Really?

In editors like MsOffice kerning is used by default, it is rarely necessary to tinker with the default setting. That's why you hardly ever hear of kerning, because it's usually done correctly by default (and also on most applications that need to show text, Firefox for example). Except in LibreOffice after version 5, in LibreOffice kerning is done so bad that it is common for certain character sets to be printed with no space between them.

Big Money, Big Dreams, Big Expectations and a Lot of Hype: Magic Leap One AR Headset Goes on Sale for $2,295 in Certain US Markets

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
After earning the moniker "tech's most secretive startup" from Wired and telling Forbes in 2016 it was going to ship its system "soon-ish," the company is finally releasing the $2,295 Magic Leap One. For now, it will be available for purchase in limit U.S. markets. CNET: It includes a high-powered, moon pie-shaped computer called the Lightpack, a handheld remote called Control and a steampunk-inspired headset with round lenses and patented optics. That's called Lightwear. There's just one thing: Regular folks like us aren't the intended audience. At least not yet. This "Creator Edition," says CEO Abovitz, is part of a "controlled market release" in just a handful of cities in the United States for the developers and creative types Magic Leap will woo this year and next. The goal: for those makers to dream up the experiences (aka content) it needs to convince us to become Leapers. The company is already showing investors and partners prototypes of its smaller (and hopefully less expensive) Magic Leap Two and Magic Leap Three, but won't say when they'll be released. Magic Leap, valued at $6.3 billion as of two months ago, counts Google, Alibaba, Warner Bros, AT&T, and several top Silicon Valley venture capital firms and about a dozen other big names as its investors. More about the product going on sale here.

Ouch, well good luck?

By foxalopex • Score: 3 • Thread

I hate to say this but the product seems a little too expensive compared to what people are willing to pay for. Occulus Rift and HTC Vive which are both working VR solutions are at least half this amount (not including needing a really powerful PC) are struggling to survive. I don't see how this is going to work. Also people joked about Google Glasses looking goofy considering it was a version of AR overlay. So good luck, but it seems destined to fail.

Re:Progress is being made...

By tsqr • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's exciting to see another computer independent headset coming out this year

Apparently it's so exciting that it was easy to miss this in TFS: It includes a high-powered, moon pie-shaped computer called the Lightpack.

"cities"

By ooloorie • Score: 3 • Thread

At least not yet. This "Creator Edition," says CEO Abovitz, is part of a "controlled market release" in just a handful of cities in the United States for the developers and creative types

"Handful of cities"? What does that mean? You have to prove residency in L.A. to buy one? You have to queue up in line physically in one of these "cities" to get one?

Apple Tells Lawmakers iPhones Are Not Listening In On Consumers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Apple told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday that its iPhones do not listen to users without their consent and do not allow third-party apps to do so either, after lawmakers asked the company if its devices were invading users' privacy. Representatives Greg Walden, Marsha Blackburn, Gregg Harper and Robert Latta wrote to Apple's chief executive Tim Cook and Alphabet chief executive Larry Page in July, citing concerns about reports that smartphones could "collect 'non-triggered' audio data from users' conversations near a smartphone in order to hear a 'trigger' phrase, such as 'Okay Google' or 'Hey Siri.'"

In a letter to Walden, an Oregon Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Apple said iPhones do not record audio while listening for Siri wakeup commands and Siri does not share spoken words. Apple said it requires users to explicitly approve microphone access and that apps must display a clear signal that they are listening.

"without their consent"

By houghi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

With all the opt-in going on, this means that they do.

Re:Post the source code

By TheFakeTimCook • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you want to verify what is happening, then you should monitor all the wireless traffic your phone sends. Compare it in a quiet environment and one with talking. See if the data sent from the device is enough for conversations.

For the most part it is in Apples best interest in not getting caught betraying our trust in its security feature. The easiest way to not get caught is to not do the action.

Exactly.

And I just can't believe that Slashtards are THAT stupid to not think of that, instead of imagining all sorts of wheels-within-wheels and riddles wrapped in myteries inside of enigmas when it comes to ANYTHING Apple says, does or produces.

Stupid shits. The whole lot. (Not you, Jellomizer... YOU are among the few that "get it".).

Re:Post the source code

By TheFakeTimCook • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Apple has released design/block diagrams on the silicon and how "Hey Siri" is implemented in hardware and doesn't require intervention from either the CPU or the OS. It can be verified by putting some scopes and circuit analyzers on the thing and seeing when and where the 'activity' actually happens.

It's fairly easy to test whether or not they're lying, if your CPU and SSD keeps waking up whenever there is audio, even if the trigger hasn't been used, you know they're lying.

Also, you can dump the contents of your iPhone as a developer. So it would also be pretty easy to verify there is no recording lurking somewhere on the drive waiting to be sent to Apple. You could also analyze the traffic that is sent to Apple and see whether it is feasible that audio recordings which would have to be a pretty continuous stream, even encrypted, are being sent without the trigger phrase.

Exactly.

Just make a looped recording that DOESN'T include the phrase "Hey, Siri" (or simply a radio station or TV would work fine), and put the iPhone in front of a speaker playing the sound. Now watch for WiFi traffic from the phone while sleeping.

So easy to verify without examining a single line of code, and yet all the FOSSies can think to do is pore over a bunch of code that may or may not be what is actually running in the device.

Idiots.

Just the other day ...

By PPH • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

... I was discussing this very subject with my wife. The toaster interjected to state that our fears were unfounded and we had no reason to avoid Apple products.

Physical privacy switches

By myid • Score: 3 • Thread

Apple should add privacy switches to iPhones - physical sliders that physically disable the camera and microphone. If I slide the camera or mic slider to "OFF", then the camera or mic can't work. Regardless of the user preferences, software, or what I say, the camera or mic is physically unable to work again, until I move the slider back to "ON".

With privacy switches, Apple can remove fears that their phones are listening or taking pictures when they shouldn't. Apple can take the cover off of an iPhone, letting you see the iPhone's camera and mic. Then they can make a movie of someone sliding the privacy switches back and forth, and show the movie to Congress - "Look, when you move the mic (or camera) privacy switch to "OFF", see how the mic (or camera) is physically disabled."

Privacy switches might be a good idea on all phones and computers, not just Apple's.

Women Die More From Heart Attacks Than Men -- Unless the ER Doc Is Female

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Women who suffer from heart attacks may be at a higher risk of death in the emergency room if they see a male physician rather than a female one, a new study suggests. The study doesn't jump to conclusions, but doctors and cardiologists have a few theories. There could be a systematic bias where male physicians are not listening to female patients' complaints as readily as [those of] a man, or there could be a bias that favors men in the medical literature, leading to misdiagnoses in women. It may also be that female doctors do a better job than their male counterparts. "In the new study everyone was more likely to survive if they saw a female physician, and a study published last year [...] indicated all patients of female physicians had lower mortality and hospital readmission rates," reports Scientific American. From the report: Heart disease is the number-one killer of both men and women, but the latter are significantly less likely to survive heart attacks. According to 2016 American Heart Association statement, 26 percent of women will die within a year of a heart attack compared with just 19 percent of men. The gap widens with time: By five years after a heart attack almost half of women die, compared with 36 percent of men. The reason has eluded researchers for years, but the authors of the new study point to the disparity in male and female representation in emergency doctors as a potential source of answers. The researchers analyzed a Florida Agency for Health Care Administration database containing every heart attack case from every ER in the state (excluding Veterans Affairs hospitals) between 1991 and 2010.

The researchers divided 500,000-plus cases into four categories: male doctors treating men; male doctors treating women; female doctors treating men; and female doctors treating women. "All of those are statistically indistinguishable except for male doctor -- female patient," says Brad Greenwood, an author on the study and a data scientist at the University of Minnesota. If a heart attack patient is a woman and her emergency physician is a man, he says, her risk of death suddenly rises by about 12 percent. Put another way, a heart attack patient dies in the ER about 11.9 percent of the time overall -- but the research team found women with heart attacks will die about 12.4 percent of the time if their cases are handled by male doctors. This means approximately one out of every 66 women with heart attacks dies in the emergency room if she sees a male doctor rather than a female one.

Re:Gawd!

By pgmrdlm • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Your wife should have gotten a skill set that actually pays. That is her fault, not societies. I work in a fortune 100 company. Guess what numb nuts. The women make just as much, and hold as many positions or more then men. They don't have it any worse.

Re:So which is it?

By guruevi • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I can get to it since I have subscriptions to these journals:

If you want better P-values, the significance halves. The reporting was done on the raw data which shows a slight variation within the error bars. Even if the study is correct, it comes down that statistically speaking, 2 out of the 500,000 cases may have survived longer if they had a female doctor.

Re:Coud be that women lie more to male doctors

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Actually, as I understand it.....womens' heart attack symptoms are often VERY different than mens' heart attack symptoms.

Often with women, the symptoms are very subtle, not the overt chest pressure and discomfort that men readily feel and will know is a problem.

I'm guessing that female doctors are likely more in tune with women and can sense what's going on a bit better than men can.....

That might be part of it.....

I've known this for some time

By rickb928 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

A partner of mine suffered from agoraphobia terribly, sometimes suffering anxiety and tachycardia with HR over 220 for extended periods. Counseling, medication, nothing seemed to be effective, and she was a highly-skilled RN, just adding to her frustration. It ruined our relationship long before it became so debilitating she was considering changing her career.

One attack landed her in the ER and in front of the new-in-town cardiologist fresh from residency in a well-known hospital. According to the ER nurse he took a two minute look at the EKG, ordered tests stat, another two minute read, and was on the phone back to his residency hospital, booking air evac, and sending her to his mentor.

She had a conduction defect. Not merely undetected for her entire life, but actually ruled out by more than one cardiologist previously, certain she was just having panic attacks. Yes, this caused a few uncomfortable discussions, and this fresh new cardiologist left the area and joined a big-city practice, for he had stumbled into a nice, quiet city that loved its doctors, and did not appreciate having them called out as having missed one diagnosis.

Why? Well, first, women were once considered 'hysterical' beings, prone to problems that were psychological and not physical. This is hard to overcome, even generations later. And much heart disease is, even today, considered a male problem, as if women all eat well, suffer less stress, and are not physically active.

How many have died needlessly?

too many confounding effects

By XXongo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'd like to see better statistics. On average, a first heart attack strikes men at age 65; women, 72. A 72 year old is simply more likely to die of a heart attack than a 65 year old one; age matters. There's no surprise that women are more likely to die, and although women are more likely to die of their heart attack, men still, on the average, die earlier of heart attacks.

The difference between male and female doctors is interesting, but note that the difference is actually small: according to the article, a heart attack patient dies in the ER about 11.9 percent of the time, versus 12.4 percent with female doctors-- the difference is one part in two hundred. So I agree with the caution suggested by an outside researcher about this study: "Emergency doctors and cardiologists, however, are wary of jumping to conclusions just yet. It is a little early to say male physicians have trouble treating female heart attack patients based on these data alone, says Michelle O’Donoghue, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School who did not work on the new study." Right: let's look at confounding effects first.

The big confounding effect here is age in doctors, not just patients: on the average, female doctors are younger than male doctors, and thus more recently educated and presumably up to date on the most modern techniques. I'd like to see that effect accounted for.

They already did, some time ago. Google "BBC health gap" and prepare to be horrified (it's a series of articles written by some dickless man calling himself a doctor) . Somehow even though women live 8 yrs longer, are healthier, die less at work (93:7), die less from suicide (3:1) there is a health gap, a systematic war against women of which the whole medical profession (where women are the majority) is complicit....

Yes, an interesting point. Men die earlier. How is this effect accounted for?

Oracle Challenges Pentagon's $10 Billion Cloud Computing Contract

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Oracle has filed an official complaint with the U.S. government over plans to award the Pentagon's lucrative cloud contract to a single vendor. Rebecca Hill writes via The Register: The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, which has a massive scope, covering different levels of secrecy and classification across all branches of the military, will run for a maximum of 10 years and is worth a potential $10 billion. In spite of this pressure from vendors and the tech lobby -- as well as concerns from Congress -- the US Department of Defense (DoD) refused to budge, and launched a request for proposals (RFP) at the end of last month. Oracle is less than impressed with the Pentagon's failure to back down, and this week filed a bid protest to congressional watchdog the Government Accountability Office asking for the RFP to be amended.

In the protest, the database goliath sets out its arguments against a single vendor award -- broadly that it could damage innovation, competition, and security. Reading between the lines, it doesn't want either of Amazon or Microsoft or Google to get the whole pie to itself, and thus endanger Oracle's cosiness with Uncle Sam. Summing up its position in a statement to The Register, Oracle said that JEDI "virtually assures DoD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more" at a time when cloud technology is changing at an unprecedented pace.

Re:Oracle might actually have a point here.

By someone1234 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Oracle's only problem is that they are not that single contractor.

No thanks Oracle

By eclectro • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Bad memories die hard, and your solutions trainwrecked Oregon's healthcare website when other states were able to accomplish more for far less and in a far more timely manner.

Good thing I'm not in congress, I'd find any way I could to prevent you from bidding on a contract that was critical for our national defense.

Just get lost already, and let the companies that know what they're doing get the job done.

Re: Oracle might actually have a point here.

By Junta • Score: 4 • Thread

This is true, but that makes this all the more significant of a proof point of the value of competition. In a competitive landscape, there's going to be *someone* to call someone else on their shenanigans, even if it another usually bad actor.

Dead company walking. They just don't realize it

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Dead company walking. They just don't realize it.
Their clients hate Oracle. If they could, they've fire them today.
Oracle has been a bully, especially on cloudy stuff.

And...

By erp_consultant • Score: 3 • Thread

If Oracle were awarded the contract instead then Amazon or Microsoft would just sit by idly? Of course not. They would launch lawsuits of their own. This story has nothing to do with what's best for the federal government and everything to do with endless corporate greed.

Obviously Oracle is fighting to prevent a competitor from getting a foot in the door. They want the whole pie for themselves, just like Microsoft and Amazon do.