the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Jun-13 today archive


  1. Study Finds Nearly 400 Medical Devices, Procedures and Practices That Are Ineffective
  2. AMD Is Working On a Monster 64-Core Threadripper CPU, Landing As Early As Q4 2019
  3. SwiftUI and Catalyst: Apple Executes Its Invisible Transition Strategy
  4. Credit Scores Based On AI and Your Social Media Profile Could Usher In New Way For Banks To Discriminate
  5. LG's 5G Phones in Doubt as Chip Deal With Qualcomm Set To Expire
  6. 'Medicine Needs To Embrace Open Source'
  7. Huawei Started Serving Ads On Phone Lock Screens Without Asking Users' Permission
  8. Privacy Policies Are Essentially Impossible To Understand, Study Finds
  9. Google Made a Video Game That Lets You Build Video Games
  10. Lawsuits Claim Amazon's Alexa Voice Assistant Illegally Records Children Without Consent
  11. Dark Horse Cryptocurrency Spikes 60% After Surprise Google Shout-Out
  12. Lessons From 5 Years of Free Cybersecurity For At-Risk Groups
  13. Yubico To Replace Vulnerable YubiKey FIPS Security Keys
  14. System76's Supercharged Linux-powered Gazelle Laptop is Finally Available
  15. Japan Outlaws Flying Drones While Drunk
  16. Huawei Asks Verizon To Pay Over $1 Billion For Over 230 Patents
  17. India Plans To Have Its Own Space Station
  18. Google Promises To Play Nice With Ad Blockers (Again)
  19. Windows 10's Linux Kernel Is Now Available
  20. Telegram Blames China For DDoS Attack Coinciding With Hong Kong Protests
  21. Elon Musk Says Tesla Is Working On a James Bond-Style Submarine Car
  22. IT Pro Screwed Out of Unused Vacation Pay, Bonus By HPE Thanks To Outdated Law
  23. NASA Overcomes Military's GPS Tweaks To Peer Inside Hurricanes

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

Study Finds Nearly 400 Medical Devices, Procedures and Practices That Are Ineffective

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceAlert: A recent study has unearthed nearly 400 established treatments, devices and procedures that are no better than previous or lesser alternatives. [This is referred to as a "medical reversal" in the medical industry.] The findings are based on more than 15 years of randomized controlled trials, a type of research that aims to reduce bias when testing new treatments. Across 3,000 articles in three leading medical journals from the UK and the US, the authors found 396 reversals. While these were found in every medical discipline, cardiovascular disease was by far the most commonly represented category, at 20 percent; it was followed by preventative medicine and critical care.

Taken together, it appears that medication was the most common reversal at 33 percent; procedures came in second at 20 percent, and vitamins and supplements came in third at 13 percent. This line-up is unsurprising given the history of medical reversals that we do know about. In the late 20th century, for instance, sudden cardiac death was deemed a "world wide public health problem." Most cases were thought to arise from an irregular heart rhythm, and so a new generation of antiarrhythmic drugs were developed. "In the late 1980s, the Cardiac Antiarrhythmic Suppression Trial (CAST) was conducted to assess the safety of what was then commonplace. Interestingly, recruitment for the trial was hindered by physicians who refused to let patients undergo randomization with a 50 percent chance of not receiving these medications." In the end, however, the randomized trial found that the medication was even more deadly than a placebo. While not all of these medical reversals are deadly, they are all, by definition, useless expenses.
The research has been published in the journal eLife.


By geekmux • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Doctors form beliefs about what works. The best of those beliefs are driven by research, but frequently they are driven by narrative because doctors are human. They believe plenty of things without evidence because those things make sense and/or are consistent with their training or experience. But that doesn't mean they're always right.

It does mean that they want their patients to do the thing they think will work.

So they don't want a patient assigned randomly.

Unless, of course, they are comfortable with deliberately killing patients, which most of them aren't.

Medical error in America accounts for more deaths than alcohol, automobiles, and illegal drugs combined. If you think they're not "comfortable", think again. Doctors are now a leading cause of death.

You're right. They do believe plenty of things without evidence, because the only evidence that matters is profit. Death is dismissed as a mere side effect.

More deadly than a placebo?

By Darren Hiebert • Score: 3 • Thread

the medication was even more deadly than a placebo.

So just how deadly was the placebo? And have they changed the definition of a placebo recently?

Re:But we have to have new drugs

By MrLogic17 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You seem to be advocating doing the most possible number of tests, as frequently as possible.
Why not mammograms every 6 months? Every quarter? Monthly? Surely monthly diagnostic tests would find more early cancers than waiting for a yearly test.
You seem to be missing balancing the benefits against the cost, time, and false positives.

I can't tell you how many thousands of dollars I personally have had to pony up because a doctor went "test happy", chasing things that months later were summarized as "Oh, it's nothing. You're fine."
Now I refuse to go to a doctor unless absolutely necessary. I've had it with the endless tests.

But they do make lots of money!

By mspohr • Score: 3 • Thread

These procedures, drugs, etc. may be ineffective or even harmful but they all are big moneymakers for doctors, hospitals, and the manufacturers.
Hard to give up the income stream when you can plausibly rationalize their use on innocent patients.

Re:But we have to have new drugs

By ceoyoyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You appear to not understand uncertainty, or statistical methods of accounting for it.

AMD Is Working On a Monster 64-Core Threadripper CPU, Landing As Early As Q4 2019

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
AMD is preparing a monstrous 64-core/128-thread Threadripper CPU for launch in Q4 2019. "AMD's largest HEDT processor right now is the W2990X which tops out at 32-cores," reports Wccftech. "This is nothing to sneeze at and is already the highest core HEDT part around but because the world can't get enough of these yummy cores, AMD is planning to launch a 64-core version in Q4 2019." From the report: The platform is called X599 right now although I am told AMD is considering changing the name to avoid confusion with Intel. This is not really surprising since both Intel and AMD HEDT platforms have the same nomenclature and it can get really confusing. I am also told that they they plan to retain the "99" suffix. AMD is planning to launch the 64-core Threadripper part and the corresponding platform in Q4 2019. In fact, that is when you can expect these motherboards to start popping up from various AIBs.

Now my source did not mention a new socket, so as far as I know, this should be socket compatible with the existing TR4 motherboards and only a bios update should be needed if you already own one. What I don't know right now is whether this is a 14nm part or a 7nm part. Conventional wisdom would dictate that this is a 14nm part trickling down from their server space, but who knows, maybe the company will surprise all of us? This is pretty exciting news, because knowing AMD, the 64-core Threadripper CPU will probably be priced in the $2500 to $3000 range, making it one of the most affordable workstation processors around with this many threads.

Re:Take my money!

By NewtonsLaw • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

At last... a CPU that will deliver a computing solution capable of keeping up with me when I play Solitaire!


Re:Ignorant rumors

By Tough Love • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

32 cores of the current Threadripper ... two clusters of cores are not directly connected to RAM controllers in the highest models and accessing memory has additional latency.

That was the original Threadripper, the new chiplet based design is very different. All cores are connected to a central IO core, so that every core is equally close/distant from main memory. There is some overhead to access L3 cache on a different core, but this new design is not definitely not Numa.

Will 100 cores be enough to read email?

By aberglas • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In 20 years time, apps will be so bloated that you would not be able to boot a toaster with only 100 cores. 100gig of RAM? You've got to be joking. Could not even fit the toaster's security software in that.

But the good news is that the toaster of 2040 will only be able to toast properly authorized bread. No fake bread in 2040.


By qubezz • Score: 3 • Thread
Imagine a beowulf clust... oh, I guess they did.

Re:Full-blown and blueprinted

By Rockoon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
GPU usage of "core" is bullshit. In the case of Radeon VII I believe the "3840 cores" is actually 60 real cores, each real core being able to handle 64 "threads" at a time. These bundles of 64 "threads" is called a "wave" and are essentially very wide SIMD units with some "branching" logic (the 64 "threads" can be split up into two different instruction streams, one stream executed on odd clocks the other executed on even clocks)

SwiftUI and Catalyst: Apple Executes Its Invisible Transition Strategy

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Catalyst is Apple's framework that enables developers to easily bring existing iOS apps to the Mac, while SwiftUI is a new, Swift-based technology that makes it easy for developers to create one app that runs on all of Apple's platforms. Jason Snell from Macworld highlights the slow, invisible transition of these new technologies. From the report: Catalyst, which arrives this fall, will allow developers who are well-versed in the vagaries of writing iOS apps to use those skills to write Mac apps. This will most commonly take the form of bringing iPad apps to the Mac, with additions to make them feel more like native Mac apps, but it's more than that -- it provides iOS developers with a familiar set of tools and access to an entirely new platform, and it makes the target for professional apps across Apple's platforms broader by including both the iPad and the Mac. iOS apps are currently built to run on devices running Apple-designed ARM processors, and if the rumors are true, that's another transition waiting to happen. But given that all Mac and iOS developers are already using Apple's Xcode tools to develop their apps, I suspect that the pieces have been put in place for a fairly simple transition to a new processor architecture.

And then there's SwiftUI, which may be a harder concept for regular users to grasp, but it's a huge step on Apple's part. This is Apple's ultimate long game -- an entirely new way to design and build apps across all of Apple's platforms, based on the Swift language (introduced five years ago as yet another part of Apple's long game). In the shorter term, iOS app developers will be able to reach to the Mac via Catalyst. But in the longer term, Apple is creating a new, unified development approach to all of Apple's devices, based in Swift and SwiftUI. Viewed from this perspective, Catalyst feels more like a transitional technology than the future of Apple's platforms. But we're talking about the long game here. Transitional technologies are all a part of the long game. Catalyst will bring those apps to the Mac. iOS and Mac developers will pick up Swift and SwiftUI. Mac apps can integrate iOS stuff via Catalyst. iOS apps can integrate Mac stuff for use on the Mac. And all developers can begin experimenting with SwiftUI, building new interfaces and replacing old ones in a gradual process.
"And then we'll turn around sometime in the 2020s and realize that all of this talk of UIKit and AppKit and Catalyst is behind us, and that our apps are written in Swift with interfaces created using SwiftUI," Snell writes in closing. "It will have all changed due to Apple's slow and steady pace of iterative, continuous improvement. The long game never stops, and it can be hard to see that you're even in it."

Swift UI is a bigger deal than it may seem.

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Some of you probably look at Swift UI and compare it to so many things that look a little like it that have come before...

But if you look into how it works at depth, it already has a ton of very powerful features that mean it's not just one of a thousand silly UI toys where you can slap a simple UI together but falls apart in complex cases. Indeed, complex cases are where it starts to get pretty good (although at that point the code you are looking at is no longer so super clean). You can build complex UI with complex alignment of many elements that works as perfectly as you want it to, which is pretty amazing all by itself.

I also think this approach where you have back and forth with a graphical UI builder and code is a really great approach, one that lets people come at making UI's in a way that is most natural for them - I read someone say that at long last there would be peace between those who liked to build UI in code, and those who liked a GUI builder.

Combine that with the ease of quickly testing your UI on a deal device, and I think this platform could be the thing that really gets a lot of kids into programming in a way that Swift Playgrounds was not.

It's not like everyone can start to build apps with it right away but it is a great first step and an excellent direction to drive people toward. I've not really seen anyone against it wholesale, just some who are cautious (and well they should be when things like this have come and gone before). The very large spread of people who really like this shows great potential for how quickly this will be adopted.

Boy do you have that backwards!!

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Times change, and as the Mac's transition from technical to commercial/consumer platform

Except it is the opposite - witness the new Mac Pro, the best PC you can buy (when it comes out). The scientific library support has never been more robust, and SwiftUI will make it way easier for scientists to construct complex visualizations rather than having to wade through a ton of API's oriented to producing consumer apps.

What is truly upon us now, is an age not of consumer apps, though that is one segment - it is the UNIX promise of small specialized executables to do specific tasks well, only now in GUI form and as easy to build as it was to build small command line utilities in C or shell scripts back in the day.

Plan B

By Dan East • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I see this as Plan B. Apple has been working for years on a way to seamlessly integrate iOS and OSX. This is one of the primary reasons they have not released any Macs (laptop or otherwise) with touchscreen hardware. Apple is years behind in the touchscreen laptop game - I have a Lenovo touchscreen laptop because it very conveniently allows me to do web development on a full computer yet test touchscreen interface very easily. The hardware is now cheap and ubiquitous, but Apple doesn't have it (even though they themselves brought the multi-touch capacitive display to mainstream with the iPhone - up to that point the only consumer touch screen devices were single-touch resistive). Why? Because Apple has been waiting to unveil the touchscreen Mac at the same time that OSX could natively run iOS apps in a seamless way. Think of that - it would be a game changer.

This is not a hardware problem. Heck, they could easily throw a A12X Bionic SOC onto the motherboard and have it handle running the iOS apps at full speed. This is purely a software problem. And, to get much more specific, it is a UI problem. Simply wrapping an iPhone app in a tall rectangular window and adding a touch screen just doesn't cut it, as any of us developers know who use the iPhone simulator while debugging on a mac.

News of this leaked back in 2017, and the project was / is called Marzipan. Here it is 2019 and the closest we're getting is a set of UI tools that *should* make it easier to transition UIs across the platforms - assuming developers choose to switch to those tools to develop their UI. That's a far cry from Apple simply bringing the existing iOS app store straight into OSX (vastly increasing the value of Macs since they would be able to run the largest, highest quality app collection in the world).

So, I see this as recognition of Apple of the failure to do this entirely at the OS level behind the scenes. They are instead creating tools (and certainly down the road, forcing migration to those tools) that place constraints upon, and control the definition of, the UI in such a way that the app can run on anything from a phone to a tablet to a laptop whether the developer wants to target such disparate platforms or not.

Re:Plan B

By Dog-Cow • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Catalyst is Marzipan.

Best of luck...

By ndykman • Score: 3 • Thread

While Apple has much fewer native applications than Windows, I think they will learn what Microsoft learned in trying to unify phone, tablet and desktop UI in a single application. It just doesn't work very well. It's not a matter of a better language or framework (fin my mind, Swift and SwiftUI are not massively better or different than C# and XAML anyway). It's that different form factors have different use cases, those demand different logic, and that's where the idea of a single application just falls down.

An application to record audio on a tablet is not the same as a DAW on a workstation. Quick editing of pictures on a phone is not the same as Photoshop.

Now, I do think there is room to improve the 2 in 1 experience (Surface Pro, etc.). For example, take something like Outlook. If you are tablet mode, you probably want to find emails, not really compose them. If the UI reorganized to really optimize those use case and then flipped back, that might work. I just think the gap between a phone and a laptop is just too wide. Separate applications for a phone just makes more sense to me.

Credit Scores Based On AI and Your Social Media Profile Could Usher In New Way For Banks To Discriminate

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Credit scores have a long history of prejudice. "Most changes in how credit scores are calculated over the years -- including the shift from human assessment to computer calculations, and most recently to artificial intelligence -- have come out of a desire to make the scores more equitable, but credit companies have failed to remove bias, on the basis of race or gender, for example, from their system," writes Rose Eveleth via Motherboard.

While credit companies have tried to reduce bias with machine learning and "alternative credit," which uses data like your sexual orientation or political beliefs that isn't normally included in a credit score to try and get a sense for how trustworthy someone might be, Eveleth says that "introducing this 'non-traditional' information to credit scores runs the risk of making them even more biased than they already are, eroding nearly 150 years of effort to eliminate unfairness in the system." From the report: Biases in AI can affect not just individuals with credit scores, but those without any credit at all as non-traditional data points are used to try and invite new creditors in. There is still a whole swath of people in the United States known as the "unbanked" or "credit invisibles." They have too little credit history to generate a traditional credit score, which makes it challenging for them to get loans, apartments, and sometimes even jobs. According to a 2015 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, 45 million Americans fall into the category of credit invisible or unscoreable -- that's almost 20 percent of the adult population. And here again we can see a racial divide: 27 percent of Black and Hispanic adults are credit invisible or unscoreable (PDF), compared to just 16 percent of white adults.

To bring these "invisible" consumers into the credit score fold, companies have proposed alternative credit. FICO recently released FICO XD, which includes payment data from TV or cable accounts, utilities, cell phones, and landlines. Other companies have proposed social media posts, job history, educational history, and even restaurant reviews or business check-ins. Lenders say that alternative data is a benefit to those who have been discriminated against and excluded from banking. No credit? Bad credit? That doesn't mean you're not trustworthy, they say, and we can mine your alternative data and give you a loan anyway. But critics say that alternative data looks a lot like old-school surveillance. Letting a company have access to everything from your phone records to your search history means giving up all kinds of sensitive data in the name of credit. Experts worry that the push to use alternative data might lead, once again, to a situation similar to the subprime mortgage crisis if marginalized communities are offered predatory loans that wind up tanking their credit scores and economic stability.

Could be problematic due to NN superstition

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Neural networks develop superstitions (just like people do) by correlating unrelated coincidences in information. If they apply NNs to social media data, it could develop superstitions as silly as someone not having a picture of their car or as racist as the color of your skin. The real problem with NNs is that they don't know the what is being used to determine if someone is a higher or lower risk. My real concern is that not having a social media account will default to believing you are high risk.


By imperious_rex • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Maybe it's because I've had at least one checking account since I was 17 (when I got my first job), but I have never been able to wrap my brain around how/why someone can function in a modern society being "unbanked" without a traditional bank or credit union account. A checking and savings account is essential to being financially functional, as one can't rely on cold hard cash all the time time. How does an "unbanked" person pay apartment rent every month? Most rental companies only accept checks. How does an "unbanked" person pay the utility bills? Make an online purchase? I think that only by being homeless and eschewing goods and services could one live being "unbanked."

Institutionalize racism

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
is when racism is built into your institutions. The most famous example is when Crack Cocaine carries stiffer penalties than powered cocaine, but there's much less blunt examples. You can "redline" black neighborhoods for home loans based on zip code, so that even when a family gets good jobs they still end up segregated because they can't get the kinds of low interest loans needed to move to nicer neighborhoods.

First, let's be clear, we're not talking about AI, we're talking about very, very complex computer models. That's not AI, it's this. And that's all well and good, but a model is only as good as it's data. And the data is only as good as it's meta data, and so on. It doesn't take much to skew a system. Just a few bad data points and you've trapped an entire community in a cycle of non-stop poverty.

It's basically why blacks are as badly off as they are when taken as a whole. They were excluded from a good chunk of the New Deal and the social programs of the 60s & 70s. But you wouldn't know that unless you really looked into it.

The unsolvable "problem"

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

The unsolvable "problem" is that different groups have different average characteristics and outcomes in various areas of life.

You can argue about what the reasons for that are - I'd hate to go all "anti-science" and claim that brains are biological or anything - but regardless of why, it's a fact. A fact that isn't due to "racism" so it will not be budged by changes in "racism".

It can only be budged by engaging in racist policies of putting your finger on the scale to change the outcomes.

Re:^ Retarded nazi faggot has no clue, whines anyw

By Cederic • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Computers can have bias, and can make false inferences, and can find sub-optimal optimums.

If the AI discovers that a certain set of variables provides a strong signal to produce a certain outcome, THAT'S BECAUSE THEY DO IN REALITY.

That doesn't however tell you whether the variables are actually correct or whether the computer is missing a key factor that would allow greater accuracy or invalidate the current analysis.

For instance, if you tell a computer someone's skin colour and not their economic status, upbringing, location or employment level then you're going to get a very racist analysis. Tell the computer everything else and not the person's race and you'll actually get a greatly improved model.

So please, stop pretending computers are infallible. We work with them too much to pretend that.

LG's 5G Phones in Doubt as Chip Deal With Qualcomm Set To Expire

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Sales of LG's new 5G smartphone looked uncertain this week after the firm said it was unable to narrow differences with Qualcomm to renew a chip license deal that is due to expire this month. From a report: In a U.S. court filing late on Tuesday, the South Korean firm opposed Qualcomm's efforts to put a sweeping U.S. antitrust decision against it on hold, arguing setting the ruling aside could force it into signing another unfair deal. "If Qualcomm does not participate in negotiations with LGE in accordance with the Court's Order, LGE will have no option but to conclude license and chipset supply agreements once again on Qualcomm's terms," LG's filing in the federal court in San Jose, California said. The lack of clarity over a new license deal raises concerns over the rollout of LG's newly launched 5G smartphones, crucial for the loss-making handset maker to boost flagging smartphone sales and catch up with Samsung.

'Medicine Needs To Embrace Open Source'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols from ZDNet argues that "the expensive and abusive pharmaceutical industry needs to open up to improve everyone's health." An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: Now, I know little about creating and testing drugs. Here's what I do know: Open source and data produces better results than proprietary methods. In technology, the field I know best, almost every company -- including open source poster-child enemy Microsoft -- has embraced open source. Why? Because it works better than the short-sighted proprietary approaches. It's not just programming that benefits from open source. Cars now run Linux under the hood. Energy and electricity transmission managers are moving to open source. Most of the movies you love are made with open-source programs. Heck, even contract law is going open source.

I'm far from the only one to conclude that open-source methods are needed to break what amounts to broken pharmaceutical research methodology and drug price gouging. Open Source Pharma, an organization devoted to building on existing initiatives to develop an alternative, comprehensive, open-source pharmaceutical system, is leading the way. Dr. Manica Balasegaram, executive director for the Access Campaign of Medecins Sans Frontieres, aka Doctors Without Borders, explained: "There is something rotten in the kingdom of biomedical R&D... That the system is inefficient is probably difficult to dispute. It works in silos, encourages a protectionist, proprietary approach, promotes duplication, multiplies failure, is costly, and importantly, is directed at markets and not at public health needs. The consequences are fatal." Open source can revolutionize our hunt for better, more affordable medicine. It has everywhere else. It can in medicine, too.
"We need to fundamentally let go of thinking that there is only one possible business model," says Balasegaram. "We need alternatives. Open source R&D is the key." Since the biomedical field is dominated by big companies with an iron grip on IP, Balasegaram admitted: "Promoting the concept of sharing will be tough. Sharing, however, is a difficult and somewhat scary idea to promote. It sounds suspiciously 'radical.' However, when one takes into account that this has been done in other areas, we need to rethink our reservations."

The cost to bring a drug to market

By tgibson • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

is estimated to be between $648 million and $2.7 billion The regimen that the FDA requires for drug development is hostile to an Open Source approach. It will need to evolve as well.

lolz, the software the least of our worries

By iggymanz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

big insurance, big pharmy, big healthcare chains... all have our lawmakers and the industry in their pockets and under their control. It's why "obamacare" doesn't have a single payer system and why it's therefore just a warmed over Republican plan.

It's out of control, the insurance companies and the healthcare directors (with biz degrees) practice medicine and the doctors don't

Re:Most of the work is done at public universities

By ewibble • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Profits are the problem, it is a fallacy to say that people primarily motivated by money. If that where even slightly true people would not go on holiday's buy expensive cars since that would maximize our money, but what we are actually trying to do is maximize our happiness. After the point you a comfortable, it extremely expensive to buy extra happiness, you only buy relative happiness because you can think you are better than others. You can do this with the prestige of contributing to society.

Yes you do need some money for people to live comfortably, but the people making the real money are not the people doing the innovation. If you take it to the extreme why would a company ever try to cure anyone? There is more profit simply treating you for the rest of your life. Also once you have a patient it is in your interest just to stop other people developing new technology on top of that, Since it is cheaper to simply do nothing and collect the profit.

Taxpayer funded, no commercial nor political (GPL)

By drnb • Score: 3 • Thread

Here's what I do know: Open source and data produces better results than proprietary methods. In technology, the field I know best, almost every company -- including open source poster-child enemy Microsoft -- has embraced open source. Why? Because it works better than the short-sighted proprietary approaches.

Then you do not know as much as you think. Open source works well for commodities that have little to no opportunity for profits. Embedded firmware that boots the system and hosts an environment or specialized application (phones, appliances, iot devices), and server operating systems. Historically the taxpayer funded BSD Unix undercut commercial efforts in these areas (various Unix Workstation/Server vendors based their environments on BSD), Linux followed, more on this below..

How does open source work better when it is largely copying commercial software (or in the Linux case copying other open source for political reasons)? LibreOffice, Gimp, etc are basically copies of commercial software, Linux a copy of BSD and AT&T Unix, etc. Copies in the sense of copying features and functionality, of course the source code is not copied. The vast majority of the time open source follows commercial, it does not lead.

Not all proprietary software is based on short term thinking or short sighted approaches, and open source is hardly devoid of those two shortcomings either. Its a human failing, not a software development approach failing, not a licensing failing. You are offering articles of faith as if they were established facts.

As for Microsoft's embrace of open source. Like Apple, some things can be outsourced to the "community". With respect to Microsoft including the Linux kernel in Windows, offering the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), this greatly undercuts Linux's attempt to gain traction on the desktop. Many Linux users just want some Unix tools and utilities. WSL makes these available natively on the Windows desktop, available alongside all that commercial proprietary software people just can't do without. Thereby reducing interest in Linux, as macOS had reduced interest in Linux with its native BSD environment. In the 1990s Linux was a godsend for someone wanting Unix on a PC, but now its just not that special. Microsoft was not so short sighted here were they?

That said, for things that are taxpayers funded. Yes they should be under a non-discriminatory non-political open source license like BSD and a few others, GPL fails here. Of course individuals and groups funding things on their own are free to do whatever they feel like doing, BSD, GPL, commercial, etc. But no, when appealing to the taxpayers you should not get to go commercial or political (GPL).

Re:The cost to bring a drug to market

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Japan, the EU and Switzerland are examples of testing management organizations that are just as good as our FDA. One way we could save, and speed up new drug development worldwide, is for all these organizations to agree on a framework for accepting each other's test results. This would effectively be divvying up the work on testing new compounds, rather than having the FDA take extra years duplicating every other country's efforts as it does now. Smaller countries could buy into this test regime by specializing in limited classes of coumpounds, coordinated internationally so everything is covered.

Huawei Started Serving Ads On Phone Lock Screens Without Asking Users' Permission

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Huawei is reportedly displaying advertisements on the lock screen of its smartphones, seemingly without warning or any sort of announcement. Huawei says that it's doing no such thing. "The ads are not initiated by Huawei. We encourage individuals to check app settings, or follow publicly available directions on how to remove lock screen ads," Huawei said in a statement to Digital Trends. From the report: According to Huawei, the ads are stemming from some third-party services or apps, and not from Huawei itself. For comparison, Huawei pointed to a similar issue that affected Samsung phones about a year ago. That said, it doesn't seem to add up -- after all, the ads are being placed in Huawei's Magazine cycle of wallpapers, and it seems highly coincidental that a number of Huawei users would all experience the same issue on the same day without users of other phones running into the same problem.

A number of users on Reddit reported finding advertisements on their lock screen. One user, who goes by the username Quacksnooze, posted a screenshot of a ad that suddenly appeared on their phone. Other users reported getting ads as well. According to the Reddit thread, four images related to were added to the Huawei phone's wallpaper rotation, meaning that they would start showing up as wallpapers like any other image. The images could be manually deleted, but it's possible more could be added in the future. You can also get around the issue by not using Huawei's Magazine lock screen wallpaper, but that's a bit of a frustrating solution.

At least

By spcebar • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
it happened to a company that has such a cache of good will for it.

Only source is Reddit?

By Thruen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The article only links two sources, both Reddit posts, and one is just a crosspost of the first post linked, so effectively the source for this is a single Reddit post. That post only has 387 upvotes and 121 comments. How many Huawei phones are out there? Millions? Is there actually a story here?

Damn Huawei...

By fafalone • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
Now you're trash. The massive industrial espionage, evading Iran sanctions, and US saying you're a national security threat are one thing. But ads on the home screen? Fuck off and die.

Re:Not just Huawei

By andymadigan • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
What are you talking about? I've had an iPhone for years, I'm currently running the latest OS on the iPhone XS, and I've never seen a "Siri link" to anything on the lock screen, ever, let alone an ad.

Re:Not just Huawei

By bagofbeans • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

USA... after bombing Cambodia during Vietnam war:

"We have not bombed Cambodia. It is all a Communists Dog lie!"

Privacy Policies Are Essentially Impossible To Understand, Study Finds

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The data market has become the engine of the internet, and privacy policies we agree to but don't fully understand help fuel it. From a report: To see exactly how inscrutable they have become, I analyzed the length and readability of privacy policies from nearly 150 popular websites and apps. Facebook's privacy policy, for example, takes around 18 minutes to read in its entirety -- slightly above average for the policies I tested. Then I tested how easy it was to understand each policy using the Lexile test developed by the education company Metametrics. The test measures a text's complexity based on factors like sentence length and the difficulty of vocabulary. To be successful in college, people need to understand texts with a score of 1300. People in the professions, like doctors and lawyers, should be able to understand materials with scores of 1440, while ninth graders should understand texts that score above 1050 to be on track for college or a career by the time they graduate. Many privacy policies exceed these standards.

[...] The vast majority of these privacy policies exceed the college reading level. And according to the most recent literacy survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, over half of Americans may struggle to comprehend dense, lengthy texts. That means a significant chunk of the data collection economy is based on consenting to complicated documents that many Americans can't understand. [...] Airbnb's privacy policy, on the other hand, is particularly inscrutable. It's full of long, jargon-laden sentences that obscure Airbnb's data practices and provides cover to use data in expansive ways. Things weren't always this bad. Google's privacy policy evolved over two decades -- along with its increasingly complicated data collection practices -- from a two-minute read in 1999 to a peak of 30 minutes by 2018.

Night Before Christmas In Legalese

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

" Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain
  improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of
  stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

  A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and
  around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a/
  St. Nicholas a/k/a/ Santa Claus (hereinafter "Claus") would arrive at sometime

  The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House, were
  located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations,
  i.e. dreams, wherein vision of confectionery treats, including, but not limited
  to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in
  said dreams.

  Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as
  "I"), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the
  second part (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained
  period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of
  headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.)

  Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the
  unimproved real property adjacent and appurtent to said House, i.e. the lawn, a
  certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of
  the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the
  cause of such disturbance.

  At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of
  wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter the "Vehicle") being
  pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8)
  reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the
  previously referenced Claus.

  Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the
  approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal
  co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder
  and Blitzen (hereinafter the "Deer"). (Upon information and belief, it is
  further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named Rudolph may have been

  The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer
  intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences
  located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle
  was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or
  nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or
  implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the

  Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue
  from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the
  aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what
  appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances
  and health regulations.

  Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor
  children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts.
  (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minor pursuant to the
  applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.) Upon completion of such task, Claus
  touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of
  the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as
  "lookouts." Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

  However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House,
  the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim: "Merry
  Christmas to all and to all a good night!" Or words to that effect."

What's not to understand

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
all your data will be sold at the drop of a hat if you so much as buy a drink from a lemonade stand.

Frankly I don't care. I've said it before, but as an American I've got bigger fish to fry. Healthcare (not universal here), the drug war, the 8 real wars, stagnant wages, Gerrymandering & Voter Suppression. Privacy is so far down the list of worries for me it doesn't even register.

Uh, yeah...

By timeOday • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The libertarian "freedom of contract" ideal is a big farce. One side is a team of lawyers with nothing better to do than constantly re-write lengthy, arcane contracts in their own best interest; the other is an individual offered "take it or leave it" terms on every necessary good and service a dozen times per day. A big farce.

We value your privacy

By nagora • Score: 3 • Thread

Which is why we're going to sell it for cash.

Works as designed

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Privacy policies are not supposed to be understood by the user, they're supposed to cover the company's ass.

Google Made a Video Game That Lets You Build Video Games

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Game Builder is a new video game from Google that allows you to create simple Minecraft-style games for yourself and others to play through. "The game lets you drag and drop characters and scenery into an empty sandbox to construct your world, then use preset commands to string together how things interact," reports The Verge. "It's free to play and available on both Windows and macOS." From the report: The game comes from Area 120, Google's incubator for experimental projects (some of which have quickly disappeared, others of which have made their way into other Google products). Game Builder has actually been available through Steam since November 1st last year (it already has 190 reviews, with a "every positive" score), but Google only publicized it today, which is certain to get a lot more people playing. Game Builder has a co-op mode, so multiple people can build a game together at once. You can also share your creations and browse through the games made by others. The interaction system works with "if this then that" logic, and players can craft their own interactions with JavaScript if they're familiar with it.


By rsilvergun • Score: 3 • Thread
Pinball Construction Set. Adventure Construction Set. Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures. Dezaemon (too obscure?).

This is really, really old hat. Now get off my tile mapped lawn.

Lawsuits Claim Amazon's Alexa Voice Assistant Illegally Records Children Without Consent

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Seattle Times: A lawsuit filed in Seattle alleges Amazon is recording children who use its Alexa devices without their consent, in violation of laws governing recordings in at least eight states, including Washington. "Alexa routinely records and voiceprints millions of children without their consent or the consent of their parents," according to a complaint filed on behalf of a 10-year-old Massachusetts girl on Tuesday in federal court in Seattle. Another nearly identical suit was filed the same day in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, on behalf of an 8-year-old boy. The federal complaint, which seeks class-action status, describes Amazon's practice of saving "a permanent recording of the user's voice" and contrasts that with other makers of voice-controlled computing devices that delete recordings after storing them for a short time or not at all.

The complaint notes that Alexa devices record and transmit any speech captured after a "wake word" activates the device, regardless of the speaker and whether that person purchased the device or installed the associated app. It says the Alexa system is capable of identifying individual speakers based on their voices and Amazon could choose to inform users who had not previously consented that they were being recorded and ask for consent. It could also deactivate permanent recording for users who had not consented. "But Alexa does not do this," the lawsuit claims. "At no point does Amazon warn unregistered users that it is creating persistent voice recordings of their Alexa interactions, let alone obtain their consent to do so."
The lawsuit goes on to say that Amazon's failure to obtain consent violates the laws of Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington, which require consent of all parties to a recording, regardless of age.

"The proposed class only includes minors in those states "who have used Alexa in their home and have therefore been recorded by Amazon, without consent,'" reports The Seattle Times. "The suit asks a judge to certify the class action and rule that Amazon violated state laws; require it to delete all recordings of class members; and prevent further recording without prior consent. It seeks damages to be determined at trial."

The Future

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

"Hey network connected speaker assistant..."


"Em, I guess, what is the current temperature?"


Stupid frivolous lawsuit...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

When you bought your Amazon Echo and installed it in your house next to your children, are you not implicitly consenting to having Alex record utterings from said children? Don't buy Echo and don't install it anywhere near your children if you want to keep Alex from recording them. Duh. I hope the court throws this out as fast as possible. No rewards for stupid people.

Re:Stupid frivolous lawsuit...

By darkain • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I recently stayed at a hotel in Downtown Seattle. The hotel rooms are equipped with always-on Alexa speakers. I didn't consent to this, nor knew about it before staying at the hotel, nor did I purchase the device at all!

Dark Horse Cryptocurrency Spikes 60% After Surprise Google Shout-Out

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A little-known cryptocurrency spiked more than 60% after Google gave the project a surprise shout-out in an equally-unexpected blog post on how to use Ethereum and Google Cloud to build hybrid blockchain applications. From a report: That cryptocurrency, Chainlink (LINK), enjoyed a parabolic swing that launched its price as high as $2.00 on Binance. Just hours earlier, LINK had traded below $1.10. The Chainlink cryptocurrency spiked after Google showed how developers could use LINK to allow their Ethereum smart contracts to communicate with Google Cloud. As of the time of writing, the Chainlink cryptocurrency was priced at $1.86 on Binance, which translates into a 24-hour gain of 62%. That gives LINK a $619 million market cap, rocketing it to the 23rd spot in the market cap rankings and vaulting it past better-known crypto assets including Zcash and Dogecoin.

Dogecoin Dogecoin Dogecoin!

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4 • Thread
This post, once again, PROVES the inherent value of Dogecoin. It is an incredibly STABLE cryptocurrency, guaranteeing a consistent value day-in and day-out. Even with all this big gyration of LINK, one Dogecoin is STILL worth 1 DG...

Lessons From 5 Years of Free Cybersecurity For At-Risk Groups

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cloudflare's Project Galileo, which offers free high-tier DDoS protection service to journalists, dissidents, civil liberties groups and other at-risk groups, turned 5 years old this week. From a report: The project currently serves over 600 accounts. An LGBT protection group in the Middle East, for example, does important work on a shoestring budget and cannot possibly afford to block the outsized number of attacks it could face from governments and even citizens. Project Galileo isn't the only commercial cybersecurity service offered to at-risk groups, but it is one of the first and the most successful. "Project Galileo originally started from a failure to live up to what was originally our mission to make a better internet," Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told Codebook. Further reading: Cloudflare's Five-Year Project to Protect Nonprofits Online (Wired).

Block it, period

By XXongo • Score: 3 • Thread
Would be nice to block DDOS and other cyberattacks for all people on the internet, not just the ones designated "at risk."


Yubico To Replace Vulnerable YubiKey FIPS Security Keys

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Yubico said today it plans to replace certain hardware security keys because of a firmware flaw that reduces the randomness of cryptographic keys generated by its devices. From a report: Affected products include models part of the YubiKey FIPS Series, a line of YubiKey authentication keys certified for use on US government networks (and others) according to the US government's Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). According to a Yubico security advisory published today, YubiKey FIPS Series devices that run firmware version 4.4.2 and 4.4.4 contain a bug that keeps "some predictable content" inside the device's data buffer after the power-up operation.

This "predictable content" will influence the randomness of cryptographic keys generated on the device for a short period after the boot-up, until the "predictable content" is all used up, and true random data is present in the buffer. This means that for a short period after booting up YubiKey FIPS Series devices with the affected 4.4.2 and 4.4.4 versions will generate keys that can be either recovered partially, or in full, depending on the cryptographic algorithm the key is working with for a particular authentication operation.

The lab dropped the ball on this one

By sinij • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
As part of FIPS 140-3 certification, the certifying lab suppose to examine entropy generation. Here is YubiKey CMVP certificate. Apparently, someone at UL VERIFICATION SERVICES INC dropped the ball on checking entropy generation.

That does not inspire confidence

By gweihir • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is basically a beginner's mistake or the mistake a coder that has no clue about coding cryptographic mechanisms. The bug itself is one thing, but for such a bug to be happening, the development process is pretty badly faulty and something like this or other problems related to incompetence are likely to happen or already be present. This is a sign of "cheaper than possible" coding and coders.

Re:The lab dropped the ball on this one

By gweihir • Score: 4 • Thread

Certification is mostly useless for security. It is more of a CYA mechanism, where the incompetent or the clueless can excuse their screw-ups by "But we had _certification_!". Sure, there is some overlap between security certification and and actual security, but it is pretty small.

Someone Tell Intel About This

By Marlin Schwanke • Score: 3 • Thread
Actually replacing defective hardware. What a concept. Now if we could get Intel to replace all those Spectre & Meltdown ridden processors they’ve sold us.

System76's Supercharged Linux-powered Gazelle Laptop is Finally Available

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The System76 Gazelle laptop is finally available. From a report: What makes this laptop so special (besides its pre-installed Linux-based operating System), is its impressive specifications. You see, System76 has supercharged it with a 9th generation Intel Core i7 Processor (9750H) and NVIDIA GTX 16-Series Graphics. It even has something the pricey MacBook Pro doesn't -- the ability to be configure with up to 64GB. Yeah, Apple's laptop can only have a maximum of 32GB. The Gazelle can be configured with additional top specs, such as an NVMe SSD up to 2TB. Actually, it can accommodate two such drives, so you can theoretically have 4TB of speedy storage. You can opt for either a 15 or 17-inch display, both of which have a 1080p resolution. Regardless of screen size, you get a full keyboard too, meaning it has a number pad on the right. It ships with Ubuntu or Pop!_OS pre-installed and starts at $1099.


By thereddaikon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Depends on the screen size. I mostly use 12 and 14inch laptops and I think 1080p is perfectly fine at those sizes. Any higher than that and people start to turn on text scaling, even those who claim that they have great eyesight and want higher res....And if you are using text scaling then your eyes aren't sharp enough.

On larger monitors then higher resolutions are welcomed. I'm currently running a large 4k display on my desktop and the real-estate is wonderful.


By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

1080p lets you fit 4 XTerms with 9x16 fonts. 1440p gives you 6 XTerms. It's a 50% improvement in productivity.

Re:It seems like a fair price

By Gavagai80 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I don't really understand the point of a "Linux laptop". Go buy the best laptop you can within your budget, and then put whatever operating system you want on it after the fact.

I did that with my last laptop. I even did my research to make sure all the components had Linux drivers. It worked fine for about 6 months, until it updated to a new kernel for which the proprietary graphics driver no longer worked (because the company Intel outsourced the graphics driver to wrote a driver for one specific kernel version, and then never updated it since they weren't being paid anymore). I was able to go back to running an old kernel for another year or so. After that, no more graphics acceleration or suspend/resume.

No. Just No.

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 3 • Thread

>Regardless of screen size, you get a full keyboard too, meaning it has a number pad on the right.

Put the keyboard in the middle. I want to type, not do one handed data entry.

No amount of memory or GPU compensates for a bad keyboard when you are coding.

Nvidia non-starter

By jmccue • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If they had open source video then I would consider it in spite the lack of a trackball.

But I was burned by Nvidia. Nvidia stopped support for the on-board video I have on a desktop and Linux Kernel changed the interface, breaking the proprietary driver's interface. Thus no X and nouveau does not work with with that chip. So I picked up a new card, disabled Nvidia and all is well. No pain with a proprietary driver

So, I will never buy anything with a Nvidia chip again, I expect the proprietary driver needed on this laptop will be out of support and stop working with Linux. Meaning you will be stuck with either Text only or Windows.


Japan Outlaws Flying Drones While Drunk

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Operating a drone in Japan while drunk could lead to a year in prison thanks to new legislation. From a report: The law, passed by the country's parliament this week, seeks to rein in growing use of the unmanned aerial vehicles. Those found to be intoxicated while flying a drone could also face a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,765). The law covers drones weighing more than 200g (7oz) and also puts limits on where drones can be flown. "We believe operating drones after consuming alcohol is as serious as (drink) driving," a Japanese transport ministry official told the AFP news agency. As well as fines over drunken use, the legislation also levies fines on pilots who perform dangerous stunts with their drone. Those caught quickly plunging the craft towards crowds could face fines of up to 500,000 yen.

Drones should have air marshals

By jfdavis668 • Score: 3 • Thread
They need air marshals onboard to make sure there are no drunk pilots.

Daredevils they are...

By ugen • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Saw the title, read "outlaws" as a noun. Wondered for a second why those pesky inebriated Japanese outlaws are now flying drones.

Because, as we all know..

By NewtonsLaw • Score: 3 • Thread

Only right to impose huge fines on drunk droning... because, as we all know... um... er... tell me again, how many people have died as a result of the recreational use of multirotor drones?


In the entire history of the world...

Oh yes, that's right.


Around the world, regulators continue to completely ignore the science and focus instead on producing knee-jerk rules based on hysterical media articles that, for many years, have predicted the deaths of thousands as airliners fall from the skies with drones embeded in their engines and windows.

Examine the science of risk however (risk being the probability times the consequence) and you'll see that the true risk associated with the flying of small recreational drones is *tiny*. THIS is why we have seen no deaths at all, even though drones have been a thing for over a decade now.

But what about privacy? Drones have cameras don't they?

Seriousy, people still ask this question. These are the same people who live in a world where everyone has a high-resolution camera in their phone, where a growing number of cars on the streets have HD dashcams, where every shop and every street corner has a CCTV camera trained on those who walk by, where security agencies are already building huge facial-recognition databases.

And they worry about someone with a noisy drone that has a wide-angled camera which can't resolve faces unless it's just a few tens of meters away (and thus clearly obvious)?

Sorry... the drone thing is wildly overblown by those who are either ignorant or choose to feign such ignorance.

The real reason for these onerous regulations is that the previously unused airspace from ground to 400 feet has now gained a huge commercial value as the likes of Google, Amazon, DHL and others seek to use it for their delivery services. These corporations don't want pesky "amateur" drone fliers in *their* airspace so they lobby politicians and regulators to make rules that are so tough that people simply give up flying drones completely.

The really sad thing about all this is that it is effectively killing the hobby of RC model airplane flying. As far as Amazon, Google, DHL and the other lobbyists are concerned, there's no difference between another drone or a model aircraft using "their" airspace so the politicians have chosen to consider things like a scale model of a P51 Mustang to be exactly the same as a DJI Phantom.

Where will our next generation of aerospace engineers, pilots and astronauts come from? Remember that Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon (just a month short of 50 years ago) was an avid aeromodeller. Would we be where we are today if the hobby had effectively been banned (as is now shaping up to be the case) way back then?

And yes, this is becoming a ban because new rules in the EU, the UK, Australia and Canada say that nobody under the age of 16 may own a model aircraft or drone, or use one without adult supervision.


Because how many people have died as a result of the recreational use of multirotor drones again?

Oh yeah... that's right... ZERO!

Huawei Asks Verizon To Pay Over $1 Billion For Over 230 Patents

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
hackingbear writes: Huawei has told Verizon that the U.S. carrier should pay licensing fees for more than 230 of the Chinese telecoms equipment maker's patents and in aggregate is seeking more than $1 billion, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. Verizon should pay to "solve the patent licensing issue," a Huawei intellectual property licensing executive wrote in February, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier. The patents cover network equipment for more than 20 of the company's vendors including major U.S. tech firms but those vendors would indemnify Verizon, the person said. Some of those firms have been approached directly by Huawei, the person said. The patents in question range from core network equipment, wireline infrastructure to internet-of-things technology, the Journal reported. The licensing fees for the more than 230 patents sought is more than $1 billion, the person said. Huawei has been battling the U.S. government for more than a year. National security experts worry that "back doors" in routers, switches and other Huawei equipment could allow China to spy on U.S. communications. Huawei has denied that it would help China spy.

Re:Huawei becomes patent trolls

By nospam007 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

"This is how Huawei is going to fight back?

By becoming patent trolls?"

No. The US always complains that the Chinese don't respect intellectual property.

This is how they show that they do.

Re:Huawei becomes patent trolls

By hackingbear • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is how Huawei is going to fight back? By becoming patent trolls?

Oh yeah when the Americans suing everyone from violating one of its millions of patents in the East Texas court, they were protecting intellectual properties. When the Chinese apply the same weapon, they were patent trolling. What else can we expect from hypocrites?


By hackingbear • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

China doesn’t respect any of our patents. Why should we give an iron’s fuck about their patent claims?

Or your media outlets, including /., deliberately avoid publishing facts and data.

Re:Huawei becomes patent trolls

By Joce640k • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This is just patent trolling.

No, they sell a product.

Re:The irony

By tepples • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Patent infringement is not theft for the same reason that (for example) trespassing is not theft.

India Plans To Have Its Own Space Station

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
India plans to have its own space station in the future and conduct separate missions to study Sun and Venus, it said on Thursday, as the nation moves to bolster its status as a leader in space technologies and inspire the young minds to take an interest in scientific fields. From a report: India's space agency said today that it will begin working on its space station following its first manned mission to space, called Gaganyaan, in 2022 -- just in time to commemorate 75 years of the country's independence from Britain. The government has sanctioned Rs 10,000 crores ($1.5 billion) for Gaganyaan mission, it was unveiled today. "We have to sustain the Gaganyaan program after the launch of the human space mission. In this context, India is planning to have its own space station," said Dr Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). ISRO is India's equivalent to NASA. "While navigation, communication, and earth observation are going to be the bread and butter for us, it is missions such as Chandrayaan, Mangalyaan, and Gaganyaan that excite the youth, unite the nation, and also pave a technological seed for the future." The ambitious announcements come a day after the space agency said it will launch a lunar mission on July 15 this year in an attempt to become only the fourth nation to land on the moon.

With blackjack

By esperto • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
With blackjack and prostitutes. you know what, forget the space station.... and the blackjack

Equipped with massive phone bank

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 3 • Thread

So the crew can pay for the development costs as an out-sourced tech support.


By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

California is a state, not a country.

Google Promises To Play Nice With Ad Blockers (Again)

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: After being ripped to shreds by angry users, Google engineers have promised this week that the upcoming changes to Chrome's extensions system won't cripple ad blockers, as everyone is fearing. Instead, the company claims that the new extension API changes will actually improve user privacy and bring speed improvements. Furthermore, Google also promised to raise a maximum limit in one of the upcoming APIs that should address and lay to rest the primary criticism brought against the new extensions API by developers of ad blockers during the last six months.

Re:Firefox is no better, unfortunately

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Please don't trick yourself into thinking that Firefox is any better.

Firefox allows me to block ads, no problem.

(...which is the topic of this discussion, not privacy)


By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You know, comments like yours is precisely the reason companies stop listening to users:

Company: Announces change.
Users: Complain.
Company: Addresses complaints directly by saying they won't implement the changes.
Users: Complain.

Your comment is precisely the reason why users get treated more and more like some stupid thing to ignore and force in a direction any company wants precisely because you are unpleasable. That directly gives companies no incentive to listen to you in the future.

So how about you save the complaint for when you actually have something to complain about. Seriously man, the world is a messed up place with plenty of real things to complain about.

This is not a reversal

By mysidia • Score: 3 • Thread

company claims that the new extension API changes will actually improve user privacy and bring speed improvements.

It seems like they have conceded nothing here. It sounds like they are moving ahead with the Lie that taking away/restricting the API does not harm Ad Blockers and other tools: Trying to ``defeat'' the argument by contradiction --- just continuing to try and "save face" by disputing the point.

Static ads

By p51d007 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
If ALL ads were static, kind of like an ad in a newspaper or magazine, I wouldn't block them. But, some sites are so IN YOUR FACE with ads. Pop ups, unders, and those that start a video with blaring sound after you have scrolled down the page, then have to scramble back up to figure out which ad is the one playing. If it wasn't for uBlock, ABP...some sites would be impossible to read.

Re:The non-pressure

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If only. Instead, they decided to lie through their teeth on this one.

Contrary to their claims that they won't cripple ad blockers after all (how generous of them!), what they've actually done is bump up the number of rules ad blockers are allowed to set via the new API by a factor of 5 (from 30K to 150K). That sounds great until you realize that uBlock Origin, today, without including any region-specific lists, already has nearly 200K rules in the lists it can pull from, and users are welcome to import their own lists from other sources on top of that. These lists aren't getting smaller, so the lists will have no choice but to start omitting rules, making them less and less useful.

And that's before we consider the fact that these rules are more limited in what they can do than what the previous API allowed, meaning that, even if 150K rules is enough for you to cover your needs, you'd still be less capable of blocking content than you were before.

Windows 10's Linux Kernel Is Now Available

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build this week featuring the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. WSL 2 includes a real Linux kernel that lets you run more Linux software on Windows and with better performance than WSL 1. From a report: This is part of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18917, released on June 12, 2019. It's part of the fast ring of updates. You can experiment with it today, although you'll have to join the Windows Insider program and get unstable builds of Windows 10 on your PC. Microsoft's Windows Command Line blog offers more information about WSL 2, complete with an install guide, list of user experience changes, and more documentation. To install WSL 2 on the latest insider build, run the following command in a PowerShell window launched with Administrator permissions: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform.

Might signal the end of Windows

By ErichTheRed • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Microsoft has been throwing so much of its weight behind open source DevOps-y stuff lately because that's what drives the use of Azure for them. I think their long term plan is to stop developing Windows and replace its APIs with a virtualization layer on top of Linux. Their strategy is no longer selling software -- it's renting you capacity on Azure. Since they already have a perfectly good OS (lLinux, which they can roll their own distro of) there's no reason for them to develop a parallel one anymore. The challenge will be shimming all those ancient legacy applications into a compatibility layer given how radically different Windows' and Linux's structure is (files vs. API calls)

Interesting times indeed -- I never thought I'd see them push so hard to make Linux users happy on Azure but it makes sense. What I worry about is the alternatives for companies who don't want to spend all their compute money on Azure and keep stuff in-house. There will either be a massive porting effort over to Linux (which might be the only choice soon) or companies who don't want to move will be locked into paying higher and higher license fees to get discrete offline releases.

WSL 1 is surprisingly good.

By pecosdave • Score: 3 • Thread

I've put VcXsrv on my system along with Ubuntu for Windows and I'm actually stunned at how well it works. I started with the traditional x-eyes for testing. Now I run Krusader, Konsole, the Linux version of IPFS - that my Windows browser plugin utilizes, I've put SSH servers on Windows systems for remote access (buggy but easy to work around). I am thoroughly impressed.

The only shortcomings is when I want to do things Windows handles. I can't really manage disks, which is something I would like to do. I need to build ext4 disks on occasion and I use a VM for that. I work at a company that expects us to have Windows on my laptop, but to do most of my work in the Linux world. WSL 1 has made that tolerable. I went from being in a VM half the time to just using the Linux Kernel that runs alongside Windows with few issues.

Our I.T. department had no clue you could do this. They've challenged me to setup a Windows laptop hosting multiple full Linux laptops running a separate Linux Team Viewer on each. I haven't attempted that yet, and I'm not sure I can make it work, but it's an idea. I don't think it's the right idea, but it's an idea. (I'm thinking VM's might be the better choice for that idea, but none the less....)

You have to join Windows Insider?

By cyber-vandal • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I thought everyone got unstable builds of Windows 10.

Re: Well, that's it.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

About 87% of desktop and laptop users use some version of Windows. macOS has about 11% of the market. The remaining 2% is Linux, Chrome OS, Haiku, ReactOS, and other niche OSes.

Re: Downgrade?

By LostMyAccount • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

> I'm blaming Microsoft for a dedicated-OS-instance-for-each-application model.

Blame VMware for this, kind of. Prior to VMware, hardware cost real money and most places lacked the budget to do this. Shit got crammed onto whatever machine had free disk space, processor or the TCP/UDP ports available for it.

It really sucked, even for non-Windows systems. Sometimes an app misbehaves or has some other issue that requires a reboot, now you compromise a bunch of other services that just happen to be running on it. Sometimes installations stepped on another app in some fashion (TCP ports, directories, whatever).

We had an application developer back in the late '90s decide to freelance an application setup, using 4 different systems where he found the resources he was looking for. Now his crappy application compromised four systems that couldn't see maintenance without compromising his application.

Windows own problems were part of it, but not always all of it.

I'm not even sure the the dedicated-OS-per-app model is really that huge of a problem until you get into pretty large scales, a lot of virtualization will just end up doing copy-on-write shared memory for identical pages, cutting a lot of the memory overhead. Deduplication at the storage level saves some of the same problem at the storage level.

Telegram Blames China For DDoS Attack Coinciding With Hong Kong Protests

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The distributed denial of service attack that hit Telegram Wednesday came from China, the secure messaging app's founder said. Pavel Durov's tweet suggested that the country's government may have done it to disrupt protests in Hong Kong. From a report: In a DDoS attack, an online service gets bombarded with traffic from networks of bots, to the point where it's overwhelmed and legit users get frozen out. In an explanation Wednesday, Telegram compared it to an "army of lemmings" jumping the line at a McDonald's and making innumerable "garbage requests." Durov said, "IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on Telegram). This case was not an exception." Tens of thousands took to Hong Kong's streets to oppose a government plan that'd allow extraditions to mainland China. People are worried that it would bring the semiautonomous former British colony under the Chinese government's thumb. These protesters relied on encrypted messaging services, which let them mask their identities from Chinese authorities, to communicate.

Get ready Hong Kong

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The Chinese dictatorship is creeping forward bit by bit and it won't stop. Protests are useless and at best will only slow down the process a bit. After the extradition changes are finalized it will only mean that the paperwork will be streamlined and an air of legitimacy provided to the inevitable middle of the night disappearances of troublemakers. If I were granted a wish it would be for people to understand how precious freedom is.

Re:Riots, not "protest"

By Opportunist • Score: 4 • Thread

If you shoot me with tear gas, you're lucky if I don't tear you apart. The protesters showed more restraint than the assholes deserved.

Re:Riots, not "protest"

By prisoner-of-enigma • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you shoot me with tear gas, you're lucky if I don't tear you apart.

Brave words from someone who's not facing the Chinese Army, the group behind the Tiananmen Square massacre. No doubt if the tear gas hadn't been effective they'd have moved on to "more persuasive methods" like live ammo and tanks.

Point is, you wouldn't get the chance to tear anyone apart. You'd be beaten, arrested, and "disappeared"...assuming you weren't just shot on the spot.

Sadly an arrest was made...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread


The student admin for a Telegram app group linked to the Hong Kong extradition bill protesters was arrested by police on “public nuisance” charges.

As administrator of the group, he collated various news and information on the web and shared them with the group, which had about 30000 members. HK Police arrested him at his home, then demanded he unlock his mobile phone and export to their computer all his Telegram data, including member list and chat records.

And in latest news, the HK police have also been searching university hostels and campuses, looking for "suspicious items" that will result in arrests in relation to the protests.

The extradition bill has not been passed yet, but it is clear that police power and brutality are now increasingly unchecked in HK.

More than 10's thousands

By edi_guy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The summary downplays the sheer number of people who came out to protest. The Chinese police estimated 240,000 so I think you have to take that as the absolute basement estimate. Others pegged it closer to 1 million (out of 7 million people in HK).

In short this law allows for immediate extradition to China. Are you in HK and say something the CCP really doesn't like, whoosh, you are in Bejing before you know it. Which is basically the end of Hong Kong's semi-autonomous status.

Elon Musk Says Tesla Is Working On a James Bond-Style Submarine Car

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Futurism: During a Tuesday shareholder meeting, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted that the electric car company has a design for a submarine car -- and it sounds like something straight out of a 70s James Bond movie. When asked if the company would ever consider such a thing, according to Business Insider, Musk answered: "Funny you should mention that we do have a design for a submarine car like the one from 'The Spy Who Loved Me.'"

In the 1977 spy thriller Musk referred to, a 1976 Lotus Esprit sports car transforms itself into an amphibious submarine and can be seen exploring the bottom of the ocean. Musk loved the scene so much that he reportedly bought a Lotus Esprit in 2013 for just shy of a million dollars. "I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform," Musk told shareholders. "What I'm going to do is upgrade [my own Lotus] with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real." He did however admit that the market for an amphibious Tesla "would be small. Small, but enthusiastic."

Re:Enough shit Shit Elon Musk says

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm sorry, but this is "Peak Media Clickbait Tesla BS". Anyone can watch what happened for themselves.

1) After answering a laundry list of serious questions from investors, they got a loony question as their final one.
2) Both the audience and the people on stage laughed.
3) After laughing, Musk mentioned, "Funny you should mention that..." and mentioned that they actually do have a design for one. BUT, finished with. "It's technically possible. But, I think the market for this would be small! (laughs) Small but enthusiastic! (laughs). But we do actually have a design for a submarine car. But it'd be a bit of a distraction. Maybe we'll make one as a show car at some point, that'd be fun."


I mean, it's just nonsense. He literally said that it's too much of a distraction and they don't plan to make one now, but might "at some point" as "a show car". And it wasn't Musk who raised it, but a shareholder.

Unsurprisingly the media gave almost no coverage to the multiple shareholders who stood up and railed against the way the media covers Tesla. It was if anything the dominant theme of the investor Q&A session - how should the company respond to awful Tesla clickbait. And there really were no good answers forthcoming. For example, the media extensively covering every single Tesla fire despite them occurring a tenth as often as fires in gasoline cars per unit distance driven - Musk fired back that, well, what do you want us to do, run an ad saying, "Actually, our cars aren't prone to catching fire"? That that'd have the opposite effect to what they were wanting.

I hate to agree with Trump about anything under the sun, but the terrible state of journalism today is a real issue. Tesla holds a shareholder meeting, covers an extensive amount of detail about the company's progress and plans, answers a wide range of questions on a wide range of serious topics, and what does the media run with? "TESLA TO MAKE SUBMARINE CAR!"

You don't have to read it

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Slashdot is in bed with Tesla recently.

Slashdot readers are interested in Tesla. If you aren't then you do realize you don't have to read all the articles. I skip the ones that don't interest me. Personally I like the stories about Tesla and clearly so do many others here. If you don't, don't read them.

Where are the articles about heir suppliers suing them for non-payments, auto-pilot killing people, paint falling off, whompy wheels, almost default in Q1, etc etc etc?

You mean stuff like this? A) $1.8 million is pocket change for a company this size and B) literally every large automaker has lawsuits like this. Every. Single. One. While such lawsuits are newsworthy, there is no evidence of a widespread pattern of Tesla having supplier problems or not paying them.

auto-pilot killing people

You mean people being idiots and not driving their vehicle in a safe manner? I haven't seen a single example of the autopilot system being involved in a crash where the fault didn't ultimately rest with the driver. Every single time the drivers have failed to adequately monitor the autopilot system and take control before problems happened. It's a driver assist system, not a driver replacement system. People who fail to understand this are darwin award candidates.

Already made.

By gurps_npc • Score: 3 • Thread

A company called rinspeed made such a vehicle in 2008, called the sQuba:


How about...

By Ronin Developer • Score: 3 • Thread

A Tesla model the rest of us can afford.

While being able to drive underwater is cool, it does little to solve greenhouse gases.

I think he has his priorities in the wrong order.

Re: Enough shit Shit Elon Musk says

By Joce640k • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You don't have to order a MAGA hat and be exiled from friends and family to admit that calling out our failed corporate media or our generationally corrupt ruling class in DC is a needed first step. There is still a mile of policy and other concerns to base your like or dislike of Trump on.

I don't see him calling out Fox News very often.

PS: How's the swamp draining going?

IT Pro Screwed Out of Unused Vacation Pay, Bonus By HPE Thanks To Outdated Law

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader Meg Whitman shares a report from The Register: A "highly skilled IT professional" has lost his fight to be paid his unused vacation days as well as a non-trivial bonus, after a judge stuck to a law he admitted was outdated. Matthew White joined Hewlett-Packard in 2013 and left in July 2015, just months before the company split into HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). After quitting, he was stunned when the U.S. mega-corp, citing HPE's new policies, refused to hand over extra pay he felt was contractually due. Hewlett-Packard had enticed White with a sweet contract that offered a signing bonus, base salary, regular bonuses, and a benefits program. But after he quit, he was left without his unused vacation pay and a $10,000 bonus he felt he was entitled to. [...]

HPE decided that, under the law, White could only get hold of the relevant policies if he turned up, in person, to the company's official human resources headquarters -- which is on the other side of America in California, roughly 2,500 miles away. White felt this was ridiculous given that HP, sorry, HPE is not only a massive organization with HR people all over the United States, but that it was a technology company with countless employees working across the world, often at home, and that the policies are likely readily available in an internal cloud. The judge had some sympathy for that view. "This part of the statute may indeed need reworking for today's world where cloud-based digital records are replacing physical file folders located in a physical location, where employees work at home -- sometimes remotely from any head office or regional office -- and where worldwide companies like HP assign HP personnel for an entire country or region, or even outsource various HP responsibilities." Yet the judge still decided against the techie.

Re:Law vs 'intent'

By bws111 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Read the judgement (it is linked in the article). He wasn't ripped off at all, and the 'outdated law' had zero effect.

HPs vacation policy says 'use it or lose it'. The judge found he accepted those terms by accepting the employment offer and continuing to work there even if they changed the terms of the vacation policy.

The bonus thing is complete nonsense. The guy apparently does not understand the difference between calendar years and fiscal years. The bonus plan was for 'second half', which meant May 1 through October 31. He was paid his bonus under that plan. There was no bonus plan beginning in November, but the guy is trying to claim 'second half' includes October through December, and he should be paid based on that. Nope.

The 'outdated law' is immaterial because, in spite of the fact that the law says you have to show up in person, HP DID send him his personnel file. He then complained that the 'personnel file' they sent him did not include bonus plan information, HP sales policies, etc. The judge found that personnel files do not contain such information, so there was no problem with what HP sent him.

Re:Unused Vacation

By houghi • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I never lived in a country where they would not pay out untaken vacation. Stuped comminest Urope!

However somethimes this can be confusing for some. In Belgium you get paid vacation on your previous years work. Imagine that you leave your job (or get fired, same difference) and not have taken your months paid vacation. You will get that money 'upfront'. So they pay you the money.

You start directly at a new job and take a month vacation in e.g. june. However as you already received that money, you will not get paid that month. Can be devistating if you did not account for it to happen. Happens mainly to people who never changed a job before or it was a long time ago.

Standard procedure is that when you leave a company HR will inform you about this. It is just that people are blinded by the money they got 'for free' and spend it all on the latest iPhone or Android or whatever and only recall the conversation (if at all) a year or more later when they suddenly have nothing to spend on their vacation in Benidorm.

So no double pay for holdays here. And if you decide to NOT take the holiday, but work instead, the taxes are so high, you basically work for the state. Just not worth it. I believe it is around 85% or higher. (And remember that you already received that money)

So I rather take that money put it aside and take my 34 or so paid holidays (on tyop of any paid sick days I need, because I was sick)

Re:Law vs 'intent'

By Cederic • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When I left my last job I found out that leaving the day after my official leave date earned me an additional month's pension contributions and another day's holiday.

So I asked my manager to change my leave date and took that day as holiday. Not all companies treat their employees as badly as HP.

Re:Law vs 'intent'

By TheGratefulNet • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

the latest 'scam' in calif employment is to give 'unlimited' time off.

sounds good, right? no, its fucked up. there's a catch.

sure, on paper, there's no limit to time off, but go ahead and ask for more than 2 weeks and see how well that goes (in the US).

the dirty part? you get NO MONEY (that would translate your time off to hours of pay) when you leave the company and want to trade in your accumulated unused vacation time for pay. you USED to be able to do that but the 'smart' companies in cali have figured out yet another way to screw the employee ;(

the last 2 jobs I had (current included) are of this form.

I much prefer the standard 2 weeks that I can take with me if I leave.

oh, and the other wrinkle is that they stopped letting you accumulate more than a year at a time. I used to be able to save all my vacation pay (at my option) and take it ALL with me when I change companies. not anymore!

the war against the wage earner continues. and we are LOSING!

time for unions, guys. we don't have enough bargaining power anymore, as single employees. WE MUST BAND TOGETHER. we must. we are essentially being stripped of our power as each year goes by and more laws are written for the benefit of the company.

when will we finally demand our own rights at the table?

Re:Law vs 'intent'

By mysidia • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You know, when you point out the facts, and show the entire summary and post title is a fraud, you really become a buzz-kill.

So basically... the Slashdot summary submitter made what amounts to extremely biased posting that was also (1) An inaccurate summary of matters; (2) Antagonizes the court, as it misrepresents what the judgement is about and falsely represents the consequence of the ruling or that the court ruled unfairly --- a fairly serious thing that has a possibility of resulting in legal reprisal, and (3) Misrepresents the outcome as HP/HPE having done something ethically wrong, as in depriving their employee of owed benefits that they didn't do ---- Again a rather serious thing to do publicly in writing, as the author of the summary may again face legal reprisal should HPE consider it worth defending themself.


NASA Overcomes Military's GPS Tweaks To Peer Inside Hurricanes

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: A constellation of eight microsatellites has harvested data that -- if folded into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) weather models -- could have sharpened forecasts of several recent hurricanes, including Michael, a category-5 storm in October 2018. But progress was hard-won for scientists on NASA's $157 million Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), who discussed early results at a meeting last week, just as another Atlantic hurricane season kicked off. With its flotilla of satellites crisscrossing the tropical oceans, CYGNSS can see through the thick clouds of cyclones. The satellites collect radio signals beamed from standard GPS beacons after they bounce off the ocean's surface. The reflections are influenced by sea's roughness, which depends on wind speed. But a month after launch in December 2016, the team noticed the GPS signals were wavering.

The U.S. military runs the GPS system, and in January 2017, it began to boost the radio power on 10 of its GPS satellites as they passed over a broad region centered on northern Syria. The power boosts, which can thwart jamming, have recurred without warning, each lasting several hours. The swings don't interfere with other scientific uses of GPS. But they threw off the constellation's measurements of high winds by 5 meters a second or more -- the difference between a category-2 and category-3 hurricane. After 2 years of work, the CYGNSS team has compensated by reprogramming its satellites on the fly. The satellites carry large antennas to catch reflected GPS signals, but they also have small antennas that receive direct GPS signals, for tracking time and location. The team repurposed the small antennas to measure the signal strength of the GPS satellites, making it possible to correct the wind speed measures


By jpaine619 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The power boosts, which can thwart jamming, have recurred without warning, each lasting several hours.

The military isn't messing with power levels on a whim. I think it's safe to assume they had tactical or strategic reasons for doing this. Don't see why they'd need to consult with the broader scientific community to do with their satellites as they please..

If you're not in the military and you're using the GPS system, you're a guest. It's been like that since day one. I remember during the first gulf war they fuzzed the civilian bands to make them less accurate. This was supposedly done to prevent the opposition from using our own technology against us. Only the encrypted military bands were kept to a high degree of accuracy.


By PPH • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Adversaries monitor GPS signal strength as evidence of possible impending US missions.