the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Aug-12 today archive


  1. Ebola Is Now Curable
  2. Tesla Owner Implants RFID Chip From Her Model 3's Keycard Into Her Arm
  3. Study Blames Rise In Teens Who Need Glasses On Excessive Screen Time
  4. Russia Says New Weapon Blew Up In Nuclear Accident Last Week
  5. Ring Told People To Snitch On Their Neighbors In Exchange For Free Stuff
  6. Many of the 'Oldest' People in the World May Not Be as Old as We Think
  7. ByteDance Launches New Search Engine in China
  8. Uber Imposes Engineer Hiring Freeze as Losses Mount
  9. Almost Half of Employees Have Access To More Data Than They Need
  10. Verizon To Sell Tumblr To WordPress Owner
  11. US Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act
  12. Epic Hit With Class-Action Suit Over Hacked Fortnite Accounts
  13. Getting Cool Vanity License Plate 'NULL' Is Not Really a Cool Idea, Infosec Researcher Discovers
  14. Settles FTC Allegations That It Deceived Consumers About How it Accesses and Uses Emails
  15. Google Will Now Let Android Users Log In To Some Services Without A Password
  16. GM, Volkswagen Say Goodbye To Hybrid Vehicles
  17. Samsung Just Made a 108MP Camera for Phones
  18. Microsoft Inks 10-Year Deal With Top Indian Telecom Network Reliance Jio To Court 'Millions' of Small and Medium Businesses
  19. The US Navy Will Replace Its Touchscreen Controls With Mechanical Ones On Its Destroyers
  20. Samsung is Spamming Galaxy Phones With Multiple Note10 Ads
  21. A Wearable Robotic Tail Could Improve Your Balance
  22. Was 2007 the 'Golden Age of Open Source'?
  23. Are We In 'The Golden Age of Open Source'?

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

Ebola Is Now Curable

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Amid unrelenting chaos and violence, scientists and doctors in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been running a clinical trial of new drugs to try to combat a year-long Ebola outbreak. On Monday, the trial's cosponsors at the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health announced that two of the experimental treatments appear to dramatically boost survival rates. Starting last November, patients in four treatment centers in the country's east, where the outbreak is at its worst, were randomly assigned to receive one of four investigational therapies -- either an antiviral drug called remdesivir or one of three drugs that use monoclonal antibodies. Scientists concocted these big, Y-shaped proteins to recognize the specific shapes of invading bacteria and viruses and then recruit immune cells to attack those pathogens. One of these, a drug called ZMapp, is currently considered the standard of care during Ebola outbreaks. It had been tested and used during the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, and the goal was to see if those other drugs could outperform it. But preliminary data from the first 681 patients (out of a planned 725) showed such strong results that the trial has now been stopped.

Patients receiving Zmapp in the four trial centers experienced an overall mortality rate of 49 percent, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Mortality rates are in excess of 75 percent for infected individuals who don't seek any form of treatment.) The monoclonal antibody cocktail produced by a company called Regeneron Pharmaceuticals had the biggest impact on lowering death rates, down to 29 percent, while NIAID's monoclonal antibody, called mAb114, had a mortality rate of 34 percent. The results were most striking for patients who received treatments soon after becoming sick, when their viral loads were still low -- death rates dropped to 11 percent with mAb114 and just 6 percent with Regeneron's drug, compared with 24 percent with ZMapp and 33 percent with Remdesivir.

Re: Epidemics needed

By sound+vision • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
No. Ebola is transmissible before symptoms appear, so the infection is already spreading before treatment begins. Once treatment does begin, you are quarantined until either you or the Ebola dies.


By jargonburn • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
But are any studies tracking the incidence of autism in the affected population?
Asking on behalf of the willfully ignorant.

Re:How much do the drugs cost?

By gravewax • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The Congo, neighbouring governments and western governments are ALL footing the bill for these outbreaks as if they aren't contained eventually they will spread. I imagine the cost of this cure is probably nothing compared to the ongoing costs of containing these outbreaks.

Re:Because profits

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Unless it was government funded. There is a decent case to be made for governments funding this kind of R&D and then making the resulting treatments available cheaply. For unions like the EU and the US it wouldn't even be a particularly massive financial burden, and for the EU would probably save money in the long run because healthcare is socialised.

Re:How much do the drugs cost?

By Kiuas • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I imagine the cost of this cure is probably nothing compared to the ongoing costs of containing these outbreaks.

Exactly. This is the thing the global community needs to realize. I work in health care on the logistical side in Finland, software related but I'm high enough in the command-chain that I've been in a few meetings with epidemiologists where we go through and plan pandemic readiness and procedures.

When the current ebola outbreak started a few years back, we got a single suspected case of a Finnish backpacker tourist coming in from africa from one of the neighboring countries to the outbreak, with symptoms that might be early signs of ebola. We sent out a team to meet the guy at the airport and take him into quarantine. The docs in charge had to make a decision as to whether or not all the other people in the flight need to be quarantined as well while the bloodwork is done. The dude was interviewed as soon as he landed before the rest of the plane was let go, and he had not been in the infected areas nor involved with any persons that had the infection, and it's not transmitted via air, so they decided against it. Turns out they were right, it came back as some sort of other viral infection and not ebola, and he was released from care next week.

With flights to and from the third world being so numerous, all it takes is one dude boarding a plane somewhere prior to developing symptoms and landing in a major city to create a massive emergency. Ebola is actually not even the worst kind, because untreated it tends to incapacitate/kill people so fast that it doesn't spread very rapidly, thanks to a large part for it not being airborne. Most infections in Africa occur when relatives and family members touch the infected sick person or handle their corpse after death. With airborne pathogens, the spread can happen very rapidly, and containment of all exposed individuals can be near impossible unless the entire plane is quarantined upon landing.

The epidemiologists are by their nature paranoid about this stuff, which is fine, it's their job to be so. And they keep reminding us that we're in fact statistically overdue for a global pandemic, the last major one really being the Spanish flu in 1918 which killed an estimated 75 million people globally. The global medical/scientific community coming together and working overtime to fast-track vaccines and other treatments for new emerging outbreaks is absolutely critical, and should be participated in by all developing countries, because it's the most effective (both in terms of monetary cost and lives lost) way to destroy these outbreaks before they spread all over the globe.

The faster the top-level authorities of all continents communicate, co-ordinate and converge on new outbreaks, the safer we all are. That's why the work the WHO is doing is so extremely valuable.

Tesla Owner Implants RFID Chip From Her Model 3's Keycard Into Her Arm

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Tesla driver figured out a way to implant the RFID tag from her Model 3's keycard into her forearm. Now, all she needs to do to unlock and turn on her car is to hold her forearm near the console -- no physical key fob or smartphone required. The Verge reports: Amie DD is a software engineer and self-described "maker of things." In a video, she explained that she had implanted an RFID tag in her arm years ago, which she had used to open her home's front door and to send a smartphone's browser to her personal website. When she preordered her Model 3, she realized that she could probably do something similar with the keycard. She didn't have any luck transferring the software to her existing chip, so she decided to extract the card's chip and implant that into her arm. To do that, she dissolved the card using acetone, and had it encased in a biopolymer. From there, she went to a body-modification studio to have the chip (about the size of a Lego mini-figure) implanted into her forearm. In another video (warning, there's some blood), she shows off the implantation. She also documented her process on Hackaday. She told The Verge that the chip does work, but the range from her arm to the console "isn't the greatest." It's only about an inch, but she's hoping that it'll improve as the swelling of her arm goes down.

No risks there..

By ndykman • Score: 3 • Thread

I mean, a body modification specialist definitely has the experience and training to isolate key structures to make sure no nerves are damaged or anything. I mean, there's books and YouTube videos after all.

Then again, on the off chance it does go wrong, a doctor will be happy to charge you a small fortune to try and fix it. You know, like the eye surgeon trying to save the eyesight of somebody that had dye injected into their sclera because, you know, self expression.


Re:Call me a luddite...

By Adambomb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Honestly i think the creepiest part is that the functionality seems to be poorer than a fob in ones pocket. What is the fucking functional advantage here? If there isn't one, why the hell would you do that?

Florida man...

By pablo_max • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Sounds like "Tesla owner" is the new "Florida man".

Well that's pretty stupid

By DrXym • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Putting herself at risk of a serious infection and acquiring a noticeable scar just so she can open a car without a phone. Except she probably carries the phone anyway and she'll probably sell the car in a few years too. Super dumb.

Re:Valet parking

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Your ranger can be hotwired by any dildo who can find the ignition switch, probably on the bottom of the column. There are good things about it, but there are also bad things.

Study Blames Rise In Teens Who Need Glasses On Excessive Screen Time

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
pgmrdlm shares a report from StudyFinds: So many people, especially young people and teenagers, spend a significant period of time each day staring at a screen of some kind, whether that be a computer, smartphone, tablet, or the regular old TV. Now, a new study is warning parents that all that screen time may be behind a stunning rise in children who need prescription glasses. According to the report released by United Kingdom-based eye care company Scrivens Opticians, the percentage of 13-16 year olds in the U.K. who need glasses has nearly doubled over the past seven years -- from 20% in 2012 to 35% in 2018. Two-thirds of those teens were diagnosed as being myopic, or short-sighted. Researchers theorize that this significant increase in eye problems among young people is likely linked to excessive time spent staring at screens, which can lead to eye strain, shortsightedness, and blurred vision. In fact, the study also found that the average 13-16 year old spends around 26 hours per week staring at a smartphone, playing video games, or watching TV.

"Researchers theorize that ..."

By mkwan • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

"Researchers theorize that this significant increase in eye problems among young people is likely linked to excessive time spent staring at screens".

In other words they've done no actual research. The latest research (by scientists, not marketers) indicates that myopia is caused by a lack of exposure to natural (i.e. bright) light.

It is the general trend of human physiology...

By Noah Draper • Score: 3 • Thread
any ability you don't regularly exercise tends to atrophy, whether from neurological adaptation, or physical. Anything's that's not relevant is perceived as dead weight, and then deprioritized or repurposed towards other optimizations that seem more relevant.

Not a study

By skoskav • Score: 3 • Thread
Note that no actual study is referenced in the article. Only a "report" by a company selling eye-examinations is vaguely hinted at, which seems to be based on self-reporting via an online poll, i.e. one of the weakest forms of evidence.

Myopia isn't necessarily a bad thing

By Miamicanes • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If you read a lot (including computers), myopia isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Think of your vision as having a depth of field that decreases as you get older... the far end remains relatively constant, but the near end relentlessly moves further away. Someone with "normal" vision will lose their ability to focus on "near" objects at a fairly young age.

In contrast, someone who's myopic has so much latent "near" capacity, they might not even NOTICE a difference in their ability to focus on near text until they've lost most of their accommodation ability. For a few years, they might be able to mitigate their loss of accommodation by simply taking off their glasses to read. And even after they finally need at least mild magnification to read, they might be able to get away without wearing bifocals if they can tolerate slightly blurry distance vision.

"20/20 vision" is a statistical norm, not a holy ideal. Some people (athletes & sportsmen, in particular) value distance vision above all else, and can deal with needing glasses (or bifocals) to read something occasionally (because, well, books and reading are boring to them). In contrast, people who spend most of their time reading books and computer screens might not care if things that are more than 8-10 feet away are blurry (or might intentionally choose to LET them be blurry for the sake of not needing bifocals), as long as things that are 15-30" away are sharp and comfortable to read.

Re:Only the medium has changed

By tinkerton • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The most interesting theory is that it is the lighting

Russia Says New Weapon Blew Up In Nuclear Accident Last Week

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The failed missile test that ended in an explosion killing five atomic scientists last week on Russia's White Sea involved a small nuclear power source, according to a top official at the institute where they worked. The men "tragically died while testing a new special device," Alexei Likhachev, the chief executive officer of state nuclear monopoly Rosatom, said at their funeral Monday in Sarov, a high-security city devoted to atomic research less than 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow where the institute is based. The part of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center that employed them is developing small-scale power sources that use "radioactive materials, including fissile and radioisotope materials" for the Defense Ministry and civilian uses, Vyacheslav Soloviev, scientific director of the institute, said in a video shown by local TV.

The blast occurred Aug. 8 during a test of a missile engine that used "isotope power sources" on an offshore platform in the Arkhangelsk region, close to the Arctic Circle, Rosatom said over the weekend. The Defense Ministry initially reported two were killed in the accident, which it said involved testing of a liquid-fueled missile engine. The ministry didn't mention the nuclear element. It caused a brief spike in radiation in the nearby port city of Severodvinsk, according to a statement on the local administration's website that was later removed. A Sarov institute official on the video posted Sunday said radiation levels jumped to double normal levels for less than an hour and no lasting contamination was detected. The Russian military said radiation levels were normal but disclosed few details about the incident.
There's speculation that the weapon being tested was the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, known in Russia as the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile that President Vladimir Putin introduced last year.

Re:good news

By weilawei • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Whoosh. You missed the joke.


By joe_frisch • Score: 3 • Thread

Don't know whether to be happy or sad if they have brought back project pluto

It was too crazy even for the peak of the cold war, and is an incredibly dumb idea - but it is sort of cool.

Guess it goes along with rumors Poseidon having a cobalt warhead

Maybe the US doesn't have the craziest leader.


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

Maybe the US doesn't have the craziest leader.

Don’t both countries have the same leader?

I kid, I kid...

Re:Nuclear missiles?

By Tablizer • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

New name: Flying Chernobyl

I'll get hate but...

By hairyfeet • Score: 3 • Thread

I call bullshit, as Russia has a place in the middle of BF Siberia they test nuclear weapons. More likely this was one of their baby reactors which they have a history of making, from nuclear spy sats to even nuclear powered lighthouses.

So it really wouldn't surprise me if they were trying a new mini-reactor design for a spy sat and shit went south, hell the USA also made a space reactor too but couldn't make it work and decided it was too risky for not enough benefit. Considering its pretty widely known that Russian electronics aren't up to the level of western electronics when it comes to power efficiency and processing power? Yeah I could see them needing something that could crank out quite a bit of juice if it was gonna be up there spying with any real detail for a long period.

Ring Told People To Snitch On Their Neighbors In Exchange For Free Stuff

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
popcornfan679 shares a report from Motherboard: Ring, Amazon's home security company, has encouraged people to form their own "Digital Neighborhood Watch" groups that report crime in exchange for free or discounted Ring products, according to an internal company slide presentation obtained by Motherboard. The slide presentation -- which is titled "Digital Neighborhood Watch" and was created in 2017, according to Ring -- tells people that if they set up these groups, report all suspicious activity to police, and post endorsements of Ring products on social media, then they can get discount codes for Ring products and unspecified Ring "swag." A Ring spokesperson said the program described in the slide presentation was rolled out in 2017, before Ring was acquired by Amazon. They said it was discontinued that same year.

"This particular idea was not rolled out widely and was discontinued in 2017," Ring said. "We will continue to invent, iterate, and innovate on behalf of our neighbors while aligning with our three pillars of customer privacy, security, and user control." "Some of these ideas become official programs, and many others never make it past the testing phase," Ring continued, adding that the company "is always exploring new ideas and initiatives."

1st gen Ring doorbell is garbage

By Powercntrl • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I had a problem with kids vandalizing things with permanent markers. Bought one of the Ring doorbells primarily as a deterrent, and it's a good thing it has worked in that respect, because it is otherwise a total piece of crap.

It claims adjustable motion sensitivity, but doesn't realistically provide any finer granularity between "detect every time a car drives by" and "completely ignore someone breakdancing at your front door". The smartphone app takes an eternity to connect (if it even does successfully connect at all) and load the live video, which makes it almost entirely impractical for telling the a UPS/USPS driver needing a signature "Hey, hang on a sec, I'll be right there!", before they make a beeline back to their truck. The video recordings it takes always seem to start a few seconds after it has detected motion, so you get a lot of videos of peoples' backsides as they're walking away (as well as numerous recordings of cars driving past your house).

As for the hardware, it's awful too. Despite being hardwired, the thing still uses a battery and somehow manages to deplete it if you watch too much live video (or record too many cars passing by). It also sometimes randomly decides to not charge, and you've gotta power cycle the doorbell transformer to get it charging again. I've also discovered that when the battery finally does crap out, the first generation Ring is essentially disposable. No one sells a suitable replacement battery, and the doorbell itself isn't designed to be serviceable. I don't mean you need some weird screwdrivers to take it apart - I mean it takes bending and prying to get it apart and it will never go back together quite as well when you're done with it (and that's assuming at some point someone makes a compatible replacement battery available).

The whole experience has soured me on anything Ring, so no wonder they've resorted to giving away shit for free.

the dystopian future

By Chromal • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The dystopian present day being tirelessly constructed by sociopathic dot-coms is far darker than any 1980s pessimistic retrofuture could have envisioned.

Didn't the Stasi do the same thing?

By schwit1 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The free stuff in that case was not getting thrown in jail.

Thank you for your cooperation comrade.

Re:I knew it

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Burglars and package thieves are enemies of the State? You guys are weird.

Ring Good, Neighborhood Bad

By thewolfkin • Score: 3 • Thread
By all measures it looks like Ring is an excellent product. The Neighbors app on the other hand encourages the worst behaviours in humans. I've heard horror stories about people showing up in their own neighborhood but because they're black they get pinged on the Neighbors app.

Many of the 'Oldest' People in the World May Not Be as Old as We Think

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
We've long been obsessed with the super-elderly. How do some people make it to 100 or even 110 years old? Why do some regions -- say, Sardinia, Italy, or Okinawa, Japan -- produce dozens of these "supercentenarians" while other regions produce none? Is it genetics? Diet? Environmental factors? Long walks at dawn? From a report: A new working paper released on bioRxiv, the open access site for prepublication biology papers, appears to have cleared up the mystery once and for all: It's none of the above. Instead, it looks like the majority of the supercentenarians (people who've reached the age of 110) in the United States are engaged in -- intentional or unintentional -- exaggeration. The paper, by Saul Justin Newman of the Biological Data Science Institute at Australian National University, looked at something we often don't give a second thought to: the state of official record-keeping. Across the United States, the state recording of vital information -- that is, reliable, accurate state record-keeping surrounding new births -- was introduced in different states at different times. A century ago, many states didn't have very good record-keeping in place. But that changed gradually over time in different places.

Newman looks at the introduction of birth certificates in various states and finds that "the state-specific introduction of birth certificates is associated with a 69-82% fall in the number of supercentenarian records." In other words, as soon as a state starts keeping good records of when people are born, there's a 69 to 82 percent fall in the number of people who live to the age of 110. That suggests that of every 10 supposed supercentenarians, seven or eight of them are actually younger than that, but we just don't know it because of poor record-keeping.

Re:Wait, are you telling me...

By RoccamOccam • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell 'em stories that don't go anywhere - like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Give me five bees for a quarter," you'd say.

Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Federal census records

By Beryllium Sphere(tm) • Score: 3 • Thread

Census records become available to the public 70 years after the census. That's good authentication that someone already existed in a census year. Bypasses any distrust in state-level records.

Re:Count the rings

By bobby • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You don't have to cut them open, that's barbaric. You can just get a sample using a coring bit.

Baptismal records

By gatkinso • Score: 3 • Thread

Possibly more accurate than government records in the given time frame.

Re:Incentivize anything, and...

By Daralantan • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Meanwhile, I know several people that insist no one would EVER abuse things for free money. The ones that would do it are very rare and almost a myth.

My most recent memory of this is a friend of mine has a super feminist wife. After they lived in Sweden for 3 years for his job (she's 31 and has yet to work a job for more than 2-3 months in her life, yet baulks at the idea that she can't just be put in a super important position of great influence... claims it's because she's a woman) and she was super excited about a lot of the big feminist things over there. One day she was telling us something about mothers get a weekly paycheck there, and that it would be great if America did that too. Said any mother, should receive $500 a week for their children.

I said there was no way that would go well in America. Said we'd have tons of people that would just pump out babies, then ditch them on the street as soon as they were legally allowed. The response? "NO ONE WOULD EVER TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS PROGRAM! AND EVEN IF THEY DID, IT WOULD BE INCREDIBLY RARE!"


ByteDance Launches New Search Engine in China

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
ByteDance, the owner of short-video app TikTok, has launched a new search engine in China, entering a sector currently dominated by Baidu. From a report: Beijing-based ByteDance is moving beyond its core businesses in news and video and into work-place messaging and music streaming, competing with Tencent and other Chinese tech firms. The domain for the new search engine, Toutiao Search, sits within the company's flagship product - Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao. ByteDance, which according to sources familiar with the matter was valued at $78 billion in its last financing round in 2018, declined to comment. The company said on social media last month it was looking to hire people to work with its search engine team, and had hired technical experts from Google, Baidu and Bing. It said the search engine would offer content from ByteDance-owned apps, including Jinri Toutiao and the Chinese version of TikTok, as well as the wider web.

Uber Imposes Engineer Hiring Freeze as Losses Mount

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Uber isn't letting tech workers join the ride, at least for now. From a report: The ride-hailing giant canceled scheduled on-site interviews for tech roles last week, and job applicants have been told positions are being put on hold due to a hiring freeze in engineering teams in the U.S. and Canada, according to multiple people who received the communications. In emails sent to job interviewees, Uber recruiters explained "there have been some changes" and the opportunity has been "put on hold for now," according to emails reviewed by Yahoo Finance. The hiring freeze comes after 400 layoffs in its marketing department earlier this month, which raised concerns and fears company-wide. During a recent all-hands meeting, a question about potential layoffs in the engineering department was also raised, but executives didn't provide any timelines. The number of hiring posts for software engineer roles at Uber peaked in March, according to data tracking firm Thinknum. The move highlights the challenges that Uber faces as it scrambles to prove to Wall Street, since its IPO in May, that it's on the right track to achieve profitability. The company, with 100 million monthly active users, reported $5.23 billion in losses for the second quarter last week.

Re:$5.23 BILLION?!

By Luthair • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I highly doubt that on an individual basis they charge less than they pay the driver. The problem is that corporately they burn ridiculous amounts of money on hubris projects like autonomy and flying cars.

Re:$5.23 BILLION?!

By Synonymous Cowered • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

How do people still confuse 'lose' and 'loose'?

This is about money. When your money is loose, you tend to lose it.

Re:geez, who'd have thunk it?

By sphealey • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Or because GAAP imposed specific bookkeeping and financial reporting rules, banks refused to loan money to a business that perpetually lost money, and government agencies working for the elected representatives imposed reasonable safety, insurance, health, and working condition rules to prevent a race to the uber bottom.

Re:$5.23 BILLION?!

By Ryzilynt • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Here is the breakdown of a ride i did in January , when i was still driving for Uber :

Duration : 48 min 42 sec
Distance : 43.58 mi

I receive :

Base Fare : $1.04
Distance (43.59 mi x $0.6900/mi) : $30.08
Time (48.70 min x $0.2400/min) : $11.68
Tip : $10:00
Wait Time ($0.966666666667 min x $0.2400/min : $0.23
Toll : $3.69

Total : $56.72

Rider Pays :

Rider Price : $54.95
Tip : $10.00

Total : $64.95

Uber receives :

Service Fee : $6.03
Booking Fee : $2.20

Total $8.23

They used to include the waybill breakdown. but I can't find the breakdown anymore.

This $8.23 earning also included regulatory fee's , fee's that I believe were paid to a third party to track the ride for insurance purposes, and for insurance.

The moment a rider enters an Uber and the ride begins the occupants are covered for $1 million until the ride is ended and they exit the vehicle.

Tips are very uncommon, about 5 to 8% of riders tip the driver. (And this was with a 4.96 / 5.0 star rating with over 1500 rides.)

Uber's goal is not profit

By DrXym • Score: 3 • Thread
Their goal is survive longer than Lyft. If Lyft goes bust then Uber's shares will surge in price because they'll have the field more or less to themselves. They can stop being so "generous" to their drivers, or they can jack up the fare, or both, because they won't have a rival service they have to compete with.

Lyft is likewise hoping Uber goes bust for the same reason. I bet both companies are doing their level best to raise capital and cut costs hoping they can stay afloat the longest.

Almost Half of Employees Have Access To More Data Than They Need

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study of over 700 full-time US employees reveals that that 48 percent of employees have access to more company data than they need to perform their jobs, while 12 percent of employees say they have access to all company data. From a report: The survey by business app marketplace GetApp also asked employees what classifications of data protection are in place at their company. No more than a third of businesses were found to use any one individual data classification. The lowest in use are Proprietary (15 percent) and Highly Confidential (18 percent). The most commonly used are Confidential -- 33 percent of businesses use this classification, Internal -- 30 percent, Public -- 29 percent and Restricted/Sensitive -- 25 percent.

A far better survey would be

By bobstreo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

what number of contractors (on-site and off-shore) have access to more data than they need?

People who may tend to be able to access more, think DBA's and SA's who need access to the system or the databases for routine work. Programmers need access to test and QA systems, but probably never to production systems with valid production data.

The employees who tend to have way more access than they need would be people like administrative assistants, and managers, who can't be bothered to ask for access, they just need it, so they force someone to grant them access.

That is of course assuming that data classification is actually being done...

Tried to address this, managers won't listen

By TWX • Score: 3 • Thread

At work many years back I tried to address this, specifically within the IT department itself. Everyone in the department had full write access to everything. I felt this was a mistake, and that key staff within each section of the department should have full write. Selected telecom infrastructure staff should be able to update maps and other cabling documentation, even if everyone is free to read. Print services staff should be able to add remove printer drivers, software/windows development staff should have the right to update most other drivers, etc, etc, etc.

Boss at the time decided nope, full read/write for everyone. Helpdesk could edit cable plant files, cable infrastructure folks could delete device drivers. Thing is, once the permissions are set up badly no one wants to fix them because it means everyone's procedures now have to be revised. That idiot boss basically set the organization on a path that no one will be willing to deviate from.

More than half the people dont have enough access

By ghoul • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Since its highly unlikely in a complex and ever changing environment that you have access to exactly the data you need to do your job especially since the job is different everyday for knowledge workers by definition statistically speaking half will have too little access and half will have too much access.

Re:More than half the people dont have enough acce

By PPH • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Yeah. But what's the cost to the organization of not having data that you need versus having access to data that you don't?

Some years ago, I was part of a team that built an engineering data control system. Only certain people had permission to create or modify the data. But anyone with permission to log on to the internal company network could read anything that they wanted. We did log read access, so anyone attempting industrial espionage could be traced. The system worked well.

Then, management decided to replace our system with one that had a much finer access control. The result was that shop floor employees now had to chase down various domain access managers to obtain access that might not have been granted (in error) or became necessary due to some unusual configuration issues. (Wire bundle routed through an air conditioning duct. Let's bring up a drawing of both.) The shop floor pretty rapidly devolved into a shit-show. But management's answer was to hire a bunch of 'liaison engineers' who had greater access and could resolve problems. Productivity never recovered to that of the previous system. Manpower expense was higher and when problems arose, time was still wasted locating one of these engineers. When things were running smoothly, I suspect they spent their time surfing porn or shitposting on Slashdot.

I bet that in the IT sector that number is low.

By brainchill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I've been working for large, engineering heavy, IT companies for the last 20 years and most of them operate internally more like an academic institution than a for profit company. In nearly every role I've had almost entirely unfettered access to company product test builds, source code, etc, most lab and build servers/ vms across the company, etc have an internally known to everyone password ... most of us have full 24x7 access to pretty much every room in every building on campus with their badge .... (and I'm talking about companies with 10-20-50k employees not just a 10 person consulting firm) ..... the amount of access and trust that big IT companies give their employees is almost bonkers.

Verizon To Sell Tumblr To WordPress Owner

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to The Wall Street Journal, Verizon has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress. Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, and was later included in Verizon's $4.5 billion purchase of Yahoo's web assets in 2017. Bloomberg reports: Automattic Inc. will buy Tumblr for an undisclosed sum and take on about 200 staffers, the companies said. Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been dwarfed by Facebook, Reddit and other services. The Tumblr acquisition is the largest ever in terms of price and head count for Automattic, the company's Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg said in an interview. The San Francisco company has a stable of brands focused on online publishing, including longform site Longreads, comment-filtering service Akismet, and avatar-managing service Gravatar.

Mr. Mullenweg said his company intends to maintain the existing policy that bans adult content. He said he has long been a Tumblr user and sees the site as complementary to "It's just fun," he said of Tumblr. "We're not going to change any of that." Tumblr has a strong mobile interface and dashboard where users follow other blogs, he said. Executives will look for ways and Tumblr can share services and functionality.

Wordpress would like to thank Verizon

By Mal-2 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Wordpress would like to thank Verizon for shooting Tumblr in the foot, alienating 30% of its user base and traffic, taking the financial hit, and then selling the division off.

Pornhub was prepared to buy Tumblr and put it back the way it was, and now there's bdsmlr, so it's exceptionally unlikely the divide will ever close again.

Adult content

By phalse phace • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Mr. Mullenweg said his company intends to maintain the existing policy that bans adult content.

That's what killed Tumblr traffic and users

After the porn ban, Tumblr users have ditched the platform as promised -- Tumblr has lost 30 percent of web traffic since December

Re:Wordpress would like to thank Verizon

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
According to the summary Wordpress supports the Tumblr adult content ban, so... I'm actually struggling to see why they're buying it, but oh well.

WordPress is not owned by Automattic!

By ewanm89 • Score: 3 • Thread

WordPress is developed by and the trademarks are owned by the WordPress Foundation, now yes the one of the co-founders of WordPress is also the founder, CEO and president of Automattic which run the hosting platform, but they are separate organisations and WordPress Foundation has other members and other representation and members from many more people than Automattic and its employees

There is even a page on it on the WordPress website here

US Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation's bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction. From a report: The changes will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, would allow economic assessments to be conducted when making determinations. The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species, a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered. Overall, the new rules would very likely clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said the changes would modernize the Endangered Species Act and increase transparency in its application. "The act's effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation," he said in a statement Monday. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the revisions "fit squarely within the president's mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species' protection and recovery goals." The new rules are expected to appear in the Federal Register this week and will go into effect 30 days after that.

Re:Unintended consequences...

By Rick Schumann • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
What makes you think that slavery actually ended back then? All it did was take a break, then come back in different forms:
o Shitty public education for non-whites
o Biased law enforcement
o Biased criminal legal system
o Lack of rehabilitation programs in prisons, virtually guaranteeing recitivism
o 'For profit' prisons (virtually slave labor camps in and of themselves)

Re:This is what people voted for

By blindseer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

if you wanted less regulation then, well, you got it.

Yes, I do want less regulation. This is different than no regulation.

Let's consider regulation outside of any context of law, the regulation of temperature in a home. I might set my thermostat to 74F but that doesn't mean I need it at exactly 74F. Too much regulation means my thermostat is set to run the furnace in the early morning because it was a cool summer night and the house got below 71F. Less regulation means allowing for these temperature drops knowing that the sun will only warm it up again a few hours later. If the humidity isn't too high then I can still be comfortable in allowing the temperature to rise to 78F or 80F before there is a need to regulate it down.

I can certainly find a thermostat that regulates my house to a plus-minus range of 2 degrees from the set temperature, but that would be expensive to run with no real gain in personal comfort. Instead I allow for a different kind of regulation, a "smart" thermostat that takes humidity into account so that I'm not spending money on regulation that I don't want or need. This can mean larger swings in temperature but less money spent on electricity and natural gas, but my house is still comfortable to me.

A "weakened" endangered species act doesn't mean we aren't protecting endangered species. It does mean taking a look at how we are spending our funds on protecting these species so that we aren't wasting efforts on species that have recovered at the expense of not having the funds to protect species that need this protection more.

Is this proposed change in endangered species protections a "weakened" regulation or a "smarter" regulation? It does sound like "less" regulation but that doesn't make it no regulation or "bad" regulation.

This is a blow to anti-wind farming ...

By CaptainDork • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

... where, in another forum (and I'm all forum), I'm using this story to counter the super-patriotic (and straw man) position that, "If a wind turbine kills ONE American-born and bred bald eagle, all wind turbines should die in a fire!"

Apparently, their fucking leader doesn't agree.

Note: Feral cats are responsible for over a billion bird deaths a year.

Wind turbines only kill a few hundreds.

Re:Unintended consequences...

By jpaine619 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Really? More fucking white guilt? Fucking sheeple.. The more you bleat the more you turn people away from you. Peak guilt is so 2018... It's all downhill from here.....


By SethJohnson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
This is the straw man foundation of this whole argument:

We need to keep this list meaningful as we have only so many resources to protect these species and therefore we need to put them on this list only if they are in fact in need of protection.

We can only assume that the 'resource' referenced here is the tolerance of capitalists to suffer limitations on their ability to exploit natural resources. The comment here successfully captures the change in sentiment by the EPA- in the original drafting of the department by President Richard Nixon, species were appraised as being irreplaceable should they become extinct and their value was estimated at priceless. As voiced here by 'blindseer', President Trump's Republican Party has shifted to the business of assigning price tags to components of biodiversity. See here:

One of the changes will allow economic costs to be taken into account while determining whether a species warrants protection.

Our future is doomed per Trump's Republican Party. This change to how the EPA will police the Endangered Species Act is granting the GOP's donors the opportunity to cash in on the road to our demise.

Epic Hit With Class-Action Suit Over Hacked Fortnite Accounts

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Epic Games is being sued over security breaches that allowed hackers to access the personal information of Epic Games accounts. From a report: The class-action lawsuit, filed by Franklin D. Azar & Associates in U.S. District Court in North Carolina, alleges Epic's "failure to maintain adequate security measures and notify users of the security breach in a timely manner." The lawsuit states that "there are more than 100 class members." In January, Epic acknowledged that a bug in Fortnite may have exposed personal information for millions of user accounts.

I hear the payout will be...

By mandark1967 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Getting Cool Vanity License Plate 'NULL' Is Not Really a Cool Idea, Infosec Researcher Discovers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Choosing NULL as your license plate might seem like a funny idea. But as an infosec researcher discovered recently, the cool-looking NULL vanity plate comes with its own consequences. Researcher Droogie, that's his handle, who presented at this year's DEF CON in Las Vegas, said he has been on the receiving end of thousands of dollars worth of tickets that aren't his. From a report: Droogie registered a vanity California license plate consisting solely of the word "NULL" -- which in programming is a term for no specific value -- for fun. And, he admitted to laughs, on the off chance it would confuse automatic license plate readers and the DMV's ticketing system. "I was like, 'I'm the shit,'" he joked to the crowd. "'I'm gonna be invisible.' Instead, I got all the tickets." Things didn't go south immediately. As Droogie explained, he's a cautious driver and didn't get any tickets for the first year he owned the vanity plate. Then he went to reregister his tags online, and, when prompted to input his license plate, broke the DMV webpage. It seemed the DMV site didn't recognize the plate "NULL" as an actual input.

That was the first sign that something was amiss. The next sign was, well, a little more serious: After receiving a legitimate parking ticket, thousands of dollars in random tickets starting arriving in the mail at his house, addressed to him. It seemed that a privately operated citation processing center had a database of outstanding tickets, and, for some reason -- possibly due to incomplete data on their end -- many of those tickets were assigned to the license plate "NULL." In other words, the processing center was likely trying to tell its systems it didn't know the plates of the offending cars. Instead, with Droogie's vanity plate now in play, it pegged all those outstanding tickets on him. Specifically, over $12,000 worth of outstanding tickets.
Long story short, Droogie went on the painstaking process to explain the situation to the DMV and the LAPD, both of whom advised him to change his plate. At any rate, the DMV reached out to the private vendor and sorted the issue.

Re:Why? Null is not equal to Null

By magarity • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They shouldn't have matched his plate.

Notice it didn't happen until it went to an external processor. One of the options when doing a database export to flat file is to output NULLs as empty strings or as the text string "NULL" and then vice-versa when importing. I bet the external outfit had their import of the text string "NULL" treated as a text string.

Other potentially problematic plates

By mark-t • Score: 3 • Thread


This post was going to just be the one line above, but Slashdot's lameness filter objected.

I Work in Transportation...

By tungstencoil • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Oh... no... um... no...please...oh, you did...

I worked in transportation software, for a Large Global Company that does a little bit of everything technology-wise. I wouldn't have to predict this as an outcome, as I would know that it would happen, even without knowing the systems involved.

Many systems are just plain outdated, backed by outdated pseduo-database or flat-file technologies that were homegrown. NULL? Yeah right.

Then, many systems were made to talk to those systems. They, in turn, might expect or need different data. They, themselves, were probably built a while ago by companies that might be technology creators, or might might be consultants with government ties. If the latter, you probably have some rigid kind of rules and practices.

These talk to more modern systems that do things like "hey, we can identify someone by their plate and just ticket/fine/invoice them. We just need to know who owns the vehicle. Oh, and state law says we have to send the registered owner the first invoice and the registered address, and then we can skip-trace past that with future notices."

Great! We need to use the registration info anyway! How do we do this? We build a system to take inbound infraction information. That system we build to identify the plate - mostly automatically, because machines are less expensive than people. (please note: NULL is pretty easy to OCR under real-world conditions). Now, we just need to 'dumb down' that information for the interfaces to the company system that talks to the government system that in turn maintains the government data originally used to - in isolation - invoice and track registration. Oh, everything is a pipe-delimited string cut off at 32 bytes and some other wonky stuff, but that's cool it's legacy and has worked rock-solid for 32 years...

BTW, 'we' were smart enough to know that not all infractions can have an image we can identify. So we store these with NULL or some integral value like NOPLATE. Also, some people have TEMP plates and we can't send those on. However, we need to report on all of this, so we understandably store this data.

Whether we sent "NULL" and it matched somewhere along the way, or an update back made its way into our system...well... let's just say "OK then".

And someone comes along with the bright idea of having "NULL" or "TEMP" or "NOPLATE" etc. and is genuinely shocked. I can understand the shock - surely this shouldn't happen... but as soon as you think about my (very simplified) example, you realize the inevitability of it.

I can only imagine the bureaucracy of trying to fix it...No joke, at that point I'd probably retain a lawyer, one who preferably knows the governor or commissioner or something.

Re:Name of Computer Science professor

By geoskd • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

And I'm baffled why this still happens. I think a lot of developers just have extremely little experience and they're hired because they're cheaper, or the hiring manager also has little experience, or everyone's in such a tight time-to-market (agile?) that there's no plan for extensive design reviews, code reviews, and testing.

It's a symptom of the disaster that is specifications and requirements.

The typical way that government software is contracted is that the seller (oracle or equivalent level of douchery) insist that the *client* write a specification which details every little thing, down to the maximum number of characters allowed in any given input field. Then they charge 100x cost for change requests after the contract is signed. This allows said douche to be the lowest bidder, but still make their margins because no one has ever written a complete or reasonable specification prior to software development, so the client gets screwed by way of massive change orders which puts the project over budget by 100's of %.

Never, ever get suckered into the specification scam. If a software vendor wants you to write a spec and offers a bid on said estimate with charges per change, then run for the hills, they are going to bleed you dry, and you will have it coming for being ignorant enough to get scammed.

A competent software vendor will want to see how your operation intends to use the software, and wont even mention a specification, or if they do, it will be a very general requirements document instead of a very specific specification document.

That is why the very best vendors tend to be companies that employ large numbers of former workers from the client. They are successful because they already know what the software has to do. When it comes to software, the open bidding process is a disaster and should be abandoned; it is the cause of wasteful spending, not the solution to it.

Accidental Public Service

By ememisya • Score: 3 • Thread
Call me an optimist but it sounds like he helped identify a problem with the company's data at his own expense even though that wasn't his intention. Settles FTC Allegations That It Deceived Consumers About How it Accesses and Uses Emails

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link, a firm that helps people manage their email list subscriptions but also sells users' data for profit, has settled with the FTC after allegations of deceiving consumers, the agency said. In a press release, the agency wrote: In a complaint, the FTC alleges that Unrollme , falsely told consumers that it would not "touch" their personal emails, when in fact it was sharing the users' email receipts (e-receipts) with its parent company, Slice Technologies. E-receipts are emails sent to consumers following a completed transaction and can include, among other things, the user's name, billing and shipping addresses, and information about products or services purchased by the consumer. Slice uses anonymous purchase information from Unrollme users' e-receipts in the market research analytics products it sells. Unrollme helps users unsubscribe from unwanted subscription emails and consolidates wanted email subscriptions into one daily email called the Rollup. The service requires users to provide Unrollme with access to their email accounts.

Didn't Unsubscribe

By Luthair • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Unfortunately my sister signed up for when she happened to mention to me and I advised her against giving access to her email she removed and started getting emails again. So presumably they just delete the incoming emails instead of actually unsubscribing from the list.

So a company breaks the law......

By Puls4r • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
And they have to explain to their customers that they broke the law. Thanks FTC. Way to stand up for customers again. A REAL solution would have been to have this company forfeit all profits made by the elicit use of emails, and give that money to the people who were harmed. You know.... fine the company? Hello?

I break the speed limit once, I have to give the government money. A company commits a serious breach of privacy tens of thousands of times, and they just have to tell people they did it.

Google Will Now Let Android Users Log In To Some Services Without A Password

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
If you're an Android user, you can now sign into some of Google's services using your fingerprint, rather than having to type in a password. "The feature is available starting today for some Android phones, and it will be rolling out to all phones running Android 7 or later 'over the next few days,'" reports The Verge. "According to a Google help page, the feature also allows you to log in using whichever method you have set up to unlock your phone, which can include pins and pattern unlock." From the report: Android phones already let you use your fingerprint to authenticate Google Pay purchases and log in to apps. What's new here is being able to use that same fingerprint to log in to one of Google's web services within the Chrome browser. At the moment, you can use the functionality to view and edit the passwords that Google has saved for you at, but Google says it plans to add the functionality to more Google and Google Cloud services in the future.

If you have a compatible Android handset, then you can try the functionality out now by heading over to using the Chrome app on your phone. This service lets you manage all of the passwords that Chrome has saved for you. If you tap on any one of these saved passwords, then Google will prompt you to "Verify that it's you," at which point, you can authenticate using your fingerprint or any other method you'd usually use to unlock your phone. You'll need to already have your personal Google Account added to your Android device for this to work.

What could possibly go wrong?

By shanen • Score: 3 • Thread

Imagine you are grabbed by some robbers. Having control of your body, they can simply use your finger to unlock your phone.

Thanks, google. Not.

Even worse if it's the Hong Kong police and you were a peaceful protester with links to friends on your phone.

As usual, the google is not part of the solution. That must mean the google is part of the precipitate, eh?

I drafted a long review of an anti-google book recently. Is it worth finishing it and "publishing" it on the Web? I don't think so, insofar as the google can just ignore it and make sure everyone else doesn't see it until it goes away. But I will note that the old motto has been replaced with "All your attention are belong to us." We're reduced to a squabble between the google and Facebook as to who is the worst case of "us". (Maybe Apple and Amazon are also contenders for the worst? I think Microsoft and Oracle are out of contention, but maybe their are some national contenders?)

Re:What could possibly go wrong?

By sound+vision • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
For all the shit talked on Slashdot - MS and Oracle sell software, and support for it. Google and Facebook sell variations of dystopian panopticon to anyone who can pay.
There is no version of Internet Explorer evil enough, that bundling it is in the same league of evilness.

GM, Volkswagen Say Goodbye To Hybrid Vehicles

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Auto makers for two decades have leaned on hybrid vehicles to help them comply with regulations on fuel consumption and give customers greener options in the showroom. Now, two of the world's largest car manufacturers say they see no future for them in their U.S. lineups. General Motors and Volkswagen are shifting the bulk of their future investment into fully electric cars (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), seeing hybrids, which save fuel by combining a gasoline engine with an electric motor, as only a stopgap to ultimately meeting tougher tailpipe-emissions requirements, particularly in China and Europe.

GM plans to launch 20 fully electric vehicles world-wide in the next four years, including plug-in models in the U.S. for the Chevy and Cadillac brands. Volkswagen also has committed billions to producing more battery-powered models, including introducing a small plug-in SUV in the U.S. next year and an electric version of its minibus around 2022. VW and GM are focused on all-electric cars largely because of China, where new regulations require car companies to sell a minimum number of zero-emissions vehicles to avoid financial penalties. VW plans to use its electric-car expansion in China to build scale and drive down prices faster in the U.S., said Scott Keogh, VW's U.S. chief.
"If I had a dollar more to invest, would I spend it on a hybrid? Or would I spend it on the answer that we all know is going to happen, and get there faster and better than anybody else?" GM President Mark Reuss said in an interview.


By Etcetera • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yep, need it to be dependable if you need to outrun a hurricane,

Is this the best you can come up with? Hurricanes, and even forest fires, can take hours to days to get to become a problem. The only way I can see the need to "outrun" one is due to poor planning.

Umm, clearly you haven't been in an area where wildfires are a concern. Hours are common, but there are times when you'll only have 10-20 minutes (if that) of warning between "Oh, that's a thing that's happening" to seeing 40 ft flames coming at you in the distance.

Beyond that, why in the world would you even risk this? A disaster could happen at any time, and I don't want my survival to depend on *hoping* that my car has been plugged in already for the last few days.

Re:What happens to gasoline?

By Dread Cthulhu • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
One thing to remember is that refineries produce more than just gasoline out of the crude oil they take in - everything from lubricants, to jet fuel, to feedstock chemicals for plastics gets refined out of the crude. So as long as there is demand for these other petroleum products, there will be plenty of gasoline produced as a byproduct. So I expect stagnant to lowering gasoline prices, at least until people come up with alternatives to those other petroleum products.

Re:Pure electric cars are useless, for now.

By iggymanz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

nonsense, charging at home for commute or weekend errands will work for 99.9% the people

Rent a IC engine car for any road trips until such day as you know you're covered for recharging on the go

Problem solved

Hybrids do just fine

By sdinfoserv • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I have a Prius that gets 50MPG with a 400+ mile range on the tank. An electric wouldn't work for out of town trips across the country. The only long range electrical solution isn't charging stations - it's replaceable battery stations. So I can drive in, replace the battery, drive out in 10 minutes. Waiting 45 minutes or longer for 80% charge doesn't interest me. Also, electric really doesn't fit the bill when I go into the mountains for a few days. I see plenty of those old gas pumps - forget charging stations - in small old towns.
Of course when I really want to get away, I drive my crew cab, 1 ton, 4x4 diesel - only way to pull a camper through the mountains.
Ultimately, EV, Hybrid, or IC - it's what life style you choose. Each has different +/- and "sweet spots".

Dear GM: we remember the EV1

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 3 • Thread

"If I had a dollar more to invest, would I spend it on a hybrid? Or would I spend it on the answer that we all know is going to happen, and get there faster and better than anybody else?" GM President Mark Reuss said in an interview.

Stop trying to sound like you're leading the electric vehicle change that's been happening. It sounds forced and insincere.

The General Motors EV1 was an electric car produced and leased by General Motors from 1996 to 1999. While customer reaction to the EV1 was positive, GM believed that electric cars occupied an unprofitable niche of the automobile market, and ended up crushing most of the cars, regardless of protesting customers.

General Motors EV1

You could have led the market and forced others to follow you into the future. You had your foot in the door, you were the first big one with the potential to change everything.

So stop with the false pretence. You are now just another copycat that has no choice but to enter the present, by force.

Samsung Just Made a 108MP Camera for Phones

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Samsung has announced a new image sensor for phones that breaks records. Built-in partnership with Xiaomi, the new Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX is the world's first mobile image sensor that goes beyond 100 million pixels. From a report: At 108MP, the new sensor allows for higher quality pictures in different light conditions. The resolution, which Samsung says is equivalent to DSLR cameras, allows for "extremely sharp photographs rich in detail," according to the firm. It's the first mobile image sensor to adopt a large lens size of 1/1.33-inch that allows the lens to absorb more light, leading to better quality pictures in low-light conditions. There's also an intelligent Tetracell technology that uses a pixel-merging method to "imitate" big-pixel sensors, allowing phones to produce brighter 27MP images. [...] The image sensor is built to tackle video recording as well, with Samsung claiming no losses in field-of-view when recording videos at resolutions up to 6K at 30fps.

Sensor size is more important than megapixels!

By Somervillain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Anyone who enjoys photography knows that sensor size is more important than megapixels. They also know that anyone who tells you a phone takes as good of pictures as a DSLR is lying. Open your image on a 4k monitor and you'll see. Anything you take on a camera will look better, especially indoors. In order for a phone to take as good of pics as a full frame DSLR, it would be huge and heavy. We don't lug 20 lbs of gear around to be hipsters. Heavy lenses and large sensors really do take much better pictures.

The smallest full frame camera was recently announced by sigma. It's about the size of a late 90s cell phone without a lens. If you're willing to carry something that looks like a 90s Motorola flip phone, then you'll have DSLR quality. Until then, it's just marketing designed to fool naive consumers and drive people like me crazy.

It's like speakers...sure a phone may have good speakers "for a phone," but nothing you want to carry in your pocket will sound as good as real speakers. The same applies for cameras. Samsung's sensor may be good "for a phone," but if you view it on any screen bigger than 4", you'll see a huge difference in quality between a real camera and one thrown on as an afterthought on your phone.

Tiny lenses and noise

By PeeAitchPee • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Two things:

The tiny, cheap lenses built into cell phones are at this point the biggest factor in determining image quality, not the number of pixels. Is the resulting image sharp? Is it free from chromatic aberrations? Etc. Independent testing of the lens components is really a requirement at this point -- perhaps someone like DXOMARK can figure out a way to do it?.

The more pixels you have in the same-sized sensor, the smaller they must necessarily be. This means by definition you have fewer photons hitting each pixel, which means you get more noise. Yes, you can somewhat offset that with fancy "noise reduction" math, but you can't cheat the physics either.

108 MP in a cell phone is a stunt. Actually, in most "real" cameras, it's a stunt. Without decent glass optimized for what you're shooting, you can't take advantage of it, and you're just creating bigger files for no good reason.

Pixel size first, then count

By Anubis IV • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Other companies are moving away from playing the marketing game of packing more pixels in the sensor because it leads to worse images. After all, when the sensor's pixels get that small, any given pixel will receive a wildly different number of photons compared to its adjacent pixels, leading to a lot of noise across the image. Instead, others are marketing the exact opposite: that their pixels are getting bigger and bigger, leading to better quality images. I thought that this sort of "bigger = better" MP marketing had largely fallen by the wayside with Nokia's obsolescence, so it's a bit odd to see Samsung carrying the torch a few years later.


By p51d007 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Perfect example of sensor size, versus megapixel count....when that MS phone with the (I think it was) 20MP...there was a commercial, showing a couple teenagers at the back of a concert, took a photo of the stage area, then zoom/cropped the photo to make it look like they were right up front. THAT is the whole purpose of "more is better" in photography per se. To loose less detail, when you zoom/crop. It won't give you a "better" picture. Given the fact that even an APS-C sensor is 7-8 times the size of the largest smartphone sensor, the physics alone tells you it will have a better photo quality than a pinhole sensor camera. Along with that, stuffing more and more sensors that close, you end up with the signal to noise ratio going bonkers with crosstalk. Then, the smartphone camera software has to hopefully squish out the noise, which muddies the photo. BIGGER individual sensors, would be better than stuffing more and more into a pinhole sensor. Shoot, a GOOD quality 8MP sensor, it capable of an A3 or 11x17 size print, but who prints. But, as you say, this is all marketing...more is better, and unfortunately, consumers fall for it all the time.

Borrowed concepts from astrophotography

By E-Lad • Score: 3 • Thread

The larger aperture is a no-brainer when trying to collect more photons. The "pixel merging" is what is known as "binning", a common technique with astrophotography CCDs where the light from a group of pixels (say, a 2x2 or 4x4 block of adjacent pixels) is summed to produce one brighter virtual ("binned") pixel. Binning's downside is that it eats away at the sensor's effective pixel array size and resolution, producing a narrower field of view (akin to a cropped sensor), but it seems that Samsung gets around this by brute force - just have a lot of pixels to begin with.

Microsoft Inks 10-Year Deal With Top Indian Telecom Network Reliance Jio To Court 'Millions' of Small and Medium Businesses

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft on Monday announced a long-term partnership with India's top telecom network Reliance Jio to reach "millions" of small and medium businesses clients in the key overseas market. From a report: The 10-year alliance between the two will see them launch new cloud data-centers in India to ensure "more of Jio's customers can access the tools and platforms they need to build their own digital capability," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a video appearance Monday. Three-year-old Reliance Jio has amassed more than 340 million subscribers in the country. "At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Core to this mission is deep partnerships, like the one we are announcing today with Reliance Jio. Our ambition is to help millions of organizations across India thrive and grow in the era of rapid technological change. Together, we will offer a comprehensive technology solution, from compute to storage, to connectivity and productivity for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere in the country," he added.

As part of the partnership, Nadella said, Jio and Microsoft will jointly offer Azure, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft AI platforms to more organizations in India, and also bring Azure Cognitive Services to more devices and in 13 Indian languages to businesses in the country. The solutions will be âoeaccessibleâ to reach as many people and organizations in India as possible, he added. The cloud services will be offered to businesses for as little as Rs 1,500 ($21) per month. The first two data-centers will be set up in Gujarat and Maharashtra by next year. Jio will migrate all of its non-networking apps to Microsoft Azure platform and promote its adoption among its ecosystem of startups, the two said in a joint statement.

The US Navy Will Replace Its Touchscreen Controls With Mechanical Ones On Its Destroyers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The US Navy will replace the touchscreen throttle and helm controls currently installed in its destroyers with mechanical ones starting in 2020. From a report: The move comes after the National Transportation Safety Board released an accident report from a 2017 collision, which cites the design of the ship's controls as a factor in the accident. On August 21st, 2017, the USS John S. McCain collided with the Alnic MC, a Liberian oil tanker, off the coast of Singapore. The report provides a detailed overview of the actions that led to the collision: when crew members tried to split throttle and steering control between consoles, they lost control of the ship, putting it into the path of the tanker. The crash killed 10 sailors and injured 48 aboard the McCain. The report says that while fatigue and lack of training played a role in the accident, the design of the ship's control console were also contributing factors. Located in the middle of the McCain's bridge, the Ship's Control Console (SCC) features a pair of touch-screens on both the Helm and Lee Helm stations, through which the crew could steer and propel the ship. Investigators found that the crew had placed it in "backup manual mode," which removed computer-assisted help, because it allowed for "more direct form of communication between steering and the SSC."

Re:Trying something new

By TomR teh Pirate • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Completely agree with this sentiment. My old 2003 Honda CRV has knobs for just about everything, and it couldn't be easier to set volume and HVAC settings without ever taking my eyes off the road. By contrast, my 2003 Infiniti G35 (now dead) had push buttons for everything, and it literally took two weeks to get familiarized with all the buttons. When its stock stereo and HVAC control board died (same PCB, wtf), I dropped in a double-din Pioneer unit with a full-sized touchscreen, and that was just about as bad as having a dozen state-change buttons from the original unit.

Manufacturers (some, most, all?) have come up with a solution to this touchscreen madness by putting frequently used functions into steering wheel controls. In my experience, this has included volume, shifting through inputs like AM / FM / CD / Satellite, and station changes. It kind of makes me wonder why they don't just put those simple switches back on the head-units themselves.

Re:How did the sailors die?

By Thelasko • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Could someone explain how the 10 sailors died? Judging by the photos, the damage to the ship wasn't THAT substantial?

If I recall, the ship began taking on water in a crew sleeping quarter. The rest of the crew did as they were trained and sealed the compartment to prevent the ship from sinking. Unfortunately, that also trapped 10 sailors in the flooding compartment...

Re:Trying something new

By gosand • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

touch screens are fragile and unreliable and should not be used for anything critical or dangerous

Not correct. They are not particularly fragile or unreliable.

I disagree with OP about being fragile or unreliable, but I do agree with them being potentially dangerous. Anyone who has driven a car with a touchscreen radio will have experienced how much more difficult it is to control the radio on the screen than it is with traditional tactile switches and dials. With ye olde car radios one can place their hand on the dial or buttons without taking their eyes off the road. Touchscreens require more visual confirmation from the user than tactile switches.

They are fragile and unreliable, when compared to the previous controls. I don't know exactly what these screens were, but most touch screens don't work well under many conditions... when your hands are wet, or dirty, or if you are wearing gloves, etc. So in that sense, they are unreliable under certain conditions. And the same logic applies to fragility - they are most likely more rugged than my cell phone, but certainly more fragile than the previous mechanical controls.

As you mention though, they are more dangerous. I dread the day I will buy a new car that doesn't have mechanical controls. Mine is a 2007, and the controls for stereo (volume, etc) are mechanically driven (but are really digital underneath). I can adjust things without looking away from the road. No button-punching to turn it up/down, or even worse a screen slider. Same goes for the AC/Heat fan. For instance, it's nice to be able to turn off the AC after the car has shut off, to save some cranking amps on the battery the next morning. I'll have to find the right mix of tech (e.g. mp3 capable) with usability (no touch screens) for things that need to be controlled while driving. Or maybe I'll just go be a destroyer captain. :)

Re:This was a UX design issue not a touchscreen is

By geoskd • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Controls for basic functions like changing the speed and direction of the ship should not be splitting, combining, or moving anywhere, period

Controls in a combat vessel have much tougher requirements, one of the most important being that control must be able to survive combat event, such as explosions.

No one has yet been able to build a control console that can survive a grenade, much less a guided missile, so in the olden days, each vessel had two bridges, a primary and a backup. The trouble with that setup is that it took time to determine that the primary bridge was incapacitated, and get the backup running. If the backup was also destroyed, then the vessel was SOL. Modern vessels use the command consoles interchangeably. Any console can be re-purposed to perform any task on the vessel. To make this work, the consoles pretty much have to be touch screen. Because of this advancement, vessels command is almost impossible to interrupt without obliterating the entire vessel. So more sitting ducks because the command hardware has been wiped out. As long as the vessel can maneuver and/or fire, someone will be putting up the fight, even with the entire chain of command decimated.

In answer to your question of why they should split control, the answer is obvious. It is much easier for a single person to accurately control speed if they do not also have to worry about steering. Pilots do this kind of task sharing all the time to make the workload easier under high stress circumstances, such as UA flight 232, where all aboard would have perished were it not for exactly this kind of cockpit resource management. The US Navy has simply taken that to its next logical step.

That having been said, there are good ways to implement such a design and bad ways. Clearly this implementation left a lot to be desired, as military contractors tend to be not very good at their jobs, and are more concerned about their cost-plus profits.

Re:This was a UX design issue not a touchscreen is

By EvilSS • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
There were also training issues, where the watchstanders didn't understand the system. For example only the OOD knew how the emergency-to-manual-override worked, or that the lee helm could take steering control from the helm if in backup manual mode. The helmsman also did not know the throttle controls were not ganged. The report rips the Navy for their training deficiency. The UX was certainly an issue but the biggest issue here seems to be the failure of the training and certification on these systems.

Samsung is Spamming Galaxy Phones With Multiple Note10 Ads

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: In case you were living under a rock this past week, it was hard to miss Samsung's big reveal for the Galaxy Note10. It was all over social media, news sites, televisions, and... notification trays. That's right, Samsung is once again spamming Galaxy phones with advertisements, this time for the Note10. This time around, push notifications advertising the Note10 are being sent out by at least three pre-installed applications -- Samsung Pay, Bixby, and the Samsung Push Service. Bixby wants you to ask it about the Note10, Samsung Pay is offering points when you look at the phone's product page, and Samsung Push Service just gives you a banner ad with no indication of where it came from. I received the Bixby ad on my international Galaxy S10e, but I haven't personally seen the others. To make matters even worse, Samsung has blocked disabling these alerts by holding down on them, at least for the Bixby app (again, I can't verify the other types of alerts). To disable the Bixby notifications, you have to open Bixby, tap the menu icon at the top-right, select Settings, and set 'Marketing notifications' to off.

Disable notifications...permanently

By grasshoppa • Score: 3 • Thread

Ditch samsung. Apple isn't a bad choice, it's not my cup of tea, but you can hardly go wrong with a pixel.

Re:It's opt in

By RevRagnarok • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
So... you need to create an account on yet another system to have your personal cell stop spamming you?

You *can* uninstall whatever you want without root

By Vermonter • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

After a system update re-enable Bixby, including the Bixby button, I got fed up enough with Samsung insisting it knew what apps I wanted to research how to get rid of the stuff. I found this handy guide that allows you to remove stuff without having to root your phone. Instead it uses a CLI from your PC with the phone connected via USB.

Philips does this on Smart-TV's as well.

By MindPrison • Score: 3 • Thread

This is becoming an increasing and worrying trend, they do anything and everything to reach out to us and break our privacy, at any cost.
You know, I expect that the TV is MINE when I purchase a brand new 700$ flat screen tv. But no, the companies have other ideas. The minute I accessed my smart TV youtube functionality, I have to sit through a television ad for the latest Philips TV (hey buyer, the tv you just bought is SO last generation, here's an ad for the new one), and guess what, we'll show it to you tomorrow, and the day after, and the next day ....

I'm gonna hack my tv! Thanks for this, enough is enough.

That's nothing...

By LordHighExecutioner • Score: 3 • Thread
...if you do not buy their new Note10, they will set your old Galaxy on fire.

A Wearable Robotic Tail Could Improve Your Balance

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader Ken McE shared a video of a new working prototype for a wearable tail.

Engadget reports: There are lots of companies who make wearable tails for humans, but they're usually for cosplay or other entertainment pursuits. Researchers at Keio University in Japan have created a wearable animated tail that promises to genuinely augment the wearer's capabilities -- not just appearance -- by improving their balance and agility.

The easiest way to understand what inspired this creation is to watch a video of monkeys effortlessly leaping from tree to tree. Their tails not only serve as an additional limb for grasping branches but also help them reposition their bodies mid-flight for a safe landing by shifting the monkey's center of balance as it moves. The Arque tail, as it's been named, does essentially the same thing for humans, although leaping from the highest branches of a tree isn't recommended just yet.... Inside the tail are a set of four artificial muscles powered by compressed air that contract and expand in different combinations to move and curl the tail in any direction.

Though the researchers have built a prototype, their video describes it as a "proposed tail" -- specifically, an artificial biomimicry-inspired anthropomorphic one. So how exactly would the tail controlled externally? The video describes its ability "to passively provide forces to the user's body based on the estimated center of gravity of his posture in order to correct his body balance." So basically, the tail would have a mind of its own, like the arms of Doctor Octopus?

"We also demonstrated a different approach for using the tail other than equilibrium maintenance, which is to change the center of mass of the user to off-balance his posture."

Wearing a big mechanical tail

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

What a fundamentally silly idea.

If you're having that much trouble not falling over, perhaps you should sit down?


By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

The first step on the way to tentacles.

Big problem

By Arthur Vandelay • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Wont this just knock stuff off the coffee table?

Problem Solved!

By sdinfoserv • Score: 3 • Thread
I can't tell you how many times i tripped going up the stairs carrying things and said to myself, "Self, If only I had a tail!"... my prayers are answered.

Are we not men?

By Drunkulus • Score: 3 • Thread
They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it's all
Just wind in sails Are we not men? We are Devo
Are we not men?

Was 2007 the 'Golden Age of Open Source'?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Just a few months ago, the editor of the recently-departed Linux Journal wrote that in many ways the golden age of Linux and FOSS was 2007. "Linux was now mainstream in corporate IT, and it was much rarer to meet much resistance when you wanted to set up Linux servers, unless your company was a 100% Windows shop... FOSS companies were making a lot of money, and developers were being paid to work on Linux and FOSS full time."

He also wrote that when Linux Journal later folded ( the first time), "It became clearer than ever to me that while Linux and FOSS had won the battle over the tech giants a decade before, new ones had taken their place in the meantime, and we were letting them win."

And he offered this final assessment in April: Today, Linux has wide hardware support, and a number of vendors offer hardware with Linux pre-installed and supported. The internet itself is full of FOSS projects, and one of the first things people do when they are about to start on a software project is to look on GitHub to see if anything that meets their needs already exists. Linux absolutely dominates the cloud in terms of numbers of VMs that run it, and much cloud infrastructure also runs FOSS services. Linux also is in many people's pockets and home appliances. Linux and FOSS are more ubiquitous than ever.

Linux and FOSS also are more hidden than ever. So many of those FOSS projects on GitHub ultimately are used as building blocks for proprietary software. So many companies that seem to champion FOSS by helping upstream projects they rely on also choose to keep the projects they write themselves proprietary. Although Linux dominates the cloud, more and more developers and system administrators who use the cloud do so via proprietary APIs and proprietary services. New developers and sysadmins get less exposure to Linux servers and FOSS services if they use the cloud how the providers intended. And, while Linux runs in your pocket and in your home, it's hidden underneath a huge layer of proprietary applications.

For the most part, the FOSS philosophy that defined Linux in its early days is hidden as well. Many people in the community tout FOSS only in terms of the ability to see code or as a way to avoid writing code themselves. It has become rarer for people to tout the importance of the freedoms that come along with FOSS and the problems that come from proprietary software. Indeed, most Linux application development in the cloud these days is done on Mac or Windows machines -- something that would have been considered unthinkable in the early days of Linux... I encourage everyone from all corners of the community not to take FOSS and Linux for granted. The world of readily available code and mostly open protocols you enjoy today isn't a given. If current trends continue, we could be back to a world of proprietary software, vendor lock-in and closed protocols like the world before 1994.

This new battle we find ourselves in is much more insidious. The ways that proprietary software and protocols have spread, in particular on mobile devices, has made it much more challenging for FOSS to win compared to in the past. If we want to win this battle, we need the whole community to work together toward a common goal.

But it provides a useful contrast

By Morgaine • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

These two stories back to back is a little much.

Actually, I found the contrast between the two adjacent stories (which was probably deliberate) quite intriguing and helpful, because it showed that the correct answer to the first one was "It depends", and the correct answer to the second, something like "Yes if you value community control more than profit". Whether today we are in the golden age of FOSS or not is a value judgment that reflects an individual's basis for evaluation of the current state of FOSS.

Also undermines leading questions

By Morgaine • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

So what you're saying is these two posts are part of the actual meta-post?

You may be on to something there! Whether or not Slashdot intended it as such, at least "meta-posts" would be something different for the site. Making the actual meta-post implied (as here) rather than explicit would be an interesting approach.

Note the power of leading questions, especially on Slashdot where there is a meme that assigns questions-as-subjects a default answer of "No." When we have two stories back to back posing opposite leading questions, this undermines the default answer beautifully. +1 for that.

2007 was the year of Vista

By xack • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
People moved back to XP instead of choosing Linux.

A different view on FOSS

By BorgDrone • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Linux and FOSS also are more hidden than ever. So many of those FOSS projects on GitHub ultimately are used as building blocks for proprietary software.

To me this is the natural position for FOSS to be in. Build the components needed by the majority of people together, while the parts needed by only a small group of people can be built as proprietary software by smaller groups of people.

It's not so much the view that all software should be free, but more of a pragmatic one: we all need these parts, so why not build these together instead of everyone re-inventing the wheel.

FOSS Skype Replacement

By EuropeanConsultant • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Are We In 'The Golden Age of Open Source'?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
InfoWorld's Matt Asay argues we're in (or near) "the golden age of open source." Here and there an open source company might struggle to make a buck, but as a community of communities, open source has never been healthier. There are a few good indicators for this.

The first is that the clouds -- yes, all of them -- are open sourcing essential building blocks that expose their operations. Google rightly gets credit for moving first on this with projects like Kubernetes and TensorFlow, but the others have followed suit. For example, Microsoft Azure released Azure Functions, which "extends the existing Azure application platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in virtually any Azure or third-party service as well as on-premises systems...." More recently, AWS released Firecracker, a lightweight, open source virtualization technology for running multi-tenant container workloads that emerged from AWS' serverless products (Lambda and Fargate). In a textbook example of how open source is supposed to work, Firecracker was derived from the Google-spawned crosvm but then spawned its own upgrade in the form of Weave Ignite, which made Firecracker much easier to manage.

These are just a few examples of the interesting open source projects emerging from the public clouds. (Across the ocean, Alibaba has been open sourcing its chip architecture, among other things.) More remains to be done, but these offer hope that the public clouds come not to bury open source, but rather to raise it...

it's not hard to believe that the more companies get serious about becoming software companies, the more they're going to encourage their developers to get involved in the open source communities upon which they depend... [I]t's not just the upstarts. Old-school enterprises like Home Depot host code on GitHub, while financial services companies like Capital One go even further, sponsoring open source events to help foster community around their proliferating projects.... So, again, not everybody is doing it. Not yet. But far more organizations are involved in open source today than were back in 2008... Such involvement is happening both at the elite level (public clouds) and in more mainstream ways, ushering in a golden era of open source.


By thereitis • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Posting without an account was one of the nice things about Slashdot but let's be honest, you're never truly anonymous on the 'net anymore unless perhaps you take extreme measures. And you can still login and post anonymously if you wish.
I think disabling anonymous commenting will have more benefits than drawbacks (for example, giving those who run the site more important things to work on than preventing hateful or troll spam) and it was the right call. Certainly better than requiring a captcha for every post.

FOSS vendors need a "patron's license"

By MikeRT • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If I were running a FOSS vendor, I would create a really inexpensive "patron's license" that companies could buy with the intent of paying for engineering costs. If the users are already managing their own support, they might still want to ensure that the product stays viable so why not give them a really cheap option like $100-$500/machine. You could even give such community members a badge in official support fora which would indicate who is actually contributing code or money so they can be prioritized when they come to ask for help.

Perhaps Windows Required?

By HalAtWork • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Perhaps some Linux programs and tools will require Windows and vice versa. With a Linux environment built into Windows it's easy to imagine software from both worlds hooking in to each other and eventually becoming dependent to perform certain tasks.

Yes, it fuels the Second Dotcom Bubble

By ErichTheRed • Score: 3 • Thread

I would say so. Even Microsoft got the open source religion and realized they're just a big cloud provider that happens to sell software on the side.

One thing open source everything, combined with cheap money and cloud services, is fueling is the Second Dotcom Bubble. Startups that would have had to raise millions and buy data centers and software back in 1998 just to get going can now use the founder's credit cards until they get their VC money. As a result, you get a lot of companies that can stick around way longer than they would otherwise. You start up as a "nothing in-house" company and stay that way, and the startups fuel the SaaS businesses. All you have is a shared working space full of hipsters on MacBook Pros.

We'll see what happens when the next recession hits, but I'm seeing parallels to the last bubble. Because it's so easy to do, you have tons of copycat companies each trying to serve a similar market. How many meal kit services are there? How many specialized Tinder-esque services do you have? How many subscription-box-of-junk services? One negative is that you're not going to have much firesale equipment on eBay after the next recession...maybe some Aeron chairs and bright white cafeteria tables but that's it.

The nice things we'll get to keep from this bubble are cloud computing related in my opinion. However, all the cloud providers are working to get developers addicted to proprietary It Just Works(TM) services. Even if they're open-source based, the providers know it will take work to move these workloads from one cloud to another. If you just use the cloud as fancy hosting and keep the propretary services to a minimum, then yes I guess it's the golden age of open source.

Are There Too Many Golden Age Articles on Slasdot?

By BrendaEM • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Not one, but two "Golden Age" articles in one day?