the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Nov-16 today archive

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

Boeing Fires Its Fuselage-Assembling Robots, Goes Back To Using Humans

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 quotes the Seattle Times: After enduring a manufacturing mess that spanned six years and cost millions of dollars as it implemented a large-scale robotic system for automated assembly of the 777 fuselage, Boeing has abandoned the robots and will go back to relying more on its human machinists...

The technology was implemented gradually from 2015 inside a new building on the Everett site. But right from the start, the robots proved painful to set up and error-prone, producing damaged fuselages and others that were incompletely assembled and had to be finished by hand. "The Fuselage Automated Upright Build process is a horrible failure," one mechanic told The Seattle Times in 2016. Another called the system "a nightmare" that was snarling 777 production. Yet Boeing insisted then that these were teething pains that would pass... The automation has never delivered its promise of reduced hand labor and Boeing has had to maintain a substantial workforce of mechanics to finish the work of the robots. Because of the errors in the automation, that often took longer than if they had done it all by hand from the start...

It's taken six years to finally throw in the towel.

Yet the article also notes that Boeing will continue to use its highly-automated autonomous robotic systems on other parts of their 777 assembly process.

Typical response from skilled labor

By RobinH • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I've been doing automation for 20 years now. Every skilled labor employee thinks their job is literally an art form, and won't believe you could automate it.

20 years ago, tool and die workers were telling us that a CNC machine could never do as good of a job as a skilled worker with a handmill. There's just a "feel", you see. You have to "listen to the cutter." That was after CNCs were already in wide use.

Of course what it took was some determined mechanical, electrical and computer engineers to prove them wrong. As an engineer, nobody bashes engineers more than skilled trades. It's inevitable. An engineer is constantly doing something they've never done before, constantly tries things, fails, iterates, and tries again. The apprentices of skilled trades, on the other hand, are immersed in a culture where a mistake means you're a failure. They relentlessly berate each other about the tiniest mistake. That makes sense when the success of your job depends on following strict methods and procedures that are time tested and proven to work. Unfortunately it also leads to stagnation in the trades. Nobody is comfortable trying something new for fear they'll be tied to a mistake and never live it down. Of course some automation projects are failures. They're hard, and nobody's ever tried this before. Good on the company for putting some money into R&D. But the guy with the pop riveter whose job might be replaced? He was likely hoping it would fail before it was even tested.

What a missed oportunity

By Ancil • Score: 3 • Thread
They were so close to naming it the Fuselage Upright Build Automated Robot...

Re:Can't Automate After the Fact

By nnull • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I've noticed a lot of American manufacturers expect automation to replace all their labor, rather than change their cheap or "high cost" labor to highly skilled people to allow for automation to actually work and improve the process for automation and make a product FOR AUTOMATION (And improves our society overall as we get more educated people), which in fact is what drives your costs downward as your productivity rises. Instead, we have a driving force downward to Idiocracy with US companies that wants to get rid of humans completely, even the maintenance personnel (Competent people to fix machines? No way anyone is going to be making more than my sales guys on the factory floor!). The first thing I've noticed from that Boeing article is the talk about replacing all the people with hand tools with one robot without hiring someone competent to make sure its running right. Their whole mentality is about cutting people off and kicking them to the curb.

I've been to many plants that automate and of all the ones I see failing miserably are in the US. They end up having to hire operators and maintenance personnel from Europe to run the damn things because most managers expect Juan to be able to operate the whole thing for minimum wage without any supporting staff behind it.

Watch out, Seattle!

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 3 • Thread

With this blot on their downloadable resume files, the Boeing robots are not going to find jobs anywhere else. Wait until they start accumulating on city streets, guzzling cheap machine oil and begging tourists for AA batteries.


By jabberw0k • Score: 3 • Thread
the Fuselage Upright Build Automated Robot?

Lessons From the Cyberattack On India's Largest Nuclear Power Plant

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Dan Drollette shares an article by two staffers at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

"Indian officials acknowledged on October 30th that a cyberattack occurred at the country's Kudankulam nuclear power plant," they write, adding that "According to last Monday's Washington Post, Kudankulam is India's biggest nuclear power plant, 'equipped with two Russian-designed and supplied VVER pressurized water reactors with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each.'"

So what did we learn? While reactor operations at Kudankulam were reportedly unaffected, this incident should serve as yet another wake-up call that the nuclear power industry needs to take cybersecurity more seriously. There are worrying indications that it currently does not: A 2015 report by the British think tank Chatham House found pervasive shortcomings in the nuclear power industry's approach to cybersecurity, from regulation to training to user behavior. In general, nuclear power plant operators have failed to broaden their cultures of safety and security to include an awareness of cyberthreats. (And by cultures of safety and security, those in the field -- such as the Fissile Materials Working Group -- refer to a broad, all-embracing approach towards nuclear security, that takes into account the human factor and encompasses programs on personnel reliability and training, illicit trafficking interception, customs and border security, export control, and IT security, to name just a few items. The Hague Communique of 2014 listed nuclear security culture as the first of its three pillars of nuclear security, the other two being physical protection and materials accounting.)

This laxness might be understandable if last week's incident were the first of its kind. Instead, there have been over 20 known cyber incidents at nuclear facilities since 1990. This number includes relatively minor items such as accidents from software bugs and inadequately tested updates along with deliberate intrusions, but it demonstrates that the nuclear sector is not somehow immune to cyber-related threats. Furthermore, as the digitalization of nuclear reactor instrumentation and control systems increases, so does the potential for malicious and accidental cyber incidents alike to cause harm.

This record should also disprove the old myth, unfortunately repeated in Kudankulam officials' remarks, that so-called air-gapping effectively secures operational networks at plants. Air-gapping refers to separating the plant's internet-connected business networks from the operational networks that control plant processes; doing so is intended to prevent malware from more easily infected business networks from affecting industrial control systems. The intrusion at Kudankulam so far seems limited to the plant's business networks, but air gaps have failed at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio in 2003 and even classified U.S. military systems in 2008. The same report from Chatham House found ample sector-wide evidence of employee behavior that would circumvent air gaps, like charging personal phones via reactor control room USB slots and installing remote access tools for contractors... [R]evealing the culprits and motives associated with the Kudankulam attack matters less for the nuclear power industry than fixing the systemic lapses that enabled it in the first place.

"The good news is that solutions abound..." the article concludes, noting guidance, cybersecurity courses, technical exchanges, and information through various security-minded public-private partnerships. "The challenge now is integrating this knowledge into the workforce and maintaining it over time...

"But last week's example of a well-established nuclear power program responding to a breach with denial, obfuscation, and shopworn talk of so-called 'air-gaps' demonstrates how dangerously little progress the industry has made to date."

Wait, What?

By Waffle Iron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

employee behavior that would circumvent air gaps, like charging personal phones via reactor control room USB slots

Reactor control rooms have USB slots? WTF?

Air gap works

By phantomfive • Score: 3 • Thread
Air gap works if you implement it correctly. If you implement it poorly, then it's still better than any other security measure implemented poorly. To begin with, using USB to transfer files is a mistake. There are so many other options that work better, and one of them should be used. In fact, no air-gap exploit would have succeeded to date, if it weren't for USB.

Secondly, these kind of scare stories are driving some kind of agenda. I don't know what that agenda is, but the nuclear power plant wasn't breached, according to the article.

Re:Air gap works

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

These things are _not_ reliable. And they have complex software on them that can behave in unexpected ways. PLCs come with extensively tested and assured reliability stats and reliability assurances far beyond "it does not break". A Raspberry Pi hobbyist device comes with "it will work for a few years if you are lucky and it may randomly make errors". A Raspberry Pi does not even have ECC memory or a reliable MCU on it and its function is certainly not fully tested. It is "cheapest possible".

Re:Air gap works

By gweihir • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you fully test a Raspberry Pi, you end up at a price-tag higher than a PLC. You have to create the whole testing process, the equipment, etc. Basically you need to design a PLC based on it. Sure, if there is no secondary damage when it starts to behave in an arbitrary way (which a PLC will not do), you can do it. It is still probably more expensive overall though. And "buy 10"? Have you overlooked that you also need to archive the whole process, all software and system- images and that there are components on a RPi that do have limited shelf-life?

I do get that PLCs have inflated prices. But replacing it with a hobbyist component is exactly the mind-set that later on causes catastrophes.

Ask Slashdot: What Should You Do If Someone's Trying To Steal Your Identity?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader shanen "just got the darnedest phone call..." The caller knew my name and the name of a bank that I've done business with, and obviously my phone number, but beyond that I have no idea what was going on... There is no problem with my account. She was quite clear about that, but she had no clear reason for calling. As I got more and more suspicious, she asked me to wait and she eventually transferred the call to a man, who claimed to be a manager at the bank, but the entire thing stinks to high heaven.

All I could think of was to suggest that I call him back, but he was apparently unable to provide a phone number that I could independently verify. Why not give me the bank's phone number that I could check on the Internet? One would think that I could then transfer to his extension. After almost nine minutes I just hung up, and now I realize that I have the caller's phone number, but that isn't definitive evidence of anything. A scammer might know that blocking the phone number would have made things more suspicious...

So what should I have done? Do you have any similar experiences to share? Or have I missed warnings about some new scam that's going around? Now I realize that they could start from names and phone numbers and just guess for the largest banks. Maybe I got suspicious too quickly, before she could start asking for the personal information she was really after?

The original submission also includes this question: "If it's an identity theft in progress, then I want to stop it and fast, but how can I tell what's going on?" So leave your own thoughts in the comments.

What should you do if you think someone is trying to steal your identity?

What to do?

By Retired ICS • Score: 3 • Thread

Hunt them down and kill them.

musical chairs

By burningcpu • Score: 3 • Thread
The data, is uh, out there. Take someone else's!

Re:Proof of Identity

By Ryzilynt • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'm accustomed to tedious (and often automated with annoying recorded menus) proof-of-identity procedures when I call a bank or other business to ask about my account. After all, I could be anyone calling in from anywhere.

Exactly but YOU initiated the call, you knew the number you dialed. In these cases it is perfectly fine to identify ones self. It doesn't work the other way around.

Never verify personal details on an incoming call.

Re:Proof of Identity

By Dunbal • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Living in a 3rd world country where many people are too stupid to dial their phones properly I get a lot of wrong numbers from peasants who say "who am I speaking to?". I answer back with "Who did you want to speak with?". "Which number is this?" "It's the number you dialed...". The best ones are the wrong numbers that immediately hit redial, because redial magically transforms a wrong number into a right number. I despair for humanity sometimes. But no, if you're going to call me then you better know who you are calling, I don't have to give anyone any information let alone "prove" something over the phone. You need to see me I'll come to your office.

Re:Proof of Identity

By Barny • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I had some trouble with my ISP a while ago, and at one point they had to call me back. They tried to do the usual identification thing, asking for name, address, etc.

I stopped them and told them I wouldn't give those details to anyone who'd called me. The person I was speaking to was surprised and actually thanked me for pointing out a problem with their call-flow.

In these situations, when you are called and then prompted for personal details, you should not give them until YOU can identify who is calling. In the call above, I wound up getting an extension number to use on their main line, so I could call them and establish security.

Since then, they've changed their policy such that you can verify them, and then safely give details (and of course, calling number ID is NOT verification).

New Micro 3D Printing Technology Wins Prestigious NZ Engineering Award

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader ClarkMills quotes New Zealand's Innovation Agency: New 3D printing technology creating highly detailed objects, smaller than a strand of human hair, has won the 2019 ENVI Engineering Innovation Award (Engineering New Zealand Awards). Micromaker3D, powered by breakthrough Laminated Resin Printing (LRP), makes it easy and more accessible to create detailed submillimetre structures for applications such as sensors, wearables, point-of-care diagnostics, micro-robotics or aerospace components.... LRP enables the printing of submillimetre structures with complex geometries of up to 100 per cent density, in extraordinary low-layer thicknesses and with imaging speeds as quick as one second per layer independent of complexity or density...

The judges saw MicroMaker3D as a gamechanger and believe it will spark many other innovations... The ENVI Engineering Innovation Award category is described as: "A breathtakingly clever engineering project or product that has solved an age-old problem or shifted from the 'always done this way' mentality...."

Callaghan Innovation is working to take the technology global, from the development and demonstration phase to commercial reality...

Lead engineer Neil Glasson points out that while a human hair is about 100 microns in width, "we're looking at five-micron resolution."

How it Works

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

(Just in case you wanted any actual information... though it's still pretty vague on some points)

Laminated Resin Printing uses elements of microfabrication-based photolithography, reformatted for 3D printing.

Extreme resolution modern dry film photoresist resins are imaged a layer at a time, using a fast-ultraviolet projection system, activating a photoinitiator. After imaging, each section of the dry film is laminated to form a multilayer stack. The stack is then heat cured through a precisely controlled catalytic cross-linking reaction in the activated areas forming a structure fully polymerised across and between layers, with no need for adhesives.

The unpatterned resin provides support material for the printed structure. This means that if you can design it, you can print it. Overhangs, membranes and moving parts that make up microsensors are readily printed and well matched to the resin storage modulus. Unpolymerised resin is highly soluble and easily washed away.

Using a preformed 5-micron thick resist sheet defines Z resolution with a layer thickness tolerance of 125 nanometers. Because the resist is already dry, there is no shrinkage or distortion, meaning this resolution is genuine and highly repeatable. A 5-micron resolution is also obtained in both X and Y, defined by the pixel size from the projector at the print bed. The photoresists used are an industry standard material with excellent characteristics that enable them to withstand the harshest environments.

These processes are automated and housed in a UV-excluding, particulate free desktop machine.

Material: Dry film
Curing: UV projection (+ heat post-processing)
Print speed: 10 seconds per layer (3s patterning, 7s laminating)
Print density: Up to 100%
Ease of printing: High
Visual quality: High â" 5-micron voxel printing
Heat resistance: -60 to + 200C continuous operating temperature
Roll width: Up to 250 mm
Roll length: 100 m
Chemical compatibility: Excellent resistance to a wide range of solvents, acids, bases and harsh environments
Electrical resistivity: Highly insulating
Layer adhesion: Highly soluble uncrosslinked film
Support: Uncrosslinked prepolymer
Layer height: Customisable from 5um to 100um
Material method: Lamination
Storage modulus: 1-4 GPa at room temperature with wide operational range

Quantum Computer Made From Photons Achieves New Record

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader hackingbear shared this article from Scientific American: In the race to create a quantum computer that can outperform a classical one, a method using particles of light (photons) has taken a promising step forward. Jian-Wei Pan and Chao-Yang Lu, both at the University of Science and Technology of China, and their colleagues improved a quantum computing technique called boson sampling to achieve a record 14 detected photons in its final results. Previous experiments were capped at only five detected photons. The increase in the number of the particles is small, but it amounts to a 6.5-billion-fold gain in "state space," or the number of ways in which a computer system can be configured. The larger the state space, the less likely a classical computer can perform the same calculation.

The result was reported in a paper posted at the preprint server on October 22 and has yet to be peer-reviewed. But if it is confirmed, it would be an important milestone in the race for quantum-computational supremacy -- a fuzzy goalpost defined as the point where quantum computers outpace their best classical counterparts.... Pan and Lu argue in their paper that their technique is another possible route toward quantum supremacy... Part of the trouble is its limited utility. "A universal computer can solve any different type of problem," says Jonathan Dowling, a theoretical physicist at Louisiana State University, who was not involved with the research. "This can only solve one." But solving just one problem faster than a classical computer would count as a demonstration of quantum-computational supremacy...

Over the past few weeks, the race for quantum computational supremacy has reached a breakneck pace. Google's quantum computer performed an operation that its scientists claim would take a classical computer 10,000 years in just 200 seconds. IBM researchers, who are also working on a quantum computer, have expressed doubts, suggesting a classical computer could solve that problem in under three days... "Quantum supremacy is like a horse race where you don't know how fast your horse is, you don't know how fast anybody else's horse is, and some of the horses are goats," Jonathan Dowling, a theoretical physicist at Louisiana State University, says. But this result, he clarifies, is not a goat.

The idea under discussion

By JoshuaZ • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The idea under discussion, quantum supremacy, is a bit subtle. Essentially the idea is that getting quantum computers to do a lot of the things we want quantum computers to be able to do that are apparently tough for classical computers, like factoring large numbers, requires large numbers of high quality qubits. Quantum supremacy instead focuses on just getting a quantum computer to do some sort of computation that we know is hard for a classical computer. This has two advantages. First, it doesn't require nearly as much fine tuned cooperation of qubits, and second this can then rely on much weaker computational complexity conjectures, which are substantially less weak than factoring being hard, and are things like the polynomial hierarchy not collapsing

It turns out that sampling problems, where one cares about distributions rather than specific calculations are a natural context for quantum supremacy. In this particular case, the particular class of problems is known as boson sampling due to Scott Aaronson and Alex Arkhipov. The idea is essentially that all one has is a bunch of photons with beam splitters and a few other very simple gadgets, but no actual interaction between photons, and one wants to know the output distribution. They showed that under very weak assumptions (not as weak as P != NP but only a tiny bit stronger), a classical computer cannot efficiently do this process. So if one can show that one really can do boson sampling efficiently one will have shown that quantum computers really can do at least some things that a classical computer cannot do efficiently.

Note that until very recently it looked like boson sampling was essentially out of the running for the first unambiguous quantum supremacy demonstration because of Google's recent work with random general quantum circuits. But this work seems to potentially put boson sampling back in as a serious contender.

Odds of getting this on a chip within 20 years?

By raymorris • Score: 3 • Thread

Quantum computing sure is interesting as an intellectual exercise.

Does anyone who knows about the processes of making semiconductor chips have any insight on how things look for putting thousands of qubits on a chip using something resembling current semiconductor processes? On a practical level, things get real interesting when many organizations have quantum computers with thousands or millions of cubits.

Are any of the quantum tech ideas that are advancing stuff that can be done in silicon, or is this going to be 100 pounds per qubit for the foreseeable future?

China Covers Up Killing Of Prisoners To Continue Harvesting Organs For Transplant: New Report

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Despite repeated denials, China stands accused of a systematic cover-up to hide the continuing practice of forced organ harvesting and murder," reports Forbes' cybersecurity writer Zak Doffman: The practice, described as "state-run mass murder" and valued at $1 billion each year, has supposedly been outlawed in the country. But a new report, published on November 14 in the BMC Medical Ethics journal, refutes this, accusing China of a "systematic falsification and manipulation of official organ transplant datasets," as the killings continue.

In June, I reported on the China Tribunal in London, which found evidence of "forced organ harvesting" from Chinese prisoners, including Falun Gong practitioners and Uighur Muslims. The Tribunal's final judgment concluded that this "forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, [and] the tribunal has had no evidence that the significant infrastructure associated with China's transplantation industry has been dismantled..." With China's illegal organ transplant industry said to be worth $1 billion each year, the country is determined to deflect the international outcry that has intensified as details of the organ harvesting have come to light. But this latest report casts doubt over claims of reform, exposing a material delta between the estimated number of transplants and the state's official statistics. In short, a new system of voluntary donations has been operating alongside and not instead of forced extractions.

The giveaway, according to the report, is patterns in the data provided by China which are too neat to be genuine -- they were falsified.

In short, the article claims that China is "artificially manufacturing organ transplant donation data."

Re: I notice when China does something good

By Way Smarter Than You • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This will be hard for you to grasp so I'll use small words. The Chinese ruling class are members of the communist party. They came up in a communist system. However, they figured out that true communism leads to stagnation and starvation. So they allowed a few areas to be pseudo capitalist to see what happens because they could see capitalist countries were doing lots better. Not surprisingly to anyone else, capitalism, even their limited form, was successful. So they allowed more and more. Today they are capitalist in most cities and old school communist in most rural areas. And in all cases still viciously darkly evil as fuck as they continue to mass murder anyone not on board with the corrupt leadership's plans. Politically, they are now a dictatorship, with Xi making himself "President for life". Just like shit hole third world banana republics used to do. And Xi is still an old school commie at heart. He's been cracking down on the capitalism and putting more and more of the economy back under government control. Given a few more years he'll kill the golden goose and their economy will go stagnant if not outright crash. Does that help you understand better? I tried not to make it too complex.

Re:Not at all surprising.

By sarren1901 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Sigh, you aren't a slave to your job. You can leave. Really, you can. It's not without consequences, but you aren't going to be rounded up by your owners and beaten for your attempt to flee.

Do you mean you have to work to get food and shelter? Why, yes that's true. Tell me when that wasn't true? When was there ever a time everyone was magically given a house and food that required them to not do anything for it? Well?

Sounds like we are slaves to basic needs such as food and shelter.

Go fuck off with your wage slave, corporate slave none sense. You can choose to leave and you can choose to better yourself, if you want to. You have choices. Actual slaves, owned, don't get those choices. They choose to work or die (if they are lucky to just get to die).

Re:Not at all surprising.

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I get it, you consider everything you don't like communist and the citizens of Cuba slaves, even though actual industrialised slavery was invented by capitalist nations. This only shows that you have no idea what slavery actually is. Go read some actual history books instead of conservapedia.

Slavery as an institution has existed since antiquity. Trying to blame it on capitalism is inane unless you want to claim that the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians were capitalists.

If your argument that slavery was a more efficiently run (and therefore more brutal) enterprise under capitalism then why don't you believe that it would be more effective in other enterprises as well?

Re: Not at all surprising.

By DrMrLordX • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They didn't just lob rockets at "illegal Israeli settlements". Some of those rockets went pretty deep into southern Israel. Earlier this year, the Palestinians managed to get one into Tel Aviv.

Of course, depending on whom you ask, they may consider all of Israel to be an illegal settlement.

Re:Not at all surprising.

By Ryzilynt • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And since I am not a slave, I'd much rather be in Haiti than in the Communist hell-hole of Cuba.

Communism was actually working extremely well for Cuba until the United States decided to make their lives hell. Because you know -communism- and all. We had to "prove" that communism was a failure by hurting Cuba (economically) as much as possible.

If it weren't for that, Cuba would have likely been a shining beacon of what communism could be.

Pro tip: read another book. Learn the definition of communism. Just because evil perverts implementations of communism doesn't mean the form of government is flawed, it means people are flawed. Evil has and continues to pervade capitalist societies around the world.

Thousands of Hacked Disney+ Accounts Are Already For Sale On Hacking Forums

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: Hackers didn't waste any time and have started hijacking Disney+ user accounts hours after the service launched. Many of these accounts are now being offered for free on hacking forums, or available for sale for prices varying from $3 to $11, a ZDNet investigation has discovered... Many users reported that hackers were accessing their accounts, logging them out of all devices, and then changing the account's email and password, effectively taking over the account and locking the previous owner out...

Two users who spoke with ZDNet on the condition we do not share their names admitted that they reused passwords. However, other users said online that they did not, and had used passwords unique for their Disney+ accounts. This suggests that in some cases hackers gained access to accounts by using email and password combos leaked at other sites, while in other cases the Disney+ credentials might have been obtained from users infected with keylogging or info-stealing malware.

The speed at which hackers have mobilized to monetize Disney+ accounts is astounding.

I was thinking of signing up

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

But I may just hold off for a while... to make sure there isn't some fundamental weakness in Disney+' account management.

Although it might be an interesting experiment - load up a pre-paid credit card with a few bucks and use that to create an account, then see whether it gets taken over...


By Fly Swatter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The speed at which hackers have mobilized to monetize Disney+ accounts is astounding.

The incompetent security of Disney+ accounts is astounding.

Re:Extreme incompetence

By geek • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well they did force their IT people to train their Indian replacements from HCL. So yeah

Re:Extreme incompetence

By slarabee • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
What would a penetration test have revealed? It would take some really really good odds before I would place money on these credentials having been sourced from a compromise of Disney+ infrastructure.

More likely:

1. Scammers are selling absolutely nothing that will work.

2. Disney+ consumers

  1. 2a. Reused credentials.
    2b. Choose the simplest most guessable credentials the Disney+ password policy would allow.
    2c. Created/used their account from a compromised system.
    2d. Were phished.

3. Disney got hacked. Very distant third place.


By stephanruby • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

...while in other cases the Disney+ credentials might have been obtained from users infected with keylogging or info-stealing malware.

This article must have been written by a Disney PR person because it does not even mention the possibility that Disney+ got hacked.

It reminds me of Uber claiming that many of its users were reusing passwords, that's why their accounts were hacked, when in fact, they knew the company itself had been hacked and they even paid off the hackers to keep quiet.

Consumer Reports Restores 'Recommended' Ratings to Both Tesla's Model 3 and Model S

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Consumer Reports has restored its coveted 'recommended' rating to the Tesla Model S and Model 3, because Tesla has made its cars more reliable," reports CNN: "The Tesla Model 3 struggled last year as the company made frequent design changes and ramped up production to meet demand," said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at CR. "But as the production stabilized, we have seen improvements to the reliability of the Model 3 and S that now allow us to recommend both models."

Although Consumer Reports says the Models S and 3 need fewer repairs, it did have some bad news for Tesla, too: The Model X SUV continues to rank among the magazine's least reliable.

The Model S had lost its recommended status last year, CNN notes. And while initially giving Tesla's Model 3 a "recommended" rating in 2018, further reliability survey data from more Tesla owners had prompted Consumer Reports to remove it from its recommended list in February of this year.

The new ratings are just part of a good month for Tesla. Since reporting an unexpected profit last month, Tesla's stock price has shot up more than 40%.

I am not sure

By jfinke • Score: 3 • Thread
that anyone who is purchasing a Tesla is paying any attention to Consumer Reports.

Re:No surprise on the civilian tank / housewife tr

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What the fuck are you babbling about?


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Other manufacturers do sometimes make improvements, but they also make mistakes... For example the Duramax 6.6 went to the Bosch CP4 injection pump in 2011 in order to improve emissions or performance or something, but it turned out to be fragile so they dropped it in 2015 in favor of a Denso pump. They also have had a tendency to break cranks, so they went to a heavier crank with superior metallurgy and larger journals in 2017. Ford used to get their light duty diesels from Navistar (nee International) and Navistar made them two lemons in a row (6.0 and 6.4) so Ford threw up their hands and made their own 6.7 V8 which is reportedly quite good.

The stuff that pisses me off is the facelifting which has gotten totally out of control. If it looks new then people believe it is new so they buy it. But it makes it hard to find body parts — especially front bumper covers, headlights and such, which are commonly damaged.

Re:I am not sure

By markdavis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

>"We bought a Model X and its quite literally the best car we've ever owned."

Every car I have purchased has been the best car I have ever owned. I don't think that says too much. As we get older, we can afford better models, and all car technology improves each year making them generally more reliable, more comfortable, more convenient, and safer.

Re:I am not sure

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You have not owned a Tesla, so you see it as just another incremental improvement, like Subaru Legacy 2006, 170HP, 2017 Subaru Legacy 180 HP.

The Tesla is orders of magnitude better. Fundamentally.

Model 3 RWD uses a 280 HP motor ( AWD uses two motors each 240 HP). Yet it is four times less expensive per mile compared to cars of similar power. BMW X3 240 HP, 25 MPG highway, is 15 to 18 cents a mile. Model 3 is 3 cents a mile (12 c/kWh, 4 miles/kWh). This is not evolutionary improvement, it is revolutionary!

It can run the A/c or the heater while parked in the garage. No carbon monoxide poisoning. The latest over the air update now primes the cabin for the morning commute automatically. You set the time of departure, it heats/cools the car. No ICE car can do that, you cant run the engine in the garage!

Tesla sentry mode runs the proximity sensor all the time it is parked. If you use that much power for that long in an ICE car the battery will be drained and you cant start the car. Tesla can do it because it has enough energy to keep a McMansion running for 2 days including the two fridges, freezer, washing machine and the electric cooktop!

The BEVs are fundamentally better. Econoboxes need not be light weight and low powered. Size/weight/performance will not define luxury in BEV world. Every garage and every power outlet is a gas station. Breaking your routine to fuel up will be seen as an annoyance in the BEV world.

The only refuge for ICEV is very quick refueling on long distance trips. Current generation can do 280 miles without time penalty, and then 30 minutes for every 200 miles. And it would be like buying gas at 65 cents a gallon. ICEV makers can have the market of people who find that unacceptable and are willing to pay 2.70$ per gallon for it.

Something Strange Seems To Be Causing Distant Galaxies To Synchronize

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
pgmrdlm quotes Futurism: Massive Structures
Galaxies millions of light years away seem to be connected by an unseen network of massive intergalactic structures, which force them to synchronize in ways that can't be explained by existing astrophysics, Vice reports. The discoveries could force us to rethink our fundamental understanding of the universe.

"The observed coherence must have some relationship with large-scale structures, because it is impossible that the galaxies separated by six megaparsecs [roughly 20 million light years] directly interact with each other," Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute astronomer Hyeop Lee told the site.

There have been many instances of astronomers observing galaxies that seem to be connected and moving in sync with each other. A study by Lee, published in The Astrophysical Journal in October, found that hundreds of galaxies are rotating in exactly the same way, despite being millions of light years apart. And a separate study, published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics in 2014, found supermassive black holes aligning with each other, despite being billions of light years apart.

Re:Oh yes, so *I'm* the problem...

By gtall • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Ah, the old Rock Method of Argument:

Dolt: Find me a rock.

Girl: Okay, here's one.

Dolt: Nope, that's not the correct rock.

Girl: (snicker) will I know what is the correct rock?

Dolt: I'll tell you whether it is the correct rock.

Girl: You starched your shorts again, didn't you?

Re: Synchro(nicity)

By Artem S. Tashkinov • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm not so sure people hundreds of years ago when science was in its infancy were all true real believers.

The Greek philosopher Epicurus said this, "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then from whence comes evil?" And there are a lot of things philosophers of the ancient times struggled with, including the notion of God itself which makes me believe that even if churches established science and paid for it, it was done by the men with critical thinking who very much doubted the religions they were surrounded with.

Re:If there's enough data...

By guruevi • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Apparently it is a bit more than that. I'm more favoring the theory that all these galaxies somehow influence each other. They were close enough at the time of the expansion of the Universe. It could also be the same result as the pendulum synchronicity experiment but at scale of the galaxy (after a while all pendulums that are connected through the same semi-rigid medium are going to be synchronized)

Reflection? Lensing?

By printman • Score: 3 • Thread

Reflection or lensing would explain this - rather than independent structures moving at the same time, we might be seeing the same thing from different angles.

Re: Synchro(nicity)

By Antique Geekmeister • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Logic in the formal form certainly came before scientific method as a formal method. It's difficult to enumerate all the fallacies in the rest of your claim. For example, citing logic as a formal source without which truth cannot be deduced or derived is a mix of an appeal to authority of formal logic itself, and of post hoc ergo propter hoc. (Since modern science cites formal logic it could not exist without it.)

Unfortunately, quite informal logic serves very well for most scientific reasoning, and does not require the formalization or deep study of it. Much as some mathematicians feel polluted when their beautiful intellectual creations are used for crass engineering, or when some physicists have felt insulted when asked for the practical application of sophisticated subatomic subtleties to the practical world, the desire to feel that one's achievements are somehow _above_ those of the "mere" physical arts is tempting.

How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader walterbyrd shared this report on "arguably the most powerful lines of computer code in the global economy," the Google algorithms that handle 3.8 million queries every single minute.

But though Google claims its algorithms are objective and autonomous, the Wall Street Journal reports Google "has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged": More than 100 interviews and the Journal's own testing of Google's search results reveal:

- Google made algorithmic changes to its search results that favor big businesses over smaller ones, and in at least one case made changes on behalf of a major advertiser, eBay Inc., contrary to its public position that it never takes that type of action. The company also boosts some major websites, such as Inc. and Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

- Google engineers regularly make behind-the-scenes adjustments to other information the company is increasingly layering on top of its basic search results. These features include auto-complete suggestions, boxes called "knowledge panels" and "featured snippets," and news results, which aren't subject to the same company policies limiting what engineers can remove or change.

- Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results... Google employees and executives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have disagreed on how much to intervene on search results and to what extent. Employees can push for revisions in specific search results, including on topics such as vaccinations and autism.

- To evaluate its search results, Google employs thousands of low-paid contractors whose purpose the company says is to assess the quality of the algorithms' rankings. Even so, contractors said Google gave feedback to these workers to convey what it considered to be the correct ranking of results, and they revised their assessments accordingly, according to contractors interviewed by the Journal. The contractors' collective evaluations are then used to adjust algorithms.

The Journal's findings undercut one of Google's core defenses against global regulators worried about how it wields its immense power -- that the company doesn't exert editorial control over what it shows users.


By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think a lot of people mistake anti-SEO for political bias. For example one popular technique is to fine a particular phrase that isn't very popular and popularize it for political purposes. Then when someone searches for that phrase they heard used in a soundbite or on Facebook all they get are sites with one political bias, the one that popularized it.

Then Google notices it's just a synonym for some more common way of phrasing the issue and the advantage disappears, and people claim Google is politically biased and trying to help the other side.

DuckDuckGo uses Google for search results anyway so any actual political bias will be evident there too. As for bubbles, you should block cookies and site data for all sites to avoid that. Everyone should use a whitelist these days.

Because user's needs change

By stikves • Score: 3 • Thread

The needs of users change over time, hence the search engines do change to reflect these.

For example, take a simple query like "Walmart". Previously if you just returned "" as the first result, everything was fine. Now, not so much.

Maybe you are looking for the local store. Then a maps result should be in the second place. If this is a mobile device, maybe it should even be first.

Maybe you are looking for Walmart stock information. Was it up, or down today? How many point? Why?

Maybe you are looking for a company profile. There comes the little info box on the right. All things, like CEO, incomes, number of stores could be listed.

Maybe you are looking for pharmacy hours.

Maybe there was a recent event in a store. Unfortunate that it is, there was a recent shooting. Even if the article might not have as many clicks as the other results, int that particular day it might be important.

And once you start bringing more relevant results to the first page, naturally some other older results are pushed down.

What matters first is satisfying the user's needs. They are the ones searching for the information.

[ disclaimer: I work at Google, but not at core search. This is my external observation as a user, and I see similar things at Bing, which I also use ].


By Mashiki • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

DuckDuckGo uses Google for search results anyway

DDG doesn't use Google. You should remember that from the last time you claimed they did and were proven wrong. They use Bing, Yahoo, and their own search backend.

Re:Broken beyond repair

By green1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That's funny, when I search for a problem I'm having with google products google usually gives me dozens of pages of people having exactly the same problem for the past 5 or 6 years, and not a single person who has found a solution, or anyone at google who is willing to even acknowledge the issue.


By Fly Swatter • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It's all downhill, remember when you could '+' and '-' words to require or exclude them in the results? Or using '.' between words you want to include in the same order. Now even quotes are randomly ignored.

They should use what they have now for the 'ok, google' users and put the usable search back for the rest of us. I think the problem might be they are trying to use the same algorithms for both use cases. 'power users' still exist google.

Debian Project Drafts General Resolution on Init-System Diversity

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Debian "is heading toward a new general resolution to decide at what level init systems other than systemd should be supported," reports

"I'm absolutely convinced we've reached a point where in order to respect the people trying to get work done, we need to figure out where we are as a project," writes Debian project leader Sam Hartman. "We can either decide that this is work we want to facilitate, or work that we as a project decide is not important." reports: The immediate motivation for a reconsideration would appear to be the proposed addition of elogind, a standalone fork of the systemd-logind daemon, to Debian. Elogind would provide support for systemd's D-Bus-based login mechanism -- needed to support small projects like the GNOME desktop -- without the need for systemd itself. The addition of elogind has been controversial; it is a difficult package to integrate for a number of reasons. Much of the discussion has evidently been carried out away from the mailing lists, but some context on the problem can be found in this bug report. In short: merging elogind appears to be complex enough that it would be hard to justify in the absence of a strong commitment to the support of non-systemd init systems. It seems possible that this commitment no longer exists across the distribution as a whole; the purpose of a general resolution would be to determine whether that is the case or not.

Unsurprisingly, Debian developers have a variety of opinions on this issue. This response from Russ Allbery is worth reading in its entirety. He argues that the 2014 decision (of which he was a part) never really nailed down the project's position toward other init systems. That was a necessary compromise at the time, he said, but it is causing stress now: "while I feel somewhat vindicated by the fact that this didn't immediately fall apart and has sort of worked, I think it's becoming increasingly untenable".... Josh Triplett zeroed in on one of the issues that is testing the init-system peace now. There is, he said, an increasingly long list of features that are only available with systemd, and application developers want to use those features... The responses to this argument took a couple of different approaches. Ted Ts'o described those features as "the 'embrace, extend, and extinguish' phenomenon of systemd which caused so much fear and loathing."

There's much more information in's 1,600-word article -- but where do things stand now? Hartman posted a draft general resolution last week with three choices.

"It should be noted, though, that this is explicitly a draft," concludes "It is likely to evolve considerably before it reaches the point where the project will vote on it."

That makes sense

By raymorris • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Since the purpose of of init is to start services/processss on boot, it seems like it would make sense for init to monitor those processes and restart them if the screw up.

Until you think it through. 99% of the time if your web site is down, it's not because the httpd root PID no longer exists. It's because the drive is full or the database server can't be reached or you upgraded PHP and some code broke or any of 1,000 other things. Checking that the parent PID exists isn't what you need. You need to use something like Monit to check that the web site is up, that the mail server is delivering mail, etc. Those are very application specific things, it's not PID or process management.

A quick Google shows that one of the main questions people have about monitoring services and systemd is how to get Monit or another system designed for monitoring these applications to work again after systemd screws up the monitoring.

Heck, SysVInit could watch a pid, so if you really find that valuable (because you don't have any monitoring for your web site?), you could do that with SysVInit too.

> Let's not turn every discussion into a joke. When I talk about the useful features of systemd,

I apologise, but when you start talking about how many different features systemd has, it's hard to discuss that without systemd sounding like a joke. It's like discussing how Trump has elevated the office of president and made it an inspiration to the nation again - how do you respond to that in a way that doesn't come across as ridicule? In my view, systemd is a clown when it comes to adding more and more shit, so it's difficult to discuss that without pointing out the big red nose.

Re:systemd hate is disinformation

By DeHackEd • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Well udev is part of systemd today (it wasn't always so), so that's a wash.

Predictability in NIC names already existed. In the past distros would write rules to fix names of NICs once initially assigned. The first one detected would be eth0, but then a udev rule is saved so that this exact NIC (by MAC address) will forever be eth0, and any future cards become eth1, etc even if eth0 is later removed. And you have the option of manually editing the file, though I rarely did.

The new system is SUPPOSED to detect if a NIC is onboard, or in a PCI slot, and give it a name suitable to that. But even that is hit and miss. Sometimes dual-port NICs don't appear as 2 NICs but like SR-IOV subordinates of each other, which is wrong. Sometimes the motherboard onboard NICs are not properly recognized as such (I presume this is a BIOS error) and get labelled as being in add-on slots. Hell I've applied a BIOS update and seen PCI slots get relabelled; this didn't affect a NIC specifically but I saw the relabelling happen.

And finally, different motherboards will have different identifiers for their slots. Is the physical port I want to use on my addon card enp5s0, or enp94s0f1 ? It depends on the motherboard and I constantly need to check what it is for this machine.

So I've traded one consistent naming scheme which depends on the order of cards being detected over the machine's life, with one which depends on the BIOS naming scheme and how the NIC vendor labels their ports. I choose option 1.

Any just to make one thing clear, every single one of these things has happened to me personally and is not "I heard that this happens". Yes, I hate systemd, and it's not just joining the bandwagon - it's personal slights that have caused it.

Re:Debian user here

By dargaud • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I hear you. I just had an annoying experience. Laptop connected to office NFS servers. Close the lid, take the train and wake it up, refuses to load and needs to reboot. Then refuses to boot, with some very obscure upstart message and only the option to Ctrl-D to root or reboot. I manage to track the problem down to NFS and remove the now impossible mounts. Why the fuck in 2019 is it impossible to unplug a laptop from an NFS server ? And why the very fuck is it handled (very poorly) by systemd (when it used to wirk before) ?!? It's a good thing I know some basic sysadmin, otherwise I'd failed writing my report.

Re:Debian user here

By Etcetera • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

One of the core principles of systemd has always been compatibility with sysv init scripts. So actually it does work fine. In fact systemd will happily defer to the init script if it can't find a systemd unit for the service you're asking for.

Hardly. sysv-init scripts are entirely relegated to second-class (as was the intent all along). In fact, they're not even handled directly in the core any more, but via a shim... and this is deemed a feature.
* The support for SysV and LSB init scripts has been removed
                    from the systemd daemon itself. Instead, it is now
                    implemented as a generator that creates native systemd units
                    from these scripts when needed. This enables us to remove a
                    substantial amount of legacy code from PID 1, following the
                    fact that many distributions only ship a very small number
                    of LSB/SysV init scripts nowadays.

Re:systemd's advantages are not unique to systemd

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You don't need a special daemon to use cgroups. It's basic OS functionality.

cgroups v1:
Mount a controller (v1):
                      mount -t cgroup -o cpu none /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu
cgroups v2:
                      mount -t cgroup2 none /mnt/cgroup2
Create a cgroup:
                      mkdir /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu/cg1
Move a PID into a cgroup:
                      echo $$ > /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu/cg1/cgroup.procs

All of this can reasonably be done in init scripts. If redhat weren't so terrible at creating init scripts, perhaps we never would have wound up with systemd.

Pointless Work Meetings 'Really a Form of Therapy'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Meetings at work should be seen as a form of "therapy" rather than about decision-making, say researchers. Academics from the University of Malmo in Sweden say meetings provide an outlet for people at work to show off their status or to express frustration. Professor Patrik Hall says they are becoming increasingly frequent -- as more managerial and "strategy" jobs generate more meetings. But he says despite there being more meetings "few decisions are made." Prof Hall has investigated an apparent contradiction in how people can have a low opinion of work meetings, yet their numbers keep increasing.

The political scientist says the rise in meetings reflects changes in the workforce -- with fewer people doing and making things and an increase in those involved in "meetings-intense" roles such as strategists, advisers, consultants and managers. "People don't do concrete things any more," he says. Instead he says there has been a rise of managerial roles, which are often not very well defined, and where "the hierarchy is not that clear." [...] Meetings can "arouse feelings of meaninglessness," he says. But he argues that is often missing their point. Once in a meeting -- particularly long ones -- their function can become "almost therapeutic."
Prof Hall goes on to suggest booking rooms for shorter periods, as he says meetings will expand to fill whatever time is given to them. He also says that "equality" of participants is important, otherwise a "power struggle" will emerge when the meetings are dominated by different levels of status.

"Bullshit Jobs"

By Archtech • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's explained in David Graeber's book, "Bullshit Jobs". The meetings are, indeed, therapy - but only for the big swingin' dicks.

Just like emperors of old, today's "executives" often have deep personal feelings of insecurity and feel better when surrounded by crowds of yes-employees. The only reason they don't have robed and turbaned lackeys waving ostrich feathers to cool their fevered brows is that they are also terrified of ridicule.

As a low-level employee who wasted many of the best hours of my life in such meetings, I can testify that it was most unwise for anyone but a big cheese to speak. If you were lucky, you would be completely ignored. Otherwise, whatever you said would be written down and added to your HR zapiska for later use against you.

How to handle meetings...

By PSVMOrnot • Score: 3 • Thread

as someone who does the work.

I've worked at a number of companies over the years, and found that there are organisations which know how to have meetings, and those who do not.

When you are in an organisation which does not know how to run a meeting... you're lucky to get an average of two hours a day of useful work done. Your days get gradually taken over by meetings with no clear purpose, attended by people who have been invited for no clear reason. Typically the person with the least information talks the most, and after wasting an hour (or two) no useful outcome is reached. This is where projects go to die. Any successful projects are usually due to someone getting sufficiently annoyed and skunk-works-ing the project, presenting it as a fait acompli. Alternatively, by someone on the project team sacrificing them selves to the meetings to shield the rest of their team.

When you're in an organisation which knows how to run meetings, then you get stuff done. Meetings are limited, and when they happen they have a clear purpose; typically either to share information, or to agree on a decision. There is this marvelous thing called an agenda, which gets circulated in advance to all attendees, along with what the desired outputs of the meeting are, and any preparation you need to do before attending. This lets people decide whether they need to attend or not. The person who has the information to share is the one to do the talking. The more important you are, the more of your time is spent listening to gather information to make the required decisions.

So, to fulfill the promise in this posts title:

  1. Avoid meetings: If you're in a good organisation, they'll understand. If you are not, then do whatever you have to;
    • - Draw straws in your team to see which one of you to sacrifice
    • - Block out time when you are unavailable, e.g.: due to prior commitments (work is a prior commitment, right?)
    • - Collate all the meetings you can't avoid into one or two chunks to minimise lost time.
    • - Make people aware of how much time is wasted in meetings, and how much it threatens the success of the project.
    • - Try to turn it into a one-on-one call; these are much easier to make useful.
    • - Try to take it to email.
  2. Make meetings useful: If you can't avoid a meeting, or worse yet, you have to schedule one, then make sure it is at least going to be useful.
    • - Make sure meetings have an Agenda, clearly listing the topics you need to discuss.
    • - Make sure meetings have a clear expected outcome.
    • - Make sure all the required information readily at hand.
    • - Send all that information out to people before hand. Sometimes you may be able to resolve things without the meeting this way.
    • - Make sure the absolute minimum number of people are involved.
    • - Run the meeting like a tyrant if you have to.
      • If people start to ramble, cut them off. This saves time, and also serves as a way to make sure that everyone who needs to talk has chance to. (Particularly those who would otherwise have trouble speaking up, inclusivity bonus!).
      • If people get off topic, tell them to take it to another meeting. You are here to achieve the expected outcomes and that is it.
      • Be polite about it if you can, but do remember: they're being incredibly rude wasting every ones time, don't let that go unchallenged. Nice and good are not the same thing.

    That is what I've figured out so far. If you've got ideas on how to survive in meeting land, please post them; I'm always looking to learn.

I spend my life in meetings...

By Faizdog • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I am a little conflicted about this. Seems like the author is trying to justify time spent in meetings which serve little purpose at first glance. I would say that is besides the purpose, and justifies busy work. They do not have enough real work to do, so need the meetings to feel useful and not bored.

I have very little respect for this. Maybe that is because I pretty much spend all my day (more than 8 hours) in a continuous block of meetings, and every bit of time is precious. Now sure some of them are inefficient and could be better managed, and yes a 20 minute discussion often expands to fill the fully scheduled 30 min block of time (more and more however we are saying letâ(TM)s end early and get some time back). But I would say the totally useless meetings where I go âoewhy the hell am I hereâ are pretty infrequent, and even there I can just fire up my laptop and tune things out, keeping an ear open.

Some context: The title does not matter, but I am a manager-of-managers and do virtually no hands-on work anymore; I have about 50 people plus 10 to 15 contractors rolling up to me. It takes a lot of coordination and planning to keep our projects aligned together with interdependencies figured out and tracked, and with activities outside of my area but within my larger group, etc. A lot of time is spent in mundane but critical activities like budget planning, resource allocation, HR matters (people conflicts, etc), 1:1 check-ins with my directs (who themselves are line managers).

A lot of time is spent managing sideways and upwards, handling the politics and shielding my team from the corporate sh*t. Someone has to deal with it, otherwise it will flow down. Our (very large 70,000 employee multi-national) company has a very consensus driven culture (given the different countries, cultures and people who work here), and often coordination with a lot of stakeholders is required to get things moving, or on track.

I also make time to do (periodic but not frequent) skip level meetings and check in either 1:1 or in groups with people in my team. Could be a chat, discussion about career progression, or once a quarter a particular project team might present an update on their work to me, and do a deep dive allowing me to poke and prod, and learn. Not only does it keep me plugged in with my team, but they appreciate the opportunity to present, and get time with their bosses boss, or higher. I really enjoy these.

Also there is the regular hiring activity, particularly in a growth phase, and OMG does hiring take time. Interviewing, as well as job requisition negotiations, budgets, time with HR, etc. Sometimes with regular attrition, a team might end up reporting directly to me while I search for their new leader, and that increases my workload and meetings.

Often times new, large multi-million dollar initiatives, do not just get kicked off in one meeting, a bunch of meetings, or even half/full/multi-day workshops are required to figure things out, align different groups, plan, etc, and then get it really moving.

And then, while I do not normally micromanage and instead delegate to the team leads who report into me, there is sometimes a crisis, or a project is very behind schedule, or someone else in the company is pissed with one of my teams, or something, and for a few days or weeks I have to dive deeper and engage with a particular project team on a more intense and frequent level until the problem gets sorted out. That adds meetings.

For all these reasons, and more, I spend all my working day in meetings. My situation may be very different from the one presented, but I have no patience for truly useless or waste-of-time meetings. If I find myself in one, I try to excuse myself after some time. I do not entertain future meeting requests from those people. If I found out someone in my org was spending time in meetings like this, that would get focused on pretty quickly, and I would ask their line manager if the person was using their time effectively. We have a lot of work to do with a backlog of tasks, and do not have a lot of bandwidth that is just free.

Re:I spend my life in meetings...

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I'll bet you are the guy that takes the specifications from the customer and bring them down to the software engineers.

Re:A form of Therapy?

By timeOday • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Different people have different kind of needs. A lot of people ("normal" people?) just don't feel motivated about a project unless they have a social bond and feel like they are part of a team and can't let others down, and meeting in person can foster that. But for introverts that can easily become an emotional drag instead because they are interested in the work for its own sake.

Ancestry Taps AI To Sift Through Millions of Obituaries

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Algorithms identified death notices in old newspaper pages, then another set of algorithms pulled names and other key details into a searchable database. From a report: Ancestry used artificial intelligence to extract obituary details hidden in a half-billion digitized newspaper pages dating back to 1690, data invaluable for customers building their family trees. The family history and consumer-genomics company, based in Lehi, Utah, began the project in late 2017 and introduced the new functionality last month. Through its subsidiary, the company had a trove of newspaper pages, including obituaries -- but it said that manually finding and importing those death notices to in a form that was usable for customers would likely have taken years. Instead, Ancestry tasked its 24-person data-science team with having technology pinpoint and make sense of the data. The team trained machine-learning algorithms to recognize obituary content in those 525 million newspaper pages. It then trained another set of algorithms to detect and index key facts from the obituaries, such as names of the deceased's spouse and children, birth dates, birthplaces and more.

Ancestry, which has about 3.5 million subscribers, now offers about 262 million obituaries, up from roughly 40 million two years ago. Its database includes about a billion names associated with obituaries, including names of the deceased and their relatives. Besides analyzing the trove of old newspaper pages, the algorithms were also applied to online obituaries coming into Ancestry's database, making them more searchable. Before the AI overhaul, the roughly 40 million obituaries on were searchable only by the name of the deceased. That meant a search for "Mary R. Smith," for instance, would yield obituaries only for people with that name -- not other obituaries that mentioned that name as a sibling or child.

Re:Why people publish obituaries in newspapers?

By idji • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Because newspapers were the social media of the 16th, 17th, 18th and most of the 19th century. It was the ONLY way to communicate with others before the telephone reduced it in the 1950s and the internet and social media obliterated the rest. Facebook is NOTHING NEW. Read any 19th century newspaper. "Mrs Smith and her daughter played croquet yesterday and the daughter wore a pink dress - the boys were impressed. For refreshments they ate strawberry dumplings."

Some newspapers & websites let you post obits

By drainbramage • Score: 3 • Thread
It's time to salt the earth, 6 feet under:
Sally Short, a long-time City resident, died June 12th of an unknown illness.
Sally taught Witchcraft at Salem University along with her close friend Hilary Clinton.
Sally enjoyed good food and socializing with demons. She could light up a room, I mean really.
Because of that many of her acquaintances died of smoke inhalation. Really, a small price to pay.
She is survived by her niece, Tabitha Stevens and several goats, all of whom live in hiding.

'Algorithms Are Like Convex Mirrors That Refract Human Biases'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Emil Protalinski, writing for VentureBeat: At the Movethedial Global Summit in Toronto yesterday, I listened intently to a talk titled "No polite fictions: What AI reveals about humanity." Kathryn Hume, Borealis AI's director of product, listed a bunch of AI and algorithmic failures -- we've seen plenty of that. But it was how Hume described algorithms that really stood out to me. "Algorithms are like convex mirrors that refract human biases, but do it in a pretty blunt way," Hume said. "They don't permit polite fictions like those that we often sustain our society with." I really like this analogy. It's probably the best one I've heard so far, because it doesn't end there. Later in her talk, Hume took it further, after discussing an algorithm biased against black people used to predict future criminals in the U.S.

"These systems don't permit polite fictions," Hume said. "They're actually a mirror that can enable us to directly observe what might be wrong in society so that we can fix it. But we need to be careful, because if we don't design these systems well, all that they're going to do is encode what's in the data and potentially amplify the prejudices that exist in society today." If an algorithm is designed poorly or -- as almost anyone in AI will tell you nowadays -- if your data is inherently biased, the result will be too. Chances are you've heard this so often it's been hammered into your brain.


By Rockoon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Sorry, but the data IS the correct model.

What you are really arguing is that some saintly person should develop a model that defies the data, that in spite of the data, that the saint is right.

If you argue for better data, thats ones thing, but thats not what you are doing. You are arguing for a better model, that somehow isnt built on the data.

The data continues to not lie.


By Sique • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Data is lying. Pretending that it is not is living in a fantasy world.

There is for instance selection bias. Which data you gather depends heavily on the way you gather data. If you fish with a net with meshes 4 inches wide in a lake, you will not catch any fish smaller than 4 inches. If you use the caught fish to find out the average size of fish in that lake, the data lies to you.

And if you uncritically use the data to train an AI, the AI will show all the biases that went into designing the ways to gather the data, and how to interpret it. AI is a magnifying glass of our way to gather data and to make sense of it. Nothing more and nothing less.


By SuricouRaven • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Even deleting the 'non-PC attributes' isn't as easy as it might seem. Sure, you can carefully omit the 'race' field from your criminals records before feeding them into the predict-o-matic - but there are a lot of attributes that correlate with criminality. The algorithm will swiftly work out that people in certain parts of town are more likely to commit crimes, and that people on low family income are more likely to commit crimes, and that people or poor educational attainment are more likely to commit crimes... and we just run again into the most fundamental problem: We want to enjoy all the benefits that prejudice allows, declaring people are guilty or innocent based on statistical correlations, while hiding the dirty business away inside a machine-learning black box so we can pretend these correlations are objective and not feel guilty about locking people away in prison for years based on where they happen to live or how much money their parents make.

Says it and doesn't say it

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

"They don't permit polite fictions like those that we often sustain our society with."

Well, and that's the "problem". Except the taboos are so strong that she can't say that the polite fictions are that certain groups aren't more criminal, that it's all due to bias, and so forth.

Analyzing data does cut through the polite fictions, but she can't even say what those polite fictions are. That does trigger a lot of cognitive dissonance and thrashing about.


By rho • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Genetically, not only are there xx and xy but also xxy and xyy at least

Sure, but these are highly abnormal states. Monster trucks exist, but we don't build highways and bridges to accommodate them.

ML algorithms are tools that can be used well or poorly, and they can be trained with good or bad data. We've become accustomed to algorithms working so well, e.g. Google, that we think of them as a Leatherman multi-tool for all kinds of problems. But that is not necessarily true. The example given in the article was DHH's tweet about the AppleCard that jacked over his wife on her credit limit. Nobody knows why, but the algorithm didn't do it because it hated his wife, or even women. It took in a bunch of data and made a decision based on that data and its training.

If they went to an ordinary bank, the bank manager wouldn't blink at giving both of them the same credit limit, even if in his experience more women defaulted on their loans. The bank manager would ignore the data and engage in the polite fiction that as a married couple they should be treated equally. The problem is a huge corporation like Apple doesn't want to hire scads of customer reps at a good salary to maintain personal relationships with clients. They want to script away as much humanity as possible so they can make more profit. ML allows them to do this.

Back to your xxy/xyy example, we build reliable societal institutions based on the broad general distribution of xx/xy dimorphism. We maintain a polite fiction that xxy/xyy outliers are normal because they are people too, they deserve to be treated with respect, and because most people aren't horrible monsters. What we don't do, or at least shouldn't do, is upend all of the societal institutions for the sake of the outliers. E.g., change all medical databases to allow patients to choose "A-10 Warthog" for their sex, because that impacts how the medical data could be used to find trends that dis-proportionally affects women or men.

Google Chrome Experiment Crashes Browser Tabs, Impacts Companies Worldwide

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Google Chrome experiment has gone horribly wrong this week and ended up crashing browsers on thousands, if not more, enterprise networks for nearly two days. From a report: The issue first appeared on Wednesday, November 13. It didn't impact all Chrome users, but only Chrome browsers running on Windows Server "terminal server" setups -- a very common setup in enterprise networks According to hundreds of reports, users said that Chrome tabs were going blank, all of a sudden, in what's called a "White Screen of Death" (WSOD) error. The issue was no joke. System administrators at many companies reported that hundreds and thousands of employees couldn't use Chrome to access the internet, as the active browser tab kept going blank while working. In tightly controlled enterprise environments, many employees didn't have the option to change browsers and were left unable to do their jobs. Similarly, system administrators couldn't just replace Chrome with another browser right away.

Chrome Browser for enterprise

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Shouldn't they have been using Chrome Browser for enterprise with policies to prevent Chrome experiment from being inflicted on users?

Re:Chrome Browser for enterprise

By sodul • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you read the bug report thread many were using the enterprise edition. Unfortunately Google reserves the right to push many flags that are not explicitly in the control of the admins such as revoking ssl certs.

> However, some components are exempt from this policy: updates to any component that does not contain executable code, or does not significantly alter the behavior of the browser, or is critical for its security will not be disabled.

Re:Changes on a whim, surprise surprise

By Retired ICS • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually this is a Google thing that has been infecting everyone. Prior to Windows 10, Microsoft Updates *never* changed a setting that the user had set. Unfortunately this "experiments" thing is also a part of Firefox, but at least in Firefox you can turn it off to prevent Mozilla from making random changes to your configuration. With Microsoft you just have to get used to it and write software to make sure that things stay as you set them (the worst offender being the Microsoft Firewall, which will adjust itself at every turn to allow all sorts of stupid little Microsoft shits (like the Calculator) receive unsolicited incoming connections from the Internet).

Re:Chrome Browser for enterprise

By Carewolf • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Shouldn't they have been using Chrome Browser for enterprise with policies to prevent Chrome experiment from being inflicted on users?

You shouldn't be using spyware in enterprise anyway.

Re:Chrome Browser for enterprise

By mrbester • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Hey, we're a multi-billion dollar company, but can't be bothered to test our software properly. If you could just roll out this beta to your internal corporate network and test it for us that would be aces. TIA luv da Goog"

Yeah. Bollocks to that.