the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-May-21 today archive


  1. University of California Will Stop Using SAT, ACT
  2. Tesla Drops Lawsuit Against Alameda County Over Freemont Factory Reopening
  3. Students Are Failing AP Tests Because the College Boards Can't Handle HEIC Images
  4. How Do Astronauts Escape When a Space Launch Goes Wrong?
  5. Hackers Infect Multiple Game Developers With Advanced Malware
  6. Grandmother Ordered To Delete Facebook Photos Under GDPR
  7. AT&T To Drop Misleading '5G Evolution' Marketing For Non-5G Networks
  8. T-Mobile Connecting Heroes Now Live, First Responders Get Free 5G Service
  9. Check Point Releases Open-Source Fix For Common Linux Memory Corruption Security Hole
  10. Astronomers Spot Potential First Evidence of New Planet Being Born
  11. 'Apple Glass' Rumored To Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses
  12. Sabrent Unveils Record-Breaking 8TB Rocket Q NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD
  13. Copyright Office: System For Pulling Content Offline Isn't Working
  14. Jack Dorsey Is Giving Andrew Yang $5 Million To Build the Case for Universal Basic Income
  15. Facebook Says It Will Permanently Shift Tens of Thousands of Jobs To Remote Work
  16. Shopify To Let Employees Work From Home Permanently
  17. Netflix To Start Cancelling Inactive Customers' Subscriptions
  18. ScreenHits TV To Launch Streaming Aggregator To Combat 'Subscription Fatigue'
  19. Your ZIP Code and Your Life Expectancy
  20. Amazon Launches Food Delivery Service in India
  21. New Zealand PM Flags Four-Day Workweek To Boost Its Shuttered Economy After COVID-19
  22. Google Cloud Earns Defense Contract Win For Anthos Multi-Cloud Management Tool
  23. Cold War Satellites Inadvertently Tracked Species Declines

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.

University of California Will Stop Using SAT, ACT

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: The University of California board of regents voted Thursday to stop using the SAT and ACT college admissions exams (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), reshaping college admissions in one of the largest and most prestigious university systems in the country and dealing a significant blow to the multibillion-dollar college admission testing industry. The unanimous 23-to-0 vote ratified a proposal put forward last month by UC President Janet Napolitano to phase out the exams over the next five years until the sprawling UC system can develop its own test.

The battle against standardized tests has raged for years because minority students score, on average, lower than their white classmates. Advocates argue that the exams are an unfair admission barrier to those students because they often cannot pay for pricey test preparation. [...] Ms. Napolitano's proposal allows four years for the UC system to develop a new exam. If it fails to create or adopt one, then it likely would cease to use any exam, said Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, which has fought against standardized testing for 30 years. Mr. Schaeffer said he doesn't believe a new exam will be implemented.
"It appears very unlikely that they will be able to design an instrument that is more accurate and fairer than relying on applicants' high school records," Mr. Schaeffer said. "And, if a new test somehow meets those goals promoters would face massive adoption barriers, including persuading UC and the rest of the admissions world that a third test is truly needed or useful."

A spokesman for the College Board, which oversees the SAT, said the organization's "mission remains the same: to give all students, and especially low-income and first-generation students, opportunities to show their strength. We must also address the disparities in coursework and classrooms that the evidence shows most drive inequity in California."


By Stonent1 • Score: 3 • Thread
"minority students score, on average, lower than their white classmates"

I see millions of Asians raising an eyebrow.

Standard tests reveal failure of Cali's schools

By sabbede • Score: 3 • Thread
That is why the Sate University system is moving away from them - the State's post-secondary education system is covering up for the failure of its primary and secondary education systems. They graduate students that were not ready, and then try to shuffle them into the Universities where they take remedial (high-school) classes for the low-low price of permeant debt.

At the very heart of this disgrace is the absurd notion that inequities can be resolved by "wagging the dog". A common measure of success for secondary education is the number of students that go on to college. College is seen as the path to generational success. So, idiot policymakers see that and decide sending as many students as possible, regardless of qualification or likelihood of success (most don't finish first year) is a win-win for fixing the problems their incompetence created. They are wrong of course, and their foolish actions do nothing but spread and exacerbate the problems they claim to be fixing.

Re:It's like they've forgscotten...

By apoc.famine • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Wow. It's almost poverty might be relative to the overall wealth of the society you live in. Luckily the overall wealth of the society you live in never changes, so thus we never need to redefine poverty.

Re:It's like they've forgscotten...

By Immerman • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

> That would add up to about 3 trillion dollars per year. That does not seem easy. What am I missing?

The fact that the majority of people would be immediately paying back those benefits in taxes, so that their net cost to a UBI would be zero, if not actively paying in. A person making $40,000 per year doesn't need a UBI to pull them out of poverty - they're not in poverty. A UBI just gives them an instant, shame-free safety net that doesn't require them to completely burn through all their savings and other assets first the way welfare does.

A bit under 12% of the US population lives in poverty, meaning your $3 trillion estimate should be closer to $360 billion. For context, current welfare spending (federal, state, and local) is about $470 billion, plus another $642 billion for Medicaid. Of course, $10,000/year won't even cover rent in a shithole in a lot of places, so you'd still need some local and state spending to make up the difference.

A whole lot of the final cost number depends on exactly how you claw back the UBI from those who don't need it. Income taxes are the most straightforward way, but risk reducing the incentive to work more/harder, though unless its *very* badly designed it won't duplicate the active disincentive provided by the welfare cliff.

Increased sales, VAT, or excise taxes are another interesting option - that raises prices for everyone and claws back the UBI based on consumption rather than spending, providing greater incentive for everyone to spend their money on improving their station rather than consumption. Such taxes are regressive by nature (hitting poorer people who spend most their money harder than richer ones who invest), but to claw back a UBI that might work out okay.

Re:It's like they've forgscotten...

By liquid_schwartz • Score: 4 • Thread
So you want me to work harder and pay more in taxes so that the non-working poor can have a free ride shame free. And you consider this a good thing. There's a reason I advocate for the US to have a peaceful breakup and this is part of it. My mindset of accept responsibility and make something of yourself and your mindset of freeloaders are to be helped are just too different.

Tesla Drops Lawsuit Against Alameda County Over Freemont Factory Reopening

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tesla has officially dismissed a lawsuit filed earlier this month against Alameda County that sought to force the reopening of its factory in Fremont, Calif. TechCrunch reports: The dismissal, which was granted Wednesday, closes the loop on a battle between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and county health and law enforcement officials. The lawsuit, filed May 9 hours after Musk threatened to sue and move operations out of state, sought injunctive and declaratory relief against Alameda County. The lawsuit was filed after Tesla's plans to resume production at the Fremont factory were thwarted by the county's decision to extend a stay-at-home order issued to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The lawsuit has been dismissed at Tesla's request (PDF), and comes a week after Alameda County signaled that it wasn't going to try to stop the company from re-opening its Fremont factory despite their prolonged shelter-in-place order.


By Synonymous Cowered • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not really. They were already on their way to getting the plant opened anyway on about the same timeline. So the only thing he really accomplished was burning some goodwill with the city for any future issues or negotiations that come up.


By The Rizz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Last sentence in the article: "Alameda County signaled that it wasn't going to try to stop the company from re-opening its Fremont factory despite their prolonged shelter-in-place order." the shelter-in-place order was still standing, but they weren't going to enforce it on Tesla or its employees.

The only reason they dropped the lawsuit was because the county threw in the towel and told them to do whatever they want.


By Local ID10T • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Last sentence in the article: "Alameda County signaled that it wasn't going to try to stop the company from re-opening its Fremont factory despite their prolonged shelter-in-place order." the shelter-in-place order was still standing, but they weren't going to enforce it on Tesla or its employees.

The only reason they dropped the lawsuit was because the county threw in the towel and told them to do whatever they want.

Alameda was in the process of issuing variances to companies that had filed plans for opening while protecting employees. Tesla's variance would have been issued officially about a week later... but Musk was unwilling to wait in line with everyone else.

The whole thing was a dick-waving exercise. "Look at me! I'm special!" I guess it is an example of the "no such thing as bad publicity" meme -people are talking abut Tesla.

Withdrew, not dismissed

By Tough Love • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Annoying abuse of terminology. Courts dismiss. Plaintiff withdraws.

Re: Cowards

By jblues • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

BGC vaccine does some remarkable (and as yet unexplained) things to the immune system. For example it is also confers protection against bladder cancer.

One theory in support of efficacy against COVID19, is that COVID19 enables a proliferation of facultative and obligate anaerobes as a complication of the virus, just as Lemierre's Syndrome follows Epstein Barr Virus. BGC is known to provide partial protection against other kinds of anaerobes.

There may be another explanation for it working, or another explanation entirely, for the correlation.

Students Are Failing AP Tests Because the College Boards Can't Handle HEIC Images

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Many high school students around the country completed Advanced Placement tests online last week but were unable to submit them at the end because the testing portal doesn't support HEIC images -- the default format on iOS devices and some newer Android phones. The Verge reports: For the uninitiated: AP exams require longform answers. Students can either type their response or upload a photo of handwritten work. Students who choose the latter option can do so as a JPG, JPEG, or PNG format according to the College Board's coronavirus FAQ. But the testing portal doesn't support the default format on iOS devices and some newer Android phones, HEIC files. HEIC files are smaller than JPEGs and other formats, thus allowing you to store a lot more photos on an iPhone. Basically, only Apple (and, more recently, Samsung) use the HEIC format -- most other websites and platforms don't support it. Even popular Silicon Valley-based services, such as Slack, don't treat HEICs the same way as standard JPEGs.

[Nick Bryner, a high school senior in Los Angeles] says many of his classmates also tried to submit iPhone photos and experienced the same problem. The issue was so common that his school's AP program forwarded an email from the College Board to students on Sunday including tidbits of advice to prevent submission errors. "What's devastating is that thousands of students now have an additional three weeks of stressful studying for retakes," Bryner said. The email Bryner received doesn't mention the HEIC format, though it does link to the College Board's website, which instructs students with iPhones to change their camera settings so that photos save as JPEGs rather than HEICs. The company also linked to that information in a tweet early last week.
In a statement emailed to The Verge, the College Board said that "the vast majority of students successfully completed their exams" in the first few days of online testing, "with less than 1 percent unable to submit their responses." The company also noted that "We share the deep disappointment of students who were unable to submit responses."

Work to specification

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

It's one important skill you have to learn at college. Deliver what you're supposed to deliver in a way the customer wants. If you cannot do that, you fail.

Looks to me like "working as designed, no bug, ticket closed".

Re: Yet...

By SuricouRaven • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It's also been the standard format *only* on one major smart phone. There's a reason for that: It's patent-encumbered. Apple loves this, because they are part of the patent consortium behind it. But it means that none of the open-source web browsers will process it.

Conversely, the WebP format - designed by google, but without such patent issues - is now supported by all major web browsers... except for Safari and the iOS browser.

It's the old HTML video battle all over again: Rival factions backing different technologies, and deliberately refusing to support anything that the other does.

Re:These are some pretty stupid college students

By beuges • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you read TFA you'd see that the problem was that "The website got stuck on the loading screen until Bryner's time ran out."

Maybe if the site returned immediately with 'Unsupported image format, please re-submit as a .jpg or .png', you might have an argument. But when the site locked up and didn't allow you to do anything else then you don't know that you did something wrong so you can fix it vs the site is not responding and this is out of your control.

Two years ago I was tasked with building a mobile app that allowed uploading images from your camera roll. Worked fine on my old iPhone 5S which was uploading .jpg. Released to the client to test, and immediately got complaints that they were getting errors when trying to upload some images.
But guess what? Instead of just locking up and timing out or crashing the app, my backend realised that it didn't understand the image format, and returned an error immediately. And I could then look at the server logs to see what was causing the error, realised that they were uploading .heic files, and added in support for it.

Everyone here is blaming the students who are already under stress due to writing, and now being unable to submit, an exam. Very few are rightly blaming the developers of the system for:
a) not testing the very common use case of using an iphone to upload your pictures
b) not handling what should be an expected failure case of users uploading unsupported formats and instead of returning an error, locking up and timing out the test

Lots of those students would have been able to convert their images to .jpg or .png if they knew that there was a problem with the image format in the first place. And before the inevitable 'students should read the instructions before taking the test' nonsense responses that are already filling up this article, consider:

"One senior, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions from school, said that the College Boardâ(TM)s tweet went out just a few minutes before his Physics C test began"
"The College Boardâ(TM)s tweet went out just a few hours before Spencerâ(TM)s scheduled exam; he doesnâ(TM)t have a Twitter account and didnâ(TM)t see it."

Information like this should not be sent out over a damn tweet. It should be in big bold red text as part of the instructions before starting the test.

The college board is 100% to blame for this, and those of you who are blaming kids for their mistake, having years or decades of hindsight and experience in the IT field, should be ashamed of yourselves.

Re:If they can't figure out that only certain...

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

...image formats are supported they may very well not be college material.

Given that they were presented with no reason their submission failed, and given that phones don't typically ask you what format you want to capture the image in could it be that you're sitting on top of a very high horse?

Good life lesson

By Gabest • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

If your employee wants jpeg, you send jpeg. No buts.

How Do Astronauts Escape When a Space Launch Goes Wrong?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
On May 27, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are expected to become the first humans to ride a Dragon. The two astronauts will catch a ride to the International Space Station in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule as part of the Demo-2 mission, the final test before NASA officially certifies the vehicle for human spaceflight. It will be the first time in nine years that NASA astronauts have launched to space from the US -- and the only time they've ever flown on a commercial rocket. Engineers have spent years planning for what happens if things go awry. Here's a look at what happens if for some unfortunate reason, something goes wrong in space: There are several events that might cause Behnken and Hurley to abort a mission once they're already in orbit. These range from depressurization to a cabin fire, both of which have occurred on previous crewed missions. In fact, depressurization was the cause of the only deaths known to have occurred in space. In 1971, three cosmonauts returning from a mission to the Salyut 1 space station were killed after a pressure valve in the capsule failed and the cabin turned into a vacuum within seconds. The Crew Dragon has multiple lines of defense against this kind of disaster. In the event of a small leak caused by a faulty component or impact from space debris, the capsule can pump more oxygen and nitrogen into the cabin to maintain pressure until the crew either returns to Earth or arrives at the space station. But if the breach is too large to plug with more gas, Behnken and Hurley's flight suits can be pressurized and fed oxygen, effectively turning the suits into single-occupant spacecraft. Depending on where they're at in the mission, it's possible they could continue on to the space station even if the cabin is a total vacuum.

"The suit is kind of like an escape system, and is designed to be used only if you're having a very bad day," says Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut who also spent several years as the director of SpaceX's crew operations. "It's nice to know it's there, but you hope you never have to use it for its intended purpose." If NASA decides to abort a mission once Behnken and Hurley are in space, they'll trigger the capsule to perform a deorbit burn that pushes it back into the atmosphere. At that point, drag will start to take effect and pull the spacecraft back toward terra firma. If it's a dire situation, NASA might choose to deorbit the capsule immediately, even if it means landing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Otherwise, mission control will take the time to evaluate the best emergency landing location based on weather and the location of rescue teams. Behnken and Hurley have enough food, water, and oxygen for four days on orbit, so there's no reason to rush unless the situation demands it. "More often than not, when you feel that you're rushed, you need to slow down to avoid making a mistake and driving yourself into a difficult situation," Scoville says.

use left hand

By Kohath • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's the key to the left of F1

I wonder how all the displays will go in vacuum

By ColaMan • Score: 3 • Thread

Crew Dragon has some pretty fancy displays. They look like LCD touch panels, but they're probably OLED or some such. I wonder how they take a sudden loss of pressure?

Apart from displays there's a bunch of other electronics that wouldn't appreciate a full vacuum. Electrolytic capacitors, for example, have a burst disc on top of them in case the pressure in the can gets too high - these would also have to be rated for vacuum. Crystal or MEMS oscillators might shift frequency in vacuum (iPhones will actually stop working in helium contaminated atmospheres because of this). Backup batteries with semi-solid or liquid electrolytes will suffer.

I know that all of this would have been looked after already, I'm just curious as to what they're using.

Re:Escape? To the next life

By Guspaz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It would have been somewhat survivable if there had been some sort of ejection or abort mechanism: at least some of the crew of Challenger survived the breakup of the vehicle (several emergency air supplies were activated after the breakup), and likely survived in the mostly intact crew cabin until it impacted the water. Had the crew cabin been designed to eject from the vehicle and make a soft landing (perhaps by parachute), some or all of the crew may very well have survived.

Capsules like Crew Dragon, however, are designed to do just that. In the event that something should go catastrophically wrong with the first or second stage of the rocket, the capsule's abort motors can pull it to safety. This has been demonstrated in practice, with the in-flight abort test ( launch is at around 18 minutes, abort is around a minute and a half later).

This doesn't necessarily help if there is a catastrophic failure in the capsule itself, but in general, a much larger percentage of catastrophic failures are survivable with a capsule design like Crew Dragon than they were with the space shuttle.

Generally, they do not

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

This is a high-risk job. If something goes really wrong, these people die. That is known and reliably preventing this at this time is only possible by not doing space-launches with people. Not a surprise, every new transportation method takes a while to become less lethal on problems.

Hackers Infect Multiple Game Developers With Advanced Malware

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
One of the world's most prolific hacking groups recently infected several Massively Multiplayer Online game makers, a feat that made it possible for the attackers to push malware-tainted apps to one target's users and to steal in-game currencies of a second victim's players. Ars Technica reports: Researchers from Slovakian security company ESET have tied the attacks to Winnti, a group that has been active since at least 2009 and is believed to have carried out hundreds of mostly advanced attacks. Targets have included Chinese journalists, Uyghur and Tibetan activists, the government of Thailand, and prominent technology organizations. Winnti has been tied to the 2010 hack that stole sensitive data from Google and 34 other companies. More recently, the group has been behind the compromise of the CCleaner distribution platform that pushed malicious updates to millions of people. Winnti carried out a separate supply-chain attack that installed a backdoor on 500,000 ASUS PCs.

The recent attack used a never-before-seen backdoor that ESET has dubbed PipeMon. To evade security defenses, PipeMon installers bore the imprimatur of a legitimate Windows signing certificate that was stolen from Nfinity Games during a 2018 hack of that gaming developer. The backdoor -- which gets its name for the multiple pipes used for one module to communicate with another and the project name of the Microsoft Visual Studio used by the developers -- used the location of Windows print processors so it could survive reboots. In a post published early Thursday morning, ESET revealed little about the infected companies except to say they included several South Korea- and Taiwan-based developers of MMO games that are available on popular gaming platforms and have thousands of simultaneous players.

Wow, that does sound advanced

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

They've managed to infect the developers themselves rather than just their computer systems!

Okay, fair enough

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"...used the location of Windows print processors so it could survive reboots."

Okay, I'll give them credit- that was clever.

Grandmother Ordered To Delete Facebook Photos Under GDPR

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A woman must delete photographs of her grandchildren that she posted on Facebook and Pinterest without their parents' permission, a court in the Netherlands has ruled. It ended up in court after a falling-out between the woman and her daughter. The judge ruled the matter was within the scope of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). One expert said the ruling reflected the "position that the European Court has taken over many years." The case went to court after the woman refused to delete photographs of her grandchildren which she had posted on social media. The mother of the children had asked several times for the pictures to be deleted.

The GDPR does not apply to the "purely personal" or "household" processing of data. However, that exemption did not apply because posting photographs on social media made them available to a wider audience, the ruling said. "With Facebook, it cannot be ruled out that placed photos may be distributed and may end up in the hands of third parties," it said. The woman must remove the photos or pay a fine of 50 euros for every day that she fails to comply with the order, up to a maximum fine of 1,000 euros. If she posts more images of the children in the future, she will be fined an extra 50 euros a day.


By michaelmalak • Score: 3 • Thread
At least EU has an anti-doxxing precedent now for children.

Re:Grandma is a moron

By Richard_at_work • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

No, under the GDPR, the right to erasure is total unless the data processor has a lawful basis to refuse - see Article 17 of the GDPR, its significantly wider in scope than just search engines (that was the original right to be forgotten law, this is the one which surpassed it) and covers *any* data processor.

This ruling is basing its power on the fact that the grandmother is a data controller and the data subjects (or their lawful guardians) have withdrawn consent (or clarified no consent existed) and thus the data processor must cease their processing. Which means this ruling is saying that private individuals who hold pictures or any other data about another person can now be classed as a data controller and thus fall under the GDPR, with all the obligations that entails - including the right to erasure.

Re:missing the main story

By lgw • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Posting photos on your personal FB is hardly equivalent to commercial publication.

The court's position was effectively: it's commercial publication by Facebook. Granny can still show the pictures to anyone she likes in person.

Re:If you live in the EU and don't like this "law"

By lorinc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Why would you not like this law? It's a protection for us the people and our privacy against the greed of careless corporations and egoistic jerks.

GDPR is a blessing, I'm even surprised it was voted.

Its only downside is that it's not applied diligently and forcefully enough. I'd like to see more outrageous fines to non-respecting companies.

Re:missing the main story

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Whether something is commercial or not is really not relevant for the GDPR anyway.

Actually, it is.

GDPR makes an exception for a "purely personal or household activity and thus with no connection to a professional or commercial activity."

AT&T To Drop Misleading '5G Evolution' Marketing For Non-5G Networks

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
AT&T says it will stop advertising its wireless network as "5G Evolution" after a division of the Better Business Bureau determined that its language was misleading. The Associated Press reports: While AT&T and other wireless carriers in the U.S. have now begun rolling true 5G wireless networks, AT&T in December 2018 began talking about a "5G Evolution" service that was already available in hundreds of markets, and placed a "5G E" icon on phones when they connected to the network. But it was not 5G. It was merely the existing 4G network with minor speed boosts, at least compared to the fastest type of 5G networks.

Now, a division of the Better Business Bureau that regulates the ad industry has recommended that AT&T stop using "5G Evolution" and "5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G" claims in its marketing. Rival T-Mobile had brought a complaint about AT&T's language. The panel found that this language "will mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network." AT&T said it disagreed with the group's reasoning but will comply with the decision.

A stray thought

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Does this mean that the idiots attacking 5G towers will leave AT&T alone now?

Just a stray thought.

5G Who cares?

By MytQuinn • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Anyone else having trouble finding a use case for a wireless network with super short range, no material penetration and speeds that are far faster than 99.9% of cell phone users actually need? Outside of a feature to selling phones to under educated consumers what purpose does 5G actually serve over existing 4G networks? I may cynical but would actually love to see a good argument for why this in a good thing. I could possibly see a use case for very dense concentrations of people like convention centers, stadiums and the like, but as for a reason any needs this walking around on the street I'm at a loss.

Their honesty is appreciated

By Frank Burly • Score: 3 • Thread
It will make it easier to sell GgGgG phones through my new company A&TT.

Real 5G beats fake 5G

By Kohath • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Real 5G was starting to come online and AT&T was going to start seeing speed comparisons between AT&T's fake 5G and the real thing. Rather than dealing with look how slow ATT's 5G service is compared to Verizon/T-Mobile, they're changing the name back to something less deceptive.

T-Mobile Connecting Heroes Now Live, First Responders Get Free 5G Service

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
T-Mobile has launched a new initiative called " Connecting Heroes" that gives free wireless service to first responders for 10 years, which T-Mobile estimates could save $7.7 billion if all first responder agencies sign up. PhoneDog reports: Connecting Heroes will give unlimited talk, text, and smartphone data to first responders. That includes 5G access at no extra charge as well as 1GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data plus 3G speeds after that. Streaming video at 480p is included, as is Mobile Without Borders which offers unlimited calling and texting between the US, Canada, and Mexico. First responders can choose to upgrade their plan for $15 per month and get 20GB of mobile hotspot usage, unlimited texting and up to 256Kbps data in 210+ countries and destinations, plus free texting and in-flight Wi-Fi through Gogo. T-Mobile's Connecting Heroes initiative is open to every public and non-profit, state and local police, fire, and EMS first responders. If you feel that you qualify, you can learn more and begin the signup process right here.

Squeeze a little harder.

By ColaMan • Score: 3 • Thread

1GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data plus 3G speeds after that. Streaming video at 480p is included, as is Mobile Without Borders which offers unlimited calling and texting between the US, Canada, and Mexico. First responders can choose to upgrade their plan for $15 per month and get 20GB of mobile hotspot usage

I really dislike the arbitrary separation of hotspot and phone data in the US. It's just a handy way to charge more for data that's still just sent to the one device on their network.

I have a plan here in Australia that is 60GB (and unlimited calls, etc) for AUD45. That 60GB can be to anything, my phone, my laptop, my entire house, whatever. Deliver the data to me, I'll decide what to do with it after that. And currently that 60GB plan is unlimited due to "these uncertain times" - although I just barely use 10GB of it a month. Maybe they figured that 50GB+ usage caps are rarely reached for most users anyway, and it's better PR just to let it be wide open.

Check Point Releases Open-Source Fix For Common Linux Memory Corruption Security Hole

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: For years, there's been a known security vulnerability hiding in the GNU C Library (glibc). This library, which is critical for Linux and many other operating systems and programs, had a dynamic memory management security hole that could be used for denial of service (DoS) attacks. Now, the security company, Check Point, has issued an open-source patch, which will make it much more difficult to exploit this memory allocation (malloc) problem. Check Point re-encountered this known problem when it discovered that so-called smart light bulbs could be used to hack into networks by exploiting unprotected single-linked-lists. The double-linked-list version of this problem had been fixed back in 2005 with Safe-Unlinking. But, the single-linked-list version, which is present in the memory primitive functions Fast-Bins and Thread Cache (TCache), remained vulnerable.

Now, the fix is in for this problem. This new built-in security mechanism is called Safe-Linking. It protects malloc by signing its single-linked-list pointers with random numbers derived from Linux's Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) functionality. Combined with memory chunk alignment integrity checks, it protects the memory pointers from hijacking attempts and thus the system itself. The patch is now being integrated with the most common standard C library implementation, glibc. Safe-Linking will be released in glibc 2.32 in August 2020. It's already up and running in glibc's popular embedded counterpart: uClibc-NG.

Re:Where is that alleged "security hole"?

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The referenced explanation suggests that you need to have some kind of unbound write, like strcpy() or similar. But strcpy has been deprecated for over 15 years, so if it's still being used, then you have bigger security problems guaranteed.

Right, requires arbitrary memory write

By raymorris • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That's my understanding too.
If the attacker has some other means to write their choice of bytes into memory locations they aren't suppose to have access to, then they can mess up a linked list.

Which is kinda like saying "the hand lotion bottle is insecure f a burglar is in your house and you're not home, he can switch your hand lotion for Nair". Well of the attacker has access to do whatever they want ... well they can do whatever they want. A burglar can do a lot more than switch your lotion for depilatory cream if they already have free run of your house.

Having said that, I may have a security safe in my house.
That way, even if a burglar has free reign of my house, he can't get to certain valuables. The same approach CAN make sense in software. There is a performance cost, just as it's inconvenient to store your watch I a safe when you aren't wearing it.

This patch brought to you by...

By Fly Swatter • Score: 3 • Thread
And so it begins.


Hypocritical much?

By alexo • Score: 3 • Thread

When its an article about NSO Group breaking into cellular phones, the summary prominently states that it's an "Israeli surveillance company", but when writing about Checkpoint submitting security patches to open source, they are just a "security company".

Either the nationality matters or it doesn't.

Re: Where is that alleged "security hole"?

By eyalitki • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Sorry, I can't control what the media writes about my research. Safe-Linking aims to solve a non-robust design in malloc (ptmalloc/dlmalloc/tcmalloc). Calling it a vulnerability is a bit bombastic. Attackers were focusing their exploits on single-linked lists (fastbins, tcache) once they had an initial heap-based buffer overflow. This protection protects the pointers of the list, forcing an attacker to need a leak before he could start his attack. More info in our technical blog:

Astronomers Spot Potential First Evidence of New Planet Being Born

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Astronomers believe they may have found the first direct evidence of a new planet being born. A dense disc of dust and gas has been spotted surrounding a young star called AB Aurigae, about 520 light years away from Earth. From a report: Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile, the researchers observed a spiral structure with a "twist" near the centre, which suggests a new world may be in the process of forming. The swirling disc was one of the telltale signs of the star system being born in the constellation of Auriga, the scientists said. Dr Anthony Boccaletti, who led the study from the Observatoire de Paris at the PSL University, in France, said: "Thousands of exoplanets have been identified so far, but little is known about how they form." He added: "We need to observe very young systems to really capture the moment when planets form." Until now astronomers had been unable to take clear images of young discs to see these twists.

'Apple Glass' Rumored To Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Front Page Tech host Jon Prosser this week shared several details about Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses, including an "Apple Glass" marketing name, $499 starting price, prescription lens option, and more.The marketing name will be "Apple Glass" According to Prosser, who has established a reliable track record for Apple's product roadmap in recent months, here are some other key details about the Apple Glass: The glasses will start at $499 with the option for prescription lenses at an extra cost.
There will be displays in both lenses that can be interacted with using gestures.
The glasses will rely on a paired iPhone, similar to the original Apple Watch.
An early prototype featured LiDAR and wireless charging.
Apple originally planned to unveil the glasses as a "One More Thing" surprise at its iPhone event in the fall, but restrictions on in-person gatherings could push back the announcement to a March 2021 event.
Apple is targeting a late 2021 or early 2022 release.

And what will the Prescription Lenses bill rate be

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

And what will the Prescription Lenses bill rate be vs the rate they will really take?


By bhcompy • Score: 3 • Thread
No Camera? What a waste

Re:I think I'll get one...

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I'm never sarcastic, bro. Show me ONE POST where I have been sarcastic.

How about that one?

These will be huge

By Scott Tracy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
They are next iPod or iPhone. Looks like there's no camera, which is smart, since that seemed to be what everyone objected to the most about Google Glasses. I'm sure they'll be a choice of frames, and the electronics will be hidden in the frame or behind the ear so that the casual observer wouldn't know you are wearing them. Sure, the software will probably suck for a generation or two, as developers figure out what exactly they want to show on the screen (much as iOS apps had to figure out what to show on Apple Watch screens). But they will sell tens of millions of these a quarter, as fast as they can make them (whenever that's going to get underway, what with a pandemic and all).

Black Mirror Dating Consultant comes to life

By aberglas • Score: 3 • Thread

They had a session (White Christmas) in which a consultant would help the incompetent on dates by seeing everything they did and offering constant advice. "Tell her the story about ...".

It occurs to me that this could now be a real service. For dating, sales, politics. You think you are talking to one person but you are actually talking to a team behind the scenes that is offering advice to the other party. This would be particularly good for remembering names of people.

Sadly, Netflix has pulled Black Mirror from Australia, and I only saw a few. Is it still available elsewhere? One of the few decent things on Netflix.

Sabrent Unveils Record-Breaking 8TB Rocket Q NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Sabrent, an LA-headquartered computer vendor, has expanded its Rocket Q family of 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB drives with a new model that offers 8 terabytes of super-fast storage in the same M.2 2280 form-factor by utilizing Micron's 3D QLC NAND technology. The company shares features of the drive below: M.2 PCIe Gen3 x 4 Interface.
PCIe 3.1 Compliant / NVMe 1.3 Compliant.
Power Management Support for APST / ASPM / L1.2.
Supports SMART and TRIM commands.
Supports ONFi 2.3, ONFi 3.0, ONFi 3.2 and ONFi 4.0 interface.
Advanced Wear Leveling, Bad Block Management, and Over-Provision.
No word on pricing.

So what are we looking at here?

By chrism238 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Stuff that matters, or a press release?


By jacks smirking reven • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I immediately associate Sabrent with kind of shoddy oddball peripherals and cables. Like a lower cost StarTech, not a leading component manufacturer.


By slaker • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

They're just repackaging somebody else's memory cells and controllers. In my experience, they've been perfectly serviceable in making unsexy cables and adapters we all need from time to time. I'm perfectly willing to believe they've done the same thing in a new product line. Particularly given the dozens of no-name vendors currently shipping SSDs.


Re:So what are we looking at here?

By Fallon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Identical headlines showed up in Slashdot & Betanews on my RSS feed within a few minutes of each other. Some PR outfit is earning their keep while "editors" are not. I was just perusing my feed & sadly wondering how much of that content was thinly veiled sponsored content already.

Re:So what are we looking at here?

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Press release. The only "record-breaking" thing here is that they're the first company dumb enough/willing to put 8TB on a single M.2 board, but that isn't a technological breakthrough. Anyone else could have done it, but no one has wanted to because the market isn't there.

A competitively priced, 2TB NVMe M.2 SSD, including the 2TB Sabrent Rocket Q, costs about $0.13/GB, which puts them around $250. It's steep, since you're paying for both NVMe speeds and the M.2 form factor, but it's not crazy steep. A 4TB Sabrent Rocket Q costs $0.23/GB, putting it at $750. That's quite the premium, but it isn't terribly out of line with industry norms, at least on a Price/GB basis. If they simply maintained the same Price/GB for the 8TB, we're talking about a $1500 SSD. If they increase the premium, which is likely, I wouldn't be surprised if it goes upwards of $2000.

Meanwhile, most people who would be in the market to pay $2000 for 8TB of NVMe storage (i.e. people who need high capacities of fast storage) would be better served by picking up something like this $55 adapter and loading it with four 2TB drives (e.g. Sabrent 2TB Rocket Q at $240/ea. on Amazon). Not only would you quadruple your throughput, you'd also save $500-1000 while achieving the same capacity.

Alternatively, even my mini-ITX gaming rig from 2018 has a second M.2 slot on the back that I'm not using, and modern ATX or EATX motherboards (which I imagine would be more common among people will to drop $2000 on a drive) frequently have many more slots. Instead of shelling out $1500-2000 to replace your existing 4TB drive, why not just buy a second one at half that cost? Or, if you have more slots, but multiple, smaller ones to save yourself even more. Plus, if those slots are on different PCIe channels, you stand to see a potential performance improvement to boot.

Copyright Office: System For Pulling Content Offline Isn't Working

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The process to get unlicensed versions of movies, music and other content taken off the internet isn't working as intended and should be updated, the Copyright Office said in an expansive report Thursday. From a report: Updating that system would require an act of Congress, which can now look to the Copyright Office's conclusions as it considers legislating on the matter. In its report, the office found the system for notice and takedown of infringing materials is unbalanced and out of sync with Congress' intent when it established the process in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA includes liability protection for online companies whose users illegally upload copyrighted material if the online companies take down the material when they are notified by the rights-holder. Copyright holders have complained that this process doesn't proactively protect their intellectual property against online infringement, and the report appears to agree, concluding "Congress' original intended balance has been tilted askew."

They're right, but for the wrong reason

By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Right now there is effectively no penalty for companies to fraudulently claim ownership or infringement over the DMCA, allowing them to effectively steal money from others. Companies need to actually be punished for filing these false notices.

For just a second I had hope

By drew_kime • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
For the tl;dr folks: The problem isn't the specious - real talk: fraudulent - takedown notices and copyright-strike-farming law firms. The real problem is they need to get rid of the safe harbor for anyone who isn't taking stuff down before they get the notice.

Re:They're right, but for the wrong reason

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
There were dozens of small independent content creators that had DMCA takedowns from Sony / Naughty Dog simply for reporting on the leaks for one of their upcoming games. Flagrant abuse of the copyright system and a lot of the things that Sony was claiming copyright over were memes or other images that they never produced, so it wasn't even a case of just showing clips of leaked cutscenes or game assets. When companies begin to treat critique or negative press as a form of infringement and use the law as a cudgel it's pretty clear that the law is broken.

Unfortunately neither the courts or Congress are likely to do a damned thing and Sony / Naughty Dog will not face any legal consequences as a result of their abuse of the copyright system. However, we can still vote with our wallets and Naughty Dog can join EA on the list of companies that I won't buy games from. It's disappointing because they've been one of my favorite publishers over the last decade and make some solid games, but I can't support what they're doing and I'd encourage others not to do so either.

Re:They're right, but for the wrong reason

By PPH • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Really simple fix actually. Just require a CC of any takedown notice to the U.S. Copyright Office. Or the hosting service is protected by safe harbor. You made a fraudulent copyright claim? You've also made a false statement to the federal government. With all the penalties that are attached.

Re:They're right, but for the wrong reason

By swillden • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They're already made under penalty of perjury, which is a federal offense...

Not really. The only part of the notice that is under penalty of perjury is the claim to own the work that is claimed to be infringed. If I submit a takedown against your original content and claim that it's a copy of my content that I legitimately own the copyright to, then I haven't done anything wrong, even if there's no way anyone could possibly believe that your content is the same as what I own. if I submit a takedown claiming to own, say, the 1942 film Casablanca, which you have uploaded, then I've committed perjury because I do not, in fact, own the copyright to that film.

Jack Dorsey Is Giving Andrew Yang $5 Million To Build the Case for Universal Basic Income

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and mobile-payments firm Square, said today he is giving $5 million to Humanity Forward, a group launched by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang to build the case for a universal basic income. A report adds: The donation is part of Dorsey's Start Small LLC, a $1 billion foundation he launched last month to support global COVID-19 relief efforts. "Not only will Jack's donation directly impact tens of thousands of people in need during the current economic downturn, it will help Humanity Forward and our movement continue to make a case for Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the United States," Yang said in a statement. "We know UBI for every American is possible, and this $5 million from Start Small is going to help demonstrate what is possible for families across the country."

Just call this what it is, it's charity.

By JackAxe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
A rich guy is giving money to the poor.

Always a great idea

By argStyopa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When the 0.001% tell the 49% paying taxes how they should be paying for the other 50% that are wards of the state.

Re:DIAF, Miss Mash.

By Cylix • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The anti-ubi movement is common sense.

It is difficult to argue against.

Sure, you can throw money into the ether and pretend Venezuela isn't turning towards piracy to feed it's leaders.

Sure, UBI can work, in imaginary land where unicorns and fairies live.

Is anyone studying how to pay for it?

By misnohmer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

All these trials, as flawed as they are because they are limited in time and population, focus purely on the benefits. I think everyone will agree that a utopian society where nobody has to work to live at some commonly agreed upon standard of living would be great - yes it would enable arts, creativity, spawn new businesses, etc. I don't think any of that is in doubt here. The problem is what nobody is studying, how to pay for it, and what this commonly agreed upon standard of living is (and therefore how much it would cost).

Re:DIAF, Miss Mash.

By apoc.famine • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Sure, UBI can work, in imaginary land where unicorns and fairies live.

It can also work in the real world, if folks like you stop insisting that it is something it's not. I don't understand what the cognitive block is with you all. UBI is a very simple concept.

Start with this idea: Lets have the government give everyone $1000 the 1st of every month, and then lets have the government tax everyone $1000 at the end of the month to get it back. Other than a bit of overhead, we come out even.

"But wait, that's stupid!", you say.

Ok, so now lets have people making more than $6000 a month pay back more than $1000, and people making less than $6000 a month pay back less. We can cap that at some amount, and set up a sliding scale on the other end so that by the time you're only making $1000 a month you don't pay any of that in taxes.

And lets do this in place of hitting people's payroll with federal taxes for social security, disability insurance, welfare, etc. And lets do this instead of charging companies taxes to fund unemployment too.

Now we have essentially our current social benefit network without all of the complexity and overhead that it currently has. Unfortunately tens of thousands of government pencil-pushers will be out of a job, but that's life.

So now if you lose your job, you still have $1k/month coming in. If you find part-time work that doesn't go over $1k/month, you still have that full UBI. If you're the average middle-class american, you still get $1000 UBI up front at the beginning of the month, but you likely lose most of it in payroll taxes. Lose your job, however, and that money is still there. No application, no jumping though hoops.

And we can adjust these parameters however we need to make the money work out.

This is a vastly simpler and more efficient system than what we currently have. Why do you have such an inability to wrap your mind around the concept?

Facebook Says It Will Permanently Shift Tens of Thousands of Jobs To Remote Work

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a move that illustrates how swiftly the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the global economy, Facebook said today that it would begin allowing most of its employees to request a permanent change in their jobs to let them work remotely. From a report: The company will begin today by making most of its US job openings eligible for remote hires and begin taking applications for permanent remote work among its workforce later this year. "We're going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with The Verge. "We need to do this in a way that's thoughtful and responsible, so we're going to do this in a measured way. But I think that it's possible that over the next five to 10 years -- maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere in that range -- I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently." Facebook, which has more than 48,000 employees working in 70 offices worldwide, is the largest company yet to move aggressively into remote work in the wake of the pandemic.

Sure Facebook

By bobstreo • Score: 3 • Thread

Now how about we take a 4 or 5 year H-1B break, (no new visas approved) with tax penalties on companies who offshore jobs for remote work?

Re:"Bring Your Own Office" is so much more profita

By AmazingRuss • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
If I don't have to go into that noisy, smelly, disease ridden cesspit to make my ridiculous salary, Id be HAPPY to host a server rack or two.

It's about the space

By Cyrano de Maniac • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I doubt Facebook would be doing this if it weren't for the fact that their current office environments are based on open seating plans, without even so much as a cubicle to separate employees from one another. If this anti-employee real estate policy hadn't been implemented in the first place, there'd be no need to permanently transition people to work from home in order to protect health.

A also agree with ffkom that this is all about reducing costs. Even if they get 25% of people working from home, that's a 25% reduction in spending on office spaces.

Re:"Bring Your Own Office" is so much more profita

By Bert64 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The cost of operating a home office and even running a handful of servers in it is significantly less than the cost of commuting for many people...
The cost of network bandwidth is going to be negligible, most people already have a connection at home and it would have been sitting idle while they're at the office anyway. At the company side, hosting your servers in a datacenter will be cheaper than getting a line installed to your office premises.

And that assumes you stay living where you are, if your selection of where to live is no longer being dictated by having to travel to an office every day you have a lot more choice of where to live and will probably find somewhere better and cheaper.

Netflix To Start Cancelling Inactive Customers' Subscriptions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Netflix said Thursday it will ask customers who have not watched anything on the on-demand video streaming service in a year or more if they wish to maintain their subscriptions -- and will cancel the subscription if it does not receive a confirmation. From a report: The company said it has started to notify customers who have't watched anything on the service in 12 months since they became a subscriber to check if they wish to keep their membership. The company is also reaching out to those who haven't streamed anything in the past two years, it said. "You know that sinking feeling when you realize you signed up for something but haven't used it in ages? At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they're not using," the company said.

Terrible for Stock Owners

By StarWreck • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
This is terrible news for stock holders. Do you even realize that AOL gets over half their subscription fees from people who don't realize they still have an active account?

Re: Huh?

By Shotgun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If Hulu is staying in business by keeping low on the radar while they're debiting credit cards of non-customers, then good riddance.

Re: Huh?

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

Motive matters. It changes whether it's a decent thing to do.

That said, "doing a decent thing will force their competitors to do a decent thing, and this company will win if everyone behaves decently" is not a bad motivation.


By Asgard • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

>storage ain't free
The bill for their _unused_ subscription must more than cover the storage cost of their billing data, and it isn't generating any usage data that has to be stored. Otherwise Netflix would already be bankrupt.

Re: Huh?

By Jason Earl • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No matter how you slice this up Netflix's motives for cancelling inactive subscriptions are probably better than your cynical reasons why they should *not* cancel them.

Motives matter indeed.

ScreenHits TV To Launch Streaming Aggregator To Combat 'Subscription Fatigue'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Technology company ScreenHits is launching ScreenHits TV, a streaming video aggregator app that lets consumers bundle different services together in a single interface. From a report: The service creates a one-stop electronic programming guide where users can search the libraries of both free and subscription streaming platforms, as well as live online TV without jumping from platform to platform and without having to repeatedly sign up for new services. Subscribers of SVOD platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, MUBI and other streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, can integrate their existing services within the app, which is set to go live across multiple territories, including the U.S. and the U.K., by the end of this month. Entry-level subscriptions to ScreenHits will start at $1.99 per month and will initially be available on Samsung Smart TVs, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple Store, Google Chrome, Android and for the desktop.

Roku does this already?

By Guyle • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I can search for a show or movie, Roku shows me which apps have it (and cost if it's a rental), I click, it plays. Why would I pay someone else for the same functionality I get for free?

Comptes with Roku

By smoot123 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not surprised this arose. My Roku player has similar functionality. Don't know if this new service is $2/month better.

You know what this reminds me of? The Great Messaging Wars of the late '90s. Who were duking it out, AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, right? Each thought owning the IM service was a strategic win. A bunch of groups came out with IM aggregators so you didn't have to know which platform your contacts liked to use.

I want this for social media. My daughters tell me WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and all the rest are basically functionally interchangeable. I really can't understand how or why you'd want to use them all.

doesn't solve the real problem.

By acroyear • Score: 3 • Thread

i mean, yeah, it is great that it can tell you which service has what, with more accuracy (given that wikipedia seems to be more accurate than canistream these days).

But really what people want is to pay one bill. Go to one web site, pick the services, and pay one monthly bill instead of having 5-10 companies all tracking your credit card. Aggregate the, say, cable companies used to do.

THEN you have the real power of unified search: "This program is only available on Hulu. Would you like to add that to your services ($5.99 more per month) Y/N?"

The failure of cable companies to come up with that idea on their own as their means to counter the cord-cutting is really depressing. Companies are so locked into their cash cow they just can't adapt. Cases in point, IBM's PC's, Xerox-PARC, even Microsoft's initial ignorance of the internet - it was 25 years ago today that Bill Gates released the first edition of The Road Ahead, which brushed off Netscape and the WWW as being a short-term fad given the failures of gopher and the expectation of commercial services to dominate with their dedicated platforms. 6 months later, the second edition came out, along with IE bundled into Windows 95, and a lawsuit was born...


By shipofgold • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I didn't understand how it works...TFA states:

Entry-level subscriptions to ScreenHits will start at $1.99/£1.99 per month and will initially be available on Samsung Smart TVs, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple Store, Google Chrome, Android and for the desktop.

For $1.99 I doubt I am getting NetFlix, AmazonPrime, Disney+ or other paid content. They probably give unified access to the free services (, etc.)

I envision either they will still require you to subscribe to the individual services and then provide them with credentials for each service....they will provided a unified interface (other services already do similar for search), or you pay them an aggregate amount and they will subscribe for you and do the account setup for you.

Either way I doubt it will be cheaper...probably more expensive if they are taking a cut. But it may be more convenient if you don't need to mess with individual subscriptions and people may pay a premium for that.

Re:Back to cable

By dbrueck • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

forcing everyone to pay for some of the most expensive-to-create programming (ESPN) just to get some of the cheapest-to-create programming (Disney).

Lots of good stuff in your comment, just wanted to point out a couple of things. Sports content is relatively cheap to create. The cost of creating Disney content varies wildly so it's hard to rank it overall. In general, though, reality TV shows and local programming both tend to fall on the cheap end of the spectrum, while high quality episodic content and movies are the most expensive to create. Of course, that's the cost to *create* the content; the cost to acquire distribution rights is a whole separate thing, and can make sports more expensive.

Also, a "funny" thing about cable subscriptions that goes along with your point is that the bundled price of course derives, in part, from the distributor's cost of each channel, but there is incredible disparity across those prices. Some channels actually pay the distributor to carry the channel, some channels are free to the distributor, and then many channels are paid for by the distributor. And at the top of the pile of channels are the Disney properties (ESPN, Disney Channel, etc.) - the last figures I saw (several years ago now), it was not uncommon for ESPN+Disney channels to command a third of the total fees paid by the distributor, even if their offering to consumes was 100 different channels - it's just amazing. Part of the reason bundles are packed with so many goofy channels is to hide the fact that a small number of channels cost a ridiculous amount relative to others.

The reason of course is customer demand - while it seems like there are many people who don't want ESPN and/or Disney, the reality is that they are a relatively small slice of the market - the majority of the market won't even *consider* a cable package that doesn't have both those channels (and Disney knows it, which is why they push so hard to package them together and why they charge so much for them).

Hopefully this will start to get fixed. It's already started some, both because other sports networks have come into their own and because so many people have ditched cable. But the Disney family of properties (Disney, ESPN, ABC, etc.) are very well entrenched, so there's a lot of resistance to be overcome.

Your ZIP Code and Your Life Expectancy

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter moogmachine shares a report: New data on electricity consumption has offered an insight into Americans' level of wariness in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic: Many appeared to be staying home to avoid the virus even before lockdown orders were issued in March. The data, on consumption in homes in 30 states, shows that energy use began to rise in many states about a week before stay-at-home orders were issued but after states of emergency were declared. The data comes from Sense, a company based in Cambridge, Mass., that sells a device to help homeowners track energy use through a smartphone app. The information comes with some caveats. For instance, the devices tend to be popular with tech-savvy early adopters, and the typical Sense home is larger than most. Overall data came from about 5,000 of the devices across 30 states that were geographically representative of the country, the company said.

Like a recent study of electricity use in New York City apartments, the Sense data shows a sharp rise in consumption, with most of the increase coming during the day, when in normal times many people would be at work or school. Across all 30 states, the company reported a 22 percent average increase in overall domestic consumption from March 10 to April 10 this year compared with 2019. The data was adjusted to account for weather differences. Broken down by date and state -- the company looked at data for California, New York and seven other states individually -- the results are even more intriguing. George Zavaliagkos, the company's vice president of technology, said that when he first started looking at the data, he expected to see a rise in energy use in a given state when that state's government issued a lockdown order. California was the first state to order a statewide lockdown, on March 19. New York and other states followed quickly.

Re:Stupid headline

By jenningsthecat • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Does not match article. Article says nothing about higher life expectancy.

You need to look at the article above the one that's quoted in TFS to read the one that matches the headline. The NYT put two articles on one page; Slashdot editors weren't paying attention and created the headline for the first article, instead of for the second one which the submitter was referring to.

This is a survey of nerds who spent $300

By magzteel • Score: 3 • Thread

From the summary: "The data comes from Sense, a company based in Cambridge, Mass., that sells a device to help homeowners track energy use through a smartphone app. The information comes with some caveats. For instance, the devices tend to be popular with tech-savvy early adopters, and the typical Sense home is larger than most"

The device costs $300 on amazon. They say they wont charge a monthly fee for the service but apparently they are tracking and sharing your data.


By stabiesoft • Score: 3 • Thread
You pay 300 bucks for an item that spys on you plus you get to pay someone to install, guessing another couple hundred. And then according to their info its pushing 150MB/day (4.5GB/mo) of intelligence to them on your possibly capped internet connection. My power company already spies on me thru a smart meter. Why pay to add another?

Tech-Savvy People?

By nukenerd • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

the devices tend to be popular with tech-savvy early adopters

No, I'd say it was popular with hipsters who pose as tech savvy. Real tech-savvy people don't need a gadget to tell them that a washing machine uses more electricity than a light bulb.

Re:Tech-Savvy People?

By swillden • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread


the devices tend to be popular with tech-savvy early adopters

No, I'd say it was popular with hipsters who pose as tech savvy. Real tech-savvy people don't need a gadget to tell them that a washing machine uses more electricity than a light bulb.

Identifying differences in power consumption between devices isn't the point of such a power-monitoring system (and, yes, I have one, though not this brand). The point is to identify patterns in usage and deviations from patterns. If you're using unexpected amounts of power, you find out why.

For one example: When I first got mine, I discovered I had a phantom 400W draw somewhere in the house. It turned out that it was a temperature-activated fan in the attic, intended to keep the attic cool on hot days, but the fan was overpowered and inefficient as well as installed badly so it didn't move as much air as it should for such a beast of a fan. Rather than replace it, I instead installed a couple of turbine ventilators in the roof, which are powered by the hot air flowing through them. The result was that the fan then ran so rarely that it wasn't worth replacing it (and it actually did move enough hot air out of the attic that it paid for itself in reduced AC costs when it needed to run).

For another example, I'm now on a time-of-use plan that makes my electricity dirt cheap most of the day (3.4 cents per kWh) but pretty expensive for a few hours a day (34 cents per kWh). I have monitoring set up so that my phone alerts me if the current cost per hour rises above a certain threshold. This basically only happens if someone turns on a high-draw appliance (or starts charging one of the EVs -- the chargers normally refuse to charge during peak hours, but this can be overidden) during peak hours, so I can look into what's going on.

I also monitor overall consumption and periodically do an analysis to figure out what can be turned off or unplugged. The home monitor has the ability to monitor individual circuits, which helps, but I do end up going around with the kill-a-watt device to measure individual draws. I obviously know the difference between a washing machine and an (LED) light, but with many "smarter" appliances it's really not clear how much they use. The label tells you about their maximum draw, but not about their pattern of consumption.

Amazon Launches Food Delivery Service in India

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon is joining India's online food delivery market just as top local players Swiggy and Zomato reduce their workforce to steer through the coronavirus pandemic and months after Uber Eats' exit from the nation. From a report: The e-commerce giant, which has invested more than $6.5 billion in India, today launched its food delivery service, called Amazon Food, in select parts of Bangalore. The company had originally planned to launch the service in India last year, which it then moved to March but pushed it further amid the nationwide stay-at-home order the Indian government issued in late March. In the run up to the launch, the e-commerce giant began testing the food delivery service with select restaurant partners in Bangalore with employees earlier this year, TechCrunch reported in late February. "Customers have been telling us for some time that they would like to order prepared meals on Amazon in addition to shopping for all other essentials. This is particularly relevant in present times as they stay home safe," an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch.

New Zealand PM Flags Four-Day Workweek To Boost Its Shuttered Economy After COVID-19

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a four-day workweek could help rebuild the nation's economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Ardern floated the idea during a Facebook Live earlier this week. Speaking Tuesday from Rotorua, a tourist hub in New Zealand, Ardern brought up a flurry of suggestions that could help jumpstart the country's vital tourism industry, including the shorter workweek, which could encourage citizens to travel more.

"I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day week," Ardern said. "Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees. But as I've said there's just so much we've learnt about COVID and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that." "I'd really encourage people to think about that if you're an employer and in a position to do so to think about whether or not that is something that would work for your workplace because it certainly would help tourism all around the country," she added. Arden said domestic tourism makes up about 60% of the industry, but New Zealanders spend about $9 billion (NZD) on tourism internationally. "Think about exploring your backyard," she said.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft tried a four-day workweek experiment with promising results. Not only were workers happier, but productivity went up 39.9% as fewer and shorter meetings were held, often virtually rather than in person.


By jrumney • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

NZ has already 21 deaths due to COVID-19, and we all know the death rate is undercounted because people are dying in elder care homes,

Those deaths count in NZ. Of the 21 deaths in the entire country, 10 were from just one rest home, and several others from another.

Re:Spare us..

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It is good at managing its own risk, not others risk.

Back in the early 2000's I worked for a company that sold printers that offered Free Black ink for the life of the printer. But charged a good amount for the color ink.
We were trying to sell these printers to a financial firm.
They didn't want the printer, because if they started printing in color, then their competitors would too. We said, then just don't print in color, and use the free black ink. However they were worried if one person prints in color then it is all over.

They were risk adverse to a point where they are going to spend more money, to avoid that risk for them. Established businesses, are afraid to go out of their comfort zone and do something new. The new companies try that, however they often lack the resources to succeed.

Re:We found the solution and we don't even know it

By J�r�me Zago • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The sweet spot might be between 3 and 4 days per week according to, at least for people over 40.

It is purely anecdotal, but I worked 4 days, 33.6 hours per week for 17 years between 2002 and 2019. My productivity felt higher compared to when I was working 5 days, 42 hours per week (2001-2002) or even 40 hours per week (2019-2020).

Re:Spare us..

By Jahta • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The market is actually amazingly good at managing risk

Two things:

One: As the Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang points out in his book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, there is no such thing as the "free market". All markets have rules; it just depends which set you are playing with and who sets them. And the rule setters tend to rig the market in their own favour.

Two: The economist Adam Smith (the author of "The Wealth of Nations") has been adopted as a poster boy by neo-liberals, mainly because he advocated small government/"laissez faire" economics. But they somehow forget that he also advocated strongly against the concept of limited liability; he argued that, if you wanted to reap all of the profits from success, you must also be prepared to accept all of the losses resulting from failure. Otherwise people would inevitably take unwarranted risks in the pursuit of profit, knowing that they were largely shielded from the consequences of failure. The financial crisis in 2008, triggered by so-called subprime lending is classic example of this.


By asylumx • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Um... in the US 100k deaths would make it the 7th leading cause of death by annual numbers and at the current daily rate it is the #3 leading cause of death in the US right now behind heart disease and cancer (and a few weeks ago COVID-19 was #1). Comparatively, influenza kills ~55k people per year so in just a couple of short months COVID-19 has nearly doubled that, and if you compare the daily average, COVID-19 is currently killing ~1400 people per day in the US, while influenza kills ~150 people per day. Just wanted to provide some of that perspective you claim to value so much. Source

Google Cloud Earns Defense Contract Win For Anthos Multi-Cloud Management Tool

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google today announced a new seven-figure contract with DoD's Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). "While the company would not get specific about the number, the new contract involves using Anthos, the tool the company announced last year to secure DIU's multi-cloud environment," reports TechCrunch. From the report: In spite of the JEDI contract involving a single vendor, the DoD has always used solutions from all three major cloud vendors -- Amazon, Microsoft and Google -- and this solution will provide a way to monitor security across all three environments, according to the company. "Multi-cloud is the future. The majority of commercial businesses run multi-cloud environments securely and seamlessly, and this is now coming to the federal government as well," Mike Daniels, VP of Global Public Sector at Google Cloud told TechCrunch.

The idea is to manage security across three environments with help from cloud security vendor Netskope, which is also part of the deal. "The multi-cloud solution will be built on Anthos, allowing DIU to run web services and applications across Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure -- while being centrally managed from the Google Cloud Console," the company wrote in a statement. Daniels says that while this is a deal with DIU, he could see it expanding to other parts of DoD. "This is a contract with the DIU, but our expectation is that the DoD will look at the project as a model for how to implement their own security posture."

They don't trust MS

By gtall • Score: 3 • Thread

This appears to be an effort to not trust MS and require a third party to watch them. Good for DIU.

Why Azure?

By Murdoch5 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Azure is okay, but it has a serious number of critical flaws / bugs that leave it more at the beta or late alpha stage. I've honestly lost count as to the number of bugs / flaws we've filed with Microsoft over broken crap in Azure, and as of yesterday we've decided to stop filing bugs / flaws because their customer service simply can't handle anything more difficult then a working Hello World program.

We've been able to show them some of the flaws over video calls, for them to come back and rename the flaw to a feature, then try to explain it away as a development choice. The latest "feature" we've discovered is that the Cost Management area doesn't line up with the Invoice area for past payments, which is causing serious problems trying to figure out the exact amount we've spent. Which in our case is important, because due to another bug which incorrectly and automatically provisions DB's in premium tiers, we're seeking refunds, which can no longer be properly calculated or tracked.

Cold War Satellites Inadvertently Tracked Species Declines

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into orbit in 1957, the United States responded with its own spy satellites. The espionage program, known as Corona, sought to locate Soviet missile sites, but its Google Earth-like photography captured something unintended: snapshots of animals and their habitats frozen in time. Now, by comparing these images with modern data, scientists have found a way to track the decline of biodiversity in regions that lack historic records.

The researchers tested the approach on bobak marmot (Marmota bobak) populations in the grassland region of northern Kazakhstan. There, Soviets converted millions of hectares of natural habitat into cropland in the 1960s. The scientists searched the satellites' black and white film images on a U.S. Geological Survey database for signs of the squirrel-like animal's burrows. They identified more than 5,000 historic marmot homes and compared them with contemporary digital images of the region, mapping more than 12,000 marmot burrows in all. About eight generations of marmots occupied the same burrows in the study area over more than 50 years, even when their habitats underwent major changes, the team reports in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Overall, the researchers estimate the number of marmot burrows dropped by 14% since the '60s. But the number of burrows in some of the oldest fields -- those persistently disturbed by humans plowing grassland to plant wheat -- plunged by much more -- about 60%.

Re:Through the looking glass

By ilguido • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

BeauHD: if you are going to post such stories, don't use this garbage in the headline. The headline and summary are up to YOU. Only what is on the other side of the link is not under your control. Do your job, and EDIT.

Not just the headline. The sentence "when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into orbit in 1957, the United States responded with its own spy satellites" sounds like the Sputnik was a spy satellite, which was not. Really poor editing.

So what?

By AndyKron • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
The faster we can drive this planet to extinction for profit the better. -Republican party

Re:Through the looking glass

By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not just the headline. The sentence "when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into orbit in 1957, the United States responded with its own spy satellites" sounds like the Sputnik was a spy satellite, which was not.

It also sounds like our early satellites were spy satellites. They weren't either....

Re:Through the looking glass

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I've always wanted to ask you: why do you randomly capitalize words in your sentences? "Taking Pictures in a general area over time is indeed tracking"
Why is "pictures" capitalized? "Mostly to make sure other countries are not putting up Missiles or putting"
Why is "missles" capitalized?
"As a Red Blooded American. Yes, the United States had and has spies"

Re:Through the looking glass

By sconeu • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They didn't deorbit the satellites. CORONA ejected the film magazines, which re-entered and were captured. The satellites stayed in orbit.