the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Sep-19 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.

New Reality Show's Prize? 10 Days on the International Space Station

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
CNN reports: A planned reality show will seek to give the winner of its on-air competition "the greatest prize ever given out on Earth" — a 10-day stay on the International Space Station...

The production company's press release said that the team is "now looking for global brand and primary distribution partners." Space Hero is planning to open the application process for the show in the first half of 2021 before broadcasting begins in 2022, a spokesperson said via email Friday... Space Hero, which is headed by a former News Corp executive named Marty Pompadur, said it is working with Texas-based startup Axiom Space to coordinate the trip into orbit.

Axiom was co-founded and led by Michael Suffredini, who led NASA's International Space Station Program from 2005 to 2015. The company plans to serve as a go-between for NASA, launch providers such as SpaceX and Boeing, and any private-sector individuals interested in booking rides to space for tourism, entertainment or other business purposes. Axiom has also said it can provide all the training necessary to prepare individuals for a trip to the ISS...

Private citizens have visited the space station before: A company called Space Adventures previously organized eight trips to the International Space Station for ultra-wealthy travelers between 2001 and 2009 using Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Allowing tourists and other private citizens to make use of the space station — via SpaceX's or Boeing's new spacecraft — is part of NASA's goal of commercializing outer space.

CNN notes that Axiom is also handling the training and coordination for that Tom Cruise movie that's going to be filmed in space.

will it come with an big tax bill on the 100M+

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

will it come with an big tax bill on the 100M+ trip value?

Runner Up

By ChrisMaple • Score: 3 • Thread
Second place finisher's prize is 20 days on the ISS. Then more in Philadelphia.


By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

Being voted off the island is bad enough, but being voted off the planet?

'At This Point, 5G is a Bad Joke'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shared this skeptical opinion piece from Computerworld: Let's start with the name itself. There is no single "5G." There are, in fact, three different varieties, with very different kinds of performance... But, what most people want, what most people lust for is 1Gbps speeds with less than 10 milliseconds of latency... [T]o get that kind of speed you must have mmWave 5G — and it comes with a lot of caveats.

First, it has a range, at best, of 150 meters. If you're driving, that means, until 5G base stations are everywhere, you're going to be losing your high-speed signal a lot. Practically speaking, for the next few years, if you're on the move, you're not going to be seeing high-speed 5G. And, even if you are in range of a 5G base station, anything — and I mean anything — can block its high-frequency signal. Window glass, for instance, can stop it dead. So, you could have a 5G transceiver literally on your street corner and not be able to get a good signal. How bad is this? NTT DoCoMo, Japan's top mobile phone service provider, is working on a new kind of window glass, just so their mmWave 5G will work. I don't know about you, but I don't want to shell out a few grand to replace my windows just to get my phone to work.

Let's say, though, that you've got a 5G phone and you're sure you can get 5G service — what kind of performance can you really expect? According to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler, you can expect to see a "diddly squat" 5G performance... ["roughly the same as on 4G LTE," while some places "actually have been slower."] It wasn't just him, since he lives in that technology backwater known as the San Francisco bay area. He checked with several national firms tracking 5G performance. They found that all three major U.S. telecom networks' 5G isn't that much faster than 4G. Indeed, OpenSignal reports that U.S. 5G users saw an average speed of 33.4Mbps. Better than 4G, yes, but not "Wow! This is great!" speeds most people seem to be dreaming of. It's also, I might add, much worse than any other country using 5G, with the exception of the United Kingdom.

Remember 4G LTE?

By Ryzilynt • Score: 3 • Thread

Now remember the first flat screen TV's.

All the sudden everyone was buying a new TV and the TV manufacturers where delighted and amazed.

They stopped making box TVs and started making flat TV's.

Then everyone had a flat TV and sales tricked off again. Then they tried a whole shit load of gimmicks , better resolution, LED, backlit LED.

Then they tried the "curved" display. Because no one had one of those , surely it would work.

Todays 5G is a like a curved TV. Sure it might be optimal in some applications but for now it's a gimmick.

I have no complaints about my current 4G LTE service. Or my non-curved TV.

Not speed.

By markdavis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

>"But, what most people want, what most people lust for is 1Gbps speeds "

No, that couldn't be more wrong. Very few people want or expect 1Gps. What we want is not even 1/10th that speed, but:

1) Reliable- where we actually get real 10, 25, or 50Mbs continuously. Not 1Gps for 2ms every now and then, and 1Mbs the rest of the time.

2) With range and coverage- where we actually STAY connected with reasonable speed, regardless of where we are.

3) With reasonable power requirements- where we don't drain our battery in just a few hours.

Super blazing speed that only works in one square block and only outside, without moving, and without anyone else on the network, is useless.

What nonsense

By johnw • Score: 3 • Thread

what most people want, what most people lust for is 1Gbps speeds with less than 10 milliseconds of latency...

Really? Who are these "most people"? What are they planning to do with this startling performance?

What most people really want is just a stable connection providing reliable performance. As with home broadband, anything above about 40 Mbps is not going to be noticed. For what one actually does with a phone, 10 Mbps is ample.

Re:New technology not available or mature is a jok

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What law of physics needs to be gotten around? Are you one of those people who thinks 5G = high frequencies? If you are, please go and read up on the technology, what is is, what it does, how it works, and the several hundred changes that have been introduced that themselves have nothing to do with the air interface.

A bad joke?

By taylorius • Score: 3 • Thread

I'll say it's bad - what with the CIA hijacking the bandwidth for mind control and the signal teleporting Covid into people's ears, there's barely enough bytes left for a simple website.

Oracle's Plan to Keep Java Developers from Leaving for Rust and Kotlin

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
ZDNet reports: Oracle has released version 15 of Java, the language created 25 years ago by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems, which Oracle snapped up in 2009 for about $7.4bn to gain what it said was the "most important software Oracle has ever acquired". Java 15, or Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) 15, brings the Edwards-Curve digital signature algorithm, hidden classes, and former preview features that have been finalized, including text blocks, and the Z Garbage Collector, while the sealed-classes feature arrives and pattern matching and records emerge as a second preview...

In July, Java fell out of RedMonk's top two positions for the first time since 2012 and now resides behind JavaScript and Python in terms of popularity. Tiobe in September ranked Java in second position, behind C and ahead of Python.... But Java is still hugely popular and widely used in the enterprise, according to Oracle, which notes it is used by over 69% of full-time developers worldwide... It counts Arm, Amazon, IBM, Intel, NTT Data, Red Hat, SAP and Tencent among its list of notable contributors to JDK 15. Oracle also gave a special mention to Microsoft and cloud system monitoring service DataDog for fixes...

As part of Java's 25th anniversary, Oracle commissioned analyst firm Omdia to assess its six-month release strategy for Java and whether it would be enough to keep millions of Java developers away from memory-safe alternatives such as Kotlin, the language Google has endorsed for Android development, and Rust, a system programming language that was created at Mozilla. "In Omdia's opinion, the work Oracle began a few years ago in moving to a six-month update cycle and introducing a new level of modularity, puts the vendor in good stead with its constituency of approximately 12 million developers," Oracle said in its report on Omdia's analysis.

"However, Oracle and the Java programming language need an ongoing series of innovative, must-have, and 'delightful' features that make the language even more user friendly and cloud capable. These will keep existing Java developers happy while steering potential Java developers away from newer languages like Rust and Kotlin."


By systemd-anonymousd • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
Here's my problem with Java in a nutshell:

Re:Self created problem.

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Your Java expert is confused.

Oracle is currently providing both support for OpenJDK, allowing it to be downloaded and installed, under the regular GPL license, and a special "Oracle JDK" which differs in having a more restrictive license and a good installer. OpenJDK has to be unzipped to your Program Files directory and then manually added to your path, which sucks but isn't impossible.

Red Hat have something similar going on. They allow anyone to download and install Fedora or CentOS without restrictions. If you want to use RHEL, you have to agree to special licenses.

The main difference between Red Hat and Oracle is that Oracle sucks and is infamous for suing its own customers or trying to find excuses to sue people, is run by shitty people, is a terrible employer, lied about what Sun had said about Java, has awful business practices, and is generally crap. But certainly on a surface level, they would have difficultly closing Java without causing mass migrations.

Not to Rust. that's ridiculous. C++ users migrate to Rust. Rust just reintroduces all the shit that people who choose Java were trying to get away from. But C# is a much nicer language, and Microsoft is, bizarrely (this is the second time I've said they're not as evil as an alternative in two days, people are going to start thinking I work there) more trustworthy than Oracle. Which says more about Oracle than it does about Microsoft.

That threat exists, and means "Java 20" will have an OpenJDK version that's open.

Re:Self created problem.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Has there ever been an issue where both parties didn't suffer once lawyers got involved?

Well... there was this one time when I was with a group of big game hunters in depths of Africa. As we sat around the campfire we talked about how unsatisfying the hunt was and how we needed better, smarter prey. Someone made the suggestion that hunting a hunter would be much better and I asked, "like one of us, a human?" and he said, "well, no... but now that you mention it." There was a long pause and nervous glances before one chap chimed in, "well, it's a silly idea, it's illegal" and another insisted, "surely there is some land where it's legal," and the first chap replied, "I'm a lawyer and I'm certain I would have heard about it if it was." The next day we all agreed and gave the lawyer a 30 minute head start.

carefully ruined

By Crass Spektakel • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

After Oracle has carefully ruined absolutely every piece to technology obtained from Sun they are now finally realizing:

People don't like Oracle.

People don't trust Oracle.

People don't need Oracle.

Oracle did this all to themselves. With blind greet, ignorance and bullheadness one can sink every ship.

Way to ignore the .Net platform there, Oracle...

By ndykman • Score: 3 • Thread

It's not just Rust or Kotlin. C# is very Java like, is rapidly doing well cross platform and you get some nice enterprise APIs (e.g. EF Core for SQL databases). Oh, and a very effective set of non blocking APIs and language features. Java futures are just a nightmare compared to async/await and their related APIs.

And the reactive library is excellent (after all, Rx .Net existed before RxJS, RxJava) if that is what you like. Finally, you need some some extra functional horsepower, F# is right there. And no, I don't work for MS, just used their stuff.

I know somebody is going "but MS is evil, sucks, blah, blah", but lately, not so much. Also, as being compared to Oracle? Nobody is buying that Oracle is the lesser of two evils here.

Java has legacy, and it has trapped big companies in a bind (Amazon and Google still have to right way too much Java code) and it will go nowhere fast, but increasingly, it will be resented more and more.

Should Employers Cut Your Salary If You Change Cities?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
CNN reports: Stripe is paying employees $20,000 if they relocate from expensive cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York, where the company has offices. But workers who make the move will have to take a 10% pay cut.
"Twitter Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. have all considered similar measures," reports Bloomberg. And Forbes notes that other companies are also grappling with similar policies: According to Bloomberg, "employees who worked at VMware's Palo Alto, California, headquarters and go to Denver, for example, must accept an 18% salary reduction. Leaving Silicon Valley for Los Angeles or San Diego means relinquishing 8% of their annual pay." Rich Lang, VMware's senior vice president of human resources, offered a positive alternative. When a person relocates and works remotely, they "could get a raise if they chose to move to a larger or more expensive city..."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg forewarned his personnel, saying those who flee to lower-cost cities "may have their compensation adjusted based on their new locations." The chief executive added, "We'll adjust salary to your location at that point. There'll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this."


By physicsphairy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They shouldn't care how much it costs you to live, they should care if your work is worth paying you X to do it.

And if it was good enough to pay you X in city Y then it should be good enough for them to pay you X in city Z.

How does it hurt them if you have a little more left over at the end of the month? And why is it any of their business? If anything I would think it would be a net positive for everyone including the company.

The reason people get paid higher salaries per location does have to do with cost of living, but it also has to do with the perceived benefit to the company of operating in that location - which they aren't getting if you're somewhere else. It "hurts" them in the sense that, if they (Silicon Valley company) are going to have a programmer living in Houston anyway, they could fire you (average SV programmer) and hire someone there (top-tier local) and save $30k from their bottom line.

Would we enforce this the other way, e.g., if the company wants you to relocate you somewhere more expensive, you are stuck with salary insufficient to handle the increase in expenses?

By all means, use it as a negotiating opportunity. Point out that, even with a high-end salary for the new location, you are saving them money, and get something more generous than they would normally offer. But it's pointless to argue "I should still make SV wages if I want to WFH in Wyoming" because that's just not going to happen. (Well, unless you are irreplaceable).

Of course they should ( and will )

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 3 • Thread

Unless you are already getting paid to work remotely, companies ( especially in areas like SF ) HAVE to pay their employees ludicrous amounts of money just so said employees can afford housing in the surrounding areas. It is the only reason the pay is so high in areas like that. No one wants to commute for 2+ hours so, in order to attract employees, they have to push the salaries up.

If you moved to an area that has a much lower cost of living, I would suspect ( no, I guarantee it ) your company is not going to continue shelling out ludicrous amounts of money to you once they realize how much they will be saving in salaries.

You may disagree with it, but that is going to be the reality of things.

Thats how the Gov't does it .

By big-giant-head • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I work for the FAA. We have a base + locality pay ( same for every agency MOL) . I make x amount in base + locality pay (which is the same for like 70% of the country). If you live in an expensive area you get a higher locality pay. I think there are different ones for like NY, DC, LA... An I ( equivalent to a GS-13 ) in Dallas Tx might make 105k, whereas an I or GS-13 in LA would make around 140K (roughly). If you move from LA to Dallas or Oklahoma CIty you get a pay cut.

Re: No

By Frobnicator • Score: 4 • Thread

And that is exactly the end game for some companies.

Today it's a voluntary move with a pay cut and small moving bonus. Tomorrow it is an involuntary move, with layoffs in expensive locations and small relocation bonus for those who qualify. And those cheaper locations may be in India, Philippines, South Africa, and other places where enough English speakers can be located.

Many tech companies have not needed expensive big-city offices for decades now. They have done it out of habit and management preference. Some companies and many individuals have figured this out, which helped fuel a housing crisis as people sold their three bedroom Santa Monica home for two million dollars, paid cash for a half million dollar mansion, picked up a few investment properties, and continued working in a cheaper, smaller tech hub.

I know some people who repeated it twice, riding the LA pricing surge, then moving to cities like Seattle, Portland, or Austin to ride it again. Now they're multi-millionaires just from happening to buy homes in the cities at the right time. :-(

Re: Compensation is already too low

By ishmaelflood • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Also, although it is unlikely on /., you may have friendly neighbors who will drive you to the clinic. Or heaven forbid you pay some kid fifty bucks to give you a lift.

Microsoft Submits Linux Kernel Patches to Make Linux Run as Root Partition on Hyper-V

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Microsoft has submitted a series of patches to Linux kernel developers," reports ZDNet, " requesting that Linux run as the root partition on the Hyper-V, its hypervisor software for running Windows and non-Windows instances on hardware." Microsoft "wants to create a complete virtualization stack with Linux and Microsoft Hypervisor", according to Microsoft principle software engineer Wei Liu. Liu has proposed an RFC or request for comment that for now merely implements what are only the "absolutely necessary components to get things running... There will be a subsequent patch series to provide a device node (/dev/mshv) such that userspace programs can create and run virtual machines. We've also ported Cloud Hypervisor over and have been able to boot a Linux guest with Virtio devices since late July." Cloud Hypervisor is an experimental open-source hypervisor implementation from Intel written in the Rust programming language. It's a virtual-machine monitor that runs on top of KVM, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine hypervisor in the Linux kernel that's designed for cloud workloads...

Liu points out three more changes beyond amendments to the Hyper-V Top-Level Functional Specification. For example, Microsoft wants Linux to set up existing Hyper-V facilities differently. It also wants Linux kernel developers to change the kernel's behavior when accessing hardware memory in a way that affects driver access to the GPU and CPU that's being managed by an operating system memory manager. It's this issue that Microsoft engineers are least confident about and are asking for Linux developer support, according to Liu....

As Microsoft's executive VP of the cloud and enterprise group, Scott Guthrie, told ZDNet last year, Microsoft's shift to Linux and open source started over a decade ago when it open-sourced ASP.NET. "We recognized open source is something that every developer can benefit from. It's not nice, it's essential. It's not just code, it's community," explained Guthrie.

Sounds familiar

By quonset • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I seem to remember reading this recently.


By algaeman • Score: 3 • Thread
Shouldn't a Microsoft principle systems engineer restrict their patches to the repository code of conduct?

Are these hooks to run Hyper-V, or the real thing?

By ctilsie242 • Score: 3 • Thread

Are these just hooks into Hyper-V to allow it to run, or is MS adding Hyper-V as another hypervisor choice, like Xen, KVM, or others, for use on a native level? If Hyper-V is used in this fashion, it can be useful, especially to isolate what is running from the hardware, and to make it easy to add VMs and move them between Linux and Windows environments seamlessly.

In any case, I hope this isn't a bad thing overall. MS wants stuff to run on Azure, so it helps them in this department.

Re:Are these hooks to run Hyper-V, or the real thi

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Hyper-V has been available for a while now and it's an alternative to Xen.

Linux has been able to run as a regular guest under Hyper-V for a decade now, but hasn't been able to run as Hyper-V's equivalent of Xen's Dom0. The patches Microsoft have submitted allow it to be that. Dom0 is essentially a privileged virtual machine instance running under a hypervisor that provides services to the other guests.

KVM is a kind of weird pseudohypervisor environment, I never like comparing it to Xen. It's more of a framework for Linux to host VMs than a hypervisor even if it bills itself as the latter. Xen, Hyper-V, and other technologies that bill themselves as hypervisors are lightweight operating systems that solely exist to host other operating systems, implementing protocols allowing those operating systems to co-exist with one another and divvy up resources.

European Spacecraft Flying Past Venus Will Now Look for Signs of Life

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Earlier this week, scientists announced the discovery of phosphine on Venus, a potential signature of life. Now, in an amazing coincidence, a European and Japanese spacecraft is about to fly past the planet — and could confirm the discovery," writes Forbes. Slashdot reader Iwastheone shares their report: BepiColombo, launched in 2018, is on its way to enter orbit around Mercury, the innermost planet of the Solar System. But to achieve that it plans to use two flybys of Venus to slow itself down, one on October 15, 2020, and another on August 10, 2021. The teams running the spacecraft already had plans to observe Venus during the flyby. But now, based on this detection of phosphine from telescopes on Earth, they are now planning to use both of these flybys to look for phosphine using an instrument on the spacecraft...

As this first flyby is only weeks away, however, the observation campaign of the spacecraft is already set in stone, making the chance of a discovery slim. More promising is the second flyby next year, which will not only give the team more time to prepare, but also approach just 550 kilometers from Venus...

If a detection can be made, it would provide independent verification of the presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. And for future missions planning to visit the planet, which alongside Rocket Lab's mission includes potential spacecraft from NASA, India, Russia, and Europe, that could be vital information.

Flying past Venus

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

At least it's not circling around Uranus.

Where's the Yelp For Open-source Tools?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Esther Schindler (Slashdot reader #16,185), shares some thoughts from long-time tech reporter Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: We'd like an easy way to judge open-source programs. It can be done. But easily? That's another matter... Plenty of people have created systems to collect, judge, and evaluate open-source projects, including information about a project's popularity, reliability, and activity. But each of those review sites — and their methodologies — have flaws.
The article looks at a variety of attempts, including; Eric Raymond's attempt to revive Freecode; GitHub's star (which Docker's co-founder calls a "bullshit metric"); Synopsys's Black Duck Open Hub (formerly Ohloh); and even Google Trends. But it wraps up by pointing out that Brian Profitt, Red Hat's Open Source Program Office (OSPO) manager, is working with others on " Project CHAOSS," a new Linux Foundation project to make it easy to evaluate open-source projects.
This pulled together Grimoirelab and similar programs, such as Augur and Red Hat's own Prospector... Its metrics include what kinds of contributions are being made; when the contributions are made; and who's making the contributions. All of which are vital to understanding the overall health of a project.

CHAOSS is still a work in progress. Its official release is scheduled for February 2021... Ultimately, this data will be available to all, from end users to the project leads. "In fact, I hope this happens a lot, because we can refine our models more quickly," says Profitt.

Let the games begin

By cahuenga • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Who in the world would wish to copy a platform that has been so gamed, corrupted and worthless as Yelp?

Not everything needs to be an app store

By Generic User Account • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
And since when is Yelp a good thing? Tons of third party directories of freely available software exist and they are all scummy, ad-laden and useless. Many eventually bundle the free software in "installers" with malware, excuse me, value added software. One more of those would not improve anything.

Only 2 kinds of open source programs

By thegarbz • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

You don't even need 5 stars to describe them, a simple toggle will do. Open source programs can generally be judged to be either :

1) Horrendous bug ridden garbage with Fisher Price UIs designed by some PhD UX genius who thinks the ideal app is one you start and just spits out a single answer which is what the user most likely wanted, and if not it's the user's fault for wrong expectations, and if it's not that then it likely crashed while opening.... or

2) Highly complex infinitely scalable and powerful tools designed by an an actual genius who as a role reversal requires the end user to have said PhD to figure out how to run the damn program in the first place, and if it doesn't work well that's because the user didn't edit one of the 30 config files and forgot how to regex the awk output after grepping the the daemon to life.

That's it. That's all of Open Source. And thank god it is, since the mobile world really only has apps that fall into number 1.

Obligatory XKCD

By bart_smit • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

US Spy Plane Impersonates A Malaysian Aircraft

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Popular Mechanics reports: A U.S. Air Force aircraft electronically impersonated a Malaysian plane while flying over the South China Sea this week. The RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft flew off China's Hainan island on Tuesday, coming within 55 miles of the Chinese mainland.

The caper was outed on Twitter by a think tank operated by the Chinese government, which provided enough details for independent verification. The plane's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Mode-S number, a 24-bit identifier assigned to all aircraft and broadcast by onboard transponder, was AE01CE. The Mode S system provides big-picture situational awareness and improves aviation safety. At some point, the plane's Mode-S number suddenly changed, from AE01CE to 750548. That's the ICAO number for an unknown Malaysian aircraft...

The RC-135W Rivet Joint is a converted Boeing 707 jetliner designed to collect electronic intelligence for later analysis... It's not clear why the RC-135W flew where it did. The flight probably coincided with Chinese military exercises, likely air or naval, or even a missile test. It's also worth pointing out that China's nuclear ballistic missile submarine force is based at Yulin on Hainan Island.

It's also not clear why the RC-135W engaged in the deception. Steffan Watkins, a Canadian open source intelligence researcher, tells Popular Mechanics. "If the reconnaissance is happening outside sovereign airspace, there is no pressing need to engage in that sort of deception. It's perfectly legal, and done in plain sight off the coast of Russia, Syria, and Crimea all the time — literally, every day there are RC-135s off the coast of Russia, with their transponders on, and broadcasting exactly who they are. I can't explain the difference with China. Why the difference in emissions posture and obfuscation....?"

The announcement is likely a warning to the Pentagon that the Chinese military sees through the deception, and that it's watching the watchers.

Re:Malaysia will be having a word too

By Rick Schumann • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
No, but I'm sure the conversation might go something like this:
"Hey U.S., need we point out that we're a tiny, poor country compared to you, and ill-equipped to deal with the 900 pound gorilla that is a pissed-off China, and oh by the way we're very much closer to them than YOU are!? For fuck's sake U.S., can't your spy planes impersonate someone else?"
..but in reality it's also likely that the Malaysian government knew about this and doesn't really care that much, all they have to do is say "we knew nothing about this, are outraged, blah blah blah, so on and so forth, 'official protest', yakity yakity yak" while in the back rooms of their government they're happy someone else is keeping an eye on the aforementioned 900 pound gorilla (900 pound malignant panda?) that is China.

Wonder what the real story is

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3 • Thread
"The caper was outed on Twitter by a think tank operated by the Chinese government"
Something does not seem right, The word caper sounds so unbias and this does involve the Chinese.

Re:Modified 707?

By I'mjusthere • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Like other concerns, Labor costs/salary, medical insurance, health care, HR, onsite-contracted college & university classes/studies, training infrastructure, related expenses: housing, furniture, lines, clothes/uniforms, PX stores, civilian employees, family members, telecommunications, mail services, supply and logistic service. etc., etc. The costs of employing and supporting a single soldier is very high (but it does tend toward a full employment economy).

An economy based on military spending will lead to its own destruction. When Great Britain stopped being the World power and started spending all that Military Projection money domestically (Like the NHS), the standard of living for the average UK bloke went UP.

Protecting our continent is one thing. Waging war in the Middle East for reasons that have nothing to do with me or our citizens is a waste. Oil and other fossil fuels are becoming a relic and less of a factor in our economy's well being everyday. 9/11 happened because of our Oil geopolitics. I never benefited off of it but I sure as Hell paid the price - but others have enriched themselves. My neighbors kid comes back in a coffin with a flag over it while assholes get rich. And for what?

Oh, that whole deal that Jared Kushner is getting credit for? That is ALL bullshit. It is ALL about Trumps Quid Pro Quo. Yeah, he made a deal alright! But it was for him.

Learn some doublethink

By tiqui • Score: 3 • Thread

What the public sees in these incidents is often not at all what's going on. Often, particularly with cheap amateurish-sounding stuff like this, what's happening is not what you might think.

The Chinese have been asserting ownership of the South China Sea and the rest of the planet considers that to be international waters. The Chinese keep asserting stuff and the non-China powers are naturally both concerned about the actions, and curious about the related intentions and nature of commitment to the globally-rejected claims. The USAF knows full-well that real-time aircraft tracking is available (they pioneered it), even to its availability to the general public, and they're also aware of how easy it is to notice something like this. It's likely this was a simple "let's toss this at them and watch to see if they notice, how long it takes them to notice, and how they react". By reacting as they did, the Chinese (possibly inadvertently) closed a feedback loop. Of course, the Chinese may have actually planned their reaction to be deceptive... it's a Princess Bride style battle of wits and intel folks in both the US and China have full time jobs thinking and re-thinking this stuff.

This current incident is actually far less reckless than China's policy of "let's claim we own an ocean, then start building islands there and militarize them, and then threaten anybody who claims that the ocean is still free.

Did you even read the article first?

By McFortner • Score: 3 • Thread
If you read the article, you find out that the RC-135 flew through the South China Sea this way. You remember how China is claiming the entire sea because of artificial islands they created in it, while international law tells them to pound sand. Seems like it is an attempt to prevent a shooting war while getting necessary reconnaissance data.

And the whole "This will result in China shooting down civilian airliners" argument? You mean like how the Soviet Union shot down KAL 007 in 1983? An airliner the pilots had close VISUAL contact with and could tell it was a 747 and not a 707, but the pilots were ordered to shoot it down anyway? ( Or how about KAL 902, also visually identified as a civilian airliner, getting shot down by the Soviets in 1978? ( These governments don't need excuses to shoot down any plane they think is in their airspace, regardless of what nationality or type they are squawking. If China wants to shoot down an airliner, they are going to do it no matter what.

Thieves' Guild: a BBS Game With the Best 1990s Pixel Graphics You've Never Seen

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The sky is clear, the breeze is strong. A perfect day to make the long sea voyage to Mythyn," writes BBS history blogger Josh Renaud. "You prepare your galley, hire a crew of sailors, and cast off. But a few hours into your trip, the dreaded words appear: 'Thou seest rippling waters...'"

He's describing the beginning of a 27-year-old game that he'd been searching for since 2013. Slashdot reader Kirkman14 why the game is so special — and so rare: Thieves' Guild is a BBS door game for the Atari ST that came out in 1993. [A "door" connected the software running the dial-up Bulletin Board system to an external application.] What made Thieves' Guild unique was its graphical front-end client, which features dozens of eye-popping pixel art vignettes, along with simple animated sprites, sampled speech, and sound effects.

As a BBS door game (strike 1) for the Atari ST (strike 2), not many people played this game or saw its front-end in the 90s. But it's worth re-discovering.

The game was created by Paul Witte and Herb Flower who teamed up again in the early 2000s to produce the MMORPG "Linkrealms."

The Pascal source code for several versions of Thieves' Guild, including an unreleased 1995 port for PC BBSes, has been rescued and published on GitHub.

Re:Couple other tidbits

By Kirkman14 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
You can see the direction the BBS industry was headed if you watch the "Make it Pay" episode of the BBS Documentary ... around 1993-95 there were conventions like One BBScon, there was a cottage industry of books about how to become a sysop, there were even short-lived trade groups like the Door Authors Marketing Association.


By yassa2020 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Ah yes. My favorite Cortex M are the Gecko series from silabs (previously Energy Micro). They are superbly designed. You can just twiddle a bit to turn off an entire section of the cpu so it doesn't consume power, you can drive a display, and you can even ping-pong frame buffers directly from ram chips using very low power DMA without eating up main cpu time.

On the downside, their newer, especially RF chips are nearly impossible to use without their bloated Eclipse-based dev environment and confusing/obtuse code-generating templates. ugh. But if you're willing to read through 750 pages of manuals and dozens of code samples there are *some* things you can figure out how to do without their silly templates.

Re:Old gen-xers vs young gen-xers

By thomst • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Powercntrl reminisced:

Lord, Usurper, Trade Wars... those are the BBS doors I remember. Most of the users I remember from that era seemed to consider graphical front-ends to be too inefficient to use over the slow ass analog models of the day.

I played Tradewars, but my fave was the trivia game Pyroto Mountain. You had to actually know stuff to do well in that one.

Of course, Sergey and Larry were still in junior high school back then, and Wikipedia was still over a decade away.

It's also important to note that private individuals were permitted on the Internet as far back as the late 1980's. The problem was that, until first the Web, then IP stacks (or, at least, a shim that emulated an IP stack) for the Windows and Mac platforms were developed, the dominant access paradigm was via terminal emulation software over a dial-up connection. In order to actually use and participate in the 'net, you had to be comfortable with basic BSD Unix commands (because access providers like Netcom ran BSD servers on non-proprietary hardware for the most part), and be content to to live in a text-based, command-line-driven environment online, using front-ends like pine, lynx, nn, and gopher.

That required a level of nerd-fu that was completely beyond most PC users - and over Grandpa's and Grandma's head like a parachute - which meant the Great Unwashed was largely barred from participation.

Until 1996, that is, when first CompuServe, then AOL opened their Internet gateways, and the ignorant masses promptly flooded in, bringing with them a level of incivility-by-default - and of credulous stupidity, as well - that has characterized Internet discussion forums ever since.

And, sure, there was plenty of trolling on BBSes, and no lack thereof on Usenet, either. But, for the most part, it was artful trolling, rather than the juvenile namecalling and racism that characterizes the form today ...


By technothrasher • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Abloated Eclipse-based dev environment

I still shake my head trying to understand this. I'm using small chips, on small boards, why do I want a huge bloated IDE with 'workspaces'? I do like the Embitz IDE, but support is pretty minimal and the project only seems barely alive, so I can only practically use it for very small projects. Anything with a more current chip, I'm basically stuck with Eclipse.


By technothrasher • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I've experimented with setting up a simple gcc make environment with any old editor. I've made it work, and if I could use FreeBSD as my dev environment, I'd love it. But we're standardized on Windows at work, so that's what I'm stuck with using.

Russian Announces Plan to Independently Explore Venus

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Russia has announced an intention to independently explore Venus a day after scientists said there was a gas that could be present in the planet's clouds due to single-cell microbes," reports Euronews: The head of Russia's space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, told reporters that they would initiate a national project as "we believe that Venus is a Russian planet," according to the TASS news agency. In a statement, Roscosmos noted that the first missions to explore Venus were carried out by the Soviet Union. "The enormous gap between the Soviet Union and its competitors in the investigation of Venus contributed to the fact that the United States called Venus a Soviet planet," Roscosmos said.

The Russians claim to have extensive material that suggests that some objects on the Venusian surface have changed places or could be alive, although these are hypotheses that have yet to be confirmed.

The national project would be in addition to the "Venera-D" project that the Russians are working on with the US' National Aeronautics and Space Administration... Roscosmos said they would study the soil and atmosphere of the planet as well as the "evolutionary processes of Venus, which allegedly suffered a climatic catastrophe associated with the greenhouse effect."

Oh did he now

By Sneftel • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Russian Announces Plan to Independently Explore Venus

I donâ(TM)t think Dimitri plans to do it by himself.

Building on old successes

By Laxator2 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The Russians were the first to land a probe on Venus and get data on temperature/pressure as well as the (so far) only pictures of the surface.
Their probe lasted for about one hour in those conditions, but it was enough to send quite a bit of scientific data back.
They now feel that they can build on the old success and addtionally, they always botched their missions to Mars.
Nowadays there is a lot of talk about colonizing Mars, and a big factor in that is NASAs success in exploring that planet.
But growing up as a kid on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain the stories about colonizing the Solar System were all about Venus. The scientific reason was that it is easier to thin a dense atmosphere than to build one on a planet with weak gravity. Plus cooling Venus was considered feasible by building a Saturn-like ring around it tilted at the correct angle to block sunlight. It was supposed to be built from captured asteroids set on collision course close to the planet.
And the fact that the Russians had a lot of success in exploring Venus was a clear first step.

Re:Building on old successes

By mark-t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Let's suppose you could thin the atmosphere and somehow start to cool the planet down. The planet still has a day/night cycle that lasts more than 2500 hours.

You'd get an enormous temperature gradient between the day and night side of the planet that is all but certain to swing temperatures outside of habitability requirements, no matter what you do to try and manage the heat coming in from the sun. Not to mention the fierce atmospheric conditions that would accompany such a gradient.

Microsoft Warns Workaround Preventing Lenovo ThinkPad BSOD Increases Risk

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: Microsoft has finally published a support document detailing its workaround for the August 2020 Patch Tuesday update for Windows 10 version 2004 that caused blue screens of deaths (BSODs) on newer Lenovo ThinkPads and broke Windows Hello biometric login... It's the same as Lenovo's earlier workaround but comes with a stern security warning from Microsoft.

Microsoft also explains how Lenovo Vantage violates Microsoft's security controls in Windows.

Users might bypass the BSOD screen, but they are endangering their computers by implementing the workaround, according to Microsoft. The workaround also affects some of Microsoft's latest security features for Windows 10, such as Hypervisor Code Integrity for shielding the OS from malicious drivers, as well as Windows Defender Credential Guard. "This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk," Microsoft states....

The good news for affected ThinkPad users is that Microsoft and Lenovo are working together on a fix. However, Microsoft hasn't said when that will be available.

a better workaround would be

By FudRucker • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
wipe windows off, install GNU/Linux on,
problem solved

Lenono no more

By groobly • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I've owned multiple Lenovo machines. Hardware failed miserably. Lenovo software was riddled with bugs. Lenovo support was terrible. The IBM laptop that preceded them, from 1999 (!) still works just fine (with 1999 software). Draw your own conclusion. I don't buy Lenovo products.

Microsoft endangering computers

By minorityreport • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The solution is to wipe Windows and install a Linux Distro.

Re:a better workaround would be

By Shades72 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

After reading the umpteenth 'Remove Windows, install Linux and be done with it"-style of comment, I was always of the mindset "Yeah, yeah we know already, blah, blah..."

However, about a year ago I bought a second hand laptop. Came with Windows 8. Microsoft insisted on putting Windows 10 on it and since then nothing but misery. After turning it on, you had about 30 minutes of the laptop functioning as you would expect. But after that it became very slow, responsiveness went to 0, closing the lid to make it go to sleep would often not work, 'waking up' was even worse.

Did a complete re-install of Windows 10. Same problems, only now it took about an hour before acting up. Got so fed up with it, I created a boot-able pendrive and ran a "live" instance of Pop!_OS 20.04. Not one problem.

Getting acquainted with the Pop!_OS interface wasn't much of an issue at all, 'sleeping' and 'waking' worked reliably, no hang-ups, remained responsive after opening a browser (FireFox) with 6 tabs, a terminal, creating a document in LibreOffice, having multiple instances of the file manager busy with copying stuff, while playing an audio file. Not a glitch for hours on end.

All that the Windows 8 version of the laptop could do as well. Yet when running Windows 10 I was happy if Firefox with just 2 tabs open would not bring the laptop down to a screeching halt.My 2 desktop PCs run Windows 10 and that won't change any time soon. But that laptop? It won't be using any version of Windows anymore. Pop!_OS is very pleasant to use and you must know I have worked with every version of Windows since 3.1 and enjoyed doing so with most of these.

Re:Lenono no more

By Nuitari The Wiz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Counterpoint: I manage company wide IT, about 100 computers in all. Probably a total of 80 Lenovo laptops and desktops, a mix of whatever came out between now and 5 years. Always in the economy business lines and with non OEM upgrades. At most 4 hardware repairs across them over the years.

Since the earlier Lenovo debacle (that stupid wild card root certificate), its been SOP for us to just wipe the OEM install and start a fresh one from Microsoft media. We also do install and support Linux on request.

The worst are the Microsoft Surfaces. Frigging nightmares that can't handle the load of a Zoom meeting. Thankfully they have now all been retired (thank you COVID for that!!!).

At Least 10 Amazon Employees Took Bribes from Sellers, Indictment Alleges

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
CBS News reports: Six people allegedly conspired to bribe Amazon employees and contractors in order to gain a competitive advantage on the retailer's marketplace, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, those charged posed as consultants and worked with third-party sellers whose products had previously been removed from Amazon Marketplace get the items back on the platform. The six then paid a total of more than $100,000 in bribes to least 10 Amazon employees in exchange for their restoring the banned products or services, the indictment alleges. The products included household goods, consumer electronics and dietary supplements, prosecutors said.

"The ultimate victim from this criminal conduct is the buying public, who get inferior or even dangerous goods that should have been removed from the marketplace," U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said in a statement. "As the world moves increasingly to online commerce, we must ensure that the marketplace is not corrupted with unfair advantages obtained by bribes and kickbacks...."

The six accused face up to five years in prison for commercial bribery and up to 20 years for wire fraud.

One of the six actually worked for Amazon at the beginning of the scheme, according to the article, which notes that their tactics included temporarily suspending the accounts of competitors.

One FBI agent in Seattle tells CBS, "What's equally concerning is that, not only did they attempt to increase sales of their own products, but they sought to damage and discredit their competitors."

stifle the competition

By algaeman • Score: 3 • Thread
Bribes should be restricted only to the political class, and bidding begins at $1M.

Typical Amazon

By awwshit • Score: 3 • Thread

Deceive and manipulate individuals for cash under the table - go to jail. Deceive and manipulate the public at large - become the world's richest person.

Looking at the names.

By Fly Swatter • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
This will burn all my karma, but only 2 of those 6 names sound anything like American names..

Oh I think it was pretty clear

By WhiteKnight07 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

He was clearly implying that Americans are less likely to engage to bribery, corruption, and underhanded dealing than people from other countries. Which as anyone familiar with American business or politics will know, is total bullshit.

Re:Oh I think it was pretty clear

By Some Guy I Dont Know • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm not sure where you got your data, since you didn't, you know, actually cite any but the US is towards the lower end of bribery even amongst 'first-world' countries.
Here's an aggregate listing of 'Western' nations by bribery-victim rates - notice the US is almost at the bottom, with 0.2% of the population reporting have paid or been asked for a bribe. That's half the rate of Canada (0.4%)! Far lower than, say, France at 1.3%.
Maybe you prefer the OECD's Anti-corruption reports? You can follow that link to read them yourself! Where's the US? Towards the bottom, again.
If you don't like those, you can go to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer and discover that, again, the US is almost at the bottom of the list - 23rd lowest out of 180.

Of course, the funny thing is that the US is perceived as more corrupt that some countries, but when crime-victimization surveys are performed, the US has an actual bribery rate below its perceived rate, but other 'top ranking' countries score higher than popular expectations. Japan, for example...

Picture-In-Picture Mode On iOS 14 No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website Unless You Pay For Premium

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MacRumors: Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from to be watched in Safari in Picture in Picture mode. As of today, that workaround is gone, and it's not clear if it's a bug or a deliberate removal. Attempting to use Picture in Picture on a video on the mobile YouTube website simply doesn't work. Tapping the Picture in Picture button when in full screen mode pops the video out for a second, but it immediately pops back into the website, so it can't be used as a Picture in Picture window. [...] Picture in Picture appears to work on the mobile YouTube website in Safari for those who are YouTube Premium subscribers, which suggests that the restriction is intentional and not a bug.

Google/Youtube is a real pain

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Sure pay for no Ad's. I can get that. Alphabet is a business and needs to make money, either from you or via Ads. But if they are making money from Ad's they really shouldn't be taking features away from the users. As well as putting a lot of punitive measures in place that punishes the innocent, then force them to prove their innocents, and still not get their punishment back.

Post YouTube

By AndyKron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
It's just a matter of time until I'll have to go back to my life again post YouTube.

Political Correctness gone mad

By geekmux • Score: 3 • Thread

"The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from to be watched in Safari..."

Ah, so it's merely a "functional workaround" that's not normally allowed unless you pay for premium service?

For fucks sake, call it what it is already. A hack. And then stop standing around like a moron wondering why they fixed it.

Political correctness is not merely stupid. It's turning people into idiots.

Re:Google/Youtube is a real pain

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

(22nd Century) If you don't smoke Tarrlytons... Fuck you!.


By JediJorgie • Score: 3 • Thread

It is almost as if they have a service for sale and they want people to pay for it. Say it isn't so!

DC Universe Streaming Service Will Become Universe Infinite Comics Platform

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
DC Universe, which started out as a streaming service for original DC superhero content, will in January become DC Universe Infinite, a supersized subscription service for DC Comics. CNET reports: The service launches on Jan. 21 for $7.99 per month, or $74.99 for a year-long subscription. DC says that subscribers will be able to read 24,000 comic book titles at launch, along with digital-first titles and access to exclusive fan events. Recently released titles featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other DC mainstays will make their way onto the platform in digital format six months after the physical copies arrive in stores. Those who subscribe during the initial preorder run will receive a $10 voucher to the DC Shop on Feb. 1 -- and make that $25 if you lock in a year-long subscription.

The move comes as DC nestles in with HBO, with original DC programming making a home on the HBO Max streaming service. A third season of the Harley Quinn animated series starring Kaley Cuoco was just announced for the platform earlier today, with all seasons of the show now sitting as an HBO exclusive. [...] To that end, DC is extending its offer for DC Universe subscribers to add HBO Max membership for $4.99 per month. Fans can jump on that deal through the end of October.

So many streaming services..

By luvirini • Score: 3 • Thread

So there is really no way all of them will have enough customers in the long run, though I guess this one might have a dedicated customer base, though I doubt t it will be a huge one.

Issue Number One

By Bigbutt • Score: 3 • Thread

Well, so much for owning a rare issue number 1, finding it tucked away in a box in the attic, and selling it for a million bucks.


NASA To Film an Estee Lauder Ad In Space As the ISS Opens For Business

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
NASA is preparing to oversee the largest push of business activity aboard the ISS. "Later this month, up to 10 bottles of a new Estee Lauder (EL) skincare serum will launch to the space station," reports CNN. "NASA astronauts are expected to film the items in the microgravity environment of the ISS and the company will be able to use that footage in ad campaigns or other promotional material." The details of those plans were first reported by New Scientist magazine. From the report: The Estee Lauder partnership will continue NASA's years-long push to encourage private-sector spending on space projects as the space agency looks to stretch its budget beyond the ISS and focus on taking astronauts back into deep space. Those efforts include allowing the space station to be used for marketing and entertainment purposes. The Estee Lauder products, a new formula of the company's "Advanced Night Repair" skin serum, are expected to launch aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft, tucked alongside 8,000 pounds of other cargo, experiments and supplies. NASA astronauts will be tasked with capturing "imagery and video" of the product. The astronauts themselves, however, won't be appearing in any cosmetics ads: The space agency's ethics policies strictly bar astronauts from appearing in marketing campaigns.

More sponsorship dollars possible if :-

By Canberra1 • Score: 3 • Thread
They made a remake of Debbie does Dallas on the space-station, followed by 'Zombie Spacemen return to planet Earth' - that would be more profitable. One remembers when the pilot episode of 'Lost in Space' or 'Star-Trek' the cigarette/Tobacco companies wanted to promote lung cancer in space. If that makeup has nanoparticles, in zero gravity, there is a good chance of deep lung irritation. OTOH this is a good preparatory step for the movies suggested above.

I'm glad to see

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

the Earth's precious resources are being used for worthwhile purposes.

Re:I'm glad to see

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're mistaking spending money and spending natural resources. Classic capitalist bias. Regardless of who pays for space ventures, the latter is finite, and the vast amounts of energy it takes to climb up the gravity well should not be wasted on bringing pointless cosmetic products up into orbit.


By gosso920 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark.

Estee Lauder is getting ripped off

By virtig01 • Score: 3 • Thread

All this effort to get footage of their product in zero-g, but everyone who sees the commercial will assume it's just CGI.