Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-May-03 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.

Arm Pioneer: Nvidia's Grace CPU Is Proof That It Will 'Compete Unfairly'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
RealNeoMorpheus writes: Arm pioneer Hermann Hauser has once again criticized Nvidia's plan to acquire the semiconductor design company, with The Telegraph reporting Sunday that he believes Nvidia is "clearly showing it will compete unfairly" if the deal is approved. Hauser's concerns reportedly centered on the Grace processor Nvidia announced at GTC 2021. The company's first Arm-based CPU will connect to high-end GPUs via NVLink, which purportedly offers data transfer speeds up to 900 GBps. That's significantly faster than other technologies -- it's also exclusively available to Nvidia.

This is why Hauser told The Telegraph that he believes using a proprietary interface like NVLink could end up "locking customers into [Nvidia] products," which "clearly shows that they will compete unfairly with other Arm-based server companies such as Amazon and Fujitsu," rather than retaining Arm's neutrality. [...] Nvidia told The Telegraph that Hauser "does not understand what Grace will do or its benefits to Arm" and that "we have been working on Grace using off-the-shelf Arm technology, available to all Arm licensees, long before we agreed to acquire Arm."

Poor Amazon

By robi5 • Score: 4 • Thread

> clearly shows that they will compete unfairly with other Arm-based server companies such as Amazon

I'm shedding crocodile tears that Amazon might get competition. Oh the horrors! Maybe Amazon should stop ripping off open source software vendors and product vendors, and generally, behave less as the 2400lbs gorilla, before "unfair NVDA fights AMZN" manages to evoke sympathy

Re:"agreed to acquire Arm."

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Nvidia is a problem.

RISC-V is the solution.

Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Google should form a consortium to optimize RISC-V for laptops, desktops, servers, and Android phones/tablets.

They can get out from under the yoke of both Intel and Nvidia, and be able to compete with Apple's M1/M2.

Re:So what?

By Pimpy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I also don't see it as much of an issue. Providing direct nvlink integration from the SoC to the GPU only becomes anti-competitive if e.g. NVIDIA refuses to license nvlink to other ARM licensees. The fact they've developed a proprietary interconnect is neither here nor there. Let's also not pretend like they're the only ones doing this: https://www.tomshardware.com/n...

Re:"agreed to acquire Arm."

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's unfortunately not that simple. To replicate the work that ARM has done to get performance, both in terms of processing speed and power consumption, is a major long term undertaking. Probably one that is worth doing, but in the medium term it's not going to help much if Nvidia decides to get nasty.

There are probably patent issues too. Patents seem to be the reason why we aren't seeing something like the big.LITTLE architecture on x86, where you have a mix of performance cores and low power cores. Not just the general concept, but a lot of the implementation details that make it work seamlessly are patented.

Re:Why the surprise?

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Unless there is reason to believe nvidia is lying about this specifically, and I don't see any, nvidia was working on this before they even acquired ARM. And frankly, they likely don't need anything from the acquisition to continue.

This is about a proprietary connection to their GPU from their CPU. And guess what? That connection (nvlink) is not part of ARM. It's not part of the ARM acquisition. They were going to do it whether they were an ARM licensee, or an arm licensor. So this has nothing whatsoever to do with the acquisition.

Frankly, I do not believe for a second that nvidia won't license nvlink. They want to be out in front with it with their own solutions. It's difficult to get upset by that, unless one is trying really hard.

Hardware Hacker Breaks the DRM On a Mini Dishwasher

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Developer dekuNukem has detailed a methodology for refilling the DRM-protected detergent cassettes for a $486 portable dishwasher called Bob. Gizmodo reports: Bob is basically a small dishwasher that sits on your counter. It holds half a dozen dishes and some silverware, and you add water to the system by hand. It looks like a great alternative to a larger installed dishwasher or something nice for an apartment dweller. But it has a secret bit of DRM built in that keeps you wedded to the company's products. The Bob uses cassettes, called Rock and Pop (LOL!), that contain concentrated detergent and rinse liquids. The cassettes are similar to inkjet cartridges in that they store a small amount of information on a built-in chip -- in this case, a simple I2C EEPROM that can store a small amount of information. This chip stores the number of washes and will "cancel" a cassette when it's technically empty. The machine will then order new cassettes automatically. To Bob's credit, you can use your own detergent, but it isn't easy. And the cassettes aren't cheap.

"With shipping and VAT added, it costs a whopping $60 for 90 washes! That is 48p (67c) per wash. It might not sound like much, but it quickly adds up," wrote dekuNukem. "Over a year of daily washes, it would have cost $242 in Bob cassettes alone! Imagine paying that much recurring cost for a dishwasher!"

Using an EEPROM reader, they were able to pull the data from the cassette and even modify it, resulting in a simple system to reset the cartridges back to their original wash counts or, in one case, forcing the cassette to run about 70 more washes than originally advertised. Once dekuNukem figured out the coding mechanism, they had to figure out a way to refill the cassettes. They searched the internet for concentrated detergent offerings and found one that matched the website description exactly. "Refilling it yourself is more than 60 times cheaper, resulting in a massive 98% cost saving compared to buying new!" they wrote.
The plans are available on dekuNukem's Github. You can also purchase the Cassette Rewinder, a pre-soldered board that will automatically reset the cassette EEPROM, for $29.99.

Re:DRM lol

By Darinbob • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

DRM in digital content still does not make sense. It removes ownership from the buyer.

Re: Why do you think that's expensive?

By blang • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For 10x the load.

Re:Something like this should be a crime.

By war4peace • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Low-income housing paying $500 on a mini-dishwasher?
That gizmo is for rich lazy bums to use a dishwasher in a cabin out in the boonies while on vacation.

Re:Something like this should be a crime.

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'll tell you what's a crime: using a MINI dishwasher to wash a few plates, forks and knives. That's typically a case for opening the tap and hand-washing them for 2 minutes. No cassette, no dishwasher to buy, and you don't look like a lazy ass.

But I admire the hacking effort. Although pragmatically, he could have done quite a lot of hand washes with the time it took him to revere-engineer the mini dishwasher. But that's what hacking is all about isn't it :)

There is no need to break the DRM. The unit supports using your own dishwasher soap.

You can order a cheap refillable cassette from the manufacturer, if it doesn't already come with one (I can't remember from the review I saw).

The only thing it cannot do in this mode is run one of the automatic wash modes, but that just means you need to use a manual mode.

And surprisingly, the machine can get dishes cleaner than manual.

Anyhow, Techmoan did a review of it a few weeks ago - https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

He even mentions using your own cassettes.

covered a few weeks ago on hackaday

By MoFoQ • Score: 3 • Thread
https://hackaday.com/2021/04/1... ('cuz I don't like giving rags like j*zmodo clicks...)

About 1.5 Million People Still Pay for AOL

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amid the hodgepodge of Verizon Media assets that Apollo Global Management is buying from Verizon -- Yahoo Finance, TechCrunch, advertising technology, Yahoo Fantasy -- there's one cash flow stream that will not die: AOL. From a report: The famed internet company that once bought Time Warner for $182 billion and used to make billions of dollars annually selling dial-up modem access, still has a monthly subscription service called AOL Advantage. In 2015, 2.1 million people were still using AOL's dial-up service. That revenue stream has dried up. The number of dial-up users is now "in the low thousands," according to a person familiar with the matter.

But AOL still has a fairly lucrative base of customers who pay for technical support and identity theft services each month. There are about 1.5 million monthly customers paying $9.99 or $14.99 per month for AOL Advantage, said another person, who asked not to be named because the information is private. If average revenue per user is $10 per month, conservatively, that's $180 million of annual revenue.

Re:unsubscribe

By shanen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Mod parent "funny" and "sad, but true".

Re: That's not bad at all

By blang • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What, you think some psycho dirtbag ( and his dumb ass coward followers) can just come in, tell 30,000 lies, cause 400k unneccesary deaths and finish it off with a fatal insurrection, and not be the butt of jokes for decades to come?

Re:WOW!

By Yeechang Lee • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

GE did create a competitor. GEnie existed for years, quite successfully.

Re:unsubscribe

By CastrTroy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Maybe they just don't want to go through the hassle of changing their email address. I know a lot of people who use their ISP as their email provider, and it makes it hard to switch ISPs, otherwise it's a huge hassle to switch over all your accounts to use your new email address.

Re:Email address maybe?

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

If you're still paying for AOL it's a safe bet what your web searches are about. Metamucil, hearing aids, Ben Gay, and posting to slashdot.

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. MacRumors reports: Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for detecting multiple blood-related health metrics, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, many of which are only normally detectable with more invasive dedicated medical equipment. Rockley's sensors beam infrared light through a user's skin, much like the existing sensors on the back of the Apple Watch for detecting heart rate and blood oxygen levels.

Rockley's disclosure that its biggest client is Apple came about as the company prepares to go public in New York. The company's filings said that Apple accounted for the majority of its revenue over the last two years and that it has an ongoing "supply and development agreement" with the company, under which it expects to continue to heavily rely on Apple for most of its revenue. Given the growth of Rockley Photonics and the scale of Apple's partnership with the company, it seems to be virtually inevitable that the company's health sensor technology will be coming to the Apple Watch sooner rather than later.

Non-cuff BP measurement is hard

By sphealey • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Back in the 1980s when ultrasonic measurement technology was moving out of labs and fixed installations and into portable devices - where portable = size of a large suitcase - I knew several people involved in projects to create non-cuffed blood pressure measurement systems using ultrasonic and similar technology. None of them worked. It is a very hard problem because unlike a rigid pipe where wall thickness is known in a blood vessel wall thickness, pressure, and flow are all functions of each other - and generally vary non-linearly exactly when you most want to measure them. I've been tracking developments in this field for a long time and I truly hope that this time there has been a breakthrough. Some developments in eyeball thickness and pressure measurement have looked promising so I've got my fingers crossed the inventors and Apple have it figured out for the general BP case. But I'm prepared for disappointment.

Game Changer

By labnet • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Many very big companies have been working for many years to make non invasive optical glucose sensors but have been confounded by interference from other biological processes. Be interesting for diabetics if they have really cracked that hard nut.
Blood Alcohol is also very interesting, as you need expensive infrared or fuel cell based instruments to currently measure BAC via breath. (There is a well known ratio of about 2300:1 of blood alcohol vs breath alcohol concentration)
I'll believe when I see it.

Well alrighty then

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Okay, non-invasive glucose monitoring would actually convince me buy an Apple watch. God help me and have pity on my soul.

Temperature

By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

How about temperature/fever monitoring? That seems important these days. There are many contactless thermometers so they could use the tech from that.

Re:How does the blood pressure monitor work?

By Forty Two Tenfold • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Theranos

FTFY

Co-Founder of Brain Implant Startup Neuralink Leaves the Company

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to The Byte, the co-founder of brain implant startup Neuralink, Max Hodak, announced he's leaving the company. From the report: Hodak, who started the ultra-ambitious venture with Elon Musk and had until recently served as its president, didn't say why he was leaving the company or on what terms. In other words, it's not currently clear whether he left voluntary or was fired. "I am no longer at Neuralink (as of a few weeks ago)," he wrote in a tweet. "I learned a ton there and remain a huge cheerleader for the company! Onward to new things." Last month, Hodak made headlines when he tweeted that the startup has the technological advances and savvy to create its own "Jurassic Park."

Maybe not being listed as an author sucked.

By sonoronos • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Maybe Elon Musk putting himself as sole author on a paper publishing Neuralinks research annoyed the cofounder.

Early Signs of Dementia Can Be Detected By Tracking Driving Behaviors

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: A fascinating new study from a team of US researchers has used machine learning techniques to develop algorithms that can analyze naturalistic driving data and detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia in a driver. The work is still in the preliminary stages, however, the researchers claim it could be possible in the future to detect early signs of dementia using either a smartphone app or devices incorporated into car software systems. The research utilized data from a novel long-term study called LongROAD (The Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers), which tracked nearly 3,000 older drivers for up to four years, offering a large longitudinal dataset.

Over the course of the LongROAD study, 33 subjects were diagnosed with MCI and 31 with dementia. A series of machine learning models were trained on the LongROAD data, tasked with detecting MCI and dementia from driving behaviors. "Based on variables derived from the naturalistic driving data and basic demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, race/ethnicity and education level, we could predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia with 88 percent accuracy," says Sharon Di, lead author on the new study. Although age was the number one factor for detecting MCI or dementia, a number of driving variables closely followed. These include, "the percentage of trips traveled within 15 miles (24 km) of home ... the length of trips starting and ending at home, minutes per trip, and number of hard braking events with deceleration rates 0.35 g." Using driving variables alone, the models could still predict those MCI or dementia drivers with 66 percent accuracy.
The new study was published in the journal Geriatrics.

Full self driving

By backslashdot • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Yet many people are viciously against autonomous driving and active accident avoidance technology development. They demand a zero crash guarantee when humans are homiciding close to 1 million people a year. Nearly 40,000 per year just in the US. Yet fools do not want driverless cars even if they are 10 times safer. They do not care if their attitude murders 30,000 people many of them not even driving a car.

It's even easier...

By CaptainLugnuts • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Do you own a German car out of warranty?

Do you buy a new car every two years?

Do you own a Chrysler or Chevy?

All of these are signs of deteriorating metal capacity.

Perhaps I missed something

By RossCWilliams • Score: 3 • Thread
They were predicting whether people were demented or not and gt 88% right. There were about 3000 people in the study, 12% wrong is 360 people misclassified. About 60 people were ultimately identified with mental impairment. Assuming 12% of those were wrongly classified based on their data as not-demented, that is about 7 people missclassified as not demented. That means the remaining 353 people misclassified were predicted to have mental impairment but didn't. It doesn't sound like the headline matches the reality.

Re:Lots of dementia coming

By clovis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

and number of hard braking events with deceleration rates 0.35 g.

Everyone is getting this backwards. It's a badly written summary.
People with early MCI/dementia have fewer hard braking incidents.

From the study. https://www.mdpi.com/2308-3417...

Reported changes in older drivers with preclinical AD or early-stage dementia include declines in driving performance, such as increased incidence of getting lost in traffic [11], increased risk of failing a driving test [5,6] and reduced spatial navigation ability [13], and atypical driving behaviors, such as decreased driving exposure (e.g., fewer driving trips, driving days, driving destinations, nighttime driving and rush-hour driving) [7], restricted driving space (e.g., less freeway driving and more driving within 5–10 miles of home) [7,11], and reduced unsafe driving behaviors (e.g., fewer hard braking events and speeding events)

Drilling down in the references also shows that elderly people that have impairment from medication problems do have increased hard braking incidents.

Sony Invests In Discord, To Integrate It With PlayStation In 2022

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Sony Interactive Entertainment and Discord will connect the communication service to PlayStation Network early next year, now that Sony has taken an ownership stake in Discord's latest round of capital-raising. Polygon reports: SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan didn't list specifics for how PlayStation and Discord will work together. "Our goal is to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year," Ryan said, "allowing friends, groups, and communities to hang out, have fun, and communicate more easily while playing games together." Sony's investment in Discord was made "to bring these experiences to life for our players," he said. Ryan said both companies are already at work on Discord/PSN integration. "Empowering players to create communities and enjoy shared gaming experiences is at the heart of what we do," Ryan said.

If you're not paying for a service...

By _xeno_ • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Like I mentioned in the last article about Microsoft not investing in Discord: Discord's product is not the service you or I use. It's providing access to all the people using that service.

And that's what Microsoft actually wanted and what Discord is now selling to Sony.

The users are the product, not the chat service.

my 2 yen

By PinkyGigglebrain • Score: 3 • Thread

This would actually be really useful to people who play titles that are already cross platform on PS4/5, PCs, and Macs.

My 2yen on this is it would be a great thing IF it lets PS4/5 players voice chat with PC/Mac players.

I run a small Guild in Final Fantasy Online. Some of the members are on PS4 and can currently voice chat with each other of the PS network. But there isn't currently any non PS4/5 software that will let a PC user connect to the PSN voice chat feature. This partnership could make dungeons/trials and just general game play so much easier.

Discord being integrated with PSN might be just the ticket. It will depend on if Sony lets PS4/5 players vchat cross platform. I'd probably actually start using my Discord account again if Sony did.

eBay Says It's Open To Accepting Cryptocurrencies In Future, Exploring NFTs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
EBay is open to the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future and is looking at ways to get non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform, the company said on Monday. Reuters reports: "We are always looking at the most relevant forms of payment and will continue to assess that going forward. We have no immediate plans, but it (cryptocurrency) is something we are keeping an eye on," eBay said in a statement to Reuters. In an interview with CNBC, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Iannone said that accepting virtual currency was an option the company was looking at.

EBay, which disappointed investors with a weak second-quarter profit forecast last week, said it was looking at a "number of ways" to get into the NFT space. NFTs, a type of digital asset that exists on a blockchain, have exploded in popularity this year, with NFT artworks selling for millions of dollars and musicians such as the Kings of Leon rock group embracing them for their latest album. "We're exploring opportunities on how we can enable it (NFTs) on eBay in an easy way," Iannone said on CNBC. "Everything that's collectible has been on eBay for decades and will continue to be for the next few decades."

Forget the NFT

By GlennC • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Since not all of us have a convenient rain forest to destroy, The Daily WTF is happy to offer at alternative, the Totally Fungible Token!

https://thedailywtf.com/articles/announcing-the-launch-of-tfts

iFixit Tears Down Apple's AirTag, Finds a Great Spot For a Keychain Hole

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
iFixit has ripped apart Apple's recently-released AirTag, a small battery-powered tag that will allow you to track your items within Apple's "Find My" app on iOS. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from an Ars Technica article: Like with most Apple products, it looks like some serious engineering went into the $29 tracker. The device is barely larger than the user-replaceable CR2032 battery that powers it, putting competing devices like the Tile and Samsung Galaxy SmartTags to shame with their comparative bulk. Inside, a single circuit board uses a unique donut-shaped design that crams all the components into a ring under the battery. The hole in the middle of the circuit board lets Apple pack in a surprisingly huge voice coil speaker. The speaker is just for playing ringtones so you can find your AirTagged thing when you lose it, but apparently, the ringtones will be super high quality.

The other very Apple-like quality of the AirTag is that it almost seems designed to sell accessories. The most popular use for these trackers is to help find your car keys, but out of the box, there is no way to attach a keychain to an AirTag. Instead, Apple has enabled a wide ecosystem of AirTag cases ranging from a $13 keyring holder to a $449 (yes, that's four hundred forty-nine dollars) Hermes' luggage tag. iFixit's solution to the much-demanded keyring hole is -- what else -- a power drill! The teardown experts found some suitable dead space inside the AirTag that somehow isn't blocked by either the battery, speaker, or circuit board, and after some careful drilling, iFixit's AirTag now has a keychain hole with the least possible bulk. "The AirTag survived the operation like a champ and works as if nothing happened," the site says. iFixit went on to note that the sound profile "didn't seem to change much," but the IP67 dust and water resistance rating is now greatly compromised.

Idiots?

By quonset • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The most popular use for these trackers is to help find your car keys,

Are vast amounts of people really this stupid that they don't put their keys in a specific location? One of the more important items to keep track of and they willy nilly toss the keys to wherever?

Re:Idiots?

By nightflameauto • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I personally just throw my keys in a random direction in the back yard when I get home. I figure the dogs will bring it to me by the time I need them again. They can't leave anything alone.

You insenstivie clod!

By PPH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Some of us don't have teeth any more.

Re:Idiots?

By RazorSharp • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I just assume this isn't really geared most adults under 40. See, most of us have figured this shit out with spending money at all. This is for the new people born only a scant 20 years ago that are still trying to remake the wheel and this is part of that.

I think it has more to do with personality than age. I always keep my keys, wallet, and cell phone in the same pockets. When not in my pockets they are on my nightstand. My wife, on the other hand, never knows where her shit is at.

You can always tell who these people are. When they walk toward their car in a parking lot, they are the ones who check multiple pockets before pulling out their car keys. I don' t think they're stupid, as the OP claims. I just think they're wired somewhat differently. They would probably call me OCD for insisting that my items have particular places. It crops up in other places, too. If I assemble something such as a piece of crappy furniture, I organize all the pieces and fasteners and then follow the directions. My wife just starts slapping things together. When things have to be disassembled to then be assembled correctly, I chastise my wife for wasting time. While she's waiting for me to organize things, my wife chastises me for wasting time. It's just a matter of priorities.

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates End Their Marriage After 27 Years

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The two said in a joint statement that they will continue to work together at the foundation, through which they spend about $5 billion a year around the world.

Re:What's the point?

By jrumney • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There's also the fact that their youngest daughter just turned 18, so there are no longer children to use as an excuse to stay together.

Please respect their privacy

By biggaijin • Score: 3 • Thread

Bill asked that we all respect their privacy. That's why he had a press conference to announce the divorce, I guess.

Re:Microsoft Bob

By labnet • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Young people need to stop thinking of marriage as a 'feelings based commitment'
I was determined NOT to be 'in love' when I married. The relationship had to be based on shared values knowing the 'love' part would grow over time.
20 years of marriage later and things are are going great guns and we really enjoy life together.

Re:Microsoft Bob

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The real question is why?

Here is how Bill described their relationship:

“In the case of Melinda, it is a truly equal partner,” Bill Gates said in the 2019 Netflix documentary “Inside Bill’s Brain.” “She’s a lot like me in that she is optimistic and she is interested in science. She is better with people than I am. She’s a tiny bit less hardcore about knowing, you know, immunology, than I am.”

"She's a tiny bit less hardcore about knowing" is a very passive aggressive way to describe your mate, and conversations like this were almost certainly going on inside the marriage. After a few years, Melinda got tired of trying to compete with him intellectually.

Also, he recently posted this, saying "I couldn’t ask for a better partner on this journey. Happy Valentine’s Day" which isn't the kind of thing you say when you're planning to break up, it's the kind of thing you say when you want your lover to stay with you.

Re:Microsoft Bob

By rastos1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Earlier generations had a notion that a marriage was a lifelong relationship.

Earlier generations had a notion that when something breaks, they fix it. Rather than throwing it away and getting a new one.

Will Virgin Galactic Ever Lift Off?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
It's taken 17 years, with many setbacks and some deaths, and still Richard Branson's space mission is yet to launch. From a report: Richard Branson was running almost 15 years late. But as we rode into the Mojave desert on the morning of 12 December 2018, he was feeling upbeat and untroubled by the past. He wore jeans, a leather jacket and the easy smile of someone used to being behind schedule. Branson hadn't exactly squandered the past 15 years. He'd become a grandfather, moved to a private island in the Caribbean and expanded Virgin's business empire into banking, hotels, gyms, wedding dresses and more. But he was staking his legacy on Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company he formed in 2004. The idea was to build a rocketship with seats for eight -- two pilots, six passengers -- that would be carried aloft by a mothership, released about 45,000ft in the air and then zoom just beyond the lower limit of space, float around for a few minutes, before returning to Earth. He was charging $200,000 a seat. It did not initially seem like such a crazy idea. That year, a boutique aviation firm in Mojave, California, two hours north of Los Angeles, had built a prototype mothership and rocketship that a pair of test pilots flew to space three times, becoming the first privately built space craft. Branson hired the firm to design, build and test him a bigger version of the craft.

But the undertaking was proving far more difficult than Branson anticipated. An accidental explosion in 2007 killed three engineers. A mid-air accident in 2014 destroyed the ship and killed a test pilot, forcing Virgin Galactic to more or less start over. I approached the company shortly after the accident to ask if I could embed with them and write a story about their space programme for the New Yorker. I worked on the story for four years. After it came out, in August 2018, I spent another two years reporting and writing a book about the test pilots who fly Branson's spaceship. Amid the tragedies and setbacks, Branson remained optimistic of the prospect of imminent success. In 2004: "It is envisaged that Virgin Galactic will open for business by the beginning of 2005 and, subject to the necessary safety and regulatory approvals, begin operating flights from 2007." Then, in 2009: "I'm very confident that we should be able to meet 2011." Later, in 2017: "We are hopefully about three months before we are in space, maybe six months before I'm in space." Meanwhile, other private space companies, such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, were making progress. Branson confessed that had he known in 2004 what he knew now, "I wouldn't have gone ahead with the project... We simply couldn't afford it."

His record on delivering promises has made him a polarising figure. Branson has appeared on lists of both hucksters and heroes. One poll ranked him second among people whom British children should emulate; Jesus Christ came third. His biographer describes him as "a card player with a weak hand who plays to strength," but also a "self-made and self-deprecating man whose flamboyance endears him to aspiring tycoons, who snap up his books and flock to his lectures to glean the secrets of fortune-hunting." But all of that was in the past; the turmoil and hardship would hopefully make the triumph all that much sweeter. For he and I knew as we headed into the desert that tomorrow could finally be the day that Virgin Galactic went to space.

Is this a good idea?

By GameboyRMH • Score: 3 • Thread

They're not doing this for scientific inquiry or any sort of utility. This is an ultra-high-end amusement park ride for stupendously rich people. I'm thinking it's not even a good idea to make relatively pointless madly expensive things for stupendously rich people to spend their money on, it gives them more incentive to peel more money off their workers. $200k is at least a fifth of a worker's lifetime earnings.

Concept Wasn't Good

By nealric • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The Virgin Galactic concept of using aircraft to carry the rocket for the initial ascent was never a good one. The delta V between rocket launching from a stationary launchpad on the ground and a rocket launched at 500mph and 40,000 feet from an aircraft isn't that great relative to the velocity necessary to reach orbit. It only makes a decent difference if all you want is a suborbital flight. That's why the X-15 concept was abandoned in the early days of spaceflight. There wasn't anywhere to go from the initial test flights. It was an easy way to get experience with very high altitudes, but otherwise a dead end.

It's true the concept makes some sense if all you are doing is selling high-altitude thrill rides. It's cheaper than developing an orbital spacecraft. But, as Virgin Galactic found out the hard way, safety is a huge issue. The X-15 was also plagued with serious safety issues that were never fully resolved, which should have been a pretty big red flag. The problem is the need to transition back and forth between atmospheric flight and spaceflight dynamics quickly. An orbital spacecraft with the traditional capsule/parachute configuration doesn't need to fully master atmospheric flight- it just needs to be able to control its attack angle until the chutes are ready to deploy.

So setting aside the personalities at play, I'm not surprised at all that Virgin Galactic has failed to go anywhere. Even if they do end up with commercial launches, another safety incident could easily doom the company (especially if a well-known celebrity is killed in the process). Unlike SpaceX or Blue Origin, the concept doesn't work for cargo, so there is no option to run the company without human spaceflight.

Re:Is this a good idea?

By chispito • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm thinking it's not even a good idea to make relatively pointless madly expensive things for stupendously rich people to spend their money on, it gives them more incentive to peel more money off their workers. $200k is at least a fifth of a worker's lifetime earnings.

So if you remove all luxury goods and services then the rich will pay their workers more? What about the workers in the luxury goods and services? All those out of work yacht crews, for instance.

Re:I hope Virgin Galactic does Lift Off

By iikkakeranen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not really. Being barely able to fly a ballistic trajectory straight up to 100km means their "spacecraft" doesn't have enough range to go any useful distance. After spending its 70-second fuel reserves it has a ballistic flight time of about 4 minutes, and max speed of Mach 3. Even if that velocity could be all horizontal, it would only give you 150 miles of range. Intercontinental ballistic flight like you're imagining takes nearly as much delta-v as going to orbit.

Apple is Reportedly Working on a Foldable iPhone for 2023

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Rumors about a foldable iPhone have bubbled up before, but a new one has more credibility. From a report: Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that Apple plans to launch an 8-inch foldable iPhone by 2023, according to documents seen by Engadget. The report, based on an "industry survey," predicts that Apple plans to sell 15-20 million units in 2023. Kuo said already revealed the possibility of a folding iPhone in March, but his latest report has more detail on suppliers. It predicts that the QHD+ flexible OLED will be supplied by Samsung Display, while the DDI display controller will come from Samsung Foundry. It also notes that Apple will use silver nanowire touch tech supplied by TPK, "because of its several advantages over [Samsung's] Y-Octa technology."

iFold

By Tablizer • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

iBend iCrack

Re:iFold

By lessSockMorePuppet • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You're folding it wrong.

Didn't they already do this?

By TWX • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I thought they had a bendable iPhone back in 2014.

Sony Really Hated PS4 Crossplay, Confidential Documents Reveal

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It's no secret that Sony held back PS4 cross-platform play for years, but new confidential documents and emails reveal just how much Sony was against letting people play the same games with their friends on other platforms. From a report: Sony initially blocked cross-platform play for both Rocket League and Minecraft, despite Nintendo and Microsoft both enabling players to play across Xbox and Switch. The issue really blew up when Sony blocked Fortnite crossplay in 2018, and players were angry. It now appears that Sony may have been holding out to offset potential revenue losses. In the months leading up to Sony's decision to block Fortnite crossplay in 2018, Epic Games had pleaded with Sony to enable crossplay, emails in the Epic Games v. Apple case reveal. "I can't think of a scenario where Epic doesn't get what we want -- that possibility went out the door when Fortnite became the biggest game on PlayStation," said Joe Kreiner, Epic's vice president of business development.

Kreiner proposed, "We announce crossplay in conjunction with Sony. Epic goes out of its way to make Sony look like heroes." Epic even offered to brand its E3 presence with PlayStation or add unique characters, exclusive to PS Plus subscribers, to sweeten the deal. "Let's make this a huge win for us all. Epic's not changing it's mind on the issue, so let's just agree on it now," said Kreiner. Sony didn't agree. Gio Corsi, Sony's senior director of developer relations at the time, dismissed the idea of crossplay, noting that "cross-platform play is not a slam dunk no matter the size of the title" -- a clear reference to Epic's flex about Fortnite's dominance on PlayStation. "As you know, many companies are exploring this idea and not a single one can explain how cross-console play improves the PlayStation business," said Corsi. But as of August 2019, it appears that Sony may have found a worthy argument: a way to potentially siphon off money from its competitors in exchange for access to PlayStation players.

mostly agreed

By Kludge • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Playstation does have some good games, but there is no way I would freakin' buy one for this crossplay issue alone. I want to play games with my friends above all, and I would let nothing compromise that, no matter how good the games are.

Well, that settles it then

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

My next console is still going to be a gaming PC.

Re: mostly agreed

By e3m4n • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
You do realize they arent alone right? HALO was originally being developed to be the pinnacle of cross platform gaming in 1999(98?). It was touted to be the first of its kind, everyone can play regardless of OS game. PC, Linux, MAC. Then along comes Microsuck. They announce the Xbox, buy the studio making HALO, make it a Xbox/PC exclusive, and say fuck everyone else. Its hard to bitch at Playstation pretending this hasnt been happening across all platforms. Honestly I am surprised its news. What is news is when they DONT do that crap. Overwatch on nintendo i believe only plays against nintendo players, not PS. maybe Fortnite is the exception?

Memories

By fluffernutter • Score: 3 • Thread
I remember when I could type in an IP address and it didn't matter what the person at the other end had, if they could run the game you could play.

Re: mostly agreed

By The MAZZTer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The fact you had to go back to the 90s for Microsoft only serves to highlight how far they've come since then. Take a look at Minecraft which is ported everywhere now, and cross platform. Also Halo MCC for PC which is now cross-platform, as well as the upcoming Halo Infinite which is releasing on PC day 1 alongside Xbox.

Nintendo has always been doing their own thing with their own exclusive games and their online platform is barely a platform so it's difficult to compare them. Rocket League and Minecraft are both 100% cross platform though, which suggests Overwatch's limitations are Blizzard's responsibility rather than Nintendo's.

Ether Hits $3,000 as Bitcoin's Crypto Dominance Declines

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Bitcoin's domination of total cryptocurrency market value is declining as its next-biggest rival Ether reaches the $3,000 milestone. From a report: The rise of Ether suggests there's room for more than one winner among digital tokens as the sector evolves. Bitcoin now accounts for about 46% of total crypto market value, down from roughly 70% at the start of the year, and Ether makes up 15%, according to tracker CoinGecko. Bitcoin remains the biggest cryptocurrency but the momentum in other tokens is drawing increasing interest. Proponents argue investors are getting more comfortable with a variety of tokens, while critics contend the sector may be in the grip of a stimulus-fueled mania. Cryptocurrencies were broadly higher on Monday. Bitcoin climbed above $58,000, while Ether jumped 6% to $3,151 as of 8:17 a.m. in New York. "Ethereum is rising and not much seems to be in its way," Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note Friday, adding that other tokens were also seeing "fresh interest." The current distribution of market share also reflects an April shakeout in the cryptocurrency sector. Bitcoin has yet to recover all the ground it lost after tumbling from a mid-April record of almost $64,870.

Say goodbye forever to GPUs

By xack • Score: 3 • Thread
We will have to say goodbye to GPUs forever as long as crypto prices keep rising. A high price means even at high difficulty even a low end card can eek out a few dollars a day. I'm glad I got my 2070 for a normal price just before the stupidity started. My prediction is that the PC gaming market will devolve for few years as games optimize for older cards like the 1050ti as they are the highest end available to normal users right now.

Re:Say goodbye forever to GPUs

By Ecuador • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Text adventures FTW! Who needs graphics!
On another note, while Ethereum is worse for GPUs (as you really need ASICs now for bitcoin) currently, it is scheduled to switch to a "Proof of Stake" system (this year IIRC), so that should reduce the GPU mining demand. Until then, as I said, some retrogaming won't hurt!

Re:Say goodbye forever to GPUs

By EvilSS • Score: 4 • Thread
Nah. Ethereum mining on GPUs is hittings its last hurrah right now. The price surge has brought higher profits (I've jumped almost 50% today on my two PCs with GPUs). But for GPU mining it a bit of a dead cat bounce. Ethereum ASICs are finally coming onto the market which will eventually make GPUs completely unprofitable, and will put a dent in profits by spiking difficulty in the mean time. This is what happened with Bitcoin, ASICs showed up and GPU mining of BTC died. Transaction profitability is about to be cut this summer and Ethereum Proof of Stake will be here 'any day now!' (TM) But joking aside, it might be not that far off now.

Meanwhile NVidia is putting out new 30#0 SKUs (except the 3090) for existing cards and the new 3080ti which will all include mining limiters (hopefully they won't leak the fix for them this time, fingers crossed). And yea, people will try to break it but hopefully it hold up through the summer. I think you will see a lot of second hand cards start hitting the market next month. Prices won't drop right away due to the hash limited 30 series hitting the market (so the non-limited versions will be at a premium), but once the profitability drops set in, you will see a lot of late to the party miners who bought cards way over MSRP and who are way upside down on them start panic selling. Once that happens, scalpers will end up having to drop prices, which should run the off new card buying.

Now there could be another alt coin rise up, but honestly I don't see profits going into fall being anywhere near where they are now. Eth was the big GPU mining driver in 2018, and it is this year as well. Once it's gone, the GPU mining population will go with it. Yea there will be some but nothing like today and prices should get back to normal sometime early next year (baring any other disruptions).

WE DO NOT CARE

By MikeDataLink • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Seriously. Please stop turning Slashdot into Cryptodot. We don't care.

Oh GOOD, Crypto exchange rates

By Dixie_Flatline • Score: 3 • Thread

The rise of Ether suggests there's room for more than one winner among digital tokens as the sector evolves.

No it doesn't. What it suggests is that we're in for a digital crypto dystopia where some people only accept Bitcoin and some people only have their funds in Ether and some dipshit will force you to convert to Dogecoin for no reason other than he thinks it's funny--we're all looking at you, Elon--and then you'll have to have some sort of third-party exchange sitting in the middle making profit off of arbitrage and tell me how this is better than government backed fiat currency again?

Japan is Opening Its First Ever Esports Gym

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Japan is opening its first gym for esports in Tokyo, a space for both amateur and experienced gamers to train and get professional coaching, according to Japan Today. From a report: The competitive gaming space, which is set to open on May 19 and will be known as "Esports Gym," will include a lounge and gaming PCs outfitted with some of Japan's most popular games, including Valorant and League of Legends. Gamers can book a three-hour time slot at one of the PCs for about $13 or opt for a monthly membership starting at $50, which allows daily access to the gaming PCs as well as optional coaching sessions that can be added on for about $25 an hour. Esports Gym, which is jointly operated by private transit company Tokyo Metro and esports education company Gecipe, will welcome experienced gamers as well as those who are new to gaming PCs or don't understand the game rules, according to the website.

Really? A gym?

By LenKagetsu • Score: 3 • Thread

Obese unshaven smelly man with ahegao shirt, 10GB lolicon folder, and no job: "I'm a professional e-sports athlete!"

Esports "Gym"?

By newslash.formatblows • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
No, they've opened their millionth internet cafe.

Apple's App Store Had 78% Margin in 2019, Epic Expert Says

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Apple's App Store had operating margins of almost 78% in fiscal year 2019, according to testimony from an Epic Games expert witness based on documents obtained from the iPhone maker. From a report: The figure comes from Ned Barnes, a financial and economics researcher, who said he obtained documents "prepared by Apple's Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis group and produced from the files of Apple CEO Tim Cook." Apple is disputing the accuracy of Barnes's calculations -- and urging a judge to restrict public discussion of App Store profit -- as the companies head into a high-stakes trial Monday in Oakland, California. Epic, maker of the blockbuster game Fortnite, is trying to show that the App Store is run like a monopoly with its commission on developers of as much as 30%, while Apple insists it doesn't abuse its market power. Epic is also suing Apple in the U.K. and Australia while Apple faces scrutiny from antitrust regulators in the U.S. and abroad.

The companies are relying heavily on dueling economists as they make their case to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is conducting the three-week trial without a jury. As part of the pretrial information-sharing process, Barnes said that an Apple employee told him that the numbers from the company's internal documents don't show the full picture. Barnes said he then made additional calculations, which resulted in higher margin estimates of 79.6% for both 2018 and 2019. In a statement Saturday, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant said Epic experts' "calculations of the operating margins for the App Store are simply wrong and we look forward to refuting them in court." Barnes said he also obtained documents prepared inside Apple that show profit and loss estimates for fiscal year 2020. He said Apple had been tracking App Store profits for years and that he also obtained such statements for 2013 through 2015.

Epic is exploiting their market position

By doug141 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I want to sell dance moves in Fortnight, but Epic's walled Fortnight garden prevents me from doing so. It's outrageous that Epic isn't opening Fortnight up and allowing all of us to sell costumes.

I'm skeptical of Barnes' analysis

By TuballoyThunder • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Allocating indirect costs to get a P&L statement on a particular segment of a large multinational corporation is complex and time consuming. Over accounting costs resources (money, people, time) and can be substantial. Definitely a "is the juice worth the squeeze" type of problem.

If having an App Store is a necessity for the product offering, the store expenses are probably rolled up into a larger account.

Re:I'd like to see that math!

By bws111 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Apple's revenue is the 30%. 75% of that is profit (the margin).

Re:I'd like to see that math!

By bws111 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If Epic doesn't like it, they can go somewhere else or sell directly to their customers.

Uh, no, they can't. That is what the whole suit is about.

Re:I'd like to see that math!

By Entrope • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The differences between your examples and Apple are important:

Walmart often sells on consignment, but even then, they have actual costs to keep each unit in stock. Apple has no per-unit stocking costs; they only have any costs when a sale actually occurs. There is quite a bit of subtlety in how to "properly" account for consignment sales, but they all hinge on having physical stock and having more control over prices. For example, the FASB memo (No. 99-19) linked from that page discusses what factors determine whether Apple could claim the 70% as part of their revenue; most or all of them (depending on whether you think Apple successfully mitigates credit risk) say Apple cannot claim the 70% as part of their revenue.

Apple is not buying software licenses (or bags of potatoes) and selling them later. The licenses they sell do not exist until someone clicks a "Buy" button. The 78% (according to this third-party analyst) of 30% is their profit, not their gross margin, which is the entire 30%.

A 78% profit margin is pretty good evidence of monopoly rents; it says that no other sellers can effectively compete with you, because they could undercut your prices even with a 50% profit margin.

Reaching 'Herd Immunity' Is Unlikely in the US, Experts Now Believe

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Widely circulating coronavirus variants and persistent hesitancy about vaccines will keep the goal out of reach. The virus is here to stay, but vaccinating the most vulnerable may be enough to restore normalcy. From a report: Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term "herd immunity" came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives. Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable -- at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever. Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers.

How much smaller is uncertain and depends in part on how much of the nation, and the world, becomes vaccinated and how the coronavirus evolves. It is already clear, however, that the virus is changing too quickly, new variants are spreading too easily and vaccination is proceeding too slowly for herd immunity to be within reach anytime soon. Continued immunizations, especially for people at highest risk because of age, exposure or health status, will be crucial to limiting the severity of outbreaks, if not their frequency, experts believe. "The virus is unlikely to go away," said Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta. "But we want to do all we can to check that it's likely to become a mild infection." The shift in outlook presents a new challenge for public health authorities. The drive for herd immunity -- by the summer, some experts once thought possible -- captured the imagination of large segments of the public. To say the goal will not be attained adds another "why bother" to the list of reasons that vaccine skeptics use to avoid being inoculated. Yet vaccinations remain the key to transforming the virus into a controllable threat, experts said. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Biden administration's top adviser on Covid-19, acknowledged the shift in experts' thinking. "People were getting confused and thinking you're never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is," he said.

Re:Experts

By hawguy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I still wear a mask to the store, but only those that have signs posted that they're required.... I'm not going to judge you. I don't know how healthy you are, whether you're immuno-comprimised or pre-disposed to infection.

By going against CDC mask guidance and not wearing a mask indoors, then you've already judged and decided that no one around you is immune-compromised or otherwise at risk from COVID. The mask does more to protect others than it does to protect yourself.

Note that even for those that are fully vaccinated, current guidance is to wear a mask indoors.

Yep, I'm an idiot for relying on my immune system and the very same antibodies that your immune system how has. Science!

There are lots of stories about people that also decided to rely on their immune system, and that strategy worked great until it didn't and they caught COVID, leading many to express their regrets on their deathbed.

https://www.businessinsider.co...

Re:Time to do something about it.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Actually, it turns out you do because your ilk believe a lot of bullshit that turns out to be harmful. For example, misinformation/disinformation about the vaccinations. If it only harmed you, it wouldn't be a problem. However, you are harming other people as a result at which point it becomes a social problem.

Re:After infection

By notsouseful • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Recovered COVID patients who follow up with a vaccine dose wind up with way higher antibody levels than just what the infection leaves them. Having an infection is like getting only one dose of a vaccine.

This is anecdotal but we are finding a lot more stories similar to this. I have a relative who is a migraine sufferer, usually 3-5 bad migraines a month. After getting and recovering from covid, this relative was getting 3-5 severe migraines per week. Every day without a migraine was spent worrying whether it would become one. About 3 days after the second vaccination shot (Pfizer in this case), which was about four months after recovering from covid and all the migraine problems got so serious, they pretty much stopped. This was in mid-March, and this relative has had two migraines since, and we're going into May - they are crazy happy about this for obvious reasons. If you have long haul symptoms, get your butt in a chair and get jabbed, you might not have to suffer anymore.

Re:Time to do something about it.

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you're referring to the BLM protests, I don't recall those being maskless. Also, again, for the umpteenthm time, the thing you're protesting about matters:

1. Protesting that your favorite TV star has been removed from that TV show you like because his story arc reached a conclusion: No. Probably not a good idea to protest about it at this time because it doesn't matter.

2. Protesting that Bill Gates is injecting 5G transmitters because Alex Jones: Never a good time to protest because it's a lie and you should know it's a lie.

3. Protesting that your university has fired a tenured professor for speaking out about sexual harassment: Probably not a good time, the cause is just but in-person protests should probably wait.

4. Protesting that, right now, police are murdering people and getting away with it: Yes, we'll give you this one, but for fuck's sake be careful. Wear a mask damnit. And don't go out if you have even a sniffle.

Too Bad for Bars

By rbrander • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As long as it continues, I'm going to have bar-hesitancy, restaurant-hesitancy, and theatre-hesitancy.

If the bars, restaurants and theatres want to demand vaccination as the price of entry, I'll gladly go to those ones, extra. Not just for the safety, but for the better company.

I wish that most jobs had this requirement, too, and of course, I'll be leery of doing business with any that don't. If many agree with me, then anti-vaxxer tolerance will be a drag on the whole hospitality industry for a long time. It'll just have to contract.

If there are countries that have a stronger vax-requirement stance in general, man, that's where my tourist dollars will go.

What3Words Sends Legal Threat To a Security Researcher For Sharing an Open-Source Alternative

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A U.K. company behind digital addressing system What3Words has sent a legal threat to a security researcher for offering to share an open-source software project with other researchers, which What3Words claims violate its copyright. From a report: Aaron Toponce, a systems administrator at XMission, received a letter on Thursday from London-based law firm JA Kemp representing What3Words, requesting that he delete tweets related to the open-source alternative, WhatFreeWords. The letter also demands that he disclose to the law firm the identity of the person or people with whom he had shared a copy of the software, agree that he would not make any further copies of the software and to delete any copies of the software he had in his possession. The letter gave him until May 7 to agree, after which What3Words would "waive any entitlement it may have to pursue related claims against you," a thinly-veiled threat of legal action. "This is not a battle worth fighting," he said in a tweet.

Toponce told TechCrunch that he has complied with the demands, fearing legal repercussions if he didn't. He has also asked the law firm twice for links to the tweets they want deleting but has not heard back. "Depending on the tweet, I may or may not comply. Depends on its content," he said. U.K.-based What3Words divides the entire world into three-meter squares and labels each with a unique three-word phrase. The idea is that sharing three words is easier to share on the phone in an emergency than having to find and read out their precise geographic coordinates. But security researcher Andrew Tierney recently discovered that What3Words would sometimes have two similarly-named squares less than a mile apart, potentially causing confusion about a person's true whereabouts. In a later write-up, Tierney said What3Words was not adequate for use in safety-critical cases.

Re:Arkell v Pressdram (1971)

By applique • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Wikipedia - In the case of Arkell v. Pressdram (1971), the plaintiff was the subject of an article.[68] Arkell's lawyers wrote a letter which concluded: "His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply." Private Eye responded: "We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell's attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off."

Re:Any links to the Open Source alternative?

By nagora • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's easier to remember three words than it is to remember a series of numbers. It's meant to be simple to use.

The problem is that it may be easier to remember three words than lat+long, but it's not easy to remember several sets of three unrelated words. So you end up having to look them up with your GPS, at which point you have the lat+long right there in front of you.

Additionally, if comms is flaky to your would-be rescuers (say) then the three words can easily be misheard without the hearer having any real notion if the word they think they heard is unreasonable in the context because the words have no context. Digits have only a limited choice from zero to nine; if it sounded like "fish" then the listener knows to ask for a repeat.

Re:A shame

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Except they didn't claim patent infringement.

Looking into this a bit more, it looks like what the researchers did was create a tool that enables researchers to poke around in the what 3 words database to find problems. It's possible that this research use of the patented idea doesn't have all the elements needed for a patent infringement claim, so they went with copyright -- possibly a EULA violation claim.

Re:A shame

By Immerman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> It would be frivolous and they would end up having to pay the tab.

In any sane loser-pays system, certainly. But Xmission is in Utah, and my understanding is that trying to reclaim legal fees in the US, even for frivolous lawsuits, is generally an ordeal. And you still have to be willing and able to pay up front to get your case to that point, with no guarantee sanity will actually prevail.

I want to say Utah is (was?) a notoriously good place for copyright trolls as well - wasn't SCO vs IBM fought there because SCO went court-shopping?

Basically, any interaction with the US court system is likely to be expensive and time consuming.

Re:A shame

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The code and demo are still up here:

https://pballett.github.io/wha...

It's reverse engineered from their system. They don't have a database, they use an algo to compute the three words. A pretty simple algo at that.

He then noticed that it doesn't work very well, sometimes generating very similar words for locations some distance apart. Not great for something billed as "life saving" for use in emergency situations.

I'd add that the choice if words is poor when considering non-native speakers.

Verizon Sells Internet Trailblazers Yahoo and AOL for $5 Billion

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AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm. From a report: Wireless company Verizon will sell Verizon Media, which consists of the once-pioneering tech platforms, to Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal. Verizon said Monday that it will keep a 10% stake in the new company, which will be called Yahoo. Yahoo at the end of the last century was the face of the internet, preceding the behemoth tech platforms to follow, such as Google and Facebook. And AOL was the portal, bringing almost everyone who logged on during the internet's earliest days. Verizon spent about $9 billion buying AOL and Yahoo over two years starting in 2015, hoping to jump-start a digital media business that would compete with Google and Facebook.

Re:4 Billion in value was destroyed

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Further proving my theory that you could replace most CEOs with a magic 8 ball and achieve similar results.

Internet legacy being destroyed

By xack • Score: 3 • Thread
Yahoo and Aol wil probably be sold from company to company for a while as more and more services get shut down. Soon there will be just the domains which will probably end up as museums like symbolics.com and altavista.digital.com. Hopefully Google.com will be a museum in another 20 years.

Still a decent home page / news aggregator

By Nkwe • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I still find that (and use) my.yahoo as a decent home page and news aggregator. In one simple information dense and not full of white space page I can see the stock quotes I am interested in, the weather, and news feeds from NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, and general tech news. The UI supports 4 even width columns that you can place and rearrange whatever information blocks you want on. I have not come across better general "landing page" site that lets you generate a similar information-dense page.

Any suggestions for alternatives? My criteria for an aggregator page is that it is information dense (have I used that term enough times?), not full of wasted white space, not annoyingly low contrast, not full of ads (or is at least ad-blocker compatible), allows feeds (RSS or otherwise) from the major news outlets, and has decent stock portfolio (and related news) tracking.

Re:AOL a trailblazer?

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Honestly with something like AOL or Yahoo trying to change or revitalize it at this point would just piss off the remaining customers who like it the way it is and haven't moved on for precisely that reason. I can't count the number of software products, websites, or other technology ruined over the years because someone had to take what was already perfectly good and completely fuck it up. Sometimes it really is just better to maintain what already exists instead of changing it to attract a new group of users.

Re:There is no way that this is a good idea

By DrSpock11 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Knowing what I know about investment companies ie. Apollo Global Management, they most likely bought Yahoo for its assets and within a year will start selling off the parts.

Sounds like you don't anything about them, but are just parroting back what the popular media tells you ("WALL STREET BAD!"). Apollo has invested in dozens of companies and usually spends money on trying to turn the company around. That said, it is possible the companies will be sold off in pieces, but given what they are buying is still making $7 billion a year in revenue I think that's unlikely and that they believe they can grow the company.

Amazon Knew Seller Data Was Used To Boost Company Sales

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told U.S. lawmakers last year that the company has a policy prohibiting employees from using data on specific sellers to help boost its own sales. "I can't guarantee you that that policy has never been violated," he added. Now it's clear why he chose his words so carefully. POLITICO: An internal audit seen by POLITICO warned Amazon's senior leadership in 2015 that 4,700 of its workforce working on its own sales had unauthorized access to sensitive third-party seller data on the platform -- even identifying one case in which an employee used the access to improve sales. Since then, reports of employees using third-party seller information to bolster Amazon's own sales and evidence of lax IT access controls at the company suggest that efforts to fix the issue have been lackluster.

The revelations come as trustbusters worldwide are increasingly targeting Amazon, including over how it uses third-party seller data to boost its own offerings. The European Commission opened an investigation into precisely this issue in November 2020, with preliminary findings suggesting Amazon had breached EU competition law. "This is fuel for the suspicions I had," Dutch internet entrepreneur Peter Sorber said when told about the audit. Sorber sold children's clothes on Amazon, but 18 months after setting up his "Brandkids" store on the platform and entering the required sales data, his products disappeared from the search rankings. "You cannot ask a retailer to show his entire story with all sales statistics and then show that to your own purchasers. This is worse than not done. This is simply unfair competition," Sorber said.

Not just an Amazon problem

By ranton • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Many if not most retailers do this. Walmart has its Sam's Choice and Great Value brands. Kroger and Target have their own internal brands. Kohls has Croft & Barrow (and many more). They are all able to use their own sales data across all brands they sell to make decisions on how to create and market their own brands.

It's not the practice itself which is any worse than other competitors. It is simply Amazon's size. Companies like Amazon and Walmart have simply became so big they have too much control over their partners. It would take some significant trust busting if they want meaningful change.

Re:Honest answer

By necro81 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They do have a policy against it, he can't possibly monitor every employee.

The quick retort is: why has Amazon's systems been structured to allow such access in the first place? If they are trying to avoid an anti-trust action, one would think they would silo the data more rigidly. The fact that this kind of information sharing can happen (and as an open secret, does happen) suggests that Amazon intends for it to happen, policy or no.

Compel Amazon to take on governmental helpers

By Babel-17 • Score: 3 • Thread
That will slow their roll. Frank Herbert's two novels that featured a Bureau of Sabotage remain as relevant as ever, if not more so. Amazon is becoming too efficient at gaming its own system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Canadian Government Accused of Trying to Introduce Internet Censorship

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"After more than 25 years of Canadian governments pursuing a hands-off approach to the online world, the government of Justin Trudeau is now pushing Bill C-10, a law that would see Canadians subjected to the most regulated internet in the free world," argues the Vancouver Sun (in an article shared by long-time Slashdot reader theshowmecanuck): Although pitched as a way to expand Canadian content provisions to the online sphere, the powers of Bill C-10 have expanded considerably in committee, including a provision introduced last week that could conceivably allow the federal government to order the deletion of any Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter upload made by a Canadian. In comments this week, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh indicated his party was open to providing the votes needed to pass C-10, seeing the bill as a means to combat online hate...

The users themselves may not necessarily be subject to direct CRTC regulation, but social media providers would have to answer to every post on their platforms as if it were a TV show or radio program. This might be a good time to mention that members of the current Liberal cabinet have openly flirted with empowering the federal government to control social media. In a September Tweet, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said that if social media companies "can't regulate yourselves, governments will." Guilbeault, the prime champion of Bill C-10, has spoken openly of a federal regulator that could order takedowns of any social media post that it deems to be hateful or propagandistic...

Basically, if your Canadian website isn't a text-only GeoCities blog from 1996, Bill C-10 thinks it's a program deserving of CRTC regulation. This covers news sites, podcasts, blogs, the websites of political parties or activist groups and even foreign websites that might be seen in Canada...

The penalties prescribed by Bill C-10 are substantial. For corporations, a first offence can yield penalties of up to $10 million, while subsequent offences could be up to $15 million apiece. If TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are suddenly put in a situation where their millions of users must follow the same rules as a Canadian cable channel or radio station, it's not unreasonable to assume they may just follow Facebook's example [in Australia] and take the nuclear option.

if this passes then say goodbye to VPNs as well

By irlanthos • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
VPNs have been used by the citizens of totalitarian governments to get around the limits and strictures placed on them by their governments until some of those governments made them illegal. We can see the same thing in Canada. BTW, the same thing, internet regulation and governmental control, was attempted around 2009 by a conservative government under the title the Child Protection Act to combat child exploitation and pornography on the internet. I think it died in committee when the government had to call an election. Anyway, the point to the last statement was don't depend on the other party saving you. They'll try it themselves once they are in power.

Re:Bill C-16

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Hoogland's case has nothing to do with hate speech. Unless you think he was guilty of hating his own child?

He was literally forbidden to speak because calling his daughter his daughter was defined as "family violence".

"freedom of speach..."

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That's the standard bullshit excuse that Trumptards make to harass and threaten people who they are told they don't like.

Freedom of speech has limits, with a long legal president pointing out many of these limits. Limitations such as Libel, Slander, Defamation, Threats, Blackmail... Have been illegal for a long time.

For most internet sections driven by user generated data, being that these companies are using your content and making money off of it (those nice targeted ad's next to your comment). It means that these companies do indeed have a degree of responsibility towards the legality of the content they show, and a responsibility to clean out inappropriate material and make sure they are profiting from the spread of bad information.

The crap that is being censored isn't about policy or laws, but just blatant lies that are passed around.
Saying So and so is doing human trafficking without real proof is illegal, as it would be Slander or Libel (depending on how you present it), getting shut down and you comments deleted and getting kicked off the site, isn't violating your free speech, because you had crossed the line. However if you are going on the record stating the laws around human trafficking have issues, it may make you unpopular, with particular groups, but that is a legal use of free speech.

Say you are pro-life, stating that you are Pro-Life and your reasons why, and encouraging others to be so is fine. Planning bombing of offices that perform abortions is wrong, and illegal. Then if you justify it with say additional slander because it is easier to convenience people with a lie, just makes it worse.

Re:Bill C-16

By Samantha Wright • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Read this opinion from the US Supreme Court and apply the same logic to this situation. If the father tried to force his child to transition against the child's will, that would be covered by the same law and ruling. If the father tried to force his child to agree to an arranged marriage, that would also be the same thing. He was harassing his kid because he thought he knew better, and the law dealt with him like a stalker or any other abusive parent. This is the logic of the US Supreme Court as of last year. These are the opinions of John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch, not exactly known for having liberal bias.

In Canada, and the rest of the world, "hate speech" is when you try to exclude ethnic, social, or political groups from participating in the public sphere by spreading libel and slander about them. It is part of a broader agenda of violence, meant to intimidate. The only similarity between Hoogland's situation and hate speech is that they both involve a vulnerable victim being protected from someone disapproving of them.

Sun ? LOL

By hebertrich • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Your sources of information are as accurate as FOX in the USA .. the Sun and the National Post have NEVER been regarded as serious and reliable sources of information. I read C-10 that's nothing as you describe and i truly believe you're as honest as a Trump and QAnon supporter. This being said you spread FUD and vomit insanities.. This is unworthy of Slashdot.

Why is F34 the Most Popular Fedora Linux in Years?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
This week ZDNet dedicated an article to "the most popular Fedora Linux in years." Red Hat's community Linux distribution Fedora has always been popular with open-source and Linux developers, but this latest release, Fedora 34 seems to be something special. As Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader, tweeted, "The beta for F34 was one of the most popular ever, with twice as many systems showing up in my stats as typical."

Why? Nick Gerace, a Rancher software engineer, thinks it's because "I've never seen the project in a better state, and I think GNOME 40 is a large motivator as well. Probably a combination of each, from anecdotal evidence." He's onto something. When Canonical released Ubuntu 21.04 a few days earlier, their developers opted to stay with the tried and true GNOME 39 desktop. Fedora's people decided to go with GNOME 40 for their default desktop even though it's a radical update to the GNOME interface. Besides boasting a new look, GNOME 40 is based on the new GTK 4.0 graphical toolkit. Under the pretty new exterior, this update also fixed numerous issues and smoothed out many rough spots.

If you'd rather have another desktop, you can also get Fedora 34 with the newest KDE Plasma Desktop, Xfce 4.16, Cinnamon, etc. You name your favorite Linux desktop interface, Fedora will almost certainly deliver it to you... Another feature I like is that, since Fedora 33, the default file system is Btrfs. I find it faster and more responsive than ext4, perhaps the most popular Linux desktop file system. What's different this time around is that it now defaults to using Btrfs transparent compression. Besides saving significant storage space — typically from 20 to 40% — Red Hat also claims this increases the lifespan of SSDs and other flash media.

Although the article does point out that most users will never reach the end of that SSD lifespan (approximately ten years of normal use), it suggests that "developers, who might for example compile Linux kernels every day, might reach that point before a PC's usual end of useful life."

In a possibly related note, Linus Torvalds said this week in a new interview that " I use Fedora on all my machines, not because it's necessarily 'preferred', but because it's what I'm used to. I don't care deeply about the distribution — to me it's mainly a way to get Linux installed on a machine and get all my tools set up, so that I can then replace the kernel and work on just that."

Re:Gnome is still unusable out of the box

By mrsam • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I also highly recommend xfce as an alternative to gnome. The updated xfce in F34 looks just beautiful, but it is still a traditional desktop, with traditional semantics that everyone expects.

Re:Missing CentOS?

By Junta • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That would be an odd choice, but I suppose it could have been something some people wanted to push for already but momentum with CentOS had prevented it. Some opinion that the stability of CentOS isn't worth the staleness of CentOS, but a larger sentiment that 'well, we are on CentOS, so no'. Then you get a shot and win when CentOS goes away. I'm skeptical and anecdotally have not seen this though. I think the 'Ubuntu refrains from Gnome jump' is a more likely theory.

Other choices:
-You want as close to RedHat as possible, you don't mind registering to access downloads, and you either fall under the free usage scenario or could finally push for budget with the CentOS situation: Run RedHat
-You will absolutely not spend or you absolutely do not want to register and have your usage tracked and audited and want only RedHat release clone content: Oracle (for now, justified skepticism for future), Alma, or Rocky linux
-You want to stay with the free option close to RedHat, and don't mind not-quite RedHat release level: CentOS stream
-You are upset with the whole ecosystem as curated by RedHat over CentOS, and want to get further away, but with an option for commercial support: Ubuntu or SuSE
-You want to get far away from any chance of corporate strategy calling the shots on the welfare of your distribution: Debian

Re:C'mon RH... put the btr back into RHEL

By Junta • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yes, btrfs has had its issues, but if worried, it can be used on top of MD-RAID

I think you have to be more specific about the sort of issues. If it is the case that btrfs problems are only with its builtin RAID, then fine, you are saying skip that and use MD-RAID instead to avoid the problems.

If you are saying it has other issues, then MD-RAID would just happily replicate those issues across a lot of disks.

I think btrfs as stands has got ease of use problems, and thus a huge support liability to a company like RedHat. I have to support some people who use it and they generally get into some problem where they are out of space unexpectedly (snapshots that they are oblivious to). Last one I heard of but didn't actually participate in the debug so I don't know details: it went read-only because it needed some action, and it scared the crap out of them because they thought it was data corruption or something, but turned out to be no big deal. Basically, it's more capable and does some nice things, but for people that are accustomed to 'just a boring filesystem', it can be confusing.

Missing Option?

By inode_buddha • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

All of the above, plus: you want to get as far as possible away from the drama, code churn, personality wars and egos (Poettering). You desire stability and peace, that just plain works.

So you backup your home directory and install FreeBSD.

  Everything just looks and works like before, but with none of the drama. The only real change is the firewall syntax and package management. The security and scalability features of FreeBSD are just the icing on the cake.

Re:Missing CentOS?

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

That was my motivation behind the move from Centos to Fedora Server. I converted with Fedora Server 32 several years ago to try it out. Centos 8 had just came out and I was facing a complete reinstall anyway, and never run Zero versions of any thing. So, I installed Fedora as a test intending to run it till Centos 8.2 came out.

It ran so well that I never bother with the conversation back to Centos. Then Redhat shot Centos and I said 'fuck it."

So far it has run just as flawless as centos did. I wouldn't run it in a enterprise environment because there is a kernel update ever week requiring a reboot, but for a home server it has served excellently.

North Carolina To Kick $845.8M of Apple Employees' State Taxes Back To Apple

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: The announcement Monday that Apple Inc. would locate its new high-tech campus in Research Triangle Park," reports The News&Observer's Tyler Dukes, "was heralded as a coup for the state, which has pursued the company and the promise of its high-paying jobs for at least three years. But that victory comes at a cost. State and local incentives for the deal could be worth nearly $1 billion to the company over the next four decades. That award, by far the largest in the state's history, will mostly come from new Apple employees' state income tax payments — the vast majority of which will flow right back to Apple....

"The JDIG award approved by the state's Economic Investment Committee Monday morning would mean $845.8 million in payments to Apple through 2061 — provided the company meets its hiring, worker-retention and investment targets. These payments are recouped from the income taxes Apple's new employees would normally pay to the state. Starting in 2023, the state will start issuing payments to Apple worth a little more than half of those employees' annual tax payments. In 2032, if all goes as planned, that percentage increases to 90%."

Apple, whose market cap on Monday was $2.26 trillion, isn't exactly hurting for money...

RTFA

By tomhath • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
From the linked Reuters article:

State officials said the 3,000 jobs are expected to create $1.97 billion in new tax revenues to the state over the grant period.

The iPhone maker said it would also establish a $100 million fund to support schools in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and throughout the state, as well as contribute $110 million to help build infrastructure such as broadband internet, roads, bridges and public schools in 80 North Carolina counties.

Bottom line is that Apple's new campus will be a huge win for North Carolina. The increased tax revenue and Apple's spending on infrastructure far outweighs the roughly $20M per year tax reimbursements.

Re: Races to the bottom ...

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is true. The tax break is promising not to collect $2b (1B from Apple, and $845m from their employees). Instead they will only collect the 845m from the employees. This article is rage mongering and click bait.

The part you're missing is that Apple will still be withholding those $845m in taxes from their employees' paychecks, they just won't have to turn that money over to the state.

Those are taxes that other businesses and citizens in North Carolina will have to make up. When one company gets one of these sweetheart deals, it's the government picking winners and losers.

Re: Media whitewash of race to bottom.

By Computershack • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

First off, Apple is at this point by far the largest tax payer in the world. https://www.apple.com/newsroom...>Citation.

Only a moron would use Apple as a source of proof they're the largest tax payer in the world. Assuming that's true that still doesn't mean they're paying their fair share. Just because you pay the most tax overall if your tax burden per dollar is lower than that of other businesses then you're not paying your fair share. For example whilst all other businesses in Ireland were paying a corporation tax rate of 12.5% on profits Apple were being charged just 2%. Apple were getting an unfair preferential rate that other businesses weren't able to get just because they were a large company. That is not right nor fair.

Re: Media whitewash of race to bottom.

By Computershack • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Apple generates a great deal of economic activity when it moves 6000 employees into any region.

Apple also generates a great deal of economic burden when it moves into a region as it ups the property prices and results in people who lived there no longer being able to afford to so they have to move away. That means reduced incomes for many of the businesses those people used to use such as a 7-11 that no Apple employee would be seen dead going to which results in even less tax revenue from those businesses too. Then add the additional cost of wear to roads as the displaced people travel into work plus the environmental cost of all of that then combine it with all the sweetners, brown envelopes and tax breaks Apple get and that economic activity it brings doesn't quite seem so good.

At least it's tied to the company delivering...

By laird • Score: 3 • Thread

At least it's all tied to the company delivering the jobs and investments. Most states give huge corporate handouts in return for promises with no enforcement, so when a company takes the money and doesn't invest or create jobs they keep the money. Like the Foxconn plant in Wisconson, for example - they got $400 million and didn't invest or hire. At least in this case the money is tied to creating new jobs and investment, which is good for the state, and if Apple doesn't invest and create jobs, they don't get the money. I'm sure someone did some math and figured out that having many high-paying jobs in NC, even giving up half the state income tax, was a great deal for NC, because those are great jobs, keeping highly trained people in NC, where they'll buy houses, eat, buy cars, etc. And who knows, perhaps the competition will drive up wages in NC more broadly?