Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2022-Jul-05 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.

Cloned Mice Created From Freeze Dried Skin Cells In World First

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Researchers have created cloned mice from freeze dried skin cells in a world first that aims to help conservationists revive populations of endangered species. The breakthrough paves the way for countries to store skin cells from animals as an insurance policy, as the cells can be used to create clones that boost the species' genetic diversity if they become threatened with extinction in the future. While scientists have used frozen cells to produce clones for conservation projects, the cells are kept in liquid nitrogen which is expensive and risky: if there are power outages or the liquid nitrogen is not regularly topped up, the cells melt and become unusable. Freeze dried sperm can also be used to create clones, but cannot be obtained from all animals.

In the latest work, researchers froze dried skin cells from mouse tails and stored them for up to nine months before trying to create clones from them. The freeze-drying processes killed the cells, but the scientists found they could still create early stage cloned embryos by inserting the dead cells into mouse eggs that had their own nuclei removed. These early stage mouse embryos, known as blastocysts, were used to create stocks of stem cells that were put through another round of cloning. The stem cells were inserted into mouse eggs emptied of their own nuclei, leading to embryos that surrogate mice carried to term. The first cloned mouse, named Dorami after a melon bread-loving robot in the Doraemon Manga series, was followed by 74 more. To check whether the clones had healthy fertility, nine females and three males were bred with normal mice. All the females went on to have litters.

Despite the achievement, the process is inefficient -- freeze drying damaged DNA in the skin cells -- and the success rate for creating healthy female and male mouse pups was only 0.2 to 5.4%. In some of the cells, the Y chromosome was lost, leading to female mice being born from cells obtained from male animals. "If the same treatment could be performed in endangered species where only males survived, it would be possible to produce females and naturally preserve the species, the authors write in Nature Communications.

Hidden camera

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

"We've secretly replaced these scientists' regular lab mice with freeze-dried Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference."

Jurassic Park

By Camembert • Score: 3 • Thread
I know it is far fetched, but a glimmer of hope to eventually being able to resurrect dinosaurs. or at least a Mammoth or sabre tooth tiger...

More Dogs In the Neighborhood Often Means Less Crime

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a study conducted in Columbus, researchers found that neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of homicide, robbery and, to a lesser extent, aggravated assaults compared to areas with fewer dogs, at least when residents also had high levels of trust in each other. Phys.Org reports: The results suggest that people walking their dogs puts more "eyes on the street," which can discourage crime, said Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University. "People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods," Pinchak said. "They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent."

For the study, researchers looked at crime statistics from 2014 to 2016 for 595 census block groups -- the equivalent of neighborhoods -- in the Columbus area. They obtained survey data from a marketing firm that asked Columbus residents in 2013 if they had a dog in their household. Finally, they used data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study (which Browning runs) to measure trust in individual neighborhoods. As part of that study, residents were asked to rate how much they agreed that "people on the streets can be trusted" in their neighborhoods. Research has shown that trust among neighbors is an important part of deterring crime, because it suggests residents will help each other when facing a threat and have a sense of "collective efficacy" that they can have a positive impact on their area, Pinchak said.

Results of this study showed, as expected, that neighborhoods with high levels of trust had lower levels of homicide, robbery and aggravated assaults when compared to neighborhoods with low levels of trust. But among high-trust neighborhoods, those with high concentrations of dogs showed an additional drop in crime compared to those with low concentrations of dogs. Among the high-trust neighborhoods, neighborhoods high in dog concentration had about two-thirds the robbery rates of those low in dog concentration and about half the homicide rates, the study found. It really has to do with the dog walking, Pinchak said. [...] Results showed that the trust and dog-walking combination helped reduce street crimes: those crimes like homicides and robberies that tend to occur in public locations, including streets and sidewalks. The study found that more dogs in a neighborhood was also related to fewer property crimes, like burglaries, irrespective of how much residents trust each other, Pinchak said. [...] The protective effect of dogs and trust was found even when a wide range of other factors related to crime was taken into account, including the proportion of young males in the neighborhood, residential instability and socioeconomic status.
The study was published in the journal Social Forces.

Re:Unless

By awwshit • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I'm a dog person. I love dogs. I've had dogs all my life. I would like to drop a brick on my neighbor's little yappy rat dog.
 

Re: It was always well known annecdotally.

By e3m4n • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
They interviewed a bunch of convicted felons that burgled houses, even while the owners were asleep. What deterred them more than one dog was a combination of a big dog and a smaller yapping dog. Apparently thats the magic sauce for warding off burglary. The little dog will sound an alarm and goad the larger dog into taking a piece out of the intruders ass.

Yip-Yap Yip-Yap Yip-Yap ... Bang!

By bd580slashdot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Yip-Yap Yip-Yap Yip-Yap ... Bang! ...
[NO TERRIER]

Theory B

By Tablizer • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I have a theory the reduction is caused by more people being awake at odd hours due to dogs fucking barking all the time.

Training

By geekymachoman • Score: 3 • Thread

Somewhat unrelated, but seeing how many comments are complaints about misbehaving dogs, I think I should say it...

Dogs are not cats, nor are they cuddly toys and/or replacement for babies. They need an owner who knows how to handle an animal, not just for the sake of other people, and other pets, but for their sake as well. People dress up these dogs as cute toys, and reinforce negative behavior and cause psychological distress to them, unknowingly, all the time. These dogs end up biting, jumping, eating stuff, barking and even attacking kids, eventually.

By all means, get a dog, but know the breed, know what you getting, and what it needs in terms of exercise, food and training.

If you can't learn how to handle animals, you should not have a dog legally, like you shouldn't drive a car if you don't know how. It's best case annoying to other people, and worst case, it can cost somebody their life.

Xbox 360 games Will No Longer Be Part of Xbox Games With Gold In October

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is planning to remove Xbox 360 games from its monthly Games with Gold offer in October. The Verge reports: The software maker has started emailing Xbox Live Gold subscribers to warn them of the change, noting that the company has "reached the limit of our ability to bring Xbox 360 games to the catalogue." Games with Gold is a monthly benefit for subscribers of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft hand picks free games each month, and all Xbox 360 titles are playable on the latest Xbox Series X / S consoles and Xbox One.

Microsoft's Xbox backward compatibility program briefly returned with 76 new games last year, but the company made it clear it had "reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal and technical constraints." That would explain why it has now reached the limit on new Xbox 360 titles for Games with Gold. If you've already downloaded or redeemed Xbox 360 games through Games with Gold, this change won't impact those titles. This just means starting October 1st, Microsoft won't be adding any additional Xbox 360 titles to the Games with Gold offering.

anyone that likes old shit

By OrangeTide • Score: 3 • Thread

probably pirated this stuff a long time ago. Almost no one is quitting Gold because of this.

Gtk 5 Might Drop X.11 Support, Says GNOME Dev

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
One of the GNOME developers has suggested that the next major release of Gtk could drop support for the X window system. The Register reports: Emmanuele Bassi opened a discussion last week on the GNOME project's Gitlab instance that asked whether the developers could drop X.11 support in the next release of Gtk. At this point, it is only a suggestion, but if it gets traction, this could significantly accelerate the move to the Wayland display server and the end of X.11.

Don't panic: Gtk 5 is not imminent. Gtk is a well-established toolkit, originally designed for the GIMP bitmap editing program back in 1998. Gtk 4 arrived relatively recently, shortly before the release of GNOME 40 in 2021. GNOME 40 has new user-interface guidelines, and as a part of this, Gtk 4 builds GNOME's Adwaita theme into the toolkit by means of the new libadwaita library, which is breaking the appearance of some existing apps.

Also, to be fair, as we recently covered, the X window system is very old now and isn't seeing major changes, although new releases of parts of it do still happen. This discussion is almost certain to get wildly contentious, and the thread on Gitlab has been closed to further comments for now. If this idea gains traction, one likely outcome might well be a fork of Gtk, just as happened when GNOME 3 came out. [...] A lot of the features of the current version, X.11, are no longer used or relevant to most users. Even so, X.12 is barely even in the planning stages yet.

No reaons to use GTK unless developing for Gnome

By caseih • Score: 3 • Thread

Seems to me unless your goal is to develop a Gnome application, there's not much reason to use GTK when building an application. So in many respects it doesn't matter what GTK devs do, as longs as Gnome functions well. If you want to develop a nice, modern GUI app, and one that can run on multiple platforms, Qt is the only game in town, really, and they will continue to support X11 (and many other backends) for quite a while yet I think.

But for those hating on Wayland, have you tried it recently? It works rather well. Heck even sshing to a remote box and running apps works... but that transparently falls back X11 for that functionality, so no more remoting at all with GTK 5.

My only problems with Wayland have to do with glitches that come about from doing things like focus follows mouse, something Wayland developers really don't want you to do. KWin on wayland and focus follows mouse is supper buggy. Hard to say whether it's a wayland problem, or a kwin problem.

Re:No reaons to use GTK unless developing for Gnom

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

But for those hating on Wayland, have you tried it recently? It works rather well. Heck even sshing to a remote box and running apps works... but that transparently falls back X11 for that functionality

In your paragraph where you tried to say what was good about Wayland, you only said things that are bad about Wayland.

Re:So some X11 features aren't widely used...

By DeathToBill • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Time to wheel out my beginner's guide to X11. The below was written ten years ago come Sunday; it hasn't gotten better.

X11 is like a roof that was originally a 40-foot timber yacht. You've turned it upside down and fixed it to the tops of the walls. Gradually, over the years, you've patched in the holes until it only leaks when the wind is in the West. You've figured out how to get a flue up through the thing. You've nailed a TV antenna to it, and sealed around the cable with silicone. When you put it there you never bothered to take the decks out, so it's almost impossible to get into and work on and the structural elements, optimised rather for the sea than for housing, make it not very useful for storage. You still have to repaint it with pretty expensive paint every five years or so, else it starts to rot, and for some reason it attracts lots of confused-looking seagulls.

Anyway, look at all the features! It's got a winged keel, a 200hp diesel engine, and a gorgeous timber and brass wheel. All the fittings are marine-grade stainless, the rigging was all almost brand-new when you installed the thing and in her day she'd do 27kt reaching across a good wind. Don't actually use much of that any more, of course, but still...

Technically the keel still violates local planning ordinance, and technically it still smells quite a bit of fish. But it's been there for 15 years and it works. There's no need to replace it.

What's that love? You want to build an extension? Ah.

Re:X11 just works and is stable

By dyfet • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I found no benefit to Wayland, while it remains a major step backward. GNOME/Wayland requires a user to be actively logged in on the console to enable remote desktops. This is a major regression all by itself. The display still tears moving windows around, but the key difference is that while X had all these weird ways to configure and reduce tearing, Wayland has none. Client side decoration really sucks, and not just for consistency. I sometimes get flickering decorators on other windows from other applications when the front window changes state; gtk client side bugs become windowing bugs.

When I first experienced X at the Berkeley sun lab, for me the dream was to be able to pull up desktop sessions and run real desktop application anywhere in the lab with a display for headless servers and devices thru xdm, This concept got replaced with an incredibly heavy crappy browser that has to on it's own locally re-implement all desktop app support features of an OS every time it launch, to constantly refresh content and run crappy ui code written in javascript that we now call web applications. This really sucks.

Re:X11 just works and is stable

By sjames • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's in maintenance only exactly because it works and does what we need it to do. The same reason we don't see a lot of innovation in dinner plates and flatware. The last time someone tried to innovate flatware we ended up with the abomination known as the "spork". Why do we act as if going into maintenance is somehow waiting for death for software? It just means the project is complete.

Perhaps one day there will be a feature complete replacement that removes accumulated cruft that actually nobody uses, but we're not there. Wayland could have been that answer but instead of being feature complete, that project decided to gaslight us.

Broadest US Pirate Site Injunction Rewritten/Tamed By Cloudflare

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: After causing outrage among online services including Cloudflare, the most aggressive pirate site injunction ever handed down in the US has undergone significant weight loss surgery. Now before the court is a heavily modified injunction that is most notable for everything that's been removed. It appears that Cloudflare drew a very clear line in the sand and refused to step over it. [...] The injunctions granted extreme powers, from residential ISP blocking to almost any other action the plaintiffs deemed fit to keep the sites offline. Almost immediately that led to friction with third-party service providers and the situation only worsened when a concerned Cloudflare found itself threatened with contempt of court for non-compliance. The CDN company fought back with support from Google and EFF and that led the parties back to the negotiating table. Filings in the case last week suggested an acceptance by the plaintiffs that the injunction cannot be enforced in its present form. The parties promised to work on a new injunction to address both sides' concerns and as a result, a new proposal now awaits the court's approval. [...]

With the contempt of court issue behind them, Cloudflare and the plaintiffs appear to have settled their differences. An entire section in the injunction dedicated to Cloudflare suggests that the CDN company is indeed prepared to help the video companies but they'll have to conform to certain standards. Before even contacting Cloudflare they'll first need to make "reasonable, good faith efforts to identify and obtain relief for the identified domains from hosting providers and domain name registries and registrars."

If the plaintiffs still need Cloudflare's assistance, Cloudflare will comply with requests against domain names listed in this injunction and future injunctions by preventing access to the following: "Pass-through security services, content delivery network (CDN) services, video streaming services, and authoritative DNS services, DNS, CDN, streaming services, and any related services." An additional note states that the plaintiffs acknowledge that Cloudflare's compliance "will not necessarily prevent the Defendants from providing users with access to Defendants' infringing services." Given the agreement on the terms, the amended injunction will likely be signed off by the court in the coming days. Service providers everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief while rightsholders will have a template for similar cases moving forward.
The proposed amended injunction documents can be found here ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 pdf).

Re: So nothing really changed

By ahodgson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Don't worry, I'm sure Cloudflare will still protect your booter and "testing" services.

Summary paints a different picture

By nadass • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The issue was the original injunction specifically stated that any/all operators of "third-party services" and "now or anytime in the future" must pro-actively, from now in perpetuity, enforce this injunction. Those "third-party services" referred to most regional and national ISPs registered by the FCC, and basically all online services providers regardless which might come into contact with the operators of the original site, israel.tv

The injunction was overly-broad by every measure (especially as they chased Cloudflare which had no active role in the site's access either). CF kicked back by making that promisory statement, "yeah yeah, they're blacklisted, happy now?!"

So now CF is off the hook, residential ISPs are off the hook, and the only real repercussion is the original site host had to take down the site, israel.tv.

There. That's the story.

just wait for an rights holders to go to far an 1s

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

just wait for an rights holders to go to far and hit an 1st issue with an take down.
Now what will the united states supreme court do? maybe ban an DMCA take down? Force them to have FULL COURT REVIEW / ORDER before any think can go down?

Now if residential ISPs become utilities then will take downs become harder / need an full court case to happen.

Ubisoft To Shut Down Multiplayer For Older Games

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A collection of over a dozen games from Ubisoft will see their online elements shut down on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in September, "which means players won't be able to play their multiplayer components, access their online features, link Ubisoft accounts in-game, or install and access downloadable content," reports The Verge. From the report: "Closing the online services for some older games allows us to focus our resources on delivering great experiences for players who are playing newer or more popular titles," Ubisoft's help page reads. With Assassin's Creed Brotherhood having originally released in November 2010, it's had almost 12 years of online support. But it's always sad to see a piece of gaming history become inaccessible, especially given the game's multiplayer element was missing from its remaster on the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Alongside Brotherhood, the online services associated with 2011's Assassin's Creed Revelations on PS3 and Xbox 360 are also being shut down, as well as 2012's Assassin's Creed 3 on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. [...] Other games set to have their online services decommissioned across various platforms this September include Driver San Francisco, Far Cry 3's 2012 release, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Prince of Persia the Forgotten Sands, Rayman Legends, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
You can view the full list of games here.

Re:Not cool.

By geekmux • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's ok to consolidate stuff like this on to low-volume servers, but not to shut it down completely. This is a bad way of treating one's customers, and is one of the many reasons I NEVER buy games made by Ubisoft.

I feel your pain, but the problem is not so much the servers and the low or high infrastructure utilization, but the people caring for those servers.

I feel Ubisoft's pain (that's a joke), especially after 10+ years of revenue collection, but if they no longer want to host and make money off their old games, then there is another alternative.

Stop being so fucking greedy and release all legal constraint.

They may not want to maintain the older releases, but I'll bet someone else out there would.

Re:Release the code

By KiloByte • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This should be a part of Right to Repair legislation.

How is this legal?

By viperidaenz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Removing a feature after someone buys something should result in the someone allowed to get their money back at the very least.

These people not only paid money for the game with the advertised features, they invested their own time playing it.

If a game company wants to do this kind of thing, they should have to put the end date in the advertising when selling the game.

Re:Not cool.

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I feel your pain, but the problem is not so much the servers and the low or high infrastructure utilization, but the people caring for those servers. Most likely, those servers were treated as pets (more so since development of said games probably started in the late 00's), not cattle, so keeping the people around to tend for the servers and SW becomes a burden.

it's probably also the software itself. The software running on those servers is probably way out of date as well - and the software won't run on anything newer than the ancient version of Linux or Windows it was running out, long out of support and with well known vulnerabilities.

You might thing it was fun to go "Yay, obsolete TLS 1.0 and 1.1!" but then these servers might be stuck using TLS 1.0 or 1.1 and there was no way to administer them anymore because no modern browser would accept those connections even through config options.

So as time went on, the servers simply fell way out of security updates and patches and the software is so ancient it can't connect to modern systems for administration.

The same happened to the Little Big Planet servers - they kept getting exploited because the online servers kept getting hacked because they ran ancient software with known security holes and it was becoming too big of a burden to undo all the damage caused by hackers.

They are STILL selling these games

By Ambassador Kosh • Score: 3 • Thread

These games they are shutting down are on sale on their website and on steam right now! If they are going to break the DLC in these games in just a few months they should not be selling the games and the DLC today!

If they want to shut down servers for abandoned games then the games should be abandoned. This should be illegal because their pages selling these games don't tell people that many of the features in these games will stop working shortly.

PulseAudio and Systemd Creator, Lennart Poettering, Reportedly Leaves Red Hat

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
To much surprise, the lead developer of systemd Lennart Poettering who also led the creation of PulseAudio, Avahi, and has been a prolific free software contributor has reportedly left Red Hat. Michael Larabel writes via Phoronix: So far no public announcement appears to have been made, but according to a source has been reportedly removed from Red Hat's internal employee database. Yesterday Lennart did comment on the public Fedora devel mailing list to having now created a personal Red Hat Bugzilla account for his Fedora contributions after it was raised in bug reports and brought up on the mailing list that Lennart's Red Hat account is disabled. Emailing his Red Hat address this morning indeed yields an auto-response that it's no longer in use.

He's still active in systemd world with new commits made as of today, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up or his next moves with his vast Linux ecosystem expertise and pivotal role in spearheading systemd's direction.

Re:Systemd is Awesome!

By Antique Geekmeister • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Since systemd operates only with the Linux kernel and ignores the basics of the File System Hierarchy, it's deliberately non-standard and has been on a campaign to ingest features I've tried to unfurl what introducing systemd did to various init procedures, it's often been exceptionally ugly to unwork.

ew

By blackomegax • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Lennart's argument for mounting /sys/firmware/efi/efivars as read/write as a default behaviour doesn't hold water. Yes it's true that some tools may need to write to it but those tools are not needed for the general running of a system. efivars should not even be mounted as read-only by default. Those tools that need to write to efivars will generally only be invoked by a system administrator. A competent sysadmin will know how to mount efivars with read/write permissions when they need to to use those tools. The only reason to mount efivars by default is for convenience. This is by no means a good reason. From a security perspective, mounting efivars by default should be strongly discouraged as it breaks the principle of least privilege. Lennart goes on to state that systemd needs to write EFI variables. This demonstrates yet another example of scope creep and thus poor design.

THINGS, SYSTEMD FORCES YOU TO DO:


systemd is tied to a specific kernel and a specific libc and specific device manager and specific journaling daemon, basically, having systemd means you're locked in to a whole lot of other things
systemd is renowned for locking up during startup and boot when you have network filesystems
systemd hardcodes quite a lot of the booting and shutdown process in C which other systems place in easily editable scripts
systemd in practice requires quite a lot of things: ACLs, PAM, dbus, polkit, these are not hard requirements but without this the above advantages are lost so all distributions enable them at compile time
logind starting to do retarded shit like user sessions and having retarded power management, in theory you can disable logind, but no distribution again does this
systemd is very monolithic and comes in one configuration compared to being able to piece your system together yourself, this sounds bad except that unless you run something like Gentoo or Exherbo you were already submitted to this, while the distribution was able to pick the choice of lower level system components before they switched to systemd, you had no choice in this and just used what your distribution stuffed you with. If your distribution used whatever cron daemon, you used that, if your distribution used consolekit1/2 you used that, if your distribution used acpid/Upower, you used that, you used whatever device manager, syslogger, init and RC your distribution used. While systemd replaces all those things and thus leaves the configuration no longer a choice for the distribution, unless you ran a meta distro that allowed you to choose those things you didn't loose much choice now did you?

Re: Popcorn time

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Sorry. Popcorn maker is stuck waiting for a startup process to complete.

Something something kernel joke.

Re:Systemd is Awesome!

By rnturn • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

``... warts and all, is much better that SysV scripts in this modern age

Except, after years of release, it still hasn't implemented an rc.local that works like SysV init. That has traditionally run last during the boot process (in SysVese: "S99local") --- not whenever the hell SystemD decides to run it (which is never last) which makes it fairly useless for any local startup commands you might need to run at the end of the boot process.

Mount

By geekymachoman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Offtopic but maybe helpful to somebody that would never expect systemd to do this.... and yet another argument against what systemd stands for.

So I had this raid device, it had some problems and it had to be rebuilt. All done, created a FS on it, it synced all good.
Tried mounting it, mount command exits successfully, i type in df -h... nothing. Partition not mounted, nothing in dmesg... all checks out fine.
After few more attempts to figure out what's wrong, out of disbelief that after 25 years of working exclusively on desktop and on servers running linux, i cannot figure out how to mount a filesystem, i turned to google and run into THIS

Apparently:
"The most likely reason is that file system is mounted, as the mount commands reports, but then systemd thinks it knows better and unmounts it before you can see it."

That is some windows grade stuff. Not allowing root user to do what he wants to do, and instead override him and "UMOUNT" the god damn filesystem with 0 notifications of any kind. This egomaniac Pottering knows better than everybody else, and so does his systemd.

I'm not saying that linux does not need something better than it had before, but damn init system should not arbitrarily decide to umount partitions, resolve dns, and do 200 other things it's doing.

As Linus said few years ago:
"And yes, a large part of this may be that I no longer feel like I can trust "init" to do the sane thing. You all presumably know why."

IDC: 'All Eyes Will Be On Apple' As Meta's VR Strategy 'Isn't Sustainable'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A recent media release from market research firm IDC predicts that Meta (the parent company of Facebook) may not be able to compete in the mixed-reality business in the long run if its strategy remains unchanged. The media release offers a bird's-eye view of the virtual reality hardware marketplace. In the release, IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani said that, while "Meta continues to pour dollars into developing the metaverse, [the company's] strategy of promoting low-cost hardware at the expense of profitability isn't sustainable in the long run."

A similar concern was raised by tech industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo late last month. Kuo predicted that Meta would make moves to scale down investment in virtual reality, creating an opening for Apple and other competitors. He also wrote that Meta's practice of selling VR headsets at a loss is unsustainable. Currently, Meta owns 90 percent of the VR headset market, according to the IDC release. In distant second is ByteDance's Pico, at just 4.5 percent. Overall, VR headset shipments jumped 241.6 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2022. But the industry faced significant supply issues in Q1 2021, contributing to "a favorable comparison" for this year's Q1.

Like Kuo a couple of weeks ago, IDC research director Ramon Llamas said that "all eyes will be on Apple as it launches its first headset next year." Apple's headset is expected to be much more expensive than Meta's offerings, driving up the average unit price for the product category across the board, and Llamas believes Apple's offering "will appeal primarily to a small audience of early adopters and Apple fans." In other words, don't expect the first Apple headset to ship vastly more units than Meta's Oculus Quest 2 right out of the gate. It's just a first step in a long-term plan to own the mixed-reality market.

Metaverse is stupid, Apple not going there

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I have had a few VR goggles, and have used a number of other ones.

I do enjoy VR games but the simple truth is the Metaverse is a horrifically stupid idea that no-one wants, or enjoys.

Just watch any of the absolute cringe videos that Facebook has put out showing people doing stuff in "the metaverse". Who among you has wanted to spend even a single second doing the things pictured there? No me, that's for sure.

"The Metaverse", while it can be fun in games, is just a terrible way to interact with other people. It's clunky, you can't really record important things like hands or limbs or faces. Unlike thing where you can say "Ok but in ten years technology will improve" - nope. Fundamentally if you do not have an entire metaverse room with cameras up the wazoo and projectors all over, it just doesn't work as a means of people interaction.

So that's why what Apple is doing is way more HoloLens than Oculus or any kind of Metaverse device. Instead of trying to falsely claim it's an awesome way to connect with other people it will be what these things are inherently really powerful at - augmenting your own vision of the world around you.

In all ways you can see why this is a plan that will work. As technology improves, viewing resolution improves, cameras improve all of which help to make a headset that can not only essentially perfectly replicate the world around you, but start adding important data - like overlays on things that an AI is helping recognize from the camera, or alternate forms of vision like IR, or virtual in-air magnifiers that can be tuned on the fly.

An augmented reality headset perfectly matches with all of the hardware skills Apple has spent the past decade or so working on, and as a result they can deliver a way more practical product than the Oculus, and a way more useful product than the HoloLens.

We are only now where I think they can deliver a product they can consider a high quality base device, to show people the potential of the technology as they refine form there. That's also why it will be pretty expensive to start with, in the thousands of dollars I think - which also helps to distinguish it from mere VR gaming headsets.

I'm personally really looking forward to seeing what Apple can do, if anyone can deliver a really wide FOV and high quality screens/cameras, it will be Apple.

I don't think VR is sustainable

By rsilvergun • Score: 3 • Thread
Just like with 3D television a sizable portion of the population can't enjoy it for a variety of physical reasons. As the cost comes down I'm sure it'll find a niche but I don't think it's ever going to go in mainstream.

Apple save us!

By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

Meta cheaped out on VR. Meta thinks low resolution displays are good enough for VR and that people would be will just get used to and tolerate uncanny blurriness or the screen door effect. They claimed a mere 55 pixels per degree (ppd) is good enough to pass the "Virtual Turing Test", when it is provably false. We know about 100 ppd are required for VR. Also, it was clear from their presentation they won't bother to pressure their suppliers to even make the display needed for their low-res 55 ppd VR headset until 5 years. Hopefully Apple would do much better. Hopefully Apple will invest in and pressure their display suppliers to make 80 to 100 ppd displays a reality. That's how Gorilla glass came about. That's how smartphone retina displays were made.

3-D Printing Grows Beyond Its Novelty Roots

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
For 3-D printing, whose origins stretch back to the 1980s, the technology, economic and investment trends may finally be falling into place for the industry's commercial breakout, according to manufacturing experts, business executives and investors. From a report: They say 3-D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is no longer a novelty technology for a few consumer and industrial products, or for making prototype design concepts. "It is now a technology that is beginning to deliver industrial-grade product quality and printing in volume," said Jorg Bromberger, a manufacturing expert at McKinsey & Company. He is the lead author of a recent report by the consulting firm titled, "The Mainstreaming of Additive Manufacturing."

3-D printing refers to making something from the ground up, one layer at a time. Computer-guided laser beams melt powders of metal, plastic or composite material to create the layers. In traditional "subtractive" manufacturing, a block of metal, for example, is cast and then a part is carved down into shape with machine tools. In recent years, some companies have used additive technology to make specialized parts. General Electric relies on 3-D printing to make fuel nozzles for jet engines, Stryker makes spinal implants and Adidas prints latticed soles for high-end running shoes. Dental implants and teeth-straightening devices are 3-D printed. During the Covid-19 pandemic, 3-D printers produced emergency supplies of face shields and ventilator parts.

Today, experts say, the potential is far broader than a relative handful of niche products. The 3-D printing market is expected to triple to nearly $45 billion worldwide by 2026, according to a report by Hubs, a marketplace for manufacturing services. The Biden administration is looking to 3-D printing to help lead a resurgence of American manufacturing. Additive technology will be one of "the foundations of modern manufacturing in the 21st century," along with robotics and artificial intelligence, said Elisabeth Reynolds, special assistant to the president for manufacturing and economic development.

It hasn't been a novelty for quite a long time.

By Leslie43 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
What has changed is that it's more practical to use it for mass production as opposed to (mostly) one-offs and prototypes.

I have printed loads of useful things

By ickleberry • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Hose adaptors, cable clips, car parts, PCB enclosures. The house is filling up with stuff that I printed or fixed using a print.

Sometimes I print stuff I could buy but if I go into town to get something it will take at least an hour, cost fuel and there is a chance the shop won't have it. I whipped up a custom cable clip in OpenSCAD recently and printed a few dozen. The electrical box on my compressor was gone so designed a new one with a holder for the capacitor & thermal fuse. Compressor is about 30 years old so just about 0% chance of getting a replacement from the factory.

Soon after I got the printer I designed this hinge. They would cost me about $ 90 to buy over here, cost only a couple of quid to print them myself.

Tremendous power

By Dan East • Score: 3 • Thread

This is such a powerful technology, far more so when you have the ability to design your own models. I have some products I sell, and I have also created multiple models to replace things that were broken (from knobs on my camper stove, to parts inside the carburetor of an outboard boat motor).

For me, as a software developer, I really prefer modeling via code, and I've created all my models in that way. Now, I can understand if it was more of an artistic / freeform type model that traditional 3D modeling software would work better. However for the kinds of things I make, scripting the geometry is much better.

If you're interesting in this kind of thing, here's great open source 3D modeling software to use:
https://openscad.org/

You basically use unions / diffs to create your designs from basic 3D primitives.

Perhaps if...

By RogueWarrior65 • Score: 3 • Thread

The problem as I see it is that there are a crapton of sub-$500 FDM printers out there but they all suffer from the same problem. You spend more time tweaking the machine and the settings than you do printing stuff. I bought one and what should have been my first clue that the technology wasn't mature enough is the Facebook user group where pretty much every post is "What's wrong with my print?" Furthermore, these machines are fine for printing your D&D figures but are lousy for printing functional mechanical stuff. Oh sure, you can print something for a fit-and-function test but you can't use them as a substitute for an injection-molded part or a CNC-milled part. Formlabs SLA machines are pretty capable and they have enough expertise built into them that you can get good mechanical parts out of them. Still, they're pretty spendy and unaffordable when you want a large print volume. The have an SLS machine too but that's also unafforable for the micro-sized company that needs to make custom parts but is never going to need more than a dozen of them. Going to Shapeways is an option but that's not cheap and if you have to iterate the part, it gets expensive.

Re:Perhaps if...

By caseih • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I lucked out. I bought an Ender 3 (original) and it printed very well out of the box. I've done very few modifications to it, certainly no modifications were needed to get it printing well. It's not very fast of course. But I've printed a lot of little circuit boxes, brackets, and fittings with it. Eventually I added a bed probe to it requiring a firmware update, and modifications to the cooling duct but by then I had printed many things successfully. There are a couple of new sub-500 printers on the market now that look very promising with built-in probes and a nice build surface.

I guess many people just print knick knacks off of thingiverse. For me I print things I design myself for my own purposes, mostly practical. Honestly the hardest part about 3D printing is not the printer, but learning 3D design software. Parametric is powerful but there's a learning curve.

Inside the Dying Art of Subtitling

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The wildly popular series Squid Game drew criticism for its English subtitles. Just how did those happen? CNET News: Subtitlers contend with unrealistic expectations, tight deadlines and competition from clunky machine translation. Often, their work goes underappreciated, under the radar. Sometimes Uludag would be sent a file to translate at 11 p.m. -- "and they would say we need it by 8 a.m." Without skilled subtitlers, movies such as historic Oscar winner Parasite are lost in translation. Yet the art of subtitling is on the decline, all but doomed in an entertainment industry tempted by cheaper emerging artificial intelligence technologies. Subtitlers have become a dying breed.

And this had been the predicament before the world started watching a little show called Squid Game. In 28 days, Squid Game leapfrogged Bridgerton as Netflix's most popular series ever. It also inadvertently started a global conversation about bad subtitles. While critics lauded the South Korean battle royale-themed drama for its polished production values, gripping story and memorable characters, many accused Netflix of skimping on the quality of Squid Game's English subtitles.

A prime example: Ali, the Pakistani laborer, shares a touching moment with Sang Woo, an embezzler who graduated from Korea's top university. Sang Woo suggests Ali call him hyung, instead of sajang-nim or "Mr. Company President." The term hyung literally translates as "older brother," a term used by a man to address an older man with whom he has formed a closer bond. That's Ali and Sang Woo. Yet, the line "Call me hyung" was translated as "Call me Sang Woo." A rare moment of compassion and humanity, amid all the gloom and gore, was lost. [...]

Yet Netflix, which abandoned its in-house subtitling program Hermes one year after its launch in 2017, is interested in a different area of translation: dubbing. It's not hard to see why. For example, 72% of Netflix's American viewers said they prefer dubs when watching Spanish hit Money Heist, Netflix's third most popular show ever. Unfairly criticized, underfunded and facing a lack of support from the entertainment industry, subtitlers are on the brink. At least the Squid Game controversy illuminated an unsung fact: Good subtitles are an exceptionally difficult art.

things missed in subtitles

By belmolis • Score: 3 • Thread
I recently encountered a funny example of something missed in translation, I watched the first few episodes of a Korean show about a Korean orphan who was adopted by an Italian mafia chief, whose consigliere he eventually becomes. When his adoptive father dies, the mafioso's biological son sends an emissary to the Korean telling him that he does not want him around and should go back to Korea. The audio is mostly in Korean, but in this scene it is in Italian, with Korean subtitles. The Korean subtitles translate the Korean's response as: gada! "go away!". What he actually said in Italian was: "Go get fucked up the ass!". (I initially wrote the Korean in hangul but /. won't display it. Harumph.)

Re:Lazy Americans

By narcc • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

My god. I find it hard to believe a slashdotter can't listen, watch and read simultaneously.

You must be new here. I'm amazed most of them can read at all.

Dubbing?

By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 3 • Thread
..and how does dubbing overcome the issue of poor translations? Whether it's rendered on the screen as text or read out loud by a voice actor, it's still a crappy translation that loses subtlety, nuance & important interpersonal moments. Fine if all you want to watch is MCU, which is basically Paw Patrol for grown ups but if you want real, human drama, how are they going to do that in a TV & film world where hits are coming from all over the world in different languages? And most dubbing actors do a piss poor job of reading out the original actors' lines. I pretty much avoid dubbed films altogether.

Re:Anime Subtitling

By Joce640k • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Every time we experience dubbed movies and shows we just cringe badly. Dubbing also takes away a lot of local character of the movies and shows.

Dubbing is much worse. It doesn't just take away the voice character of the original actor, it's often constrained in time so the translations are constrained to having approx the same number of syllables as the original. Languages don't work that way.

Re: Don't subtitle, Dub!

By Evtim • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I can't watch dubbs. Grew up with subs. That's the case in all smaller European countries. That's why people like us speak English better and with less pronounced accent compared to say the French, the Germans, the Italians...
I adored watching recordings of Shakespeare plays while growing behind the wall. No one would think to dub actors of such class.

How do you enjoy a Kurosawa movie that is dubbed? Or a Cinese one? The dissonance between the body language and speech would be intolerable!

And lastly, consider this. The dubbing, or shall we say dumbing cuts both ways.
Do you want to see the original SW trilogy dubbed in French? I have. Darth Vader speaking French! I survived the experience, barely, only because we played the Star Wars drinking game. Brain shut down half way A New Hope.

'Sand Battery Could Solve Green Energy's Big Problem'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
AmiMoJo writes: Finnish researchers have installed the world's first fully working 'sand battery' which can store green power for months at a time. The developers say this could solve the problem of year-round supply, a major issue for green energy. Using low-grade sand, the device is charged up with heat made from cheap electricity from solar or wind. The device has been installed in the Vatajankoski power plant which runs the district heating system for the area. Low-cost electricity warms the sand up to 500C by resistive heating (the same process that makes electric fires work). This generates hot air which is circulated in the sand by means of a heat exchanger. Sand is a very effective medium for storing heat and loses little over time. The developers say that their device could keep sand at 500C for several months. So when energy prices are higher, the battery discharges the hot air which warms water for the district heating system which is then pumped around homes, offices and even the local swimming pool.

Re:10% efficiency

By burtosis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

How does this get modded up? It is exactly backwards from the truth

No it isn’t. You have failed to learn physics or engineering past a reddit meme level, or perhaps past some misleading advertising literature. Resistive heating is nearly 100% efficient, until you start getting so hot an effective portion of the photons fall out of the the thermal radiation band but this process is dependent on temperature to the fourth power so is irrelevant then quickly becomes the dominant source of energy transfer. Any thermodynamic process is considered inefficient because we vent to ambient temp not absolute zero but in reality calling a process 30% efficient when you never paid for the 70% and the process is 100% efficient seems stupid and backwards to me but that’s how it is presented to the world from institutions.

Heat pumps aren’t efficient In absolute terms. What makes them “efficient” is you don’t pay for the heat in the first place. Concentration of the existing heat you got for free costs less (sometimes even 5 or 6 times less) but does not “create” more energy than you put in. Source: I have a masters in mechanical engineering but really all you need to understand this is high school physics.

Re:10% efficiency

By Strauss • Score: 4 • Thread

The parent is correct; resistive heating is ~99+% efficient (with a miniscule loss to sound and light, rather than heat, energy).

However; that doesn't make resistive heating more efficient than a heat pump. Someone else had the right numbers, and several have linked websites, but the key is understanding *where* the efficiency is applied.

To heat a room? Heat pump wins; ~1 unit of electrical energy can transfer ~4 units of heat energy (~400% efficient!), compared to resistive heating at 1 unit in = 1 unit out (0.99 units out...)

To *generate* heat, rather than transfer it? Resistive heating is, as noted, ~100% efficient. There's not much more efficient; even burning things "only" transforms stored chemical energy to heat, and you're limited there to a 1:1 (100%) theoretical efficiency limit. Electrical resistive heating here is "inefficient" - as compared to say natural gas or other hydrocarbon sources - in that the cost (in your local currency) of 1 unit of electrical energy is generally much higher than the cost of 1 unit of stored chemical energy (at least in the hydrocarbon sources commonly used). I see this in the inverse; cooling my house (with a heat pump/AC unit) by ~10C in the summer costs me rather more than heating (with natural gas) by ~30C in the winter (as compared to rough outdoor temperatures).

In this particular scenario -- heating sand as a "heat battery" -- I suspect that resistive heating, using "free" (read: otherwise wasted) wind/solar/other renewable electricity, may actually be more efficient than a heat pump due to the target temperatures involved (~500C), and given the simplicity of the technology required. When your input cost is the infrastructure, not the energy, a cheaper but less energy-efficient infrastructure may be the winner.

Carnot Efficiency

By Acy James Stapp • Score: 3 • Thread

Like other posters have said, converting the electricity to heat is nearly 100% efficient. And with a temp of 500C, the carnot efficiency is (773K (hot) - 293K (cold)) / 773K = 62%. This is the maximum efficiency possible. Newer supercritical coal plants operate in this same temperature regime and are 40-45% efficient.

Re:10% efficiency

By jonadab • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Easy. It ends up as waste heat. HTH.HAND.

Re:10% efficiency

By ceoyoyo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

In which case any process is 100% efficient at generating heat.

If you're going to claim it's something else, like 10%, you've got some 'splaining to do.

Fields Medals in Mathematics Won by Four Under Age 40

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Four mathematicians whose research covers areas like prime numbers and the packing of eight-dimensional spheres are the latest recipients of the Fields Medals, which are given out once every four years to some of the most accomplished mathematicians under the age of 40. From a report: At a ceremony in Helsinki on Tuesday, the International Mathematical Union, which administers the awards, bestowed the medals, made of 14-karat gold, to Hugo Duminil-Copin, 36, of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques just south of Paris and the University of Geneva in Switzerland; June Huh, 39, of Princeton University; James Maynard, 35, of the University of Oxford in England; and Maryna Viazovska, 37, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

Mark Braverman, 38, of Princeton University received the Abacus Medal, a newer award that was modeled after the Fields for young computer scientists. Dr. Viazovska is just the second woman to receive a Fields Medal, while Dr. Huh defies the stereotype of a math prodigy, having not been drawn into the field until he was already 23 and in his last year of college. The Fields Medals, first awarded in 1936, were conceived by John Charles Fields, a Canadian mathematician. They and the Abacus Medal are unusual among top academic honors in that they go to people who are still early in their careers -- younger than 40 years on Jan. 1 -- and honor not just past achievements but also the promise of future breakthroughs. That the Fields are given only once every four years adds prestige through rarity -- something more like gold medals at the Olympics. Another award, the Abel Prize, is modeled more on the Nobel Prize and recognizes mathematicians annually for work over their careers. The recipients learned months ago that they had been chosen but were told not to share the news with friends and colleagues.

Packing

By jeromef • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
> the packing of eight-dimensional spheres

Not a problem for me: I don't usually take my eight-dimensional spheres with me when I go on vacation.

/. Headline misleading! (like that's a surprise)

By Another Random Kiwi • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
Article headline trumpets "Fields Medals in Mathematics Won by Four Under Age 40" as if it were news. As the article even says, the Fields Medals are ONLY awarded to people under 40, and it's 2, 3, or 4 of them.

Re:Packing

By Whateverthisis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I was going to go post some joke about "packing" 8th dimensional spheres is a 2nd amendment right" or something. But i did a little research to know what my joke was about, and it turns out 8-dimensional sphere packing is actually really interesting.

NIST Announces First Four Quantum-Resistant Cryptographic Algorithms

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
jd writes: NIST has announced winners of its post-quantum cryptography battle of the giants.

CRYSTALS-Kyber has been chosen for standard encryption, CRYSTALS-Dilithium, Falcon, and SPHINCS+ were chosen for digital signatures. Falcon is recommended by NIST as a backup for Dilithium where shorter keys are needed, and SPHINCS+ uses a different mathematical technique than all of the other submissions, so if it is found that there's a flaw in the maths for the others, then there's something to fall back on.

There is still a final round for public key encryption algorithms. The remaining candidates are BIKE, Classic McEliece, HQC, and SIKE.

The mailing list members probably wish that they could use Slashdot's moderation system about now, as some of the discussions have been extremely heated. This was especially true for the signature system Rainbow, which is used by the ABC Mint crypto-currency, which was rejected after what was claimed to be a catastrophic flaw was reported, with allegations that it could be broken over a weekend on a laptop, followed by counter-allegations that many of the other algorithms had significant flaws in them also. (This is likely why SPHINCS+ is a backup.)

Another area that was hotly debated was CPU design flaws, particularly HertzBleed, which got the well-known crypto maestro Bernstein rather annoyed. As SIKE is a final round candidate, NIST seem to be satisfied with his explanation for why CPU design flaws should not be considered. It is to be seen how this debate progresses.

Link to Falcon

By jd • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

My bad when checking. The definition of Falcon can be found at: https://falcon-sign.info/

Signature lengths

By jd • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The signature lengths in these schemes is... impressive. Falcon was recently congratulated for bringing the hash down to 410 bytes (not bits!), without compromising security, for their Falcon-512 algorithm. If you thought getting SHA-2 and SHA-3 into Git was bad, Falcon is going to be an absolute nightmare even with their reduced length. (I'm guessing here, but the pub size and sig size on their web page are therefore presumably bytes as well.)

This really is an improvement on the others. Dilithium reports a signature size of 2420 bytes and I believe SPHINCS+ produces one that is even longer.

You, too, can play with them, not only through the reference implementations but also through BouncyCastle, which has implementations of these algorithms. I wouldn't be surprised if they were being added to other standard crypto libraries, so expect some usage of them in the near future.

SIKE

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 3 • Thread

It took me a while to comprehend SIKE. However after looking at it for a while, I've concluded that SIKE is my preferred candidate. While the mathematics for supersingular isogency graphs is a bit mind bending, implementing it is not too bad.

Tested, but not proven.

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

AES is believed to be secure against quantum attacks.
AES has stood up to attack attempts. It's not mathematically proven to the degree we'd like.

Kyber is mathematically proven (IND-CCA2), but hasn't been battle-tested like AES has.

A Kyber-based scheme will be used for asymmetric encryption. It is therefore convenient to also use Kyber for symmetric.

Bottom line - I'd continue using AES for the next couple of years, then switch to Kyber if things still look good.

Re:Tested, but not proven.

By bws111 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Kyber is an asymmetric algorithm. It is not at all 'convenient to use it for symmetric', as it doesn't do that. Kyber is used to exchange AES keys, it is in no way a replacement for AES.

Why Britain's New Stamps Are Causing Outrage and Upset

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Royal Mail's stamps are finally entering the digital world, with printed codes that can be used to track letters or linked to videos. Collectors, traditionalists and royalists are not amused. From a report: In February, Royal Mail introduced a new design for its standard stamps, which have changed so little since the launch of the Penny Black in 1840 that they are officially known as "definitives." The new stamps -- "plum purple" for first class, "holly green" for second -- still feature the same regal profile introduced more than 50 years ago. But what is most bothering purists -- and leading Johnson to the brink of direct action -- is the addition next to the Queen of a digital barcode. The rectangular codes -- which look like QR codes but are apparently not QR codes, which are a particular, and trademarked, kind of code -- are designed to stop counterfeiting and to enable the tracking of all letters to improve efficiency. Correspondents will soon be able to share photo or video messages by linking digital content to their coded stamps. Recipients will view it via the Royal Mail app (currently the codes link to a short film featuring Shaun the Sheep and a plasticine postwoman).

[...] David Gold, the head of public affairs and policy at Royal Mail Group, knew the coded stamps would create a stir. "Collectors, traditionalists and royalists feel a sense of ownership over stamps," he says. It's why the new stamps, the designs for which had to be approved by Buckingham Palace, include a fake perforation as a kind of dignity screen between code and Queen (who is also, notably, facing the other way). Gold says the codes mean Royal Mail can track all letters, allowing it to better monitor, predict and respond to regional changes in demand, for example. He is also confident the unique codes will stop the fraudulent washing of postmark ink and resale of used stamps -- a crime that he claims costs Royal Mail "tens of millions" of pounds a year.

Could we have instead...

By LordHighExecutioner • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
...on the stamp a portrait of Shaun the Sheep, and a QR code linking to a movie about Queen Elizabeth ?

Re:Tens of millions of pounds a year?

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4 • Thread
I don't see how you can possibly account for stamps that are purchased and not used. You have no way of knowing their number.

Didn't think this through

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3 • Thread

Over here you can already buy "stamps" that are really just a code you write down (by hand, if you like) on the letter, and it'll serve to get the mail delivered.

I don't really mind except that I can't pay for it in cash and that the codes are not valid for very long. You really have to buy'em and use'em right away. But then if I'm buying for the longer term, might as well buy stamps, eh.

So why royal mail is so desperate to link "the digital" with stamps? I think they haven't really thought through what they're trying to do. Britain has its share of deeply conservative people so better make sure they can continue using the mail without all that "digital" folderol attached.

On the other hand, they're at least trying something. The postal service here seems mostly bent on committing suicide.

Personally, I used to like email a lot, back when top-posting wasn't the norm. Now, I told the government that if they want to talk to me, they better write a letter. I'm really not inclined to read their html-laden "notification" inviting me to log in to their "messaging portal" website to read some bureaucratic missive or other, or get blamed should I miss such an announcement in the spambox and not read the missive in time. Instead, they can stick to paper, and they had better answer my letters too.

Given the enormous number of "messaging" systems, I think it's time people re-evaluated how they talk to each other, or don't, as the case may be, and then some of us may well prefer to write letters again. Better hope there's still a mail service left come that time.

Re:Tens of millions of pounds a year?

By genixia • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If the sent items exceeds the total stamps sold, it doesn't matter how many sold stamps went unused. Older stamps that had been hoarded can be be addressed by looking at the sales of the small denomination stamps used to make up their value to the current price. (e.g, current 2p stamp sales will tell you how many older 66p second-class stamps are still out there, and 10p stamp sales the same for older first-class 85p stamps)

Here's the thing though. tens of millions of pounds is tens of millions of stamps. There are 70M people in the UK, about 28M households. The reported number would be attained if 1 in 7 people - about 1 in 2.5 households reuse a stamp each year. On the face of it, that seems ridiculously high - cleanly removing stamps, cleaning the postmark, and gluing them to a clean envelope must be a hassle to save 95p at a time. Maybe there's a secret method of doing so easily that somehow the Royal Mail haven't been able to defeat.

The next challenge is that greeting cards are about the only stamped mail that most people receive now. Most commercial mail is franked or metered. I suppose that 1 in 75 households could collect every stamped envelope throughout the year, and sit down in November and clean them in one batch, before using them to mail an average of 30 Christmas cards each. Thirty quid for a couple of hours of effort seems much more reasonable. I could accept that 1.4% of households contain enough financial constraint and/or criminal intent to overcome any moral concerns that would otherwise prevent them.

I can't imagine that anyone is doing that on a commercial scale though - sourcing thousands of used stamps to clean and reuse would seem difficult. I'd think that straight-up forgery of new stamps would be easier.

maybe the UK is different

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

....but as far as I can tell here in the US, basically all mail is now:
- commercial (ie invoices) - usually metered
- junkmail - metered or contracted
- catalogs - a beefier junkmail, metered
- magazines - metered or contracted ...with nearly none of it being hand-stamped.

This would make the claim "...fraudulent washing of postmark ink and resale of used stamps -- a crime that he claims costs Royal Mail "tens of millions" of pounds a year." fairly dubious. Is there REALLY an industrial scale level of fraud out there in 'resale of used stamps' worth MILLIONS of pounds every year?

FedEx To Close Data Centers, Retire All Mainframes By 2024, Saving $400 Million

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
FedEx is to close its data centers and retire all of its remaining mainframes within the next two years. Speaking during the FedEx investor day, FedEx CIO Rob Carter said the company is aiming for a "zero data center, zero mainframe" environment based in the cloud, which will result in $400 million in savings annually. From a report: "We've been working across this decade to streamline and simplify our technology and systems," he said. "We've shifted to cloud...we've been eliminating monolithic applications one after the other after the other...we're moving to a zero data center, zero mainframe environment that's more flexible, secure, and cost-effective. Within the next two years we'll close the last few remaining data centers that we have, we'll eliminate the final 20 percent of the mainframe footprint, and we'll move the remaining applications to cloud-native structures that allow them to be flexibly deployed and used in the marketplace and business. While we're doing this, we'll achieve $400 million of annual savings."

Re:lol no

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'd say a parcel service that suddenly can't scan or route parcels for a few hours when us-east is down is probably going to have problems. That's one of the major reasons you'd want dedicated data centers using expensive mainframe hardware instead of using an off the shelf Amazon cloud server.

Are there cheaper ways to get the same thing? Possibly. But I wouldn't be so dismissive of the technology decisions that have got them to this point. Especially given the amount of money saved is a pittance compared to their revenues and won't make any serious difference to their overall costs.

zero... er... nope

By Tom • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"Zero datacenter" ... "cloud"... the guy doesn't realize that "the cloud" is just a bunch of data centers?

What he's moving to is zero ownership of his infrastructure. That can be smart or not, debatable - but it's not "zero datacenters", it's just "zero data centers that we own".

Re:More secure?

By eth1 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The cloud provider's security people aren't going to be helping you much. They only work on the provider's back end.

You can still deploy vulnerable stuff into your public cloud and be just as screwed as if it was your own data center. You still need your own security people to handle your own stuff, and if you're in public cloud, their hands are generally tied in a lot of ways, and it's even more expensive if possible at all.

We've been utterly unable to duplicate the level of security we have in our own data centers in AWS or Azure at any cost. It's getting better, but the capabilities just aren't there yet. The stuff that gets close, like VMC/NSX with Palo Alto service insertion is so expensive that no one can actually afford to do it at any reasonable scale.

Here to agree with most of the other comments!

By King_TJ • Score: 3 • Thread

The cloud is nothing more than paying to run your stuff on other people's computers instead of your own. Does it make financial sense? Who knows? It may... It very likely only does in the short-term.

I agree with a consultant I worked with at a previous I.T. job, who said the single most advantageous thing to "cloudify" vs hosting on-prem is your email. With almost everyone doing Outlook these days, you may as well just buy your Outlook licenses as part of an O365 subscription and let Microsoft handle the mess that is back-end Exchange. Heck, even before MS offered such a thing, you were typically better off paying a third party to host Exchange for you because good email system specialists don't work cheap, and doing recovery on crashed Exchange servers has always been a painful, time-intensive process. Plus, you'll need almost the same amount of on-site bandwidth for email whether you host the thing on-prem or it's in the cloud, because all the messages have to come to each client individually if it's cloud hosted, or the same traffic all comes down to your local server(s) otherwise for local redistribution.

So much of the other stuff really doesn't benefit you much to put in the cloud, since application performance can get severely throttled that way due to limits the hosts impose on you, or bandwidth limitations you run up against. That or the CPU power you need winds up costing you big money in the cloud because they keep billing based on utilization over time, vs buying what you need once and using it as much as you want to.

Re: More secure?

By molarmass192 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

That's not universally true, in fact, I'd say for large companies it makes less sense unless they negotiate insane off sheet pricing. The "We'll save all this money on data centers, headcount and hardware!" always becomes "Why have our monthly IT expenditures become astronomical?". Fixed and one time budgets have less political friction than variable monthly bills. When hard times come and the CIO is looking for savings, that multi-million $ AWS / Azure monthly cheque is going to be in their crosshairs, when the sunken no-check-to-write data center depreciation deduction never would. If you're a small company, then AWS is undoubtedly cheaper than your own DC or even most co-hosting.

HTC Quietly Announced a New Android Tablet, and Nobody Noticed

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HTC, the once-impressive Android smartphone manufacturer, has a surprise tablet to accompany its bizarre metaverse-focused Desire 22 Pro. From a report: The new A101 is an Android tablet with a 10.1-inch display, entry-level specs, and a design that's straight out of the middle of the last decade. The device, which we spotted via AndroidPolice, appears to have been quietly announced last month -- according to the Wayback Machine -- and is aimed at the African market. It follows the A100 tablet, which was released in Russia last year to a similar non-reaction. Given that the tablet appears to be marketed solely at emerging markets, I don't want to be too snarky about its specs or design. But it's still just plain weird to see HTC -- makers of literally the first-ever Android phone and a company that Google once entrusted to build a Nexus-branded tablet (the Nexus 9) -- producing forgettable devices like this. The A101 even runs 2020's Android 11 out of the box, rather than Android 12 or the big-screen focused Android 12L.

Breaking news:

By NawShucksNo • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Budget device for non-US/EU market gets little marketing in US/EU. Read all about it!

There is a very simple reason for it

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Nobody expects them to be able to deliver them in any relevant quantity within a relevant timeframe.

Spot the Narcissist

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The author isn't impressed by a device that isn't designed for him, isn't marketed to him, isn't available to him, and he doesn't approve of it not being as new as possible (at any price) so he will forget it and we should think less of HTC. Got it.

Colossal backfire.

Good job, HTC folk.

"8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage" not that old...

By rwrife • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
"8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage" are not specs from last decade, my iPad Pro from last year only has 64GB of storage and it cost a heck of a lot more.

EU Lawmakers Pass Landmark Tech Rules, But Enforcement a Worry

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EU lawmakers gave the thumbs up on Tuesday to landmark rules to rein in tech giants such as Alphabet unit Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, but enforcement could be hampered by regulators' limited resources. From a report: In addition to the rules known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), lawmakers also approved the Digital Services Act (DSA), which requires online platforms to do more to police the internet for illegal content. Companies face fines of up to 10% of annual global turnover for DMA violations and 6% for DSA breaches. Lawmakers and EU states had reached a political deal on both rule books earlier this year, leaving some details to be ironed out. The European Commission has set up a taskforce, with about 80 officials expected to join up, which critics say is inadequate. Last month it put out a 12 million euro ($12.3 million) tender for experts to help in investigations and compliance enforcement over a four-year period. EU industry chief Thierry Breton sought to address enforcement concerns, saying various teams would focus on different issues such as risk assessments, interoperability of messenger services and data access during implementation of the rules.

Re:Can't wait

By dromgodis • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It would be better if they spent their time writing laws that prohibited the data collection and abuse.

Then let companies target ads all they want.

AI-Powered Technology Will Be Used To Speed Up VAR Offside Calls at World Cup

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New AI-powered technology will be used at the Qatar World Cup, Fifa has confirmed, claiming it will halve the time taken to make VAR offside decisions. From a report: Semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) will see a complete overhaul of the system used to judge positional offside decisions in the lead-up to a goal. While a referee and their assistant will still make on-field calls and the referee will have a final say on SAOT decisions, the controversial practice of rewinding TV footage will be a thing of the past.

"Semi-automated offside technology is faster and more accurate and offers better communication to fans," said Pierluigi Collina, the chair of Fifa's referees committee. "It can create a new form of visualisation for supporters at home and in the ground. All tests have worked well and so [SAOT] is going into Qatar World Cup 2022." During the World Cup offside reviews will be conducted by creating a 3D map of the goalscoring action, using a combination of 12 cameras and a hi-tech ball. The Adidas Al Rihla ball will be fitted with a sensor that sends out location data 500 times per second, which will be matched against player positions on camera, with synchronised devices tracking 29 points on players' bodies and relaying information 50 times per second.

The West's Drought Could Bring About a Data Center Reckoning

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When it comes to water use, data centers are the tech industry's secret water hogs -- and they could soon come under increased scrutiny. From a report: The West is parched, and getting more so by the day. Lake Mead -- the country's largest reservoir -- is nearing "dead pool" levels, meaning it may soon be too low to flow downstream. The entirety of the Four Corners plus California is mired in megadrought. Amid this desiccation, hundreds of the country's data centers use vast amounts of water to hum along. Dozens cluster around major metro centers, including those with mandatory or voluntary water restrictions in place to curtail residential and agricultural use.

Exactly how much water, however, is an open question given that many companies don't track it, much less report it. While their energy use and accompanying emissions have made more headlines, data centers' water usage is coming under increasing scrutiny. And as climate change makes water more scarce, pressure could grow on hyperscale data centers to disclose their water use and factor scarcity into where and how they operate. Centers consume water both directly (for liquid cooling) and indirectly (for non-renewable electricity generation). Roughly one-fifth of the data center servers in the U.S. source water directly from moderately to highly water-stressed watersheds, according to a 2021 analysis published in Environmental Research Letters.

Re:Data centers using water

By aaarrrgggh • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Sorry, but you are clueless.

Switch in Las Vegas, as an example, uses significant amounts of water for their cooling towers. They function on evaporation, as the ambient temperature is not conducive to DX cooling. The low humidity (high evaporation rates) is why they have had a competitive cost advantage despite the stupid heat. Beyond cooling towers, many use indirect evaporative air coolers and other evaporative cooling systems.

As a rough order of magnitude, a data center will typically evaporate 1GPM per kW of critical load. When you are talking about over 100MW, it is roughly the equivalent of 700,000 homes.

Re:Data centers using water

By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It doesn't help that(at least historically) electrical cooling costs have been something that gets factored into datacenter efficiency metrics(both for bragging purposes and in the sense that even really sweetheart corporate welfare deals rarely make electricity entirely free); but water use isn't factored in the same way; and if you can get water at agricultural rates it might as well be free; so there's both a financial and a greenwashing incentive to run fewer heat pumps and do more evaporative cooling.

If it were just water being used as a working fluid in heat exchange loops there would still be some consumption; any 'closed loop' of sufficient size is only mostly closed(and water that has been shot full of enough biocides and anticorrosion additives to be used in a coolant loop isn't exactly ready to be reintroduced to society without processing); but it would be vastly less than the actual situation; which is water being used as a sacrificial evaporative coolant.

Re:alfalfa or data centers

By MightyMartian • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Almonds are certainly representative of just how wasteful the US is in water usage. Obviously there are many contributors, but Southern California's agricultural industry is a pretty good example of why building vast farms in arid and semi-arid areas is, in the long term, completely unsustainable. And before someone mentions desalinization, to do it at the levels necessary to replace the collapse in fresh water reserves would a) be unbelievably energy-intensive (in other words, really f---ing expensive) and b) lead to mountains of salt that if dumped in the Pacific Ocean would only make marine ecosystem problems off the coast of California even worse. At some point everyone is just going to have to give up on the idea of Southern California as a major agricultural producer and let the region turn back into what it was once. But I'm sure before that happens they'll drain every once of water out of reservoirs and aquifers, try to convince Congress to seize the Columbia River, completely poison the Pacific coastal waters with nitrates, and make sure the region is poisoned on the same order the ancient Sumerians and Akkadians rendered vast swathes of the Fertile Crescent a few thousand years ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Humans are incredibly bad at long term thinking, and thus just foist it on to their much poorer descendants to clean up the mess.

That's not really a solution

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Unless you want to see food prices quintuple. This isn't really a free market solvable problem. Our food supply is _heavily_ subsidized by the gov't and for good reason. If it gets to the point where large swaths of the public can't afford food, well, this is America, they've got guns. Lots and lots of guns.

And they won't get to Bill Gates or Elon Musk. Those guys got private armies. But the $12/hr security guard of your gated community is probably not gonna take a bullet for you.

Re:alfalfa or data centers

By awwshit • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not exactly. Its really close though.

The analysis ranked pasture first among California's top 10 most water-intensive crops, in some cases grouped by categories (in average acre feet of water applied per acre in one growing season), followed by nuts and alfalfa:

Pasture (clover, rye, bermuda and other grasses), 4.92 acre feet per acre
Almonds and pistachios, 4.49 acre feet per acre
Alfalfa, 4.48 acre feet per acre
Citrus and subtropical fruits (grapefruit, lemons, oranges, dates, avocados, olives, jojoba), 4.23 acre feet per acre
Sugar beets, 3.89 acre feet per acre
Other deciduous fruits (applies, apricots, walnuts, cherries, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, prunes, figs, kiwis), 3.7 acre feet per acre
Cotton, 3.67 acre feet per acre
Onions and garlic, 2.96 acre feet per acre
Potatoes, 2.9 acre feet per acre
Vineyards (table, raisin and wine grapes), 2.85 acre feet per acre

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/...

Large Hadron Collider Discovers Three New Exotic Particles

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The international LHCb collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has observed three never-before-seen particles: a new kind of "pentaquark" and the first-ever pair of "tetraquarks," which includes a new type of tetraquark. The findings, presented today at a CERN seminar, add three new exotic members to the growing list of new hadrons found at the LHC. They will help physicists better understand how quarks bind together into these composite particles. From a report: Quarks are elementary particles and come in six flavours: up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. They usually combine together in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei. More rarely, however, they can also combine into four-quark and five-quark particles, or "tetraquarks" and "pentaquarks." These exotic hadrons were predicted by theorists at the same time as conventional hadrons, about six decades ago, but only relatively recently, in the past 20 years, have they been observed by LHCb and other experiments.

Most of the exotic hadrons discovered in the past two decades are tetraquarks or pentaquarks containing a charm quark and a charm antiquark, with the remaining two or three quarks being an up, down or strange quark or their antiquarks. But in the past two years, LHCb has discovered different kinds of exotic hadrons. Two years ago, the collaboration discovered a tetraquark made up of two charm quarks and two charm antiquarks, and two "open-charm" tetraquarks consisting of a charm antiquark, an up quark, a down quark and a strange antiquark. And last year it found the first-ever instance of a "double open-charm" tetraquark with two charm quarks and an up and a down antiquark. Open charm means that the particle contains a charm quark without an equivalent antiquark.

They are not new particles...

By LordHighExecutioner • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
...but just new combinations of the old ones. If they had discovered a particle not predicted by the Standard Model, that would be very interesting!!!

Re: Three more?

By ZiggyZiggyZig • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Well that ought to be enough for anybody...!

Re:Three more?

By gtall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You put the cart before the horse. In particle physics, the theory is posited first and then experiments are done to look for what the theory predicts. And the theory doesn't exist in isolation, it must be consistent with other confirmed theories. Even then the theories are only confirmed up to some epsilon. So what they see could have another explanation. However, when you choose some alternate explanation, you are choosing an alternate theory. That alternate must now be consistent in the same way the first theory was. Now you have two competing theories.

One doesn't just wind up the LHC's rubber band and look for shit.

Twitter Sues India's Government Over Content Takedown Orders

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Twitter has sued the Indian government to challenge some of its takedown orders, TechCrunch reported Tuesday, further escalating the tension between the American social giant and New Delhi. From a report: In its lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Twitter alleges that New Delhi has abused its power by ordering it to remove several tweets from its platform. The lawsuit follows a rough year and a half for Twitter in India, a key overseas market for the firm, where it has been asked to take down hundreds of accounts and tweets, many of which critics argue were objected because they denounced the Indian government's policies and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'The Phone is Terrible For Cloud Gaming'

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An anonymous reader shares a column: The promise of cloud gaming is that you can do it from anywhere using any device with internet access and a good enough browser (each cloud gaming service seems to have its own requirements on the browser front). You should be able to play super demanding games whether you're on a work trip with nothing but a work laptop or at home and the main TV is being hogged -- or even if you just don't feel like sitting on the couch. But the biggest promise of cloud gaming is that, no matter where you are, if you've got a phone then you've got all your games.

In practice, this is a bad idea. After spending the last few weeks rapturously using my Steam Deck near daily to play games in the cloud, I am never going to willingly attempt cloud gaming on my phone again. Valve's enormous do-anything handheld PC has made me realize that, actually, sometimes dedicated gaming hardware is good! The Swiss Army knife approach to mobile gaming promised by cloud gaming on your phone is about as useful as the saw on a real Swiss Army knife. I appreciate the effort, but I don't actually want to use it.

I've tried to make cloud gaming work on my phone a lot. I've attempted Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Halo and Gears of War and plenty of other games. Each time, I'm hit with wonder because, holy shit, these are demanding AAA games that usually require tons of expensive (and noisy) hardware playing on my phone. That feels like the delivery on a promise tech companies made me decades ago. But the wonder wears off when you cloud game on your phone for an extended period of time. Cloud gaming drains the phone's battery quickly, which means you can and will be feeling the battery anxiety.

Phones are terrible for most things

By Viol8 • Score: 3 • Thread

Its simply their form factor that makes them convenient and functionality gets retrofitted into that. When I'm at home I do everything on the laptop, its much easier not least for input.

phones used to be good for gaming

By Tom • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

When games were made for phones and were actual games. There's quite a few quite good games out there that really work well, and use what the phone provides.

Then "gaming" companies entered the market. The kind of companies that don't make games anymore, but DLC platforms and micro-transaction addiction delivery systems thinly disguised as games. To save dev money, they ported standard PC controls to the phone, so now two virtual joysticks take up half of the screen, or an inventory bar so tiny that you can barely see anything, or any other of "who the f&*k thought this would work?" moments happened.

The vicious cycle is that too many games are crap, so we want to have games for free because we don't trust them with our money anymore, but free games means that DLCs and micro-transactions are needed to fund the game, which means that the game is then getting optimized to sell DLCs and micro-transactions, not to be a good game. Which manys most of these games are crap and there the cycle starts again.

Re:Oh noez!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Cellphones suck at everything. Including making phone calls.

A match made in heaven.

By mjwx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Cloud is terrible for gaming, phones are terrible for gaming, sounds like they were made for each other.

Re:Oh noez!

By dontbemad • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I think you missed his point. Mobile Gaming (think Clash of Clans, etc) is highly addictive and plays into a need for instant gratification from an otherwise non-gamer crowd. The games are designed for phones and have interfaces to suit. Since they are designed to be used for potentially short periods of time and at random, they have many mechanics that allow users to inject a little cash to get a little progress immediately.

What the parent comment was talking about is Cloud Gaming on mobile devices, which allows games to be rendered on a server and streamed to a phone or other device in (sort of) real-time. These are typically much larger console or PC based games that follow more traditional game designs and mechanics, with an emphasis on longer play sessions and deeper engagement. The problem is that they are almost always designed for a mouse and keyboard or a game controller. To compensate for this, streaming apps typically add some sort of button and joystick overlay on the screen to allow for a "similar interface", but they are almost always terrible to use. Game controllers and M&Ks have a huge benefit of real buttons and tactile feedback. Trying to judge how far to move one's thumb on a flat slab of glass without looking is a lesson in frustration.

The article is a very "well no shit" sort of opinion. Anyone who has tried streaming a game to their phone can attest to what a frustrating experience that is. That being said, I'm fine with seeing tech and gaming writers cry about this a bit more (even if it is somewhat clickbait). Their squeaky wheels may end up getting the entire industry the grease it really needs.

Japanese Court Ruling Poised To Make Big Tech Open Up on Algorithms

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Japanese legal experts have said an antitrust case related to a local restaurant website could change how large internet platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon operate in the country, forcing them to reveal the inner workings of their secret algorithms. From a report: Last month, a Tokyo court ruled in favour of Hanryumura, a Korean-style BBQ restaurant chain operator in an antitrust case brought against Kakaku.com, operator of Tabelog, Japan's largest restaurant review platform. Hanryumura successfully argued that Kakaku.com had altered the way user scores were tallied in ways that hurt sales at its restaurant outlets. While Kakaku.com has been ordered to pay Hanryumura $284,000 in damages for "abuse of superior bargaining position," the internet company has appealed against the decision.

Japanese legal experts said the outcome may have far-reaching implications, as the court requested Kakaku.com to disclose part of its algorithms. While the restaurant group is constrained from publicly revealing what information was shown to it, the court's request set a rare precedent. Big Tech groups have long argued that their algorithms should be considered trade secrets in all circumstances. Courts and regulators across the world have begun to challenge that position, with many businesses having complained about the negative impact caused by even small changes to search and recommendations services.

Tabelog is the evil twin brother of Yelp

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Pay us and we will improve your rating.
Tabelog is applying all the same dirty tactics as Yelp.

Yeah, but—

By Barny • Score: 3 • Thread

When the algorithm is just "we insert all the inputs into this AI we trained and it spits out the result", that law isn't going to be all that useful. Oh, I can see the non-technical types then pointing at the AI and saying "Well, show us what's in that!" But that will be even worse. They will just get reams and reams of neuron weights and nothing of actual substance.

All this will do is push more companies to rely on an AI system, since it will be the ultimate defense to this kind of law.

Re:Yeah, but—

By iserlohn • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

>Oh, I can see the non-technical types then pointing at the AI and saying "Well, show us what's in that!" But that will be even worse. They will just get reams and reams of neuron weights and nothing of actual substance.

The way this will develop would be that claimants and their lawyers would then ask for the training data set, together with everything else that makes up the model. Explainability (and the lack thereof) isn't a way out of legal requirements, if anything, it makes the compliance more costly.

Re:Tabelog is the evil twin brother of Yelp

By jrumney • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That isn't really what the case is about though - if it were that simple the chain would just pay them.

Tabelog changed their algorithm some time back in response to complaints from independent restaurant owners that their algorithm was favoring chain restaurants. The chain owner says that 55% of their restaurants' ratings dropped, none went up, as a result of this change, and argue that it disadvantages them compared to independent restaurants. As a remedy they want to see how the algorithm works so they can invest effort that independent restaurants cannot afford into gaming the ratings system, like they used to.