Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:State Your Name (Score 1) 92

by Antique Geekmeister (#49146337) Attached to: Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech

> Any scammer worth his salt does his homework

I'm afraid not. The scammers tend to be high volume, low overhead operations. Some ongoing email scams and phone scams even seem tuned to fail very quickly for even slightly alert victims, so that the scammer's time isn't wasted on victims who will catch on somewhat further along in the process, and they can invest time in many, many more calls to much easier victims.

Comment: Re:Here is the letter Lenovo sent out to everyone (Score 1) 266

by Antique Geekmeister (#49098897) Attached to: Lenovo To Wipe Superfish Off PCs

There is no hint that they're uninstalling the fake SSL signature authority, which is installed by the software and is fairly easily used for man-in-the-middle attacks of Lenovo customers. I do wonder who has the private keys to that signature authority, because they could have _already_ issued fake SSL certificates for all sorts of fake websites.

Comment: Re:Would it matter? (Score 2) 576


Good archery takes more training, more equipment, and the equipment is much more fragile. A javelin can last for thousands of training uses, sit in a closet or in an armory for decades, and still work perfectly. A bow is much more difficult to make and maintain, much more fragile, and the ammunition is much less durable for training.

Comment: Re:Would it matter? (Score 2) 576

> Would their "old" technology do them a lick of good when a thousand M1 tanks rolled across the field at them? What about when Predator drones are flying overhead launching missiles at their supply depots behind the lines?

Just like the US military in Iraq, right? Or the British, Russian, and now US armies in Afghanistan for the last 150 years? Or both Napoleon and Hitler invading Moscow? While a thousand armored vehicles would flatten any native standing army any interstellar military force has _incredibly_ long supply lines. If transportation and communications are cheap and quick, and the invader's resources large enough, natives can be conquered quickly and thoroughly. But if the supply lines are long, slow, and expensive as we've seen in Terran warfare, we've seen amazing feats of local defenders against invading armies.

If the natives weapons have _any_ effect, home turf advantage and guerrilla warfare are well established and critical factors. One of the critical keys to warfare is the _economics_. Is it worth the resources to commit the invasion justified by the gain? And at interstellar ranges, what does the supply line cost?

Comment: Re:This comment section makes my head hurt (Score 1) 102

by Antique Geekmeister (#49086129) Attached to: Supermassive Diet: Black Holes Bulk-Up On Dark Matter

Because it's the new "phogiston" or the new "ether". It solves certain observational issues, but requires an enormous leap of mathematical and physical faith to assume that it has all the necessary characteristics.

Many of the models that "work better with dark matter" neglect the existence of matter that is not emitting light, but is nevertheless normal matter. Given the observational difficulties for objects and structures billions of light years away and billions of light years old, it's presumptive in the extreme that new and nearly unobservable types of matter exist phenomena like the recent discovery of the much, much larger numbers of cold planets in interstellar space throw all the equations about galaxy size and orbital mechanics into question. And that required no exotic matter.

And let's be clear. There's no observational evidence for "dark matter" itself, only subtle gravitational effects. That's why it's been posited as an exotic form of matter, which "doesn't interact with baryonic matter".

Comment: Re:Pointless (Score 1) 754

by Antique Geekmeister (#49066513) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

> First, what does Stallman have to do with Linux?

The core of "free software" philosophy, and much of the early work, was due to Richard M. Stallman. The Free Software Foundation, which he founded and which does very good work for "free as in speech" software, maintains all of the software at www.gnu.org. This includes.

                        binutils (with command like "ls", "rm", and "mv")

In order to _build_ the Linux kernel and much of the free software and open source software in the world, you need those tools or tools very much like them, maintained separately. Maintaining compilers, particularly, is filled with danger. I'm not aware of any Linux distribution that does not rely on "gcc".

Do look up the early history of Linux: while Mr. Stallman can be aggravating, his political and technical concerns seem well founded and have often proven prescient in their concerns for legal and technical abuse by software companies.

Comment: Re:It's a vast field.... (Score 1) 809

The most common and effective tool for this is "zip", which is universally with built-in tools on every operating system.

The RAR protocol requires a commercial license for archiving documents: there are plenty of free tools to unbundle with it, but the most common archival tools are commercially licensed and awkward to install and certainly not universal. RAR is most common on bittorrented bulky documents, for various reasons, mostly becuase it supports splitting documents quite well.

Comment: Put on coveralls (Score 1) 289

Or an apron, and some gloves. Go out to a homeless shelter, do some work with humans who *do not care* if your manners aren't sophisticated, and prove you're worth something, and stop wanking about how well integrated you are. Earn some space on the planet, and stop worrying about how special you are or not, and go out and *prove* how you matter to someone else.

Comment: Re:Counter-productive (Score 1) 157

by Antique Geekmeister (#49028061) Attached to: DMCA Exemption Campaign Would Let Fans Run Abandoned Games

> Really short when compared to more mature laws, e.g. laws against theft and murder.

Does being thousands of years old really make a law mature, wise, or appropriate today? Or somehow "innate", which was part of The Mighty Yar's original point about copyright? Then oh, my, let's ignore the last 150 years of US law and centuries of various country's laws and return to Old Testament slavery law from Exodus, at the core of all the Hebrew originated faiths:

        Exodus 21:20-21 If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.

The Kung Gao, one of the ldest Chinese legal documents, apparently discusses the treatment of slaves, as does the Code of the Nessilim from the Hittie Empire of Turkey. And yet, despite their maturity, modern law forbids slavery in almost in all nations and in the UN's Slavery Convention. Does that mean that the law is "immature" or somehow invalid?

The "Roman copyright would have extended the Dark Ages" claims is so confused, on so many different levels, I'm unsure where to begin. I will mention that with printing, which is the key technology that copyright exists for, that the Roman Empire might have lasted another 500 years due to the technological, economic, and military advantages it provides. So saying "it would have extended the Dark Ages" is confusing.

Comment: Re:Counter-productive (Score 1) 157

by Antique Geekmeister (#49027799) Attached to: DMCA Exemption Campaign Would Let Fans Run Abandoned Games

> The quote implies that there is no such thing as rightness.

The Hogfather quote is a bit deeper than that, I think. It implies that many human beliefs and policies have no physical basis, but we use them and call them "real" anyway. The very concept of "rights" is itself one of those beliefs and policies, so it's very difficult for them to be "innate". Their being "innate" does not make them more real, in this case, than mercy or justice.

Comment: Re:Counter-productive (Score 5, Interesting) 157

by Antique Geekmeister (#49026619) Attached to: DMCA Exemption Campaign Would Let Fans Run Abandoned Games

> producers have no innate right - only virtual rights granted by law.

To quote Terry Pratchett's book, the Hogfather:


Intellectual property, the power of knowledge, can be considered as valid as any other concept. And it has history and law behind it.

Comment: Re:That was not really an exchange (Score 0) 53

by Antique Geekmeister (#49026523) Attached to: Another Bitcoin Exchange Fraud

What concerns me is that I'm seeing the dotcom businesses starting over, and the next round of neo-libertarians are getting soaked for all their parent's money. How many of the "bitcoin millionaires" who did the actual bitcoin mining actually paid for the power and machinery, rather than "borrowing" the resources? I can't personally think of a single one of the several "bitcoin millionaires" I've met who actually paid for the cost of their fortune themselves.

Comment: Re:well (Score 1) 418

> Basically mains hum, what dam mains hum.

The 60 cycle shows up modulating the "switching" frequencies on many modern, inexpensive power fupplies. If one looks at the noise on the lines carelessly, one will see the relatively high frequency ripple as just that, modest noise, that one ignores. Lock a really good oscilloscope to the local power supply as a trigger, however, filter out the high frequencies, and you'll see a 60 cycle hum on _everything_ that comes out of most modern supplies, including the ground line. And the high frequency switching noise from the rest of the building also tends to pass right through most filtering systems: they're really not built to stop things like ground bounce.

It doesn't matter for most uses, but I spent a fascinating day a few years ago with a scientist doing low level research, and the 60 cycle was coupling to _everything_, including the ground lines. He eventually had to to to isolated battery supplies, and run everything off of a motor generator to keep out the ground bounce.

Force needed to accelerate 2.2lbs of cookies = 1 Fig-newton to 1 meter per second