Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Polls on the front page of Slashdot? Is the world coming to an end?! Nope; read more about it. ×

Comment: Re:I want my old /. With BlackJack and Hookers. (Score 1) 125

by j-turkey (#49834281) Attached to: nmap Maintainer Warns He Doesn't Control nmap SourceForge Mirror

Who's we white man?

Now I'm white and a man?

I really hope that you were joking too. I don't know you, so just in case - here's the joke that I was referencing. :)

"We" is the people that actually do work in the tech industry & engineering. When I go to work in the morning I don't care if you're white, black, purple, gay, straight, trans-gendered, female, pierced, tattooed, et al. All I care about (those that I work about care about) is if you get your work done and if it's quality work. It's been that way for a while and it's been that way with most people I work with and know.

It's why a lot of similar industries don't care about your attire and you can get away with piercings, colored hair and tattoos

It's great that all you care about is results. I wish that there were more people like you. However, it doesn't mean that the tech industry is immune from the wage gap (or position gap) between men and women. It has and it continues to happen. There are some companies who are pioneers in this sense, too. However, these are not the norm. While I am optimistic about progress, we have a long way to go to establish equality. I welcome hearing about it on Slashdot, as the topic is worthy of discussion. To squelch discussion is being complicit with the status quo, which is a form of racism/sexism in and of itself. Please don't take that as me accusing you of anything. It's not my point. My point is to explain the merits of discussing it here.

That's the thing. I believe in social justice. And the way to get 'social justice' is to stop pointing out the differences and turning sides against each other. Women and LGBT have been in 'industry' for a long time. (Grace Murray Hopper graduated from Yale in the 30s) It's not an issue for most people. The only people that think it's an issue are the ones that are trying to grandstand it into something more than it is.

Tim Cook wasn't really deep in the closet before he came out, it's just that it was a non-issue around Apple.

I agree that the tech industry is diverse. However, it continues to be a male-dominated industry. If certain people feel alienated, or there is a wage/position gap - should they not be free to voice their opinion? Should they not be welcome to engage in discussion about it (it's not like anyone is forcing anyone else to participate in it)? What makes Slashdot the wrong place for it? I mean, if they're "nerds" in their field, should they head over to and discuss it there? Just because the CEO of Apple's sexuality was a non-issue, does it mean that others in other companies do not experience it on a wholesale basis? Another example: while I am a huge admirer of Grace Hopper, her story is an exceptional one, considering that she practically stands along among history's female computer pioneers.

With respect to how to achieve social justice, I don't know if I agree with you. There is really no way to point out how inequality within the status quo without someone feeling attacked. Every online discussion that I have ever read about gender equality or racism results in a person in the majority (who is usually white, male, and/or heterosexual) attacking back, or at least pushing back in a way that indicates that they feel threatened. This type of behavior is endemic to the status quo. An attempt at social change that will negatively affect the privileged will often result in a negative response. At best, activists of social justice are accused of being divisive or stirring the pot. Maybe they are being divisive, but maybe they're right to be if they've been living with inequality their entire lives.

I also understand your point about grandstanding. However, if we agree to stipulate that there are a few people who grandstand about race/gender/LGBT issues for their own purposes, I don't think that it is fair to dismiss or otherwise not discuss all other claims on that basis. Similarly, when you mentioned in the GPP that you didn't care about Gamergate - I really do. I mean, this was a case of gamers actively harassing outspoken women who wished nothing more than to change the status quo of what they believe is sexist industry and culture. Irrespective of the merit of the actual arguments, the community response was generally despicable, and I couldn't think of a better place for it than Slashdot.

I'm not trying to get into an argument with you here. I honestly respect your opinion - and I can see that we feel differently about this. That's fine. We live in a fairly diverse country, and the tech industry does not exist in the vacuum of a few companies who pioneer. My point is that I welcome hearing voices from all of these people here.

Comment: Re:I want my old /. With BlackJack and Hookers. (Score 0, Flamebait) 125

by j-turkey (#49830499) Attached to: nmap Maintainer Warns He Doesn't Control nmap SourceForge Mirror

I like a lot of what you had to say, but please forgive me for being pedantic on one point that you've made.

On 'Gamergate', 'sexual equality', 'gender issues', we don't care

Who's we white man? ;)

It's great for you that you're privileged enough to not have to care about issues of gender equality. However, to be clear, I do care about that stuff, and if you have any interest in social justice, I believe that you should too.

My last point with respect to your sinking ship comment, I believe that there is one major shortfall that you missed, and it's not /.'s fault. It's the /. user community itself. Seriously, commenters here are almost as bad as YouTube - going straight for the ad hominem jugular over something as minor as an error in punctuation (or worse, a technical error in a post). I suppose that it's endemic to any Internet forum, but some places are better than others...and this place is worse than many others. It's like a magnet for internet buttholes and tough guys. There isn't much that can be done about it, other than trusting the moderation system, but that kind of environment does tend to stifle productive and respectful dialog.

Comment: Re: Signs you are in trouble (Score 4, Informative) 160

How is this a hard problem? The Spideroak cloud storage service does this; uploaded files are encrypted before they leave your machine. Even the file names are secret; the servers have zero knowledge of the file's name or type or contents.

Services like SpiderOak sacrifice features people want, in order to get that. For instance, no search. No web preview or editing. Clunky sharing. No password recovery if you forget.

Still, I was mostly thinking about other services. If you look at some of the features Google Photos has like being able to do text search for untagged photos using image recognition, there's no technical way to do that in a blind manner right now.

Comment: Re:Signs you are in trouble (Score 2, Informative) 160

The advantage Apple has is that they don't rely on advertising for any significant part of their revenue.

That's the theory Apple is peddling. It doesn't match up very well with reality though.

Firstly, don't get me wrong, I love Tim Cook's stance. I love that Apple is pushing encryption. I don't want to see them stop. But Silicon Valley needs to move as one here, and this sort of competitive sniping isn't really helping.

The only product Apple has that's actually end to end encrypted is iMessages. But WhatsApp is also encrypted in the same way, and that's owned by Facebook, which makes its money by advertising. So much for that theory.

All the other cloud products Apple has work in exactly the same way as their competitors do: you upload unencrypted documents to Apple, who then store and process them for you. And this is a technological constraint, not a business model constraint. Keeping servers fully blind as to the data they're working with is an open field of academic research. It's not something that Google or Facebook or Twitter or DropBox or whoever are holding back from because they hate privacy. It's just a really hard problem.

And finally Apple does of course have an advertising product. It has iAds. That has not been a successful product for them, but it's not for lack of trying.

So when you actually examine the details of Apple's products, you see that they're not really any different to what their competitors are doing. Cook's statements sound good to the non-expert listener, but it's just marketing.

What's more, there's a rather problematic assumption underlying Cook's position. Apple indeed makes most of its money from the extremely fat margins it makes from iPhone buyers, who consistently pay way over the odds for what they're getting. But it's only possible for Apple to subsidise its cloud offerings via fat hardware margins because Apple ignores the low end of the market. Indeed, given their attempts to destroy Android, it's fair to say Apple not only ignores the low end but would be quite happy if people too poor to buy an iPhone had no smartphone technology at all. Advertising as a business model may not be perfect but it's the reason that people in Africa can buy smartphones for $30 and use services like Google Maps, Search, Photos, etc. People who live outside affluent countries matter too.

Comment: Re:Care to explain that? (Score 1) 256

by IamTheRealMike (#49825461) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

I posted specific examples so that people could discuss the issues and point out problems with the conclusion. Several, in fact.

None of your examples support your thesis. I've been reading and posting to Slashdot for 15 years. People posting "an opinion that's not *quite* right just to get people to respond" is pretty much the lifeblood of Slashdot, how else would you test out ideas and discover they were wrong? Heck, in another story I'm getting my ass kicked right now because I didn't know that light American aircraft had registration numbers visible from the ground. Other posters are setting me straight. Yet I do not work for some shadowy organisation.

Your other examples are equally bizarre. People posting that they think the Paul's have a few good ideas and lots of crazy ones? That's not an organised conspiracy, that's just ..... a common viewpoint! One that was even mocked and made fun of in the last story about Rand Paul I remember reading.

You took the most vulnerable example and framed it in a "conspiracy theorist" context, and used it to frame the entire position. That's fine, it's a good use of rhetoric, but it adds nothing new to the conversation other than "in my opinion...".

You're the one using rhetoric! I didn't take "the most vulnerable example", I picked one at random because they're all equally ridiculous. Why exactly would any government or paid trolling operation even care about Uber?

And yes, if it's not clear, my reply said in my opinion you are sounding kind of crazy and appear to be giving in to paranoid delusions. Your position is: they don't disagree with me because they think I'm wrong. They disagree with me because there's a vast shadowy conspiracy to undermine me, Okian Warrior, and my world view, using subtle powers of rhetoric!

Occam's Razor says that, maybe, Uber is controversial and politicians like the Paul's tend to have many different views, with which few if any people agree completely.

Because looking at the chemical plant explosion hoax [] and Acorn hoax [] would indicate ro me that sock puppets can have an enormous negative effect on public opinion and government policy

What change to government policy did the chemical plant hoax bring about, exactly? And what effect on public opinion? Your link provides no backing for this assertion. It seems like the hoax was nothing more than a bizarre timewaste, given the triviality of phoning the chemical plant and discovering it was not on fire.

If you really can't see why "be careful of sock puppets" is damaging, just go browse further down this thread. There's an example of a guy who says he is Russian asking for evidence that Russia shot down the jet liner. And literally EVERY reply except mine is on the lines of, "go away paid Putin troll". That kind of thing shuts down debate and closes people's minds.

What's more - there's nothing you can do about it. So what if some people are being paid to post to Slashdot? What's the worst they can do, exactly? Say things you don't like to hear?

Comment: Re:Life in prison (Score 2) 213

by IamTheRealMike (#49825135) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

The judge talked about that argument quite extensively in her sentencing. She had read academic studies of violence in the drug trade and found Ulbricht's arguments about lessening violence to be wanting - she pointed out that the drug trade causes lots of violence upstream.

Now you can of course argue that this is only because drugs are illegal. And that might well be true. But even if America legalises every drug tomorrow, Indonesia is still gonna have the death penalty for dealing, and the illegal drugs trade will still exist, and Silk Road would still be a part of it.

Comment: From who? (Score 5, Insightful) 152

by IamTheRealMike (#49825083) Attached to: FBI Is Behind Mysterious Flights Over US Cities

The planes are registered with fictitious companies to hide their association with the U.S. government.

Hide their association from who, exactly? Air traffic control? It's not like you can see who registered a plane from the ground.

This statement just screams "we are breaking the rules and don't want to get caught"

Comment: Re:It's very real (Score 1) 256

by IamTheRealMike (#49824879) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Yes, see, the moderation and replies to this post are quite disturbing.

This troubles me greatly. Internet debate is being shut down on the internet, but not by paid Russian trolls. I have yet to see proof of such things happening on Slashdot, and the article itself largely draws blanks with regards to English-language interference.

Debate is being shut down by an army of people who automatically assume any position they disagree with w.r.t Russia is held by "non people" and therefore anything they say can be safely ignored. It's basically a modern witchhunt - your opinions look funny to me, so you must be a witch! Burn them! Evidence? We don't need none of that, just look at those opinions!

Given the fairly direct path between "westerners demonizing Russia" and "war" this is one of the most disturbing things I've seen on the internet in years. Now is the time for people to use the internet to talk to each other and understand each others viewpoints. Instead people in the west are simply sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "LA LA LA PUTIN TROLL CAN'T HEAR YOU".

Fuck, you know what? As far as I'm concerned, even if there are people being paid to post Putin's views on Slashdot - bring it on! Our media doesn't even try to tell the Russian side of the story, and as the Slashdot poll disclaimer says, you shouldn't be making decisions based on internet popularity contests anyway. I'll evaluate things I read for myself and so should everyone else.

Comment: Re:Don't forget slashdot (Score 2) 256

by IamTheRealMike (#49824791) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Er, I think what you are observing is just called debate. People disagree with you about Uber? No conspiracy theory needed for that - perhaps your views about what other people think just aren't as accurate as you had believed. Rand Paul? Likewise.

There have been delusional people with nonsensical arguments on the internet since the internet was invented. As with terrorism, this recent rise of "you disagree with me thus you must be a secret government paid sockpuppet" is by far more damaging than anything paid trolls could actually do by themselves. It ends debate and closes people's minds. They can rest easy without having to be troubled by arguments that suggest they may be wrong, because ZOMG RUSSIA! Where by $RUSSIA you can of course substitute almost any government, as if there's one thing Snowden showed us it's that the idea of western exceptionalism on the internet is pretty naive.

Comment: Re:RAND PAUL REVOLUTION (Score 1) 499

Greece is running a primary surplus right now. So try again

Um, according to their own figures which are highly dubious they were, but now are not anymore. And whilst a primary surplus is an interesting metric, you can't simply ignore debt. It's not ignorable. What they actually have is a massive deficit they cannot fix.

Spain and Ireland were running large surpluses when the crisis hit.

Bear in mind that there was a lot of lending from bad banks which was then taxed.

Says you. Meanwhile here, in the real world big state countries like Canada, France and Germany seem to sustain their debts without problems. Yes creditors asked for a smaller state. What else is news? Yet their interest rates are extremely low, which shows that at the end of the day said creditors are happy with the status quo.

As I pointed out already Germany is paying off its debts, it has a real budget surplus. Other EU countries have low interest rates because the ECB is more or less outright funding them at this point: it's not a real market when one of the biggest players can create their own money.

Comment: Re: Simplistic (Score 1) 363

Not really. Spoken like somebody who had crap teachers. Back in times of yore when people were still using the transmission model that might have been workable. But, it's a good example of being penny wise and pound foolish.

What kind of utopia did you grow up in? I'm 31 and 90% of my teaching at high school and university could best be described as "transmission". Long lessons full of note taking, reading the textbooks, and then if we got lucky we'd get to duplicate some practical work the teacher just showed us. Yes, sometimes you got individual assistance if you were falling behind. And sometimes you didn't. It was ridiculously high stress and a generally crappy way to teach people. That was in the UK. University was even worse: same style of teaching, minus the actual love of it that many of my high school teachers did at least have.

I do not believe schools have changed significantly in the last 15 years. Vast majority of the work teachers were doing could be replaced by high quality optimised lectures a la Khan Academy, automated question setting/marking, plus in-class supervisors (basically the nannys OP mentioned), plus on demand assistance from pools of remote teachers in cheaper countries.

Comment: Re:Simplistic (Score 1) 363

Not this again. The truth is there has been NO ADVANCES in AI since the 1970's. NONE.

lol. Google disagrees with you. They saw the word error rate on their voice recognition drop to near-human levels of accuracy due to the deployment of deep neural nets. DNNs were NOT available in the 1970's by the way. The concept of a neural net was, but nobody knew how to build one that worked like they do today. Obviously "learning how to build something that was previously impossible" is an advance under any reasonable definition.

Comment: Re:RAND PAUL REVOLUTION (Score 3, Insightful) 499

In real life, as opposed to in your head, evidence suggests that to the contrary, what is better for everyone is a rather expansive state. To wit, in most indicators, including wealth, large state countries such as western Europe, Canada and Japan are at least comparable and often better than the USA, while small state countries such as Somalia or Haiti are much below

By that logic Greece should be paradise.

Right now most big, rich, western countries with high quality of life are supporting themselves either via oil or via debt. That is not sustainable, which is why many European countries are either significantly cutting back the state or being told they really need to by various creditors. Balanced budgets as in Germany are sustainable, but Germany is also a fair bit poorer than people realise: wages have hardly gone up there for many years.

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. -- Isaac Asimov