Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


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: It needs to be ridiculously simple (Score 2) 295

by MikeRT (#49125911) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

Most ordinary users I know actually like the idea of encryption. They just can't use it because no one has created a highly opinionated encryption API that is intended to be plugged into browsers, email applications, office suites, etc. and is dead simple to use. This is something that an open source desktop like KDE should take on as a proof of concept. I'm sure there's plenty of code in GPG that could be extracted, turned into a tight little module and then wrapped with really slick C or C++ APIs with really friendly dialogs in Qt or GTK.

Comment: As a BeOS fan (Score 1) 149

by MikeRT (#49086057) Attached to: Google Faces Anti-Trust Probe In Russia Over Android

Let me be the first to say that Yandex sounds like a bunch of whiny losers if this is their comparison. Google isn't imposing anti-competitive contracts on OEMs and using secret APIs to give their products a home turf advantage. They've open sourced the entire OS and most of the problems getting a competing product on an Android device is due to OEM malfeasance.

If Microsoft had competed with Be and Netscape back then like this, I'd be running Firefox on BeOS R10.5 not Windows 7.

Comment: Drones don't say you're serious (Score 1) 131

by MikeRT (#49079355) Attached to: US May Sell Armed Drones

Ground forces, however do. It's time to take the kid gloves off and let the US Army have a free hand at deploying troops against these targets instead. Ground forces say you're committed in a way drones never will. They also tend to produce far fewer non-combatant casualties.

And while we're at it, you want to defund ISIS? Obama could start to weaken them by simply announcing on in a press conference that he has given permission to the DNI and SOCOM to start assassinating any foreign national found intentionally supplying funds to ISIS. Live in Qatar and send them money? Too bad. CIA will slit your throat and dump your body in the gulf if they find you.

Comment: One easy first step for the consumer (Score 1) 111

by MikeRT (#49074493) Attached to: Privacy: the 21st Century's Newest Luxury Item

Pass a federal law that stipulates the following...

1. All programs that deal with user activity data and/or PII must have a privacy policy in a centralized location, prominent on the company's web site.
2. They must be written to the 9th grade reading level and all industry terms must be defined in as close to 9th grade reading level language as possible.
3. Failure to publish a good faith attempt of a privacy policy within one business week of publishing production code is a civil offense with strict liability.
4. Failure to comply within 90 business days is a misdemeanor.
5. A pattern of three or more intentional failures within a five year period is a class E federal felony (1 to 5 years prison).
6. When done to facilitate other classes of crime, it becomes a class D federal felony (5 to 10 years in prison).

Comment: As KDE developer, he's missing the obvious solutio (Score 5, Interesting) 392

by MikeRT (#49070533) Attached to: PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

Make KDE into a full OS. Fork Kubuntu, tell all other distributions that KDE will provide them access to the sources and patches, but KDE intends to become a full competing desktop and tablet OS. Ubuntu vs Mint vs Fedora makes no sense to the casual users I know. If I could hand them a copy of KDE and say "run this" that would improve things tremendously.

Comment: Most of the NSA scandal would go away... (Score 1) 44

by MikeRT (#49049393) Attached to: Tech Industry In Search of Leadership At White House Cyber Summit

If the national security hawks would pass a bill that categorically prohibits the sharing of criminal evidence between national security agencies and law enforcement except where the criminal accusation is based upon violent terrorism, solicitation to terrorism, provision of material aid, treason, efforts to overthrow the United States Government, sabotage the functioning of the United States Government for the direct benefit of a terrorist organization or conspiracy to commit any of the aforementioned. If they really wanted to make the case, they'd make it black letter of the law, strict liability (ie no intent or motive required to be fully guilty) that any assistance involving intelligence methods in ordinary criminal investigations results in immediate revocation of security clearance and life-long removal from civil service qualification.

Comment: Google screwed up badly on the enterprise (Score 2) 271

by MikeRT (#49046393) Attached to: Peak Google: The Company's Time At the Top May Be Nearing Its End

Google has a number of products they could be marketing to private cloud providers and large enterprises. Google Translate alone would probably net them conservatively $100m/year in licensing fees if they offered it on private federal networks with a license system that lets federal contractors develop for free on the open internet version and deploy on private federal networks. Yet I doubt it's even occurred to anyone at Google to have their federal consulting team even ask the Director of National Intelligence, DHS and DoJ how much it would be worth to them.

They sell an overpriced search appliance when in reality what they should be doing is going after software licensing like Autonomy, ElasticSearch and Solr. Again, Google doesn't want to deal with this, even though they could go so far as to create separate corporations that do nothing more than make private deployable forks of Google's ad-supported products.

They've left so much money on the table it's not even funny.

Comment: Misandry (Score 5, Insightful) 288

by MikeRT (#49039237) Attached to: WA Pushes Back On Microsoft and's Call For Girls-First CS Education

Boys are systematically falling behind women across academia and they are obsessed with getting more women into one of the few areas where boys are still doing well. No equivalent zeal for the question of why boys are falling behind on most other subjects. If the roles were reversed with legislators assaulting the few academic strongholds where girls were still excelling, the center and left would be frothing at the mouth about the obviously misogynistic priorities of the government.

There should be absolutely no government concern for women in CS until boys are back up to parity with girls in public education and universities. None. Women already are starting to dominate Law, Medicine and other big former bastions of professional men. The idea that girls face any meaningful barriers to getting an education that leads to a career in a field with solid remuneration is a very sick joke.

Women, particularly feminist women, need to do some serious "privilege checking" on the education issue.

Comment: Perspective (Score 3, Insightful) 716

by MikeRT (#49028189) Attached to: Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex?

Traditionally, one could twiddle who could mount devices via /etc/fstab lines and perhaps some sudo rules. Granted, you had to know where to look, but when you did, it was simple; only two pieces to fit together. I've even spent time figuring out where to look and STILL have no idea what to do.

On the other hands, mounting USB storage "just works" now on Linux.

Comment: Why not? No one takes foreign language seriously.. (Score 1) 259

by MikeRT (#48990291) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission

Foreign language classes in most K-12 classes are so useless that they might as well be disbanded. In most schools, senior foreign language classes are about as difficult as very early elementary school classes in English. I had about 7 years of Spanish between middle and high school; barely learned a damn thing until my senior year when I read the grammar rules and decided to just start talking to a teacher who was actually fluent (ironically, not our Spanish teacher***).

***I also learned basic Esperanto and would respond to his Spanish with Esperanto. If you've ever heard spoken Esperanto, it sounds about as close to Spanish as Portuguese. Needless to say, he often couldn't tell that it was Esperanto.

Comment: Now if they're truly evil (Score 1) 253

by MikeRT (#48978125) Attached to: Microsoft Open Sources CoreCLR, the<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Execution Engine

They'll make a patent pledge to never go after FOSS software and offer a program wherein anyone who uses .NET for commercial purposes can sign a mutual non-litigation agreement over patents pertaining to the use of .NET and the patents covered by the software implemented in .NET.

Comment: Remember folks... (Score 2) 127

by MikeRT (#48969997) Attached to: FBI Put Hactivist Jeremy Hammond On a Terrorist Watchlist

Well, what do you expect from an agency whose director said that despite the fact that Americans who've signed up with ISIS have literally committed treason (since ISIS is a standing army/unrecognized state at war with the US and its allies in Iraq), there's not much more the FBI can do than monitor said Americans if they return to US soil. This is an agency that goes into Shatneresque contortions straining gnats while wolfing down camels like they're popcorn.

Comment: Gun control didn't help Australia here (Score 1) 577

However before you start raving how stupid we Aussie's are, what other country can you name where the leader can go for a regular morning jog in the street without a small army of heavily armed body guards following him around?

Certainly not the UK which has gun laws comparable to Australia. I don't know of any other country where you could make this claim, if it's even generally true of Australia, but even if it is, it's a statistical outlier across the world regardless of gun laws. Chances are that if your leader needs no body guard (this was not true even in the medieval era for monarchs), your leader is simply not important enough for anyone to want dead.

Comment: Evidence of a market failure (Score 4, Interesting) 262

by MikeRT (#48947725) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults

Serious libertarianish social conservative here...

Anyone who thinks there exists more than a Potemkin Village level of competition in this industry is either an idiot or a liar. Exhibit A? You're looking right at it in TFA. In a modestly competitive market, stories like this would get Comcast eaten alive.

If I were a major executive at Verizon, I'd see if we could find these people and if they're anywhere near FiOS. Why? Because I'd order the construction crews to build out to their neighborhoods and then offer them two years of free service just as a publicity stunt to show how much more Verizon cares about its customers than Comcast.

The Tao is like a glob pattern: used but never used up. It is like the extern void: filled with infinite possibilities.