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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Clarification of Spying (Score 5, Insightful) 363

by Felix Da Rat (#45864745) Attached to: Senator Bernie Sanders Asks NSA If Agency Is Spying On Congress

One of the things Bernie did worth noting is clearly stating what he means as spying:

"Spying" would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business?

Part of me thinks he has evidence of them engaging in something like that, much like Wyden asking Clapper about the wholesale collection effort. But with the clarification, and coming in written form, it makes a 'Not Wittingly' answer less liely (granted, Wyden did forewarm Clapper of the question, and did give his office time to change their answer afterwards).

Comment: Technical solutions? (Score 3, Interesting) 513

by Felix Da Rat (#38621924) Attached to: Lawmakers Intent On Approving SOPA, PIPA

I'm doing what I can on the social front (emailing and calling), but if (when) this does pass, what is the best way to route around the damage on a personal level?

We got a large number of suggestions for alternate providers with the GoDaddy debacle; can we get some suggestions of good international VPN / Proxy providers? Alternate suggestions for dealing with this?

Comment: Costs of texting (Score 2) 519

by Felix Da Rat (#35700894) Attached to: Pirated Android App Shames Freeloaders

If you figure that a lot of carriers charge around $0.10 / text, if someone has more than 21 friends in their phone, it'll cost more in messages charges than buying the app. Some vendors charge even more per text (which is a separate rant), so this could add up FAST.

I don't have a problem with that - heck I hope the author could find a way to get paid by those messages. But I could see some litigious asshat with 700 'friends' in their phone getting pissed when they get a huge bill.

If I was the author, I'd cap it at 21 friends - has all the effects of the shaming, but closely reflects the authors own stated value of the app.

Comment: Re:Artificial scarcity (Score 1) 127

Have you ever bought anything from someone that produced it face to face? Because it really isn't about how 'expensive' it is, that's a given in the transaction - materials have cost. It's about the 'how much extra is this worth?'.

This guy is looking to make a profit, no doubt, but doing so by providing a service where the big telecoms have said there is no profit to be made. I hope he does well, and I hope he makes his way to NoVA (Northern Virginia) 'cause I'll sign up just to support diversity - even if I keep on with my higher level service.

What is profitable for a "Big Business" is gratuitous for most townships in the US of A. The margins most that business runs on at that level are so small that only the scale keeps them from falling apart. What do we get as the consumer? Cheap goods, crap support, but we get a great price from a locked in provider.

Hell, I love my FiOS, but I'd ditch it in a heart beat if someone local could give me similar speed and no Verizon tech support. Or billing dept. run around... Unfortunately, the entry cost is too high in the metro areas, so small companies have to start in the cracks...

tl;dr - Guy sees a market and is going for it where big business isn't. He must be evil.

Comment: Re:Status Bar??? (Score 1) 537

by Felix Da Rat (#34887182) Attached to: Firefox 4 Beta 9 Out, Now With IndexedDB and Tabs On Titlebar

^ This.

I like most of the interface, but I'm not happy about not being able to see where I'm going. We always have PDF warning here, and now my browser will no longer give me that same heads up when I'm clicking even a reasonably long link. If it was an option, that would be one thing, but not having a choice on this - it's making me mad.

Comment: Perspective (Score 5, Insightful) 696

by Felix Da Rat (#34698398) Attached to: Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers

WikiLeaks is different. It revels in the revelation of "secrets" simply because they are secret.

The article misses one huge fact - Mr. Ellsberg is an American, Mr. Assange is not. While Ellsberg leaked information people needed to know, he was doing so to show how his country was lying to the population. Assange shows other countries places where their governments have lied to their people due to US pressure.

Who is served by the release of these cables is a huge difference between the two situations.

Comment: Block the Sale (Score 5, Interesting) 68

by Felix Da Rat (#34660426) Attached to: FCC Chair Seeks Comcast-NBC Merger Conditions

If there are such serious concerns for what impact the sale will make, block it on anti-trust issues. I'm not one for government regulation, but we have some laws for situations like this.

These weak concessions, and planning on negotiating them down, makes this appear as little but a panacea for the citizens anger when they start getting shafted.

Comment: Purpose? (Score 1) 402

by Felix Da Rat (#34586424) Attached to: UN Considering Control of the Internet

So what impact would this group have on things such as 'Cyberwar'? A number of the governments mentioned in the article have sunk Billions of dollars into the development of such programs - I doubt they'd be happy to just 'write it off'.

Would this group go after China for hacking the Google servers? Or would it focus on catching nefarious individuals wanted for questioning? (Sorry Interpol - you might do decent things, but you deserve to catch flack for that.)

Would this group ease extradition between countries? If so, aren't there warrants out for the heads of Google and Facebook in Pakistan?

What actual purpose would this working group serve?

NASA

Is the ISS Really Worth $100 Billion? 503

Posted by Soulskill
from the sure,-take-a-check? dept.
Ponca City writes "JR Minkel writes on Space.com that as NASA celebrates the 10th anniversary of astronauts living on the space station — and with construction essentially complete — the question remains: will the International Space Station ever really pay off scientifically? The space agency contends that the weightless environment provided by the station offers a unique way of unmasking processes of cell growth and chemistry that are hidden on Earth, but some critics don't see a zero gravity laboratory as filling a crucial scientific need. Gregory Petsko, a biochemist at Brandeis University, says the only basic science justification he has ever heard for the station is that protein molecules form superior crystals in the microgravity of space than they do on Earth and a best-case scenario, in terms of return on investment, would be if a space-grown crystal were used to design a blockbuster pharmaceutical drug that worked by precisely targeting one of those proteins. Naturally NASA sees things differently. 'I think those who are naysayers haven't given us a chance — haven't given us enough time to show what we can do. We're just now turning the path to be able to go full force on our science. In the past we had to fit it in around assembly, we didn't have the facilities available, and the crew was always busy.'"

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 3, Insightful) 676

by Felix Da Rat (#33993846) Attached to: WikiLeaks Releases Cache of 400,000 Iraq War Documents

If the released reports are biased, the government will give us the whole story, right?

Right?

Wikileaks may have a bias, but they also know their message is destroyed if they are shown to censor data for their effort. The 'Collatoral Murder' fisasco showed that. Even there, they provided the full video but put the focus on where *the issue* was for a short attention span viewing crowd.

Bug

IRS Servers Down During Crucial Week 93

Posted by timothy
from the get-in-line-citizen dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "A planned server outage turned into an unplanned glitch for the Internal Revenue Service, and it comes at a very bad time. The IRS planned the server outage for the holiday weekend ... but today they couldn't get the system back into operation. This week is the deadline for filing 2009 tax returns for taxpayers who got extensions. So far it's not having a huge impact since the shutdown only involves the updated version of the e-filing system, and most programs used by large tax companies like H&R Block will default to the older version. There's no estimate on when the system will be back up."

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

Working...