Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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: It's a funny world (Score 1) 149

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#47552743) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

Then I tried Windows 8.1, and was pretty much even more lost. I added the start menu add-on program, and it got a little better, but still, a lot of basic things like closing programs, switching windows, etc. was just impossible.

Ok, so in Windows 8.1 all programs have the familiar X in the top right corner to close, both in desktop and metro mode (you can also swipe them down from top, and shouldn't really be concerned with "closing a program" to begin with when it is handled properly by the OS, but lets forget about this newfangled stuff). Same with minimize. And switching programs is the same old Alt-Tab as it has always been. Or if you want, mouse to top left corner to get a list (one of just a couple of things shown to you at Win8 install/upgrade). And if you like direct access to power user stuff Win-X (or mouse right click left corner) is a better friend than anything Win7 had to offer. But hey, if we don't want to we don't want to.

Comment: Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (Score 1) 190

This - so much this. For popular journeys, mass transit is going to be considerably more efficient.

But keep the bubblecars for trips to rural/remote locations, and the elderly and disabled who need door to door service.

Perhaps a shuttle-type tram/train with 'pod docks' would be the ideal combination, maximising takeup, reducing stop frequency and offering end-to-end service for those who needed it.

Something like this adopted for pod cars too.

Comment: Re:I can't wait.... (Score 1) 173

IE won the browser war, but failed to meet the objectives.

During the 1990's that big browser war between IE and Firefox, Millions of dollars pushed to a free (as in beer) web browser, so they can obtain dominance, and use this dominance to push their standards, to keep people locked in.

Microsoft won the war... However they never got a food hold on pushing the standards, the Web Standards seemed to move around them, not threw them. Things like Active X which was suppose to be the killer feature in IE, had became a major security problem, thus only used by poorly designed intranet apps. Then when AJAX+CSS 2 became popular and implemented for all other browsers it came to a point where you are better off not using IE, for your experience.

During the 1990s the big browser war was between Netscape and IE, and by version 3 and 4 IE became the better browser of the two (yes, hard as that is to believe today), and Netscape was even worse in pushing their own standards.

ActiveX was a killer feature for developers of the day, that is why it was adopted so much, which later bit everyone in the ass -- and there is a learning here for today's developers that can't wait to implement non-standardized vendor specific prefix functions in production sites because of the nice functionality they offer..

I agree with you that IE then really fell behind other browsers in the age of modern AJAX and CSS web sites, which is quite ironic given that Microsoft actually invented the basis for AJAX (with XMLHttpRequest). But not very surprising, as they actually disbanded their IE team. They are catching up quite nicely now from IE11 and onward though, which is a good thing for the web and web developers.

Comment: Re:Style over substance (Score 2) 188

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#47117699) Attached to: Apple Confirms Purchase of Beats For $3 Billion

unless they are blinded, and then that ability magically goes away.

Properly conducted double blind ABX tests are incredible insights into how perceptions influence our experiences. People who are just absolutely no questions about it convinced they have no problem whatsoever tasting or hearing a difference shockingly often lose that ability when they really don't know what they are tasting/listening to.

Comment: Re:Tests can never catch these bugs (Score 1) 116

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#47018757) Attached to: Finding More Than One Worm In the Apple

Sadly, it's a shame that people put much faith in AV programs given their effectiveness ( I think author R.R. Martin has it right (, keep separate machine for different purposes - one for serious work and one for messing around with. It doesn't feel like a good idea to use one machine for everything.

Symantec is mixing up stuff here to try to position themselves for the new hot profitable APT market. For one; the context of this quote about AV being dead was a WSJ interview with the CEO where he said it in the context if Symantec being able to increase their profit, as AV has become quite cheap and APT is getting all the nice profit margin - it was not said in a context of user need, but in a context of Symantec profit need.

Then they mix up some statistics about targeted advanced hacker attacks (APT), which of course isn't stopped by AV, but it doesn't make the treat from traditional malware any less. All reports and research show that regardless of APT, the threat from standard malware is increasing, not decreasing (just as those hit by Cryptolocker..).

Yes, AV is not 100%. There will be APT type attack that bypass it, and there will be time periods with brand new malware that bypass it. But that last point is often overblown. Well over 90% of actual real world infections are from known malware that would be stopped by a good AV program. Even a condom isn't 100% safe, that doesn't mean that it is meaningless to use a condom.

Comment: Re:Tests can never catch these bugs (Score 1) 116

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#47018519) Attached to: Finding More Than One Worm In the Apple

For the same reason new viruses will always defeat anti-virus software: Each virus is tested against existing anti-virus programs and only released into the wild when it has defeated all of them.

Not all of them. Malware writers go for the biggest targets for the least effort, and often just test against (and even have active intervention against) the best known/most used free AV programs (Microsoft, Avast, AVG, etc.), since a major volume of users use free solutions, and the major commercial (Symantec, Trend, Kaspersky, F-Secure, McAffee, etc.). It is actually a good bet that if you go with a lesser known commercial AV product you gain a significant protection advantage.

Comment: Re:Overpriced snake oil salesmen (Score 0) 198

Right. I continue to be baffled by people that will buy crappy headphones with some random musicians name on them and think they'll in any way sound good.

In speakers, size matters. Yes, you can get big crappy sounding speakers. But the one thing you'll never get small good sounding speakers. Laws of physics and all. This is also why Bose sucks and have been conning guys that watch infomercials for decades.

If you want affordable, good sounding speakers, you have to build them yourself. Get one of versions of these:

They don't have a huge amount of bass, but I'm betting they will be the best speaker most slashdotters have ever heard. And you can put them together with wood glue, scotch tape and a soldering iron.

There is a lot of variation within this rule of size that often invalidates it. These babies for instance, will play better than much bigger speakers from well known and respected brands.

Comment: Re:Lol whut? (Score 2) 175

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#46907919) Attached to: Free Can Make You Bleed: the Underresourced Open Source

$50K a year can be a bargain compared to development and maintenance in-house.

Don't forget that what is "outsourced" for you is "in-house" for the outsourcer. If you can't beat him on price and assuming similar labor costs, it means you have poor/too much management overhead.

Or, the commercial $50K a year solution has the advantage of scale by spreading its cost on multiple customers. If the commercial provider has 1000 customers paying $50K a year, the economy of that is hard to beat by being lean on management overhead.

Comment: Re:Please... (Score 1) 93

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#46838975) Attached to: Google Plus Now Minus Chief Vic Gundotra

Yeah plenty of competition in the social media space is important but I can't get much use out of G+. It comes across as a clumsy answer to a question nobody was really asking.

Oh, it was an attempt at answering a question Google most certainly was asking - how can we get some of those Facebook ad billions and additional user tracking info.

Comment: Re:Leaked by codenomicon (Score 2) 582

Gloat? About what? This only provides proof of the benefits of open source - a significant flaw was discovered, which is exactly the claimed advantage - the more eyes, the better.

But it wasn't found by eyes, in the source. It was found by automated testing tool that would have just as easily found it in closed source.

Comment: Re:Wat? (Score 1) 582

In the self-mythology of FOSS, bugs like Heartbleed aren't supposed to happen when the source code is freely available and being worked with daily.

False. Bugs can and do happen. However, what can also happen with open source software is that entities other than the group working on the project can find bugs. In this case, Google found the bug. If the source were not open, maybe it would have never been officially recognized and fixed.

The Hartbleed bug was found using automated testing by two researches from Codenomicon and one from Google, and they disclosed it with enough detail to replicate. Closed or open source wouldn't have made a difference in how this was discovered or reported. It might have made a difference in how it was responded to, but that is hard to prove.

Comment: Re:Probably typical (Score 1) 121

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#46745477) Attached to: 44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

Why is this modded as "troll"? The points raised are valid. How many accounts have you lot created on the billion sites and how many are actually used?

I don't think he deserved troll at all, but I do think he is mistaken. Not about the dead accounts, they obviously exists in great volume, but the assumption that these are counted in quoted user numbers. Almost all large online services, and third party statistic sites like Comscore, use "logged in at least once last month" as the metric for their user count. Where there is inflation in user numbers are when multi-service companies are making sure that users that intended to go to one service also "visits" another (looking at you Google+).

Comment: Re:Good for you. (Score 1) 641

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#46703051) Attached to: Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

I see dozens of computers a year running modern operating systems with up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls installed that are full of viruses and other malware. User behaviour is the major problem here and his paranoia and your wisdom are probably what protect you the most, not the version of Windows you do or do not run.

Still, most research show that as much as 90% of real world infections are happening through already patched vulnerabilities, eg. could have easily been avoided without changing user behaviour - except the update or not behaviour (not only Windows, but Adobe, Java, browser, office, etc.). There are good cross-vendor patch & remediation solutions for business that solves this for you, I'm surprised this is not offered as a managed solution to consumers as well (or perhaps it is? I have not seen it).

Comment: Re:Projections (Score 1) 987

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#46626611) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming
I really don't understand what you are trying to say or accomplish. This is not about any side being "morally or ethically pure". You, like a lot of similar anti-science sentiments (evolution, homeopathy, moon landing, what have you), are trying to debate the scientific principle, without any support from actual scientists.

Comment: Re:Projections (Score 1) 987

by Gunboat_Diplomat (#46625841) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming
You really don't know much about science do you? Most scientists throughout history are known for loving the situation you describe. The love to poke holes in other scientists theories. To prove fellow scientists wrong. To be right, in face of opposition and disbelief. You are dismissing one of the primary driving forces of science throughout the history of science.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.