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


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Steve Jobs was abusive, but good at marketing. (Score 1) 200

You think you found an outlet for your anger! You feel superior!

Stories like this Slashdot story did not happen when Steve Jobs was running Apple. Why? Jobs was very careful to assure secrecy until he was ready to announce a finished product.

What happened in this case? Apparently someone at Apple was negotiating with LG. From one of the articles: "In light of the decision, South Korea's LG Display is already planning capacity upgrades." Whoever was negotiating didn't make clear that no information should be made public.

There have been other seriously bad communications errors at Apple since Tim Cook has been in charge. Apparently, even though Tim Cook worked with Steve Jobs for years, Mr. Cook did not learn about marketing from Mr. Jobs.

Comment Re:Uber and pirate bay (Score 2) 47

Fortunately for the rest of us, they can't legislate reality. They take down Napster, it goes fully distributed. They flood the networks with shit, torrent sites provide ratings. They go after TPBs trackers, we get magnet links. They start blocking at ISP level, torrents go encrypted. And sometimes they run into setbacks, they couldn't shut down the Bittorrent protocol. They haven't been able to shut down file lockers. Their mass lawsuits/shakedowns have largely been halted. VPNs and open Wifi is still legal. And when they do score a win like being able to shut down a site, a zillion mirrors and proxies pop up making it futile.

The war on piracy hasn't exactly had the same kind of popular appeal as the war on drugs. It is a lot easier to come up with horror stories about crack whores and heroin addicts than about people pirating MP3s. I'm guessing this is the main reason we haven't seen haven't seen bigger legal opposition is the fact that offense is the best defense, so far the easiest solution has been to come up with a better tool. If they manage to get rapid-fire site take downs in the DNS system, there's also the dark web solution. The TOR system isn't built for heavy P2P, but just for getting magnet links - which is the only thing you need to bootstrap the process - it's plenty. So from where I'm standing they might get bigger and bigger guns, but the target is getting harder and harder to hit in the first place and punch through the armor if you do.

Comment Re:Books thesis (Score 3, Insightful) 134

Well, having worked in both the non-profit sector and in public health, I think the criticisms of the Gates Foundation's public health efforts are malarkey. It's basically an opportunity cost argument and by that standard virtually every charitable foundation is wanting. Why are you spending money on the ballet when there are kids who can't read? Why are you spending money on literacy education when there are kids who don't have enough to eat etc. The problems of the world are endlessly varied and complex, and you can't ask much more of anyone than that they pick a spot and take a whack.

That said, the idea that spending money on infectious diseases is wasteful is particularly inane. Sure, in some places obesity may result in more premature deaths than malaria, but the fact is nobody really knows how to effectively fight an "obesity epidemic", whereas malaria is clearly eradicable -- and once it's gone, it's gone forever, because P. falciparum has no natural host other than humans. The same goes for communicable diseases for which we have vaccines; we know how to fight those cost effectively, even eradicate them in many cases. The missing piece of the puzzle is money.

Now criticism of the foundation's education efforts is a lot more warranted. Just like everybody thinks they're qualified to design a website because they have opinions about which sites they like and don't like, everyone thinks they're qualified to redesign the educational system because they went to school. The difference is that Gates has the money to make his bad ideas materialize. It may be hacker philanthropy, but most attempts at "hacks" result in kluges.

So overall it's a mixed bag. While you do have to give props to Gates for being "the man in the arena", sometimes, unlike in Teddy Roosevelt's famous speech, the man in the arena's failings don't fall exclusively on himself. So while philanthropy is admirable in itself, where the philanthropist's activities impinge on areas of public policy like education his actions should be held up to scrutiny like anyone else's.

Comment Re:Now only if... (Score 2) 47

Yeah, well, don't hold your breath ... if the US doesn't launch some form of trade sanctions I'll be surprised.

Since the EU is a free trade block and Sweden is a member, I doubt they can do much of anything. Through good services like Spotify they've curbed much of the public appeal of piracy and the Pirate Party is at ~0.4% far from any seats in the general elections and they lost their MEPs in the 2014 elections. They got more to lose than gain by revitalizing the public debate again, particularly anything that looks like US interference which is what pissed many Swedes off back in 2006.

Comment Re:Low calorie noodles already exist (Score 1) 148

Substituting oat fibre for cellulose isn't going to make any difference to taste or anything else. I doubt it would be any more sustainable either. I can believe that konjac is weird in the mouth since lots of sites carry warnings to drink water because it doesn't dissolve the way other gelatinous products do.

Comment Re:Where was the CIA, FBI and NSA... (Score 3, Insightful) 277

How do you know it was credible, besides through the benefit of hindsight? The CIA/FBI/police get 100 tip-offs per day that the stranger down the street must be a drug dealer/kiddie fiddler/international terrorist because he can't whistle 'Dixie'.

Strawman argument. The point is that there were several credible warnings of both an Al Qaeda attack and specific concerns with piloting students affiliated with them, some from foreign intelligence agencies; all these reports were not duly considered and discarded -- not because they were the moral equivalent of not being able to whistle "Dixie", but because of organizational and political dysfunction.

It was a failure -- specifically a failure to do something that was well within the government's power to do. I'm not saying that signals intelligence is not important, but it's an evasion of responsibility to claim our failure to take effective action was because we needed some technical capability that we lacked at the time. We had everything we needed to catch the 9/11 hijackers before they struck except for leadership.

God is real, unless declared integer.