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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Thank god (Score 2) 229

No idea about trade since I never bother with it, but an account creation cooldown is out of the question: Many ISPs deploy transparent proxies or, worse yet, they NAT tons of their customers through the same public IPv4 address. A cooldown of this type would impact Valve's bottom line *and* piss off customers, so I don't think it can be done.

Comment: Re:HTTP.SYS? (Score 1) 119

by NetCow (#49481639) Attached to: Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Found In Windows HTTP Stack

I completely agree with you that doing complex parsing in the kernel is stupid. And I'll make your day just that little bit worse:

Remember TTF and OTF which evolved into WOFF? Those flexible but very complex font file formats, optionally with bytecode that's actually JITted? That can be embedded into webpages therefore are interpreted by the underlying font rendering services regardless of browser used?

Windows parses them in the kernel.

Comment: Re:Are you patenting software? (Score 4, Insightful) 224

by NetCow (#48155067) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Those patents disclose algorithms. Basically, applied math. Which should have never, ever been allowed as claims in a patent since they are antithetical to the compromise between the inventor's and society's benefit the patent system was designed to facilitate. So, yes, they are pretty much what one would call "software patents".

Whether or not they describe revolutionary ideas, and whether or not they required creative thought to invent is completely beside the point. Patenting algorithms runs against the very worldview that built the research scaffolding which allowed you to come up with these ideas (the old adage about standing on the shoulders of giants--and now imagine a world where those shoulders could only be visited if you paid the piper.) Math isn't invented, it's discovered.

That being said, under no circumstances would I recommend a client to hire you if I caught wind that you owned patents applicable to the field in which you would be working. That simply screams "conflict of interest", "subsequent lawsuit", and "humongous liability."

Comment: Re:*Shrug* (Score 1) 304

by NetCow (#46154011) Attached to: Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

I.e. DRM doesn't work. Moreover, it has the opposite effect, rather than preventing copying, it encourages more copying!

I actually take issue with your assertion that DRM doesn't work. I posit that DRM works exceptionally well - it's just that most people aren't aware of exactly who DRM mechanisms are mostly aimed at: the distribution channel, the software and hardware vendors. Not the end users.

I urge you to read Ian Hickson's most excellent post on the matter. It's well worth the couple of minutes invested, but if you're impatient, this is the main takeaway:

DRM's purpose is to give content providers control over software and hardware providers, and it is satisfying that purpose well.

Comment: Re:153 GOP voted to default (Score 1) 999

by NetCow (#45157993) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

What amazes me is that those people seriously considered a situation that could have had a devastating economical effect on the US. Things like this cause nations to implode. A bankrupt, non-functional state has time and again led to violent overthrow and civil war. This is what their game of chicken was risking. And when you listen to some of their backers they would welcome this in the hopes to build a different state from the ashes. Only their vision is really frightening.

Indeed it should be, but I hope you're not under the impression that this is anything unprecedented in any way, shape or form. The actions of the Tea Party are perfectly rational given their underpinnings. Here's a thought-provoking (and well-researched) analysis about their origins, motives and strategies: Tea Party radicalism is misunderstood: Meet the "Newest Right"


Intel To Help Stephen Hawking Communicate Faster 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-talking dept.
hypnosec writes "Stephen Hawking's ability to communicate has been deteriorating over the years and as it stands, he is only able to communicate at the rate of 1 word per minute. Intel CTO Justin Rattner has revealed that they are working on an interface that will boost the scientist's speech to up to 10 words per minute. Beyond twitching his cheek, Hawking is also capable of other voluntary facial expressions which can be tapped to achieve faster communications with the help of a better character interface and a better word predictor."

Free Online Education Unwelcome In Minnesota 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-you-familiar-with-the-internet dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education: "[Minnesota's] Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC's, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It's unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution: 'Notice for Minnesota Users: Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.' Tricia Grimes, a policy analyst for the state's Office of Higher Education, said letters had been sent to all postsecondary institutions known to be offering courses in Minnesota."

Comment: Re:Blogspam, on my Slashdot? More likely than you. (Score 1) 409

by NetCow (#41704205) Attached to: The Three Pillars of Nokia Strategy Have All Failed

You're correct, we did read it differently :) I read it as pretty much making fun of Ahonen.

While I wholeheartedly agree that the consequences of Elop's "strategy" were quite obvious, Ahonen did more than speculate - he tried (and, for the most part, succeeded) to back up his statements. He provided hard data, several possible market share collapse forecasts (which turned out to be faily accurate - much closer than the projections issued by any other ratings agency), and several ways to try and fix Nokia's decline.

That's why I was a bit miffed - I dislike other people's actual work to be brushed aside with a shallow joke. I know this kind of belittling "humor" is endemic, but it's representative for the pernicious "bah, big deal, I could've done the same thing if I'd only bothered to work at it" mindset.

Comment: Re:Blogspam, on my Slashdot? More likely than you. (Score 5, Informative) 409

by NetCow (#41644429) Attached to: The Three Pillars of Nokia Strategy Have All Failed

Woah, he predicted Windows Phone would not succeed at the level of iPhone and Android? Better tell James Randi to hang it up, because we got a real god damned psychic right here!

Bra-vo, very sarcastic and blasé, but unfortunately it makes you look quite ignorant. Ahonen predicted this in February 2011 right after Elop's announcement. For example:

Comment: Re:Tired of the IE hate... (Score 1) 101

by NetCow (#41375917) Attached to: Microsoft Issues Workaround For IE 0-Day
Sure it can:

The enterprise MSIs are patched in sync with the other updates. Managing Chrome via LUP + the Chrome ADMs is a breeze, since if an "uncontrolled" (LocalAppData) Chrome instance starts and there's a MSI on the machine, the uncontrolled instance will respect the GPO settings.

Comment: That's pretty much it for Windows Phone 7 then... (Score 1) 153

by NetCow (#36493252) Attached to: FTC Approves Microsoft's Takeover of Skype
... since carriers love Skype so very much due to its ability to shift their revenue from the extremely profitable voice calls to the much less profitable data transmission channels, and since nobody will believe Microsoft should they claim not to have any plans to integrate Skype's technology in WP7. This is irrespective of whether WP7 has technical merit or not. Carriers make or break a mobile OS - they can simply refuse to subsidize phones running an unwanted OS thus forcing it out of the market.

"Ahead warp factor 1" - Captain Kirk