Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Conor Dougherty writes in the NYT that the tech industry’s venture capitalists — the financiers who bet on companies when they are little more than an idea — are going out of their way to avoid the one word that could describe what is happening around them: Bubble “I guess it is a scary word because in some sense no one wants it to stop,” says Tomasz Tunguz. “And so if you utter it, do you pop it?” In 2000, tech stocks crashed, venture capital dried up and many young companies were vaporized. Today, people see shades of 2000 in the enormous valuations assigned to private companies like Uber, with a valuation of $41 billion, and Slack, the corporate messaging service that is about a year old and valued at $2.8 billion in its latest funding round. A few years ago private companies worth more than $1 billion were rare enough that venture capitalists called them “unicorns.” Today, there are 107 unicorns and while nobody doubts that many of tech’s unicorns are indeed real businesses, valuations are inflating, leading some people to worry that investment decisions are being guided by something venture capitalists call FOMO — the fear of missing out.

With interest rates at historic lows, excess capital causes investment bubbles. The result is too much money chasing too few great deals. Unfortunately, overcapitalizing startups with easy money results in superfluous spending and dangerously high burn rates and investors are happy to admit that this torrid pace of investment has started to worry them. “Do I think companies are overvalued as a whole? No,” says Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator. “Do I think too much money can kill good companies? Yes. And that is an important difference.”

+ - Senator Paul stands for over ten hours in Senate over NSA bulk data collection. ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Sen. Rand Paul held up a vote on the Fast Track Authority for a eleven hour dissertation on the flaws of the Patriot Act, the replacement the USA Freedom Act, bulk data collection including credit card purchases, the DEA and IRS's use of NSA intel. for "parallel construction", warrant-less GPS bugs on vehicles, as well as the important distinction of a general warrant v a spacific one.

The memes that have been created are clever too, "I don't normally take over C-Span2, but when I do -people watch C-Span2." Of course, the expected #StandWithRand and posting selfies with people actually watching C-Span2.

Link to Original Source

+ - Animations in UI Design: For, Against, or Just Another /. Toxic Waste Zone?

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue writes: Google made it big limiting advertisements using strict guidelines: only simple text ads were allowed.Google's home page adhered to a similar concept: no distractions, nothing moving. It simply said "Google." The rise of the world's biggest brand was based on this premise of a simple, unmoving, unanimated theme.

How soon we forget. Now Google's page is always animated. The more they grow, the more they feel it is acceptable that user experience elements move, and more and more distractions are now acceptable, even pre-pending video ads at the beginning of videos, and animating Gmail sign-in boxes as they glide into place. But clearly, as evinced by the popularity of Adblock, distractions are annoying and unwelcome, Adblock is now so popular that makes a fortune accepting Google's payments to let distractions through, while users desperately search for ways to disable all possible animations. Somehow, it seems counterproductive to what we consider "good" UI design.

In fact, and depending entirely on who you consult, it seems that there can be no limit to the the idea that animation only ever makes the user experience richer. If it doesn't move in some way, it can be improved by movement. And this is the inherent, conflicting unquestioned assumption in the current state of UI design: movement is good. But where is the line between helpful movement and distractions? And is it the same for everyone?

Again, this is at odds with the anti-trend precepts that made Google popular, and at odds with the hate that we spew for animations and distractions on web pages, and especially for the videos that start playing when we land on a page.

But I ask you, seriously, as web and UI designers, in your head, where is that line between good UI design, and distracting, pointless movement? Does a line even exist? When it comes to UI design, is the sky the limit, and is it OK for everything to be animated at the whim of the designer, because they can utter incantations that justify their new, more animated, design?

Does anyone even think that UI animations, and animations in advertising, may both be simply manifestations of our innate desire to catch people's attention? Animations are the trend, but would anyone really miss them if they went away? Or worse, are some users actually distracted and impeded by them, but we don't want to know because it's less fun to design a static UI?

I can think of a dozen ways to design a UI with more efficient and accurate inputs than swipes, gestures, and carousels with artificially-induced momentum. Vista and Windows 8 failed miserably. Could it be that the commonality was that their core concept revolved around the assumption that users crave skeuomorphic movement? Will there come a time when someone says, these are all simply subclasses of the now-faded skeuomorphism fad of early UI design, the faux marble bitmaps and the cheesy animated gifs of the early web?

And could they, in some cases, actually be harmful enough that even though we think they are cool, we should always provide a way to switch them off?

And is the worst-case scenario, that we are simply wasting development time, and slowing down the user interface without really adding any value, time that could be better spent because what users really want is better performance, and real functionality?

Comment: Irresponsible of who?? (Score 2) 120

Exactly who is responsible for this kind of software bug?

The coder who wrote the code?
The functional spec writer?
The QA tester who didn't catch it?
The test scenario scripter?
The manager who oversaw the development process?
The QA manager?
The stakeholder who OK'd the move to production?
The project manager who co-ordinated the project?
The CTO of the company who funded the effort?

Or should they all be criminally liable, thus diluting the responsibility of any one person so that no one person is actually liable?

I sense a stone-thrower in a glass house here...

+ - Euro carriers want a piece of Google's advertising income.->

Submitted by chasm22
chasm22 writes: Apparently, mobile carriers in Europe are planning to block Google ads until they get a slice of the pie from Google. I wonder if this could lead to strongarming online retailers? If they are successful with their tactics why couldn't they, for an example, refuse to let anyone visit Macy's online store until Macy's gives them a slice of the revenue it earns. It seems like they're quite comfortable with using their position as carriers to also include the role of gatekeeper. Who gets what and where, who reads what, etc. And , of course, how much money can they leech.

Arguments can be made about Google using its dominant position to earn more money, but that isn't what this is about. As a matter of fact, if any of them bear any similarity to my carrier(Verizon), I would rather the money go to Google. One exec said, "The idea is to specifically target Google, blocking advertising on its websites in an attempt to force the company into giving up a cut of its revenues."

I guess they're banking on no one will care since its Google. No plans yet for Facebook, but with ad revenue in the billions last quarter, they are surely going to be a target in the future.

Link to Original Source

+ - Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws, tribunal told->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: GCHQ staff have been given immunity from prosecution for hacking into computers, laptops and mobile phones under legislative changes that were never fully debated by parliament, a tribunal has been told.

The re-writing of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act has exempted law enforcement officers from the prohibition on breaking into other people’s laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in March.

Addressing the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which deals with complaints about the intelligence services and surveillance, lawyers for Privacy International said they had only been informed of the alteration earlier this week.

Link to Original Source

+ - Banks Conspire 2

Submitted by Jim Sadler
Jim Sadler writes: I'll keep it short. Why do banks, charge cards and others have such lousy password software? My bank allows twenty letters or numbers but not all combinations of letters and numbers. Then on top of that one can not use symbols or ASCI symbols in ones password. Needless to say pass phrases are also banned. For example "JackandJillwentupthehilltofetch1394pounds of worms." would be very hard to crack and very easy to recall.
              I can't imagine why such passwords would be so hard to handle for financial institutions and they have everything in the world to lose from sloppy security. So just why, considering that these institutions complain of mega money being lost, do they not have a better password system? Do they somehow gain when money goes missing?

+ - Scientists discover first warm-bodied fish->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Researchers have discovered the first fish that can keep its entire body warm, much like mammals and birds. The opah, or moonfish, lives in deep, cold water, but it generates heat from its massive pectoral muscles. And it conserves that warmth thanks to body fat and the special structure of blood vessels in its gills. Having a warm heart and brain likely allows the little-known fish to be a vigorous predator, the researchers suspect.
Link to Original Source

+ - Mobile Spy Software Maker mSpy Hacked, Customer Data Leaked

Submitted by pdclarry
pdclarry writes: mSpy sells a software-as-a-service package that claims to allow you to spy on iPhones. It is used by ~2 million people to spy on their children, partners, Exes, etc. The information gleaned is stored on mSpy's servers. Brian Krebs reports that mSpy has been hacked and their entire database of several hundred GB of their customer's data has been posted on the Dark Web. The trove includes Apple IDs and passwords, as well as the complete contents of phones that have mSpy installed. So much for keeping your children safe.

An engineer is someone who does list processing in FORTRAN.

Working...