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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).

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Comment: Re:Please note: (Score 5, Interesting) 227

I'm thinking you set up your browser with the foxyproxy plugin so all normal http requests for HTML are forwarded via socks proxy. The heavy lifting stuff goes straight out and back in through the open fiber connection. I doubt AT&T wants to parse video files. They want to see and modify the clear-text HTTP stuff.

The weird thing is this type of traditional snooping will be defeated as more content providers are switching over to HTTPS. AT&T aren't technical dummies, so they know that. I'm wondering if their scheme doesn't require a special browser plugin that automates an MITM attack on https....

What's weirdest of all is that until now, federal law has protected the ISPs from liability over the content they transmit:

Section 512(a) protects service providers who are passive conduits from liability for copyright infringement, even if infringing traffic passes through their networks. In other words, provided the infringing material is being transmitted at the request of a third party to a designated recipient, is handled by an automated process without human intervention, is not modified in any way, and is only temporarily stored on the system, the service provider is not liable for the transmission.

The rationale behind that statue was that ISPs can't be held accountable for copyright-infringing material going over their wires because filtering it would be too onerous. If AT&T sets up such a monitoring system, it pretty well defeats the claim they don't know what their subscribers are transmitting / receiving.

Comment: Re:Maybe stupid question of the day (Score 1) 64

by SethJohnson (#49042011) Attached to: Polymers Brighten Hopes For Visible Light Communication
TFA doesn't do a good job of suggesting the wide-open potential held by photonic communication. It is mostly staring at this topic with the same focus as your comment here-- how to stream data in a living room.

If you consider the requirements of wifi, you'll see some obstacles that limit its applications. For "internet of things" devices, wifi demands a bunch of electricity from a device that you might want to deploy in an electricity-poor environment. Think solar-powered device. Photonic communication might reduce energy consumption.

Wifi has a pretty considerable fixed cost. Similar to RFID. It might be possible to reduce that expense with a non-radio communication channel. Imagine if your toll tag shot an LED flashed unique signal to a road sensor... It might carry a cheaper unit cost than the typical RFID toll tag schemes.

The developers of this aren't thinking it will replace wifi where wifi is good. They're looking to fill the gap where wifi is bad.

Comment: Book about Watson & Jeopardy (Score 1) 82

by SethJohnson (#48908351) Attached to: Modular Smartphones Could Be Reused As Computer Clusters
Having worked at IBM Research and wondering if your contribution played a role in them developing Watson... You should check out this book. I'm reading it now and am enjoying reading about how the team(s) developed all the tech beneath Watson in preparation for the televised match.

Comment: please re-write in C (Score 2) 155

by SethJohnson (#48796445) Attached to: 'Silk Road Reloaded' Launches On a Network More Secret Than Tor
Not trying to launch a debate here. I do like Java for a LOT of things. But a software router needs to be lightweight so it can run in very low-overhead environments. Tor runs nicely on settop boxes and many SOC hardware opportunities like RaspberryPI or low-end VPSs.

The memory footprint of a JVM is going to keep a java-based software router like i2p off those devices.

Comment: Re:Got Sloppy? (Score 2) 219

by SethJohnson (#48766723) Attached to: FBI: North Korean Hackers "Got Sloppy", Leaked IP Addresses
Consider that the initial compromise might have required immense logistical resources that tends to be beyond those available to a teenage script kid. Like the hole might have to be found and penetrated by an adult with a computer science degree working all day, every day, for months. Criminal organizations have those resources applied to money-making efforts, but not for the 'lulz' of posting embarassing corporate emails online. Script kids are able to work on their attacks a few hours a day outside of school hours, etc.

It's wildly believable to me that North Korea could have hired outside talent to work on this and once the locks were broken, the data gathering was performed by less-skilled in-house technicians who might have been sloppy.

Don't forget, the member of lulzsec who brought that group down screwed up just once by connecting to IRC directly instead of through TOR and revealing his IP address.

Comment: No way is this a Sony PR stunt (Score 2) 236

I fully agree and would also point out that this hack has resulted in HD bootlegs of unreleased sony movies being posted to bittorrent. Oh, and Brad Pitt's "Fury."

The top leadership at Sony Pictures is about to be booted out of their jobs and are so tainted that no other studio will hire them. I don't think this was their idea of a way to promote a film.

Comment: Re:because the lawyers ... (Score 1) 230

by SethJohnson (#48642935) Attached to: "Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

Your reasoning for pulling The Interview applies equally to showing Team America, if you think about it.

The difference here is that The Interview was dumped national theater chains. In the case of Team America, a few independent chains were trying to screen the film and Paramount refused. In the case of the independent theaters, Paramount was not afraid that screening Team America would impact their profits for other films opening this weekend.

Comment: Re:because the lawyers ... (Score 2) 230

by SethJohnson (#48631661) Attached to: "Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

....then Sony would be liable to the victim and victims family because Sony either knew or should have known that the controversy caused by the movie would excite DPRK loyalists into committing such an act of violence.

And that lawsuit would be gently brushed aside by Sony's legal team. Heck, they'd probably send in their youngest intern to handle the distraction.

In 1952: "The Court reverses its position on movies in Burstyn v. Wilson, asserting that "liberty of expression by means of motion pictures is guaranteed by the 1st and 14th Amendments."(citation)

The reason the Interview was pulled out of theaters is because the distributors didn't want to see the lucrative Christmas boxoffice affected by people avoiding theaters due to these threats. Annie and Night at the Museum are expected to sell far more tickets than the Interview and the theater chains didn't want to see those profits reduced. As for why Paramount prohibited these screenings of Team America, well, they're probably worried they'll fall into North Korea's crosshairs and get hacked, etc. Damn cowards.

Comment: where do the workers go? (Score 1) 110

by SethJohnson (#48498945) Attached to: Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

When those jobs are eliminated because of robots, those desperate enough to take a picker job will have no where else to go.

Many will slide to a lower rung in the employment ladder. Some will ascend to the next rung up. For those jobs, wages will decrease.

We are already seeing this with pseudo-jobs like Uber and taskrabbit.

My mother has frequently said plumbers will always make a good living. When unskilled jobs disappear due to automation, many of those workers will be motivated to study a trade. The surge of new workers in the industry will reduce the 'good living' that plumbers make.

Comment: Instill confidence through source escrow (Score 1, Insightful) 176

by SethJohnson (#48441557) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?
If you are planning to sell software to the government or business as a startup, consider source code escrow. Your customers will tend to stick with established vendors for fear of you going out of businesses and leaving them with an unsupported implementation. The source code escrow is insurance against that being more of a catastrophe for your customers than you.

Invest in dedicated technical support. It plays up as great comedy in the movie, Office Space, when the character says you don't want the customers talking directly to the engineers. You actually don't want that. Establishing a quality support team keeps the engineers productive on developing while the support group ensures the customers are getting help with their issues. Oh, and don't outsource this responsibility to a foreign country. If you think you can't afford quality support, at least staff it with a recent college grad and split that person's time between support and bug fixing.

Comment: Automation changes future job market (Score 0) 84

by SethJohnson (#48399075) Attached to: Billionaire Donors Lavish Millions On Code.org Crowdfunding Project

Society needs plumbers, welders, architects, accountants, doctors, physicists, line workers, and every other job there is.

You and everyone else who thinks being a plumber is a lucrative job now and tomorrow needs to understand that automation is going to change the employment landscape dramatically in the coming years. The undereducated people who have been automated out of their warehouse work, call center jobs, etc. will dogpile on those jobs that pay well and don't require a diploma. Then those jobs won't pay so well.

These wealthy tech billionaires see the writing on the wall and are trying to help equip the masses to be more relevant in tomorrow's job market. I appreciate your reference to Socrates and think it's an astute observation. While I think on the higher-end of the tech jobforce, companies like facebook and Microsoft are abusing the H1B visa program, I do think their support of STEM is in the interest of growing the domestic workforce towards the needs of industry.

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