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Submission + - Will you be able to run a modern desktop environment in 2016 without systemd?

yeupou writes: Early this year, David Edmundson from KDE, concluded that "In many cases [systemd] allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it [systemd] as an optional extra defeats the main benefit". A perfectly sensible explanation. But, then, one might wonder to which point KDE would remain usable without systemd?

Recently, on one Devuan box, I noticed that KDE power management (Powerdevil) no longer supported suspend and hibernate. Since pm-utils was still there, for a while, I resorted to call pm-suspend directly, hoping it would get fixed at some point. But it did not. So I wrote a report myself. I was not expecting much. But neither was I expecting it to be immediately marked as RESOLVED and DOWNSTREAM, with a comment accusing the "Debian fork" I'm using to "ripe out" systemd without "coming with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides". I searched beforehand about the issue so I knew that the problem also occurred on some other Debian-based systems and that the bug seemed entirely tied to upower, an upstream software used by Powerdevil. So if anything, at least this bug should have been marked as UPSTREAM.

While no one dares (yet) to claim to write software only for systemd based operating system, it is obvious that it is now getting quite hard to get support otherwise. At the same time, bricks that worked for years without now just get ruined, since, as pointed out by Edmunson, adding systemd as "optional extra defeats its main benefit". So, is it likely that we'll still have in 2016 a modern desktop environment, without recent regressions, running without systemd?

Submission + - Neil degrasse Tyson causes firestorm with remarks on commercial space (examiner.com) 1

MarkWhittington writes: In an interview published in The Verge, celebrity astrophysicist and media personality Neil deGrasse Tyson touched off a firestorm when he suggested that commercial space was not going to lead the way to open up the high frontier. Tyson has started a live show that he calls "Delusions of Space Enthusiasts” in which he touched on, among other things, why the Apollo program did not lead to greater things in space exploration such as going to Mars. Tyson repeats conventional wisdom about Apollo and the Cold War. In any case, it is his remarks on commercial space that has caused the most irritation.

Submission + - Why Car Salesmen Don't Want to Sell Electric Cars

HughPickens.com writes: Matt Richtel writes in the NYT that one big reason there are only about 330,000 electric vehicles on the road is that car dealers show little enthusiasm for putting consumers into electric cars. Industry insiders say that electric vehicles do not offer dealers the same profits as gas-powered cars, they take more time to sell because of the explaining required, and electric vehicles may require less maintenance, undermining the biggest source of dealer profits — their service departments. Some electric car buyers have said they felt as if they were the ones doing the selling. Chelsea Dell made an appointment to test-drive a used Volt but when she arrived, she said, a salesman told her that the car hadn’t been washed, and that he had instead readied a less expensive, gas-powered car. “I was ready to pull the trigger, and they were trying to muscle me into a Chevy Sonic,” says Dell. “The thing I was baffled at was that the Volt was a lot more expensive.” Marc Deutsch, Nissan’s business development manager for electric vehicles says some salespeople just can’t rationalize the time it takes to sell the cars. A salesperson “can sell two gas burners in less than it takes to sell a Leaf,” Deutsch says. “It’s a lot of work for a little pay.”

Jared Allen says that service is crucial to dealer profits and that dealers didn’t want to push consumers into electric cars that might make them less inclined to return for service. Maybe that helps explains the experience of Robert Kast, who last year leased a Volkswagen e-Golf from a local dealer. He said the salesman offered him a $15-per-month maintenance package that included service for oil changes, belt repair and water pumps. “I said: ‘You know it doesn’t have any of those things,’” Mr. Kast recalled. He said the salesman excused himself to go confirm this with his manager. Of the whole experience, Mr. Kast, 61, said: “I knew a whole lot more about the car than anyone in the building.” "Until selling a plug-in electric car is as quick and easy as selling any other vehicle that nets the dealer the same profit, many dealers will avoid them, for very logical and understandable reasons," says John Voelker. "That means that the appropriate question should be directed to makers of electric cars: What are you doing to make selling electric cars as profitable and painless for your dealers as selling gasoline or diesel vehicles?"

Submission + - Even the Dumbest Ransomware Is Almost Unremovable on Smart TVs (softpedia.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently even the easiest-to-remove ransomware is painfully hard to uninstall from smart TVs, if they're running on the AndroidOS platform, and almost all are. This didn't happen in a real-world scenario (yet), and was only a PoC test by Symantec. The researcher managed to remove the ransomware just because he enabled the Android ADB tool beforehand, knowing he would infect the TV with the ransomware.

"Without this option enabled, and if I was less experienced user, I’d probably still be locked out of my smart TV, making it a large and expensive paper weight," said the researcher.

Via: Softpedia

Submission + - Another Giant XKCD Comics Experiment

Dave Knott writes: XKCD creator Randall Munroe has decided to celebrate the release of his new book, Thing Explainer, by creating a "small game" called Hoverboard. In actuality, it is a gigantic scrolling comic in the same style as his previous Click And Drag. However, this time there is a game element as one navigates the comic. Explore giant starships and volcanoes, or search for hidden lairs, all in the name of finding as many hidden gold coins as possible.

Submission + - The Tamagochi Singularity Made Real: Infinite Tamagochi Living on the Internet (hackaday.com)

szczys writes: Everyone loves Tamagochi, little electronic keychains spawned in the 90's let you raise your digital pets. Some time ago, XKCD made a quip about an internet based matrix of thousands of these digital entities. That quip is now a reality thanks to elite hardware hacker Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM). In his recent talk called The Tamagochi Singularity at the Hackaday SuperConference he revealed that he had built an infinite network of virtual Tamagochi by implementing the original hardware as a virtual machine. This included developing AI to keep them happy, and developing a protocol to emulate their IR interactions. But he went even further, hacking an original keychain to use wirelessly as a console which can look in on any of the virtual Tamagochi living on his underground network. This full-stack process is unparalleled in just about every facet: complexity, speed of implementation, awesome factor, and will surely spark legions of other Tamagochi Matrices.

Submission + - Hospitals Can 3D Print A Patient's Vasculature For Aneurism Pre-Op Practice (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: University of Buffalo physicians and researchers from two institutes working with 3D printer maker Stratasys have successfully 3D printed anatomically correct models of patients' vascular systems — from their femoral artery to their brain — in order to test various surgical techniques prior to an actual operation. The new 3D printed models not only precisely replicate blood vessels' geometry, but the texture and tissue tension, allowing surgeons a realistic preoperative experience when using catheterization techniques. The printed models are also being used by physicians in training.

Submission + - Windows 10 Fall Update Uninstalls Desktop Software Without Informing Users (ghacks.net)

ourlovecanlastforeve writes: Martin Brinkmann of GHacks writes: Beware, latest Windows 10 Update may remove programs automatically. Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system may uninstall programs — desktop programs that is — from the computer after installation of the big Fall update that the company released earlier this month. I noticed the issue on one PC that I upgraded to Windows 10 Version 1511 but not on other machines. The affected PC had Speccy, a hardware information program, installed and Windows 10 notified me after the upgrade that the software had been removed from the system because of incompatibilities. There was no indication beforehand that something like this would happen, and what made this rather puzzling was the fact that a newly downloaded copy of Speccy would install and run fine on the upgraded system.

Submission + - Why Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Pretty Much Meaningless Now

HughPickens.com writes: Brad Tuttle writes at Money Magazine that while the terms “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are more ubiquitous than ever, the importance of the can’t-miss shopping days is undeniably fading. “I think what you’re seeing now is the start or middle of a trend where Black Friday decreases in importance,” says analyst Yory Wurmser. “It’s probably still going to be a significant shopping day, but at the same time it’s probably going to lose its singular significance in the season.” Retailers seem to want it both ways: They want shoppers to spend money long before these key shopping events, and yet they also want shoppers to turn out in full force to make purchases over the epic Black Friday weekend. When they use the “Cheap Stuff!” card day after day and week after week, the deals on any single day stop seeming special. The bottom line is that shifting spending patterns means that holiday sales are now dispersed over a longer period. “You can try to get the consumer to spend earlier," says Marshal Cohen. "But that doesn’t mean there’s more money in their pockets."

The true story behind Black Friday is not as sunny as retailers might have you believe. Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache. Sometime in the late 1980s, however, retailers found a way to reinvent Black Friday and turn it into something that reflected positively, rather than negatively, on them and their customers. The result was the “red to black” concept of the holiday mentioned earlier, and the notion that the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America’s stores finally turned a profit.

Submission + - UK Mobile Operator Could Block Ads At Network Level

Mickeycaskill writes: UK operator EE says it is investigating the possibility of blocking adverts at a network level, allowing customers to limit the types and frequency of adverts they see in browsers and applications.

The move is likely to concern digital publishers, many of whom rely on advertising revenue to fund their content. Ad blockers have become more popular in recent times, with Apple allowing such software to block ads in Safari.
However many people use ad blockers to save battery life, consume less data and protect against malvertising attacks.

Submission + - 2015 "Dance Your PhD" Winner Announced (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Jargon seems unavoidable in science. When you try to explain your work, it becomes a minefield of technical concepts and abstract reasoning. But what if we just want the gist of what you do, the essence of your research...? Oh, and make it a dance. The results are in from Science magazine's annual "Dance Your PhD" contest. The winners include a ballet about a protein, a tango about entangled photons, a Bollywood spectacle about the immune system and, this year's top prize-winner, a dance by Florence Metz of the University of Bern, Switzerland, who combined hip hop, salsa, and acro-yoga to explain her PhD on the intricacies of water protection policies. She goes home with $1000 and a trip to Stanford University in the spring to screen her PhD dance and give a talk--hopefully jargon-free.

Submission + - How To Destroy An American Family

blottsie writes: Since 2010, the Straters have been under assault from an online campaign of ever-increasing harassment—prank deliveries, smear attacks, high-profile hacks, and threats of violence against schools and law enforcement officials in their name—and it’s slowly torn them apart. Masterminding it all is a teenage Lizard Squad hacker from Finland, at war with their son, Blair, over a seemingly minor dispute spun completely out of control.

Submission + - Lori Garver claims that NASA is 'wary' of Elon Musk's Mars plans (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: Ars Technica reported that former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver claimed, during a panel discussion at the Council for Foreign Relations, that many at NASA are “wary’ of the Mars ambitions of SpaceX’s Elon Musk. While the space agency has yielded low Earth operations to the commercial sector as part of the commercial crew program, it reserves for itself deep space exploration. As with many things that publically come out of Garver’s mouth, this statement has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Submission + - Stack Overflow and the Zeitgeist of Computer Programming (priceonomics.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Stack Overflow remains one of the most widely-used resources in the developer community. Around 400,000 questions are posted to it every month. The Priceonomics blog is using statistical analysis to ask, "What do the nature of these questions tell us about the state of programming?" They see tremendous growth in questions about Android Studio, as well as more generic growth in work relating to data analysis and cloud services. Topics on a significant decline include Silverlight, Joomla, Clojure, and Flash (not to mention emacs, for some reason). The article also takes a brief look at the site's megausers, who receive a lot of credit for keeping the signal-to-noise ratio as high as it is, while also taking flack for how the Stack Overflow culture has progressed. "Others are worried about how Stack Overflow has impacted programming fundamentals. Some critics believe that rather than truly struggling with a problem, developers can now just ask Stack Overflow users to solve it for them. The questioner may receive and use an answer with code they do not truly understand; they just know it fixes their problem. This can lead to issues in the long run when adjustments are needed."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Single Change Would You Make To a Tech Product? 1

An anonymous reader writes: We live in an age of sorcery. The supercomputers in our pockets are capable of doing things it took armies of humans to accomplish even a hundred years ago. But let's face it: we're also complainers at heart. For every incredible, revolutionary device we use, we can find something that's obviously wrong with it. Something we'd instantly fix if we were suddenly put in charge of design. So, what's yours? Hardware, software, or service — don't hold back.

Here's an example: over the past several years, e-readers have standardized on 6-inch screens. For all the variety that exists in smartphone and tablet sizing, the e-reader market has decided it must copy the Kindle form factor or die trying. Having used an e-reader before all this happened, I found a 7-8" e-ink screen to be an amazingly better reading experience. Oh well, I'm out of luck. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I'd fix it immediately if I could.

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid