Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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).


Comment: Re:Implement locally? (Score 2) 145

by Stewie241 (#48923669) Attached to: How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

It is probably the cost thing.

In the US it generally doesn't cost either party any money once you pay the flat monthly rate for the telephone line, which can be had for pretty cheap.

So it's a tradeoff, really - it is nice to be able to make calls across the country without thinking about the cost. On the other hand, it lowers the bar for telemarketers.

Comment: Re:R wont run on linux soon (Score 1) 105 also states that "R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is a GNU project which is similar to the S language and environment which was developed at Bell Laboratories (formerly AT&T, now Lucent Technologies) by John Chambers and colleagues." So obviously the GNU project itself doesn't do a lot of actual development, though I would expect that they provide some administrative support in some form (perhaps in similar manner that the FSF does for many open source projects).

Comment: Re:More stuff done (Score 1) 112

by Stewie241 (#48819149) Attached to: Facebook Targets Office Workers With Facebook At Work Service

I think there's that, and the possibility of mistakes made by lack of visual differentiation. We have a social network at work, but there is no opportunity for confusion - it doesn't look anything like If Facebook and Facebook at Work are visually similar I suspect there will be at least one case where somebody mixes up destinations accidentally.

Comment: Re: Exactly this. (Score 4, Informative) 294

I assume he wasn't being us specific as the article sure wasn't. I work on a remote team that spanned, at one point six timezones - a guy in Australia, a team in China, a team in SV and a few others scattered among the other three north american timezones. It certainly had its challenges.

I think it is especially difficult for a preexisting company to start thinking remote, and that is probably the real problem. The org is very head office centric and so many meetings start in a room and remote people get added in either part way through or after the pleasantries have taken place. They don't think to introduce people in the room so on the remote end all you hear is voices going back and forth at varying volumes depending on how far away the person is from the mic. If a couple of people in the room start having a person to person chat amongst themselves (not private but where the in room attendees are spectators and can listen in) then you are almost guaranteed to be SOL because they end up speaking quickly and don't enunciate as much and they don't speak as loud. If you are in the room you can jump in if you have something to add (probably using body language to indicate you want to add something) but you're lost very quickly if you are in the phone.

Comment: Re:False. No different from other bookselling sche (Score 1) 250

by Stewie241 (#48693673) Attached to: How Amazon's Ebook Subscriptions Are Changing the Writing Industry

Partly true, perhaps, but not entirely. Good authors write books that result in people spending more money on books. In the 'traditional' model, there are two ways to grow:

1. Get existing customers to buy more books
2. Get new customers to start buying more books

This 'new' model removes growth source #1 because revenue doesn't increase if a customer reads more books - they've already paid their dues.

On the other hand, it has the potential to increase growth of #2, because in the 'new' model you can't lend a book to a friend after you've finished reading it. They have to subscribe themselves and pay in their dues.

Comment: Re:Think about this when... (Score 1) 69

by Stewie241 (#48689215) Attached to: Twitter Bug Locks Out Many Users

No, except that in many cases the impact of failure begins to be comparable. It would be interesting to see data though on:

1. How many times auto pilot makes enough of a mistake to cause loss of life
2. How many times anti lock brakes fail and result in an accident that wouldn't have occurred without them
3. How many times a surgery robot fails and causes a patient to die, or necessitates drastic action on part of the supervising surgeon
4. How many times a pacemaker fails in an unexpected way causing damage to the user

The point was that if twitter goes down, then a bunch of people have to go somewhere else to get their social media fix and some businesses lose a medium on which to attempt to launch a viral ad campaign.

If somebody botches it up, it's a bit of lost revenue.

Somehow, autopilot software has been designed robustly enough such that:
1. You don't hear of a lot of severe accidents resulting from bugs in auto pilot software
2. Airlines find them reliable enough such that they continue to allow their pilots to use it

Thus, they have somehow managed to design such that there are no tiny bugs that cause huge problems.

Comment: Slashdot as usual - misleading summary (Score 5, Insightful) 218

by Stewie241 (#48682571) Attached to: Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

Some commenters are ridiculing how people were 'outraged' from the year in review. But if you look at the actual article by Eric ( - and note the title -'inadvertent algorithmic cruelty' it is much more an analysis of the design of the feature and applying human sensitivity to software design. His closing statement is 'If I could fix one thing about our industry, just one thing, it would be that: to increase awareness of and consideration for the failure modes, the edge cases, the worst-case scenarios.'

It wasn't a rant against Facebook. It wasn't a 'woe is me, Facebook ruined my life'. It was a post about how Facebook's design has an affect on him that they probably weren't going for.

Had it not been Eric Meyer, I would imagine there would have been no public apology, though perhaps just a rethink of the design.

There wasn't really even a demand that Facebook change anything. But if you're Facebook, you might consider how many others are in a similar situation that Eric is in and are confronted by uncomfortable images. It isn't good business to have people made uncomfortable, unhappy or pained by your product.

Similar to if they had accidentally had Goatse show up in everybody's feed. Even if nobody complained, you are still going to lose at least some customers because it makes the experience unpleasant.

Comment: Watch out for VGA dongles (Score 1) 163

by Stewie241 (#48665249) Attached to: Thunderbolt Rootkit Vector

Here's how you do it:
1. Go to a conference, and allow your dongle to 'accidentally' fall out of your bag onto the floor. Wait for somebody to come and pick it up.
2. Open up an online shop and sell knock-off dongles at a reduced price
3. Post an ad on Craigslist selling your 'old' dongle
4. Go to a conference and swap out the dongle that is there with your dongle

At $30 a pop people many unwitting Mac users would pick up one of these devices if they were convinced it were impossible to find out the owner. They might not use it right away, but chances are that at some point they will be in a bind and need one.

No physical access necessary - just a bit of social engineering to bring your device to the machine.

This is really probably the scariest vulnerability I have seen in a while.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.