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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:So to prevent tornados... (Score 1) 78

by tlambert (#48643887) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Predict - maybe. I don't think the birds could have prevented the tornadoes if they had tried.

Get with the program: tornados come to places that birds aren't. Force the birds to stay, the tornados can't come to the area. African and European swallows would work equally well for this purpose. It's like magnets... :)

Comment: Re:Fun with Cult Missionaries (Score 1) 197

A friend and his wife once made super cookies in the form of "666' and served them up with cans of ice-cold Coke. The Mormon missionaries looked at each other and said "they sensed a spirit of confrontation" and left. They died laughing after they left. They never received additional visits.

A missionary friend of mine would have politely thanked them for the "999" cookies, and then spent as long as they'd tolerate talking about the LDS church. It's wrong to point at religious people, and claim that they have no sense of humor about themselves.

Comment: Why it's Microsoft's problem (Score 1) 197

I don't understand why this is Microsoft's problem. Why would you complain to Microsoft about this and not your attorney general? If someone is selling fake Rolexes on the street, you don't complain to Rolex..

Why it's Microsoft's problem

Because the people being scammed do not have standing before the court to make a claim of fraudulent use of trademark on behalf of Microsoft. Only Microsoft, as holder of the trademark, has the right to make such a claim.

Until Microsoft makes the claim, if it has received even one notification of the fraudulent use of its trademark, subsequent use of its trademark without a complaint by Microsoft can legally constitute tacit permission, and enough of that, and the trademark becomes a generic term (like "asprin", which was a trademark of AG Bayer, until they failed to defend it from being applied generically).

I imagine that Microsoft actually doesn't care if you get scammed (and would actually prefer it, so long as it mostly impacts Windows XP users, and not Windows 7/8 users), but they don't want to risk losing their trademark on the name "Microsoft" over it.

Comment: Re:Ethics? (Score 1) 536

by russotto (#48641319) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

1) the core claims of Gamergate have now been shown to be overblown at best

The initial claim turned out not to be a simple quid pro quo. The person who gave the favorable mention of Depression Quest turned out to have been mentioned in the credits for the game, however. He gave a mention to a game he was involved in the development of. This is certainly less headline-grabbing than sex-for-coverage, but I don't think it's any better. Either way it's a tempest-in-a-teapot at that point... but the more people started looking, the more rot they found.

It's clear at this point that there's a group of "gaming journalists" who give favorable reviews to their friends and political allies while giving unfavorable reviews to others on the same bases. And who are contemptuous of gamers, though that's not in itself unethical.

there is no public evidence that any of the claims of harassment or threat at question were fabricated, only speculation

There's little public evidence on either side about threats and harassment. The most well-investigated threat (to Anita Sarkeesian) seems to have been from someone in Brazil who she already knew about and has been threatening her since long before GamerGate got going.

A lot of the so-called harassment is just people responding publicly to statements made publicly. That's not harassment. Dot-mentioning someone on twitter is not "harassment". Making a response video to someone else's video is not "harassment".

Do you really find it hard to believe that these death threats are genuine?

As with harassment, a lot of these so-called death threats don't even fit the form. They count things like "I hope you die" or "Go kill yourself" as death threats, when they're clearly not. Some of these death threats were actually threats and actually happened, but "someone sent me a death threat therefore my opponents are wrong and evil" still doesn't hold together.

Comment: Re:Excellent! (Score 1) 536

by russotto (#48639589) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

"Femenist agenda?"

Are you dense or do you not understand gaming isn't a zero-sum game? You can have a billion more ladies making games and that doesn't mean games like Hatred or Call of Duty are going anywhere.

No one objects to women making games. But who was it who ran a successful campaign to get GTA V pulled from Target Australia because, specifically, of misogyny?

Comment: Re:Echo chamber within a hate group (Score 1) 536

by russotto (#48639477) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

EVERYONE outside your echo chamber ONLY sees harassment and hate coming from people using that name. The name "GamerGate" is synonymous with a hate movement.

GamerGate isn't an echo chamber. GamerGaters do in fact question each others positions and claims. And sometimes find them wanting, as in the case of a pro-GG person who claimed he was physically assaulted and forced out of the apartment he shared with his girlfriend because of his pro-GG stance.

It's not surprising GG has a bad reputation; when you fight the press you can't expect anything but bad press.

No, see, you can STOP F*#^%& USING THE NAME "GamerGate". It is poison. It kills your point. The name was coined as part of the initial hate attacks on Zoe Quinn.

Except that it wasn't coined as part of that particular bit of chan drama. It came up a month later -- coincidentally, just as the "gamers are dead" articles came out.

Comment: Game construction kits (Score 2) 112

by tlambert (#48638585) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

Game construction kits:

Stuart Smith's Adventure Construction Set
Racing Destruction Set
Pinball Construction Set
Arcade Game Construction Kit
Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit
Garry Kitchen's GameMaker

Run them on a real Commodore 64, or run them in an emulator. Images are available online for all these software titles.

See also:

Comment: Re:In related news... (Score 1) 191

by tlambert (#48632777) Attached to: Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

It is commonplace for US manufacturers to require their contracted facilities overseas to meet standards for ethics. treatment of workers, and environmental impact. The fact that Apple has such low standards to begin with, and doesn't even enforce them, should be bothersome.

Short of stationing an observer in every room of a factory floor room currently being used to manufacture Apple products, there's no way to do this short of spot checks, with the hope that the translators and government assigned handlers are not in the pay of the factory operator, and don't "phone ahead" so that these audit come out clean. Frankly, given that changing configuration between "unclean" and "clean", and then back to "unclean", would likely be prohibitively expensive, so as long as the spot checks are ongoing, the conditions are going to be the best that you can hope for, and still be in China.

My company has walked away from China over these issues and moved production back to the US over the last three years, mainly over issues of labor treatment.

I think the straw that broke the camel's back was when one of our products failed incoming inspection, and when we opened it up, there was a finger inside. The worker literally lost a finger during the production of one of our products.

I think if they were finding fingers in products during servicing or inspection (which in the U.S., for Apple, is contracted out to Solectron), there would be hell to pay, so I'll take that particular story as anecdotal/apocryphal, unless you can cite a news story to that effect.

Walking away from China manufacturing is generally not an option, when the cost per unit quality of, say, U.S. workers, prices them very much out of the range of possibility. If Apple were to wholesale drop Chinese manufacturing as an option (as you say your company has done), obviously, the COGS would go up, and with it, the cost to the consumer for the product. The factories would be relocated elsewhere to either some other Southeast Asia country, or to Eastern Europe (which is where iPhones are put through final manufacture so that it takes place in the EU and therefore avoids the non-EU product import VAT that would otherwise be charged as a protectionist measure by the EU).

Either way, if you expect those jobs to come back to the U.S. without a change in MFN status for China, and a change in international tariff structures to enforce U.S. environmental and labor policy on trading partners facilities used to manufacture goods sold in the U.S., as Steve Jobs told Obama: "Those jobs are gone; they're not coming back".

Even were they to come back under those circumstances, they would be coming back to automated factories in non-union states, so those jobs are effectively gone forever, either way.

If we suddenly froze trade relations with China, it would have the same effect: the closes you could expect those jobs to come to a U.S. worker would be the Maquiladoras, which, economically speaking, pay about 25% of a Mexican living wage for supporting a family, which is significantly less, in terms of subsistence, than the Chinese workers in Shenzhen are getting, which is a significant surplus over 200% of what it takes to support a family on a workers wages.

Find all the fingers you want, those jobs will never be U.S. jobs again.

Comment: Why what police force get involved when... (Score 5, Informative) 536

by tlambert (#48632647) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

Well, that was mostly the cynic in me writing, but on the other hand, isn't a threat made against a single individual typically handled by the police? Why would FBI feel the need to get involved? Or is this on of the "because it happened on the Internet it's different" kind of situations?
Government agencies overstepping their boundaries and getting involved in things that aren't their business is certainly a reason for concern.

Why what police force get involved when...

This is a basic, 50,000 foot view; it's not intended to cover all the details, and corrections gratefully accepted, but I believe this covers the gist of it...

It's pretty clear that the threats, particularly against the appearance of Anita Sarkeesian at Utah State University were, at a minimum, interstate.

When the threats cross a state line, the move from local police jurisdiction to federal police (FBI) jurisdiction, since police forces may only operate within their own jurisdictions. If the crime spans larger jurisdictions, such as adjacent cities within a county, or adjacent counties within a state, then it may be handled by an inter-agency task force. If it gets bigger than that, then the next larger jurisdiction encapsulating the jurisdictions involved takes ownership. The jurisdictions and agencies, are as follows:

Within a city: The city police force
Within a county: The county sheriff
Within a state: The CBI (California Bureau of Investigation - agency name varies by state)
Interstate: The FBI
International: Interpol

Within these classifications, inferior jurisdictions are often acted to cooperate/participate in the investigatory legwork, arrest operations, searches, evidence gathering, forensic work (autopsy, crime scene investigation, and so on).


When a crime occurs on a federal lands or reservations, the FBI always has jurisdiction. For "indian reservations", investigator power lies in both the FBI and in the tribal police force (depending on the nature of the crime).

When a crime occurs on a military base, the investigatory power lies within the branch of the military; for most crimes, this is the MPs or Military Police. For more serious crime, or crimes involving military personnel not on base, or non-military and military personnel both, it goes by branch of service:

Navy, Marine, Coast Guard: NCIS - Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Army: USACIDC or CID - Criminal Investigation Division of the Army Provost's office
Air Force: AFOSI or OSI - Office of Special Investigations

Generally, anything involving a civilian, or occurring off base, ands up being a joint investigation with local authorities, which can include authorities in other countries (e.g. naval bases in Japan, air force bases in Germany, etc.).

For terrorist threats, USDHS - DHS - the Department of Homeland Security - gets involved. They are probably already involved in the Utah State University threat. At that pint, they can call on the capabilities and services of agencies such as the DOJ (Federal Marshals office), the NSA (which is allowed to operate domestically), the CIA (which is allowed to operate extranationally), the DIA (which is allowed to operate with regard to foreign military), and so on.

All in all, the more something escalates in terms of geographic reach, or in terms of threat level, the higher up the food chain you go, further and further into territories where you do not want to be. At some point in the escalation process, you get to the stratospheric regions where people simply "disappear" (otherwise known as "extraordinary rendition").

Does that answer your question?

Comment: In related news... (Score 1) 191

by tlambert (#48632217) Attached to: Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

In related news... Apple is continuing to deny responsibility for space junk launched into space by Boeing, which is known to use Apple products, and has repeatedly dodged questions about their sole responsibility for the existence of Somali pirates, who are known to have held hostage container ships containing one or more containers of Apple products, among the many thousands of containers aboard.

Oh. I'm sorry... weren't we playing the "Blame Apple for the actions of other people" game?

Comment: Re:Question. (Score 1) 191

by tlambert (#48632169) Attached to: Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

Question. Why do they work people so hard instead of just hiring more people? Are these guys salaried instead of hourly? Is it about keeping down costs on training or employee benefits like dormitories they don't think they can operate without? It can't be a massive labor shortage or the employees would quit and find somewhere else to work...

The cost to the company for an employee includes more than just that employee' hourly wage, and much of it is not fungible.

This is why in the U.S. we have 3 people working 40 hour weeks, instead of 4 people working 30 hour weeks. In order to reduce the work week length, we'd need to be able to make 3x40 equivalent to 4x30 for the employer. Most of the overhead that makes this losing math is associated with government, although there's also per employee equipment costs and space costs at the worksite. Everything else is pretty much unfunded government mandates per employee, so that the more employees you have, the higher your costs.

Comment: Image processing; LIDAR; ADAS perspective (Score 2) 125

by volvox_voxel (#48621651) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

I've done some image processing work.. It seems to me that you can take the output of this Neural network and correlate it with some other image processing routines, like feature detection, feature meteorology, etc; A conditional probability based decision chain,etc.

I work on a LIDAR sensor meant for Anti-. I work at a start-up that makes 3D laser-radar vision sensors for robotics and autonomous vehicles /anti-collision avoidance. The other day, I learned that such sensors allow robots to augment their camera vision systems to have a better understanding of their environment. It turns out that it's still an unsolved problem for a computer vision systems to unambiguously recognize that it's looking at a bird or a cat, and can only give you probabilities.. A LIDAR sensor instantly gives you a depth measurement out to several hundred meters that you can correlate your images to . The computer can combine the color information, along with depth information to have a much better idea of what it's looking at. For an anti-collision avoidance system, it has to be certain what it's looking at, and that cameras alone aren't good enough. I find it pretty exciting to be working on something that is useful for AI (artificial intelligence) research. One guy I work with got his Ph.D using Microsoft's Kinect sensor, which is something that gives robots depth perception for close-up environments..

“In the 60s, Marvin Minsky (a well known AI researcher from MIT, whom Isaac Asimov considered one of the smartest people he ever met) assigned a couple of undergrads to spend the summer programming a computer to use a camera to identify objects in a scene. He figured they'd have the problem solved by the end of the summer. Half a century later, we're still working on it.”

Comment: Patents (Score 0, Troll) 215

by Groo Wanderer (#48620029) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Until they stop playing games with hidden and required patents, their talk is just BS. They have shown they have no intent to change that model time and time again, this round is no different. You can open source something that requires a DX call but if you don't open source DX and threaten anyone who does with patent suits, is there a point? It is hollow BS for all the same reasons. Don't buy the PR meant to distract, the underlying mechanics are still the same. They are antagonistic to open source and that won't change at a level deeper than the public messaging.


Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.