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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Isn't this really a problem of treatment? (Score 1) 233

Yeah, I want to echo this a bit. It was really jarring getting work in Russia of all places and right off the bat I make a fool of myself when I see that I get 30 days paid time off for vacation + select holidays; I asked how the available time off was calculated and the HR woman had no idea what I meant. I explained how my last job had vacation time generated based on the time I was actually at work and there was a cap as to how much vacation I could bank at any given time, and she really didn't understand it at all.

Comment Re:Broke the law of bribery (Score 2) 126

A kangaroo court is inherently unjust. There isn't one that is any less than the other, unless you're willing to say that some types of unfairness in the court are okay but others are not. Arguably, due to the way the corruption is open to the general public and not just the wealthy (as is the case in the US), the russian courts are more fair since everyone legitimately has the option to pay their way out. This is not condoning bribery, but we shouldn't point to someone else's shit to cover up the stink of our own.

Comment Re: Good News (Score 1) 187

I agree with you in principle, but I think you're missing that you're not all that important to advertisers as an individual. AT&T's actions are frustrating and dangerous, but they really aren't concerned about the buying habits of habitual ad-blockers. You are collateral damage as far as the advertising goes, not a "valued consumer". The people that these ads target are not you; you just happen to see them. There is a subset of people who do buy whatever junk an ad thrusts at them; if it's not you, then great! But the ads aren't gonna stop just because you aren't compelled by their random ads.

So it's great that you are incensed over this (and that's not being condescending, this is something people should be upset about), but as long as the general public has this feeling that ads everywhere are just fine without understanding the reasons why rampant ads can be bad, business will continue as normal.

Of course, even if the public got into ad-blocking on a large scale, that would just bring about the tech arms race between the very kind coders who work on adblockers and the advertising agencies.

Comment Re:We should believe this when... (Score 2) 81

I'd say you should read the article, but then you'd post complaining I owe you 20 seconds of your time back.

The article is incredibly shallow and leaves absolutely everything to be desired. There are no details on the attack, no explanation as to why government officials think it's Russia. In fact, as the result of either a confused spokesperson or poor journalism (both?), the article isn't even clear if the Government thinks it's government sanctioned or not.

The officials say its not clear whether the attack was sanctioned by the Russian government or conducted by individuals. But, given the scope of the attack, "It was clearly the work of a state actor," the officials say.[entire quote sic]

The article just lacks any substance whatsoever and the quotes from the government give no justification for the term "sophisticated cyber intrusion", as they stated.

You don't even need to bring biases and suspicion/distrust of the US government into it to question the validity of the article, as it says very little on its own. There are no facts presented, just claims by the US Government and some fun descriptions by a bored copywriter at NBC.

Personally, I believe it to just be a propaganda fluff piece; the word choices used are similar to statements made about Flame/Stuxnet and their kin when researching pointed the finger at the US/Israel. The article ends with some exaggerated description "...took the aggressive step of shutting down the entire Joint Staff unclassified email system", which is a weird way to say they took the system down for cleansing. The article plays up the sophistication of the attack to make it seem like a serious threat, only to slip in a sucker punch of "...but they didn't get anything important! Don't worry!".

Comment Re:Why stop there? (Score 1) 365

Keep in mind this often has nothing to do with any actual decision by the administrators/managers at the institution and everything to do with the financial/healthcare system provider. Healthcare in particular is plagued with lowest bidders trying to scam money out of the institutions from doctors and upper management that know nothing about technology and security.

At the end of the day, these decisions are the result of lazy programmers looking for a quick buck, not a conscious decision. The actual HIPPA document on security has no specifications on the passwords themselves, instead just practices about passwords. (i.e., there is no guideline on what a password should be. There are only guidelines about stuff like "reprimand employees who post passwords, require frequent changes, revoke passwords and tokens/keys upon employee termination")

Honestly, given that the trend is passphrase instead of passwords with length for strength, most people react a lot better and it'd be nice if companies took the time to do this. My last project at my previous work place was to help push through new requirements, and everyone loved it. Give people a strength meter and tell them the few forbidden characters and you end up with some really great passwords.

Comment Re:No kidding. (Score 1) 259

I would question your assertion on the native app; often times native apps are a second-thought, not a dedicated project, and unless the company has someone who is well versed in mobile development, it's usually a programming team's first and last foray into mobile design.

The truth is that not a lot of businesses/locations need an app - there's little to no functionality that can be obtained via the app that cannot be replicated in browser with a little bit of elbow grease, and the small benefits that an app can give are usually negligible when compared to, as Google put it in TFA, the "friction" of the mobile experience that interstitials cause.

Comment Re:Interlacing our knees (Score 1) 394

It's standard on most international flights outside of the US to have some sort of meal. Even my last relatively short flight from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg had two "meals" and snacks and drinks.

It's only when I've been flying within the US for long flights that they get stingy with the freebies.

Comment Both the submitter and WSJ got it wrong (Score 5, Informative) 230


The actual paper isn't about AI much at all as it is about making neural conversational models, basically, having the computer chat-back at you in a prompt and natural way. The conversations are less about the computer responding cognitively and more about responding human-like based on the speech patterns fed into it.

The researchers tested two types of datasets, an IT Help Chat Scenario fed with data from what I'm guessing are chat databases, and the second set was fed with conversations from movies as found from OpenSubtitles dataset (not sure if this is a relation to open subtitles.org).

The machine took this vocabulary and then pumped out conversations, and the researchers just looked to see how the new sorting method worked.

I don't understand the linguistic terminology nor the modeling at all, but it seems to me that this is less about AI research and more about just getting bot to sound a lot more natural when they generate responses. I guess this eventually has AI implications, but the research paper itself never even mentions AI, nor does it seem like that's their focus. They're just working on speech, and the statements the machine regurgitated were tested not for cognizance or sentience but coherence. The machine spitting out something relatively snappy isn't the machine getting an attitude, it's the machine finding something relevant to the input that the reader takes as snappy. Such an event has no more significance than when people trained Cleverbot to respond to questions about Hitler with "Hitler did nothing wrong". This bot is no more snappy than Cleverbot is a neo-nazi.

Comment Re:Codeword (Score 5, Insightful) 479

As funny and nice as this would be, the inevitable leak is precisely why no such thing exists.

If the author is really in tech, they should know why trees exist and it's to keep Tier 1 questions from reaching Tier 2+ support. Programmers shouldn't be doing password resets. DBAs shouldn't be copy/pasting FAQs to users. Engineers shouldn't be telling people to "Turn it off/on" again, and so on. (Of course, if it's a small enough org there may be some "all hands on deck" events which occur that require everyone to field all questions).

The problem with having an auto-escalation path is that it allows problems that never should have escalated to get escalated. Yes, you may have a fairly specific problem that requires a T3 tech, but the T1 doesn't know that, and the majority of [Company]'s customers don't know that either, but every single other customer think's their issue requires a T3 tech. The scripts and the tree exist to keep some order and structure going. Think about it this way - suppose you were a business customer who had a T3 question - do you really want your call being queued up behind someone who insists that Internet Explorer is the only way to get to their email? When I managed a first response desk, we had people calling in for the Sysadmin, Enterprise Manager, DBAs, Senior Devs, pretty much every upper-level employee, insisting that "Only they can solve this". Most of the time it turned out to be basic desktop troubleshooting or password resets or just basic "how to" questions.

This is why a lot of the big businesses have empowered their T1 to basically send replacements without oversight. When I had Comcast briefly last year, I had a modem that seemed to be capping speeds. I waited out the script, and at the end of 20 minutes, there was a new modem sent to me via Next Day.

The problem in the question does not require escalation; It doesn't need a tech higher than T1, and it's not a matter of the T1's not understanding. To me it seems like the author is just impatient; if I were to expand on that, I'd also suggest they think they're better than the T1 and as such deserve better treatment.

Comment Re:Targeting helps make an ad good (Score 1) 231

I don't think anyone disagrees with this in principle, but targeted advertising assumes a lot of things, namely that the target is a heavy consumer.

My experience with targeted advertising is advertisements offering me things I recently purchased. For example, if I order a bike, presumably I'm going to have it for a long time - I don't need more ads offering me bikes at discount prices, as I already have one. If the advertisements were to go through and find local repair shops and help advertise their repair plans (which a lot of shops seem to do now), that would be convenient, along with a distance from my location so I have a relative idea of which I'd like to go to, but that's not really what ads seem to do. Instead, it's "We saw you bought X, here are more X you might want".

Or, if I search for an auto-repair shop, it would be nice to see specialties for each shop, location, etc, but that's not what you get with advertisements. For example, I'm in Russia atm and I just searched Auto-Repair - the ad which is served to me is FireStone, which would be okay if there were any actual Firestones in Russia.

This is my issue with targeted advertising -- it doesn't work as advertised. I'm told that the more I give it information-wise, the better it can figure out what to show me, but it never plays out this way. I'm shown things I've already purchased or things just plain not available. Never mind that the ads themselves contain no information that is worthwhile. With just this alone, there is nothing the targeted advertising offers me which is compelling to not block it. It's a wash for me, and with only that as considerations, I'm merely indifferent.

Comment Re:"Kaspersky's relationship with the Kremlin" (Score 1) 288

Understood, but it's not Kaspersky that wrote the summary nor that section of the article. That's from the Daily Dot, copy and pasted by the submitter and approved by the editor. The dude shootin' his mouth off over "Kaspersky in bed with the Kremlin" is just being an idiot and confusing evidence and statements.

Comment Re:Honestly ... (Score 1) 342

Not always. Scummy neighborhood gas stations usually have a fair list of banned customers who still loiter around anyways and harass people into buying smokes/booze/lotto tickets for them. The 7/11 where I used to live had a fair sized list that the hobos just waited around the corner and either begged for you to buy them the cheapo cigars or had a couple of crinkled bills for beer or lotto tickets.

If the conspirator had the patience and time, they could have just gotten all dirtied up and waited outside a station like this for a few hours one night and there'd surely be someone who'd buy him a ticket, especially if he used the aforementioned fortune cookie thing. If he gets the cops called on him, most of the time they just tell the hobo to move along since it's more of a hassle to arrest them.

Comment It's good you missed it - it was an advertisement (Score 1) 86

Reading the whitepaper, the whole thing seems like it's focused on promoting Arxan's services. It's entirely possible that the presentation itself took a different tone/direction, but the whitepaper itself was fairly contentless sprinkled with a few good points about older MITM attacks exploiting the In-App purchases for iOS and the high piracy rates on Android in China and Russia.

Really that last part is the thrust of the article -- high piracy rates for which they don't really offer any solution except DRM and always-online games. (To their credit, they do make the recommendation of "some sort of protection on the networking layer, in-memory layer, and on disk layer...as well as portions dealing with receiving and unpacking the player's saved game or state.")

Everything else was either misleading, fairly obvious non-suggestions, or just plain outdated information.


- Whitepaper dedicates a section to lost revenue from a MITM attack allowing iOS users to get in-app purchases for free. The reference they use is a 2012 article from the Guardian talking about how Apple already fixed it. Specifically, this was relating to iOS 5 and has since been resolved. While Jailbreak options still exist, the whitepaper does not mention these nor does it discuss any other actual leak.Referenced Article

- Whitepaper has section on Flappybird clones which reads:

...However, by March 2014, approximately 60 Flappy Bird clones a day were being added to the iOS App Store...Worst of all -- a reported 79% of these clones contained malware.

This section has a reference that points to a McAfee threat report from June 2014 - as the section reads, "these" refers to the clones on the iOS App Store, however, the McAfee report clearly shows that this is Android stores that are plagued, not iOS. http://www.mcafee.com/us/resou... Page 6

- Whitepaper has a section on how hackers damage communities, which is not incorrect, however, they provide the following "helpful" tips:

  • Learn how to tell when a hacker hacks
  • Include banning as a feature
  • Look for reports of hacking

While these are not bad suggestions, they're also absolutely common sense for mobile game developers, or just people dealing with problems in general.

The submitter is absolutely right that this could have been a really keen presentation, but based on what they produced in the whitepaper, it sounds like a business trying to drum up some more business for themselves with misleading and/or useless information.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.