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:Sure, you're free of Google ... (Score 1) 175

by Voyager529 (#49488841) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

But now you're stuck with Microsoft.

Is this supposed to be some kind of improvement?

Google applications on virtually every stock (read:non-AOSP) ROM: not removable.
Microsoft applications on an AOSP ROM that, almost by definition, requires root and an unlocked bootloader: Good question; the fine summary says "integration", which could mean anything.

Still, I'd say the ultimate outcome is better with Microsoft than with Google. Not because of who Microsoft is, but because of who Cyanogen is.

"Oh noes, google is teh big evil corp'ration, let's go with teh Microsoft". I mean, what the hell are they thinking?

They're probably thinking, "Rent is due this month, and I need to put gas in my car, and I'd like to eat something besides ramen noodles tonight", like the rest of us. Microsoft is willing to give them a pile of money to make it so that a build of their ROM prompts for an address instead of a gmail address. Dropbox, Samsung, and HTC already do this, so as long as the MS additions don't dim the "uninstall" button, I see no reason why MS being the prompt at the beginning is any better or any worse.

This just sounds like the point at which the free software folks sell out and say fuck it, let's just follow the money.

Which is why the devil is in the details. If the pile of money means "It prompts to create a Microsoft account at the beginning and OneNote and OneDrive are installed by default, with a 'skip' button for the former and working 'uninstall' buttons for the two latter", then it's foolish to turn down that pile of money. If Cyanogen with Bing(r) is just as difficult to deal with as pulling the Google stuff from a stock ROM...then that *is* selling out.

I have a hard time people are going to buy an Android device, so they can wipe it, kick out Google, and bring in Microsoft. If you want that, buy a Microsoft device and get on with it.

Personally, I really like the new Outlook client for Android, especially since I have an Exchange account. Also, I don't always store stuff in The Cloud (tm), but when I do, I use OneDrive. However, I use Xprivacy, and I see no Windows Phone equivalent for the title. I use Root Explorer, and again, I see no WP equivalent. I use Swype, which doesn't exist on Windows Phone, nor does Titanium Backup or any number of other apps. "Buy a Microsoft device" is as shortsighted an answer as when zealots say "Get a Mac" to any and every problem that happens on a PC: it ignores any number of other variables.

Comment: Re: UAC - A Double Edged Sword (Score 1) 187

by Voyager529 (#49456101) Attached to: LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security

The problem is that it works both ways. For example, if a non-admin user has smb://foo/bar mapped to z:, but the admin user does not, attempting to make a scheduled task running as admin that involves data in z: will fail, because admin doesn't have it mapped. If you go to %userprofile% in an elevated command prompt, you go to Administrator's profile folder, not the currently logged in user. "non-elevated being unable to talk to elevated" is the 'by design' situation you speak of. 'elevated being unable to talk to non-elevated' is another.

Comment: Re:The purpose of Swype (Score 1) 140

by Voyager529 (#49456039) Attached to: Finding an Optimal Keyboard Layout For Swype

T9 is a terrible example for two reasons.

First, T9 was "clearly to the left of the uncanny valley" - the number pad is clearly not a rearranged QWERTY arrangement of keys, so the existing muscle memory doesn't apply. Moreover, the use of the letters on the phone keypad, while not a regular way of entering text up until that point, was still at least loosely familiar to anyone who needed to dial a vanity 800-number.

Second, the fact that "feature phones", aka "messaging phones" or "dumb phones with a QWERTY keyboard" were a huge market in the 2004(ish)-2009(ish) period indicates that T9 was very clearly considered nothing more than a stopgap measure. Alternatively, the mass adoption of feature phones and smartphones would lend credence to the possibility that T9 was an acceptable means of text entry for the very small amount of text that was generally going into a phone at that time, but the ceiling was quickly reached.

Bonus round: People will adopt an optimization to Swype and Swiftkey, just as they were adopted as an extension of the iPhone and older Android long as their existing knowledge is still useful. Knowing how to type on a QWERTY keyboard is useful when you need to type in a last name, and number pad dialing is still used for good ol' fashioned phone calls. If an optimized arrangement of the keys is genuinely helpful, then we'd be seeing an arrangement of keys that puts the vowels toward the edges to facilitate thumb typing...but we don't see keyboards like that gaining any meaningful traction. "Flow" (discussed by me and a few others further down in the thread) largely solves these problems, but it's in the 10K-50K range, rather than Swype and Swiftkey, in the 10M-100M realms.

Comment: Done long ago (Score 1) 140

by Voyager529 (#49455437) Attached to: Finding an Optimal Keyboard Layout For Swype

I used that app back in 2012, and it wasn't just-out-of-beta then, either. When I used it, it effectively solved all of its intended problems: common letter combinations were in close proximity, and there were fewer "word collisions" than with Swype ("or" vs "our" immediately coming to mind).

The problem I found was the fact that while Flow is more accurate, it took me significantly longer to type out a message because I wasn't used to the layout. I've spent over 20 years on a QWERTY keyboard, and even though Flow is more efficient, QWERTY is basically like breathing for me, so any statistically-better keyboard would still be slower because I'd be re-learning to type all over again. Even with errors, I'm personally still a Swype person at heart. I've even tried Swiftkey and Go, but even there what holds me back is knowing where the punctuation keys are. The only alternate keyboard I'll use is "Hacker's Keyboard" when I find myself in an SSH session, but other than that, Swype got me in early in the WinMo 6.5 days, and has never let go.

Comment: Re:Buyer Beware (Score 5, Informative) 45

Why do we need Google to be our App Nanny?

Because they run the repository. It's not Google saying, "only these extensions may install", it's them having a centralized location for the ones they've approved.

The faster they remove bad stuff, the more false positives they get in their removal process

As long as the appeals process is clear and genuine false positives are handled in a timely manner, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

and independent developers will lose out in the process.

Github, Sourceforge, and "a Godaddy domain with the free-tier hosting" will happily enable independent developers to avail their Chrome extensions for download. If that's not okay, Firefox still has a viable market share, even IE supports add-ons. Depending on 1.) Google, 2.) Chrome, and 3.) the first party Chrome repo to distribute one's browser extension seems foolish, especially when it's still perfectly viable to take any combination of those away from the equation and still get a browser extension into the hands of end users. When Chrome sections off the greater internet...then we can talk.

Also, if I sound crabby and one sided about this, it's because half the users who have browser extensions have the malware-based ones that I need to remove because it keeps hijacking their search providers and home pages, injecting ads, and generally making a mess. I see this across every browser that supports extensions. While users should indeed be more vigilant about what they allow on their computer, I'll be okay with any measure to mitigate this problem that doesn't involve removing a manual override.

Comment: Re:use it or lose it (Score 1) 153

holder ceases to publish, market, support and profit from a product

Its a nice idea but kinda hard to enforce. Suppose Microsoft wants to make sure XP's copyright does not expire early. They gather up 20 retail copies of "new old stock" they have somewhere an set an Outlook reminder to put one on Ebay once a year. Does that count?

If they're selling them as new products, with the support entitlements that any new copy of Windows XP should expect, and Microsoft keeps their activation servers up indefinitely, then I'd say yes. If they're selling copies of Windows XP that won't activate...not so much. More to the point, the essence of what's being asked is that Microsoft can't sue someone for running

What if its a small ISV with a shareware product that they maybe only sell a handful of license for per year. Its not a product they pay much attention to but hey once in a while someone decides to toss them $50 to make the nag screen go away, it costs them nothing to leave the license generator and sales page up on their site, so what not? Should they not be allowed to do that as long as they care to?

If the ISV doesn't have any server-side requirements and it's a matter of a simple keygen that displays or e-mails a serial number, then this request doesn't apply. Moreover, if the ISV does have a server side requirement, this request, if honored, simply means that the ISV can't file a lawsuit, citing the DMCA, should someone reverse engineer their software enough to enable the software to continue to perform its intended purpose. Conversely, if the software is reverse engineered in order to remove the requirement for the serial number to be entered, then that's already covered under garden variety copyright laws.

We you make to many rules it just creates to many questions and to many competing interpretations.

"Can the software perform its intended purpose after the vendor labels it end-of-life and deactivates the server side requirements?"
IF "yes" THEN request.applies = "false"
IF "no" THEN request.applies = "true"

About the only place where there's room for interpretation is in the term "indended purpose" - in the context of games, the continued availability of a single player campaign without multiplayer capability would be a point of contention for the lawyers to debate.

It leaves everyone wonder what really is allowed and what isn't and the real beneficiaries end up being the attorneys.

Such is the cross bore by a legal framework, and it's why "court judge" is an actual profession.

I think we need to keep it simple like, authors lifetime + 15 or just strait 75 years where author is a nonhuman legal entity. No ifs, ands, or buts, no renewals, sorry Disney you can't own Micky for ever.. type system.

Copyright isn't, strictly speaking, in question here. The question is whether software under copyright that is symbiotically dependent upon a publisher that can unilaterally disable some form of authentication and/or data processing can be altered by the end user in order to restore the functionality that was initially paid for. Ordinarily, reverse engineering of that nature isn't legal...but it's also not necessary. The request is intended to decriminalize the situations where such reverse enginerring /is/ necessary.

Comment: Re:Remember kids, sync to cloud. (Score 1) 489

by Voyager529 (#49438731) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

But if you sync to the cloud, that is, transmit your incriminating video from you registered phone through a cell provider who has your credit card information to a storage provider who also has your credit card information, the cops can show up at your door, follow your car, and get "in your face" until they find something to hang you with.


Either way, secured, real-time, SSL'd upload to your own server. No cloud vendors, and no credit cards.

Comment: Consistency (Score 2) 624

The single simplest answer I can come up with is "no exceptions". English is dumb like that: "i before e, except after 'c'...or when you run a feisty heist on a weird, caffeinated, foreign, beige, Atheist neighbor". We make a word plural by adding an 's' at the end...except for womans, childs, mans, oxs, mouses, mooses, gooses, and about 1,001 other 'exceptions'. Verb conjugation is a mess, typically using "helping verbs" to establish tense, except when you don't. Then, there are vowels. Spanish has this right "a" (ah), "e" (eh), "i" (ee), "o" (oh), "u" (oo), no exceptions. English has a "short" and "long" sound for each, and then there's the "schwa" sound, because apparently simply using a "short u" when you need one is too complicated for English. And then, there's this:

Trying to find a common denominator between Mandarin, Hungarian, Creole, and English is highly unlikely to happen. So, from my experience with languages, which is "English, with a high school understanding of Spanish and a handful of core phrases in other European languages (i.e. I can ask for a bathroom throughout Europe), my core answer would be consistency. This letter makes this sound, no exceptions. This word ending means that the word is in this tense, no exceptions.

Finally, minimize the "through context" words-with-multiple-meanings situation; "love" being a great example. If you love your mother, your super-fast computer, bacon, and your spouse the same way, then the language is the least of your problems....

Comment: Re: Not even if it's free. (Score 3, Insightful) 34

by Voyager529 (#49406149) Attached to: Second Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016 Arriving This Spring

Depends where it lives with respect to the infrastructure. As a web server with a public IP and nothing in front of it, running IIS? Probably not (though, to be fair, IIS8.5 has come a long way from versions 5 and 6). Running an application for an industry specific vertical product that is built on the IIS/ASP/MSSQL stack? I don't have a problem with that. Doing internal DHCP/DNS/AD/Exchange? I'm fine with that, too.

Microsoft's issue is that they made it very easy to configure in an insecure way. Similarly, they didn't give much help when it came to giving novice server admins enough guidance to fix their issues without disabling the security measures wholesale. Now, the natural Slashdot argument would be the very concept of a "novice server admin", but the alternative is that certain small businesses don't have a server, so they can't run their applications, so things get messy.

Think of a nail salon with two locations in neighboring towns. Not a large enough business to warrant an IT staff, but big enough to need a client/server model scheduling system, and not the kind of place likely to have an employee technical enough to really do the job right. Cloud vendors are starting to crop up to fill this kind of niche, but even five years ago, that was much less common. Back then, we'd get a server and a point to point VPN system up and running, but if the application runs on IIS/ASP/MSSQL, having a Linux server isn't an option, and the people in charge of choosing the product are unlikely to pick it based on platform. Situations of this nature are incredibly common on Main Street.

I love using Linux and BSD where appropriate, but sometimes Windows is the right tool for the job. Other times, it isn't. No sense in turning it into a religious debate.

Comment: Re:It's good if they don't code like 90s C++ devs (Score 2) 298

by Voyager529 (#49357683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

Techno-machismo teens playing games trying to get their code into the least number of characters and the least amount of memory.

Given how many programs I've used over the past decade that have required unreasonably high amounts of RAM, and/or were subsequent releases of software that solved a particular problem in earlier iterations but required 1/10th the memory to do it, I wouldn't mind a handful of these guys getting their desks back. Adobe is a great place to start.

I've had to fix or test so much of this junk and it's still just plain stupid.

I'm by no means a programmer, but from the handful of times I've seen what you're talking about, I'll say this: if it's possible to save 10% of RAM by shifting the ease-of-use burden to the comments instead of the actual code, then as an end user, I'm 100% in favor of commenting the everloving hell out of difficult to read code that saves RAM when users are running it.

You don't have to save memory! Memory is there to make your code readable. Use it!

Wrong. Use as much as necessary, but no more. I might have 12GB of RAM in my laptop, but it's not all for you. It's for EVERYTHING I do, and when I start adding VMs or large After Effects projects to what I'm doing, 12GB starts to get pretty cramped. Some RAM usage will be inevitable, but wasteful RAM usage is wasteful.

I most certainly have plenty of admiration for the Demoscene.

Comment: Flashback to 2011 (Score 1) 160

by Voyager529 (#49330553) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

Seriously guys, when Microsoft 1.) had the idea years ago, 2.) has the investment capital to give this a viable shot, and 3.) with Azure, has an immediately viable and marketable need for a set of servers that can be dynamically powered up and down...and THEY haven't gotten it to be a viable idea...I sincerely doubt that a startup in the Netherlands will have greater success.

To be fair though, one would imagine that the Netherlands is colder, for more of the year, than the majority of the continental US. Still, servers coming up and down with the thermostat does not seem to be a good enough idea to be of real assistance.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 166

Due to the laws of nature messages can safely be assumed to have been transmitted no later than the time of reception.

I wonder if I should patent this...

Yes, patent it. However, be sufficiently ambiguous in your patent that it will somehow apply to time machines. If the patent passes muster, you'll obviously receive a visit from either your future self, or a beta testing team that needs you to not file that patent. Either way, you'll likely end up either very rich, or very dead.

Comment: Re:The sky is falling... or maybe not. (Score 1) 362

by Voyager529 (#49306917) Attached to: OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers

Tell me why I don't want secure boot and an OS signed by Microsoft or one of the mainstream Linux distributions.

Acronis True Image/Clonezilla/Ghost/Veeam.
Hiren's Boot CD/Active@ Boot CD/UBCD4Win.
GPartEd/PartEd Magic.

Sure, desktops for office use will never have a problem. However, the inability to use desktop hardware for any number of other dedicated services is most decisively a bad thing, and the inability to boot into some form of a recovery environment is even worse.

If you're buying the desktops for internal corporate use, leave secure boot on and password the BIOS, everyone's happy.

Comment: Re:Like Voyager's golden record? (Score 1) 169

by Voyager529 (#49231403) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Video Storage For Time Capsule?

I can already not play my 16bit DOS games on a modern computer without fancy emulation and that is less than 20 years.

Machine code may get a bit dicey, but also keep in mind that a lot of the development then was at a much lower level (frequently based on CPU cycle, not multicore, etc.). Around that era, WordPerfect 5.1 ruled the roost of word processing, and I bet you that you could open one of those documents in 15 minutes or less today.

NASA themselves have had issues with recovering data from moon landings and other missions that have been kept in storage.

...because they taped over them. That's a smidge different than being unable to read their own tapes.

Then take into account proprietary codecs. Just think back 15 years ago where everything online was Realmedia

Not only was Realmedia much more likely to be streamed than downloaded, but Realplayer is still around, as is RealAlternative, and VLC can read several flavors as well. "uncommon" and "unable to be used" are two different things.

what makes you think that MP3s will be around in 100 years?

Ubiquity. Portable MP3 players have been around for nearly 15 years. The format itself is about 25 years old. You can play back an MP3 on almost literally every OS ever written, there are a dozen FOSS applications to do so, and aside from iTunes going all AAC by default, MP3 is what everyone else uses. Admittedly, media formats are difficult to extrapolate for 100 years, but I'd bet that if one digital format was going to make it to its 100th birthday, MP3 would be the most likely contender (depending on whether ASCII text would be considered a "media format"; JPEG would be my second guess).

What about Quicktime or the heavily patent incumbered h.264 which every man and their dog are working to replace?

they're likely to die.

At the very least we would need to store with it a complete description of the coded format and the algorithm to decode it.

Then there's the hardware issues. What kind of hardware has a really long term data storage capability? Flash memory doesn't and there's evidence that some forms of flash memory need constant data refresh to prevent bit-rot. CDs don't and even if they do it's unlikely that the CD drive will be operational 100 years later. Harddrives suffer the same mechanical problems but even if they didn't how do we interface them? SATA? USB-C? Thunderbolt?

100 years is a VERY long time.

You're correct in this. One very possible method would be to store the same thing on 100 different flash drives, each of a different make and model - it's possible that the data would survive at least one of them. In the case of video, it's possible that the answer is "include a handful of DVD players" - specifically, one with an analog output. From there, it might be possible to include two flavors of disc - one with a garden variety DVD video (in the event it's possible to output a composite signal to something in 100 years), and the other specifically formatted to be visible from an oscilloscope - odds are good that those will still be around in 100 years, and analog video will be somewhat visible that way. One other nice thing about DVD is that the logo is fairly distinctive - even if the people who dig it up need to go to an antique shop or an outright landfill, it'd at least be a distinctive way to give a glimmer of hope.

Here's yet another question to ask - what do we say, and how do we say it? Language itself is likely to morph over that time. Time capsules are interesting for this reason - it gives a glimpse into what society thought was important then, and what the society of yesterday thought would be relevant upon reopening.

You will have a head crash on your private pack.