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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).


+ - New bill would repeal Patriot Act

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Two Congressmen have introduced legislation to repeal the Patriot Act as well as end all unconstitutional domestic spying by government agencies.

The article notes that there is bi-partisan support for “doing something” about the out-of-control surveillance of federal agencies like the National Security Agency. I agree. Expect something like this to get passed. Whether Obama will veto it is another question. Despite what he says (which no one should every believe), he likes the idea of prying into the lives of private citizens."

Comment: Re:so, the key to amnesty... (Score 1) 322

by Wolfrider (#49317235) Attached to: Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades

--Even a "free" upgrade won't get traction if the user interface is crap. See Win 8.x, Vista, Slashdot Beta. On the plus side, I've been evaluating the Win10 beta and it's *not* crap (so far.)

--I should qualify my next statement by saying that I hate Win 8.x with the fire of a thousand burning suns, and refuse to use it or work on it AT ALL, even if someone wants to pay me for it.

--I still like Win7 the best, especially for business (but my main bare-hardware desktop is still Xubuntu--64-LTS.) As long as they don't take the Win10 GUI changes in a wrong direction, I'm willing to try Win10 at this point; but I'm still keeping full-partition image backups of all my Win7 installs and VMs just in case.

+ - Online 'Swatting' Becomes a Hazard for Gamers Who Play Live on the Internet 1

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Nick Wingfield reports at the NYT that practical jokers who call in bogus reports of violence provoking huge police responses have set their sights on a new set of victims: video gamers who play live on the Internet, often in front of huge online audiences. Last month, several hundred people were watching Joshua Peters as he played RuneScape from his parents’ home as video showed Peters suddenly leaving his computer when police officers appeared at the house and ordered him and his family at gunpoint to lie face down on the ground after some had called 911 claiming Peters had just shot his roommate. “With the live-streaming platforms, it amplifies the entire situation,” says James Clayton Eubanks who says he has been swatted about a half-dozen times while he streamed his Call of Duty sessions. “Not only do they get to do this and cause this misery, they get to watch it unfold in front of thousands of people.”

Game companies like Twitch have publicly said that swatting is dangerous, but that there is little else they can do to prevent the pranks. Tracking the culprits behind the pranks is difficult. While bomb scares and other hoaxes have been around for decades, making threats anonymously has never been so easy. Swatters use text messages and online phone services like Skype to relay their threats, employing techniques to make themselves hard to trace. They obtain personal addresses for their victims through property records and other public databases, or by tricking businesses or customer service representatives at a victim’s Internet provider into revealing the information. Brandon Willson, a gamer known online as “Famed God," made up a murder to get police to go to an unsuspecting west suburban resident’s home last year and ended up behind bars in Nevada awaiting extradition. As part of the investigation, police traveled to Las Vegas to help local police execute a search warrant at Willson’s home. Computers seized there contained evidence of the swatting incident, as well as similar incidents across the country, prosecutors claim. Willson faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted on charges of computer tampering and one count each of intimidation, computer fraud, identity theft and disorderly conduct. His mother, Brenda Willson, says her son is innocent and does not smoke, drink or have tattoos. “He would never swat," she says."

Comment: Re:Slashdot Overrun by Luddite Barbarians (Score 1) 163

by Wolfrider (#49280695) Attached to: "Hello Barbie" Listens To Children Via Cloud

--You know, it's funny - but when I read Asimov's "Robbie**" I was rooting for the robot, because reasons. The robot was written from a sympathetic point of view, appeared to really care for the daughter, and 3 Laws blahblahblah.

--I find this whole "spying Barbie" idea to be creepy (and unnecessary) as hell. Perceived motives and all that. USRMM (from the story) had no vested interest in advertising to litle girls.


+ - This App Lets You Piggyback Facebook's Free Internet to Access Any Site->

Submitted by sarahnaomi
sarahnaomi (3948215) writes "In countries like Zambia, Tanzania, or Kenya, where very few have access to the Internet, Facebook is bringing its own version of the net:, an app that gives mobile users free access to certain sites such as Google, Wikipedia and, of course, Facebook.

While the initiative has clearly positive goals, it’s also been criticized as an “imperialistic” push for Facebook colonies, where novice users will grow up thinking their restricted version of the web is the real internet.

To fight against that possibility, a 20-year-old developer from Paraguay is working on an app that tunnels the “regular” internet through Facebook Messenger, one of the services free to use on’s app. This allows users to establish a link to the outside, unrestricted internet, circumventing restrictions."

Link to Original Source

+ - People Who Use Firefox or Chrome Make Better Employees

Submitted by (3830033) writes "In the world of Big Data, everything means something. Now Joe Pinsker reports that Cornerstone OnDemand, a company that sells software that helps employers recruit and retain workers, has found after analyzing data on about 50,000 people who took its 45-minute online job assessment, that people who took the test on a non-default browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, ended up staying at their jobs about 15 percent longer than those who stuck with Safari or Internet Explorer and performed better on the job as well. Chief Analytics Officer Michael Housman offered an explanation for the results in an interview with Freakonomics Radio. “I think that the fact that you took the time to install Firefox on your computer shows us something about you. It shows that you’re someone who is an informed consumer,” says Housman. “You’ve made an active choice to do something that wasn’t default.” But why would a company care about something as seemingly trivial as the browser a candidate chooses to use? "Call centers are estimated to suffer from a turnover rate of about 45 percent annually (PDF), and it can cost thousands of dollars to hire new employees," says Pinsker. "Because of that, companies are eager to find any proxy for talent and dedication that they can.""

+ - GCHQ Builds A Raspberry Pi Super Computer Cluster ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA, has created a 66 Raspberry Pi cluster called the Bramble for "educational" purposes. What educational purposes isn't exactly clear but you do associate super computers with spooks and spies. It seems that there was an internal competition to invent something and three, unnamed, GCHQ technologists decided that other Pi clusters were too ad-hoc. They set themselves the target of creating a cluster that could be reproduced as a standard architecture to create a commodity cluster.
The basic unit of the cluster is a set of eight networked Pis, called an "OctaPi" — one thing you have to admit is that the Raspberry Pi name lends itself to silly variations. Each OctaPi can be used standalone or hooked up to make a bigger cluster. In the case of the Bramble a total of eight OctaPis makes the cluster 64 processors strong. In addition there are two head control nodes, which couple the cluster to the outside world. Each head node has one Pi, a wired and WiFi connection, realtime clock, a touch screen and a camera.
This is where the story becomes really interesting. Rather than just adopt a standard cluster application like Hadoop, OctaPi's creators decided to develop their own. After three iterations, the software to manage the cluster is now based on Node.js, Bootstrap and Angular.
So what is it all for?
The press release says that:
"The initial aim for the cluster was as a teaching tool for GCHQ’s software engineering community."
and then goes on to say:
"The ultimate aim is to use the OctaPi concept in schools to help teach efficient and effective programming. Watch this space for more details!"
The second point seems a bit unlikely.
Is it going to be open source?
Given that this is a GCHQ creation it seems unlikely, but we can hope."

Link to Original Source

+ - Senator: 'Plenty' of Domestic Surveillance We Still Don't Know About->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In a recent interview, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has complained about the Obama administration's failure to shut down the NSA's bulk collection of phone metadata. This program and most other programs we've heard of were disclosed by Edward Snowden. But Snowden couldn't tell us everything. When asked if there were further domestic surveillance programs about which the public knows nothing, Senator Wyden said, "Yeah, there’s plenty of stuff." The ones he knows about are classified, so he didn't elaborate. "Even in cases where the public has been informed of government practices, Wyden warned the government still collects far too much information on millions of citizens with virtually no accountability.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Doesn't smell right (Score 1) 338

by Wolfrider (#49231351) Attached to: Google Chrome Requires TSYNC Support Under Linux

--Aunt Tillie could probably roll her own kernel if you gave her a webpage with good instructions that would compile it for her and then prompt where to save the download ;-)

--Of course there's no guarantee of no-malware-included at that point, but ease-of-use matters quite a bit for some people.

Comment: Re:Sounds cool (Score 1) 87

--Just FYI from a rider, there is some conflicting information out there:

> Every helmet maker ever will tell you not to apply Rain-X or something similar to your visor. However, weâ(TM)ve been doing it for years with no ill effects. It causes water to quickly bead up and run off, aiding vision. Itâ(TM)s said to reduce the effective life of your shield, but weâ(TM)re replacing our clear visors once a year anyway due to scratches and whatnot. So itâ(TM)s definitely worth considering if youâ(TM)re regularly riding in wet road conditions.

> First, what is Rain-X and why is it a problem for visors? Itâ(TM)s a mixture of ethanol, acetone and isopropyl alcohol with a bit of silicone thrown it. Those three solventsâ"quite aggressiveâ"super clean the surface and leave behind a molecular layer of silicone that causes water to bead and shed. The product was originally intended for glass windshields and the company that currently owns the trademarkâ"ITW Brandsâ"says it is not recommend for plastic. The problem material is the acetone, which can soften and craze acrylics and polycarbonates.
>> The best reason not to use Rain-X is that there are better cleaner/rain-repellant products, specifically paste-type cleaners that are basically emulsifiers with a little isopropyl alcohol thrown in as a solvent and silicone or wax to act as surfactants, causing water to bead and blow off. I tested a half dozen of these and the two best were LP Acrylic Polish and Sealant and 210 Plastic Scratch Remover. Others, such as Plexus, perform similarly.

+ - Google unwraps a new Lollipop -- Android 5.1->

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson (3799011) writes "Many people may still be waiting for Android 5.0 Lollipop to make its way to their smartphone, but today Google released Android 5.1. This may have been a day dominated by the Apple Watch and new MacBook, but by launching an updated version of Lollipop on the same day, Google managed to avoid too much attention.

Was this done on purpose because of the small number of handsets that will be in line to receive Android 5.1? Or could it be because there are few stand out features to get excited about? There may be little new, but the performance and stability improvements will be welcomed by those eligible for the upgrade."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Sentence structure / run-on (Score 1) 1

by Wolfrider (#49212857) Attached to: Google Introduces Freon, A Replacement For X11 On Chrome OS

> This design is much simpler and yields various power and performance improvements though it's not based on Wayland nor Mir though Chrome plans to support these display server models."

--Try one of these:

This design is much simpler and yields various power and performance improvements. It's not based on Wayland or Mir though Chrome plans to support these display server models."


This design is much simpler and yields various power and performance improvements; it's not based on Wayland or Mir, though Chrome plans to support these display server models."

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