Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:But does it report artificially low ink levels? (Score 1) 270

by harrkev (#48575723) Attached to: Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

My wife loves the convenience of instant coffee. I wanted to stick with a regular drip maker, but she did not like the mess involved in cleaning it up nor how long it took to make a pot. I don't like the expense and the waste of K-Cups, but the wife always wins in these sort of disagreements.

I must admit that the new Keurig makers are nicer than the old ones as they seem to have changed the pumping mechanism. That was always a weak spot with the old ones, especially if you had non-optimal water. Well water could kill an old K-cup machine in just a hundred cups or so.

We moved so no more well water, but I hope that this maker lasts a lot longer. We were also bitten by the DRM. We have some old "genuine K-Cup" pods laying around without the new ink, and they don't work -- at least until I get the time to dig up a very sharp craft knife to do the plastic surgery.


How the NSA Is Spying On Everyone: More Revelations 148

Posted by timothy
from the your-own-good dept.
The Intercept has published today a story detailing documents that "reveal how the NSA plans to secretly introduce new flaws into communication systems so that they can be tapped into—a controversial tactic that security experts say could be exposing the general population to criminal hackers." The documents also describe a years-long effort, aimed at hostile and friendly regimes, from the point of view of the U.S. government, to break the security of various countries' communications networks. "Codenamed AURORAGOLD, the covert operation has monitored the content of messages sent and received by more than 1,200 email accounts associated with major cellphone network operators, intercepting confidential company planning papers that help the NSA hack into phone networks."

Comment: Re:Big risks (Score 1) 178

by harrkev (#48390019) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

No. No chance of security problems other than possibly having malware pre-loaded in a file on the drive. If you have auto-play turned off and format the card, it should be just fine.

Now, it is still likely that it is a fake. It might be very small, very slow, or die a very early death, but that would only endanger your data on there and not your computer itself.

You may be asking "Why is this the case?" The reason is that the "U" in "USB" stands for "Universal" A USB device could easily present itself as a hub with an Ethernet adapter, keyboard, mouse, and storage all rolled into one. Hell, it could even throw in a virtual MIDI keyboard, scanner, printer, and joystick if it wanted to. From what I understand, this is the crux of the security problems with USB.

An SD card, on the other hand, is strictly for storage. It uses an interface similar to SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface), and is, in fact, really SPI on some of the slower modes. There is no way for a SD card to pretend to be anything else besides an SD card. People have actually wedged WiFi interfaces into an SD form-factor, but you need drivers for those, which means that you need to either install the driver yourself, or the bad guys have to get the driver into Windows Update -- not likely in either case.

Comment: Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (Score 4, Insightful) 698

by harrkev (#48370101) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

Curtailing access to them means that some people cannot get them. That may be a problem...

People talk about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Great in theory, but is MUCH more problematic in practice. Mental illness is not binary -- it comes in various degrees and kinds.

Should a person who hears voices telling him to kill people be denied a gun? Probably.
Should a person who compulsively washes his hands be denied a gun? Probably not.

If a person is on anti-depressants be denied a gun? What if they stopped taking them (this could be good or bad)? What if they stopped taking them last week against their doctor's orders? What if they stopped taking them 20 years ago?

Suppose a person is dangerous enough to require having their rights to arms removed... Who makes that determination? Does it just take one psychologist? Should it take a board of 3 or 7 doctors? Should a judge be involved?

If the person gets better, how are their rights restored? Once again, who makes this determination? What are the criteria?

And suppose a person already HAS guns. Maybe they are a hunter, and love hunting. Because they are afraid of loosing their favorite recreation, they AVOID seeking mental help. Is that a great idea?

Suppose a woman has some mental health issues and is denied a gun. However, her ex has a criminal record for violent offenses and has threatened death against the woman. Should the then be allowed to own a gun to protect herself? If so, who makes this decision? How long would it take for this issue to go through the courts? Would she even live that long?

Seriously. just focusing on the guns is ignorant. Just saying "don't give them to lunatics" is easy to say, but much harder to do in practice. When there IS a school shooting, what is the first thing to happen? People show up to help, with guns.

Comment: Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (Score 1) 698

by harrkev (#48369651) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

Amen. A much better way to reduce school shootings is to identify WHY kids want to shoot people. Maybe invest money in training for teachers to identify bullying? Maybe hire another counselor to talk to troubled children?

Given the rare nature of school shootings, you average kid has an approximately equal chance to be struck by lightning.

School shootings are tragic, but they are also rare. If you want to save a child's life, there are MANY better places where the money could be spent.

Comment: Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (Score 1, Insightful) 698

by harrkev (#48369559) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

You say that like stabbings and shootings are the same.
Guns weren't invented because they made killing harder.

So, if guns are banned, then the next step is to ban all knives, because school stabbings also kill people. OK. Knives banned, but people are still beaten to death. Time to ban baseball bats and golf clubs.

Seriously, for every gun used in a murder, there are over THIRTY THOUSAND that are NOT used in a homicide. Also, guns are used to PREVENT crime nearly a million times a year (about 800,000 by the middle-of-the-road estimates).

Grow up. Guns are not evil -- they are tools. If guns are inherently evil, then why do we give them to police and soldiers?

Comment: Re:Goodhart's Law (Score 0) 185

by TheMeuge (#48333049) Attached to: Big Data Knows When You Are About To Quit Your Job

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

So, yeah, as soon as people figure out what it is that is being measured, expect them to alter their behavior to make that measure useless.

Tell that to Obamacare.
MDs and institutions now get less money when they take care of sicker patients whose socioeconomic status causes them to be less compliant and have more adverse outcomes. Congratulations, now no one wants those patients doubly. Oh, and they still can't pay for health insurance.

Comment: Re:How about... (Score 1) 349

by TheMeuge (#48292715) Attached to: Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

It is a FACT that ebola is ONLY CONTAGIOUS when symptoms are present.

Only if you ignore the last fifteen years of established science. Many people get Ebola and never show symptoms at all. We know this because they test positive for the antibodies to Ebola. Those people are believed to have had the virus in their blood at some point during the course of the disease. Therefore, under the right circumstances, it is possible for someone not showing symptoms of Ebola to spread the disease. It is highly unlikely, and has not been documented to occur in the wild so far (that we know of), but claiming that it is impossible based solely on limited anecdotal evidence is downright terrifyingly bad science.

I'd be happy to dig up the citations again if you really want me to, or you can just Google it yourself.

That's just patently wrong. Having antibodies to Ebola doesn't mean you had the disease, it means you were exposed to the virus. There was a study in 2000 Lancet which looked at seroconversion in close contacts of individuals ill with ebola, which showed that 11/24 people seroconverted in the absence of symptoms. However, the scientists were unable to isolate virus from these patients. This suggests that there are people who have either a defect in the ability of Ebola to infect them, or their innate immune response is able to deal with Ebola. There is no evidence from the last 30 years that there any asymptomatic individual acts as a carrier.

Comment: Re: This is related (Score 1) 294

by TheMeuge (#48270379) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

That's not insightful.

If you cannot isolate infectious virus or amplify its genetic material from someone's bodily fluids, they are not infectious.

Making assertions based on panic is not reasonable. Maybe if the nurse wasn't treated like a criminal leper on coming home, she wouldn't be lashing out and would stay home.

Comment: Re: US Citizenship (Score 1) 190

by TheMeuge (#48268625) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

Are you kidding be. Would be stupid to do that. The whole point is that many of not most H1B ers are working for less because they'd much rather be in this country. The threat of losing the visa it's what keeps them indentured servants. Just look at the biomedical research industry. No one will ever give them citizenship ebb masse... it would destroy the system by which having a PhD became about as profitable as being on welfare.

Comment: Re:But, but, teh STEM talents!!! (Score 1, Insightful) 284

by TheMeuge (#48260331) Attached to: Skilled Foreign Workers Treated as Indentured Servants

These poor 3rd-worlders have unique talents that could never be found locally, don'tcha know!?!?

You mean someone who spent 7 years getting a PhD being abused and working 6-7 day 80+ hour weeks, then working as a post-doc with no hope of ever being faculty, at 60+ hour weeks and being paid $40k or less until their retirement without any benefits?

It's a talent all right.

The solution of problems is the most characteristic and peculiar sort of voluntary thinking. -- William James