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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Does the Therac-25 ring a bell for anyone? (Score 4, Informative) 253 253

+ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

The first computer controlled X-ray machine.... which accidentally irradiated some people to death...
due to *gasp* software faults! (say it ain't so!)

I first heard about the Therac-25 during my "Ethics in Computer Science" class many years ago - it made an excellent case study... about problems just like this one.
Once the textbooks get updated, Therac-25 will be replaced with a case study about the a400m roll out. ^_^

Comment: On the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) (Score 1) 322 322

I would happen to be waiting for the Subway one day when I noticed that the platform level information display was stuck in an infinite reboot loop (looked like a hardware failure)...

But I was pleased to see the DEBIAN splash screen on the display!! ^_^

Comment: Agreed, but the damage has already been done (Score 1) 107 107

I agree 100%: the greatest harm that could have possibly come about from this mess is not the truth that we have no privacy left, but the mistrust this generates in the spirit of keeping the Internet "Free" and "Open" as a world wide network of computers that enable the free exchange of information and ideas.

Things like the "The Great Firewall of China" will become more and more common - because this event completely validates the fears that these firewalls and countermeasures were designed to address.

Pretty soon getting your data in or out of a country is going to be even more encumbered that trying to clear airport security to get in and out of that country as a human being! :S

Unfortunately human nature & greed drive the need to control - I fear that all we can do now is prevent matters from getting any worse, but the damage has already been done IMHO...

Comment: Re:Is this really helping people in 2nd or 3rd wor (Score 1) 64 64

And all of your suggestions are great - but none of them actually appear in Internet.org's manifesto.

Unless Internet.org plans to send computers pre-configured for text-2-voice to third world countries - those illiterate children would once again be faced with the burden of reading instructions to figure out how to set that up. It's a simple chicken & egg problem.

To quote an Episode of Archer regarding philanthropies:

“Nourish A Child, Shoe A Child, Bespectacled a Child, One Laptop Per Child Soldierwhich unfortunately became one thousand laptops per warlord.”
+ http://www.geekbinge.com/2013/04/05/archer-season-4-episode-12-review-sea-tunt-part-1/

Comment: Re:Is this really helping people in 2nd or 3rd wor (Score 0) 64 64

These people we're talking about might be 150 miles from the nearest library with a full set of encyclopedias; for that matter, they might not even know how to read.

So they can't read books at a library, but they can read printed text on the Internet - THAT REALLY IS AN AMAZING BENEFIT AFTER ALL!! ^_^

Comment: Is this really helping people in 2nd or 3rd worlds (Score 2, Interesting) 64 64

The idea sounds noble, but I have to wonder if free internet access is really the "greatest good" that we could be doing for these people in 2nd or 3rd worlds??

Shore, the North Americas are tapped out in terms of new social media growth - we accept that fact.
So let's tap into a previously un-tapped world of extremely poor people in under privileged parts of the world - Genius!

But when these people likely don't have basics like clean drinking water and food - is a crippling social media addiction really going to benefit them so the FB stock price can rise a few cents??

Comment: Why Not use this instead?? (Score 1) 259 259

Support your local open source project: http://freecode.com/projects/fuckthensa

from their website:

"FuckTheNSA is a binary-to-text encoding and decoding tool. The encoded data is an ASCII-string, 8 times bigger than the source data, and consists purely of anti-NSA profanity. It encodes any 8-bit byte sequences."

Sooooo much funnier too.

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak