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


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: ISP "cooperation" (Score 1) 58 58

Gov't to ISP: Block all gambling web sites that are on our blacklist.

ISP to Gov't: "Block all gambling web sites" - hey, that's a great idea. I think we'll start with the list we already use to block our employees from going to gambling web sites while they are at work.

Comment: Call Goodwill and similar places (Score 2) 181 181

Call Goodwill and other charities that specialize in job-training. Some of them may do printer-cartridge-recycling in-house and would love to have your recyclable cartridges.

Others charities may not do it in-house but they may have buyers lined up to buy cartridges in bulk and will take your donated cartridges.

Comment: A retirement age of 57 is okay ... (Score 1) 358 358

... as long as the life expectancy of 57-year-olds is short enough that it doesn't bankrupt the economy.

They key for a "generational-tax" or "government-paid" retirement system is that the money coming into the system is at least as much as the money going out, at least for the long haul. If 57-year-olds die so quickly that the working population can easily meet all of their retirement expenses, then retiring at 57 isn't an issue.

Wait, this just in: The life expectancy of a 57 year old in Greece is a lot longer than 1 year, so long, in fact, that allowing healthy people to retire and draw a pension at 57 is not economically feasible.

Comment: Currency vs. store of value (Score 1) 358 358

Bare-metal gold is a very inconvenient currency, but it is reasonably good as a long-term store of value.

Counterfeit-resistant gold-backed paper money or counterfeit-resistant gold coins - where there is no doubt of the amount of gold in the coin - are much more convenient but I don't see many countries making reasonably-sized gold coins or currencies that, on any given day, have a market value in the $0.10-$20 range that most people need when they go buy groceries.

As a long-term (20+ years) store of value, most people should have a mix of asset types including at least a few weeks of easily-accessible spending money and several months of "I can get to it within a few days" spending money. In a time of crisis, the "few weeks of spending money" is probably going to be the actual national currency or coin or it will be a commodity that is easily carried in your pocket and bartered, such as unopened packs of cigarettes in the battlefields of WWII.

Comment: Conjuring gold and silver out of thin air (Score 1) 358 358

you can't conjure extra gold and silver out of thin air

There are two relatively "easy" ways to conjure gold and silver "out of thin air".

1) Steal it. The difficulty is comparable to stealing currency or base-metal coins.

2) Counterfeit it. If your country uses precious-metal coins, make counterfeits that contain slightly less precious metal. If it doesn't use coins, make bars or whatever that are adulterated so when you spend them, you instantly make a small profit on the adulteration (less the cost of counterfeiting). Of course you'll only be able to spend them at places that don't have the equipment to detect a slightly-adulterated bar or high-quality-fake coins, but that's part of the cost of doing business.

Comment: Greece has one huge industry: Tourism (Score 1) 358 358

The history of Greece as one of the cradles of "Western civilization" and as destination for those interested in religious history makes it a natural market for tourists.

Whether Greece makes a "little" money on tourism or a "lot" of money on tourism is a function of how hospitable it is to visitors. If the country as a whole makes it a priority to be very nice and welcoming to foreigners, they stand to reap a lot more in tourist spending than if they take tourism for granted or, worse, go out of their way to make tourists feel unwelcome.

Comment: Replying to myself (Score 3, Insightful) 358 358

Anyone who uses something as volatile as Bitcoin as a long-term store of value only has themselves to blame when things go south.

For me, personally, Bitcoin's primary utility is as a medium of exchange, not as a store of value. Thanks to Bitcoin-based and similar low-friction (read: low transaction fee) means of exchange, I can buy stuff from merchants that accept BC without dealing with typical currency-conversion fees. If I'm a seller, I can sell without dealing with the typical merchant fees associated with credit cards. Then again, I have the advantage that my nation uses a currency that is, for the time being at least, considered one of the world's major stable currencies.

Comment: Those outside of Greece will have an impact (Score 2, Insightful) 358 358

When the first country leaves the Eurozone, then it will make it easier for the next country in crisis to do the same.

This will cause those in weaker countries to look to something other than the Euro to store their long-term savings in. Bitcoin will be one of many options, as will metals, other major world currencies, land, art, collectables, and other items that are likely to keep their "real value" in the event this person's country exits the Euro and all bank accounts are re-denominated into a weaker-than-the-Euro currency.

Comment: Not just e-money (Score 3, Interesting) 358 358

Commodity-backed money, such as actual precious metals or precious-metal-backed-depository-receipts (or even gold-backed bank notes) from an institution that people trust, can be functional currencies in places where the currency is unstable and local laws or customs don't prevent it.

Heck, even in the Untied States of America, the US Constitution specifically allows states to mind gold and silver coins and declare them legal tender. In practice, this is not needed because relative to the cost of most goods and services, the US dollar is at least as stable as gold and silver, and declaring gold and silver as "legal tender" while maintaining a floating exchange rate with the US dollar would mean merchants who took both would have to re-price things in real time to prevent arbitrage-buyers from disrupting the system. However, it the US Dollar ever has runaway inflation, the option for states to declare gold and silver legal tender would make the option of having "stable" prices in gold or silver and "adjusted-by-the-minute" prices in US Dollars attractive.

Comment: Similar to having default passwords (Score 1) 112 112

How many home routers have default passwords that aren't forcibly changed when the router is first set up?

It's the same principle, with the only difference being it is something that has to be discovered by someone, once, rather than guessed like so many easy-to-guess default passwords ("admin", "password", etc.).

The other difference is that one should expect better from a device that is specifically marketed as a security device. But that's a social issue not a technical one.

Comment: I could have played it better (Score 1) 328 328

I regret not making the link read

Hint: When "&oldid=" is used, "title=" is ignored. In fact, it doesn't even have to be present.

These all refer to the same thing:

Comment: Doubtful it could be done via scripting (Score 1) 207 207

What I had in mind was dynamic, real-time power adaptive power:

The router starts in a user-defined low-power mode that was configured during the initial customer setup or manually re-configured at any later time.

I get close enough to connect.

It ramps up power just enough to give me maximum speed.

As I move away from the router, it senses that it needs to increase power and does so.

As I move closer to the router, it senses that and reduces power, but it doesn't drop it any lower than the pre-defined "low power mode."

If more than one device is connected, it keeps the power as high as needed for the device with the weakest signal.

To those saying "but if you move out of the range of the low-power signal and disconnect, you won't be able to re-connect unless another device is connected and by virtue of that connection, the router is still in a higher-than-low-power mode." This is true, and it is by design. As an option, the router could put a short delay in the power-reduction to account for short disconnections.

+ - Reverse-engineering a Frame of Supreme Commander

An anonymous reader writes: When Supreme Commander was released 8 years ago, it redefined the RTS genre with its real-time strategic zoom and its epic battles involving several thousands of units at once, while bringing a whole generation of PCs to their knees. Today an article revisits the process of rendering a frame of the game by reverse-engineering the API calls made to the GPU. All the techniques and algorithms are explained in detail, many of them still used in current video games.

Comment: Call it "nice neighbor mode" (Score 4, Interesting) 207 207

Or maybe "small apartment mode."

If I could, I would configure my WiFi router to be smart about its transmit power:

I would have a "low power" mode on the router so it could be "seen" within a relatively small radius, but it would increase power as needed to stay connected to a device once that device authenticated. Once all authenticated connections went out of range or disconnected, it would drop back to "low power" mode.

+ - Dutch court orders Facebook to reveal identity of sex video sharer->

RinkSpringer writes: [Original article is in Dutch, translation follows]
A girl of 21 years old sued Facebook in order to determine who posted a sex video of her on Facebook around the end of January. [...] The video has been downloaded and shared a fair number of times, and still continues. Facebook claimed the information regarding the poster was erased on February. The video was recorded by the girl's ex, but he denies having shared the video.

A judge has ordered Facebook to supply the information requested within two weeks. If the information was erased, a third party is to be allowed to examine Facebook's systems in order to obtain the information, if possible.

Facebook hasn't responded to the verdict.

Link to Original Source

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake