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+ - A Modest Proposal, re: Beta vs. Classic 19

Submitted by unitron
unitron (5733) writes "Dice wants to make money off of what they paid for--the Slashdot name--, or rather they want to make more money off of it than they are making now, and they think the best way to do that is to turn it into SlashingtonPost.

They should take this site and give it a new name. Or get Malda to let them use "Chips & Dips".

Leave everything else intact, archives, user ID database, everything except the name.

Then use the Beta code and start a new site and give it the slashdot.org name, and they can have what they want without the embarrassment of having the current userbase escape from the basement or the attic and offend the sensibilities of the yuppies or hipsters or metrosexuals or whoever it is that they really want for an "audience"."

Comment: Re:Alleged Apple patents on Android (Score 1) 249

by dido (#46182089) Attached to: Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone

In what way was BlackBerryOS superior to Android? Perhaps it is superior in many technical ways, but we all know that isn't what makes or breaks a platform. BBOS is, however, woefully deficient in the one thing that truly matters: DEVELOPER MINDSHARE. We all remember Steve Ballmer famously dancing around like a monkey shouting "Developers, Developers, Developers" but for all how ridiculous he looked, he was absolutely right. Without developers making applications for a platform, a platform has no users, and without users, a platform dies. Microsoft is seeing that right now with Windows Phone, and Blackberry never managed to attract much of a developer base. Like it or not, iOS and Android were the platforms that attracted a lot of mindshare, and even Microsoft with all its resources is having a hard time muscling themselves in.

Well, I've been on Slashdot since 1996 or thereabouts, and soon enough it would have been twenty years since I first registered. I'd hate to leave, but if the beta is shoved down my throat with no way to go back to something reasonably approximating classic, well, I'm outta here too. From what I've seen of it, it totally destroys the comments section, and that's really what I've found most valuable about Slashdot which has kept me coming back nearly every day for the past eighteen years!

Comment: Re:For everyone who said "what do you have to hide (Score 2) 337

by dido (#46077273) Attached to: Is the West Building Its Own Iron Curtain?

Very well put. What I like to say to people who say that they have nothing to hide is a quote from Cardinal Richelieu: "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." This massive trove of surveillance data can and will be used against anyone whom the powers that be don't like, and it is very easy to twist casual remarks and jokes out of proportion, to destroy the credibility of someone who may rock the boat. God forbid you are actually be doing something perfectly legal that isn't socially acceptable. If you stay one of the proles, sure you have nothing to fear, but if you try to do something useful like, oh, try to run for public office with a mind to changing how the government does things, those six million lines and counting describing everything you've ever said and done will be examined, and they will definitely find something in them which will hang you.

Comment: Re:XKCD nailed this ages ago (Score 2) 276

by dido (#46043675) Attached to: Yep, People Are Still Using '123456' and 'Password' As Passwords In 2014

Wrong. Four words, out of 20,000 or so words that a typical literate person would know, gives 20,000^4 combinations, or a total of 1.6e17 possible combinations. That's about 57 bits of randomness right there, harder to crack than a DES key, and that's only if you *know* for certain that they're using an XKCD 936-style password. Yeah, I know that's in range of a massive distributed cluster: a DES cracker can be built for US$10,000, that can recover a key in six days, but it's still a fair sight better than the rubbish we have today. If you really care, use more words. Nine words is all you need to get to 128 bits of entropy.

Comment: Re:Impressive (Score 3, Interesting) 247

by dido (#45880729) Attached to: Is Earth Weighed Down By Dark Matter?

It's not direct detection of gravitational radiation, but observations of PSR B1913+16 have been considered convincing enough proof of the existence of gravitational waves as predicted by general relativity. It's a binary pulsar: a neutron star and another object that might be another neutron star or possibly a black hole, orbiting each other. They're spiraling in together, which could only happen if their orbits were losing energy due to gravitational radiation, and calculations based on their observations conform exactly with the predictions of general relativity for gravity waves. This was convincing enough to have won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the scientists involved in the discovery and analysis of the pulsar, Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr.

Comment: Re:Technically correct (Score 4, Insightful) 573

by dido (#45871783) Attached to: Counterpoint: Why Edward Snowden May Not Deserve Clemency

And then anyone who tries to seriously get into politics in that way will understand just why the NSA's data collection is so dangerous and gives them so much power. I've seen many people around here make the ridiculous argument that NSA domestic data collection doesn't affect them because they're nobody. Right... But if you want to try to effect real change you stop being a nobody, and all that "dead data" they collected on you suddenly takes on life like so many zombies. Cardinal Richelieu once famously said that if he was given six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men he would find something in them by which would hang him. The NSA has far, far more than that. On all of us. I can only hope that you Americans still have the same courage your founding fathers had when they created your nation. You will need it in these dark days.

Comment: Non-denial denial (Score 5, Informative) 291

by dido (#45765075) Attached to: RSA Flatly Denies That It Weakened Crypto For NSA Money

As usual with these things, it's a non-denial denial. "RSA, as a security company, never divulges details of customer engagements, but we also categorically state that we have never entered into any contract or engaged in any project with the intention of weakening RSA's products, or introducing potential 'backdoors' into our products for anyone's use." Emphasis added. The first part says that they can't say whether they've taken any money from the NSA, so the story of them receiveing $10 million from the NSA could still be true. The second part leaves a lot of wiggle room. The word "intention" is the weasel. The statement leaves open the possibility that they could have taken the money from the NSA in good faith, in the same way that Mozilla takes Google's money in exchange for making Google the default search engine in Firefox. They didn't know then what the NSA's true intentions were in pushing use of Dual_EC_DRBG (never that mind it's several orders of magnitude slower than any other CPRNG algorithm described in NIST SP 800-90A). They were already using it in BSAFE as early as 2004, and the algorithm became a NIST recommendation in 2006. The possibility of a backdoor in the algorithm was floated publicly in 2007, a few months after it was published. I for one don't buy that they did all this in good faith, but there's no way to prove it unless some cryptographer who was employed by RSA at the times in question blows the whistle and says they had suspicions with the algorithm and the NSA's intentions for it.

The NSA wasn't always thought of as so evil. They modified the DES s-boxes so as to strengthen it against a cryptanalytic technique (differential cryptanalysis) that was known only to them and IBM since at least 1974, and kept classified until it was independently discovered by the academic cryptographic community in the late 1980s, so there may be some reason to give RSA the benefit of the doubt.

Comment: Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (Score 3, Interesting) 312

by dido (#45721987) Attached to: Tech Leaders Push Back Against Obama's Efforts To Divert Discussion From NSA

The only thing corporations care about (insofar as organisations are capable of caring about anything), most especially publicly traded corporations, is money. It would open a corporation to shareholder lawsuits if it were not trying to maximise their profits using whatever means available at its disposal. That is the nature of these monsters that have been created by legal instruments. If you want them to care about anything, you have to show them how much it will cost them not to care about it. In the absence of laws against pollution, it saves money for corporations to pollute, so to get them to stop polluting, laws are written that make them liable for fines when they do. A properly-written anti-pollution law will make it cheaper for a company to buy equipment to clean up or minimise pollution than to pay the fines the government exacts for violating the law. In the same way, it saved money for corporations to be compliant with the NSA, so now other countries are making it impossible for them to operate in their countries (which costs them a market and hence money) using systems that make it easy for the NSA to do its spying. It remains to be seen whether this potential loss of business or increased operating expenses will be enough to make them rebel against the NSA. To corporations, money talks and bullshit walks every time.

Comment: What a load of bollocks (Score 5, Insightful) 698

by dido (#45713533) Attached to: NSA Says It Foiled Plot To Destroy US Economy Through Malware

If these attackers the NSA supposedly thwarted (the Chinese it is speculated), managed to gain control over large numbers of computers with access enough to damage their firmware, it would make far better sense to keep those machines alive and working for them instead. You could cause far more damage to the US economy by keeping those machines alive and pwn3d than if you simply bricked them. A bricked machine will cost a few hundred dollars to fix. A pwn3d machine is a gift that keeps on giving!

Comment: Re:How can doctors secure it? (Score 1) 120

by dido (#45579939) Attached to: Google Glass Making Its Way Into Operating Rooms

Nothing really stops you from changing the firmware on Google Glass to a custom one, with all of Google's spyware ripped out.

Not to bring anybody down... but seriously... we intentionally left the device unlocked so you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it. --- Stephen Lau, Google X Lab

There's source code available for the kernel as required by the GPL as well as for other essential components, so custom firmware is definitely possible for it. Someone out there will probably eventually wind up selling medical editions of Google Glass with custom firmware with HIPAA compliance baked in and apps to interface with common medical information systems, although such a thing will likely be far more expensive than the consumer edition. Someone further down commented that it would cost $19,000, and well, I imagine they're not far off the mark, and perhaps even underestimating it. Certification is an expensive business.

I frankly don't get why there is so much hate on Google Glass. Indeed, the use that is being pushed for it as a consumer device is very creepy from a privacy standpoint, but you don't have to use it as Google intended. As William Gibson famously said, the street finds its own uses for things, and Google hasn't done anything to hinder that, in fact they are actively encouraging it.

Comment: Re:Government doesn't bother me (Score 1) 319

by dido (#45506299) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Your Privacy These Days? Or Do You?

The government snooping around doesn't bother me all that much, as while it might be a waste of money, it really doesn't affect me. It's just dead data sitting around on some NSA server.

Until the day that Grumbel decides to run for Congress, on a platform of returning the protections guaranteed by the Constitution against the encroachments of the NSA. All sorts of "dead data" suddenly comes to life out of context like so many zombies.

Comment: Re:173 kWh (Score 1) 327

by dido (#45462249) Attached to: Monthly net electricity use in my household:

Got a two-bedroom house here, married with one child. My power usage has never gone up more than 200 kWh per month, and is almost always below 125 kWh. Well, I do have a nice, efficient one-door refrigerator which I measured to require only a paltry 25 kWh per month on average, and my Raspberry Pi home server/HTPC set up along with external storage, Wi-Fi router and DSL modem consumes roughly 17 kWh per month in total as this is the only other thing that I never turn off if I can help it. Air conditioning gets used mostly in the evenings for eight hours or so at a time (unless it gets really hot during the day), and I gather that's the bulk of the rest of our energy consumption. We have a gas stove for cooking (though I'm considering buying an induction cooker as backup), a washing machine that gets used maybe twice a week most weeks, and our laundry is air dried; we don't even have a dryer. We've got a microwave oven, toaster, and a drip coffee maker that is used just about every day, some fans, and all our lights are either CFLs or LEDs. There's a vacuum cleaner that sees only occasional use. My TV is a 40" LCD, and it actually uses only a relatively modest 60 W. All this and I still have energy usage in the 120-130 kWh per month range, and I haven't even begun my efforts at energy conservation in earnest. The wall plug wattmeter I got last month is only the beginning...

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