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Comment Re:Works for me (Score 1) 129

And in the meantime it is sending bog-knows-what to who-knows-what. I think I'll pass....

I didn't pass, I checked. I had my router log the packets from my TV for a couple of weeks, then fired up Wireshark to look at who it was talking to and what it was sending. Result? On a daily basis it sends a tiny request to the manufacturer, which I suspect is checking for firmware updates. Other than that, it appears to connect to Netflix when I watch Netflix, my DLNA server when I watch stuff from it, YouTube when I watch that, etc. That's it.

It also occurs to me... if you're worried about a information being sent who knows where, why are you not worried about your Roku, etc.? How do you know what it's sending? Why is a Smart TV riskier than any of the other network-connected media-playing devices you might hook to it?

Comment Re:I'd be wary of Musk, too (Score 5, Insightful) 93

He seems really good at using government subsidies to make money for himself.

Well, that's the point isn't it? To jumpstart private industry? You can't do that without the profit motive.

Tesla paid it's 450 million 2009 loan back with interest in four years and went from the brink of bankruptcy to a market cap of 29 billion dollars. Sounds like a success story to me.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 65

But what possible use is publishing your private key?

Perhaps, it is to be able to deny responsibility for bad software later, but that's a little too far-fetched...

Well, we're not talking about publishing THE private key to anything Dell cares about. We're talking about publishing A private key that Dell can use to do things on the client's machine that undermine the security model. Why? Well there's lots of potential ways to create revenue or cut costs that way. For example Lenovo did it so they could inject ads into web pages that were supposedly cryptographically protected from tampering.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 65

So, the happy owners of the affected laptops can now issue certificates and/or sign drivers, which will be accepted as genuine by other owners of Dell hardware?

Seriously? If so, that's just too dumb to be malicious...

It's not too dumb to be willful negligence -- defined in legal dictionaries as "Intentional performance of an unreasonable act in disregard of a known risk..."

Having the know-how to do such a thing necessarily entails knowledge of why its a bad idea. So either an engineer acted in breech of professional ethics, or managers rode roughshod over the engineers' objections.

Comment Re:High level? (Score 4, Insightful) 88

Speaking as someone who learned C in 1980, C was originally thought of as a low-level language -- a suitable replacement in most cases for assembly language that, while abstracting underlying details like the CPU instruction set and registers, remained relatively small and "close to the hardware". Then later 80s I was asked to take over a course on C, and when I looked at the course description I was surprised to see it described as a "high level language". I asked the person who wrote the description what he meant by "high level language", and he really had no idea. He said he meant it was "powerful", which of course is just as vague when comparing any two Turing equivalent languages.

Of course "high level" vs. "low level" is relative. C is "high level" in comparison to assembly, or "B", in which the only datatype was a computer word. On the other hand C "low level" in comparison to most other languages that hide away the details of the hardware like instruction set and registers and such. So it depends on what you're comparing to; but in general I think people who describe C as "low level" know more about what they're talking about than those who call it a "high level" language.

The important thing isn't whether C is "high" or "low" level; it is what makes C work, which is largely about what was left out. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of something like PL/1, which made the language easy to implement, even on a tiny 8 bit microcomputer, and easy to learn, in the form of a slim, almost pamphlet-like book (The C Programming Language, 1st edition was 228 paperback-sized pages long).

Even so, C has become very slightly more "higher level" over the years. The original K&R C was more weakly typed than the later ANSI C. Particularly when you were dealing with pointers, the declared type of a pointer in K&R C was more of a mnemonic aid to the programmer than anything else.

Comment Re:What purpose does registration serve? (Score 1) 191

Hunting and fishing licenses are also to ensure the proper level/age/gender of animals, or at least close to it, is hunted, for conservation, etc. purposes

No, no they are not. Licenses don't do that. The only thing licenses do is make sure that someone has spent money. Only enforcement does that. Enforcement already happens; they have wardens out all year making sure that people aren't poaching. I live in major hunting country, so there's lots of them here.

For most big game, there's also a tag attached to the license, which much be attached to the game animal when taken. Tags do serve (with enforcement) to ensure that the right number, age and gender of animals are taken. Other game species have daily limits, but those could be enforced without any sort of specific licensing. Of course, the license fees generally pay for the enforcement, so licenses do help manage hunting for conservation. License fees generally pay for lots of other conservation measures as well.

Comment Two, both for mobile devices. (Score 2) 483

(1a) Root/jailbreak everywhere, as an easy option (not called that any longer). Rather like the security control on Mac OS. "Security" on by default, but can be turned off with a click.

(1b) An unlocked SIM socket on every device, of every size, along with a dialer/calling app for mobile networks. So that I don't have to choose amongst the limited selection of "phablets" but can instead use an iPad Mini or a Samsung Galaxy S2 as my phone if I want to.

Comment Re:Except they used regular SMS (Score 1) 291

No, you don't do engineering. You do software design, because you are not liable for the integrity of what you make.

People just started calling it engineering to feel special, but it's pretty distinct, and dishonest of you to call yourself such.

So, liability defines engineering, it has nothing to do with applying science to build things. Okay, whatever you say.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg