Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:If you're a $100k/yr engineer (Score 1) 346

It's pretty well documented. Wealthy and educated people get treatment programs, while poor (and let's face it, black) people get jail. It's because what we're really using our drug policy for is to keep the poors in check.

What's even better documented is the fact poor black people get harsher sentences, because poor black people vote for politicians who advocate tougher sentences in their jurisdictions.

It's unfortunate, but it's caused by sociological factors, NOT a grand conspiracy by white people to keep black people down...

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 225

TV Fools says I would need a 350 ft tower to get any signal

That makes no sense. Except for the dark side of the moon, there's no place on Earth where you'd have ZERO radio signals. TVFool doesn't have a zero value that it would ever show. It might show stations in RED or GREY as a quick hint that the signal isn't strong, but a good antenna can handle very weak signals in those ranges.

So what is TVFool showing as the dBm of your strongest network station? I've got good (but not perfect) reception with ATSC signals as weak as -120 dBm, with just a single good 4-bay UHF antenna and preamp. And mine are all 2Edge reception...

If you really are on the fringes, it's possible touse two or even FOUR antennas, together, to pull-in even weaker signals without a huge tower.

Comment Re:Books thesis (Score 2, Interesting) 103

Well, having worked in both the non-profit sector and in public health, I think the criticisms of the Gates Foundation's public health efforts are malarkey. It's basically an opportunity cost argument and by that standard virtually every charitable foundation is wanting. Why are you spending money on the ballet when there are kids who can't read? Why are you spending money on literacy education when there are kids who don't have enough to eat etc. The problems of the world are endlessly varied and complex, and you can't ask much more of anyone than that they pick a spot and take a whack.

That said, the idea that spending money on infectious diseases is wasteful is particularly inane. Sure, in some places obesity may result in more premature deaths than malaria, but the fact is nobody really knows how to effectively fight an "obesity epidemic", whereas malaria is clearly eradicable -- and once it's gone, it's gone forever, because P. falciparum has no natural host other than humans. The same goes for communicable diseases for which we have vaccines; we know how to fight those cost effectively, even eradicate them in many cases. The missing piece of the puzzle is money.

Now criticism of the foundation's education efforts is a lot more warranted. Just like everybody thinks they're qualified to design a website because they have opinions about which sites they like and don't like, everyone thinks they're qualified to redesign the educational system because they went to school. The difference is that Gates has the money to make his bad ideas materialize. It may be hacker philanthropy, but most attempts at "hacks" result in kluges.

So overall it's a mixed bag. While you do have to give props to Gates for being "the man in the arena", sometimes, unlike in Teddy Roosevelt's famous speech, the man in the arena's failings don't fall exclusively on himself. So while philanthropy is admirable in itself, where the philanthropist's activities impinge on areas of public policy like education his actions should be held up to scrutiny like anyone else's.

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 225

I watch live events carried only on ESPN. Or a certain few programs only available on cable

There are plenty of people who have become accustomed to the shows they watch on cable, and just refuse to adapt to the near-equivalents available OTA. You're not unique in that aspect, but I'm completely unsympathetic to those who are merely set in their ways. And you really are part of the problem, one of those making it profitable to lock-up content under expensive paid TV service packages.

I have to have the satellite for broadcast channels also because I live in the middle of a pine forest and would need a 100 ft tower to get an antenna over the trees.

OTA TV signals do NOT require line-of-sight. In my case, I've got TWO mountain ranges in my way, but I still get OTA television.

What's your zip code? I looked-up Yosemite, since that was the first (and biggest) "pine forest" which came to mind, and found a good TV antenna 20ft above ground can EASILY receive all the major network stations in the area. Of course you could be in one of the few areas in the country where OTA signals are too far away, but it sounds like you've really never tried, and you've always just assumed the worst.

Comment Re:Screw paying for ANY television viewing (Score 1) 225

I see 'streaming video on mobile devices' as another tech bubble that will burst sooner than most people think it will. There is only so much bandwidth available, and people keep demanding more and more of it, and all the while wireless providers like AT&T and Verison are literally gouging people for service,

Except "streaming video on mobile devices" does NOT imply that people are using their cellular data plans at all. The linked article even talks about people using free business/municipal WiFi.

I see it either coming to a point where you can't get more people and more bandwidth because it just doesn't exist, or it getting to the point where people are paying so much money that they start backing away from it

I don't see that happening... Spectrum reuse (smaller towers, lower-power antennas, with much shorter range) will allow the existing available cellular frequencies to be utilized many times more efficiently, blanketing small areas (neighborhoods) with much higher speeds, which don't interfere with the big towers covering large geographic areas.

The up-coming FCC incentive auction will give the cellular companies big new swaths of lower frequencies. Meanwhile micro-cells and pico-cells are decreasing in price and increasing in popularity with cellular carriers, and their operation necessarily involves higher spectrum reuse. LTE-U operates just like WiFi, on the same unlicensed frequencies and with a very small radius of service, and those devices should be available very shortly.

Meanwhile there are people like me (and I don't believe I'm anything like alone in this) who have no smartphone and see no reason to ever get one, because of how much wireless companies gouge for 'data plans'

You're not alone, but certainly in a very, very tiny minority. Back in early 2013, the majority of all Americans owned smartphones, and that trend has only increased several percent per year:

Early 2015: "overall smartphone penetration up to 77% of mobile phone owners in the U.S. Among recent phone acquirers, 91% chose smartphones as their mobile handset [...] Overall smartphone penetration continues to rise rapidly, increasing 8 percentage points"

While there's some truth to what you say about the two biggest US cellular carriers, it doesn't apply to T-Mobile/Sprint.

T-Mobile now offers unlimited video streaming (Netflix, HBO NOW, Hulu, more) that doesn't apply against your data allowance. And that's besides T-Mobile offering "unlimited" data plans for some time.

Sprint doesn't charge overages at all... they prefer to throttle your data connection down to much slower speeds, rather than disconnect your data, or charge you extra fees. And a Sprint service like Boost with several GBytes of data is just $30/mo, including most taxes/fees.

MVNOs can have even better deals. RingPlus, FreedomPop and others offer free plans that include cellular data. Some MVNOs like Republic will allow activating your smartphone for $10 with unlimited calling/sms, but NO DATA PLAN at all. You are tied to WiFi for internet, but that means no overage charges, ever.

Comment Re:IANAL, but I know one & (Score 1) 56

You seem to imply there is legal "duty of care" (or whatever you'd call it).

They don't care. They never promised to care. The license probably says they don't care. The people who run the company don't care.

Taking steps to care presupposes they care. If they don't care what happens to your "sensitive data", they're sure as hell not going to take steps to protect it. Because that would involve caring.

What part of greedy corporation shielded by license agreements and only interested in their own profits do people not understand here?

Oh, and did I mention that the license probably includes terms which says you can't sue them and need to agree to binding arbitration in a forum of their own choosing?

And that forum of their choosing will simply say we don't fucking care and never promised to.

Comment Re:Uber and pirate bay (Score 3, Interesting) 46

I guess the people with money are allowed to bend the law now and apply it how they see fit

More accurately ... the copyright lobby has bought and paid for laws which they interpret how are applied, enforced outside of the judicial system, with abysmally low thresholds for evidence ... and with shockingly little penalties for them if they misuse it.

In case you have missed, copyright related laws have reached a special level of stupidity, because they've been paid for and written by the people who benefit from them. This shit is now routinely entrenched in high-level treaty negotiations, where governments act on behalf of the interests of multi-national corporations -- and literally just use whatever text provided by the lobbyists.

They're not bending any laws, they're outright financing the adoption of laws which are entirely written to give them massive amounts of latitude to do as they please without penalty.

Governments these days are pretty much openly working for the corporations in this matter.

Copyright is like kiddie porn and terrorism; it lives in a special place outside of most other forms of laws, and builds in shortcuts and bypasses to legal protections you would normally have.

This is way beyond bending the law, it's about buying their own laws.

Comment Re: Doesn't sound very credible to me (Score 1) 166

So, despite that "particulate emissions from petrol cars are so low that they are not routinely measured" and can "emit 25 to 400 times more mass of particulate black carbon and associated organic matter ("soot") per kilometer" the fact that petrol cars may release twice as much particulate means that they've suddenly caught up?

Your ideas are based on outdated conclusions which do not take into effect the linked study.

Anecdotally, the rise of diesel is making buildings grimier than they have been since the smogs of London and Paris were beaten into submission.

That's nothing compared to what gasoline engines are doing to your lungs.

Comment Re:We patched your patch (Score 1) 33

This is the one point that should never be ignored. If the updater has access to the raw files, then it has the job of actually installing them where they need to go, and it would need admin privileges for that. And since the entire point of the post was that the updater shouldn't have admin privileges, well, this isn't a red herring, and this shouldn't be ignored.

Well, no. The comment never actually insisted that you be able to install updates without privilege escalation. Go read it again! And frankly, the suggestion that you should be able to is a stupid one. There are lots of reasons why you shouldn't be able to do that, and I should not have to enumerate them here for you. If you have any IT experience at all, you should know what several of them are.

The idea of having executable installers is that the installer, not the downloader, has the onus placed upon it to ask for admin privileges.

Good news! You can download the packages without privilege escalation! The installer is a separate tool, which won't work without it. You need privilege escalation to update the list of installed packages (with good reason) and you need it to update the list of available packages (also with good reason) but you can in fact schedule the list updates, and you only need to update the list of installed packages when you are installing packages.

There are very good reasons to protect installed packages. Do not make me explain them to you.

Comment Honestly ... (Score 3, Interesting) 56

VTech doesn't use SSL web encryption anywhere, and transmits data such as passwords completely unprotected. ... Hunt also found that the company's websites "leak extensive data" from their databases and APIsâ"so much that an attacker could get a lot of data about the parents or kids just by taking advantage of these flaws

Just stop using this crap ... over and over and over and over we see these same damned stories.

Stop handing all this information over to companies who are too indifferent and incompetent to give a shit about how badly they misuse your data.

Without life, Biology itself would be impossible.