Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Comment Re:Pittsburgh? (Score 1) 464

I second Pittsburgh. I moved away to be closer to family but miss it. You can buy a house outright for the down payment in many other tech locations, and there's a good diverse tech scene including CMU startups, biotech, and small labs connected to big companies. Museums, arts, short drive to the country, etc. It's not a "night life" town, but if your pace is a little slower it's a very comfortable place to live.

Comment Re:Bad practice. (Score 1) 242

I agree, but would point out that using a fingerprint to unlock a strong key on a phone, then using that to authenticate to a remote server is quite strong.

It gets even better than this with iOS 9. iOS 9 paired with any iPhone in the last couple years can generate a public/private key pair where the private key is stored in the Secure Enclave. (For those not aware, this is an area of the chip with write-only access and its own coprocessor. The only thing you get out of it is verification. It's physically impossible to read the data via software.) The secure enclave has existed since TouchId was introduced two years ago, but with the new public/private key system you can validate a challenge-response query from a server with TouchId. Basically, the server sends a packet, the phone unlocks the keychain with TouchId, signs it, and the server then verifies the signature with a previously-onboarded public key.

Yes, it is theoretically possible to lift a fingerprint from a glass and manufacture a fake finger to unlock a phone. But then you need the physical phone, and need to keep it from getting remote wiped. That's usually a state actor situation, so I guess it depends on who you're trying to protect yourself from.

Comment Re:They have a plan allright... (Score 3, Informative) 188

I live about 50 miles by road south of NYC. Closer as the crow flies. Nothing like this happened for Sandy (or Irene the year before). If anything, the event brought people closer together. Functioning power and cell phones were rare for a couple weeks, and gas got scarce fast (mostly due to lack of power for pumps). But we had a notable lack of marauders, and the neighbors showed a very strong preference for canned food over eating each other. People shared and generally acted like a right-wingers nightmare, coming together as a community to get through it together.

Comment Re: Far too late in the game...pun intended (Score 1) 174

The AppleTV can use third-party Bluetooth 4/LE controllers (See this link). I'm sure plenty of folks will come out with all kinds of controllers for it. The bundled one seems okay for a lot of casual gaming, buy buying more controllers isn't going to break the bank on a $150 console with $1-5 games.

AppleTV also has an interesting storage system to deal with the 32GB problem. The "core download" for any game has to be less than 200MB, with amounts above that loaded in 64-512MB chunks that are available on-demand over a network. The AppleTV will dynamically manage the on-demand area. So your old, less-used games will shrink if you never play them, then re-download when you use them again. (See this link for more.)

Comment Re:Far too late in the game...pun intended (Score 3, Interesting) 174

Nobody buys an apple for gaming

There are an order of magnitude more games available for iOS than all gaming consoles ever invented put together. Thing is, the games tend to be a different "sort" of game than your typical console gamer wants. Is that a bad thing? The Wii sold far better than expected due to its "casual" nature, but eventually ran into a problem of underpowered-ness. Now we have a device with the graphical chops, brand recognition, relatively open App Store compared to other consoles, and a huge existing base of code easily ported. I think they have a shot, but don't see it as an either/or thing.

Comment Re:Fuck you. (Score 4, Insightful) 618

I'm of the opinion that advertising is immoral.

Do you like the existence of Google? Should the Internet be purely pay-to-play like in the old AOL or GEnie days? For that instance, should Slashdot exist?

Yes, by the end of your advert I might "want" your product that I'd never heard of, but as the OP says, "fuck you". You are taking money out of my pocket that I did not plan to allow its removal. In some circles, that's theft.

You know what ACTUAL theft is? Consuming someone's product (ie. visiting an ad-supported web site) and then refusing to pay (ie. allow the ads to be shown). If you want a moral and ethical ad-blocker, implement a plug-in that refuses to let you visit any site whose ads you don't want displayed, or which allows you to pay micro-payments per visit.

Comment Re:Not exactly a hack (Score 1) 78

Recently, I noticed that when I picked up a prescription for a (for me new) medication that's mostly used for one purpose, I suddenly got dozens of spam e-mails wanting to "help" me with a particular diagnosis I don't have. And that's the few that went through the double layer spam filter. It was way too pervasive to be a coincidence.

I've been taking moderately special purpose meds off and on for years (the sorts of things you take when you have a bone marrow transplant).

I have NEVER gotten any spam emails as a result (unless you count that "you really need to refill your prescription since you're about to run out of pills, you dolt!" sort that I get as a reminder from the drugstore)....

I don't know if it's the cause here, but if you Google for something, obviously Google's entire value model is to sell that info to advertisers. Likewise if you send or receive gmail about something. Then there's also looking it up on WebMD or another site to find the side effects. I would be a lot more suspicious of online activity "leaking" to spammers than a pharmacy selling it.

Comment Re:Test of Time (Score 4, Informative) 181

This was my reaction to that comment, too. Swift is a strongly typed language, it just infers the type at compile time so the programmer doesn't have to manually enter it when declaring the variable. Considering it also differentiates between variables which can contain "nil" and ones that can't in its type system, I'd say it's one of the most strongly typed languages in common use, so I don't understand the statement.

The one platform thing is a bummer, but it's changing pretty fast right now so I don't blame Apple for not wanting to lock any decisions in with third parties yet. I hope they add it to their pile of open source projects before too long, though. Considering the reference implementation is LLVM-based, it shouldn't be hard for it to become very portable very fast.

(Besides, who doesn't like a language which has the entire unicode character set available for variable names, including the symbols? Can make for some colorful code.)

Comment Re:Minecraft Mods (Score 3, Informative) 315

This is how my kids started with Minecraft plugins, a plugin called ScriptCraft:
It lets you write mods in JavaScript, either with separate .js files in a directory or directly on the command line in-game. JavaScript was very approachable and forgiving, and gave them immediate visual feedback on their code. Now my 10-year-old has written a Java mod while my younger one is interested in trying. I swear the desire to mod Minecraft is doing more for STEM than any Pearson curriculum...

Comment Re: It depends (Score 1) 486

Actually, even beginner Java programmers know to use a StringBuilder for these cases, which allows for constant-time appending. It's a little harder to do "right" in C and accidentally get O(n^2) time by reallocating memory each time, but still not hard. The language here isn't making the difference it's their algorithm.

Comment Re:Reasonable royalty (Score 1) 32

The problem comes from "reasonable royalty". The price list should be set by the vendor and once set they shouldn't be able to change it depending on who wants to pay for it.

You can't ask one million or 1$ per unit from company XYZ and then turn around and ask a company that is your competitor ten times the price "just because".

I would add that no standards essential patent should ever be allowed to require a percentage of the final product price as a licensing fee. Your contribution to, say, a networking technology is not necessarily more valuable because someone else added a more expensive case, screen, or battery. It can hardly be "non-discriminatory" when the price is different for each product.

Comment Re:Academic wankery at its finest (Score 4, Insightful) 154

Also... from TFAbstract, they chose the date because all of the nuclear explosions have left a clear marker of radioisotopes which can be easily located when tracing the geological record.

And importantly, this will be true globally. This seems to be what most posters here seem to be ignoring... A hundred thousand years from now you'll probably be able to dig into the ground and identify this epoch anywhere on Earth where the rocks are old enough by the distinct atomic decay signature, among other things.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb