Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:FCC and FAA (Score 2) 46

by slimjim8094 (#49245753) Attached to: Austin Declared a Drone-Free Zone During SXSW

Short answer: no. But if you're on the ground they probably don't need to, strictly speaking.

Much better to be in the plane and refuse to land. Don't be like this guy and cooperate. Though if he didn't land, apparently Sgt. Yosemite Sam was going to start firing his handgun at the glider 3000 feet in the air (and hoping the bullets went... where, exactly, when they missed?) so take that with a grain of salt.

There are two powers that can compel a plane to land: 1) the FAA and 2) a military intercept (which itself only works because they'll just shoot you down if you don't obey). Well they're really the same because if you don't comply with #1 they'll just use #2. Local, state, or even federal law enforcement cannot compel an aircraft to land - the FAA has sole authority for the country's airspace.

Now if you're on the ground, of course, they can put their hands on you regardless of whether they're technically allowed to. If the drone pilot was licensed appropriately then you'd have a serious case on your hands, but there's like 20 of those in the country at the moment so odds are this will be nabbing people violating the regs to begin with and the FAA will probably not bother to get involved.

+ - Exploiting the DRAM Rowhammer Bug to Gain Kernel Privileges-> 2

Submitted by netelder
netelder (41) writes "“Rowhammer” is a problem with some recent DRAM devices in which repeatedly accessing a row of memory can cause bit flips in adjacent rows. We tested a selection of laptops and found that a subset of them exhibited the problem. We built two working privilege escalation exploits that use this effect. One exploit uses rowhammer-induced bit flips to gain kernel privileges on x86-64 Linux when run as an unprivileged userland process. When run on a machine vulnerable to the rowhammer problem, the process was able to induce bit flips in page table entries (PTEs). It was able to use this to gain write access to its own page table, and hence gain read-write access to all of physical memory."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I don't generally complain about articles... (Score 1) 277

by slimjim8094 (#49204841) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time Change On Sunday For N. America

I'm not saying everything should be for me, but what more is there to say about DST, even in relation to IT issues? It's just the same stuff we've been talking about - on Slashdot and elsewhere - forever. Yes, it makes things inconvenient, and yes some people don't like it and want to get rid of it. We'll have the people railing against it while slightly fewer say "actually I kind of like it", and some guys in the corner will say "we should just use GMT for everything" and it'll all happen again - right on schedule! - in ~8 months. There's nothing even different (like a new study) this year, just "remember this is happening again and how it makes you mad? let's all complain in the comments!". All the linked things are from 2014 or earlier. Might as well have an article about how some people still don't like Windows 8, or that taxes are due on April 15.

It just feels like a Two Minute's Hate at this point, and I object to that on principle.

Comment: I don't generally complain about articles... (Score 1, Offtopic) 277

by slimjim8094 (#49204515) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time Change On Sunday For N. America

I don't generally complain about articles on Slashdot, but this is ridiculous. It reminds me of that Simpsons episode with the newspaper having the front-page headline "Christmas Occurs". I like reading about some not-strictly-tech stuff on Slashdot, but can we please not have articles to remind us of something that's marked on the calendar?

Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 1) 247

by slimjim8094 (#49196649) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

I don't think it's fair to compare Snowden to this genius. Leaving Assange aside (yeah, I'm lazy and he's slightly harder to defend), Snowden alerted the world to serious problems with our various intelligence groups who were doing something quite widely considered to be unethical at best, and probably illegal. And if you're going to say that it wasn't up to him to make that decision, and others (the ones in charge) didn't think it was unethical so he should've just followed his orders, I'm pretty sure we decided as a planet to hang people despite that logic before.

Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 2) 247

by slimjim8094 (#49196527) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

You can prove them wrong but it's like playing chess with a pigeon - you think you're winning, and then the pigeon shits on the board and flies off. Point being that reasoning with these people is a waste of everyone's time because their concerns are not based on reason, so reason can't defuse them. More likely that they'll see you as some sort of government operative, the existence of which PROVES that they're right!

That said - why is this guy crazy, you ask? Well first of all:

There are ways to go about it, but this isn't it...

I'm curious, which ways are that?

Well clearly it's not his way either - it's not like we're all talking about that time we might have had a global positioning system until this guy ruined it, is it? The GPS literally reached "initial operating capacity" (continuous worldwide coverage) on schedule about a year later. I never even heard of this guy until now.

More broadly, sure the GPS is a military invention and is run by the military (though overseen by a committee, and other GNSS are run by different militaries with no particular love for the US). But it didn't take long for it to be opened up to civilians - only one satellite had been launched! By now even Selective Availability has been turned off, and can not be turned on (the new satellites can't do it). Yes, the SA thing was after this guy's rampage, but he's sticking with his story, so I'll count it.

GPS is one of the greatest peacetime things that military technology has ever done (in a long line of technical advances fueled by the military). Think about it - the average person now has at least two devices that know where they are in absolute terms on the Earth's surface, to within a few feet. This has never happened before! People had maps, which are a big enough breakthrough on their own, but are comparatively inaccurate, need to be kept up-to-date, and require some skill to use - and you have to know basically where you are relative to identifiable landmarks in order to use them. Planes can fly routings more precisely, or even directly to the destination, saving fuel and freeing up congested airways. And instrument approaches are now possible to virtually any point on earth - no expensive phased-array radio antenna on the ground to maintain, just define a few points in a database and publish a chart. And all that thousands of years of naval navigation technology (like the sextant, or the clock)? - unnecessary, except perhaps as a backup. Cars with turn-by-turn directions, virtually eliminating the big road atlas or fold-out maps everyone had to have and mess with while driving (and far more accurate that your aunt's "turn right by the, well there used to be a farm there but now it's just a field" directions). Track logs of running and biking sessions to evaluate speed, performance, and trends. Nanosecond-scale timekeeping, allowing for previously-impossible management of the power grid and other distributed systems. Slightly in the future, self-driving cars - and more we haven't even imagined yet. By comparison the military's usage is unsophisticated and unthreatening - it's just a lighter-weight replacement for systems they already had like LORAN and allows bombs to be placed somewhat more accurately and easily than e.g. a laser sight.

Point being, he's arguing (still!) for the destruction of something that would be a far, far greater loss to peaceful civilians around the world than it would be for the military. With all the countries that know how to shoot down satellites nowadays (why did they develop that? hmm), does he think the militaries don't have a contingency that they're more than capable of using?

So, no, this guy doesn't have a point. Protesting the GPS is like protesting computers because they could break German codes or develop artillery tables, protesting the internet because it was designed to enable military communication in the event of a nuclear war, or protesting duct tape because it sealed ammo cases. Yeah military bad rah rah... but come on.

Comment: He's got chops (Score 5, Interesting) 117

by slimjim8094 (#49193943) Attached to: Harrison Ford's Plane Crashes On Golf Course

Glad he's apparently (basically) alright. I fly small planes and they're incredibly awesome, and very liberating and fun, but... yeah, they have only one engine and if it quits you have a problem ("it's a fan to keep the pilot cool - turn it off and watch him sweat!"). Every pilot is constantly keeping an eye out for landing sites, and unlike non-pilots we love heights because it means gliding distance to make it to one. Takeoff is obviously the worst time to lose an engine, and in some ways the most likely - you're really demanding 100% of the performance of the engine, propeller, etc, at a low airspeed (=less cooling) and you're doing it for the first time since you got in the plane. You might think you can make it back to the airport - but that's such a bad idea it's called "the impossible turn" since you'll waste some of your precious lift making the turn. This is why we check our engines thoroughly - regularly with maintenance, and in particular with a "run-up" to high power immediately before takeoff to check the gauges and systems at that high throttle position. But stuff still goes wrong every once in a while, and then you have to do what you can. A bunch of pilot coworkers are in the area and one swung by to check it out. He said that the (wood) prop was intact, which suggests that it wasn't even turning ("windmilling") at impact time, and that he did a bang-up job landing that thing with no engine - golf courses aren't great compared to say an empty field, but if those are in short supply they do quite well. A golf course near my airport is my contingency plan as well - let's hope I never need it.

And lest anybody think otherwise, Harrison Ford is quite an experienced airplane and helicopter pilot, with thousands of hours. He even did his own flying in a movie where he played a pilot (apparently this gave the insurance company a heart attack and he had to fight them on it). So he probably handled it better than most pilots would.

Comment: Re:Be realistic (Score 4, Interesting) 194

by slimjim8094 (#49107159) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

The movie is about a recluse with a dark secret, who, despite not fitting in and being generally weird, finds a purpose for himself and a way to make a contribution to the war, only to see his greatest accomplishments hidden from view and perverted by the security state.

Sigh. I saw the movie and it was a well-executed film, but it was essentially about a made-up person. I agree with your summary of the fictional character, but not the man. Turing was certainly eccentric, but he had friends, was liked by his colleagues, and had a good sense of humor. As terrible as his chemical castration was, it certainly didn't ruin his mind - he did some interesting work on mathematical biology inspired by those very changes. And he died more than a year after the end of his "treatment". And it was recast as an "us-vs-them" story, which simply isn't true - thousands of people were working on breaking Enigma and made steady progress throughout the war, with the support of the entire chain of command (in particular the Commander Denniston).

He's such an interesting person with a fascinating story - it's a real damn shame they basically invented a character to give his name.

Comment: Re:Let's see if HTTP/2 is adopted faster than IPv6 (Score 1) 171

by slimjim8094 (#49083375) Attached to: HTTP/2 Finalized

There are fewer parties - a few servers and a few clients, both which are updated fairly frequently (the servers because admins, the clients because auto-update) are the only ones that matter. Google already supports HTTP/2 (nee SPDY) so a huge percentage of internet traffic is already set up to use it as soon as browsers update (Chrome has had it as SPDY for years, Firefox has it or will soon).

The v6 slowness was always the ISP (both on the client and server) and the CPE. Now that most of the big US ISPs have their heads on straight, things are looking better for v6 - but Joe Blow bought a WRT54G in 2005 and damned if he'll replace it - it works fine, after all, and who can blame him?

Despite all this, v6 is actually happening. About 5.8% of all Google's global traffic is v6, and that's more than double from last year. In the US, it's more like 13.9% - which puts us 3rd globally (a rare thing in which the US is internet-competitive). Interestingly, if you zoom in the global graph it's clear that workplaces are far behind residential connections (weekends are a big jump).

+ - Which Freelance Developer Sites Are Worth Your Time?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Many websites allow you to look for freelance programming jobs or Web development work. (Hongkiat.com, for example, offers links to several dozen.) The problem for developers in the European Union and the United States is that competition from rivals in developing countries is crushing fees for everybody, as the latter can often undercut on price. (This isn’t a situation unique to software development; look at how globalization has compelled manufacturing jobs to move offshore, for example.) With all that in mind, developer David Bolton surveyed some freelance developer marketplaces, especially the ones that catered to Western developers, who typically need to operate at price-points higher than that of their counterparts in many developing nations. His conclusion? 'It’s my impression that the bottom has already been reached, in terms of contractor pricing; to compete these days, it’s not just a question of price, but also quality and speed.' Do you agree?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Jon Stewart leaving "The Daily Show"

Submitted by slimjim8094
slimjim8094 (941042) writes "According to the NYT, Jon Stewart is leaving "The Daily Show". This was announced during the taping of this evening's show. He will “remain at the helm of ‘The Daily Show’ until later this year,” but no word on exactly when the change will take place, or what the replacement (host or show) will be. Presumably the current and past correspondents would be the first choice for a new host.

His program will be sorely missed by at least this viewer. Maybe Comedy Central can get John Oliver out of his HBO show..."

Comment: Re:No fly zone? (Score 3, Informative) 90

by slimjim8094 (#48975157) Attached to: Hundreds Apply For FAA Drone Licenses

The White House is prohibited airspace (P-56). There are no conditions in which a civilian would be allowed to operate there (otherwise it would merely be restricted airspace, and you could obtain permission). You pretty much have to be the President's helicopter to be allowed in (that is, convince the folks with the missiles to not shoot you down, which they will do if you don't comply with their fighter-jet intercept).

The rules for operating in the DC SFRA can not be complied with by any drone on the market today (they require radio communication and a discrete transponder code).

Comment: Re:Use trunk or it is not my problem. (Score 1) 579

If they had developed a small patch for the problem, I'm pretty sure OEMs wouldn't have a problem pushing it to the users.

Hahahahahahahahaha, seriously? This is fixed in 4.4 and the OEMs aren't rolling that out. What makes you think they'll roll out anything, especially because most manufacturers have a long history of not rolling stuff out?

I'm guessing Google just got tired of making patches nobody would ever see.

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)