Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Hire a lawyer (Score 1) 256

Why civil courts? What he's doing is a criminal offense.

Since the Finnish kid was a minor at the time, it seems the criminal system used kid gloves against him (even when it was able to convict him of a crime). That's probably why civil court was suggested as a better option. That, and civil court has a lower standard of proof.

That being said, the problem seems to be much bigger than one Finnish guy. He may have incited others to hate his target, but it would seem he's not the one committing the bulk of the crimes. And that's really the main problem here that gets glossed over by the article. If the hacker friends of the Finnish guy don't reside in Finland, then it means you have to track them down and convince an entirely new set of law enforcement officials from another country to take these SWATTING incidents seriously and invest enough resources to investigate the case, to in turn SWAT the hackers themselves, confiscate their computers, and do the necessary forensic analysis work on what they find.

And this kind of work is not cheap. In this case, the kid was investigated most probably because he attacked Sony and Microsoft as well, but if he had not gone after such high profile targets, he probably would never have been prosecuted in the first place. After all, who's got time to listen to the complaints of an ordinary family halfway across the world (with a not-so-innocent hacker kid of their own)?

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 1) 210

Private cars, not just taxis, rescued wounded strangers to take them to the hospitals. That doesn't mean Uber cars weren't part of those cars. After all, if you take on a bleeding stranger in your backseat, turning on the Uber app on your phone makes about as much sense as a taxi driver turning on his meter for the same thing.

Now granted, Uber cars may be more difficult to spot, so if you're carrying a bleeding person in your arms, and you know paramedics are going to be overwhelmed, your first impulse may be to be looking for a taxi instead, but if you can't see a taxi, you might as well try to flag down the first car you see if that's the case. Who can blame Uber for that? Uber cars are not really designed to be flagged down. If Uber cars started carrying little mini-cab placards on top of their cars like some mini-cabs do in the UK, I can bet you that the french CEO of Uber would promptly be sent back to jail.

In fact, whatever did happen to that guy? Was he ever released? Is Uber still operating in France? By your statement, you're implying that they still do.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 1) 210

This IS NOT TRUE in locations where Uber has pooling. Major cities like NYC, Uber drivers can and do get notices of other riders and are allowed and will take you out of the way to pickup those riders. Now you still pay the original price, but getting to your destination can take ALOT LONGER than expected. If you have not given yourself quite a lot of extra time, taking Uber to JFK from downtown Manhattan can be a big mistake!

You're right. In San Francisco, I think it's called UberPool.

That option doesn't really change my larger point. No customer gets forced into an UberPool. It's an option that the customer has to select when he's first placing the order. And for the Uber driver that picks up a customer that has selected the standard option instead of UberPool, all the things that I previously said would still apply, such a driver would not be allowed to coordinate his next fare in advance.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 1) 210

Uber drivers play all sorts of games with canceling fares which are too short or not "ideal" for them.

Uber drivers need to accept an offer, before it gets confirmed to the passenger. So yes, a passenger may never get picked up for all kinds of reasons, but at least, he is not mislead into believing someone will pick him up.

And Uber's real-time map is a lie, which is obvious in several places that I have tried it.

That article is interesting, but very thin on details.

My google latitude tracking information (that I give family members access to) can also be out of date. My gps may be off, or my battery may be low, thus my phone may think that I am still at the same location I was at 30 minutes ago, but that doesn't prove that I am purposefully misleading my family members.

The article then goes on to try to back up its claim by talking about a patent Uber had issued on the practice, but if you read the paragraph further, you find out that the actual patent mentioned had actually nothing to do with the main point the article was trying to make.

In any case, that is something that you can easily verify for yourself. There are $20 off promo codes floating around the internet for first-time Uber customers, so you might as well use one of those promo codes, book a $5 to $19 ride, and see if the virtual dot does follow the car coming to pick you up. For me, it did it the couple of times that I did it. For you, it may not. But if it doesn't, I'd sure like to know about it.

At least the taxi companies are regulated so there are complaint channels and potential consequences. With Uber you're relying on a sleazy company to police themselves.

You're making it sound like we're in Somalia or something.

The legal system hasn't gone anywhere. And the credit card charge back system hasn't gone anywhere either.

Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 3, Insightful) 514

The US government is NOT there to help people be superstitious. You want something to be labelled? Prove a negative consequence.

And yet, it becomes that much more difficult to prove something, if you don't have labels to begin with.

For example, if you want to prove that GM salmons, that grow up more quickly, will actually have accumulated less harmful mercury than other "older" non-modified salmons from the same area. In that case, you could expect the full cooperation and perhaps even some funding from the business who engineered the salmon.

However, now try to study the longterm health effects of GM salmons on real people. Can you survey people about what they eat? Probably not. If those people don't know what they're eating, then they can't really tell you what they ate. And while it may not be completely impossible to create a study where you could control for the fact that GM salmons aren't labeled, it does make it much more difficult to do so in the end.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 1) 210

That is nonsense. Legally questionable, and what taxi business would allow that?

That's a very good question. What taxi business would allow that? Or a better question would be which taxi business would allow that?

Talk to your taxi drivers. Some of them use multiple dispatch centers to get referrals.

I'm not saying all of them do. Also, I am speaking specifically about San Francisco during peak hours, which is where I live. It probably won't apply to you if you're walking out of a five star hotel in San Francisco, or if you live in a city where the number of medaillons is not artificially set in stone.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 4, Insightful) 210

I don't know much about Uber, I don't see how their model is different from a regular taxi. They both need to pick you up at your current location and then you need to tell them where to go.

I don't see how Uber knowing in advance where you want to go could change the outcome.

No, in fact it's the taxi drivers that usually have more information about rides than Uber drivers.

Once booked, an Uber car can not be flagged someone else, it can not hear about other people needing rides to other locations, and it can not make itself available for other tentative bookings. First in, first out. That's how it works. There is no inventory sitting in queues waiting midway to be processed (if you don't mind me using the metaphors of lean manufacturing).

In the case of a taxi however, even if they're using a taxi app, there is no guarantee that they're coming to pick you up, because someone else could flag them on the way, they may get a more attractive offer of someone needing a ride to the airport (instead of a five minutes ride), they may not like the color of your skin or the way you're dressed or the way you speak, and they're always trying to book their next ride before they're finished with their existing one.

In the case of Uber also, the inability to do double-booking is important, but it's not the only thing that makes the service better. Since the transaction goes through whether you're picked up or not, you better be there when the Uber driver shows up. And the Uber driver better pick you up, because otherwise he'll get a charge back on his account and he'll get a very bad customer rating on his profile (assuming the gps data from both phones do not contradict the story of the customer).

Not only that, but as a user using the Uber app, you're instantly reassured after ordering the Uber car, since you're seeing its dot immediately moving towards you. In the case of a taxi however, even if you were to pinpoint its real-time location on a map, you would probably see the dot moving away from you as it is trying to finish its last ride.

Combine that with the fact that the medaillon system is archaic and highly inflexible, it's no wonder medaillon holders are not happy. During peak hours, Uber drivers can come out of nowhere. Their marginal costs for Uber are constant. In the case of a medaillon holder however, during peak hours, he can't split his medaillon(s) in two. The most he can do is to force a rotation of drivers to use his medaillon 24 hours a day 7 days a week even during low peak hours, to make sure he squeezes out every penny that he can out of that medaillon (or medaillons) so he can try to recoup his investment. And that doesn't solve the problem, that in places like New York or San Francisco, there are not enough taxis during peak hours, so it's not even worth trying to get one during those times. So before services like Uber came along, people opted for public transportation if they could during peak hours, or they opted to bring in their own car, and paid outrageous amounts for parking.

Comment Re:Data data everywhere and not a drop to think (Score 1) 366

I don't know for sure, but I believe the pilots are supposed to *only* use the certified avionics systems in the aircraft

No, it's also important that they're able to make these kinds of calculations before they enter the cockpit as well.

...they use iPads even though they're really, really, really not supposed to.

iPads are not the problem. It's the fact that they didn't double check those results through another method that is really the problem.

Comment Re:...and I predict (Score 1) 242

Earlier this month, Fox said it will offer viewers of its shows on Hulu the option to watch a 30-second interactive ad instead of a typical 2 1/2-minute commercial break.

Ads that are better at interrupting the flow of attention an audience, that's exactly what we wanted.

Fox says the shorter ads, which require viewers to engage with them online, are more effective because they guarantee the audience's full attention.

This Fox executive is a bit late. They may have guaranteed the audience's full attention, at the very beginning, but now they've just trained the audience to mindlessly click through them, or go else where for their show. That's the problem when you're just copying someone else's idea. It's hardly novel or effective by the time you do the same yourself.

And besides who watches Hulu anymore? I used to love Hulu when it first began, but Hulu is pretty much useless now.

Comment Re:What's the complaint? (Score 5, Insightful) 187

In my 30's? Check.
Born in Cali? Check.
Born at home? Check! I escaped this one thanks to the awful experience my parents had at the hospital with my brother.

You didn't escape anything.

If they have your brother's dna on file, then they're just one brother away from identifying your dna.

Comment Re:How can there be? (Score 1) 622

The people that scream the loudest about it, are of course the ones abusing the system and hastening its demise...

The false promise of "unlimited" data hurts everyone, not just the people that are using the most.

As consumers, we can't make educated choices about ISPs if they are allowed to continually oversubscribe and bait and switch customers

Comment Re:Seems a bit overblown (Score 1) 213

It is indeed bs. This developer has a super low threshold for what he considers to be a threat.

If you don't fix it in 24 hours (because maybe you have a real life or a family or you're sick or any number of other very valid reasons) then the threats start.
  "Well if you're not going to take this seriously, we'll have to start using another project."

So what? It's not like his project can satisfy everyone. Also, it's not like he's going to lose any revenue as a result of this action.

If he wants to talk about real threats, then he should try publishing a mobile app on an app store. There, the users are absolutely ruthless. And it doesn't matter if the app is paid, or free, or open source, or proprietary, or painted pink, or whatever... If your app has a feature (that some users consider to be missing), users will not only uninstall your app right away, but they'll also rate your application only one star until their particular feature request gets implemented.

And such reviews don't get posted 24 hours after the fact, they get posted within a few seconds or a few minutes of having tried your app (and in some cases, they even get posted within a few seconds of having read the app's description because the description and the screenshots themselves may be able to show the user what features the app has).

And when this happens to you, you don't start making sweeping generalizations about open source vs. proprietary software. The fact is, the more popular your app is, the bigger the sample size of users it's going to have, and the bigger the sample size of users it's going to have, the more you'll have to read through negative reviews posted by self-centered users. That's just a fact of life for developers. And if you don't have the stomach to read those user reviews, may be you should consider doing like in South Park, and have someone censor negative email messages, negative tweets, and negative user reviews before any of them reach you.

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner