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


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Already have a workaround... (Score 1) 248 248

From TFA:

'The draft mentions "malicious software designed to create botnets or unrightfully obtained computer passwords," but goes no further in attempting to clarify what "tools" might be subject to criminal sanctions.'

So, it seems like this bill is only focused on computer proggies running on a laptop, not hardhacks. In other words, the Bus Pirate, Chumby, Arduino, etc. crowds are all safe. Oh yeah...and I'm sure no one has ever written hardware executable code on any of these devices that could interfere with computer operation.

Man do I love it that governments are about 20 years behind the times when it comes to tech.

Comment: Just you to pry my TI-81 from me... (Score 1) 636 636

I love my TI-81 that I've had since high school. I'm an engineer by day, and having a really fast way to calculate long formulas is incredibly handy. I almost never use the graphing functions anymore, but I love the 6 line display, the storage features, and the awesome ANS button. Oh yeah, and I've got the locations of all the function keys dedicated to muscle memory, so I can burn through equations so fast.

Computers are better for some things - I'm a regular user of Scilab and R, and they are both way better platforms on an actual computer. However, for run of the mill trig or arithmetic, a solid calculator still cannot be beat. Maybe the interesting question to ask is why aren't people selling sweet, multi-line calculators with multiple storage and scientific functions, just sans the graphing functions? I'd buy one of those in a heartbeat!

Comment: Re:I'm starting to think maybe (Score 1) 343 343

So, I have to ask - out of all the things that must have changed since you (or me for that matter) were young, why do you think it was only video games? Could it be that FOX has more violent shows on it now? Or there is more pollution in the air? How about kids spending more time indoors? Or, how about diet for that matter?

I dunno...I think this question will never ever have a real answer. There are way too many variables. Any "study" you show me, I can easily refute by saying you didn't take into account one of a million potential other things which could affect a child's psyche. You simply can't have an "N" large enough to exclude all the variables out there. There never will be a real answer to this question until someone grows a bunch of cloned kids and locks them in 2 separate rooms for their entire lives: one with violent video games and one without. Since this isn't going to happen, can we *please* stop burning research dollars on this nonsense? Us other scientists have real work to do with the ever decreasing research budget pie.

What's the solution to the problem then? I would actually encourage everyone that the correct answer to this questions really is "maybe". But, I think good parents are smart enough to actually figure out where their kids are in life, and what is best for their particular children. There is clearly not a one-size-fits-all answer here. At the same time, I think the right thing to do is really quite simple: If your kid is killing pets with a BB gun, maybe no violent video games. If your kid is normal, see how he/she handles playing Doom or something similar for a bit. If he/she starts getting aggressive, pull the games away. Is this really as hard as everyone makes it out to be?

Comment: Re:Still horrid for audio (Score 1) 129 129

Wait, wait...lemme get this straight...are you complaining that you can't play a pseudo-video guitar from your *phone*? Really? Are you planning to serenade someone in the park on your phone (pls post vids if you do!) Are you going to complain next that the strings on said video guitar don't feel like actual strings on actual guitars?

As a sidenote, I'm irritated that my doghouse isn't designed to fit a wolly mammoth.

Comment: Re:Worth every penny (Score 1) 549 549

The ones without any sense here are the people who can't even imagine the huge number of ways you can use a tablet to improve your life.

Yep - that's me! I've thought about it - a tablet can improve my life in exactly 0 ways.

I have a netbook. It cost ~$200 5 years ago. In practical size/weight, its just as big as your iPad (I have fit it in a cargo pants pocket in a pinch). Yes the iPad is thinner and lighter, but doesn't much matter because you fit the iPad in the same kinds of things you fit a netbook into.

Oh yeah...netbooks have these crazy looking things called keyboards. They're amazing! My netbook isn't the fastest thing on the planet...actually its much closer to the slowest (yes - I have the Asus eee 4G Surf). But you know what? It really doesn't matter in any practical sense. I can still watch youtube vids, work on spreadsheets, check e-mail, play games, get on teh facebookz, and program arduinos using it. Battery life is about 4 hours. All the components are solid state (except the cooling fan), so its as robust as a brick, even though it looks pretty cheapy and plasticy.

IMO, the ones without any sense here are the ones who equate a shiny/weighty package with "high build quality" or the ones who don't realize that for much less money you could buy a netbook that can either keep pace or run circles around your iCrap in any practical measure.

Comment: No one touches my GI Joes... (Score 1) 72 72

...because apparently if you did, you could have messed up all of the planning the secret service does -

1) Swing into the room where the model is
2) Move one or more of the GI Joes to bathrooms
3) Watch the ensuing panic

I wonder if the new version is like the Sims - if you put all the GI Joes in one room, will they eventually get married? *poooonder*

Comment: Re:Stupid Idea (Score 3, Informative) 1026 1026

High Speed Rail would have the EXACT same security measures as airplanes

Some of these things exist in the US already (Accela run by Amtrak between DC and New York City), and they don't have anywhere near the security measures airports do. No body metal detectors...just walk on and hand someone a ticket. If lines between these urban centers don't have security even though it could be easily implemented, why would new lines all of a sudden have DHS security around them?

Where would it be efficient? Very few cities have the public transportation infrastructure to support such a train station. Remember, you're competing with driving and airplanes.

You're making a big assumption here without even realizing it. I don't think rail would be a competitor to either of those techs - it would be a new option altogether. I live in San Francisco. Right now, if I want to go to Seattle I could:

a) Drive for 12 hours (long and annoying!)
b) Take a 1.5 hour plane flight...where I need to be at the airport 2 hours early, and get dropped off about an hour or so from Seattle city center in traffic, thus making the whole trip take about ~5 hours...without delays due to weather or pilots being late. Oh yeah, and don't forget about the baggage limits, security, incredibly uncomfortable cabin, and people with no social skills involved with that option.

Wouldn't it be awesome if there were a
c) Take a train that takes maybe 8-10 hours, costs as much as the airplane ride, but is comfy and relaxing?

There would still be several times where a) and b) may make more sense, but I would probably opt for c) a good portion of the time.

Comment: ERROR! Over-defined... (Score 1) 680 680

From the parent "These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life. So the need to survive fires, burglaries, etc. I think the amount of data I have rules online storage out." These two things are mutually exclusive. To avoid fires and burglaries the *only* practical answer is offsite (i.e. online) storage. So, if you won't use online storage, and you can't take the miniscule risk of being burgled, you're hosed.

Comment: Re:It's the IT, not the OS (Score 1) 108 108

Although I agree with everything you are saying in theory, I think there are some practical matters here that make these things tricky:

1. Company computers should only be allowed to perform company functions, and only company computers should be allowed to access company assets.

So, what is a company function? I agree - changing/revealing SSNs is a company function. However, a ton of viruses come from contaminated USB sticks too. If your job is to review a bunch of vendor presentations from USB sticks/e-mail/other external sources, how do you secure your "company" computer?

2. Computer users should never have more access to their own computer or to company assets than they need. And always be conservative at first, and bump up their privs later if it becomes necessary.

Sounds great. However, it always takes IT at least an hour to do this at my company, so its a royal pain in the ass. If someone could make an automated IT system that gives rights only when needed (yes - just like sudo), I'd be all over implementing something like this because it wouldn't didn't completely screw up work days time after time after time.

3. In situations where users might have access to assets that could potentially put other people's information at risk, those users should be required to undergo some basic security training.

Yep. This happens already. I think you are forgetting that most people are retards when it comes to this kind of stuff though. Oopsie-daises still happen. Maybe at a lower rate than before, but they still happen. And before you say that the solution is just not to hire that person for the job, realize that a lot of times they are the old farts sitting at the top of organizations that are making the mistakes...i.e. you can't fire them (even if you'd like to).

I really think people just need to realize that f-ups are going to happen every now and again. Maybe the easier solution is no SSNs required for bank accounts! No me telling telephone operators secret codes in plain, spoken, English over the phone! That way, all this data could be encrypted in a way that no human would be able to read or retrieve it.

VMS must die!