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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).

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Comment: turn-about isn't just fair-play, it's PROPER play (Score 2) 764

by v1 (#49314869) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

One wonders if they would feel less "threatened" if we made fun of female anatomy?

That's the first thing that occurred to me. Look at all the games that focus on female anatomy. Now you get an entirely different group of people complaining. The game devs can't make even 1/2 the people happy at any given time. So why bother trying? Novelty sells. Cash in on it.

Comment: Re:Godaddy are thieving wankers dot com (Score 1) 70

by v1 (#49308425) Attached to: GoDaddy Accounts Vulnerable To Social Engineering (and Photoshop)

there is some additional asshattery that allows them to tie the name up for a short period without actually having to pay money for it

This was called "domain tasting", and the guise it was made under was to "allow a customer to put up a web site under a new domain name to test it out and sample it to see if they wanted to purchase it". This is of course a silly concept, you don't need to have the domain name in its final form to decide whether or not your web page works. What it DOES do is encourage this squatter behavior.

When they first started allowing that, there were suddenly millions of domains in a continuous "sampling churn" by the squatters. ("In April 2006, out of 35 million registrations, about 2 million were permanent or actually purchased." ie 94% of active domains were being "tasted") Getting a domain during that period without paying a squatter hundreds or thousands for it was very difficult. They had five days to decide whether to purchase or not, but then could just immediately (within seconds?) re-request a tasting, essentially keeping the domain locked under their control until you paid them off.

In 2009 ICANN made changes to mostly eliminate the free tasting when done in bulk. This helped a lot but there was still a lot of squatting going on. They made one more tweak, and after that the tasting was down to under ONE PERCENT of what it had been a year before. They called it good at that point.

  But someone above mentioned such a squatter being actually owned by the registrar, which really "tastes like" fraud to me.

Medicine

Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions 447

Posted by timothy
from the ask-your-doctor-if-placebex-is-right-for-you dept.
MightyMartian writes It should prove to be no surprise for most rational people, but a group of Australian researchers have determined that homeopathy is completely useless at treating medical conditions. Researchers sifted through 1,800 research papers on homeopathy and found no reliable report that showed homeopathic remedies had any better results than placebos. Of course, anyone with compelling evidence to the contrary (or better yet, proof to the contrary) is encouraged to post links in the comments below.

Comment: Re:And that's half the story (Score 1) 178

by v1 (#49215877) Attached to: MH370 Beacon Battery May Have Been Expired

The standard procedure, as far as I know (not being an expert), is upon noticing the fire, the pilots would have shut down all the circuits on the plane in order to find out if one was responsible for the fire.

Being an expert on the subject of electronics, I can assure you that turning off the electricity that started an electrical fire will not extinguish said fire or provide any useful feedback unless someone is actually watching the "sparking and arcing" and notes when it stops.

(also, "shut down all the circuits on the plane" sounds pretty crazy for a variety of reasons)

Censorship

Indian Gov't Wants Worldwide Ban On Rape Documentary, Including Online 356

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that'll-work dept.
An anonymous reader writes India's far-right Hindu Nationalist government headed by Narendra Modi has banned telecasting and viewing online of a BBC documentary on the 2012 Delhi rape which shocked the nation. The documentary consists interviews of the rapist Mukesh Singh, his lawyers and the victim's parents seems to expose the male dominant nature of Indian society. Indian government is now attempting to ban the documentary worldwide. Critics of the Indian government's action has accused it of not addressing issues women face and instead trying to hide the dirty secrets of its culture from the world. Some Indian websites have also reported that the views expressed by the rapist are echoed by policemen, lawyers and politicians of the nation. So far the government's attempt to ban the video online is with mixed success.
Transportation

Apple Hiring Automotive Experts 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the cars-with-just-one-button dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A report at the Financial Times (paywalled) says Apple is on an aggressive hiring push to pick up automotive experts. Recent rumors suggest Apple is putting together a transportation research lab, and nobody outside the company is quite sure why. It's unlikely they's want to build an entire car themselves, but quite possible they see a big space for Apple technology within motor vehicles, much as Google seems to. They already have CarPlay, and it will doubtless grow, but we still don't have anything approaching a dominant platform for car software. Whatever they're working on, it looks like the competition for more robust computer technology in cars is heating up.
Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance? 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the encrypt-all-the-things dept.
Nicola Hahn writes: Both the White House and the U.S. Intelligence Community have recently announced reforms to surveillance programs sanctioned under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But do these reforms represent significant restructuring or are they just bureaucratic gestures intended to create the perception that officials are responding to public pressure?

The Executive's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has written up an assessment (PDF) of reform measures implemented by the government. For those who want a quick summary the Board published a fact sheet (PDF) which includes a table listing recommendations made by the board almost a year ago and corresponding reforms. The fact sheet reveals that the Board's mandate to "end the NSA's bulk telephone records program" has not been implemented.

In other words, the physical infrastructure of the NSA's global panopticon is still in place. In fact, it's growing larger (PDF). So despite all of the press statements and associated media buzz very little has changed. There are people who view this as an unsettling indication of where society is headed. Ed Snowden claimed that he wanted to "trigger" a debate, but is that really enough? What will it take to tear down Big Brother?
DRM

Kickstarted Firefox OS HDMI Dongle Delayed, DRM Support Being Added 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the surprise! dept.
An anonymous reader writes: You may recall last September when Mozilla and a new company named Matchstick announced a Kickstarter project for a new device that would compete with Google's Chromecast. It was an HDMI dongle for streaming media that runs on Firefox OS. They easily quadrupled their $100,000 funding goal, and estimated a ship date of February, 2015. Well, they emailed backers today to say that the Matchstick's release is being pushed back to August. They list a few reasons for the delay. For one, they want to upgrade some of the hardware: they're swapping the dual-core CPU for a quad-core model, and they're working on the Wi-Fi antenna to boost reception. But on the software side, the biggest change they mention is that they're adding support for DRM. This is a bit of a surprise, since all they said on the Kickstarter about DRM was that they hoped it would be handled "either via the playback app itself or the OS." Apparently this wasn't possible, so they're implementing Microsoft PlayReady tech on the Matchstick.

Comment: Re:The Canadian arm of the business is stil operat (Score 1) 294

by v1 (#48997035) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy

Their angle was "in stock and in HAND today". They lost sight of that, their most valuable resource. instant availability. I dropped $300 on dx.com last month in a single order. That gets you a crapton of small electronics. But you have to wait for it. I'm still waiting on one of the packages to get here. Ignoring the fact that 80% of that stuff RS doesn't carry, if they did, it would have cost well over a grand.

I remember them putting out an open invitation for surveys last year, and I tried to explain that to them. But they were asking questions like "do you want more DIY stuff and kits". Those were radio shack's bread and butter earlier that they got rid of over time recently, but those actually needed to go away. I can get arduino clone boards for $16 that cost $65 at the shack. No one in their right mind plans to buy that locally. It costs way too much, and you don't need it today.

The classic view of modern Radio Shack being a battery store is actually quite keen. Batteries are the perfect example of something you need now. If they were to survive, they were going to need to identify and focus on items like that. Small items that they can sell at a modest markup that people need TODAY. Anyone that can wait for something will order it from China. But instead they listened to the people that were reminiscing about how they used to shop at Radio Shack, and though that returning to a 20 yr old business model that they'd left behind was a good idea.

It was not.

Security

Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid? 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-would-you-put-on-your-grandma's-computer dept.
CryoKeen writes: I got a new laptop recently after trading in my old laptop for store credit. While I was waiting to check out, the sales guy just handed me some random antivirus software (Trend Micro) that was included with the purchase. I don't think he or I realized at the time that the CD/DVD he gave me would not work because my new laptop does not have a CD/DVD player.

Anyway, it got me wondering whether I should use it or not. Would I be better off downloading something like Avast or Malwarebytes? Is there one piece of antivirus software that's significantly better than the others? Are any of the paid options worthwhile, or should I just stick to the free versions? What security software would you recommend in addition to anti-virus?
Encryption

Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing 163

Posted by timothy
from the don't-tell-the-mpaa dept.
ErnieKey writes Researchers from German-based Hasso Plattner Institute have come up with a process that may make teleportation a reality — at least in some respects. Their 'Scotty' device utilizes destructive scanning, encryption, and 3D printing to destroy the original object so that only the received, new object exists in that form, pretty much 'teleporting' the object from point A to point B. Scotty is based on an off-the-shelf 3D printer modified with a 3-axis milling machine, camera, and microcontroller for encryption, using Raspberry Pi and Arduino technologies." This sounds like an interesting idea, but mostly as an art project illustrating the dangers of DRM. Can you think of an instance where you would actually want the capabilities this machine claims to offer?
Biotech

New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild 130

Posted by timothy
from the we've-decided-to-put-this-in-everyone dept.
BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes In Jurassic Park, scientists tweak dinosaur DNA so that the dinosaurs were lysine-deficient in order to keep them from spreading in the wild. Scientists have taken this one step further as a way to keep genetically modified E. coli from surviving outside the lab. In modifying the bacteria's DNA to thwart escape, two teams altered the genetic code to require amino acids not found in nature. One team modified the genes that coded for proteins crucial to cell functions so that that produced proteins required the presence of the synthetic amino acid in the protein itself. The other team focused on 22 genes deemed essential to a bacterial cell's functions and tied the genes' expression to the presence of synthetic amino acids. For the bacteria to survive, these synthetic amino acids had to be present in the medium on which the bacteria fed. In both cases, the number of escapees was so small as to be undetectable."

Comment: Re:Now all we need to do (Score 5, Insightful) 316

by v1 (#48835297) Attached to: Eric Holder Severely Limits Civil Forfeiture

The problem wasn't that they weren't following the laws. The problem was what they were doing wasn't illegal in the first place.

It can be difficult to get the cops to follow the law. But it's often impossible to get them to "do the right thing".

So this is definitely a good step in the right direction. Don't complain just because we've gone from "impossible" to merely "difficult". Sometimes these things take awhile to straighten out. Be thankful we made some significant progress today.

Comment: Re:No evidence (Score 2) 263

by v1 (#48835241) Attached to: Google Releases More Windows Bugs

Microsoft says there's no evidence these flaws have been successfully exploited.

"...so we're going to wait until the bot herders have sucked in a few million more machines before bothering to patch it."

WHAT is WRONG with you, ms?? If I'm reading that right, google is doing precisely what is necessary to light a fire under MS's ass to get the bugs fixed. It isn't really even that. They're basically telling us they don't consider it to be a big deal until it starts getting exploited. By making that comment, they completely justify (and encourage) Google's actions.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton

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