Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


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).


+ - Comcast's incompetence, lack of broadband competition force homeowner to sell 1

Submitted by BUL2294
BUL2294 (1081735) writes "Consumerist has an article about a homeowner in Kitsap County, Washington who is unable to get broadband service. Due to inaccurate broadband availability websites, Comcast's corporate incompetence, CenturyLink's refusal to add new customers in his area, and Washington state's restrictions on municipal broadband, the owner may be left with no option but to sell his house 2 months after he bought it, since he works from home as a software developer.

To add insult to injury, says he has 10 broadband options in his zip code, some of which are not applicable to his address, have exorbitant costs (e.g. wireless), or are for municipal providers that are prevented from doing business with him by state law. Yet, Comcast insists in filings that “the broadband marketplace is more competitive than ever,” which appear to be very carefully chosen words..."

Comment: Pretorian Technologies - Joystick, Trackball (Score 2) 100

by Cliff Stoll (#49257901) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mouse/Pointer For a Person With Poor Motor Control

Pretorian Technologies of Lincolnshire, UK specializes in computer devices for disabled, and semi-disabled users. They make a wide variety of trackballs, joysticks, mouse alternatives, big switches that can be activated by your elbow or knee, iPad switches, bluetooth linked switches etc.

Their devices are aimed at those with "limited hand control, fine and gross motor skill difficulties, poor hand-eye coordination, limited manual dexterity, repetitive strain injury, involuntary muscle spasms, spastic and flaccid paralysis, cerebral movement disorder or central neuromuscular disability and inflammatory or degenerative change"

  From their website,

The n-ABLER Trackball is the most adaptable Mouse Alternative on the market specifically designed to address the needs of computer users with limited hand control, motor skill difficulties, poor hand-eye co-ordination, lack of manual dexterity and involuntary muscle spasms.

In the USA, their products are available through .... not cheap (the anti-tremor joystick costs $440) but they look excellent for the application. a giant 3 inch diameter bright red switch that talks bluetooth (for the iPad, I think) runs about $150. see

Comment: Re:Funny thing... (Score 4, Interesting) 229

by BUL2294 (#49216369) Attached to: Listen To a Microsoft Support Scam As It Happened
(IANAL) In Illinois, and likely most other states, if you believe that a crime will take place during the recording of a phone call (and this does likely count as a felony), you can record it without permission of the other party. In addition, you are shielded from prosecution for breaking wiretapping laws & your surreptitiously recorded evidence can be used for prosecution.

Comment: Early analog work from the 1960's (Score 5, Informative) 33

From 1964 through around 1975, planetary astronomers at Tucson's Lunar & Planetary Laboratory used physical models to project and remap the moon's surface. They took high resolution photos through an earth based telescope, and then projected the images onto a spherical, white plaster globe. By carefully controlling the geometry, and knowing distances, angles, and (yes) lunar libation, they created detailed maps of the moon's near side, taking into account geometric distortion around the limbs. In this way, they could rephotograph parts of the lunar far-side.

The rectified lunar atlas can now be seen at

This was all done using telescopes, photographs, and optical projection ... all analog, earth-based work. (the main telescope was the 61" reflector at Mt. Bigelow in Tucson; the films were Kodak 3-AJ 10x10inch glass plates)

It was my honor to work with several of these astronomers, including Ewen Whitaker, Gerard Kuiper, Bill Hartmann, and Bob Strom. Brilliant scientists who would be astounded and impressed to see those NASA/Goddard videos. What we take for granted today, once required several years of detailed work.

Comment: Floppies and IDE still have options... (Score 1) 178

by BUL2294 (#49001519) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data?
The OP is not considering some easy options for his/her IDE & floppy dilemmas...

IDE - Find a USB-IDE enclosure. Sure, nobody makes them anymore, but there are plenty of used ones out there for 3.5" and 2.5" drives. Spend 5 minutes on Craigslist or eBay.
3 1/2" floppy - Seriously? You can pick up a brand new USB 3.5" floppy drive for US$10 on Amazon (and eligible for Prime).
5 1/4" floppy - This one would take a little more effort--buy a FC5025 card, a used 5.25" drive, an old USB enclosure (with a Molex power connector)--if you don't own a desktop PC, put it all together. Or pay someone to do it...

Comment: It's worse-Verizon also injects for non-customers! (Score 2) 70

by BUL2294 (#48825365) Attached to: Ad Company Using Verizon Tracking Header To Recreate Deleted Cookies
Verizon also injects the UIDH header even for those who aren't Verizon customers--like those of Straight Talk, a reseller that uses Verizon's network.


Because the header is injected at the network level, Verizon can add it to anyone using their towers, even those who aren't Verizon customers. Notably, Verizon appears to inject the X-UIDH header even for customers of Straight Talk, a mobile network reseller (known as a MVNO) that uses Verizon's network. Customers of Straight Talk don't necessarily have a relationship with Verizon.

Comment: Glenn Seaborg - a great man (Score 4, Informative) 85

by Cliff Stoll (#48783809) Attached to: The Mystery of Glenn Seaborg's Missing Plutonium: Solved

I was honored to know Glenn Seaborg while working at Lawrence Berkeley Labs in the 1980's. By then, Manhattan Project was long behind him, as was his Nobel prize, the Atomic Energy Commission work, and his chancellorship of the University of California. Yet he was still a kind and supportive scientist who was deeply interested in any research - whether in physics, astronomy, chemistry, or biology. He recognized the need to teach music and art alongside science and math, and would visit local high schools to encourage students.

I once met him at the Lawrence Hall of Science, walking around the old cyclotron. When I asked him about it, he said that he'd been wondering how the field magnets had been mounted (it was perhaps 40 years after the Manhattan Project). After a short chat he invited a few 12 year old kids over, and told stories about using the beast to create new elements. Amazing guy.

Comment: Great, more items to ransomware! (Score 4, Informative) 252

by BUL2294 (#48733781) Attached to: The Missing Piece of the Smart Home Revolution: The Operating System
After reading a few Slashdot articles ago about ransomware, and given what can happen via hacking such devices, the last thing I want is more of my home-based devices going online. The last thing I want is for my IoT thermostat (of which many exist already) to get hacked. I can see the thermostat's screen now...

"We turned your thermostat up to 85 degrees and you can't change it. We want $5000 worth of Bitcoins in 72 hours--or we find out if your furnace perpetually on full-blast will burn your house down. Think we're kidding? We also know that you have an [some brand name] WebOS-based TV (it was easy--the IP address was the same as your thermostat) and an [some brand name] Android-based refrigerator that we also pwned. In 24 hours fridge will be set to 50 degrees spoiling your food, and in 48 hours your TV will be permanently stuck showing random videos from Xtube. So, your only options are to pay us or cut off power to your house--but when it comes back on, we still own your pwned devices! Good luck replacing the devices we pwned but didn't mention here... TIMER: 71:59:59...71:59:58...71:59:57......."

Seriously, I'm not for government regulation in a competitive landscape, but such devices, especially given their manufacturers will abandon writing security updates for them--6 months after the new model comes out, are ticking time bombs... I'm not about to replace my oven, furnace, dryer, refrigerator, thermostat, dishwasher, home security system, TV, toaster, and toilets every 3-5 years because someone thinks such devices should be IoT and wants to gather even more "big data" about me...

Comment: Do you mean getting 1099'd? (Score 2) 117

If you do mean getting a 1099 for the "loss", then you're wrong. Getting 1099'd (1099A or 1099C) is dischargeable in bankruptcy, even if you get the 1099 after you're discharged. All you do is file Form 982 with your taxes and it's gone. (Of course, IANAA - I am not an Accountant...) I filed BK7 in 2011, got discharged in 2012, and had a property foreclosed on that was discharged, and got a 1099-C in 2013. The full amount of the 1099-C was not considered income on my 2013 taxes (filed & payable in 2014...)

Comment: Re:Blameless Random Employees? (Score 1) 343

And who isn't to say that, as part of the hack, once they found someone high enough with the right credentials, they didn't create a couple of AD accounts? In mid-size organizations, identity management is dealing with thousands of accounts, having to create numerous exceptions for specific people and applications (oh, this Task Scheduler task can't allow for the account to change--and it needs super-duper-Admin rights to these particular servers; this Windows Service that runs on the production CRM server can't change password). So, a hacker could just hide some new accounts with fake descriptions for applications in-house (e.g. "SQL-Salesforce sync"), give them super rights even allowing for password changes, and presto... Or worse, pick such a valid account and start adding servers it has rights to. Security by Obscurity (ironically on the security platform).

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.