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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).


+ - Microsoft Relishes its Role as Accuser in Antitrust Suit Against Google

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Danny Hakim reports at the NYT that as European antitrust regulators formally accuse Google of abusing its dominance, Microsoft is relishing playing a behind-the-scenes role of scold instead of victim. Microsoft has founded or funded a cottage industry of splinter groups to go after Google. The most prominent, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, or Icomp, has waged a relentless public relations campaign promoting grievances against Google. It conducted a study that suggested changes made by Google to appease regulators were largely window dressing. “Microsoft is doing its best to create problems for Google,” says Manfred Weber, the chairman of the European People’s Party, the center-right party that is the largest voting bloc in the European Parliament. “It’s interesting. Ten years ago Microsoft was a big and strong company. Now they are the underdog.”

According to Hakim, Microsoft and Google are the Cain and Abel of American technology, locked in the kind of struggle that often takes place when a new giant threatens an older one. Microsoft was frustrated after American regulators at the Federal Trade Commission didn’t act on a similar antitrust investigation against Google in 2013, calling it a “missed opportunity.” It has taken the fight to the state level, along with a number of other opponents of Google. Microsoft alleges that Google's anti-competitive practices include stopping Bing from indexing content on Google-owned YouTube; blocking Microsoft Windows smartphones from "operating properly" with YouTube; blocking access to content owned by book publishers; and limiting the flow of ad campaign information back to advertisers, making it more expensive to run ads with rivals. "Over the past year, a growing number of advertisers, publishers, and consumers have expressed to us their concerns about the search market in Europe," says Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel. "They've urged us to share our knowledge of the search market with competition officials.""

Comment: Diet (Score 2) 298

by xonen (#49438043) Attached to: Did Natural Selection Make the Dutch the Tallest People On the Planet?

In The Netherlands it's usually thought that diet was the most influencing factor behind this effect. Over the last centuries we have had plenty dairy products, no severe food shortages, in contrary, we had a reasonable high availability of varied food. Combined with relative welfare in the golden age. There are probably many other factors too, however, to grow tall you need more food on average, and so it must be available first.

Comment: Re:ad blocker? (Score 3, Funny) 358

by xonen (#49436409) Attached to: Google To Offer Ad-Free YouTube - At a Price

Which ethical choices you mean, the ones made by me as consumer or by them?

Spotify - 10 euro to get ad-free version
Netfix - 9 euro, ad free
HBO - 15 euro
Youtube - ? euro.
Torrents - free & ad free
National television - tax. about 50 euro / year - and still loaded with ads

So there are options, but they cost quite a bit, especially if you would want more than one. Having said that, maybe youtube will offer a really reasonable price (like $20 yearly) and i would consider it, but i doubt their pricetag will be that low.

I can't help that the 'default' state is to bombard listeners or viewers with ads. With up to 10-30% airtime spend on ads on some commercial TV but also on our national (tax payed) radio. With 30 second ads to watch a 2 minute video. And webpages with 75% ads and 25% content. And worse: the most annoying kind of ads, the ones that makes you pull your hair and actively makes you mute or switch channel.

If ads were not that obtrusive, no-one would bother to block them. However it became an arms race - where the blockers got better and the ads even more annoying.

So, i have no idea why you find it unethical that i, or any other customer, protect myself from ads. Or is it unethical to wear a safety belt, or earplugs at a rock concert, or safety glasses when using machinery, because i see very little difference between physical and mental damage (annoyance). I have the right to protect myself from unwanted influences.

I could even turn the argument and say no-one has the right to (un)consciously steer my (shopping) behaviour. Others would even make the argument that obesity and smoking addictions are largely caused by advertising. So again, who's being unethical here?

+ - Build a satellite of your own for less than $30K

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "An industry of new cubesat builders can now build satellites for anyone for any reason for very little money.

The miniaturisation of technology allows people to do more with less hardware, said Chad Anderson, the managing director of Space Angels Network, an investment house specialising in the space industry. That industry, he said, was worth $300bn (£200bn) last year. Constellations of smaller satellites, like those suggested as tracking devices for planes over oceans, are now a possibility. "The launch costs are coming down and people leveraging today's technology are able to do more with less and launch less mass to orbit. The price point has come down to where start-ups and entrepreneurs can really make an impact on the scene for the first time," he said.

When the first tiny satellite launch companies arrive, expect this industry to blossom at an astonishing rate ... if the government doesn't screw it up."

+ - Nanocomputers connected to the cloud will be implanted in your brain by 2030->

Submitted by Brandon Butler
Brandon Butler (2829853) writes "Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil predicts in a TED Talk that by the 2030s small bots that can connect to cloud-based servers will be implanted through the bloodstream into the brain to allow for "hybrid" brain power. The nanocomputers will aid existing brain functions
to help provide quick answers to complex problems and provide the extra juice needed to come up with creative new ideas."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Spoiler alert (Score 1) 2

by xonen (#49416245) Attached to: Your Porn Is Watching You

Spoiler alert: you are tracked all over the net, and add-ons like Ghostery only partly help. If you don't want that, don't surf the net.

Other techniques could probably link this very post to my person with high accuracy just because of my writing style. So just don't start with the assumption you are anonymous, cause you are not.

As far as the article goes; the 'Porn' keyword here seems more to serve the goal of tickling the reader and triggering the ''i want privacy for delicate things'' mindset. It's sad that only one website replied to his questions and i do agree that their argumentation of ''too much data'' is anything but waterproof. However, it seems they already were more open what they are doing at the backend site, than any of the big toko's like facebook.

I trust facebook less for guarding my privacy than a porn site, after all, the porn site wouldn't want to risk loosing its visitors because of privacy issues, while at FB it is their core business to do so.

Most likely, if a porn site is actively tracking you it's a honeypot in the first place. I agree it stimulates sticking to the big sites and avoiding material that could be illegal, but that's just common sense. I never have had the illusion my prn preferences are anonymous for any interested authority or hacker.

+ - Your Porn Is Watching You 2

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Thirty million Americans regularly watch porn online. That’s a lot more than fess up to it, even in anonymous surveys: In 2013, just 12 percent of people asked copped to watching internet porn at all. But thanks to pervasive online tracking and browser fingerprinting, the brazen liars of America may not have a say in whether their porn habits stay secret. Porn watchers everywhere are being tracked, and if software engineer Brett Thomas is right, it would be easy to out them, along with an extensive list of every clip they’ve viewed."

Comment: Re:Beware Rust, Go, and D. (Score 4, Interesting) 223

by xonen (#49409467) Attached to: Mono 4 Released, First Version To Adopt Microsoft Code

Please don't compare apples to oranges. You are totally right about the trust issue, that's something personal. But it has very little to do with the C# language or .NET.

Pulling JVM into the equation not really helps either, cause the consequent question would be: Do you trust Oracle? Or Google, for that matter if you count Dalvik in.

I do like the C# as a language, having done a few smaller projects with it. The reason why i prefer not to use it is, indeed, because i don't trust or like Microsoft. Having said that, i am totally fine with the Mono project - despite all criticism it's just the language and the VM and has very little to do with MS, and when appropriate (i.e.: someone pays for it) i wouldn't hesitate to develop with Mono or .Net again.

GP totally has a point here: The languages you really need for a certain task already exist, whether it be C, C++, C#, Java and a handful of other niches including but not limited to Perl and PHP. Whatever your choice is, try stick to a steady platform. Code written in any such `proven` language is much more likely to compile in another 10-20 years from now than code written in some obscure actively-developed language which adds little, that couldn't be done otherwise, but headaches.

And AC above also has a point that many OS enthusiasts are guilty of exactly what they accuse their nemesis of. Hence he doesn't deserve the tag 'astroturfer', it may well be his honest opinion. It's totally ok to criticize, but be prepared to accept criticism too, please.

Comment: Re:Silver not copper (Score 1) 44

by xonen (#49403807) Attached to: New Yarn Conducts Electricity

Actually, silver is already used in fabrics as anti-bacterial additive (or anti-smell, depending how it's advertised) in various brands of sport clothes.

How beneficial this is for the health is another question, as it remains a heavy metal. Other nitpickers say it gets washed out after only a few wash cycles (and consequently pollute the waste water).

Comment: Re:must fail (Score 1) 298

by xonen (#49370097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

I think the problem with most programmers (and techies) is they aren't big picture and very detail oriented

Then, maybe, your using the wrong approach.

Try "Don't document your code, but code you documentation"..

This is as easy as creating all files you normally would, and just write down, in comments, the code you are planning to write. You catch several flies at once here: You design the entire code base, top-down, you bring structure to it, and you already documented it before you even started coding!

All you have to do now is work out your comments. You start by prototyping your (OO) classes and methods or (non-OO) functions. Once you validated your information flow (as in: all methods take all parameters they need, objects have all variables and methods they need in a non-redundant way, etc etc)- the remaining task is trivial: work out any method.

Then once you completed implementing the last method, you hit compile. And guess what: chances are your code _just works_ because you organized yourself and your activities in such a way that will avoid creating stupid mistakes and oversights, and 100% of your focus was with implementing well-defined functions or methods.

Top-down just works. Especially when your projected project is large. Resist the temptation of coding (but of course, you can consider your approaches while designing). Don't feel stupid for spending 2 or more days designing without coding - you will earn this time back tenfold. And while designing without implementing, you will get a good feel of which potential libraries you need, and where the easy and tough bits of coding are. But eventually, it all comes down to avoiding errors while having oversight of the entire program flow.

+ - Chinese CA Issues Certificates to Impersonate Google

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Google security engineers, investigating fraudulent certificates issued for several of the company’s domains, discovered that a Chinese certificate authority was using an intermediate CA, MCS Holdings, that issued the unauthorized Google certificates, and could have issued certificates for virtually any domain.

Google’s engineers were able to block the fraudulent certificates in the company’s Chrome browser by pushing an update to the CRLset, which tracks revoked certificates. The company also alerted other browser vendors to the problem, which was discovered on March 20. Google contacted officials at CNNIC, the Chinese registrar who authorized the intermediate CA, and the officials said that they were working with MCS to issue certificates for domains that it registered.

But, instead of simply doing that, and storing the private key for the registrar in a hardware security module, MCS put the key in a proxy device designed to intercept secure traffic."

Comment: `In your face, customer!` (Score 0) 322

by xonen (#49283435) Attached to: Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades

I feel stupid for paying now. MS just said that they are ok with stealing their software. For consumers & small businesses who actually consciously purchased a license - MS just showed us their middle finger to show how valued we dear customers are.

And now since MS said that stealing propriety software is ok, some other software vendors may not be happy with them. Pirating photoshop or games or whatever is just accepted, according to MS. Don't search for really free alternatives, they rather have you steal/copy it than using an alternative.

Really, i don't like stealing software. That's why i stick to free solutions quite often. It's also not why i like Linux, but a nice added benefit, and added benefit of OS in general. But now i feel stupid because one of the richest companies in the world say i was a moron by paying them in the first place, and that they don't care if you play the game fair or not. I suddenly regret any penny i payed them over the last 20 years.

Comment: Other.. (Score 3, Informative) 307

All of the above, in the past 15 years, with the exception of the CPU, that was pre-2000.

Made me hard to choose from.
* RAM - on occasion, mostly when new.
* Videocard - 2 'blown up'; bad capacitors or GPU defect
* Motherboard - bad capacitors. And cheap models suck - better spend more on mobo less on cpu.
* Fans - always an issue especially if you are a smoker
* Hard disk fail - 1 soft fail, replaced it before end of life. One very hard fail, on a brand new drive. Unfortunately it kept all my data as i was migrating.
* Power supply - again, i learned not to buy cheap stuff.

In general, failed components (apart the video cards) were indeed cheap / low budget. My current PC is ok, because i choose better quality parts (mobo+PSU mostly). Apart the harddrive which was acting 'weird' after 4 1/2 year and hence got replaced by an SSD disk, which was a good idea anyways.

Lessons learned: if the PC is acting weird, check the unobvious: the PSU. Older hardware: check capacitors. New hardware: don't trust memory, mobo and hard drive until proven (`burn-in`).

+ - NASA Launches Four Spacecraft To Study Earth-Sun Magnetism->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Late Thursday NASA used an Atlas rocket to put four new, identical spacecraft into orbit. "The quartet of observatories is being placed into an oblong orbit stretching tens of thousands of miles into the magnetosphere — nearly halfway to the moon at one point. They will fly in pyramid formation, between 6 miles and 250 miles apart, to provide 3-D views of magnetic reconnection on the smallest of scales. Magnetic reconnection is what happens when magnetic fields like those around Earth and the sun come together, break apart, then come together again, releasing vast energy. This repeated process drives the aurora, as well as solar storms that can disrupt communications and power on Earth. Data from this two-year mission should help scientists better understand so-called space weather.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Google Product (Score 4, Insightful) 140

A year is not long. Only young people think a year is long. It might as well have been a week.

Some people just want to put their code in 'the public domain'. It may be code they are not maintaining, not commercial, or targets a very small niche.

Sometimes you want your code just published - shared with the world - forever, for the next one to find it useful.

Google promises such service. One would think 'google, they know how to store data'. Even google engineers use the service themselves. And then, one day, they announce the service will cease in 2 years.

Google should NOT HAVE STARTED SUCH SERVICE. They mislead developers, and now put them up with the extra hassle of moving stuff. If they wanted to kill it, they should have said 'testing' 'alpha' 'beta' 'do not use for your project' etc.

I'm totally with the some of the other people here, Google has proven to be unreliable. Any service they not like could be gone at ant time they choose, no matter how well it works or how succesful it is. Your gmail account may well be next.

I don't mind google cleaning up beta projects. But Google Code was anything but a beta project. Ok, they were not the largest player in the market, how bad is that? I do like choice, and multiple players can learn from eachother.

So.. My personal conclusion: a very very bad move of Google which will steer many people away from their current and future projects.

Always try to do things in chronological order; it's less confusing that way.