The Courts

Judge Backs Parents, Saying Their 30-Year-Old Son Must Move Out (npr.org) 7

"Attention geeks living in their parents' basements!" writes PolygamousRanchKid , sharing this story from NPR: The promise of adventure didn't do it. Neither did the lure of independence, or the weight of his 30 years. Instead, it took a judge to pry Michael Rotondo from his parents' home. The couple won an eviction order against their son, after a judge argued with Rotondo for 30 minutes. "I don't see why they can't just, you know, wait a little bit for me to leave the house," Rotondo told Donald Greenwood, a justice on the Onondaga County Supreme Court...

Christina and Mark Rotondo resorted to legal action after a series of notes to their son (starting on Feb. 2) failed to get him to move out of their home in Camillus, New York, a town west of Syracuse. Those notes followed discussions that began last October. The notes to Michael Rotondo ranged from orders to leave and encouragement to get a job, to offers of more than $1,000 and help in finding a place... The notes escalated into a formally worded notice for Rotondo to leave that set a 30-day deadline -- which lapsed on March 15...

In a legal filing cited by CNYCentral, Rotondo said that in the eight years he has lived at his parents' house, he "has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises," and that those conditions are simply part of an informal agreement. When he was in his early 20s, Rotondo briefly lived on his own, but he moved back in with his parents after losing a job...

The case is being seen as an extreme example of a growing trend. As NPR reported in 2016, a Pew study found that, "For the first time in more than 130 years, Americans ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation."

Classic Games (Games)

Atari Co-Founder Ted Dabney Dies at Age 81 (eurogamer.net) 29

An anonymous reader quotes Eurogamer: Atari co-founder Ted Dabney has died, according to a close friend. Historian Leonard Herman, who told Dabney's story in an article for Edge magazine published in 2009, announced Dabney's death in a post on Facebook... Dabney, who was born in San Francisco in 1937, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late 2017, and, according to friends, decided against treatment after being told he had eight months to live.

In 1971 Dabney co-founded Atari predecessor Syzygy with Nolan Bushnell and developed Computer Space, the world's first commercially available arcade video game. In 1972 the pair co-founded Atari, and Computer Space was used for the basis of Pong, the video game that made the company its early-days millions. Dabney later left the company after a falling out with Bushnell.

"Nolan was not being the kind of person that I enjoyed being around any more..." Dabney remembered in a 2012 interview with the Computer History Museum. He added with a laugh that "Nolan had told me that if I didn't sell out he would transfer all the assets to another corporation and leave me with nothing anyway. So, you know, might as well sell out."

After the falling out Dabney still helped Bushnell launch Pizza Time Theater (the predecessor of Chuck E. Cheese's), later working at major tech companies like Raytheon, Fujitsu, and Teledyne, before finally buying a grocery store in California's Sierra mountains (where "my wife did all the work"). He eventually retired to northern Washington at the age of 69.

"Ted Dabney was an integral part of the early video game industry, and he literally assembled some of the hardware from which this industry was built with his own two hands," remembers Kotaku, adding "Not many people can lay claim to that kind of legacy."

Share your own favorite memories of Atari and Ted Dabney in the comments.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Rant: I hate Firefox 1

I hate firefox. I hate firefox. I HATE firefox. I hate it, i hate it, i hate it.

I have hated firefox since the beginning. I installed it, and immediately went back to mozilla because it was so bad. I eventually got used to it, loved the addons, and was happy that firefox had a path in life.

Submission + - Windows 10 Spring update improves Linux on WSL with Unix Sockets and more (anandtech.com)

Billly Gates writes: Windows 10 build 1803 has come out this month, but with some problems. Anandtech has a link with the review examing many new features which include much better support for Linux. WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) now has native Curt and Tar from the command prompt as well as a utility to convert Unix to Windows pathnames called WSLpath.exe which is documented here. In addition it was mentioned on slashdot in the past about OpenSSH being ported natively to win32 in certain early builds. It now seems the reason was for Linux interoperability with this spring update 2. Unix sockets mean you can run Kali Linux on Windows 10 for penetration testing or run an Apache server in the background with full Linux networking support. Deemons now run in the background even with the command prompt closed. I do have to wonder if Microsoft's critics with Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish, is planned as it seems Windows 10 is being test ground for the eventual running Linux apps on Windows Sever the ultimate plan? So far it is just a geek thing to run a few Linux utilities on a corporate desktop or debug mobile apps on Android. This could be a sign that Microsoft is serious on running Linux apps on Windows if Microsoft wants to go this way.
The Almighty Buck

Australian Bank's System Outage Leaves 9 Million Customers Without Cash (reuters.com) 65

An anonymous reader quotes Reuters: National Australia Bank on Saturday suffered what it described as a "nationwide outage" to some of its technology systems, leaving customers unable to access banking services or withdraw money. Customers took to social media to vent their frustrations, with some saying they were left unable to pay for groceries or refuel their cars...

National Australia Bank is one of Australia's four largest retail banks with a customer base of 9 million, according to its website... The Bank of New Zealand, a NAB subsidiary, also experienced outages on Saturday across New Zealand, but the spokesman was unable to confirm a connection between the two incidents.

United States

Ask Slashdot: Did Baby Boomers Break America? (time.com) 268

"Automation taking jobs is only one symptom of a larger problem," argues an anonymous Slashdot reader, sharing a link to this excerpt from Steven Brill's new book Tailspin, which seeks to identify "the people and forces behind America's fifty-year fall -- and those fighting to reverse it." The excerpt has this intriguing title: "How Baby Boomers Broke America." As my generation of achievers graduated from elite universities and moved into the professional world, their personal successes often had serious societal consequences. They upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment... Regulatory agencies were overwhelmed by battalions of lawyers who brilliantly weaponized the bedrock American value of due process so that, for example, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule protecting workers from a deadly chemical could be challenged and delayed for more than a decade and end up being hundreds of pages long. Lawyers then contested the meaning of every clause while racking up fees of hundreds of dollars per hour from clients who were saving millions of dollars on every clause they could water down...

As government was disabled from delivering on vital issues, the protected were able to protect themselves still more. For them, it was all about building their own moats. Their money, their power, their lobbyists, their lawyers, their drive overwhelmed the institutions that were supposed to hold them accountable -- government agencies, Congress, the courts... That, rather than a split between Democrats and Republicans, is the real polarization that has broken America since the 1960s. It's the protected vs. the unprotected, the common good vs. maximizing and protecting the elite winners' winnings... [I]n a way unprecedented in history, they were able to consolidate their winnings, outsmart and co-opt the forces that might have reined them in, and pull up the ladder so more could not share in their success or challenge their primacy.

Brill argues that the unprotected need things like "a realistic shot at justice in the courts," writing that instead "the First Amendment became a tool for the wealthy to put a thumb on the scales of democracy." And he shares these statistics about the rest of America today:
  • For adults in their 30s, the chance of earning more than their parents dropped to 50% from 90% just two generations earlier.
  • In 2017, household debt had grown higher than the peak reached in 2008 before the crash, with student and automobile loans staking growing claims on family paychecks.
  • Although the U.S. remains the world's richest country, it has the third-highest poverty rate among the 35 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development...

Has he identified the source of a societal malaise? Leave your own thoughts in the comments.

And is Brill's thesis correct? Did baby boomers break America?


Transportation

5.3M Cars Recalled Because 'Drivers May Not Be Able to Turn Off Cruise Control' (freep.com) 71

An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press: Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 5.3 million vehicles in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until the cars, SUVs and trucks can be fixed with a software update. Fiat Chrysler says the condition can occur if the cruise control accelerates at the same time an electrical short-circuit happens. But the brakes are designed to overpower the engine and the vehicles could still be stopped...

In the complaint filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an owner from Olathe, Kansas, said a 2017 Dodge Journey SUV rental vehicle was being driven about 70 miles per hour with the cruise control on when the windshield wipers came on by themselves and the throttle locked up. The owner, who was not identified in the agency's complaint database, wrote that the cruise control would not disengage by tapping the brakes or turning off the button. The driver was able to slam on the brakes and get the SUV to the side of the road. "It was still running at an engine speed to support 70 mph and fighting the brakes," the driver wrote. The engine stop button also wouldn't work, but the driver was able to halt the SUV and shift into park while the brakes "smoked significantly."

The recall "includes 15 Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler and Ram models from six model years" which have automatic transmissions and gas engines, according to the Associated Press -- 4.8 million in America, plus another 490,000 in Canada and "an undetermined number" in other countries.

You can check if your vehicle is affected by this (or any other) recall by entering its VIN number at NHTSA.gov. U.S. safety officials suggest checking whether your vehicle has been recalled "at least twice per year."

Submission + - Revoking my support for the T-Mobile/Sprint merger (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: UPDATED (May 26, 2018): With word today that T-Mobile is paying duplicitous, lying fascists like former Trump campaign manager and current confidant Corey Lewandowski — and other members of the same consulting firm — for “how to kiss up to sociopathic, racist Donald Trump” advice, I hereby revoke my support for this merger. On its own terms, in an isolated universe, it makes sense. But if the cost of success for the merger is this kind of disgusting kowtowing and feeding of the beast, then the price is far too high. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has one hell of a lot to answer for on this one. ANYTHING for the merger, right John? The road to hell is paved with attitudes like yours.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Does 3D Graphics In 2018 Still Depend So Much On Polygons? 1

OpenSourceAllTheWay writes: 3D graphics rendered to the screen in realtime by defining vertices in 3D space and drawing straight connecting lines between them was very impressive in the 8-bit era. In the 16-bit era computers could also fill those polygons with solid color or Gouraud or Phong shading quickly enough for realtime games. Then came bitmap texture mapping, shaders, multiple dynamic light sources in a scene, realtime shadowing and so on, much of it handled on GPUs from the late 1990s onwards. But polygon graphics were really just used in the early days of computer graphics for high processing speed, low memory usage and programming simplicity — alternatives like NURBS and Voxels were simply too processor and RAM intensive then — and never intended to be used forever and ever. There are actually dozens of ways of creating a mathematical representation of a complex, realistic 3D object and rendering it to the computer screen, not just polygons. And polygons still suffer from an unsolved problem that has been around since the very early days — it is actually quite difficult and labor- and click-intensive to model realistic looking 3D objects like humans with polygons manually without running into horrible surface topology and animation deformation problems half the time. Part of the high cost of making commercial quality computer and console games is that polygon modeling of 3D characters, weapons, vehicles and 3D environments is a slow and tedious process. So why still use polygons all the time in 2018? Why don't companies like Sony, MS, Nvidia, AMD and so forth ditch polygons at some point and compete with each other on who can create a faster, more usable and less labor- and cost-intensive mathematical way of creating, manipulating, animating and rendering 3D objects to the screen or VR headset? Why continue using something as old-school as polygons when much better ways of doing 3D realtime graphics may be possible with current and next-gen 3D graphics hardware?
Youtube

Two 18-Year-Olds Charged With Hacking YouTube's Most Popular Videos (variety.com) 26

An anonymous reader quotes Variety: Two 18-year-old French citizens have been arrested in Paris and charged with crimes related to the hack of Vevo's YouTube accounts last month that resulted in pro-Palestine messages being posted on several popular videos, according to prosecutors... Authorities allege the duo gained access to the YouTube account maintained by Vevo, to alter the content of multiple music videos, including Luis Fonsi's "Despacito" -- the most-viewed music video on YouTube in 2017, which recently surpassed 5 billion views.

The hackers also targeted videos by Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Chris Brown and Shakira, replacing their thumbnail images, video titles and descriptions. Vevo has since removed all changes the hackers made on its YouTube videos... Paris prosecutors charged Gabriel K.A.B. and with five criminal counts and Nassim B. with six counts, including "fraudulently modifying data contained in an automated data processing system."

Last month Fortune published quotes from a Twitter user who claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"Its just for fun i just use script 'youtube-change-title-video' and i write 'hacked' don t judge me i love youtube."
Privacy

Amazon Explains Why Alexa Recorded And Emailed A Private Conversation (mercurynews.com) 122

Amazon has issued the following statement about why their Alexa device recorded a woman's private conversation and then emailed it to one of her friends: Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like "Alexa." Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?" At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, "[contact name], right?" Alexa then interpreted background conversation as "right." As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.
This apparently didn't satisfy the woman whose conversation was recorded, according to the Mercury News:
Now her family has unplugged all the devices, and although Amazon offered to "de-provision" the devices of their communications features so they could keep using them to control their home, Danielle and her family reportedly want a refund instead.

When reached Friday, an Amazon spokeswoman would not comment about whether the company will issue a refund.

Other smart home speakers carry similar privacy risks. Last year, for example, Google had to release a patch for its Home Mini speakers after some of them were found to be recording everything.

Java

Oracle Calls Java Serialization 'A Horrible Mistake', Plans to Dump It (infoworld.com) 131

An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Oracle plans to drop from Java its serialization feature that has been a thorn in the side when it comes to security. Also known as Java object serialization, the feature is used for encoding objects into streams of bytes... Removing serialization is a long-term goal and is part of Project Amber, which is focused on productivity-oriented Java language features, says Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle.

To replace the current serialization technology, a small serialization framework would be placed in the platform once records, the Java version of data classes, are supported. The framework could support a graph of records, and developers could plug in a serialization engine of their choice, supporting formats such as JSON or XML, enabling serialization of records in a safe way. But Reinhold cannot yet say which release of Java will have the records capability. Serialization was a "horrible mistake" made in 1997, Reinhold says. He estimates that at least a third -- maybe even half -- of Java vulnerabilities have involved serialization. Serialization overall is brittle but holds the appeal of being easy to use in simple use cases, Reinhold says.

Businesses

Silicon Valley's Tech Bubble Is Now Larger Than In 2000. Will It Come To An End? (cnbc.com) 92

"We are now officially in a tech bubble larger than March of 2000," argues Keith Wright, instructor of accounting and information services at the Villanova School of Business. An anonymous reader quotes his commentary on CNBC: In case you missed it, the peak in the tech unicorn bubble already has been reached. And it's going to be all downhill from here. Massive losses are coming in venture capital-funded start-ups that are, in some cases, as much as 50 percent overvalued... 76% of the companies that went public last year were unprofitable on a per-share basis in the year leading up to their initial offerings, according to data compiled by Jay Ritter, a professor at the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business, and recently featured in the New York Times. This is the largest number since the peak of the dot-com boom in 2000, when 81 percent of newly public companies were unprofitable...

Several financial models project that up to 80 percent of unicorn companies are set to fail within two years. Uber, the highest-valued private technology company, has rapidly growing revenue but remains highly unprofitable. With revenue of $6.5 billion in 2016, it still registered a net loss of $2.8 billion. The truth is, when a unicorn is overvalued, it doesn't take long for the market to discover this fact.

Submission + - Hacker Makes Over $18 Million in Double-Spend Attack on Bitcoin Gold Network (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An unidentified hacker has mounted several "double spend" attacks on the infrastructure of the Bitcoin Gold cryptocurrency and has managed to amass over $18 million worth of BTG (Bitcoin Gold) coins in the process. The hacker stole money by deploying a large number of servers to take over 50% of the network's hashrate. This allowed the attacker the ability to modify details of blockchain transactions, an ability he used to perform "double spend" attacks, which as the name implies, allowed him to spend the same amount of coins twice.

The hacker didn't steal money from regular users, but from exchanges. For almost a week the hacker deposited money with exchanges, converted them in altcoins, and withdrew funds, while also depositing the original sum of Bitcoin Gold in other wallets. By the time the Bitcoin Gold blockchain invalidated the transaction, the attacker doubled his money, causing losses to exchanges, who converted and allowed him to withdraw nonexistent funds. The Bitcoin Gold team admitted to the attacks, and said it was preparing network updates to prevent this from happening.

United States

Gamers Behind Fatal 'SWAT' Call Now Face Life In Prison (wlwt.com) 202

An anonymous reader writes: 18-year-old Casey Viner, who instigated the 911 call which led to a fatal shooting in Wichita (hiring Tyler Barriss to perform the actual call), is in big trouble. "If convicted on the 10 counts he faces, Viner could spend almost the rest of his life in prison and pay a $1,000,000 fine," reports a local Cincinnati news site. Ironically, Viner's father is a corporal with the county sheriff's department.

The 19-year-old intended target for the SWAT attack had supplied a real address in Wichita for a house where he used to live. But in an eerie coincidence, ten days before the fatal shooting in Wichita, Cincinnati police had responded to a similar SWAT call which had sent them to a house where Viner used to live. The local police said "the facts and circumstances and the verbiage were very, very similar."

25-year-old Tyler Barriss also faces a life sentence for false information which resulted in a death -- as well as several local charges. And Thursday a federal grand jury also indicted Barriss "for a threat that caused an evacuation of a high-profile FCC hearing" into net neutrality regulations just two weeks before the fatal Wichita shooting, "and another threat eight days later that targeted FBI headquarters."

Barriss's lawyer insists that his client wasn't responsible for the Wichita death, blaming instead a "gung-ho, crazy cop."

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