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Comment Make the companies pay! (Score 2) 205

I use to have a retirement account with a certain financial services company. They stored my password in plain text. To recover your password they would physically mail it to you. This kind of stupidity should be illegal. It should be criminal and the company should have to pay fines for being asshats.

Companies don't fix underlying problems because management doesn't see any value in doing so. They also see no risk in having insecure products. Until there are real financial penalties for blatant incompetence regarding security nothing will improve.

Comment Need to change the paradigm (Score 1) 90

Smart devices are cool, the data they collect going to advertising companies and the NSA isn't.

It is obvious the paradigm should be changed. People love facebook, so why can't we make a distributed facebook where each member has a little roku type device sitting in their home on their network that stores all of their data? Each person that member connects with gets a key that is associated with contact so that you can form secure networks of friends and share data. Then as the owner of your data you can opt into sharing a limited set of that data with advertisers but only if they pay you to mine your data. That would be a positive paradigm shift.

I wouldn't mind having smart devices in my home, I just don't want them communicating to the public internet. They can communicate with a server in my home and I can control what the software on this server does. Smart devices don't have to all connect to the public internet, and we don't have to allow every smart device manufacturer to mine our data. Eventually there will be open source automation software for servers and open source software for the smart devices so we can control what they do (like tomato or ddwrt for home wifi routers).

Comment Missing the point (Score 0) 483

Everybody is commenting "Why aren't we using Nitrogen, Why don't we just use chemical X, why is it so hard to kill someone?"

Comments like those miss the point. It isn't hard to kill someone. It is hard to find trained medical professionals that are willing to be part of an execution. Not everybody agrees with capital punishment, and there is a strong correlation with being highly educated (like doctors are) and being liberal (who are typically against capital punishment). I'm sure there are enough doctors who support capital punishment, but they still have to maintain professional affiliations and relationships with organizations who may be more liberal and may not support capital punishment. It just isn't worth it.

Comment "Social Incentive" (Score 1) 64

I think one reason people report poor conditions on Yelp a lot more than NYC's 311 number is because people get a sense of satisfaction reviewing things on yelp. You get little internet points the more reviews you make and you get to tell your friends (and annoy wait staff) by saying "I'm a big foodie, I have 173 Yelp reviews". This gives people an incentive to use Yelp that they don't have with calling 311.

Comment Distraction (Score 5, Insightful) 208

Everybody wins here, a bunch of people get to say they did something in the fight against the NSA. The Executive branch and those in the house who support invasive domestic spying get to keep the majority of their surveillance programs, and most importantly there isn't much more meaningful oversight so who actually knows if the NSA is following the rules. The Executive still gets to hide themselves behind national security letters, "state secrets", and special secret courts.

However I do not feel like this caused any meaningful change. Hopefully the nation remains outraged at the NSA and this is just the first step in fixing our domestic spying programs, but I feel like we get a few meaningless bills passed and then this issue goes away until the next Snowden.

Comment We should be making money from this (Score 1) 355

I really think consumers should own their own behavioral data / preferences. I'll agree to put smart devices in my house if I control the data, I control who I give that data to, and I would only give that data out if it benefited me.

Think about it. Maybe a national grocery store chain or two and GE want to get together and offer a subsidised smart fridge. I agree to let them monetize my spending habits and food preferences in exchange for the fridge being subsidised somewhat and targeted discounts for what I like to buy.

Comment Obviously because of lawsuits (Score 1) 373

This is obviously because when the company gets sued and the lawyers go through discovery they will look for anything that helps them show that GM knew of a problem. This doesn't mean that the engineers can't bring up problems, it means that they have to do it verbally or write it on a paper airplane and fly it across the room.

This is obviously unethical. However this is the state of the industry. I have worked at a company where we were told specifically not to write any invention related things down or anything that our competitors could use against us. We (company I worked for and competitor) would trade stupid lawsuits and each companies lawyers would get to read the other companies emails and although it is against law ethics to share proprietary information discovered in a lawsuit it happens every day anyways.

Comment Re:So this isn't revenge? (Score 0) 415

Haha I don't own a single apple device. I'm just saying this isn't the end of the world. It is a fuck up, sure, but it isn't anywhere as bad as antennagate.

Seriously how do you people deal with getting a new phone number? Do you think the phone manufactures should automatically have all your friends update their contact books with your new number? The iMessage app should fail over to SMS if it thinks the other endpoint is no longer on iMessage, but there is a very obvious work around until they release the patch.

Send MMS ,Add all contacts
Dear iPhone owning friend:
I no longer am one of you. I have forsaken my iPhone, my Siri, my coolness if you will. I now have a [insert phone manufacturer]. You can no longer contact me via iMessage. Please delete my contact and re add it or otherwise inform your iPhone that I cannot be contacted via iMessage. Your phone is currently too stupid to figure it out for itself.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience,
Former iUser

Comment Re:So this isn't revenge? (Score 0) 415

so you think this is a reasonable user experience? first off knowing which of your contacts use imessage, and then contacting all them and tell them to screw with their phone settings?

No, I explicitly said its a user experience fuck up, in the part of the post that you decided not to quote.

What I said is this isn't a bug nor a "a much larger problem" because there is a straightforward workaround.

Have you ever changed phone numbers? Mass text to your friends "hey this is my new phone number". Why can't this person mass text their contact list (or send an email) and say "I don't have iMessage, if you use an iPhone change your settings for me".


Comment So this isn't revenge? (Score 0) 415

What is this click bait bullshit title?, /. is supposed to be better than Reddit. This isn't a bug in the traditional software sense. This isn't a "much larger problem" unless you are a mindless drone that can't be bothered to use the settings menu of your pocket sized computer. This is nothing more than your run of the mill user experience fuck up.

Here is how to fix it: tell your iPhone to send texts to your non iPhone friend via SMS. Bam, done. Delete the contact and re add it or ask Siri to do it for you or whatever, this isn't a big deal at all.

Submission + - What should be on the Syllabus for an "Intro to Computer Programming" Course?

B. Clay Shannon writes: After 20 years in the programming ranks, I am considering switching focus to help prepare the next generation — or at least help them decide whether programming is "for them" or not. I have written an article of sorts as a jsfiddle here:

Feel free to comment about what you think should be added, removed, or modified as regards my proposed syllabus there. You can even create your own "fork" of that fiddle.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read? (

An anonymous reader writes: There's a blog post floating around right now listing articles every programmer should read. I'm curious what articles, books, etc., Slashdot readers would add to this list. Should The Art of Computer Programming, Design Patterns, or Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs be on the list? What about The Mythical Man-Month, or similar works that are about concepts relating to programming? Obviously, the nature of this question precludes articles about the nitty-gritty of particular languages, but I'm sure a lot of people would be interested in those, too. So if you can think of a few articles that every C++ programmer (or Perl, or Haskell, or whatever) should know, post those too.

Submission + - Russia to evict NASA from the International Space Station in 2020 (

MarkWhittington writes: A Tuesday story in Russia Today reports that Russia is moving to retaliate against American and European sanctions over its aggression in the Ukraine by in essence ending most space cooperation with the United States. It will prohibit the use of Russian rocket engines such as the RD-180 and NK-33 to launch military satellites. It is closing down 16 GPS sites in Russian territory. Finally Russia will unilaterally end its participation in the International Space Station project in 2020.

The Obama administration would like to extend space station operations to at least 2024. According to the Financial Times Russia believes that its withdraw from the space station will make this impossible. In effect Russia will have evicted the United States from the orbiting space lab that it provided the lion’s share of money and resources to build and maintain.

Submission + - Price for Nevada dad to see state's school files on his kids: $10G (

schwit1 writes: Nevada dad John Eppolito got a bad case of sticker shock when he asked state education officials to see the permanent records of his four children.

He was told it would cost $10,194. Eppolito was concerned about Nevada's recent decision to join a multi-state consortium that shares students’ data. He wanted to know exactly what information had been compiled on his school-age kids. But state officials told him he would have to pay fees and the cost of programming and running a custom report.

“The problem is that I can’t stop them from collecting the data,” Eppolito said. “I just wanted to know what it [collected data] was. It almost seems impossible. Certainly $10,000 is enough reason to prevent a parent from getting the data.”

“This data is for everyone except the parents," Eppolito said. "It’s wrong.”

According to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents have the right to review their kids' records. Small fees are allowed to be issued for records unless they in any way prevent them from obtaining them.

The Nevada Department of Education attempted to justify the hefty price tag for viewing copies of student records in a response to Eppolito.“Because the SAIN system is not designed to create reports that display individual student data in a readable format, the parent was initially told that the requested reports do not exist and cannot be produced,”

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