Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Submission + - Detecting Whether You Are on a Targeted Watchlist?

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday, we learned that Kim Dotcom determined he was being spied on when he noticed that his latency to a few servers increased by 20 or 30 milliseconds. I have always wondered if, based on some of the slightly suspicious things I do on the Internet (download many Linux ISOs on BitTorrent and use Tor frequently), whether I am on some sort of elevated watchlist. Are there any telltale signs to look for to determine whether or not I have attracted undesirable attention on the Internet?

Submission + - How Should Slashdot Handle an NSA Incursion?

wjcofkc writes: With the fall of Lavabit and Groklaw at hand, an interesting question arises: how should Slashdot respond to the NSA if they come knocking? It is not entirely unreasonable to think that this might happen, if it hasn't already. Slashdot is after all highly trafficked by the fringes of society and is rife with seditious discussion. Courtesy of gag orders, it's difficult to know who the NSA's heavy handed dragnet operation has already ensnared. Should we expect Slashdot's editors and administrators to reflect it's powerfully counter-culture user base, and out an NSA incursion while shutting down the site, violating a gag order? Or could Dice Holdings prevent the people that run Slashdot from even knowing it was happening? These are question we should all be asking. And so I pose the question to those who administer this site: do you have a plan in case the NSA comes knocking? Is Dice Holdings in a position to keep you ignorant of NSA snooping activity? Also, to the users: how do you think Slashdot should handle their user base in response to a visit from the NSA to copy hard drives, install 'special' hardware, and lay down a gag order? If you think the question doesn't apply to us, consider that it shouldn't have applied to Groklaw either.

Submission + - Fan-Driven Anti-Piracy Campaign Sparked by Leaked Lady Gaga Song

jones_supa writes: Over the weekend, snippets of a new Lady Gaga track titled 'Applause' leaked online. Rather than sharing links to the leaks far and wide as might be expected, many of Gaga’s Little Monsters have become little angels with the launch of their very own crowd-sourced anti-piracy campaign. It isn’t clear who started the movement, but there are now thousands of fans condemning the leak on Twitter and various blogs and fan forums, many providing a link to Universal Music’s portal where people can report sites hosting the leaked track. Add to this a retweet of the campaign by Lady Gaga herself and things have really gained traction.

Submission + - Taking Names Seriously in Free Software

An anonymous reader writes: An overlooked barrier to the adoption of free software may very well be in the names chosen for the software. I just recently installed Xubuntu on an old laptop for my 8 year old nephew, and found that I had to go through and sanitize the installed software. Why? Because I didn't want him asking my sister what "Gigolo" or "Gimp" meant. It's hard for me to take software seriously when its named after a male prostitute. Even when the names aren't off-color, they're often uninformative. I'm fairly sure my sister couldn't tell at first glance what LXRandr (from LXDE) or Orage (from XFCE) do.

The problem compounds itself further when dealing with distributions as a whole. When I installed an older version of Ubuntu for my father years ago, there was no concept of unified naming in the operating system — and that's a problem that's only slowly being fixed. By "unifiied naming" I mean that he was bombarded with names like "GNOME" and "Ubuntu" and "Linux" all seemingly referring to the operating system. He thought he was using something called "Ubuntu" but because of the way manuals and help and news articles were written, I had to explain to him the difference between a "kernel" and a "desktop environment". Users of Windows don't have to know that they're using the "Windows Shell" and the average Mac OS X user has no idea what "Quartz" is or why they should care about "xnu" or "Darwin".

So, I ask Slashdot: what is to be done? Is this a real problem deserving careful thought, or are whimisical and off-color names just adding spice to our computing lives?

Submission + - How Much Should You Worry About an Arctic Methane Bomb? 1

barlevg writes: It was a stunning figure: $60 trillion.

Such could be the cost, according to a recent commentary in Nature, of "the release of methane from thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russiaa figure comparable to the size of the world economy in 2012." More specifically, the paper described a scenario in which rapid Arctic warming and sea ice retreat lead to a pulse of undersea methane being released into the atmosphere. How much methane? The paper modeled a release of 50 gigatons of this hard-hitting greenhouse gas (a gigaton is equal to a billion metric tons) between 2015 and 2025. This, in turn, would trigger still more warming and gargantuan damage and adaptation costs.

According to the Nature commentary, that methane "is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly." Such are the scientific assumptions behind the paper's economic analysis. But are those assumptions realistic—and could that much methane really be released suddenly from the Arctic?

Submission + - Canada's Fox News equivalent fails in bid for government subsidy (

An anonymous reader writes: You can't make this stuff up. The Sun News Network was founded to introduce a more conservative "perspective" (bias?) in Canadian television news — Fox News North, if you will. Run by the current Conservative Prime Minister's former communications director, who jumped directly to Sun TV from the PMO, Sun made a request for "Mandatory Carriage" from the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission). This would have meant that all cable providers would have been required to include Sun as part of the basic cable package, and Sun would have received 18 cents per month from every cable subscriber in English Canada (9 cents each in the French-language markets). Struggling for revenue and subscribers, Sun lost $17 million last year, and described anything less than subsidy they requested as a "death sentence". The request has been turned down.

Comment Leaders don't need titles (Score 1) 252

I'm sure everyone has already said it but leadership is not management. Leadership is the act of leading, it requires actions not a title.

On a hockey team, the leader is the captain. He leads by example, his teammates respect him. The GM does not tell the hockey players what to do, he manages their pay and who gets fired when the team does poorly.

In engineering, management is not leadership, it is management. The leaders are the guys who when they speak, everyone shuts up. The leaders are the guys who the team goes to for answers. The leaders are the ones who have the trust of the management.

If you are interviewing at a place that doesn't know the difference between management and leadership, and god forbid actually has a management person leading engineers, run. Run away. You don't want to work there. I have worked at places where management people lead engineers. The manager was trying to explain how hard it is to be an engineer to other managers and he said "they write thousands and thousands of lines of code with 10 logic statements on each line just to solve simple problems". That guy was an idiot, he was a management person trying to pretend that he had any technical leadership skills at all. That always fails. Other management people like it because they all speak the same language and they don't have to interface with the awkward engineers, but in the end you cant have management leading technical talent.

Comment Mostly Ignorance (Score 1) 273

If you ever try to explain to a lay-person how and to what extent facebook and google know everything about you they are usually not very supportive of it. The people who don't mind are either not sharing anything significant or just don't care because online privacy and data mining isn't something they are really concerned with as it doesn't directly affect their daily lives.

Most people that use facebook don't truly understand the nature of facebook's business model and the technical expertise deployed to harvest their data. Much in the same way that most people can't fathom the extent to which the government can know everything you do on a computer. It's just not within their realm of understanding, most people don't even really understand how the internet works on a basic level.

I think that if people really understood that Enemy of the State (the movie) is a pretty good depiction of the state of government surveillance they would not support it.
It's not fair to conclude that since people are ok with facebook they are ok with being put into a NSA database. They don't understand the consequences of either.

Slashdot Top Deals

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.