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Ask Slashdot: Practical Bitrot Detection For Backups? 321

An anonymous reader writes "There is a lot of advice about backing up data, but it seems to boil down to distributing it to several places (other local or network drives, off-site drives, in the cloud, etc.). We have hundreds of thousands of family pictures and videos we're trying to save using this advice. But in some sparse searching of our archives, we're seeing bitrot destroying our memories. With the quantity of data (~2 TB at present), it's not really practical for us to examine every one of these periodically so we can manually restore them from a different copy. We'd love it if the filesystem could detect this and try correcting first, and if it couldn't correct the problem, it could trigger the restoration. But that only seems to be an option for RAID type systems, where the drives are colocated. Is there a combination of tools that can automatically detect these failures and restore the data from other remote copies without us having to manually examine each image/video and restore them by hand? (It might also be reasonable to ask for the ability to detect a backup drive with enough errors that it needs replacing altogether.)"

GPUs Keep Getting Faster, But Your Eyes Can't Tell 291

itwbennett writes "This brings to mind an earlier Slashdot discussion about whether we've hit the limit on screen resolution improvements on handheld devices. But this time, the question revolves around ever-faster graphics processing units (GPUs) and the resolution limits of desktop monitors. ITworld's Andy Patrizio frames the problem like this: 'Desktop monitors (I'm not talking laptops except for the high-end laptops) tend to vary in size from 20 to 24 inches for mainstream/standard monitors, and 27 to 30 inches for the high end. One thing they all have in common is the resolution. They have pretty much standardized on 1920x1080. That's because 1920x1080 is the resolution for HDTV, and it fits 20 to 24-inch monitors well. Here's the thing: at that resolution, these new GPUs are so powerful you get no major, appreciable gain over the older generation.' Or as Chris Angelini, editorial director for Tom's Hardware Guide, put it, 'The current high-end of GPUs gives you as much as you'd need for an enjoyable experience. Beyond that and it's not like you will get nothing, it's just that you will notice less benefit.'"

Firefox 25 Arrives With Web Audio API Support, Guest Browsing On Android 144

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 25 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include Web Audio API support, as well as guest browsing and mixed content blocking on Android. Firefox 25 can be downloaded from and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. The release notes are here: desktop, mobile."

Microsoft Makes Another "Nearly Sold Out" Claim For the Surface Line 262

Microsoft made some confident sounding claims about sales of its first-generation Surface tablets before it became clear that the tablets weren't actually selling very well. So make what you will of the company's claim that the second version is "close to selling out." As the linked article points out, the company has "fallen short of offering any real explanation as to just how “close” to selling out the Surface 2 and Pro 2 really are – nor have they indicated how many were on hand to order in the first place."

Comment Re:My favorite brand of snake oil is open source (Score 1) 291

Not only in that case.
Your ability or interest might change. Like what happened now with NSA backdoors getting more publicity, the Linux code is getting more reviewed for their backdoors, even after being in use for several years. If the source were not available, it would be a lot harder to check.

About "non-code submmitting users", I don't think they are the ones who should audit it. You can trust someone who does submit code, or you can suddenly gain interest in security and start checking it, or even pay soomeone to do it. The thing is that it's possible.

This is why it's a lot better to think in terms of Free Software and not open source. Technical advantages are hard to value if they are not used. Freedom is a lot easier to understand. You have the freedom to use the code as you like, share it and whatever. To illustrate the importance of freedom vs its exercise: lots of people don't want to, or don't have the money to travel outside their countries, but we don't like to have that possibility restricted.

Comment Re:My favorite brand of snake oil is open source (Score 1) 291

1 - Citation needed. In the sense of open source being easier to debug than proprietary code, it's undeniable.
2 - Citation needed. That strawman is getting old.
3 - True. It does mean anyone _can_, not that anyone _will_ . That's very valuable by itself. You can trust the vendor for example, but have the possibility to stop trusting them. Don't you prefer to be able to find backdoors vs not being able?
4 - Citation needed. Same as 2 -


Personal Genomics Firm 23andMe Patents Designer Baby System 171

An anonymous reader writes "Consumer genomics company 23andMe has developed a system for helping prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring, from disease risk to hair color. The patent — number 8543339, "Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations" — describes a technology that would take a customer's preferences for a child's traits, compute the likely genomic outcomes of combinations between a customer's sperm or egg and other people's sex cells, and describe which potential reproductive matches would most likely produce the desired baby."

Monster Storm Reveals Water On Saturn 31

cold fjord sends this news from NASA: "A monster storm that erupted on Saturn in late 2010 – as large as any storm ever observed on the ringed planet -- has already impressed researchers with its intensity and long-lived turbulence. A new paper in the journal Icarus reveals another facet of the storm's explosive power: its ability to churn up water ice from great depths. This finding, derived from near-infrared measurements by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, is the first detection at Saturn of water ice. The water originates from deep in Saturn's atmosphere. 'The new finding from Cassini shows that Saturn can dredge up material from more than 100 miles [160 kilometers],' said Kevin Baines, a co-author of the paper who works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 'It demonstrates in a very real sense that typically demure-looking Saturn can be just as explosive or even more so than typically stormy Jupiter.'"

Concern Mounts Over Self-Driving Cars Taking Away Freedom 662

Lucas123 writes "Opinions in the blogosphere are building and run the gamut on self-driving automobile technology, but a survey supports the trend that most don't want their driving independence usurped by cameras, sensors and an onboard computer. The survey of British drivers last year commissioned by Bosch, a Germany-based supplier of automotive components, found that most would not buy a self-driving car. Only 29% of respondents said thay would consider buying a driverless car and only 21% said they would feel safe as a passenger in a self-driving car. David Alexander, an analyst at Navigant Research, pointed out that while driving yourself is often preferable, there's a lot of "grunt" driving that would be better handled by a computer. Navigant recently released a report stating that by 2035, 95 million autonomous cars will be sold every year."

Comment Re:Why? ~nt~ (Score 1) 267

The great mistake of society is a desire to eliminate the poor.

You make sense. But it's a very subversive thing to say, for an American.
Your point is that if someone is to be rich, then someone else needs to be poor.
Plus, you don't really care about poverty, you just care about your standards of living.
But following your ideology, if one were to get rid of poverty, one would first need to get rid of the rich. You can't have everyone living above poverty levels, if you don't first get rid of the rich.

You discovered marxism. Congratulations. And good luck implementing that in the United States.

Comment Re:It isn't an OS (Score 1) 41

Erm no. The ability to use a few apps which interface with the Linux kernel and type in a shell that something resembles bash (not even close mind you, it's an even more cut down version of sh) does not make Android Linux. Nothing out of the box Linux works on Android. All the libraries except for the ones providing essential hooks into the kernel are missing. Those programs / libraries which do hook into the kernel are also different from their linux counterpart (go copy "mount" from you phone onto your ubuntu box and try boot up the system).

Really there's nothing Linux about Android other than the underlying kernel.

Linux _is_ a kernel. Everything else you are talking about is mostly the GNU part of GNU/Linux.
Android has the same amount of Linux than any flavor of GNU/Linux, so the GP is right, even though he uses the wrong terms.


Chinese Firm Approved To Raise World's Tallest Building In 90 Days 307

kkleiner writes "The long anticipated Chinese construction project called Sky City, a 220-story building that can house 30,000 people, has finally received approval from the central government to break ground. The firm Broad Sustainable Building previously constructed a prefab 30-story building in 15 days, but for Sky City, they have an even more aggressive schedule: 90 days to build 2,750 feet into the air. Once completed, the building will be a place for people to both live and work, with recreational facilities, theaters, a school, and a hospital all within the structure."

Comment Re:Fascinating ... (Score 4, Insightful) 320

RMS doesn't use that word, "open" a lot.
Doesn't use "greed" a lot.
Those are probably your preconceptions of what he says.

RMS usually talks about freedom, as in not giving away your freedom.
DRM requires you to give some other entity control over your devices, more than what you have. That means giving away freedom, and that's why he is against it. I agree with him, also.

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