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Comment Re:walled gardens don't work (Score 1) 217

I agree with you on that. I have one of these "Smart TVs" (in my case an LG). I've had it for 5 months now. It has gotten 4 "software updates" that nobody from LG will document or give a change log for so we have no idea what is being added, removed, or fixed. After 4 months, it began randomly rebooting. Sometimes it would work through most of a soccer or football game - other times it would reboot almost every 15 minutes. Had to have the main board replaced (under warranty thankfully). It does have some apps. It has Netflix. Now, I have the TV and the TiVo on wired networking. When I watch Netflix using the TV app, it is so laggy that it is unwatchable. It goes to pixelated crap all the time. Using the TiVo to watch Netflix works fine. So we don't use any of the "Smart" apps on the TV. We just run the silly updates when prompted. Other than that, we just use the HDMI inputs and once in awhile a VGA in. Quite frankly I'd rather it be a dumb display and just leave the "Smarts" to the devices connected to it.
Security

NYPD To Identify 'Deranged' Gunmen Through Internet Chatter 292

Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Wilson writes in the NY Times that top intelligence officials in the New York Police Department are looking for ways to target 'apolitical or deranged killers before they become active shooters' using techniques similar to those being used to spot terrorists' chatter online. The techniques would include 'cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,' says Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. 'The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.' There are also plans to send officers to Newtown and to scenes of other mass shootings to collect information says the department's chief spokesman Paul. J. Browne adding that potential tactics include creating an algorithm that would search online 'for terms used by active shooters in the past that may be an indicator of future intentions.' The NYPD's counter-terrorism division released a report last year, 'Active Shooter (PDF),' after studying 202 mass shooting incidents. 'So, we think this is another logical step,' says Kelly."
The Almighty Buck

If Tech Is So Important, Why Are IT Wages Flat? 660

dcblogs writes "Despite the fact that technology plays an increasingly important role in the economy, IT wages remain persistently flat. This may be tech's inconvenient truth. In 2000, the average hourly wage was $37.27 in computer and math occupations for workers with at least a bachelor's degree. In 2011, it was $39.24, adjusted for inflation, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. That translates to an average wage increase of less than a half percent a year. In real terms, IT wages overall have gone up by $1.97 an hour in just over 10 years, according to the EPI. Data from professional staffing firm Yoh shows wages in decline. In its latest measure for week 12 of 2012, the hourly wages were $31.45 and in 2010, for the same week, at $31.78. The worker who earned $31.78 in 2010 would need to make $33.71 today to stay even with inflation. Wages vary by skill and this data is broad. The unemployment rate for tech has been in the 3-4% range, but EPI says full employment has been historically around 2%."
Privacy

Who Owns Your Health Data? 99

porsche911 writes "The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about how the data from Implanted health devices is managed and the limitations patients run into when they want to see the data. Companies like Medtronic plan to sell the data but won't provide it to the person who generated it. From the article: 'The U.S. has strict privacy laws guaranteeing people access to traditional health files. But implants and other new technologies—including smartphone apps and over-the-counter monitors—are testing the very definition of medical records.'"
Software

It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director 441

New submitter NewYork writes with this chestnut from an article about the role of age in the high-tech workplace: 'The shelf life of a software engineer today is no more than that of a cricketer — about 15 years,' says V R Ferose, MD of German software major SAP's India R&D Labs that has over 4,500 employees . 'The 20-year-old guys provide me more value than the 35-year-olds do.'" The article features similar sentiments from Mukund Mohan, CEO of Microsoft's India-based startup initiative.
Android

Project To Build Dual-Booting Linux, Android Tablet For $100 114

SternisheFan sends this quote from Ars: "It likely won’t be as sleek or fast as a Nexus 7 or Nexus 10, but a new tablet running both Android and Linux is in the works for open source enthusiasts and lovers of low-budget devices. PengPod tablets, made by a company called Peacock Imports, will dual-boot Android 4.0 and a version of Linux with the KDE Plasma Active interface for touch screens. But in order to reserve a tablet for yourself, you'll have to contribute to the company's crowdfunding project on Indiegogo and hope enough money is raised to begin production. 'Our goal is to build a powerful, True Linux Tablet, one free of Google and Android's restrictions, at a reasonable price,' the PengPod IndieGogo page says. 'If you're a Linux fanatic you probably ended up getting an Android phone. Hey, it's Linux right? It'll be open, run all the programs I'm familiar with and let me hack around and have some fun right? Too often, this is not so. That is why we set out to find a way to run real Linux and all the software you really want.'"
The Military

New Technology May Cut Risk of Giving Syrian Rebels Stinger Missiles 279

Hugh Pickens writes "PBS reports on a proposal of arming Syrian rebels with a force equalizer to make a decisive blow against Bashar al-Assad's ruling regime — an idea that has so far failed to take hold inside the Obama administration because of serious concerns about flooding a troubled region with dangerous weapons that someday might fall into the wrong hands. Could sophisticated weapons, such as anti-aircraft missile systems, be outfitted with mechanisms that would disable them if they fell into the wrong hands? According to military analyst Anthony Cordesman the U.S. could modify Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank weapons with batteries that cease functioning in a few weeks or months or the weapons could be built to require authentication codes before they are enabled to work. "I think it would be relatively decisive," says Cordesman. ... Another idea is to install GPS-disabling devices so that Stinger missiles only worked in a designated geographic area, such as only in Syria. Such weapons, it is believed, might tip the balance in favor of the rebels in the same way that Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, provided by the United States to the Afghan Mujahedeen, helped expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Cordesman stressed that this type of weapon would have to be thoroughly tested to make sure the controls work and could not be undone. 'You could not transfer these types of weapons without these types of protections. You simply have no way to know where they would end up, how they would be transferred, what would happen to them.'"

Comment Re:You know nothing, Jon Snow (Score 2) 277

You make it sound simple. It does, indeed, look simple. But when an app wants to "Read Phone State" - is that so that it can quickly get out of the way when the phone rings or is it so that it can send your phone number (and the numbers of the people who call you) to a remote server? Some actions that it could take by acting on "Phone State" data would be things users would want, other thing it could do would be things users definitely don't want. For example, a game I saw on TWiT.tv's show "All About Android" called "Flow Free" requires this:

READ PHONE STATE AND IDENTITY
Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. An app with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and the like.

So is it going to store my phone number in a database somewhere? Is it simply going to avoid trying to send data if a phone call is active? We, as users, have no way of knowing. And, if they made the permissions even more granular, we would never be able to successfully wade through all of them. I need someone smarter than me to fix the design. But the design as it exists today is largely useless.

Iphone

Apple Loses Trademark Claim Against iFone in Mexico 192

sfcrazy writes "Apple is having trouble in Mexico right before the holiday season. The company has lost rights to the name iPhone in the country, as it was already owned by a Mexican telecom company called iFone (Google translation of Spanish original). iFone registered its trademark in 2003, four years before Apple iPhone was launched. In 2009, Apple filed a complaint with the Mexican Industrial Property Institute demanding that iFone stop using is name because it could confuse users. That claim was since denied, and iFone is looking to turn the tables."
Slashdot.org

Thanks For the Logos; Help Us Choose a Winner 66

Over the course of October, we marked each day of our 15th anniversary month with a different reader-submitted graphic, instead of the usual Slashdot logo. (Thanks to all the artists who participated, whether or not your submission made it to the page: to keep it to one each day, we had to reluctantly cull a lot of great ones.) Now that all the selected graphics have had their day in the sun, we'd like your help in figuring out which one of the selected artists will receive a Nexus 7 tablet (in addition to one of our anniversary T-shirts). Take a look at the current poll and cast your vote. We've listed a handful of favorites as poll options, but feel free to pick the "some other" option and make a case for your favorite in the comments. As the note below all Slashdot polls warns, "This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane." So we'll take the results with a grain of salt ("advisory") — but as of this writing, four of the options are between 13 and 16 percent, which gives us an idea that it's working pretty well.

Comment Re:Some things don't change (Score 1) 183

As sad as that is, it seems to be common. For example, how many times have we seen a new device / new version of iOS that immediately needs either a fix for busted WiFi or a fix for power issues? Apple and Microsoft both have had issues like this - in fact Windows 8 pro got a patch rollup a couple of weeks ago - before the product officially shipped! (Although to be fair it shipped to corporate customers in August). I remember my first Android phone - the original Motorola Droid. I got it the first day of availability and two weeks later it got an update from 2.0 to 2.01. It seems everyone ships something a bit busted and fixes it later (if at all) these days.

Comment Re:Another moron CEO (Score 3, Informative) 182

You are absolutely right. In fact, supporting these myriad operating systems and configurations is going to be so hard (things like domain join, security, etc., not to mention versions of productivity software not working due to the plethora of conflicts), that IT isn't going to go in for the BYOD in the way people think. They will just punt and provide VDI sessions for people who BYOD - and that session will be all that is supported.
Education

How Do You Spot a Genius? 385

Hugh Pickens writes "Ingrid Wickelgren reports in Scientific American that people have long-equated genius with intelligence, but it is more aptly characterized by creative productivity which depends on a combination of genetics, opportunity and effort. 'Nobody can be called out for outstanding contributions to a field without a lot of hard work, but progress is faster if you are born with the right skills. Personality also plays a role. If you are very open to new experiences and if you have psychopathic traits (yes, as in those shared by serial killers) such as being aggressive and emotionally tough, you are more likely to be considered a genius.' True creativity and genius depends on an unfiltered view of the world, one that is unconstrained by preconceptions and more open to novelty, writes Wickelgren. 'In particular, a less conceptual and more literal way of thinking, one more typical of people with autism, can open the mind up to seeing details that most people miss.' Our schools devote few resources on nurturing nascent genius, concludes Wickelgren, because they are focused on helping those students most likely to be left behind. 'We need to train teachers to spot giftedness, which may take a variety of forms and often needs to be accompanied by creativity, drive and passion. Offering a greater variety of enrichment activities to children will cause many more hidden talents to surface. And accelerated classes and psychological coaching are essential for nurturing talent as early and vigorously as possible.'"

Comment Re:Now people have tags (Score 5, Interesting) 136

Actually I think it is worse than that. We all have things we like to do. Many people have things that they like to do that they really don't want others to know about. It might be that shoe fetish you mentioned. It could be gambling. As soon as people realize that they are being tracked on these activities and lists are being sold saying that they engage in them, they may modify their behavior. And while this may seem a net good for gambling or jailbait or something - it may eventually extend to things like "votes libertarian" or "is an atheist" or even "hindu, but frequents burger king" or whatever. I really don't want to see us get so far as to have people consciously having to modify their normal (legal) behaviors simply because they are being reported, tracked, and shipped to anyone with some money. You never know when that information will get out and you don't know who will see it. Let's label it "do not want" and see if we can prevent this "behavior modification through tracking everything" dystopia from becoming a reality.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: How To Get Paid For Open-Sourcing Your Work? 167

kc600 writes "Say you're a freelancer, using mainly open source solutions. You notice that customers, although they don't object to the whole open source idea, don't see the point in paying you for the time it costs you to properly open source your code. As a result, code is not released, because it would take too much time to factor out the customer-specific stuff, to debate architecture with the other developers, look at bug reports, et cetera. You feel there's something to contribute that many might benefit from. The code would also be better maintained if more people would use it, so the customer's project would also benefit. But you're not going to do it in your free time; you have enough on your mind and the bill is paid, right? What useful tricks can you think of to encourage yourself — and your customers — to properly share code, to the benefit of all, and get paid for it?"

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