Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:For a field that is compartmentalized... (Score 4, Interesting) 491

When Chinese hackers stole a load of information about the F-35 it wasn't because they pulled off some righteous hack that required skill, perseverance and a high degree of technical knowledge, but precisely because protection of such sensitive data is sloppier than the good practice guidelines claim it should be.

I worked for the US military many years ago as a civilian programmer and I'd agree with this based on what I saw. I don't want to embarrass the particular branch of the service by naming them, but I used to say that their motto ought to be "Using yesterday's technology today" based on how many antiquated computer systems we had to work on and support. We actually had a system that still used punch cards and when I was in college the course books were already beginning to mock punch cards as being ancient technology. I can say that the government really doesn't want to be incompetent and have bad security, but the powers that be have too much blind faith in civilian contractors and Snowden burned them very badly as a result. The lesson that should be learned from this is exactly what Congress has been saying for years - "We need fewer non-government employees with access to these sensitive programs and their data" - but you'll be able to knock me over with a feather if there's a decrease in contractors as much as 10% as a result of this.

Comment What this really is (Score 2) 161

In reality this is a just a case of the following:
Researcher finds that Joe Blow has gone out of town and left the door to his house unlocked and open. Researcher publishes this information in a blog along with the address to the house. House gets robbed. Police hold Researcher responsible. Researcher insists it's not his fault that the house got robbed.

Yes it really is that simple.

Comment Russia is getting something based on what they do (Score 5, Interesting) 380

I've come to the conclusion that Putin and Obama have reached some kind of deal. Putin is getting something he wants in exchange for agreeing to neither overtly help Snowden to get to another country nor requiring that Russia hand him over directly to US authorities. I have believed for years that George W. Bush botched the relationship between the US and Russia by being unable to understand the concept of quid pro quo. See, Bush believed that people should just do the right thing because it was right, not because they were going to get anything in return. This is a big part of why Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine quickly jumped in to provide troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They thought they were going to get visa free US travel in exchange. They pulled out when they realized that Bush was literally incapable of understanding that he owed them something in return. Putin somehow got burned by this too, although I have no idea what he wanted, and he has not forgotten it. Russia isn't going to provide any travel docs to Snowden, offer him asylum in Russia or hand him over to the USA. Venezuela won't send a ship because it fears that the US would just board it or maybe even sink it in international waters. My guess is that Venezuela will offer him a travel document that the Russians will accept, at which point they'll casually mention to their American friends "Oh by the way, Snowden is on flight XXX bound for Venezuela. Here's the flight path." and the US may plan an interception over international waters once it leaves European airspace. The Russians will then claim publicly that they are shocked, yes shocked, at this violation of international air space, which provides the plausible deniability they need.

Comment Yea! Another thread for the luddites (Score 4, Insightful) 120

As expected, here's the general themes of the posts so far:

1) I hate 3D. Therefore this thrills me.
2) 3D has always failed. No surprise here.

Well, here's reality. 3D movies are here to stay. But despite the usual hysterical ramblings that insist that "everything" is in 3D, reality begs to differ. Major Hollywood big budget action flicks (ie. superhero moves, "stuff blows up" movies) will be in 3D. Comedies and dramas likely will not be. All animated films from any major studio will be in 3D from now on. Roughly 20% of the films released will be in 3D. The market has shown a willingness to support 3D under these conditions. However, 3D TV penetration is low. TV providers aren't carrying 3D feeds. I actually do have a 3D TV, which I love, but my TV provider chose to not carry any 3D channels. So although I have the equipment necessary to watch TV shows in 3D, I cannot do so. So it's no surprised that 3D TV channels are dying. But in terms of movies, sorry folks, but it's staying.

Comment Japan - where tomorrow happens today (Score 4, Insightful) 770

I've traveled some in various parts of Asia and Europe. I'm American, so keep that in mind. I've learned the following a long time ago.

1) A lot of things get invented first or just happen first in Asia, particularly Japan. So it's a great window into what to expect tomorrow in the West before it actually gets there.
2) South Korea and Japan seem to have bee hotspots for years of bizarre, anti-social behavior. When they're not committing suicide.
3) I have the impression as an observer (so I have no facts and could be wrong about this) that citizens in Asia in general get less mental help to deal with problems. Possibly there's a cultural reason for this.
4) The internet and various game systems have made it possible for young people to interact from a distance without ever having to leave their rooms.
5) This is going to be a problem in the USA too soon enough. It's just not happening in great enough numbers yet.

Comment Re:Complete asshat move by the White House (Score 1) 621

He must be something much more dangerous to somebody. I don't understand how everything he revealed can be so trivialized, and yet he be this sought after.

Since we do not fully know what he took and what he revealed and how much the frenemy states of China and Russia know right now or will eventually learn if they have to brute force decrypt it, it's hard for us in the public to judge what he took and shared. When he complained about the actions of the US government against its own citizens, that was one thing. But when he told Hong Kong and thus China that actions were being taken against them, I promise you that he violated the terms of his employment and in this case US law. None of us currently have the knowledge necessary to judge his actions. It could be that it's no more serious than China and Russia now know for sure we are watching them and how and can block it. Worse may be that he may actually have done something to endanger the life of people in the field or made sure that the really bad guys nobody likes (ie. Al Queda) can now avoid detection.

In my opinion, the US government has yet to drive the point home to anybody that you may be executed if you commit treason. There has been an absolutely endless parade of people like Robert Hanson who escape the death penalty by successfully holding out the carrot of "I'll tell you all that I did if you don't kill me". The fact that nobody has been executed for treason in my lifetime means that nobody really fears getting caught. Snowden knows that no matter what, he won't die. In fact, I suspect that he may have a 50% chance of living as a free man for the rest of his in some foreign country. So I think some of this is based on the point that the US government needs to drive home the point that people who tell our secrets to other countries are going to answer for this, at least with something like Supermax. But don't worry, tin foil hat brigade. Despite the general paranoid fears, he's not going to be at the wrong end of a gun "eating a lead sandwich" or find a cruise missle knocking at his door in Bolivia (assuming he goes there).

Snowden is unfortunately very typical of his generation in that everything is so much bigger because it happens to them. This what happens when an entire generation is told that they never make mistakes and they are the greatest kids ever born. When is the last time any of you saw somebody cry at work because they were being trained how to do their job? My best friend is an attorney and he and his wife run a small practice. They hired a mid-20s paralegal. This girl has been exposed in school to the field. He told me that he was showing her how to do some of the work required from her and she started bawling like a baby. She quit that day. This is his generation to a tee. Everything is just bigger because it happens to them. They feel more pain than anyone else does. They are smarter than anyone else ever born. Snowden is the biggest hero in US history. Blah blah blah.

Comment Snowden the Drama Queen (Score 2) 447

Whether you agree with what Snowden did or not (I for one do not), dude is a serious drama queen. This is somewhat typical of his generation. Everything is just so much more bigger and more important because it happens to them . It reminds me of an article I read some months ago about how his generation is convinced because they re-tweeted some messages in 2009 during the Iranian presidential election unrest that "I was there, man, on the ground trying to help Iranian democracy."

He clearly did not think things out very well. If he had, he would have fled to Ecuador first, asked for asylum, then leaked everything. Instead he thought he could hide out in Hong Kong, not realizing that China could suggest to Hong Kong authorities that making Snowden someone else's problem ASAP might be the best idea for everybody. I am amused at how he talks about how "I am convicted of nothing". Yes, of course. The reason he is "convicted of nothing" is because he has so far avoided having to answer for his actions in a US court of law.

Comment Re:network ignorance (Score 0, Troll) 331

Do you still feel that he's a "patriot" because whether willingly or not he told nations that are, ahem, "unfriendly" to the US about efforts to spy on them? How do you feel about the fact that whether he knows it or not, his laptops have almost certainly been copied by Russia and China? That information is a gold mine to them. He is no patriot simply because you get your panties in a wad over the NSA. He'll get his asylum and my gut feeling is that he'll never be held accountable for his treasonous, yes, treasonous actions. I'll just have to be content with the US government reducing the number of contractors who have the potential to do this kind of thing in the future.

Do you at least find it interesting that NOBODY in Russia or China has any secrets that they are willing to give Wikileaks? I hope you don't believe that those societies are so perfect that they have nothing untoward going on at all.

Comment Leave the paranoia in Oz - you'll be fine (Score 1) 285

Part of me understands why you'd ask, but part of me realizes that this is mostly just anti-America bashing you're doing before you even move here. Great way to start off things.

I'm American. I travel internationally at times. I bring ripped CDs with me to listen to in an old portable CD player I have that also plays MP3 tracks on CDs so that's what I mean by bringing "ripped CDs" with me. I went to China in 2011 and it was for less than a week for tourism. I had no business at all there. I had been to China a year earlier, also for tourism not business. I had another Chinese visa in my passport for a trip that was actually not ever taken (long story not relevant here). When I got back to the US from my 2011 trip, the guy at Passport Control at my US airport was obviously a naturalized citizen. He was Afro-Carribean (I could tell by his speech) and he decided that he had found himself a smuggler who was bringing herbs illegally into the USA because I had 3 Chinese visas in my passport and he didn't like my reason for going there (tourism) and he was sure I was lying. So he took that entrance card we all have to fill out on the plane and show at Passport Control and specially marked it. I was actually a bit amused by this because I knew it would be a complete and utter waste of time for them to go through my baggage, so I went over to the special area. A young guy asked me if was bringing back any herbs or medicine and I said "No". He went through all of my luggage and he was quite a bit annoyed at having to search them because - wait for it- he found nothing I wasn't allowed to bring back and I had no herbs or medicine. He did ask about my CDs and tried to get me to admit that they were "counterfeit" but I told him that I ripped them myself and he let it go. So unless you do something to call attention to yourself at Passport Control, they're not going to go through your luggage. If they're on a phone or iPod, I have never heard of those being confiscated.

The DMCA in the USA does explicitly forbid breaking anti-copy mechanisms to rip even your own purchased discs, but nobody ever gets held accountable for doing this for personal use because the MPAA greatly fears another court case that would make the process legal akin to the famous "Betamax case" that legalized home VCR use in the USA. So the reality is that nobody in Passport Control gives a crap nor will they confiscate your ripped music or films.

Comment Re:Should Have be Charged With Treason (Score 1) 442

b) If he has given aid or comfort to enemies, then you should be able to name those and state the aid and/or comfort given them.

If you can spin either of those into a charge that will hold up in court, I'll be impressed.

Had he stopped at saying "The US government is spying on its own citizens!" you might have a point. But he told the Hong Kong press that the US was spying on both Hong Kong and China. You could make a legal case that informing China of this secret information was "giving them aid". It certainly weakened Obama's "Stop hacking us and stealing our stuff! We're victims of agression!" argument to Xi. And whether you like/agree with Snowden or not, and I for one do not, he admitted stealing 4 laptops full of data that I am 100% sure his employment contract denied him the ability to take. Whether he's found guilty of treason or not is unsure. My gut feeling is he'll beat that charge, if he ever faces it. But he will for sure be convicted for taking the 4 laptops with him. It'll be interesting to see what happens. Some analysts think that China will just let the Hong Kong courts handle this and live with their decision. I think it will be tied up in the courts for years in Hong Kong. He'll ask for political asylum and those cases take many years to resolve.

Comment No problem (Score 2) 532

Never had any issues with LED displays of any kind. My TVs and PC screens have been LED for years now. I don't have a problem with the question, but I think this is getting into an issue where the person asking the question is in the minority and would like believe that almost everybody else is in the same boat so maybe they get something going to "fix" the problem. For example, based on personal observation, I'd say that about 10% of the population has some kind of vision issue where they cannot see 3D videos at all. Trying to watch those gives them headaches or makes them ill. Those people always complain the loudest about how 3D "sucks" and insist that it's going to fail because they think that everybody on earth has the exact same problem. I'm willing to admit that the original poster may have a very real problem, but is it common enough to attract attention from the manufacturers? Probably not.

Comment Re:Look up Sweden's prison pictures on google.... (Score 1) 168

It's about rehabilitation. Seems to be more effective than punishment (see USA PMITA prison system).

Oh yea. An Anonymous Coward posts an opinion.

As an American, I'm going to give you some ideas on how things are here. First of all, yes, some people in prison in the US are there under dubious circumstances. When I was younger I was more of a "Lock up the druggies" kind of guy, but now I feel that imprisoning people for simply using drugs is counterproductive and harmful to them and society as a whole. So yes, we certainly do have people locked up for stuff they probably shouldn't be locked up for.

Second, I'm not even going to pretend that in general the US justice system does more than give paychecks to lawyers and judges. For sure there are times when it really does serve justice and do the right thing, but a lot of times the quality of what you get out of it is directly related to how much you can afford to pay into it in terms of your lawyers rather than how right or wrong the case against you is.

As someone who lives here, I want those of you who don't to know that we are a violent society and have always been one. We have a lot of bad people here, much more than you would ever imagine if you don't live here. One of the things we actually do well is we punish those who are really bad and maybe lock them up forever (or in rare circumstances execute them) so they don't hurt others again. This not Norway where the wimpy Norwegians are probably going to have to release mass murderer Anders Breivik TWICE more in his lifetime so he can get out and attempt to break his own record for violence. I can promise you that some people are just bad, everybody can't be rehabilitated, and countries that don't have the kind of unending violence we have here really just cannot judge us. Say what you will, but as an example serial killer Ted Bundy can never harm another human being whereas if he lived in some wimpy country like Brazil, Norway or Italy the justice system would feel sorry for him and release him so he was free to kill again at some point.

Comment Re:at what point do we stop kidding ourselves. (Score 1) 541

the US denies any "witch-hunt" is being undertaken but this is coming from a country that practices rendition, operates torture camps, and executes its own citizens without trial. So its safe to say the opinion of the government targeted by Assanges leaks is wholly unqualified to comment upon their response.

Do note that the executed citizens were promoting terrorist activities against the USA from countries unable to arrest them. Had these people surrendered themselves they would have been brought to trial. As an American I have no problem with the outcome.

For what it's worth, I actually think Assange should be left alone by the US and I have no sympathy at all for him. I feel that what he did falls under freedom of the press and we can't really blame him for "printing", so to speak, the information he was given. Bradley Manning on the other hand I have nothing but contempt for and whatever sentence he gets will not be sufficient to satisfy me that he's been punished for what he did. I'm already seeing troubling signs that the judge in his case has seriously lost perspective. I suspect that Manning will get some time, but I'd put it at a very insufficient 10 years at most when his trial finally ends.

Comment Why? To create a ton of sys admin jobs (Score 1) 151

Each building will need a dedicated system administrator, so while this theoretically benefits Brazilian society, the main purpose is to provide employment for these new system administrators. Based on what I know about Brazil, I wouldn't bet very much on this working out as planned.

Comment What to do? Don't worry about it (Score 0) 364

Personally, I really do not care if the government is listening to my phone calls. I seriously doubt that they are, but I have nothing to hide. Frankly my phone calls are just not all that exciting to outside parties. The only "danger" from someone listening to them is that they might get bored into a slumber.

I love how some people think that they are personally so important that the government has nothing better to do than pay attention to everything that they do. A few years ago during the "We're going to have a flu pandemic!" scare that was recommending special flu vaccinations for children, a guy I know who works for the US government (he is a low ranking employee perhaps somewhat equivalent to a computer operator) was convinced that Uncle Sam was literally going to send armed troops to his house to force him to agree to getting a flu shot. I love how logic never figures into this. If the NSA has about 40,000 employees as Wikipedia claims and all of them are forced to monitor the entire US population, that is about 7875 people per NSA employee to monitor. Yes, I'm sure that the NSA can keep up with that.

Slashdot Top Deals

Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. - Oscar Wilde