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Comment Re:You may be looking in the wrong place (Score 2) 537

Thanks for your reply. It's an interesting discussion, and indeed, I get a little fed up when even in academia, translational medicine morphs from meaning "translating theory into practice" to meaning "getting patents and making profitable startups." It's needed, but it can sometimes distort the field and culture when it becomes an ends and not a means.

I'm a little curious as to your definition of techie, because a lot of the discussion really boils down to how you define a techie.

I find my techie friends are more informed and intellectually curious than any other group. I'd put them at about equal to my academic friends in this area.

When you say this, this makes me think your Venn diagram for "technies" and "academics" has no intersection. But ask most any grad student, postdoc, or faculty in an engineering, CS, or applied math department (and increasingly many biology departments), and they'll likely regard themselves as techies.

It seems to me a reasonable definition that a techie is a technophile, particularly one who loves, uses, and improves technology in their daily work and hobbies. But if you restrict your label to Silicon Valley and tech startup types, you're lose most of the amateur techies, the open source people, and the citizen scientists.

Again, it's an interesting discussion, so thanks. (And great to meet you here on Slashdot!)

Comment You may be looking in the wrong place (Score 5, Insightful) 537

Most of us who entered science and academia did so to make the world a better place, and many of us are techies. You'd be amazed at home much coding and tech is required for pretty much every area of science today.

We're writing open source software to solve real problems in science and engineering. We're spending the last of our startups on open access for our papers because it's the right thing to do. We're contributing to open data repositories because sharing data makes all our work better. We're writing free content on blogs, code tutorials, and MOOCs for public outreach, because we view our roles as educators seriously.

Most people in academic endure years of low pay and job uncertainty as postdocs and entry-level faculty--and defer or postpone indefinitely having children and buying that starter home--rather than faster and better-paying paths in industry, IP law, and mathematical finance because we do want to make the world a better place, and we're actively working on it.

So, while I agree with your general feeling, take a look around, and you'll see more techies trying make a difference that you might have realized.

Encryption

FBI Director Says Prolific Default Encryption Hurting Government Spying Efforts (go.com) 367

SonicSpike quotes a report from ABC News: FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau's inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an "adult conversation" next year. Widespread encryption built into smartphones is "making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark," Comey said in a cybersecurity symposium. The remarks reiterated points that Comey has made repeatedly in the last two years, before Congress and in other settings, about the growing collision between electronic privacy and national security. "The conversation we've been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that's fine," Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. "Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country." The American people, he said, have a reasonable expectation of privacy in private spaces -- including houses, cars and electronic devices. But that right is not absolute when law enforcement has probable cause to believe that there's evidence of a crime in one of those places, including a laptop or smartphone. "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception. He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves. "We need to understand in the FBI how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks," Comey said, conceding the American people might ultimately decide that its privacy was more important than "that portion of the room being dark." Comey made his remarks to the 2016 Symantec Government Symposium. The Daily Dot has another take on Comey's remarks, which you can read here.

Comment Re:Death to publishers (Score 5, Interesting) 172

Well, thats easy to solve:

When we get the right to demand money for whatever we deem is our interlectual property, the next step is to demand that companies like google are not allowed to make their own decisions in regard to what they return as search results. We'll put that under something like "no discrimination" or something.

Sounds like Spain tried to do this almost verbatim:

The Spanish Newspapers Publishersâ(TM) Association (AEDE) is now asking that the Spanish government and EU competition authorities stop Google News from shutting down its operations in the country, âoeto protect the rights of citizens and businesses.â

The media lobby group announced that an end to Spanish Google News would represent âoenot just the closure of another service given its dominant market position,â identifying that the closure would âoeundoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses.â

source: [thestack.com]

Power

Alphabet's Nest Wants to Build a 'Citizen-Fueled' Power Plant (bloomberg.com) 157

Mark Chediak, reporting for Bloomberg:Alphabet Inc's Nest Labs is looking to enlist enough customers in California to free up as much power as a small natural gas-fired plant produces, helping alleviate potential energy shortages in the region following a massive gas leak that has restricted supplies. Nest, which supplies digital, wireless thermostats, is partnering with Edison International's Southern California Edison utility to get households enrolled in a state-established energy conservation program. The company wants to attract 50,000 customers through next summer that could shrink their total demand by as much as 50 megawatts when needed, Ben Bixby, Nest's director of energy businesses at Nest, said by phone. "We are building a citizen-fueled clean power plant," he said.
Businesses

One Year in Jail For Abusive Silicon Valley CEO (theguardian.com) 287

He grew up in San Jose, and at the age of 25 sold his second online advertising company to Yahoo for $300 million just nine years ago. Friday Gurbaksh Chahal was sentenced to one year in jail for violating his probation on 47 felony charges from 2013, according to an article in The Guardian submitted by an anonymous Slashdot reader: Police officials said that a 30-minute security camera video they obtained showed the entrepreneur hitting and kicking his then girlfriend 117 times and attempting to suffocate her inside his $7 million San Francisco penthouse. Chahal's lawyers, however, claimed that police had illegally seized the video, and a judge ruled that the footage was inadmissible despite prosecutors' argument that officers didn't have time to secure a warrant out of fear that the tech executive would erase the footage.

Without the video, most of the charges were dropped, and Chahal, 34, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor battery charges of domestic violence... In Silicon Valley, critics have argued that Chahal's case and the lack of serious consequences he faced highlight the way in which privileged and wealthy businessmen can get away with serious misconduct.. On September 17, 2014, prosecutors say he attacked another woman in his home, leading to another arrest.

Friday Chahal was released on bail while his lawyer appeals the one-year jail sentence for violating his probation.
Communications

BuzzFeed and Washington Post To Use Robots For RNC Coverage (engadget.com) 80

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Engadget: The Washington Post and Buzzfeed have sent robots to cover the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Washington Post is using a telepresence robot from Double Robotics that consists of an iPad mounted on a Segway-like base. It's objective: to roam around the convention, streaming live on Periscope. Those viewing the stream will be able to ask questions of delegates, politicians and other figures who stumble upon the robot. BuzzFeed is using a robot called 'BuzzBot.' It's a Facebook chat bot that collects and caters news from the convention to users' messaging feeds. All you have to do is add the channel to your Messenger app and it will deliver news updates from BuzzFeed reporters. Specifically, it will collect reports from delegates, protesters and others in Cleveland. You have the option to send pictures and other info to BuzzBot, but it may ask you questions about your experience. The questions it asks will be different depending on your location. For example, if you live in Cleveland it will want to know what kind of impact the RNC is having on your daily life. Meanwhile, with roughly 50,000 attendees and likely millions of viewers watching across the country and abroad, the RNC is preparing for cyberattacks that aim to disrupt the network.

Comment Re:I believe this violates the Outer Space Treaty (Score 5, Insightful) 256

I am not a legal expert but I believe their plan to produce a nuclear-armed spacecraft violates the Outer Space Treaty (to which Russia is a signatory) and specifically Article IV which says "States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner." (which sounds like exactly what Russia wants to do)

Then again, with the way the Russian economy is these days, I dont think they have the funds to actually build or launch this thing so it wont matter...

Sounds like it's planned to only ascend when needed, so nothing stationed in space. (And in any event, not in orbit until the point where treaties are moot.)

EU

Telecoms Promise 5G Networks If EU Cripples Net Neutrality (theverge.com) 194

An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT promise to launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 -- so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules. The coalition's plans are outlined in its "5G Manifesto," a seven-page document that details how the companies will roll 5G out across the continent over the next few years. However, by warning against regulation that would ensure an open internet and encouraging nations to water rules down, the companies are effectively holding the new technology for ransom... "The EU must reconcile the need for open Internet with pragmatic rules that foster innovation," reads the manifesto. "The telecom industry warns that current net neutrality guidelines, as put forward by [the Body of European Regulators], create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment..."
The EU is asking the public to share their feedback on the manifesto.

Comment Re:TMobile.... (Score 2) 145

It really depends on your location of use and how far from interstates you travel, when you do.

In my case, there is absolutely NO coverage for T-mobile at my lake home on any provider except Verizon. Considering we spend ~40% of our summer months there, this is a necessity.

We also travel, by car, over 3500 miles each summer on a road trip. With Verizon I have never been out of coverage; however, AT&T and T-mobile cannot keep pace--not even close.

AI

Europe's Robots To Become 'Electronic Persons' Under Draft Plan (yahoo.com) 262

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Yahoo News: Under the European Union's new draft plan, Europe's growing army of robot workers could be classed as "electronic persons," with their owners liable to paying social security for them. Robots are only becoming more prevalent in the workplace. They're already taking on tasks such as personal care or surgery, and their population is only expected to rise as their abilities are expanded with the increased development of new technologies. A draft European Parliament motion suggests that their growing intelligence, pervasiveness and autonomy requires rethinking everything from taxation to legal liability. The draft motion called on the European Commission to consider "that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations." It also suggested the creation of a register for smart autonomous robots, which would link each one to funds established to cover its legal liabilities. Patrick Schwarzkopf, managing director of the VDMA's robotic and automation department, said: "That we would create a legal framework with electronic persons -- that's something that could happen in 50 years but not in 10 years. We think it would be very bureaucratic and would stunt the development of robotics," he told reporters. The report added that the robotics and artificial intelligence may result in a large part of the work now done by humans being taken over by robots, raising concerns about the future of employment and the viability of social security systems. The draft motion also said organizations should have to declare savings they made in social security contributions by using robotics instead of people, for tax purposes.
Iphone

'Headphone Jacks Are the New Floppy Drives' (daringfireball.net) 771

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple's upcoming iPhone won't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The news has already upset many people. The Verge's Nilay Patel wrote on Tuesday that the decision of getting rid of the legacy headphone port is "user hostile and stupid." Apple commentator John Gruber makes a case for why Apple's supposed move is not a bad idea at all. He writes:Patel misses the bigger problem. It's not enforcement of DRM on audio playback. It's enforcement of the MFi Program for certifying hardware that uses the Lightning port. Right now any headphone maker in the world can make any headphones they want for the standard jack. Not so with the Lightning port.He adds that the existing analog headphone jack "is more costly in terms of depth than thickness," and by getting rid of it, Apple could use the extra real estate to stuff in more battery juice. Addressing Patel's point that the move of ditching a deeply established standard will "disproportionately impact accessibility," Gruber adds that "enabling, open, and democratizing" have never been high on Apple's list of priorities for external ports. Gruber also addressed Patel's argument that introducing a Lightning Port-enabled headphone feature will make Android and iPhone headphones incompatible. He wrote: Why would Apple care about headphone compatibility with Android? If Apple gave two shits about port compatibility with Android, iPhones would have Micro-USB ports. In 1998 people used floppy drives extensively for sneaker-netting files between Macs and PCs. That didn't stop Apple from dropping it.As for "nobody is asking" Apple to remove headphone jack from the next iPhone, Gruber reminds: This is how it goes. If it weren't for Apple we'd probably still be using computers with VGA and serial ports. The essence of Apple is that they make design decisions "no one asked for".The 3.5mm headphone jack has been around for decades. We can either live with it forever, or try doing something better instead. History suggests that OEMs from across the world quickly replicate Apple's move. Just the idea of Apple removing the headphone jack -- the rumor of which first began last year -- arguably played an instrumental role in some smartphones shipping without the legacy port this year. If this is a change that we really need, Apple is perhaps the best company to set the tone for it. Though, whether we really need to get rid of the headphone jack remains debatable.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 32

While all of your points are quite valid, there is definitely a lot of community on IG and, as someone who recently stopped using it due to the changes to the feed planned by Facebook, I definitely miss seeing local photographers sharing their work and helping each other get better at their craft.

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