Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Didn't this used to be a tech site? (Score 5, Informative) 395

There's a lot of misunderstanding here of how location and tracking on Android actually works.

First of all, google play store has nothing to do with it. It's google play services that provides location services and implements location tracking in Android. That's the service that is used to retrieve AGPS data from the net, to correlate nearby wifi and mobile masts with lists held on google's servers to give location without GPS, and yes to provide tracking data on your location to google. Setting the location mode to "GPS Only" or similar is supposed to disable much of the tracking, but I'm not sure how much I'd trust that.

Play services is a pretty core component of Android, and an awful lot of things will cease to function if you manage to remove it. You can block play services from accessing your location using 3rd party tools like XPrivacy, but location for most apps will cease to function without a complex set of workarounds.

If you genuinely don't want your Android phone calling home with your location while still being able to use GPS, you need:

  • Root access
  • Xposed framework installed
  • XPrivacy installed and set to block location access for google play services
  • To remove google maps
  • To have a fuck of a lot of patience

Thanks google...

Comment Re:"using the opportunity to suppress dissent." (Score 3, Informative) 248

No, the French government doesn't deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change. Nor does the US, China, or indeed virtually any major government or multinational corporation. Despite that fact, global CO2 emissions are still rising on an exponential curve. And all of these organisations are actively searching for more sources of fossil fuels at a time when science tells us we need to keep ~80% of known fossil reserves in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change

Climate denial-ism is a sideshow intended to keep you distracted. The media loudly promote a debate that doesn't really exist any more so that people can feel good they aren't a part of the evil climate deniers causing the problem. Liberals who loudly proclaim the importance of fighting climate change while doing everything they can to increase emissions have been far more of a threat to our climate than deniers for at least 20 years. When Obama gives another inspirational speech about preserving the environment for future generations everybody claps, and nobody bothers to mention the fact that the man has authorised an unprecedented increase in US domestic oil and gas production.

The COP conference in Paris will be little more than another sideshow intended to keep you distracted. We already know that there will be no legally binding agreements to reduce emissions and that the voluntary pledges countries are prepared to sign up to will likely lead to some 3-4C of warming even if implemented fully.

The reality is we live in a world that is gearing up for more, not less, fossil fuel use. Despite the loud proclamations of governments and media corporations to the contrary.

That is why protest is necessary and why the French government is actively suppressing dissent with these measures.

Submission + - TPP makes copy left licences illegal 8

ras writes: With the release of the final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty yesterday, this little gem was noted on the Linux Australia mailing list. Quoting article 14.7.1 of the TPP:

No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale or use of such software, or of products containing such software, in its territory.

It goes onto to exempt demanding copies of the source in commercially negotiated contracts, quality assurance, patents, orders made by judicial authorities or to comply with the regulation. The one notable exception to the exemptions: copy left licences.

Comment Re:Subject (Score 5, Insightful) 307

I've always found the "I only block ads because of tracking/overly intrusive animations/malware" perspective inadequate. Fine, yes, that's enough reason to block them, but do you really consider that the only one?

Personally I find advertising and marketing undesirable in and of themselves, and I'll block any and all forms of advertising for as long as it's technically feasible for me to do so.

It kind of freaks me out that anybody actually thinks they should feel guilty for blocking advertising. I know I'm going to be way to the left of the majority here on this, but I see advertising as nothing more or less than corporate propaganda, often designed to make me feel bad about who I am and give me the impression that some companies product will make me feel better about myself.

Everybody spouts the "I don't click on ads, they don't affect me" line. I always said "advertising doesn't effect me", but I'm not sure any more that that's really true. I remember one of the first times I was consciously aware of this effect as a teenager, standing in line at a shop. There were two, basically identical, chocolate bars next to the checkout, one of which was heavily marketed towards women, the other towards a more male demographic. Obviously, as a man, I almost instinctively picked up the one marketed towards me. And afterwards it just kind of struck me "why the hell did I do that, I know both of those wrappers almost certainly contain chemically identical substances". I came to the conclusion that , I'd almost subconsciously chosen the one marketed at males, for fear that the man working the checkout would think me somehow odd for making the other choice.

If you think about that's how advertising really works. It doesn't seek to get you to believe anything at all about $product, because that's way too hard, you're not an idiot, right? It seeks to convince you that all the other idiots out there already believe $thing about $product and will judge you on that basis. Enough of that belief will create the fact. Hence the society you see around you, where people work long hours doing stupid and destructive things in some bizzare quest to acquire products to achieve and maintain social status.

I see advertising as a campaign of propaganda directed against us, for most of us that campaign started before we were old enough to think. I believe that campaign has profound effects on us and our society far beyond merely irritating us while browsing the internet or influencing a purchasing decision towards one product or another. I'd encourage anyone to try and limit the reach of this campaign towards themsleves and their children for their own psychological wellbeing.

Comment Geekbench is shit (Score 1) 204

If we're going to compare architectures on a tech site, can we at least acknowledge the fact that we're not using a credible benchmarking methodology? And linking to Which? Really?

Geekbench is basically useless for comparing different architectures. It's barely even useful for comparing systems on the same architecture. There's a big emphasis on crypto routines that are usually hardware accelerated and already orders of magnitude faster than IO on any system you care to name. A lot of their other tests are small enough to fit into L1 cache, totally hiding things like Intel's vastly superior branch prediction and memory pipe.

Comparing A8X and x86 performance is difficult, and I can't find any credible numbers out there at all. Browser benchmarks aren't a useful way to do this either, but they tend to show the surface pro as being at least twice as quick as the A8X. I'd expect an even bigger gap in anything with a heavy emphasis on floating point operations or memory bandwidth. ARM simply don't have anything that plays in the I5s league yet in terms of pure performance.

Comment No, just no... (Score 1) 199

If this result, just published in Cell Reports, is confirmed, KL-VS will be the most important genetic agent of non-pathological variation in intelligence yet discovered.

IQ != intelligence. If you want to study variations in IQ score, fine. Not saying it can't yeild interesting results. But can we please stop pretending that there is anything approaching a useful scientific definition of intelligence, nevermind one that reduces to a single number. That ways lies the kind of idiocy that will end up with people fucking up their kids genetic structure trying to engineer "intelligence" without even understanding what that is.

Comment Re:Given the this community's gender troubles... (Score 1, Insightful) 575

Nobody here is mocking women. They are mocking feminists. That kind of argument is exactly why.

Feminism: Noun - "the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes"

Men mocking feminists is by definition pretty close to men mocking women. If you actually read some of the contents of this github project...

among (person p : Unique_person):
if(p.gender==male && p.orentation==het_cis_scum):
yell('RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE!!!!!');
crush(p); //Use the function crush in Dworkin.Xir to discard the oppressor

It's exactly the sort of shallow, adolescant caricature of feminist thought that should offend feminists. Feminism is probably the most important social movement of the 20th century and has a serious body of work behind it. This project may have started as a satire on somebody's blog post, but it clearly isn't merely geeks mocking somebody's attempts to apply social theory to a programing language. Or written by anyone actually familiar with feminist thought beyond parodies they read on the internet.

Ok. That's 4chan. Shallow and adolescant caricature is what they do. But when I come on slashdot and read shit like "feminists have invaded the programming community, and then demanded that the community change its character" I can't help but wince.

Can the techie comminity please lose the ridiculous overblown hostility to any woman who dares to suggest that there are real problems in our society stemming from a history of thousands of years of male domaination of it. It actually just makes us look fucking stupid.


In France, a Showcase of What Can Go Wrong With Online Voting 177

Bruce66423 submits a report from The Independent, writing that "a French primary election is made the stuff of farce after journalists defeat the 'secure' election system." From the article: An 'online-primary,' claimed as 'fraud-proof' and 'ultra secure,' has turned out to be vulnerable to multiple and fake voting. The four-day election has also the exposed the poisonous divisions created within the centre-right Union Pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) by the law permitting gay marriage which took effect last week. ... What was already shaping up as a tense and close election was thrown into utter confusion at the weekend. Journalists from the news site Metronews proved that it was easy to breach the allegedly strict security of the election and vote several times using different names."

Comment Re:Mouse over drop downs (Score 1) 610

The N900 browser used to have a feature where you could swipe your finger over the left edge of the screen and get a mouse cursor that would follow your finger. Not massively convenient, but it actually made it possible to use a lot of sites with the kinds of problems you describe.

I'm surprised no other touchscreen systems have copied this feature

Comment Corporations are psychopathic institutions (Score 4, Insightful) 422

The expected behaviour for any corporation is to maximise profits at the expense of nearly anything else. Certainly corporations are not expected to show empathy or compassion (except as PR exercises in the service of greater profit). In a person such complete narcissism and lack of empathy would be indicative of tendendcies towards sociopathic personality disorder.

Is it any wonder then, that psychopaths are drawn to, and probably well suited to, senior positions in corporations, where their natural tendencies towards such behavior are rewarded rather than punished.

It's somehow indicative of our complete lack of self-awareness as a society that we create these psychopathic institutions, and are then suprised and appalled when psycopaths end up running them. The problem isn't individual psycopaths as such, it goes far deeper than that, and testing managers for psychopathic tendencies will change nothing.

Comment Nuclear weapons are the definition of insanity (Score 1) 707

Kenneth Waltz's argument is entirely specious.

Yes, MAD is probably the only reason there hasn't to this point been a world war III. But you need to zoom out and judge this on a slightly longer timescale than 65 odd years

I think it's pretty obvious that the probability of a nuclear armed state entering into a confilct with another in any given year is non zero. In fact, if you look at the cuban missiles crisis, or the able archer incident, it's pretty obvious that that probability can be fairly high.

It's also pretty obvious that any major power nuclear conflict would result in the deaths of most of the worlds population, quite concieveably all of it.

Therefore, the probability of an absolutely catostrophic nuclear incident will asymptotically approach 1 the longer we have nuclear armed states. In my view our annilihation is assured if we keep these weapons around long enough.

Being willing to contemplate the destruction of the entire human race, rather than contemplate the destruction of your particlar political power base/ideology is to my mind the purest expression of human insanity.

Comment As the summary says (Score 2, Insightful) 334

A big of the reason for doing this was cost, but not the only one. The Conservatives have been opposed to this scheme since forever. Middle England Tories tend to get very hot under the collar about ID card schemes for some reason, though they don't seem to have any problem with CCTV, repressive "anti-terrorism" legislation, or any of the dozens of other ways in which British civil liberties are being curtailed.

As to the current Con/Dem government doing anything about these wider abuses, I remain very sceptical. Previous Tory governments have been equally as big on repressive legislation as the last Labour government was. And as everybody knows, politicians are generally loathe to give up any powers unless forced to by the population.

Comment Confusing Cause and Effect (Score 1) 396

The quality of "serious" journalism has always been terrible and is getting worse. People turn away from this because it is mostly an attempt to actually marginalise them from serious discussion.

Look at it this way, doing serious investigative work into systematic government lies, corporate malfeasance or issues of actual importance to people's lives inevitably pisses off a bunch of very rich and powerful people.
Given the ownership structure of the media these people are quite likely to either directly control your newspaper through ownership, or indirectly through advertising. Pissing them off is very bad for your career.

Therefore serious investigative work and reporting is rarely done. Ninety-Nine percent of the time journalists do little more than echo the words of some "offical" govenment or PR source. And the news media that is supposedly meant to protect us from the powerfull actually ends up being just a mouthpice for them. The thing is, people aren't (quite) as stupid as is commonly assumed, they know that what is presented to them as serious journalism is mostly bullshit. But they are lazy, so rather than work harder, read between the lines and try and find out what's really going on behind the headlines; they tune out the bullshit and end up ignoring the news entirely.

The introduction of entertainment into forms that were formerly reserved for "serious" journalism is an effect of this apathy rather than a primary cause. It's an attempt to win back the viewers that were previously lost. It also has the advantage of continuing to give the appearance of "doing" the news, without the inherent cost and risk associated with serious news gathering.

Comment Re:heh. (Score 4, Interesting) 284

Just as the war on drugs is only tangentially related to actual drug abuse, the war on copyright infringement will only be tangentially related to piracy.

The "failed" drug policy of the last 50 years only makes sense to me when seen as a war waged against the underprivileged in our societies. Drug use is high in all sections of society but the poor and ethnic minority groups are the ones that end up in prison.

Equally, I think the real reason behind slime-balls like Mandelson signing up to legislation that targets downloaders is to restrict freedom of speech on the internet.

New Labour, and Mandelson in particular, have waged a vicious war on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and habeas corpus in Britain over the last 12 years. This legislation is the first step to widening that war to the internet. It gives unaccountable bureaucrats and corporate officials powers that were previously only available to the judiciary, just as New Labour is doing in other areas of British life. It will lead to (ab)use of these powers to curtail fundamental human rights, just as is happening with those other powers.

As much as our politicians are in the pockets of various corporations, I don't believe that's sufficient explanation for the assault on due process we see here. If there's one thing that terrifies politicians more than falling profits it's democracy. And large scale copyright infringement is just the excuse our politicians need to go after that on the internet with a vengeance.

Slashdot Top Deals

Drilling for oil is boring.