Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:Rules for thee, not for me (Score -1) 211

Hard to sue:

  • Her images are now in public domain.
  • She cannot complain that Getty is selling them. They can sell them, they can do pretty much whatever they want because the pictures are in public domain.
  • She can complain that Getty is trying to sell license for these picture. They cannot re-license them nor restrict the pictures usage as, again, the pictures are in public domain and anyone can do pretty much everything they want to
  • I'm not sure how she can complain about not being mentionned on Getty's website. Had the pictures been released under CC-BY, she would have standing ground to ask for her name as per her license. If the picture go into public domain, I'm not sure if she can retain the ability to claim IP ownership over them
  • The strongest case she has, is against Getty threatening other users of her picture to pay for license. As her picture are public domain, anyone can do whatever they want without needing an othorisation, Getty had no ground asking for money. A good enough lawyer could probably bring up a class action suit against Getty for racketeering for any user of the photo threadened to pay for license by them

Comment Broken beyond recognition (Score 1) 358

TL;DR: It's a combination of the state of degradation of a (non durable) smartphone forcing you to upgrade, and the manufacturer's marketing department spending as much resources as possible and doing any trick they can think of to persuade you that upgrading is the best idea ever.

The phone itself forces you.
Once the screen is broken and un-readable.
Or the phone is bent beyond it's breaking point... ...etc...

Phone are very common use objects. They are submitted to tons of abuse simply because of usage pattern.
Smartphone which pack even more functionnality (internet acces, mail/chat, etc.) are even more used and thus abused.

But smartphone maker tend to chose different set of equilibrium points and compromises.
Aesthetic value (the new one is 0.4mm thinner than the previous one and 0.2mm thinner than the competition !) over durability (plastic is considered unfashionnable although depending on the composition it can better withstand some mecanical stress).
Eye candy (more CPU core, bigger GPU) over battery life, etc.

Thus smartphone tend to degrade very quickly.

And once you go to the Apple shop to ask for (over expensive) repairs, clerks are trained to point at how tiny is the difference in price with the then newer model.

Yes, nobody forces you to change smartphones and you could still use an outdated iPhone 1 if you would.
(though the question remains if there are enough OTA update to the radio firmware to remain compatible with the network).

But *very few* people actually, and most of them basically do because they don't have much choice.

Most of the other people will have abused their phone beyond repair (or more precisely to the point where the extremely overcharged repair price doesn't look that cheap compared to upgrading to a new model).
The remaining poeple will have succumbed to the sirens of marketing department and bought a new one because its sounds so much cooler(*) that the previous one. And we all know how much Apple's marketing department is better than everyone else's..

(*: though you have to concede that, as of lately, we seem to have reached the "peak smartphone" and sells are getting a little bit lower, as smartphone have become good enough, and marketers have problems finding new reasons for people to replace their old non-broken phones).

Comment Autopilot vs unmanned vehicle (Score 1) 127

The autopilot systems on the newest commercial jets are capable of handling landings unassisted, at least, if everything is working. This is just not that hard a job any more.

I very well know that.
But still, the thing officially requires a human being to check it, and none of there is currently approved for total autonomous / "unmanned cockpit" for flying people around.

- It *could* fly people around autonomously.
- It *would* propbably fly poeple around in case of an emergency (e.g.: if both pilot an co-pilot are sick and unconscious)
- but normally we still require human attendance just in case, and not nap instead.
it's officially called an autopilot

That's the exact same situation with Tesla (and all the other brands featuring automatic lane following)
- It could drive around autonomously
- in case of emergency, it would probably drive people around (e.g.: if the driver is in an health emergency, se could theoriticaly push a "red button" that automatically sets the destination for autopilot to the nearest hospital and calls 911/112. Or at least the car could safely go park itself to the shoulder and call 911/112)
- but normally we still require a human to pay attention just in case, and not watch DVDs instead.
it was branded an autopilot by Elon

An Arduino with MultiWii (GPL'd) is enough to take a plane off from a field, fly waypoints and take pictures or drop bombs or what have you and then return to home and land again. And that's without any beacon signal from the ground.

And the official precise terminology for that is called an *Unmaned Aerial Vehicle*. (UAV) (Or drone in the common parlance) More precisely an *autonomous* one.
Just like google call their car "autonomous" or "driver-less". Not simply autopilot.

So clearly, the word "autopilot" covers a lot of ground.

...in the common parlance. Specialist tend to use words like "autonomous", "unmanned", etc. in more advanced cases to emphasis the difference.
And that's my point, average joe might confuse "autopilot" with "autonomous unmaned aerial vehicle" (or with "chauffeur" as aaarrrgggh mentionned above).
So although the name sounds reasonable to a specialist, it might get confused by non-nerds.

Elon should have called it "Ship's Commander mode" (as the one which gives orders instead of holding the wheel) sound both mor{e} awesome and a little bit less passive role for the driver.

Do you know what you call a simple computer on a boat which maintains your heading, and does nothing else? Yep, you guessed it, that's an autopilot.

Yup. I even mentioned it in my above post.

And that's why I think "Ship's Commander mode" would be adapted. I would convey in layman's term what they though when saying "autopilot".

The truth is that you cannot get autopilot even activated without a safety lecture, and if you willfully ignore the admonitions of the creators and then turn on a feature that is dangerous both to you and others if you misuse it, you deserve to die in a fireball and the only tragedy is that you may take others with you.

Perhaps someday, the use of autopilot-like capabilities will be regulated, requiring different driver licenses (like manual vs. automatic gear shift). You'll need to pass your license using a car with advanced assistance in order to learn to properly use it (just like manual shift).

Or, maybe the whole thing will just evolved into a massive multiplayer competition for Darwin Awards(*)

(*): ...in the hypothesis that you only have autopilot driver napping behind the wheel and autopilot driver paying attention and at least managing to avoid being taken with the idiots causing accidents.

Comment Durable phone ? (Score 2) 358

Those are consumables.

Given how quickly smartphone obsolesce and how all manufacturer try to require you to buy a new one every 24 months max...

Well that isn't entirely inappropriate to compare smartphones and consumables.

If you only look at durable goods, and you multiply the number manufactured by the useful lifetime,

Wait, what ?
"durable goods" ? "useful lifetime" ? What the hell do these subjects have anything to do with a smartphone ?
Next, you're going to speak about battery longevity. Actual battery. The kind that holds for a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days/hours...

then I nominate the AK-47. Over 100 million have been manufactured, and many are still in use after more than 60 years.

Which would be very hard to say about smartphone.

(But probably still applies to the ancient Nokia plain-stupid-phone that you've forgotten that you still had at the bottom of some drawer. With its battery still at 50%)

Comment Planed obsolescence! (Score 0, Troll) 358

Yes, bitches!
Planned obsolescence works !

It is that because it is so much more than a product.

Yup, indeed. It's not a product, it's fashion. And like with all designer clothes, you need to perpetually throw the old ones away and buy new ones !

- Call me when a car maker start to require you to replace your car every 24months (replacing the whole car, I mean. Literally. Not over billing you for a simple software update over some proprietary extension to the ODB port that they charge metaphorically as expensive as a new car).
- Call me when you need to replace a music record record every few month... no... wait... Okay, the whole purpose of adding DRM to music and introducing a new format every once in a while is exactly for that. So I'll concede the point.
- Call me when you need to replace a book every few months... oh... yeah... right. The whole DRM on e-books and Amazon remotely wiping books. Ok, I'll concede that one too. ...well actually, on second thoughts, it seems to me that the whole industry is whatching carefully Apple, taking notes, and trying to apply planned obsolescence to their own field of work..

Comment Aubout AUTOPILOT name (Score 3, Insightful) 127

I think the name "autopilot" starts to suffer the same fate as the name "hacker": they both have a precise meaning, but in the general use by the public, the meaning has shifted

Hacker used to be someone who is good at McGuyvering, at finding creative uses, etc.
But the press ended up using it for Cracker, someone who just breaks into things, not necessarily showing any creativity.

Same happenned with Autopilot: in aviation, it is a very precise thing - an apparatus which can take care automatically of the small minute details of flying the plane. The human need to provide it an order (a destination) and then only watch over it and control that everything is going well, but not actually hold the commands themselves.
Nobody has ever deigned this for the whole crew to take a nap while it is on.

Same in a boat: the autopilot will keep a destination, so you don't need to hold the wheel. That doesn't mean that you should be napping, you still need to whatch out for dangers, obstacles, etc.

But suddenly, the general public has taken a different meaning: as you say, now the think of it as Chauffeur: the Chauffeur (not necessarily electronic, it can be a human) takes care of everything, while you can safely take a nap or whatch some harry potter.

Elon should have called it "Ship's Commander mode" (as the one which gives orders instead of holding the wheel) sound both mor awesome and a little bit less passive role for the driver.

Comment Best drivers (Score 1) 35

Currently on linux, modern AMD cards have the "best-of-both-world" driver support.

Nvidia currently only produce closed-source drivers.
(Nouveau is exclusively the work of reverse engineering. Recieving nearly no support from Nvidia, except for the occasional patch to enable modesetting)

AMD provides a hybrid stack:
- they develop an kernel module (amdgpu) which is available up-stream. (i.e.: new versions of the kernel feature it out of the box).

above this, you have two choices:

- AMDGPU-Pro, the closed source drivers (which are the modern day equivalent of the user-space portion of Catalyst).
Nowadays, they seem pretty stable, run games without bugs, and because they require a module which is already in mainstream kernel, they do work even with the latest kernel update. (unlike nvidia's driver which need the nvidia.ko some adaptation in case of variation of the kernel API).

- RadeonSI, the opensource back-end to the Mesa driver.
These are devloped by people of whom some are on AMD's payroll (i.e.: AMD doesn't only provide information, but even salaries for opensource development)
With the Polaris, the driver was available at release day, and has a decent performance compared to the closed source one, and runs lots of games.

That's quite some achievement compared with the early "fglrx" that was buggy as hell, and that's quite some engagement for the opensource community.

As a Linux user, I actually like more the ADM driver situation.

Comment SHA-1 probably... (Score 1) 30

You have to use a UNIQUE SALT for every password and then have a WORK FACTOR of some large number (use the bcrypt library).

Yup, a slow and hard to brute force hash would have been good (other example: PBKDF2, Scrypt and the latest competition winner Argon2)

Saddly people are still using SHA-1 as a password hash (a hash function designed purposedly to be fast and simple, which has the advantage of being able to be useful even on small hardware like smart cards - but is easy to brute force on dedicated hardware (GPU, FPGA) as proven by bitcoin's proof-of-work system, and it there a bad solution for *password* hashing)

Public key based authentication is even better, but I have it seen rarely used outside of the professional word.

Two-factor is another alternative, and at least that one is seeing come consumer usage...

Comment EULA ; Opensource clients (Score 1) 74

If you read the fine print in the EULA, Microsoft is willing to help law enforcement wherever it is required by local laws.
And if you believe the log of the AppArmor jail you linux client is running in, it's a really badly designed, badly behaving application.

On the other hand, the mix of JSON and XML used by Web Skype has been reverse engineered, plug-ins are availabe for libpurple (thus for Pidgin, Adium, Telepathy, etc.) so you can set-up your own end-to-end encryption layer over skype (e.g.: OTR) if both end points support it.

And unlike the case with WhatsApp, Microsoft doesn't seem interested in fighting such 3rd party clients.
(Even their own latest linux beta client uses the web skype interface, apparently).

Comment Google Talk (Score 1) 74

as another exemple:

Google Talk is available over XMPP.
And if both endpoints use OTR, you can get end-to-end encryption (e.g.: Jitsi on one side, and Adium - Mac OS X's Pidgin cousin - on the other)

Note that some of the more advanced feature that are only available in Google Hangout are not available on the Google Talk interface (offline message. and "who has read what" status).


Saddly Facebook's XMPP gateway has been shut down (you need to use a plugin compatible with FB Messenger, which is not available on all chat clients, only in Pidgin)
Saddly WhatsApp is in a holy crusade against 3rd party client so you're completely out of luck.

TFA's web skype has also a plugin for pidgin.

Comment Jitsi (in addition to Pidgin). (Score 1) 74

In addition to the afore mentioned Pidgin, there is also Jitsi.

It, too, can connect to XMPP (e.g.: Google Mail. Or a private server) and SIP.
It, too, uses OTR to guarantee end-to-end encryption over the chat channel.

It is multi platform, available on Linux, Windows, Mac and Android (as far as I know, either pidgin itselfs, or other software using its libpurple library are also available on nearly any platform you would want).

Jitsi can in addition place encrypted call, using ZRTP (as far as I know, Pidgin currently only supports clear calls).

On the other hand Pidgin has many more plugins (e.g.: the JSON and XML interfaces used by Facebook messaging App, by web skype, by Steam Mobile, etc.)
And yup, that means that you can overlay end-to-end encryption over skype, as long as both end points support it (e.g.: Pidgin + OTR + WebSkype plugin)
(does anyone know if there are browser plugins a la Mailveloppe that work to add OTR to web chats ?)

Comment Worse: Destroy standarts (Score 2) 55

The situation is even worse:

They are in the process of destroying standards.

At some point in the past, Facebook used to have a XMPP gateway into their chat system. You could use it with (e.g.: Pidgin) and have the chat into your desktop computer (or phone if your smartphone supports XMPP, etc).

But eventually, Facebook dropped their XMPP support.

(Luckily for 3rd party support, pidgin developers have reverse engineered their JSON and XML based protocol used by the android application. So you can still use pidgin and any other application supporting libpurple plugins. But it's NOT a standard
And at least the Facebook company seems to be happy with this situation and let the pidgin dev continue their work).

WhatsApp is even worse. It *started* as a variant of XMPP/Jabber, then got progressively weirder (mainly, they use a different type of authentication protocole, and use a binary representation + phrase book to compress common XML structure to make it a binary ML).
These modification to the basic XMPP Jabber have been reverse engineered... ...but WhatsApp (even after the acquisition by Facebook) seem to be on a cursade to sue as many developpers of alternative clients as possible, and to prevent any development by kick-banning any detected alternative clients and perma-banning the corresponding GSM number. (e.g.: see the complains around WhatsUp alternative client for Sailfish OS).

And they are now further alienating their user base by forcing everybody to use only exclusively the Android or the iOS version.
By the end of the year, all other version (BlackBerry, Nokia, etc.) will be dropped, and their user left without any chance.
I undestand that they would like to concentrate effort on only the 2 most frequent platforms, which probably cover ~90% of their user base, but even it they don't develop an app, they could have left some API (e.g.: an XMPP gateway like facebook used to use before throwing it away) so that the "left behind" could at least use native 3rd party apps.

Comment Senility in apes (Score 4, Interesting) 321

The thing is, in evolutionary terms the genes that kill you before procreation are actively selected against; yet those that kill you just as reliably later in life are passed on.

Well not exactly.
The prevalence of senility in all the other apes (except humans) begs to differ.

I'm not saying that Richard Dawkins is wrong, I'm just saying that he's simplifying a little bit for the purpose of an explanation, but reality always more complex in the tiny details.

The thing is, we human have invented one peculiar concept: the grandmother.

In most other species of apes, individuals don't serve a purpose once they're past their reproductive age. On the countrary, they are using up valuable resources that might be put to better use by the young and the individual that still reproduce (in the same pack/tribe/etc.)
Thus in most other species of apes, senile degenerescence seems to be actually the norm.
Past a certain age (not far from the end of reproductive life) most apes turn senile rather quickly.

There's a small advantage if individuals don't live too long after they stop reproducing, because it leaves more food for the younger individuals of the pack/tribe (individuals who share the same genetic mix - being the same extended family - and thus this is the special form of 'sacrifice' which might actually get selected for. Unlike 'lemmings suicide' urban legend). A gene leading to such situation will be selected for, because it leads to an increased number of individual carrying a copy of the gene, by optimising which individual keep reproducing.

Compare the situation with humans:
disease like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, vascular dementia, Huntington's and other neurodegenerative and senile diseases are *diseases*. I.e.: special conditions that only affect a small proportion of the population.
Most individual go through their later years *without suffering* from any of the above (in stark contrast of the remaining apes).
Why so? Grand mothers (and grand parents in general).
In human specie individual who are past their reproductive age will help raising the youngest generation (their grand children and grand nephews).
They take care of the youngs and, once language has been developped, they can also pass their knowledge by telling stories giving explanations...
Even if an individual isn't reproducing anymore, and even if an individual isn't in their prime anymore, these individuals are *still* very valuable for the pack/tribe.
Thus there's a very light incentive to select for individual who can stay functionnal in their late years. Even if they don't directly pass copies of their own genes anymore, they do help indirectly the survival of the rest of the pack/tribe and thus helps indirectly that the extended family grows (which shares genes with them).
(it's similar to the type of indirect help that you see in a beehive/anthill. Most individual are infertile worker. But because they are all very closely related, by helping they increase the survival chance of other individuals carrying the same genes even without reproducing.)

So if you have children at 40 (disregarding the complications and risks) it's likely that they won't inherit genes that are likely to kill them in their 30s. Thus the population in western "1st world" countries is aging, having children later and this may also be a contributing factor to the phenomenon.

Also the *reason* while parents decide to have children later in life also plays a role.
Most of such parent usually decide to reproduce later in life because of *career* reasons: They want to be in a better paying position to be better able to afford the children.
This has the direct effect on the availability of healthcare and eraly diagnostics.

But has again a very slight effect on the family structure.
Chance are high that both parent will try to get back to their highly paid position after the birth, and thus grand parents might also again play a very slight role.
Thus families where the +65 y.o. are in better shape are a tiny bit better than families where the children are only raised by hired nannies.

Again the effect is very small and doesn't explain everything.
(lower pollution, lower man-made military-origin radioactivity, more elders trying to keep in shape with exercice and balanced diets also play roles on the overall effect)
But the fact that we as a specie have relied more on grand parents might explain a bit.

Slashdot Top Deals

Writing software is more fun than working.