Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


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 Re:A gimmick by pseudo-scientists (Score 1) 422

All of the cancer cluster information, for example, not only has the sex and age of the affected person, but also their physical address (since it's necessary for establishing the geospatial location of a spill / release / plume. Under this law, they could only claim that there's a cancer cluster somewhere if they explicitly identified everyone effected.

The EPA couldn't use published data from journals, academics, geological surveys, and other information where they have rights to access and use the information but not to republish it.

Comment Reproducibility is hard. (Score 5, Insightful) 331

In the experimental protocols listed in a paper, it is not unusual to have a method's section that is more or less an executive summary rather than a very detailed account of the underlying protocol. This is for two reasons: to great a level of detail leads to a methods section as big as the publication that the paper appears in, and second because many protocols more or less boil down to using a particular series kit or out-sourced lab service. Most journals require data supplements where an author must share their datasets in electronic form as an online addendum to the publication. I would support a similar requirement for a long-form protocol for reproduction of the study.

That said, some protocols necessarily take a lot of money, special equipment, a carefully selected population of volunteers, and time. Reproducing some studies can be outright impractical.

In computational biology and other computational extensions of the physical science, the reproducibility basically comes in the form of requirements to provide the software and raw data for a study. It's easy for the individual that compiles this information to verify that they get the same result as the one they report in the article. The concern there boils down to the provenance of the source data, which may be from registries, public data sets, or some combination of public and private data.

Comment Apple's Missteps (Score 4, Insightful) 328

Apple has made a lot of missteps in the past few years, ostensibly in the name of innovation, without really considering how their products are used and the role bits and pieces of their product line reinforce the brand. Particularly Mac fans have felt it, and now it's hitting home.

Regressions in software, elimination of Apple tools that add value to their platform, allowing hardware to go stale yet designing them to not be modifiable, going style over ergonomics, etc. Jobs had a knack for ignoring the user but delivering something he could make the user feel that they wanted. The current Apple doesn't have that. When they drop the ball on something, they take a ding.

They are also taking far too many cues from Google that are producing terrible (worse, anyway) UIs and UXs. Their products are slowing becoming more awkward and less consistent and coherent. These are minor things, but they add up.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1560

Actually, Trump has expressed a desire to foster nuclear proliferation and has explicitly asked the joint chiefs about using nuclear weapons in the middle east. His friendliness with Russia is very apparent (Putin is really the only person above reproach to Trump), but it's also a concern and matter of ongoing investigation here in the US.

Clinton categorically ruled out the use of nuclear weapons and was against nuclear proliferation, but she was adversarial towards Russia, and pretty much had a stance that would have kept business-as-usual (that is, not so very different than Obama, but less aggressive than either Bush).

From a Finnish perspective, Russia has recently stepped up anti-Finnish propaganda (there has been a bunch of viral news reports of Finnish authorities takeing children away from Russian immigrants to Finland that have gone viral in Russia, for instance), and there's an ongoing debate in the Russian parliament about whether Finland is a legitimately a separate country or a part of Russia that illegally seceded. That combined with Russian military movements bringing troops much closer to the border have some in the Finnish government upset (though, officially, this is Russia's way of pressuring Finland not to join NATO).

Clinton would be expected respond to a Russian incursion into Finland similarly to how Obama responded to the Russian incursion into Ukraine (and subsequent annexation of Crimea) -- namely protest, enact sanctions, and take diplomatic action but have no military response. Trump, if true to his word, would do nothing at all. If Finland joined NATO, Clinton would probably honor the NATO treaty and provide aid to Finland, including military aid. Trump, if true to his word, would ostensibly do little, if anything in response. Clinton would be receptive to European requests to aid Finland and work with the EU. Trump assures us that he wouldn't.

Comment Continuing a terrible trend in UIs (Score 1) 265

Microsoft, Apple, and even to an extent the various Linux desktops, are all moving to UIs that use lots of negative space, and removing visual cues as to the type and mode of interaction with the visible elements. Buttons are flat, sometimes swipable, sometimes not. Things could be buttons, text fields, drop downs, etc. and you don't know until you give them a poke. The whitespace is getting so big as to spatially break up things that should be grouped, etc. It's terrible. Even the window borders no longer exist, losing context when they don't contrast with those behind...

Comment Re:what about h.265? (Score 1) 76

It's not just a matter of money. h.264 caught on specifically because the entire patent portfolio for is pooled and licensed as a single entity from a single organization. h.265 is not only patent encumbered, but the patent holders have not agreed on terms to form a pool for licensing. If you want to license h.265, you literally need to negotiate with a half dozen different organizations.

Comment It's not that hard a thing to do. (Score 1) 488

Given the Slashdot audience, I find the skepticism that it's possible kind of surprising.

First, the FBI has some very sophisticated tools for discovery in place for just this sort of thing. I've used an earlier version of one of them (we were evaluating the vendor that provides some of these tools) and, more importantly, people that know how to use them.

Since the specific question to be answered here is about Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State (review of e-mails related to Abedin and Wiener are a separate issue), they would go through this process: ingest the e-mails (including header metadata and the message bodies) into the indexing engine (it's only about 650K e-mails; say about 5-10 minutes - this stuff runs in an AWS cluster and is pretty quick), then they would load a list of all e-mail addresses associated with Hillary Clinton and search for all messages that contain that in a From, To, Cc, or Bcc header -- and possibly anything that passed through the domain -- which is VERY fast (on the order of 20 seconds or so), then they load the Message-ids for all of the messages in the set of e-mails that they already have reviewed and exclude from the prior subset all of those that matched (because they've already been reviewed; maybe 1-2 minutes of processing time). The FBI then would have the subset of Clinton e-mails in Abedin's e-mail that they have not already reviewed, which is no doubt a pretty small number given that Clinton was neither a prolific writer nor recipient or e-mail in the first place.

I would be quite surprised if they found more than a handful of new messages for review, if any. But the procedure for finding those e-mails is very straight-forward to do and would take less than 30 minutes for their techs to do. I can't tell you how long it would take for the FBI to manually review each of those messages, but I suspect not too long.

Comment Re:Order of operations is important (Score 1) 78

Not only that, but apps can detect that happening and remove access from the malware before they save a password. The point is that most vendors don't bother looking at the access control list for keychain items. This is discussed in the developer docs for Keychain Access Controls.

Comment We all know what we expect is not what we want (Score 5, Insightful) 208

Here's a short list of what certainly awaits in a Microsoft Minecraft 2:

- Registration requires a multi-part authentication process that involves at least 3 e-mails and the creation of one Microsoft mailbox -- for each member of your family that wants to play
- The game will still cost $19, but multiplayer or network storage will require an Xbox Live account and gold subscription.
- The game will be retooled to appeal to an older audience, so expect ultraviolence and maybe some skin (which will usher in an era of very crude "box" jokes).
- Minecraft mods will be easy to write in C#, but no longer be supported in Java; they will implemented as SOAP services instead of plug-ins; and to use them you will need to register as a developer go through a multi-stage certificate generation and validation process to sign your mod which will only be available through the Microsoft store
- The Microsoft store will be integral to the game and appear as a building in the shape of the Windows logo; they'll sell diamond pickaxes that otherwise will be impossible to get
- There will be Windows-phone exclusive features, including a Smite button that allows people to kick other people off a server.

Comment Two concrete examples: (Score 5, Informative) 598

iWork and iLife.

After iWork '09, the iWork applications had very little in the way of updates, but the Keynote and Pages applications were very capable. Pages didn't have all the features of Microsoft Word, but the typography and page layout capabilities were exceptional in comparison, and users had a fairly clear list of improvements that they suggested - mostly improvements to mail merge, tables-of-contents, footnoting, indenting, and creating indices. Keynote was excellent. Numbers was simply not what people expected from a spreadsheet and it had the most suggestions for improvements. However, by and large the apps were quite good and a bargain.

iWork '13 destroyed everything that made the iWork applications great. Not only did the UI regress, but the feature set, rather than meeting user requests / expectations, jettisoned swathes of functionality - in exchange for compatibility with iCould and the web version. The highly usable productivity software became a Google Docs wannabe overnight. Worse, the old version ceased to be available. Subsequently, improvements to iWork have included no restoration of the functionality of the product, but changes in the file format (that introduce incompatibilities with older versions). iWork took a nosedive.

iLife hasn't fared much better. iLife originally included GarageBand, iMovie, and iDVD for creating DVDs (with menus, title graphics, scene previews, and control over flow between menus - simple, but functional). iDVD is gone. Even Apple's "pro" video tools no longer support similar functionality to what iDVD provided in 2009 -- there is nothing available that can claim the same function, and you can no longer obtain the abandoned software. GarageBand has some added instruments and lessons, but at the loss of their video / podcast scoring and advanced podcast authoring capabilities. The filters are now more primitive and skewed specifically towards guitars (why?). iMovie has gone through various iterations of UI and library management changes that make moving between versions confusing and it focuses on iCloud and iMovie Theater - features almost completely unused because of their awkward implementation and storage requirements (particularly in iCloud) that are ridiculous.

Aperture, their prosumer photo database and editing app, is about to be jettisoned and replaced with an upgraded iPhoto with many of the most professional and workflow-related features of Aperture removed. Aperture will no longer be available afterward. In effect, their ceding this software to Adobe's Lightroom and their subscriber-based pay-to-play model.

A lot of people will also probably bitch about Final Cut Pro X, Motion, Compressor, and those video tools. However, I think Apple is doing OK there. They released FCPX prematurely - they needed to wait until they got FCP7 project importing working, but the changes they made were really necessary. Where they have failed is the workflow and integration points of FCPX - Motion - Compressor, and they've dropped the ball on creating optical media. There was also still some room to keep Shake in the mix.

I don't worry too much about things like Apple ID as that's more or less par-for-the-course for that sort of service these days. Nobody does it much better. However, I chafe at the idea that they are spending so much development money, time, and effort on that dog called 'iCloud'. It's a disaster of a service and it's dragging down their productivity software.

Slashdot Top Deals

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.