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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Should Commercial Software Prices Be Pegged To A Country's GDP?

dryriver writes: Commercial software — as opposed to free open source software — frequently creates the following dilemma: A software X that costs 2,000 Dollars may be perfectly affordable for someone in America, Germany, Switzerland or Japan. The price is "normal" and the software pays for itself after Y weeks or months of use. When the same software X is also sold for 2,000 Dollars in Egypt, Mali, Bangladesh or Sudan, the situation is the opposite — the price is "far too high" and the software will NOT pay for itself after Y weeks or months of use. So here is an interesting idea: Why don't software makers look at the average income level in a given country — per capita GDP for example — and adjust their software prices in these countries accordingly? Most Software makers in the U.S. and EU currently insist on charging the full U.S. or EU price in much poorer countries. "Rampant piracy" and "low sales" is often the result in these countries. Why not change this by charging lower software prices in less wealthy countries?

Submission + - The Achilles Wheel of the Mars Curiosity Rover

An anonymous reader writes: When the Curiosity Rover landed on Mars in August of 2012, it seemed that we had the ultimate successor to Opportunity in place. That older, over-engineered rover is still going after more than 12 years on the red planet, and Curiosity is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of technology: nuclear powered, loaded with cameras, faster, larger, more technologically advanced and with many more science instruments than any of its predecessors. Yet along with all that extra technology, Curiosity seems to have a weak point: its wheels. After landing 10 kilometers from its destination — Mount Sharp — it took more than two years just to arrive at its base. By that point, its wheels had literally been shredded by a combination of the terrain and our own inability to anticipate what we would have found on Mars. As a result, Curiosity may be the first rover that fails to outlive the generation that came before.

Submission + - Is Silicon Valley Now Starter-ville instead of Stay-town? (

Tekla Perry writes: Both statistics (from job search site and anecdotal evidence (talking to young engineers) points to a change in Silicon Valley. It's a place people come to start careers, spend their 20s, and then move on, not a place to put down roots--much like New York City has been for generations.

Submission + - Rubio And Kasich Are Living Out a Classic Game Theory Dilemma writes: Kevin Quealy writes in the NYT that the two remaining mainstream candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination — Marco Rubio and John Kasich — are living out an issue studied for decades in game theory. Game theorists might call the GOP predicament an anti-coordination game or a volunteer’s dilemma but most of us might call it by a more familiar name: chicken. Although Rubio is the obvious establishment favorite, the two are splitting some votes. so to have his best chance against Trump and Cruz, Rubio needs Kasich to drop out. The longer both candidates remain in the race, the worse it is for both of them.

Kasich's first option is to stay in the race but he could go further, by committing to stay in no matter what. In a classic game of chicken between two drivers rushing headlong toward each other, this strategy is like removing your steering wheel, leaving you no choice but to drive straight toward your opponent. Kasich could hope for another robotic debate performance from Rubio or even an implosion from the Trump or Cruz campaigns. Kasich 's second strategy would be to cut a deal with Rubio — offer to drop out, for example, in exchange, for the second spot on a Rubio ticket or a cabinet post. Kasich's third strategy would be to threaten to support a different candidate, like Trump or Cruz. If the threat had the potential to damage Rubio enough, it could be a useful bargaining chip. “Being crazy is a strategy, but only if your opponent actually believes it,” says Richard Thaler. Part of the problem is that this is a game that’s played just once. "The chance to be your party’s nominee for president comes along only every four or eight years, even for the very luckiest candidates," says Quealy. "If the candidates lived in a universe in which they could run for president hundreds of times, they might agree that, on average, their shared interests were better served by cooperating." But this is not an iterated dilemma. It’s a one-time-only dilemma with a tremendous payoff for the winner. Ultimately, both Kasich and Rubio risk an outcome neither wants wants. But as Daniel Diermeier, the dean of the public policy school at the University of Chicago, notes, “A very important lesson of game theory is that sometimes the world is a grim place.”

Submission + - Hillary's team copied intel off top-secret server to email ( 3

RoccamOccam writes: The FBI is investigating whether members of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle “cut and pasted” material from the government’s classified network so that it could be sent to her private e-mail address, former State Department security officials say.

Somehow, highly classified information from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), as well as even the super-secure the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS), jumped from those closed systems to the Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet) and turned up in at least 1,340 of Clinton’s home e-mails — including several the CIA earlier this month flagged as containing ultra-secret Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Programs.

Submission + - Of course, someone claims to own a patent covering many current HTTPS use cases

yoink! writes: According to an article in The Register, corporations big and small are coming under legal fire from CryptoPeak; the holder of the patent has claimed that the Elliptic Curve Cryptography methods/implementations used as part of the HTTPS protocol violates their intellectual property. Naturally, reasonable people disagree.

Submission + - How bad of a world are we really living in right now?

Y.A.A.P. writes: Slate has a surprisingly relevant article of the state of the world today. A reasonable number of graphs and statistical comparisons show that our world is more peaceful than it has been for a long time. The article tells us that, despite what most news outlets (and political candidates) tell us, The World Is Not Falling Apart. Well, not from violence, at least.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Any good tech towns that aren't huge clusterf*cks? 4

An anonymous reader writes: I've been working in tech as a software developer for about 15 years. As I've gotten older I'm starting to see the appeal of living in a city that's not crazily blown out and expensive like most established tech markets (think San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles, etc.). Are there are any good tech job markets that are normal, affordable, livable, American cities, or am I forever doomed to be subjected to the rat race found in these overheated and overcrowded markets?

Submission + - This is What a Real Bomb Looks Like ( 2

szczys writes: You see them all the time in movies and TV shows, but is that what an actual bomb looks like? Probably not... here's what a real bomb looks like.

This story stems from a millionaire gone bust from gambling addiction who decided to extort riches back from the casino. He built a bomb and got it into the building, then ransomed the organization for $3 million. The FBI documented the mechanisms in great detail — including the 8 independent trigger systems that made it impossible for them to disarm the thing. The design was so nefarious it's still used today as a training tool.

Submission + - White House Responds to Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden

protest_boy writes: The White House has issued a response to the two-year old petition to pardon Edward Snowden for any crimes that may have been committed in revealing secret NSA programs.

"If he [Snowden] felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."

Submission + - Minneapolis, Sausalito and others show financial transparency

dkatana writes: People are no longer willing to pay more taxes or see their services reduced without full accountability. That is why cities need to empower residents with tools to monitor where the money goes.

"As citizens become more informed and critical about how their taxes are used, local governments need to implement accounting and transparency tools to show residents where every penny goes." says Cities of the Future.

Several cities in the US and Canada are using tools developed for Open Government to demonstrate transparency, enable city officials to monitor budgets to checkbook level, and citizens to see how their taxes are being spent.

Sausalito, Palo Alto, Minneapolis and Thousand Oaks are examples of cities giving the public full access to their financials.

Submission + - Samba user survey results - Improve the documentation ! (

Jeremy Allison - Sam writes: Mark Muehlfeld of the Samba Team recently surveyed our user base and recently reported the results at the SambaXP conference in Germany.

They make fascinating reading, and include all the comments on Samba made by our users. Short answer — we must improve our documentation. Here are the full results:


                Jeremy Allison,
                Samba Team.

Submission + - Google Confirms Cops Can Wiretap Your Hangouts (

Errorcod3 writes: In the wake of all the Edward Snowden revelations, a seemingly endless series of encryption apps, all promising some degree “NSA-proof” security, have come out trying to take advantage of this new anti-surveillance business opportunity.

But despite some apps’ relative success, the reality is that most people probably just use mainstream messaging apps like iMessage or Google Hangouts.

Apple has long maintained that conversations over iMessage and Facetime use end-to-end encryption, meaning “no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them,” as the company said after the PRISM revelations. That claim has turned out to be partly true: normally, Apple can’t read your iMessages, but they can if they really want to.

Submission + - Google Can't Ignore The Android Update Problem Any Longer (

An anonymous reader writes: An editorial at Tom's Hardware makes the case that Google's Android fragmentation problem has gotten too big to ignore any longer. Android 5.0 Lollipop and its successor 5.1 have seen very low adoption rates — 9.0% and 0.7% respectively. Almost 40% of users are still on KitKat. 6% lag far behind on Gingerbread and Froyo. The article points out that even Microsoft is now making efforts to both streamline Windows upgrades and adapt Android (and iOS) apps to run on Windows. If Google doesn't adapt, "it risks having users (slowly but surely) switch to more secure platforms that do give them updates in a timely manner. And if users want those platforms, OEMs will have no choice but to switch to them too, leaving Google with less and less Android adoption." The author also says OEMs and carriers can no longer be trusted to handle operating system updates, because they've proven themselves quite incapable of doing so in a reasonable manner.

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