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Submission + - What happened to UI? Who are the people who approve modern UI?

Artem Tashkinov writes: Here are the staples of the modern user interface (in varying degree apply to modern web/and most operating systems like Windows 10, iOS and even Android):
  • Too much white space, huge margins, too little information
  • Text is indistinguishable from controls
  • Text in CAPS
  • Certain controls cannot be easily understood (like on/off states for check boxes or elements like tabs)
  • Everything presented in shades of gray or using a severely and artificially limited palette
  • Often awful fonts suitable only for HiDPI devices (Windows 10 modern apps are a prime example)
  • Cannot be controlled by keyboard
  • Very little customizability if any

How would Slashdotters explain the proliferation and existance of such unusable user interfaces and design choices?

Submission + - Possibly fatal blow against a patent trolls. (computerworld.com)

whoever57 writes: Patent trolls rely on the fact that they have no assets and, if they lose a case, they can fold the company that owned the patent and sued, thus avoiding paying any the defendant's legal bills. However, in a recent case, the judge has told the winning defendant that it can claim its legal bills from the law firm. The decision is based on the plaintiff's law firm using a contract under which it would take a portion of any judgment, making it more than just counsel, but instead a partner with the plaintiff. This will likely result in law firms wanting to be paid up front, instead of offering a contingency-based fee.

Submission + - Schoolyard fight between AV vendors

jetkins writes: It seems that two malware/antivirus companies are involved in a bit of a spat. In a nutshell, the sequence of events appears to be thus:
  • Malwarebytes does not take part in the three regularly-published AV tests, nor has it done for some time.
  • PC Pitstop, makers of PC Matic and other products, decided to commission its own test, which included Malwarebytes without their knowledge.
  • Malwarebytes' product scored poorly in the test.
  • Shortly thereafter, Malwarebytes started detecting PC Matic as a "Potentially Unwanted Program" and suggesting users remove it.

Here's PC Pitstop's take on the situation and here's Malwarebytes' spin on it.

I don't have a dog in this hunt, but the timing does seem a little suspect. What do y'all make of it?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Dealing with gaslighting colleague 3

An anonymous reader writes: What's the best unofficial way to deal with a gaslighting colleague? For those not familiar, I mean the definition from this link:

Gaslighting occurs at the workplace in the form of bullies unscheduling things you’ve scheduled, misplacing files and other items that you are working on and co-workers micro-managing you and being particularly critical of what you do and keeping it under their surveillance. They are watching you too much, implying or blatantly saying that you are doing things wrong when, in fact, you are not. As you can see, this is a competitive maneuver, a way of making you look bad so that they look good;

In addition to above, I'd add Poring over every source-code commit, and then criticising it even if the criticism is contradictory to what he previously said.

Raising things through the official channels is out of the question, as is confronting the colleague in question directly as he is considered something of a superstar engineer who has been in the company for decades and has much more influence than any ordinary engineer.

So, what do slashdotters recommend (other than leaving or escalating via the official channels)?

Submission + - WikiLeaks: 2017 will 'blow you away' and, no, Russia didn't hack the US election (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The hatred WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange feels towards Hillary Clinton is far from being a secret. During the election campaign, the non-profit organization leaked Clinton emails in the hope that it would destroy her presidential hopes — and we all know the result of the election.

As we slide gently into 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account has turned on the ignition and is about to hit the accelerator. The tweet says: "If you thought 2016 was a big WikiLeaks year 2017 will blow you away". On top of this, Assange himself is due to appear in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, denying Russia's involvement in hacking DNC emails.

WikiLeak's tweet comes as part of a plea for donations, but it promises that this will be the year of a 'showdown'.

Submission + - 700 Employee, 7 Story India Tech Raided for Telemarketing Fraud (nytimes.com)

retroworks writes: NYT has an interesting blow-by-blow story on two India Tech Center employees who informed on their call center fraud operation, which targeted Americans (especially recent immigrants) with fraudulent IRS calls and other scams. The building was surrounded by police, phone lines cut. Eventually 630 of the employees were released, and charges were brought against 70 managers and executives of the call center.

The article concludes that while the number of such scam calls fell by 95% following the raid, that even if 400 such centers were raided, that the business was too easy and too lucrative to successfully destroy.

Submission + - Trump's Treasury pick appears to be part of a federal investigation (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: Trump's transition strategy of picking some of the shadiest people on earth is still going strong. The latest: According to the FBI, his Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin is involved with an "ongoing investigation", as reported by Mike Best over at the FOIA site MuckRock. Best requested Mnuchin's FBI files, but the request was rejected under the grounds of an open investigation, likely related to Mnuchin's superbly-timed exit from Relativity Media — right before it cratered.

Submission + - "Artificial Intelligence" was the Fake News of 2016

Artem Tashkinov writes: The Register argues that the AI hype in 2016 was just that, a hype. The definition of AI was stretched out of limits to encompass what basically is very advanced algorithms for harvesting and processing data. Various intelligent assistants, such as Google Assistent and Siri, are at best a nicely looking and sounding interface to search engines. Of course, speech and images recognition has become much better but the doom and gloom of millions of people losing their jobs to AI haven't materialized yet and it's not immediately obvious that the prediction will hold any sway in the nearest future.

Submission + - Weapons of Math Destruction Author: Models are Opinions Embedded in Math (latimes.com)

dangle writes: The LA Times has an interview with "Weapons of Math Destruction" author Cathy O'Neil discussing her concerns about the social consequences of ill-considered mathematical modeling. She discusses the example of a NYC Department of Education algorithm designed to grade school teachers that no one outside of the coders had access to. "The Department of Education did not know how to explain the scores that they were giving out to teachers," she observes. "...(T)he very teachers whose jobs are on the line don’t understand how they’re being evaluated. I think that’s a question of justice. Everyone should have the right to know how they’re being evaluated at their job," she argues. Another example discussed is a Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services risk-modeling algorithm developed by SAS to score children according to their risk of being abused so that social workers can better target their efforts. Depending on the ethical considerations, such an algorithm could intentionally overweight factors such as income or ethnicity in a way that could tip the balance between right to privacy and protection of abused minors one way or another. "I want to separate the moral conversations from the implementation of the data model that formalizes those decisions. I want to see algorithms as formal versions of conversations that have already taken place," she concludes.

Submission + - Researchers Send Information Using a Single Particle of Light (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to research published Thursday in Science, physicists at Princeton University have designed a device that allows a single electron to pass its quantum information to a photon in what could be a big breakthrough for silicon-based quantum computers. The device designed by the Princeton researchers is the result of five years of research and works by trapping an electron and a photon within a device built by HRL laboratories, which is owned by Boeing and General Motors. It is a semi-conductor chip made from layers of silicon and silicon-germanium, materials that are inexpensive and already widely deployed in consumer electronics. Across the top of this wafer of silicon layers were laid a number of nanowires, each smaller than the width of a human hair, which were used to deliver energy to the chip. This energy allowed the researchers to trap an electron in between the silicon layers of the chip in microstructures known as quantum dots. The researchers settled on photons as the medium of exchange between electrons since they are less sensitive to disruption from their environment and could potentially be used to carry quantum information between quantum chips, rather than within the circuits on a single quantum chip. The ability to scale up this device would mean that photons could be used to pass quantum information from electron to electron in order to form the circuits for a quantum computer.

Submission + - World's Largest Hedge Fund To Replace Managers With Artificial Intelligence (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The world’s largest hedge fund is building a piece of software to automate the day-to-day management of the firm, including hiring, firing and other strategic decision-making. Bridgewater Associates has a team of software engineers working on the project at the request of billionaire founder Ray Dalio, who wants to ensure the company can run according to his vision even when he’s not there, the Wall Street Journal reported. The firm, which manages $160 billion, created the team of programmers specializing in analytics and artificial intelligence, dubbed the Systematized Intelligence Lab, in early 2015. The unit is headed up by David Ferrucci, who previously led IBM’s development of Watson, the supercomputer that beat humans at Jeopardy! in 2011. The company is already highly data-driven, with meetings recorded and staff asked to grade each other throughout the day using a ratings system called “dots”. The Systematized Intelligence Lab has built a tool that incorporates these ratings into “Baseball Cards” that show employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Another app, dubbed The Contract, gets staff to set goals they want to achieve and then tracks how effectively they follow through. These tools are early applications of PriOS, the over-arching management software that Dalio wants to make three-quarters of all management decisions within five years. The kinds of decisions PriOS could make include finding the right staff for particular job openings and ranking opposing perspectives from multiple team members when there’s a disagreement about how to proceed. The machine will make the decisions, according to a set of principles laid out by Dalio about the company vision.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 293

'... not supposed ...'. In a perfect world, maybe. The reality is that in a major event, all sorts of equipment, communications and networks are pressed into service. Off-duty responders in area may not have the ability to return to base to get the official equipment, qualified civilians and volunteer groups also participate not only in actual emergencies, but also preparatory drills and exercises. Probably the best example of this is when the DOD 'defuzzed' the GPS signal during the Gulf War ( .... The number of GPS receivers that they had available that could translate the encoded military signal was not nearly as many as needed. The military bought several thousand commercial receivers, and distributed them army and other ground units. To enhance the role of these systems, the Air Force stopped degrading the GPS signal, so that these commercial receivers could provide 16 meter accuracy. ... from http://www.fas.org/spp/militar... ). Also, military personnel were actually having their families send them civilian units to make up the shortage. Active Interference with any network is usually a bad idea, the exception might perhaps be correction other secure facilities.

Comment Genomic Views of Human History (Score 1) 541

See "Genomic Views of Human History", by Mary-Claire King ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... ) at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... Basically, from examining in excruciating detail the DNA of groups and subgroups, human beings throughout prehistory were considerable more mobile than previously assumed. Essentially, there is more genetic diversity between individuals from the same village than there is between any given 'racial' groups taken as wholes. Because of human mobility ( refugees, war brides, immigration, guest labor, etc.) the genetic distinctions of 'race' become even more indistinct.

Comment Maybe History, not 'Future Scenario' (Score 1) 380

China may have had their own Stangelovian incident.

From Page 5, "The Move from Qinghai to Taibai", http://www.project2049.net/documents/chinas_nuclear_warhead_storage_and_handling_system.pdf

"Another security consideration may have led to the move. During 1967, the nuclear weapons program in Qinghai became subject to Cultural Revolution strife, including attempts by rival factions to seize nuclear-related facilities in both Qinghai and Xinjiang. On March 5, 1967, Premier Zhou Enlai, at the urging of CMC Vice Chairman Gen Nie Rongzhen, declared martial law and placed Jia Qianrui in charge of enforcement. Along with Hong Youdao, Jia oversaw the relocation from Qinghai to Taibai County in 1969 and 22 Base operations until the unit’s subordination to Second Artillery in January 1979."

Comment Re:I don't get it at all (Score 1) 212

I don't understand why there's a want or a need for a national ID system. If you're a citizen, you already have Social Security documentation, and probably a passport/driver's license. ...

A national ID is a Single Point of Failure. I have had several cops / security folks tell me that a collection of documentation greatly increases the difficulty of forgery, because they have to be mutually consistent over space and time. A variety of documents provides a multitude of entry points and traversals for even a cursory on the spot casual interrogation. For example, some of the digits of the SSN associate with certain states at certain times, so even if the SSN Card isn't produced as ID, a question to tell the SSN orally, Followed by a remark like "Do you parents still live in State X" can trip someone up. Also, some states have had difficulties with corruption and counterfeiting in DL bureaus, but perhaps not all states at all times. Relative wear, like marks and de-lamination, also are giveaways, along with other seemingly innocuous contents of a wallet. Collections of anything will exhibit patterns of differences and similarities from individual to individual, and will be characteristic of a given 'locale', and these will alert an experienced observer. A national ID would tend to be adopted by any and all agencies as proof o person, if just as a cost and complexity saving measure. But it's that same complexity which trips the impostors.

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