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Comment Re:BBS (Score 1) 181

Most of the early boards I called were Renegade, one was WWIV, one was Telegard.

Then I discovered a board running Excelsior! and the rest quickly faded. Inherently multi-line, and supported inter-system links, so I was calling one Excelsior! BBS with 6 lines, and one of them was a dedicated linking line to another board the next city over (still a local call, but itself was local to different folks) with 12 lines, and that was linked to yet another with 8, and everyone could communicate. It was... phenomenally addictive. My grades reflected that.

Comment Re:BBS (Score 1) 181

> both sides of the disk were coated with media.

Yup. Some single-sided drives used only the top surface, and some used only the bottom, but the "single-sided" disks didn't specify which systems they were intended for, ergo both sides must've been usable!

I have a box full of those notch punches in the basement. One of these days I'm gonna go to VCFMW and hand 'em out like candy. :)

Comment Re:This explains it all (Score 1) 395

The tower doesn't need to know your location for that to happen.

Actually in CDMA, they do, to get the timing-advance that allows soft-handoff to work. It's down to tens of nanoseconds to make the chips line up when they're received at your location, and that means the trilateration accuracy is down to tens of feet.

Also, all modern standards are based on CDMA for the air-interface portion, because it's so efficient.

Look up any of the hyphenated terms if you care to learn more.

Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Programming

'My Heroic and Lazy Stand Against IFTTT' (pinboard.in) 177

Like many of you, I use IFTTT. It's one of the handiest tools on the internet to get your work done. Want a text alert for weather? Want a notification on your Android smartphone whenever someone you follow publishes a blog post? IFTTT can do all sorts of such things. It is able to do so because it works with different companies and utilizes APIs of their services. Many of these companies are happy to have IFTTT trying to enhance the experience of their customers. Many don't necessarily want -- or can allow -- IFTTT to do that. Pinboard, a social bookmarking website, falls in the latter category. Maciej Ceglowski, CEO of Pinboard in a blog post explained why that is the case: Imagine if your sewer pipe started demanding that you make major changes in your diet. Now imagine that it got a lawyer and started asking you to sign things. You would feel surprised. This is the position I find myself in today with IFTTT, a form of Internet plumbing that has been connecting peaceably to my backend for the past five years, but which has recently started sending scary emails. [...] Because many of you rely on IFTTT, and because [their request] makes it sound like I'm the asshole, I feel I should explain myself. In a nutshell: 1. IFTTT wants me to do their job for them for free. 2. They have really squirrely terms of service. In the blog post, Ceglowski further explains his concerns with IFTTT. He says IFTTT wants ownership of all right, title, and interest. "Pinboard is in some ways already a direct competitor to IFTTT. The site offers built-in Twitter integration, analogous to IFTTT's twitter-Pinboard recipe. I don't know what rights I would be assigning here, but this is not the way I want to find out." You should read the blog post, it's very insightful and sheds light on things that many of us might not have considered otherwise. Jason Snell has offered his take on this as well, he writes: If IFTTT sticks with this philosophy, it will rapidly become a lot less useful and interesting as a service.
Crime

Mars Rover Code Used For Cyber-Espionage Malware 78

An anonymous reader writes: Two open-source libraries used in the Mars Rover software have been integrated in the source code of a malware family (nicknamed Rover) used as part of a cyber-espionage campaign against the Indian government (Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan). The two libraries are OpenCV and OpenAL, two libraries for processing image and audio information. As such, the Rover malware can take screenshots, record video and audio.
Bug

Apple Says Sorry For iPhone Error 53 and Issues IOS 9.2.1 Update To Fix It (betanews.com) 123

Mark Wilson writes: Apple has a lot of support at the moment for its stance on encryption and refusing the FBI access to an iPhone's contents, but it's only a couple of weeks since the company was seen in a less favorable light. There was quite a backlash when users found that installing an update to iOS resulted in Error 53 and a bricked iPhone. Apple initially said that Error 53 was caused 'for security reasons' following speculation that it was a bid to stop people from using third party repair shops. iFixit suggested that the problem was a result of a failure of parts to correctly sync, and Apple has been rounding criticized for failing to come up with a fix. Today the company has issued an apology, along with an update that ensures Error 53 won't happen again. But there's more good news ... If you were talked into paying for an out of warranty replacement as a result of Error 53, you could be in line to get your money back.
Privacy

Congressman: Court Order To Decrypt iPhone Has Far-Reaching Implications (dailydot.com) 400

Patrick O'Neill writes: Hours after Apple was ordered to help the FBI access the San Bernardino Shooters' iPhone, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a Stanford University computer-science graduate, wondered where the use of the All Writs Act—on which the magistrate judge based her ruling—might lead. "Can courts compel Facebook to provide analytics of who might be a criminal?" Lieu said in an email to the Daily Dot. "Or Google to give a list of names of people who searched for the term ISIS? At what point does this stop?"
Apple, so far, has vowed to fight the order that it decrypt the phone of San Bernadino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, in no uncertain terms.

Comment This is called "cable mining" in the telephone biz (Score 1) 169

And Ma Bell has been doing it for a century. Cable rack in the central offices gets crowded after just a few decades, otherwise.

There's precedent, there are specialized tools and procedures for error reduction, and worldwide there are at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people with lots of experience in this very specific field.

Comment Blind folks still use cassette tape quite a lot. (Score 5, Interesting) 169

You can feel the weight balance to tell how much of the tape is on one reel versus the other. You can rewind and fastforward by gut-feeling, with no display. Every operation of the player is tactile, and there are no hidden options menus, touchscreens, or any of that crap.

Submission + - Google: Too Many White/Asian Males Play Computer Scientists on TV and in Movies 2

theodp writes: In partnership with Gallup, Google has released a second report with its take on the state of U.S. K-12 CS education. Entitled Images of Computer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S., the report suggests tech's woeful diversity can be traced back to Hollywood's portrayal of Computer Scientists. "Students and parents perceive that there are few portrayals of women, Hispanic or Black computer scientists on TV or in movies," the report explains in its Key Findings. "These groups are much more likely to see White or Asian men engaged in computer science. They also often see computer scientists portrayed wearing glasses." In an accompanying post at the Google for Education blog, Google's Head of R&D for K-12 Education adds, "The results show that there's high value and interest in CS among all demographics, and even more so for lower-income parents. But unfortunately perceptions of who CS is for and who is portrayed in CS are narrow-White, male, smart with glasses. Even though they value it, students often don't see themselves in it." As a result of this and other factors, the report notes that "among the 49 states with at least one student taking the [AP] computer science exam, 12 had no Black students participating in 2014." It's an alarming factoid, but also a misleading one. As Gas Station Without Pumps explained two years ago, it is hardly surprising from a statistical standpoint that there are no Black student test takers in a state if there are essentially no test takers at all. So, let's not forget about girls and minorities, but let's also not forget that pretty much everyone is underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture — only 46,344 AP CS scores were reported in 2015 for a HS population of about 16 million students. So, shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all? Towards that end, perhaps Google might want to look into commissioning a free programming book for kids from O'Reilly instead of another point-the-finger report from Gallup. But if Google wants to continue its search for things that have discouraged kids from coding, it might want to look in the mirror. After all, dropping a programming language for kids — as Google did with App Inventor in 2011 after CEO Larry Page ordered the plug pulled on projects deemed unworthy of Google 'wood' — didn't exactly send kids (and their perplexed teachers) the message that CS was for them, did it?

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