Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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:The story is VERY misleading (Score 1) 392

They were just driving at pedestrians and expecting the car to stop on its own. Your car won't do it and the option isn't even available.

Wrong (although you, unlike many replying to this article, are right that auto-park was unrelated to this so-called failure).

The option IS available. It uses forward-facing RADAR and camera(s) to detect pedestrians (and, in later iterations, cyclists) and apply the brakes to avoid or lessen any impact. So far, reports indicate that this has been reliable.

As it requires (fairly expensive) additional hardware, it (understandably) costs extra (a friend of mine who works in the business mentioned it's around an extra £2k per vehicle in parts, so expect about double/triple that to factor in the software and for the manufacturer to make what they consider a "reasonable" profit!).

One key point to note, however, is that, once it detects a pedestrian/cyclist and starts to apply the brakes, if you continue to manually accelerate towards the obstacle, most such systems will disengage themselves (presumably under the assumption that a driver would not continue to accelerate unless the detection was a false-positive). As such, in this example, you are right that the vehicle won't stop on its own, as the driver appeared to be continuing to accelerate.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 392

If you have auto-park, auto-park sure as hell better include the "don't run over pedestrians" as standard with that.

If you don't have auto-park, there is no problem.

But when auto park is an option, and "don't kill pedestrians" is another option, that's just moronic. The Volvo spokesperson straight up said that's an additional option. Which means there exist configurations of this vehicle which will auto-park and run over pedestrians.

Unfortunately, this is another case of /. finding a brain-dead article to base the thread around...

There were two demonstrations involved. One of the self-parking, one of the pedestrian avoidance.

The self-parking went without a hitch (because this option was present). Had any pedestrians been in the space while auto-parking was being demonstrated, the system would have detected them and avoided them, same as with any other obstacle. This system uses shorter-range sensors around the vehicle that will detect ANY objects with an aim to avoiding them.

The pedestrian avoidance demo (which was tested by MANUALLY driving at a group of pedestrians with auto-park disengaged and completely irrelevant as it was not a parking scenario) was supposed to show how the RADAR detects pedestrians in time to apply the brakes to prevent a collision. This is a forward-facing RADAR system, supplemented with cameras and software, designed to detect pedestrians in the road and to apply the brakes to prevent, or at least reduce the speed of, any collision with such. Unfortunately, the demonstrator neglected to check that this feature was present before trying to demonstrate it (and in any case, appeared to pump the accelerator, in spite of the fact that this would bypass the feature had it been present). Needless to say, without the feature present, the vehicle will do exactly what you expect when you press the accelerator (with a gear engaged, brakes off and engine running, before anyone makes any sarcastic comments!) and proceeded in the direction it was being steered.

In simple terms, the demonstrator is at fault here (although may be able to share responsibility if they had been advised that this option was present... still should have checked though!).

The Volvo spokespersons comments have been conflated here, as the pedestrian avoidance option IS an optional extra, but has NOTHING to do with auto-parking.

All this being said, however... the whole conversation is somewhat moot as these are considered "assistive" technologies. i.e. they are there to assist the driver, not replace the driver. Until these features can operate without a driver in the vehicle, they should never be considered to be in full control of the vehicle, so should not absolve a driver of blame. Any driver who is prepared to relinquish A PORTION OF their control of a vehicle, but expects in doing so to release themselves of ALL liability for any adverse consequences, should have their license revoked and undergo a prolonged period of re-education. Similarly, anyone marketing these technologies as anything other than assistive, and implying that they reduce or eliminate the need for a driver to remain alert, attentive and in control of their vehicle should be subject to some form of sanctions, although, not being a lawyer, I am not sure what statute that may fall under (possible false advertising?)...

Comment Mine did the same, but now works OK! (Score 2) 179

I own a Nexus 7 2013 (Non-cellular, WiFi only) unit.

Two weeks after accepting the latest OTA update, my tablet froze on the lock screen and would refuse to accept any key presses on-screen. Forced a reset via the power button, and got the described symptoms (Boot loop). None of the bootloader options allowed me to get it to boot all the way.

I guess that I must have been a little frustrated at this point, because I held the tablet so hard that it gave slightly (held in Portrait with my hands on each side and fingers pushing from back to front gently, but enough to cause mild screen distortion). After doing this a final restart allowed the device to boot normally. I have since carried out the same procedure with three other examples of the same model of tablet (OK, so one of them was the LTE variant) and seen it resolve the same symptoms in each case without any adverse affect (other than a look of mild horror on one of the owners' faces until I handed it back working!).

The only thing I can think of (and I haven't bothered to crack the case to check, so this is literally just a guess) is that the touchscreen connector may not be as sturdy as it could be, and that the device will fail to boot if it doesn't detect a properly working touchscreen connection.

I'm not suggesting that everyone should try this, but if you're going to crack the case to replace the motherboard anyway, try re-seating the connectors (particularly the screen) and reassembling it first before going as far as replacing any parts and see if it sorts the issue out for you!

Comment Re:Solution: Stay off the bleeding edge (Score 1) 179

Reading comprehension 101:

He said "never ever install anything that has been out less than 6 months and is not on its third patch.

In other words, he'll use things at patch levels less than 3, but only once they've been in the wild for 6 months or more and hence any bugs are likely to have been identified and resolved in one of the patches (even if that patch has a number less than 3!).

Comment A few key questions that come out of TFA (Score 1) 187

Having read TFA (yeah, I know... ), there are a number of questions that arise:

1) What the heck are they smoking in Tory HQ?

2) Did any of them consider running this by someone from even the party's own tech-support, let alone anyone form the Met or (for bonus points) GCHQ?

3) TFA states that this will apply to "Hardcore" porn. Who will be the arbiter of what constitutes hardcore?

4) Is their handling of websites selling POMs (Prescription-Only Meds) without a prescription to be considered a suitable yardstick against which to gauge their handling of this "new threat" (i.e. you can expect it to take between 2 and 5 years for them to have access to the site blocked or the site shut down (even where the domains are uk-registered, where the servers are UK-based, where the domain owners have already been convicted numerous times for the same activity, and where a substantial portion of the legwork in identifying the hosts has already been done by the person reporting it to the MHRA))?

5) Are they going to declare VPNs to be illegal, as they can be used to trivially circumvent geo-blocking (or are they really suggesting that the websites be forced to comply with this scheme even for connections originating outside the UK?)?

6) How will they classify sites where porn is not their core business, but where there is porn-like content?

7) Why can't we just encourage parents to actually parent? People keep on moaning about the "nanny state", but then expect the state to act like a surrogate parent to their kids (whilst at the same time, creating rules that make it increasingly difficult for schools to enforce anything remotely resembling discipline).

8) How about we propose an alternative solution that it took me all of two minutes to think of (and I haven't had a full dose of caffeine yet, so there's probably a few holes in it!)? This suggestion will take some changes to commonly deployed technology to make it work, but the changes aren't anything that hasn't been achievable with existing technology for years (just not in most home environments). Mandate that residential internet equipment be configured either with dual WAN ports, or with the single WAN port capable of carrying up to two subscriptions, and with at least two WiFi network interfaces. The idea is that a residential subscription provide two "streams", one open to the 'net as normal, the other carrying a filtered internet feed (much like the internet access commonly used in schools). One subscription goes to each WiFi network (and, optionally, segregation of the LAN Ethernet ports). This could be achieved using technology already trivial to obtain (although would require reconfiguration at both the ISP end, and either a substantial rewrite of the firmware or deployment of more "capable" kit to customers).

Comment Re: people are going to be saying (Score 1) 737

Seems like a good idea... Let's develop it a little further, but stop just short of advocating full remote control...

Give the Flight Deck crew TWO PIN codes (each), one for general use, the other a "duress code" which:

1) Unlocks the door (overriding the lockout)
2) Sends a distress transmission to the ground (but without making those onboard aware of it)
3) Changes the transponder code to one of the existing emergency codes (or an agreed upon new code)
4) Forces the autopilot on in a new, more "assertive", mode that:
a) can't be disabled
b) reduces altitude (in a controlled fashion) in case of O2 deprivation
c) redirects to the nearest airport capable of receiving this aircraft type (bonus points for automatic landing capability) and sends a signal to warn the airport to expect them and have emergency services on a higher state of alert
d) can only be overridden by two parties, one of whom must be on the ground
e) once within ILS beacon range of the selected airport, allows for a pilot-controlled landing (but retains a veto over any obviously deliberate attempts to crash the aircraft)

Not likely to be cheap to implement, and false alarms would be inordinately inconvenient, but possibly still more investor-/press-/corporate-lawyer-friendly than the status quo...

Caffeine levels are a little low, though, so I've probably missed some glaring hole in the idea.

Comment Re: This validates the US policy... (Score 1) 737

Or, how about this to take your suggestion a little further?

Give the flight deck crew TWO PIN numbers, one for general use, the other a "duress code" that initiates an alert transmission to the ground, changes the transponder code to one of the relevant emergency codes and sets the autopilot in a more "assertive" state where it:

1) can't be disabled
2) diverts to the nearest airport capable of receiving this type of aircraft (bonus points for automatic landing capability!)
3) reduces altitude (in a controlled fashion) in case O2 deprivation is involved

This way, even if there are bad actors involved, in- or outside the cockpit, their ability to deliberately crash the aircraft, into a populated target or otherwise, is going to be seriously reduced. The inconvenience of a false alarm is likely to be far more press-/investor-friendly than the alternative.

Then again, I've only given this idea a couple of minutes thought (and currently have a little too much blood in my caffeine system!), so there is probably at least one glaring hole in it that I have yet to spot!

Comment Re:Not the right way (Score 1) 260

If you think talking to children is sufficient, then you are a classic example of why it's not.

That doesn't even work with most adults.

Yes, but at the same time a resounding no!

Whether "talking to children/adults/whoever" works is dependent on a range of things:

1) Are you approaching it from a positive mindset? If you talk to people expecting them to ignore what you say, you are far more likely to find them ignoring you.

2) Are you "preaching", or trying to be informative? If the former, what you tell people will often be heard with a degree of skepticism and subsequently disregarded.

3) Have you always taken the "talking" approach, or have you historically taken the "controlling" approach and are trying something new? The former is more likely to be successful than the latter (although it does, to an extent, depend on how you are introducing the latter).

4) Are you the only one in their lives taking the "talking" approach? Particularly with kids in a family setting, consistency is key here.

5) Are you trying to "scare them into good behaviour"? If so, give up... it won't work!

6) The "Do as I say, not as I do" approach will not work. The approach of "I'm older/more knowledgeable/whatever than you, therefore I don't have to live by the same rules" will get peoples backs up. Of course, there will be areas where the activities of others (particularly kids) should be restricted more than your activities, but where this is the case it is essential to make this clear up-front, and explain the reasons why (and ensure that these reasons are understood). Otherwise, you will be seen as a hypocrite, and ignored.

The above being said, however, I would agree that, particularly with the very young, talking is unlikely to be sufficient in isolation. Back it up with monitoring (but be up-front and honest that you are doing so... silently monitoring them without their knowledge will only result in resentment), and include regular reviews of what is found in the monitoring (both "positive" and "negative"). IF you do this, however, monitor EVERYONE'S traffic in the household (otherwise, point 6 applies!). This also gives you the opportunity to set an example by way of logs of your own activities.

Above all else, make sure it is clear that they can talk to you about anything (and I mean ANYTHING). Be approachable. Be prepared for them to see some things that you might not want them to, and to subsequently have an age-appropriate (but honest) discussion about them and make it clear that you expect that this will happen to start with, so there is no point covering it up because you won't be angry unless they try to hide it (and stick to this!).

It is also worth making clear that if you are not filtering, and your child has friends over to visit, it will reflect on them very badly if they use the opportunity to bypass the parenting style of their friends' parents by showing them things they wouldn't have access to at home. Explain that it may be tempting to "show off" how you have greater trust in your kids than other parents do, but that abuse of trust will have consequences (be sure to make these consequences clear ahead of time and stick to them). It might also be worth letting the other parents know of your differing approach... If, however, you do this, make sure that you are not using an approach of "I'm a better parent", but rather just informing them of the different approach and the potential that the temptation to abuse it in front of friends may be too much for your child the first couple of visits and to be prepared to have some questions raised by their child).

Comment Re:Screw this clickbait (Score 1) 237

Actually, I guess the last one was more of a tongue-in-cheek dig. The quote stated that calls are being recorded for "quality assurance". Would I be wildly misinterpreting his intent if I were to guess he was saying that this is a lie because of his perception of a low quality of service from those he spoke to over the three contacts (i.e. the "quality" wasn't "assured", in spite of the recording of calls)?

Slashdot Top Deals

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken