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Comment Re:Mobile Web (Score 1) 79

It wasn't just designers. Ad companies like Google were big culprits in subverting this vision. If your content is delivered in a structured form, then it's trivial for the receiver to just not display the bits that are adverts. On the other hand, if you get a big glob of executable code that produces some output then it's a lot harder to identify which bits are real content and which are cruft.

Comment Re:Jobs is dead (Score 1) 366

No one objects to the MacBook having a USB-C port. People object to it not having any other ports, which means that you need a dongle for basically anything. Even having two USB-C ports (one for power, one for other stuff) would have been a big improvement. The other annoyance is that no one - not even Apple - yet sells a monitor that connects with a single USB-C cable, provides power to the laptop and exposes USB, GigE and maybe eSATA ports.

Comment Re:Correction (Score 1) 180

It doesn't matter. I'm not sure why this is news, because Facebook has sold a service for quite a few years based on this. They know which constituency each of their users live in (even if you don't provide a real address, the IP that you connect from most frequently and the location of your phone if you install their app give them a good idea). They have a good hit rate for identifying the undecided voters and, importantly, what issues they consider important. They will sell parties the ability to run ads targeted at people in a particular constituency based on the issues that they find important. If you pay more, they will even sell you the names, addresses, and key issues for these voters so that you can send people around to canvas, briefed with exactly the right talking points.

It doesn't matter that Facebook has a few outliers like yourself, they still have enough information to have a disproportionate amount of influence on the political process.

Comment Re:What is it that you say? (Score 4, Interesting) 442

The problem is that you're both right. The taxis are providing the service, the taxi companies are not. Taxi companies have long since adopted similar business models to Uber and Lyft: the drivers either bring (and maintain) their own car or rent it from the taxi company. The only service that the companies provide is a dispatcher, for which they take a hefty cut.

Consumers want to have a single dispatcher service that works anywhere and puts them in touch with a lot of taxi drivers. Uber provides something like this. The taxi companies don't want to, because this kind of thing naturally benefits from economies of scale: it's only slightly more expensive to provide a dispatcher service for the entire USA than for NYC.

If you really want to address the problem with a legislative fix then make every licensed taxi reachable via a single computerised dispatcher service and provide a well documented API for interacting with it. Provide (and fund out of the taxes on taxi fares and licenses) enough infrastructure that anyone can write an app that will hail any taxi in your jurisdiction and pay for it. If Uber wants to operate in your city, then they're free to do so by simply integrating their front end with your municipal back end.

Comment Re: Will Internet Voting Endanger The Secret Ballo (Score 1) 219

Laymen cannot build a modern car or airplane or understand how it works, which means they cannot trust this system...

That's irrelevant. The interests of the people who build the cars are aligned with those of the people who use them, and if that proves not to be the case then there are liability laws that ensure that you can be compensated if your car is not built to spec. In contrast, the interests of small subsets of the population are typically not directly aligned with the rest when choosing a government.

In the UK, our elections run by putting a cross on a piece of paper, which then goes into a box. The boxes are taken to a central location for each constituency and are then counted. If I don't trust the system, then I can watch the box from the time that I cast my vote until it gets to the polling station and can then watch the votes being taken from the box and put into piles and counted. The same is true for almost any member of the electorate. In contrast, with an electronic voting system the number of people who are able to verify it is tiny: I have a PhD in Computer Science and work in computer security and I wouldn't be confident that I could spot hidden manipulation of an electronic election and I doubt that there are more than 100 people in the world who could - if that. Do you trust those 100 people to decide who wins the next election? Remember what Stalin said: it doesn't matter who casts the votes, only who counts them.

Comment Re:$23 (Score 1) 181

No, that those lines are covered by copyright owned by Oracle was admitted by Google. They claimed that their use was covered by Fair Use (which does not invalidate copyright, it is an affirmative defence against copyright infringement), which is what Oracle is now challenging because Fair Use is situation dependent.

Comment Re:It makes the Raspberry PI (Score 1) 124

The Pi Zero is a limited edition part that exists because Broadcom wants to clear inventory of the crappy old SoC that the original Pi used. It's not really a fair comparison. Nevertheless, a MIPS 24k is something that really should be avoided like the plague. It's MIPS32r2 and all of the current ImagTec-funded development effort (compiler, OS support) is on MIPS{64,32}r6, which is not backwards compatible. The entire MIPS ecosystem is a clusterfuck at the moment.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 4, Interesting) 110

am I correct in understanding that the NSA knew about security holes in important aspects of our cyber infrastructure, and rather than report them so they could be fixed, they sat on them so they could use them "to protect us"?

Yes. This is a big problem with the NSA and GCHQ, which have the dual missions of securing infrastructure and compromising enemy infrastructure. These missions come into direct conflict when the core of your and your enemy's infrastructure rely on the same components. Germany separates the two missions into separate institutions.

The same thing came up when Heartbleed was discovered. There were basically two options:

  • The NSA had not found the vulnerability, in which case they were seriously failing in both missions as they'd either failed to notice that OpenSSL is core infrastructure (for the USA and for other countries) or they had failed to fuzz the protocol properly (part of the embarrassment about Heartbleed was that proper testing would have found it years ago). If this is the case, they are incompetent because there was evidence that the vulnerability had been exploited in the wild before the official disclosure.
  • The NSA had found the vulnerability but had decided that being able to attack SSL connections was worth the cost of leaving all financial and a lot of secure government communications vulnerable to foreign intelligence and criminal organisations. If this is the case, then they are incompetent at risk analysis and should not be permitted to engage in risky behaviour.

There is no interpretation of events that makes them appear competent.

Comment Re:$23 (Score 1) 181

Google isn't using Oracle's IP

This is repeated a lot in this thread, yet Google's own testimony indicates that they copied around 11,000 lines of code from Sun, that they knew that they needed a license, and attempted to negotiate one. The ruling was in their favour because the judge asked the jury to rule on whether their copyright infringement was fair use and the jury ruled that it was.

The previous ruling already establishes that Google did use Sun/Oracle's IP, but that this use specifically in the context of smartphones constitutes fair use.

Comment Re:$23 (Score 1) 181

Pretty stupid because Android phones don't run any version of Java

I think that's a big part of their complaint. Sun and Oracle have given a patent and copyright grant for all of their Java-related IP to all fully conforming Java implementations. Android provides a non-conforming Java implementation (for example, attempting to install a SecurityManager on Android throws an exception, so you can't do fine-grained privilege separation in Google's version). This significantly decreases the value of the Java platform, because now you have to target Java and Google-Java as separate platforms. This is precisely the same complaint that Sun had against Microsoft, who produced an almost-compatible Java implementation.

Comment Re:When I don't want to change my phone (Score 4, Informative) 191

That's a nice idea, but where can you buy a smartphone that gets security updates for 3-6+ years? Most Android phones get them for a year if you're very lucky, iPhones seem to get 3 years of support (counting from initial release date for that model - less if you buy them after that). Given the kinds of vulnerabilities that we're seeing on Android, I'd be as nervous about connecting one to WiFi without the latest security updates as I would of connecting a Windows PC directly to the Internet in the late '90s.

I'd love to see manufacturers made liable for providing new phones for customers if they don't provide fixes for fix security holes for 4-6 years.

Comment Re:Bad, you want bad: (Score 1) 671

So using an off-the-shelf algorithm and an off-the-shelf data structure made your code slower than picking ones tuned to the data? Shocking! The design of the C++ standard library typically allows you to decouple the algorithm from the data (see the algorithms header), so doing the same tuning in C++ and following that design would let you change the two independently and see which combinations were better. But don't let that get in the way of your C++ bashing.

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