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Comment Re:Looking for the exit (Score 2) 59

A Google login, whether you get it via gmail or "G Suite", ties into all of the Android apps and keeps search history and integrates it into other Google products, and runs synchronization of most app data so they can see a great deal of what you do on the phone. About the worst that you can do is turn on device management. It will take about two days to turn off and during that time it will do its very best to force your email users to put their devices under your control. After that you apparently even have control over booting of the device. It's enough to make me want to support another open phone. Mozilla just gave up the ghost on that.

Comment Re:Two types of laws (Score 2, Informative) 423

Also, intent matters when determining guilt.

I suggest you try, "Officer, I didn't see the sign" the next time you're pulled over for running a stop sign.

The traffic code in most cases specifically excludes intent from consideration, but that's an anomalous area in the law. Throughout very nearly all of criminal law, intent is crucial to determining guilt. So while you're correct that "Officer, I didn't see the sign" won't do you any good, your argument is a red herring that demonstrates significant lack of knowledge of criminal law. (It's also worth noting that most traffic violations aren't technically crimes in most jurisdictions, they're civil infractions which is why you may be assessed a fine but cannot be arrested. There are exceptions for very serious violations, including extremely high rates of speed.)

Comment Re: meh (Score 1) 471

Military meals are designed with attention to the morale factor. Even the modern MRE is designed to help the soldier feel human in unfavorable surroundings. Apollo 10 was the first to officially test real bread. Gemini Astronauts smuggled aboard a kosher corned beef sandwich but it was stale and thus had too many crumbs which went airborne. By Apollo 10 it was discovered that nitrogen-flushed bread would stay fresh for 10 days. I'll have to try that.

Comment Re:USPS (Score 1, Interesting) 237

First class postage is still under $1 for a letter picked up and delivered door to door, usually in a few days. It's a huge bargain if you ask me.

Of course it is. And it's a huge bargain because the USPS is operating at enormous losses, losing ~$8B per year.

What's UPS going to charge you for a letter? $10? $5?

We don't know because they're not allowed to, unless the letter is "urgent" (overnight or 2-day). I suspect that their prices wouldn't be much higher (if any) than USPS, at least for urban areas. They might even be lower. People who live in more rural areas (like me) would likely pay a bit more, but that seems fair, just part of the cost of rural living.

And then they just drop the letter off at the local post office for delivery to your door usually. Same with FedEx.

That's because it's illegal for them to use mailboxes or to deliver first-class residential mail, thanks to the government-guaranteed USPS monopoly on mail delivery.

Perhaps we could scale back delivery days and save labor costs. Say three days a week to the door and only weekday delivery to P.O. boxes? That would drop about half their labor costs, keep service levels high for those who need it, and perhaps allow the USPS to get back to even instead of loosing money all the time.

That might work. While we're at it we should eliminate the monopoly and allow UPS and FedEx to compete with the USPS on all sorts of shipping, and remove all of the remaining subsidies. Let them all compete head to head on price and convenience, on a level playing field.

Comment But then who audits the auditors? (Score 1) 184

The solution is pretty simple, but often skipped:
1) The reason for every search should be required and logged by the searcher. ...
2) The logs be randomly spot-checked by an auditor(s) who verifies the reasons given by interviewing the person(s) who searched.

But to check it the auditors need detailed access to the records. So who audits THEM?

This kind of question has been asked repeatedly since at least the Roman Empire.

(The U.S. answer to "Who guards the guardians?" , at least for direct abuse of person under color of law, is the Fourth and Fifth amendments and the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine: Fail to follow the law and you don't get a conviction, because misbehaving police are FAR more of a problem for the population than even a lot of violent private-enterprise crooks going back to work. But while it does reduce the incentive, it doesn't block the behavior.)

Comment The invisible hand strikes. (Score 4, Interesting) 124

Not one organization I have ever worked for has seriously cared about IT security.

When it comes to rolling out new products, ignoring security is the norm.

This is because the "window of opportunity" is only "open" for a short time - until the first, second, and maybe third movers go through it and grab most of the potential customers. Companies that spent the time to get the security right arrive at the window after it closes.

This happens anywhere the customers don't test for and reject non-secure versions of the "new shiny" - which means enterprises sometimes hold suppliers' feet to the fire (if the new thing doesn't give them an advantage commensurate with, or perceived as outweighing, the risk) but consumer stuff goes out wide open.

Then, if you're lucky and the supplier is clueful, they retrofit SOME security before the bad guys exploit enough holes to kill them.

I expect this will continue until several big-name tech companies get an effective corporate death penalty in response to the damages their customer base took from their security failings. Then the financial types will start including having a good, and improving with time, security story (no doubt called "best practices") among their check boxes for funding.

Comment Re:Why not coax? (Score 1) 154

And the reason you cannot do this with radio is that the noise from the transmitter is greater than the received signal.

Actually you CAN manage it with radio - very difficultly, with very careful antenna design.

But the combined antenna has to be far from anything that reflects, absorbs, or just phase-shifts any substantial amount of the transmitted signal energy. If not, the discontinuity destroys the careful balance that nulls out the transmitted signal at the receiver. That gets you back to the "transmitter shouts in the receiver's ear much louder than the distant communications partner" case. So it's not very practical in the real world.

Comment Re: meh (Score 1) 471

but what are the chances of finding a good vintage of scotch to go with all of this breaded goodness they are going to be having up there?

Alcohol is definitely going to space. Ballantine's zero-gravity glass is made in cooperation with something called the Open Space Agency, which also has a design for an automated Dobsonian telescope. Ardbeg is going to space. And a vacuum still is an old science-fiction trope.

Comment Re:Everybody should be prepared to die. (Score 4, Funny) 471

Out of several tens of billions of humans, only a fraction have not yet died, and of those who died, only a small percent of disputed cases indicate recovery.

On the contrary, I have never died before and rumors that I would do so are spread by fact-checkers of the liberal press and corrupt global warming scientists.

Comment Some Artistic License (Score 1) 471

I like the part in the SpaceX video where the rocket lands, and the door opens on magnificent desolation. This is artistic license. Obviously the material for a habitat would precede the arrival of people.

But yes, a first-try planetary colony won't necessarily work. Getting there is dangerous, and once you're there being able to continue to provide the population with air, water, food, shelter, and energy is going to have significant risks of lethal failures.

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