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Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 1) 375

... the felonious taking of the property of another from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, against his or her will, by violence or intimidation.

What Alphabet did is by definition Robbery.

If they'd given, or promised, a Christmas Bonus, then yes it would be robbery.

If the (or their predecessors) had led the workers to expect bonuses only by voluntarily giving them in the past, but had never written contract terms or otherwise promised the bonuses for this year, then the hypothetical missing bonus was never the property of the workers in the first place.

Comment Re:'"We are looking into the matter" (Score 2) 135

Hell they probably would have accepted the offer for a free pen test. Instead many orgs react rather violently if they dont know about it and you did it.

An unexpected, unauthorized, "free pen test" is indistinguishable from a bad-guy cracking attempt, and must be treated as if it's a real threat. This causes ENORMOUS extra costs as the victim has to batten the hatches, examine everything for corruption and/or possible persistent threat instalation, compare working databases to backups and examine the differences vs. update audit trails, and so on.

Not to mention the concern that it might be a real attempt by the DHS, or a rogue group within it, to hack the election.

Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 2) 375

If your company removes money from you and gives it to someone else, that is called Robbery.

But if the company just doesn't give you a Christmas/End-of-Year gift that they had been voluntarily giving previously, it may be a disappointment but it isn't Robbery.

= = = =

It may also be really stupid move on the company's part, though. It's going to cost them a bunch in employee satisfaction, and thus performance, over the next year or more.

Of course, if they were thinking of replacing a bunch of the employees with H1Bs or the like, tweaking them off so they perform poorly could then be used in claims that they were not good performers and thus needed replacing.

Comment Glitchless streaming. (Score 3, Interesting) 158

Can you name one thing that your customers actually want that is actually being prevented by network neutrality regulations?

Glitchless streaming.

Streaming (things like audio, video, phone calls) requires relatively small and constant bandwidth (though compression adds variability) but isn't good at tolerating dropouts or variations in transit time. When it does get dropouts it's better to NOT send a retry correction (and have the retry packet risk delaying and/or forcing the drop of another packet).

TCP connections (things like big file transfers) error check and retry, fixing dropouts and errors so the data arrives intact, though with no guarantee exactly when. But they achieve high bandwidth and evenly divide the bandwidth at a bottleneck by deliberately speeding up until they super-saturate the bottleneck and force dropouts. The dropouts tell them they've hit the limit, so they slow down and track the bleeding edge.

Put them both on a link and treat the packets equally and TCP causes streaming to break up, stutter, etc. Overbuilding the net helps, but if the data to be tranferred is big enough TCP will ALWAYS saturate a link somewhere along the way.

Identify the traffic type and treat their packets differently - giving higher priority to stream packets (up to a limit, so applications can't gain by cheating, claiming to be a stream when they're not) - and then they play together just fine. Stream packets zip through, up to an allocation limit at some fraction of the available bandwidth, and TCP transfers evenly divide what's left - including the unused part of the streams' allocation.

But the tools for doing this also enable the ISPs to do other, not so good for customers, things. Provided they chose to do so, of course.

IMHO the bad behavior can be dealt with best, not by attempting to enforce "Network Neutrality" as a technical hack at an FCC regulation level, but as a consumer protection issue, by an agency like the FTC. Some high points:
  - Break up the vertical integration of ISPs into "content provider" conglomerates, so there's no incentive to penalize the packets of competitors to the mother-ship's services.
  - Treat things like throttling high-volume users and high-bandwidth services as consumer fraud: "You sold 'internet service'". Internet service doesn't work that way. Ditto "pay for better treatment of your packets" (but not "pay to sublet a fixed fraction of the pipe").
  - Extra scrutiny for possible monopolistic behavior anywhere there are less than four viable broadband competitors, making it impractical for customers to "vote with their feet".

Comment IQ and attention to detail are different things. (Score 1) 168

"How hard is to remember to unload your weapon before packing it?" I guess there's no I.Q. check for firearms purchases, maybe there should be.

IQ and attention to detail are different things.

Also: Even the best-trained, most reliable, gun user can have a lapse when in a hurry, as in when packing for a flight.

That's why firearms training stresses redundancy, with rules like "A gun is loaded as soon as you put it down and look away". Or "Don't point (even an "unloaded") gun at anything you don't want to destroy."

The phenomenon is referred to as "a visit from the Ammo Fairy". That entity is similar to the Tooth Fairy, but instead of leaving a coin under you pillow it leaves a round in your chamber. B-)

Comment I have read much of it, as I would an encyclopedia (Score 3, Interesting) 381

My wife and I each had a copy of the first three volumes when we married. Yes, there are female computer nerds. B-)

I first encountered it when assigned one of the volumes as a text back in 1971. Of course the class didn't consist of learning EVERYTHING in the volume. B-)

I use it from time to time - mainly as a reference book. Most recently this spring, when I needed a reference on a data structure (circular linked lists) for a paper. I've found it useful often when doing professional computer programming and hardware design (for instance, where the hardware has to support some software algorithm efficiently, or efficient algorithms in driver software allow hardware simplification).

I don't try to read it straight through. But when I need a algorithm for some job and it's not immediately obvious which is best, the first place I check is Knuth. He usually has a clear description of some darned good wheel that was already invented decades ago, analyzed to a fare-thee-well.

I only see him about once a year. He's still a sharp cookie.

Comment They let the ban on propagandizing citizens expire (Score 4, Informative) 324

Three and a half years ago the US government, under the Obama administration, let the ban on propagandizing US citizens expire - and immediately began writing and spreading "fake news".

From an FP article dated July 14, 2013:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. governmentâ(TM)s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

So the only thing new here is US citizens noticed one of the government's renewed, official, domestic propaganda operations.

Comment FTC, not FCC, is the correct agency. (Score 2) 191

Most of the harm from ISP misbehavior is the manifestation of one of two perverse-incentive situations:
  - integration of an ISP into a content-provider megacorp, leading to penalization of competitors or other perceived threats to the larger content-providing component.
  - an under-competitive market situation (monopoly, duopoly, other under-four-competitors) situation, allowing ISPs to provide less than they promised or less than what is expected of "internet service" without a "vote with their feet" option for customers.

Both of these are not internet-technology issues and both are things the FCC handles poorly, and which are outside its mandate. They're better handled by such agencies as the FTC and DOJ, under antitrust and consumer fraud models, than by the FCC.

With respect to the content-provider/ISP vertical integration issue: Trump has already come out opposing the ATT/ Time-Warner merger. Additionally, the mainstream media's pile-on against his campaign has left him with no love for the "content providers". I'd be willing to bet that he'd be all for antitrust action to split up the other ISP ("content transport") / news reporting ("content generation") partnerships under the rubric of "breaking up anticompetitive vertical integration". B-)

Comment Re:Well then... (Score 1) 590

Why didn't they start this years ago when Obama extended and expanded the Patriot Act?

Probably because:
  - Servers in the US have First Amendment protection
  - Servers in other countries have whatever protection - or restrictions - the other countries have.

In particular:
  - Moving certain data (such as encryption software) from the US to other countries may violate US export laws. (Backing up a server in the US to a server outside the US is more clearly an export than serving in the US something that was downloaded in the US.)
  - Storing certain data - such as personal information, NAZI propaganda, or criticism of various governments - may be illegal in various countries.

So setting up a backup in some other country was probably perceived as more risk than leaving the data solely in the US under Obama, while the perceived risk to the data under Trump may be enough to move the volunteers to take on the extra trouble .

(If Brewster hasn't commented on this by then, I'll try to remember to ask him the next time I see him. But that's probably most of a year away...)

Comment Re:Congress has passed a law... (Score 1) 154

If the Republicans want to rubber stamp a clown cabinet, so be it. Should be a fun four years.

Cabinet is just some of the President's direct reports. No big deal. He can just wait until the next Senate recess and make recess appointments. Meanwhile, he can talk to anybody he wants WITHOUT a confirmation, and if congress leaves open a cabinet post with special powers, he can just wield them directly, himself, until it's filled. That means he can either rubber-stamp the UNofficial advisor's advice, or substitute his own decisions. That's more power for him than even having the Senate confirm a puppet (who might turn out to be Pinnochio and go his own way on something).

What IS a big deal is appointment of federal judges, federal appellate judges, and Supreme Court justices. The Ds applied the "nuclear option" to the first two, so expect the Rs to follow suit - and extend it to the third if the Ds get in the way.

Comment "Person of the Year" isn't "Best ..." (Score 1) 145

Thanks TIME ... for lowering the bar even further, human garbage all over the world can now realistically aspire to be your man of the year.

Time's "Person of the Year" isn't "BEST Person of the Year". It's "MOST INFLUENTIAL ON THE WORLD Person of the Year". That's why people like Castro get it.

Time has pointed this out LOTS of times.

IMHO Assange is a good candidate for THIS year. Trump did a lot of shaking things up, too - but mainly by being elected. As with Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, it's a bit early. I'm sure he'll have more effect on the world once he's ACTUALLY BEEN INAUGURATED and has been yanking the levers of power for most of a year.

Comment Re:You misunderstand the point of it. (Score 1) 1429

urban/rural split.

The focus on this is a laughable anachronism.

Which just goes to show how provincial you are.

Take a look at the continental-states-by-county maps from the recent election. Notice that the blue counties are, almost without exception, the sites of large cities or suburbs, while the red counties are primarily rural.

Obviously, it is you who misunderstand it: Alexander Hamilton described the framers' view of how electors would be chosen, "A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated [tasks]."

From my favorite historian: "Whatever Alexander Hamilton's reasons for doing anything probably had little to do with anyone else's view. ... He was pretty much a sworn enemy of Jefferson, Madison, and anyone else who was in favor of the rights of the common person." He was also the primary, and outspoken, opponent of the Bill of Rights.

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