Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


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:Dumb Pre-Paid Phones? (Score 2) 401

While some of this is true, I think the real answer is even simpler: they're disposable.

There's a reason that the phones are called burner phones; if it gets trashed or destroyed for whatever reason, you're not out anything except an easily replicated list of phone numbers.

Likewise, a lot of burner phones just don't have many of the tattle-tale features that smart phones do; older models lack GPS, very little on-board memory for logging, and so on.

While law enforcement certainly does have the means to spy on these phones, the ability to rapidly dispose of and cheaply replace them is why they are still useful.

Comment Always confused at the doubling back... (Score 5, Interesting) 208

I'm always confused at public statements made that require the speaker to double-back on themselves.

In Cohen’s opinion, Isis is “not a tech savvy organisation”, resorting to tactics commonly associated with fraud or spam, but it should not be underestimated.

I realize this is slightly semantic-nitpicking, but I see this a lot with statements from the US government and from US based companies about any online threat/problem. They walk this fine line between acknowledging and convincing people that the threat is big enough to require attention (which the Government/the companies are always able to handle), but simultaneously try to downplay the severity of the threat. Here we have ISIS using social media as a terrorism tool, with members (or at least fans) using fairly new software, services, and technology to spread their message to a world-wide audience, yet Google's spokesperson is very careful to play up the idea that ISIS is not tech-savvy. I'm not sure what to make of this, because it certainly seems like ISIS has a better handle on technology that the majority of the average US citizen. Heck, most ISIS productions and their use of modern software/services is far better than a good number of US businesses, old and new alike. Again, I'll grant maybe Cohen has a different idea in mind when saying tech savvy, but for as crooked as the organization is, I wouldn't suggest that they don't know what they're doing when it comes to Tech.

This just creates a really weird narrative juxtaposition in my head where it feels like the speakers are trying to create a "safe threat" for the audience. By that I mean it's a threat, but it's not really, because the mighty, powerful, and benevolent organization is here to protect the audience. It feels extremely manipulative as it tries to vilify and glorify in the same sentence, like a weird form of jingoism. It scares the audience just enough to think of how dangerous everything else, and the intended result seems to be an attempt to create a dependence on the organization. The lack of actual technical details, or even specific examples of what the org is doing to help or how it's controlling the attacker are almost always omitted in favor of vague platitudes.

  I've seen this with quotes about cyberattacks attributed to Russians and Chinese as well, and its always the same foci: "it's dangerous! but we have it under control! but we had to take extreme measures! but it was never a problem! but it's a major threat! that we have under control!"
I get that the interested parties don't want to appear weak, but the lack of any substantial information always just strikes me with that weird sense that we're getting a story, not information or news. I realize that this is a very long post to say that governments/corporations are selfish and manipulative, but it's just really off putting for me.

Comment Re:It's almost like vigilantism is a bad thing? (Score 1) 229

I agree with Uncle Styopa here, though I think you slightly miss the big issue with the Anon Vigilantism that I feel is different to it compared to other forms.

As with all vigilantism, accountability is a major issue, not to hold them accountable for civil disobedience or breaking "unjust laws", but for collateral damage or unintended consequences. Vigilantism seems to be pretty romanticized in the comments here, but it often does and has a very major cost when the vigilantes get it completely wrong. We don't need to go back all that far to look at the Boston Marathon Bombing and what vigilantes did there in tracking down the wrong person. It gets even more problematic with the "for the lulz" style attacks because the cost to the vigilantes seems low, but to those mistakenly hit by the vigilante attack, the cost is one they cannot recoup.

This isn't helped by the "for the lulz" mentality. A lot of times when you see these things ramp up, a lot of folk aren't even there for a political reason or any motivation other than "let's stir up some trouble!" or "we did it reddit!" circle-jerking (the latter not a callout for reddit, just happens to be a good example of the mentality). I almost wrote mob mentality in the aside, but it's not even that really, it's just people looking to kill some time. This isn't necessarily unique to Anon-Justice, but it certainly is a lot easier to get a bunch of somewhat like-minded people on a message board or a chat room to go along with something than it is to get people IRL. South park parodied this in the Town Flag episode when Chef was trying to rally people for a protest.

The romanticizing of vigilantism is somewhat misguided - I think people all want to believe it's like V for Vendetta, where the people come out for a just cause. But I wonder if they would feel as strongly about vigilantism if it played out more like The Fugitive, everyone chasing the wrong person absolutely sure that he's already guilty. That is the biggest issue, which Styopa touched on - the presumption of guilt and appropriateness of the vigilantes' actions.

An aside, very frustrated that I can't type in cyrillic and write Styopa's name out the way it should be.

Comment Re:feel? (Score 1) 29

I don't think it's quite the same league as interstellar travel...

This is a change of output on an existing technology from the audio/visual output that we're used to when we think about SONAR, not really an advancement of the technology itself. As has been mentioned in other posts, this isn't really new and like the AC you're condescending to, I'm kind of wondering what practical purpose this has.

The title is absolutely misleading, as you don't feel objects, you get a haptic response based on distance away. At best it's good for a game of hot/cold where you have no idea if the feedback your getting is for the object you're looking for or not. Your scenario of a blind person being able to use sonar is certainly intriguing, though I do sort of wonder if they would have the same efficacy as someone in front of a SONAR screen (assuming both equally experienced in their trade).

Not every question about a new product is a dismissal, sometimes it's just asking valid questions that the person asking doesn't have an answer to.

Comment Re:Invasion of the suits (Score 2) 45

I don't think this holds true that there is no life blood. Gamers seem more than happy to part with money for hats/skins/donations to streamers, and are even more happy to park themselves in front of ads during official matches. There's money to be made with eSports and a strong community with even casual observers behind it. League of Legends, regardless of what your personal opinion may be, has a huge casual following; they may only queue up for non-ranked modes or play one or two characters, but the amount they will spend on the game and their willingness to be part of the audience for the game is undeniable. Riot, for all of its faults, has done a good job of catering to non-hardcore players with the skins, stories, and community events.

Hell, there's a reason Riot hasn't done IRL give aways through sponsors in a long time and it's because every time they do, the fans pretty much destroy whatever website or product has the freebies. People were stealing codes from magazines when they had a skin give away years back. Razor did a rune give away and couldn't handle the volume of traffic at all. Coke had Riot Points (the pay-for in game currency, as opposed to Influence Points which you can earn in game) in Coke Rewards for about a day and they ran out of stock instantly. Diabetes rates would skyrocket if Riot put skin codes underneath some bottle caps. There's a very strong and eager market willing to keep these games running, and the game companies have been surprisingly reserved about doling out sponsorship deals and advertisements.

Though I'd personally argue they're too into the whole fan-zine stuff with their characters, having seen how riled up people get over lore events instead of patch notes kind of tells me that Riot knows how to meet their audiences' expectations.

I will agree that the Joe Average probably won't tune in unless Joe Average already plays the game being streamed. DotA and League just have a bit too much going on to really follow well without knowing more than just the core rules of the game. However, this isn't going to kill off the events and the potential in these games because honestly, the audience that exist is absolutely rabid for pretty much everything related to the game.

Comment Re:Sensationalist Headline, bad reporting (Score 4, Insightful) 119

Though this may be me projecting my own prejudices with bundled software, nearly a decade of working in tech support has loosened my definition of malware to include basically any software put on the user's computer without the user's informed consent. Many bundled packages and suites behave in the exact same manner as actual malware and are just as difficult to remove, if not more so in some situations as anti-malware/AV software will not see this software as "malicious" and will not remove it automatically. Given that one of the foci of RaspberryPi's is to provide a cheap computer option for whatever needs, it simply would provide a misleading option to users like the bundled junk that often comes on cheap Windows based laptops.

I am not purporting that this is what was meant by Ms. Upton, but it's not hard to see how she and basically most people could see the proposed software as "malware" to be bundled.

Comment Re:Jurisprudence (Score 5, Informative) 263

Your issue with enforcement is ridiculous - the government is also incapable of stopping every murder and ensuring that no one at this very minute is committing murder, but it's still illegal to murder people and you will get in trouble if you get caught.

Your statement about the photos being his property is the very thing the court is weighing in on, and as far as the German court is concerned, you're absolutely wrong. Though the auto-translation of german is pretty broken, it's clear enough that the court(s) have decided that, at least in Germany, a person has control over their image and privacy, and this right supersedes the property ownership a photographer may claim unless some sort of legal waiver/contract was made. This isn't a blanket card for someone to withdraw consent as within your example of consenting to a nude painting class; presumably in your instance you signed a waiver to your rights, and the court order does not apply in that situation. (Again, as best can be determined from what offers)

The court is specifically ruling on arrangements between two people in a relationship who share intimate photos without any formal contract between them, and the ruling is simply that each person has a right to control of their image and privacy. This is a good thing and likely is to directly combat the idea of revenge porn and to provide some legal recourse should such an event occur. The ruling is open to anyone who has shared an intimate picture.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 90

I was only in Tacoma for the last 4 years or so, but I want to concur that Click had fantastic service from the sign up to the discontinuation. The only problem I ever had was what appeared to be occasional DNS hiccups, but their customer support line was quick to get general messages up when such a thing was happening. When I moved closer to my work where Click didn't provide service, I was really disappointed.

Comment Re:Star Trek not so much (Score 2) 99

Depends on what you're looking for. The original run was, well, classic brit sci-fi. The 2009 reboot with Eccleston is a bit more palatable to modern tastes while retaining a lot of the cheesiness that makes Who worthwhile.

Personally, I'd start with the reboot - you can follow along without needing the history of the preceding seasons. I started with the 2009 reboot and it was enjoyable enough. Plus it's on most streaming services.

Comment Re:Apple Music (Score 1) 462

No disrespect, but the music screen only has 5 unlabeled icons - the 3 for player controls are all pretty clear on what they do, which leaves you with the to go back to the playlist and the "dotted burger" (sesame burger? I dunno). I'm sure you're exaggerating the amount of time for effect, but I do have a hard time believing it took too much time to find it if you knew it existed already -- your options were extremely limited.

"[Knowing] it existed" I think is half of the issue with a lot of things, and I'm personally still not sure on the best way to introduce a new UI option to users. Forced tutorials, pop-overs, and so on are very annoying on first use and rarely give out the information that people want to know. But not having anything and no indicators of interaction also makes it really difficult, especially since manuals are so '90s and uncouth for modern software. But I think a lot of times the biggest issue is that you just don't know what your software can actually do.

"Intuitive" is kind of a crappy word to use for a lot of the UI things going on in programming these days, since a lot of the times I'm not sure what to expect when I want to do something. The burger button has become ubiquitous enough to know it's a general settings menu, but for the rest it's hard to really make any sort of analysis on "intuitiveness" since I think a lot of people just aren't sure what to expect. Like, using the music player on iOS as an example, clicking on the song title while on the "Now Playing" screen. This let's you rate the song, and I can't really say if that's intuitive or not, since I can't honestly say what I'd expect from clicking on the song title in the player. All other contemporary programs (iTunes, Media Player Classic, foobar, and others) don't do much of anything except toggle through information on some of them when you click the title, so really, I have no expectation when I touch something on the screen that I will be prompted to rate the song. Embarrassingly, this has left me with a slew of songs with ratings all over the place just because I either pocket rated or did so when I fumbled a touch and just didn't bother to go and correct it.

Touch, for as long as it's been around, is still kind of new territory for getting the most out of the UI/UX stuff, and because the means of interaction is so significantly different depending on the person (i.e., hand/finger size will determine your accuracy), it's far harder on a smaller touch interface to make a ubiquitous experience. With feature creep still being a thing, I think companies need to better audit their software and determine what needs to be introduced and what is fairly reasonable for the user to just play with and learn.

Comment Re:Most websites are funded by advertisements (Score 4, Insightful) 342

And most people don't want malware on their computers from malicious advertisements that slip through ad rings.

Advertising is currently positioned in such a way so as to be beneficial to the content creators and the advertisers, but not the users. You don't even really need to get into conversations about morality, ethics, intrusiveness, privacy, and so on when advertisements are a major means for malicious software to get on computers. With how fast the malware changes and evolves, most antivirus and anti-malware products can only respond after the fact, and these same products also are pretty bad about removing even relatively simple malware in its entirety.

Content creators should get funding; I don't think too many people truly disagree with that. But should you have to put your computer at risk to do so? Content creators are caught up in an arms race between the users and the advertisers, and as long as the creators are using the advertisers, the advertisers have no real incentive to listen to the consumers. Adblocking didn't come as a result of "man fuck ads in general", it came about as a result of ads getting overbearing, obnoxious, and dangerous. Advertisers' responses to this wasn't "oh, let's clean this up", it was "you thought that was bad? wait till you see this" and then they made ads even worse. It seems to me that advertisers are very clear that they don't care about what the user concerns.

Creators, on the other hand, are in a unique position to influence advertisers, and if they want to continue to have users visit as they do now, they will need to begin to publicly be advocates for users and work to change the status quo.

Comment Depends on your neighborhood... (Score 2) 151

Trick or Treating has just changed since when we were all younger. A lot of parents don't like the idea of kids going up to strangers houses anymore, much less in unknown areas or communities. I've noticed that in a lot of places I lived, most parents seem to prefer community events as opposed to the classic Trick or Treating, and you might just be losing all the kids to organized events instead. For better or for worse this just seems to be the trend, and you can try to buck it, but ultimately the kids are going to go where their parents let them.

If you're in a fairly tight knit community, it may be worth trying to organize something with the other members so that you too can participate a bit in the spooky festivities. For example, once place I was at had the main street shut down for about an hour or two and all the shops participated in Trick or Treating. A few neighborhoods also decided to do their own Trick or Treating as well, but no clue how well that went over. My apartment complex at the time made the pronouncement that the building was "opting out of" Trick or Treating, but someone just wedged the security door open and kids came anyways.

Comment Re: How about (Score 3, Informative) 237

Fortunately, there are almost no people like that in the US, despite fabricated horror stories by people with selfish political and economic motives

Do you live in a small town? Or do you live in a city and just never go outside? Or have you actually become blind to homeless people or the parts of cities in shambles?

East Coast, West Coast, all cities have parts that are either in dilapidated housing or have no housing at all. Even Minneapolis and St. Paul up north in MN have huge homeless populations as well as those without adequate housing amenities.

Comment Re:Isn't this really a problem of treatment? (Score 1) 233

Yeah, I want to echo this a bit. It was really jarring getting work in Russia of all places and right off the bat I make a fool of myself when I see that I get 30 days paid time off for vacation + select holidays; I asked how the available time off was calculated and the HR woman had no idea what I meant. I explained how my last job had vacation time generated based on the time I was actually at work and there was a cap as to how much vacation I could bank at any given time, and she really didn't understand it at all.

Comment Re:Broke the law of bribery (Score 2) 126

A kangaroo court is inherently unjust. There isn't one that is any less than the other, unless you're willing to say that some types of unfairness in the court are okay but others are not. Arguably, due to the way the corruption is open to the general public and not just the wealthy (as is the case in the US), the russian courts are more fair since everyone legitimately has the option to pay their way out. This is not condoning bribery, but we shouldn't point to someone else's shit to cover up the stink of our own.

Slashdot Top Deals

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada