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Comment Re:two things I use Google's assistant for (Score 1) 67

You're not using "Google Voice VoIP" because that doesn't exist. You're using Google Talk/Hangouts/whatever it's called today. The relationship between the two is that GV can route calls to Google Talk, and Google Talk will use your GV number when making outgoing calls.

So, as this is a story about Google Voice, not Google Talk (or Hangouts etc) you can safely assume your setup is not affected by this at all. That doesn't mean it'll continue to work, just that this doesn't impact it.

Comment Re:How about running real Linux apps too (Score 1) 66

I wouldn't say they're simple steps, and Crouton suffers from trying to run both operating systems at once, which can only be done by heavily patching the "guest" operating system, which in turn means only supported revisions of specific distributions are supported - and the only in some configurations. Want to run Cinnamon? Don't even try.

(There's also very little reason to suppose this provides any real benefits to users either. Why would you want ChromeOS if you're already running Ubuntu? ChromeOS is bare bones GNU/Linux with Chrome as the UI, and Chrome runs fine under Ubuntu.)

Crouton exists mostly because it's awkward to install a "real" Ubuntu instance on a Chromebook, and so the authors figured that maybe getting bits to Ubuntu to work under the already running ChromeOS kernel might be "good enough". It's an illustration of the problems with Chromebooks, not indicative that Google has some kind of solution to "Linux on the desktop".

I'm not saying Chromebooks are bad, or even that you shouldn't buy one to run Ubuntu/etc (but use chrx, and be aware that the experience of installation is suboptimal, requiring BIOS patches and barely documented control key combinations at boot) - they can run more open distributions of GNU/Linux, and if you like the hardware, then go for it. But this "Crouton proves its awesome" stuff is overblown. Crouton is a smart, interesting, hack to workaround a problem, but it's probably not going to deliver what the average "I want to run Fedora/Ubuntu/Mint/Debian/CentOS" Slashdot GNU/Linux user wants.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 66

I'm generally finding little difference in price between Chromebooks and low end Windows laptops - compare HP's "Stream" series, for example.

It's also a lot simpler to install Ubuntu et al on a cheap laptop built for Windows than on a Chromebook. I've done the latter, and it's an, uh, interesting experience. Having to patch the BIOS was my favorite part I think. Also awesome was the fact it forgets there's a partition with a non-ChromeOS operating system on it if the battery runs out, so you have to boot into ChromeOS and set a flag to remind it its there.

Comment Two comments (Score 1) 69

Two comments

Parallelism -- the problem with parallelism is that everyone assumes that all problems can be decomposed into problems which can be solved in parallel. This is the "I all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" problem. There hasn't been a lot of progress on the P vs. NP front, nor does it look like there's likely to be one soon, short of true quantum computing. And no, D-Wave fans: quantum annealing is not the same thing as collapsing the composite wave for into the correct answer because you happen to own the computer in "the most sincere universe".

Productive programming -- It's amusing that a semiconductor vendor would complain about programming productivity. The main barrier to programming productivity is that the silicon doesn't think about problem solving the way you have to think about problem solving in order to get a stepwise improvement. In other words: the chip vendors are making the wrong chips. This is really easy to see if you've done VLSI design in Verilog or VHDL, or even if you've only had to deal with an FPGA. The primary difference is that the chip folks never have to deal with "can't happen" states -- so their silicon compilers simply ignore them, because you on'y ever correctly hook up a chip one way. Take a software engineer and have them code up a bit decoder in VHDL -- it's going to be 10 times larger than what a chip designer would produce because of collapsing "don't care" to something reasonable.

Other than that... interesting interview, even if it doesn't cover a lot of ground, overall.

Comment Re:more open (Score 3, Interesting) 207

Yeah, last few devices I've bought had something very close to AOSP with only a minimum of extra apps installed, apps that aren't causing me any problems. Android itself doesn't vary a lot between versions any more, the chances are the version you have varies little - from a user's point of view - from the latest greatest. This is a far cry from the early days of Android where:

1. Every phone had a heavily customized version of Android, in part because stock Android wasn't very pretty, but those customizations were usually horrible and bug ridden. As an example, my T-Mobile Slide 3G's dialer would crash if you changed from portrait to landscape.

2. Android itself was barely feature complete. Third party tools were needed to provide a decent launcher, decent keyboard, and so on, as well as tethering and other features carriers were nervous about.

It just isn't as important any more.

Comment Re:May I suggest ... (Score 1) 70

That's pretty expensive. There may be some prepaid plans that are worse ($30 for 1Gb+unlimited V&T is probably hard to beat), but once you get to the regular subscriptions from the big four, especially family plans, it's really poor value.

I was always surprised Google structured Fi that way, it struck me that building a phone service around a price schedule is doomed to failure. Sooner or later everyone else changes their prices (or what you get for those prices) and suddenly your innovative pricing doesn't look so great any more.

Comment Re:I think civility is going to go out the window (Score 2) 1539

3) The right to abortion. First off, this is a legal right, which Republicans have been trying to whittle away in a very sneaky manner for decades. For a party that is supposedly all about "law and order", and a party who considers itself pious, religious and morally upright (I know, I know), this is hardly honourable. At least attempts to outright repeal Roe v. Wade via Constitutional amendment are honest and forthright.

You guys complain when we try to whittle away gun rights; you really can't complain if you do the same thing with abortion.

But I digress.

Let's say you're a "good person" who is "pro-life". You believe human life is sacred. So you believe abortion should be illegal.

Sounds great, right?

Except if you try to actually apply science to this, it all falls apart. First off, a human fetus is no more sentient to pain than, say, a baby monkey, and certainly less aware of pain than the adult cows and pigs you kill to eat your food. If you claim abortion should not be allowed because it causes pain to a fetus, you should be a vegetarian, if not a vegan. But you probably aren't.

And then there's that whole pesky "self-determination" thing. Again. What you're saying is "I believe that OTHER PEOPLE should not have the right to make their own choices about their own lives" (or, rather, their own fetuses' lives.) See, us liberals aren't stupid. We know that a fetus is alive. We just recognise that it's a living FETUS, not a living PERSON. We have the basic understanding of scientific principles to recognise that a fetus is not a baby, and we believe that, up until a point (or if the life of the mother is in danger, at ANY point) the person bearing a fetus should have the right to choose whether or not to continue to bear said fetus.

It isn't murder, because a fetus isn't a baby. It's a fetus. We recognise this, because we aren't blinded by religious dogma. But you... well... ARE.

And as a result, you attempt to force every woman who gets pregnant-- with or even without her consent-- to carry any resulting child[ren] to term, regardless of her OWN WISHES for her OWN BODY. Some of you even go so far as to say there should be no exception for the life of the mother, which is basically saying "I'd rather a sapient woman die for the slight chance of a nonsapient fetus surviving". And yet, most of the conservative people I've talked to are pro-death-penalty (and it's been proven that plenty of innocent people get executed), so... again. Good people? No, not really. You really aren't.

Let's look at the OTHER end of life, shall we? Most "pro-life" people are against assisted suicide. You claim that you are against abortion because it causes pain and suffering to the (again, non-sapient, not-yet-a-baby) fetus, yet you are completely okay with, say, cancer patients being forced against their will to suffer in endless pain rather than being allowed to kill themselves.

Because you're... good... people? No... no, you really aren't, and yes, us liberals are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT to see your hypocrisy as hateful.

Let's go on.

4) Universal healthcare! Oh, but this is a good one. I know the "conservative" argument backwards and forwards. "You're entitled to buy your own healthcare; you're not entitled to force me to pay for anyone else's healthcare." Which is just a fancy way of saying "if you can't afford healthcare, then I am okay with you dying." You brush this under the rug by saying things like "if you can't afford healthcare, you should appeal to charities" or "if you can't afford healthcare, you can get a loan", but this is, again, contrary to reality. THE REALITY IS THAT THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE PEOPLE WHO CANNOT AFFORD HEALTHCARE, AND UNLESS HEALTHCARE IS UNIVERSAL, SOME PEOPLE -WILL- FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS.

But you can't be arsed to care, because "muh money!" You'd literally rather let some people suffer, die, or go without healthcare than be forced to... have a bit higher of a tax bill.

So... not quite "seething wraith" material, but you're definitely a hateful asshole, yes.

I could go on and on, but my point is, basically, that nowadays the definition of "conservative" in the US is basically "the party of selfishness." You regularly ignore the findings of science in favour of religious dogma; you preach selfishness as a virtue (thanks a bundle, Ayn Rand); you are all for self-determination when it's YOUR self-determination and those of people who believe JUST LIKE YOU. But for the rest of us... well. You really don't care.

Comment Re:I think civility is going to go out the window (Score 2) 1539

Hi. You said: "I would love to have polite, civil discussions, but the left is going to need to stop shouting down, deplatforming, and physically attacking everyone who disagrees with them, and understand that it's possible to disagree with leftist politics without being a seething wraith of pure hatred wrapped in human skin. I don't see this happening any time soon though."

Let's look at the bulk of the left's platform from recent years, and let's see how possible it is to be a "good person" who opposes it.

1) Equal marriage rights for gay couples. If you're against this, then you believe that certain civil contracts should not be allowed to people who love the "wrong" gender[s] of person. Literally the best (and most common) defence of "straight only marriage" is "it's necessary for reproduction." Except the overwhelming majority of anti-gay-marriage people believe that celibate, sterile, or post-menopausal straight couples should be allowed to marry, so that puts the lie to that. Leaving... only bigotry. "Pure hatred"? Maybe not, but definitely bigotry. (To say nothing of how primitive the "marriage is about reproduction and only reproduction" notion is, but that's more of an opinion, so hey.)

2) The right of transgender people (like myself) to use the restroom they feel comfortable with, and not the restroom OTHER PEOPLE would feel more comfortable with them urinating/defecating in. If you disagree with this, then you disagree with a small and often-maligned minority's right to self-determination. The only valid reason to do this is to claim that it puts cis ("non-trans") people at risk-- so this is precisely what "conservatives" (bigots) do.

Except that's bullshit. Trans people use the restrooms of our choice every day, every week, every year, and we don't make a habit of victimising cis people in the restroom. IF WE DID, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SPLASHED ACROSS EVERY HEADLINE IN THE NATION.

At this point in the "debate", the "conservative" will usually say "well, if we let 'legitimate' trans women into ladies' rooms, then plain old ordinary men will go too, just to harass women!" Except harassment, voyeuristic acts, rape, etc. are ALREADY illegal, and-- to use the "conservative's" favourite argument about gun laws, "criminals aren't known for following laws", so if men wanted to do illegal things, they'd ALREADY BE DOING IT.

Leaving, again... you guessed it! Bigotry. Maybe you're not "a seething wraith", but you're not exactly bastion of respect for other peoples' self-determination.

Shall I go on? Oh, but I will.

Comment Re:Retracting the Truth (Score 1) 70

They're saying that technically accurate or not, the article is misleading and doesn't give context. In particular, this supposed threat is almost impossible to exploit in practice, as it requires the attacker:

1. Knows exactly when you're going to swap a SIM card over or otherwise change phones
2. Also knows you simultaneously have a bunch of messages waiting to be sent, that the attacker actually cares about.
3. Also knows that you have gone into settings, and unchecked a setting that would normally be checked that warns you if a change in encryption keys has occurred
4. Has access to all the infrastructure in the middle.

That's a tall order. It'd be easier to just steal your phone, or hit you on the head with a blunt instrument XKCD style until you talk.

The letter also points out that the article discourages people from using a popular messaging platform over this issue whose security is generally first rate, encouraging them to seek alternatives that either may be insecure, or may be taken as a sign of guilt (eg Signal), making it easier to pinpoint dissidents with something to hide.

So, yeah, the article may be technically correct, the best kind of correct, but if it leaves people with a false impression, then it's probably right to withdraw it.

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