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Submission + - NYT: Uber Engineers Geofenced Apple HQ to Cover Up iPhone Fingerprinting

theodp writes: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's drive to win in life, writes the New York Times' Mike Isaac, has led to a pattern of risk-taking that has put his ride-hailing company on the brink of implosion, including a previously unreported encounter with Apple CEO Tim Cook in early 2015 that threatened the ride-sharing company with an iPhone ban death sentence: "For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had secretly been tracking iPhones even after its app had been deleted from the devices, violating Apple’s privacy guidelines. But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. 'So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,' Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store. For Mr. Kalanick, the moment was fraught with tension. If Uber’s app was yanked from the App Store, it would lose access to millions of iPhone customers — essentially destroying the ride-hailing company’s business. So Mr. Kalanick acceded."

Comment Re:Baddly worded summary (Score 2) 71

I suspect this may enable them to lower their prices or increase their margins.

Linux support on popular high-end hardware is close to flawless -- or becomes so after that hardware has been out for a year or so. But if you start looking at the plethora of low end laptops, especially, you are in for a world of minor headaches. I find it takes me about a week of research to get a cheap, relatively new laptop working flawlessly. Sometimes the fixes Google turns up for your model don't work because you have a different revision number. Most people, if they attempted to install Linux onto a recent, low-end laptop, would find a lot of things not working, like sound, or keyboard special keys. It's not rocket science to fix, but for them it might as well be.

This is not what 99% of the world signs on for when they buy a laptop, so it makes sense for someone to have a business that does this for people. But if you're in the business of doing that, you have to pay yourself for your labor. That means you can compete at rock bottom prices because that's where you're starting from in your costs; and in any case starting with a better quality device minimizes the work you have to do dealing with stuff like broken ACPI firmware.

Which means when you count the cost of your value added, it's really hard to sell a rebranded laptop at a competitive price. Selling high quality rebranded hardware at relatively high prices and small profits may be a way to bootstrap your business, but the only way to get serious volume sales at a profit is going to be to have a computer manufactured to your specifications.

Submission + - A battery made of molten metals (mit.edu)

Z00L00K writes: This story came out a while ago, but didn't seem to surface:

A novel rechargeable battery developed at MIT could one day play a critical role in the massive expansion of solar generation needed to mitigate climate change by midcentury. Designed to store energy on the electric grid, the high-capacity battery consists of molten metals that naturally separate to form two electrodes in layers on either side of the molten salt electrolyte between them. Tests with cells made of low-cost, Earth-abundant materials confirm that the liquid battery operates efficiently without losing significant capacity or mechanically degrading — common problems in today’s batteries with solid electrodes. The MIT researchers have already demonstrated a simple, low-cost process for manufacturing prototypes of their battery, and future plans call for field tests on small-scale power grids that include intermittent generating sources such as solar and wind.


Comment This might offset *warming* but not *change*. (Score 1) 191

Most of the greenhouse effect warming takes place in the summer, for the simple reason that's when the most solar radiation is received and trapped. This doesn't eliminate that effect, it offsets the increase in the *average* by adding an unnaturally cold winters -- which by the way would increase fossil fuel use dramatically.

Now this would -- if it is physically and economically feasible -- blunt *some* impacts of global warming, such as glacier retreat and sea level rise. But it would accelerate *other* effects, such as habitat loss and changes in rainfall. Other carbon driven changes like the emergence of carbon-loving weed populations would continue unabated.

Consequently assuming that it's practical, its effects would be at best mixed, and there would be some big-time winners and losers. People with a lot of money in waterfront property would be big winners; interior farmers who rely on historical rainfall and summer temperature patterns would lose. Trout fisherman would lose as warm-water species outcompete salmonid species in their historical range. Etc.

These kind of problems are inherent in any attempt to treat the *symptoms* of rapid, anthropogenic climate change. I you aren't going to use conservation and efficiency to attack the problem, then the most promising geoengineering solution is carbon sequestration -- if it can be achieved on the scale needed. In the ideal case you would set the CO2 levels back, say, to 1960s levels. Not necessarily pre-industrial, because people have already adapted to changes from pre-industrial levels, but low enough that the rate of climate change is closer to natural than what we have today.

Submission + - Wall Street IT Engineer Hacks Employer to See If He'll Be Fired (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Wall Street engineer was arrested for planting credentials-logging malware on his company's servers. According to an FBI affidavit, the engineer used these credentials to log into fellow employees' accounts. The engineer claims he did so only because he heard rumors of an acquisition and wanted to make sure he wouldn't be let go.

In reality, the employer did look at archived email inboxes, but he also stole encryption keys needed to access the protected source code of his employer's trading platform and trading algorithms. Using his access to the company's Unix network (which he gained after a promotion last year), the employee then rerouted traffic through backup servers in order to avoid the company's traffic monitoring solution and steal the company's source code.

The employee was caught after he kept intruding and disconnecting another employee's RDP session. The employee understood someone hacked his account and logged the attacker's unique identifier. Showing his total lack of understanding for how technology, logging and legal investigations work, the employee admitted via email to a fellow employee that he installed malware on the servers and hacked other employees.

Comment Re:Why pay the Microsoft tax? (Score 3, Insightful) 154

One thing I've learned over the years is that Slashdot commenters are generally not good at reacting to abuse. Slashdot commenters make excuses, or react to abuse weakly.

I see the last 20 years have done nothing to dampen your idealism, good for you but maybe an ounce of reality wouldn't hurt? Back then your data was local, you had the executable and the only thing you didn't have was the source code to inspect it. Even though things like email went from your server to their server instead of peer to peer, things were pretty distributed and decentralized. Having access to the source code was mostly about being able to fix and extend it, not that it did something nasty.

Not only have consumers ignored open source solutions, they've gone totally the other way. Much of their data lives in the cloud, where they have no control of what's done with it. They use huge, centralized services like Facebook that collects a ton of data. Auto-updating devices download and install new executable code all the time and often rely on online servers. People don't care that they're being tracked and in many cases even accuse those who object of having something to hide. They sign away all rights in mile-long EULAs without thought.

We've ranted. We've raged. We've raised the banners and tried to proclaim YotLD many times. XPs online activation in 2001. Slammer & friends in 2003. Vista in 2006. "Trusted Computing" sometime late 2000s. Windows 8 in 2012. Windows 10 in 2015. Stealth telemetry in all VS apps in 2016. I'm sure there's many more things I've forgotten. I'm sure there's bad things about Apple, Google, Adobe and many others. We've raged out. It's like "OMG OMG Microsoft is... wait, what's the point? Why is anyone going to listen now, when they never have in the past?"

They earn billions of dollars that way. And in between screwing us over they sometime make pretty good software, so yeah... maybe open source is more efficient but one idealist versus a hundred paid developers is unfair teams. So I run Win7 and I got an iPhone. Should it have been Linux and a rooted Android phone? Maybe. But like I said, raged out. If I can't even stand the hassle myself, it's pretty hard to ask anyone else to fight a fight I feel is pretty hopeless. Pretty sure I'm not the only disillusioned ex-revolutionary here.

Submission + - Time to break up the google? I think so! (google.com)

shanen writes: Don't think of it as a penalty for success. It's the reward of incentivized reproduction. We don't need a google monopoly, but rather a herd of little googles all working to build on the strong foundation. Two results: (1) Competition will drive faster improvements, and (2) We'll get meaningful choice and more freedom.

Submission + - Second parchment manuscript copy of Declaration of Independence found (bostonglobe.com)

Okian Warrior writes: Two Harvard University researchers announced Friday that they have found a second parchment manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence in a tiny records office in southern England.

The only other parchment copy is maintained by the National Archives in Washington, D.C., researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen said in a statement.

The newly discovered document — which the two have dated to the 1780s — was found in the town of Chichester archives, and is believed to have originally belonged to Duke of Richmond who was known as the “Radical Duke,’’ for the support he gave to Americans during the Revolutionary War, the researchers said.

Comment Re:Money stores value (Score 1) 119

The American Revolution is proof that you are wrong, as they won the war using only paper money.

Might want to brush up on your history a bit. They won despite the paper money, which was a major hindrance. Google for the phrase "not worth a continental". When the constitution was written, the memory of America's first hyperinflation was very fresh in their minds, which is why the gold and silver clause in the constitution forbids fiat currency.

-jcr

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