Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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 Abuse is slow too (Score 1) 290

I once e-mailed their abuse address when I worked at a web hosting provider. They had a bug in Gmail that made them send the exact same message hundreds of times per second, for days. We know this was a bug because the sender was one of our customers who had sent the e-mail to his own address with us, and now he got thousands of copies of it per minute. Something had apparently ended up in an infinite loop on Google's end.

I obviously contacted the abuse address listed in WHOIS with this rather important message but when I didn't get a response within an hour we had to ban Gmail. Not everybody can say that they made that decision! (Eventually we unlocked everything but his sender address).

Two WEEKS later I got a template reply with totally irrelevant links to their FAQ. I lost all respect for Google then and there. I thought that they would at least know how to be good netizens on the tech level but no.

Comment Re:Too complex (Score 1) 800

With a good emergency broadcast channel you could get everyone around you involved in milliseconds. We should try to get the algorithms to work with local data only (and whatever info is in the emergency broadcast packet), and low-runtime algorithms. We might not be able to find the optimal soution but maybe we can find a solution that indeed minimizes accidents, inside that fraction of a second. Maybe just braking and steering away from the accident works in many scenarios? Because everyone steers away at the same time they leave room for each other without need for further coordination.

The fun thing about automated cars is that even the worst-case scenarios should be at most as dangerous as if only humans were involved. So we can only make it better. Everything is more ethical than letting humans decide in realtime imo.

Comment Anonymous exams (Score 2) 187

Racism, sexism and other discrimination is quite effectively countered with anonymous grading. My university gave you a unique number before each exam and you put only that number on the sheets. Only afterwards did the administrators (not anyone involved in the course) look up and file the exam under your name. I found this helpful as a TA too because we really wanted to be fair both in grades and comments.

You can still be biased by the handwriting but we tried to counter that ourselves. If someone in my TA group recognized the handwriting of someone they knew we made sure to let someone else in the group grade that exam.

Comment Re: wrong (Score 4, Interesting) 105

The system used by most Swedish banks:

* The bank website gives you a random number as a challenge
* You input the number to a device together with your PIN (some banks also require you to insert your card into the device)
* You get a new number from the device that you input on a web page

The web pages are obviously encrypted with HTTPS using an EV-SSL certificate.

It used to be that the challenge was an account number or an amount but that is no longer the case due to the possibility of a replay attack.

Comment Re:Hacker??!! (Score 2) 248

But does it apply to government employees?

This is a relevant question regarding the damage done. Are government documents copyrightable in France? In Sweden where I live these kinds of documents are explicitly exempt from copyright and put into the public domain. Swedes can also request a copy of any government document not explicitly covered by confidentiality laws.

But it is not entirely relevant if they argue that the crime is hacking into a computer system, which is usually covered by different laws altogether. So getting the documents in this way may be illegal regardless of copyright and confidentiality. Under Swedish law the act of getting access to computer resources you shouldn't have access to is the crime in this instance. My understanding of TFA is that the French law is similar in this regard, and that was the crime he was convicted for. Not copyright, but computer intrusion.

Comment Re:Debian packages still fubar'd (Score 1) 195

The Debian packages are really strange for XBMC. First off the Linux instructions are aimed primarily at Ubuntu. Then the other problem is that there is some kind of a fork between the "official packages" for Ubuntu and the Debian packages provided on, the latter not being up to date (only rc2 is available).


Short of adding a Ubuntu PPA to my sources.list, I am not sure how I can get this thing installed on Debian, which is a bit annoying.

I've compiled it myself for Debian, using the instructions from Compile XBMC for Linux. I've spent some hours figuring out which packages to install prior to compilation, but most of them is listed in the README.linux file (which you get when you checkout with git as part of the installation procedure).

When you're done compiling, instead of doing a make install, use checkinstall to get a .deb package.

The best thing about this is that you can run the latest code without waiting for a release. The code in the repository have always been very stable for me, and I've had access to most of the features in 11.0 since February. Once you've managed to do your own compile it's just a matter of git pull to get the latest changes downloaded and then doing a recompile and build a new package.

Slashdot Top Deals

"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama