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 Re:Pedestrians are green and can bleed red, too. (Score 1) 542

Oh, also, what sidewalk? I'm talking about country roads on the extreme east side of Tucson. Roads like Freeman, Tanque Verde Loop, Old Spanish Trail, et cetera. These are roads that have bike lanes in both directions, but very little shoulder beyond that. And certainly no sidewalks. This isn't the center of town, or whatever you're imagining, I'm talking about. Of course I run on the sidewalk where there is one. Anyway, your post is a major misfire. You assume multiple things that aren't true. I'm sorry to hear about your bad experiences.

Comment Re:Pedestrians are green and can bleed red, too. (Score 5, Insightful) 542

It's been years since I've logged into Slashdot and commented, but I have to say a few words regarding cyclists. I live in Tucson, Arizona, one of the better cities in the U.S. as far as bicycle lanes and places for cyclists to ride. I don't ride a bicycle; I don't even own one. I'm a runner, and I often find myself running along the side of roads, including in bicycle lanes. Over the course of the last four years, I've never had a bicyclist who wasn't courteous, usually yelling "runner!" to those coming up behind them. Cyclists have always given me plenty of room, and I've heard plenty of "doing good!" and other comments of encouragement from them, as they pass me. Likewise in higher traffic areas, where there are traffic lights, cars and pedestrians, I've seen (with just a few exceptions) cyclists obey the traffic laws and ride courteously around pedestrians. The problem, at least here in Tucson, isn't cyclists. The problem is the motorists. Somehow I get the feeling this is the case in every city in America.

Facebook Master Password Was "Chuck Norris" 319

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you've ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There's an internal system to let them log into anyone's profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so. And they used to have a master password that could log into any Facebook profile: 'Chuck Norris.' Bruce Schneier might be jealous of that one."

What Does Google Suggest Suggest About Humanity? 513

CNETNate writes "You'll laugh, but mostly you'll cry. Some of the questions Google gets asked to deliver results for is beyond worrying. 'Can you put peroxide in your ear?', 'Why would a pregnancy test be negative?', and 'Why can't I own a Canadian?' being just a selection of the truly baffling — and disturbing — questions Google is regularly forced to answer."

Submission + - 16 yr old jailed under Patriot act due to spoofers

Joe 'Nova' writes: Full story here, digg up.

Apparently, a 16 yr old has an IP phone, and it gets spoofed. Spoofer sends in a bomb threat, family gets rude awakening at 10pm despite alibi for son. During initial hearing, the agent(no name as yet) disregards the fact many similar incidents have happened, and denies spoofing even exists! When I heard this on the radio today, I knew just the sleuths to help on it. ;)
Because he is charged under the Patriot Act(ironic, no?), he has no rights ala Gitmo. This has all the feel of bad precedent case law, and his own mother, Annette Lundeby, has severely limited visitation. There is an interview with her second hour on or . She is currently searching for a pro-bono, better than public defender that can represent her case, IANAL, all computers and game consoles were confiscated.
Any cases proving phone spoofing would be greatly appreciated, I don't know his specific make/model, more details to come. The mother has documented the spoofers on youtube bragging on how they made this family suffer, can a slashdotter find? Youtube(Liveleak)
Very chilling indeed!

Submission + - QWest confirms, then denies rate limiting YouTube

An anonymous reader writes: I live in western Washington. My DSL provider is QWest: I bought 1.5Mb/800Kb. About a week ago, my companion said that her download speed with YouTube, TED and others was substantially less than it had been. I suggested that it might be the outbound load on host site. Her complaints about poor performance persisted. The short of it is that after a long dialog with QWest, they first confirmed that they are rate limiting. They subsequently contacted me to say that they are not rate limiting.

This morning I ran some standard tests: speed test ( reports that I have the full 1.5Mb/sec I bought. I tried viewing a YouTube video, a long one (50 minutes) and found the experience painful, about 20% of the speed it should be. I suspected QWest of rate limiting. I used an external proxy server to view the same YouTube video. It appeared to download at full speed.

I called QWest DSL support. They were unhelpful, even when I escallated to a supervisor. I next called "customer service". The lady I talked to said she wasn't a techie and barely understood the terms "rate limiting" and the like. She transferred me to "Broadband Retention". I explained the apparent rate limiting to that individual. He denied knowing anything about it, but did transfer me to "Louis" in some tech department (not regular DSL support). I explained my observations and tests one more time to "Louis". He denied that QWest was rate limiting. Louis did put me on hold for a good while. When he came back he referred me to the QWest "subscriber agreement" at:
He cites the second page, end of the first paragraph, where it says that QWest may limit speeds. He also cites a "FAQ on Excessive use Policy"
and admitted that QWest was, indeed, rate limiting YouTube and other streaming sites.

I asked for a discount based on degraded service. Louis conferenced me to "Jason" in the "loyalty group". I told Jason that I thought 1.5Mb/sec but with rate limited access to YouTube, etc, was worth about $10/month. Jason offered $15/month for 3 months. I said, "Not good enough. Make it permanent". He declined.

I told both Jason and Louis that would post a summary of my discussion with QWest to Consumerist, Reddit and Slashdot. I ended the conversation with a polite "Good day".

About 20 minutes later Lousi called to change his previous statement that QWest rate limits YouTube and others. He now declares that QWest does not rate limit. — From my observation, it does appear that QWest does rate limit. Maybe smarter folks than I can determine the truth.
The Internet

Submission + - President to be able to shut down the Internet? (

filmmaker writes: "In the following YouTube clip, Rep. Weiner suggest to House subcommittee that the President have on/off switch for the Internet. This goes right along with Jay Rockefeller's Senate Bill S. 773, which would limit all kinds of Internet freedoms, for instance, giving the President the aforementioned "on/off" switch for the entire 'net (in the U.S., at least) and requiring anyone who works in computer security, even if for a private firm, to register into a Federal gov't database..."

Submission + - CIFTA Treaty and You (

cagrin writes: "From this article discussing Obama bringing up support for CIFTA Treaty with Mexican President Felipe Calderon:

"Obama has promised Mexican President Felipe Calderon that he would urge the Senate to take up CIFTA. He is doing this under the cover of the drug cartel violence in Mexico. Obama and Calderon quoted a statistic echoed by the corporate media that 90% of the weapons seized in Mexican raids were purchased from U.S. gun shops and a reason why the U.S. needs to ratify this treaty. In fact, this is a lie — only a mere 17% of guns found at Mexico crime scenes have been traced to the U.S."

Lou Dobb's also discusses the affect it would have on 2nd amendment rights if ratified in Senate.

"One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" — Plato"

Comment Cyber threat fear is being drummed up right now (Score 3, Insightful) 247

Ok, over the last couple weeks, several stories have made their way into the news about cybersecurity.

These stories overstate the threat, and, in particular, only serve to loudly announce things which are already well known. For example, the fact that DoD systems are probed continuously by the Chinese. But! That's always been true. Where were all the alarming sounding news reports last year? Two years ago? Ten years ago? Where was Jay Rockefeller's Senate bill, S. 773, which aims to restrict Internet freedom in the United States in previous years? We can all expect the media heat to increase even more as the public is whipped into a frenzy of fear, and then comes to accept that we need the Federal Government to restrict our Internet freedom--for our own safety, of course!

As these stories come through Slashdot, we all bicker amongst ourselves as to how grave the threat is. Or where it's coming from. Or how we might combat it. It's so predictable. And while we're distracted with these irrelevant (although admittedly interesting in some cases) discussions, Senate and House bills are moving through our Congress right now which I consider to be "Patriot Acts" for the Internet. Nobody is talking about those, though.

We get what we deserve when we demand nothing at all.

Feds To Offer Cash For Your Clunker 740

coondoggie sends along a NetworkWorld piece that begins, "The government... wants to motivate you to get rid of your clunker of a car for the good of the country (and the moribund car industry). A 'Cash for Clunkers' measure introduced this week by three US Senators, two Democrats and a Republican, would set up a national voucher program to encourage drivers to voluntarily trade in their older, less fuel-efficient car, truck, or SUV for a car that gets better gas mileage. Should the bill pass, the program would pay out a credit of $2,500 to $4,500 for drivers who turn in fuel-inefficient vehicles to be scrapped and purchase a more fuel-efficient vehicle."

As Christmas Bonus, Google Hands Out "Dogfood" 366

theodp writes "You know times are tough when the best place to work in America replaces holiday bonuses with a request for unpaid labor. Blaming the economic crisis, Google management has canceled the traditional cash holiday bonus — reportedly as much as $20K-$30K per Googler — and substituted an unlocked Google Android cell phone, retail price $400. An accompanying email calls for employees to celebrate the 'chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better!'" Update: 12/23 01:09 GMT by KD : A reader pointed out that comments to the article note a couple of inaccuracies: the Android phone being offered is an unlocked dev model, which goes for $400; and the reporter may have confused holiday bonuses with performance bonuses. The former have traditionally been in the range of $1,000, according to two comments.

Comment Functional Perl is a good way to start (Score 1) 620

I read a book not too long ago called Higher Order Perl, which highlights how natural functional programming in Perl is. That's right. Perl has pretty nice syntactical support for functional programming, too. The object-oriented stuff is bolted on, clumsily, in my opinion. But functional Perl is just as natural as imperative Perl. I've been writing Perl for eight years, although much less in the last few years, but this familiarity makes the transition from imperative (or what most programmers actually do, which is combine imperative and OOP styles, esp. in languages where the OOP part is bolted on, like Perl and PHP) to functional pretty simple. I had meant to use functional Perl as a stepping stone to OCaml and Haskell. But now I'm having too much fun with functional Perl...there's just no way this can end well... =D

PHP Gets Namespace Separators, With a Twist 523

jeevesbond writes "PHP is finally getting support for namespaces. However, after a couple hours of conversation, the developers picked '\' as the separator, instead of the more popular '::'. Fredrik Holmström points out some problems with this approach. The criteria for selection were ease of typing and parsing, how hard it was to make a typo, IDE compatibility, and the number of characters."

Slashdot Top Deals

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.