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Comment Of course, there's a fourth option... (Score 1) 371

One thing you need to understand about programming languages, is that they're like comic book villains. They do die, but they're never completely dead. I learned COBOL for fun a few years ago, seeing it through the eyes of a modern programmer. It's unique among programming languages, I find the syntax remarkably straightforward, after you get used to some of the underlying concepts it's predicated against.

I think the language has possibilities. Especially in an age where the human computer interface has moved from keyboards to voice. It would be amazing if you could do the kinds of complex programming tasks by voice that you see in Star Trek, and I think we're only a few years off. Here, COBOL is really the only language that makes sense for the task. Well, for the most part, and barring some of the more recent additions to the language, that is. No such application exists for it, yet, but it certainly could. And something like that will certainly be both needed and wanted in the coming years.

As far as the banks go, you have to understand business. If a system works properly and needs very little maintenance, there is no business case for replacing it. It's not like anyone runs websites with COBOL these days. Typically, it's the language of big iron mainframes, that were designed to last forever. If the current group of COBOL programmers does die out, it makes sense to train new ones. There's still a fair amount of demand for it, which will appeal to the mercenary nature of modern programmers.

I don't think that's an outlandish suggestion. We pay people to learn new things all time, even programming languages. To pretend that banks are somehow different than any other big organization, anywhere else, in any other industry is silly. Let's just call this what it is, stop worrying about it, and move on.


Wall Street IT Engineer Hacks Employer To See If He'll Be Fired ( 198

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 employee 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:I don't see the problem here... (Score 1) 448

If you're going to talk about litigation and prosecution though, what worried me is the precedent that prosecuting burger king for something like this would set.

Sure, the devices could be more secure. I'll give you that.

But, on the other than hand, who was actually hurt by this? Can you put a dollar amount on the damage that was caused by this?
Did anyone lose their lives, their freedom, or their livelihoods over this incident?

What if, rather than worrying about fast food companies doing novel things with technology that people might be mildly annoyed by, we put some serious thought into reforming the law that has taken the life and freedom away from thousands of people whose crimes were relatively nominal in terms of actual damage and cost incurred?

We've been complaining about hacking laws for two decades now. How about using this incident, and similar incidents like it to bring some much needed reforms to something we can all agree is an absolutely terrible law?

Comment I wish we would stop calling it that... (Score 1) 423

When you use words like net neutrality, you get a picture in head. Something very specific, and one that means something. We all think we know what the term means, but we don't. Almost never, do we, slashdot, as a collective group, understand what's actually being talked about when governments and telecoms use the term. And it's never implemented the same way, or to the same ends, twice. We need to call it something else. It's time.


Facebook Begins Marking 'Fake News' As 'Disputed' ( 208

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is now marking fake news as "disputed," several sites reported today. "According to Facebook's Help Center, news stories that are reported as fake by people on Facebook may be reviewed by independent, third-party fact-checkers," writes WDRB Media. "The fact-checkers will be signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principles. A story will be marked as disputed if fact-checkers find the story to be fake."

Mashable reports that the feature was rolled out quietly, and didn't gain much attention until it was noticed Friday by a reporter from Gizmodo, who tweeted a screenshot showing Facebook's new "disputed" icon. Further investigation revealed Facebook's help center now includes a page explaining how news gets marked as disputed, and another page informing users how to mark a news story as fake (which points out this feature "isn't available to everyone yet.")


Microsoft Finally Releases A Beta Version of Skype For Linux ( 66

"We want to create a Linux version of Skype that is as feature rich as the existing Skype on desktop and mobile platforms," read Thursday's announcement from Microsoft's Skype team. "Today, we're pleased to announce that we are ready to take the next step and promote Skype for Linux from Alpha to Beta." They're promising more than just better performance and bug fixes. "We have been listening to you and added in some of your top requests." Slashdot reader BrianFagioli shares the list:
  • One-to-one video calls can be made from Linux to Skype users on the latest versions of Skype for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
  • Calls to mobiles and landlines with Skype credit.
  • Linux users can now view shared screens from other Skype desktop clients (Windows 7.33 and above, Mac 7.46 and above).
  • Unity launcher now shows the number of unread conversations.
  • Online contacts in contact list now include Away and Do Not Disturb statuses.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.