Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Still Confused .... (Score 2, Informative) 435

I'm still not sure how this points to the Russians... How do we not know that it isn't some dude sitting on the beach in Tahiti and bouncing it off a server or VPN in Russia?

Because they weren't simply working with SRC and DST packets, Donald. They did actual analysis, and found that the intrusion tools were the same as those used, among other things, to hack the German Bundestag (Parliament). They found Russian language bits mistakenly left in the leaked materials—which disappeared and never emerged again once their presence was pointed out. A shared SSL certificate also implicated the Russians.

Comment Re:Says Hillary Propaganda arm Washington Post (Score 1) 113

I saw you linking those articles the other day, and read the Intercept one. The leak doesn't prove that the entire mainstream media is in bed with Hillary, following her every command.

Maybe I can shed a little light here, as a professional journalist who often talks off the record with people in positions of power.

The question you should be asking is not whether so-and-so has a friendly relationship with Candidate X. The question is, what is the effect of that relationship on their reporting? And lest you think that I'm siding with the reporters on this one... don't. I see a far-too-common tendency among reporters to shy away from criticising people with whom they have a relationship. I also see a not-as-common tendency among reporters to assume that they are required to maintain an adversarial relationship with politicians and others in positions of power.

As with all things, 95% of everything is crap. If you seek out the 5% who really do a decent job of reporting, though, you'll see some fine—and reputable—journalism.

Good old-fashioned scepticism just doesn't seem to cut it any more. I actually took comfort from the fact that even though the Clinton team could rely on Maggie Haberman to write a story... but could not rely on her to portray the story the way they wanted. That's pretty much how journalism is designed. Of course it's worthwhile to write about Clinton's vetting process; it's noteworthy and in the public interest. And as long as it's written in a properly sceptical (but not cynical) frame, it's worth reading, too.

I have a lot of time for Greenwald. He's a quality journalist. But in my opinion he often confuses his own cynicism with honest and fair scepticism. But that's praising with faint damns. Even the best journos should be read through a context filter.

Comment Re:RTFA, please. (Score 5, Interesting) 508

That is far from a detailed description and more of a list of uninformed rants. Much better to read the informed reply to TFA here:

More clueless autonomic defensiveness without any reflection on what the impact of the bug actually is. I especially enjoyed this old chestnut as the author attempts to fisk the original bug report:

These accusations are true for every major production kernel (Windows, Linux, and BSD) and every alternative to systemd (in the sense that they’re almost all written in C and run many of their operations as root).

"SystemD, let me just stop you there. I know the Linux kernel. I've worked with the Linux kernel. You're no Linux kernel."

The incredible hubris of asserting parity with the core of the entire OS, the ignorance that underlies the statement that init was written in C and runs as root, so it's every bit as vulnerable... How the fuck do you even make code run? Do you even teh logic?

The SystemD team is the Microsoft of a new generation. Doubling down on their mistakes; shouting louder when they don't get their way; using every available ratiocination and intellectual contortion to excuse themselves; resorting to any means to make their strategy win, instead of stopping to ask themselves for once, 'Are we following a winning strategy here?'

Thank g*d I quit writing software last year. Dealing with Microsoft's mind-crushing blindness was enough for one lifetime. Now I can just grump about it and walk away.

Comment Re:i.e. I think I can ignore the law if I want to (Score 1) 176

Um, the French and Indian War was between 1756 and 1763. There was no "Canada", save as a bit of a colloquial expression for the New France, which became British after the defeat of French forces in 1759.

Nitpick: The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763. That was when the colony formally became British.

Comment Re:In other words (Score 1) 126

I've had a kidney stone, and I'll tell you the LAST thing I wanted to do during all that pain was hop on a roller coaster.

Amen, brother. I had heroin suppositories[*] keeping mine down to a deafening roar before my medevac, and I still couldn't even sit upright before the pain got the better of me. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.

[*] From the ridiculous to the sublime, as it were.

Submission + - New formula massively reduces prime number memory requirements.

grcumb writes: Peruvian mathematician Harald Helfgott made his mark on the history of mathematics by solving Goldbach's Weak Conjecture, which every odd number greater than 5 can be expressed as the sum of three prime numbers. Now, according to Scientific American, he's found a better solution to the Sieve of Erasthones:

In order to determine with this sieve all primes between 1 and 100, for example, one has to write down the list of numbers in numerical order and start crossing them out in a certain order: first, the multiples of 2 (except the 2); then, the multiples of 3, except the 3; and so on, starting by the next number that had not been crossed out. The numbers that survive this procedure will be the primes. The method can be formulated as an algorithm.

But now, Helfgott has found a method to drastically reduce the amount of RAM required to run the algorithm:

Helfgott was able to modify the sieve of Eratosthenes to work with less physical memory space. In mathematical terms: instead of needing a space N, now it is enough to have the cube root of N.

So what will be the impact of this? Will we see cheaper, lower-power encryption devices? Or maybe quicker cracking times in brute force attacks?

Comment Re:Hackaday Prize (Score 2) 537

Check out the Hackaday prize, over at

Actually, you don't even have to get too clever to save lives. In early 2015, the South Pacific country of Vanuatu was devastated by cyclone Pam, a category 5 storm that severely damaged almost half the country. (Full disclosure: the UNICEF photos are mine.). In spite of some islands being completely denuded of shelter, only 11 people died.

The people of Vanuatu deal with an average of 1.5 cyclones every year, but this was an unique event. There had never been a storm of this intensity measured in the country before, and certainly not one that passed directly on top of more than half the population. 3000 years of dealing with cyclones meant that people knew how to cope, but it was telecommunications that allowed us to warn people in time for them to seek shelter. Ironically, on Tanna (the worst-affected island) the majority of casualties occurred when the wall of a building designated an emergency shelter collapsed.

One national telco saw its entire national network knocked out. But within 10 days, they had better than 90% of it back in operation. I myself saw the CEO manhandling a microwave antenna into the back of a chopper during the height of the relief effort.

So yeah, it's not glorious; it's not clever. Sometimes tech just needs to be available to save lives.

P.S. The owners of a Very Large Internet Company saved a lot of lives in the immediate aftermath of the storm when they sent their superyacht to assist with relief activities. The vessel was small enough to get into the countless tiny passages, and large enough to support a helipad for medevacs. On top of that, the 40,000 litre desalination unit could keep entire villages supplied with water until barges could arrive. They don't want their names to come out because this is one of the few places in the world they can get away and just be people. But thanks guys. You rock.

Comment Re:Good, Bad And Ugly (Score 1) 194

The Good: if there are known threats that can be filtered, this is the most efficient level on which to do them.

The Bad: this will inevitably be extended to blocking torrent sites, Wikileaks and any web sites I administer.

The Ugly: it will create a false sense of security, "educating" users to be less educated about their machines.

The un-fucking-believably stupid: Ignoring the capacity for police state tactics in surveilling the domestic population, this is the same as tacking a bullseye onto the nation's internet and telling every terrorist, rogue nation and hacktivist:


Comment Re:Why do you speak on behalf of the rest of socie (Score 1) 272

It shouldn't matter who the DNC leaker was. Blaming "the Ruskies" is just a diversion.

The question here isn't 'who leaked?', so much as 'if it's the Russians, what are they holding back?'

I'm a fan of leakers, but would prefer leaks from people who don't have a horse in the race. The age-old question 'cui bono?' (who benefits?) is a key element to establishing the value and completeness of a leak. I say this, by the way, as a professional journalist who has relied on leaks and whistleblowers for some big stories.

Comment Re:UBI will reach 100% of tax (Score 1) 1145

So what if the UBI reaches 100% of the federal tax?

I think the way that $3 trillion figure is formulated is more than a little disingenuous. Surely you don't just give $10,000 to every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Anywhere this has been looked at, it's been implemented as an income subsidy. In other words, you top up everyone's income so that nobody earns less than a given amount. Based on that calculation, and factoring in savings on welfare, food stamps etc., the idea actually looks quite attractive.

Comment Re:OpenBTS or WiFi? (Score 1) 37

It's OpenBTS, not Facebook's new project, that developed incredibly cheap 2.5G GSM service on cheap, software defined radio hardware.

Exactly. This idea has been around for yonks. Probably the most visible in international development circles was the Grameen Foundation's Village Phone project. This included small-scale GSM transmitter/receivers along with phones that would be shared on a commercial pay-as-you-go basis.

I met a few people working on a variation of this in Timor Leste, and tried to get some formal backing and traction for this in some Pacific island countries. The bottom line is that it's a no-go scenario, because you have inordinately high regulatory barriers, and the opposition of local telcos, who don't want anyone else hanging off their infrastructure, no matter how good it is for the bottom line.

That made some sense at the time, but today, why wouldn't you build your wireless network on WiFi instead?

Because at the end of the day, you still need to interact with local telcos. You can shim it any way you want, but if a person can't call or text their cousin in the capital, they're not going to pay to use the service.

But that's not reason to give up hope. You should give up hope because the telcos will never let it happen anyway, and even if they do, they'll find some new way to screw you out of accessing an affordable and open internet. :-)

Comment Headline is wrong (Score 5, Informative) 92

Brewster Kahle said that sentence at a conference also attended by TBL. And the quote doesn't even appear in the article that the phrase is linked to.

The actual quote is in the New York Time article:

“Edward Snowden showed we’ve inadvertently built the world’s largest surveillance network with the web,” said Mr. Kahle

Congratulations on failing journalism 101. But then, this being Slashdot and all: Congratulations! You're an editor!!

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 515

But a large number of professional programmers didn't learn how to code in a formal school program, either because they're self-taught or because they learned on the job. Citation please.

In the early days, many people didn't have anyone to learn from. If you weren't enrolled in a University computer science programme, you probably had close to zero access to formal instruction.

For my part, a colleague of mine came by my desk, saw me struggling to handle a conditional with a macro, and showed me how to create a control structure in Visual Basic. Spent a few months playing and reading MS' Knowledge Base in text mode through a 9600 baud connection. Then I found Kernihan and Ritchie little book, and suddenly it all made sense.

Fast forward 6 years to the late '90s, and I was writing systems software for NOC services. The dot com boom happened, and Bob, as they say, was my uncle.

Comment Re:Let's just get the makers vs takers out of the (Score 1) 1116

This is the capitalist version of "let them eat cake." Because god help them if the proles feel like they deserve some of the money they're making capitalists.

That's truer than you realise. Marie Antoinette reportedly said, 'Qu'ils mangent la brioche.' Translated in the proper context, it meant that because flour supplies were so low, they should use alternate sources, in this case, the highly refined (cake) flour that was being saved off for herself and her family.

This was straight-up socialist redistribution she was calling for.

I think Marie Antoinette would have supported the idea of a guaranteed basic income.

Slashdot Top Deals

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz