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


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment TSA should be replaced by inspectors (Score 1) 121

The TSA should be replaced with a much much smaller group of enforcement inspectors and all they do is set security guidelines and test airport security. The actual security staff should be hired by the airports themselves, and all TSA does is test that they are meeting standards. (the standards that TSA themselves fail 95% of the time).

Comment Re:Cyanogen != CyanogenMod (Score 3, Interesting) 118

* People were fed up with carrier-crap on their phones

I'm definitely in that camp, I'm sticking with the Nexus, not only do I not have all of the carrier crap, but I also get regular OS updates - my 3 year old Nexus 7 tablet still receives near monthly updates.

* People were fed up with Google-crap on their phones

Apparently not that many, or Cyanogen would have a market for their OS. Even cyanogen provides a wiki page to tell you how to load Google Apps on your Cyanogenmod device, because "many users find them beneficial to take full advantage of the Android ecosystem."

Comment Re:I'm sure they will fully comply (Score 2) 120

And they still profit. Why? Because robocalls like this help push people into deciding they need unlimited calling in the first place, thereby spurring them to spend more. And because not everybody has unlimited calling, and a large portion of their userbase has their minutes eaten up by this. Whether you personally spend more because of it changes that not one lick.

Really? It's hard to find a plan from a major carrier that does't have unlimited (or near unlimited) calling, some MVNO's offer them, but the carriers make so little money off of minutes, I'd be surprised if robocalls would earn any significant revenue for the carriers.

Comment Re:they need to work the other end (Score 2) 120

if legit companies were required to prove that their contractors followed ALL laws (with epic fines for violations) then these boiler room companies would go "POOF".

None of the robocalls I receive (at least the ones I've listened to) are legit companies, they are all "You won a trip to the Caribbean", "Listen for special offer to lower your interest rate", etc. They are fly-by-night companies that are hard to track down, and will just pop up again under another name if they face any punishment for the robocalls.

Robocalls have gotten so bad that I stopped answering the phone for cals from numbers I don't recognize, I just let them go to voicemail and wait for the Google Voice transcript to see if I want to call them back.

Comment Re:I'm sure they will fully comply (Score 2) 120

Or more likely, they'll do nothing at all because they profit every time a robocall hits one of our phones.

Not really, I have unlimited (or nearly unlimited, 1000 minutes) calling, I only use a fraction of that allowance, sending more calls to me doesn't earn AT&T any money, and causes additional load on their network.

Comment Re:Reaching the limits of the unlimited (Score 4, Informative) 409

Yes-- according to Verizon, "unlimited" has its limits.

"Unlimited" comes with a caveat: common sense.

Personally I'd rather have that caveat than pay extra to support the 0.01% of the people that consume 1000x more resources than everyone else.

I really do hope somebody hits them hard for false advertising []

Nope. If you are a subscriber, you do have unlimited data. These people are no longer subscribers. Verizon isn't offering them a service any longer, and they aren't paying for it. Business transaction complete.

The problem with relying on common sense is that it's not that common and what seems perfectly reasonable to one person "The only reason I signed up for Verizon was because they offered an unlimited plan that I could use to stream videos to my mountain retreat", may be unreasonable to someone else.

That's why we have truth in advertising laws -- if you lease someone a car with "unlimited mileage" included, you can't charge them extra (or take back their car) when they put 300,000 miles on it in a year. Unlimited has a very clear meaning.

Comment Re:Precisely placing atoms is not new. (Score 3, Insightful) 68

look, this would be worthwhile if it had any sort of implication of it being feasible for some useful purpose some day. it does not.

it needs "clean vacuum" and a low temperature. it's less feasible,

the _only_ reason they arranged them in 8 bits and put that out in the pr was to get press time for something that otherwise would not have gotten any. they could have gone with "you can write the bible on so and so small thing" approach too.

bubble memory or whatever is more feasible for use than this, that's saying a lot.

Wouldn't a hard drive technician from 40 years ago say the same thing if you told him of your plan to build a helium filled hard drive the size of your fist that would have a million times more capacity than the washing machine sized drives that were state of the art?

Comment Re: Precisely placing atoms is not new. (Score 3, Insightful) 68

Either way, because this requires an extremely cold temperature, it will likely never even end up in even the most state-of-the-art datacenter, nevermind your PC. This is one of those neat yet 100% impractical things that come around every so often. Could a derivative of this technology some day become practical? Maybe, but not with the copper/chlorine combination seen here. I think DNA based storage would probably come sooner.

If they could figure out how to read and write to this quickly, don't lose too much space to ECC and get good durability, the temperature requirement won't keep it out of datacenters - liquid nitrogen is (relatively) cheap (10 - 20 cents/liter), and a 500X increase in density would make it very attractive - replacing 500 racks of disks with one rack of these would pay for a lot of liquid nitrogen.

Comment Re:It's inevitable (Score 5, Insightful) 167

The best way to avoid the fair use problem is to create your own original content rather than building off of someone else's copyrighted content and claiming it as your original.

Too bad that would eliminate many of the best creative works ever created, nearly all great artists built on previous works.

The entire Disney empire was built on someone else's stories. And they are doing everything they can to keep someone else from doing the same.

Comment Re:Is it better than security cameras? (Score 1) 263

$7/hour for a machine that roams around the lot with the sole purpose of noticing people doing "wierd" things to cars and alerting authorities (after which the 6-12 cameras that are reasonably placed can be reviewed, for the 1 hour before/after the event happened) seems like a pretty fair price to overcome that, especially if something questionable happens at least once a month (and in some parking garages it could happen once a week).

But apply the same algorithms that this roving robot uses to sense unusual behavior, and you don't need a human to comb through 1000 hours of footage, only incidents will need to be reviewed -- if the camera-bot can sense a break-in in progress, so can the other cameras.

Comment Re:Is it better than security cameras? (Score 1) 263

As noted, it's a mobile camera. The big advantage comes from liability and HR savings. You write and tweak an algorithm, and then the little robot does it. Follows a set path, semi-random path, whatever. Doesn't get tired, doesn't get bored, doesn't skip looking somewhere because nobody would hide there. "Remembers" every last detail in a manner that's reproducible in court. If anything happens to the robot, you just upload the work algorithm into the new one, charge it up, and let it go. If the robot misses something, tweak the algorithm and redeploy.

That doesn't really answer my question - why is a roving robot (which can only see a portion of the parking lot at a time) better than dozens of fixed and/or PTZ cameras that are overlooking the entire lot all the time? Any algorithm that the robot uses to detect bad behavior could also be applied to the fixed cameras, with the PTZ's used to zoom in on suspicious behavior for more detail.

Comment Re:Is it better than security cameras? (Score 1) 263

Robots have better ability to examine things closely. Security cameras often have major limitations on what they see. For example, typically they can only read license plates if the car is in a specific location (i.e. the entrance/exit). They can't see what's going on everywhere, and can be blocked.

Assume someone rents a big van, enters the lot, parks his van in front of the camera. Get out on the other side (protected by the van), and proceeds to break into a trunk, plants some evidence, or perhaps a GPS tracker, removes the radio, etc. No one can ever tell what happened. The robot avoids this issue.

But won't the big van also block the little robot (assuming it doesn't just run over the robot).

If this robot can read license plates, then a pole mounted PTZ camera can also read license plates, but unlike the robot that can only be one place at one time, cameras are cheap enough that they can be mounted throughout the lot. (1 year of robot rental is $120K, that's a lot of cameras).

Comment Is it better than security cameras? (Score 1) 263

If a robot costs $7/hour to rent, and you need two of them (for battery changes), that's $122K/year for 24x7 coverage.

Is this roving robot better than blanketing the lot with fixed security cameras? (other than acting as a honeypot to attract people that want to mess with the robot) Whatever logic the robot uses to determine if something warrants an alarm could be applied to the fixed camera feed as well. And you have fewer blind spots since the robot can't see what's happening over in the next row of cars and it's very apparent when you're in the line of sight of the robot.

Comment Re: Why do people think self driving cars will cat (Score 1) 622

Plenty of people in cities get by on taxis and car-share, self driving cars will expand that to suburban areas.

Plenty of people in cities get by on public transport, and it's generally quicker in a lot of major cities.

Sure public transit is good for everyday trips, but still it's nice to have access to a car (even within the city) to take you point-to-point instead of waiting on transit and possibly adding blocks of walking to your journey. Things like getting taking your date cross-town from a restaurant to her friend's party on a rainy night, taking the dog to the vet when he injured his food and can't walk, going on a weekend camping trip out of town, etc.

These are the times when it's nice to have access to a car, but you don't neccessarily need your own car - take Uber or a taxi when you're in town, use carshare or a car rental company when you want to get out of town - take the car-share 4WD SUV when you're going camping, take the convertible when you're driving down the coast to a B&B with your partner, rent a minivan when you're taking the family for a week long road trip. When you don't have to own a car, you have a lot more flexibility in what kind of car you get when you *do* need one.

Slashdot Top Deals

news: gotcha