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Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 897

That's indeed the kind of ideas that is now floating around. I rank it in the category of Iraq coming to kill us all, with the same combination of inflating the threat and at the same time regarding the opponent as a pushover. I think Colin Powell has made some sensible comments on that. Russia is paranoid about us, about NATO. We scare them. They are a small power, we're a big one that is surrounding them more and more, and then sabre rattling is a sensible response.

That doesn't explain why they weren't rattling their sabers a few years ago. The Economist has a recent article that does offer an explanation that covers that as well The thesis is basically that domestic troubles caused by a weak economy have motivated Putin to seek ways to distract his people from domestic concerns. Specifically, he's tried to recapture the superpower position of the Soviet Union. He can't, really, because Russia isn't the Soviet Union. Without the central planning structure to force the massive overproduction of military resources, the Soviet Union wouldn't have been the Soviet Union, either.

But his people don't really realize this and, frankly, the rest of the world tends not to realize it much, either. So Putin can rattle his rusted and broken saber and the rest of the world reacts as though he was the mighty Soviet Union. Except... there is one area in which is military isn't so rusted or broken: nuclear weapons. Oh, his nuclear armament is aging and dilapidated, but it's still very real and Russia has the technological wherewithal to build highly functional nukes and missiles to carry them. Russia can't afford to build very many of them, but it doesn't really take all that many.

So, as it becomes more and more apparent that Putin doesn't really have the conventional forces to make the world treat Russia with the fear and respect that the Soviet Union got, he's almost certainly going to be making more and more use of the nuclear threat that the world can't ignore. And that will help to keep his people feeling like they're a major world power again, which will keep him in power.

Is this true? I don't know. Makes sense to me.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 141

Hangouts used to have seamless SMS/Hangouts.

No, it was never seamless in the sense that iMessage is. The seams were harder to see, and that was exactly the problem that motivated the clear separation; the failure modes of the combined messaging were subtle, hard to understand and opaque to users. The upshot is that the combination made Hangouts messaging appear to be unreliable.

Actually, iMessage isn't really seamless either. It breaks badly if iMessage thinks the destination device is an iPhone but it isn't. It's very good in a pure-Apple world, though.

Comment I'm pissed with them right now (Score 1) 1

Ordered a long-throw stapler and staples 2 weeks ago. The stapler came last week, staples today. The box was open at both ends, staples spilled out into the bag, box crushed and staples broken.

They won't let me return them. I'd be REALLY pissed if it wasn't just a couple of bucks.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 141

Hangouts does everything you describe. It's what I use all the time. It is seamless across my phone and table and my PC. And it is seamless across windows, linux and apple.

It is seamless between SMS and the internal delivery system, and the conversations are synced to my gmail account allowing me to search them.

I like Hangouts and use it constantly, both personally and for work (I work for Google, where it is arguably the primary means of communication), but it isn't quite as seamless as iMessage in one respect: SMS integration. In iMessage there is no distinction between SMS and iMessage messages; they're all just messages. If they can be delivered via Apple's infrastructure, they are, if not they're routed via SMS. With Hangouts, SMS and Hangouts chat messages are distinct. They look similar, but they're different in subtle ways.

Of course, Hangouts clearly is superior to iMessage if you or your friends use non-Apple devices, because Hangouts works on a much wider variety of platforms, and for those who understand the distinction it's *good* to know what is SMS and what is not, because SMS is inherently unreliable -- and in some parts of the world SMS is also ridiculously expensive while data is cheap.

So, although depending on your context Hangouts may be better than iMessage, it's definitely not as seamless in a pure-Apple world as iMessage is.

Comment Re:Hardware is so much better? (Score 1) 78

Blame the environmentalists, its the shitty solder. Got a customer who is an engineer, I fix his PCs, he fixes my electronics and you have no idea how many times he has popped the back off a device of mine just to find tin whiskers.

So IMHO its a perfect example of how the "we have to DO something!" mentality nearly always leads to failure, as they got rid of lead in solder to "protect the environment!"....only to end up creating fricking mountains of e-waste because gear that before would easily last a decade is now lucky if it lasts 3 years thanks to all the shit solder shorting everything out.

Comment Re:Staff have to be smart again (Score 1) 78

Oh lord the puppies don't remember their history!

DirectX became a "thing" because of "The Lion King" on PC. A lot of the OEMs sold a shitload of units with the Lion King game preloaded, IIRC it was Xmas season 94. All these kids came down on Xmas morning to play...only to find out the game didn't work on like 90% of the hardware out there. Of course nobody blamed the shitty programmers for only supporting a couple of chips, nope they blamed Windows 3.1 and MSFT and had a royal stinking shitfit, even ended up on the nightly news, kinda a "MSFT is the Grinch that crapped on Xmas" angle.

Well if there was one thing that MSFT under Billy didn't like? It was bad press, so next thing you know they announce "Direct3D" and "DirectDraw" to solve this very problem of every game needing drivers for every bit of kit. Later on they combined the different APIs into what is now called DirectX.

Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 1) 325

I would say not only that but people that are into watches? These things are about as appealing as ass cancer. You talk to people that actually spend real money on a watch? They will talk your ears off about Swiss movements and dial faces and all the beautiful craftsmanship and details....you are NEVER gonna get that level of detail and care in what is essentially a little computer strapped to your wrist, you just aren't. Great watches are really these things out of time, with their little gears and springs, you can almost picture some watchmaker with an eyepiece working on this delicate little instrument, you just aren't gonna get that kinda vibe from a circuit board and an LCD panel, you just aren't.

Hell even the geeks I talked to that like watches didn't want these things, they want a Nixie watch like the woz has or one of those cool LED watches from the 70s, so I have no clue who they expected to buy these.

Comment Re:Halfway There (Score 1) 425

It's not "gun controllers bringing it up", it's manufacturers working on them. What do you have against manufacturers developing new products?

I have absolutely nothing against manufacturers developing new gun safety products and offering them on the market. The concern with these "smart" guns is that they'll be mandated by law. This has already happened in New Jersey. The 2002 Childproof Handgun Law says that three years after "smart" guns are available for sale in the US, all guns for sale in New Jersey must be "smart". The law doesn't require that the guns be in any way reliable or have obtained any significant market share, just that they've been available for sale. So if these actually make it to market people in NJ who want reliable guns are screwed. And if any other states, or Congress, passes a similar law, then all of us are screwed.

Actually, I'd have no problem with smart guns if they were really reliable. And there's a really simple reliability screening test we can use: offer them to military and law enforcement personnel. Cops in particular should see a lot of value in smart guns because cops occasionally get shot with their own guns. However, they also need their guns to be extremely reliable, and big departments and the FBI have the institutional resources and motivation to seriously test them. So, once the technology reaches a level where police are not only willing to use smart guns but actively want them then it's fine to mandate them for civilians.

Of course, thanks to the NJ law, civilians are going to fight like hell to keep these things off the shelves, which means that the years of refinement needed to make them reliable is never going to happen. Not in the US, anyway.

Comment Re:It's time for an Android alternative (Score 1) 154

Cyanogen is all but dead friend. I know I'll get shit but you want a tablet YOU control? Get one of those Windows 10 tablets, nice thing about those is since its a desktop OS you can run something like ShutUp10 and run a nice light third party firewall to make sure nothing gets out that YOU don't approve of. You can also replace all the default apps with any programs you normally use on a desktop, replace the browser with Pale Moon or Comodo Dragon, replace the trial of office 365 with LibreOffice, etc.They have them starting at $47 on Amazon for the 7 inch models but personally I'd spend a little more and get one of the 2GB models because you can never have too much RAM.

I'm just glad I hung onto my little netbook, I can run any OS from BSD to XP on it, was easily upgraded to 8GB of RAM, thanks to the AMD APU I can use it as a 1080P HTPC and even after 5 years I still get nearly 3 and a half hours on a battery. Now I just need to get off my behind and upgrade the HDD with an SSD, its a bit of a PITA to do with one of those EEEs but I've seen vids of the performance gains you get on one when you do it so its worth the hassle.

Comment Re:Account Recovery (Score 2) 105

Google no longer supports non-security questions for account recovery.

FTFY. Security questions are a joke. The answers are almost always easy for an attacker with a little bit of information about you to find, and a lot of the time the legitimate user can't remember them. Moreover, those two traits are strongly correlated: the harder it is for an attacker to find the answers, the more likely it is that the user won't be able to find them either.

Everyone should stop using them.

Comment Re:Reason (Score 1) 105

Google doesn't actually want your phone number for security. Google wants your phone number so that they can link the account in their database to other information that contains your phone number.

The number is to make account recovery possible in the event you've forgotten your password. The assumption is that attackers won't have access to your phone. That assumption is violated if your telco will transfer your number to the attacker's phone, of course.

If you prefer not to give your phone number to Google, don't. Just turn on two-factor auth using a non phone number-based auth method, either the Authenticator app or (better yet) a security key, or both. Then download and print out some backup 2FA codes and keep them somewhere safe. Google won't have your phone number and you won't be vulnerable to mistakes by dumb telco customer service reps.

Submission + - Wired says Google's Pixel is the best phone on the market

swillden writes: The reviews on Google's Pixel phones are coming in, and they're overwhelmingly positive. Most call them the best Android phones available, and at least one says they're the best phones available, period.

Wired's reviewer says he used to recommend the iPhone to people, but now he says "You should get a Pixel." The Verge, says "these are easily the best Android phones you can buy." The Wall Street Journal calls the Pixel "the Android iPhone you've been waiting for." ComputerWorld says "It's Android at its best."

AndroidPolice is more restrained, calling it "A very good phone by Google." The NY Times broke from the rest, saying "the Pixel is, relatively speaking, mediocre", but I'm a little skeptical of a reviewer who can't figure out how to use a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner without using both hands. It makes me wonder if he's actually held one.

Comment Re: Irony (Score 1) 90

They obviously know, but are legally forbidden from commenting.


I think people often forget that corporations are about the furthest thing possible from monolithic. It's entirely possible for one organization within a corporation to receive a request that is within its own ability and authority and to handle it without bothering to tell anyone else, or with only brief consultations with legal, who may not have kept any records. Given government secrecy requests/demands, that possibility grows even more likely. Further, corporations aren't static. They're constantly reorganized and even without reorgs people move around a lot, and even leave the company. There are some records of what people and organizations do, but they're usually scattered and almost never comprehensive.

It's entirely possible that they did something like this, that the system was installed and later removed, and that the only people who know about it have left the company or aren't speaking up because they were told at the time that they could never speak about it, and that the organization that was responsible for doing it and/or undoing it no longer even exists. It's possible that Yahoo's leadership's only option for finding out whether it happened is to scan old email to see if anyone discussed it via email (which may not have happened; see "government secrecy requests/demands") or to look in system configuration changleogs to find out if the system was ever deployed (and it may have been hidden under an innocuous-sounding name)... or to ask the government if the request was ever made.

Of course, my supposition here depends on a culture of cooperation with the government. I don't know if that existed at Yahoo. I think most of the major tech corporations at this point have a strong bias towards NON-cooperation, which would cause any request like this to go immediately to legal who would immediately notify the relevant C-level execs. But I have worked for corporations where the scenario I describe is totally plausible.

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