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Comment Re:Good and bad exposures (Score 1) 474

This is exactly right. Daniel Ellsberg broke the law by photocopying and smuggling out classified documents about Vietnam War progress (or lack thereof) from the RAND corporation, where he was an a Ph.D military analyst. He provided those documents to the reporters from New York Times and Washington Post. The Nixon Administration filed an emergency injunction with the Supreme Court to suppress immanent publication by the New York Times. But the Supreme Court refused on the grounds doing so would imperil the first amendment by imposing court mandated prior restraint. See: New York Times v United States.

Now that does not mean Ellsberg could not have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1919. He absolutely broke the law and admitted as such. He was an employee with a high security clearance entrusted to prevent the release of those documents. Not steal and release them. The justice department ultimately refused to prosecute. But as we've seen with the Bush and Obama Administrations, Espionage Act investigations and prosecutions are popular these days.

Just how the US Government plans to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act is unclear. He's a non-citizen who never signed a US security clearance nor took an oath to protect classified materials. Furthermore, Wikileaks is arguably a journalistic endeavor. The government makes no distinction between official journalists and citizen journalists for first amendment protections. If the New York Times can do it, so can Julian Assange. And if they argue he's not a citizen and therefore not protected under the first amendment, how then can they argue as a non citizen he's bound by the US Espionage Act?

Perhaps a real lawyer can chime up here. I just took a grad media law class. But it sure seems like tortured logic to me.

Comment Re:Where's my new MacPro Tower? (Score 1) 114

I know a guy who hacked his old 2009 Pro tower with two new xeons and a Titan X just to give the thing a bit more life. Made it a pretty good machine performance wise and he didn't have to throw away his old software investment. But he's already transitioning off mac, so this was to keep an old tool chain functional.

Comment Re:Yep. 4.0 signalled its death knell (Score 4, Interesting) 127

The problem is investment in old software and hardware drivers is often obsoleted by Apple without consideration. Have an old copy of Adobe? On Windows, it'll probably run forever. On Mac, you're fucked. It won't run on Linux (properly), but at least supporting open source alternatives indefinitely is possible. How about old hardware? I have an ancient Creative EMU 0404 USB audio interface with two XLR inputs. After El Capitan, forget about that old (64bit intel!) driver still working. On Linux or Windows? No problem. It'll probably run as long as the thing still works.

From a hardware standpoint on the Mac line, Apple is flailing. Mac Pros are generations behind. The iMacs and Macbook Pros are supposed to be for film editors and photography / design creatives, but don't even ship with 10bit color HDR LCD panels. They lock you into hardware configurations that are next to impossible to upgrade out of. And give no flexibility to support common pro applications. It's Apple's way or the highway. I mean, why not buy Final Cut Pro X and Logic? Who needs that stuff the whole rest of the world has standardized on already.

I like MacOS. It's pretty good. There's bash and python and what I don't get out of the box I can add with homebrew. And there are some commercial apps I'm absolutely dependent on still, which I wouldn't have with Linux. In particular, Scrivener, MS Office, and Adobe. But if I have to buy these things again - particularly Adobe, Linux and Windows here I come. Lack of Adobe plugin availability on Mac is a real downer.

Apple is so focused on selling iPhones and iPads, they simply don't care about customer needs any more. It can be a damn nightmare to get real work done.

Comment Re:Lenovo and apple only? (Score 2) 310

I'm fed up with Apple. Still running a 27" iMac from 2010. Good enough machine with boot SSD and 32GB RAM. But the latest machines are very behind, particularly the MacPro. Also, 5k and 4k panels don't support deep color (10bit). You're better off running AViD, Adobe, DaVinci et all on a PC with Windows. Particularly if you need HDR color. The same for free software creative tools, which also tend to run badly on Mac. Apple just doesn't support power users and creatives any longer.

For the cost of a good 5k iMac you could get two 10 bit 4k panels, a Haswell 5960 or 6850, 32-64GB RAM, and a Pascal GTX card that supports 10 bit. Adobe, et all under Win 8/10 supports 10 bit. And Blender supports 10 bit (really 32bit float color). I think there may be a path to 10 bit on Linux as well... but then you're stuck with free tools.

What are you buying that Mac for? If you're developing iPhone / iPad apps - sure. But as much as I like MacOS under the hood, it's a real PITA to do real work with. And the Pro hardware is generations behind current PCs.

Comment I'm so out of touch (Score 1, Offtopic) 37

Question: Can recent distributions with modern desktops handle resolution independence? Will fonts, icons, and application widgets automatically scale? If I buy a 4k monitor will it seamlessly work or will I be reading with a magnifying glass held up against the screen? I'm particularly interested in use cases with blender/makehuman, gimp/krita, synfig/opentunez, and audacity/ardour. I've been in the Mac ghetto a little too long for my own good.

Submission + - Trolls Will Always Win (

maynard writes: Kathy Sierra spent a tech career developing videogames and teaching Java programming in Sun Microsystems masterclasses. Up until 2007, she'd been a well regarded tech specialist who happened to be female. Until the day she opined on her private blog that given the crap-flood of bad comments, maybe forum moderation wasn't a bad idea. This opinion made her a target. A sustained trolling and harassment campaign followed, comprised of death and rape threats, threats against her family, fabricated claims of prostitution, and a false claim that she had issued a DMCA takedown to stifle criticism. All of this culminated in the public release of her private address and Social Security Number, a technique known as Doxxing. And so she fled from the public, her career, and even her home.

It turned out that a man named Andrew Auernheimer was responsible for having harassed Sierra. Known as 'Weev', he admitted it in a 2008 New York Times story on Internet Trolls. There, he spoke to the lengths which he and his cohorts went to discredit and destroy the woman.

Over a candlelit dinner of tuna sashimi, Weev asked if I would attribute his comments to Memphis Two, the handle he used to troll Kathy Sierra, a blogger. Inspired by her touchy response to online commenters, Weev said he “dropped docs” on Sierra, posting a fabricated narrative of her career alongside her real Social Security number and address. This was part of a larger trolling campaign against Sierra, one that culminated in death threats.

Now, seven years later, Kathy Sierra's returned to explain why she'd left and what recent spates of online harassment against women portend for the future if decent people don't organize. Because the situation has grown much more serious since she went into hiding all those years ago. It's more than just the threat of Doxxing to incite physical violence by random crazies with a screw loose.

These days, malicious trolls have taken to SWATting, where harassers call police and make false accusations to induce a SWAT raid. One prominent example is that of game developer Chris Kootra, who experienced a SWAT raid on camera while playing an online video game recently. There is also the troubling trend of developing malicious software intended to harm victims directly. For example, posting images on epilepsy forums which flicker at rates known to induce epileptic seizure. Given that Sierra is epileptic herself, this kind of harmful trolling hits home personally. She writes:

[While not photo-sensitive], I have a deep understanding of the horror of seizures, and the dramatically increased chance of death and brain damage many of us with epilepsy live with, in my case, since the age of 4. FYI, deaths related to epilepsy in the US are roughly equal with deaths from breast cancer. There isn’t a shred of doubt in my mind that if the troll hackers could find a way to increase your risk of breast cancer? They’d do it. Because what’s better than lulz? Lulz with BOOBS. Yeah, they’d do it.

And yet Auernheimer, the man who put her through all this horror, has for entirely different reasons become a kind of 'Net cause célèbre for Internet freedom. After having committed a hack against AT&T where he'd obtained the email addresses of thousands of iPad users, he attracted the attention of federal authorities. In due course he was convicted and sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for identity fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. A conviction and sentence many thought egregious. Attracting support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and prominent Georgia University Law Professor Tor Ekeland, the two worked together to craft an appeal and overturn the conviction. In April 2014, they succeeded. Auernheimer is now free.

Ekeland wasn't the only one bothered by the government's case. Even Kathy Sierra disagreed. Yet she's appalled that somehow she'd been dragged into supporting the very man who'd abused her.

But you all know what happened next. Something something something horrifically unfair government case against him and just like that, he becomes tech’s “hacktivist hero.” He now had A Platform not just in the hacker/troll world but in the broader tech community I was part of. ... But hard as I tried to find a ray of hope that the case against him was, somehow, justified and that he deserved, somehow, to be in prison for this, oh god I could not find it. I could not escape my own realization that the cast against him was wrong. So wrong. And not just wrong, but wrong in a way that puts us all at risk.

The lawyer Ekeland, in recent commentary at Wired, continues to defend Auernheimer as having been wronged by an overzealous prosecution, the precedent of which could have significant ramifications for 'Net freedom. "...the crucial issue here is not weev or his ideas but the future of criminal computer law in the U.S. You may think weev is an asshole. But being an asshole is not a crime, and neither is obtaining unsecured information from publicly facing servers."

Which leaves Sierra lamenting that Auernheimer still hasn't been charged and convicted for what she considers the real crime of harassment he'd committed, harming her and countless others. Where's the justice? Inciting violence and dissemination of 'fighting words' are not free speech. Yet, as she admits, unless you're a celebrity you're "...more likely to win the lottery than get any law enforcement agency to take action." So there is none. "We are on our own," she laments. "And if we don’t take care of one another, nobody else will."

So she came back to push back, to push back against prominent journalists and members in Tech who'd conflate prosecutorial violations of due process with the right to disseminate harassment and cruelty.

I came back because I believe this sent a terrible, devastating message about what was acceptable. ... To push back on the twist and spin. I believed the fine-grained distinctions mattered. I pushed back because I believed I was pushing back on the implicit message that women would be punished for speaking out. I pushed back because almost nobody else was, and it seemed like so many people in tech were basically OK with that.

Auernheimer, for his part, remains unapologetic. Responding to Sierra on Livejournal, he writes:

Yesterday Kathy Sierra (a.k.a. seriouspony), a mentally ill woman, continued to accuse me on her blog of leading some sort of harassment campaign against her by dropping her dox (information related to identify and location) on the Internet. ... Kathy Sierra has for years acted like a toddler, throwing tantrums and making demands whenever things didn't go her way. She rejects any presentation of polite criticism or presentation of evidence as some sort of assault on her. She was the blueprint for women like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, who also feign victimhood for financial and social gain. Kathy Sierra is the epitome of what is wrong with my community. She had something coming to her and by the standards set by her own peers in the social justice community, there was nothing wrong with what she got.

Some people never change.

Submission + - Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers 2

Paul Fernhout writes: ExtremeTech reports that "Andrea Rossi's E-Cat — the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy — has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or "far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume." The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by "nuclear reactions"..."

Submission + - MIT study finds fault with Mars One colony concept ( 2

MarkWhittington writes: The Mars One project created a great deal of fanfare when it was first announced in 2012. The project, based in Holland, aspires to build a colony on Mars with the first uncrewed flight taking place in 2018 and the first colonists setting forth around 2024. The idea is that the colonists would go to Mars to stay, slowly building up the colony in four-person increments every 26-month launch window. However, Space Policy Online on Tuesday reported that an independent study conducted by MIT has poured cold water on the Mars colony idea.

The MIT team consisting of engineering students had to make a number of assumptions based on public sources since the Mars One concept lacks a great many technical details. The study made the bottom line conclusion that the Mars One project is overly optimistic at best and unworkable at worst. The concept is “unsustainable” given the current state of technology and the aggressive schedule that the Mars One project has presented.

Comment American Exceptionalism (Score 5, Insightful) 335

How do US authorities feel about foreign nations hacking into US military and corporate computers? For example, this story: Chinese authorities hacked into Pentagon and other sensitive computers:

China’s military hacked into computer networks of civilian transportation companies hired by the Pentagon at least nine times, breaking into computers aboard a commercial ship, targeting logistics companies and uploading malicious software onto an airline’s computers, Senate investigators said Wednesday. ...

A yearlong investigation announced by the Senate Armed Services Committee identified at least 20 break-ins or other unspecified cyber events targeting companies, including nine successful break-ins of contractor networks. ...

Earlier this summer, in an apparently unrelated investigation, the US accused five members of the Chinese military of hacking computers for economic espionage purposes. It accused them of hacking into five US nuclear and technology companies’ computer systems and a major steel workers union’s system, conducting economic espionage and stealing confidential business information, sensitive trade secrets and internal communications for competitive advantage.

I'm guessing they don't like that. Which perhaps is what the United States means by "American Exceptionalism".

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