Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - TV News Broadcast Accidentally Activates Alexa, Initiates Orders (cw6sandiego.com)

ShaunC writes: Amazon's Echo digital assistant is supposed to make our lives easier, but one recent incident is causing headaches for some Echo owners. In San Diego, TV news anchor Jim Patton was covering a separate story about a child who accidentally ordered a doll house using her family's Echo. Commenting on the story, Patton said "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.'" Viewers across San Diego reported that in response to the news anchor's spoken words, their own Echo devices activated and tried to order doll houses from Amazon. Amazon says that anyone whose Echo inadvertently ordered a physical item can return it at no charge.

Submission + - Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" Installer Gets GNU Screen, Linux Kernel 4.7 Support (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Debian developer Cyril Brulebois was pleased to announce this past weekend the release and immediate availability of the eighth Alpha development snapshot of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" installer.

It's been four long months since Alpha 7 of Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" hit the testing channels back in July, but the wait was worth it as the Alpha 8 release adds a huge number of changes, starting with initial support for the GNU Screen terminal multiplexer and lots of debootstrap fixes, which now defaults to merged-/usr.

"debootstrap now defaults to merged-/usr, that is with /bin, /sbin, /lib* being symlinks to their counterpart in /usr (more details on: https://lists.debian.org/debia...)," wrote Cyril Brulebois in the mailing list announcement, where it states that default debootstrap mirror was switched to deb.debian.org.

Submission + - SPAM: The Air Force Now Plans To Keep The A-10 Warthog Flying Indefinitely 5

schwit1 writes: The A-10 Thunderbolt AKA “Warthog” is a flying farm tractor. Slow, brutish, but reliable as the tide and endearingly indestructible and incredibly effective. Strategists have feared that the jet will be axed in favor of funding the F-35, but the U.S. Air Force recently confirmed that it plans to keep the A-10 flying “indefinitely.”

While the Air Force is theoretically supposed to be diverting the A-10’s operating expenses to feed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the people in charge are now planning to keep the plane running.

“They have re-geared up, we’ve turned on the depot line, we’re building it back up in capacity and supply chain,” Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told AviationWeek in a interview. “Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely.”

While the beancounters and product planners are trying to push the A-10 off the board, Materiel Command is going to keep on keeping the planes in peak condition, which will give the A-10 it’s best chance of proving its worth over and over again.

And it seems to be working– the A-10 posted a five percent increase in its availability rate from 2014 to 2015, and the Air Force seems to keep postponing its demise.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SpaceX Says Helium Loading Issue May Have Caused Falcon 9 Explosion (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Nearly two months after a September 1 accident on the launch pad, SpaceX says it is nearing the conclusion of its investigation. Although the company has yet to identify the "exact root cause" of the accident that occurred during a static fire test just prior to a planned launch of a communications satellite, the investigation has reached an "advanced state." Shortly after the fiery incident, the company focused on a breach in the cryogenic helium system of the rocket's upper stage liquid oxygen tank. "Attention has continued to narrow to one of the three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) inside the LOX tank," the company stated in an update released Friday afternoon. "Through extensive testing in Texas, SpaceX has shown that it can re-create a COPV failure entirely through helium loading conditions. These conditions are mainly affected by the temperature and pressure of the helium being loaded." SpaceX intends to continue work to identify the precise cause of the accident and to improve its method of loading helium onto the rocket to prevent a repeat failure. The company also plans to resume testing Falcon 9 rocket stages at its facility in McGregor, Texas, soon. By taking this step in early November, SpaceX maintains that it is on track to resume flight operations of its Falcon 9 rocket before the end of 2016.

Submission + - Comma One assisted driving device cancelled after "threats" from NHTSA (thedrive.com)

Pascoea writes: Mere months before the promised release the Comma One, a device designed to retrofit certain late model Hondas with assisted driving technology, its creator has decided to pull the plug on the project after receiving an information request from the NHTSA.

Posting that he "Would much rather spend my life building amazing tech than dealing with regulators and lawyers." on his companies Twitter account, Comma AI founder George Hotz announced that they would no longer be developing the device. Limited details around the functionality of the system can be found on this blog post.

Submission + - Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public (computerhistory.org) 1

zonker writes: In 1970 the Xerox Corporation established the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) with the goal to develop an “architecture of information” and lay the groundwork for future electronic office products. The pioneering Alto project that began in 1972 invented or refined many of the fundamental hardware and software ideas upon which our modern devices are based, including raster displays, mouse pointing devices, direct-manipulation user interfaces, windows and menus, the first WYSIWYG word processor, and Ethernet.

The first Altos were built as research prototypes. By the fall of 1976 PARC’s research was far enough along that a Xerox product group started to design products based on their prototypes. Ultimately ~1500 were built and deployed throughout the Xerox Corporation, as well as at universities and other sites. The Alto was never sold as a product but its legacy served as inspiration for the future.

With the permission of the Palo Alto Research Center, the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use only, snapshots of Alto source code, executables, documentation, font files, and other files from 1975 to 1987. The files are organized by the original server on which they resided at PARC that correspond to files that were restored from archive tapes. An interesting look at retro-future.

The Internet

Submission + - What is Fair Use in the Digital Age?

Hugh Pickens writes: "Rick Cotton, general counsel of NBC, and Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law school, continue their debate about copyright issues and technology on Saul Hansell's blog at the New York Times discussing Fair Use of commercial music and video as the raw materials for new creations. Cotton says that content protection on the broadband internet is really not a debate about fair use The fact that users can "take three or four movies and splice together their favorite action scenes and post them online does not mean that these uses are fair. There needs to be something more — something that truly injects some degree of original contribution from the maker other than just the assembly of unchanged copies of different copyrighted works." Wu's position is that "it is time to recognize a simpler principle for fair use: work that adds to the value of the original, as opposed to substituting for the original, is fair use. This simple concept would bring much clarity to the problems of secondary authorship on the web." This is a continuation of the previous discussion on copy protection."
The Military

Submission + - SPAM: President exempts Navy from environmental law

coondoggie writes: "In a highly controversial case, the US Navy played its trump card today as the President issued an order exempting the service from environmental laws and granted it permission to use sonar in training operations off the coast of California. At issue was the need to protect whales and dolphins from mid-frequency active sonar that could harm them, experts said. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Is Adobe spying on CS3 users? (uneasysilence.com) 2

henrypijames writes: For months, users of Adobe Creative Suite 3 have been wondering why some of the applications regularly connect to which looks a lot like a private IP address but is actually a public domain address belonging to the web analytics company Omniture. Now allegations of user spying are getting louder, prompting Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack to respond, though many remain unsatisfied with his explanation.

Submission + - AOL to discontinue Netscape browser (techcrunch.com) 1

christian.einfeldt writes: "According to TechCrunch, AOL will announce today, 28 December 2007, that it will discontinue the Netscape browser, currently on version 9, on on 1 February 2008. AOL acquired Netscape in November 1998 for $4.2 billion, and subsesquently released the source code for the browser in March, 1998. That code base went on to become the Mozilla browser, which in turn became Firefox, one of greatest challenges to Microsoft's dominance on the desktop. Some have suggested that a moment of silence might be appropriate; while others are saying that it would be better to celebrate Firefox's continued growth by suggesting that Windows-using friends to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox."

Submission + - Barnes & Noble Too Swamped To Answer Mail

gbulmash writes: "On December 23rd, Greg Bulmash received a notice from Barnes & Noble that his order was ready to ship. Only one problem... it already arrived three days earlier. Wanting to head off a possible duplicate, he e-mailed their customer service department. Three days later, they replied that they were too busy to reply. Huh?"
Social Networks

Submission + - Facebook crushes applications (facebook.com)

hey writes: When Facebook opened up their API, lots of people raced out to make applications. Me and others made apps to organize your fiends into groups — eg: cliques, circle of friends, groups (sorry links only work for logged in Facebook users) But now this week, Facebook added that functionality to the core friend page. Sounds much like monopolist Microsoft cutting off Netscape's air supply.

Slashdot Top Deals

Nothing is faster than the speed of light ... To prove this to yourself, try opening the refrigerator door before the light comes on.