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Submission + - Message for AMD: Open PSP Will Improve Security, Hinder Intel

futuristicrabbit writes: AMD has faced calls from Edward Snowden, Libreboot and the Reddit community to release the source code to the AMD Secure Processor (PSP), a network-capable co-processor which some believe has the capacity to act as a backdoor. Opening the PSP would not only have security benefits, but would provide AMD with a competitive advantage against rival chipmaker Intel. Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, is reportedly seriously considering the change, and the community is working hard to make sure she makes the right decision.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Are Headphone Cables Designed To Fail Within Weeks Of Purchase? 4

dryriver writes: I'm a heavy headphone user. It doesn't matter what headphones I buy — Sony, Philips, Logitech you name it — the headphones typically fail to work properly within a few weeks of purchase. It is never the headphones/earbuds themselves that fail. It is always the part of the headphone cable where the small wires connect to the almost indestructible 3.5mm metal headphone jack. Result? Either the left or right ear audio cuts out and you need new headphones. Putting 1/2 a cent worth of extra rubber/plastic/metal around that part of the cable to strengthen it would likely fix the problem very effectively. The headphones would last for a year or even longer. But almost no manufacturer seems to do this. I keep trying new models and brands, and they all have the same "cable goes bad" problem — earbuds that came with a Sony MP3 player I bought developed the problem within 15 minutes of first use. My question to Slashdot: Do headphone manufacturers do this deliberately? Do they think "We'll sell 40% more headphones each year if the average pair doesn't last beyond 3 months of normal use" and engineer a deliberate weakness into the headphone cable? How can these major brands with all their product engineers not be able to strengthen the most obviously failure-prone part of the headphone cable a bit?

Submission + - Is it time to hold police officers accountable for constitutional violations? (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: Recently the Supreme Court issued a summary opinion in the White v. Pauly case.A police officer was sued for killing a man during an armed standoff during which the officers allegedly never identified themselves as police. The Supreme Court, however, concluded that the officer had “qualified immunity.” That is, he was immune from a suit for damages, because his conduct — while possibly unconstitutional — was not obviously unconstitutional.

The doctrine of qualified immunity operates as an unwritten defense to civil rights lawsuits brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. It prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages for violations of their constitutional rights unless the government official violated “clearly established law,” usually requiring a specific precedent on point. This article argues that the doctrine is unlawful and inconsistent with conventional principles of statutory interpretation.

Members of the Supreme Court have offered three different justifications for imposing such an unwritten defense on the text of Section 1983. One is that it derives from a common law “good faith” defense; another is that it compensates for an earlier putative mistake in broadening the statute; the third is that it provides “fair warning” to government officials, akin to the rule of lenity.

But on closer examination, each of these justifications falls apart, for a mix of historical, conceptual, and doctrinal reasons. There was no such defense; there was no such mistake; lenity ought not apply. And even if these things were otherwise, the doctrine of qualified immunity would not be the best response.

The unlawfulness of qualified immunity is of particular importance now. Despite the shoddy foundations, the Supreme Court has been reinforcing the doctrine of immunity in both formal and informal ways. In particular, the Court has given qualified immunity a privileged place on its agenda reserved for few other legal doctrines besides habeas deference. Rather than doubling down, the Court ought to be beating a retreat.

Government officials, especially those with the power that Law Enforcement officers have, should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.

Submission + - Abrupt product termination consequences for Google?

managerialslime writes: I wonder how many good Google products never get adopted because IT executives (like me) are now too anxious about application abandonment?

When I was the CIO at a mid-size company, I rejected adoption of Google Voice, Google Wave, and Google Hangouts after seeing them abandon Google Desktop Search.

I reasoned that if Google could not give multi-year sunsetting like Microsoft, then they were not a partner I could rely on.

At what point will Google's advantage due to the flexibility of abrupt terminations be outweighed by resistance to adopting their products?

Hmm....

Submission + - SPAM: Unexpected Risks Found In Editing Genes To Prevent Inherited Disorders

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this month, a study published in Nature by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, head of the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, suggested that in roughly 15 percent of cases, the mitochondrial replacement could fail and allow fatal defects to return, or even increase a child's vulnerability to new ailments.

The findings confirmed the suspicions of many researchers, and the conclusions drawn by Mitalipov and his team were unequivocal: The potential for conflicts between transplanted and original mitochondrial genomes is real, and more sophisticated matching of donor and recipient eggs — pairing mothers whose mitochondria share genetic similarities, for example — is needed to avoid potential tragedies.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is Computing As Cool And Fun As It Once Was? 1

dryriver writes: I got together with old computer nerd friends the other day. All of us have been at it since the 8-bit / 1980s days of Amstrad, Atari, Commodore 64 type home computers. Everybody at the meeting agreed on one thing — computing is just not as cool and as much fun as it once was. One person lamented that computer games nowadays are tied to internet DRM like Steam, that some crucial DCC software is available to rent only now (e.g. Photoshop) and that many"basic freedoms" of the old-school computer nerd are increasingly disappearing. Another said that Windows 10's spyware aspects made him give up on his beloved PC platform and that he will use Linux and Android devices only from now on, using consoles to game on instead of a PC because of this. A third complained about zero privacy online, internet advertising, viruses, ransomware, hacking, crapware. I lamented that the hardware industry still hasn't given us anything resembling photorealistic realtime 3D graphics, and that the current VR trend arrived a full decade later than it should have. A point of general agreement was that big tech companies in particular don't treat computer users with enough respect anymore. What do Slashdotters think? Is computing still as cool and fun as it once was, or has something "become irreversibly lost" as computing evolved into a multi billion dollar global business?

Submission + - Matt Taibbi: 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting (rollingstone.com)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: From the article:

Most high school papers wouldn't touch sources like these. But in November 2016, both the president-elect of the United States and the Washington Post are equally at ease with this sort of sourcing.

Even worse, the Post apparently never contacted any of the outlets on the "list" before they ran their story. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism says she was never contacted. Chris Hedges of Truthdig, who was part of a group that won the Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times once upon a time, said the same. "We were named," he tells me. "I was not contacted."

Hedges says the Post piece was an "updated form of Red-Baiting."

"This attack signals an open war on the independent press," he says. "Those who do not spew the official line will be increasingly demonized in corporate echo chambers such as the Post or CNN as useful idiots or fifth columnists."


Submission + - UK government's latest deluded idea: 'banning' underage sexting on social media (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: When the UK government is not busy looking for ways to invade internet users' privacy, it's looking for ways to restrict what they are able to do online — particularly when it comes to things of a sexual nature.

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has made calls for technology companies and social media to do more to tackle the problems of cyberbullying, online intimidation and — rather specifically — under-18-year-olds texting sexually explicit images. Of course, he doesn't have the slightest idea about how to go about tackling these problems, but he has expressed his concern so that, in conjunction with passing this buck to tech companies, should be enough, right?

Submission + - Furious Kaspersky is 'disappointed and dismayed' with Microsoft (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Claims of anti-competitive behavior are incredibly common in the world of tech; Google finds itself on the defensive on just about a weekly basis. Microsoft is certainly no stranger to accusations of anti-competitiveness, most notably for bundling Internet Explorer in older versions of Windows. But now it's Microsoft's approach to security that's in the firing line.

Eugene Kaspersky (yes, that one: the Russian security expert and CEO of Kaspersky Lab) has fired a vitriolic tirade at Microsoft in which he complains about how Windows Defender works in Windows 10. Windows 10 has been lambasted for many reasons since it launched, and things are not really improving as we near the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update. Kaspersky is so furious about the way in which Defender operates that he has written a lengthy and bitter blog post entitled: "That's It. I've Had Enough!"

Submission + - Would redundancy and really long TTL have countered a lot of DDOS effects? (medium.com) 1

marmot7 writes: My primary takeaways from this article was that it's important to have redundancy (additional NS's) and that it's important to have a very long TTL when you're not actively updating something. Would the measures in this article have at least limited the damage of these attacks? The long TTL change alone would have made the cache likely covered the entire attack, right?

Submission + - Prominent Pro-Patent Judge Issues Opinion Declaring All Software Patents Bad (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A lawsuit brought by the world's largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, and handled on appeal (as are all patent cases), by the notoriously awful Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) may have actually killed off software patents. The ruling came from a judge that has ruled over patent cases since the 1980s, and it appears he's been born again into the anti-software patent world.

Judge Mayer pointed out that the First Amendment says that "some" patents should not be allowed. The whole concurrence is worth reading, starting with the First Amendment argument — which is kind of fascinating in that it goes well beyond what most people had talked about in the past concerning software patents. Important ruling decisions highlighted in the source.

Submission + - SPAM: Hofstra university posts a "trigger warning" sign for the presidential debate 2

mi writes: Hofstra University, which hosts the first presidential debate of 2016, has posted a “trigger warning” sign to warn students about the potentially disturbing content that may be discussed during the night:

Trigger Warning: The event conducted just beyond this sign may contain triggering and/or sensitive material. Sexual violence, sexual assault, and abuse are some topics mentioned within this event. If you feel triggered, please know there are resources to help you.”

Should people triggered by anything, which the candidates may mention, even vote?
Link to Original Source

Submission + - mechanics of the rejection of science (theguardian.com) 2

Layzej writes: Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence. Those who reject climate science often rely on several mutually contradictory ideas. Hence, claims that the globe “is cooling” can coexist with claims that the “observed warming is natural” and that “the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us.” A recent study examines this behavior at the aggregate level, but gives many examples where contradictory ideas are held by the same individual, and sometimes are presented within a single publication.

The common denominator among contrarian positions is the conviction that climate change either does not exist or is not human caused, and that either way it does not present a risk (or if it does, then adaptation will deal with the problem). In a nutshell, the opposition to GHG emission cuts is the unifying and coherent position underlying all manifestations of climate science denial. Climate science denial is therefore perhaps best understood as a rational activity that replaces a coherent body of science with an incoherent and conspiracist body of pseudo-science for political reasons and with considerable political coherence and effectiveness.

Submission + - The Downsides of Google's Chrome Security Push (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: While the push to encrypt Internet connections by default is a laudable one, it is also essential that fundamental aspects of practicality and user reactions also be carefully considered.

I touched on some of this over a year ago in “Falling Into the Encryption Trap” — but now that Google has made more explicit their plans for browser address bar warnings to users regarding http: connections, I’m again concerned.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Science and Tech Activities for Middle School Girls

An anonymous reader writes: The only Science and Technology Badge for Girl Scout Cadettes (Grades 6 -8) is called "The Science of Happiness" (http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/home/badgeexplorer/#science-of-happiness) and their Healthy Living Badge is called "Eating for Beauty" (http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/home/badgeexplorer/#eating-for-beauty). Does the Slashdot community have any suggestions for real activities for this age group?

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