Sheryl Sandberg and Technology's Female Leaders
Surprising that this article praises the disaster that is Meg Whitman, and completely omits Ginni Rometty the current CEO of IBM who has worked everywhere within the company over 30 years and has CS and EE degrees.
Mono Abandons Open Source Silverlight
"we no longer believe that Silverlight is a suitable platform for write-once-run-anywhere technology, there are just too many limitations for it to be useful."
If only someone could have warned you, oh wait someone did, _everyone_ in the world who has paid any attention to Microsoft's behavior over the last 20 years.
Miguel has supported:
the Microsoft "partnership" with Novell (disaster for Novell in the community)
OOXML/docx (deliberately obfuscated format mess)
C# (has a constant vague patent cloud over it that he dismisses)
Moonlight/Silverlight (a patent-encumbered flash clone, in an era when flash is going away, now shown to be a bad idea)
I used to wonder if Miguel was a Microsoft plant, now I wonder if he just has a learning disability.
Dark Days Ahead For Facebook and Google?
Yahoo stupidly paid a couple billion to Cuban for a worthless website at the height of the dot-com boom.
Since then he has goofed around with sports teams and had a bunch of failed business ventures. Apparently on Slashdot this makes you a technology genius who's every blog post is front page material.
Sony Outlets Control Electricity Through Authentication
Home automation is an industry that has the potential to be huge, and is ripe for growth. But Sony wont be the one to make it happen.
The problem is that there are several players, each one using its own proprietary "standard" because they want to own the market by getting everyone to buy into their system. The major alternative is X10, which is open but is painfully archaic.
So basically you have a handful of companies, each wanting 100% of the pie and refusing to work with anyone else. But no single player can produce a wide enough variety of products or get enough buy-in from manufacturers to reach critical mass, thus home automation remains a niche market. Each player ends up with 20% of a little tiny pie, instead of agreeing to inter-operate and all use the same open standard. If they did agree on a standard it would cause their market share would drop a couple percentage points but also allow the size of the total pie to increase by a couple orders of magnitude.
I had high hopes when Google announced a year or so ago that they were going to make a push into home automation, they released a demo light bulb and had a press event and were never heard from again. I keep waiting for some company or consortium with a bit more foresight to blow this market open but it sure as hell won't be Sony with their track record of trying to own every platform they see (betamax, minidisc, atrack, memorystick, etc). They may think they finally "won" with blu-ray but I have yet to meet anyone who has burned a blu-ray disc and distributing video on physical media is on the way out.
Home automation right now is line cell phone chargers in the 90s, nothing works with anyone else, and they all kind of suck. We need a standardization-event (like when the EU/Asia mandated USB) and everyone will benefit together from something no one could do individually. Go ahead free market fundamentalists, call me a socialist, I can take it.
New Intel 520 Series SSD Taps SandForce Controller
When I bought my 2nd SSD a few weeks ago (first was an M4 for my laptop, this being for my desktop), I opted for a 128GB Samsung SSD 830. It's a great little drive, and was ~30% cheaper than Intel SSD 510.
I went for the 830 over a Sandforce-based drive because of their reliability. There's a reason why Apple use Samsung SSDs in their laptops.
Intel care more about reliability than anyone else in the SSD game and they are now using the exact same sandforce controller (SF-2200) in this new drive that others have been using for a while now (OCZ Vertex 3 for example).
The problems in the past were more with the firmware than the controllers.
Inside a Verizon Wireless Superswitch
This article does not appear to have gone through any sort of editing process, it also does not appear to have been written by someone familiar with the subject matter.
Additionally, if you are a tech news site and have the opportunity to tour a Verizon data center, maybe come back with more than 9 pictures from a cell phone camera.
Is Setting Up an Offshore IT Help Desk Ethical?
IBM tends to promote from within, but they are the exception.
Their current ceo started there is 1973 according to Wikipedia.
How Do You Store Your Personal Photos?
I did data recovery and data archiving a bit in the past, here are some things to be aware of:
1. Optical discs will go bad over time, either the plastic will become opaque or they will oxidize between the layers, you can look up "bit rot" for more information but be warned that term has been abused a bit and applied to other things.
2. If you really want to use optical discs be aware that there is a huge difference in quality between different manufacturers. Also many name brands will use discs from different manufacturers so if you walk into an office supply store and buy the store brand discs they may have been manufactured in a different part of the world by a different company than the ones you got in the same store a week earlier. Some websites such as videohelp.com have done reviews of burned disc readability after time has passed, the short answer is for single layer dvdr discs use dvd+r discs made by Taiyo Yuden (now often sold under the JVC name). For dual-layer discs it's a little more muddied but Verbatim is usually a safe choice.
3. Data stored on flash memory (ssd or usb flash drives) will degrade over time, this is because the data is stored in cells that are either charged or discharged to represent a 1 or 0 (charged is zero for whatever reason). Over time electrons will escape these cells making it harder to distinguish between a one or zero, providing power to the drive will not recharge these cells, you have to actually re-write the data. It is not clear how much of an issue this is because the drives have not been around long enough, the estimates are anywhere from a couple years to a decade. I suspect there is wide variation between different qualities of flash memory since this is true of other reliability metrics. This isn't a huge deal for most people but I would say don't put the only copy of your documents on a usb flash drive, throw it in a drawer, and count on being able to read it perfectly in 20 years.
4. Fire safes are generally designed to protect against paper inside the safe igniting, optical discs and other forms of digital storage may be destroyed at far lower temperatures. I prefer safe deposit boxes at a bank. Obviously this is less convenient than being in your place of residence but they have the advantage of being more physically secure, climate controlled, and off-site. Prices and sizes available vary widely at different banks so call a couple in your area. I have seen as low as $20/year for a 3"x5"x36" in my area.
If it's a small amount of personal data (tax documents, personal projects, emails) stick it in an encrypted archive if you care about it being encrypted (7zip is an easy to use, cross-platform, open source, well vetted option). Then put it on a couple different forms of media, such as a spinning magnetic drive in an anti-static bag, and an optical disc. Then store these off site somewhere such as at a friend or relative's house, or in a bank safe deposit box. And also stick a copy online somewhere such as on your google documents account or a dropbox account, this is an especially good option if you have encrypted it first.
If it's a large amount of data like full disk backups or a huge photo archive that are very important to you or your business stick it on a spinning magnetic hard drive, put it in an anti-static bag, and put it in a bank safe deposit box. Spinning magnetic drives are very stable if stored in a temperature/humidity controlled environment, more so than optical or flash memory. They are also still the king when it comes to dollar per megabyte (a good quality 2TB sata drive can be had for $80-$100 right now) and sata ports are likely to be common on all motherboards for at least another decade.
One last thing which will seem obvious, label every backup drive/disc/whatever, even if it's just a post-it note. You will not remember exactly what it is 5 years down the road.
happy archiving :)
Paul Allen Files Patent Suit Against Apple, Google, Yahoo, Others
The guy is 57 and has $13.5 billion dollars according to Wikipedia.
So he has more money than he could reasonably spend and has 20 years tops before his body really starts to fail him. Actually probably much less than that since it was announced in 2009 that he has been diagnosed with cancer again.
He could do literally anything with his remaining time and resources and he has decided to spend it acting as a parasite, exploiting weak spots and loopholes in the law to do damage to society in the hopes of getting an extra billion before he drops dead. I guess his dick stopped working so this is the only way he can continue to fuck people.
I wonder if it's the personality type that is more likely to become a billionaire, or if it's the act of spending a big chunk of your life accumulating wealth that causes these people to turn into mindless, selfish, pointless money collecting machines.
Droid X Gets Rooted
First of all there was never any sort of self-destruct device in the phone. The phone contains a bootloader that only loads signed roms which so far has prevented people from loading custom roms such as Cyanogen. The Motorola Milestone (european Droid) has the same issue, has been out for 8 months, and has yet to be cracked.
It's funny that the summary for this article has the text "putting to rest Andoid fans' fears that they would never gain access to the device's secrets due to a reported eFuse that would brick the phone" and links to a Slashdot story titled "Droid X Self-Destructs If You Try To Mod". So Slashdot posts a story with a bogus headline, and then later has another story saying how fear was created when it was "reported" that the phones would be bricked. Never stopping for a second to reflect on the fact that Slashdot itself was the one doing the bad "reporting".
While gaining root access is good news this particular exploit is one that has been around for a while and is ported from another version of Android on another phone. Not to dismiss the work that has been done here but the biggest problem for this device is and has always been the bootloader.
AT&T Loses First Legal Battle Against Verizon
AT&T are a bunch of idiots for bringing this suit, and losing makes it even worse. A lot of people were already aware of how crappy their coverage is and now even more people are.
Verizon has pulled a lot of jackass moves in the past, like disabling half the features on a phone and making you pay for their crappy Verizon branded replacements. They also nickel-and-dime you to death, have big overage costs, few low-end plans, and way overpriced accessories ($30 for a car charger, what?). Also their customer support is bad, the people manning their kiosks (who are often not Verizon employees) will lie their asses off for a commission, and the corporate owned store employees will give you wrong information about half the time.
As a Verizon customer (through their assimilation of Alltel) what I will give them credit for the following:
1. The Droid kicks ass as a smart phone, and almost nothing is disabled other than tethering, which you can get around if so inclined. I didn't think they were capable of releasing an un-crippled decent phone but they did.
2. The 5GB cap everyone keeps bringing up (and was listed in those smartphone comparison charts) is a lie. The 5GB cap applies to non-smarphones like a simple flip phone, if you get a smartphone like the Droid you are forced to get a different data plan (with a different name) which is "unlimited" in that there is no cap listed in the terms. What they do say in the terms is they can cut you off if you have "excessive usage" which is in every phone company or ISP contract, but there is no hard cap.
2. Their network blows AT&T's out of the water in terms of coverage. While AT&T may be theoretically faster under perfect condition I care about what things are like in the real world, and if your signal sucks half the time then who cares how fast it is the rest of the time. A little anecdote, I can drive around town at 40mph (southern AZ) with Last.fm streaming and it almost never drops out. Most people I know with iphones, if they are in the wrong part of town, have to go outside to make a call and not have it drop after 5 minutes.
AT&T and Verizon are both bastards, the difference is Verizon has a functional network and AT&T just spent a bunch of money to point this out and make themselves look like crybabies who can't compete.
Game Over For Sony and Open Source?
This article is bs, the only reason Sony allowed the installation of other operations systems was so they could get a break on import tariffs in certain regions where game consoles are hit more than general purpose computers.
As for removing the "final reason for the open source world to care about Sony", the Linux experience on the ps3 was never good to begin with, you never got full access to the hardware, I guess this might be unfortunate for some people but it's really not all that important.
With respect to the rootkit nonsense, what does that have to do with anything in the "open source world" other than a cheap way of saying "I think Sony stinks, here is something they are doing I think is stinky, also remember that one time they did something totally unrelated that was also stinky, so obviously I'm right Q.E.D."
Sony uses open source and contributes to some open source projects, for example they use the linux kernel and some other tools on their high-end televisions and DVRs, they also contributed kernel code to get support for the cell processor.
That said, this does not mean Sony is a "friend" to open source, or an enemy for that matter, they are like many other multinational corporations. Unless there are some people high up on the company or a large number of people elsewhere in the company that have a soft spot for a particular movement or project they are generally going to behave like a short-sighted sociopath and do what they want with little consideration for how it will be seen by anyone outside their target audience for a particular product (sometimes they don't even pay much attention to that). Anthropomorphizing corporations into heroes or villains might be useful in getting people emotionally engaged, might get you a lot of hits on your blog, and might give people casually interested in the issue a little talking point they can repeat giving them a feeling as though they have some insight into the situation. But in reality it does little toward giving readers anything beyond a very superficial understanding of the issue, the parties involved, or their motivations.
LHC Shut Down By Transformer Malfunction
For those who only read the "summary" (I use this term loosely) and aren't familiar with the LHC you may be surprised to learn that:
this is not a major failure
there is no sinister cover-up
no one was ever in any danger
Thanks for some more fear-mongering doomsday garbage "news" Slashdot. The purpose of editors, at least for non-tabloid news sources, is to filter factually inaccurate and inflammatory nonsense, not seek it out.
Chinese Restaurant Suffers Large Translation Error
I'm sorry but I need to rant for a second here.
I have been reading Slashdot for a fairly long time, not as long as some but regularly since around 2000 or so. There are two main reasons I have kept coming back to Slashdot all these years when other sites have come and gone from my list of regular bookmarks:
1. Selection and tone of articles, centering primarily on tech news.
2. Quality of comments on said articles.
I don't have any hard data here (it would be a difficult thing to quantify objectively) but it _seems_ to me that both of these items have been in sharp decline over the last year or two.
I don't know if it's Slashdot trying to chase Digg, if it's some change in direction pushed by the owners, or maybe it's just my imagination. There seem to be two major content models with most tech news sites falling on a continuum between the two extremes. On the one end you have the strong editor model where stories are researched, editors decide what matches the tone and focus of the site and the majority of the material submitted is discarded. On the other end you have a user generated content free-for-all. There are advantages and disadvantages to each model, primarily in the trade off between speed and accuracy.
Right now Slashdot seems to be sliding towards a worst of all worlds, approaching the content quality of a Digg or Reddit but with the speed of sites with a strong editorial model like Wired or ArsTechnica. Lots of silly, irrelevant, or already debunked articles, and tired jokes that stopped being funny a week ago on other sites. There is no long term model for such a site.
The biggest thing Slashdot has going for it right now is a well known name and what's left of the commenters, which are still better than average and on a good day you can find at least one or two experts on almost any topic. The Slashdot editors (a couple in particular, you know who they are) seem to be throwing a great deal of these high-noise / low-signal stories on the front page. These stories may generate more comments, controversy, and page views per entry but they are changing the level of discourse and the image of the site in the long term.
Perhaps it's deliberate and the site owners have a game plan that is way over my head, I just want to point out that you are making a very real tradeoff in the long run.
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