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Modular Smartphones Could Be Reused As Computer Clusters

SethJohnson Book about Watson & Jeopardy (82 comments)

Having worked at IBM Research and wondering if your contribution played a role in them developing Watson... You should check out this book. I'm reading it now and am enjoying reading about how the team(s) developed all the tech beneath Watson in preparation for the televised match.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?

SethJohnson outsource the work (264 comments)

Have you thought about hiring a programmer to do this stuff? It's probably going to save you a lot of time and hassle to go this route than actually doing it yourself.

about three weeks ago
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'Silk Road Reloaded' Launches On a Network More Secret Than Tor

SethJohnson please re-write in C (155 comments)

Not trying to launch a debate here. I do like Java for a LOT of things. But a software router needs to be lightweight so it can run in very low-overhead environments. Tor runs nicely on settop boxes and many SOC hardware opportunities like RaspberryPI or low-end VPSs.

The memory footprint of a JVM is going to keep a java-based software router like i2p off those devices.

about three weeks ago
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FBI: North Korean Hackers "Got Sloppy", Leaked IP Addresses

SethJohnson Re:Got Sloppy? (219 comments)

Consider that the initial compromise might have required immense logistical resources that tends to be beyond those available to a teenage script kid. Like the hole might have to be found and penetrated by an adult with a computer science degree working all day, every day, for months. Criminal organizations have those resources applied to money-making efforts, but not for the 'lulz' of posting embarassing corporate emails online. Script kids are able to work on their attacks a few hours a day outside of school hours, etc.

It's wildly believable to me that North Korea could have hired outside talent to work on this and once the locks were broken, the data gathering was performed by less-skilled in-house technicians who might have been sloppy.

Don't forget, the member of lulzsec who brought that group down screwed up just once by connecting to IRC directly instead of through TOR and revealing his IP address.

about three weeks ago
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Nest Will Now Work With Your Door Locks, Light Bulbs and More

SethJohnson Re:Internet of Hype ... (163 comments)

I just bought a new $540k condo that has electric baseboard heat.

Sucker. You were smart enough to post this as AC, but too dumb to recognize that you got sold a crappy place to live for way too much money. Oh, and Seattle.

about a month ago
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North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation

SethJohnson No way is this a Sony PR stunt (236 comments)

I fully agree and would also point out that this hack has resulted in HD bootlegs of unreleased sony movies being posted to bittorrent. Oh, and Brad Pitt's "Fury."

The top leadership at Sony Pictures is about to be booted out of their jobs and are so tainted that no other studio will hire them. I don't think this was their idea of a way to promote a film.

about a month and a half ago
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"Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

SethJohnson Re:because the lawyers ... (230 comments)

Your reasoning for pulling The Interview applies equally to showing Team America, if you think about it.

The difference here is that The Interview was dumped national theater chains. In the case of Team America, a few independent chains were trying to screen the film and Paramount refused. In the case of the independent theaters, Paramount was not afraid that screening Team America would impact their profits for other films opening this weekend.

about a month and a half ago
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"Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

SethJohnson Re:because the lawyers ... (230 comments)

....then Sony would be liable to the victim and victims family because Sony either knew or should have known that the controversy caused by the movie would excite DPRK loyalists into committing such an act of violence.

And that lawsuit would be gently brushed aside by Sony's legal team. Heck, they'd probably send in their youngest intern to handle the distraction.

In 1952: "The Court reverses its position on movies in Burstyn v. Wilson, asserting that "liberty of expression by means of motion pictures is guaranteed by the 1st and 14th Amendments."(citation)

The reason the Interview was pulled out of theaters is because the distributors didn't want to see the lucrative Christmas boxoffice affected by people avoiding theaters due to these threats. Annie and Night at the Museum are expected to sell far more tickets than the Interview and the theater chains didn't want to see those profits reduced. As for why Paramount prohibited these screenings of Team America, well, they're probably worried they'll fall into North Korea's crosshairs and get hacked, etc. Damn cowards.

about a month and a half ago
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Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

SethJohnson Re:where do the workers go? (110 comments)

Say requiring licenses and apprenticeships, which is the #1 reason plumbers make so much money.

Those chaufer's licenses and medallions didn't work out so well for protecting cab drivers' revenue stream from the Uber hordes....

about a month ago
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Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

SethJohnson where do the workers go? (110 comments)

When those jobs are eliminated because of robots, those desperate enough to take a picker job will have no where else to go.

Many will slide to a lower rung in the employment ladder. Some will ascend to the next rung up. For those jobs, wages will decrease.

We are already seeing this with pseudo-jobs like Uber and taskrabbit.

My mother has frequently said plumbers will always make a good living. When unskilled jobs disappear due to automation, many of those workers will be motivated to study a trade. The surge of new workers in the industry will reduce the 'good living' that plumbers make.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

SethJohnson Instill confidence through source escrow (176 comments)

If you are planning to sell software to the government or business as a startup, consider source code escrow. Your customers will tend to stick with established vendors for fear of you going out of businesses and leaving them with an unsupported implementation. The source code escrow is insurance against that being more of a catastrophe for your customers than you.

Invest in dedicated technical support. It plays up as great comedy in the movie, Office Space, when the character says you don't want the customers talking directly to the engineers. You actually don't want that. Establishing a quality support team keeps the engineers productive on developing while the support group ensures the customers are getting help with their issues. Oh, and don't outsource this responsibility to a foreign country. If you think you can't afford quality support, at least staff it with a recent college grad and split that person's time between support and bug fixing.

about 2 months ago
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Billionaire Donors Lavish Millions On Code.org Crowdfunding Project

SethJohnson Automation changes future job market (84 comments)

Society needs plumbers, welders, architects, accountants, doctors, physicists, line workers, and every other job there is.

You and everyone else who thinks being a plumber is a lucrative job now and tomorrow needs to understand that automation is going to change the employment landscape dramatically in the coming years. The undereducated people who have been automated out of their warehouse work, call center jobs, etc. will dogpile on those jobs that pay well and don't require a diploma. Then those jobs won't pay so well.

These wealthy tech billionaires see the writing on the wall and are trying to help equip the masses to be more relevant in tomorrow's job market. I appreciate your reference to Socrates and think it's an astute observation. While I think on the higher-end of the tech jobforce, companies like facebook and Microsoft are abusing the H1B visa program, I do think their support of STEM is in the interest of growing the domestic workforce towards the needs of industry.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

SethJohnson Much more secure... (405 comments)

You do realize the guy is sending out unencrypted email over comcast's pipes in plain text. If privacy was his priority in choosing a home hosting solution, then you might want to awake the OP from his delusion of security by telling him he'll never see the court order that enables reading of all his inbound and outbound email messages.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

SethJohnson Get rid of your home datacenter (405 comments)

I did the same thing described by the OP for many years. Suffered through hardware failures and soradic ISP service interruptions that caused me MANY hours of unnecessary work and lost productivity. I also shouldered the expense of electricity, noise, and replacing hard drives.

Then the price of virtual private servers became so cheap, I couldn't rationally keep hosting stuff out of my house.

Check my sig. Five bucks a month for a 512mb linux server with 150gb of storage and 2TB of bandwidth a month. You're root on your own box and don't have to deal with all the crap mentioned above.

about 3 months ago
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What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

SethJohnson think of the insurance companies... (320 comments)

.....and ban this right away, it will not matter if the fatality rate is even lower than manually driven cars.

You ignore the gargantuan influence insurance companies wield over politicians.

Who do you think got these types of laws passed?

  • No smoking in bars
  • No sodas sold in big cups
  • Mandatory seat belts
  • Child safety seats

Those were the doing of an entity who could see that modifying these behaviors would reduce the payouts they make each year. This entity lives and breaths statistics and charges its customers based on anticipated payouts and profits off the difference. By modifying the behaviors while keeping the premiums at the same level, the insurance companies are able to expand their profits. Insurance companies use these profits to control politicians.

Self-driving cars are hugely attractive to insurance companies. If they can overall reduce payouts by some small number, they'll happily pay for the fewer claims made against their customers' self-driving cars. Should cases go to court, they'll have plenty of telemetric data to throw in front of a jury to bolster their defense.

about 3 months ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

SethJohnson Just finished books "Daemon" and "Freedom" (583 comments)

Really excellent current-day technology thrillers. They expand on some very contemporary surveillance / privacy issues and also project many currently-available technologies into advanced what-if scenarios. It was hard not to think that the creator of the AI in these two books was not conceived as a reference to either Elon Musk or John Carmack. Definitely Carmack was an inspiration to the author at some level, but the weaponized self-driving cars hints at Musk.

If Musk is warning about this AI-gone-wild threat, these two New York Times bestsellers might have given him the fright...

about 3 months ago
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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

SethJohnson Re:Ballmer investment portfolio (283 comments)

The reason Marc Cuban is wealthy is because he had a dumb idea and was able to sell it to Yahoo before they realized they should only buy companies with paying customers rather than a pie-in-the-sky idea. Marc Cuban sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo, and they didn't know how to get any subscribers and that asset eventually evaporated into nothing.

Then Marc Cuban started HDnet cable channel thinking he would corner the market on producing high-definition cable TV content. Then all the other cable channels began broadcasting in HD and the property floundered for a reason to exist until Ryan Seacrest bought and rebranded it as another entertainment variety channel-- AXS..

Take a read of Cuban's blog. It's fun to click around in the archives to read his thoughts on the direction of future technology trends. Like when he predicted just ten years ago people would go into video rental stores to have movies transferred to a physical hard drive instead of walking out with optical disk media.. Somehow he didn't see the rise of Netflix and Redbox, did he?

Cuban and Ballmer have a LOT in common. When a board of directors selects either of them to be the CEO of a multi-billion $ company, their opinion might be relevant. Right now, the industry and stock market has a lack of faith in the decision-making powers of these two.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Good Hosting Service For a Parody Site?

SethJohnson weak link isn't the host (115 comments)

Any organization attacking your published site will send DMCA emails to the hosting / bandwidth provider, but will also attack the DNS registrar for copyright violation. That's going to be the more difficult one to choose because there are a finite number of registrars and they all want to cover-their-ass against ICAAN violations.

about 3 months ago
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Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December

SethJohnson Re:I live in the Northeast part of Austin... (88 comments)

Well-chosen slashdot nickname, Dimwit.

All the public infrastructure crap you're complaining about was part of bond packages that voters approved and paid for with tax money.

Google fiber ain't that. It's a subscription service being provided by a corporation. The fact that you're complaining of not having sewers hooked up indicates you live in a rural section which isn't the most lucrative region for Google to spend money where the people / mile-of-fiber ratio is thin.

about 3 months ago
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FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

SethJohnson Re:I don't trust it (284 comments)

An NSL can be sent to Apple telling it to give the FBI all information it has.

Brune,

Pump the brakes, son. The words you have written here strongly indicate an irresponsible underestimation of the power wielded by National Security Letters. Go ask the ex-owner of Lavabit if he agrees with you that there are limitations on how National Security Letters may be applied to corporations.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Number 6 Finally Escapes from the Village

SethJohnson SethJohnson writes  |  about 6 years ago

SethJohnson writes "Actor Patrick McGoohan became bored playing the lead spy in a successful 1960s television show called "Danger Man" and quit to create a much more interesting spy series with a dystopian, counter-culture bend. The Prisoner aired only 17 episodes from 1967-1968, but became a cult hit in the 40 years since. For those who miss watching Number 6 vex Number 2 and vice versa, the show is currently being remade for AMC, with James Caviezel in McGoohan's role as Number 6 and Sir Ian McKellen as Number 2. To promote the 2009 release of the remake, AMC is hosting every episode of the original series for free online viewing.

Patrick McGoohan died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 80. Be Seeing You."

Link to Original Source
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Half-petaflop supercomputer deployed in Austin

SethJohnson SethJohnson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SethJohnson writes "Thanks to a $59 million National Science Foundation grant, there's likely to be a new king of the High Performance Computing Top 500 list. The contender is Ranger, a 15,744 Quad-Core AMD Opteron behemoth built by Sun and hosted at the University of Texas. It's peak 504 teraflops processing power will be shared among over 500 researchers working across the even larger TeraGrid system. Although its expected lifespan is just four years, Ranger will provide 500 million processor hours to projects attempting to address societal grand challenges such as global climate change, water resource management, new energy sources, natural disasters, new materials and manufacturing processes, tissue and organ engineering, patient-specific medical therapies, and drug design."
Link to Original Source
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DIY Aerial Photography Helps Sell High-rise Condos

SethJohnson SethJohnson writes  |  about 7 years ago

SethJohnson writes "An article in the Austin-American Statesman describes how Gary Lockhart has pushed DIY aerial photography into the professional big leagues. With 16 years of testing and over $125,000 in prototypes, he's chosen tethered blimps over wind-dependent kites to give him a stable vantage point up to 1,000 feet high. But it's his nearness to the ground that gives his aerial photography business a competitive edge over traditional helicopter and plane-based platforms. Lockhart's specialized 130 panoramic camera captures 3.2 gigabyte images from intimate perspectives where motorized aircraft can't fly.

The recent credit collapse puts developers under increasing pressure to pre-sell their condos before they can build these high rises. That's where Lockhart's blimp photography comes in- his photos give prospective buyers a sample of the view specific to the height and angle of each unit in a building before it's even built. Ground-floor sales rooms have panoramic murals mounted in window frames so it looks like you're on the 24th floor of a building that hasn't begun construction."

Link to Original Source
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Lord British fundraising for video game museum

SethJohnson SethJohnson writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SethJohnson writes "In order to raise funds to develop the University of Texas' upcoming Video Game Archive at the Center for American History, Richard Garriott is throwing a party at his Austin estate. Festivities will include Segway scooter polo, classic arcade games, a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the chance to win a zero-gravity flight 32,000 feet above Earth. Garriott is best known as the creator of the Ultima series of computer RPGs and is working to support the video game archive so that early works in the field will be preserved for future reflection. Tickets for the fundraiser start at $75 per person and escalate to $5,000."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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The Flaming Lips Sold-Out to Big Tobacco

SethJohnson SethJohnson writes  |  more than 7 years ago This past week the Flaming Lips played at La Zona Rosa. The tour they're on is sponsored by Camel. The shows are free. The fans are subjected to intense Camel marketing / recruitment by the cancer merchant. Ugly companies like Camel will pay anything for coolness. Apparently the Flaming Lips decided it was time to sell theirs. Oh, and Dinosaur Jr. must have caught Camel's attention with their Green Mind album cover, because they're on the tobacco gravy train as well.

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SethJohnson SethJohnson writes  |  more than 9 years ago Last night Adam and I worked at the Skate Plaza. We poured some new transitions and added a concrete ledge next to the flatrail. Will post pictures later. Seth

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