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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Steps Down

Shoten Re:One of the most overpaid execs in history (138 comments)

Screw the shareholders. What about the rest of Oracle's workers? You know, the people who make Larry Ellison look good by busting their asses? Why not give them a raise?

Oh don't worry about the employees, they'll be fine. With Mark Hurd at the helm, they'll be...*laughing*...*doubling over laughing*

Oh, I'm sorry...I couldn't QUITE make it through the rest of that sentence without laughing my BALLS off!


ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Shoten Re:WTF? (947 comments)

It is a little unexpected.

Islam, but obviously not this particular splinter, has a long and glorious history of cultivating math and science. Specifically, they invented some aspects of linear algebra to solve inheritance issue – the Koran is very specific on how much the various wives and children get.

You're confusing past nations that were inhabited by Muslims with Islam itself. This is like saying that Christianity has a long and glorious history of cultivating the Internet, since most of the people at CERN who invented HTTP were Christian.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

Shoten Thoreau already covered this (231 comments)

From Thoreau, in Walden:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

Based on this, it seems to me that every one of us who has ever been involved in development projects for any significant amount of time has encountered fear as a major force in one or more projects. For that matter, I'd say we've all encountered it as a force in many things we've been a part of.

2 days ago

SanDisk Releases 512GB SD Card

Shoten This answers a question... (210 comments)

The new GoPro camera...which hasn't come out said to effectively capture video at double the rate that it currently does. So it can do 1080p at 120 frames/second.

But there's a problem with that...the existing GoPro, at half that speed, requires the very fastest of SD cards (UHS Speed Class 3) to be able to write the data fast enough. So I was wondering how the hell the camera would even be able to work at 120 fps 1080p resolution in the first place. This card, with its throughput, answers that, since it's triple the UHS Speed Class 3 specification.

about a week ago

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Shoten Re:Wrong Title (499 comments)

Baloney. As someone who deals with the military industrial complex on a daily basis, I know for a fact that the forms you submit to the OPM ask you in plain English "have you ever belonged to an organization dedicated to the violent overthrow of the US government" and these forms are retained by the OPM for something like 7 or 10 years, after which you are required to resubmit them. If she said "no" to the question in question, but knew that her acquaintances went to jail, something objectively doesn't add up. The best possible excuse is that she's just pathologically oblivious, not that the OPM has trumped up charges out of nowhere.

Agreed. From TFA: " Barr says she was casually acquainted with two of the convicted murderers, Judith Clark and Kuwasi Balagoon (née Donald Weems) but had no prior knowledge of their criminal activities." I think that 1, if she'd known them beforehand, it would have been obvious to her that they were a bit past the "baking cookies" level of extremism, and 2, she'd certainly have heard about it when they were arrested/tried/convicted/imprisoned for their role in the attempted hijacking/resulting murder. That is, if she didn't know about it after it happened, but before they were arrested. When an acquaintance who is part of your circle of friends gets involved in something like that, I would tend to think you'd notice.

about a week ago

SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

Shoten Re:Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

Actually, as someone who just bought an Audi, I disagree. The Volvo was by far the most sedate brand in its class. BMW/MB/Audi all had it beat. Even the Hyundai blew it into the river for fun factor. (The new Genesis by Hyundai...especially with the BIG a beast.)

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

Shoten Re: The Measure of Man (471 comments)

So, bank account balance would be useful.

Yes. Especially if you're male and dating.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

Shoten Re:Perchance (471 comments)

Is the submitter of the article a developer looking for ideas?

I hope so...if so, he's doing it in a very clever way. Provided, of course, that he can determine the difference in ideas between that which comes from a fairly normal user with a standard need/desire as opposed to a socially-incompetent neckbeard.

about two weeks ago

SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

Shoten Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

As an astronaut, I wonder which would appeal to me more? The "Exciting Choice" or the "Safe Choice?" On one hand, I'll be strapped to it as it launches it (and me) into space. On the other hand...I'm an astronaut! My choice of car is probably NOT a fucking Volvo.

about two weeks ago

Intel Unveils MICA "My Intelligent Communication Accessory" Smart Bracelet

Shoten Re:Just the warm-up (48 comments)

Some technologies just don't make sense. At least with our current battery and silicon constraints.

A nice tablet at $500 didn't make sense... until the iPad came out. (Some early speculation had it priced at @$1,000). An expensive smartphone without a keyboard didn't make sense... until the iPhone. A laptop that is .68 inches thick (and gets thinner from there) didn't make sense... until the MacBook Air.

Apple has a track record of pushing limits, and of not releasing products that aren't highly refined. If they come out with an "iWatch," I'd bet it will be something special. And the following iterations will only improve it.

Your point is merely that innovation is something people don't see coming. I don't think it applies here, however.

Everyone wants an "iWatch," so much so that you can use the term and everyone knows exactly what you mean by it. Everyone wanted an iPhone...they were freaking begging for it for years before it came into being.

In this case, though, Intel's made a massive mistake. You can't pair a highly-durable good (bracelet with semi-precious stones, precious metals and exotic materials like "water snakeskin") with something based on personal technology. Very few people will spend $1,000 for the non-functional components of something that they'll replace as often as a cell phone. And almost nobody will do it twice.

Even more notably, the pictures they sent are of bracelets that make distinct statements with regard to color, texture, etc. They won't match just any outfit...which means that either the user must not come to depend on the bracelet (or they'll be disappointed when it clashes with their outfit and so they don't wear it) or buy multiples (which only amplifies the cost/disposability conundrum).

If they had a form factor that allowed for separation of the cosmetic (semi-precious stones, snakeskin, etc.) and functional (electronics) components such that you could swap the electronics module between shells and update it without having to throw away the whole bracelet, then this could work. It would also allow for a platform, however, where you could just wear the electronics module in something like a silicon wrist strap...and thus, that negates the whole point of Intel's idea here by caching the thing as a fashion accessory. As soon as someone puts it in a $10 wristband and notices that it doesn't do all that much that they need, everyone notices the emperor is naked, and they go back to buying bracelets from Cartier or Tiffany's instead.

The key to the iPad and the iPhone was that they were, at their core, supremely functional. That they had lovely form factors was just icing on the cake, and their cache as items of status followed from that...not the other way around.

about two weeks ago

Plan Would Give Government Virtual Veto Over Internet Governance

Shoten Re:Does it matter? (65 comments)

An American would think that. Citizens from other countries may well disagree there. Especially because of that unthinking American preference for Americans in charge everywhere.

Really? Do tell us about all the governments that would rather have Iran or North Korea in charge of ICANN. Please :)

about a month ago

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Shoten Re:MUCH easier. (239 comments)

You are speculating on a system that would be able to correctly identify ALL THE OBJECTS IN THE AREA and that is never going to happen.

It doesn't have to identify all the objects in the area, it simply has to not hit them.

Actually, since the whole question of TFA is about ethical choices, it does have to identify them. It can't view a trash can as being equal to a child pedestrian, for example. It will have to see the difference between a dumpster (hit it, nobody inside dies) and another car (hit it, someone inside it may die). It may even need to weigh the potential occupancy of other vehicles...a bus is likely to hold more people than a scooter.

The question at its heart is not about object avoidance in the's about choices between objects. And that requires identification.

about a month ago

Xiaomi's Next OS Looks Strikingly Similar To iOS

Shoten Okay, then... (181 comments)

...who's going to make the obligatory, in-poor-taste cancer joke?

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Shoten Re:Alternatives (331 comments)

Your analysis seems to assume that there are apps, and that is it. But in reality there are apps that are virus hosts in themselves. VB within Excel. Javascript within browsers.

Actually, no. There are apps and there is the OS itself. But by the time you're talking about the security model, the OS already exists, and anything you add to that is, essentially, an application. Delivery operates the same way, dependencies can as well. The VB that is within Excel is no less an app than the app that requires .NET framework be installed, a javascript that executes in the browser, or a java applet that requires a JRE. The fact that it depends on something else doesn't change the model. And any app can be malicious or friendly; even a friendly app can be modified or tied with a pre-executed piece of malware.

about a month ago

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

Shoten Re:us other engineers matter, too (371 comments)

/. may be a software-centric site, but those of us in mechanical, electrical, optical, materials, and other branches of engineering are in the same basic position. But sadly, even in businesses which promote engineers into senior roles end up respecting people primarily on the basis of how many direct reports (that's the term for peons whose salaries they determine) they control. Until you're able to rate people by the quality/quantity of output regardless of altitude in the org chart, this problem will continue.

Indeed; the underlying basis of the article could really match almost any profession. Accountants, HR personnel, programmers, even admin assistants. Not understanding the role of a job invariably means not understanding its challenges or the value it brings. So what? This is not news. Hell, I've seen companies where they didn't understand the value of managers...and thus, promoted/hired people into such roles who had no skill at doing their jobs.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Shoten Alternatives (331 comments)

There are currently two solid alternatives to traditional AV. Unfortunately, one is not suitable outside of a well-managed (i.e., corporate) environment and the other probably would not work in a full-featured computer environment.

1. Whitelisting: Application whitelisting is really, really effective. There are ways to circumvent it, but that's true of just about any technical security control. The problem with it is twofold: one, someone needs to develop exactly *what* that whitelist is, and the average home user isn't really up to the task. Bit9 (the leader in the space) has gotten around this to some degree with a cloud-based archive of "known good" files and processes, but your standard home user will still run into a lot of things they don't recognize when they install. And what if one of those things is actually an existing infection? Then they will probably add it to their whitelist...or, on the other hand, err on the side of caution and end up breaking valid software on their systems. The odds of them hitting it exactly right are very small. And even then, they have to maintain the if they're taken in by that "YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR VIDEO CODEC LOL" popup window, they'll invariably end up authorizing whatever file gets downloaded ("'Trojan_video.exe'...sounds legit to me!") and infecting their system anyways.

2. The "Walled Garden" Model: In a lot of ways, this is like whitelisting built into the underlying OS, with the OS manufacturer being the custodian of the whitelist. This is how iOS works, so it's actually a proven model. There's only been one discovered instance of malware that's slipped into the App Store, and that was easily eradicated with the press of a button back at the Apple mothership. But on the other hand, there are ancillary effects to forcing all devs to go through a single clearinghouse for software. Apple's cut of the profits, and their cut of any revenue passing through any app sold through the App Store, are obvious issues, but the antitrust risk of a PC OS with only one place to go for software is a latent...and larger risk, going forward. One court decision can break the model entirely; if Apple doesn't collect at least some money from developers, then there's no money to support the App Store and the activities around it. But if there's no central authority, then there goes the chain of trust that's necessary to maintain the safety of the OS. And there's complexity in a PC-based OS environment that you don't find in a tablet or smartphone; in the tablet/phone model, each application is an island, separate onto itself for the most part. You don't have browser plugins, underlying execution environments or interpreters (Air, Java, .NET, Python, Perl, etc.).

Either way, the "blacklist" approach doesn't work. It's all fine to point out that other things (firewalls, IPS, etc.) need to be in place, and that's true...but malware is its own threat, and cannot be fully addressed by solutions that only focus on the attack. Applications will have vulnerabilities; railing against this hasn't accomplished anything in two decades. People will make mistakes, or be social-engineered into doing things they should not do. Supply chains will become infected (remember cameras, USB drives, etc. that have come with malware?) and sometimes those mistakes will affect people besides the mistake-maker. So there needs to be a way to address malware itself.

There are two approaches that, while theoretical, also hold promise. The issue is that they are pretty much theoretical; there's no existing implementation of either of them on any scale, or as a deployable off-the-shelf technology today.

3, The Managed Immunological Response: Assume that malware will exist, and somehow get onto systems. Most complex organisms hold pathogens within themselves that are harmful...and in many cases, even contain them in a symbiotic relationship. Eradicate E. Coli from a human's lower GI tract and they'll develop problems, for example...but E. Coli outside of that part of their body causes major issues and is a health problem. Catch a cold, and you'll be sick for a bit...but your body will get over it. This is what some researchers are aiming towards, and the approach shows a lot of promise in theory. But it requires that the OS operate in a functionally different way, a way that does not currently exist. So...yeah, that's a ways off, if it will ever happen.

4, The Sandboxed World: This is where applications are walled from one another...this is another feature of the iOS model. And as with the Walled Garden, the challenges of this grow severely when you move to the PC world. If it's hard to exchange data between your email client and your word processor, you're going to have a hard time getting things done. This is already something of a nuisance in the tablet/phone world. But if you open up access to the file system, then you create an avenue for bad things, and punch holes in the sandbox walls. So I don't know if it can be fixed in a way that would suit PC users, or if, in a lesser implementation, it could support something akin to the Managed Immunological Response model.

about a month ago

Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

Shoten Re:Too much surplus (264 comments)

If we have this much surplus, clearly we're buying too much. I know that if I find myself giving away cans of green beans, I make sure I don't buy a whole pallet the next time I'm at Costco.

We just demobilized from one war, and are nearly done pulling out from another. Surplus is what inevitably happens as a result.

Look at it like this: when you get back from a camping trip, do you set the tent back up at home, and use the cook stove to cook your meals at home too? Of course not. And military equipment is usually better off sold rather than mothballed, especially since the threats keep changing and the cost of upgrades on gear that's in storage (don't forget the logistics) is greater than the cost of replacement, all other things taken into account.

That said, I wonder how much of this billion dollars is from MRAP donations. The military is giving nearly all of their MRAPs to law enforcement agencies, and they aren't exactly cheap. So that could be the bulk of this, easily.

about a month ago

Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Shoten Re:Gettin All Up In Yo Biznis (419 comments)

Great dad, in my opinion. My kids grew up involved in hunting, fishing, and shooting sports - but a trip to a refugee camp would probably have cured them of the FPS BS faster than anything.

Fortunately, they were never really into videogames.

Aaaaand...what kinds of movies did they watch, perchance? Did their dad keep them on a strict diet of Barbara Striesand? No? A few action movies, then? Hm.

Games are one form of entertainment. If someone is going to condemn simulated (and unrealistic) violence in one medium, they really should do so across all media, don't you think?

about a month ago

Google's Satellites Could Soon See Your Face From Space

Shoten Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (140 comments)

doesn't that mean my entire face would be 1 pixel large?

I think Slashdot editors believe that all of the readers must be profoundly obese in, multiple chins, and a beard for each of them.

about a month ago

China Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Apologizes For Unauthorized Data Access

Shoten Re:Apologies not accepted (64 comments)

The one nice thing about Android (assuming a rooted device) is the ability to turn on and use Linux's iptables to prevent apps from phoning home. After that, Xposed and XPrivacy are good (although the interface is nowhere as nice as Protect My Privacy from Cydia on iOS) to enforce restrictions on apps that ask for more than they should.

It would be nice if XPrivacy would fake data like PMP does, so if an app asks for GPS info, it will get GPS info, but not anything useful, or if an app asks for contacts on the phone, it gets random sets of garbage.

This is all fine and good, until one app that you want to phone home uses AWS or Cloudfront, and so does another app that you don't want phoning home. Firewalls have never been a good approach to application security...evidenced by the fact that "application security" became a concept long after firewalls were commonplace.

about a month ago



Cost and Build Problems with Death Star Project

Shoten Shoten writes  |  about a year ago

Shoten (260439) writes "Foreign Policy magazine has a fascinating analogy for real-world timeline and cost overruns on military projects. Apparently, the IGAO (Imperial Government Accountability Office) has run a review of the project to build the Death Star, finding multiple issues. At the top of the list? "Frequent Turnover in Senior Personnel Hampers Continuity," with a recommendation to stop using strangulation as a management tactic. Design flaws relating to reactor shielding and anti-fighter defenses are also cited."


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