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New USB 3.0 Flash Drive Has 2 TB of Storage

Tsar Consider the data transfer times... (212 comments)

USB 3.0 supports a MAXIMUM throughput of 5.0Gbit/sec, and even at that insane rate it would take one hour (with 10% protocol overhead) to read or write two terabytes. We're lucky though; at USB 2.0's best rate it would take over 10 hours, with Full Speed USB 1.0 it would take 2½ weeks, and good old Original USB would literally take from now until late evening of January 14, 2012. Nostalgic for floppies? Using a fast backup program, you could do the job in 3½ years with 1.39 million 1.44MB coasters. Watch out for fridge magnets though!

more than 3 years ago

1 in 8 Take Fake Phone Calls to Avoid Talking to Others

Tsar Re:obligatory (160 comments)

Yep, the OP was made with bits of real statistics, so you know it's good.

more than 3 years ago

Volkswagon Shows Off Self-Driving Auto-Pilot For Cars

Tsar Circumventing our autopilot overlords (140 comments)

Unless there's some unforeseen (by the general public) future setback in technology, there will come a point in the next few years when you won't be able to legally drive on a public street without this kind of technology--probably always on to take over when you speed, tailgate or just drive too aggressively. What possibilities would then exist for gaming the system? Not myself, of course, but others...

I assume that the firmware on these systems will be DRM'ed to prevent aftermarket adjustments. Some of the basic functionality (speed limits, etc.) would require a GPS signal; perhaps intermittent GPS jamming would cause the system to revert to full manual control. Any other ideas?

more than 3 years ago

New Find Boosts Prospects For Life On Distant Moons

Tsar Re:Err, waitaminute. (98 comments)

Actually, there is no radiations there. Just a big magnetic field which would make it really hard for any kind of civilisation to get pass bronze age. I guess that's one more win for the Na'vi uh...

Actually, the massive magnetic field is the dynamo for trapping ionizing solar radiation and generating synchrotron radiation. That's why the Europa mission electronics have to be radiation-hardened beyond anything ever sent into space, and why your hypothetical Na'vi would never develop past an interesting self-perpetuating chemical reaction in some Jovian moon's primordial clays. Where's a hyperintelligent, near-omnipotent monolith when you need one?

more than 3 years ago

Camera Lets You Shift Focus After Shooting

Tsar Re:Fake (155 comments)

Don't click his link. It's the Goatse.cx image.

Also known as the poor man's basilisk.

more than 3 years ago

Graphing Internet Interaction To Spot Spammers

Tsar Slippery slope (53 comments)

I'm starting to think that a social graph is going to be the 21st century version of the fingerprint, except it will describe WHAT you are rather than WHO you are. Botnet, AI, Muslim, Baptist, college-educated straight Irish-American middle-child female... Who'd like to guess what the total annual budget is already for this kind of research? How much money and manpower would the Department Homeland Security be willing to invest to keep Facebook et al popular with their target audience, so the cheap social graph data keeps flowing?

more than 3 years ago

WordPress.org Hacked, Plugin Repository Compromised

Tsar Re:A great reminder? (110 comments)

"This is a great remainder [sic] for all users not use the same password for two different services."

Not [sic] it's not. Not even slightly.

Respectfully, I beg to differ. I'm running a password manager to keep track of all my passwords, online and otherwise. I'll never go back, and neither should you.

Except for my password to the app itself (which is absurdly long but memorized and periodically changed), all my passwords are unique, cryptographically secure random printable-character strings of the maximum length allowed by each system or 255 characters, whichever is shorter. I keep three deeply-encrypted copies stored remotely, so unless we lose North America, I'll never have a problem getting back into my Slashdot account.

Once I've entered my master password I only have to hit a system key combo to enter my credentials into any site, so after initial setup it's much more convenient than even using the same password everywhere. Yes, there are always potential security holes, but I believe that I'm managing them quite well, thank you.

I didn't realize how many sites I had login credentials for (well into the triple digits) until I set up this app. Most of them used one of a very small handful of passwords. What's worse, I sometimes tried several of those passwords before I got logged into a site, so a malicious site could easily keep track of those attempts and have the passwords for many of my other sites. Not any more. Changing a password isn't a chore anymore, because I don't have to re-memorize anything. I simply generate a password of the maximum allowed length and complexity, swap it out and move on. Finally, I don't have a photographic memory either, so it's good that I don't have to remember all the sites where I used the same password as I did on the current Hacked Site of the Day.

more than 3 years ago

Robots Find Wreckage of AF447

Tsar Re:You raise, I call (148 comments)

It doesn't beg the question. It RAISES the question.

OK, then I CALL the question. The debate is closed.

Your statement that the debate is closed assumes that debate on /. is subject to the referenced parliamentary procedure, which it most certainly is not. Guess what this logical fallacy is called?

If irony were strawberries, we'd both be drinking smoothies right now.

more than 3 years ago

Running Your Own Ghost Investigation?

Tsar Mod Parent Sideways (810 comments)

Sounds pretty draconian--do you live in the California Nebula?

In my galaxy they just check positron emissions. My probabilistic engine has been using about a quark a month for eons and they just keep letting it slide.

about 4 years ago

Unspoofable Device Identity Using Flash Memory

Tsar Mod Parent Up, Please! (145 comments)

Outstandingly informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your invaluable knowledge and experience!

more than 4 years ago

How Good Software Makes Us Stupid

Tsar Possible benefits? (385 comments)

I'd like to see (or participate in) a study to determine whether Googling on everything but a specific focus area can help concentrate mental faculties on that area. Something like Joe Haldeman's excellent short story "None So Blind".

more than 4 years ago

Twins' DNA Foils Police

Tsar Re:Old days? (209 comments)

Hanging would work well in this case if the English still had the balls to do that sort of thing. Just declare them both to be guilty and that they'll both be hanged. When they're on the gibbet with their necks in a noose the guilty one would probably speak up to spare his brother, and if not just hang them both anyway.

If I were the innocent brother and placed in this situation with no other alternative, I'd gladly confess so that my brother could go free, even knowing (as only I would) that he was the guilty one. I'd be a two thousand years too late to claim that it's my original idea, though.

more than 4 years ago

UN To Create Independent Panel To Review IPCC

Tsar Crucial means CRUCIAL. (342 comments)

"Many scientists say that such material, ranging from reports by government agencies to respected research not published in scientific journals, is crucial to seeking a complete picture of the state of climate science."

If it's crucial, it should be peer-reviewed. If no one has time to peer-review the material, it shouldn't be part of the basis for multi-trillion-dollar policy decisions. How is that non-obvious?

more than 4 years ago

Malicious Spam Jumps To 3B Messages Per Day

Tsar Re:Enough about malicious spam (211 comments)

And that's just the malicious spam! It doesn't count the dozens of helpful, well-meaning, altruistic spams I get every day from good people who care about whether I have enough hair, or I'm paying too much for prescription drugs, or my wife is completely satisfied. Bless all their hearts!

Oh, did you mean del.icio.us spam? No, I didn't think so.

more than 4 years ago

FOSS CAD and 3D Modeling Software?

Tsar Re:Business model (413 comments)

Fly indiana jones and have him leave a bag of peebles when taking the rocks.

Harrison Ford probably wouldn't be interested in the venture at this point in his life. Also, I doubt that Mario Van Peebles could be convinced to part with such a personal item.

more than 4 years ago

Universe Closer To Heat Death Than Once Thought

Tsar Re:OMG!!! (237 comments)

So as well as peak oil now we have to worry about peak universe?

Worrying isn't enough--it's time to ACT!
Assuming, of course, that this is anthropogenic entropy...

more than 4 years ago

Fake "Bill Gates" Message Dupes Top Tools

Tsar Little technology (117 comments)

"...And the simplicity and success of the test demonstrated just how powerful social engineering can be and what little technology can actually do about it, security experts say."

Okay, I give up. What can little technology actually do about it? Is that like nanotechnology, but bigger?
Yes, I was bored. Back to work!

about 5 years ago


Tsar hasn't submitted any stories.



Secrecy, Lies and Legislation

Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 10 years ago HobbsOnline has broken an incendiary story about the circumstances surrounding the handling of SB3101, the latest version of Tennessee's "SDMCA," now on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for today's 3:30pm hearing. It appears that the opponents of SDMCA legislation, including Tennessee Digital Freedom and other organizations, may have been intentionally excluded from the process early on, with the intention of slipping this bill through the General Assembly with as little citizen involvement as possible. Wish TNDF luck in the hearing today!


Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 11 years ago The Ohio State Legislature has passed House Bill #179 (PDF / HTML / Status) which, among other unrelated issues, makes it illegal to make an AV-recording in any theater or retail store where a motion picture is being displayed. Walk into a store that sells video gear and hit 'Record' on any camcorder, digital camera or PDA; the first click is a misdemeanor, the rest are felonies. Oh, and the janitor (or any employee) can detain you in or near the store until police arrive if they think you hit 'Record'. Actually recording any of a film (or even knowing that a film was being shown) is not required for a conviction. This bill now awaits Governor Bob Taft's signature--Ohioans, let him know what a bad law this is!


Tennessee's Super-DMCA Rises from the Grave

Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 11 years ago Members of the Tennessee Digital Freedom Network turned out in force as Tennessee's Super-DMCA Bill, its hour come round at last, slouched back to Nashville's Legislative Plaza. The industry heavyweights made their pitches, but were thwarted by thoughtful, intelligent comments and questions from our Joint Committee on Communications Security. My favorite quote of the day: "I stand here before you as representing the MPAA, one of the leading advocates of First Amendment rights..." I think I blacked out for a minute after that.


We need an opt-out resource!

Tsar Tsar writes  |  about 13 years ago What we need is some kind of clearing house of opt-out info, a la SpamCop, that would allow us to look up all the companies that we do business with and see what their real policies are. A nice feature would be the ability to generate legally binding letters of notification that we could send to those companies, preemptively opting out of all possible dissemination of our data.

Is this already available, or is someone working on it? If not, I'll get busy. Comments and suggestions welcome!


Tsar Tsar writes  |  about 13 years ago Thinking of moving south? CNN.com has a puff piece about Huntsville, Alabama, also known as "Rocket City," and how its high-tech economy has thrived through the recession. Interesting tidbits: One of every 13 people is an engineer, and 60% of the companies in town were started by former employees of NASA and the missile programs. The story gives Werner Von Braun the credit for bringing NASA and high-tech to this southern town, now a hotspot of aerospace, computer & telcom technology, as well as some cool websites and a huge rocketry club.


Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago This link at Nominet.uk gives the domain registration info of The Register, which appears to been detagged on Christmas Eve!

WHOIS query result:


Registered For: The Register

Domain Registered By: DETAGGED

Record last updated on 24-Dec-2001 by .

Domain servers listed in order:

WHOIS database last updated at 21:19:01 25-Dec-2001

The NIC.UK Registration Host contains ONLY information for domains
within co.uk, org.uk, net.uk, ltd.uk and plc.uk. Please use the whois
server at rs.internic.net for Internet Information or the whois server
at nic.ddn.mil for MILNET Information.

Is it only coincidence that this falls on the second anniversary of the Hotmail/Passport outage that gave Michael Chaney his fifteen minutes of Slashdot fame?



Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago MODERATOR
(To the tune of "Operator" by Jim Croce)

Moderator, well, could you help mod up this post
See, the number of my karma is ten below now
I used to troll away
Now I'm bitch-slapped every day
I wish you guys would log off and just go home now

But, isn't that the way Slashdot goes
But just forget my past
And mod this one comment if you can find it
So folks can read it and know that I'll climb to the cap
And overcome the slap
I've learned to read the polls
I only wish you guys couldn't see my trolls
'Til my thoughts have congealed
'Cause there's no court of appeals

Moderator, well, could you help mod up this post
Now it's scored so low that it's just infernal
There's something on my screen
You know I never think to clean
I might as well be posting this in my journal

No, no, no, no, there's no court of appeals

Moderator, let's just forget about this post
There's no one out there who really wanted to read it
Crawl back in your pod
You guys should really just thank God
I can't meta-mod



Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago My First 67 Comments on Slashdot


Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago ITWorld.com tells the story: Toshiba is getting out of the DRAM business. They had 6.2% of the world market last year, but soon their Manassas, VA facilities will belong to Micron, the Yokkaichi plant's DRAM production will be reduced to a trickle, and Toshiba will be out of the commodity memory market. Guess you can sell DRAM for a hundred bucks a gigabyte, but you can't make a living at it yet.


A Modest Karma Proposal

Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago A Parable of Karma

Joe Slashdotter signs in for an evening of /. reading, and catches a just-breaking story: the MicroWidget Corporation has just announced TeraWidget 1.0 (Open Source, of course, of course) and it's the greatest thing since punched cards. Joe happens to have some expertise in the HDW (High-Density Widget) field, so he posts a deeply insightful comment explaining his take on this development. He then settles in for a few hours of reading others' comments and responding thoughtfully and informatively to them. Everyone perceives Joe's insight, knowledge and incisive wit as a wonderful enhancement to the TeraWidget discussion, and continue to ply him for more. Before long, he's posted thirty comments, each with an initial score of 1, and an enthralled audience mods them up to an average of 4.5. His karma quickly caps at 50.

After the furor dies down, and folks begin to realize that TeraWidget 1.0 is really only GigaWidget 2.0 (or MegaWidget for Workgroups), later moderators won't perceive the same value in Joe's posts and mod them down as overrated. His thirty comments are reevaluated to an average of 2.5.

Now, look at what just happened. Joe has posted thirty comments today, which have now been modded up an average of 1.5 points each. His karma, though, now stands at -10, no matter what it was yesterday. His comments may now be initially scored -1, rendering him invisible to the vast majority of Slashdotters.

Is this scenario realistic? Perhaps not, but it happens all the time on a smaller scale, so it may happen periodically to this degree or something close to it. I just checked my stats: I've already made three comments today, and they were modded up to 3, 5 and 5 respectively. One of my comments was the site of a mod war which, after eight mods, brought it back down to 2. As a result, my karma now stands three points lower than it did this morning, even though my three comments for the day were modded up an average of 1 1/2 points.

Anybody else notice localized problems like this? I have a suggestion for a fix, though I'm sure there are better solutions:

Create a Glass Karma Cap. If a user is constantly pressed against it, with a large percentage of his comments being modded up, the pressure eventually causes the cap to yield. A secondary cap comes into play at 150, and the user can then post with a score of 1, 2 or 3 once he reaches 100 karma. If the user allows his karma to fall below 50, the cap reappears.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this idea, or why it won't work, or why another idea (or the current setup as it stands) is infinitely better.



Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago Reuters is reporting tonight that the Senate has passed an extension to the ban on Internet taxes which, as reported here, expired on October 31. The extension carries the ban forward until November 1, 2003. The House approved an identical bill last month, for which the President has already expressed his support, so now it goes straight to him for his signature.


Tsar Tsar writes  |  more than 13 years ago Reuters has this article about a report released on Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, with some interesting numbers about the dot-com meltdown: 17% of Internet users have been asked to pay for previously free content, and 88% of them go elsewhere or offline for that service rather than pay for it. The full report (PDF format) has a lot more stats and some very good analysis—well worth a read.

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