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Robo Brain Project Wants To Turn the Internet Into a Robotic Hivemind

X!0mbarg First, we make Skynet... (108 comments)

Then we realize our mistake, and find a way to Crash it, only to cripple our whole society, since we have all become dependent upon the internet so deeply.

Go figure...

about a week ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

X!0mbarg Munchkin! (274 comments)

Seriously, folks. It's a Blast to play.

about two weeks ago
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UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

X!0mbarg A Progression of Complaints (190 comments)

Once they start to roll, there will be a logical progression of complaints, starting with "They're too slow."
Next will be "They're blocking traffic flow/causing traffic jams."
Possibly among the next bunch of complaints:
"They move erratically/unpredictably"
"They wait too long at/stop too soon for traffic lights"

Most of the complaints will revolve around the simple fact that the autonomous cars will be driving 100% according to the rules of the road, and 95+% of the remaining drivers don't. Things like stopping for yellow lights, driving at the actual speed limit, slowing for merging traffic, properly signalling turns and lane-changes, etc.

In the end, the autonomous cars will reduce traffic jams, as they can intelligently travel in clusters, all in communication with each other, and even vary their routes for volume, all while staying moving at a reasonable clip.

The problem will come in when people deliberately try to mess with them, forcing them into emergency maneuvers by cutting them off for exits (for example), or cutting in front and slamming on the breaks (road rage).

Here's hoping they are outfitted with outward-facing cameras for recording such acts of stupidity.

about a month ago
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Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

X!0mbarg Long-winded, but telling my age with this one (701 comments)

Activate interlock! Dynotherms connected! Infracells up! Mega thrusters are go!

Anybody else remember this one?

Or the infamous: "All engines! Full power!" Followed by "Oh, no. This is a nightmare!"

about a month ago
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Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

X!0mbarg Did Someone Coat it something? (415 comments)

...hidden four layers deep in a tin box inside a metal cabinet

Seriously? Was it treated with something that make it smell like a dog-treat?

This is a strong case for Liquid Ass. A couple drops, then wrap the drive in a pair of undies, or something.

That's some strong nose that doggie has! Good thing they didn't have a case of blank media, or something.

about 2 months ago
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Theater Chain Bans Google Glass

X!0mbarg And so, it begins... (376 comments)

First, the the Alamo, then there will be others.

After all, we can't have people wearing active recording devices into an area where they charge money to play copyright protected media to a limited audience, can we?

Besides, if you were sitting here in a typical theater with a smart phone in a little tripod-thingy recording the movie, you could reasonably expect to get in trouble, if spotted by any staff members, right?

So, how long before we see anal-retentive stars at ComiCon who charge an arm and a leg for a pic, setting their body-guards on Google Glass-wearing attendees for "stealing" pics/video of them at the Con? Next we'll see Google Glass Banned from such conventions...

Where does it end?

about 3 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

X!0mbarg Changing Laws to Comform to Behaviour (490 comments)

Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Looks like people are simply trying to adjust the law structure to what most bicyclists have been doing for decades anyway.

Simply changing these laws won't help traffic flow any. The accidents caused by such actions have a negative effect on traffic as it is. All this does is ease insurance cases, and place the burden of responsibility on the larger vehicle, kind of like what has already happened to big trucks. It doesn't matter one bit what actually happened. Unless you can "prove it in court", the blame always falls on the big truck, and only if it's really obvious does the police force look at the car.

Shame society can't remove someones' right to use a bicycle in public due to their reckless driving practices.

Doesn't the law see them as vehicles already? Or are they still seen as pedestrians in many places?

If you can't use the roads in a safe and responsible manner, you shouldn't be on them with a vehicle.

ANY Vehicle.

Tinker with the laws for bicycles, and you'll see the unregistered all-electric scooters (who do the same things as bikes, such as roll through stop signs, and maybe pause at red lights) following suit as if they're immune to the laws of the road,

You want to see improvement?

How about proper education in the first place, followed up by proper enforcement.

If a driver (any driver of any vehicle) is operating in a safe and intelligent manner while sharing the road with other like-minded souls, traffic wouldn't be a serious issue, because sharing the road wouldn't be a problem.

Sharing the road seems to be the problem in the first place. Bicycle lanes haven't eased the problem much, as most cyclists wander randomly in and out of them whenever they want. Cars use them to scoot around turning vehicles, or to cut a corner at a red light. It's only as if we've just widened the roads to try and accommodate driver behaviour as it is already.

Again. Modifying laws to behaviour is the wrong direction.

Too bad education doesn't seem to work...

about 4 months ago
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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

X!0mbarg Old Boys' Network (311 comments)

In any corporate social hierarchy, there are the existing network of the "Old Boys" that used to gather in smokey back rooms, and private clubs in big wing-backed chairs, talking about what they were doing, and to whom...

Today, there's a digital social network that exists, but the social connections that have no traces still exist.

Such unwritten agreements shaped the development of many a huge cash-based community. Las Vegas is but a single example.

If you were among the Elite, you knew the rules, and could get away with a lot more. Steve Jobs was not exactly part of the actual Old Boys Network, and made his own. The thing is this: he was doing what they were doing, just in a lot less discrete manner. Same stuff. Different pile. If he had been "classically trained" by the Old Boys, he'd likely have never been even suspected directly of anything. That, and he'd have been stifled into obscurity, and the Personal Computer would have been quite different than it is today.

Bottom Line: Power and Influence has its own rules. Rarely do they comply to the actual Laws that govern the Rest of Us. Only when they get found out does anything happen. That's usually when new laws and precedents get set to deal with the "new problem" that has actually been around for decades, but only just made the headlines recently.

Old Boys nod and smile(ey) a lot, and they still do what they want. It will be a long time before (if ever) changes make the headlines in that field.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

X!0mbarg Basic Trainging in Computer Use (169 comments)

Unless people have some training or background, thy will proceed blindly along until something actually Makes them pay attention.

Start with such basics in high-school, or even earlier than that. Explain (and mark their understanding) of things like strong vs weak passwords, and simple security procedures. E-mail safety tips. Good file management practices. Even basics like how to take care of a keyboard and/or pointing device would go fairly well in such a course.

Oh. Almost forgot: MAKE IT MANDATORY! Nobody gets to use the school computers/labs (even Office Staff) if they don't show proficiency. No personal systems should be allowed access to the school network without a valid certificate either, lest they infect the whole thing from their own carrier box. Ban those who violate the practices and cause problems. Make them responsible for what they caused, and Sit Through the repair procedures with a technician as an additional education in what happens, and what has to be done to Fix things, or no forgiveness, and therefore, no regained access! Give them a sense of what they are avoiding, and even what to do to fix a problem on their own system, should they get afflicted at home.

Start 'em young, and train them in the ways of the system. The results will be worth the effort.

Seriously: If people don't show they are responsible enough to use the school (or company) systems, they have no business accessing them, and probably shouldn't be working there in any capacity.

about 4 months ago
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The Internet of Things and Humans

X!0mbarg Taking Humans Out of the Equation (55 comments)

#IoT is more-or-less a synonym for Sky-Net in it's infancy.

Think about it: The devices and appliances get smarter by studying humanity. Watching, collecting data, adjusting response, eliminating (or suggesting the elimination of) steps in the chain.

How long before humans get edited out completely, and the machine simply builds itself around us? How long after that before we're no longer needed in the flow-chart of its designs?

Just food for thought, here. I don't like the idea of my fridge coordinating with my stove about what I'm going to have for dinner based on my vending machine habits of the week, and productivity rating at work...

Maybe I should... It'd be really convenient. Might lead to a Fractale-like existence, though.

I guess it will all matter where we stand on certain things in society. Like Google Glass, and all-pervasive surveillance systems, and the Governing Body in place over it all...

about 4 months ago
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LA Police Officers Suspected of Tampering With Their Monitoring Systems

X!0mbarg Power Corrupts (322 comments)

And Absolute Power is kinda nifty...

It's amazing what happens to some people when they get a taste of power over others. Little wonder why there are cases of extortion and racketeering that happen by police officers in many cities. Once they get a taste, they're hooked, and it escalates.

Why is it that many an off-duty police officer acts like a total a$$-hat, but pops a badge out of their butt when confronted by the proper authority to curb such behavior? They carry on as if they are Allowed to do the things they, themselves are required to prevent. After all, such things are Fun! At least, to some people...

I'd cite examples, but there'd be info-burn from the Google results page...

How many people would tamper with monitoring devices at their work, if they were under such constant scrutiny? Of course, there are laws preventing such devices in many places at work, such as washrooms, changerooms, and similar places. Needless to say why many employees tend to hang out there as much as possible.

Bottom line is this: People in authority should Expect to be monitored for abuse! Gone are the days of power (on certain levels of civil service) putting you beyond reproach. that was then. This is now. It's been called the Information Age for a reason, folks.

Welcome to the Glass House, Mr. Ford. Don't get too comfortable.

Mayors of large, world-class cities have been getting away with things for a very long time in the past. Mostly because they knew when and how to do such things so as not to draw too much attention to themselves.Others see the office as goal, and a place where they have free reign to do whatever they want. Chances are, they were doing things before they had the office, but were simply emboldened to the point of carelessness by the authority they found themselves in. Can you imagine the scandals that would happen if a Mayors' Office was subjected to such constant monitoring? Don't get me wrong! Mayors of such cities have a Lot of things they have to deal with on a daily basis, that are best kept behind closed doors for public safety. Shame the crime-lords of the modern era don't suffer from nearly the same level of accountability as their elected counterparts...

So, bottom line here: If you had such monitoring devices where you work, would you tamper with them for any reason? Would it be privacy, or some other reason that motivates you?

What level of "privacy" do you expect from your work environment?

Just Sayin'

about 5 months ago
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Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates

X!0mbarg Genetic or Chemical cause? (558 comments)

Is it a genetic thing, passed on to kids, or might it be something caused by medicines or whatnot?

Most mother-to-be are taking different things during their term that they feel safe taking. What if things like Allergy pills are causing it?

Looks like a widespread version of Thalidomide Babies of this generation.

about 5 months ago
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Daylight Saving Time Linked To Heart Attacks

X!0mbarg Circadian Rhythm (240 comments)

If this is what happens once a year, imagine what happens to people who have their schedules changed at random (like a truck driver), or someone on "swing shifts"!

Little wonder there are so many truckers having heart attacks that end their careers (or even their lives)!

And to think I worked for a company that the VP actually said to me (with a witness from their own Drivers' Advisory Board present, no less):

"Circadian rhythm is a luxury we cannot afford in this industry."

I'd name names, but I might want to return to driving one day, and it could get me Blackballed ;)

about 5 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Jonathan Coulton What You Will

X!0mbarg Has this Thread Died, or what? (48 comments)

I thought I asked a couple of decent questions, but it seems they were toxic, and the thread has died a miserable death... Anybody still out there? Has anyone gotten any kind of answers from JoCo?

Does any body know where my BBQ Fritos went?

about 6 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Jonathan Coulton What You Will

X!0mbarg Some song ideas: (48 comments)

Have you considered a female point-of-view version of your song "Better"? It'd be interesting to hear the logic behind her upgrades, and what she was after in the first place.

Also, is there any kind of correlation between "Better" and "Nobody Loves You Like Me"?

Do, please keep up the Wonderful Work! Great, insightful and thought-provoking body of work, BTW!

about 6 months ago
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Drones Used To Smuggle Drugs Into Prison

X!0mbarg Monitor the Airwaves (137 comments)

Bluetooth is short range, and R/C uses audible signals on CB channel 14 or so.

Just monitor the CB band for activity that seems weird, and broadcast something that can knock them down. Whistling into a mic often works. An R/C hobby enthusiast could easily override such a signal, and take control with a much stronger local unit. Any decent computer tech should be able to snoop out a Bluetooth signal, if that's what they're using.

Triangulate on the broadcast before the takeover, and you have a place to look for the perps, while having taken down the drone for analysis and follow-up.

Two birds with one stone, there.

about 6 months ago
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Drone Pilot Wins Case Against FAA

X!0mbarg Interesting Precident to Set (236 comments)

Looks like 'we' will have to right to use drones of our own to do fairly non-invasive things like monitor our own property, take aerial images and videos, and patrol for intrusion.
Expect corporate drones to roll out fairly soon now that it's not considered illegal.

Next step: Armed Drones. They'll probably start will paint-ball chemical/visual tags, and work up the lethality scale slowly, but surely from there.
At least the paint-balls aren't too directly life-threatening... unless you're knocked off a high-rise structure...

about 6 months ago
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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

X!0mbarg Build in Blighted Areas? Seriously? (606 comments)

Maybe cities just don't have the right mix of amenities, price, space, parking, and other factors to make them better places to put certain businesses.

As is, any decent business that intends to be economical, will build in a place that is of advantage to them, while convenient to their clientele.

If a city area does not have the attributes a company is looking for, why would they locate anywhere else? If they are willing to bus in their employees, bully for them! The city should be happy that there's an employer willing to add to the local economy.

If a city truly wants to revitalize an area, they need to make it appealing to a company to set up there. Tax incentives, for example. Perhaps a city could petition for companies of certain types and demographics to build a neighborhood of sorts, including residential units for employees of the core.

Want to build a community? Plan it out, and fill in the blocks. Leaving it to market whims, and dumb luck doesn't exactly promote growth.

about 6 months ago
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Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

X!0mbarg People will always feel threatened (921 comments)

...what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?

When nearly everyone has the tech, it will be a mutually assured disclosure situation, and only those who don't have it will feel threatened and/or left out.

In a nutshell: If you have it, you accept it on others, and if you don't have it, you will feel exposed, and therefore resent the presence of it on others.

Widespread adoption will be about the only thing that can allow it to take hold. Sadly, this will also create even more backlash against it.

I doubt it will ever be truly widespread. Isn't it still illegal in most places to record people without prior permission, and threatening to record can also be seen as a threat? Every new phone has a camera as it is. You want to see people get twitchy? Walk into any bar actively recording as you go and post the results! That's not even Glass backlash, just blatant recording reaction!

Maybe there will be a string of clubs spring up that having Glass (or something else similar) is the only way you get in.

Watch for signs to pop up Banning the use of such devices in various establishments. Theaters will likely lead the pack there. I'm surprised that the MPAA/RIAA haven't jumped on this bandwagon yet, as ambient recording of copyrighted material is (at least in their mind) illegal, and recording club music could be a goldmine for them...

about 6 months ago
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"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

X!0mbarg M$ has repeated it's sins (742 comments)

Nothing sets a mind into cement like being forced into something painful repeatedly.

It's called a "Conditioned Response" and becomes automatic. Hence the term "knee-jerk reaction".

People tend to teach their kids to avoid something that they had to learn the hard way in an attempt to spare them the suffering they had to endure themselves.

"What have they done?", you ask? Pushed flawed OSes out, forced upgrades that slow or break older systems, actively discontinued support for decent hardware (like printers and scanners) to force more purchases, yank support for older OSes that have been working in the industry in some capacity for years in a vain attempt to generate revenue, forcibly downgrade or out-mode existing suites of software that at least work (now that people have been forced to use them for so long) so that they will have to retrain in something completely different so they can simply continue to work, "bundling" software together in ways that make it obscenely difficult to remove without knocking down their house of cards...

Wash

Rinse

Repeat

Windows ME was a seriously flawed OS.

Windows Vista was as well.

Windows 8 has so far shown many of the same trends as it's failed predecessors, but M$ still pushes it out as if everyone never had to break the bank for the last two serious failures on their part, and wonders why people are slow to adopt anything new from them.

Seriously? We need to look at this with fresh eyes?

I'll be checking mine for a M$ logo before I adopt anything like that wetware into my body.

Heck, I don't think I'd want a Google logo on it, either...

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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It's the End of (XP) Support as we Know It

X!0mbarg X!0mbarg writes  |  about 6 months ago

X!0mbarg (470366) writes "We've all heard about the inevitability of it, but M$ has started sending out Downloaded Notifications of its End Of Support for Windows XP as part of Automatic Updates. Has anyone else seen these pop up on their XP systems? I certainly did.

(Apologies in advance for my poor code-fu here.)


Many links abound for reference here:
  • http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help?locale=ja-jp
  • http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/lifecycle
  • http://www.scmagazine.com/pop-ups-to-signal-the-coming-end-of-windows-xp-support/article/336777/
  • http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/03/windows-xp-will-now-notify-you-that-its-dying/
  • and the Google-it-for-you reference: https://www.google.ca/search?q=WinXP+End+Of+Support+Notice&num=100&source=univ&tbm=nws&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=mLoYU-7WJ4nTqgHEjoGgCw&ved=0CE4QqAI&biw=1173&bih=750

Anyone else see this as an attempt to scare users into upgrades directly from the desktop?

Yes, we all knew this day would be upon us, but surely we didn't see M$ being so downright aggressive, did we?

Ultimately, what is everyone's opinion on this effort and its' ultimate affect to their usage of the admittedly antiquated OS?

I for one, will still be chugging along on a few systems until the system finally just Dies on me.

Any theories on actual support and afterlife cycle predictions? Anyone still patching together their Win98 systems? Win3.11? What duties have they been relegated to and why? What plans does everyone have in the Upgrade department? Are you waiting for anything specific from M$ before taking the Win8.1 plunge, or planning on holding onto your Win7 systems 'till they pry the code from its cold, dead drive?"

Link to Original Source

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Nintendo Nixes Swapnote due to Intentional Abuse

X!0mbarg X!0mbarg writes  |  about 10 months ago

X!0mbarg (470366) writes "Quoted from Nintendo Directly:



Thank you for your support.

Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material. Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.

Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action.

We are very sorry for any inconvenience to the many consumers who have been using this service responsibly; however this decision was made considering the point that many minors also use this feature of Swapnote. Thank you for your understanding.

Nintendo will continue to work to ensure more consumers are aware of our Parental Control features, which allow parents to manage their children’s experience on our systems. For more information, please click here.

Service stop date: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 7 p.m. PT

Service being stopped: Nintendo 3DS software Swapnote – Sending and receiving notes using SpotPass

Affected regions: All regions where the service was offered

Special Notes services are also stopped

Although I'm not a frequent submitter of stories, I did happen upon something that might be of interest to the /. community as a whole, and thought I'd share it here.

After getting off shift yesterday and firing up Pokemon Y on my 3DS while waiting for my ride, I notice a new message has popped up (See quote above)

It would seem that having a little program that can be used in a wide open way has been making some little ones cry, and their parents see red. All of this appears to be linked to the addition of being able to send photos that was added in April 2012. The service itself was launched in North America in January of that same year.

I guess it's one thing to send off crudely drawn notes of people with naughty language, but quite a different thing to send a 3D pic of actual people.

I have one of these systems, but have never used that feature myself, so I doubt I'll miss it, but surely others use it a lot more than they will likely admit.

Does anyone else have a 3DS, and use Swapnote? Have you (or anyone you know) been subjected to unwanted offensive material? What did you do about it?

What are the overall opinions of this move among the SlashDot community? Is it just blind censorship? Overreaction? Deliberate sabotage of what could otherwise be a "safe" introduction to social media in a closed digital environment?

Will they ever bring the service back, and what changes would have to be made to allow it? Will it even be usable?



The link provided below is word-for-word what showed up in the 3DS message and taken directly from Nintendo."

Link to Original Source

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Looks like the The Pirate Bay has been Sunk!

X!0mbarg X!0mbarg writes  |  about 2 years ago

X!0mbarg (470366) writes "Not long ago, there was a story posted here, on SlashDot itself, that mentioned a batch of ISPs being raided, and an assortment of BitTorrent sites going down. Within minutes, an internet favourite, The Pirate Bay seems to have disappeared. Over at http://www.theregister.co.uk/ a Story pops up covering just such a noteworthy event.
-
[quote]
"Rumors are flying after the Pirate Bay's website took a dive on Monday just as news broke of a raid by Swedish police on its hosting company PRQ – but the group says the two facts are not related.

"Dear internet. We have not been raided. We are not shutting down. We like turtles, waffles and you," the group said on its Facebook page. "Sorry for not fulfilling your pirate needs tonight. It's ok if you cheat on us with another site, just once. We know that you still love us, deep down in your cursed pirate heart."
[/quote]

There is, however, something more suspicious here:

Where's the Original SlashDot story that covered the Raid and Fall of the Torrent Sites? It also seems to have disappeared from the Stories list in the last few moments.

Are these two events linked in some way? Has SlashDot been censored somehow? Was the story Too Hot for SlashDot?

Let's all watch and see what happens next!"

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Has Released SP 3 for XP!

X!0mbarg X!0mbarg writes  |  more than 6 years ago

X!0mbarg writes "This afternoon, my system notified me that there were Updates Available for download... After checking carefully, as I am prone to do, I see that it's Windows XP Service Pack 3!! [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/936929] Link points to the "Release notes for Windows XP Service Pack 3" page. Anyone get themselves auto-installed, or is the general populace well-read enough to be braced for such an unexpected "Upgrade"? Anyone else feel more than a bit Wary of such an update, given the push Microsoft has made toward the forced adoption of Vista? Let the speculation begin!"

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