Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots
He said Twitter fulfilled a need (while implying that RSS on its own did not). This is exactly what normal people expect from computers, that it will somehow make their lives easier or better. It's why they just don't get it when we preach our nerdy idealism.
Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers
A modern corporate giant is not one big company across the planet just because their offices all have the same logo outside. Local offices are separate legal entities in each country.
Suppose MegaMultinational, Inc. has its headquarters in New York and it is legally (in NY) ordered to do something by the court. If it commands its German subsidiary MegaMultinational GmbH to "just hand stuff over" this will likely be in contravention of local German law. Why would the local CEO risk jail by complying?
EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability
Picking up the smell of tobacco smoke is amazingly easy even if you are not a smoker. Walk through the cloud of smokers hanging around outside any office building and by the time you get to your cubicle you too will smell of smoke.
Recently I was astounded when I got to my hotel room and discovered I had been assigned a smoking room - turns out this is still legal in Germany. Getting moved to a non-smoking room took an hour. My clothes and my bags still smelled of smoke the next morning after two showers.
HP (Re-)Announces a 14" Android Laptop
HP consumer laptops consistently worst in reliability tables. Why would you buy one.
TrueCrypt Website Says To Switch To BitLocker
I detest "um" or "erm" because the intended inference is "I am soo smarter than you and having to bite my tongue to avoid delivering a scathing denunciation of your failure to understand what to me is instantly obvious". Take that, ummers.
Report: YouTube Buying Twitch.tv For $1 Billion
I never understood why Verisign was allowed to buy Thawte, who were their only realistic competition.
Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030
Not completely true - you have to consider the availability of those calories. A good example is almonds, there is about 9 calories in the average Costco roasted salted almond, but your body only manages to absorb a lesser number than 9 with the remainder being excreted. Another example is a litre bottle of olive oil; imagine the huge calorific value but if you drank the whole bottle at one go you would not absorb all those calories.
Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?
With a two-year contract you are encouraged to think that you are getting a very expensive phone for free, and consequently it's not unreasonable that you are going to be paying serious money per month on the contract. Nothing could be further from the truth - the development costs on these things are not that much and the bill of materials is pennies.
Of course the geographical size of your country does not help - here in the UK we have 20% of the US population packed into a landmass half the size of California. I personally have a really nice phone that cost less than 100 pounds no contract, with unlimited data for 7.50 a month. Don't remember the last time I went out of coverage.
It's a USA-specific problem
Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test
I'm 57 and stopped eating meat suddenly one day when I was 18. I sometimes eat the various meat substitutes such as Quorn but this is for convenience not because I want a "meat replacement". Seriously, a benefit that meat-eaters don't realise is their easy ability to cook with high-quality protein in handy small pieces. No use asking me if I think it successfully mimics the taste of meat as I can't properly remember. My kids say the Quorn chicken nuggets are the closest and they actually prefer them to chicken chicken nuggets.
The rest of the time I eat food that is not in any way meant to resemble or taste like meat. It's not something I actively mention to anyone but you can't stop people finding out eventually say when you are at a group meal in a restaurant. Not so much these days but 30 years ago I used to get sideways looks from friends who thought I was not being serious with them and they would ask questions like "how can anyone not eat meat? doesn't it drive you crazy when you see a delicious steak?" Also used to get rants from aggressive meat eaters who thought I was trying to be superior to them somehow (I never did figure that one out.) None of this ever seems to happen any more I don't know why, maybe people have just got used to the idea.
Does not seem to have any long-term effects I'm pretty healthy so far as I know.
Facebook Data Miner Will Shock You
I am not in the USA so also got the "we can't log you in" message in a new window. If you now click the blue "OK" button instead of just closing the window then it provides you with a URL in the form
and a scary message in 12-point bold red
"SECURITY WARNING: Please treat the URL above as you would your password and do not share it with anyone."
Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?
Everyone has worked somewhere and the rule said wear your security badge at all times. Nobody ever looked closely at them and jokers would routinely wear badges with Jar-Jar Binks photos. So long as a piece of plastic was dangling from your neck however then "security" had somehow been delivered. Everyone (including the person who wrote the rule) knew it was bullshit but if the rule were abandoned then the ISO-compliance security box could not be ticked and the auditors would get mad. The same essentially goes for frequent password cycling containing at least one character from the Klingon alphabet and so on.
The first problem with promoting a genuine culture of [anything] is deciding what you really want to achieve.
Scientists Solve the Mystery of Why Zebras Have Stripes
Slashdot insists that I actually type the punchline, a zebra
Facebook's Face Identification Project Is Accurate 97.25% of the Time
Not so sure about "years later". I have an Asus laptop that I bought three or so years ago and it has facial recognition login. That was cool at the time and I figured what the hell I paid for it already so I trained it to login using my face. It worked really well.
That was three years ago, I haven't changed the configuration but now it doesn't work any more :(
Camera Module Problems May Delay Samsung's Galaxy S5
I do, the right crop can turn a bad large picture into a good small one.
The Poor Neglected Gifted Child
I was a smart kid at school and in my country they did, at that time, attempt to fast-track such children. This was many years ago and these days they have learnt from their mistakes and handle the whole thing much more sensitively.
It was a disaster for me however - they just advanced me into the next academic year. I could still learn the material with no effort and was still bored, but now I was also the smallest (important when you're age 7 and nobody wants you on their informal games team) and although I was smarter my shaky social skills were now a year behind everyone else's.
Coupled with a few other factors (poverty at home relative to others) it set me back *a lot* in life and I was 30 or so before I really got over it.
Teacher, leave them smart kids alone
Michaels Stores Investigating Possible Data Breach
Chip and PIN has seen widespread use for years now and would probably stop this kind of attack. Remember you have hardware-based encryption happening not only in the card reader but also in the card itself. An amazing amount of crypto happens at step one just so that the card can satisfy itself that it is indeed inside a valid reader. Then some more so that the reader can be confident it has a real card. Once all the authorisation and monetary amounts are complete then the reader finally dumps out an encrypted blob. Malware that had got root in the POS terminal could deny the transaction from happening but could not change the amount or snarf any of the card information. The only time I have heard of any cracks in this scheme was a murky story of collusion with employees at the card reader manufacturing facility, which is a lot less of a risk than poorly-configured POS.
Linux 3.13 Released
Where security is concerned I don't want New And Shiny, I want Old And Tested. I'll stick with iptables.
Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High
Our government used global warming to justify creation of a complete new tax ("Carbon Tax".) Call me cynical but that is in itself all I need to feel very suspicious of the whole thing.
VPN Encryption Vulnerability On Android
I believe we need a new Godwin's law that kicks in the first time someone expresses their opinion by calling someone else a moron or an idiot.
I sometimes run OpenVPN on my Android handset; The phone is my property, I am not an end user, and the reason I use OpenVPN is nothing to do with work. So no I do not have "MDM" and am also NOT A MORON.
Norway's Army Battles Global Warming By Going Vegetarian
I think "religious choice" is a bit strong. it would be more correct to say that it is part of the furniture for adherents to some religions. I know plenty of people who are not religious and also don't like to eat meat. There is anyway a great military tradition of avoiding meat; Roman Legionaries for example were pretty hardcore guys but hated meat and if they were forced to eat it through circumstances (run out of other things to eat) then unrest and perhaps even near-mutinies were not uncommon.
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