Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Ask Slashdot: How Would You Secure Your Parents' PC?

cathector linux box for banking (408 comments)

i know the OP posited windows as a requirement,
but there's also a hybrid approach.

my primary goal was to protect my mom from serious financial fraud - ie bank account stuff.

mom uses windows for photoshop & other SW that won't go on a tablet,
and also makes heavy use of some windows-only apps which keep her away from OSX.

so, i got her a tiny HP laptop and put Linux (mint) on it,
with the strict instructions that all banking is done on the Linux machine,
and *only* banking is done on the Linux machine. no shopping, no surfing.

shopping i figure is fine on the windows machine: the credit card is secured against fraud,
and shopping itself is risk enough that it doesn't belong on the banking machine.

I suspect she's not actually following this advice, because she hasn't asked for help w/ the Linux box,
but that's probably also a failing on my part for not following up.

about 7 months ago

How to Get Conjurer James Randi to Give You $1 Million (Video)

cathector thanks for the raconteur link (219 comments)

thanks to the article author for conveniently providing a link to a definition of 'raconteur'.
that was super helpful.
ditto the link to the wikipedia page for Canasta.
both links are totally cogent and i never would have found that info myself.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Block Noise In a Dorm?

cathector blocking drowning out (561 comments)

lots of good suggestions here, including maybe getting a different dorm.
i think i recall there being a 'quiet' dorm at UCSC. ("live here if your main interest in being at college is .. academics", i guess)

but mostly the suggestions seem to be either Block The Sound or Drown The Sound In Noise.

i'd highly recommend going for the former before the latter, for the kinda obvious reason of hearing damage.
i'm not an expert, but my tinnitus gives me a gut feeling that chronic exposure to even background-level noise can't be good for the cilia.

about a year ago

Pushing Back Against Licensing and the Permission Culture

cathector Re:fwiw, yes. (320 comments)

should have included - yes.

about a year and a half ago

Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity

cathector wifi routers w/ 2nd-tier guest network ? (505 comments)

many wifi routers i've encountered can provide two networks, each of which can have QOS limits on it.
what i haven't seen tho is a router which can make one network lower priority than the other.

ie, i want to have the primary always get 100% when it needs it,
but if the primary is only using up 10%, give the remaining 90% to the secondary.

any equipment recommends ?

about a year ago

Pushing Back Against Licensing and the Permission Culture

cathector Re:fwiw, yes. (320 comments)

no: i chose to omit licensing. you're choosing to interpret it within the permission framework. congratulations.
also i think i made it clear that my omission was made intentionally rather than out of ignorance, so screw you.

about a year ago

Pushing Back Against Licensing and the Permission Culture

cathector fwiw, yes. (320 comments)

like most of us i've self-published a bunch of crap in the past fifteen years or so,
ranging from music CDs in actual stores to numerous personal software components,
and i've intentionally kept them bare of any licensing information for two reasons:

1. as a small protest against the permission culture.
2. i feel that incorporating the permission culture into the creative work cheapens the work.

when folks have re-purposed my work (that i know of), they've always asked first and have always offered to include attribution.

about a year ago

The Mobile App Design Tail Wags the Desktop Software Design Dog

cathector that's because iOS is equated with value itself. (183 comments)

look at the amount of advertising for products completely unrelated to computing (mobile or otherwise) which choose to position the product being sold within the frame of an iPhone. it's a nearly ubiquitous advertising technique. this, imo, indicates that the iPhone has become popularly synonymous with "value". a few years ago this role was filled by laptops: if i was selling diapers, i'd show a smart-looking housewife viewing my product on a laptop. now it's iPhones. so what's happening is that UI designers are trying to convince you that their UI has Value by making it invoke iOS. my $0.02.

about a year and a half ago

iPod Engineer Tony Fadell On the Unique Nature of Apple's Design Process

cathector the interview _is_ the strategy (193 comments)

perhaps this whole interview is a red herring attempting to get apple competitors to go ahead and sink resources into lousy products.

about a year and a half ago

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

cathector Re:The latter. (385 comments)

i switched over to OSX a few years ago,
but before that i also stuck with the older Jasc (6 sounds right) version in favour of the more recent and overweight Corel versions.
iirc the older version was awesome for basic editing, but occasionally there would be specific more modern thing i'd want, and would fire up the corel version.

about a year and a half ago

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

cathector Re:The latter. (385 comments)

i agree.

about a year and a half ago

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

cathector Re:When did you last use Blender? (385 comments)

i used the latest version about five months ago.
i couldn't figure out how to move the camera,
but three clicks turned my simple cube into a smoke simulation!
(not kidding on either point)

about a year and a half ago

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

cathector Re:The latter. (385 comments)

i am not a pro by any means, but my issues with GIMP are all UI.
it has all the features i could want, but using them is such a hassle.
there may be something to tibit's comment that it's not a worse UI, just a different UI, but i disagree.
i find myself forced to spend way more time in UI management than the commercial apps, which i think is an objective measure.

about a year and a half ago

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

cathector Re:The latter. (385 comments)


even for semi-serious non-professional uses i find GIMP to have a horrible UI. it's sort of like Blender.
honestly i'd rather work out an ImageMagick script to do what i want than do it in gimp. at least then it's reusable and command-line.

i do prop PaintShop Pro and Pixelmator for being solid products an order of magnitude or so cheaper than Photoshop.
altho pixelmator has swallowed a bit too much of the Apple cool-aid around stamping out "Save As", imo.

about a year and a half ago

Ubuntu Phone OS Unveiled

cathector Re:Video and first thoughts. (248 comments)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health?

All right, fair enough, but appart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health; what have the Romans ever done for us?


i think we need to clarify "us".

about a year and a half ago

Moscow Plane Crash Caught On Passerby's Dash Cam

cathector Re:One word: Lawsuits (253 comments)

yr right - i watched it again and the lights are right there.

about a year and a half ago

Moscow Plane Crash Caught On Passerby's Dash Cam

cathector Re:One word: Lawsuits (253 comments)

i also do not see the light controlling the intersection for the red car.
it's off-screen on the left the entire time.
from the video alone it might be red or green.

but perhaps with special knowledge of the intersection's patterns, the light's color could be deduced.
for example, perhaps the green lights for the left-to-right moving traffic implies that the red car's turn lane had a red.

about a year ago

30 Days Is Too Long: Animated Rant About Windows 8

cathector fluff (1110 comments)

he surely has some valid points,
and i'm no windows fan,
but this piece is super fluffy.
it seems like about 80% "it's terrible, it's like < analogy >, it's really bad" and 20% actually saying what was bad,
so in the end it's 80% appeal to this dude's authority.

about a year and a half ago

School Shooting Prompts Legislation To Study Violent Video Games

cathector mental illness or gender ? (1168 comments)

i see a lot of posts on good old slashdot here saying that "the real issue is clearly mental illness" (to quote one of many).

so but,
according to Mother Jones,
of the counted 62 U.S. Mass Murders in the past 20 years,
38 of the 62 (61%) showed signs of mental illness,
while 61 of the 62 (98%) were .. male.

which correlation do you think more strongly deserves attention.

about a year and a half ago

SEC Investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Over Facebook Posting

cathector Re:What? (190 comments)

me too.

is there doubt over the figure ?

about a year and a half ago



Law Allowing Indefinite Military Detention of Citizens Ruled Unconstitutional

cathector cathector writes  |  about 2 years ago

cathector (972646) writes "The offending section of the NDAA, signed by Obama on New Year's Eve last year, grants the government the power to put citizens in military detention indefinitely and without the usual recourse to civil courts. ...
Judge Katherine Forrest, a recent Obama appointee to the federal bench, ... granted a preliminary injunction of the offending sections of the law."

Link to Original Source

the Sunnyvale firm that helps Egypt spy on its ppl

cathector cathector writes  |  more than 3 years ago

cathector (972646) writes "an AlJazeera English video about the link between silicon valley firm Narus and the Egyptian government's internet actions.

When the uprising there began nearly two weeks ago, there was a near-total internet blackout. But exactly how was access cut off? An American advocacy group called Free Press says it's uncovered a link to a California-based technology company which allegedly sold the Egyptian government equipment allowing it to track online activity. Rob Reynolds reports.


Link to Original Source

dropped toolbag filmed from earth

cathector cathector writes  |  more than 5 years ago

cathector (972646) writes "an article at reports that the toolbag dropped during Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper's spacewalk has been recorded on film from earth:

When Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag during a spacewalk on Nov. 18th and it floated away, mission controllers probably figured they'd seen the last of it. Think again. Last night, Nov. 22nd, veteran satellite observer Kevin Fetter video-recorded the backpack-sized bag gliding over his backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario. "It was easily 8th magnitude or brighter as it passed by the 4th magnitude star eta Pisces," he says. Spaceweather's satellite tracker is monitoring the toolbag.


What's Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing)

cathector cathector writes  |  about 6 years ago

cathector writes "Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.

So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle."

This report, that there's nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots declared one recent press release. A careful look at the data, however, suggests otherwise.

There's a cute picture of the current solar cycle prediction here."

water ice on mars

cathector cathector writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cathector (972646) writes "
Scientists have figured out the mysterious white substance unearthed by NASA's Phoenix lander on Mars. It's frozen water. The breakthrough came last week when Phoenix's stereo camera caught the substance in the act of disappearing. Bathed in martian sunlight for four days, the white substance sublimated — i.e., it transformed from solid to gas without passing through the liquid state. This is how water behaves on Mars. Atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet is so low (1% that of Earth), it rarely allows H2O to exist in liquid form on the planet's surface; solid and gas are the only options. Some readers have asked, how do we know the white substance is not frozen CO2 (dry ice) instead of frozen water? Answer: Phoenix's landing site is too warm for dry ice. The average daily temperature is about -70 F while dry ice requires temperatures lower than about -109 F.
wow, if they found water ice on mars just a few inches below where the lander uh landed, the place must be lousy with the stuff !
the article includes an animated gif showing the ice sublimating."

cathector cathector writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cathector (972646) writes "in an article at, Nintendo is quoted as saying: "Nintendo has developed a programming system that will allow small independent developers to make games for Wii download service. We cannot confirm at this time in what format the new content will be delivered, but in the future there will be original games available for download through the Wii Shop.""


cathector has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account