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Manufacturer's Backdoor Found On Popular Chinese Android Smartphone

hey! Re:3-digit /. UID? (63 comments)

ISDN, so technically not a modem....

7 hours ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

hey! Brilliant. (343 comments)

Now that Sony has cancelled the premier, if I want to see this movie I'll have to find a pirated copy.

7 hours ago
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Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

hey! Here's the experiment they should try (427 comments)

They should issue the VR goggles to the cops an make white people look black.

yesterday
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Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

hey! Question (138 comments)

If you saw an item that should cost $10 priced at $0.01, and you believed the listing erroneous, would you take advantage of the error to get a quick bargain? What if the item should actually cost $1000?

If so, what is your justification?

2 days ago
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Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

hey! Re:Brian Krebs received one & posted it... (246 comments)

The lawers' grasp of the rules of English capitalization does not inspire confidence:

“SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the Stolen Information,”

It reads like a bad fantasy novel full of Portentous Capitalization.

2 days ago
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Blade Runner 2 Script Done, Harrison Ford Says "the Best Ever"

hey! Re:Doubt it (294 comments)

I thought what made the original Blade Runner so powerful was the way it depicted subjective experience as both precious and ephemeral. When you reach the stage of your life when you begin to confront your mortality, you're painfully aware that the most precious things you've accumulated are memories, and how one instant those memories will be here, and the next they'll be gone forever.

I expect the sequel won't be as good as the original, simply because of regression to the mean. The original was something special, and it's simply not possible to manufacture that. In Hollywood they try, they hire the smartest, most talented, most attractive people, make them work like hell and hope for a miracle. But we all know that model doesn't produce greatness, it produces adequacy, on an operatic scale.

Still, while it's a reasonably safe bet the sequel will fall short of the original, you can't be completely sure. Lighting does sometimes strike the same place twice. I agree the plot outlined doesn't look so promising, but you never know.

3 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

hey! Re:Not really missing vinyl (431 comments)

I grew up in an urban, blue collar neighborhood in the 60s; we didn't have much (any) exposure to live music. But my mom had that depression era better-yourself ethic, so she amassed a fairly complete record collection of classical "standards", and bought a pretty good component stereo to play them on. But I never saw her listen to any of them. Having these meant we were cultured people to her, but she was too busy getting things done to waste time sitting around listening to music.

I on the other hand had plenty of time, and listened to everything. When I was older I saved up my paper route money and bought a high end audio-technica cartridge, then began adding to the record collection.

When I was sixteen I got a job at the hospital which paid good money; 20 hours a week at $3.75/hr which was good money back in 1977. I took my new found wealth and bought my very first opera tickets. I remember sitting in the audience and being shocked when the music just came out of nowhere, without the preliminary low hissing and popping I associated with the start of music. But that was nothing to what followed.

The music had color, depth and dimension I'd never imagined music having. Even though by then I had a pretty good sound system, what came out of it was a washed-out echo of the real thing. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I can't describe it, except to say that if music coming off a vinyl record was a strong cup of coffee, then live music would be shooting cocaine directly into your veins.

That experienced killed my budding audiophile tendencies. To this day if I had a thousand dollars to spend on music, I'd spend it on performance tickets rather than upgrading my sound system.

As for CDs, they seem to be all over the place to me. Early on there were a lot of bad CDs because of bad engineering. Some were released with their vinyl oriented RIAA equalization intact, which is just plain dumb. People like to argue about technology, but I think recording engineering is an often overlooked factor in what comes out of your speakers. I have an MP3 album of the original cast recording of "Hair", and it sounds great over a good pair of earphones. It's not because of some kind of magical MP3 pixie dust, it's because the original recording was done so competently. If something is missing in the original master tapes, no amount of lossless encoding and copper-free speaker cables will conjure it back.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6?

hey! My experience with this kind of hardware (109 comments)

I had a pair of clients who were primate researchers. In late 2006 they went into the Tanzanian bush with a bunch of Dell Axim X5s, which we chose over the sleeker, more modern X50s because of the lower price and the availability at the time of a superb third party aluminum case. The differences between the X5 and X50 were mainly skin-deep; a chunkier PDA was actually a bit nicer to use in the field.

They carried the computers and PDAs along with a sophisticated solar-powered field biology lab to their research site via motorized canoe, then by native bearers -- just like in the old Tarzan movies. Then I didn't hear from for two and a half years, except for a message that bandits had stolen their stuff and could we send replacement hardware, which we did. I was very gratified to learn that the data backup procedures I recommended worked -- that the principal investigators always carry an SD card with an up-to-date backup of all the expedition data on their persons. Previous experience supporting field researchers in Africa suggested that anything not nailed down was bound to disappear over the course of two years.

When they returned in 2009, they were agog. They'd gone into the bush with the most advanced consumer technology available. When they came back nobody was carrying PDAs anymore, there were iPhones everywhere. The left before the iPhone was announced and returned after everybody had one, and when they saw the user interface, there were staggered. They were like Rip Van Winkle waking up in a strange new world.

As for the poster's question, as a geek I totally understand it, but from a perspective of someone who actually developed for the platform professionally, there's little attraction to working with these devices when you can get an 4.3 inch Android "tablet" for under fifty dollars, and its so much more easier and more enjoyable to develop for. There was some really nice hardware built to run pocketpc, but pocketpc itself was mediocre in the extreme. I certainly tried the Linux ports that were available, but there really wasn't a compelling reason to use them, however, other than the novelty of having Unix on the palmtop. But they didn't deliver a better handheld experience (as iOS and Android do).

I'd still consider old-school hardware for sending into the bush for several reasons. The first is a removable battery. You're in the middle of a series of observations that will make your career (this often happens in field research) and your battery goes dead. So you carry a spare, which is more convenient and cost effective. The second reason is the SD card. You finish those career-making observations and head back to camp, but you drop your device into a deep, rocky gorge. With an SD or microSD card you just pop the card with your data out and it's just a minor mishap. Third, something a little more bulky than a razor-thin smartphone is better when you're chasing a troop of chimps through the jungle, your device in hand ready to record an observation at any instant.

You can of course get android devices which have the virtues of old-school hardware, but they're not mainstream -- in other words they're pricey. Back when the X5 was being manufactured, it was being sold to people to keep their address books on. And it sold by the gazillions, which meant on a unit price basis it was a bargain. Scientists often have awesome tech, but it's because they absolutely need it. They don't have money to throw at inessentials. So it was really nice to be able to load our guys up with tons of bargain consumer tech. If they busted an X5 they could just grab a spare out of the crate. It was as close to my perfect world as I believe we'll ever be, where data is priceless but hardware is disposable.

I got boxes of tech like this in my attic: Apple Newtons, Dell Axim x5s and X51s, practically every generation of Palm Pilot, very early proto-smart phones that ran "Windows CE", a ruggedized Trimble pocket pc with high accuracy DGPS built in. They all work too. And if anyone could do something interesting with them, it'd be me, because I developed for all of these devices back in the day. But I'm not going to bother. Modern platforms are more capable, more fun, easier to share your results with others.

Hardware is like fresh fish. You should buy it just before you need it, then use it right away before it begins to stink.

4 days ago
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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

hey! Yes it is. (238 comments)

LCARS 3.0 was a disaster.

5 days ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

hey! Re:Fire all the officers? (512 comments)

Sure. My point is we've always had a certain number of bad cops. I think that the war on drugs and badly conceived "broken windows" policies have magnified their impact to the point where its intolerable in many places to the point where these individuals are threatening social order.

On the other hand, I believe that some day historians will look back at the advent of widespread cellphone video cameras as the greatest development in American civil liberties since the Voting Rights Movement.

5 days ago
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Google Closing Engineering Office In Russia

hey! Re: so let me get this straight... (157 comments)

This is not whistleblowing. This is treason, pure and simple

People use that word, not because of what it means, but because of how something makes them feel. The word "treason" actually has a specific meaning. you can't bandy it around because you don't like something, or even because an act happened to aid the enemy. The perpetrator's intent is critical -- and it's not enough for that intent to be wildly misguided. If the perpetrator's intent was to support and defend the Constitution, or to prevent war crimes, it makes no difference whether you think that intent was misguided. It's his opinion that matters to the charge of treason, not yours.

5 days ago
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Tracking the Mole Inside Silk Road 2.0

hey! Re:Lucky grab (81 comments)

What it has in common is that the government isn't infallible. It should have to prove its case before it anally rapes anyone.

5 days ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

hey! Re:Fire all the officers? (512 comments)

Definitely people know about the *specifics* of each incident more than they used to. They always knew it happened, but there was a lot of wiggle room and conflicting accounts.

I grew up in an urban neighborhood back in the 60s, before cell phone cameras or even portable videotapes. Cops in my neighborhood had a reputation for roughing guys up and planting evidence. To be fair a lot of the guys they planted evidence on were guilty as sin, but still. My brother ran with a bad crowd, and to this day when he hears about a police beating he still automatically assumes they must have had it coming, which I personally think is naivete posing as experience.

Progress is funny; it's two steps forward if you're lucky, then one step back. We simply took it for granted that the darker your skin the more you got beat up by the cops. It didn't even occur to us that racial parity in rough treatment was something that was even possible, much less desirable. But a lot of darker skinned guys never had any trouble, because we didn't have "stop and frisk". The idea of the cop as an establisher of social conformity hadn't been dreamed up yet. Cops were supposed to fight crime, not create a genteel atmosphere.

I think cops pulled their gun less frequently back then. That's because they worked in pairs and had night sticks. So has there been net progress? You be the judge. I do think the war on drugs has turned a lot of people who used to just be unfortunate into criminals, so cops necessarily have a much bigger bootprint than they used to.

Despite their dirty reputation, I don't think most of the cops in our neighborhood were rough, or corrupt. The cops I knew personally were OK, some of them unsung heroes even. I think there was a combination of a boys will be boys attitude and an us-vs-them climate that empowered a small minority of sociopathic cops to set the tone of community/police relations. And that, apparently, hasn't changed much.

5 days ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

hey! Re:Pay with the pension fund! (512 comments)

Oh, that's fair. You take a guy who's given thirty years of dedicated, exemplary service and you "hit him where he lives", because of some other guy.

You know, there's a certain mentality, I'd even call it a faith, that harsh measures have to work,because they're harsh. "Look at how much misery we're causing! It must be doing some good." I'd like to say that's a joke, but after years of watching the war on drugs, the the war on Terror, it's a real, enduring feature of the American mindset: harshness as an easy substitute for rational thought.

Why "hit everyone where they live", when you can simply make erasure of audio or visual recordings by a cop of someone else's video a federal felony? A tough measure? Sure. By I don't expect it to work *because* it's tough. I expect it to work because any officer who erased someone else's personal data without a court order would lose his job and be ineligible to work as a cop anywhere else, ever again.

5 days ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

hey! Re:Fire all the officers? (512 comments)

I was pointing this out to a niece who married a police officer the other day. About 3% of the population are sociopaths. That means that if police have just their fair share of sociopaths, a department like Baltimore would have 120 individuals on the payroll with a marked tendency toward criminal and anti-social behavior.

The problem with your idea is that you can fire all 4000 people in the department, but it doesn't help because you're drawing from the same candidate pool that produced the problem in the first place.

What you have to do is focus on eliminating sociopaths from your payroll and from the hiring pool. Any officer found destroying evidence should be fired. Do stuff like that consistently and assiduously and the problem will alleviate itself over time.

5 days ago
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Tracking the Mole Inside Silk Road 2.0

hey! Re:Lucky grab (81 comments)

What makes you think they took down the criminal mastermind?

Remember this is the government we recently learned abducted a German citizen, beat him, chained him in the Salt Pit where he was rectally violated, only to learn they'd snatched a vacationing car salesman who happened to have the same common Arabic name as the guy they actually wanted. It was like kidnapping and anally raping "John Smiths" until you found the one you wanted.

5 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

hey! Re:freedom 2 b a moron (1037 comments)

As Terry Pratchett's "Patrician" is fond of saying, freedom doesn't mean freedom from consequences. Nor does it mean freedom from responsibility.

Saying you have to make your own arrangements for schooling doesn't seem so oppressive to me, so long as the arrangements aren't made in a punitive spirit. Lots of parents do make their own arrangements because of philosophical differences with state-run schooling. Pious parents send their kids to religious schools. Conservative parents send their kids to military schools. Liberal parents send their kids to alternative, unstructured schools.

Schools should make reasonable efforts to accommodate the philosophical preferences of parents, but there simply isn't any way to square this circle. Most parents want their kids going to a school where everyone is vaccinated. If you want something different there's no way to accommodate that preference, unless there's enough of you to set up a parallel program. I have a relative who did just that -- started an alternative school; not for anti-vaxxers, but for anti-regimentation parents who want the kids to go to a school where they do whatever the hell they want all day and where no attention whatsoever is paid to ed-reform mandated standardized tests. And the school works because of the high degree of involvement of the parents, many of whom are high status professionals like doctors and university professors. You *can* have whatever you want for your kid, but you've got to put the effort in to make it work.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Paypal Forces E-Book Sellers to censor Erotic Content.

hey! hey! writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hey! (33014) writes "On February 18 of this year, global giant payment processor PayPal sent eBook publisher Smashwords an ultimatum: if Smashwords didn't remove all eBooks with certain erotic content from its catalog in the next several days, PayPal would immediately stop handling payments.

Smashword's TOS already precluded child pornography, but now PayPal wants them to also censor depictions of consenting, non-related adults acting out incest fantasies. Likewise fantasy novels in which human characters transform into non-humans are affected if those characters have sex. ZDNet has a summary of the impact of these changes, which would among other things ban Vladmir Nabokov's *Lolita*.

As outrage mounts, finger pointing is in full swing. Smashwords blames PayPal, and PayPal blames the banks it deals with. The crux seems to be that erotica buyers have a higher rate of "chargebacks" — customers who buy stuff then demand their money back. Fair enough, but is a customer really more likely to return a book because it depicts one kind of fantasy between consenting adults vs. another? Perhaps the problem is just the quality of writing."

Link to Original Source
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hey! hey! writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hey! writes "Fantasy author Lloyd Alexander, author of the Chronicles of Pyrdain, Time Cat, and the Westmark trilogy passed away last week at the age of 83.

Alexander, who graduated high school at the age of fifteen, left college at the age of nineteen to serve in World War 2, where he rose to the rank of staff sargeant in the Army's intelligence service. He received his intelligence training in Wales, and became fascinated with the country's romantic history and literature. The Chronicles of Pyrdain, his best known works, are set in an imaginary land resembling the mythical Wales, and draw heavily upon the medieval Welsh Mabinogion for inspiration. That series won two Newberry Awards, one for the second book in the series, The Black Cauldron, and another for The High King, the final novel length work set in the Pyrdain universe. He received or was nominated for many other prestigious awards.

Alexander published his first work in 1955, the year after Tolkien published The Fellowship of the Ring, and the next decades saw many attempts to follow in Tolkien's footsteps. Like C.S. Lewis, Alexander remained firmly outside that stream of High Fantasy literature, writing in the simpler language of the young adult literature market. But while Alexander did not write with the elaborate theological symbolism of Tolkien or Lewis, his works often have an similar (if humanistic) moral gravity, touching as they do on themes of heroism, loss, and even political irony. In his own words:

"In whatever guise — our own daily nightmares of war, intolerance, inhumanity; or the struggles of an Assistant Pig-Keeper against the Lord of Death — the problems are agonizingly familiar. And an openness to compassion, love and mercy is as essential to us here and now as it is to any inhabitant of an imaginary kingdom."


I have written an appreciation of Lloyd Alexander. For more information, refer to his Wikipedia entry and his NY Times obituary. Lloyd Alexaner (1924-2007), rest in peace."
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hey! hey! writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hey! (33014) writes "As many of you are aware, the folks who engineered the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chryslter into DaimlerChrysler are having second thoughts. Chrysler has a long history of doing interesting things, but they also have a long history of financial ups and downs. And current management is eager unload Chrysler while the unloading is good.

Meanwhile, while Chrysler's situation is precarious, Al Gore's stock is at an all time high. He just starred in a smash hit, double Oscar winning movie. He's just been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. And the public seems to have decided that his impassioned opposition to the Iraq war was not, after all, a sign of mental instability. In short, although it seems incredible, Al Gore has become cool. If there were any doubt of it, he has been awarded an Emmy, not for his nascent work in TV, but a special award designated for those "touch our common humanity". In other words an award for cool people.

It's been widely speculated that Gore could let the Clinton and Obama wound each other over the Democratic nomination for a few months, then step in for a last minute coronation. On the other hand Rick Haglund, a Michigan journalist who covers the auto industry, puts one and one together and comes up with this intriguing idea: Gore should make a play for Chrysler. Gore even has his own VC firm to do it. Should he put his investor's money where his mouth is, or should he go for a fourth run at the presidency?"
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hey! hey! writes  |  more than 8 years ago

hey! (33014) writes "The Bush administration has announced a new space security policy, which includes the statement that "Consistent with this policy, the United States will preserve its rights, capabilities and freedom of action in space ... and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests."

Strictly speaking, this doesn't say that the US policy is to deny space access to hostile countries. It just says that the US can do so if it is "necessary". Possibly this is meant to cover situations similar to those in which we would deny a hostile seafaring nation access to non-territorial waters. While attacking hostile assets in space would be a regrettable scenario, it is probably inevitable that spacefaring nations contemplate this. Even so, this has been widely reported as a kind of declaration of space imperialism by the US (e.g., "US spreads its wings over space control", "US turns space into its colony", and "America wants it all — life, the Universe and everything"), whereas China's blinding of a US satellite a few weeks ago was largely tolerated or even lauded. Could US international prestige possibly sink lower?"

Journals

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Geez, I'm starting to get cranky

hey! hey! writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I've done two posts today in which I call the subject of an article "stupid" (example 1 and exzample 2).

I have to watch it. It's a bad habit to start thinking of yourself as superior.

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Two questions

hey! hey! writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Just an experiment. I'd like to know two things.

(1) Does anyone read journal entries?

(2) How do people find journal entries they might want to read?

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