Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet
And his explanation post:
Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation
"3 years" - well it depends on how the data is being stored and retrieved, and how it's being supplied to the requestor, and how much there is. Imagine manually importing and transcoding (somehow losslessly) 8 hours of HD video (I'm guessing here - 1 officer's shift) to DVD-sized blobs; burning the DVDs; printing/applying labels (or generating print jobs to print on the disk); packing and shipping the disks etc. Now multiply that process by the number of shifts worked since the cameras were introduced. I doubt that the police dept keeps a team of video engineers employed just for the purpose of generating DVDs for extortionists.
Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation
This sounds reasonable. I'd also like some kind of "video cannot be used commercially" license. And perhaps the data should be destroyed after (say) 6 months if:
there's no successful conviction, there's no Internal Affairs investigation underway, there's no pending or ongoing lawsuit/prosecution against a police officer.
Apple Faces Large Penalties In EU Tax Probe
Apple (and the *many* other companies that indulge in the same behavior) *do* pay all the legally required taxes. The trick is that there are various governments (ranging from municipal to national) that offer perks, tax benefits etc to companies if they locate themselves in their jurisdiction. You can see this at work pretty much everywhere. It's not an Apple story, or an Irish story: it's just corporations using their leverage to get better deals than you or I (probably just average working stiffs) can get.
As for the EU trying to get taxes retroactively: surely the EU would have to first prove that *Apple* did something illegal. But if the Irish laws supported Apple what's the legal basis for trying to claim back taxes?
$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow
Trademarks have to be defended. Even if Fluke wanted to be "nice" they'd be forced to to take action - otherwise they're allowing their mark to be diluted.
I feel bad for Sparkfun, but I don't understand why Sparkfun made their DMM look almost the same as a pre-eminent market leader's design. Surely they've heard of the Apple vs Samsung "look and feel" lawsuits? IANAL but even I know that trade marks are important.
Ask Slashdot: Simple Backups To a Neighbor?
I think the poster's main concern is that Crashplan won't ship a physical disk to his/her location in the event of total site disaster.
Crashplan does have a Java client that runs on some NAS devices - e.g. Synology's line of devices. So placing a device like that in your neighbor's house might work. (I use Crashplan+ but if my house burned down, I could wait a few months before getting the bulk of my data back.)
Alternatively - buy something like this: http://www.filetransporter.com/learn-more/
I've only just seen the ad for these things but from a consumer's point of view they look awesome. Buy two "Sync" models with the external USB drive of your choice and set them to sync. Use one locally on your home LAN, and connect the other to your neighbor's LAN. Done.
Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With Refurbed Drives With Customer Data?
Agreed. In this case I would notify Newegg so that they can pass the message up their supply chain. Hopefully their supplier would change their behaviour. I would also send the drive back because I would be expecting that as part of the refurb process the vendor would be performing low-level formatting - which would've wiped everything.
Ask Slashdot: What Do You Like To Read?
Return the favour: give that bastard the first two George RR Martin "Song of Fire and Ice" books.
Google Donating $11.5M To Fight Modern Slavery
The font on my browser makes the "r" and "n" so close that they look like "m". Google is finally going to rid us of dialup Internet access???? WTF? Is that really such a big problem?
Rethinking Rail Travel: Boarding a Moving Train
In Rio de Janeiro, when I lived there, if you looked at all agile the bus would not completely stop to let you on. It would slow down to a walking pace so you could grab the handle next to the door and let the momentum of the train swing you aboard. Since you boarded at the rear door and exited at the front door you never go in the way of disembarking passengers; who also often exited while the bus was moving.
It was great sport and probably saved a lot of fuel. Not sure I'd like to do it at my age now (68) but I might just for old times' sake. LOL
A similar system was in place in London. There was an open platform at the back of the bus: if you were fast you could sprint up to a bus and get on even if it was pulling away from the stop. Likewise you could jump out exactly where you wanted to. The bus still made actual stops so other passengers could get on/off but for me it was so much more convenient and fun to get on/off while the bus was in motion. The good ol' days. I think the bus design changed to ensure that all passengers had to pass the driver (who was is also now the conductor). Previously the different roles were fulfilled by two people.
Ancient Krakens Making Self-Portraits?
This "giant squid" is a complete invention, with NO EVIDENCE whatsoever to support this flamboyant and fanciful idea. Read PZ Myer's discussion:
Ask Slashdot: Best Long-Term Video/Picture Storage?
+1 for CrashPlan as a *backup* solution.
CrashPlan works well for me. I backup my data locally (main Mac to 2nd Mac) and remotely (main Mac to CrashPlan). The option to encrypt data with your own key is *very* attractive.
But I think it's probably easier to rent some hosting space and create your own "photo share" website. You could permission the directories more granularly etc. I mourn Apple's decision to shutdown their MobileMe galleries because it was perfect for sharing photos with family/friends (it's laughably easy to publish from iPhoto or Aperture).
New BIOS Exploiting Rootkit Discovered
Name one reason why it is a good idea that application programs or the kernel or ANYTHING ELSE should even be ABLE to screw with the BIOS. There should be a big red PHYSICAL switch which makes the BIOS read-only, and it should only be temporarily turned off to allow updating with the manufacturer's files and NOTHING ELSE.
I'll bite: bulk BIOS updates on thousands of PCs. My company has an enormous number of PCs - paying someone to manually flick a switch, stand by while a BIOS update is performed, then unflick it afterwards would represent an enormous cost in time and labor. We buy large numbers of identical machines every year - so when a BIOS update is needed it needs to be applied to a lot of machines, globally.
Secondly: we set BIOS passwords to prevent (or make it harder for) the machine to be booted from USB thumb drive, DVD, external hard drive etc.
How about making the PC detect signed BIOS packages?
Ask Slashdot: Geeky Volunteer Work?
Exactly. I did Habitat for Humanity build with my church. I was slinging sod with a lawyer, rocket scientist, and a microbiologist while several of our other members where doing the skilled job of putting in windows. It was a lot of fun and we since we did two weeks worth of work that day. Because of our efforts a single mom and her two kids got to move in on Mothers day weekend. Why just use the skills you have when you can gain more skills, Do you know how to hang dry wall, lay tile, install cabinets, or frame a wall? Now is the time to learn.
The skill of being a geek is the ability to learn. So use that skill. Find out what needs to be done where you live and do it. I could be helping in a school, Big Brother/Big Sisters, or a local food bank.
Not as glamourous as going to Africa but then you may be needed down the street now. Just find a cause your interested in and say, "How can I help?"
I was going to post exactly the same thing. I volunteered for Habitat through my employer's philanthropy scheme. I learned a lot of useful homebuilding stuff. In addition to the skills you've mentioned I learned how to install hardwood flooring and exterior wall insulation.
There're plenty of geeking opportunities: in addition to the enormous number of extremely dangerous power tools you may use, there're hundreds of hand tools, lots of Pythagorean mathematics, different materials' properties, stress/strain etc. You'll be physically active, be maintaining the discipline of turning up at a work site and meet a different set of people.
Plus there's the added bonus that you get to practice all your new skills on somebody else's house while under the tutelage of someone who knows what they're doing.
Finally: if you ever need work done on your own home you can have an educated idea about the cost/effort required to, say, frame and finish your basement yourself. You may be able to weed out unscrupulous contractors, or even undertake the work yourself.
Other commenters have noted that while this is not as glamourous as a trip to a developing nation (BTW which African nation???) it is probably more practical in the short time you have. Your own community needs your help too.
Microsoft's SkyDrive Drops Silverlight
I believe NetFlix uses Silverlight for their streaming service. (I suspect it's because Silverlight has DRM support and NetFlix probably couldn't get permission to stream DRM-less media.) But Silverlight is also one of the major platforms for Windows Phone 7. So I doubt Silverlight is going anywhere. Plus - as other commenters have noted: we shouldn't bash MSFT for moving towards standards-based solutions, we should applaud!
Amazon Tests a Home-Delivery Service For Groceries
...we already have FreshDirect http://www.freshdirect.com/
Their model is to streamline the delivery from growers to consumers. The model works well in a highly urbanized area like NYC; especially when the competition is WholeFoods and their overpriced, crowded, inconvenient ilk.
Cheap GPUs Rendering Strong Passwords Useless
Windows has some unsavory habits. Windows 2000 or later systems will store NTLM hashes for backwards compatibility. Many administrators do not know this; and fail to disable this "feature". cf
href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299656">How to prevent Windows from storing a LAN manager hash of your password in Active Directory and local SAM databases
Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment?
Then we looked at our $96/month DirecTv bill and thought, "Hmm.....,"
(Some) Americans pay nearly $100/month for TV??? As a continental European, this is completely beyond my comprehension ...
I'm a Brit living in NYC so I find it even more absurd.
$100 is just the beginning. Throw in some premium movie channels, HBO, or sports channels (usually they're bundled weirdly so you'd have to buy two or three bundles to get all the movie channels) and suddenly you're not far from $200 per month. You end up with 1000 channels of shit; and 3 channels from 3 separate bundles that you actually watch.
I ditched cable TV about 5 years ago and haven't looked back. I use iTunes, NetFlix and the usual Hulu/web channels (and, once or twice while they existed, BlockBuster!) and don't feel like I'm missing out. My 2006 Mac Mini makes an awesome HTPC - I replaced the HDD with an SSD, upgraded RAM - and it's been quietly rendering streaming video on my TV for just over 5 years.
I'm a Time Warner Cable "customer" (I have no choice!) - the only concession I made was to upgrade my cable modem bandwidth. (I often telecommute or connect to my employer's VPN for out-of-hours support so it wasn't a big deal anyway.)
The biggest drawbacks are probably: delayed access to some new releases (not a big deal for me), occasional weird holes in the catalogs eg no Disney movies, limited access to new TV shows (I just watch old shows...)
The other drawback is due to my specific combination of hardware - my TV doesn't correctly identify it's resolution, front porch, etc to my Mini so the desktop is actually cropped. I could have fixed this using third party tools eg DisplayConfigX (http://www.3dexpress.de/) but I'm lazy.
IsoHunt To Court: Google Is the Bigger Problem
They'll continue trying to take down Isohunt because they're a much smaller target and their pockets are not as deep. Then they can start working their way up the food chain, using the results of smaller cases as precedent.
How many Slashdot polls did you respond to last year?
The question is "How many Slashdot polls did you respond to last year?" - so the responder could answer "None" truthfully. IE In 2010 or the previous lunar year they responded to no polls. But in 2011 they've responded to at least one.
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