Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Reverse Engineering the Nike+ FuelBand's Communications Protocol

nimbius screw fitness bands. (39 comments)

from a social standpoint these devices are near and helpful. From a FOSS standpoint these devices are intrusive and treat their users like cattle. Check out Fitbit for example, the largest provider of digital harvesting/tracking hardware. the privacy policy insists they sell de-identified data (because metadata is a dirty word these days) to third parties. So if you're wondering why health insurance companies are pushing biometric competitions at the workplace using subsidized devices its because your health is not their primary concern. Determining an accurate insurance rate for a component of workers that are at heightened risk for diabetes, heart attack, and alzheimers is what they care about. Your corporation in turn cares about your health, and might reward you with water bottles or gift cards to sporting goods stores that, in turn, might turn into a newer fitbit/fuel.

the protocol used to affect data and function of the device is trivial, Galileo and libfitbit hacked this a few years ago. The real problem is your biometric data which is transferred across the device in an AES/md5 header encrypted blob. This violates countless freedoms of the application, starting with 0. The key to decrypt this data doesnt exist for you, and hence you're tethered to a website and a product that if it were ever usurped by say, fitness applications on your phone, would go bankrupt, shutter its doors, and leave you with a nice chunk of plastic that showed numbers and belched motivational platitudes. the real work in these devices should be decrypting the collected data without the use of the companies respective servers and web resources.

1 hour ago

Safety Review Finds Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Was Technically Sound

nimbius the problem with how nuclear works in the USA (88 comments)

Unlike many foreign countries including china and india, the US has no civil reprocessing plant for its nuclear waste. Our literal approach to high level nuclear waste is to entomb it in some sort of living grave in the desert and hope for the best; its irresponsible but creates a handful of jobs in Nevada. It also takes pressure off nuclear power companies to invest in reclamation and reprocessing technologies and frees them to simply consume fresh nuclear fissile materials without concern for their total lifespan. The management and operating contractor as of April 1, 2009 for the project is USA Repository Services, a consortium of government contractors, URS Corporation, Shaw Corporation and Areva Federal Services LLC. Yucca mountain was nothing but pork, lemon socialism for a handful of government contractors and the effort could be put to better, more sustainable projects.

The NRC report is correct! this project was technically feasible. But ethically and morally irresponsible in the 21st century where the vast majority of nuclear generating facilities, including those in russia, operate on a reprocessing model that ensures high-level waste is kept to a minimum. When the Kremlin decided to decomission the Russian navy's 4 story tall akula class submarine, its reactor cores were recycled and its coolant filtered for fissile material. What the state of nuclear power in America means is that if and when we decomission our cold-war fleets, the reactor materials will spend thousands of years idly decaying in some cave in the desert, hoping the next government shutdown doesnt affect them. And if that doesnt concern you then it should be noted in america we import 100% of our nuclear materials from Canada, Khazakstan, or in the past converted russian nuclear munitions as part of a bilateral disarmament treaty. our nuclear infrastructure is not energy independent by any means.

2 hours ago

Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

nimbius As an American, rather recently i believe. (422 comments)

Somewhere between de-regulating telecomms, declaring corporations are people, and that whole economic collapse that nearly destroyed the country. Its on our list of things to fix though, right after crippling wealth inequality, stagnant wages, cops that can beat and kill indiscriminately, figuring out how the NSA turned into the KGB, and fixing our crumbling highway system. Assuming we dont shut the government down for the third time I think we might be able to get to 100 megabit in the next century...assuming global warming is still a hoax. That is still a hoax in Europe too, right?


Mozilla Dusts Off Old Servers, Lights Up Tor Relays

nimbius Can we please get the fuck off TOR (73 comments)

TOR has never been more than an interesting proof of concept. it took a little while for the spooks to catch on, but these days theyre so good at poisoning exit nodes and injecting malicious content that TOR is less of an anonymous network and more of a cautionary tale.

You should be using I2P https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
and while we're on the subject, Mozilla has gotten too chummy with advertisers for me to be comfortable with anymore. They started out on a mission to protect the internet, and now they have video chat, targeted advertising tabs, and a fat paycheck from google every month. Firefox is fast turning into the realplayer of the 21st century. What we should be doing instead of looking for corporations to help us is working to Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora.


FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

nimbius the practical result of this. (392 comments)

This definition change doesnt affect customers really. Although tripling the number of american households without broadband is a convenient means of shaming the administration into pushing for common carrier status, as before this definitional change people like comcast were in fact allowed to call damned near anything they sold broadband and insist it was competitive enough. Administrative definitions of broadband may even hold water in court. For example if my bill continues to state im being charged for broadband at 11 megabit, i can likely sue for false advertising. chances are good though, as other slashdotters have noted, that assholes like time warner and comcast will just amend their 2015 marketing material with a disclaimer that not all speeds are broadband.

The real pisser is in the network. Cable companies have zero incentive to compete even if the common carrier law is passed. Theyve already hung enough cable to render land lines, which could be used like a local DSL hub from fibre to the doorstep, rotted and useless in most buildings. What they can do however is push for local legislation to criminalize using their already well funded and maintained copper for things like Google Fibre.


Nobel Laureate and Laser Inventor Charles Townes Passes

nimbius clarification on passing. (73 comments)

For those of you not familiar with his work, Charles Townes likely passed through the gain medium repeatedly before emitted from the output aperture or lost to diffraction or absorption.

2 days ago

Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

nimbius this is a mountain out of a mole hill. (367 comments)

Whats being attacked is the unix ethos: do one thing and do it well. Capturing the key sequence to lock and faking the screen, while it may be easier in KDE alongside Systemd, is not easy in fluxbox or awesome. Its the explicit lack of widgets or sprockets or mindless dreck like this, and predefined key sequences that are captured by the window manager first. I use i3lock, which would mean attackers would have to find a way to get into /usr/bin to usurp my locker and at that point i have a far greater degree of concern than just the locker. X Forwarding and shared X in general has always been a security concern. ssh-agent should be avoided and if you have work to do on the server, do it in a tty over ssh. And this is the schism: newschool linux wants a sexy user experience that pops out of the box and is unified. They want the user to obey the vision of their design and use user switching, connection sharing, and fancy clock widgets and X just cant be (nor should it) Microsoft Windows. Old fogeys like myself will deck the halls of localhost when and if we want to. And it will always be on our terms, right down to color, shape, and font. Security will be our concern.

2 days ago

Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

nimbius Why would you do that??! (226 comments)

Muhammad: Oh come on guys seriously?!? I've got this awesome post about peace and fairness and its totally legit theres even a sunrise picture i found that goes--
Facebook: Sorry. cant let you post that.
Muhammad: What about my timeline? the farmville stuff? I have a pizza review fr--
Facebook: look buddy its in the TOS. if you wanted to post content you shouldnt have been Muhammad.
Muhammad: So is this just me? or is it every cab driver in Queens? or what?
Facebook: Just for Istanbul's sake
Muhammad: Jesus christ i posted ONE bad review because my falafel was soggy and now i cant post?!!

2 days ago

Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

nimbius you dont kick the cash cow. (226 comments)

If you want freedom of speech, go join Diaspora. Facebook wants a few things by censoring the prophet.

1. Happy cattle. dont upset them with things they universally find objectionable. MAke them comfortable and confident to give information to your service.
2. an office that isnt shredded by nails and ball bearings every other year, or riddled with old soviet lead. Hebdo for example had no problem with this because ideas are bullet proof. Businesses are in fact, much like people, very averse to small arms fire.

2 days ago

Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

nimbius im sure the business strategy was solid. (77 comments)

general public: you are by far the worst internet service provider on the planet. There are detainees being tortured in guantanamo right now with better internet access than us.
Comcast: It is comcastic. it bundles its service. it does this whenever its told.
FCC: seriously guys we have quantifiable data that shows people prefer packet radio and tin cans to you. Also its pretty obvious we're going to pass some common carrier regulation
Comcast: Is it because we aren't comcastic enough? Here, We'll merge with Time Warner and then you can experience the best service. also bundle it.
FTC: guise, this is the opposite of a solution. you would literally own half the US internet. No dice.
Comcast: How about we do you....a favour....Minnesota, just this once because we're buds like that
Minnesota: What? we--
Comcast: ssshhhhhhhhh its comcastic.....its comcastic.....
Minnesota:...right. uh, any chance you could pay the franchise fee you've been ignoring?
FTC Jesus Comcast....

2 days ago

Security-Focused BlackPhone Was Vulnerable To Simple Text Message Bug

nimbius pretty much expected. (46 comments)

Blackphone arguably isnt interested in real security at all, just theatre. Their phone is Android, but their entire range of security applications (the part that keeps you safe) is proprietary, closed source, and subscription based. Blackphone exists for the paranoid executive banging the mistress, the paranoid trophy wife banging the pool boy, and the paranoid celebrity with a panic room.
Check out https://prism-break.org/ for real security. The open source community has worked hard for decades to help keep you safe and secure. Sometimes we dont have the sexiest branding, but for that tradeoff you get more than a promise. you get the source.

2 days ago

New Google Fiber Cities Announced

nimbius What this means for the targeted cities (147 comments)

Atlanta: that mix tape no one wants at the park can now be uploaded faster than ever to soundcloud, where people will now have the ability to tell everyone else they dont want it.
Charlotte: You'll enjoy vastly improved connectivity when alerting the public of the news that Obama is a kenyan muslim socialist dictator funding fema camp anchor baby death squads in mexico to gay marry your medicare
Nashville: those 32,768 church videos you swore the holy ghost compelled you to upload to YouTube are now ready to go. Dont forget to include footage of the local abortion clinic, and a rambling "vlog" about incandescent lightbulbs, gay marriage, and the conspiracy of the one world government installing video cameras in the walmart.
Raleigh-Durham: Internet at home will now be like internet at work...so...one less reason to ever leave the city to experience smoked pork products, country music, and whatever the hell a boiled peanut is.

Los Angeles: As for us, back to the shootings, lootings, homeless, traffic, pollution and OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE GIVE US FIBER GOOGLE

2 days ago

Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

nimbius not sure where we're going though (90 comments)

Germans are almost five times more likely to use transit at least weekly according to a NatGeo study. 71% of us commute by foot on a regular basis and the rail system is one of the timeliest and most advanced in europe. Our buses? triple articulation is common, bright panoramic windows mandatory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

We're known for the autobahn, which is in my opinion a relic from the weimar republic and doesnt serve well in the 21st century. 1 gallon (roughly four litres) in germany also doesnt come cheap. at $6 a gallon im certainly not interested.

After work when im in the car, can I have a Monchshof Kellerbier? of course not. Can I relax and eat a snack? probably not. Selling America on autonymous cars seems like a no brainer; you drive everywhere there. Unless you're a lorry operator or taxi, its hard to justify Fahrschule and its cost in Germany. I'll keep my Sparpreis and my Bahn pass for now.

3 days ago

Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

nimbius but its worth remembering (376 comments)

the start menu still contains a mini start screen. George Lucas pulled this shit in the prequels by wedging jar jar binks into the last one, and you know what it has in common? Lucas and Microsoft are doing it as a big "Fuck You" to their respective audiences for refusing to accept what everyone but the author knew sucked. Saying "continuum is the future" is a strange way of saying, "Listening to your fucking customers is a novel approach microsoft is begrudgingly accepting piecemeal after a blinding 2 years of profit loss"

3 days ago

Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

nimbius im sure the academic notes are riveting. (155 comments)

"Lab journal: Is frank doing this on purpose? our new UC Irvine lab PhD is a fan of eggs. Eggs for brekky, eggs for lunch and tea, eggs at dinner...eggs. Normally im not one to complain about a fellow academics choice of meal but the flatulence is unbearable (worse than the 2002 methane leak and that says a lot.) After confronting him i got the usual, condescending american 'he who smelt it delt it huh buddy?' Yah, Nah. From now on im on a mission. I will un-boil his god damn eggs if its the last thing I ever do."

4 days ago

Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

nimbius Omand fails to understand the ends of crypto (392 comments)

encryption, strong encryption particularly, is employed explicitly to deter and invalidate government transgression against ones property and person without serious legal recourse. If the existence of strong encryption, that is encryption you cannot defeat, becomes a factor in determining the application of a warrant then the glove is off. The state no longer cares who is guilty or innocent, as speech itself in the course of the first amendment has been deemed suspect in all cases. The FISA courts could be used, certainly, but even through the means of FISA an unacceptable precedent of false positives could call into question the very means by which Omand threatens to "up the ante." In short, it could be the clean death of FISA many seek to achieve.

Either way Omand, your threat to us is empty handed. What would you seek to achieve with this unfettered access to our privacy? your agency failed to protect us against the boston marathon bombings, The aurora shooting, and countless other domestic acts that would qualify by any other definition as terrorism. Besides, terrorists know an empty threat on twitter is just as effective in disrupting american freedom and grounding planes. They know that intractable war without end is a brutal tool to re-enforce their ideology and their objectives, and they know we're always ready to send another batch of soldiers into the meat grinder if it means validating our 50 year old broken foreign policy.

so no, i think i stand with every slashdotter (and intelligent person generally) when I say long live the 4096 bit hash, and praise be to the elliptic curve. may the multi-factor crush your blind and arrogant crusade.

4 days ago

Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport

nimbius its worth remembering that terrorism is effective. (110 comments)

Terrorism in its general form is designed to undermine the state through fear. Its designed to paralyze, and restrict an otherwise free society through random small, infrequent acts of highly publicized violence and mayhem. It works because it exploits guerrilla tactics, something which no government can ever formally protect anyone against.

the solution to the US terror problem seems simple. stop treating third world countries like they're children. quit overthrowing elected leaders and installing dictators, stop propping up nation states with a history of violence, and start treating the people who live in these regions as more than "hearts and minds" that you have to "win." Understand and respect cultural differences, drop the 'world-police' shit and start realizing that just because you've moved on from $x war does not in fact mean the people living in that nation have forgiven or forgotten what you did. And if theyre living under one of your dismissive regimes, theyre likely to form their own regional extremist government predicated on the polar opposite of what they endured. For bonus points, knock off the axis of evil shit.

5 days ago

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

nimbius i doubt MS is abandoning the surface (158 comments)

Calls from slashdotters that redmond is abandoning surface might hold water. Zune was discontinued after 5 years of dismal sales, and with redmonds new "turning the corner" mentality its possible this is going to be accellerated. This is in fact the tablet that cost Microsoft 900 million in earnings in 3 years; its nothing trivial. It could be the new leadership just isnt interested in blowing a full 5-7 years of xbox revenue on propping up and enhancing something that users just dont care for much. Or perhaps microsoft is just spread too thin. between a failing line of operating systems, a phone no one seems to want, a cloud offering thats nothing short of inferior and overpriced, and a business world that refuses to upgrade from windows 7 Id say its a pretty safe bet the purse strings are tight. Combine this with Gaben's steam machines, OS, and broad support for an approachable commodity linux and its hard to really see where microsoft makes money until you look at where they really shine: the office. Their chat, email, and office applications are absolutely lightyears ahead of any other commercial offering. even Google still uses it despite having developed a large office competitor.

about a week ago

Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

nimbius lets not jump to any hasty conclusions. (180 comments)

I mean, I work in tech support and im sure ive added comments to at least two or three tickets about how "everyone knows too much" Or maybe he was a wikipedia moderator?

about a week ago

Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

nimbius its nothing new really. (818 comments)

I used to work for a large auto company from Japan, and at the end of the day most of what makes a car or truck is snake oil, but if we quit doing it people stop buying it. We might intentionally introduce inefficiencies in the exhaust to increase that "rally car" sound. Bucket seats and offset head rests trick you into folding your legs and rolling your shoulders in, making the car seem more spacious. Truck tricks include obese front grills despite the engine being efficient enough not to warrant them. And those big bulgy hoods? nowhere near the engine size. To make up for it, and make you feel like our technology is more advanced, we put plastic guards and bezels on top of the engine. It makes the engine look larger for someone who doesnt know what an engine looks like outside of a car or truck, and that sells.

an we never stopped there. to make up for the gearing required to get that 40mpg, we might program the computer to hold a lower gear longer or shorter to make the car seem "peppier" than it really is. simple things like a vertical indicator on the speedometer can help people associate the product they own with the racecar version they saw in the movie. Making that connection is critical, especially in trucks. Most of our trucks cost upwards of 30 grand, something blue collar could never afford. but if we associate it with blue collar, add splash guards and lift, and run a few ads? instant joe six pack. Actual blue collar construction workers drive, in most cases, an old mid nineties hatchback or 4 door sedan. They have kids to feed.

So grow up. no, your new 4 cylinder mustang wont roar like a bored out foxbody with glass packs, but you know what? it also gets 36 mpg and doesnt require 93 octane. It doesnt spew benzene and MTBE from the tailpipe because we gave it a catalytic converter. and it wont roll over and kill your kids because we added stability control, and govenment mandated roofing that can hold the weight of our car.

about a week ago



Fedora 13 released

nimbius nimbius writes  |  more than 4 years ago

nimbius (983462) writes "Fedora 13 was released today, and contains many new features including a command line interface for networkmanager, experimental 3d in the Nouveau driver for Nvidia, Rhythmbox iPod Touch and iPhone music management and experimental support for Btrfs."
Link to Original Source


nimbius has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?