×

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!

Comments

top

Ubisoft Revokes Digital Keys For Games Purchased Via Unauthorised Retailers

schnell Re:grandmother reference (456 comments)

Entirely irrelevant. A healthy market will nevertheless push the sale cost towards the marginal cost of production. It will never reach it, but it will definitely approach it.

How does your math work?

  • Cost to produce the first copy of an A-list videogame: $60 million
  • Cost to distribute the second copy digitally: $.03

How do you see those two converging?

yesterday
top

Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

schnell Re:JJ has a chance, maybe (420 comments)

Maybe I'll give the Zahn novels another try. I mainly just remember finding the prose pretty stiff.

Nobody was going to nominate Timothy Zahn for the Nobel Prize in literature, you're right. But by and large his books (not just the Thrawn trilogy) made for entertaining stories that kept you turning pages and enjoying the experience. Even the Thrawn books had some lame plot elements (I personally believe that anytime you introduce clones into a novel or comic book you should go to Writer Jail for a mandatory 3 year sentence). But they were always fun to turn off your brain for a while and read. The same thing goes for most of the "Rogue Squadron" books.

Sadly, the rest of the Expanded Universe varied wildly from interesting and fun (Luke and his son's Force User Road Trip in "Fate of the Jedi") to dull (many of the earlier EU books) to depressing (most of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion which was just a way to induce PTSD in the next generation of Jedi) to full-on WTF (the Jedi council holding press conferences in "Fate of the Jedi" or the string of '90s book after book about zOMG somebody cloned the Emperor [again] or is rebuilding the Death Star [again].) There were some real gems in the EU but you have to pick through a lot of crap to get to them, and even then you won't get the full impact of some of the plot/character arc elements if you didn't wade through all the dreck that came before. So your time is probably best served avoiding all but a few of the most highly-reviewed ones.

5 days ago
top

Silicon Valley Security Experts Give 'Blackhat' a Thumbs-Up; Do You?

schnell Re:Completely believable! (98 comments)

a.k.a. "NEWS FLASH: Pasty Mountain Dew-Swilling Nerds Praise Film Where Handsome Badass Pretends To Do Their Job While Things Blow Up."

Hell, if they made a movie called "The Product Manager" and it was Chris Pine seducing inexplicably hot KPI project manager analysts, engaging in high-speed car chases with developers throwing ninja stars and screaming "put this in your requirements document!" and muttering catchphrases like "Oh, it will ship all right. But you can download it in HELL!" while he walks away from explosions, I'd say "yeah, that is exactly like my job."

about two weeks ago
top

Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

schnell Re:Civility shouldn't have borders (361 comments)

The adage "Nice guys finish last" proves itself much more often than not. Being civil = far less results.

The quote you cite comes from a paraphrase of former baseball manager Leo Durocher, and is intended to be understood in a sports context. Sports is a zero-sum game: somebody wins and somebody loses, and there are no points for character. The rest of life is not necessarily like that.

While "nice guys finish last" is often extrapolated (dubiously) to areas like dating, or is sometimes put in the mouth of realpolitik advocates like Niccolo Machiavelli or Henry Kissinger, it was never meant to be a general descriptor of how to get along in life. Some bosses - like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, or pre-mellowing Bill Gates were legendary assholes and still got great results out of their employees. There are other people who manage their employees with a gentler hand and play to their strengths, and get good results too. Your mileage may vary as to which is the best approach, but I certainly know which environment I would thrive in and which one would make me quit the first day.

Sometimes even if all you care about is the end result you may find that the end result would have been better if you had viewed the road getting there as being full of unique persons and not interchangeable tools. If you just aren't good at dealing with people, then fine, don't try to make yourself that type of leader/manager. But just remember that - to fight adage with adage - "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

about two weeks ago
top

Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

schnell Re:And? (448 comments)

If nobody wants the Knitting Channel, then KC will cut their prices to the cable company to ensure it's carried.

Umm, no, that's exactly the opposite of how it would work. The (hypothetical) Knitting Channel has a more or less fixed niche size of audience, and a more or less fixed set of costs to operate. TKC is de facto subsidized today by people paying for a more popular sibling network like The (hypothetical) Crocheting Channel.

If TKC weren't being subsidized by TCC, it would not get more subscribers by increasing its price - seriously, if you weren't going to pay $3/month for The Knitting Channel are you going to do it all the sudden because it's $1/month? What it would do without a subsidy is to raise its rates, hoping to meet its operating costs.

In this hypothetical version of today's model, people who like crocheting but not knitting are getting screwed by, in effect, paying for what they don't want. But the smaller group of people who like knitting are getting a channel that, without the subsidy, would probably cost 3x or 4x the subscription fee to survive. So in an unbundled world, expect the nichier things to get far more expensive or just go away. Broadly popular stuff (like TBS, USA, ESPN, whatever) would go down since it was no longer subsidizing the less popular stuff. In theory, anyway.

about three weeks ago
top

HOA Orders TARDIS Removed From In Front of Parrish Home

schnell Re:Conform or be expelled (320 comments)

Actually very few areas in the US have HOAs. It's just that they are the more rich, white areas, which are more desirable.

Not in my experience (for whatever that's worth). I was part of a HOA with the first home I ever bought, which was part of a very middle-class neighborhood of townhouses. The development was a mix of older middle class families and younger first-time home buyers or - increasingly - immigrants who were taking advantage of the mid-2000s real estate situation to buy homes. I received a number of asinine warnings from the HOA about stuff like "you need to repaint your gutters within 30 days or zOMG CONTRACTUAL HELL WILL RAIN DOWN," which was enough to make me hate HOAs forever. But the real ire of the HOA was reserved for the immigrant families.

And, at the risk of being very politically incorrect, what the HOAs were doing there was fighting behavior that had a potential impact on property values for the whole development. Townhouses with 5-8 cars parked outside around the clock, indicating huge over-occupancy; men hanging out all over the steps and front yard all day; loud parties late into the night, etc. Why? Potential racism aside, it was because the people in the neighborhood were not so well off that a decline in property values due to their neighbors' actions wouldn't have a big impact on them. Years later, when I moved into a much nicer/richer neighborhood, there was no HOA to be found - nor would the proudly wealthy and independent residents have stood for anyone telling them what to do with their property.

I am not condoning targeting any group for HOA persecution, and again I was very put off by my experience with a HOA. But I am saying that HOAs are not generally needed in neighborhoods that are so rich that anyone who would degrade the property value couldn't move in there anyway. HOAs will tend to be most prevalent in those areas which are "kinda white" and/or "kinda rich" where there is some worry that people who could move in there might disrupt the community or lower property values. In truly rich/white places, there is simply no need for that.

about three weeks ago
top

Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

schnell Re:What's the new hole? (463 comments)

I have a thriving little business upgrading people who are still on XP over to either XUbuntu or Mint.

Genuinely not trolling, but very curious: what do you say when small businesses say "where is my MS Office," "where is my QuickBooks," or "where is my Adobe [whatever]?"

Or is this business charging home users to convert their personal systems? Do any of them play commercial games and what do you advise them?

about three weeks ago
top

Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

schnell Re:Dupe (840 comments)

It's just that when your washing machine's motor fails after a year, or you need to replace your convection oven's fan seven times before it stops making a buzzing sound, you realize that it's about as much about cost-cutting as it is about efficiency and actual, material gains.

I don't see it that way - I think that Dr. George is missing out on the real difference in generations. It's not that there's a new generation that is mechanically unable or prevented by evil industrial designers from repairing old products. It's that there has been a fundamental shift in the equation of time and money for many younger (educated, employed) people in the first world.

One of the things I never considered when I was in high school/college but appreciated dearly as I got older was that absolutely every decision in one's leisure time (at any age) was a function of money vs. time. At all ages of life, you have by definition more than one of the other. When I was in high school and working at Burger King, I was more than happy to spend a whole Saturday afternoon disassembling and reassembling my third-hand SLR camera to get the advance lever working again rather than taking it to a camera shop. In my post-collegiate bachelor days I unquestioningly built new PCs from scratch rather than spending the $100 (or whatever it was) markup to buy an equivalent one from a white-box computer shop.

Today? I'm 40-ish with a well-paying but time consuming job, a wife (who also works at a well-paid full time job) and two young children to take care of. I own a lawnmower but would rather pay a neighbor kid to do it so I can use that equivalent precious time with my kids, or even (a rare treat) taking a nap. I could save a reasonable amount by changing my own oil and filters (screw you BMW and your requirement for ludicrously expensive synthetic oils) but I take it to an auto shop because I don't enjoy the process and I'd rather have that time back to do something else. Time is important to me these days, not so much money, and that informs all my decisions.

Long story short - leaving money aside, many people from older generations don't "get" the modern emphasis on - MBA joke coming here - "the money value of time." Someone who says "why on Earth do you need to read your e-mail after hours?" is probably going to have no understanding of why you wouldn't want to buy something new instead of taking the time to repair it. If you don't have the money to pay someone else, or even better actually like repairing things then regardless of generation you will take the time to do so, I'm sure. But if - for generational, money or whatever reason - you are accustomed to time being more important to you than money, why not pay a professional to repair something or buy a new one?

about three weeks ago
top

Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit For Shrinking Storage Space In iOS 8

schnell Re:MicroSD card? (325 comments)

I suspect the original question was rhetorical, but there are two simple answers to why Apple doesn't include SD card slots in their phones:

  • User experience: I don't know if they have changed this recently, but the last time I used an Android device with a SD card used for storage, it was a PITA. IIRC the SD card could only be used for documents or media, while the partition space usable by apps and the OS was still fixed to onboard. That was fairly useless, since most of what I wanted to use up space with was various huge (500 MB+, thanks Disney) apps to keep my kids entertained when I wasn't using the phone. Also I had to select a storage partition whenever downloading something, and the phone gave me no clue about what I could/should allocate where. All in all, the SD card seemed like a much cooler idea than it was in practice.
  • Teh moneys: Apple doesn't charge anyone for their software updates, either on iOS or (these days) OS X. They make their money on selling their hardware on which their proprietary software has been thoroughly tested and certified. Yes you pay a premium for the hardware, but the fact is that you aren't paying for the hardware (or at least you shouldn't be), you are paying for the software that runs on it and the fact that Apple has (in theory) rigorously QA'ed the whole thing. Either way, understand that Apple is going to gouge you on hardware a bit in exchange for the user experience, because that's what they do.

I should also note that the GGP said he/she "gave up on Apple in 1988." That's absolutely their right, but I don't think it gives them much credibility (which should be based on detailed time spent with the different options) for a comparative analysis of the value of Apple products in 2015. If I said "Lunix is the suxor because I tried Yggdrasil and XFCE couldn't make my sound card work," I don't think you would give me much credibility in the present day.

about a month ago
top

Comcast-TWC Merger Review On Hold

schnell Re:Google's acquisition of Android Inc. Q.E.D. (88 comments)

Partly right, partly wrong.

AT&T has publicly announced that it would like to abandon the old copper POTS network by 2020. And, yes, that means not upgrading something that they are trying to get rid of. The company's stated goal is to have fiber in the vast majority of areas by then to replace the copper, although I think at least in most cases the copper will still be the actual physical connection at your home or building's NID.

But the reason is almost certainly not to push cellular broadband on a wide scale. Cellular uses up a finite resource of very expensive wireless spectrum. It's much better to transport fixed phone and data over fiber, and save that spectrum and capacity for mobile users. The main reason to get rid of the all-copper (TDM) infrastructure I believe, is that if you are limited to DS-3 backhaul into an area, at best it only lets you sell phone or DSL service, whereas a fiber-driven infrastructure (all the way to the curb, or at least fiber to the neighborhood and copper for the very last leg of the trip) lets you sell cable TV services, high-speed Internet, etc. That's what FiOS and Uverse are.

From what I understand, the idea is only to push cellular broadband as a replacement for USF obligations where it is cost prohibitive to run fiber (think rural areas). That at least would make much more sense than trying to get everyone to go wireless when you have a perfectly good wireline connection to use.

about a month ago
top

Comcast's Lobbyists Hand Out VIP Cards To Skip the Customer Service Wait

schnell Re:Story is BS. Make it Right cards aren't that bi (131 comments)

Or, more to the point, why doesn't everyone get this level of service?

Not to defend Comcast here, because they do have shitty customer service generally. But the state of customer service is what it is because people generally aren't willing to pay for more. Better service = hiring more reps and/or building better customer service tools = more costs which will be passed on to the customer. Sure, they could be Good Guys and decide to spend more on customer care and not increase your bill to do it - but honestly what consumer services company out there ever does that?

You can get better customer service... you just have to pay for it. Try signing up for a business class service, and you'll see a world of difference. But, again, you have to be willing to pay for it. It's just like with airlines - everyone complains about the crappy seats and paying for soda. But you can get nice seats and free booze on the plane... but you have to pay for a first class ticket. The vast majority of us (myself included) say we want better service but we refuse to put our money where our mouths are and pay for it.

about a month ago
top

Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

schnell Re:Marketing? (239 comments)

We're talking about the company that put a rootkit on its music CDs.

I can't believe I'm defending these guys, but...

The rootkit fiasco was Sony BMG Entertainment, not Sony Pictures. Yes, they are both parts of Sony corporation but they are separate business units with separate reporting structures inside a megagiant international conglomerate. Blaming SPE for Sony BMG actions is like blaming the Department of Agriculture for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping because they are both part of the US government.

about a month ago
top

Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

schnell Re:Pulled Fox News ... (275 comments)

looks like someone is hurt

Who's hurt? I have no problem with Fox News per se and I have no problem with people who agree with Fox News. If that's what you like, that's fine, especially if you understand Fox News to be an editorial product. But it is clearly disingenuous at best when it claims to be "fair and balanced," and some people either trust Fox more than they should, or are not possessed of enough critical thinking skills to see if for what it is, which is bad for society.

fox news is number one in viewers and ratings for every 1 cnn hln etc viewer there is 100 to 10,000 watching fox news . if it was fud then other news networks would eat them alive

I think you are equating being "popular" with being "good," and that is a pretty serious mistake. I think it's also a mistake to recognize that it may well be popular entirely because it's FUD. Many, many people - conservative Fox viewers, liberal MSNBC viewers, whatever - want someone to pick all their news for them in advance so that they don't have to encounter any news in the world that doesn't agree with their beliefs. That's their right but I think we would be less of a toxically polarized society if we listened to more two-sided views, or at least acknowledged the biases that were driving us to want to only consume a politically slanted news message.

about a month ago
top

Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

schnell Re:Pulled Fox News ... (275 comments)

Do differing viewpoints upset you?

There is nothing wrong with Fox News as a source for people who go looking to hear the news from a particular viewpoint. The problem with Fox News is that they pretend - smirkingly because they're smart enough to know the truth - that they are "fair and balanced." And some (many, actually) people who are naive or intellectually uncurious actually believe this is an even-handed depiction of reality instead of an editorialized view. This leads these people to think that everything in the world that is wrong is due to muslims, liberals or Obama (who is both). And that in turn leads to extremism and fosters ever more deep and toxic political divides.

I have no problem at all with differing viewpoints. I only have a problem with those - and this includes "news" sources across the spectrum from the New York Post to Adbusters - that are willing to actively mislead the reader in order to advance their particular editorial slant and agenda. While it may be fun as entertainment for the knowing, it is deadly poison for the health of the community as a whole for those who really believe it. Think about someone who has a 100 IQ... and then realize that half the country is dumber than that.

about a month ago
top

Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

schnell Re:Antipodal eruptions (78 comments)

I'd be more inclined to believe we don't have our dating methods perfected quite yet.

Wait: you talking about archaeologists or slashdot members here?

Either you are a creationist who believes humans and non-Avian dinosaurs coexisted or don't know the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist.

No, see, he was making a joke. "Dating" is a homonym, it can mean the act of establishing how old a thing is or it can mean the act of romantic courtship. And he's making a joke about how people on Slashdot might not be good at interacting with (typical) females since they tend to be so literal and have a hard time doing things like interpreting social meaning or context or...

You know what? Fuck it, you're right. He's a creationist.

about a month ago
top

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

schnell Re:Boycott (589 comments)

I'm boycotting any theatre that isn't showing this movie

How? By not going to see the movie that they aren't showing? NOMAD ERROR ERROR ERROR EXAMINE

about a month and a half ago
top

Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

schnell Re:Thus, they fully admit (20 comments)

Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

What I don't understand is that this is supposed to be a patent cross-licensing deal between Google and Verizon, which has nothing to do with anyone else. Per the headline, does that mean that Google is a patent troll? Or is that Verizon? Or both?

I don't understand. Unless of course it's just terrible editing on Slashdot with a clickbait headline that is unrelated to the story at hand. That I would understand.

about a month and a half ago
top

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

schnell Re:Verizon admits it's a "weakness" (170 comments)

I doubt it will be very long before third parties apart from government figure out how to access their backdoor.

No, because the "backdoor" is getting a judge to sign a warrant for the police to wiretap you, and the police submitting that request to Verizon through official channels so that Verizon uses the keys that they have to decrypt the communication and give it to the police.

How is a third party going to use that?

about a month and a half ago
top

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

schnell Re:Depends... (170 comments)

An unconstitutional law is actually not a law at all.

What's unconstitutional about CALEA? It requires police to show probable cause and have a judge sign off on a request, just as if it were a warrant for arrest or any other search and seizure of personal records. Whether it does so in practice is a different question, but in theory the law itself is at least designed to be fully compatible with the Fourth Amendment.

NSA warrantless wiretapping? Almost certainly unconstitutional, by any reading other than Dick Cheney's. CALEA? Probably not so much.

And BTW an unconstitutional law is still a law. Not sure where you learned your legal theory. A law that's unconstitutional should in theory be overturned by the courts so that it's not a law anymore - that's how "checks and balances" work - but until such time, it is most definitely a law and entirely enforceable!

about a month and a half ago
top

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

schnell Re:Depends... (170 comments)

Nobody is being "backdoored" here except as required by law. The linked story summary is a troll for mentioning the NSA - it has nothing to do with them, but either the writer doesn't know what they're talking about or they just figured that would get more clicks.

Telecom providers are required to make sure that any voice service they sell is compliant with CALEA. There is no direct CALEA equivalent today for data services, interestingly - this is how far behind the times the Feds can be. And yes everything in LTE is data but for the purposes of the law, anything where you are talking - for example VoIP - is considered a voice service.

CALEA basically means that if you (the telecom) get a wiretap order - signed by a judge - from a law enforcement agency, you need to wiretap and record that user's calls for the specified time period, decrypt them if necessary, and then turn them over to the law enforcement agency. Verizon had to make this service CALEA compliant, or they couldn't have offered it. And remember that CALEA is not about mass wireless surveillance a la NSA but is actually about targeted recordings of specific individuals where there is probable cause enough to get a judge to sign off on the wiretap order. Very different things. You can dislike CALEA but you can't blame Verizon for putting in some magical backdoor - that has absolutely zero to do with the NSA - which they are required by law to have.

However for the privacy-minded it should be noted that the way things work, CALEA only applies to telecom providers. If you bought the same software from a non-telecom source (e.g. the software OEM themselves) and put it on your phone, then CALEA won't help law enforcement because Verizon wouldn't have the key to decrypt your calls with and could only turn over the encrypted stream. So if you are worried about being wiretapped by the police, don't buy your encryption service from your phone company.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

top

Unbundling cable TV: be careful what you wish for

schnell schnell writes  |  about three weeks ago

schnell (163007) writes "Consumers have long complained about the practice of "bundling" cable services and forcing customers to pay for channels they don't want — and an increasing number of "cord cutters" are voting with their wallets. But an article in the New York Times suggests that if cable companies are finally forced to unbundle their services it may actually result in higher prices and worse service. From the article: "there’s another, more subjective dimension in which the rise of unbundled cable service may make us worse off. It’s possible for a market to become more economically efficient while becoming less pleasant for consumers. For a prime example, head to your nearest airport.""
top

US CTO tries to wean the White House off floppy disks

schnell schnell writes  |  about three weeks ago

schnell (163007) writes "MIT grad and former Google exec Megan J. Smith is the third Chief Technical Officer of the United States and its first woman in the position created five years ago by President Obama. But, as a New York Times profile points out, while she fights to wean the White House off BlackBerries and floppy disks, and has introduced the President to key technical voices like Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf to weigh in on policy issues, her position is deliberately nebulous and lacking in real authority. The President's United States Digital Service initiative to improve technology government-wide is run by the Office of Management and Budget, and each cabinet department has its own CIO who mandates agency technical standards. So can a position with a direct line of access to the President but no real decision-making authority make a difference?"
top

Marissa Mayer's reinvention of Yahoo! stumbles

schnell schnell writes  |  about a month and a half ago

schnell (163007) writes "The New York Times Magazine has an in-depth profile of Marissa Mayer's time at the helm of Yahoo!, detailing her bold plans to reinvent the company and spark a Jobs-ian turnaround through building great new products. But some investors are saying that her product focus (to the point of micromanaging) hasn't generated results, and that the company should give up on trying to create the next iPod, merge with AOL to cut costs and focus on the unglamorous core business that it has. Is it time for Yahoo! to "grow up" and set its sights lower?"
top

How "big ideas" are actually hurting international development

schnell schnell writes  |  about 2 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "The New Yorker is running a fascinating article that analyzes the changing state of foreign development. Tech entrepreneurs and celebrities are increasingly realizing the inefficiencies of the old charitable NGO-based model of foreign aid, and shifting their support to "disruptive" new ideas that have been demonstrated in small experiments to deliver disproportionately beneficial results. But multiple studies now show that "game changing" ideas that prove revolutionary in limited studies fail to prove effective at scale, and are limited by a simple and disappointing fact: no matter how revolutionary your idea is, whether it works or not is wholly dependent on 1.) the local culture and circumstances, and 2.) who is implementing the program."
top

US Rust Belt Manufacturing Rebounds Via Fracking Boom

schnell schnell writes  |  about 5 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "A New York Times article reports that Midwestern "Rust Belt" towns and their manufacturing economies in particular have rebounded greatly due to the US resurgence in fossil fuel production, driven by production of shale gas and natural gas from "fracking" and other new technologies that recover previously unavailable fuel but are more invasive than traditional techniques. “Both Youngstown and Canton are places which experienced nothing but disinvestment for 40 years" ... “[now] they’re not ghost towns anymore," according to the article. But while many have decried the loss of traditional US manufacturing jobs in a globalized world and the associated loss of high-wage blue collar jobs, do the associated environmental risks of new "tight oil" extraction techniques outweigh the benefits to these depressed economic regions?"
top

When Beliefs and Facts Collide

schnell schnell writes  |  about 7 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "A New York Times article discusses a recent Yale study that shows that contrary to popular belief, increased scientific literacy does not correspond to increased belief in accepted scientific findings when it contradicts their religious or political views. The article notes that this is true across the political/religious spectrum and "factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines." So what is to be done? The article suggests that "we need to try to break the association between identity and factual beliefs on high-profile issues – for instance, by making clear that you can believe in human-induced climate change and still be a conservative Republican." But given the propensity of all humans towards cognitive bias and even magical thinking, should we just resign ourselves to the idea that democracies will never make their decisions based purely on science?"
top

The Fall and Rise of Larry Page

schnell schnell writes  |  about 9 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "Slate's has a long, detailed story about how Larry Page founded Google, how he struggled with its growth, and ultimately how he came back to reinvigorate it. The story recounts fascinating details about Page's relationship to Sergey Brin, the combative culture Page fostered in the company's early years, his resistance to having engineers managed by non-engineers, the company's struggle through its rapid growth, and how Page once even wanted to hire Steve Jobs as Google's CEO."
top

Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "The increasing prevalence of online news paywalls and "nag walls" (e.g. you can only read so many articles per month) has forced me to divide those websites into two categories: those that offer content that is unique or good enough to pay for vs. those that don't. Examples of the former for me included The Economist and Foreign Policy, while other previous favorite sites The New York Times and even my hometown Seattle Times have lost my online readership entirely. I also have a secret third category — sites that don't currently pay/nag wall, but I would pay for if I had to — Ars Technica and Long Form come to mind. What news/aggregation sites are other Slashdotters out there willing to pay for, and why? What sites that don't charge today would you pay for if you had to? Or, knowing this crowd, are the majority just opposed to paying for any web news content on principle?"
top

It Pays To Be Pretty

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "A new study from the University of Illinois in Chicago has quantified how being physically attractive is correlated with being rated as "intelligent" or "promising" and earning higher pay in the workplace, not just in adulthood but as far back as high school. It may not be as simple as rewarding people who are pretty to look at, as one of the study's authors noted that it may be more a result of "early successes and confidence boosters may create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the attractive high school students end up being more successful in adulthood." Being attractive is also associated with some risks, since "more attractive teens also were more likely to drink heavily and have more sexual partners.""
top

Stuxnet's "Secret Twin" Was Even More Damaging and Better Hidden

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Cyberdefense analyst Ralph Langner reports the results of a lengthy investigation into Stuxnet in Foreign Affairs, revealing that the Stuxnet we know was only the later and more obvious part of a sophisticated cyber attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Two years before the release of the better-known Stuxnet variant, an original version was launched with a more subtle and stealthy mission — wearing down centrifuges gradually through improper overuse. While it couldn't spread itself as easily as the later Stuxnet, it was deliberately designed to degrade centrifuges slowly and remain invisible. The author also speculates that the discovery of the later Stuxnet version was actually beneficial to the US, since if another country was outed first as having engaged in cyberwarfare, it would seem a "Pearl Harbor" that made the US look weak in terms of its cyberwar capabilities."
top

How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Your age probably determines whether you think of Blockbuster Video as a fond memory or a dinosaur predestined for extinction. While the last Blockbuster rental at the last remaining Blockbuster video store took place last week, Variety retells a now-classic story of how Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for a song, but didn't because it failed to take the new DVD-by-mail and video streaming markets seriously. Who is next to join Blockbuster, Polaroid, Borders and Best Buy on the ash heap of superseded retail business models?"
top

How BlackBerry Blew It

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "The Globe and Mail is running a fascinating in-depth report on how BlackBerry went from the world leader in smartphones to a company on the brink of collapse. It paints a picture of a company with deep engineering talent but hamstrung by arrogance, indecision, slowness to embrace change, and a lack of internal accountability. From the story: "'The problem wasn’t that we stopped listening to customers,' said one former RIM insider. 'We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did.'""
top

The Techie General Who Made the NSA What It Is Today

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Foreign Policy magazine is running a fascinating portrait of Gen. Keith Alexander, the "techie general" who leads both the NSA and US Cyber Command. It paints a picture of a leader with both a career-long background of SIGINT engineering skills and exceptional political savvy, expanding the NSA's scope to fulfill his "big data" vision and its ability to map far-flung connections into a picture of intelligent threat analysis. While some of the anonymous intelligence officials quoted in the story call into question the results of Alexander's big data approach (including impressive-looking "contact maps" for suspected terrorists that included unrelated points like pizza shops), Alexander's techie vision for the NSA has transformed its mission into one of potentially much greater usefulness ... but also one with the potential for much greater abuse."
top

"Into Darkness" Really the Worst "Star Trek" Movie Ever?

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Despite maintaining an 87% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Star Trek faithful at a recent convention have spoken and rated "Star Trek Into Darkness" the worst movie in the franchise. So bad, in fact, that it came in 13th in a list of 12 Star Trek films — the extra slot coming because 1999's brilliant Galaxy Quest was considered in the voting. But was the movie really that bad? Simon Pegg thinks not and has a f-bomb to share with its critics, but how about you?"
top

Snowden Masqueraded As Top Officials To Mine NSA's Deepest Secrets

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "As government investigators continue to try to figure out just how much data whistleblower Edward Snowden had access to, MSNBC is reporting that Snowden used his sysadmin privileges to assume the user profiles of top NSA officials in order to gain access to the most sensitive files. His sysadmin privileges also enabled him to do something other NSA users can't — download classified files from NSAnet onto a thumb drive. “Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. “This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”"
top

Area 51 No Longer (Officially) a Secret

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year and a half ago

schnell (163007) writes "The first-ever declassified story of Area 51's origin is now available, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act filed years ago by George Washington University's National Security Archive. The (only lightly redacted) document is actually primarily a history of the U-2 and A-12 ("Oxcart") spy plane programs from the Cold War, but is remarkable for being the first-ever official unclassified acknowledgement of the Area 51's purpose and its role in the program. Interesting tidbits include that the U-2 program was kicked off with a CIA check mailed personally to Lockheed Skunk Works chief Kelly Johnson for $1.25M; a U-2 was launched off an aircraft carrier to spy on French nuclear tests; and the U-2 delivery program itself was actually done under budget, a rarity for secret government programs then or now."
top

The paradox of Julian Assange and Wikileaks

schnell schnell writes  |  about 2 years ago

schnell writes "The New Statesman is publishing a new in-depth article that examines in detail the seemingly paradoxical nature of Wikileaks' brave mission of public transparency with the private opaqueness of Julian Assange's leadership. On one hand, Wikileaks created "a transparency mechanism to hold governments and corporations to account" when nobody else could or would. On the other hand, Wikileaks itself was "guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion." If Wikileaks performs a public service exposing the secrets of others but censors its own secrets, does it really matter? Or are the ethics of the organization and its leader inseparable?"
top

WW2 carrier pigeon's code may never be broken

schnell schnell writes  |  more than 2 years ago

schnell writes "Earlier this month, a man cleaning out his fireplace in Surrey, England, found a 70-year-old carrier pigeon skeleton with a coded message strapped to its leg. Pigeons were widely used by the Allies in WW2 to carry messages between Britain and the continent, but since the message is short (27 five-character groups) and because the cipher books used at the time should all have been destroyed, it's unlikely modern cryptographers will ever be able to unravel its sender, intended recipient or message contents. “Without access to the relevant code books and details of any additional encryption used, it will remain impossible to decrypt,” a [GCHQ] spokesman said... might this become another 21st century challenge for amateur cryptographers like the Beale ciphers?"
Link to Original Source
top

Are socially shared photos free?

schnell schnell writes  |  more than 3 years ago

schnell writes "Stefanie Gordon took a now-famous photo of Space Shuttle Endeavour out the window of her airplane seat and tweeted it to friends. By the time she was leaving the airport, she was barraged with media requests. The photo has been viewed nearly one million times on hundreds of websites, but Stephanie was paid for the photo by only five news organizations. Stephanie doesn't feel slighted, but a professional news photographer would have been paid many times what Stephanie received. In today's climate, are amateur photos shared on Twitter or Facebook basically free for all websites to use? Is re-tweeting or re-sharing automatically fair use?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

schnell has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?