Beta
×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Comments

top

Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

steelfood Re:But what about bob (91 comments)

Baby steps, Bob, baby steps.

yesterday
top

Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

steelfood Re:If you believe this (125 comments)

I know everybody talks about encryption, but the word itself is just the tip of security. What's the key size? What's the algorithm? What data is encrpyted? Is it even relevant to talk about local encryption with respect to metadata (which is just as if not more useful to the NSA than the actual data). What about backups? Is it a snapshot of the encrypted contents each time? Or does the backup use a different encryption key, and the data transferred securely? There are so many layers to security (including the user), the "encryption" buzzword is meaningless without full context.

My guess is, Google's not encrypting anything they're really interested in. They're probably not nearly as interested in your pictures or your contact list as say, Facebook. That's data they may currently collect, but ultimately throw away. They're probably more interested in the websites you go to, the links you used followed to get there, the links you followed from that site, the people you actually contact (text, chat, etc.), the geographical location of that person as well as your location, the date and times of your conversations, the contents of your conversations, etc. Local encryption does not apply to any of that data.

In fact, local encryption doesn't even matter much with regards to securing your phone's data. Your phone is probably leaking the encrypted data through one if not more applications. Facebook, Candy Crush, Twitter, etc. largely negate the effects of local encryption. The only thing it will do is keep your private information out of the hands of someone who picked up your lost phone and decided to keep it (or sell it).

yesterday
top

Obama Presses Leaders To Speed Ebola Response

steelfood Re:Worse than it seems. (221 comments)

short of it going airborne which ... is extremely unlikely. And if it were already airborne, we'd all already have it.

To start, let's ignore the first part of your statement and focus on the second part. If the disease is airborne, we're looking at an immediate 60-75% reduction in the world's population within 3-6 months. It'd be very, very bad. This is where all the fearmongering is coming from.

Now, let's look at the first part. As far as we know, the virus has not evolved significantly since its first discovery in the 70's. The virus has also been observed to mutate fairly slowly. This is good news. In addition, there are several major hurdles for the virus to overcome in order to become airborne. This is very good news. These two things put together means that the chances of the second part of your statement happening are very, very low.

But really, we need more data. There are too many unknowns right now. We can't tell if the incubation period is trending upwards, or if the mortality rate is trending downards. We don't know if the infection vectors right now have changed in any meaningful way. We suspect not, and there are very good reasons for this. But quite frankly, if they have, then we're a step closer to getting into trouble.

Quite frankly, sending troops to Africa would be useless. Sending doctors might would be of limited use as well, giving sanitary conditions and the way many people treat doctors trying to stem the outbreak. But researchers and scientists, those may be beneficial in more ways than one. Have them go into every village, town, or other isolated population (e.g. each building in a large city) and get bloodwork from everyone. And if anyone in that population is infected, have the local military quarrantine the whole population. And then send the positive blood work back for analysis.

It's a bit cruel (the researchers would be letting entire villages get infected), but given the state of mistrust between the common people and officials trying to manage this outbreak, that'd probably happen anyway. This way, at least clean villages and population centers would likely remain clean. And we'd get some much-needed information on the virus that could be used either to combat the fearmongering, or prepare for civilization meltdown.

Actually, there are several treatments in various trial stages that seem to be effective. So even if the outbreak spreads significantly to the point where much of the world outside of western Africa becomes afflicted, there's a good chance we'd be ready to fight it. Chances are, we'd be looking at a week or two of lost productivity world wide, rather than a genetic bottleneck event.

2 days ago
top

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

steelfood Re:Why math? (949 comments)

Basically, they compiled and disseminated all of this knowledge from all over the civilized world to the rest of the civilized world, and then when they finally had it all, they got cold feet and threw it all away.

2 days ago
top

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

steelfood Re:Texas must be pissed... (949 comments)

They violated the copyrights of the Texas curriculum plans and implemented them.

FTFY.

Somehow, it sounds dirtier.

2 days ago
top

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

steelfood Re:Of course they do (949 comments)

Because engineers think in black and white. Right and wrong. Success and failure. There is no middle ground. The engineering discipline itself is about absolutes, and absolute thinking is the precursor to radical thinking.

2 days ago
top

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

steelfood Re:Is that a serious question? (949 comments)

Uh, for now this is true. In 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? 100 years? There's a huge anti-scientific movement, anti-education, anti-knowledge movement out there. Is it growing? I'm not sure. But it's there, and it's taken over quite a few prominent education systems.

These things happen on generational timescales. individual people don't get (significantly) stupider if the rest of society around them becomes dumber. But their kids might. And their grandkids definitely.

If you want to prevent this eventual outcome, you need to act now. It kinda like global warming. Sure nothing might is happenig right now, but the science says otherwise for 50, 100 years down the line. Now, the science could be wrong, but are you really willing to take that risk and do nothing?

2 days ago
top

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

steelfood Re:they will defeat themselves (949 comments)

Pretty much it. We want the radicals in power because we want a subjugated people whom we can take advantage of in extracting their natural resources for as cheap as possible, and at the same time, have a leader who we can threaten to remove at any time with the public's full support.

If those Mid East countries had moderate leaders with strong populaces, they might start getting their own ideas. And if they get too smart, they'd end up in control of their own destines. And that's a bad thing for us.

2 days ago
top

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

steelfood Re:they will defeat themselves (949 comments)

Couple hundred? Think six to ten thousand years. Basic arithmetic has been around for at least that long. Basic science too has been around for that long, albeit it was surrounded by the dogma of the times.

2 days ago
top

How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

steelfood Re:...the best photographers were older people... (97 comments)

Oh, I completely forgot my other point besides experience. To even begin to get that kind of experience, you need something that only older (20+) people have: money.

Unless your parent's have the equipment already (or the money to buy it), you as a teenager probably won't even know a number called the F-stop exists. Hell, I wonder if most teenagers who're snapping away on their phones know what ISO sensitivity is.

2 days ago
top

How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

steelfood Re:...the best photographers were older people... (97 comments)

Heh, yeah, photographers can get more experience in digital format, but your average smartphone of your average person is still not going to cut it.

You don't need a DSLR anymore, but you do need some decent lenses (the more the better) and manual controls. And then, you can start accumulating experience. Until I can pop a 8mm fisheye or 300mm telephoto or 25mm F1.2 onto a phone, point and click it still isn't.

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

steelfood Re:You guys are always entertaining! (391 comments)

It's good to be able to have both perspectives, but that's with respect to being a person. With respect to finding a job, without a grasp of even the basics like math, you're going to have a lot of trouble finding (or keeping) employment. The critical thinking skills that go into solving math problems are very similar to the ones that go into solving real world problems.

A lot of people go into "liberal arts" as an out because they're weak in math. To think that they'll come out with a decent chance of getting a job is delusional at best. The real egregious degree is the undergraduate business degree (which falls under liberal arts in most places). It's a total scam. Even the (non-executive) MBA is something of a scam, but at least it can be worthwhile as a networking and resume padding tool. Soft sciences are next up, but its uselessness can be negated with sufficient technical experience (e.g. statistics) as a part of the coursework.

Now, as for very special jobs like social workers and that ilk, even though employers may prefer people with a degree, you don't really need any degree for those, just a heart. Until you want to start moving up the ladder that is, in which case you'll probably need a masters.

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

steelfood Re:Um (391 comments)

Sorry, some of us are not really interested in the menial job that nobody really likes to do and really isn't paid well to do anyway. Besides which, a good chunk of those jobs are going offshore, and the loudest people railing against "offshoring" are those same people.

Skilled labor, on the other hand, cannot be offshored quite so easily, and a lot of companies are very quickly coming to this realization. The ones who aren't are going to be dead soon.

So no, I'm still in disagreement here. If you have a liberal arts degree and no technical background or aptitude (at least math, please, be good at that much at least), then even if you do get a job, you're not going to be very happy at it, or very well paid. If you have a technical degree, or even a liberal arts degree but a strong technical background, you're far more likely to get a well-paid, decent job that you'll enjoy. And if that doesn't happen, you can always apply for the crappy menial job too, because you'll be a ton better at it than all the other candidates.

BTW, engineering is not the only technical discipline out there. There's also science and maintenance. Each one requires a different personality and perspective, despite being technical in nature.

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

steelfood Re:Ya, but... (391 comments)

I question the very premise itself.

Only a few liberal arts degrees require critical thinking skills and even then, it's up to the individual to cultivate that over the course of study. It's easy to BS through even a graduate liberal arts class. Hell, the whole point of liberal arts study is to make something up, and then defend it afterwards.

You can't BS through STEM (though medical researchers seem to do that quite a bit).

Ergo:

... tech CEOs want employees with liberal arts degrees, because those graduates have superior BS skills.

FTFY.

3 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

steelfood Re:Wow (267 comments)

I'll post this in a different post

Why? Is the margin of your post too small to fit it?

4 days ago
top

Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

steelfood Re:Lucky them (156 comments)

Actually, when people say googling, they really do mean "look it up using Google." They don't mean "look it up using DuckDuckGo" or "look it up using Yelp" or "look it up using Ask.com" or "look it up using Wolfram Alpha."

When Google no longer dominates generic web search (as opposed to specialized internet search like Yelp) and there are other comparable players, only then would there be a case for genericization. Until then, when you say googling, people think search using Google. That's actually fairly specific (unusually so even) in terms of word meaning.

4 days ago
top

Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

steelfood Re:Ads (327 comments)

To be fair, EA did fairly well with their sequels up until the past 2-3 years. Even The Sims 4 isn't horrible, though some say it's a step backwards from The Sims 3.

Funny thing, all this really started to happen these past 2-3 years. Prior to that, the majority of sequels were an improvement.

4 days ago
top

Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

steelfood Re:The big question is 'why' ? (327 comments)

That's a foolish waste of $2.5B. At least with Nokia, Microsoft weakened them significantly before outright buying them out. With Nokia, the hardware development was what's valuable. That's why they're getting rid of the brand, and why Elop switched to Windows Phone so easily.

With Minecraft, the brand itself is the only real valuable thing. The code itself isn't worth terribly much, considering it wasn't too well-written, and the game itself is not hard to clone (Minecraft itself is a clone of a game). The few Minecraft-only mobs (creeper, enderman, etc.) are really the only bits of the game worth money, and even then, the mobs are much more valuable as brands than as code.

The ecosystem (mods, modpacks, texture packs, etc.) taken as a whole is worth a ton more. But Microsoft doesn't have a very good track record of managing their communities, so I imagine they'll eventually squander that. Hell, I'm pretty certain most mod devs are already thinking of where to move their stuff next.

Throwing devs at the mod API and getting it out the door (after what, 3 years?) might help with the exodus, but that'd be a stopgap measure. People probably won't leave limbo until Minecraft 2 comes out, and at that time, we'll finally know what direction Microsoft's going to take the game. But by then, most mod devs are probably going to be long gone.

Anyway, to your point, Minecraft wasn't really competing with Microsoft. Yes, its ability to run natively on Mac and Linux is a bit of a thorn, but the fact that it runs on Windows as well makes it less so. The lack of a version for Windows Phone (and Metro) was also annoying, but it's really one very, very small drop in the bucket of problems with that whole mess. There's a version for XBox, so it's not like Microsoft was missing out on anything there. Microsoft isn't going to pay $2.5B to make an incidental (at best) competitor go away. They have to have plans for the purchase, bigger plans than just bringing it to Windows 8 and Phone.

What those are, and whether they'll be any good, well, time will tell.

4 days ago
top

Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

steelfood Re:Ads (327 comments)

Notch recently paid his employees a ton of money, so I imagine there's not as much cash on hand as you'd think. There might be tangible assets (servers, etc.) and intellectual assets (software, Minecraft brand, licensing deals, etc.), but $2.5B is a bit much for just that. Since they just launched Realms, they might have ~$500M cash set aside to keep it afloat, but that's really a stretch considering how cheap hardware is becoming.

Microsoft has been known to overpay for useless junk (they've had hits too), so there's precedence already. I wouldn't say Minecraft is useless junk, especially if they can do a Minecraft 2 exclusive for XBox and Windows Phone, but to think that they'd recoup the $2.5B easily would be foolish. Microsoft would be smart to treat this as a 10-, 20-year thing like The Sims and just continue building out the brand over that time while using it to promote their other products. But Microsoft's done some dumb (and some really, really dumb) moves over the past 3-5 years, so this might just be wishful thinking on my part.

10 bucks says the devs are going to add a new mob in the next version called Clippy.

4 days ago

Submissions

steelfood hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

steelfood has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

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

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

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

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>