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Ask Slashdot: Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects?

stephanruby Re:Options... (140 comments)

Also a Dice holding. Bitbucket or github are in better shape these days.

Wow! You guys are fast!!

I never expected someone to guess the right name of the project with only the two clues I've given.


Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

stephanruby Re:Not always about the money... (156 comments)

Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

What you're assuming is not true. Rich and upper middle class people in the UK still pay a fortune for private healthcare. Sometimes that's the only way to get around the rationed care and the impossibly long waiting lists of the UK public healthcare system.

Also and more to the point, this particular research was funded by two foundations, both of which only seem to be funded through private corporations and private individuals.

The groundbreaking research was supported by the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) and the UK Stem Cell Foundation (UKSCF). UKSCF was set up in 2007 to speed up progress of promising stem cell research - the charity has to date contributed 2.5m. NSIF was set up by chef David Nicholls after his son Daniel was paralysed from the arms down in a swimming accident in 2003. To date the charity has given £1m to fund the research in London and a further £240,000 for the work in Poland.

Take a look at the list of corporate logos and the list of private patrons that seem to back the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF). And take a look at the web site for the UK Stem Cell Foundation (UKSCF). For that second Foundation, it's less clear who the backers are, but still I don't see anything crediting the British government for providing any of the funds.

The scientists hope to treat another 10 patients, in Poland and Britain over the coming years, although that will depend on the research receiving funding.

Also on that note, I have no doubt that those two foundations will receive an avalanche of funding after this announcement (both private and public funding). That's usually how things go. Everybody will be wanting to be part of their success. Personally, I hope that this preliminary result isn't a scam. If this result is really true and can be replicated by other institutions, then it will mean the end of paralysis for many people. And I just hope that's true.

Disclaimer: Please do not assume that I'm against the idea of national single-payer systems. I'm actually for single-payer systems, but I just don't think that the UK system is a particularly good example. My family has experienced the French single payer system, the British single payer system, in addition to the pre-Obama US healthcare system, and putting aside my critic of the pre-Obama US healthcare system, I find the French single payer system far better than the British one (although, it can be extremely expensive and wasteful as well).

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

stephanruby Re:SurveyMonkey (103 comments)

Yes, EventBrite would be my recommendation too.

If management really wants a custom solution, have someone create a custom web site/wiki/CRM that embeds or directs the user to the sign-up page on EventBrite. The end result will be a mashup of sorts, but it should work just fine, and even if the custom web site goes down on the day of the event because it's badly coded or whatever, the EventBrite sign-up page and related infrastructure will still work, so your event will still be able to go on as planned.

2 days ago

Barometers In iPhones Mean More Crowdsourcing In Weather Forecasts

stephanruby Re:What for? (79 comments)

Do you even know what you just said? It knows when you go up and down floors. All this data mining, they know your address, your GPS coordinates, and which floor you're on. Maybe not down to the room number, but I bet they can deduce that through other means (steps taken, etc.). One has to wonder what all this information is going to eventually be used for, and perhaps what the use for it is already.

Yes, I realize what I've said, but I've done the privacy thing. I've rooted my Android phone and installed a privacy-focused ROM, but that just ended up drastically limiting my user experience and annoyed the hell out of me. I'm not doing that again.

The corporations can overthrow the government and throw you in Gitmo. I'm not going to be the one to stop them. I like my comforts and my conveniences far too much to do anything about it.

2 days ago

Barometers In iPhones Mean More Crowdsourcing In Weather Forecasts

stephanruby Re:What for? (79 comments)

Actually, the barometer on my phone is pretty good. Absent a radical atmospheric change, it roughly knows when I've climbed one floor in an elevator for instance. I doubt that the gyroscope sensors could be giving it this level of information. In any case, by itself this information is almost useless, but when correlated with other data points from other sensors, that's when application developers could use that information to infer much more useful information.

For instance, with this kind of information, a car navigation app might be able to realize more quickly that you didn't take the on-ramp you were supposed to take. Or it could infer that you made it halfway through a tunnel. Or it could tell you on what floor you've parked your car (assuming, it could calculate out the atmospheric information it could obtain from other sources). Etc. The same goes for health apps. Walking on a flat surface vs. walking uphill makes a world of difference in the number of calories you're burning. I personally very much doubt that the cheap pedometers you can get at the local drugstore for less than 10 dollars can tell the difference between a flat surface and uphill.

2 days ago

In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

stephanruby Re:The law comes to Deadwood. (484 comments)

This isn't about trolling.

This is about abusive, manipulative, disruptive and often threatening behavior that would not be tolerated off-line in the name of free speech --- because it is the enemy of free speech.

Free speech cannot survive in an atmosphere of fear.

Free speech cannot survive when speakers are shouted down, bullied and hounded off stage.

Free speech cannot survive the mob.

No, this law is mostly about drinking and tweeting, and tweeting racist things as a result.

In the UK, the maximum penalty for someone drinking and driving, when a life isn't actually lost as a result, is up 6 months in jail. However, if you happen to be drinking and tweeting (and not driving), then that maximum penalty is multiplied by four.

Free speech cannot survive when speakers are shouted down, bullied and hounded off stage.

Free speech cannot survive the mob.

May be, but not in the tweeting cases prosecuted by the Crown. In each case, the mob sided with the target of the tweets, not the offender. And of course, we're not talking about online school bullying with this particular law. If this law was aimed at stopping school bullying, there would be a provision for underaged offenders, which there isn't. And it would be applied to those school cases, which as of now it hasn't.

...that would not be tolerated off-line in the name of free speech

That's a nice idea, but you haven't spend any time around drunk people. When a drunk person gets belligerent, you throw them out of the premises, or if you're not the owner of the premises, you walk away from them. Throwing them in jail is the last possible resort, only to be used, when that person is a danger to others, or a danger to himself (like when he or she is hitting other people, or trying to drive a car).

Throwing trolls in jail isn't going to solve the problem of trolls. For one thing, there will still be people trolling from outside the UK (they will do so just because they can, as a taunt against the British authorities). And for a second thing, people aren't going to stop drinking and tweeting, even inside the UK, so the angry judges and politicians are likely to be even more frustrated with the results and come up with even more draconian measures.

3 days ago

Snapchat Will Introduce Ads, Attempt To Keep Them Other Than Creepy

stephanruby Re:"fun" (125 comments)

How did I miss this halcyon era when Internet ads were "fun and informative"?

The rentals section of Craigslist and their jobs offered section are actually useful and informative for the users (although admittedly, I don't think those sections are considered "fun" unless you include the free sections of Craigslist) . Those two sections, rentals and jobs, require money to post each listing. If those paid sections didn't have such a barrier to entry, then they would be swamped with spam and duplicate posts, even more spam and duplicate posts than other sections on Craigslist already have.

But aside from Craigslist, I'm not aware of any company that has made paid advertisements useful for the actual users. And since Snapchat has already accepted 50 million of dollars for its C Series funding from a well known hedge fund, Snapchat will be required to become the next Facebook, or die trying, and in my personal opinion that never bodes well for the users.

4 days ago

After Negative User Response, ChromeOS To Re-Introduce Support For Ext{2,3,4}

stephanruby Re:Ditch ChromeOS, focus on Android (183 comments)

ChromeOS on the other hand, is made for the desktop paradigm of multiple simultaneous overlapping windows, with controls that are sized for mouse/touchpad usage, not direct touch usage. Sure, Chromebooks have large touchpads now for gesture controls that are kinda sorta similar to what you get on touchscreen devices, but I know I'd much rather use a touchpad than drag my grubby mitts all over the screen, leaving greasy fingerprints.

And the reverse is true as well. There are several ChromeOS with touch on the market right now, and I own one of them, but the problem is that ChromeOS is useless for the touch paradigm.

It's not really the greasy fingerprints that annoy me. For me, it's the fact that I almost never use touch, except occasionally by accident. And the higher end ChromeBook laptops with touch have much lower battery life than the lower end models without touch.

about a week ago

Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

stephanruby Re:Yep, that's the Apple I know (354 comments)

Also, my understanding is to call from your Mac, your phone must be on the same wifi. Am I wrong?

Yes, they do need to be on the same wifi. See below.

Sometimes when your iPhone rings, it’s not where you are. Maybe it’s charging in another room. Or it’s buried in your backpack. But your Mac or iPad is sitting right there. Now you can make and receive phone calls on those devices as long as your iPhone running iOS 8 is on the same Wi-Fi network. Incoming calls show the caller’s name, number, and profile picture. Just click or swipe the notification to answer, ignore, or respond with a quick message. And making a phone call from your iPad or Mac is just as easy. Simply tap or click a phone number in Contacts, Calendar, or Safari. It all works with your existing iPhone number, so there’s nothing to set up.

about a week ago

Microsoft Partners With Docker

stephanruby What? (104 comments)

Why is Microsoft partnering with a Jeans brand? And how much did Docker pay to post a link to their content-free press release on the front page of Slashdot?

about a week ago

Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

stephanruby Re:Simple solution: bring cookies. (405 comments)

Cookies? Not me, I wouldn't want to be suspected of being a terrorist trying to poison/incapacitate the flight crew. The best I could do, would be a coupon for a free box of cookies at Ms. Fields, or a coupon for a free custom drink at Starbucks.

about a week ago

Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

stephanruby Re: For those who said "No need to panic" (421 comments)

Remember, correctly executed withdrawl is just as effective a form of birth control as a correctly applied condom, but a greater share of condom users use them correctly than those who attempt pulling out.

Here were some of the problems with the studies you've alluded to:

A noted limitation to these previous studies' findings is that pre-ejaculate samples were analyzed after the critical two-minute point. That is, looking for motile sperm in small amounts of pre-ejaculate via microscope after two minutes – when the sample has most likely dried – makes examination and evaluation "extremely difficult."[4] Thus, in March 2011 a team of researchers assembled 27 male volunteers and analyzed their pre-ejaculate samples within two minutes after producing them.

The researchers found that 11 of the 27 men (41%) produced pre-ejaculatory samples that contained sperm, and 10 of these samples (37%) contained a "fair amount" of motile sperm (i.e. as few as 1 million to as many as 35 million).

Of course, that study as well is not completely definitive either.

However, two things need to be kept in mind. First, the study suggests that some men can leak sperm into their pre-ejaculate (though the authors do not extrapolate on this supposition and the possible causes of such a phenomenon). Second, the authors admit that some of their subjects who submitted sperm-positive pre-ejaculate samples could have actually used their ejaculate – due to failure of producing pre-ejaculate – to avoid the "embarrassment" of not producing pre-ejaculate.

So I'd say, the jury is still out on this question.

about two weeks ago

ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

stephanruby Re:Is there no commandline? (344 comments)

Read the terms of services for Google Drive. The free trial for writing data to it is good for 2 years, but the data itself will be held in perpetuity so you will always be able to read that data later on (at least, according to their terms of services, I don't actually know how this will play out in practice).

This terms of services is a direct result of the deleting fiasco that happened with Yahoo/flickr. There was such a backlash against Yahoo for deleting the pictures of their users, that the terms of services were revised for most cloud storage solutions after that.

about two weeks ago

Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

stephanruby Re:Getting tired of this shit (282 comments)

What laws have they broken in Amsterdam? Do you know? The article doesn't seem to know either. Limousines seem to operate fine in Amsterdam. Limousines are just not allowed to use the taxi stands. Why is Uber not allowed to operate the same way as limousines?

about two weeks ago

Gmail Security Is a Problem For Tor Users In Repressive Countries

stephanruby Re:Mobile generated codes (74 comments)

That was my first thought. And before someone gets upset at needing a mobile device or a computing device in order to generate that pin number. Google even allows you to use pre-made pin codes, so if you're ever caught in a foreign land where the authorities are about to knock down your door, you just need to swallow the paper containing those codes.

about two weeks ago

DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

stephanruby Re:Am I dense? (191 comments)

I thought that law enforcement had always been allowed to do this in sting operations and the like. The police are under no obligation to tell the truth when confronting a potential suspect. Yes, their wording to her may have been deceptive, but, frankly, I don't have much faith in someone saying, "Yes I gave them consent to use my photos, but not like this!" It sounds a good deal like buyer's remorse.

It doesn't matter. Unless there was a signed release from her niece, the woman doesn't actually own the picture. And at the very least, without informed consent from the niece for her picture to be used in a sting operation, the picture of the niece should have been pixelited, cut out, or not used at all.

about two weeks ago

Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

stephanruby Re:So what you're telling me (146 comments)

the point is, you make it sound like celebrities were posting naked selfies on the internet and then got hacked. what happened was people took private pictures on their private phones, and assumed that because the phone was in their possession their private photos were safe. they didn't intend to make them accessible online. so stop trying to slutshame them.

I was criticizing Apple, not the celebrities. Admittedly, I do not have an iPhone. I only heard second hand accounts of what the iPhone was doing with the pictures.

If what you're saying is correct about the automatic backup, then my original statement about Apple stands.

the point is, the hack was due to a weakness in the security protocols, not a technical exploit of the servers or something. Also the hack was targeted at these people. look up 'spear fishing" when you have a chance.

Finally, you're willing to admit there was some weakness in the security protocols. That's far better than what I've heard the current CEO of Apple admit to.

Yes, I know what 'spear fishing' means in the context of security. And yes, the hack was targeted at these celebrities with iPhones. Had there been a similar security flaw with Android, I have no doubt that the hacker would have found some women celebrities to target on Android as well. It's not like he was targeting just one individual, he was targeting a class of individuals. And he could easily have found the same class of individuals on Android.

about two weeks ago

Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

stephanruby Re:So what you're telling me (146 comments)

a couple corrections to your inaccuracies (intentional?):

You tell me. Are you intentionally ignoring the claims from this security researcher? Or was your ignorance unintentional?

* iphones back up automatically to icloud.

This point needs some explaining. Which parts get backed up? Plus, I'm not sure how it contradicts what I've said already. Are you implying that the default is not to continue to upload pictures to iCloud once you've uploaded at least one?

* the exploit in #celebgate #thefappening was taking advantage of weak passwords and/or reset questions. it's not that the infrastructure was insecure, it was user error in selecting weak passwords / reset questions.

That's a pretty lame defense. Can you point to an analysis or an explanation to back that up? I've heard the same denial by the CEO of Apple on Charlie Rose, but I didn't believe it. Our infrastructure is secure, is not enough of an explanation. Security is not some binary concept. Security is a very layered concept.

For example, weak passwords can be prevented at the input level (although obviously, not all weak passwords can be prevented, that is why you rely on multiple layers). Accounts can be notified when someone else is trying to get into your account with an incorrect password. Accounts can lock out untrusted ip addresses or untrusted applications when there is the suspicion of a targeted brute force attack on that account. Back up email addresses can be used for password recovery. Even reset questions can be crafted very carefully, and then only unlock an account through the cell phone number of the person in question (after all, all those users who were compromised were iPhone users, so Apple knew their phone numbers).

* in response apple has widely rolled out two-factor. some people will always set their passwords to be '12345', but at least with 2FA being very easily accessible then people have less and less of an excuse.

Didn't they already have two-factor authentication already? If not, the problem is worst than I had thought. Even Twitter, a company widely known for its lack of security, deployed two factor authentication last year (not that everybody is going to use it, but like you said, people will have less of an excuse at least).

Are we good now? kthx.

Security is about hardening the weakest links in the chain. Again, you have nothing to brag about if your phone has the best encryption with all the latest buzzwords that go with it, if all your naked pictures end up on an insecure cloud infrastructure as soon as you take them.

about two weeks ago

Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

stephanruby Re:So what you're telling me (146 comments)

As a community we've always been skeptical of vaporware, especially when a lagging company announces vaporware in response to an innovator releasing a tangible product. Can we hold android to this standard?

A lagging company? The last I heard, it wasn't Android that automatically uploaded naked selfies to iCloud to only have them leak to the public. Also, please note that this encryption feature doesn't even address the original iOS problem. If your phone automatically uploads pictures by default to an insecure infrastructure, then it really doesn't matter if the copy you have on your phone is encrypted or not.

about two weeks ago


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