Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment I choose Rapture (Score 1) 275

Asgardia "will offer an independent platform free from the constraint of a land-based country's laws. It will become a place it in orbit which is truly 'no man's land.'"

This sounds like it's one male stand-in for Ayn Rand away from being Rapture in space. Alternatively, it's one SHODAN away from being System Shock 2.

Comment Re:This could have been a simple battery recall (Score 2) 88

The thing is, even if a removable battery doesn't cut down on fire incidents, it would have made the phones a lot easier to ship back to the manufacturer. Rather than go through all these hoops with fire-resistant boxes and ground-only shipping, they could simply have told people "Keep the phone powered off and bring it to an electronics recycler or an authorized seller to have the battery taken out and the phone shipped back to Samsung".

I can easily see UPS and Fedex refusing to ship the returned phones, since if it's a problem with the battery deforming most of the phones are going to be more dangerous crammed into the back of a cargo truck with a million other packages (all of which UPS/Fedex are liable for) than they would be anywhere else. If the phones could be shipped without the batteries inside, this problem wouldn't exist.

Instead, Samsung now has a very costly problem on their hands. They have to find a shipper willing to ship the phones (potentially making them more dangerous) and then recycle them without having anyone catch on fire.

Comment Re:Make the systems appear crappy? (Score 1) 117

The problem there is that the group behind it would probably be liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act - all it would take is a few calls from the managers at the IoT device companies to the FBI and the security group behind it would be arrested and probably jailed for violating it. The CFAA is so wide-reaching that even something as simple as hacking into the devices to display a simple "This device is vulnerable and could be used at any time as part of a botnet to DDoS websites" could be punished by prison time.

The real problem is that a lot of the IoT companies have no reason to make their systems secure - there's no pressure on their end if someone pwns all of their devices and uses them in a botnet. There are reports of IoT devices that use hardcoded usernames and passwords expecting the owner to take steps (such as blocking off access to the device except by SSH) that most people are not going to have the technical knowledge to do. The only real answer is to regulate IoT devices and their manufacturers, but even that would be difficult given that many of them are headquartered in China.

Comment Re:I think... (Score 1) 387

With Snowden, he has told Terrorists how to hide from western detection and has allowed ISIS to attack Europe.

The problem there is that none of the information leaked by Snowden told any terrorist groups anything they didn't already know - most terror groups were using physical couriers or other non-electronic methods to communicate with each other because they knew that the US government can track cell phones and the internet. They'd been doing it since long before anyone knew who Edward Snowden was, and I doubt they changed much since. If anything, the Snowden leaks proved that the NSA's programs were far more effective for spying on civilians than they ever were for fighting terrorism.

Comment How would they tell recalled ones apart? (Score 4, Interesting) 63

As I understand it, the recall effot on the Note 7 has been for the cell service providers to tell their customers to return their phones to the store they bought them from, and then exchange it for a new Note 7 without the problem battery in it. How do they plan on telling ones that have undergone the recall (and thus are safe) from those that haven't, even months later when the recall is "over"?

Comment Re:No good-guys here (Score 1) 467

The problem here is that within 24 hours of release, Hello Games was putting out all kinds of statements about how they were going to fix all of the issues people were having and how the "servers" were "down" due to the massive amount of simultaneous players the game had on release. It's not unreasonable to assume on that basis that there WAS a multiplayer mode and that it merely wasn't working because of server capacity issues.

A reasonable player seeing the statements that Hello Games made could easily have been fooled into thinking "Oh, there IS a multiplayer functionality in the game, but it's down and needs a fix before it works", played past the Steam refund limit (2 weeks/2 hours played) only to find out after they'd already gone past the threshold that there was no multiplayer and never was.

It would be one thing if the developers had said, unambiguously, "There is no multiplayer or online functionality at all in No Man's Sky, please do not buy the game if this is what you're looking for", but when they were making statements like "The servers are down because so many of you are logged in at once!" post-release, it creates a grey area.

Comment Probably trying to avoid false advertising suits (Score 2) 467

The reason they're so eager to give refunds is likely to avoid false advertising lawsuits. Even on release, many of the collector's edition boxes had a sticker over the ESRB/CERO rating. Why? Because even after the game went gold, the ESRB and CERO both believed that the game had online multiplayer. The sticker had a replacement ESRB/CERO rating that was different because the ESRB and CERO now understood that there was no online content whatsoever.

At the same time, there are also "online features" in the game which don't appear to actually do anything. People were reporting earlier this week that the game doesn't save any of the names you give to planets or creatures - once you've named enough stuff, the older stuff starts getting deleted. I don't know if anyone's been over the game with a network mapper to see if it's sending out packets of any sort, but I'd guess not.

The companies are probably giving refunds so late because they don't want a class-action lawsuit on their hands. I'm sure a class-action attorney could find plenty of people who bought the game on the reasonable belief (given the interviews the lead developer did with various media outlets) that the game had multiplayer.

Comment Re:Please explain (Score 1) 271

The problem with that statement is that extreme weather events (both hot and cold) are a symptom of climate change. In the last five years in the Northeastern US, we've had more extreme weather events than in any of the years prior - from heat wave records that seem to get broken year after year to absurdly high (30+ inch) single-storm snowfall totals and snowstorms happening earlier than they should. It's not just the Northeast, either. Look at California and their record-breaking temperatures and record drought.

That's not to say extreme weather didn't happen before the last five or six years, but there was less of it before. An increase in climate change means an increase in extreme weather events, and that's exactly what the data shows.

Comment Article doesn't mention racial profiling. (Score 4, Interesting) 319

One thing the summary doesn't mention is that the reporter who was detained is probably non-white: her name is Maria Abi-Habib and she covers the middle east for the Wall Street Journal. In the Facebook post, she says she goes by Maria Theresa. She's apparently non-muslim, but probably looks close enough to a middle easterner that racial profiling kicked in.

Comment Why are these cameras even connected to the net? (Score 1) 79

As someone who has some experience with CCTV DVRs, all of the DVRs I've worked with are the same: fanless computers with cases so thick they're practically mil-spec that get set up once and then immediately locked up in a room (to which only a handful of people on-site are allowed to have a key). The DVRs themselves are on an intranet with the cameras that has no outside internet access. The process works because no one can hack the network without physically being present in the building (at which point they'd be seen by security and likely arrested once the police are called) or launching a military-style assault on the room with the DVRs inside (at which point the company has far bigger problems than CCTV was designed to solve).

So, why are these even connected to the internet at all, especially if they're commercial DVRs?

Comment Re:WHy dont we sue ice (Score 1) 73

It's not just accusations of rigging, it's outright proof. In late 2014/early 2015, there was a site called Sweetstakes (which is still up) that was meant for TF2 gambling. The way it worked is that people put their items into a "pool", with higher valued items giving people a higher chance to win. The problem was that there was one guy with tens of thousands of dollars in items and a bunch of stooges who would hand this guy their items so that he had a higher chance of winning (on the promise that he'd pay them back later, which he never did).

The scammer would find people gambling high-value items and then use his massive stockpile to essentially guarantee himself a win - giving himself and the site owners a huge amount of profit. The site owners KNEW what this guy was doing and did absolutely nothing to stop it because they get a 5% cut of each pool regardless of who wins. There were also allegations that they had rigged the system to ensure the scammer kept winning (and thus kept getting them more money).

It was only after a couple of trading sites found out about (and subsequently banned) the scammer after his stooges complained about not getting their cut that the Sweetstakes site admins did anything about it.

I'm sure Valve knew about Sweetstakes and about the scandal - but they were content to let it go and keep taking their cut from people making in-game purchases to fund their gambling habits.

Comment Re:Sony series of epic disappointments (Score 2) 232

Actually, the reason they left out PS2 emulation was because of how error-ridden it was. There's a compatibility list of all PS2 games somewhere, and the compatibility varies wildly between the first five PS3 models. The ones with the actual PS2 hardware in them support some games but not others, and the ones with the software emulation support games the hardware-based ones didn't but then don't support some of the games the hardware-based ones did. What "non-compatible" means can also vary wildly: I specifically remember that Persona 3 (the base game before the FES expansion) had an issue where it would randomly wipe/corrupt save files at a point thirty or more hours into the game on some systems and not on others, while the FES expansion had the same issue but with different versions.

The other problem was that Sony had no way of patching most of these bugs since in a lot of cases they resulted from ugly hacks in the code that were used to make the game run properly on the PS2 hardware and short of re-coding large portions of each non-compatible game there was no real fix for it.

Comment Re:Stolen? (Score 2) 104

They absolutely can. In late 2011, one of the graphics card manufacturers did a promotion where they bundled Steam keys for Dirt 3 (which was a $60 game at the time) with their cards. The exact delivery system involved something like entering a code from a piece of paper inside the card box into a thing on the manufacturer's site, which would then spit out a Steam key.

Somewhere along the line, someone figured out that you could access a directory on the manufacturer's website that had a single .txt file with all of the keys (several thousand of them) listed inside. The list circulated around the internet, and as a result a whole bunch of people got the game for free. The manufacturer found out a few days later what had happened and went to Valve, who immediately began revoking the game from people's accounts. I don't know how far they actually got, since a couple of people I know who did it still have the game on their accounts today - though I think that might be because they figured out that some of the keys had been used by people who had actually bought the videocard and were now confused as to why access to their game had suddenly been revoked.

The problem for Valve is that it's really hard to make a working policy on this sort of thing. Years ago, they used to lock or ban accounts for receiving gifted games that came from a stolen credit card or if the card used to make the purchase had been issued a chargeback. The problem there became that you'd have people banned for no reason other than that they accepted a gift from someone who later had their credit card stolen or had the charge disputed for some other reason. I can recall at least one instance where someone got banned trying to get around the censorship restrictions in Germany by having someone from the US buy them a US copy of the game.. only to find out that the person in the US was a minor using their parent's credit card and that the parent disputed the charge, resulting in a ban. They've since changed their policy slightly (in that they'll usually only ban the person who made the actual transaction and not the person who received the gift) but it's still imperfect.

At the same time, Valve also had the same issues with Team Fortress 2 and Counterstrike: GO. There were numerous reported cases of Russian or Chinese credit card thieves using stolen credit cards to make in-game purchases (usually "keys" to unlock potentially valuable items) which they would then trade to an unsuspecting victim knowing that Valve was reluctant to delete in-game items once they'd been traded. The scammer would then take whatever they'd gotten in trade and sell it at a fraction of market value. There was one notable Russian scammer who was moving several thousand dollars in TF2 items a week this way. Valve's response to this was to introduce one of the most user-hostile systems ever invented: you either attach a phone number to your Steam account or become almost unable to trade with 20+ day waiting periods involved.

Slashdot Top Deals

"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970