You are here

Feed aggregator

The Shadow Over ShipPoint

The Daily WTF - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 11:00

In the winter of 2012-13, I was fired from the ill-rumored e-commerce company known as ShipPoint. Though I remained stalwart to the end, the wretched darkness embodied in ShipPoint's CTO and his twisted worshipers dogs me still, a malignant growth choking the very life out of my career aspirations. And although I fight every day to forget, to leave my time at ShipPoint behind, I still awaken in the uttermost black of night, shuddering, my mind wrenching itself free from nightmare's grip. I record this grim history only because I fear I may soon slip irredeemably into madness.

It was 2011 when, freshly downsized, I found myself wandering the LinkedIn Jobs Directory, seemingly in vain. I had almost made up my mind to hang out my shingle as a consultant when I received an email from a recruiter. I don't remember his name, nor the firm that he claimed to represent, only that he demanded that we meet in person; apparently he was privy to a lucrative opportunity whose details could only be revealed face to face. While suspicious, I must admit I was gripped by curiosity — tinged, I must now believe, with a touch of the wild. I met the recruiter, a grim, swarthy fellow of furtive glance and questionable heritage, in a refuse-choked alley far from the central business district. It was there, amidst the dumpsters and commercial-grade recycling bins, that I first heard in a grating croak the name whose syllables I would one day shudder to write.

"ShipPoint," he said in response to my question about their development environment, "is dedicated to becoming cutting-edge with their development tools and processes. They use Subversion, and I hear they have a focus on quality and testing." I proceeded through a phone interview, and then on to meet James Akeley, ShipPoint's development manager. Imploring that I call him "Jimmy", he proclaimed his easy-going attitude to be matched only by his and ShipPoint's commitment to quality. Though the pay was a bit on the low side, I accepted his offer. I was to start the following Monday, taking the train and then a bus to the ugly one-story building of nondescript gray that contained ShipPoint's offices, a geriatric hulk muttering tonelessly to itself as it wallowed in its crumbling and almost-abandoned office park by the seashore.

My first day at ShipPoint began as prosaically as one could expect with a simple task that would lead me through their codebase. As an e-commerce provider, ShipPoint's stock in trade was web applications written using ASP.NET, and I made careful note of several places where classic code smells made themselves apparent. The team went out to lunch, as was their custom. Jimmy drove, with Jack Mason, the second-most senior developer, in the passenger seat. Sharing the back with me was Rob Carter, the company's web designer — one who would prove himself my most stalwart companion in the unguessed-at trials that lay ahead. While our lunchtime discussion was generally mundane, with only Rob expressing any interest in developing familiarity with his new associate, I found an appropriate pause in the conversation to present Jimmy and Jack with the potential problems I had detected during my brief venture into the code. Given his repeated assertions regarding dedication to quality, I expected Jimmy, at least, to be keenly interested in my discoveries. My surprise was considerate when he and Jack rebuffed me, declaring that Dan Marsh — the CTO — didn't want us to spend time refactoring code. "He and the other executives think it's a waste of time," Jimmy explained, some small measure of remorse evident in his voice, while next to him Jack nodded his head approvingly. "They want us to focus on new deploying new features."

I was disappointed by this, and by the subsequent revelation that, though ShipPoint did indeed mandate Subversion for source control, Jimmy and Jack only ever copied all the files to a separate, timestamped folder before committing. While the two senior developers were hesitant to discuss their mysterious and unseen leader, I was eventually able to coax from Rob what little he knew of the enigmatic Mr. Marsh. It seemed Marsh wasn't a developer, but, after joining the company a decade prior, his possession of certain esoteric scraps of scripting knowledge qualified him as ShipPoint's sole IT person. His authority spread as the years went by, unquestioned by his superiors and the developers he eventually allowed to join his staff, until he now led all technological decision-making at ShipPoint from within the only private office on their floor, an office whose door opened by invitation only.

After several months of my attempted improvements being either stutteringly denied by Jimmy or gruffly rebuked by Jack, new allies arrived at ShipPoint. Arthur Gilman was a brave and clever youth who joined the company alongside his mentor. Walter Peaslee was a hoary old veteran who had been using .NET since the framework was in beta. If anyone could help me champion sane coding and source-management practices at ShipPoint, it was these dynamic individuals. And changes were surely needed, as the months had shown me deep-rooted stability issues that would cause pages to crash or take minutes to load. It had likewise become clear that the senior developers were unwilling or uninterested in tackling these issues, holding up Mr. Marsh's desire for them to complete his endless list of superficial improvements as reason to hack as quickly as possible, leaving Rob and me to fix up the messes they left behind them.

At Christmastime, a chink in the armor appeared. Jimmy announced that he was leaving the company, taking his passive deference to Mr. Marsh with him. I decided to take action, and, with the idealistic Arthur at my heels, endeavored to implement a few changes. First, set up a bug-tracking system and then begin using Subversion properly, setting my protégé to create branches that would let the team collaborate without creating multiple copies of the application's source. Jack agreed to the changes in principle, and victory seemed close at hand. Only no sooner had Arthur went live with the Subversion changes than a blood-curdling cry was heard from Jack's cubicle! His files, Jack insisted, were gone, and he accused us of the most sordid and calculated mayhem, insisting that we sought to discredit him before Mr. Marsh. Not waiting for Arthur to explain that the files had simply been moved to a branch folder, Jack stormed into the CTO's office. By the time we had returned perplexed to our workstations, a directive to return the source control repository to its previous state awaited us, bearing the CTO's imprimatur. This was merely a prelude of things to come as repeated future attempts to sanitize our source-control procedures (and reclaim the gigabytes of storage consumed by the many redundant copies of our source code) were met with similar fear, uncertainty, and doubt from Jack, rapidly followed by executive sanction.

In the venerable person of Walter Peaslee, I was sure a sane counterpart had been found to our volatile senior developer. But the hand of Marsh proved subtle. When attempting to bring Walter's vast experience to bear on our DevOps dilemma, great was my surprise when I found him languishing on a project to produce a report for ShipPoint's CEO. Harbored as the chief executive was on far alien shores, all features of the report required Mr. Marsh's approval. With a sigh that seemed to carry a weight beyond even his advanced years, Walter explained that the CTO would lead him on for weeks regarding the simplest decision, often ignoring multiple emails. With his calendar eternally full to ward off meetings, Mr. Marsh would eventually return terse feedback along the lines of "this is the wrong color", disregarding the actual functionality.

I was saddened, but not surprised, when Walter graciously notified me that he would be submitting his resignation at the end of the week. After being regaled with the sanity-challenging truth of his experience working with Mr. Marsh, I had not the heart to try to convince him to stay. Indeed, I wondered if he might have awakened to a reality that I, too, should embrace. Arthur, on the other hand, being young and impressionable perhaps to a fault, was distracted by a new assignment: the task of utterly redesigning the central UI of our flagship application. It was here, in this project, that the forces of order and of chaos manifest at the heart of ShipPoint would collide in a last, terrible sortie. My support had meanwhile been secured by a timely email from Mr. Marsh, promising to install me as the lead of a new team of developers, since, he astutely pointed out amidst aggravating hints that the two shared some dark and malignant tradition, Jack was content to be a lone wolf. I must admit that the appeal to my leadership aspirations led me to lapse into a period of content productivity, and as the months went by I mostly avoided Jack and his hasty, problematical contributions to the codebase wherever I could, bringing as much improvement to the features I implemented as possible without incurring the wrath of Jack or the dreaded and still unseen Mr. Marsh.

Arthur, alas, had no choice but to collaborate with Jack, who effectively owned the backend of the application he was redesigning. While I thought I had coached the young man to weather this abominable partnership, the elder developer proved maddeningly cunning. While Arthur attempted to coordinate front-end and back-end features in the hurried sprints that Mr. Marsh had demanded, each release was plagued by wave after wave of new bugs, lapping like a foetid, corrosive black tide at a bleak, doomed shore. It was only Rob's fortuitous glimpse of an email seen over Jack's shoulder that we determined Mr. Marsh had been secretly communicating a list of shadow features he had apparently sold to management, and Jack was hacking code at a maddening pace to deliver said features in each release. It was with grim resignation that I entered the repository and inspected the terrible results. I perceived that Arthur's excellent front-end work had been reduced to little more than window-dressing, twisted into whatever shapes Marsh and Jack required to realize their fiendish goals. When I opened the solution containing Jack's jealously-guarded back-end code, obfuscated though it was behind incomprehensible names like "Solution1" and "MvcProject4", only then did I begin to grasp the horror that had taken root beneath the facade of a UI redesign. I saw them in a limitless stream—flopping, hopping, croaking, bleating—surging inhumanly through the spectral moonlight in a grotesque, malignant saraband of fantastic nightmare! That interminable list of poorly-implemented features, its shapeless mass extending blasphemous profusions in all directions throughout the code. It seemed to surge and breathe even as I watched...

It was with a mind gone almost entirely over to the feverish that I found myself composing email after email to Mr. Marsh, laying bare the deleterious effect that this noxious circumvention of procedure was having on our product. Rob was good enough to support this dangerous endeavor, and together we believed we may have been turning the tide of the CTO's sentiment against Jack, whose bland reassurances had apparently blinded Mr. Marsh to the depth of the horror. This last flicker of naiveté on our part was efficiently snuffed when Arthur's employment was terminated without notice. Though no word from Mr. Marsh was forthcoming, Jack's smug explanation was that the youth was slowing down the delivery of critical new features, and, worse, his incompetent code changes were found to be at the root of the catastrophic server instabilities. Perceiving the tolling of a grim bell to have begun, Rob informed me he was thinking of getting out of the technology game altogether, returning to the simple pastoral life he had known while running an organic fruit stand outside a nearby beachfront town. I tried to reassure him that we would find a way to prevail, but in truth my own hope was waning. ShipPoint and its uncouth stewards had ground my desire to write excellent code and promote best practices down to their merest remainder. Deep within me a malaise had taken root, and I knew when I looked hard into the glass that the end was drawing near.

The harbinger came, as it so often does, with a revocation: came a day that Rob needed me to reconfigure something for him on the Production server that had long been my charge, when, upon attempting to connect, I was rebuffed by the server's protestations of an incorrect password. Under my questioning, Jack hesitantly and stutteringly informed me that the password had changed and he'd forgotten to update me. No sooner had he left to fetch the promised credential than my phone rang. Shouldering the receiver, I heard the voice of the spectral Mr. Marsh for the first time. Never have the words "Could you pop by my office for a sec?" been uttered in such a sardonic and inhuman tone as to induce in the listener a shocking wave of panic fear. I felt numb as leaden limbs carried me to the unopened door. Pulled into the dark recesses the portal revealed, I came face to face with unbounded horrors that defy description. Let me only say that the stated reason for my termination was "a change of corporate direction towards a smaller, more agile development team".

Though I survived my meeting with the terrible Mr. Marsh, I was rendered practically an invalid by my abruptly-curtailed employment at ShipPoint, and made my way to a relative's country home to engage in a lengthy convalescence. I received an email from Rob soon after my firing, informing me that he had left the company and was exiting the industry altogether, going so far as to delete his LinkedIn profile. The horrifying dreams in which I blindly shoveled hastily-implemented code into a branchless Subversion repository while pursued down lightless corridors by a shapeless unseen terror had begun to pass when the first job posting appeared. ShipPoint was calling, its unspeakable tendrils reaching out across the vast cosmic gulfs of the internet to ensnare unwary developers. And while I have sworn never to take a job without assurance of sane development practices again, I do not know that my programmer's soul will ever be entirely free of its taint...

So far I have not yet deleted my LinkedIn profile as Rob did. The tense extremes of horror are lessening, and I feel queerly drawn toward the job postings instead of fearing them. I see and do strange things in Subversion, and commit my changes with a kind of exaltation instead of terror. Stupendous and unheard-of splendors await me in Marsh's cube farm, and I shall seek them soon. Iä-R'lyeh! Codethulhu fhtagn! Iä! Iä! No, I shall not delete my LinkedIn profile—I cannot be made to delete my LinkedIn profile!

I shall coax Rob back into software development, and together we shall go to marvel-shadowed ShipPoint. We shall take the bus out to that brooding industrial park by the sea and dive down through black abysses of code to the Cyclopean and many-columned database, and in that lair of the Expert Beginners we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.

 

Photo credit: gagilas / Foter / CC BY-SA

Categories: Fun/Other

Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:25
HughPickens.com writes We know that about 10 million more people have insurance coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act but until now it has been difficult to say much about who was getting that Obamacare coverage — where they live, their age, their income and other such details. Now Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz report in the NYT that a new data set is providing a clearer picture of which people gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The data is the output of a statistical model based on a large survey of adults and shows that the law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades. The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon. Despite many Republican voters' disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Swedish Regulator Orders Last "Hold-Out" ISP To Retain Customer Data

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 09:06
An anonymous reader writes Despite the death of the EU Data Retention Directive in April, and despite the country having taken six years to even begin to obey the ruling, the Swedish government, via its telecoms regulator, has forced ISPs to continue retaining customer data for law enforcement purposes. Now the last ISP retrenching on the issue has been told that it must comply with the edict or face a fine of five million krona ($680,000). While providers all over Europe have rejoiced in not being obliged any longer to provide infrastructure to retain six months of data per customer, Sweden and the United Kingdom alone have insisted on retaining the ruling — particularly surprising in the case of Sweden, since it took six years to begin adhering to the Data Retention Directive after it was made law in 2006. Britain's Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill, rushed through in July, actually widens the scope of the original EU order.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Mark Zuckerberg And John Doerr Donate $1M To Expand The Hour Of Code Campaign

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:01
theodp writes Techcrunch reports that Mark Zuckerberg has donated $500K to expand the Hour of Code campaign, which aims to reach 100 million students this year with its learn-to-code tutorials, including its top-featured tutorial starring Zuckerberg (video). Techcrunch adds that Zuckerberg's donation will be matched by fellow tutorial team teacher Bill Gates (video), Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Salesforce, Google, and others. Zuck and Gates appear to have a sizable captive audience — a Code.org District Partnership Model brochure on the code-or-no-HS-diploma-for-you Chicago Public Schools' website calls for partner districts to "hold a district-wide Hour of Code event each year" for three years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Denmark Plans To Be Coal-Free In 10 Years

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 05:30
merbs writes "Earlier this year, Denmark's leadership announced that the nation would run entirely on renewable power by 2050. Wind, solar, and biomass would be ramped up while coal and gas are phased out. Now Denmark has gone even further, and plans to end coal by 2025.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

France Investigating Mysterious Drone Activity Over 7 Nuclear Power Plant Sites

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 03:05
thygate writes In France, an investigation has been launched into the appearance of "drones" on 7 different nuclear power plant sites across the country in the last month. Some of the plants involved are Creys-Malville en Bugey in the southeast, Blayais in the southwest, Cattenom en Chooz in the northeast, Gravelines in the north, and Nogent-sur-Seine, close to Paris. It is forbidden to fly over these sites on altitudes less than 1 km in a 5 km radius. According to a spokesman of the state electric company that runs the facilities (EDF), there was no danger to the security and production of the plants. However these incidents will likely bring nuclear safety concerns back into the spotlight.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Researchers Claim Metal "Patch" Found On Pacific Island Is From Amelia Earhart

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 01:59
An anonymous reader writes Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937, but scientists may have now uncovered where she ended up. Researchers have identified a piece of aluminum, which washed up on a remote Pacific island, as dated to the correct time period and consistent with the design of Earhart's Lockheed Electra. From the article: "The warped piece of metal was uncovered on a 1991 voyage to the island of Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has spent millions of dollars searching for Earhart's plane in a project that has involved hundreds of people. 'We don't understand how that patch got busted out of (the plane) and ended up on the island where we found it, but we have the patch, we have a piece of Earhart's aircraft,' TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie said."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

New Study Shows Three Abrupt Pulses of CO2 During Last Deglaciation

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 01:01
vinces99 writes A new study shows that the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually but rather was characterized by three abrupt pulses. Scientists are not sure what caused these abrupt increases, during which carbon dioxide levels rose about 10 to 15 parts per million – or about 5 percent per episode – during a span of one to two centuries. It likely was a combination of factors, they say, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns and terrestrial processes. The finding, published Oct. 30 in the journal Nature, casts new light on the mechanisms that take the Earth in and out of ice ages. "We used to think that naturally occurring changes in carbon dioxide took place relatively slowly over the 10,000 years it took to move out of the last ice age," said lead author Shaun Marcott, who did the work as a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University and is now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "This abrupt, centennial-scale variability of CO2 appears to be a fundamental part of the global carbon cycle." Previous research has hinted at the possibility that spikes in atmospheric carbon dioxide may have accelerated the last deglaciation, but that hypothesis had not been resolved, the researchers say. The key to the new finding is the analysis of an ice core from the West Antarctic that provided the scientists with an unprecedented glimpse into the past."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Google To Disable Fallback To SSL 3.0 In Chrome 39 and Remove In Chrome 40

Slashdot - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 00:16
An anonymous reader writes Google today announced plans to disable fallback to version 3 of the SSL protocol in Chrome 39, and remove SSL 3.0 completely in Chrome 40. The decision follows the company's disclosure of a serious security vulnerability in SSL 3.0 on October 14, the attack for which it dubbed Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption (POODLE). Following Mozilla's decision on the same day to disable SSL 3.0 by default in Firefox 34, which will be released on November 25, Google has laid out its plans for Chrome. This was expected, given that Google Security Team's Bodo Möller stated at the time: "In the coming months, we hope to remove support for SSL 3.0 completely from our client products."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Charity Promotes Covert Surveillance App For Suicide Prevention

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 23:32
VoiceOfDoom writes Major UK charity The Samaritans have launched an app titled "Samaritans Radar", in an attempt to help Twitter users identify when their friends are in crisis and in need of support. Unfortunately the privacy implications appear not to have been thought through — installing the app allows it to monitor the Twitter feeds of all of your followers, searching for particular phrases or words which might indicate they are in distress. The app then sends you an email suggesting you contact your follower to offer your help. Opportunities for misuse by online harassers are at the forefront of the concerns that have been raised, in addition; there is strong evidence to suggest that this use of personal information is illegal, being in contravention of UK Data Protection law.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Vulnerabilities Found (and Sought) In More Command-Line Tools

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 22:47
itwbennett writes The critical Shellshock vulnerabilities found last month in the Bash Unix shell have motivated security researchers to search for similar flaws in old, but widely used, command-line utilities. Two remote command execution vulnerabilities were patched this week in the popular wget download agent and tnftp client for Unix-like systems [also mentioned here]. This comes after a remote code execution vulnerability was found last week in a library used by strings, objdump, readelf and other command-line tools.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Getting 'Showdown' To 90 FPS In UE4 On Oculus Rift

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 22:26
An anonymous reader writes Oculus has repeatedly tapped Epic Games to whip up demos to show off new iterations of Oculus Rift VR headset hardware. The latest demo, built in UE4, is 'Showdown', an action-packed scene of slow motion explosions, bullets, and debris. The challenge? Oculus asked Epic to make it run at 90 FPS to match the 90 Hz refresh rate of the latest Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype. At the Oculus Connect conference, two of the developers from the team that created the demo share the tricks and tools they used to hit that target on a single GPU.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Signed-In Maps Mean More Location Data For Google

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 22:05
mikejuk writes The announcement on the Google Geo Developers blog has the catchy title No map is an island. It points out that while there are now around 2 million active sites that have Google Maps embedded, they store data independently, The new feature, called attributed save, aims to overcome this problem by creating an integrated experience between the apps you use that have map content and Google Maps, and all it requires is that users sign in. So if you use a map in a specific app you will be able to see locations you entered in other apps.This all sounds great and it makes sense to allow users to take all of the locations that have previously been stored in app silos and put them all together into one big map data pool. The only down side is that the pool is owned by Google and some users might not like the idea of letting Google have access to so much personal geo information. It seems you can have convenience or you can have privacy.It might just be that many users prefer their maps to be islands.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Pirate Bay Founder Gottfrid Warg Faces Danish Jail Time

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 21:23
Hammeh writes BBC news reports that Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Warg has been found guilty of hacking into computers and illegally downloading files in Denmark. Found guilty of breaching security to access computers owned by technology giant CSC to steal police and social security files, Mr Warg faces a sentence of up to six years behind bars. Mr Warg argued that although the computer used to commit the offence was owned by him, the hacks were carried out by another individual who he declined to name.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

First Detailed Data Analysis Shows Exactly How Comcast Jammed Netflix

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 20:42
An anonymous reader writes John Oliver calls it "cable company f*ckery" and we've all suspected it happens. Now on Steven Levy's new Backchannel publication on Medium, Susan Crawford delivers decisive proof, expertly dissecting the Comcast-Netflix network congestion controversy. Her source material is a detailed traffic measurement report (.pdf) released this week by Google-backed M-Lab — the first of its kind — showing severe degradation of service at interconnection points between Comcast, Verizon and other monopoly "eyeball networks" and "transit networks" such as Cogent, which was contracted by Netflix to deliver its bits. The report shows that interconnection points give monopoly ISPs all the leverage they need to discriminate against companies like Netflix, which compete with them in video services, simply by refusing to relieve network congestion caused by external traffic requested by their very own ISP customers. And the effects victimize not only companies targeted but ALL incoming traffic from the affected transit network. The report proves the problem is not technical, but rather a result of business decisions. This is not technically a Net neutrality problem, but it creates the very same headaches for consumers, and unfair business advantages for ISPs. In an accompanying article, Crawford makes a compelling case for FCC intervention.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 20:00
Nerval's Lobster writes Apple design chief Jony Ive has spent the past several weeks talking up how the Apple Watch is an evolution on many of the principles that guided the evolution of timepieces over the past several hundred years. But the need to recharge the device on a nightly basis, now confirmed by Apple CEO Tim Cook, is a throwback to ye olden days, when a lady or gentleman needed to keep winding her or his pocket-watch in order to keep it running. Watch batteries were supposed to bring "winding" to a decisive end, except for that subset of people who insist on carrying around a mechanical timepiece. But with Apple Watch's requirement that the user constantly monitor its energy, what's old is new again. Will millions of people really want to charge and fuss with their watch at least once a day?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

A Mixed Review For CBS's "All Access" Online Video Streaming

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:18
lpress writes I tested CBS All Access video streaming. It has technical problems, which will be resolved, but I will still pass because they show commercials in addition to a $5.99 per month fee. Eventually, we will all cut the cord and have a choice of viewing modes — on-demand versus scheduled and with and without commercials — but don't expect your monthly bill to drop as long as our ISPs are monopolies or oligopolies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 18:37
An anonymous reader writes Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly come out as gay. While he never hid his sexuality from friends, family, and close co-workers, Cook decided it was time to make it publicly known in the hopes that the information will help others who don't feel comfortable to do so. He said, "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy." Cook added that while the U.S. has made progress in recent years toward marriage equality, there is still work to be done. "[T]here are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Slashdot Asks: Appropriate Place For Free / Open Source Software Artifacts?

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 17:55
A friend of mine who buys and sells used books, movies, etc. recently came purchased a box full of software on CD, including quite a few old Linux distributions, and asked me if I'd like them. The truth is, I would like them, but I've already collected over the last two decades more than I should in the way of Linux distributions, on at least four kinds of media (starting with floppies made from a CD that accompanied a fat book on how to install some distribution or other -- very useful in the days of dialup). I've got some boxes (Debian Potato, and a few versions of Red Hat and Mandrake Linux), and an assortment of marketing knickknacks, T-shirts, posters, and books. I like these physical artifacts, and they're not dominating my life, but I'd prefer to actually give many of them to someplace where they'll be curated. (Or, if they should be tossed, tossed intelligently.) Can anyone point to a public collection of some kind that gathers physical objects associated with Free software and Open Source, and makes them available for others to examine? (I plan to give some hardware, like a pair of OLPC XO laptops, to the same Goodwill computer museum highlighted in this video, but they probably don't want an IBM-branded radio in the shape of a penguin.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Hacking Team Manuals: Sobering Reminder That Privacy is Elusive

Slashdot - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 17:13
Advocatus Diaboli writes with a selection from The Intercept describing instructions for commercial spyware sold by Italian security firm Hacking Team. The manuals describe Hacking Team's software for government technicians and analysts, showing how it can activate cameras, exfiltrate emails, record Skype calls, log typing, and collect passwords on targeted devices. They also catalog a range of pre-bottled techniques for infecting those devices using wifi networks, USB sticks, streaming video, and email attachments to deliver viral installers. With a few clicks of a mouse, even a lightly trained technician can build a software agent that can infect and monitor a device, then upload captured data at unobtrusive times using a stealthy network of proxy servers, all without leaving a trace. That, at least, is what Hacking Team's manuals claim as the company tries to distinguish its offerings in the global marketplace for government hacking software. (Here are the manuals themselves.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer