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Medicine

Ask Slashdot: Panic Button a Very Young Child Can Use 327

Posted by samzenpus
from the shiny-red-button dept.
First time accepted submitter Zotonian writes My wife is epileptic. Her seizures have been well controlled by medication until recently. My concern is that we have a toddler and infant at home. I've set up cameras so I can monitor the house, but I'm looking for a solution that my 2 year old daughter can hit a button to tell me to look at them if necessary. Most of the options I'm finding off the shelf notify first responders and I'm concerned of the number of false positives a toddler might initiate. Other solutions like cellphones or wearables for kids are too overloaded with unnecessary options like GPS, phone, games, etc. I'd rather have a simple 'push button' solution I can wire into my router that would send me a text or chat message that alerts me to check the cameras. Then if there is an actually emergency I can take the steps from there. I'm looking for cheap and simple. Any suggestions from the Slashdot community?
Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance? 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the encrypt-all-the-things dept.
Nicola Hahn writes: Both the White House and the U.S. Intelligence Community have recently announced reforms to surveillance programs sanctioned under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But do these reforms represent significant restructuring or are they just bureaucratic gestures intended to create the perception that officials are responding to public pressure?

The Executive's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has written up an assessment (PDF) of reform measures implemented by the government. For those who want a quick summary the Board published a fact sheet (PDF) which includes a table listing recommendations made by the board almost a year ago and corresponding reforms. The fact sheet reveals that the Board's mandate to "end the NSA's bulk telephone records program" has not been implemented.

In other words, the physical infrastructure of the NSA's global panopticon is still in place. In fact, it's growing larger (PDF). So despite all of the press statements and associated media buzz very little has changed. There are people who view this as an unsettling indication of where society is headed. Ed Snowden claimed that he wanted to "trigger" a debate, but is that really enough? What will it take to tear down Big Brother?
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Web Development Linux Distro? 136

Posted by timothy
from the best-of-brood dept.
Qbertino writes I've been a linux user for more than 15 years now and in the last ten I've done basically all my non-trivial web development on Linux. SuSE in the early days, after that either Debian or, more recently, Ubuntu, if I want something to click on. What really bugs me is, that every time I make a new setup, either as a virtual machine, on concrete hardware or a remote host, I go through 1-2 hours of getting the basics of a web-centric system up and running. That includes setting PHP config options to usable things, setting up vhosts on Apache (always an adventure), configging mod_rewrite, installing extra CLI stuff like Emacs (yeah, I'm from that camp) walking through the basic 10-15 steps of setting up MySQL or some other DB, etc. ... You get the picture.

What has me wondering is this: Since Linux is deeply entrenched in the field of server-side web, with LAMP being it's powerhouse, I was wondering if there aren't any distros that cover exactly this sort of thing. You know, automatic allocation of memory in the runtime settings, ready-made Apache http/https/sftp/ftp setup, PHP all ready to go, etc. What are your experiences and is there something that covers this? Would you think there's a need for this sort of thing and would you base it of Debian or something else? If you do web-dev, how do you do it? Prepareted scripts for setup? Anything else? ... Ideas, unkown LAMP distros and opinions please."
Classic Games (Games)

Ask Slashdot: Automated Tool To OCR CCGs Like Magic: the Gathering? 96

Posted by timothy
from the very-specific-requirements dept.
An anonymous reader writes I buy massive collections of trading card games, Magic:The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Weiss Schwarts, Cardfight Vanguard, etc, etc. And I've gotten the process fairly streamlined as far as price checking, grading, sorting, etc. Part of my process involves using higher-quality web cams positioned over the top of the cards which are in a stack. I keep a cam window on the screen to show a larger, brighter version of the card. What I'm wondering: Is there is an OCR solution out there that will look at the same spot on the screen, capture, ocr, dump to clipboard, etc.? I've tried several open source solutions but none of them quite fit my needs. What I'd really like is to be able to hit a hotkey, and have my clipboard populated with the textual data of the graphics in a pre-set x,y window range. All this should be done via a hotkey. I may be asking for a lot, but then again, I'm sure someone out there has had need of this type of set-up before. Anyone have any recommendations?
Cloud

Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data? 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-cloud-we-trust dept.
jppiiroinen writes: F-Secure, a company based in Finland, has sold its cloud storage business to a U.S. company (Synchronoss Technologies, Inc) speculated to have ties to the NSA. In previous, public announcements, they used arguments equivalent to, "trust us, your data will be safe." Now, it's likely F-Secure simply realized that competing against the big players, such as Google and Dropbox, didn't make much sense.

But it makes me wonder: Whom do you trust with your data? And who really owns it? What about in 3-6 years from now? How should I make sure that I retain access to today's data 20 years from now? Is storing things locally even a reasonable option for most people? I have a lot of floppies and old IDE disks from the 90s around here, but no means to access them, and some of the CDs and DVDs has gone bad as well.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What Tools To Clean Up a Large C/C++ Project? 233

Posted by timothy
from the windex-is-a-start dept.
An anonymous reader writes I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to clean up a relatively large C/C++ project. We are talking ~200 files, 11MB of source code, 220K lines of code. A superficial glance shows that there are a lot of functions that seem to be doing the same things, a lot of 'unused' stuff, and a lot of inconsistency between what is declared in .h files and what is implemented in the corresponding .cpp files. Are there any tools that will help me catalog this mess and make it easier for me to locate/erase unused things, clean up .h files, and find functions with similar names?
Advertising

Ask Slashdot: Gaining Control of My Mobile Browser? 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the lagging-utility dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I run Firefox with NoScript and FlashBlock at home. Browsing is easy, and I only have to enable scripts on a few sites. If they have 20+ scripts, I just surf somewhere else. Fast forward to the mobile experience. I had an Android device, but now I have an iPhone. In addition to the popup problem, and the fake "X" on ads, the iPhone browsers (Safari, Chrome, Opera) will start to show a site, then they will lock up for 10-30 seconds before finally becoming responsive. If I switch back to another app and then return to the browser, Safari and Chrome have a little delay, but Opera delays 20+ seconds before becoming responsive again.

Firefox is not available on the iPhone, so I can't simply run NoScript. Chrome does not appear to have a NoScript equivalent for mobile. What solutions are you using to make mobile browsing work?
Education

Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling? 700

Posted by Soulskill
from the parent-teacher-conferences-are-a-cinch dept.
VorpalRodent writes: I went to a private school for about 6 years, then completed my education at the local public school, going on to get a couple undergraduate degrees and a postgraduate degree. My wife dropped out of high school and got her equivalency many years later. Now, she wants to homeschool our son.

There is a significant body of literature which indicates that homeschoolers outperform their traditionally schooled counterparts academically, regardless of the level of education of the parent, and she certainly cares more now that she's older. I don't like anecdotes, but I certainly haven't seen the research borne out in any of the people that I know who were homeschooled. More importantly, it seems like the only reason my wife wants to homeschool is because she doesn't want to let go.

Our son would be going into Kindergarten this coming year. I'm interested in some rational discussion on this, since it seems like the only viewpoints I've ever seen on the matter are "Better academics" vs. "Social interaction," both of which are gross oversimplifications. It doesn't help that I can't find any statistical information on post-schooling outcomes.
Communications

If a Financial Institution Mishandles My Data, What Recourse Do I Have? 224

Posted by Soulskill
from the scream-into-the-abyss dept.
grahamsaa writes: My sister recently consolidated her student loans, and the bank e-mailed the paperwork, which included her name, address, date of birth, social security number, drivers license number and bank account information to the wrong e-mail address. The address (a gmail address) is associated with a real person (not her), so someone now has all of her personal details. My sister claims that she read her e-mail address to the bank representative over the phone twice, but that it was transcribed incorrectly.

The real issue is that the bank was willing to use unencrypted e-mail at all to send sensitive information, and I told my sister that at a minimum the bank should cover electronic credit monitoring for her for a minimum of a year, but I feel like that alone probably isn't enough. While my sister should have insisted that they use a more secure means of sending this information, I think it should be the bank's responsibility to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. What kind of recourse does a person in my sister's position have? Did the bank violate any laws (she lives in Connecticut in the United States)? Is there a standard penalty for this kind of thing? I'm not a lawyer, but I know some of you are. What are her options in this case?
Technology

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Modern IP Webcam That Lets the User Control the Output? 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words dept.
First time accepted submitter Tronster writes Owners of a local shop have a menu that changes daily and wanted an IP webcam to update an image on their web-site. After a frustrating 2 hours of a "Hikvision" refusing to behave, I threw in the towel and looked for a better camera to recommend. The biggest issue today is that the new webcams that come out don't support FTP, they all support sending images/video direct to a "private cloud" (e.g., Simplicam, Dropcam, etc...). Google has been no help; all the sites are either outdated in terms of ranking or the most recent ones recommend a Foscam. They previously tried one of these and it's image quality was too poor. While security systems and home automation has been discussed recently, I haven't found any recent discussions on webcams that give a user control of where the content is sent. Does anyone in the Slashdot community have recommendations, reputable sites that are up-to-date in rankings, and/or hacks to have control over some of these newer cameras?
Education

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing? 175

Posted by Soulskill
from the robots-with-lasers dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I volunteer at a inner-city community after school program focused K-8th grade. Right now, due to the volunteer demographic, we spend most of our activity time in arts and crafts and homework. The 5th-8th students are getting restless with those activities. I've been asked to spice it up with some electrical wizardry. What I'd like to do is introduce the students to basic jobs skills through computers. My thoughts are that I could conduct some simple hands-on experiments with circuits, and maybe some bread boards. Ultimately, we're going to take apart a computer and put it back together. How successful this project is will dictate whether or not we will go into programming. However, whatever we do, I want the kids to obtain marketable skills. Anyone know of a curriculum I can follow? What experiences have you had with various educational computing projects?
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer? 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the highlander-style-combat dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: What does it take to become a great — or even just a good — software developer? According to developer Michael O. Church's posting on Quora (later posted on LifeHacker), it's a long list: great developers are unafraid to learn on the job, manage their careers aggressively, know the politics of software development (which he refers to as 'CS666'), avoid long days when feasible, and can tell fads from technologies that actually endure... and those are just a few of his points. Over at Salsita Software's corporate blog, meanwhile, CEO and founder Matthew Gertner boils it all down to a single point: experienced programmers and developers know when to slow down. What do you think separates the great developers from the not-so-fantastic ones?
Media

Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive? 251

Posted by timothy
from the but-with-8-tracks-you-can-still-lose-7 dept.
An anonymous reader writes What would be the best media to store a backup of important files in a lockbox? Like a lot of people we have a lot of important information on our computers, and have a lot of files that we don't want backed up in the cloud, but want to preserve. Everything from our personally ripped media, family pictures, important documents, etc.. We are considering BluRay, HDD, and SSD but wanted to ask the Slashdot community what they would do. So, in 2015, what technology (or technologies!) would you employ to best ensure your data's long-term survival? Where would you put that lockbox?
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated? 492

Posted by timothy
from the let's-make-a-wager dept.
An anonymous reader writes In the recent Slashdot discussion on the D programming language, I was surprised to see criticisms of Pascal that were based on old information and outdated implementations. While I'm sure that, for example, Brian Kernighan's criticisms of Pascal were valid in 1981, things have moved on since then. Current Object Pascal largely addresses Kernighan's critique and also includes language features such as anonymous methods, reflection and attributes, class helpers, generics and more (see also Marco Cantu's recent Object Pascal presentation). Cross-platform development is fairly straightforward with Pascal. Delphi targets Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. Free Pascal targets many operating systems and architectures and Lazarus provides a Delphi-like IDE for Free Pascal. So what do you think? Is Pascal underrated?
Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today? 431

Posted by timothy
from the hiding-with-the-egg-cream dept.
guises writes Ever since mouse wheels were introduced the middle mouse button has been sidelined to an inadequate click-wheel function, or in some cases ditched altogether. This has never sat well with me, a proper middle button is invaluable for pasting, games, and navigation. More than that, my hand categorically rejects two button mice — the dangling ring finger causes me genuine physical discomfort. I have begged Logitech on multiple occasions to make just one, among their many screwy specialty mice, to replace the Mouseman which I loved so dearly. I thought for a moment that I had been answered with the g600, only to find that they had put the right mouse button in the middle.

So my question to Slashdot is: where does a person turn for a three button mouse these days? I've only found two, both ergonomic and priced accordingly. I use the Contour and like the shape and wheel position, but would love to find something wireless and with a higher DPI sensor.