By Soulskill from Slashdot's they-know-what-you-did-last-summer department
An anonymous reader sends this report from Business Insider:"[Ford VP Jim Farley] was trying to describe how much data Ford has on its customers, and illustrate the fact that the company uses very little of it in order to avoid raising privacy concerns: 'We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone,' he told attendees. Rather, he said, he imagined a day when the data might be used anonymously and in aggregate to help other marketers with traffic related problems. Suppose a stadium is holding an event; knowing how much traffic is making its way toward the arena might help the venue change its parking lot resources accordingly, he said."
Farley later realized how his statement sounded, and added, "We do not track our customers in their cars without their approval or consent."Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-be-a-yuck-mouth department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "These days, it seems just about every imaginable thing is 'connected.' There's connected thermostats, locks, refrigerators, forks, and so many more. Now we can add toothbrushes to the list. Brandon Griggs reports at CNN that the Kolibree toothbrush syncs wirelessly with an iPhone or an Android device to track brushing habits, announce whether you have brushed thoroughly enough and reward you for good oral hygiene. 'It works just like a regular toothbrush,' says Renee Blodgett. 'The only difference is that all the data is stored on your phone so you can see how you're brushing.' Users download a mobile app and connect via Bluetooth, and the Kolibree documents every brushing via three sensors that record 1) how long you brush, 2) whether you brush all four quadrants of your mouth, and 3) whether you brush up and down (good) instead of just side to side (bad). 'Before Kolibree, the issue is that there has been no easy and quick way to monitor whether you're doing an A+ job or a C- one when you brush, so how can you improve on a habit you don't have any data about?.' There's a bit of gameplay built in, which challenges users to do better next time, and the company has created an API, hoping that third-party developers will come up with additional apps that will inspire users to brush more and more effectively writes Daniel Terdiman. 'With individual health getting more attention than ever, it's certainly possible people will see the benefit of something that keeps a close eye on how well they're treating their teeth, and which challenges them to do better.'"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's developers-vs-developers department
On Planet Python, Gregory Szorc asks why many projects continue to support Python releases prior to 2.7
, when they are all EOLed (2.4 in 2008, 2.5 in 2011, and 2.6 last October), and Python 2.7 provides a clear upgrade path to Python 3. Quoting: "I think maintainers of Python projects should seriously consider dropping support for Python 2.6 and below. Are there really that many people on systems that don't have Python 2.7 easily available? Why are we Python developers inflicting so much pain on ourselves to support antiquated Python releases? As a data point, I successfully transitioned Firefox's build system from requiring Python 2.5+ to 2.7.3+ and it was relatively pain free."
Shortly after posting, other developers responded with their reasons for using older Python releases. First, Rob Galanakis of CCP (EVE Online) explains the difficulties involved in upgrading a mature commercial project
embedding Python. Nathan Froyd adds "I think this list of reasons to upgrade misses the larger point in providing software for other people: You do not get to tell your users what to do. ... Maybe those users don’t have sufficient control over their working environments to install a new version of Python. ... Maybe those users rely on certain APIs only available in older versions of Python and don’t wish to take an indeterminate amount of time to rewrite (retest, recertify, etc. etc.) their software. ... Maybe those users are just rationally lazy and don’t want to deal with downloading, configuring, and installing a new version of Python, plus dealing with inevitable fallout, when the old version has worked Just Fine for everything else."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's will-trade-bitcoin-for-socks department
New submitter citab writes with news that "the first major retailer is now accepting bitcoins!" In December, Overstock.com announced that they would begin accepting Bitcoin for payment as early as the end of second quarter 2014
, but decided to make it a priority task to avoid having someone else beat them to it. From the article: "Last Tuesday, the company struck a deal to handle Bitcoin payments through a service operated by the suddenly hot San Francisco startup Coinbase, and since then, a team of Overstock engineers has worked almost every waking hour to prepare the site for what is undeniably a key moment in the digital currency’s short history. ... [Overstock CEO] Byrne believes this can ultimately boost the company’s bottom line, but that’s not his only aim. For Byrne, a rather opinionated libertarian who’s unafraid to take his company places others fear to tread, embracing the cryptocurrency is as much a political statement as a business decision. Like so many others, he believes Bitcoin can free the world from the control of big banks and big government. 'It helps us fight the machine,' he says."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's copyright-more-important-than-freedom department
The Pirate Bay co-founder Warg has been held in solitary confinement
since being turned over by Sweden to Denmark in December. Yesterday, he appeared in a closed court session where the judge ordered he continue to be held until at least February 5th
. From the article: "In an attempt to free the Swede, or at least improve his circumstances, a petition was launched recently, directed at the Danish Prime Minister. Initially there were only a few hundred backers but when a banner was added to the homepage of The Pirate Bay this quickly grew to more than 50,000. Among other things, the petition demands that Gottfrid is given free access to books and other reading material."
Although kept from computers and books, he is at least no longer being held in solitary confinement as of last week.Read Replies (0)