Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Article is a load of rubbish. (Score 5, Insightful) 140

Modern cars use a system to stabilise the car in the event that one or more wheels starts to lose adhesion - commonly called things like ESP/DSP/ESC

The car wants to know when it's on a dyno or other testing device where only one set of wheels move, and the others do not - if this were NOT the case, it would assume that the rear wheels have lost adhesion with the road, and will serious interfere with the power provided to the front wheels.

So "the defeat device required data from a range of sensors -- sensors that a noncheating car might not need" is totally and utterly rubbish, it likely needs a single line of code like this:

> if(EngineMode.Test){ ... do something to improve emissions ... }

Furthermore, many cars may already have a "very low emissions" mode or similar - there may not be a "special" mode specifically for EPA tests which a different profile for timing, fuel injection etc. - the cars computer essentially changes the "configuration" of the engine on the fly, based on driving conditions, driver input, gear, fuel quality, engine feedback etc - and it does all this during NORMAL operation.

If a "high efficiency / low emissions mode" already existed, then the code could be further reduced to
> if (EngineMode.Test ){ Engine.PerformanceProfile = LowEmissionsProfile }

Of course, it's unlikely that there would be a high level language available to engineers to make it quite so readable as above - but hopefully the code illustrates the point.

FWIW I strongly suspect that the "low emission profile" in place here in VW *IS* a "special" doctored one to fool emissions tests, but the detection of actually being in a test? Probably already existed.

Comment Re:Surge Pricing - Why The Hate? (Score 1) 250

Surge Pricing is *still* a good idea during an emergency.

Person A and Person B are in a city during an emergency. Person A wants to go to the party at his friends as he doesn't view the emergency as "a big problem" whereas person B wants to go to the hospital to visit his badly injured partner.

With surge pricing, person B will be able to basically say "this is really important to me, I am willing to pay more based on the urgency of my need" while person A might say "Hmm I want to go the party, but I'm not paying £20 extra to do so". Without surge pricing they will both attempt to get the "normal" priced ride, meaning there's a chance Person B cannot get to the hospital *AT ALL* and may miss their partner dying etc. etc.

Sure, it's a hypothetical and a stretch one at that - but the point remains. People are able to obtain the transportation *IF IT'S IMPORTANT* with surge pricing, whereas without it, the lazy unfit guy who is too lazy to walk back from the shops with heavy grocery bags is as like to obtain a rare taxi as the emergency responder who is trying to get into work to start their shift.

Comment Surge Pricing - Why The Hate? (Score 5, Interesting) 250

I don't get the hate for surge pricing; it feels, to me, like a cry for education.

For example, an Uber where I live costs around half or less that of a regulated taxi. *Some* of my friends complain like crazy when the surge modifier is like 140% - not realising that it's STILL cheaper to have Uber around than use the old system. Then they suggest a "remedy" for surge pricing, that is basically moving back to something closely resembling the old system. Essentially, their proposals would result in a "constant 100% surge pricing" just to have predictable prices.

Surge pricing achieves two things:
1] Encourages drivers to work peak times in peak areas, increasing service.
2] Prices a scarce resource accordingly, meaning that people can choose an alternative (wait, don't go, use a different transport system) appropriately instead of just having a fucking LOTTERY of who gets the only cab available.

Surge pricing is good for everyone, and just about everyone I have ever explained it to has gone "Oh yeah I see what you mean". We just need to educate people.

That said, I am curious to hear of any legitimate arguments against surge pricing - anyone got any?

Comment Re:Citizen of Belgium here (Score 4, Informative) 1307

Translation: My government and my country's banks exhibited an utter lack of fiduciary responsibility. Please help me continue to deny their responsibility.


It's hard to convince your average European citizen what ACTUALLY happened to "their" money which went to bailout Greece - it actually went to Greece and then within days returned to European banks, predominantly French and German (a few others, but French and German banks account for the vast majority of it).


If Greece defaults on its' loans, these banks and their shareholders are out a ton of money - like an actual ton of money whether you weigh it in Gold, Diamonds, whatever. It was even worse a few years ago - before recent regulations requiring banks to deleverage and store more capital, a total Greek default would have brought these banks to their knees, some did not have enough liquidity to stay open if Greece defaulted on all it's commitments. Nowadays it's not QUITE so bad, but a lot of rich people stand to lose a lot (from their balance sheet) if Greece defaults.

The average Greek person might be a little more lazy and corrupt than others in Northern/Western Europe (see retirement age, hours worked, estimated percentage of people paying correct amount of income tax) but this situation is not all their fault. Their old government cooked the books and flat-out forged documents to get into the Euro, then started borrowing and spraying money around with a hosepipe.

The people who loaned them that money are to blame - they failed to do their due diligence and now their investment is at risk they have found a way to make all of us citizens provide free insurance for their investments.

Make no mistake, this is the fault of incompetent bankers, and almost identical to the banking crisis bailouts of major banks, except that this time the money changes hands briefly before arriving at the banks.

Greece should never have been allowed to join the Eurozone for so many reasons - the quicker they get out the better for everyone, but it will be a rough ride for a year or two in Greece, and we will need to pay them to keep migrants out - but that's OK, we've done that elsewhere...

Comment Re:First Post with good info (Score 1) 51

The senior management in a Car Manufacturer do not understand the composition of engine lubricants, nor why one is superior to another.

The senior management in a Dairy do not understand the mechanics of attaching a pump to a cows udder.

I don't understand why, in IT, people seem to think management in THEIR industry should somehow be superior to managers in other industries. Each has a job to do, and does it.

In the case of your Powerpoint to explain why a memory upgrade for a server was needed, I would suggest that communication skills need to be worked on - a powerpoint is way over the top for that. A simple chart showing performance vs. user count (tied to the cost of users time) or the risk of catastrophic failure of software (tied to the cost of downtime) should suffice. I've never experienced a situation with such a small change where I could not verbally explain to the appropriate person why it was necessary (though paperwork may be needed post-justification to submit a change request/purchase order, but this is standard).

Source: 20 years as a Software Developer, often crossing over into IT Project Management / Customer Management.

Comment There are quite a few haters on this thread but... (Score 3, Insightful) 214

Protecting people from evil cults (even if they got the specifics of meme transmission a bit off by choosing "X-Files" and similar) is definitely something I would like my government to do. You need to research the cults, methods etc. to do that.

Further, if this was in existence a few decades ago, perhaps we would have nipped Scientology in the bud before it landed in the UK.

Comment The plural of anecdote is not data however (Score 1) 96

my experiences are very different to the stated outcome of the analysis that "It does not put new drivers on the road."

I use Uber fairly regularly in London with friends (more than monthly compared with perhaps annually for "Black Cabs" prior to Uber) and I often chat with the drivers about their experiences, financial impact of uber etc. because my father is a cab driver in a city which does not yet have Uber and I have a vested interest.

When I ask about the surge pricing, every driver without exception has told me that he works around "chucking out time" (common bar closing time in the UK) more than he normally would because of surge pricing.

The methodology the author (above) uses seems extremely suspect, and I cannot agree with this conclusion that it doesn't put new drivers on the road. He seems to think that as soon as surge pricing activates, that magical drivers will appear from nowhere within 2-3 minutes - and if that doesn't happen he claims "it's not working". He is missing a MASSIVE factor here (that also affects taxi cab drivers other than uber) which is that demand is predictable - busy late-night areas, concert and sporting venues at the end of events etc. are known to be busy well ahead of time. The number of drivers in that area at that time would not be so volatile as to immediately increase when surge pricing kicks in, but it is highly likely that the number of drivers in the area *before Surge Pricing even kicks in* is way way higher than it would otherwise have been.

For example: A good taxi cab driver will choose to be in predictably busy areas a while before they get busy...

In conclusion, author sucks. Source: family in the industry, and analytical/logical brain.

Comment Trade-Off (Score 1) 892

Reddit is probably going to get quite a bit of PR for this - they're also not going to be employing many people who have strong negotiating skills. In the short term they get to resonate a message with their audience, in the long term they lose a lot of competitiveness, especially in their sales and procurement departments.

Not a tradeoff I would be willing to make if I was concerned about the long term viability of my business.

Comment Re:Tabs vs Spaces (Score 1) 428

Could you elaborate on this for me:
"Because tabs are not enough to lay out code well (you always end up with a couple of spaces to align things correctly)."

Each tab indents X spaces - it's just a multiplier. You talk about using a "mixture" causing problems, and I would agree - so why not stick with tabs which are more flexible, configurable etc?

Using spaces requires additional keypresses, and also requires that the code display with the same indentation on my screen as it does on my co-workers. With tabs he can have the huge indentations that he loves, and I can have the small ones that I love, allowing us both to read and comprehend code more quickly.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.