Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Where did they get the files from? (Score 1) 546 546

As I recall during the whole Snowden-chase saga, Greenwald stated that Snowden no longer actually had the files with him once they parted ways in Hong Kong. They were never in Russia. And the Chinese probably didn't even know about them before Greenwald parted ways with Snowden. They have concocted planted stories before to try to make Snowden into someone who damaged the U.S. and the U.K. interests. I'll wait to see Greenwald's response before making much of this.

Comment Used Batteries: meh (Score 1) 133 133

What I don't like about this scheme is that I end up driving my car around with someone else's batteries. With my own battery pack I know what the batteries have been through -- their service record, the conditions they have been in, and also what I can expect out of them in terms of performance because I have been using them recently. When you swap out the battery pack that all goes out the window.

These batteries degrade over time. So I could end up swapping my batteries with 400 hours on them for batteries that have 10,000 hours on them. No thanks.

Comment It makes no sense (Score 1) 77 77

Has anyone managed to explain why e-voting always fails when the same technology can be used to run a network of online banking and ATM services, backed up with face-to-face tellers (yes they still exist!) to serve those who don't have online access?

I haven't heard that banks are losing tons of money because it is all online and a lot more convenient for me than it was last century. Yes there are crooks but they are quickly detected and dealt with.

If these systems can keep track of trillions of dollars of transactions with an open-ended commitment to each customer surely a single vote per customer constraint should be no problem.

Electronic voting doesn't work only because we don't want to make it work.

Comment Only part of the problem (Score 1) 170 170

I have less concern than the amount of data being stored as I do the incredible number of files that a typical system stores. Do an ls -lR / on a typical system and you will get tens or even hundreds of thousands of files.

As recently as the days of Windows/NT 4 I could probably keep the gist of the entire structure in my head -- what each sub-tree is for and in most cases what each directory/file is for. Somewhere since then it has become impossible to do so and that goes for Windows, MacOS X, or almost any Linux distribution.

Comment Elon's secret (Score 1) 96 96

I don't know that much about him other than as an investor, but the thing I have noticed about Elon Musk is that he does the homework. He works the numbers and if they don't add up he does something else. So although it seems to an outsider that he is doing something wild, he is actually keeping to a dry spreadsheet.

Someone who didn't do this might have tried a newer whiz-bang battery technology for Tesla. Or maybe fuel cells. Instead he stuck with "boring" old Li-Ion battery technology because he found a way to make the numbers work. And if that technology improves over what it can do today so much the better.

Maybe someone here more knowledgable than I am about what SpaceX is doing can say if he has done the same thing there. From the article it seems like SpaceX has managed to apply technology to get the price-point he thought was necessary. That suggests to me that Elon did his homework many years ago and did it right.

Comment Re:It had better be reliable! (Score 1) 158 158

If you are curious about this you should take a look at the electronics that go into airliners. My company makes a circuit board that uses Freescale processors and many other chips and they want us to guarantee availability for another 20 years. In fact I think we have orders on the books through 2026. During that time one of my successors will have the nice job of finding chips to build them if the various silicon manufacturers decide to shut down the line.

On another application we kept a product going for 5 years after the main chip went EOL by working with a company that specialized in licensing EOL designs just for this purpose

The thing about an automotive application in the console is that the "1000 or more parts" PCB that we are talking about can be replaced with an upgrade much more easily than anything that flies. Boeing has $20,000 circuit boards that were designed 25 years ago they still order even though I could replace the whole thing with a $15 FPGA on a $30 PCB today. The reason: you don't mess with flight critical components without millions of dollars of testing. The $20,000 assembly is cheaper.

In contrast the Tesla console could probably be redesigned in a few years with updated components and possibly even 100% software compatible. The barrier to getting it qualified would be far less even though the car is highly dependent on it working. So if you are making a list of things to be worried about in buying a Tesla this shouldn't be on it.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 152 152

It is not a health concern, and has been used in organic food production for decades before suddenly becoming controversial once genetic engineering got involved.

The difference is that Bt used to be applied topically, and in a relatively short while biologically breaks down so you don't ingest it.

In contrast, Bt corn produces the chemicals internally. The chemicals get ingested intact where before they never were. As a result entire populations of people test positive for contagion of Bt that never were before.

That's my understanding anyway.

Comment The more it changes this thing never changes (Score 2) 294 294

My experience reaches back to the toggle-and-punch cards days and I don't want want to bore anyone with stories about that.

But one thing I have noticed in all those years a I cannot recall a single year where it wasn't proclaimed by someone that software engineering would be dead as a career path within a few years.

Academia and Industry is actually pretty good at coming up with new and better ways to program. Hundreds if not thousands of new languages, frameworks and tools have appeared over the years and an amazing number of them were designed with the idea that "you don't need a programmer anymore." They're still doing it.

If you have been around long enough, you realize it will never happen.

Comment Re:A Republican clearing up your misconceptions. (Score 1) 502 502

Didn't Jesus have access to power sources unknown to us? The Bible tends to refer to this as "god's" power and it doesn't give any more detail but I am pretty sure what Jesus did would require energy sources beyond what the Bronze age could provide.

Frankly, Scarlett, I don't have a fix. -- Rhett Buggler

Working...