Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Rapidly diminishing Firefox (Score 1) 315

I've never used tab groups, but maybe there is a reason for that - if you want users to use a feature, DON'T HIDE IT. Seriously, the average user would have no idea that tab groups even exist, because there is no button for it by default, no menu for it. You either have to customise the UI, or know an obscure hotkey.

I'd never used it either, because I didn't know about it... but to be fair to Mozilla, as someone else here pointed out, it IS in a menu: press that down-arrow next to the New Tab "+" button on the tab bar, the one that shows you all your open tabs, and right at the top there's the Tab Groups menu.

Careful how you press it though... in particular do NOT click the X close button when the Tab Group window comes up, or you'll lose all your tabs!! (Although there was an Undo, which I hurriedly clicked.) Instead, just click anywhere else in that Tab Group window to go back to where you were...

So, um, yeah...

Comment Re:How do they know? (Score 1) 315

Before we all beat ourselves up too much, I just went to check if I had it turned on or off (off, as it happens), and discovered this:

This feature is turned on by default in Nightly, Developer Edition (Aurora), and Beta builds of Firefox to help those users provide feedback to Mozilla. In the general release version of Firefox, this feature is turned off by default.

So in fact it's mainly power-users that they'd be getting telemetry from in the first place...

Comment Re:Let ~anyone~ buy a TV license, please! (Score 2) 174

I've watched a LOT of BBC material and it's great. I love their science shows where they teach real science without hand puppets and crayons. Think Through the Wormhole with their idiotic animations. Brian Cox vs Morgan Freeman. WTF? Morgan Freeman is not a scientist. Not even a little. Also TTWH is always going on about the "god" thing which is extremely annoying. So much about that show is crap.

The funny thing is, that many of us Brit science-y types bemoan the state of BBC science programming these days, compared to what it used to be back in the 70s and 80s. By the 90s, all the old guys had retired and the young arts graduates had taken over, and it was all dumbed down hugely, on the grounds that if they couldn't understand it, then surely nobody could.

Thankfully this trend has reversed a little in recent years, although my blood still boiled when, during the first episode of Prof. Brian Cox's flagship series "Wonders of the Solar System", he managed to spend an hour twatting about the globe, being filmed looking dashing & windswept in various beauty spots, allegedly to "explain the workings of a total solar eclipse", yet without ever actually doing so. A fifteen-second animated diagram of the Earth-Moon-Sun relationship, as we used to get back in the 1970s, was all it needed, but nooooo, let's just have more of Brian looking mystical on a mountain-top.

An intelligent nine-year-old boy shouldn't, after watching a one-hour programme about solar eclipses, turn round and say "But I still don't understand WHY it happens". But he - my then stepson - did. It's not good enough.

Still, glad to hear how much you enjoy our TV programming. For all its faults, and declining standards, it's still good stuff, and most of us know it. :-)

Submission + - EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands Facebook kills its real names policy (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook has come in for heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

Comment Re:Because it toggles an LED! (Score 1) 698

Num Lock and Scroll Lock also provide the same functionality, but the positioning of Caps Lock just makes it convenient.

Careful! Not sure how much it's still true, but it used to be the case with many keyboards that Num Lock toggled the LED inside the keyboard, so it would still go on and off even if the main CPU was as hung as hung could be. Only Caps and Scroll provided a decent "are you still alive?" check.

Comment Re:I have wondered.. (Score 1) 492

I have wondered...

About how much money corporations spend to cause fragmentation and put people into positions to make shit decisions (Gnome). Yup, I'm sure some of that is simply paranoia. That said, watching some of the shit that gets made on projects like Gnome.. I have no other way to explain what they do.

Yup, I've said on here before that I thought it mightily suspicious that just as Ubuntu was really starting to gain some serious desktop traction, with Live CDs converting more and more of my friends and acquaintances, Canonical suddenly decided to dump Unity (and a half-finished Unity at that) on us, sending half the people scurrying back to Windows and the rest fragmenting to other distros.

I know one should always prefer cock-up to conspiracy, but it really couldn't have been better timed to wreck the best chance that Linux ever had to displace Windows on the desktop.

Comment Re:it's a C idiom (Score 1) 264

Someone I know has a fast way to compute CRCs without tables that use only a single loop. The method seems broken to some people... [snip] ...but when you do the math it all works out.

I don't doubt that this is possible but is it really faster than using tables on any actual existing processor? Even CRC-32 only needs a 1K table, it fits into cache, it's really fast unless you're doing CRC of very short strings. And is he perchance using his own non-standard polynomial to make this trick work? Has he proven that it's as strong as the standard polynomials?

I first came across what I think was the grandparent's "hack" when writing code back in the 1980s for an 8085-based EPOS-terminal. With a total address space of 64KB (albeit we did have paged ROM and RAM to extend that), any but the smallest look-up tables were a ridiculous luxury.

First time I saw the hack, I thought "you WHAT now?!" and so one bored Friday afternoon I followed it all through and bloody hell, yes, it worked. Kinda melted my head as to how on earth the (since-departed) author had come up with it, but it worked.

We used it to calculate CRC-16-CCITT and CRC-16-IBM in both normal and reversed versions (four in total), so it seemed to be flexible enough to use any polynomial you wanted.

I'd be very interested to see the code :)

Sadly, although I probably still have the code (only slightly naughtily, since I was also the guy responsible for doing the backups, including offsite backups), it'll be on a 5.25" floppy somewhere, and a quick Google doesn't turn up anything I recognise... so you'll have to wait for another day.

Comment Re:They didn't grab the opportunity (Score 1) 359

Heh, I'd forgotten about the Faces on Ads thing being the cause of all the Google hate amongst my friends that I wrote about earlier in this thread.

But for us guys, it wasn't the delay in getting an invite that was the biggest problem - in fact you could argue it made us even more keen, as we waited...

...it was the prospect of losing years'-worth of emails, overnight and with no comeback, if Google decided that you weren't using your real name, that did it.

Comment Re:Shady Misinformation About Real Name Policy Too (Score 1) 359

Facebook had the same policy until basically a moment before G+, and they wielded it just as unfairly, too.

The key difference was, that when Facebook wielded it, you didn't suddenly lose five years' worth of emails overnight, without warning nor comeback. THAT'S what killed G+ amongst me and my friends (see my longer post here if interested).

Also, I don't think Facebook were so heavy-handed at that time (they are now) - I knew a few people back then who had dupe Facebook accounts (for work v. friends, or for "interesting" personal lives) which didn't get shut down until later.

Comment Re:What ruined Google+ from the beginning was... (Score 4, Insightful) 359

Even worse, if they decided they didn't believe you were you, the account would be terminated. And because it was all tied together, it would take youtube, gmail, and your android phone with it.

Absolutely, and THIS was why Google+ failed, at least in my world.

They launched it at precisely the right time, when the world (or at least a very large proportion of the people I know here in the UK) was hating Facebook for their constant revamps and massive privacy invading. We were all gagging for a Facebook replacement. We hated them.

And Google provided it, while addressing one of our biggest bugbears about Facebook, that you couldn't separate your "work" contacts from your "friends" contacts without using the forbidden multiple accounts. Google's Circles (later copied by Facebook as lists) got that right. Great stuff!

At first, of course, it was invite only. Fair enough, that's what they did with Gmail... so I - and a whole bunch of people I know - eagerly waited for one of our well-connected friends to get some invites; we couldn't wait to stick it to Facebook and feck off to G+ for good.

Sure enough a couple of them did get invites, and offered them out... just as the whole "real names" hoo-hah came out. Heaven knows we were pissed off as it was by the real names policy (which Facebook was also laying down at the time), but that in itself, although a big blow, wasn't quite the fatal one. THAT was the revelation that if they decided against you, you lost years' worth of your emails with no comeback at all -- those emails that they'd been so adamant you didn't need to download to your local machine with POP etc.

I think pretty much all those invites went unclaimed.

They eventually back-pedalled as fast as their little legs would carry them, but too late, the damage was done.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright