Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Just damn (Score 1) 295

by Kjella (#49149327) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

I loved his acting as much as anyone, but I disagree that it was necessarily a sad day. He was, after all, 83 years old. He beat the average life expectancy in this country by a wide margin. He made an impact on a huge number of people, as well. He was ready to check out and move on. Really, what could you reasonably expect an 83 year old man to do beyond this point anyways? I'm happy for him and all he's done.

Dying old beats dying young I guess, but dying sucks overall. The only ones "ready to die" are those where age or illness has already sucked the life out of them. I'm not going to chase the singularity or cryogenics or any other mumbo-jumbo promising eternal life, but heck I hope I'll be like this when I'm 89.

Comment: Re:Wrong conclusion (Score 4, Funny) 94

by Kjella (#49149017) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected

Living in Norway + artificial light + student life with no real commitments I found that my natural cycle is more like 24/12 = 36 hour days than 24. In fact, without alarm clocks I'd have a helluva time staying on the same page as everyone else. The problem is that that sooner or later that clashes with real life and you must get up in the "middle of the night" for a family dinner or you get up in the "morning" and start drinking at a party which messes you up. On Mars making it another 40 mins would be the least of my worries.

Comment: Re:Is that really a lot? (Score 1) 274

by Reziac (#49148859) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

No doubt so, but how about the cost of operations in rough country with poor access, where going in on foot is feasible (witness the illegals crossing it) but patrolling in ground vehicles is not?

Hence I think the real comparison should be: How does the cost of using a drone compare to the cost of using a helicopter in those same areas? I'd guess the drone is significantly cheaper.

Second, how long does it take a drone to patrol, compared to a manned ground vehicle in the same area? What's the total patrol cost per hour for drone vs 4x4?? (Don't forget to factor in the cost of the 4x4 as well as for the drone.) In rough country, a drone (or helicopter) can get an overview in a few minutes, but a ground vehicle might be forced to wind back and forth for an hour to reach the same point (and might still not get a view of the ravines). If patrolling a given area takes the drone ten minutes and the 4x4 an hour, which one is more cost effective?

How does it affect man-hours? The patrol is generally two men, while the drone only needs its operator.

How does all this affect insurance rates on their various equipment? Do reduced hours in use also reduce rates on 4x4s and such? (Certainly it will reduce maintenance costs.)

Lots of factors to consider, not just 'dollars per arrest'. We need to see spreadsheets and balance columns, not assumptions.

Comment: Re:About time... (Score 1) 125

by SuperKendall (#49148713) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

You track it down an fix it which still takes less time that writing the whole complex thing yourself from scratch (where you'd have even more bugs to track down). Then you can submit the fix back to them.

That said, if you start seeing more than a few bugs it's probably better to cut your losses and drop that third party framework. I've done that a few times.

Comment: Re:just FYI (Score 1) 66

by mpe (#49148137) Attached to: Banned Weight-loss Drug Could Combat Liver Disease, Diabetes
DNP is an ATP inhibitor, which means it prevents cell mitochondria from synthesising ATP from simple sugars.

Mitochondria can't handle sugars anyway. What happens is that sugars must first be converted to something mitochondria can use within the cytoplasm. This is generally either pyruvate or lactate.
On the other hand mitochondria can directly use carboxylic acids.

Comment: Re:About time... (Score 2) 125

by Kjella (#49147839) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

Nothing is better than your own code. But given the choice between my predecessor's hairy ball of custom code and a hairy ball of clue between documented frameworks, I'm not so sure anymore. Because the other side to being generic is "will probably continue to function in a sane fashion if I tweak it a little" while one-off code tends to make a lot of assumptions that may have been true when it was written but falls apart in surprising ways when you try to change it. Unless your predecessor actually made clean, documented code but I know with myself that if you're in a hurry that won't happen. I had to walk a colleague through some systems we use once a year to update various coding schemes and such and to be honest it's an ugly mess. But we do it once a year and we're busy fixing the stuff we use often, so....

Comment: Re:git blame (Score 1) 292

by Tom (#49145963) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

I'm not saying users are completely blameless littel angels. But I'm so sick and tired of this reflex of blaming everything on stupid users.

Some comedian said it very nicely about another topic: When a house burns down, and the firefighters put out the flames, they don't just go home and write a report saying "fire destroyed the house". They go in and sift through the debris and try to figure out what caused the fire.

In IT we largely don't do that. We treat users as mystical black boxes and root causes and once we've found the user somewhere in the chain of causality, we stop. We don't ask ourselves why the user made this mistake or why the users don't seem to want security. We say "stupidity" the same way ancient map makers put "here be dragons" on their maps.

And that, I say, is stupid. We should go in there and figure out what actually is in that white spot. Why did the user make this mistake? Why do they fall for phishing? Why do they want speed over security? And a boilerplate "because they're stupid" is not an acceptable answer.

We're so smart (or so we think), but we can't figure out how to make security desirable, unobtrusive and a positive experience. Really?

Comment: Re:git blame (Score 1) 292

by Tom (#49145943) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

cheap excuse

People are too lazy to type in a password in order to send mail.

Then make it not necessary to type in a password. Even I don't understand why I should type a password for every mail I send.

Yes I do use GPG its the best thing we have going right now for the average person to protect his data.

No, it's not. It might be technically the best tool, but if it's unusable, then in sum total, it's not. There are many factors that go into these equations, and we techies are sometimes blind to some of them.

Comment: easy (Score 1) 320

by Tom (#49144853) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

But it's so easy to make a good estimate, takes less than 10 seconds:

Take your instinctive estimate.
Double it.
Increase units by one (if you think "hours", make it days. If you think "weeks" make it months, etc.)

So if you think it'll take 2-3 days, tell your manager it'll be ready in 4-6 weeks. Don't forget that in management school, they teach these fuckers to under-promise and over-deliver. He understands.

Comment: Re:Tilting at Windmills (Score 1) 320

by Tom (#49144837) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

From a human psychology standpoint he would rather know that it will be done in 3 days, barring delays, than not know when it will be done and have it in two hours. I personally think that is a dumb way of doing things, but I am the outlier, not the director.

The psychological issue is that you don't know, but you have a hunch, you have some insight. You know it's probably going to be a few hours.

But for non-techies, all this stuff is a total blackbox. When you say "I don't know" they panic, because for them that means anything from a day to a month or maybe infinity. Uncertainty is a horrible psychological state and people try to avoid it. It's an instinct. When you don't know if that shadow is a monkey or a lion, it's better to panic just in case.

By saying "three days", you give him certainty. Now he knows the shadow isn't a lion.

Brain off-line, please wait.