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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:It's their business model. (Score 5, Informative) 280 280

How does a post that gets almost all of its facts wrong get modded up as Insightful? You started on a provably faulty premise, backed it up with inaccurate statements regarding WebGL, and then closed it out by saying something that I'd have hoped most of us here would trivially recognize as incorrect.

When you expect to get most of your revenue from selling apps in the iStore

Apple announced at the start of the year that they've paid out $25B to developers over the life of the App Store. Do some quick math, and that means that Apple is averaging $0.45B in revenue each quarter from the App Store, which would put it at <1% of their quarterly revenue (e.g. Apple posted $60B in revenue in their latest, post-Christmas quarter).

Which is to say, your basic premise here is that Apple is intentionally crippling the product that makes up 60% of their revenue (iOS hardware) in order to bolster the revenue in a segment that accounts for less than 1% of their revenue (App Store downloads). Seriously? Apple's main business isn't selling apps; it's selling selling devices that run apps, and you may even recall that back when the iPhone launched in 2007, the "apps" it supported were web apps, not native apps.

iPhone doesn't support WebGL for doing fancy 3D graphics on a web page

Could've fooled me. iOS 8 has been out for nearly a year at this point, and has had WebGL support from the beginning without any of the weird requirements you're talking about.

The browser actually DOES contain code for WebGL, but it's disabled...UNLESS your web site signs up to display Apple-provided advertising banners

A) You're confused. You're talking about iAds (and I'll discuss why I know you are in a sec), but the iAd advertising network only operates in iOS apps, not on websites. Sites can't sign up to it.

B) It's not disabled. See above. WebGL support was available as an experimental feature in iOS 7, and as a standard feature in iOS8. No ads or other funny business required.

The reason you're confused is because, technically speaking, iOS did have support for WebGL as far back as iOS 4.2, but it was only available to iAd developers. By that, I don't mean people who agreed to put iAds in their app. I mean people who were actually making the iAds themselves, since iAds are basically just mini webpages that display an ad.

If that seems a bit weird at first glance, recall that WebGL was a resource-intensive feature on the devices of that day, and Apple has a history of restricting the scope or operation of resource-intensive features until the implementations or device capabilities improve (see: background processing, native apps on Apple Watch, etc.), so it made sense at the time why WebGL was restricted to iAds, since they were designed to only be on the screen for short periods of time yet could stand to gain the most from such a feature.

The only sense in which what you said is correct is that for a few years the only people who were able to make use of WebGL on iOS were the ones making the ads, but it was never a feature that web developers had to make a Faustian pact with Apple to use. It simply wasn't available to them.

Safari uses the exact same core rending software ("WebKit") as Chrome - so it can trivially support everything that Chrome supports

They haven't both used "WebKit" since Google forked WebKit to create Blink over two years ago, but even before that, they weren't even running "the exact same core rendering software" for the last several years back when they were both running "WebKit".

Google and Apple have had divergent multi-process architectures for quite some time. Google built their multi-process architecture on top of the original WebKit (i.e. it's a part of Chromium, not WebKit), whereas Apple decided to bake the multi-process architecture directly into the rendering engine, which became WebKit2 and is at the core of Safari on iOS and OS X. Despite those differences, the two companies still tried to keep the engines in sync, but the difficulty in doing so (i.e. it wasn't trivial like you suggested) was one of the reasons why Google eventually decided to just fork WebKit and make Blink, since it wasn't worth their time.

I'm admittedly glossing over a lot of details since there's a lot of history here, but the long and short of it is that even when they were both running "the exact same core rendering software", they weren't actually running the exact same core rendering software, and it wasn't always trivial to port all of the changes back and forth. They both started from the same stuff, but it's been over five years since they diverged in major ways.

Any more faulty premises backed up by untruths you'd like to share?

Comment: You keep using that word... (Score 1) 193 193

How Television Is Fighting Off the Internet

You keep saying "fighting off", but this...

Television shows can be sold again and again, with streaming now a third leg to broadcast and cable, offering a vast new market for licensing and syndication. Television is colonizing the Internet [...]

...this sounds more like "embracing" to me. Maybe we should clear up what we're talking about here.

TV, the medium, is dying a slow death. It has been slow to adapt to the changing reality and hasn't reacted at all to changes in the market. But the content distributed on the TV medium? The shows themselves? They have a bright future. That said, it's just a matter of time before we stop referring to them as "TV shows" and start referring to them by some other name such as "serials" or simply "shows". My guess is that within 20 years the kids will look at us funny if we say "TV show", yet that content will still exist in some other form online. And already, we're seeing some changes in the format, such as with Netflix's shows, which can vary considerably in length from one episode to the next.

For an analogue, think about the news industry. The news isn't going away anytime soon. We have an insatiable appetite for it. But newspapers? They've already lost the fight against the Internet, in much the same way that TV is losing it now. We'd scoff at anyone suggesting that newspapers are fighting off the Internet by posting their news content online. The same is true here.

We'd do well to not conflate content with the medium on which it is distributed. Old media is dying, but its content remains relevant in our society.

Comment: Re:Seriously?!?!? (Score 1) 212 212

Well, one could argue that these agencies should concentrate spying on hostile governments and terrorists, instead of heads of state of allied countries.
But no, it is important for Americas national security to spy on, say, Airbus.

I suspect the NSA doesn't view it as an "either/or" situation, but rather as an "and" situation. They're big enough that they can concentrate on ALL of them. Wasn't the NSA's budget a few years ago as large as the CIA's, FBI's, and DIA's combined? People don't realize how massive the NSA actually is.

Comment: Re:Boo hoo... (Score 5, Interesting) 815 815

why oh why do we still let an enemy oppressor flag still fly in this country? What are we celebrating by doing so?

Free speech. I firmly stand against any local, state, or federal government entities flying the Confederate flag, for exactly the reasons you provided, but I will defend an individual's right to do so, even if I vehemently disagree with their reasons for doing so.

That said, we're starting to take things into the realm of ridiculousness here. Apple is removing apps with the Confederate flag. Great. Except that they're removing a number of Civil War games that correctly used the Confederate flag to represent the Confederacy. What next? Force HBO to stop offering Band of Brothers through HBO Now on the Apple TV because it features a swastika? Remove the Dukes of Hazzard from iTunes because they have a Confederate flag painted on the roof of the car?

At the end of the day, the flag is merely a symbol, and symbols are only as powerful as we let them be. The meaning behind that flag has changed over the years, and has meant different things to different people. We need to recognize that fact, otherwise we'll swing the pendulum too far in the other direction and end up cutting in on civil liberties.

Comment: Re:Ahm Mo Call (Score 4, Interesting) 214 214

[...] why the hell would we expect "[e]xperts in materials science at MIT" to be able to accurately calculate the manufacturing and production costs (and thus savings) for a novel battery technology?

Because, this isn't their first rodeo. When they weren't busy being experts in materials science at MIT, they were busy founding A123. A123 remains a successful company, but they sold it off, continued doing research at MIT, and now have something new that they'd like to make, so they're ramping up a new company to do it.

Comment: Re:This will NOT half the cost of batteries (Score 1) 214 214

From the article:

By 2020, Chiang estimates that 24M will be able to produce batteries for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour of capacity.

Mind you, Chiang is someone with previous battery manufacturing experience, having co-founded A123.

Comment: Re:Ahm Mo Call (Score 5, Informative) 214 214

At least do a little digging if you're going to call BS. From the article:

The company has so far made about 10,000 batteries on its prototype assembly lines, most of which are undergoing testing by three industrial partners

So, this isn't some "in 5-10 years" battery technology we'll never see. This is stuff that has already been coming off the assembly line by the thousands, meaning that they've been able to accurately gauge the actual costs involved in manufacturing. Moreover, their pedigree is pretty good. One of the co-founders for this company was a co-founder over at A123, which many of us already recognize as another player in this space. This isn't their first time getting up and running with battery manufacturing.

Which is to say, these are people with a proven track record of research and manufacturing experience in this field, they already have an assembly line up and running, and they've already placed around 10,000 of their products in the field for testing. You're welcome to call BS, but I'm inclined to disagree.

Comment: Re:What About... (Score 3, Insightful) 95 95

I'd prefer a "Retract Comment" button that kept the comment there but changed the formatting in some way to indicate I no longer stood by it. When (not if) I say something stupid, I deserve to be called out on it and the ensuing conversations deserve to have my post there in order to preserve their context, but I also deserve a chance to learn from my mistake and to help others use my mistake as an opportunity to learn. Removing my post removes the context for later posts and deprives others of an opportunity to learn from my stupidity.

There have been countless times here on Slashdot when I've unknowingly said something that was inaccurate and have had a thoughtful post correct me with the right information. Sometimes they're snarky, sometimes they stick to just the facts, and sometimes they blow me out of the water with vitriol, but regardless of how they do it, when they point out that I got something horribly wrong, I'd love to be able to retract my post so that the focus gets put on theirs, especially in cases where I was up-modded before I was corrected.

Comment: Re:Why the fuck can't slashdot fix (Score 1) 181 181

AC gets ads by default. It's the product. Registered users can disable ads, and I should hope that everyone on Slashdot has the sense to not give websites anything other than their e-mail address for spam. For me, it all just goes to websitename@spam.mypersonaldomain.com, so who cares if they have my e-mail address, since I'll blackhole them if they decide to abuse it anyway.

Comment: Re:I think it is the fear of being sacked (Score 1) 380 380

Hmm...do I believe the Anonymous Coward on Slashdot, or my friend who has worked for most of his professional career as a high school teacher and department head in Texas and regular voices an opinion that directly contradicts the AC's?

To hear my friend talk about it, yes, the unions do have plenty of power, since there are a number of lousy teachers that the administration would love to be rid of but they can't do jack until they have a paper trail of problems stretching back for years, as well as a history of remediation steps aimed at helping the teacher to improve that have ended in failure. Maybe the unions aren't as powerful as, say, in New York, where they apparently have rooms dedicated to teachers sitting around doing nothing because they can't fire them, but suggesting the Texas unions have zero power? Utter nonsense.

Comment: Re:Less suspect than the others (Score 2) 78 78

Apple responded by doing a full audit of code checked in around the time that the NSA claims they successfully infiltrated Apple. The most publicized outcome of the audit was the fixing of the notorious "goto fail" bug that looked innocent but would have allowed an attacker with knowledge of its presence to listen in on communication between two parties.

Comment: Re:Not so fast, ... (Score 1) 203 203

Maybe it's mostly intended for intersections where traffic comes to a stop for a light or sign and then pedestrians get to go? The major danger for those intersections is that the driver simply doesn't think to check for a pedestrian in the first place, since pedestrians aren't usually there anyway. Instead, the driver will pull up to the intersection and won't see the pedestrian, will look towards oncoming traffic to see whether they're clear to turn/cross, and then will advance into the intersection, putting the pedestrian in danger.

A bulbed intersection/curb extension would ensure that the pedestrian was visible to the driver as they were coming to a stop, rather than requiring them to be proactive in checking for the pedestrian. I could see how that sort of thing could drastically improve the safety for pedestrians, though those accidents would only ever be slow speed to begin with, so I'm not sure how much of a concern it is.

But yeah, for moving traffic, I have no clue how this helps. People could be standing at the bulb for all sorts of reasons, whereas stepping into the street is a clear indication that you intend to cross (and in many cases has legal weight to it, as you said). Giving people less room to cross means the drivers have less room to react.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

Working...