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:Sony Comcast Level Reputation (Score 5, Insightful) 266

by Aristos Mazer (#49094689) Attached to: Lenovo To Wipe Superfish Off PCs

Be fair. Sony and Comcast have both blamed their customers and dallied around in court for quite a while before doing anything, or avoided doing anything in some cases. Lenovo reacted within a day. Lenovo may have taken a fall, but there are circles to Hell, and they aren't in the same class as Sony and Comcast.

Comment: Ways to pick good oligarchs? (Score 2) 307

by Aristos Mazer (#49071055) Attached to: The Software Revolution

> The second major challenge of the software revolution is the concentration of power in small groups.

I have sometimes mused about feasible ways to make this work. In other words, just accept that tech IS going to concentrate power in small groups and just ensure that the small group is people we actually want to have that power. Republics are supposed to do that by giving the elected officials the ultimate authority -- by definition, a small group with lots of power -- but that hasn't worked so well by some measures when tech gets involved.

I don't have any good answers here, but I figure that along with brainstorming ways to prevent the consolidation of power, we might also brainstorm ways to be happy with the results of the consolidation.

Comment: Re:Brits hated him so much.... (Score 4, Insightful) 121

Pretty much any country in the world would have treated Turing the same in that era. Most of the world still would. The Brits have no special shame in that category, and they have been doing their level best to set things right. Many other countries still have yet to catch up, not just legally, but culturally.

Comment: Re:Just post it (Score 1) 99

by Aristos Mazer (#48902193) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

Without a license statement, I have to assume that your copyright still applies. It is similar to a chain of evidence for legal proceedings -- I have to document that any image I use in my work didn't just come from some place that claimed it was a public domain image but actually can be traced back to the original author and confirmed as public domain. It's a real bitch some days, which is why the Internet is often not helpful at all for image searches and why people still end up paying large sums of money for image libraries that are vetted as "cleared for commercial reuse".

Comment: Re:Someone teach me something here... (Score 1) 360

by Aristos Mazer (#48837269) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

True, but some ice is right at the tipping point. And some trees only bear fruit at some particular tipping point. As the average temperature moves up, more and more species and systems find themselves outside of their personal equilibrium point. So you'll see a chunk of ice melt somewhere. And some trees die off somewhere. And some fish fail to spawn somewhere. And we are talking about a GLOBAL effect, which means a few of those events happen everywhere. At some rate of failure, the system heals itself. At a higher level, we have mass extinctions and it takes thousands of years for species to come back together. We appear to be pushing fast [geologically] toward that higher level. Look at the problems already being created in California and Texas by the ongoing drought. In March, Texas is expected to break the 1950s record of the "drought of record." We are losing whole towns. If this is a consequence of climate change and not just weather cycles, we have a real long term systemic problem. And the science is suggesting that it is climate and not weather that is causing the droughts.

Comment: Re:In the real world (Score 1) 245

by Aristos Mazer (#48801557) Attached to: PHP vs. Node.js: the Battle For Developer Mind Share

Unfortunately, because of the network effect, it is actually quite important that you fight for your choice. Let's say you like PHP but no one else does... you will quickly find that tools for writing PHP dry up/don't get updated for new OSes. If you like Windows Phone, you're going to need to "sell" your preference to all your friends or eventually you'll have to switch to Android or iOS because if the Windows Phone platform doesn't get enough mindshare, it goes away.

Mindshare matters, and your company can get screwed easily by picking the wrong one and by not defending the one it does pick.

Comment: What is true in 5000 years? Look back 5000... (Score 1) 368

by Aristos Mazer (#48545421) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Dan Simmons, author of _Hyperion_ and other novels, was once asked to write a short story set 5000 years in the future. He said in the introduction that he drew his inspiration by asking what was true 5000 years ago that is still true today. His answer? "In 5000 years, someone will still be trying to kill the Jews." In that respect, a "cowboys in space" type of sci-fi like Star Trek was actually very optimistic... it offered hope of a human society that didn't still have those divisions... and in only 400 years!

Comment: Re:What people want to read (Score 1) 368

by Aristos Mazer (#48545393) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

It can be done. But as Piers Anthony noted, a writer has to be already established to tell the stories the writer wants to tell. "If I want to actually make money, I write a Xanth novel." This was in the commentary for his novel _Firefly_, which, relevant to this thread, includes a disturbingly mature sexual relationship between an adult male and a 5-year-old girl. I don't recommend reading it unless you're really prepared to explore that "what if." It's fairly graphic.

Comment: Re:Should be confidential/private (Score 1) 301

by Aristos Mazer (#48364577) Attached to: Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation

The problem is that one of the points of the body cameras is for citizens to be able to do random inspections to make sure that cops aren't abusing power. As much as we don't want the information abused, we do want citizens able to request and view arbitrary footage. The two desires are at odds with each other, and balancing them will be tricky.

Comment: Re:Here's a Thought... (Score 2) 608

by Aristos Mazer (#48237997) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Multiple researchers have tried doing this. The problem is doing it after the fact... who at age 30 can tell you why they *didn't* do something at age 8 or 16? The answers come back mushy, like it just didn't seem interesting or "not my kind of thing". That doesn't get to the question of what about it turned them off. And something must be turning them off (or turning them on to something else) because there are also studies showing girls who do get exposure younger are just as adept at programming as the boys, and continue to be so as they grow up, provided they stick with the field.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.