Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Just post it (Score 1) 80

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) 357

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.

Comment: Re:Yosemite (Score 3, Interesting) 370

by Aristos Mazer (#48180851) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

>Does anyone even use full-screen apps?

Yes... on laptops. This is something I've observed watching my own customers work with software -- on desktop machines, few things are truly maximized. On laptops, nearly everything is maximized. I think it has to do with screen real estate. The more you have, the less likely you are to want to fill the whole thing with one window.

Making the green button work to maximize is probably the right choice for the smaller devices. If they want a consistent UI across all devices, that's the right call given the prevalence of smaller devices.

It makes the behavior match MS Windows... I doubt Apple considered this a plus, but I work back and forth across both OSes regularly, and that's one of the few kinks that has caught me.

> At least Apple should put a toggle in system preferences so the user can revert the behavior.

Yes, that would be nice. I agree. But that is explicitly what Apple does not do and what they generally consider to be A Bad Idea. Such toggles lead to low-use code paths in the OS, which means they don't get nearly the same amount of testing and they increase the complexity of the underlying software, increasing the risk of bugs in both settings. I've encountered that philosophy in many companies with large scale software -- better to leave out the option and give people something that you know works rather than put in the option and increase your bug risk.

Question: Does anyone know of actual studies done to demonstrate validity of such philosophy? I've heard it described many times, but I don't think I've ever heard any research into it.

Comment: Can we filter sperm/eggs before making embryos? (Score 1) 366

by Aristos Mazer (#48158707) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

One of the ethical questions (and there are multiple here) is with discarding embryos after they are created. Do we have the technology to filter the sperm and eggs before creating the embryos to achieve the same effect? Or do you need the whole genome together to make a good evaluation? Filtering ahead of time would alleviate some of the abortion concerns with such technologies.

Comment: Asimov's First Foundation Problem (Score 1) 127

I take it this statistician has not read Asimov. By announcing the prediction, you void the prediction. He should have put his program in a certified sarcophagus and then revealed after the show that he had correctly predicted it. Otherwise George R. R. Martin will just use his results as a reason to adjust the script!

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.