Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re: No thank you (Score 1) 203

by Arnold Reinhold (#49657075) Attached to: Critics Say It's Time To Close La Guardia Airport
There is no excess capacity on the Amtrak/New Jersey Transit lines. A project is underway (East Side Access) that will connect Grand Central with the JFK Airtrain people mover, but it's late and massively expensive. New York State is proposing a similar people mover to connect Laguardia with the subway and commuter rail. Extending that elevated people mover to link with JFK is a more realistic option since it could use air rights over highways. This could allow JFK to back up Laguardia, for example.

Comment: Re:America (Score 3, Interesting) 120

I think you are missing the point. When the pullout tabs were phased out in favor of tabs that stay with the can, I remember thinking that a thousand years from now discarded pullout tabs will be a valuable archeological resource. They are distinctive, ubiquitous, and indestructible, and because they were only used during a short time, they would conclusively date any architectural layer they were found in. Maybe modern circuit boards with their date coded components will serve a similar purpose. I wonder what it would take to get current manufacturers to emboss a year code in can tops or in IC dies? Make trash serve history.

Comment: Re:Feminist bullshit (Score 3, Insightful) 41

by Arnold Reinhold (#49214761) Attached to: The Astronomer Who Brought Us the Universe
Leavitt's discovery is on a par with Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter in changing our view of the universe. It combined a brilliant insight, that all the stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud are at about the same distance from Earth, and a lot of hard work analyzing photographic plates. Her measurement tool is still the main one used to determine cosmic distances from beyond the range of stellar parallax out to nearby galaxies, and is used, in turn, to calibrate Type Ia supernova, the standard candle for probing deep into intergalactic space, and back to the Big Bang. Another example of women astronomers getting less recognition than they deserve is Jocelyn Bell, who discovered millisecond pulsars and whose thesis advisor won the Nobel Prize for that discovery.

Comment: Re:So which kind of solar is it? (Score 1) 191

by Arnold Reinhold (#49030585) Attached to: Apple Invests $848 Million Into Solar Farm
"But that is only a theoretical advantage, not a real one, since the current demand curve for electric power fits the production curve of PV quite well." That's not true. Peak consumption is around 7 pm, after solar drops off. Visit the California ISO site and look at their renewable graphs. Being able to provide power a few hours after sunset is a big win.

Comment: This is a software issue (Score 4, Interesting) 78

The Cambrian explosion is more likely explained in terms of genetic software. At some point, a collection of genes evolved that could reliably control and pass on complex growth patterns. Before those existed, multi-cell organisms had very simple forms and limited functionality. Once that morphological operating system was in place, a vast variety of organisms could evolve.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 230

by Arnold Reinhold (#46891689) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
From the IBM History FAQ, page 26: "Q. Did Thomas Watson say in the 1950s that he foresaw a market potential for only five electronic computers? A. We believe the statement that you attribute to Thomas Watson is a misunderstanding of remarks made at IBM’s annual stockholders meeting on April 28, 1953. In referring specifically and only to the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine -- which had been introduced the year before as the company’s first production computer designed for scientific calculations -- Thomas Watson, Jr., told stockholders that “IBM had developed a paper plan for such a machine and took this paper plan across the country to some 20 concerns that we thought could use such a machine. I would like to tell you that the machine rents for between $12,000 and $18,000 a month, so it was not the type of thing that could be sold from place to place. But, as a result of our trip, on which we expected to get orders for five machines, we came home with orders for 18.”

Comment: Re:In the late 70s (Score 5, Insightful) 230

by Arnold Reinhold (#46881183) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
The punched card era ended for me in 1975, when I started working on Data General Nova minicomputers at Computervision. But I spend more than a decade before that with cards and keypunch machines. I never let anyone else punch in my programs, as I usually found some errors when I typed them in myself. Card decks weren't dropped often and it wasn't that big a deal. Dropping a deck is not an effective way to shuffle it. I'm more nervous about my online source files being munged by accident. The overnight or 24 hour turnaround was common, but possible to work around. I spend many nights after mid-night at the MIT computer center in the late 1960s, when hour or even half hour turnarounds were possible. One spent the time waiting socializing or helping others find their bugs. During summer jobs at NASA MSC, I found a Honeywell 316 that wasn't being used much and could get time on it all to myself when needed. In the early 1970s my employer had an IBM 1130 and we took turns using it, so turnaround was not an issue there, though it could be when software was to be installed at a client. Finding ways to get around obstacles in your path was a valuable skill then as now.

Comment: Their data is too weak to support their conclusion (Score 1) 198

by Arnold Reinhold (#43765533) Attached to: Data Center Managers Weary of Whittling Cooling Costs
One could also interpret the data as saying that since 2011, 8% of data center operators have looked into improving their energy efficiency and have done as much as they think feasible. That 50% consider energy efficiency very important in the latest survey suggests that it is still is. Data centers use about 2% of the electricity consumed in the United States.

Comment: None (Score 0) 423

by Arnold Reinhold (#41282745) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Computer For a 7-Year Old?
The longer you keep you kid off computers the better. Computers are highly addictive and you won't have the will power to limit it's use in any effective way. You've got important stuff to do, kid is being a pest, it's just too easy to bring up a game and put him in front of it. Let the kid learn about the real world, enjoy physical activity and interact with people fact to face.

Comment: Apple has a strategic decision to make (Score 1) 404

by Arnold Reinhold (#41139047) Attached to: Google Distances Android From Samsung Patent Verdict
It seems to me Apple has a strategic choice: it can license its patents on basic technology, like pinch zoom and edge bounce, to Samsung and others, or keep suing. Licensing keeps Google Android as its main rival, while Apple gets a tidy tax on every smartphone sold. Not licensing puts Microsoft and Nokia, two hungry giants, back in the game and brings Apple nothing. Sometimes it's best to quit while you're ahead.

Comment: Accident statistics don't support cell phone risk (Score 2) 358

by Arnold Reinhold (#39252931) Attached to: Smartphones More Dangerous Than Alcohol, When Driving

Accident statistics in the U.S. do not seem to support the supposed danger of driving while talking on cell phones. During the period when cell phones became wildly popular here, the automobile accident rate has dropped sharply. According to the Centers for Disease Control "From 2000 to 2009, while the number of vehicle miles traveled on the nation's roads increased by 8.5%, the death rate related to that travel declined from 14.9 per 100,000 population to 11.0 and the injury rate declined from 1,130 to 722." Yes, there were other factors, like seat belt laws, but if cell phones were such a major danger, it's hard to believe deaths could have fallen that much at the exact same time they became ubiquitous.

Comment: Showmanship (Score 2) 1613

by Arnold Reinhold (#37624800) Attached to: Steve Jobs Dead At 56
I attended the World Wide Developers' conference when the Mac II was introduced. Rumors insisted it was to be the first color Macintosh. When the exhibit hall doors opened, there was a Mac II with its big (for the time) monitor, but the image was the original Mac's crisp black and white. It was only when I got closer that I noticed the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen--it alone displayed in bright rainbow color. That was Job's showmanship.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.