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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:how much longer will jet fighters be relevant? (Score 1) 217 217

Swarms of drones would likely be susceptible to concussive explosives or flak. The nice thing about the bigger planes is they have some toughness to them.

Still, I imagine a swarm of terrain-hugging mesh-netted drones carrying small bombs would be a massively useful tool in some circumstances.

Comment Re:Free lunch! (Score 1) 221 221

>Bandwidth is not infinite

Well... in practical finite-but-very-large terms, it's really a matter of how much money you're willing to throw at it.

You can put up a lot of microwave transmitters, and so long as your receiver is designed to be able to pick out the sources - much like a camera can have more than one element registering 'red' - you can use the same frequency range for all of them.

As long as neither the receiver or transmitter are moving significantly, this isn't technologically impossible.

Comment Re:Free advertising (Score 2) 218 218

>How many homes no longer have a home stereo system with a radio turner?

I do. I leave it on to keep the dog company while I'm out and about. He feels pretty strongly about not paying royalties as the programming's pretty weak.

The humans in the house use Internet streaming or locally stored content.

Comment How long will it take IBM to find it won't work? (Score 3, Insightful) 78 78

Unless they've figured out blockchain trimming, and how to vastly increase the transaction rate to traffic ratio, the blockchain simply isn't viable.

There's a reason all those 3rd party Bitcoin intermediaries popped up for 'off-chain' transactions (that solve all of Bitcoin's problems by removing Bitcoin from the equation).

While there may be some Bitcoin enthusiasts at IBM, it won't take very long for the rest of the organization to figure out the technology doesn't scale, isn't efficient, and has a short practical lifespan.

Comment Re:I for one am glad to see the ruling (Score 1) 231 231

>I cannot fathom people who go to extreme lengths of diet and exercise in a futile effort to prolong their lives. No one lives forever. You will die, no matter what you do to put it off. Why would you want to exist in suffering for extra years instead of just accepting your exit gracefully while you're still a fully functioning human being?

I've known people who lived well, well into their 90s before a quick decline. The retirement home was a very brief stop for them, because when they went in it was because their bodies were already failing.

With good genes, a good environment, and taking care of yourself, you can have a couple of decades of life and experience beyond 70.

You only get one go... why waste any of it? Rotting in a retirement home is generally a default choice by people who don't know what to do with themselves without someone telling them first.

Comment Re:Don't support them (Score 1) 157 157

>Why are we paying 10-20% to the likes of Uber and elance/odesk with them providing little more than an app and/or site for us to communicate?

Because you're not going to look through a million sources with a million different interfaces to find what you want.

People want to go to one or two places (real or virtual) that they more or less trust (where "trust" means "have confidence that you can predict what you'll get").

A middle-man may do a bad job of protecting you from bad products and services, but it's still better than nothing at all.

Which is not to say 20% isn't absurd.

Comment Re:Why use a cable? (Score 1) 248 248

Yes, but we have big elevator cars because of the 'one car per shaft' limit. Remove that limit and you can have smaller cars, and smaller weights.

And whatever weight you add (drawing more power to go up) results in generating more power on the way down.

You use batteries and capacitors (or even just other elevators descending at the same time as another is ascending) as your 'counterweight'.

Comment Re:Worthless (Score 1) 248 248

With electric elevators riding vertical rails, you can do switching. Essentially, with three or four sets of rails (one up, one down, a couple for parking) you can put as many cars in the same set of shafts as you want - and even have a supply of extras waiting in a subbasement to be added when required.

Comment Re:Why use a cable? (Score 1) 248 248

It's mostly the counterweight issue, which you can resolve by using electric motors in the cars and large battery banks.

Draw power on the way up, generate power on the way down. There are losses, of course, but it's doable and not terribly inefficient.

The regulations for battery maintenance make it prohibitively expensive. I think there's only one or two such installations in existence.

Comment Re:2 External HDs and Blue Ray disks. (Score 1) 251 251

Ideally, you're going to want a couple of low-end laptops of a make and model known for reliability and able to run directly off wall current. You keep those backups for 20 years and you might find there's no OS or hardware that can handle your old media.

THEN I'd tend to store the data (and an image of the OS drive) on bootable USB flash-based storage. Just in case. You don't need the mechanical parts of the HDD failing after a long period in storage.

Comment Re:so many problems with this idea (Score 3, Insightful) 80 80

>a virtual currency that is in direct competition with its own pet, the Almighty Dollar.

This is what Bitcoin proponents would have you believe, but there is no competition at present, and the flaws inherent in the protocol mean there never will be.

Perhaps some other future crypto will be a competitor, but all Bitcoin does is spawn scams or payment gateways that evolve into PayPal equivalents (once they're big enough they cut Bitcoin out of the loop).

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler