Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


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:Obvious Usefulness (Score 1) 157

by CaptainOfSpray (#49233933) Attached to: Strange Stars Pulse To the Golden Mean
Are the pulsars and quasars distributed in any useful way? Maybe in a sparse but heavily-trafficked area you might want add a beacon or two? Second, the quasars are red-shifted - does that not mean their light gets preferentially absorbed by dust/gas etc, which makes them useful only at quite short ranges? (Short is of course a relative term for a starship navigator).

Then, of course, there are those captains that can't bothered follow the rules or even keep a lookout.

Comment: Obvious Usefulness (Score 1) 157

by CaptainOfSpray (#49232085) Attached to: Strange Stars Pulse To the Golden Mean
When you do a hyperspace jump of any worthwhile length, the navigational inaccuracies accumulate, and you come out somewhere that you don't know exactly where you are. How long will it take you to work out where you are and get a position accurate enough for the next jump? Could be days if you are looking around for stars, trying to match their absorption spectra against a database, observing long enough to determine their real motion, etc etc.

What you need is a lighthouse. Preferably two-three so you can triangulate. Get a position in minutes.

We humans, setting out to use the trackless seas of our planet, with crap navigational instruments - one of the first nav aids we built were lighthouses, for instance the Pharos at Alexandria, more than 2,000 years ago.

I wonder if this star is anywhere near a hazard? That would confirm it in my mind.

Comment: Bugs in Win 7 UI (Score 5, Informative) 516

by CaptainOfSpray (#49135575) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10
"after releasing Windows 7"

So the bugs in Win 7 UI were actually created by Microsoft people?

1. In Win 7, open Windows Explorer
2. Get a list of files up.
3. Delete a file
4. Whoa, the file is STILL THERE in the list
5. Delete it again
6. Whoa, ERROR MESSAGE "file not found" - if so, why is it listed?

That's a fundamental breach of the user paradigm. No previous Windows has ever done anything so mindlessly wrong.

This shit is why I decided to stay with XP till the end, and then moved to Linux Mint Cinnamon. Which was an excellent move - it runs lighter and faster on my hardware than XP ever did, and looks and feels a lot more like the UI that I already knew than Win 7, Win 8, Win 8.1 does.

Comment: Re:Realistic (Score 4, Informative) 374

by CaptainOfSpray (#49129495) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt
There is a solution already in use round the world. It's called "pumped storage". Dinorwic and Ben Cruachan are just two out of the many examples worldwide.

Base load from generators that aren't easy to start and stop (say nuclear) is used during low usage times to pump water up to height. When peak power is required, a flick of a switch sends the water through turbines that spin up extremely rapidly. Dinorwic can go from 0 to 1320 MW in 12 seconds.

This setup is excellent for using/storing solar power.

Comment: Same old, same old.... (Score 1) 191

by CaptainOfSpray (#49018333) Attached to: Microsoft Trademarks "Windows 365"
Microsoft has tried at least three times during my career to sell rental contracts for Office. The rental approach has never worked on any of those occasions. If they can't get it to work for Office, it'll never work for Windows.

On one of those occasions, I was deeply involved with an effort by a major international company to set up Office on rental licences, as part of their portfolio to offer to business customers. I helped set up and run a trial, we got some trial customers in, and tried to get Microsoft to do their bit to make it work. We met with a total blank indifference from the local Microsoft people, and a total refusal to move even an inch to be helpful to the trial customers.

There were constant problems (with updates, with licence management, with bugs), and Microsoft was massively unhelpful whenever we phoned the global assistance helpline (which we were paying through the nose for). I don't think we got a satisfactory answer to any of the problems we reported (alll probs that could not be fixed at either local or country level)

In the end we gave up, bought the trial customers full-price retail licences and boxed sets with manuals, just to be able to get out of the trial.

Comment: Re:Why a human in the IKEA challenge? (Score 1) 129

by CaptainOfSpray (#49011671) Attached to: Replacing the Turing Test
What's difficult for a human in assembling IKEA furniture is PAYING ATTENTION to the instructions. I have been assemblling IKEA furniture for 40 years (since there were only two IKEA stores in the whole world) and I have never had instructions that were not right. When humans screw up an IKEA assembly, it's because of choosing the wrong piece, or not rotating the piece to the correct orientation, or not using the correct screw/bolt/doohickey for the currrent stage.

Frankly, the "IKEA test" identifies creatures who claim to be human, but aren't.

Comment: Re:FAA could only *limit* US launched rockets (Score 2) 283

by CaptainOfSpray (#48970831) Attached to: FAA Could Extend Property Rights On the Moon Through Regulation
Ever heard of hydroponic farming? They can grow their own food, and with good recycling keep on eating and producing oxygen for years. There's plenty of water ice on the Moon, frozen under the surface. And there's free solar energy in huge quantities.

Nobody would man a facility on the Moon without some backup means of staying alive.

I would not write it off that quickly.

Comment: Green with Envy (Score 5, Funny) 164

by CaptainOfSpray (#48818249) Attached to: The Mainframe Is Dead! Long Live the Mainframe!
I found this in the Overview of the Announcement Letter

"The name change serves to signal ... the role of the mainframe in the new digital era of IT."

Us old farts are envious of the new digital mainframes - we were seriously handicapped back then, working on all those old analog mainframes.

It isn't that mainframes are eternal, it's that marketing wonks who write this sort of stuff are allowed to breed...

Comment: Cake PHP Framework - easy and fast (Score 1) 264

by CaptainOfSpray (#48805131) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?
Cake PHP will generate an app extremely quickly if all you want is Create-Read-Update-Delete (CRUD) of records, in a Model-View-Controller structure.

1. Define the database in MySQL
2. Run the delightful commands "./cake bake model all", "./cake bake.controller all", "./cake bake view all"
3. And you are done, 20 minutes after you started. Cake exploits naming conventions to give you auto generation of code, auto lookup of encoded values, etc etc. I have not yet discovered all it can do.

And best of all, you don't need to write any interface code, that is what a browser is for.

Comment: Eben Upton: Raspberry Pi, its community, and more. (Score 1) 299

by CaptainOfSpray (#48703365) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: The Beanies Return; Who Deserves Recognition for 2014?
1. For the Raspberry Pi, for thinking up the idea, for getting people and companies engaged to make it happen
2. For the community around the R-Pi that formed after the launch, dirven by both Eben and Liz Upton (she deserves credit for the Blog on the R-Pi Foundation website, which has been an inspiration to many)
3. For the metric fuck-ton of creativity that the R-Pi releases. Almost evrybody who plays with it gets a wild idea and goes off and implements it. God only knows what it is that makes that happen, but that flow of white-hot creativity is what drives the whole R-Pi phenomenon.

It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.