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Comment Sure, that could happen (Score 1) 738 738

...but I think the "tipping point" assumes breakthroughs in technology that aren't quite here yet. And to this degree, it's still speculation. Moreover, the electricity needs to come from somewhere, and I'm not sure that solar by itself scales up sufficiently. Hydrogen fusion for electricity generation might *really* provide the tipping point, but it's been "just a few years from now" for decades.

Moreover, huge new usages for electricity make me a little nervous, considering our aging electricity infrastructure.

Heck, I'd like a fast, silent car that I could refuel at home. But I don't see a personal use case for it yet.

Comment Re:"Truthers" don't believe in *air* (Score 1) 320 320

I don't see why accidentally ending up in America because transport messed up should be funny. First day's flight was delayed by about 19 hours by snow. Next airport I missed my connection (unsurprisingly) and the office booked me to continue home through America. Had to book one of those ESTER things online in the half-hour between getting the flight details and having to get through the passport control (did the airport have wired network sockets? did they fuck - had to work out how to set up wifi on the laptop!), then got the third degree from the woman on the passports because I was travelling with my work gear and she thought I was an illegal immigrant or something. Totally stupid. Almost caused me another day sweating into the same clothes.

Very un-funny experience.

It's funny in the same way as someone telling you they went to restaurant last night and noticed the fork was dirty. i.e. it's not the experience that's funny as much as the scenarios hearing of the experience brings to mind.

  • Q. Have you ever been to the USA?
  • A. Yeah - once. Accidentally. (which is pretty funny in itself if delivered just right, and if the tone goes over the head of the person asking the question).
  • Q. How did you find it?
  • A. (so many possible variations) [perplexed, indignant]
    I didn't find it, it was an accident! What the fuck is wrong with you?
  • A. [sarcastic - when you're stuck in a terminal all airports are the same, hell on earth]
    Oh - it was great! (images of people trying to sleep on seats designed to prevent just that, jammed next to overweight missionaries from Bumfuck Kansas who won't shut up, children fighting in the aisles, unable to find a power point that matches any of the adaptors for your laptop, living on overpriced cardboard sandwiches, while loud Hari Khrisnas dance around you, shivering in O'Hare, wearing the only clothing that didn't get rerouted to Hong Kong - a Manchester United jumper and ridiculous hat with Viking horns you paid over the odds for out of desperation in the souvenir shop)
    I especially liked Disney Land (images of a mob of angry stranded passengers surrounding the inquiries desk where the clerks compete to see who can start a riot first)
    I got my picture taken with Goofy (image of the aftermath of a punch up with the chief desk-clerk where a picture of the angry stranded passenger is captured mid-punch, makes the headlines of the New York Times under the headlines "UK football hooligan deported after airport riot").

Not funny to you. But I laughed (which is what counts, right?).

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 358 358

> It should be noted that no updates will go out to regular users until they have been vetted through several rings of testing,

Yeah, but they always say that. In fact, if there weren't words to that effect documented somewhere, someone at Microsoft would probably lose their job.

Comment Re: Wow (Score 1) 64 64

Thanks for that. That was way before my time but I've got quite a fondness for that era. Like the whole late-1950s to 1970s.

" In the early 1970s, while Jack Schleh was closing Soundac and moving the company's materials to a van, car thieves stole the van, which was never found."

So sad, and mysterious. I wonder if we'll find film rolls as people pass on?


NY Judge Rules Research Chimps Are Not 'Legal Persons' 86 86

sciencehabit writes: A state judge in New York has dealt the latest blow to an animal rights group's attempt to have chimpanzees declared 'legal persons.' In a decision handed down this morning, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe ruled that two research chimps at Stony Brook University are not covered by a writ of habeas corpus, which typically allows human prisoners to challenge their detention. The Nonhuman Rights Project, which brought the lawsuit in an attempt to free the primates, has vowed to appeal. We posted news last year about an earlier case (mentioned in the article) brought by the same group, which also ended in defeat.

Comment If I had 8 and couldn't go back to 7... (Score 1) 358 358

If I was running 8 or 8.1 and could not conveniently or inexpensively go back to 7, then I'd upgrade the machine to 10. Or put Linux on it, maybe, depending on what I was using it for.

I have a copy of 8, upgraded a win7 laptop to it, fought with it for a month, upgraded to 8.1, fought with that awhile longer, and ended up restoring back to Win7. And that's where it sits now. And my copy of Windows 8 sits on the shelf. Had I bought the laptop with 8 already on it, yeah, I'd move to 10. 8 is such a dog that it would be worth time and energy to work through the teething problems with a 10 upgrade.

On the other hand, a stable system running Windows 7, on which I do actual work, yeah, that's not going to get upgraded to 10 anytime soon. More than anything else, there's no *reason* to do so.

Comment Re:Efficiency (Score 1) 738 738

I'm actually a huge fan of the idea of an electric car with an external-combustion range extender under the hood. High-efficiency turbines (of the sort they use in industrial power generation, not the sort in aircraft and the M1 Abrams) are very durable, but also quite heavy. However, if we're talking about a 40 HP generator in a 400 HP car, it can afford to be 3x as heavy per HP as a normal car engine. Doubling the efficiency is worth something.

Comment Re:There probably isn't one (Score 1) 111 111

Especially if you are looking to wirelessly transmit 1080i/p reliably. I've tried and wireless was so unreliable (display artifacts and whatnot not present with wired) that I wound up going to the crawlspace and running wires to every device in the house.

There are proprietary solutions, and generic solutions.

I've seen proprietary HDMI to wireless to HDMI adapters - one end plugs into an HDMI ouput, the other end plugs into an HDMI input and it's supposed to work, but no idea how it works internally.

Then there's non-proprietary solutions like Miracast which is built into Windows 8/8.1 and can cast your screen to it, but it's laggy as all heck.

Which is to be expected - a raw RGB888 HDMI image at 1080p60 is a large datarate (4Gbps) so you're going to lose something due to compression unless you run 10gE through your house.

If it isn't wired, you're not gonna game with it.

Comment Re:Jeremy clarkson does not approve (Score 1) 738 738

Not, dealers don't charge you for recalls - ever. That's why they're recalls. They charge the manufacturer, and usually make a bit of money in the process. Some things they won't fix unless you complain, but there's a list of things they'll fix the next time they see your car, if it needs them (because they're fast and the dealer makes a little money doing them). There's often a non-descriptive line buried in the invoice somewhere that lists some recall numbers or just mentions them obliquely, with no charge associated, so most people never notice.

How much this varies by brand, I don't know, but certainly the luxury dealers do this, and for safety-related recall everyone does (for the safety ones you'll probably get a postcard about the recall, but the dealer will still just do it automatically). It's not like they hide all this, they just don't call attention to it.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 738 738

Complaining about Whole Foods' prices is like complaining about the price of a Mercedes S-class.

Except that an S-class is actually good, while Whole Foods is explicitly a sort of scam designed by a conservative to separate foolish hippies from their money (this isn't a secret or anything). While WF didn't invent the "call it organic and charge twice as much" idea, they sure did capitalize on it.

They've really nailed the presentation of goods to fool hippies (well, more accurately, middle-class, middle-aged people who still think hippies are cool) into paying more for food. The model doesn't work so well for young hipsters though, which is why the corporation is creating a new chain of stores just to have a different presentation to target hipster suckers separately.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 738 738

At some point, the freeway system will go autonomous only with no set speed limit. That will be the day the last non-autonomous, non-just-for-fun car gets sold.

You live in a city, don't you. And anyhow:

I strip away the old debris that hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta from a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime

Wind in my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenaline surge

Comment Re:Jeremy clarkson does not approve (Score 1) 738 738

Most cars get "automatic updates" from the dealer whenever you bring it into service. There's usually a long list of non-critical recalls that neither the manufacturer nor he dealer is keen to tell you about, but if you get service at the dealer all the fixes will be quietly applied. More and more, these are firmware patches.

So, to answer your question "so commonly that most people never realize there was an update". Tesla is somewhat unique in adding new features this way, but fixes are quite common.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"