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


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: Accounting problems (Score 1) 130

by DaveGod (#46398225) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

Accounting problems generally use accounting solutions. The costs and hassle associated should be proportional to the costs needing to be allocated. Assuming the amount involved are unlikely to be material*, a good enough solution might be to simply apportion based on the number of persons likely to use the labs. This might actually make more sense than detailed usage tracking:

The "big ticket" items are presumably in heavy use and you can imagine a direct correlation (cause & effect, even) between usage and cost. In other words there is something approximating a "cost driver".

More general facilities, particularly if there isn't really "consumables" as such and taking hints from the posting that they are not near maximum capacity (no booking system), users generally benefit from the existence of the facilities rather than being proportionate to their use, there probably isn't a direct relationship between usage and costs. This is therefore more like overhead recovery and you're looking to apportion it using the most relevant method.

* It does occur to me that if this is a university budget every penny is fought over ridiculously so you might have a bit of a fight from anyone who thinks they are "losing out" (read: not winning) from any potential alternate approach. However this is true regardless of approach taken.

Comment: Re:Killing two birds with one stone? (Score 1) 408

by DaveGod (#45988489) Attached to: US Government To Convert Silk Road Bitcoins To USD

I'm not sure about the US specifically, but generally such funds would be managed by the Treasury and they are pretty good at it. Likely they will either slowly release their holdings over time to avoid a saturation decreasing their sales price or arrange a private one-off sale to a 3rd party broker (to avoid risk as Treasuries are not in the business of speculation).

Comment: Stupid move (Score 1) 220

by DaveGod (#44832495) Attached to: UK Gov't Outlines Plans To Privatize Royal Mail

Mail is one of those things that the free market does not handle very well.
- The primary benefit of a good mail system is that it exists at all; it is infrastructure.
- The person who chooses what company/service to use (the sender) is often not the consumer of the service (the recipient).
- There is a huge requirement for cross-subsidy (cities hugely profitable, rural areas loss making).
- Vast economies of scale.

The government argues that the Mail needs investment, but last I checked the state has a far lower interest rate than the cost of capital of blue chip company.

Comment: Re:This is why encryption isn't popular (Score 1) 399

by DaveGod (#44529795) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?

I'm just a user but I don't understand why it isn't dead simple and automatic.

For example, if I put in my recipient field, can't the email client send a standardised request to for the "john" public key? No doubt this leaves room for man-in-the-middle or whatever, but presumably this just means we are now putting email security reliance on existing security systems like SSL or certificates or whatever, rather than nothing at all?

Most webmail already defaults to SSL logins and could maybe do much of this server side. Presumably vulnerable to them being hacked or the feds, but I'm not expecting a 100% perfect solution for no effort.

Every company I deal with that actually encrypts data sent electronically (I do not mean to make it sound like many) either sends an executable or has this thing which for all intents and purposes is setting me up an account on their webmail system, then they phone over the password. The former system is less than ideal as the executable attachment causes the email to get blocked unless they send me a basic email first so that I can whitelist it, whilst the latter is pretty cumbersome and no even more doubt time consuming for them.

Comment: Re:Some punishment (Score 1) 124

by DaveGod (#44405065) Attached to: US Academy President Caught Embellishing Resume, Will Resign

That'll be a benefit built up over the course of the employment, something that was always owed, just not yet due. They would not have any right to not pay it, it would be similar to saying they had decided to reduce the basic salary for the duration of the employment, and asking for a cheque.

Comment: Re:"Plane Airbus Did Not Want To Build" (Score 1) 135

by DaveGod (#44013937) Attached to: A350XWB, the Plane Airbus Did Not Want To Build, Makes Maiden Flight

Yes. Even if plane design and manufacture was a 100% monopoly they would still do it.

- improved "flying experience" for consumers (passengers) may result in more flying and hence more demand for planes.
- reduced operating costs can result in increased margins for carriers / decreased prices for end consumers and hence increased demand for planes.
- reduced operating costs can make customers (carriers) willing to pay more per plane as they will recoup that cost over time.
- releasing a new product may encourage some carriers to abandon older planes that still have useful life left, basically a one-off reduction in the replacement cycle and hence more demand for planes.
- organisations can get some sense of identity of what they are about, and just march on doing it even if it doesn't actually make financial sense. The organisation just "wants" to do it and any attempt to stop can make it very unhappy.

But anyway, it is not 100% monopoly so if they don't do it the other guy will.

Comment: Re:Heat Dissapation (Score 1) 189

by DaveGod (#43884423) Attached to: Intel Haswell CPUs Debut, Put To the Test

Hmm, does the Intel-supplied fan make quite a racket when it starts getting hot? When it gets hot the fan should speed up considerably compared to idle. Also the system should be throttling the CPU automatically if it gets too hot. If these are not happening, I suggest checking your BIOS settings (I assume you are not running any tweaking software supplied by the manufacturer, which is usually very clunky). Another possibility is the hot air is not being exhausted.

If you end up getting a new cooler, have a look at some of the excellent reviews of the Coolermaster Hyper 212+, which is very popular, inexpensive and I can confirm the reviews as regards it being effective and quiet.

Comment: goals and objectives (Score 1) 397

by DaveGod (#43820261) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is the User Experience Too Good?

I am wondering if you have lost sight of the goal a little bit. Goals and objectives can sometimes get a bit confused and we can lose sight of what we are fundamentally trying to do.

What is the goal of the flying car? To transport a person from A to B.

But putting this into more detail we start to break it down into a number of objectives, some of which will conflict. Our person wants to get there quickly, but we know that in order to get there at all there needs to be some degree of safety.

The "best possible solution" to transport a person from A to B will involve a balance of sacrificing speed for safety and vice-versa. If your customer specifically states he wants to be able to get from A to B as quickly as possible, it is your job not to take that literally and to understand what he really means is to get there as quickly as possible within the greater of what he considers an acceptable safety risk. It is also your job to understand that the acceptable safety risk is the greater of what he, you, industry and government standards state is an acceptable safety risk.

Being professional involves knowing what your client needs even if they do not say or know they want it.

Comment: Re:Nothing wrong with the Trades (Score 1) 368

by DaveGod (#43767211) Attached to: Bloomberg To HS Grads: Be a Plumber

I don't much care for the way some look down on the tradesmen that keep things running.

Around where I live I wouldn't say people look down on tradesmen per se, but rather the industry generally. Trades have a low barrier for entry and little regulation, as a result there is a large proportion who are frankly a bunch of charlatans. True craftsmen however are like gold dust, contact details are kept in a safe place and making recommendations that turn out good earns you favours.

Comment: Philips (Score 1) 314

I don't know what is available outside the main UK stores, but I only buy the main model Philips energy saving bulb. From my limited experience they are the only ones that do not require a noticeable warm up, have a decent light, they last for a reasonable length of time and they're also extremely cheap at John Lewis. I hardly find any other bulbs that manage any two of those.

I'm not surprised if they are also leading on LEDs in the mass-market.

(No I do not have shares in Philips, but I criticise companies often enough so I'll commend where its due.)

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan