Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


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:FTA (Score 3, Insightful) 195

by David_Hart (#49363923) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

Because Amazon Canada's selection is pretty terrible compared to Amazon USA.


Amazon Canada is the whole reason why Canadian online shopping is such a terrible experience.

First off - Amazon Canada is NO CHEAPER than retail. I'd find stuff cheaper at Future Shop/Best Buy than at Amazon. Most Canadian retailers are like that - online prices generally aren't great - if you're savvy, you can find it available at the brick and mortar cheaper and available right there. And, save the shipping since few Canadian retailers other than the big guys (Future Shop/Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, etc) offer free shipping. does have some stuff that is cheaper. The problem is that has next to nothing in comparison to For example, my sister bought a high end ASUS laptop a few years back for about $200 cheaper on than it was on Also, my Dad bought some replacement batteries for his portable battery packs with free shipping for a better price than he could get them anywhere local and for a price similar to the prices. For the most part, though, it seems that is a placeholder. It doesn't look like Amazon is serious yet about growing in Canada.

Comment: Re:Best buy (Score 1) 195

by David_Hart (#49363913) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

And I used to love Canadian Tire. But that was, what, 40 years ago? Will have to look online to see if they still exist...

Canadian Tire still exists, is still popular, and has been growing revenue. I don't know where you live, but most Canadians still shop at Canadian Tire. I'm thinking that you're a bit out of touch.

I go home to NB during the summer for a couple of weeks and always end up having to go to Canadian Tire for something for the boat, camp, etc.

Comment: Backups (Score 1) 167

by David_Hart (#49347375) Attached to: NJ School District Hit With Ransomware-For-Bitcoins Scheme

It sounds like this is something would would be noticed shortly after they were locked out. If so, then why not just recover from nightly backups to the point prior to being locked out. You shouldn't lose much data, if any, assuming that it was caught right after being locked out.

Of course, this all falls down if they weren't doing proper backups.

Comment: Summarry is misleading... (Score 2) 166

The article talks about synchronization of time between systems and processes, not accurate time, as in my watch is 5 minutes fast.

If a self driving car is seeing something in front of it and launches an app to determine what that object is, then that app needs to return an answer before the car hits the object and in time to brake to a stop, if necessary. It needs a time signal to understand how much time it has left. The problem, in this situation, is that without some sort of accurate time signal and time synchronization, the object recognition app could take more than the remaining time to develop an answer. Of course, you could launch a second app that acts as an emergency braking program that will hit the brakes in time, even if the object recognition app hasn't returned a result. The problem here is that you still don't know within a rigid level of certainty that the emergency baking app will complete in time.

In many ways you can see this exact same problem with inexperienced drivers. It takes them longer to process what's in front of them and decide to hit the brakes or not. An experienced driver almost has an automatic awareness ("muscle memory") that gives them an advantage when reacting to situations that they have encountered before.

My thought is that as these scenarios become "learned", they can be moved to "muscle memory". For example, most firewall devices rely on application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) for real-time firewall rule evaluation. It seems to me that self-driving cars will require their own version of ASICs that contain "rules of the road" and evaluation shortcuts to handle real-time events without having to rely on time signaling.

Comment: Re:New study? (Score 1) 274

by David_Hart (#49281067) Attached to: Speaking a Second Language May Change How You See the World

Hasn't this been common knowledge for decades or centuries? It's the primary reason they teach some languages. Ie, no one learns Latin because it helps them communicate with native Latin speakers, and most of the students of Latin will not be perusing the classics as light reading (though the Latin version of Asterix is good), but they teach it because it affects how the students think.

Definitely I was told by more than one person growing up that learning a second language changes how you think about the world. So I can only presume that this new study is not breaking any ground and is just a bit more evidence to pile onto the mountain of evidence.

I learned French in high school and it didn't change how I viewed the world. Traveling, on the other hand, has.

Perhaps if you learn a new language on your own when you are more mature. In that case you are already looking for new perspectives and a direction for growth. In other words, it might be the act of learning itself and not languages specifically.

Of course, it's a completely different story if you move to a new region and are learning both a new language and a new culture.

Comment: E-books have covers??? (Score 4, Insightful) 59

by David_Hart (#49277311) Attached to: New Site Mocks Bad Artwork On Ebook Covers

The only time I see the cover for any e-book that I read is when I am on Amazon selecting a new book. Even then, I skip over the cover to the story summary and the reviews. Opening a book on my e-reader (Kindle) takes me to the first page in the first chapter. The covers are displayed on the home screen, but I only go there to open a new book.

What would be nice, assuming that Amazon ever comes out with a color e-ink reader, is if the Kindle showed the cover of the book that you are reading on the display when you shut it off. They probably don't do it today because the e-ink screen is grey-scale and the covers wouldn't look all that appealing.

Physical books required interesting graphic art to catch the eye of a book browser and to differentiate itself. Covers are much less important for e-books.

Comment: Re:Range Anxiety Anxiety (Score 1) 286

by David_Hart (#49268569) Attached to: Elon Musk Pledges To End "Range Anxiety" For Tesla Model S

You don't idle the electric car. It does not consume any power other than keeping the computer alive and the airconditioner/heater. In a snow storm, even with heat off you will survive well inside the car. Just think of the car as a huge insulated jacket.

Already the original batch of engineers who worked with Elon have branched off pursuing other electric vehicles. Almost all the package delivery trucks (UPS, USPS, FedEX) can go electric. 90% of the school bus fleet can go electric. Garbage trucks that make lots of stops and starts will benefit greatly by going electric. Panel trucks used by mechanics, plumbers etc can also become electric. Elon is not pursuing them. But there is an active Elon alumnus working on these projects. With quick swap batteries, taxi fleet can become electric.

It is merely a question of financing. Interest rates are at historic lows. That is what is now fueling the solar panel installations and wind energy projects now.

Says someone who has obviously has never been stuck in traffic in a real snow storm....

I grew up in Canada and live in the North-East US, so I'm talking from experience. You might be able to survive without the heater running, but if you don't have it running you end up not being able to see as the snow sticks and freezes to your windows. Plus, it isn't just idling, it can be stop and go for hours. The electric devices running includes heat, wipers, headlights, fog/driving lights, rear window defrost, heated mirrors, possibly heated seats, etc., etc., etc....

As per a previous post, it's not like AAA can help you out when the battery does die. The best that they can do is give you a ride and//or tow the car.

Comment: Re:Range Anxiety Anxiety (Score 1) 286

by David_Hart (#49266597) Attached to: Elon Musk Pledges To End "Range Anxiety" For Tesla Model S

First of all, "Range Anxiety" is a registered trademark of General Motors. I hope Elon doesn't get in trouble for using it without GM's permission!

Most people who actually own electric cars experience very little range anxiety. Far more common is "range anxiety anxiety": the fear that if you got an electric car, you might experience range anxiety.

Also prevalent among car makers is "range anxiety anxiety anxiety": the fear that, if you made an electric car, range anxiety anxiety might prevent people from buying it.

Remember folks, we have nothing to fear but. . . fear itself!

Some people want to dismiss range anxiety as being some phantom issue. In the future it may be, but it is a real issue today.

Most people who own electric cars have it as a second vehicle. They take an ICE car (own, rented, etc.) when they plan on going on a long trip, driving in bad weather (i.e. snow storm), etc.. Range anxiety is a real thing if it is your only vehicle.

It's bad enough sitting on a highway in a snow storm with traffic backed up for miles because of an accident and seeing that you have a low gas gauge. At least you know that you can get off of pretty much any exit and get gas. With a Tesla, it becomes a bit of a crap shoot. Granted, this will improve as charging stations get fully rolled out. But it is a real concern today.

For me, the concern with electrics is range and towing. It will get worked out eventually, but the focus today is on passenger vehicles and commuting for work, errands, etc.

Comment: Re:It's alive ! (Score 1) 667

by David_Hart (#49264855) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

And how do you pin English down? It's like nailing jelly to the wall- we have many languages loosely referred to as English: Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dallas, Boston, Sydney, N'arleans, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Hong Kong, (sorry, there is no Canadian city with an interesting variation) ... We are a family of languages that are sometimes intelligible to each other.

No doubt there are some topics best explored in other languages- music, art, religion, anthropology perhaps. But for modern living we got it goin' on!

Actually, I'm guessing that you haven't traveled to much of Canada. Newfoundland, Cape Breton, and northern New Brunswick all have their own version of English. Though, northern New Brunswick is largely French with a smattering of English words thrown into everyday speech.

Comment: Scientists don't understand horse racing.... (Score 1) 172

by David_Hart (#49262561) Attached to: Lawsuit Over Quarter Horse's Clone May Redefine Animal Breeding

Horse racing is all about genetic and breeding differences. The whole industry is predicated on unique horses that provides artificial scarcity. Horse race gambling is entire predicated on the chance that an unknown will be bred with enough genetic difference that allows it to be a better athlete.

While it's true that there isn't a huge difference between genetically created clones and breeding (genetic manipulation either way, breeding is just more random), the fact that cloning can lead to multiple copies and genetic enhancements would destroy the industry. Requiring traditional breeding techniques may be seen as "idealistic rubbish" but it supports a multi-billion dollar industry (39 billion in the US alone).

If clone makers really want to race their creations, why don't they start their own horse racing league and their own horse registry?

If you want to watch a race with a level playing field and where the rider/driver makes the major difference, it's called NASCAR.

Comment: Already on the obsoletion list... (Score 1) 108

by David_Hart (#49256895) Attached to: The Internet of Things Just Found Your Lost Wallet

Mobile payments are here. It will take some time to become ubiquitous to the point where you no longer need a wallet, but it's coming. Digital IDs (i.e. digital drivers license) are the next step. Once we have these, wallets will no longer be as common. Why carry a wallet and a phone with you if you only need the phone?

Sates working on Digital IDs:

Good day to avoid cops. Crawl to work.