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Comment Re:Continuum - Finally (Score 1) 88

That was the LapDock which ran a (crippled) Desktop Linux distro when you put the phone in the dock. The dock itself supposedly was useful for turning Raspbery Pi's into fully functional laptops when they went on clearance, but unfortunately I broke my HDMI connector on the dock and only got to try that for a few minutes . . .

Comment Use the KISS Principle (Score 1) 128

I used to have a similar setup at my old place (though without a dock for the laptop, and adding a TV as an occasional tertiary display). While I agree that some sort of smart KVM would be ideal, this is a case where it's best to keep it simple. There's no need to spend $$$ when all you need to do is be smart about what you connect, and press a few extra buttons to switch displays.

My approach was something as follows:
- 4 Port KVM Switch (USB-capable, $20 from newegg)
- 2x Monitors, 1x TV, 2x Desktops, 1x Laptop
- All computers connected via USB to KVM for switching keyboard/mouse. If I were to do it today, I might bypass the KVM and setup QuickSynergy on all machines instead, or in addition.
- Right monitor connected to KVM to switch (VGA) between Desktop 1 secondary display and laptop external output
- Desktop primary output connected via DVI, one to left monitor, one to right monitor
- Desktop 2 secondary display via VGA to left monitor and Tertiary DisplayPort to TV

Both desktops always output to both displays, but each used a different monitor as its primary. I could use the monitors source buttons to quickly switch either monitor between inputs, with the KVM on the second monitor enabling a 3-way switch between the 2 desktops and laptop.

At one point though I actually got annoyed with the KVM, and just used the laptop on its own, and kept 2 sets of keyboard/mice on the table (one for each desktop).

The one feature I wish I had today, was eye-tracking/mind-reading software that automatically switched my keyboard/mouse to the computer+display I'm looking at.

Comment Re:What happened to Common Sense? (Score 1) 363

I don't disagree, but in the case of NYC all right-turns on red are illegal. The problem is that drivers have a green light to go straight OR turn while pedestrians have a Walk signal to go in that same direction.

The problem could be solved ($$$) by adding turn signals to every major street (ie: banning turns on straight-green). The other solution would be to add a pedestrian-only phase where all cars are stopped and pedestrians can cross in all directions - but outside of a few major intersections, that solution would only make traffic worse.

Comment Re:Yes, but can it launch Waze (Score 1) 235

"What is the population of capital of the country in which Space Needle is located?"

Hound correctly surmises that he's asking for the population of Washington, DC...

The Space Needle is in Seattle.

Yes, and Seattle is in Washington State which is part of a country called the United States, for which the capital is Washington, DC.

It's a poorly worded question, but apparently one this app can parse more readily than some humans ;-)

Comment NASA Has the Source (Score 1) 53

Technically, V'Ger was just a wrapper around NASA's Voyager Spacecraft. While not particularly useful for galactic domination, on any other day of the year it would actually be interesting if NASA Open-Sourced the original Voyager Spacecraft Flight Software. As the first spacecraft to leave our solar system, the source code would be an interesting set of historical documents worth preserving (and perhaps for illustrating to new students what code optimization really looks like).

Comment Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 347

And then there's Scotty's Miracle-Worker philosophy:

Kirk: How much refit time before we can take her out again?
Scotty: Eight weeks, sir. But ye don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for ye in two.
Kirk: Mr. Scott. Have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?
Scotty: Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?
Kirk: [over the intercom] Your reputation is secure, Scotty.

Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Look, Mr. Scott, I'd love to explain everything to you, but the Captain wants this spectrographic analysis done by 1300 hours.
[La Forge goes back to work; Scotty follows slowly]
Scotty: Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. But the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: An hour!
Scotty: Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

Comment Re:Industrial Revolution (Score 1) 154

The effects of the early years of the Industrial revolution (smog/pollution from early coal plants and unrestricted garbage furnaces) likely had a significantly larger and longer lasting impact on Earth than the first Nuclear detonation did.

If anything, I'd think that the discovery of the light bulb / harnessing of electricity would be a better point to define the start of a new epoch. That corresponds nicely with the time the industrial revolution started having lasting impacts on the environment, and doubly sets (and lights) the stage for the rapid pace of technological evolution to follow.

The only argument I can see for setting it to the first atomic bomb test is that perhaps those radiation markers are more obvious in the geologic record than rise in CO2 gases and pollutants are, but then again a difference of a century is largely irrelevant on the geologic time scale.

Comment Re:"First Ever Conjoined Satellite Launch" ? (Score 2) 67

Um ... so then what was STEREO? (launched in 2006)

There are pictures of them stacked together

It was even launched from a Boeing Delta II, so they can't claim it was their first conjoined launch. (which caused major launch delays ... due to the Boeing strike, then the batteries in the second stage being de-certified ... then once the strike was over, the Air Force kept cutting in line for launch pads)

Disclaimer : I work for the Solar Data Analysis Center. which operates the STEREO Science Center.

The same is true for the Van Allen Probes (formerly RBSP): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V...

Perhaps this is just the first time that Boeing has stacked two satellites?

Comment Will logs be 'accidentally lost' after accidents? (Score 1) 151

There have been 3 times that I've been close to being involved in a major accident with another automobile, and in all 3 cases it was due to 'Police Driving.' Cop cutting across 2 lanes of oncoming 65+mph highway traffic to reach the shoulder, cop deciding not to wait at a light and swerving into the oncoming traffic lane without turning on his siren while I'm making a legal right turn into said lane...

If this system can somehow make cops accountable for their own bad driving (particularly in the event of an accident), it might actually make the roads safer. That is, providing that they upload data live and/or do not put in a hidden feature to irretrievably delete the last 10 minutes of data...

Comment Re:Its not the CFL/LED (Score 1) 602

With LEDs, the entire concept of a traditional light bulb/fixture needs to be re-evaluated. LED strip lights can provide more unique lighting solutions. When the power supplies are kept separate, then it becomes much easier to replace a failed power supply every few years then having to discard the entire light fixture/strip.

In the long term, I wonder whether we'll ever get to the point where houses are wired with dedicated 12V DC lines specifically dedicated to LED lighting and other compatible low-voltage electronics. That would mean a solar panel or batteries could power the lighting for a house directly, or when unavailable a single high-efficiency power supply can do the AC to DC conversion duties for the entire house.

Comment Re:Hopefully not like their TV remotes... (Score 1) 115

That internet connection requirement gets you the largest database of remote control presets out there and more importantly everything added in the future. It also expands the database as YOU program custom buttons and functions.

If you can find another remote that you can buy today and know you'll be able to program it for your next set of not yet on the market devices, and the set after that, etc does IR and RF, and can mix and match device buttons and functions without switching button profiles, and still does let you program custom functions like a 3D button, subtitle button, VIA button, DVR button, TV Input, Setup, Menu, etc, etc, etc. And actually manages to provide a better interface at a reasonable price point. I'd love to know.

But thus far, the logitech harmony series is the only thing I've found that actually gets that job done at all and therefore is the best by default.

Agreed. I'd prefer the option for an offline interface, but their remotes are undeniably the best out there.

My only complaint is how newer models of devices at the same price point now support FEWER devices/activities than the older remotes. Memory only gets cheaper over time, and limiting the number of devices per remote is just a greedy way of forcing users to buy more remotes. (I have an older Harmony 520 that supports 12 devices, whereas the newer Harmony's in the same price range only support 8). /rant

Comment Re:Look past the article's version of the cast ... (Score 1) 181

There's also a large number of NYers who want their own place but can't find anything affordable. I'm guessing some of those making more money in AirBnb than with legitimate rentals (or re-rentals) may be subject to rent control laws intended to keep prices affordable for tenants.

The city has a housing problem, AirBnb is just one example of its effect. Hotels in the city are (mostly) outrageously priced, as are residential apartments/condos. Nobody can live by themselves in the city unless their (a) loaded or (b) are actually sharing a place with one or more roommates.

I moved out of the city after College, and bought my own house a few years later. If I was still in the city, assuming I was making a similar salary, I'd at best be able to afford a tiny studio apartment. Not one of my friends (who make significantly less than I do) still in the city in comparison have their own place, and for the most part still live at home with their parents. Apparently, NYC is one of the only parts of the country where this is normal today, and that's primarily because its generally the only economical option.

I like the idea of AirBnb, and it's a great service for small towns. For NYC however, there are far bigger problems that require regulation to prevent a service like this from exacerbating the housing situation (not to mention ensuring safety).

Comment Re:"Financial Sense" (Score 4, Informative) 668

I agree that our system is broken, but not necessarily for the reasons you state.

The President does not 'oversee' Congress -- Congress, the Executive, and the Judicial are separate, independent branches of our government. This ensures, among other things, that even if Congress is deadlocked (as it is now), we can't have a situation where there is no government -- like happened in certain European countries recently where they couldn't form a government for months. Of course, that's not to say that guarantees we have a functional government (outside of military)...

The real problem with Congress, particularly in the House, is the two-party system and archaic rules that allow a minority of representatives to block any action even when the other party has sufficient votes to pass a measure.

A primary reason for the two-party system is because of the (gerrymandered) way that all of our representatives are elected from fixed all-or-nothing districts. If multiple seats were elected at once in overlapping districts, with a ranked voting system as seen in parliamentary governments, third parties would have a viable chance of getting elected and disrupting the duopoly.

Without life, Biology itself would be impossible.