Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Different types of material (Score 1) 165

While you're in checking mode, perhaps you could research uncountable nouns.

1. You don't add any value to the current conversation

2. Also, you're wrong : it's correct to use the plural :

I suppose you could take the totally opposite route and choose Shapeways or iMaterialize's rubber/elastic type materials

It might surprise you, but there are clearly more than one type of material that is flexible (e.g.: flexible nylon and printable rubber, just to cite the first 2 of the top on my head).
As the poster is referring to different types of material, rather then a bigger quantity of material, the usage of plural is correct.

Comment Batteries (Score 1) 223

There are many times during the year when I may need to drive 300 miles round trip. If it won't make it then it's a non-starter.

Two things makes this realistic:

- vehicle size: In a bigger truck, there's more room to store aditionnal batteries.
Whereas extending a Model S would necessitate fill the front and back trunk with additional batteries (increasing weight and killing potential cargo), on a truck you could realistically use more space for additional batteries while still having plenty of room left for cargo.

- also, electric motor are less complex and cheaper than internal combustion engines. Model X and newer Model S have two motors. European high speed train don't even feature a locomotive because *the whole train* is motorized - every single coach.
This increase either efficiency or (in P85D Tesla S) the peak performance.
So, to further the above point: On a "Tesla T" you could have the whole trailer motorized and with its own battery, dramatically increasing the potential range.
Tesla would need "simply" to design a flat-bed with motors and battery similar to its current dual-motor Model T/X platform, with the necessary point to attach a standardized shipping container for cargo.

- unlike a gaz tank, battery are swappable and it's a rather fast procedure.
Musk has always wanted to supplement Tesla's network of free super-charger, with a network of (paying) battery swaps.

In other words, planty of opportunity for electric trucks in some point in the future.

So by applying the same approach and

Comment Technology vs. Implementation (Score 1) 44

>The main advantage of bitcoin and other crypto currency protocol, is that there isn't a single entity in charge of the transactions, there's not a single point that you can block/ban.

Wrong and wrong. has enough power to control the chain. Around 10 people basically control BTC

I was speaking about the general concept of the design.
Not the peculiarities of the implementation.

The bitcoin (and other cryptocoin protocol) are designed to eschew the need for a central entity (compared to other exchange protocols and platforms that need a central authority and couldn't work without one). By design, bitcoin doesn't need one, because by design it distributes the information across the whole network. And thus by design it CANNOT be anonymous. At best, it's pseudonymous (there are no Real Identities, so an user could seem anonymous at a quick glance). At worse one need to use complex coinmixing operation to manage to maintain anonymity.

The fact that a huge a part of the network is at the hand of few key player and in partice there's an oligarchy controlling it, isn't a result of the design (the protocol is designed without the need of an authority) but of how things have evolved practically for the current implementation:
BTC overly rely on Proof-of-Work (which at some point of time was important to attract new players to grow the network), and beyond that has focused on a specific PoW - a variant of Hashcash - that is computationnally simple, scale dramatically fast (each new generation of hardware completely leaves the older one in the dust) and thus in the long term works best for those with plenty of cheap electricity and cheap access to electronics.
Of which China has plenty (they have Three Rivers Dam, and they are the one who make the electronics for everyone else). So of course they'll end up being strongly advantaged, and few key chinese will hold much of the network's hashing power, and therefor would work as the de facto leader.

That doesn't change the design was to be without the need of a central authority, but be distributed accross a whole network (of which they simply managed to hold the most).

Or in short: The general idea behind the technology is interesting. The current bitcoin network is slowly turning into shit. But one doesn't change the other.

Comment Re:Already here (Score 1) 412

You can still better yourself and get a better paying job, just no free cable TV, smartphone, etc.

I think "smartphone" is a poor example on your list, as it is slowly becoming a critical piece of technology to be able to do anything.
Just like "a computer and a working internet conection" has been in recent times.
It's not just a piece of entertainment (like a TV), but a critical piece of technology to get access to maps, tools of communication (both voice and text messages), reading mail while on the go, getting information, etc.
There are lots of jobs where you basically need a smartphone to be able to work (random example: Uber driver*).

*: Though it's a bad exemple for this discussion, as we're currently speaking of Europe and to work as a driver there, you need a professional driver license, special profressional insurance, etc. these aren't cheap and thus working as an Uber driver isn't an entry job that cou can do when a smartphone and a car are your only pessessions in this world.

You buy what you can afford on your income rather than living above you means.
You want a better lifestyle? Do what the rest of do and EARN it.

The problem is : what happens with people who have always worked to be able to earn the lifestyle. But suddenly aren't able to work for reasons external to their will (e.g.: sickness/accident)
They are willing to work. The have worked up until now. They just suddenly can't anymore.

Comment Salary (Score 2) 412

So once you're in that "basic income" system of yours, I guess you're stuck living in some ghetto and would have no way of getting out of it.

1. It's European countries you're speaking of. Here around, what you call "some ghetto" are way nicer place than any of you ghettos on your side of the altrantic pond.

2. They idea is: "this buys you minimal living accomodation in the more modern parts of a big cite / or in a really small village lost in the back country, now it's up to you to earn anything more you would need to be able to access anything more that you would want"
Deciding to get a paying job is basically *THE* way of getting out of it.

Comment FFMPEG (Score 2) 133

After the FFMPEG fork is there a Linux distro that still uses FFMPEG & Mplayer?

Firstly: Not all distro switched to avlib.
Some simply decided to stay with ffmpeg (e.g.: opensuse never switched at all)
Some changed their opinion back (e.g.: Debian went back to ffmpeg after a while)
This is mostly to avlib never really being a good an active fork, and didn't manage to attract most developper to it.
(Unlike to which most developer migrated after the fork from

Since then the problematic leader of FFMPEG has decided to step down,
avlib has merged back to ffmpeg
and distro are back to- / or are still using- ffmpeg again.
And the guy is now a contributor. He still writes code for ffmpeg, but he's not having a final say on everything and thus fighting with everyone to have his "one true vision(tm)" imposed.
He has fully realized that his character clashes with some in the community, has seen the disastrous result on having avlib forked (the linux ecosystem split across two different forks, none of which becomes a clear leader and each laging behind the other on some important features), and decide therefor to step down for the greater good of the community.

source: Phoronix

Comment Volvo AREN'T autonomous (Score 3, Interesting) 229

Please don't put people in it if autonomous.

The Volvo aren't autonomous in the sense that they don't handle the actual route.

Volvo mainly use their sensors (though it's camera + lidar + radar, just like on autonomous cars)
to detect possible objects that could collide with the car and break and/or sound an alarm.

Note that the driver can still override by slamming the gas pedal. (People want to be able to have the last say).
But if the driver doesn't do anything, the car will automatically slow down and stop before hitting the car/pedestrian/whatever in front.
(And also, resume driving if the car in front starts moving again. That's a very useful feature in a traffic jam. Though if the Volvo has stopped for a longer period of time, it asks a confirmation from the driver (button or gas pedal) just to be sure to have the drivers' attention.
After all, its NOT an autonomous car, and the driver is still responsible, so it would be better if the driver hasn't dozed off during the stop).

Ok Volvo, see if your car can drive this

Some of the feature of Volvo car are already useful in these situations.

Again, Volvos aren't autonomous, it's NOT their job to actually drive though this kind of hell.


The lidar and radar will correctly whatch for anything the car might crash into.
The volvo will correctly stop before crashing into incomin vehicles or against the mountain (due to too narrow space for crossing).

The camera tracks the road and can sound an alarm if the driver risks quitting the path.
(Though unlike other brands like BMW, the Volvo won't correct the course by itself. It just sounds an alarm when detecting that the driver was swerving away of the path and either:
- hopes that the driver will wake-up correct and course
- of the driver will turn on the turn signal, because the driver was actually swerving away from the current lane on purpose - he/she wanted to change lane, but without the turn signal, the car couldn't know it and sounded an alarm anyway. Of course that last one applies to changing lane on a multi-lane highway.
Not trying to stay in path in the kind of hell like this mountain "goat-path-except-there-are-truck-on-it" from your terrifying example).

Comment Alpha car software analogy (Score 1) 111

so the cars are in an early alpha test, to use a software analogy?

Yes, and this alpha-car softrware analofy works MARVELOUSLY well, FULLY AUTOMATICALLY, requiring absolutely ZERO USER INTERVENTION / OPERATOR SUPERVISION...
...on the small test dataset.
Which is exactly a 1mb sized file.

But we're sure that one day we'll be able to plug this software analogy into the data center to service gigabytes of data per second.

Comment Not WRONG but POORLY UNDERSTOOD (Score 1) 251

The poster isn't exactly *wrong*.

He just have poorly understood and reinterpreted in own words, an actual problem that does exists for real:
Some qualcom chipset have the modem inside the main SoC and that modem works as a "sort of northbridge" for the SoC.
The modem is in charge of handling RAM, audio hardware, GPS, etc.
That modem, for legal reason - runs a 3rd party firmware that is provided by the phone service provider.
Android runs on a CPU core that is client to this modem to access the phone resources.

See my other answer in this thread.
And see the Replicant wiki.

Comment Modem firmware, instead of SIM itself. (Score 1) 251

It's not the CPU core and memory that is inside the physical SIM.
As I have explained in my other answer in this thread, it's the modem part.
The modem - which for legal reasons runs a 3rd party closed source firmware provided by your service provider - of several Qualcomm chipset works as "sort of northbridge" to the chipset.
The modem (and its 3rd party firmware) is in charge of several critical parts of the phone, which may include RAM, audio hardware, GPS, etc.
Android runs on a CPU core that function as a client to this modem an accesses everything thourgh it.

Replicant have complained about this in the past and documented in their wiki.

Comment Not the physical SIM card itself (Score 1) 251

It's not the physical SIM-card itself.

See my other answer in this thread.
And see the Replicant wiki.

On some chipsets by Qualcomm (which are extremely popular) the *modem part* serves as a northbridge to the chipset.
It handles some critical component like RAM, sound hardware, and OS is running on a CPU core that is a client to that.

And for legal reason, the entity responsible for the code running both on the physical SIM card it self and running in the modem firmware is the service provider.

Regard TFA, that means that even if Google decide to say "Screw you!" to NY and CA legislation, the phone service provider is just one governemnt letter/order away from getting all your data.
(because, remember: all your data is on a flash medium that is directly plugged into the modem running the service provider's firmware. Your Android is running on a CPU core that is a client to this modem).

Comment Qualcomm? (MSM, etc.) (Score 1) 251

I think, the poster might be referring to some recent Qualcom chipset, where the modem is part of the northbridge.
Thus some core critical part of the chipset run a firmware that is *NOT in anyway modifiable or accessible by the end-user* (for legal reason).
Instead that part of the firmware is controlled by the service provider who pushes automatic update over the air (to both the SIM card it self and to the modem).

Due to its critical position in the chipset, that firmware can also have access to some critical parts like video buffer, RAM, GPS, etc.
That's often the case with Qualcomm chipsets.
Replicant has a wiki explaining the difference between good and bad platforms.
My personal experience: my WebOS powered HP Pre3. Runs on such a Qualcomm chipset. OTA update to the modem firmware will cause THE WHOLE PHONE TO HANG AND CRASH.

As mentioned by the wiki, there are also phone that use a Qualcomm chipset without a modem (for tablet) and then eventually (for phone) plug an *external modem* into it as it should.
My personal experience:
- my Sailfish powered Jolla Phone. According to specs, it runs on a Qualcomm chipset that doesn't have a built-in modem. When my ISP sends an update, the *separate modem* part reboots gracefully, the rest of the phone barely notice it (i just get a pop-up asking me to re-enter my PIN).
- similar behaviour used to be with my older webOS Palm Pr : used an OMAP chipset (those don't have any modem inside) and a separate modem chip. Phone didn't crash on modem-firmware problem (but, back then, OS wasn't that good at rebooting the modem. Some time turning 3G on/off could do the trick, sometimes I would need to ask the whole phone to reboot. SIM card can be changed live, but won't necessarily work without a reboot).

To make a metaphor:

Classic style smartphone chipset :
(like the Ti OMAPs, the Qualcomm without modems, etc. : modem is a separate chip.)
It's like your laptop. You have a laptop, you're in charge of your laptop, you connect whatever you want on it. You can install the OS you want on it.
Like on your laptop, if you want to have connection, you plug a separate thing into it like a USB 3G/4G modem.
This modem only takes care of the connection.
If anything goes wrong you can simply unplug and replug the USB modem.
(Well as the modem in a smartphone isn't a physically separate circuitry, but only a separate chip, you don't actually take it out physically. It requires a bit additionnal circuitry. But the basic image stands: the modem doesn't and can't affect the rest of the system).

Qualcomm style smartphone chipset :
(i.e.: with the modem built right into the northbridge of the smartphone chipset):
It's like your fiber/DSL/cable modem. It has USB ports where you can plug additionnal storage. It has analog ports where you can plug phone handsets.
BUT it's a device that is basically lent to you by the ISP. The ISP is in charge of remotely upgrading the firmware that runs it.
The equivalent of "getting Linux to run on it", is plugin an USB keyboard and USB screen on it, and trying to do something with it (or using a raspbery Pi, while using the modem as a NAS to access everything that stays plugged into its USB ports).
You have access to an interface with you keyboard and screen, the it's still the modem which is in charge of everything, not only the connection, but also all the storage you pluged into the USB port.
If the ISP wanted (or received a government letter ordering them to), they could access your storage and siphon your data: because it's plugged into the modem's USB port and they are the one in charge of the system running here.
That the case with some recent Qualcomm-based smartphone, where the modem is in charge of controlling the RAM, the mass-storage, the GPS, etc.

Comment Separate subject. (Score 1) 442

So because the user has a flawed concept on how a thing gets funded, it shouldn't get funded?

No. You're mixing two different subjects:

A. Because the typical end-user has a flawed concept on how a thing gets funded, means that you can't pin the reason the users is unknowingly disrupting the (broken) funding mecanism on "wanting to get content for free". The users was already getting it for free in their mind.

That is why I started answering in this thread, and that is what you seemingly fail to understand I'm trying to convey.
Several posts upward you said:

No, what has happened, is people have found a way to get a thing for free. This is not a novel idea. If you can get $thing or $thing for free (and the exact same $thing), which one do you think people will choose?

What I'm trying to say is that, in the present situation, in the end-users mind both are "$thing for free". The user is completely unable to understand that one of the two wasn't actually "for free". (Due to "flawed concept" as you mention).
What I'm trying to convey for the past several post, is that for users, both are exactly the same (they think it's "$thing for free" in both case) and thus there is no incentive to "get a thing for free". They didn't find "a way to get a thing for free". It's not new to them, to them it was free already even before adblock.

B. *I PERSONALLY* think it shouldn't get funded, because of the horrendous and stupid way the content provider has decided to fund it.
If this causes the content to disappear (behind a paywall, or go out of business), well good ridance, I won't be missing it.
There's plenty of other content that I don't care about either that I can stumble upon as well.

But I personally think that ads are nearly as bad as SPAM. (The only difference necessitating the "nearly" is that in case of SPAM, the product advertised is almost always garanteed to be awful, even the maker knows it, that's why they are counting on awful tactics to get it sold. Whereas some of the content supported by ads instead of being in the "it's disgusting" level can sometime be only in the "I don't care that much about it" level).

Therefor, just as I think as SPAM is something that needs to die, I also think that advertising is something that I'd rather not be exposed to.

Only the strategy of *how* to to be exposed to ads change.
- If it's something I genuinely care about and are actively seeking as a content : then I use my wallet, so the author isn't forced to expose me to ads just to be able to afford to eat.
- If it's something that I don't care about, I simply shield my self from the ads (ublock and privacy badger and noscript) which isn't that much different from taking a pee during the commercial break or fast forwarding them on the VCR (yup, I really said VCR. That in it self shows you how much often I expose my self to the TV in recent years).

Hm this road I drive on isn't a toll road, therefore it shouldn't be paid by the government either.

Not exactly. In the "A" part above (The one I'm using to respond to your "AdBlock was invented because people want $things for free" model mentioned above)

It's more among the lines of:
- this road isn't a toll road. Therefor it's surely free for me anyway. I don't need to do anything about it! I got a road for free! Yay!
and separately:
- I hate tax! Taxes suck! I've had worked hard to earn my pay! Why should the evil government come and steal my hard earned pay from me ?! Fuck taxes, I don't need them
- (User don't realise the link between this two parts).
Therefore you can't use "Users want toll-free roads for free, that's why the are avoiding to pay taxes" argument.

Also note:
- From my impression online, there seem to be tons of people thinking the "I hate tax, fuck taxes, stop stealing my hard earned cash" though, specially in the US, less here around in EU.
- the tax example is a bad example. Taxes aren't considered harmful to health. Where Ads is provably as bad as SPAM to the health of your computer.

it's nice that you support subscriptions, but they have issues. I have to have a subscription to every site I may stumble across now?

Subscription to every site you visit ? No. Not at all.
To things that you actually find interesting enough to try to get more content from? Yes.
To things that you just randomly stumbled upon, don't care much about it, and would certainly not miss if they disappeared, you would probably be stumbling upon something else ? Nope.

Add to other support models:

- limited free view sites: newspapers where the 1st or a few couple of of articles are free, then you're required to register and/or subscribe and/or pay and/or sacrifice your first born too: okay by me. I most probably won't read a 2nd article from you anyway as I don't care about you.

- limited part view sites: first couple of paragraphs (introduction) are freely accessible. register/pay for the rest of the article.
I approve, though most of the time I don't give a shit about it. Most of the time, either the introduction has the few info I need, and I don't care enough about the subject to pay for it anyway (again: don't care = won't pay), or the introduction is piece of junk that only appeals to emotions without any useful information (all the "first I laught, but then I couldn't beleive what the guy did"-titled clickbait), in which case it wasn't even worth my time.

Note, BTW, that this model is exactly what was used by the scientific journals for ages. Though that one as come under criticism
(because the actual substance itself - the actual experiment and research isn't funded by the journals - they only fund the publishing and review - Instead the research has usually been funded by public grants, and therefor it would be ethical if the public - i.e.: the tax payers that actually paid for these grants - could have access to this research. but that's an entirely different kind of subject).

And other valid way to monetise that I've forgoten on my initial list:
merchandise. if I like an artist, I might as well buy T-Shirt featuring the artists design.

Paying per article would probably be too small to charge to a card without more of it being in fees.

...AND that's why people have been pushing:

- ...for micro transaction, like flattr. You pay a small amount that is chargeable, and then it's up to flattr to split these tips among the artist you support, and then gather all the tips each artist has received from anyone to be able to reach a payable amount.

- ...for crypto currencies, like bitcoin, etc. that can be split down to satoshi-levels. (Like being able to charge 0.00001$ per page. That's not possible with credit card, because the credit card company needs to be able to have a share. But that's entirely possible in a distributed system like bitcoin).

Essentially the rich are in control of what content exists? That's a scary thought.

- ...I'm not that rich my self. I'm not very high in the food chain, and was not that long a ago a poor student. Still I am able to give small tips to the authors of the various content I appreciate. The time were only being a Medici could give the capability to pay an artist are long gone by.

- ...You can see it as control. You can also think of it as freedom to express/innovate.
If a content creator counts only on ads for revenue, that creator will be strongly biaised toward producing content that can attract as many eyeballs as possible that can then be resold for money to advertiser.
That mean producing low quality/content click-bait material, not something genuinely interesting, just something that leads users to click. Do junk, as long as this shit makes the user click on the title and get exposed to the ton of ads. Exploitation content. Go for emotion, go for inflamatory subjects, go for populism. Well you could almost be a politician with this kind of content.

If a content creator counts on subscription or tipping or merchandising to earn money to afford food, that creator will be enticed to produce content that the readership appreciate, like and are ready to come back to seek again.
be creative, try to do something that will captivate your audience. Not something that will just make them click once so you can sell them to advertiser. Something that will make them wanting more.

And that's not quite a scary thought.

Comment Some start to do it (Score 1) 111

The manufacturer could provide a refit program at least once during the typical life of the vehicle (perhaps 3 or 4 years in).

Tesla motor for example has tried to retrofit a couple of technologies into previous models that didn't have the option.
(As much software as possible, Armor sheilding the battery, etc.)

The "Autopilot" was notorious for being the first technology where Tesla did need to explicitely state that they can't retrofit it on older models.

Comment Not that much (Score 3, Informative) 111

That is because of dealer markup.

Not quite. The dealer don't have actually that high margins on new cars.

It's really the market price falling with the perception of the cars being in pristine conditions or not.
(It's the same kind of consideration as that to a fan or a collector, it's REALLY important if a good was unboxed / if the packaging has already been cut open or not.)

On the other hand: you can count the dealers to milk your wallet as much as they can get with it. Specially for periodic controls. But also at the slightest warning light going orange / the slightest warning message on the dashboard. Or even for simple firmware update. Or even if the offered services don't make any sense (e.g.: car dealer selling care packages including a few oil changes. On an electric vehicle. (which has a sealed electric motor and thus no possibility to touch the oil).
That's why car dealers are pissed by dealership-free cars companies like Tesla Motors (With automatic OTA update that don't require a "technician" and are offered for free instead of being charged. And with fewer parts requiring actual service)

Slashdot Top Deals

The universe is an island, surrounded by whatever it is that surrounds universes.