Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Is a reduction (Score 3, Informative) 67

by Dutch Gun (#49773187) Attached to: Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured


Very few people nowadays the word "decimation" with it's original meaning, and I'm guessing the author didn't here either. Or rather, we should probably say that the word has evolved to mean "an arbitrarily large percentage" and not just 10%. I see that definition listed as #3 in Merriam-Webster, where the original meaning is #1. Those should probably be reversed now. #2, in case you're wondering, is related to taxation. Go figure.

I went to the article to find out that this fungus was apparently introduced ten years ago, which obviously seems to indicates human involvement, and explains why the bat have no natural defense. I think this also justifies human involvement in finding a solution.

Comment: Re:Looking better (Score 2) 215

by Dutch Gun (#49769225) Attached to: Microsoft Tries Another Icon Theme For Windows 10

It's not "beyatching", it's feedback, and Microsoft is ASKING for feedback regarding Windows 10. As a beta user and long time customer, it's perfectly reasonable to let them know I think their icons look horrible. I've given feedback for more substantial improvements, but I make sure to let them know about any aesthetic issues I see as well.

Is it really a major deal? No, not really. Part of it, though, at least for me, is the notion that all the way up the chain of command at Microsoft, there isn't one person who looked at those icons and said "My God, those are hideous! Someone fix those damned icons!". It just feels sort of pathetic, I guess, in a "King's New Clothes" sort of way. The designers that made a mess of Windows 8 have apparently convinced everyone that ugly is the new sexy.

Comment: Re:Is anyone else bothered? (Score 2) 95

by Dutch Gun (#49739889) Attached to: Grand Theft Auto V Keeps Raking In Money

I've never enjoyed playing a bad guy in games. For whatever reason, I always want to play the hero. In Bioware games, I'll often go into a game thinking that this time I'll choose the "dark side" option as a real Darth Maul character, and I typically end up feeling bad enough that I only end up about as rogue-ish as Han Solo. It's sort of funny that I feel so guilty about treating some pixels and algorithms badly, but what can I do?

So, it's sort of a shame, because I absolutely love these sorts of huge, open world games, but I've just never really felt compelled to try out the GTA series. Red Dead Revolver, on the other hand, was awesome.

Comment: Re:In The Limit, It's the Things We Buy (Score 1) 826

by Dutch Gun (#49739747) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Pay-per-use means we have to track use, which means extra billing/administrative costs/HR involved, which means less of the money is actually going to what it is supposed to.

A great point, and one I also thought of only after I posted. An entire bureaucracy will need to be set up to install, monitor, and perform maintenance on these devices (or else it will be contracted out) at significant expense. It would be interesting to see exactly how much the overhead ends up costing per vehicle. And don't forget privacy concerns, as well as the fact that these devices will also track your use on private roads. There are so many negatives to this system, it's sort of hard to figure out why this is getting pushed through.

While per-vehicle fees are slightly less "fair" to those who drive less, you could also mitigate this by scaling by the cost of the car. Those who can afford the expensive cars can also shoulder a greater cost. This also tends to work well for commercial vehicles, which are typically much more expensive than your average car. And even so, I'd still offer slightly preferred rates to electric vehicles to get more of them out on the road. Once they're out there in greater numbers, you won't need to subsidize them.

Comment: Re: Tolls? (Score 1) 826

by Dutch Gun (#49739623) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

the private car has become a symbol of the free market

I think the car has always been more a symbol of "personal freedom" than "free markets." Besides, any notion of cars being symbols of the free market died when the government bailed out GM, leaving taxpayers on the hook for over $11 billion.

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 4, Insightful) 826

by Dutch Gun (#49737015) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Maybe we should just nix the idea that road infrastructure needs to be paid for with gas or vehicle taxes, and start paying for it from the general fund. I don't have kids, but I still pay a crapload of taxes to pay for funding public schools. I'd argue that someone who doesn't own a car still indirectly benefits from the road infrastructure just like I benefit indirectly from our public education system.

Besides which, are we serious or not about encouraging people to buy and use electric vehicles? Why are we still offering subsidies if we're just going to stick it to the customer another way?

Additionally, I'd love to hear how officials expect to defeat those who attempt to hack or disconnect whatever methods are used to track mileage use. People are already plenty adept at rolling back odometers, and I'm sure creative folks will also find a way to defeat any system for mileage tracking.

Comment: Re: Do most of the work? (Score 4, Insightful) 441

by Dutch Gun (#49732487) Attached to: Choosing the Right IDE

Functions are named in human readable ways, and are designed to reflect the function they perform. If that functionality changes, then it makes sense that the function name has to change as well. Leaving a function name alone when it's functionality change is terrible programming practice, because the name is now actively misleading anyone who uses the function or reads code that uses it. There may be other considerations as well, such as the name simply doesn't match the style of naming conventions elsewhere in the project. People make mistakes, and code often has to be reworked or refactored.

True, it's not something that happens often enough (at least to me) that it would affect my productivity if I didn't have automatic renaming tools, but it's not like this is some new-fangled fad. I'm pretty sure you can find some advice on good naming conventions in "Code Complete", published a few decades ago.

Comment: Re:Tornados? (Score 2) 255

I don't see how it's any more dangerous than ripping off roofs or picking up cars or other random structures and debris and throwing them around. Tornadoes tend to have a relatively small footprint as well. The damage they do is severe, but limited in scale in most cases. It makes news only when a very large one happens to plow through a densely populated area, but keep in mind that there are hundreds of tornadoes each year, and most don't do widespread damage.

Wind farms also tend to be located in low-population areas. So, the odds of a blade flying off and hitting anything also seems low. If an F5 tornado rips through a wind farm, it's not like it's going to suddenly become significantly *more* deadly than it already is.

Comment: Re:This is possibly the dumbest things I've seen.. (Score 1) 68

The NSA was the first agency I thought of as well, but I thought I might be modded +Funny for even suggesting it. They know security, and they obviously know how to build massive datacenters. Why aren't they building centers for the Navy and Marines that remain under government control? For top military secrets, that seems to make a lot more sense than using commercial datacenters.

More of those "inter-agency walls" that were supposed to have been torn down under the reorganization of the Department of Homeland Defense, I'd guess? Or perhaps the DoD is more comfortable siphoning billions off to private contractors rather than a competing government agency? Who knows...

Comment: Re:Not Interested (Score 2) 118

You can't really buy good TVs nowadays without those "smart" features, but that SoC hardware is pretty cheap nowadays, so I don't think it's affecting the price too much. Just buy a TV based on it's picture, price, and general physical qualities. Fortunately, you can still treat your TV like a simple monitor and leave all the media wrangling to a dedicated box, whether it's a console, Roku, Amazon Fire, or some roll-your-own PC-based solution.

Comment: Re:Not sure if smart or retarded (Score 3, Interesting) 204

It appears to be a six month ban, not permanent. Also, although it's hard to be certain, part of the motivation may have been to combat farming of honor points in PvP, which apparently has been rampant. There are cheat programs designed to help players do just that in PvP, so it could be that Blizzard found a reliable way to detect those programs running, and laid down the ban-hammer on everyone caught using it.

Comment: Re:Fuck you. (Score 2) 618

by Dutch Gun (#49713201) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

I use noscript instead of an ad-blocker. I don't mind seeing ads to some extent. I even choose not to disable slashdot advertising. But there is ZERO reason to allow a third-party advertising ad to run executable code on my machine. Screw that. If they want to show an unobtrusive image-based ad off to the side, that's fine. It's when they start getting obnoxious that they get the ban-hammer.

I'm also getting mildly irritated at Amazon showing external advertisements on their pages. So my shopping dollars aren't good enough for you? You have to squeeze a few more bucks off of my eyeballs, and trick me into accidentally clicking on those ads because they look like Amazon-sold products?

Advertisers, take note. If people are blocking your ads, it's because you're being way too obnoxious about shoving them in people's faces. Also, remember this: once an ad-blocker is installed, it's probably unlikely to get removed. It's in your best interest not to push people too far.

Comment: Ergonomic (Score 1) 147

by Dutch Gun (#49701593) Attached to: Mechanical 'Clicky' Keyboards Still Have Followers (Video)

I may have to try out the ergonomic version. I currently use a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard. I love the shape of it, and I don't mind the key action, but I wonder if it's more because I really haven't tried something else. Still, $200 is a lot of money to drop on a product you're not sure you'll actually prefer using.

Is there anyone out there who's actually tried mechanical vs membrane keyboards and actually prefer the latter (excluding the noise factor, as it sounds like that problem has been largely solved)?

Comment: Re:Commitment to stability (Score 1) 148

by Dutch Gun (#49701443) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Released

Since this is compiled code, the predictions I've heard of "it will perform about as well as C++ if you're using it with the same level of protection as Rust gives" makes sense to me. The implication is that yes, it's going to be a bit slower in the general use case, but if you're writing highly threaded or parallel C/C++ code, then you'd have to manually implement that level of protection anyhow in those languages.

We'll have to see if that actually pans out in practice or not. I remain slightly skeptical of promised performance gains, because we've heard for years about how interpreted languages could match native code with enough work on JIT optimization, but it never really materialized (despite getting much closer).

I'm in an industry that's dominated by C++, so I certainly don't expect to be using Rust in practice anytime soon, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it.

Your computer account is overdrawn. Please reauthorize.