Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re: What did you expect? (Score 2) 160

by grub (#48903763) Attached to: Google Handed To FBI 3 Wikileaks Staffers' Emails, Digital Data
PGP/GPG is much easier to use these days than it was in the 90's. Plugins exist for many mail clients that do the heavy lifting in the background.

Friends and family are surely tired of my tinfoil hat, they just do not seem to care about their privacy. Many say the "I have nothing to hide" line.

Comment: CA requires commercial licenses for pickup trucks. (Score 4, Interesting) 193

No, but money changing hands (commerce) impacts whether it is "commercial", and requires a commercial license.

"Impacts", perhaps. But it's not definitive. Especially in California.

For instance: I bought a pickup truck, to use as a tow vehicle for my camper and my wife's boat. Then I discovered that CA requires pickup trucks to be tagged with a (VERY pricey) commercial license, regardless of whether they're used for business. (You CAN petition to tag a particular pickup truck as a personal vehicle - but are then subject to being issued a very pricey ticket if you are ever caught carrying anything in the truck bed - even if it's personal belongings or groceries, and regardless of whether you're being paid to do it. (Since part of the POINT of having a pickup truck is to carry stuff home from the store this would substantially reduce its utility.)

The one upside is that I get to park for short times in loading zones.

If we aren't going to require commercial licenses for commercial driving, then why even have them at all?

And if we ARE going to require them for clearly personal, non-commercial vehicles that happen to be "trucks", why NOT impose this requirement on putatively commercial vehicles that happen to be cars as well?

The real answer to your question is "because the state wants the tax money, and the legislators and bureaucrats will seek it in any way that doesn't threaten their reelection, reappointment, or election to higher office" - in the most jerrymandered state in the Union. The Uber case is one where an appraent public outcry arose, bringing the bureaucrats' actions, and public outcry about them, to the attention of elected officials.

The full form of the so-called "Chinese curse" is: "May you live in interesting times and come to the attention of people in high places."

Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 167

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 3, Informative) 297

by hey! (#48894185) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

I have an even better idea: let's find a way to fix human beings so that they're perfectly consistent in their behavior.

While certainly taking demonstrably bad drivers off the road is a no-brainer, even good drivers have lapses. My teenaged son is learning to drive, and whenever someone does something like cut us off I make a point of saying we can't assume the driver did it on purpose, or did it because he was an inconsiderate or bad person. Even conscientious and courteous drivers make mistakes or have lapses of attention.

It's the law of large numbers. If you spend a few hours on the road, you'll encounter thousands of drivers. A few of them will be really horrible drivers who shouldn't be on the road. But a few will be conscientious drivers having a bad day, or even a bad 1500 milliseconds.

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 5, Informative) 792

by hey! (#48878045) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

As a cyclist, I can attest a Prius is not a totally silent vehicle. Nor, I am sure, is a Tesla although I've never encountered one on the road. The reason is tire noise.

For a modern car traveling at 20+ MPH and not accelerating, tire noise is the dominant sound. You can easily hear a car traveling at speed from a hundred yards or more away, almost entirely from the tire noise. The engine of a well-maintained car traveling at a constant 30 MPH might as well be totally silent.

At low speeds such as would be encountered in a parking lot or congested city street the engine noise is dominant, particularly because the car is doing a lot of accelerating and decelerating. At those speeds I think a modest synthesized engine sound is a very good idea, especially when you consider blind people and even more especially service dogs, who would have to be re-trained for some other kind of noise. There would be no need for the artificial sound once the car is at cruising speed.

Comment: Re:Splits the community in half (Score 1) 792

by hey! (#48877805) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

If you play a synthesized noise back through the car's sound system the energy wasted is negligible. And arguably, anything that serves a purpose isn't wasted, so long as it is done with minimum energy needed.

I actually kind of like the idea of synthesized sounds. Think of it as being like haptic feedback. Anyone who's ever driven a car with an exhaust leak knows the powerful illusion it creates that the car's engine has lost power. So why not use sound to convey feedback about what the car is doing -- in this case using lots more gasoline.

In fact I'd take it further. If the oil is low or past due for changing, why not pipe valve tapping sounds into the passenger compartment? Or if the pressure of a tire drops maybe impart a thrum to the steering wheel.

Comment: Re:Internet cables? (Score 1) 415

by hey! (#48877483) Attached to: Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

A jacketed linear medium which carries data is called a "cable" whether it's RG-6 coax, Cat 1 UTP, or fiber. And if that cable carries Internet traffic, it's perfectly reasonable to call it an "Internet cable". The only problem I have with "cut the Internet cables" is the superfluous pluralization, which I suspect is the product of an analogy with "cut the telephone wires", which in contrast is technically accurate because a telephone cable carries a twisted pair of wires. But if people use "Internet cables" because they're not precisely aware of what's in the innards of a cable, we'll just have to accept that. When people use a word it becomes their property, no matter how ignorant or uninterested they are. They always win in the end because it take no effort to sustain ignorance and lack of interest in the details.

I understand the impulse to language pedantry; my particular bugaboo is is the contemporary use of "broadband", which sets my teeth on edge. It's futile to object to how people use and understand a phrase. It's the result same inexorable process that makes Shakespeare incomprehensible to modern audiences without special training, and which will make *Star Wars* incomprehensible to future generations. I've seen fairly radical changes in my own 50 year lifetime, like the disappearance of the verb "shall" from everyday speech.

Comment: Re:Person who worked in mosquito control here. (Score 1) 661

by hey! (#48873007) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Almost certainly would have been stolen for agricultural use. I've supported teams going to Africa and theft is extremely common in many of the places DDT would be needed the most. And it's unlikely that the theft of DDT would result in more people being fed in the long term, for reasons to numerous to go through.

In any case your post illustrates the problematic mindset I alluded to: the tendency to imagine DDT as a panacea, and a substitute for expertise and forethought. Eliminating DDT caused pest control to get a lot smarter and intelligently targeted, which was a good thing, and leads to more sustainable gains. Admittedly it''s harder work to make smart, informed decisions, than to spray and pray.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.

Working...