Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment How about no more cars stay on "their" side... (Score 1) 556

How about we eliminate the whole idea of staying on one side for each direction. Just let cars spread out and pass on the left or right. Everyone would slow way way way down

. We could paint people's windshields so that only a small patch remained. That would slow people down. We could just put limiters on people's cars to keep them below 10mph.

We could ration fuel so that few people are able to drive.

We could make cars out of foam so it didn't really matter what they hit.

Or we could actually set minimum safety standards for cars on the road and make sure that there are no roadblocks to self driving cars which looks like the most promising safety technology to have ever hit the market.

Then when SDCs are actually a reasonably available thing, we could begin phasing out manually driven cars if it is shown that they are where they danger lay.

Comment Will have many zeros in Canada (Score 2) 109

The theoretical price of the zero is $5, or about $7 Canadian. I am willing to bet that the walk in price for a zero will be $29 and the total delivered price will be about $40. Then we have the fees that some of the major shippers will ladle onto anything where they smell internet-order. These fees typically start at $40.

So I am not exaggerating that a zero will potentially cost $80.00 (60usd) in Canada. That is a lot of zeros.

Comment Kinda dissagree (Score 0, Offtopic) 235

I love video games and think any kind of ban is just stupid. But they aren't without harm. I have seen people put their jobs in jeopardy repeatedly playing online games late into the night. I have read about people neglecting their kids to play farmville, I have even done a few nasty binges where I would swear to "stop by midnight" only to look outside and see that it was dawn.

I suspect that more than one life has effectively been thrown away to play video games. So while people might not be out there in droves pulling people from their cars after a few GTA sessions, I suspect that there are a number of kids who didn't go to collage, went to a crappier collage, or dropped out of collage, because of video game addictions.

I think it is telling that I have met a probably going to die alcoholic who was able to stay on the wagon primarily through his newfound addiction to video games.

Comment First of all I am a nobody who is 3 from the Queen (Score 1) 89

I am a nobody in Canada and know someone who knows someone who regularly dines with the Queen. I am willing to bet though, that I could dig up a bushman who is 8 or more degrees from me. Also I suspect that Facebook is a bit distorted in that many of the people on Facebook are social vs most people not being terribly social. So being quickly connected to the queen is no huge surprise as she is the center of a vast social network. Her footman's kid is then 5 away from me. Her footman's kid's neighbour is probably the classic 6.

So where facebook statement is probably over generalized to the population is to forget that like the queen, many people on facebook are probably important nodes in the social fabric of western society. Thus many people know someone on facebook who is nearly 4 degrees from someone who that person knows who doesn't use facebook. Otherwise known as 6 degrees.

So a facebook made up of Clintons would be all two degrees, a facebook made up of Unibombers would all be 40 degrees.

Comment Here come the MBAs (Score 1) 271

I know quite a few MBAs and they are obsessed with their orgcharts. They are repulsed by things like flat organizations, holistic management, independent teams, etc.

When they see a tech company run successfully by the founders who barely run the developers who just get things done they know that there is no room for the dead weight of a bunch of MBAs. This is where the slightest hint of VC money or other "professional" money will cause the MBAs to insist on a "professional" management team. This will immediately result in what is happening at GitHub. Very soon there will be 5+ layers between a developer working on something and the person running the company. Nimble is not how one could describe such an organization. Sclerotic would be a much more apt term. What I love is when more and more of the company resources are spent on things that aren't core to actually getting things done and sold. But even better is when the MBAs begin to redistribute the rewards. Suddenly it goes from a few founders who keep a large chunk of the shares with the vast majority of the remaining shares distributed fairly liberally among the developers and even often support staff such as secretaries. Then the MBAs pretty much start issuing themselves all kinds of complicated rewards packages. Not just the usual shares but complicated contracts that translate to if the company is sold that they will get massive "retention" bonuses.

It even comes down to the day to day redistribution of resources. Before the MBAs the entire company would pretty much attend the key conferences and a few trade shows. They would all pile into coach and fly to where was needed, stay in a reasonable hotel a few to a room, and swamp the conference with people adoring them. Often they would come home with contacts, a few new employees, and have left many people impressed.

Now the MBAs will be the only ones flying anywhere and it will be business class, thank you very much. They need to arrive in fighting shape so that justifies the $3000 plane ticket along with the great hotel and one suite per employee. There is no need for the developers to stop work as they are behind on their carefully assigned tasks anyway. Plus they won't stay "on message".

But seeing that the end game went from being a great company to fooling some other rich company to buy out the company in short order, my prediction for GitHub is that it will be passed around from one hedgefund run company to another until it is Wordperfect. In not that many years it will be like hosting your website on Geocities. Too bad, I really liked Github. But I will eat my hat if it doesn't look like GoDaddy within 4 years. Just upsell upsell upsell.

Comment Re:No more shilling stories (Score 1) 1830

Not so much /. getting the money so much as professional PR people manipulating accounts and votes to push/suppress things that they are paid big bucks to work on. How much do you think it would cost to create enough accounts to be able to get a story onto the main page? How many accounts would it take to suppress one?

With some nice automation, some solid VPN work; how many people would actually have to work at this?

My personal guess is a few thousand a month in VPN fees spread across some of the better and less detectable VPNs. One crappy server that keeps an eye out for keywords. A staff of one or two (time shifting). Plus the occasional update to the automation software.

Then the person would spend most of the day writing pretty useless vote-getting bandwagon comments that were spread across maybe 500-1000 accounts to keep them seemingly obvious. Then when a new PR article came in needing promotion it would be fed into the machine whereupon it would receive a steady stream of votes along with an assortment of non voting accounts writing praiseful comments.

On the flip side any negative comments on this or other "protected" issues would have a combination of downvoting accounts along with well crafted talking points.

Obviously it would be stupid to answer this but I suspect it would only take maybe 20-50 votes to get an issue front and center and even less to kill a topic that just popped up. Maybe 5.

The beauty of Slashdot's random karma issuing is that it would inherently disguise any group voting as there would have to be a large number of accounts so any group of accounts would be unlikely to show up as always voting on the same issues. Plus a good system would burn off any extra votes it had by some bandwagon jumping and voting up anything at a 4 and voting down anything at a 0.

If I were building such a system I would completely narrow it down to a much simpler interface where I would only see filtered comments and when I took actions they would be very simple. I would choose how many votes to go for or against any given comment, and I would choose the rate so emergencies would have the votes come in over a few seconds where others might take 10 or so minutes. Also the system would take care of such issues as more positive votes coming in at a later time also being shot down fairly quickly.

The same with any issue that I want to support. I would basically say, keep voting until this ends up on the front page.

Plus any comments that I just added would also have a level they should be voted to and maintained. Again the system would give various options such as replies coming from the original account or if they were to appear to be someone else piling in.

Again what I am describing wouldn't be brutally hard to build. The primary problem with such a system is that it would take a while for the accounts to age nicely. Ideally such a system would continue to accumulate accounts.

Then slashdot would not be the only target. Reddit to just name one other would be wildly susceptible to such a system. Thus a PR company could pretty much offer a professional level of sock-puppetry that would be extraordinary yet I can't see their per article costs being that high. The value to fortune 500 companies would be very high.

For an interesting hamfisted attempt at this you can look at what the Canadian Telcos did when Verizon was rumoured to be coming to Canada. An actual competitor scared the crap out of them so they instructed their employees to all go onto any internet commentary and blast their point of view. It was amazing. Newspaper commentaries would have maybe 20 comments that would run "Great, I can't wait to see what happens with actual competition." Then where these telco people were using some kind of collective hub to identify places to assault they would find that newspaper comment section and there would suddenly be 200 comments saying, "It would be un-Canadian to support a job eating monster. Where is your loyalty to the grandfathers who died for your freedom to have a Canadian Telephone company?"

I suspect that they were contacted by the various PR firms that do this "properly" and very quickly sold.

Comment No more shilling stories (Score 1) 1830

I am sick of these breathless reporting of products and services that have zero substance. I would say 90% of the stories with MIT in the title are after funding and the slashdot story is part of their social media campaign. The same goes with pretty much any product that relates to the Java market. New Mansanga on track to replace Hadoop 50% of fortune 500 companies this year. Hasume allows Java developers to deploy to over 30 mobile platforms.

And don't get me started on MS Surface. Those words should be spam banned from slashdot.

On the other-hand I haven't read a good story condemning a single product of a major chemical or pharmaceutical company in a few years. I wonder how they are suppressing those on Slashdot?

Comment Who's side is Microsoft on (Score 0) 268

FTDI doesn't pay microsoft. Why would Microsoft then allow FTDI to screw Microsoft's actual customers? MS might, in theory, argue that IP should be protected, but that is really an issue between FTDI and the people using alternative products.

To me this is classic MBA thinking thus I actively hate FTDI and wish them every failure possible in the future. If someone does suffer harm from this and sues FTDI I wish those guys every success and I hope that some jury brings ruinous hell down on FTDI.

Maybe FTDI should get into the marking up drugs 100,000%. There is good business which is adding value to people's lives. Then there is exploitive business where these bozos were hoping to weasel their product in wherever there was a USB and they were hoping to charge a USB tax.

Comment This company ticks all the checkboxes. (Score 1) 66

How many times will investors be fooled by people like this. When I see a company that has a "superstar" on the front page of everything, giving talks, giving interviews, always in the "top 40 under 40" I just know that this is someone who is not minding the store. If you look at companies that were massive successes in their start such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft. These were companies where the top people largely stayed out of the spotlight. Later after the companies had massive and real products the leaders might spend more time on something else. A full time self promotion tour has only one real goal, self promotion. Actually working on a product of this nature takes huge amounts of effort in the lab, and then huge amounts of effort in the regulatory department. There is no time left for strutting and preening. This is what marketing departments are for.

The other reality is that a product like this can pretty much sell itself. But my first indication of the product being crap was that I was suddenly seeing it mentioned everywhere. Here on /., reddit, local newspapers, international news, everywhere at once. Again this only happens when the product is something for everyone (erection drugs) or has a massive promotion campaign behind it. Except that, again, this product only needs to be promoted to labs, and it pretty much will sell itself if it works.

Thus all that promotion was aimed at investors. She was aimed at investors. This entire exercise was a combination of promoting her, and getting investor money into her pocket. Full stop. The science would pretty much have gotten in the way. Plus I can see someone like her actually resenting a star scientist who might actually end up with credit. I suspect that the scientists working for her were glorified coffee boys and pencil sharpeners.

Comment At $45 they have missed the point (Score 1) 120

I use a Pi in many projects where I need disposable. In projects where I need more power than a Pi I do one of two things. First is to just wire up (or wireless) an umbilical to the project so that a "real" computer can do its job. Or I don't do the project.

Yes, I can think of many projects where I would love far more power than a Pi can put out but let's say for a moment that I am working on a commercial project. What project is it that can have at is core such a costly unit? A roomba competitor, a security system, or what? Pretty much any system that is really valuable will deserve a far better computer than this, and an project that isn't valuable, "cat chasing robot" will not. These sort of mid-powered computers will find a small niche but I am willing to bet that they are going to have to give a zillion of these away before people find a valid use-case. Basically it will be "We were going to use a Pi but a bunch of these showed up for free so we were happy to use them."

The $5 Pi shows that the Raspberry people know where this whole IoT is going. The atom shows that Intel is hoping to recreate the heady days of Wintel.

Comment A feedback loop (Score 2) 311

I did work for a newspaper chain around 1998. The guy was out buying one newspaper after another and what he wanted to do was to reduce his AP costs. The idea was that all the articles put into any one of his newspapers would be readily available to all the others; basically his own internal AP.

Without going into all the details what every one of his ideas were about was to fill the pages with crap for the lowest cost possible to pay back the huge money he had borrowed to buy up all these newspapers.

To a guy like this the whole idea of ethics in journalism and whatnot was complete crap. Also if the local news staff were to really mount a protest he could always shut down one newspaper as a warning to the others. Also since his company was a news machine it was no big deal to shut down the Metro Times and open up the Times Metro in the local business park.

One effect of this was that, while newspapers have often been beholden to certain interests, his newspapers became owned by many of them. His political views were the only political views, the real-estate and car sales advertisers wouldn't tolerate any investigative journalism into their practices. My favourite was that a local house inspector with an engineering degree and a reputation for being the best was not able to advertise in any of the traditional media. It was quite simple, take his tiny ad, lose our steady firehose of ads.

Then you get articles where the real-estate market is in freefall and the newspaper will have a near daily article saying that it is levelling out and that you are stupid if you don't buy now at the very bottom. Then the next month's numbers will come out and it is just worse, yet they will print the same advice.

Then there is this stream of news telling us what we should think. Often this is way way way to the left. I am not advocating Fox news (way way way to the right) but it is all the most PC crap imaginable. This whole new crap about micro aggressions. WTF.

So we now have this thing called the internet where we can choose our news sources. If we start to suspect they are shilling or lying then we move on to the 1 million other choices.

Personally, where I suspect this is going to end is that individual investigative journalists are going to realize that while there isn't enough money to run a newsroom, that if they are really good that there is enough money to keep them sustained as they do what they love. In the end I also suspect that someone is going to start to gather these individuals into a central repository so that any consumer will have a steady menu of interesting stories. I am not talking about a huffpo type crap where they keep all the cookies, but something more like an Uber for news. (yes I went with that one). I can just see its mission statement, "No opinions, just journalism."

Comment Re:Fans *aren't* the tricky part. (Score 1) 332

I haven't the slightest clue of what it has. This was a really good whitebox machine in its day. Probably cost $2500+. Other than a fantastically reliable powersupply it is also in a fairly clean room environment, although it is in a tropical country. As one of the guys who works in that room pointed out; his 8 pack supply of air dusters has lasted him many years because they are primarily only needed when things go into that room.

What shocks me is that memory leaks and flaws in the operating system haven't just shut it down. Or leaks in my code.

Comment I have an old system going past 14 years (Score 1) 332

The last time it was rebooted was late 2002. Redhat linux. The system is supported by a power backup system so crazy that it has one employee that only maintains that system. I will ssh into it every 6 or so months and just laugh at the "top".

It is the HD that worries me the most. What is ironic is that I have prepared a replacement system for it about 4 times. So it has an i7 with an SSD that has a mirrored copy of the data ready to go; maybe that backup system will be replaced soon as well. The CTO and I are just letting this one ride for as long as we can.

Slashdot Top Deals

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins