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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 1) 516

William L. Rowe, whoever that is, is not the authority on the definition of atheism, or anything else.

From Wikipedia: "Writers disagree on how best to define and classify atheism, contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is an assertion in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection."

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 252

Social networking is actually a good idea I think, but not with the proprietary platforms we've had until now. Something like Diaspora, a decentralized platform, is what we really need; that way people can control what they share, with whom, and they control the platform itself (since you run it on your own webserver, or one you sign up for to have an account on, but your data is your own and is easily moved to a competing service).

Having everything all centralized on one site with no democratization is making it usable because there's no real consumer choice or control.

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 252

Because you have a choice whether you want to use Facebook or something else or nothing. No one is forcing you to use Facebook. Your dumb relatives posting stupid pictures of themselves is not a compelling reason to use Facebook; it's not like trying to be a computer professional and refuse to use email (which would prevent you from getting a job in the field) or normal job posting sites.

Comment Re:Good move Nokia (Score 1) 54

I use both; Google on my phone and HERE on my car's built-in nav unit. Being able to use the car's system where there's no or poor cell coverage is definitely a big plus. However, the HERE data is old and incomplete as far as businesses. If you know the street address of where you want to go, it's great. However, if you just want to look up all the Walmarts nearby and pick one to go to, it tries to direct me to one that's an hour away for some odd reason. And forget about finding some small restaurant; if it's been there for decades, it's probably on HERE, but if it's fairly new, forget it.

Google Maps' biggest strength is that it combines navigation with an up-to-date business directory. I can search for "Italian restaurant" within a certain area, see all the businesses that match that description, then look at them and immediately see peoples' Google and Yelp reviews, so I can avoid places that suck. Then I can just tap one button and have it navigate me to that place, without having to mess around with street addresses.

I wish my car's system could integrate the business-directory stuff from my phone (assuming I have coverage at that moment), and then switch me over to the car's navigation after it gets a street address.

Comment Re:Bad engineering choices (Score 2) 54

GM engineers are famous for their complete incompetence. Just look at the ignition-key fiasco. There's no way in hell I'd buy a GM. I even thought about it once; I thought that a few decades was enough to forgive them for their past atrocities in automobiles, and that their new cars were worth taking a look at again, and then the ignition-key fiasco came up in the news. That was the end of that idea.

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 252

couldn't Microsoft reasonably anticipate that it would turn into a giant write-down?

I think people at our level have a hard time imagining just how much hubris these top-level corporate execs have. You don't usually get to that level without being some kind of egomaniac, sociopath, or both.

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 252

Ultimately FB primarily has turned into a conglomerate of a desperate small-business owners way to try to push their bad ideas on their friends, a place to post pictures of your children and a news aggregator. I don't think it has much of a future on its present vector either. It will simply last longer because it is slightly less dangerous.

I disagree. What makes you think that people won't always want a place to post pictures of their brats and other shameless self promotion ("look at the meal I ate tonight! we just watched [movie]! I'm listening to [song] now!")? Or that people won't want a news aggregator? Or that small-business owners won't want a forum to push their bad ideas on friends? FB can continue indefinitely just providing a place for all this.

Another thing I've seen on FB is political chit-chat: a lot of wackos use it as a de-facto blog to post all their dumb conspiracy theories and anti-Obama nuttery (not that Obama is great, but these people contend that FEMA is setting up concentration camps and similar nuttery), presumably because it's cheaper and easier than simply setting up a Wordpress blog. I guess if you're dumb enough to believe in FEMA concentration camps, then setting up your own website with Wordpress is simply too much to ask. Plus FB makes it really easy to share and get the word out with their "likes".

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 5, Informative) 252

Facebook is still a slow cooker, so the frogs don't notice.

This is wrong, and insulting to frogs. Contrary to popular opinion, a frog will not allow itself to be boiled alive, and when the water temperature gets too hot, will simply jump out of the pot. It's an old wives' tale that frogs will allow themselves to be boiled if you turn the temperature up slow enough.

It's only humans that are so stupid that they'll accept horrendous conditions if you make the change slow enough.

Comment Re: Sure you can. (Score 0) 476

Exactly. This is why personally-owned automobiles never really took off. It was just too confusing for people to have to choose between at least a dozen different manufacturers, with each of those having a dozen different models, so everyone just stuck to horses.

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 1) 504

How come nobody sues these drone-holes?

Um, that's pretty simple.

You see a drone flying in your back yard, spying at you through your open windows. You call the police, or get your shotgun, either way when you get out there to deal with the problem, it's flown away.

Who do you sue?

I don't know about you, but I do not have god-like abilities to magically know who owns any particular drone that I happen to see flying.

Courts don't allow you to sue people if you can't identify them. You can sue a "John Doe" initially, but you have to have some realistic way of figuring out the identity of that person, usually by issuing a subpoena to someone who does know that person's identity (like the ISP of someone accused of copyright infringement; they can look it up with their logs). "The person who flew a drone in my back yard on Saturday night" is not sufficient to carry a lawsuit forward.

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 2) 504

The neighborly thing to do would have been to tell the neighbor not to fly over his property before shooting it out of the sky or anything like that.

Exactly how would he have done that? It's not like he knew the drone owners and recognized their drone. Also, according to the shooter, he did wave it off initially, but they came back a little while later. That seems perfectly "neighborly" to me.

Finally, according to the initial report, when the shooter shot down the drone, four men drove up in a vehicle and jumped out, looking for a fight (with a man with a shotgun--smart move). How exactly are these people "neighbors" if they have to drive to his residence? It wasn't the guy's next-door neighbors who owned the drone.

Comment Re:Luxury car market (Score 2) 231

A lot of luxury cars really aren't that high-performance. They might have bigger engines sometimes, but they also usually weigh more so it doesn't make them much faster than a Camry. What you're getting for your money is the brand cachet, more features, nicer amenities, and a higher quality interior. The interior is probably the most noticeable difference; go sit in a $60,000 Mercedes and then compare it to some $20k regular car. There's all kinds of corners cut in the cheaper cars; crappier materials, a cardboard-like headliner, cheaper plastics, hard plastics in places, no leather, etc. In the luxury car, the seating is usually all leather (and nicer grades than the cheaper cars that have it as an option), the plastics are higher quality, there's no hard plastic where you can easily touch it, the carpet is higher quality, etc. All that stuff adds up. Plus, the luxury car will have more amenities: more and nicer overhead lights for passengers, lights you can individually turn on and off for all the seats, auto up/down windows on all doors, separate HVAC/ventilation controls for the rear seats, heated seats both in front and in the rear, etc. Finally, take a look at a luxury car like that after it's 5 years old, or even 10 years old, and compare it to a more pedestrian car of the same age. The luxury car will frequently look almost new inside, whereas the cheaper car will have things falling apart, even if it was taken care of just as well; the plastics won't age as well, there'll be more rattles, etc.

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.