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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:I hate electronics consumer culture (Score 1) 269

by GuB-42 (#48588573) Attached to: Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

The N1 isn't lousy, it's old, it has a tiny internal flash memory by todays standards and may have trouble running the latest apps but beside this, it should run perfectly fine. The crashes are not normal. Wipe, install a good, stable ROM, don't try to do more than the hardware is capable of and you should be OK, unless you have hardware problems of course.

And if people tell you to upgrade, it's not just because of the throw-away culture, it's because they see that you are not satisfied with your phone. Proof is : you are complaining.

Comment: Re:I hate electronics consumer culture (Score 1) 269

by GuB-42 (#48588525) Attached to: Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

Here we are not talking about keeping devices for many years, we are talking about people who buy outdated technology for inflated prices.
Keeping a N900 for 5 years = smart, buying a N900 in 2014 for $1000 = stupid
Buying an iPod third-hand for $30 = smart, buying the same iPod for $500 = stupid
There are exceptions of course, like when the old product has a niche feature you really need that isn't present in the newer models. Or in a professional setting, where the device is part of a system and you just want a replacement rather than a very costly upgrade.

Comment: Re:who cares about plagiarism (Score 1) 53

by GuB-42 (#48574295) Attached to: Study of Massive Preprint Archive Hints At the Geography of Plagiarism

So you are saying that the only reason that people do anything is for recognition or money?

Are you?

It is not the only reason but for a large part : yes.
Yeah, some people genuinely love their jobs, and unfortunately, it looks like they are a minority. And even those who love their jobs wouldn't do it if they couldn't earn enough money from it.
And useful work that's done for neither recognition nor money... yes, it happens, in the same way that a coin can land on its edge. We may do small things out of pure generosity but science is no small thing. It requires time and skill and I believe it is normal for scientists to expect something in return.

Comment: Re:cheer (Score 1) 190

by GuB-42 (#48572615) Attached to: Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

Advertisements do not pay for the internet.
The net existed long before advertisers got a hold of it and ruined it. Advertisers are not sponsoring the net there just cashing in on its popularity. The article calls the bots "a criminal network." it should call them heroes of the fucking universe.

Ads do pay for part of the internet.
Yes, the net existed before ads, and it probably even had a greater proportion of quality content. But in term of quantity (of both good and bad content) and diversity, today's internet have much, much more to offer. Search technology have improved a lot too (and I'm not only talking about Google).
And while ads weren't the only thing that made the internet better, they certainly helped. You see, generosity only gets you so far and at some point, people have to get paid. And how do these people get paid ? Pay-per-view ? Do you want a price tag on every link ? Subscription ? Good for large news sites but how about people who publish irregularly. ISP or state sponsoring ? Too much abuse potential. "Global license" ? You run into many problems, like metering.
Ads work because it allows content makers to make money based on popularity, that there is no central authority and that you don't have to ask money to every viewer, it is a relatively fair system. Of course, it is not perfect but I can't think of an viable alternative "less bad" system.

As for the bot network, they are not heroes, they take money they don't deserve by gaming the system. And you don't want ads to devalue. You see, the goal of ads is to get your attention, which means that the more valuable ads are, the more valuable your attention is.
In fact, I believe it is the biggest problem we have with ads right now, they are not valuable enough, and as a result, we get more and more, further devaluing them.

Comment: Driving licence (Score 1) 317

by GuB-42 (#48553775) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Well, you probably have one. But if you don't, seriously, it's important even if you don't have a car.
The reasons :
- It's a good all-around test : smart enough to understand traffic laws, good enough motor skills, minimum amount of common sense, etc... Basically shows that you are not crippled.
- Your employer may ask you to drive someday (buiseness trip, rental car...)

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 1) 181

by GuB-42 (#48516611) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

Computers are simply adding machines.

So are neurons. We may not completely understand how the brain works as it is a huge mess of chemicals and electrical impulses going everywhere at different speeds but the basic block is still an adding machine.

Software is simply a tool.

So are human slaves. Hopefully, it is not the case anymore but it is how they were viewed in some civilizations.

The reason today’s AI cannot create like we do is :
- The human brain is quite a powerful machine to emulate
- The human brain "software" is less readable than Perl, it only works because of millions of years of ad-hoc patching and testing called "evolution". We need to start from scratch, and if possible more efficiently than evolution did.
- Building human-level AIs is not the end goal of most people working with computers. We want effective tools, not something that comes from the depths of the uncanny valley.

Comment: I don't think so (Score 1) 167

by GuB-42 (#48516007) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

News are short lived and should be delivered as fast as possible, it is not something that is refined over time like a Wikipedia article.
Moreover, news are very personal. Are you interested in sports ? what sport ? what team ? and fashion ? and video games ? It's nice to have a listing of what most "editors" think are important news but I don't necessarily have the same interests. There are systems that can help you getting the most relevant news for you but that's more a Google-like job than a Wikipedia-like job.
And it's not like community-based news sites are a new thing : digg, reddit and even the *chans... Except these look not at all like a wiki.

Comment: Doesn't surprise me but... (Score 1) 312

by GuB-42 (#48483941) Attached to: In UK Study, Girls Best Boys At Making Computer Games

That girls end up better at game design won't surprise me. They typically have a better understanding of human psychology and I believe that as tools become better, it will become more important than technical skills. 1
But this study say nothing about what will happen when these kids reach adulthood, or even high school. Girls start puberty about 1 year earlier than boys, with all the associated physical and mental changes. At 12-13, the difference in maturity between boys and girls is huge. Boys start to catch up only at about 16 or so.

Comment: Re:What about long-term data integrity? (Score 1) 438

by GuB-42 (#48468481) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

The write count is not a problem : write count exceeded, change drive, copy data, done. It's not like the drive will explode once the threshold is exceeded. And chances are that you will never encounter this problem unless you have a *very* intensive usage.

Perhaps more problematic is fading. Flash cells lose charge over time, and the more you write, the more "leaky" the cells become. That's why we say that the number of writes is limited, because past a certain point, the manufacturer cannot guarantee that the data will stay for more than X amount of time. FYI, X = 1 year for the Intel 520. Note that that's 1 year powered off. If the drive is on, the cells will be periodically refreshed, making the actual duration much longer.
But SSDs are not the only kind of storage medium that lose data over time. Magnetic storage is slowly erased by the earth magnetic field, reflective layers on CDs oxydize, etc... It means that the only way to ensure long-term data integrity is to actively maintain backups, or, if it not possible, use special archival grade storage media. Archival media can be of any kind : (EE)PROM, magnetic, optical, paper, ... but optimized for long-term storage at the expense of other things like storage density.

Comment: Re:is Microsoft behind it? (Score 1) 64

by GuB-42 (#48464083) Attached to: The People Who Are Branding Vulnerabilities

- Linux has a greater market share in critical systems
- Linux is expected to be more secure than Windows
- Being a closed system, there isn't much you can do in Windows beside waiting the patch from MS. Linux is community based and more attention results in faster response.
- Vulnerabilities like heartbleed are not linux-specific. OpenSSL may be used on many OSes including Windows.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.