Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Before I studied CS (Score 2) 106

I read somewhere that they still use tubes in communication satellites for that reason. Because cooling is difficult (no air to draw heat away) tubes are more efficient to send up as you don't need massive heat sinks to keep their solid state counterparts from melting.

Comment Long Form (Score 1, Interesting) 284

If it's anything like the US long-form census, then most of the questions don't seem to have any bearing on policy. Who else lives in your house, where they used to live, the personal history of everyone in your house, down to everywhere they worked, exactly what type of work they did, how much land your house sits on, do you own a stove... It's all SPSS-fodder as far as I can tell.

Most of this stuff is already collected by the BLS, anyways.

Comment ext2 (Score 1) 129

Catching up? They are still making improvements to ext2 as their primary filesystem. For most modern use cases XFS or ext4 is being used. For high scalability, btrfs or ZFS is, basically, required.

If I were them I'd push btrfs hard.

Comment Simplicity (Score 4, Interesting) 270

I think there's something to be said for learning programming on a very simple machine.

First, you need to keep in mind that kids have absolutely no idea how a computer works, at even the most basic of levels. It's a box with a keyboard and stuff happens on the screen. You need to cement the idea that you have to tell the computer to do stuff, and link the idea of coding to that stuff.

This is much easier to do when you have a computer that does pretty much nothing when you turn it on. A flashing cursor comes up and it's waiting for you to tell it what to do. 10 PRINT "HELLO" RUN and it does something. 20 GOTO 10 RUN and it does something else. You get the link between what you're telling the computer to do and what the computer is actually doing pretty quickly.

Compare that with booting up Windows/MacOSX/Linux, getting into your desktop environment, loading up a browser or IDE, creating a new project, explaining the UI of the IDE, making sure you have the right includes to do IO, directing your output to console or a UI object, etc...

Comment Dichotomy (Score 1) 363

I always thought differences in the use of technology in both series was interesting.

Star Wars didn't really focus on the technology, but it felt more real - the space ships and blasters looked like they've been around a while. Beaten up a bit. Hacked together from bits of other machines.

Star Trek talked about technology quite a bit more, but it all seemed a bit too slick and polished. Even in the old series, the computers looked like ads for an IBM S/360. TNG was just ridiculous - it looked like they just un-shrink-wrapped the ship before every episode.

So Star Trek featured the technology more prominently but it was a bit over-produced, so to say. It felt like Star Wars integrated the technology more organically into the plot.

Comment Re:Not giving Hoover more power (Score 2) 83

Plus, by having each 'police department' in it's own agency, you don't have the problems of them getting distracted all going after pedophiles or something.

The agencies could still have investigators, but if they are worried about safety they can have an FBI officer assigned to them.

The EPA's specialty should be investigating pollution, not defusing a potentially violent situation, which is what the FBI should be used for.

Comment Re:Are we supposed to be more concerned? (Score 5, Insightful) 83

Because most people don't realize that nearly every executive agency has an armed "enforcement" division. It's unbelievably inefficient. There's already an executive branch agency tasked with enforcing federal law - the FBI. Why we also need the treasury department, EPA, BLM, Fish & Wildlife agency, the IRS, the NIH, NOAA, Postal Service, etc... is beyond me.

We need the border patrol, the secret service, and the FBI. Need something guarded? Hire the border patrol. Need something investigated? Call the FBI.

Comment Re:Capitalism at work (Score 1) 168

The cost increase to $750 was NOT an example of capitalism, but getting the drug for $1 now instead of $12 IS.

The price hike is absolutely capitalism. Someone thought that the market would bear that price for a good. Unfortunately for that person, it's a commodity item, and any other company could come along and charge much, much less. That happened.

Of course, we're ignoring the byzantine, highly regulated pharmaceutical distribution channels that can choke out competition.

2 pints = 1 Cavort