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


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:And yet again terrorism wins (Score 1) 230

by Jon_S (#48633087) Attached to: "Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

I was thinking about this the other day. I tend to wonder if it would make sense to completely immunize companies from lawsuits over failure to provide adequate steps to prevent a terrorist and state-sponsored attacks as long as they comply with any direct government instructions and regulations.

The US used to do something like this, specifically cover insurance over a specific (high) limit in the case of a terrorist attack. But it was just killed by a single republican member in Congress: Congressional Roadblock Upends Market for Terrorism Insurance even after it was passed 93-4 by the Senate and 417-7 in the house.

Comment: Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (Score 5, Insightful) 320

by Jon_S (#48368799) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

Exactly. The purpose of the assignment wasn't to get some code to work. It was to learn how to develop an algorithm.

I'm not a CS person, but rather a chemical engineer. When I was in college, we learned, and had to do, all sorts of distillation designs using McCabe-Theil diagrams and other hand and graphical calculations. Would we ever do this at our job? No, there are all sorts of computer programs that figure these things out. However, going through the process of doing the work the hard way, and more importantly redoing the work that other people have already done, makes us understand the principles behind the logic. It also helps for giving insight if and when we want to extend the thinking to some new area.

Talking about how things are reused in one's job is completely missing the mark.

Comment: Re: Awesome quote (Score 1) 232

by Jon_S (#48172049) Attached to: Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Who said each company would be limited to 1/20 of the wire's bandwidth. This is capitalism. If a company can provide internet service for a low price with great uptime, people will flock to them and they will use more of the wire. Since there is a low barrier to entry, some other firm who may be able to figure out an event cheaper, more reliable way to supply yuo with your bits, then they are going to be the one sending most of the bits down the wire.

And in case you haven't heard, with cable internet, your bandwidth is already being limited by your neighbor's usage. It wouldn't matter whether "centurylink" or "comcast" was sending those bits down the wire.

Comment: Re: Awesome quote (Score 2) 232

by Jon_S (#48160911) Attached to: Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

That's not true. The wire still handles the same number of bits. It is just different suppliers feeding them into the upstream end of the pipe.

Slashdot just had a story on how this works wonders in Sweden. And if you don't want to click, I'll provide the spoiler: it's not socialist/communist. The internet suppliers are all private companies. It's only the last mile that is owned by city.


Comment: Re: Forest Circus. (Score 0) 299

by Jon_S (#48002637) Attached to: Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Photography

This is a dumb regulation, but if you RTFA, it is not a permit for "taking pictures". It is a permit for doing news reporting, including photography/viedography, within wilderness areas.

The average hiker taking photos is subject to this regulation. So for example, the comments about Ansel Adams above don't apply.

But still a stupid regulation.

Comment: Re: What's so American (Score 1) 531

by Jon_S (#47758287) Attached to: Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

And what's to stop the government from "leveling the playing field," giving additional network resources to failing energy companies, state education systems in favor of Common Core, public companies who need to better compete against private ones etc. ?

Um, net neutrality perhaps? That's what net neutrality is about. Not giving any one content provider preference over another is the definition of net neutrality.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 406

by Jon_S (#47621979) Attached to: Idiot Leaves Driver's Seat In Self-Driving Infiniti, On the Highway

I think the more salient point is this: Maybe we do get that last 1%. *When it is new!*. I keep my cars for 8 years or so. Most people keep their cars for a long time. After a while they start breaking down. While you can fix the breakdowns, you don't know when they will break down. Sure there are annual inspections, but currently they don't cover the effectiveness of autonomous systems, and probably won't for a while. And even if they do, the systems could fail the week after the inspection.

So do you only allow the system to work for, say one year, and then you have to turn it off? Do you have to have the manufacturer check and rebuild it on a regular basis to keep it valid (sort of like they do with jet engines if I understand correctly)?

I tend to stay away from new fancy stuff on cars. That sort of stuff is always the first thing to break down.

Comment: Re:Why Silevo didn't aim to be biggest? (Score 1) 262

by Jon_S (#47265461) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

Specific electric power doesn't go anywhere. Electricity is a voltage potential difference between sources and end users and flows through a grid. This is why you can't just buy, say, wind or solar power.

Both Huntley and the NYPA Niagara Falls hydro plant send power into the grid. You can't distinguish what power comes from where. Because Niagara Falls generates more power than Huntley, I would say that almost certainly this big solar panel factory will be powered principally with power generated by hydro.

That said, you can charge people different rates. NYPA, as a NY State Authority (thanks Robert Moses for creating monsters like this), can cut deals with downstate users for cheaper power. However, a certain amount of power has to be distributed at low cost prices to Western New York businesses. This is part of the NYPA licensing process. It is commonly referred to as low cost hydropower, but again, a voltage potential is a voltage potential - it doesn't matter to the grid who generated the potential.

I did get a chuckle reading the Buffalo News this morning (yes, I devour the dead trees version every day - it's a great paper) that they are expanding this previously announced solar plant due to the availability of a low cost power allocation from NYPA. Irony indeed.

Still, as Obama says, you have to pursue "all of the above" so I am glad they are ramping up production.

Comment: "they don't compete" is the reason for rejecting (Score 4, Insightful) 90

by Jon_S (#46609953) Attached to: Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

When are people and regulators going to wake up and realize that the "well, they don't compete against each other an any areas" is *not* a reason to say this merger is OK, but is a reason why it should be rejected!

The problem with broadband access in the US is that we don't have competition in most places. Some places have DSL (slow) or Fios/U-verse, but most don't. And no, satellite or 2 GB-capped cell service doesn't count as competition.

The very statement that they don't compete anywhere is the problem. Things need to be changed so that they compete against each other. That will not happen if they merge.

Comment: Re:The President must follow Congress' laws... (Score 1) 245

by Jon_S (#46287337) Attached to: White House Responds To Net Neutrality Petition

How do you explain this then:


Sounds like they are trying again after getting blocked by the courts last time.

It did say "The commission will not seek to immediately reclassify Internet service as a utility. Mr. Wheeler said that the commission will retain the right to do so, however, if its new rules are approved and appear not to be working adequately." but this makes sense. Declaring ISPs common carriers has some side effects that may or may not be readily apparent.

The sooner you make your first 5000 mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them. -- Nicolaides