Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:What's the point? (Score 5, Insightful) 511

It's a compromise language. Compromises are, in fact, a good thing but purists hate them. Of course. That's what purism *is*. But really, who cares if it's cool? We're geeks, I thought we were supposed to be opposed to "cool" anyway?

It's a known quantity and before you dismiss it you should consider the truly vast amount of software that's been successfully implemented in Java.

Personally I like it. It has it's niggles (if I were king I'd change oh so many things) but it keeps on succeeding like most good compromises.


Laser Fusion's Brightest Hope 115

First time accepted submitter szotz writes "The National Ignition Facility has one foot in national defense and another in the future of commercial energy generation. That makes understanding the basic justification for the facility, which boasts the world's most powerful laser system, more than a little tricky. This article in IEEE Spectrum looks at NIF's recent missed deadline, what scientists think it will take for the facility to live up to its middle name, and all of the controversy and uncertainty that comes from a project that aspires to jumpstart commercial fusion energy but that also does a lot of classified work. NIF's national defense work is often glossed over in the press. This article pulls in some more detail and, in some cases, some very serious criticism. Physicist Richard Garwin, one of the designers of the hydrogen bomb, doesn't mince words. When it comes to nuclear weapons, he says in the article, '[NIF] has no relevance at all to primaries. It doesn't do a good job of mimicking validates the codes in regions that are not relevant to nuclear weapons.'"

Comment Free WiFi (Score 1) 1095

In general you have to pay for WiFi in chain cafes (Starbucks and the like). However, many of the independents and smaller chains offer it for free.

There's free WiFi and power points in the cafe at the British Library.

The cafe in Foyles bookstore (a geek venue in its own right) on Charing Cross Road is pretty geek friendly. It's handy for the computer section, there's often free live Jazz playing, and (when it works which is not always) there's free WiFi. Oh and the cake is good there.

Tottenham Court Road is the local centre for technology shopping in the area if you find you've forgotten to bring something vital.

The National Film Theatre under the south arches of Waterloo Bridge has the broadest arts cinema coverage in the capital. The Electric Cinema in Notting Hill Gate is the comfiest cinema in the capital.

For non-geeky but interesting things to do while you're here pick up a copy of Time Out. I'd recommend the 100 club on Oxford Street on Monday nights though.

Comment Re:Food advice. (Score 1) 1095


I don't think I'd call fish and chips especially authentic. Sure, we do eat 'em, but curry is more "authentically" British these days. If you want very high quality eating then The Fat Duck is a three Michelin starred restaurant a short trip outside London. It serves some of the best food in the world and has a certain amount of geek cred to go with it.


James Murdoch Criticizes BBC For Providing "Free News" 703

Hugh Pickens writes "News Corporation's James Murdoch says that a 'dominant' BBC threatens independent journalism in the UK and that free news on the web provided by the BBC made it 'incredibly difficult' for private news organizations to ask people to pay for their news. 'It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it,' says Murdoch. 'The expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision.' In common with the public broadcasting organizations of many other European countries, the BBC is funded by a television license fee charged to all households owning a television capable of receiving broadcasts. Murdoch's News Corporation, one of the world's largest media conglomerates, owns the Times, the Sunday Times and Sun newspapers and pay TV provider BSkyB in the UK and the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News TV in the US." Note that James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch.

Comment Re:Miniature timeline (Score 1) 167

Couldn't agree more. Witness the fact that a second hand 5mx on eBay still fetches £70 to £80, which isn't bad for an obsolete device. Something like you describe would be very high up my wishlist for gadgets today - there are a very few clamshell devices, but nothing with a comparable keyboard.

As a close second best I'd love Lenovo to do a Netbook (or a "kneetop" as I tend to term them) under the Thinkpad brand with a Trackpoint instead of a touchpad. Ah, wishful thinking...

Comment Re:Seriously: Execute them (Score 1) 689

{quote}Why is he not deemed a flight risk?{quote}

Consult the court documents if you actually care. Since he's not yet fled, shows no signs of fleeing, and is currently under house arrest it seems to have been a reasonable decision.

Get back to me when you can cite the court documents rather than angrily telling me how unjust it is without any supporting evidence. I have more respect for courts than you do.

Comment Re:Seriously: Execute them (Score 1) 689

Similarly, why is Bernie Madoff still walking around free?

Because he has not been tried and found guilty of a crime. He is charged with a crime, yes, but that is not the same thing, and he is judged not to be a flight risk, which is the pertinent factor in deciding whether he should be held on remand.

Justice is not about punishing people who you think are probably guilty of a crime, or look guilty of a crime, or that someone told you was guilty of a crime. It's about checking the facts in a court of law and handing out the punishment if and only if the accused is proven beyond reasonable doubt to be guilty of the crime.

Too many people wail about a lack of justice when they actually are complaining that the court is being properly impartial.

Comment Re:End Copyright (Score 2, Insightful) 664

I'm a programmer and I don't recall ever receiving any royalties for code that I wrote. Most software is bespoke - written to order - to which copyright applies only as a technicality.

Shrink wrap software is a tiny, tiny exception against the general case.

There is a good public interest case for copyright protection as a short term measure, but no good case for protection beyond the "artist's" lifetime - and personally I think anything above a decade or so is excessive.


Miscalculation Invalidates LHC Safety Assurances 684

KentuckyFC writes "In a truly frightening study, physicists at the University of Oxford have identified a massive miscalculation that makes the LHC safety assurances more or less invalid (abstract). The focus of their work is not the safety of particle accelerators per se but the chances of any particular scientific argument being wrong. 'If the probability estimate given by an argument is dwarfed by the chance that the argument itself is flawed, then the estimate is suspect,' say the team. That has serious implications for the LHC, which some people worry could generate black holes that will swallow the planet. Nobody at CERN has put a figure on the chances of the LHC destroying the planet. One study simply said: 'there is no risk of any significance whatsoever from such black holes.' The danger is that this thinking could be entirely flawed, but what are the chances of this? The Oxford team say that roughly one in a thousand scientific papers have to be withdrawn because of errors but generously suppose that in particle physics, the rate is one in 10,000."

Google Over IPv6 Coming Soon 264

fuzzel writes "Today Google announced Google over IPv6 where ISPs can sign up their DNS nameservers so that their users will get access to an almost fully IPv6-enabled Google, including, images and maps, etc., just like in IPv4. Without this only is available, but then you go to IPv4 for most services. So, start kicking your ISPs to support IPv6 too, and let them sign up. Check this list of ISPs that already do native IPv6 to your doorstep. The question that now remains is: when will Slashdot follow?"

Comment Re:Only the paranoid survive (not) (Score 1) 508

I know my spelling / grammar aren't up to many peoples standards, but I had other people clean things up.

Good. I don't want to be an asshole about it. Bad spelling/grammar aren't moral failings; they have practical effects that can usually be eliminated with some decent proof reading. As I note, there's no obligation upon anyone to give that kind of attention to a Slashdot post. Nor do I claim complete perfection in this area on my own part.

I wish you could see your post through my eyes though - it's almost physically jarring.

I'm sorry but many really good engineers can't write.

I'm not sure about the "many". I've noticed a strong correlation between "good spelling/writing" and "good engineer" But certainly some good engineers really can't write and you're clearly a good engineer. I don't think that's in question.

But you're not trying to be just a good engineer. You're trying to be a good businessman too. You obviously have some talent for business - your successes even where partial show that - but I wonder if some of the problems you encounter actually arise from deficient soft-skills akin to writing?

This post in the meta-discussion on Hacker News might be insightful.

Good luck with your future endeavours; it certainly sounds like you've earned it!

The Wright Bothers weren't the first to fly. They were just the first not to crash.