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


Forgot your password?

Comment: FFS RTFA It's a TRIAL (Score 3, Informative) 136 136

From TFA

While this current trial will only last 12 months initially ...

So the Oz government has signed up with a global, unified ratings system from the IARC. And all that is required from the game publishes is to submit answers to a bunch of questions to set a ratings level for their game. For free.

Sure, the OZ government has probably tailored how the answers to the question map into the desired Australian ratings system, but this sounds like a great step forward with consistency and transparency. Also from TFA

It's worth noting that the IARC has also submitted plenty of games which have been accepted by the Classification Board - we're still figuring out the exact number, but there are hundreds of digital/mobile only games classified R18+, MA15+, M, PG and G which have passed through the IARC process.

Comment: Alternate headline: Amazon tracks what you read (Score 4, Insightful) 172 172

In a message recently released to investors, Amazon has announced that its plans to improve targeted advertising will now utilize metrics gleaned from analyzing what eBook pages it's locked in market monkeys (IE The people who think that they are the customers) read, as well as how long they linger over each particular page. This will allow Amazon sell more highly targeted advertisements to its actual customers and thus tap a previously unavailable segment of analytics.

For example, the monkey reads a book that contains both an explicit sex scene and a restaurant scene. By timing how long the monkey takes to read each scene (and hopefully in the future each paragraph - along with eye movement measurements) Amazon will be able determine what sort of sex the monkey prefers as well as the types of food they like. Correlating this data with data obtained from other books the monkey has read, Amazon will be able to craft an individual marketing scheme that highlights the monkey's desire for blindfolds as well as chocolate lava cake.

Note that Amazon has been rumored to be in talks with Facebook about posting such campaigns to not only the monkey's FB feed, but also to the feed of their friends as well. This will have a synergistic sales effect of either the monkey's friends sharing the same taste (and thus opening up new markets), or the monkey paying to opt out of the campaign (in order to hide their behavior) - and thus bringing in more revenue . Amazon has already applied for a patent on paying to opt out of a marketing campaign and they have also started trialing the technology in some market segments in order to estimate how much value monkey's place on their privacy.

Comment: Re:Whats is the slashdot stupid icons over the tit (Score 1) 87 87

I can't even read the end of the friggen titles, come on slahsdot, get those STUPID icons out of the way of the titles of the articles

You just need to stretch out your browsers windows so that it is wide enough to accommodate the headline layout as envisaged by the might /. design team.

Or in other words the idiots at /. designed a layout that looks good on their monitors and never tested it beyond that. Why should they, as it works on their systems!

Comment: Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1, Interesting) 124 124

That's a tough one.

Maybe over a span of fifteen minutes or so?

So do you want to fill the whole pipe up at once? Or are you going to break it into airtight sections with pressure proof doors at each end? Because each set of doors you insert into the system will cost money in maintenance and testing and will have to be available 100% of the time.

Now lets do some basic math. Suppose that you let the air in at 1/3 the speed of sound in order to protect equipment and people. Assume no friction and that the air travels down the pipe as a plug. So the maximum distance between doors is constrained by the time it takes the air to traverse that distance. 15 minutes is 900 seconds. At 100m/s the air will travel a maximum of 90000 metres.

So in a perfect world you have to have emergency self sealing doors located every 90km along the pipe. So lets round that down to 50 miles. GIven 400 miles between LA and SFO, that means you need 8 sets of emergency doors. But there is the chance that a capsule could stop on a door, or a door could fail. So you need at least to double the number of doors in order to stay within your safety limit. So that's 16 sets. Plus we ignored friction, so lets add another 4 to round it up to 20 sets of doors.

So that's 20 sets of mechanical devices that need regular maintenance and weekly (if not more) testing - and that testing has to be done when the hyper loop is not in use - because if a door does not fully retract after testing then the capsule is screwed. They also need high availability power supplies to operate the doors, and pumps to pump each individual section back down to its working pressure, and a staff of people to service them (probably another 5 to 10 people on payroll based up and down the hyper loop just to do that on a sustainable basis).

So we have just added a shitload more money to the operating costs of the hyper loop.

Comment: Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1) 124 124

These seem like they may be valid complaints, I don't know. But you're complaining about something in the prototype/proof-of-concept phase.

Right now, the hyper loop concept seems to me like a bad kickstarter project that is all full of dreams, but is missing a practical design. But safety can't be tacked on at the end, it has to be considered up front and will impact the design. Yet nothing in the designs shows any thoughts to safety or survivability. I was puzzle by this (as I know that Musk is a smart guy), but just now Bruce Perens made a comment below that made my head spin bit. Basically his comment is that Musk is somehow conspiring to kill high speed rail, with the implication that the hyper loop is just a tool for this purpose.

I have no knowledge of the politics of high speed rail, but the inadequacies of the hyper loop as passenger transport is puzzling. It is much better suited to transporting freight.

Comment: Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1) 124 124

Travel in the tube is stopped anyway so just let air into the tube.

Possibly the only comment that makes some sense. However if you just fully open up the pipe to the outside world then you will subject the capsule to one hell of a shockwave which would make pulp of the people inside (one way to solve the rescue problem), and would probably damage the pipe.

On the other hand if you bleed air in to restrict the shockwave you will still be in the same boat of needed to have air in the capsule - a 4 foot tube several hundred miles long has a huge volume and will take a very long time to fill

Alternatively breaking the pipe into sections that can be isolated and independently filled with air might work - but from the designs presented by musk I am betting that this would be cost prohibitive. (maintenance, regular testing, availability).

Comment: Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1, Troll) 124 124

There's probably no way to do that safely.

To quote from the link you so kindly supplied:

oxygen production typically lasts at least 15 minutes

Do you want to speculate how long it will take to extract people from a hyper loop capsule?

Here, let me help you.
1. Time to locate the capsule
2. Time for the Hyperloop Emergency Extraction Team to respond.
3. Time transport man lifts to the location of the capsule at some arbitrary point between the start and finish location
4. Time to safely raise those man lifts to to the height of the pipe
5. Time to safely cut through the pipe and capsule.

I'd wager that it is a bit more than a standard aircraft emergency oxygen supply can hold out for - by at least an order of magnitude or two.

So you counter with "well make it bigger". And then I'll counter with "Here you are wanting to change the design so that the capsule carries more air than even needed for the transit of the trip itself. But the hyper loop capsule design was predicated on not having an internal air supply. If Musk couldn't make it work carrying its own air supply for the trip duration - how could he make it work when it needs to contain multiple times more air?" And so on.

Comment: Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 0) 124 124

[T]he device doesn't contain any onboard air supply . . . if the device loses power for any reason (electrical, mechanical, computational) then you better be able to hold your breath for a long long time.

Solution: Add an emergency air supply.

Worst case scenario: So the problem capsule stops halfway between LA and SFO. No problem, the tubes are running along the freeway, so are easily accessible by heavy equipment. But this occurred on a foggy day and there was a huge pile up on both sides of the freeway and all lanes in each direction are blocked - so no emergency services can get through.

Now how large are you going to size that emergency air supply?

Comment: Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1, Troll) 124 124

The seats are actually quite roomy - check out the dimensions in the Hyperloop alpha document.

Claustrophobia has nothing to do with seat size. Imagine a failure mode where the power goes off, the screens die and all movement stops. And the only way to get out is someone on the outside with a power saw.

Yes, it does. Section 4.5.2. Same system as on an airplane.

And where do you think airplanes get their oxygen from? Its called the outside atmosphere. If a plane stops flying it descends to a lower height with a breathable atmosphere - something that the hyper loop can't do. And emergency oxygen in planes is predicated being able to descend to a safer level. So once the capsule stops the clock starts ticking until you run out of air. In this case the capsule is more comparable to a submarine than a plane.

It's two tubes, one for each direction. In the event of a long term outage, the one open tube can be periodically reversed to allow traffic in both directions, at a cost of throughput.

Still sucks to be stuck in the tube with the issues, and at 5 minute launch intervals, there will be a lot a of people in the same boat.

All capsules have mechanical braking systems and are spaced five minutes apart, automatically triggered in the event of an obstruction. They also all have powered wheels for low-speed travel. Section 3.5.2.

And the capsules are designed with a power budget that only covers the duration of the trip. They can't even accelerate to speed by themselves. Once they are stopped, the only way out is that worker with the power saw that I mentioned above.

It'd be nice if you'd read the document before complaining about the concept.

I did read the document several months ago when it was on here. I read it all in order to understand what it was about. And nowhere were any of these failure mechanisms addressed.

Comment: Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 2, Interesting) 124 124

1. All the diagrams give the impression that it will be like people flying through tubes as in Futurama. Instead you will be sealed inside a metallic "bullet", that runs in a metallic tube - no windows for you (sort of like James Bond in The Living Daylights). It's a pity if you have any sort of claustrophobia.

2. While the device doesn't run in a complete vacuum, it runs in an atmosphere that is low to the point of being unbreathable. But the device doesn't contain any onboard air supply - instead it relies on the driving compressor/fan assembly to compress the air to a human sustainable amount. So if the device loses power for any reason (electrical, mechanical, computational) then you better be able to hold your breath for a long long time.

3. There was no indication that the loop itself was anything more than a single tube. Thus there is no capability to bypass any section. So if a device fails, all devices that are already in transit and behind it are screwed (see 2 above).

Comment: Location services? (Score 1) 130 130

Can't you just switch off locations services for that application? I thought that both iOS and Android allowed you to do that (albeit in different factions).

On the other hand if they can grab location services data without the OS knowing - then that bank/app needs to be shamed.

On the third hand. Doesn't just collecting the IP address you are logging in from count as collecting location data?

Your mode of life will be changed to EBCDIC.