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Comment Re:Ubuntu Core has no place on the Raspberry (Score 1) 57

I guess it depends on how you define "work" in this context. Seeing the words "Maemo" and "Fremantle" and "N900" and "Ovi" still makes my blood boil. We wasted a lot of time and money betting on a horse with no legs. It was a damn fine app that was a pleasure to develop too, which is the hell of it. That stuff was great, but commercially successful? Not on your life!

Comment Somebody got tired of my uninformed bitching (Score 1) 136

I used to talk shit about Linux in a community of users from mixed platforms. I was a jaded would-be refugee who had tried to escape Windows, and failed. I had low expectations for this Linux thing too, and trumpeted them loudly.

One of those guys was deeply offended by the fact that I was bitching about something I had never even tried. He wanted me to try it, and then continue bitching if I wanted, and if I wouldn't try it, he wanted me to shut the fuck up about it and give it a rest.

He mailed me some CDs. That was 2001, and I haven't used Windows since.

Comment Just a fancy DOS shell (Score 1) 282

I'll never forget seeing Windows 95 for the first time. According to all the hype, DOS was gone, and this big new thing wasn't just another fancy DOS shell like all its predecessors. As it happened, I had some kind of custom boot switcher setup in place (all I really remember is I wrote it in C) to swap AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files for various purposes, like booting into a really lean and clean environment for games that required huge TSRs, and booting into Windows if I wanted to use a program with a GUI for some reason. I misremember the particulars, but I had things installed in non-standard, custom places, and probably a version of OS/2 in the mix there somewhere.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that when I booted into the new "it's an operating system, not a DOS shell" for the first time, I ended up with Windows 3.11 running on top of whatever hidden version of DOS came underlying Windows 95. It was nothing but a fancy DOS shell, exactly like all the hype said it wasn't. I took note of the fact that Microsoft had taken me for an idiot and tried to blow smoke up my ass.

They're still doing that, apparently. Fortunately, I switched to Linux right on the eve of Windows XP, and I never did go back. I've experienced all subsequent versions briefly, and in passing, but I have yet to find a reason to actually use one of them for something. Linux is far from perfect, but it's the devil I know at this point, even if I will never live long enough to see the year of the Linux desktop.

(And yes, of course, I obviously mean Debian GNU/Linux and all its derivatives and permutations of GNUey GNUoodness, because it's not an GNUperating system without putting the GNU in GNU. GNUf said about that nod toward political GNUrrectness.)

Comment Re:I volunteer as tribute. (Score 2) 380

> No, they cure it 100% of the time. The problem is few people actually follow a proper regimen.

If 98% of people can't "follow the proper regimen", then it's not a proper regimen, and it's quite obviously not at all what thin people are doing. That's the fucking point.

Weirdly enough, as much as I've studied and thought about this issue over the years, I never really thought about the people I know who eat just as much shit food as everyone else, and yet they're not overweight.

Now I'm flashing back to the time my wife was in the hospital, back when those "take the stairs instead of the elevator" ads were running. I was working 60 hours a week at a job that involved unloading freight out of the back of a truck by hand, and every chance I got, I went by the hospital to see her. I was so good at flying up those stairs I could pass the elevator, hit the stairs at the far end of the hall, go all the way to the top floor, and be past the elevator in the other direction when it finally made it up there.

I had love handles before, and I had love handles after. I can't lose weight for shit. I'm not a fat guy, exactly, but I'm not a healthy weight either. Maybe it really is just my metabolism or the contents of my poop factory. It's not like I'm a slovenly couch potato.

Comment Re:Part of the summary is crap (Score 1) 231

To compare the prevalence of pornography on the internet to what many of us grew up with is naive at best...If I were a parent I'd definitely want to filter my children's internet access.

I worried about that. I had Playboy, they had Two Girls One Cup and Goatse. In the end Linux kind of helped me make the right decision. I looked into doing some kind of nanny filter thing and there was nothing simple or intuitive to use, and I just said piss on it, rolled the dice, and allowed my children totally unfettered access to the net.

My children are 18 and 21, they have never tried alcohol, they have never tried drugs, they are both virgins. I achieved what all these Moral Majority types are trying to legislate by force, and I did it by being totally permissive, open, and accepting. Want to get drunk? I'll let you get drunk in a controlled environment, and we'll take the mystery and forbidden fruit elements out of the substance. Want to have sex? I'll buy you birth control, and if necessary, find you a hooker. Want to try drugs? You go find a supplier on your own, because I don't presently know any drug dealers, and we'll let you try them in a controlled environment.

The end result is well-composed kids who have made good, informed choices for logical reasons. No net filter required. No curfews, no monitoring phone calls or emails or texts, no behavioral controls at all, other than enforcing basic discipline about things like homework and tidiness and hygiene.

Comment Re:HAHAHAHA! (Score 1) 231

No, no conditions are helped by having speed.

I was driving an empty gasoline tanker home in a blizzard shit storm last winter. When I started breaking traction left and right, I over-compensated, and started driving too slowly. Yes, too slowly. I was riding along in a low, speed-limiting gear, which was great going down the hill into the bottom. Pulling up out of the bottom, however, my traction was going, going, gone, and I narrowly avoided folding up. I attempted to go forward, and could only make things worse. I was stuck in the middle of the road in a partial jackknife in a fucking gasoline tanker in a fucking blizzard.

To my amazement, a couple other drivers from my company went right past me in trucks essentially identical to my own. The difference is they got a run at it.

I should have known to do that after 20 years of driving big trucks, but I guess I haven't actually spent that much time driving in really extreme conditions like that. I normally turn around and go home while I'm still loaded, or I pull off and go to bed. In this case, nary a flake had fallen until I was halfway home, and I was driving a day cab. There is no bed. It really sucked spending the next eight hours sitting in that thing waiting on a tow truck too.

This reminisce is a good reminder of why I need to find a way to make money writing software. Other people do it.

Comment Proper disposal (Score 1) 189

Find a 100,000,000 pound counterweight, fit it to a trebuchet, and fling your cartridge into the sun my friend. Problem solved!

I wonder if a 100 million pound weight is actually heavy enough to get the cartridge to escape velocity and into the sun's inexorable gravitational pull. It probably isn't. Oh well.

Comment Re:Fluidics was very big some 25 years ago (Score 1) 67

When I went through that process nearly 30 years ago, I wanted to learn on Dad's car with the 5-speed. I felt since manuals were cheaper, the driving school would surely have manuals in their cars, and I wanted to know how to shift one.

If it hadn't been for that, I probably never would have learned to drive a straight. The driver's ed cars were automatics, my mother's car was an automatic, my first three used cars were all automatics. When I bought a 2012 Ford Focus, I was going to get the manual transmission, but I would have had to special order one, and the self-shifter supposedly delivered better fuel economy anyway. (It did work quite well.) When I traded the Focus for an F150 in 2014, it wasn't possible to buy an F150 with a manual transmission in any special order configuration. Take the automatic, or buy a different brand.

I've driven manuals in a few random, borrowed vehicles, but I've never owned one, in spite of quite liking to change gears, and always wanting a vehicle with a manual transmission. With all of this being the case, I just can't see the point in requiring American drivers to learn how to shift a manual transmission. Most of us will never encounter one, even if we're looking.

These days, big trucks don't have manuals anymore either. I'm good at shifting gears, because I've logged almost 2,000,000 miles behind the wheel of tractor-trailers. I once had the pleasure of driving 600 miles with no clutch. I haven't had a shift lever in four years though, and I haven't had a clutch pedal in three. Even class 8 trucks have automatics these days, unless you go way out of your way to specify otherwise.

Shifting gears is right up there with those handy dandy hand signals, and knowing how to crank your engine over without breaking your arm.

Comment Re:Robots don't need to be as fast as humans (Score 1) 108

I does make me wonder what we're all expected to do for a living in 20-30 years. We're seeing automation on every horizon, and just about every job I could think to get is endangered in the foreseeable future. How are people supposed to buy things when everyone is unemployed?

Comment Re:Lots of Advice (Score 1) 557

+1 on the quarter turn valves. My old house is well-designed in that every last little thing has a separate shut-off valve. The problem is, I don't think there's a single valve in the house that actually works, even after replacing the soft components in some of them. Whenever I need to work on the water, it's never pleasant.

Another thing I'll mention: Being tech minded, when my ancient water heater finally died, I replaced it with a whiz bang electronic energy saving model with a "lifetime" warranty. The water heater really did save me energy, but the electronics were sensitive. My first replacement motherboard for the water heater was free, and when it died again less than a year later, I discovered the catch in the "lifetime" warranty was that it only covered one free replacement per individual component. I had gotten my free motherboard, and would have to pay $150 for another. Considering their failure rate and replacement cost, I yanked that thing after just two years, and replaced it with a low tech analog version that costs more to operate, but works flawlessly.

(Of course if you live where you can get natural gas without paying $50,000 for the hook-up, gas is probably the better way to go for a water heater anyway.)

On the other side of the consumer purchase spectrum, the money I invested in good toilets really paid off with tangible water savings, and a track record of solid reliability.

Comment Re:F/OSS reality (Score 1) 167

The real problem with Linux on the desktop, in my experience, is the first time a new user goes looking for software somewhere other than the distro repository.

Back in my foolish days of trying to change the world, one family asked me to fix their incredibly ancient old Windows 95 machine that was infected up the gazoo with malware, and had failing components too. I ended up giving them a much newer Pentium III machine totally free, with a highly customized Linux install I tailored to their tastes and needs. I offered this with free around the clock tech support. About a week later, I got a call asking how the guy's wife could get her emails back. Apparently they got some incredibly tantalizing piece of malware they couldn't live without installing, and the malware wouldn't run on Linux, so they hosed everything, including their emails, in the process of installing Windows on the machine. So they could install the malware, and infect the computer, no less!

That is when I finally accepted Linux on the desktop was a pipe dream. Both of my children eventually moved to Windows too, after growing up with Linux from the time they first started using computers. They wanted to play video games, and even though Linux has Steam, Steam on Linux is a joke.

I barely care myself anymore, but every time I think I'll just go with the flow and join the rest of the world, it only takes a few minutes to change my mind. If you haven't yet experienced a Linux installation on a brand new Windows 8 machine, you're in for a treat there. It took two hours and repeated Windows boots to negotiate my way to the damn BIOS screen to get it to boot something else. Disposing of that hideous garbage was a joy, but I am a weird freak, and I am in the 0.0000001% or something. Long live Windows! Hallowed be thy name!


Comment Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

Watching from over here, I thought it was a cool experiment, but I didn't really expect it to work. In spite of its many problems, it has, on the whole, turned out better than I ever expected.

A loose confederation of independent states didn't work over here either. We ultimately settled the matter with a brutal civil war, and the federal government won. I suppose it was a good thing on the whole, though where I live, people are still bitter about it more than 100 years later.

Comment Re:I wonder how long... (Score 1) 50

I once stumbled onto a series of pictures some tragically self-loathing girl had posted of her self-mutilation. She started with garden variety cutting, then she started cutting horrifically deep, to the point where you could see muscles and tendons. She cut her own breasts off. She removed most of her genitals, and sewed what remained into some strange and featureless slit. Unsurprisingly, she eventually succeeded in killing herself. The photo album concluded with some message from somebody who knew her in real life, and a whole lot of "we love you" and "attagirl" type comments.

I don't know whether I am more disturbed by the existence of such a girl, or by the fact that I looked through all of that. The fact that I even know things like this exist is kind of the Pandora's box of my own dark psychology. I'm going to leave the fucker closed for once, and move on. Anyway, after seeing that girl, I wouldn't be remotely surprised if people performed their own amputations at home to get bionic super legs or whatever. Never underestimate the twistedness of a freak.

Comment Re:Meanwhile (Score 1) 71

I killed around a dozen deer in 2013. One of them did $25,000 worth of damage to my truck.

I was almost literally the only guy at work who didn't hunt, so in 2014 I decided to go deer hunting. I figured I may as well eat a few of the damn things before they got splattered in the process of damaging motor vehicles.

It was a pretty radical paradigm shift for me, I have to tell you. I used to tow the liberal treehugger party line about "caveman blood lust" and all that. I looked down my nose at all the disgusting redneck vermin in my midst. I have to say that having gone hunting really changed my outlook on caveman blood lust.

For one thing, it's a LOT more difficult to kill one of those damn things than you'd think. I invested on the order of $1,000 and around 100 hours, and I never fired a shot. My hunting partner, who was showing me the ins and outs of deer hunting woodcraft, did shoot a small buck, and he walked me through gutting it. That was interesting. Deer are made out of stuff that looks and feels just like meat from the grocery store, except it's very warm.

They come apart almost like someone designed them to be used for food. It's pretty easy to remove the guts, and what's left is a big shell of meat and bones that even has a membrane separating it from all the internal stuff. I guess that would be the peritoneum, but when you look at a peritoneum in that context, it's just a convenient barrier that separates all the pissing and shitting parts from the tasty muscle. Fascinating.

The whole caveman blood lust thing is hard to describe. All your senses are heightened, and you feel like a predator. I see why guys who are much less repressed than I am live and breathe this stuff. My scrotum is too empty to really get into the whole chest pounding animal lust thing, and I'm probably not going to become an avid hunter. I'm going to go out again next year, and try my luck though. I'd like to eat one of these things one good time, just for the hell of it. If I didn't eat it, somebody would eventually hit it with a car anyway.

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.