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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Are the laws of physics the same everywhere? (Score 1) 167

Laws of physics allows for Randomness, or at least a complex set of cause and effects that is beyond the ability to predict, as the attempt to measure all the factors will change their outcome, or a less sciency person may say these values we cannot be controlled by us are being controlled by a greater intelligence force. Needless to say in all intensive purposes there is randomness. Random stuff tends to balance itself out on the macro scale. Planets and Stars are round, and they orbit each other in elliptical orbits, they spin in galaxies.... But as you get into the smaller we find more randomness. That sandy beach may be made from different rocks, which may have a different properties. So animals who evolved to live on these beaches had adapted to deal with these difference, embracing the environments strengths and protecting itself from its dangers. So a bug evolved on one sandy beach with sand that has smooth edges may be more prone to digging in it to hide, while sand with sharper edges may be better used to cover the animal as to protect itself.
The environment you exist on will direct how you evolve. Our brains are designed for grassy plains, where we walk upright to be taller than grass, we can use our eyes and ears to find prey and avoid predators. Our smell isn't so great, but being above the grassline the stuff we would be able to smell wouldn't be as useful information. But we had learned to communicate with sight and sound.
An alien would have evolved with a much different set of random elements. Say like a bunch of mole men. No need for eye-sight. but much more on smell and sound. An intelligent group of life forms with less or no site would be making different observations. Except for reaching to the stars, they may be wanting to dig to the planet core. And they share information over the sniffernet. Their world view would be alien to us making communication difficult. and even undetectable by other advanced races.

Comment Re:Animals (Score 2) 167

We can communicate with animals. We can learn there gestures, mannerisms, vocal noises, even analyse the smells they produce. We can often tell if they are happy, sad, angry at least for mammals and birds. However animals don't have the same level of communication that people do. Sure some animals makes complex sounds but it doesn't mean they are performing complex grammar. A Dolphin going Screech - Chirpity - click - click may just mean "Fish over here", and perhaps an identifier on who he is.
We can identify this stuff. We think we cannot communicate with animals because we don't get into these deep conversations with them but they don't think like that. They are not that deep.

Comment 4 gigs is all the RAM you will ever need. (Score 1) 208

I expect that is may be mostly do the fact most apps made today still are created with the idea of 32bit in mind. (For Windows and Linux). When designing software there is a sweet spot where of how much RAM to use, vs how much to read off of slower storage such as a hard disk or download from the cloud, vs. how much you should calculate in real time. As technology progresses and prices changes this balance fluctuates. MS DOS and those old DOS apps were designed around the under 640k RAM. and reading data from the disk. So many of the games were generated via Vector graphics. As the CPU time was fast enough to draw the graphics, vs trying to store bitmaps in RAM, and loading it from the disk. Then once the Faster Accessing of the hard disk came around with larger storage, then you got more bitmapped images, where you can read more complex images and display them faster then it would take the CPU to draw them at that quality level. As well RAM has been breaking the 640k barrier, at this point we can have Windowing information as we now have the RAM to run the application and extra to store the data behind an overlapping window...

Design methods change as technology changes so you code needs to deal with the new balance of technology available in the systems.
Sometimes we call it bloat, but it is about having your program taking optimal advantage of the resources to meet what the system can do.
I have a program I created on the server that takes over a hundred gigs of RAM. It really flies because I have a good portion of the data cached in RAM for quick retrieval faster then it takes to download it from the Database. The app I would have written a decade ago, wouldn't work like this app, because we didn't have the RAM, so it would have been designed with more of creating direct read tables in the database with copies from other data elements, probably using extra disk space, to get things indexed so it will work in reasonable time. As well it may need to have been split across multiple servers.

Comment Re:Perl? LOL. (Score 2, Insightful) 161

Perl still has a place, however it isn't the golden child language it once was.
Perl heyday was during the mid-late 1990's when having a Relational Database was considered an expensive (in software price and/or in system requirements) so for Web Applications, that needed to do a server side data processing there was a lot of reading flat text data. Perl is still king at flat text processing. However with MySQL, PostGreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 being created and designed to be good enough to handle the large data sets, and with system resources that can fit on your mid range server. So PHP, Java servlets, ASP took Perl golden child status, as they are better designed to interact with the database, as well the ability to embed your code with your HTML simplifying the process.
So its place as the de facto language for all things web is rather dated... However it is still good for text processing and can do what it needs to do.

Comment Re:Sincerely, good luck (Score 2) 682

Problem is Linus in terms of Linux has been granted God Like reputation. And no one is willing to dispute his power. He may had been a nice guy back in the 1990's but the power had made him more willing to just speak his mind, and not listen to the little guys.

I personally like to hire people who is willing to tell me I am wrong so I can learn.

Comment Re:Not a hard and fast rule... (Score 2) 281

It is much the same concept of parallelizing algorithms. Some algorithms are easily parallelized where each unit isn't dependant on the other. Then you have others which cannot be parallelized, Things need to happen in that order and the start of the next step is dependant of the part of the first. The same with development projects. In order for someone to complete a particular section they need the results from an other. Then you have the difference between academic vision of software engineering, and real life. all the specs cannot be thought out.

Comment Get a contract. (Score 1) 112

Let's take it for wrote that the NSA will spy on us and the snowden leaks were only to show the NSA where they were holes in its operation that it closed down.
So no country is safe from the NSA.

They are not suppose to spy on citizens though. So I guess that still makes US the safest place.
However when shopping for online hosting, we rarely put the effort that is deserving for the cost of the information. If you want extra protection, then you need to work up a custom contract for work, and not their standard terms of services. That will cover all the holes you want to be sure is covered. You may end up paying a lot more for it too. But if your data is that valuable then you need to go threw the extra effort.

I work in a Mid-Large size Hospital and we take HIPAA and your personal health records very seriously, sometimes we need to work with an outside vendor who will host some systems, the contracting will take months to insure the data is secure, and if there is a breach they will legally on the line for their mistake not us, and they will have to face nearly all the burden including paying us back for any work on our end, for their damage. Now in generally I tend to really hate this, because it takes months, and I have to explain to the vendor's Project Managers, our end users and upper management, that it is still in contracting and they get frustrated as there is no movement, I get frustrated too, because this may take an unexpected amount of time so it is hard to prioritize my work. However the data is extremely important and we need to be sure that we have covered all the holes that we can think of.

Comment Re: GOOD GRIEF! (Score 2, Interesting) 568

There are fringe groups of Environmentalists and Health Nuts, who seem to forget or not realize the advancements we have made over the last couple thousand years in providing clean and much more healthy drinking water. There is a reason why our forefathers drank a lot of beer and hard cider, it was healthier then drinking water. The alcohol which damaged their livers and took decades off their lifespan, was a better option of drinking fresh water which could have microbes that could kill you the next week. Now we had great improvement in water purification technologies so clean drinking water is possible and better for you then alcohol. Which then leads us to the 1920's prohibition, where many people who were employed to serve alcohol either had to work black market, go to a different career, or adapt. Those who adapted, help make things as Malted Milk Shakes, and Soda-Pop and other "Soft" drinks. Where they could use their now clean water to make new drinks which is what they were good at. Now these soft drinks were speciality drinks, were candy not meant for constant consumption, so they were not targeted towards to being part of your daily diet. Then we get to those silly Baby Boomers who never wanted to grow up. So their culture rejected all the stuffy restrictions of their parents and tried to be young and hip. Thus causing them to drink more soda, and avoiding classifying it as kids stuff, then we get to their kids, where they felt it was OK to feed their children this as part of their normal grocery items. So the Gen X got hooked on the taste.

Now, Soda isn't like tobacco where it is an addictive substance, it is much easier to quit the soda habit/substitute it with something else. We Americans have a problem of overdoing things that we like. When we smoke we smoke packs of cigarettes a day not one every few days. When we drink soda it is part of our diet not just a random treat. If we don't like meat then we go full vegan, if we like meat, then we reject all vegetarian meals. When our excess goes out of control, it is easier to blame the product maker, then ourselves for going in excess.

Comment Brave polling, but in real life? (Score 5, Insightful) 257

It is interesting to see the current results with over 40% in "Sorry I can't help, but I just can't recall any ..." but I expect most of these people will not realize how much pressure you may get from legal authorities to release your password. Chances are most of you would crack after you have legal authorities pressing you. Why? because you don't need to be criminally prosecuted for your life to be made miserable. Especially if you don't have anything incriminating, it will be easier to give the password show that you don't have anything and just go on and change your password. Now this isn't fair and we should have legal protection against officials for even asking the question, but real life, if you are going to stand up for your rights, there will be consequences you will have to face. If you have the bravery to do this, good for you. But in reality most of us do not have the bravery that we think we do in such a poll.

Comment Re:weakly disguised hit-piece (Score 1) 326

You really have no idea on what you are talking about do you.
Jobs, Gates, Ellidon while extreamly successful with the lack of business school, they are blips. The 1% in the US of 300 million people is well 3 million people.

Jobs and Gates took a risk and got lucky that the market was hungry for something.
Many engineers do have an MBA you go to these MBA classes and they are full of computer scientist and engineers. They often take the MBA as to give them more leverage dealing with higher management and make them more sellable as outside consultants.

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith