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Comment: Re:Hilarious! (Score 1) 218

by TheRaven64 (#49798705) Attached to: Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others

The same is true of university exams. My undergraduate exams, for example, mostly required that you answer two of three questions per exam. To get a first (for people outside the UK: the highest classification), you needed to get 70%. Most questions were around 40% knowledge and 60% application of the knowledge. If you could predict the topics that the examiner would pick, then that meant that you could immediately discard a third of the material. To get the top grade, you needed to get 100% in one question and 40% in another. This meant that you could understand a third of the material really well and understand another third well enough to get the repetition marks, but not the understanding ones and still get the top grade. This meant that you could study 50% of the material and still do very well in the exams, as long as you picked the correct 50%. And some of the lecturers were very predictable when setting exams...

Comment: Re:Doesn't get it (Score 1) 296

What jobs do you imagine existing in 10-20 years that don't require some understanding of programming? I thought my stepfather, as head greenskeeper at a golf course might have had one before he retired, but it turns out that the irrigation system that he had to use came with a domain-specific programming language for controlling it. A lot of farm equipment is moving in the same direction. Office jobs generally require either wasting a lot of time, or learning a bit of scripting (hint: the employees who opt for the first choice are not going to be the ones that keep their jobs for long). Jobs that don't require any programming are the ones that are easy to automate.

But, of course, we don't need to teach our children to write. After all, they can always hire a scribe if they need to and there really aren't enough jobs for scribes to justify teaching it to everyone.

Comment: Re:Impractical (Score 1) 555

by TheRaven64 (#49798347) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage
Why would I be stuck with the connector? For one thing, you can easily install adaptors - even if you'd rolled out USB A or B sockets, they'd still be supported everywhere and you can buy adaptors very cheaply. The main problem with a USB A socket (which is really the only one of the previous ones that you'd consider for charging) is the low power - it can only provide about 10W, even if you have some adaptor. USB C can provide 100W, and 100W seems like enough for a DC supply for quite a while.

But if I'd rolled out USB A sockets in 1995, I don't think I'd object strongly to replacing the faceplates on the sockets with USB C ones in the next five years, if the wires in the wall could supply the required power.

I have yet to see a USB-C connector yet, and I am usually a first adopter.

No one you know has a MacBook Air? Most of the next generation of mobiles are going to have USB C (Apple and Google are among the bigger backers), so expect to see a lot of them appearing.

Comment: Re:Important Question: WHICH DC? (Score 1) 555

by TheRaven64 (#49798309) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage
If you connect one of these to the existing AC main, then you're just moving the well wart into the socket. You still have one AC to DC converter for each device, and that particular device can only provide 2.1A at 5V, which is well below what USB-C supports (no charging a MacBook Air from it, for example).

Comment: Re:Someone claim (C) on something oracle depend on (Score 2) 223

The Open Group claims the copyright on the POSIX specifications. If APIs can be copyrighted and this copyright includes all implementations, then it would be problematic for all open source *NIX systems. Of course, they might decide to provide a license that's valid for everyone except Oracle (though writing such a license in a way that's GPL compatible would be very hard, so glibc might be in trouble).

Comment: Re:Important Question: WHICH DC? (Score 1) 555

by TheRaven64 (#49791213) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage
The thing that killed DC in the war of the currents was that step up and step down transformers for AC are easy and cheap to build, but doing the same thing for DC caused a lot more loss (one of the simplest ways of doing it was to convert to AC, do the voltage change, and then convert back to DC). For long hauls on the grid, you want a much higher voltage than in houses. Now, however, it's relatively cheap (both in terms of convertors and in terms of loss) to produce DC-DC converters. USB-C supports 5V (up to 2A), 12V (1.5-5A) and 20V (3-5A). It's fairly easy to imagine 48V between rooms and then a converter in the sockets able to provide USB voltages. You wouldn't want to run a heater or a vacuum cleaner from it, but it would be nice for a lot of consumer electronics.

Comment: Re:Impractical (Score 2) 555

by TheRaven64 (#49791099) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage
We're not talking grid back-haul though, we're talking a few tens of metres maximum within a house. I've wondered for a while if it would be more efficient to have moderately high voltage DC room-to-room and then low-voltage DC in rooms. Given the number of things in my house that would prefer a DC supply and so end up with (cheap and inefficient) AC to DC convertors per plug (and especially if you use LED lighting), it seems like it ought to be a win. And now seems like a good time to do it, as USB-C is a consumer connector that can provide up to 100W via something that's designed to be very cheap to produce in the lower power variations.

Comment: Re:Oh man (Score 2) 139

by TheRaven64 (#49789459) Attached to: Scientists Reverse Aging In Human Cell Lines
Top 10% probably. Take a look at a global rich list calculator. You can live very comfortably in a western country with 9% of the world's population being richer than you. If you're in some parts of central or eastern Europe, or a few parts of south-east Asia then you may be near the bottom of the top 20% and still living very comfortably. The '1%' that people talk about in the USA are well in the top 0.1% globally, but 'the 1%' makes a better soundbite than 'the 0.1%'.

Comment: Re:That poor man (Score 2) 270

I find it hard to consider anyone who owns a house (even with a mortgage), especially in one of the places with the highest property prices in the world, poor. This scheme seems very odd, because the poorest residents of California are renting, they don't own houses (well, the poorest are homeless), who can't just stick solar panels on top of a house that they're renting.

Comment: Re:Like the companion app (Score 1) 65

by TheRaven64 (#49781067) Attached to: Microsoft Bringing Cortana To iOS, Android
Apple used to ship iSync with OS X, which could sync calendars and contacts with a wide variety of phones via bluetooth or a cable. It also had a nice plug-in architecture for adding new sync clients (and new kinds of data to sync). They also had some Bluetooth integration with the address book app, so when someone called your phone you'd get a pop-up on the screen of who it was and could send SMS directly from the address book. All of these features disappeared with the first OS X release after the iPhone and were replaced with cloud-base syncing that only worked with the iPhone.

Comment: Re:Just stick to the mantra (Score 1) 106

by TheRaven64 (#49773763) Attached to: No, Your SSD Won't Quickly Lose Data While Powered Down
Online copies are just RAID done at the file level instead of the block level. The reason that RAID is not considered a substitute for a backup is that user error or a compromise can damage all online storage. If your backups are online, they are not backups, they're just redundancy.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile OS/2 and Xenix existed (Score 1) 387

by TheRaven64 (#49761245) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

enough ram to run without swap file thrashing. Price was high as well

These two are related. OS/2 needed 16MB of RAM to be useable back when I had a 386 that couldn't take more than 5MB (1MB soldered onto the board, 4x1MB matched SIMMs). Windows NT had the same problem - NT4 needed 32MB as an absolute minimum when Windows 95 could happily run in 16 and unhappily run in 8 (and allegedly run in 4MB, but I tried that once and it really wasn't a good idea). The advantage that Windows NT had was that it used pretty much the same APIs as Windows 95 (except DirectX, until later), so the kinds of users who were willing to pay the extra costs could still run the same programs as the ones that weren't.

Comment: Re:For me it's Windows NT 3.1 (Score 1) 387

by TheRaven64 (#49761223) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0
I never ran 3.0 on a 386 to try that. On Windows 3.1 it wouldn't work, because the OS required either (286) protected mode or (386) enhanced mode. Running 3.0 on a 386, the DOS prompt would use VM86 mode (yes, x86 has had virtualisation support for a long time, but only for 16-bit programs). Windows 3.0 could run in real mode, so would work inside VM86 mode. In real mode, it didn't have access to VM86 mode (no nested virtualisation), so probably couldn't start again.

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