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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Professional trolls (Score 1) 133

by swillden (#49802071) Attached to: Professional Internet Troll Sues Her Former Employer

are called shills.

This is wrong. As is the use of the word "troll" in the summary/article. Trolls and shills are distinct, and the difference isn't whether they get paid. You can be a paid or unpaid troll and a paid or unpaid shill.

Trolls post messages written specifically to generate responses. The term derives from fishing where trolling means to drag something through the water to catch fish. Internet trolls post baiting comments trying to get people to respond to them. Flamebaiting is a subset of trolling, where the aim is to generate angry responses.

Shills post messages to talk up some product, service, etc., trying to make it look good and its competition look bad.

Both categories also assume that the writer likely doesn't fully agree with what he or she is writing. If two people write the same words but one believes them while the other doesn't, the former is not a troll or shill, but the latter may be.

Note that paid trolls are pretty common on the Internet, but they tend to write the articles (or, on /., the summaries) not the comments. "Clickbaiting" is almost the same as trolling in this respect, except that a clickbait article is to collect clicks, while a troll article is intended to generate comments.

Comment: Re:Then let us sue the government! (Score 1) 82

by Theaetetus (#49801941) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Patent Troll

That survey only looked at patents issued on a single day. There are still a couple hundred thousand unexamined patents from the 80s and 90s .. what will the patent term adjustment look like when they issue?


Nothing, because those patents don't get patent term adjustment. And while, yes, there are still a few patent applications floating around from that era, that law was changed 20 years ago. It's already been taken care of for everything since then, and since you can't apply it retroactively, there's nothing more that can be done.

Comment: Re:Abbott is a moron (Score 1) 273

Learning how to decompose large problems into smaller ones that can be solved individually is also really valuable.

I have told a lot of people that a short study of project management--just a crash course from a book--would be valuable because of the context for hierarchical decomposition. Project Managers break down projects. A project's scope is broken down into a work breakdown structure (WBS) by listing the project as the top node (whole), and then breaking it into its deliverable parts--including project management, testing, and so forth, as well as solid deliverables--and then further breaking those down, until you have fully-identifiable work packages. Risks are broken down the same way in a Risk Breakdown Structure.

I encourage you to watch this ten-minute video, which explains a WBS in a way I find accurate, concise, and easily-understood. It's very approachable, in plain English language. You'll undoubtedly see that this is an excellent approach to absolutely anything you want to do; it seems obvious but, as you say, it's not a natural skill.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 317

by Rei (#49800067) Attached to: Crowdfunded, Solar-powered Spacecraft Goes Silent

I think it's pretty amazing that spacecraft can survive at all out there, given the sort of particles flying around - individual cosmic rays with the energy of fast-pitch baseballs. Thankfully, particles with such high energy have tiny cross sections (they prefer to move through matter rather than interact with it), and when they do hit something and create a shower of particles, most of the progeny is likewise super-high energy and will most likely just move through whatever it's in.

It's more interesting when they strike the atmosphere - each collision creates a new shower of other high energy particles, more and more, spreading out the energy as they descend. In the end, detectors on the surface over an area of dozens of square kilometers simultaneously pick up different pieces of the same cascade kicked off by a single cosmic ray collision.

Comment: Re:Just...wow. (Score 4, Insightful) 86

by Rei (#49798823) Attached to: Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Plans To Obtain Sensitive Western Tech

No, fines for violating export laws.

Being slapped with massive fines is usually pretty good motivation for a company. And given that the US spends nearly half of the world's total military spending, and the EU a good chunk of the rest, simply "hopping overseas" and choosing to serve other markets isn't exactly the smartest of plans, financially.

It's idiodic for a company to wilfully risk sales of hundreds of thousands of units per year to NATO to sell a couple hundred units to Russia. Russia's economy is barely bigger than Canada's. And less than 80% the size of Brazil's.

Comment: Re:Just...wow. (Score 1) 86

by Rei (#49798769) Attached to: Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Plans To Obtain Sensitive Western Tech

You could start by reading more than the first paragraph.

1) They don't have "zero" capability, but they have way too little - only a few hundred modern imagers.

2) They have tried to buy them off ebay before. And it led to arrests. It's illegal to export military-grade night vision equipment without a license, and apparently sites like ebay are well monitored for potential violations.

Comment: Re: Save in conversion, pay for copper (Score 1) 544

by bluefoxlucid (#49798419) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage
Steam irons use a heated water reservoir to store steam. US irons use a hot plate through which cold water is injected. A steam iron can produce a constant stream of steam for a good half-hour, and doesn't cool when steaming... except in the US, where it can produce steam for about 10 seconds, then needs 10 more minutes to heat back up.

Comment: Re:Abbott is a moron (Score 1) 273

He is an idiot, and his position is founded on sand; I think the position that everyone should be a computer programmer is also founded on sand, but I actually understand *why*.

This important distinction is missed by the general public, and so public policy is a popularity contest. Smart people incorrectly think X, people get behind the guy. In the case of coding skills and technology in education, it's computer nerds thinking they understand market economy, sociology, and primary education. Being able to code in AWK, Sed, and Bash have proved more useful to me than C, Visual Basic, Objective-C, Java Script, C#, and even Python--as useful as Python and C# are (don't ask me why, but I actually like C#); I still don't think these are primary skills. My idea of primary skills are the base skills of learning that will allow students leaving high school to recognize that awk might be useful, and spend an afternoon learning it inside and out.

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade