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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Unicomp Keyboard (Score 1) 451

by Thomasje (#49274103) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?
I use the UniComp SpaceSaver at home and at work. They're excellent keyboards, but for my taste the springs are just a tad stiffer than I'd like.
I have fond memories of my mom's first computer, which was an early-'80s no-name cheap PC clone. That machine had a buckling-spring keyboard, with medium-to-long travel, and very light action. I would pay a pretty penny for something like that.

Comment: For it! (Score 1) 613

by Thomasje (#48289857) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?
Honestly, every year, twice a year, the DST haters come out of the woodwork, because apparently adjusting your clocks twice a year is soooooo difficult. A couple of people seem to realize that having extra sunlight in the evening in summer is nice, but then *they* overshoot and suggest we should have DST year-round, apparently not realizing how much it sucks to be a working stiff and have to get up and go to work while it's still dark on winter mornings.

Take a breath, people. DST exists for a perfectly good and simple reason: to use daylight a bit more effectively than we would if we used a schedule that never changed with the seasons. Sure, if you live in or near the tropics, that's a non-issue, but for those of us in the rest of the world, DST is a good thing. And if you're one of those people who uses their smartphone as their alarm clock and pocket watch, you never have to worry about the adjustment; smartphones and computers make the adjustment automagically, *and* they even alert you that this happens. (Even back in the day, adjusting my clocks never took me more than five minutes; totally worth it for the improved quality of life that comes with more sunlight when it does the most good.)

Comment: Re:Yes yes yes (Score 1) 405

What happens when we get to a point where we just don't need everyone to work in order to provide the goods and services people want? I'm thinking we may have already reached that point in some developed countries. Then what?

Then we do the same thing we did the last time this problem became acute. We reduced the working week from 48 hours to 40 early in the last century; I think reducing it further, to 32, is long overdue.

Comment: Brilliant... (Score 1) 158

by Thomasje (#47367179) Attached to: Russia Moves From Summer Time To Standard Time

The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, voted 442-1 on Tuesday to return to standard time this autumn and stay there all year.

Great move! And I guess that means it will take another three years before it sinks in that DST does still make sense in summer, when instead of being woken up by daylight two or three hours before the workday begins, you can have that extra summer daylight at the end of the day, when you can actually enjoy it in peace.

Comment: Re:So that you don't have to RTFA (Score 1) 286

Just guessing here, but since this is the U.S. we're talking about, I'm thinking liability. Whether the hydrant is below or above ground, when it gets used that means big, heavy hoses are attached. If there's a car in front of the hydrant, there is a possibility that it might get scratched or dented by those hoses, and then presumably the fire department would be liable for that damage. Solution: ban parking near hydrants; liability problem prevented.

Comment: Re:So what is the downside? (Score 1) 199

by Thomasje (#46952687) Attached to: Single Gene Can Boost IQ By Six Points

Also, those with higher intelligence tend to reproduce less.

That may be true today, but it clearly wasn't always (or mankind would be getting steadily dumber, and there is ample evidence to the contrary), and this is most likely a temporary situation. Right now, only the better-educated classes grasp just how tight the situation with the world's water, food, and energy resources has become, and they adjust their reproductive behavior accordingly, while the more ignorant parts of our species continue to pass on their increasingly unwarranted optimism to their many children. All it takes is a really major resource-scarcity-related disaster or war, and people's attitudes will change, even at the bottom... And once birthrates return to being largely independent of intelligence or education, the smarter ones will resume having their natural advantage in everyday life.

Comment: Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (Score 1, Interesting) 141

by Thomasje (#46914459) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Receives IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

I think you're greatly overstating the importance of Linux there. Not to take away from the great work Linus did and continues to do, but he himself said: "If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never had happened."


Comment: Re:Excellent! (Score 3, Insightful) 665

by Thomasje (#46221017) Attached to: South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
It also means a country full of religious hotheads, who are going to view their own increasingly bleak existence as the result of a conspiracy of all those godless people in Europe and Asia. You sure you're enthusiastic about that kind of development in a country as heavily armed as the U.S.? I'd rather see them be smart, personally.

Comment: Other alternatives to Google exist as well (Score 1) 118

by Thomasje (#46109229) Attached to: Why We Need OpenStreetMap (Video)
I use Sygic for navigation. They have iOS and Android apps. The apps use maps that are loaded on the device, so they take up a good chunk of space, but on the other hand this means you don't need an Internet connection to navigate (if you've ever been hit with international data roaming charges, you'll really appreciate this), and the app doesn't phone home to Google every time I use it.

They use the same map provider as TomTom. Whether that's better than OpenStreetMap or not probably depends on where you are... I've personally never had issues with map accuracy from any providers, but my travels so far have been exclusively in densely populated parts of Europe and the U.S., which are probably well mapped in any case.

N.B. I don't mean to advertise Sygic specifically; I'm sure other stand-alone navigation apps exist that are just as good. My point is that if you don't want Google to always know where you are, and are leery of the accuracy of community-provided maps, there are good alternatives.

Comment: Only micros? (Score 1) 474

I know I'm showing my age, but when I was little, computers were these huge things that sat in climate-controlled rooms. Unless that kind of hardware is now removed from the definition of "computer", I can think of a few pre-Apple manufacturers that are still around, like IBM, NCR, and Unisys.

Comment: Re:Code... (Score 2) 157

by Thomasje (#44913161) Attached to: A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers
I studied math in college, and many numerical algorithms textbooks refer to software as "codes". It seems to be common practice in the computational mathematics world. I assume it goes back to the days before Fortran, before high-level languages in general, when source code literally consisted of a series of codes.

Comment: Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (Score 4, Interesting) 184

by Thomasje (#44898801) Attached to: California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing
Don't hold your breath waiting for prices to plummet when taxis are deregulated. This has already been tried in the Netherlands, and the result was that prices went up, not down, and service got worse, not better, capitalist dogma notwithstanding.
The problem is that taxi drivers need to make a certain amount of money to pay their cost of living, and if the number of cabs goes up while the number of passengers doesn't, they end up spending more time waiting for fares, and less time actually driving. And they can't just hop off to a second job while they are waiting. So, they have to *increase* their rates in order to make up for their reduced number of trips, so taking a cab becomes more expensive, and they will tend to refuse short trips, trying to hold out for the more profitable longer ones, so taxi availability gets worse.

Comment: Re:End of a Dream (Score -1, Troll) 344

by Thomasje (#44759667) Attached to: Martin Luther King Jr's Children In Court Over MLK IP

And how are programs like affirmative action following in that spirit? They tell you that, for example, if you have slanted eyes then you immediately deserve lower preference than anybody, but if you have black skin then you automatically get to be first in line.

Holy hyperbole Batman!

Affirmative action means that the kid with brown skin has a slightly higher chance of getting into college than the kid with the pink skin. You know, a little bit of unfairness going *their* way, to counterbalance the unfairness dark-skinned people experience everywhere else in life. Like having odds of landing a job, with a clean slate, that are equal to a white man's odds with the same qualifications *with a criminal record*. If we can't eliminate racism, at least we can try to make up for it somehow, and that is exactly what affirmative action is for. It does *not* mean that if you're black you're automatically in and if you're Asian you're automatically out.

Try some other news sources than Fox for a change. Heck, try some actual *news* sources.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.