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Comment Re:Privacy in danger (Score 1) 56 56

In densely populated areas, the logical endgame is for devices to create their own mesh networks, independent of any active networking you might provide to them. Then all it takes is any path from your device to the mothership for your data to leak.

Homes with built-in Faraday cages and their own internal repeaters with firewalls for signals you actually want to let through is one possible technological response, but obviously worthless the moment someone creates a path outside the cage, for example by ever leaving the house.

A more practical alternative would be finally passing laws to regulate this area and protect privacy in meaningful ways in the context of 21st century technology, while still allowing beneficial applications of these technologies for those who don't want to be digital hermits. Given the modern reality that even if you opt out of everything those around you might not, the most reliable ways to prevent abuse of data by corporations are to ensure that it is not profitable to do so and/or the executives responsible for setting the policies will go to jail as a result.

Comment Well it is half true (Score 1) 66 66

Slashdot has been crying wolf since they are a geek site and geeks seem to like that kind of thing and also like new technology, no matter the cost and issues.

However there have been actual depletions of IPv4 space of various kinds. First it was that all available networks were allocated to regional registrars. Now some of those regional registrars are allocating all their remaining addresses.

That doesn't mean doomsday, of course, it means that for any additional allocation to go on, something would have to be reclaimed. That has happened in the past, organizations have given back part of their allocations so they could be reassigned. It may lead to IPs being worth more. Company A might want some IPs and Company B could cut their usage with renumbering, NAT, etc so they'll agree to sell them.

Since IPs aren't used up in the sens of being destroyed, there'll never be some doomsday where we just "run out" but as time goes on the available space vs demand will make things more difficult. As that difficulty increases, IPv6 makes more sense and we'll see more of it.

We are already getting there in many ways. You see a lot of US ISPs preparing to roll it out, despite having large IPv4 allocations themselves, because they are seeing the need for it.

Comment What you can pay for instead... (Score 1) 118 118

I hope that what you're missing is the businesses that supply professional laptops will continue to offer them with Windows 7 and no junkware for the foreseeable future. They'll cost more than all the consumer junk that is subsidised by pre-installed promo junk and spyware and so on, but if you want a system that actually works in your interests, someone will probably sell you one at a viable price unless some sort of legal agreement actively prevents it.

I also hope that this is finally the must-get-worse-before-it-gets-better moment for all the nasty recent trends of never-finished software, built-in spyware in everything, and subscription everything. Something as big as Windows screwing as many people as it's presumably going to screw might actually bring enough people to their senses that the industry reconsiders the path it's been following lately.

As I've commented before, I don't see Microsoft themselves changing course again as long as Nadella is at the top. He is exactly the guy the board hires if this is what they want to happen. However, given that Win10 is already looking less appealing than Win8 and people are still only just finding out all the ways it's a mess, the current generation of leadership at Microsoft may be short-lived if they can't turn avert the impending train wreck very quickly.

Comment Re:Moore's law got stuck (Score 1) 90 90

Not on the AMD side as far as "bang for the buck" is concerned. In 2007 I paid $140 for a quad core CPU and last month I paid $132 for an octocore. Blows through transcodes like a boss and at $362 for the processor AND a gamer board AND 16GB of RAM? Its still got the bang for the buck like they did in 07.

Comment Re:This won't end well.... (Score 1) 145 145

Well, no one with any sense in IT goes anywhere near this close to the bleeding edge. This thing as all things similarly new should be relegated for testing and experimentation.

Although my own personal opinion is that I feel sorry for Windows users...

Comment Re:MenuChoice and HAM (1992) (Score 1) 265 265

The problem with shell scripts for this kind of thing is that they're a Turing-complete language. This makes it very hard to present to the user what they actually do. .BAT files on DOS / Windows provided that functionality too, but unless you aggressively restrict yourself to a subset of the shell language it's very hard to check a .sh / .bat file and see exactly what command is going to be invoked.

Comment Re:MenuChoice and HAM (1992) (Score 1) 265 265

This requires the program to be explicitly written that way. Gcc and clang also do this, to detect whether they're invoked as C or C++ compilers, and clang will detect a target triple if it's the compiler invocation name prefix. This just goes in argv[0] though - you can't modify the other arguments from a shortcut. It would be really useful to be able to add things like --sysroot=/some/path and -msoft-float to a symlink so that you had a single cc that you could invoke as a cross compiler, but currently the only way to do this is with a tiny shell script that execs the compiler with the correct flags.

Comment Because someone will do it (Score 1) 213 213

Either states will decide you don't need insurance if you have a self driving car, or a company will spring up that will insure self driving cars for a lot less money.

It is one area where capitalism can work. Lets say all the existing insurance underwriters charge $100/month for normal insurance based on human drivers. At that rate they can cover the rate of claims and make a nice profit. Say $20/month ends up being net profit after their operations costs and payout are factored in, and operations are another $20/month.

Well lets say that self driving cars then have a 0.01% accident rate compared to human drivers (it may end up being lower than that). That will drop their payouts by a similar amount, so from $60/person/month to $0.60/person/month. Ok but they decide to keep the price the same, just make more money.

Thing is, they'd still be really profitable at $41/month, instead of $100. Someone else will realize that, and work to steal their business. They might not go that low, maybe $80/month, but it'll happen. Then they'll try to get it back and so on and so forth.

Remember that your costs aren't just based on your specifically, they are based on actuary data of accident likeness. Sure you've had no accidents, but there is a statistical probability that you will. You are in the lowest risk group likely, but it is there. If self driving cars are much lower, rates can again be much lower.

Also, have you checked around? My rates haven't gone up in a long time. Maybe your company is just screwing you because they can, and you'd save if you took your business elsewhere.

For comparison purposes I pay about $350/6 months for $200k/$500k liability insurance on an old, cheap, car.

Comment Re:Dubious assumptions are dubious (Score 1) 293 293

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect cyclists to have adequate lighting on their bikes at night.

Neither do I. Then again, until the streetlights were turned off in the places I've been talking about, most of them already did.

It's very rare that an entire journey would have street lighting at any time of night.

Around here, it's completely expected. The local authorities have put huge emphasis on promoting cycling in Cambridge over the past decades, and both the streets and the major cycle/pedestrian paths are normally lit during the dark hours, making cycling one of the most efficient and sustainable ways to get around the city. Turning off significant amounts of lighting is a surprisingly cycle-hostile and retrograde step, until you realise it's a different level of local council responsible for making that decision.

Then again, I live in a village with green fields on all sides.

I suspect both the priorities and the expectations in rural areas are quite different to those in densely populated cities or suburbs. I probably wouldn't buy a small hatchback if I lived in the middle of nowhere or a huge 4x4 for driving around the city either.

Comment Re:Dubious assumptions are dubious (Score 1) 293 293

Thanks for the offer. I think our local councillor here is already taking them on, and we'll certainly be offering to help. We've probably already got enough resources for this if they're interested in actually reading evidence.

As for the other place where my family and some old friends are, unfortunately I'm told their local council have made it pretty clear that they have no interest in reviewing the situation or changing policy in the near future, so it seems for now that battle has been lost. Until something tragic happens, presumably. :-(

Comment Re:Crooks are afraid of the dark, too (Score 1) 293 293

Unfortunately, things are unlikely to change unless there is a drastic event that makes them change back to keeping the lights on. You're going to have to have someone fall and break a hip, get drastically beaten in a robbery, or just get worked over by thugs.

And that is exactly what a lot of us are afraid of.

It is notable that a couple of the local authorities who first tried these changes have since reverted. It's hard to know the real reasons for that decision given all the factors involved, but allegedly the safety implications turned out not to be as favourable as expected.

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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