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Education

Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common? 389

Posted by timothy
from the rice-beans-eggs-and-kale dept.
Gud (78635) points to this story in the Washington Post about students having trouble with paying for both food and school. "I recall a number of these experiences from my time as grad student. I remember choosing between eating, living in bad neighborhoods, putting gas in the car, etc. Me and my fellow students still refer to ourselves as the 'starving grad students.' Today we laugh about these experiences because we all got good jobs that lifted us out of poverty, but not everyone is that fortunate. I wonder how many students are having hard time concentrating on their studies due to worrying where the next meal comes from. In the article I found the attitude of collage admins to the idea of meal plan point sharing, telling as how little they care about anything else but soak students & parents for fees and pester them later on with requests for donations. Last year I did the college tour for my first child, after reading the article, some of the comments I heard on that tour started making more sense. Like 'During exams you go to the dining hall in the morning, eat and study all day for one swipe' or 'One student is doing study on what happens when you live only on Ramen noodles!'

How common is 'food insecurity in college or high school'? What tricks can you share with current students?"

Comment: I thought current consoles were like current PCs (Score 4, Insightful) 117

Only they're also known targets, and should be able to be easily programmed for, as a result. Performance for 1920x1080 shouldn't be an issue for any title on the hardware available. It boggles the mind at how poor these developers must be if they can't even target known hardware, console-style, and get good performance out of the thing. Average PC game devs don't seem to have any problem doing so on the PC, and that's a moving target. Why would any competent devs have a problem with a fixed target? They've got decent CPUs. They've got decent GPUs. They've got a decent amount of RAM. Yet they found a way to get horrible performance out of it. Send in the firing squad.

Comment: Re:Field of view (Score 1) 135

by _Shorty-dammit (#46710233) Attached to: A 2560x1440 VR Headset That's Mobile

Plenty of 'iRacers' have multiple 3D monitors. It works fine.

I have no doubt that your 'sense of presence' might be better with a VR headset, but to say I will not get a sense of presence with three monitors in front of me is ridiculous. You say don't discount VR's VRness. I say don't discount wide FOV for vastly improving the immersiveness factor, too. My view of the race track in this particular sim (thanks to its display calculator in the graphics options) gives me a 1:1 view of the sim world. It would look exactly the same to me if I were in that car at that track in the real world, save for the fact that I would have a full FOV in all directions rather than just the monitors in front of me.

Believe me, once the racing starts I am in that world. I completely lose the fact that I'm looking at monitors because of how much of my FOV it is taking up. The bezel gaps disappear. I fail to notice anything beyond the monitors' display area. A good VR headset *with* as much or greater FOV would be even better, yes. But I would not want a VR headset with less FOV than I have now, no matter what else the headset brings to the table in terms of immersiveness. FOV is too important, and trumps all the other headset pluses, for me, with this usage.

Comment: Re:Field of view (Score 1) 135

by _Shorty-dammit (#46706267) Attached to: A 2560x1440 VR Headset That's Mobile

A larger field of view by turning your head is not the same thing as a larger field of view at once. If I can't have both, I choose larger field of view at once. And, btw, you can do 3D with monitors. And I don't notice the bezel gaps while I'm racing on iRacing. I notice the track in front of me and the large FOV means I can see the cars beside me. It would be great to be able to turn my head to see even better beside me, but most of the time peripheral vision is enough for that use. But that absolutely requires a large FOV. In that use, a smaller FOV with head-tracking is still going to be a disadvantage compared to the larger FOV. The larger FOV will still be greatly preferable.

Comment: Field of view (Score 1) 135

by _Shorty-dammit (#46702445) Attached to: A 2560x1440 VR Headset That's Mobile

The resolution of these types of devices is a huge factor in whether or not I would find them acceptable to use, but the field of view they have is an even bigger factor. With very inexpensive monitors I can have a combined display that takes up a very large portion of my horizontal vision. I currently have three 24" monitors that give me a combined field of view of 123 degrees in their current configuration, with a 5760x1080 resolution also being a plus. Going to a VR headset with a FOV of only 90 degrees would be a step down as far as I'm concerned, and I would not take that step. The VR aspect of it, while cool in and of itself, would be a non-starter for me if the FOV was well below what I can do with monitors. Getting slightly bigger monitors, like 27" ones, would give me an even larger FOV, and alterations to their physical configuration can also change that FOV value and give me close to 180 degrees if I want.

As far as I'm concerned, if a VR headset isn't giving me something near/beyond a 180 degree FOV I really couldn't care less. I'd rather keep my head stationary and look at a display setup that does give me a larger FOV. Hopefully they get there soon, because everything else that goes along with the idea is pretty damn cool. But I don't want to look at an image where only a small portion of my vision is taken up. The immersiveness of a large horizontal FOV (vertical is less important to our vision, but would still be desirable) is too much to give up. I've lived with this setup for a couple years now, and wouldn't want to go without something similar/greater in FOV capability.

GUI

Apple: Dumb As a Patent Trolling Fox On iPhone Prior Art? 408

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the catching-up-with-the-80s dept.
theodp (442580) writes "GeekWire reports that a Microsoft researcher's 1991 video could torpedo Apple's key 'slide to unlock' patent, one of 5 patents that the iPhone maker cited in its demand for $40 per Samsung phone. Confronted with what appears to be damning video evidence of prior art that pre-dates its 'invention' by more than a decade, Apple has reportedly argued that the sliding on/off switch demoed by Catherine Plaisant is materially different than the slide to unlock switch that its 7 inventors came up with. Apple's patent has already been deemed invalid in Europe because of similar functionality present in the Swedish Neonode N1M." The toggle widgets demoed in the video (attached below) support sliding across the toggle to make it more difficult to swap state (preventing accidental toggling). The video itself is worth a watch — it's interesting to see modern UIs adopting some of the idioms that testing in the early 90s showed were awful (e.g. Gtk+ 3's state toggles).
Data Storage

Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium 147

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the platters-like-to-breathe dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Seagate has released what it said is the industry's fastest hard drive with up to a 6TB capacity, matching one released by WD last year. WD's 6TB Ultrastar He6 was hermetically sealed with helium inside, something the company said was critical to reducing friction for additional platters, while also increasing power savings and reliability. Seagate, however, said it doesn't yet need to rely on Helium to achieve the 50% increase in capacity over its last 4TB drive. The company used the same perpendicular magnetic recording technology that it has on previous models, but it was able to increase areal density from 831 bits per square inch to 1,000. The new drive also comes in 2TB, 4TB and 5TB capacities and with either 12Gbps SAS or 6Gbps SATA connectivity. The six-platter, enterprise-class drive is rated to sustain about 550TB of writes per year — 10X that of a typical desktop drive."
Windows

Slashdot Asks: Will You Need the Windows XP Black Market? 245

Posted by timothy
from the undead-is-more-like-it dept.
NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) writes "As Whoever57 pointed out, there are some who will still get support for Microsoft Windows XP — the 'haves'. However, most will be the 'have nots.' Anytime you have such market imbalance, there is opportunity. Since Microsoft clearly intends to create a disparity, there will certainly be those who defy it. What will Microsoft do to prevent bootleg patches of XP from being sold to the unwashed masses? How will they stop China from supporting 100 million bootleg XP users? And how easily will it be to crack Microsoft's controls? How big will the Windows XP patch market be?" There are a lot of businesses still on Windows XP; if you work for one of them, will the official end of life spur actually cause you to upgrade? (And if so, to what?)
Hardware Hacking

Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen 208

Posted by timothy
from the wardriving-in-style dept.
New submitter FikseGTS (3604833) writes "A Tesla Model S owner located a 4 pin connector on the left side of the Tesla Model S dashboard that turns out to be a disguised ethernet networking port. After crafting his owns patch cable to connect with the Tesla's port, a networking connection was established between the Tesla Model S and a laptop computer. The Model S is running a 100 Mbps, full duplex ethernet network and 3 devices were found with assigned IP addresses in the 192.168.90.0 subnet. Some ports and services that were open on the devices were 22 (SSH), 23 (telnet),53 (open domain), 80 (HTTP), 111 (rpcbind), 2049 (NFS), 6000 (X11). Port 80 was serving up a web page with the image or media of the current song being played. The operating system is modified version of Ubuntu using an ext3 filesystem. Using X11 it also appears that someone was able to somewhat run Firefox on both of the Model S screens. Is a jailbroken Tesla Model S on the way?" Some more details on this front would be appreciated, for anyone who has a Tesla they'd like to explore.
Government

Book Review: How I Discovered World War II's Greatest Spy 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
benrothke (2577567) writes "When it comes to documenting the history of cryptography, David Kahn is singularly one of the finest, if not the finest writers in that domain. For anyone with an interest in the topic, Kahn's works are read in detail and anticipated. His first book was written almost 50 years ago: The Codebreakers – The Story of Secret Writing; which was a comprehensive overview on the history of cryptography. Other titles of his include Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boats Codes, 1939-1943. The Codebreakers was so good and so groundbreaking, that some in the US intelligence community wanted the book banned. They did not bear a grudge, as Kahn became an NSA scholar-in-residence in the mid 1990's. With such a pedigree, many were looking forward, including myself, to his latest book How I Discovered World War IIs Greatest Spy and Other Stories of Intelligence and Code. While the entire book is fascinating, it is somewhat disingenuous, in that there is no new material in it. Many of the articles are decades old, and some go back to the late 1970's. From the book description and cover, one would get the impression that this is an all new work. But it is not until ones reads the preface, that it is detailed that the book is simple an assemblage of collected articles." Keep reading for the rest of Ben's review.
Bitcoin

Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins 275

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
An anonymous reader writes: "Mining new Bitcoins is computationally expensive — you can't expect to do much on your standard home computer. Many miners have built custom rigs to mine more efficiently, but it was only a matter of time until somebody went industrial. Dave Carlson's goal is to mine 10% of all new Bitcoins from now on. He's built literally thousands of units. They collectively use 1.4 million BitFury mining chips, which are managed by a bunch of Raspberry Pis. 'The current rigs each contain 16 boards, with each board containing 16 BitFury chips, for a total of 256 mining chips on each rig. Carlson said about 90,000 processor boards have been deployed, which would put the number of rigs at about 5,600. A new board [being designed] will have 756 chips on each rig instead of 256.' Carlson says his company spent $3-5 million to get everything set up. They current generate 7,000 — 8,000 Bitcoins per month, which, at current rates, would be worth over $4 million."
Bitcoin

Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin 301

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ruining-everything-with-math dept.
holy_calamity (872269) writes "Using game theory to analyze the rules of cryptocurrency Bitcoin suggests some changes are needed to make the currency sustainable in the long term, reports MIT Technology Review. Studies from Princeton and Cornell found that current rules governing the mining of bitcoins leave room for cheats or encourage behavior that could destabilize the currency. Such changes could be difficult to implement, given the fact Bitcoin — by design — lacks any central authority." The main problem discovered is that transaction fees do not provide enough incentive to continue operating as "miner" after there are no more bitcoins left to be mined.
Communications

Goodbye, Google Voice 166

Posted by timothy
from the your-mileage-may-vary dept.
itwbennett writes "The trouble with Google Voice is that the way we use phones has changed — and it hasn't kept up with the times: 'Fewer people have a mobile phone and a business line and a home line that might make One Number For All so. Text message costs (which are actually close to nothing) are almost always bundled into contract costs. Automatic voice transcription, while still a mean feat, is no longer such a magic trick,' writes Kevin Purdy in a blog post explaining why he's breaking up with Google Voice. The main problem is that, despite some very cool features, Google Voice doesn't play well with others — even apps in its own family. And it doesn't look as though that's going to get better anytime soon." I've been very happy with Google Voice for a few years now, and one reason is the transcribed voice messages, which may get hilariously garbled sometimes, but are almost always correct enough to be useful.
Power

Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down 712

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the could-but-won't-because-reality dept.
cartechboy writes "What's $50 billion among friends, right? At least Felix Kramer and Gil Friend are thinking big, so there is that. The pair have published an somewhat audacious proposal to spend $50 billion dollars to buy up and then shut down every single private and public coal company operating in the United States. The scientific benefits: eliminating acid rain, airborne emissions, etc). The shutdown proposal includes the costs of retraining for the approximately 87,000 coal-industry workers who would lose their jobs over the proposed 10-year phaseout of coal. Since Kramer and Friend don't have $50 billion, they suggest the concept could be funded as a public service and if governments can't do it maybe some rich guys can — and the names Gates, Buffett and Bloomberg come up. Any takers?"

The first version always gets thrown away.

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