Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Alta Vista was not supposed to make money (Score 4, Interesting) 172

It was a technology demonstration of DEC's (remember Digital Equipment? If so you are old!) new Alpha chips and servers, so powerful that they could index the entire early 1990s web. A very minor side project.

When Compaq bought DEC, they were surprised to find that they had also bought Alta Vista. Around then somebody tried to commercialize it and killed it in the process.

Comment Re:BINGO (Score 1) 135

Yes, but you also demand vast amounts of useless functionality. 100% compatibility with every ill-concieved feature that has ever been added in the past. To be in lock step with the latest fads in UI. And that means huge amounts of code, and huge amounts of complexity.

Which is why your containers will leak like a sieve.

Comment What is wrong with stereo vision? (Score 1) 63

Why all these fancy Lidar systems? What is wrong with stereo vision. Full vision is a tough problem, but basic stereo was worked out decades ago. Have to cameras pointing in the same direction, recognize common features in both pictures (the tricky part), do a bit of trig (easy), and you know exactly how far away they are.

Comment Re:What is UNUSUAL (Score 1) 275

Where does all this anti-Assange fluster come from? How could you know any more about it then anyone else that follows the media? Do you passionately believe that Assange was fundamentally evil to release videos about shooting civilians from helicopters? You could not be a rabid feminist because virtually no women read slash dot! Assange is clearly a bit of an arsehole, but it is equally obvious that these "rape" claims are dubious.

You have not debunked anything. If you could actually produce decent references to a few ground facts that would be most helpful.

The lobster dinner is obviously absolutely relevant. In these consent rape cases the question is whether the woman actually gave consent or not, i.e. who is telling the truth. A woman that thinks she was violated, raped, does not normally then have a pleasant dinner with her attacker. And these appear to be intelligent, independent women, so why would they not report such a serious attack to the police immediately and then follow through? As far as I can determine this is entirely driven by the prosecutor, and not the women who would rather forget about it.

As to the loaded word "rape", that implies a certain amount of violence. Grabbing some woman, beating her up and forcing sex with her. If the charge about the broken condom is in fact true it is hardly in the same category. And who remains asleep while someone is fucking them anyway -- there is no claim that she was very drunk.

Comment Re:Yes? And? (Score 1) 275

Questioning him remotely would do a lot of good because it puts that issue at rest. More pressure could be put on Ecuador as a result. And the Swedes could say that they have everything possible.

The big problem for Ny is that if she questions him after all this time it would be politically impossible for Ny to drop the charges. And then she would have to charge him with something very specific, with details handed over to Assange's defense team etc. And that would make Ny look ridiculous. So she does nothing and hopes to retire before the issue comes to a head.

Comment Re:No, because he skipped bail (Score 1) 275

Hardly major crime, skipping bail. Bonds have been forfeited, at worst he would have to spend a very few months in a British jail, no big deal under the circumstances. If Sweden ended up dropping charges, or letting them expire without ever even interviewing Assange, he would have a passable case to try to get that bail money back.

Comment Re:What is UNUSUAL (Score 1) 275

Could you PLEASE put this summary up on the wikipedia entry. You will have opposition, but I for one will support you. You obviously care, and Wikipedia is the source of all truth these days.

You will need to flesh it out with references and details. There was a good article in the Guardian long ago.

Also add the STD issue (which was Assange being an arse hole that got him into this mess!) and the lobster dinner after.

(Reply to this thread if you do so, so that I will find out and support you.)

Comment Four types of arguement (Score 4, Insightful) 166

There are four the types of arguments, of increasing power:-

1. Detailed technical arguments.

2. Simplistic factual arguments.

3. Emotional arguments.

4. Authoratative arguments.

Mugs like me tend to rely on detailed technical arguments. Simplistic factual arguments are much more powerful, but will always be trumped by an argument that appeals to people emotionally. And arguments from respected people in authority (like film stars) trump everything else.

So Nuclear = Nuclear Bombs = Satan. No amount of geeky statistical analysis can change that.

Comment Re:Win 95 + Office 95 only needed 8 meg! (Score 1) 284

No, you could not do all that stuff on a 512K Amiga. There is a lot more functionality in a Win 95 box such as a sophisticated word processing, proper font support, quite large spreadsheets, decent video, Netscape.

Up until about Windows 95 more memory meant more real functionality. But since that time it is hard to put your finger on anything new in functionality other than bloat. And I would not say modern computers are much more secure -- their attack surface is so much larger.

As to installing MS-Dos, yes, floppy disks are slow. But Windows 95 booted a lot faster in real time than my current Windows 8 machine (particularly if you include the slow period when services start). Win 95 was quite fast unless you tried to work on huge data sets, like a whole book in Word.

Comment Win 95 + Office 95 only needed 8 meg! (Score 2) 284

For most users, Windows 95 plus Office 95 plus Netscape plus Eudora could do everything that that they do today. (The big exception is 3D graphics on modern games.)

Most users today only use a fraction of the power of Word 95 and Excel 95. Netscape was more than enough to run Facebook and Google Search and classic web pages which is what most people actually use the web for. Windows 95 could even display passable video. And Emacs gave me a powerful IDE.

It could be a bit unstable, but now that Microsoft had finally discovered 32bit instructions 20 years too late it was very programmable. It also cursed us with the registry.

And all this in just 8 megabytes of memory. Not 80, 800, or 8,000 needed today, but just 8.

So what are the other 7,992 meg on my computer doing? They are filled with stuff (including whole VMs), I seem to need it. Sure 8 might have become 16 and then 80. But how on earth did it become 8,000?

There is nothing substantial that I do today that I could not do on Win95 with, say, 32 meg. (OK, so I could not run bloatware like Eclipse, maybe that is my point!)

Comment Food for lawyers (Score 1) 280

So what happens when one chef happens to arrange the vegies the same way as another? Or if, when prosecuted for photography, we can find prior art?

Or, heaven forbid, someone else cooks something that *tastes* the same.

These new laws will definitely inspire culinary innovation. You can expect to see a large investment in producing culinary IP as a result!

Comment Re:all voting should be paper and pencil (Score 1) 393

What is wrong with just using a piece of paper, like we do in here in oz. With scrutinieers on every booth. Australian elections cost about $5/voter with all votes counted manually. I have scrutineered, it works fine, very few disagreements. Plus we have proportional voting, 1, 2, 3 not just an X, which adds very little to the counting burden, and should definitely be adopted in the US.

While it is easy to mistake incompetence for conspiracy, it would seem that there is a very good reason for the use of machines in the USA. And being hackable is not an issue. I am totally amazed that Americans put up with it.

Comment 5 years is more than he would get in Swedish jail (Score 1) 226

He obviously believes that the risk of extradition out of Sweden is real, because there is no way he could be sentenced to more than 5 years for these minor offenses. The case against him is weak, which is why he was allowed to leave Sweden in the first place. They are obviously politically motivated, hence the refusal to question him in the UK. (Once the question him the have to charge him with something very specific, which would be embarrassing as there is nothing to charge him with.)

It is most unlikely that Sweden would now extradite him now, it would be a huge loss of face to them. More likely the UK will send him out once he eventually leaves. But that said, if I were him, I would not want to bet my life on it. The US jails are very nasty, nothing like Swedish ones.

Comment Re:The US's real desire (Score 1) 226

The US would argue that Assange encouraged Manning to leak. If that fails they would argue that he did something else, maybe spitting on the sidewalk, to quote Al Capone. Does not matter, under US law he can be sent to jail for a very long time for very minor offenses.

A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected.