Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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:Video over LAN (Score 1) 78

by Hadlock (#49150155) Attached to: VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release

I guess you're not familiar with XBMC (Now "Kodi")? Video over LAN is still a thing, people just want a file browser with a 20 ft GUI. VLC never really made it off the desktop which I guess is why XBMC was able to succeed in the HTPC market where VLC failed miserably and it's plugin system never really took off.

Comment: Re:Best money Tom Steyer ever spent (Score 1) 429

by Dixie_Flatline (#49127979) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

There are about 300 spills a year from pipelines. You can do the googling yourself, but that's how many spills were considered 'significant' in the USA in 2014.

I tried to find a source that isn't obviously left-wing so you wouldn't reject it out of hand:

Admittedly, every single method of transporting oil is bad, and all of them lead to environmental problems and costs. So while pipelines may be 'best'--for some meagre definition of 'best'--there is an absolute amount of damage that's done. Conventional bombs are 'safer' if you drop them on my house than nuclear bombs, but it's a distinction without a difference when it comes to whether or not my house is still there.

Maybe the maintenance is as good as we could hope (I doubt it; we're talking about fallible humans and corporations with a bottom line), but this isn't exactly a solved engineering problem.

Nobody really knows how bad a bitumen spill would be. There's a lot of extra chemicals in there to keep it diluted and flowing.

In the end, one catastrophe a year is too many, even if it seems like 20 years later maybe things would be okay. I'm dubious about that number; 25 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, Prince Edward Sound is *mostly* recovered but still has problems. 20-30 years is a big chunk of time to humans, and we still have to live in this world.

Comment: Re:Bring on the lausuits (Score 2) 590

by Hadlock (#49127927) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Telcom companies have a lot more money to fight a legal battle than the FCC does. See also: Why it took ~35 years to get smoking under control even though the FDA declared smoking a major hazard to your health in the 1980's. Private corporations simply have more money to fight those kinds of battles than governmental organizations.

Comment: Re:Best money Tom Steyer ever spent (Score 1) 429

by Dixie_Flatline (#49127863) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

No, not really. Almost everyone outside of Alberta is either ambivalent or pretty much against the pipeline. The tar sands are a disaster enough without giving more incentives to them to mine more bitumen.

I'm delighted to hear that he vetoed the pipeline. Of all the ways to produce oil, the tar sands are among the worst. They use an enormous amount of (fresh) water and energy. There are significant pipeline breaches every few weeks. Some you hear about, some you don't. A pipeline that long, well, I don't give it much of a chance of running for its intended lifetime without a leak. As a former Albertan, I find the idea of a bitumen slurry being dumped on the prairies really sad. I can't imagine it would be any better once it crosses the border.

I think this is great news.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 1) 303

No, actually, I'm not. I'm assuming that people would put that $10 towards a specific album and thus, a specific artist. If I stream dozens or hundreds of artists a month, the $10 is really diluted, so even if I spent most of my time listening to one artist, they necessarily won't have made as much money off of me as they would've if I'd bought their album.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 1) 303

Well, I mean, to a certain extent I agree. But you and I are having this conversation, which means that we've thought about it. Spotify and services like it mask the conversation from the public. They think that the artists are getting paid an amount commensurate with their skill, and roughly corresponding to the amount that the public enjoys the artist's music. If you ask someone what they think a band gets paid from a streaming service, I'm sure they'll tell you a figure that's much higher than it actually is. To an extent, it even removes the ability of people to vote with their dollars. When $10/month is being split between dozens of artists, even the person that comes out on top is poor. In the end, it may end up backfiring on the streaming services. If bands decide they can make more money doing releases on BandCamp and Spotify is undermining their album sales, maybe they'll pull out of the streaming services to sell fewer albums, but still make more money doing it.

But on a more philosophical level, I think it's sad that art is reduced to a mere calculation and balance sheet. I paid $10 for some albums and I've gotten joy out of them that can't be defined in dollar terms. In a very fundamental way, a lot of music shapes the way we interact with the world. I mean that very literally; music changes and shapes your brain as you listen to it. Emotion and music are tightly interwoven. It's a surprise when you meet someone that takes no enjoyment in music at all.

So while there's a fundamental truth to what you say, driving potential artists away from what could be a workable career doesn't really benefit us. If streaming revenues were enough to make up a decent, middle-ish class living, I don't think I'd argue with you. But these streaming revenues aren't enough to do anything other than have making music as a hobby, and really undermine important album sales. I'm sure there will be lots of artists that continue to make music and live in poverty--that's been true through the ages--but the promise of the age we live in was that MORE artists would be able to reach more people and more EASILY make a living.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 4, Insightful) 303

While true, it's irrelevant for two reasons:

1) The radio doesn't play the songs you want on demand; and
2) The radio is effectively a way to drive album sales. Spotify is a REPLACEMENT for the album.

It used to be that it was worth it to play your songs on the radio (even at a loss) because people that liked your one song might want to hear the 10 hours you wrote--that would never be heard on the radio--and spend $10 on the album.

Now you pay Spotify $10/month for unlimited access to the entire album. To the entirety of the artist's catalogue. To the entirety of all the included artists' catalogues.

This is obviously and trivially less money than any one of those artists would make previously from you if you liked their music. Perhaps the argument could be made that more people are listening and giving a tiny amount of money to each artist, but I rather think that given the stats I've seen, this isn't even close to true.

This is much different from the time when people were pirating albums, since many fans would go out and buy an album that they downloaded because they wanted to support the artist. Now people feel that because they're paying $10 to Spotify or Rdio that they ARE supporting the artist. They're not going to pay for a subscription AND an album. That's exactly the opposite of the point of these services.

They need a new model. Streaming on its own for $10/month is clearly not enough money to go around. Spotify has infrastructure costs and has been bleeding money (I think they had a break-even or profitable quarter just recently?). Meanwhile, they also need to distribute the remainder of the already paltry $10 between a zillion artists. It makes no sense.

Comment: Re:Ultrabook isn't a "class" (Score 1) 70

by Hadlock (#49104565) Attached to: Intel Core M Enables Lower Cost Ultrabooks; Asus UX305 Tested

I would buy the low yield argument if one of two conditions were met; 1) the technology was developed this century, and 2) fewer than a billion (that's with a 'B' for those if you following along at home) were produced every year. 1080p ought to be the minimum standard in 2011, it's 2015, time for manufacturers to get with the program.

Comment: Ultrabook isn't a "class" (Score 4, Insightful) 70

by Hadlock (#49104409) Attached to: Intel Core M Enables Lower Cost Ultrabooks; Asus UX305 Tested

It's a spec. Designed by intel's marketing group. Which is constantly in flux. Their long term goal is to push affordable yet quality laptop design, but at the same time I wouldn't all $700 "palatable" for an Ultrabook. $570-$640 is palatable for an ultrabook. $700 is just a regular laptop price.
And really, should we be praising laptop manufacturers for putting a 1080p screen in a $700 laptop? In 2015? How many pixels does your phone have? How much does it cost off contract. Extrapolate.

Comment: Re:So how about the core Russian module? (Score 2) 100

by Hadlock (#49104139) Attached to: ISS Crew Install Cables For 2017 Arrival of Commercial Capsules

The NK-33 rockets are fully tested before they're flown, I don't want to sound like a Russian apologist, but NASA's preliminary report says that the Orbital flight is their own fault, finding evidence of dessicant and spare parts(!!!) in the fuel tank that were later ingested by the turbopump. If you stick metal action figures in the cylinders of your car how many miles do you expect the engine to last running at 80,000 rpm?

Comment: Re:Russian steep price (Score 1) 100

by Hadlock (#49103945) Attached to: ISS Crew Install Cables For 2017 Arrival of Commercial Capsules

Russia charges NASA about $73 million per astronaut, that includes Soyuz training, russian lessons, splashdown survival training, and of course the actual launch. That's per astronaut. We typically rotate through six astronauts a year on a staggered schedule.
SpaceX is going to be capable of sending seven astronauts for under $100 million. That's about $15 million per seat or 20% of what the Russians are charging. It could potentially get as low as $60 million per launch which comes out to 8.5 million per launch which would be 12% what we're paying now.
If/when SpaceX could successfully land and reuse the booster cores for $20 million per launch, it gets down to $2.8 million per seat. That's 20+ years away perhaps.

Comment: Re:So how about the core Russian module? (Score 0) 100

by Hadlock (#49103883) Attached to: ISS Crew Install Cables For 2017 Arrival of Commercial Capsules

Russia was broke through the entire Cold War and was more than happy to let their citizens starve to push their space and millitary programs and they still beat the US in the space race in every respect (excluding landing a man on the moon). They saw the price tag and said "forget that", we already have First Sattelite, First Man/Woman in space, first Man/Woman in orbit, first manned space station, furthest distance driven on the moon/mars (until VERY RECENTLY actually, only in the last two years were those records broken). Russia also has the most reliable manned spaceflight program by a wide margin. Russia does space better and for less money.

Comment: Re:So how about the core Russian module? (Score 4, Informative) 100

by Hadlock (#49103097) Attached to: ISS Crew Install Cables For 2017 Arrival of Commercial Capsules

They made a formal announcement that they'll be disconnecting from the US half of the ISS at the end of 2013 after approximately 10 years of talking about it. And now they're courting the Chinese, the Japanese and the ESA to go in with them on their own ISS, leaving the ISS with... The US and South Korea.
It's not a rumor, it's "when". They have a webcam setup showing construction of their new spaceport built to support the "new" spacestation in it's new orbit. They plan on doing their first launch by the end of the year.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe