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


Forgot your password?
What's the story with these ads on Slashdot? Check out our new blog post to find out. ×

Comment Re:I have a ZTE 9810 (Score 1) 169

Why, no, the thought hadn't crossed my mind. Thank you so much for setting me straight.

What they learned was I got a cheap phone and bought myself other stuff for that Christmas, and ALL they got were phones - most of which ended up not working as good as mine. If it makes you feel better, this coming Christmas my daughter already asked to get a cheaper phone so she could get something else. Life's little lessons are often learned better from experience than lecturing from a parent.

Comment Re:Ah, science teachers (Score 1) 168

Heh... My favorite science teacher back in high school blew out the fume hood with a zinc dust/sulfur reload of an Estes model rocket engine. One of his demos had two police officers bursting into the room. (That one was actually completely harmless; he was demoing electrolysis of water, bubbling the stoichiometric results through soapy water, and lighting the bubbles to the delight of all. Made a crack like a .22. It just so happened that there had been some riots earlier, so there was police presence in the school, and when they heard what sounded like a .22...)

The last straw, I think, was the accidentally dropped bottle of butyric acid. Harmless enough, but... the smell... He didn't come back the next year, alas. He was enrolled in a PhD program last I heard.

Comment Re:Just a harmless drone this time (Score 1) 168

Well, due to all those Hollywood movies which portray tarantulas as deadly, and a pretty high level of arachnophobia being widespread anyway, and those things inherently generating a "<REDACTED> HUGE SPIDERS!!!!" reaction in the unsuspecting... they may be harmless (for getting jabbed with fangs the size of icepicks, regardless of their venom being ineffective on humans levels of harmless) but in the words of Ray Stevens hilarious song "Sittin' Up with the Dead"... they can sure make you hurt yourself.

Comment I have a ZTE 9810 (Score 3, Interesting) 169

So, being on a budget, and buying phones for the whole family (wife + 2 teenage kids), a couple of years ago I got us all new phones. The wife and kids needed the closest thing to a status symbol we could afford, so they got Samsung S3's; I don't care and saved like $100 getting the ZTE 9810. My screen is bigger, the battery lasts longer, and everything works fine on it. The only difference was memory (8GB vs 16), which is a problem because I hardly have anything installed and run out of memory really easily (external card helps, but doesn't fix the problem). But on the whole I like my phone just as much as they like their's because I don't care about brand names.

The S3's all have charging problems, too. The mini USB connectors just have a problem making a good connection.

I had to replace one recently - despite plans to get everyone new phones this Christmas, so I opted for one of the cheapest I could get. My wife, the biggest complainer in the bunch, got a $50 phone as a temporary replacement, and isn't complaining.

Comment Re:3D programming requirements (Score 1) 606

No. I am one of the primary authors of what might be fairly described as a Photoshop-class application -- one with far more layer modes and built-in filters than Photoshop, as well as a full-bore built-in ray tracer and texturing facility. It is also considerably smaller and faster than Photoshop in the identical system environment. I am also the author of multiple realtime video and arcade games, etc. I'm telling you flat out that matrices are not required. Period.

Matrices may be the only way you know how to do these kinds of graphics; but they definitely aren't the only way to do it.

Just to take your example: "if you have 3-vectors (i.e. points relative to the origin in 3-space), any global linear transformation is represented by a matrix multiplying each vectors"

The correct way to state this is: "if you have 3-vectors (i.e. points relative to the origin in 3-space), any global linear transformation can be represented by a matrix multiplying each vectors." Here is the non-matrix approach (and of course, there's always polar, which can also be easily handled.) This is for 2D points; 2D vectors and 3D points and vectors are all just a further (and trivial) generalizations of the following:

Translation: X += deltaX; Y += DeltaY
Rotation: X = X * cos(theta) - Y * sin(theta); Y = Y * cos(theta) + Y * sin(theta);
Scaling: X *= Xfactor; Y *= Yfactor

Shadows and reflections can be trivially accomplished with more of the same. Basically: R = 2(V dot N)N - V

"dot" is just the dot product, which again is a trivial combination of the lowest math primitives. ...and so on.

You are confusing the fact that matrices can be used to do something with the idea that matrices are the something.

With algebra, trig, and basic math in hand, the programmer's doors to 2D and 3D graphics are wide open.

Comment Re:Probably not (Score 1) 73

Your phone is always awake, or can be, which is to say, the CPU running, albeit in a lower power state. From there, it takes very little energy to simply record what the mic is picking up. It doesn't need to be translated, and it can be sent, compressed, at widely spaced intervals in terms of battery load. It could be sent while you are otherwise connected. You'd be unlikely to notice a difference in power consumption.

Comment Re:Probably not (Score 1) 73

Funny. Also precisely on target.

When speech recognition gets "decent", as TFS inaccurately states, which is to say, when it's good enough to understand me as well as a human does, then a lot of things will change. For instance, I wouldn't be typing this on a keyboard. I'd be speaking, which is quite a bit faster than typing. Probably never touch my phone other than to slip it into a pocket. Especially after there's a decent, power-efficient wearable display, or an in-eye projection, in front of face hologram, etc.

Right now, what the author calls "decent", I would describe as not even close to acceptable, with a grace note of "better than nothing."

I think it'll be a white yet, based on the crappy stuff available right now.

On the other hand, speech synthesis is actually decent at this point in time. :)

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.