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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Who are these people? (Score 4, Insightful) 313

Robert Reich is certainly right on about the demise of capitalism. Corporations stack the deck so much in their favor that capitalism as we used to have it, as it used to benefit average people, and lift them out of poverty, is pretty much dead. Any attempts to reform the system cause them to scream "socialist wealth redistribution."

I used to think those that picketed at G7 meetings against globalization were luddites. Now I completely understand. Globalization is more and more just bullying on a national scale.

Hopefully in Canada we can get the Conservatives out, though I'm not hopeful. Harper wants Canada to be just like the US in all the bad ways. However a conservative minority government is probably the worst case scenario up here--Harper would be absolutely dictatorial in such a government knowing that the electorate are going to punish anyone who brings the government down and brings on another round of elections. Both opposition parties say they won't even bother reading the TPP in the house (which is honestly a lie, but at least they say they oppose it). I dunno. Plus Trudeau is being an idiot refusing to even talk about a coalition with the NDP. But I digress.

Comment Re:Don't be too cocky!!! (Score 1) 203

When exactly did Red Hat make this mistake and how did they make it? I have been using Red Hat (later Fedora) since Red Hat 5.0 (original RH linux, circa 1997), so it must have been long before then. I cannot recall any such near disaster. RH has initiated many potentially disruptive changes and came out doing just great. The one that was the hardest was the switch to glibc from the old libc. That broke a lot of things initially, and caused a lot of pain for users and developers. But they worked it out. Of course RH was an extremely small company back then, probably still working out of a garage.

Comment Re:ZFS is nice... (Score 2) 270

Sorry but that's simply not true. It was Sun and now Oracle that purposely chose an incompatible license for ZFS. Nothing to do with the GPL here. Your complaints are like the people that buy up land around an airport, build houses, and then complain about the noise.

Anyway, if you read the fine articles you'd discover that what Ubuntu is going to do is include ZoL modules in their kernel packages. This takes advantage of GPLv2's aggregation clause which lets you ship non GPL binaries with GPL'd binaries because they aren't linked together (think an OS distribution). Once the modules get loaded, that taints the kernel but since it's the end user that initiates this by choosing to use ZFS, there's no copyright violation. ZoL has always operated this way, actually.

In other words ZoL will not be compiled into the kernel, as to do so by Ubuntu would be a license violation. But Ubuntu plans to ship and support the binary kernel modules. Sounds eminently reasonable to me. Hopefully we'll see this approach adopted by other distributions, athough ZoL is not that hard to get running at all.

Comment Re:the lard of hosts for fat ads (Score 1) 344

No it doesn't have to time out. If no web server is running on, the connection attempt fails immediately. This is faster than a 404 even. If you had iptables dropping packets then that would result in a timeout. That's why I have iptables use the REJECT target for outbound things I'm trying to block. That way the connection fails immediately.

Comment Re:Obvious reason... (Score 2) 145

Amazon already helpfully stores in the cloud any and all books and documents I send to my kindle via email. They show up in my archive along with all my Amazon-purchased books and I can retrieve them wirelessly on any kindle device or app. This could be a privacy concern for some. I'm not sure if kindle will sync reading position in these third party books. I kind of doubt it.

Comment Re:What makes someone a Troll? (Score 1) 153

Great post.

People sometimes confuse trade secrets and patents. They often act like once something is patented, it's gone forever (big bad company took invention and patented it so we can never see it again). Yet patents are completely opposite of trade secrets. Trade secrets are, well, secret and hidden by nature. Patents are supposed to be open, and should explain exactly how to do something to someone skilled in the art. In terms of knowledge, patents are much better than trade secrets this way. Though the law allows prosecution of someone who violates (steals) a trade secret, once a trade secret is out it's out and it can never be hidden again. I guess the openness of patents is why I get frustrated when companies start getting litigious but get all evasive about exactly which patents they claim are being violated. It's all in the open anyway, so let's see it.

Comment Re:Unauthorized teardown (Score 1) 366

No, they are simply stating facts. This is just the remedy built into the contract being exercised by Apple. I'd go so far as to say most contacts have an agreement over what happens when the is broken. Granted the contact may be one sided with the terms and remedies but iFixit certainly agreed to it.

Comment Re:VW Diesel's do have low polluting exhaust ... (Score 1) 203

There really is resistance to urea here in NA. It's seen as a burden by just about everyone and it really does play into consumers' buying decisions. $20 worth of chemical can translate into thousands of dollars in lost sales. Especially in a market dominated by gasoline cars.

It's also entirely possible that in real-world conditions the EPAs regulations are simply unattainable in any acceptable way. Now that the EPA is going to have to move to real-world testing, this could be a good thing to let the government know just how realistic or unrealistic their targets are. They say they are already testing big diesel engines this way. Makes me really wonder, though, as I'm sure that a big rig could meet standards on a flat stretch of road, but start climbing a hill and I guarantee particulates go up an order of magnitude, despite pollution controls. NOx too.

This idea that one can simply legislate fuel efficiency and emissions can only go so far and I wonder if we aren't at the limit, particularly when emissions and efficiency often work against each other.

Comment Re:VW Diesel's do have low polluting exhaust ... (Score 3, Informative) 203

Actually, no. Urea does require hotter temperatures, true, but it surely doesn't impact performance. The way diesel pollution works is that you can either lower compression and combustion through EGR to reduce NOx, but this tends to produce particulates and reduces fuel efficiency. Or you can increase efficiency and run the engine hotter, possibly with more compression, which virtually eliminates particulates, but hotter combustion temperatures increase NOx production.

If anything Urea lets the engine run a lot closer to its more efficient state with more compression and higher temperatures. As you say the urea plus the catalyzing exhaust chamber does add weight. But the biggest problem is the availability of urea (in north America) and the handling of it. Especially in the winter.

We run a machine on the farm with Tier 4I emissions on it, and every year we buy about 800 L of urea. It's about $1 CAD/L. So it does add overall cost, though to put it in perspective, it costs nearly $400 a day in diesel fuel during harvest for the same machine, totaling $800 a day for the two machines. But this engine is also more efficient than previous models, so fuel consumption is lower. We don't run the machine in the winter so we've never had any problems with it gelling, and we've never had the machine derate due to urea problems. In my mind, urea injection is really the only practical way to produce cleaner diesels. This is important with biologically-derived fuels as well, such as biodiesel. The carbon cost of urea production and handling probably makes it a wash in terms of CO2 emissions, despite higher efficiency engines. Urea is made from natural gas reformation.

Comment Re:Unintended consequences (Score 1) 178

The waste issue is as much a political thing as a technological thing. Storing radioactive waste for thousands of years is really silly to begin with. If the waste is still radioactive, then there's still energy that can be extracted. If waste could be reprocessed and reacted again until it had a half life of say a hundred years, then waste would simply not be an issue that it is today. And the main reason we aren't reprocessing waste is political, with fears of plutonium bomb production.

Comment Re:Jumping to the conclusion (Score 1) 191

Absolutely. I have an older phone and lately it's been getting slower and slower and kills apps more frequently as memory is tighter now. I don't have many apps, and I don't auto update the apps. The only thing on the phone that automatically updates are the Google Play Services and the Google Play apps, which update often and silently. Both are much much bigger than they used to be. It's kind of out of control.

The worse thing about the Android ecosystem is the complete lack of version control. Once an update is pushed to the store, all traces of the older versions are gone forever it seems. I've learned the hard way to back all apps up with titanium backup before upgrading any app because you can't roll back updates any other way. And several times an app I really like gets "upgraded" to be completely less useful than it was before. I've been burned a few times that ways so now I always check the little change log in google play and if it doesn't mention security I am much less likely to bother, especially if the app works well. I really wish there was an option to make google play updates and google play services updates such that I am informed when they are ready to update.

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison