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Comment Re:That cloud word again (Score 1) 305

I know very few people, even in IT, who have full-featured back-ups of their home systems. Even fewer have easy, convenient remote access to their data.

Using online apps with online data services give you both of these things 99% of the time. They are a better option (assuming they have the features you need) than running things locally for the vast majority of people. Yes SaaS/cloud services might screw up, but the chances of them doing so are far lower than the chances of YOU screwing up.

You are basing your decision based on anecdotes, not on statistics or evidence. Gmail's backup system is better than yours. Their remote access is better than yours. Use the brain your ancestors evolved for you. It can reason based on probabilities rather than bullshit if you let it.

Comment Re:What it's like to be a bat (Score 1) 160

This is not to say that reductionism is necessarily wrong - it could be the case that if we know everything physical about the world, we will know everything about the world - but it seems less and less likely to those who are not in the "hard sciences".

I think of the issue as: reductionism is right, but useless. Unless we can combine the countless calculations that describe the basic physical properties of some system with enough accuracy and detail to model its emergent behavior, then we cannot develop an improved understanding of that system through reductionist means. (Which incidentally is why strong AI is never going to happen.)

Or, a Monet is just a bunch of dried oily goo on some canvas, but it's much more productive to understand it by looking at it than by precisely describing the goo with equations. And one would need to appeal to an entirely different field (cognitive neuroscience) to explain the psychology of the historical context motivating the artist; and thus the art historian's approach manages to synthesize two enormous scientific fields without even needing any math...


Tainted Pills Hit US Mainland 162

Tech.Luver notes an AP story on tainted pills that have arrived in the US from — not China this time — Puerto Rico. The article details a disturbing number of incidents of contamination investigated by the FDA over the last few years. "The first warning sign came when a sharp-eyed worker sorting pills noticed that the odd blue flecks dotting the finished drug capsules matched the paint on the factory doors. After the flecks were spotted again on the capsules, a blood-pressure medication called Diltiazem, the plant began placing covers over drugs in carts in its manufacturing areas. But the factory owner, Canadian drug maker Biovail Corp., never tried to find out whether past shipments of the drug were contaminated — or prevent future contamination, according to US regulators... FDA officials say the problems in Puerto Rico are proportionate with the large number of pharmaceutical plants here and generally no worse than those on the US mainland."

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga