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


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:Not faultless (Score -1) 486

He is an entitled dope, plain and simple. Half the fault is Comcast, because they said they could do it, but half the fault is his, as you said, for not asking the neighbors and the like. Sure, one should be able to get internet anywhere, but there are limitation. In particular the county he is in has only 500 people per aquare mile. The largest city in the county is 40,000 people. Can every house in every rural area have fast internet? Probably not. When someone who works at home and has to have fast internet make one of their primary constraints be that the house already has internet? Can you imagine a trained engineer not being able to make a list of constraints and using a decision matrix to make sure the purchase meets all specs? Years ago we bought a used car, unfortunately the primary constraint was that the car was 'cute'. Of course it ended up being a lemon. If I had made such a mistake, I would have kept it hidden, being afraid the Streisand effect would mean that every future employer would know how incompetent I was.

Comment: Re:The App Store stuff is more interesting (Score 1) 258

by fermion (#49337723) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
A couple points here, and note that I do not completely understand the complaints here. Apple has typically sold expensive software. That means that the end user pays more and the developer tends to make more. On upshot of this was that Apple products sold less because it was generally considered as a fact that one not only had to pay more for the Apple brand but also to run the machine. This meant that most developer went for MS Windows, assuming that though writing for MS was a race to the bottom, and knowing that MS could put you out of business any time they wanted, the number of users meant that you would make money. Writing for Apple could also be more difficult. I,myself, have written very few Apple specific programs. I have not really taken the time to learn the library. I appreciate the fact that Apple has taken the time to standardize much of the work so that once the library is learned, writing an application is easier, as long as one is willing to live within the Apple UI. So, as I understand the complaints, Apple has created a new mobile market and new software marketing method that has created million of new customers for developers to sell to,and has actually made writing the applications easier, and developers are complaining about it. Yes, dealing with a UI that is dictating from above is difficult, but that is not different for MS, recall the Ribbon? Yes, dealing with Apple and the App store is probably very expensive. OTOH, I am sure many are like me. I have spent more on applications over the past couple years than I did in the past 10. OOS, no cash cost software, does most of what I want.

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 3, Interesting) 485

by fermion (#49327581) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
Eating concentrated calories that do not fill you up is the problem. All simple carbohydrates, chips, white bread, wheat tortillas, fried potatoes are an issue. An 8 oz steak is 25% of the calories most us need for a day. A Chippendale carnitas burrito is half.

So there is also an issue of food availability. When I was young I split all entrees at restaurants with the person I was with. I don't do that anymore and it has become an increasing issue. Also, one does not burn off calories and fat as easily when one gets older

Comment: Honestly (Score 4, Interesting) 568

I don't know what drinking, smoking, or having tattoos has to do with anything. Does he have a computer? Does he use it for mischief.

A couple cases of kids going to jail will limit the problem. Teenagers are always going to test limits, and some do so to the extent that the adult legal system is required to help motivate them not to cause problems for other people.

It was not so long ago that the telephone was a new thing, many parents were not raised with it, and did not really know how to manage it with the kids. Kids got into trouble, and laws were passed to help define what was good and bad behavior.

I know that adults say this all the time, but if we do not figure out how to play with our toys nicely, we are going to lose the privileged of unencumbered play.

From a personal point of view, from personal experience, in my opinion there is no punishment too great for someone who files false police reports, and that goes doubly so for those cowards who hide behind computers.

Comment: Re:Why not a Mac? (Score 1) 385

by fermion (#49286663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?
And of course you can get most Linux stuff to run on a mac. In a pinch, I run virtualbox and Ubuntu or the like.

Also, I think TexShop is the best LaTex editor. I tries some for Windows, and they universally suck, IMHO. I can't believe how much time I wasted trying to use word for technical stuff when I was in school. Learn Latex. I will save you life.

In school I did all my data analysis on a Mac using C and C++. Of course some of it was too much for the Mac, so I telnet to the SGI. I was still able visualize everything in GNUPlot and output on or plotter through my mac. Again, I wasted a lot of time in excel until I learned to use GNUPlot. Later I also did some work using Graphviz.

There are a lot of C++ and general IDE for the Mac. Of course there is Eclipse. If you want an OS with a side of IDE, there is always the old standby EMACS. Actually, I use AquaEmacs for my IDE. learn to use GIT.

What I find most interesting is how powerful modern machines are with respect to the requirements of most research. For instance any physics student should invest in Mathematics. It saved my hide in the numerical methods class. It could probably run well on any mac made within the past three years.

Only caution is that a separate graphic card is recommended if there is a lot of data visualization involved. That means a the high end 15" macbook pro.

Comment: Re: Science is fine... (Score 1) 320

Science is not magic.mscience is not a stone tablet from a deity. A single paper is simply on data point of a groups best effort to indentify an interesting phenomenon. The work just redone by others, hammered, destroyed, rebuilt, and then used to do. Something interesting. Bad science, such was probably done with Bromian motion, is not always bad results. Science education, more than teaching factoids, should be teaching this so that there would not be this confusion. Medical research is problematic because there is often more of an emphasis on ethics more than statistics. I think many 'researchers' trust computers too much to do the analysis and may not verify. I also think that these researchers expect to earn 10 times what scientists earn, and therefore are much mor susceptible to bribery.

Comment: Re:It's about Energy (Score 1) 214

by fermion (#49234373) Attached to: Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon
1. He3
2. ????
3. Profit

The missing step here is a practical fusion reactor.

The reason we need to think about industry on the moon is that if we are going to be a space faring culture, eventually, we need to have resources that are not locked up in the gravity well of the Earth. It is too expensive and is going to continue to be too expensive to life everything needed for space travel from the earths surface.

Comment: Re:Could be. (Score 1) 392

by fermion (#49226209) Attached to: Does USB Type C Herald the End of Apple's Proprietary Connectors?
These things have to be looked at in context. Almost no one has a standard power connecter for laptops, even within the same brand. Can you, for instance, in a pinch use any power brick made by HP over the past five years. Probably not. Who else has a technology where there is a soft connection that will damage the computer if the cord is tripped over. Leaving magsafe on the MacBook air is a tragedy. It is not likely going to happen anytime soon on the pro models This is true of phones. Again, when the iPod came out no manufacturer had a standard. Every phone you bought needed a different power adapter. It was part of the profit. Apple introduced a standard across all mobile product line, that eventually worked with Fire wire and USB. When Firewire was no longer an issue, the new connector was more durable than USB. BTW, the USB standard is a myth. There has been exactly three different cables I have needed for Apple devices. At the present there is exactly one. With USB there are at least 4 cables I need to have to make sure I can interface with the different devices. All that needs to happen is that I now need a USB c to Lighting cable.

Comment: Re:I feel like a dope (Score 1) 529

by fermion (#49217781) Attached to: Apple's "Spring Forward" Event Debuts Apple Watch and More
I didn't buy an Apple TV because it does not have an easy to install Plex Server. Like most Apple products, the value is in the 'ecosystem' not in the product. Since I do not but iTunes anything, at least not exclusively, it provides not value. I really don't buy any videos or DVDs anymore. I just stream. Videos are in the place music used to be, locked in, non transferable, in other world dead in an old world. I have and Amazon and Roku for streaming. I am also in the Market for a MacBook, as mine is getting old. I saw that a new Air would likely be released today, so I waited. Not sure if I like it. I really like the Magsafe, and have them all over the place to plug in my computer. I have a video adapter for thunderbolt and don't want to buy another one. Not sure if the opportunity costs of the new Air is going to justify it as my walk around computer. At the very least I might wait another year and see how it goes. This may be a case where Apple has gone too radical and may take a step back. I don't want to get back into the world of dongles. Never an elegant solution.

Comment: Re:Give students license to solve problems (Score 2) 215

by fermion (#49207851) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Strategies For Teaching Kids CS Skills With Basic?
in my freshman year of high school we did programming. The first part of the class we did not touch a computer, but only thought about how to solve problems. Then we got on the computers a wrote programs.

Before that I had a significant experience writing programs, at least for a 13 years old in the nascent PC world. The problem was that it was very mechanical. The problem is that most kids in the 9-12 year old range do not have a great deal of abstract thinking skills, so can't really program computers, any more than they can do algebra. Yes, they can do some coding, but not the analytical work. Yes, some kids can do algebra at 10, but not many.

So this is why things like Alice are used to teach the concepts to pre-teens and children. Using heavy scaffolding, which means I wrote most of the programs myself and just let the kids type it in, I have taught 11-13 year old kids to make games in python as a web based application.

For pre-teens with minimal abstract thinking skills, the most interesting thing that can be taught with programming is cause and effect, a critical skill for children. This leads directly to more abstract skills as the child ages.

Comment: Re:The idea was a good one, the execution poor (Score 1) 201

by fermion (#49165573) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was
iTunes users can already go and get loads of free music. This is how I was turned on to High-Fi.

Presumably this was not good enough for U-2, so we have this intrusive method of stuffing iTunes user accounts with unwanted music. For the record I was never a U-2 fan, and now it just seems like some desperate cut rate band.

Comment: Re:The Optimistic viewpoint hade a source (Score 4, Insightful) 233

by fermion (#49163401) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek
This is it. The original Star Trek, all of them, pretty much said that diplomacy occasionally backed up with defense would end up in the best results. That technology over time helps us build trusts. There are a few bad agents, but we are mostly good.

The new Star Trek says violence is the way. That the violent people win. And brings a new level of suspension of rational thought. That the Earth would have no defenses against a rougue star ship. That a meeting would have no defenses against a rough droid. That we would be running across the city chasing a suspect. That civilization could build a starship, but could not protect the citizenship. It is not so much a dark world, but a world that reflects the fears of technologically illiterate audience.

Life is pretty bad when your star trek movie makes less sense than the Fifth Element, which at least had good actors.

Comment: Re:Not so fast (Score 1) 257

by fermion (#49136379) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken
Most jobs can be automated or be done more efficiently through automation. In computer jargon, gates are cheaper than humans, unless one is a human named Gates.

This has been true through most of human civilization. Machines has increased the amount work that a human could do, and with power production amplified it. With electronics we code the actual human knowledge so that less skilled workers can actually approximate the output of a more skilled worker. This has been actually been since the advent of the Jacquard Loom.

In any case, another thing that has been happening since electricity is that work hours has been decreasing for many people. Many people work less than 40 hours a week because the level of technology and kind of work they do makes that a optimal time to work. So we are at a time when we really need to make wages so that 30 hours a week provides a basic income. This is how we create jobs. Part of that is going to be an $11 a hour minimum wage.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."