Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Comment Re:Percentages vs raw numbers (Score 2) 186

In things like disease, things are getting better, as a percentage and absolute numbers. Polio has dropped from hundred of thousands to hundreds of cases in 20 years. Of course cancer and diabetes in the US is up, and HIV did not exist 50 years ago, but many ailments that cursed our civilization for known history have become much less virulent. I would also say percentages do matter. The black death eliminated half the population of major cities, but the total number of probable dead was only half the population of the current US. Likewise the mortality rate at birth in the US is not that bad in absolute numbers, but as a percentage the US is below the level of developing country. The serial killer example is very aprospro. It is information, and the inability to scale and rationalize that information, that drives out perception of a dangerous world. If someone were to ride a horse from town to town, and kill a person secretly, no one would like know that such a thing were happening. Most would just think that an accident got them, and no one. This may be one reason why the term serial killer did not appear until the 20th century. The point is it would be hard to compare the murder rate of the 21st century, to anything 100 years ago when we had no idea who simply disappeared and who was murdered. I would say that the fact that we actively count and respond to murders is an indication that the world is a better place.

Comment Re:stupid (Score 3, Informative) 305

You're doctor probably does know what is right for you, so when you ask a reasonable doctor will say she is familiar with the drug, but that another drug will fewer side effects or less chance of addiction might be better to try first. At which point a person who wants the drug will find another doctor, which is what all this is about. The promotion of the drug culture. While the drug dealers and users of the 80's and 90's were on the street being shot down by cops, the drug dealers now are sitting in nice offices and the users are being treated like victims. Local agencies are paying up to $500 to treat people who voluntarily overdose on heroin while there are not enough services to help actual victims.

Comment Re:Austin? (Score 1) 464

Austin has always been a crap place to live unless you have a trust fund, are white, and young. It grew for a while because it became a tech hub for the well paid young mostly white people, but that just lead to it becoming more elitist and expensive. When people complain that Austin is in Texas usually take it to mean that while Texas is like only 40% white non-Hispanic, Austin is closer to 50%, so like, you don't have deal with as many Hispanic people there. In any case, as is mentioned, Houston is not a bad place to find tech work and live, if you make enough to live in the city. If you need a gentrified neighborhood, it is $500,000K and up for a house just like anywhere else in the US. If you can live with real diverse people then you can live minutes from downtown for $200K, and be against traffic going to work.

Comment Re:Seems like a much better business model (Score 1) 163

Apple users with too much money also have real time incremental backup in terms of time machine, have money to buy space on Dropbox, and have music backed up on Apple and Amazon. It might be worth $100 to some to buy the password and save the few hours it might take to restore a computer, but for many of us we simply will switch to our second or third Mac for use while the ransomed machine is restoring. I mean if you have a huge project that has to be completed that day and you are going to lose $1000 for every hour it is late, sure pay the ransom. But for most us, wipe the machine, restore, go about out lives, and laugh one again at the PC users that are too dumb to have an integrated backup solution.

Comment Re:Political bullshit that has nothing to do with (Score 5, Informative) 369

A couple actual facts, and yes, to begin, this has nothing to do with the environment. Over the past few years US crude productions has risen sharply and imports have fallen dramatically. This has caused the price of crude to fall to level where exploration cannot be supported. All the oil companies are cutting back on exploration, some are exiting all together selling their leases. Politics, for instance, had nothing to do with shell pulling out of the arctic. It was that the arctic is still very expensive, and at $40 a barrel, no one is making money. Second, the pipeline is a conservative nightmare on many levels. Primarily it requires the US federal governement to take land from US citizens and give it to a foreign corporations. Many citizen land owners in Texas and other very conservative states have sued for their right to keep their land and not have it annexed to a foreign country, but the conservative courts have said that the landowners do not have the right. Finally there is the simple matter of production. The US has enough crude to refine. The pipeline made some sense when oil was high as there was going to be money to be made so investing in infrastructure made sense. Now, again, with crude at 40, there is no money to be made. However there is money to be lost. Oil refining has a lot of external costs in terms of health care costs, falling property values around the refinery, and yes, environmental destruction. The Canadians know this which is why they are outsourcing refining to their hick neighbors to the south instead of building infrastructure themselves and reaping the rewards of the alleged profit that comes with it.

Comment Re:Consistency? (Score 1) 233

I won't buy an AppleTV because I need a device that supports Plex. As a disclaimer, I do have pretty much everything else that Apple makes. Likewise, I don't buy videos from any service because each is locked in to a specific service. Since I am not going to buy Apple video content, that is another reason to buy an Apple TV. Amazon streams video for free, and the Amazon device supports Plex, Hulu, Netflix, et al, so I do have a Amazon Fire TV. I think the best thing Apple could do is make the AppleTV and iOS device, so that the Apps can run on it.

Comment Re:they serve a purpose (Score 1) 439

The point is that if I want a Tesla Model X, I have to pay at least 69,900. There is no way to negotiate, which is called price fixing. The reason the 'fake' sticker price is fake is because price fixing in the US is generally frowned upon, so we have suggested retail prices, offer prices, or the like. The only reason buying a car is such a hassle in the US is because we have decided that the most efficient way to buy, and in the US we are buyers of any piece of junk(just look at TV infomercials), not shoppers, is to have locally fixed prices for most items.

Also, if one have to drive all around town to buy a car, one must live in a pretty desolate area. I generally go to one place and see Honda, Toyota, Kia, etc. Then I go to another place and see Mercedes, Volvo, Lotus.

Honestly, if we were all willing to payer the suggested retail price for cars, as Tesla wants us to, then dealers would not be necessary. But as the art of the deal for the automobile is ingrained in the current US culture, we have dealers.

Comment Re:Will there ever be self-storage type datacenter (Score 1) 39

This was typical several years ago. Maybe 40 or 50 hot swappable servers with a load balancer in front. I remember when the load balancers became very good and affordable. Two different high bandwidth internet connections. Even a liquid fuel generator that would in principle keep everything up for as long as there was fuel. I built a simpler version of this back in the late 90's.

The problem was this is expensive. In particular you generally have one or more very expensive persons who main duty it is to keep up the computers, which was not normally a full time job, except if computers started failing in bulk, when there was enough people to get it fixed quickly.

Back then there was no standard solution. I recall when the first compaq adaptive load balancer was installed. It seemed a competitive advantage could be gained with the right combination of hardware and custom software. Now there does not appear to be any advantage at small scales. These types of servers are routine and we know what works and doesn't. There is no reason to run hardware when software or sales is the business. Even, for the most part, people used canned software unless their business is software.

Comment Re:Lack of context? (Score 1) 822

The context here is that people keep firearms because, on average, they think it will keep them safer. Anecdotal cases of a person being accidentally murdered by a child or accidentally commuting suicide or accidentally murdering a neighbor while cleaning a gun is not going to change that perception. The gun owners are still going to feel safer, on average, than if they did not have a gun. Otherwise they would not have a gun. Any accidents such as this are going to be considered matters of gun safety, not gun ownership.

And frankly I do not see why we need to interfere with the culture who is ok with babies being murdered or murdering others as long as the victim is a willing participant of that culture. It is like saying that we should ban football for young people or skateboarding. People die in tragic accidents. My only concern is when the gun culture claims victim of innocents outside the culture. When some young white male who mother is so paranoid that she has an arsenal murdered 20 kids, or some other virgin decides he has to kill several people so he can get his face on TV.

Stories like this are supposed make you think because a toddler is unlikely going to kill his grandmother with a knife. It is supposed to make you think that a gun is an easy way for a coward to commit suicide by cop, take a few innocent with him, and get his fact on TV. At least a suicide bomber has the courtesy to make sure that they are the first one's to die.

Comment Re:If you need entertainment. (Score 1) 140

Real true this. It seems most people want a voyeuristic high, or at best one where most danger has been engineered out of the system. If I may plane the crotchety old person, kids these day. How can they have any fun building a computer if there is no real danger of getting electrocuted, or being burn by a soldering iron, or even being poked by a IC? I in now way think that anyone should drive dangerously, but in the right machine, well engineered, and able to travel at high speed, there is really nothing else that is needed.I have done drives through the pine trees that have ended too soon. On the other hand I have done drives up the mountains in POS rentals that I could not wait to end.

Comment China (Score 1) 278

So San Fransisco is like china, where pedestrians are worth so little it is better to kill them if you run over them. Honestly, sometimes pedestrians do dart out and there are cases where there is no way to avoid them. But with numbers like this, it is evident of a basic disregard for human life, where one makes no attempt to avoid killing someone.

Comment Re:you could choke a horse with these SAVINGS! (Score 1) 117

For the longest time my ad blocker was Flash block and turning off GIF animation. For mobile platforms these were not a problem.

The advent of HTML5 video is really what is driving this revolt. There is an advertising social contract between the content provider and the reader. For example prime time TV we expect about 15 minutes of ads per hour, for non prime it may go to 20. For fashion mags most of it is ads, for Foreign Affairs there are few ads.

When the social contract is broken, there is no one to blame but the content providers, like the US auto firms have no one else to blame for their crash in the 70's. There are a lot of content providers out there that seem unaware they are screwing the pooch with bad decisions. For instance, I am not going to subscribe to Slate because they won't allow zoom on the iPad.

This article is good because it also analyses the other costs to the mobile platform, such as load time. Professional web designers used to look at this. Now it is assumed that latency and bandwidth are so great that it does not matter. In fact it still matters. I occasionally still get a stuck web page waiting for google analytics or waiting for google to record that I am going from a search result to the resultant page. It is a cost of using the web, but a cost that web sites have to manage carefully.

Comment Ok, who wrote the tools (Score 1) 578

First, it is of course an owners right to limit distribution. If someone wants to sell only to people with three nipples, that is their right. Second, no one exists in a vacuum. The tools used to write software were probably developed and refined over time by corporate drones, kids in the basement, and, yes, even immigrants who took jobs away from hard working locals who could use the bread to feed their family. Read the rant on the down load page to see how this guy thinks he developed this software independently. It is the standard conservative delusion that we do not depend on others to accomplish what we have. Third, from the article, "Although the change in the license may be a nuisance for some researchers, the program is far from irreplaceable". People who write software like this really want it to be used. Most software is used because it simply what people are trained to use. For instance, Origin is used because everyone is trained on it, even though it may not be the best, and even though it is extremely expensive. In reality lots of students pirate copies of the software. This software does not appear to cost anything, so one of two things will happen. I suppose that labs will just continue to use it, even without a license, unless it prevented by peer review. If that happens different software will be used. Again, reading the rant it seems like just another conservative having a temper tantrum because someone else that does not look like the developer is getting free stuff.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken