Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


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:It is an attempt to lock in customers (Score 1) 32

by hughbar (#48940667) Attached to: UK Broadcaster Sky To Launch Mobile Service
Also, you're supporting the Murdoch empire, including the Sun etc. etc. As for the rest, 'quad play' and 'bundles' used to be called bundling in the computer industry and several large lawsuits [somewhat] abolished it. When everything comes from one supplier, they give you the service they want at a price that they want.

Comment: Re:Competition is good (Score 3, Insightful) 280

by hughbar (#48937637) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen
As a bit of an eco-nazi, I don't see any of this as 'good', more 'features' every year, none of them particularly useful [do you really want to watch crappy music videos on a tiny screen, judging by my commute people do though] and more phones made/destroyed/in landfill.

Actually cell phones are a nuisance anyway, people can't walk and text or phone and text, so they bump into you. On bicycles, they risk life and limb [theirs and unhappily others] in London by using headphones [though admittedly a walkman or ipod is just as 'good' for this].

Despite what you see above, I love tech, having been in/around it for 40 years, but I really, really believe we need to step back from our current destructive and rather purposeless [except for making cash, of course] product cycles. Fat chance.

Comment: Re:Crusty Hardware (Score 2) 189

by hughbar (#48875469) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux
This way, sanity lies too, the resource cost of manufacturing new PC is enormous: so doing it just to put money in the pockets of Microsoft, Apple etc. is an aberration.

I recently changed my desktop but it was about 10 years old and I've given it to a recycling company. I've been able to do that because I'm a Linux user, it would have worked for BSD etc. too.

Comment: Where's the Linux phones? (Score 1) 243

by hughbar (#48855203) Attached to: Could Tizen Be the Next Android?
I regard Android as an abomination, basically engineered to geo-locate us, sell us stuff, isolate us from the web, 'give' us tons of mutually incompatible insecure 'apps' all in an unnecessary thick 'sauce' of Java, the COBOL of the 1990s. See also, this rant: and this: Of course, it's Google too, though, in principle, open-source, another huge reason to avoid.

So I'm waiting for Linux phones, essentially I probably trust Canonical more than I trust Google. That may make me a fool, we'll see...

Comment: Re:Don't forget stats & much has changed since (Score 1) 77

by hughbar (#48851069) Attached to: Winston Churchill's Scientists
Thanks, great essay. I was lucky enough to do public school [that's a private fee-paying 'prep' school for those in the US, it has a very unhelpful name] and I got to write FORTRAN program in 1965. We ran it on a mainframe in a steel mill in a nearby town. That mill has, of course. closed now.

Secondly I and a pretty-much-genius friend built OSTEC, Oundle School Transistorised Electronic Computer, something that was pretty much just a full adder and a bit of core-store [ferrite core, they still use it in space]. It had a backplane and [fairly standardised] printed circuits that I etched with ferric chloride. I also etched a number of shirts, to the disgust of my mother.

I'm really happy that 'proper' computing seems to be coming back with Arduino, Pi and Scratch. At time of writing I've just come back from a local school where we're just starting a Code Club: So I feel that things are picking up a little, people are, at least, aware that we've been neglecting science and technology for quite a while.

The worry I have left is that education should be about human potential not just about 'jobs', commerce is lobbying hard, so expensive to train people, so they prefer school to output pre-trained/compliant workers with low expectations. Go figure.

Comment: Re:Most Secret War (Score 2) 77

by hughbar (#48845205) Attached to: Winston Churchill's Scientists
Thanks, I probably shouldn't have picked on that, as a chemist who also did 12 years of Latin. It's the 'only the Greats' and 'only PPE' that's the worry. We should be broad. Funnily enough, when I entered IT, there were no degrees and a lot of the better programmers were classics scholars, Latin and Greek seemed to help them with COBOL and PL/1, go figure.

Comment: Most Secret War (Score 4, Interesting) 77

by hughbar (#48844733) Attached to: Winston Churchill's Scientists
Although I'm old enough to have seen Churchill's funeral, I wasn't really aware of this. There's a good clue in his quote 'give them what they want' for Bletchley Park. Anyway, a good read about science and intelligence [apart from Collosus etc.] in WW2 is:

We're coming up to an election in UK and we don't seem to have anyone much that appreciates science amongst our politicians. It's a real problem since the actual world is now full of pure science and technology. Still, we have lawyers and people that understand ancient Greek, they are always -really- useful.

Comment: Re:Dear Prime Minister Cameron, (Score 1) 329

Yes, I think we have had slightly better though not recently. I'm thinking on the lines of 'more humane'. I had a bit of hope for him as being young, with a disabled child etc. that he might understand a bit about other people's problems. But he's an ex-SPAD [that's a 'special advisor', for those in the US] and ex-Carlton marketing person, so I shouldn't have got my hopes up. He's a prick, Milliband is feeble but also priviledged, Farage isn't a man of the people and runs a party of fruitcakes, so that leaves the Greens [of which I am, pretty much] and, of course, the Pirate Party and the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. I used to regularly vote for the Loonies in the local elections.

Comment: Re:Hope the muslims win then. (Score 2) 329

Yes, I agree. My formalised version of this is 'apprenticeships' for anyone that wants to be an elected official or senior paid official, is that they have to 'train' for a a year or two in a project [US], estate [UK] of scheme [Scotland] and live on the basic umemployment amount. Most people at this level are doing their best and are often incredibly brave and motivated, two jobs, long shifts etc.

Also this would mean that people prepared to do this, probably did have serious motivation to improve society rather than just enrich themselves and do nothing. However, I'm sure, after a couple of years they'd probably find a way to pay someone to do this for them.

My 'other' plan is a hole in the school floor that opens when any pupil expresses a desire for/interest in politics. It's probably the most humane way, although a little difficult for the parents. Trouble is. that might dispose of the the Mandelas and Ghandis too.

Comment: Anyone else find Google 'pretty bad' anyway? (Score 1) 155

by hughbar (#48779915) Attached to: Google Sees Biggest Search Traffic Drop Since 2009 As Yahoo Gains Ground
I use DuckDuckGo for the most part now. It's imperfect but, like many UK people, I dislike the tax-avoidance [edging on tax evasion], the hyper-intrusion and the unhealthy dominance of Google [and Amazon]. Before anyone from the US jumps on me, I would do the same for a UK [or French etc. etc.] owned organisation that displayed the same 'symptoms'.

However, when I do use Google, usually via DuckDuckGo with !g, I notice that the results seem to be less relevant each month. I know they play around constantly with the algorithms and personal profiles [hence as an anonymous Googler, I get something less than optimal] but it's just 'not very good' now. As programmer I often go straight to Stack Exchange anyway, short-circuiting the search engine bit entirely.

Comment: Re:What about Galactus? (Score 1) 300

by hughbar (#48752797) Attached to: The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun
Yes, I immediately thought of Galactus too. But the research could prove or disprove whether Galactus is a small brother or cousin of the star eater? Perhaps the star eater evolved from Galactus-like life forms because someone [a fool] irradiated it?

We would need to engineer Silver Surfer++ AKA Platinum Surfer or Very Rare Earth Surfer etc. etc.

Obviously, all that would be incredibly useful, it gets MY research money vote.

Kiss your keyboard goodbye!