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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

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 will probably work too well (Score 1) 282

by jandersen (#49333943) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

Average, every day drivers will realize that speed limits in some areas are generally set slower than they are used to driving, and they'll grow tired of the warnings and turn it off.

It doesn't help either, that most speedometers are deliberately set to show a speed 5 - 10% too high; if you compare your GPS speed with the meter speed, you'll probably see the difference. In my car, I can drive 55 mph before my GPS shows 50, and given that GPS relies on accurate timing to calculate the current position, it GPS speed must the the correct one.

Comment: Mr Hunt? (Score 1) 763

by jandersen (#49314919) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

One wonders how he greets people?

Him: "Hi, I'm Randy"
Me: "Er, yeah, ..., do you need a few minutes on your own? To take matters in hand, as it were?"

I have to say, this particular joke always gets me modded down below groundlevel, but I am hopeful it will do well in this setting. I would say that a few, saucy jokes is what being male is all about, although come to think of it, it's also what being female is all about, really. If you've ever happened to overhear a gaggle of girlfriends going at warp 5, you'll know us blokes have a thing or two to learn in that department. Still, it is good manners to tone it down when you have reason to think that other might feel embarrassed.

I don't know if women in general feel 'threatened' by male company - I suspect it is often more because there are some people who are on the lookout for reasons to feel outraged. On the other hand, I have several colleagues who are contemptuous about women, whether it is because they are just insecure or perhaps gay, who don't want to come out. Nothing wrong with being gay, but OTOH, nothing wrong with being female either.

Comment: Wrong strategy, perhaps? (Score 1) 572

by jandersen (#49312137) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

Taking into account the rather tattered reputation Greenpeace seems to have on /. - perhaps emphasising this guys past involvement in the same is not the best way to give his words weight. And of course, when I read that he has gone from being the founder of what was always a 'leftist', anti-establishment organisation, to being a more right-wing person living off his past fame, then it seems to be simply what most most people do in their life; and he feels embarrassed and want to put some distance to his past.

Whatever the story may be, the science is science, and this article brings nothing new to the table - "climate change can't possibly be our fault, because who are we to think that we are so important?" - ignoring the fact that other species, and indeed the entirety of life, have a profound influence on the planet's climate, geology etc. Science does not postulate - it presents the facts, it tries to explain those facts, it submits itself to constant, critical scrutiny and gets new adjustments all the time. It leaves everybody to make up their own mind. But when you ask science for its advice on matters, you will get scientific advice - anything less would be dishonest.

Comment: Re:It's win-win. (Score 1) 111

Why some people on tech boards so upset with smart watches? Is it because helps make technology available to the masses? I don't get it.

I wouldn't say I'm upset, but I think it is in the nature of engineers and scientists - of which there are a fair few - to look at things from an analytical point of view: what are the merits, or weaknesses of something? To me, and to many with a background in engineering, how something looks or whether it will make you stand out as a fashion icon is either irrelevant or unwelcome, even to the extent that if I have to choose a tool, I will stay away from ones that seem to have been designed to look good, based on the suspicion that I would be paying more than it was worth. After all, as somebody who knows how digital equipment and the SW that goes with it are made, I am convinced that smartwatches are without exception overpriced crap - I could have done better.

A good, mechanical clock, on the other hand, is the result of REAL skill. I'm not sure I would be able to learn every step of the process; I respect that a lot.

Comment: Re:It's win-win. (Score 1) 111

Google and Intel bring the tech know-how, and Tag Heuer brings the idiots willing to pay ridiculous money for a watch.

Well, to be fair, although I see your point about being an idiot for wanting to pay tens of thousands for a thing that just tells the time, there is at least some justification in a sense, when what you are buying is a mechanical masterpiece made from a few, really rather simple bits, but engineering to a breathtaking standard of accuracy. You can understand why something like that would be expensive, even if you can point out that it is irrelevant for anybody in practical terms.

But a smart watch? It adds no actual value to its user, it is exclusively a way of telling the world that you are stupid and rich enough to not care about how you spend money; a fashion statement. And like all digital technology, it is dated as soon as you have bought it, because even before it goes on sale, the next, better version is already in the pipeline.

Comment: Re:Mandatory doesn't sound all bad to me (Score 1) 1089

by jandersen (#49299393) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Such a result would amuse the hell out of me. And it could be really, really good for the country.

It's not without dangers, though. You might get someone in power who really, absolutely shouldn't be allowed anywhere near, and who could cause untold damage before he/she was stopped. Just imagine if people voted for some stupid bimbo from Alaska! Oh, wait, that almost happened, didn't it?

Mandatory voting is not a bad idea, really, but I'm not sure it is a good idea in a nation, where in principle any moron can get voted into a position with direct access to the world's largest arsenal of dangerous weapons. Perhaps if you guys had a political system more like in Northern Europe. Yes, it is inefficient and slow to react - that is very much the purpose. In war you may need fast decisions and a firm control, but in peace time you need to slow things down, so everybody has time to think, and you need to be sure that nobody can wield too much power, so that when the inevitable idiot comes along, he can't simply place his cup of coffee on it and say "Was that meant to happen?" when Moscow disappears under a mushroom cloud.

Comment: Re:Devo said it best (Score 2) 385

by jandersen (#49290135) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?

Perhaps the best part is that if you can't figure something out on your mac, you can ask someone. With Linux you have to find someone with a setup just like yours, and if you google it you will find a proliferation of solutions none of which work for your rig.

Seriously? I would have thought the only choice would be Linux. As a physicist you ought to be familiar with Linux/UNIX is some form, since *nix in some form is what tends to power most scientific systems - super computers and so on. You would not be unlikely to have a need for Fortran, which is available from GNU, or some of the many scientific tools - such as GAP. I'm not convinced Mathematica is top of the list of tools you are going to need, but then I've never actually had any use for it, personally, so maybe I am just biased. Have look around for what is actually available for scientists as open source, ready to be built and used on UNIX/Linux.

As far finding somebody who can help you - do you actually know from experience what you are talking about? With Linux, there are loads and loads of web sites addressing just about anything you could run into as well as many you are not likely to come across. And, of course, when you use Linux, you are going to learn a technology that covers not just a vast range of hardware, from ARM based thingies over PCs, midrange servers to the biggest you can imagine in mainframes and super computers, but also is valid across the many variants of UNIX. It is VERY easy to go into AIX, Solaris, HP-UX or others, when you are familiar with Linux. And as somebody pointed out - if you buy a Macbook, you can wipe it and install Linux, which you can then keep upgradign to the latest version for free; you can't install OSX on anything other Apple HW and as far as I know, it costs if you want to get the latest version.

Compare that with OSX or Windows: If you are an expert in those, that is all you know, really. PCs and mobiles, that about sums it up.

Comment: Re:Buggy whip makers said automobiles aren't... (Score 2) 451

by jandersen (#49290055) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

The only way I can see self driving cars really working is to have special roads to carry them.

This may well be the best way to do it, at least initially. A sort of small train wagons that could aggregate into whole train sets for part of the way and split off to different routes when appropriate. The biggest problem with public transport atm is that trains and buses are too inflexible - they don't go exactly to where people need them, and they too often aren't full to capacity - and when they are full, they are usually not big enough. A system of self-driving cars could address both problems, thereby becoming competitive with private cars, plus, they could be better optimsed for fuel efficiency, since they won't be driven by impatient drivers; if you don't have to keep your eyes on the road, you won't mind too much that you aren't driving as fast as possible. And of course, a well managed network of automatic vehicles would be able to avoid congestion most of the time simply by coordinating the way each vehicle moves.

Comment: Re:well.. (Score 1) 760

It's not about taking from "the makers", it's about not allowing rich assholes to flout the law just because they have more money.

In UK we have a system that does seem to have some effect: a combination of a fine and points on your licence. You typically get 3 points for traffic transgressions, and once you reach 12, you lose it. And if you drive while banned, you go to jail. To most people, even if the fine doesn't make an impression, the prospect of losing your licence does.

Comment: This (Score 1) 451

by jandersen (#49273969) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

I would go for one of these:

http://keyboardco.com/

I've never actually bought one of their products, but I have been keeping their address lying around. The story behind that is, that I got fed up with keyboards always being cheap, with a rather rubbery feel to the key action and no proper click; I'm old enough to have worked with - and loved the feel of - the original IBM PC keyboards, that appeared to be made from cast iron and concrete. It seems this company makes keyboards with proper keys, each fitted on top of gold plated switches or whatever. I want one, but they are a bit expensive, so I hold back. You know how it is.

Comment: Re:Your justice system is flawed, too. (Score 1) 1080

by jandersen (#49262313) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

Being born conveys only liberties, not responsibilities. Being a member of a community conveys both. It is up to a person to choose the latter, and it is up to a child's guardians to convey the benefits and consequences of such a contract. And it is up to every person to negotiate the social fluidity of all of these.

One point worth making, however, which I think you overlook: while it is true that being born into a society does not in itself convey responsibilities, you can't expect to be allowed to remain part of any group or society, unless you are willing to obey it rules. It's like tax: you don't have to, but if you don't, then get the hell out of our society, stop using roads, schools etc you don't contribute to. Why should we accept somebody as part of us, if they are only freeloading?

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

Working...