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


Forgot your password?

Comment No urgency... (Score 1) 255 255

I have many MacOS X and Linux/Android devices, and one two Windows PCs (for running a few games). With Mac OS X I upgrade immediately because it's what I work on all the time and benefit from features. The PCs exist to run Minecraft and Steam, so the OS doesn't much better. But if Windows 10 is more efficient and stable than what I'm running now, I guess I'll update.

Comment Re:Waiting for WatchOS 2? (Score 1) 213 213

Developers could and did write apps for the Apple Watch at launch. Admittedly with a limited programming model (tethered, very similar to the limitations of the early Pebble SDK).

As to why people buy devices that don't run "apps", well, there are hundreds of millions of examples - the iPhone, most "feature phones", iPods, GPSs, and of course, almost all watches. If a device does what people want without additional apps, they'll buy it. :-)

Personally, I think the worse product name I've seen was WinCE. Really, did _nobody_ look at the name before they shipped it? At least Mac OS X (Mac O'Sex) is amusing...

Comment Re:Tax dollars at work. (Score 1) 674 674

Also, keep in mind that this happened on a train. Trains don't use electricity from a power company, they generate their own electricity, to keep the engine running, and a separate generator for the lights, PA system, etc. So the "cost" of someone using a tiny amount of electricity is zero, because the generator is always running, etc. And the value of letting people use the available electricity is high, because their phone isn't dead when they get where they are going.

Trains in the US have had electrical plugs at all seats (for long-distance trains) for a decade or more. They don't bother on subways and short commuter lines because people aren't on them very long (and they tend to run on external power).

Comment Re:Good (Score 4, Insightful) 459 459

Negotiating a treaty with a country is not the same as "siding with" them. It just means that the countries that sign the treaty agreed on a set of rules of behavior. The alternative to a treaty with Iran isn't "siding against" them, it is having no agreed on rules of behavior, in which case their behavior is unconstrained. So would you rather Iran operate under an international agreement under which they can't have a nuclear program, backed up by inspections and penalties, or would you have them allowed to do anything they want, with no inspections?

Comment Re:Peaked??? (Score 1) 285 285

"As the population gets older, there will be more driving going on - not less."

Nope, there's data. Old people drive nearly have as many miles per capita as middle-aged people.

Average Annual Miles per Driver by Age Group

Age Male Female Total
16-19 8,206 6,873 7,624
20-34 17,976 12,004 15,098
35-54 18,858 11,464 15,291
55-64 15,859 7,780 11,972
65+ 10,304 4,785 7,646
Average 16,550 10,142 13,476

Comment Re:California (Score 1) 285 285

That whole analogy makes sense. People would eat your hypothetical free hamburgers because everyone needs to eat and has a choice of what to eat, and free food would displace paid-for food. But building more roads doesn't make people drive more, other than if the road fills a real need, because people aren't going to drive places they don't want to go just because there's a road there now. And people aren't going to drive on the new road because it's free, because nearly all roads are free, and because driving places you don't want to go has negative value.

So your conclusion is exactly wrong - if a new road is built and it immediately fills up with traffic it means precisely that there was high demand for that road. If the were no demand for people to travel that route, it would be a new, empty road.

Comment Re:File versioning and backup flags (Score 1) 484 484

VMS versioned file system - YES! I don't know how many times that saved me.

Digital UNIX clustering was awesome. You could literally plug in more servers into a shared bus, and processes would automatically start on the new servers, with no reboot, reconfigure, etc.

Also BeOS' efficiency and boot times. You could cold boot BeOS faster than other OS' do a "resume from sleep". And you could decode and play multiple A/V streams at once in windows, while dragging them around, back when other OS's could barely decode a single stream to full screen (the easiest scenario).

Comment Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

The core of the ACA was a Republican proposal (started under Nixon, then elaborated under the AEI, then implemented in MA by Romney). There were HUNDREDS of meetings with Republicans negotiating the substance of the ACA, and dozens of Republican amendments that were accepted into the ACA. The fact that at the end of the day Republicans all voted against the law that they helped write doesn't mean that they had no influence over the contents of the law, just that they ultimately thought that it was more important to try to block Obama from passing anything, no matter how much be accommodated what they claimed they wanted.

If the ACA had had no Republican input, it would have been a few sentences long, cost ½ as much, and been much easier to implement. That is, eliminate the age minimum for Medicare so everyone is allowed to buy into it. Nice and easy. But with united Republican opposition to any improvement in healthcare in the US, a few corporate Democrats (e.g. Lieberman) were able to screw everyone in order to improve profits for a few friends.

Comment Re:Prime Scalia (Score 1) 591 591

No, the law didn't have to force states to establish exchanges, because all states automatically get exchanges. The law says that all states get exchanges, and all Americans get the subsidies through their state's exchanges. The states can build their own infrastructure, or use the federal infrastructure, and the assumption when the ACA was passed, as documented in all of the financial modeling, was that only a few states would choose to build their own systems, because integrating into a shared exchange is so much cheaper than having 50 states each build their own infrastructures. And, it turned out, several of the states that tried to build their own failed and reverted to running on the federal infrastructure.

There was no talk of states losing subsidies if they didn't build an exchange. In fact, the Republican complaint was specifically that because states got the subsidy whether they built an exchange or not, that states were "forced" into the ACA. As if laws that are passed should be optional for people who don't like them, a principle firmly rejected whenever Republicans are in a position to get laws passed. :-)

Comment I 3D print things quite often (Score 4, Interesting) 266 266

The things that I print range pretty widely:
- 3D printed prosthetics for people. See http://www.enablingthefuture.o... . Yes, home printers can make prosthetics that hold up to real world use, and for a lot of people (particularly kids and uninsured) the difference between $50 and $5,000 is insurmountable. Of course you should work with a professional if you can, for obvious reasons, but they're getting into 3d printed prosthetics.
- Parts that you can't buy. For example, a clip in my dishwasher broke, and the manufacturer only wanted to sell the whole drawer assembly for $400. So I printed my own, which have lasted for years. (Nylon)
- And parts that you can buy, but it's more fun (or cheaper) to make your own. Like a replacement watch band for the Pebble.
- Scans. I have a portable scanner ( and I scan people at Maker Faires and F&SF Conventions. Fun to share and print.
- Art. I like designing things and printing them because they look cool. And there's tons of great art to download.
- Personalized/unique stuff. I've published tons of designs using Thingiverse Customizer, that let you personalize or randomly generate a unique pen, your wallet, minions, snowflakes, etc.

That being said, I don't think 3d printing is quite at the level to be ready for people with no technical or artistic interest, because there's little for those people to do with a 3d printer. They can download and print other people's designs, but I'd think they'd get bored of that after a while. Designing your own stuff is a lot more fun!

Comment Re:what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

Why do you keep repeating this absurd claim? The writers of the law didn't think that many states would build their own infrastructures because it's a huge waste of time and money - building one shared exchange is obviously more efficient and lower risk than building 50. The original ACA had only the federal exchange. The state-built exchanges were injected by Republicans late in the process. So the people who wrote the law weren't trying to force states to build exchanges, just the opposite!

Comment Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 3, Informative) 591 591

This claim doesn't align with the facts. The original ACA had no state exchanges - those were injected by Republicans late in the process. And even then, the assumption was that few states would choose to physically build their own exchanges, and almost all states would choose to operate their exchanges on the federal infrastructure, because that would be vastly less work/cost/risk. There was no discussion at the time of states losing subsidies based on running on state vs federal infrastructure. In fact, Republicans at the time all assumed that all states received subsidies whether they ran on the federal infrastructure or built their own. The idea that state exchanges run on the federal infrastructure wouldn't get subsidies was invented years after the fact.

Comment Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

No. The ACA was originally written with only a single, federal exchange. Republicans insisted on the addition of the idea of state-run exchanges late in the process IMO as a tactic to make things more complex and expensive, and to give Republican states more opportunities to screw things up.

Comment Re:Prime Scalia (Score 1) 591 591

The law repeatedly describes all of the exchanges as "state exchanges", with never any mention of the idea that some exchanges wouldn't count as being "established by the state" if it was implemented by Federal rather than State IT staff. And nobody at the time argued that state exchanges run on the federal infrastructure weren't entitled to subsidies - quite specifically, Republicans argued against ACA making the assumption that all states got the subsidies. The theory that states that chose to run their exchanges on the federal infrastructure would lose subsidies was invented years later.

Comment Re:Prime Scalia (Score 3, Informative) 591 591

The question isn't the meaning of "state," it's whether the drafters of the law meant that "exchange established by the state" included the states that establish an exchange, and implemented it by integrating the state's systems with the federal exchange, or only the states that built an exchange completely on their own. Given that the law was written originally envisioning that all state exchanges were implemented by integrating into a single federal exchange, and the idea of states implementing their own exchanges was added late in the process (at the insistence of Republicans), it's quite clear that the people writing the law had no problem with the idea that states would establish exchanges, physically run by the federal infrastructure.

2/3rds of the Supreme Court agreed.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.