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Comment Re:"Clock parts" wired together in an adhoc fashio (Score 1) 769

Yes, but to be a hoax *bomb* there would have to be a hoax *explosive*.

Where's the fake explosive in any picture of this device???

There isn't one.

Did he even claim it was a fake bomb at any time??? The answer seems to be: no.

It's all a load of rubbish, and the police knew that, which is why they let him go.

Comment Re:Many a young engineer.... (Score 2) 71

... every schematic drawn by every semiconductor engineer got the arrow backwards.

As I heard it, The arrow is "backward" because Benjamin Franklin, when doing his work unifying "vitreous" and "resinous" electricity as surplus and deficit of a single charge carrier (and identifying the "electrical pressure" later named "voltage"), took a guess at which corresponded to a surplus of a movable charge carrier. He had a 50% chance to assign "positive" to the TYPICAL moving charge carrier in the situations being experimented with (charge transfer by friction between different substances, currents in metallic conductors, and high voltage discharges in air and water-in-air aerosols) and happened to guess "wrong".

Thus we say electrons have a negative charge, "classical current" corresponds to the sum of the flow of moving positive charge minus the flow of negative charge (i.e. the negative of the electron current, which is all there is in normal-matter metallic conductors), the arrowhead on diodes (and junction transistors) points in the direction of classical current across a junction, and so on.

But though it's the charge carrier in metallic conduction and (hard) vacuum tubes, the electron ISN'T the only charge carrier. Even in the above list of phenomena, positive ion flow is a substantial part of electrical discharge currents in air - static sparks and lightning. Positive moving charge carriers are substantial contributors to current as you get to other plasma phenomena and technologies - gas-filled "vacuum" tubes (such as thyratons), gas an LIQUID filled "vacuum" tubes (ignatrons), gas discharge lighting, arc lighting, arc welding, prototype nuclear fusion reactors, ...

Move on to electrochemistry and ALL the charge carriers are ions - atoms or molecular groups with an unequal electron and proton count, and thus a net charge - which may be either positive or negative (and you're usually working wit a mix of both).

And then there's semiconductors, where you have both electrons and "holes" participating in metallic conduction. Yes, you can argue that hole propagation is actually electron movement. But holes act like a coherent physical entity in SO many ways that it's easier to treat them as charge carriers in their own right, with their own properties, than to drill down to the electron hops that underlie them. For starters, they're the only entity in "hole current" that maintains a long-term association with the movement of a bit of charge - any given electron is only involved in a single hop, while the hole exists from its creation (by an electron being ejected from a place in the semiconductor that an electron should be, by doping or excitation, leaving a hole) to their destruction (by a free electron falling into them and releasing the energy of electron-hole-pair separation). They move around - like a charge carrier with a very short (like usually just to the next atom of the solid material) mean free path.

For me the big tell is that they participate in the Hall Effect just as if they were a positive charge carrier being deflected by a magnetic field. The hall voltage tells you the difference between the fraction of the current carried by electrons excited into a conduction band and that carried by holes - whether you think of them as actual moving positive charge carriers or a coordinated hopping phenomenon among electrons that are still in a lower energy state. Further, much of interesting semiconductor behavior is mediated by whether electrons or holes are the "majority carrier" in a given region - exactly what the hall effect tells you about it.

So, as with many engineering phenomena, the sign for charge and current is arbitrary, and there are both real and virtual current carriers with positive charge. Saying "they got it wrong" when classical current is the reverse of electron current is just metallic/thermionic conduction chauvinism. B

Comment Re:Windows 7 (Score 2) 302

Funny, because I had an laptop that came with Vista SP1. Later when I upgraded it to Windows 7, I wondered why I even bothered since it looked and performed exactly the same.

And I had a laptop that came with Vista. It was totally unusable. Then SP1 came out and it became mildly usable. Then I got Windows 7 on it and the difference was like night and day. Boot times were cut by far more than half. Time to usability after login, likewise. Responsiveness increased dramatically. Crashes reduced likewise. Windows 7 in particular uses less memory than Vista; Vista chokes on 2GB systems and doesn't become acceptable until 3 or 4GB, and 7 is acceptable in 512MB and fine in 1GB. This is not a big deal today when RAM is practically free — I have 16GB in my budget desktop, and that only because I like to run virtual machine and keep them running while I run big, memory-hungry apps. At the time, it was a big deal.

Comment Re:If we're going systemd, we should go full throt (Score 1) 322

Except when it doesn't and since it swallows stderr

A sane background/daemon process launcher sends stdout and stderr somewhere where it gets logged. Are you saying systemd just sends the standard output and error of stuff it launches to /dev/null, or that it sends them somewhere that's not easy to process? (Launchd sends them to the Apple System Log mechanism, which, yes, does have a binary log database, but ASL also sends stuff, including the stdout/stderr from launchd-launched processes, to the Boring Old Text File /var/log/system.log.)

Comment Re:If we're going systemd, we should go full throt (Score 1) 322

If as a result the Linux community grows closer together and focuses more on consistency I'm all for the move to systemd - even if that moves Linux away from the rest of the unixes due to loss of posix compliance.

Not that systemd affects POSIX compliance (and not that Linux is certified as POSIX-compliant; I haven't found it to be significantly worse than any other UN*X in terms of "annoyingly different from everybody else" - frankly, if there isn't at least one thing your UN*X-family OS does annoyingly differently from all the other UN*X-family OSes, it can't really call itself a UN*X :-)).

Comment Much todo about zip--ConsoleKit2 is also supported (Score 3, Interesting) 322


First, only an idiot would want a monoculture, particularly in the Linux world, so to those saying "just to systemd full bore or go to (someplace else)" the rest of us need to respond with a very loud and resounding: Fuck You.

That said, things aren't nearly as dire as this post implies. Reading from the responses to the bug he himself linked to, I find the following:

> Unless KDE is prepared to make a statement that it depends on systemd

of course not. Powerdevil recently also gained support for ConsoleKit2, see:

Which turns it into a distro problem. Your distribution configured the system in a way that suspend/hibernate is broken. It doesn't come with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides. Which makes it a distro problem. The distro integrates various parts of the software stack. This includes it's the distro's task to ensure that components work together. It failed here by ripping out systemd and replace it with well nothing.

So while I'm sure the systemd zealots would love to see KDE, Gnome3, etc. only work with systemd and drop support for all other distros, this doesn't appear to be happening. In the case of KDE, ConsoleKit2 is supported (and therefor Funtoo, Gentoo, Arch with OpenRC, etc. will continue to work just fine).

Comment Re:Vacuum tubes handle EMP's better (Score 1) 71

"No point progressing since the bombs are gonna fall any day now. Then where will your fancy silicon highways and databases be?"

Given that the Internet Protocol and much of the rest of the networking technology that still underpins the Internet were developed as part of a cold-war program to create a communication system that could survive a nuclear attack that destroyed most of it, and still reorganize itself to pass messages quickly, efficiently, and automatically among any nodes that still had SOME path between them, your post seems to come from some alternate universe to the one I inhabit.

Comment Re:Windows 7 (Score 1) 302

My installs at work (10 machines) went smooth once we got the administrator issues sorted out, the only thing that fubared was some digital camera software that was "windowsXP" compatible, but even claiming "windowsXP" compatibility was overly optimistic. The upgrade did wipe-out our antivirus, but our AV knew that would happen and automatically re-installed a compatible version with one button click on reboot.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.