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Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 1) 206

But London has had minicabs too for years (these are cabs you can't just hail in the street, you have to phone them to get one) and these are regulated under less onerous regulations than the black cabs. What makes Uber different to any other minicab service that's currently up and running in London? Nothing really, other than you press buttons on your mobile phone's touch screen to order one, instead of talking into your mobile phone's microphone.

Comment Re: They demanded my ID and power bill (Score 1) 217

What is a "real name" in Facebook's definition, anyway? I know many people who are not known by the name printed in their passport. There's two people at the place I work who are not known by the first name their parents gave them and that is printed in their passport. I'd argue the name we know them by is still their "real name" (more so in fact) than the name printed in their passport.

In any case I'd just photoshop mine if they asked.

Comment Re:What applications? (Score 3, Interesting) 176

In other words, virtual reality. The problem with the current VR headsets like the DK2, is you have effectively a 1080p display that fills most of your field of vision, in other words, yes - you can see the pixels and they are pretty big. The screen door effect is also pretty bad. Text is very difficult to read using the Rift DK2 unless the text is very large.

Developing very high PPI displays will be a real benefit for VR headsets. Tne next crop (the Vive/SteamVR and Oculus CV1) have better resolution (IIRC it's something like 1200 pixels vertical) and probably will have much less of a screen door effect, but the resolution really needs doubling at least for a VR headset to truly feel HD.

Comment Re:What about cars? (Score 1) 146

The charging cables would have to be enormous, though, to fill (say) to a 400 mile range in less than 3 minutes. The currents and voltages required would be absurdly high. Let's say we have a 180kWh battery/capacitor we want to fill in 3 minutes (0.05 hours). The power coupling would be running to the car at 3.6 megawatts during the charge cycle. With a 11kV coupling you'd need a current of almost 330 amps, so big, thick and heavy conductors. Even if the charger was 99% efficient, you'd need to dissipate 36kW of heat energy during charging (about equivalent to the power output of a small car at wide open throttle).

Having quick charging capacitors/batteries isn't even half the challenge of making an electric car charge rapidly.

Comment Re:How gracefully does it fail? (Score 1) 146

It's not that simple. A 12 volt lead acid battery won't give you a shock, for instance, even though it's capable of delivering hundreds of amps and stores a lot of energy. Your skin resistance is highly non linear. At low voltages (for example, the voltage your multimeter puts out when measuring a resistance), the resistance from one hand to the other holding the probes with dry skin is a few megohms. But as the voltage rises, there is a point where the resistance dramatically falls and much higher currents can flow. You need enough voltage to be present to result in a lethal electric shock.

Comment Re:"We're stronger than ever" (Score 1) 107

By that measure every company is a heavy tech footprint company today.

Which is why it's still pretty good to be in IT. The same can be said for accountants and lawyers -- every company basically has to have some.

I'm also assuming that, being primarily a website, Groupon has at least a slightly higher than average percent of tech workers. And they're a startup at least in the sense that they've never paid a dividend. Since there are so many web-basted startups that employ us nerds, news about Groupon and similar is relevant on slashdot.


Comment Why not go 6G? (Score 1) 164

> "About the only point of agreement so far is that 5G is what we'll all be building or buying after 4G..."
I was going to comment on how obvious and unnecessary the "5G comes after 4G" thing is, but then I remembered Windows 9 and and OS-X "saber-tooth tiger" and realized that with technology, the succession isn't necessarily that obvious.

Comment Re:Boy cries wolf (Score 5, Interesting) 435

The real WTF is that Slashdot has been running IPv6 articles for years...and *still* doesn't support IPv6.

Facebook on the other hand - not a tech site, but a site for angsty teenagers, baby pics, cat memes and partisan squabbling - has supported IPv6 fully for years.

It's embarrassing that a tech site can't do what a non-tech site has been doing for years.

Comment It's a good study in human nature (Score 2, Insightful) 435

This is actually a good study in human nature. A resource exhaustion (with a solution already in place) we could see from a mile off, but will do nothing about until it becomes absurdly painful to continue. Already we see monstrosities like carrier grade NAT which breaks many applications, rather than moving to IPv6 which nearly every device supports.

We'll see this same procrastinating with AGW, fossil fuels, everything else - we won't do anything about it until the economic damage is already being done and the pain level becomes extreme.

Comment Re:Well, Apple knows a thing or two about innovati (Score 1) 535

I have to wonder why they want all this power. Quite frequently, I'm held up by slowcoaches driving high priced sports cars. Where I live we have the most amazing roads for motorcycling and driving sports cars: no speed limit outside of the towns, and fun, twisty roads with little traffic. But the overwhelming majority of sports cars are doing about 45 mph, being a rolling roadblock.

I can't understand why these people - if they want a flash car - why don't they buy a luxury car instead? It'll be a hell of a lot more comfortable and nicer for that style of driving. But instead they are trickling along at low speed with rock hard suspension. They could do that with a car with just 20hp - I just don't get what the 450hp or so is supposed to be getting them other than high fuel bills.

Comment He's right... (Score 1) 196

He's right, sort of.

I still occasionally make a PCB if I need one quickly. Most low cost board houses will take 4-6 weeks to turn around your board, if I need one for something I'm doing this weekend, I'll hand make it. I started out making 2 layer boards they are nowhere near as hard to make as he says (at least using a toner transfer process - I've never made PCBs using UV/photo processes). I've handmade PCBs using toner transfer for 0.4mm QFP devices.

The real issue for me is I usually want to make 4 layer+ boards with a proper ground and power plane, not only does it make routing vastly easier, but for what I'm doing I end up with a circuit that performs a lot better, too. For those there really isn't a good alternative to going to a factory. Fortunately there are quite a few low cost choices for 4 layer boards now.

Comment Re:"We're stronger than ever" (Score 1) 107

Because jobs at companies with heavy tech footprints (I assume at least some of those 1,100 layoffs will be of IT workers) is always interesting to us nerds.

I just turned down a job offer at a publicly-traded tech "startup" that doesn't pay dividends and who's profitability fluctuates widely from quarter to quarter. Including the restricted stock portion of the compensation package, it would have been a big raise -- assuming both that the stock didn't tank too much and I stayed employed long enough for it to vest. But those risks vs my current stable (as far as I know) position just didn't add up for me. And news like this reminds me exactly why I was too nervous to take the job.

The CEO's statement, "we’re stronger than ever", is probably correct. AFTER laying of a bunch of people, they very well may be in a position to make some consistent profits and eventually pay a dividend. But how many of those 1,100 took the job over better alternatives because they had dollar signs in their eyes and hoped the stock they were getting would make them rich.

This is news for nerds because we need remember to limit how much we let companies pawn off their potentially worthless stock on us in lue of real compensation.

Comment Re:Finally, we've arrived! (Score 2) 569

Totally agree. But even if we feel what we're being paid for is unethical, only in the most extreme cases is it our decision. The ethics of a particular technology are often tricky issues that are rightly dealt with in the courts and the court of public opinion rather than by each individual involved it a technology's creation. Think of nukes? Their negatives are obvious, but the thread of mutually assured destruction has generally reduced war between the developed countries that have nukes. Is the world really worse off because of nukes? That's very debatable.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen