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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).

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Comment: Re:Encrypt client side (Score 1) 118

by nmb3000 (#49355061) Attached to: Amazon Announces Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans

Based on their API reference [amazon.com] 3rd-party apps that do whatever you want on the client side certainly look doable enough.

The downside is that it doesn't appear to support block-level file changes -- you can only create or overwrite an entire file at once. This means that storing something like a 50GB TrueCrypt volume isn't really feasible and you'd have to encrypt all your files individually. This is more difficult and more prone to mistakes.

Hopefully they expand the API at some point to allow binary delta updates of some kind, but their omission could have been a conscious decision to try and discourage people from storing huge files and big encrypted containers.

Comment: Re:Symmetric mouse (Score 2) 197

by nmb3000 (#49347673) Attached to: What Makes the Perfect Gaming Mouse?

What is DPS?

Damage Per Second. It's a unit of measure in games such as WoW that's primarily used to show how much better you are than other players. Typical use of the term would be, "hey, does anyone have dps meter for that last pull?" Feigning insecurity and disinterest are important, and the requester must absolutely not reveal that they're running 2 or 3 meter addons themselves.

A new mouse, preferably one with at least 12 programmable buttons, variable weights, and at least two bright blue LEDs, is sure to increase your DPS by at least 20%.

Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 2) 632

by nmb3000 (#49346743) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Are people really going to miss yet another totally fake show pretending to be reality? Is it just because this one combined cars and Daily Mail-style politics?

It's worth understanding that Top Gear hasn't pretended to be reality for quite some time. They deadpan a lot, but it's all pretty clearly acknowledged to be a live-action cartoon. I read a very good article that talked some about this recently, 'Top Gear' broke my heart (and it wasn't Jeremy Clarkson's fault):

As an auto journalist, I'm used to Clarkson's antics. He's a classic buffoon, and the genius of "Top Gear" is that Clarkson and his co-hosts, James May and Richard Hammond, realized long ago that transforming themselves into cartoon characters would be both incredibly lucrative and lavishly entertaining. The show has been on forever, and while it's always presenting new cars and ever-more-outlandish spectacles to its legions of avid viewers, the basic shtick has become reliably changeless: three weird looking English dudes doing goofy things with rides both exotic and mundane.

He also talks about some of Top Gear's strengths and weaknesses -- definitely worth the read if you're a fan of the show, or just want to know a bit more about why so many people seem to love a show about cars.

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for a primadonna for whom curses at an employee for 20 minutes and then physically assaults him up for half a minute

There's no excuse for this, but as others have said there's a bit more to it. Clarkson may or may not be a primadonna (vs just being a knob, as May referred to him several times), but given the stress he was under and the alcohol, him blowing his top over something small isn't a huge surprise. He certainly deserved to be disciplined, but I'm not sure sacking him outright was the best decision. One thing I am certain of is that the BBC will come to regret it.

Programming

No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory 481

Posted by Soulskill
from the performance-that-fails-to-perform dept.
itwbennett writes: It's a commonly held belief among software developers that avoiding disk access in favor of doing as much work as possible in-memory will results in shorter runtimes. To test this assumption, researchers from the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia compared the efficiency of alternative ways to create a 1MB string and write it to disk. The results consistently found that doing most of the work in-memory to minimize disk access was significantly slower than just writing out to disk repeatedly (PDF).
Censorship

Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb 339

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-do-that-on-bookovision dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The atom bomb — leveler of Hiroshima and instant killer of some 80,000 people — is just a pale cousin compared to the hydrogen bomb, which easily packs the punch of a thousand Hiroshimas. That is why Washington has for decades done everything in its power to keep the details of its design out of the public domain. Now William J. Broad reports in the NY Times that Kenneth W. Ford has defied a federal order to cut material from his new book that the government says teems with thermonuclear secrets. Ford says he included the disputed material because it had already been disclosed elsewhere and helped him paint a fuller picture of an important chapter of American history. But after he volunteered the manuscript for a security review, federal officials told him to remove about 10 percent of the text, or roughly 5,000 words. "They wanted to eviscerate the book," says Ford. "My first thought was, 'This is so ridiculous I won't even respond.'" For instance, the federal agency wanted him to strike a reference to the size of the first hydrogen test device — its base was seven feet wide and 20 feet high. Dr. Ford responded that public photographs of the device, with men, jeeps and a forklift nearby, gave a scale of comparison that clearly revealed its overall dimensions.

Though difficult to make, hydrogen bombs are attractive to nations and militaries because their fuel is relatively cheap. Inside a thick metal casing, the weapon relies on a small atom bomb that works like a match to ignite the hydrogen fuel. Today, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only declared members of the thermonuclear club, each possessing hundreds or thousands of hydrogen bombs. Military experts suspect that Israel has dozens of hydrogen bombs. India, Pakistan and North Korea are seen as interested in acquiring the potent weapon. The big secret the book discusses is thermal equilibrium, the discovery that the temperature of the hydrogen fuel and the radiation could match each other during the explosion (PDF). World Scientific, a publisher in Singapore, recently made Dr. Ford's book public in electronic form, with print versions to follow. Ford remains convinced the book "contains nothing whatsoever whose dissemination could, by any stretch of the imagination, damage the United States or help a country that is trying to build a hydrogen bomb." "Were I to follow all — or even most — of your suggestions," says Ford, "it would destroy the book."
Portables (Apple)

Apple Doubles MacBook Pro R/W Performance 204

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
Lucas123 writes Benchmark tests performed on the 2015 MacBook Pro revealed it does have twice the read/write performance as the mid-2014 model. Tests performed with the Blackmagic benchmark tool revealed read/write speeds of more than 1,300MBps/1,400MBps, respectively. So what's changed? The new MacBook Pro does have a faster Intel dual-core i7 2.9GHz processor and 1866MHz LPDDR3) RAM, but the real performance gain is in the latest PCIe M.2 flash module. The 2014 model used a PCIe 2.0 x2 card and the 2015 model uses a PCIe 3.0 x4 (four I/O lanes) card. Twice the lanes, twice the speed. While Apple uses a proprietary flash card made by Samsung, Intel, Micron and SanDisk are all working on similar technology, so it's likely to soon wind up in high-end PCs.

Comment: Re:I miss Google Search (Score 2) 150

by nmb3000 (#49201337) Attached to: The Abandoned Google Project Memorial Page

They used to have a great search engine, but then they replaced it with something that keeps second-guessing my search terms.

Probably the most annoying part of this for me is the blazingly stupid way they'll just drop words from your query. There have been times when I submit a phrase with 4 or 5 search terms, and most of the first page is filled with results that have 3 or 4 of the words crossed out. The results were useless garbage and I'd rather have been told there were no pages found. Along with this is the absolutely horrible decision to remove the functionality of the (+) symbol to mean "required". I don't know what social media asshats at Google made this call, but I curse them every time I have to put double quotes around a bunch of individual words just so the aforementioned query "optimizer" doesn't screw with it.

I'm pretty sure that bad design on Google's part combined with the constant abuse of the system by "SEO specialists" has turned Google Search into something inferior to what we had 10 years ago. Oh, and don't forget the malicious adwords results serving up malware for popular software titles. That's always a winner.

Comment: Re:Why uTorrent? (Score 1) 275

by nmb3000 (#49199477) Attached to: uTorrent Quietly Installs Cryptocurrency Miner

Why are you using any version above 2.2.1?

Came here to say exactly this.

After seeing what version 3 looked like on a friend's computer (code isn't the only thing that got bloated with crap) and reading about the hassle people were having with advertising, user-hostile admins, and finally seeing uTorrent get bought out, I'm glad I never bothered to update past 2.2.1. Some private trackers even block 3.x.

I've also heard good things about Deluge, so if I'm ever forced into updating I'll probably give that a try.

Comment: Re:Rocketboard (Score 1) 164

by nmb3000 (#49156487) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams?

Pretty interesting concept and if it works as well in the real world as the video portrays, it could be very cool to use. I was all ready to sign up for early access and talk about it with my team on Monday, until I saw your comment below that it only works on Apple devices.

In the tech and development world (especially in the trenches) Android rules, and our office is no exception. What a downer.

Comment: Re:From his twitter account (Score 4, Informative) 411

by nmb3000 (#49148629) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

He died at 83; smoking probably didn't kill him so much as being old.

Considering the cause of death was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, I'd guess smoking played a major part. Says Wikipedia:

Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of COPD, with a number of other factors such as air pollution and genetics playing a smaller role.

But it's a sad day regardless.

Comment: Margins (Score 1) 86

by nmb3000 (#49143475) Attached to: The Only Constant is Change

As someone who was quite vocal against Beta in the original announcement article, I've got to say that this about-face is a pleasant surprise. I don't love everything about it, but it's a far sight better than what we saw on the beta site. Glad to see the powers that be came to their senses, and were not persuaded by UX blowhards.

One bug/design issue is with the comment margins. Here's what I'm seeing in Firefox: http://i.imgur.com/YPhBVI0.png

Playing with the CSS, I think this is easier on the eyes and feels a lot less squished: http://i.imgur.com/npol1Kq.png

Which I got with this:

    #commentwrap, #commentlisting {
        padding-left: 1em;
    }

    #commentlisting {
        padding-right: 1em;
    }

Now how about some proper Unicode support? :)

Businesses

Female-Run Companies Often do Better Than Male-Run Ones (Video) 271

Posted by Roblimo
from the sometimes-the-best-man-for-the-job-is-a-woman dept.
Today's interviewee, Viktoria Tsukanov, is one of the executives at predictive marketing company Mintigo who did a study in January, 2015 that seemed to show that large companies with female CEOs "achieve up to 18% higher revenue per employee than male CEOs." The study, titled "She’s the CEO and She’s Sensational," used financial data Mintigo collected on 20 million companies, and determined CEOs' genders by analyzing first names, so it was not subject to survey vagaries but was a straight data analysis job. Could this be a case of correlation and causation being unrelated? It's possible. It's also possible that the revenue per employee figures are affected by the fact that female CEOs are more common in healthcare and non-profit organizations, while men dominate manufacturing and construction -- and, as Viktoria pointed out in a blog post headlined "Women Just Raised the Bar. Big Time." there may be other factors at work as well.

The "18% higher revenue" figure specifically applies to companies with more than 1000 workers, while companies with fewer workers may average more revenue per employee if they have male CEOs. Besides discussing the study itself, in our interview Viktoria talks about how male employees might want to alter (or not alter) their behavior if they find themselves working for a female boss for the first time. She also discusses challenges a woman might face if she is suddenly put in charge of a heavily male IT or programming staff. Other thoughts she shares have to do with finding mentors and dealing with negative people, both of which apply to people of all genders. Interesting food for thought all around.
Input Devices

Listnr Wants to be 'Your Listening Assistant' (Video) 45

Posted by Roblimo
from the can-you-hear-me-now? dept.
This Listnr is "a new listening device connected to the cloud" being developed by a team in Japan that's currently running a Kickstarter project looking for $50,000 by March 7. The other Listnr "is a free music service helping people discover the best music from independent artists on Soundcloud and Bandcamp." More accurately, that's what it was, since their last Facebook post was in 2011 and their domain name is now for sale. Today's Listnr -- the listening device one -- claims it is able to tell whether a baby it hears is laughing, crying, gurgling or trying to talk. It is supposed to respond to finger snaps, hand claps, and other audio commands. It has an open API so that you can extend its use however you like. The company, too, is working on new applications for their product. Will there be enough of them, and will they interest enough people, to make this a success? Co-Founder Rie Ehara says, "We wanted to build something using sound to enrich and delight our lives." As of today (Feb. 2), Listnr is slightly less than halfway to its Kickstarter goal, so it's still a coin-toss whether or not Listnr will succeed.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown

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