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


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Prometheus (Score 1) 55

That most people gloss over the inaccuracies without any basis in current reality says more about the state about our current education than anything else. Good Sci-Fi can't ignore things we already know, such as how gravity works, how atmospheric friction occurs and all that.

Imagine you read a book where one protagonist gets electrocuted by touching a single AA battery. Wouldn't that kind of disrupt the reading of the next few pages ?

It didn't disrupt me, because I didn't make the connection of a wind storm on Mars having much less inertia than on Earth. Even though I know Mars has negligible atmospheric pressure (relative to Earth's), I just hadn't make the connection to 150kph Martian wind storms having no punch when I was reading the book. I only went "oh, right" when I watched the author give a Google talk a couple years ago when he said he decided early on to have the wind storm cause the situation even though it would be like a mild breeze.

The thing that annoyed me in the book (without giving away a spoiler...) was the end and how the last problem was overcome - that seemed to jump the shark, and felt more like an unnecessary movie-style climax solution. Having a climax is fine, but not their solution to it. But I enjoyed the rest of it enough that I'm eager to see the movie.

Comment Re:It's not the infringement that's the issue (Score 3, Insightful) 59

The ability to create many copies of something for virtually free has nothing to do with whether it is patentable or not. Abstract mathematical formulas and algorithms are not patentable, but their application in something tangible is patentable.

The real issue isn't whether software patents as a class are valid or not in general - they are under current laws, even though some specific cases are not - no, the real issue is whether they should be patentable going forward. People forget that the concept of patents aren't an innate or natural right, but rather something invented for the purpose of incentizing R&D, and disclosing the invention so that others can see how it works instead of it being a trade secret. The question is if those benefits would not happen if there were no patents for software.

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 321

I agree - it's a damn good book reader, and adding speech input and stylus input and other crap is completely missing the point of a Kindle.

The one thing I'd like to see, in both the physical and app-based Kindle readers, is a way to organize the books in the library. I've got 335 books: 90 downloaded and 245 archived, and it's painful to find one or browse. You can sort by title, author, recently viewed, and "type"; but I rarely remember the author names or titles, and the "type" sorting seems useless.

A lot of the books I have are fiction books in a series, like Honor Harrington or Lost Fleet or whatever, but I have to search the web to find what book title goes next in the series. Since Amazon doesn't appear to know the actual series order, I'd like to be able to edit the titles to reflect it, or somehow add that metadata to it.

I also have tech books on various topic areas. So I'd also like to be able to create folders, and sort by my rating of them, etc.

But perhaps most Kindle users don't read a book a second time ever?

Comment Re:Dumbass (Score 1) 168

It's a nice try, but it's not analogous, and I think you know that.

For one thing, Bletchley Park didn't monitor their citizens wholesale; they didn't have the technical capability to do that.[1] That's the part of Snowden's revelations that infuriates so many people, and should also make you afraid. You don't have to go very far back in US history to be afraid of such a thing: imagine if J. Edgar Hoover had the NSA's assets. Monitoring foreign powers is a different story, and I have a hard time believing that part of Snowden's leaks truly surprised any foreign nation (it's what we pay the CIA to do, ultimately).

For another thing, we're not actually in a war right now, unless you want to claim the "war on terror" is an excuse to do such things. (a type of "war" that conveniently has no possible end date, no possibility of peace treaties, armistice, etc.; and a type of "war" in which everyone is a suspect... the proverbial boogeyman)

[1] Ironically Britain's gone a lot further in monitoring their citizens these days than Bletchley Park could, and further than even the US has gone. But that doesn't really matter. Last time I checked, the US revolted from British rule, and had some documents they claimed they abide by instead.

Comment Re:Useful Idiot (Score 1) 396

The moms and dads of America are proud to send their sons and daughters off to war, in return for some college money and the condition that we do our best to return them in one piece. That's the deal. Snowden broke faith with a whole lot of military families.

The commentary on Slashdot is so onesided, its astonishing. A little bit of surveillance is a small price to pay. Some pay everything.

I have the utmost respect for the men and women who put themselves in harm's way to protect my country, my family, and myself. But I like to believe they also do it to protect our way of life, and the ideals our country stands for. "A little bit of surveillance" is an enormous price to pay - it changes what this country is about, to be something less worthy.

And this isn't just about the Constitution or the ideals of liberty... there are some very practical reasons not to allow our government to perform surveillance of its citizens in the manner they've been accused of. It's not hard to imagine such abilities could be abused, and it's not like we haven't had people like J. Edgar Hoover. Imagine what Hoover would have been able to do given the NSA's knowledge.

If our military asked for money to protect our soldiers, with better body armor, better protection for Humvee's, etc., I'm all for it. But ask us to give up our liberty? No. That's not the deal.

Comment Re:Useful Idiot (Score 3, Informative) 396

He could have gone to Congress.

What does "gone to Congress" mean? You mean like just walking in the front door and demanding speaking time during a joint session of both houses? (not gonna happen) Or do you mean he could have contacted a congressman, which would give him a fairly high chance of being arrested within hours for being a traitor? (or do you think contacting a congressman with information about the NSA's activities would somehow remain quiet for long?)

Maybe you aren't aware of it, but under the US Constitution the Congress has special powers that are quite useful in situations like this.

Maybe you aren't aware of it, but the US Constitution doesn't seem to have much applicability to NSA activities.

He stole ~ 1.7 million highly classified intelligence documents, fled the country, and started leaking them to whomever wanted a copy - at least as far as we have direct proof. He could have covertly done far worse. The description doesn't seem unreasonable.

Actually, according to the Guardian journalist, Snowden wouldn't give them a copy of everything. You can disbelieve him, but at least on the surface it appears Snowden was being more careful than Chelsea Manning. (and yes, I consider Chelsea Manning a traitor)

There's no debate Snowden stole highly classified intelligence documents and leaked them to the press. But that doesn't mean he's automatically a traitor. He might be, but we don't know. For example, suppose you had highly classified intelligence documents that implicated the NSA in a coup attempt to overthrow our elected leaders or coerce them in some way. Revealing those documents would not make you a traitor; quite the opposite. And for some people, what Snowden revealed shows an unconstitutional and potentially dangerous action by a portion of our government. If they're right, he's no traitor; quite the opposite.

And I'm only talking about the part that reveals blanket monitoring of US citizens, without cause nor due process. Monitoring foreign nationals isn't unconstitutional, and is what we should want our government to do: it's why have the CIA and NSA and so on to begin with. (Sorry Merkel, but monitoring Europeans is fine too, including their elected officials. We're friends now, but haven't always been, and might not forever be.)

Comment Re:Useful Idiot (Score 4, Interesting) 396

He chose to flee to the two countries with the BIGGEST free speech / surveillance issues in the world-- China and Russia-- after publicly blowing the whistle on much lesser instances in the US.

I mean we're throwing a fit about the NSA's capturing of "metadata". China just snorts up every bit of cell and internet data that goes in or out of any ISP or carrier, and they barely attempt to hide it. Im sure Russia is pretty close.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my country to only have to be slightly better than China or Russia. I don't give a crap how bad or good Russia or China are; I only care that my country abide by the values it claims to uphold. Being China++ doesn't mean much.

Comment Re:Useful Idiot (Score 3, Insightful) 396

I asked my senator if he had ever called her about his concerns. She said "no." I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he never called Ron/Rand Paul, or any other congressman that one would assume would be receptive to the sort of grievances Snowden supposedly has.

For a few seconds I thought you were being serious, and I was going to respond with something like "You think going to a politician, any politician, with material the government considers treasonous to reveal, is a good idea?!?" But then I realized you must be joking, because no one is that insane. So I applaud you sir/madame, well done! You had me a for a bit.

Comment Re:Useful Idiot (Score 5, Insightful) 396

He probably could have tried legal measures to implement reform if it was actually more important to him than being famous

Really? What legal measures could he have tried while remaining in the US? He would have been arrested faster than SSD read times, and never heard from again for "national security" reasons. The government's first response was to label him a traitor - they don't let you have much freedom as a traitor, in case you didn't know. I doubt any legal measures he could have tried before being arrested as a traitor would even have been reported on by the press, again for national security reasons.

Whether you think his revelations were right or wrong, I think you'd have to agree he couldn't have truly revealed anything successfully by staying in the US.

Comment Re:HDD is fine for .. 98%? (Score 2) 256

Lets be honest here - outside of a small percentage of users doing raw uncompressed video operations HDD are more than fast enough.

Let's be honest here - you've never used a system with an SSD, have you? The difference is surprisingly noticeable. Many people say that when they upgraded their HDD to an SSD, it was like getting a new computer. They're right. I recently did it, and it's an amazing difference. And no, I don't do anything with uncompressed video, or any video.

What I do is programming. So I do things like 'make' a lot, and 'git checkout', and even 'grep', and so on. All of those types of things improve with an SSD, because they all involve file access, for a lot of files.

So I guess in a way yes, you're right: outside of the small percentage of users who do things with files of any type, or that would get an improvement with faster memory paging (because that too is faster), or that open and close apps a lot, HDD are more than fast enough. Of course the "small percentage" might be quite large, at least for /. readers.

Comment Re:To the crazy people (Score 1) 798

Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state, so by my understanding of wiretapping laws there, what this kid did was illegal.

Then the school administrators should be charged with tampering with evidence. And the judge should have thrown it out for lack of evidence. And the police officer should be reprimanded for failing to Mirandize the kid, and the kid was actually a minor (15 years old) so not bringing in the parent before interrogating him is another reprimand.

Comment Re:Rewarding the bullies... (Score 2) 798

School administrators do not charge anyone with anything. They are not the law and do not file charges or determine what charges should be filed. It sounds to me it is a lot more likely that the police determined that a crime had been committed BECAUSE IT HAD. Pennsylvania is one of the few all-party consent states and it is illegal to record somebody without notifying them that you are recording. The kid DID break the law.

So, recording in a public place (it was a public school classroom, in front of others) is illegal in PA? Then the school administrators should be charged with tampering with evidence. And the judge should have thrown it out for lack of evidence. And the police officer should be reprimanded for failing to Mirandize the kid, and the kid was actually a minor (15 years old) so not bringing in the parent before interrogating him is another reprimand. So in summary: EPIC FAIL.

Comment Re:Wouldn't trust Apple (Score 2) 194

Probably because it's geared towards the high-end of the market. The aftermarket stereos and cars this is geared toward are luxury ones, not economy brands. My guess is the demographics of that market are more in Apple's iPhone/iPad sweet-spot than Android's. But I have no data to back that up, just personal observation.

Money is the root of all evil, and man needs roots.