Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Flywheels (Score 1) 223

by gregor-e (#49551997) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes
Of course, if your house gets SWATted and the cops shoot your dog and a round happens to hit your battery pack, there is likely to be a sub-optimal discharge from them as well. I imagine pretty much any energy storage mechanism will have a similar problem. If you're storing enough energy to power a house, you're storing enough energy to be dangerously inconvenient if it's all released at once.

Comment: Re:Do they charge patent royalties for Windows Pho (Score 1) 80

by Grishnakh (#49551115) Attached to: Microsoft Increases Android Patent Licensing Reach

Close, but not quite: Microsoft still has the vast majority of desktop OS installations, and they only support their own filesystems.

It's not quite like the screw thing, because there's no single company that dominates screws and screwdrivers. People keep using the same screws because of inertia: everyone's used to flat and phillips screws, and everyone has tools for them, so we keep using them even though they suck. Luckily, more and more stuff is finally moving away from those crappy standards, to Allen (recessed hex), Torx (recessed 6-point star), and Robinson (recessed square). You can get a multi-bit screwdriver and a big set of bits for every kind of screw for less than $10 now.

Comment: Re:Do they charge patent royalties for Windows Pho (Score 1) 80

by Grishnakh (#49551087) Attached to: Microsoft Increases Android Patent Licensing Reach

Just a quibble: IIRC, FAT32 is not covered by any patents at all. It's the "exFAT" filesystem which is patent-protected. FAT32 stopped being useful when portable flash cards passed (IIRC) 2 or 4GB in capacity. exFAT does a somewhat better job with large devices like this, but still, you're right, the only reason people use it is because it's ubiquitous and everything supports it, most importantly Windows, not because it's a great filesystem. So yeah, you could argue that this is illegal leveraging of their desktop monopoly. Too bad no one wants to spend the $$$ to challenge them in court over this.

Comment: Re:Done in movies... (Score 1) 198

We have been well trained that it is OK for the good guys to bend the rules to stop the bad guys.

In fairness, there ARE times when that is the case...

A good example is during the movie "The Peacemaker" with George Clooney.

A terrorist has a nuclear weapon in his backpack and is 10 blocks away from where he plans to set it off. He also plans to die, so if you confront him, he'll just set it off anyway.

The sniper who is supposed to shoot the bad guy has his shot blocked by a girl on her daddy's shoulders. He doesn't have a clear shot.

Do you shoot through the girl to hit the bad guy in that case?

Is the cop bad if he does? Is he good? Is that against the rules?

Comment: Re:Unity next (Score 1) 452

by fahrbot-bot (#49549381) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Released, First Version To Feature systemd

Comment needs funny+insightful, slashidiots give troll...

Thanks. Seems "troll" is sometimes used when someone simply doesn't like what you say (or doesn't under stand it). I don't know whether to be sad or annoyed in those situations. In *this* case "off topic" might have been appropriate, as I was intending it as a funny comment to something in anther post, but not related to the main story, though people sometimes use that mod because they, apparently, simply have a stick up their ass.

In any case, I wasn't slamming systemd, even though I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea or, at least, a bad implementation - hmm, Lennart wrote it, so probably both. (see, that's a slam) :-)

Comment: Re:Here's to hoping they don't find oil (Score 1) 151

by gregor-e (#49548243) Attached to: Yellowstone Supervolcano Even Bigger Than We Realized
Think of the energy and building material that would give. All we'd need is for the molten magma stream to boil some water on the way out, and while still molten, be transported to the site of whatever massive construction project we choose. Maybe tie the two together, using some fancy Leidenfrost effect to keep the hot lava flowing on a cushion of steam. Once the lava gets to its destination, huge bots with chilled trowels would form it into walls or sculptures. With enough magma to fill the grand canyon, we could build an urban area big enough to cover most of Wyoming. Make the buildings free to homesteaders who agree to bring the buildings up to code. Name it 'Magma, Wyoming' or something. Also do a monument like Rushmore, but featuring all the presidents. Make each head the size of a mountain and call the new range The Presidentials. See? Lemons into lemonade.

Comment: Re:Unity next (Score 1) 452

by Grishnakh (#49547525) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Released, First Version To Feature systemd

No, you're entirely missing the point. Kubuntu gets next-to-no-usage because it's not a prime-time distro, it's just a small obscure variant of one. Not only that, Kubuntu is just a vanilla KDE setup (which is fine if you like regular KDE Plasma).

My proposal is that Ubuntu dump Unity and the GTK3 plumbing it sits on and adopt KDE instead. People already complain a lot about Unity being slow, and all evidence points to KDE being lighter weight and better performing than Gnome or Unity, due to superior architecture. However, Ubuntu likely doesn't just want to be a KDE distro for whatever reason; obviously they're trying to explore and push different UI concepts with Unity. That's OK: KDE lets you do that, when you have the development resources that Ubuntu enjoys. KDE already has several different versions of Plasma for different devices (desktop, netbook, mobile); the architecture allows you to have a completely different UI sitting on top of KDE's infrastructure. So Canonical wouldn't have such a difficult time developing their own UI (just another version of Plasma) which sits on top of KDE and benefits from its excellent under-the-hood architecture and performance, while letting them easily explore whatever new UI trends they want to try out. And then, anyone who doesn't like that can *trivially* just switch back to plasma-desktop and get a vanilla KDE experience if they want, without needing a whole new distro (or distro variant).

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 1) 616

by FlyHelicopters (#49546783) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

I was talking about this with my wife just now and thought of another way to put this...

Warren Buffet has gone on record saying that he pays a lower marginal tax rate than his secretary and that is wrong. He as proposed that wealthy people pay no less than 20% of their income in taxes, regardless of deductions.

To which many people have said, "Mr. Buffet, you can write a check to the US Treasury any time you like, put your money where your mouth is".

If Mr. Buffet wrote a check for $10 billion dollars to the US Treasury tomorrow, would it matter? Would it change the US Budget deficit? Would it balance the budget? Would it make any noticeable difference to the current US Debt?

The answer of course, is no, it wouldn't do any of those things. In fact, lets put those numbers into terms you can understand.

The current US Debt is over $18 Trillion dollars. Lets cut that down to normal people numbers. Lets take someone who works at Walmart for $9/hr. If they work full time, 40 hours a week, they make about $19,000 a year. That is about $1 per billion dollars of debt.

Mr. Buffet's $10 Billion dollar check, works out to just $10 at the same scale. Does $10 to a Walmart worker help? Sure, everything helps. Does it make a substantial difference to their life? No, it really doesn't.

Since there aren't likely a lot of Walmart workers here, add a zero and scale it up to a nice lead developers pay, $190,000 a year... $10 Billion dollars turns into $100.

Does $100 one way or another make a difference that is noticeable to someone making $190K a year?


Mr. Buffet's point is that he alone can't make any difference to the outcome, it has to be a collective effort. The same is true with resource consumption.

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 1) 616

by FlyHelicopters (#49546521) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

I have seen that before, a great video that everyone should watch...

Of course, the question becomes, now what? Is our current rate of oil consumption growth sustainable? Sure, for a few years... Forever? Of course not...

I would submit that the single biggest problem we have is our population growth rate... You cannot conserve your way to success if you don't do something about the population growth...

A simple example is China and coal. The US could shut down all our coal plants tomorrow, turn them all off, regardless of the consequences. By 2020, China will have replaced it all. Right now China is burning 5 billion tons of coal a year. The US is burning about 1 billion tons. China is expected to hit 6 billion tons of coal in the next 5 years or so.

It is easy to say, "well, we all have to do our part", and "every little bit helps". But the truth is, it doesn't. Nothing I do one way or another will make any difference in the end. There are much larger changes that need to be made for the outcome to be changed by enough to matter.

I actually agree that we need to change our path, we can't keep adding a billion tons of coal every 5 years and have that be sustainable. But those changes have to happen at a worldwide scale. Nothing I do, nothing even the US does, matter, if everyone else isn't on board.


As a side note, I posted in another reply that I've just spent about $400 buying LED bulbs to replace every bulb in my house. The payback period is, overall, about a year. It is a very logical decision that makes financial sense and also happens to reduce my carbon footprint. That is $400 worth of coal power that won't have to be produced in the next year.

The irony is that there are many people who don't like change, who are upset that incandescent bulbs are going away. CFLs do indeed suck, they have a flicker, aren't instant full brightness, etc. LEDs fix those problems. I had a few CFLs in my home, but never liked them, LEDs are very nice.

I rather feel that EVs are much like CFLs, the Chevy Volt technology is more like LEDs. EVs have a problem, in that people don't really want them. They sound nice, right up until people have to live with them. If EVs had 500 miles of range and recharged in 15 min and cost no more than a normal car, then sure, people would like them, but that isn't like to happen any time soon.


The other issue is, just replacing gas cars with EVs doesn't solve anything long term. Yes, power plants are more efficient than internal combustion engines are, some of that power can come from wind and solar, but if we don't stop the growth rate of car and people production, it won't matter. Cutting your emissions in half per vehicle mile doesn't help if you double the number of vehicle miles driven.

Solar and wind are growing nicely, but won't replace coal, oil, or natural gas any time soon. Nuclear could, if we could get over our "oh my god the nuclears!" nonsense. But we won't, because we're largely stupid emotional creatures that do not make logical decisions.


TL;DR - I am happy to make some changes to my carbon footprint that make economic sense and do not impact my lifestyle too much, but anything much beyond that requires action at the international level, since this is a global problem and can only be solved if everyone gets on board.

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 1) 616

by FlyHelicopters (#49546319) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

On the contrary, I could easily afford a "nicer" car. I have chosen to drive something that takes into account that I'm not the only person in the world. You should explore the concept.

That is a nice, meaningless statement that says nothing...

You probably think you driving a crappy car somehow helps other people. I doubt it, but if it makes you feel better, more power to you.

The only problem with being a man of leisure is that you can never stop and take a rest.