Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Detroitland (Score 2) 337 337

You have to love the " even higher taxes " as if the USA were a high-tax regime already and Australia barely manages to top it. For the "Rich people" at issue, the USA has some of the lowest taxes anywhere. Jamaica has lower top-tier taxes than the USA does (or anybody): only 15%. Why not move there? English spoken, close to the USA, sunny beaches.

No, seriously, libertarian types: why not Jamaica? There is no "Galt's Gulch" in the real world (we're sorry) but you could move to Jamaica. I can't figure out why they don't.

Comment Re:Not blue eyed ... (Score 5, Interesting) 234 234

Actually, the cool parallel you forgot is that melange was essential to the Guild Navigators, they couldn't navigate ships between stars without constant heavy use of melange to make them future-seeing. The rest of melange properties were merely valuable; this one kept universal trade going, essential to the economy. In short, it was the absolutely necessary strategic resource that kept transportation working.

Now that's a parallel.

Comment Re:When do we get a real boost over 2013 speeds? (Score 1) 126 126

I'm using PostGIS (PostgreSQL with a plug-in) for the back-end, and QGIS for the client. With the above-mentioned system and 32GB it utterly blows away the performance I get at work from a big ESRI server and Oracle with ESRIs SDE plug-in. That's probably because the corporate server is throttled per-user, but still, it means that home-user GIS for zero software costs is really here in convenient form. I've developed a "mapping system" that loads in about 50 layers for my city with one script (works in Mac, Win, Linux, slight script changes) and co-workers are starting to ask me for it on their laptops. It actually runs fairly well on an i5 and 16GB, so it's possible I won't even get that much speedup from a faster chip...but I'm game to spend money trying!
The suggestion above that I move the PostGIS db file from SSD to ramdisk is a very worthy one; I'll be trying various experiments, but since I date back to 6502 chips, "get the latest" has always been step 1.
If you want to contact about GIS, my home page is at the Calgary Unix User's Group:

Comment Re:When do we get a real boost over 2013 speeds? (Score 1) 126 126

The doubling is impressive (except for it taking 6.5 years, if you computed through the 90s) but the power consumption is irrelevant. I'm not running a data centre, and I can afford a $2500 computer, so paying 130/1000 X 9 cents per hour = 1.17 cents per hour to run the chip is not worth mentioning.

Comment When do we get a real boost over 2013 speeds? (Score 3, Insightful) 126 126

I've got a machine over two years old now - I do some pretty heavy number-crunching with GIS map programs and always tell the counter guy I want the nearest thing he's got to a machine that finishes infinite loops. After conceding that the next model up from the i7-3930K was $500 more for another 15% of horsepower, I picked that one.
I'm sure there have been a few percent of gains with two years of subsequent chips, but basically, it's same cores, same GHz. Is this 'skylake' in several more months going to be more than a 10%-15% upgrade over my early 2013 chip? (Actually, it's older, probably came out in 2012?)
I really need to be buying a second machine in just a few months, but I'll endure some inconvenience if we're just a few months after that from a significant upgrade. But frankly, anything under 25-30% speedup in math operations will not be worth the wait.
They say Moore's Law is still going, and in low-power circles, I'd agree. But for the market segment of people who don't mind the computer doubling as a room heater if it'll just crunch numbers on a few million rows of geodatabase table a few minutes faster, it sure feels like Moore's is over for us.

Comment Re:Oh for fucks sake (Score 1) 615 615

Hate to disagree with another FORTH fan (saw your sig) but dictionary says he's right. Haters called a social safety net "socialism" as a pejorative, conflating any government activity at all with state ownership of factories in Russia. They started off saying it was "socialistic" and then graduated to just calling it socialism. But the dictionary definition remains. You're talking about a "mixed market economy"...which is of course what they ALL are. There is zero pure socialism or entirely free markets anywhere. Demagogues hate shades of grey and love to call you black or white. Ayn Rand embraced that criticism, saying that once you have admitted there's evil, how can you consent to even the smallest admixture of it. Of course, there's no totally free markets anywhere because they, too, would create great evil, so it's all about the balancing act.

Comment Re:Markets, not people (Score 1) 615 615

> A free market system with a reasonable amount of regulation, for all its flaws, works.\\\\\\ ...has worked in the technological environment since mechanization, the way feudalism worked in the agricultural one...for all its flaws.

(fixed that for you).

It wasn't much of a free market for 99.9% of actors during feudalism, because the feudal lord could interfere with it any time he felt like waving a sword around.

And the "flaws" of the current system may one day be seen as only a little less bad than the "flaws" of feudalism, which worked for 10,000 years. But fell apart rapidly with Gutenberg and literacy and satanic mills and the need for capital to build them. No inherent right-to-exist will protect our current culture and economic system from obsolescence should it fail to match new realities.

Comment It's immoral to make a sandwich? (Score 4, Insightful) 618 618

Jon Stewart once signed off the Daily Show with "If you used a DVR to skip our ads, you're a thief" or some such - it was a sharp way to highlight the foolishness of these guys. We skipped ads when it was only broadcast TV all the time by stepping out to make a sandwich.
The only thing we're doing is voting with our feet that content providers should find another way to fund their work. It's no more immoral than renting direct-to-video movies were immoral compared to watching broadcast TV.

Comment Re: News for nerds (Score 2) 866 866

There are a lot of different beliefs requiring magical thinking. You can believe in any of them, even many of them, without believing in the others. Some of them are even self-contradictory. There are some atheists that believe in ghosts; but oddly, many Christians and Muslims also believe in ghosts, though they already have a whole theology about what happens after death that does not include hanging around on the Earth, causing mischief and pestering Hamlet.

I don't have polling data, but it does pass the sniff test to assume that one form of magical thinking, inculcated from birth, would tend to make the personality more at-risk of accepting other magical-thinking proposals.

Comment Somewhere, OpenBSD fans are smiling (Score 1) 180 180

/. announced OpenBSD 5.7 the other day and the usual crowd came out to say, "so what", and "nobody uses it", etc. Well, this is why it has fans. Yes, yes, there were Linux and FreeBSD machines run well enough to be proof against this's that OpenBSD machines tend to be safe out of the box and you have to make a real effort to de-secure them.

Comment Head scratching... (Score 1) 442 442

Despite a CompSci degree and over 15 years of using nearly every breed of Linux at work and home, I feel like a guy who just wants the car to go listening to automotive engineers get angry over a debate on number of cylinders.
I upgrade only when forced to, these days: Linux met all my needs years ago. I was just compelled to upgrade from a long-obsolete Mint to 17.1, which I gather will be around for years before all support stops.
Is there any hope of this particular Good Thing vs Bad Thing debate being settled by, say, 2017?
That's all most of us want to know.
Proof's in the pudding, guys. My hat is off to everybody who tries out the new distro and takes the proverbial arrows in the back so the rest of us can know about a year or so from now if all the dark predictions about "systemd" come true or not.

Comment I have a depressing feeling about this... (Score 5, Funny) 157 157 fiction, basic discoveries of this magnitude promptly lead to anti-gravity, flying cars, space travel, and replicators.

In real life, some PhDs are pleased with themselves and now understand why we exist and aren't a cloud of random particles - but I *still* don't get a damn jet pack.

Oh, well: the announced today that they have asthma figured out at last and can probably cure it soon. I don't have asthma, but I'm glad we also got a practical discovery.

Comment The fun of being clueless (Score 1) 154 154 that you get to speculate more wildly. Suppose two stars that are not yet (or never could be) able to supernova, smacked into each other at some very impressive clip. Their cores interact and there is briefly a mass in a state for a supernova...which is blown apart in the early seconds of the supernova because uniquely, the relevant core material is asymmetric and the two lobes are separated.

Is that possible? Is it gibberish? I don't know, because I never studied astronomy except by watching, well, umm...Nova, ironically enough.

So there's a lesson for you kids: don't study too hard, just read a lot of science fiction. You'll be dumber, but still have fun.

Comment Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 686 686

>not my place to choose to release it.

"Not my place", meaning "the decision was made above me", meaning "I was only following orders". Destroyed as a defence by an American, Robert Jackson, at Nuremburg. No, not a Godwin violation, it just happens to be the series of trials at which it was established that nobody, nobody is below the job of personally evaluating whether the actions of the organization for which they work are criminal, and not merely refusing to take part, but actively opposing the crimes.
Snowden's reasons were clearly stated as arising from constitutional violations that went all the way to the top. Snowden took action not because he was in political disagreement about policy choices, but because his organization was exceeding its legal mandate and violating American civil rights. And the principal authors of a "patriot" act agree with him on that, so it's not like his viewpoint was deluded.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes