Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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).


Comment: Re:Don't make it impossible, just make it hard (Score 1) 375

by stephanruby (#49357801) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Give me a break! This was only one incident.

Treating pilots like little kids who need someone to help every time they go to the bathroom is not a solution.

The extremely rare occurence of such an event doesn't justify the regular inconvenience and demeaning aspect of such a halfway measure.

Comment: Re:"to provide support for the cultural sector" (Score 1) 236

That and they don't even realize they're barely capable of speaking in French -- they're illiterate in both offficial languages. I've known people from France who have to speak to people from Quebec in English because Quebecoise is such a mongrel of a language.

To be fair, it's the French language from France that is becoming a mongrel of a language.

I've never been to Québec, but aside from their annoying accent, the French-speaking people from Québec I've met seem to be using really old French.

Comment: Re:Ubiquity is unavoidable (Score 3, Informative) 110

Even if the police make this data private, the general population will jump in to make this (and most) data such as this freely available.

Actually, there are private companies that already do this. They drive around streets and parking lots scanning people's license plates. Then they aggregate that information on a national level to resell to other companies. This data is really handy for car/truck repos, private detectives, and stalker exes.

And the information they have dwarves any information the police department has themselves. It's such a new area, it's not regulated yet.

Comment: Re:Yet another makes the same mistake. (Score 2) 79

by stephanruby (#49331595) Attached to: Better Disaster Shelters than FEMA Trailers (Video)

They are cutting themselves out of market reach by excluding consumers.

This portapotty-like shelter seems to have been optimized for government use. As far I can tell, it will tip over in extreme winds and it will suffocate its occupants in extreme heat. The last thing they want is the extremely bad reviews that might come from actual consumer adoption/experimentation before the government/Halliburton money comes in.

Comment: Re:Super expensive alternative to a UV light (Score 1) 49

So instead of simply buying a waterproof case or putting pens and paper under UV light for a few minutes they want high pressure water proof tablets which no doubt cost 200% more than the original item

Don't worry, it doesn't seem like those devices were modified at all.

My Xperia Z Ultra is already waterproof and both has capacitive touch and resistive touch, so I can write on it with a standard pen or pencil. The only thing they seem to have added is an extra case, which is probably unnecessary as well, my Z Ultra doesn't look like it, but it's basically indestructible.

and 5,000,000% more some UV lightbulbs and some pens and paper.

A pen and paper is nice, but you still need someone to enter that data into a database of some kind. Especially with Ebola, you don't want the notes to be left in a drawer somewhere in a foreign hospital waiting for someone to type up. Also with a tablet, you can annotate your notes with pictures and videos.

That being said, all of this is most likely a PR move from Sony. Undoubtedly, they gave those tablets to MSF for free. In exchange, MSF can say they're using it, which will be true initially, but in fact, most of those devices will be stolen, or will have disappeared, after a week or two. After all, it's not like these doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres will be staying in five star hotels in Africa, they will have to go where the poor people are. And to a poor person in Africa, the value of an Xperia device is the equivalent of a couple years of wages.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1) 232

by stephanruby (#49303583) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

If it had been known that google was manipulating the search results to favor themselves, it would have been a huge credibility hit.

How did you not know??? Seriously? It's a given that their own sites take precedence in the results.

This is a far cry from what Yahoo was doing ten years ago when they were ranking search results that were only tangentially related to your search because 3rd parties paid them to.

Comment: Re:Way to circumvent this. (Score 2) 200

by stephanruby (#49299283) Attached to: NZ Customs Wants Power To Require Passwords

and just have a card in the machine with your music and ebooks to keep you amused on the long flight. (its about 12 hrs from LAX)

Hopefully, all your music is legal and your ebook titles don't sound suspicious.

And how many customs officials do they have on duty at AKL anyway? do they have time to go through all 300+ passengers phones/tablets/laptops?

This can be fully automated. In the UK, I recall they recorded the entire hard drive of your laptop. They said this was a measure against pedophiles, although this policy seems to only have affected a couple of reporters as far as I can tell. They never did this to me when I entered the UK.

This is in contrast with France.

At least, the French make a copy of your hard drive when you don't know they're doing it. Waiting until you've left your hotel room, or waiting until you've fallen asleep, is much less obtrusive.

Comment: Re:Death traps. (Score 2) 451

by stephanruby (#49290205) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

My prophecy:
Self driving cars will be better than humans in 99,99% of the situations within 3 years. Sadly it will take another 5 to wide scale adoption and yet another 10 years for human driven cars to be banned to racetracks.

Your calculation implies that everyone replaces their car within a 5 year period.

That may be true in Beverly Hills, but it's certainly not true in the rest of the US.

The average age of cars on U.S. roads is 11.4 years, IHS Automotive reports. The average age of vehicles on U.S. roads has hit a plateau of about 11.4 years, according to an annual study by IHS Automotive, an auto industry research firm. Jun 9, 2014

In any case, I find your optimism unjustified.

In the Bay Area for instance, we could already make BART trains fully automated, and it's been studied they would become safer to boot, but attempting to change that system to get rid of the operators would be absolute political suicide.

Comment: Re:Steve Jobs is the Monkeywrench (Score 1) 114

The study is incomplete without examining intra-California career stifling.

Does it really matter in this case?

Non-competes in other states are enforced by the government, and therefore are much more widespread and effective than a criminal conspiracy of some of the big players.

Comment: Re:There might not be Proper English (Score 3, Insightful) 667

by stephanruby (#49265097) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

I would agree. And I think the notion of teaching "Proper English" is less about saying common usage is wrong than it is with trying to slow down the fragmentation of the language into dialects.

If governments and institutions really wanted to slow down the fragmentation of the English language, then they would just standardize on American Los Angeles Hollywood English.

As it stands, most people are selfish and most people are the center of their own little worlds. They're perfectly willing to make their own dialect the new standard that everybody else has to abide to, especially to get jobs and government benefits, they're perfectly willing to make their language a marker of group identity and group pride, but they're unwilling to change their own language when it is found that another dialect is becoming the new standard.

A perfect manifestation of this kind selfishness is the British queen. Why can't she just learn proper Hollywood english like everybody else? She's just holding her own people back if she continues on this path.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 95

by stephanruby (#49262929) Attached to: Education Company Monitors Social Media For Test References

I am as anti-spying as the next guy,but monitoring public postings to prevent cheating is not spying. If you re going to lie, cheat or steal, pass your notes in a private location.

The intent is not to prevent cheating. The intent is to only prevent the appearance of cheating. The intent is to prevent students from talking about the test after they've taken it and after they've gotten out of school already. Apparently, Pearson is cutting corners by selling the same test to all the schools no matter what time zone they're located in, or on what day the test is administered, which is the real problem here.

And so instead of revising its business model, it's spying on students and urging schools to penalize students when they're found to be talking about the test publicly online. Never mind, that they have no way to monitor private messages, or private emails, or other private communications, so their real intent here is to prevent the appearance of cheating, not the cheating itself -- which will continue underground because of the inherent flaw in their system.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton