Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Agree and disagree here (Score 1) 145

These things, combined with a population advantage, guarantee China's success long-term absent any other forces.

Only up to a point. Part of the reason why China has been enjoying enormous rates of economic growth is that it had so far to go. Once their economy and standard of living starts to get much closer to that of the existing advanced industrial economies, and they lose their advantage of cheap labor, all they're left with is the population advantage. And they'll be busy strip-mining the third world in the meantime, which means they'll probably overreach sooner or later and piss everyone off as badly as the US has. (And the US at least has NATO allies, and reasonably friendly relations with neighboring countries.)

Comment: Re:Waste of Time & Money (Score 1) 145

I don't think the GP was limiting the scope to science missions - instead, we should also be developing robotic missions to prepare for eventual humans. And more than just robots; even stuff as relatively trivial as 3D printers will make the difference between sustainable human presence versus short-term missions that won't last. There are many other components: better radiation shielding, genetically optimized plants, improved solar cells, and so on.

Remember, ISS is only a few hundred feet up and it's still insanely expensive to service. If we want affordable permanent settlement on the moon or Mars, we need to limit the number of supply trips.

Comment: Re:instead of space race (Score 1) 145

A big part of the reason why this won't happen is that space-related technology tends to be inherently dual-use, i.e. much of it has military purposes. In fact, that's probably the single biggest reason why there was a space race at all in the 1950s/1960s. Since China is already known to be developing military capabilities specifically to counter the US navy/naval air, and has ongoing territorial disputes with at least five neighboring countries that I can think of offhand (several of which are close US allies), it would be ill-advised of the US to make it easier for them.

Comment: Re:An aid or a barrier? (Score 1) 99

Oh, you're not IT, you say. View it as an epithet, do you? Well then hope against hope that your collocation service fixes the glaring security holes you leave in the dev servers you shift into prod.

I don't view IT as an epithet I view it as a specific skillset that we don't need full time in house. IT is about being an expert at OS, Network and Database management. If we want to deploy openstack, we call our contract IT company. If our fileserver goes down, we call IT. If we are seeing a performance bottleneck in our network we call IT.

Everybody else though is focused on a completely different task, making great visual effects. To do that we write tools to assist artists, streamline workflow and automate time consuming tasks.

If I have trouble with a linux box I call a kickass IT guy who knows Linux backwards and forwards. If I need someone to streamline the workflow for managing a VFX sequence with 800 assets with evolving character rigs and ensuring that an animator can transfer their animation to a new rig I'm not going to IT I'm going to a technical artist who has deep domain knowledge on both character animation and rigging.

If that developer decides that they need a database to track animations between versions they will probably develop on a database on their local workstation. When they're happy and want to move it to production then we meet with IT, tell them "We'll have 40 users with about 10,000 requests per minute." They'll recommend hardware or say that an existing server can handle it and deploy a production ready database. They'll ensure it fits in with our existing security policies, firewalls, access rights etc and then handle maintenance and backup.

Just because someone touches a computer doesn't make them "IT". Not because IT is an insult but because it would redefine the role too broadly. Would you call a technical animator who works on developing fluid simulations an IT person? No.

Similarly someone who works on the Unreal Engine's source isn't in "IT" they are a developer. They are working on very specific problems unique to computer graphics or audio or AI or Animation etc. The person though who ensures that developer has the infrastructure they need isn't someone to be looked down on, they're just in a very different role. However when that developer says that they need 10TB of shared storage at 400MB/s to 5 users then you call IT. That's specifically *not* working two jobs that's using people where they are most productive. I see the hierarchy as such:

Physicists - Develop principles.
Fabrication Experts - User principles of physics to create better chips.
Chip Designers - Design processors which can "do work".
Fundamental Software Developers - Write the software to expose the hardware to regular developers. (OS, Drivers, File Systems, Runtimes, Networking Stacks, Compilers etc, Databases, etc.)
IT - Deploys and maintains the hardware designed by Chip Designers and software by the Systems Engineers doing the low level fundamental work necessary.
Developers - Those who write functional software to solve specific problems.
Users - People who use the software.

As I see it a fab engineer should understand physics, a chip designer should understand the limitations of fabrication, a systems engineer should understand chip design, IT should understand drivers and other low level systems engineering, Developers should know how to do limited deployments of their development environment.
Users should ideally be able to write tools to solve their problems.

But to use the obligatory car analogy, I'm not going to call a civil engineer to consult on how to tune the steering on a race car. I will call them and have them design a great race track to drive the car on, but their role is one of deploying and repairing infrastructure for cars to drive on, not to design the cars except where the two overlap by necessity.

Comment: Explaining API copyright to lawyers/judges (Score 1) 173

You're honor, you probably don't want to read the case. "Why not. It's a matter of public record". Yes, but the index is copyrighted. It's $5000/copy. Good luck finding the case without the index. "$5000 per copy? That's preposterous. Indexing is trivial compared to the arguments in the case". Why yes, yes it is...

Comment: Re:Where's Waldo? (Score 1) 94

by Skater (#49790165) Attached to: Making the World's Largest Panoramic Photo

Rather than explaining these reasons to the American people (who really probably don't care for the most part), they just rename "French Fries". "Freedom Fries".

Note, I have yet to meet anyone who calls them "Freedom Fries". Most Europeans probably understand the difference between a publicity stunt and reality.

Comment: Re:An aid or a barrier? (Score 1) 99

At our company we outsource all of our IT. All projects are run by the actual users. This works perfectly. 'IT' handles the things that we know they're good at: keeping the email up and running, maintaining servers, troubleshooting workstations etc. The users do what they're good at: solving industry specific problems.

I wouldn't bother contacting our IT before starting a project because the only requests I'll have for IT are possibly provisioning a new ______ server that we need for the project or having them integrate our development server into the network. Once we've got a project up and running we can then do a handoff meeting with IT on what they need to know to keep it running. "This service needs a _____ box with a _____ connection to the network. If the box dies, re-install ______ and configure _____ service like _____." They can then handle maintenance. For our company, IT is essentially a Colocation service.

Comment: Re:Another reason my first new car will be a Tesla (Score 2, Insightful) 374

...because people don't want to pay for features they won't use? We don't have a sunroof in our truck, because we know we'd use it only rarely. Someone else might use that sunroof all the time. On the other hand, for our car, we paid extra for the memory driver's seat, because my wife is much shorter than I am, so we're always readjusting the driver's seat between us, and it's a time saver, plus there's probably a small safety bonus from getting the seat in the same position every time. But for a car that's normally only going to be driven by one person, a memory seat is kind of a useless feature.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose