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Comment Re:Yeah, but that just means... (Score 2) 171

Just basic literacy will help a lot. Most conflicts in the world involve illiterate soldiers on one or both sides. Modern war is very expensive, and very destructive. War almost never makes economic sense. Most countries have market economies, so if your neighbor has resources that you want, you don't need to take it by force, you can just buy it.

Bad for you, worse for the other guy. Don't underestimate how much the stronger player can abuse their position until they go one step too far.

Comment The middle ground (Score 1) 278

Some of the component shops around here have PC-builders, basically you pick (from their approved selection) case, psu, mobo, cpu, ram, graphics card(s), disks etc. and they'll assemble and test it for you. If you want to start fresh and not use any parts from your existing setup that's a quite practical way to getting the parts you want without fiddling with screws and cables and DOA components (well unless they fail during shipping). Personally I rarely start over from scratch though, it's rare that everything is so outdated it's best to start over.

Comment Re:Linux gadget. (Score 1) 111

The answer appears to be no on the rPi. The BCM2835's USB port is OTG-capable, so it isn't master only; but I can find no mention of gadget device configuration actually being available. The CHIP is maybe: apparently OTG support was added in kernel 4.3; don't know how well it works, or whether the CHIP's mini-b port even has its data lines connected.

Comment Re:Is C.H.I.P. really sub-10$? (Score 1) 111

Whether or not they can actually keep the CHIP at $9, if the project does actually get Allwinner SoC support mainline and GPL compliant it would be a fairly big win. All kinds of low cost hardware is built on Allwinner parts; but the software situation is kind of dodgy, since Allwinner doesn't seem to care and the people making hardware cheap enough to use Allwinner SoCs really don't care.

With Rockchip and Mediatek in play, it's not as though they have a whole lot of room for 'mwahaha, loss leader and then suck the captive audience dry!' mustache-twirling, because the audience just isn't that captive and their parts aren't terribly special, though competent enough. It's hard to see any attempt on their part to make them more accessible as a bad thing, whether or not the intro pricing can be sustained.

Comment Missing the point a bit? (Score 4, Insightful) 111

While it is extremely impressive that one could do so(given that such power for such price was unheard of until very recently), it seems rather pointless to compare these two boards on the basis that you are planning on plugging in enough peripherals to use them as your next desktop. Aside from the plummeting cost and wide availability of ludicrously overqualified x86s; the most stripped down ARM SBC is obviously going to require costlier and uglier peripheral tangles than the less stripped down ones(the CHIP has no 'sibling' designs; but is similar to Allwinner-based boards from others; the rPi zero has otherwise-identical models that add the USB hub and ethernet for you, or slightly punchier options).

The only reason to go with either of these is because you have some more constrained purpose for which the low cost and small size make the difference. So, do you want HDMI support; at the cost of bringing your own NIC; or do you want the NIC; but HDMI as an optional extra? Depends on whether you are building a headless project or not.

The other matter is the software support; which is as yet an unknown. The rPi has some Broadcom blobs that are very, very, unlikely to go away; but benefits from a known, solid, supporting ecosystem. The Allwinner A8 is a bit of an unknown quantity: the project claims to be aggressively mainlining everything(which would be extremely attractive); but Allwinner's GPL compliance has best in the past; and the MALI-400 is ARM's toy, not theirs, so they have limited control over that. If the CHIP's aspirations bear out, then it will have the distinct advantage of working with mainline kernel and u-boot. If they don't, or do only in part, then the question becomes one of 'which slightly oddball BSP is better?'

Comment Re:Uber and pirate bay (Score 3, Interesting) 51

Fortunately for the rest of us, they can't legislate reality. They take down Napster, it goes fully distributed. They flood the networks with shit, torrent sites provide ratings. They go after TPBs trackers, we get magnet links. They start blocking at ISP level, torrents go encrypted. And sometimes they run into setbacks, they couldn't shut down the Bittorrent protocol. They haven't been able to shut down file lockers. Their mass lawsuits/shakedowns have largely been halted. VPNs and open Wifi is still legal. And when they do score a win like being able to shut down a site, a zillion mirrors and proxies pop up making it futile.

The war on piracy hasn't exactly had the same kind of popular appeal as the war on drugs. It is a lot easier to come up with horror stories about crack whores and heroin addicts than about people pirating MP3s. I'm guessing this is the main reason we haven't seen haven't seen bigger legal opposition is the fact that offense is the best defense, so far the easiest solution has been to come up with a better tool. If they manage to get rapid-fire site take downs in the DNS system, there's also the dark web solution. The TOR system isn't built for heavy P2P, but just for getting magnet links - which is the only thing you need to bootstrap the process - it's plenty. So from where I'm standing they might get bigger and bigger guns, but the target is getting harder and harder to hit in the first place and punch through the armor if you do.

Comment Re:Now only if... (Score 3, Interesting) 51

Yeah, well, don't hold your breath ... if the US doesn't launch some form of trade sanctions I'll be surprised.

Since the EU is a free trade block and Sweden is a member, I doubt they can do much of anything. Through good services like Spotify they've curbed much of the public appeal of piracy and the Pirate Party is at ~0.4% far from any seats in the general elections and they lost their MEPs in the 2014 elections. They got more to lose than gain by revitalizing the public debate again, particularly anything that looks like US interference which is what pissed many Swedes off back in 2006.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 94

Now that the Steam Box is on the market, there is a growing demand for high-end gaming graphics on Linux. That sound you hear is nVidia laughing all the way to the bank.

They've already been there counting and laughing ever since the GTX 970/980 launched. They fell over laughing when they learned that the Fury would be a $500+ card only. Steam boxes would just be the cherry on top.

Comment Re:he should know better (Score 2) 302

If you made some kind of public statement and your employer/landlord/bank called you up and said it's not compatible with being an employee/tenant/customer of ours anymore I think most people would call it a free speech issue. Granted, we're not really being consistent because half the time we want to protect dissenting opinions from the wrath of the majority and the other half we want obnoxious and offensive speech to have consequences. Like when Brendan Eich was forced to step down as CEO of Mozilla, was that right or wrong? Some think it was right, that the LGBT community had a right to cause a shit storm. Others think they blatantly silenced an opposing voice by harassing his employer. But the government wasn't involved, so there was no free speech issue right?

Comment Re:Less service? (Score 2) 470

I don't know how the expected lifetime service cost shakes down; but what the dealership cares about is the margins on the service and maintenance they perform; not the absolute cost.

I would suspect that battery swaps, while they involve a very expensive part, would be pretty unexciting for the dealer. Unless the manufacturer is extraordinarily tight-lipped, the price of the battery will become public knowledge; and the procedure for swapping it out(while it might require equipment that makes DIY impractical, depending on where the battery is located and what needs to be lifted) should be rigidly documented and leave little room for variation in how much labor you can bill for.

Somebody has to do the swap, and presumably they won't do it for free; but there is little room either for value-added expertise(as with problems that require diagnostic work) or just plain sleazy invoice padding(as with problems where the customer doesn't know the cost of the parts, or which parts are necessary, or what the expected labor time is); it's a rigidly scripted drop-in replacement of a single module.

Comment State the obvious, get flamed anyway... (Score 4, Insightful) 345

If anything, it seems like deGrasse came closer to giving team Space!!! what they wanted to hear than I would have expected, in that he left open the implication that nation states might develop serious interest in colonizing nearby rocks and would then very likely find themselves in need of contractors for various purposes; and enable some more fully private side activities.

The ROI of getting things into earth orbit is well established; and it has a correspondingly robust market, with more outfits clamoring to enter it. Satellites are all sorts of useful and need more or less continual replacement, repair, and so on. Nobody doubts that.

The technical feasibility of snagging asteroids and chopping them up is still in the more speculative stages; but that also has an obvious possible ROI if the technical challenges can be overcome.

The case for the moon or mars, though, isn't just a matter of corporate shortsightedness, it's a matter of "Please, tell me about the ROI, within, say, the next 250 years...". Planetary colonization would undoubtedly be cool; and might be something that a nation state would get interested in as part of a prestige contest(like, say, the last time we were at all serious about the moon); but nobody ever seems to have any plans, aside from vague references to Helium 3, for what would make lunar or martian living more cost effective than some sort of aggressive colonization of underutilized desert regions or something similarly unsexy. The bounteous iron mines of mars? The endless plains of razor-sharp, static-clinging, vitrified silicates of the moon?

Comment Re:Smart TV (Score 1) 148

The only real reason(aside from a pathological hatred of having your ATSC/DVT-B tuner not be inside your display) is that 'big monitor' becomes increasingly hard to find if you want something fairly low resolution but physically large enough to suit a biggish living room, signage application, or the like.

You can get 'normal' monitors up to ~32 inches, with 1920x1080 being fairly cheap, even at that size, '2k' and '4k' rather more; but offerings thin considerably, and what is available gets very pricey, if you want anything bigger(the nominally-34-inch ultrawide screens are also fairly cheap; but are a poor fit for even 16:9 video, much less 4:3).

When sold as 'TVs' by contrast, you can get 1920x1080 in pretty much any size from 24-ish inches on the low end, to 65 on the high end; with '4k' up to about 80 inches in the reasonably priced section; with prices rising steeply thereafter.

It really depends on your intended viewing distance. A 32 inch panel dominates a desktop; but can look pretty anemic in a larger room; and if you can even find monitors much larger than that, they are likely to be staggeringly expensive specialty items; which is serious overkill when you plan to be sitting far enough away that the pixels will be harder to see anyway.

Assuming a suitably close viewing environment, definitely, TVs suck; but if you really do need or want a big image(and not a projector); it's pretty much a matter of picking the 'smart' TV that will whine least when you never ever connect it to the internet.

Comment Live streaming beats fixed schedule (Score 2) 232

I think the TV as such is mostly going to go away, at least the form with a tuner. Here in Norway the mean broadband connection is 33 Mbit/s, the median 24 Mbit/s and 90%+ have 4+ Mbit/s. In say ten more years of fiber rollout "everybody" will have enough bandwidth to watch whatever they want, whenever they want it. That doesn't mean I think TV as such will go away, but the big screen in the living room will just be one of many where you can watch it. As for "smart" TVs, well they don't cost more than a cell phone less screen, camera and radio/wireless so why not throw it in there even if 95% don't use it.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department