Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:Its easier now (Score 1) 105

The problem is there is trivial and then there is trivial. Yeah you can get a notepad clone up and going quickly. But if you want to compete with other editors that are out there for free you need to add syntax highlighting, efficient support for large files, likely tabbed content support, fonts, good search, potentially regex support etc. In short: we rarely need to create something completely new now. But we have an endless list of required features to compete. Often few are technically difficult to implement just a huge amount of work to get through and lots of nit-picky things like borders on controls rendering differently on different browsers and the like. You're not solving one of lifes mysteries but you still might burn a week figuring out why one does it different than the other and finding what magic combo makes all browsers happy at the same time.

Or rather, those features came out because the programmer involved didn't have to worry about a lot of stuff - type rendering, graphics, even a lot of the UI is already socked away nicely by the OS. Back in the old days, all that stuff had to be written from scratch, and if you're dealing with PCs, the hassles of configuring the various video modes and such.

Now it's abstracted away, and we can turn to adding real value to the programs rather than just boilerplate. A clone of notepad is trivial, which is the point - we can get the basics going with little work. Then we can add the hard stuff like syntax highlighting, regex and other things that go to the core of the editor, not fluff like how to display a menu and things we don't care about.

Comment Re: The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 372

No real drivers focus on actually driving and not updating their fb status. Parallel parking is not rocket science it just requires some focus and skill. What is destroying the car industry is all the hippster douche inept millenial lazy fairies. When i was 12 i couldnt wait to get my driver's licence these days the skinny jeans wearing fairies are more interested in posing selfies while duckfacing than being a man who wants to hone his skills

That's because for most people these days, driving is a chore. And North America is especially bad because most places require a car in order to do anything or get anywhere, instead of other places where there's great public transit and people use them.

So what we have here is a bunch of people who do not want to drive, but are forced to. So yeah, they're not going to be drivers because they want to, they're forced to drive. All the inanity on the roads is because they're really wanting to be anywhere else other than behind the wheel.

Face it -forcing people to do things isn't in general a great way to get the to appreciate it. We see it in school where forcing students to read is a great way to kill any desire of reading, ditto with math, science and other subjects, including driving.

Those other places with great public transit like Europe? You know why their drivers are skilled? Because those who don't care to drive, don't have to. I mean, you see how they parallel park - in the gaps North Americans leave between cars, they'd park yet another car in there.

But that's because the drivers do it because they want to, not because they have to.

Comment Re:Will probably fail (Score 1) 94

Some people will probably use it, but it'll be hard to convince people to move away from Twitch, not because it is any better, but because Google isn't really offering any compelling reason to move.

It's like they assume that just because they are Google, people will immediately jump ship. And we all know how well that worked with Google plus...

Well, I can see two places where Google can fix things.

First is ads - twitch is freaking annoying to watch for me - 30 seconds of content, followed by 30 seconds of ads I don't care about (I got tired of the 100th beer ad I saw the past 100 times). All the time you wonder what you're missing in those 30 seconds.

Since Google is the king of ads, if they can solve that problem by mixing the ad with stream or a side-by-side view, that's way more acceptable than simply blocking out the content for the ad. Or do the popup ad thing like on YouTube.

The other thing is better streaming technology - Flash is so dated, and the latency can be terrible. I was watching a livestream because we were playing a game together that required sharing the screen - it was easily a good 30-45 seconds delayed.

Comment Re:attention (Score 1) 134

My problem is, my phone is more interesting than most conversations during social events. I'm socially awkward at best, with esoteric interests. I can only hold a conversation on LeBron or Beyonce for about two minutes before I am bored.

Depending on the event, if there are sufficient people, you will be astounded that you'll be able to find someone who is at least tangentially interested in something you're interested in.

And the trick is to either remove yourself and insert yourself in another group, find someone standing alone and strike up conversation (there are socially awkward people who attend events too, and at least you two have one thing in common).

You won't believe how many people don't care about LeBron or Beyoncé or Kardashian or whatever. They're more than happy to discuss the weather, or even your "esoteric" interests.

Hell, your esoteric interests may be the most interesting conversation among the people who are also bored as hell. A lot of the time, they discuss weather or sports or something as a non-offensive, generic topic of conversation, hoping someone will be able to steer it to something more interesting.

Comment Re:Yeah right... (Score 1) 76

More like the gizmo will never get made unless they have money from elsewhere and are using Kickstarter only as a marketing campaign

You seem to think that's a bad thing. It's the purest form of market research there is - not only did you get people interested in your thing, but you got them to put money behind it.

Everyone on /. keeps saying "they don't make a phone with features X Y and Z that I need, there must be a market". Well, the best way to find out if there really is a market other than you is to try to build it and then get others to buy into it. If you can't raise the money, well, either the market's not as big as you think (and that's why your feature requests are ignored), or you did a terrible job marketing (which you can tell if people are saying "well I would've got it if I knew about it").

Kickstarter is great for that purpose - I've participated in more than a few of them. Sure, they're always late and there's always some issue or another, but it shows the potential.

If you're a startup looking for seed money, being able to answer the question of "but do people want it" and showing them your Kickstarter page showing that 20,000 people have already contributed halfway through is a powerful indicator of potential sales.

Remember, Kickstarter means you found people who are not only interested in your thing, but interested enough to go "TAKE MY MONEY!".

And yes, Kickstarters fail all the time, just like the regular market. Brilliant inventions and stuff disappears as companies go out of business. The only difference is instead of some executive saying this is what we thing people want, creators can literally ask people if they potentially want it.

Comment Re:Cops shouldn't be allowed to take control (Score 1) 233


There should be no remote control capabilities. It should be based on existing standards for controlling traffic.

So the traffic cop controlling traffic? His hand signals are all the control required - they're standard and both human and electronic drivers need to be able to read them and recognize them. That's all the control you need. If an autonomous vehicle disobeys, it's just like a regular human driver disobeying - a traffic citation.

Emergency? Well lights and sirens means pull over to let them pass, so again, car recognizes those signals and does just that.

No remote control capabilities are needed - they shouldn't need anything more than the rules of the road. Why should they need the capability to remotely stop your car when the laws already cover those cases? If a cop tries to pull you over and you refuse, there's already existing law and it makes no difference if it's a human driver or an electronic one refusing to pull over.

Just treat them the same. There is no need for remote control, since disobeying is the same regardless.

Comment Re:Exceeds state authority (Score 1) 187

Maybe this is exactly why California is proposing the bill - to wake the FAA up and get them to do something

That assumes the FAA can just pass a magic wand and the bill is passed.

There are a LOT of stakeholders in this - you have airlines (who have to deal with drones near commercial airports), the military, and general aviation. All of whom have differing and conflicting views. There has to be adequate consultation with those stakeholders, and then you have to talk to the people who operate drones.

Then comes the hard part of trying to balance everyone's concerns and interests against each other. I mean, do you divide drones into various categories? How do you handle licensing (if necessary)? What criteria do you use for classification (battery life? Size? weight?)? If drones are using the system, how do they pay for its use (e.g., ATC and other facilities for general aviation are paid in fuel taxes)? Are there any regulations that need to be adapted and changed to include drones, exclude drones, or take into account drones?

There's no way things like this can be done overnight - there's too much at stake, and it's way too easy to come up with bad legislation.

Comment Re:We like them (Score 1) 247

We realize they aren't pushing the cheapest priced products, it's the convenience we are looking for (prices are comparable to grocery stores, a bit higher than Wally World, at least for the things we use them for).

Well, the problem is it isn't pushing the cheapest price of the product. It just dings you regular price - even if the website has a better deal for you. So if you pay $10 for laundry detergent, and Amazon's website has it on special for $7, you push the button, you're dinged $10, leaving Amazon to pocket $3 more in profit.

And that ignores other specials - perhaps 1 bottle is $10. Amazon carries 2 for $15. Push button, get 1 bottle for $10. Push it for two, you get dinged 2 bottles for $10 each, instead of the $15 bundle.

That's why it's considered "good for Amazon" - they can push you into paying more for the convenience of not having to go to their website and scanning for deals to save money.

(You could, in theory, just put the barcode where you would put your button, then use the amazon app to scan it with your phone and select your deal).

So yeah, they're great for the ultra-lazy who will give up the ability to save a few bucks just to avoid shopping on the website (or app). And no, it's not an emergency if you can wait for the shipping.

Comment Re:Moronic (Score 1) 157

A design can be bad by virtue of not taking into account typical use cases. While I don't think I'd put the stylus in the wrong way I could easily see a kid or a non tech savvy person doing it. And if it happens then the design should save the user from a catastrophic error such as the damage or destruction of their phone.
e.g. Nintendo manages this feat in the DS / 3DS by having a square profile at the top of the stylus. Put the DS stylus in the wrong way and it won't fit. It shouldn't be any harder for Samsung to solve - taper the stylus or make the non writing end a little larger than the shaft so it can't be inserted the wrong way around.

Putting the pen in backwards can also be done intentionally - they go into a holder and you need to eject it to use it again. Sometimes you're just switching between doing a lot of tapping to a lot of writing, and it's handy to put the pen away temporarily. For these cases, I put the pen in backwards - they generally get stuck halfway in so instead of fiddling with getting it ejected, I just grab the end sticking out (especially since some ejection mechanisms don't push the stylus out far enough so it's a tough grab).

It's surprising how many stylus based devices this works on and how handy it is not having to futz with getting the pen out.

Now, the pen isn't locked into position, but if you're switching between stylus and other control inputs, it beats holding it the entire time.

Submission + - Backwards S-Pen can permanently damage Note 5->

tlhIngan writes: Samsung recently released a new version of its popular Galaxy Note series phablet, the Note 5. However, it turns out that there is a huge design flaw in the design of its pen holder (which Samsung calls the S-pen). If you insert it backwards (pointy end out instead of in), it's possible for it get stuck damaging the S-pen detection features. While it may be possible to fix it (Ars Technica was able to, Android Police was not), there's also a chance that your pen is also stuck the wrong way in permanently as the mechanism that holds the pen in grabs the wrong end and doesn't let go.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 5, Informative) 100

That's 68% efficiency, which nobody has achieved.

These are heliostats, not PV panels. Heliostats work by heating a salt to high temperatures then using the heat to power a turbine in a traditional heat engine. The latter tends to be highly efficient (over 90%), while the former is around 75% efficient or more.

It is as the article says - it's converted to heat then heat is used to generate electricity, something a lot of power plants do (including nuclear, coal, natural gas, and others).

If it was PV panels, you're correct, since the best PVs are only getting around 20%. But if you don't mind the extra space for the equipment, solar thermal is the way to go.

Comment Re:Nothing open to the sky (Score 1) 114

No yard. They see the outside through glass or not at all until their term ends.

The threat with the drones is that someone drops something in a fenced off area that prisoners are allowed to walk around in...

Actually, they start putting netting up over the yard area - any drone or helicopter (full size!) gets caught in the netting. Sure, a full size helicopter will probably destory the netting, but get caught long enough for someone to either note its registration number, or to actually go arrest the pilot (the airspace above prisons is, unsurprisingly, restricted).

In fact, the bold escape of a couple of Quebec prisoners by helicopter happened because the netting wasn't put up yet.

Comment Re:Clean bottle? (Score 2) 57

I find it hard to believe that bottle was so clean. Usually things out at sea over a large period of time become covered in pelagic barnacles.

The bottle was smashed. I'm pretty sure that the one in the photo was probably just a stock photo or an example one.

And it's not like the couple didn't try to not smash the bottle - they carefully opened it and they couldn't get the paper out. So they smashed it like the outside of the bottle said - break bottle.

Given the article was posted long after the couple found it (they got the reward, after all), lends credence to the stock photo of the bottle was used.

Comment Re:Oops (Score 1) 68

I bet they're very happy with their decision to make Apple products impossible to disassemble and make all the parts practically impossible to replace.

Given that iFixit gave the iPhone 6+ a 7/10 on repairability, knocking them on the use of a pentalobe screw and lack of disassembly information, I'm pretty sure Apple is more than capable of dealing with that.

The only way to get an 8/9/10 is to basically use standard screws and make available information on how to take it apart, something you'll never see anyone do because of how easy warranty fraud is (far too many people take something apart with the hopes of fixing it, and end up screwing things up worse).

Yeah, I'm sure Apple is REAL sorry about doing that. (iPhones since the 4 onwards have used screws to hold them shut. 5 onwards the screen is what is screwed in - the 4s are a PITA to change the screen still).

Comment Re:Wise move? (Score 1) 59

I doubt you'll find an 80A charger anywhere near the price of Tesla's.

I thought the Tesla "charger" was a plug in the wall. Sure, one that handles 80A @ 240V, but still, a plug.

An L2 charger contains a lot more sophisticated electronics inside of it, which is why they cost a lot more - they aren't basically just an industrial equipment plug stuck into the wall. Which is why a Tesla one is much cheaper to install in the end - you're having an electrician wire up a new plug, while an L2 charger requires them to wire up a device that has electronics in it and costs more.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.