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:The Irony (Score 5, Funny) 665

by tuba_dude (#28134945) Attached to: Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology

Neither you nor your parent actually get the joke

Personally, I'm getting tired of these fucking "whoosh" comments. News flash: you are not as funny as you thing you are, and if you think making a stupid reference to some hackneyed geek cliche gives your otherwise nonsensical comment credibility, you're wrong.

Oh, and those "fixed that for you" comments are getting pretty awesome, too.

Fixed that for you.

Role Playing (Games)

Tabula Rasa Going Out With A Bang 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the mutual-assured-destruction dept.
Mytob notes that sci-fi MMO Tabula Rasa is set to close down tomorrow, and the development team has something special planned for the game's final hours. The decision to close the game was made in November, and it went free-to-play a month later, while the developers continued to roll out the new content they had planned. Now, after a round of patches and server merges, the beleaguered MMO has reached its shutdown date. The game's primary enemies, the Bane, are launching an all-out offensive on Allied forces, which will culminate in a battle beginning at 8PM on Saturday and lasting until midnight. All players are being called in as reinforcements in this apocalyptic fight, though the final announcement says, "Penumbra has been informed of the situation and is standing by on the use of their last resort weapon. We can not afford to be complacent or uncertain, but if it is truly our destiny to be destroyed, we are taking them all with us."

Comment: Re:open or closed ecosystems (Score 1) 497

by tuba_dude (#26787711) Attached to: How Do I Start a University Transition To Open Source?
I think the major problem here is that programmers/techies *enjoy* learning new things. From my art friends, and most people in general, I get the feeling that they want to stick with what they already know. Either they're too lazy, too afraid, or just plain not interested in learning. Sometimes they just don't consider the tools important, so once they figure something out, they stick with it so they don't have to think about it. My art school friends learn the tools they learn because they need to learn something. Once they figure out their favorite tools, they stick with them so they can get to what they consider important, their art. I don't really understand the vehement support of commercial tools, but I do understand their lack of interest in changing tools.

Comment: Re:No... (Score 1) 306

by tuba_dude (#26546849) Attached to: Obama Looking At Open Source?
There are other options available. My company provides outsourced Linux/Windows IT support to small businesses. We have service agreements that say we'll respond to outages within a set time frame, and that with a few exceptions, all service is covered under the contract and not billed hourly, usually for the cost of hiring one relatively inexpensive IT guy. If you're even more worried about cost, we even do straight hourly billing, with no monthly fees or anything like that. I know several of our competitors do the same.

Comment: Re:Slashdot == The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf (Score 1) 328

by tuba_dude (#26543083) Attached to: Possible Last-Minute Problems With Vista SP2

That's utter bollocks. I have a workstation with 8GB of RAM running Vista64. No such thing happens. All open apps spring back to life pretty much instantly no matter how long they have been dormant. There's something fucked up in your setup, or you're trolling.

You've got an almost optimal setup. Most people have 2 GB RAM or (most likely) less. I'm a nerd with gobs of spending money after I pay my bills, and I still only have two gigs of RAM.

Swap is a failure mode, and although slow, a very graceful one. It's what happens when you have less RAM than your workload requires. Right now, a typical workload in Vista is enough to trigger that failure mode in a typical store-bought system.

You have a system that's specifically designed to be very far from that failure mode, while most people have systems that are only as far from it as they can afford. With Vista, the RAM available:RAM required ratio is much closer than it's been in a long time, so the cost of avoiding swap is higher than it used to be, and for the people that understand that issue, it's a problem. (Everyone else just says "My system's slower with Vista!")

Swap's going to happen for a lot of people, and it's arrogant to assume everyone can afford to avoid it to the level you can. Don't dismiss the fact that Windows' swapping methods are bad (or that Windows is bloated) just because you can afford to avoid them.

Comment: Re:Critical (Score 1) 611

by tuba_dude (#26344159) Attached to: Distributed "Nuclear Batteries" the New Infrastructure Answer?
Unfortunately, you can blame engineers here. While it most likely wasn't the immediate cause of the explosion, the way the reactor was built was highly unsafe. Check out the reactor's design flaws:

-The reactor had a dangerously large positive void coefficient. The void coefficient is a measurement of how the reactor responds to increased steam formation in the water coolant. Most other reactor designs produce less energy as they get hotter, because if the coolant contains steam bubbles, fewer neutrons are slowed down. Faster neutrons are less likely to split uranium atoms, so the reactor produces less power. Chernobyl's RBMK reactor, however, used solid graphite as a neutron moderator to slow down the neutrons, and neutron-absorbing light water to cool the core. Thus neutrons are slowed down even if steam bubbles form in the water. Furthermore, because steam absorbs neutrons much less readily than water, increasing an RBMK reactor's temperature means that more neutrons are able to split uranium atoms, increasing the reactor's power output. This makes the RBMK design very unstable at low power levels, and prone to suddenly increasing energy production to dangerous level if the temperature rises. This was counter-intuitive and unknown to the crew.

-A more significant flaw was in the design of the control rods that are inserted into the reactor to slow down the reaction. In the RBMK reactor design, the control rod end tips were made of graphite and the extenders (the end areas of the control rods above the end tips, measuring 1-metre (3 ft) in length) were hollow and filled with water, while the rest of the rod â" the truly functional part which absorbs the neutrons and thereby halts the reaction â" was made of boron carbide. With this design, when the rods are initially inserted into the reactor, the graphite ends displace some coolant. This greatly increases the rate of the fission reaction, since graphite is a more potent neutron moderator (a material that enables a nuclear reaction) and also absorbs far fewer neutrons than the boiling light water. Thus for the first few seconds of control rod activation, reactor power output is increased, rather than reduced as desired. This behavior is counter-intuitive and was not known to the reactor operators.

-The water channels run through the core vertically, meaning that the water's temperature increases as it moves up and thus creates a temperature gradient in the core. This effect is exacerbated if the top portion turns completely to steam, since the topmost part of the core is no longer being properly cooled and reactivity greatly increases. (By contrast, the CANDU reactor's water channels run through the core horizontally, with water flowing in opposite directions among adjacent channels. Hence, the core has a much more even temperature distribution.)

-To reduce costs, and because of its large size, the reactor had been constructed without any secure containment. This allowed the radioactive contaminants to freely escape into the atmosphere after the steam explosion burst the primary pressure vessel.

-The reactor also had been running for over one year, and was storing fission byproducts; these byproducts pushed the reactor towards disaster. As the reactor heated up, design flaws caused the reactor vessel to warp and break up, making further insertion of control rods impossible as the heat deformed them.

The trouble with being punctual is that people think you have nothing more important to do.