Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Maryland already has this (Score 1) 393

I would do a cost-benefit analysis:

- About $100 to keep you house cool and not melt your candles while on vacation
- Turn-off the AC and spend $5 to replace the melted candles when you get home.

I'd choose the second option since it's cheaper. As for electronics, they can handle upto 212F (boiling) when turned-off, and 155F even while operating, so I'd not worry about them. I'd turn off both the AC & my electronics to save myself some money while on vacation.

Comment Re:Here come the DRM whiners (Score 1) 443

I remember some years ago when I installed Fluxbox on a 16MB, 100MHz Pentium. I had a 450MHz Pentium 2 with 64MB of RAM running Windows 98, and I thought it was pretty fast - until I saw Fluxbox on that old Pentium. Really, INSTANT responses. My desktop would open cmd.exe in under a second; that old bastard underpowered Pentium would open xterm instantly. Menus would have that usual fast-but-not-instant feeling on my desktop: the time between clicking on a menu and it opening was perceivable, but not anything you'd complain about; a couple of refreshes at most, some 0.1s maybe. On that Pentium, I couldn't perceive any lag at all. That was running full XFree86.

Puppy also uses a very fast WM, one that trades most of the features offered by full desktop environments like Windows or KDE for sheer speed and a small memory footprint. I can easily see it being faster on a PIII-class machine than Windows XP on a dual core, just like Fluxbox on that piece of shit P100 would run circles around my P2.

Comment A Generation Behind (Score 2, Insightful) 473

Like prior IE releases they're still playing catchup and not moving ahead of the competition. Webkit & Mozilla have support border-radius for quite some time now and Opera, I believe, has also started to supported it. Then there's SVG which the others have supported for a very long time now.

This is no different than when IE8 was released and IE finally supported CSS 2.1 when all the other browser vendors had.

Webkit, specifically Safari, has been leading the way in CSS innovation & Javascript performance with each release with Chrome slightly behind. Firefox & Opera seem to be battling it out for third place and IE, of course is always an entire generation behind.

Comment Re:Celebrate! (Score 4, Interesting) 142

The American Breed of Christian is something totally nuts. I'm a Christian, and I can tell you some of those religious Americans I've met scare me. Truly something else, really *really* narrow-minded, extreme fundamentalist and take the bible literally (WTF?).

I never understood the vitrol some people on /. show towards religion, until I met some of their Christians. It explained a lot, very irritating people, kept shoving god into every discussion or action.

Note: I'm sure there are very many normal Christians there too, just that a minority really really give the rest a bad name (I hope to god they are a minority).

And what's with tele-evangelism? It's like they turned religion into some sort of pay-for entertainment. I didn't get it at all.

Comment Host your own ads (Score 1) 1051

The only time I'll click an ad is if I know where the URL is going, not some stupid 80-mile URL that doesn't even take me to what I want. 99% of the time ads aren't even relevant, but when I see sites that host their own hand-picked ads, I'll click them if it looks interesting.

It makes sense too, a site picks out ads that they think their audience will be responsive to. They host them on their own server as to avoid ad blocking, and I actually click said ads. Sure ad-tracking and such can't really work so seamlessly, but it could be a lot better.

Comment Re:Not a selling point (Score 1) 370

Actually, the first two describe why people use PNG. The third explains why PNG exists -- it was a direct response to Unisys patent trolling software companies. If PNG was only as good as GIF, no one who wasn't writing their own image encoder would have cared about PNG.

That's an important thing for Ogg/Vorbis and Ogg/Theora fans to keep in mind. Making something that does the same job, only free-as-in-beer-and-speech doesn't matter to any significant percentage of the computer using population. They pay for computers, generally with OS included, they don't notice if $0.10 of that purchase price goes to some licensing group or not. They only care about what works, and some care about "how well".

So releasing things that don't work as well is not as good way to replace the status quo. Ogg Vorbis has a higher coding efficiency than MP3, but hey, AAC has a higher coding efficiency than Ogg Vorbis, there's no license for broadcast of any kind, and it was pushed by Apple, which is, like it or not, the 362.87kg Gorilla in computer audio.

Ogg Theora is worse than AVC, and even the rigged demos on the Xiph Foundation web site illustrate this, just not as profoundly as, well, anyone actually doing this comparison "in the wild"... like, rendering Theora vs. AVC from the same 1080/60p HD originals at the same bitrate... which is why I hold this opinion -- I've actually done the deed.

Comment Re:'C' drive and registry. (Score 1) 577

And to change the default drive from 'C' to something else.

'C' drive for OS, other drives for applications.

Better yet, kill your C:\ drive altogether. The last time I installed windows on my computer it resided on the respectable K:\ drive. Never had a single problem besides having to change C:\ to K:\ when I installed software (it's amazing how much is hardcoded into installation files).

Comment Re:Well, at least the important keys still work. (Score 5, Insightful) 324

Just now, for the first time in my life, I pressed F1 in Windows on purpose.

Lots of interesting information is in there, and I even learned a few things (I didn't know XP had a private character editor). But I don't know anybody who uses the windows help system on purpose.

Google already provides good help for Windows.

Comment Re:Fab Labs everywhere, basic income, vitamin D (Score 1) 147

I'm not really a free market fundamentalist. I know about externalities. I'm just a guy who argues with everyone. I don't really ever agree with anyone.

You say that most jobs are "guarding". I would characterize those jobs as paying rent to the second law of thermodynamics. Within a given span of time all structures suffer decay which can be mitigated by application of an energy budget. The early history of mankind was characterized by simply allowing the decay to accrue, but now we mitigate it more and more by application of energy.

I would characterize all problems that face mankind, including scarcity, as ultimately stemming from the inexorable accrual of thermodynamic rent. There are many ways to pay that rent, but it must be paid unfailingly.

I'm unconvinced that self-maintaining and intelligent robots using solar and nuclear power and made of recycled materials will be vastly more efficient than self-maintaining and intelligent humans indirectly using solar power and made of recycled materials. Both of these things have the same fundamental constraints and as such should have comparable levels of thermodynamic rent needed to maintain them.

Remember that all infrastructure has thermodynamic rent too. At present, we do not have enough resources to perfectly maintain all of our infrastructure. If we don't fundamentally change the cost of maintenance for all things, then what makes you think that will change in the future?

Comment Re:Not impressed (Score 1) 153

Pure water will definitely not work. Even with organics, there will probably need to be other trace elements to act as catalysts (zinc, copper, iron, etc). Think about how proteins and molecules usually "hold" some other atom (eg, chlorophyll contains magnesium). It should be noted that CO2 + Hydrogen + Certain Minerals = Organics, so the minerals might already be there.

Comment Re:Other issues (Score 0, Troll) 263

Yea, it would thanks, but her wireless adapter (built in, nothing i can do about it) and it's driver set, apparently chose the first system it could conenct to, regardless of XPs settings. As i stated, no issues with other machines. i even had a Microsoft support case opened for it and they blamed it on the hardware.

Comment Re:Absence of Evidence (Score 1) 807

Uh, no. You're wrong to say that I'm wrong. Expectation is a statistical term which you'd do well to understand before criticizing my remark.

What is wrong is to say "weather is not climate" therefore the recent temperature means nothing. This is false, and its false because climate is related to weather: climate is the expectation of weather. Therefore a few months of data mean a little something--although not very much. That is, with only a few months data we cannot statistically falsify the IPCC claim that the trend-rate of warming is 2C/century. Nonetheless, with the past 10, 15, 20, etc years of data, we can falsify the IPCC claim, but just barely.

Such analysis is easy to do yourself. You can also find people who have posted their own number-crunching. See for instance this from Lucia Liljegren

Comment Re:Please don't troll (Score 1) 287

was being melodramatic for fun,but I've had photos butchered by subsequent moving from one jpeg software to another.

Yes, Windows XP will choke on your little ~52 megabyte TIFF. Real operating systems won't, Mac OSX with sufficient RAM and good software and there's no problem at all. Linux does ok too, though available free software not as high quality.

No problem is so formidable that you can't just walk away from it. -- C. Schulz