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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 182

Yes, I have had those situations. That is why I check the departures immediately upon landing. That way I know exactly where and when my connecting flight is leaving without depending on some unreliable app. There was a time when people lived normal, healthy, successful lives without smart phones. No, I can't imagine being so dependent on some little electronic doodad that I can't get myself from one city to another without it. Of course I've had the benefit of survival training in the military, so you could blindfold me and drop me off almost anywhere and I'm pretty confident that I could survive for at least three days; even longer if I have a decent pocket knife; and probably make my way back to civilization if I had to, so my point of view is probably skewed a bit because of that.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 182

I get that it's a problem if the phone joins an old pay wifi network. However, I don't understand why you would miss your flight. I mean, you're at the airport, presumeably you know where you're going and when the flight is. There are monitors all over the place showing departure times and gates. You'd have to be pretty oblivious to miss your flight. I have never missed a flight in my lilfe, and for most of my life, there were no cell phones or wifi networks involved in getting on the airplane.

Comment I'm probably too cynical (Score 1) 260

I want to apologize first for probably being too cynical, but I have to say this.

Applying Occam's Razor to the question:
Which of the two scenarios are more likely?

A. There is water on Mars.

B. There is a government agency, that a lot of people work for, who need money from a Congress that is in the middle of a budget battle, who have concocted a publicity stunt in order to justify their continued existence.

Comment Re:So here's an idea (Score 1) 229

I do like that about /. If you look at my user number you'll see I've been on for a long time -- something like 16 years -- so I've been enjoying the ability to disable ads for quite a while. One of the things I've noticed lately is a tendency for some sites to sense that you're using an ad blocker, so they disable their content and request a subscription or an email address. I have yet to respond to any of these requests. I just shrug my shoulders and move on. I think this is illustrative of the low value of the content. The world wide web is oversaturated with content. There seems to be an idea among content providers that they have some sort fundamental expectation of profit simply because they vomited something onto a webpage.

Comment Same as the Moon (Score 1) 684

People were the same way about the moon forty years ago. Everyone imagined people living on moon bases, even though it was never really clear WHY we needed moon bases. At least on the short-lived TV series, "UFO", the moon base served the purpose of intercepting extraterrestrials -- because, apparently, the moon is always in the same spot, and the aliens always have to fly past the moon on their way to the earth. But really, since their aren't any nefarious UFOs to intercept, the reason for a moon base boils down to "scientific research" which very few people find interesting enough to pay for.

We may eventually send people to Mars, but once that is accomplished the world will let out a collective "yawn" and that will be the end of it, unless and until there is some quick, inexpensive way to get there.

Comment Right, sort of. (Score 1) 616

At least she admits at the end of the article that she is not a good coder. Maybe she should have led with that.

Most coding does not require a great deal of math knowledge, particularly if you're coding in a business environment.

Several years ago, when my ex-wife and I were still married, she decided that the prospects for jobs for English majors were too poor, so, she thought she would try her hand at web design. We went to the book store and together picked out a book on HTML -- a visual book, that was even simpler than one of those "For Dummies" volumes. She said she would begin using it the next morning.

The next day I went to work as usual. When I came home that evening, I found the book sitting in the trash bin. "What happened?" I asked. She said, "The first thing it told me to do was to open something called Notepad. I spend FOUR HOURS trying to find f**king Notepad on my computer! I couldn't find it, so I gave up!" I calmly walked up to her pc, clicked Start, Accessories, Notepad. "Here it is," I said. "I have no business doing web design," she responded.

So yeah, you can try to Google and copy and paste your way through coding, but you kind of need to know how a computer operates first. And then there's the whole problem of troubleshooting when things go wrong. It's like saying, "Hey, all you have to do to be a mechanic is watch Youtube videos on car repair." Well, you might get a clue how to change your oil, but you won't neccessarily have any idea what to do when your car is making a funny noise.

Comment Re:I understand this (Score 1) 417

I have two friends with Mazda 3s and they love them. Great cars. I had a 99 Mazda Protoege once that I bought for my daughter. That car got a lot of hard miles on it (over 220k), but it was still running well when I donated it to charity in 2013. This year my daughter bought her first car that was all her own. It was a 2006 Mazda 3 wagon. I heartily approved. Heck, I even had an old 1974 Mazda RX4 Station Wagon in high school with the rotary engine. I scared the shit out of myself trying to see if the speedometer really would get up to 140. I got up to around 120 and backed off, convinced it would have no problem burying the speedo. I'm a big Mazda fan. I've considered getting another used one as a second car.

Comment Re:I understand this (Score 1) 417

I looked carefully into the Jeep reliability issues and found that they are only marginally less reliable than the Subaru in terms of engine and drivetrain. I talked to a number of Jeep Wrangler owners and all of them said that they had no major problems with their cars, even after years of use. I only drive about 8k miles per year, so I don't expect reliability to be an issue for me. The Jeep I purchased was virtually equivalent in price to the Subaru I had purchased.

Yes, perhaps it is "a Jeep thing". I had Jeeps when I was younger and a lot of people didn't understand why I liked them then. All of my friends wanted muscle cars or sports cars. A lot of that seems to still be true. I am as baffled by my friends who ride motorcycles as they are about my Jeep. If you don't like Jeeps, that is perfectly understandable. You should not own one. Perhaps you should get a Subaru. They are well-built, reliable cars, with lots of technology. I know where you can get a gently-used 2014 model at a good price (if it hasn't already been sold). :-)

Comment Blamestorming (Score 2, Interesting) 292

Last night I had a conversation with someone about kitchen knives, and then just this afternoon I had ANOTHER conversation with a different person about kitchen knives. Two conversations on kitchen knives within 24 hours! That has never happened before. Sure climate change is to blame for it.

Comment I understand this (Score 1) 417

In the fall of 2013 I bought a Subaru Forester that was fully loaded and had every tech feature on it that was available. In the beginning I liked all of the technology; the Eyesight collision avoidance system, the information center, the navigation system, the entertainment system, etc. However, over time I started finding a lot of this technology annoying. The adaptive cruise control would adjust your speed down to match the car in front of you so slowly and at such a distance that you would find yourself driving several mph below the speed limit instead of realizing that you needed to pass the driver ahead. Every Monday morning, which is garbage day in my neighborhood, the Eyesight system would "warn" me about the trash bins on a particular street, picking them up as obstacles. The same system would often warn me about other non-existent "obstacles". In rainy driving conditions it would warn me that I was swerving out of my lane when no such thing was ocurring. The navigation system was horrible. It took way too much time to set up a route, and on at least two occasions it was just plain wrong about my destination. The touch screen was very unresponsive and far too small to be useful. The information center was always nagging me about stuff ("please refuel"). Finally one night, while I was driving with my girlfriend, the car told me to "Please refuel", and she remarked, "Oh, isn't that nice! It tells you when to get gas, and it's so polite." What I found annoying, she found endearing, and I suddenly realized, "Damn! I'm driving a car made for women!" I considered how much I had been driving my second vehicle, which is an old pickup. I think I was subconciously rebelling against the forced feminization of my driving experience.

So, after a year and a half, I traded in my Subaru on a Jeep Wrangler. It lacks alot of the tech that the Subaru has, It has no annoying navigation system. It doesn't give a damn about obstacles or lanes. It doesn't talk to me. When the fuel gets low it simply chimes and turns on the low fuel light. It has an information package, but it only gives me information when I look for it. In short, if forces you to pay attention to your car and your driving. I feel more connected to my Jeep even though it has no "connection" systems.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the Forester, and Subuaru builds great cars. If you really want a small SUV with good horsepower that is very safe and can go almost anywhere I can highly recommend the Forester. I liked the Forester, but I didn't LOVE it. On the other hand, I love the Jeep. It's a simple vehicle that is fun to drive and offers a great deal of utility.

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener