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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: fully autonomous is't there yet (Score 1) 301

From what I can tell, Google's self-driving cars need an awful lot of route-pre-planning, where the potential route is pre-surveyed by other methods (and lots of human input) before they can reliably interpret the road ahead. They use this to interpret location of stop lines, turn restrictions and the like. (ie. they can drive really well around Mountain View, but would get somewhat baffled around downtown Tokyo) Until the self-driving cars can interpret all the road signs (including temporary ones for road works) and potential hazards entirely by themselves, they'll not be that useful. The hardest of things for self-driving cars to have to interpret are parking and waiting restrictions, because they are intentionally vague.

Comment: Phone on hire-purchase, airtime on monthly (Score 1) 482

by welshie (#46897779) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?
Some providers are splitting out the cost of the handset from the airtime. You can buy the handset from them if you like - and they offer a hire-purchase agreement if it seems too much up-front (or just buy SIM-free, unlocked), and then the airtime contract can be pay-as-you-go or pay-monthly, which may or may not involve some minimum term. They can be bought at the same time, and the small print makes it clear that it's two contracts. The minimum term for airtime might get you some discount if you commit to staying with that service provider for a longer period. Personally, I bought my own smartphone nearly two years ago (it wasn't cheap), and just popped in a pay-as-you-go sim, with automatic top-up. I could get a better tariff that way.

Comment: technically illegal in EU (Score 1) 166

by welshie (#46386831) Attached to: Invention Makes Citibikes Electric
In the EU, any electric-bike that uses any form of throttle, rather than electric-assist (torque sensors) for speed control is deemed by law to by a motorbike, and therefore needs the usual number plates, registration, mandatory insurance, rider licencing and so on. I'd be interesting to see if they can meet EU approval. There's also limits on wattage of the motor (250W), which this exceeds, and limits on the speed at which the motor assist tails off (25km/h) (which this exceeds)

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 1) 716

by welshie (#43740297) Attached to: Google Demands Microsoft Pull YouTube App For WP8
I don't see why ANYONE who uploads stuff onto Youtube, whether they spend thousands on video production, or nothing, would ever want to restrict the ability for people to watch it on a particular class of device, yet I often come across "The content provider has not made this available on mobile devices". This is quite nonsense now that we have 'mobile devices' with better screen resolution than many desktop or laptop computers. If Google want to pull a misused feature from Youtube, then this option should be pulled. It only serves to annoy the end user.

Comment: not actually replaces flash-based editor (Score 4, Informative) 53

by welshie (#43664491) Attached to: OpenStreetMap Launches a New Easy To Use HTML5 Editor
not actually replaced flash-based editing, but adding another option. You can edit openstreetmap in a number of editors, with a number of different technologies: Some of them are: iD : HTML5-based, in-browser editing Potlatch : Flash-based, in-browser editing via flash player plugin JOSM : Java-based application, run from local machine, or via JNLP Vespucci : Android application, works nicely with touchscreens Meerkartor : QT application Openstreetmap is open, and as such there's loads of different ways of using it (or updating it). I've been contributing to openstreetmap since the days of the java applet editor (which used the processing libraries), before the data structures had been fleshed out. It's come a long way from a few scrawls representing the paths around Regents Park in London.

Comment: Re:Decentralized? (Score 1) 68

by welshie (#43663273) Attached to: Syria Falls Off the Internet Again
Yes, entirely possible. Routing will be a challenge when dealing with millions of fiddly small route entries. At the moment, the Internet routes at a very high level using BGP. The ISPs then internally know how to route their own customer allocations. Even when the route advertisements are for large allocations the routeing tables get very large indeed. If you start announcing routes for a single /32 (IPv4) to multiple peers or a /64 (IPv6), the amount of memory needed on the routers becomes rather enormous. Your typical cheap home router wouldn't have the capability. They typically have barely enough memory for a state table let alone worry about dynamic routeing. Of course, there's nothing to stop you (with permission) hooking into your neighbour's wifi as a client, and privately peering traffic with their public IP addresses. I have yet to see any router hardware or firmware that allows for that sort of thing out of the box with minimal configuration. Persuading your neighbours "upstream" links to offer routes to your network via their connection if yours went down is another matter entirely.

Comment: Re:Hanlon's (Score 1) 125

by welshie (#43273239) Attached to: South Korea Backtracks On China As Source of Cyberattack
er, IPv6 is already out. It's been out for years, and you don't have any of that silly NAT nonsense, and conflicting private address space. You just need to make sure that if you want to block incoming sessions, that you configure up a firewall that blocks incoming sessions by default, you'll get about the same half-baked security that NAT does for IPv4.

Comment: Re:Generating or just using? (Score 1) 262

That depends on who your electricity provider is. If they are a not-for-profit company who uses all profits to invest in new renewable generation, which they operate themselves, and feed to the grid, then it's pretty good. It certainly saves you from having to run your own generation.

Comment: tv aerials are simple enough (Score 1) 78

by welshie (#43014101) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IPTV Service In the UK?
If you have cable, it'll probably be Virgin Media. That means that they'll hike your prices at least annually by at least 10%, without warning. (They like doing that). I personally wouldn't use them for anything more than a simple cable modem. Source your TV content elsewhere. Really, running an antenna downlead to a useful place is easy, it will also mean you don't have to rely on internet working to watch telly that is being broadcast anyway. Get yourself a PVR, set it to record what you like. You'll soon find that you have plenty of interesting TV to keep you amused and occupied without having to pay for any additional premium channels. When you run out of stuff to watch, go outside and take the dog for a walk. If you don't have a dog, borrow someone else's. If you don't like dogs, go for a walk yourself. If you don't like walking, go for a bike ride... get the idea?

Comment: Re:port blocking by IPS (Score 1) 380

by welshie (#42872931) Attached to: Home Server Or VPS? One Family's Math
If your ISP blocks incoming ports by default, (or put it behind a NAT that you don't control) then they're not making your computer part of the Internet, they're connecting your machine to something that is connected to the Internet. That said, it can be easier to pro-actively block ports used by malware and spammers than having to deal with educating the overly large customer base about Internet security, especially if the ISP has an undersized abuse team. I like to chose an ISP based on technical merits of being able to do their job, which is forwarding IP packets (v4 and v6) based on with a minimum amount of fuss. If you get a virtual server, then the hosting provider becomes one of your ISPs and had better be up to the job of keeping the connectivity working, and the virtual server behaving as well.

Comment: Re:$1 billion will buy you some excellent tax lawy (Score 1) 132

by welshie (#42645413) Attached to: Google Invests $1 Billion To Build New London HQ
It's not like they can't afford to buy outright and have to rent (or lease). And so, it seems that some of Google'd UK-earned income will be re-invested in the country, in the form of (temporary) jobs for the construction workers, construction materials suppliers, and some profit for the developer that bought the surplus land from what used to be British Rail Property Board. It will therefore be interesting to see how the developer's tax affairs are (King’s Cross Central General Partner Limited by the look of it).

What good is a ticket to the good life, if you can't find the entrance?