Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


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:Lack Of Faith (Score 1) 90

by wilson_c (#48909613) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

As much as I love the driving dynamics of high-end German cars, I also accept that intrinsic unreliability is part of the cost of ownership. The salesmen at Porsche dealerships laughingly refer to things like rain entering the driver compartment as "The Porsche Experience". BMWs are fantastic...until they are about 5 or 6 years old, at which point they have substantially more problems (at substantially higher repair costs) than 25 year old Toyotas and Hondas. The factors which make some German brands high-end do not make them competitive on the reliability front.

Comment: Re:It's the post office (Score 1) 182

by wilson_c (#48768097) Attached to: Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site

Just because you understand these longstanding issues doesn't make them fine. The fact is our company explicitly doesn't use USPS for anything other than first class stamped letters because of this confusion. Doing business with them meant that people constantly had to waste time fielding internal questions about exactly these sorts of problems. Our solution was simple: UPS and Fedex now get all of our shipping business and no one has to deal with the crappy vendor anymore.

Comment: Depends what sort of solution you will accept (Score 1) 405

by wilson_c (#48382245) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

If you want to win this, either as a technical challenge or a test of wills between you and Comcast (or Goolge/Yahoo/Microsoft), good luck. Maybe you'll resolve things in a satisfying way eventually. If you do, you will definitely feel like a champ, but it's going to take you a lot of time and frustration to get there.

If you simply want your email server working, then you probably ought to consider sidestepping the fight and just solve the problem instead. You could move the server from a machine hosted in your closet to a VM running on a cloud service. Done right, you can probably increase performance and availability while lowering cost (that 24/7/365 electricity isn't free).

Comment: What does obtuse mean? (Score 1) 354

by wilson_c (#47998737) Attached to: FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Does he really think it's about people placing themselves beyond the law? Is he so dense that he can't see this in the context of recent history? Hell, of current events, really.

The US Federal Govt. has shown that it's happy to ignore the 4th ammendment when collecting information about Americans, to say nothing of the billions of non-Americans who make up the bulk of Apple's customers and Google's users.

Comment: Re:Why Silevo didn't aim to be biggest? (Score 1) 262

by wilson_c (#47266985) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

That's a ridiculous argument you can throw at any company that the founders want to sell. Maybe the company needs funding to grow their market or as captial investment so they can fabricate the high efficiency panels. Maybe investors actually want to see a cash return. Maybe the founders are tired of the constant stress and 100 hour weeks and would just like to enjoy the fruits of their success. The sale of a company does not in any way indicate that their business is somehow flawed.

Comment: Re:Tie this in with the battery tech from Tesla... (Score 1) 262

by wilson_c (#47266799) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

That right there is my biggest problem with SolarCity. They are using solar efficiency as a hedge. You're not buying free power, you're buying a contract for a particular amount of power at a guaranteed cost for the term. It's a much better deal if you can finance your own solar power installation, but people get sucked into the no-money-down sales spiel that SolarCity has. The contract is transferred with the property and can be difficult to price into the property value since that value, based on the remaining portion of the contract term, diminishes as time passes. To say nothing of the difficult of getting buyer attention for a property that seems to be priced high for the market.

"So the house costs more because I'd be buying a solar system?" "No, it costs more because there are 18 years left on a contract for solar power from SolarCity, who have installed their equipment on the house." "So I wouldn't *own* the solar panels if I bought the house?" "No, it's more like you're buying an option to short electricity prices backed by the advantage of SolarCity's equipment, so it will almost certainly be a better deal for you over the remaining term of the contract."

You have to dig around on SolarCity's site to even find info about the option to purchase. The one thing I think they do right - and anyone purchasing their own solar system would be well advised to copy - is to plan in the cost of long term maintenance and repair when financing a system.

Comment: Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (Score 1) 210

I spend about $2k/month in a dense Los Angeles business area for a symmetric 50Mbps fibre ethernet connection from AT&T.

My father-in-law pays about $65/month for symmetric 1Gbps+ fiber (we were unable to get a max number on the connection since his router was limited to 1Gbps max port speed) to his house in a remote rural Norwegian mountain town. His prices will be going down in a couple years after the town co-op behind his connection has paid off their initial infrastructure investments, which they managed without government subsidy or corporate investment. They delivered buried fibre to the exterior of every single house in the town whether the resident had committed to being a subscriber or not.

I'd say there's plenty of room for improvement in the US. We have a handful of providers who deliver overpriced, bad service with even worse support. They are allowed to do this with almost no regulation because it has been decreed that an unfettered free market will deliver the best product for the lowest cost and that is why the US is the greatest something or other. We will not let clear evidence to the contrary sway our opinion.

Comment: Re:OSS to the rescue! (Score 1) 241

by wilson_c (#46360525) Attached to: Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

How long is "the life of the hardware"? I'm sure there's a functional TRS-80 somewhere. Should that still be actively supported?

Every computer that is limited to Snow Leopard is at least 7 years old. Businesses usually fully depreciate computer equipment over 3 years, with actually utilization being only slightly longer.

There is no absolutely no precedent for forcing businesses to support a product beyond what is required by contracts they may have entered into with their clients. There is no reason to believe that such a law could ever come into being. There are good business reasons why such a law will never be. While it might be nice for consumers if things worked that way, it would have little practical impact on them because we're talking about supporting old equipment for people who don't care enough to invest in upgrades. They're not going to be on top of applying open-source patches to their 7 year old security vulnerabilities.

Comment: Re:All right, then (Score 1) 241

by wilson_c (#46360303) Attached to: Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

It was. It had been widely used by those of us testing Mavericks deployment options during the beta and was there on day 1 of the release version. Apple isn't going to publicize things like this, given the opportunity for huge error in the hands of people who shouldn't be using sudo to format volumes.

Comment: Your boss is just being cheap (Score 1) 716

by wilson_c (#46225093) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?

This is a settled matter as far as the law is concerned. If the work is performed as warrantied work by a wholly independent contractor, then the entity (company or individual) which created the bug is responsible for addressing it without additional compensation. If an individual employed directly by a company makes the mistake then there is no obligation of the employee to fix that error without further payment. Do you have a contract with your employer stipulating delivery goals rather than simply being paid for your time? Are you paid higher than standard individual wages the way that a contracting company is because there's an expectation of ongoing responsibility beyond the time you are working for them? Unless you failed to mention important contractual obligations in your post, you don't owe him squat.

You are lost in the Swamps of Despair.