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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: Re:Electric not the answer (Score 2, Insightful) 212

by xonen (#49099789) Attached to: The Best, and Worst, Places To Drive Your Electric Car

I don't think the average Tesla buyer buys the car because it's 'green'. They buy it because it's electric sports car. Being electric, the (peak) power output is much much higher than achievable with combustion engines.

Then, the battery problem will likely solve itself over the next decennia. We may not have reached the optimal solution, but Tesla clearly shows there is a market for what is available with current-day technology.

Other car manufacturers are going the hybrid road to increase efficiency. But i do agree that the 'green' aspect is misleading, in general. If we want to be green, best thing we can do is reduce the amount of times and distances we (need to) travel; improve public transport and promote/easify carpooling. Yet, i think electric cars are here, and are here to stay, just as gasoline cars are, for the foreseeable future.

+ - Week long movie of Pluto produced by New Horizons

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Cool images! Using New Horizons’ long range camera scientists have compiled a movie showing Charon and Pluto orbiting each other during the last week of January 2015.

Pluto and Charon were observed for an entire rotation of each body; a “day” on Pluto and Charon is 6.4 Earth days. The first of the images was taken when New Horizons was about 3 billion miles from Earth, but just 126 million miles (203 million kilometers) from Pluto—about 30% farther than Earth’s distance from the Sun. The last frame came 6½ days later, with New Horizons more than 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) closer.

The wobble easily visible in Pluto’s motion, as Charon orbits, is due to the gravity of Charon, about one-eighth as massive as Pluto and about the size of Texas.

Our view of Pluto, and Charon, is only going to get better as New Horizons zooms towards its July fly-by."

Comment: Somewhat expensive... (Score 1) 249

by xonen (#49024599) Attached to: How good is your audio equipment?

...30 years ago.

I love my old transistor amplifier. The only thing i purchased are a (few) sets of speakers. I prefer to get my other 'gear' second-hand too. Record player, tape player, amplifier - it's all reasonable high-end electronics from the mid 80's up to late 90's.

I don't have a standalone CD or DVD player anymore - that task is being done by a laptop or a R-PI with external sound card. My smartphone works too, it has reasonable sound but a audible 'click' every few seconds, so it is not the best option. I'm considering to purchase a (car?) memory card/USB player, as soon i find one with proper specs that can read flacs.

Concluding: good audio doesn't have to be expensive. A lot of people dump their pearls at the trash only to replace it by shiny boxes with cheap electronics.

+ - A pdf reader that lets you read a screen full at a time? 4

Submitted by blackest_k
blackest_k (761565) writes "Ok here is the problem I can't fit a whole page of a pdf file on screen the document is tall and my screen is wide. So I set zoom to page width, if i scroll by page around 2/3rds of the page is skipped. The only other ways are pressing the down arrow for every line or trying to use the scroll bar which a slight slip can move you + or — 50 pages.

What i'm looking for is a pdf reader that can break a pdf page into screen size chunks and give me a shortcut key to go to the next chunk. So I can read it as i would a book. Does anyone have a reader that works for pdf files."

+ - JavaScript, PHP Top Most Popular Languages, With Apple's Swift Rising Fast->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Developers assume that Swift, Apple’s newish programming language for iOS and Mac OS X apps, will become extremely popular over the next few years. According to new data from RedMonk, a tech-industry analyst firm, Swift could reach that apex of popularity sooner rather than later. While the usual stalwarts—including JavaScript, Java, PHP, Python, C#, C++, and Ruby—top RedMonk’s list of the most-used languages, Swift has, well, swiftly ascended 46 spots in the six months since the firm’s last update, from 68th to 22nd. RedMonk pulls data from GitHub and Stack Overflow to create its rankings, due to those sites’ respective sizes and the public nature of their data. While its top-ranked languages don’t trade positions much between reports, there’s a fair amount of churn at the lower end of the rankings. Among those “smaller” languages, R has enjoyed stable popularity over the past six months, Rust and Julia continue to climb, and Go has exploded upwards—although CoffeeScript, often sited as a language to watch, has seen its support crumble a bit."
Link to Original Source

+ - Is Pascal an Underrated Programming Language? 6

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the recent Slashdot discussion on the D programming language, I was surprised to see criticisms of Pascal that were based on old information and outdated implementations. While I’m sure that, for example, Brian Kernighan’s criticisms of Pascal were valid in 1981, things have moved on since then. Current Object Pascal largely addresses Kernighan’s critique and also includes language features such as anonymous methods, reflection and attributes, class helpers, generics and more (see also Marco Cantu’s recent Object Pascal presentation). Cross-platform development is fairly straightforward with Pascal. Delphi targets Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. Free Pascal targets many operating systems and architectures and Lazarus provides a Delphi-like IDE for Free Pascal. So what do you think? Is Pascal underrated?"

+ - 3D mouse for free

Submitted by Yuri Kravchik
Yuri Kravchik (3988713) writes "I've finally opensourced my 6DOF (six dimensions of freedom) manipulator (aka 3D mouse, but better). https://github.com/paperpointe...
It includes simple editor for demonstration of basic usages of paperpointer and driver which you can use for your projects, plugins, etc. For example, you can create a plugin to get 6DOF input for your Max, Maya, etc.

You don't need any specific hardware except of simple web-camera.
Sources: https://github.com/paperpointe...
Show case, info, files: http://paperpointer.com/"

+ - Tiny Fanless Mini-PC Runs Linux or Windows on Quad-core AMD SoC->

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "CompuLab has unveiled a tiny 'Fitlet' mini-PC that runs Linux or Windows on a dual- or quad-core 64-bit AMD x86 SoC (with integrated Radeon R3 or R2 GPU), clocked at up to 1.6GHz, and offering extensive I/O, along with modular internal expansion options. The rugged, reconfigurable 4.25 x 3.25 x 0.95 in. system will also form the basis of a pre-configured 'MintBox Mini' model, available in Q2 in partnership with the Linux Mint project. To put things in perspective, CompuLab says the Fitlet is three times smaller than the Celeron Intel NUC."
Link to Original Source

+ - OpenBSD's kernel gets W^X treatment on amd64-> 2

Submitted by brynet
brynet (3462983) writes "Theo de Raadt wrote:

Over the last two months Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) modified the amd64 kernel to follow the W^X principles. It started as a humble exercise to fix the .rodata segment, and kind of went crazy. As a result, no part of the kernel address space is writeable and executable simultaneously. At least that is the idea, modulo mistakes. Final attention to detail (which some of you experienced in buggy drafts in snapshots) was to make the MP and ACPI trampolines follow W^X, furthermore they are unmapped when not required. Final picture is many architectures were improved, but amd64 and sparc64 look the best due to MMU features available to service the W^X model. The entire safety model is also improved by a limited form of kernel ASLR (the code segment does not move around yet, but data and page table ASLR is fairly good.


Link to Original Source

+ - Entanglement Makes Quantum Particles Measurably Heavier, Says Quantum Theorist

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Physicists have long hoped to unify the two great theories of the 20th century--general relativity and quantum mechanics. And yet a workable theory of quantum gravity is as far away as ever. Now one theorist has discovered that the uniquely quantum property of entanglement does indeed influence a gravitational field and this could pave the way for the first experimental observation of a quantum gravity phenomenon. The discovery is based on the long-known quantum phenomenon in which a single particle can be in two places at the same time. These locations then become entangled--in other words they share the same quantum existence. While formulating this phenomenon within the framework of general relativity, the physicist showed that if the entanglement is tuned in a precise way, it should influence the local gravitational field. In other words, the particle should seem heavier. The effect for a single electron-sized particle is tiny--about one part in 10^37. But it may be possible to magnify the effect using heavier particles, ultrarelativistic particles or even several particles that are already entangled."

+ - The New Chess World Champion->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The 7th Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC) has ended, and a new victor has been crowned: Komodo. The article provides some background on how the different competitive chess engines have been developed, and how we can expect Moore's Law to affect computer dominance in other complex games in the future. "Although it is coming on 18 years since Deep Blue beat Kasparov, humans are still barely fending off computers at shogi, while we retain some breathing room at Go. ... Ten years ago, each doubling of speed was thought to add 50 Elo points to strength. Now the estimate is closer to 30. Under the double-in-2-years version of Moore’s Law, using an average of 50 Elo gained per doubling since Kasparov was beaten, one gets 450 Elo over 18 years, which again checks out. To be sure, the gains in computer chess have come from better algorithms not just speed, and include nonlinear jumps, so Go should not count on a cushion of (25 – 14)*9 = 99 years.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Interesting if done right (Score 2) 67

by xonen (#48569065) Attached to: BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser

As you say, the costs per visitor are extremely low. That's also why i, personally, wouldn't mind to pay a few cents to have access. However, such is not possible. Either one pays reasonable high fees, up to multiple dollars per month, either it's free and filled with ads. There is no such choice as donating 1 cent.

So, what is lacking is a proper micropayment system that works, in an unobtrusive way. That's something that a *random big player in the market* has to solve. 20 years of consumer internet. The word micropayment is about just as old. And it still does not exist.

Comment: Europe is jealous (Score 2) 237

by xonen (#48477647) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

Europe is jealous because we not have a major ICT culture. Yes, we have some `big` companies filling pockets with overpriced projects that never finish in time and always need maintenance after delivery doubling the price.

What we do not have is a (economic) culture where start-ups can flourish. Where smart entrepreneurs can easily find investors and employees. Europe looks at Silicon Valley and is very jealous. But instead of some self reflection and trying to catch up with USA - and other players like China - we turn to more legislation, more import taxes, more protection of the own markets and eventually more unemployment, more taxes and less knowledge.

The only knowledge we build is heavily institutionalized - like universities and the R&D departments of some multinationals. The only thing politics care about is how to collect tax - not how to improve economy and freedom and prosperity.

Comment: EU citisens are skeptic too (Score 3, Informative) 334

by xonen (#48437965) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

As EU citizen, i can only say this is received with a lot of skepticism here too. And the usual anti-EU sentiment.

While i'm pretty `pro-EU`, i indeed think this is bullshit. Yes, Google has some sort of monopoly, however, monopolies are only a problem when abused. I don't see that abuse part. Also, there are plenty alternatives, however, Google is the biggest simply because they are the best at what they do. For them it's core business. For MS and Yahoo it's not their core business.

Anyways. it will blow over i guess. They prefer to launch this kind of bullshit ideas instead of worrying the things they really should worry about; like unemployment rates, poverty, eastern relationships, etc etc.

Comment: Re:Desparate Microsoft pulls a "Sun Microsystems" (Score 4, Informative) 525

by xonen (#48369723) Attached to: Microsoft To Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET and Take It Cross-Platform

You are twisting his words. Ballmer was not talking about Linux, but about the GPL and it's 'viral' nature.

And to their defense, MS has released more open-source software and libraries in the past. Also they actually contribute to the Linux kernel.

There's plenty left to dislike MS for without twisting the truth.

A man is not complete until he is married -- then he is finished.