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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:A story for those who (Score 5, Informative) 128

A story for those who don't understand orders of magnitude?

As a former Californian, the magnitude scale goes something like this:
3.5 - Huh, what? When did that happen?
4.0 - Ehh, something moved slightly...
4.5 - Oh, I actually felt that one there.
5.0 - Heh, that actually qualifies as an earthquake.
5.5 - Oh boy, we are starting to shake pretty good. Stay away from the glass, this one might be a little rough.
6.0 - Find a doorway quick and hang on! This one will be rough.
6.5 - Oh crap, duck and cover! 20sec of destruction, 2 weeks of "The Big One is coming! Are you prepared? Will you die?!" news stories.
7.0 - Oh $h17!!! This one is going to hurt.
8.0 - Wait, what? You mean the Big One is real?

Scale +/-0.5 depending on where you are located in California (i.e. Bay area vs. Inland empire). A 4.0 ranks as barely noticable ...

Comment Re:4 Days? (Score 5, Insightful) 250

While the parent may be off a bit, the quoted article times are ridiculous unless you are counting "man hours" including transport to/from the railcar and stacking on a shelf. It is absurb to think that a single boxcar would be staged on a busy warehouse spur for 3 days of loading or that a modern palletised boxcar takes 3-4 hours to unload with a forklift/pallet jack (it takes about 30min or so).

Long ago I worked a Target dock unloading trucks by hand. Depending on the store volume and the season, that would mean unloading between 3000 and 10,000 cases from 53' trailers each night, 5 to 6 nights a week. Unlike Walmart and some other stores, Target merchandise all came stacked in the truck except for a few bulk items (kitty litter/etc.), it is individually bulk-broke from the warehouse to restock each item depending on the previous days sales. (A large case count on an incoming truck always made us groan as it probably meant lots of deodorant/hair products which come in small 6 count cases.)

A typical 6000 case trailer, including setup and teardown time, would take approximately 2 hours to unload. 2 people in the trailer placing boxes on a conveyor, 4 to 6 people pulling/sorting boxes off the conveyor and on to pallets for storarge or delivery to the floor. If you extrapolate that to a 13,000 piece count you get roughly 24 man-hours, or "3 days" assuming a single 8-hour shift.

Likewise, I also worked a different warehouse job forklift loading 53' trailers. If all of your stock is pre-staged on the dock it takes about 15min to load a trailer. If you are pulling every pallet from the racks and transporting it to the trailer individually it will take 1 to 1-1/2 hours plus. Again, extrapolating that to an 85' boxcar you get roughly 3-4 hours.

So.... the only way you get the articles quoted loading/unloading times is you are counting man-hours including transport/, not literal time as is implied.

Comment Re:Where will decent software come from? (Score 3, Interesting) 111

Well... I just got FreeCAD running last night. Been using QCad for several years and recently started OpenSCAD for some 3D modeling. So you want a new FreeCAD user's prospective?

I have spent the last 4 nights, 3-4 hours each night, trying to build and install all the dependancies for FreeCAD v0.14 on a CentOS 6.5 box. It was an absolute nightmare. The build documentation is crap and lists multiple things as requirements that have changed to something else (i.e. PyQt4 -> PySide), dependancies claimed to be optional but are infact manditory (i.e. GtWebkit [or, as I did, get fed up and rip out the code... why in the hell do I need a download models option in the open menu? Why is git/svn/etc. demanded in an end-user executable?]), hardcoded -python2.7 version dependancies. This comes after all the mess of compiling half-a-dozen different 3D libriaries each with their own compiling problems.

The first thing after finally getting it open.... the interface is a mish-mash of a dozen different modules with no indications of what to really use... The user has to go and learn every single one, then try to figure out what to use. Examples were installed... but who the hell knows where, there are no example libraries in the menu structure. And python? Why would a end-user want to learn Python just to create an object?

So I try to open a pretty basic STL I made earlier in OpenSCAD (disc with some bolt holes and a flange).... it takes 60+sec to import the STL object, but atleast it looks right. Kind of have the construction tree for the object in panel, but no obvious way to edit the code. I move it a bit, rotate the object around... and then suddenly its gone with a stream of "array[-1]" errors in console... Not a good way to start.

Comment Re:I'd love to use https! (Score 1) 166

Staying in HTTPS but requesting HTTP resources has to be done carefully to avoid browsers from throwing cross domain violations. It's more trouble than it's worth.

I think that is the real crux... I was stunned to recently see that, in a completely clean browser, just going to the Slashdot root page loads 45 third-party domain cookies. That is excluding and properties....

Comment Re:boo hoo (Score 4, Informative) 113

its Street View cars were accessing email, web history and other data on unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. A Google spokesman said the company was disappointed that the Supreme Court had declined to hear the case.

Boo hoo Google. By their logic, if I leave my door unlocked, the Google Street View car driver can stop his vehicle, open my door, and read the documents on my desk? Hey, I left my door unlocked so I was asking for it!

The summary is a BS deceptive description of what happened and your analogy is a BS comparison. Google never "open[ed] your door and read the documents". Google drove around mapping streets AND had a wireless sniffer running to capture/correlate access point beacons with location data. Access point beacons are publicly broadcast, not encypted. Google saved this captured data to a file...

Oh, and by the way, it turns out countless morons are running unsecured public access points and transmitting their sensitive information over these public access points (user names/passwords/email/etc). Google inadvertently captured this very public data in the same stream as the public access point beacons.

A more fitting analogy would be:
    Thousands of morons walk down the street repeatedly shouting out their user names and passwords for anyone to hear. Google happened to be driving by at the time, dictating notes into a recorder about what features are on the street, which also captured these people shouting in the background. Morons now want Google to be held liable for "wiretapping their private communications".

Comment Re:This (Score 1) 240

Companies aren't "cheapskates", customers are.

Here, I'll prove my point,. You can buy something for $15 today, and have it supported until tomorrow(or whenever) or you can pay $300 for the same exact thing, only support will go for a guaranteed 10 years.

And here is a counterpoint: I was evaluating a piece of robust hardware for installation at remote sites (~$5k). The hardware has a built in micro that monitors all the functions and provides configuration, it is programmed via DIP switches and a serial port, and output status on LEDs and relays (good). The company offers a $700 "TCP/IP" option that provides SNMP monitoring and configuration over IP, as well as uploads all the site info "to the cloud"... because that is all the rage these days.

... The $700 option is a rebadged BeagleBoard connected to the serial port. Do you really think this is going to be supported more than a year or two?

Submission + - CowboyNeal Locked In Basement For Opposing Slashdot Beta ( 23

Robotron23 writes: Slashdot's finest editor to date has been mercilessly locked in a basement filled with fuzzy dice Dice created to furnish Google's self-driving cars. Screaming, followed by sounds of frenzied masturbation, have been reported from the subterranean dungeon. "There's no way enough ejaculatory fluid is getting sprayed on our dice to make us care about this deluded protestor's opinion." a Dice executive commented earlier. Former Slashdot owner turned professional millionaire Robert Malda, expressed support: "No porn. More dice than a casino. Lame."

Submission + - Can I buy the Classic interface? 3

Max Hyre writes: LWN almost went under a number of years ago because its volunteer editors couldn't afford to keep it up. The readers rose up and insisted that they be allowed to pay for it.

Can we do the same for Classic?

I'm a nerd. I read. I'm the one in the museum ignoring the display and reading the description. I want text, easily accessible, clearly laid out, and plenty of it. I'll pay to keep the UI I know and love.

The Beta has none of those characteristics. The Beta site is repellent, unusable, and unneeded. I won't use it, and if ``Classic'' goes away, I won't visit /., and it'll be a pity.

How much do you actually receive in revenue for each user? I suspect I'll match it to keep the status quo. Ask us what it's worth to us. I'd certainly pay $1/month, and would think about $5/month. I bet that I'm not alone.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Opinion of slashdot beta? 9

An anonymous reader writes: What are your thoughts about slashdot beta? Post your complaints here so that I don't have to see them elsewhere. Additionally, if the beta is so bad that you don't want to stay, what other news website do you recommend?

Comment Re:beta (Score 2) 61

For everyone complaining about the beta format. They put a link right up on top of the pages now. Don't just post rants here (personally I doubt anyone in charge reads the comments here) send them emails telling them how much of an abomination it is.

No one is willing to do that any more because it is quite clear that they do not read the emails. By all appearances, by sending an email you are sending your comments to /dev/null. As a side affect, no one else (read: the general Slashdot user base) will know that you also do not approve of the beta abomination. Emails to a dead mailbox, uncounted or analyzed for content, can easily be dismissed as a vocal minority.

In contrast, posting comments in the stories is a very public statement that everyone sees, everyone knows about, and can not be denied later when it is a complete failure. And the "editors" (I use that term very lightly) most definately do read the story comments... they themselves frequently comment on stories.

Over and over again for the last several months you will see long comment strings speaking very explicitly to the problems with the beta redesign, including:
  - Massive waste of screen space. Do Slashdot readers really need to see "Latest Tech Jobs" and "Top SourceForge Downloads" taking up 1/3+ of every screen? What about the massive whitespacce this leaves down in the comment sections.... you know, the portion people actually look at? What is next in the beta, to fill these areas with massive flashing/dancing graphics 'ala a Japanese bulletin board site?
  - Useless graphics that contribute nothing to content or understanding articles. Huge pictures, often taking more screen space than the story summary itself.
  - Complete disruption of comment readability and flow. With the existing format one can easily scan 15-30 comments in a single pageframe and scroll for more. The new format lets you see 3-5 at most in the page frame and you continually have to click "Load More" to see additional comments... a format that completely breaks page refresh and following a link off-page and then back.

And the many, many other insightful analysis of the existing beta problems brought up by other regular readers for months. To date, as far as I can tell, Slashdot has failed to address any of these issue, give any response to complaints, or given any accounting of acceptance rates, email/click-thru/or otherwise. Slashdot has repeatedly posted blurbs about how great the new website is, and how everyone likes it. The comments in existing stories show quite the opposite. We have all seen website crash and die, and regular readers all see Slashdot pulling a Digg death-dive with this new beta.

Comment Video footage (Score 4, Informative) 123

... too bad we don't have quite as many dashcams going as there are in Russia.

But there are more than enough.... This showed up on Youtube late last night, I believe this is the original poster:

And then a short time later this showed up:

Slashdot Top Deals

A computer scientist is someone who fixes things that aren't broken.