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


Forgot your password?

Comment 1984 was childs-play. (Score 1) 212

It's amazing how outdatet and steam-agey 1984 seems from a 2017 perspective. The encroachment on total control of the individual would be beyond anything imaginable 30 years ago if this Smartphone Cash thing gains foothold and pushes cash away.

It's definitely a pressing time to get a good look into cryptocurrency.

My 2 eurocents (cash).

Comment Google I would miss bei a little ... (Score 1) 221

... but even that doesn't matter too much. As a computer expert and FOSS person I don't rely on the cloud or large corporations for mission critical stuff. And neither should you or anybody else, imho.

I would miss Amazon a bit too, because it is the only relyable way to get fairly priced english books in Germany that I know of.

Comment Nuclear Fission is a distraction ... (Score 1, Insightful) 404

... and this proves it too.

Fission is not cost effective and only works with massive amounts of taxpayers money. And the only real effect it has is putting power in to the hands of few to the disadvantage of many.

The world as such should decommision Fission ASAP, just like Germany is doing. The next Tchernobyl/Fukushima Fuckup is bound to happen, so we might aswell slim down our chances of that happening ASAP.

My 2 eurocents.

Comment We already know the answer: It's called DMI/DME. (Score 1) 326

If computers would be infinitely fast and thus also have nigh infinite memory and storage (because fractal compression at zero cost - duh) we'd all inmediately be using what is called a Direct Manipulation Interface (DMI) or Direct Manipulation Environment. Squeak comes close to that, but a good DMI would be something like Flash combined with RunRev using Python or something as a PL, including a touchscreen object modeller for contemporary tablets and some other niceties. The difference between programming and runtime environment would basically completely disappear.

There would be no files anymore, just "Objects" and no starting or stopping of programms, just saved "states" of objects or processes running in and on objects. Again, Squak or RunRev/LiveCode come close to this, but of course are a little flakey to be true contenders for the proposed computing utopia in the GP.

The best experiences I had actually were with Flash, although flashes timeline stuff always was a step backwards vis-a-vis hypercard, squeak and such. But still ... Need a loading bar? Draw one and apply something like >>bar.width = myFile.loading,percentage Done. Doesn't get any better than that short of the computer reading your mind.

I would love to have a Python or JS 2018 driven DMI/DME with triple-A 3D and Flash-style 2D vector graphics. Completely FOSS. That would totally rock!

My 2 eurocents.

Comment Yes. But don't use it for the wrong reasons. (Score 1) 236

Just about any FOSS system is a viable alternative to Windows, because it doesn't rely on certain functions becoming obsolute and needing to be upgraded. The prime mechanism of cashflow for MS.

This is the reason I abandoned Windows after Win2K and moved to Linux. The lack in convenience is annoying - I once again had to manually fiddle with modlines and x11.conf just a few weeks ago (... in effing 2017!!). But in the long run my *nix skills will still be useful and applicable when todays versions of Windows have long since passed again.

How far ReactOS is in replacing older versions on Windows is I don't know, but AFAIHH it is pretty impressive how far it has come. Although progress is very slow, AFAICT.

However, don't use ReactOS for the wrong reasons!

If you are relying on React to run older versions of MS Office, I strongly recommend you move to some FOSS office package like LibreOffice and ditch the Windows camp alltogether. Also 3D shouldn't be a reason wantig to keep old versions of Windows around. Switcihing to a modern platform and using the tool of your choice or the FOSS tool Blender is a way better idea for stuff like that. ReactOS is a platform for good functional custom legacy software built for Windows - and if it succeeds at being exactly that, then that is a good thing. Testing legacy software with ReactOS might yield results that can save companies massive amounts of money, because they now know a platform their stuff runs on that MS doens't controll and can continue developing against it rather than ditching millions worth of software and starting from scratch. And that is always a good thing.

My 2 eurocents.

Comment They work. Out of the box. (elaboration below) (Score 1) 757

Like many here on slashdot I'm an A-Grade Computer Expert.

I had my fist encounter with microcomputers at the delicate age of 9, playing Lunar Landing on a Comodore PET at my dad's workplace back in the late 70ies. For me being able to Programm a computer off the bat was always the main and most important trait of a computer. My first own computer was a Sharp PC 1402 (PC standing for "Pocket Computer") - it was portable, had a small Qwerty Keyboard but most of all it was programmable, in Basic.

Long story short, I've alway gone the programmer side of the beated path when it comes to computers. I got my first Mac roughly in 2003, when the famous 12" iBook G4 (with seperate Wifi Module) was the best Subnotebook you could get for 1000 Euros, hundreds of euros cheaper than the next cheapest offering from Toshiba. I wanted to run the Flash IDE and wouldn't touch a portable Windows machine with a ten-foot pole.

The one thing that struck me with the Apple Computers, aside from the Windows boxes, my self-made Abit BP6 dual celeron running SuSE Linux and all the other stuff Nerds like us tinker with day-in and day-out, was that the Apple devices work.

Out of the box.

This is the plain and simple truth that holds until today, even with the golden cage in iTunes and "secure pay" or whatever it's called built into the newest Macbook Pros moving further in to give users a cushy lock-in.

When it comes to zero-fuss "buy, unpack, works" computing, Apple rules unchallanged in every imaginable way. Good hardware, good design, unmatched out-of-the-box usability just short of an meticulously expert-configured KDE on an expert-built custom box. ... No shovelware. No shitty third-party endorsements (how I hate these shitty windows notebooks with their stickers and crap ...) , no MS crap (Oh God, the MS crap - just thinking of it makes me sick) ... Apple is passionate about software and they build their own hardware. This shows at every corner. It is very much as Steve Jobs said: They don't want to build crap - and it shows.

I bought a mac mini a few years later and then a few years later the 2011 MB Air.
Again, a totally new category of device that works out of the box. With Unix. And lot's of very neat open source offerings to improve your development life.

Fast forward to today, my latest computer is a 300 Euro Free-DOS netbook (Asus Travelmate B117) that I installed Lubuntu 16 LTS on, for the simple reason that I didn't want to shell out 2300 Euros for those new MacBook touchbar devices and I'm actually faster at work if I use a box that forces me to use the CLI and a lightweight WM.
Also, Flash is dead, so I don't need it's IDE anymore. And it's the first and probably last proprietary technology I will ever have worked with. Adobe can go and f*ck itself - I will probably never use any of their tools for anything mission critical again. I also find the iTunes and apple-lock-in secure-fingerprint thingie on the new MBs a little disconcerting. Also right now Apple is expensive again in every device category including the mac mini - which used to be a real bargain deal throughout the entire industry.

So after 13 years, macs are off the menu again and I'm back to Linux as my main system and once again a cheap Linux netbook is a good choice.

But all that aside, it still holds true: If you want the all-out zero-fuss experience, you can not go wrong with a mac. The only thing lately competing with Apple in this regard is Google with their ecosystem and Chromebooks rounding off the upper edge. You can have an experience simular to Apples with a notably cheaper Chromebook. But I'm not quite there yet throwing myself completely into the arms of Google. I'm a computer expert, I want control and I distrust the big corporations - and for good reasons too.

But if you're not an expert and you have money to spare, Apple will never let you down. And AFAICT it has been that way ever since Steve Jobs came back on board and introduced the iMac. The iMac was the first GUI computer that you didn't need to adjust the screen on. Think about that difference for clueless end-users and remember us fumbling on the knobs of the CRTs to get them to display correctly.

Or look at the Apple remote and then at the XBox remote. You instantly see what Apple is always about.

That's the special appeal of Apple devices.

Glad I could help.

Comment They should get into eco-firendly raw materials. (Score 2) 198

Seriously. They talk about being eco-friendly, so they really should start covering the back-end of their production chain with conflict-free minerals, eco-friendly mining and aluminum production and the likes. Cash like that buys you giant branches of entire industries and they could use that money to start fixing things inmediately. Call the new subsidary "Apple Raw Materials" or something and spread out eco-standards across the globe through sheer market and marketing force - that would actually be cool and justify the obscene amount of net gain they get per device.

Comment Books are tangible. (Score 4, Insightful) 206

I still get hardcovers if the topic seems interesting enough and appears to have a long term value.

I don't get DRM ebooks, they are a pain and a burden. I tried one amazon ebook "reamde" for kicks and one google playstore book, a thick WP devguide. DRM turned me off quickly in both cases. Reamde I'll get as paperback some day if I want to read it again and got the WP book as a zero-fuss PDF.

I do have my fat Oreillys as PDF too - way easyer to lug around on my tablet. But getting them through official chanels is prohibitively expensive.

Bottom line: I'm a tablet guy ( 10" Yoga 2 with Android) and even I distrust regular ebooks to an extent. So I'm not really surprised about about this news.

Comment Where are these Cobol positions? (Score 1) 383

Serisously: Where are these Cobol positions in desperate need of filling?

If they really are desperately needed, they should translate into 80 000€+/Year, 40 hour workweeks, 30 days of vacation, zero-fuss relocation support and some other niceties. Give me that and I'll drop my current hard-pressing hipster-induced TypeScript/JS/NodeJS ambitions instantly and dive into Cobol right away. I'll be the Cobol master in a year and enjoy it aswell. And as a guy with ERP/E-Commerce order processing experience, I get serial processing (which banks still do for transactional safety) and other old-school super-conservative ways of doing things.

But somehow something tells me they want people no older than 28 with 10+ years of Cobol experience and top-grade proficiency with Oracle 4.x and some obscure version of AIX. And offer a laughable 44 000€/Year and I have to move to Frankfurt, a town that is ugly as hell and has real-estate and living costs move off the charts big time, even more so since Brexit.

So, unless I get a call by a banking Ops manager telling me that he's in desperate need for Coders willing to move to Cobol and if I would care to give it a shot and offers me something along the lines stated in the first paragraph, I'm not really holding my breath or feeling to much pitty for the banks.

My 2 eurocents.

Comment Re:You're being a bit naive (Score 2) 287

It would be child's play to maintain artificial scarcity. If you're a member of the ruling class who's power, wealth and prestige depends on that scarcity it's in your best interests to maintain it.

That's where the Cyberpunk comes in. Tribes and groups building alternate societies and cultures utilitzing technology salvaged from the mainstream or built as an alternative to established ways of dealing wiht things. This always happens. Only the revolution in tech is rarely violent in a classic class-warfare sense. It's simply people building alternatives to systems that don't work. As technology get's cheaper that becomes easyer for more and more people. One trait of the age of cyberpunk is that cultural and economic spaces aren't spacially divided but stacked on to each other and basically spread out globall - which is a side-effect of current developments. As further advanced technology gets, the easyer it is to actually implement marxism, because it becomes easyer and easyer to take what I need without taking away from others. See FOSS for a prime example.

Likewise, maintaining artificial scarcity is pointless when what I need can be provided faster and easyer by robots than the people I would want to control. There is no incentive anymore to control people beyond a certain point in such a society. It would be more trouble than it is worth and is much better done by netflix and facebook than with all-out opression.

What I'm doing right now I can do in just about any part of the world thjat has an internet connection. A sign of things to come. Yes, sure, Google or some other megacorp will own everthing but it will be so dirt cheap to use it and so costly to deny it to people that we can very well have an Utopia.

Slashdot Top Deals

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982