Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:No, the problem is DVD should not be cheaper (Score 1) 490

The question you should be asking is why is streaming video so expensive that DVD (shipping little plastic discs around) is cheaper than sending bits over a wire?

Because it's the second stupidest deliberate misuse of computational capacity to artificially create digital scarcity since Bitcoins.

The correct way to distribute large files like movies online is to copy the bits as locally to the endpoints as possible, and cache them pervasively at all levels of the network. Nothing would need to be sent more than once down any given cable. It would be fast, cheap, make use of the Internet as it was designed to function, and give us near-unlimited bandwidth.

But that would mean that those bits don't become artificially scarce and can't be tracked and audited by the media companies for copy-protection purposes. So instead of copying, we stream them over and over and over again, generating terabytes of needless, duplicated data traffic, and creating huge bandwidth storms that suck all the capacity out of the Internet.

tldr: Video streaming is expensive because it was designed to be. It wasn't designed by or for you, and it doesn't benefit you.

Comment Re:surprised!!!! (Score 1) 704

You think "governmental actors" care about $615,000? That's adorable.

$615,000 in drug, terrorist and child porn money? Or assuming some innocent parties involved in Bitcoin, at the very least $615,000 of juicy leads and contact details for the people who are dealing the hard stuff? Yes, it's conceivable that they perhaps might. You know, since tracking and catching thsi stuff is pretty much the number one job of all the West's police, intelligence and militaries at the moment.

Lie down with Bitcoins, wake up with whatever it is that Bitcoin merchants are selling. And possibly the FBI knocking on your door to ask nicely if you have any drug dealers or terrorists in your address book.

Comment Re:surprised!!!! (Score 1) 704

The concept of currencies outside of government control tends to make governments nervous.

Yes, because the advocates of those currencies are loudly crowing that the entire point is to enable criminal acts. That it's a perfect money laundering service and that this is a great thing.

But if a government responded rationally to this widely advertised lawbreaking by shutting down the people who launder money and the mechanism they're using to do it, that would somehow be immoral, and anyway they wouldn't do it. Because, um. Government bad, government inefficient, Bitcoin rules, FBI drools?

I'm shocked, shocked that Bitcoin exchanges might conceivably be running into money problems related to fund and transfer freezes from ongoing international drug investigations. That's simply not possible, because Bitcoin!

Comment Re:surprised!!!! (Score 1) 704

Is it possible this is some grand conspiracy? Sure it is.

Yeah, since deliberately thumbing your nose at multiple international anti-money-laundering treaties by associating with blatant drug dealers and then having all the governments which subscribe to those treaties respond rationally by shutting you down, is.... a conspiracy.

I don't see what's hard to understand about this. Bitcoin's primary market appears to be criminals. Bitcoin advocates advertise this fact widely and make it one of their primary selling points for cryptocurrency. Therefore, anyone trading in Bitcoin-to-national-currency is waving a huge sign saying 'I'm moving money for criminals, please arrest me now. Oh, but you can't because it's cryptocurrency and you don't know for sure that I'm a criminal myself! Just, you know, that I've made millions selling services to criminals! Double dare you to arrest me! Triple, quadruple, googolplex dare you! Phpppppttttt! Ha ha, stupid cops!'

And then mysteriously! Bitcoin exchanges start getting... unspecified "problems".... to do with not being allowed to bank any more.... which they can't talk about because of... unspecified "investigations".

Yeah, I'm going to put that down to a completely coincidental series of bizarre freak accidents with no connection whatever to international law enforcement's rational response to widely advertised international lawbreaking. That seems perfectly plausible and anyone who suspects that it's just a case of crooks getting into trouble from cops is a 'conspiracy theorist'.

Comment Re:If they make good on this. (Score 2) 84

Of course but, if you really need financial stability, I don't recommend being in on the ground floor of a startup.

Especially a completely illegal one based on experimental, buggy technology under ongoing cyberattack, selling products that ruin people's lives, are supplied by organised crime, and are actively targeted by high-level federal and international prosecutors with access to military espionage technology - and a complete dump of your predecessor's transaction databases.

There's high-risk, and then there's unethical high risk, and then there's completely stupid, unethical high risk, and then there's... whatever this is, it's pegging the scale.

I'm not going to say "good luck", but I would advise even the rubberneckers to stand well clear of the impact crater.

Comment Re:"Bespoke" (Score 1) 134

The only planets never to have been the subjects of bespoke space missions from Earth are

Am I misunderstanding the definition of "bespoke" and its application within sentences?

I think you could substitute "tailor-made" for "bespoke" in any context - including actual tailoring - and get exactly the same meaning. It's a linguistic metaphor, yes. Do you object to any other commonly-used metaphors?

Comment Re:Dead end (Score 1) 223

Objects can be serialized and the result looks like a file.

More generally, everything is a namespace/filesystem.

Yep. There's a very close connection between objects, dictionaries, relational tables, files/filesystems, and functions - all centred around binary relations, a fairly well-understood mathematical object - which seems well worth exploring. However, there haven't been (to my knowledge) many languages which attempt to explore this connection at a fundamental level.

Here's a suggestion: we could fairly simply extend S-expressions so they allow for multiple lists or atoms after the dot in a dotted pair. This would allow us to represent binary relations in a simple syntax that reduces to an ordinary list in the case of a relation containing only one row. You end up then with a very low-level but powerful data model which both simplifies and extends the 'array' and 'object' structures in today's scripting languages (eg JSON), and SQL tables, and which has nice mathematical properties: for example, you can union and intersect these relations as you would sets, which is an operation which is undefined on objects or dictionaries. We can also do Cartesian product which is an extension of list appending, _and_ a corresponding Cartesian divide which corresponds to a key-value lookup.

From here, we just need to extend this with a semantics for function evaluation to interpret relations as functions and allow for infinite-sized, recursive computed relations. Which gets a bit tricker, but if we got this, we could represent, say, the entire Internet as a filesystem. Would that be useful?

Comment Re:Dead end (Score 1) 223

But a stream of bytes is inherently too low an abstraction to build everything on.

How about taking it just one step forward to a stream of streams? Then we could at least create object-like structures but with minimal overhead. Plus, it would be a fully recursive definition that would lend itself to virtualisation.

Of course, S-expressions are only 56 years old so such a radical proposal isn't likely to be adopted any time soon.

Comment Re:I find it interesting (Score 1) 223

Eventually you have to talk to highly interactive hardware with massively parallel threads

What does parallelism have to do with anything? The only argument against everything's-a-file is overhead, not complexity.

Exactly. I'd like to see more exploration of something like Kahn process networks as a fundamental programming abstraction; it seems to me that we need to be thinking of programs, filesystems and networks as examples of the same thing. Our networks are becoming software-defined (especially in virtualisation), our chipsets are compiled from languages like VHDL, our programs are becoming parallelised, and our filesystems are starting to grow virtual nodes and do processing. Seems dumb to be maintaining multiple completely separate families of languages and tools each with their own subtle incompatibilities and bugs when we could settle on just one and work all the bugs out once, then use it forever.

Comment Re:I find it interesting (Score 2) 223

I suspect that between various BSDs and Linux versions that the concept of everything being a file has pretty much reached its logical endpoint.

Not even close, unless you're thinking about Plan 9.

A truly 'everything is a file' Unix would implement BSD sockets and X11 windows as files, just for a start. Can you do that on Linux yet?

Slashdot Top Deals

ASCII a stupid question, you get an EBCDIC answer.