Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:The primitive division of both sides is appalli (Score 1) 479

Why couldn't Ukraine become a model of a bi-ethnic state? Russians and Ukrainians are so similar.

There's your answer right there.

It's a bit like the uncanny valley. People who are very different from you are interesting and exotic; you know it takes some effort to understand them. People who are just a little bit different from you are too incorrigibly stubborn to bring themselves up to snuff and think and act the right way.

That's why civil wars are so bitter and inhumane. In some ways it's harder to see humanity in someone who is culturally similar but irreconcilably different than in someone who is alien. Rudyard Kipling could wax lyrical about the noble savages in "Gunga Din" and "Fuzzy-Wuzzy", but he never once penned a poem in praise of the Liberal Party.

Comment The monetizers demand data (Score 3, Interesting) 62

The whole drive behind IOT isn't convenience, it's monetization of information.

The marginal cost of a "smart" device is much more than the marginal return selling such a device on its own merits. Either you jack up the price of the device to cover the gee-whiz features or you don't, but the only reason they don't is because they have figured out how to sell this info to someone else.

The Nest is a great example. I think the last 7 day programmable thermostat I bought might have been $50; the Nest is $249 from their online store. What, exactly, does the Nest do that my Honeywell model not do for $200? It may be able to vaguely predict occupancy and make adjustments, but the "dumb" Honeywell model pretty much covers this -- we get up, we leave the house, we come home, we go to bed at about the same time. There's so few use cases where automagic adjustment would make any sense (and many where it wouldn't work).

A smart fridge is one where there's almost no use cases that don't involve product/marketing tie-ins -- selling my use of tagged products to marketers.

The only way you're going to get IOT is if you either pay the freight for the intelligence or let the device sell your info.

Comment Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (Score 1) 479

and now let's talk about the leaked documents involving the "pro-western forces in the Ukraine""

OK, lets. The US government is far from lilly-white, but if it and allied governments were coordinating violent opposition to the Ukrainian government too, that would surely be in the cable leak.

Comment My list of essentials: (windows) (Score 2) 531

For all purposes:
Firefox, Chrome and Opera - I use separate browsers to keep home/work/porn separated. Install AdBlock on both Firefox and Chrome.
MPC-HC - I'm fine with WMP for music, but for video I need MediaPlayer Classic
LibreOffice - Because you can't do everything with plain text files
Notepad++ - Because there's a lot you *can* do with plain text files
7zip - Handles every compressed file format I've ever seen, except for one really old Mac-specific one I had to use once
Steam - Because at this point I have too many games to abandon Steam, and it really is good at managing such a big library

For work only:
Thunderbird - I used to be able to use GMail's web app, but now that I have two work email addresses I need a full-fledged email client
Paint.NET, GIMP, and Inkscape - for image editing. Paint.NET is useful for making quick edits, like rotating an image. I'm usually done before GIMP would have started up
PuTTY - Best way to connect to my fleet of Linux servers
Komodo - Best IDE for when files are stored on a remote server, as is common with web apps
MySQL Workbench + SQL Server Management Studio - Best way to test database stuff

If using Windows 8, also add Classic Shell Start Menu. It makes it *better* than the W7 start menu once you tweak it right.
And for a first install, Ninite will let you automatically install about 90% of these. Very useful program.

Comment Who wouldn't have predicted this? (Score 5, Interesting) 479

Anyone who has paid even slight attention would have predicted this.

The Crimea is the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet, Putin is not going to walk away from that (in fact they have a lease, although it has a somewhat dubious approval).

Putin would like to keep all of Ukraine in his orbit, but I think even he has doubts about his ability to seize Ukraine with force. The West will whine about the Crimea but has no leverage and will just hope they can bluff enough to maintain the rest of the existing Ukrainian borders without having Moscow annex the eastern part, too.

The whole east/west struggle is something of a pyrrhic victory for no matter who "wins" -- Ukraine's economy is a trainwreck, and the "winner" will have to spend big bucks to keep it propped up, which nobody wants to do.

Comment Airplay mirroring with touch to in-dash display (Score 2) 198

This is what they should be doing, but I fear it will be something more idiotic than that.

They can already do Airplay mirroring now and it's hard to believe that there's not an as-of-yet unimplemented protocol extension that would allow the touch input on the remote display to be sent to the phone. About the hardest part would be making sure the in-dash display was big enough and the right aspect ratio.

It'd be the most elegant solution -- all your apps with cellular data on the in-dash screen. No cords. They'd have to suppress messaging and maybe the keyboard in any app except maps or when not moving.

But I fear it will be iOS somehow adapted to the car itself and running on its hardware with a mandatory cellular data contract to make any of it useful and the 'apps' will be limited to a half-dozen or so and we'll still just use bluetooth for music and phones.

Comment iPod connectors/compatibility since at least '06 (Score 3, Informative) 198

For my '07 S80-V8 an iPod connector and in-dash stereo integration was a factory option (which I added).

It works pretty well -- playlists, artists, etc. It's the "older" dock connector so a 30 pin iPhone complains about it and won't charge, but I just put in an old 60 GB iPod and leave it in there and run my iPhone off a ProClip holder with a lightning-30pin adapter run to a split USB/aux cable that connects to the AUX in, so I can have iPhone audio on the stereo, too. It's kind of a Rube Goldberg setup, but the cables are neat and its nice to do podcasts or Pandora if I want.

Bluetooth would be better overall (less stuff, less cords) but the bluetooth from that year isn't as nice as the iPod control is.

I wonder why Apple can't make AirPlay mirroring with touch to an in-dash display a standard. For makers, it would make it something Android could support with an additional protocol and it would eliminate the need for most of the horrible in-dash infotainment systems car makers come up with.

Comment Re:By first throwing out. (Score 2) 195

Which fits with something which characterizes most effective sorting algorithms: they get rid of a lot of entropy early on. This works for tidying the house too. Start by throwing out stuff, then by moving things to the room they belong in, then putting them away.

To answer the question, I tend to quick sort things into manageable unsorted piles, insertion sort the piles and reassemble the piles.

Comment Context-sensitive (Score 2) 195

Sorting things alphabetically, as in the original example, I tend to start with a bucket sort, with the number of buckets depending on how many things I'm alphabetizing. This works well because I don't have to keep any state in memory other than what buckets there are (and if things are bad enough, I can do two stages of buckets - often mimicking a binary search in reverse, if there's a massive number). Once I've gotten everything at least first-letter alphabetized, I go through with a mergesort on each bucket, or if I'm able to hold all the documents or books at once, I just do an insertion sort.

However, whenever I need to sort a deck of cards (to make sure it's a full deck, for instance), I just play a game of Klondike solitaire, cheating as needed. It's slower, sure, but more fun that way.

Comment Education isn't first reason for going to Harvard (Score 3, Insightful) 538

The education you get at Harvard or Yale isn't first on the list of reasons why people want to go to those schools (or maybe even second or third).

The big reasons are the cachet of a diploma from those schools opens doors at grad schools and employers, and maybe even more importantly it's the people you go to school with are the economic elite. You get to rub shoulders with the rich and make contacts with them.

Other schools may offer equal or even better educations, but they don't offer access to those people.

Comment Best to never be a person of interest (Score 1) 137

....any interest.

It just seems to me that the best policy is to not have your name put on any law enforcement list of any kind unless there is some moral imperative that would compel you to, like being a witness to a crime.

This is kind of sad, because I would think it would be nice to be able to provide meaningful information to law enforcement but there just seems to be too many ways it could turn around and bite you, especially if your helpful information was deemed to be something that could be embarrassing to the agency in question.

Comment Re:Tim Cook doesn't understand the Law (Score 1) 348

Well, I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of shareholders in a joint stock company are at least *primarily* motivated by profit. But investors differ from each other in their temperament and priorities, otherwise there wouldn't need to be a stock market. Everyone would by the same stocks.

One of the big differences that drives investment choices is your investment horizon. If you're focused on return in the next quarter or two, you'd act precisely as this guy wants Apple to act. If it's not generating ROI in the next year to eighteen months at at least normal profit rates, you don't do it.

But the farther out your investment horizon is, the further into the future you are planning on holding a stock, the more differences in your beliefs and expectations about the future are going to differentiate you. Green energy is a good example. If you're investing for the next year or so, supporting green energy initiatives would be an act of altruism. If you are investing for the longer term you may see it as a hedge against future price volatility in fossil fuels -- presuming you *anticipate* future volatility, not everyone does.

Investment isn't just a numbers game; it's a belief about the future game. The longer the investment horizon, the more your individual beliefs about the future play in what courses of action you think will maximize profit.

Comment The author ought to have a nice cup of chamomile. (Score 2) 794

He gets all wrought up over things like Ezekiel bread, as if it were some kind of plot to slip Christian doctrine into us via our alimentary canals. In reality it's no different from Dogfish Head's line of historical beers. People buy them for the interest value. And most people who buy Dr. Bronner's soap because it smells nice; the gibberish on the label only gives you something to read in shower.

The issue with probiotics is that the food industry has got ahead of the science -- as usual. This kind of thing is everywhere you look. There's a difference between making scientifically unproven claims and claims that are actually *against* science. Once you discard the insufficient evidence stuff and the stuff that is meaninglessly vague, you're pretty much left with nutritional supplements and homeopathic nostrums, which are sold everywhere. "Insufficient evidence" and "meaninglessly vague" cover practically *everything* sold that makes some kind of health claim, right down to low fat milk which has been sold for its health properties for fifty years with no supporting evidence.

What Whole Foods is, is not a health food store; it's a high end grocery chain. Just look at their cheese department. Whole Foods is to the old time city gourmet food shop what the modern supermarket is to the neighborhood grocery store. It caters to high incomes. The health food thing is part of the clever packaging, like the high color temp lighting in the stores. It's meant to evoke the kind of food co-op many highly educated people may have shopped at in their college or graduate student days, but it's selling convenience packaged foods, not bulk.

Comment Re:And it'll be... (Score 1) 180

Even though we're all supposed to believe IPX was inferior to IP, I still think the addressing scheme has some advantages over IPv4.

It's a larger address space, with 32 bits of network addressing and 48 bits of node addressing using the MAC address by default, and there was no need for DHCP as clients could easily autoconfig node addresses by listening to the wire.

Assuming IP had adopted this addressing scheme, I sometimes wonder how many man-hours and dollars would have been saved over the years from the effort expended when merging or internetworking private IP networks with overlapping address spaces (renumbering or implementing NAT) or expanding networks that outstripped /24s.

Would even be talking about IPv6 if the network space of IPv4 included 32 bits of network?

A /16 is a huge allocation by existing IPv4 standards, but a relatively small total network in terms of /24s, yet with IPX style addressing a single /16 network assignment could satisfy the internetworking needs of a huge network since every bit could be used for a unique subnet, and fewer total subnets would be needed since the unique node space is the entire MAC space. LANs could scale without routing layers (up to whatever is sane for a single broadcast domain).

For example, McDonalds has 34,000+ restaurants worldwide. A single /16 IPX-style network assignment could be used to internetwork every restaurant in the world with more than enough left over to cover every other possible use. A single /8 could cover squad-level unique network assignments to the entire People's Liberation Army and probably unique assignments to every single vehicle, ship and plane in inventory.

Comment Make desktop Windows free, raise server prices? (Score 1) 392

I'd like to see the pricing models MS uses for pricing Windows desktop, server, Office, SQL/Exchange, and server OS & apps CALs.

I wonder if MS builds in interdependencies for these pricing and what kind of assumptions they make on how the pricing for one product relates to expected sales of another -- ie, if the price of desktop "Pro" is raised past X, how many fewer copies do they expect to sell of the desktop OS and how many fewer copies of Office or fewer server licenses and CALs?

My guess is that they follow the option to maximize pricing, keeping X at some value that maximizes how much they can charge without too adversely affecting other sales.

It makes me wonder, though, if someone has ever said "Hey, what happens if we make the pro desktop free but raise the price of server, server apps, and CALs by some percentage to both make up for some of the lost revenue, does it increase the sales of these items?"

And with a free desktop OS, I'd wager people would be more likely to accept crap like Win 8 versus hanging onto XP forever.

Slashdot Top Deals

"We want to create puppets that pull their own strings." -- Ann Marion "Would this make them Marionettes?" -- Jeff Daiell