Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Anybody using Ada? (Score -1) 165

Summing up my recent comment on another story:

Historically C has been irreplaceable for serious system programming, and on the other side of Ousterhout's Dichotomy we had decent scripting languages like Python, Ruby, Tcl, Lua, etc. Now we're seeing the slow emergence of a new generation of languages that are close enough to the power and efficiency of C, and also offer much greater developer productivity and safety: D, Go, Rust, Nimrod, etc.



Wozniak's Predictions For 2013: the Data Center, Mobility and Beyond 70

Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech icon Steve Wozniak has come forward with several predictions for 2013, with data center technologies an important part of the list. Wozniak's predictions are based on a series of conversations he had recently with Brett Shockley, senior vice president and general manager of applications and emerging technologies at Avaya. They trace an arc from the consumer space up through the enterprise, with an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon: Woz believes that mobile devices will eventually become the 'remote controls,' so to speak, of the world. Although he's most famous as the co-founder of Apple, Wozniak currently serves as chief scientist at Fusion-io, a manufacturer of enterprise flash storage for data centers and other devices."

Comment Re:All Democracy Is Tyranny (Score -1) 384

Right up until the vagaries of random chance give some individual/group a little bit more power than anyone else, which they use to get even more power and then you end up with these groups running things.

Once achieved, the equilibrium of NAP should be very stable. Reemergence of government in a post-government world is akin to educated people returning to the belief in a flat world that rests on the backs of four giant elephants! How do you get 7+ billion self-interested individuals to stand by while some upstart wannabe enslaves them? In adsense of the "divine right of governments" delusion, this much concentration of power in the private sector is simply absurd.

Free Market Capitalism won't prevent this because it can't, in order to prevent this you need people with perfect knowledge so they react against these vagaries, but people don't have perfect knowledge especially not the hyper individualists you postulate here, since they'll inherently be adverse to sharing knowledge *they* have.

First of all, describing current governments as having "perfect knowledge" of anything is just simply funny. Secondly, this is a case of comparing a closed centralized system with an open polycentric one, like Microsoft vs FLOSS (except Microsoft is less incompetent than the government and is not in a position of being corrupted by total power).

Your claim that individuals will refuse to share knowledge, even when it is in their self-interest to share it, is totally baseless - what will happen is the very opposite. We're already seeing this effect take place in every aspect of the Internet, and it will continue to expand. People post reviews of local restaurants because it makes them feel important, they post their little shell scripts or photos of their cats online to attract attention to their site, they edit Wikipedia to add in missing pieces whose absence bugs them, etc, etc, etc - the same will apply to methods of polycentric surveillance as well. In some cases sharing outdoor security camera feeds and other knowledge will be essential for their safety - and they'll know it.

In a postmodern society you'll inevitably have high-tech eyeballs: like billions of live-streaming cameras everywhere, satellite sensors, buffers in everyone's augmented-reality glasses, hovering / underground / floating pollution tracking bots, etc, etc, etc. For example, guns would likely have built-in cameras (strongly encouraged by neighborhood regulations, liability insurance plans, etc) to document self-defense. Imagine Google Earth, but with everything integrated into it, live and with time-shifting, all coordinated by AI - you can track anyone almost everywhere and anytime. Privacy will become a feature, not an expectation - blind-spots (ex. private residences) will obviously exist, but you'll know who entered them and when. In order to constitute objective evidence (as video/etc from a closed feed can be faked), those data sources would have to be streamed live and be "open source" - one camera is watching another. Polycentric jurisprudence would require property records and some types of contracts to become open public record. Think of it like trying to falsify well-exposed HTTP content history, but with video - you may be able to somehow hack the original site and even Google Cache, but what about and Bing and Yahoo and a hundred other scrapers who've observed the content prior to your tampering? Non-contradiction among multiple third-party-owned live-streaming witness devices makes for objective proof.

Technology will eventually make secrets very difficult, and crime as we know it pretty much obsolete. It would be next to impossible to get away with failing to clean up after your dog in a shared neighborhood park, much less build an army! Game Theory 101 - "everybody wants to rule the world", but nobody wants a certain death trying! And who would this madman hire to be in his army? In absence of the recognized "divine right" to tax and print "legal tender", how would s\he pay them? Governments have vast amounts of power, including "soft power" (ex. monopoly on regulating child education, licensing of media, etc) - once that's gone it would be utterly impossible to recreate that much irrational public obedience on a large scale!

In a government-controlled world all this technology would constitute a Big Brother dystopia, but in a decentralized free market and with natural pressures to encourage "open source" interoperability, it would be a fairly innocuous fact of life. The paranoid would move into neighborhoods with strict anticam laws and privacy domes, but that doesn't constitute a threat. Most people will just learn to avoid lying, and mass-psychology will adjust. Anyone who is interested in "evil madmen trying to take over the world" scenarios (and there inevitably will be people who'll be obsessed with these sorts of "conspiracy theories") will have no less "perfect knowledge" than governments have today. Powerful individuals will be under constant scrutiny, with great pressure for transparency and audits on top of audits by independent agencies - if they remain suspicious for long, then their businesses will be ostracized, and their power will deflate considerably. And, hypothetically speaking, if those "evil madmen" were to succeed, the worst they could do to stabilize their power is create the same kind of demagogic "mommy government" systems we have today!

Needless to say, governments will not be phased out overnight, but in the coming decades they will become less and less relevant as technology makes more and more of their functions obviously unnecessary. Who needs borders when the whole world is economically integrated? Who needs roads when you have flying cars with P2P wireless collision avoidance and liftoff/landing coordination protocols? Who needs the FDA when, as you look at a product, your glasses feed you aggregated summary icons from independent labs and QA agencies, which compete with each-other based on their reputation for accuracy and incorruptibility? Who needs a welfare bureaucracy (which currently spends $60k per family to keep them in poverty) when "mandatory direct aid" (a gradualist stopgap solution) and eventually private charity achieve far more cost-efficiency while actually helping people overcome their problems on a personal level?

Freedom will not advance uniformly, but the places that conduct smartest and fastest reforms will attract the top brains and capital, while socialist holdouts will become isolated and backward as they simply run out of competent people to tax. Governments have always relied on their influence of media and exaggerated external threats to strenthen their power, but the Internet levels the playing field a great deal. If they ever have to "send in the tanks" to crush a secession movement, the whole world will be watching the bloodbath on YouTube (or WikiLeaks, or The Pirate Bay, etc), and tyrants will ultimately have to yield to public sympathies to retain whatever shrinking scraps of power they have left.

Congratulations you've replaced regulatory capture with feudalism.

I've "replaced" nothing. I've laid out a vision for the evolution of governance systems in light of future technological and social trends.

Comment School Sucks... (or: Gun Control Strikes Again) (Score -1) 2987

People who study statistics and understand elementary Game Theory should not be surprised. When you have pockets of helpless individuals who cannot defend themselves, sooner or later someone will attack them and cause tremendous damage. Given the population size, large school shootings are likely to happen every so many months on average. Controlling society to such a degree that no one has the power to attack has never been a good idea, and new technologies (ex. 3D printers and other cheap tech than can turn any garage into a gun manufacturing plant, Bitcoin and the Silk Road for distribution, etc) make it nearly impossible.

Governments can't even keep drugs out of their own prisons! A society where bad guys can't get guns would have to be so tyrannical the cure would be a thousand times worse than the disease! Gun Control is like the belief that the earth is flat - intuitive but just plain wrong!

The way to reduce the odds is dead-simple - don't have those pockets where no one can defend themselves; don't have blind faith in a centralized power center in a police station across town. Whether this means arming school administrators, hiring armed security guards, or utilizing reputable parent volunteers is a matter of implementation that remains to be studied. If parents had more choice in where their children are educated, then security concerns would receive more attention, and, in addition to academics and other factors, schools would compete based on their security policies as well. This creates an evolutionary system where the best and most cost-effective security ideas are sought out and spread from school to school.


The root of the problem with school shootings is the forced schooling of all children by one government-controlled system. When kids are herded against their will into government indoctrination centers and are forcefully socialized at random, this creates angst and other negative emotions, bullying, and the desire to strike back. Social pressures of school tend to overwhelm all other concerns, especially academics, which begs the question - what's the point of all this?! This is the 21st century - you'll learn more if you cut school, stay home, and just read Wikipedia all day!

Why lock kids in a building with mediocre local teachers, when through the Internet they can watch the best lecturers in the world, safely participate in online student forums, take online exams, etc. Technology also reduces the cost of monitoring kids through in-home cameras (where monitoring can be cheaply outsourced / eventually AI-based) and GPS tracking, so government-subsidized babysitting of all kids in the same building no longer makes sense. Homes with a stay-at-home parent could make extra money by hosting their neighbor's kids during daytime, while they do their schoolwork via laptops - in a much safer, healthier, emotionally supportive, and parent-controlled environment than government school!

More homeschooling choices would lead to a better, more focused education for each child, less negative peer pressure and teen angst, less undermining of family authority, and improved safety as well! Kids would then socialize with each-other on the basis of mutual interest (although some randomness, if desired, can still be thrown into the equation), build healthy hobby-driven friendships (that can evolve into career connections later in life), and learn to treat each-other like fellow human beings rather than fellow caged rats!

School vouchers and exam-controlled homeschooling options are definitely a step in the right direction.



White House Must Answer Petition To 'Build Death Star' 384

EdIII writes "The White House petition to secure funding for building the Death Star has garnered over 25,000 signatures, which means the White House must officially respond. I can't wait to see it. My question to Slashdot readers: what modifications would you add to the proposed Death Star? Obviously, as one journalist put it, 'guardrails around any of the facility's seemingly endless number of bridges, spans, shafts and pits.' What other changes would you ask your representatives to make?"

Comment Re:Copyfree HTML5 Video > Bloated Copyleft Crap (Score -1) 252

(Hmm, the > from the subject line has disappeared in your reply... Unless you've edited it out intentionally... Slashdot has got to be one of the most incompetently-developed buggy top2k sites on the Internet!)

Anyway, I was just expressing my insightful position on the matter - our values are not in conflict. Just something to consider the next time you get to choose which video codec to encode with (or, all other things being equal, which BitTorrent version of a video to seed, etc).

Hopefully in a couple of years VLC will become entirely obsolete.

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score -1) 245

Words have specific meaning, and the word "freedom" clearly doesn't match your intent. You can't lose freedom to take away the freedom of others - that wasn't your proper freedom to begin with! There's no such thing as a "positive right" - not to a pony, not to free health insurance, and not to other people's source code! What you mean to say is that the move from GPL to BSD licenses is a blow for socialist delusions and for legitimization of government force!

Corporations are voluntary institutions that are the engine of human civilization, taking us out of the dark ages and into a new enlightened age of science, reason, and material superabundance! You don't have to do business with anyone if you don't so choose, but you must respect the negative Rights of others. Like them or not, closed-source projects have a Right to exist, and trying to poison them by dumping code with viral legal threats attached is just as illegitimate as patents, EULA's, and other "implicit contracts". When copyLEFT falls, copyright will follow!

(All posts I've seen thus-far ending with "--libman" are mine. I'll come up with a better authentication system, someday...)

Comment Re:Reminds me a contact from Google (Score 1) 233

Some guy from Google contacted me too, and I wished he screened me by asking how to design a solution for a very deep and technical problem, instead of expecting me to memorize things that can easily be googled or browsed through the man pages.

Fresh graduates have an edge with Google's hiring process. I've been developing software for quite some time now, but I no longer remember the Big O thingy for standard sorting algorithms.

Submission + - The real reason why the MPAA fears piracy (

NewtonsLaw writes: "I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this will be aware of the movie Iron Sky.

I've been waiting for a long time to watch this movie and finally it has been uploaded to YouTube so I watched it on the weekend.

As the title credits rolled, I rushed off and pre-ordered the BluRay disk of the movie, which isn't due for release here in NZ until December 14th.

I am proof that making your wares available for free can actually promote sales — but only so long as your content is good enough (which Iron Sky certainly is). So, perhaps the reason that the MPAA fears piracy is because it lets people see just how crappy most of their material is *before* they fork over their hard earned cash.

I blogged about this in more detail today"


Submission + - Microsoft Surface Touch Cover "Splits within Days" ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Guardian reports: 'Some early users of the Touch Cover of Microsoft's Surface tablet say one of the edges splits to expose a wire just days after they starting using it. A number of users on the Surface Forums site have reported the problem, which has also been experienced by Tom Warren, a writer on the Verge website and Matthew Baxter-Reynolds, a Windows developer. The defect is identical in each case: the cover, which has an integral keyboard, begins to split at its seam where the device attaches magnetically to the main computer. Microsoft did not respond to a request from The Guardian for information about how many reports there had been of the problem. Baxter-Reynolds was told to return his Touch Cover to Microsoft for a replacement, and Microsoft has been swapping faulty covers for users where it has retail stores. It's unclear whether the problems that people have encountered are due to a faulty batch or are a subtle problem that will become more apparent as more people use it for longer- but the fact that users in the US and the UK have reported the problem suggests that it is not isolated to a single manufacturing batch.'

Submission + - Adding forums to a website, what is the best way?

DustyMurray writes: "I am considering adding forums to my website, and am just getting confused by all the options. My first reaction is always DIY. You get better website integration, and it looks and feels 100% how you want it to look and feel. However looking at things like phpBB and Vanilla forums, I will be hard pressed to build a better user experience in a reasonable amount of time. Also these out-of-the-box solutions seem to be shouting "Easy to integrate with your website". So, considering this, how easy are these ready build forums really to integrate in your website. I remember one of my favorite site, going completely blabla when they started to use a generic forum instead. I even stopped going to them after a while... I definitely do not want that for my site.... So I want things like, looks and feels in integral part of the rest of my site. Want to be able to insert stuff on certain pages, so it's not either the forums, or my site... It must be a mix. And I do not want a second login system on my site. And last but not least, I definitely don't want to have this typical generic look that most forums sport, they just reek "out-of-the-box-very-vanilla".... So can all that be delivered with the out-of-the-box forums that exist today? And which one is the most flexible regarding these wishes."

Slashdot Top Deals

To communicate is the beginning of understanding. -- AT&T