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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Missing option: end the USPS (Score 4, Informative) 564

Not in the last 30 years they haven't. Unless you were a taxpayer in the 70s, your tax dollars _never_ subsidized USPS.

You should really know something before you make statements like that. According to the USPS annual budget report, the USPS has basically survived by borrowing close to $15 Billion from the Fed in interest free loans. About 2/3 of that debt is related to the pension costs, but the rest is simply operating losses. If the USPS goes under before paying it back, then yes, the taxpayers have to foot the bill for the entire amount. Even if the USPS does pay it back, we are still talking about interest free loans. Where do I go to get a 0% interest loan when I need one?

If you include a normal interest rate for a business loan, say, 5%, then you can tack an additional $4 Billion onto that bill. So in a very real sense we are subsidizing the USPS, and it becomes even worse if the USPS tanks before paying us. The only difference between the USPS failing and any other business at that point is that the union members pensions are largely funded so that they don't take it in the shorts as bad as the auto workers did...


Comment Re:Missing option: end the USPS (Score 1) 564

1) The USPS is NOT a monopoly. You are free to send your mail/packages via FedEx, UPS, DHS, local parcel and gasp e-mail.

The USPS is a monopoly. No other carrier may handle "letters", and only two entities can touch a mailbox, the owner and an authorized representative of the USPS. for everyone else there's jail time. If that's not a monopoly I don't know what is.


Comment Re:TFA (Score 1) 210

How much redundancy do you want though? A complete redundant set of transmission lines and all the associated equipment to the stadium? Where are you going to put those lines? What do they cost? The last I knew, high voltage transmission lines were about $1million/mile in a rural area, and that was five years ago. I have no idea what they would cost in an urban area. If the football game is so important, maybe they should have their own power generation like hospitals do.

Something the size of a stadium might have redundant power supplies, or it might not, but no single piece of equipment should be capable of shutting down a supply line unless there really is danger. The offending piece of equipment should have had a failover / backup unit if needed. In fact it probably had such equipment, but it wasn't triggered because the problem was not equipment failure, but rather improper installation. No amount of redundancy can fully compensate for improper installations. There are just too many creative idiots out there. That having been said, the "idiot" here should be sent packing. When you're dealing with power levels that can cause major catastrophes, you really don't want someone with a track record of failure. Failures can be lethal in that business.


Comment Re:TFA (Score 1) 210

That the electric utility is called before a city council meeting to "answer for" a power outage at a football game is, frankly, laughable.

When its an event with that kind of money involved, you bet they get called in to explain it. Power outages are just not common in the U.S. and are normally only due to human error, or acts of nature. Devices that can fail should be introduced into systems in ways that provide redundancy. This is done for the sake of continued up-time, and safety. Not having sufficient redundancy can easily be referred to as human error. Saying that the task is "hard work" is an unacceptable excuse. If the system design was insufficient, then it should not have been used. If it was sufficient but was installed wrong, then the installer is at fault. Cutting costs is not an acceptable reason for a system failure. If the proper equipment and installation cost more than there was budget for, then the issue should have been escalated until it could be resolved by adding additional resources, or scrapping the project. Endangering a $100 million operation for the sake of saving $50,000 on an electrical installation is cause for an inquest, and given the severity, likely someone will loose their job as a result.


Comment Re:I hope this guy's good... (Score 1) 230

You really deserve a shiv in the liver, mother fucker.


Bush Jr did more damage to our freedoms than any other president in the history of our country. Given enough time he would have managed to revert us to a feudal system of government. He set the stage in which our current president is continuing to encroach on our rights unchecked. Bush Jr behaved more like a despot than an elected official, and played the nation for the fools that we are. I don't know who I hold more contempt for, Bush or the people who still can't see him for what he is.

So yes, I am happy that he got some limited kind of justice because he sure as hell will never see any real justice for his crimes.


Comment Re:I hope this guy's good... (Score 1) 230

You're part of the problem.

I'm pretty sure I'm not.

I didn't vote for any of these asshats, and I find it appropriate when their sociopathic tendencies come back to bite them in the ass. Vigilante justice may not be the best form of justice, but it is the only form these people will ever face.


Comment Re:I hope this guy's good... (Score 1) 230

I'm trying to sort out your twisted logic, but all I keep getting is a strange comparison between Obama and Bush, as if those were the only two presidents we have ever had. Both of them suck. At times I have a hard time telling where a Bush policy starts and an Obama policy ends. They are both ineffective partisan asshats who should never have been allowed to run anything. It should be noted that neither one of them has a scrap of integrity. The same can be said of pretty much every president in the last three decades with the possible exception of Reagan, but he was just acting.

The problem here isn't the individual in the white house, its the system that puts them there. That system virtually guarantees that someone who is able to make tough decisions based solely on the merits and not on the special interests, is doomed to fail. Once you have chosen a political ideology to stand behind (and the associated candidates), you have become part of the problem.


Comment Re:I hope this guy's good... (Score 1) 230

If evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered, this might be justified.

By that logic... the hack is justified from the beginning because without opening up these emails... we would have no way to know if there is any wrongdoing.

No... this is wrong. Period.

No, it really isn't wrong. The reason is simple. Bush Jr went to great pains to erode our constitutional protections, and successfully rendered our privacy moot. Thanks to Bush, the federal government can search my e-mail without a warrant . If the government has this right by Bush's admission, we the people should have that right. To my mind that makes Bush's e-mail fair game for public consumption. Any way you slice it, GW had this coming, and I can only hope that there is something in there that in some way diminishes Bush and his ilk in the years to come.

Comment Re:battery life vs flexibility (Score 1) 404

I can get two solid days of heavy use on my iPhone 4. If I'm not using apps, I can get 3 days out of it.

So how come no one else I know can get more than a day?

Let me guess, they're using their iPhones wrong?

The most likely culprit is that they have not turned off the "automatically join networks" option. Leaving this on, leaves the wifi in high power mode all of the time. Turning that off doubled my battery life. I have to manually join the wifi network, but this is less of a pain than having no phone because i forgot to charge it last night. Also, note I have a 4, not a 4S. I thought I remember something about the 4S and the 5's using significantly more juice, but I could be wrong about that part.

Comment Re:battery life vs flexibility (Score 1) 404

The early blackberrys were highly optimized text messaging machines...everything was aimed at maximizing battery life.

Once you start bringing in big bright high def screens, arbitrary apps, fluid video, fancy gui elements, etc. you pretty much by definition are going to use more battery keeping the whole thing running.

You could have 3 days of battery life now if you were willing to go back to the feature set of the 8830.

In that time, batteries have improved dramatically as well. I can get two solid days of heavy use on my iPhone 4. If I'm not using apps, I can get 3 days out of it. Poor battery life is the result of engineers who either didn't care or didn't understand the importance of power consumption optimization. In short, its an engineering failure.


Comment Re:I'd expect that... (Score 2, Insightful) 404

REALLY GOOD TOOLS TO INTEGRATE WITH BUSINESS Everything you mention except remote wipe are for the end user. When people talk about tools to integrate with business they are usually referring to enterprise infrastructure integration tools. The problem is...The end user usually outnumbers the enterprise admin 200 to 1 so you have 200 people all going "It does what I need it to do" and 1 guy desperately trying to get anybody to listen to him about the inadequacies of the overall system. For enterprise the phone is but one piece to a very large whole. BlackBerry designed an enterprise system whereas Apple and Google designed a consumer oriented ecosystem. The former allows for fine granular control from the infrastructure to be pushed outward. The latter allows the end user to get stuff from iTunes/GooglePlay. From the very first BB phone connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) the infrastructure group was able to mandate policies on the device. There are third party policy tools to manage iOS devices in the enterprise but they are not as mature or feature rich as BES. Of course the new BES 10 actually has built in support for iOS/Android devices now which could aid in enterprise adoption of these platforms but BlackBerry will be making money off of each device with a seat license. But BB 10 upgrades can use existing licenses. BlackBerry wins either way.

Your post inadvertently exposes the entire reason that RIM is loosing, and will continue to burn.

The whole point is that phones used to be a corporate provided necessity, that the end user had mostly no use for outside of work. That meant that the company could have sole control and there would be no issue. Today, that situation is reversed, The smartphone is mostly for the end users use, and the company gets to tag along (often at no cost to the company even). The entirety of the needed technology is to prevent sensitive materials from ending up on the phone in the first place, as it cannot be considered a secure device. This is best achieved as en e-mail server administration policy. Any other solution is far more money and trouble than it is worth. Simply prevent the e-mail system from pushing attachments to smartphones devices, and you're 99.9% of the way there.

The reason this is so important is a matter of control. End users do not want to give up *any* control over their devices. The devices belong to them, and they won't tolerate the company tinkering with it in any form. We are a typical operation that makes heavy use of smartphones to keep in constant contact. The company does not pay for private phones or plans, but will provide a company cell phone to anyone who needs a phone / refuses to use their personal phone. The company phones are obnoxious enough that most people just use their own. The company happily interfaces with the private phones for e-mail and corporate messaging as easily as for the corporate phones, but the no attachments policy is enforced on the email servers. Even if someone looses a personal smartphone, there is nothing of any real value that is exposed to theft, so there is very little risk.

To implement all of that support requires only that the IT department implement attachment control policies on the email servers, and otherwise its a non-issue. Our wireless networks are already isolated from the corporate networks and considered completely untrusted, so there was never any exposure from wifi access in the first place. Even after all of that, we have not had anyone come to us and complain that something they were trying to do with their private or corporate phone wouldn't work.

At the end of the day there isn't anything that a fancy BES system and draconian lock down provides that we don't already have, and we save a huge amount of money by not having to provide phones and plans to everyone, not to mention the cost of supporting BES and / or whatever other systems your way calls for. BES and its brethren is a solution to a problem that no longer really exists. RIM is doomed because they came late to the smartphone party with features that no one really needs anymore, and as MS is discovering, the market moves too fast to be playing catchup.


Slashdot Top Deals

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.