Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment hobby fox (Score 1) 149

A fox joins the lion and donkey in hunting. When the donkey divides their catch into three equal portions, the angry lion kills the donkey and eats him. Then the fox put everything into one pile, leaving just a tiny bit for herself, and told the lion to choose. When the lion asked her how she learned to share things this way, the fox replied, "From the donkey(slashcode fuckup)s misfortune."

I'd rather have a foxhole hobby than be foxy humble.

Comment travel with a purpose (Score 1) 342

Partly for environmental reasons, I've decided not to lust after exotic vacations in far-away places. This was never viable for a global middle class.

It would make far more sense to facilitate working couples to be able to transplant themselves to a far-away country for a year or so to gain the experience of living and working with foreign cultures.

There is so much friction and chance in the job market that only the most intrepid couples are willing to take the jump. God help you if either half is a union employee. A year somewhere else could knock you right off the seniority escalator of shuffling your feet unadventurously. Seriously, do union executives get kickbacks from the airline and travel industry? They ought to.

Comment cancel geek pride day (Score 1) 540

Gordon Moore? Gordon Brown? Gordon Ramsey? Gordon the Green Engine? Any chance of a clue for those of us who don't mix in Paul's social circles?

This is so pathetic, and worse, it's becoming the norm in story submissions. Facts by the quarter teaspoon. The only thing keeping me here is the death of the paragraph in the post-Twitter apocalypse.

There was a story by a sad soul concluding that Microsoft Word might actually be better for his purposes than Google Docs or Libre Office.

Slashdot is the new Microsoft Word. Tolerable enough to plug our noses and viewpoints, but no cause for pride.

Comment Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (Score 2) 83

The whole reason we have slashdot is that people don't categorize through the same myopic self-interest. We all have a different myopic self-interest.

I tried to look at the map but it said android and ios is not supported? Ummm... I don't think these guys are very bright if they're creating new web content that doesn't support 500+ million devices out there, and putting a message asking users to ask Google and Apple to support some obscure webgl thing furthers my belief that these guys are morons.

Nokia N900 -- WebGL is available in the stock microB browser from the PR1.2 firmware update onwards.

BlackBerry PlayBook -- WebGL is available via WebWorks and browser in PlayBook OS 2.0

Firefox for mobile -- WebGL is available for Android devices in unstable builds since early 2011.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia range of Android smartphones have had WebGL capabilities following a firmware upgrade.

Opera Mobile 12 final supports WebGL (on Android only).

The very first thing I'm going to look for is cognitive cleft of can't/won't. It'll be somewhere near penis size, which should be hard to miss if they included in their leader reels any Bourne or Bond or Bay.

The airlines and credit card companies are busy trying to brainwash the masses that Team Cool is first in line for every feature attraction. After soaking this up, it must come as a huge and unwelcome surprise to find Team Clue in the express lane when the feature attraction is momentous enough to separate the men from the boys.

The second thing I'm going to look for is the locus of trolls who culminate with a car metaphor. It'll be somewhere right beside superior glow.

Comment water refined into fuel (Score 1) 200

Nice. Just add fuel energy ... and you've got fuel! Brought to you by the emission-free hydrogen car. We'll just squeeze an extra column into the periodic table between manganese and iron. Natrium: 25.5 protons. Chemical properties: Does not pollute. Application: Leak-proof hydrogen piping. Abundance: Just rub your fingers.

It's a little closer to sanity to describe hydrolysis as fueling water into a self-actualizing propellant.

Of course, lobbing iron ingots out of a rail gun achieves the same end, but that's not energy efficient for the momentum transfer achieved if the ingots eject at a high velocity (though it does conserve your ejectulate reserves).

More efficient to build the rail gun into the giant rock and lob the spacecraft with a giant rail gun. I doubt hydrolized water is the best available battery chemistry, though perhaps platinum is dirt cheap.

There must be some clever way to time the launch schedule to partially cancel out the drift term transferred to giant rock.

Comment consistency as a gridlock virtue (Score 1) 259

They never should have distributed apps together with the core frameworks ...

You should have posted this comment in response to the fellow who professes not to be an Apple fanboy, but who does like the way they have managed to make things consistent. Consistency is a gridlock virtue. Some large gorilla at the top of the food chain guesses right often enough to successfully don the "father knows best hat" while receiving adulation rather than contempt from the sharp-thinking in-crowd.

Consistency is good for users who find themselves at the sweet spot of the golden profile, not so good for ecosystems or freedom.

I've been reading Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter. He argues that there's never been a natural language in history anywhere close to as internally consistent as grammar nazis would have us believe. Why shouldn't we split an infinitive in English? Because in Latin, the infinitive is a single word.

Here's what I would accept as a certification credential for father consistency, before allowing him to try his hand at desktop Unity: reform the French language so that all feminine things are feminine and all masculine things are masculine, so that no student of the French language ever again needs consult a dictionary to determine which gender applies.

I won't settle for mere consistency, I demand universal consistency. If not that, giving me the effing options to tweak myself, consistent or not. It would be nice if the default settings are minimally self-consistent as viewed by the elected torch-bearer of groupthink. It won't be my consistency, but any consistency is better than no consistency ... as a starting point.

Comment Mao's universal dress code (Score 1) 430

There have many suppositions expressed here that I don't entirely buy. However, interpersonal dynamics can quickly become so rancorous that it's simpler to comply to Mao's dress code than stand apart as an artisan.

The most important aspect of code is the thought process involving in convincing yourself that the code is correct. It hardly matters a whit is the person reading the code reads the code but fails to read the argument embedded in the subtext within the presentation about why the code actually works.

C++ is a multiparadigmatic language. Some people hate that. Nevertheless, it can be heavily object oriented in one place, and completely generic in another. I don't find myself that any single formatting standard best emphasizes what matters to code correctness across these styles. Scope in generic code is mainly lexical. Scope in algorithms is mainly flow control. Should one automatically format the braces in the same way? Isn't that kind of like insisting that every knife has the same grip? You know, the standard rubber handle that everyone expects to feel the same way, no matter if it's a sushi knife or a steak knife or a bowie knife?

A more severe coding standard might go all the way to specifying that every knife is sharpened with the same bevel (either double or single sided; if single sided, either left or right handed) and to the same bevel angle. Steal is steal, ya know. German, Japanese. WTF, who cares? Ditch all the bread knives. Those are just weird.

I'd desperately like to see a study into whether rigid consistency leads to certain classes of bugs, because all eyeballs nod in agreement over the dress code. It's certainly true that people working on the code base who get used to the style will have a nice comfortable feeling. That could have good effects on code quality. But it could certainly also have bad effects that are harder to notice. Heaven forbid anyone rains on the cozy picnic with actual data.

Utopian for Beginners

This article is interesting but belongs to the TL;IRRO category (too long, I'd rather remain oblivious).

Ithkuil has two seemingly incompatible ambitions: to be maximally precise but also maximally concise, capable of capturing nearly every thought that a human being could have while doing so in as few sounds as possible.

Why don't we regiment thought, too? The ideas expressed in code would be so much more transparent if we all though about the world in the same categories.

Comment Ministry of Silly Walks (Score 1) 471

People like to go around chanting "We're #1!"

Soon the winner-takes-all market dynamics turns #1 into an 800lb gorilla, which does what gorillas do, until their once-proud fan base begins to feel the grip tighten to eye-popping intensity, whereupon the parade degenerates into a comic spectacle from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

The parade veterans dress in uncool loose shorts forever after, and express a lot less enthusiasm about chanting "We're #1!" but every generation has to learn for itself, so the cycle repeats.

I've come to realize that loyalty is a tricky business. If one puts any stock in the maxim that absolute power corrupts absolutely, it's hard not to view loyalty as sowing the seeds of destruction. I'm pretty happy in most markets if I can align myself with a viable #2, and almost ecstatic if I can align myself with a viable #3 (with any hope of midterm survival). In the early days of ATI/Nvidia I tended to buy Matrox. Matrox had fewer frames, but sharper pixels. Of course, that couldn't last.

I used to support AMD for the same reason. But now we have AMD Opteron 3200 Series [slashcode mdash fuckup] Where did they go?. You can't even read an AMD press release with any confidence the product exists. There are limits to rooting for the underdog. I continue to prefer OpenCL even through CUDA probably has an edge in stability. Whatever happens to AMD, I hope OpenCL doesn't end up owned by Oracle.

Chrome is now better than FF for many tasks. But I continue to use FF because the day FF dies off, Chrome will immediately begin to suck donkey balls where it suits Google. Google+ will be bundled into the browser experience in much the same way the IE was bundled into Windows. No, your honour, we can't remove Google+. It's a design pillar.

Samsung so far seems to have relative immunity to whatever got into the Sony water supply. Phones will remain a contested space for a while yet. The Koreans as a culture seem less attracted to DRM and more attracted to price fixing.

We'd all be a lot better off with less bandwagon effect. When I imagine the movie made about Jobs in the style of Gandhi, my version would probably begin with the line "As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be the band leader."

Comment one more turn of the crank (Score 1) 530

Slashcode has also completely fucked Unicode handling. We're a geek culture in deep violation of a core geek principle:

Postel's law

Be conservative in what you send, liberal in what you accept.

If you paste text into the Slashdot edit box containing a Unicode rendered apostrophe mark (among others), you get broken European ASCII charcters and no apostrophe. That does not meet the principle of being liberal in what you accept.

All they need to do is add a tick box "normalize Unicode" whereby any Unicode code point which maps directly onto an ASCII equivalent character is so replaced. If you intended to write "someoneÃs" so be it, don't click the tick box.

This is a persistent insult to a core cultural value. To paraphrase Primo Levi concerning the appropriate use of profanity: If not now, when?

Innocent? Who fucking cares. Fix it.

Comment a note on use-case-blindness profanity (Score 1) 530

I guess I lied in my last post. This time I wrote the subject line first.

One of the worst forms of cognitive prejudice is the premature closing of the mind to the possibility that's there is more than one way to get from point A to point B. For example, a top-down thinker might routinely fill in the subject line before composing. So too would an ideological hack, as this would be so easy to do. A bottom-up thinker might wish to back-fill something evocative of where the screed ultimately comes to rest.

I pressed "preview" to get a preview, and what I got instead (which I've seen before but wish to forget) was a chiding over my work flow and not what I reasonably requested (the preview).

I tend to lump these things in a mental category I've labeled "work flow blindness". Work flow blindness is extremely corrosive. I'm sure everyone has been in a relationship setting where one person goes "What are you doing that for?" observing an intermediate step of some completely reasonable improvisation.

If this becomes normative and there's no pushback, you end up with a compliance-oriented culture with no improvisation or common sense.

In my opinion, if profanity has a valid use case, this must be it. If you're challenged in a sharp tone of voice in the middle of a completely reasonable improvisation the correct response is to say "Fuck off" and continue with your business. It's the snarky person who ought to be feeling the stinging rebuke over the presumption that another person was too damn stupid to sensibly improvise.

I understand the motivation. Policing conformity is easy. Policing improvisation requires actual thought.

In my online personae, I've decided not to reign in the profanity bursting inside whenever I encounter a system which bakes in something that smells anything like this kind of use-case blindness. It's about establishing a base-line permission for people to bark back at the implied insult. I've decided that even those who stumble into this by innocent mistake deserve rebuke for providing a cover story to those who innately prefer to take this stance.

I'm also fairly harsh with innocent racism. Certain forms of innocence are inexcusible.

Comment no points for refusing bad practice (Score 1) 530

I signed up, then decided I was wasting my time when it got to the True/False verbal test. I've spent decades training myself not to think this way. In my version, the choices would contain active verbs.


(A) Circle Contains Square -or- (B) Square Contains Circle

When you're writing complex code, and you invert the logic once as you mentally transform it the desired symbolic transliteration, and then you transform it again (now it's a double negative), etc. you're soon relying on your brain to maintain an abstract parity calculation, which the human brain does not reliably do in my experience; and worse, the portion of your attention span devoted to walking on water is not available to cross-check your work on other levels.

I felt like a mental pygmy trying to hold the not-ness of the question in mind while assessing the geometrical relationship. It's the same for me reading text on a screen where anything blinks or flashes or crawls in any way at all. My comprehension plummets. I have smart friends who say they don't even notice the surrounding blink. I'm not the fastest reader, but I'm a deep reader, and I have supremely good long term retention of the core ideas. I have a bit of the intelligence that made Christopher Hitchens famous among his own set: the ability to seemingly recall anything he'd ever read at any point in any debate. For me its not so much eidetic, but a life long practice of weaving a dense idea graph. What for another person is three degrees of separation for me is usually only two, which spares me an extra activation of short term memory in the heat of the moment.

It would take me about fifteen minutes to activate a reliable mental video game circuit to delegate the "not" out of band as a reversal of my final decision. The task felt too repugnant to even begin.

I just wanted to click the box labeled "This is a bad way to think" then get on with the next question.


Note to Slashdot: fuck off with the

Cat got your tongue? (something important seems to be missing from your comment ... like the body or the subject!)

when I press preview to check that markup is properly supported. I wouldn't bitch so harshly if it had also displayed my preview, which it didn't. Save the snark for when I press submit on a subjectless comment.

Unlike some people content with endlessly rehashing their favorite party line, my subject line emerges in the process of engaging what I have to say.

Comment Common Sense 101 MIA (Score 4, Interesting) 179

Where have all the smart people gone? I've read several dozen posts and not one has pointed out that the problem of promising a scalar delivery date before determining subscription level can't possibly optimize over a metric of on-time delivery.

Kickstarter projects should be providing an estimated delivery date as a function of subscription level, where x1 (or less) is the number most projects now promote, but you also have numbers for x3, x10, x30, and x100. Out my ass, I'd guess you could fit a curve to existing Kickstarter data that would add six weeks to the deadline for each multiple of 3 in oversubscription level.

The Pebble project actually hit x100, so a realistic ship date in my mind might be 4x6=24 weeks later than the originally promised early fall delivery date.

The positive influence of having substantially greater funds to deploy (Pebble hired more people than originally planned) is wiped out and then some by the hugely increased risk level. If Pebble manufactures 85,000 watches, ships most of them out immediately, then discovers that 20% of the devices fail in under three months due to faulty moisture control or creeping solder whiskers, they might as well just blow the hole thing up.

Who is going to show up with $2,000,000 to bail them out of a huge PR fiasco?

One could say that the Pebble originally promised is late. Or one could say that the originally promised Pebble will never ship because it no longer exists. I tend to take the second view. The Pebble that ships 6 months downstream of the delivery date promoted during the funding cycle is not the same device. The manufacturing standards are higher, the QA standards are higher, additional features have been added (higher level BT standard, additional waterproofing), and the development environment should be further along (though I haven't seen any tangible evidence of this as yet).

The whole problem here begins with the phrase "The Pebble". "The Pebble" people thought they were buying/endorsing ceased to exist as the subscription level climbed toward the first $1,000,000 (the x10 subscription level). Pebble went deep into the regime of "a Pebble" from a spectrum of possible Pebble delivery scenarios.

The Pebble promoted was supposed to be manufactured in the S.F. region. The Pebble delivered will have been manufactured off shore in China. Until the subscription level was determined, we were truthfully talking about a Pebble modulo volume and risk. There's not even any point in totting up on-time delivery statistics without confronting the central fiction of the Kickstarter model.

When I signed up mid-snowball I viewed it as a quantum superposition of two entrepreneurial stories: A) a relatively low volume run with mid grade QA, immature tools, and a small target market; B) a high volume run with high volume QA standards, somewhat mature tools, and a moderately large target market for app developers.

The story was acceptable to me, either way. One watch, two stories. Kickstarter is not a single story engagement, even if the convention holds that only one of these stories is mentioned during project promotion.

A person has to be in some profound eigenstate of stupid, uniformed, myopic, deluded, distracted, self-serving, or litigious to fail to figure this out.

Comment Re:OsStress (Score 1) 241

In my previous post, the value implied for Pi by that figure is actually 32/10. And there's a "would" missing from my final sentence. I was in thrall momentarily to reductive epilepsy.

Comment Re:OsStress (Score 3, Informative) 241

Nope! It's the same processor. Sure, some come out different, but oftentimes there are loads of perfectly good processors that get underclocked for marketing reasons only.

When the day arrives that we achieve molecular assembly, even then for two devices identically assembled with atom for atom correspondence, there will likely be enough variation in molecular or crystaline conformation remaining to classify the two devices at the margin as "not quite the same".

Binning levels are determined by the weakest transistor out of billions, the one with a gate thickness three deviations below the mean, and a junction length a deviation above. There is probably some facility for defective block substitution at the level of on-chip SRAM (cache memory), and maybe you can laser out an entirely defective core or two.

As production ramps, Intel has a rough model of how the binning will play out, but this is a constantly moving target. Meanwhile, marketting is making promises to the channel on prices and volumes at the various tiers. There's no sane way to do this without sometimes shifting chips down a grade from the highest level of validation in order to meet your promises at all levels despite ripples experienced in actual production.

Intel is also concerned--for good reason--about dishonest remarking in the channel. There's huge profit in it, and it comes mainly at the expense of Intel's reputation. Multiplier locks help to discourage this kind of shady business practice. So yeah, a few chips do get locked into a speed grade less than the chip could feasibly achieve. This is all common sense from gizzard to gullet. What's your point, then?

If they were an engineering firm, they'd sell one product at one price and be done with it.

Where you even find so many stupid engineers? The College of Engineering for Engineers Who Think Statistics is One Big Cosmic Joke presided over by the Edwin J. Goodwin Chair of Defining Pi As Equal to 22/7?

Slashdot Top Deals

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. -- Samuel Goldwyn