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Comment Drinking Water Isn't So Easy As You Think (Score 3, Interesting) 247

When I was a kid I did Unicef collection every Haloween. We got an orange cardboard coin box at school, and collected donations to it along with our trick-or-treat. Unicef used these funds to build water wells for people in Africa who had only access to contaminated surface water.

A decade or two later, we found that many of these wells accessed aquifers that were contaminated by arsenic. And that thus we kids had funded the wholesale poisoning of people in Africa, and that a lot of them had arsenic-induced cancers that were killing them.

OK, we would not make that mistake again, and today we have access to better water testing. But it caused me to lose my faith that we really do know how to help poor people in the third world, no matter how well-intentioned we are.

And we had better not go around curing disease withoput also promoting birth control. Despite what the churches say, and the local dislikes and prejudices. Or we'll just be condemning more people to starve.

Comment Re:155 Forrester Clients (Score 1) 337

Yes, it's barely-supported analyst wank, not any sort of proper industry survey. But it's from Forrester, and this sort of thing is their bread and butter.

"Analysts sell out - that's their business model. But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with."

Comment Re:The whole Open/Libre Office thing hurt (Score 4, Informative) 337

Not quite. The Oracle-paid devs stayed working at Oracle (until they fired them all six months later), but most of the non-Oracle and non-IBM contributors got up and left - that is, the people who'd spent ten years giving OpenOffice a public reputation at all. Then Oracle threw it to IBM to do Apache OpenOffice, which is ridiculously behind in development (and is now wondering on its mailing list how on earth it can actually get any outside developers interested). (AOO partisans will deny both points, but those links are to the Wikipedia articles, which have ridiculous quantities of citations to this effect.)

Comment Re:Er, wait, what? (Score 5, Insightful) 140

Well, nuclear reactions that we can turn off like laser-initiated fusion are a lot nicer than the alternatives. The inside of your car engine is a raging inferno shot with electric sparks and compressed with inexorable steel cylinders. That doesn't keep you from going on a nice drive with your sweetie.

Comment So many uses (Score 4, Informative) 129

I have four RPi boards. One monitors my UPSs, cleanly suspending my server when the power goes out and sending wake-on-LAN massages to it when the power comes back up so that the UPS only needs to drive my switch and AP, one has a camera board and does motion detection to spot people coming into my office, one is currently operating as a Bluetooth LE beacon for testing the new iOS iBeacon stuff and one is just for tinkering. Most of these have a few other services running on them too (two have I2C thermometers on them).

I see a lot of negative comments about the Pi being underpowered. Perhaps if what you want to do is run FPS games or you are trying to run Big Data analytics then this is true but it's plenty powerful enough for a whole host of service tasks. It's not that many years ago that the Pi's level of power would have been considered a high-end desktop configuration. The purpose of the device is to give kids a low-cost entry into programming and it does just that. On top, at $25 for a Model A its fine to put in 'dangerous' places where something bad might happen to it (like outdoors, driving the sensors and servos for my Halloween decorations). No, I don't have my MongoDB server on a Raspberry Pi, but for many many projects they are just about perfect.

Comment Re:Oh, you guys... (Score 3, Insightful) 262

CUPERTINO, Transylvania, Friday — After bricking unlocked iPhones, kicking applications off the iPhone store that might even slightly compete with iTunes in the far future and filing a wave of patents on basic well-known computer science, Apple Inc. today filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring that it was openly adopting Evil as a corporate policy.

"Fuck it," said Zombie Steve Jobs to an audience of soul-mortgaged thralls, "we're evil. But our stuff is sooo good. You'll keep taking our abuse. You love it, you worm. Because our stuff is great. It's shiny and it's pretty and it's cool and it works. It's not like you'll go back to a Windows phone. Ha! Ha!"

Steve Ballmer of Microsoft was incensed at the news. "Our evil is better than anyone's evil! No-one sweats the details of evil like Microsoft! Where's your antitrust trial, you polo-necked bozo? We've worked hard on our evil! Our Zune's as evil as an iPod any day! I won't let my kids use a lesser evil! We're going to do an ad about that! I'll be in it! With Jerry Seinfeld! Beat that! Asshole.”

"Of course, we're still not evil," said Sergey Brin of Google. "You can trust us on this. Every bit of data about you, your life and the house you live in is strictly a secret between you and our marketing department. But, hypothetically, if we were evil, it's not like you're going to use Windows Live Search. Ha! Ha! I'm sorry, that's my ‘spreading good cheer' laugh. Really."

 

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