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Comment Re:Will their implementation allow tracking? (Score 2) 54

When banks implement blockchains, will their version allow tracking of all the individuals involved in the whole chain?

Of course it will. They want to use a blockchain for maintaining an efficient high-speed ledger of all bank-to-bank transactions. When you do a funds transfer from, for your account to an account at another bank, they'll write an entry to the block chain and both parties will be able to validate the time at which the transaction occurred. Having an unforgeable ledger is the entire point of the system that they're proposing.

Comment Re:Best selling computer? (Score 1) 269

I'm surprised that it was that few. I remember seeing them for £50 in Argos about a decade after they were first released. They were incredibly popular as games machines and a load of shops had a row of C64 game tapes for around 50p each (NES games were around £10, if I remember correctly, at the same time).

Comment Re:A Lot of Effort to Bury the Lede (Score 1) 107

There's no vast left- or right-wing media conspiracy. There's a small number of owners of the mainstream press, and they will not print anything that directly contradicts the interests of these owners. This has no allegiance to any political party or ideology other than a desire for certain individuals to increase their personal power.

Various governments have allowed mergers and acquisitions among news companies until there's very little independent press. Most countries don't want to regulate press freedom too heavily (for good reason - there's a very fine line between regulating truth in journalism and forcing propaganda and it's incredibly easy for the former to slip into the latter), so we're left with the majority of the population being informed by untrustworthy sources.

Comment Re:Pretty shocking (Score 1) 111

I find the map pretty surprising. Zoom in on the UK, and most of England is yellow (11-15 g/m3), but Reading (dense traffic, industrial areas, lots of diesel trains passing through) is green (<10), yet completely surrounded by yellow areas. I'd probably be inclined to trust the point samples, but their averaging between them looks like it's nonsense. The middle of Wales is pretty green, but with squares of yellow. The green makes sense (it's basically a big space full of hills and sheep), but the yellow doesn't seem to correspond with any human habitation or industry.

Comment Re: don't get your hope up (Score 1) 251

Indeed. Under the Consumer Rights Act and the earlier Sale of Goods Act, you are entitled to a refund for a variety of reasons. Any claims made by the seller that influenced your decision and are false gives you grounds for a refund (or a replacement with a version that meets these requirements). I had the battery on an Apple laptop fail after the warranty expired, but because of the SoGA they replaced it without quibble: their website claimed that it would retain 80% of its charge after 300 discharge cycles and the system monitor showed that it was retaining about 15% of its charge after about 120 complete cycles.

Comment Re:What exactly are they doing with it? (Score 4, Insightful) 54

It's a distributed trust network, right? Why would banks that survive on trust want that distributed?

Well there's two parts to it, one is the "chain" property where like git's commits it's not possible to edit one transaction later and have it go unnoticed. You can run independent background audits that confirm that this blockchain state corresponds to these transactions and account balances. It's a lot more difficult than adding one fraudulent transaction by itself, like that somebody deposited cash in your account when they never did. Obviously if you can add "genuine" transaction to the chain that's different, but they can be validated in the process.

The other part is inter-bank transactions where it's essential that everybody agrees on the state of affairs. I wouldn't use the "proof of work" but rather signatures of trusted parties, one party one vote. If 100 banks get an inter-bank ledger, 98 of 100 agree on the block chain all the alarms should go off in the last two banks. With signing and countersigning it's pretty hard to go back on anything as 100 banks have digitially signed that they saw your bank digitally sign that this block chain is correct. Because it's harder than you think to find one trusted master to rule them all, both domestically and internationally. Everybody wants to do their own verification which is exactly what block chains provides.

Comment Re:The problem with privitization? Or just no shit (Score 1) 456

Government does little in the way of firsts as they are bound by health and safety laws and sending people on fact-gathering missions is generally a waste of money. Technically the moon missions would come under military, even then, wouldn't they?

Technically, no they wouldn't as NASA is a civilian agency operating outside the chain of command. In every other respect, yes it was the military backing it and funding it.

Comment Re:Tonnage (Score 2) 201

They say it can transport about 100 tons. That's not much for a colonization effort. The Mayflower that transported the pilgrims to America was rated at about 180 tons. They could expect to live off the land for the most part whereas whoever takes the trip to Mars will be entirely dependent on what they bring with them. Without help from the natives it's likely that the Mayflower's people would not have done as well if they managed to survive at all. Maybe the Martians will help Musk's colonists.

Well, just like when Musk launched the Autopilot saying this is going to become our self-driving car he's exaggerating quite a bit what it'll do in the short term. It'll be an outpost, sustained by Earth resupplies and the bigger the outpost, the greater the need for resupplies. It'll be a very long time before you hit critical mass where each expansion would make it more self-reliant. It'll mostly be a proof of concept, can we expand the living quarters with on-site materials or do we need domes from earth? Can we generate enough food, water, air, heating and power and so on? The burden on Earth needs to go down, then the size of the outpost can go up.

I expect they'll keep enough emergency supplies and consumables in reserve to survive while they try things out and figure out what works and doesn't. But if it doesn't work, we have to send more supplies and less people or all supplies and no people or in worst case just abandon it. Though I don't really believe that, I mean if they just sit in a bunker and eat canned food like on the ISS it's hard to see any reason why they should be forced to leave. But they also wouldn't really be making any progress towards colonization that way, it'd be just survival. Then again, surviving Mars might in itself be the first step since we haven't actually done that yet either.

Comment Re:nice video, but the launch seems backwards (Score 4, Informative) 201

They show the spaceship being launched first, to be refueled by a drone tanker. Shouldn't the tanker be launched first? Unlike the spaceship, it can wait indefinitely in orbit if the second launch is delayed.

I think that whole segment is full of artistic liberty. I'm sure they'll have reuse and fuel boosters and "quick" turnaround, but the Formula One pit stop where the rocket lands right next to a fuel pod, it is hoisted in place and is ready for liftoff again is fantasy. I'd guessing that logistically they'd always do it backwards with a previously landed and refurbished rocket launching first with the fuel, then if successful a new rocket with people that afterwards lands and it refurbished. But I think it's fair to leave practical details like that out to convey the essence to non-nerds.

Comment Re:Mozilla is wasting money, brains, and time (Score 2) 97

I like Firefox and use it as my primary browser. It's a decent albeit imperfect bit of software. But if Mozilla really wants to make a difference they need to focus on solving actual problems instead of trying to do a second rate version of whatever Google is working on this week. They need to focus on a specific problem and do it really well. They did that for a while with browser software. Time to genuinely focus on something new.

Actually I wish they'd go back and do something old because they had the funds without needing the hype. If there was three things you'd find on any business desktop it was IE, Outlook and Office. One down, two to go. They might have to work on an AD/Exchange too in order to really succeed. I think it's nuts that in 2016 most people still use proprietary tech for simple documents and spreadsheets.

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