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Comment Re:A problem without a good solution. (Score 1) 156

There isn't really a good solution to this. If everyone has the same price, then people in poor countries are likely to pirate.

And...? People who can't afford a Rolex are more likely to steal a Rolex too, is that a problem you should solve by adjusting the price? The flip side of "lowering prices for poor people" is "gouging wealthy people for being rich". We generally hate companies trying to size up our wallet to see just much they can fleece us for. Isn't that what we'd be asking companies to do? I want to be able to go on Amazon or eBay and get the best product to the best price anyone will offer. That's how capitalism, competition, supply and demand and voting with your wallet is supposed to work. Companies shop around for labor, consumers shop around for products and services. And maybe that's not working out so well for everybody, but letting them put region locks on things to screw us while they continue to shop around the whole world is worse than nothing.

Comment Sounds overly complicated (Score 3, Insightful) 125

The key difference between this and interfaces in Java seems to be push vs pull, does a class explicitly declare that it is say sortable or do you just check if it has functions that match something that's sortable. If you look at the example he does on page 8 with Shape.draw() and Cowboy.draw() sure you could be more explicit in the template requirements or you could demand that the cowboy explicitly has to say he's "drawable". To me Stroustrup's idea sounds a bit too much like the story about the blind man and the elephant, if you only touch it in enough places you can be sure it's an elephant. The obviously problem is that once you have a birth defect or amputee with only three legs, it all fails.

For example I might like to define a class "SequenceNumber" that has functions like setInitialValue(), getNextValue() etc. but lacks typical characteristics of a number like being able to add and subtract them, but I can still sort sequence numbers. If it's explicit I only have to declare it sortable and implement the necessary functions. If it looks at the "concept" number it'll say nope, you're not a real number because we can't add two of you together.

This could be trivially avoided by having the possibility to supplement class definitions as implementing additional interfaces, like here's a library with the Circle shape header and I say it's a drawable even though it doesn't say so itself. It'll still have to actually fulfill the interface, but that way you're not bound by the ones supplied by the library. Since that's purely a synthetic check on whether your code should be able to call that code I don't see how that should be a problem.

Comment Not good enough! (Score 2) 125

I want him to roll in the additions from Cilk++, Aspect-Oriented C++ and FeatureC++, the mobility and personalisation capabilities of Occam Pi, the networking extensions provided by rtnet and GridRPC, full encryption and error correction code facilities, everything in Boost, and a pointless subset of features from PL/1.

If you're going to do it all, might as well do it in style.

Seriously, though, Aspects would be nice.

Comment Re:People should learn english (Score 3, Interesting) 58

If one knows their native language plus English, they'll have the vast majority of the world's knowledge at their fingertips.

And tools. For every mainstream app there's ten obscure apps that haven't been translated to your language. And other people interested in the same things you are. The Internet has made a vast difference here, dubs / subtitles / translations worked pretty well for broadcast and print media and international calls was rare. And I don't mean just chit-chats, go on eBay and the whole world is your marketplace as long as you pay shipping. There are so many other benefits to language convergence that you won't get through more translations.

There's really no credible competitor to English because there's no other big pairings. If you know two major languages it's likely Chinese/English, Spanish/English, French/English, Portuguese/English, Japanese/English, Arabic/English, Russian/English, German/English, Hindi/English etc. you just don't find many Chinese/Spanish or Hindi/Portuguese speakers. If you look at the EU it's quite clear that 94% now learn English and fewer people learn French and German, I don't have the numbers for Spanish or Portuguese but I'm guessing the trend is the same.

Sure it's always possible that English is locally going a little backwards like that Spanish is creeping up into the US but for the world as a whole there's no debate. Particularly since China as the only potential challenger has put huge effort into English proficiency, giving everybody else much less reason to learn Chinese instead. I know linguists hate it but I think that's misunderstood, if all you needed to know was your native language and English most can be bi-lingual. If you should learn your Amazon tribe's language, Portuguese, Spanish and English then it's for the few.

Comment Re:Sad end to a great operating system (Score 1) 122

Focusing on the Alpha was also a mistake. People learned UNIX by running it on cheap machines. Even during the heyday of proprietary UNIX systems, people were learning BSD on the Amiga and then going to work on SunOS, AIX, or whatever. In the i386, Intel added the 4-ring protection model to x86 because DEC said that they needed it for VMS. Instead of porting from VAX to i386, they ported to Alpha (which only had two rings). If they'd made a cheaper uniprocessor VMS (maybe missing some of the clustering features), they'd have had an entry-level system for people to learn about the system. Instead, you had 100 people who knew UNIX for every one who knew VMS and this made it a no brainer to use UNIX.

Comment Re:Sad end to a great operating system (Score 1) 122

No, but more importantly it was never ported to the PDP-11. The Multics process and library model required a lot more from the memory management unit than most modern commodity hardware provides, whereas UNIX ran on systems with no MMU at all. You could run UNIX on a toy computer, even if you couldn't afford something that could run Multics. That's a key lesson for tech companies: watch out for competitors eating the low end of your market because economies of scale matter.

Comment Re:HBO needs to get its head back in the game (Score 1) 145

I found that once I stopped having a TV, I also stopped being bombarded with adverts for TV shows and movies, and I stopped caring about whether I was watching something new or something 5-10 years after release. I wonder how much this will become the norm as more people switch from broadcast TV to other media.

Comment Re:Same could be said for color TV (Score 3, Interesting) 389

The problem with 3D is the glasses - without the glasses, 3D would be a nice enhancement, much like color.

Well maybe... but if I'm watching a GoT episode do I really want to feel like I'm flipping from being 1m away from a combat scene to suddenly being 50 meters up in the air overlooking the battlefield and back down to 1m again in a matter of seconds? Just saying that maybe we want some kind of grounding that we're really watching a screen and not teleporting around.

Comment Re:There will be commercials (probably) (Score 2) 145

Yeah we've seen the "no commercials" promise before when cable TV was becoming a thing and it was bullshit then too. They'll only stay away from commercials long enough to get a subscriber base. Commercials are where most of the money is and it will be hard for them to ignore that fact. I have a hard time imagining Netflix being immune to the siren's call of that much cash forever.

Is it really? Take the Superbowl which is one of the few items where we have pretty much all the numbers. In 2014 there was 49 minutes 15 seconds of commercials, $4.5 million average per 30 second slot and 111.4 million viewers. That works out to a little less than $4 per viewer. So if you offered $5 to watch it ad-free you'd be beating the advertisers. That's not bad for about four hours of entertainment with both a football game and the half time show and it's supposed to be super-expensive compared to normal ads. Granted one display != one viewer so they'd have to charge more than $5 but still I bet there's a lot of people who'd like to out-bid the advertisers.

Comment Re:HBO needs to get its head back in the game (Score 1) 145

The HBO subscription is only worth it if you have a peer group that also has an HBO subscription and so it's important to watch things at the same time as them. I stopped buying DVDs about 10 years ago when renting became a lot cheaper than buying, but I've recently started again with boxed sets. Even if I only watch each episode once, it's cheaper than any of the streaming options, plus they're practically DRM free (as in, the DRM is so broken that it may as well not exist) and I can copy them to a mobile device for watching on long trips. Oh, and I get to wait until there are multiple years of something before I watch it.

I do wonder a bit what would happen to the economics of TV series production if most people did this. You'd expect a TV show to make a loss for the first few years, but then be profitable over a longer time, which is a very different model from the current mode of any profits after the first year are a nice bonus, but not factored into the accounting calculations.

Comment Re:And ISPs are jacking up rates (Score 1) 145

The real reason net neutrality is on the ropes is this: the idea was barely discussed by anyone during the election, in comparison to other issues. The companies that stand to profit from net neutrality are electronic media companies, and the companies that stand to profit from its removal are electronic infrastructure companies, and both will continue their fight under the covers. There wasn't much input from the electorate on the topic at all this cycle.

Actually I think it's way more old media vs new media, here in Norway where the main broadband revolution was DSL from telcos and the fiber revolution was lead by a former power company the "electronic infrastructure companies" seem pretty happy just to sell you bits and bytes. My impression is that in the US it's different because so large a part of the American population get their broadband through cable. It seems both bandwidth caps and anti-net neutrality gouging is primarily driven by cable companies wanting to drive customers to their own services instead of using online services and remain the gatekeeper and middle man between the content and the customers.

Comment Re:Saving the world with a Tax. (Score 5, Insightful) 278

The idea of a tax isn't as silly as you make it sound. The problem with most forms of pollution (from a purely economic standpoint) is that one person or company gains the benefits from polluting, but everyone pays the costs. This is known as an externality. Taxing pollution fixes this and means that the polluting technology becomes more expensive to operate and makes the barrier to entry for non-polluting technologies higher. If something is producing a lot of carbon dioxide but costs $5/widget, and you add a tax that amounts to $2.50/widget, then a replacement technology that doesn't emit any CO_2 but costs $7/widget is now cheaper to use. This means that you can bring it to market before you've got the economies of scale to push the price down below $5/widget.

Comment Re:solar/wind talk is spin - France vs China (Score 1) 278

Size doesn't really matter, because most renewable schemes scale with area. Population density does. France has 116/km^2, China has 145/km^2, so almost a 25% higher overall population density. That translates to a little bit less space for wind, solar, hydro and so on per capita, but not by enough to make it infeasible. Add in nuclear power, and the scaling is quite easy - building a nuclear power plant is hard, but doubling the generating capacity doesn't come close to doubling the land area, as long as you have a supply of uranium (China has uranium mines, France doesn't).

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