Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Psychology plays an important role (Score 1) 736

There has actually been a lot of research into how to make progress bars "feel" right -- it turns out that certain psychological tricks can help with that, too. Roughly speaking, it tends to be better to be conservative at the start (i.e. give a worst case estimate) and then improve it over time, than the other way around. Hence a simple trick to improve the user experience is to take whatever you think will be an accurate value for the progress, but then apply a scale to it to make it appear slower at the beginning, and faster at the end. This is studied and discussed in depth in the paper "Rethinking the Progress Bar":

For example, if x is the progress ranging from 0.0 to 1.0, then instead of using x directly, use f(x) = (x+(1-x)/2)^8 to calculate the progress estimate you are going to display to the user.

The key observation here is that if I am told something will be finished in 1 minute, but then it turns out to take 2 minutes, I am upset; if instead I am told it will take 2 minutes, but then it finishes already after 1 minute, I'll be happy. Of course this has limits, and one needs to strike a delicate balance: if the original estimate is too far off and bad, the negative reaction to the initial bad estimate and how far it is away from reality will create a strong negative reaction on its own (what would you think if you were regularly told "performing this operation will take ~2 days" when it ends up needing only 1 minute each time...)

There are other tricks to make the UI feel "faster" when it comes to progress bars, see e.g.

Comment Re:i will do you a favor (Score 1) 128

what a stupid question. it's a wide open internet, not one company server


do you understand why the music industry is dying because of the internet?

Last I looked, they actually weren't doing that badly, after learning some hard lessons... but that's besides the point.

now apply that understanding to your proposal, because you are asking for the same damn unenforceable impossible thing

This akin to arguing that theft should not be illegal; after all, a law cannot stop somebody from stealing, and clearly thefts still happens every day, too, so what is the point in forbidding it in the first place?

Yet it seems a majority of people think that outlawing theft is a good idea anyway, and that social contracts (which laws are, in the end) in general have a reason to exist.

Go figure...


Submission + - Chief WebOS Evangelist Rubinstein Leaves HP (

FrankPoole writes: CRN reports that Jon Rubenstien, the chief evangalist for WebOS and one of Silicon Valley's most renowned engineers, has left HP. Rubenstien, who helped design the iPod while at Apple, became expendable after HP made the mobile OS an open source project.

CRN spoke with new HP CEO Meg Whitman recently, who addressed Rubenstein's departure.
"I've got a lot of respect for Jon. But as you know, Palm didn't work out the way he had hoped. Obviously, the [TouchPad] tablets didn’t work out the way he had hoped. That team has been through a lot, as you might imagine," Whitman said.

Comment Re:Impenetrable (Score 1) 307

I also dislike the fact that they but a huge video on there. Instead of putting up bigger links to e.g. their guided tour (which also contains a video, but one doesn't have to view it to follow the tour). Or the features page -- both links are the bottom.

So, while I agree that they should be a lot bigger and more prominent, I'd like to point out that these are not *that* hard to find ;)

Comment Re:Crashes a lot ? (Score 1) 308

Deleted all cookies, it still crashes. Best way to trigger it is to go to that site, and then follow internal links, and scroll a lot, while they are loading. I.e. click on a link and start wildly to scroll up and down (works nicely using my MacBook Pro's touchpad). Last crash involved WebCore::BitmapImage::draw.

Comment Re:Crashes a lot ? (Score 1) 308

No extensions installed at all! Yes, I do have some math fonts (used by jsMath) installed. However, no such problems occur with Firefox and Chrome. So while I of course can't exclude the possibility that a font is corrupt, it seems strange that Chrome (which also uses Webkit) is not affected... Also weird is that I get quite some different stack traces. But several of them seem to be related to cookie storage (stack trace contains among other things MemoryCookies::~MemoryCookies and DiskCookieStorage::syncStorageLocked). I'll try deleting all cookies. Weird.

Comment Crashes a lot ? (Score 1) 308

I was quite excited when I saw this and went to get it. Now I have it for half an hour and already regret it -- it already crashes over a dozen times on me -- albeit always on the same page, just at different points (and with different crash stack backtraces, too). Specifically, is where I see those. Anybody else having similar problems?

Comment Re:No story here (Score 2, Insightful) 1324

What about the rights of the children? I don't think that parents "own" their children, and should be allowed to do with them in whatever way they want. Sure, parents should take care of their kids until they are old enough to really make well-informed own decisions.

The idea behind enforcing that all children are sent to a school (which by the way, includes many alternate school forms, not just the regular state schools, as many people here claim incorrectly) is that this way, all kids are ensured a chance to get suitable education. And moreover, to have a chance to learn how to socialize with other people, too. To learn to live with people who have different believes and opinions side by side, and respect them. In my class, there were christians, atheists, muslims. I grew up knowing that there are many different kinds of people out there, and that yet they are (mostly ;) normal people you can have great fun with and like. Not enemies, as many religions paint any non-believers, sadly.

Maybe the current way of forcing all kids in Germany to visit some kind of school is not the best. But then I also don't believe that allowing parents to isolate their children and to indoctrinate them is a good idea, either -- no matter whether it is orthodox Christianity, radical Islam, zealous Science-believe, or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The foundation of a democracy is mutual understanding and a willingness to cooperate with each other, and I feel that's more important than granting a universal home schooling right, with all its pros and cons.

Comment Re:medical problems (Score 5, Informative) 492

Wait, we are talking about somebody who has "disappeared" a year ago; only he hasn't really disappeared, he occasionally showed up for meetings, making promises, then vanished again (and didn't keep the promises). How would this be explained or justified by a hypothetical medical situation? Even if there was one, then shouldn't he have said months ago "Hey folks, I am in some sort of bad situation, somebody needs to take over my responsibilities while I try to resolve things." ? Nope, I think what they did was very reasonable; although maybe they should have done it a couple months earlier.

Submission + - Austria to pull out of CERN (

andre.david writes: From AFP: "Austria is pulling out of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Science Minister Johannes Hahn announced Thursday, citing budget concerns.
The 20-million-euro (26.9-million-dollar) yearly membership in CERN [...] makes up 70 percent of the money available in Austria for participation in international institutes and could be better used to fund other European projects, he said.
Hahn said he hoped Austria could find "a new kind of cooperation" with CERN and described Vienna's withdrawal from the project as a "pause", noting that some 30 states were already working together with the Geneva-based centre without being members.
The newly-available funds will now allow Austria to take part in new European projects, boost its participation in old ones as well as help the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the country's main organisation funding research."
Austrian particle physicists are not happy with this. From HEPHY, the Austrian Institute for High Energy Physics: "All of a surprise Johannes Hahn [...] announced that he wants to terminate the Austrian membership at CERN [...]. This [would] affect spin-off projects like the planned cancer treatment center MedAustron [...] which is dependent on collaborating with CERN [...]. Strangely enough this intention just arrives at a time where scientists are about to harvest the fruits of LHC [...]."
Will other countries follow suit?


Theora Ahead of H.264 In Objective PSNR Quality 313

bigmammoth writes "Xiph hackers have been hard at work improving the Theora codec over the past year, with the latest versions gaining on and passing h.264 in objective PSNR quality measurements. From the update: 'Amusingly, it also shows test versions of Thusnelda pulling ahead of h.264 in terms of objective quality as bitrate increases. It's important to note that PSNR is an objective measure that does not exactly represent perceived quality, and PSNR measurements have always been especially kind to Theora. This is also data from a single clip. That said, it's clear that the gap in the fundamental infrastructure has closed substantially before the task of detailed subjective tuning has begun in earnest.' Momentum is building with a major Open Video Conference in June, the impending launch of Firefox 3.5 and excitement about wider adoption in a top-4 web site. It's looking like free video codecs may pose a serious threat to the h.264 bait-and-switch plan to start charging millions for internet streaming of h.264 in 2010."
United States

What's Getting Cut From Science Part of the Federal Budget 201

Kristina at Science News writes "As part of the announcement of its proposed fiscal year 2010 budget, the Obama administration released a summary (called 'Terminations, Reductions, and Savings: Budget of the US Government, Fiscal Year 2010') that includes which science-related programs are getting cut. Two big programs are the nuclear waste storage project at Yucca Mountain in Nevada and a second prototype airborne laser missile-defense weapon." Update: 05/07 23:03 GMT by T : On the other hand, reader Dusty writes, "The NASA budget for 2010 has been announced, up 5% on 2009. Human space flight plans to be reviewed."

Slashdot Top Deals

Lisp Users: Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.