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Comment Carrier comparison (Score 2) 195

Many who comment here will have a reason that they chose one carrier over one other carrier. They may have switched carriers. I always found that the latest carrier plan was better than the competition, and that it would go back and forth or be too confusing to come up with one clear answer. I actually have iPhones and aPhones on 5 carriers. I also travel the world quite a bit. Domestically, all the carriers are good for most unless you live in an area not covered by some. I remember times when Verizon was faster but now it seems that AT&T is faster for me, most of the time. I remember when you could buy international data from Verizon that covered 200 countries, while the AT&T list was only about 50 countries. That affected me in places like Russia and South Africa, back then. T-Mobile has incredible data plans for here and away but they don't seem as fast as claimed unless I'm in the store. Sprint has gone far out of their way to help me with issues, including a stolen phone number. Right now I believe that the best carrier I have, for my own needs, is Google Project Fi because the plan works in over 100 countries. You can even order a free data-only SIM for free, without even a shipping charge, to use it on iPads and the like. I would never say that anyone's choice of plan is bad in any way though.

Medicine

World's First Vaccine Against Malaria To Arrive Next Year, Says WHO (bbc.com) 79

An anonymous reader shares a report: The world's first vaccine against malaria will be introduced in three countries -- Ghana, Kenya and Malawi -- starting in 2018. The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the jab had the potential to save tens of thousands of lives. But it is not yet clear if it will be feasible to use in the poorest parts of the world. The vaccine needs to be given four times -- once a month for three months and then a fourth dose 18 months later.
Social Networks

Is Social Media Making Us Hate Each Other? (bostonglobe.com) 304

Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. Now an anonymous Slashdot reader reports on Carr's newest warning: It seems obvious: The more we learn about other people, the more we'll come to like them. The assumption underpins our deep-seated belief that communication networks, from the telephone system to Facebook, will help create social harmony. But what if the opposite is true? In a Boston Globe article, Nicholas Carr presents evidence showing that as we get more information about other people, we tend to like them less, not more. Through a phenomenon called "dissimilarity cascades," we place greater stress on personal and cultural differences than on similarities, and the bias strengthens as information accumulates. "Proximity makes differences stand out," he writes. The phenomenon intensifies online, where people are rewarded for sharing endless information about themselves. What the research indicates, warns Carr, is that the spread of social media is more likely to create social strife than social harmony.
The article concludes by opposing the idea that "If we get the engineering right, our better angels will triumph. It's a pleasant thought, but it's a fantasy... Technology is an amplifier. It magnifies our best traits, and it magnifies our worst. What it doesn't do is make us better people. That's a job we can't offload on machines."
Education

Slashdot Asks: What Was Your First Programming Language? (stanforddaily.com) 624

This question was inspired by news that Stanford's computer science professor Eric Roberts will try JavaScript instead of Java in a new version of the college's introductory computer programming course. The Stanford Daily reports: When Roberts came to Stanford in 1990, CS106A was still taught in Pascal, a programming language he described as not "clean." The department adopted the C language in 1992. When Java came out in 1995, the computer science faculty was excited to transition to the new language. Roberts wrote the textbooks, worked with other faculty members to restructure the course and assignments and introduced Java at Stanford in 2002... "Java had stabilized," Roberts said. "It was clear that many universities were going in that direction. It's 2017 now, and Java is showing its age." According to Roberts, Java was intended early on as "the language of the Internet". But now, more than a decade after the transition to Java, Javascript has taken its place as a web language.
In 2014 Python and Java were the two most commonly-taught languages at America's top universities, according to an analysis published by the Communications of the ACM. And Java still remains the most-commonly taught language in a university setting, according to a poll by the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. In a spreadsheet compiling the results, "Python appears 60 times, C++ 54 times, Java 84 times, and JavaScript 28 times," writes a computing professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding "if Java is dying (or "showing its age"...) it's going out as the reigning champ."

I'm guessing Slashdot's readers have their own opinions about this, so share your educational experiences in the comments. What was your first programming language?

Comment Re:Sucks, but derivative work (Score 1) 137

Why don't you simply read up the law?
Derived work and fair use are contradictions in terms.
A work can only be one of the ...

Fair use is a _defence_ for copyright infringement, copyright infringement can only happen with derived work. By DEFINITION all fair use are derived works.

So this begs the question: Are you are shill or a troll?, because I find it hard to believe you can be that stupid by accident.

Comment Re:Becaue you aren't offering to do the work. (Score 1) 384

Yes, sucking resources away from other users is one reason.

Others:
- Your feature or changes almost certainly comes with added complexity and/or bugs. People don't like that.
- People resist change just as a matter of being human. Any change needs to overcome this "static friction".
- Admitting that you have a better way is also an admission that they've been doing it wrong (or less efficiently) the whole time. People don't like to do admit they are wrong.

A variant of the last possibility: A suggestion for an improvement is also a suggestion that something is not good or perfect, so it sounds like an attack or accusation. Some fanboys will defend any weakness no matter what. Suggest Apple should reactivate the standard file transfer over USB like the first iPod had, and fanboys will defend Apple crippling all their devices and forcing them to use iTunes.

Comment Re:Pretty obvious (Score 3, Insightful) 384

One of two very very scenarios arises in my mind:

1) The person(s) does not want the software to change at all because they are comfortable with how it works. This is seen all the time when companies are pushing upgrades to a new version of Windows or Office or *insert a different product*

2) Your suggestions are really not all that useful and are rightfully be lambasted

I much more commonly see:

3) Your suggestion sounds like an attack, and fans will automatically defend what they like.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Software

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Explain 'Don't Improve My Software Syndrome' Or DIMSS? 384

dryriver writes: I am someone who likes to post improvement suggestions for different software tools I use on the internet. If I see a function in a software that doesn't work well for me or could work better for everyone else, I immediately post suggestions as to how that function could be improved and made to work better for everybody. A striking phenomenon I have come across in posting such suggestions is the sheer number of "why would you want that at all" or "nobody needs that" or "the software is fine as it is" type responses from software users. What is particularly puzzling is that its not the developers of the software rejecting the suggestions -- its users of the software that often react sourly to improvement suggestions that could, if implemented well, benefit a lot of people using the software in question. I have observed this happening online for years even for really good software feature/function improvement ideas that actually wound up being implemented. My question is -- what causes this behavior of software users on the internet? Why would a software user see a suggestion that would very likely benefit many other users of the software and object loudly to that suggestion, or even pretend that "the suggestion is a bad one?"

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 307

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Re:Make America Great Again (Score 2, Interesting) 256

Trump is not paying one bit of attention to the FCC. Pai is an out control representative of Verizon, not voters. The question is, will Pai's utter corruption have consequences at the polls causing Trump/Congress to start paying attention?

The other part of this -- rate relief is generally provided when the vendors are unable to make a profit. Most of the B2B lines already carry profit margins exceeding 90%. This is just simple corruption - remove the price caps so that monopoly vendors can gouge until the customer can no longer pay. Removing net neutrality is also just another way to gouge companies like Google, Netflix, Facebook. The ISPs are hugely profitable, they just want even more.

What's driving this? Verizon paid $130B for Vodaphone. The have to make the money to pay off that $130B somewhere, and US customers are the target. Of course we are getting nothing in exchange for being gouged to pay off their Vodaphone purchase.

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