Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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 And now maybe we'll know why ... (Score 5, Interesting) 107

And now maybee we'll know why it's been so hard for Open Source developers to get information on writing their own against-the-metal drivers for telephony radios and startup modules (BIOS, EFI/UEFI, etc.)

It has long been suspected that was not just proprietary info-walling, but to reduce chances of discovery of backdoors and persistent threats imposed in the name of spying.

Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 1) 253

This gets down to something that used to be a common UI design principle before software became so feature-ful it became impractical: manifest interface.

The idea of a manifest interface (which also is a principle in language and API design) is that if the software has a capability you should be able to see it. You shouldn't have to root around to stumble upon it. Tabs follow this principle; there's enough visual and behavioral cues to suggest that you need to click on a tab. The little "x" in the tab also follows this principle.

But context menus you access by right-clicking break this rule, which means that there may be millions of people laboriously clicking on "x" after "x", unaware that they can make all the extraneous tabs in their browser disappear with just two clicks.

This, by the way, is why Macintoshes were designed with one button on the mouse. But even Mac UI designers couldn't get by with just single and double-click, so you have option-click too, bit by in large you could operate most programs without it.

Anyhow, to make sure people know about this kind of feature, your program is going to have to watch their behavior and suggest they try right clicking. But that way lies Clippy...

Comment Re:In Other Words (Score 1) 403

Yes, there may be some extrapolations of the underlying math that might point in such a direction, but at the moment, it's simply a cool-sounding idea with absolutely no experimental evidence at all.

There is a big difference between a scientific theory with a mathematical model that has been demonstrated to have predictive utility via experimental evidence being used to make predictions of a multiverse via extrapolation and... God.

Granted Newton's Laws were also found to be wrong outside of a limited domain and break when applied to the very very large, small or fast. So it is certainly still possible that the multiverse is an equally wrong extension of a theory outside of the range of our experimental evidence.

I don't rule in or out the existence of God (or The Almighty Programmer) via science, because science is rooted in the natural world. If that natural world we observe isn't natural or the rules can be arbitrarily changed by an outside will or outside force then science is possibly ill suited as a tool of understanding that metaverse or maybe it still is applicable... impossible to say either way if everything we think, say, observe and feel could be the product of a will that is not our own rather than the natural progression of an observable natural world.

Comment Pity, since I can't accept the EULA (Score 1) 144

Google's Chrome browser, on the other hand, remained unhackable during the contest.

Unfortunately for me, I can't accept Chrome's EULA.

It incorporates Adobe's, which (if I recall correctly from my AT&T Android-based smartphone) has several clauses I can't abide - including a never-compete, don't block updates, don't work on circumvention tools, we can change the license without notice, ...

I don't intend to do anything that might come back to limit my future software work or employability. Clicking through such a license (even if every bit of it is struck down by the courts - which I'm not holding my breath expecting), especially on a device that "phones home" in a way that is easily identified with my true name, is an invitation for an all-versus-one gladiatorial match with two multibillion-dollar corporations' legal departments.

Comment Re:Making NASA Great Again (Score 5, Informative) 299

Actually the Wikipedia article on the National Aeronautics and Space Act has an interesting list of the legislation's priorities, starting with priority #1:

The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;

Historically speaking the act, which was signed into law in July of 1958, was a reaction to the "Sputnik Crisis" created by the Soviet launch of an artificial satellite eight months earlier in October of 1957 -- an act which filled Americans with awe and a little dread, knowing that a Soviet device was passing overhead every 96 minutes.

So arguably NASA was founded to achieve preeminence in Earth orbit, not necessarily manned space exploration, which isn't mentioned at all in the legislation. Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 flight was still three years in the future, and JFKs Rice Moon Speech followed a year and a half after that. That speech is well worth watching, by the way, if all you've ever seen is the "We choose to go to the moon" line.

Manned exploration of the outer solar system wasn't really what the founding of NASA was all about; in fact manned spaceflight has only a single mention in the unamended 1958 text:

... the term "aeronautical and space vehicles" means aircraft, missiles, satellites, and other space vehicles, manned and unmanned, together with related equipment, devices, components, and parts.

The main focus of NASA at its founding was to provide a single agency to coordinate space and spaced-based research, which at the time would have been largely (although not exclusively) Earth-focused.

Comment GitHub is in California (Score 1) 75

I struggle a bit to understand why this isn't a bigger issue. ... I wonder why some politician hasn't attempted to differentiate themselves by even mentioning the stifling effect on innovation [company-owns-all-your-inventions] policies impose.

Because it's already been adressed, long ago.

GitHub is in San Francisco, which is in California and governed by California labor law.

California labor law says that (paraphrasing from memory):
  - As a compelling state interest
  - overriding anything in the employee agreement
  - if an employee invents something
  - while not on company time or using company resources
  - and that invention is not in the company's current or immediately foreseeable business
  - then the invention belongs to the employee
  - (and the employment agreement must include a copy of this information as an appendix.)

(IMHO that law is THE reason for the explosive growth and innovation in Silicon Valley and why other states have been unable to clone it. Invent something that your current company won't use, get together with a couple friends, maybe get some "angel funding", rent the office across the street, and go into business with your new shiny thing. So companies bud off new companies like yeast. And innovators collect where they can become the inventor, the "couple of friends", or the early hires, creating a pool of the necessary talent to convert inventions into companies when they happen.)

What GitHub has apparently done is say to the employees:
"For the purposes of us claiming your IP, your lunch time and breaks are your time, even on company property, and your use of our computers and disk storage for things like compiles, storing code, and web research in aid of your project, does not count as 'using company resources'."

In other states, and other companies even within CA, that might be a big deal. For a company in CA, whose whole business model is providing archives for other people's software projects - and giving it away free to small groups, while charging large groups (or small groups that grow into large groups), it's not a big deal, and right IN their business model.

Comment Re:Something stinks (Score 1) 379

Well, at present Putin's facing a financial crisis that is going to force him to drop military spending from 69 billion to 48 billion dollars. Germany is raising its defense spending to 40 billion, and if you factor in it doesn't need to defend vast terrain or have a multi-ocean blue water navy, Germany alone should be more than a match for the conventional forces of Russia.

Things may have looked different ten years ago when Russia was riding on high energy prices -- one of the reasons that the Obama administration was so pro-fracking: to contain Russian power. But today Europe really doesn't need the US to defend itself. Sure it'd have to shift some of its defense spending away from things that support US military operations to things that replace them.

In fact support of US power has been a major reason for continuing NATO since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The multinational force in the Iraq War wouldn't have been possible without NATO, although it wasn't a NATO operation per se. Afghanistan was a NATO operation; in fact it is the sole time in the history of the organization that the Article V mutual defense provision has been trigger -- by the US in response to 9/11.

Comment Re:TLDR: UN says more whites = happiness? (Score 2) 379

Well, you can prove anything if you get to make up the categories, but seriously, lumping Europe with Asia? 60% of the world's population lives in Asia, and 15% of the world's population lives in Europe. So it's hardly amazing that if one of your categories comprises 75% of the people on the Earth that there there doesn't appear to be a lot of diversity. Your friends could include a Pakistani, Tibetan, Uygher, Eskimo, Finn, Scot, Basque and Serb and they wouldn't be a "diverse" group.

Comment Re:Meh... (Score 1) 379

Translation, he's an actual conservative, as in Edmund Burke, who supported the monarchy, but wrote about monarchists as self-evident idiots. He was well aware that monarchs don't have any moral claim to rule; he just thought that Britain had managed against all odds to make it work. He'd feel about the free market exactly as he felt about the crown.

Burke was the kind of ferociously skeptical conservative who loves liberty but despises theories of liberty, even when those theories support his own position. In other words he had integrity, which is rare in thinkers of any stripe.

Comment With What? (Score 1) 94

AR with what? Phones? Maybe. Their desktops? Please. The GPUs in their desktops are garbage. Even the ones in the Mac Pros. I was a Mac user for ten years (sold my 2012 Mac Pro last month) and I I have always been disappointed by their choice of graphics chips.

Comment Re:It's all a simulation (Score 1) 167

My wife did a physical simulation for her thesis of the ocean halocline by using an 8' wide rotating tank filled with water and sugar solution. Now the tank was a body of water rotating every 24 hours by virtue of being on the surface of the Earth, but the angular velocity was much too low to have an observable effect, so the tank rotated every few minutes on top of the 11.57 microradians/second rotation of the Earth.

It was a real time experiment in which a short but fixed period represented a much longer one -- and if you think about it this would likely be the case for any kind of simulation of a macroscosmic universe. The bigger the physical scale of the thing being modeled, the longer the time periods.

Slashdot Top Deals

You mean you didn't *know* she was off making lots of little phone companies?

Working...