Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



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 Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 1) 185

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:No complaints here (Score 1) 205

This is the 2nd winter in a row with less than average snow and higher than average temps. I certainly don't mind.

The best part is that it extends boating season by a month, another month when I get to run twin 350s and burn 20 gallons an hour!

If I can keep it up I may be able to warm it up to get another month!

Comment Re:goodbye jiffy lube hello $60-$100 dealer oil ch (Score 1) 199

The problem is, does screaming legalese and acts of Congress when you're standing there in the dealership to pick up your car (late for daycare pickup or something) and some low-wage flunky is telling you that you owe $1,787 because the repair isn't covered by the warranty really get you very far?

Sure, you might be *right* but they can say no, not give you your car back until you pay, and generally make your life miserable until you sue them and then they can drag that out until it costs you 10x what the invoice was.

I recently had some work done where the invoice exceeded a written estimate by 20% and explaining the fact that such an overage is illegal in this state really was not effective. They were literally more afraid of me screaming on social media or disputing the charge on my card than they were in breaking the law.

The legalese is great idea, but unless you can call the cops and get somebody arrested for violating consumer protection laws, the imbalance between a large business and the average consumer is so great that its almost like having no protection at all.

Comment Would you like some toast? (Score 1) 49

"Would you like some toast? Some nice hot crisp brown buttered toast. No? How about a muffin then? Nothing? You know the last time you had toast. 18 days ago, 11.36, Tuesday 3rd, two rounds. I mean, what's the point in buying a toaster with artificial intelligence if you don't like toast. I mean, this is my job. This is cruel, just cruel." I was surprised when I heard that they pushed an advertisement out, and shocked when they tried to defend it. Now they're saying it's not an ad because they didn't get money (note the weaseling) for it? That's Don Draper-esque level hubris.

Comment Re:Features? Look Elsewhere (Score 1) 185

I was thinking about this yesterday in a similar way, how once a product's core functionality reaches a certain level you reach a point in its life cycle where as a user you're at risk of significant instability.

Inevitably the desire to add new features to justify additional licensing fees will lead to the "need" to rewrite or significantly restructure the core functionality and they never get that right the first time, often plunging products back to levels of instability not seen in many versions. And often not fixed for a long time, either, as feature bloat dilutes engineering resources and product managers and marketing fall on their sword to preserve the new version.

I sometimes wonder if a strategy to deal with this wouldn't be planning on switching to a rising competitor, even if it meant suffering a competitor's marginally lower stability. The idea being that the competitor hasn't hit a functionality & stability plateau yet and will be mostly increasing stability first and functionality second.

Comment Re: Liability (Score 1, Troll) 434

Libertarians believe that companies that oppress users will fail in the marketplace.

Can you show me a libertarian who believes that corporations should be able to show up with guns to enforce "intellectual property" like governments do?

Hint: libertarians believe in none of: corporations, intellectual property, or initiation of force. Nice strawman though.

Comment Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 153

Isn't this obvious?

You knew about the interaction between the front and rear hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex? Heck, why did the researchers bother doing the fMRI study rather than posting an Ask Slashdot?

I presume here you're not simply reacting to the clickbait headline - that would be unkind.

Comment Re:Maps technology is lost... (Score 2) 153

apparently looking pretty is far more important than having accurate data.

yeah, most people believe that. People figure if they put very little effort into ease-of-use (aka aesthetics) they probably put very little effort into accuracy. It's not true, but humans are the desired userbase and humans use such heuristics.

Everybody has been telling OSM that for a decade but they refuse to accept that reality, so the userbase remains small. It's a shame to cede the territory to Google.

Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 153

Scientists determined that those people who made use of machine washing rather than hand washing had diminished hand strength and neurological motor communication necessary for fine motor control. Seamstresses who bought thread rather than using the spinning jenny were similarly impaired. But worst off were teamsters who used the internal combustion trucks rather than teams of horses and used forklifts and other mechanical devices rather than loading their vehicles by hand. Their overall body strength was much reduced.

Comment Re:Making NASA Great Again (Score 5, Informative) 261

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 Re:Salesforce isn't just sales (Score 1) 71

it's a complete WYSIWYG application platform that can build complex business apps without code ("Clicks not Code" in SF parlance). It's basically Visual Basic 6 for the web.

Thank you. I've been trying to figure out what SalesForce actually is for months. This is the most complete, intelligible description I've seen anywhere.

Comment Re:No Objective Measurements (Score 1) 178

Since we have opioid receptors and endogenous opioids, it would stand to reason that receptors and endogenous opioid production would vary among the population.

So perception of pain is likely to vary in the population as well, as not everyone will produce the same amount of endogenous opioids.

I'd wager that people prone to addiction may produce fewer endogenous opioids or have a greater number of receptors, which causes them to respond more strongly to opioid medications.

I also wonder if below average opioid production isn't somehow conceptually similar to abnormal serotonin levels, making those individuals prone to mood states where opioids act as something like an anti-depressant.

Many addicts who sustain stable maintenance doses report that it makes them "feel normal". Perhaps these are individuals who have subnormal endogenous opiate production and those that stabilize on maintenance doses of opiates are in effect treating a mood disorder caused by low opiate levels.

Such a theory would go a long way towards explaining why millions of people who get opioid prescriptions don't develop addictions. I had half my ring finger amputated after an accident and took oxycodone for months on a regular basis and just kind of stopped without any cravings or side effects.

Comment Re:Autonomous Ships? (Score 2) 136

Most boats down to even 10 meter recreational vessels already have pretty good autopilots, often integrating cartography, bathymetry and radar, but they don't always work that well in close approaches due to shifting channels, local currents and tides.

Most ports have professional pilots that bring large ships into harbors because expertise is needed in those local features, and they might also require tugs, too, for precision movement.

Slashdot Top Deals

Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.

Working...