Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:Not just at the border... (Score 1) 314

I've noticed there are quite a few cameras trained at cars in the Arizona checkpoints I've been through. I wonder if they have some kind of collation system that's able to identify cars via license plate readers who have been through an actual border crossing and then compare the occupants from high resolution cameras trained at the passenger compartments.

In theory, foreign cars that have already cleared the actual border and seem to contain the same occupants would be ones you would possibly want to reduce scrutiny on since you've already checked their IDs and vehicle at the actual border, possibly adding some kind of reasonable time window for the car to have been driven from the border to the inland checkpoint.

That way, if you crossed into the US, did the entry-to-the-US thing at the border you would be of less interest at an inland checkpoint and can be waved through faster, cutting crossing delays at the inland checkpoints.

Comment Boats that can fly (Score 1) 86

Sea planes are mostly planes that can use water as a takeoff and landing surface, but don't generally operate on the water as seagoing vessels.

Has anyone ever built sort of the opposite, a vessel that can fly but has some designed in ability to stay on the water more in the manner of a boat?

Maybe with gas turbines for electric generation, electric motor props and a electric pod drives retractable into the fuselage for marine propulsion?

Perhaps the engineering is too complex or it would do neither job well enough to be worthwhile, but it seems like there may be some interesting niches where rapid access to a remote ocean location is desirable but where there's some task needed where loitering and maneuvering on the surface of the water is desirable in ways or for time periods that an airplane isn't useful.

Comment Hard to fathom they would actually build cars (Score 2) 55

I mean whole cars meant for consumer sale.

While it's not like they don't have the cash (in Ireland..), but vehicle assembly is a huge job and I'm guessing that many of the parts for an electric car aren't something you can necessarily just get out of the Bosch parts bin or get from jobbers.

My guess is they're building one to try to understand them from the ground up to be suppliers of technology or to lure a major carmaker without an electric car into building it for them.

Comment Re:The problem with twitter (Score 1) 96

Well, you could describe LHC to common Joes as well to the same effect. Just because laymen don't understand, it doesn't mean it isn't important.

If I was twitter, I'd convert the core product to entirely Wikipedia-style funding to avoid the almost certain collapse when deemed fiscally inflated. For firehoses, charge a good chunk of money for the 'raw feed', but allow anyone to use it as long as the data's being aggregated as per fair reproduction terms. Add speciality feeds that cost even more per message for people that want more specialized control over data flow. Hell, there's a ton of companies doing that today. If Twitter wants to make amazing add-on services that make the value of the data more relevant, they should write sister-sites that focus on taking that great content and exposing it better than the other aggregations in the market.

Comment The problem with twitter (Score 4, Informative) 96

Its a massively disruptive company that is only relevant for few to actually interact with. Their problem is that their market is quite small, but their importance is so high.

What is Twitter? A news / information filter bubble generator which rapidly bubbles discrete information into relevance quite quickly using the network effect as well as social bonds. This is essentially what Google news and anything on Facebook is desperately trying to do algorithmically by scanning through how people interact with the incoming information. I'd personally say they are failing badly in producing relevant content in themselves.

Twitter gets it for free. Why can't most people 'get' twitter? One, as described above, its a information dissemination engine. Most people can't know or even care about being a part of the information, so they're almost entirely consumers. The consumers of twitter then take relevant information already rung through the twitter world to refine them into a narrative for their already captive audience. The audience doesn't care which hashtag that's trending or why (largely), but rather information relating to their already established interests, like stories that make political candidate X look like an idiot, or a crook, or paid shill, etc.. So the tip of the filter bubble are those sites / tv / etc.. extracting from the engine to disseminate further.

So why don't these taste makers / king makers use other platforms? I suppose its largely about being established as 'the' place to disseminate information. It helps immensely that Twitter doesn't fuck around with curation and 'hot' lists nearly as much as the others. For better or worse, when people talk about Twitter, its 'a platform' aka infrastructure (a very valuable one), whereas the other services are 'services' to consume at least from a broad audience perspective.

There's no confusion in Twitter in terms of what they're good at. They know what their platform is good for. They just can't find a way to sell the platform to the outside world, because they have no interest in being involved in the narrative (which is probably for the best anyway).

Comment THey're called hobbies (Score 4, Interesting) 278

And most of us have them. We leave work and work on something we're passionate about, but might not pay enough. Or might not pay at all. Or we volunteer at a charity. Or at our kid's school. This is nothing new, the number of people looking to make money from them is just increasing. Maybe. Its not like doing side jobs was ever that rare.

Comment Re:the real question: legal basis of secrecy (Score 1) 172

So, while customers don't necessarily "have a constitutional right to know if the government has searched or seized their property", the government certainly has no constitutional right to prohibit companies from telling customers anything they want.

If you grant that the government has a legitimate national security interest in keeping the inquiries quiet, the courts will rule that the Necessary and Proper Clause authorizes the gag orders.

Comment Re: TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 199

And if they compel me to provide fingerprints, not only should I not have to tell them which fingerprint may unlock the device, it should be up to them to convert my fingerprint into a useful tool to actually unlock the phone.

Hopefully device manufacturers will include a configurable time window for the time to PIN/password fallback. It would be useful to adjust it based on usage from anywhere 0 to days, depending on what you think your exposure is.

Comment Cortana -- forcing it more place you don't want it (Score 1) 283

I'm generally happy with Win10 on both my laptops.

But Cortana? Why isn't there an option to disable it completely who don't want it? And why does putting it on the lock screen (hey, if its locked, maybe that's to keep anyone from doing anything, including random voice tasks..) feel like they're just jamming it somewhere *else* it's not wanted because people are ignoring it on the task bar?

I really would like to hear actual meetings where highly paid people at Microsoft think running around like a third-rate Apple knockoff is a good idea.

In addition to seeing some kind of supporting data driving these decisions. Either they'd confirm that research shows shoving Cortana everywhere actually adds to its usage, or they'd confirm there is no data, this is all mental masturbation to further fantasies that badly imitating Apple is actually a strategy.

Comment Can you play Xbox 360 games on it? (Score 1) 135

We won an Xbox 360 in a school raffle two years ago. The Xbox One had just been released. But because it had and the 360 had been on the market for a while, we were able to walk out of a pawn shop with a half-dozen games for less than $50.

I think our total game investment is maybe $100 up to now, and the count is probably 15 or more.

If you can play 360 games on the One, it might make a decent Christmas present if we don't lose the games we own or have to maintain two systems.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 200

"A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you'd never even hear about it."

Huh? Maybe in the remote parts of Africa or some other place that was still stuck in the stone age. Maybe. In the parts of the worlds actually living in the (early) 20th century not so much.

I think there's some truth to this, in that not even that long ago when something awful happened far away it may have gotten printed in a larger newspaper but even then the details were spartan, often delayed by days or weeks (depending on how far back we're talking).

But now? We get to watch high definition video of the something awful happening in almost real time and within hours we have a mountain of data on it, from facts to photos to additional video, from the other side of the world.

The benefit of not knowing or knowing very poorly was that the something awfuls were less inflammatory. You were, somewhat rightly, more aggrieved about the local awful things, which based on nothing more than probability, were far less awful. And because the focus was more local, the awful things usually involved people like you, so there was less likelihood that the awful things immediately raised tribal instincts.

Now? A member of $group1 is a victim of $group2, and within hours $group1 is rioting in the streets or whipping their members into a froth (if they didn't already whip themselves into one after watching constant HD video replays). Even people without a dog in the fight reframe their conception of their local lives based on what they see, despite these things being remote.

Slashdot Top Deals

MATH AND ALCOHOL DON'T MIX! Please, don't drink and derive. Mathematicians Against Drunk Deriving