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Comment Re:Gouge the middle class to make them poor (Score 0) 201

Of course, the nuclear family of the 1950s had:
a 1200 (not 2200) sqft house,
formica (not granite) counters, ...

But the house was owned - with a mortgage affordable on a single income and substantial equity in place.

The car was also either owned or being purchased on an auto loan (rather than leased), again with substantial equity from the down payment, and again paid for out of that single income - which was also feeding and clothing the 2.3 children and taking a nontrivial vacation once a year or so.

And I have no idea where you are getting those square footage numbers. Our family's houses (we moved a couple times once Dad got done with his degree and was buying rather than living in a student ghetto) were substantially larger than you describe, and were typical of the neighborhoods around them.

Yes, Formica: It was the big deal of the time. Granite is a recent vanity - and a REALLY STUPID idea if you actually USE the kitchen to prepare food on a regular basis. Drop a ceramic or glass utensil on a granite counter and it breaks. Drop it on Formica-over-plywood-or-hardwood and it usually bounces.

stainless steel appliances,
automatic dishwasher,
automatic dryer,
*might* have had a TV (not a 54" LCD),

Yeah we had all those boxes (though the appliances were be enamel rather than stainless). Also a console sound system - pre "Hi Fi" - AM, FM, and four-speed record changeer with diamond needle in the pickup.

The non-electronic appliances lasted for decades, too. (Even the electronics lasted a long time with occasional maintenance - which was required for vacuum tube based equipment - and was AVAILABLE.) Quite unlike the modern stuff. (My own family has been in our townhouse for about 17 years now and is on its third set of "stainless steel appliances", thanks to the rotten construction of post-outsourcing equipment by formerly high-end manufacturers. We're even on our third WATER HEATER: The brain of the new, governent mandated, eco-friendly, replacement flaked out after less than a year - and the manufacturer sent TWO MORE defective replacement brains and one defective gas sensor before lemon-replacing it.)

Comment Re:Gouge the middle class to make them poor (Score 4, Insightful) 201

It sounds more fair when you say charge less in poorer countries. However when you turn it around, it is gouge the people in less poor countries.

Especially given that GDP is not evenly distributed among the population. The bulk of the added revenue from technology driven productivity improvements (at least in the US) has gone to the denizens of the C suites and the government, not to the workers. GDP has soared while real-inflation adjusted after-tax income has stagnated or dropped for decades.

That's much of why a nuclear family in the '50s got along fine on a single income and a two-parent family now involves both parents working and the kids in child care, and the bulk of kids are in "non-traditional" family arrangements and/or on some form of public assistance.

So "gouge the developed world's middle class" is indeed what such a GDP-based scheme would accomplish.

Comment Dear Editors: (Score 3, Informative) 45

... can crawl into an incision in the eye and lift a membrane no more than a hundredth of a millimeter.

Is that the incision width, the lift distance limit, or the membrane thickness? A few extra words and comas -- actually in TFA -- would help:

Using a joystick and a camera feed, MacLaren guided the arm of the Robotic Retinal Dissection Device, or R2D2 for short, through a tiny incision in the eye, before lifting the wrinkled membrane, no more than a hundredth of a millimeter thick, from the retina, and reversing Beaver’s vision problems.

Comment Free software assistant... already exists (Score 3, Informative) 91

Free software assistant... already exists

http://mycroft.ai

They've got an RPi image you can download, slap on a card, and be up and running with a USB mic and something to handle the audio out.

Seems to me like the FSF should pay more attention to what is already going on.

Comment Re:i/o ports and support (Score 1) 109

The Pie has FreeBSD and other Linux distro support and lots of i/O to hook up other peripherals.

And I was running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on a Beagle Bone Black in April of '04 (although its userland was running on a somewhat back-versioned kernel for a couple months until the guy doing the kernel ports got the proper one fully ported).

The Black is not the first Beagle Bone version, either, and it was running Debian Linux from the first time I encountered it. It has lots of I/O hookup opportunities - including onboard USB, Ethernet, video, and lots of GPIOs that can be configured to provide several serial ports and a number of buses, in addition to lots of wiggle wires. And you can stack peripheral boards on it, as well.

Plug in a wall wart, USB hub, keyboard, mouse, monitor, (and, if 4 or 8 Gigabytes of file systems feels too cramped, a USB drive or mount a filesystem from a fileserver). Bingo: a full-blown desktop system with about the power of a cellphone and smaller than a pack of cigarettes (excluding all the stuff you plugged into it, of course).

Which is not to say it's the best choice. it's just one I happen to be familiar with. There are a number of single-board machines out there. Cellphone processor technology is too powerful, cheap, and available to NOT be plowshared.

Comment Re:They took the worst part of Python (Score 0) 186

For most Python programmers, the block syntax is one of the things they like the most. It's true that a bad copy and paste or accidentally deleting some spaces in the wrong place can break things badly and potentially lead to subtle bugs. But in practice, that doesn't seem to be a significant problem.

So it can either "break things badly and ... lead to subtle bugs" or it's "not a significant problem". As someone else said, "a ringing endorsement".

The fact is you should be indenting consistently anyway, so braces and semicolons are superfluous, and ugly.

Doesn't change the fact that the Python block syntax can cause serious problems and offers *no* actual benefit over using delimiters like {} and using delimiters solves the problems Python's syntax can cause. The simple fact is there's no need for this syntax in Python other than the whim and hubris of the language developer.

Comment Re: In the interest of infringing further: (Score 1) 142

Really? I've heard the last few Trek outings were absolute shit. I've been too busy to see many movies, but after Paramount's shenanigans began I couldn't see making time to give them any of my money. The fans made Trek - if they want to shit on the fans, then the fans can u make Trek. Except that most of them are p'tak.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1501

Explain to me again why this is more reassuring than someone who is an old hand at foreign policy and a known commodity?

Because while he is thin-skinned, he doesn't have Hillary Clinton's decades of history of corruptly exploiting public office to enrich her and her family while baldly lying to your face about it. She's made herself rich - not by building hotels or other constructive things, but by selling political access to people like overseas dictators who don't mind things like throwing gay guys off of rooftops to please Allah.

So we don't like his manners, but we do like her serial lying, corruption, and incompetence ... because she's been doing it for a long time and we're used to it? No thanks.

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