Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
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 Seems like a consolidation in citation apps (Score 2) 87

This is quite interesting seeing that my citing app of choice Papers was recently taken over by Springer another big research publisher. I wonder if all these big publishers are wanting to take over the low cost and mass marker reference/citation managers, especially as some of them have social features. Nothing beats having loyal customers who you can data mine nowadays - even Google is in the game with Google Scholar. The older style reference managers are fairly expensive, and by having a low end product which is free, I think Elsevier will go someway to restore some of their reputation, especially as their ScienceDirect resource is actually quite good.

Comment Facebook - the worst big offender with privacy (Score 2) 112

While I think a lot of people would want this and buy this (the facebook addicts who are constantly posting that is), Facebookstrikes me as the web company with the worst outlook to privacy out of the lot. They seem to change their T&Cs to suit them and only apologise when they are caught in something nefarious.

The problem is that (I cannot see) a useful alternative. Facebook and Google have integrated themselves so into the general internet that even Slashdot seems to have Google and Facebook login options. Google seems to be slightly better with regards to privacy, but their recent actions have made me actually switch from Chrome back to Firefox. I've even started investigating moving some of my 'services' to smaller brands, running services on my Synology NAS, or even thinking of hosting my own virtual server for privacy.

I even found an extension called Ghostery which disables advert tracking in Firefox and it is quite astounding how much tracking gets done on the internet. Whilst I appreciate you can't get something for nothing, we (as a society) seem to now throw our privacy more and more out the window without realising the implications. Facebook's alledged phone is just another nail in the coffin of our privacy.

Comment More petitions (Score 1) 386

I like everyone else is upset at this. One of the best Google services shut down - obviously their target audience is not me. There just isn't a good replacement for a web-based service such as this (see all the points previously stated) making an Android/iOS app a poor fit, and even standalone desktop applications poor (especially the go away for a few days and all the feeds are picked up part).

I am at the point that I will happily close my Google Plus account (don't really use it) as a protest vote if someone is organising something like this (Occupy Google Plus anyone?)

I hope everyone can sign one of the 3 petitions:
* Whitehouse - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/officially-request-behalf-citizens-united-states-google-reverse-its-decision-shut-down-reader/VRZTd72L
* Change.org #1 - https://www.change.org/petitions/google-keep-google-reader-running
* Change.org #2 - http://www.change.org/petitions/google-please-don-t-kill-google-reader


Comment Another great step for freedom (Score 4, Insightful) 47

As people before have noted Wikivoyage is a fork of the Wikitravel, and I thing this is a great thing for Internet freedom and collaborative work. For all the critcism Wikipedia has had, there is the goal to make knowledge free. Whilst Internet Brands abused the old wikitravel website, hopefully we can get a reformed great collaborative travel guide, and something to balance Tripadvisor

Submission + - Outrage at Microsoft offshoring tax in the UK (telegraph.co.uk)

Master Of Ninja writes: After the ongoing row about companies not paying a fair share of tax in the United Kingdom, and with companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google being in the headlines, focus has now turned to Microsoft. Whilst the tax arrangements are strictly legal, there has been outrage on how companies are avoiding paying their fair share of tax generated in the country.

Comment Overhyped Slashdot summary yet again (Score 1) 71

Medical screening is a tricky subject - see the wikipedia article for a better overview of it all. However tests aren't 100% foolproof, and if you look up terms such as sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, false positive etc. on wikipedia it will give you a general indication of how these tests really work. I do not believe that you can have a test that screens for all cancer that is useful. Or if I put it this way when will it pick up cancer? Can it pick up ALL cancers early enough that you can do something about it? Will there then be false positives (worrying patients, giving them unnecessary treatment with the associated side effects), or false negatives (i.e. people not picked up)? Or are they making a test that picks up all cancers when they have metastasised (i.e. spread to the other parts of the body) when people cannot be treated? The last example is not the useful one. It is useful to see the principles of screening on the first section of the wikipedia article. It will give people a general background on tests and why they may or may not pick up things. Medicine (and the human body) is somewhat of an inexact science so some cancers may not be picked up until they are untreatable, and patients may not understand why they personally have fallen through the net. The article seems to acknowledge that this is still a research idea - the important bits are that they screened 'advanced' cancers, some of the statistics, and the cost. I do support researchers as I know that advances can take a long time to prove and filter through from research into something that is useful.

Comment Misleading story, Apple complies by making adaptor (Score 4, Informative) 543

This is just another misleading story - Apple actually has complied by providing an adaptor for charging. They specification that they are adhering to is the Common External Power Supply and allows the use of adaptors. They already have on for older type of dock connector. I suspect Apple has valid reasons as they want data transfer to be as fast as possible with their proprietary adaptors, but still allow micro-usb charging if people want it.

Comment IANAL but earlier story re: software patents (Score 1) 214

IANAL but here was the story from earlier today Easy Fix For Software Patents Found In US Patent Act. I think will go and email the x-plane guy about it as it could be that "Stanford law professor Mark Lemley" may be willing to do some pro-bono work. Or easily ask the EFF and google to chip in. Can't quite see how this company is getting away with this.

Comment Synology Diskstation (or other NAS) (Score 1) 239

I'm not sure but you maybe want to make this a challenge for yourself? I would personally go for the easiest route which you just set up and takes care of itself without complex problems. Dropbox (if you have enough storage) is the ideal answer as it will sync away in the background so freeing you to do things for yourself. Certainly the last dropbox update seemed to ask me if I want dropbox when I plug in a camera rather than using iphoto.

However I suggest getting a good NAS and my suggestion is a Synology Diskstation of some type (no financial interest, just very satisfied customer). You have your own server without the power overheads. Plus you can set it up for remote access and they have even released their "cloudstation" solution which is like having your own personal dropbox syncing, so would satisfy having pictures on your own server. Would go to http://www.synology.com/ and check it out. I'm sure you could set it up to backup things if you accidentally deleted locally. By the by if you're travelling abroad please do not data roam, it will beexpensive and very regrettable. Either switch off data roaming or get a local sim.

Comment NAS and Online backup (Score 1) 414

The question really is how much do you value your data? A little? A lot? My solution is a dual solution (albeit still waiting for the 2nd part to arrive). Online I have a subscription to CrashPlan (although there are other various services available which will do a similar job). You can get the software which will backup your computer (or selected folders) to another computer with the software installed over the internet (e.g. your parents if there is enough free space). If you pay a subscription you can back up your files encrypted to CrashPlans servers (and I think you can even put in your own encryption key), albeit it can take a few days to do this. You can even get family packs for multiple computers.

The 2nd part for which I am waiting is a networked attached storage - I am getting a Synology product, although again there are other companies making these. The model I am getting will have 2 spare bays for hard disks of your choosing, and then you can run a backup on your computer to these which will keep the discs up to date. You can also use this as a file server, as well as a media server, bittorrent client etc. (see the synology website if you are really interested). You can stuff a couple of 2TB drives in there and even implement some sort of RAID.

So you can then have an onsite and an offsite backup with a NAS and crashplan. The 3rd part of the solution probably is to trim down what you store as I can vouch I have a lot of crap that really doesn't need to be saved. Then do regular backups of the really important bits (for me this is not my itunes folder) to DVD-R.

Overall it comes down to how much is your data worth and how much are you willing to spend?

Comment This is why the Raspberry Pi will be the new ZX81 (Score 3, Interesting) 196

The ZX81 was one of the main reasons the UK had a great generation of programmers (and especially games programmers). The computers were cheap, easy to tinker with and allowed endless modifications. I know that a lot of people are very sniffy about Basic, but the BBC Basic taught in schools at the time was the gateway to self taught computer programming. This is why I think the Raspberry Pi will herald a revolution in computer programming - $25 (?£) compared to the £50 in some of the advertisements for the ZX81. With a keyboard and mouse the raspberry pi will be equivalently priced.

As an aside I never had the ZX81, only the later Spectrum +3. But those were the glory days of British computing...

Comment All the good politicians go to London (Score 1) 116

Certainly the devolved parliaments have a different election system than Westminister allowing smaller parties to get in, plus there is a tendency to more local politics there. However it is not helped by the fact that if you are ambitious or want to make a serious change it seems you go to Westminister, whereas there seems to be a lot of ineffectiveness in the devolved governments. The UK wide political parties inability to do well in the Scottish elections seems to be the fact that the candidates really aren't the cream of the crop and have quite poor policy platforms to stand on.

Comment Re:How could he have been stopped? (Score 2) 358

Because the Arab ghettos are within the death zone of any nukes on the main population centres?

That, and everyone would come and fuck you up in retaliation. Nuclear or not.

Are you sure? If the world politics/UN is anything to go by there would be some countries siding with Iran, some abstaining, some being in the retaliation camp, and then a veto or two against the whole plan by a country that's playing realpolitik. It would be a mess. But the power of having a nuke is that people start taking you more seriously on the world stage

Comment Not quite true... All PowerPC based (Score 2) 353

The WSJ is a bit misleading - there is no definite information that the whole cell chip itself was used to create the Wii and 360 CPUs. However all three chips are derivatives of IBM's pre-existing PowerPC architecture (itself a subset of their POWER processors), with the Wii having by all reports a faster version of the PowerPC that was in the GameCube. The way that machines are created there's no way that research that went into one chip didn't go to improving all of IBM's other chips (and as the article suggests), but not to the extent that they would use the whole Cell architecture and give it to SCEA's direct gaming competitors (and I would have thought there would be an explicit exemption to that in the Sony-IBM contract). The wikipedia article (see below for links) is quite informative. It will tell you that the XBox used the PPE part of the Cell chip - from what I can tell the PPE is a PowerPC derivative - I previously heard that it was a custom built version of the PowerPC 970 that was the last Mac PowerPC chip. The special thing about cell is the parallel architecture, with the PPE and SPE tags causing some confusion. You can claim that some help might have been indirectly provided by Sony, but IBM has the expertise (and pre-existing relationship with Nintendo) to make the chips without Sony's funding. In summary it seems all chips have a basis in IBM's longstanding PowerPC series, with the Cell being a bit more specialised. As the specs of the chips are secret is difficult to say what exact differences there are without examining the chips in detail. Have a look at these links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_(microprocessor)#Power_Processor_Element_.28PPE.29 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC

Slashdot Top Deals

U X e dUdX, e dX, cosine, secant, tangent, sine, 3.14159...