Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:Pointless (Score 1) 199

A lot of secondary railroads all over Europe are not electrified, and that's where these diesel-powered Lint-trains show up. So that's the target market for these trains, not the main railroads.

And as said by others, there's a big problem with the fluctuations in energy output from wind and solar, especially in Germany. Instead of just throwing the energy away (like they do now), they could just as well use it to create hydrogen, even if it only has 50% efficiency.

That's why they're targeting the German market with this train.

Comment If it ain't broken... (Score 4, Informative) 160

It's still alive and kicking here in the Netherlands, known as Teletekst. Every journalist wants to be on page 101.

There's even a web-interface and an iPhone app for it, which is a no-nonsense, clutter-free, low-bandwidth source of news, weather, stocks and sport results. I can't live without it :)

I must say that I rarely use it on my tv anymore. Which is kind of funny, because nowadays it's still trapped inside the low-tech interface of the 70s although it's mostly used on devices so advanced that even the big visionaries of that age couldn't even dream about it.

Is it nostalgia? Or more like the Stockholm Syndrome? Or does it just hit a sweet spot of usability and simplicity?

Comment What if... (Score 4, Insightful) 136

What if Agile is better suited for other tasks than software development? I think Agile is an elegant way of approaching some kinds of creativity, but it just doesn't seem to work for most aspects of software-development.

Making radio shows is more of an iterative kind of creativity with lots of loosely-coupled ingredients where throwing away an item and replacing it with another won't destroy the whole format, so you can start off with a format, broadcast it, and add/remove items as you go.

Software is completely different. You create it once and after the first release you have to support it for eternity. Every new addition adds another layer of complexity, you can't just remove a feature without breaking other things or add a feature without duplicating functionality. For every iteration you'll need an overview and a deep knowledge of the whole system.

Comment Re:Good thing is... (Score 1) 228

[quote] but lets just wait how happy they will be when the telcos change strategy (e.g. higher fees and data caps) to get their investments back.

With the current scheme, the users who still use sms pay for the too cheap data plans of others. And the majority with low/occasional data usage pay for the minority that use 2+GB per month. That's not very fair. Prices will rise, bandwith caps will be tightened, but I'd rather pay a fair price than being robbed by insane sms rates, roaming charges and blocked services.

Comment Good thing is... (Score 2) 228

This idea comes frome one of the most corporate-friendly governments the country has had in a long time. The three ruling parties are all right-wing:
1. VVD: liberal, capitalist, pro privatization of state-run companies;
2. CDA: christian democrats. They're the initiators of this law;
3. PVV: anti-muslim, anti-immigration, populist. Not really part of the government, but they promised to agree on most things (except for their anti-Muslim stance).

The opposing parties are labour, socialist, environmentalist, liberal and two small christian parties.

I can't imagine why any of those parties would vote against this law (except for one or two small ones), so I would be very, very surprised if this law won't be passed.

Comment work pc = scrap heap (Score 1) 498

Since work pc's mostly are more than one generation older than enthusiast's pc's, it might even be feasible to give your own written-off (and unsellable) hardware a second life at work. At home I upgraded my 22" Samsung monitor to a 24" monitor, while my boss still mandates a 19" screen (because 1280x1024 is the target resolution for our product). I brought my 22" screen and a cheap dual-head graphics board to work so now I have 22" for Visual Studio and 19" for Outlook/internet/testing/comparing. Works like a charm while only costing me about 25 euros (for the gpu), which is a lot cheaper than the hassle of getting a work-provided second monitor.

Comment So basically... (Score 1) 200

...if the government doesn't like you, all they have to do is dig into your activities to find something illegal and use that as a reason to disable your ID-card and transform you into a second-rate citizen?

I'm sure they won't do this the first ten years, or at least until everyone is used to having a chip inside their bodies, but once the chip is the only way to be part of society, they can do whatever they want. And that's scary.

Comment it matters a lot (Score 4, Insightful) 545

Touch typists generally use more verbose variable names and more comments, because it's much more natural for them to type a lot of words. This makes their code a lot more readable, which saves money in the end since a *lot* of the cost of software is in maintenance and the only performance factor that really counts is not cpu cycles, memory usage or bandwith utilization, but euros, dollars, rupees, yens or whatever your legal tender is. The programmer's time is (one of) the most costly aspect(s) of software development. A crufty codebase is much easier to read and maintian with comments *really* explaining fixes and variable names explaining what they're used for. I see so much code with comments like '// Issue #24654' or variable names like 'i' or 'j' in functions that span more than 50 lines (or whatever fits in one screen).

Of course there's more than typing speed involved in making maintainable code and I'm sure there are non touch typists who force themselves to make their code readable, but being able to type fast without thinking helps a lot.

Comment Files are dead. (Score 1) 307

This tool only seems to work with files. If I examine my own computer use, I see that I don't use files directly anymore. I edit/manage my photos with Aperture, it doesn't matter to me where they are on my hard drive. I manage and play music in iTunes. I'm happy to let it manage the files, because it's a pita to manage a huge music collection by hand. At work I work with Visual Studio and TFS. Yes, I know what my local working folder is, but I don't have to. Whenever I need to edit a document, the fastest way is to open the word processor and open the file via 'Recent Files'. I rarely need to access the files directly or know where they are.

Besides, I don't want the same format on every device. I don't want a 16MB RAW file on my phone, just because I used the same file in Aperture.
Just because I made a document in Word, doesn't mean I want to have the word document on-the-go, when I just have it there for review and an e-reader optimized version is a lot easier.
I rip my cd's in Apple Lossless or iTunes Plus, because that's how it works and I have lots of hdd space. On my netbook, those files are way too big and everybody knows how much of a pita iTunes on a slow Windows box is. At the moment, I have to manually manage a shadow library with 160 kbit mp3's.
And what about contacts? Bookmarks? I don't want those things as files in a certain format, I want to use the appropriate program to access that information.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a library with source files on DropBox Online and a set of filters to generate the right libraries, protocols and formats for use on your devices?

Slashdot Top Deals

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (6) Them bats is smart; they use radar.