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. ×

Comment Ever play an antihero video game? (Score 2) 53

You know, where the character is actively rewarded for, and celebrates some 'negative' ethical attribute? Dungeon Keeper, God of War, most action video games, etc.

Well, if they're paying you money to lie, and more money to lie bigger, then seems to me that's the same dynamic. It's a reward loop, with a context. Doesn't seem to me that this would be any more likely to cause an increase in general preference for lying, than the millions who played Dungeon Keeper being more likely to turn to workplace abuse as a first resort.

That said, context adds a lot - the classic Stanford Prison experiment and similar studies showed how far context and roles can push people with very little prodding.

Seems to me, that more thought should be put into what roles we're building for folks, especially with things like the stock market, the legal system, and managerial roles. Unbounded reward loops have a way of being pushed until something really bad breaks, even with 'normal' people.

Comment Re:Told ya (Score 1) 184

I didn't predict it would fail, but I didn't predict it would succeed either. In my heart I couldn't think of many bigger wastes of money (maybe spending $1.5M on Trump's election campaign?) but frankly products from Apple I thought couldn't possibly gain traction have ended up leaping off the shelves.

The talk about the Apple Watch felt like the talk about the iPhone - which if you remember, when it finally came out, wasn't programmable, had a 7 hour battery, was stuck on EDGE, and in some ways was inferior to some of the better flip phones (which had apps, and SD cards, and you could Opera Mini on them, and the battery would last for days, etc.)

But it was a success, even in its crappy 1st generation form, and most of us who shrugged at the time feel like we probably shouldn't predict the impending doom of a new Apple product hyped at Daring Fireball, lest we be made to look stupid again.

I still don't see why you'd want a watch that requires you do more than glance at it to tell the time.

Comment Re:Please use 'bokeh' in a more useful way (Score 1) 37

Yeah, yeah. That's what the word means. But since it was fashionably inserted into discussions among actual photographers, it's been used in the context of discussing the quality of the blue, not the existence of the blur. It's useful - it's a succinct word that conveys that specific meaning. Trying, here, to preserve that clarity (if you'll pardon the pun) instead of letting it dumb down like so many other terms do.

Comment Please use 'bokeh' in a more useful way (Score 4, Interesting) 37

'Bokeh' is used when referring to the quality of the out-of-focus background (or foreground) of the image, not the fact that it is out of focus. Shallow depth of field images have blurry elements. By definition. But different lenses render that OoF area differently. Some lenses have a jittery, doubled-up, or ring-like pattern, or render OoF highlights as oblong smears or as hard circles. It just depends on the lens design. So when we talk about this, it's about the quality, not the quantity or existence of blurred areas.

Think of it like this: every lens of a given format, focal length and aperture will produce essentially the same mount of OoF areas. It's just physics. The focal plane is where it is, and the meaningfully in-focus area (say, on the subject's face) is going to be a given depth (for a given display size and resolution). Period.

But that's like saying all pianos can play a middle C note. They can. But some sound twangy or harsh, while others sound more pleasing to the ear. Likewise with the OoF rendering by some lenses. With the piano we can say "it plays middle C, but the tone is harsh" - and with the camera, we can say that the lens when wide open can render shallow DoF and thus blur the background, but the bokeh is harsh (or, creamy, or busy, or smooth - whatever... it's the "tone," the visual quality of the blur rendering, generally considered to be more appealing the more creamy it is - though sometimes harsh, nervous bokeh is desireable for certain cinematic moods, etc).

Sorry, pet peeve. "Shallow depth of field" doesn't mean "has bokeh." That's like saying the car's suspension has ride. All cars do! But what's the quality of the ride? More like a sports car, or a limo? Better bokeh usually comes from much higher quality glass, and more of it in the design of the lens. Big, fat, fast prime portrait lenses are built - among other things - to play that visual note more elegantly than cheaper lenses do, even though they both hit the note when told do if they can achieve the same aperture at a given focal length.

Comment Re:Have fewer babies. (Score 1) 109

The point is to stop being a third-world country so that - just like throughout the developed world, families don't feel the need to have so many babies to use as slave labor on the farm. There's a reason that countries like the US, or Germany, have their resident populations shrinking. Because people living more prosperously have fewer babies. And thus use far less in the way of resources like water (and especially, use it less wastefully than those who are doing old-school agriculture in a more primitive way). Prosperity makes for smaller families, which relieves stress on resources. So: India needs to stop carrying on like a third world country. Culturally, legally, governmentally, financially, agriculturally. And they will start having fewer babies. And need less water (and food, and energy, and everything else).

Comment Re:Have fewer babies. (Score 3, Insightful) 109

It's called education and prosperity. If it weren't for immigration (and immigrants having lots of children), countries like Germany and the US would have shrinking populations. Once a population reaches a better level of creature-comfort prosperity, and aren't living a hand-to-mouth agrarian lifestyle, they stop having so many babies.

Comment Re:2nd amendment (Score 1) 103

The rights protected by the Second Amendment don't grant you protection from prosecution when you destroy someone else's property (with a gun, or a chainsaw, or fire, or your fists). It's a federal felony to shoot at an aircraft, and the FAA now considers any drone (or RC plane, etc) over 9 ounces to be an aircraft.

And for what it's worth, the FPV hobby in the US is essentially now illegal. Operators cannot fly unless they are observing the aircraft with their own un-aided eyes at all times.

Comment Re:Make up your mind (Score 1) 150

So, what is "militarization," to you? Presumably you don't consider the classical police night stick to be an example of militarization. But using one to disable a violent person is a risk to the officer's life, and being able to disable that same person from twenty feet away, using a tazer or a beanbag so that the officer's life isn't at as much risk ... that's "militarization" to you? Is the fact that a cop is carrying a sidearm militarization? No? Why not?

Comment Stickers... (Score 2) 103

Now available in my "NotExista' store page, I have large stickers featuring the following civic-minded messages:

"Remember kids, look both ways before crossing the street, to prevent accidents!"


"Be on the lookout for police brutality! It's all our jobs to record police in order to prevent crime!" ...along with the FINEST of google-translated Swedish-language versions. Yours for only 50kr! Or get 2 for 80kr! Some shipping and taxes may apply.

Transform your old-fashioned 'drone' into the latest in mobile crime-prevention and accident-prevention platforms today!

Ryan Fenton

Comment Re:Secure the gateways (Score 1) 329

The easiest security is to not give access. People with baby monitors want to view the video stream. They really don't want to use the debugging back door to run a shell command to allow the devs to troubleshoot a problem.

The servers should limit themselves to "How should I connect to this? It's device ABC, with password hunter7" ("I see you're on IP, hey, so's the device, you can connect directly on!") vs ("I see you're on IP, the device isn't (and I'm not going to tell you where it is), so you'll have to use me. Want a video stream?") and proxying the absolute minimum only.

That would be a meaningful improvement in security that would reduce the ability of their devices to be hacked.

Comment Re:Asking too much` (Score 2) 67

The point isn't that they're a developing nation. They're not. It's that they spin things with that sort of description whenever they have to explain away things like selling poisoned baby food or grain shipments full of melamine. Pretending they don't have the technical chops to perform sophisticated industrial espionage, because, you know, they're just a simple farming community ... such nonsense.

Comment Re:Snowden also did something illegal (Score 3, Interesting) 350

And how do you think the media would have reacted if the Trump campaign did something like this to elicit a violent response?

They covered it, which is why you're being obtuse and this entire "scandal" is an exercise in BS designed to muddy the waters and give cover to Trump by creating a false "both sides" narrative.

There is precisely one side, one side, in this discussion where the CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT has SUPPORTED VIOLENCE ON HIS BEHALF. You know that. O'Keefe knows that. It's precisely why most of us are so fearful he might become President. It's unheard of in modern political history for a Presidential candidate to incite violence on his behalf.

And while he's constrained - a little - by the law right now, the fact he's willing to support violence by his supporters means we have good reason to believe that - if Trump wins - there will be no fair elections in 2020. Because as President he can and probably will prevent any legal consequences for those who threaten and deal out violence against his enemies.

Hillary Clinton has not in any way endorsed violence. And frankly, the best Trump's supporters can do to muddy the water is find some low level operative who says he might hypothetically support an operation designed to expose the fact that Trump's supporters are violent.

So with respect, stop pretending you're arguing any legitimate point here. You're not. You're trying to normalize violence in an election. You need to ask yourself if you're going to continue to do so, or whether you have the guys to re-evaluate what you've been calling for.

Carry on down this path, and you, and America, are in serious danger.

Comment Re:Snowden also did something illegal (Score 1) 350

Sure, here's a top official in the Trump campaign offering to pay the legal fees of anyone who beats up protestors at a Trump rally:


Notice, incidentally, that this isn't some low level idiot in the campaign brainstorming about ways to make their rival look bad by taking advantage of a group already known to be violent, but a high up official promising that those who instigate violence on Trump's behalf will be shielded legally from the consequences of their actions.

Slashdot Top Deals

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire