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Comment Re:Another patent blocking technology (Score 1) 26

1995 called, they want their description of Amazon.com back.

(You should visit their website one day, they sell pretty much everything these days, and have quite a few interesting products and projects that have little to do with retail, such as AWS. But as a reader of Slashdot.org, I'm sure you've never heard of this whole "cloud computing" thing they're famous for in some circles...)

Comment Re:I'm missing something crucial (Score 1) 82

For a lot of us, choosing between Google Now (or Hey Google or whatever the kids call it these days) and Cortana is a choice like that between having your left big toe removed, or your right.

To be fair, at least Google (and thus by implication Android) lets you turn it off. I wish Windows 10 AE had a way to replace Cortana with regular old search.

Comment Re:HBO needs to get its head back in the game (Score 1) 134

The HBO subscription is only worth it if you have a peer group that also has an HBO subscription and so it's important to watch things at the same time as them. I stopped buying DVDs about 10 years ago when renting became a lot cheaper than buying, but I've recently started again with boxed sets. Even if I only watch each episode once, it's cheaper than any of the streaming options, plus they're practically DRM free (as in, the DRM is so broken that it may as well not exist) and I can copy them to a mobile device for watching on long trips. Oh, and I get to wait until there are multiple years of something before I watch it.

I do wonder a bit what would happen to the economics of TV series production if most people did this. You'd expect a TV show to make a loss for the first few years, but then be profitable over a longer time, which is a very different model from the current mode of any profits after the first year are a nice bonus, but not factored into the accounting calculations.

Comment Re:Just attention seeking, no substance (Score 1) 490

The whole thing smelled of bullshit from day zero. It's much easier for the US to get someone extradited from the UK than it is for them to extradite someone from Sweden, so the whole running-to-the-embassy thing never made sense, except as a possible means to escape being tried for rape. If the US really wanted him, they'd have had the extradition process started with the UK long before Assange went to the Ecuadorian embassy.

Comment Re:Saving the world with a Tax. (Score 4, Insightful) 233

The idea of a tax isn't as silly as you make it sound. The problem with most forms of pollution (from a purely economic standpoint) is that one person or company gains the benefits from polluting, but everyone pays the costs. This is known as an externality. Taxing pollution fixes this and means that the polluting technology becomes more expensive to operate and makes the barrier to entry for non-polluting technologies higher. If something is producing a lot of carbon dioxide but costs $5/widget, and you add a tax that amounts to $2.50/widget, then a replacement technology that doesn't emit any CO_2 but costs $7/widget is now cheaper to use. This means that you can bring it to market before you've got the economies of scale to push the price down below $5/widget.

Comment Re:solar/wind talk is spin - France vs China (Score 1) 233

Size doesn't really matter, because most renewable schemes scale with area. Population density does. France has 116/km^2, China has 145/km^2, so almost a 25% higher overall population density. That translates to a little bit less space for wind, solar, hydro and so on per capita, but not by enough to make it infeasible. Add in nuclear power, and the scaling is quite easy - building a nuclear power plant is hard, but doubling the generating capacity doesn't come close to doubling the land area, as long as you have a supply of uranium (China has uranium mines, France doesn't).

Comment Re:Assange lacks integrity. (Score 1) 490

Then you'd introduce a new loophole: "I said immediate release, but Obama waited over a week before commuting her sentence, haha, I win."

I'm not sure that's a bigger loophole than the promise to be extradited to a country that isn't seeking an extradition though...

Comment Re:liar (Score 1) 490

Assange did not use the word "Pardon" in the latest offers. He simply asked for clemency. A commutation is a form of clemency.

To be honest though, it was always a joke. His offer is to allow himself to be extradited to the US. The US isn't seeking Assange's extradition. Sweden is.

Comment Re:White Power Rangers...ASSEMBLE! (Score 1) 279

A big part of the problem is that race and wealth correlate strongly in the USA and the rhetoric from the Democrats has been about race and not poverty, even though the latter is the real problem. This leaves people who are both poor and white feeling that the party only cares about poverty when it happens to black people and, worse, that it feels middle class black people deserve more help than poor white ones. This is made even worse by the fact that there's a black President: clearly being black isn't a complete barrier to success, but being born poor often is.

Comment Re:How's that feel Texas? (Score 2) 111

The key word in the summary is 'hundreds'. It brings the total that Tesla is planning on hiring to 7,000. Nevada is giving Tesla $1.3bn over 20 years, so that works out at $65m/year, or $10K/worker. It's a pretty big gamble that the state will take $10K/year more in tax revenues per worker than if the factory were not there. They're betting that the existence of the Tesla factory will spur other job-creating manufacturing industry.

Comment Re:so old! (Score 1) 59

1. Do you have to go out of your way and invest significant time and effort to avoid the use of these Oracle-owned libraries when you want to develop software in Java?

I'm quite happy to go out of my way to not add an extra 'use expensive commercial features' flag when I invoke the JVM.

2. Are you able to write good software without the Oracle-owned libraries? (good = robust, efficient, secure, ...)

I'd first like to see an existence proof that robust, efficient, and secure software exists, but assuming that axiom, any Java program that works with OpenJDK (i.e. the reference Java implementation) will work without any Oracle-specific things.

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