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Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 327

Exactly. I bought a fairly decent set of speakers, a projector, and a DVD player for a total of around £450 in 2003. Back then, a ticket at my local cinema cost £4.50 (it's gone up), so roughly the same as going to the cinema 100 times. Popcorn was another £4 or so (drinks another £2-3), so that brought it down to about 50 trips - one a week for a year. I split the cost of the projector with my housemates back then and we'd have friends bring a DVD and food / beer around. By the end of the year, it had more or less paid for itself. One of my housemates bought the other shares in the projector when he moved and I bought a new one and have replaced the bulb once, so I've spent a total of about £500 (plus electricity) over a period of 13 years. The up-front cost was a lot higher, but over 13 years it's been cheaper than going to the cinema once a month and not having anything to eat / drink there. And that's just the cost for me: for the first few years when living with housemates and for the last few living with my partner the benefits have been shared by multiple people. Oh, and we get to watch TV shows in the same environment.

I stopped buying DVDs for a while because renting was a lot cheaper, but as BluRay and streaming start to see adoption the second-hand market is flooded with DVDs so it's easy to pick up a film for £1 or a season of a TV show for £3-5.

The real answer to piracy? Give people the product that they want for a reasonable price. Give me a service that let's me download DRM-free movies in a standard format that will work on the FreeBSD media centre box connected to my projector, my Mac laptop, my old WebOS tablet and my new iPad and I'll happily hand over money. Until then, I'll stick to DVDs.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 327

Right, because old people are the ones that have good hearing. I had a similar experience the last time I went to a cinema. Sound settings so ludicrous that any base drowned out people talking and caused distortion in the speakers. I've not been to the cinema near where I live now, but they've just done a big refurbishment that ended up with a quarter the seating space that they had before. Apparently it's doing pretty well (people like the big comfy seats), but a apparently decade ago it was able to sell out most of the screens on a regular basis. Now they always have empty seats, even with a quarter the capacity.

Comment Re:Hatchet jobs aside (Score 1) 393

I look into the witness guy's background, he has UK security clearance FFS!

Having UK security clearance is not that hard. I did for a while (though it's long-since lapsed). Anyone who works on any defence-related project is likely to have security clearance. Remember when Snowden released all of the things he could access and it turned out that over a million people in the USA had security clearance? The UK isn't that much more restrictive in who it hands our clearance to.

Comment Re:Which version of C would you use? (Score 1) 306

C11 threads are also a horrible API full of mistakes that other threading libraries learned from and fixed two decades ago. It exists solely because someone thought that you can't have atomics in a language without a mechanism in the standard library for creating threads. C++11 threads are actually quite sensible. The only significant addition in C11 is the addition of a half-arsed port of C++11 atomics (right down to accidentally including a joke footnote from the C++11 draft spec that was removed before the C++11 spec was finalised). _Generic is vaguely useful.

Comment Re:Non-linear Presentation (Score 1) 98

It's very useful to be able to create presentations with multiple paths through them. You can embed deep-dives into things that you're trying to explain and skip over them if the audience either isn't interested in that part or that they want more information about. Quite a few other presentation tools provide support for non-linear presentations, PowerPoint is playing catchup.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 306

Look at LLVM as an instructive example. It's a large complex beast written in heavy C++, but there are bindings for every language you'd ever want to seriously write a compiler in.

Not a great counterexample - The LLVM C bindings are maintained by hand and all of the other bindings are machine-generated from the C bindings.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 306

Using C++ without templates is missing the point. One of the things I miss the most when writing C is the lack of efficient generic data structures. C equivalents of things like std::list, std::dequeue, and std::unordered_map all require lots of macros that cast things through void* (and therefore avoid any possibility of compile-time errors) and typically extra layers of indirection which hurt performance from d-cache misses more than templates will hurt from increased i-cache usage.

Apple's CoreFoundation is probably the nicest-designed C library providing core features, but it is a lot harder to work with than its Objective-C equivalent for similar performance and less efficient than a C++ version (though with stronger binary compatibility guarantees).

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 306

As for the specific example (dst - src >= len): Comparing against a dst - len operation would require an intptr_t that as you pointed out is optional. dst - src requires a ptrdiff_t type that isn't optional in C99 and can be found in stddef.h

This is correct, however it is undefined behaviour to compare two pointers to different objects. In particular, C is intended to support environments where objects are allocated as segments and can be relocated in a linear address space (I work on one such architecture and wrote the C compiler for it, though we actually do support this idiom because so much real-world code depends on it). In such an environment (which includes the version of C that targets the CLR), there is no guarantee that the ordering of two objects in memory will be stable.

Comment the equivalent of about 300 miles? (Score -1, Troll) 118

...a half-hour travel time between Stockholm and Helsinki, which is the equivalent of about 300 miles.

"The equivalent of about 300 miles"? What does that mean?

Oh, it means "about 300 miles". Or even "a distance of about 300 miles". Right. But this is a 'technical' topic, so we need to use more and bigger words. The best words.

Unless there's some sort of weird space-time physical equivalence principle the authors are alluding to, in which case a half hour is actually 300 miles long.

Comment Re:Wait... Who got that other half of the $$$ rais (Score 5, Informative) 33

I spent about fifteen years of my career in the non-profit sector, so I have some perspective on this.

Raising money in a non-profit is just like selling stuff is for a for-profit. Generating gross revenue is relatively easy -- if you spend a lot of money you can rake in a lot of dough. What's a bitch to generate is net profit. In the non-profit sector we don't use the term "profitability" very much, so the metric that's often used to describe financial is "cost to raise a dollar." For typical fundraising activities cost-to-raise-a-dollar runs from 0.25 to 1.5 dollars/dollar.

Take junk mail. The cost to raise a dollar for a well-run direct mail campaign is in the range of $1.25 to $1.50, so if I want to raise $115,000 to spend on other things I have to scale my direct mail campaign to bring inover $258,000 gross. As you can see I chose a net target that was exactly 1/1000 the size of the ALS bucket challenge net, so you can compare the efficiency of the processes readily. The cost to raise a dollar for the ALS bucket challenge is actually better than a well-run direct mail campaign -- $0.91.

And it should be more efficient than direct mail, because direct mail is about the least efficient method there is. The marginal costs are huge because you pay for the names and addresses as well as printing and mailing of each piece, and most of those pieces will end up in the landfill unopened. So if direct mail is so inefficient, why use it? Because the financial inefficiency doesn't matter to the organization doing the fundraising. The end result of my hypothetical direct mail campaign is that my organization has $115,000 it didn't have before. That probably pays for one and half full time staff positions (at the low do-gooder wages we pay) for a year.

So the ALS challenge was in the financial efficiency range of methods normally used by non-profits, albeit a little towards the inefficient end. That doesn't really tell us if the campaign was responsibly run or not; to know that you'd have to look at all the expenses and compare those to costs in other viral Internet fundraising campaigns. But the bottom line is that the ALS association ended up with $115 million it didn't have before.

Can you think of a way of raising $115 million in a few months? I thought not. So presuming the guys who ran the campaign didn't spend the money on hookers and blow, I wouldn't be unduly concerned by a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of $0.91 if I was on the board.

Should donors care that the ALS challenge was a little high on the cost-to-raise-a-dollar metric? Well, I look at it this way. People did it because it was fun and for a good cause, and two years later we can point to concrete and significant scientific results from the money raised. That's not only pretty good, it's pretty damned awesome.

Businesses

Tesla and Autopilot Supplier Mobileye Split Up After Fatal Crash (usatoday.com) 127

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: Tesla and Mobileye, one of the top suppliers to its Autopilot partial self-driving system, are parting ways in the wake of the May accident that killed an owner of one of its electric Model S sedans. Mobileye is considered a leader in developing the equipment that will be needed for fully self-driving cars. The Israeli tech company will continue to support and maintain current Tesla products, including upgrades that should help the Autopilot system with crash avoidance and to better allow the car to steer itself, said Chairman Amnon Shashua in releasing the company's second-quarter earnings Tuesday. Shashua said moving cars to higher levels of self-driving capability "is a paradigm shift both in terms of function complexity and the need to ensure an extremely high level of safety." He added there is "much at stake" in terms of Mobileye's reputation, and that it is best to end the relationship with Tesla by the end of the year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, meeting with reporters at the company's new battery Gigafactory outside Reno, indicated that Tesla can go forward without Mobileye. "Us parting ways was somewhat inevitable. There's nothing unexpected here from our standpoint," Musk said. "We're committed to autonomy. They'll go their way, and we'll go ours."

Comment Hades 2026 (Score 1) 244

Last Week Tonight Winter Olympics 2022

The ending here is not one of his best, but the two bits with Brian Williams are priceless. The other good bit: 7000 pages of host-nation demands.

Apart from the women's hockey finals, I can hardly recall the last minute of Olympic coverage I've watched in ten years, just because I hate IOC with the burning intensity of a thousand suns.

You might think I'm exaggerating, but consider that it's only one sun per seven pages of arrogance from geriatric gargoyles that even the French don't want.

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