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


Forgot your password?
Check out the brand new SourceForge HTML5 speed test! Test your internet connection now. Works on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Would make sense for a military base. (Score 3, Informative) 101

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched in 2009 and as far as I can tell it is still orbiting the moon. Its science mission may be finished though. In any case, keeping satellites in permanent orbit near the moon isn't simple, because of gravitational anomalies of the moon:


Comment Too bad robots couldn't do what people could (Score 2) 34

Are you aware that the three Russian robotic sample missions returned just a few hundred -grams- of lunar soil, while the Apollo manned flights returned hundreds of -kilograms-? The later lunar astronauts were also able to study geology before their flights and actually make intelligent decisions about -what- samples to return. Hardly the same level of achievement or the same scientific value. It would be really sad if all we had were the 326 grams of lunar soil returned by the Luna missions.

Comment Re:Is Windows10 a thing? (Score 2) 195

Where did I say everybody under the age of 30 goes to college? When I said 'that whole group' I was referring to people who do go to college (who are 99% under 30 after all). You're hearing what you want to hear. GP made it sound as if nobody under 30 uses a computer. I was just pointing out that is not a valid assumption.

Comment Re:Is Windows10 a thing? (Score 5, Insightful) 195

I updated all my PCs to Windows 10, starting with the laptop that was running 8.1 anyway. Inevitably there will be software and hardware that just isn't supported on Windows 7, whether intentionally or by accident, and I see no reason to stay behind when the update was free. Windows 10 cleaned up some of the annoyances I had with using 8.1 on a laptop (the Metro screen and Charms bar for instance), and the remainder are hardly an issue.

And regarding the idea that everybody under 30 uses a phone or tablet, sure they use phones, but I don't see many tablets out there, and laptops are practically a requirement for a college education these days, so that whole group of (under 30) people uses a Mac or PC computer as well.

Comment Public access to expiration dates? (Score 2) 18

Obviously this works because the domain system has been designed so that domain expiration dates are visible to the public. Is there any compelling public interest in making this so? Perhaps this was one of those decisions made during a more naive, simple time on the internet, that needs to be revisited.

Comment Re:"just" an implementation of what Android/Google (Score 1) 131

I don't want to write a thesis on this, but it's really not that easy. APIs have all sorts of implicit rules that are not obvious at first glance (and undocumented, hence 'implicit'), so even if you write what appears to be a valid drop-in replacement for every individual API function, you may end up with a garbage result. Throw in multi-threaded programming and event-driven GUI programming, and it becomes exponentially more complicated. It's not unusual for a GUI program to rely on a specific order of events received from the OS in order to calculate things like layout, positioning, font sizes, etc., or to make desired features like animation work properly. The events might -always- occur in the expected order on one OS and give all the right answers, but come in differently on another OS or a new release of the same OS. An emulation of one OS by another has to replicate a ton of behavior that you can't predict in advance just by reading the API specifications.

Comment Re:transcript of rose (Score 1) 58

Earlier today I played with the Rose Chatbot demo on Brian Wilcox's website, and it falls apart pretty quickly. Human beings (especially one with the presumed life experience of a '30-year-old security consultant') have an enormous body of knowledge to draw context from, plus the ability to quickly identify relevant context, which no chatbot today can replicate. My conversation with 'Rose' jumped off the rails after about a minute with this simple exchange (paraphrasing):

Rose: I'm a programmer too.
Me: What languages do you use?
Rose: I only understand English.

FAIL. Unless I'm dealing with a person on drugs, or intentionally trying to act like a chatbot, I would obviously expect them to realize that my question about languages was asked within the context of computer programming, since that is what they just told me they do. Failure to deal with context (which Rose seems to handle by deflecting the conversation) is what prevents chatbots from giving a convincing impression that there is a 'mind' behind the words, that is operating from the same principles that you or I do.

The amount of context a chatbot would need to store and identify in order to provide -sensible- (not just grammatically correct) responses in an open-ended conversation with a human is still beyond our ability to contain in software, except perhaps in gigantic bespoke systems like Watson.

Slashdot Top Deals

People are always available for work in the past tense.