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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment We have become digital hoarders (Score 1) 590

Specifically commenting on the historical archive (wayback machine) of the Internet Archive: Is there REALLY a need it?

Before everyone jumps on this with two feet let me clarify. I get that there is history here and history is good to preserve for educational purposes. The problem is judging what is significant enough to preserve and that is largely subjective. This leads to the default reaction of preserving everything. Do we really care what www.dickies.com used to look like? No offense to Dickies BBQ, I just picked them at random and found that I can see what their page looked like in 1996! This ability is admittedly cool and fun. It also aids in some limited real-world applications like law enforcement, auditing, historical reference, and perhaps as an occasional last-resort backup.

But is it really necessary? Isn't this the digital equivalent of hoarding--filling your home with everything you ever bought, are given, found in the street, or salvaged from a dumpster? We also do this with emails, Facebook, tweets, photo libraries, and software. For most of these things you can go back forever.

Is this an obsession with the past or an obsession with immortality? Do we fear the "death" of any piece of knowledge no matter how trivial? There is a philosophical question out there that asks, "What do we do when homes for the dead outnumber the homes for the living?" In other words if the whole world is one day covered in cemeteries where do the rest of us live? Granted the digital world is not constrained by a limited resource such as land. This is part of the problem. Physical things take up space and eventually you are forced to get rid of things when the exceed your personal threshold of what is "tidy" assuming you have one. Digital things just require a bigger hard drive that doesn't grow in dimension and you can get one of those anytime. Now you can keep 30,000 photos of your cat--most of them identical, most will never be looked at again, but never delete! (so said Google when Gmail Archive rolled out)

Not bounded by physical space we end up keeping digital content for the sake of keeping it even if the vast majority of it has no actual value to ourselves or society. Is the loss/death of stuff such an anathema to the human race that we just can't bare to let go?

The problem I see with things like the Internet Archive is that there is no curator. A curator of a museum has to decide what is significant and thereby keeps the museum to a manageable and consumable size. There are no bounds to this museum. Some might say that is a good thing. I suggest that it reflects a growing obsessions with things, digital or physical, in society that is leading us astray from things that really matter.

What are we going to do when the whole Internet is a giant cemetery?

Comment Re:Beliefs (Score 1) 931

Why does everything have to serve a purpose by believing in God? If we are endowed with free will and if our choices affect our salvation or lack of it that implies two things:

1) we are 100% responsible and accountable for our own actions. Is it not easier and more convenient to believe you are NOT accountable to anyone except yourself? I would argue that it is natural for people to believe in a higher power and the people who are afraid are in fact the atheists because they much prefer to go it alone. The alternative would force them to look beyond themselves.

2) there will be randomness. Bad things can and will happen by chance not because God is feeling peevish in that moment. This is hard for some people to accept and is representative of the more foolish of the believers who accept God (and the atheist who deny God because of this) but don't accept first item. Put simply you cannot have free will without allowing for the possibility of humans making a mess of things and the possibility that some things are no one's fault, not even God. Yes, God could prevent it, but then again most of the time so could we. We choose not to.

I'm always amazed at atheism because it completely ignores the overwhelming proof that there must be something eternal out there who directly or indirectly created all of this marvelous thing we call life. Life is ridiculously complex and to use a technological analogy--I could throw a bunch of copper and plastic and silicone in a pile and let it sit for a trillion years and I won't get so much a transistor out of it much less a working computer. Not saying evolution doesn't happen, just saying WE could never make it happen and neither could random change.

Comment Why do people defend this person? (Score 2) 296

If he committed a crime against some women he deserves whatever he gets and he needs to stop trying to hide because it makes him out to be a coward unwilling to face the consequences of his actions. No doubt his involvement with wikileaks is fanning the flames here but lets not forget that according to ex-staffers he's tried to change that organization into a dictatorship of sorts and attacked those who questioned his decision or motives. These are signs of desperation and paranoia. Wikileaks will survive just fine without its corrupt dictator. In fact it will probably become better.

I have no more sympathy for him than I do Joran van der Sloot.

Comment Re:money back if not delighted? (Score 2) 743

This is why CFLs were such a bad idea. We invented a "superior" bulb that:
- Comes in 5 or so varieties of "white" just for fun (don't mix brands)
- Flickers
- Buzzes
- Has to warm up
- Cannot be enclosed (where are most lights?)
- Doesn't like being upside down (where are most lights???)
- Has far less dimmable range
- Requires a haz-mat team to cleanup if it breaks
- Cost more
- May or may not last longer

I only hope that LEDs supplant and eliminate these ridiculous things.

Comment Re:Didnt bluescreen (Score 1) 128

I have my own story to add to the Wild West. Back then I worked on managing windows based kiosks on a campus that provided information to visitors and also ran elections for the university student government. Elections were always a pain and every kiosk needed to be up and stable for days to take the votes.

Well, some jokers tucked away behind some terminal deep in one of the buildings decided to have some fun and sent repeated PODs to each kiosk (which did cause a blue-screen, BTW) on election day. I spent the entire day going from one kiosk to another resetting them, thinking they were just overloaded (the software has memory leaks). It was only after I had reset one and it blue-screened right in front of my face a moment later than I realized what was happening. I was already on no sleep dealing with this, and quite angry. I was ready to find whomever was responsible and beat them within an inch of their life.

While perhaps justified, vigilantism tends to be frowned upon. So instead I went to our network guy who was an old salt who knew all the tricks and had some tools. Using the campus routers, he put trace monitors on some of my kiosks--all from the comfort of his office which was pretty neat at the time--and as soon as the next kiosk was attacked I told him and he found the offending packet AND what building it came from. An hour later we had narrowed it to the specific terminal. I was told later that the students responsible were quite shocked when officials walked in caught them. I never knew their fate but the rest of the week went smoothly and the systems were never attacked again. (Of course I patched them soon after.)

Comment Re:Casual Gamers (Score 1) 343

This is more evidence of a key issue that is affecting society lately: short attention span. It is true that some--like me--don't have time to play two hours sessions of the mega games anymore so I pick up Angry Birds for a few minutes at a time. Works for me, but I find myself missing the long games. I suggest that the majority of consumers these days find that the mega games fail to hold their attention. If I am selling games, better to make 60 short games for $1 each that you pop like candy rather than 1 long game for $60 that you have to invest in and commit to.

Quality doesn't matter when you have a short attention span.

Comment Real-world experience (Score 1) 358

My house has this stuff--roof only. I can tell you that it completely blocks FM and AM and TV, and significantly reduces mobile phone signals. However, wifi internally works just fine, which is to be expected. I don't see a problem except for those who like to use wifi outside... or are sharing with their neighbors... or for neighbors who have decided that you should be sharing and therefore they needn't ask... Wifi isn't the issue--it's mobile phones. But even that can be fixed with a repeater unit. They sell them for $100. Don't know how well they work, however. In any case, the savings in utility bills, especially in hotter areas, is worth these minor inconveniences.

Comment Re:Anyone know... (Score 1) 520

4iedBandit makes a great analysis. It is very similar to Wii versus Playstation/Xbox that we saw when Wii came out. Sony and Microsoft, and much of the community, were laughing at Nintendo for not having 1080p, harddrive, etc. "Our products have better specs," they said.

"You are missing the point," Nintendo replied.

A year or so later... Nintendo Wiis are still flying off the shelves and proving that a gaming console that doesn't feel like a gaming console has opened the market to millions of new customers. Sony and Microsoft eat their own words and are shamelessly copying Nintendo with their own motion control systems.

Apple buries the competition because they get this. The days of highly technical, powerful, but confusing technology is ending or at least playing a lesser role. People want the technology like it is on Star Trek TNG--seemlessly integrated into your life, easy to use, and ascetically pleasing.

Comment Modus operandi for Microsoft (Score 1) 596

This is yet another example of the long, predictable history of Microsoft. They are not an innovative company. They know it. So they copy the success of others and then use their financial power and Windows entrenchment to make it popular and profitable. And sometimes it's even a great product.
Examples? Amiga --> Windows, Lotus --> Office, Word Perfect --> Word (remember the Word Perfect emulation mode?), PS2 --> Xbox, Hotmail --> MSN-Mail, Java --> C#, Wii --> Kinect, Google docs -> Office Online, Google Search -> Bing.

However, if you think about it what has this company invented? Is there ANYTHING except a working methodology at making money off the ideas of others? Coming out with a better, similar product than a competitor is perfectly fair and the basis of competition and every company does it. Google certainly didn't invent the search engine, but they did take it in an entirely new direction that people liked. Most companies of the size of Microsoft have a long list of things they did first, that they invented. It disturbs me that there is next to nothing that Microsoft can claim that they created or revolutionized. They occasionally try--if you count things like the Kin--but never does it create such a wave of excitement and change like, for example, the iPhone did.

Comment The falicy of jamming devices (Score 1) 870

Jamming devices were my first thought too. How many times have I been in a movie theater or church or a symphony or a library wishing they had a localized cel-signal jamming device to force people into some semblance of politeness by making them take it outside? However... this would be like requiring people to gag themselves to keep them from talking when they shouldn't. Some things such as politeness, and in this case honesty and integrity, cannot be enforced but rather have to be learned and grown within a person.

Furthermore as soon as a jamming device is put into play someone will invent a way to break through it just like RADAR speed traps led to RADAR detectors which led to LADARS and so forth.

In short, you cannot win trying to limit or oppose technology but only achieve some sort of balance which you must struggle constantly to maintain. So instead of working against the problem, work with it or around it.

1) Eliminate the need for calculators (e.g. I've taken many tests where a fat sin/cos/tan table was handed to me)
2) Allow the English-challenged a good old-fashioned paper dictionary (they will not have trouble figuring out how to use that) and maybe allot a little more time to them
3) This may sound altruistic but try to inspire integrity honesty in your class without resorting to threats of punishment. Many will respond better to positive reinforcement than negative.
4) Structure the course so that tests are a small percentage of the grade, this will help reduce the unfair advantage of the cheaters.

Comment Re:Evangelicals require more than others (Score 1) 961

copponex incorrectly argues with logic as so many do by erroneously framing the debate in this space. This "reframing" to suit your argument is another way of ignoring facts as stated by the primary article. The frame of the abortion debate is NOT who is in control of the woman's body but who is in control of the unborn child's body. A "pro-choice" person says I am because it depends on my body at the moment. The States said we are in control and then voted along the views of the legislature at the time nullifying individual authority. RvW says the federal government is in control and therefore all lower authority was nullified. Evangelicals state that God is in control and therefore all human authority should be nullified.

Comment Re:In short (Score 1) 511

For too many reasons to list. Needing a "Human Glue" means job security.

So what you do is you take the specifications from the customers and you bring them down to the software engineers?

Well, no, my, my secretary does that, or, or the fax.

Then you must physically bring them to the software people.

Well...no. Yeah, I mean, sometimes.

Well, what would you say you do here?

Slashdot Top Deals

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

Working...