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


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment While I still can read and work maps... (Score 5, Interesting) 158

...reading maps while driving / biking is asinine. Before satnav I used to plot a route to a new destination using a map,. and distill that to a single 3x5" (approx) piece of paper (a crib) I'd tape to the steering wheel hub or handle bars. Worked fine, but wouldn't adapt to real-time changes.

If you ask me, GPS satnav is the best thing to come out of the Cold War. It's still fallible... but it sure beats spending 15 minutes at a stop-n'-rob parking lot with a map unfolded over the car's hood plotting your next move.. can of Coke in one hand and lit marlboro in the other.. yeah.. I just god a good memory of a trip across the SE USA in a 1984 Rx-7, reading paper maps in parking lots =o)

But... I agree.. map-reading is a skill that must be preserved and taught. AB-so-lute-ly. I am a firm believer in first learning the tried-and-true paper-and-pencil methods. Even in meteorology school in the early 90's I understood it -- learn to do it the old way, and when the new way fails, you'll still be able to perform. And ... y'know? Many times doing it the pencil and paper way showed me things that computers just glossed over.. things that made a huge difference.

Comment Squrriels and power! (Score 1) 150

True story... back in the Stone Age, BI (Before Internet) I was at my first weather school in the USAF, at Chanute AFB IL, on a smoke break (remember those?), it was an instructor and a few us students.. we were on a side of the building that faced a sub-station.

There was a small explosion, we felt a very slight disturbance, a teeny tiny shockwave I guess. People started pouring out of the school -- the power had gone out at the school and surrounding buildings. After assessment, we were told "Go home, it'll be hours before it's fixed." A squirrel had gone and shorted out a transformer.. a big transformer, not those little ones you see up on poles. We later heard there was spalling around the transformer. Yea buddy, a squirrel and some metal made for shrapnel!

Second one, in North Miami - our building had only one way in for power, a 3-phase feed off a pole (!), then buried underground (!!) and into the power. Power goes out, but it was only one phase. The boss and I go to where the noise came from.. and there was a dead squirrel on the floor, with charred fur and a blown-out left hindleg. I still have the picture. It took FPL 3 hours to come and replace one fuse on the pole. Our 90 KVA UPS took the phones and network gear through those 3 hours with plenty to spare. No, we had no generator. Just a mondo UPS.

Fucking squirrels!

Comment We've just put Biff Tannen in the White House (Score 1) 1560

Word of God: Biff Tannen in Back to the Future II was modeled on 1980's Donald Trump.

I can't wait for the White House to be decorated in gold and tigerstripe / leopard print, with vulgar paintings of what seems to be B-movie characters. Oh wait, the Obama's style wasn't too far off, all that red and gold French Provincial Whorehouse Rococo like some african dictator.

So.. is this 2017-A now? Oh well whatever.. bring it.. 2016 was an absolute disaster for me, I think from here things can only go up.. i hope...

Comment Re:Multitasking (Score 1) 435

Okay, I accept this premise. Most programs have failed. They are not sufficient to be the sole focus of my attention for an hour or two. But you know, sometimes they're good enough to have on in the background while I'm doing something else that's *also* not sufficient to be the sole focus of my attention.

Disclamer: I have a 3-d capable projector and 3-d glasses. I didn't buy it because of 3-d, I bought it for 2-D. I did buy a few 3-d discs, all of them Pixar or Disney animations and the synthesized Titanic 3-d.

Result: I don't use 3D at all. I had a month-long fling with it and then tossed the glasses in a drawer, where they remain. I'm 100% 2-D and enjoy a bright, contrasty, downright spectacular image that does a fairly good job of showing whatever depth the content creator put in the image.

Comment Re:Multitasking (Score 2) 435

Because we're a multitasking generation. The need to wear special equipment to watch TV, then to take it off to check messages on a phone, then put in on again, then take it off to go to a quick piss break during commercials then back on again to go back to the show...

If I'm checking messages / emails / whatnots while watching a movie or tv program, the movie or program has failed.

That said, for me, 3-D failed because gimmick, because glassess because it doesn't really add anything more to live-action material.

The good thing: Learning stereoscopic production has led to much more realistic foreground-background interaction in animated material. This is especially noticable when comparing pre-3D Pixar works with post 3D works. Brave, in particular, shows this very well.

Comment Re:Thanks to Trump? Obviously! (Score 1) 432

Hillary wins -> jobs go to Mexico
Trump wins -> jobs stay in the US

You mean.. BILL wins (twice) , jobs went to mexico. And oh boy, did they!

But let's not forget that NAFTA was drafted under Reagan's terms in office, so.. yeah buddy, both sides are taking turns at fscking us.

Comment Re:As if this is new (Score 1) 370

So when the starving mob are at the ruling elites' gates with torches and pitch forks, they'll surely find the resources to do the right thing.

Brexit and El Trumpo seem to be The People doing pitchforks and torches, but with the vote instead of actual pitchforks and torches.

That comes next, if this coming Great Experiment doesn't work. (It probably won't work.)

Comment Re:I don't understand (Score 1) 131

"Many consumers" does not equal "Apple customers". That, right there, is the fundamental problem. Apple customers want thinness at all costs. And so many companies, like Samsung, are sooo jealous and envious of Apple's cultist customer base that they somehow think that they can replicate this level of success by copying Apple's impractical and user-hostile design decisions.

So this is why Apple decided to build the SE, which is a short, fat 5S that needs no case to be usable. Maybe Apple knows what their customers want better than you and Samsung. Just a thought.

I offer an anecdote: I have a 5S, bought the year it came out. It's a 3 year old phone now. I find the 6 and beyond to be obscenely, grotesquely big and thin. While a recent visit to the Fruit Cart (apple store) so a friend could get his 6s+'s face sensor looked at I chatted up an employee. I told him how much I liked that Apple had decided to build a short, thick fat phone, and if he had any way to float that thought back to the mothership, it'd be nice. His reply? "Oh, they know. A bunch of us went to the SE the day it arrived."

So.. when's Samsung short, fat thick phone coming out? I mean, if they indeed are sooooooooo jealous of Apple, they MUST have their own little phone, no?

Comment Re:Sorry, no (Score 5, Insightful) 304

Luke playing with a starfighter, in one of his first scenes, is cringe-worthy.

Oh c'mon, you've never done it? FWIW, that wasn't a "starfighter,' that was a scale model of the speeder parked *right behind Luke.* That is his T-16, the one he bullseyes womp rats with. Seriously, you can see the ass end of his real T-16 right behind him.

One is never too old to play with toys. Never. I have a fair collection of 1:400 diecast aircraft, and when I clean house I *always* "land" the Pan Am 707-321 on its display place.

The day one becomes "too old" for such frippery, one is ready for the pine box. The kind with rope handles and no wheels.

Comment In 1977, at age 7, a movie changed my mind forever (Score 1) 456

As it happens, I arrived to Star Wars a bit late, about half a reel late. As I walked up the ramp in Plaza 1 theater in Plaza Las Americas, PR, the screen came into view, just as R2 and 3P0 were climbing up a dune in Tatooine. Now that I think on it, it was curious timing.

Having missed half the first reel, I stayed for the next show, and saw the whole thing. The movie changed something in me. Changed my mind. I won't say it saved or changed my life, but it awoke something in me, something that I guess eventually led to my attraction to technology of all sorts.

I didn't know shit from shinola back then, and I still don't now, but the character of Leia stuck with me to this day. The Plaza twins 1 & 2 are gone, Leia is gone, but the sweet memories of that moviehouse and that film, I'll take to the grave. "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" -- that phrase, that voice, that hologram still resound in my mind, in a place close to my heart.

How odd, since I unplugged from pop culture sometime like 25 years ago, I didn't know of her struggle with bipolar disorder. I must read her books on this... because it is a cross I bear, and have bore, since before I saw the film. Yes, I found treatment, no, i'm not "cured," yes, it's a cast-iron bitch to live with. So maybe her passing will introduce yet more people to how she dealt with it, and that is a good thing.

When I heard the news, my mind immediately played that bit of the soundtrack, her leitmotif, with that reedy little oboe. Yes, it struck tears.

RIP Carrie Fisher, long live Princess Leia Organa Solo.

Comment Re:Lithium batteries suck after 360 charges (1 yea (Score 1) 253

Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries have significantly reduced capacity after 300-400 charge-discharge cycles.

That's full charge-discharge cycles.

With lithium ion it is best to charge early and often -- a total reversal of how NiCd worked. (I grew up with NiCd and had to re-train my brain to maximize lithium ion.)

By charging early and often you make shallower cycles that don't kill the battery. This is how my camera battery is 8 years old and still gets me 300 shots, this is how my iPhone 5S is 3 years old and still gets to the end of the day around 60-80%, 35-50 if I use it heavy.

So people, don't drain your phones to death. Charge early and often!

Slashdot Top Deals

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"