Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


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 Re:cold fusion fraud again? (Score 4, Insightful) 580

I believe you are correct. Here are some references to facts to help this discussion a little:

I'm no expert in this field, but I have a buddy that buys energy at PG&E that tell me that we care most about cost and reliability (coal) and less about sources that introduce inpredictability and power fluctuation into a grid that needs to maintain a very stable flow of electrons. Buffers, such as batteries and diesel, exist to help stabilize the infrastructure. These companies employ heartless economists that are trying to get the most-per-dollar they can get, which factors in quite a few substantial government subsidies for renewable energy (federal and state).

In the US, our grid is set up such that anybody is free to push electrons into the grid and roll the meter that tracks his/her usage in the opposite direction. Lots of people do this with solar power - feeding it into the grid to reduce coal usage a little and then pulling from the grid at night when there is no sunlight. The technology we use to manage our grid is very flexible and can be as diverse as economics and politics allow it to be.

Comment Re:I quit (Score 1) 82

Why was this modded down? Is it trolling to suggest an alternative? Twitter has become a simple human-redable platform for applications - perhaps the most important reason for its success. Now, because it's a closed, for-profit enterprise, the power it has is leading it to exert control over the open market it originally harnessed gain popularity because it needs to push advertising to anybody who would like to use the platform. I believe that it is critical for a communication platform to be at least interoperable with competitors, and at best completely open. offers similar functionality to Twitter but is completely open source and interoperable with competing services and third-party clients.

Comment Re:the right price (Score 3, Informative) 115

Phones and tablets currently cost roughly the same $200 - $700 depending on features. Cellular carriers hide this cost behind a subsidized contract when a 3g modem is included in either the tablet or the phone, but we are all still paying it. How much more can the price of the phone and the tablet be bridged?

Comment Re:too bad GCC is not relevant anymore thanks to L (Score 1) 406

I believe that gcc includes libraries that link to your code to make it compile. The analogy to GIMP would hold if gimp shipped with GPL clip art that, if used in your artwork, would force your artwork to be GPL. These libraries (the clip art) need to ship as LGPL / BSD / CC/ or something less copy left to let you use them and still keep your code non-GPL.

Comment Re:Good Idea! (Score 1) 395

... It's openness. The Linux kernel is available in both development and stable branches, and I am free to write applications that force my users to use the absolute bleeding edge unstable kernel to use my application. Here, I am free to write web pages that force my users to use the absolute bleeding edge unstable HTML features such as those vendor-specific "beta" tags (such as those that start with -webkit-). Most if HTML5 is backward compatible with HTML4. The difference here is that we are talking about document standards with multiple competing implementations, so the standardization process is much slower than the implementation process (the opposite of source code where the implementation precedes/is the standard).

I'm not really much of a Ruby programmer.

Comment Good Idea! (Score 5, Interesting) 395

I don't understand why people think this is such a bad idea. This is the similar to any source tree having a "development branch" and a "stable branch". WHATWG will be responsible for evolving the fast-paced devlopment branch of HTML while W3C will take occasional snapshots and stabilize the features of the development branch into "full standards". I assume that most of the complaints here are related to either bad marketing - WHATWG should just start calling their version HTML6 or "future HTML" or something - or the fact that these bodies (especially the W3C) move slowly and we are in the middle of a new stable branch getting pulled.

By the way, HTML5 isn't, according to the W3C a standard yet. The current HTML standard is 4.0.1. HTML5 is planned to be a "full standard" in 2014. In that time, WHATWG will introduce dozens of new major features into what will probably be called either HTML6 or HTML5.1 when the W3C gets around to pulling another snapshot.

Comment Re:You can run it RIGHT NOW on i9000 as well. (Score 1) 192

And, if you're not into the Cyanogen custom experience, or if you have a T-Mobile Vibrant (which will probably never get ICS CyanogenMod support), then check out this project to bring ICS to the Galaxy S series. It's already very stable:

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 1) 185

Agreed. I drew a similar conclusion:
A typical hypothetical Perl programmer probably has a questions about some Perl libraries from time to time and posts about it. That programmer probably very rarely posts a question about C# or Ruby because that programmer doesn't ever need to touch those languages in his day to day work. That programmer will probably start asking questions about Javascript if he is tasked with writing a web application. I would have expected the same for the declarative languages SQL and CSS - neither of which were in the list probably because they aren't in TIOBE's list.

The conclusion I drew is that web programmers have to program in several languages at the same time (a frequent complaint of the RoR crowd) even if those programmers specialize in a subset of those languages. It's natural that we would see an increase in questions asked about questions outside of that specialized subset but required to get the job done.

Another issue I have with this data is that some languages (particularly dynamic typed languages and functional languages) can often get more done in fewer lines of code - the TIOBE root measurement. So, we expect an under-representation of languages with a lot of boilerplate such as Java. Interestingly, that doesn't seem to be the case.

My final issue is that languages that are on the decline (fewer users new to the language asking questions) or mature languages (many more well answered questions, even before StackOverflow started, already available so no need to ask) should be under-represented. Languages that are on the rise or experiencing a lot of volatility such as Javascript (in both respects) should be over-represented because new users are entering the pool of questions and new functionality needs to be discussed.

Comment Re:I don't think they understood. (Score 0) 265

I'm just splitting hairs here, but 2^128 bits... Each of those bits is a boolean - on and off. Each of those locks is nothing more than a light switch. What makes those bits work is that flipping any one doesn't provide the feedback of a further open door. So, it's actually more like a lock on a door with 2^128 light switches that all much be flipped in just the right positions before only ONE door opens.

Comment Re:I don't think they understood. (Score 1) 265

But, isn't the pattern to the very lock you describe a "secret" or obscure in as much that the lack of knowledge about how to duplicate that key is what keeps intruders out?

Most forms of security rely on some form of obscurity to decide which group of people is allowed access and which group of people is not. A password or a private key, if known to everybody would allow everybody into the system. Only those who hold that extra piece of information are able to access the system through the means by which it was intended to be accessed.

I believe that the point of contention is whether obscuring the system in some way prevents people from entering the system in ways it was NOT intended to be accessed. We could make an argument either way here: Does holding back information on a vulnerability until the vendor has a few days to release a patch first make the system more secure in that period of time? Maybe because fewer people (good and bad) know about this exposed surface. Does keeping ALL of the source code to an application away from open peer review make the system less secure? Mabe, but perhaps the answer depends on if that specific system has more security brain-power put behind breaking into the system or making the system better. There is probably a lot more brain-power behind keeping popular security libraries secure, so open peer-review is surely better. But, I suppose that there exists at least one piece of software with no open source community that if suddenly showed up on github would see the black-hats use it negatively before the white-hats start helping contribute patches.

Slashdot Top Deals

Refreshed by a brief blackout, I got to my feet and went next door. -- Martin Amis, _Money_