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Comment Re:Yeah, real "terrifying" (Score 1) 117

Kitchen knife use case #1: Kill insufficiently Muslim heathens working for the oppressive British Government! (this use case was seen just the other day)

Kitchen knife use case #2: Make a sandwich. (this use case also seen just the other day)

Maybe you don't have the problem. But, for example, a city here in our state has been known to have a problem with "protesters" deciding that they're going to fix the problems with the culture in their local neighborhood by smashing the few remaining businesses in that neighborhood and burning the houses of the few little old ladies who haven't already decided they'd be safer living elsewhere as a homeless street person than in the middle of place like that.

The cops are too scared to even attempt to mitigate all of that violence and destruction unless they have function physical protection while trying to push a mob of looting arsonists away from the stores they're trying to destory. A tool that helps them to do that is a good thing. If somebody has a problem with the fact that a politician with the wrong idea about things might use such a tool to chase away people who aren't being violent and destructive, then they need to vote for different politicians. In the meantime, recognize the fact that there actually ARE violent, destructive herds of "protesters" who actually do get together to destroy and smash and steal things, and that it's absurd to tell a police officer to risk being, say, burned alive or having her head caved in to try to repel looters. A tool is a tool. There are always going to be outlandish or absurd use cases. If there is NO good use case (say... police batons with spikes on them?) then of course the tool is worth ridiculing. Giving cops a tool to protect themselves while preserving others' lives and property is a good thing. Misusing it is a bad thing, but that's true of cop cars and every other tool they've always had.

Comment Re:Good grief (Score 1) 248

>The thesis of this "scientific paper" is basically like a couple of tokers sitting around in their parents' basement saying "DUUUUDE... what if the money in our savings account DOUBLED EVERY YEAR?!???

Again this is not a critique of the paper, it is a critique of tokers sitting around in their parent's basement. There is no substance in your criticism to address, it really is just an expression of your feelings toward the paper's author. Aside from the fact that you're just name-calling, the numerical basis you've used for comparison is just wrong.

Now it so happens I have you at a disadvantage: I've actually read the paper. It's closer the tokers sitting around saying, "How can we achieve a 7% annual compound interest rate sustained over ten years with our portfolio," which is roughly what doubling your money in ten years takes. The authors are talking about what it would take to half carbon emissions which would be a 6.6% reduction each year, and they discuss methods for reducing them, which they break down into near term no-brainer, near-term difficult, and long term speculative. As is usual the further out you go the less concrete and certain you can be. This is normal in economic projections that go twenty or more years out.

Now you may disagree with the specific means proposed, some of which are quite drastic (e.g. attempting to recover external costs through inheritance taxes). But there is nothing inherently irrational about starting with a goal -- zero carbon emissions by 2050 -- then asking what it would take to achieve that. Nor is there anything inherently ridiculous with coming up with the answer that it'll take a mix of things, some of which looking twenty or more years into the future we can't predict yet.

Comment Re:Percentage doesn't matter (Score 1) 121

Oh, I think the percentage bit is significant. It shouldn't be news that they've acknowledged reality; but it's remarkable that their responses is so meaningless.

It makes me wonder whether this is just marketing BS or whether they're really that incoherent about strategy.

Many proprietary software companies have prospered in an era of open source acceptance -- even when very good free software alternatives for their products exists (Microsoft, Oracle). But although we don't tend to think of them that way, they tend to be value-priced. You get a lot of (not necessarily great) software engineering for your $199 Windows license fee.

But the play this game you need scale to amortize development costs over many users. If you have more of a niche product competing against a solid open source competitor is going to be really, really hard. As in SAS charges almost $9000 for a single seat license, and that's good for only a year; thereafter you'll have to fork over thousands of dollars every year. That kind of cash pays for a lot of R training.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 212

Lots of current models of printer can print JPEGs off memory sticks -- compute power has returned to the printer. But even then, an open-source printer with an open source driver would be in the same place.

I'm sure it would start as a niche geek item, but there would be sectors that would quickly see the benefits -- small language schools, tutors etc.

Not to mention the number of manufacturers in China that would quickly commoditise the thing.

Comment YouTube in an EVIL nutshell (Score 2) 190

Everyone say goodbye to dissenting opinions on YouTube.

The basis of the "insightful" moderation is eluding me. Par for today's Slashdot, though I remain more discouraged by the lack of actually "funny" comments. Or perhaps I should say dismayed by both?

Or maybe it's just too hard for me to imagine why anyone would pay to advertise anything on YouTube. For a lot of the user-generated content the adjective execrable is just too kind. Not sure about "dissenting opinions", but the only ones I remember noticing were on the wrong side of execrable.

These is some legitimate and good content, but it's mostly teasers and since it's purpose is to advertise itself, then any other ads are just confusing the issue, and my feeling is that most of the teaser content is free of ads, or at least the ads are not intrusive. Things like snippets from HBO or paid news channels.

The rest of the wannabe good content is pirated stuff. Much of that is reduced below good by the insertion of lots of intrusive ads, obviously for cases where the pirate is profiting that way, but YouTube has an obvious vested interest in supporting that sort of thing as long as some sucker is paying for the ads. Then there is a HUGE amount of fake piracy that is just intended to lure you to an installer where your computer will get pwned. Offensive enough, but downright EVIL when it is targeting innocent children, and LOTS of it has been doing exactly that for many years.

I used to waste some time trying to fight against it, but I eventually realized the google is too EVIL to care now, as long as they are making money off it. The motto about "Don't be evil" is long dead in favor of "All your attention are belong to us." However there is a real threat to the google's new mission statement. They had to revise it when they realized there was too much information out there and that "useful" was a complicated notion. The new mission of the google is to make the advertisers' information available and the utility function is the corporations' profits. Humans are only incidentally involved.

Comment This is such a bad argument (Score 1) 121

Every time there's a story about OSS software being less than perfect, someone always trots this tired crap out. "Oh if it isn't want you want you can just fix it!" That is complete bullshit and you should know it. If you don't, you are hopelessly naive.

First off, most people are not programmers and many do not even have the request problem solving, analytical, and mathematical skills to become one. If you aren't a programmer, you can't just go and fix software. Becoming a programmer isn't magic either, you don't go and read a book and then you are good. It takes years of experience to get proficient, and decades to really master and is something you need to spend a lot of time on. If you think you are some hot-shit programmer and you "picked it up just by reading" and "just do it in your spare time" then guess what? You aren't near as good as you think you are.

Second, even if someone is a programmer they may not have the requisite skills or knowledge to deal with a piece of software. Not all software is created equal, not all problems are the same to solve. Someone might be a programmer who's actually pretty good, but knows about making database code because that's what they do. However if they are trying to implement an algorithm for processing audio they might be lost because they don't understand how that works, it is another set of knowledge.

Finally, even if someone does have the skills, knowledge and experience to do it, maybe they just don't want to spend the time. We all have only so much time to spend in a day, maybe they are not interested in dropping a bunch of time to fix something that is to them just a tool. They'd rather pay to have one that works and spend their time on other shit.

So knock it off with the "oh it is open just do it yourself" crap. That is extremely silly, and you know it.

Comment Re:Take whoever came up with this (Score 0) 123

Well, you're just wrong. I've personally watched inventory shrinkage drop into the measurement noise with the introduction of technology-based tools that catch the people who steal - because other employees understand there are consequences.

Yes, it's a shame that throughout all of human history and in every level of society and income, some people like to steal stuff. Someone who is trying to make a living running a business and who has to make payroll every week and keep customers happy won't usually have a lot of luck changing human nature. Now, I know that you've personally solved these human nature problems in your own area, and no longer feel any need to lock your doors or in any way look after your personal safety, because you've fixed everybody that you might encounter or who might want your stuff.

Yes, people stealing things IS a problem. And taking measures to stop it from happening to you isn't irrational. Yes, more parents should raise kids that have some sort of moral compass and which are educated and motivated enough to go out and create things so that they can trade the fruit of their labors for the stuff they want, instead of stealing it. Your notion that it's wrong-headed to use convenient tools to help deal with the fact that there are lots of people out there who DO find it easier (or even, in some cases, more entertaining) to steal stuff than buy it - never mind, I realize that you're trolling. Silly me.

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