Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


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

Comment Re:28 websites? (Score 4, Funny) 137

If we went back in time to when there only was 28 domains, I'd bet you a Mars Bar that there were only 28 websites.

You'd lose that bet, if only because from 1973 defines 81 existing hostnames on the Internet, and the Web wasn't online until 1991.

Thus if you did go back in time to when there were only 28 domains, there wouldn't be a web, and hence no websites.

FYI, I prefer the traditional Mars bar (no almonds or peanut butter or whatever). Snack-size is acceptable.


Comment Re:universal clipboard wtf (Score 3, Informative) 201

How does it get between machines logged-in to the same iCloud account if not through the Internet?

Bluetooth and/or local WiFi. The WiFi login isn't used for communication between the devices, but only for pairing the devices together locally (that is, the devices find each other via Bluetooth and/or WiFi on the local network. A handshake is done to verify that both have successfully authenticated against the same account ID on iCloud. Then local communications is permitted. iCloud isn't involved in the data transfer, nor in the setup of a communications channel between devices).


Comment Re:Optimized storage (Score 2) 201

Please tell me "optimized storage" can be turned off wholesale. If there is one thing I definitely don't need it's a "whole bunch" more of background processes uploading random files to the remote server and deleting them from my local drive. I will manage what I store and where, thank you very much.

I guess I am sounding like an old fart I am, but MacOS is going too far in dumbing it down.

During the first post-install reboot, the OS configuration assistant asked me if I wanted to enable this (well, at least the part that makes your desktop available to other Macs and iOS devices via iCloud). For the rest I had to find the configuration in "About this Mac" -> Storage (which seems an odd place to put such a thing).


Comment Re:Hard problems are hard. (Score 1) 537

I agree with you and that's part of my question above where I mentioned policy wonks but I should have mentioned politics directly. This is part of what puzzles me as how we end up with the political priorities we have as I don't get the feeling they match what the *people* want. I realize we live in a Republic so it's consent to govern and once in Washington, representatives make all sorts of decisions that don't have anything to do with the interests of the people in their district much less people in general.

The world is made up of thousands of different governments, each of which has its own system. We have dictatorships, theocracies, monarchies, communism, and democracy. And while the latter form of government is generally considered the most representative of the people, some democracies are rife with corruption, intimidation, sexism, racism, oppression of minority populations, etc. All of the above types of government really aren't particularly concerned with "what the people want" -- indeed, in some situations (such as theocracies), the government is able to tell the people what they should and shouldn't want for themselves (and are often able to get them to believe it too). You're not going to solve big problems in such countries, when the governments of those countries work against the solutions. No technology or company is going to solve poverty in North Korea, for example, when the government is happy keeping their people poor and hungry so they can chase other priorities (like nuclear weapons).

So let's narrow the discussion going forward to just that of the Unites States.

(FWIW, I'm neither a US citizen nor a US resident. I'm Canadian.)

How could that be true with all the money inputs into the system? There's massive distortion. That was intended as part of what I'm puzzled about, so we have this system and people routinely claim to be reformers BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT yet nobody delivers.

I don't think we're in an era where anyone can really determine "what the people want" in the United States, as the US is very highly polarized. How can you tackle poverty when, on the one hand you have nearly half the countries population believing that poverty is the fault of the people who experience it? When a prevailing attitude is "It's they're own fault they're poor -- why should my tax dollars go to help them?"?

I'll go so far as to say that right now the US has no general sense of agreement or consensus on solutions to any of the "big problems" that plague the country (or even the world). So given that, how do you determine "what the people want"? Do you placate one group and alienate the other (only for the next government to change things back)? Do you try to find a middle ground that makes nobody happy (and in the end may not actually solve any problems)? Do you throw your hands up in the air at being unable to reach a useful consensus and give up? It seems to me all of these have been "solutions" used in US politics so far in this century, with the expected results.

Again, you don't fix this with technology. You need to gain consensus on the dimensions of the problem class first, and then reach consensus on a solution. Without that, you're going to get nowhere.

Don't forget either that the biggest social and humanitarian problems facing the world hit the people with the least resources the hardest. These are usually the people with the least political clout, and with the lowest level of access to technology and education. By definition helping rid the world of these problems involves wealth redistribution -- and in the US, that is often political suicide.

Some people say take all money out of politics other than some modest public funds. How could there not be loopholes in this thing that would allow organizations to route around the regulations and find a way spend those dollars for policy influence.

There are a lot of countries which hands this better than the US.

Here in Canada there are fairly strict limits on amounts that can be donated to politicians and political parties. Donations are only permitted by individuals -- donations can't come from corporations, unions, committees, etc. Financial reports have to be submitted to Elections Canada, which makes them public. As such, you can't have some large, wealthy group or individual "buy off" a politician (although there have been attempts to work around the system -- such as companies which have made donations in their employees names, wealth parents who have made donations in the names of their minor children, etc.). It's not perfect, but the end result is politicians that are generally more focussed on their constituents rather than special interests with deep pockets.

Yes, there is some level of corruption in the US government. It's smaller than in many other countries, but it is certainly non-zero. But that too requires a political solution -- it requires legislation to get rid of the inane idea that "money is speech" (money is power, not speech), and to enact sane election financing laws.

Technology can help in this area -- technology can speed up and improve transparency to both let everyone know who is contributing to whom, and to ensure that individuals are complying with financing regulations, but you still need the political will to put all the parts in place in the first place.

So you can't solve any of these problems with technology alone. They're people problems in the end -- you have to change hearts and minds first. The technology for many of these problems will be there once that has been resolved.


Comment Re:Hard problems are hard. (Score 1) 537

I agree with all this and that's sort of part of what I was getting at with my question. Some of the problems are market failures and there's no obvious way to directly profit from working on the problem so if we are going to spend money it'll likely be through the political process. . The government's likely to be the one investing in technology directed at these problems. Even if it's contractors doing the work, the funding comes from the government. Certain domains, such as military get plenty of resources, but other critical domains do not. I'm not even suggesting that our military spending is bad, by the way. I'll forever be grateful to ARPA (DARPA) for inventing the Internet. :-)

Yeah, but my point is more having to do with political will rather than a lack of monetary or technical resources. And some of the solutions don't even require technology -- just effort (and thus money).

As I pointed out, the political issues are greater than just that of political will. It requires all governments in all countries respect human rights, minority rights, and uphold the rule of law. It requires removing government corruption where it exists. And then it requires a ground-up push from The People to push their political masters to prioritize and push solutions to these big issues.

Technology can somewhat help when it comes to implementation, but you have to have the political will first. Without the political will, no amount of technology is going to help, now matter how great the ideas are. If you have a corrupt government that isn't interested in fighting poverty in minority populations in their country (and perhaps has a vested interest in oppressing those people), technology and ideas aren't going to fix it on their own.


Comment Hard problems are hard. (Score 3, Insightful) 537

So what sorts of problems does the submitter think we should focus on? World hunger? Poverty? Disease? War?

These are very hard problems to solve. All of these have been around since the dawn of humanity, and nobody has come up with an all-encompassing solution yet.

The problems with the big problems are more than technological -- they're political. No amount of technology is going to be able to solve poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (for example), when the government is corrupt and the rule of law and human rights aren't being observed. Even in a Western country like the United States, you can't fix poverty when many people blame the poor for their own situation and there is no political will to provide a minimal level of social assistance.

That said, where there is a political will, technology is already helping solve big problems. Solar cells are bringing inexpensive electricity to villages in poor countries. Software hoping with resource allocation helps aid agencies ensure they have food stocks of adequate quantities where they are needed most. Vaccines and modern medical technology are having a major impact on disease -- we've rid the world of smallpox, and we're really close to eradicating polio.

Hard problems are hard. I know we in technology like to think of ourselves as solving hard problems, but pervasive political problems are way bigger than what technology alone can resolve.


Comment Re:PS3 "TV" remote still better (Score 1) 41

Do you have a really old/cheap TV? If not, you can probably enable HDMI-CEC (known as "HDMI Device Link" on the PS4) and then just use your TV remote to control the PS4. As the logic for this actually happens in the TV itself, you can use whatever universal remote you want.

It sure is better than having to have a separate remote for your TV and PlayStation. In some of the older firmware revisions I recall that some of the video apps supported this while others didn't, but that seems to have been a thing of the past for at least the last 6 months.


Comment Re:Mobile needs to improve browser (Score 2) 154

Mod parent up.

Web apps IMO are a near-complete failure from both a development and user perspective, and it's this failure that has caused the rise of apps:

  • - The web was designed around a document model, not an application model. We're trying to shoehorn apps into a model that wasn't really designed for application needs.
  • - Web UIs can take a huge amount of time to develop and get right. Even ignoring how different browsers can render the same data slightly differently, getting many standard UI elements working correctly in a web app either requires significant effort, or that you sell your soul to some third-party library to handle the difficult details for you. And int hat latter case, you generally lose much of the ability to specify the elements you want in the DOM in HTML, and have to suffice with just creating a bunch of DIVs and then using JavaScript to populate them with the widgets you want. Yuck. Contract this with something like Apple's Interface Builder, where you lay out live objects and then simply serialize them to a XIB, and you're pretty much done. I've seen web app UIs take weeks to debug that would take less than a day to design and layout in a native UI dev environment.
  • - JavaScript. Single threaded and garbage collected. The former limits some of the interesting things you can otherwise do pretty easily in standard desktop applications, while the latter completely sucks for a memory and processor constrained environment like mobile web apps.
  • - There is a ton of stuff you just can't do in a web app. Anything with advanced graphics is pretty much out. VoIP is out (even on desktop Google needs to rely on native browser plug-ins to make things like Google Earth and Google Talk to work). There are entire classes of applications that you just can't do on the web, which necessitates a native application.

Those are just some examples of the problems with web applications. Anything beyond the most simple sorts of applications is difficult and expensive to do, with limited performance.

Now where the web can really shine is for REST-style data services. Put the business logic on a server (or set of servers) somewhere, do major processing on the backend, and pass data back and forth statelessly over HTTP. The web is great for that. Or for rendering things that are actually documents. But as a UI system for applications the web has failed big time -- even Google produces a number of native apps to get around the web's serious limitations.


Comment Re:Collusion is illegal (Score 1) 585

It's collusion when the Auto manufacturer makes an agreement with the Auto shops to stop carrying the proper replacement parts that fit your older cars.

Yeah, but it's not collusion if it's the case that the auto manufacturer was paying the parts manufacturer to build old parts, but then decided to stop paying them once the new model was released, and the parts manufacture then decided to stop making the old parts.

I suspect in the background that is what has happened here. Microsoft has probably been paying Intel and AMD to write chipset drivers for Windows for the last two decades, and has decided they don't want to pay them to write drivers for old OS's anymore. So AMD and Intel simply aren't going to do it without getting paid.


Comment Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score 1) 123

If you had read the article you would know that the pattern of broken bones matches what happens when someone falls from a height of about 12 meters: broken legs on landing, then broken wrists and shoulders as the person tries to protect themself, then broken ribs and skull. Lucy had all of those; the broken wrists are especially interesting.

Yes, and if you read some of the critique, you'd know that Lucy's skeleton is riddled with cracks and broken bones due to the process of fossilization and millions of years of compression. There are questions as to why the team decided to focus only on specific fractures, and seemed to ignore the others.

I'll admit I haven't read the paper itself yet to see if some of these were indeed death with, but I have read some critique from other researchers in this field, and it seems they have concerns as to methodology.


Comment Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score 1) 123

It's not clear to me as to why 'getting trampled by a large animal' is ruled out. At just over 3-1/2 feet tall, she probably didn't weigh much. From what height would she have fallen from in order to break all of those bones?

I was thinking more along the lines of: how do they know it was the fall that killed her? She could have had a brain aneurysm, died, and then fell out of a tree.

If the "evidence" is to be believed (and I see many experts argue against it), all it shows proof of is the bones were broken. The locations and orientations of the fractures may indicate they were caused by a fall, but there is no way to know whether the breaks happened pre- or post-mortem.


Comment Can we just get rid of it? (Score 4, Interesting) 76

The only bias I see is that for some reason, Facebook seems to think I'm in any way interested in celebrity gossip, because that's about all that ever shows up in the "Trending" section for me.

I'm interested in science and technology, but every "trending" topic I seem to see is something about what Britney Spears ate for breakfast, or whose dress Catelyn Jenner wore to the mall, or some other equally banal and useless piece of "news" about some celebrity that I don't give a crap about.

I'm not even exaggerating. My current "trending" topics include:

  • - What's coming up on Netflix next month (US Netflix, that is. I'm Canadian and watch Canadian Netflix, and we don't get the same new movies the US does, so it's even more useless)
  • - "Go topless day"
  • - Some sort of conspiracy theory about Herman Cain and Epi Pens
  • - Some nonsense about whether or not some pastor endorsed Donald Trump or not
  • - Something about some guy I've never heard of who got roasted by Twitter due to his hairstyle
  • - Five reasons to see some movie I've never heard of
  • - The 77th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz
  • - Something about Britney Spears doing karaoke

As you can see, my "trending" doesn't have a Liberal or Conservative slant -- it just has a inanely stupid slant.

"Trending" is the least useful part of Facebook, and personally I wish they'd just get rid of it altogether.


Slashdot Top Deals

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.