Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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:I can already smell... (Score 1) 126

Yeah, at least the summary appears to be completely vapid. Like it is somehow unpossible for these computers to have been hooked up to a local server to track when they are worn out or are failing. Nope, the data has to be sent to the cloud for the magic to happen.

Obviously not impossible to have done it with a local server, but potentially very difficult. The internet based server likely belongs to the manufacturer of the robot, not GM. So they are enabling service monitoring by the manufacturer or distributor, not doing it themselves.

If they needed to convince the robot manufacturer to install the server at each factory, that would be more difficult, and obviously require cooperation from the manufacturer.

And lastly, nothing in the summary talks about the communication channel being two ways. If the robot sends data out and doesn't take any inbound connections the security risk is reduced.

Comment Re:Wonder why (Score 4, Insightful) 207

I live in the downtown area of a large city. We have two parking spaces, a dog, and grass for her to run around on. I am able to be as loud as I want to be (YMMV), mostly because new buildings are much better at soundproofing than was true even 20 years ago.

Our condo is smaller than our suburban house was, but plenty large enough for the two of us, and bigger than the median square footage of a house when I was a kid.

And we pay more than I did in the burbs, but we have baseball, football and basketball stadiums within walking distance, as well as theaters and easily 2 dozen restaurants. Expand my range to what I can reach for the minimum Uber fare or a bike share, and I have easy access to all of the downtown area.

It's a personal decision, but it is not nearly as bleak a life as you paint it.

Comment Re:difficult to tell who is at fault from article (Score 1) 513

HR might also be pissed at both supervisor and candidate that the wife's terminal cancer diagnosis has obviously not been mentionned at all during the interview process - as a candidate in that position, I would be tempted to keep quiet about it unless the cancer was so advanced that my wife had only a couple of months to live, in which case I pretty much have to 'fess up to it at an interview - "look, my wife has terminal stomach cancer, and has at most a few months. During that time, I am her out-of-hours carer so if OOH work is required, I would need to tackle that from home".
From the HR perspective, if that vital information was not forthcoming during interview, what else is there to come out, and is this candidate suddenly a bad risk? At the very least, will the candidate need extensive bereavement leave that was not anticipated during the hiring, or will this go on for an extended period because the wife hangs on for years rather than weeks/months (not likely with stomach cancer, but that is not an evaluation HR can make). It should still be handled professionally and with compassion, rather than by going postal on the guy, but the interview and candidate evaluation process is the stage where all such issues need to be raised.

My experience as an interviewer is that I don't want to know any of those details. I don't know the exact laws that apply in this case, but in the US it would be job discrimination to refuse to hire a woman who is pregnant because of the pregnancy and upcoming maternity leave. I assume it would also be discriminatory to refuse to hire because of his wife's condition. So don't ask, don't tell. If I don't know about the issue, and decide not to hire you, then you can't claim that I discriminated on that basis.

Comment Re:Ain't just "rap", either... (Score 3, Insightful) 167

Autotuned voices, corporate-created-idols (usually some pretty teenaged kid with a previous 'career' as a Disney 'talent employee'), new stars with a pre-baked 'image' (naturally built/provided by the studio), lyrics that are focus-group-tested and written by someone else, a catchy tune usually ripped-off from some unknown who got paid a pittance for it...

Most *music* these days is fucking garbage. Okay, some of that may be the 'get off my lawn' syndrome on my part, but honestly, in the past the musician and/or band usually had to come up with everything themselves: lyrics, chords, composition, image, vision, etc. Even as late as the 1990s or so, there were still artists who did it themselves, and the quality tended to show through more readily. Yes there were pre-baked 'stars' in the past as well, but their appeal tended to die off pretty quickly, or their star faded long before their second album... much like, well, today. It's just that the signal-to-noise ratio went to hell of late.

Appreciation of music is inherently subjective, so I won't argue with whatever makes something garbage to you, but some of the elements you list just don't matter to me. I don't care if the performer wrote the song or not, or if a producer packaged them to be more appealing to an audience. If I like the song I like the song, and I don't have to be a purist about it.

Do you feel the same way about a car or a computer? Would Photoshop have more value to you if it was produced by a single person? Does a car have more authenticity if the body and the engine come from the same team?

Comment Re:Maybe you should own your hardware (Score 1) 113

That's why there used to be a saying, "No one ever got fired for buying IBM". The clear implication was that you could well be fired for buying from some other vendor. IBM was unique, both because it swung enough weight to rescue anyone who got into trouble for choosing its products and services, and because it was always best chums with the CEO and his inner circle.

I think the "No one every got fired for buying IBM" saying was more about going with the herd. It wasn't that IBM was foolproof or could rescue you in ways that other people couldn't, it was that IBM was widely accepted as a very solid choice, and if you were wrong to go with IBM then so were millions of others.

Comment Re:30 hour workweek experiment (Score 2) 153

I'm too lazy to look for the cite, but I have read in the past that in the short term virtually any change you make is good and results in a productivity improvement. Then the novelty wears off and you go back to the old baseline. So people may be motivated to work harder or try to get more done in a 30 hour week initially, but that effect tends to wear off once it becomes the new normal.

Comment Re:Thanks. Mr. Obvious (Score 2) 250

Rather than traditional auto insurance, the better model may be medical malpractice insurance.

Medical care has inherent risks, and when a patient dies or has serious complications, the question becomes whether those were the result of errors made during the treatment process or essentially bad luck. If the doctor should have done better, then you are talking malpractice. If the patient had a drug allergy that could not reasonably have been detected in advance, that is bad luck.

Self driving cars may be in the same boat. If a car's systems behaved correctly and an accident still results, even if you can imagine a better system that would not have that limitation, there may be no product liability, and you would purchase insurance to cover damage the vehicle, properties, and people.

Comment Re:There's a word for this (Score 1) 236

This is where certain Slashdotters would accuse me of being a "shill", if I were defending an Apple policy; so, pray tell, why wouldn't the term apply to you and your response?

If I were to be pedantic, I would say that a shill is someone who is paid by the entity being promoted, or at a minimum has a self interest at stake in the promotion. I get nothing from Microsoft (you will have to take my word on that I guess), so at worst I am being guilty of being a fanboi.

But I would also say that my statement was correct, and truth is an affirmative defense. Microsoft backdates their drivers. They don't ask anyone else to do so, and the fact that copying a Windows install doesn't work isn't solely (or even mostly) due to driver dating, so I don't consider driver backdating to be something that inconveniences users. That goes to my assertion that this at most inconveniences Microsoft's own developers.

Comment Re:An insanely clever solution, Microsoft-style. (Score 1) 236

Why don't they simply add another record ("source") to help make the driver comparison? A typical Microsoft solution I would say.

So how do you compare sources? If I have a nVidia reference driver, a custom driver from the hardware OEM, and a Microsoft driver, how do I rank those? Or is source simply MS vs non-MS?

Don't forget that whatever change to driver ranking MS makes also has to have provision with the thousands of already existing drivers that won't get updated to include a new field.

Comment Re:Viruses? (Score 1) 236

Hold on. Let's say that a virus modifies the older driver which, of course, now bumps the timestamp to the day of the infection. This would move the older - now infected - driver up in the priority? Wow. That explains so much.

As Raymond Chen would say, "That rather involved being on the other side of the airtight hatchway". If you can modify the driver, who cares about the timestamp, just modify the actual driver being used and be done with it.

Comment Re:There's a word for this (Score 2) 236

Microsoft Developers have got to be the laziest on the planet. EVERYTHING that MS does is done for the ease of their Developers, regardless of what hoops or inconvenience it causes the User.

Given that in the this case the kludge only affects Microsoft developers, it forces other developers and users to go through exactly zero hoops.

Microsoft backdates their drivers so that they don't win timestamps and will only win on version compares. I think changing the order of the timestamp and version compares would be a simple solution, but I can imagine that they considered that and had some reason why that led to undesirable results. So they have a solution where they backdate their drivers and nobody else has to.

Comment Re:Illegal Laws (Score 1) 267

Laws barring property rental are per se illegal, as the constitution does not give the government, at any level, the explicit right to dictate what one does (or does not do) with their own property. This goes for zoning as well.

If you take an originalist, states right centric view of the constitution, the constitution defines limits on what the federal government can do, but does not in any way restrict the rights of the states to pass whatever laws they wish.

In the modern view of constitutional supremacy, where states are not allowed to limit rights granted by the constitution and the states are generally subordinate to the feds, there is nothing to prevent either the states or the feds from limiting rental rights.

So in both of the major schools of thought regarding the constitution, this is perfectly legitimate.

Comment Re:Confirmation bias (Score 1) 366

(Do you realize that only once since 1988 has a Republican candidate actually won the popular vote? That's 6 of the last 7 elections. Talk about evidence of a screwed up election system...)

Given that in most of the elections in that period a democrat won, that hardly seems shocking. And since the electoral/popular split has only happened 5 times in US history, it is not a common occurrence, even if it has happened twice in the last sixteen years.

Comment Re:Fairness has a role (Score 1) 290

This is why big oil has been sitting on the technology to turn water into gasoline for years, and why I keep seeing ads about the miracle products that the power company doesn't want me to know about.

A company that had a cure for HIV would market it, for some combination of the following reasons:
1. Even if temporary, it would represent a massive slug of business, extending over multiple years. Given the short term focus of most US based businesses, that it hard to pass up.
2. The secret is too hard to keep. If your researchers have created something that is likely to lead to the Nobel prize, and the company decides to sit on it, it becomes a huge scandal waiting to be uncovered.
3. The situation is unstable. The first company to market a cure puts the recurring revenue of everybody with ongoing treatment at risk. It is like the prisoners dilemma. You maximize your profits by being first to market with the cure.

A cure for Hepatitis C has recently come to market. It is phenomenally expensive, but it is a genuine cure. That is an anecdote, but at least one instance of a cure being developed.

Comment Re:A lack of software freedom can be lethal & (Score 1) 60

So the threat of death is enough for you to argue the status quo standing behind proprietors and denying the user full control of a device they obtained (in Sandler's case wear inside their body) but not enough for you to let the user control. We still don't think that's the case for more common devices that are involved in lot of harm such as cars. In light of what's actually already happened to Sandler, your response is remarkably sycophantic to power.

I think you are mixing arguments. I was making the utilitarian case that the remedy proposed (software freedom) was unlikely to be an effective remedy in this case. I said nothing pro or con about software freedom.

If you want to argue conceptually for software freedom, then Karen Sandler's case is nothing but an anecdote, and we can rehash the usual pro/anti FSF and GPL arguments all day long. Personally I don't view proprietary software as evil or even morally suspect, and I am fairly sure you disagree with that view.

Slashdot Top Deals

"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley