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:Wot? (Score 2) 75

No, there's no good reason for the solar shingles to use inferior PV cells, but they do. The shingle design is bad because they're much smaller than a typical panel, requiring much more wiring for a given surface area.

I'm guessing that they'll have something that mimics a metal roof more than a shingle roof, but we'll find out soon enough.

What would be absolutely revolutionary would be something that is self-healing, such that roofers can drive nails through it, cut holes in it, etc., and have it still work. Just roll out sheets of it over the wood, nail it down, and hook up wires at the top (running down through the attic to the side of the house). I don't think we're going to see that anytime soon.

Comment Re:Wot? (Score 2) 75

Standard panels are mounted over the top of standard roofing shingles, often with a small air gap. There have been some solar shingle products in the past where special photovoltaic shingles are used instead of asphalt shingles. The problems include that they're much more expensive, much less efficient, and must more labor intensive to install. From the sound of the hype, I'm expecting a new product that overcomes all three of those shortfalls.

Comment Re:Goodbye Tax Free Amazon (Score 2) 167

Amazon has charged tax in most states for quite a while. If they have any physical presence, they have to collect tax, including warehouses. Around here, they're now using their own vans for deliveries instead of UPS or USPS. They reached a deal with a number of states to start collecting tax a few years ago.

Are there still any states where Amazon doesn't collect sales tax? (Well, other than states like Oregon and New Hampshire that don't have a sales tax?)

Comment Returns! (Score 5, Insightful) 167

What I really hope this means is that if I need to return something that I bought on Amazon (if it was fulfilled by Amazon), and I need to return it, that I can do so by driving it to the Amazon store instead of dealing with packing it back up and shipping it back to them. That's the one part of online shopping that I hate dealing with, and this would give me another option.

Comment Re:Invaders from Earth !! (Score 1) 231

If the planet is lifeless, then we need to seed it with microbes to prepare it for the larger life forms. You'll probably need plankton in the oceans before they can sustain fish. It might only take a century to have thriving oceans, but it could be much longer depending on how much the chemistry of the water and atmosphere has to be adjusted by the microbes first.

Comment Pre-Colonization Probes (Score 1) 231

I would think of this as being pre-colonization. The probes would analyze the planets in the target star system, determine if any are both suitable for life and lifeless, and then determine the fastest way to bring those planets up to human standards.

I don't think we're talking millions of years here. Depending on the state of the planet when found, it would be hundreds to thousands of years.

The probe could even include more advanced species as frozen embryos with artificial gestation pods to introduce all sorts of species when the conditions are right. That could even include humans.

The question for me is not if we should do this, but when we should do this. What technologies should we wait for before building and launching the probes? How urgently do we need to get an off-system presence to ensure the survival of humanity?

Comment Is it waterproof? (Score 1) 74

Is it at least waterproof?

After they first denied then ignored the leaky Galaxy S7 Active, I don't have much confidence in Samsung. This time they're afraid of more damage than just the phone, so they have to take it seriously, but with the Active, they just said they would replace them under warranty if they failed (about half would, but who is going to test theirs?). Considering that it's a known defect and they didn't recall them, I hope they get sued for data loss.

Comment Drinking Time (Score 1) 201

I'm glad they mentioned Dartmouth College. The administration at Dartmouth has long tried to restrict alcohol, while the culture there fully embraces it. There's even an unofficial mascot, Keggy the Keg.

But to fully appreciate Dartmouth drinking, you need to understand Drinking Time:

Comment Re:I've Persuaded Voters on Facebook (Score 1) 399

Peter Koutoujian: He's the Middlesex Sheriff. In Massachusetts, a sheriff is mostly responsible for prisoners. Koutoujian has been working for prison reform to make changes so that people who are released are less likely to return. I have no idea why someone would mount a challenge to him--he's generally popular, and I doubt that there's much risk of him losing the primary.

Bob Jubinville: He's the member of the Governor's Council from the second district (of eight). In most other states, the senate will approve gubernatorial appointments, but in Massachusetts, we have a separate body to do this. Jubinville has been very independent in his role, sometimes being the only vote against a nominee. He's very concerned that judges ruling on criminal cases have a good understanding of addiction, as that is often a significant factor in the circumstances leading up to the infraction. He makes a significant effort to attend public events throughout his huge district, so I see him regularly, which is not something you can usually say about someone in his office.

State Rep: If you're actually in my district (parts of Framingham and all of Ashland), let me know, and I'll fill you in.

Comment Stick with LTS kernels (Score 2) 67

If the idea of your kernel no longer getting point releases bothers you, you should stick with the Long Term Stability releases. For most users, this is done by default using the distribution kernels. For users that build their own kernels, upgrading to the next release isn't much more difficult than upgrading to the next bugfix point release. If you're building your own kernel and use commercial kernel modules (e.g., VMWare), then stick with LTS kernels to minimize version conflicts.

So for most Linux users, this story is a non-story.

Comment Re:CUSeeMe (Score 1) 114

Skype works fine on my Android phone, and it works on my mother's Windows laptop. When we tried Google Hangouts, something didn't work. We're sticking with Skype because the core functionality works for us: video phone calls.

Yes, it has it's problems:
*) Encryption is sub-par.
*) It drops connections if my phone jumps networks.

But it works on the platforms we need it to work on, and it solves our problem. Switching would require that the core video conferencing of the new alternative be noticeably better. Otherwise it's not worth the effort to walk my mother through it.

Comment CUSeeMe (Score 1) 114

No thanks. I'll stick with CUSeeMe.

Seriously, this was working just fine twenty years ago. Why is this still a problem? Granted, CUSeeMe didn't have encryption, but you could do multi-way video conferences, and it was cross-platform.

Skype at least covers all the major platforms. We use it for a weekly video call with our son's grandparents across the country who would otherwise rarely see him. It's not perfect, but it works well enough (Android to Windows laptop).

Google Hangouts also covers all the major platforms. We tried it for our weekly video call, but ran into too many glitches, and Skype does the job.

This may add end-to-end encryption, which is a plus, but it needs to be significantly better than Skype to take over. That means a *good* desktop interface, as well as mobile. You might even be able to do an HTML5 version and have it work everywhere.

Slashdot Top Deals

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire