Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment questinable desktop market share data and linux (Score 4, Interesting) 224

I wonder how the desktop market share data are obtained. From browser data? This is naive as many linux users change or randomize their user agent. It must be that since counting OS sales does not work. I use linux as my major operating system since 20 years. But there are still things I can only do on a commercial OS like Mac OS X: For example solid video editing, screen recording, Keynote, garage band, and serious gaming. But for most day to day operations, there is very little difference between OS X (when used as a Unix workstation) and linux. My desktops and workflows look almost identical. I guess, also windows could be configured today to behave like a unix workstation. But the loss of control which the the user over the OS (basic things like when and how to upgrade, or the look over the shoulder of the user) which happens today in windows makes it unfit for serious work. What would really be nice if virtualization would exist which allowed to run any OS X software on a linux box. It seems that installing OSX on a virtual box has not yet worked well. The few who have got it to work claim slow graphics, sound failures. I have not heard for example of a successful and solid Final cut run virtualized under linux. Parallels does a good job virtualizing windows on OSX.

Comment is it really that great? (Score 1, Informative) 109

4 Gig ram, 64 gig SSD, 1080p display, 500 bucks. I'm sorry but most phones come with more storage and a multiple of that resolution. Even as a minimalist tool, a phone alone works better already. When doing serious writing or reading (a high resolution screen is pivotal when reading long, especially with technical documentation) its important to have a decent resolution screen, have a solid keyboard, have a local library and programs (which work also if the internet connection is off and where it is not logged what and how long you are reading what). Paying twice as much but being the master of your data and programs and have a multiply times the storage is well worth it. Actually, it can sometimes be really good to get off the web and concentrate on work alone for a day or two.

Comment keep feet off any Carnival cruise ship. (Score 3, Insightful) 531

Maybe just avoid companies which persue such practices. FOr me, Carnival Corp would keep my feet off any Carnival cruise ship. Yes these are strong forces of globalization but the least they could have done is would be to give the employees a decent severance package and some time regardless whether they train their cheaper replacements. Such stories do good to motivate kids to pursue any STEM area.

Comment long term evaluation needed (Score 1) 414

There should be a system in place such that business leaders or politicians get awarded only long term benefits. Obviously, laying off a lot of people or stop investing in development gives a short term boost and savings but destroys the company or country in the long term. Unfortunately, today, the CEOs or presidents have not to pay for actions which hurt in the long term but are evaluated on short term profit. In this case, the morale in the IT part of that health care service provider will take a huge hit. It happened to many technology firms. As a customer there, I would be worried, whether my health information will be safe in the future. And its questionable whether they will ever be able to acquire really good new talent.

Comment Re:what a waste of article (Score 1) 531

I'm pretty happy with the Linux kernel and XNU for OSX. I would consider them rock solid. As for Video editing software, I find that Final cut is rock solid. Its so cool to complain and tear down. Maybe we more to listen to folks who have really built substantial things like a Ubilos or Torwalds. Yes, the new kids like Go and Rust might some day grow up but they still have first to show that can deliver and enable to build great things. And what does your comment about installing updates have to do with anything?

Comment what a waste of article (Score 0) 531

What a nihilistic article: quote: " it unrealistic to expect programmers to write secure code in memory-unsafe languages." No, its not unrealistic, because it reality disproves the statement. Rock solid things have been built safely in C: most operating systems kernels, modern video editing software, games. Things which need to work directly with the memory like juggling smoothly dozens of gigabytes of video data and fast. not just a smart phone app. Good luck with programming a video editing app in a memory safe language today. Maybe one should pay attention to programmers who have actually created something substantial.

Comment cycle of life (Score 4, Interesting) 64

Cycle of life for social network companies: start-up builds up a large user base using free services, indicating a business model with optional services, selling out to a big fish, big fish digests it, squeezing out its gut. Big fish removes free services more and more, adding advertisement. User jumps to new free service. Alternatively: start-up becomes big fish and lives from eating other alive communities, remaining the big fish, as there are no alternatives.

Comment similar like (Score 1) 492

its a bit like the idea of strapping a VR google on while riding a roller coaster http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/04... where it says: "Users will still physically be on a roller coaster as usual, but the headsets will add extra sensory experiences." It will be a thrill to be able to run linux on an operating system where the dangers of falling of the tracks are so real. The simulation of adventure can not be more authentic.

Comment robotics projected bad PR (Score 4, Insightful) 95

The article hints at other reasons. The latest youtube boston dynamics video showing the robot doing human work, was not only impressive, it was frightening. Not that we don't know that it is going to happen (not only in transportation, or manufacturing but also in service, consulting, transportation, delivery, military, health care or teaching), it was scary to see a bot doing things so well, to walk around, do errands. For a company, to be associated or identified with a job eliminator, this is a PR disaster in the long term. Its more subtle in AI or other domains of automation, where we don't see it. And then the article mentions also the lack of short term profitable products and leadership problems. But its interesting to see how non-technical factors start to matter more and more. But as mentioned before, the most important asset which google probably got from the company is the know-how, the top notch engineering, the human potential which can do be used also in non-robotic things. But whoever buys the company, the technology will continue change the future. Amazon is interested. Imagine all the packing and delivery work done by such droids. Maybe they should dress them as minions to make it more acceptable ...

Comment Re:really? (Score 3, Interesting) 337

This used to be. Adds from IBM illustrate: its already reality, investing, harvesting and research data, make an medical analysis, find the best defense strategy for a trial: is all AI dominated already. In education, partly automatically written textbooks are already reality. The push for grading by the machine, to online learning are all driven mostly by reducing labor and so workers. Whether the promise that this will allow us to do more interesting thing, is constantly fading. This means now developers, doctors, lawyers, teachers. The time when only robots, self driving cars have been a threat to the workforce are long over. Even research will be affected. It is a challenge which is so urgent already now that industry leaders at the World economic forum 2016 were discussing it. It will be an important problem to tackle: what to do if we have programmed us out of work. Developers are smart, they can not be persuaded so easily by propaganda. They can read the writings on the wall, because they write it!

Comment scalability (Score 4, Insightful) 179

The key will be scalability. Its an interesting experiment as it taps into the fundamentals of computing. It could however well be that the effort of keeping things disentangled grows exponentially (something which Shor's algorithm does not address). Like in dynamical systems theory, where computing the 10th iterate of f(x)=4x(1-x) with some initial condition like x=0.4 is no problem. It gives 0.297... already for a a hundred iterations the result become ambiguous and the answer becomes hardware and software dependent. No error correction can bypass these fundamental sensitive dependence of initial condition difficulty. So, it could well be that it is possible to factor a 10^10 digit number nicely but that things become more and more difficult larger numbers like integers with 100reds of digits and that RSA will remain save from quantum computer attacks. But who knows? The nice thing is that if it will be faster, one will be able to demonstrate it by factoring otherwise not yet factored numbers.

Comment long term checks are needed (Score 1) 143

online tools and wikipedia are not bad at the moment. Who tells that this will remain so? Organizations like wikipedia needs money and there is no long term guarantee that not at one point in the future, a "sponsor" will jump in, and searches or articles will be "internally vetted". Like for anything, it is good to have many independent sources. And yes, I keep as many copies of old encyclopedias and handbooks as possible, so that if needed, things can be double checked. Even in math software (like computer algebra systems) it can be healthy from time to time to check results with old handbooks or other systems, like integration tables. And of course be able to look up the original sources or reproduce things yourself. Never trust one source alone.

Comment Feyerabend (Score 1) 383

There are different takes on the scientific method. Poppers view is the gold standard but there others like Feyerabend, (from whom I could myself attend lectures as a student at ETH) who similar than Lacatos had a more liberal point of view: science also allows chaotic, anarchistic developments. The hype of parallel universes is maybe just the troll which is needed to value what is science really is and what is just speculation or belief. Similarly as political trolls, they remind us what values we really should treasure. History has shown that also unscientific approaches were motivational. Spiritual approaches for example were driving mathematicians from Pythagoreans to Kepler. Historically they had value as a motivator, even so one knows now that most of these believes were nonsense: Keplers harmonices mundi for example was one of these heavenly ideas which today just look plain silly and have lost all their scientific value. The other work which was produced (Kepler's laws) is a gem. Talking about parallel universes is maybe a bit like the Cretan Epimenides telling that All Cretans are liars or Russels set of all sets which are not subsets of themselves. These paradoxa have been resolved by setting up set theory carefully and using precise nomenclature what a set is. Any theory of the universe needs good definitions first of all. A notion of a universe which which does contain more than we can access, is strange. While liars paradoxa have initially been intended as jokes or trolls, they turned out to be a central idea for Goedel when working on incompleteness results. Also on the positive side, books about parallel universes have produced interest in the public about science. With the eyes of Feyerabend, we should see it as anarchism. Compare it with Keplers harmonices mundi. Maybe there is some nice mathematics or eventially some physics coming out it which will remain valuable. There could be a much simpler explanation: it might also simply be a way to gain publicity, get grant. Parallel universes just inspire our imagination, as countless many science fiction books have shown. An nice example is Ruckers "Mathemticians in Love" in which parallel universes play a role.

Slashdot Top Deals

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown