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. ×

Comment Re: Why the heck can't they just use a cable? (Score 1) 145

Actually on private property you can tell people they can't use their device or they can leave.

Nope. There are presumably millions of exceptions to that statement. You're obviously not a lawyer, and clearly not qualified to weigh-in on whether any regs were violated. The fact that the FCC has taken an interest clearly shows it's not cut and dried.

Comment Re:Middle ages warmer (Score 1) 168

nothing close to "ruining all arable land".

If you were expecting the foodpocalypse because you far too literally read one throwaway line, you're a complete idiot. That uncontrolled Aspergers is probably why you're on my lovely foes list. Yields down as low as 18% of their current levels would be incredibly devastating, and yes, a perfect and infallible scientist said that, so it's time to drop your hero worship.

scientists go, they tend to stick to what they know, and they know a lot,

Well, it sure is a good thing you know every single scientist out there, so you can explain them all to us.

Comment True for most "confidential" databases (Score 1) 53

Not just law enforcement. It's why you shouldn't store private data unencrypted on cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive. Like Ned from GoT thinking a piece of paper signed by the king was going to protect him, you're a fool if you think some company policy prohibiting employees from perusing client data is going to protect you. Those cloud services really should be offering client-side encryption as a standard feature. That they don't should tell you that they are making money by browsing through your files to glean data about you that they can sell to others.

Comment They have the best generic shopping search engine (Score 1) 91

Mind you it's not very good, includes a lot of stuff relevant to one of your search terms but irrelevant to your search because it lacks another keyword, and is missing a lot of options like being able to sort the results by rating but exclude the things with just 1-2 reviews.

Google Shopping used to be better, but about 1-2 years ago they redid the format of the search results page. Clicking on the name of the search result used to give you the list of all stores which sold the item. Now both it and the "Shop" button send you directly to the first vendor selling the item (probably the one which paid Google the most). To get the list, you now have to click the little text that says "Compare prices". And some time this year the search results stopped being a spot-on match for your search terms. Putting terms in quotes no longer excludes results which don't have that term, so the results page is as polluted with irrelevant results as Amazon's search results.

Amazon also has better sort options for the reviews. Their "most helpful review" system really helps filter out the crappy two-word reviews and bring the thorough ones up to the top. Google Shopping's reviews are aggregated from multiple sources, and only recently have they begun to allow you to view reviews only from certain sources. It's aggravating enough that I do my initial search on Amazon, then do a price comparison search on Google Shopping. A lot of useful third party services like camelcamelcamel and fakespot also tie in to the Amazon reviews.

Newegg still has the best shopping search engine IMHO. But they only sell tech stuff.

Comment Re:There's plenty of space (Score 2) 145

I think it was a poor choice to raise a bunch of money by starting the sell spectrum to cell providers in the 90s instead of licensing it to them as had been done before

Bandwidth auctions are only selling off a LEASE of that spectrum in the first place.

so now a lot of power is concentrated into a few companies that own spectrum

Auctioning is a good way to allocate limited resources. The significant expense highly discourages carriers from buying anything they won't extensively use (leaving it open for smaller organizations) and have also encouraged the FCC to open up more spectrum to get in on some more of that big cash.

it's not necessarily in their interest to pursue certain RF research or new RF technology

It's money from the cellular carriers that has been paying for developments of 3G and 4G technologies, and is continuing with a surprisingly fast push to work on 5G.

And again, the huge expense of buying new spectrum in an auction is encouraging cellular carriers to "densify" their networks, instead of just expanding their bandwidth.

Imagine if TV stations owned their spectrum, we might never have been able to force a HD digital transition.

There's been no need for the government to force carriers to start shutting off their 2G networks and rolling out 4G. There's competition in the market, and tighter integration between sender and receiver. TV networks could never have hoped to force their audience to upgrade their all their TVs, but cell carriers can and regularly do.

Comment Re:not limitless (Score 1) 145

the organizer of an event should be given some way to coordinate and organize access to the limited resource.

They can... They get an FCC licenses for restricted RF bands, and use those, instead of heavy-handed attempts at individuals co-opting and monopolizing unlicensed bands.

Comment Re:Blocking is illegal, but this isn't... (Score 1) 145

What you absolutely don't have a right to do is to carry whatever you want onto someone else's property. Take for example weapons bans which prohibit students from bringing knives to school, to Disney World, etc.

Except you increasingly DO have that right.

"a growing number of states are passing laws where the right to ban firearms does not extend to vehicles in employer parking lots."
- http://www.employmentlawdaily....

Schools are increasingly being thrown open to concealed guns:
- http://neatoday.org/2015/03/26...

Comment Re:Why the heck can't they just use a cable? (Score 1) 145

I can totally understand banning Wifi hotspot access points at big crowded events like this.

I can totally understand many things which happen to be illegal. I don't think anyone is dumbfounded by the idea of theft, extortion, etc.

Performance will suck for EVERYONE, including the venue WiFi.

Then the venue should have licensed their own radio spectrum from the FCC. Guaranteed there would be zero contention for their band, then.

You don't get to monopolize unlicensed spectrum, and tell people they can't use their legal devices around you. That's a recipe for the "electromagnetic sensitive" nut-jobs to demand everybody in proximity to them must shut off their cell phones. And the FCC takes a particularly dim view of this behavior when it's combined with FEES. If access to their on-site WiFi was free (and speeds were tolerable), the FCC probably would have just let it slide.

Comment Re:Middle ages warmer (Score 1) 168

Where do you get fear-mongering about ruining all arable land?

All over the place...

"severe crop failures and livestock shortages worldwide."
- http://www.livescience.com/370...

"average yields are predicted to decrease by 30â"46% before the end of the century under the slowest (B1) warming scenario and decrease by 63â"82% under the most rapid warming scenario"
- http://www.pnas.org/content/10...

"most of the Western Hemisphere (along with large parts of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia) may be at threat of extreme drought this century."
- http://www.skepticalscience.co...

"25 million more children will be malnourished in 2050 due to the impact of climate change on global agriculture."
"irrigated wheat yields, for example, will fall at least 20 percent by 2050 as a result of global warming"
"business as usual will guarantee disastrous consequences for the human race."
- http://www.scientificamerican....

"Decreased arability. Prime growing temperatures may shift to higher latitudes, where soil and nutrients may not be as suitable for producing crops, leaving lower-latitude areas less productive."
- http://www.climatehotmap.org/g...

It isn't from the scientists.

That sounds an awful lot like "No True Scotsman" to me...

Comment Re:R&D versus production (Score 1) 111

their systems are certainly working better than other programs at their stage of evolution.

That depends on which "other programs" you look at. Back in the 1950's and early 1960's when we were still learning rocketry and their were no textbooks? Sure. They're doing much better. Compared to more modern programs... they're doing worse. Much worse. The open question, the only real question, the one with no satisfactory answer... is whether the problems are inherent to a startup with no collective experience, are due to their rapid prototyping process, or due to their constant schedule pressure. Or from elements of all three.
The one constant, the one thing we do know for a fact, it that SpaceX (or at least Musk) is consistently overconfident and equally consistently over promises and under delivers. He's not alone in that though... it's a pretty consistent feature of NewSpace. (Or AltSpace, or "mammals", whichever term you prefer.)

Comment Re:Middle ages warmer (Score 2) 168

When it came to an end it started the little ice age which called all of the above to this day never recovered.

The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were highly localized around the Atlantic. Europe may be at high risk for turning into Canada, but it's likely the rest of us will see far more subtle changes.

I find the Medieval Warm Period instructive. Today there's lots of fear-mongering that Global Warming will ruin all arable land, when in fact the Warm Period was a huge boon.

Comment Re:Mozilla is wasting money, brains, and time (Score 2) 89

Firefox OS was never faster or lower-end than Android to begin with. The idea that HTML+JS+CSS could ever be faster than native compiled apps (or even Java/Dalvik for that matter) was just insane. Damn near everybody knew it was a bullshit waste of money just thrown at the wall.

Comment Re:Mozilla is wasting money, brains, and time (Score 1) 89

once they accomplished that goal, they didn't know what to do next.

Actually, they did know what to do next, but they do so rather aimlessly and pathetically. It seems there's nobody at the wheel.

Mozilla helped get PNG adopted as an alternative to GIF, but that's only for still images, while GIF also does animations. Firefox first failed to promote MNG, then ensured its death by removing it from their browser, and much later introducing their own MPNG standard, which then repeated the above cycle of indecision, neglect, and sabotage.

Much the same goes for video... They shouted loudly in support of open video standards, but were pretty slow to even just include them in their own browser(s).

Personally, I'd be happy if Mozilla just focused on optimizing the hell out of Firefox. It's much slower and memory-hungry than other browsers on Android. Even on my desktop, a little bit of JS can drag the browser to an unresponsive crawl, even utilitarian sites like Amazon get less usable with each heavier and slower browser release.

Comment They're not similar at all (Score 1) 75

Coal was a new energy source - a way to replace human and animal labor with machine labor. This resulted in huge productivity gains (measured in productivity per person - productivity per Joule expended actually went down because coal energy was so much cheaper than human labor meaning inefficient machines could still be cheaper). The MO was dirt simple - take anything that used to require people or animals to expend effort to do, make a machine to do it, and power the machine with coal.

Data is just data. Aside from a few data-processing tasks which have already been automated (OCR, statistical analysis), there is no dirt simple way to use data to reduce human labor. You can eek out a small productivity gain by using it to improve the efficiency of marketing (e.g. don't show bra ads to men), but that's pretty much it. The productivity gain is what's necessary to make it "better" than previous ways of doing things. Improvements in economic efficiency show up as productivity gains.

Popularity is one way (probably the best way) to leverage data. You can use it to determine what's popular and position the marketing of your products in that direction. But that's a zero-sum game. Any increased sales you gain because you marketed your products better directly reduces sales of other competing products. This is totally different from coal (and oil) which enabled new methods of production, and thus weren't zero-sum.

Slashdot Top Deals

Anything free is worth what you pay for it.