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Comment COBOL programmers aren't all old (Score 1) 277

There's a COBOL shop in my small town that contracts for corporations and the government. I know several COBOL specialists in their 30s. It's actually an extremely lucrative field to get into these days, with good pay and job security.

Rewriting all that COBOL code in some other language would be bound to cause major problems.

Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 1) 527

In principle I agree with you, and I agree that you should not spend too much and make sure you save at least 30%; don't go into debt except for student loans and a house (and maybe for a cheap, used car at the very beginning of your work life). However, web sites like Mr Money Mustache often have a very optimistic view of the average return on investment (4-5% real). Yes, it is based on historical returns, but stocks are very high now, because interest rates are low and expected to stay low. This means that they might advocate retiring on significantly less than a million dollars. I think this is a risky proposition. Personally, I would expect real returns (i.e. after accounting for inflation) of at most 2% after tax. Assuming you have a house paid off, you can maybe get by with living expenses of $35,000 if you live in an average part of the country, and have a family of four. The math is then easy: You need $1.75 million in the bank to live off the return on capital. Say you work for 20 years, this means you need a net household income of $110,000, and a savings rate of 68%. If you can achieve that, fine. But make the calculation with a low rate of return as well, and ask yourself if you will be ok in this case as well.

Comment Re:It's true (Score 2) 270

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.

Comment Re:Okay, but... (Score 1) 177

The article is incorrect. It is definitely 70 kW for both the Hyundai Ioniq and the Kia Soul EV. Hyundai states a 30 minute charging time (to 80%) on a 50 kW charging station, and a 23 minute charging time (to 80%) on a 100 kW charging station. However, only a maximum of 70 kW is ever used. Which is a lot already given that the battery is 28 kWh net only and probably around 32 kWh gross - which means that 70 kW charging implies a charging rate of 2.2 C - higher than any other electric cars, and much higher than most Tesla models.

Comment Re:Driverless (Score 1) 273

Sure public transportation is fine. You said Uber and Lyft.

Dude, I'm not the Emperor of the World. I'm making my predictions of the future. Whether you like it or not, whether I like it or not, I predict that Uber and Lyft and such services are going to become more common in the future (especially if there are self-driving cars). It's too bad you don't approve, I guess, but there it is.

(In principle a city or county could operate a service similar to Uber or Lyft. Perhaps that would make you happier?)

They have at least thought of these things?? Wow, drink the kool-aid some more.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you believe that Tesla is spending thousands of dollars per car to provide the hardware for self-driving, without having thought of common problems like driving in snow in the winter. They've been testing this stuff for years, but presumably you believe their testing was flawed and/or inadequate. I'd be interested to find out from you what Tesla did wrong, and why they are wrong to think that their hardware is adequate.

Would you say the Tesla hardware is completely useless, or would you say that there are some circumstances under which the Tesla hardware can do a useful job of driving the car? Also, in your opinion, are the various videos of self-driving Teslas all faked? And the videos where a Tesla equipped with "Autopilot" takes action on its own to avoid an accident, are those faked?

Comment Re:Driverless (Score 1) 273

It will be a sad world if people ever have to rely on Uber and Lyft to get from place to place.

I suspect that you are older than a Millenial and do not live in a dense urban area. (Personally, I'm older than a Millenial, I don't live in a dense area, and I very much treasure owning my own car.)

When I was a teen I was just counting the days until I got a permit to be able to drive a car; now Millenials are increasingly not bothering to get driver's license and insurance, and taking bus/Uber/Lyft when they want to go somewhere.

And there are people who live in dense urban areas who would find it a hassle to park a car, and prefer not to own a car there. More, there are cities that are actively trying to reduce the number of cars on their roads.

Tesla has not demonstrated that the sensors they are shipping will be able to handle all cases.

Okay, we get it, you're skeptical of the full self-driving features.

Will they be aimed low enough to stop to allow a rabbit to cross the road safely or are we just running over animals now? Will they scan the contour of the road so they can drive properly through ice ruts or around deep potholes? I didn't think they had that kind of tech yet.

Frankly I don't know the answers to these questions, but if Tesla thinks their current sensor tech is sufficient for full self-driving, my guess is they have at least thought of each of these things.

My guess, and it is just a guess, is that the ultrasonic sensors would be used to watch for ice ruts and potholes; that the testing program has already included people driving the test cars on roads with ice ruts and potholes; and the forward radar would likely do a better job of spotting a rabbit than a tired human at night. I don't think anyone is claiming that the self-driving features would completely eliminate all road kills, but equally I doubt self-driving cars will be worse than humans.

https://www.tesla.com/blog/upgrading-autopilot-seeing-world-radar

https://www.tesla.com/blog/all-tesla-cars-being-produced-now-have-full-self-driving-hardware

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:Driverless (Score 1) 273

There are a lot of promises that the pro-automated crowd are making over and over. Two of the main ones are, 1) they will make driving safer, and 2) insurance will be cheap because they will be low-incident.

This will only happen if 95% of all people can afford these things.

If true automated cars truly work, then services like Uber and Lyft have the potential to become even cheaper. The cars get more expensive but no human drivers need be paid. It may be that if ride services are ubiquitous and cheap, people will use them more and not want to tie up their own money in a car.

Also, insurance for you may become cheaper if you use self-driving even if nobody else does. If you let the car drive you safely home you aren't getting into an accident due to being sleepy or drunk. From what I have read, insurance on Tesla cars is surprisingly inexpensive since the cars are so safe. (Although I think if you buy a "P" model with the "Ludicrous Speed" crazy acceleration, insurance rates go up.)

I consider it somewhat of a cop-out to just assume that any sensor on a fighter jet can apply when some of those sensors may be worth thousands of dollars.

And I consider it somewhat strange that you are arguing about whether Tesla can ship sensors that Tesla is already shipping as standard equipment on every car. The Tesla web site promises that the full self-driving sensors will be on every Model 3, that's the less-expensive model.

Tesla is making a bet that including all those sensors will pay off eventually. That bet may or may not be a good idea, but we are past the point of arguing over whether Tesla can do it. They are already doing it.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 307

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Re:It's not his arrest that is a priority (Score 1, Troll) 369

Making an example out of Assange won't help anything though, there will just be someone else stepping up. Assange is not the problem, you are.

There's an old proverb: "When everyone you meet is an asshole, it means that you're not beating up all the assholes fast enough and if only you can speed it up, everyone else will eventually become convinced that you must be one of the good guys."

I know it doesn't sound eloquent, though.

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