Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 1) 90

I thought Waitrose delivered everywhere where they had a large store. Don't they deliver in your area?

For what it's worth, I've had under a dozen substitutions in five years of using Ocado (fewer than I got in any six month period with Tesco before that) and things always come with long shelf lives. They also have excellent customer support and will quickly fix anything that they get wrong.

Comment Re:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 1) 90

Unfortunately groceries kind of suck online in the UK.

Seriously? Between the major supermarket chains and Ocado all providing online order / home delivery, none of them works for you? I'll admit, I gave up on Tesco repeatedly sending me things that were one day away from their use-by date, but there's a reasonable amount of competition.

Comment Re:It's not just shocking, it's stupid (Score 1) 90

You actually see this on Amazon, where a number of third-party sellers automatically set their prices by querying the Amazon price or the cheapest third-party price and undercutting it slightly. This sometimes leads to amusing effects where two third-party sellers are offering something for 10% less than the cheapest other seller and forget to set a minimum price.

Comment Re:CEO's fear (Score 1) 241

I seem to recall a study a few years back that showed that most highly paid CEOs' decisions were not better than random and, in a number of cases, were significantly worse. They shouldn't be worried that they can be replaced by AI, they should be worried that they can be replaced by a magic 8 ball.

Comment Re:Robots are good (Score 3, Insightful) 241

The problem isn't robots taking all our jobs, it's robots taking half of our jobs. How do you manage a society in which 50% of the working-age population are contributing essential work for the functioning of civilisation and the other 50% are not able to do anything that a machine can't do better? Unemployment rates of 10-20% are currently seriously problematic for western societies and cause huge economic problems. For some jobs, you can solve it by dividing the work among more people, so you have four people working a 10 hour week instead of one working a 40 hour week, but that doesn't help you to deal with the people who aren't able to do any available jobs.

Comment Re:It's not that I want to brag I'm old... (Score 1) 381

Add to that, the defining feature of a functional language is the set of things that it disallows, not the set of things that it permits. A multi-paradigm language, by definition, has to permit anything that the various paradigms permit and so doesn't gain the benefits that you get from being able to reason about your code in a language that doesn't permit unconstrained mutability or side effects.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 3, Interesting) 381

This needs moderating up. Talk to an Ocaml programmer and a Haskell programmer about what makes a functional language and you'll see very different opinions and these two are languages that were actually designed as functional languages: the bits that end up in other languages are a tiny subset.

Coming from the Haskell side, I see functional programming as programming without side effects and with monads. You can implement monadic constructs in other languages, but it rarely makes code cleaner. Just having higher-order functions doesn't make a language a functional language any more than having structs makes C an object-oriented language.

If the question is 'do you think using higher-order functions simplifies the expression of some algorithms' then the answer is obviously 'yes': programmers have a lot of tools to choose from and most of them are useful at least some of the time.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 3, Interesting) 381

In C++14 in particular, lambdas with auto parameters dramatically reduce copy-and-paste coding. If you have a couple of lines of code that's repeated, it isn't worth factoring it out into a separate templated function (in particular, you'll often need to pass so many arguments that you'll end up with more code at the end), but pulling it into a lambda that binds everything by reference and has auto-typed parameters can reduce the amount of source code, while generating the same object code (the lambda will be inlined at all call sites).

Comment Re: Time to switch (Score 3, Insightful) 214

Volume licensing for Office 365 is a lot cheaper per seat than simply multiplying the list price by number of employees. It also has a much simpler licensing model than previous Microsoft volume licensing, which makes compliance easier (you get all of the desktop apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android included). The latter point alone is worth it to a lot of big companies.

Submission + - Light Sail propulsion could reach Sirius sooner than Alpha Centauri (arxiv.org)

RockDoctor writes: A recent proposition to launch probes to other star systems driven by lasers which remain in the Solar system has garnered considerable attention. But recently published work suggests that there are unexpected complexities to the system.

One would think that the closest star systems would be the easiest to reach. But unless you are content with a fly-by examination of the star system, with much reduced science returns, you will need to decelerate the probe at the far end, without any infrastructure to assist with the braking.

By combining both light-pressure braking and gravitational slingshots, a team of German, French and Chilean astronomers discover that the brightness of the destination star can significantly increase deceleration, and thus travel time (because higher flight velocities can be used. Sling-shotting around a companion star to lengthen deceleration times can help shed flight velocity to allow capture into a stable orbit.

The 4.37 light year distant binary stars Alpha Centauri A and B could be reached in 75 years from Earth. Covering the 0.24 light year distance to Proxima Centauri depends on arriving at the correct relative orientations of Alpha Centauri A and B in their mutual 80 year orbit for the sling shot to work. Without a companion star, Proxima Centauri can only absorb a final leg velocity of about 1280km/s, so that leg of the trip would take an additional 46 years.

Using the same performance characteristics for the light sail the corresponding duration for an approach to the Sirius system, almost twice as far away (8.58ly), is a mere 68.9 years, making it (and it's white dwarf companion) possibly a more attractive target.

Of course, none of this addresses the question of how to get any data from there to here. Or, indeed, how to manage a project that will last longer than a working lifetime. There are also issues of aiming — the motion of the Alpha Centauri system isn't well-enough known at the moment to achieve the precise manoeuvring needed without course corrections (and so, data transmission from there to here) en route.

Comment Re:Economics is hard (Score 1) 168

I'm well aware of the overheads, and see this from both sides. For us, procurement rules make it trivial to spend £3000 on a laptop that we'll replace after 2-3 years, but almost impossible to spend £1000 on a chair that comes with a 15 year warranty and is likely to reduce absences due to back pain by a month over its lifetime.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world." - The Beach Boys

Working...