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


Forgot your password?
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:"While this is a victory for common sense" (Score 1) 297

Speaking as such a person, if we can handle singular-plural "you", we can certainly handle "they". It would hardly be the most fucked up part of English, anyway. Learning English by trying to apply common sense to it is a recipe in frustration; you might as well just give up from the get go, and embrace the madness. It will make its own perverse sense eventually, but I'm loathe to call that kind of sense "common".

Comment Re:Very poor example. (Score 1) 297

Spanish is the only language that I know of that has a fairly elegant solution: you can omit the pronoun and it is inferred from the conjugation and declination. So if you don't know the gender you can just omit the pronouns entirely ("Dijo que no sabia" translates as "He or she said that he or she didn't know").

Ironically, in Russian you can also omit the pronoun, but the catch is that gender is also reflected in adjectives and verbs. It's so pervasive in the language that it's practically impossible to construct a sequence in a way that would not imply it one way or the other.

Comment Re:How (Score 1) 297

You're talking about different things - grammar versus usage.

What's commonly referred to as "singular they" is grammatically plural - "they are ..." etc. It is singular in a sense that it refers to a single person.

In a similar vein, while "you" is always grammatically plural in English, "singular you" is used to describe the case where "you" refers to a single person.

Comment Re:How (Score 1) 297

Because in many cases you don't actually know their gender.

"After the user opened the dialog, he sees ..."

That was the typical way to write that sentence. It also implies gender where it's neither warranted nor desirable.

"After the user opened the dialog, they see ..."

Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 1) 246

Or, you could just as glibly say: those who could, did, and those who couldn't, copied.

I have no idea if that's actually how it went down, just as I presume you have no particular evidence this is a nuisance suit. But if Costco did indeed copy Acushnet's patented features, I take it you wouldn't deny the actual inventor legal recourse.

IIRC, Costco bought up a contract manufacturers overrun (company was hired to make X number of golf balls, but for what ever reason they made Y number).
So the Titleist folks hired a manufacture in China to produce 3 million golf balls. The Chinese company either made 6 million or the contracting company rejected the lot as inferior. Either case the Chinese company now has 3 million golf balls that it doesn't want to lose money on. So they sold the whole lot to Costco. Costco then goes and sells them $15 / dozen .. versus Acushnet's $45-$60 / dozen.

Acushnet sees its gravy train approaching a washed out bridge and files lawsuit to repair it.

If this was true, then there would be a case because the balls are slightly inferior but otherwise identical.

But Costco is arguing they're different. And knowing that the Kirkland store brand is actually quite a good one, I'd be surprised if Costco went with 3rd shift manufactured balls. Costco is not Walmart, and in general their store branded stuff is of great quality and manufactured properly, not low end cheap Chinese made stuff.

So Costco likely went with another high quality ball manufacturer (which may or may not be made at the same factory, but not 3rd shift production) and made those balls.

The reason Costco sells them cheap is because they deal in volume - instead of making balls in hundreds of thousands, they can make balls by the millions, extracting mass production cost benefits.

And because they were partnered up with another company who designed the balls, they got a good quality ball, made quite cheaply in volumes that out-do the other manufacturers since Costco does stuff in bulk.

Comment Re:Why aren't 12V Lithium car batteries more popul (Score 1) 138

I've noticed that replacement lithium polymer battery packs for hybrid cars sell often sell for less than $1000 on eBay, while much smaller lithium based 12v batteries for conventional cars (with starter motors) often sell for more. As an example, here is a battery suitable for starting a small V8 that sells for $1600.00 http://www.jegs.com/i/Lithium-...

I would assume that it would be much easier to manufacture conventional 12v starter batteries in volume due to the ability to put them in many more different models of vehicles.

The ability to shave off 30+ lbs of weight from racecars would be enormous, so the demand is there, but why not the supply?

Designing car batteries is tough. The environment they live in is generally rough - while modern cars avoid putting the battery in the engine compartment, older cars still have it there, so you have to contend with high temperatures under the hood (too high to charge safely). Then there's charging - Lead-acid batteries have a stupidly easy charge regimen - you apply voltage to the terminals, it charges. Overcharging is handled by the battery (they can explode because they do generate hydrogen gas, but well vented it's not an issue), and they can tolerate a lot of abuse. Next, there's also a regulatory aspect of the battery - just by being there, the voltage swings of the electrical system are limited because the battery takes up excess voltage as charge and provides for voltage sags by discharging.

If you need to ask, without a battery, the car electrical system can sag to as low as 9V or lower at idle or slower speeds with high loads, 15V or higher when the engine is going good, and with lots of high voltage spikes of 170V or more because of the ignition system. And if someone jumpxtarts, the voltage goes all over the map.

Now do all that with a Li-Ion battery. First, the charge regimen is very controlled - any limits get exceeded and it is unsafe to charge, so you need a very complex charge controller. You also need one that can provide the regulation expected of the battery - absorbing excess voltage (even if the battery can't, it must dump the excess electricity somewhere), and providing a boost when it sags.

And it's not the battery, but the electronics.

Still, for some applications, they are actively used - aviation loves Li-Ion batteries because they're a lot lighter, and even in general aviation aircraft, temperatures don't get too bad because of immense airflow once airborne (so the charge controller can shut off charging on the ground) And they're lighter and last longer than their lead acid counterparts, so you can operate avionics and lights with the engine off without worrying too much of draining the battery prior to start.

If you want your race car to be light, just get rid of the battery entirely. You don't need a battery to race, only to crank the engine, something you really try to avoid doing whilst already racing.

Race cars don't have starting batteries - they use a starting cart that provides the starting power. They do have an electrical system because the engines are electronic ignition, the control panels are all electronic (the gauges, telemetry), driver radios etc. But since races generally last for well know periods of time, they only need a battery big enough to last that long (they don't want to bother with alternators unless you're talking about a 24 hour race).

Comment Anti-matter (Score 1) 138

Is it (theoretically) possible for a battery to reach the same energy density as fossil fuel?

The theoretical maximum battery capacity is well in excess of fossil fuel. A battery made of 50% matter and 50% anti-matter could conceivably convert its mass into energy. That is the theoretical limit but we are a long way technologically from getting anywhere even vaguely close.

Comment One (Score 2) 297

That's to he or she who finally decided this!

I think you mean "That's to the one who decided this". English already has a perfectly good third person singular, gender-neutral pronoun, 'one', which you can use when referring to people as opposed to things.

Comment Re:While the intent was good... (Score 1) 113

All of those benefits came at the cost of the loss of the First-sale doctrine. It was a bad deal, period. Always connected was not the major issue, the major issue MS was attempting to kill this legal doctrine as it applied to them

Except 4 years later, we've lost the first sale doctrine.

People love digital downloads. They love not having to look for a disc with the game on it - they prefer picking it off a menu and playing it. Hell, ask any millennial and they hate physical media with a passion. The whole disc thing to lend is cool, but in the end, they don't actually care.

So now people are giving up their first sale rights for a digital download that costs the same as the physical disc, but without the ability to lend or resell the game.

The Microsoft way preserved a small aspect - it actually allowed sales of digital downloads. Sure you had to have the blessing of the publisher, but it was certainly better to be able to resell than not, right?

So the real question is - was the status quo better than what Microsoft proposed? There were bad parts to it, but it allowed digital license re-sale, which is huge, and no platform out there right now offers it on any copyrighted media. (Sure some people use multiple accounts and such, but that's a hassle).

And if trends continue, physical sales are going to be the exception, not the rule. And this generation is set - it's not going to be easy to retrofit the proposed resale mechanism in because of all the existing contracts of sale.

There were tons bad with the Microsoft model initially. Tons. But there were a few things that were genuinely good as well that we lost and are not likely to get back. Digital re-sale was one of them, but the ability for the disc to be just a data storage medium and you could buy licenses on the spot was another (it encourages de-regionalization - if you want a game only released in Asia, you could just get a disc of it somehow (torrent, say) and then insert it and buy the license without having to import the game from the region).

Slashdot Top Deals

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.