Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:Harm (Score 1) 93

Kind of funny, our company is on the cutting edge actually, but in fluorescents, not LEDs, which are terrible for producing what we would consider high output of UVB or UVA. There is a huge difference between 320nm and 399nm, yet both are "UVA". 320nm has a lot more energy, and as you up in frequency (down in nm), it forms a Bell curve and gets exponentially more damaging. It also goes down in penetration, which is why you can get a quick flash burn from UVC (100nm-280nm) that doesn't penetrate more than a few layers of skin, but it is very damaging to those layers. And of course, the real kicker is how much you are getting.

And the reason it has that warning on it is simple: anything with any measurable amount of UVA must have that warning by law. The FDA regulates this (CFR 1040.20 for sunlamps, for example). I'm used to seeing them regularly for inspections. For some reason, general lighting fluorescents are excepted from this warning, even though they do produce a measurable amount of UVA.

Comment Re:Harm (Score 3, Informative) 93

385nm is invisible to almost all humans, being on the long-ish wavelength of UV, and I wouldn't really say it was very damaging. Everyone likes to jump on the bandwagon like they actually know something about UV when in fact they don't. I've worked with it over 25 years, still do. Out of the millions of products sold, I've never had an injury reported. People do get hurt with UV, but that is exceedingly rare and usually because they didn't follow directions or did something really stupid.

Inside fiber, it is pretty harmless. Most plastics block it (excepting OP4 acrylic), the vast majority of paints absorb it and won't reflect it. It has a smaller wavelength, thus more waves per centimeter, ie: more data. I'm not saying their plan is good or bad, but blanket calling UV dangerous and not workable is ignorant.

Comment Re:The Republicans want to make everyone work (Score 2) 1126

If you haven't figured out, the founding mantra of the USA is "equal opportunity, not equal outcome".

But UBI has nothing to do with equal outcome. It's about a minimum outcome, and takes the place of a myriad of support programs we already have in place to give people something to fall back on when they've got nothing else. Social Security, food stamps, unemployment, tax credits, etc -- these programs are already funded via taxes (yes, social security is more like mandated retirement planning) and would be eliminated with a UBI program. The savings in administrative overhead alone would be enormous.

encourages mediocrity and abuse

I think few people would be content with nothing more than the UBI, but if they are, then so be it. As for abuse, how can you abuse something for which everyone is eligible?

Venezuela as the latest example

This is a meaningless comparison. The Venezuelan economy has little in common with that of the US. As a single data point, in 2013 its GDP per capita was about $14,000 while the US was $53,000.

I'm not saying that a UBI is a surefire good idea, but it also shouldn't be dismissed out-of-hand as a replacement to our current welfare systems.

Comment Re:So what is YOUR plan? (Score 4, Insightful) 406

I'm completely fine with investigating ISIS sympathizers

How do you identify ISIS sympathizers without violating people's rights? Or do you just take the route a disturbing number of politicians have and legislate away annoying things like the Fourth Amendment, and put everyone under mass surveillance? And then, even if you do find someone who sympathizes with ISIS (perhaps even through an open confession), what would you do about it?

There's no law against having dangerous or stupid opinions (as evidenced by the "presumptive Republican presidential nominee", a phrase I'm getting all to tired of hearing). As long as someone doesn't take action themselves, or encourage others to do so, they're free to tell the world they think ISIS is just peachy keen and doin' Allah's work.

Regardless, this stale bullshit Newt is spewing is just another step on the road to the Thought Police. Reading something, even batshit religious propaganda, should never be a crime, no matter how long we've been at war with Eurasia.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 407

Well, the VP role has evolved along with modern politics and foreign policy, too. The VP stands in for the president in ceremonial and diplomatic functions at home and abroad, and is usually the bridge to advice and consent in the senate. The VP frequently gets to say things that the president wants to say, but cannot. The VP is frequently the closest executive sounding-board for decision making that the president has. GWB relied very strongly on Cheney, in the first term for guidance, for example. The VP can (and has been, from time to time) be used as the more direct supervisor of the agencies (the bureaucracy) under the executive branch. Al Gore played that kind of role for Clinton, for example, and was able to make a lot of cost-cutting measures that helped create the projected surplus that we enjoyed when Clinton left the WH. What I'm getting at is the role can be fairly wide open to interpretation and has fewer constraints than that of the chief executive.

Comment Re:The DNC overlords always get their way (Score 1) 644

Funny, that "ramming" took 18 months, and I recall the GOP whinging about fictitious "death panels", "job-killing (didn't happen), "deficit exploding" (actually reduced the deficit) all along the way and for dozens of months afterwards... no constructive GOP contributions, no new or different ideas to add except "no change, not now, not ever" from the GOP. The PPACA was a total concession from the start to the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Inst, as an alternative to universal gov't health care. Obama stood back and let it happen and constantly invited GOP voices to the conversation. It's still a private health care system, but with some guard rails, some negotiated rules of cost and fair play and some requirements for infrastructure improvements. To this very day, the only GOP proposal has been to repeal the whole thing and no proposals have been made to address the problems the PPACA was passed to address. It's not perfect, by any means. My state has some real problems with making it work, but it can be improved, and it probably will be.

Pedantically, you cite Pelosi who said that "we have to pass the [health care bill] so that you can find out what's in it", and it's a great quote. Pelosi was trying to say that people needed to see it in action and how it worked in order to understand what it does in a practical sense. The neat thing about what people say and write is that we can each interpret the remarks from our own point of view. You certainly took what best fit your worldview, but Pelosi did a good job of clarifying her remark, so I'll take her words for what it meant, thanks.

Comment Re:Rent-Seeking (Score 4, Insightful) 157

Home and Pro have no sign of moving to a subscription plan at this point.

Are you sure? Does it need to be in 150-foot tall neon for it to qualify as a "sign"?

Given the direction they've taken consumer and enterprise Office, the newly announced enterprise Windows subscriptions, and the claim that "Windows 10 is the last version of Windows", what other conclusion can be made? And on top of that, desktop sales have slowed as newer machines tend to last users a lot longer than they historically did. With all this in mind I think it's entirely reasonable to deduce that within a year or two all editions of Windows will be sold via subscription.

The real question is what they will do with existing installations. Will there be a year or two grace period after which point your license expires and will require a subscription renewal? Or will they allow existing licenses to continue in perpetuity? Will offline installation still be possible or will yearly renewals be required via phone for disconnected machines? Either way, Microsoft will probably price it such that they even claim it's a "savings" because the "average user" would have spent more to upgrade Windows every two years than they will in subscription fees.

Comment Re:What is fluency? (Score 1) 331

What is fluent?

I would expect someone claiming to be fluent in a programming language to be able to sit down, cold, and write code in that language which would compile (or interpret) without syntax error and solve the problem at hand. If interviewing for a job, they should be able to whiteboard with the language without hesitation. If you cannot do this, you are not fluent with the language, but you might be familiar with it. Most people probably will not be fluent unless they're actually writing code with the language on a regular basis. Whether or not a job opening requires fluency probably depends on the amount of time available to get the new hire productive; if they need to learn C++ from scratch that just increases the training overhead, no matter how proficient they are with Smalltalk.

Frameworks should fall into a separate bucket. As you say, there are hundreds and more all the time. Being familiar with the most common is a good idea, since they're used so often, but experience with a framework should only be a plus and not a requirement.

Comment Re:Not a surprise... (Score 2) 293

Facebook is a private company.

No, they are not. Even ignoring commonly recognized and respected social responsibilities, they are, at the very least, responsible to their shareholders (the public).

Facebook can do whatever it wants, and allow whatever it wants to be shown on its site.

Also not true. They must obey the law, same as anyone else.

Reality is nuanced and multi-faceted, and sweeping generalizations are rarely insightful and usually don't add much to a discussion.

The reason this matters has little to do with what Facebook is allowed to do, and much more to do with what they should do. For better or worse (hint: worse), Facebook has become "the Internet" to billions of people. Anytime you have such broad influence over so many, morals and good stewardship become much more important.

Comment Re:Alleviate bandwidth concerns (Score 1) 94

Netflix has proven that the main reason people pirate isn't about money, it is about convenience. We want media our way. I haven't pirated anything in forever since getting Netflix. Pirating is easy, but then I have it on one machine, and I don't want to copy everything to every non-networked machine. Netflix is simply easier to use for most people, the variety is quite good, and the price is reasonable. This downloading might be an extra $$ feature, but if it costs 2 bucks more a month (same cost to them, really), people will use it, particularly those on the road who tire of mediocre internet access in the average hotel.

Comment Re:It is better to not be all things (Score 1) 93

A browser cell phone doesn't need to be a calculator, a word processor, a typing instructor, a device manager, etc.

A browser/cell phone/Desktop Environment/etc doesn't need to be anything but what people want it to be. I want my cell phone to be a calculator, word processor, typing instructor, etc. And I'm perfectly happy with my browser extensions that share screens and do other stuff that is useful.

People don't buy minimalism, they buy features.

Comment Re:Definition? (Score 5, Informative) 116

On github, what constitutes being a valid target for a DMCA takedown?

Well, you can look at the full list of DMCA complaints they have received and see for yourself.

I randomly looked through them and many appear to be pretty reasonable. Many are related to simple copyright infringement, such as storing textbooks or published homework and test questions and answers. This isn't surprising, as GitHub is basically just a place you can store files.

Some say the code or data is internal or non-public and was uploaded without permission. There are also a bunch from Qualcomm complaining about firmware images and driver code. VMWare complained about internal roadmap documentation.

Some are just files with links to other materials, such as TV shows and movies. Sony and Marvel make appearances.

The line blurs some for others. There are HTML5 versions of classic games, such as ones from Nintendo and Blizzard, that got pulled down. A few companies appear to have searched GitHub for serial numbers and license keys of their products, and requested the entire repo be pulled if it contains a single file with a serial number in it. Many of these appear to be honest mistakes and have counter-notices.

In any case, it's nice to see GitHub being transparent. The DMCA requests themselves are pretty interesting, but since the vast majority of the targeted repos are no longer accessible, it's hard to gauge how justifiable most of the complains really were.

Comment Re: Potentially more abuse prone than the H1B vis (Score 1) 355

It's definitely true that some of the Clinton policies did directly contribute to the crash of 2008

I'm pretty sure the GP is referring to the dot-com bubble, and the subsequent burst in late 2000, early 2001. The argument is that a big part of the "successful Clinton economy" during the 90s was due to riding the formation of the bubble. George Bush, for all his many (many) faults, did get left holding the bag when it finally burst while Clinton is remembered for the honeymoon.

But of course you're also right about Clinton's role in 2008.

Comment Re:HTML is still better than Flash (Score 1) 108

But I can just not install flash. What's the best way to get rid of html5 video?

A reasonable approach is an ad-blocker to outright block the most obvious and egregious crap, and enabling Click to Play on the rest.

In Firefox you can set media.autoplay.enabled to false, which will disable auto-playing videos. Some sites (including YouTube) act a little wonky and require two or three clicks (the first is interpreted as "Pause" since it assumes the video is already playing). Even with this I've found it to be a lot nicer with fewer auto-play videos, especially on news websites which seem to think they need an auto-play video to go with every 10-sentence article.

Comment Re:movie theaters (Score 1) 482

Why do people feel unable to watch a movie, and actually concentrate on what's going on, without feeling the need to eat continuously? Do not eat in the Cinema, ever. It's rude, and it's uncivilised.

I completely agree with you, but I think we're in the minority these days. I rarely go to the movies, but happened to be at one a week ago. The person next to me had a tray brought to him with, and I'm not kidding:

huge drink
a "personal" pizza
couple boxes of candy
huge popcorn
good-sized ice cream sundae

It was comically sad, and the noise was absurd. People say stuffing their faces with sugar water and buttered cardboard is "part of the experience" -- okay, fine. They should have special theaters set aside for those people. Stick them in with the noisy kids as well, since neither group seems all that interested in the movie.

Unfortunately seeing as movie theaters make 85% of their profits from concessions, this will never change (and will probably just get worse). Maybe this is the single saving grace of 3D movies -- it's slightly harder to shovel crap into your mouth while wearing the glasses.

Slashdot Top Deals

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH