Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


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:It is a difficult problem, in general. (Score 1) 432

The Roku SoundBridge comes to mind. It was an iTunes DAAP client, requiring only a very simple setup to stream songs from an existing iTunes installation. But it was too difficult for the average consumer. Roku had better success with an Internet-radio focus on later versions of the SoundBridge, but they didn't really hit the jackpot until they expanded into video streaming.

Submission + - Internet of Abandoned Things

markjhood2003 writes: In a move that may make home automation enthusiasts question the value of their investments, Google and Nest have decided to abandon the Revolv connected-home hub and its associated service, leaving the $300 device useless. "As of May 15, 2016, Revolv service will no longer be available. The Revolv app won’t open and the hub won’t work," the company said on its site.

Arlo Gilbert is one such automation enthusiast, and he describes his experience on Medium. The report has also been picked up by

Comment Re:The Government also ruined my washer and dryer (Score 1) 602

Same story here with a Whirlpool HE front-loader. The washer quickly developed a moldy smell. The clothes often came out of the machine with completely dry spots because of inadequate water levels. It started leaking a few months ago. We replaced the logic board and the front door baffle only to have the problems return. All this despite taking all the preventative steps and using the recommended products as directed.

The service techs that came out to deal with the machine had the same story as well -- these front-loading HE washers just do not work due to the difficulty in meeting the new efficiency requirements, and the manufacturers will not design them to do so, since it would cut into their profit margins and reduce demand.

I am also now thinking of purchasing Speed Queen while they are still available.

Also notable -- there is a class-action lawsuit pending against Whirlpool, and it looks like it's getting some traction:

Comment How is this different from Gmail? (Score 3, Insightful) 122

I'm not trying to troll here, but not being a Gmail user, I'm not sure how LinkedIn's scraping of email is any different than Google scraping it for advertising services. I understand that technically LinkedIn is acting as a proxy, and Google as an ISP, but how is the result any different?

Comment Re:I/O Bandwidth (Score 1) 84

While I'm sure it would allow customized algorithms, they would have to be rather unique to not be handled by the current state of geometry/vertex/fragment shaders. Are they thinking some of non-triangular geometry?

The FA mentions voxel rendering for Minecraft-type applications. Although volume rendering can be achieved with traditional hardware accelerated surface primitives, there are many algorithms that are more naturally described and implemented using data structures that don't translate so easily to hardware accelerated primitives.

Constructive solid geometry, vector based graphics, and ray tracing are also not such a nice fit to OpenGL and DirectX APIs. You don't always want to have to tessellate geometry that has an analytic expression, such as conics, rational quadratics, b-splines, and NURBS, so a more software-oriented approach can provide better renderings for those types of mathematical objects.

The challenge here is that graphics primitives that APIs such as OpenGL provide are of course those that the hardware can most readily accelerate. If you don't use primitives and operations that can be massively parallel then you may not get much use out of the hardware.

Submission + - Ephemeral web links vex Supreme Court decisions

markjhood2003 writes: We all know that content on the web tends to move and disappear, making our carefully curated bookmarks more like a heap of unresolved links over time. This phenomenon is known as link rot, and now a team of researchers has found that over 70% of URLs within law journals and over 50% of URLs in Supreme Court decisions are broken. Adam Liptak in his NY Times blog also notes an amusing 404 error message that results from trying to follow a URL reference from a 2011 Supreme Court decision. The researchers' proposed solution: a consortium of thirty law libraries around the world which will allow authors and editors to store permanent caches of these ephemeral links. What are some of the tactics that Slashdotters use to preserve links in their private bookmark stores?

Submission + - Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu? ( 2

jammag writes: "When the history of free software is written, I am increasingly convinced that this last year will be noted as the start of the decline of Ubuntu," opines Linux pundit Bruce Byfield. After great initial success, Ubuntu and Canonical began to isolate themselves from the mainstream of the free software community. Canonical, he says, has tried to control the open source community, and the company has floundered in many of its initiatives. Really, the mighty Ubuntu, in decline?

Submission + - Google planning on replacing cookies with AdID (

markjhood2003 writes: According to a story published in USA Today, an anonymous source at Google familiar with the plan has revealed that Google is developing an anonymous identifier for advertising tracking, replacing the function of third party cookies currently used by most major advertisers. The new AdID supposedly gives consumers more privacy and control over their web browsing, but the ad industry is worried about putting more power in the hands of large technology companies. Sounds like the idea could have some promise, but at this point the proposal is not public so we will probably have to wait until Google reaches out to the industry, government and consumers to provide the details.

Comment Re:Hold up. (Score 2) 600

What's interesting there is we say it reflects reality because it makes the calculations easier.

That really is the most interesting thing in this discussion. Essentially we are making a leap of faith, that simpler models are more likely to be true as long as they continue to support the data and allow us to make predictions. But it is at root an aesthetic judgement: beauty is truth, and truth is beautiful. It is the essence of rationality.

It's cool to see how Feynman's diagrams may be like the epicycles of the earth-centered view of the universe: they can be made to work as long as you keep refining the model, adding loops within loops within loops. But with this new breakthrough, all that can be thrown away for a much simpler model that leads to deeper insights. And those deeper insights are awe-inspiring: locality and unitarity as emergent phenomena.

Submission + - 11 Million Users Leave FaceBook (

dryriver writes: Earlier this year, reports suggested that Facebook lost nine million active monthly users in the U.S and two million in Britain. These figures originated from research carried out by SocialBakers in April. The figures come straight from Facebook's API, but is not the same as Facebook losing user numbers, for example. Monthly active users are the number of people who log into their account over a 30-day period. SocialBakers saw a drop in this figure prior to the report in April. Reasons for quitting Facebook were mainly privacy concerns (48.3 per cent), followed by a general dissatisfaction (13.5 per cent), negative aspects of online friends (12.6 per cent) and the feeling of getting addicted (6.0 per cent). That said, psychologist Stefan Stieger from the university recorded each of the 600 participants' responses to assessment measures based on their level of concern over various issues. Those who stopped using social media were more concerned about privacy, had higher addiction scores and tended to be more conscientious.

Comment Re:Now make GNOME work (Score 0, Troll) 128

X was so "ahead of its time" that its entire architecture was dumped in version 10 to give way to X11, and then it remained so far ahead of its time that to this day NextOS, MacOS, Android and Windows have yet to adopt a single thing from it, contrary to the rest of Unix most of which has made its way into those operating systems.

Mac OS X, Android and Windows are consumer operating systems, for which eye-candy UIs are considered more important than network transparency. Their remote connectivity needs are limited to accessing corporate Web, cloud, and IT services, not other peers on the network.

NeXT was a great OS that used Display Postscript as the rendering engine, but it was also wrapped in a networked desktop environment, NextStep, and used with X11 and NeWS as well (Sun's Network Extensible Window System). I did find NextStep and NeWS superior to X11 and it's a damn shame they didn't succeed (although NextStep evolved into OS X, and Applie did include a rootless X11 implementation with it until Mountain Lion).

As for other companies, there were entire industry consortiums dedicated to expanding X and Unix, such as X/Open and the Open Software Foundation: these included companies like AT&T, DEC, Unisys, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun, Prime, and Apollo.

And no, it was not designed to access resources from the desktop. It was mainly designed so that you could use a dumb terminal to access your server. When it became clear that was pie on the sky, instead of redesigning the turd, they just added layer upon layer of cruft, so you ended up with a dumb as doornails protocol running on a heavy weight, expensive "dumb" terminal.

The dumb terminal at that time was a VT100. X was designed to run on bitmapped displays. Although there were such bitmapped terminals available at the time, X mostly ran on engineering workstations. You didn't usually use it access a server (although you could); rather, other networked peers used it to display a UI on your local X display. I'm not sure why you think that is "pie in the sky" since it worked and continues to work rather well. Part of the reason for that was because the protocol was rich enough to transmit graphics primitives at a higher level than a bitmap. Nothing dumb about it.

Lastly the web browser has nothing to do with Unix. It is platform independent. The fact that you think the web==unix shows how little you know about deep OS architecture.

Don't be silly, I'm not conflating the Web with Unix. Sure, web browsers are supported by most computing platforms. But the web browser's roots in Unix go way back to NextStep and the beginnings of the Internet, at that time mostly Unix-based, and the web browser remains a central and crucial component of desktop Linux. My main point was that cleaning up web browser architecture would be vastly more useful and relevant than replacing a stable and functional part of Linux with something that is less useful, but prettier.

Comment Re:Now make GNOME work (Score 0) 128

X is one of the few remaining *big* mistakes in Unix. It was designed with the wrong philosophy and overtaken by actual usage. Wayland is an effort to clean up and refactor the code.

X was ahead of its time and nothing ever caught up to it. It was designed around the idea that all the resources of the network should be seamlessly accessible from a single user's desktop, and embodied the old Internet ideal of ubiquitous peer-to-peer connectivity (still perfectly reasonable and incredibly useful on a secure LAN). Wayland is an effort to make it easier to develop eye-candy user interfaces for consumers and throw out any functionality that gets in the way of that goal. It's totally appropriate for mobile but unnecessary and counter-productive for the desktop.

If you want to talk about really big mistakes in Unix, and computing in general, take a look at the modern web browser and the development environment that it requires. Doing anything interesting on the web requires an unholy mix of technologies and infrastructure like JavaScript, PHP, HTML, XML, CSS, cookies, DOM, BOM and all the interfaces between them. What we really need is a Wayland for the Web, not a Wayland that destroys much of what is stable and functional in Unix.

Slashdot Top Deals

Computers don't actually think. You just think they think. (We think.)