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Comment Re:Long overdue (Score 4, Insightful) 261

Even in the age of physical copies, pre-order made little sense. If a product is successful, you make more of that product to sell. If your supply chain can't keep up with demand, you build more production capacity to capture that demand before a competitor does.

In the digital age, consumers have zero need to pre-order. There is no scarcity. If anything, publishers should thank their lucky stars that we still pay retail prices for a file that costs less than a penny to deliver, instead of blowing roughly half the sticker price on packaging, distribution, mark-up and overstock.

Pre-orders are basically rewarding big publishers for harassing us with obnoxious marketing campaigns.

Comment Re:To what purpose? (Score 1) 157

This is my take-away as well. I've had 10GbE for 3+ years in my lab and at the datacenter, but the prices for add-in NICs and switches have not budged at all since launch. I can get a motherboard with two 10GbE ports built-in for roughly the same as just a dual-port PCIe NIC, so the numbers just don't make sense.

Adding 2.5G and 5G to the mix will only result in more market segregation, to keep the cheap consumer/enthusiast parts from bringing enterprise costs down.

Comment Re:Cat 6 cable finally has a use (Score 1) 157

Nevermind that a bunch of people have been running 10GBase-T over Cat5e for relatively short distances, myself included. There's a 50-foot run going from my workstation to the rack, running right by an electrical panel and a pile of assorted wireless transmitters. I have no problems saturating the pipe. For the 3-to-7 foot lengths within the rack, I'm using ultra-cheap Cat5e patches from China. Again, zero speed or latency issues.

I would not be at all surprised to see 10GbE run effortlessly over typical office runs of Cat5e, even if it dips to half its theoretical capacity it's still a bargain. This new standard seems quite redundant, and the vicious cynic in me suspects this was done to protect the nascent 10GbE switch market from competition. Now they can target 2.5G as the cheap option, charge a premium for 5G "enthusiasts", and keep 10G firmly pegged above $100 per port.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 154

Did you actually read Aurora? It's worth examining his argument in detail instead of dismissing it outright. KSR suggests that a viable biosphere is a matter of scale that human beings may not be able to achieve even with access to large amount of solar or other energy. As for health, KSR muses that exposure to Earth's biosphere may be vital, even if a space shelter is otherwise well-shielded from radiation and endowed with artificial gravity.

Comment Re:Science fiction != science fact (Score 1) 154

Umm, you are aware that that is science FICTION right?

Umm, you are aware that fiction (and especially science fiction) often serves to set up thought experiments, right? Why get on my case for thinking hypothetically, when it is a pretty normal human activity? In fact, science-minded individuals are more likely to do so than the average.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 154

IIRC, KSR depicted the colonized solar system as being dependent on resources from Earth, and workers on outer planets regularly returned to Earth to maintain their health. While humans could live on the outer planets for some time, they could not have maintained that residence without the mother planet.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 154

You might enjoy reading Kim Stanley Robinson's last novel Aurora which muses that life might be a planetary phenomenon: human beings are inextricably tied to Earth's biosphere and can never move beyond it. Even large generational starships might be unable to maintain a viable biosphere as waste like salt begins building up in the wrong places. (KSR was spurred to write Aurora in part by the critical backlash against his idealistic vision of terraforming in his famous Mars trilogy of two decades ago).

So if the Singularity never happens and human beings can never transition to machine bodies from biological ones, we're not going anywhere.

Comment The German security service tried this years ago (Score 3, Informative) 111

The size of the problem space made it impossible. Any margin of error whatsoever, multiplied by the (number of people you're looking for + the number of people passing through the airport) leads to insane number of false positives. The German Federal Security Service did a trial with Siemens' recognizer many moons back, loved the technology, hoped the number of false positives would be small... and were disappointed. Even with an unreachably high efficiency, it kept tagging grandma as a terrorist.

It's like the birthday paradox: with only one chance in 365 of two people having the same birthday, it turns out that with 23 people in a room, you have a 50% chance of two birthdays matching. A 99% chance if there are 75 people. See http://danteslab-eng.blogspot.... As he notes, if you have a system that is 0.999999 accurate (one in a million), we have a 50% chance of a false positive or false negative as soon as we have scanned 1178 people... meaning for about each 1000 people we either arrest grandma or let Osaman Bin Laden stroll through.

They've probably reported that already, and been told "don't worry about mere mathematics, this is politics" (;-))

Comment In Canada, this is a special request to the court (Score 4, Informative) 131

It's an extraordinary remedy called a"Norwich Order", and to oversimplify, the requester has to swear they're suing someone, and the suit has to have a "prima facie case of" an offence and the claim has to appear to be reasonable and made in good faith. See also

Ordinary suits are filed against John Doe, and the courts asked to issue a order to third parties to help identify the defendants.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 1) 162

Who gives a fuck? How does this affect anyone at all? I don't know anyone who has or needs anywhere close to this amount if storage.

I can definitely imagine needing the 15TB one in a few years. After being more of a classical literature and music person for most of my life, I've been getting into film. The canon of great films consists of hundreds of titles, at least. In the past you'd have to be lucky to live in a developed country with a well-stocked library, or have a truly massive disposable income to buy all the DVDs yourself. But people today have an incredible opportunity, regardless of their means or location, to educate themselves about this (or any other) art form thanks to torrent communities.

When you're downloading Bluray rips at full quality, where a single film can be 25GB, then storage space starts filling up quickly. One could delete after viewing to save space, but who knows, maybe someday you'll want to watch a particular title again or show it to a friend or loved one, and at that point there might not be any seeders left on the torrent. So, if storage gets cheap enough, then it's worth keeping it all on disk.

Comment prohibited by TPP (Score 1) 104

Some governments think this kind of security is a bad thing, and and wrote in a clause of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty to prohibit it.

TPP “prevents governments in TPP countries from requiring the use of local servers for data storage,” the Canadian government states on its website. This creates a privacy issue, suggested Guy Caron, NDP MP for Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, in the House of Commons May 12.

See also http://www.canadianunderwriter...

Comment Re:Of course not (Score 1) 643

There was an interesting article about Japan's increasing number of abandoned homes due to the contraction of the population. One problem that this brings is that people who do want to live in their ancestral home or move out to the country, may not be able to get utilities provided, because it simply costs too much to maintain utility infrastructure for so few inhabitants.

There is also the issue of finding enough caretakers for the increasing elderly when the workforce is ever smaller. Unwilling to invite mass immigration, Japan has tried to invest in robotics in elderly care, but these efforts might not be enough.

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