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

 



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

Comment Re:Politics aside, is this a copyright violation? (Score 1) 440

each email is a creative work by the author

Yes, good point! Without the government sticking their guns in everyone's faces and enforcing the email-writer's monopoly on commercially profiting from their blood, sweat, and tears, what incentive would party members have to communicate with each other?

If we don't properly enforce this monopoly, party members will give up and stop emailing each other! Then where will be be?

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

Comment Re:There in good company. (Score 1) 70

mail account .. with a paltry 1TB of storage.

Which just goes to show, FUSE makes it viable for people to use any protocol, even IMAP, as a filesystem.

/home/dude# cd /mnt/imap/imap.yahoo.com/inbox/movies/msgid48D5A4EC-8B93-4DAB-8D6D-740DA165E63E@example.com /mnt/imap/imap.yahoo.com/inbox/movies/msgid48D5A4EC-8B93-4DAB-8D6D-740DA165E63E@example.com# mpv attachment1/Robocop\ \(1987\).mkv

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Well, Alastair, you should probably not get snotty and ad-hominem, unless you want me to comment on how a one-time sci-fi author and the Unix guy at Dish doesn't really have more authority than the random person one might find in the SpaceX group on Reddit.

It happens there are a few people over there who are rocketry professionals, have the math, and have followed SpaceX long enough. So, sure, their opinion can indeed be trusted.

So far, we have a suggestion from one of the lesser folks there that raising the apogee takes advantage of the Earth's rotation. We'll see if we get the attention of the right people.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

It seems to be a common misconception that orbital mechanics somehow knows when you are in orbit and does not work otherwise. But that is as silly as saying that relativity only works near light speed. These things always work regardless of speed, it's just that their effects are macroscopic at greater speeds.

Comment Re:Two separate topics? (Score 1) 85

It's got to be some stupid script "helping" the editors.

Imagine you were serving content-contextual ads. You could show an Amazon ad here. So some idiot figured "if it's close enough for the advertising department, then it's close enough for the editorial department." The problem is that they never tested it, and nobody at Slashdot actually reads Slashdot so they're unaware how ridiculous it looks.

Let this be a lesson, folks: if you don't eat your own dog food, then you have to test your dog food in the lab. But FFS don't just throw it out into the world with nobody looking at it, or everyone's going to be staring at you.

Back to on-topic: I don't understand how there's even a question here. The entire point of Amazon's Echo is that it's a bug in your home, that you're wilfully giving up privacy to have someone else's computer constantly listening to you. If it weren't listening, it couldn't work.

This is like someone saying "I didn't have a flight but I forged a boarding pass, and then bribed the TSA worker with a hundred dollar bill, saying 'rectal exam, please.' His fingers were so cold! Anyway, the next day, I couldn't get anyone to tell me whether or not my privacy has been compromised. Why are they so suspiciously silent?"

This is opt-in surveillance. The only problem I have with opt-in surveillance is that The Truth (people are idiots) makes me feel uncomfortable. But knowledge is a good thing, whether I'm comfortable with it or not.

Comment Users shouldn't like middlemen (Score 1) 450

The reason for the content disappearing and missing seasons or episodes are licensing issues. Hollyweed is too greedy and thinks that their content is worth far more than it really is worth.

Why does anyone want to get this content from a middleman? What's wrong with Netflix selling you only the "Netflix original" shows, NBC selling you theirs, HBO selling you theirs, etc? There's no reason anyone should want to get Hollywood's show from Netflix or Amazon. It's just going to be marked up. You have The Internet now!! You can communicate with anyone. Deal direct.

Turns out there's answer to the above question: because most people are still using these stupid proprietary applications, instead of standard interfaces, to watch TV. So if you personally had a dozen TV vendors, then you'd have to switch between a dozen apps, and that's going to totally suck no matter what. Even if someone's app is ok (and that's usually about as good as they get, huh?) you still can't have Netflix shows on the same alphabetical menu as Amazon and HBO shows.

(Unless you pirate, because once the content is liberated, it has a standard interface, which means you can pipe to any interface you want.)

So fuck 'em. Standard interfaces or else No Sale. (And seriously: is a standard interface such a burdensome thing to ask?! Can you think of any endeavor where it's not considered both the ideal and the common-sense way things should be?) If a vendor can get onboard with doing things right, they can get paid.

But if they say "use my software" (sometimes disguised as "use my box" or "use one of these supported devices" but we're computer people so we know this hardware is just for running their shitty software) then they are trying to create one of two futures:

  1. Where people have to switch between multiple un-integrated UIs to access basically that same type of data. That's guaranteed to be a UI fail.
  2. Where people have a single database UI presented by a middleman who has to license-for-resale everything. That's guaranteed to be expensive and also guaranteed to have severe selection problems (since they won't really be able to get anywhere close to "everything" no matter how hard they try).

Both are absurd dystopias that you can't possibly want. Netflix is currently just changing their blend between these two hells, and I guess people were used to the devil-they-knew. But what you don't hear anyone talking about, is Netflix actually trying to solve the problem, because nobody's making them do it. So stop paying them until they'll sell you the .mkvs. (Or standard streams, if you're convinced that local storage is just too .. expensive? Ok, whatever, an argument for another time.)

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Here's an illustration of the boost-back to RTLS trajectory. You can see that it very definitely goes up. And to prove from observation, you can actually see where the two trajectories separate in photos from yesterday's launch. It's a rather dim curl up, and another continuing East, in Jason Ruck's photo and John Kraus's photo.

At the speed of stage separation, they rocket isn't going fast enough to stay in orbit, but it is definitely in the regime where orbital mechanics has a macroscopic effect. If you think about it, this is going to be the case at some reasonable fraction of orbital velocity.

Comment The perspective of a 3D animation professional (Score 5, Interesting) 300

This is just like the way people whined that color film had ruined the medium, and the ones before them who whined about talkies and yearned for the days of silent films.

I started at the NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory in 1981 and left Pixar in 2000. These days I produce or am on screen once in a while.

While I was at NYIT they weren't story oriented, and thus all you see of them is demos. Pixar, on the other hand, always put story first. We knew that we could not make a film stand up on effects alone.

Today, a good 3D animation house can make absolutely any scene they like. And thus there isn't anything special about doing so. It's there if it needs to be there to tell the story, and not otherwise.

Comment Re:Only as safe as the sandbox (Score 1) 167

you should be old enough to have seen a number of "magic" new languages, tools and coding techniques only to have them all fall flat on their faces.

Of course I've seen plenty of failures and stupid ideas! I don't see that (or your cherry-picked list) as important, though. In any human endeavor if you're around long enough, you'll see that happening. I'm sure in 4999 BC some numbnuts or con-artist had a really stupid idea about how to make farming work better. I don't care about him. Lots of people try things, and there are plenty of crackpots and real-but-nevertheless-mistaken geniuses. It doesn't mean things aren't getting better, though. I've also seen successes.

How about "higher level" languages with memory-safety and/or garbage collection? There was a time when these things were new kids on the block, too, and even looked down upon. I can get some things finished far sooner in Python than in C, because I'm not having to think about some details far below the abstraction of my problem. Had I dismissed Python out-of-hand because it didn't have pointers, I'd be worse off today.

How about tools like git? (You wouldn't believe the amount of my time as a human I sometimes spent in the 1980s merging someone's changes into a "main" version.)

You don't think these things are letting people get more stuff done, in less time? We don't call them magic, we call them technological progress.

One of the things that many programmers know would help them, even if they disagree on all the details, would be to communicate with the compiler just a little better, so that certain theoretically-automate-able things can get actually automated (e.g. generate warnings to catch certain types of bugs sooner, "automagically" parallelize some types of loops, etc). It's just a matter of time and creativity, until someone really gets this done well (e.g. so procedural programmers don't have to think like functional ones).

I don't think we have reached the full practical potential for programming languages. I'm not saying Rust is the next thing, but there will be a next thing. If we're all joking about Rust and Go and Swift in 20 years (like how we joke about Ruby now), fine! But it's reasonably likely that something will have happened in that period, making a 2036 programmer more productive than a 2016 one. It'll happen because programmers have real, and increasingly well-understood, meta-problem that repeat themselves over and over again. People are aware of it and trying all kinds of things to address them.

Comment Re:Google drops the ball...again (Score 1) 48

I think it just points out that the idea of a central repository doesn't make sense with proprietary software. I basically trust the Debian repo (or OpenBSD ports, etc) because there's at least a chance that someone checked the software out to see if it's intended to work for the users instead of someone else.

With the bullshit repos from Google, Apple, etc you know they aren't auditing the software, due to one really simply fact: they can't audit it. Binaries are submitted, not source. So whatever "vetting" happens, you damn well know it's not intended to be the in users' interest. At best, all users have going for them is that sometimes a barn door will get closed after the horses get out.

If you're going to run proprietary software, there's no point in using a store. You might as well just get it from the makers themselves.

Slashdot Top Deals

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.

Working...