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Comment Either that or (Score 1) 10

It pulls the chumps off of Wall Street to work in relatively economically harmless cabinet positions, thus allowing a new generation to take over on Wall Street producing a boom.

The Peter Principle- it still could work.

Comment Re:Common (Score 1) 110

The reality is that the tech industry has reached a dead end with the death of Moore's Law.

Is the problem really processing power, though? For a system like this, it seems like there are other problems bound to creep up:

* AFAIK, we still don't have good enough AI to figure out a spacial 3D world from visual input. I know it's still being worked on and there's been progress, but being able to place objects in the real world in this kind of augmented reality requires that the computer can figure out the layout of 3D objects within the real world.
* Even if you can render the graphics and place them appropriately in the world, there's still the problem of designing the UI. You need to create both the visual look of the interface, and figure out which gestures to use for different controls. The interface (input and feedback) needs to be easy and intuitive and provide clear feedback to user interaction.
* You also need to make the gestures such that they're read by the computer reliably-- that is, if I'm supposed to do a specific hand motion to activate a feature, the hand motion needs to be something that the computer will recognize almost every time it is performed, it needs to be distinct enough from other control gestures and natural gestures. Basically, people need to be able to control these systems without constantly activating various controls by accident.

These are fairly difficult problems for computers to figure out, and as far as I know, they're not really a problem of insufficient computing power. That is, as far as I know, it's not like we've developed code that can do these things and a UI that works well, but we need a computer 5x as powerful to run it in real-time. The problem is that we just don't have the design/code to do it.

Comment Yes, Obamacare helped ruin health insurance... (Score 0, Flamebait) 480

...in order to force taxpayer-funded abortions on the American public.

You may think that's an exaggeration, but look how tenaciously Nancy Pelosi insisted on the provision during the debate over Obamacare, forcing Stupak's block of flippers to cave rather than give it up.

Look how fervently the Obama Administration insisted that the Little Sister of the Poor must pay for abortifacients rather than come to an accommodation as required by the law.

ObamaCare was meant to fail as a means of forcing the full socialization of American medicine, true. But it was also designed as an instrument of the culture war, and one Democrats were determined to defend no matter how many legislators lost their seats over it.

And as for the current state of ObamaCare, take a look here.


US Life Expectancy Declines For the First Time Since 1993 (washingtonpost.com) 480

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source) -- a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States. Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death. The new report raises the possibility that major illnesses may be eroding prospects for an even wider group of Americans. Its findings show increases in "virtually every cause of death. It's all ages," said David Weir, director of the health and retirement study at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Over the past five years, he noted, improvements in death rates were among the smallest of the past four decades. "There's this just across-the-board [phenomenon] of not doing very well in the United States." Overall, life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, from 78.9 in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015, according to the latest data. The last time U.S. life expectancy at birth declined was in 1993, when it dropped from 75.6 to 75.4, according to World Bank data. The overall death rate rose 1.2 percent in 2015, its first uptick since 1999. More than 2.7 million people died, about 45 percent of them from heart disease or cancer.

Comment Re:Issues (Score 1) 161

First, the amount of time spent watching stuff is a poor metric by itself. What you really want to know is the amount of enjoyment people get out of the service. Admittedly that is very hard to measure accurately, which is why they want to use "hours spent watching" as a more easily determinable value.

One of the things that I think is important to keep in mind is, a lot of people just turn on the TV when they get home. They just turn on *something*. They might take a nap or leave the room. They might be reading things online. They still just have *something* playing on the TV.

So it's not just a question of whether or not they're enjoying the TV show they're watching, but also a question of whether they're really watching the TV show that they're streaming.

Comment Re:too much segmentation (Score 1) 161

In a monopsony, there are many suppliers, but one customer who will buy it

Do you mean "many suppliers, but one distributor"? Because that would be more accurate. The issue that I'm talking about (and also Apple iTunes) is not that there's a single "customer". there are millions of customers. But one business that has taken over resale and distribution.

Movie and TV studios took note, and vowed they would never be controlled like that so they are ensuring that no one service will become dominant and be forced to acquiesce to whatever terms they provide.

I agree that part of the reason for the things I describe is that video content owners have been trying to avoid the situation the record industry created with Apple iTunes and Spotify. Spotify has done the same thing, to a degree, in that you can stream almost any music you want for a single subscription fee. As a result, the role of music in our society has drastically changed. Recorded music is almost a commodity. People don't associate the same value to the product that they used to. Record companies make a tiny amount of money from each song on Spotify, and they're trying to make it up in bulk. Studios don't want the same thing to happen with movies and TV.

Streaming is reshaping the way we view movies and TV anyway.

Comment Re:too much segmentation (Score 2) 161

The fragmentation is intentional, on the part of the content owners. Believe me, everyone knows that a lot of people want a single streaming service with all content. It's just not what copyright owners and ISPs want.

Let's say Netflix suddenly had the rights to stream all movies, TV shows, and live events, and became the service that pretty much everyone used. Even if they raised prices quite a lot, people would still sign up for it. However, a company like Comcast would then be relegated to being a "dumb pipe". People would still pay them for Internet access, but they'd lose most of their revenue for cable TV or streaming services of their own. It's actually in Comcast's interest to keep streaming services insufficient to replace cable, so that people will continue paying for cable.

A company like HBO wouldn't like it, either. They could continue to make money by licensing their original shows, but that's not the only way that they make money. Even for their streaming services, they make money by bundling a bunch of content and charging more per month than you would probably pay for their original shows. However, a decent chunk of income comes from deals with cable providers, which would dry up quickly once everyone had moved to Netflix.

Even the networks and production companies that produce shows probably wouldn't like it, for the most part. Right now, they can license the same show or movie to Amazon, HBO, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and any other services they like. You're forced to pay for a bunch of different services, and they get a small cut of each of those services' incomes. If the number of services were cut, they might also make less money from that one service than the aggregate of all of the other many services you're paying for. After all, you may be subscribing to some of those services for only one or two shows (because a fair amount of the content on each is available on the others), but the extra money still gets split among content owners.

And all of that still hasn't touched on the fear of one company controlling the whole market of video distributions. If Netflix were to get access to all content before the other streaming services, then they could become a de facto monopoly, and control distribution for all the different content owners. Even if all of the streaming services suddenly had access to all content, they would lose most of their marketing leverage. They would only be able to compete on things like the quality of their apps, the quality and bandwidth usage of their streams, or price. You and I might think that sounds great, but it's not really what the industry wants.

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