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


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's possible (Score 1) 302

A tablet that's just like the iPad but better seems unlikely for now. Better in every way and a lower price? That does happen sometimes in the tech world - but more likely competitors will prosper with a different form factor, or with different input methods, or focus on a killer app.

The Playbook is a nice litte device and is differently shaped to the iPad - no reason it can't coexist. People ought to resist the temptation to cheer on Apple like a favourite team, and be glad of variety instead.

Comment So what's the problem? (Score 1) 4

So, if this offshoring exercise was doomed, what have you got to worry about? However inconvenient it is to move jobs, you remain a highly-skilled professional with useful skills. It would be far worse for you in the long term if the transition had been a roaring success - all the jobs would swiftly follow.

So look on the bright side :-)

Comment Re: Hypothetical Selfish Question (Score 1) 4

Breaking social norms would end up reducing the pleasures available to you quickly - just grabbing what's in front of you would surely create more problems than the pleasures briefly gained. The chances of you achieving much pleasure before incurring some mild discomfort and ending it all would be slim.

Going a bit further than your question, it is probably possible to live purely for oneself to a greater or lesser extent while appearing to be a normal member of society. You might think some people already do. Someone who really wanted to live that way might choose to commit crime, intending to live a long life of luxury on ill-gotten gains or a short life if caught.

Comment Bad luck (Score 1) 15

I wouldn't get too upset by this sort of thing. If they were looking for the kind of person who knows all the oddities of the language inside out, then you got ruled out without being evaluated on other factors.

i.e. Your ability to actually write working software (which as a professional you probably pride yourself on, and rightly consider to be something rather important to interview for) would be something their process did not even try to measure.

The question is, do you intend to keep applying for C++ positions? If so, brushing up surely couldn't hurt.

Comment Re:Bah (Score 1) 15

This sounds like the opposite sort of thing. It seems like Turgid has done just enough C++ at work, that with a straight face and some mild exaggeration he could have described it in terms that the employers would have accepted his experience. IF he had passed whatever they thought their technical requirements were.

Comment Re:Sickening! (Score 4, Informative) 189

You seem to be under the impression that the H2G2 site is the work of Douglas Adams or a site about his work.

Instead it is a big community-wiki sort of thing inspired by the eponymous Guide itself, about Life, the Universe and Everything.

It's not really clear that shipping the server to Adams' family would achieve anything. In a sense the H2G2 site belongs to its many contributors, who presumably will be happy with it being sold off so long as their site stays live and their community can persist.

Comment Re:yikes (Score 1) 351

Please note, the hydrogen seedstock is the alternative to taking a hundred tonnes of rocket fuel to fuel the whole trip back (and hence having a vastly bigger ship out, hence having to assemble the ship piecewise in orbit instead of launching it from Earth. Sooo many more problems). Landing hydrogen on Mars is really not the sticking point with this plan.

Comment Re:yikes (Score 5, Interesting) 351

In 1996 Robert Zubrin and others proposed a $55 billion programme for a series of Mars missions, Mars Direct. You can read about it in a very interesting book called 'The Case for Mars'.

The key points of the mission were

  • staying on Mars for 6 months between launch windows rather than a few days (digging in for radiation protection).
  • taking a seed stock of 12 tonnes of hydrogen and using a series of chemical reactions with various elements found on Mars to produce rocket fuel for the way back.
  • sending repeat missions including an initial unmanned mission, so that each mission makes the return fuel for the next one, giving a margin of safety. There would be multiple missions and a colony established.

This still seems to me to be the most sensible and effective way to put people on Mars. Preliminary back-and-forth trips to the moon not needed. Establishes a genuine human presence instead of just planting a flag. And at a cost which in the light of numbers being thrown around during the financial crisis which looks like a bargain.

Comment It's all about hurting Sony (Score 1) 546

A prediction: there will be some settlement, where the "victims" can claim $10 in coupons for discounted games, but the lawyers will make a few hundred thousand or a million.

That's a shame, but it's about the only way we have to hit Sony in the pocket for their bizarre anti-customer actions.

Comment Re:License missing (Score 1) 336

Instead of moderating, I'd like to ask you politely to stop using the term 'intellectual property', unless you genuinely need a quick way to refer to all three of copyrights, trademarks and patents in one go.

Enough confusion abounds already without mixing together the different rights and obligations of three different legal rights.

In this case, some included trademarks might arguably need defending, but the same doesn't apply to copyrights. (With patents, I understand there is the issue of 'sleeping on your rights', laches, but that's another matter).

Comment Re:Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do *this* (Score 1) 262

One of the main problems (I'm sure there's more) is that unless your "vehicle" is huge, then making it spin causes both a "gravity gradient (gravity on your head will be smaller than on your feet) and strong Coriolis forces (people and objects cannot follow a straight line).

Sure, you wouldn't want your tiny space station spinning around at a huge rate to create 1G at the circumference.

But it's easier for spacecraft, and we're not talking Babylon 5's gigantic ships with rotating segments either. You can use a counterweight on a tether, creating a much larger orbit, to reduce these effects.

For example, Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct plan, the plan to establish multiple Mars visits using currently-available rocketry, suggested retaining part of the final rocket stage to use as a counterweight. The manned module would spin about the combined centre of gravity for the months-long journey to Mars, then the counterweight would be discarded.

Using a tether has problems of its own, but it might be a good solution if we're to go out and explore the solar system without radical new methods of propulsion.

Comment Terrible summary (Score 4, Insightful) 337

The Slashdot summary of this story is spectacularly bad, particularly the 'should have ended over 500 years ago'.

Five hundred years is completely negligible on an evolutionary timescale. If trees - TREES - you know, big woody things that grow really slowly - had evolved significant changes in that time it would be headline news.

The research that led to this story wasn't remotely aimed at calling evolution into question, quite the contrary. Scientists are interested in the causes of the changes that these trees go during their lifetimes - and they have shown that these metamorphoses are probably due to the moa bird. Which is quite interesting, if probably not Slashdot-worthy.

Comment Enjoyed it until I started thinking... (Score 4, Interesting) 592

I enjoyed 'Star Trek' while I was watching it, but on later reflection, I didn't really approve of any part of it. They've just made a big, dumb movie full of action, with a series of improbable coincidences leading to the familiar characters being in charge of the Enterprise at a ridiculously young age.

I did approve of the way the whole thing was rendered canonical by the process of changing the timeline, and the way they spelt it out for even the slowest members of the audience. "What's that you say, an alternate timeline?" But still, it felt a lot like most prequels, in that it was moving along on rails towards a predetermined end.

This time round, Kirk becomes captain of the Enterprise seemingly at the age of about seventeen, essentially (skipping spoilers) because Captain Pike likes the cut of his jib and appoints Kirk first officer before conveniently being kidnapped. Perhaps Slashdot readers will agree with me here: why do the movies promote the idea that anything worth doing gets done by a kid or a 'natural'? Someone very young who gets to achieve things just by being the protagonist. It seems like movie-goers can't cope with the idea of anything being achieved by a hard-working adult.

I'm not totally familiar with the original Trek canon, but it always seemed to me that the Enterprise was crewed with competent career professionals, not half-trained Academy brats.

Comment Masochism (Score 1) 10

Perhaps it would be possible to cross-compile from a non-Stone-Age machine?

But let's face it, no-one would even try what you're doing if they weren't a very strange sort of masochist anyway. Paying £200 per hour for a middle-aged woman in a plastic dress to spank you would be far more *normal* :-)

Slashdot Top Deals

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_