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:This has to be the way it works. (Score 1) 367

In Los Angeles it sometimes becomes necessary to stop traffic on a freeway because there is an accident ahead. The way this happens is that a police vehicle swerves back and forth across all lanes of the freeway.

I have personally witnessed this twice (in 10 years of living in LA). The first time I had no idea what was happening. My typical response to a vehicle exhibiting an unusual driving pattern is to get away from it. Since it wasn't safe to pass I was forced to slow down. Everyone else did the same and the entire freeway went from 70+ MPH to a complete stop in a gradual and safe manner. It was cool. I wonder what self-driving vehicles will do in this situation. I can imagine them continuously trying to pass the police vehicle.

Comment Re:No problems (Score 5, Interesting) 388

In that case, use an e-mail based password reset, set a new password, and done, as far as having registered for the site, or contact the site's support.

This is bad advice. Do not interact with an unknown account opened with your email address.

A successful login from your IP address may be construed as assuming ownership of the account. They might try to collect money from you. Or, the account may have been used for illegal activities which are now linked to your IP address.

Never assume ownership of an unknown account. All communications (if any) with the account management should clearly state that you are not the account holder and are not responsible for the account. In particular, do not ask for the account to be closed. Asking the company to take action on the account may also be construed as assuming ownership of the account.

At best you can send an email stating you are not the account holder. Then put them on your block list. Do not get more involved than that.

Comment Re:Screw the Obligatory XKCD (Score 2) 218

Every mission advances the state-of-the-art in space exploration in some way.

For example, Pathfinder (1996) landed a 10 kg rover on Mars. Next, MER (2003) landed two 180 kg rovers. Most recently, MSL (2011) landed a 900 kg rover.

Another example, Giotto (1986) approached a comet within 590 km. NEAR (1996) orbited an asteroid within 35 km. Finally, Deep Impact (2005) collided with a comet. There are now proposals for a rendezvous with an asteroid (i.e., land on it).

I believe you answered your own question. Space exploration is making incremental improvements, constantly bringing humanity closer to the stars. It's happening, and "You're welcome."

Comment Re:In the internet no knows you are a dog. (Score 1) 122

... , I have not taken their courses, but browsing the course catalog I got a strong impression that if they are anything like they appear on the surface, the coursework is rich and engaging.

Take a look at the coursework before you make that judgement, especially if you are in a hiring position. I would consider this option for my MS in Comp Sci, you can't beat the price.

I would suggest that you actually take a course before you make any judgement based on it. For the past year I have been experiencing a surprising trend where people who have never taken a MOOC, publicly laud them. I find this to be very irresponsible. In order to properly evaluate MOOCs we need opinions based on experience, not optimistic guesses. Please actually take one of these courses before you tell other people how great they are.

Comment Re:Some important missing details (Score 1) 233

ArenaNet has now taught people, if you see something that is too good to be true, it probably is and should be reported.

The players have been taught to fear ArenaNet. They should put that on the box. I've never seen a game with "fear us" as a unique selling point.

The basic idea of buy low, sell high has been a staple of gaming for as long as I can remember. In fact, there are many games where the primary mechanic is to buy and sell items for a profit from NPC vendors (as early as Taipei and, most recently, Port Royale 3).

So the people that did this knew that something was possibly wrong (or greatly in their favor) and abused to get ahead in the game.

I'll try to remember to never do anything that is greatly in my favor when I play an ArenaNet game.

I really don't care what I do in a game. It's a game. I've murdered people that never did anything to me (pretty much every CRPG ever made). I've razed entire villages just to loot their bent copper pieces and loaves of bread (Morrowind). Every MMO game I have ever played (with the exception of ATITD) has treated me as a hired killer, "no questions asked", and I've never had a problem with that. Buying items on the cheap from an NPC vendor isn't even on my morality meter. Hell, in multiple games I have slaughted every NPC vendor in town and took everything they had as soon as their corpses hit the ground (Ultima I, II and III and nethack).

Comment Re:I keep laughing at my friends... (Score 1) 223

Spreads of 1/2 twenty years ago actually sounds pretty small. I did a lot of daytrading in 1997 and lots of stocks had spreads of a point or more. Large stocks typically had a spread of 1/8, expanding to a 1/2 during high volume. Today, HFT has driven spreads down to one cent. I agree with your facts, but I don't agree with the picture you paint.

In my opinion, the two major events that shaped the US daily markets are: the introduction of SOES trading in 1988 and the introduction of 1 cent increments in 2001.

SOES basically created daytraders. Daytrading reduced spreads from 1 to 2 points down to 1/8 or a 1/16. It wasn't feasible to get below 1/16 because the markets didn't allow arbitrary increments (you could get 1/32 but everyone hated that). By the time I quit, markets were toying with introducing 1 cent increments.

One cent increments created HFT. Now we have tons of liquidity and spreads are typically a few cents. However, this hasn't done squat for investors. Daytrading produced plenty of liquidity for any reasonable investor. If you're worried over a 1/16 spread then you're not making an informed investment decision.

As I was writing this post I just closed out a short-term trade (not even an investment). I put in my sell order at 67.90 and got filled at 67.91. 1 cent on a point trade. I don't give a shit. That kind of liquidity serves no purpose. Paying $5 less commission or saving a few cents on the spread is nice for me, but these piddling items are not going to affect anybody's investment decisions.

SOES gave us small spreads; HFT is giving us market instability.

Comment stop spreading misinformation (Score 1) 105

"a free, Stanford-caliber online course".

Who is making this claim? Normally when you attach a link to a statement it is because the link provides some supporting evidence for the statement. That is not the case here.

As far as I am aware, neither Thrun nor anyone associated with Udacity has made a claim that the online classes are Stanford-level. I have taken two of his online classes. Thrun is brilliant and I enjoyed his lectures a lot. However, the homework and exams are not at a top 20 University level.

Please have some consideration for the more credulous of the online students. Based on my perusals of the class forums, some of them really believe that they are getting a Stanford-level education. I think this is largely due to the copy-and-paste media monkeys that continue to promote the fallacy that these classes are Stanford-level.

Comment Re:Any 8 character password? (Score 1) 212

Looks like it's time to change my password to "password1".

I know this is just a joke, but we really need to stop propagating the idea that memorable passwords are weak.

The brute force search space of "password1" is 486 times larger than "password" (36^9 versus 26^8). Increasing the length of a password is one of the best ways to strengthen it. Intuitively, a randomized string is better than a structured one. This is correct, but only when the strings have equal length. Humans cannot remember long randomized strings. A lengthy, structured password is stronger against computerized attacks since the search space is significantly larger.

According to Princeton's WordNet there are at least 117,000 English nouns. A memorable four-noun phrase has a search space 2600 times larger than a randomized 7-bit ASCII eight-character password (117000^4 versus 128^8).

An obligatory XKCD with discussion can be found here.

Comment Re:Mr. Wall, please sit down... (Score 1) 577

Actually, I think this is very scary.

Imagine if somebody came into your house and wrote their name on all of your belongings with a permanent marker. You laugh at them at say "Go away, silly man.". But, then they return a week later with a policeman and arrest you for theft. That is what is happening on a global scale.

The US is building a system which allows US corporations to grab everything and claim it is theirs forever. If you complain, they will flash a legal document saying it belongs to them and then throw you in jail (or threaten to do bad things to your country).

This is basically a return to the Dark Ages of "might makes right". The US has the largest military, so they can enforce their ridiculous claims. The filing of copyrights and patents are merely a flimsy veneer of civility over outright bullying.

Comment what if he wins (Score 1) 326

*sarcasm on*

Well, everything looks to be in order. I say he wins. The only question now is how much to award him. Zuckerberg is getting $5 billion for creating a single company (that creates nothing). So, for creating the entire multimedia Internet ... I guess $5 trillion should be about right.

*sarcasm off*

Sorry, guys. Our global financial system is broken.

Comment Re:Many versus Awesome (Score 1) 600

Interesting post. However, this method relies on units being differentiable. In short, it uses "hit points" to model unit health. Modern warfare doesn't work like that. Disabling an advanced military unit is mostly about getting an effective hit. You don't half disable planes. A single effective hit puts it out of action.

Give me 50 planes/tanks and you can have 100 planes/tanks. I'll command my units to fire the first volley at 50 of your planes/tanks. Feel free to have all of your units concentrate fire on a small subset of my units. I'm confident that I'll make a good showing.

When combat is all about getting an effective hit, then Lanchester's Laws do not apply. He only models offensive firepower and ignores defensive capability. Therefore, the model is only effective for unarmored troops. This is mentioned in the link you provided.

Warhammer's hit/no-hit methodology may be a better game system than Starcraft for studying armored/advanced unit tactics.

Comment Nothing unusual happens (Score 1) 592

What do you do when your cloud fails? The answer is: the same thing that happens when any hosting solution fails.

Clouds are for hosting data, not storing it. Data storage is an old problem that was well solved a long time ago. The current incarnation of cloud computing exists to solve the hosting problem, not the storing problem.

If you're storing data in a cloud, then you're doing it wrong.

Your cloud hosting fail-over procedure is to mirror the files on another host and redirect connections to the new host. That's pretty much the standard procedure for any hosting solution.

Slashdot Top Deals

When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.