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Comment Looking forward to Microsoft's response (Score 1) 49

There's two paths they can go down:
1. Accept that there is a sizable chunk of the user base (most probably application developers) that will continue to use Windows 7 (maybe 8.1) and remove the update blocks on these OSes. They'll get some bitching from people who felt they should have done that right from the start, but it will be short lived and life will go on with the reluctant acknowledgement that Microsoft actually listened to their customers and developer community.

2. Get into a legal and software battle with Zeffy, trying to sue him into oblivion for violating the license agreement as well as putting in "patches" to nullify the stop-update blocks. The development community will endlessly complain that builds, on older hardware because they want to do development on OSes that spy on them and provide a window into their product development, will take longer with libraries that are not fully reflective of the latest (graphic) hardware which means they'll start looking for other platforms to develop for. The bitching will be continuous with may development houses looking towards greener pastures for development programs and Microsoft's share in the marketplace will continue to decline.

I'm betting the Microsoft will take option 2.

Comment Rather than HW Specs, what is SW Infrastructure? (Score 2) 89

In this space, you're not going to see any Kaby Lakes or massive amounts of memory or even impressive video/audio so listing the hardware doesn't mean much.

What I'm most interested in is what will be the application infrastructure is (ie a useable version Office) as well as document distribution for classes (Google Classroom has developed into a pretty slick tool). Another question would be what Microsoft will do for a browser on the device as Edge doesn't work all that great and pages don't display the same as they do on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.

So, what will make Microsoft's offering special/compelling against ChromeOS?

Comment It lost me when I saw the "Pro" version upgrade (Score 1) 89

In the previous /. posting, I noted my disbelief when I said that Microsoft would have to seriously change it's operating model and asked about them trying to compete against Google, which doesn't monetize the platform.

Well, if there's a "pro" version of the Windows 10 Cloud OS, then I don't think Microsoft understands what they have to do to be successful in this space.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How Do You Explain "Don't Improve My Software Syndrome" or DIMSS? 7

dryriver writes: I am someone who likes to post improvement suggestions for different software tools I use on the internet. If I see a function in a software that doesn't work well for me or could work better for everyone else, I immediately post suggestions as to how that function could be improved and made to work better for everybody. A striking phenomenon I have come across in posting such suggestions is the sheer number of "why would you want that at all" or "nobody needs that" or "the software is fine as it is" type responses from software users. What is particularly puzzling is that its not the developers of the software rejecting the suggestions — its users of the software that often react sourly to improvement suggestions that could, if implemented well, benefit a lot of people using the software in question. I have observed this happening online for years even for really good software feature/function improvement ideas that actually wound up being implemented. My question is — what causes this behavior of software users on the internet? Why would a software user see a suggestion that would very likely benefit many other users of the software and object loudly to that suggestion, or even pretend that "the suggestion is a bad one"?

Submission + - Light Sail propulsion could reach Sirius sooner than Alpha Centauri (

RockDoctor writes: A recent proposition to launch probes to other star systems driven by lasers which remain in the Solar system has garnered considerable attention. But recently published work suggests that there are unexpected complexities to the system.

One would think that the closest star systems would be the easiest to reach. But unless you are content with a fly-by examination of the star system, with much reduced science returns, you will need to decelerate the probe at the far end, without any infrastructure to assist with the braking.

By combining both light-pressure braking and gravitational slingshots, a team of German, French and Chilean astronomers discover that the brightness of the destination star can significantly increase deceleration, and thus travel time (because higher flight velocities can be used. Sling-shotting around a companion star to lengthen deceleration times can help shed flight velocity to allow capture into a stable orbit.

The 4.37 light year distant binary stars Alpha Centauri A and B could be reached in 75 years from Earth. Covering the 0.24 light year distance to Proxima Centauri depends on arriving at the correct relative orientations of Alpha Centauri A and B in their mutual 80 year orbit for the sling shot to work. Without a companion star, Proxima Centauri can only absorb a final leg velocity of about 1280km/s, so that leg of the trip would take an additional 46 years.

Using the same performance characteristics for the light sail the corresponding duration for an approach to the Sirius system, almost twice as far away (8.58ly), is a mere 68.9 years, making it (and it's white dwarf companion) possibly a more attractive target.

Of course, none of this addresses the question of how to get any data from there to here. Or, indeed, how to manage a project that will last longer than a working lifetime. There are also issues of aiming — the motion of the Alpha Centauri system isn't well-enough known at the moment to achieve the precise manoeuvring needed without course corrections (and so, data transmission from there to here) en route.

Comment Only news because it's Tesla (Score 2) 106

Would this be of note if Toyota, Ford or VW issued a recal for this?

Parts from subcontractors are often not up to snuff - the problem is noted, a recall is issued and that's it.

This is only news because it's on a Tesla - I'm not a Musk fanboi but let's get a little perspective on the matter.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Are Good Books On Inventing, Innovating And Doing R&D?

dryriver writes: I've signed up to a project that involves inventing new ways to do things and also performing the technology R&D required to make these new ways a reality. So, dear Slashdotters — are there any good books on inventing, innovating or doing R&D? Books that describe different ways to approach inventing/R&D? Books on managing a team effort to invent, innovate and research? Or even good books about the history of past inventions — how they were created, why they were created, how and why the succeeded or failed in the real world? Thanks!

Submission + - What a Trip: First Evidence for Higher State of Consciousness Found (

baalcat writes: Researchers observe a sustained increase in neural signal diversity in people under the influence of psychedelics.

Scientific evidence of a ‘higher’ state of consciousness has been found in a study led by the University of Sussex.

Neuroscientists observed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity – a measure of the complexity of brain activity – of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, compared with when they were in a normal waking state.

The diversity of brain signals provides a mathematical index of the level of consciousness. For example, people who are awake have been shown to have more diverse neural activity using this scale than those who are asleep.

This, however, is the first study to show brain-signal diversity that is higher than baseline, that is higher than in someone who is simply ‘awake and aware’. Previous studies have tended to focus on lowered states of consciousness, such as sleep, anaesthesia, or the so-called ‘vegetative’ state.

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