Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


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: Perhaps (Score 1) 598

How about 1/5th of a mile?
Or 1/20th of a mile?
Not so easy.

Easier to think in lots of 100m if you're just giving rough measurements such as driving instructions or lots of 50m for walking instructions.
Eg, go 300m past the post office and turn left.
Eg, the pub (bar) is 50m after the post office.

My tool box has 2 sets of sockets for parts from the civilised world and parts from the US.
The metric sockets go up in terms of 1mm each (eg 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, etc) - easy.
The imperial sockets go up in inch sizes (1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, etc) - weird and hard to calculate while I'm concentrating on the job at hand.

For the record, I grew up in Australia while we were converting from imperial to metric.
The "pain" wasn't that great and the new method (metric) is so much easier.
Any of us from schoolchild to pensioner can convert millimetres to metres to kilometres and vice-versa just by shifting the decimal point.
Converting between inches, feet, yards and miles involves oddball conversion factors (12, 3*12, 1760*3*12) that generally don't come easy to most people.

By the way, the official definition of the US inch is exactly 25.4mm.
Yep, US inches have been defined by the metric system since 1959. (page 2)
ASA (American Standards Association) adopted this even earlier in 1933 and NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, precursor to NASA) adopted it in 1952.

Comment Re:Not better in every way (Score 1) 598

Why is 50C listed as dead?
There are towns in Australia that get to over 50C every year.
My city (Perth, W.Australia) has a week of about 40-45C every year.

0C is the freezing point of water and 100C is the boiling point of water.
So its real easy to know if the weather will involve ice/snow (below 0C) or not (above 0C).
Much easier than this weird number of 32F.

Comment Re:"Now available to download" link (Score 1) 175

A HTML page encoded in Unicode is perfectly capable of displaying Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) on the same page.

The problem is that most Chinese, Japanese and Korean pages are not encoded in Unicode.
Hong Kong and Taiwan tend to encode using BIG-5, Mainland China tends to use GB (means national standard), Japanese tends to use Shift-JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) and I can't remember what Korea uses.
Note that each of these is a 16-bit encoding that copies 7-bit ASCII into the lowest 128 characters.
These different encoding are incompatible with each other similar to the way that French and Russian 8-bit extensions to ASCII were incompatible with each other (I had ex-Russian colleagues that often asked me to display emails for them that could be in any one of 5 different 8-bit encoding schemes, depending on who sent them, KOI was the most common).

A second problem is that Mainland China redefined the way they write characters in the 1950s.
The rest of the world continued using the traditional characters.
The traditional way uses many more strokes but in well defined patterns, the new "simplified" way uses fewer strokes but with less pattern to them.
Kind of like how some Latin based fonts have an "a" with just the plain circle with a straight line on the right and others add a fancy curve on top.
Except much more so and readers of one type have trouble reading the other without lots of practice.
Unicode doesn't solve this.
Partial solution is to have 2 fonts.
Both fonts display all characters but in the appropriate writing style - traditional or simplified.

Normally users in Mainland China have a font that encodes GB with the simplified glyphs.
Normally users in Hong Kong and Taiwan have a font that encodes BIG-5 with the traditional glyphs.
But there are some font files out there that do them in the opposite way so that a reader in Hong Kong can read a page from Mainland China (encoded in GB but displayed with Traditional glyphs) and vice-versa.

I spent a number of years in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan writing software for EFTPOS credit card terminals that had to automatically display English, Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese depending on information found on the users credit card (choosing the language was a black art but my code got it right for each of the card types that we had to cater for).

Comment Re:Just remember (Score 2) 215

"When the rest of the lot on this rock wants to kill 13 year girls for getting raped?"
I'm Australian. By "the rest of the lot on this rock" (ie non-Americans) you are classifying me among those that want to kill these 13 year old victims.
You are telling me that everybody outside of the USA is automatically a criminal and deserve every bit of hell that you can give them.
And you wonder why non-Americans are suspicious of Americans.

Comment Re:He should try trains (Score 1) 176

Many more variables. For a short list:
- Has the track been washed away by a recent storm?
- Is there a truck stalled on a crossing?
- Is there another train on the same track?
- Has one of the axle bearings seized and is generating huge amounts of heat?
- Has livestock (or human) stepped onto the track?
- Has one of the wagons derailed while going around a bend and is about to tip half the 7 km train over? (yes, Australian iron ore trains are that long)
- Has a coupling broke and half the train is being let behind?
- Has the lead loco lost comms with the other locos? (Australian iron ore trains have multiple sets at the front, middle and rear of the train)
and so on...

Comment Re:Who gives a fuck (Score 1) 85

From Wikipedia:

In June 2009 Tesla was approved to receive US$465 million in interest-bearing loans from the United States Department of Energy. The funding, part of the US$8 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, supports engineering and production of the Model S sedan, as well as the development of commercial powertrain technology.[49] The low-interest loans are not related to the "bailout" funds that GM and Chrysler received, nor are they related to the 2009 economic stimulus package. The loan program was created in 2007 during the George W. Bush administration.[50] Tesla repaid the loan in May 2013. Tesla was the first car company to have fully repaid the government, while Ford, Nissan and Fisker had not.

So, Tesla took a loan from the government and paid it back. Whereas Ford, Nissan and Fisker took loans and have not paid them back yet. And GM and Chrysler took bailout packages and did not fully repay them. Oh, how evil of Tesla to pay back when others didn't !!!

Slashdot Top Deals

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.