Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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:Armchair cognitive scientist (Score 1) 455

Watson is, fundamentally, no different from that rock. Sure, it follows a very complex "path" indeed (though laid down by humans), but the only difference between the rock and Watson is the *kind* of path. In fact, Watson's path is less complex than the path of the rock (which isn't entirely a fair comparison, since the rock's path is practically infinitely complex)

It seems that you are assuming Watson is as deterministic (if not more) as the act of rock throwing. It is not. Watson is a lot more heuristic than algorithmic. We are only scratching the surface of what neural networks can do, and many times we do not understand why they behave the way they do. And we built them.

Comment It depends (Score 1) 546

If all you wanna do is code, then you don't need a computer science degree. There are plenty of companies looking for people to do form plumbing.

Now, if you wanna do real computer science, yes you will need a degree. By real computer science I mean things like improving performance using algorithm complexity analysis (Big O), knowing when to utilize the best data structures, architectural optimizations, AI, writing your own lexers and parsers - the list is endless.

Computer science is different than coding. Whereas coding is a tool, computer science is the study of any kind of computation. You can implement a quicksort algorithm on C++ or while sorting your own clothes in the closet. Both are computer science.

Comment lack of ownership (Score 1) 312

As said in TFA, engineers usually don't want to "move up" in the company, but my experience tells me that a good portion of us day dream about making an app that will make them millionaires. For me, that is a inherent sense of entrepreneurship.

Simply put: why are you going to take in more responsibility to enrich someone else while you can work on your own projects during your spare time and hit the jackpot?

Of course, that mindset might not be realistic: the cruel reality is that most of us will never become millionaires. But if corporations were willing to change the "take this fixed amount of money and I'll try the hardest I can to suck the life out of you" to "you and your team own this project, and your compensation will contain part of that project's profits", then maybe more engineers would be willing to manage.

Comment Feedback (Score 5, Insightful) 237

The pros:
- Fluid layout is an improvement from the previous beta
- The page does have less "noise" than classic

The cons:
- Could not find a "reply" button for the main article. After looking it for a whooping 5 seconds, I gave up and replied to the first post instead.
- Fonts are terribly inconsistent
- Fonts have excessive hinting artifacts, specially bolds and the title bar.
Judging by the "donâ(TM)t" in the post, unicode support (or something like it) seems to be lacking
- As pointed in other comments, there is no contrast between the title of article/comments and their contents. That made things easy to follow on classic, and IMHO should still remain.
- Why such long padding at the page edges?

Comment Re:fluctuating weight of KG? (Score 3, Funny) 299

Almost sounds like something coming from Douglas Adams. From the wikipedia article:

The magnitude of many of the units comprising the SI system of measurement, including most of those used in the measurement of electricity and light, are highly dependent upon the stability of a 135-year-old, golf ball-size cylinder of metal stored in a vault in France.

Comment Re:Any movement away from Microsoft is good. (Score 2) 564

You know, I like C# and Visual Studio - if I could easily write code that would run across not just all the Windows platforms, but Android and IOS too - and with a UI that looks native on each platform, like QT does - that would be a wonderful thing.

Recently I fell in love with this, which seems to do exactly what you describe: haxe

The consistent UI seems to be the only thing missing; everything else is there.

Comment I wish it was as simple as that (Score 1) 356

Yes, just dump more money into it, and see it vanish into the pockets of those who are in power while they build a clinic that costs as much as three hospitals. And one year later, even that will start to fall apart, because the dictator's/president's/king's yacht has priority over the budget.

Poverty is not an economic/health issue, it is a cultural one. If you don't change how the people and their leaders think, countries will remain poor.

I came from a poor country, and lived there for 23 years. Enough time to see how things truly work.

Submission + - The Biggest Fraud in Kickstarter History is Currently Unfolding (

An anonymous reader writes: The SmartDuino project launched on Kickstarter last October promised many things, including making it super simple for hobbyist to create amazing electronic projects easily, and ended up raising an amazing $157,571 for project creator Dimitri Albino. But allegations of fraud soon came out shortly after funding ended — including Arduino creator Massimo Banzi calling Mr. Albino's claims of being the manufacturer of the Arduino a lie and claimed his project violated the Arduino Trademark. Now a year later, after many broken promises and no products delivered, the project backers are demanding answers, refunds and threatening international legal action in what looks to be the largest fraud in Kickstarter history.

And to add insult to the victims of this, Mr. Albino's company, SmartMaker, is currently running multiple other projects on crowdfunding site Indiegogo which so far have raised over $420,000 and also have had similar fraud claims being made.

Comment Personal experience (Score 1) 331

I spend at least 8 to 10 hours at work staring at a screen every day. Then, I come home to stare at another big screen for a couple of hours. The last thing I want to do is to stare at yet another screen to fall asleep.

E-readers are nice, up to a certain point. Contrast is still too low for my particular taste. I had a kindle for about an year, until I unconsciously would reach for printed books because it was just more pleasurable to read without having to fiddle with font sizes to compensate for the lack of contrast. Flashing page turns also broke my immersion.

But again, I am 26 - maybe I'm just too old to get into the e-book scene.

Slashdot Top Deals

PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5