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Comment Re: Wifi replace fixed cabled systems no way! (Score 1) 63

Wireless charging works surprisingly well; but its efficiency is pretty atrocious compared to the resistive losses you would see with any remotely appropriate cable and connector. Losses to heat in battery charging are the same either way; and AC/DC conversion losses are somewhat higher with wireless charging(conversion efficiency will be the same; but the losses in wireless transmission mean that you will need more power at the wall to deliver the same amount of power to the device).

It certainly has its uses, where the absolute power levels are low enough that the losses just don't matter much; or where specific considerations make exposed electrical connections a no-go; but the losses are substantial if you need to deliver significant power.

Comment Re:To be fair, a pretty easy run (Score 1) 225

Not to mention there was no traffic on the road that late at night, and more importantly, you don't learn anything scientific from doing this (and afaict, they don't even claim to have learned anything), it's just a publicity stunt. And Uber has been doing a lot of these kinds of publicity stunts lately. My theory is that they are trying to pump up their valuation for an IPO (or another round of funding or whatever).

Well, it's obvious that post-SDC somebody will be operating this huge fleet of self-driving taxi/transport vehicles. At some point it's just about being the most hyped company to get the funding to ride the bubble like say Amazon did. Sure, they lost 96% of their share value in two years when it popped but those who never got on the hype bandwagon mostly lost everything and are nowhere to be found. To be honest I don't really mind a SDC bubble where everyone goes crazy because it will also accelerate change, the dotcom boom/bust might not have been good for investors but the transition from offline to online went pretty snappy.

Comment Re:like in the movie? (Score 1) 225

And there is a large feedlot right next to it, where they collect the piss.

The GTA V beer is spoofing Budweiser's anthem, I wonder why... of course they also say it's German but I think they got it confused with Bismarck, North Dakota or something. They might be responsible for World War I, World War II, blood, sweat, tears and gas chambers but bad beer is simply inhumane.

Comment Re:Skype Doesn't Claim Otherwise (Score 2) 40

While I would very much like to see improvements in the security of these services; it's also worth remembering that the 'alternative' is usually either POTS or cellular, provided by the local monopoly and/or cozy-cooperator-with-the-state.

That doesn't diminsh the fact that, when doing communications software on a global scale, something that counts as 'eh, bug' in silicon valley may involve a one-way trip to the basement of the interior ministry for a bunch of users somewhere; but secure communications is something where the 'default' option is somewhere between 'completely useless' and 'actively hostile'. Phone networks were never built with privacy or security(aside from anything needed for billing purposes) in mind; and they've since sprouted all manner of surveillance tools.

Just shrugging and saying 'Meh, the other guy is worse." isn't a good excuse; but it is worth remembering that people considering it to be a bug or vulnerability when eavesdropping succeeds is a pretty new feature.

Comment Re:Wifi replace fixed cabled systems no way! (Score 2) 63

One application that could be rather useful, for this standard(or even ones that use spectrum with even worse distance issues) would be the possibility of reducing the number of delicate connectors for devices that are docked/undocked frequently.

It's hard to beat copper for transferring power(yes, the various wireless charging schemes do work; but efficiency isn't pretty); but, particularly for low voltage, modest current, DC applications where ensuring safety is less of a challenge; you can use simple, robust, cheap connectors.

Connectors for high speed data are less pleasant, requiring some balance between very careful construction to allow high speeds over a limited number of lines and densely packing a whole lot of signal lines into something that still has to survive hundreds to tens of thousands of mate/unmate cycles and hopefully doesn't attract grit, pocket fuzz, and so on.

If you have a very high speed wireless link, even one with lousy penetration and high attenuation in air; you can potentially replace a complex and delicate data connector with one radio-transparent spot on the device chassis and one on the dock: no hole in the chassis, no connector to get damaged or full of crud, no fiddly pins getting bent or corroded; and since the two radios are very close together(ideally in a known position) power levels can be fairly low; and interference and noise would be less troublesome.

Given the issues with atmospheric attenuation; never mind walls, these very-high-speed wifi systems get rather less interesting at greater distances(though yes, SFP ports are creeping into APs, and that's consumer trash, not even some enterprise thing); but if the price isn't too high I'd be delighted to never see another laptop docking station connector again.

Comment Re:No you don't (Score 2) 206

No. You don't. Because that isn't possible to do. The fact that this guy even said that means he is clueless about mobile. He needs to be replaced.

Ah our resident doofus. If he said he had a PC to replace your phone, obviously he'd be clueless. A phone to replace your PC? Why not, for most people their phone now has way more power than the PC had ten years ago, it just has bigger input/output devices. Microsoft could make a x86 phone with a HDMI/DisplayPort/USB dock (or just an USB-C cable hookup) and it'd make a perfectly satisfactory PC for most people. His problem will be that nobody wants the phone side of it, they want their iApps or Google Play-apps.

Comment Re:Who needs them anyway (Score 1) 319

I stopped wearing a wristwatch 10+ years ago. It was annoying to wear while using a laptop. There's clock on my phone, computer, car, radio, egg timer.. I don't see the point in carrying extra one on my wrist.

To me it's exactly the opposite, sure there are all these different context-dependent places I could see the time but my watch is always there and I can just glance down 0.2 seconds to see how long do I have to get somewhere or be somewhere or have spent on something or have left of something. I feel it gives me more control over the day than if I don't wear one because the overhead is so small, if I have to pull my phone out of my pocket I don't really do it unless I need to know the time. I put it on in the morning, take it off when I go to bed and it runs years on a battery so that very little "nice-to-have" is balanced by a no-fuzz experience. Don't know how your watch is or how you type but I don't have a problem using a keyboard all day with mine.

Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 2) 319

It doesn't help that a lot of the 'watches as jewelry' types are either looking for jewelry in a budget(in which case spending a large fraction of the purchase price on expensive and largely invisible electronics, rather than most of the money on the attractive case, is less than totally attractive); or looking for the 'timeless' and 'heritage' and so on that watch ads are always going on about.

While technologically pointless, your zillion-jewel-fiddly-mechanical-movement is going to be just as nifty for at least decades, barring abuse. Anything 'smart' will be old news in 18 months, at most; and archaic within a few years. That isn't terribly compelling.

Comment Shocking. (Score 1) 319

It's almost as though a relatively small market got saturated; with some added bite from the (more limited; but substantially cheaper) 'fitness' bands that offer a much lower cost of entry to have an annoying gadget on your wrist and bothering you.

I never would have expected that outcome.

Comment Re:Nothing new (Score 4, Insightful) 315

It certainly isn't new; but it is, arguably, even more glaring(and idiotic) now that 'mobile' is such a thing.

Yes, the graphic designer who thinks that he's god's gift to beauty because the site 'looks good' on his color-calibrated multi-thousand-dollar Eizo has always deserved a smack; but that's especially true now that it is more likely that his target audience isn't just viewing the results on a smaller, cheaper, screen than he is; but on a tiny smartphone LCD, backlight dimmed for battery life, with a mirror finish to pick up every stray reflection and hint of sunlight.

Form over function has always been a danger; and failure to test your output on a reasonable simulation of what people will actually view it on has always been a mistake; but the contrast is particularly glaring when the gulf between the sort of screens that 'content creators' tend to use and the average quality of screens site visitors are using is so enormous. It has always been there; but it has not always been so wide.

Comment Re:If you can't see the text (Score 5, Interesting) 315

Remember those crazy, utopian, idealists who tried to design web standards so that content and presentation could be, and would be, cleanly separated; and thus easily adapted to the requirements of just about any user agent out there?

That dream isn't completely dead; but it sure doesn't get much respect from the cool kids(which can make the 'just impose your own CSS' trick pretty hairy on some of the touchier sites out there).

Comment Re:No Von Neuman Machines yet (Score 1) 215

Raising babies takes a tremendous amount of infrastructure. An adult human is mostly self-sufficient; babies are not. As somebody said, it really does "take a village" to raise a child.

Reality check: Children have grown up all over the planet for all of history with no infrastructure with poorer parents often raising half a dozen of them. The way we raise western 21st century kids means most parents have enough with a few, but unless they quite literally die they grow up every other way too. The "takes a village" saying is about society's influence, everybody wants to fit in with their peers and prevailing norms, even if that is at odds with your parents.

Comment Re:What are we forgetting... (Score 1) 215

Okay, so we've got the mining robots, the auto-fuelling spaceship dock, the autonomous telephone sanitizers... I can't help feeling there's something we're forgetting... Oh! Right - people. Hang on. Why are we sending people again?

Because we're not smart enough to make a robot that could and would do what we'd do and telepresence would be hopeless with the delay. Take the stupidest person you know that can drive a car. Ask him to write the software for a self-driving car, might as well ask him to jump to the Moon. Not even many man-years of the best and brightest has managed to get their car a driver's license that millions of teenagers manage every year. If there's a real base there will be plenty that goes wrong or becomes defective and plenty to fix. If it's just to have humans in a bunker eating canned food until their return flight, then yeah there's not much point.

Comment Re:No historical data (Score 1) 175

This is only impressive if they didn't use any historical data at all to create the new super computer. If they did use historical data then the answer would be correct by definition. The way to test this is to use historical data make a prediction and then wait a year then compare to the real data only then you have any valid comparison.

That's really dumb. Why would you wait a year, when you have 35 years of data? You test the model on 1980's data, and see how accurate it was by checking with 1981's data, and so on. They can do that 35 times, if they're looking a year ahead. If they're only looking a month ahead, they can do it 12 x 35 times.

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