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:interstellar mission (Score 2) 347

Although I think you will find that we can indeed produce antimatter in very small quantities, I still enjoyed your comment. Anything that reminds me of the awesomeness that is Red Dwarf always makes me smile.

Certainly the most underrated sci-fi comedy series ever.

Comment This is a good thing (Score 1) 133

Once the zombie apocalypse happens, paper book stores will be the only way for us to get information on how to use baseball bats (cricket bats in the UK) along with chain saws and other weapons to kill the walking dead. That is until, or unless, we can get enough infrastructure back to be able to read ebooks again. Come to think of it, I hope some of those books will be on acid free paper. No telling how long a supernatural event featuring the undead will last once it gets started.

Comment See how long USB lasts (Score 1) 299

RS-232 (classic serial ports) were introduced in 1962 in order to connect teletype machines. Although USB has replaced them for most desktop and home use, there simplicity means that they certainly are still used in many different applications. USB is nice and all that but let's come back in another 50 years or so and see if they are still used for much of anything.

Comment Always had a problem with laser pointers (Score 2, Informative) 161

Most laser pointers are class IIIb laser devices. The class III means not at all eye safe (though it isn't a burn hazard and you don't have to worry about specular reflection from a target other than a mirror.) The b part means that the manufacturers spread some money around to come up with a class of lasers called, "sure it isn't eye safe but really no one is going to shine it directly in their eyes, will they?" But now they are so cheap that people can buy them as if they were toys. What do you think the chances are that some parent will buy a laser pointer for a child (or maybe someone will just carelessly leave it out) -- then the child (thinking it is a toy anyway) will shine it in his eyes just to see what happens. Heck I would be really surprised if this hasn't happened already.

On a side note I would imagine that if the plane were at a very high altitude then it would not be as easy as you may think to shine a laser pointer on any part of the plane (let alone into the cockpit window.) Then again if the plane is at a high altitude then a beam from a common laser pointer will likely expand enough to no longer be that dangerous. I guess this is only a when the plane is very close to the ground almost immediately after a take-off or right before a landing.

If this really continues to be a problem then maybe the government should step in and only allow laser pointers to operate at certain wavelengths. Then Boeing and Airbus can put coatings on their windows to block those wavelengths (turn the cockpit window into a giant set of laser goggles.) Or maybe people can just stop shining laser points at airplanes. Just because something is cheap doesn't mean it is just a toy.

Comment alt 255 on old dos computers (Score 1) 246

Back in the day, we used to hit alt-255 when naming executable files in dos. That would put an ascii character in the file name that looked like a space (spaces themselves were not allowed in dos file names.) You could see the file there when you issued a "dir" command (if you put the alt-255 at the end of the file name then you wouldn't have much of a clue that the character was there.) But if you tried to execute the file w/o using the alt-255 trick then you would get a "command not found" error. Ah old useless dos tricks!

Comment I don't understand ad blockers (Score 2) 161

I understand why people want to block pop-up and pop-under ads. I have those blocked too (and I don't think you even need to block those since not many people use them anymore.) But I don't understand why people want to block regular banner ads. Coming up with content then hosting it on a website isn't free. If advertisers want to pay for it because they think displaying an easy to ignore banner at the bottom of the page makes me more likely to buy their crap then all the better. It is better than having to pay a subscription for the content.

But since no one wants to pay for a subscription, and because so many people have ad blockers (or maybe advertisers have figured out how easy it is to ignore banner ads) websites are starting to go with sponsored content. I am sorry but sponsored content is at least 1000x more annoying than banner ads. Wonder why that site is singing the praises of some POS product? Well zoom into that tiny little dot at the bottom of the article to see the words "sponsored content."

I say bring back the banner ads. It really is a pretty painless way to pay for content. I think John Oliver gave a really good summary of the problem with sponsored content AKA native advertising:

Comment Re:Can he win? (Score 0) 395

Bill Clinto left a balanced budge along with the largest peacetime expansion of the US economy in history. Bush lied us into two wars and almost caused the second great depression. Once Bush got in the "fiscal conservative" seemed like he couldn't spend us into a deficit fast enough. But if you want to lump them both together as disasters then be my guest.

Anyway, notice how Bernie is attaching the republicans more than Hillary. He probably isn't running for president really -- he is running to push Hillary further to the left. At most he might be running for vice president. If he were running for president he would be attaching Hillary more.

IMO Bernie is doing a good thing by pushing her to the left and not letting her make the same mistake Obama did. Seems like Obama only recently figured out that no matter how far to the right he moves fox "news" and the republicans will continue to act like he somehow manages to be a cross between a fascist and a communist (I wonder which side of WW2 they think Obama would be on.) And then when the democrats tried to run to the right of Obama in the last election they got their collective butts handed to them. Hopefully Bernie will encourage Hillary to just come out with policies that will help average Americans and not to pander to the tea partiers who aren't going to like her no matter what she says or does. If it is between a real republican (even one who pushes policies that are a disaster for average Americans) and a fake republican, America will and always has voted for the real republican.

Slashdot Top Deals

Real wealth can only increase. -- R. Buckminster Fuller