Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


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:Where's the news? (Score 1) 237

Or, you could just as glibly say: those who could, did, and those who couldn't, copied.

I have no idea if that's actually how it went down, just as I presume you have no particular evidence this is a nuisance suit. But if Costco did indeed copy Acushnet's patented features, I take it you wouldn't deny the actual inventor legal recourse.

IIRC, Costco bought up a contract manufacturers overrun (company was hired to make X number of golf balls, but for what ever reason they made Y number).
So the Titleist folks hired a manufacture in China to produce 3 million golf balls. The Chinese company either made 6 million or the contracting company rejected the lot as inferior. Either case the Chinese company now has 3 million golf balls that it doesn't want to lose money on. So they sold the whole lot to Costco. Costco then goes and sells them $15 / dozen .. versus Acushnet's $45-$60 / dozen.

Acushnet sees its gravy train approaching a washed out bridge and files lawsuit to repair it.

If this was true, then there would be a case because the balls are slightly inferior but otherwise identical.

But Costco is arguing they're different. And knowing that the Kirkland store brand is actually quite a good one, I'd be surprised if Costco went with 3rd shift manufactured balls. Costco is not Walmart, and in general their store branded stuff is of great quality and manufactured properly, not low end cheap Chinese made stuff.

So Costco likely went with another high quality ball manufacturer (which may or may not be made at the same factory, but not 3rd shift production) and made those balls.

The reason Costco sells them cheap is because they deal in volume - instead of making balls in hundreds of thousands, they can make balls by the millions, extracting mass production cost benefits.

And because they were partnered up with another company who designed the balls, they got a good quality ball, made quite cheaply in volumes that out-do the other manufacturers since Costco does stuff in bulk.

Comment Re:Why aren't 12V Lithium car batteries more popul (Score 1) 135

I've noticed that replacement lithium polymer battery packs for hybrid cars sell often sell for less than $1000 on eBay, while much smaller lithium based 12v batteries for conventional cars (with starter motors) often sell for more. As an example, here is a battery suitable for starting a small V8 that sells for $1600.00

I would assume that it would be much easier to manufacture conventional 12v starter batteries in volume due to the ability to put them in many more different models of vehicles.

The ability to shave off 30+ lbs of weight from racecars would be enormous, so the demand is there, but why not the supply?

Designing car batteries is tough. The environment they live in is generally rough - while modern cars avoid putting the battery in the engine compartment, older cars still have it there, so you have to contend with high temperatures under the hood (too high to charge safely). Then there's charging - Lead-acid batteries have a stupidly easy charge regimen - you apply voltage to the terminals, it charges. Overcharging is handled by the battery (they can explode because they do generate hydrogen gas, but well vented it's not an issue), and they can tolerate a lot of abuse. Next, there's also a regulatory aspect of the battery - just by being there, the voltage swings of the electrical system are limited because the battery takes up excess voltage as charge and provides for voltage sags by discharging.

If you need to ask, without a battery, the car electrical system can sag to as low as 9V or lower at idle or slower speeds with high loads, 15V or higher when the engine is going good, and with lots of high voltage spikes of 170V or more because of the ignition system. And if someone jumpxtarts, the voltage goes all over the map.

Now do all that with a Li-Ion battery. First, the charge regimen is very controlled - any limits get exceeded and it is unsafe to charge, so you need a very complex charge controller. You also need one that can provide the regulation expected of the battery - absorbing excess voltage (even if the battery can't, it must dump the excess electricity somewhere), and providing a boost when it sags.

And it's not the battery, but the electronics.

Still, for some applications, they are actively used - aviation loves Li-Ion batteries because they're a lot lighter, and even in general aviation aircraft, temperatures don't get too bad because of immense airflow once airborne (so the charge controller can shut off charging on the ground) And they're lighter and last longer than their lead acid counterparts, so you can operate avionics and lights with the engine off without worrying too much of draining the battery prior to start.

If you want your race car to be light, just get rid of the battery entirely. You don't need a battery to race, only to crank the engine, something you really try to avoid doing whilst already racing.

Race cars don't have starting batteries - they use a starting cart that provides the starting power. They do have an electrical system because the engines are electronic ignition, the control panels are all electronic (the gauges, telemetry), driver radios etc. But since races generally last for well know periods of time, they only need a battery big enough to last that long (they don't want to bother with alternators unless you're talking about a 24 hour race).

Comment Re:While the intent was good... (Score 1) 113

All of those benefits came at the cost of the loss of the First-sale doctrine. It was a bad deal, period. Always connected was not the major issue, the major issue MS was attempting to kill this legal doctrine as it applied to them

Except 4 years later, we've lost the first sale doctrine.

People love digital downloads. They love not having to look for a disc with the game on it - they prefer picking it off a menu and playing it. Hell, ask any millennial and they hate physical media with a passion. The whole disc thing to lend is cool, but in the end, they don't actually care.

So now people are giving up their first sale rights for a digital download that costs the same as the physical disc, but without the ability to lend or resell the game.

The Microsoft way preserved a small aspect - it actually allowed sales of digital downloads. Sure you had to have the blessing of the publisher, but it was certainly better to be able to resell than not, right?

So the real question is - was the status quo better than what Microsoft proposed? There were bad parts to it, but it allowed digital license re-sale, which is huge, and no platform out there right now offers it on any copyrighted media. (Sure some people use multiple accounts and such, but that's a hassle).

And if trends continue, physical sales are going to be the exception, not the rule. And this generation is set - it's not going to be easy to retrofit the proposed resale mechanism in because of all the existing contracts of sale.

There were tons bad with the Microsoft model initially. Tons. But there were a few things that were genuinely good as well that we lost and are not likely to get back. Digital re-sale was one of them, but the ability for the disc to be just a data storage medium and you could buy licenses on the spot was another (it encourages de-regionalization - if you want a game only released in Asia, you could just get a disc of it somehow (torrent, say) and then insert it and buy the license without having to import the game from the region).

Comment Re:FINALLY!! (Score 1) 55

They already do this. Some news organization did an expose on it. They went through a building that was simply corridors full of one-room offices, a company nameplate on the door, and no one ever went in or out.

And there were lots of those buildings too - all one-room offices all dark because no one was there. But the office was there to show presence. It was really quite a depressing scene - all around the courthouse are dozens of office buildings which are fully occupied, but whose population was zero as there was no one actually in there.

You sorta wonder why they bother running air conditioning or lights.

Comment Re:benefit for attorney? (Score 1) 341

Sounds like as an individual you would be better off just using small claims court or whatever your local equivalent is, rather than joining the class action. Then you can get your specific loss covered, which is likely to be more than a $10 coupon.

Yes, you COULD do that, and every class action has an option to opt-out so you can do exactly that..

The reason most people don't is because instead of a $10 coupon, you get a cheque for $20. This... after filing a small claims court fee of $40 or more, taking a day off work, parking, etc. In the end, it's just not worth pursuing. Better to get that $10 coupon for doing nothing than be in the hole for $200+ in time and fees just to get back what actual harm happened.

Comment Re:Sounds a lot like USB-Câ power delivery (Score 1) 75

I haven't been keeping up with the latest USB spec but this direction of power flow sounds like it would have been in breach of earlier USB specs for everything except USB-OTG which turning a device into a host necessitates the reverse of the normal power flow.

I believe USB-C and USB Power Delivery (USB PD) specs had this specifically in mind. They changed the fixed concept of one device being the host/master and one being the guest/slave in lieu of the devices being able to negotiate roles as needed.

In "classic' USB, you had two roles - a host, and a slave (or device). Power flows from the host to the slave, regulated and monitored so the slave does not draw too much power. The host also interrogates the slave to figure out what kind of device it is and all that other good stuff.

With USB-C and USB-PD, the roles are more flexible. First, the direction of power flow is no longer obvious. Something like a monitor may dock a laptop over USB-C, so the monitor is the device (and thunderbolt target too) but power is flowing from the monitor to the laptop to charge it. In classic USB, this can't happen - the laptop is forced to power the screen instead.

In USB-OTG, no power flows at all, though the present host will supply up to 100mA at 5V in case there's any circuits needing powering. If the roles switch, then the old host switches off its power and the new host turns on its power.lh

Comment Re:Wrong hole (Score 0) 137

No, the fact that you can unlock a phone with the finger of someone unconscious...

The phone only checks for liveness. If you're unconscious, then you're alive, and thus the fingerprint sensor sees it has a real living finger.

If you're dead, then it probably wouldn't unlock.

Comment Re:What the fuck is FMA? (Score 3, Informative) 112

FMA are most commonly used to compute dot product, and are therefore very helpful in linear algebra. (And so they are useful in a ton of data mining algorithms.)

Also known as the Multiply-Accumulate (MAC) instruction in DSPs. MAC is an extremely common instruction in signal processing kernels (the inner loop that does the calculations). It is vital to be able to do a lot of them per clock cycle. In fact, it's often why DSPs have special looping registers so you can do zero-overhead loops and thus doing a sequence of MACs without incurring branch (and branch prediction) times thus being able to do nothing but this instruction for very little overhead

Comment Re:Destroy all competition! (Score 4, Insightful) 74

Destroy all competition, or DAC is the precarious stage of a product life cycle in which the company has already recognized its products as stagnated and turns into destroying all competition instead of inventing marketable novelty. DAC stages are more typical for products of big companies with established ecosystems and revenue streams. -- Fake Marketing 101, Chapter 13

I think this is more alternate facts than anything, because the business case makes zero sense.

Apple invested a billion dollars into softbank. I don't know about you, but a billion dollars is a YUGGGGGGGGGEEEEEE amount. All for what? To kill a smartphone company who hasn't even released a phone yet? That makes zero business sense - they don't have a phone, they don't have a prototype, they don't have anything. And you don't know how much it costs, or what market they're targeting.

I'm sure the Pixel and Pixel XL phones have Apple worried that Google is stomping around their price points.Enough that some no-name (yeah he created Android, and no one cared) who promises a phone with everything and the kitchen sink which hasn't been released yet or even a business plan produced is even more scary.

No, what likely happened is Apple was making an investment in a carrier that believed in them (SoftBank was one of the first carriers outside the US to carry the iPhone, and in Japan, where their phones are light years ahead of what North America has) for $1B.

And it's likely because of this, SoftBank wanted them to switch from a direct investment to using this new fund with its big pot of money in it ($1B!) which would be used to encourage innovation, and either it failed because the phone wasn't practical, or other business reason. If it was a "nothing but iPhone" fund, then would be rather useless.

He likely got caught up in his own hype about the phone that it was supposed to be the next JesusPhone. Especially if he wanted to release it before the iPhone - that would mean he'd be in production right now, and thus all the hardware has been designed and debugged. Seeking funding now to go to mass production would put them even further behind thanks to how long it'll take

Comment Re:$1000 for a parka?! (Score 1) 52

Actually, Canada Goose make gear for arctic (and antarctic, the ones I have seen) use, and they ARE the real deal.
However, yes, many of their items look like fashion accessories for people with more money than sense.

Yes, they are pretty much the #1 brand of gear if you want to stay warm while in the arctic or antarctic (the "Canada" part should give it away as to where they're located AND why they're popular).

In fact, once you head into the arctic region of Canada, pretty much everyone is either wearing native parkas or Canada Goose, and anyone who isn't is freezing. It's so popular it's a VERY counterfeited brand especially in less-cold areas like the United States where you don't need such a warm parka (so they do make a lighter line of clothes). Counterfeiting is not such a big problem in North America, but it is in China where Canada Goose has become somewhat fashionable because it's high end (and local distrust of Chinese brands have made North American brands more popular due to better perceived quality control).

They used to only make parkas for the region (and any Canadian who traveled to the region had one) but they've long diversified. Being where I am, I started hearing a lot more about Canada Goose maybe 10 years ago. Before that, everyone sorta knew, but unless you traveled there, you didn't really need one (though enough people have for work that there's one in the closet gathering moths).

Comment Re:A strobe gif in an email is illegal? (Score 1) 151

But if you are bragging in writing about how you are going to cause someone to have a seizure by sending them a strobe gif, then it probably isn't hard to convince a jury that you intended to cause inujury, and it shouldn't be hard to find an expert witness to testify that it is quite possble to die from an epileptic seizure.

The twitter account also had DMs where he'd bragged about how he hoped he'd die, and there was a Wikipedia page with an edit showing the victim's death the next day.

It's stupidly obvious he was hoping he'd kill the guy.

Comment Re:Innovation in theaters? (Score 2) 213

Binge watching wasn't a thing before they were around

Actually, it was. We didn't call it binge watching though. We called them "marathons". During holidays, TV stations would do lots of marathons (especially cable channels) where they'd air the entire season at once (they still do). Theatres had movie marathons where just before a new sequel came out, they'd show the predecessors. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings were popular movie marathon showings, as were Star Trek.

Heck, people sat down with entire DVD box sets of TV series and watched them one after another.

And until the invention of the DVR, it was always a challenge recording a marathon since your standard VHS tape only recorded up to 6-8 hours a tape.

All Netflix did was make it so you could hit a few buttons and conjure up your own marathon on demand, in other words, made it for the ultra-lazy to spend an entire weekend on the couch. (At least even the DVD guys had to go up every few hours to change the disc).

Comment Re:A strobe gif in an email is illegal? (Score 2) 151

We're treading dangerously into territory where you're trying to read minds. You would have to prove intent ..... you would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to and actually believed that your actions would harm someone. The burden of proof would be very particular because sending that same email to 99% of the population, even including many epileptics, would do no harm.

Well, that tweet was sent with a note of "you deserve a seizure" alongside it, which pretty much confirms intent to harm

Sometimes it can be hard to confirm intent. This time, it was pretty obvious the sender intentionally sent that eeizure-inducing image hoping it would cause a seizure.

No mind reading tricks needed here - the sender made it plainly obvious they were intentionally sending it to harm the guy. Maybe in other cases, but not this one.

Comment Re:Sharing Paper (Score 1, Insightful) 153

Older people like me are also accustomed to being able to buy books, and not be hit with arbitrary regional restrictions. Imagine the lady at the checkout of your favourite book store or library putting aside a couple of books from your selection: "I am sorry sir, but you can't have those". That has been my main reason to pirate ebooks: region locks and availability. Thankfully the situation is improving, and publishers are learning not to piss off their customer this way.

Incorrect analogy.

Because for starters, if the store couldn't sell it to you, they wouldn't have it. If there is a geographical restriction on the sale of a book (e.g., perhaps people of Town X can't buy it), then all the book stores of Town X won't carry it. Town Y, just a town over can read the book, and its bookstores carry it. There is nothing stopping a person from Town X shopping in Town Y and bringing it back. (This happens a lot, actually - people did travel just to get stuff they couldn't get locally.

Comment Re:Morons are running the USA (Score 2) 649

Not saying Islamic terror isn't a threat, but to put it in perspective, it seems we have just as much to fear from substance abusing or mentally ill drivers mowing people down in a crowd as we do from Jihadis executing carefully planned attacks. Both in terms of the numbers of victims and the frequency of incidents.

Plus Trump oddly keeps forgetting to put the countries that we know harbor terrorists off his executive orders. (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt). The 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. The French bomber was a triple crown - Egyptian citizen touring through Saudi Arabia and getting a French Visa through Dubai.

The other 6 (or 7, in the original order) do not have a record of producing terrorists. (Ignoring the fact that Daneesh routinely recruits American teenagers...)

Slashdot Top Deals

The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of management is that success equals skill. -- Robert Heller