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


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Submission + - Analog Devices Set to Buy Competitor Linear Tech (

Jfetjunky writes: From Analog Devices' website:

On July 26, Analog Devices, Inc. and Linear Technology Corporation entered into a definitive agreement under which Analog Devices will acquire Linear Technology in a cash and stock transaction that values the combined enterprise at approximately $30 billion. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first half of calendar year 2017."

This is a big move for Analog Devices, buying up one of the only other major competitors in the market space for precision analog devices and data converters besides Texas Instruments. They are taking on $7.3 billion of additional debt to complete the purchase of Linear Tech for approximately $14.8 billion. They advertise that the deal will finalize in the first half of 2017. According to their presentation, they have hopes this will nearly double their potential market share.

Submission + - When is 'Unnecessary' Code Necessary? 1

theodp writes: Catching himself terminating statements with semicolons out of habit when none were needed, Rick Wicklin asks: Do you write unnecessary code? And while Wicklin tries to skip certain unnecessary statements, there are others that he finds, well, necessary. "Sometimes I include optional statements in my programs for clarity, readability, or to practice defensive programming," he explains. Wicklin's post is geared towards SAS programming, but the question of when to include technically-unnecessary code — e.g., variable declarations, superfluous punctuation, block constructs for single statements, values for optional parameters that are the defaults, debugging/validation statements, non-critical error handling, explicitly destroying objects that would otherwise be deleted on exit, labeled NEXT statements, full qualification of objects/methods, unneeded code from templates — is a language-agnostic one. So when-and-why do you find it necessary to include 'unnecessary' code in your programs? And are you tolerant of co-workers' unnecessary code choices, or do you sometimes go all Tabs-vs-Spaces (YouTube) on them?

Comment Re:I give this about two weeks. (Score 1) 130

As an ingress player, I couldn't disagree with you more.

Having said that, I took a quick look at pokemon and although interesting, it's surely not my game. There are similarities to ingress, but it's also targeted at a very different audience. Another drawback I saw was their pricing scheme, they seem mostly interested in you dollars, whereas ingress is totally free to play, with only a few 'gimmicks' sold for the die-hard players, and surely will not drain your wallet till the max.

On-topic - ingress has put a lot of couchpotato's outside, made hiking and traveling more fun, and socializes team members in sometimes very close and active communities. I wonder if pokemon will have the same socializing effect.

Submission + - GTK developers decided to give up on long term API/ABI compatibility (

Artem Tashkinov writes: Just when you thought that the speed of software/hardware development has decreased owning to the fact that both software and hardware nowadays are good enough for pretty much everything and everyone, GTK developers decided they do not want to confine themselves to long term API/ABI compatibility and they will release new major incompatible releases every two years (4.0, 5.0, etc) and every six months they will release point releases which will be binary compatible with previous point releases (read 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, etc) but as a user or a software developer you won't be able to compile previous point releases software (say 4.0) on newer point releases (say 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, etc).

People frequently bemoan the fact the Linux is still not gaining any traction on the desktop but unfortunately Linux developers still do not want to develop anything resembling a long term supported platform which guarantees API/ABI compatibility between distros.

Comment Re:Make something the foreigners want (Score 1) 231

Europe has import taxes on about anything, ranging from 10% to over 20%. In particular end-consumer products are taxed very high. On top of that comes sales tax etc, making a lot of things way more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

A recent example is the solar-panel industry. It was said china was 'dumping' solar panels. Read: the prices were dropping so it was getting very interesting for private persons to install solar installations on their roof top, even without any subsidy at all (as lot of countries used to do - European countries love high taxes just to spend it on subsidies again).
So, solar installation companies were flowering. Yet, European solar panel industry was having a hard time making a profit as China would undercut them.

Reaction of European politicians? Just add a 30% import tax on solar panels, just and only to protect a local and very marginal industry. At the cost of delaying and discouraging renewable energies.

So despite all talk and political intentions for more renewables, in practice they only discouraged it and money talks.

On topic. I actually think a better trade agreement between USA & Europe and other countries is a good thing. Just the secrecy and the smoke curtain that surrounds it now is bad. It should be a more public debate allowing more stakeholders to share their views.

Submission + - Dutch minister refuses to stop using private mail for government business (

Melkman writes: Despite being victim of phishing the Dutch minister of economic affairs Henk Kamp will not stop using his private mail for government business. Even after being warned that this is against regulations Kamp said he will continue with this practice because "It's just easier for me, and that's the way it is". Aside from being insecure the messages in private accounts are exempt from WOB requests, the Dutch equivalent of FOIA.

Comment There's a reason some people not even dual boot (Score 2) 250

There's a reason i quit booting windows.. And this just adds one more - as i would have been an effected user, by the looks of it.

I have windows license. I moved the * to a virtual machine. Which i can easily copy, move, boot from whatever i'm running at that moment (although i replace desktop OS only every so often).

I rarely use it (Windows). Primary reason to use it is because some other people use it and request me for help. I don't need or use windows at all, thank you, life is too short to waste time on that clickable crap. I keep the VM updated every so often. And i'm not even considering booting windows ever again, after it evolved a habit of randomly deleting any non-ntfs partitions, or making itself and the rest of the system unbootable, thank you.

Windows is not an OS, it's a data destruction system. They (MS) don't give a f* about your data. It was like that 20 years ago, it was like that 10 years ago and it is now. My data more important than any narcissistic OS. And i not even started about usability issues like convenience or 'just getting things done'.

Submission + - SpaceX recovers a rocket -- a major step toward global Internet connectivity

lpress writes: !n the 1990s Bill Gates and partners in a company called Teledesic planned to launch a constellation of satellites to provide global Internet connectivity. They failed, but twenty years later, two companies — SpaceX and OneWeb — are trying to do the same thing using modern rocket and electronic technology. SpaceX passed a significant milestone yesterday by recovering a $60 million rocket after soft-landing it on a barge at sea. Reuse of first stage rockets will significanltly cut the cost of putting satellite/routers into orbit.

Comment Re:You Yanks Are Stupid! (Score 1) 187

Not sure why you have such positive view on mobile networks in Europe..

Of course, the situation differs a bit per country but in mine (densely populated netherlands) not all providers have optimal coverage, and when crossing borders roaming does exist - at excessive charges up to several pennies a MB and euro's per minute called - in contrast to relative cheap national calling&net.

G4 has largely been rolled out by 2 1/2 provider, but personally i find the reliability far from 100% - as in - my G3 only phone seems to have better internet. High speed is of no use if connection fails at every other corner.

The only thing that 'works' is competition, with t-mobile the underdog here but still with a strong yet not perfect infrastructure. However, as consumer i'd rather had they would share their networks so our phones always gets signal from the best tower - instead of fighting for a signal in a electromagnetic battlefield, my phone ending up getting hot and blasting way more watts of power than would be needed.

Comment Re:Denmark electricity (Score 1) 170

Denmark has a really good PR department.
They can only afford to have so many wind turbines because they also have a lot of dirty coal power plants, and when they produce too much electricity, they sell it at a loss to Sweden and Norway (who have many hydro power plants). Denmark has a pretty bad CO2/kWh electricity footprint.

This is a very inaccurate sketch of reality, and almost any statement in this sentence is untrue.

* Wind power turbines can be started and stopped with simple procedure, in contrary to a large gas, nuclear or coal plant. Wind energy is actually actively used to steer energy supply based on the demands.
The idea that you `need` coal plants to adjust for varying winds is more than a misconception. In reality, it's the other way around - large plants are monoliths that are not usually actively adjusted in output power based on the demand. Wind energy parks are capable of adapting output to demand in real-time.

* Hydro plants are are very nice solution, both for varying demands. When not used, they actively can store energy. There's nothing wrong with hydro plants. There's also nothing wrong with (high voltage / DC / bidirectional) undersea electricity cables that, once installed, help a continent create and distribute more electricity efficiently.

* Denmark produces about 50% of it's energy needs with wind power. That makes an excellent CO2 footprint per kWh.

Please stop your blatant lies and fud. Renewable energy exists, is flexible enough, greatly reduces carbon footprint, and is economically feasible.

The only reason to object renewables is if you have many stock interests in some oil-based company.

-- On-topic: I do agree that bitcoin in it's current form is mostly a waste of energy.

Comment Good deal (Score 1) 224

In all fairness. speaking from overseas.. this sounds like a good deal. If all rural area gets 10/1Mbit net, or better, for only 100M.. then it's a pretty good deal.

And getting anyone connected should be priority for any state. Just only once you have and use net you realize it's about as essential as electricity. So even if tax payers help connecting more remote area's, i'd still see it as a good thing.

Relativating again.. If AT&T were to promise that kind of speeds on landlines nationwide at that price where i live (Netherlands; about same size and pop as california), it'd be laughed at as implausible.

Meanwhile, G3/4 speeds exceed DSL over here. Up to the point that you might consider dropping cable/dsl/landline alltogether. Which is likely anywhere 'soon' (<10 years) as wireless data scaled up much better as cupper based. My DSL now about same speed as my cable connection in 2000, while mobile connection dwarfs the dsl speeds.

just 2 cents..

Submission + - Sphere packing in 8 and 24 dimensions now solved (

JoshuaZ writes: How many spheres of the same size can one pack in a given region? Kepler conjectured that the optimal packing in 3 dimensions was the packing we're used to seeing groceries use to pack oranges. That problem was solved in the 1990s in one of the first computer-aided proofs However, the version of the question for dimensions other than 2 or 3 has remained open. This is an important problem to solve since dense sphere packings in high dimensions give rise to more efficient error-correcting codes which are important for many practical applications such as communication technology and storage. For a long time, the problem of proving the optimal packing for 8 and 24 dimensions were open. The optimal packings were believed to be specific packings which arise from the E_8 and the Leech lattice, a special lattice which exists in 24 dimensions Now, it appears that mathematicians have finally proven that the expected packings in 8 and 24 dimensions are actually ideal. Maryna Viazovska proved that the 8-dimensional lattice is ideal and followup work by Viazovska and four other authors adapts the strategy for 8 dimensions to prove that in 24 dimensions the conjectured solution really is the most efficient.

Submission + - 600,000 TFTP Servers Can Be Abused for Reflection DDoS Attacks

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have discovered that improperly configured TFTP servers can be easily abused to carry out reflection DDoS attacks that can sometimes have an amplification factor of 60, one of the highest such values. There are currently around 600,000 TFTP servers exposed online, presenting a huge attack surface for DDoS malware developers. Other protocols recently discovered as susceptible to reflection DDoS attacks include DNSSEC, NetBIOS, and some of the BitTorrent protocols.

Submission + - Webpage broadcasts radio, even if you don't have radio hardware ( 1

fulldecent writes: If you are using a MacBook Air, open this webpage and turn your nearest AM radio (you still have one?) to 1580 kHz and listen. It will play music. Other types of computers also work and many users have documented the best frequency to tune it. Even some phones work.

This does NOT require any radio-transmitting hardware, wifi, cellular, or audio capabilities either. It is accomplished by modulating expensive processor calculations and your hardware is allowing electromagnetic radiation to leak which is picked up by the radio. This technique was recently presented at USENIX.

The full project page is at and includes versions that you can download and compile and which produce stronger output than the Javascript version.

(Full disclosure: the project was previously mentioned here. However, since the project has been updated to work from a webpage and by using smartphones.)

Slashdot Top Deals

All syllogisms have three parts, therefore this is not a syllogism.