ICE License-Plate Tracking Plan Withdrawn Amid Outcry About Privacy
As if the privacy implications and police overreach weren't bad enough, I have been feeling more and more frustrated over the financial aspect of programs like these. Who decided that this program was good or desirable in the first place? We've been getting along fine for a long time now without a national database of license-plate scans.
The same can be said for many other surveillance and technology initiatives by police and government agencies. These programs cost vast amounts of money which could be used for cancer research, or schools, or bridge repairs, or space exploration, or countless other positive things. Alternatively, just give the money back to the taxpayers and let them put it to good use. I'm pretty sure that only a tiny percentage of people would volunteer to fund programs like these out of their own pockets.
Google Tells Glass Users Not To Be 'Creepy Or Rude'
It's very smart of Google to recognize that "Glasshole" is an inevitable slang term to be applied to some (most?) Glass users. They're trying to get ahead of the term and define it to apply to only the worst kinds of users.
Still, they face an uphill battle if they hope to create a positive public image for Glass. If only 1 in 10,000 Glass users behaves in a socially unacceptable way, that one person will be the focus of endless sensationalist news coverage.
Animal Drug Investigation Reveals Pet Medication Often Doesn't Work
Did you read the article, by chance? It doesn't say that "pet medications don't work." It says that sometimes they don't work because they're prescribed even though they're not supported by evidence.
You also said that people need to do their research... which is the same conclusion written in the article! Gah.
The surprising thing is that it is often vets making these poor recommendations. I expect many average folks without veterinary degrees to make these mistakes. Vets should be held to a higher standard.
Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public
Critics of this federal investigation have claimed that it has the potential to trample free speech, create an atmosphere of fear, and could lead to the wrongful imprisonment of those that the government deems troublemakers.
However, unnamed sources within the government have taken a more positive outlook, stating that this investigation has the potential to trample free speech, create an atmosphere of fear, and could lead to the wrongful imprisonment of those that they deem troublemakers.
Illinois Law Grounds PETA Drones Meant To Harass Hunters
The real issue to discuss should be the appropriate use of drones by the public, and what limitations should be applied across the board to all citizens. That's an important topic which really has nothing to do with hunting or PETA. (Animal rights is also an important topic, but it is separate.)
Think in terms of free speech -- those rights are determined without respect to the beliefs of those people who are granted those rights.
The strange thing here is that the law was applied to a specific situation only. Can the NRA use drones to monitor PETA protests? That doesn't seem fair.
If the point of the law is to allow hunters not to be interfered with, then it should be written that way (since drones are only one of many ways a person might interfere.)
Explorer Plans Hunt For Genghis Khan's Long-Lost Tomb
Let me get this straight. His hypothesis is that Khan is buried somewhere in the geographic region in which he died? And his next "phase" is just to pinpoint the location?
This is a great way to solve problems! I'd like to hypothesize that P=NP can be proven using clever mathematical methods. I plan to do this next fall. My next phase is to pinpoint which mathematical methods to use.
6TB Helium-Filled Hard Drives Take Flight
I evaluated storage prices in July 2009 and June 2012. This is a good chance to check how prices have changed.
What's the actual retail price for 10TB of storage?
July 2009: Platter = $750, Flash = $28,125
June 2012: Platter = $567, Flash = $8,200
November 2013: Platter = $450, Flash = $5,417
Based on the trends from 16 months ago, I would have expected the platter price for 10TB to be $495, and the flash price to be $4,506. Traditional drives beat my predictions, which seems to show that the industry has fully recovered from the various production and reliability issues which plagued the 3TB generation of drives. The pace of improvement for flash drives has slowed, but it's still jaw-droppingly quick. Will this pace continue to slow as the technical challenges become more complex?
New Prediction for July 2014: Platter = $416, Flash = $4,204
New Prediction for July 2015: Platter = $370, Flash = $2,875
New Prediction for July 2019: Platter = $231, Flash = $629
New Prediction for July 2024: Platter = $128, Flash = $94
This is all good news for the hard drive industry, and bad news for those of us hoping to stop relying on rapidly spinning disks. The predicted date when the technologies reach price equivalence is pushed back to May 2023, from the previous prediction of August 2020. If the pace of flash memory development continues to slow, and hard drives get a boost from helium technology, this date will drift even further out of reach. I don't want to imagine that hard drives could still have a meaningful role into the 2030's, but it's conceivable.
To end on a happier note for flash storage, consider that the price ratio for flash storage vs. platter storage was 37.5x in July 2009. After a little more than 4 years, the ratio is down to 12x! That's unbelievable progress, especially considering that flash technology is chasing a fast-moving target.
Android KitKat Released
I hate this trend too. I have a Nexus tablet, and I accept its limitations because there isn't much competition for Android tablets. This is an opportunity for some company to come along and grab a piece of the market.
Imagine a tablet with a back cover which can detach. This cover houses the battery, and it's available in 2 or 3 different thicknesses. The thinnest size is for those who value sleekness and having a device .01" thinner than the competition. The slightly thicker sizes are for those who are more concerned with lasting battery power.
This concept could extend to other options as well. There could be a back cover which adds an HDMI port and a full-sized USB 3 port. There might even be a cover which turns the device into a mini-computer, with a fold-out keyboard, external connectors, and an SSD drive.
Some users would choose a cover at purchase time, and never need to detach it. Power users would probably have 2-3 covers and swap them as needed. The body of the device would include the screen, motherboard, 8GB of flash memory for applications, and an SD card slot for general storage. It would also have a tiny battery to allow the user to swap out covers without shutting down.
Facebook May Dislike the Social Fixer Extension, but Many Users Love It (Video)
For most websites, banning would be a limp threat. However, Facebook has an unusual amount of power - for some users, the site may be the primary way that they keep in touch with family and friends, and could even be important to a person's career. There is no ready replacement for this. Unlike email, a person can't just switch to another provider and have a similar experience.
Facebook is being a bully here and trying to make Matt Kruze fear what he will lose if he continues development of this free browser extension. His development hobby has nothing to do with his personal, social use of Facebook. It's an irresponsible, dickish use of the power that Facebook derives from their unique market position.
Amazon Selects Their Favorite Fake Customer Reviews
Claudia Schiffer: Perfectly Fit Arms (VHS Tape)
Though I didn't follow the workout as stringently as Claudia would have wanted, I did indeed give my arm a vigorous workout using this tape.
MMO Fan Site Removes Character Stats Over Trademark Claim
If this complaint is valid, then any Slashdot user name which contains a term that is trademarked anywhere on the planet would be subject to deletion (or at least forced renaming.)
If I decided I didn't like a user here, I could attack them by trademarking the person's user name and then submitting a complaint!
UK Judge: Galaxy Tab "Not Cool" Enough To Infringe iPad
That's an interesting link, and it shows how many companies missed the boat on minimalism. However, I can't believe that no one could conceive of the idea of an iPad-like device before Apple. There are several similar devices found in science fiction, including 2001, Star Trek, and The Incredibles. Apple had great execution but the basic concept is really straightforward.
Every smartphone and tablet will converge on a single design: A thin rectangular touchscreen with a browser, an app store, and a wireless connection. Eventually the line between the browser and the app store will blur. It's as inevitable as a car having four wheels - it was going to be that way regardless of who invented it first.
There is still a little room for innovation in things like peripherals, cameras, processors, screen types, sharing between devices, etc., but these are just ways of dressing up the fundamental concept.
Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?
You suggest writing as one good way to spend time. But what if everyone wrote, and nobody took the time to be entertained and inspired by those writings? Creative expression is valuable, but it requires both creators and an audience.
I certainly agree that a person should find interesting pursuits and not simply absorb entertainment. I just want to suggest that there is room for both of these things as part of a balanced and fulfilling life.
Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?
The main reason TV has traditionally sucked is the way in which it is delivered and consumed. It is pushed at the viewer on a preset schedule. Viewers are given many channels, and they end up flipping through channels randomly. As a result, the shows are designed to grab attention with loud gimmicks, and they must be written for low attention spans.
However, the landscape is changing, and over the past several years we've had some of the best shows ever made. Because of DVRs and shows on DVD, it is much easier for a person to follow a show completely, and so certain shows are being written more intelligently for people who are paying attention. Because of the internet, it's much easier to read reviews and find shows which are high quality and suited to a person's interests.
Of course, there's also more crap television being made than ever before! But that's why I don't get cable or flip through channels. I choose things that are worth my time. There is also no shortage of awful books and websites, but it's easy for me to skip those things and just read what I care about.
I happen to think TV can be a compelling story telling medium in the right hands. It allows for exploring and developing characters in depth much like a book, but with the visual language and theatrical elements of movies. One show which proves how artistically and excellently this can be done is Breaking Bad.
Game of Thrones: Bush's Head Gets a Makeover
I'm hoping this leads to a fan edit in which every dead character on screen is replaced by Bush! I say this not because of hatred for Bush, but because HBO and various commentators have taken this amusing situation way too seriously.
SSD Prices Down 46% Since 2011
I created some back-of-the-envelope predictions in July 2009 about the cost for 10TB of storage using either type of drive technology. Unfortunately, neither technology has kept pace with my predictions, but SSDs are making much better progress.
Actual July 2009 Prices for 10TB: Platter = $750, Flash = $28,125
Actual June 2012 Prices: Platter = $567, Flash = $8200
Previous Prediction for July 2010: Platter = $528, Flash = $9,868
Previous Prediction for July 2012: Platter = $262, Flash = $1,215
Previous Prediction for July 2014: Platter= $130, Flash = $150
Previous Prediction for July 2019: Platter= $23, Flash = $0.80
It's a shame to see that after three years, the prices are closer to where I hoped to see them in a single year. I think it's time to update my predictions based on what has happened over the previous 35 months. (Yes, I know this in unscientific and silly!)
New Prediction for July 2012: Platter = $562, Flash = $7916
New Prediction for July 2013: Platter = $511, Flash = $5188
New Prediction for July 2014: Platter = $464, Flash = $3400
New Prediction for July 2015: Platter = $422, Flash = $2228
New Prediction for July 2019: Platter = $287, Flash = $411
New Prediction for July 2024: Platter = $178, Flash = $50
These predictions seem much more achievable than last time. In fact, I expect that platter drives will exceed this pace as the industry recovers. I can't believe that platter drives will only see around a 50% price reduction per TB over the next seven years. However, that's been the pace of improvement from July 2009 until now.
The most interesting date will be when the technologies reach price equivalence. This would be August 2020 according to my model, at the price of $260 for 10 TB. My gut feeling is that equivalence will be reached a couple of years earlier than that, but who knows? We'll just have to watch and see!
Trailer For Blender Open Movie Sintel Ready
Quickly, Downolad! To the Up-mobile! We must get to the bottom of Lepto-man's strange plans. He may be on top for now, but he won't charm this city forever.
Google Releases Chrome 5.0 For Win/Mac/Linux
I do. The common mantra seems to be, "Enough privacy to get people to stop complaining." Google, Facebook, Myspace, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe are all guilty of this thinking, and they're showing no sign of letting up.
You're free to find a paid service for your email and web searching needs. When you go to Google's page, you're choosing to trade a little privacy for free services. Most people find this trade worthwhile.
To me the most important factor is whether an ad-supported service makes the effort to respect their users and to be careful with how they use the information they obtain. Places like Google and Yahoo seem to take the approach of respecting the users, although Google has made mistakes recently. Facebook, on the other hands, seems determined to strategically take every advantage possible from their users.
Outsourcing Unit To Be Set Up In Indian Jail
I get it... you were in for spamming! I think I will not email you. :)
IEEE Introduces Mario Level-Generation Competition
The video of last year's winning AI player is impressive, but it's not anything like watching a real person play. For next year, they should add a Mario Turing contest. The goal is to make an AI player that is the hardest to distinguish from a human player.
This would be relevant to game design, as having opponents and allies who seem to act human can greatly improve a game.