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In France, a Second Patient Receives Permanent Artificial Heart

EmperorArthur Re:Tragic technology failure ... (183 comments)

Compared to out-of-control, control is nice; but compared to 'just fucking works' it's a thankless chore and a good opportunity to make mistakes.

+1

Though to be fair, there are many inconveniences people will put up with to not be dead or in a hospital.

about a week ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

EmperorArthur Re:autoplay sucks anyway (108 comments)

If slashdot ever decided to pull this shit

Doesn't it? I don't have flash installed so it doesn't happen to me, but I seem to remember it beginning to occur recently if I visited slashdot with chrome

Is it the ads? For all that site operators hate Ad blockers they forget to look at the bandwidth and compute resources their own advertisements take up. Especially flash ads.

Of course, even if most sites did fix that issue, all it takes is one obnoxious site that's needed for something to convince a person to install an Ad blocker. Then there's the user tracking aspect....

about a week ago
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Why Munich Will Stick With Linux

EmperorArthur Re:There is actually one problem with opensource (185 comments)

I've prototyped a few boards with KiCad and didn't even know about it. I'm going to spend some time trying to find it now. Honestly, it's great software, but even after memorizing some of the shortcuts I feel like Eagle is faster and easier to use. Plus the inconsistent naming with footprints being called modules, and other small UI usability issues are annoying. I guess it's a familiarity issue, but once again a commercial company has become something of a hobbyist standard. I'm still using KiCad though...

about two weeks ago
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Why Munich Will Stick With Linux

EmperorArthur Re:There is actually one problem with opensource (185 comments)

If I were in charge of something like the city of Munich I would put out a memo that says, "If you talk to a large software vendor then your continued employment is unlikely."

Wow, I would never want to work for you. I mean I love Linux and open source. Heck, don't even have Windows installed on any of my PCs, but to say no proprietary thing ever.... There are really neat things and software packages out there. Sure they cost a fortune, but the Open Source versions are crap in comparison. Then you have to deal with industry standards / common training. This is where Microsoft has traditionally won, but their ribbon interface and Windows 8 threw those advantages out the window.

Here's a few examples. Cad software. There are FOSS versions available, but proprietary versions, like Eagle, are significantly easier to use. Another example is DMX lighting controller software. The Hog 3 PC software sucks and costs a fortune, but it's commonly used and the FOSS versions are unusable for large on the fly modification.

A common retort is to just hire a person to code what is needed. Here's the thing, I can't. First, because I need the software now not two years from now. Second, because in many organizations the equipment budget is handled separately from the labor budget. Good luck trying to shuffle that money around.

With all that said, I'm glad Munich has stayed the course. There's no way this rollout could have been easy, but they did it!

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

EmperorArthur Re:Many languages and... (725 comments)

Anyhow, if you prefer to not religiously bracket your if/else conditions, the behavior of semicolons in your language can cause problems.

Some people hate this because brackets "clutter" the code, but Apple's goto fail bug was caused by a developer accidentally duplicating a line, and not bracketing the if() statement.

about two weeks ago
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How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

EmperorArthur Re:TI calculators are not outdated, just overprice (359 comments)

Adding to that, the TI calculators are also programmable. Unless they're checked right before the test is taken, then someone can still put whatever they want on them.

about two weeks ago
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Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

EmperorArthur Re:Welcome to Australia, Ferengi. (139 comments)

overall, very few products I've encountered are that shabbily made (in fact the only one I can think of was a portable DVD player made by a company which went bankrupt anyway a few months later, so I would've been out the warranty even if I'd bought it in the EU).

Haven't bought a Toshiba have you? They have a 3 month warranty, they DMCA repair guides, you can't get parts to fix them yourself, and repairs start at over $200 then go up. When there shit breaks within 6 to 9 months it doesn't make me a happy customer.

about two weeks ago
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UPS: We've Been Hacked

EmperorArthur Re:FTA... (62 comments)

Nah, an infected USB key would do it. So would a phishing attempt that most people ignored. UPS stores are franchise operations, so it's not too hard to imagine something like this slipping through the cracks for a tiny percentage of the stores.

about three weeks ago
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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

EmperorArthur Re:They can already cut off your service (299 comments)

You don't need a kill switch built in to the phone. You just cut the service off at the carrier.
The capability already exists.

Denial of Service has happened in the past. I believe BART did this to try and deal with protesters. The thing is that cell phones still connect to towers even if the SIM card is removed, and you're excluding the phones that don't even have SIM cards. As has been previously mentioned we're going to start seeing stories about "undesirables" phones being wiped.

about a month ago
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

EmperorArthur Re:Is there an counter to this? (251 comments)

Does anyone have a script a customer can stick to when dealing with Comcast?

The Comcast call center script, with points values, was leaked a while ago. If you want to annoy the other person then you can just read off what number and the section heading as they go through it.

Just don't forget to record the call, otherwise they'll do things like charge you for something that they said was free.

about a month ago
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

EmperorArthur Re:McDonallds should sue ... (251 comments)

Isn't it in McD's training manual to upsell as well. Not that I love Comcast or McDonalds, but if this isn't standard operating procedure, then you aren't doing your shareholders right.

This is more like telling the person in McDonalds that your burger is nothing but two piece of bread and them saying, "Sorry this isn't close to what you ordered, but do you want fries with it?"

Comcast can only get away with these scummy tactics because most of us don't have a choice. It's Comcast or no TV. More relevant to Slashdot, it's Comcast or dialup. Just think, if they buy Time Warner then almost everyone will enjoy the suffering.

about a month ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

EmperorArthur Re:People acutaly LIKE the open floor plans? (160 comments)

It's probably more like people like offices that don't look like they were built in the 60s. It can get depressing in some of those buildings.

about 1 month ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

EmperorArthur Re:Follow the money (393 comments)

Speaking as someone who's lived in Huntsville, AL, do you really think all those people joined NASA just because it's a job? Sure some of the contractors may think that way, but plenty of people I know who work on that stuff in Huntsville are cheering SpaceX on. We want cheap Human spaceflight, and we want it now dammit.

An important thing to remember is that people who are affected by something like this are smart. In many cases they actually are "rocket scientists." The politicians are listening to the corporations, NOT their constituents.

about a month ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

EmperorArthur Re:EIGHT weeks??? Nukes need to be more modular. (120 comments)

These reactors are relatively new, "commissioned in 1983", but that's still over twenty years old. The main goals of reactor design are safety and efficiency. With that in mind I'm sure they've done quite a bit of design work on making these things more maintenance friendly. Especially since the shutdowns are precautionary after they found a problem at the first one. They're searching for something that may not even exist.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

EmperorArthur Re:Enough (421 comments)

Schools are not daycare/nanycare for your rug rats.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but for many people in the US they are just that. It's more likely to be that way for low income parents. Especially those low income parents who work more than 40 hours a week.

Classic school hours are 8am to 3pm. If the child takes the bus then add on average about an hour to both. So they leave at 7am and arrive at 8am. After school activities mean the child can't take the bus home, but typically last for about 2 hours. So, a parent doesn't need to pick them up until around 5pm.

This lets a working parent not have to worry about his or her child, and may be why some parents encourage after school activities. Of course far too many parents think their kid will be the next sports superstar and make millions of dollars. Those people are idiots.

about a month ago
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Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU

EmperorArthur Re:Performance? (136 comments)

The most interesting thing about the PP, is that the general design philosophy is to use a separate core for each task, thus completely eliminating the need for interrupts. So real time latency is drastically reduced.

So how important is any of this? Well, the PP is not very popular, to say the least, and I have never seen one used outside of a hobby project. That is probably why they figure they have nothing to lose by opening it up.

Yeah, because to those of us who've done microcontroller development the lack of interrupts just no sells the whole thing, plus it's not like polling is any less complex. Here's an example:

The system is running on battery power, and you want it to use minimal energy. In normal design, you have the chip sleep while waiting for an event that only happens occasionally. (In this context anything under 1kHz can probably be counted as occasionally. Without interupts this thing has to stay awake and have at least one of its cores polling for the event.

There are quite a few other cases where interrupts are useful. Polling can get the job done, but is horribly inefficient and needs code to be written to handle things that other microcontrollers handle in hardware.

The multiple cores are neat though.

about a month ago
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City of London Police Take Down Proxy Service Over Piracy Concerns

EmperorArthur Re:Not a private police force (133 comments)

Each body or organisation, whether unincorporated or incorporated, whose premises are within the City of London may appoint a number of voters based on the number of workers it employs.

That's straight from the Wikipedia entry on the City of London.

Here on Slashdot we often talk about corporate person hood. The City of London is what happens when you jump straight to letting those corporations vote. When the government is by the corporations for the corporations it's not surprising that the police force is also a tool of the corporations.

about a month ago
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Linux Kernel Shuffling Zombie Juror Aka 3.16 Released

EmperorArthur Re:Joystick support on Linux a mess (63 comments)

Where is joystick support on Linux last time I looked was a unnecessary nightmare...trivial to set up if the program has its own joystick configuration, a nightmare to get sensible universal settings.

Depends on your application. The easy "hack" I use with my Dualshock3 and Game Boy Emulator is a program that converts joystick buttons presses to keyboard button presses. It also sends key commands when the joystick goes beyond a certain point, or can convert joystick motion to mouse movement.. It's called Qjoypad if you're interested.

Pro: Easy setup
Cons: Analog joystick and button presses are converted to digital keyboard presses. So you lose the fine control.

about a month and a half ago

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