Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Mt. Fuji Volcano In 'Critical State' After Quakes

PensivePeter Re:Great (151 comments)

The letter is a distinct "Ö" (pronounced in IPA as "ø"). There is no umlaut in Icelandic and unlike the German, cannot be written alternatively as "oe"
Just sayin' ...slow news evening...but otherwise correct observation!

about a week ago

FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

PensivePeter Driverless may also mean ownerless (435 comments)

If a car doesn't need a driver, then the expensive piece of capital investment that a car represents is simply shuttling passengers around. Such cars will or could be put to work without the owner - it's not just a matter of "send it back home after my commute to pick up the spouse to go shopping", it could also be "pick up x number of people on y number of routes on the way back to my house to maximize use of the vehicle.....err, which is what Google and Uber are presumably heading towards, no? We'll pay you to use your driverless many people would fall for that (and everything it implies).
But at what point do the scales tip and simply doesn't make any economic sense to own a vehicle (except for the pious and pompous Silicon Valley showoffs who want everyone to know about their Tesla)

about a week ago

Study: People Would Rather Be Shocked Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

PensivePeter Re:Sad, sad times... (333 comments)

Well, our education systems encourage snappy responses and speed tests not deep thinking. Watch a movie made in the last decade and the average transition time between cuts is around 3-5 seconds, compared with 15-20 a couple of decades back. Managers of public spaces HATE silence - and prefer to fill it with vacuous muzak than let people sit or walk in silence. We are everywhere surrounded by the sound bite, the elevator pitch, the latest catch phrase or advertising jingle. Is it any surprise that younger people are uncomfortable with silence and rest when we've prepared the ground so well for exactly the opposite?

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

PensivePeter Only one piece of technology that makes the grade (143 comments)

Surface. Yep, Microsoft's Surface, particularly the new Pro 3 running OneNote allows real time note taking with a very good quality stylus, instant on (click the pen and a new page opens ready to work, even if you're tablet is locked - a stroke of genius), you can pull in and cross reference Word docs, PPTs, web pages, etc. and the whole is synced real time back end to other devices. Need to take a photo of notes on a whiteboard, use the OfficeLens app on your phone and it gets sent to OneNote, optimized (reflections, stuff of the board, etc. eliminated) and does an OCR of what's there if the handwriting is half decent. I use this every day - I manage or participate in half a dozen different types of meetings every day. Fan boy? Of this product, yup. OneNote on a tablet was always good but MSFT treated it like a poor cousin - they finally understand the potential and have provided a kick ass product for EXACTLY this niche. There is no other product close to Surface for responding to this kind of usage scenario. And if just f^&*ing works. Really.

about three weeks ago

AT&T Charges $750 For One Minute of International Data Roaming

PensivePeter Re:This (321 comments)

Or buy a Microsoft/Nokia Lumia phone where you can download offline maps to the phone and use the GPS to find your way around without any data roaming need whatsoever. Pretty cool on planes too, a legit way to track where you're flying over while still in airplane mode

about a month and a half ago

Supermassive Black Hole At the Centre of Galaxy May Be Wormhole In Disguise

PensivePeter Nah... (293 comments)

...if it were, we would be able to see all the biros (

about 2 months ago

Virgin Galactic Passengers May Just Miss Going into Space

PensivePeter Re:Does it really matter? (203 comments)

Concorde offered such views (curvature of the Earth, sun and starts set against space in full "daylight" below) at a mere 60,000ft. That cost about $8,000 a ticket when I flew her in the early '80s

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

PensivePeter Missing info (294 comments)

You don't say why a Change Advisory Board is wanting to manage every patch - is it over-zealous micro-management or is there a wider governance issue?

about 3 months ago

Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

PensivePeter "Download" != useful metric (285 comments)

I have downloaded various versions of OpenOffice and LibreOffice over the past years, probably accounting for 20+ downloads on various devices. None has been really used as the package falls short of my expectations each time. Same for many "free" downloads of other software, such as UML modelling, server, dB and CRM software. I have ended up buying the professional package nearly every time. Money on the table says I've made a commitment (ok, yes, or that I should be committed to the funny farm for even considering purchasing software) - downloading a stream of bits for free means very little. Can they track activations? Active use? I suspect the figures for active, committed, use are far, far, lower. How many documents do you see floating around, created in OpenOffice (rather than exported to .odf which, btw, MS Office does very cleanly). And there is the question of the ODF standard: which of the multiple OpenOffice and LibreOffice builds actually generates ISO-compliant ODF? They all seem to generate slight forks or use as-yet-not-ISO-compliant versions that don't play well together.

about 3 months ago

Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

PensivePeter Re:bollocks (292 comments)

No doubt that you (or any one of us) can point to things we already know about - and there is indeed no shortage and, you can argue, are a moral imperative to solve, rather than counting angels on pinheads. To that extent, I agree with you. But Kuhn's point is that some things are unsolvable (if not unimaginable) without a methodology: the "scientific method" of hypothesis, test, assertion, rinse, repeat, is relatively recent and itself led to major revolutions in thinking. Causality in an epoch where religion and divine intervention reigns? Inconceivable. Curved space and time? Inconceivable within the framework of Newtonian mechanics. There are many things inconceivable within our current reference, that is all that I'm saying

about 3 months ago

Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

PensivePeter Time to re-read Thomas Kuhn (292 comments)

In his "Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Thomas Kuhn argues that our abilities are limited by the current "template" of thinking - before you have the language of formal logic, for example, you can't argue that something seems "logical" or deducible from the facts available. Science progresses so far within a particular paradigm and then leaps forward with another - Newtonian mechanics, relativity, string theory. Maybe we are due for a new "episodic spasm" into a new paradigm?

about 3 months ago

Software Uses Almost 1/2 the Storage On 32GB Surface Tablet

PensivePeter It's not a storage device (471 comments)

Why would you store anything except the last couple of movies, recent photographs, videos and documents? It is designed for efficiently managing and working with current but transitory content. If you want storage, connect it to a homegroup (2 clicks), acquire a storage device or home server.

about a year and a half ago

iPhone 5 Scorns Standards Promise To European Commission

PensivePeter Re:RTFA (543 comments)

Every other manufacturer made the effort to eliminate adaptors but not Apple. Two reasons: they hate standards unless they own them; they encourage not only a fanboy user base but a fanboy ecosystem of manufacturers of otherwise useless peripherals.

about 2 years ago

Impending CA Sales Tax Sparks Amazon Buying Frenzy

PensivePeter Re:Jerks (259 comments)

You get the government you deserve. The land of the free has amongst the lowest voter turnout in the democratic world. If you don't like it, vote to change it. If you don't get enough votes, it's because others don't agree with you. Get over it. The OP is about calling retailers to make the same tax contribution that is expected of everyone else and not using tax avoidance as a way of being competitive on price, distorting the market.

about 2 years ago

In Praise of Procrastination

PensivePeter Erm (1 comments)

Let me think a moment what to reply....

more than 3 years ago

FAA Reports Heat In Cargo Holds Can Ignite Laptop Batteries

PensivePeter Obligatory Steve Jobs jibe (103 comments)

They are just holding them the wrong way...

more than 3 years ago

Hawking: No 'Theory of Everything'

PensivePeter A Grand Design - a disappointing read (465 comments)

It's difficult to tell how much of the content and prose style is down to Mlodinow, but the book fell between two stools - trying to be light and fun to attract non-specialists and then being close to incomprehensible (and sloppy) in some of the deep-dive sections. The Standard Model is better explained in Wikipedia!
It felt as though the two were indeed grasping at straws and I was left unconvinced about M-theory. The idea that "any universe is possible with any set of laws" seems a little trite without more meat to their argument and smacks of an anything-goes cultural relativism (no pun intended), however sincere their commitment to, and explanation of, the strong anthropic principle: "the laws we have are that way because they are the laws of the universe that we are in". I really did expect better than that.

more than 3 years ago

HP Shows Off Android 'Printer' Tablet

PensivePeter More HP bloatware...? (70 comments)

No thanks. If I need to print something, what's wrong with hitting the "print" control within any application? HP's misguided belied that users want to enter some long-term love affair with their utilities is as misguided as Adobe' your job (print, show document, etc) and then get the f**k off the device's limited resources....

more than 3 years ago


PensivePeter hasn't submitted any stories.


PensivePeter has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account