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Idiot Leaves Driver's Seat In Self-Driving Infiniti, On the Highway

PensivePeter All autmoatics are "self-driving" already (406 comments)

Unless you remember to slip into neutral or park, you can get out of the driving seat of an automatic and the car will "drive" itself and that's always been the case: how many times have I seen an altercation when one driver slams on the brakes and jumps out to argue with someone, only for the car to start off again before he can barely get out of his seat.
Fortunately, "driving" is still considered in law as an activity requiring control of *all* the vehicles functions while the engine is switched on. Lane-control is not the same as "driving" although you'd have a hard time convincing many Californians.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Good Technology Conferences To Attend?

PensivePeter Good Technology? (131 comments)

There are *no* conferences on Good Technology.

about two weeks ago

Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

PensivePeter Re:Quote from the article (181 comments)

"Stormy petrel" not "storm petrel"
Or are you all too young to remember Monty Python's "Stormy Petrel on a Stick"?

about three weeks ago

Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

PensivePeter Disingenuous and poor marketing (113 comments)

ICANN could reasonably argue that the ccTLDs are "licensed" in some form or another - but that doesn't in itself invalidate the ownership of said *license*. I "own" the exclusive right to operate and manage my domain for as long as I renew on time and the domain registrar plays by the rules. No reason to assume that TLD's operate any differently.
But ICANN seem to want their cake and eat it. "The domains are not property and can't be owned" they cry, at the same time as asserting that only ICANN can assign (and presumably revoke) them. If they really aren't property, then please stand aside and watch the storm brew.
Worst of all, it seems like a marketing own goal and great ammunition for those who would wrest ccTLD control away from ICANN and have it run by a UN agency or similar.

about three weeks ago

UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

PensivePeter Re:Outlawing this fun too? (282 comments)

I was once asked for my online service password when I walked in to a retail cell phone store. "None of your fucking business", I replied - honestly. They didn't seem to appreciate the sting.

about three weeks ago

Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

PensivePeter Re:Expensive and irrelevant (213 comments)

I had the same experience with IEEE. Nice when you're looking for something to go on your resume but otherwise expensive and close to zero value. They are also aggressive in their marketing and landgrabs moving in to any field of activity where they think they can make some money, irrespective of whether they have any comptenece in that field or not. "Hammer, meet some new nails".

about three weeks ago

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 month 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 month 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 a month and a half ago

Philips Ethernet-Powered Lighting Transmits Data To Mobile Devices Via Light

PensivePeter I thought morse ided last year? (104 comments)

Nuf said, de dah di di

about a month and a half 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 a month and a half 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 2 months 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 3 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 3 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 2 years ago


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