×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

SoftwareArtist Re:Why bother? (420 comments)

> Java's IDEs are not as good as .Net's (Visual Studio is probably the best IDE ever built)

You have got to be kidding! Visual Studio is probably the single worst designed IDE I've ever used (and I've used a lot!), and compared to just about anything in the Java world it is unbelievably primitive. Every time I have to do something in Visual Studio I quickly find myself cursing it. Between the mostly broken autocompletion, its inability to distinguish between classes and constructors, the fact that you can't do anything while a build is in progress, not even trivial things like selecting "set as startup project", the unbelievable slowness and constant hangs...

If you want to see a truly good IDE, give IDEA a try. It's like moving from the 19th century into the 21st.

about a week ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

SoftwareArtist Wrong questions (420 comments)

> 2. Is there an open source choice today that's popular enough to be considered the standard that employers would like?

I think this poster is really asking the wrong questions. There are lots of different choices that are all popular, depending on what you want to do. Web development? Java, PHP, and Node are all fairly popular. Android development? That means Java. iOS? It's Objective C and/or Swift. Windows? It's C#. Cross platform game engines? C++. There are good reasons for those differences. You really don't want to try writing web applications in C++, or game engines in PHP. But in every case, there are existing options that are "up to the job" and, in most cases, open source.

Until now, C# and .NET were basically Windows-only technologies, and that held them back. (Yes there was Mono, but it was never more than the unloved step child.) With that changing, it now becomes plausible to use it for more things. Whether it's "up to the job" in those other fields has to be decided on technical grounds. Whether it will manage to take "market share" away from other technologies is partly a technical question, but more a political one.

> Choosing a standard means you can recruit young, cheap developers and actually get some output from them before they move on.

It also means you can recruit experienced developers who already know the technology. Standardization isn't just about being able to exploit people!

about a week ago
top

IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

SoftwareArtist Re:Really? (196 comments)

That's right, no TV and proud of it! I only watch what I can stream over the internet. :) Which these days is almost everything.

(Actually I do own a TV, but not to watch TV programs. The only things connected to it are various game consoles.)

You know, just because someone sees no value in the particular technology you're trying to hype, it doesn't automatically follow that they're a "Luddite" who has to be "dragged into the future kicking and screaming." Sometimes it's because the hype really is just hype. The burden is on you to present reasoned arguments for why your shiny new technology really will be useful to me, and not just resort to name calling.

about three weeks ago
top

IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

SoftwareArtist Re:Really? (196 comments)

But I don't have any IP cameras. I don't want anything triggering the lights except me turning on the switch. I don't have a home server, and if I did have one, I certainly wouldn't want it turning on the oven. I know whether I plan to bake something, and it doesn't. Barcode scanners on refrigerators were a silly idea in 1995, and the idea hasn't gotten any less silly just because it's now wireless.

This all sounds like a solution in search of a problem. It doesn't make my life better. The default for any product should be that it isn't networked unless there's a really good reason that it needs to be. At least that way I don't have to worry about hackers breaking into.

about three weeks ago
top

Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

SoftwareArtist Re:Strong AI = child (574 comments)

We have a lot of experience creating children. We've created many billions of them so far, and none of them has yet wiped out humanity. It doesn't mean one of them won't eventually do it, but still we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from children.

We've never created a strong AI. We have very little idea what to expect from one. There's a good chance it will behave differently from any human in ways we have trouble predicting. That's a good reason to be cautious about creating one. It will not be the same as a human child.

about three weeks ago
top

"Advanced Life Support" Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths

SoftwareArtist Re:Training? (112 comments)

I remember a doctor telling me the same thing years ago. He said that EMTs are trained to do a fixed list of things, but aren't sufficiently trained to determine which ones will be beneficial for a given patient. Therefore, they always do all of them, whether they're needed or not. This is good for the ambulance companies, since they can charge the maximum amount for every call. It's bad for patients, because it then takes much longer to get to a hospital. In a minority of patients, one of those things on that fixed list of interventions will happen to be helpful... though not necessarily helpful enough to make up for the delay in getting to the hospital. In the majority of patients, they have no benefit and just cause delay.

about a month ago
top

Machine-Learning Algorithm Ranks the World's Most Notable Authors

SoftwareArtist Not in America! (55 comments)

Every year the works of thousands of authors enter the public domain

No copyright has expired in the US since 1998, and none will expire until at least 2019. I say "at least", because you can be sure there will be lots of lobbying to extend them even further. I hope the rest of the world is enjoying their public domain... while they still have it.

about a month ago
top

Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

SoftwareArtist Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (330 comments)

No. You just said several things that are simply false. Please let me clarify them.

First, you seem to have the idea that experiments like this are expensive to perform. They aren't. I used to work in an MRI research lab. The cost of doing a scan is close to zero. Buying the machine in the first place is expensive, but since my lab was in a hospital, they already had that. The hospital used it for patients during the day, and then left it idle most of the night. That's when the graduate students ran their experiments. The cost of doing this study is whatever you have to pay some undergraduates to come in the middle of the night and get their brains scanned: not very much.

Second, this study was not a fishing expedition. It's the latest in a growing body of literature on the subject. They included various types of "disgusting" images because previous studies had shown (based on skin response and the like) that conservatives have a stronger response to them than liberals do. They included threat images for the same reason: previous studies have shown that conservatives have a stronger startle reflex than liberals. They were a bit surprised when they didn't find anything for those images, and they include commentary speculating on why they didn't. There is no previous evidence that conservatives and liberals respond differently to pleasant images, so they would have been surprised if anything had shown up there. And it would have been very surprising if they'd found any difference for neutral images, making those a good negative control.

Third, as a neuroscientist you're well aware that we know more about the brain than just the sensory and motor parts. That doesn't mean we have detailed circuits, but we do know, for example, that particular regions are involved in emotion, memory, higher cognitive tasks, etc. Maybe those parts aren't what you are personally interested in, but that doesn't make them invalid subjects to study.

about 2 months ago
top

Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

SoftwareArtist Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (330 comments)

How about you? What were you going to add?

I was going to add (and did add) the suggestion that you read the paper so you could post informed opinions rather than uninformed ones. (It amazes me how often my signature quote turns out to be exactly relevant.) And that led you to do it, so I totally count it as a positive contribution to the discussion!

I do, however, think you're being overly harsh toward this paper. They crossvalidated their results, and also included negative controls in the study. If their statistics were really as badly done as you claim, they would have found just as strong predictors based on the pleasant and neutral images. But they didn't.

about 2 months ago
top

Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

SoftwareArtist Re:Conservatives don't accept that Humans are anim (330 comments)

My take on this as a US liberal, is that this might be indicative of a conservative having an aversion to being reminded of how humans are little more than animals.

I'm not at all surprised that, as a liberal, you would interpret it that way. Even though there's nothing in the study that actually supports that interpretation. A conservative, of course, would almost certainly not interpret it that way. The liberal and the conservative are both being equally emotional and non-rational in their reasoning.

Think carefully about what you just did. You first decided (based primarily on emotion) what conclusion you wanted to reach, then interpreted the data as supporting that conclusion. You did that (as everyone does, many times a day) despite the fact that it required wild extrapolations, and there are tons of other interpretations equally consistent with the data. This is exactly the sort of thing this article is talking about. Humans are not rational. We make decisions based on emotion, then rationalize them to convince ourselves they were actually based on logic. If you are human, then you are not rational. If you believe you are, that's just an example of one of your irrational beliefs.

about 2 months ago
top

Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

SoftwareArtist Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of you (330 comments)

Unfortunately this is most likely sensationalist BS, not interesting science. I haven't read the paper.

So maybe you should read the paper? Then you'll know. Instead you just posted lots of totally uninformed speculation about what they "probably did" while presenting this as some sort of authoritative view. In just a few minutes you could have skimmed the paper (it's not very long and quite clearly written), then posted a useful commentary that would actually add to the conversation.

about 2 months ago
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

SoftwareArtist Apple designs for yesterday (370 comments)

Example: a few releases ago they made scrollbars thinner (making them harder to click), and also made them disappear by default. All this to "free up the space" that was being "wasted" by scrollbars. Now in Yosemite they're getting rid of window title bars in many apps, making it harder to move windows around. This is for the same reason: to free up space being used by title bars.

My computer has a 24" screen. The space taken up by scrollbars and window titles is completely insignificant. The inconvenience caused by not having them is very significant. This is a design decision that might have been justifiable 15 years ago when a 17" monitor was considered large, but today is completely absurd.

about 2 months ago
top

Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

SoftwareArtist What did they actually do? (571 comments)

From the article: "In a statement, the company, the Pentagon's largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years." So if they haven't even built a reactor yet, much less tested it to see if it really works, what exactly is the amazing breakthrough they're claiming?

about 2 months ago
top

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

SoftwareArtist Re:Energy != standard of living (652 comments)

Alaska is much colder, but it's one of the states with lowest energy use. So is Maine. Conversely the second worst state by energy use is Kentucky, which has very mild winters. The list of states with the highest energy use includes both North Dakota (bitterly cold) and Louisiana (nearly tropical). But the one state that is truly tropical--Hawaii--has the second lowest energy use.

Energy use has far more to do with public policy than weather.

about 3 months ago
top

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

SoftwareArtist Energy != standard of living (652 comments)

This is a standard fallacy, that there's a direct correspondence between energy use and standard of living. Take a look at the actual numbers for what a "circa-2010 American standard of living" actually means for energy:

http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/el...

The average person in Wyoming used more than four times as much energy as the average person in California. Do you think that means their standard of living was four times as high? And no, it's not just that Wyoming is a large rural state. California has huge rural areas too. And Washington DC consists entirely of one city, but its per-capita energy use was nearly three times higher than California's.

What this actually means is that California has taken energy conservation seriously for decades, and has had government policies designed to promote energy efficiency. And those policies have worked, really really well. An "American standard of living" does not require ridiculously high energy use.

about 3 months ago
top

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

SoftwareArtist The general issue is decentralization & resile (549 comments)

Exactly. Building any kind of colony in space will probably be easier and less expensive than building it on Mars. If nothing else, it will be a lot easier to send the initial manufacturing equipment there, since it will be a lot closer to Earth. And once it's built it will have lots of advantages: closer to Earth, no gravity well making it hard to come and go, closer to the sun (hence much greater supply of solar energy), and you get to live in normal Earth gravity (from rotating the colony to create artificial gravity) rather than the 38% Earth gravity you get on Mars. We don't even know if humans *can* be healthy living long term in such low gravity.

Way back in 1975, NASA estimated the total cost of building a space colony large enough to permanently house 10,000 people at $190 billion. And that was relying entirely on 1975 technology. This is totally something we could do, if we really wanted to.

about 3 months ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

SoftwareArtist Re:Audible (167 comments)

Agreed. The key is to find good readers, and then listen to their solo projects. The best readers are just as good as most professional recordings.

about 4 months ago
top

Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

SoftwareArtist Re:Public cynicism about fusion (147 comments)

There's enough deuterium to last 100,000 years, but we'll go through it all in 1000 years anyway. Never underestimate the ability of humans to be wasteful when they don't have an incentive to be efficient.

Fortunately, solar doesn't have that problem. It gets delivered to us at a nice steady rate, and that isn't going to change much for many millions of years.

about 4 months ago
top

Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

SoftwareArtist Re:Public cynicism about fusion (147 comments)

It took somewhere between 1500 and 1700 years from the time the first steam engine (aeolipile) showed up until it was practically applied.

That's not what I mean. That was the time between when someone came up with a cute toy and when someone starting trying to do something useful with it. I'm talking about how long we've had an active fusion energy program spending large amounts of money every year to try to create something practical. When they started out, they thought they could have something in ten years. Ten years after that, they thought they could have something working in ten years. Ten years after that, they STILL thought it was about ten years away. Sixty some years and billions of dollars later, even the optimists are saying it's 20 years away.

Besides, you demonstrated my point exactly. Centuries before anyone tried to develop a steam engine into a useful device, they already had a working proof of concept.

One other thing to keep in mind is that fusion, if we can find a way to make it work, could potentially outshine every other technological achievement in human history up to this point because of the possible applications.

Why do you think that? What's so amazing about fusion that makes it so much better than every other technological achievement in history? Sure, it would solve all our energy problems for about a thousand years, at which point we would have burned through most of the available fuel because, having no incentive for efficiency, we would have wasted most of it. (Yes, I'm cynical about humanity.) But solar energy is equally capable of solving all our energy problems. And unlike fusion, it's a real technology that actually works today.

about 4 months ago
top

Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

SoftwareArtist Re:Public cynicism about fusion (147 comments)

Isn't that true of pretty much every technology that's still in the development stage?

No, I don't think it is. Pretty much every technology that has gone on to be successful has started from a simple, working proof of concept and then scaled up from there. That covers everything from the steam engine to the telephone to nuclear energy to the microprocessor. Contrast that with fusion energy: 60-odd years of work, many billions of dollars spent, and we still don't have a minimal working proof of concept.* That's pretty depressing. Can you name any other technology that started out as badly yet went on to become successful? I can't think of one.

Given the history, I think extreme skepticism is the only rational response.

* By a "minimal working proof of concept", I mean a controlled fusion reactor (not a bomb) that produces more energy than it takes to run the reactor (and hence actually functions as a power source).

about 4 months ago

Submissions

top

Petition to Reduce the Term of Copyrights

SoftwareArtist SoftwareArtist writes  |  more than 2 years ago

SoftwareArtist (1472499) writes "There's a petition up at whitehouse.gov to restore the term of copyrights back to what they were in 1976: a max of 58 years. We all love to complain about copyright law, so let's do something about it and complain to the people with power to change it. It needs 25,000 signatures by Feb. 20 to be guaranteed a response. For the Slashdot community, that should be easy! One petition won't change the law, but if we don't tell our elected representatives what we think, it will never change."

Journals

SoftwareArtist has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?