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New Jersey Auto Dealers Don't Want to Face Tesla

The Raven Re:Many members of Congress own car dealerships (342 comments)

To be fair, cars are also held to higher and higher standards of safety every year. If they could legally build a 1960's car today, it could be sold for under $5000 new... but they can't. The car would fail hundreds of safety and emissions regulations.

Not saying that protected monopoly status doesn't contribute, but it's not the largest factor.

about a month ago

Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

The Raven Re:Why? (390 comments)

This is ancient, but at least you will read it: A lot of rich people in the world don't have half a billion dollars in fungible cash lying around. They have it in tracable, lockable, secured accounts with reversible transactions.

If someone gets access to Satoshi's bitcoin wallet, there will be no recourse to prevent them taking that entire amount. It's a lot harder to steal Warren's money because it's tied up in assets and traceable accounts.

about a month ago

US Lab Developing Technology For Space Traffic Control

The Raven Misleading (47 comments)

They are developing software to get better orbital trajectories. We already HAVE software that manages traffic and orbital collision warnings, but the problem is that our orbital trajectory data is too inaccurate for it to be as helpful as it should be.

about 3 months ago

After 22 Years, Walt Mossberg Writes Final WSJ Column

The Raven A Plague on Writing (100 comments)

Over 22 years of experience writing columns, he ends on a 'best of' list. This stupid meme (using the more traditional definition of the word) is so frustrating to witness. I understand why writers do it (because it's easy), but it's depressing to see a good columnist in a respected publication end his career with one.

about 4 months ago

Embedded SIM Design Means No More Swapping Cards

The Raven Security Nightmare (192 comments)

I can see the utility, but this seems like a security issue. Isn't one of the purposes of the SIM to provide a physical identity chip? Why does it need to be programmable? Shouldn't you just say 'this SIM now has access to this network'?

I probably just don't understand the function of a SIM card well enough to get the significance of this. Can someone clarify? I am not 5, FYI, and I can understand multi-syllabic words.

about 4 months ago

Watch Out, Amazon: DHL Tests Drug-Delivery Drone

The Raven Delivery Trucks (134 comments)

How many people are killed, and how much property destroyed, every year by delivery trucks? I will happily trade a few dozen dead Fifi's to take several thousand delivery trucks off the road. Luddites never learn.

There are completely valid reasons to fear and distrust the mass use of drones by governments, and their power to suppress speech and curtail freedom. But this particular use of technology is exactly the kind of progress that saves time, money, lives, and the environment. Last-mile delivery by drone faces many hurdles, both legislative and technical, but it's a very smart goal to work towards that benefits everyone.

I tried to find some statistics, and the best I could come up with were these two links on an 'Truck Accident Attorney' website; I don't know how accurate they are. But delivery vehicles for FedEx and UPS killed 50 people in about two years, with another ~2000 non-fatal accidents. I will guarantee that the drones will have better statistics than that.

about 4 months ago

AI Reality Check In Online Dating

The Raven Re:wait (192 comments)

Considering it analyzes the responses you get, then yes... if you are advertising your bank balance in your profile (likely by proxy, with your profile picture including a demonstration of wealth) then the responses you get will reflect that, and the algorithm will take that input.

about 5 months ago

Google Books Case Dismissed On Fair Use Grounds

The Raven Wrong judgement... thank goodness (124 comments)

Google is very clearly in the wrong, legally, with their usage. Technically, they are violating copyright flagrantly, and profiting from it. And I am so glad the judge decided the way he did, because despite very clearly being illegal under current law, the end result is very much in the public interest, as well as being good for publishers despite their throwing a tantrum about it.

about 5 months ago

Largest and Most Intense Tropical Cyclone On Record Hits the Philippines

The Raven Re:followup to recent 7.1 earthquake (160 comments)

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the PI a few weeks ago which cause widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. Bridges collapsed and many roads are still impassible. The earthquake and hundreds of strong aftershocks serve to intensify the effects of this storm.

In case it is not fully clear... the earthquake exacerbated the effect on human infrastructure and safety. It did not intensify the windspeed or lower the pressure of the storm.

I'm sure 99% of people will read it in this manner, I just want to forestall the 'earthquakes cause superstorms' correlation.

about 5 months ago

Google Relying On People Power For 'Helpouts'

The Raven Trying It (57 comments)

I've done technical support for 17 years. It would be nice to have this as a side job. I am very good at technical support and remote training... but does that translate into people consistently giving me money? Only time will tell if Helpouts becomes dominated by primarily free amateurs, or if professional paid services maintain a toe-hold in the premium area.

I'd also be interested if Helpouts get some kind of freemium model... will users direct users from a free helpout to a paid one? "Oh, I'm sorry, that problem is beyond my poor free skills. Hey, you should take a look at baitswitch13's Helpout, he is an expert in that!"

about 5 months ago

Kepler-78b: The Earth-Like Planet That Shouldn't Exist

The Raven Re:It's a Big Universe (110 comments)

"Almost immediately" in celestial terms could be 1000 years, or even a million. That's a blink of an eye, but it will happen... it will just usually be over before we look. This time, it's not.

about 6 months ago

Book Review: The Healthy Programmer

The Raven [citation needed] (461 comments)

Please show me the proof that Slashvertisement Product 1138 is not yet another failure in dieting books. I would like to see a statistical analysis of at least 100 readers who read the book, and their weight changes over the subsequent year.

What, you say? You just published the book and have no way of verifying this? Then stop making idiotic claims or GTFO.

about 8 months ago

Have eBooks Peaked?

The Raven Re:More buck for the bang? (323 comments)

So what about a paperback... amazing, with costs like that, haw they sell for $6-9. OH WAIT, MAYBE THE NUMBERS ARE MISLEADING!

about 8 months ago

ByteLight Unveils NFC Alternative Called Light Field Communication

The Raven Bitrate (75 comments)

With the abysmal data throughput of most cellphone cameras (~10bps assuming a 30fps video sensor) this can only send the ID of the nearby LED light. This is not equivalent to NFC, which transmits encrypted data directly with the device. As they describe on their site, it is just indoor GPS... your phone uses network traffic, queries the ByteLight server to ask what data is relevant to your physical location (the business pays ByteLight to store this), and sends it to you.

NFC: Method for securely transmitting data over a short distance, primarily for inventory and purchasing applications.

"LFC": Inexpensive method for performing indoor location determination via the cloud, primarily for marketing and tracking applications.

Not anything like each other.

about 9 months ago

Hands-On With Windows 8.1 Preview

The Raven Re:Good Changes All Around (505 comments)

True. But us Windows 8 users have some nice things, like the much improved copy file dialog and the improved task manager. I still prefer Windows 7 (I use Win8 because I do technical support, and I have to be able to support users with 8), but to dismiss everything new as bad is to be a luddite. Even Windows ME had some... um... maybe I won't go that far.

about 10 months ago

Google Patents Frowns and Winks To Unlock Your Phone

The Raven Sounds Novel (89 comments)

In many discussions about the problem of facial recognition being used to unlock something, and the weakness to a photo, I have never seen anyone comment about using odd faces or expressions as the unlock. Remember that 'obvious in retrospect' doesn't mean unpatentable. This process is unique and non-obvious in my opinion, as well as being a good idea. It shouldn't be patentable (because software patents = math = unpatentable), but it is at least a good idea.

about 10 months ago

Google Rolling Out Gmail Redesign

The Raven Re:It's called "Folders." Get it right, Google! (303 comments)

I'm sorry, but labels are superior to folders in every way. I should not have to decide whether an email from my boss about scheduling my vacation time around the needs of a project should go under Scheduling or Project. What about an email that talks about three different projects? Which project do I file it under? Tags/labels are a superior categorization method, and can easily emulate a folder if you so desire.

I do not think Google shits roses, and I'm not sold on their update yet. But arguing that folders (mimicry of a physical location for a digital object) are superior to category labels when it comes to organizing data is ignorant. Content should be tagged not binned, and email is just another type of content.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: What Magazines Do You Still Read?

The Raven Scientific American (363 comments)

Scientific American still has full articles, without interspersed ads, at a high reading level, on usually interesting topics. They are the only physical magazine I don't mind picking up. I am sad they lost the mathematical recreations section.

1 year,18 hours

Dark Matter Found? $2 Billion Orbital Experiment Detects Hints

The Raven Re:Dark matter (173 comments)

Sure thing, as soon as we can make a road that is downhill both ways. Since that is impossible, your idea is impossible. That is completely ignoring all other practical concerns such as 'if gravity can be felt light years away, it would alter the orbit of the sun' and 'if we could create something with measurable gravitational effects spanning light years between stars, then the amount of energy we expend accelerating and decelerating a spaceship is pretty puny (dozens of orders of magnitude puny) in comparison.'

1 year,14 days


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