Beta
×

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!

Comments

top

Doctor Who To Teach Kids To Code

laird Can't get to it outside of the UK (164 comments)

Like many BBC products, this game appears only to be accessible within the UK. I'm in the US, and i'd happy buy a copy / access - this game would be a huge hit with my family! When I tried to go there, they directed me to the BBC Store site, which only sells physical goods. Come on, BBC!

2 days ago
top

3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

laird Re:The irony (326 comments)

Technology has a way of improving over time. They're trying to address the issue now, so that in a few years when printers and printable gun designs are that much more effective, the law is already in place.

All caused by one idiot in the US making a lot of noise about 3d printing guns.

2 days ago
top

3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

laird Re:In Japan (326 comments)

What makes you think that hunting licences can only acquired by "the rich or well connected"?

2 days ago
top

3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

laird Re:In Japan (326 comments)

If drunk driving is punished by job loss, it's de facto not a minor infraction. Perhaps they just disagree with you about priorities, and take deaths from car accidents more seriously than you do? That doesn't make things they care about, that you don't, "slight".

2 days ago
top

3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

laird Re:good (326 comments)

It's also not why the 2nd Amendment was written. The Constitution gives the States the right to form well regulated militias, not for people to form private armies to oppose the elected government. The founders called the latter treason, and they shot people who tried.

2 days ago
top

3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

laird Re:good (326 comments)

Gun owners are the most likely demographic to shoot people. If you have a gun in your house, the people in your house are 5x more likely to be shot than if you don't. The relationship is pretty obvious - people occasionally get very angry or depressed. If they have a gun, that can turn into shooting someone, including yourself. If you don't have a gun, it turns into a fist fight, knifing, etc., all of which are much less likely to result in a death.

People who don't own guns don't shoot people, because they don't have guns.

2 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

laird Don't worry about it (224 comments)

If they're your patents, issued before they hire you, then whether they hire you isn't relevant. Simply hiring you gives them no right to your existing IP. If they want to use the patents, there has to be some sort of contract giving them that right. And they should know this.

One caveat: some employment contracts will have overly broad IP terms, so if there's a contract at all, make sure that it doesn't give them any claims to anything invented before you worked there, or done on your own time on your own equipment. That's the law for California, so common in the software industry, so their lawyers should be familiar with those terms. If there's no contract, there's no issue.

My advice would be to talk about the patents because that's a valuable achievement, proving that you know how to file patents and you have invented things that were patentable. But I wouldn't be the one raise an issue around licensing the patents, because that sends the wrong message - if you're too worried about defending your IP from them, rather than focusing on how you can help them succeed, that tells them that you don't trust them, and you're more concerned about what you get than what they get, and companies want to hire people who bring value to the company, not just extract payment. If they value the patents, they'll ask you about them, and when the time is right you can discuss terms if appropriate. But don't do it in the interview process - that's premature.

about a week ago
top

Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million

laird Re:The Pi is great as it is (146 comments)

There's no such operating system as "RTOS". It's a description of a kind of OS - a Real Time Operating System. I know what an RTOS is, which is why I mentioned that the Pi could use one. I've built QNX apps - very nice OS. But it's not ported to the Raspberry Pi.

I've never heard of ChibiOS/RT before - good to know it's there. Does anyone actually using it? I couldn't find anything on the project web site.

How does it compare to FreeRTOS? FreeRTOS is a mature realtime OS, but it's not well supported on the Pi - https://github.com/jameswalmsl... is "a very basic port of FreeRTOS to Raspberry pi. It includes a demo application that use 2 FreeRTOS tasks to flash the LED on and off." So I'm not sure I'd trust it, but at least it's based on a reliable RTOS.

about a week ago
top

First Man To Walk In Space Reveals How Mission Nearly Ended In Disaster

laird Re:The Russian space program was amazing (122 comments)

Comparing the records (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spaceflight-related_accidents_and_incidents#Astronaut_fatalities_during_spaceflight ) the US and Russian/USSR space programs have fairly similar safety percentages - "About two percent of the manned launch/reentry attempts have killed their crew, with Soyuz and the Shuttle having almost the same death percentage rates."

The main difference that I see is that the US has launched many more launches, and many more astronauts, and in particular the two Space Shuttle disasters, with 7 person crews, feel very different than the USSR's much smaller crews.

"About five percent of people who have been launched have died doing so. As of November 2004, 439 individuals have flown on spaceflights: Russia/Soviet Union (96), USA (277), others (66). Nineteen have died while in flight: one on Soyuz 1, one on X-15-3, three on Soyuz 11, seven on Challenger, and seven on Columbia. By space program, 16 NASA astronauts (5.8%) and four Soviet cosmonauts (4.1% of all the people launched) died while in a spacecraft."

But the main thing that strikes me reading the list of events is that space travel is amazingly complex and dangerous, and a huge number of things can result in death. And while safety is important, so is exploration, even if it's dangerous. Or, as test pilot I worked with put it - "everyone dies, I'd rather die in an airplane, doing something nobody's done before, than get hit by a bus."

about a week ago
top

Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million

laird The Pi is great as it is (146 comments)

I would have said that I didn't want to use HDMI cables to connect a display for embedded apps, since the cable is bulky and expensive. But now there are cheap displays that plug right into the GPIO lines, so that issue is gone. And four USB ports is plenty (on the new model), and the expanded GPIO lines mean you don't need to add in an Arduino just for I/O. So after that it's just the usual - faster and/or cheaper are always nice.

The only real thing missing is quite hard - an ability to do realtime I/O control. That's not really in the Pi, but the Linux OS. If there were a good realtime option, then the Pi would be an awesome controller (e.g. for 3d printing, CNC, etc.). As it is, you need an Arduino control I/O so you have precise timing, which adds complexity as you have to program two devices to coordinate, which is much harder than one. Not impossible, obviously, but simpler/easier is better.

about two weeks ago
top

First Man To Walk In Space Reveals How Mission Nearly Ended In Disaster

laird The Russian space program was amazing (122 comments)

If you see the Russian spacecraft, it's amazing how determined they were to compete, relatively successfully with the US space program, despite the fact that their manufacturing capabilities were not really up to the task. But they used whatever they had, and pushed hard. So, for example, while US spacecraft are beautiful, with aluminum skins with countersunk rivets to reduce drag, etc., the Russian vehicles looked like tractors - thick sheet metal and bolts, getting into space through sheer determination. It was particularly striking with how they got a third astronaut into their two-man ship, so they matched Apollo, by taking the third man and jamming him in upside down. They made the lead engineer who came up with that idea take the first flight, so he had the incentive to actually make it work. And their venus probes - those guys just didn't give up! But definitely playing by different rules than the US - after a vehicle failure, and we shut everything down and analyzed to make it safer. With the Russians, a vehicle failure meant re-writing the history books (to remove the failed flight, erase astronauts from photos, etc.) and launching _more_.

about two weeks ago
top

FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

laird Re:yes, in the past sometimes, and no (580 comments)

Based on user surveys, there's actually a strong correlation between music "piracy" and music sales. The fans of the band that pirate their music also tend to buy their music and merchandise, because they're the dedicated fans that want the boxed set, the T-shirt, go to the concerts, etc.

The problem the music labels have is that they make money on the music sales, and not (generally) on anything else. And it's the "everything else" that isn't getting "pirated". So if the label fronts the production and marketing money for a band, then the fans "pirate" the music that the label makes money on, but buys merchandize and concert tickets that the band makes money on, the label doesn't get any money back for their investment. To address this, the labels have been trying to do "360 deals" where they get a cut of everything, but obviously the bands, managers, etc., aren't thrilled with that. Though since the biggest pirates also tend to buy the most music, it's an unclear argument in any case.

about two weeks ago
top

FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

laird Re:So much for them hiring anyone in tech (580 comments)

Keep in mind that watching a video on YouTube that uses a song in the soundtrack that isn't properly licensed is (according to the RIAA's lawyers) illegal downloading, since streaming makes a copy (into your computer's RAM). And nobody on YouTube bothers to license their music, other than the tiny number who go out of their way to use "open" music. So that eliminates pretty much everyone who's not a complete technophobe.

about two weeks ago
top

FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

laird Re:*LIE* (580 comments)

The problem is that they ask everyone a question where the honest answer, for the majority of candidates, results in rejection, but lying and getting caught results in rejection. So basically they filter down to who either have absolutely no technical curiosity at all, or people who can lie and get away with it. Both of those are bad for the FBI, since they'll be populated by luddites and liers.

about two weeks ago
top

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

laird Re:Ok, several aspects to this. (651 comments)

Gun buyers might think that "The primary function of guns in private hands is to protect those who carry them" but the statistics don't support that. Homes with guns in them have 5x the suicide death rate of homes without guns. people in those homes are much more likely to get killed with the gun than be saved from a crime by the gun. That's not to say that guns are never used to defend your home, of course, but homes with guns in them aren't less likely to be broken into, because criminals try not to break into homes while anyone is home, so the gun isn't relevant.

And countries with strict gun controls have much lower gun deaths, without having higher crime rates. So not having guns doesn't promote crime.

So we're down to "having guns makes some people feel safer" but in reality they're just promoting suicide and shooting family members. Because everyone can get depressed or angry. And when they do, if they have a gun someone's much more likely to die. If they use their fists, or a knife, death is less likely.

And I'm pretty sure we're all anti-death. Right?

about two weeks ago
top

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

laird Re:critical point from the article (651 comments)

Building is tightly regulated. There are building codes, inspections, etc., all to try to keep people safer. Yes, some builders cheat and get away with it, and some failures occur anyway.

There are about 14,000 gun deaths a year. Compared to 30 deaths from water heaters, I'd say that it's appropriate to focus more effort on the cause of 14,000 deaths more than the cause of 30 deaths. And right now, the water heaters are a _lot_ more carefully regulated than the guns. Perhaps that's why they're so much safer?

about two weeks ago
top

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

laird Re:Honestly, rifles are not the problem (651 comments)

When Israel stopped letting soldiers take their guns home, the suicide rate of soldiers dropped to 1/6th the rate. That's a lot of lives saved.

about two weeks ago
top

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

laird Re:Honestly, rifles are not the problem (651 comments)

In reality, when fewer people have guns at home, they die less often from suicide. Because guns make it easy to commit suicide and are highly effective, and it's harder to commit suicide using a knife, hanging, etc., and you're more likely to survive the attempt. As a society, I think we want to discourage suicide.

about two weeks ago
top

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

laird Re:Hope He Continues (651 comments)

No, when the assault weapons "ban" was in effect, there were fewer mass shootings. Though the "ban" was quite weak, allowing gun manufacturers to largely work around them largely with cosmetic changes (technically complying with the law, while still making it easy to kill lots of people), even a weak ban did correspond to fewer shootings and fewer deaths. http://aneconomicsense.com/201... . And if a weak ban with tons of exceptions (thanks, NRA) reduced mass shootings and deaths, and the end of the ban increase mass shootings and deaths, it's hard to argue against an assault weapons ban, and one more effective than the last one, in order to save more lives.

Similarly, states with lax gun control laws, like Virginia, Pensylvania, Arizona and New Mexico clearly want to sell lots of guns to criminals, who then use them in states like NYC and DC, undermining their gun control laws ineffective. When states like Arizona and Virginia pass laws specifically to encourage "straw buyers" to buy guns for cash then flip them to criminals, there's not much any other state can do to protect themselves. Heck, Arizona made it illegal for the ATF to follow even a homeless man who was buying $10K a week in guns with cash, and clearly doing so for felons who weren't allowed to buy the guns themselves. And even better, the NRA got a law passe prohibiting the government from retaining serial numbers of sold guns or identities of buyers or sellers, making it impossible to track guns used in crimes back to either the buyer or the seller. That's great if your goal is to make it east for violent criminals to buy guns, but bad for people who think that's a bad idea.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

top

Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics

laird laird writes  |  about a month and a half ago

laird (2705) writes "Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics for Underserved Populations

Crowd-sourced collaborative innovation is changing the face of modern medicine. e-NABLE, a global online community of humanitarian volunteers is leading the way by designing, building and disseminating inexpensive 3D printed prosthetics. Come join the e-NABLE organization and thought leaders in medicine, industry and public policy for a ground-breaking, industry-defining event at Johns Hopkins Hospital that will include the delivery of donated prothetic hands to children with upper limb differences.

We will unveil the new e-NABLE 2.0 hand, developed by Ivan Owen, Peter Binkley and Frankie Flood – the world’s first crowd-sourced, crowd-developed prosthetic that incorporates the collective intelligence, learning and experiences of e-NABLE’s online global community, parents and children who are using the devices themselves.

Anyone is welcome to attend.

Come learn about the future of 3D printing technology and the medical field, why the prosthetics industry should welcome this technology and get more information on policy issues and the upcoming FDA regulatory workshops in October.

You will have the opportunity to learn how to create a device, meet vendors and get information on various 3D printers and will get to witness children receiving their first 3D printed hand devices created just for them by our e-NABLE volunteers.

We are making history and changing lives. We invite you to join us!"

Link to Original Source
top

$1B of public domain research released to public!

laird laird writes  |  more than 5 years ago

laird writes "Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress. The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to abortion legislation. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress's analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Although all CRS reports are legally in the public domain, they are quasi-secret because the CRS, as a matter of policy, makes the reports available only to members of Congress, Congressional committees and select sister agencies such as the GAO. Members of Congress are free to selectively release CRS reports to the public but are only motivated to do so when they feel the results would assist them politically. Universally embarrassing reports are kept quiet."

Link to Original Source
top

Are Content Delivery Clouds the next step of CDNs?

laird laird writes  |  more than 5 years ago

laird writes "Is the Content Delivery Cloud model the next step after CDN's? "A Content Delivery Cloud is a system of computers networked together across the internet that are orchestrated transparently to deliver content to end users, most often for the purposes of improving performance, scalabaility and cost efficiency. Extending the model of a traditional Content Delivery Network, a Content Delivery Cloud may utilize the resources of multiple CDN networks as well as end-user computers ("the cloud") to assist in the delivery of content." With coverage, research and commercial services emerging, is the Content Delivery Cloud coming sooner rather than later?"
Link to Original Source
top

http://www.wired.com/software/webservices/news/200

laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

laird writes "Faced with a surge in network usage, internet service providers are grumbling about rising traffic levels. ISPs say the looming growth of true peer-to-peer applications threatens to overwhelm them. Some ISPs have even started sniffing out P2P traffic on their networks and curbing it, either slowing file sharing to a trickle or bringing it to a halt.

Responding to this adversarial relationship, some P2P companies are adopting a posture of engagement with ISPs, and have formed a new industry working group to help broker relationships that, they say, will enable ISPs to better manage and distribute traffic loads on their networks.

The P4P Working Group consists of content-distribution-technology providers like BitTorrent, Pando Networks, LimeWire and VeriSign's Kontiki, as well as broadband companies like Verizon and AT&T, and hardware makers like Cisco Systems. There are close to a dozen members so far. The P4P operates under the guidance of the Distributed Computing Industry Association, a group that wants to foster legal peer-to-peer content distribution.

P4P's plan: Get ISPs and P2P-technology providers working together, to ensure that P2P traffic continues to flow and that users of P2P technologies don't overload ISPs' networks with too much sharing."

Link to Original Source
top

laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

laird writes "The principle of voting in the United States is that votes are cast in secret but tallied in public.

This principle is incompatible with the current practice of using voting systems whose inner workings are trade secrets owned by the voting-machine vendors. Those same vendors pay for their systems to be tested, and the results of those tests are also trade secrets — you guessed it — owned by the vendors.

Full article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?sto ry_id=3234 ."
top

laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Laird Popkin writes "Pando Networks, known for integrating BitTorrent into email with a slick little, consumer-friendly client (and tons of very fast Linux servers), has extended its software to support web and RSS publishing of large files. TechCrunch has a nice writeup. There's more technical information about Pando at Pando's tech site."

Journals

top

Just found journal

laird laird writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I just found the journal system here on Slashdot. Is it clever or over-reaching? Given that people build reputations on Slashdot, it kinda makes sense. Though if you host your life on Slashdot, well, I guess that says something too...

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?