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!



Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

pavon Re:It's OPTIONAL! (229 comments)

I've seen several comments here saying "Well, I'm just CC'ing people who need to be kept in the loop!" Ok, I get that. If it's that important, why don't you just wait until they get back and give them a short briefing? If it's not that important, why did you bother sending it in the first place?

Becaused they asked me to CC them on such issues, and I don't feel like keeping a log of when everyone was gone and what happened that they might care about, so I can resend it when they get back. If it is something I care about I will talk to them when they get back. If it is something that they care about and know about then they can ask me. The problem is the stuff that they care about but don't know to ask about. Skimming an inbox full of CCs works well for that.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

pavon Re:Not all documentation is giant documents (198 comments)

Absolutely. There are many advantages to this approach:
* Users can get info they need more quickly as they are already in the correct context to get help on that feature, and don't have to search a document.
* Users are more likely to use integrated help than a huge user manual, saving you support time.
* It is easier to enforce a policy of updating documentation when you update code.

The only thing your separate documentation needs to cover are high-level concepts of the application, and common HOWTOs. If you must have a monolithic reference document, then use a system like docbook that generates HTML and PDF, and integrate HTML help into your application.

Of course this is assuming that these are GUI apps. Server apps or anything that needs configuration outside of a GUI must have full reference documentation.

5 days ago

Senior RIKEN Scientist Involved In Stem Cell Scandal Commits Suicide

pavon Re:It wasn't his fault (127 comments)

Sure, his name was on it as a co-author, but that sounds more like the result of office politics than actually believing what she was publishing. Even his employer seemed like they held him in high regard after the scandal broke.

It was a bit more than that. He recruited Obokata to RIKEN, was her mentor, and supervised her STAP work. As you said, there is not even the slightest hint that he was engaged in any misconduct, but the RIKEN investigation did find that Sasai and Wakayama carried “heavy responsibility” for what happened, and the incident opened questions about how closely co-authors and research advisers should oversee the work of their underlings.

about two weeks ago

The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension

pavon Yes it is. (259 comments)

The scientific model is quite simply:
1) Develop testable hypothesis (aka theory)
2) Develop experiments/observations to test hypothesis
3) Perform experiment/observations
4) Repeat
Anyone who participates in any of these steps is performing science. It took a while to find practical tests of String theory given it's extreme generality, but several have been suggested and a few have even been performed, ranging from the scale of planetary motion to LHC data.

about two weeks ago

Tesla and Panasonic Have Reached an Agreement On the Gigafactory

pavon Re:New Mexico (95 comments)

No, nothing in this article says anything about the site selection which is still pending, just that it will be a joint venture between Tesla and Panasonic rather than Tesla going alone as was previously believed.

about three weeks ago

MIT Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati

pavon Re:But (110 comments)

The quickest numbers I could find say that at the scales of large power-plants, the generator is very efficient, but the turbine not so much, around 50%. This would put the system as a whole at around 40% efficency sunlight -> electricity. That's competitive with the best solar voltaic systems tested in the lab, and 50-100% better than practical systems on the market. Assuming their system really does scale up to power plant sizes, of course.

about a month ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

pavon Half of their employees to be fired. (383 comments)

Microsoft brought over 25,000 Nokia employees in the merger of which 12,500 are to be laid off in the next 6 months. Probably all that's left is the hardware engineers, with nearly all of software, marketing and management getting the boot.

about a month ago

Two Big Dark Matter Experiments Gain US Support

pavon I don't see what you are saying (37 comments)

We'll have more information about the gravity attributes and locations of dark matter,

Both of these experiments aim to detect collisions of dark matter particles with their respective detectors, and if found give an estimate of the particles energy. Neither are astronomical surveys that would tell us anything about the gravitational properties or distribution of dark matter.

about a month ago

Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

pavon Re:result of the lab/funding system (123 comments)

I would even argue that as long as the students who did most of the work have their name listed as first author, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement. I dropped out of my master's program after the first semester because I was being pushed to publish, but wasn't being plugged into any research existing programs. Every "unique" idea that I thought of turned out to have already been studied exhaustively back in the 70's or earlier. All the favorite students in the grad program were people who ignored this inconvientent fact and managed to get rehashed bullshit accepted into conferences.

Several years later I went back to school at a large state U that plugged me into the work they were doing, showed me what the state of the art was and where there were gaps that hadn't been researched in detail. Without building off the ideas of my advisor I would have never been able to do meaningfull research that progressed the state of the art, and would have had nothing worth publishing. He deserved to have his name on my papers.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

pavon Re:My thoughts. (84 comments)

He recommended deploying an alternative browser, not replacing IE altogether. That way when IE has a bad vulnerability you notify everyone to temporarilly use the alternate on external sites, use group policy to disable vulnerable features, or even block it at the firewall depending on the severity. They can keep using IE internally during that time. Then when a patch comes out you deploy it and lift the restrictions. The next week when firefox has a zero-day, you do the same for it, and recommend people use IE for the time being. It is a very sensible way to allow the most productivity possible while staying secure.

If they really need to use Active X on externall websites during a vulnerability, you can whitelist those sites in Group Policy if needed, but honestly I would just consider the downtime a cost of doing business with outdated insecure technology in most cases. Cleaning up a bad worm/virus that spread through the entire campus could be much more expensive.

about 4 months ago

SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video

pavon Re:They're not going to get better results... (110 comments)

Agreed. I've done this in the past and starting as close to the original analog telemetry stream as possible is essential. Even if the noise is so bad that analog filtering doesn't recover any new data in the preD, simply knowing where there is missing data and exactly how much can help tremendously in reconstructing the data. Their raw mpeg files don't provide any of that information.

about 4 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

pavon Re:Paper Forms (386 comments)

Same here. I tried TurboTax one year and it didn't save me any money, didn't really save me any time, and had annoying DRM. You have to research what you can deduct on your own anyway in advance anyway so you can preserve documentation throughout the year, and that is the time consuming part. So paying money just to have software fill out and submit the form doesn't seem worth it for me.

about 4 months ago

Bring On the Monsters: Tolkien's Translation of Beowulf To Be Published

pavon Re:Name five other anglo-saxon medievalists of the (94 comments)

The translation of a literary work can be purely scholarly or purely artistic, but usually it is a mix of both. Given Tolkien's mastery of both worlds, and the fact that his love of Beowulf went far beyond linguistic and historical study, it is pretty clear that his translation will be of broad literary interest, not just scholarly.

about 5 months ago

Federal Student Aid Requirements At For-Profit Colleges Overhauled

pavon Re:Why Attend? (295 comments)

Where I live the community colleges are inexpensive, but do not have flexible class times for working people, and most of the tracks that have good job prospects have 2-5 year waiting lists. So many students choose to rack up the debt at TVI, PMI, UoP, where they can start immediately and continue a full-time job.

The problems at our CC are mostly because they can't attract enough instructors. The community college pays them half of what of what they would make working in the field or teaching at a for-profit college, and are horribly mismanaged. In the electronics department, I frequently heard the instructors compain about pressures to dumb things down to pass more students. The place where I work has started to favor techs from TVI & DeVry because the quality of students from the CC has decreased. When my wife was doing her nursing degree, the department head would be constantly changing things (like room locations, curiculum dates, rules about how to evaluate students, etc) literally the night before class, so the instructors could never be prepared for class. Many people are willing to take a pay cut to do something that they enjoy more, or work under a horrible boss if the pay is good, but very few are willing to do both.

about 5 months ago

US Court Freezes Assets of Mt. Gox CEO

pavon Nothing at all like regulating them. (132 comments)

It would be a delicious irony if people were able to recover some of their lost value due to government regulations.

You mean like what would have happened if they were regulated like a real bank?

This has nothing to do with applying banking regulations to Mt Gox. It is about applying laws about fraud and theft. The difference is that regulations put a burden on innocent and guilty alike but potentially prevent problems before they occur, whereas laws simply attempt to punish the guilty and compensate the victims after the fact. If people do in fact recover any money as a result of this, it won't be particularly ironic since libertarians fully support laws on fraud, just not banking regulations, and complete federal control of currency.

about 5 months ago

Embarrassing Stories Shed Light On US Officials' Technological Ignorance

pavon Donald Knuth also doesn't have Email (299 comments)

Okay, the cybersecurity negotiator ignorance is bad, the rest less so.

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I'd used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.

Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. I try to learn certain areas of computer science exhaustively; then I try to digest that knowledge into a form that is accessible to people who don't have time for such study.
        - Donald Knuth

The role of Supreme Court Justice is also "to be on the bottom of things". It is possible to understand enough about email to make good judgements about it without using it on a daily basis. The justices have to make weekly about subjects which they have absolutely no interaction with in their normal day-to-day life. From technical to finance to agriculture, no one can possibly be an expert on all the issues they hear. It is their job to constantly learn enough about a subject to know what is important from a legal and constitutional point of view. If they are failing to do this, then that is a legitimate complaint. The fact that they weren't familiar with "common knowledge" technologies before encountering them in court, or haven't chosen to incorporate them into their life isn't.

about 5 months ago

Glamor, X11's OpenGL-Based 2D Acceleration Driver, Is Becoming Useful

pavon Eagerly awaiting ickle benchmarks (46 comments)

The cairo-ickle blog has maintained very interesting benchmarks of the different cairo rendering backends. The short story is that every hardware accelered backend except for sandybridge SNA has performed worse than the software implementation. And in some cases the hardware acceleration is significantly less stable. I'm curious to see if this finally pushes Glamor over the hump and makes it faster than the software path.

about 5 months ago

Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

pavon Re:Yes and No (860 comments)

XP is over 12 years old, that's one hell of a *free* long term support package.

How long it has been since a company sold a product to their first customer is irrelevant. What matters is how long it has been since they sold the product to me. Microsoft stopped retail and OEM sales of XP in June 2008, which was shortly after Vista SP1 was released and most if it's problems had been fixed, and a bit more than a year before Windows 7 was released. Those customers got just shy of 6 years of support, which is still pretty darn good. In comparison, Ubuntu offers 3 years of support for an LTS release after it's replacement comes out, and OS X tends to be about the same. However, those both offer free or cheap upgrades so a shorter support cycle is at least somewhat justified.

For corporate customers, the support provided by a RedHat subscription is entirely comparable. No moderately sized company can get away with using OEM/retail licenses of Windows/Office; they all pay some sort of subscription to MS. RHEL 5 will be supported for just over 6 years after RHEL 6 came out. RHEL 2-4 were each supported for 5 to 5.5 years after their successor. Both MS and RH have extended support for critical security bugs beyond that, but both cost extra money. Recent Solaris releases are as good or better (depending which support phases you consider comparable).

So for corporate users, XP's support duration was reasonable and in line with the rest of the industry. For consumers it was much better for people who have to stick with older OSes for compatibility, and hard to compare once you start considering free upgrades (is an OS X point release comparable to a windows SP release or an OS release, etc).

about 5 months ago

Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

pavon You don't have to (216 comments)

The way this is setup isn't that that you code everything in natural language, rather it is just a shortcut to look up the correct formal language. Instead of searching/browsing documentation looking up the exact names of the functions you want and how to chain them, you just type what you want in natural language. If it interpreted you correctly, then great it saved you several minutes, and now you know the real syntax to use in the future. If not, well you only lost a couple seconds.

The idea of mixing natural language like this isn't so weird; the first step that most programmers would take in looking up documentation when they don't even know the name of the library the functionality is located in is to perform a natural language search on web browser, and then go from there. This just takes it one step further and streamlines the process, which is perfect for a interactive language.

about 6 months ago


pavon hasn't submitted any stories.


pavon has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>