Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment I Reject this Message (Score 1) 470

I know there'll be flames, but I reject this message.

To get approval for a gmo, corporations like Monsanto have to submit 2 reports to the FDA saying the thing is better. Nobody cares if they (as is done) don't publish 5 or 10 unfavourable reports. That passes for "science." It's worth noting that approving GMOs as essentially the same as normal foods was done by an ex-Monsanto head of FDA against the advice of FDA Scientists. What do they know?
The soil degredation evident over 5 - 10 years with monoculture GMO crops is evidence that they're not the panacea they're cracked up to be. Instead of balanced natural soil diversity, repeated ploughing & spraying leaves the soil impoverished, the farmers with the expense of weedkillers, fungicides, pesticides, fertilisers and the food poisoned; the essential microbes & fungi in the soil are wiped out,. & worms greatly diminished. In some places, the workers on the breadline end up poisoned too, but have no choice but to continue.
Are they harmful to humans? Physically, I don't know, but I don't like where some genes inserted in foods are said to come from.
Economically, very often. All that Amazon rain forest cleared for GMO Soy & Corn has not brought wealth to the locals, but it degrades by the year.

Comment Re:The serenity of single tasking (Score 1) 106

Agree 100%. I ran a business for 17 years repairing Industrial Electronics. The real repair work on which I survived (on PCBs, instruments or factory machinery) required undivided attention, and then I could usually fix what had eluded many others. It also required a certain carelessness with regard to electric shock :-P.
Given that I had the latter, I cannot consider myself unusually brilliant, so I presume 100% concentration gave me the edge that kept things going for so long.
O & M guys in industry write that a phone call to you at your desk costs 20 mins of your time before you get back up to full concentration. Mind you, concentration, & patience are vanishing commodities in today's world.

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 55

Yes, but what a pity that Americans have not rejected the thing that's killing them - their food. The 'average' diet is alarming - high fats, calories & sugars, excess protein, chemicals, salt, low fruit, fibre, exercise & complete foods. Government subsidies for corn, for example simply depress the price, so they actually go into the profits of multinationals. No wonder 2/3 Americans are obese and you have health problems. In Europe, we label GMOs and most families never buy anything containing them. There is trash food, but you can get organic & healthy options.

Comment Yes, we are forced to write shit (Score 2) 160

I had to do a paper in 2014 in Electronics Engineering. I had adapted good lines in the draft:[Brackets show my edits]
Professor Sir Frank Holmes: [Electronic specifications] "are like a bikini; what they reveal is important, what they conceal is vital".
Otto Van Bismark: [Prototypes] "are like sausages; it's better not to see them being made."
Hal Abelson: "If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders." (this is a reversal of Issac Newton's line, and was my case exactly).

All had to go - my grade depended on it. We had a period a week on report writing. People had to hand up draft headings before they knew what they were doing. External examiners were blamed. We had to sound 'like professionals.'

Comment Let him rip! (Score 1) 437

Ypu're a C programmer, but I gather ypu have stagnated somewhat and have a management function. He is still a programmer at the coal face. Let me hazard a guess that you have stopped working days and studying at night.

You need to be a programmer OR a manager. If you're a programmer, get up to date( a huge job) and name 6 languages he could do the task in and learn at least three of them. Then stay up to date. If you're a manager, He is the professional. Do you trust his choice? Empower him.

My son is a Swift (=Apple OS & IOS) programmer. He programs phones, watches, Apple TVs He can program in about 20 languages. He wrote a multitouch project in Chuck. Ever heard of that?

Comment Re:The gaps are still there. (Score 2) 92

I am a dissenter from Moore's law. There are physical limits and we are near them. There is a physical limit on fab size, charge time, propagation time, signal speed, current and heat. There are also pricing issues: Would you pay $300 extra for faster ram? It could probably be done by using cache. I doubt if users would pay.
If we could fit the entire system on a chip, Then you could speed up. But choice goes out. No choice at all.

Comment Re:Why aren't there lawsuits over this? (Score 1) 144

In the EU, there's a law requiring parts to be available for items sold for 10 years. That probably excludes software updates. Samsung don't do it because they don't have to. Imagine a modern developer being tasked to patch these things. He'd be unemployable in 2 years, after living in the past with the old models.

Comment Re:Personal Anecdote (Score 1) 255

I can imagine many projects where that could happen. I'm a linux user. IMHO, the kernel is becoming impossible for a user to compile; KDE sucks - it's too $£@&! big; Gnome sucks for the same reason; X sucks in the graphics area. and pppd . . . The fact is software writers with Aspergers make poor judges of character. Power corrupts. I'm a believer in firing people from OSS. But there should be a process where nobody uses dictatorial headship, but everyone with a right to express themselves voices their opinion and reproves one or the other in a conflict. Trial by peer, I suppose.

Comment Re:Patenting (Score 1) 64

Or have we (secretly) hated HW patenting all along, just as bad as SW patenting? Or is it just the current setup of the patent system that is the problem?

HW patenting isn't as bad. Let me illustrate: The PAL tv colour circuitry had essential patents, many owned by Telefunken. The Japanese competitors could not use these patents in their equipment, so they developed ways around the patents, and, ultimately, better televisions. Unless you're breaking new ground, you can only get a patent to cover direct copies of your device in hardware. One company slavishly copied the day/night car mirror design of another. I worked briefly for the copyists, and their legal advice was that they could copy the circuit exactly. They did. They could not copy the mechanical action, however, and had to avoid using an eccentric to do it. The problem with software patents is that applications of known techniques to new areas are patentable, whereas in fact they really are 'prior art.'

Comment Re:Great stocking stuffers in certain circles (Score 2) 192

Too True. The way they divide down over here (Ireland) is "New Money!!" & "Old Money." New money types have the small willy syndrome and need to prove they are rich. Purchases are often statements "I have Arrived."
Old money, OTOH, are tight in the main; It's just that they don't blink if the price is â10 or â100,000. They still want to know if they are getting good value. Everything is viewed as a business investment.
What sort of an object is a Kardashian?

Comment I also think you have your head up your butt (Score 1, Flamebait) 327

I have epilepsy. Sorry to be hard, but if you apply the "Worst case analysis" that engineers use, all your wearables / toddlers / gimmicks are trash. Is your toddler going to pull your patient wife off the cooker that's setting her on fire? Stop her bleeding? Decide when to ring for medical help?
Most epileptics know when they have issues coming. If your wife does, have an effective strategy to deal with that. If not, rethink your career. Can you take less money and work from home? Cut some deal with your boss? Take less money and work nearer home?
There is also a little known perscription drug called Epistatus. It never seems to get approval, but is available on perscription. It is absorbed through the cheek, and can be administered while unconscious. There's a youtube video.

I hear a lot of YOUR opinions, but nothing of your wife's opinions. What does she want you to do?

Comment Not many (Score 1) 1

Personally, I have an account with mega.co.nz - Kim DotCom's outfit. Everything is encrypted all along the way. The small print reads: "If you lose your password, don't come looking to us for it - we haven't got it!" Most of the big ones & obvious options (apple cloud, onedrive, etc) can or have been hacked to some extent. Google is more interested in my data than I am, which makes me nervous.

Comment Commenting here is a mug's game (Score 0) 341

These comments read like a script from Family Guy. For every statement of what is opinion or could be sense, there seem to be two or more putdowns, 2 insults, and a number of mindlessly stupid irrelevancies.
Yes, the Catholic Pope addressed Global Warming giving the Scientific Consensus. Yes, he is remarkably sane for a high ranking Catholic - electing him was an grave error, or else the cardinals felt quite desperate. Yes, he should be kicking out of the Vatican all criminal priests with diplomatic immunity, purging his organization of pedophiles, talking about God's Kingdom and using God's name, divesting the church of it's ill gotten gains and putting them to good use. But it is an obviously false religion. As it influences people less, it rides along with their opinions more.
The truth is - I don't think Catholicism is an organization that can be reformed. Now that I have said that much, watch for the insults, put downs, and mindless irrelevancies.

Comment What companies will be Gone? (Score 1) 332

It;s a good question if any of us will be here. To quote Arthur C. Clarke: "This is the first age that's ever paid much attention to the future, which is a little ironic since we may not have one."
Red Hat will still be there; systemd is crap, but people who need to learn it. There is a man page. They got away with worse (selinux, their network script, pppd, etc). They have a steady income stream in Enterprise.
Oracle may not be; Motorola, Ericsson and Blackberry will all fade and shrink, or be bought over.
M$ will be smaller, but still probably there if they manage to do one thing without making a total mess of it. That is a tall order for them. Xiaomi may kick Samsung's ass but they will both probably survive. I see a fallout in newspapers, magazines, and reading matter generally as prople go vitrual.

Comment Re:Not a measure of quality (Score 1) 139

You're on to something here. This is actually one of several things that seem to be wrong in the system. The metrics seem to have been devised by personnel demons ('scuse me, They are HR now :).
1. Science is conservative. The 'higher' you get, the more conservative you have to be.
2. Scientists in many fields do not read enough papers. They don't have the time. They grab abstracts and conclusions and read a section or two. They also might read a paper to contradict it destructively. Look at the evolution/ID debate if you don't believe me.
3. Papers are too long anyhow. Length is equated with depth, but it might more properly be equated with obfuscation.
4. As you said, counting citations is a joke.
Much more relevant might be a system where papers consisted of
1. Background was relegated to an appendix. Maths in another. Statistics to a third (if required). The briefest of introductions
2. Next an experimental discussion which set out only information necessary for the understanding the experiments, and their results.
3. Next a section on implications of experimental results.
4. All tripe about work done to be reserved for the lecturers who are marking student papers.
Each chapter would be a generous summary of the drivel currently making reading papers such a boring job.

Slashdot Top Deals

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. -- Josh Billings