the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

New Metallic Glass Creates Potential For Smart Windows

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
frank249 writes: A B.C. engineering lab has created metal-coated glass that transmits up to 10 per cent more light than conventional glass and opens the door to windows that function as electronics. The most immediate use of the technology is to create windows that can be programmed to absorb or reflect heat, depending on the needs of a building's occupants. Adding electronic control to windows will allow you to change the amount of light and heat passing through to more effectively use the energy provided by the sun naturally, Lead investigator Kenneth Chau credit films like Iron Man or Star Trek with providing them inspiration. "There is a dream that we can make glass smarter," he said. "These films give us concepts to strive for; the hard work is uncovering the science to make it happen." All those hours spent watching Star Trek are now starting to look like a "pretty good investment," he said. The results were published this week in the journal Scientific Reports.

LinkedIn Is Open Sourcing Their Testing Frameworks

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
destinyland writes: LinkedIn is open sourcing their testing frameworks, and sharing details of their revamped development process after their latest app required a year and over 250 engineers. Their new paradigm? "Release three times per day, with no more than three hours between when code is committed and when that code is available to members," according to a senior engineer on LinkedIn's blog. This requires a three-hour pipeline where everything is automated, from committing code to releasing it into production, along with automated analyses and testing. "Holding ourselves to this constraint ensures we won't revert to using manual validation to certify our releases."

Just remember

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Share your email login credentials with them. Much appreciated.

What is amazing is how many people do just that.

"Open Sourcing Testing Frameworks"?

By Irate Engineer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
My buzzspeak is a little rusty, but this sounds suspiciously like "Beat monkeys to code faster, send code out the door without testing, and just let the users figure it out". Did something get lost in translation?

3 hours is waaaay too long

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Oh my heavens, 3 hours is waaaay too long in this fast-paced, ever-changing world.

Why not just do an automatic commit with every keystroke, like the Windows 10 telemetry does?

Neglecting to care

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3 • Thread

I would rather eat rats than join LinkedIn.

250 developers working a project for a year at any other company would cause me to be curious about what that project is. In this case I have no interest in ever knowing.

Releasing three times a day with three hour _ceiling_ to "ship it" is only possible while harboring extreme levels of disregard and contempt for your users. Refreshing to see LinkedIn's corporate philosophy so well represented in everything they do.

Ubisoft Talks Splitscreen and the Division

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
SlappingOysters writes: Ubisoft's next entry in the Tom Clancy series is pushing at the boundaries of three genres, mixing the RPG, the squad-based shooter and the MMO into The Division. The game features drop-in, drop-out co-op in a near-future, post-pandemic New York that seamlessly allows players to transition from PvE to PvP environments without any menus or lobbies. However, despite its co-op gameplay, The Division does not support splitscreen. recently ran an extensive hands-on with the game, as well as an interview with Ubisoft Massive's creative director Magnus Jansén regarding the decision to forgo splitscreen co-op.

This gen console hardware sucks

By TechnoCore • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
That's why split screen is hard to be found nowadays, it would drastically reduce the quality of the game.

Let's cut to the important bits

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Always-on copy protection that keeps the honest player from playing for the first month or two while it doesn't bother those copying it illegally again? Or something sane for a change.

Cut to the important parts that decide whether or not someone with half a brain even ponders looking at what the game is like before he dismisses it as "do not want".

Meh, not getting it....

By Lumpy • Score: 3 • Thread

I played the betas, It's just Destiny in modern new york except the dark zone is the land of assholes that makes COD online feel civilized.

Google Is Shutting Down Picasa In Favor of Photos

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google has been steadily migrating its resources towards the Photos ecosystem since the company first announced it at last years I/O developers conference. Today, Google announced that it will shut down Picasa. Starting May 1st, Google will start phasing out Picasa from its product lineup, moving over to Google Photos.

god damnit

By jemmyw • Score: 3 • Thread

I just today reinstalled Picasa after restoring my photos from backup. I spent some time researching options and decided Picasa was still the best tool.


By martiniturbide • Score: 3 • Thread
...give us at least a chance !!!!

I will never adopt another Google product

By dpletche • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Google Photos could be the greatest thing ever, but it's too late for that. No thank you, I will pass on adopting Google's latest momentary fancy.

Google can't be trusted as a custodian of users' valuable data. Google has the attention span of a sleep-deprived toddler. In the past, it created amazing products, which I wove into my life. Then Google got bored and dropped those products, replacing them with other products I didn't like as much, again and again.

The incentive to destroy and replace products is baked in to Google's performance management ritual. I'm weary of the resulting churn and refuse to be burned again. In addition, I'm fed up with Google's fixation on low-contrast designs. I'm patiently disentangling myself of all Google dependencies.

Disclaimer: I was a software engineer at Google for four years. Hello to a friend who still works on Google Photos...

Re:So...anyone want to suggest replacements?

By Voyager529 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Photo organizers, locally installed, Windows:
Zoner Photo Studio
Nero Mediahome
Windows Live Photo Gallery
Media Pro (Not Freeware)
ACDSee (Not Freeware>
Corel Aftershot (Not Freeware)

Photo editors, browser based:

Image Hosting:
Piwigo (free to self-host; first party hosting available)
Zenphoto (free to self-host; third party hosting available)
JuiceBox (freemium; self-hosted only)
Amazon Prime Photos (you have to be Prime)

Okay, I'm tired of adding links...but depending on what functions of Picasa you're looking to replace, there are plenty of alternatives.

Re:So...anyone want to suggest replacements?

By graphius • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Lightroom is pretty good, and has a lot of other functionality, but Digicam is an awesome photo organizer. Works great in Linux, ok in Windows and kind of sucks on OSX.
PS. I am quite a serious photographer and have worked professionally in the past. Picassa was always a joke for anyone who took a lot of photos.

Smartphones May Soon Provide Earthquake Warnings

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit writes: When it comes to an earthquake, just a few seconds' warning could make the difference between life and death. But many earthquake-prone countries lack the seismic networks that would give their citizens the lead time to find cover or shut down critical utilities. Now, a group of enterprising engineers is looking at a substitute network: smartphones. Using smartphones' built-in accelerometers, researchers have invented an app, released today, that they say can detect strong earthquakes seconds before the damaging seismic waves arrive. MyShake, as the app is called, could become the basis for an earthquake warning system for the world's most vulnerable regions.

I say we combine the two

By Krishnoid • Score: 3 • Thread

Let's strip a smartphone down and attach it to the animals that go squirrely before an earthquake. Ground motion detection enhanced with animal senses -- bears further investigation, I bet.

This is nothing new

By stephanruby • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This is nothing new. There apps that already do this. For instance, this one does it and it's not called MyShake. And I bet there are many more apps that do exactly the same thing if you just look for them.

Re:This is nothing new

By NotInHere • Score: 4 • Thread

Earth quake warnings in fact were a thing even before the concept of "apps" were invented (yes, probably the apper troll considers this luddite now):

So yeah this now gets "upgraded" to the smartphone age: if you don't install this app and register with your email, and let the app monitor your activity, and whatever it does, you won't get an earthquake warning in advance and are probably more likely to die. Yeah, quite cool app.

Japan has a sensor network

By oheso • Score: 3 • Thread
We get alerts on our cell phones with at most a couple of seconds' warning. In theory that gives you time to duck under a desk or into a doorway. In practice it's always been: Beep! What the fuck is that? Earthquake!

App requests way too many permissions

By Quinn_Inuit • Score: 3 • Thread

My wife was at the conference where this was unveiled and she came home excited about it. When we went to install it on our phones, though, we discovered it requested a surprising array of permissions that you wouldn't think it would need, like information about your contacts list. I think I'll hold off till they scale that back to something more reasonable.

Researchers Improve Efficiency of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles By Almost 12%

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
hypnosec writes: A new study has put forward claims that by working on and improving the energy management system (EMS) that decides when the switch from 'all-electric' mode to 'hybrid' mode in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, efficiency of these vehicles can be improved by as much as 12 per cent. Researchers have shown in their lab tests that blended discharge strategies wherein power from the battery is used throughout the trip, have proven to be more efficient at minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.


By 110010001000 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Since gas is between $1-$2 a gallon now I think the need for hybrids has passed.


By T.E.D. • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Since gas is between $1-$2 a gallon now I think the need for hybrids has passed.

"Passed" isn't quite the right word. These prices are something Saudi Arabia is doing on purpose to try to run all the US shale oil producers out of business. If their plan works (Mwaahahahah! Good kitty), presumably they will then be able to go right back up to the higher prices they were selling Oil at 5 years ago.


By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"Passed" isn't quite the right word. These prices are something Saudi Arabia is doing on purpose to try to run all the US shale oil producers out of business. If their plan works (Mwaahahahah! Good kitty), presumably they will then be able to go right back up to the higher prices they were selling Oil at 5 years ago.

You missed right after they buy up all the bankrupt shale gas producers.

The middle east is running out of oil. Countries like Dubai are investing heavily in alternative markets to deal with the impending end of black gold - Dubai is basically trying to be a high end tourist resort, for example.

Saudi Arabia is trying to do it another way - buy up the next set of oil producers so the profits can be taken that way - bankrupt the existing oil producers in North America, buy them all up, and then jack up the prices and let the profits flow into the country. So even when they run out of oil, they still own all the companies producing oil in other countries, thus ensuring prosperity of their own.

Plus, I think they also want to bankrupt Iran who because of the nuclear treaty can sell oil on the market again.

Tell that to Bejing

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
and their air quality. The nice thing about electrics is they don't really pollute outside of the factories and power plants that make/fuel them. And it's a _lot_ easier to deal with the pollution from 1000 plants & factories than 1 million individual cars.


By amRadioHed • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Congratulations on saying the dumbest, most shortsighted thing I've read all week.

US Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia To Remove the Diary of Anne Frank

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
Today, the Wikimedia Foundation announced its removal of The Diary of Anne Frank from Wikisource, a digital library of free texts. According to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, works are protected for 95 years from the date of publication, meaning Wikimedia is not allowed to host a copy of the book before 2042. Rogers, the Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, says this is just one of the many examples of the overreach of the United States' current copyright law. He goes on to say, "Our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms."

Re:1976 Copyright Act

By JoeMerchant • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I think on the timeline of: A - Copyrighted, B - Copyright expired, C - Copyright extended by new law, violations of copyright between B and C are protected by ex post facto considerations, but copyright violations after time C are in violation of the law passed at that time, and therefore no longer ex post facto.

Re: it's

By RDW • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

From what I understand, the diary as published wasn't written by Anne but by her father largely/loosely based on her diary.

Your understanding is incorrect. There are two versions of the diary in Anne Frank's own handwriting - her original, and a more polished version she edited with a view to post-war publication. Otto Frank assembled the published book from both of Anne Frank's versions, excluding some passages but not adding new material. You can directly compare the three versions line by line in the original Dutch or in English translation in the Critical Editions published by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. The words are Anne Frank's, not her father's. He selected from the extant material, but did not re-write or invent.

Inherited Work

By Roger W Moore • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This makes complete sense. The point of copyright is to make artists confident that they or their immediate heirs will be able to benefit from their works for a limited time.

This does not make any sense at all. Why should the heirs of the artist be allowed to benefit from the artist's work? No other job provides benefits for heirs after the death of the worker unless that worker has saved some of their income and put it into a suitable savings vehicle.

Artists should be recompensed under the same set of ideals. Copyright should be a fixed length regardless of the life of the author. This should be long enough that the creator will gain adequate recompense for the work but the current system is ridicuous. Why should a work created by an artist who dies immediately after creating it earn less than a similar work created by an artist who lives for 50 years after creating it?

With fixed term copyright if the artist dies before the copyright expiration then, and only then, should the heirs inherit the copyright for the remaining term. If the copyright expires before the creator then either they can create more works or they can live off their savings. This is what everyone else has to do so why can't artists work under the same system?

Pay up or die without reading it, then?

By macraig • Score: 3 • Thread

The events in the diary took place decades before I was born, yet I will likely die before I have a chance to read it unencumbered in the public domain? Yeah, that makes sense, especially when the motivation of the diary had nothing at all to do with profit in the first place.

Re: it's

By porksauce • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It was her words, but there were some editorial decisions because: a) she actually wrote two versions, and b) there were some sexually explicit entries in her diary that got left out for the initial publication. Subsequent editions added some of the deleted parts back in. Those later editions are also called Diary of a Young Girl. Here's a good article about it.

French Court Rules That Facebook Can Now Be Sued in France

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: A Paris court of appeal has ruled in favor of a French complainant whose account was suspended, because he linked to an image of the 1866 Gustav Courbet nude 'L'Origine du monde', currently residing at the Musee d'Orsay. The appeals court not only agreed that the user's suspension by Facebook constitutes censorship, but the ruling itself negates Facebook's insistence that all legal challenges take place in its native California.


By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Women should not be treated as sex objects. This isn't 1866 anymore! Grow up Gustav. Put some clothes on her and teach her to code!

Re:Good for France.

By xaxa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Without bothering to read the article, it's probably relevant that the user in question is a resident of France, and access the site from France.

Facebook obviously know this, as it's a key attribute used to target advertising.

Incorrect Summary

By Translation Error • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The appeals court not only agreed that the user's suspension by Facebook constitutes censorship, but the ruling itself negates Facebook's insistence that all legal challenges take place in its native California.

According to the article, the court didn't say anything about the alleged censorship. It just ruled that the clause in Facebook's terms and conditions that all lawsuits had to take place in California was invalid.

Re: Incorrect Summary

By yacc143 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's obvious because in all European countries consumer protection laws require law suits to be located at the court of the residence of the consumer.

So requiring a consumer to sue away from his residence is obviously not possible.

Hold on now...

By mujadaddy • Score: 3 • Thread

1) Fuck Facebook

2) Fuck Facebook in the eye.

3) Fuck Facebook in the eye with a broken bottle, but don't they just serve up content to French people? What is their liability here?

Someone's going to bring up the privacy implications, but can we for one second take some responsibility for ourselves?

This little Frenchman is upset because Facebook isn't letting him host content on their servers. What is his expected remedy here? If YOU owned a site and BOFH'd it and ruled with an iron fist, would you accept some pissant crying to city fucking hall about it?

Fuck Facebook, but fuck this whole situation and everyone involved, too. My server. Fuck off. When you cut me a check to host your hairy pussy festival, then you can sue me.

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Have a Pager? Do You Find It Useful?

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter Chance Callahan writes: I am starting a business, helping a friend with his own startup, and volunteering regularly with a major political campaign (#feelthebern). One thing I have noticed is that my phone likes to die at the most inconvenient times and leaves me out of touch with people. With the business I'm starting requiring clients to be able to get ahold me quickly, I have been seriously considering getting a two-way pager. It's much easier swap out a AA battery once a month then to worry "will client X be able to get ahold me in the event of an emergency?" So, Slashdot, the million dollar question is, in the age of cell phones, do you have a pager? Do you still find it useful? Do any other "dead-tech" tools still play a big role for your communications? For example, fax machines are still big in Japan, and a lot of people keep landlines, too.

Pagers shared in work group for emergency contact

By Dzimas • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

One of my friends carries a pager when he's on call for work (a municipality, and he'd most likely be contacted about a toxic spill). He just clips it to his belt and forgets about it.

The pager has several advantages over a phone. The most critical is that it's a shared device that gets passed between the on-call staff. That means there's no risk of someone forgetting their phone at home, running out of battery or having an incorrect number listed on the staff contact form. Emergency Services has a single contact number that should always work.

Re: Yes considering how poor cell coverage is!

By omnichad • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It won't even penetrate our cube walls

You're supposed to drill through the wall before you try to run Ethernet through it.

Re:Who still uses pagers?

By sribe • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Why doesn't someone developing medical devices see this as a market and develop a pager for the medical industry if pagers are no longer being made?

It's not the pagers. It's the paging systems. The market has dropped greatly, so maintaining transmitter towers, repeaters, the whole system, is a hard business to be in. Reliability is exactly why some large medical systems run their own metro-wide paging systems.

forgot I had a pager

By k6mfw • Score: 3 • Thread

I used to carry a pager not too long ago. But in recent years nobody bothered to "call me" on the pager. I think reason is many people don't know what or how it is used. i.e. call my pager number, after hearing a few beeps then key in phone number you want me to call and then I will call you. Is this procedure still taught? Only need a few sentences at most for instructions. But maybe pagers gone way of dial telephones, plop one in front of somebody under 40 and they will have no idea what they are looking at.

It seemed AAAbatterY didn't last very one, since it rarely received calls many times I forget to wear it. When I find after some time, battery is not only dead but leaked. So I have clean out the battery holder, kept doing this several times eventually didn't put a battery into it. Meanwhile the gal came through the office doing property inventory asked if I still use the pager. I had to find it in my junque archive, I turned it in. Last week got the message item has been disposed.

Pager is more reliable

By axp_bofh • Score: 3 • Thread
I've carried a pager for over 25 years (systems programmer, then systems admin(VMS, Linux, SAN...)). I like the pager for several reasons: 1) after so many years it is guaranteed to wake me up (and more importantly, it doesn't wake up my wife). 2) it will respond in places that my phone won't reliably get a signal. 3) battery life. 4) clips to my belt and forget it's there.5) if I go on vacation, I can leave it behind. Most paging systems will pass email notifications to the pager; at this point most of my pages are one system or another crying for daddy to help.

Fresh Wayland Experiences With Weston, GNOME, KDE and Enlightenment

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
jones_supa writes: Software developer Pavlo Rudyi has written a blog post about his experiences with the various desktop environments currently supporting Wayland. The results are not a big surprise, but nevertheless it is great to see the continued interest in Wayland and the ongoing work by many different parties in ensuring that Wayland will eventually be able to dominate the Linux desktop. To summarize, Pavlo found Weston to be "good," GNOME is "perfect," KDE is "bad," and Enlightenment is "good." He also created a video from his testing. Have you done any testing? What's your experience?


By kthreadd • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The first iterations of GNOME 3 was perhaps a bit rough but that's understandable when you're fixing so much at once. Around GNOME 3.8 things got better and since 3.14 it has been really good. If you haven't tried GNOME in a while then now is a good time to look at it with fresh eyes.

KDE is a work in progress

By neuro88 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I read the article a few hours ago on my way to work, and I don't recall it being mentioned that the KDE port to Wayland is very much a work in progress, but this is slashdot and no one readons TFA's anyway so it's worth mentioning here. Of course the KDE port to Wayland isn't going to be very good as in a work-in-progress and more of a technology preview at this point.

I've been meaning to try Gnome 3 under Wayland... This blog post makes me even more interested. Although I should probably try Gnome 3 under X11 first so I have a basis for comparison.

Re:KDE5 crashs anyway even with X11

By jouassou • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
My experience was that Kubuntu 15.10 (Plasma 5.4) was unstable and crashed a lot. It wasn't a very big issue, because all the open windows always survived the crash and Plasma immediately respawned, but it was nevertheless annoying. However, I've now been running the newest version (Plasma 5.5) under Manjaro for about a month on both my main workstation and laptop, and still haven't experienced a single crash. So whatever was unstable, seems like they fixed it :).

iPhones Bricked By Setting Date To Jan 1, 1970

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
lightbox32 writes: Beware of a hoax circling the interwebs, which can be seen by setting your iPhone's date to January 1, 1970. Many people are reporting that doing so will brick the device. It's unclear what exactly causes the issue, but could be related to how iOS stores date and time formats. Jan. 1, 1970 is a value of zero or less than zero, which would make any process that uses a time stamp to fail. Apple is aware of the issue and is looking into it.

Re:Less than zero is a valid timestamp

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The thing that bothers me about all of the summaries I've read, is that a timestamp less than zero (which is Jan 1 1970) is still valid - otherwise how would you represent dates before 1970???

You represent dates before 1970 with a negative number.

It's not the representation that is the problem-- it is letting the iPhone operate with today's date being a negative number.

The iPhone concludes that you have just time-travelled, and thus bricks itself to enforce the chronology protection protocol.

Re:False headline...

By slashkitty • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It's actually attached with a snap clip. Only the original iphone had it soldered on. I've replaced a few iphone batteries.

Alright, I'll bite

By U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Okay guys, calm down. Assuming iOS is really based on OS X, I'll test something on my Mac right this instant.

Setting the clock to january first 1970 right noW. I DO NOT SEE ANY DIFFERENCE.


Re:So it's only a brick for several days

By BitZtream • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

No, it isn't.

A) because it doesn't actually break in the first place
B) Brick means unrecoverable, recovery here is trivial if it were to work as the story goes.

C) You've been trolled, the phone doesn't actually brick in the first place, worst you bought into something this silly.

Re:Less than zero is a valid timestamp

By Tim the Gecko • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

So the representation of dates must either handle negative values or have some other method of representing dates as far back as 14,000,000,006 years.

Reminds me of this joke:

Some tourists in the Museum of Natural History are marveling at some dinosaur bones. One of them asks the guard, "Can you tell me how old the dinosaur bones are?"

The guard replies, "They are 3 million, four years, and six months old."

"That's an awfully exact number," says the tourist. "How do you know their age so precisely?"

The guard answers, "Well, the dinosaur bones were three million years old when I started working here, and that was four and a half years ago."

UK GHCQ Is Allowed To Hack

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: A security tribunal has just decreed that hacking by the UK security agency GCHQ is legal. [The case was launched after revelations by Edward Snowden about the extent of US and UK spying. Campaigners Privacy International claimed GCHQ's hacking operations were too intrusive]. The legal challenge that they were violating European law was rejected.

I for one welcome the return of the Star Chamber.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

One set of rules for us. Another set of rules for them. If they are allowed to break laws to find civillians who are breaking laws then why are civillians not allowed to break laws to find officials who are breaking laws?

I feel ashamed that the law in the UK has come so far away from protecting people / serving justice and so far closer to being a weapon of oppression.

Re:Makes a lot of sense

By Richard_at_work • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, this ruling was issued by a panel of senior judges, not the government. In the UK, senior judges are independent of the government.

Re:I for one welcome the return of the Star Chambe

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The fascist mind-set expressed in these things assumes as absolute truth that the "authorities" are always right and do not need oversight by the citizens. A brief look in history shows how very much wrong that idea is and how often it leads to incredible evil.

Re:Corrupt through and through

By blue9steel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Hence the elite's heavy investments in internal security and autonomous weaponry.

Where do I sign up for handcuffs?

By dweller_below • Score: 3 • Thread
I spend a good chunk of every workday defending my institution from network attacks by the governments of China and Russia. They are not the only ones. I imagine all of them give themselves permission to attack. I expect all of them eventually make it illegal to resist their attacks. As more and more governments create these crazy laws and international agreements, my defensive actions will become more and more illegal. Thanks Five Eyes!

Scientists Say Goodbye to Philae Comet Lander

Posted by yaelkView on SlashDotShareable Link
Today, scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) announced that they are saying goodbye to Philae, the comet lander that is currently perched on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it races toward the sun. According to Stephan Ulamec, Philae's project manager, "Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center is almost zero." Philae first made history when it successfully landed on a comet in fall of 2014, but problems soon began when commands were not able to reach the robot.

Again, PR failure but engineering success

By Brett Buck • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

As far as I can tell, the lander worked exactly as intended for as long as intended. It's the extended mission that had issues, and that was always an "if possible"/"best effort" prospect .People are continuing to think that this mission was "troubled" and had a lot of problems but was just good, and they got a second shot - which was a very long shot.

        I am no apologist for the ESA (far from it) but this was a very nice, well-executed program and they shouldn't and the world shouldn't getting a negative impression about it.


By spaceman375 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The comet is moving AWAY from the sun, not towards it. Summary and article are written by people who regurgitate more than remember.

Re:And how does this help the people?

By tnk1 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We're stuck on this rock for the foreseeable future, champ. Learn to love it.

We will be stuck on this rock forever, if you get your way.

There are certain things about space and space travel that you only can find out by doing it.

Learning about comets gives us the ability to see what sort of material makes up a solar system and how it interacts. We're not just doing this to go sightseeing.

There is some idea that we will somehow be able to magically be able to find all of those advances we need later if we just stay on Earth and focus no effort or money on space exploration. That makes zero sense.

We can still focus on space exploration while feeding the hungry. As I've pointed out more than once, we already *can* feed the world's population. What keeps us from doing it is actually mostly politics, which fouls up the logistics of actually doing it. We're not actually threatened with extinction and mass starvation simply because we won't add 19 billion dollars or so to our 4-6 trillion dollar budgets.

Re:And how does this help the people?

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
You realize the internet that you're using to complain about government spending on started off as a government project right?

At some point in the future we're going to be acquiring large quantities of resources from off-planet and this is another step in that direction. Really, anything that eventually helps humanity move out among the stars is far more important to us than anything we locally do on Earth. We might make life more comfortable for a few, but eventually something disastrous will happen to our planet (some people are even pretty sure we'll be the ones that do it) and we'll need to have a backup. Colonizing other planets and eventually other solar systems (or just being able to survive out in space for extended periods) is incredibly important.

OCZ Toshiba Breaks 30 Cents Per GB Barrier With New Trion 150 SSD

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: OCZ's Trion 150 SSD is an update to the company's Trion 100, which was the first drive from OCZ to feature TLC NAND and all in-house, Toshiba-built technology. As its branding suggests, the new Trion 150 kicks things up a notch over the Trion 100, thanks to some cutting-edge Toshiba 15nm NAND flash memory and a tweaked firmware, that combined, offer increased performance and lower cost over its predecessor. In testing, the Trion 150 hits peak reads and writes well north of 500MB/sec like most SATA-based SSDs but the kicker is, at its higher densities, the drive weighs in at about 28 cents per GiB. This equates to street prices of $70 for a 240GB drive, $140 for 480GB and $270 for a 960GB version. It's good to see mainstream solid state storage costs continuing to come down.

Re:Nice ad.

By sims 2 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Amazon: $69.99


By Lumpy • Score: 3 • Thread

The barrier the broke is boring as I have purchased better brands for the same price or less recently.

They broke the OCZ barrier, Crucial has been there for a while.

OCZ is way behind the price points of pretty much all the big boys.


By moosehooey • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They decided to continue to use the same trademark. They get the bad publicity along with the good.


By The-Ixian • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yeah, honestly, if they had just rebranded to Toshiba and dropped OCZ completely, I would never have dug any further and just assumed that the venerable Toshiba hard drive division was making a push into the SSD market.

They're still doing it wrong.

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"increased performance and lower cost"

I'd settle for "same performance, same cost, improved reliability".

Did a Timer Error Change the Outcome of a Division I College Basketball Game?

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter javakah writes: Controversy has erupted from the February 10th basketball game between Boise State and Colorado State, and speculation is that a timer may have made an incorrect assumption about the number of frames per second the game was recorded in, and ultimately lead to an erroneous result. With the game tied in overtime, Boise State had the ball out-of-bounds with 0.8 seconds left on the game clock. The ball was thrown in-bounds, the shot went in, and the game clock showed that the Boise State player got the shot off with 0.4 seconds left. However there was a problem: the game clock did not start until a fraction of a second after the in-bounds player touched the ball. Referees decided to use video replay to examine whether the player had gotten the shot off within 0.8 seconds or not. To do this, they used a timer embedded in the video replay system. This embedded timer indicated that 1.3 seconds had passed between the time that the in-bounds player touched the ball and when he got the shot off. (Read more, below.)

This is way more common than you think.

By Controlio • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

We, the people who work on the technical back-end to create the HD broadcasts you watch, are fighting a never-ending battle with crappy, hastily-written software that can't tell the difference between 30fps and 60fps.

Professional video gear that costs tens of thousands of dollars per unit still have software settings that assume the video coming into them is 29.97fps in both the settings and math calculations, which hasn't been used in broadcasting since the days of standard def. Even frame syncronizers - the workhorse devices that cross-convert and conform video feeds into whatever standards we need - still push out software that claims an output of 29.97fps when it's really pumping out 59.94fps. Not to mention, when the marketing staff puts together an on-air read to tell you how super-duper-awesome their new super-slow-mo cam-du-jour is, I can't tell you how many times I hear on-air talent still use the "regular cameras shoot in 30 frames a second but ours shoots 1,000!!@!" technical explanation, which just flat out isn't true anymore and hasn't been for nearly a decade.

If it's HD, you're more than likely staring at 59.94fps. In fact, any time you see an HD picture that is in 29.97fps, people immediately ask "Hey, why is that picture strobing?" This was a huge problem back when GoPros could only do 1080p at 30fps. Anyone who wasn't smart enough to set the cameras to 720p and upconvert them was met with very substandard results.

The only reason this hasn't come to a head sooner than this, is most of the time this poorly-written software and it's completely inaccurate timing isn't used as an official timing device to determine the outcome of a game. It was only a matter of time, pun not intended.

Re:Symbiotic not parasitic relationship with sport

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Baloney. The vast majority of sport programs are a net loss for the University. ESPN did a story on this. Even the powerhouses like Alabama (Football) lose massive amounts of money. People think the Universities are making massive money off of these teams, but reality it is just the coaches and Athletic Directors getting rich.

Re:Symbiotic not parasitic relationship with sport

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
If colleges limited themselves to football (or ice hockey for some universities) and whichever of men's or women's basketball was more popular, almost every athletics department would make money. However, the more popular sports subsidize the less popular sports (Track & Field, Baseball / Softball, etc.) that don't make much or any revenue and then Title IX requirements mean that they have to offer funding for women's sports which typically make even less revenue.

Coaches are going to get well paid, but some are probably worth it given how much money the football/basketball program can bring in for the athletics department. A good amount does go into scholarships for the athletes, a few of whom may not be able to otherwise afford to go to college. Some don't make the most of that opportunity, but that's not any less true of the general student population itself.

Re:doesn't matter anyway

By Verdatum • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Hey now, it has to matter a little! I mean, it's not like it's a women's basketball game! (I am so sorry)

DVSport is not using real time code.

By Controlio • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Professional broadcasts use something called "time code". Time Code Generators work along with a sync generator to make sure that every frame that a television truck creates gets created at precisely the same moment, and gets tagged with a unique and sequential timecode. The better ones sync with GPS or a modem to give precision time, the cheaper ones you have to manually set - usually with a cell call to the atomic clock. We embed that timecode signal into the ancillary data of each video frame, and produce a side-channel audio signal with the data embedded for devices that can't accurately read the timecode from within the video frames. We have to be incredibly accurate - as a video frame that is a fraction of a microsecond out of time can cause all sorts of issues. This used to be a huge deal in analog standard-def video - any frame that was out of time could cause the picture to shift horizontally or vertically (think of bad tracking on VHS tapes as a small example). Even sync was less accurate - sync was delivered through "black burst" which was literally just that - a burst of a black video signal, where you took the sync pulse and lined it up to ensure the timing of the frame was accurate or "close enough". Now with HD, we use tri-level sync which is way more accurate.

For the TL;DR crowd, in a production truck we can make precision measurements of time based on our sync and time code. The company that has created a good percentage of the official replay systems in the US - DVSport - has no access to our sync or time code. They also take our uncompressed frames and compress them into a video stream. They generate something loosely akin to our time code, but really it's just a reference point to where in the compressed stream you'd like to view.

Because of the inherent inaccuracies of how they time tag their compressed video and the inaccuracies of their internal clock itself, their time code - even when properly set - can "float". The longer you record, the more float you get - and it's not unusual to see minutes of float in a day. But if your internal source clock is inaccurate - and your math is trying to divide a second into the wrong number of frames - you get issues like this. You get severe time code float with 60fps vs 59.94fps alone, and that's BEFORE considering how accurate your reference clock is, and without any regard to how accurate your MPEG video encoder is. People are speculating that the software didn't know the video source was 59,94fps and was doing math based on 29.97fps or 30fps.

Even in the professional world we get tiny bits of "float", but ours is typically only a frame or two per day. We also issue what's called a "time code jam" - where we issue a uniform break in the time code stream to make sure every device is still synchronized to each other without falling too far behind actual time of day. These cheaper replay devices don't come anywhere near that level of accuracy.

Now imagine loosely time-tagging video into a compressed stream, and taking that wholly inaccurate time and reattaching it to video frames that are being uncompressed by an MPEG decoder on-the-fly. And now you can see how accurate relying on a replay system time overlay is. Prosumer video products like DVSport don't hold a candle to the timing standards we use in professional television production. Not that they can't - they just don't. More than likely because it's never become an issue up until now - or worked "well enough" for no one to notice. That is, until something as big as the outcome of a game relies on your kludge of a modestly-accurate timing reference.