Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2017-Apr-19 today archive

States Are Moving To Cut College Costs By Introducing Open-Source Textbooks

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In an effort to curb the rising cost of textbooks, which went up by 88% between 2006 and 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maryland and New York have announced initiatives that adopt open-source, copyright-free textbooks. The initiatives will reward colleges who adapt or scale the use of OER (open educational resources) -- "materials like electronic textbooks that typically use licenses that are far less restrictive than traditional, copyrighted textbooks," reports Quartz. From the report: The University System of Maryland recently announced that it would be giving out 21 "mini-grants" to seven community colleges and five public four-year schools. The grants will go to "faculty who are adopting, adapting or scaling the use of OER [open educational resources] in Fall 2017 through high-enrollment courses where quality OER exists," according to the announcement. Although the mini-grants are only $500 to $2,500 each, the effort in Maryland is expected to save 8,000 students up to $1.3 million in the Fall 2017 semester alone. That's a significant amount, but just a drop in the bucket of what students in the state spend on textbooks each year. Another big investment in open educational resources came in the budget passed in New York state last week. The news was somewhat buried by the fact that the budget includes free tuition for New York students whose families make up to $125,000 a year, but the state will also be putting $8 million into open source materials over the next fiscal year.

Doesn't even need to be open source

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In my experience there were two really annoying "features" that, if eliminated, would slack textbook costs:

- incremental revisions: publishers put out regular "revisions" that really don't do much except shuffle some things around and *stop you reselling your text to next year's class*.
- over-the-top binding: physics was the worst offender for this in my experience. The only version of certain "classic" texts (Jackson's Electrodynamics springs to mind) you could get your hands on at any of the local bookshops would be the leather-bound edition with the shiny gold lettering, inbuilt cloth bookmark and (judging by the price) the ability to travel through space and time, cure cancer and end world freakin' hunger. I don't know, this might not be such an issue now we have Amazon et al, but back in the 90s the combined cost of your physics tomes could easily wipe out your food budget for a few months (unless you were willing to camp out in the photocopy room at the library for a day... not that we ever did such things).

Open Source Books

By pushing-robot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"I've switched to publishing my books under the GPL."

"Oh, they're free?"

"No, the FSF says I can charge as much as I wish. Free as in speech, not beer."

"But at least you include the source?"

"Of course! Each copy includes its own text. It's tucked between the covers."

Pretty old news now but anyway....

By ogdenk • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

We use open source physics textbooks where I attend and it actually works out pretty well. The books are pretty well-written. The PDF versions are free, the dead-tree edition is like $100. The one-time key for the online assignments is like $40. At the end of the day, other than tuition I only had to spend $40. Pretty awesome idea if you ask me.... the rest of my classes require books ranging from $120 to $400.

The college book publishing racket has to end.

The additional amusement watching retarded millennial kids who never learned to use a real computer and are too cheap to buy a tablet trying to use the eBook version as well as complete assignments on their phones is priceless as well. I've seen people trying to write papers on phones recently. They'd rather fumble with a $600 phone than spend $100 on a used laptop. Boggles the mind.

So let's see...

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

Sure, textbooks are expensive. But how much are kids paying for textbooks each year versus how much tuition they're paying into the state's coffers annually?

If the states really want to lower the costs of college... they should drop tuition costs instead of raising them 20-30% every year or two.

Re:Pretty old news now but anyway....

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So to be clear, you had to pay $40 to do an assignment on top of your existing crippling student fees and you say this is a good outcome?

Am I strange that I went through university where textbooks were set, taught from, but I was able to do all assigned assessment and course work without additional expense? I mean it's one thing to suggest people read from certain books to advance themselves, but it's quite another to require students to pay for sitting assessments (isn't that what the damn college fees are for in the first place?)

First Evidence For Higher State of Consciousness Found

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter baalcat quotes a report from Neuroscience News: Neuroscientists observed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity -- a measure of the complexity of brain activity -- of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, compared with when they were in a normal waking state. The diversity of brain signals provides a mathematical index of the level of consciousness. For example, people who are awake have been shown to have more diverse neural activity using this scale than those who are asleep. This, however, is the first study to show brain-signal diversity that is higher than baseline, that is higher than in someone who is simply "awake and aware." Previous studies have tended to focus on lowered states of consciousness, such as sleep, anesthesia, or the so-called "vegetative" state. For the study, Michael Schartner, Dr Adam Barrett and Professor Seth of the Sackler Center reanalyzed data that had previously been collected by Imperial College London and the University of Cardiff in which healthy volunteers were given one of three drugs known to induce a psychedelic state: psilocybin, ketamine and LSD. Using brain imaging technology, they measured the tiny magnetic fields produced in the brain and found that, across all three drugs, this measure of conscious level -- the neural signal diversity -- was reliably higher. The findings have been published in Scientific Reports.

Re:In other news. scrambling eggs creates chickens

By goose-incarnated • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

External electrical influences or seizures absolutely do not create more "complexity," in the same sense as psychedelics; they create dysfunction through disruption, which is very different. And using a ridiculous blanket term like "getting blitzed" shows that you have no understanding whatsoever of the difference between mere intoxication and other types of altered states, such as those produced by psychedelics. This study, while not groundbreaking, is interesting because it has produced more data supporting the notion that psychedelic states are not simply a form of random intoxication, as you suggest, but are indeed indicative of stimulation of certain brain functions.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say. The conclusion says "In sum, we found increased global neural signal diversity for the psychedelic state induced by KET, PSIL and LSD, suggesting the psychedelic state lies above conscious states such as wakeful rest and REM sleep on a one-dimensional scale defined by neural signal diversity. ".

It's a one-dimensional scale measuring neural signal diversity. Random electric shocks to the brain would result in a higher state on that scale. Actually, random electric shocks to the person (random torture?) would raise the scale too. GP was absolutely spot on that these results mean nothing; higher signal diversity could mean "capable of deeper insight", or it

could

mean "unable to function at all", but the actual study doesn't have any results one way or another.

Re:My experience

By slew • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You have to remember that for many, "reality" is an illusion created by the visual cortex part of your brain. Since it takes time for your brain to decode the input from your visual senses in the visual cortex, in a way your conscious mind is interpreting the recent past as "now". Of course there are always "reactionary" processing from our reptilian brain that work on a faster pace (sound, touch, involuntary reflexes, etc) and these occasionally intrude on our quaint visual cortex consciousness view of "now" to give us the misguided impression that we can somehow anticipate the future (maybe a second or so, the feeling of deja vu or flinching before your see something).

There is evidence that psychedelic drugs like LSD allow for additional intrusions from other parts of the brain into the visual cortex in an often uncoordinated or hallucinatory fashion which leads some to speculate that generates feeling of some sort of break with reality, or one-ness with universe as these novel interactions are interpreted by the visual cortex. Unfortunately, there is also some evidence that LSD also inhibits connections between the visual cortex and the parahippocampus which plays an important role in memory encoding. This might explain why memories of LSD trips are often fleeting leaving only vague impressions in their wake...

If you associate the normal visual cortical view of "reality" as consciousness, maybe you might think of this psychedelic state which causes this disjoint amalgamation of signals in the visual cortex as some sort "higher" or "altered" consciousness, but given the apparent difficulties of recording and learning about perceptions that could be potentially distilled from this state, it's a stretch to say that any specific intrinsic knowledge about the mechanics of self perception could be learned or gained this way, but certainly for many it might enable a different way of looking at things (which might give you insight into something that you know about already or bridge many facts/skills/ideas you already have together into something clever or novel).

As with many systems, it's generally very difficult to discover the nature of the system from within the system, but maybe a researcher armed with MRIs (and neural lace?) might be able to learn something about you and your thought processes by studying you when are tripping. That whole idea of somehow an untrained individual unlocking the knowledge of the universe crap while tripping is not bloody likely...

On the other hand, just like the allegory of the caves, I suspect some that partake in LSD somehow develop the impression that it opens them up to a different type of perception of reality from which they do not want to return, but the sad fact is that it is simply a different reality, not "the" reality (you still don't "see" anymore than your senses, you just have a different take on them, a different perspective so to speak). Your brain is still looking a shadows on the cave wall (but maybe multi-colored and fancy with sound and light ;^)...

Re: "Neural signal diversity"

By Zero__Kelvin • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
You are cut off from using the word "logical" until further notice.

Re:Hyoervisor

By silentcoder • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

But it's also overclocking without checking the temperature - which will overheat a CPU and lead, at the very least, to code execution errors. The latter is pretty comon when taking these drugs - with neurons firing faster than censory input data can arrive, they have nothing to process - so they invent their own substitutes. We call the process 'halucination'.

Re: duh

By Junta • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Actually, this may be a 'higher' state of consciousness, but that does not necessarily denote 'better'.

Think about hearing someone on the other end of a phone whisper, it's useless because you can't make it out.

Then at a 'normal' speaking level, they make sense and things function.

Then if they yell into the phone, there's no denial there is heightened activity, but it's so noisy and clipping and chaotic as to be useless again.

Increased activity and/or diversity does not always equal better (particularly increased diversity of a signal generally leads to problems).

So 'higher' can still be 'crazy'.

Navy, Marines Prohibit Sharing Nude Photos In Wake of a Facebook Scandal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: The Navy and Marine Corps issued new regulations that ban members from sharing nude photographs following a scandal involving military personnel sharing intimate pictures of their female colleagues -- some of which were taken without their knowledge -- in a secret Facebook group. The new statute, which was signed Tuesday by Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley, went into effect immediately and will be made permanent when the next edition of the Navy's regulations is printed, according to Navy Times. Military courts will handle violations of the new rule. The crackdown comes after a Facebook group was uncovered featuring naked photos of female service members. The group was eventually shut down by Facebook after a request from the Marine Corps. The Center for Investigative Reporting found that some of the photographs posted on the Facebook group may have been taken consensually, but others may not have been.

Re: Good luck with that!

By Fire_Wraith • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I'm guessing you've never served in the Armed Forces.

Part of what it means to be in the military is that you're expected to look out for your buddies, whether male or female. You're supposed to be able to count on them to have your back, and you theirs. The military is expected to act as groups, not as a gaggle of individuals, and spends lots of time training to do exactly that..

Personally, I'd believe that this sort of conduct was already punishable under a number of UCMJ articles - certainly under Article 134, "Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Discipline." I'm not a military lawyer (or lawyer at all), but depending on circumstances there's a number of other Articles that such activity would likely be in violation of. Regardless of that, though, this kind of conduct is utterly toxic for any sort of unit, and I'm not in the least surprised that they're cracking down on it.

Re:Ick

By Imrik • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You may have missed the part where a many of the pictures were taken without the knowledge of the subjects.

Re:

By kurkosdr • Score: 3 • Thread
Can I have some sample pictures of that Facebook group, so I can gain a further insight into that delicate problem?

Re:The price of "freedom"

By Cederic • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Drunken sex is not necessarily rape. Drunk people are accountable for their decision to drive a motor vehicle and are frequently accountable for their choice whether to have sex.

Personally I prefer to avoid drunk women. They're just not attractive - unless I'm very drunk myself, in which case they're legally obliged not to rape me.

Re:USMC and USN are separate military services

By Deadstick • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Separate but pretty intertwined. Marines hold some of the same shipboard positions as sailors, and the USMC has no medical corps -- it goes into action with Navy corpsmen.

Ask Slashdot: What Are Good Books On Inventing, Innovating and Doing R&D?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
dryriver writes: I've signed up to a project that involves inventing new ways to do things and also performing the technology R&D required to make these new ways a reality. So, dear Slashdotters, are there any good books on inventing, innovating or doing R&D? Books that describe different ways to approach inventing/R&D? Books on managing a team effort to invent, innovate and research? Or even good books about the history of past inventions -- how they were created, why they were created, how and why they succeeded or failed in the real world? Thanks!

Re:so

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A young man wrote to Mozart and said:

                Q: "Herr Mozart, I am thinking of writing symphonies. Can you give
                me any suggestions as to how to get started?"
                A: "A symphony is a very complex musical form, perhaps you should
                begin with some simple lieder and work your way up to a symphony."
                Q: "But Herr Mozart, you were writing symphonies when you were 8
                years old."
                A: "But I never asked anybody how."

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age

By Lordfly • Score: 3 • Thread

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. History of Bell Labs from the founding to around the 80s.

The design of everyday things.

By sims 2 • Score: 3 • Thread

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

If you're going to make something please make it intuitive.

There's not much out there...

By Sir Holo • Score: 3 • Thread

I've taught a class on essentially this topic in a senior-level class for a couple of years at a top-10 US University, so I've performed this same search that you are (My day job is Research Faculty). I could find very little. This thread has some nice suggestions that I am definitely going to check out, though.

Looking back now, I can see that in my own learning of the art of science and of R&D, it was all bits and pieces learned from people. Whether in undergrad, grad school, or as a post-doc – it was always the same case. I made a habit of listening to those whom I found competent. Most of the real, kernel-level things that I learned were discrete and small lessons. Sometimes a single observation or suggestion.

I wish I could articulate something useful, but really it was the experience of working with others in science or R&D/engineering that I learned the most valuable lessons. Becoming competent in this skill-set is, as far as I can tell, best achieved by being an understudy – an apprentice. That is actually what graduate school is: an apprenticeship.

I am not saying these things cannot be learned in other ways. If grad school is not an option, then read some of the fine-sounding books listed in-thread. Associate yourself, if you can, with anyone who possesses these skills.

Good luck.

Learn the Theory, Get a Mentor

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

I've worked at several startups, and in R&D groups in larger companies. I've worked at all levels, most often directly with the research scientists. I've been at the elbows of amazing inventors, researchers and innovators. None of them followed any common models, or had many shared processes, but they did share several characteristics that helped me in my own efforts.

When I got out of the US Navy I became a technician, initially performing production calibration of scientific instruments. Soon I was helping on new products and beta instruments. Then one of our scientists lost his lab technician and I was asked to fill-in. It was like drinking from a firehose while juggling grenades. But I immediately knew what I wanted to do, and that was a career in R&D.

1. Know the theory.

It is difficult to create anything truly new unless you have a deep and broad understanding of the relevant theory. This can be done while getting a BS (which I did, but it was a 5-year BS), but most often it requires an MS. Or equivalent! You certainly can get the classes in the evenings. Technologies and their applications come and go at a furious rate: Theory never becomes obsolete, and it only grows with time.

2. Know the the field.

It is important to know what's already been done in the field, and what's happening now. Sometimes, our new great idea has actually been done before, and likely failed. Knowing the history, the main companies, the main researchers, and the applicable technology in a field is vital to know even what or where to innovate. This typically means joining professional societies (SPIE, IEEE, ACM, etc.), subscribing to journals, going to conferences, trade fairs, and vendor/distributor seminars.

4. Know all the buzzwords.

It is important to know the full vocabulary within a field, within its adjacent fields, and within all fields it relies upon. It's all the "meta-data", knowing what things exist and how they are related. You do NOT need to know much of anything about the underlying theory or tech. This is where Google makes a difference. Become expert at "surfing buzzword chains". If you know just the conceptual connections, you know a huge amount about the field.

One critical area for such buzzword/meta-data knowledge is math, particularly applied math. For example, I have never used, implemented or even seen an "Extended Kalman Filter", but I know where and when they are used, and if I'm ever in a related area, I'll know it's time to study EKFs. I've read the abstracts and conclusions in papers about EKFs (that's where the vocabulary is), but I have yet to read any of the pages in-between.

5. Learn from others.

I was extraordinarily lucky to have a terrific scientist mentor so early. Don't wait for luck! Learn who the innovators are in your field, find out the events they attend, make sure you go to them, and offer to buy lunch, beers, or whatever else is needed to get time with them. Join the email groups and forums they participate in. Follow them on social media. Read every article or paper they ever wrote.

Then ask them for a job. It rarely works, but it's worked for me twice! (I just got really used to "No", and kept trying.)

6. Read biographies of great innovators and companies.

Start close to your field, the go wider as needed. Be sure to focus on ones that emphasize the technical aspects. I generally avoid autobiographies unless they have a great ghost-writer and/or have great reviews from technical folks.

7. Think outside the box. Literally.

Don't get trapped within US culture. Do some of all the above outside of English-speaking countries. Particularly focus on Asia. Learn bits of other languages, such as Mandarin and Russian, enough to be polite at conferences (Duolingo rocks). Use Google Translate to read papers lacking English versions.

8. NEVER be afraid to ask a "stupid" question!

I can't emphasize this enough. Most scientists are eager to discuss their work, but t

Toyota Unveils Plan For Hydrogen Powered Semi Truck

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter omaha393 quotes a report from R&D Magazine: Toyota announced a new initiative on Wednesday aimed at advancing its work in vehicles powered by alternative energy sources. The automaker unveiled Project Portal, which is a novel hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy duty truck use at the Port of Los Angeles. A proof-of-concept truck powered by this fuel cell will be part of a feasibility study held at the Port this summer, with the goal of examining the potential of this technology in heavy-duty applications. The test vehicle will produce more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound feet of torque from two of these novel fuel cell stacks along with a 12kWh battery. Overall, the combined weight capacity is 80,000 pounds that will be carried over 200 miles.

omaha393 adds: "While hydrogen fuel has been criticized due to high cost of production and safety concerns, recent advances in catalysis and solid storage systems have made the prospect of hydrogen fuel an attractive commercial prospect for the future."

Torque

By Mr D from 63 • Score: 3 • Thread
Please Mr. Summary writer. You are not getting torque from a fuel cell stack. That's the job of the motor.

H2 is actually gaining (small) market presence

By scatbomb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

A couple years ago I'd have agreed with you, but a lot has changed.

Toyota unveiled a (admittedly very expensive) hydrogen-powered car that goes >300 miles on a charge and takes 5 min to refuel. Toyota, the largest auto manufacturer in the world, is probably not doing this as an empty gesture. They've announced they'll almost eliminate ICE cars from their lineup by 2050 and have yet to release an all-electric car (just plugin hybrids). They're working with Shell to provide fueling stations, of which there are >80 in Japan and 25 in CA right now, promising 160 in Japan within a couple years.

source: https://ssl.toyota.com/mirai/f...

source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news...

Hydrogen can be produced via electrolysis of water or salt water from any source of electricity, including intermittent sources like renewables. The efficiency of electrolysis is very high today, approaching 90%.

source: http://www.h2fc-fair.com/hm14/...

It's not a perfect answer, but it's looking a lot less ridiculous than it did a few years ago.

oh the humanity!

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

oh the humanity!

Re:What are the benefits over electric?

By Jeremi • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Why Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a way of storing power that doesn't require a heavy, expensive, short-lived battery pack.

Of course, this was a much better argument back in the bad old days when batteries had horrible energy density, were insanely expensive, and didn't last very long.

Now that battery technology has improved quite a bit, batteries only somewhat suck and are only expensive instead of insanely expensive -- so the advantages of hydrogen over battery storage are smaller.

I expect that in the future batteries will continue to get better, and people will stop talking about hydrogen because there won't be any advantage anymore.

Tesla Settles Lawsuit Against Former Autopilot Program Director Accused of Stealing Info, Engineers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier this year, Tesla filed a lawsuit against its former director of Autopilot Programs, Sterling Anderson, for stealing proprietary information about the Autopilot program and recruiting fellow Tesla engineers to work with him at Aurora Innovation, another autonomous driving company. According to Electrek, "the lawsuit was settled today with Tesla withdrawing their allegations without damages and Aurora agreeing to make itself available for an audit by a third-party to make sure they don't have proprietary information from Tesla's Autopilot program." From the report: Aurora also agreed to cover the cost of the audit for up to $100,000. The startup claims that it had already ordered its own audit, which found âoeno material Tesla confidential information." As for the allegations of poaching employees, Aurora has agreed not to reach out to Tesla employees for a year and to release the names of former Tesla employees who have joined the startup already. You can read Auroraâ(TM)s statement about the settlement in full here and Teslaâ(TM)s further down below: âoeSelf-driving vehicles will save lives, preserve resources, and make transportation more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Aurora was founded on the premise that experience, innovative thinking, hard work, and a commitment to doing the right thing can accelerate this future..."

What am I missing?

By fiannaFailMan • Score: 3 • Thread

When did it become illegal to recruit from a competing company? Did they have some sort of non-poaching agreement? TFA doesn't mention any such thing.

"Autopilot"

By Tablizer • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

When I hear "autopilot", I can't get those Airplane! scenes out of my head.

Boy have things changed since the 1980s

By Orangedog_on_crack • Score: 3 • Thread
No one seemed to have a problem back when Jobs poached several Xerox PARC engineers to recreate the tech he couldnt get the company to give him unrestricted access to everything he wanted for the Lisa and Macintosh products. Of course if crap like the DMCA were around in the 1970s Gates, Allen and Jobs would probably have died in prison and Ed Roberts and Gary Kildall would be billionaires.

Microsoft's Skype Is Most Used Messaging Service For Cyber Criminals, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
chicksdaddy quotes a report from The Security Ledger: Cyber criminals lurk in the dark recesses of the internet, striking at random and then disappearing into the virtual ether. But when they want to talk shop with their colleagues, they turn to Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and its Skype communications tools, according to an analysis by the firm Flashpoint. Mentions of different platforms were used as a proxy for gauging interest in and use of these messaging services. Flashpoint analysts looked, especially, for invitations to continue conversation outside of cyber criminal marketplaces, like references to ICQ accounts or other platforms. The survey results show that, out of a population of around 80 instant messenger platforms and protocols, a short list of just five platforms accounts for between 80% and 90% of all mentions within the cyber underground. Of those, Microsoft's Skype was the chat king. It ranked among the top five platforms across all language groups. That, despite the platform's lack of end-to-end encryption or forward secrecy features and evidence, courtesy of NSA hacker Edward Snowden, that U.S. spies may have snooped on Skype video calls in recent years, The Security Ledger reports. The conclusion: while security is a priority amongst thieves, it isn't the sole concern that cyber criminals and their associates have. In fact, sophisticated hacking communities like those in Russia to continue to rely on legacy platforms like ICQ when provably more secure alternatives exist. The reason? Business. "These cyber criminals have a lot of different options that they're juggling and a lot of factors that weigh on their options," said Leroy Terrelonge III, the Director of Middle East and Africa Research at Flashpoint. "We might suspect that cyber criminals use the most secure means of communication all the time, that's not what our research showed."

Microsoft's fault

By computational super • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
That never happened before Microsoft bought it.

Study: criminals use common tools!

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Is it just me or do criminals use the same tools as most other people? I'm not talking about people who know what's what, I just mean people.

Makes sense

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 3 • Thread
After all, it is owned by an organization that has been found guilty of criminal behavior in a court of law.

Historically Secure

By Jezral • Score: 3 • Thread

Skype used to be end-to-end encrypted and it caused police a lot of problems. Maybe criminal groups are just slow to move to a new service since everyone got established on Skype when it was secure, and the removal of encryption isn't exactly something Microsoft has put in a press release.

Skype is uniquely bad

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 3 • Thread
Skype was popular among people who wanted to save international calling rates, who were willing to put up with bad quality to save money. This company would never have made money. The moment they charge anything more than 5$ a year, its subscribers would flee to other services. There is no real switching costs and all its users and cheapstakes. Selling it as a business solution where even the rake rate of international calls (like 2$ per minute) is a small fraction of the hourly rate of the people on the conference call is just plain dumb.

With unlimited voice and text in cell phones for domestic calls and dirt cheap land lines, it boggles my mind our company decided to "save" costs by moving to skype. Our company had been using webex with reasonable levels of robustness, reliability and quality for quite some time. Then some ex Microsoft C?O showed up and suddenly they decided to "cut costs" by moving from Webex to Skype for all our teleconferencing needs.

There are so many problems, even people who swear by Microsoft and are fans of that company are put off by it. Randomly drops calls, suddenly drops the microphone, can not find the microphone ... Even the very first "intro to skype" was a disaster, it died half way through... We are falling back to the free Google hangouts,.

Pirate Bay Founder Launches Anonymous Domain Registration Service

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Former Pirate Bay spokesperson and co-founder Peter Sunde has just announced his latest venture. Keeping up his fight for privacy on the Internet, he's launching a new company called Njalla, that helps site operators to shield their identities from prying eyes. The name Njalla refers to the traditional hut that Sami people use to keep predators at bay. It's built on a tall stump of a tree or pole and is used to store food or other goods. On the Internet, Njalla helps to keep people's domain names private. While anonymizer services aren't anything new, Sunde's company takes a different approach compared to most of the competition. With Njalla, customers don't buy the domain names themselves, they let the company do it for them. This adds an extra layer of protection but also requires some trust. A separate agreement grants the customer full usage rights to the domain. This also means that people are free to transfer it elsewhere if they want to.

Thanks but no thanks.

By OverlordQ • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Just means if the company gets seized, you have no rights to your domain as it's not yours, it's company assets.

Bad Idea

By Arbitary5664 • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
You know who would love an anonymous domain service? People who run botnets. Because that's what they do now -- they use proxy companies and services to do this, en mass, and make really obnoxious and obscure names -- when they're not doing things like registering faceb00k.com or whatever. Also, whatever happened to Helm.is, Peter? You took a bunch of money then fucked off without giving anything back. Love that. Also, would be nice if you did a DHT search function for torrents/magnets instead of claiming "torrents are dead". e.g. https://motherboard.vice.com/e... Fuck you, Peter.

Re:Thanks but no thanks.

By OrangeTide • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

My government (USA) doesn't usually give a shit about contracts and agreements when seizing assets in a criminal copyright case. (most cases are civil, afaik)

Sorry, not gonna work

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

All the reasons have already been stated. Leave it to say the only real solution is the replacement of DNS with something more peer to peer. The next best thing is to keep a local cache. Trust no one.

Facebook is Working On a Way To Let You Type With Your Brain

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
From a report: Facebook today unveiled a project from its secretive Building 8 research group that's working to create a brain-computer interface that lets you type with your thoughts. Regina Dugan, a former director of DARPA and the ex-head of Google's experimental ATAP research group, announced the news today onstage at Facebook's F8 developer conference. Dugan, who now heads up Building 8, says the goal is "something as simple as a yes-no brain click" that could fundamentally change how we interact with and use technology. While it does not exist today outside of very specific medical research trials, Dugan says her team is actively working to make it a reality. Dugan refers to the technology as a "brain mouse for AR," meaning it could be an ideal way to receive direct input from neural activity that would remove the need for augmented reality devices to track hand motions or other body movements. For instance, the Microsoft HoloLens uses hand tracking to let you tap your finger in front of you as if you were clicking a mouse. Facebook's theoretical device could also be used for patients with severe paralysis, acting as a "speech prosthetic" Dugan says.

Easy

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
This is easy:

Step 1: Open up skull
Step 2: Take out brain
Step 3: Press the keys with the brain from Step 2

We see you were thinking about Wendy's....

By darkharlequin • Score: 3 • Thread
here's some sponsors in the area that provide fast food...

LOL

By Archfeld • Score: 3 • Thread

Now to just teach the average FB user to use their brain...

Going straight to plaid? Yeah right.

By geekmux • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

We've watched companies like Dragon Systems struggle to perfect speech recognition software.

Decades later, we watched Siri struggle to understand the proverbial brogue associated with converting various languages to English, falling victim to parody videos.

Now, I'm supposed to believe we've magically eclipsed all that to type with my brain? This is like NASA claiming we've gone straight to plaid with regards to fast space travel.

There's a valid reason we're all still banging away on keyboards in the year 2017.

Actually, this sounds pretty good

By mkoenecke • Score: 3 • Thread
Yeah, I know there are all sorts of privacy implications... BUT, to someone whose best friend has ALS and is reduced to having to try to communicate through staring at various letters on a computer screen, it sounds pretty exciting.

Newest Firefox Browser Bashes Crashes

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nobody likes it when a web browser bombs instead of opening up a website. Mozilla is addressing that in the newly released v53 of its Firefox browser, which it claims crashes 10 percent fewer times. CNET adds: The improvement comes through the first big debut of a part of Project Quantum, an effort launched in 2016 to beef up and speed up Firefox. To improve stability, Firefox 53 on Windows machines isolates software called a compositor that's in charge of painting elements of a website onto your screen. That isolation into a separate computing process cuts down on trouble spots that can occur when Firefox employs computers' graphics chips, Mozilla said.

I track browser crashes using splunk

By Skuld-Chan • Score: 3 • Thread

On 6200 Windows clients and 1900 Mac's. Firefox is above and beyond the most crash prone browser - it even tops IE 11 (Fwiw Chrome > IE 11 > Firefox are the most used browsers in my organization according to software metering).

Firefox crashing implies you're using it right.

By Presence Eternal • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I use Firefox as my main browser, and I understand the problems some people have with it. Thing is, I tend to see Firefox's flaws as emerging from using it with lots of addons as intended. Adblock + noscript + various EFF tools are bound to bork it from time to time. I'm kind of impressed it's as stable as it is. Not to mention I'm the kind of crazy person who has 300 tabs open right now.

I used to use Opera as my secondary, back before they dropped Presto and abandoned their very functional email/rss components. Now it's Chrome with adblock.

It might be ironic that my favorite mobile browser was Safari with adblock. Never had a single problem with it. Plus Apple for all their faults has been willing to tell bloatware peddlers to go hang themselves.

Bashes Crashes?

By zifn4b • Score: 3 • Thread
Marketing genius! </sarcasm> Is it tough on crashes? Does it stamp the crashes out? Does it get the crashes before they get you? I could keep doing this all day. If you'd like I can hire my marketing skills out on a very affordable rate.

Re:Good job guys!

By Shark • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

In "about:config" change "fayout.frame_rate" from -1 to 60 (or whatever your monitor runs at). For some stupid reason, Firefox renders as fast as your CPU can handle 100% of the time. Even at 60 FPS, it uses ~1% CPU when idle so I'm guessing it was going like 6000FPS when unrestrained.

Re:Good job guys!

By Behrooz Amoozad • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
system load just dropped by 0.8
Why the fuck is this not the default?
dafuq, mozilla...

Ubuntu Is Switching to Wayland

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Ubuntu is to ship Wayland in place of X.Org Server by default. Mir, Canonical's home-spun alternative to Wayland, had been billed as the future of Ubuntu's convergence play. But both Unity 8 the convergence dream was recently put out to pasture, meaning this decision was widely expected. It's highly likely that the traditional X.Org Server will, as on Fedora, be included on the disc and accessible from whichever login screen Ubuntu devs opt to use in ubuntu 17.10 onwards. This session will be useful for users whose system experience issues running on Wayland, or who need features and driver support that is only present in the legacy X.Org server session.

Re:But is Wayland better?

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

X11's network transparency is not terribly useful. It doesn't allow detach/reattach of sessions, so you're forced to exit every program and start them back up again at the new location. While this was very memory efficient back in the 1980's, it's not a very good user experience when dealing with unreliable wireless networks.
And if you've used GTK2 and other widget libraries in the last 10 years, you'll notice their network performance is pretty terrible. Network transparency is kind of useless if none of the software is designed around it. There are too many round-trip messages going on these days to deal with the broken parts of X protocol and in giving fancy user interaction.

VNC is slow, but it's what most people use because it works in a way that is convenient. NoMachine/NX/FreeNX is a technically better alternative, although it's not very popular. (being proprietary doesn't help)

Re:But is Wayland better?

By hublan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You do realize that most of the folks that started Wayland were originally long-time X hackers, right? There has to be a reason why they gave up trying to get X11 to behave properly, besides "because it's bloated".

Education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Re:X11 SUCKS

By Billly Gates • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Quotes from the Unix Haters Handbook here.

Let's desconstruct here your arguments X11 myths:

Myth: X Demonstrates the Power of Client/Server Computing

Fact: "The database client/server model (the server machine stores all the data, and the clients beseech it for data) makes sense. The computation client/server model (where the server is a very expensive or experimental supercomputer, and the client is a desktop workstation or portable computer) makes sense. But a graphical client/server model that slies the interface down some arbitrary middle is like Solomon following through with his child-sharing strategy. The legs, heart, and left eye end up on the server, the arms and lungs go to the client, the head is left rolling around on the floor, and blood spurts everywhere.

The fundamental problem with X's notion of client/server is that the proper division of labor between the client and the server can only be decided on an application-by-application basis. Some applications (like a flight simulator) require that all mouse movement be sent to the application. Others need only mouse clicks. Still others need a sophisticated combination of the two, depending on the program's state or the region of the screen where the mouse happens to be. Some programs need to update meters or widgets on the screen every second. Other programs just want to display clocks; the server could just as well do the updating, provided that there was some way to tell it to do so.

The right graphical client/server model is to have an extensible server. Application programs on remote machines can download their own special extension on demand and share libraries in the server. Downloaded code can draw windows, track input eents, provide fast interactive feedback, and minimize network traffic by communicating with the application using a dynamic, high-level protocol.

As an example, imagine a CAD application built on top of such an extensible server. The application could download a program to draw an IC and associate it with a name. From then on, the client could draw the IC anywhere on the screen simply by sending the name and a pair of coordinates. Better yet, the client an download programs and data structures to draw the whole schematic, which are called automatically to refresh and scroll the window, without bothering the client. The user can drag an IC around smoothly, without any network traffic or context switching, and the server sends a single message to the client when the interaction is complete. This makes it possible to run interactive clients over low-speed (that is, slow-bandwidth) communication lines."

Other fun tidbits that made me chuckle

" How to make a 50-MIPS Workstation Run Like a 4.77MHz IBM PC

If the designers of X-Windows built cars, there would be no fewer than five steering wheels hidden about the cockpit, none of which followed the same principles -- but you'd be able to shift gears with your car stereo. Useful feature, that.
- Marus J. Ranum, Digital Equipment Corporation

X-Windows is the Iran-Contra of graphical user interfaces: a tragedy of political compromises, entangled alliances, marketing hype, and just plain greed. X-Windows is to memory as Ronald Reagan was to money. Years of "Voodoo Ergonomics" have resulted in an unprecedented memory deficit of gargantuan proportions. Divisive dependencies, distributed deadlocks, and partisan protocols have tightened gridlocks, aggravated race conditions, and promulgated double standards.

X has had its share of $5,000 toilet seats -- like Sun's Open Look clock tool, which gobbles up 1.4 megabytes of real memory! If you sacrificed all the RAM from 22 Commodore 64s to clock tool, it still wouldn't have enough to tell you the time. Even the vanilla X11R4 "xclock" utility consumed 656K to run. And X's memory usage is increasing."

Dude if there ever was a case f

Re:But is Wayland better?

By caseih • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Nothing about RDP limits it to full desktops. RDP can remote a single window as well as a full desktop. MS doesn't normally use it that way, but it can be done.

Furthermore, Xrdp can run in rootless mode, if I'm not mistaken. A single X11 apps could connect to it.

Re:But is Wayland better?

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm going to start where a lot of people don't usually start. The actual people who maintain X11. They hate the code base, they just simply don't want to deal with the tangled mess that it is. Seriously go look at a dependency graph of just the xserver or a slightly higher level view of the state of things. Point, no one wants to maintain this mess. Anyone feeling frisky in doing so is strongly encouraged to do so, but the majority of developers who have worked on this in the heyday have long since left the building. The sheer pool size of people working on X is low and fresh blood in the development pool is best described as anemic. Fewer developers working on one project and more on another project pretty much seals the deal on the direction. Arguments of X being better falls on non-existent ears. You want to talk to an X developer? Head over to Wayland, that's where you'll find a lot of them.

Next in line is that X is ineffective at one of the things that it's suppose to do, draw stuff on your screen. (Not even going to touch multi-monitor, sleep, touch input, etc all which have had extensive hacking to get it working and thus resulting in patches of code with serious bus factor one issues.) X11 lacks pretty much everything we take for granted in a modern GUI. Want anti-alias text? Well X11 doesn't do that. Want the concept of an alpha-channel? Not present in X11. Quite literally, X11 does nothing in the way of anything that say KDE, GNOME, Unity, Cinnamon, or whoever wants. Instead, your chosen toolkit is using a library that builds in memory the bits that need to be drawn and if your xserver supports RENDER, your toolkit just gives a stream of bits over to X11 via that method, and X just forwards it on to either the card or to a compositor, which by the way X11 doesn't have a concept of, hence the reason you need one external to the xserver. At some point someone said, if every toolkit is just building bits by themselves and then having X forward it on, why not just cut out the middle man? Why have this extra layer that we keep having to build ad-hoc extensions for? (RENDER, XDamage, RANDR, XFixes **yes literally an extension to fix stuff but mostlly to turn a lot of old X11 stuff off.) All of these wonderful extensions are in reality short circuiting old cruft in a code-ugly fashion. Add in new complexities being added to video cards, functionality that's difficult to eventually get working, and yeah everyone is ready to put the old girl out to pasture. X11's lack of so many things is a roadblock to tapping your card's fully ability, which is why most of the time we're happily ignorant of all of the by-passing of huge parts of the core of an xserver, with the prolific set of extensions that come automatically built into your distro. (which is why a lot of folks never notice and just think that this is the way X was built, but nothing further from the truth could be said. Try building an xserver from source.)

Now let me move on to your points

Network transparency. X11 has it. Wayland doesn't.

If you are using X11 over ssh, you aren't using X11's network transparency. What you are doing is streaming pixels across ssh, but you aren't using anything remotely looking like core X11 protocol. On the remote side, Cario, Qt, Mutter, or someone is drawing pixels and then that gets wrapped into a generic X11 package and sent to you to open up and then have your computer decide what to do with the newly received pixels. There's no commands like "Window A is currently at location x,y. It has a button at rx, ry relative to the top-left corner of the parent widget, blah blah blah." Nope, it's just "here's pixel one, here's pixel two, here's pixel three..." There's no distinction in X between a button in an application running on a remote server and a picture

TED Wants To Remind Us That Ideas -- Not Politicians -- Shape the Future

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report: Amid global political upheavals, TED curator Chris Anderson argues that ideas have never mattered more. "Ideas changes how people act and [shape] their long term perspective," he said in during a April 17 press briefing. "Politicians come and go and ideas are forever." He said TED -- two segments of which will be broadcast live in movie theaters this year -- wants to re-introduce civility into political discourse. "We want to avoid the zero sum game we see on cable television every day," said Anderson, noting that TED is a non-partisan organization and has historically featured controversial and intriguing thinkers from both sides of the political divide. In place of the shrill, headline-bait tenor of political spectacles, TED wants to take viewers to a place of "reasoned discourse" where big ideas can act as a bridge between opposing views. By creating an eclectic program -- including an entire session delivered in Spanish and another on artificial intelligence -- Anderson said he wants to steer the conversation away from government and politics. "With so much focus in politics, the world is in danger of forgetting that so much of what really changes the future happens outside completely of politics. It happens inside the mind of dreamers, designers, inventors, technologists, entrepreneurs," he said.

Ya, kinda? But not really...

By eepok • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It's nice to think that simply spreading good ideas is good enough... but it's not and it never has been. You know how many Black slaves in America had the "idea" of freedom? What about the number of women who surely liked the "idea" of universal suffrage? And how many workers had the "idea" of working less per week for a guaranteed wage?

Ideas are great, but in a representative system ("government") CHANGE only comes when people imbued with sufficient power make the effort to evolve an idea into policy. Even if today's politicians/leaders don't like an idea and get removed from office, someone is going to have to take a leadership position to make changes to the official way things are done.

"With so much focus in politics, the world is in danger of forgetting that so much of what really changes the future happens outside completely of politics. It happens inside the mind of dreamers, designers, inventors, technologists, entrepreneurs,"

No. Your personal interpretation and your world view change *internally* with ideas. How you and others are physically affected relies on what "ideas" politicians have and put forth as policy. Politics, however fatiguing, is not unimportant.

None so blind as those who WILL NOT see

By Ann O'Nymous-Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I don't see the folks on the right trying to actively suppress the liberal views being presented in public.

The only way you can't be seeing it is if your head is so far up your ass you'll never see daylight again.

Conservatives are VERY actively trying, in many ways, across many states, to MAKE PROTEST ILLEGAL.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/24/republican-lawmakers-introduce-bills-to-curb-protesting-in-at-least-17-states/

So much for that pesky bit in the constitution about the right to protest.

Re: TED ideas = super obvious ideas

By dcw3 • Score: 4 • Thread

Calling BS here. I've seen a few TED talks, and don't know WTF you're talking about. Please point to what makes them in any way elitist, or in an echo chamber.

Re:None so blind as those who WILL NOT see

By penandpaper • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm all for protest but you are missing the context and what some of those bills are outlawing. Namely BLOCKING A HIGHWAY. Is your pet protest more important than the people that lose their job because they couldn't get to work? Or the emergency response team that was delayed because muh protest? Should you be liable because some protestor walked out in front of your car AT NIGHT on a highway when you going high way speeds? https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

All of those are in repose to the violence and extreme actions of "protestors" lately. I don't like limiting protest but holy shit do I understand why States are doing it.

TED: high priced popular science

By Tough Love • Score: 3 • Thread

Frankly, I find the quality and content of TED talks embarrassing. Hmm, why should I feel embarrassed about that? I don't know, but I do. So often verging on intellectual fraud. A venue for self-promotion and mutual intellectual masturbation. Well, I guess it keeps them off the street.

Nintendo To Launch SNES Mini This Year, Reports Eurogamer

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nintendo plans to release another console this year aimed at nostalgia-seekers. The iconic game company is working on a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) classic version that would launch in time for the holidays, according to Eurogamer, which cites sources with knowledge of the plans. The device is already under development and -- like its predecessor the NES Classic Edition -- will give gamers access to some of the console's biggest hits. From the article: Nintendo's plans for SNES mini are also a major reason why last year's NES mini did not see a reprieve from discontinuation, Eurogamer understands, despite the latter's continued popularity and sell-out status.

I don't understand all the hate on the mini NES

By cide1 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

All this hate on the Classic mini NES, I just don't understand. My wife was able to go to the local Target and get one for me for Christmas. It's pretty awesome, it just works, has good games, has HDMI. Great execution by Nintendo.

Re:I don't understand all the hate on the mini NES

By Interfacer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Then your wife pulled off a miracle because stores around here only got a couple that didn't even make it to the shelves before flying out the door. They told me they couldn't reserve any, and that some might come in, 2 weeks after Christmas. And now I find out that Nintendo discontinued the f*cking thing.

Instead of ramping up production ahead of time and making a killing with Christmas sales, they limit supply to a couple thousand and then discontinue the thing before it becomes available off the shelf. There is no point is talking about how great the thing is when most people didn't even get the chance to just go to the store and by one before it's gone again.

Re:I don't understand all the hate on the mini NES

By aicrules • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
For every story of someone randomly being able to go in and pick one up like it was just another item on the shelf there are a thousand stories of people who were never able to find one in stock. Online stock disappeared within minutes at best. The resellers who had it jacked up to $300 or more were finally back down to about $120 when Nintendo announced it was discontinuing production. For something that is really supposed to be casual fun they made it unnecessarily insane. The system itself did really look great. I would have loved to have been able to play many of those games on my TV at home. But from release date to today there has never been a target, walmart or best buy with one on the shelf when I went in. Brickseek only once came up with a walmart in stock and by the time I got there they were gone. But...it's just an old bit of nostalgia. It didn't ruin my life that I didn't get one. But Nintendo can GTFO for their repeated artificial scarcity BS. That's the #1 reason why I didn't even consider a WiiU or Switch.

will we be able to buy it?

By j2.718ff • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When the NES Classic was announced, I decided I was going to buy one. Sure, I could have thrown together some kind of emulator, but this was more like the real thing, with no questions of ROM legality.

After the NES Classic's discontinuation was announced, before it was possible for most people to buy one, I build a RetroPie. Now I have no reason to be excited about the SNES Mini.

Re:Eurogamer is a rag

By omnichad • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

SNES won't be 30 until 2022.

That makes the SNES 25 this year. A 25th anniversary tends to be more celebrated than a 30th. Except with movies. Now there's some big event for every movie ever made, every 5 years past 20.

Silicon Valley's $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: One of the most lavishly funded gadget startups in Silicon Valley last year was Juicero Inc. It makes a juice machine. The product was an unlikely pick for top technology investors, but they were drawn to the idea of an internet-connected device that transforms single-serving packets of chopped fruits and vegetables into a refreshing and healthy beverage. Doug Evans, the company's founder, would compare himself with Steve Jobs in his pursuit of juicing perfection. He declared that his juice press wields four tons of force -- "enough to lift two Teslas," he said. Google's venture capital arm and other backers poured about $120 million into the startup. Juicero sells the machine for $400, plus the cost of individual juice packs delivered weekly. But after the product hit the market, some investors were surprised to discover a much cheaper alternative: You can squeeze the Juicero bags with your bare hands. Two backers said the final device was bulkier than what was originally pitched and that they were puzzled to find that customers could achieve similar results without it.

Re:Silicon Valley is all about "What the fuck?!"

By creimer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Strange things happen when you take naive, out-of-touch leftists and then give them huge amounts of money that they didn't really earn in any meaningful way.

And then they become Republicans.

When visitors come to Silicon Valley, one of the first things they notice is that they're saying "What the fuck?!" to themselves constantly.

Silicon Valley != San Francisco

Re:Juice from an IV bag....

By creimer • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

During the first dotcom, I thought the toaster that printed a weather map on the toast was actually one of the better ideas.

Toasty with a chance of butter?

Re:Seriously?

By HornWumpus • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Per the article: $5-$8 per bag. 8 oz juice/bag.

Your office manager has to be a special kind of stupid. All costs are opportunity costs, you could have an 'endless' bowl of fresh fruit and a weekly keg of good beer in the office for less. I'd be bitching about wasting bene money on overpriced crap.

Which is Worse?

By StormReaver • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't know which is worse: that a company exists that thinks there are people stupid enough to pay ten times what this thing is worth, or that that there are enough stupid people in the country that will pay that outrageous price to support such a company.

With my $40 blender, I can make a frosty, 40-ounce Organic slushy by adding ice and about $3.00 worth of Organic fruits and vegetables. That's about sixty cents for an 8-ounce glass of a tasty, healthy snack in drink form.

Didn't they learn anything from deskjet printers?

By Ice Station Zebra • Score: 3 • Thread

Make the machine cheap and sell the consumables above cost.

The Slashdot Interview With Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor John B. Goodenough

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
You asked, he answered!

Lithium-ion battery inventor John B. Goodenough has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers. Read on for his answers.

Re:Relevant XKCD

By taiwanjohn • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I recently saw a talk about the upcoming "Clean Disruption" which is right around the corner. He looks at secular trends, such as the falling price per watt of solar PV or the price per kwh of Li-Ion batteries, and concludes that our current modes of energy and transportation will be obsolete by 2030.

To portray the speed with which such 'disruptions' can occur, he begins the talk with a photo of 5th Ave., NYC, Easter Sunday, 1900. The street is packed with horse-drawn vehicles, but there is one car ("horseless carriage") in view, if you squint... Then he shows a photo from the same spot, same day, in 1913. The street is packed with Model-T Fords, and there is one horse in view, if you squint even harder.

He claims that we are on the threshold of a similar tipping point right now. By 2030, that same photo of 5th Ave. will show an ocean of EV's with only one ICE vehicle in view.

Re:Is mass production a science goal?

By cranky_chemist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There's a good reason for this.

The funding agencies from which scientists seek money fund "research," in the broad sense, not "development." What you're hinting at is the fundamental difference between the two.

Agencies like NSF tend to assume that if one of the projects they fund has practical applications, then "partners" (i.e., the private sector) will handle the development. Indeed, this is how Goodenough's original battery design came to market. Sony licensed the patent from Oxford University in the 1980s and started mass-producing lithium-ion batteries, paying Oxford a royalty on every battery manufactured.

That's how it works

By Weaselmancer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This guy seemed to be "Well, we figured out how it works, but I'm done now, somebody else has to figure out how to make more than the 2 prototypes I spent 4 years making in the lab."

Just to give you something to consider, here is a picture of the very first transistor.

Great Q&A very relevant answers

By jwillis84 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I really enjoyed the straight forward answers and the precise thought that went into them.

1. The core solution being "dendrite" free plating of the anode and solid "not" liquid electrolyte

2. The problem of current batteries being the "highly" flammable organic electrolyte

3. The catastrophy being an exploit of dendrites discharging (due to a short circuit) so fast the electrolyte is "ignited"

4. The direct point about the new Patent lawyers "being" more competent than before, and "exclusive" licensing being deliberately "eliminated"

5. He did not bury the Sodium battery tech that will follow up two years [after] this hits the market.. which will be almost immediate.. its just a matter of ramp up

6. He was flat out honest that the [key] was new plating tech.. that did not exist.. before.. that is what made the breakthrough possible.. it wasn't some random insight.. they knew exactly what the problem was all along.. it was a materials science problem.

I was also taken by his generosity and personal interest in "changing the world" for the better.. without demonizing anything as it is currently done.. he is a spot on solid scientist first.. and a pretty dedicated one at that.

The comment on energy density [never] eclipsing that of fossil fuels was also very honest.. but nevertheless practical.. seeing as how its a lot easier to transport electromotive force over long distances than messy fossil fuels.. and to maintain machines that convert that potential into kinetic energy at high efficiencies "much much" easier.. than the "chemical manufacturing plants on wheels".

He deftly moved from topic to topic like a political "Wizard" unseen since Richard Feynman's days.

Another question: Cold weather batteries (and hot)

By neurocutie • Score: 3 • Thread

Another question that I would have liked to see address: Prospects for much better cold weather (and hot weather) battery performance.
If we are to replace IC vehicles with electric vehicles, we need batteries that be perform well at -20F or colder. Also 130F or hotter. What can be done to span a greater range of real-world operating temperatures?

Bose Headphones Secretly Collected User Data, Lawsuit Reveals

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The audio maker Bose, whose wireless headphones sell for up to $350, uses an app to collect the listening habits of its customers and provide that information to third parties -- all without the knowledge and permission of the users, according to a lawsuit filed in Chicago. From a report: The complaint accuses Boston-based Bose of violating the WireTap Act and a variety of state privacy laws, adding that a person's audio history can include a window into a person's life and views. "Indeed, one's personal audio selections -- including music, radio broadcast, Podcast, and lecture choices -- provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity," says the complaint, noting a person's audio history may contain files like LGBT podcasts or Muslim call-to-prayer recordings.

Re:Bad, but not as horrible as one would think.

By Rick Schumann • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You answered my question before I even asked it: 'Why do you need an App to use wireless headphones?' You don't. You shouldn't ever, either.
How fucked-up is this world, where you can't even get wireless headphones without the gods-be-damned manufacturer invading your privacy and selling your personally-identifiable information for profit?

BOSE = terribly privacy policy

By linuxwrangler • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

My wife bought a Wave IV Soundtouch with a 30-day return policy - the only good policy they have and the one we exercised.

Want to set the thing up and use the features you paid for like Internet radio? You have to use the app. The first thing the app requires to even start setup is access to your location. WTF? Then there is their so-called "privacy" policy (which is currently so private that they have broken links on their site so you can't even find it now) that allows them to track your listening (which could even include AM, FM, CD, etc), combine it with other info and sell or use it for marketing purposes.

In the words of my sound engineer friend: BOSE stands for Bring Other Sound Equipment.

Re:Your headphones are spying on you.

By Quirkz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There's nothing special about the right to privacy, and stigmatization doesn't have to have anything to do with it. Anything you don't want to reveal, you ought to be able to keep to yourself. Religion and sexuality get cited a lot, because they're commonly things people might not want to reveal to strangers, corporations, etc.

Re:I am so sick of this shit

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Not to worry. I still get American Girl adverts after buying one for my niece. Who just graduated college.

I still get Hello Kitty adverts after buying some USB drives as a joke.

Your "nice" and "joke" aside, just a reminder that /. is a safe space and you're free to be yourself w/o any judgment. :-)

What evidence?

By Chelloveck • Score: 3 • Thread
I read the article and complaint. Lots of allegations of wrong-doing, but I don't see a shred of evidence presented anywhere. Maybe the legal complaint is the wrong place for a technical discussion, but I'd like to see some sort of evidence of the app sending data back to the mothership. Anyone know where to find a good technical analysis?

Facebook Owns Four Out of the Five Most Downloaded Apps Worldwide

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Facebook continues to storm the numbers as the company has claimed four out of the five spots for the most downloaded apps across the globe during the last quarter. Interestingly, Netflix still lords over everyone as far as revenue goes. New research by app analytics firm Sensor Tower reveals that WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat were the most downloaded apps for the first three months of this year. While the numbers differed across the App Store and Google Play, one thing both platforms shared is that Facebook owned four out of the top five spots for the most downloaded apps worldwide. While Messenger topped the App Store download charts, Facebook headed the race on Google Play.

Uh oh, this could be a Berlusconi

By TimothyHollins • Score: 3 • Thread

This seems like the kind of problem that could potentially give a certain Zucker the power to decide who wins what election and so forth.

If the government should not have the power to censor or direct the flow of information, shouldn't a similar rule be applied to corporations with equal or greater (non-military) power?

I have always assumed the censorship law reflected the balance of power at the time (i.e. there was no other entity that came close to matching the civil power of the government, hence the government had to be "kind" to other opinions), and had Facebook or social media been around then, similar clauses would have been made for them.

Monopoly really

By parallel_prankster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

FB and messenger are pretty much one and the same. The other two are companies that Facebook bought to continue its dominance. If this does not show monopolization due to corp then I dont know what does!

At least check the effin' links

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

I know, nobody on /. RTFA, most don't even RTFS, but once in a blue moon someone might, and then it would be REALLY awesome if the links didn't just point back at the summary...

Re:Monopoly really

By Colin Castro • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You have to have messenger to send and read messages on a phone. It's annoying as hell. I deleted my Facebook app though, so much more battery life.

Baidu Announces New Open Platform To Help Speed Up Development of Self-Driving Cars

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Chinese tech giant Baidu has announced a new autonomous vehicle platform called Project Apollo, which aims to help speed up the development of self-driving cars. "Baidu says the platform encompasses both hardware and software, providing partners with the tech and open-source code needed to help their own vehicles perceive obstacles, plan their routes, and otherwise move around our world," reports The Verge. From the report: Baidu says it will first open up Project Apollo for cars operating in restricted environments in July, before offering it to vehicles driving in simple urban road conditions later this year. That's ahead of a gradual rollout of self-driving features that should see cars operating fully autonomously on highways and regular roads by 2020. The release comes as Baidu moves to position itself at the forefront of the autonomous vehicle industry. The Chinese company has aimed for the ambitious goal of getting a self-driving car to market by 2018, and is challenging rivals such as Google on its home turf, building a team of engineers based in Silicon Valley and scoring relevant permits so it can test vehicles in California.

Now with a new, free feature!!

By XB-70 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Every Baidu self-driving car comes with a free, hidden, back door!

A new platform....relevant xkcd

By zmaragdus • Score: 3 • Thread
https://xkcd.com/927/

Scientists Invent Ultrasonic Dryer That Uses Sound To Dry Your Clothes

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Yahoo: Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have developed a dryer that could make doing laundry much quicker. Called the ultrasonic dryer, it's expected to be up to five times more energy efficient than most conventional dryers and able dry a large load of clothes in about half the time. Instead of using heat the way most dryers do, the ultrasonic dryer relies on high-frequency vibrations. Devices called green transducers convert electricity into vibrations, shaking the water from clothes. The scientists say that this method will allow a medium load of laundry to dry in 20 minutes, which is significantly less time than the average 50 minutes it takes in many heat-based machines. The drying technology also leaves less lint behind than normal dryers do, since the majority of lint is created when the hot air stream blows tiny fibers off of clothing. Drying clothes without heat also reduces the chance that their colors will fade. While the ultrasonic dryer has been in development for the past couple of years, the U.S. Department of Energy explains in a published video that it has recently been "developed into a full-scale press dryer and clothes dryer drum -- setting the stage for it to one day go to market through partners like General Electric Appliances."

Re:Don't buy this

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is very much like the asbestos hysteria. OMG my child is at a school which has an asbestos wall, they'll all die in 40 years!!!!! No. The fibres are inside a sealed bonded sheet. Don't disturb it, don't attempt to remove it, keep it well maintained (reads: painted) and you'll be fine.

Anyone thought of health tests?

By evolutionary • Score: 3 • Thread
Has anyone done a study of long term effects of prolonged exposure to ultrasonic waves? We humans have a habit of producing something to sell without consideration of long term consequences to the environment...or ourselves.

Re:American problem is American

By RobinH • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If you make $50,000 a year at a 2000 hour per year job, you make $25 per hour, and let's say after tax that's... maybe $18 an hour. That's somewhat typical. I'll be generous and say it only takes you an extra 10 minutes to hang a load and go get it off the line later. That's a sixth of an hour, which should be worth $3 to you in after-tax income. I happen to have an energy monitor installed at my panel, and I can tell you that it takes less than 25 cents of electricity to dry a load. Obviously this varies by where you live, but it's certainly going to be less than $1. Much less than that if you use a gas dryer. We do at least 4 loads a week, typically 5 as we're a family of 5, so that's a savings of around $10 per week, so over $500 per year in time savings. My electric dryer is over 15 years old and it's a very basic two-cycle with moisture sensor type, so probably cost less than $500 new. I think it's a no-brainer to use a clothes dryer.

To boldly clean how no one has cleaned before

By ahziem • Score: 3 • Thread
After drying cloths, the next steps are washing clothes and showering people like the sonic showers on Star Trek.

Re:American problem is American

By plague911 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
European's also have a much lower GDP per person. Anecdotally because they spend much more time doing the work an American does in a fraction of the time.

Broadband Expansion Could Trigger Dangerous Surge In Space Junk

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study from the University of Southampton warns that expanding broadband networks via launching "mega constellations" of thousands of communications satellites could increase catastrophic crashes of dangerous space junk in Earth's orbit. "Dr Hugh Lewis, a senior lecturer in aerospace engineering at the University of Southampton, ran a 200-year simulation to assess the possible consequences of such a rise in orbital traffic," reports The Guardian. "He found it could create a 50% increase in the number of catastrophic collisions between satellites." From the report: Such crashes would probably lead to a further increase in the amount of space junk in orbit, he said, leading to the possibility of further collisions and potential damage to the services the satellites were intended to provide. The European Space Agency, which funded Lewis's research, is calling for the satellites planned for orbital mega-constellations to be able to move to low altitudes once their missions are over so they burn up in Earth's atmosphere. They must also be able discharge all batteries, fuel tanks and pressure tanks to prevent explosions that would scatter debris. Lewis is presenting his research this week at the European conference on space debris at the ESA's center in Darmsadt, Germany. Krag said he expected some of the companies planning launches to attend.

Restrict orbits

By religionofpeas • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

A simple solution would be for such satellites to be restricted to orbits with a short expected lifetime.

Re:Recycle!

By Bearhouse • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Ah OK, so when the thing is worn-out and obsolete you propose to...recycle it somewhere, like on the ISS?
You know that one person-day of work in LEO costs MINIMUM 7.5 million bucks, right?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

That buys you a fuckton of cubesats & launches, space cadet.

Re:Restrict orbits

By phayes • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Low orbits are _very_suitable_ for broadband networks. It's just that they need to be replenished regularly and up to now, with throw away launchers, using low orbits wasn't _economical_.

Focus on cleanup

By unixcorn • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Scientists need to invent a space vacuum cleaner.....