the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

The West's Drought Could Bring About a Data Center Reckoning

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
When it comes to water use, data centers are the tech industry's secret water hogs -- and they could soon come under increased scrutiny. From a report: The West is parched, and getting more so by the day. Lake Mead -- the country's largest reservoir -- is nearing "dead pool" levels, meaning it may soon be too low to flow downstream. The entirety of the Four Corners plus California is mired in megadrought. Amid this desiccation, hundreds of the country's data centers use vast amounts of water to hum along. Dozens cluster around major metro centers, including those with mandatory or voluntary water restrictions in place to curtail residential and agricultural use.

Exactly how much water, however, is an open question given that many companies don't track it, much less report it. While their energy use and accompanying emissions have made more headlines, data centers' water usage is coming under increasing scrutiny. And as climate change makes water more scarce, pressure could grow on hyperscale data centers to disclose their water use and factor scarcity into where and how they operate. Centers consume water both directly (for liquid cooling) and indirectly (for non-renewable electricity generation). Roughly one-fifth of the data center servers in the U.S. source water directly from moderately to highly water-stressed watersheds, according to a 2021 analysis published in Environmental Research Letters.

Data centers using water

By hjf • Score: 3 • Thread

Ah yes, datacenters are the water hogs.

It's not all those golf fields or green lawns.

No, it's gotta be those damn datacenters!!!

stupid question

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

So this is probably a stupid question, but how are data centers "using" ie actually consuming water?

Obviously they 'use' it for cooling but isn't it more or less directly returned to the source with some degrees of heat added?

To me that's not really 'consuming' water? It's shuffling it around and putting it back.

Even if it came back out of their system ridiculously hot say 95C, it's a pretty simple mechanical thing to have the returns fountain/spray, etc where the temp nearly normalizes to the environment at almost no cost.

Large Hadron Collider Discovers Three New Exotic Particles

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The international LHCb collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has observed three never-before-seen particles: a new kind of "pentaquark" and the first-ever pair of "tetraquarks," which includes a new type of tetraquark. The findings, presented today at a CERN seminar, add three new exotic members to the growing list of new hadrons found at the LHC. They will help physicists better understand how quarks bind together into these composite particles. From a report: Quarks are elementary particles and come in six flavours: up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. They usually combine together in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei. More rarely, however, they can also combine into four-quark and five-quark particles, or "tetraquarks" and "pentaquarks." These exotic hadrons were predicted by theorists at the same time as conventional hadrons, about six decades ago, but only relatively recently, in the past 20 years, have they been observed by LHCb and other experiments.

Most of the exotic hadrons discovered in the past two decades are tetraquarks or pentaquarks containing a charm quark and a charm antiquark, with the remaining two or three quarks being an up, down or strange quark or their antiquarks. But in the past two years, LHCb has discovered different kinds of exotic hadrons. Two years ago, the collaboration discovered a tetraquark made up of two charm quarks and two charm antiquarks, and two "open-charm" tetraquarks consisting of a charm antiquark, an up quark, a down quark and a strange antiquark. And last year it found the first-ever instance of a "double open-charm" tetraquark with two charm quarks and an up and a down antiquark. Open charm means that the particle contains a charm quark without an equivalent antiquark.

Twitter Sues India's Government Over Content Takedown Orders

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Twitter has sued the Indian government to challenge some of its takedown orders, TechCrunch reported Tuesday, further escalating the tension between the American social giant and New Delhi. From a report: In its lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Twitter alleges that New Delhi has abused its power by ordering it to remove several tweets from its platform. The lawsuit follows a rough year and a half for Twitter in India, a key overseas market for the firm, where it has been asked to take down hundreds of accounts and tweets, many of which critics argue were objected because they denounced the Indian government's policies and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'The Phone is Terrible For Cloud Gaming'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a column: The promise of cloud gaming is that you can do it from anywhere using any device with internet access and a good enough browser (each cloud gaming service seems to have its own requirements on the browser front). You should be able to play super demanding games whether you're on a work trip with nothing but a work laptop or at home and the main TV is being hogged -- or even if you just don't feel like sitting on the couch. But the biggest promise of cloud gaming is that, no matter where you are, if you've got a phone then you've got all your games.

In practice, this is a bad idea. After spending the last few weeks rapturously using my Steam Deck near daily to play games in the cloud, I am never going to willingly attempt cloud gaming on my phone again. Valve's enormous do-anything handheld PC has made me realize that, actually, sometimes dedicated gaming hardware is good! The Swiss Army knife approach to mobile gaming promised by cloud gaming on your phone is about as useful as the saw on a real Swiss Army knife. I appreciate the effort, but I don't actually want to use it.

I've tried to make cloud gaming work on my phone a lot. I've attempted Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Halo and Gears of War and plenty of other games. Each time, I'm hit with wonder because, holy shit, these are demanding AAA games that usually require tons of expensive (and noisy) hardware playing on my phone. That feels like the delivery on a promise tech companies made me decades ago. But the wonder wears off when you cloud game on your phone for an extended period of time. Cloud gaming drains the phone's battery quickly, which means you can and will be feeling the battery anxiety.

Oh noez!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"The cloud" cannot magically make up for wet-string-and-cans connectivity, throttled-for-powersavings CPUs, physically small screens, and the limitations of touchscreens.

Who would have thougth that? Who could possibly have predicted that?

Phones are terrible for most things

By Viol8 • Score: 3 • Thread

Its simply their form factor that makes them convenient and functionality gets retrofitted into that. When I'm at home I do everything on the laptop, its much easier not least for input.

phones used to be good for gaming

By Tom • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

When games were made for phones and were actual games. There's quite a few quite good games out there that really work well, and use what the phone provides.

Then "gaming" companies entered the market. The kind of companies that don't make games anymore, but DLC platforms and micro-transaction addiction delivery systems thinly disguised as games. To save dev money, they ported standard PC controls to the phone, so now two virtual joysticks take up half of the screen, or an inventory bar so tiny that you can barely see anything, or any other of "who the f&*k thought this would work?" moments happened.

The vicious cycle is that too many games are crap, so we want to have games for free because we don't trust them with our money anymore, but free games means that DLCs and micro-transactions are needed to fund the game, which means that the game is then getting optimized to sell DLCs and micro-transactions, not to be a good game. Which manys most of these games are crap and there the cycle starts again.

A match made in heaven.

By mjwx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Cloud is terrible for gaming, phones are terrible for gaming, sounds like they were made for each other.

Re:Oh noez!

By dontbemad • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I think you missed his point. Mobile Gaming (think Clash of Clans, etc) is highly addictive and plays into a need for instant gratification from an otherwise non-gamer crowd. The games are designed for phones and have interfaces to suit. Since they are designed to be used for potentially short periods of time and at random, they have many mechanics that allow users to inject a little cash to get a little progress immediately.

What the parent comment was talking about is Cloud Gaming on mobile devices, which allows games to be rendered on a server and streamed to a phone or other device in (sort of) real-time. These are typically much larger console or PC based games that follow more traditional game designs and mechanics, with an emphasis on longer play sessions and deeper engagement. The problem is that they are almost always designed for a mouse and keyboard or a game controller. To compensate for this, streaming apps typically add some sort of button and joystick overlay on the screen to allow for a "similar interface", but they are almost always terrible to use. Game controllers and M&Ks have a huge benefit of real buttons and tactile feedback. Trying to judge how far to move one's thumb on a flat slab of glass without looking is a lesson in frustration.

The article is a very "well no shit" sort of opinion. Anyone who has tried streaming a game to their phone can attest to what a frustrating experience that is. That being said, I'm fine with seeing tech and gaming writers cry about this a bit more (even if it is somewhat clickbait). Their squeaky wheels may end up getting the entire industry the grease it really needs.

Japanese Court Ruling Poised To Make Big Tech Open Up on Algorithms

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Japanese legal experts have said an antitrust case related to a local restaurant website could change how large internet platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon operate in the country, forcing them to reveal the inner workings of their secret algorithms. From a report: Last month, a Tokyo court ruled in favour of Hanryumura, a Korean-style BBQ restaurant chain operator in an antitrust case brought against, operator of Tabelog, Japan's largest restaurant review platform. Hanryumura successfully argued that had altered the way user scores were tallied in ways that hurt sales at its restaurant outlets. While has been ordered to pay Hanryumura $284,000 in damages for "abuse of superior bargaining position," the internet company has appealed against the decision.

Japanese legal experts said the outcome may have far-reaching implications, as the court requested to disclose part of its algorithms. While the restaurant group is constrained from publicly revealing what information was shown to it, the court's request set a rare precedent. Big Tech groups have long argued that their algorithms should be considered trade secrets in all circumstances. Courts and regulators across the world have begun to challenge that position, with many businesses having complained about the negative impact caused by even small changes to search and recommendations services.

Tabelog is the evil twin brother of Yelp

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Pay us and we will improve your rating.
Tabelog is applying all the same dirty tactics as Yelp.

Yeah, but—

By Barny • Score: 3 • Thread

When the algorithm is just "we insert all the inputs into this AI we trained and it spits out the result", that law isn't going to be all that useful. Oh, I can see the non-technical types then pointing at the AI and saying "Well, show us what's in that!" But that will be even worse. They will just get reams and reams of neuron weights and nothing of actual substance.

All this will do is push more companies to rely on an AI system, since it will be the ultimate defense to this kind of law.

Re:Yeah, but—

By iserlohn • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

>Oh, I can see the non-technical types then pointing at the AI and saying "Well, show us what's in that!" But that will be even worse. They will just get reams and reams of neuron weights and nothing of actual substance.

The way this will develop would be that claimants and their lawyers would then ask for the training data set, together with everything else that makes up the model. Explainability (and the lack thereof) isn't a way out of legal requirements, if anything, it makes the compliance more costly.

Re:Tabelog is the evil twin brother of Yelp

By jrumney • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That isn't really what the case is about though - if it were that simple the chain would just pay them.

Tabelog changed their algorithm some time back in response to complaints from independent restaurant owners that their algorithm was favoring chain restaurants. The chain owner says that 55% of their restaurants' ratings dropped, none went up, as a result of this change, and argue that it disadvantages them compared to independent restaurants. As a remedy they want to see how the algorithm works so they can invest effort that independent restaurants cannot afford into gaming the ratings system, like they used to.

Vim 9.0 Released

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
After many years of gradual improvement Vim now takes a big step with a major release. Besides many small additions the spotlight is on a new incarnation of the Vim script language: Vim9 script. Why Vim9 script: A new script language, what is that needed for? Vim script has been growing over time, while preserving backwards compatibility. That means bad choices from the past often can't be changed and compatibility with Vi restricts possible solutions. Execution is quite slow, each line is parsed every time it is executed.

The main goal of Vim9 script is to drastically improve performance. This is accomplished by compiling commands into instructions that can be efficiently executed. An increase in execution speed of 10 to 100 times can be expected. A secondary goal is to avoid Vim-specific constructs and get closer to commonly used programming languages, such as JavaScript, TypeScript and Java.

The performance improvements can only be achieved by not being 100% backwards compatible. For example, making function arguments available by creating an "a:" dictionary involves quite a lot of overhead. In a Vim9 function this dictionary is not available. Other differences are more subtle, such as how errors are handled. For those with a large collection of legacy scripts: Not to worry! They will keep working as before. There are no plans to drop support for legacy script. No drama like with the deprecation of Python 2.


By TechyImmigrant • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Why would you need to exit Vi?

So you can edit .viimrc with nano to put vim into emacs mode.

Re:That is sad!

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's really sad. Too bad it couldn't have just been kept up as a read only archive. It feels like a big piece of Internet history is lost. Regardless of how one felt about the actual humor, UF was a pretty big deal 20+ years ago.

It was read-only for the longest time - basically it ended around 2010 or so. But regular new comics stopped earlier, so much so that they published a complete archive book called 10 Years of User, which was 1000 pages comtaining every strip. However it was published in 2008, which while it had basically every strip, there were maybe a handful of new strips published over 2008, 2009 and 2010 before they went on permanent rerun mode.

The sad thing is, that was the last book published, so now that book is probably the most complete collection of strips, but is still missing maybe 30-50 strips that were published since then.

And now those strips are no longer available.


By enxebre • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Not enough people seem to know of :x (which is save and quit, the same as :wq).


By postglock • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not enough people seem to know of :x (which is save and quit, the same as :wq).

Close, but not exactly the same. :x is even better, because :wq will force a write no matter what, and :x will only write if the document has changed.


By jeromef • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
And one that is even faster to type: ZZ (no need to press ENTER).

Former Top Apple Lawyer Pleads Guilty To Insider Trading

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The former top corporate lawyer at Apple pleaded guilty to insider trading charges, for what prosecutors called a five-year scheme to trade ahead of the iPhone maker's quarterly earnings announcements. Gene Levoff, 48, of San Carlos, California, pleaded guilty to six securities fraud charges at a hearing before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey. From a report: Levoff allegedly exploited his roles as corporate secretary, head of corporate law and co-chair of a committee that reviewed drafts of Apple's results to generate $604,000 of illegal gains on more than $14 million of trades from 2011 to 2016. Prosecutors said Levoff ignored the quarterly "blackout periods" that barred trading before Apple's results were released, as well as the company's broader insider trading policy -- which he was responsible for enforcing. "Gene Levoff betrayed the trust of one of the world's largest tech companies for his own financial gain," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna in New Jersey said in a statement.

That level of risk

By hdyoung • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
to make 600k? Thats it? Really? A top Apple lawyer makes at least 1mil annually, I’m certain. He pulled a multi-year lawbreaking scheme, one that’s guaranteed to leave a paper trail, to make an extra 600k? That should be pocket-change to a guy like that.

Not very good at it...

By kulaga • Score: 3 • Thread

Only 600k gains on more than 14 million in trades. Guy is probably going to prison with an illegal return of 4.3%. I guess he should have just invested the money in Google.

Re:That level of risk

By thomn8r • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

to make 600k? Thats it? Really?

Yeah - on $14m in trades? My guess is he's copping to a lesser crime either as part of a deal or to throw the regulators off the scent.

Re:The Apple...

By Anubis IV • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I may be misremembering, but I seem to recall that Apple actually forwarded the case to the feds for criminal prosecution of their own volition after catching him in an internal investigation. I think they fired him before the SEC ever opened its own investigation.

It's illegal to impersonate a member of Congress

By Babel-17 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

In this case by emulating their behavior.

SQLite or PostgreSQL? It's Complicated!

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Miguel Grinberg, a Principal Software Engineer for Technical Content at Twilio, writes in a blog post: We take blogging very seriously at Twilio. To help us understand what content works well and what doesn't on our blog, we have a dashboard that combines the metadata that we maintain for each article such as author, team, product, publication date, etc., with traffic information from Google Analytics. Users can interactively request charts and tables while filtering and grouping the data in many different ways. I chose SQLite for the database that supports this dashboard, which in early 2021 when I built this system, seemed like a perfect choice for what I thought would be a small, niche application that my teammates and I can use to improve our blogging. But almost a year and a half later, this application tracks daily traffic for close to 8000 articles across the Twilio and SendGrid blogs, with about 6.5 million individual daily traffic records, and with a user base that grew to over 200 employees.

At some point I realized that some queries were taking a few seconds to produce results, so I started to wonder if a more robust database such as PostgreSQL would provide better performance. Having publicly professed my dislike of performance benchmarks, I resisted the urge to look up any comparisons online, and instead embarked on a series of experiments to accurately measure the performance of these two databases for the specific use cases of this application. What follows is a detailed account of my effort, the results of my testing (including a surprising twist!), and my analysis and final decision, which ended up being more involved than I expected. [...] If you are going to take one thing away from this article, I hope it is that the only benchmarks that are valuable are those that run on your own platform, with your own stack, with your own data, and with your own software. And even then, you may need to add custom optimizations to get the best performance.

What have we come to....this is awful....

By geekopus • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is, without a doubt, one of the dumbest articles I've ever seen on Slashdot. Anyone, much less someone with the title "Principle Software Engineer", could have predicted that even a slightly tuned Postgres install would be faster than SQLlite.

I admit, I am waiting with baited breath for the amazed reaction when said engineer discovers what indexes and multiple cores can do.

Ridiculous. Been reading slashdot since the late 90's and man, this one takes the cake.

Re:[smacks forehead]

By computer_tot • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The author doesn't like other people's benchmarks, running tests not relevant to their situation. Which is really quite reasonable and I wish more people thought that way. It's so frustrating people claiming project A is better than project B for a task because they read a benchmark from five years ago that tested something completely different. Admins should do their own testing in their own environment, otherwise the benchmarks are pretty useless.

Re:It's not that simple...

By edwdig • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They made a simple system using ORM tools and a database not really meant for use on a server. They realized they outgrew it and swapped the database for a more appropriate one. They thought it would be interesting to benchmark the performance of the two systems.

They barely did any work here. The extent of the "optimization" they did was tweaking a config file to say PostgreSQL was allowed to use more memory per query, allowing their large queries to fit in memory.

It sounds like they've got a fairly simple problem to solve, with a pretty straightforward solution in place. They swapped out the weak link in the toolset, which was pretty obviously a weak point, and got the expected result. It sounds like they're keeping things pretty simple and not over-engineering anything.

What is actually sad

By pchasco • Score: 3 • Thread
What is actually sad is how much time this PRINCIPLE engineer wasted performing this experiment. Relying on an ORM to produce optimized queries for different SQL engines is naive. I expect that if the author took a few hours to do some research and write some optimized views instead of relying on ORM he would have seen 2x or better response times over SQLite.


By Elixon • Score: 3 • Thread

"Having publicly professed my dislike of performance benchmarks" ... so he publicly put out his own performance analysis... hmm.

Would he read this analysis if there was not his own name underneath it?

Government Policies Will Not Get UK To Net Zero, Warns Damning Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The government is failing to enact the policies needed to reach the UK's net zero targets, its statutory advisers have said, in a damning progress report to parliament. From a report: The Climate Change Committee (CCC) voiced fears that ministers may renege on the legally binding commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, noting "major policy failures" and "scant evidence of delivery." Lord Deben, the chair of the committee and a former Conservative environment secretary, said the government had set strong targets on cutting emissions but policy to achieve them was lacking. "The government has willed the ends, but not the means," he said. "This report showed that present plans will not fulfil the commitments [to net zero]."

He said net zero policies were also the best way to reduce the soaring cost of living. Average household bills would be about $151.3 lower today if previous plans on green energy and energy efficiency had been followed through. "If you want to deal with the cost of living crisis, this is exactly what you need to do," he said. The greatest failure was the insulation policy. Britain's homes are the draughtiest in western Europe, heating costs are crippling household budgets, and heating is one of the biggest single sources of carbon emissions, but the government has no plans to help most people insulate their homes.

Net Zero?

By blackomegax • Score: 3 • Thread
Prodigy was a better ISP.

Re:We're fucked

By hdyoung • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
We are going to pay lip service but otherwise largely ignore the problem until it gets bad-beyond-anything-we’ve seem.

Stuff like extreme weather that renders MAJOR coastal cities uninhabitable. Damaged-but-habitable will simply be ignored. Think a major super-hurricane that slows down and sits over Mumbai , NYC or Shanghai for a full week. Complete loss of power generation, major roads washing away, whole neighborhoods of apartment buildings collapsing and no emergency services to dig people out. Multiple entire neighborhoods beyond salvaging. Not just a few poor spots like New Orleans. Something that requires a city-wide abandonment.

Full collapse and desertification of several major breadbasket regions. Picture the full US midwest turning into a near-desert. The current food crisis because of Russia has raised prices around 10%. Picture a doubling or tripling of food costs. Whole countries starving.

Heat waves so intense that they collapse a large-area power grid and melt the roads at the same time. With no way to get out and no power grid, large regions experience a 90% mortality rate as entire populations slowly turn into pot roast. Because above a certain wet-bulb temperature, human life is literally impossible no matter how tough you are or how much faith in god you have. This could easily happen to a large city if average temperatures climb just 5 or 6 degrees above where they are currently.

From the science I’ve seen, we’re probably going to avoid these scenarios. We’re not doing great but the worst-cases seem to be unlikely. The CO2 emissions curve is actually starting to bend and maybe, just maybe, we can keep it from climbing again. Ive given up trying to convince the climate deniers. Any progress will happen in spite of them and they will never, EVER be part of the solution. They get dragged along kicking and screaming.

Dash for Gas was a big mistake

By ickleberry • Score: 3 • Thread
Back in the 90's in the wake of Thatcher there was a big move by privatised electricity producers to install gas generation. They have well and truly snookered themselves, should have gone for nuclear, wind and solar instead.

They are planning to build an interconnector between UK and Morocco though. Which is an ambitious enough project. If it's a success they could just build a few more.

Dr. David MacKay gave us the solutions.

By MacMann • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

Years ago Dr. David MacKay gave us, and specifically the United Kingdom, the solutions to our energy problems. He laid them out nicely for us, in ways that someone with a high school education should be able to understand.
He did a TED Talk on this:
Wrote a book, which gives considerable detail on the issues:
And then shortly before his death gave an interview where he decided to be far more blunt on the problems and solutions than before:

Dr. David MacKay was the chief science advisor to the UK department on energy and climate change. He showed his work, and so if anyone has a problem with his recommendations then this person should be able to point to the errors in his calculations or measurements.

Dr. MacKay is not alone in what needs to be done. Many others have validated his work. The article mentions a need for better insulation on UK homes, and Dr. MacKay pointed to this as a solution in his TED Talk. What was not in the article, but should have been, is the need for more nuclear fission power. UK needs more nuclear power plants. The world needs more nuclear power plants. Dr. MacKay, and so many others, show the math that we won't solve this problem without nuclear power. We will need better insulation, more onshore windmills, more geothermal power, more so many other things. What is vital to solving our future energy needs is nuclear fission power.

The UK government has been talking about nuclear powered shipping for at least a year now, it can't come soon enough.

Elected politicians can't implement long term plan

By khchung • Score: 3 • Thread

If you care to look at the history, even if only for the last 50 years, it is blatantly obvious that elected politicians simply cannot implement any long term plans. Come next election and they have the choice of either sabotaging the long term for short term gain so they can be re-elected, or stick to the long term plan and then lose the election.

Everybody knew the supposed target for being carbon neutral in 2050 was just hot air. By 2030 it would be blindingly obvious the target won't be met, and by 2040 the target will be revised to 2070 (again 30 years later), then the whole thing repeats.

Gartner Predicts 9.5% Drop in PC Shipments

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The party is over for PC makers as figures from Gartner suggest the market is on course for a breathtaking decline this year. From a report: According to the analysts, worldwide PC shipments will decline by 9.5 percent, with consumer demand leading the way -- a 13.5 percent drop is forecast, far greater than business PC demand, which is expected to drop by 7.2 percent year on year. The PC market in the EMEA region is forecast to fare even worse, with a 14 percent decline on the cards for 2022. Gartner pointed the finger of blame at uncertainty caused by conflicts, price increases and simple unavailability of products. Lockdowns in China were also blamed for an impact in consumer demand. It all makes for grim reading from a channel perspective. While worldwide PC shipments fared the worst, tablet devices are forecast to fall by 9 percent and mobile phones by 7.1 percent. Overall, the total decline over all types of devices in the report is expected to be 7.6 percent. This is in stark contrast to a 11 percent increase year on year in the shipment of PCs in 2021 and 5 per cent for mobile phones.


By Opportunist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

And every gamer has postponed getting a new PC until the GPUs become available because you don't buy a PC where your old GPU doesn't fit only to discover that by the time GPUs become available again, they don't play nice with the chipset of your mainboard.

Re:PCs last a long time

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We've reached "good enough" a while ago. The arbitrary obsolescence of hardware by operating system demand ("your mainboard has to support TLA 3.0 for our OS to run on ti!") was rolled back quickly after MS noticed that nobody can, or would want to, buy a new PC just for the questionable honor to be guinea pig for their latest OS.

So what reason is left to upgrade? Games. Which suffer from a lack of available GPUs. So why buy a new PC if in the end I don't get better performance anyway?

Re:This Gartner that we are talking about

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Why do you think that's not their data generation method? It sure looks like it is.

Gartner can say whatever they want

By quonset • Score: 3 • Thread

I still have orders from last year which have to be delivered as do several other agencies. We're now told the newest HP machines will be delivered in 8 - 12 weeks rather than the previous 16 - 20 weeks (which, as I initially stated, hasn't happened either).

So yeah, BS on what Gartner says. Gartner's "predictions" are like the Federal Reserve talking about inflation. Completely devoid of factual basis.

No surprise

By EvilSS • Score: 3 • Thread
COVID accelerated purchasing for consumers and companies. PC sales were already trending upward YoY since bottoming out in 2015. So yea, a down trend isn't a shock. I'm sure it will level out when business refresh cycles get back to a normal pace. Speaking of, I am curious to see if COVID has caused a large sync-up on corporate refreshes. Will we see sales spikes in 3, 5, and 8 years as companies hit their first post-covid refresh intervals?

On a side note I do kind of feel bad for these guys, all that work to do the forecasting and it gets tanked 2 months after they release it:

The Really Important Job Interview Questions Engineers Should Ask (But Don't)

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
James Hawkins: Since we started PostHog, our team has interviewed 725 people. What's one thing I've taken from this? It's normal for candidates not to ask harder questions about our company, so they usually miss out on a chance to (i) de-risk our company's performance and (ii) to increase the chances they'll like working here.

Does the company have product-market fit? This is the single most important thing a company can do to survive and grow.
"Do you ever question if you have product-market fit?"
"When did you reach product-market fit? How did you know?"
"What do you need to do to get to product-market fit?"
"What's your revenue? What was it a year ago?"
"How many daily active users do you have?"

It's ok if these answers show you the founder doesn't have product market fit. In this case, figure out if they will get to a yes. Unless you want to join a sinking ship, of course! Early stage founders are (or should be) super-mega-extra-desperately keen to have product-market fit -- it's all that really matters. The ones that will succeed are those that are honest about this (or those that have it already) and are prioritizing it. Many will think or say (intentionally or through self-delusion) that they have it when they don't. Low user or revenue numbers and vague answers to the example questions above are a sign that it isn't there. Product-market fit is very obvious.

Re:Important Question #1

By LifesABeach • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

why should an engineer be concerned with what marketing and sales croak as a new paradigm.
questions i have when i am interviewed.
1. is this company going to exist in 5 years. (covad proof)
2. is this a marketing company
3. how many sick days
4. does this company offshore projects
5. what is your personal view of the movie office space

Re:startups are lame

By vivian • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As long as they are paying me a salary instead of stock options, it's not actually that relevant - give me the specs, tell me what you want and I will write code for it, and do my best to make suggestions and recommendations that accomplish your goals better.

  If your business plan sucks or your customers dont exist and you don't have a way to invent a new market for whatever it is we are building, that's not really my area of expertise to get into.
I have worked for startups - long hours, low pay and frozen salaries for years while I looked forward to the happy day we went into production - with the assumption that if I did my best effort and we succeeded, my efforts would be rewarded eventually.
Instead, the CEO got backstabbed by the ops manager and pushed out of the very company he started, and it all turned into a sh*t show.

Next time, I'll take a proper salary instead of empty promises, thanks.

It's definitely better working in fortune 500's. The hours are just as long, and the bureaucracy sometimes heavier, but at least they pay well and you don't have to try to explain to people what your company does.

Some -good- hard interview questions (for nerds)

By siege72 • Score: 3 • Thread

* What do you like about working for $Company?

* What challenges has this department had to deal with?

* What are some of the negatives of $Company and department?

No. Ask "why" questions about what matters to you

By Tony Isaac • Score: 3 • Thread

Everybody has different goals for their employment. Some want good work-life balance. Some want travel and interaction with others in the Industry. Some want to work with other smart people, others want to just put in their time and go home.

It's not enough to just get the answers to questions like work-life balance. Probing further to ask "why" the company does what it does, is more important than just the policies. For example, "We don't do overtime because we have a union contract" is very different from "We don't do overtime because we believe in building software at a sustainable pace." Or, "We work remotely but are looking for the right time to come back to the office" is different from "We work remotely because we have found that our people are happier and more effective in their jobs working remotely."

Interviewers seldom answer even basic questions

By erice • Score: 3 • Thread

1) What is the hot need to that you want addressed by this role?
2) In practice, what would you expect that I would actually be doing in this role?
3) What sort of project will I be working on?

These are much simpler questions and they don't generally get answered. You would think that #3 would be trivial and startups that only have one project will answer but others will more often deflect.

Engineers and engineering managers are not going to know what product-market fit is. If you explain it to them, they still won't know the answer. So, why ask the question?

It is painfully difficult to get useful information from an interviewer. Either they don't know or they don't think they can tell you. The best you can do is gather peripheral information and deduce what the information must be.

Webb Telescope Will Look for Signs of Life Way Out There

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
This month will mark a new chapter in the search for extraterrestrial life, when the most powerful space telescope yet built will start spying on planets that orbit other stars. Astronomers hope that the James Webb Space Telescope will reveal whether some of those planets harbor atmospheres that might support life. New York Times: Identifying an atmosphere in another solar system would be remarkable enough. But there is even a chance -- albeit tiny -- that one of these atmospheres will offer what is known as a biosignature: a signal of life itself. "I think we will be able to find planets that we think are interesting -- you know, good possibilities for life," said Megan Mansfield, an astronomer at the University of Arizona. "But we won't necessarily be able to just identify life immediately."

So far, Earth remains the only planet in the universe where life is known to exist. Scientists have been sending probes to Mars for almost 60 years and have not yet found Martians. But it is conceivable that life is hiding under the surface of the Red Planet or waiting to be discovered on a moon of Jupiter or Saturn. Some scientists have held out hope that even Venus, despite its scorching atmosphere of sulfur dioxide clouds, might be home to Venusians. Even if Earth turns out to be the only planet harboring life in our own solar system, many other solar systems in the universe hold so-called exoplanets. In 1995, Swiss astronomers spotted the first exoplanet orbiting a sunlike star. Known as 51 Pegasi b, the exoplanet turned out to be an unpromising home for life -- a puffy gas giant bigger than Jupiter, and a toasty 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. In the years since, scientists have found more than 5,000 other exoplanets. Some of them are far more similar to Earth -- roughly the same size, made of rock rather than gas and orbiting in a "Goldilocks zone" around their star, not so close as to get cooked but not so far as to be frozen.

Re:Embargoing science to build the hype up sucks

By ZombieCatInABox • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Show us on the doll where the NASA employee touched you.

Re:Embargoing science to build the hype up sucks

By splutty • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What the fuck are you talking about? All the pictures they've taken during calibration (which is still ongoing) have been released (although some in NASA didn't want to, because they look weird).

You will have exactly 0 knowledge of what's in those pictures, and just spew more nonsense about them if you see them, though. So why would it matter?

Here are the schematics for a nuclear reactor built with tax payer dollars. Have fun.

Embargoes are to help scientists

By Eunomion • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
who have committed decades of work to the project just on the off-chance they will ever get to publish on its results. Pursuing such careers is already deeply impractical, and would become virtually impossible if they couldn't even count on the professional advantage of publishing priority.

Money doesn't make science: Scientists make science, and scientific careers make scientists. We contribute our tax money to them because the profit that society realizes from support of their efforts is perpetual and unbounded.

The pretty pictures they deliver as a secondary benefit are something we can wait for.

Atmospheric biosignatures

By Immerman • Score: 3 • Thread

So, anyone have any ideas on exactly what atmospheric biosignatures Webb could be looking for?

Free oxygen is an obvious one - Webb is capable of very high resolution spectroscopy, and oxygen is so volatile that it gets bound into minerals almost immediately, and can't accumulate to significant levels without some process continuously producing more of it. Life (via photosynthesis) is the only such process we know of. (Of course life doesn't necessarily mean oxygen, as proven by the first billion or so years of life on Earth, but oxygen seems to mean life)

Another I've heard of is to look for net circular polarization of light - there's good reason to expect life to produce molecules with a preferred chirality, which will then impart a net circular polarization (which can be seen by, e.g. shining flashlight through a tank of sugar-water). Purely chemical reactions in contrast produce equal numbers of left- and right-handed molecules, which combine to impart no net polarization. It sounds like Webb has some sensors capable of detecting polarization, though I'm not clear on whether they're the right kind for this task.

Any other ideas?

Mickey Mouse Could Soon Leave Disney As 95-Year Copyright Expiry Nears

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 writes: Mickey will be for the public domain in 2024, following U.S. copyright laws that state intellectual property on artistic work expires at the 95-year mark. When Mickey Mouse first appeared, Disney's copyright was protected for 56 years. The company supported the Copyright Act of 1976 which extended protections for 75 years. In 1998, Disney lobbied for a further extension. It is unclear whether the entertainment giant plans to make another move before 2023 to prevent Mickey from being moved into the public domain. Once copyright expires, anyone wishing to use characters from everyone's favorite rodent will not have to request permission or pay copyright charge.

Re:Renewal fees are needed for long copyright

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For Disney the renewal fees are known as lobbying.

Re:95-year copyright

By quonset • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Don't remind me. I already called dibs on Minnie.

Rule 34 is now in play.

Re:95-year copyright

By nospam007 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"He wants porn involving a 95-year-old mouse?"

MILF, Mice I Like to Fuck.

Re:95-year copyright

By UnderCoverPenguin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You think anyone gives a fuck about copyright when it comes to Rule 34?

The characters will still be trademarked. Only the original cartoons might become public domain. That only means the cartoons can be shown/redistributed as-is. The characters themselves will still be protected - by trademark law.

Bigots? WTF?

By tiqui • Score: 4 • Thread

Do you understand that the law DeSantis signed said NOTHING about homosexuality, transgenderism, etc?

The law said that the schools cannot sexualize children. Teachers cannot push transgenderism, homosexuality, OR HETEROSEXUALTIY or indeed ANY DAMNED SEXUALITY on little kids (not ANY gender identity, not ANY sexual orientation). The law does not favor, nor disfavor any particular sexuality, rather it just says, effectively, "knock it off... ALL of it!". This is NOT ANY form of "bigotry" - it's a pushback against people robbing little kids of their innocence and childhood and trying to pickle their little brains with lots of sexual stuff when they are too young to understand ANY of it. It simply is NOT the damned job of a school teacher to talk to 2nd graders about sex. The bill does not even go very far - it only protects kids through the third grade; people bent on warping and molesting kids can still start grooming them in fourth grade. This is not even some far-right Republican bill; a slim majority of Democrats support it (and a strong majority of both Republican and Democrat parents support it).

If the LGBTQ[...] "community" is in some bizarre way harmed by being blocked from pushing sexual themes onto little children, if trannies simply cannot enjoy life without strutting in front of little kids without their parents' permission, then the "community" is not some innocent alternate lifestyle group, it's a pedo freak show. There are plenty of gays and lesbians who are not into sexualizing children and who do not want to be tied to any of this junk - just as there are huge numbers of hetero adults who do not want to push sex onto little kids and who do not want heteros doing it.

If you think DeSantis signed a "don't say gay" bill into law, then you (like the moron CEO of Disney) have been completely propagandized into being a meatpuppet for pedophiles. Try READING THE LEGISLATION some time instead of just being a willing dupe for some twisted political activists. Slashdot is supposed to be a place where rational people are able to READ and able to make clear logical arguments on the objective facts - a different sort of place from where people argue over their telephone-game-like third- or fourth-hand "interpretations" of what somebody might have meant when he might have said something.

BioNTech, Pfizer To Start Testing Universal Vaccine For Coronaviruses

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Germany's BioNTech, Pfizer's partner in COVID-19 vaccines, said the two companies would start tests on humans of next-generation shots that protect against a wide variety of coronaviruses in the second half of the year. From a report: Their experimental work on shots that go beyond the current approach include T-cell-enhancing shots, designed to primarily protect against severe disease if the virus becomes more dangerous, and pan-coronavirus shots that protect against the broader family of viruses and its mutations. In presentation slides posted on BioNTech's website for its investor day, the German biotech firm said its aim was to "provide durable variant protection." The two partners, makers of the Western world's most widely used COVID-19 shot, are currently discussing with regulators enhanced versions of their established shot to better protect against the Omicron variant and its sublineages.

Re: Good news

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You mean like influenza vaccines? So they're not vaccines?


What about tetanus? That's every 10 years. In your "vaccines can't be vaccines if they're annual" world, are tetanus vaccines considered vaccines or not?


By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Cold viruses primarily replicate in the upper respiratory tract and stay there

1. SARS-CoV-2 is not a "cold". Cold is a generic term for any mild virus which can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which can be from vastly diverse families (the most common cold viruses are Rhinoviruses, which are actually quite close relatives of polio, and not at all related to Coronaviruses - a diverse family that contains numerous highly lethal viruses, of which thankfully only a couple have ever jumped to humans in modern times) - where "mild" is generally seen as "less than influenza". SARS-CoV-2, being responsible for mass waves of excess mortality, well in excess of influenza,fails at the "mild" standpoint, and is thus not "a cold".

2. SARS-CoV-2 replicates in any tissue that expresses the protein ACE2. ACE2 is a blood pressure regulator, and is consequently found throughout the body, but especially in the vasculature. Indeed, while severe acute respiratory failure is the most common cause of death (hence the name), cardiovascular causes of death are a surprisingly common minority from the disease.

3. UNLIKE SARS-CoV-2, vaccination is highly locally confined. It is an intramuscular injection; it is not intravenous. The fact that it remains in the deltoid has been well studied - for example, instead of having it express double proline-stabilized spikes, one can have it express a luciferase (glowing firefly protein) and monitor the glow in mice to see where expression is occurring - here's the result.

4. The vaccine can enter *any* cell; unlike the virus, it has no particular affinity for endothelial cells. Namely, because it uses no cell receptor for entry; it is simply free floating in tiny fat globules, to be uptaken by any cell at all. The most common type of cell to uptake them is dendritic cells, for which uptaking and presenting "suspicious" material is literally their job.

5. Expression is to the cell surface, where it is membrane-fused. Literally, mRNA includes a sort of "address" for what is supposed to happen to the produced protein, and that's what it is marked at.

6. Unlike S on the virus, S in the vaccine cannot fuse. It is double proline substituted, which breaks the fusion mechanism. (Proline tends to form rigid sections in proteins, like a splint)

7. Like all proteins, it has a limited lifespan in the body, with a half life on the order of a couple weeks. The only thing that remains is the body's "memory" of how to fight it.

8. I have friends who... ... don't know the difference between anecdotes and statistics? I developed stomach problems before I got vaccinated. Should I count those as a side effect of vaccination? No? Of course not. But if they had happened *after* I had gotten vaccinated, you'd be instantly rushing to blame them on vaccination. I'm sorry, but that's not how these things work. You have to show statistical significance.

9. making earth-shattering profits - The most remarkable thing is how abnormally cheap the vaccines are. I had to pay several hundred dollars per Shingrix shot (I know, it's cheaper in the US, but still expensive). My government paid about $10 each for Pfizer, more (but still not that much) for Moderna. That's dirt cheap; they only made up for it in volume. If you want to rail against pharma profits, attack them for prices on drugs like Ambien and the like, that's where they're really ripping people off with insane profit margins.

Evolution adapts

By Tony Isaac • Score: 3 • Thread

If they develop a "universal" vaccine, evolution has a way of developing workarounds and defenses, or new variants that don't have the characteristics targeted by the vaccine. This would be a good development, if successful, but given how quickly coronavirus mutates, it's not likely to be a long-lasting "universal" protection.

Why i this taking so long?

By schweini • Score: 3 • Thread
Could anybody explain why this is taking so long? I thought that the huge benefit of mRNA vaccines was that they could be updated and customized super, super quickly. As in days.
And, IIRC, there was even an FDA exemption added that small variations of the mRNA sequence used would not have to go through the whole shebang of testing and re-approval.

Finally some good news

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

mRNA seems to be the game-changer for vaccines that the smarter ones of us had hoped for. Of course, the morons will claim this is even worse, but frankly, I have stopped caring. Let them die from their stupidity. I am not fine with them inflicting the stupid on their children though. Not vaccinating your children is at the very least aggravated child abuse.

Crypto Platform Vauld Suspends Withdrawals, Trading Amid 'Financial Challenges'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Vauld, a Singapore-headquartered crypto lending and exchange startup, has suspended withdrawals, trading and deposits on its eponymous platform with immediate effect as it navigates "financial challenges," it said Monday. From a report: The three-year-old startup -- which counts Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and Pantera Capital among its backers and has raised about $27 million -- said it is facing financial challenges amid the market downturn, which it said has prompted customer withdrawals of about $198 million since June 12. Vauld enables customers to earn what it claims to be the "industry's highest interest rates on major cryptocurrencies." On its website, Vauld says it offers 12.68% annual yields on staking several so-called stablecoins including USDC and BUSD and 6.7% on Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens.

Re:no regulations is bad mkay!

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The price of freedom ... is bankruptcy.

They can't keep it above $20k anymore

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Despite a ton of market manipulation from big players who are desperate to keep confidence in the market from collapsing (since it's all funny money so once confidence goes the whole ponzi busts). Surprisingly Ethereum has held above $1000 for the most part, but that's probably just Great Fools "hedging" their Bitcoin losses with Ethereum.

All I can say is good riddance, or at least I hope so. As the regulatory noose tightens the money laundering and ponzi scams will go away and the bottom will drop out. All that'll be left are a handful of speculators who lose their shirts.

This can still change of course. They're still trying to get crypto classified as a commodity so they can have the much weaker commodities regulations instead of the SEC looking into their shady schemes.

Commodities get a lot less regulation because they have actual real world value and as such are much safer investments. If I buy 1000 pork belies I know I can at least get something out of them even if it's only jerky. Crypto is obviously not a commodity, but that's not stopping them from gunning for less regulation.

If they get it then that's going to be bad. They'll be able to run an almost completely unregulated securities exchange. I'd like to think /. readers are smart enough to understand how bad the market crash from that is going to be, and that their own savings and retirements and even livelihoods will be affected.


By Opportunist • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Erh... no.

If you think that the bank is sitting on your money and waiting for you to withdraw it, you're an idiot. You know, at least you should know, that a bank uses that money to hand out loans. These loans create the interest that you get for your savings (plus a not too shabby surplus interest for the bank).

Also, banks are incredibly severely regulated. At least over here. Bank laws over here require that every bank has to deposit 8% of their loan volume in government bonds. Give or take, depending on the loan (that's why mortgages are fairly cheap, they don't require that much money to be tied up in bonds). Take your average bank and ponder how much 8% of their credit volume is. You can't even try to withdraw that amount of money in a relevant time. Even if you're Elon Musk.

Also, savings (again, at least over here) are guaranteed by the government up to a certain amount (IIRC it's like 100k). In other words, even if the bank goes bankrupt, the government will cover your losses. That is quite comforting. And a pretty good reason for the government to hold them by the balls with regulations that would make any other industry throw a fit.

All that contributes to the stability we have in banks here. And that in turn contributes to the trust people have in banks. Do banks fail? Yeah. Well, no. "Surprisingly" whenever a bank is about to fail, some other bank hoovers them up and they "consolidate" without much of a hitch. You, as the average bank customer, don't even notice anything, except that there's now a different logo on your statement.

Bank business is a bit like sausages. You don't want to know just what kind of shit is going on inside. But then again, you also don't really need to. It works. For you. Your money is safe. And after all, that's all 99.9% of the people really care about.


By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 3 • Thread

Satoshi: Trustless. Permissionless. Be your own bank.

Scammers: Send us your crypto and we'll send more back. Trust us.

Greed creates fools.


By Opportunist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think it's a bit more complicated than that. One of the core problems is our culture, where admitting that you're wrong is equated with failure. It's even more socially acceptable to be demonstrably wrong and defending that point of view to the end than to simply say "yup. I was wrong".

Just look at our politicians and how we treat them. We have seen it time and time again that they are wrong. In a totally obvious way. Where facts were presented that showed them that, by any metric that could be applied, their position is wrong. Yet accepting this is political suicide, instead, if they stomp their feet like a child and refuse to accept reality, it's seen as a virtue.

We need to make being wrong socially acceptable.