By timothy from Slashdot's export-friendly department
writes with a look at how well Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online are at dealing with documents that start (or are exported) in Open Document Format
. Does using proprietary document formats make any more sense than buying a coffee maker that uses only one type of coffee, or an ebook you can only read on one device, or a nail that you can only hit with one type of hammer? Why do we use document formats that lock us into only one specific piece of software? Why are we limiting ourselves to only one type of tool? "Control of a format or distribution channel can make it harder to use a competitive solution. That's one problem of proprietary formats: a switch costs you time and/or money. You don't want to buy a new coffee maker to try different coffee, a new e-reader to read a different book, or new software to edit a new document. Open formats or distribution channels make it easier for people to choose a different solution. ... Fortunately, Google re-enabled support for ODF in December 2014. That means you can leverage the collaborative capabilities of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, then export your completed work to a file in an open, non-proprietary format." Spoiler alert: On balance, both Google Docs and Word Online handle ODT files reasonably well.Read Replies (0)
By Roblimo from Slashdot's trying-to-bring-the-electric-power-grid-into-the-21st-century department
We all love 'The Internet of Things.' Now imagine appliances, such as your refrigerator and hot water heater, getting radio messages from the power grid telling them when they should turn on and off to get the best electricity prices. Now kick that up to the electric company level, and give them
a radio network that tells them which electric provider to get electricity from at what time to get the best (wholesale) price. This is what e-Radio
is doing. They make this claim: "Using pre-existing and near ubiquitous radio signals can save billions of dollars, reduce environmental impact, add remote addressability and reap additional significant societal benefits."
Timothy noticed these people at CES
. They were one of the least flashy and least "consumer-y" exhibitors. But saving electricity by using it efficiently, while not glamorous, is at least as important as a $6000 Android phone
. Note that the guy e-Radio had at CES speaking to Timothy was Scott Cuthbertson
, their Chief Financial Officer. It's a technology-driven company, from Founder and CEO Jackson Wang on down, but in the end, saving money is what they sell. (Alternate Video Link
)Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's so-close-and-yet-so-far department
New submitter Stolga
sends this report from the BBC:The missing Mars robot Beagle2 has been found on the surface of the Red Planet, apparently intact. High-resolution images taken from orbit have identified its landing location, and it looks to be in one piece. The UK-led probe tried to make a soft touchdown on the dusty world on Christmas Day, 2003, using parachutes and airbags — but no radio contact was ever made with the probe. Many scientists assumed it had been destroyed in a high-velocity impact.
The new pictures, acquired by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, give the lie to that notion, and hint at what really happened to the European mission. Beagle's design incorporated a series of deployable "petals," on which were mounted its solar panels. From the images, it seems that this system did not unfurl fully. "Without full deployment, there is no way we could have communicated with it as the radio frequency antenna was under the solar panels," explained Prof Mark Sims, Beagle's mission manager from Leicester University.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's big-oops department
An anonymous reader sends a report of a bug in Steam's Linux client that will accidentally wipe all of a user's files
if they move their Steam folder
. According to the bug report:I launched steam. It did not launch, it offered to let me browse, and still could not find it when I pointed to the new location. Steam crashed. I restarted it. It re-installed itself and everything looked great. Until I looked and saw that steam had apparently deleted everything owned by my user recursively from the root directory. Including my 3tb external drive I back everything up to that was mounted under /media.
Another user reported a similar problem — losing his home directory — and problems with the script were found
: at some point, the Steam script sets <tt>$STEAMROOT</tt> as the directory containing all Steam's data, then runs <tt>rm -rf "$STEAMROOT/"*</tt> later on. If Steam has been moved, <tt>$STEAMROOT</tt> returns as empty, resulting in <tt>rm -rf "/"*</tt> which causes the unexpected deletion.Read Replies (0)