The No-GPS Road Trip
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '17 at 12:30 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's struggle-ensues department
Ezra Dyer, a reporter at Popular Mechanics, decided to ditch the GPS system he has on his car and the mapping service on his phone to see how hard it could be to go to North Carolina from his home, Louisville, Kentucky. He shares his experience: I begin downtown, by the river. It seems that if I get on 32 East, I can find Route 150 toward Tennessee. It takes about one block for my plan to fall apart. The street I'm on dead-ends and forces me onto a seemingly parallel road that soon wanders off at an angle. I discover that there's the fancy, Kentucky Derby side of Louisville, but also the Thorobred Lounge gentleman's club side. Somehow, I blunder onto Interstate 264, a ring road, where the exit numbers indicate that I'm at least ten miles from where I thought I was. And yet, it works out. See, this is the way you used to do it. You keep driving. I exit for Route 32 and settle in for a long drive east. I aim to make it to Knoxville by dinner without having any real idea of whether that's possible. It doesn't help that my atlas crams all of Kentucky onto two pages, printed with fonts evidently developed by those calligraphers who can write the Magna Carta on a piece of capellini. So I stop at a gas station to buy a local map. There are none to be found, so I pull into the next gas station. Then a third. In my mind's eye, there are metal racks at every gas station, over near the door, stocked with maps. Well, those don't exist anymore. I don't know when they disappeared, but they're gone. "Try Walmart," says one cashier, as if I could find it. About an hour in, I'm in traffic-clogged strip-mall hell, stoplights to the horizon. The upside is that I have no concept of time. Instead of compulsively checking a screen to anguish over my plight, I drive. I'm curiously peaceful. I can't do anything about the traffic, so I exist in it, placid. And eventually it gives way, the stoplights dissipating into lush Kentucky countryside. The Defender is happy to amble along at 55 mph, so amble I do, down to Route 150 toward the Tennessee border. Read the full story here.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's footprints department
On Monday, Intel took the wraps of final details of its Core i9 microprocessors. From a report: Remember that Intel's Core X-series family (also called the Core i9) was announced with several key omissions: namely the clock speeds of the 12-core Core i9-7920X and above, as well as the thermal design power, or TDP. On Monday, Intel filled those in. The 12-core Core i9-7920X launches Aug. 28 while the 14-, 16-, and 18-core Core i9 chips ship on Sept. 25. Perhaps most important, though, is that we now know how fast Intel's Core i9s will run. When Intel inadvertently revealed that its 12-core Core i9-7920X was 2.9-GHz -- slower than the comparable AMD Threadripper -- a subset of the internet had a small freakout. We now know that that will be true for the remaining Core i9s as well, but with a big caveat. Here are the remaining speeds and feeds for the high-end Core i9 chips: Core i9-7980XE (18 cores, 36 threads): 2.6GHz; Boost, 4.2GHz to 4.4 GHz. Core i9-7960X (16 cores, 32 threads): 2.8GHz; Boost, 4.2GHz to 4.4 GHz. Core i9-7940X 14 cores, 28 threads: 3.1GHz; Boost: 4.3GHz to 4.4GHz. Core i9-7920X (12 cores, 24 threads): 2.9-GHz; Boost: 4.3-GHz to 4.4GHz. Note that the boost speeds refer to both Intel's Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and 3.0. [...] Essentially, both Intel and AMD can claim the title of fastest processor. Threadripper's base clock speeds are faster, but Intel's boost speeds climb higher than Threadripper can. It's also important to note that while Threadripper consumes 180 watts, even the fastest Core i9 chips Intel has announced have a lower TDP of 165 watts.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-moves department
Netflix announced today that it is acquiring Mark Millar, a well-known name in the world of comics. As part of the deal, the on-demand streaming company said, it will be creating original movies and TV shows from the content. It's Netflix's first acquisition. From a report: Millarworld, founded by Mark Millar from Coatbridge, includes his portfolio of characters and stories such as Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and Old Man Logan. Mr Millar said he was still "blinking" over the news. He said it was only the third time a comic book purchase on this scale had ever happened, with Warner Bros buying DC Comics in 1968, and Disney buying Marvel in 2009.
Mr Millar, who lives in Glasgow, started Millarworld as a creator-owned comic-book company nearly 15 years ago. He runs the company with his wife Lucy Millar. It is the first ever company acquisition in Netflix's history. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Mr Millar said: "I'm so in love with what Netflix is doing and excited by their plans. Netflix is the future and Millarworld couldn't have a better home."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-empire department
Mike Murphy, writing for Quartz: After decades of selling products -- and knowing exactly what people are buying, and when they are buying it -- Amazon has started cutting out the middle-man by selling self-produced items. Through its AmazonBasics house brand, it sells all sorts of small items, from iPhone chargers, to batteries, power strips -- even foam rollers, backpacks and washcloths. It's the sort of stuff that you might not be too brand loyal over -- who really minds whether it's a Duracell or a Panasonic battery? Amazon sees that a product is selling well, and may decide to work with manufacturers to make the product itself -- it's a tactic that is already worrying vendors, and can't bode well for partnerships in the long run. But those are the obvious instances. Now, Amazon is selling products across a wide array of categories, using a host of brands that do not exist outside the confines of amazon.com and do not make it clear that they are Amazon-made products. Trawling through over 800 trademarks that Amazon has either been awarded or applied for through the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Quartz identified 19 brands that are owned by Amazon and sell products or have product pages on amazon.com: Arabella, for lingerie products; Beauty Bar for cosmetics; Denali for tools; Franklin & Freeman for men's shoes; Happy Belly for fresh food; James & Erin for women's clothing; Lark & Ro for women's clothing; Mae for underwear; Mama Bear for baby products; Myhabit for consumer goods; North Eleven for women's clothing; NuPro for tech accessories; Pike Street for linen; Pinzon (by Amazon) for linen; Scout + Ro for kid's clothing; Single Cow Burger for frozen food; Small Parts for spare parts; Smart is Beautiful for clothing; and Strathwood for furniture.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's other-side-of-the-coin department
An anonymous reader shares a report: China has built a staggeringly large instrument in the remote southern, mountainous region of the country called the Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST. The telescope measures nearly twice as large as the closest comparable facility in the world, the US-operated Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. According to the South China Morning Post, the country is looking for a foreigner to run the observatory because no Chinese astronomer has the experience of running a facility of such size and complexity. The Chinese Academy of Sciences began advertising the position in western journals and job postings in May, but so far there have been no qualified applicants. One reason is that the requirements are fairly strict: The candidate must have at least 20 years of previous experience in the field, and he or she must have taken a leading role in large-scale radio telescope project with extensive managerial experience. The candidate must also hold a professorship, or equally senior position, in a world-class research institute or university. Nick Suntzeff, an astronomer at Texas A&M University who helped lead the discovery of dark energy and is involved with construction of the optical Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile, said there are probably about 40 or so astronomers in the world who would qualify for such a job. Compared to other astronomy disciplines, radio astronomy is a relatively small field. "I am sure they will find someone," he said. "But most astronomers in the United States do not like to work abroad. It was hard to get people to apply to work in La Serena, something I could never understand, considering how beautiful it is and how nice the Chilean people are." Among the western community of astronomers there are also questions about the scientific purpose of the FAST telescope. As part of a recent National Science Foundation review of its facilities, US officials placed the similar Arecibo radio telescope near the bottom of its priorities list.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's random-thoughts department
"Right after the keynote in which Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Shuffle, I went backstage with one question in mind: What makes an iPod an iPod?" remembers Steven Levy. mirandakatz writes
Apple recently announced that it's officially discontinuing the iPod -- sad news for anyone who'd prefer to not have to lug around an entire phone to listen to music. At Backchannel, Steven Levy offers a requiem... The Shuffle, he writes, was unique in that it was an iPod stripped down to a single basic function -- and, as Steve Jobs told Levy in 2005, it made the perfect [cheap] gift for inculcating young kids in the ways of Apple.
"I will go buy them one of these for 100 bucks apiece," he told Levy, referring to why the Shuffle was an especially appropriate gift for his daughters, six and nine at the time. "They'll probably lose them in 60 days. But they'll get into it this way."
Jobs called the Shuffle "every bit an iPod -- just a different iPod," saying that the definition was simply "a great digital music player." (Though later he'd say that creating a radically smaller Nano was still "a huge bet.") Levy remembers the Shuffle as "one of the company's most fun products ever...stripped down to the one feature I adored," writing that he loved how "algorithmic serendipity" approximated a genius deejay (or "the 'Hand of God' chess move that Deep Blue used to confuse Garry Kasparov into thinking the computer had trespassed into realms formerly limited to brilliant humans.")
I bought my first mp3 player in 2000 -- an Archos Jukebox 6000 which weighed three quarters of a pound. Anyone else have fond memories they want to share about the iPod, the Nano, the Shuffle, your old Newton -- or your own first mp3 player?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's who-watches-the-watchmen department
Slashdot reader bitwraith noticed something suspicious after flying "a few cheap, ready-to-fly quadcopters" with their smartphone apps, including drones from Odyssey and Eachine.
I often turn off my phone's Wi-Fi support before plugging it in to charge at night, only to discover it has mysteriously turned on in the morning. After checking the Wi-Fi Control History on my S7, it appears as though the various cookie-cutter apps for these drones wake up to phone home in the night after they are opened, while the phone is charging. I tried contacting the publisher of the Odyssey VR app, with no reply.
I would uninstall the app, but then how would I fly my drone? Why did Google grant permission to control Wi-Fi state implicitly to all apps, including these abusers? Are the apps phoning home to report my flight history?
The original submission asks about similar experiences from other drone-owning Slashdot users -- so leave your best answers in the comments. What's making this phone wake up in the night?
Are the drone apps phoning home?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's it's-not-dead-yet department
An anonymous reader quotes TechCrunch's newest update on the FCC's attempt to gut net neutrality protections:
10 Representatives who helped craft the law governing the FCC itself have submitted an official comment on the proposal ruthlessly dismantling it... The FCC is well within its rights to interpret the law, and it doesn't have to listen to contrary comments from the likes of you and me. It does, however, have to listen to Congress -- "congressional intent" is a huge factor in determining whether an interpretation of the law is reasonable. And in the comment they've just filed, Representatives Pallon, Doyle et al. make it very clear that their intent was and remains very different from how the FCC has chosen to represent it.
"The law directs the FCC to look at ISP services as distinct from those services that ride over the networks. The FCC's proposal contravenes our intent... While some may argue that this distinction should be abandoned because of changes in today's market, that choice is not the FCC's to make. The decision remains squarely with those of us in Congress -- and we have repeatedly chosen to leave the law as it is."
In another letter Thursday, 15 Congressmen asked FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to extend the time period for comments. They note the proposed changes have received more than 16 million comments, more than four times the number of comments on any previous FCC item. The Hill reports that the previous record was 4 million comments -- during the FCC's last net neutrality proceeding in 2014 -- and "the lawmakers also noted that the comment period for approving net neutrality in 2014 was 60 days. Pai has only allowed a 30-day comment period for his plan to rollback the rules."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's eye-in-the-sky department
turkeydance shares Thursday's report from The Drive:
A very unique U.S. Air Force surveillance aircraft has been flying highly defined circles over Seattle and its various suburbs for nine days now... The aircraft, which goes by the callsign "SPUD21" and wears a nondescript flat gray paint job with the only visible markings being a U.S. Air Force serial on its tail, is a CASA CN-235-300 transport aircraft that has been extensively modified... It is covered in a dizzying array of blisters, protrusions, humps and bumps. These include missile approach warning detectors and large fairings on its empennage for buckets of forward-firing decoy flares, as well as both microwave -- the dome antenna behind the wing and flat antenna modification in front of the wing -- and ultra high-frequency satellite communications -- the platter-like antenna behind the dome antenna. A communications intelligence suite also appears to be installed on the aircraft, with the antenna farm on the bottom of its fuselage being a clear indication of such a capability. But what's most interesting is the aircraft's apparent visual intelligence gathering installation...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's extracurricular-activities department
An anonymous reader writes:
This week the L.A. Times described a 17-year-old from Virginia who'd spent several hours a day perfecting his technique in Microsoft Excel, "one of 150 students from 50 countries competing in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship" at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. "At stake: cash, prizes and the clout that comes with being the best in the world at Excel, PowerPoint or Word. 'I'm going to do my best to bring it home for the United States,' John said as he prepared for the competition."
Microsoft's VP of Worldwide Education said the event helps students "to become more employable to companies that build their businesses around the Microsoft suite." For example, the article points out, "Past winners have gone on to attend Ivy League colleges and even work at, yes, Microsoft... Delaware resident Anirudh Narayanan, 17, prepared all summer to compete in the Excel 2013 category, 'looking up obscure facts just in case I might need to know it during the test.' He's hoping the skills he honed will help him at Carnegie Mellon University, where he will begin studying economics in the fall. 'I make sure I do a minimum of five hours a week in Excel,' Anirudh said. 'Then for a while I'll be on YouTube watching videos about Excel.'"
John eventually won the first-place prize in the Excel category -- which was $7,000 and an Xbox.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's spacey-McSpaceface department
Long-time Slashdot reader Noryungi writes:
NASA will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of the twin Voyager probes next month. So let us celebrate both the probes and the people who are still working on them, and nursing them in their final years.
The New York Times fondly profiles Voyager's nine aging flight-team engineers who "may be the last people left on the planet who can operate the spacecraft's onboard computers, which have 235,000 times less memory and 175,000 times less speed than a 16-gigabyte smartphone." NASA reports that now "Voyager 1 is in 'Interstellar space' and Voyager 2 is currently in the 'Heliosheath' -- the outermost layer of the heliosphere where the solar wind is slowed by the pressure of interstellar gas. " But the Times notes that the probes "are running out of fuel. (Decaying plutonium supplies their power.) By 2030 at the latest, they will not have enough juice left to run a single experiment."
NASA is now inviting the public to submit positive messages to be considered for beaming into space on September 5th -- the 40th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch. "Messages can have a maximum of 60 characters and be posted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ or Tumblr using the hashtag #MessageToVoyager," until August 15th, after which humanity will vote on which message should be sent.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's internal-memos-going-external department
An anonymous reader writes: An engineer at Google's Mountain View headquarters circulated a 3,400-word essay internally that argued a "moral bias" exists at Google that's "shaming dissenters" and silencing their voices against "encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies." It attributes the gender gap in technology to biology-based differences in abilities (such as "speaking up" and "leading") and different personality traits (including "neuroticism"). Its suggested remedies include "Stop alienating conservatives" (calling it "non-inclusive" and "bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness"), and it also suggests as a solution to "de-emphasize empathy" (which "causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases").
As the essay leaked over the weekend, former Google engineer Yonatan Zunger identified its anonymous author as "not someone senior," saying the author didn't seem to understand gender -- or engineering -- or what's going to happen next. "Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers. If someone told you that engineering was a field where you could get away with not dealing with people or feelings, then I'm very sorry to tell you that you have been lied to... It's true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people's emotional needs and so on -- this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones... You need to learn the difference between 'I think we should adopt Go as our primary language' and 'I think one-third of my colleagues are either biologically unsuited to do their jobs, or if not are exceptions and should be suspected of such until they can prove otherwise to each and every person's satisfaction.'"
The leaked internal essay is now being discussed in literally dozens of news outlets.
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