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Comment: Re:Memorizing site-unique passwords isn't possible (Score 3, Insightful) 190

by AikonMGB (#49349561) Attached to: Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess

... password reuse is a larger danger to users than is having a weak password.

The best of both worlds: use a six-to-eight word diceware password for your password manager, and generate a long, random password for everything else.

This. I also use a separate diceware password for my primary email. That way if someone does manage to break/steal my password manager database, I still have secure and sole access to my email, which many sites will require for you to re-gain control of your account.

Comment: Re:Buggy whip makers said automobiles aren't... (Score 5, Insightful) 451

by AikonMGB (#49290607) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

For what, +1 Irrational Fear? Seems like that should be -1 to me. You won't see ubiquitous self-driving cars until the system is better than meat-popsicle cars. Once that happens, the rational argument flips: "do you want some incompetent person driving a hunk of steel on a road near where your child plays? *shudder* Think of what would happen if that human had to react to something!"

Sure, you could say you don't think self-driving cars will ever be safer than meat-popsicle cars, but that's like saying "640 kB ought to be enough for anybody". Technology is advancing at a staggering pace, and these systems are only getting better and more reliable.

Comment: Re:Buggy whip makers said automobiles aren't... (Score 1) 451

by AikonMGB (#49290583) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

That may be true. However, self driving cars are an entirely different matter. While they are really cool, do you really want to be in one hurling down the highway at 85MPH (I'm in Utah) and trusting that the automated systems are going to know the difference between a coyote or a tumbleweed?

Yes. In fact hopefully it is (much) faster, since the self-driving cars will be so much more reliable than meat-popsicle cars.

There are an incredible number of obstacles that a person can instantly recognize that even today, a computer can't. If a child and a dog run out into the street at the same time from opposite sides, do you trust the car to make the right decision as to which it will run over?

First, a person can't instantly recognize anything. We have significantly longer reaction times than computer systems. If a child and a dog run out into the street at the same time, a self-driving car has a better chance of hitting neither of them. A human on the other hand will take a lot longer to start braking at all, and in all probability (if the time scales are so low), not actually put any thought or reasoning behind their reaction, they will just try to swerve out of the way, possibly resulting in both being hit.

How would you like to be legally responsible for your self driving car if it runs over a child? What about black ice? What if a person is in the road and the car has a choice of running over the person or crashing and possibly killing you. Do you trust the car to make the right decision?

I wouldn't really like to be liable for those things, but I wouldn't really like to be liable if I did them either. That said, you are absolutely correct in that there are deep legal questions to be answered before we can have ubiquitous self-driving cars. At first blush it seems like the manufacturers are the correct place to put the liability, as in a properly designed system, the only input the driver should have is the destination. You can obviously expect them to fight tooth and nail to not take on this liability, though. It's a very interesting question, but let's actually try to answer it instead of just saying it doesn't work in the currently existing legal framework.

As much as I like software (and writing it), there are IMHO too many judgement calls for a computer and in many situations too many for a lot of (supposedly sane) people.

The only way I can see self driving cars really working is to have special roads to carry them. These would be isolated from regular traffic and most of the regular road hazards. They would be in many ways analogous to a set of rail road tracks.

That's one possibility yes, but the reason for it would be to keep the dangerous meat-popsicle cars away from the much safer, much faster, much more efficiently packed autonomous cars.

(You don't see trains often running into problems with obstacles -- though when they do, the train usually comes out ahead.)

I see you don't watch the news. Trains derail all the time, wrecking much of their cargo, sometimes spilling nasty chemicals.

Once you get to where you generally plan on going, you jump off and drive the rest of the way manually.

So what you are proposing is... a train network. That seems to have worked out incredibly well. Sarcasm aside, it absolutely has for its use-case, but you still see millions of single-occupant cars on the road every day for a reason; that's not going away.

Comment: Re:I'd avoid Subversion (Score 4, Informative) 343

by AikonMGB (#49074109) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Version Control For Non-Developers?

I'd avoid SVN for anything that isn't a flat text file, otherwise it becomes a pain to merge or determine what the actual difference between two files is. I'm not aware of anything that will make viewing diffs for Word documents human readable.

TortoiseSVN already does this. It uses the hooks in Office to create what is basically a "track-changes" copy, where previous version is the base, and new version is if you accept all changes. This is about as good as it gets to diffing Word files, and flows logically with how they were intended to be used in businesses anyway. It will do the same for Excel, but it's... a monster that should never be allowed to live.

Comment: Re:nope (Score 1) 426

by AikonMGB (#48806339) Attached to: Chevrolet Unveils 200-Mile Bolt EV At Detroit Auto Show

My understanding is that the Volt also shifts into the mechanical connection at very high speeds (in the area of 70mph / 110 KmPh) even when it has power in the battery. The ability to couple the engine to the drive wheels adds a lot of mechanical complexity to the transmission, which both adds weight to the car and creates a possible maintenance problem; I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation Volt does away with that and becomes a pure series hybrid.

If you are in charge deplete mode (i.e. running off the battery), the Volt will not turn on the ICE nor engage it to the wheels regardless of speed. It is the sources that led to that misunderstanding that I am trying to get to stop spreading false information =/ Sources: a) I own a Volt; b) GM's head of electric propulsion; c) Popular Mechanics; I could keep digging up more if you'd like.

If you watch the "Deep Dive" videos on YouTube, you'll see that the system is actually not that complicated: a fixed planetary gear set with three clutches that only mate when speed-matched. This is much simpler than the transmission in most vehicles, including automatics, standards, and CVTs, so it is disingenuous to say that it could be a maintenance problem. Is it more complicated than a single electrical motor connected only to the wheels? Yes. On the scale of possible automobile complexity is it really that complex? No, not really. Have a look inside a dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

Lastly, I would be very surprised if GM moved away from the Voltec drivetrain. They have invested a lot of money in designing it, and these very aspects that we're talking about are what make it stand apart from other parallel, series, and parallel+series hybrids out there. The fundamental decision is if you're committed to lugging around an ICE to drive a generator, how do you make the most efficient use of it across the full range of driving scenarios? The Cadillac ELR is based on the Voltec drivetrain (slightly different ICE, possibly slightly different motors, and certainly different software) and operates in the same fundamental way.

p.s. The next-generation Volt has already been unveiled, and the new generation of Voltec drive-train appears to operate in much the same manner; they even indicate that a key development is to couple the two motors together in even more driving scenarios

Comment: Re:Double nope (Score 1) 426

by AikonMGB (#48795095) Attached to: Chevrolet Unveils 200-Mile Bolt EV At Detroit Auto Show

Exactly right, but your sensible viewpoint doesn't belong anywhere on a blog site, apparently. No, you can't completely describe the Volt as a plug-in hybrid, EV, series or parallel hybrid, or whatever--it's a Volt and there's nothing else exactly like it.

Haha, +1 on that first point. Hurrah for nuanced opinions!

You are exactly right, the Volt cannot be described using the existing "hybrid" terminology. That is why GM fought to call it an "extended-range EV", but no one could get past the part where the engine drives the wheels (sometimes). It's a shame, really. They caved for the ELR; despite having the same basic drive-train (different ICE, probably slightly different motors/electronics, and definitely slightly different software) they are calling it a hybrid :(

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."