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Comment: Re:Bobbing in ocean (Score 1) 117

by AikonMGB (#49479763) Attached to: SpaceX Dragon Launches Successfully, But No Rocket Recovery

As far as I know, the only purpose of the barge is for technical development; the ultimate goal is return to launch site. I have no citation for this, but my intuition is that he won't try to deal with the Falcon Heavy boosters until the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy core are reliably returning to base and possibly even being reused.

The launch profile shouldn't change all that much for the Falcon Heavy; it's just sending more mass to the places Falcon 9 goes today.

Comment: Re:Bobbing in ocean (Score 1) 117

by AikonMGB (#49474223) Attached to: SpaceX Dragon Launches Successfully, But No Rocket Recovery

Eh.. launch vehicles are already an inverted-pendulum problem; I don't think the guidance and navigation would be an issue. I suspect the thrusters, even that size, simply don't have the necessary control authority. Besides, the ultimate goal is landing on land, so you're better off getting the rocket to be able to handle it itself. I'm sure it will be a lot easier to convince the powers that be that they can land on land safely when they can demonstrate doing it on a floating barge a few times.

Comment: Re:Memorizing site-unique passwords isn't possible (Score 3, Insightful) 267

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.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll