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Comment: Glad I picked Dojo for a new project! :-) (Score 0) 63

by Paul Fernhout (#47797481) Attached to: Yahoo Stops New Development On YUI

http://dojotoolkit.org/ "Dojo starts with a minimal loader (less than 4KB gzipped) with thousands of loosely coupled lightweight modules and plugins available when you need them that are tested and maintained together for the best quality possible."

A few things I like about it are:
* internationalization
* accessibility
* modules
* support for making your own widgets

The first two (especially the second, accessibility) are examples of really important things that many developers leave for later when you are locked into a framework and discover they are not there.

Example:
"jQuery UI Accessibility Analysis"
https://www.ssbbartgroup.com/b...
"To summarize, the public jQuery UI library widgets as of July 1, 2013, are mostly inaccessible for both screen reader and keyboard only users."

Dojo is used in some IBM projects, so that is probably a big reason for the emphasis on accessibility and internationalization.

Of course, there are various things I don't like about Dojo (to begin with, the documentation leaves a lot to be desired when you are starting out). However, in general, so far, it is supporting us in doing everything we want to do... For example, I was very pleasantly surprised when the back button "just worked" when I used the URL "hash" module to navigate between virtual "pages" in a single page app (at least in FireFox, still need to test elsewhere).

Although I still have a fondness for the brilliance of Knockout.js for hooking up widgets to models...

Comment: Agreed; incremental versions can be useful (Score 1) 264

by Paul Fernhout (#47791839) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

I agree (article submitter here). I submitted the article mostly not to complain about lack of progress but because the article covered a lot of interesting details about how the Google technology worked in discussing the limits of the current system. I have little doubt such systems will continue to rapidly improve.

I was involved briefly on a project for self-driving cars in the late 1980s at Princeton involving neural network ideas for image processing, and I suggested we could just train the cars to drive specific routes. However, that suggestion was scoffed at (and I did not try hard to push it). My argument was that most driving is stuff like daily commutes or runs to well known stores, and so pretty much the car could drive exactly the same way every time, seeing the exact same sights. That might make it feasible to train the neural networks from just a few video recordings of drives over the same stretch of roadway. Granted, lighting conditions, weather, other cars, pedestrians, and possible lane changes make that harder -- but is seemed like a good place to start, rather than try to create a car driving system that could drive in arbitrary new circumstances where it has never seen the road before. Solar panels have succeeded much the same way -- the early ones were niche (like in calculators or satellites), but sales drove more R&D that lead to better and cheaper panels in more and more applications. A self-driving car that could only drive me from home to a few local towns and back on fixed routes (safely, while, say, I surfed the web) would still be tremendously valuable to me. Think of how many people commute the same routes every day for years and could use that commuting time more productively in other ways via the internet. If people with an hour commute could use that time to answer email, then maybe they could work one hour less in the office? Also, a car that just knew how to park itself in a standard location and come back to pick you up in front of some building you work at or apartment you live in would be very useful in cities.

Another idea I had several years ago is that we could have an open source software effort to drive cars in various simulated racing games like "Gran Turismo" or other free play driving games like "Driver: San Francisco" or various off-road sims. That would be a inexpensive and safe challenge for college students. Those driving simulators go to great lengths to make realistic looking images (including things like dust clouds and vehicle dynamics), and they continue to improve. You just feed the first-person video generated the game into the car-driving visual processing algorithms, and you have the software control the game via USB outputs. As the software gets better, then you can fuzz up the image more and more by adding more white noise to it, or whatever other distortions you wanted (like bug white blotches over parts of the image) to challenge the algorithms. Or you could introduce delays and noise in how commands for steering were processed. Such an approach makes writing such software feasible for the average software developer without a special car. Granted, the software would have to focus on processing 2D images instead of 3D laser ranging data. Even Google has talked about testing their software in simulations regarding certification. Ideally, the simulations used for testing would be open source too, like Rigs of Rods (or even more realistic) and if so, things like 3D ranging data could probably be extracted too: http://www.rigsofrods.com/

+ - Hidden Obstacles for Google's Self-Driving Cars->

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "Lee Gomes at Technology Review wrote an article on the current limits of Google self-driving car technology: "Would you buy a self-driving car that couldn't drive itself in 99 percent of the country? Or that knew nearly nothing about parking, couldn't be taken out in snow or heavy rain, and would drive straight over a gaping pothole? If your answer is yes, then check out the Google Self-Driving Car, model year 2014. Google often leaves the impression that, as a Google executive once wrote, the cars can "drive anywhere a car can legally drive." However, that's true only if intricate preparations have been made beforehand, with the car's exact route, including driveways, extensively mapped. Data from multiple passes by a special sensor vehicle must later be pored over, meter by meter, by both computers and humans. It's vastly more effort than what's needed for Google Maps. ... Maps have so far been prepared for only a few thousand miles of roadway, but achieving Google's vision will require maintaining a constantly updating map of the nation's millions of miles of roads and driveways. Urmson says Google's researchers "don't see any particular roadblocks" to accomplishing that. When a Google car sees a new permanent structure such as a light pole or sign that it wasn't expecting it sends an alert and some data to a team at Google in charge of maintaining the map. ... Among other unsolved problems, Google has yet to drive in snow, and Urmson says safety concerns preclude testing during heavy rains. Nor has it tackled big, open parking lots or multilevel garages. ... Pedestrians are detected simply as moving, column-shaped blurs of pixels — meaning, Urmson agrees, that the car wouldn't be able to spot a police officer at the side of the road frantically waving for traffic to stop. ..."

A deeper issue I wrote about in 2001 is whether such software and data will be FOSS or proprietary? As I wrote there: "We are about to see the emergence of companies licensing that publicly funded software and selling modified versions of such software as proprietary products. There will eventually be hundreds or thousands of paid automotive software engineers working on such software no matter how it is funded, because there will be great value in having such self-driving vehicles given the result of America's horrendous urban planning policies leaving the car as generally the most efficient means of transport in the suburb. The question is, will the results of the work be open for inspection and contribution by the public? Essentially, will those engineers and their employers be "owners" of the software, or will they instead be "stewards" of a larger free and open community development process?""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Policy implication #1: Basic income & resilien (Score 1) 354

As I wrote here about the USA: http://www.pdfernhout.net/basi... "Right now, a profit driven health care system has sized emergency rooms for average needs, and those emergency rooms are often full. With a basic income and more money going on a systematic basis to the health care system, the health care system emergency rooms will no longer be overrun with people there for reasons they could see a doctor for. So, emergency care would be better for millionaires. Millionaires with heart attacks won't be as likely to end up being diverted to far away hospitals because the local hospital emergency room is full. Likewise, emergency rooms might, with more money going to medicine, become sized for national emergencies, not personal emergencies, so they might become vast empty places, with physicians and other health care staff keeping their skills sharp always running simulations, learning more medical information, and/or doing basic medical research, with these people always ready for a pandemic or natural disaster or industrial accident which they had the resources in reserve to deal with. So, millionaires who got sick or injured in a disaster could be sure there was the facilities and expertise nearby to help them, even if most of the rest of the population needed help too at the same time too. In that way, some of this basic income could be funded by money that might otherwise go to the Defense department, because what is better civil defense then investing in a health care system able to to handle national disasters? So, any millionaires who are doctors (many are) would benefit by this plan, because their lives as doctors will become happier and less stressful, both with less paperwork and with more resources."

We should also reduce the monopoly power of the AMA and related organizations that creates an artificial scarcity of physicians in the USA using quotas and high credentialing prices. See for example:
http://c4ss.org/wp-content/upl...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

We should also be systematically rethinking our technical infrastructure to be more resilient rather than depend on long supply lines that need to be "defended" by troops in foreign countries, and also rethinking our security strategy to be more mutual rather than unilateral.
http://www.pdfernhout.net/reco...
"Biological weapons like genetically-engineered plagues are ironic because they are about using advanced life-altering biotechnology to fight over which old-fashioned humans get to occupy the planet. Why not just use advanced biotech to let people pick their skin color, or to create living arkologies and agricultural abundance for everyone everywhere? ... We the people need to redefine security in a sustainable and resilient way. Much current US military doctrine is based around unilateral security ("I'm safe because you are nervous") and extrinsic security ("I'm safe despite long supply lines because I have a bunch of soldiers to defend them"), which both lead to expensive arms races. We need as a society to move to other paradigms like Morton Deutsch's mutual security ("We're all looking out for each other's safety") and Amory Lovin's intrinsic security ("Our redundant decentralized local systems can take a lot of pounding whether from storm, earthquake, or bombs and would still would keep working"). ... This all suggests that our biggest danger as as society is in putting the *tools* (some being useful as weapons) of a post-scarcity civilization into the hands of scarcity-preoccupied minds. (Especially ones following outdated military dogmas like unilateral security instead of mutual security.) As Albert Einstein said, with the advent of atomic weapons, everything has changed but our thinking. This site is put up towards that end, changing our thinking, through helping change our collective mythology, especially in the non-profit sector. ... And just to show you how these things change, my main graduate advisor at SUNY SB, Lev Ginzburg, had been a Soviet mathematician; he said he learned differential equations helping his father design missile guidance systems (essentially to efficiently and accurately deliver nuclear bombs to the USA to bring death on me and all I knew through the power of mathematics). And there, decades later, I was learning mathematical ecology and so on from him. :-) Again, multiple ironies -- including both the USA and the USSR having great math and a grasp of nuclear energy and advanced manufacturing and space flight, but using it to fight instead of build, and us two, not knowing each other, but unknowingly for a time total enemies back then, and now friends. :-) Or, as good a friend as one can be with a graduate advisor. :-) See: http://www.disciplined-minds.c... "

Of course, I think we should have already *long* been doing all those things regardless of what new potential threats show up in the news. From a 21st century post-scarcity perspective, these policies are all just a new form of "common sense".

Comment: Re:5820K is an extremely nice part (Score 2) 171

I was just looking at that one a few hours ago (need to replace my desktop ... Mozilla apps are pigs with high core-affinity).

I decided against it because it has many fewer of the new instructions than the 4790K, slower clock, and almost double the TDP (and I prefer quiet/low power).

Obviously for highly parallel tasks that can fit nicely in the 5820K's bigger cache, it will win handily. I'd love to see an ffmpeg coding shoot-out, but I'm concerned that the 5820K's disabled PCIe lanes might hamper other system performance (vs. e.g. the 5830K).

If anybody here has an ASRock Z97 mobo that they love, I'd like to hear about it.

Comment: Risk Management (Score 3, Insightful) 88

Look, I'm all for getting as much Zmapp to patients as is possible. I think a lot of people are agreement on this.

But we also need to do something about the effed up process of the approval of drugs and vaccines for these deadly diseases.

I'm thinking specifically about the malaria vaccine that has been known to be effective since '96/'97, but which has been held up for extended testing trials by (IIRC) the British drug regulators, who again put a hold on it this spring because it might not be entirely effective in newborn infants.

Meanwhile two million children are dying every year from malaria. This is a really, really, really, screwed up situation, and we have an ethical obligation to do what we can to put an end to these processes.

Even if the latest delay is "only" three months, that's a half million kids or so. It's unconscionable how poor the risk management analysis is - the perfect can be the very, very deadly enemy of the good. And so can drug-agency bureaucrats.

Comment: Re:Employers don't want employees who LOOK lazy. (Score 2) 128

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785833) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

I personally got in it because I like the idea of solving problems, rather than taking care of them for a short while.

Just don't mistake any of the trades for not being problem-solving professions. Laying out a plumbing stack, electrical plan, etc. and making it work seamlessly (err... perfectly), or welding together a skyscraper are very valid and worthy problem solving engagements. Same with shoeing a horse from rods of iron. You just get to move more in these jobs.

I'd love to hear from somebody who feels that writing a finance report module is more worthy an endeavour than building a house for a family. I'm not even confident that it could be proven to be a better productivity enhancer on a macro level as your report module will be thrown away in a few years, but that house will be there for a century.

Comment: Re:Even Better idea... (Score 1) 244

End every punishment doled out by the government without a trial by jury.

Hey, but 93% of prosecutions end in plea bargains; we could not have nearly so many codified crimes and extensive prison systems if every person received a trial by a jury of his peers!

You monster - those prison guards have families to feed!

Comment: Re:This Just In! (Score 1) 108

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785587) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Because you can't have the government competing with them in an area that they might, someday, begin to consider serving.

Yeah, so ... don't let them hear this too loudly ... one way to get Comcast into a town (where that's the only neighboring monopoly) is to lay out plans on paper to have a market competitor build out a WISP to serve the town. It doesn't even have to be a great-coverage plan and you don't have to have affordable backhaul, but have some public hearings and make sure the papers cover it thoroughly - Comcast will be along shortly to talk to the town administrators about pulling cable, on their dime.

I've even seen this happen in sequence, from town to town.

Comment: Re:Jail them for contempt (Score 1) 244

It's long past time that federal judges start jailing these bureaucrats for contempt for not answering simple questions about the no-fly list.

Your mistake is assuming that the judges are interested in rule of law and justice, rather than perpetuation of the power of the State, and by extension their cushy jobs, pensions, and really nice cars and houses. When the first excuses the latter, you'll find synchronicity, but not by the converse. Otherwise a simple constitutional challenge would not be thrown out in deference to statute in 99.3% of cases.

You're probably thinking of Jedi, not Federal Judges. *Big* difference (and this is why we can't have nice things).

Comment: Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (Score 1) 244

Billions spent, law abiding people treated like criminals without due process

And where exactly do you think it's spelled out plainly that the government may not deprive you of liberty without due process of law?

Is there something relevant in 2014 that says this? And by relevant, I mean something that the People are willing to fight to protect?

Comment: Re:Crowding Out Effect (Score 1) 108

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785319) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

The truth is that infrastructure just isn't that conducive to competition.

Heh, just ten years ago I heard people saying that - shortly before Comcast offered phone service and before Verizon offered TV service. Both cable TV and telephone were "natural monopolies" before they weren't. To offer that Verizon had to replace their entire cable plant and Comcast had to replace much of it. What they didn't have to do was go through an extremely expensive political and regulatory process to get access to pole space (in the "public right of way").

Who'd want 3 different water/sewer systems connected to their house?

When the first two are charging $1000/mo for water and the third offers it for $50 a month, then the cost of laying the new piping can be amortized over a short enough time period that either customers or investors are willing to put up the money for the time-value return of the subscribers' rates.

It's exactly the same calculation for anything anybody calls a 'natural monopoly'. Absent an interfering government, the money flows to the best service provider.

Comment: Re:OK Another one (Score 4, Funny) 88

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785249) Attached to: Astronomers Find What May Be the Closest Exoplanet So Far

It might even have a thin enough atmosphere to not completely crush a human.

If the gravity isn't too high, we can engineer around all the rest. Ought to be just fine for bots if the solder doesn't flow at its temps. A giant pot of natural resources at 11LY is very exciting for colonials!

+ - Microsoft Ships Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs 1

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "Microsoft has re-released its botched MS14-045/KB 2982791 'Blue Screen 0x50' patch, only to introduce more problems, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'Even by Microsoft standards, this month's botched Black Tuesday Windows 7/8/8.1 MS14-045 patch hit a new low. The original patch (KB 2982791) is now officially "expired" and a completely different patch (KB 2993651) offered in its stead; there are barely documented revelations of new problems with old patches; patches that have disappeared; a "strong" recommendation to manually uninstall a patch that went out via Automatic Update for several days; and an infuriating official explanation that raises serious doubts about Microsoft's ability to support Windows 9's expected rapid update pace.'"

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