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Comment Reboot (Score 1) 550 550

My first Lasik was done back when the procedure was considered "experimental". Then later I had it done again on the same eye. Before I laid down on the table, they were testing the laser on something like a block of wood with copper mesh. Sparks were flying, IIRC.

Having studied the Therac 25, I asked them if they ever had to reboot the machine. "All the time" they said. Yikes.

Comment Re:Booze Bus (Score 1) 783 783

I got curious about this, and found a handy chart on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

According to the fatality data, the US is worse than Australia, Germany, France. But it's also worse than Italy, which when I was there seemed pretty bad in terms of the things you mentioned. But in my experience it all pales to India, which, sure enough is much worse than all of those countries. :)

Comment Re:I've been toying with Solar desal for awhile. (Score 4, Interesting) 178 178

I had some kids in a class I was teaching invent an umbrella that used a closed system of two connected canisters, one on each end. The liquid inside (I forget which) was chosen so that when heated it became *more* dense, causing the sun-ward side to be heavier, turning the umbrella toward the sun. It seems that sort of passive system is possible, if you wanted to go down the invention road. :)

Comment Re:Obvious: latency (Score 2, Interesting) 166 166

Full disclosure: I work for NVIDIA on cloud gaming.

I was as skeptical as you about the latency. In this interview. Phil Eisler talks about 200ms of XBox + TV latency that people live with every day. (See page 2) If that's our target, then that's pretty doable, since with strategically located data centers you can get the network latency down to 20-30 ms.

In the work we're doing, we're actually focusing more on hitching in the game than latency, since the latency isn't as big a deal if you're say in the Bay Area where one of our test clouds is. Heck, I played Trine2 from the east coast and it was very playable. I wouldn't play BF4 across the country, of course. :)

There are plenty of other risks with the idea, but I wouldn't put latency at the top of the list.

Comment Safety critical (Score 1) 641 641

Learning that my pacemaker runs Java?

Seriously though, here are some things I've heard:
- Software written by a bunch of graduate students was going to be used in surgery
- Windows NT used to control a ship
- Invalid software models used to "prove" that the foam that hit Columbia's wing didn't cause damage

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.

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