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Comment: Re:Exactly. (Score 1) 209

by Mr. Slippery (#49818639) Attached to: Netflix Is Experimenting With Advertising

I cannot comprehend this entitled attitude. on cable tv you see ads. in a magazine or newspaper you see ads. before movies you see ads. during movies you see ad placements. so it's not like Netflix is proposing a crazy new concept

I cannot comprehend this apathy about the ongoing invasion of every bit of space and time by attempts at mind control. ("Buy! Buy! Buy!")

Once upon a time you actually could pick up some magazines and see very few ads, or even none at all. There were not ads before movies. Product placement was inconspicuous or non-existent. There was even less ad time on broadcast TV -- one guy estimates that the time spent on commercials more than doubled since the 1950s.

Ads as we know them are memetic toxins. Anyone unconcerned about them is unconcerned about their own mind.

Comment: It's OK to Quit (Score 2) 449

Your first job could be the best job you'll ever have and it could be your last job. But, it could also be the worst job you'll have.

Be honest with yourself. If it's not working, don't be afraid to move on. It's not worth being miserable when you're just starting your career. Don't quit impulsively, but if things don't feel right, ask some older friends if what you're experiencing is normal or not. You don't have the experience yet to know better, but your elders do.

My first job was as a software engineer at a site everyone over 30 has used (it's still around, but not as popular). It was the early days of the internet. At my 6 month review, I got "dinged" for going home one morning at 3 am when everyone else stayed through the night. This was after two weeks of 18 hour days. I was doing more harm than good coding at that point. I was being paid $33k/yr and had no stock options. I was told everyone had to do this to keep up with "Internet Time". Over the next few weeks, most of the senior developers (back when senior developers were actually senior with 10+ years' experience) quit en masse. It took me a few more months to realize that this was not normal and leave as well. I would have been much better off walking after the first month.


Comment: Re:Layoffs (Score 1) 60

by TheRaven64 (#49815263) Attached to: Intel To Buy Altera For $16.7 Billion

There's some overlap. Altera FPGAs have lots of fixed-function blocks on them, ranging from simple block RAMs to fast floating point units. There's a good chance that Intel could reuse some of their existing designs (which, after all, are already optimised for their manufacturing process) from things like AVX units and caches on x86 chips. A lot of the FPGAs also include things like PCIe, USB, Ethernet and so on controllers. Again, Intel makes these in their chipset division and, again, they're optimised for Intel's process so being able to stick them on FPGAs instead of the Altera ones would make sense.

The main reason that you're probably right is that Intel is generally pretty bad at getting their own internal divisions to play nicely together, let alone ones that are used to being in a completely separate company.

Comment: Re:Pay them market value (Score 5, Insightful) 198

Most CS professors are paid market value. You can look up salaries at public schools. You'll find that at the ones that compete with CMU, the salaries are all in the range of what the researchers would make at a company ($100-250k). Bonuses are a little harder to compete with. But, in CS at least, grants cover a ton of travel. To publish in CS, you have to go to the conferences you're publishing in, unlike the rest of science which just has journals. That more than makes up for the lack of bonuses as far as fringe benefits go.

Now, the one benefit you get from industry is that you don't have to write grants. But, you also have more job security in academia. What worries me most about this is that when this bubble bursts, Uber will be one of the first companies to go (at least, research at Uber will go quickly). These researchers will now be stuck without jobs in a market that will be very hostile towards PhDs. For their sake, I hope they all vest quickly enough to get a nest egg before things go south. (it's going to happen, it always does)


Comment: Re:So, what's the plan? (Score 2) 60

by TheRaven64 (#49815081) Attached to: Intel To Buy Altera For $16.7 Billion

My guess would be coarse-grained reconfigurable architectures. Altera FPGAs aren't just FPGAs, they also have a load of fixed-function blocks. The kinds of signal processing that the other poster talks about work because there are various floating point blocks on the FPGA and so you're using the programmable part to connect a sequence of these operations together without any instruction fetch/decode or register renaming overhead (you'd be surprised how much of the die area of a modern CPU is register renaming and how little is ALUs).

FPGAs are great for prototyping (we've built an experimental CPU as a softcore that runs on an Altera FPGA at 100MHz), but there are a lot of applications that could be made faster by being able to wire a set of SSE / AVX execution units together into a fixed chain and just fire data at them.

Comment: Re:Do these companies really hate people so much.. (Score 1) 198

That minimum wage guy is one of the major costs for a taxi company. The IRS rates miles driven in a car at a little under 60/mile, which should cover maintenance, depreciation, insurance and fuel. A taxi that only had these costs could be quite profitable at 70/mile. In New York, taxis cost $2/mile, which isn't that far off other places in the USA. The minimum wage guy needs to be paid even when the taxi is waiting for the next fare. With an automated car, you'd just leave them scattered around the city powered down and turn on the closest one when you got a new job.

Comment: Re:I agree and disagree (Score 2) 180

A Kickstarter-like model would work. Release a single for free, designate an amount that you think the full album is worth. If enough people are willing to pay, then you release the album for free. For the second album, hopefully enough people have copied the first that you don't need to do much to encourage them to pay for the second. As an added bonus, you can reduce your up-front costs by only renting the studio time to record the first track and only record the rest once people have paid for it.

Recording a song (at least, a song that people want to buy) requires talent, creativity, and often expensive instruments and studio time. Copying a song once it's recorded is basically free. Any business model that relies on doing the difficult thing for free and then trying to persuade people to pay for you to do the easy thing is doomed to failure. Imagine if Ford had noticed that people wanted coloured cars and decided to give away unpainted cars and charge for painting them, then bribed politicians to pass laws so that only Ford was allowed to paint cars Ford sold and driving an unpainted car on the road was illegal. It wouldn't take people long to realise that this was a stupid business model and that you could get rid of the laws and charge for the cars, but in the case of copyright people are still trying very hard to make the 'free car, expensive and exclusive paint' model work with different variations.

Comment: Re:Surprised? (Score 5, Informative) 98

It's an ABI mismatch, and the summary is nonsense, saying almost the exact opposite of TFA (which I actually read, because the summary is obvious nonsense). The issue is that the Windows ABI defines long double as being a 64-bit floating point value (which is fine, because the only requirement for long double is that it have no less precision than double. If you're using it and expecting some guaranteed precision for vaguely portable code then you're an idiot). For some reason, MinGW (which aims to be ABI-compatible with MS, at least for C libraries) uses 80-bit x87 values for long double, so you get truncation. I forget the exact calling conventions for Windows i386, but I believe that in some cases this will be silently hidden, as the value will be passed in x87 register and so be transparently extended to 80 bits in the caller and truncated in the callee anyway. It's only if it's passed on the stack (or indirectly via a pointer) that it's a problem.

It's not obvious which definition of long double is better. On modern x86, you'll use SSE for 32- and 64-bit values, and may lose precision moving between x87 and SSE registers. You also get worse IEEE compliance out of the x87 unit, which may matter more than the extra 16 bits of precision. 80-bit floats are not available on any platform other than x86 (128-bit is more common, though PowerPC has its own special non-IEEE version of these and on some other platforms they're entirely done in software), so they're a bad choice if you want portable code that generates the same output on different platforms.

Comment: Re:Yes more reliable (Score 1) 100

by Mr. Slippery (#49807859) Attached to: Google Calendar Ends SMS Notifications

The idea is that your device runs a calendar app and syncs with Google Calendar. You then get notifications regardless if you are online or outside a coverage area,

And through what magic does that sync occur if you are offline or outside a coverage area?

I'm not foolisbn enough to give an advertizing company my callendar, but I'm pretty sure that Google Clendar uses TCP/IP to sync. Which means you have to have data reception. Which is much less avaiable than SMS.

Comment: Re:Tesla enables Edison to win the endgame? (Score 1) 582

by overshoot (#49803251) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage


Forward voltage at rated current is 450 volts. Even at 30 KV that's some serious loss. The specified risetime of 10 ns into a resistive load isn't bad, but the falltime isn't specified and the interesting loads are all inductive -- falltime into those is tricky because of snubbing losses and Miller capacitance.

Others rather less precisely specified but generally similar.

Rather more to the point, though, is that they don't get you usable voltage conversion. You still need a transformer, so the semiconductor losses are in addition to the transformer losses. And all of that lovely high-frequency switching causes problems when you're dealing with transformer cores weighing tons. Which you need to keep the Q of the transformer up (inductive loss is pretty much a pure function of how much copper you're willing to pay for.)

The loss of efficiency is acceptable for applications like PC power supplies or lighting ballasts because the added functionality such as flexible regulation makes up for it. But when you're looking to handle the output of gigawatt power plants, you really don't want to be dissipating several percent of your output (pure loss) into a solid-state system that has to be kept below 70 degrees under peak load, which around here means an ambient temperature of close to 50 degrees. That is, for one, a big direct cost for the inefficiency. Also a honking enormous cooling system prone to catastrophic failure due to thermal runaway. And, finally, a maintenance nightmare. What is the service MTBF of one of those switches? Now, figure it for an array capable of handling a gigawatt. Don't forget that you can't just take the system down for safe maintenance.

Much as I love transistors, this isn't happening in my lifetime.

Comment: Re:Type C or mini B (Score 1) 106

by bhcompy (#49801529) Attached to: Android M To Embrace USB Type-C and MIDI
Yes, plugged in to a USB 2.0 slot on my computer charging my phone. I never stated overtly or insinuated that I had a type A slot on my phone. That's stupid and ridiculous. Again, OP said USB 3.0 cables don't work on USB 2.0 slots. The default cable type is type A, with special non-standard connectors on the other end for nearly every major manufacturer. Without specifying a specific type, the only assumption to be made is type A, and type A is backward compatible.

Comment: Re:Hilarious! (Score 1) 220

by TheRaven64 (#49798705) Attached to: Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others

The same is true of university exams. My undergraduate exams, for example, mostly required that you answer two of three questions per exam. To get a first (for people outside the UK: the highest classification), you needed to get 70%. Most questions were around 40% knowledge and 60% application of the knowledge. If you could predict the topics that the examiner would pick, then that meant that you could immediately discard a third of the material. To get the top grade, you needed to get 100% in one question and 40% in another. This meant that you could understand a third of the material really well and understand another third well enough to get the repetition marks, but not the understanding ones and still get the top grade. This meant that you could study 50% of the material and still do very well in the exams, as long as you picked the correct 50%. And some of the lecturers were very predictable when setting exams...

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.