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Comment: Re:sigh (Score 1) 188

by hawk (#48665367) Attached to: An Automated Cat Litter Box With DRM

> I can make an adapter for a Gillette razor if I
> wanted to without breaking any DMCA laws.

When I was in college, Safeway's generic/house brand used the same head.

I bought those, and pulled off the heads to snap on to the better handle . . .

(these were made with nice hard metal, unlike the bic disposables which would cut my face the first time I used them)

hawk

Comment: Re:not original (Score 1) 183

by hawk (#48665345) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

Not just obvious, but prior art.

Just about any market does this; the change of price brings other players in, or causes them to leave.

I wrote code for a simulation in '95 or so that had the simulated merchants applying a quadratic equation to the amount that their sales missed the sell-out quantity. It was trivial to cause markets to clear, on just that one piece of information. (In fact, at one point, due to a coding error, the product was a "bad" rather than a "good"--and it still cleared at a negative price.

The algorithm for Uber would be trivial: once the wait time goes above or below its usual band, the price adjusts by some portion per time unit (e.g., 1%/minute) until the wait time is normal. Or include lagged time periods to damp oscillations.

This is just plain trivial. I, or any other computational economist, could sit around all day kicking out new algorithms for this.

It's really pretty simple: if you sell out to quickly, or can't service all your customers, raise your prices; if you have excess, lower them. Doing it by algorithm is nothing new; the trick to patentability would be to find an algorithm that not only hasn't been done before, but is actually better than the other trivially reachable algorithms.

I drove the demand in that model various ways, whether constant, sine waves, stochastic, saw tooth, and probably others I'm not recalling off-hand. A rather simple genetic algorithm rapidly converged in all cases. Mathematically, that method was probably mathematically equivalent to large classes, possibly all, other second order and lower and lower methods or solutions--and the method rather clearly could be extended to nth order . . . (second order methods tend to be sufficient for most things).

hawk

Comment: Re:Don't foget (Score 1) 186

by hawk (#48570173) Attached to: NetHack: Still One of the Greatest Games Ever Written

>Don't forget the original Hack on which Nethack is based - (basically) the same game, but on ASCII terminals (yes, I'm that old).

"tiles" is not nethack . . .

*proper* nethack is ascii only.

It was too easy to escape a two-doored shop in hack . . .

(and to this day, the "graphical" variants on nethack are gaming the ascii-based underpinnings)

hawk

Comment: Re:A thousand KBOs discovered, not dwarf planets (Score 1) 77

by hawk (#48542409) Attached to: Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Ends Hibernation To Start Mission

Not only that, but as the probe has approached, it discovered . . .

They're right. That's no planet . . . it's a fully armed battle station!

Get us out of here . . .

Unfortunately, the minimal fuel reserves are no match for a tractor beams, and our little friends are going to die . . .

hawk

Comment: Re:The word "powerfull" is rather missleading (Score 1) 197

by hawk (#48539015) Attached to: Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

I had a couple of those, first a 35" or 45" sony, iirc and then my father in law's 55" (?) monster.

Especially on the first one, the hardware handled an insufficient number of simultaneous colors (think back to 8 bit video cards).

So watching football, most of the colors would get used on the first couple of lines. After that, it needed to use the nearest available green for any more it hit. So I would end up with huge lines separating patches of monochromatic green, looking like a video game rather than a real picture.

(still a good enough picture that my cat would sit and watch, wanting to pounce one of the players . . .)

Much better on the later television, but it had a 700 line screen, so it had to extrapolate from the 450 or so out of the 525 that are actually broadcast with picture, and the jaggies were more pronounced than the mere color artifacts . . .

hawk

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener

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