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Comment Re:Windows 7 (Score 3, Interesting) 351

My wife's Windows 7 laptop (purchased 4 years ago, never auto-updated) is presently offering to upgrade itself to Windows 10.

Even if you don't "upgrade 7 to 10," they'll be "patching" 7 until it has got all the worst aspects of 10 in it. Just like they made "XP" so secure that it no longer runs on many of the platforms it was originally sold on.

Comment Re:What purpose does registration serve? (Score 5, Interesting) 192

Back in antiquity, I had to "register" to get a "bikes on trains" permit to carry my bike on the metro. It was a nominal $5 fee (covered the cost of the photograph) and a royal pain to go to the downtown office to get the permit, but the whole point was to educate the permitee about the dos and don'ts of carrying your bike on the metro. Then, whenever somebody it being a bonehead with their bike on the metro, the officials can say either: a) "You need to have a permit to do that, go get it." saving themselves all effort at education on-the-spot, or b) "I see you have a permit, but you obviously didn't pay attention to the training." and possibly revoke the permit on-the-spot, forcing the ex-permitee to jump more hoops to get it reinstated.

Hunting and fishing licenses are a similar game, though their fees are higher, and annual. The presumption is that you will learn what you're supposed to know as a licensee - though, in practice, they're mostly just an annual fee.

Registering drones, like registering handguns, will give some traceability to the bits of electronic junk that get lost in hard to get to locations inside state/national parks, and on other people's private land. It might make some operators a little more careful and a little more aware of the impacts their toy can have. I don't think it's much about keeping them out of the flightpath of commercial airliners, I think it is about making the owners more accountable for less serious bone-headdedness.

Comment Re:We're almost at the end with current tech (Score 1) 115

Back in 2008, CUDA and friends were too bleeding edge for the applications I was working on, plus - a standard desktop PC had acceptable performance, so why kill yourself with exotica? Since then, I haven't had any applications where CUDA would have been practical, well, o.k., I did work with a group that did video processing who _should_ have been using CUDA, but they were having enough trouble keeping their stuff stable on ordinary servers.

And, that 22 signal application, probably would be a major pain to port into CUDA, even today - it was a port out of Fortran into C++, and some of the Fortran code did some fairly exotic stuff - not found in your normal signal processing toolkit (written, validated, and used by statisticians...)

Comment Re:We're almost at the end with current tech (Score 1) 115

All depends on the app. In 2008 I was doing some signal processing work that would have easily parallelized out to 22 cores, and probably get partial benefit up to 80+ cores - nature of the source data (22 time series signals going through similar processing chains, the chains themselves might not get use out of more than 4-8 cores, but there are 22 of these things, so....)

Lots of video processing work can be trivially split up by frame, so if you don't mind a couple seconds of processing delay, you can grab 80 frames and throw them one to a core... Other video processing work wants to go sequentially frame by frame, and would have to gather these results to chew on them.

Comment Re:3+GHz speeds, extra cores, more lanes. (Score 1) 115

Most MonteCarlos I've seen do benefit from multiple runs to improve accuracy - not to insult a very important area of computational methods, but the whole idea of MC simulation seems an extravagant use of compute resources just to get a statistical prediction of an unknown quantity. In nuclear medicine, ok, fine, you are actually simulating physical particles that have reliable statistically modeled behaviors, but Blackman-Scholes pricing? That's sociology, and I have a hard time believing that the market can't flip over and start obeying a completely different (and unknown) set of models if the players change, whether by world events (war, natural disaster, religious upheaval), or the personal life circumstances of large players (Buffet, Gates, Ellison, Koch and Walton attend a party and all get dosed with LSD...)

Comment Re:We're almost at the end with current tech (Score 1) 115

Agreed - cooling is the issue, and moving to smaller feature sizes (22nm, 14nm, 5!?!nm) is improving thermal efficiency, while simultaneously shrinking packages, making things like the Cedar Trail Compute Stick a possibility. People who really need 1000 core machines are getting them today, smaller, cheaper, and lower power than ever - if there were a market, you could shoehorn about 50 of your 4GHz cores into a "Full Size Tower" case that wasn't at all unusual (size-wise) 20 years ago - dissipating ~1000W out of a single case would be "extreme" but not exotic yet.

Comment Re:We're almost at the end with current tech (Score 4, Informative) 115

We've been moving sideways for 10 years. In the 20 years before that, clock speeds were doubling every year or two. For the last 10, we've moved from a norm of single cores to a norm of 4 (or 2 + "Hyperthreads"), rotating hard drives to SSD, and specialized architectures to support HD video, but clock speed has been basically stagnant while the processors are getting fatter, more parallel, and not just in core count.

10 years ago, Intel was hinting at a massively parallel future (80 core processor rumored in development at the time), they've been slow to deliver on that in terms of core count, but are making progress on other fronts - especially helping single cores perform faster without a faster clock.

Comment Re:3+GHz speeds, extra cores, more lanes. (Score 2) 115

Do problems really have to scale up to consume the available compute power?

Big CPU suckers like Monte Carlo and HiDef video processing are near trivial to parallelize, while most "normal" compute tasks are sub-millisecond on a single 2GHz thread, especially with FPU and other specialized instructions.

Granted, as camera prices fall, I want to have real-time intelligent video processing on an array of 20 cameras, but, can you spot the parallel opportunity there?

Comment Re:Hmmm interesting (Score 1) 587

So, basic census data goes pretty far already - do you not think that certain agencies haven't augmented the census database to include resident aliens, and even tourists, including whatever fields may be of interest - up to and beyond security camera images of the individuals at places of interest?

Comment Re:Star wars missile defense (Score 3, Interesting) 330

When you spend Billions, stuff happens. One thing that came out of Star Wars was new buildings on University campuses, mostly devoted to Physics and Engineering. After those buildings were built in the 1980s, lots of theoretical research was done in the 1990s. And in the 2010s we actually have field deployable, military rail guns that are pretty damn impressive. Kinetic weapons so powerful that they don't need explosives. Are any orbiting the earth as part of an ICBM defense system? I would hope that if they are, we are capable of keeping that a secret.

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"