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Comment: Re:What a stupid question (Score 1) 123

by khasim (#47791893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

Asking nerds what apps are good is like strolling into a literature forum and asking "I haven't read a book in 15 years - anything new out that you think is good?"

Well this "Twilight" series is a best seller. As is this "50 Shades of Grey".

I really with the old Twilight Zone was still running. I think that that premise would make a great episode.

Comment: Mod parent up. (Score 1) 231

by khasim (#47791829) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

I'm going to map my drive to work, by driving it a few dozen times.

And that is if you are the ONLY person with a robot car on that road. Which may be correct for the initial roll-out. But this is a great example of the "network effect". If 100 people in your state own robot cars then a LOT of your state will be continuously mapped / re-mapped / re-re-mapped / etc.

Are we really whining because a brand new technology can't do EVERYTHING for us? Because it only takes care of MOST of the drudgery?

There is space to be filled and page hits to be collected. Demanding instant perfection for every edge-case is a good way of doing both.

Google has logged over 700,000 miles in those vehicles. Without a single robot-controlled accident.

There might be problems in certain weather conditions. Or in certain other conditions. Or whatever. In which case the driver should take over.

And since it is software, eventually those problems should be solved.

Comment: It probably can. (Score 4, Insightful) 231

by khasim (#47791473) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

Judging by how badly TFA was written.

If a new stop light appeared overnight, for example, the car wouldn't know to obey it.

Got it. So the cars cannot handle changes in traffic markers.

Google's cars can detect and respond to stop signs that aren't on its map, a feature that was introduced to deal with temporary signs used at construction sites.

So they cannot deal with new stop LIGHTS but they can deal with new stop SIGNS. WTF?

But in a complex situation like at an unmapped four-way stop the car might fall back to slow, extra cautious driving to avoid making a mistake.

And it would be "unmapped" for the first attempt. Right? Because the cars should be sending back data on road conditions and such to HQ. Right?

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.

And the car needs the map to drive, right?

Google's cars have safely driven more than 700,000 miles.

So they just drove over the same "few thousand miles of roadway" again and again and again and again? Until they got to 700,000 miles?

The car's sensors can't tell if a road obstacle is a rock or a crumpled piece of paper, so the car will try to drive around either.

As it should. Because you don't know if that piece of paper is covering a rock or a pothole or whatever.

For example, John Leonard, an MIT expert on autonomous driving, says he wonders about scenarios that may be beyond the capabilities of current sensors, such as making a left turn into a high-speed stream of oncoming traffic.

Isn't that one of the easier problems? The car waits until it detects a gap of X size where X is dependent upon the speed of oncoming vehicles and the distance it needs to cross PLUS a pre-set "safety margin".

Comment: Mod parent up. (Score 4, Insightful) 98

by khasim (#47791297) Attached to: Judge Allows L.A. Cops To Keep License Plate Reader Data Secret

This is the primary problem with "sweep" methods of collecting data.

There MIGHT be something in the "sweep" that MAY impact a current investigation. Therefore, ALL of the "sweep" must be hidden from the public.

Bullshit. There shouldn't be any difficulty in removing the items relevant to a current investigation. The should already be tagged as such. Then release the rest.

This is a case of "collect EVERYTHING and keep it FOREVER" so that anyone can be backtracked if the cops or politicians decide to do so. Where do you go? When? Why? What do you do there?

Now imagine a cop tracking your daughter to find out where she lives and where she works and which college she goes to and when she leaves for classes.

Open Source

State of the GitHub: Chris Kelly Does the Numbers 32

Posted by timothy
from the git-along-little-hub dept.
I talked with Chris Kelly of GitHub at last week's LinuxCon about GitHub. He's got interesting things to say about the demographics and language choices on what has become in short order (just six years) one of the largest repositories of code in the world, and one with an increasingly sophisticated front-end, and several million users. Not all of the code on GitHub is open source, but the majority is -- handy, when that means an account is free as in beer, too. (And if you're reading on the beta or otherwise can't view the video below, here's the alternative video link.)

Comment: Re:Lame.. (Score 1) 157

by Yaztromo (#47771747) Attached to: A Horrifying Interactive Map of Global Internet Censorship

For example, this week I saw a video of a beheading. Now after watching it I probably wish that somebody had filtered that for me.

If it makes you feel any better, unless you watched a completely different video than I did (something other the what has been in the news recently), you didn't see a beheading. Did you see the blood spurt/drain out as the carotid/jugular were severed? Did you see the disarticulation of the spine? Those weren't in any version of the video I saw. It moves from a guy making a sawing motion with a knife in front of a guy throat, to a picture of the disembodied head sitting atop the body.

That's not to say that the guy is any less dead, or that it was any less horrific. But there was a lot of somewhat creative editing going on in that video. Shadows seem to shift at different points relative to the background, indicating that some of the later parts may have been recorded an hour or two after the earlier parts. There is some analysis that seems to indicate the "terrorist" may have been two different people at different points in the video. There are a lot of cuts, and quite a bit you don't see.

I'm not saying the video is a complete fake. The guy obviously suffered a horrific death, and the perpetrators need the full weight of the western worlds power brought down upon them. But don't beat yourself up about watching a beheading -- what was shown was both sad and shocking, but it left out the actual beheading part (again, unless there is some special uncut version out there I haven't heard about).

Yaz

Hardware

Slashdot Talks WIth IBM Power Systems GM Doug Balog (Video) 36

Posted by Roblimo
from the 1-u-2-u-more-u-than-u-bargained-4 dept.
Yesterday we had a story titled 'IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch.' In the intro Timothy wrote, '...watch for a video interview with Balog on how he's helping spend the billion dollars that IBM pledged last year on open source development.' This is that video, and in it Balog tells us how much IBM loves Linux and open source, and how they're partnering with multiple distros, recently including Ubuntu. So get ready for Power 8 servers in October. IBM is pushing them like mad -- especially in the Linux/FOSS realm. (Alternate Video Link)

Comment: I drove cabs and limousines... (Score 4, Interesting) 181

by Roblimo (#47761215) Attached to: Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

I know the cab and limo business pretty well (check my /. user name), and I give Uber and Lyft another two years before they start fading. Drivers will get tired of paying high commissions, having all their income reported to the IRS, and beating up their cars like crazy. I survived and did well in the limo biz largely because I could do most of my own repairs and knew low-cost shops that could handle the rest. If I wanted to go back to driving for money (no need - between SS and the "side" freelance work I do, I'm fine) I'd probably work work with Uber until I built up my own "book" of business, that is, personal customers. Then I'd say "sayonara" to Uber, just as I did to the cab company as soon as I had enough personal business to tell them to go screw themselves and a threatened RICO suit against the Baltimore cab companies and the MD Public Service Commission opened the business to anyone with an inspected car, good commercial insurance, and a clean criminal record.

My little group of owner/drivers competed successfully with Boston Coach, Carey, and other national companies. I have no doubt that I could compete successfully with Uber, too. Lyft? A low-rent gypsy cab service. I could beat them, too, but why bother? I did a little gypsy cab work many years ago, but didn't love it.

Programming

The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video) 119

Posted by Roblimo
from the hey-kids-get-off-my-code dept.
Bob Pendleton calls his blog "The Grumpy Programmer" because he's both grumpy and a programmer. He's also over 60 years old and has been programming since he was in his teens. This pair of videos is a break from our recent spate of conference panels and corporate people. It's an old programmer sharing his career experiences with younger programmers so they (you?) can avoid making his mistakes and possibly avoid becoming as grumpy as he is -- which is kind of a joke, since Bob is not nearly as grumpy as he is light-hearted. (Transcript covers both videos. Alternate Video Link One; Alternate Video Link Two)

Comment: Re: Doing it wrong? (Score 1) 112

by Yaztromo (#47751921) Attached to: Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

Sure, you could cobble together all the assets and code together in no time...

That depends on the game, which supports my thesis.

Strong AI is difficult to do, and can be the real differentiator between a great game and a cheap copycat. Likewise for a physics engine or a rendering engine.

If your game doesn't feature any form of AI, or is easily reproduced with off-the-shelf physics and/or rendering engines, then your game is probably trivial. And if it took you years to put together your trivial game when it only takes the next guy days to replicate it -- than as I've said, you did something wrong.

Yaz

Comment: Re:Doing it wrong? (Score 2) 112

by Yaztromo (#47751863) Attached to: Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

Not necessarily. I don't particularly care about Flappy Bird, but let's look at Chess. Chess took centuries to develop, and almost anyone could reproduce it now.

Chess has evolved over time, and wasn't the product of a single development team, so it's not exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison. It took roughly 900 years of evolution for chess to take on its modern form, and there have been many variations of chess (Wikipedia claims more than 2000 published variations).

Early versions of chess weren't unplayable, in-development versions. They were proper, stand-alone games. You could think of modern chess as actually having been a "rip-off" of these earlier games. Indeed, several of the basic game mechanics were seen in earlier games that predated chess by centuries (pieces on an X-by-Y grid, for example, was used 600 years before the earliest variants of chess in Ludus latrunculorum). Indeed, if chess hadn't freely borrowed from games that came before it, it wouldn't exist today.

As such, chess evolved in exactly the way this article is railing against. Over the years, people who had nothing to do with the original "developers" of the earliest chess forked their own versions with slightly different rule-sets, and those with rule-sets that provided for an improved game were adopted by others, who then adapted those rules with their own improvements. Without these "copy-cats", we'd be sitting down to play Chaturanga right now instead of chess.

Yaz

Comment: Re:Doing it wrong? (Score 1) 112

by Yaztromo (#47751697) Attached to: Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

Well, you mean as an Indie developer if I start from scratch, do the design, generate graphics, coding, testing, then it should still takes me as much time as some one who can simply download the app, and replicate without having to 'think' (or like in case of Android apps, just download the apk, decompile and open it up, grab the resources) and put out a clone. Interesting.

You have a fair comment, so I should clarify somewhat. I'm assuming that whomever does the copy is not only generating their own code, but is also generating their own resources. If they're copying your resources you have the ability to go after them for copyright infringement. That's not really a new thing in game development, and there is legal recourse (and yes, I know it's a shitty thing to have to go through, as it has happened to me personally with someone who ripped off both code AND resources from an OSS game a friend of mine and I coded 8 years ago).

But the summary is talking about differing orders of magnitude here. If you've developed something that took years and someone is able to replicate your work (without stealing code or resources) in days, then yes -- I still submit you're doing something wrong.

Yaz

Comment: Re:Doing it wrong? (Score 1) 112

by Yaztromo (#47751567) Attached to: Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

Unless that "someone else" happens to be a game studio of 500 artists and 50 devs, in which case it makes sense that they can do it faster.

Personally, I've never known a team of that size to be able to ramp up development all that quickly. What that many devs, you'd probably wind up with a month of design meetings before any coding got started.

Yaz

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. -- Albert Einstein

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