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Comment: Re:Post-Steampunk (Score 1) 155

by Ogi_UnixNut (#48118743) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

Well, unfortunately it is hard to get hold of electronic components from the 30s-40s. There was a surge in the 90's to 00's, when a lot of ex-USSR stock was sold. Nixie tubes, valves, analogue meters, old WWII equipment. The lot. As the USSR stayed with bakelite far longer than the NATO pact, you have a more items available that used it, over a greater year range.

And yeah, there was a renaissance at the time, as people built nixie clocks, displays, and did all sorts of nice things with the neon tubes and valves.

Unfortunately the ex-USSR sources has dried up, and now those parts are expensive, so unless you are a collector, you don't really pay those prices.

Stempunk does not have this problem, because quite frankly, it is mostly sticking pieces of brass and leather on an item to give it that "period look", and an appreciation of mechanics (steam engines, pistons, linkages, etc...). Nothing that is beyond a hobby machine shop (brass turning is comparatively easy), so people can make new parts that look period, but aren't ludicrously expensive. .

That is harder to do with electronic components, at least for now.

Although I'd say that the closest thing you are referring to would be called "Diesel punk", as the stage after steam punk, and deals with the inter-war period.

Comment: Re: over-stating the capabilities (Score 1) 405

Funnily enough, I'm starting more and more to complain that I have to purchase/order from actual machines, rather than people.

Like the supermarket self checkout machines. In theory, great idea, you don't have to wait in line, just go to a machine, scan items and pay.

In practice, the machines get confused, conk out, or just refuse to accept what you scan more than 50% of the time. At which point you have to sit there like a lemon and wait 10 minutes for the one human to come to your aid and do it properly (after they are done helping everyone else with their faulty machines).

It ends up being cheaper for the supermarket (because they don't have to pay wages, health deduction, admin overhead, etc...), but more expensive for me in time, which is far more important to me. I don't even get a discount in prices, they just get more profit. In some places they got rid of the cashiers completely. Just a bunch of machines, with a single mall security guard to prevent theft/cheating.
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So now, I always avoid the automated machines when I can, and deal with an actual person. Not only do I help keep them employed, I get a better, faster, more pleasent, and more reliable experience in the end.

Comment: Re:Mission Accomplished? Thanks GWB (Score 1) 425

by Ogi_UnixNut (#48081561) Attached to: Former Department of Defense Chief Expects "30 Year War"

Because Saddam had the audacity to consider not selling oil in US Dollars?

See back in 2000:

http://content.time.com/time/m...

It is all about the economy, as always, and the US likes being the worlds reserve currency. Without it that massive $trillions_of_debt would cause them far more burden than they are currently suffering. Being the reserve currency is the main reason why the US can run such deficits and not go bankrupt.

Comment: Re:Good news. (Score 1) 68

by Ogi_UnixNut (#48081193) Attached to: Nearly 700 Genetic Factors Found To Influence Human Adult Height

Where are all these tall women? 6ft is about 1.83m! As a >6ft Man, almost all the women (>95%) I meet are under 6ft, the majority are around 5ft, and quite a lot are smaller. So unless you spend all your time hanging around womens basketball teams, I call bs quite frankly.

Yes, humans are getting taller, but I don't think we are at the majority of women being >6ft, or anywhere near it.

Comment: Re:How about protecting the public (Score 1) 302

Well, I know France and Russia were key in supporting the American independence movement which overthrew the British government, so there is some historic precedent for those two at least :)

Not sure what Canada's history with the US is in this sphere, but I think at the time they were still a British colony.

Comment: Re:In The Future (Score 1) 118

by Ogi_UnixNut (#48017791) Attached to: World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

Until either the car doesn't start because it has no 3G signal to "Authorize" it. You know, because only thives/criminals would want to bypass the tracking signal. In fact I suspect one of the first uses of this technology will be for alarm/immobalisers.

And of course, the 3G module is part of a SoC that sits in the ECU, so you can't even work around it withot ripping out the ECU, and with that everything else connected to it.

So you might be able to do it, but it will get harder, and more expensive to do, and chances are you will end up breaking laws which will have repurcussions.

Relying on your wits to outsmart an organised group of people is hard, and you only have to slip up once for them to get you.

Far better to nip the problem in the bud, and not reach the point where you need such radical action in the first place.

Comment: Re:Best outcome (Score 2) 201

there isnt much of a used electric market out there right now.

You know, I was thinking about this lately, and tbh, I don't think there will ever be a used market for electric cars. Not with current technology at least.

A used IC car can generally keep running with standard maintenance for about 20-30 years. Engines are ruggedly simple. especially the old ones, and while the total HP may go down with time (unless the engine is rebuilt, which isn't too expensive in my experience). The range will stay more or less the same. Essentially engines are not consumable, the fuel is.

Not so with the electric cars. In a nutshell, an electric car is nothing more than some motors, attached to a battery pack via some electronics. The battery pack is essentially a consumable item, and makes up the bulk of the cost of the car.

While the motors should last as long as the engine, and the electronics can be replaced with second-hand working ones, chances are the original battery won't hold much charge 5-10 years down the line, and while when new, the manufacturer can do things like offer battery swaps as a part of the warranty, that rarely applies to second hand cars.

Buying a second hand electric car that needs 70% of its original value spent on a new battery makes no sense economically. The car would only be only 30% cheaper than new, but with worn out interior, body, etc...

I suspect that cars will become luxury items in the future. The rich will own cars, be it new electrics or classic IC exotics. Everyone else will not have a car at all, and will rent one by the hour when needed.

Comment: Re:The only consequence of this is more people (Score 1) 308

The anomaly here is South America; why is the population not growing there also?

Hmm, looking here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

It would seem that South America is growing, just not particularly fast. Roughly the same speed as China. Africa and India you are correct on.

Comment: Re:I will guard my privacy (Score 1) 130

Yeah, until they turn around and make using those cars on public roads illegal.

You know, they are unsafe/thinkofthechildren/onlycriminalsusethem/youhavenothingtohide/etc...

Or, just insurance companies will refuse to insure you. Here in the UK they are already making it harder and harder to own cars that are pre-90's. I can imagine it becoming even harder in future, until they become something you can only take on a trailer to show off at classic car shows.
 

Comment: Re:Python is eating Perls lunch (Score 1) 387

by Ogi_UnixNut (#47888879) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

Sounds a bit like my experience maintaing perl infrastructure. We had to have like, 4 different versions of perl5, with their own module set, because each one had subtle changes that would break some library, or some other piece of code, or not run as expected. What a PITA.

Maintaining two (or even three) versions of Python is bliss in comparison. We only had to maintain two versions: 2.7, and 3.

So yeah, neither Python nor perl are really robust, although IMO Python is more robust than perl.

I don't know, if you want rock solid single standard languagel, I really can't; think of one. COBOL perhaps, along with Forth and LISP come to mind. C suffers from lots of "undefined" behaviour which is compiler dependent, but at least the standard syntax doesn't really change often.

Comment: Re:Not to mention (Score 2) 246

by Ogi_UnixNut (#47833737) Attached to: Egypt's Oldest Pyramid Is Being Destroyed By Its Own Restoration Team
Based on what I've read (and talked to Egyptians). the closest original descendents of the Egyptians that built those pyramids are the modern day Coptic Christians (whose numbers in Egypt are ever dwindling nowadays). Via their trade with Byzantium and other other Christian nations at the time, the Pharoes and their subjects converted slowly over to Christianity. The muslims are a result of the Arab hoards that invaded and laid waste to the area back in the day. Once their conquest was done they settled and now are the dominant people there. They have little to do with the original Egyptians and their civilization.

Comment: Re:autopilot software / hardware has lot's testing (Score 1) 191

by Ogi_UnixNut (#47162985) Attached to: Intel Wants To Computerize Your Car

Yes, but airplanes cost in excess of 30 million USD. For that amount you can justify the high costs in testing, triplicate redundancy, and hiring code auditors, security auditors, every cable accounted for EM interference, etc.., etc...

You really think that your average car will have that level of redundancy and checks? Hell, the only reason airplanes have it is because it is mandated by the flight authorities. An Airbus or Boeing would not get type approval if they didn't produce certificates, and signed documents from all involved, that all the unit tests/audits were done, and passed successfully.

You really think automakers will do the same? It would drive the cost up immensly, and unless forced to, I suspect you will find most of the code will be a lousy hack-job done by the lowest bidder somewhere on the Indian subcontinent, a bit like most built-in car tech.

The only place this hasn't been the case is the ECU/EMU's. This is:

a) The only people who can do the job are competent already (very rarely can you find cheap, good, embedded programmers.)
b) the ECU/EMU controls fuel efficiency, and emissions, which the car has to pass to be allowed to be sold. Incentive to get it right
c) It is a very simple problem, relatively. Control of fuel/ignition timing, and power output/throttle control.
d) the project isn't very big (a few K of data/code).
e) It doesn't change much. It only gets refined with time (like the IC engine, which, as a concept is about 100 years old).

Also, the whole point of a driverless car is that you would be able to ignore the driving, and just go do what you want. However that level of sophistication has not even been reached in airplanes. Airplane autopilots, despite being around for decades, and generally dealing with a 3D space , in which 99% of it is air, still have software glitches/unexpected situations. That is why airlines still have highly trained people sitting at the controls at all times, paying attention and ready to make corrections if necessary.

I don't think a normal "driver" in a self driving car, will want to sit there and stare at everything around them, making sure the computer is doing the right thing. If you can't disconnect, and be a passenger, then you might as well be driving. Just as much effort, slightly higher risk of error, and you don't end up bored to death.

On the flip side, I don't think they can make a pure driverless car, just because driving is really complicated, and requires the ability to think ahead, and not just react to immediete events. Something AI is not yet able to do. You could make self-driving only roads, which area designed to not confuse the AI, and make everything work reliably. However then you've just really reinvented trains, with roads instead of rail.

The only place where I could see a self driving car working at all is on Motorways, due to their predictable, linear nature, no pedestrians and other obstacles, and clearly defined rules.

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