Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Low-tech for a reason (Score 1) 88 88

No, I don't have to learn any of the skills, at all, and I don't want to. I don't want to spend days or hours or even minutes learning the finer points of pit BBQ, and that's the entire point of buying this robot. I don't have to learn when to turn up the heat or turn it down, I don't have to know how much wood to put in or when. I don't have to check on the condition of the product. I simply give my charge card to Williams-Sonoma, haul the BBQbot home and plug it in, add meat and wood, and get delicious brisket out the other end. Every. Single. Time. I wasted zero of my time learning how to barbeque brisket - I just enjoy the results of other people's learnings. If the robot fails, I drag it back to Williams-Sonoma and ask them to service it. It would be no different than any other tool that I own that I don't fix myself.

I don't understand your preoccupation with fear of breakdowns of systems. I know that some days, despite scheduled maintenance, my truck will breakdown in some way I can't fix and that I'll have to have to deal with a problem. Fear of the inevitable breakdown doesn't mean I sell my truck today and walk to work. It means that I understand the truck can break, and that some days I'll have to call for a tow. Similarly if the BBQbot fails in my restaurant, I tell the servers to 86 the brisket, and we sell grilled chicken until the replacement robot arrives.

As a business owner, why would I buy a BBQbot instead of hiring a pit master? Because the robot costs me $20,000, and it stays in the kitchen 24x7x365. A pit master has weekends, takes vacations, calls in sick (or doesn't call in at all), and costs me $60,000 every year. I'd be far more worried about hiring a temperamental person that could quit and cripple the menu on a busy night. And if I discovered I was that utterly dependent on the robot, I'd simply buy two of them.

Every business risks breakdowns of all kinds of complex systems every day: plumbing, fires, melted freezers, employees quitting, roof collapses, electrical problems, labor problems, yet most manage to stay in business even through disasters. Why? Because they know how to adapt to problems, and because taking the risks yields far more reward than doing nothing; instead of sitting there paralyzed by the fear that something might go wrong.

Comment: interesting synchronicity (Score 2) 287 287

Just fifteen minutes ago I realized that my script to refactor the primary file server (newly converted to ZFS) into more sensible datasets had an irritating detail wrong (a path element was being duplicated in some paths).

I said to myself "oh, I'll just roll that whole thing back to the snapshot I made 30 minutes ago".

Then I go "zfs list -t snapshot" and discover that my snapshot was holding onto 0 GB because I forgot the -r switch to make the snapshot recursive.

Oh, well. By some impossible-to-separate mixture of good management and good fortune, it turns out I had a set of (different) snapshots from the last two days covering all datasets in questions. I lost very little work (only scripts were executed against these datasets and I still have all the scripts).

My real screw up?

Back in my second co-op workterm job, I managed not to notice that a system I was backing up changed the order of the listed drives between two very similar screen requests that I made almost immediately one after the other. Unfortunately, on the second pass I selected the active system drive as the recipient of the system backup, picking from the position in the menu where the desired destination drive had appeared moments before.

I had become accustomed to my home system being deterministic in the order it listed things. My bad.

This is back at the very beginnings of the 4.77 MHz era, so my PC was actually not yet what we now know as a "PC" (its father had an S-100, and its mother had a itty-bitty CRT).

Thirty years later I still can't type dd of=/dev/ada3 without making three trips to the metaphorical bathroom.

Whenever I type a disk-level dd command, I leave the sudo off, until after the third proof-read and several console consultations in which at least two different programs give me the same view of the drive name.

In dollar costs I couldn't say. In psychic cost, it's indelibly etched onto my permanent record.

I had a co-worker once (EEng) who claimed that as a junior intern during the late 1990s back when laser gear for fiber optics was all the rage, he routinely fried extremely delicate $2000 DUTs while the old hands just shrugged their shoulders. Dotcom dollars. Who really gave a fuck? It was considered barely worse than ruining a nice chair.

Comment: Re:Low-tech for a reason (Score 2) 88 88

Through lifelong dedication, a craftsman can align a car with a string, or smoke BBQ in a trash can, or whatever it is he or she does. But their activity doesn't scale beyond what they can personally produce. And if they end up smoking 100 pounds of meat per day to run their restaurant, that's it. There's little time left in the day to innovate. Craftsmen don't scale well, unless they industrialize their processes, (and then you risk ending up with a product with all the qualities of Budweiser.).

The rest of us are dedicated to other things: jobs, families, other hobbies. Does our inexperience mean we can't enjoy products of similar quality as the craftsmen produce? What's wrong with distilling the essence of their wisdom into a PID controller and an Atmel chip? If my BBQ-bot fails, I'm certainly not going to fix it with string - but that's not the point. The point is I could occasionally enjoy a high quality smoked brisket, thanks to a machine that knows more than I do about the process.

Comment: Re:Or (Score 1) 117 117

If you do the leading edges and windscreen with furniture polish (people swear by Lemon Pledge, I use Mr Sheen because Pledge doesn't seem to be sold locally) the bug guts wipe off very easily (and I suspect many just don't stick but I've not done a scientific test of this).

Take an awful lot of Pledge to do an airliner leading edge, though.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 220 220

Pretty much my reaction, too.

Humans have no idea how the human, or any other brain, works, so we can hardly teach a machine how brains work. At best, Google is programming (not teaching) a computer to mimic the conversation of humans under highly constrained circumstances. And the methods used have nothing to do with true cognition.

We don't even know enough to make the assertions quoted above with any confidence. Where's the precise boundary between programming and learning anyway?

The prudent AI researcher takes a rain check to get back to you on that one, and meanwhile doesn't denigrate even the smallest achievements, humbly possessing far too little insight into what sequence of small achievements will ultimately end up advancing the main cause.

Comment: Re:Tinfoil hat on (Score 1) 514 514

Just another anecdote:

I just whipped out my iPhone 1, and it is downright snappy compared to my iPhone 4s, and from a usability perspective in terms of "snappiness" comparable to my wife's iPhone 5s. Of course the iPhone 1 does a lot less than the newer models, but certainly appears to me that it did the core things just as fast (calling, messaging, etc).

Comment: Re:Countries don't have friends. They have interes (Score 1) 213 213

If you think France isn't spying on the US as well then you are naive and haven't read any of your history books. Countries don't have friends, they have interests.

Yeah, and sometimes those interests are best served by making agreements with your G8 next-of-kin and remaining true to your word.

Here's a question for you. How often does your wife bug-sweep your bedroom? People don't have marriages, they have interests within sexual alliances.

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening

Working...