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Comment: Re:Number of optiosn (Score 1) 441

by vux984 (#49144431) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

Do I think the $10 unbranded one is cheap garbage with poor quality control? Yes.
Could somebody slap a fancy sticker on it, and try and sell it for $25. Yes. So what? Would you like a cookie or something?

Check the reviews... poor construction, falls apart, dead after minutes of use, power supply fails, fries drives, connections aren't snug...and even the "brand name ones" aren't exactly good. I'd expect to 10% disatisfied customers on a site like newegg. I'm seeing LOTs of products with HUNDREDS of reviews with 25%+ rating it 1 or 2 eggs. That's ABYSMAL.

These things are cheap junk. If someone actually makes a GOOD one and stands behind it, I'd love to hear about it. Because I'd love to have a good one on my test bench that will reliably work with any drive I plug into it.

As it is I plug them into the motherboard IDE socket on a test PC; and I have a laptop IDE adapter for it. That at least always works reliably if the hard drive isn't toast. Unlike these usb devices.

For the article poster, especially if all he's got are laptops to work with, then get an IDE kit and cross your fingers, be prepared to exchange it, but it should get the job done. Just don't expect it work if you need it again a year from now.

Comment: Number of optiosn (Score 1) 441

by vux984 (#49143345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

with 160 Mb drive that I would want to copy in full to a newer machine.

Pull the hard drive, and attach it to the new computer via a USB kit.

Something like:

I'm not endorsing that kit in particular. I've had mixed experience with the quality of these kits... you get what you pay for. But it'll get the job done.

Comment: Re:meh (Score 1) 148

by vux984 (#49143285) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

That echos my point, somewhat. It is pretty easy to design an AI for a lot of video games that can beat a human (without cheating).

Yes, albeit, for a slightly strained definition of "without cheating" :)

Whether you use the moniker "constraints" or call it "dumbing down",

I think the distinction is important. Dumbing it down would be deliberately sabotaging its ability to make good decisions. The constraints certainly have the same effect, but we aren't sabotaging the decision making itself, but merely restricting the information it actually has to work with access to human levels.

No perfect clock. No perfect positioning. etc.

It is odd that the hard part about making a game AI would be making an AI that isn't too competetive, but that's where we are.

Not really. It's just that we've devised a game that's difficult and interesting for humans, but is very easy and trivial for the bot; especially given that by default it has world state information we just don't have. (It knows what time it is, what its x/y/z is.

It can:

advance 4 units at 1 unit per second,
turn 28.5 degrees at 5 degrees per second
retreat 12 units at 11 units per second
turn 19 degrees a 11.4 degrees per second
advance 72 units at 15 units per second
can be arbitrarily long, is trivial for the bot to execute, doesn't require any sensory input/feedback, and can be replayed backwards.

I can't do that. No human can. We aren't that precise. We maintain position and navigate only approximately with constant correction from sensory input. And if I'm playing a game where perfect navigation is demonstrably a very valuable skill then I can't compete with a bot that is allowed to do that. (And my performance against bots drops considerably on open or lava catwalk Quake 3 maps vs closed tunnels maps due to their inhuman ability to navigate exactly where they wish to go whether they are looking where they are going or not...)

That's not "advanced AI"; that's "giving it rudimentary AI paired with superhuman ability". That's not much fun.

But here's the philosophical question: does the motivation behind someone's actions really matter, or is what they actually do the only thing that actually counts?

No it doesn't matter if they do the same thing. But they don't do the same thing. The current process of tweaking the AI's super human abilities and tossing a wrench into their decision making so its not always the optimal choice etc to make them appear more human like vs actually being human-like in response to human constraints does not result in them doing the same thing.

Instead of being truly human like. They end up acting like superhumans with narcolepsy... brilliantly efficient but occasionally they just fall asleep; and worse they usually can be relied upon to fall asleep at the wheel in a given set of circumstances that can be manufactured by the opponent (aka exploited)

For example, in RTS with harvestors a human player might trap a bunch of the AI's harvestors -- a human opponent would not be fooled once he saw what happened, and he'd build more, and suicide/free/destroy the trapped units. But the AI? The average AI will just starve, because it hasn't been programmed to recognize that scenario or how to respond when it happens. It has enough harvestors, so it won't build more... it has sent them orders to harvest...and they aren't under attack... so mission accomplished. Resources will arrive soon.... any minute now... still waiting... oh my base is under attack... hope those resources show up soon... man where are my resources... shit I lost.

All manner of path finding exploits are common in RTS games. Getting his units to stumble over themselves and get in their own way. Funnelling them into kill zones. Etc.

Comment: Re:meh (Score 1) 148

by vux984 (#49140187) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

The same AI was applied to deathmatch player bots. They had no prior knowledge of the level, or strategies for playing the game. The first few kills were very easy as they figured out what to do. But as they learned your tendencies, they would very quickly evolve into a circle-strafe master. They also learned the map layout pretty quickly, including drop sites and periods for weapons and health. They would then time their circle-strafe to always be on the spawn site immediately as the health or ammo spawned. They would invariably win against even the best human players by monopolizing all of the supplies and winning a war of attrition. Very impressive to watch.

Yes, and it gives another example of the issue. The AI has access to a perfect clock, and perfect spatial awareness, and has perfect control over its movement, sees everything in its field of view no matter how briefly it sees it...

It can run and jump a maze of catwalks over lava with perfect reliability - BACKWARDS. It can do all that and land on a specific set of coordinates where it knows supplies are going to respawn the millisecond it respawns, because it can time to the millisecond when it last picked it up.

It's cool, and it is devilishly hard to compete against, but its not good "AI". Its not out thinking its opponents, its merely taking full advantage of its machine attributes.

For example, In quake I might know the location and approximate respawn time of the quad damage. I would certainly plan my route to be in the area when I was expecting it to respawn... or perhaps plan to have a sight line to it to pick off someone else making a run at it. I have a rough idea how long it takes me to get from where I am to the Quad damage spawn point from various places on the map.

A better player than me, will have smaller error bars on all of those things. A top player smaller still. But the "AI" it has perfection. It's not coming up with a BETTER strategy than me, its simply perfect at executing the same strategy because it can run the level backwards, and end up precisely where it wants to end up precisely when it needs to.

Making the AI human-like; imparts the same reaction times, the same imprecise lossy recollection of the map (I can run some maps backwards, but its usually at least a little bit of steer-by-wall... so if its catwalks over lava or freeform jump pads on a quake 3 open level I can't do that without looking. I can maintain approximate respawn cycles for a number of spawn points, and calculate approximate lenghts of time to get from point A to B... but not for every spawn point in the level, and not to within a millisecond,

Restricting the AI to human ability is not "dumbing it down" that's just putting us both on equal footing. Go ahead and make the AI as good as it can possibly be under all those constraints...if its truly a better than human AI it will come up with better strategies given those constraints.

Because I can come up with the strategy of run and jump backwards, never miss with the rail gun, and pick up the quad damage the instant it spawns; I just can't execute on that strategy with machine precision because I'm not a machine.

Comment: Re:Best money Tom Steyer ever spent (Score 1) 430

by vux984 (#49138171) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

So we should let them pipe it down to a Gulf of Mexico port and put it on a ship because nothing bad will happen to those ships?


First, the crude from the pipeline is delivered to refineries in Illinois and Texas. So no, it doesn't all get loaded into a boat in the Gulf of Mexico.

Second, refined fuel poses less threat to the environment, so if it ends up on a boat after its refined that's an improvement.

Third, even if it needs to end up on a boat at some point because its going overseas, so be it. That doesn't mean you don't want it in a pipeline for as much of the journey as possible.

Thus your argument really has no legs to stand on. You are right of course that any shipping accident is bad, but all scenarios are categorically an improvement over alternatives.

All that said, I think Canada should refine it and export themselves; in-source the industry and take a larger share of the profits; and reduce environmental risks of a pipeline. There is a refinery in the works north of Edmonton - The Sturgeon Refinery. But even so refineries are spectacularly expensive and difficult to get built for regulatory/environmental and NIMBY reasons so once built it makes sense to bring the oil to them; so if the Texas / Illinois ones have capacity sending oil there makes sense.

Comment: Re:The worst part is the polished turd that is Ube (Score 2, Insightful) 192

by Goaway (#49135205) Attached to: Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers

I find it strange that Uber doesn't try harder to fix this problem.

Not at all strange. They are sociopathic libertarian company devoted to "disruption", which is generally code for "we break the law if it gets in the way of us making money and we think we can get away with it".

Comment: Re:meh (Score 5, Insightful) 148

by vux984 (#49132549) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

This just in: Even in simplistic AAA games with bots, the AIs are better than human players, we have to dumb them down to keep the game fun.

First the prime challenge in the games you are talking about is lining up a crosshair with a pixel with a mouse and selecting fire.

If AI's had to do that they might have some difficulty. In practice the so-called AI bots already know where you are, and could keep their weapon lined up on your noggin through half the map without the need for line of sight. Tthey also get to target and fire at me without having to diddle around with a mouse or looking at the screen to see where I am.

Get a bot to actually play such a game with the same UI and world view I have (keyboard and mouse and what they can see on screen and hear on the speakers) and they tend to be quite abysmal.

Second, switch over to RTS games... and there the only way to give the AI any challenge is to stack the deck in its favor... whether its StarCraft or Supreme Commander or Wargame: Red Dragon. Or in a 4X game like Masters of Orion etc... we've yet to see an AI even really challenge a human being without giving it scripts to follow and extra resources to use.

Comment: Re:Best money Tom Steyer ever spent (Score 1) 430

by vux984 (#49124473) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

The safest option is to let Canada transport the stuff across Canada to a Canadian port.

Where they put it in a boat and sail it down the west coast. And we all know nothing bad happens with boats.

Further, in addition to Alberta crude, the keystone pipeline expansion was ALSO going to carry crude from the Williston Basin reserves (Montana and North Dakota) south; and Canada's not going to be taking care of transporting that, either.

Comment: Re:Best money Tom Steyer ever spent (Score 1) 430

by vux984 (#49123867) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Now in my own opinion. I prefer the pipeline, however the maintenance of pipes is generally crap and leaks are common.

The issue of maintenance that you make is spot on. But where things get interesting is that is not a question of the pipelines or no pipelines because that's not realistic. Its pipelines or something else. And what else is actually safer than pipelines? My reading on the subject suggests pipelines are the safest option.

So as bad as the pipeline might be, everything else we might do to transport the oil is even worse. So unless we want to leave the oil in the ground (which we all know isn't likely to happen) then pipelines really make the most sense; environmental concerns and all.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra