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Comment Re:Real bad news (Score 1) 275

This is precisely correct.

Apple have made the lightning microcontroller proprietary and directly licensed only from themselves (as anyone who has seen the "this accessory is not supported" error when trying to charge their idevice can tell you). They have now purchased a headphones manufacturer, so the next logical step is to force users to purchase either their own hardware, or hardware which earns them a licensing fee.

This is about device lock-in; an attempt to create monopolistic conditions legally (if only barely so). I saw this coming as soon as they purchased Beats - I was actually surprised the 6 series hadn't already eliminated the 3.5mm interface.

Personally, I hope the attempt fails miserably. There was a time I loved Apple... but no longer. They have taken Microsoft's entire 2003 playbook and made it even worse for the consumer.

Comment Re:Snow, ice, etc. (Score 1) 258

I think this highlights the basic problem: roads (including hazard warning design and all markers and visual elements) are designed with human consumers in mind. An AI is, by its nature, playing a losing game by trying to translate non-native (i.e., human) elements into machine language and adaptation.

What will happen as autonomous vehicles become more ubiquitous is inclusion of machine-consumable elements into road design. Wireless lane markers, inter-vehicle (mesh) information sharing, and other technologies will be incorporated, making the 'I' in 'AI' a lot more unnecessary in that sense.

Submission + - What's the best country for secure online hosting?

An anonymous reader writes: I've recently discovered that my hosting company is sending all login credentials unencrypted, prompting me to change providers. Additionally, I'm finally being forced to put some of my personal media library (songs, photos, etc.) on-line for ready access (though for my personal consumption only) from multiple devices and locations... But I simply can't bring myself to trust any cloud-service provider.

So while it's been partially asked before
(, it hasn't yet been answered:

Which country has the best on-line personal privacy laws that would made it patently illegal for any actor, state, or otherwise, to access my information? And does anyone have a recommendation on which provider(s) are the best hosts for (legal) on-line storage there?

Comment Re:The cars can detect gestures. (Score 1) 236

Again, I disagree. I mind it greatly and am worried about it already.

The police have authority over vehicles only in order to protect and/or restore order. Once an unpredictable driver is removed from the equation, there is no possibility for disorder (other than glitches in or compromise of the firmware or system, but those are much larger problems), and so the police authority should be scaled down appropriately. Accountability and oversight are primary concerns and authority should not exceed those mandates except in true emergency situations.

Comment Re:The cars can detect gestures. (Score 5, Insightful) 236

I disagree vehemently with the assumption that police should individually have control over vehicles once they've become automated.

Police have control over vehicles now primarily to stop the behaviour of drivers who are breaking motor vehicle laws. At least conceptually, self-driving vehicles should not break any laws, removing this incentive.

Self-driving cars will also be networked, providing central command-and-control capability on an infrastructure level. So for those situations where vehicle movements need to be regulated (construction, etc.), the central authority will handle modifications to ordinary traffic patterns and flow.

There are two completely irrelevant pieces of information in the summary. 1) "the occupant looking down at his smartphone". Why would this matter? And 2) the person being 'barrelled' towards is a police officer. It shouldn't matter who is at that end - the vehicle should recognise a living being and react accordingly. That is or is not police makes no difference.

I can't think of a valid reason an individual LEO should be allowed control of an individual self-driving vehicle, ever. There is simply too much potential for abuse.


Another Step In Quantum Computing: A Functional Interconnect 43

New submitter Gennerik writes: According to a recent article in the MIT Technology Review, a team of international physicists have been able to create a quantum computing interconnect. The interconnect, which is used to connect separate silicon photonic chips, has the important feature of preserving entanglement. This marks a vital step in creating quantum computers that don't have to work in isolation. According to the article, the trick that The trick that [University of Bristol Researcher Mark Thomson] and pals have perfected is to convert the path-entanglement into a different kind of entanglement, in this case involving polarization. They do this by allowing the path-entangled photons to interfere with newly created photons in a way that causes them to become polarized. This also entangles the newly created photons, which pass into the optical fiber and travel to the second silicon photonic chip.

Comment Re:And (Score 2) 236

I disagree, though not for the reasons you cite here.

If I were sovereign state with computer-based attack capability, I would do exactly this.

The entire nation now keeps a clock which is distinct from the rest of the world. If they were to release some sort of malware, they would have an exceedingly simple way of preventing the attacks from affecting its own systems simply by looking at the UTC offset.

Even if that isn't the impetus for the change, it would be idiotic for them not to use it for that purpose.

Comment Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 1) 334

This article in Discover magazine about Jack Bitterly's* desire to use new flywheel technologies to power automobiles, is what got me excited about choosing engineering as a college major. It's quite sad that nothing ever came of it, other than a few highly specialized applications, such as the space station. (I read one claim that Kevin Costner's investment in the company was a total loss, but that it had a lot to do with NASA taking over the project and stiffing some of the creditors. Cum grano salis.)

I recently saw that a company called Velkess got a kickstarter project funded for 3-15kWh 48v flywheel storage systems, with expected product delivery dates in the 2016/17 range announced. We'll see if they deliver on promises and if they're in any way price competitive.

*Jack was 77 when that article was published in 1996. Every so often I've looked him up on the internet and as late as 2009, he was still alive and kicking and still working. I've also run across patent applications he has filed as late as 2013. Wow. I hope like heck I'm still that active and doing things I am passionate about in my 90s.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department