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Comment: No, it isn't and they don't (Score 1) 143

by jd (#47556521) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

The Internet is not powered by experiments on humans. Not even in the DARPA days.

No, websites do NOT experiment on users. Users may experiment on websites, if there's customization, but the rules for good design have not changed either in the past 30 years or the past 3,000. And, to judge from how humans organized carvings and paintings, not the past 30,000 either.

To say that websites experiment on people is tripe. Mouldy tripe. Websites may offer experimental views, surveys on what works, log analysis, etc, but these are statistical experiments on depersonalized aggregate data. Not people.

Experiments on people, especially without consent, is vulgar and wrong. It also doesn't help the website, because knowing what happens doesn't tell you why. Early experiments in AI are littered with extraordinarily bad results for this reason. Assuming you know why, assuming you can casually sketch in the cause merely by knowing one specific effect, is insanity.

Look, I will spell it out to these guys. Stop playing Sherlock Holmes, you only end up looking like Lestrade. Sir Conan Doyle's fictional hero used recursive subdivision, a technique Real Geeks use all the time for everything from decision trees to searching lists. Isolating single factors isn't subdivision because there isn't a single ordered space to subdivide. Scientists mask, yes, but only when dealing with single ordered spaces, and only AFTER producing a hypothesis. And if it involves research on humans, also after filling out a bloody great load of paperwork.

I flat-out refuse to use any website tainted with such puerile nonsense, insofar as I know it to have occurred. No matter how valuable that site may have been, it cannot remain valuable if it is driven by pseudoscience. There's also the matter of respect. If you don't respect me, why should I store any data with you? I can probably do better than most sites out there over a coffee break, so what's in it for me? What's so valuable that I should tolerate being second-class? It had better be damn good.

I'll take a temporary hit on what I can do, if it safeguards my absolute, unconditional control over my virtual persona. And temporary is all it would ever be. There's very little that's truly exclusive and even less that's exclusive and interesting.

The same is true of all users. We don't need any specific website, websites need us. We dictate our own limits, we dictate what safeguards are minimal, we dictate how far a site owner can go. Websites serve their users. They exist only to serve. And unlike with a certain elite class in the Dune series, that's actually true and enforceable.

Comment: Re:Don't be silly. (Score 1) 117

by Rei (#47550685) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

I actually totally get Amazon's logic on this one. If there's only a $10 extra profit on each drone delivery (something I'm sure tons of people in range of the service would pay for in order to get their item in half an hour), and if we assume each drone operational cycle takes one hour (delivery, return, charging), then that's $240 a day. Doesn't take a lot of days to justify the cost of a drone with a return like that.

Comment: Re:Every month a new battery breakthrough, but.. (Score 5, Insightful) 117

by Rei (#47550589) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Except that you have bought them; you just haven't realized it. Energy density of li-ion batteries has grown by about 50% in the past five years. Have you seriously not noticed how cell phone and laptop battery mah ratings keep growing while they keep making the volume available for the batteries smaller?

It's big news when a new tech happens in the lab. It's not big news when the cells first roll off a production line.

Most new lab techs don't make it to commercialization. But a lucky fraction of them do, and that's the reason that you're not walking around today with a cell phone with a battery the size of a small brick.

Comment: Re:More Range Needed (Score 2) 117

by Rei (#47550555) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

If everyone last person was going to be driving electric cars tomorrow, yes, that would be a problem.

Given that that's not the case, and for decades it's always going to be such that the people whose situation best suits an electric car are going to be the next ones in line to adopt them, then no, it's not a problem. You really think people can't build curbside/parking lot charging stations over the course of *decades* if there seems to be steadily growing interest in EVs?

As a side note, I don't know those exact neighborhoods in your pictures, but in my experience, most people who live in such places don't own *any* car.

Comment: Re:More Range Needed (Score 1) 117

by Rei (#47550501) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Actually, 800 is quite a sensible number. At an average speed of 60 miles per hour (aka, factoring in driving / bathroom / meal breaks), that's 13 1/2 hours of driving - a good day's drive. Throw in a few more hours driving time / a couple hundred miles more range if you charge while you're taking your breaks. Once you get that sort of range, charge speed becomes virtually irrelevant because it happens while you're sleeping (and getting ready for bed / getting up in the morning). A regular Tesla home charger could handle that sort of load.

I agree with you that a half hour charge isn't actually that onerous, but it definitely will scare off people who are used to filling up faster. And charge stations that can do half hour charges on 300 miles range (150kW+ for an efficient car, more like 250kW for a light truck) are exceedingly rare as it stands. A charger that powerful isn't some aren't some little wall box with a cord hanging off of it, it's the size of a couple soda machines put together (bigger if you add a battery buffer so that you don't need a huge power feed) that feeds so much power that its cable has to be liquid cooled and which costs around $100k installed. Ten minute charges are, of course, around three times that size. I've only ever come across mention of *one* charger in the ballpark of the required 750kW to charge a 300 mile light truck in 10 minutes - an 800kW device custom made a couple years back for the US Army Tank Command. I have no clue what it cost, but I'm guessing "Very Expensive".

I'm not saying that the problem is intractable, by any stretch, I totally believe that we're going to transition over to EVs. I just question the sort of time scales that a lot of people envision. The average car on US roads is 10 years old. Implying an average 20 year lifespan. And many cars don't get scrapped then, they just go to the third world. Even if you suddenly switch all new car manufacturing over to EVs, you're talking decades to replace them. But of course you can't just switch over like that - even if everyone was right now sold on the concept of EVs with current tech, you're talking at least a decade, possibly more, to tool up to that level of production. But of course, not everyone is right now sold on the concept of EVs with current tech.

Realistically, you're looking at maybe a 40 year transition. I hate to say that, because I love EVs, but I'm not going to just pretend that the reality is other than it is.

I'll also add that while fast chargers are big and expensive, the size and cost actually are comparable to building a gas station on a per-pump basis, and the economic argument works out for making them even if there's only a reasonable (50% or less) surcharge on the electricity sold and if they're only selling electricity a couple percent of the time. But you need to get a couple percent of the time usage to economically justify them - one person stopping for 10 minutes every few days just isn't going to cut it. And not every EV is going to stop at every charger even if they're driving on the same route - if your chargers are that far apart, then that means you're pushing people's range so much that they're not going to be comfortable driving that route. All together, this means that if you want to have fast charging infrastructure economically justifiable in an area you need high EV penetration, where several dozen EVs driving long distances will be going by each charger every day - even out in the boonies. And when you're talking at prices on the order of $100k per unit, you're no longer talking about a range where peoples' goodwill toward EVs or interest in having a loss leader outside is going to pay for them.

Basically, while busy interstate routes on the coasts and the like can economically justify them with a small fraction of a percent of people driving EVs, out in the boonies, they're going to be stuck with smaller, cheaper, slower chargers for a good while. Unless people are willing to pay a big surcharge on the electricity sold, that is (500% surcharge instead of 50% = 1/10th as many vehicles needed).

Comment: Re:Oe noes! A compiler bug! (Score 2) 689

by TheRaven64 (#47549141) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

The reason that most extensions exist is that there is (or was) no way of implementing things that people want with standard C. Inline assembly is one example. All modern C compilers support it, but GCC and Microsoft's compilers use different syntax (most other compilers implement one or the other, sometimes both). Without it, you require that every time you want to use even a single instruction of platform-specific assembly code, you must write an entire function and call it.

Atomics were another big reason for extensions. Prior to C11, if you wanted atomic operations, you needed either assembly or non-standard compiler intrinsics. Efficient vector support is another one.

Comment: Re:Or upgrade to llvm ... (Score 2) 689

by TheRaven64 (#47549083) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"
While that's technically true, the Ada and Fortran front ends are both using DragonEgg, which is a GCC plugin that converts GIMPLE to LLVM IR. It doesn't work well with GCC 4.7 or newer, produces poor debug info, and is now largely unmaintained. There is a Flang project to produce an LLVM front end for Fortran, but it's very immature. The Ada Labs guys were looking at producing an LLVM front end for Ada, but I don't know that they got anywhere with it.

Comment: Re:Or upgrade to llvm ... (Score 1) 689

by TheRaven64 (#47549053) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"
Clang wasn't. Clang began in 2007, after Chris Lattner had moved to Apple. Before then, if you wanted to compile C code with LLVM, you had to use llvm-gcc, which was a horrible hack that took a forked version of GCC and translated one of the GCC IRs into LLVM IR before code generation.

Comment: Re:Laziness (Score 1) 143

The problem is worse on Android than on many other platforms because there are very few native shared libraries exposed to developer and there is no sensible mechanism for updating them all. If there's a vulnerability in a library that a load of developers use, then you need 100% of those developers to update the library and ship new versions of their apps to be secure. For most other systems, core libraries are part of a system update and so can be fixed centrally.

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 1) 143

I doubt Apple has such a patent. Both of these were features of Symbian at least since EKA2 (over 10 years ago) and, I think, earlier. Apple may have a patent on some particular way of exposing this functionality to the UI, but that's about the most that they could have without it being shot down in court in 10 seconds (prior art that's in the form of a phone OS that millions of people owned is hard to refute).

Comment: Re:umm duh? (Score 1) 175

by TheRaven64 (#47548225) Attached to: Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy
Everything you ask for exists. The reason that Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox don't use them is that their entire business model depends on differentiation. If you could connect to their services with any third-party client that also worked with a server that you set up yourself and with their competitors' services, then their hold on the market becomes very tenuous. You're searching for technical solutions to business problems.

Comment: no revenge when you are dead (Score 1) 494

It is self evident that killing people will make enemies of their families. [...] If you came and killed my child I would not report those trying to kill you to the police or army. I would do everything I could to support those trying to kill you. As I said above, it is self evident that the Palistinian survivors of this will do everything they can to kill Israelis in the future.

You can not be an enemy if you are dead. This idea that you would get revenge is silly.

This conflict will end because one side will die. The sooner this happens, the lower the body count. (the number of dead can greatly exceed the total population if the conflict drags on for generations)

Comment: Re:Advertised on YouTube? (Score 4, Interesting) 95

The 'you can skip in 5 seconds' ads amaze me. Presumably the people using them know that they have 5 valuable seconds that everyone can see, yet they uniformly squander them. I've almost never seen an ad that tells me anything interesting in the first 5 seconds, which isn't that surprising, but it's really surprising to me that most don't even tell me what the product is. Several that I've seen use the first 4 seconds to fade from black, then get 1 second of something incomprehensible before I hit skip.

Comment: Re:umm duh? (Score 1) 175

by TheRaven64 (#47544353) Attached to: Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

Please correct me if I'm wrong because I may not have imagined this system properly. I was thinking the idea was that you encrypt each file with a single unique key, and then to use a public-key encryption scheme to encrypt that key. You can then send the encrypted file and the encrypted key to another user, knowing that it will need that users private key to decrypt.

Every time you upload a file, you generate a random symmetric key. You encrypt the file with this key and the key with your public key. If you want to download the file, you get the file and the encrypted key and then you decrypt the key with your private key and then decrypt the file. When you create the account, you upload your public key.

When you want to share a file with everyone, with no access control, you download the encrypted key, decrypt it, and provide it to the server. The server can then decrypt the file.

When you want to share a file with a limited set of users, you download each of their public keys (which you can cache in the client) and the encrypted symmetric key, decrypt the key, and then encrypt it once for each user. They will then only be able to access it with their client.

I'm not sure who you're 'we' as in 'internet community' is. We do have standards and off-the-shelf libraries for everything required to implement this and others have done so in the past (one of my colleagues during her PhD did back around 2006, to give one example, others have implemented more complex and flexible schemes more recently). Note that this is the simple textbook scheme for doing this kind of system. It's been implemented before and doubtless will be again. If you check the research literature then you'll find more interesting schemes.

The only problem is if you want to be able to access it from the browser, without some kind of plugin (Google actually does compile OpenSSL with Emscripten to do ASN.1 parsing, but I wouldn't recommend using it for encryption).

Two can Live as Cheaply as One for Half as Long. -- Howard Kandel

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