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Comment Follow the Money (Score 2) 294 294

This will be a financial boon to the telecom industry. The black budgets are going to have to come up with money to pay for the storage and retrieval by the telcos. I expect this to be quite profitable for them. There are also going to be some nice contracts for redesigning the systems now that the stakeholders have changed.

Comment Fixing a software bug with a resistor. (Score 1) 258 258

Way back in the 70's I encountered a bug in software I only had hardcopy source for. A device would not initialize due to too short a timeout in the code. Timing on the device was controlled by a RC delay circuit, and soldering a resistor in parallel to the one on the device made it all good.

Comment Lockstep by Karl Schroeder (Score 1) 219 219

The subject novel impressed me with a realistic setting for stories in a relativistic (i.e. sub-light travel only) universe. For how, read the book. One concern I had with its realism was that it assumed many more sunless planets than stars. This article clears that up pending confirmation. Anyone know when this theory started getting serious interest?

Comment Re: One real prediction in science fiction (Score 1) 139 139

In one of his juveniles, I think "Star Beast", the future society's laws have changed. Most reflected his politics (semi-compulsory concealed carry), emancipation of children, etc., but he got wrong the effects of banning smoking in restaurants. So far as I know, high quality scofflaw places allowing smoking never became popular, and he set an important scene in one.

Comment Cautionary tales (Score 1) 222 222

Asimov addressed both sides of the issue, but he had a simplistic view of programming an AI that allowed an easy solution to the worst potential problems. The anti-robot camp which won on earth was just wrong by his premiss.

The deep problem is that there is no reason to have any expectations of what an AI will do until it is built and tested. We could eventually see Berserkers, R. Daneel Olivaw, and much in between. Murderous machines are good science fiction, as are dystopias, and other potentially avoidable bad things.

Comment Taleb doesn't live in a normal world (Score 1) 312 312

When I was in school, they still taught the central limit theorem which explains why so many error distributions are "normal". Our world provides us with millions of examples in everyday life where the standard deviation of our experiences is the best statistic to estimate the probability of future events.

What you do with a statistic is what counts. It's easy to look at the standard deviation and estimate the probability that the conclusion was reached by chances of the draw, though it takes some practice to develop your intuition. It is imbedded in our language when we talk of "6 sigma" reliability or " 4 sigma" thinkers. Anyone who thinks he is a scientist should understand this!

Mr. Taleb may be working in a field where normal distributions are rare, but the probability is he is either lying or poorly educated.

Comment Gate count more a matter of speed (Score 2) 365 365

It doesn't take many gates for a Turing machine that will run your algorithm but it's likely to be slow. A proper hardware implementation will optimize everything and be as parallel as possible.

The problem as stated isn't adequately constrained.

Comment Carrot and stick push for IOS7 (Score 1) 336 336

Apple is really trying hard to get ios7 adoption. I got an ad for free iTunes content (Xmas related), that turned out to require ios7 to load the app to get it. This became really obvious because I was using an old iPad1 that can't load it.

I wonder why they are pushing so hard for the upgrade. I have older iPhones that I haven't upgraded because of performance concerns -- I suspect many do. Are they planning something that requires good adoption, or is there some problem with the old versions? Seems like a bit much just to get rid of some old devices.

Comment Re: Everquest, the original f2p (Score 1) 555 555

Eve was cool, but only while I had RL friends playing. It was too hard to build trust with new peeps. Honesty, reliability, and known competence are really needed if you want to do more than socialize. I was in a corp with folks I knew, at least 2nd hand, that was part of the FREEGE alliance and things were great. But the world changed, and we found ourselves broke (relatively) and without a common cause. We went different ways, the RL friends dropped out, the 2nd handers went to combat heavy corps, and I tried to meet folks with common interests until I gave up.

Then EQ went f2p! My decade old bard was still there with nice perks, and I didn't feel cheated if I didnt play every day with no monthly fee. The changes made it as easy as WOW, I found a friendly guild, and made great progress to 75 where the a5 merc ran out of steam, and progress depended on finding exp groups. I have now trained a couple minions, and am 3 boxing on a 27 in iMac. Works great, and keeps me as busy as playing a bard had in the days before "melody" made twisting easy.

Comment Re: Remember the pc (Score 1) 307 307

It wasn't the electronic design that was an innovation, but the product was nothing like its competitors. Use of 3rd party components (unusual for IBM then) allowed IBM to trade on its name and reputation to keep a solid profit margin. The flurry of competitors looked like inferior goods, and most were.

Comment Remember the pc (Score 1) 307 307

In the early 1980's IBM, a dinosaur sued for monopoly, released the PC and changed the world. Sure, Apple,IMSI, and others had blazed a trail, but IBM quickly defined the market.

Even a dinosaur can give birth to a flock of new birds. Don't give up on our big boys.

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