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Comment: Why is encryption not standard? (Score 1) 86

by Thagg (#48467113) Attached to: New Snowden Docs Show GCHQ Paid Telcos For Cable Taps

It's astonishing that all communication is not encrypted. If you are sharing information over a common carrier, you should expect that somebody is going to be grabbing and examining the bytes.

So, somehow, it is just not the norm to encrypt communication. One reason might be that during the eighties and nineties as the internet was going wide, ITAR and patents on systems like RSA made people and companies nervous and unwilling to go there; that was definitely a missed opportunity.

Perhaps another problem is that there's no money to be made in encryption; and there are real (small, but real) costs in establishing it.

Still, though...

Why is there no encrypted "WhatsApp"? It would not be hard, it would be trivial to deliver through Google Play, and there would be a immediate market. If the connections were truly peer-to-peer, the infrastructure to support it would be almost zero.

How has the world convinced people not to encrypt all communication?

Comment: Re:Waiting... (Score 1) 143

by Animats (#48455329) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

OK, here's a site with an interview with IDEO's designer. It has the key pictures without the UI from hell.

This is the Eric Schmidt vision of the future. People will still go to offices and have meetings. They'll just have better cars and presentation tools, and better delivery services for physical stuff.

Will we really need that many office workers? That's the huge question. Given the head counts at newer companies, probably not.

Comment: Waiting... (Score 1) 143

by Animats (#48455281) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

3% loading...
Page with 3 icons loads. Click on first icon. Background sound loop of birds chirping with wihite noise and gap at the end of the loop starts. That's all that happens.

Firefox 33 on Ubuntu reports: Media resource http://automobility.ideo.com/a... could not be decoded. automobility.ideo.com
TypeError: e[0].play is not a function main.js:1
TypeError: e[0].pause is not a function main.js:1

Don't they test their code?

Comment: Re:In a Self-Driving Future--- (Score 1) 453

by spitzak (#48452243) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

I expect a self driving car to be many many times better at lining itself up with a trailer hitch than a human driver. For instance it probably has exact detailed knowledge of the position of the hitch down to a millimeter. Don't know what in the world makes you think this is a harder problem than normal driving.

Comment: When cars are self-driving and shared (Score 1) 453

by Animats (#48445261) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

...they'll all be owned by Uber.

There's a network effect for shared vehicles. Availablility is best if you have one big pool of cars rather than lots of little ones. So there will be a single winner in that space for each city.

Imagine Uber having the power of GM and Google combined. Run by the current team of assholes.

Comment: Re:Amazon Elastic Cloud? (Score 1) 246

by Animats (#48439281) Attached to: Does Being First Still Matter In America?

decades ago, Cray Computers were assembled by people (housewives) who were allowed to spend no more time than they could be maximally effective in, using wires cut to millimeter-precise lengths.

Yes, and there's a Cray I at the Computer Museum here in Silicon Valley, upholstered base and all. You can sit on it if you like. It's not useful for much else.

All modern supercomputers are composed of a large number of microprocessors. The interconnects are faster than with ordinary hosting/cloud operations, but the CPUs are the same. The biggest supercomputer in the world, in China, is 3,120,000 cores of Intel Xeons, running at 2.2GHz each.

The question is whether the problem you're solving needs tight interconnection. If not, you can run it on a large number of ordinary computers. Weather may not be that tightly coupled; propagation time in air is kind of slow.

Comment: They'll be replaced by robots soon. (Score 1) 495

by Animats (#48428561) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Don't worry, most of those jobs will go away soon. Amazon's newer warehouses use Kiva robots to move merchandise around to picking stations. Picking is still manual; the computers do all the thinking, the humans just pick up what the laser pointer points at. But Bezos owns a robotics startup working on automating that. At Amazon, being replaced by robots isn't a future problem. It's here now.

Customer service is already mostly automated. It's can't be long until customer service chat is with a computer, not a human. Then Amazon will need fewer people.

Comment: Re:That is not what the halting problem say (Score 2) 332

Mod parent up.

That's correct. The best known demonstration of this is the Microsoft Static Driver Verifier, which every signed driver since Windows 7 has passed. It's a proof of correctness system which checks drivers for buffer overflows, bad pointers, and bad parameters to the APIs drivers use. It works by symbolically tracing through the program, forking off a sub-analysis at each branch point. It can be slow, but it works.

Microsoft Research reports that in about 5% of the cases, the Verifier cannot reach a decision. It can't find a bug, but it can't demonstrate the lack of one either. After 45 minutes of case analysis it gives up.

If your driver is such a mess that it's anywhere near undecidable, it's broken. Those drivers get rewritten with a less ambiguous design, usually by adding more run-time checks. Problem solved.

(Remember when driver bugs crashed Windows all the time? Notice that's not happening any more? That's why.)

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie

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