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Comment Re:This is just the looong tail of the distributio (Score 4, Insightful) 122

Absolutely agree that it's much ado about nothing. AND bad statistics ! CERN as an example is a lot of nonsense... it's a HUGE project with a HUGE population of PhD's, grad students, undergrads, managers, technicians, and everybody else. All working towards a common goal. And the science developed by those thousands of authors is an enormous collaboration, enabled by ... yeah, you guessed it, the World Wide Web. Which was INVENTED at CERN to enable... Collaboration.

WSJ, you look like a bunch of idiots. Stick to talking about stocks and rich people stuff. You suck at science.


Microsoft Creates an AI That Can Spot a Joke In a New Yorker Cartoon 66

An anonymous reader writes: For over a decade Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker, and his assistants have gone through 5,000 cartoon entries for the magazine's caption contest each week. Needless to say, the burnout rate of his assistants is quite high, "The process of looking at 5,000 caption entries a week usually destroys their mind in about two years, and then I get a new one," Mankoff says. But now thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft, Bob may finally have found the perfect helper. Researchers have been working on an artificial intelligence project to teach a computer what's funny. Fortune reports: "Dafna Shahaf, a researcher at Microsoft, used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage."

Comment PDP-8 ! (Score 1) 620

At work we have a PC Board component inserter robot that runs off a PDP-8. Programmed with paper tape. Yes. Paper tape. OK, well, plastic punched tape. There is a short stack of 'spare' PDP-8 rack units sitting in the crib just waiting for a failure. But you know what ? Digital Equipment made some rugged machines.

And in my old job in the defense industry we used a surplus Nike-Ajax missile radar, that was run off a synchro computer. I designed a digital interface to run it off a Z-80 processor.

Comment Better idea: Think VAR/Dealership vs. Tesla sales? (Score 1) 287

One industry that died with direct PC sales (Yes, you Mikey Dell) was the entire Value Added Reseller industry. There are a few still around, but the serried ranks of 'experts' went poof. This can be equated with the attempts to bypass the Auto Dealership model by Tesla.

I encourage this. The idea that consumers are too stupid to buy cars without expert assistance is as dumb as the idea that consumers needed help to buy complicated computers.

Comment Re:wha? (Score 4, Informative) 65

Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte (Systems, Applications, and Products).

Basically it's one of the two the largest Enterprise Resource Planning software companies in the world. Oracle is the other one. And since most SAP systems are run inside a highly protected corporate network, the self-promoting hysteria from this article is so much bullcrap.

Comment Re:No they don't (Score 2) 226

Since anti satellite technology is quite mature and tested, anyone who thinks that such a system would not have the equivalent of a few dozen nuclear shotguns permanently parked near it is... clueless. Of course the effect of having to destroy that would effectively make Earth orbit a no-go zone for decades until someone started sending up sweeper robots.


Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon 214

schwit1 writes: Moon Express, a Mountain View, California-based company that's aiming to send the first commercial robotic spacecraft to the moon next year, just took another step closer toward that lofty goal. Earlier this year, it became the first company to successfully test a prototype of a lunar lander at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The success of this test—and a series of others that will take place later this year—paves the way for Moon Express to send its lander to the moon in 2016. Moon Express conducted its tests with the support of NASA engineers, who are sharing with the company their deep well of lunar know-how. The NASA lunar initiative—known as Catalyst—is designed to spur new commercial U.S. capabilities to reach the moon and tap into its considerable resources.

Comment Re: Add noise (Score 3, Interesting) 86

Properly shielded equipment uses different methods to 'break the cage'. It's been many decades, but some of the heavily shielded designs I did in the 80's involved opto-isolators. Yes, that's right. Want to avoid radiating information ? Use light.

Keep in mind that the structure of the faraday cage depends on the frequency of the data being transmitted. It does not have to be unbreakable tin foil. Properly sized metal mesh will also do the job. Just ask anyone who tries to get a Wifi signal through an old wall with expanded metal lath and plaster.

Comment Re:Add noise (Score 1, Informative) 86

Yep. Ditto. I still recall one young smartass demonstrating to our boss that he could display what was on the Boss's computer monitor from about 30 feet away with an antenna and a circuit he built with a breadboard.

A faraday cage IS the only way to protect against this with 100% reliability.

Comment Misleading- Good will is common accounting (Score 5, Interesting) 255

The implied assumption in the article and in the commentary indicates a deliberate misdirection or a simple understanding of the accounting principles involved in how a business accounts for a BAD DECISION. Every business has the ability to use this 'loophole'. But it's not a 'loophole'. It's a simple recognition that a capital purchase that turns out to not be a good deal should have the loss (cost of the purchase price minus the fair market value of the asset) amortized over the book life of the asset against the income produced by the asset.

Kids, this is basic accounting 301 (Intermediate management accounting). Most accountants will tell you that having good will on your books means you made a dumb decision at some point, and paid more than something was worth. The title SHOULD read:

"Ballmer pays twice what Basketball team is worse, can't write it off immediately, has to wait 15 years."

Comment Glad to see you use the term 'assemble' (Score 4, Interesting) 391

Because I BUILT my first personal computer in 1976. This involved individual IC's, a wire wrap board, making my own PC boards for power and display, lots of soldering, switches to load and store programs, and LED's. 6502 processor and 1,000 bits of RAM, baby ! I mock anyone who thinks that plugging in a few parts is 'building a computer'.

Comment Do this (My solution) (Score 3, Interesting) 208

I keep an encrypted online database of my passwords. Sort of. I use a 'modular' password. One word is different, the other is always the same. So in my will I have the same word (and it's l33t combinations) written down, along with the address of the database. So anyone dealing after my death will know ALL my codes. My wife of 30+ years also keeps a copy of it, and knows the super secret codes.

I started this after being in a coma, and my wife having to deal with my PDA bleeping about meetings to her until the battery died. Which made her cry even more.

Comment Re:Ideas (Score 2) 195

Good approach. Making a mortal enemy of the outgoing sysop, or simply his object of scorn, will screw you badly.

Other than to say "you're screwed", the big step is to also ramp up the professionalism and start building a better system governance policy and documentation process. The best way to explain that to management is to ask "Do you fail the Hit By a Bus Test? ".... If your key administrators are hit by a bus, will your systems go dark ?

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_