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Comment: Automated restaurant (Score 1) 123

by ledow (#48220899) Attached to: Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

I have said for many years that, with an appropriate restaurant-savvy partner, I'd like to open an automated restaurant. In-table PC's to order things, with card-readers.

I don't want to wait for the waiter to come over until I can order a drink. I might have driven a long way and be gasping of thirst before I care about a menu. Press, press, done before I've even taken my coat off.

I want to see the whole menu. The ingredients. A picture. The price. The associated special offers. Does it have pepper on it? A fully interactive menu would be great, and not be covered in the gravy-stains of the last patron, or have bits scribbled out on it. Plus, when something is no longer available, bam, you can't order it. I could even press the "I have an allergy button" and see if anything is incompatible with that without relying on the waiter to run back and forth to the kitchen.

I might want to tip one member of staff, but not know their name (or they happen to have finished their shift by then). Press "tip", select staff member photo (or select "All staff"), type in a reason, swipe card, done. And no arguments over who I intended it for.

I might well want to pay for my own stuff and not have to wait for the end of the meal and argue with friends. Or order a slice of cake to take home as a last minute thought after I've paid. Or split the bill via various common calculations. Or even tag five items as what John has to pay and let him pay that off the bill because he has to leave early. Press, press, swipe. Done.

I might wall desire a human to talk to, if something cocks up. Big green help button lights up the table, which summons a waiter, much like airplane call buttons. The waiter still has to be around to shuttle things from the kitchen, and this way seems easier - and politer - than having to flag him down as he passes with a table full of plates. Press, done.

I might well decide to change the order mid-flow. So long as the kitchen hasn't started on it yet, why not? Until the order's locked in, I can alter it. And I can even "lock" certain portions if one person at the table wants the starter now while the others only want mains and want to argue over it. Press, press, done.

I might want to pay first, or pay once I've eaten everything. I can choose.

I might want to buy some wifi access, or get a code for the toilet (I disagree with limiting toilets to paying customers only, except on an honesty agreement, but some places do just that and your receipt contains your code for the toilet), or donate to the charity associated with the restaurant, or buy the chef's recipe book. Press, press, swipe, done.

I might want to move tables mid-order, or take my drinks outside. Press, press, done and the waiters and kitchen automatically know where I am.

The back-end? The waiters still wait. The bar tabs are still on the EPOS. The kitchen still gets a ticket about what table wants what. And those that want manual service press one button.

We've already automated every part of the experience but the customer's.

Comment: Re:It's in the license! (Score 1) 156

by ledow (#48220487) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

By the same token, if some bloke down the pub gives me a Windows key, shouldn't Microsoft allow it to activate?

It doesn't work like that.

Unfortunately, there's a difference between having a driver that won't drive a counterfeit chip, and one that actively "breaks" counterfeit chips.

In the same way that Microsoft are quite entitled to refuse to activate illegal copies of Windows, but they aren't entitled to take it upon themselves to format your hard drives when they find them.

Comment: Re:my thoughts (Score 1) 256

by silentcoder (#48220335) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

>This virus is well established in humans now in this outbreak, whereas before it was mostly a zoonosis (caught from animals). Mutations will now be being selected by their efficacy in prospering in us, not in the original host(s).

Indeed, where you're wrong is thinking that's a BAD thing -that's exactly what we, as the humans, WANT.
Almost every mild ailment we get from a virus today was once a plague far scarier than ebola.
They are mild ailments now because we, and the virusses, have both been evolving toward that. A virus that kills it's host, kills itself too - it's bad for a virus to be lethal at all and no virus is lethal because it's evil, they are lethal because they are not evolved to us as hosts *ENOUGH* - so they end up causing lethal harm to their hosts which kills them too.
In the medium to long term - the virusses whose hosts live longer, get spread to more people so they both outlive and outbreed the virusses whose hosts die sooner.
In other words on a sufficient timeline evolution of viruses always selects for REDUCED lethality.
If ebola is evolving for human hosts already, then it's likely to become progressively easier to survive with each generation and in due time, getting ebola will be ranked somewhere alongside catching the common cold.

Comment: Re:my thoughts (Score 2) 256

by silentcoder (#48220247) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

> Knowingly and needlessly risking one's life is squarely in idiot-territory.

No, your SENTENCE is squarely in idiot-territory.
Heroism evolved for a very solid reason: it's a survival benefit. It probably originated with "if I save my child, my genes live longer than if I save myself" but it expanded into what we know because it's a good thing. It's the difference between self-interest and ENLIGHTENED self-interest.
The more doctors offer to help in Liberia, the less people in Liberia get infected. The less people in Liberia get infected, the fewer potential people spreading it to other countries. The fewer people spreading it to other countries - the smaller the chance that somebody he loves will be affected (which has a very strong overlap with: people he has an evolutionary/genetic stake in).

Humans are, and can be, a lot more than evolution but evolution generally REMOVES tendencies that are bad for survival, heroism exists in all human cultures and across all ages, sexes and classes for a reason: it's an evolved survival mechanism.


FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the righteous-backpedaling dept.
New submitter weilawei writes: Last night, FTDI, a Scottish manufacturer of USB-to-serial ICs, posted a response to the ongoing debacle over its allegedly intentional bricking of competitors' chips. In their statement, FTDI CEO Fred Dart said, "The recently release driver release has now been removed from Windows Update so that on-the-fly updating cannot occur. The driver is in the process of being updated and will be released next week. This will still uphold our stance against devices that are not genuine, but do so in a non-invasive way that means that there is no risk of end user's hardware being directly affected." This may have resulted from a discussion with Microsoft engineers about the implications of distributing potentially malicious driver software.

If you design hardware, what's your stance on this? Will you continue to integrate FTDI chips into your products? What alternatives are available to replace their functionality?

Comment: Re:WTF, the antarctic gets FO before me? (Score 1) 80

by KeensMustard (#48219775) Attached to: Fiber Optics In Antarctica Will Monitor Ice Sheet Melting

That is very far from what I actually stated. GP claimed not to have seen any papers about geothermal activity.

The GP said this: Is that the [west antarctic ice shelf] that's shrinking due to geothermal effects?

I asked for proof of this alleged causation, in the usual form of a scientific paper detailing the causation.

You, for some reason, butted in and said: I'll help GP a bit and show you one.

There is no logical explanation for this, except that you claiming the associated papers were proof of causation. Further i later explicitly described your attempts as an attempt to demonstrate causation:

Did you link to the right article? The article you linked makes no mention of geothermal effects being responsible for the shrinking of the west antarctic ice sheet.

I didn't see anybody claiming that there were no papers pertaining to geothermal activity. You must think we all share your self professed ignorance.

Don't try to put words in my mouth, unless you want to make an instant enemy. That's not ethical.

I'll put YOUR words into your mouth anytime it pleases me to do so.

Comment: Re:Impressive (Score 1) 162

by ShakaUVM (#48219017) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

>Yes, his accent was horrible.

Yeah. I flinched at it. And his sentences were pretty basic. (Wo tai tai shi zhong guo ren, for example.)

That said, it's a nice gesture. When I went to China, people were constantly surprised at seeing a foreigner speak their language. It's a really diplomatic move on his part.

Comment: Re:panic (Score 1) 256

by riverat1 (#48219005) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Frank Hebert - Dune

Comment: Re:my thoughts (Score 5, Insightful) 256

by riverat1 (#48218991) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

Has anyone who flew on an airliner with someone who subsequently came down with Ebola gotten sick from it yet? Not that I've heard of but it's possible I suppose. The two people who got sick from Thomas Eric Duncan were directly involved with caring for him at the hospital and obviously didn't follow the procedures well enough to keep from getting infected. But now that the 21 day period has passed none of the people he was living with in Dallas got infected. That has to say something about how hard it is to get infected. It looks to me like Obama is following sound scientific advise and it's working so far. It's possible there may be some others who get it but we know how to control it and with our medical system I just don't see Ebola as a significant threat to the US.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.