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Comment: Re:There is only one way for MS to achieve this (Score 1) 394

Remember the Ubuntu phone? Remember what people were excited about regarding it? Notice how it hasn't been achieved due to various business cockblocks, thus leaving the gate wide open for someone bigger to step in? Hint hint.

Actually, there are a couple Ubuntu phones. Bq's Aquaris E4.5 was launched last month in Europe. (It's not the flagship device the Ubuntu Edge was suposed to be, but rather a semi-budget offering). And the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition is a mid-range device.

Comment: Re:Breakthrough? (Score 4, Insightful) 394

by JanneM (#49184159) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

Smart article yes, but it's still incredibly stupid to buy a lottery ticket.

Unless you think it's fun to play. Idle daydreaming about what you'd do if you won; the excitement as the numbers are called; the rollercoaster of emotion as you realize you may win - no you won't - oh but you did get a small price.

It's only stupid if you see it as an investment. See it as entertainment and it's no more dumb than paying to watch a movie.

Comment: Re: Cost savings (Score 1) 106

by JanneM (#49144065) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

It is ridiculous of course. It is also a common attitude among PI's toward their postdocs and students, especially in high-profile, high-pressure labs.

This letter from a PI to a worker made the rounds a few years ago. The PI claimed later it was a joke. It doesn't read like a joke, and the exact same attidude is not uncommon at all:

Comment: Re:I live in the Netherlands (Score 1) 304

by JanneM (#49134991) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

I used to ride every day. But my place of work changed, so now I walk and take the train instead. Around home we generally walk as well, so my bike sits unused for months on end.

Walking is also good exercize of course, but it does limit the range of places to go. I should fix up the bike and start using it again come spring.

Comment: Re:Black Mirror (Score 5, Insightful) 257

by JanneM (#49134869) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Automation changes the source of production from workers to machines. And that separates the source of production from the source of consumption.

To put it simply, robots produce wealth but does not consume it. Humans consume wealth, but (in this possible future) can no longer produce it. Robots have owners of course, but even if you ignore what happens to the majority of people, a few extremely wealthy people can not possibly make up for the consumption shortfall. Ten-thousand people with 10k each vastly outconsume (by necessity) a single person worth 100M.

So, if the entities making wealth and those using wealth become separate, you need a way to transfer wealth from one to the other. If not, you will see a slow-moving economic collapse, as lack of demand and cost-cutting automation drive each other down.

A basic income, generated from a tax on production (transaction tax, energy tax, direct tax on machinery) is one way, and has the benefit of being simple, straightforward and having low administrative overhead.

Comment: Re:Sounds pretty awesome... (Score 2) 131

by JanneM (#49133731) Attached to: Developers Disclose Schematics For 50-1000 MHz Software-Defined Transceiver

That said, I spend several years of my life helping to get rid of the Morse Code test for radio hams, so that smart folks like you could just take technical tests to get the license.

I'm currently assembling a Softrock Ensemble receiver just to play with SDR. I'm starting to become interested in more than passive receiving â" but a major part of my curiousity is about Morse, not voice. I can talk to anybody over the net after all, while Morse code communication feels like a very different kind of thing.

Comment: Re:Politics? (Score 4, Insightful) 106

by JanneM (#49133663) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

[...] and rather than cutting the least important program, they cut the most visible program, in an attempt to get their funding restored.

Honestly, though, a qestion-answer service for school children probably does rank among the least important programs for a research lab. I very much doubt this is part of their written remit (as opposed to communicate their actual research to the public), and the people spending time at work answering the questions certainly get zero professional recognition for it.

It does sound like a very nice, fun service. And I do agree that this kind of outreach is important. But if this is not part of what their funders want them to do, then it should come as no surprise if it's among the first things to go when money becomes tight.

You want this kind of thing to continue? Make sure there's funding (and paid time) earmarked for doing it. In fact, that may be a good idea in general: add a small fraction (.1% or even less) to any research grant over a certain size for general science outreach. If it's part of your funding, that also removes the career obstacles toward doing outreach we too often have now.

Comment: Re:amazing (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by JanneM (#49117441) Attached to: Intel Moving Forward With 10nm, Will Switch Away From Silicon For 7nm

I'm talking about the silicon chips doing the things that our brain can do, such as designing the next intel chip.

The major stumbling block isn't processor speed or capacity. It's that we don't know how to architect such a system in the first place.

And if you think about it, a lot of the "smart" things we want to automate really don't need anything like human-level or human-like intelligence. A car with the smarts of a mouse would do great as an autonomous vehicle. Real mice manage to navigate around a much more difficult, unpredictable and dangerous environment, using a far more complex and tricky locomotion system, after all.

Comment: Re:Software testing ... what a novel concept (Score 2) 108

by TuringTest (#49093343) Attached to: Scotland's Police Lose Data Because of Programmer's Error

Software testing doesn't protect against a user pressing the wrong button, which then works as expected. I agree it's a management error, but the failure in such cases is a lack of user testing.

Systems should be designed to follow the interactions that are more likely to be made by users, not the other way around - forcing users to follow the path that a developer thought would make sense. Unfortunately, user-centered design is still a foreign concept to a good chunk of developer houses.

Comment: Re:Does this give us anything Raspberry Pi didn't (Score 1) 35

by Halo1 (#49028281) Attached to: Linaro Launches an Open-Source Spec For ARM SBCs

But is there really a point of having ARM64 on an ultra low cost system? Its not like you are gonna be using the increased bandwidth or large memory amounts that 64bits brings to the table on a sub $150 SoC, hell I seriously doubt the board will have enough bandwidth on its I/O to even saturate a 32bit pipeline.

I think the main point is to have a low-cost development board that people can use to port their software to AArch64 and/or test it on that platform (as said by the AC I originally replied to). I'm also sure that even with bandwidth limitations, the octocore will prove its worth when running our compiler test suite.

Additionally, the AArch64 instruction set has been redesigned from scratch and a lot of historical baggage and special cases have been thrown out (e.g. no more arbitrary changing the PC with half of the available instructions, and no more two different instruction sets with dynamic switching between them), so it wouldn't surprise me if over time AArch64 processors could actually become more power-efficient than regular ARM cores. Right now the AArch64 cores still include the ability to run regular ARM code too, but I'm pretty sure that over time this functionality as well as the entire regular ARM line will be dropped in favour of AArch64.

Comment: Re:Does this give us anything Raspberry Pi didn't (Score 4, Interesting) 35

by Halo1 (#49024327) Attached to: Linaro Launches an Open-Source Spec For ARM SBCs

This is the first low-cost aarch64 silicon on the market. There are piles of piles of developers that will get it just for porting their software for arm64

This. Just logged in because I wanted to say exactly the same. Until now, afaik the cheapest option was actually a jailbroken iPad Mini 2 (and you obviously can't run Linux on that).

Documentation is the castor oil of programming. Managers know it must be good because the programmers hate it so much.