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Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 2) 303

Even without that, it's a good scam. You ask people for money to guarantee something that will happen to some of them anyway. Imagine that the odds are 5%. You get 100 people to pay you the $250. 5 of them are lucky, so you keep $1,250. You refund the other $23,750 (after earning interest on it for a year, say $475 at a conservative 2% interest rate). Now you've made $1,725, for doing precisely nothing.

Comment Re:The problem with neural networks (Score 1) 39

But then one day the neural net has a "senior moment" and drives the car off a cliff.

It's actually your geek pride that just plunged to astounding depths.

Computers don't beat humans at chess by playing human chess better than humans. They beat humans by having a deeper view of the combinations and permutations and by making very few mistakes.

A momentary "senior moment" in a self-driving car (I wish I could have rendered that in priapismic scare quotes, but Slashdot defeats me) would just as likely be followed by a Mario Andretti moment 100 ms later as it recomputes several of the box-within-box outer safety profiles ab initio with fresh camera and sensor data. It's so unlike a senior moment as to make my jaw drop (unless you count those senior moments in Quake 3 where you could momentarily see through a solid wall if your POV landed on just the right surface boundary).

You had the whole time you were writing that paragraph to reverse out a bad rhetorical gambit, and never bothered.

What's next in the self-driving car? Liver spots? Bladder failure?

Comment Re:3 GHz, HDTV, human hands, and Secure Boot (Score 1) 181

CPU speed hasn't improved much since the 3 GHz wall

Clock speeds haven't improved much, but instructions per clock (as well as work per instruction) has increased quite a lot. Compare benchmarks of a 3GHz P4 and a 3GHz turbo-bosted i7 on a single-threaded workload and you'll see a huge difference, and that's ignoring that core counts have been going up.

PC monitor resolutions have flattened out with the economies of scale of 1366x768 and 1920x1080 panels

The 4K display on my desk, which cost about £200, on my desk says otherwise, as does the 15" 2880x1800 panel in my laptop and the 10" 1920x1080 in my oldish tablet (the manufacturer's newer model has a higher resolution).

And the form factor for a PC with a preinstalled multi-window OS hasn't changed much because adult human hands haven't changed much

My current laptop is about half the thickness and a lot lighter than the one that I bought from the same manufacturer, with the same market segment about 6 years ago.

Comment Re:Problem with the solution? (Score 2) 181

United has started to roll out something like this (they keep telling me about it, while apologising for the fact that it isn't yet in the planes that I happen to be in at the time), where you can stream the video content to your laptop / tablet / phone, rather than watch on the crappy screen on the back of the seat. It's not terrible well thought through, because they don't provide a little slot on the back of the seat to hold the tablet for you, so you have to balance it on the tray table, which they then put food on. I don't know how much they pay for the in-flight entertainment now, but I bet Netflix could undercut them (especially if they provided a limited catalogue to everyone and a less limited catalogue to their customers. One interesting option would be for Netflix customers to indicate their flight number and select things to be cached before boarding, while the plane is at the gate).

Comment Re:Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 349

I'm sure there were a bunch of students genuinely doing research from the profiles' info

Unless you mean that in the sense of 'research, heh, nudge-nudge-wink-wink, say no more', I'd be very surprised. Any ethics committee that approves such an experiment would be seriously derelict in their duty (anonymity and informed consent? What are they?).

Comment Re:Judging by the story so far... (Score 2) 349

I see this defence a lot, but doesn't make sense. There are other sites aimed at swingers, Ashley Madison was specifically for people who wanted to cheat (i.e. have extramarital sex without their spouse's consent) and for people who wanted to help them do so. I can't speak with great experience of swingers, having only known a couple, but from my experience they were respectful of other people's relationships (even if they found a desire for monogamy quite difficult to understand) and were only interested in dully consensual activities (which, if someone is in a relationship, includes the consent of their partner[s]).

Comment Re:I don't see the problem (Score 1) 98

Well that just goes contrary to my understanding of what the main CPU is supposed to do, crunch data, and as much of it efficiently as possible in the smallest package available

Why? Especially in a desktop package, space isn't a constraint. Die area is cheap, heat dissipation is expensive. Your choices are either add some rarely-used coprocessors in the available space, or don't use the space. The cost is the same in both cases.

Specialized hardware that's rarely used (relatively speaking) should resides outside of it via PCIe bus assuming latency and bandwidth considerations are met

Latency is one big issue. Another is power. Off-chip communication is slow and very power intensive. The ARM GPUs, for example, compute a hash of each tile before writing it off to the frame buffer, and if the hash is the same as the last time then they don't write it. That extra computation, which only saves a fraction of the total writes is still a net win for power.

I find it slightly ironic that you use SIMD as a counter example. SIMD is precisely the kind of thing that I'm talking about: something that's a big win for some workloads and can be powered off most of the time.

Comment Re:I don't see the problem (Score 1) 98

I have two words for you: Dark silicon.

Since the end of Dennard scaling, the transistor budget for new chips has kept increasing, but the powered transistor budget has not (or, at least, at a much lower rate). More L1 or L2 that needs to be powered all of the time is not easily affordable, but something that only runs when most of the rest of the chip is powered down is basically free (especially something as small as a DSP for voice). Expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing: features that give a big speedup or power saving when in use, but are not in use most of the time, are increasingly attractive additions to modern CPUs.

Comment Re:Sure, this will sell like hot cakes! (Score 1) 98

The problem is that it's very hard to detect, if it is true. Modern pseudo-random number generators use a block cypher and can provide output that will meet all statistical tests that you throw at it, but can be easy to compromise if you know the key. If you were the NSA, then you'd want to have some bits in the key known / predictable, but the rest provided by random electrical fluctuation so that anyone else brute-forcing the key would have to search the entire space, but you'd only have to search a much smaller space. For this reason, it's best not to trust hardware random number generators entirely. Using them as an entropy source for Fortuna is fine though (as long as they're not the only entropy source).

Comment Re:Star Trek computer (Score 1) 98

I remember a friend showing me the Mac built-in speech command stuff back around 1997. It wasn't a great demo: it seemed to interpret everything that he said as 'shut down the computer'. A few years later, this userfriendly comic showed a good reason why voice command is a bad idea.

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