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Comment: Re:Chips! (Score 4, Interesting) 26 26

Crunch all you want, we'll make more. Sounds artificially intelligent.

I am not sure if their strategy will work. Training a neural net requires massive compute resources, usually in the form of GPUs. But once the NN is trained, it doesn't require much computing to use it. For instance, a Go playing NN took 5 days to train, running on high end GPUs, but once trained, could consistently beat Gnu Go (which can consistently beat me) while using far less computing time.

Comment: Re:Round and round (Score 1) 50 50

> A crash of a 4kg drone *slowed by its parachute*, or a crash of a 4000kg delivery truck?


These drones do not carry parachutes. That would make no sense. The parachute would add significant weight, and would do little good. The main structural material of these UAVs is Styrofoam, so they already have a low terminal velocity. Nearly all crashes occur during either takeoff or landing, and too close to the ground for a parachute to deploy.

Comment: Re: Falling on deaf ears (Score 4, Insightful) 88 88

Move the production where, Europe? Trade treaties will take care of that.

Nonsense. There is no way that European countries (other than Britain, of course) are going to force their citizens to use devices that the American government can monitor. If they try that, Marine Le Pen will be the next president of France.

Asia? Treaties again.

China is far less likely to agree to American backdoors than Europe is. It is not going to happen.

Comment: backdoor versus sidedoor. (Score 2) 88 88

Discussing this as a "backdoor" conflates this with the usual hidden backdoor which is a bad thing. Putting in a backdoor that is freely accessible and leaves no trace of its accession is ill advised. But I fail to see why there are no technological means to secure keys for multiple parties. you can even have crypto so multiple parties must agree so for example like my safe deposit box the bank and I both have to agree that I am me.

Now that's a different question of whether
1) I might encrypt the data on my own or use a thrird party client that uses googles services but keeps things encrypted in passage. That defeats the abililty to side door googles encryption.

2) I might off shore my data to someplace outside such laws (do I trust them is another matter).

3) the dent this might cause in googles popularity outside the US--I actually doubt this since de facto it has been the case in the past that the NSA had free range of google and no one cared deeply. But Will china also demand that google also let it have side door access as a condition of doing bussiness there? Still while a mess it's not technologically difficult.

4) an even stickier issue might be who all has to agree to unlock the data. Google+NSA. Google+China. those are doable. but Google+NSA+China is a problem. China might not want the NSA peeking at chinese national accounts without it's permission. Nor perhaps North Korean or any number of disputed places the NSA is interested in.

So there's a political mess here and some ways consumers can defeat it, but I fail to see why someone like Bruce Schneir would say there's no technical means to do this at the level of google or apple or major sites when there plainly is.

Comment: Re:Round and round (Score 1) 50 50

Can a 4 rotor continue flying, or at least make an emergency landing without flying wildly or crashing, if one rotor goes out?

The rotors are driven by brushless DC motors, which are extremely reliable. The drone is far more likely to crash due to weather, collision, software bug, etc. Which is likely to do more harm: A crash of a 4kg drone, or a crash of a 4000kg delivery truck?

Comment: Re:Falling on deaf ears (Score 4, Insightful) 88 88

You cannot, under any circumstances, convince the government that having a backdoor into all those things is a bad thing.

But you can convince individuals that their privacy will not be protected, and you can convince companies that few will buy their products. The Clipper chip did not fail because the government was convinced, but because of a backlash from consumers that didn't want it, and from companies that threatened to move their production overseas. The current proposals will fail for the exact same reasons.

Comment: Re: UI shouldn't be restricted to web / software (Score 2) 256 256

I'm in a similar situation and it will surprise he hell out of you how little design choices or sudden small changes just wreck a senior persons ability to use a device. When Google moved the reply compose window from new page to an inline division at the bottom of the page seniors I know were unable to adjust. What seems to be lost is the cognitive clue of the new page load or Pop up window that one is changing context. The subtle sliding open of a new field at the end if the message window that you may need to scroll to proved almost unlearnable. Sure it's better Ajax than a new page load but it's not good for intuition. Things that are modal rather than expose on mouse over are much better for arthritic or less attentive mouse users. Likewise all those genie effects and skeimorphic interfaces and 3d pulsating buttons apple seems to be running away from are exactly the clues seniors need.

When it comes to physical appliances having rotary switches that change menus but have no absolute rotation position are death to people with macular degeneration or arthritis. The worst are the dials on washing machines which free rotate when pulled out loosing the correlation of clock positional orientation and function. You can't buy a washer with just one big red button that says just wish my fucking clothes instead you have to finely rotate a knob past the permeate press setting to the normal settings beginning of cycle. But don't go too far or you miss the wash portion and just skip to the spin cycle. Behold needs this control? Why does apple or dishwasher makers think it's a good idea to make all buttons the same size shape and in one row? These thing just don't work for partly sighted or people with atheist is or motor impairments. Stroke victims can just give up. Making buttons different and putting some space between them would help

The floating ad bars at the bottom of slash dot for mobile users are impossible for non nimble fingers to dismiss , they are deliberately misleading appearing to be controls, and make the real buttons on the page unreachable.


Hacking Team Scrambling To Limit Damage Brought On By Explosive Data Leak 86 86

An anonymous reader writes: Who hacked Hacking Team, the Milan-based company selling intrusion and surveillance software to governments, law enforcement agencies and (as it turns out) companies? A hacker who goes by "Phineas Fisher" claims it was him (her? them?). In the meantime, Hacking Team is scrambling to minimize the damage this hack and data leak is doing to the company. They sent out emails to all its customers, requesting them to shut down all deployments of its Remote Control System software ("Galileo") — even though it seems they could do that themselves, as the customer software apparently has secret backdoors. Perhaps they chose the first route because they hoped to keep that fact hidden from the customers? And because every copy of Hacking Team's Galileo software is secretly watermarked, the leaked information could allow researchers to link a certain backdoor to a specific customer.

Comment: Re:Therac 25 (Score 4, Interesting) 256 256

A race condition in the software and counter overflows are not "Bad User Interfaces". They are software defects.

In the case of Therac25, the bugs were triggered by a sequence of keystrokes that the UI programmer did not expect. The deaths were the result of a cascade of errors. The programmer was incompetent, and never should have been writing critical code. After the fatalities, the code was reviewed by experts, and they were horrified that such a mangled mess of spaghetti was controlling a lethal machine. The code was never reviewed by anyone, and there was no testing by anyone trained on QA, and no third party testing at all. Most importantly, the radiation shield and trigger were under full software control, with no mechanical interlocks. Even after the first reported deaths, they continued to insist that the software could not possibly be at fault, when an experienced engineer would consider a software bug to be the mostly likely explanation.

Comment: Re:compensating? (Score 1) 400 400

Maybe you missed the part where he said 'allows'? Maybe your mind is made up?

The Soviet Union allowed many of its citizens to own guns. There were restrictions on handguns, and private guns were banned in some urban areas. But most people could legally own a rifle or shotgun, and many people did. The same is true in Russia today. Gun ownership is common.

The homicide rate in Russia is far higher than America, but Russia does not report gun homicides separately, so a direct comparison is difficult.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.