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Comment Humans want scarcity (Score 4, Interesting) 503 503

I think the idea of a "post scarcity" world is incompatible with some pretty basic human psychology. Even in the modern world, there are some resources (information) that have, for all practical purposes, become infinitely available. Yes, getting access to it isn't universal yet, but even amongst those who have a broadband connection, information is still locked away behind paywalls, media stores, etc.

This leads me to think we'll always have some kind of scarcity, even if it's artificial scarcity. Because there will always be some things that aren't infinitely available. As technology increases, those finite things won't be material, resources or even dare I say it energy but it could very well be abstract things like ideas (copyright) and inventions (patent). Part of it is probably that people need distinction in order to differentiate themselves from their peers. Another is just pure greed; some people like being perceived as better than others.

Comment Re: It's an algorithm (Score 3, Insightful) 352 352

One could point out that there are fewer instances of white males being miscategorized. I suspect this has less to do with any actual racism and more to do with the fact that the people who developed the algorithm are likely predominantly white males and they tend to first test the algorithm on their own collection of photos or those in their circle.

This is an argument for a more diverse workforce...

Comment Re:How is this relevant? (Score 1) 204 204

That depends. I own an SP3 but also have a Nexus 7 from 2013. I still use the Nexus not just because of the lighter form factor (and far superior battery life) but because there are actual apps on it that aren't available on Windows. We're getting to the point where Android and iOS *are* the de facto platforms for new software to come out on and Windows ends up waiting months to forever for the web interface to even remotely offer the same level of functionality as the app version.

Comment Re:The iPad Has Plenty of Horsepower (Score 5, Informative) 204 204

In these form factors, it's no longer a question of peak CPU performance. These processors all thermal-throttle to the point where none of them are going to be performing at peak while in these form factors. The same i5 in the Surface will provide significantly more performance when in another form factor (like a NUC).

Which is interesting in that it means today, the design of the device itself -- in terms of heat dissipation coupled with total system power -- is what determines performance, not which processor model you have.

Comment I don't see the big deal (Score 1) 194 194

I really don't see what the fuss is about. I have a lot of empathy for people who lost their jobs but software -- especially if you have Yahoo on your resume -- is a booming industry and there are plenty of jobs out there. I honestly can't muster too much sympathy for software developers who are unemployed right now.

That being said, Yahoo did need a "remixing" and whatever word you use to describe it is rather unimportant. I don't see why that was a point of focus in the story. Companies aren't around to just give people jobs for the sake of giving them jobs. If these people weren't important to the eventual strategy and success of Yahoo well...they should go, or be "remixed" or "downsized" or whatever.

Comment Re: Try and try again. (Score 2) 445 445

I think that's an exaggeration. What the iPhone -- even first gen -- could do, it did miles better than the WinM 6* or any of its competitors did. Did it lack a lot of features? Of course. But like just about everyone who couldn't get their heads around the idea that features aren't the end-all-be-all of gadgets (and yes, that's what all of these things are), what it could do at release was 99.999% of what people wanted a mobile connected gadget for -- text message, make phone calls, play music/videos on a small screen. It put that in a decently small package with decent battery life and a UI that teenagers and soccer moms could figure out with ease.

If you want to attribute all of that under "fashion" then it's pretty telling.

Comment Re:Few Million a Year is a BIG Stretch Goal (Score 4, Interesting) 181 181

The stated ambition was "about a million cars" The article is incorrect in its quote. The liveblog (and video) are much more accurate.

One thing unique about Tesla's manufacturing is that the supply chain is materials. Most everything else is produced by Tesla themselves at the Fremont factory. Many questioned why this decision was made but there are many long-term benefits. When your supply chain is all raw materials, availability becomes much more predictable and your ability to influence the supply by pumping some money into a mine is far easier than say, getting a different company to shape up and manufacture more parts.

The only part of a Tesla that isn't produced at Fremont are the batteries and that's why the Gigafactory is coming online.

Comment Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 1) 181 181

Maybe not but every politician represents the needs of his electorate and that electorate certainly want to keep their jobs.

I'm not saying it's a good reason but often times, technological changes can blind-side a good portion of the population and we have to consider that. Perhaps not stop progress but definitely slow down adoption to give the population time to find new jobs.

Comment Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 2) 181 181

In such a situation, the franchise owner should've had enough foresight (especially given the vast amount of previous history) to add to the franchise agreement a non-compete clause. Free market and all.

Sometimes one side of said contract has too much power and we need the government to step in and make a law. The problem with that approach is that those laws often outlive their intent. The franchise laws to protect auto dealers were enacted in a day where the Big Three auto makers were the only business in town and continually abused that position. Nowadays they're scrambling for their lives.

The laws in place are no longer needed and now hamper innovation as it presents a major barrier to entry for upstart car companies -- something the people who wrote those laws never considered possible. Therefore they should be repealed.

Comment Re:Core of the article (Score 1) 449 449

How about graceful seg faults instead of program crashes? Obviously modern architectures don't really support such things but one can imagine a processor that detected bad pointers instead of causing the program to crash. In fact, each program could program or transaction even could program a pre-determined fault handler.

What'll happen is:

1. Thread A sets a "start of code snippet" and programs an address that has a fault handler.
2. Thread B starts its processing as well.
3. Thread A at some point tries to dereference a pointer at address X.
4. Thread B races ahead and deletes the pointer at address X.
5. Normally, in protected memory, the processor would throw a fit as thread A tries to access an illegal memory address.
6. Instead, the processor jumps to thread A's custom fault handler.
7. Thread A's fault handler sees "hey, my code snippet tried to access an illegal address and I, the thread, am not guaranteed to be thread safe". It then rolls back all of the work it's done up until the instruction that faulted.
8. Thread A tries again starting from 1. It could, at some point, decide to not try the thread unsafe method (if it faults too many times) and actually use the old mutex locking method.

The idea is that the majority of the time, thread A and thread B don't actually conflict. Or thread A wins the race. In those cases, you have a case of parallel computation speedup.

It's up to the programmer (or compiler, probably a JIT) to recognize when to exploit this by analyzing the algorithm and the likelihood of conflict. A JIT would probably use profiling information it gets in real time.

Nobody's saying this will replace 100% of all synchronization methods. But we don't need to. To get a speedup, you only need to technically replace 1 use case. But most likely, you can replace a lot (90%) of use cases.

Comment Re:Core of the article (Score 3, Insightful) 449 449

The idea isn't that the computer ends up with an incorrect result. The idea is that the computer is designed to be fast at doing things in parallel with the occasional hiccup that will flag an error and re-run in the traditional slow method. How much of a window you can have for "screwing up" will determine how much performance you gain.

This is essentially the idea behind transactional memory: optimize for the common case where threads that would use a lock don't actually access the same byte (or page, or cacheline) of memory. Elide the lock (pretend it isn't there), have the two threads run in parallel and if they do happen to collide, roll back and re-run in the slow way.

We see this concept play out in many parts of hardware and software algorithms actually. Hell, TCP/IP is built on having packets freely distribute and possibly collide/drop with the idea that you can resend it. It ends up speeding up the common case: that packets make it to their destination along 1 path.

Comment Re:One fiber to rule them... (Score 2) 221 221

REAL proponents of free market capitalism should have no problem with that idea. Those who do are those who either (A) don't understand that currently we have an oligopoly not a free market, or (B) want to protect their privileged position.

Or (C) think they should be able to sell faster access to some and or priority services to some.

The whole problem with net neutrality is that it wants everyone to be the same even though everyone doesn't want to be the same. Suppose your Aunt Marry only checks email and recipes on the internet so she decided to get the cheapest version of braodband she could. Now suppose netflix says I want to service her but she only has a 1.5 meg connection and needs a 4 meg connection to use our service effectively. So they pay to have her services increased for the packets that stream from their services so they do not have to convince Aunt Marry to not only pay the monthly rate to them, but to pay their provider more for faster service.

So now Aunt Marry can keep her slow service that she likes and still have netflix for those nights when the cats and cable TV just isn't enough. But Net Neutrality proponents say they don't want that. Aunt Marry will have to pony up all the money herself.

Except Title II isn't about net neutrality. Title II is about allowing more companies to access the physical lines so that there's competition. So that even if priority access is a thing the market wants, the ISP's won't get to overtly abuse their ability to have paid priority lanes. It's about encouraging more competition (similar to anti-trust laws) such that market forces can work.

Comment Re:Still pretty affordable (Score 1) 393 393

Yes on the later question. In northern CA, they also offer "EV" plans where there are no more tiers. The base rate is higher (11cents/kWH after 11pm, peak of about 35cents/kWH during the day) than the tiered system (which starts at 5cents/kWH after 11pm with a peak of ~15cents/kWH, but grows exponentially).

But if you're charging an EV, you'll likely blow past the tiers anyway so having the EV plan works better. With a Model S, at least, you'll really only need to charge it at night and the software lets you schedule charging.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein