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Comment: Re: Scaled Composites renamed (Score 1) 38

by jd (#48909771) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

Solar sail can achieve 25% light speed, according to NASA, and Alpha Centauri is 4 light years away.

You want a manned mission (with robots doing all the actual work) to determine if the conventional wisdom that a manned mission to the outer planets is physically impossible is correct. Even if the pilot dies, you learn the furthest a manned mission can reach. There's seven billion people, you can afford to expend one or two. Ideally, they'd be volunteers and there'll be no shortage of them, but if you're concerned about valuable life, send members of the Tea Party.

Comment: Re: Scaled Composites renamed (Score 1) 38

by jd (#48909107) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

No big surprise. The military are willing to invest what it takes for what they need. Military entities are, by necessity, pitifully naive when it comes to anything useful, but once they specify what they think they want, they don't shirk at the cost, they get the job done. A pointless job, perhaps, but nonetheless a completed job.

The corporate sector wants money. Things don't ever have to get done, the interest on monies paid is good enough and there hasn't been meaningful competition in living memory. Because one size never fits all, it's not clear competition is even what you want. Economic theory says it isn't.

The only other sector, as I have said many times before, that is remotely in the space race is the hobbyist/open source community. In other words, the background behind virtually all the X-Prize contestants, the background behind the modern waverider era, the background that the next generation of space enthusiasts will come from (Kerbel Space Program and Elite: Dangerous will have a similar effect on the next generation of scientists and engineers as Star Trek the old series and Doctor Who did in the 1960s, except this time it's hands-on).

I never thought the private sector would do bugger all, it's not in their blood. They're incapable of innovation on this kind of scale. It's not clear they're capable of innovation at all, all the major progress is bought or stolen from researchers and inventors.

No, with civilian government essentially walking away, there's only two players in the field and whilst the hobbyists might be able to crowdsource a launch technology, it'll be a long time before they get to space themselves. The military won't get there at all, nobody to fight, so the hobbyists will still be first with manned space missions, but it's going to take 40-50 years at best.

We have the technology today to get a manned mission to Alpha Centauri and back. It would take 15-20 years for the journey and the probability of survival is poor, but we could do it. By my calculations, it would take 12 years to build the components and assemble them in space. Only a little longer than it took for America to get the means to go to the moon and back. We could actually have hand-held camera photos taken in another solar system and chunks of rocky debris from the asteroid belt there back on Earth before Mars One launches its first rocket AND before crowdfunded space missions break the atmosphere.

All it takes is putting personal egos and right wing politics on the shelf, locking the cupboard and then lowering it into an abandoned mineshaft, which should then be sealed with concrete.

Comment: Consumers? No just whiny fanboys (Score 3, Insightful) 103

by Sycraft-fu (#48908011) Attached to: NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

Consumers are fine. The only benchmark that matters to a normal consumer is "How fast does it run my games?" and the answer for the 970 is "Extremely damn fast." It offers performance quite near the 980, for most games so fast that your monitor's refresh rate is the limit, and does so at half the cost. It is an extremely good buy, and I say this as someone who bought a 980 (because I always want the highest end toy).

Some people on forums are trying to make hay about this because they like to whine, but if you STFU and load up a game the thing is just great. While I agree companies need to keep their specs correct, the idea that this is some massive consumer issue is silly. The spec heads on forums are being outraged because they like to do that, regular consumers are playing their games happily, amazed at how much power $340 gets you these days.

Comment: Apple is almost that bad (Score 1) 505

They support two prior versions of OS-X and that's it. So OS-X 10.7, released 3 years ago, is unsupported as of October 2014. I guess that works if you have the attitude of just always updating to the latest OS, but it can be an issue for various enterprise setups that prefer to version freeze for longer times, or for 3rd party software/hardware that doesn't get updated. Also can screw you over if Apple decides to change hardware like with the PPC to Intel change.

Comment: Re:Thrift store (Score 1) 420

by Andy Dodd (#48904345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Yeah. The reason you can't find 3-button mice are because scroll mice provide everything they did and more. Honestly I find it easier to position my fingers since the middle "button" is significantly different in feel than the others.

The only issue is that on SOME mice it's too easy to accidentally scroll.

Comment: And form talking to our researchers (Score 1) 103

by Sycraft-fu (#48901299) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: GPU of Choice For OpenCL On Linux?

Between a bit better language design and superior support and tools, CUDA is way easier to do your work in. We've 4 labs that use CUDA in one fashion or another, none that use OpenCL. A number have tried it (also tried lines like the Cell cards that IBM sold for awhile) but settled on CUDA as being the easiest in terms of development. Open standards are nice and all but they've got shit to do and never enough time to do it, so whatever works the easiest is a win for them.

On a different side of things, I've seen less issues out of nVidia on CUDA than AMD on OpenCL for video editing. Sony Vegas supports both for accelerating video effects and encoding. When I had an AMD card, it was crashes all the time with acceleration on. Sony had to disable acceleration on a number of effects with it. I had to turn it off to have a usable setup. With nVidia, I find problems are very infrequent.

Obviously this is one one data point and I don't know the details of development. However it is one of the few examples I know of a product that supports both APIs.

Comment: It's also a load of shit (Score 1) 325

by Sycraft-fu (#48897763) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

NTSC stuff is so bad when viewed on a large TV. It is amazing how blurry things look when you flip back and forth between the HD and SD channels. That is part of what lead to the rise of big screen TVs was actually having content for them. With NTSC, a large TV just meant a big blurry image. With ATSC it can mean a nice large image.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 325

by Sycraft-fu (#48897747) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Why shouldn't they continually improve their products? Even with NTSC sets this was done. New ones would be larger, have better focus, more clearly resolve the signal, have better phosphors, and so on. Why shouldn't this continue? They should keep trying to improve their products as technology allows.

None of that means you need to buy a new toy all the time though. You can stick with what you have until it breaks, or until the new stuff is a big enough leap that you wish to own it.

I think a lot of the whining from people comes down to simple jealousy. They'd like to own the new stuff, but cannot afford it, or do not wish to. So they try and hate on it and act like a luddite. You see it practically any time Slashdot has a story on new technology. People complain about it like it is somehow a bad thing that there might be something new.

Comment: And they could probably handle 120fps (Score 1) 325

by Sycraft-fu (#48897721) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Most panels in higher end screens are actually real 120fps panels. However that is just used for 3D and for reduced motion blur. The only set I know that advertises support for 120fps input is Vizio. Others could do it, if they wanted to, however.

As you say, the issue with higher refresh rates isn't in the display technology.

Part of it is just getting people used to the idea I think. We've seen shitty, jerky, frame rates in moves for so long people start to associate that with being "cinematic". People need to get used to the idea that's bullshit and maybe they'll start to like it more.

Hopefully sports and such will get shot at 60fps some day and that may help.

Comment: Oh yay, more about the bullshit clock (Score 5, Insightful) 214

by Sycraft-fu (#48897163) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Moved Two Minutes Forward, To 23:57

You know, when something says that we are so close to destruction for over half a century... well you have to wonder why anyone would put any stock in it. It is a bit hard to reconcile with being on the edge of destruction, and yet everything continuing to not be destroyed.

Comment: It also doesn't really matter (Score 4, Insightful) 145

by Sycraft-fu (#48895419) Attached to: NVIDIA Responds To GTX 970 Memory Bug

Thing thing is if you go and look at benchmarks of the cards in actual games, you find out the 970 wrecks shit, particularly given its price point. The 980 is an overpriced luxury (I say this as a 980 owner) because the 970 gets nearly the same performance for like half the price. The difference with its memory controller just doesn't seem to matter in actual games out there on the market.

And that's the real thing here the the spec head forget: You buy these to run actual software. If it does well on all actual software, then who gives a shit about the details?

Comment: Not necessiarly (Score 1) 180

He may well have been as smart as he thought (I'm not saying that is the case for sure, mind) but turns out others were smart enough, and more knowledgeable in the ways that mattered.

Hans Reiser is a good example. Man is unquestionably very smart. However, he had the geek hubris that I call SMFU, Smartest Motherfucker in the Universe syndrome. He figured he was so much smarter than everyone else, he could easily get away with his crime. Turns out that the police have some smart people too, and those people know a lot more about criminal investigation than he did.

Comment: Right and wrong (Score 1) 180

Right in that yes, they already have a lot of evidence, and are just working to seal the deal. They like to have everything in a row and an overwhelming amount of evidence before going to trial.

Wrong about the contempt thing. If you look it up in the US you find out that the courts have decided the 5th amendment applies to passwords. So you can keep your mouth shut and they can't compel you to hand over a password. If it is locked with something physical like a key fob or fingerprint, that you have to hand over. Basically if something is solely in your mind, they can't compel you to hand that over if it can be used against you.

Comment: Geeks in particular tend to forget this (Score 4, Insightful) 180

by Sycraft-fu (#48879147) Attached to: Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

The FBI may not be all up to date on the latest technologies and they aren't great at dealing with things purely in the digital world. However they are one of, if not the best investigative organizations in the world. They have a lot of experience investigating crimes of all kinds, often committed by experienced criminal organizations that are quite clever.

So there's a good chance if they are interested in getting you, they will. They are quite literally professionals at it, and they institutionally learn from their experience. You very well may know a lot more about computers than they do, but they almost certainly know way more about criminal investigations than you do.

Fundamentally, there may be no basis for anything.

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