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Comment: Re:The poison pin ... (Score 1) 256

Somewhere else, maybe... at the border crossing they have near infinite power to mess with you by insisting on an extended identity, security and luggage check and usually to detain you for a short while too for almost no pretext at all. In fact your "defective phone" is now a possible terrorist bomb, let's just put you in a holding cell until we can determine it's not.

Comment: Re:Interpreting these conditions (Score 1) 81

by Kjella (#49190929) Attached to: Software Freedom Conservancy Funds GPL Suit Against VMWare

The controversial part, as I understand it, is the difference in interpretation of a license's conditions. For example, the difference between an "aggregation" and a "combined work" in the GPLv2 confused at least one Slashdot user.

Actually the ugliest part of the GPL which is clear as ink in law is what - if anything - makes inter-module communication derivative. The theory of derivative works mainly involve sections or elements reappearing in the derivative, like a composite made from a photo. It doesn't cover interfaces where independently developed code calls each other at all. If I wrap a GPL library into a web service, is calling it derivative? If the answer is yes, the GPL is extremely viral. If the answer is no, the GPL is in big trouble. Which is why you never get a straight answer.

This directly links in with the "mere aggregation" clause, if you can for example distribute a distro that has an application that sends mail and a mail server without those being derivative, can you also distribute proprietary software and this web service? Your software needs it, this software happens to provide it but it could in theory be provided by a different implementation. I'm sure Stallman says no, but it's entirely unclear to me if a judge would agree.

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 336

by Kjella (#49190145) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

It's worth noting that there is one piece of automation in cars already that does give a different kind of driving license in a lot of places: automatic gear change. If you get a driving license in a car that has an automatic transmission then you can't drive manual cars with it, though the converse is allowed.

And it's silly. You can give an 18yo (around here) that just got his license a Ferrari, that's legal. You can give him a 3500 kg van + 750 kg trailer, that's legal. Of course you shouldn't drive a car you can't handle, but learning it on your own would be no worse than a lot of the other "self-learning" on the road.

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 336

by Kjella (#49189795) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Even if you can account for such things, how will your autonomous vehicle handle malfunctioning sensors? Aerospace has been working at this for decades and still hasn't figured it all out.

The main reason to have pilots is that you have someone with "skin in the game", not because they're actually good backups. Like in your linked case there's several major pilot errors that were only possible because the safety systems were disabled due to a 30 second glitch in the sensor. After the sensor recovered the pilots were given multiple warnings about what was happening but instead caused such a massive stall that the computer refused to believe the sensors, going silent as the pilots slammed the planed into the ocean killing all on board.

If the computer had taken a HAL 9000 with "I can't let you do that, Dave" and taken the plane out of the stall once it recovered they'd be alive. If the computer had been forced to carry on despite the faulty sensor, it would still have engine power and altitude to infer that air speed is wrong and keep the plane flying and it would almost certainly have done a better job. They died because the default was in any out of the ordinary operation to let the humans take over. It's a better poster child for a self-flying plane than against it. But since the pilots paid with their own lives they become the lightning rod for the anger, while a self-flying plane crashing would be become a corporate nightmare.

Comment: Re:IANAL, but my answer would be no (Score 4, Insightful) 256

IANAL, but my answer would be no

And probably just as important in this case is YJMV - Your Jurisdiction May Vary. The UK is fascist country where I know it's illegal, I wouldn't bring any device I wouldn't unlock - I'd just make sure it's clean and I can download what I want once inside the country. The US is a fairly safe country thanks to the fifth amendment. The rest of the world? Dunno. Don't really care to research it either. If I was doing anything naughty I'd send it online or even in the mail. At least then they can't refuse me entry or any of that shit.

Comment: Re:You keep using that word.... (Score 1) 400

by Kjella (#49183731) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

Apple now has 20% of the market and 90% of the profits. Measuring units is a bit like counting songs published on Spotify while ignoring the number of plays. For both those numbers to be true Apple must be making about 40 times more profit per sale than Android.

Comment: Don't really see a downside (Score 1) 202

by Kjella (#49182085) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?

I use chip-and-pin today, do I really care if the "chip" ends up being a smart watch or cell phone? Not really. I just wouldn't allow it to pay without confirmation. On my own device I wouldn't mind using a fingerprint scanner instead of PIN either, just swipe my watch and push the "pay" button/scanner and I'm done. I have two debit cards today, I'm honestly not sure what the code on the second one is because I never use it.

Comment: Totally meaningless paper (Score 2) 242

by Kjella (#49176869) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

Sorry, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the real world. They're giving twenty people - ten in experiment group and ten in the control group 30 minutes to do a bit of analysis. And they measure minutes to apply a few changes, without any qualitative measure on how the code is growing. There's very little proof that the refactoring they did made any sense, the sample size is so low you'd never get reliable results and pretty much what you can conclude is that refactoring doesn't make hackjobs easier. Never thought so, that just involves finding the place something's happening and hack it. If it's a good idea, well... it works there and then.

Comment: Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 126

by Kjella (#49176257) Attached to: Physicists Gear Up To Catch a Gravitational Wave

Well somebody has to be the first at discovering something before somebody else can confirm it. And yes, in human years it might take a while to build another billion dollar project to do that. Science works on incomplete information, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to do science on. Has anybody independently verified the Higgs boson yet? All the exoplanets discovered recently? Probably not. That's always how it will be at the leading edge of science.

Comment: Re:"North Korean rebel movement" (Score 1) 62

by Kjella (#49173719) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement

Once the country tips though, there will be a short and intense period of violence that I hope stays contained within the country, but I fear will spill out to the south. Once that is over, North Korea will be split into two parts, one unified with the south and a portion annexed into China. I have no idea where the split will be.

Somehow I find that implausible, I expect China to take the whole country or not at all. South Korea would be to worried about a conventional or nuclear counter-attack on Seoul to do much of anything while China could probably swoop in and install a new authoritarian regime that by NK standards would seem like heaven, all they need to do is bring them into the 21th century. After that I'll think it'll be a bit like Life of Brian:

Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Attendee: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, peace - shut up!
Reg: There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.
Dissenter: Uh, well, one.
Reg: Oh, yeah, yeah, there's one. But otherwise, we're solid.

Comment: Re:Uh, what? (Score 2) 88

by Kjella (#49173175) Attached to: Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12

So the new spec removes the compiler front end from the graphics driver, greatly improving performance. Only the compiler back end is present in the graphics driver.

Not if you're talking game performance rather than compiler performance I think. From what I understand games generally compile their shaders to native instructions long before they're used, it's not just-in-time compilation like when you download javascript on a page and do it on the fly as you execute, more like delayed traditional compilation until you can optimize for this particular hardware like Gentoo ebuilds.

However, the IR instructions is probably much simpler than the source language, for example Java has tons of classes but only ~200 opcodes. It would make graphics drivers not quite, but a lot more like CPUs running "assembler-ish" code instead of being huge graphics libraries. Basically you're moving most of what's OpenGL/DirectX today over into the application. Stallman might not approve but it might mean more AAA games being able to run on a thin OpenGL Vulkan shim than Mesa.

Comment: Re:OpenGL? (Score 3, Interesting) 88

by Kjella (#49172885) Attached to: Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12

They've come full circle:
1. AMD announces Mantle, a low level graphics API which may give consoles an edge over the PC.
2. Microsoft panics and announces DirectX 12, aiming for pretty much the same thing.
3. Khronos Group panics and announces OpenGL Vulcan, aiming for pretty much the same thing.
4. AMD announces there'll be no public SDK of Mantle, use OpenGL/DirectX.

So in the end we'll probably have feature parity again. How important it is remains to be seen, outside of drawcall benchmarks it's unclear how much real world difference it makes, what is certain is that it exposes a lot more of the complexity to the developer. That of course gives you more room to optimize, but it remains to be seen how many will be able to take advantage of it.

On the bright side, it might actually mean there's less code that needs to be written and that open source might catch up a bit, it says it'll run on top of all platforms that support OpenGL ES 3.1 which might become a much bigger goal than OpenGL 4.x.

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