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Comment: Re:so we wasted a shit load of money on colliders? (Score 3, Interesting) 113

by kwikrick (#44989985) Attached to: 3mm Inexpensive Chip Revolutionizes Electron Accelerators

These new devices only accelerate electrons. For high energy physics research other particles need to be accelerated and collided, e,g, hadrons (hence the name Large Hadron Collider) It's unclear if the same tech can be used for other particles. Rubbish TFA.

Comment: Re:don't (Score 1) 682

by kwikrick (#44989833) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

I feel the same way, but i know i'm wrong. People have many needs, but most of them are not essential. The majority of us (in Europe and the US anyway) already have food, shelter, clothes, etc, so we focus on cell phones. A cell phone is much easier to obtain than immaterial things like friendship, fulfillment, happiness, etc. It's the sadly ironic human condition.

Anyway, cell phones can be useful at times and I can even imagine a situation where it might be useful for a father removed from his 4yr old. May be there is a better solution than a cell phone for the kid, which brings its own problems... really don't have enough information to judge.

Comment: Re:questions (Score 1) 78

by kwikrick (#44861571) Attached to: Mitsuku Chatbot Wins Loebner Prize 2013

of course, Turing's original idea was to device a test for intelligence in a computer. That seems useful, having an intelligent computer. Lacking a good definition for intelligence, Turing decided that a good test would be for the computer to convincingly pretend to be a human, which are supposedly intelligent. Now it seems that passing for a human is not that hard after all. Mostly this is because humans can be stupid, unreasonable, distracted, emotional, etc. All these states can be simulated, with fairly simple algorithms to generate a particular kind of responses, avoiding the need to really understand the conversation.

I still think Turing's original idea is a good one, only it needs to be more specific: pretend to be a professor in electrical engineering, who's sober, trying to be helpful, with a wife, two kids and a dog, etc. Or something like that; the point being, someone you can have an intelligent conversation with. Not: pretend to be a bored 13 year old in a chat room who's trying to out-funny you.

Comment: my 2yr old (Score 3, Insightful) 534

by kwikrick (#44861225) Attached to: Toronto Family Bans All Technology In Their Home Made After 1986

My 2 year old loves playing with tablets, phones, computers, electronic toys, etc. I have to admit I sometimes worry about that a bit. On the one hand i feel that it's actually good - she'll need those skills in her future - and i'm proud that those little fingers already know how to navigate user interfaces. She's learning words and pictures from playing simple games and toddler apps. On the other hand, i worry that stuff is overstimulating - bright colors, music, sounds, pictures of cute little animals - like candy wrappers, made to attract kids to something unhealthy, and addictive. Also, most apps are very limited and repetitive, not engaging a child's creativity.

But then, what do i do when I've got some free time? I sit behind my computer, or in front of the tv, mostly. And kids imitate what their parents do. Also I have to admit I do find it convenient to have my hand free when she's focused on a led screen.

Fortunately, my little girl also loves to go outside. If I leave her with the tablet, she'll get bored after a while and will want to do something else. She'll come to me and drag me outside.

So, if your kid spends a lot of time playing with electronic toys, it's probably because they're imitating you. You want you kid to do more creative stuff, art & crafts, do it yourself! Do the dishes by hand, and they'll want to help out. Kids can moderate themselves, but they don't want to do what you want them to do when you want them to. Sometimes you'll need to force them to do things, but try to avoid it. Instead, be ready to join in their activities. So if your child wants to go outside in the rain, put on your boots and go stamp in some puddles together. Technology may be a bit additive (not immune myself) but making it illegal will only make it more attractive. Let technology work for you, let them learn from it, and enjoy it, while you can do something else, or join in the fun. Your kid will get bored with it after a while, and then you need to be ready to offer alternatives.

Comment: Re:Not paranoid *enough* ? (Score 1) 366

by kwikrick (#44819711) Attached to: Are the NIST Standard Elliptic Curves Back-doored?

Hmmm, perhaps it sufficient to just find a class of inputs that generates a particular class of hashes. Then pick a random input in that class
and use it as an elliptic curve parameter. I don't know if that's sufficient to generate weak elliptic curves. But if so, then the NSA doesn't need to have solved SHA1.

Comment: Re:This is stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 407

by kwikrick (#44164413) Attached to: NSA Backdoors In Open Source and Open Standards: What Are the Odds?

Fearmongering, yes.
But not impossible.
It's not so easy to make sure that a program is a correct implementation of a mathematical algorithm or of an open standard.
A subtle bug (purposeful or not) in a crypographic algorithm or protocol can be exploited.
Writing a bug is much easier than spotting it.
Many applications and OSes get security updates almost dayly. They certainly haven't found them all yet.
Perhaps the NSA has engineered backdoors in our free software at some point, but those vunerabilities have been patched already.
Mosty paranoia then....
Rick

Comment: Re:Look what happened to Netbooks (Score 1) 216

by kwikrick (#43351425) Attached to: Why You Should Worry About the Future of Chromebooks

I looked into Chromebooks, but installing Linux on them is surprisingly not so straightforward, because these machines have a locked down bios. You can install and run linux, but every time you boot, you need to manually interrupt the boot process and give permission to run Linux. That held me back from buying one. With a normal (UEFI) bios, you can use various linux bootloaders and have a normal boot process.

Comment: Re:Look what happened to Netbooks (Score 1) 216

by kwikrick (#43345511) Attached to: Why You Should Worry About the Future of Chromebooks

RIght. You can still get small laptops (10-13 inch) sold as netbooks for around 300 dollars (or 300 euros in europe), but you don't get the value for money that you used to get a couple of years ago. All the cheap netbooks now come with harddrives, because even a much smaller SSD is more expensive. So that reduces battery life. Of course, you now get Windows 8 with it. What a laugh! So you install a linux distro on it, struggle a bit with UEFI and hardware drivers, etc.

Bottom line: netbooks are still around, but have become more expensive, less functional (windows 8) and require more work (install linux).

 

Comment: solids or surfaces? (Score 1) 218

by kwikrick (#43192917) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best 3-D Design Software?

I'm not sure what the requirements are for models to be 3D printed. I can imagine you need a solid model to make a print, but the software that comes with the printer can probably convert a surface model into a solid model. Most objects you'll print wont be very solid anyway, but rather thin-walled hollow objects.

I'm guessing a surface modeller like Rino, Blender or Wings3d are the best option, since these a cheaper than solid modelling software and more suitable for creative design.

Solid modellers like Solidworks, Catia and Proengineer are used in industry, and may give you more control over the solidity of your model (like where supports should go and how thick these must be). For the extra money you'll get many extra features that you'll never use.

Rick

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