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Comment Re:I will NEVER understand the appeal of this syst (Score 1) 174

I think it would be quite convenient to have a cell notification go off when the oven has reached the right temperature or has finished cooking, or an alert that my stove has been on for over an hour. I wouldn't object to computer control for lights either (press a button to turn off every light when it's time for bed, etc).

None of these features seem particularly valuable to me, but I'd personally more than happily spend a few thousand for a wired house if I was already dropping hundreds of thousands on the house itself.

Of course your opinion is obviously different, but these systems already exist in multiple forms, so there's obviously a target market for them. The existing technology is also very crude and haphazard for the most part, so anyone who comes along and strong-arms the players into a single standard will probably profit handsomely.

Comment It's a software bug, hardware unrelated (Score 4, Insightful) 193

A graphing calculator would probable have adequate power to handle taking votes. If the DOS machines are meeting the specifications required for Flanders elections, there's not much of a reason to upgrade them.

I guess I'm just not seeing the story here. Linux wouldn't stop a software bug either. I guess the only hassle here is that they might have to dig out the parallel cables to patch the machines.

Comment Re:Second Life anyone? (Score 1) 88

"against CCP's rules for any exchange of ingame goods/currency for real world money"

That's certainly true now, but it's changing. First of all (to anyone who doesn't know), you can buy subscription time with ingame currency at a supply/demand driven rate. That certainly gives the Eve currency at least some meaningful value.

As of last week though, you can actually buy a collectors edition box with isk. CCP has stated they want to continue expanding uses for isk (in the form of PLEX, to any players who know the lingo), and it's clear to me that CCP realizes the possibility that Eve will likely be free to play sometime in the future (maybe 10+ years, but they know it might need to happen), and if Eve is free to play the alternate uses for PLEX will be the revenue drivers for CCP. Expect to see more and more in game and limited out of game goods services available for isk.

Comment The gap seems reasonable (Score 5, Interesting) 179

"In the last nine months, Microsoft spent $2.1 billion on the Surface, and gained $1.8 billion in revenue"

That gap really isn't too bad, certainly better than the Xbox/360/XB1 numbers which follows the same strategy of selling at a loss (after marketing) and making it up later with services. The mere fact that Microsoft is actually doing 500 million dollars a quarter in Surface is actually quite impressive.

Right now Microsoft needs market share, so I'd say the strategy isn't altogether a bad one. Especially considering that 2 Billion USD in hardware sales is definitely going to result in at least a couple hundred million in service revenue from Office and such.

Comment Re:FAR better than fossil fuels, and even better t (Score 1) 191

Do you have any sources for this claim?

Every source I've been able to find estimates a 2-3x increase in Lion capacity in the last 25 years.

You're also very wrong about laptop battery life. The increase in laptop battery life is almost entirely due to the huge advancements made in frequency scaling, advanced idle states, and fine grained power management (ie shutting down individual cores when not in use).

You'll find that new laptops (and cell phones) will still run their batteries down very fast when actually under load, but when doing normal desktop tasks all of the advanced power saving features on the silicon are vastly cutting down laptop power consumption. Lion capacity has very little to do with it.

Comment This counts as a "rumor"? (Score 1) 189

This isn't a rumor, it's just a news article. The article is titled "Analysis: Satya Nadella must kill Windows Phone and fork Android".

Nowhere has Microsoft given any impression that they are considering this, this is simply a writer for The Guardian thwoing out a crazy idea. From a technical and business standpoint, it's a very rough idea for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone has been doing pretty well too recently, at least as far as market share growth and raw sales numbers are concerned. It's doing quite well in Europe (which US news downplays), and in the US marketshare went from 2.6% to 4.7% over the last year. Obviously not very impressive but it's far from a dying platform.

Comment Re:A Microsoft Killswitch (Score 5, Interesting) 214

This doesn't sound much different to any other anti-virus removal. Microsoft almost certainly used the Microsoft Security Essential update to kill Sefnit, as they do with so many other viruses.

"the total number of computers on the Tor network ballooned from 1 million to 5.5 million as Sefnit spread"

These weren't dedicated Tor nodes that were taken offline because they were being used for malicious purposes, these were infected PCs with a virus that used Tor as the communication protocol. An outdated and vulnerable version of Tor was hidden in a "location that almost no human user would"

If a PC was infected with Sefnit and had the signature old version of Tor in the hidden location, Tor was removed because it's logically the case that Tor was just part of the virus payload. Because of the unique install directory, there wasn't even a remote chance for false positives. Publicly available tools that can be used for good or bad are hijacked by viruses all the time, and it's never a surprise if an anti-virus removes that tool when the virus specific files are removed.

Comment Re:How about... (Score 1) 249

"Really, if you are riding a bike watching a screen, you deserve your lacerations."

Perhaps you didn't even read the article, but the device shown has no screen and is basically just a turn signal.

I remember back in the stone age we had these things called stone tools that we would kill Mammoths with. Now people go to the market just to get a bite to eat. It's fuckin' pathetic.

Comment Re:corn vs algae (Score 0) 330

That's simply not true.

Traditional corn subsidies are historical about 3-5 billion USD, while the total size of the corn market is 50 billion dollars [12 billion bushels ('12-'13) * 4.31 (bushel spot price)].

The subsidies go to 10% of the corn producers. Killing the subsidies would tank the profit margins of some mega farming corporations, but it will hardly change the consumer cost for corn. Corn is legitimately cheap to produce in the US, and the climate and soil is perfectly ideal for it in large parts of the US.

Comment Re:Watson sold as Watson (Score 2) 56

We don't have computers that can process information like the human brain can.

Humans have 10 billion neurons, each connected to 10,000 other neurons for a total of 100 trillion connections.

The brain is also far more parallel than computers are. Supercomputers are also quite parallel, but the "architectures" of the brain and silicon are still so different that studies of the brain must emulate neuron activity through software, which is very inefficient and incapable of running anywhere near 100 trillion synapses concurrently.

The crisscrossed nature of neurons and synapses creates a pretty nasty situation when scaling up to more and more neurons. It's certainly not a linear increase as you add more neurons, it becomes exponentially more complex to model and is one of the worst layouts for computers to simulate.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel