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Comment Re:Yes, we need to revisit everything. (Score 2) 50

It's not that humans are not adaptable, it's that parallel computing is hard for humans to figure out. Linear execution lends itself to all kinds of easy abstractions: loops, branches, methods, etc. Parallel computing, not so much. Mutexes are awful. The best we've got is message passing and functional programming, but even that is hard to design correctly to be both understandable and exploit inherent parallelism.

Y'know what's even harder to design? Analog computing. Holy cow. Remember, digital computing was invented by Touring before we even had built a computer. It's easy to visualize how it works. My brain explodes though trying to imagine a fuzzy-logic analog equivalent of a touring machine.

I used to think that AI research combined with neuroscience would figure out a simple solution to this problem, but it's increasingly seeming like, no, it's even complicated in the brain.

So people can pine for analog memristor computation, and analog optical computing all they want, but the hardware is the easy part here. Get the software side solved, and if you build it they will come. But it's not because we aren't used to these problems, it's because these problems are really really hard.

Comment Re:So it's remote? (Score 5, Insightful) 403

Speech recognition isn't too CPU intensive, but it's *massively* memory intensive. It's not unreasonable for speech recognition engines to eat up a gig of ram, and the 4S only has 512mb. However, push it to a server with lots of ram and it can handle lots and lots of simultaneous speech recognition queries. It's tailor made to be a server-side task. At least until phones have gigs of free memory that aren't needed.

Comment memristor-based analog computers (Score 2) 347

Even with transistors the same size, there are so many avenues to explore in processor design. Just off the top of my head, how about a memristor-based analog co-processor for tasks like facial detection or language/speech recognition. How about processors with asynchronous clocks, or clockless designs. Sure, they're harder to build, but once transistor sizes fixate, might as well spend the effort because designs will have a much longer lifecycle.

Comment Re:None of the above. (Score 2, Interesting) 342

There's a few things a DSLR will get you that no point and shoot has.

First, big form factor means big sensor which means good shots in low light/fast exposure. Point-and-shooters are a huge handicap at sporting events for this reason.

Secondly, big lenses allow you to get tight depths of field. With p&s cameras, generally everything in frame is in focus. Being able to use focus to pull your subject out and blur the background is hugely valuable.


Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."

Cassandra and Voldemort Benchmarked 45

kreide33 writes "Key/Value storage systems are gaining in popularity, much because of features such as easy scalability and automatic replication. However, there are several to choose from and performance is an important deciding factor. This article compares the performance of two of the most well-known projects, Cassandra and Voldemort, using several different mixes of access types, and compares both throughput and latency."

Comment Re:It didn't bring people to the platform (Score 1) 364

Let me preface this answer by revealing that I no longer work in the video game industry, as I did not enjoy it enough to stay. A lot of people cut their teeth on writing Windows stuff for fun, maybe working on mods, but a fair amount of developers worked their way up from QA. At least where I worked, it seemed like there were way too many people wanting to get into the video games industry, and once they did get in, they worked their asses off. People would learn to code due to their love of games, not because they liked coding. There seemed to be a lot of very bright high-school guys who, instead of doing the whole computer-science thing at a university, would work QA, and then progress up to be a developer. These people were highly respected because of their commitment.

There was another group of people who formed the more senior developers who got started in academia. People who worked on the engines ususally had PHD's in computer science with an emphasis on graphics. I would think graduate work on game theory or AI would put you in this group.

Being an old-school linux hacker who cut his teeth by contributing to OSS projects, I felt a bit out of place. Most of the guys in the industry don't leave because the idea of working on something other than video games is distasteful. Me, I find lots of engineering problems satisfying.

Comment It didn't bring people to the platform (Score 4, Interesting) 364

I used to work for Sony developing PS2 games. The number of people I met that cut their teeth writing code on the linux kit before getting into the business was exactly 0. I might have been the only person I knew who even had a modchipped PS2, everybody else just didn't care since they had the PS2Tool on their desk to do development. Sony is probably discontinuing offering Linux because it didn't spark the development push that they had hoped for. Still, I would think this would limit the number of supercomputer clusters that use PS3's. You'd think the marketing benefits of being a platform in the top 100 supercomputers would be valuable, but perhaps Sony is still willing to work with academic institutions to make this possible still.

The Orange Goo That Could Save Your Laptop 285

Barence writes "A British company has patented what can only be described as an orange goo that could save your laptop or iPod after a nasty fall. The amazing material is soft and malleable like putty, but the substance becomes solid instantly after impact. You can punch your fist into a ball of the material sitting on a desk and not feel a thing, according to the staff at PC Pro who have been testing the material, called 3do. It's being used by the military, the US downhill ski team, and motorcycle clothing manufacturers to provide impact protection in the event of a crash. However, it's also appearing in protective cases for laptops and MP3 players."
The Internet

New Service Converts Torrents Into PNG Images 297

jamie points out that a new web service, hid.im, will encode a torrent into a PNG image file, allowing it to be shared easily through forums or image hosting sites. Quoting TorrentFreak: "We have to admit that the usefulness of the service escaped us when we first discovered the project. So, we contacted Michael Nutt, one of the people running the project to find out what it's all about. 'It is an attempt to make torrents more resilient,' Michael told [us]. 'The difference is that you no longer need an indexing site to host your torrent file. Many forums will allow uploading images but not other types of files.' Hiding a torrent file inside an image is easy enough. Just select a torrent file stored on your local hard drive and Hid.im will take care the rest. The only limit to the service is that the size of the torrent file cannot exceed 250KB. ... People on the receiving end can decode the images and get the original .torrent file through a Firefox extension or bookmarklet. The code is entirely open source and Michael Nutt told us that they are hoping for people to contribute to it by creating additional decoders supported by other browsers."
Social Networks

Ma.gnolia User Data Is Gone For Good 450

miller60 writes "The social bookmarking service Ma.gnolia reports that all its user data was irretrievably lost in the Jan. 30 database crash that knocked the service offline. Ma.gnolia founder Larry Halff recently discussed the crash and the lessons to be learned from Ma.gnolia's experience. A lesson for users: don't assume online services have lots of staff and servers, and always keep backup copies of your data. Ma.gnolia was a one-man operation running on two Mac OS X servers and four Mac minis."

Getting Started With Part-Time Development Work? 262

fortapocalypse writes "I'm getting paid a good salary as a Java developer and the hours are great. It is also very stable, which means something in today's economy, especially with a family to feed. However, I'm very unmotivated both because of the work that I do, which is boring, and because the organization I work for is highly political, disorganized, and lacks accountability. I've done what I could to try to change things at work and have pretty much given up on that. I want to go out on my own, either starting my own company or just working as a contractor doing Java development, but I'm not sure of the best way to get started, and my family needs the stability of my current job. I'd really like to start out part-time at 5-15 hours a week to use it as supplemental income (which my family could really use at the moment), but I really don't know where to start. I doubt many contracting agencies would be interested in a part-time worker. What would you suggest for someone in my position?"