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Comment: Re:people charge of traffic lights are engineers b (Score 1) 144

by ortholattice (#47730017) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

I once knew a traffic-light engineer who was an EE with a BS. I mentioned that I thought it was annoying not to have sensors on lights in rarely-used cross streets, since it wastes a lot of gas to have the main throughway traffic constantly stopping for no reason, not to mention wasting people's time. He said that if you put in a sensor, people will get used to the light always being green, and in the rare case it turns red they will tend not to stop and will cause more accidents. He was very strongly opposed to such sensors - arguing supposedly from experience as a professional and an expert - and our argument started to become, well, heated, so I just let it go. I really doubt what he said is supported by statistics, but his attitude was an example of the thinking of the people designing the lights.

(This was a couple of decades ago. Maybe the thinking has changed since I do see more sensors these days, but still not nearly enough. Often they seem poorly designed, such as unnecessarily waiting a full cycle before changing even if there is no cross traffic.)

Comment: Re:Well there is an issue with cellphones (Score 1) 316

by ortholattice (#47611705) Attached to: Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

Spectrum is something you only have a license to a small amount of. As such, the total bandwidth you can put out has a hard limit on it. Everyone on a tower shares that bandwidth and there's just nothing you can do to increase it. You can't "lay more fiber" or "use another laser" or anything like that which you can do on wired connections. On a given segment, there is just only so much bandwidth nature and regulations will let you have.

The solution is to add more cells (towers). That's the whole idea behind cell phones. How do you think the humongous bandwidth used by say downtown Manhattan cell phones is achieved?

Comment: Re:64.99%, 84.38%, Really? (Score 1) 89

by ortholattice (#47510467) Attached to: Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

While I agree the extra precision is misleading, the real problem is that they don't provide confidence intervals. Even a rounded 80% could be misleading if it could fall between 60% and 90% due to sparse data.

On the other hand, if in their report details they said "84.38% with a 99% confidence interval of 72.27% to 94.49%", then the extra precision is no longer necessarily misleading (it is just the calculational result of the model used) and, although it is a little pedantic and redundant, I would have no fundamental problem with it. It might even be argued that it is infinitesimally more precise, allowing the calculations to be confirmed by an independent researcher. However, for presentation in summary form, it would be much better to say "between 72% and 94% with 99% confidence".

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 379

by ortholattice (#47438933) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Why the hell are you still living there?

It's my home.

People are constantly losing their "home" for as minor a reason as losing their job and having to transfer to another city. Call me a coward, but I'd move if my city was under long-term, constant attack.

But regardless of your personal motivation, why would you want to traumatize your children by having them grow up in the midst of such fear and violence?

Comment: Re:WoW! (Score 1) 55

by ortholattice (#47435835) Attached to: A Peek Inside D-Wave's Quantum Computing Hardware

Um, last time I looked, most microcontroller chips could make calculations in "mere millionths of a second".

Yes, but they can't do 2^512 (2 to the 512th power) calculations simultaneously in mere millionths of a second.

Of course, this would be for an ideal quantum computer with 512 qubits. There's still some confusion about what the D-Wave "is".

Comment: Proprietary fonts (Score 5, Insightful) 108

by ortholattice (#47251909) Attached to: Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

Over the years, I've tried to use Unicode for math symbols on various web pages and tend to revert back to GIFs or LaTeX-generating tools due to problems with symbols missing from the font used by this or that browser/OS combination, or even incorrect symbols in some cases.

IMO the biggest problem with Unicode is the lack of a public domain reference font. Instead, it is a mishmash of proprietary fonts each of which only partly implements the spec. Even the Unicode spec itself uses proprietary fonts from various sources and thus cannot be freely reproduced (it says so right in the spec), a terrible idea for a supposed "standard".

I'd love to see a plain, unadorned public-domain reference font that incorporates all defined characters - indeed, it would seem to me to be the responsibility of the Unicode Standard committee to provide such a font. Then others can use it as a basis for their own fancy proprietary font variations, and I would have a reliable font I could revert to when necessary.

Comment: Re:This research should receive enormous funding. (Score 1) 202

by ortholattice (#47128309) Attached to: Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data
What you can do is use quantum teleportation to "transmit" (in a manner of speaking) a real (or complex) number, i.e. a quantum superposition, which in theory could contain infinite information, by using only a couple of classical bits. This real number can't be observed directly - you can only tell whether it's less than or greater than a specified number by appropriately designing your observation - but until you observe it, it can be further processed in its full precision as a superposition at the receiver end using quantum operations. What you can do with this internal (uncollapsed) infinite information is up to you, e.g. as part of a quantum factoring or search algorithm, until you finally collapse it and read out some yes/no answer. All in theory of course; in practice you have noise and other sources of error.

Comment: Re:paper...pencil (Score 1) 170

by ortholattice (#46802087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?
I do this. Also, once every year or two, I scan all the pages and make a nice pdf file of each volume. I put bookmarks on pages that I think I may want to look up quickly (often these correspond to physical bookmarks such as little sticky notes) and also bookmark start of month or start of new project. My bookshelf, with 5 linear feet of notes over the years, fits on a thumb drive. In practice, I typically look up things in the pdfs rather than the physical notes. I intend to dispose of the physical notes someday, at least the very old ones (ego has prevented me from doing so thus far), but even if my house burns down my notes are safely stored away on a remote backup.

Comment: Video too slow (Score 1) 58

by ortholattice (#46292185) Attached to: New 360-Degree Video Capture Method Unveiled
On my 2GHz laptop, the CPU is pinned to 100%, and all I see are frozen frames that skip through the video every few seconds. The dragging response is so sluggish as to be meaningless since any visual feedback is delayed many seconds. I guess this technology isn't ready for prime time unless you have a bleeding edge gamer GPU or something.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs