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Comment Of course this is security (Score 2) 144

That's so silly - physical access to the machine doesn't mean anything per se!

What if you can't take the machine apart inconspicuously because the case is sealed. What if you have only 3 minutes before someone else comes by? Security is not black and zero at all.

One can easily even use an AVR that'll replay the keypress sequence over USB (posing as a keyboard) on a button press. This is something completely different than taking the machine apart to clear CMOS or whatever.

BTW, can you have UEFI trusted boot with GRUB, or do you need coreboot? (Yes, there are people other than Microsoft using it, e.g. when selling appliances - think vote machines or gambling terminals.)

Comment Re:Use computers instead? (Score 5, Informative) 247

It's sad to see so many misguided comments under such a nice nerdy article.

(a) More advanced pseudo-random algorithms like Mersenne Twister are perfectly good for almost anything but crypto uses. Even much simpler Linear Congruential Generators (multiply-modulo, or multiply-add-modulo) with good parameters are perfectly good enough for applications like emulating dice. The only tricky part is how to get the seed.

(b) Arduino has an intrinsic capability to get physically random bits as it has analog input pins. Floating pins will provide perfectly usable noise in the lowest bit of the A/D converter output. You probably would be able to influence the bit pattern if you had it under physical control and tried to produce suitable RF interference hard enough (not 100% sure of that, though); but we are still talking about friggin' D&D, right?

Comment Mostly a Fake! (Score 5, Informative) 95

This is mostly a fake story fabricated by the local anti-piracy organizations.

The judge has nothing to do with it - the guy was sentenced and released on parole, with no damages granted - the associations were referred to civil legal proceedings, and *one* of the associations made an out-of-court settlement offer to the guy. They'll make a viral video about him and the association will not sue.

The $373,000 are damages that would be claimed by the association, but these damages are typically grossly overestimated and only fractions of the claims are granted by Czech courts. The judges usually require detailed analysis of the damages to get convinced what to grant.

Skilled news spinning, in short.

Comment Re:150 years ago... (Score 3, Insightful) 378

Riiight... ever heard about Mongolfier brothers?

I think even Dr. Friedman wouldn't argue that his thesis necessarily stays valid after some combinations of multiple breakthroughs, be it in physics, AI / neurobiology, cheap energy, physiology... It's still useful to consider the situation without these breakthroughs because they are fairly unpredictable and planning them will

Comment Re: Reputation (Score 1) 131

I said *quickly* gauge the paper. Of course I can read it, but there's a lot of papers and my time is limited. If it's published in a reputable venue, that's an endorsement that helps me order the papers preliminarily.

Of course, there are other sorting criteria like a number of citations, but they have their own issues - time lag, variability across (sub)fields, biases towards certain kinds of papers, etc.

Comment Reputation (Score 1) 131

Of course, people are trying to explore other options - e.g.

The problem is reputation. *Where* was the paper published carries huge weight on both the repute of the paper and change in repute of the author, because noone figured out better ways to quickly judge a result than by the venue (which implies certain acceptance rate and level of peer review standards). If you move from the established institutions to elsewhere, you need to build up your repute from scratch and until you do...

Well, it just takes long time. That means decades when it's not a new emerging field. Many decades when the academics are particularly conservative.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 57

A is right. The task is identifying pedestrians. Miss rate means that the algorithm fails to identify the pedestrian. Lower number is better.

Also, when the algorithm fails, it doesn't mean the car will just happily drive through the pedestrian!

First, most pedestrians are not at the road, and the ones at the road should be actually easier to identify as they won't blend that much (I guess). Second, there are probably already many components that already identify obstacles and try to avoid them. Identifying pedestrians specifically is helpful to predict their movement, choosing another obstacle if you are going to hit some obstacle anyway, etc.

Comment Re:So... (Score 3, Insightful) 57

No. As usual, the summary is confusing as it gives numbers for the *older* methods, but the current Google's method is: "The resulting approach achieves a 26.2% average miss rate on the Caltech Pedestrian detection benchmark, which is competitive with the very best reported results. "

So, there's 26.2% chance that on a single particular image, you miss the pedestrian (at the same time, it seems that in about 15-20% images it sees a pedestrian that is in fact a shrubbery or whatever). This is an academic dataset, and in reality you will have a video feed. AFAICS it's not clear how the precision translates when you have a sequence of many pictures of the pedestrian - whether you will have much higher chances to spot them at least on some of them, or if it's more of a systematic problem and khaki-clothed people just don't stand a chance.

Comment What they actually did. (Score 4, Informative) 66

The paper is a bit confusing at first, and the /. summary doesn't help. Basically, they developed a sorting criteria to reduce the amount of work for the editors. In an isolated comparison of two jokes, the funnier joke wins 64% of them on average; this is quite better than a coin!

To get a sorted list, they run a "comparison tournament" between the jokes. The 55.8% number means that the funniest joke is in the top 55.8% of the list on average; if we are willing to occasionally miss a brilliant joke, we can cut the list in a little more than half and still keep most of the great jokes.

The full paper is

Comment qmail and Microsoft (Score 5, Informative) 85

Yeah, you seem to want to have your cake and eat it too. Doesn't produce a lot of sympathy. Think again about how to make your software free but still want users to pay. What about keeping value-adding plugins or frontends closed and opening the core? If you open source but limit ability of people to make use of the core, what exactly do you expect to gain from such a "community"?

Still, take a look at the licence of qmail. This worked not so bad for them, and might be the right equilibrium. If you just want legalese for your scenario, take a look at Microsoft's Shared Source licences.

Comment Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Informative) 230

(I work in this area of research.) You are right, the paper is about just a sequence-to-sequence transformation model that learns good replies for inputs but is not actually "understanding" what is going on.

At the same time, we *are* making some headways in the "understanding" part as well, just not in this particular paper. Basically, we have ways to convert individual words to many-dimensional numerical vectors whose mathematical relations closely correspond to semantics of the words, and we are now working on building neural networks that build up such vectors even for larger pieces of text and use them for more advanced things. If anyone is interested, look up word2vec, "distributed representations" or "word embeddings" (or "compositional embeddings").

If you already know what word2vec is, take a look at

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