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Comment: Re:Waiting... (Score 1) 138

by Animats (#48455329) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

OK, here's a site with an interview with IDEO's designer. It has the key pictures without the UI from hell.

This is the Eric Schmidt vision of the future. People will still go to offices and have meetings. They'll just have better cars and presentation tools, and better delivery services for physical stuff.

Will we really need that many office workers? That's the huge question. Given the head counts at newer companies, probably not.

Comment: Waiting... (Score 1) 138

by Animats (#48455281) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

3% loading...
Page with 3 icons loads. Click on first icon. Background sound loop of birds chirping with wihite noise and gap at the end of the loop starts. That's all that happens.

Firefox 33 on Ubuntu reports: Media resource could not be decoded.
TypeError: e[0].play is not a function main.js:1
TypeError: e[0].pause is not a function main.js:1

Don't they test their code?

Comment: When cars are self-driving and shared (Score 1) 453

by Animats (#48445261) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

...they'll all be owned by Uber.

There's a network effect for shared vehicles. Availablility is best if you have one big pool of cars rather than lots of little ones. So there will be a single winner in that space for each city.

Imagine Uber having the power of GM and Google combined. Run by the current team of assholes.

Comment: Re:Amazon Elastic Cloud? (Score 1) 244

by Animats (#48439281) Attached to: Does Being First Still Matter In America?

decades ago, Cray Computers were assembled by people (housewives) who were allowed to spend no more time than they could be maximally effective in, using wires cut to millimeter-precise lengths.

Yes, and there's a Cray I at the Computer Museum here in Silicon Valley, upholstered base and all. You can sit on it if you like. It's not useful for much else.

All modern supercomputers are composed of a large number of microprocessors. The interconnects are faster than with ordinary hosting/cloud operations, but the CPUs are the same. The biggest supercomputer in the world, in China, is 3,120,000 cores of Intel Xeons, running at 2.2GHz each.

The question is whether the problem you're solving needs tight interconnection. If not, you can run it on a large number of ordinary computers. Weather may not be that tightly coupled; propagation time in air is kind of slow.

Comment: They'll be replaced by robots soon. (Score 1) 495

by Animats (#48428561) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Don't worry, most of those jobs will go away soon. Amazon's newer warehouses use Kiva robots to move merchandise around to picking stations. Picking is still manual; the computers do all the thinking, the humans just pick up what the laser pointer points at. But Bezos owns a robotics startup working on automating that. At Amazon, being replaced by robots isn't a future problem. It's here now.

Customer service is already mostly automated. It's can't be long until customer service chat is with a computer, not a human. Then Amazon will need fewer people.

Comment: Re:With a RTG, it couldn't have got to the comet. (Score 2) 519

by Ford Prefect (#48424513) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

The SNAP-9A used in the Transit 5B-2 navigation satellite launched in 1963 weighed 12.3 kg and produced 25 watts of power. That looks about like a perfect fit for Philae, and I'm sure more efficient thermocouplers are available today that could further reduce the weight.

They could also have made Rosetta much larger, and possibly have got to its destination much faster, by launching on a Saturn V rather than an Ariane 5.

(Unfortunately, the jumbo-sized booster was unavailable - as was the RTG.)

Comment: Re:I'm quite surprised it wasn't (Score 1) 519

by Ford Prefect (#48424499) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Like the GP, I was also surprised to hear that a probe so far from Earth was solar powered, I wouldn't have thought there was enough light that far out even without the shadows. Sure it's an assumption but it's not baseless, previous deep space probes such as Cassini, pioneer, and voyager are all nuclear powered.

NASA's Juno probe, currently en route to Jupiter, is also solar powered.

RTGs are great, but availability is limited.

Comment: Re:That is not what the halting problem say (Score 2) 327

Mod parent up.

That's correct. The best known demonstration of this is the Microsoft Static Driver Verifier, which every signed driver since Windows 7 has passed. It's a proof of correctness system which checks drivers for buffer overflows, bad pointers, and bad parameters to the APIs drivers use. It works by symbolically tracing through the program, forking off a sub-analysis at each branch point. It can be slow, but it works.

Microsoft Research reports that in about 5% of the cases, the Verifier cannot reach a decision. It can't find a bug, but it can't demonstrate the lack of one either. After 45 minutes of case analysis it gives up.

If your driver is such a mess that it's anywhere near undecidable, it's broken. Those drivers get rewritten with a less ambiguous design, usually by adding more run-time checks. Problem solved.

(Remember when driver bugs crashed Windows all the time? Notice that's not happening any more? That's why.)

Comment: How much longer will Foxconn need Apple? (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by Animats (#48415375) Attached to: Nokia's N1 Android Tablet Is Actually a Foxconn Tablet

This is the problem with outsourcing manufacturing and keeping the "brand". Eventually, if they're good, the outsourcing company takes over. It's about time for this to happen to Apple. The hardware is approaching maturity. The last rev of the iPhone was only a minor change over the previous one, and the technology was comparable to HTC's product of two years ago.

The speed of anything depends on the flow of everything.