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Comment why so negative? (Score 1) 98

Ok, the kid is bright, but he's also arrogant, reckless and probably a bit insane. But set aside his personality, I don't understand the negativity on this forum towards another geek who hacks things together to make it work. There are a lot of hard problems in what he is working on, and if he can come up with a new way to do computer vision, I would be really happy too. The current start-of-the-art in this field is convolutional neural network (CNN), which, basically, is just a kind of brute force pattern matching. I have been working on a robot that "can see, listen and understand, and climb tree" (the climb tree part is to design some mechanics flexible enough to climb tree, then it's flexible to handle any terrains), so I understand the difficulty of computer vision and speech recognition. What Hotz said sounds like snake oil, but who are we to judge when we haven't seen the details? I'll keep my mind open for now, and hope that we could have a better way than CNN.

Comment Run out of options (Score 1) 250

I always wanted electronic products that I can fix (or have it fixed) if something went wrong, or change a component. I can vote with my money, sure, but we are running out of options. That's why I'm still using my HTC Desire Z phone, but I also can't find new battery now.

When we had the Project Ara for discussion some times ago, there were so much negativity in this forum. If a forum full of geeks is so negative towards this project, how would you expect the general populace to do?

Comment (Score 1) 163

Perl syntax, as is, is already pretty hard for everyone to digest (if you have never maintained any perl written by a bunch of self-declared genius, don't try to comment), wait till all the geniuses can extend that language. I'll need to keep a machine gun under my desk, in case I go ballistic.

Comment No generics (Score 4, Insightful) 221

I was playing with it when it just came out, and wow, the compiler was fast. It was great and all. So to find out how much I can do or to figure out my own skill level in Go, I started to port one of my C++ libraries to Go. That library has made heavy use of tree and trie data structures, which were implemented as template in C++. Then, bang, I hit a wall with Go. How to do generics? There was no way to do it. Looking on the web, I even saw someone create a kind of "compiler" to generate different code set for different types, say, you want a b-tree for class A? Fine, one set of code for that. Want a B-tree for class B? Fine, another set. Using his tool, I ended with five or six different sets of duplicated code, and I had a few more to go. That's when I stopped using that language.

Comment Re:Training Your Competition (Score 4, Insightful) 108

First off, I've been living and working in China for 11 years, even founded my own software company and ran for 6 years, before merging with another company. So I'll comment on this one.

You took a very simplistic view.

An IT industry can not be built overnight, it took many generations to build up the experiences, the talent pool, the mind set, the mentality that people had on software (A lot of Chinese people, especially those in the power to make decision on IT purchase, have a very different mind set on software/service values), etc, etc. I've been here for over a decade now, although there's been some progress in software engineering here, mainly in the few big Internet companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, etc, there's not much progress. Enterprise software? Frankly, due to the mentality toward the values of software/services, there's not much changes over the decade. The local software companies in the field are extremely small, compared to the western giants such as IBM, HP, SAP, Oracle, etc. The enterprise software, and that includes systems acquired by government, is dominated by these foreign companies. They took the big profit, and leave the hard work to the locals to slave over. This situation is stupid to all parties. Very stupid of the government, especially to let this kind of shit happen over two decades without doing the proper thing. Very stupid of the foreign companies, as they could have made their life easier and made the cake larger. Very stupid of the local companies, as they are slaving to death, as most projects are losing money for them. And as a matter of fact, a lot of the local IT people, the smarter ones besides that, are giving up on a career in IT, they make more money selling pancakes and without the stress and overtime.

Second of all, if these foreign companies are not trying to share, they will fight over a cake that will never grow. Look, none of the Internet biggies, the fastest growing sector, are buying anything from them. Their markets are in the enterprise software (and government sector). And these markets are not growing, and if you look seriously into the numbers, these companies are making their money by selling hardware and to a certain extent, software licenses, which are quite small as compared to the hardware portion. And software licenses are getting smaller still, as more and more open source softwares are made available. And selling services? Haha, don't make me laugh. Service is money-losing on all fronts. As the policies changed, if these foreign companies are not trying to change, their cake gets smaller and smaller, and their profit will be significantly squeezed, as they would have to sell via local distributors.

Thirdly, even if they share, you are not going to think that they will share their crown jewel, are you? They will probably just play the games to comply, to make sure their cake is still there. These companies are exploiting like crazy, without actually investing much here. They have a very strong sale department, and very small tech support, nothing technically challenging. The technical works they do here? Could be done by any code monkey in any country.

Fourthly, you might want to look at other industries, such as the car industry, for example. They had shared something, but look at how much more they have earned back? Just take a look at the chinese branch of GM, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, etc. They only share the parts that they do not have the competitive edge, or are on the edge of losing it, and still keep the core technologies. They think long term. In 15 years, the car market became the largest one in the world. Sure, they have now more and stronger local competitors, but so what? Their cake is so much bigger, they made so much money than before. Try to imagine the enterprise software market, if you can. If we can make it like the car market, this is going to be gigantic. I can tell you that most Chinese firms, even the big ones, have very little IT deployment.

Anyway, my point is, it is stupid for a company, especially a technology company, to invest only in sales team and hope to stay profitable forever in the market. Sure, it's a global economy, but services are local. You are trying to sell technology and services, you gotta be local. You gotta to think more long term than that.

Comment Please read the book before commenting (Score 5, Insightful) 187

It's unfortunate that a good sci-fi book and a good hard sci-fi writer appears on Slashdot, and the discussion turns around PRC propaganda, anti-Chinese sentiment, bad communism, eviltotalitarian government, etc, etc, just because the author is from China? You might want to read the book first before commenting, you might be surprised. It might even open your eyes to a whole new world from your stereotypical veil.

A couple of people here had already read the book, and given a pretty insightful comment, kudo to them. I read the whole series, in Chinese, last year, in one week, and I couldn't give a better comment.

The Three Body Problem is a serie of 3 books, involving science, philosophy, religion, world conflict, environment, culture, love, etc. If you like the Clarke's Space Odessey and the Rama series, and the Asimov's Foundation series, and the Herbert's Dune series, you would like these books as well. The books leave you with a lot of issues to ponder upon, from a humanity, as a whole, perspective. Theses issues are not specific to one people or one culture.

Please put down your stereotypical glasses and forget for a moment that the author is Chinese, and read the book just like you would do any other book. You might enjoy it a lot more.

Comment so much negativity (Score 5, Insightful) 139

WTF? Where is the geek spirit in this /. crowd? When a manufacturer releases a phone with battery soldered, everyone's complaining. When a laptop manufacturer releases a laptop that you can't upgrade, complaining again. Now that people are putting effort to allow you to custom your mobile device till your heart bleeds, you are complaining again.

I had enough of phones that I have to throw away because of one very small, and not even the most important, component went bad, and I can't do anything. And it's not worth repairing coz the repair cost is almost as high, or even higher, than buying a new phone. What a fucking waste of resources.

Give me this modular design anyday. I've been waiting for someone to do this for laptop and mobile phone for a decade. Can't come soon enough.

Just release the design, release the interface, make it so open that anyone on the planet can manufacture components without huge license cost, and let the market decide. I'm sure there will a lot of entrepreneurial folks who will set up shop to assemble this into a nice package for your customization. Just like the PC era. Bring it on. There will be a lot of new applications. Talk about wearables? Wait till you have all these components that you can assemble the way you like it.

Comment Did this in 2005 (Score 2) 90

Did something like this in 2005, with the data encrypted on the client side using the user's public key. The key pair is in a hardware USB token.

We also did something with this scheme for an electronic patient record project. Each doctor was issued a USB key with his/her own key pair, and when the doctor submitted any prescription to the system, the data were signed with his key, and the operation was logged into a central log database, each log record is linked to some previous log records in a Merkle tree so that we could detect if a log record has been tampered with or removed.

However, cryptography is hard to get right in applications, and clients are not willing to pay for it. Se stopped doing this after a while.

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