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Comment: When cars are self-driving and shared (Score 1) 337

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: Class projects vs. professional projects (Score 4, Informative) 151

The pay cheque isn't the important thing. Experience working in a professional environment is. The difference between how you work on a class project and how you work in a professional environment is vast.

For example, class projects are typically:

- very small

- implemented by a single person or at most a very small team that does not change over the lifetime of the project

- finished within a short period of time

- built with unchanging requirements determined by a single authority and entirely known from the start

- implemented with little need or regard for ongoing maintenance.

Exactly none of those things will be true of a typical industrial software development project. The need to take these kinds of factors into consideration completely changes how you design your software, what tools you use, what processes you follow...

Comment: Re:Amazon Elastic Cloud? (Score 1) 233

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: Re:Ads (Score 2) 284

It seems you forgot to quote the later part of that post, where I did acknowledge the problem of content that comes malware-laden... Personally, I don't buy AAA games any more (nor do I pirate them instead). I got bored of the generally poor quality and accompanying malware breaking things a few years ago. Given the comments I see every time gamers' enjoyment of a big new title is spoiled because someone's DRM screwed up again, I suspect my life is still better that way. However, I do miss and would gladly pay for the kind of experience I used to enjoy from the top end games of yesteryear, before everything went downhill when the Internet became an excuse for shipping software that wasn't finished yet (we'll just patch it later, or not) and using ever more obnoxious DRM schemes (of course we can expect gamers to be online with a perfect connection any time they're playing our game).

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 284

Of course they are. But the fact is that when the law says things are required to work a certain way, and everyone knows the deal up-front, breaking that law is a different issue to just not doing something entirely voluntary that someone else would have preferred you to do.

Laws may not perfectly follow morals and ethics, but the intent is that they do at least reflect them reasonably well and provide a common standard for acceptable behaviour that everyone knows.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 284

So far, I don't see a lot of that happening. Occasionally I see sites begging you to turn your ad-blocker off, and if they're sites I like then I do have some sympathy.

Unfortunately, from bitter personal experience, ad networks are a threat. There is currently no way to reliably distinguish which parts are dangerous soon enough, so the default safest option is to block the lot.

Very occasionally, I do find a site that doesn't work properly because of the things I block, and then I just go somewhere else instead. Exactly zero sites I need to use have this problem, or rely on ads at all for that matter. It would be sad if all those ad-funded sites went away, but frankly it wouldn't break the Internet and whatever replaced them would probably be a better model for all concerned (except middle-man ad networks).

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 284

So how does this not make you a worthless freeloader?

I may be literally worthless to such sites. I just don't think they ever had a reasonable expectation that I would be any more than that, any more than someone paying for an ad on a billboard has a reasonable expectation that every driver will stop and read it, or any TV advertiser has a reasonable expectation that no-one is going to go take a leak during the ad break.

There is no law requiring someone to give their time to the ads just because they are there, and there never has been, making this a fundamentally different situation to copyright infringement, fraud, or whatever other bad analogies people are throwing around in today's discussion.

Ultimately, if someone wants a promise to be paid in return for their work, there are a number of options available to them, starting with charging for it just like every other industry in the world that produces value. And if the work has some modest value to a lot of people but the overheads of formally charging are too great, there are plenty of other ways to accumulate minor contributions without spamming disreputable ad networks all over your site.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 284

Just like all the people who "share" music or software without paying the artists/creator a dime for their work.

Not really.

One obvious difference is that the law generally prohibits copying a copyrighted work without complying with the copyright holder's terms for payment etc. There is no analogous law about downloading freely available content without viewing the ads, unless you want to start arguing that the implicit permission to access that content does not apply if you don't view the ads as well, which is quite the can of worms to open.

Another obvious difference is that buying a legal copy of a creative work does not in itself subject me to severely degraded system performance, wasting arbitrary amounts of bandwidth I'm already paying for on things I didn't ask for, or assorted security and privacy risks. Not blocking ads and trackers on-line does all of these things. (Obviously some content comes with DRM and similar malware that also does some or all of these things, but let's not conflate buying from dubious sources with buying at all.)

Comment: Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 142

by NeutronCowboy (#48434091) Attached to: Coal Plants Get New Lease On Life With Natural Gas

Do I also get to make sweeping generalizations about conservatives because you don't like government interference except to:
- control what I do in my bedroom
- control my social life
- control what I talk about
- control who I do business with
- control where I go
- control what I believe
- control what business I'm allowed to engage in

Just asking whether the "idiots are everywhere" and "generalizations are fun" rules can be abused in the other direction as well.

Comment: Re:Tetris is based on a Russian board game (Score 1) 35

by CastrTroy (#48433179) Attached to: The Man Who Made Tetris
The appeal of Tetris is that it was done well. There are a million Tetris clones out there, but how well the game is programmed really makes the difference between and enjoyable game, and one that is extremely frustrating. I'm not sure what the original Tetris was like, the the versions for the NES and Gameboy, which a lot of us remember playing were done very well. It's like going back and playing Mario Bros, and then going to some cheap knockoff that some kid programmed in a few weeks. The underlying game is basically the same, but the experience of playing the game is completely different.

Comment: Re:wont last (Score 1) 268

The main reason for doing it with mattresses is that it lets brick and mortar stores compete with online and makes price comparisons hard. I looked at some mattresses in a shop, where I could try lying on them, and then tried to check the price online and see if the local store was competitive (I'd accept some premium for being able to try it, but not an extra 100% markup). Not only could I not find the same model online, I couldn't find it in other brick and mortar stores either. I've no idea whether the two that were priced differently were the same, or just nearly the same.

Your own mileage may vary.