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Comment: Re:Why do we do these things? (Score 4, Insightful) 77

by American AC in Paris (#47582493) Attached to: NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

I am not saying there's no advantage to space exploration, but I simply wonder why we continue to do these things yet we have a very big [budget] deficit. Why?

Apart from knowledge of how space works, what has the ordinary American gained from the billions spent on the space program? Can anyone point me to any tangible or intangible goods resulting from space exploration?

Because each time we overcome a monumental challenge for the first time, we expand the frontier of human knowledge and endeavor.

As our frontier expands, that which was undone becomes possible; that which was possible, replicable; that which was replicable, automatable; that which was automatable, trivial; that which was trivial, obsolete.

Just over a century ago, tinkers managed to propel a glorified kite a few feet through the air. The tangible benefit of this flight of fancy is that today, we complain about the comfort of the seats in mass-produced aircraft that can send us around the globe for a historically infinitesimal cost in time and money.

Seventy years ago, the US government was one year into the construction of ENIAC, one of the first general-purpose digital computers ever created. Upon its completion two years later, it would occupy 680 square feet, require the power of roughly six modern households, process up to 500 operations per second, and spend roughly half its time being repaired. The tangible benefit of this monstrosity is that today you likely carry, on your person, roughly 25 million times more computing power than ENIAC. It is quite likely that use the bulk of this computing power primarily for your own personal entertainment.

45 years ago, after years of research and significant government funding, ARPANET was launched. Not many people expected it to be of any significant practical value; in fact, the first message ever sent over ARPANET only managed to deliver two characters before crashing the entire network for an hour. The tangible benefit of this boondoggle is that today, we have the Internet, the direct descendant of ARPANET.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 107

by gl4ss (#47572415) Attached to: Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

I don't get it, how are any of those companies monopolies or behaving monopolistically? certainly funny that you include a niche, even in china, linux distro there.

but MS is kind of fucked here. if they hired chinese to run the business then sure, they used dirty tactics to keep making money, because that's "business" for them and probably never occurred to them to not bribe someone against using red flag linux vs. a ms product.

Comment: Re:$1000, not $300 (Score 1) 43

by gl4ss (#47564027) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)

I guess you're supposed to stencil the paste in first and the put it in a heat oven as if you had done the pick and placing by hand.

it's a pick and placing machine after all so I don't know why you would expect it to do the things the machines left and right to it on a proper "factory" setup do... 1000 sounds more reasonable for the cost though. it's just a xy gantry and vacuum hose anyways, but even that 300 is not enough..

Comment: Re:Just get a case (Score 1) 543

The voice reco right now uploads your voice sample to Google's server farm where they apply the very best processing they can to it. And it still sucks balls.

It's become clear that it's going to take some kind of revolutionary breakthrough to make voice recognition actually good.

I compose my thoughts better when usnig a keyboard than when speaking as well. I can pause for thought and and change things.

I like the swipe functionality that comes with the standard Google keyboard now, but even that isn't perfect.

Comment: Re:what? (Score 1) 161

by gl4ss (#47555745) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

it's not really beta stuff though.

what they do is serve a portion of the visitors version A.

then they serve a portion of the visitors version B. then they see in which one resulted in more sales/longer engagement.

neither one is technically beta, but more like an experiment about what works to get you to do the wanted outcome.

there's plenty of tracking/logging companies providing easy facilities this and if you work in startups you'll see it pushed on your face, even if the a and b versions don't have enough difference and the sample sizes are too small to make any conclusions on. but it gives people to do something when they don't know how they should further the sales/engagement and it's on the "book" of marketing.

Comment: Re:Dear Slashdot (Score 1) 170

I would really have liked a PalmOS cart for my Nintendo DS ; the form factor would have made it an awesome little organizer, it had a touch screen, etc, and the CPU power would probably have been good enough to run the original OS ROMs in an emu.

There were rumours of it happening (maybe I even started them by discussing it on BBs...) but alas, it never came to be.

One thing I really liked about the PalmOS stuff, which other software suites took ages to catch up with, was the way they all integrated. Some of the things that make me go "Oh, cool!" in Android apps now are the sort of things that PalmOS had 16 years ago.

Life is difficult because it is non-linear.