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Comment: Re:Never gonna work ... (Score 1) 503

by tverbeek (#47758751) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

"If you're reading the newspaper, you are not going to be able to transition to operating the vehicle in the event the computer gives up and says it's all up to you."

I don't think you understand the topic of conversation here. We're not talking about situations in which the computer says, "Excuse me, Dave, but I'm not sure what to do here. Could you please drive for me?" We're talking about situations in which Dave says, "WTF! You're heading for a cliff!" and chooses to take control. Maybe it takes him some seconds to notice the problem before he takes action, but once he does notice, there would be significant delay before he puts his foot down on the brake and his hands on the wheel.

Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 503

by tverbeek (#47758619) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

One of the things that bugs me about so many high-tech devices is the lack of an "off" switch (and in the case of a vehicle, substitute "stop"). On ye olde personal computers, IBM put a big red paddle-switch that summarily deprived the electronics of electricity. Flip that, and it was OFF. (Even the clock.) These days, it's a button (and pretty soon just a contact-sensitive control spot) that asks the system to... not shut off, exactly, but to put itself into a low-power state in which it looks as if it were off. And I've had a few situations where the OS or firmware was so borked up that the only way to restart a device was to physically plug the plug. So for a computer-controlled device that has the physical ability to act as a lethal weapon, I don't think it's unreasonable to insist on a manual "stop" override.

Comment: neo diet (Score 1) 281

by tverbeek (#47753699) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

The notion that we haven't had time to "evolve" to adapt to a modern diet is a bit absurd. Because here we are: eating it and living as much as a century on it. It doesn't take millions of years for natural selection to eliminate genetic lines that can't thrive on a particular diet; the mere thousands in which humans switched from hunter-gatherers into farmers has been enough. That doesn't mean that the rapid biotechnological change of the past century or two hasn't produced a diet that we can all do well on – high fructose corn syrup and factory-raised meat are putting a whole new set of selection criteria on H. sapiens – but the typical diet of the 19th century, with a corresponding level of physical activity, plus some modern medical technology to address illnesses that aren't related to nutrition, is the best prescription for human longevity.

Data Storage

Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the rsync-is-still-pretty-cheap dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google and Amazon are both aggressively pursuing the cloud storage market, constantly increasing available storage space and constantly dropping prices. On its face, this looks great for the consumer — competition is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, many smaller companies like Box, Dropbox, and Hightail simply aren't able to run their services at a loss like the giants can. Dropbox's Aaron Levie said, "These guys will drive prices to zero. You do not want to wait for Google or Amazon to keep cutting prices on you. 'Free' is not a business model."

The result is that the smaller companies are pivoting to win market share, relying on specific submarkets or stronger feature sets rather than available space or price. "Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide." It's going to be tough for them to hold out, and even tougher for new storage startups to break in. But that might be the only thing keeping us from choosing between the Wal-Mart-A and Wal-Mart-B of online storage.

Hackers Claim PlayStation Network Take-Down 97

Posted by timothy
from the so-sony-takes-the-credit? dept.
This morning, Sony's PlayStation network was knocked offline for North American users. According to ShackNews, Several tweets have gone up throughout Saturday evening, in which Lizard Squad has taken responsibility for the attacks. The group started with Blizzard's servers that include Hearthstone, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft and others. The group quickly spread to League of Legends and Path of Exile before deciding to spread their terror to PlayStation Network. Sony apparently had some trouble admitting that the network wasn't behaving as it should be, but came around with acknowledgment on twitter.

Comment: uselessly broad definition (Score 2) 275

by tverbeek (#47741693) Attached to: Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

I have some games on my iPhone. There are a couple that I've spent a few dozen hours working my way through a few times, then put away. (e.g. "No, Human") There are a few I've played with a little, out of curiosity, but lost interest in. (e.g. "Super Monkey Ball") There are a couple more that I play once in a while when I'm bored and don't want to think. (e.g. "Trism")

Which doesn't make me a "gamer". The only console I've ever owned was an Atari, the last game I played on a screen larger than 3.5 inches was "Riven", and quite frankly I'd rather listen to someone talk about football (which bores me to tears, but at least I know how it works) than hear about whatever games they're playing. I'm sure I could find a common interest or two with many (maybe even most) gamers – perhaps political views, movies or comics or TV shows, hobbies or activities, etc – but they have nothing to do with the fact that I also have some games on my iPhone.

So if your definition of "gamer" is broad enough to include both me and "Call of Warcraft" players, you might as well just say "people" instead. (And pointing out that adult women outnumber teenage boys is not exactly an insightful or useful factoid.)

Comment: Re:Is he a scientist? (Score 1) 179

by tverbeek (#47719623) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

Who called him a "scientist"? He's teaching a Business Administration class, not CS.

Who (other than the /. headline) implied he was being granted a professorship? TFA refers to him as "practitioner" who's being paired with an "academic scholar".

MBA programs routinely bring in people who may have no academic credentials but have real-world experience administering a business, because they provide valuable insight into the application of the principles that the academics lecture about. Even an ill-tempered in-over-his-head schmuck like Ballmer has knowledge that would benefit business students (e.g. all the mistakes he made).

So what's your problem with that?

Comment: passwords on the device/session level, not app (Score 5, Insightful) 117

by tverbeek (#47712501) Attached to: 51% of Computer Users Share Passwords

Of course I leave the apps on my phone "logged in"; that's how they're supposed to work. Obviously this only makes sense if there's a password to access my phone (or on my account if the device supports them), but if not, it's the lack of password on my phone that marks me as a security-oblivious idiot, not the fact that I'm using the apps as they were designed to work.

Comment: The Jackson-Hobbit Syndrome in reverse (Score 3, Insightful) 252

by tverbeek (#47642391) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

So JMS wants to take a story originally told in over 4700 minutes, and condense it down into a 120-minute feature film (or is he thinking a series of five of them)? What could possibly go wrong?

Seriously, one of the things that makes B5 a classic of the genre was the way it gradually unfolded an epic tale over the course of five years. Sure, there were a lot of B sub plots and C plot-of-the-week elements that didn't contribute directly to that overall storyline, but they provided the texture that made the A plot matter. For example, the viewers cared about the fate of the Centauri because they'd come to know (and seen the transformation of) Londo and Vir; without that, they're just a bunch of space vampires. To be honest, I'm not really a big fan of the soap-opera approach to storytelling that's become fashionable in hour-long TV dramas and monthly superhero comics... but B5 was a rare example of how it works. Without that format, without that scope, it would become just the Reader's Digest edit of The Lord of the Rings in Space.

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