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Comment: Re:Thought it was already the norm abroad (Score 2) 230

by vix86 (#49174809) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?
Amusingly enough, the toll roads in Japan use a fast access card called ETC. I believe you can get an ETC card that you can charge up somehow, but its difficult to get. Almost every ETC card has to be linked directly to a credit card (I got mine when I signed up with Rakuten for a credit card).

I think the reason has to do with the fact that the express highways in Japan are incredibly expensive. (10-20 mile span of road could cost you $30-50). Going from Osaka to Tokyo via the express highway would cost you about $200 in tolls (no joke!).

Comment: Re:Thought it was already the norm abroad (Score 2) 230

by vix86 (#49174741) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?
I'm not really talking about the card, but the mobile payment systems basically piggy backed off that model.

The Suica phone app for instance, I could link my credit card to it and charge up the "virtual card" on it at any moment. There was also an option to link it to your bank account I think. Edy has a similar service if I remember correctly.

Cards are still in wide use but I think by the time I get back to Japan in 3-5 years; I'll probably be seeing far more people using their phones instead of a card.

Comment: Re:Thought it was already the norm abroad (Score 4, Interesting) 230

by vix86 (#49168421) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?
I've lived in Japan and used the cellphone payment system. It works quite well now that most places have gotten in line with the correct payment system. A big problem for awhile was that some stores would have one payment system and another wouldn't. The train card linked systems quickly came to dominate though (in Tokyo that was Suica).

The key difference between Japan and the US though, at least from what I've heard, is that in the US they want to tie payments directly to bank accounts or credit cards. In Japan this didn't happen on most payment systems. If you went into a store or paid for a cab with your phone, the money didn't come out of your bank account or credit directly. You would have to charge your electronic payment account with money from your bank account or your credit card first before you could use any money. I like this system because it allowed for a lot better management of funds and avoided potentially using more than you thought you had.

Comment: Sony is hemorrhaging (Score 3, Interesting) 101

by vix86 (#48963855) Attached to: Sony Sells Off Sony Online Entertainment
Regardless of what any of the articles say about the decision to do this, I personally believe the reason behind this is because Sony is bleeding money left and right. Sony has been selling off parts of their company for the past year now. It's no secret, Sony has been sinking slowly. They sold their mobile division, they sold their Vaio division, and probably came pretty close to selling their TV division as well, before thinking better of it and simply split it off into a new company. Now they are selling one of their big game studios. If Sony can't find a new market to be successful in, then I wouldn't be surprised to hear about Sony being bought by another company here in the next 3-5 years.

Comment: Re:Nevada (Score 1) 165

by vix86 (#48827107) Attached to: Elon Musk Plans To Build Hyperloop Test Track
Another angle people need to keep in mind is that Texas is a prime target for a hyperloop in general. Some of the documents put out by the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies group, say that a loop between Dallas, Huston, and Austin would be very profitable. If the test track works then it could entice Texas to let them build a real one.

Comment: Personality is multifaceted (Score 1) 80

by vix86 (#48800281) Attached to: Using Facebook Data, Algorithm Predicts Personality Better Than Friends
All this algorithm will accomplish is showing the personality that a person shows to Facebook. The reason why it can "better predict a person's personality than their friends" is because people have different personalities around others. I've known this since high school. I had many friends and when I hung out with some just 1-on-1 they were chill and quiet; probably because that's how I was. But if you got these friends together in the same car or the same house, they suddenly became loud, rambunctious, and prone to doing stupid stuff. This still holds true today. So people have different personalities or faces depending on the people they are around and I'm sure Facebook has its own unique "face" as well.

Comment: Re:Stars or noise (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by vix86 (#48742611) Attached to: Hubble Takes Amazing New Images of Andromeda, Pillars of Creation
The sheer number of stars in the Andromeda photo is humbling. While panning through it, the thought struck me that perhaps around one of those stars exists a planet with intelligent life that might also be looking at a high res image of the Milky Way and be thinking the same thing about them.

Comment: Re:This tired old saw again. (Score 2) 755

by vix86 (#48700885) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God
It might be god from our perspective, but it might be a let down of a god in other ways. Consider this scenario.

300 years in the future we discover some way to simulate an entire universe easily within a computer. So we create one and let it run for billions of years inside the simulation till intelligent sentient life emerges. This life makes great strides, it goes to space, it advances, until one day we look in and decide to "pull one of the beings out." We pull the "mind of the being" out of the simulation and put it in a robotic body. Maybe at first its amazed at everything, we show it the world it lived in and the things we can do to the simulation; and for a short while it calls us god. But eventually the being realizes there are still things about this "outside" world we don't understand, and suddenly it comes to the realization that if I'm from a simulation what if they are too? Are they really god? Is the being on the outside of this outside god? It could be simulations inside simulations to infinity so long as the simulation (B) inside a simulation (A) can be done within the limits of sim A. We know nothing of the physical limitations of the simulation outside the one we are in.

The point is that we can never be sure the being we are talking to is actually "god" in the sense that we tend to think about it in religion and language.

Comment: Need a conditoning study (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by vix86 (#48694221) Attached to: Being Colder May Be Good For Your Health
This study is interesting, but I'm way more interested in the affect of conditioning and body temp regulation. I grew up in the US and all of houses/apartments always had good temperature control as well as ceiling fans in rooms. I got use to living in places where if the temperature was above say 70F, there was a fan running, the air in a room was circulating.

When I studied abroad in Japan and then moved there I discovered this wasn't the case and constructed a theory that early life conditions on body temp are 'imprinted' in a way. Japanese tend to let rooms run very hot. In the Summer/Winter rooms and trains are kept at about 28C maybe 30C (possibly higher in the winter), and I always found these miserable and always resulted in me sweating. I always noticed though that most other (Japanese) people never had this problem though, even in a room thats almost as hot as a mid-summer day in the winter, people would have 2-3 layers of clothes on and would be fine. I knew I wasn't alone either because in talking to other westerners living in Japan I learned that many of them had the same issue too. The only reason I've been able to come up with was that it had to do with how they were raised early on and the kind of temp. environment they are use to living in.

So I'd be curious to see if these physical effects in the study aren't something that isn't tuned by early conditioning.

Comment: Not Happening (Score 3, Informative) 88

by vix86 (#48615191) Attached to: Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?
I've participated in some TCS experiments back in college. Unless they discover some new way to do TCS there is no way anyone is ever going to find the technology usable in an entertainment environment. Remember that in order to cause the neurons to discharge magnetically you have to send a strong enough magnetic field through the skull and through a certain amount of liquid. In addition, the field has to be changed constantly as well.

For anyone that has never done TCS, what this effectively results in are constant static discharges on your scalp and this happens at a fairly rapid frequency. Plus, depending on the location of the magnets, the magnets might also be causing muscle neurons to discharge as well, so your face will be constantly twitching. All of this leads to a fairly tiring experience.

Comment: Most interested in robots that will... (Score 1) 307

by vix86 (#48374429) Attached to: I'm most interested in robots that will...
do research.

Pondering on singularity AI's, I always thought the biggest hurdle to a full range AI that can advance science faster than we can conceive of it, was the physical limitation. Some research can be pondered on but a lot of research and advances needs to be done in the real world. What good is an AI that can't test out if its theory on a 30% stronger steel that's 50% lighter, is possible?

Comment: Re:When I lived in Japan and rode trains every day (Score 1) 179

by vix86 (#47957995) Attached to: Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains
If you lived in Japan like I have, then you should know the answer to this.

1. Japan values customer service. Having a face be there to control the train or open/close the doors makes the service "friendlier." Also, if they removed the staff and made it automatic the old people would complain.

2. "Its how its always been done so why should we change."

Comment: Re:Here is how to get in to coding: (Score 4, Interesting) 240

by vix86 (#47584435) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding
I also get asked an awful lot (by the younger years) how I type so fast and how they can "learn" to type that fast. Type. For years. Bang, you've learned. This is no shortcut, there is little technique, no amount of learning the home keys will help you type fast. You just have to type, lots, all the time.

While this very true; it helps to also give them a place that requires speed to push them to type fast. I've always told people that asked "how do you type so fast?" that I learned to type really quickly by growing up in IRC chat rooms with lots of people and multiple conversations going on at once. You had to learn to type fast to keep up with what was going on.

Same for coding. You can learn some theory. But to learn to code, you have to code. And with kids it's really easy - pick a game, program it.

The only problem I've ever had with using "games" as a way to learn to code is that the final product may not match expectations. To put it another way. I love programming because it gives me a means to solve problems. Sometimes the problems are concrete as "I need a piece of software on my desktop to tell me when I'm getting a phone call on my phone." That problem is focused, the solution is focused too. If your phone rings and you get a notification on your computer, you know you solved the problem.

Games rarely offer up focused problems and solutions, especially for beginning programmers. A lot of game ideas are nothing more than "I want to make an RPG where I fight zombies." The solution would deceptively be to have a few characters in a bland world and some monsters labeled zombies, but game dev is never that simple and the problem space "grows." It goes from "rpg zombie game" to "rpg zombie hunting game where I must build a cure, save cities, and all while I'm working within this cool battle system." Games could be a great route to code but the path between problem definition and solution is huge compared to more simple stuff.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.