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Comment Re:These are not the droids you're looking for (Score 1) 275

As best I've been able to find(on page 753 of The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems) the unit cost of a Mark-46 torpedo alone is $160,000(in what I think are 1988 dollars; but it isn't entirely clear). Even if the launch cage is free, I suspect that nobody is planting nearly enough of them to be a major hazard to civilian life...

I assume that this is what keeps naval mines (mostly) out of the line of fire against land mines, which are absurdly cheap by comparison.

Comment Re:Nintendo needs to rethink its place in the worl (Score 4, Interesting) 403

It doesn't help that Nintendo apparently can't comprehend software to save their miserable lives. They can make games; but their grasp of the non-game software components is tragicomedic even compared to Sony, and that's saying something.

DRM is always user-hostile; but Nintendo's is just hilarious(even as their consoles are markedly easier to crack than Sony's or Microsoft's). Downloaded material is permanently locked to the hardware it was downloaded on. Even now that the Wii U has 'Nintendo network accounts' those are locked to the device they were created on. There is a transfer process for certain sorts of material; but it's the most ass-backwards and error-prone exercise one can imagine. Even better, the 'virtual' Wii within the Wii U, for backwards compatibility, counts as a separate device and is almost entirely non-integrated. It's just terrible at every step.

Sony's 'well, we could download updates in the background; but instead we'll make you watch' also isn't a masterpiece, and Microsoft is clearly sucking at the ad-money teat a bit too much in laying out their atrocious 'dashboard'; but that's at least evil rather than cluelessness.

Comment Re:Drones are Piloted (Score 2) 275

What you will probably see at first is 1 human in charge of 5-10 drones. The drones act 'autonomously' and the controller can take over any of them. Then you will see as they get comfortable with the tech something like 1 to 50. Then they will take the 'commander' out of the loop and put it in the hands of 'strategy committees'. Then they will let the computer fight out what from our point of view in the command 'bunker' is a large RTS game.

It's already one pilot to multiple drones. Given that one of the major features on the things is long endurance/loiter times, and they possess some limited automation of basic flight functions(ie. unlike a 'basic' RC aircraft where every control surface is directly mapped to a joystick on the controller, and the pilot has to compute the control-surface configuration that gets the path he wants), a single person can watch over multiple drones at a time, and (so long as the standing order is some variation of 'just putz around at safe altitude until I come back') a drone can temporarily be ignored if something more important is happening with one of the others.

If memory serves, takeoff/landing still has to be one one-on-one, and all waypoint assignment and weapons targeting is human controlled; but handling the aeronautical details of moving from waypoint to waypoint is already automated.

Comment Re:I fail to see the difference. (Score 1) 275

So you are saying that both are deeply distasteful and likely to result in casualties among civilians who are 'innocent' by any stretch of the word? Or was this one of those 'we have to stoop to their level to stop those animals' arguments?

(Incidentally, unless the extremist was fucking a defense contractor, I bet the kid and not the robot was produced on time and under budget...)

Comment Re:These are not the droids you're looking for (Score 5, Interesting) 275

Yes and no: especially sophisticated autonomous robots, either self-driving vehicles or biomimetic killbots of some sort, are sci-fi stuff; but land mines 'That's bi-state autonomous area denial agent sir to you, cripple!' and more sophisticated devices like the Mark 60 CAPTOR are autonomous killer robots.

And, so far, they've proven deeply unpopular in bleeding-heart circles. The fancier naval and anti-vehicle mines are still on the table; but the classic land mine enjoys a sense of ethical distaste only slightly less than just hacking off children's limbs yourself...

Comment Re:The innovation we've come to expect from HP (Score 2) 120

This represents the innovation we've come to expect from HP -- none at all.

They are just tapping into the well of competence that they obtained by buying Compaq's consumer division:

1. Purchase cheap chinese shit from ODM.

2. Apply once-respected label.

3. Profit!(and, if you don't, fire the engineers and let your stock options ride the bump, either way...)

Comment Re:Not just for professionals... (Score 4, Interesting) 164

Both CF and SD include the controller: CF cards actually look like PIO IDE drives, on a mechanically different connector, and SD is its own thing. Now, for whatever strange reason, the SD spec guys really skimped on maximum size(there are a few oddball 4GB, with some quirks in certain devices, with 2GB or less being the rule), while the CF spec didn't(not sure about 48-bit LBA in older devices; but that much Flash used to cost more than a new car, so who's checking?)

If they'd just found an extra penny or two in the budget for a higher capacity ceiling in the first place, the whole 'SD'->'mechanically identical and wholly incompatible SDHC' transition could have been avoided.

Comment Re:Where is voice recognition being done (Score 4, Interesting) 93

The proposed API itself is agnostic, it just provides a way for a page to ask for mic access and a 'plz speech-to-text-this-audio' mechanism.

Google's implementation, unshockingly enough, phones right back home to the mothership for speech recognition services. I would assume that(if this proposal makes it out of the cradle) implementations will vary: Google will phone home, Apple will 'siri' home, Microsoft might be awfully tempted to phone home on consumer SKUs, but not on enterprise ones; copies of Dragon NaturallySpeaking will probably include a browser plugin that brings your existing recognition training over to web text-to-speech, etc.

Comment The obvious solution! (Score 5, Funny) 94

Surely any dedicated gamer would see the value in simply injecting a thickening agent into the endolymph of the Vestibular system. With careful dose control, that should induce a matching lag in the perception of motion, thus providing a highly realistic experience!

*Ability to walk and/or perform normal ocular saccades not guaranteed, please refrain from the use of industrial silicones in medical applications.

Comment Re:Robots good humans bad (Score 3, Informative) 130

Surgical 'robots' are pretty much entirely human operated cut-by-wire devices. "Waldos" of varying sophistication and shape.

Very handy because you can, say, mount the business end of the device on something a lot thinner and more flexible than a surgeon's wrist, and avoid having to crack the patient's entire chest open, or apply a filter between the input and the output, to allow the surgeon to make otherwise impossibly tiny motions.

To the best of my understanding, much of the remaining challenge is machine vision/sensing. Unlike assembly line robots, surgical bots can't make assumptions about product uniformity(indeed, if they have you cracked open for repair, abnormality is the only safe assumption, though even clinically normal people can vary considerably) and failure to correctly distinguish between tissue types or other visual mistakes can have unpleasant consequences.

In terms of pure steadiness, strength, or repeatability, humans are pretty screwed; but getting robots to stop fucking up magnificently when something unexpected happens has continued to be tricky.

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