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Comment Re:A big missing something (Score 1) 870

Lol - this isn't like some secret or something. There's a reasonable number of service jobs that will persist for some time, because some people prefer a human touch for restaurants, health care, or random other stuff (personally, I'd rather type my order and have food pop up without a waiter - especially if that made it cheaper). Even for grumps like me, I imagine there's lots of stuff that I'd still want a human to do - make music or write books for example. But there's just not nearly enough of those jobs, total, for anything like the current economy to work, once you have robots that can do simple decision manual labor (drive trucks, run farms, clean, navigate neighborhoods, fetch goods, etc..).

And futurist's never take this into account? I've read probably 50 variations on how the "next" economy will work, and they've taken this in tons of directions (some realistic sounding, others more fanciful). There's attention based economies where the majority of people are doing creative work, and competing for attention. In the Prime Intellect books, one of the last ways for humans to earn something like money is to sell their suffering to those who get joy out of causing a real human pain.

Comment Wow Slashdot has a bunch of grumps. (Score 3, Insightful) 100

I don't think it's dangerous or stupid. I'm willing to put something funny looking on my head. I don't care if it's a bit awkward or unpolished, or even if it doesn't work well for extended play (I don't have time for extended play usually anyway).

This is cool tech, and I'm excited for it. I hope it catches on. There was a time when Slashdot would mostly be with me on this. Now new tech is pretty much universally turded on.

That said, I'm much less sanguine about Sony's prospects. It feels like the Move before it, kind of a half-hearted effort to grab onto a trend. The Oculus people (and Valve) seem to be taking development much more seriously, and focusing on the right things to optimize the experience. They're gamers eating their own dogfood, and they like it enough that they've repeatedly doubled down.

Once it's released and gets some good software support, I think it's going to be something special.

Comment I kind of wouldn't mind a less fancy one... (Score 1) 103

...that just does like cool patterns and crap and looks cool. Assuming it was cheap.

But I don't need another way for someone to message me, or to check the weather (though possibly those things would be cool if they worked without a phone).

And there's other problems that really sound lame. I'd hate having to charge my watch every night.

I know a couple people who ordered Pebble watches. I haven't seen anyone who wears one regularly.

Comment Re:Now yes (Score 1) 342

Yes, dealers are one channel for authentic parts, but it's the manufacturer that's required to make them (the people who sold you the car aren't building parts in their back lots); lots of places would be willing to sell them (because selling parts and repairing vehicles is obviously profitable). And even with dealers and 1st party hardware, 3rd party produced parts are extremely common - right now - easy to get, and usually cheaper.

Your theoretical problem has proven not to be one in reality.

In reality, the consumer could see some improvements from a consolidated dealer/manufacturer. It avoids the round of finger pointing you sometimes get between dealers and manufacturers when it comes to warrantee service (the same reason many prefer to buy an iPad at the Apple store). And it's ridiculous to pretend manufacturers/dealers are carrying some heavy cross in terms of selling replacement parts - it's a profitable part of their business, and they spend a lot of money advertising it (as opposed to trying to shirk their responsibility or something, which they might try if it was some burden).

Comment I agree with the board here (Score 4, Interesting) 248

There's no reason MS couldn't have taken the route Google has with branding phones (eg. the Nexus 4, actually made by LG or Asus or I don't remember). I don't think buying Nokia is going to look like a good decision down the road.

Overall, MS's continuous doubling down on mobile has succeeded only in poisoning their other products.

Comment Agree. (Score 1) 860

With some work and tweaking, you can make a reasonable interface in Windows 8 - but I can't think of anything that's a real positive.

Meanwhile, Windows 7 fixed my concerns with Vista and generally just stayed out of my way. It performed well and consistently, feeling familiar but better than their previous OS offerings.

Give us back Windows 7.

Comment So it's a random number generator? (Score 1) 84

And, like any random source, you can use it for an unbreakable one time pad. That's cool.

So I guess the question is "are there problems with current hardware random number generators?", and probably "what are the failure states for this new method, how do they arise, and how hard are they to detect?"

Regardless of those answers, there's still going to be limited utility for something like this. I don't think a lot of gamers are worried about game randomness not being random enough (which is a ridiculous application suggested in the video).

Comment Re:I've never understood why this is a big goal. (Score 1) 84

1. I don't see any reason for a long timeout - they should be in continuous communication. They should be able to rotate command 1000 times a second if they wanted to. Computers and communication are fast.
2. This doesn't need to be some complicated algorithm or something. They're all sharing information, so they should all be suited for command - just have the next bot in the sequence do it.
3. I think, at this point in communication theory, we could probably design a protocol whereby we don't need, like, extensive re-handshaking or something here.

It seems to me that "being in continuous communication with each other" is going to be a requirement (or a large benefit) for most tasks anyway. If these bots are going to do anything together (other than fly and not bump into each other), they're going to require co-ordination and data sharing. So why not use those links to fly and not bump into each other.

Comment I've never understood why this is a big goal. (Score 2) 84

I've seen people doing flocking demonstrations for years, and it seems like something robot tinkerers spend significant time on. And it usually involves this:

Crucially, the flock does not rely on any centralized control for its behavior.

Why? Why is that crucial? Why not let the robots communicate with a central control? I understand that's not how animals do it, but animals don't have, like, RF glands. To be clear, there's no reason the central control couldn't be in one of the robots (and there's no reason the "central" robot needs to be statically defined, they could instantly elect a new one if the old one dropped out or something). It's only a difficult problem in practice, but there's not really a practical reason to impose this restriction.

Where's the big downside of a central control? The upside is the practical problem is way easier. And it is really just a practical problem - the theoretical flocking problem is much easier and can be thought about much simpler in simulation.

In general, robot tinkerers seem to spend a ton of time making up odd, practical problems that don't need practical solutions. Like the dudes a few SlashDot stories ago that were inventing a way for robots to communicate facts to each other without sharing any kind of pre-defined language. The communication thing is an interesting, useful problem - but it has nothing to do with robots, and doing it with actual robots just adds a bunch of extraneous hassles. It'd be like building counting robots to move abacuses so you could to math theory.

I mean, if you're actually building robots that need to communicate, you can just have them able to communicate in a non-ridiculous way because we know how to have computers communicate at a distance. Just like you don't need a robot to be able to physically manipulate an abacus (at least not in order to help it count).

Comment I've never trusted BitCoin (Score 4, Insightful) 631

There was money to be made at certain points, sure - and there may be more money to be made in the future. I'm sure some people have done quite well. But that doesn't mean any significant involvement with BitCoin going forward is a good idea.

Trusting "BitCoin" isn't exactly what's important. To invest in or use BitCoins significantly, you'll end up trusting other people - and how do you know to trust those people, especially as the stakes get higher and higher? Banking and securities trading have a web of trust and regulation that's been built out over centuries. There's failure states and scandals, sure, but you have reasonable tools to decide who to trust and how much.

What I see in people's experience with BitCoin is often a long string of red flags - difficulties doing withdrawals and transfers, huge fluctuations in value, varying exchange rates that nobody is able to arbitrage - all met with too few questions and far too much exuberance.

Comment Re: And we're going to trust self driving cars now (Score 4, Insightful) 664

People make mistakes, intentionally or otherwise

Yes, people do make mistakes. Often while driving. The test shouldn't be whether automated cars make mistakes, but rather whether they do better than an average driver. Can they deal with icy roads as well as an average driver? That bar's pretty low, even here in Edmonton.

Once they've reached that average competence and start being deployed, they'll also improve rapidly over time; computers have the potential to be much safer drivers than humans. They'd know where other cars are and where they're going, they'd be able to apply brakes to wheels independently with lightning reactions, and would not be subject to health conditions, intoxication, aging, or inexperience.

I'm not sure how far off we are, but it's definitely coming.

Comment Re:Economically Inefficient (Score 2) 467

It's kind of moot now that rental stores are pretty rare - but this actually isn't true. Under first sale doctrine in the US, you're allowed to rent out a DVD you own. If this wasn't true, rental places may never have taken off, as the studios would have preferred only to sell. They tried various license garbage to hinder renting, but it never held.

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