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Comment Re:Seems simple enough (Score 1) 168

OpenCL is highly specific in application. Likewise, RDMA and Ethernet Offloading are highly specific for networking, SCSI is highly specific for disks, and so on.

But it's all utterly absurd. As soon as you stop thinking in terms of hierarchies and start thinking in terms of heterogeneous networks of specialized nodes, you soon realize that each node probably wants a highly specialized environment tailored to what it does best, but that for the rest, it's just message passing. You don't need masters, you don't need slaves. You need bus switches with a bit more oomph (they'd need to be bidirectional, support windowing and handle multipath routing where shortest route may be congested).

Above all, you need message passing that is wholly target-independent since you've no friggin' clue what the target will actually be in a heterogeneous environment.

Comment Re:Can you fit that in a laptop? (Score 1) 168

Hemp turns out to make a superb battery. Far better than graphene and Li-Ion. I see no problem with developing batteries capable of supporting sub-zero computing needs.

Besides, why shouldn't public transport support mains? There's plenty of space outside for solar panels, plenty of interior room to tap off power from the engine. It's very... antiquarian... to assume something the size of a bus or train couldn't handle 240V at 13 amps (the levels required in civilized countries).

Comment Re:Yes, no, maybe, potato salad (Score 1) 294

Very true, but without it, we're doomed to reinventing wheels, redoing research and coming up with suboptimal solutions that are harder to program, harder to maintain and bloated with helper functions that would have come as standard otherwise.

Such a table can be written once then updated every 5 years. Reading it simply amounts to feeding into a parametric search routine what you know you will need to be able to do. You will then get a shortlist of languages ideal for the task.

Now, it comes down to two simple questions: are your requirements ever stable enough or clear enough for such a shortlist to be useful? Do you risk overoptimizing on a set of criteria that may have no resemblance to the reality of the problem or the reality of any solution the customer will sign off on?

If the answers are "yes"and "no" respectively, I'll start the list today.

Comment Seems simple enough (Score 1) 168

You need single isotope silicon. Silicon-28 seems best. That will reduce the number of defects, thus increasing the chip size you can use, thus eliminating chip-to-chip communication, which is always a bugbear. That gives you effective performance increase.

You need better interconnects. Copper is way down on the list of conducting metals for conductivity. Gold and silver are definitely to be preferred. The quantities are insignificant, so price isn't an issue. Gold is already used to connect the chip to outlying pins, so metal softness isn't an issue either. Silver is trickier, but probably solvable.

People still talk about silicon-on-insulator and stressed silicon as new techniques. After ten bloody years? Get the F on with it! These are the people who are breaking Moore's Law, not physics. Drop 'em in the ocean for a Shark Week special or something. Whatever it takes to get people to do some work!

SoI, since insulators don't conduct heat either, can be made back-to-back, with interconnects running through the insulator. This would give you the ability to shorten distances to compute elements and thus effectively increase density.

More can be done off-cpu. There are plenty of OS functions that can b e shifted to silicon, but where the specialist chips have barely changed in years, if not decades. If you halve the number of transistors required on the CPU for a given task, you have doubled the effective number of transistors from the perspective of the old approach.

Finally, if we dump the cpu-centric view of computers that became obsolete the day the 8087 arrived (if not before), we can restructure the entire PC architecture to something rational. That will redistribute demand for capacity, to the point where we can actually beat Moore's Law on aggregate for maybe another 20 years.

By then, hemp capacitors and remsistors will be more widely available.

(Heat is only a problem for those still running computers above zero Celsius.)

Comment Re:Can we rid the word of "Gelling"? (Score 4, Insightful) 127

One function of special vocabulary is for specialists to easily communicate. But another, important, social function is as a badge of in-group membership. If you use the words correctly (from the point of view of the group) you show that you belong, and that you probably know and understand all the other explicit and implicit rules of the group. If the word use spreads too far it loses this function and the group needs to find new words and expressions instead.

You dislike "gelling". You dislike "paradigm shifts". It would probably be a fairly risk-free bet on what you think of expressions like "optics" (as in "the optics of this decision is good") and the like. You dislike these words and refuse to use them. Which signals to management people that you are not management and should not be treated as part of their in-group. "gelling" works exactly as intended, in other words.

Asking for words to not be used like this is futile. It would be like asking people to no longer care about fashion (another in-group signal) or to not form groups of like-minded people at all.

Comment Re:Wonder how Elon Musk (Score 1) 262

Many of the cities in the Bay Area were originally agricultural. Retirees moved there for the sun, peace and quiet and cheap rents. Then the tech industry started to grow. For every 100,000 square foot office block built, that's 1000 employees who want 4000 square foot lots for their homes. All the land got used up rapidly for roads, homes, offices, schools, hospitals and clinics. And those came at a cost. Retirees suddenly saw their property taxes go up and up to pay for all these services that they didn't use. The cities then get round this by granting permission for a company to build a new campus on the edge of their city, leaving the housing, schools and transportation access to their neighbors. The same retirees opposed high-rise apartment blocks because they lost their sunlight, and MVA (market-value assessment) meant their home was assessed the same value as the six unit triplex block next door. So they brought in a tax Proposition to grandfather in property taxes and block the construction of high rise concrete apartment blocks (also due to earthquake risks).

Comment Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 341

Not many other countries intentionally bankrupt accident victims the way the US does.

I don't live in the US, and I agree. But, if you're found liable for an accident you will tend to pay a lot of money in any country; the accident victims likely have life or accident insurance and their insurance company will want to get reimbursed.

So good, comprehensive accident insurance is a very good idea no matter where you live. Usually we have that as part of our home insurance or other thing like that, and if you own a car you have mandatory insurance for that.

But in a case like this you may well be completely uncovered. The vehicle insurance is likely not valid for commercial traffic, and your home insurance may well not be valid either. As I said, I would never, ever get into a car like this without first being absolutely sure that the liability situation is crystal clear.

Comment Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 341

What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

So require that the drivers have it, outdated or not. It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all. If they really don't like it, they're free to lobby and argue for a change to the relevant laws. Just arguing that "but we don't wanna follow the law!" gets tired really fast.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.

That's a pretty pathetic sum for traffic insurance. Remember, you may potentially be economically liable for several injured, permanently disabled or killed people, property damage and other costs. And again, as the one that commissions and pays for the trip, you just might find yourself shouldering part of the criminal liability too, if you didn't check that the guy you hired had a valid license for commercial traffic.

Comment What are they complaining about? (Score 5, Insightful) 341

I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license; require the vehicles to comply to commercial safety standards; and provide the needed insurance. It's not as if the deck is stacked against them - the other services they compete against all follow the same rules.

For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident. It's not just medical and other costs for myself; if the driver is not licensed you, as the one paying for the ride, may be regarded as co-responsible if your driver caused the accident in the first place. You want to risk hundreds of thousands of Euro in damages to save a few bucks on a taxi ride?

Comment The basic problem is (Score 1) 249

The basic complaint of the poster seems to be that in a store of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of titles, only a very small number ever get discovered and successful. Huge numbers of very worthy apps never get a chance.

That problem can't be solved by any reasonable reorganization. We users (I use the Play store, but the same situation applies) have only so many minutes of time to spend looking for and using new stuff. However you make new apps visible to users, you're punishing apps that would have been visible otherwise. Competing for user attention time is a zero-sum game.

The Play store "people you know" ratings are surprisingly helpful. Unlike general user ratings this is not easy to game by the developers. But of course, those people may only have tested that one app because it was already more popular already.

I guess the only way to really fix it is to show each user only a random 0.1% subset of all apps. That would give every app a good chance of being seen and tried. But it would rather annoy all those people looking for irritated avians and not finding them.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 144

Of course. I don't suggest my experience is typical. But I hear the same thing from other places. My wife is a freelancer, so we have a fax machine at home, but again, it is almost never used any longer. She only has it in case some client still want to use it over email. I suspect - and this is of course just my own supposition, nothing else - that people now buy fax machines only to be covered for the rare case of doing business with a technical laggard, not as a daily office tool.

Google

Google Expands Safe Browsing To Block Unwanted Downloads 106

An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is expanding its Safe Browsing service to protect users against malware that makes unexpected changes to your computer. Google says it will show a warning in Chrome whenever an attempt is made to trick you into downloading and installing such software. In the case of malware, PUA stands for Potentially Unwanted Application, which is also sometimes called Potentially Unwanted Program or PUP. In short, the broad terms encompass any downloads that the user does not want, typically because they display popups, show ads, install toolbars in the default browser, change the homepage or the search engine, run several processes in the background that slow down the PC, and so on."

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