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Comment They'd better ship the thing. (Score 1) 88

They'd better ship the thing. There have been some large, overfunded Kickstarter projects that never shipped. Remember "Clang and the Pitfalls of Kickstarter"? Then there was the Form 1 low-cost 3D printer. Despite being way overfunded, the delivery date always seems to be four months away. It was four months away last December, and it's four months away now.

Comment Re:I wish they'd do it here. (Score 2) 372

I wonder how many smaller cities have already done this?

Redwood City, CA, near where I am, is doing it. It's striking, because Redwood City standardized on yellow sodium lamps some time in the 1930s. You know you're in Redwood City when the street lights turn yellow. The new daylight LEDs are a big improvement.

If your community is doing this, push for solar power on some of the lights. Not necessarily all of them, but at least at street corners. That way, no matter what disaster happens, some lights will stay on.

Comment Re:Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (Score 1) 389

Computers can work for years without shutting down. *Can*. But a daily reboot for 5 minutes works for almost every computer in existence. Even general purpose ones.

The penalty for failure in the case of your home PC is quite low.

The penalty for failure in your car is not.

The best technology for cars which go where they are meant without hands on the wheel is still some form of rail. As a bonus, we can eliminate these stupid pneumatic tires completely, without resorting to [cool but nevertheless ultimately hackish] halfway solutions like tweels. Eliminating the issues of yaw and traction control completely make issues like safe stopping distance trivial.

Comment Re:Why Ouya is Doomed (Score 1, Interesting) 88

It's underspecced and can't do anything different to your laptop or desktop PC.

If it worked, it would be an acceptable deal for $100.

It's shit.

That's why it's not an acceptable deal for $100.

Notably, the controller completely punts on handling touch. It doesn't even have gyros. It would have been better to punt on the controller, and work on making PS3 controllers work properly.

When I had my Ouya, a bluetooth keyboard would inevitably work its way towards being controller #1. Then you couldn't play any games until you unpaired the controller and the keyboard, and repaired the controller. And the PS3 controller support was spotty at best, as well. The launcher would crash, and games would crash, and games that were on the launch poster weren't launch titles, and and and. The most notable "and" is that the development was completely closed (in spite of the Ouya being billed as "Open") and users have to wait for updates.

I was and remain an outspoken supporter of the concept. It's too bad Ouya failed so hard to anticipate the future. If they had worked with Google to create a controller standard instead of striking out on their own, they might have secured a place for themselves in the Google Play gaming ecosystem.

Nothing in particular is stopping them from going that way, except perhaps competence. But if there is a sequel, I suppose it will tell.

Comment Why Ouya is Doomed (Score 3, Insightful) 88

I got a preorder launch Ouya. It stunk on ice. Crash! Crash! Crash! And no support for any displays with anything other than VGA, 720p, or 1080p resolution, even though there is a scaler in there, but maybe that was just my pet issue. Thing is, for LOTS of people Ouya's output looks like poop on their device because Ouya wouldn't recognize their display resolution (loads of TVs don't actually use one of these resolutions as native, and even more monitors) and then it would render internally at 1080p, but scale the output down to VGA.

The way they have differentiated themselves from other devices is to have their own store. It stinks on ice, too. Maybe they've made some major improvements since I dropped mine, but you couldn't even see your download queue, which would clear itself under some mysterious but trivially accidentally replicable conditions. But the basic fundamental problem is that now that google has announced support for gaming, and Ouya is doing things their own way, they've segmented themselves out of the market. Meanwhile, everyone else's devices will have play store game support. This one reason is enough to doom Ouya.

Comment Re:Don't be first! (Score 1) 389

He is talking about a script kiddy that takes over control while you are driving it.

Why would a car be connected to a network? And how?

How is a good question. Why is a dumb one. It has been discussed ad infinitum that having self-driving cars communicate would improve throughput.

Comment Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (Score 1) 389

No matter what the soccer mom associations running western society, today say, there's much more to life than safety and convenience, especially when it comes to control over mental state and physical location/transportation.

Ask the people stuck in traffic, not actually going anywhere, if they want to have to drive their own car. Now ask yourself how the majority of road-hours are spent. Now ask yourself how dumb you sound.

Guess what? Your right to drive is already constrained by laws regarding safety. You're not permitted to drive your car just anywhere it will go. And the cops can already confiscate your car if you represent basically any kind of threat to public safety. The freedom of automobile ownership is largely illusory.

Comment Re:Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (Score 1) 389

There is one condition that the human driver handles better than the self-driving car; electrical system failure. I don't know about you, but over my lifetime I've been in at least a dozen vehicles whose electrical systems have failed while they were in service. My Mercedes doesn't care, aside from loss of signals and such. Everything else just dies. And so will you, if your hands aren't on the wheel and your feet aren't on the pedals when it happens and you're moving at a high rate of speed.

Comment Re:Ad marking (Score 2) 185

Time to resurrect the blinky tag?

Maybe time to resurrect the pink/tan background Google used to put on ads. Over time, the ad background became lighter and lighter. At one time, Google was under a Federal Trade Commission ruling requiring them to clearly distinguish ads from content. Google seems to have escaped from that.

It's getting harder to tell content from ads. Google Shopping is an interesting case. Everything on Google Shopping is a paid ad now. Google Shopping used to be a price search engine, but in 2012, it became strictly pay to play. For a while after the transition, our Ad Limiter was trimming down Google Shopping pages to one entry, because the links there are ad links. That was overkill - you got a nearly blank page with one result. So we backed off on that. Google Shopping also has explicit ads on top of the search results, which are ads too. Google is overdoing it there.

Ad recognition is an interesting problem. We do it by looking at where links go. Then we analyze the page layout in the add-on to find the boundaries of the ad. This is quite different from most screen-scrapers, which rely on specific named CSS tags. So we don't have to update our add-on very often, and it recognizes most new kinds of ads automatically.

AdBlock Plus has a big file of regular expressions for recognizing ads, which are frantically updated as sites change their HTML and CSS. Advertisers can pay to not have your ad blocked by AdBlock Plus. That's the problem with an add-on that's high-maintenance. Somebody has to pay for the maintenance.

Comment Ad marking (Score 2) 185

Please add a feature to let me change the background of all AD's on google so they are obvious to older people.

Now that's an interesting idea. We dim out lower-rated search results slightly, but it's so subtle visually that few people notice. We certainly could do something to make it easier to identify ads.

Comment Re:Ad limiting (Score 1) 185

Best ads...who is "we"? Is there a community voting mechanism or is "we" strictly within your company walls? If it's the former, you've got a good chance at succeeding.

We know that "community voting" doesn't work. It's so heavily spammed it's useless.

What we do is find info about the company from public records, business databases, etc. If we can't find the real-world business behind the web site, we downrate it. It's a filter for "bottom-feeders", businesses hiding behind a web site and an email address.

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