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Comment Re:Er, wait, what? (Score 5, Insightful) 140

Well, nuclear reactions that we can turn off like laser-initiated fusion are a lot nicer than the alternatives. The inside of your car engine is a raging inferno shot with electric sparks and compressed with inexorable steel cylinders. That doesn't keep you from going on a nice drive with your sweetie.

Comment Re:Students are Hard on Hardware (Score 2) 177

It's not just kids. I used to work on mobile software for guys doing various kinds of outdoor field work. I told clients to figure on replacing their PDAs at least every two years. I'd reckon about 20% broke outright each year, and at the end of two years even the ones that weren't actually broken were falling apart from heavy use. These were well-made PDAs in rugged cases that guys could carry in their pockets. I shudder to think what they're doing these days with iPads.

When you're thinking about adopting any kind of gizmo that's supposed to be used all day long, you have to look at that gizmo as disposable. Stuff happens to things you carry around all the time. I have a light touch with equipment, so my stuff tends to last longer than most people's; but even I once broke a Newton screen, back in the early days. There was a guy in my office who destroyed one laptop per year, like clockwork.

I used to tell my clients that equipment was made to be used and thrown away. The important thing is preserving data. If a device is so expensive you've got to count on people mollycoddling it, it's not ready for field use.

Comment Re:Um (Score 2) 202

They have it across the street from my house, but my house is on a dead end circuit with only 8 or 10 other homes, so no love here.

Buy a DD-WRT compatible WiFi AP/router, and make friends with your neighbors across the street. I bet they'd like to get a free $5/mo to power your AP and terminate your FIOS connection in their home. You could even set-up a sub-interface for them to piggyback on the FIOS you're paying for, with a different passphrase and aggressive throttling/QoS so their freeloading usage never slows you down.

Comment Re:FiOS Is A Sham. (Score 1) 202

deploy a *token* amount of FiOS in areas where it's the most profitable and lowest cost

Actually it's the opposite from all the FIOS deployments I've seen or heard about. The big shiny new cities packed full of rich people get utterly left out, while FIOS gets deployed to the cheapest, least-dense areas.

Though I don't have any first-hand knowledge, it appears that Verizon is deploying FIOS aggressively where population density is lowest, and the POTS lines were substantially more expensive to maintain. Typically, that means the cities get left out, while the suburbs get blanketed.

However, that's not really a good thing for the suburbs. Once you've got FIOS coverage, Verizon won't offer $10/month DSL service, and you'll be paying a minimum of $60/month for their lowest-speed internet service. If you want a landline phone and TV with your internet, the figures look better, but most people have cell phones, and many people that want high-speed internet don't want plain old "cable" TV service, so it's a bit of a plot to prop-up their dying businesses by tying them like an anchor around the neck of high-speed internet.

In the end, the local cable TV company was nice enough to offer FASTER internet service, for 1/3rd the price, though that has since slightly increased.

Comment Re:Never gonna happen. (Score 1) 472

The thing with planes is that you usually have quite some time to deal with problems

You *USUALLY* have plenty of time to deal with issues on the road as well. As with cars, aircraft autopilots ALSO have to deal with the scenarios where there is little or no time to react, and they leave the pilots in a situation where they must immediately take action. As I said before, IF an autonomous car navigation system can detect when it is operating out of its design parameters, it can easily fail-safe and just pull over, which a jet cannot.

you have to make a split second descision between crashing into it and swerving. Swerving carries the risk of crashing into oncoming traffic.

Computers are VASTLY better than humans at making split-second decisions, and their unblinking sensors mean they ALWAYS know, at every second, whether swerving will impinge on oncoming traffic or if it'll be perfectly safe.

Can an auto-driving car tell the difference between a child running out in the road (for which swerving would be the lesser evil) and a plastic bag blowing into the road (where crashing into it would be the lesser evil)?

Instead of emotionally manipulative rhetorical questions, why don't you take a few seconds and GO LOOK UP THE ANSWER, as there are numerous such vehicles being tested. Or better yet, just state it as a requirement... e.g. "Self-driving cars should not be allowed on the road until they can distinguish between a child and an inanimate object." Both are much easier and more accurate than the stupid assumption that your challenge is impossible, or difficult, or perhaps not ALREADY HANDLED properly by car navigation systems.

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