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Comment Re: suure (Score 1) 328

I'm over 40 too. I don't know anyone who plays computer games period, though I suspect some of the young single guys at work might. I never asked them. The only time I play any games at all is if I (rarely) get the urge to play a NES or DOS game from when I was a teenager, and those work great in emulators under Linux. All the other 30+ adults I know, and know well enough to know about what they do on their PCs, don't play games, and aren't in tech either. The only things they do with their PCs are web surfing, playing DVDs, light document editing, that's about it.

Comment Re:VMWARE is the future? (Score 1) 91

What's easier to backup and restore? Hint a virtual machine image.

Run your tooling inside a Docker container instead. Processes run as local processes without the overhead of virtualization, and the container images can be backed up by pushing them to a repository in a single command. On top of that, Docker container images are way smaller than comparable VM images, as they don't need to store an entire OS as part of the image. In fact, as Docker images are created in layers, two images that share the same base OS layers don't need to store that base OS image layer twice -- in effect, your images are just the diffs from whatever image they are generated from. Way smaller, easier, and faster to backup than a giant VM image.

Yaz

Comment The absolute best. (Score 1) 91

The absolute best environment? Sitting on my couch, in my pyjamas, with easy access to my refrigerator and tunes.

However, if I catch one of your developers on my couch wearing my pyjamas and helping themselves to my 'fridge while listening to my tunes, there's going to be trouble.

Ultimately, as a developer my preference is to a) have the entire power of the system in my hands, b) not be tied down by local system restrictions, and c) not being tied to specific developer tools, especially an IDE.

Breaking those down:

  • Entire power of the system: I require my own system that doesn't share any resources with anyone else. It has to be a real desktop or laptop. No thin client of any sort. If I'm out in the woods and away from any form of networking and need to build the product (or some subset), I should be able to do so. If the product relies on or is expected to be used in any sort of cloud technologies, then the ability to generate and use cloud instances is certainly a must, however they should be available alongside and via a real machine, and not be the sole development environment.
  • Not be tied down by local system restrictions: if IT wants to provide a system so tied down that my local user doesn't have sufficient privileges to install device drivers, tools, or anything else I may need to work, you need to verbally smack them around. That may work for Sales and Marketing, but your most technical people need to have full access to their systems.
  • Not being tied to specific developer tools: All of the most pain-in-the-butt projects I've ever worked on are those that rely on a specific IDE to build. And this has always wound up being a bad idea. Projects should be buildable without any sort of IDE whatsoever. Use Gradle or Maven or Ant or a Makefile to build your projects. Pretty much every modern IDE can work with these systems. Your developers can pick and choose what IDE and tools they want to use this way -- they should just be able to just 'git clone' or 'svn checkout' and build from the command line. This also tends to mean that your Continuous Integration system will build the product in exactly the same way as developer systems -- which is a good thing. Anytime I've joined a project that is so highly tied to a specific IDE, the instructions and time needed to on-board new developers is always way too high (I've seen documents with over 20 pages just on how to setup your IDE properly to build a specific project! I've also seen bugs in the code that wound up being due to differences in the way code was built in the IDE vs. how it was built on the nightly build server). Decouple how the code is built from what tools are used to write the code whenever and wherever possible, and then I'll pick the local tools that work best for me to write that code.

TL;DR version: give me a lot of computing power I can carry around with me, don't tie me down to specific coding tools, and then get out of my way. And keep your developers off my couch, and out of my pyjamas and 'fridge.

Yaz

Comment So fucking what? (Literally). (Score 1) 217

So the guy's a pervert: does that mean his code quit working? Is he trying to fuck other contributors? Has he done anything to anyone without their consent?

I've worked with plenty of people in my time who are into things that I don't approve of, from voting for socialists to trying to be Heinlein characters, but if they don't bring it to the office, it's none of my business. That goes double for an open-source project where they're donating their work.

Enough with the goddamned neo-puritans. There's work to be done, for fuck's sake.

-jcr

Comment Re:Just needs a little nudge. (Score 1) 169

The lumpy gravity field shouldn't be *that* big a problem. The ISS is designed to orbit Earth, which has an atmosphere (which gives a little drag on the ISS at that altitude), and 6 times the gravity of the Moon. So even if the Moon's gravity is uneven compared to Earth's, it should be possible to compensate for that pretty easily. The ISS can also be placed in a higher orbit where presumably the lumpy gravity will be less of a factor. On Earth, the LEO orbit is probably chosen because of radiation protection and ease of resupply. On the Moon, there's no radiation protection anywhere (no atmosphere, no Van Allen belts) so it's somewhat irrelevant, plus resupply missions from Earth will probably have an easier time reaching a higher Lunar orbit.

The main problem is radiation protection, and for that it seems like they just need a new space station, though perhaps they could get away with a new, highly shielded crew module or two, where the crew is supposed to sleep and spend most of their time, out of the older sections.

Of course, I'd much rather see them dump it and just build a gigantic rotating space station, like the one in 2001, in a Lagrangian spot. Instead of spending tons more money on a military build-up, we should just partner with Japan and Germany on this.

Comment Re:Self-contradictory (Score 2) 86

I suspect by physical interface they mean something you interact with physically, rather than directly - ie you push buttons with your fingers on a keyboard, you receive images via a monitor that converts them into photons, etc. It's awkward language, but I'm not sure there's a "correct" way beyond calling the brain link something awful like "really, really, direct."

Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 86

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
by ROLFE WINKLER
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at rolfe.winkler@wsj.com

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