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Comment Re:No feel (Score 3, Informative) 61

Self driving cars aren't going to be terribly good at measuring road feel and that moment when you feel grip suddenly let go and make the correction to stay on the road.

I wish I could see your face when I tell you that the technology to handle those situations has been mandatory in all cars (though not trucks) sold in the US since 2010. It's commonly known as ESP (electronic stability program) and there are a number of ways to actually effect changes in vehicle yaw once it is detected via accelerometer, like decelerating a slipping wheel (with the brakes) or accelerating an opposing wheel (e.g. with an electronic differential and the engine.) Slip can be detected as well (by the use of a second accelerometer) and one common response to slip is to engage traction control, which of course can induce yaw... which is then handled by the ESP.

This stuff began to become ubiquitous in high-end cars around 2000, but it was first brought to the street by Mitsubishi for the Lancer Evo IV and also used on the Galant VR4 and 3000GT VR4, under the name AYC. Even though it was the pioneer, it used the more complex and expensive electronic diff method, which is better than braking because it doesn't slow the vehicle.

All it would take to mess up AI racing is an oil slick or an animal or person or a tree falling or a part falling off another car or any number of other things for the AI to become overwhelmed.

The AI will deal with the oil slick better than a human driving a car without traction control and ESP, because it will effectively implement traction control and ESP. The vehicles already watch for obstacles. It's not that they won't ever make mistakes in these situations, but humans often do as well, so that's not a differentiating factor.

Comment Re:@Intel: Why no ECC for consumer-grade processor (Score 1) 169

Actually, wouldn't cosmic rays be capable of flipping bits even in ECC memory and processors, thereby making the whole ECC thing useless?

No, this is what ECC is for. If a bit is flipped, you can detect it. If you have enough parity bits, you can even detect which bit is flipped, and correct it on the fly. Computation occurs as normal and an error shows up in the syslog.

Comment Re:Next disaster will be smartphones and headphone (Score 1) 205

Try to find that level of performance or serviceability in modern power drills.

If you're willing to pay extra for the big funky chunky pro level stuff from Milwaukee or whoever, they all are designed for the user to replace the brushes and the chuck. If not, then it's still generally possible, but a PITA. With those cheap drills, the gears will wear out anyway.

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 1) 205

There IS no place that disposes of CRTs for free.

In California, we pay for recycling when we buy electronics. The flip side of that deal is that we don't pay when we dispose of electronics, regardless of age. We just take them to the transfer station and leave them in a pile. This is cool for me because I get electronics cheaply from the Salvation Army, go through them for interesting parts, check the router database or whatever, and then recycle whatever I don't want for free.

Comment Re:Let's keep forging ahead (Score 1) 92

Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory, once remarked about hotels who don't use real keys for their doors, instead having credit cards to unlock a door.

Like a digital lock, a key lock is only as secure as its mechanism, and getting a better one tends to be expensive. Unlike a traditional lock, you can re-key a digital lock every time you rent the room.

Comment Re: dealership only sales and service coming soon? (Score 2) 92

Do a reset for free? That's a good one. It'll move more towards dealer only ability. Like Audi, need the dealership tools to reset your oil service light.

Not for all models. You can do it from MMI on modern cars, or on some older cars (like say the facelifted D2 A8) you can do it with a spock pinch on the cluster buttons. Or of course, you can do it with VAG-COM on those few vehicles which can't be reset without tools from inside the cockpit.

Comment Re:Will it be entertaining? (Score 2, Interesting) 61

I can imagine that eventually some kind of optimum strategy may evolve and all the teams use it, and then the cars will all do the same thing and the race will be boring.

If you all use the same safe strategy then nobody ever overtakes and there's no race at all, just cars driving in a circle. Essentially like F1 at its worst, but then... even worse. So at worst, everyone would use the same unsafe strategy, and it would basically just be betting on effectively random chance. Whose tires are just .001% better, who drives over a pebble and who doesn't. But more likely, every team would try to find places they could optimize, identifying different places and ways to push for just a little more speed. This will result in crashes, which frankly are interesting. They should build cars designed to be crashed cheaply. That will permit the maximum learning to occur in the shortest period of time, which makes the sport most interesting to automakers who have to take something home to justify their investment.

Comment Re:Not all of them (Score 1) 92

Is it possible to update these vehicles? Will the dealers do this for free?

It is physically possible, but I believe it actually requires a complete head unit replacement. Don't quote me on that, though. It could just be a module located in the trunk or something. They're not doing it for free. I don't think they're even making the option available.

Comment Re:Oh for Pete's Sake! (Score 3) 163

You need to stop pissing other people off.

How do I square that with expecting people to do at least the minimum? Should I just lower my standards so far that I suck their fucking cocks just for showing up at work and giving me bitch face? These people are grade "A" fuckups. And here's the thing, I'm more than willing to help. When the weird-ass prior mail carrier chick's classic Willys broke down, I was the only guy to stop and see if she needed help. I am polite, I smile, I say please and thank you. I do all the same shit that most of these fuckups don't bother to do. I get along great with the one postal employee who actually does her job with grace if not a smile (personally I think smiling is part of a customer service job, but I realize that people have shit days and so I don't care much) but if I rub some of them the wrong way by having some basic standards then that's just going to fucking happen.

I piss people off just by virtue of existing. I'm a gigantic part-Mexican with liberal attitudes who drives a German car in a redneck backwater full of hicks in sticks. And I do not go around telling people how backwards their ideas are, no matter how dumb I think they are. That's not my job and they don't give a shit. I treat people with more respect than they show me, and if they're not satisfied with the level of treatment they're receiving, then they can give a little more or they can fuck right off.

I stop and pick up hitchers, I stop and ask people if they're doing OK and I'll go back and get my tools and come back for them if they need me to. But I also expect people to know how to drive and keep to their side of the road and in general do their fucking job. If that's too high an expectation for you, you know where the door is.

Comment Re:Oh for Pete's Sake! (Score 2) 163

Working for the USPS is a shit job, it doesn't pay much, you have to piss in a cup and take an exam and wait around for ages to find out if you've got a job so the most desirable people get offered some other job and subsequently take it while the USPS is still trying to figure out where the application is. So they apparently just hire whoever actually takes the time to go through the process and you end up with a bunch of dingleberries. They still don't have anything clever like automatic detection of routing loops built into the system, like every other shipper does. Sadly, they are the cheapest option by far.

It's not just USPS that's gone downhill, either. California Overnight used to be super fantabulous. Now Amazon is using them and it's nothing but complaints. Who knows where they delivered our stuff. We got it refunded and/or replaced (it was several items) so the only problem was a delay, but still. This shit isn't rocket surgery. The number is on the mailbox and there's no other mailbox at this driveway. It's not hard.

I've had no end of problems with the USPS, I think someone there has got it in for me on a minor, low level so they just dick with me. It all started when I requested a hold via the web. I checked the box saying I would come to pick up any accumulated mail, and in the special instructions box I said "OK to deliver letters but please hold all packages". They held everything, which was OK, and then when the hold ended instead of holding the mail for me to come pick it up as requested, they delivered all of it and it got soggy in the rain. After that they decided to hold all of my packages forever and ever amen, whether they were supposed to be held or not. I had to go in and argue with them about it twice to get them to stop.

Now the problem I'm having is that apparently all small packages from China (or which look like they might have come from China) are apparently for me. I order a lot of $1-5 crap from China on eBay, apparently more than anyone else in my post code, because they routinely mix other people's packages in with mine. I just write MISDELIVERED on the back in big fat black magic marker and drop them back in the mailbox. They told me to stop writing on them, but that's bullshit. I'm doing precisely what you're meant to be doing, and they're just trying to hide the fact that they are not giving any fucks.

Comment Re:Chicken breeds preserved for posterity (Score 2) 33

The chickens we buy in supermarkets have been bred to attain maximum weight in the minimum amount of time possible; they have also been bred to have a higher survival rate during transport, and to be more disease resistant. With these genetic alterations, they just taste bland - rather like most tomatoes today, and for much the same reasons.

Are you sure that the difference you're detecting isn't down to what they're eating? Gallena de patio commonly consumes a far more varied diet than a factory-farmed, never-sees-the-sun-but-we-can-still-call-it-cage-free bird.

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