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Comment Fundamentally flawed logic (Score 1) 162

There a fundamental flaw.

Brain are extremely parallel and highly distributed processing units.
Some region are more specialised in some tasks, but as a whole, no part of the brain absolutely needs another part for the brain to keep working.

From that perspective, CPU are a small single function device. They either work, or not. It's hard to have a *half functionning" CPU (unless you very specifically manage to burn a peculier par of the silicon that isn't core to the functionning. I don't see how that would be possible on a 6502 - except maybe burning a part of the microcode that is seldom used. Maybe on modern processors it would be possible to burn some acceleration core while keeping the main function intact).

If they wanted to apply fault analysis to analyse computers, the best situation would be approximated by randomly pulling *daughter boards* and see whcih function go missing and/or cause the boot process to hang.
(e.g.: remove the graphics adapter. Computer still boots but produces no video output, thus correctly confirming that these daughter board was the CGA).

Or you could reason at the scale of a cluster, by remove nodes.
(But that won't be much interesting. In a cluster, usually most nodes are entirely interchangeable. It would be as much informative as applying the method to analyse sponges).

Comment And batteries (Score 1) 378

You need to find the glasses when you want to watch 3D

and make sure their button batteries didn't die since the last time you used them,
if your 3D googles are of the more popular active variety.

(as opposed to passive glasses with polarized lens [like the cinema theater ones] and the TV screen itself is a polarized emitter).

Comment Connector (Score 1) 378

When you have a display that can handle the frame rate necessary to alternate the picture anyway... what's the cost?

- The weird proprietary connector, that goes to the weird proprietary array of infra-red emitters that needs to send the signal to sync the eyes.


- The integrated IR emitter in the TV that emits the sync signal to the 3D googles.

or, for TV that don't use active glasses

- A weird structure in the pannel that makes sure that every pixels emits light in a different polarity than it's neighbours
(either alternating horizontaly in scanlines, or vertically in column, or in a checkered pattern... whatever, as long a "left image" and "right image" pixels emits different light polarities that will subsequently get filtered by the passive 3D glasses)
(BONUS point : this setup gives dual-viewer capabilities (viewer A and B get to watch 2 different channels thanks to the glasses) which might be popular in some market with cramped living rooms ? Japan ?)

or, for display that do not use glasses at all (e.g.: Nintendo 3DS)

- an even more complex lenticular filter that makes sure that 2 different images are sent in 2 different directions (a little bit like a privacy screen, but viewable from 2 different angles, each showing only half of the horizontal resolution).
and starting from New 3DS, an even more elaborate viewer's face tracking technology to make sure that each of the view eyes get the correct image at the correct perspective.

So, in short : only the most clusmy 3D glasses are those that require the less hardware.
Out of them, only the first variant (proprietary connector) is the easiest to remove (say that the 3D pulse can be sent of the almost-never-used analog headphones jack),
and will still require a clunky setup (an IR emitter bar and active glasses) that will be quite off putting.
Meaning that even less people are likely to try the 3D, except to the 2 geeks at the back over there.

Comment Jack: In fact (Score 1) 378

Lots of TVs have headphone jacks, but only a vanishingly small number of people use the jack.

And in fact, you could output 3D image purely with a software upgrade by outputing the "alternate frame" pulse signal over the audio-out jack.
So 3D can be 100% software solution, no hardware required.

(Most of the headphone users are probably anyway getting their audio over bluetooth for the convenience of avoiding cable accross the living room.
And for the last 2 geeks that are interested in 0ms audio latency provided by analog AND want to use 3D, we will probably get entirely fine using one of the other outputs of the TV - cinch, scart, etc.)

Now I come to think about it, I'm sure that during the last craze around VR glasses on PC (late 90s, early 2000s - when glasses started to use standard connectors) there should be at least 1 geek who attempted to hack such a contraption to get around lacking VESA DDC pin support with soundcard output instead.
(I personally went for parallel port hacks and later auto-flipping + interlaced output abuses).

Comment lying (Score 2) 281

I can't use profanity because my Facebook Friends are actual friends, acquaintances, family and stuff.

actual friends, family and stuff are also the people of whom you might not want to hurt feelings and opt to not outright tell everything which goes through your head
("you're ugly as shit", "you clothes/car/whatever is crap", "your idea is stupid and you should be burned in public in the town square for that", etc.)
but where you would restrain yourself
("you've got personality", "well, it's original and has got some charm", "it's a surprising idea").

So again they are the people to which you would "lie" (in a fashion. You're not actively trying to outright deceive them, just not transmitting 100% of the information) which is what this study tries to point out.

Comment No award for you (Score -1, Troll) 466

Let's be serious here. Three hours? The last long drive I did, my only stops were fuel stops. I was going for about six hours without stopping for anything, and only stopping for fuel and to pee. Stopping every two hours would be incredibly frustrating.

If you want to kill yourself in a car-crash because of attention deficit due to over-tiredness because your concept of a well rested and alert driver is "15 minutes tank-and-pee pause between every block of 6 hours of non-stop driving", be my guest.

But remember :

  • To be eligible for a Darwin Award, you need to only take yourself by your own stupidity. You shouldn't maim any innocent by-stander.
  • So please try to crash into a tree next time you fail because of microsleep, instead of crashing into my car. (But I suspect that we leave on different continents and that I can be thankful for the Atlantic pond to prevent our paths to cross).

More seriously :

  • What you describe (blocks of 6 hours of driving, separated by 15 minutes breaks) is outright illegal for professional drivers here around.
    It is 6 hours of driving *total* (excluding the breaks) per work day, then a minimum of 4 hours of rest before the next work day[1]
    (I.e.: on a continuous 18 hours bus trips, there should be 2 drivers switching seats)
  • There is ton of research pointing that tiredness gets very important very quickly. By 6 hours of non-stop driving you might as well be drunk or high as a kite. (There are even studies that try to map level of tiredness and b.a.l. based on similar reduction of alertness/reactivity).
  • Humans are extremely bad at self-evaluating exhaustion, specially in simple monotonous repetitive task that aren't physically exhausting. If you indeed drive in batches of 6 hours, you certainly have had microsleep episodes.
  • But - at least until now - these eposides both :
    • went unnoticed (that's actually pretty normal. You can't consciously notice that you are unconscious)
    • and by sheer luck (or thanks to anti-collision technology available in your car[2]) nothing major did ever happen.
  • In other words, current research points out that No, you are not a good driver as you might think. You're instead a lucky driver (and/or have a good car).

For all purpose, there isn't a big use case for cars that can drive more 600 km in one go.
Car *can* do, for the convenience of not needing to tank at each stop.
But they are not that much necessary - cause the puny human meat at the driver seat can't reliabily drive safely for extended periods of time.
You either need several puny humans to cycle between. Or you need much longer breaks within these 600km that the car can handle.

So :

  • cars like 60-to-100kWh Tesla, 44kWh model Zoes, 60kWh Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Bolt, etc. with their 250 to 500 km autonomy
  • combined with the ever growing network of fast charger
  • (and a big thank to Mennekes and Chademo for having a small set of widespread fast car-charging standards)

are already pretty much enough for most car needs with maybe only a few key exceptions (i.e.: alterning drivers for extremely long trip or people who are really a lot into the "suicide by tree" fad)

This is even more noticeable in the (slightly more) densely populate Europe which is a bit more conscious about its security (higher risk to crash into meaty humans instead of trees when there are more of them around instead of a dust desert), where big centers are close by (very often your travel destination is within a 300km drive anyway), and with a good electrical network with quite some power available (thanks to alpine dams, nukes, or renewable - depending on countries).

Of course, you could argue that all these are example of Nanny-state in our "evil-communist" socialist-leaning European countries, that stay in the way of good drivers and that everyone should be responsible for themselves on the road, and that I'm just brain washed by state propaganda and by government-sponsored bogus research.

[1] I actually have a military professional driving license. These are the actual number required by local law.
[2] Though given all the ruckus around Tesla's autopilot, I would guess that things FCAS isn't that popular on your side of the Atlantic.

Comment Renault Zoe (Score 4, Interesting) 466

What range do you think EVs have on a single charge, anyway?

Between 100km and 150km per 20kWh worth of battery charge.
Exact mileage depends on car model.
(e.g.: Tesla use lighter than average material and are designed from the ground up for longer ranges.
Other cars are simply "an electric motor replacing the ICE under the bonnet and batteries bolted wherever there's free place" quick conversion like the VW e-Golf and VW e-Up that VW hastily released in the wake of the diesel scandal, and might have lower mileages).
Also depends on the driver (driving like an aggressive idiot at high speed on the highway, and you'll get a lower range than driving conservatively maybe a bit under the maximum speed limit).

I can drive upwards of 3 hours without a break.

Which is *definitely* not recommanded.
Current recommendations here around in continental Europe is a break each 1 or 2 hours max.
(e.g.: There are big public service campaigns to advise drivers to have at least a quick "turbo-nap" every once in a while when driving long distance)

But let's make the assumption that you are 2 drivers sharing the load, and that you'll switch midway (without charging the car, nor making any break longer than required to change seat - no the best experience, but hey).

With an average-priced EV, that's not even near possible.

Renault Zoe are currently the cheapest e-cars with a decent battery.
(You can even get them for the price of an average priced ICE-car if you decide to rent the battery instead of buying it).
(They are definitely after the same market as Tesla's upcoming model 3, except that Zoes have been on the street for quite some time, and Renault chose the opposite progression from Tesla, release progressively longer range vehicle while staying affordable - instead of long range vehicles while progressively releasing cheaper models)

The latest model has upgraded the battery to 45kWh, which should give you between 200km and 300km of range. (depending on the speed/aggressiveness of driving 130km vs 100km on highway vs. 80km on streets between cities).

That's definitely in near the 3 hours of your example (and by now, both drivers of our assumption should get a nap, or at least make a long break - enough to put quite some additionnal range back into the battery using standard 50kW chargers)
For a car that cost in the general ballpark figure of ~30k USD (not some 100k+ USD Tesla Model S super car).

And all of the above aren't made up numbers, but my actual experience with Zoes.
They are available at the local car-sharing company (though not the more recent 45kWh battery), and I've already driven quite a lot of trip with them.
I can easy get 100km when I drive aggressively or 150km when much more conservative.

The current drawback I see, is that Renault doesn't have collision avoidances option available on their smaller cars like the Zoe.
(unlike VW where - like lots of european constructors - for the last several years even the lowest entry-level model like Up comes with a LIDAR [a.k.a. "City Safety"] in standard configurations,
or unlike all the noise that Tesla is making around their "Autopilot" since a couple of years ago).

Comment Yup, GNU/NT-Kernel (Score 4, Interesting) 189

If I understand it right, it's a GNU/Linux distro without a Linux kernel on top of a compatibility layer on Windows, right?

Yup, mostly(*).

So "GNU/Windows NT Kernel" is better than "Linux" - That actually one of the rare few occastion a typical "GNU/Linux" distro gets used without the Linux kernel part.

But because "Linux" has brand recognition, it's still used.


(*): there's no separate compatibility layer (unlike things like Cygwin which are a user-mode compatibility layer that translates POSIX API-calls into Win32 calls - and thus enables soure compatibility).
The NT-Kernel has a bizare peculiarity : it can export several different ABI's to usermode software - it has different "personnalities".
- Win32 is just *one* of the set of ABI available.
- A long time ago, that made it possible to run OS/2 software on Windows NT.
- A little bit less longer time ago, Windows NT also had a "Unix" personality.
- Now WSL is actually the NT kernel exhibiting a small subset of the ABI featured by the linux kernel - about the bare minimum to get a few basic user-mode software (e,.g.: the "GNU" part of "GNU/Linux") run unmodified.

These are straight ABI available from the NT-Kernel, not a mere Linux-to-Win32 API conversion like Cygwin.

- Among other defaults Win32 has a poor multi-processing (forking is expensive). Cygwin application have to rely on that poorer cousin in order to provide multi-processing to POSIX.
- The recent kernels of Windows NT intoduced pico-thread which are very cheap, weren't available in the Win32 API back when introduced, but where exposed through the "Linux-lite" API that is WSL in order to make a usefull multiprocessing.

On the other hand WSL is far from complete. There is tons of stuff that you can do on your GNU/Linux that you can't do with WSL (e.g.: filesystem drivers)

Comment WINE ; ReactOS (Score 1) 189

Then you could use either ReactOS in your VM, or run Wine straight in your userspace.

And again there are also companies supporting *that*.
(e.g.: CrossOver pays developers)

So *there is* company-sponsored efforts to be able to run windows programs in a GNU/LInux or Android/Linux environment.

Comment CH (Score 1) 154

Trolley buses are - unfortunately - only widespread in the former soviet union and its client states

CH, here. The country has mostly been neutral during cold war and is far from being a client state.
But bigger cities here love trolley and trams too.

Electricity is easily available (thanks to alpine dams)

And city centers are rather densely populated - and thus the network of bus stops is also dense (you don't need hundreds of km of wire just to link 2 bus stops)

(for some reason soviet government seriously loved trolley buses, they have even built a trolley bus line in Afghanistan, back then they were there)

I would say that electric motors are simpler, smaller, easier to install into a vehicle. And are easy to ship around.
Whereas ICE are more a custom job that is vehicle specific.

Thus it's much easier for a Sovietic planned economy to make a 5-years plan to build a huge mega factory in one client state (e.g.: Bulgaria) and ship motors and install them into bus through the whole communist world.

Comment Truck (Score 1) 154

I'm curious:
Unload truck onto train, ship, unload train onto truck, deliver?
Drive truck onto flatbed railcar, ship, drive truck off railcar, deliver?
For trucks that are separate tractor trailer, just the trailer on the flatbed.

The law doesn't specify anything.
But it seems to me that for logistic reasons, the 3rd option you mention is the most popular :
the trailer is a standardized contrainer that can be moved from the truck to the train without needing to lose time for unloading/reloading the merchandise.

Comment Cost reasons (Score 1) 303

For cost reasons, any consumer electronic device will usually be implemented on the cheapest possible SoC with the bare minimum of unused resources (eMMC, RAM, MIPS etc.)

Nowadays ROM chips with a custom firmware burned in cost too much (add maybe a 0.5$ per unit), firmware is flashed on built-in EEPROM inside the SoC.

In theory, most of modern-day widgets have field-upgradeable firmware.

In practice, no company bothers to do the necessary work, specially since by the time the firmware upgrade is necessary, the device has already been sold and the money has been earned. There is no big immediate advantage in providing upgrade. It's an eventual long term advantage for the end-user, but by then the end-user can only regret having spent the money on the gadget.
(e.g.: Not exactly wireless DAB radio, but out of all the wireless bluetooth speakers I've seen, only Logitech/Ultimate Ears bothers to make regular updates that actually add new features. None of the DAB radio I've owned has ever bothered releasing a firmware upgrade, even if some did advertise the possibility)

For lots of music usage (again, anything beyond the handheld DAB/FM receiver*) the "bare minimum SoC" is already quite powerful.
e.g.: bigger multi-media device need AAC decoding capabilities (to play music from USB sticks / MP3 players in USB-Storage mode, etc.) - That's about what is needed to move a DAB-enabled device to DAB+.
e.g.: In Vehicle Infotainment have a fuckton more processing power (Some high end device are the equivalent of a big over-powered tablet / a small netbook), that's way more than enough for playing DAB+ (or even support OPUS).


*: the handhelds tend to be a single chip with a hardware DAB receiver piping its data straigh into a MP2/MP3 hardware core. There's no real CPU.
This kind chip is designed to be used as a DAB solution for media devices.
(e.g.: combine it with a CD player and a few such other parts, and you can make a cheap all-in-one audio device)

But the micro-controller on this SoC can run a firmware that gives it limited stand-alone properties: it can handle a few bare simple menus and can be wired straight to an LCD with a couple of buttons.

Thus, this kind of chip can be also useful to make dead-cheap handheld radios.
(example of such radio: Revo Pico+ - though it wasn't sold at a cheap price back then)

Comment Electric public transportation (Score 3, Informative) 154

I happen to live in a populated city that brags about having a ton of electric/hydrogen fueled vehicles (Porto, Portugal),

CH here.

Long range public transportation:
We have an extensive train network (all electric, thus mostly hydro-electric and nuke powered, with a little bit of solar and wind sprinkled in) (Thank the *Alps* for nearly perfectly clean hydroelectric - unlike tropical hydroelectric which tends to be giant glorified swamps)
It covers most of the territory except for remote less populated area (and as they are less populated, the long-range public transportation using busses hardly makes a dent in the total energy tally)

Short range:
Most big cities have a dense network of tramway and trolley buses (aerial electric power delivery makes much more sense in a densely packed area) also sometime metro/subs for some cities.
They are also joined by (diesel) bus. But the electric propotion of short-range transportation is quite significant and hardly just for the show.

Private companies in public transportation / ride sharing:
Most taxi fleets in big cities tend to rely on hybrid vehicle (lower gaz consumption makes operations cheaper)
the rise of Uber (mostly privately owned car with classical ICE drives) is actually a step backward environmentally. (But as taking transportation instead of driving a car around is better anyway, the end tally might not be bad).

Private companies car sharing:
The main car sharing operator in Switzerland (mobility) operates a mixed fleet featuring ICE (mostly), hybrid (fewer) and electric vehicle (only a few, usually available at sharing stations where high electrical power is available : eg.: parking near trainstation usually feature 1 or 2 Renault Zoé. But other places feature them too. Random example : EPFL institute).
From that point of view we are less ecologically advanced than france, where the dominating car sharing companies tend to have all-electric fleets (e.g.: Autolib in Paris).
Though there are smaller CH player with electric fleets (e.g.: ElectrEasy)

So globally, in Switzerland, the role played by electricity in public transportation (specially by public company like national trains and city public transportation) is really significant.

Also, regarding merchandise :
Switzerland is peculiar in that transport of merchandise *across* the country is *forbidden in trucks*.
Trucks can be used to deliver merchandise to/from and within cities.
But if you want to transport merchandise long distance or across the country, it's mandatory to load it on trains.
When driving on the highway, you're going to see way much less trucks compared to other European countries (e.g.: Italy, France, Spain...)

Last but not least a few interesting corner case :

I few touristic cities (mostly in the mountains like Zermatt and Saas Fee) have completely banned ICE engines within the city (with a few exceptions like firefighters, ambulances)
Thus nearly the whole fleet is small electric glof-cart-like cars and taxis.
Fun to see (even if completely insignificant statistically to the rest of the country).

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