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Comment Re:The are cashes FOR hard drives (Score 1) 92

Intel dabbled in this (as did others) years ago when SSDs were too small for most people. As far as I know, it was kinda shitty and only kinda worked and everyone abandoned it because hybrid drives were simpler (even though they too sucked) and SSDs kept getting bigger, faster, and cheaper. They called it "Smart Response Technology" when it launched. Maybe it's back? Maybe it never went away? Maybe Windows ReadyBoost has risen from the grave? (I've NEVER seen ReadyBoost in actual use.)

It's the same as far as I understand, just optimized for a lower latency high performance SSD. But to be honest, except for gamers I think almost everyone has space enough on the SSD these days. And even most gamers could if Steam only offered them two storage areas so they could put 1GB on the SSD and the other 29GB with all the media files on a HDD. I've gone all SSD anyway even though it's a waste.

Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 88

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

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 256

if you look at shows like M*A*S*H or The Honeymooners or Star Trek or The Odd Couple you find most episodes are self-contained, and that it's fairly rare for most stories to directly span more than one episode. (...) Sometime in the nineties this shifted, and TV became serialized (...) I prefer the episodic model, as I don't feel compelled to watch if I don't want to, and I don't worry if I miss an episode or if I watch them out of original order.

Because VCRs became affordable and common. About the episodic format though, I think you're one of the few that don't enjoy any character development or long story arcs but would rather have a series spinning its wheels in one place. It's okay to be on season two when the show is at season five, unless you're the kind of person who can't put a book down. Even if the show is mostly the same like Big Bang Theory it's much better with a glacial drift, major big boobs Houlihan and i-want-out Klinger were pretty much cardboard characters. Yes, you can totally pick up on any episode in the series and not hate it, but eh... these days my standards are a little higher than not getting bored.

Comment Re: Mint (Score 2) 441

What is with this obsession of Linux users to want everyone to be "advanced users"? It's precisely because of that, that Linux doesn't have a bigger marketshare

Same reason we don't teach primary school pupils and university degree math in the same classroom or why NFL teams don't want to train against high school freshmen or Michelin chefs aren't interested in advice from their colleagues at McDonald's. You're not contributing anything useful at this level, you're just in the way. It's open source, people don't get paid per copy they sell. Most aren't trying to win a popularity contest. They're looking for a professional community/tool to support them and don't want it dumbed down to be newbie friendly.

And some of them aren't exactly going to apologize for it either, in their minds you're the one butting in on a place you don't belong, like trying to get advice at a doctor's conference instead of scheduling an appointment. It doesn't help that some users act like you're their support staff and expect them to drop whatever they're doing to help you. It's very tempting to basically say we don't give a shit. Of course there are some will also immediately jump to the conclusion that any problem you have is because you're an idiot, just like all the other idiots.

Most software try to separate newbies from experts, developers from users with varying degrees of success since they're not exactly crystal clear definitions or mutually exclusive categories. And without one bishop in the cathedral to swing the ban hammer, it's not so easy getting rid of destructive elements. It usually takes some rather extremely obnoxious behavior to make a whole community throw you out. But if this is approaching TL;DR, well they don't want you there and market share isn't an important metric for them. Why should it be?

Comment Depends on the car analogy (Score 1) 441

I've been lurking here for years and seen many recommendations for a Linux flavor that works. What I'm really looking for is Linux that works without constant under-the-hood tweaking

I think the question really requires taking a step back and looking at what a distro is and does. Because if you're coming in from another OS I'd say there's three levels of changes and the distro-level is probably the least important.

1. Applications: Do your applications run under Linux or do they have functional equivalents like web services you'd be happy with. If you've heard about WINE, then stop because Windows emulation is full of quirks. It's a tool for users that really, really don't want to run Windows even if it has 10x the issues of running Windows software on Windows. No distro is going to help you if after banging your head on GIMP and Krita you realize that no, I really need Photoshop or anything else with less than a platinum rating on WINE. And even then it can break in the next update.

2. Desktop environment (DE), this is pretty much how the OS part of the interface will look like for you. No matter which one you pick it won't be like Windows or OS X. If a distro ships a DE, it'll probably look and feel pretty much the same across distros. If you don't like Gnome or KDE on Ubuntu there's not much point trying them again on SuSE, Mint or Debian. Granted, a few of these are almost like picking distros as I'd take Mint for Cinnamon and Ubuntu for Unity but far from all.

3. Quality of packaging, testing, support, upgrades, security patches, availability of backports and third party repositories, release schedule etc. basically a lot of the boring housekeeping and problem solving. For the most part, this is what distros do - they take what developers have made and wrap it up in packages for you. But if the developers haven't made the apps you want, you'll be tweaking your work process a lot. If they haven't made the DE the way you want, you'll be tweaking your OS interaction a lot. A good distro doesn't create fuss for you, but it doesn't really mean it'll work for you.

I'd just start with Ubuntu with Unity (the default) only because it's super common and see if you get past #1. If you do and don't like Unity I'd try Cinnamon, KDE, Gnome and XFCE, as far as I know they're all available as packages on Ubuntu. If you find something that looks right for you I'd move on to #3 and ask "What distro is the best to run [Cinnamon/Gnome/KDE/Unity/XFCE]?" Though I suspect that the answer will probably be one of the Mint or Ubuntu spins in most cases. There's not much point in going outside the beaten path if you just want to get started.

Comment Re:It will not happen (Score 3, Informative) 104

How the hell do you re-write something like that? An "if" statement keys on the value of a single variable and conditionally executes a function. There are some things for which there is only one solution. Someone might suggest "just cold-room it!" But how are they supposed to do that?

You mean cleanroom. Copyright protects one particular expression (implementation) not the underlying idea (functionality), so the point is not necessarily to come up with a different solution but to document that it has been done independently. Yes, that means they must find an "untainted" developer to write the new code but you can in great detail describe the functionality as long as you don't impose a particular implementation. It's even been done "after the fact" as evidence:

The court relied heavily on evidence NEC presented that compared a "clean room'' program with both the V20/30 and Intel 8086/88 microcode. NEC hired an independent engineer (Gary Davidian) to develop a set of microcode for the V20/30 without access to any other microcode. Because Davidian's version of the microcode was similar in many regards to both the Intel and NEC microcodes, the court found it likely that those similarities were dictated not by copying of Intel's microcode, but rather by functional constraints of the hardware, the architecture, and the need for 8086/88 compatibility.

The documentation is a pain in the butt, but the legal reasoning around it isn't so bad.

Comment Re:What was the old license model? (Score 2) 104

No issues linking to OpenSSL so long as you obey the terms of the OpenSSL license in the binary distribution of OpenSSL, and the GPL in the terms of the distribution of the software linking to openssl.

Doesn't work that way... then you could say that your "licensed for non-commercial use" code is distributed for $0, I'm just charging for my code and your restriction can't extend to my code. You'd get rid of all license restrictions by "librarifying" it. Distribution is not the only exclusive right in copyright, so is preparing derived works and running something as one program in the same memory space is definitively that.

Granted you've moved the primary violation over to the end user, who may or may not be able to claim fair use but as an organized means of license circumvention I'd say you'd get in legal trouble for vicarious copyright infringement. That's the legal theory they've used to go after centralized P2P and torrent sites, even though the torrent sites themselves don't commit primary violations they just benefit from them.

Consider it a bit this way, many things can be created from legal chemicals. That doesn't mean you can create one-click "meth lab kits" and act like you're just selling bits and pieces that by themselves are legal. Not even you split them into "Meth lab part 1" and "Meth lab part 2". It would be the same with OpenSSL and GPL code, legally you can distribute one or the other. But once it becomes a DIY copyright violation kit, you get in trouble.

Comment Re:It's time for Microsoft to give up (Score 1) 94

It really depends, they don't need to be cool. They just need to be X86 compatible! Their phones have been decent but poorly supported app wise, give me compatibility with X86 and I would get one tomorrow instead of my planned Galaxy S8 purchase.

And we know Intel cancelled the last iteration of that project, probably because Microsoft wouldn't commit to buying enough processors to make it worth it. So unless there's some supersecret project that's not on any roadmap it's not going to happen.

Comment Re: Not everyone is happy... (Score 1) 104

I used to think the same before I talked to some legal people -- you might be surprised.

It's the sort of thing legal people can blabber on and on about, but when you consider that anyone distributing this project can be sued in 100+ jurisdictions with different laws and legal systems most of them will get very quiet. And at least in the US there are statutory damages, who ever is "hurt" doesn't have to prove that, they just have to prove infringement and they can cash in which could be tempting for a greedy heir. And not necessarily just liability either, fraudulent removal or alteration of a copyright license is a criminal act under USC 17506(d) and possibly many other nations.

Basically it's the kind of thing they can bill lots of hours for but try asking them if they'll put their money where their mouth is and take the bill if their legal interpretation is wrong and I think you'll find them disappear in a puff of smoke. Get permission from those you can get permission from, rewrite the rest. Maybe even document a cleanroom implementation if you know some are militantly opposed to the re-licensing. My guess is the formulation is a legally meaningless taunt, it didn't say they would re-license without your permission. It just implied it so they'd provoke a response.

Comment Re:Since when (Score 1) 351

The bigger question is why aren't the British (and the Americans for that matter) insisting that new citizens (including their children) become CITIZENS of that country in heart and soul

And how would you define what being "British in heart and soul" is? I think a lot of people that feel pretty genuinely British even though they don't eat pork because they're vegetarians or vegans or don't drink or don't go to church or... And how would you test if people actually live "British" enough for you? And what would you do with a child born and raised in Britain that's too "un-British" but isn't a citizen of any other country? Imprison them? Send them to "reeducation camps"? Deport them? India for Hinduism, Thailand for Buddhism, Japan for Shinto? You can't force people on other nations, you know.

I think it would get rather hilarious to try this in America, ask all the people who aren't "real" Americans to go home. I think you'll get a lot of funny debates on who exactly that is... Mexicans? Africans? Non-Christians? Everybody but the native Americans?

Comment Re:Machines replacing bank tellers? (Score 1) 266

Here in Europe it usually means skipping cash altogether with online banking and payment cards. Usually it's because of a national debit card standard organized by the banks, like BankAxept here in Norway or EC-card in Germany. This is the price list of one our banks via Google Translate, prices converted to USD:

One time installation/terminal fees, fixed/mobile: $489/241
Monthly payment fees, fixed/mobile: $61/$83
Transaction fees, per transaction $0.026 flat

Use your card for a Big Mac? McDonald's is happy. Use it to buy a $1000 TV? The store is happy. Say you have a sale every 5 minutes, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week = ~25 days/month = 3000 sales total. That's $78 in processing fees + $61/83 = ~$150 total in operating costs for the whole month. Compare that to the expenses securing cash, transporting cash, keeping enough change and so on that they don't want and here it's yes please, use cards. And if the cash flows electronically, what do you need the local bank teller for? I just checked the stats for my purely online bank, 380k customers with 325 employees and 90% of the population do it online now.

Even the banks that do have branch offices now mostly train people to use the machines rather than process their deposits/bills and it's almost all retirees. Some banks have even started to put fees on the ATMs, because even maintaining and stocking them costs money even if there's no bank teller. With mobile pay now it's even BYOD, they don't even have to issue cards anymore. They're moving closer and closer to becoming a purely virtual organization that doesn't deal in anything but 0s and 1s. But that's okay, it's not like I really miss the days you were waiting in line at the counter.

Comment Re:MapReduce is great (Score 5, Interesting) 144

For example, on (non-cryptographic) hash-functions my answer was to not do them yourself, because they would always be pretty bad, and to instead use the ones by Bob Jenkins, or if things are slow because there is a disk-access in there to use a crypto hash. While that is what you do in reality if you have more than small tables, that was apparently very much not what they wanted to hear. They apparently wanted me to start to mess around with the usual things you find in algorithm books.

No offense, but "I'd rather just use a library" seriously brings into question what you bring to the table and whether you'll just be searching experts-exchange for smart stuff other people have done..Like everybody knows you shouldn't use homegrown cryptographic algorithms, but if a cryptologist can't tell me what an S-box is and points me to using a library instead it doesn't really tell me anything about his skill, except he didn't want to answer the question. In fact, dodging the question like that would be a pretty big red flag.

Don't get me wrong, you can get there. But start off with roughly what you'd do if you had to implement it from scratch, what's difficult to get right, then suggest implementations you know or alternative ways to solve it. Because they're not that stupid that they think this is some novel issue nobody's ever looked at before or found decent answers to. They want to test if you have the intellect, knowledge and creativity to sketch a solution yourself. Once you've done that, then you can tell them why it's probably not a good idea to reinvent the wheel.

Comment Re:As unpopular as it will be to hear... (Score 4, Interesting) 155

Meh, I'd say the people who write open source software on a non-commercial basis generally have a passion for it, make more effort in making it work correct and work harder to hone their skills than coders just looking for a paycheck. What's missing is usually the time and resources, sometimes it amazes me how much gets done with a skeleton crew. Projects and packages where it turns out there was really only one maintainer and he suddenly got other priorities and things go into limbo.

Most projects are not like the Linux kernel where there's several candidates and a nomination process. Often it's more like if you want to write code or take ownership then tag, you're it. Or it's just nobody who is going to write that kind of software or functionality in their spare time. Or it just reaches a level of mediocrity that's good enough to get shit done and not enough care about polish or user friendliness or niche features. It's 2017 and MS Office and Photoshop is alive and well. I think I've heard since '97 that Office was pretty much "done", well shouldn't we be catching up then?

Comment Re:So, they've reached the end of the alphabet (Score 1) 110

It should work fine with quotes (for example search for "ubuntu 18.04", including quotes) as long as there are no typos.

If people typed that out fully when they ask yes, but on an Ubuntu forum that would be extremely redundant and "18.04" triggers on everything to do with 18th of April and other junk. The nice part about the nicknames is that if I say zesty and the page contains ubuntu somewhere, you've probably come to the right place even if they're not right next to each other. They should try to keep them short and simple tho. Like:

artsy, burly, curly, dandy, earthy, frisky, gaunt, humble, innate, jolly, keen, livid, murky, narly, overt, puffy, queezy, rocky, sweet, tasty, unique, vaunty, wobbly, x... can't really think of any. But I think that's enough for another decade.

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