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Comment Instant messaging is architecturally backward... (Score 1) 164

... from nice asynchonous methods like email. For immediate response (on those rare occasions when you truly need it) SMS text (or internal network IM) works pretty well as an alerting mechanism for transferring the conversation to detailed info transfer (email w. attachments if needed) or very interactive discussion 1:1 phone or conference phone.
Frequent casual texting inhibits concentration on tasks and may be more fun but is certainly less productive.

Submission + - SPAM: Why Your Dad's 30-Year-Old Stereo System Sounds Better Than Your New One

schwit1 writes: The receiver engineers have to devote the lion’s share of their design skills and budget to making the features work. Every year receiver manufacturers pay out more and more money (in the form of royalties and licensing fees) to Apple, Audyssey, Bluetooth, HD Radio, XM-Sirius, Dolby, DTS and other companies, and those dollars consume an ever bigger chunk of the design budget. The engineers have to make do with whatever is left to make the receiver sound good.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - This Insurance Startup Wants to Cover Tomorrow's Self-Driving Cars (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Root Car Insurance is betting on studies that show self-driving cars to be safer than human drivers: Starting today, owners of Tesla who use their cars' Autopilot features will be able to get discounted policies. As Root's CEO sees things, when self-driving cars are the norm, the drop in the number of accidents and claims will drop the real cost of insurance so low that established companies, stuck with high overheads, won’t be able to cut their prices enough. They'll then be subject to Uber-level disruption from newcomers, like Root, who will be able to charge fees as low as $30 every six months. By rolling out discounts now to owners of cars with self-driving features, this startup is hoping to get ahead of the game.

Comment Instead why not offer SpaceX The Money... (Score 3, Insightful) 317

For 23 Billion, Musk could probably build a Transit module for Crew Dragon and a Lander, put both up on a pair of Falcon Heavies - AND DO A REAL LUNAR MISSION. And by then the FH will already be crew rated, eliminating that first flight danger on SLS. Let's face it SLS is Sen Shelby's pure pork program to keep a bunch of shuttle worksrs employed building a dysfunctional system that's far too expensive to be useful

Submission + - A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone (theverge.com)

mspohr writes: "Bikkannavar says he was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol and pressured to give the CBP agents his phone and access PIN. Since the phone was issued by NASA, it may have contained sensitive material that wasn’t supposed to be shared. Bikkannavar’s phone was returned to him after it was searched by CBP, but he doesn’t know exactly what information officials might have taken from the device.
The officer also presented Bikkannavar with a document titled “Inspection of Electronic Devices” and explained that CBP had authority to search his phone. Bikkannavar did not want to hand over the device, because it was given to him by JPL and is technically NASA property. He even showed the officer the JPL barcode on the back of phone. Nonetheless, CBP asked for the phone and the access PIN. “I was cautiously telling him I wasn’t allowed to give it out, because I didn’t want to seem like I was not cooperating,” says Bikkannavar. “I told him I’m not really allowed to give the passcode; I have to protect access. But he insisted they had the authority to search it.”
Courts have upheld customs agents' power to manually search devices at the border, but any searches made solely on the basis of race or national origin are still illegal. More importantly, travelers are not legally required to unlock their devices, although agents can detain them for significant periods of time if they do not. “In each incident that I’ve seen, the subjects have been shown a Blue Paper that says CBP has legal authority to search phones at the border, which gives them the impression that they’re obligated to unlock the phone, which isn’t true,” Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of CAIR Florida, told The Verge. “They’re not obligated to unlock the phone.”

Submission + - What is the real unemployment rate? (theoutline.com)

citadrianne writes: The Hornstein-Kudlyak-Lange Non-Employment Index (NEI) was devised by a group of economists in 2014 who thought they could improve on the official federal calculation. It’s published monthly by the Richmond Federal Reserve, which covers the region from Maryland to South Carolina and helps set national monetary policy. The Richmond Fed still uses conventional unemployment statistics in its research, but it calculates the NEI on the side for contrarian economists to cite in their policy recommendations. The NEI was 8.4 percent in December 2016. Adding in people who are underemployed bumps the rate up to 9.5 percent.

Submission + - Should college tuition vary by major, based on the college's costs for the major (vault.com)

Registered Coward v2 writes: Vault, in a blog post, discusses wether colleges should base tuition on the actual cost of providing the education rather than on a once price for all credits basis. Their argument is base on an article in Quartz that shows engineering and science degrees costa school a lot more to provide than a liberal arts degrees; for a variety of reasons including higher professor salaries and equipment / infrastructure costs. As a result, those majors are subsidized by the cheaper ones; and they also have the highest earnings in aggregate.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Which, In Your Opinion, Are The BEST Tech Companies? 1

dryriver writes: Everybody knows who "the biggest tech companies" are — Sony, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Facebook, Intel and so forth. It is no big mystery who makes the most annual revenue/profits or employs the most people or files the most patents every year or has the highest stock price. But this is a different question entirely: Which tech companies, in your opinion, are the BEST at what they do? Who makes the best products in tech? Whose tech products or services would you not want to live without? Whose products would you take on a deserted island with you? If you could pick just 5 — 10 tech companies that are absolutely essential to you as a tech nerd, tech enthusiast or other, which companies would those be? And why?

Submission + - Mathematicians find optimal video game double jump strategy. (jstor.org)

RobertJ1729 writes: Mathematicians Aaron Broussard, Martin Malandro, and Abagayle Serreyn have cracked the code for the optimal video game multi-jump, a normal jump followed by additional jumps initiated in midair without the aid of a platform, to determine the highest achievable jump, and have described strategies human players or AI can use in real time to select successful multi-jumps in real time. Their results (doi) are published in the December issue of The American Mathematical Monthly . From the paper's introduction:

A multi-jump is a finite sequence of jumps where the first jump is initiated from the ground and the rest are initiated in midair. The number of jumps in a multi-jump is the length of the multi-jump, so a double jump is a multi-jump of length two. Several video games, such as Chair Entertainment Group(R)’s Shadow Complex(TM) and Nintendo(R)’s Super Smash Bros.(TM) Melee, feature triple jumps or multi-jumps of even longer length.

The basic problem we consider in this paper is the following. Suppose that a character in a two-dimensional side-scrolling video game wishes to use a multi-jump to jump to the right from a fixed starting point across a gap and land on a fixed platform. ...We therefore assume that the character has a known finite sequence of jump arcs available to her and faces the problem of selecting when to jump in midair, i.e., to switch from the arc of one jump to the next, so as to land on the platform. ...

Provided the platform is reachable by a multi-jump, we give strategies for solving this problem on the fly for both player-controlled and artificial intelligence (AI)-controlled characters. In the simplest situation all jumps available to the character are equal and fully concave (Definition 5). In this situation we give a simple strategy (the line method) that is usable by both players and AI. In our experience the majority of games featuring multi-jumps are covered by this situation. We give two further strategies for AI-controlled characters in more-complicated situations. Our first AI strategy is very general, in that it applies to any collection of standard jump functions (Definition 1). We also give a faster (less computationally intensive) AI strategy for collections of standard jump functions whose derivative inverses are known and computable exactly.

Submission + - Sears to sell Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker (stltoday.com)

OutOnARock writes: After controlling the Craftsman name for 90 years, troubled department store operator Sears said it will sell the famous tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

Stanley, which makes and sells tools under the DeWalt and Black & Decker names, wants to grow the Craftsman brand by selling its products in more stores outside of Sears. Today, only 10 percent of Craftsman products are sold in other stores. Sears said it will continue to sell Craftsman, including at its Kmart and Sears Hometown stores. The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company first took control of Craftsman in 1927 when it bought the trademark for $500.

When I crack open a computer, more than likely I'm using a Craftsman screwdriver. Am I the only one that sees this as the end of an era?

Submission + - Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake review: Is the desktop CPU dead? (arstechnica.co.uk)

joshtops writes: ArsTechnica has reviewed the much-anticipated Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake, the recently launched desktop processor from the giant chipmaker. And it's anything but a good sign for enthusiasts who were hoping to see significant improvements in performance. From the review, "The Intel Core i7-7700K is what happens when a chip company stops trying. The i7-7700K is the first desktop Intel chip in brave new post-"tick-tock" world—which means that instead of major improvements to architecture, process, and instructions per clock (IPC), we get slightly higher clock speeds and a way to decode DRM-laden 4K streaming video. Huzzah. [sic] If you're still rocking an older Ivy Bridge or Haswell processor and weren't convinced to upgrade to Skylake, there's little reason to upgrade to Kaby Lake. Even Sandy Bridge users may want to consider other upgrades first, such as a new SSD or graphics card. The first Sandy Bridge parts were released six years ago, in January 2011. [sic] As it stands, what we have with Kaby Lake desktop is effectively Sandy Bridge polished to within an inch of its life, a once-groundbreaking CPU architecture hacked, and tweaked, and mangled into ever smaller manufacturing processes and power envelopes. Where the next major leap in desktop computing power comes from is still up for debate—but if Kaby Lake is any indication, it won't be coming from Intel.

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