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Comment Re:Anita Sarkeesian: Destroyer of Shareholder Valu (Score 5, Interesting) 313

While distributed social media (like Diaspora) has been an idea floating around for a while, something like the 'twittersphere' is where it could be most useful, having multiple interlinked 'twitterverses' where different rules on acceptability apply. The SJW's can have some, and the anti-politically-correct can run their own free-for-all zones, and so on. What is then needed is the distributed indexing and so on. But for a technology which is basically a glorified indexed array of char[140]'s, it has little that isn't easily copied in terms of functionality. Given that most users' number of followers is in the 100s, a simple PHP script spewing out RSS feeds is almost good enough for that task (and already way more complex than it needs to be). An aggregator simply needs to get a few KB of text from a few hundred URIs every few minutes, and then compose it into an aggregated feed. The trouble with modern social media is that they need to overcomplicate it in order to turn it into something they control. Then they need to give it away free, figure out how to make money from it, and so on. We really need an 'opentwitter' system. Twitter has demonstrated the need and power of this sort of communication, but cannot make a profitable business out of it. Just like email isn't owned, we need a twitter that isn't owned. And preferably before Twitter as a company tanks.

More generally, a rethink about internet communications would be welcome: having more fine grained control about who can send what to whom would make a lot of sense (and can essentially be done via things like cryptographic keys) -- then basic data and document types. (For example, a tweet is basically a char[140], most small things could be considered a json object fitting some schema, and for many web documents, the content part least, could make do with a far lighter weight document type than modern HTML: something where a high quality light-weight renderer wouldn't need something as complex as an operating system, as modern web browsers are.)

Comment Industry is at fault. (Score 2) 310

At present, I could not recommend a new pc over a refurbished ex pro Windows 7 machine from 5 years ago for things other than gaming, unless the person has a _lot_ to spend, so that Windows 10 will be useable. That Microsoft insisted on ramming so much into the Windows interface without the option of a lean, clean, simple OS that only does what I need to, more so than Windows 7, means you need to spend a lot to get an enjoyable user experience if you're someone who enjoys actually getting stuff done, rather than going 'wow! Shiny thing!'. The way manufacturers differentiate themselves with incompatible crapware that most people don't have (so there is no longer a shared experience with friends who have PCs). 1000s of companies are all trying to get a niche monopoly cash cow that they control, and in doing so we have ended up with a Balkanised industry of companies all concerned primarily with defending their territory, and the users needs are an afterthought. The potential of modern computing has gone from optimistic dream to a nightmare of annoyance, and users are tired of this. The fault is with the industry, and they have earned this downturn by taking the market and their customers for granted, preferring to structure things to chase short term profit. Users then must do the same, picking and choosing from a bad bunch of options, knowing how industry behaves. A weird kind of quasi-Nash-equilibrium that serves almost nobody that well.

Comment Re:Well... he has a point on all fronts. (Score 2) 150

Seeing a computer as a mini-network is a change that needs to happen. Having mini ARM cores doing things like coordinating I/O and graphics, so that all the main processor sees is somewhere to send instructions in a standard language (kind of like Vulkan is doing with graphics, and kind of like Postscript in some ways), so all that 'board support' stuff can be moved away from the main CPU, and all the complex compatibility and driver code isolated to a separate, low-power core. That could be down with both ARM and x86 machines very easily, and to my mind would enable massive increases in efficiency, shifting a lot of the menial work currently done by an OS running on CPUs which are often way overpowered for these menial tasks, and which have to timeslice between user programs and housework. In the old days, coprocessors were a necessity in many things, and I think going forward, seeing a computer as network of coprocessors, with the main CPUs being essentially there _only_ for high-level user computation tasks (deciding what to write in a window, rather than how to put the window onscreen, or move it about). The funny thing about X-terminals is that with the hindsight of 3 decades, and the kind of graphics languages we have in things like PDF and Postscript (and how Apple used this model in Quartz), doing X-terminal type things, but over the PCIe bus, rather than 10Mb ethernet, would work wonders. (This would in no way get in the way of efficiency, since you could still throw textures and command buffers, or software-rendered windows, across the PCIe bus as we do with current architectures, but simpler things like window-drawing, and rendering PDF-type documents to the screen, as Quartz does, could easily be done with lightweight CPU cores on the GPU, and a better integration between the two: imagine being able to create a texture buffer in GPU memory, and write to it by the CPU sending postscript drawing commands, or creating a dialog window and sending content to it as AJAX does over the net, but with the network being the PCIe bus, and so on. Then do similar with sound and DSP. Economies of scale is where the major step forward would happen.)

Comment Known issue with a standard solution (Score 1) 1042

Isn't this the sort of thing ancient cultures uses meditation and hallucinogens for? Drive your brain to chaos, and a computer siulation's lack of precision may become evident. For a simplified mathematucally anenable model to play with, start with a numerical simulation of the Lorentz attractor, or the logistic map, using arbitrary preecision in general, and occasionally doing a few calculations using more limited precision: do this in parallel using different patterns of precision limitation, and one with maximum precision. See how quickly qualitatively different behavior results. Do the same with simulations of non-chaotic or near chaotic systems. Driving a system to extreme levels of complexity can potentially be used to study imperfections in a simulation of that system. Now try and imagine how one would do something analogous with mind and brain. If nothing else, this would make for a fun plot device for a psychological scifi novel.

Comment Just play the lottery and dream (Score 1) 1042

If somebody is controlling the computer simulation, and we all play the lottery, and dream of what we could do with all that money, the devil controlling the simulation must either rig the lottery machine, or anticipate what all of us may do with the winnings. Both are unfeasibly hard to do undetectably. [ This advice brought to you in association with... ]

Comment Just use an addon. (Score 3, Informative) 310

Given that you can youtube-dl to get an mkv of mp4 file, then ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vn -c:a copy out.m4a, or similar, which ytmp3 just does behind the scenes and caches its output, this strikes me as yet another publicity stunt to get more and more pro-ip anti-tech laws. These guys think that nothing in the universe is as important than their financial income. Such greed is a cancer in society.

Comment Think around the problem (Score 1) 186

Think around, not through. What we want is efficient, intuitive and reliable human computer communication. If voice recognition is that hard, with many facepalm inducing errors, it is a stupid way to go. It is easier for humans to adapt to the machine. This means artificial dialects and simple AI and a bit of human training. Human consumers are lazy and want magic. Apple and MS try to grab them with the illusion of magic. It would be better for the free software to research what changes to speaking habits make the software component easier, then write howtos and youtube guides as to how to speak to it.

Comment Signed patches (Score 5, Informative) 87

So basically they've taken a bitcoin like distributed ledger, restricted who can do the mining work, and allowed certain privileged entities to produce some form of signed patch. Effectively it's just taking something like bitcoin and adding a new transaction type. As such, it's a blockchain counterpart to the way that UDF allows modifying and deleting on WORM media (that is, a convention for saying 'x was deleted', or 'x replaces y'), perhaps with the means to prevent the erased information being recovered from the updated blockchain.

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