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Comment Damn (Score 4, Insightful) 251

Heads are going to roll all around after an event like this one.

Somebody will probably end up writing a book on what went on inside, because I imagine that the internal meetings had some serious drama involved.

I hope there's going to be a post-mortem at some point, because it would be very interesting to find out what went wrong in the end. Rogue manufacturer? Bad quality control? Maybe the phone doing something wrong with charging, as somebody suggested on reddit?

Comment Re:"free of snow and ice" (Score 1) 163

It's not going to be positive at all.

There's a set amount of energy to work with. The only thing solar panels do there is that now there's a shiny surface so part will be reflected away (making things worse), part will go to heat immediately (but perhaps less efficiently than a well made traditional road, with heat going to internals that eventually transmits to the ground underneath rather than the surface), and part will be stored for later.

Overall though, if a good black surface isn't melting the snow, a shinier surface isn't going to do better. The only upside this would have is being able to use power generated elsewhere or storing it for later, but melting ice electrically takes a brutal amount of power, and will need some seriously beefy cables which I doubt are there, and as for later, whatever batteries these have won't be enough.

Submission + - What are the FLOSS community's answers to Siri and AI? (

jernst writes: A decade ago, we in the free and open-source community could build our own versions of pretty much any proprietary software system out there, and we did. Publishing, collaboration, commerce, you name it. Some apps were worse, some were better than closed alternatives, but much of it was clearly good enough to use every day.

But is this still true? For example, voice control is clearly going to be a primary way we interact with our gadgets in the future. Speaking to an Amazon Echo-like device while sitting on my couch makes a lot more sense than using a web browser. Will we ever be able to do that without going through somebody’s proprietary silo like Amazon’s or Apple’s? Where are the free and/or open-source versions of Siri, Alexa and so forth?

The trouble, of course, is not so much the code, but in the training. The best speech recognition code isn’t going to be competitive unless it has been trained with about as many millions of hours of example speech as the closed engines from Apple, Google and so forth have been. How can we do that?

The same problem exists with AI. There’s plenty of open-source AI code, but how good is it unless it gets training and retraining with gigantic data sets? We don’t have those in the FLOSS world, and even if we did, would we have the money to run gigantic graphics card farms 24×7? Will we ever see truly open AI that is not black-box machinery guarded closely by some overlord company, but something that “we can study how it works, change it so it does our computing as we wish” and all the other values embodied in the Free Software Definition?

Who has a plan, and where can I sign up to it?

Submission + - Dissecting a frame of DOOM

An anonymous reader writes: An article takes us through the process of rendering one frame of DOOM (2016). The game released earlier this year uses the Vulkan API to push graphics quality and performance at new levels.
The article shades light on rendering techniques, mega-textures, reflection computation... all the aspects of a modern game engine.

Comment Re: The Market Quickly Crowded with Competitors (Score 1) 50

3D TV is a very fiddly technology. You need to sit in the right position, you need special glasses or just the right angle, and your position doesn't influence the image. 3D is also that doesn't fundamentally change a movie. It has depth now, it's a really cool thing in some cases, but it's still the same movie.

An HMD is a completely different experience. The effect is perfect without fiddling. You can look around a corner. And it gives an amazing sense of immersion, which for some games is an excellent advantage.

For instance Elite: Dangerous is far easier to play in an HMD. To access the menus and ship interface all you need to do is to look in the right direction. If a ship flies out of your field of view, you just need to follow it with your head. Sure, all that can be done through keyboard or joystick controls, but it's far easier and far more intuitive to do it the same way you would if you were sitting in a cockpit.

Comment Re:Normally I'm pro regulation (Score 4, Insightful) 146

The vast majority of people, even the really smart ones working for the justice system aren't expert biologists able to evaluate the quality of a lab's work. Neither would they be granted enough access to actually run a proper evaluation, even if they did have the knowledge.

And what's the benefit to allowing a lab that produces incorrect results to keep operating?

We need both. Regulation ensures that every lab performs correctly, and the free market ensures the labs compete against each other on the price and services they offer. With both those things in place and working properly we can ensure you can't go wrong by choosing a lab, and just have to concentrate on finding one that does what you need at an acceptable price and speed.

Comment Re:Stahp (Score 1) 299

Nonsense. "Ubiquitous" doesn't mean "all that is in existence", it means "widespread". Obviously there will be plenty around before the last non-self driving car is gone.

And why would new infrastructure be needed? Current self-driving cars manage with the current infrastructure just fine.

At any rate, roads need maintenance once in a while anyway, so improvements for self-driving cars, should any be needed are easily rolled into that. And I imagine people will greatly appreciate the reduced insurance costs, which will drive adoption.

Comment Re:Stahp (Score 1) 299

Yeah, and there was this guy who thought the world only had a need for 4 computers...

There will be plenty. For one, they're absolutely huge for the transport industry -- a driver that doesn't get tired, doesn't complain, earns no money, and isn't subject to labor regulations. The first company using self driving trucks will gain a large benefit, because trucks already go as fast as they can, so the company that has trucks that never stop will obviously deliver merchandise faster.

They're a huge thing for companies like Uber, too. If you think of it, a taxi driver is performing a largely mechanical task anyway.

Then there's the enormous personal convenience, a car that can drive you to work while you sleep, read, or finish some paperwork inside, then drives back home, drives your wife to the store, then drives back to work to pick you up. That, right there, is a car that's doing the work of two.

There's really no reason for them not to be ubiquitous. There's no physical law that forbids them from existing and it's just a matter of tech development to get there. There are multiple parties all working on it, precisely because it's so huge.

Comment Re:Justice is blind (Score 4, Informative) 284

It wasn't just that.

It helped a lot that Gawker had complete morons testifying for their side, which managed to make themselves look completely unsympathetic without any assistance. There's a valuable lesson here: don't be a snarky asshole in court. People might have to hold their tongue when they're on your website and you make the rules, but it's ill advised when you're the one in the vulnerable position.

And there's that the whole mess made Hogan lose a very lucrative contract, and he got awarded damages for that. Obviously it costs less to just embarrass an average joe than if your actions make somebody lose on earning millions.

Comment Re:HTML5 and its APIs make apps obsolete (Score 1) 278

Sure, if you have bandwidth to spare, don't mind never owning any of your apps, and are fine with completely being at the mercy of the publisher.

I highly prefer apps because I retain some measure of control. It wants to poke around where it shouldn't now? Well, I don't have to install the update. It gets discontinued? I still have it locally and have time to look for a replacement.

Comment Re:Solar panels? (Score 1) 228

Do some math.

Insolation at the surface is about 1 kw / m^2 in perfect conditions. A good solar panel might be 20% efficient, so 200W/m^2 = 0.2 kW/m^2. Tesla battery = 60 kWh. 60 / 0.2 = 300 hours to charge the battery, per square meter of solar panel in absolutely optimal, cloudless conditions.

Also, for comparison, 1 HP = 745W.

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