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Comment Of course this happens (Score 1) 145

Flips of a single bit in a memory or register are that few modern systems would run for long without error correcting memory. Even ECM has its limitations and most systems eventually crash/panic/blue-screen or whatever and require a reboot.

The costs to improve error resilience go up rapidly and don't have a meaningful upper bound. My working trade off was to design for a mtbf comparable to how long I wanted to keep that job.

Comment Follow the Money (Score 2) 294

This will be a financial boon to the telecom industry. The black budgets are going to have to come up with money to pay for the storage and retrieval by the telcos. I expect this to be quite profitable for them. There are also going to be some nice contracts for redesigning the systems now that the stakeholders have changed.

Comment Lockstep by Karl Schroeder (Score 1) 219

The subject novel impressed me with a realistic setting for stories in a relativistic (i.e. sub-light travel only) universe. For how, read the book. One concern I had with its realism was that it assumed many more sunless planets than stars. This article clears that up pending confirmation. Anyone know when this theory started getting serious interest?

Comment Re: One real prediction in science fiction (Score 1) 139

In one of his juveniles, I think "Star Beast", the future society's laws have changed. Most reflected his politics (semi-compulsory concealed carry), emancipation of children, etc., but he got wrong the effects of banning smoking in restaurants. So far as I know, high quality scofflaw places allowing smoking never became popular, and he set an important scene in one.

Comment Cautionary tales (Score 1) 222

Asimov addressed both sides of the issue, but he had a simplistic view of programming an AI that allowed an easy solution to the worst potential problems. The anti-robot camp which won on earth was just wrong by his premiss.

The deep problem is that there is no reason to have any expectations of what an AI will do until it is built and tested. We could eventually see Berserkers, R. Daneel Olivaw, and much in between. Murderous machines are good science fiction, as are dystopias, and other potentially avoidable bad things.

Comment Taleb doesn't live in a normal world (Score 1) 312

When I was in school, they still taught the central limit theorem which explains why so many error distributions are "normal". Our world provides us with millions of examples in everyday life where the standard deviation of our experiences is the best statistic to estimate the probability of future events.

What you do with a statistic is what counts. It's easy to look at the standard deviation and estimate the probability that the conclusion was reached by chances of the draw, though it takes some practice to develop your intuition. It is imbedded in our language when we talk of "6 sigma" reliability or " 4 sigma" thinkers. Anyone who thinks he is a scientist should understand this!

Mr. Taleb may be working in a field where normal distributions are rare, but the probability is he is either lying or poorly educated.

Comment Carrot and stick push for IOS7 (Score 1) 336

Apple is really trying hard to get ios7 adoption. I got an ad for free iTunes content (Xmas related), that turned out to require ios7 to load the app to get it. This became really obvious because I was using an old iPad1 that can't load it.

I wonder why they are pushing so hard for the upgrade. I have older iPhones that I haven't upgraded because of performance concerns -- I suspect many do. Are they planning something that requires good adoption, or is there some problem with the old versions? Seems like a bit much just to get rid of some old devices.

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