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Comment Re: Define robot? (Score 1) 125

What I mean by robot is a mobile machine with some sort of limb like manipulator.

The ASRS is a fixed crane style device with vertical elevators and horizontal shuttles. A box goes in and is pushed by hydraulic arms onto elevator, onto shuttle, into storage, and the reverse sequence when it's needed again, directed by software autonomously, and guided by photocells for positioning.

I would consider a Roomba as a robot, but not as ASRS. I would refer to an automated crane for sure as a 'robotic' crane, but not simply as a robot.

Comment Define robot? (Score 1) 125

I write warehouse control systems for some of the world's biggest automated warehouses. There's very little in use that meets the colloquial usage of 'robot'. The shuttle ASRS systems mentioned are machines that technically fulfil the robot criteria, but you wouldn't look at one and call it a robot. The stuff that does look like a robot, the ROI just doesn't seem to be there just yet.

This is one area where Europe leads America still. In Europe, higher costs for land and unskilled labour mean logistics companies have been forced to automate more. ASRS solutions give much better storage density, and goods to person pick stations make much more efficient use of human labour (a person stands at a fixed station, and moves units from one box to another, the machines move all the boxes around).

I can't quite see where mobile robots are really going to make a leap forwards in the next few years in these sorts of warehouse. A little Kiva-style robot moving a pallet round is more flexible than fixed conveyors, but doesn't add any fundamental new capabilities: AGVs have been around for at least 18 years and they haven't really caught on in a big way. And unit picking robots like that Magazino right now are too finicky, and can't keep up with a goods to person station - it's just not an efficient use of machinery.

That will probably have changed in 10 or 20 years, but not by 2021.

Comment Re: Toyota engine, Subaru body. Subaru in airplane (Score 1) 289

The same principle does work in software. Chrome and Safari use the same 'engine'. With enough thought and effort it works fine. The problem is generally business software is typically bespoke to a specific business and also big and sprawling. It's more like a custom aircraft carrier than a car!

Comment Re: Does Sony also provide... (Score 2) 117

The 20/20 vision line is a few from the bottom on the eye chart, it's just the 'normal' vision line. It's been a few years since I've done an eye test but last time I could fairly easily read every line on the chart, which is substantially better than 20/20 vision. Even so, I remember my vision being significantly more acute when I was younger! I can definitely imagine plenty of people being able to see and use this higher resolution.

Comment Street light variant (Score 2) 164

Their first product is a 100W 9 foot version. I found that quite interesting if it can scale down to streetlight scale. Not sure if the movements are small vibrations or large scale oscillation but if you could use these to mount streetlights it sounds like in windy areas they should provide enough power to run the lights for free.

Comment Re:Pointless (Score 1) 152

Which is the clever bit if your read the TFA:

We take a significantly different approach. Instead of explicitly storing decoy vaults, we construct single ciphertext which, when decrypted with any wrong master password, yields a decoy vault that appears to have been sampled from the distribution of plaintext vaults (across the entire user population). This approach is inspired by the theory of honey encryption [23].

Still not certain I understand how that works, but it certainly isn't an obvious or trivial approach to take.

Comment Re:Over think (Score 1) 152

I'd guess the difficulty is that you want everything encrypted: that is, the password database will contain a list of website or server names, as well as the usernames and also the passwords. It's pretty difficult to distinguish between a valid and invalid password assuming they're generated randomly according to sets of rules. However, the rest of the data is likely to be human readable and full of standard dictionary words.

So it's only easy to make the password database inscrutable upon attempted decryption if it ONLY contains the passwords. In which case a list of servers and user names is held unencrypted. And that bit is undesirable. This system therefore has to generate entire valid looking vaults that decrypt with incorrect passwords.

Comment Re:Hahahahahahahahaha LOL (Score 1) 441

There is no extrapolation from the computer industry. But quite simply there are a number of animals that don't appear to age significantly (they die of natural causes but without the death rate increasing with age), and plenty of even more extreme examples in the plant kingdom, of trees apparently thousands of years old. So there doesn't appear to be a fundamental problem with maintaining cells in working order, indefinitely.

Over evolutionary timescales though, organisms that evolve and adapt will always tend to outpace biologically immortal organisms, and as the other respondents correctly state, there is no evolutionary imperative to survive much beyond childbirth (and it is likely even a negative in evolutionary terms to linger around competing for resources with your children).

However, if people decide that regardless of the above, they want to live forever, I think it is biologically possible, and once someone finds some real traction on that problem, it will happen.

Comment Re:Hahahahahahahahaha LOL (Score 1) 441

But exactly why do all these systems start breaking down? I agree we're not getting particularly close to 120 year lifespans with our current approach, which is tinkering with treatments for the ailments of old age. But I suspect there actually is a simple magic bullet somewhere - something to stop us getting old. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime, but I think at some point a switch will be found to turn off aging.

To clarify, by 'simple', I mean compared to fixing cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, cataracts, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, stroke, and so on ... We are still evolved to have a finite lifespan, and changing that will still be difficult in the extreme. But it can potentially be a lot simpler to fix the root cause and avoid being old, than fix the million and one knockons of getting old.

Comment Re: On the other hand... (Score 1) 700

I wondered how long the car analogy would take! A more accurate analogy is if you innocently bought a fake Ford, and then took it in for a routine service. The garage discovers it's a fake. They therefore point it down the road and trigger the acceleration problem, destroying your car by smashing it through a brick wall.

Sorry was a fake so we took the liberty of breaking it. No you can't have a refund, we didn't make it or profit from it...

Comment Re:The over-65's swung it for No (Score 1) 474

Salmond should rightly have been savaged by the media for repeated seemingly untrue claims he has made and the allegations of bullying, but he has certainly not been by the BBC, they've been fawning over him in half the interviews I've seen. Every claim he has made about EU membership and currency has been rebutted by everyone else involved. He even implied the Queen supported Scottish independence, which is a low thing to do to someone who isn't really able to come out and express her true opinions on the matter.

Plus the study you cited shows 18-24 voted against independence, along with all those 55+. It was only really the 16-17 and 25-34 groups who voted strongly in favour of independence.

Comment Re:smug retribution (Score 1) 279

*One* person beheaded. It's still one too many, but the fact is that two people armed with assault rifles and a desire to kill innocent people would almost certainly have managed to do an awful lot more damage, even if passers by were similarly armed.

Also, given that the US murder rate including Chicago and DC is pretty much 4 times the UK rate, but without them is less? Well thank you for informing me, I'm heading to America next year, but there's absolutely no fucking chance I'm visiting cities with those sorts of murder rates - I hadn't realised those US crime dramas were non-fiction!

Comment Re:In the future we don't use hard drives? (Score 1) 464

It won't take long until you can get hard disc and DVD enclosures that matches the finish and cross-section of this case and is designed to simply stack under the main case. It would be very cool to have a thunderbolt port in the bottom of the case for that, and with daisy chaining, and another port in the bottom of the add-on enclosure, you could just keep making your tower taller. But even if you're running cables at the back, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

But generally I agree that expandability has been compromised for design and as a result it looks like a great piece of kit for consumers, but maybe not so much for pros. I quite like the trashcan design though - if they'd build one with Core i7 internals, everyday RAM and standard GPUs I would definitely be very interested.

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