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Comment Re:R&D (Score 1) 100

Apple spends serious coin on Research and Development; far more than their competition.

This is almost true, though the vast majority of Apple's R&D funding is firmly at the D end of the spectrum. IBM used to spend a lot more than Apple on research, though they've cut down a lot. Microsoft still does (around $5bn/year on MSR). These companies and Google (and Oracle, and so on) all throw grants at universities for research, which Apple doesn't. It wasn't until last the last few months that Apple even published any of their research.

Comment Re:AI Snippets... (Score 1) 298

In this respect, it's not really any different from stuff genetic algorithms have been doing for decades. If you have a set of executable tests that can tell if the algorithm is working correctly, then you can evolve something that will pass the tests. Of course, you have absolutely no idea how it will behave on inputs not covered by your tests.

Comment Re:sign of decline (Score 1) 100

Sometimes. Apple already has their 1 Infinite Loop building and then most of the office buildings nearby along De Anza and a few nearer the middle of town. They're pretty short on space. It makes sense for them to be building a new big building, and the cost difference between building a new boring building and a new shiny building is pretty small. This will let them move a bunch of people who need to collaborate into offices near each other, rather than having them spread across the various De Anza buildings.

From what people were saying when I was at Apple a couple of weeks ago, it's actually coming a bit too late. The company has grown faster than they expected when they started planning and so rather than being able to move everyone from De Anza into IL2, they're having to identify sets of people who need to collaborate and move them, leaving quite a few behind in De Anza. If your company is growing faster than your ability to build office space to house them, that's generally a good sign (though the insane planning permission situation in the Bay Area means that it happens there a lot more often than you'd expect).

Comment Re: All the better to 'drive' stoned (Score 1) 128

They might be safer than kids, but they're still on a bunch of medications on which they really shouldn't be driving. And in a crisis, their reflexes are typically awful, often for the same reason.

Crisis? What crisis?

That's a huge benefit of being an experienced driver - you smell trouble far before it happens. You know which drivers are going to do something stupid, and you stay out of their way. You leave others room to make mistakes and recover from it.

A good driver will avoid many situations where good reflexes would be needed, In addition, a good driver will make sure they have enough space to not act by blind reflex, but by thinking. Your "fast reflexes" will quite often just make the situation worse or will cause different problems.

Comment Re:Next headline (Score 1) 128

And the next line: Insurance company refuses to cover damages, clean-up costs, hospital bills, loss of income due to disability and so on. Even if you do eventually win expect to spend a few years in court with a lawyer driving you into bankruptcy first. Also if you're arrested you have the right to a lawyer, not so much in civil court when the insurance company claims you broke the terms, I'm sure they have something in the wall of legalese that will apply.

I don't know the US laws; in Germany your third party liability has to pay if the car was insured, and the damage wasn't caused intentionally. (And your car is almost always insured, even if you didn't pay your fees; if the insurance company decides to cancel your insurance, they will send a letter to you, and another to the police to seize your car until you insure it again).

That has always covered accidents caused by drunk drivers, by thieves and so on. Because third party liability is a legal requirement set by the government to protect innocent third parties, so it must be very hard to avoid.

If the USA has similar rules, then third parties should be covered. What happens to the owner of the car, that's a different matter. Everyone from police to insurance company will try their best to make their life very, very unhappy.

Comment Good move, difficult marketing (Score 1) 71

Facts are: There was nothing wrong with the phones themselves, except the batteries. Samsung first had the problem that some batteries were physically larger than they should have been, which _will_ cause problems. Then they had a second problem, that in order to fix the first problem, they rushed other suppliers to deliver high capacity batteries before they were properly designed. Lots of the damage to the brand was caused by the fact that they first had a problem, said it was fixed, and then had the exact same problem again because they rushed for a solution.

It seems that trying to fit in that extra high capacity (3,500mAh) was difficult. Too difficult, it turns out. Same battery with lower capacity (3,000mAh) should be much easier to build without any safety problems. I'm personally not in the market for a Samsung phone, but if let's say Apple offered "iPhone 7 with 2 hours less battery for $300 less", I'd be quite interested.

Anyone who wants to buy Android, I'd recommend looking at the price, and checking what you get for it. If it's better than another phone for the same price apart from lower battery life, you just decide what you want more (features, speed etc. vs. battery life) and buy it or don't. Emotionally, the brand is damaged. Rationally, I would think that these phones will be absolutely fine.

Comment Re:will probably take off with next gen hardware (Score 1) 146

Hololens is not VR

Indeed. AR doesn't seem to trigger the same motion sickness responses as VR, because you retain all of the visual cues from the real world.

Microsoft is once again creating a product that nobody will use.

Microsoft has created a technology that anyone can use without feeling motion sick, but you think that it will lose in the marketplace to one that about 80% of people can use without feeling motion sick? That's an interesting perspective.

Comment Re:It's just too expensive for the hardware (Score 1) 146

It's not so clear with 3D. It's something of a misnomer to call current displays 2D and this kind of VR interface 3D. Both provide a subset of the dozen or so cues that the human brain uses to turn inputs into a 3D mental model. They both, for example, manage occlusion and distance blurring, but neither manages (yet) to correctly adjust the focal depth of parts of the image that are further away. Motion sickness is caused by disagreements between some of these cues and between the other cues that you use to build your mental model of the world. VR adjusts the image based on your head position (though latency here can cause problems as the visual signal and the inner ear signal come at different times), but it turns out that humans have a very strong notion of body image, so if they don't correctly track your arm positions and update them in the game then this causes nausea in a lot of people.

Unfortunately for the 3D film and game industry, it's not the case that simply adding more cues reduces the risk of motion sickness. It turns out that a third-person perspective on a 2D display is one of the minima for the percentage of the population to experience motion sickness. Move to first person, and this gets worse, though it's still a tiny percentage (some people can't play FPS games for more than a few minutes without feeling sick). Add a few more visual cues and you get a lot more people feeling sick. There's obviously a minimum when you get all of the cues right, because otherwise people would spend their entire lives experiencing motion sickness, but so far none of the mainstream 3D systems have found another point that's close to the 2D display. If you're going to develop a first-person game, and you can either develop it for a technology that 99% of humans can use without feeling sick, or spending more money to develop it for a technology that 80% can use, which would you do?

Comment Re:Oh please (Score 2) 199

The type of "hello world" is const char *, so your compiler should warn that you're dropping the const in an implicit cast (and if you're a sensible person and compile with -Werror, then your compiler will reject the code). You can get the behaviour that you want with:

const char s[] = "hello world";

This will copy the contents of the string literal into a mutable array. If you write this at the global scope, the copy will be done at compile time, so you'll end up with the string in the data section, not the rodata section (if you do it in a variable with automatic storage, you'll get a copy every time the variable comes into scope). Putting constant strings in the rodata section is important for optimisation, because it allows them to be coalesced. If you write "hello world" in two place, then you'll end up with a single string in the rodata section. With some linkers, if you also write "world" somewhere else, then you'll just get two pointers into the same string (this is also one of the reasons that C uses null-terminated strings: you can't do this with Pascal strings, and it saved a useful amount of memory on the PDP-11). Once you're sharing the string, it becomes a really bad idea to allow someone to modify it, because that modification will then become visible in a different bit of code.

Comment Re:Oh please (Score 1) 199

That's pretty common for OO languages (or, in fact, any language with a notion of subtyping), where individual classes implement their own comparison operators. In C++ you can overload the comparison operators, but most OO languages that don't do operator overloading just use a named method. If you write a.equals(b), then you'll call the equals method implemented by the class of a. If you write b.equals(a) then you'll call the method implemented by the class of b. One may know about the other, but the converse is not guaranteed. The Objective-C collection classes document certain invariants for inserting objects into sets (or as keys in a dictionary), including that [a isEqual: b] implies [b isEqual: a] (and that [a isEqual: b] implies that [a hash] equals [b hash]), but this is impossible to statically verify in the general case.

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