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Comment Re:Most of the alternatives he describes... (Score 3, Insightful) 140

A 20 year old e-mail program is just as useful as a new one, while a 20 year old browser will probably crash once you try to open

I admit I lose track of time regularly, but a 20 year old e-mail program -- Eudora, Elm, what have you -- had no ability to parse HTML e-mail. I spend most of my time checking my e-mail with my phone and occasionally with a web browser and I use a desktop client every other month or so. I did find myself inspecting the source a few times last month, and I did have a few e-mails without the plain text equivalent. My conclusion was that there are e-mail clients or companies who send HTML only e-mails. This means old e-mail clients from 20 years ago would not be useful.

Email is changing, but far more slowly.

Comment Re:MS Nutty aquisitions (Score 1) 90

And then merchandising.

Each of my three kids has a Minecraft Creeper hoodie, my 10 year old has a half dozen books, my 13 year old has a bunch of paper models, there are at least two battery powered "torches" wandering around, and both of my older kids have a bunch of small plastic models.

We're in for two copies of Minecraft for Mac, another one for Xbox 360 and WiiU. If we've handed over less than $200 all total, I'd be surprised.

Comment Google Glass had fixable problems (Score 2) 121

If this product can fix some problems with Google Glass, I'll buy one at twice a reasonable price.

Google Glass never looked comfortable or stylish. The camera made everyone uncomfortable. The battery wasn't great, and the resolution was terrible.

If Apple can come in and make it look reasonable, omit the camera, take advantage of some recent semiconductor technologies like fin fets or fdsoi, and make a 800x600 or 1024x768 screen, they have a blockbuster on their hands. I want to be able to access my digital world (Facebook, games, email, texts), and I want it to evolve into something better than what I've got. Already I barely use my home computer daily, no longer multiple times a day. My cell phone is my current tether to the internet. I'm not particularly enamored with it, but if it becomes a secondary device for my glasses -- cellular modem, hi def screen for necessary tasks, GPS, CPU and whatever chips eat the most power -- that's a great benefit.

For me, visual displays are "complete" when they can use a laser (or whatever) to project onto my retina a fully focused image that's of a "normal" brightness, taking the same arc size of a 24" screen a foot away, with a resolution better than I can detect. Glasses are the next logical step to this panacea.

Comment Re:Should never have been allowed (Score 4, Informative) 246

For them to have a fully loaded semi on the freeway and the driver to get in the back seat was blatantly irresponsible. This experiment should never even have been legal.

According to TFA, they've been preparing for this one run for 6 months. Mapping it out, training the AI on the dynamics of loaded trailers, sending humans down the road to see when the safest time is, etc. You can bet more than a few lawyers were consulted during the course of this work between two companies.

AI cars have such a low safety requirement, they're going to have to swerve around them to avoid tripping over it. In cars, they have soccer moms with screaming kids and middle managers gabbing on cell phones, distracted driving accounts for half of the traffic out there. In the case of a commercial trucker, we're talking overtired and bored. An AI with an adequate vision system can easily out perform the most distracted drivers on controlled roads in perfect weather. We talk about self driving cars as though they only win the safety game with 0% accidents, but if safety concerned moms and wealthy business people buy them, I think tail end of the safety curve is going to get chopped off, bringing the averages up. Hell, I'd chip in for a retrofit on a BMW I keep seeing on my commute.

Comment Re:Turning Green is the least of your worries (Score 1) 203

What is more important is verifying that no-one is running the red light when you enter the intersection. Which in the US is an all too common occurrence.

Where snow is common, the first one or two seconds of a green don't count anyway. You've slid through a just-turned-red intersection once or twice yourself, you know somebody else can too. So you learn to pause just a moment. This habit doesn't completely clear during the summer, but it comes back come winter time again.

Comment Re:Glad to see it's bipartisan (Score 3, Interesting) 212

What do you think would Clinton "shake up?" She is the epitome of the status-quo!

There are several shake ups coming in November / January.

Let's look at the Senate. It's likely to swing Blue. This alone won't mean much because the House is likely to remain Red, but it's certainly going to change legislative agendas, which are important. Speaking of the House, with Trump at the top of the ticket, there will be downballot implications, some Republicans are going to have turnout trouble leading to Democrats taking some seats. I haven't seen any polls I believe in, but I think the House stays Red but with a bigger percentage Blue than before. That's a change that means more bipartisan cooperation will be necessary for anybody to get their personal agendas to see the light of day.

I can't see a Hillary executive changing much in terms of foreign policy, so full credit for "status-quo" there. Despite my preferences, she's likely to continue to antagonize Russia with anti-ICBM batteries and unified exercises close to Russia. She stands a chance of using executive orders to continue to shape the immigrant and minimum wage debates. And her ability to sign into law what the new Senate and the increasingly bipartisan House is important.

On the topic of Hillary being status-quo. Based on the rhetoric of the Republican Party for the last 2-3 years, a status-quo is in fact a shake up. All the stonewalling that's been done in Congress, all the scapegoating, all the blaming, and they can't get the American people to put them back into power. Heck, they need to tend to their own house as they realize 12 candidates can't make it through the primaries without a crazy making it out as the candidate. Then if you count that Hillary is almost certain to name at least one Supreme Court Justice in the next 4 years (with some guessing up to three!), this is going to be a "status-quo" that remains in place for a long time. Even if it's only Ginsberg and Breyer getting replaced with younger equivalents, that's a big deal. There's a 54% chance of a conservative justice kicking it in the next four years, so that's an even bigger deal.

Comment Re:There are limits... (Score 1) 183

A computer though, I have no idea how most people could last 5 years.

I'm typing this on a work issued 4.5 year old HP Probook 6455b. I've got an AMD Turion mobile processor and it wasn't fast when I got it. Two years ago, I tried to trade it in for a faster model. IT slapped some piece of crap slow SSD in it and refused me a new machine.

It's not fast. I can do some engineering work on it (CAD, statistics), but most of the time it runs Firefox and Chrome to get to Google Apps where the corporate IT infrastructure runs. For what modern work often is, 5 year old hardware is sufficient and I've decided the SSD is "fast enough" and it's not work arguing with IT.

Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Comment Re:Economics of those challenges? (Score 1) 245

Another angle: even if you don't need money, there are plenty of engineers who do - google can afford paying for these things full sticker.

Google is not avoiding paying one team, but several. Not only are they avoiding dealing with exclusively a firm at random, who, lacking financial competition, is likely to build in a decent profit margin, but they're soliciting from several teams who understand the nature of the competition. Regardless, they're catching a price break. Successful companies often get that way by avoiding paying money they don't have to. In this way, they're not ending up with an "average" design, and not only are they getting the "best" design, but they're getting a whole pile of designs. Any chance they see to pick design elements from a few of the "almost best" ones to make the "best" even better, that's something they can leverage.

I'm still puzzled by the economics of these prize driven challenges. Look at the winning design: (pdf) []. R&D costs of it (including expertise, etc) well exceed $1mil. And having a lot of teams working on their designs... Assuming that there are at least 3 other good teams means then expected payout is laughable $250k...

The $250k is only a small part of the payment. Look at the biographies at the back of that PDF. This team isn't doing it for the cash, they're doing it for the publicity. They might want to get Google to conduct business with them more regularly, perhaps even manufacturing these boxes for them, but they really want the wider engineering market to see what they're doing as innovative. This isn't some cheapskate bully firm screwing an individual graphic artist by offering only publicity for their hard earned work (and nobody cares about it), this is GOOGLE. This publicity is worth something. In their portfolio, they can now put "Winner of the Google Little Box Challenge" and they'll shove that in any prospective client's faces. I don't know if this is going to help them seal any deals or get higher profit margins, but I'd expect it's one of those two.

Comment Stupid question... (Score 1) 428

I have a stupid question... If the fat mass fell by a mean of 0.3 kg, and the fat free mass fell by a mean of 0.6 kg, what's making up that fat free mass? Water would be an easy culprit, but does that indicate that less sugar resulted in less water retention, or that the subjects also decreased their sodium intake concurrently? I think it's easy to blame sugar for some of the effects, but I'm not convinced it's the only variable that was changed.

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