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Comment Re:CMU Sphinx (Score 3, Interesting) 221

Sphinx by itself is a terrible answer to this problem, unfortunately. The code is free, but good luck finding an appropriate model. Worse, you'll need to train a speaker-dependent model to get any usable results, and this is a VERY non-trivial task with Sphinx tools in the state that they are. I spent several years getting paid to adapt Sphinx for commercial purposes and while it's great for some things, I can say with confidence that it is not the tool you're looking for.

You know what works? Dragon. Hate to say it, but the commercial products here have a gigantic edge on the competition.

That said, I'd love to see someone come up with an open source speaker-dependent model training system that's friendly enough for app developers (not speech researchers) to roll into projects. I think this is a big open door for contribution to the community. Sphinx isn't the best thing going, but it's certainly usable, and if a real product came into being I'm sure all the speech wonks would start coming out of the woodwork to improve the algorithms.

Comment news at 11 (Score 3, Insightful) 298

Algorithm revised in light of real-world performance constraints! Read all about it!

Seriously, we just rewrote a tree (that runs in a high traffic serving environment) this month at work because it wasn't streamlined just right to take full advantage of the underlying architecture. No one will write a paper about it.

Also, hey kids, profile your code.

Comment I agree, but... (Score 2, Insightful) 327

Even if generation 1 electric cars are a mess, SOMEONE has to make them viable enough and sexy enough to get the market moving in that direction. As soon as electric cars start becoming a significant chunk of the automobile market we'll see battery, motor, and material research go through the roof. This has already started, and I think it would be hard to argue that Tesla hasn't played a big role in swaying the general perception of electric cars from "slow ugly thing that hippies drive" to Serious Business.

Aptera is awesome in their own right, and you're right that their design pushes the envelope a lot further. Hopefully gen-2 mass market EVs will go more in that direction. I just don't think anyone should downplay the importance of Tesla (etc.) making the generation of cars that bridges the gap between what we drive now and what we'll drive once electric cars are pervasive.

Comment my solution to forced password expiration (Score 1) 497

Part of my password stays the same; part changes. The part that changes, I write down on a post-it (literally). The part that stays the same is memorized.

In practice, I have a sandwich, xxxxxYYYYzzzzz, where x and z are constant and Y changes to meet the needs. This is also how I customize for different applications, e.g. my slashdot password might be xxxx/.zzzzz, my bank password xxxx$$zzzz, etc.

It works. It's pretty safe and easy compared to the alternatives.

Comment Re:Thank you Facebook (Score 1) 375

"FB can't possibly keep backups of every state of your profile"

Wrong, for two reasons: (1) as sites and traffic grow, old data becomes a smaller and smaller slice of the total storage pie, and (2) storage just keeps getting cheaper. Also... just how much space do you thing profile information takes up, anyway? I'm guessing photos and activity logs are the bulk of their storage costs.

Comment .net success != financial success (Score 1) 425

Sure, .net would have been way better if it embraced Linux and welcomed re-implementation from the beginning. It would have been more widely adopted, there would be more open source VMs and IDEs, etc.

Why? Because people love free stuff. Good for the ecosystem doesn't necessarily mean good for Microsoft. No one wants to pay for a Windows license for each machine in their datacenter. How many Solaris licenses did Java sell for Sun?

The way I see it, .net was yet another decent attempt at forcing Windows lock-in (and keeping already-locked-in partners happy and productive).


Submission + - Ubuntu on the $99 decTOP (AMD PIC) (

An anonymous reader writes: The old news is that the AMD PIC has been reincarnated as the $99 decTOP. The new news is that I actually bought one, took it apart, put it back together again, and installed Linux on it (Ubuntu and Xubuntu). This page walks you through the installation process. The result is a reasonably usable machine—certainly enough to get your mom on the internet. The decTOP comes with 128MB of RAM and a 10GB HDD, both of which can be upgraded easily.

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