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Comment So, how old am I? (Score 1) 534

Old. My first programming (1967) was done on a programmable Wang calculator on hand-punched cards, followed closely by learning Fortran II on CDC Big Iron. However, I really didn't start learning the skills of programming a computer until I took a class in CDC assmbly language (SCOPE) programming a couple of years later. That down-to-the-metal level of programming taught me what was going on in the machine that the Fortran compliler had been hiding from me. Made me a much better programmer than I would have been otherwise.

Comment Neural Net Behavior (Score 1) 388

I’ve not been closely following AI development for a while, so I’m just guessing that what’s now called “deep learning” is really just old-school neural networks with a spiffy new coat of marketing paint. Yes? If so, it’s not surprising that the developers don’t know precisely how it does what it does. They know how a neural net works, but not how it gets a particular output given a set of inputs. The big issue here is that a neural net only knows how to handle situations or cases that were “spanned” by the information that went into its training. That is, it can only deal with things that were covered by the training information. For example, if a car AI never “saw” a situation where an airplane was landing on the road in front of it, the AI might well not know what to do.

All the developers can do about this is make sure that the training set doesn’t have any serious gaps in it as far as situations the neural net will need to be able to handle. This is not as easy as it sounds, and how well it is done will be the basis for any lawsuits that arise from a misbehaving neural-net-based AI.

Comment Re:Morons are running the USA (Score 1) 649

No.. What we have here, other than a failure to communicate, is a budget that simply represents what the average American wants.

To clarify, what we have here represents what the average American who voted in states Trump won in the Electoral College want. If you don't like what he's doing, and you didn't vote, then what the hell were you doing that was more important than voting???!!!

Comment Re:A VLF maser? (Score 3, Informative) 69

And this is how the tin-foil-hat crowd gets its facts, from vague recollections of things that aren't really pertinent to the situation. The VLF signals generated by HAARP during various experiments were of such low power that you needed really sensitive receivers and some signals-processing skills to detect them. At no point was anything remotely close to a Terawatt of power generated.

Comment Re:So, basically,Apple is in the fashion industry (Score 1) 406

No, not just on /. Lots of Mac computer users have been complaining about Apple's transformation into a fashion/design firm over the past several years on many Mac user sites. Apple had better up their tech/computer game in 2017 or a lot of people who jumped on OS X from Linux in the early 2000s are going to be headed back to Linux or (shudder) to Windows.

Comment Re: Open Source macOS? (Score 1) 339

Once there's a complete development environment via Xcode and various SDKs (to include iOS simulators) available on non-Apple HW there's no longer any need for Apple to build computers if they so chose. The developer base is already getting mightily torqued in the jaws about HW releases from Apple (or lack thereof) over the past 5-6 years, so having a development platform that is HW-independent would be just fine with many developers. From what I hear, Xcode is pretty much ready to run (if not already there) under Linux, and with MS embracing Linux (well, patting in on the shoulder) the move to that platform may be easier in the future. Just saying.

Comment Elementary OS Performance? (Score 2) 224

I've seen Elementary OS mentioned several times in discussions among unhappy Apple users as a good bail-out option. Those of us who moved from Linux to OS X in the early 2000s, back when OS X did indeed "just work" (particularly compared to the Linux desktop) are now tired of rushed/botched software upgrades and increasingly poor HW offerings. I want a system I can depend on rather than one I can (or have to) fiddle with so I can focus on the things I want/need to be doing with the computer. That's why I'm not looking at a hackintosh solution. Any Elementary OS users want to comment on how this distro is working for them? I'll probably want to install Gnome, which I think is not the out-of-the-box configuration.

Comment Censorship is out, but what about this? (Score 3, Insightful) 499

Dealing with this problem that the news most people get these days hasn’t been carefully vetted as it was (or at least they tried) back in the days of Uncle Walter Cronkite is important. The Internet, with it’s ability to spread unfounded rumor at a wildfire pace, has broken America. I’m not talking about this current election, this has been going on for some time now. The question comes down to how does an organization like Facebook help keep down the levels of total bullshit without censorship problems. And I’m talking both sides of the political spectrum here. One way might be to take on a vetting responsibility in which bullshit posts aren’t removed but are edited by adding a statement something along the lines of “this statement is the most puro of bullshit” along with a link to something like Snopes where the issue is explained.

This won’t fix this problem, but it might help people see that there’s more to a story than what their good buddies or BFFs are posting on Facebook. And no, it’s not perfect, but it’s also not censorship. You can post whatever nonsense you feel like, but the owner of the site has the right AND THE OBLIGATION to watch for and flag nonsense. It would be nice if everyone had a working bullshitometer, but the newer models of People seem to have dropped that module.

Comment Re:Apple is a software company (Score 1) 299

When I moved to Macs in 2004 it wasn't because of the hardware, it was because of the software. At the time I was using Linux for everything except for desktop functionality and Windows for the desktop. When OS X became clearly a mature option I jumped to an iMac and was about as happy with a computer as I've ever been BECAUSE OF THE SOFTWARE. It really did for the most part "just work" and I wasn't having to constantly upgrade or tweak or fight with AV software. Apple is now going downhill both on the hardware and software. I find myself having to fight OS X to get it to do what I want, I have to reboot the damn thing at least every other day (as opposed to just when an update required it back in the day), and I am terrified every time I upgrade the OS to the latest-and-greatest. If I jump ship it won't be to a Hackintosh, but I don't know what I jump to. Not good days to be a Mac power user.

Comment Re:Charity? (Score 4, Insightful) 404

According to the American Institute of Philanthropy, which gave the Clinton Foundation an "A" rating, the Clinton Foundation spends only 12% of the money it raises on overhead. Politifact has a good rundown on this: http://www.politifact.com/trut... . Do some research before making wild claims, don't just go with wisdom from the blogosphere.

Comment Re:Is anyone really surprised? (Score 3, Interesting) 66

There are at least two interpretations for this apparent failure: (1) the Feds are dumb as a box of rocks as you say, or (2) they knew perfectly well how to do this but wanted the courts to establish precedence for ordering manufacturers like Apple to provide access to customers' encrypted storage. Or it could be a little of both. I've worked with the Federal government for over 40 years, and either of these is well within the realm of possibility. I will say, however, that the recent tenor from the FBI and its director about encryption make me believe more in #2 than #1.

Comment Another Problem (Score 3, Interesting) 265

Another, and I think larger, problem with the increased use of technology rather than human boots-on-the-ground is that it makes it easier, from a political standpoint, to go to war. You don't have mothers, fathers, and spouses of all those people being put in harms way making trouble because their loved ones are dying. This is one reason I'm a fan of bringing back the draft, without all the loopholes that allowed rich-white-boys (I'm looking at YOU, W!) to dodge serving. If your constituents have skin in the game, it's harder to vote on a war resolution.

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